Early Warning for 21 February 2019

Good morning. Here’s your Early Warning for Thursday, 21 February 2019.

 

Putin: Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that he would aim new weapons towards the U.S. and its interests abroad if the U.S. deploys new missiles to Europe. The Defense Department says they’re developing a plan to deploy intermediate-range missiles to Europe, but have no plans to deploy any new land-based nuclear weapons.

White House

The President is scheduled to receive his intelligence briefing, have lunch with Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, and then participate in a White House reception for National African American History Month.

Mueller: Maybe for the last time, media outlets are reporting that special counsel Robert Mueller will soon report his findings to the Attorney General. Next week seems to be the general consensus, although no one yet knows for sure. Judging by the way Democrats are acting, collusion doesn’t seem to be the most likely finding. Obstruction of justice, over the firing of former FBI director James Comey, is still one possibility. But even if the Mueller report finds nothing of substance, President Trump’s legal woes aren’t over. First, Attorney General William Barr gets to decide which parts of the report, if any, get released to Congress or the public. Democrats in Congress will certainly pursue litigation if the full report isn’t released, and that could wind up in the Supreme Court. Beyond that, House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) is leading a trio of committees in their own investigation, which could drag on through election season. Plus, if the Mueller report mentions anything about President Trump’s income tax statements, Democrats are certain to renew their calls to subpoena the Trump tax returns. That could open a new can of worms.


 

State Department

Secretary Pompeo has no publicly scheduled events.


 

Defense Department

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan is scheduled to welcome Belgium’s defense minister to the Pentagon.

 

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.

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


 

Economy/Finance

This week, the Federal Reserve released their Federal Open Market Committee minutes from January, which show a decision to revise the previous month’s policy decision. Instead of planning on two rate hikes this year, the Fed is likely to delay further decisions. “We are now facing a somewhat contradictory picture of generally strong U.S. macroeconomic performance, alongside growing evidence of crosscurrents. At such times, common sense risk management suggests patiently awaiting greater clarity,” said Fed chair Jerome Powell. Additionally, the Fed expressed their desire to end quantitative tightening and leave their $4 trillion balance sheet as is, for now. (Analyst Comment: The Fed often get things wrong. Previously, I’ve included accusations that the Fed’s rate hiking has accidentally pushed the U.S. economy into recession. This policy decision, which essentially admits that the last rate hike went too far, is a good example of the Federal Reserves mistakes.)

The $9 trillion corporate debt bubble is receiving a lot of attention recently as more analysts look at lower lending standards — the same problem experienced in the lead up to the 2007/8 housing market meltdown. That’s leading numerous analysts to warn about the risk of corporate bankruptcy during the next financial downturn.


 

Far Left Daily

“When people ridicule progressive proposals as silly and unaffordable, they’re basically revealing their own biases and ignorance. Investment can and should be debt-financed; benefit enhancements can be largely paid for with high-end taxes.” – Left wing economist Paul Krugman

 


 

What I’m Looking at this Morning

Coast Guard officer plotted domestic attacks

U.S. steps up winter warfare training

Munger: California is “stupid” for driving rich people away

NATO catfishes its own troops


 

Notable Quotable

“It’s been serious. Driving the rich people out is pretty dumb if you’re a state or a city. There are a number of places that have shot themselves in the foot; Connecticut, California, New York City… I think it’s really stupid for a state to drive the rich people out. They are old, they keep your hospitals busy, they don’t burden your schools, police departments or prisons. Who wouldn’t want rich people?” – Charlie Munger

 

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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