TCG Weekly Digest – November 25th, 2015


Week ending November 25, 2015

Weekly roundup about our democracy and The Common Good community

All of us at The Common Good wish you and yours and a very HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

  • Turkey shoots down a Russian jet fighter: Obama, Putin Erdogan and NATO respond

  • Obama and France’s Hollande hold joint press conference, vow to ramp up efforts against ISIS

  • Kerry claims Syrian refugees are thoroughly vetted

  • See where the candidates stand on the US taking in Syrian refugees

  • Cruz pulls even with Trump in Iowa

Foreign Affairs/National Security

Russian warplane downed by Turkish fighter jets near Syrian border; one pilot shot and killed by rebel fighters in Syria; the other rescued by Russians: Turkey said the Russians had ignored numerous warnings and violated its airspace, in a long-feared escalation that will further strain relations between the NATO member country and Russia.” Ceylan Yeginsu and Neil MacFarquhar, New York Times[More]

NATO: “We stand in solidarity with Turkey.” Julian E. Barnes, Wall Street Journal [More]  

Erdogan: Turkey’s right to protect its borders must be respected: “Nobody should doubt that we made our best efforts to avoid this latest incident… [O]nly Turkey’s ‘cool-headedness’ had prevented worse incidents in the past.” Tulay Karadeniz and Maria Kiselyova, Reuters[More]

Obama and Hollande in joint press conference: Both agreed that Russia could play a more constructive role in Syria. Obama said Russia should shift its airstrikes strategy to target ISIS militants rather than Syria’s moderate opposition. They also agreed that Russia should support a ceasefire in Syria that would make for a government transition away from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Rebecca Shabad, CBS News[More]

ISIS behind new deadly attack in Tunisia:  A bus carrying presidential guards in the Tunisian capital Tunis, was bombed, killing 13; Libyan border with Tunisia closed: BBC News  [More]

U.S. and France started aerial bombings this week against ISIS in Libya for the first time. Jason Pack and Andrea Brody-Barre of Newsweek explain why this is won’t work without bottom-up support from Libyans, and why working towards a diplomatic solution, like U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is proposing, would be more effective. [More]

Hollande makes the case against ISIS, embarks on a whirlwind tour to ask world leaders to step up military operations against ISIS: He is urging leaders of the UK, the US, Russia, Germany, and Italy to come together in  a “grand and single coalition” that transcends political disagreements.” Marina Koren,the Atlantic[More]

An unexpected double-focus at Paris climate talks: “Now, counterterrorism is on the agenda. Mr. Hollande…said he could not have imagined the climate summit would be taking place against this backdrop of terror. ‘At the same time, I think there cannot be any better symbol or response but to hold the conference in Paris where the attacks took place,’ he said.” Colleen McCain Nelson, Wall Street Journal [More]

Secretary John Kerry details tough screening procedures for Syrian refugees: including the type of refugees who receive priority — families, victims of torture, and children — and the multiple screening steps refugees must pass. ‘It is the most robust screening process for any category of individuals seeking admissions into the United States.”  Tracy Jan,Boston Globe [More]

New attacker identified as Mohamed Abrini as one of the Paris attackers still at large- and why weren’t some of them picked up before the attack?: “As many as 6 of the assailants were Europeans who had traveled to Syria. 7 died during the attacks and 8 were arrested. Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a Belgian militant and suspected chief organizer of the attacks, died in a police raid in a Paris suburb early Wednesday. Mr. Abaaoud planned the attacks for 11 months and was involved in at least 4 of 6 terrorist plots foiled in France since the spring.” Salah Abdeslam is still at-large.  New York Times [More]

ISIS fighters often on drug, Captagon: “[The drug] quickly produces a euphoric intensity in users, allowing Syria’s fighters to stay up for days, killing with a numb, reckless abandon.” Peter Holley, Washington Post[More]

Is Saudi Arabia doing enough in the fight against the Islamic State? And is it enough? Adam Taylor of the Washington Post explains why Saudi Arabia’s military involvement against ISIS is disappointing Western nations. He also details the tracks and trends of Saudi on the terrorist group. [More]

If you missed this article from the March issue of the Atlantic, it is still highly relevant and important. In What ISIS Really Wants, Graeme Wood uncovers the origins, motivations, and misconceptions surrounding ISIS. [More]

The Economy

Treasury Dept resists changes in Dodd-Frank: “…The Obama administration signaled on Tuesday that it would push back hard against any legislation that substantially loosens the sweeping 2010 overhaul of the financial system. Republicans in Congress are backing legislation that would soften certain parts of the reforms… They are now seeking to insert the changes into a spending bill that has to be passed by Dec. 11 to avoid a government shutdown.” Peter Eavis, New York Times [More]

Good day for U.S. Stocks: Wednesday, the last full trading day of the week, saw U.S. stock indexes rise due to consumer discretionary and health-care shares, which were both up 0.6%. “’The data is relatively mixed,’ said Krishna Memani, chief investment officer at OppenheimerFunds. ‘I think people are happy that they have a job, but they are not happy enough or secure enough to go out and spend a lot.’” Saumya Vaishampayan and Julie Wernau, Wall Street Journal [More]

Black Friday in flux due to changing consumer behavior: “…The relentless race for holiday dollars has blunted the day’s oomph, as stores offer deep discounts weeks before Thanksgiving and year-round deals in stores and online are breeding sales fatigue… The decline of Black Friday… points to a shift in the way consumers spend their money. ‘They’re online,’ John J. Canally, chief economic strategist at LPL Research said. ‘And they’re spending more on experiences. A day at the spa, a baseball game, the ballet — rather than a sweater or a pair of socks that no one wants.’ As a result, retailers rang up $51 billion on the day after Thanksgiving last year, down from a peak of almost $60 billion in 2012…” Hiroko Tabuchi and Nelson D. Schwartz, New York Times [More]


IOWA: Cruz up, Carson lower in Quinnipiac poll: Ted Cruz has surged to a virtual tie with Donald Trump in Iowa. Trump 25%; Cruz 23%. Cruz more than doubled his support in the same poll from October, when he earned just 10%. Ben Carson, dropped from first to third, falling 10 points to 18 percent. Marco Rubio is fourth with 13%, while no other candidate registered in the double digits. Politico[More]

IOWA: Not much change for Democrats:Clinton 51%; Sanders 42%;  O’Malley 4%;  3% undecided, “virtually unchanged” from Oct. 23: More in-depth: 68% say Clinton is honest and trustworthy … 89% say Sanders is honest and trustworthy … 85% believe that Clinton has a good chance of defeating the Republican nominee in the general election, while only 54% say the same for Sanders[Poll]

2016 Campaign

Split in Presidential field on how to combat terrorism: “[Several]—including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio—want to keep alive a controversial data-collection program run by the National Security Agency that Congress effectively ended this year… Two long shots—South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum—have called for sending 10,000 or more troops to the region to battle Islamic State directly… [Hillary] Clinton also sides with many of her would-be Republican rivals in calling for a no-fly zone over Syria and a safe zone inside the country for refugees fleeing the conflict. [Rand] Paul is the only Republican to outright oppose a no-fly zone, arguing it would create the potential for a confrontation between the U.S. and Russia.” Patrick O’ Connor, Wall Street Journal[More]

How to take down Trump: The goal of convincing a Republican primary electorate that Trump is personally unequal to the job of president is unlikely to succeed… if you want to take down Trump, there is only one line of attack that will work… The task for Trump’s Republican rivals is to convince [his] followers that this supposed anti-politician is using typical politician’s tricks. David Frum, The Atlantic [More]

Security fears reshape 2016 field: Trump is proving the effectiveness of using demagoguery to mask other deficiencies…True ignorance, it turns out, can be damaging. Ben Carson … is slipping after struggling to demonstrate any fluency on foreign policy issues. But Donald Trump[’s] ‘bomb the s**t out of them’ approach to the Middle East is equally unsophisticated.” Eli StokolsPolitico[More]

Where the candidates stand on Syrian refugees. Javier Zarracina and Dara Lind,Vox[More]

Domestic Affairs

Chicago police officer arrested for murder in shooting on 17 year old; protests mostly peaceful after release of video: The video shows Laquan McDonald, 17, shot and killed by Officer James Van Dyke in Chicago in October 2014. Monica Davey and Mitch Smith, New York Times[More]

Why do poor areas vote for politicians who want to slash the social safety net?: Popular Democratic opinion states that working-class people who vote for Republicans do so against their own interests. However, Alec MacGillis of the New York Times explains that the problem is more about their disconnection from the political process as a whole. [More]

Victory for voting rights in Kentucky: Gov. Steve Beshear issued an executive order that immediately granted the right to vote to about 140,000 nonviolent felons who have completed their sentences. Kentucky had been one of just three states imposing a lifetime voting ban on felons unless they received a special exemption from the governor. Florida and Iowa still carry the lifetime ban. Erik Eckholm, New York Times [More]

Books & Film

Lights Out by Ted Koppel: A cyberattack on the nation’s power sources is likely, and we’re nowhere near ready, warns Ted Koppel.
Chicagonomics, by Lanny Ebenstein: Ebenstein attempts to rescue Adam Smith from his caricature as purely for laissez-faire and unaware of the downside of the “invisible hand,” but also to change the perception of Smith’s modern-day acolytes: the economists who built the so-called Chicago school of economics, chief among them Milton Friedman.

Archive of Past Digests

TCG Weekly Digest – November 20th, 2015

TCG Weekly Digest – November 13th, 2015

TCG Weekly Digest – November 6th, 2015

TCG Weekly Digest – October 30th, 2015

TCG Weekly Digest – October 23rd, 2015

TCG Weekly Digest – October 16th, 2015

TCG Weekly Digest – October 9th, 2015

TCG Weekly Digest – October 2nd, 2015

TCG Weekly Digest – September 25th, 2015

TCG Weekly Digest – September 18th, 2015

TCG Weekly Digest – September 11th, 2015

TCG Weekly Digest – September 4th, 2015

TCG Weekly Digest – August 28th, 2015

TCG Weekly Digest – August 21st, 2015

TCG Weekly Digest – August 15th, 2015

TCG Weekly Digest – August 7th, 2015

TCG Weekly Digest – July 30th, 2015

TCG Weekly Digest – July 24th, 2015