Early Warning for 31 October 2018

Good morning. Here’s your Early Warning for Wednesday, 31 October 2018. (All times Central.)

 

White House

The President is scheduled to receive his intelligence briefing, meet with the Treasury Secretary, attend a “Our Pledge to America’s Workers” event, and then fly to Fort Myers, FL for a Make America Great Again rally.

Of Note: The President has a busy schedule for the next week, holding Make America Great Again rallies in Fort Myers, Florida (31 Oct), Columbia, MO (01 Nov), Huntington, WV (02 Nov), Indianapolis, IN (02 Nov), Belgrade, MT (03 Nov), Pensacola, FL (03 Nov), Macon, GA (04 Nov), Chattanooga, TN (04 Nov), Cleveland, OH (05 Nov), Fort Wayne, IN (05 Nov), and Cape Giradeau, MO (05 Nov).

Caravan Watch: U.S. Border Patrol officials warned Texas landowners about the possible presence of “armed civilians” — militia members — coming to help stop the caravan from entering U.S. territory. One such group, the Texas Minutemen militia, will have dozens of members on the border. The latest reporting puts the migrant caravan 1,000 miles south of the U.S. border crossing at McAllen, Texas. Coordinators with Pueblo Sin Fronteras (People Without Borders) say the final destination is Tijuana/San Diego, roughly still 2,000-plus miles away. The caravan is estimated to have as many as 4,000 people. Meanwhile, the 5,239 U.S. active duty troops already headed to the border are expected to get reinforcements, according to the head of U.S. Northern Command.


State Department

Secretary Pompeo: Nothing significant to report.

Of Note: Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Andrea Thompson is on travel to Iceland, Estonia, and Poland, and will return after a trip to Jordan on 08 November. The trip to Europe comes during the Trident Juncture military exercise in Norway.


Defense Department

Defense Secretary Mattis is scheduled to welcome the Republic of Korea (South Korea) defense minister to the 50th U.S.-ROK Security Consultative Meeting.

 

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 being underway in the Pacific Ocean.

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 eastern Pacific as it begins its shift to a new homeport in Norfolk.

The Harry Truman (CVN-75) was last reported as being in the Norwegian Sea. The carrier strike group is participating in the Trident Juncture 2018 exercise in Norway.

*The Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) was last reported as taking part in joint U.S.-Japan military exercise Keen Sword off the coast of Okinawa, Japan.

The George H. W. Bush (CVN-77) was last reported as having returned to port in Norfolk.

* Indicates changes to last reported location or other amplifying information.


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

The latest data shows the Conference Board Consumer Confidence index hit an 18-year record high as “jobs plentiful” sentiment increases and “jobs hard to get” sentiment decreases.

Some days ago, I wrote of one indicator of a housing bubble. New data from the St. Louis Federal Reserve shows that, as in the lead up to the 2008 housing bubble, the Case-Shiller National Home Price Index has a major upward divergence against average hourly earnings. Is the housing bubble re-inflating?

A decade of low interest rates is ending, and U.S. companies are now raising prices based on inflation expectations. Tariff costs may also have something to do with rising prices. Coca-Cola announced this week that they had raised product prices. Mondelez, maker of Oreo cookies and Ritz crackers, say they’ll raise prices next year. The Wall Street Journal reports: “JetBlue, United Technologies, Unilever, Procter & Gamble and UPS have all signaled they plan to raise prices. And that list barely scratches the surface.” [source]


Weather

HurricaneWatch: The National Hurricane Center reports that Hurricane Oscar, now east/northeast of Bermuda, is expected to continue its northeasterly course. About 30 days remain in “hurricane season,” which ends on 30 November. [source]

The latest drought map will appear each Thursday.


What I’m Looking at this Morning

Navy expects to transit Taiwan Strait again, and soon

Denmark claims to have foiled an Iranian assassination plot

Boston mobster Whitey Bulger dead in prison, likely murdered

Maryland National Guard makes history with all-female command staff


Notable Quotable

“I can’t recall any time so many companies say they need to raise prices and to this degree. All they talk about is raising prices, raising prices.” – Retail analyst Scott Mushkin

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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