Good morning. Here’s your Early Warning for Monday, 26 November 2018.
The President is scheduled to receive his intelligence briefing, then have lunch with Vice President Pence. This afternoon, President Trump will hold two Make America Great Again rallies in Mississippi for embattled Republican candidate for Senate Cindy Hyde-Smith, who’s in a run-off election.
Caravan Watch: Violence erupted Sunday afternoon as hundreds of migrants attempted to cross into U.S. territory at the San Ysidro Port of Entry south of San Diego, California. U.S. Border Patrol fired tear gas into a group of men, some of whom were trying to cut through concertina wire and others who were throwing rocks at Border Patrol officers. A statement released by Border Patrol said that officers had been hit by rocks, which prompted the response. [source]
I watched several minutes of Mexican news coverage of the event, which did show migrants throwing rocks. Mexican media has a particularly bad habit of often anti-U.S. bias, however, FOROtv ran an interview with a Tijuana resident who was angry about the behavior of migrants. It does seem that some Mexican officials are angry about the episode. U.S. officials shut down border entry at San Ysidro for several hours on Sunday, which prevented thousands of Mexicans from entering the U.S. for work. Locals are complaining about economic disruption caused by the migrants.
Of Note: We’re watching an international incident unfold as Russian coast guard ships had an altercation at sea with the Ukrainian navy on Sunday. While reports vary on the details of where this incident took place — in the Azov Sea in international waters or in the Kerch Strait within Russian waters — it appears that Russian ships fired on two Ukrainian vessels and later seized three, including crew. The Ukrainian Navy reports that six of its sailors were injured in the attack.
Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander U.S. Adm. James Stavridis (Ret.) warned that the two sides “are edging toward a serious escalation”. The Ukrainian military has been ordered to be on alert, and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and the national security defense council will ask their Parliament to declare martial law. Ukrainian press is reporting that President Poroshenko says the declaration of martial law, however, doesn’t mean that he will order offensive operations. Should Ukraine and Russia enter into open warfare, which at this point looks unlikely, then we could see increased calls for NATO to join into the conflict.
Secretary Pompeo: Nothing significant to report.
Defense Secretary Mattis: Nothing significant to report.
These are the last publicly reported locations of these ships. Conflict requiring an aircraft carrier/carrier strike group does not appear imminent.
The Carl Vinson (CVN-70) was last reported as having returned to port in San Diego.
The Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) was last reported as being in port at Norfolk, but will be transitioning to a new home port in San Diego.
* The John Stennis (CVN-74) was last reported as being underway in the Philippine Sea.
The Harry Truman (CVN-75) was last reported as being in the Mediterranean Sea.
* The Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) was last reported as being in the South China Sea.
The George H. W. Bush (CVN-77) was last reported as having returned to port in Norfolk.
* Indicates significant changes to last reported location or other amplifying information.
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.
Today is Cyber Monday and economists are hoping for a big day of spending to follow Black Friday’s success. According to Adobe Systems, Black Friday sales (including in-store and online) surged 26.4 percent from last year. Earlier this fall, analysts reported that the U.S. economy had the best quarter for retail sales in eight years. If overall holiday sales numbers under perform, however, then we should be looking for more ‘blood in the water’ type of talk on the U.S. economy.
With House caucus leadership elections coming up on Wednesday and a “budget” deadline on 08 December, this is an important week not only politically but also fiscally. President Trump wants border wall funding tied to a spending bill, which will fund the government for another year but is far from a budget. Unless spending bills are passed, we’re looking at another partial government shutdown. In January of this year, President Trump threatened a shutdown unless Congress included border wall funding in the next spending bill. Neither happened.
HurricaneWatch: The National Hurricane Center reports no cyclonic activity in the Atlantic Ocean. About four days remain in “hurricane season,” which ends on 30 November. [source]
What I’m Looking at this Morning
UPDATE: U.S., Australia to expand Papua New Guinea naval base
Trump tax cuts prompt record tax revenues
U.S. pension funds turn to real estate to cover funding gaps (??)
Borrowers tapping homes for cash, as interest rates rise (??)
“And as the algorithms and the hardware improve, that digital intelligence will exceed biological intelligence by a substantial margin. It’s obvious.” – Elon Musk, speaking on how AI will soon overtake human intelligence