Early Warning for 22 March 2019

Good morning. Here’s your Early Warning for Friday, 22 March 2019.

 

Politics & Governance

President Trump is scheduled to be en route to Mar-a-Lago for a weekend meeting with Caribbean leaders.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) deported 66,549 individuals in the last quarter of 2018. That number represents a 10 percent increase from the previous quarter, but it’s still off from its peak set during the Obama administration. Some 57 percent of Q4 2018’s removals had criminal convictions. The total number of deportations in 2018 came in at 256,085, still below Obama’s peak of 409,849 in 2012.

This coming Monday, former president Barack Obama is scheduled to meet with freshman Democrats at a reception hosted by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

According to The Hill, former Trump advisor Steve Bannon told a group of conservatives that “Beto on the ticket with Harris is the most dangerous ticket for Trump.”

 

Far Left Daily

“You can’t negotiate with these people [Republicans]. They’re not a normal political party. They’re in a demographic death spiral, dependent on an evangelical end-times cult and totally beholden to an extremist infotainment complex. Normal party incentives are out the window…. If we have to kill the filibuster, let’s do that. Expand the courts? Go for it. Add Puerto Rico and DC to the union? Great. Expand voting rights? Sure. Whatever it takes to speed up this process. We don’t have time to wait and we don’t have a real negotiating partner in the GOP… This has happened before. The whigs disappeared. After the civil war there was no pro-slavery party. No party still pushes the gold standard. The GOP will adapt or die. It’s called realignment and it has happened many times before… ” – David Atkins, contributor to Washington Monthly

“Bob Mueller isn’t going to solve our problem. The only way Trump is getting out of here is if we, the American public, do the hard work of winning elections, just like we did in 2018.” – Former Obama advisor Dan Pfeiffer

“We’re looking at a target of 1 million [additional voters]. We’ve got over 3 million people eligible to vote, and that’s to say nothing of the 1.4 million returning citizens.” – Former Florida governor candidate Andrew Gillum, speaking about felons and others who can vote in 2020 and turn Florida blue

Democrats “are not campaigning on a platform of restoring norms, they are just pushing to destroy different norms that they don’t like.” – Philip Klein, Washington Examiner

“There is no longer any debate about whether Democrats must reform the Supreme Court. The only discussion is about the how. Term limits are a good step but we also must expand the Court’s size.” – Brian Fallon, Demand Justice

“Joe Biden went out and apologized for being male, over 50, white… And so everybody else, Beto, whatever his name is, he’s apologized for being born [laughter]. I mean, I don’t mean to be unkind. And a lot of people love him and say he’s a smart guy, and some day if he wins I’d certainly support him.” – Mike Bloomberg


 

Economy/Finance

This week, the Federal Reserve continued it’s u-turn policy on hiking interest rates in 2019. That’s an important signal for a couple reasons. First, it shows that Fed chairman Jerome Powell sees potential weakness forming in the economy, which further rate hikes would exacerbate. Second, Powell was stung by the market reaction to his December guidance in which he said the Fed would pursue additional rate hikes. That’s leading traders and economists to believe that Powell was influenced away from further rate hikes by stock market reaction. Powell also signaled that the Federal Reserve would end its quantitative tightening by the end of this year, and maintain the Fed’s balance sheet “indefinitely”. Despite this, Powell said that the U.S. economy is in “a good place” and that the growth outlook remains “favorable,” meaning that the economy would be in a worse place after further rate hikes. And some economists are predicting that the Fed will actually have to cut rates at some point this year.

Morgan Stanley is warning of a reversal in the dollar’s strength. Strategists laid out three reasons why the dollar would weaken: Fed policy is shifting, the likelihood of a U.S.-China trade deal, and Chinese stimulus that will prop up the Chinese economy. “A cyclical slowdown in the rest of the world, rising risks of protectionism and a loose fiscal, [and] tight monetary policy” is what fueled investors seeking safety in the dollar. Now that those trends are reversing, so will the dollar’s strength.


 

Strategic/Defense Situational Awareness

What a military intervention in Venezuela would look like

Border deployments straining Marine Corps readiness

Marines seize small island during training exercise for war with China

Navy plans Destroyer upgrades for war with China, Russia

Iraq prepares to evict U.S. troops


 

Notable Quotable

“On top of my list of threats, that many of you can guess, the word ‘cyber’ is circled, highlighted and underlined. The cyberdomain is a target, a weapon and a threat vector all at the same time.” – Homeland Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen

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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