TCG Weekly Digest – November 6th, 2015


Week ending November 6, 2015

Weekly roundup about our democracy and The Common Good community

  • Flight recorders point to bomb attack; Russia suspends Egypt flights

  • Obama rejects Keystone XL pipeline

  • Rubio gains in the polls, donations, becomes a target for rivals

  • Yellen suggests December Fed rate hike more likely

  • Turkey’s Erdogan holds onto power amid regional crises


Bush free falling in new Quinnipiac national poll: Trump 24%, Carson 23%, Rubio 14%, Cruz 13%, Bush 4%. “In… September,… Bush earned 10%… [This week] in terms of favorability, no one polled lower than Bush. Just 25%… said they had a positive opinion of him, while 58% said they had a negative one.” Nick Gass, Politico [More] Quinnipiac [Poll]

New Hampshire: Hillary Clinton leads 48% to 45%  over Bernie Sanders:  Sanders retains his sizable advantage among registered independents and new voters, men, and younger voters. Clinton has made significant gains in the past two months with registered Democrats, women, and older voters.” Monmouth University [Poll]

2016 Presidential Campaign

Rubio rises, becomes a target for GOP rivals: Sensing a threat, Trump and Bush sense attack Rubio’s finances and missed votes.  Jenna Johnson and Sean Sullivan, Washington Post [More]

Red States getting redder? Off-year elections reveal a 2016 map with sharper borders: “As the parties head into a new presidential year, the country’s partisan divide has deepened. Republicans walked away from Tuesday with the big wins. Democrats walked away with fresh confidence that their map can win a third presidential election in a row.” David Weigel, Washington Post [More]

Paul Singer declares his support for Marco Rubio:.Singer raised more than $3 million in hard money for Romney in 2012 (primary and general) and plans to do much more for Rubio.  Mike Allen, Politico [More]

Backlash to culture wars? Houston voters reject anti-discrimination ordinance:  “A yearlong battle over gay and transgender rights that turned into a costly, ugly war of words between this city’s lesbian mayor and social conservatives ended Tuesday as voters easily repealed an anti-discrimination ordinance…The measure failed by a vote of 61% to 39%.” Manny Fernandez and Mitch Smith, New York Times [More]

GOP win in Kentucky sets up unprecedented Affordable Care Act fight: “In polls, Kentucky voters rejected Obamacare at roughly the rate they rejected the president, 2-1. But they were fond of KYnect, which [Governor] Beshear created by executive order, bypassing a gridlocked Kentucky legislature. Month by month, Kentuckians took advantage of the state’s Medicaid expansion or the plans offered on the exchange, and the state’s uninsured rate plummeted from 20.4 percent to 9 percent.” David Weigel, Washington Post [More]

The decline of the swing voter: According to new research by political scientist Corwin Smidt, ”The percentage of floating voters has declined from a high of 15% to 5 %.  Meanwhile, the consistent partisans… have become more prevalent…One implication, is that American voters should be less responsive to election-year forces, like shifts in the economy or other important events. Another is that politicians have less incentive to appeal to swing voters and more incentive to appeal to their loyal supporters.”  John Sides, Washington Post [More]

The Economy

Fed’s Yellen hints at raised interest rates in December: “The Fed expects that the economy will continue to grow at a pace sufficient to generate further improvements in the labor market and to return inflation to our 2% target over the medium term, and if the incoming information supports that expectation, then…’December would be a live possibility’,” Janet Yellen, Chair of the Fed.” Ben Leubsdorf, Wall Street Journal [More]

Kenneth Rogoff (TCG Speaker) argues for waiting on Fed hike: “Personally, I would probably err on the side of waiting longer and accept the very high risk that, when inflation does rise, it will do so briskly, requiring a steeper path of interest-rate hikes later. The case for waiting is that we really have no idea of what the equilibrium real (inflation-adjusted) policy interest rate is right now, and as such, need a clear signal on price growth before moving.” Kenneth Rogoff, Op-Ed, Project Syndicate [More]

Stronger-than-expected jobs report: The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that nonfarm payrolls rose by a seasonally adjusted 271,000 jobs in October. It was well ahead of expectations of 183,000 jobs added. Wall Street Journal [More]

“How’s the economy doing?” is not the right question: “We’ve got two economic problems: slack and distribution…If the private sector won’t generate the economic activity we need, the public sector must pick up the slack, as it were. Infrastructure investment in our deteriorating stock of public goods, direct job creation in places where jobs are nowhere to be seen even at low unemployment, quality pre-K for all 3-4 year-olds— all are great investment targets that I suspect would lower slack, raise the speed limit and improve distributional outcomes…None will happen because of political constraints.” Jared Bernstein, Op-Ed, Washington Post [More]

Foreign Affairs and National Security

Russian plane crash result of a bomb; Putin suspends flights to Egypt: “President Vladimir Putin made the announcement after UK investigators said they believed a bomb was put in the plane’s hold prior to take-off, killing all 224 people on board… Militants linked to the Islamic State group say they downed the plane.” BBC News [More]

John Kerry seeks to check Russia’s influence in Central Asia: “Secretary of State John Kerry, (TCG Speaker) is seeking to boost trade and security ties with countries at risk of falling further under the sway of the Kremlin. Russian President Vladimir Putin has increasingly sought to rally the former Soviet states of the region behind a Moscow push to fight the Islamic State and other Islamist militant groups that are spreading their influence across the Middle East and Central Asia. Mr. Kerry stressed that these countries didn’t need to fall into a Russian bloc in order to fight the shared threat of the Islamic State.” Jay Solomon, Wall Street Journal [More]

Despite new impetus, differences thwart Israeli-Palestinian peace effort:  “[Recent] violence…has created a new impetus to revive a political process between the two sides…but there is no international agreement on what approach to adopt…New Zealand is circulating a draft resolution that backs having a period of confidence-building efforts to improve the situation but also seeks more politically challenging moves such as an Israeli settlement freeze and a Palestinian commitment to steer clear of new cases at the International Criminal Court. Rory Jones and Laurence Norman, Wall Street Journal [More]

Erdogan wins election in Turkey: The victory will ensure his continued dominance of Turkish politics after months of political turmoil and violence. “The result will permit Mr. Erdogan to remain the country’s pre-eminent political figure while pushing the boundaries of the constitutional limits of the presidency, a largely ceremonial role.” Tim Arango and Ceylan Yeginsun, New York Times [More]  

Obama finalizing plan to close Guantanamo: “A political impasse over the Guantánamo prison appears increasingly likely to force [President Obama] to choose between two politically unsavory options: Invoke executive power to relocate the remaining detainees in defiance of a statute, or allow history to say he never fulfilled his promise to shutter the prison.” Charlie Savage, New York Times [More]
World’s mass migration crisis may get worse: “There are more displaced people and refugees now than at any other time in recorded history — 60 million in all…The most striking thing about the current migration crisis, however, is how much bigger it could still get.” Rod Nordland, New York Times [More]  

Transitional leadership and political solution needed for Syria: “What Syria needs is a broad-based transitional coalition government which maintains institutions – learning from missteps in Iraq- and takes more measured, gradual steps towards democratic change – learning from missteps in Egypt. Stability and security in Syria are in the United States’ national interest…Removing Bashar al-Assad and installing Rifaat al-Assad (TCG Speaker) as interim president…provides the best circumstances for achieving this outcome.” David Avital (TCG Member) and Marc Engberg, Op-Ed, American Diplomacy [More]

How the Syrian conflict could get even bigger and bloodier: Is Syria turning into a proxy war? “President Obama is sending fewer than 50 Special Operations forces to Syria, but make no mistake, this is a significant commitment. The U.S. troops will need air support — not just to bomb the Islamic State, but for resupply, rescue if they get in trouble, and perhaps to enable the cycle of intelligence-driven “night raids” that was so devastating in Iraq. David Ignatius, Op-Ed, Washington Post [More]

American airstrikes targeted what was “probably the largest” al-Qaeda training camp found in the 14-year Afghan war:  The multi-day operation in southern Afghanistan involved  200 Special Operations forces and scores of airstrikes…Some 160 al-Qaeda fighters were reported killed.” Dan Lamothe, Washington Post [More]

New data shows China burns more coal than reported, complicating climate talks: “China, the world’s leading emitter of greenhouse gases from coal, has been burning up to 17% more coal a year than the government previously disclosed… Even for a country of China’s size, the scale of the correction is immense.” Chris Buckley, New York Times [More]

Leaders of China and Taiwan scheduled to meet for the first time: The formulation reflects China’s insistence that Taiwan and the mainland are part of a single Chinese nation, but it also affords both leaders equal status, possibly an attempt to blunt criticism in Taiwan that Ma Ying-jeou is pandering to China.” Simon Denyer, Washington Post [More]

Domestic Affairs

Obama rejects Keystone XL pipeline: “‘Keystone has had an “over-inflated role in our political discourse’ and the project’s potential to create jobs and the potential environmental threats were exaggerated. Secretary of State John Kerry concluded the controversial project is not in the country’s national security interest.” Elise Labott and Dan Berman, CNN [More]

Ryan says he won’t work with Obama on immigration reform: The new Speaker of the House’s statement effectively pushed the issue off until at least 2017. Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, described the speaker’s stance as “a source of deep disappointment.” Nicholas Fando, New York Times [More]

The House passes $325 billion transportation bill: The debate tested new Speaker Paul Ryan’s promise for a more egalitarian and participatory legislative process in the House. “The bill calls for spending $261 billion on highways and $55 billion on transit over six years.” Keith Lang, The Hill [More]

Bill Gates on the private sector’s role in combatting climate change: Gates expressed his willingness to pledge $2 billion to further climate change efforts, and encouraged other figures of wealth to do the same. Gates said:  “Yes, the government will be somewhat inept… But the private sector is in general inept. How many companies do venture capitalists invest in that go poorly? By far most of them.” James Bennet, The Atlantic [More]


Ben Bernanke: The Courage to Act: A Memoir of a Crisis and its Aftermath: Bernanke’s memoir of the crisis and Great Recession is “essential reading” according to the New York Times

Jon Meacham (TCG speaker): “Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush.”  ”Bush has finally broken his public silence … issuing scathing critiques of Vice President Dick Cheney (TCG Speaker) and Defense Secretary Donald H. RumsfeldPeter Baker, New York Times [More]

Truth: The doc depicts the 60 Minutes’ 2004 investigation into President George W. Bush’s service record in the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War. Jeff Labrecque, Entertainment Weekly  [More]

 Archive of Past Digests

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