Early Warning for 19 February 2019

Good morning. Here’s your Early Warning for Tuesday, 19 February 2019.

 

More Snow: The National Weather Service is warning of a new storm system expected to dump snow across the Midwest and East Coast.

National Emergency: A total of 16 states have filed lawsuits against President Trump challenging his authority to declare a national emergency to build a border wall.

Obama’s People: A group of former Obama staffers and advisors — and in some cases, Barrack Obama himself — have met with a dozen Democratic presidential candidates to offer campaign advice. According to the New York Times reporting, “Mr. Obama has indicated to candidates that he worries about the possibility of a damaging primary fight, and has urged them to avoid attacking each other in bitterly personal terms that could help Mr. Trump. He has also hinted that he sees a relatively open space for a more moderate Democrat, given the abundance of hard-charging liberals in the race.” [source]

Not a Spoiler: Independent presidential candidate Howard Schultz says he won’t be a spoiler in 2020. “I hear and respect this overriding concern, and have repeatedly promised that I will not be a spoiler. I am committed to ensuring that I will do nothing to re-elect Donald Trump. I mean it.”

 

White House

The President is scheduled to meet with Secretary Pompeo, then with Secretary Nielsen, have lunch with Vice President Pence, and then participates in a signing ceremony for Space Policy Directive 4. (Analyst Comment: SPD4 is expected to announce the creation of a Space Force under the administration of the U.S. Air Force.)


 

State Department

Secretary Pompeo is scheduled to meet with President Trump.

USAID Administrator Mark Green has been on travel to Colombia as the U.S. prepares to deliver aid to Venezuela.


 

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 South China Sea.

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


 

Congress

Significant House Activity:

  • Nothing significant to report.

Significant Senate Activity:

  • Nothing significant to report. The Senate is not be in session this week.

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


 

Economy/Finance

I’m increasingly paying a little less attention to the data and seeking out what investors, hedge fund managers, and other financial elites are saying about the markets and economy. Here’s a quick take on my findings over the weekend.

“This rapid debt expansion can’t go on forever. At some point, there will be a price to pay in the form of slower economic growth or a recession… A lot of local municipalities will have trouble. Detroit was a recent one. There will be Puerto Ricos in the U.S… It’s not going to end well.” – Steve Romick of First Pacific Advisors warning about the coming municipal debt defaults

“I still have my seatbelt fastened. We will most likely be in a recession in a few months, if we’re not already… People look at the wrong indicators… [The stock market] is telling me that the economy is rapidly slowing. There is historically a six-month lag from the market peak to the gross-domestic-product peak. The market peaked in late September.” – Pamela Rosenau of the Ronsenau Group (AC: I find this take the least credible. The economy may be slowing down, but we’re not in a recession yet.)

“I think it’s soon, probably 12 to 18 months. And, you know, the word recession always elicits a lot of emotion… It is not going to be an ’08- or ’01-type of affair. It’s going to be like a 1990 affair, which was very modest and shallow.” – Mike Wilson, Morgan Stanley market strategist


 

Far Left Daily

“We began the political revolution in the 2016 campaign, and now it’s time to move that revolution forward… It turns out that many of the ideas that I talked about – that health care is a right, not a privilege, and that we’ve got to move toward a Medicare-for-all, single-payer system: very, very popular. The idea that we have got to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. When I talked about making public colleges and universities tuition-free and lowering student debt, that was another issue that people said was too radical. Well, that’s also happening around the country.” – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), announcing his presidential candidacy

“We have to fight every election, every day, everywhere because they need to know that there are more of us than there are them and we love our nation and we will not let it fall.” – Stacey Abrams, former Georgia gubernatorial candidate

“You can see evidence in plain sight on the issue of collusion, pretty compelling evidence. There is a difference between seeing evidence of collusion and being able to prove a criminal conspiracy beyond a reasonable doubt.” – Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee

 


 

What I’m Looking at this Morning

China’s far seas naval operations

America’s greatest advantage against China is slowly eroding

Ocasio-Cortez heralds a new political era


 

Notable Quotable

“Spend time in South Carolina’s three major media markets — Charleston, Columbia and Greenville — but don’t count on that alone… Pay attention to black voters, especially black women… If you don’t have a Southern accent, don’t try one now.” – A Guide to Campaigning in South Carolina [source]

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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