Good morning. Here’s your Early Warning for Friday, 22 February 2019.
“Year in Hate”: The Southern Poverty Law Center recently published their annual review of hate groups. According to their numbers, which I haven’t looked into, there are over a thousand such groups in America, which is up 30 percent in four years. Casting aside how loosely they define “hate,” this is the result of polarizing politics and the recognition that America’s demographics are changing. “Demographics is destiny” is a popular phrase in the Alt-Right, and it expresses a concern that’s likely to grow as the country grows more diverse and less White. It’s why I’ve focused on the idea of “low intensity conflict,” which has already started and will become more apparent as right wing and left wing groups ‘battle’ for the future of America. I’ll have more thoughts in today’s National Intelligence Bulletin.
NC: State officials have ordered a new election to be held for the embattled 9th District of North Carolina. The state Board of Elections found evidence of voter fraud, which prevented the Republican victor from being seated in Congress. The seat will remain vacant until another election is held. No date has been set, but outside groups could make this an epic political fight.
$100bn: As more Democratic candidates are confirming their support for reparations (see today’s Far Left Daily section), some numbers are being broached. One reparations policy researcher supports a $100 billion program. Others, like Dr. Dority of Duke University, believe the number should be higher.
Venezuela: While the U.S. presses Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro to step down, the former Venezuelan minister of trade and industry outlined what he believes is most likely to happen: “The most probable scenario is that in the next three to four months, Venezuela’s access to hard cash is going to be almost all gone. The government will not have the dollars to operate. That will create a new and hard to predict scenario.”
The President is scheduled to meet with the Vice Premier of China and then deliver remarks at a Republican Governors Association event.
Trade: Trade watchers are hoping that President Trump will move closer to a trade deal with China today. Another round of trade tariffs on Chinese goods is scheduled to go into effect in early March. That round may be delayed if negotiators can make progress on a deal that would normalize trade relations.
VP: Vice President Pence is scheduled to travel to Colombia on Monday to meet with regional leaders and give a speech that will “define concrete steps that support … a transition to democracy.”
Consider this: CNN and other outlets are reporting that the Mueller report is expected to be published soon, perhaps even next week. This isn’t the first time that media outlets have reported the imminent delivery, however, more outlets are independently confirming it this time. Why does next week matter? President Trump will be in Vietnam to meet with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un. The report’s release would draw attention away from the summit and possibly give Kim leverage, especially if the report is negative for President Trump. Last year, Mueller released indictments against Russian officials just before President Trump was scheduled to attend a summit in Helsinki. Odd timing, to say the least.
Secretary Pompeo meets with Belgian officials, then with the Czech foreign minister.
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan is scheduled to welcome Turkey’s defense minister to the Pentagon.
These are the last publicly reported locations of deployed carrier groups. Those not listed were last reported in port.
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.
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.
There’s trouble from the Philly Fed’s manufacturing index, which just dipped into negative territory. After a survey of expectations came in at 14, the actual numbers posted were -4.1 — the lowest since the 2016 manufacturing recession. Manufacturing orders and shipments for the Philadelphia region also turned negative. Additionally, the Philly Fed manufacturing index is generally a good indicator for Gross Domestic Product growth, which means that we should expect GDP to dip significantly. The latest GDPNow data from the Atlanta Fed is pointing to 1.4 percent growth from Q4 2018. (AC: This is probably one of several reasons why the Federal Reserve is curbing its policy of two additional rate hikes this year.)
Far Left Daily
“We have to be honest that people in this country do not start from the same place or have access to the same opportunities. I’m serious about taking an approach that would change policies and structures and make real investments in black communities.” – Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) confirming her support for reparations for descendants of slaves
“We must confront the dark history of slavery and government-sanctioned discrimination in this country that has had many consequences, including undermining the ability of black families to build wealth in America for generations. We need systemic, structural changes to address that.” – Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), a presidential candidate who also supports reparations
“[Mr. Booker] is running for president to reignite our sense of common purpose to build a more fair and just nation — that means enacting policies that atone for this nation’s history of intentionally discriminatory public policy toward African-Americans. You cannot address the systemic racism unique to this country without proposing race-conscious solutions.” – Spokesman for Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ)
“There is a point in black Americans making a collective decision to treat a candidate’s attitude toward reparations as a litmus test for supporting them.” – Dr. Sandy Darity, Duke University professor
What I’m Looking at this Morning
“Yeah, I can be sharp. But what I never say is, you know — let me give an example of what they do to us all the time. “You can’t say that because you’re a white Christian man.” That’s not civil. That’s avoiding the debate of ideas and attacking a person because of who they are. That’s not O.K.” – Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) in a New York Times interview. (Good interview. You can read it here.)