The Common Good Weekly Digest

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Week ending August 21, 2015


Weekly roundup about our democracy and The Common Good community


Polls

Rubio leads Clinton in key swing states:

Florida: Rubio 51, Clinton 39. Rubio up by 12

Ohio: Rubio 42, Clinton 40. Rubio up by 2

Pennsylvania: Rubio 47, Clinton 40. Rubio up by 7

(Quinnipiac, 8/20/15)

President Obama job approval is negative:

Approve 45, Disapprove 50.

(Gallup, 8/19/15)



2016 Presidential Campaigns


Is Rubio the one Dems should fear? Rubio bests Clinton in swing states:  “Senator Marco Rubio of Florida could be the toughest Republican challenger for Hillary Rodham Clinton in three crucial swing states if the two were to face off in the general election, a new poll from Quinnipiac University has found. In a survey of voters in Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania, Mr. Rubio beats Mrs. Clinton in a general election matchup by the widest margins of any Republican presidential candidate.” Alan Rappeport, New York Times [More]


Can Google determine the election?: “America’s next president could be eased into office not just by TV ads or speeches, but by Google’s secret decisions, and no one—except for me and perhaps a few other obscure researchers—would know how this was accomplished. Research I have been directing in recent years suggests that Google, Inc., has amassed far more power to control elections—indeed, to control a wide variety of opinions and beliefs—than any company in history has ever had.Robert Epstein, Politico [More]


Mr. Trump is not going away:  “With the issue of illegal immigration as his energy source, Mr. Trump has not only survived any fallout from the Fox News debate, he has thrived. So Republicans are increasingly forced to find ways to respond, either by acting more like him (such as Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas), or by acknowledging his power but respectfully disagreeing, like Gov. John R. Kasich of Ohio. Then there’s Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor who has seen his poll numbers fall since the debate, and who in the last two days has tried challenging Mr. Trump head on. Mr. Trump’s emphasis on immigration also took a violent turn in the last two days, as two men were charged in an attack on a homeless Hispanic man in Boston. One of the accused is reported to have cited Mr. Trump’s views as an inspiration. Mr. Trump responded by calling his supporters “passionate,” but he did not denounce the act.” Maggie Haberman, The New York Times [More]


Ted Cruz’s plan to win back the anti-establishment vote: “The Texas senator has deployed a strategy to unseat Trump as the outsider of choice. “Ted Cruz has quietly embarked on a strategy designed to reclaim the mantle of the anti-establishment presidential candidate, methodically scoring endorsements, locking down the support of hardliner activists and creating an extensive grassroots network, even as Donald Trump keeps a firm grip on the title for now.” Katie Glueck, Politico  [More]



The Economy


Stocks plunge as fear and uncertainty in the marketplace continues:  On Friday, the Dow fell 530 points to 16,459, and the S&P 500 fell 3.2% to 1970.89—a brutal finish to the worst week in the market in four years. “U.S. stocks extended this week’s sharp losses with a renewed selloff on Friday as worries about global growth, fueled by carnage in China’s stock market persists… a week after Beijing’s surprise move to devalue China’s currency… ‘We are seeing a lot of fear on Wall Street, but at the same time, investors are not running to Treasuries and gold. The stock market has been vulnerable for some time and I would not be surprised to see a 10%-15% correction this year,’ said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist & Economist at Wells Capital Management.” Anora Mahmudova and Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch [More]


Emerging market weakness spreading shock waves: “Allianz Chief Economic Adviser Mohamed El-Erian gave a gloomy outlook for global markets: ‘What we’re seeing is a classic overshoot that starts in the emerging markets world and it starts spreading,’ he told CNBC’s ‘Squawk on the Street’. El-Erian noted the outflows of funds hits emerging markets the hardest first, with the capacity to send shock waves to other markets ‘and at the end is the equity market in the U.S.” Zack Guzman, CNBC [More]


The White House and presidential candidates are ignoring economic distress:More than a year remains before Americans go to the polls to choose a new president. For now, froth is dominating the campaigns; voters deserve a serious, sustained discussion of how the candidates intend to improve their lives by addressing economic problems that have been neglected for too long.” Mortimer Zuckerman (TCG Speaker),Wall Street Journal [More]


Cheap oil and global disruption: “While we have been watching the Islamic State and discussing Iran, something much bigger is happening in the world. We are witnessing a historic fall in the price of oil, down more than 50 percent in less than a year…Supply is up substantially because a decade of high oil prices encouraged producers throughout the world to invest vast amounts of money in finding new sources. A primary reason for the accelerated price decline is that Saudi Arabia, the world’s ‘swing supplier’ — the one that can most easily increase or decrease production — has decided to keep pumping…Major oil-producing countries everywhere are facing a fiscal reckoning like nothing they have seen in decades, perhaps ever.” Fareed Zakaria, The Washington Post  [More]


Why haven’t tech advances increased productivity and growth? The mystery of productivity: “In a corner of the data world — productivity — the picture looks so baffling it is hard to see how anyone could depend on those numbers. And while this data fog has not yet attracted much public debate, the mystery could complicate the Fed’s policy challenge — not least because it makes it hard to tell how fast the economy can grow before it needs more rate hikes.” Tett cites Alan Blinder, former Vice Chair of the Fed (TCG Speaker), and MIT economist Andrew McAfee and Gillian Tett (TCG Speaker), Financial Times [More]


Foreign Relations and National Security

Biggest migration crisis since the end of WWII:Europe’s migration crisis took on new dimensions Thursday as at least three countries announced added security measures to address the biggest movement of refugees and migrants seen here since the aftermath of World War II. The sheer numbers of migrants are now clogging critical choke points across Europe. In July alone, 107,500 migrants entered the 28-nation European Union,  according to Frontex, the bloc’s border management agency. That was more than three times the number in the same month last year.”  Alison Smale and Stephen Castle, New York Times  [More]


Another election for Greece: “Greece’s prime minister Alexis Tsipras resigns, calls snap elections, to shore up support in a bid to combat dissent within his own party. “The decision injected fresh uncertainty into Greece’s turbulent economics. The nation last month narrowly escaped being cast out of the euro currency zone and instead took on a new round of austerity in exchange for its third bailout in five years. Tsipras aims to win a renewed mandate for his firebrand populism, but he has faced a rebellion inside his own Syriza political party.”  Michael Birnbaum, Washington Post [More]


Learning from the US failure in Syria last month:The United States’ botched effort last month to support a Syrian moderate rebel group known as Division 30 was a chain of errors that recalls, in a small way, the 1961 Bay of Pigs fiasco. The Division 30 debacle has some clear and disturbing lessons: The rebels weren’t well prepared for their mission, and they had poor intelligence about potential adversaries inside Syria. The United States was too dependent on Turkey, and it didn’t have clear plans about how to respond if the rebels were attacked; although the United States eventually provided air support, it was too late to do much good.”  David Ignatius, Washington Post [More]


Apocalypse theology has led ISIS to out-terrorize Bin Laden:  “The U.S. invasion of Iraq and the stupendous violence that followed dramatically increased the Sunni public’s appetite for apocalyptic explanations of a world turned upside down. A spate of bestsellers put the United States at the center of the End-Times drama, a new ‘Rome’ careering throughout the region in a murderous stampede to prevent violence on its own shores. The Iraq war … changed apocalyptic discourse in the global jihadist movement.”  William McCants, Politico [More]


Cyber attacks on the IRS worse than thought:The Internal Revenue Service says identity thieves may have attacked thousands more taxpayer accounts than the agency thought when a review was done in May. The IRS said Monday a new review identified an additional 220,000 attempts where individuals “with taxpayer-specific sensitive data” cleared the Get Transcript verification process, meaning hackers accessed information.” Carla Caldwell, Atlanta Business Chronicle [More]


World’s biggest human rights group votes to legalize prostitution: “Amnesty International now joins the United Nations, Human Rights Watch, the World Health Organization and other global groups that argue the best way to protect the safety of people who sell sex is to legalize the industry.” Corinne Purtill, USA Today [More]


More from the TCG Community

Homage to Julian Bond: “The fight for voting rights was always a key cause for Julian Bond over his distinguished life: In 1965, as communications director for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Bond coordinated the group’s media response from Atlanta after SNCC Chairman John Lewis nearly died marching for voting rights on Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama. Bond made sure the country knew about the atrocities in Selma and finally did something about it. Later that year, Bond won election to the Georgia House of Representatives, at twenty-five, illustrating the power of the new Voting Rights Act (VRA). After the legislature refused to seat him, for saying he agreed with a SNCC letter denouncing the Vietnam War, Bond appealed to the Supreme Court and won two more elections before the Court unanimously ruled that Bond deserved his seat.”  Ari Berman (Upcoming TCG Speaker), The Nation [More]

Sen. Klobuchar’s autobiography inspires citizens to run for office: “In “The Senator Next Door,” an autobiography [Amy] Klobuchar (TCG Speaker) penned without a ghost writer, she writes about her trajectory from a middle-class Plymouth upbringing to the U.S. Senate, with stops along the way at Yale University and the Hennepin County attorney’s office. The daughter of a schoolteacher and a newspaperman, she talks about her father  - longtime Star Tribune columnist Jim Klobuchar – and his struggle with relationships, alcoholism and recovery, and her mother’s decision to return to the workforce after she found herself single and raising two kids. Klobuchar declined to say what her ambitions are beyond the Senate — though politicians often write books when there are plans to do something else.” Allison Terry, StarTribune [More]


Archive of Past Digests


TCG Weekly Digest – August 15th, 2015


TCG Weekly Digest – August 7th, 2015


TCG Weekly Digest – July 30th, 2015


TCG Weekly Digest – July 24th, 2015


 

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