Early Warning for 11 February 2019

Good morning. Here’s your Early Warning for Monday, 11 February 2019.

 

Amusing: Finland published the findings of its basic income trial last week, and they found that it didn’t make recipients more likely to work. [source] (Analyst Comment: The source report may be behind a paywall, but here’s the New York Times lede: “A basic income made recipients happier than they were on unemployment benefits, a two-year government experiment in Finland has found. But it did not, as proponents had hoped, make them more likely to work.”)

 

White House

The President is scheduled to receive his intelligence briefing, have lunch with Vice President Pence, sign an executive order named “Maintaining American Leadership in Artificial Intelligence”, and then head to “Beto Country” (El Paso, Texas) for a campaign/border wall rally.

AI: President Trump’s “American AI Initiative” is “about ensuring continued America leadership in [artificial intelligence], which includes ensuring AI technologies reflect American values, policies, and priorities.” (AC: The order is aimed at ensuring AI technology has American values, as opposed to Chinese values.)

4: The number of days remaining for Democrats and Republicans to make a government funding deal. Despite a pledge by Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) to reach an agreement and Speaker Pelosi’s insistence that the government would not shut down, talks broke down yesterday. Recent reports suggest the situation is not looking positive. Democrats demanded a provision that ICE cap the detainment of illegals to a maximum of 16,500, including those with criminal records. Republicans said no, and we’re no closer to an agreement.

CA/NM: California governor Gavin Newsome joins New Mexico in withdrawing his National Guard troops, around 400, from the border.


 

State Department

Secretary Pompeo is on travel this week to Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Belgium, and Iceland. First up, Secretary Pompeo will meet with Hungarian President Victor Orban to discuss “defense cooperation” and “ways to counter Russian and Chinese influence and strengthen the Western alliance”. Hungary is a member of NATO.


 

Defense Department

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has no publicly scheduled events.

 

These are the last publicly reported locations of deployed carrier groups. Conflict requiring an aircraft carrier/carrier strike group does not appear imminent.

The Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) is off the coast of Virginia for pre-deployment training. The Lincoln will rejoin the Indo-Pacific Command once it re-bases to San Diego, CA.

The John Stennis (CVN-74) was last reported as in the Java Sea.

The Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) is forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan.


 

Congress

Significant House Activity:

  • Expected to vote on House Resolution 37, Directing the removal of U.S. armed forces from Yemen that have not been authorized by Congress.

Significant Senate Activity:

  • Nothing significant to report.

* Only events pertinent to national security are listed. Significant reporting will appear in this week’s Strategic and National Intelligence reports


 

Economy/Finance

I really hate to quote economist Paul Krugman, but I will just to provide a broader perspective on economic expectations. Krugman says, “I think that there is a quite good chance that we will have a [global] recession late this year (or) next year… The main concern has always been that we don’t have an effective response if stuff slows down.” [source] (AC: Many economists and investors concerned about the next recession have also expressed concern that the Federal Reserve will have limited tools to deal with stimulating growth again. That’s one reason why I think the next recession could last longer than the average 11 months.)

Former George W. Bush official Marc Summerlin, now a partner at an investment firm, recently told Financial Times: “Whether or not you have a recession in 2020 is the biggest determinant of President Trump’s re-election odds… The current economic data is looking positive, but there are forward-looking indicators that are looking weaker — housing permits for example, together with signs that banks are tightening credit modestly. The biggest concern is there are no new catalysts for growth next year.” [source]


 

Far Left Daily

“Americans must thoughtfully pursue an expanded, identity-conscious politics. New, vibrant, noisy voices represent the strongest tool to manage the growing pains of multicultural coexistence. By embracing identity and its prickly, uncomfortable contours, Americans will become more likely to grow as one.” – Stacey Abrams, former Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Georgia

“So once [Trump is] gone, we can’t pretend that none of this ever happened; it won’t be enough just to undo the terrible acts of this administration…Our fight is for big structural change. And that is why I stand here today to declare that I am a candidate for president of the United States of America.” – Sen. Elizabeth Warren who recently announced her presidential candidacy


 

What I’m Looking at this Morning

Utah state lawmaker broaches secession

U.S. military warns of threat from Chinese-run space station in Argentina

SCMP: Expect stronger U.S. response to Chinese ‘gray zone’ aggression


 

Notable Quotable

“More than 92 percent of the country’s 2.1 million farmers are non-Hispanic whites, and more than 86 percent of those farm operators are men. The average age of farmers, which has been rising for decades, continued to inch up. In 2012, the average farmer was 58.3 years old, up from 57.1 years in 2007.” – Findings from the 2012 Census of Agriculture [source] (AC: This article is from 2014, which makes the age of the average American farmer somewhere around 65 years old. And older farmers aren’t being replaced by younger farmers at high rates. Famed investor Jim Rogers encourages young people to go into farming, and says farmers will be driving Lamborghinis one day.)

Samuel Culper is a former military intelligence NCO and contract Intelligence analyst. He spent three years in Iraq and Afghanistan and is now the intelligence and warfare researcher at Forward Observer.

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