TCG Weekly Digest – October 30th, 2015


Week ending October 30, 2015

Weekly roundup about our democracy and The Common Good community

  • Boots on the ground in Syria with a small US Special Ops deployment there

  • International confab, including US, Russia, Saudi Arabia & Iran, seeks a political solution for Syria

  • Paul Ryan in as Speaker of the House; Congress approves two year deal on the budget

  • Post-debate – rising fortunes for Rubio and Cruz?

  • Get an extra hour of sleep. Set your clocks back Halloween night!


Carson tops Trump:  Carson 26, Trump 22, Rubio 8, Bush 7, Fiorina 7,   Cruz 4, Huckabee 4, Paul 4, Kasich 4  CBS/NY Times Poll [More]

Deep GOP divide on issues from taxes to guns, drifting toward Ben Carson: According to the NYTimes and CBS News poll, “The churn in the field suggests more volatility” ahead. Jonathan Martin and Megan Thee-Brenan, New York Times [More]

Iowa up for Clinton:  Mrs. Clinton was ahead of Mr. Sanders by 41% among likely caucus voters in a Monmouth University poll and by 38% in a Loras College survey. Patrick Healy, New York Times [More]

2016 Presidential Campaign

Post-CNBC debate Rubio, Cruz looking good: ”Though the polls still show Donald Trump and Ben Carson on top, even before Wednesday night, it’s become increasingly common for commentators to theorize that Cruz and Rubio are on the rise — and will end up being the two most formidable contenders for the nomination.” Andrew Prokop, Vox [More]

Jeb Bush campaign in death spiral?: “[T]he defiant candidate tried to reassure panicked supporters he can get off the ground and dust himself off in the wake of his disastrous debate performance. ‘It’s not on life support,’ the former Florida governor told reporters. ‘The end is not near.’ …Matthew Dowd, (TCG Speaker)  the chief strategist for George W.’s 2004 campaign: “Jeb has no reservoir of positive support.” Philip Rucker, Dan Balz (TCG Speaker)  and Ed O’Keefe, Washington Post  [More]

New Republican frontline shaping up?:[Paul] Ryan is the new House speaker and right now [Marco] Rubio is the most likely presidential nominee. The shape of the presidential campaign is coming into focus…Of all the candidates, Rubio has done the most to harvest the work of Reform Conservatism, which has been sweeping through the think tank world. In a year in which many candidates are all marketing, Rubio is a balance of marketing and product. If Ryan and Rubio do emerge as the party’s two leaders, it will be the wonkiest leadership team in our lifetime. That’s a good thing.” David Brooks, Op-Ed, New York Times [More]

Ted Cruz said he raised $1.1 million in the 24 hours after the debate. The campaign also said it has 77,000 volunteers on the ground, with 6,000 in the first four voting states. Katie Zazima, Washington Post [More]

RNC dumps NBC for primary debate: “After the partisan debacle that was CNBC’s Wednesday night Republican presidential debate, Reince Priebus, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, fired off a letter to NBC News announcing that the left-wing network will be booted from participating in the upcoming February 26 debate in Houston, Texas.” John Nolte, Breitbart News [More]

GOP campaigns plot revolt against RNC: “[C]ampaigns are planning to gather in Washington…to plot how to alter their party’s messy debate process – and how to remove power from the hands of the [RNC]… [M]any of the campaigns told POLITICO that…It was time … to begin discussing among themselves how the next debates should be structured and not leave it up to the RNC and television networks.” Alex Isenstadt, Politico [More]

The Economy

Wages ought to go up as the economy improves, pushing inflation up – but it’s not going to according to script: “ Federal Reserve policy makers expect the job market will improve to the point where it starts pushing inflation higher. But there is no sign of this happening yet.” Justin Lahart, Wall Street Journal [More]

US companies to post first decline in earnings and sales since the recession: “From railroads to manufacturers to energy producers, businesses say they are facing a protracted slowdown in production, sales and employment that will spill into next year…Analysts expect the index’s companies to book a 2.8% decline in per-share earnings from last year’s third quarter, according to Thomson Reuters. Sales are on pace to fall 4%—the third straight quarterly decline. The last time sales and profits fell in the same quarter was in the third period of 2009.”  Theo Francis and Kate Linebaugh, Wall Street Journal [More]

The risk of right-wing authoritarian European populism: “The recent victory of the conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party in Poland confirms a recent trend in Europe: the rise of illiberal state capitalism, led by populist right-wing authoritarians..[M]acro and structural economic policies that boost aggregate demand, job creation and growth, reduce income and wealth inequality, provide economic opportunity to the young, and integrate rather than reject refugees and economic migrants will be needed…Failure to act decisively now will lead to the eventual failure of the peaceful, integrated, globalized, supra-national state that is the EU, and the rise of dystopian nationalist regimes.” Nouriel Roubini (TCG Speaker), Project Syndicate [More]

Clinton on Colbert: I would let the big banks fail: ‘If you’re president and the banks are failing, do we let them fail?’ asked Colbert … ‘Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes,’ Clinton said emphatically.” Dan Merica, CNN [More]

Foreign Affairs and National Security

US backs off hardline on Syrian President’s Future: “The Obama administration entered a crucial round of international talks on Syria’s war prepared to accept a deal that leaves President Bashar al-Assad in place for several months or more during the transition to a new government. The U.S. shift on the dictator’s future caps months of backtracking on the most significant obstacle to a resolution of the Syrian conflict. While U.S. officials once argued Mr. Assad couldn’t take part in a political transition, they have gradually eased that stance, eventually signaling he wouldn’t have to step down immediately..” Carol E. Lee (TCG Speaker) and Adam Entous, Wall Street Journal [More]

Iran invited to participate Middle East conference:  (TCG Speaker) Secretary of State John Kerry’s biggest challenge is to try to make peace between Saudi Arabia and Iran, rivals who are using Syria as a proxy war for Mideast dominance:  “The inclusion of Iran in the talks represented the first time that the United States has chosen to formally engage the Iranians diplomatically on the Syria issue. It also came a little more than three months after Iran signed a historic nuclear accord with the United States and other powers that promised to end Iran’s economic isolation in return for limits on its nuclear enrichment, suggesting an effort to broaden the discussion beyond that successful negotiation.” Thomas Erdbrink, Sewell Chan, and David E. Sanger, New York Times [More]

American Mideast allies leaning more toward Russia:Prince Turki al-Faisal, Saudi Arabia’s former ambassador to Washington and former intelligence chief, said as much Friday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. There he gave President Vladimir Putin credit for outmaneuvering the U.S. and said Russia was now in a position to demand attention and respect.” Josh Rogin and Eli Lake, Bloomberg [More]

China ends one-child policy: “From now on, Chinese couples will be allowed to have two kids. Chinese authorities are ‘actively taking steps to counter the aging of the population’, a massive problem for China. The UN projects that the share of the Chinese population over 60 is increasing at…the [fastest rate] in the world.” Zack Beauchamp, Vox [More]

China naval chief says minor incident could spark war in South China Sea: “China’s naval commander told his U.S. counterpart that a minor incident could spark war in the South China Sea if the United States did not stop its “provocative acts” in the disputed waterway, the Chinese navy said on Friday…China has rebuked Washington over the patrol, the most significant U.S. challenge yet to territorial limits China effectively claims around its seven artificial islands in one of the world’s busiest sea lanes.” Ben Blanchard and Andrea Shalal, Reuters [More]

Domestic Affairs

Senate approves two-year bipartisan budget agreement:  “The Senate voted to approve a two-year budget deal that would increase spending limits and avert a damaging default, essentially ending the budgetary battles that have defined President Obama’s relationship with Congress in recent years. The legislation passed by a vote of 64-35 after overcoming objections from conservative senators, including presidential candidates Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas), that forced a rare series of votes at 1 a.m. Obama has until Nov. 3 to sign the agreement before the debt-limit deadline set by the Treasury Department.” Kelsey Snell, Washington Post [More]

Ryan takes gavel with focus on overhauling taxes: The House elected Republican Rep. Paul Ryan as its speaker, catapulting one of its youngest members to the top job in hopes that a policy-oriented fiscal conservative could give the party a fresh start after years of strife.” John D. McKinnon and Siobhan Hughes, Wall Street Journal [More]

SC police deputy fired for his rough handling of teenager girl: “Deputy Ben Fields went too far when he picked up the 16-year-old and hurtled her across a classroom before arresting her, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott told a news conference..A civil rights probe by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department into the arrest is under way and the state law enforcement division also is investigating.” Harriet McLeod, Reuters [More]

US Student national exam scores plummet: “Fourth-graders and eighth-graders across the United States lost ground on national mathematics tests this year, the first declines in scores since the federal government began administering the exams in 1990. … Eighth-grade [reading] scores dropped … fourth-grade performance was stagnant.” Emma Brown, Washington Post  [More]

ObamaCare not signing up enough enrollees:  “Recruitment for 2015 is roughly 70% of the original projection, but ObamaCare will be running at less than half its goal in 2016. HHS believes some 19 million Americans earn too much for Medicaid but qualify for ObamaCare subsidies and haven’t signed up…for every person who’s allowed to join and has, two people haven’t.” Editorial, Wall Street Journal [More]

Books & Film

  Book: My Life on the Road:  (TCG Speaker) Gloria Steinem’s new book “abounds with fresh insights and is as populist as can be… One minute Steinem is writing about stewardesses on the shuttle, the next on women who taught Gandhi. Now she’s railing against Betty Friedan, whose focus on white middle-class feminism Steinem argues damaged the movement.” Rachel Shteir, Boston Globe [More]

  Films worth seeing: Trumbo depicts the human toll on Hollywood’s many writers, directors and actors blacklisted for their political beliefs following hearings before the US House Committee on UnAmerican Activities, with Bryan Cranston as Dalton Trumbo, one of the Hollywood Ten who wrote a number of Oscar-winning films (Roman Holiday, Spartacus) and Helen Mirren as the town accuser-in-chief, Hedda Hopper. Famous stars, studio chiefs and writers of the era are by turns heroes or knaves during this Cold War story of character and courage.

Suffragette, starring Meryl Streep and Carey Mulligan, “tracks the story of the foot soldiers of the early feminist movement, women who were forced underground to pursue a dangerous game of cat and mouse with an increasingly brutal State…Radicalized and turning to violence as the only route to change, they were willing to lose everything in their fight for equality.”

 Archive of Past Digests

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