TCG Weekly Digest – January 8th, 2015


Week ending January 8, 2015

Weekly roundup about our democracy and The Common Good community

The Economy

China stocks recover from plunge as nerves settle: “Chinese stocks rose and the yuan strengthened Friday, a respite from the early-year meltdown that wiped as much as $1.1 trillion from mainland markets, after authorities overnight removed a mechanism blamed for triggering more volatility.” Chao Deng and Robb M. Stewart, MarketWatch [More]

Volatility in US market leads to fall on Friday afternoon: “The Dow dropped 167.65, or 1%, to 16346.45 on Friday, leaving it down 6.2% for the week in its worst-ever five-day start to a year. Corrie Driebusch, Wall Street Journal [More]

US added 292,000 jobs in December; jobless rate held at 5%: “The new data provides the first complete measuring stick for the labor market in 2015, a year in which the nation contended with volatile oil prices, a major slowdown in China and modest growth at home.” Chico Harlan, Washington Post [More]

The Fed still set to raise interest rates 4 times this year: John Williams, president of the San Francisco Fed, expects the economy to grow around 2 to 2.25% this year as stock market gyrations in China have not affected his view of the US economy. However, he is watching developments in foreign economies and in the US dollar. Ann Saphir, Reuters [More]

2016 Campaign

Cruz’s strategy – “psychographic targeting“: Cruz is dispatching a data analytics firm to reach millions of potential supporters, through data gathered mostly from Facebook without their knowledge. Through “psychographic targeting,” his team is trying to locate possible Cruz voters based on five personality traits: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.” A.B. Stoddard, The Hill [More]

As Cruz surges in Iowa, he is targeted by other GOP candidates: “Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum are trying to define Cruz as a divisive phony and some of the attacks have resonated with many socially conservative voters… [Marco] Rubio is [also] targeting Cruz in an effort to prevail among the establishment candidates.” James Hohmann, Washington Post [More]

Bill Clinton campaigns in Iowa, brushes off Trump criticism: Clinton brushes off Trump attacks on Hillary as “enabler” in infidelities. Julie Pace,  Boston Globe [More]

Trump reaching more than just undereducated, angry white men: A Politico review shows Trump now has a coalition that begins with conservative, blue-collar men and “now extends to pro-choice Republicans, independents and even registered Democrats unnerved, primarily, by illegal immigration. Scott Bland, Op-Ed, Politico [More]

Charles Koch knocks down positions of Trump and Cruz:Koch bemoaned the state of the field of Republican candidates seeking the nomination and suggested that big money was losing its influence in politics.” Alan Rappeport, New York Times [More]

Foreign Affairs/National Security

In the wake of North Korea’s nuclear test, House set to approve new economic sanctions: New unilateral sanctions may not significantly change the North Korean strategic position, but “there is some thought that the most recent test…could prompt China, North Korea’s most important trading partner and ally, to join in a crackdown.” Mike DeBonis, Washington Post [More]

Obama administration plans shake-up in propaganda war against the ISIS:  Officials will create a new counter-terrorism task force…Other moves include revamping a State Department program that was created to serve as an information war room to challenge the Islamic State online and erode its appeal.” Greg Miller and Karen DeYoung, Washington Post [More]

“El Chapo” recaptured in western Mexico: Joshua Partlow and Elahe Izadi, Washington Post [More]

Outrage is growing in Germany over the reported sexual harassment of and assaults on women in the city of Cologne on New Year’s Eve [by]…as many as 1,000 men of “Arab or North African” background.” Krishnadev Calamur, The Atlantic [More]

Is the Saudi-Iran feud all about Sunni-Shia divide? News of Saudi Arabia’s execution of the Shia leader Nimr al-Nimr, and the diplomatic clashes with Iran that followed, has often been accompanied by an explanation that…the schism between Sunni and Shia Islam is expressed today in part through the rivalry between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shia Iran…Now does that mean it’s all about these two rival sects of Islam? I think a lot of this is about governance, it’s about access to economic resources, it’s about the center and the periphery, it’s about class.” Uri Friedman, Op-Ed, The Atlantic [More]

Iranian mob sacks Saudi Embassy in Tehran following executing in Saudi Arabia of Shia cleric.  Iran accuses Saudi Arabia of attack on embassy in Yemen: Iran accused Saudi Arabia of targeting an aerial attack on its embassy in Yemen, escalating a conflict between the rivals that has put the region on edge, although witnesses said the building was not damaged.  The attack, on Wednesday night, was said to have occurred as the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen carried out its heaviest airstrikes in months over Sana. Thomas Erdbrink, New York Times [More]

Domestic Affairs

Obama vetoes measure to repeal most of Obamacare: “The veto ends, for now, any chance that the 2010 Affordable Care Act will be undone during Obama’s presidency.” Toluse Olorunnipa, Bloomberg [More]

Oregon governor and sheriff asks armed group occupying Oregon wildlife refuge to leave: Rancher Ammon Bundy, leader of the occupying group, was asked to leave.” Mark Berman and Carissa Wolf, Washington Post [More]

The arrest of a Syrian refugee in Texas with alleged ties to ISIS has renewed concerns over the US refugee program:  Syria and other countries with territory controlled by terrorists are of particular concern. Yahoo News [More]

Americans supportive but skeptical of Obama’s executive actions on gun control: New CNN/ORC poll shows that 67%  in favor; 32% oppose executive actions to expand background checks on gun purchases made online or at gun shows and to make it easier for the FBI to complete background checks efficiently. But almost 6 in 10 say these measures will not be effective in reducing gun-related deaths. Jennifer Agiesta, CNN [More]

Obama won’t support candidates against new gun safety measures: “I will not campaign for, vote for or support any candidate, even in my own party, who does not support common-sense gun reform.” President Barack Obama, New York Times [More]

We can no longer wait for a Congress in the gun lobby’s grip to act: Mark Kelly (TCG Speaker), astronaut and husband of  Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot 5 years ago today, weighs in on why he supports Obama’s executive orders. CNN [More]

Obama’s domestic policy legacy and the changes he made while nobody was paying attention: “What he’s done is changing the way we produce and consume energy, the way doctors and hospitals treat us, the academic standards in our schools and the long-term fiscal trajectory of the nation.” From Politico’s “The Obama Issue.” Michael Grunwald, Politico [More]

US posts its 2nd hottest year on record: “The annual average temperature in the contiguous United States last year was 54.4 degrees Fahrenheit, a temperature that is 2.4 degrees above the average in the last century.” Andrew Restuccia, Politico [More]

More from the TCG Community

Congratulations to Rep. John Lewis (TCG Awardee), who had a U.S. Navy ship named after him this week. The USNS John Lewis is the first of the next generation of ships of its kind – fleet replenishment oilers. Sec. of the Navy Ray Mabus remarked at the ceremony, “Naming this ship after John Lewis is a fitting tribute to a man who has, from his youth, been at the forefront of progressive social and human rights movements in the U.S., directly shaping both the past and future of our nation.” Mashaun D. Simon, NBC [More]

Notable Books

A Just and Generous Nation: Abraham Lincoln and the Fight for American Opportunity by Harold Holzer and Norton Garfinkle (TCG Speaker). Part historical argument, part political and economic survey, Holzer and Garfinkle aim to show that Lincoln fought the Civil War “in pursuit of economic opportunity for the widest possible circle of hardworking Americans.” Andrew Delbanco, New York Times [More]