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AdLib On December - 30 - 2014

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Almost in parallel with Climate Change, the climate of politics and world events seems to be intensified by human events, we see extremes happening more often and more swiftly than in previous years.

Revolutions, independent armies seizing land, marriage equality, established nations invading neighbors, universal healthcare succeeding in the U.S., deadly diseases sweeping nations, oil prices tumbling and American adversaries being hammered, cyber attacks on American soil, on and on.

Things happen quickly and suddenly nowadays, sometimes in an entirely unpredictable way so there’s no knowing for sure but just for the heck of it, here are some outcomes in 2015 to consider:

1. Will the Republican Congress improve, damage or not change the lives of Americans?

Republicans take over the Senate in the new year, they will have control over Congress for the next two years. Some suggest that this will force Republicans to prove that they are worthy of power and that they will pursue a different course than the mindless Party of No mentality they’ve used up until this point in the Obama Presidency.

Others propose that Republicans can’t change their spots and will continue to send highly partisan and certain-to-be-vetoed bills to Obama, trying to serve their base by voting to kill the ACA, consumer protections, etc.

The decisive factors here may be two things, the Tea Party contingent and the 2016 Presidential elections. Since 2015 will be a ramp up to the 2016 primaries and elections, it would be a good bet to say that there will be a great deal of far right posturing to excite and gain the loyalty of core right wing Republicans. Also, the Tea Party has not only pulled the party hard right but have become more and more unhappy about establishment Republicans winning Presidential primaries then losing in the General Election. It was a bitter pill for them to swallow Mitt Romney as their nominee after having McCain the time before, will they go along again with another establishment Republican like Jeb Bush or demand a Tea Party type nominee this time? And will that requirement force Republicans in Congress to veer harder right, alienating women, Latinos and other demographics they would desperately need to have a chance of winning?

In the end, one would have to put the best odds on Republicans pandering more to the extremists in their base and thus taking votes and actions that harm or at best, neglect the mainstream so on this count, my bet would be that with regards to the behavior of Republicans, the lives of average Americans will not be improved in 2015.

2. Will Obamacare be stopped or profoundly damaged?

We know this is a top priority for Republicans, especially as a rallying call to their base but do Republicans really want to be the party that ends universal health care in America? Though that will be among the first bills pushed for passage by the GOP Congress, Obama can and will easily veto such attempts.

But what about the Republicans on the Supreme Court who will have the opportunity to mortally wound the ACA, might they accomplish what Republicans in Congress can’t?

Possibly. The Supreme Court has agreed to take on a case, despite violating precedent (the case never went to appeals which is what is typically required before the SCOTUS will consider taking it), that claims that due to specific wording, unrelated to the intention of the ACA, only state run health insurance exchanges can provide federal subsidies to citizens. Without those subsidies, premiums would skyrocket and most of the 10 million who have health insurance now but didn’t before, could be thrown back out on the street without health insurance.

Would Chief Justice John Roberts want to go down in history with such a stain on his court? A court responsible for decreeing the misery, suffering and deaths of many Americans all in pursuit of a political, anti-citizen/pro-wealthy agenda? It’s hard to believe that he would or that he could rationalize that he’d be able to explain how such a heinous act by a branch of the people’s government could be justified.

While it is something that could happen, my bet on this is that the SCOTUS will hopefully fall short of a majority vote in favor of harming millions of Americans over taking too literally a brief phrase in the ACA that is contradicted by the intent of Congress in passing the bill. So, my bet here is that Americans will be better off when it comes to health care in 2015.

3. Will rampant and institutionalized racism in police forces be reversed?

It’s easy to feel helpless against the persistent racism embedded in many police forces and government. It seems apparent at this point that instead of evaporating over the years as many of us had thought, racism had simply settled intact under the surface of society.

The openly expressed racism that burst out of the reservoirs of American society after Barack Obama won the Presidency was a bit shocking to many white Americans and sadly too familiar to African Americans. There is a sense of defiance to those who are openly racist nowadays, like it is a badge of honor, showing how brave they are to oppose the common sensibility of racial equality. What brave rebels they are, especially when they are legally armed with the weapons and power of law enforcement.

America has for the most part, sat on the sidelines as armed white people and police have been shooting and killing unarmed black men across the country but the shooting of Michael Brown and the strangulation of Eric Garner ending up as legal murders with no indictments of the police who murdered them, seem to have changed this dynamic. Now President Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder are enjoined on curbing the militarization, violence and racism so endemic in law enforcement currently.

Changes like this will be gradual, racist attitudes and practices can be very hard to blunt but there does seem to be an activated public and government leaders supporting them that appears meaningful in bringing about change.

So my guess is that things could begin to get better with regards to police forces treatment of African Americans next year but not in a markedly or substantial way.

What are your thoughts and predictions about how life will get better or worse for Americans in 2015?

 

Written by AdLib

My motto is, "It is better to have blogged and lost hours of your day, than never to have blogged at all."

19 Responses so far.

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  1. funksands says:

    Ad, 2015 will bring many gifts to the American People.

    The New and Improved and Totally NOT the Last Shitty Boyfriend You Had That Beat You Occasionally for Your Own Good Congress was sworn in today. Their 2015 theme of “Baby I’ve Changed” is sure to inspire America to new heights of greatness.

    Now that they are in power, Compromise will be the new mantra of the GOP for the next two years.

    Tax reform will be compromised on by Democrats, and in return, Republicans will give them something at some point in an unmarked box in an undisclosed field somewhere to be opened by Brad Pitt.

    Free Trade will be something both parties will rally around as the Transpacific Trade Partnership (or SHAFTA) will be passed. It is SUCH a good deal for America and the middle class that it’s details and negotiations must be kept secret so people don’t get too happy!

    The GOP will continue to fight their never-ending battle against Big Poor. Everyone knows that its the people with none of the money and none of the power that really run things in this country. Greatest Generation? Maybe…

    Institutionalized Racism will become a thing of the past as police departments everywhere implement their Lift All Boats national strategy. All races will now be shot at, beat up, incarcerated, sentenced and jailed at the same rate as blacks.

    Obamacare will continue to be an economic scourge to GDP, hiring, stock market performance, the NFL’s popularity and Kardashian overexposure. The GOP will never rest until this law is repealed and replaced with NothingCare. Only through the true liberty and freedom of NothingCare will the real potential of America be realized.

    Best of all, 2015 will bring the beginning of the 2016 Presidential election cycle. With Hillary Clinton running and Obama still President, the economic juggernaut that is the right wing publishing and broadcast industry will ramp up conservative lunacy to a truly astounding level. So much money will be pumped into poutrage that the US media and film industry will collapse, GDP will crater, the stock market will melt down, the economy will freeze and finally finally conservatives will be able to blame Clinton and Obama for something bad.

    [img][/img]

    • AdLib says:

      Funk, you had me smiling and nodding throughout your comment!

      The thing is, I don’t know that the GOP Congress is even representing themselves as having changed, they’re more like the physically abusive boyfriend who moves back in and says, “Now, where were we?”

      Love the reference to Seven and really hits the nail…on the head.

      Perhaps the GOP will kill two birds with one stone (they love killing things) by making one term of the TPP that the US gets to export its poor to third world nations. In fact, the NYPD could lead another change that kills another innocent, unarmed bird, turning it from a Free Trade bill to a Free Slave Trade bill that also exports black men from the U.S. Why let hate go to waste when you can make a profit on it?

      The GOP may try to do everything they can to stop the ACA (especially the providing of mental health services that might reduce the amount of members in the GOP) but not being able to do so will make them sick.

      Under your final scenario, might it be that the RW hysteria becomes so intense with Obama and Hillary outrage that Rush Limbaugh becomes a black hole (some might argue he’s been one type of hole or another for most of his life) that sucks in the entire right wing and transports them to a parallel Earth where white people are the minority and generally regarded as “lazy and criminal”.

      Seriously, with Europe in a bit of an economic mess, China stalling economically, disruptive world events and the GOP Congress giving Wall Street a greenlight to begin production on “Destroying the US Economy -- The Sequel”, you might not be too far off about an economic hit coming our way in 2015.

      Again, very clever comment, really enjoyed it!

  2. sillylittleme says:

    Great observations as always Ad. I hope that Americans wake up this year and realize that they are be lead by radically bad ideas. I have been waiting for decades, and always hope in the new year that this will be the year it happens…

    I predict that the language that comes out of the SCOTUS decision makes the ACA a more or less single payer system preventing states from keeping their citizens without health insurance of one stripe or another.

    I predict that the House and Senate will do little of any substance as they are incapable of working for more than a few days each month.

    I predict that the President’s veto pen will have little to do (see above).

    I predict that HW will pass on and many CIA secrets will be revealed that prevent Jeb from making a serious run in ’16.

    • AdLib says:

      slm, I too hope that the whiplash Americans will experience, from a GOP blocking everything they can to destroying everything they can (that doesn’t benefit the top 1%) will solidify the image of the GOP as anti-American.

      As for your predictions, I do think it is more likely that the ACA comes out of the SCOTUS decision stronger and more invulnerable to attack. The Repub Congress will deteriorate the country and government around the edges but Obama’s veto will stop most of the attempted corruptions. I think Jeb will run but I don’t think he will win the GOP primary because the base hates him. Even if he could buy the nom, I don’t believe the nation wants another Bush in the WH just one Presidency after the last one destroyed the country.

  3. Beatlex says:

    Great post Ad,I think you are right with your opinions on these subjects.I would add that the President is not going to go quietly into the night.I like what I have seen from him so far in his last years

    • AdLib says:

      Thanks Beatlex! I think Obama’s had his staff compile a number of actions he could take through EOs and he moved forward with a number of them at the end of the year, with more on their way. Of course most of his time may be spent on vetoing the Repub Congress’ insanity that has already begun.

  4. MurphTheSurf3 says:

    First, In reply to your predictions:

    1. Will the Republican Congress improve, damage or not change the lives of Americans?

    Your Key Paragraph: “In the end, one would have to put the best odds on Republicans pandering more to the extremists in their base and thus taking votes and actions that harm or at best, neglect the mainstream so on this count, my bet would be that with regards to the behavior of Republicans, the lives of average Americans will not be improved in 2015.” I agree with this codicil. The meme taking place in the House will remain in place- Boehner will be unable to pass anything substantive without Democratic votes and that will drive the GOP in the House affiliated with the Tea Party to demand more and more “tribute” to their doctrine. This will put pressure on the Senate as well where all hopes by McConnell of being a party of construction and not obstruction will be sacrificed to the Zealots.

    2. Will Obamacare be stopped or profoundly damaged?

    You Key Points: “We know this is a top priority for Republicans, especially as a rallying call to their base but do Republicans really want to be the party that ends universal health care in America? Though that will be among the first bills pushed for passage by the GOP Congress, Obama can and will easily veto such attempts.” I agree with one codicil. The GOP will never be able to present a workable Replacement and even if they could it would never pass in the House- those zealots….that would require Dems and that is not going to happen.

    You wrote: “Would Chief Justice John Roberts want to go down in history with such a stain on his court? A court responsible for decreeing the misery, suffering and deaths of many Americans all in pursuit of a political, anti-citizen/pro-wealthy agenda? It’s hard to believe that he would or that he could rationalize that he’d be able to explain how such a heinous act by a branch of the people’s government could be justified.” I agree with one codicil: Roberts, I think, is trying to put an end to this without seeming to cave…all for the reasons you lay out.

    3. Will rampant and institutionalized racism in police forces be reversed?

    Your key paragraph: “Changes like this will be gradual, racist attitudes and practices can be very hard to blunt but there does seem to be an activated public and government leaders supporting them that appears meaningful in bringing about change.” Very gradual, very, very, very, very gradual. There was so much more generalized outrage after New Town and nothing much happened (and what did in several cases cost some officials their jobs and others had close calls). AND, unlike the parents of New Town who had a clear set of goals, were well organized, used appropriate and appealing tactics…..the anti-police protestors keep stepping in IT. Today a crowd tried to break into police HQ in St Louis….stupid.

    What are your thoughts and predictions about how life will get better or worse for Americans in 2015?

    1) The U.S. economy will move from healing into hale and hearty at the upper middle and upper strata, and a bit better for those in the middle middle on down.
    2) Mike Pence- He may be what the GOP will ultimately look for; not Bush, not crazy.
    3) Obama will move into the low to mid 50’s. Why? He will be seen as the real deal maker in a time of emerging economic okness. His handling of foreign affairs will emerge as deft in re. to Russia and ISIS. Free of electoral strain, the guy we liked will be back and he will be a progressive champion (who has a perfect excuse not to deliver).
    4)India will continue emerge as a an economic super power for many of the reasons China did (lots of cheap labor and low standards). The lack of careful financial sector governance will attract a lot of foreign money.
    5)Know your Nairu. NAIRU stands for the Non-Accelerating Inflation Rate of Unemployment, and the idea is that inflation will accelerate if the unemployment rate falls below the NAIRU level. In some sense, the basic idea is very old, but this particular formulation is owed to Milton Friedman. A lot of economists with influence in government policy believe in it and it is driving a lot of what is happening or not happening.
    6) Russia will continue to weaken as its economy flattens (with a nod to the Sauds and their friends who want Syria’s Assad gone and their natural gas pipline built through Syria to Turkey) and Putin will fall out of favor. Looke to Medvedev to make a big return.
    7) Cities will continue to renew and the suburbs to retract.

    • AdLib says:

      Murph, just lost a long reply to you (thanks to my getting used to my new laptop!) so to recap:

      We agree on most projections. The Repubs in Congress and running for the Presidential nom will magnify each others’ extremism and whoever gets the nom will never be able to steer back to the middle in the GE.

      And if the SCOTUS doesn’t harm the ACA, the GOP will have failed in a massive way and have a very discouraged base. That plus the horribleness we’ll see from them will make 2015 a very good year for Obama and Dems.

      I do think that Newtown and the Black Lives Matter movements are very different and what happened to the Newtown movement won’t have the same results with BLM…in fact, there have already been changes in policies federally and locally because of BLM.

      Fortunately, most people have no personal experience of school shootings. Unfortunately, that makes them less energized long term. On the other hand, black people face prejudice day in and day out and can’t escape the ongoing motivation to stand up. Also, the only way to change the status quo on guns on a national basis was through Congress and easily blocked by the NRA. With BLM, Obama has already been able to move forward with new policies along with AG Eric Holder. We do agree though, change will be glacially slow for a while but things will change.

      As to your predictions, agree the economy continuing to grow stronger and on Obama becoming more popular as his long term strategies continue to succeed globally and for the majority here in the US.

      Don’t know about the Mike Pence thing, proposing that the GOP isn’t crazy enough to nominate another Bush just one President after the last disastrous one is, I think, giving them far too much credit for sanity.

      Can’t stop India from growing. We’ll see what happens to China but they do seem due for “a correction” and if that happens, look out.

      Anything Milton Friedman supported can be certain to make the wealthy wealthier, harm the nation’s future and oppress the majority. So NAIRU being a delivery vehicle for tax cuts for the wealthy at the expense of the 99% and the US economy is not surprising…but won’t get past an Obama veto.

      I think Putin is far more invulnerable to bad times in Russia than many think. Russians are so brainwashed by their propagandized media, they buy into his blaming the US and Europe for their hardships and they support tyrants when they feel most “under attack”. We’ll see but I wouldn’t be surprised for Putin to stay strong there even as the nation’s economy crashes. After a while of stagnation…then things could turn against him.

      The saying goes, “May you live in interesting times.” I think 2015 will continue to prove that we sure are.

  5. GreenChica says:

    Happy New Year, planeteers. It should be interesting to see how the GOP struggle with itself will turn out. I think it’s telling that Jeb Bush’s recent indicators have already put him in the “lead” though this could just be a continuation of that rather hilarious “flavor of the week” thing that happened during the 2012 GOPer primaries. If he stays in the “lead,” I think it’ll empower Boehner and the other so called “moderates” to fight off the extremists like Cruz. My greatest hope is that Cruz et al get miffed and start their own party, thus splitting the conservative vote.

    • AdLib says:

      Hey GC!

      The MSM is so disingenuous about polling at this point in Presidential elections. They know full well that polls are meaningless because this far away from the campaign, they are just reflections of name recognition, not genuine support.

      So, of course Bush and Romney appear at the top of these polls, they’re the best known names in the GOP. When the actual campaign starts, I don’t expect Bush to be polling at the top, he is not a candidate the base really wants.

      And name recognition when you’re a Bush…ain’t necessarily the best thing in a GE just one President after the last Bush.

      Would be nice to see the GOP civil war blow up this year. Nothing like having power in hand to bring out the knives in a party.

  6. kesmarn says:

    AdLib, I always take your analyses and predictions seriously (in spite of the fact that you are a very funny guy) because you have a remarkable track record when it comes to getting it right.

    I don’t have much hope of good things coming from this GOP dominated Congress in 2015. (After all, the newly elected GOP members are already talking about getting rid of the food stamps program entirely. Not just tweaking it — but annihilating it.) So I’m more grateful than ever that the Prez has the power of the veto pen. May he use it until there’s a national ink shortage. My hope is that — in the process of attempting things like slashing pensions and getting rid of SNAP — the GOP is finally revealed to even the densest, most oblivious citizens for what it really is. Every bit of arrogant over-reach should come back to haunt them then in 2016.

    My hope, too, is that the SCOTUS doesn’t demolish the one decent thing it has done in the recent past by un-doing the ACA over a silly technicality. I hope Roberts has more sense and more concern for the way history will eventually judge him than to do that. He already has some pretty shady dealings to try to live down — including Citizens United. Does he really want to go down as the worst Chief Justice in history?

    With regard to the police, my New Years wish is that — even if the hearts and minds of racist cops (and granted, they’re not all racist) can’t be swayed by arguments for decency to do the right things — the cameras they will soon be wearing (Lord willing) will cause them to improve their behavior. In health care, it was amazing to see the attitude changes that resulted when there were financial penalties to hospitals who had poor ratings from patients for customer service. Holding people accountable really can work if it’s done right. The same thing needs to happen with police departments. Bad cops need to be fired. And those cameras just might supply the evidence to get that done. Granted — the presence of cameras at the Garner murder scene didn’t seem to do much good. But a day-in, day-out pattern of prejudice that’s recorded in audio and video? That’s going to be hard for most police chiefs to ignore.

    Let me take a last minute to echo Kalima’s sentiment too. Thanks so much — to you and to her as well — for the many hours spent keeping the Planet funny, lively, safe and well-informed throughout 2014!

    And here’s to a great 2015 here on the Planet!

    • AdLib says:

      Kes, thanks so much!

      We will see a flurry of vetoes from Obama this year and be prepared for Repubs to turn the absurdity table on him and call him “The President of No”.

      Yep, no to 10 million Americans stripped of health insurance, no to gutting the EPA, no to destroying SS and Medicare by privatizing them, you get the idea.

      We are facing unapologetic racists in police forces and police unions so I don’t expect a big reversal of the institutional racism out there but I think it’s being met with far greater resistance and focus now. That along with reforms like body cameras could at least start rolling back the worst of what’s out there.

      Not 100% sure about what the SCOTUS will do on the ACA but it would be historically evil for them to condemn millions of Americans to illness, bankruptcy and death due to an overly literal interpretation of a few words in a massive bill with clear intent. So…we’ll see!

  7. Kalima says:

    Another thought provoking article, AdLib.

    The repub Congress will make things worse for many, especially in red states where they can pass their own crazy legislations.

    Nevertheless the facts stated in this article remain, and Repubs will have a hard time trying to ruin an economy in such an obvious recovery.

    Opinions
    “Economic facts get in the way”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/eugene-robinson-economic-facts-get-in-the-way/2014/12/29/c82d7686-8f9c-11e4-a900-9960214d4cd7_story.html?wpisrc=nl_headlines&wpmm=1

    They may try again to gut the ACA, but forget that millions across America now benefit from it, and that Obama is still the President with a drawer full of spare veto signing pens.

    The police cannot change radically from a deep rooted racism unless the top brass start to own up to the unmistakable fact that they have a problem, and start spring cleaning their departments from the very top layer to the bottom. Some people just can’t be shamed by public outrage, it has to start from within.

    I can’t predict what will happen in a country that I don’t live in, but hope that people start to come to their senses. The first step in solving a problem, is to admit to having one.

    Now I want to thank you personally for the array of wonderful articles you have posted this year. They made me laugh out loud. They made me sad. They made me move out of my comfort zone to tackle subjects that were hard to comprehend but needed to be said, and I thank you sincerely for the clarity you bring to the things you write and express here on The Planet.

    In case I get swallowed up in the madness of the New Year’s celebrations here in Japan, a very Happy New Year to you and your family, AdLib, and a huge thank you for everything you do even when you are very busy with other things in your life but never once complain or let it stop you from keeping The Planet spinning.

    Yoi Otoshi yo!! Mata ne. See you next year. :)

    • AdLib says:

      Kalima, I’m nearly at a loss for words after reading your very kind words…nearly but have to say how grateful I am for all the conscience and the diligence you pour into Morning Blog day in and day out throughout each year including this one just ending. And all the wonderful energy and thoughtfulness you infuse into The Planet every single day! It’s inspirational to me.

      Another remarkable and eventful year here at The Planet, Kalima, thanks in no small part to you. Hope you are having a lovely New Years Day! We’ll be catching up with you in 2015 very soon, leave a little champagne for me!

      As to Obama holding ground on his accomplishments and vetoing the Repub Congress from doing too much harm, I do agree though as with this latest budget bill, Repub’s will sneak in some nasty little things along the way.

      I am very measured in my optimism about racism lessening in our police forces and courts. The latest hateful and self-righteous displays by the NYPD are both disgusting and disappointing…yet these ignoramuses are continuing to destroy their image and trust with the public in doing so, so they may actually be creating a greater pressure for change by being such jerks.

      Looking forward to bringing in our 6th year here at The Planet with you, Kes and all of our great friends and colleagues here at The Planet! Happy New Year!

  8. Nirek says:

    Ad, another well thought out article, thanks.
    With the Cuba prisoner trade and diplomacy adding to his long list of accomplishments, President Obama has still two years to improve America. He has had to do almost everything with zero help from the other side of the isle. Even with no help he has done more than his predissor in the positive coluum.

    I believe the republicans will continue sending Bills that POTUS will have to veto for a few months hoping they can sneak something through. After that they may start to put some useful Bills through. I hope.

    • AdLib says:

      Cheers Nirek, thanks so much!

      I’ll bet Obama has had his staff working for some time on compiling a list of EOs he can issue to make changes to domestic and international policy. He saw this Repub takeover of the Senate coming for some time but even putting that aside, he’s been blocked from so many meaningful actions and reforms, I have to think that he was planning to be more aggressive with EOs in his last two years, after the last election that he would impact, from early on in his Presidency.

      He’s free to do what he wants, any old time:


  9. EXFANOFARIANA says:

    Yet another great article, well thought off…I have recently enjoyed several posts about how McTurtle and the Orangina men are distancing themselves from the sociopaths known at Tea Party.
    Reading in disbelief that Jeb Bush is planning on running, I was petrified how could Americans elect other criminal from the Bush gang…
    But I have a doubt: if the SCOTUS already signed ACA into law, how could they go back??????
    Let’ hope some of the right hacks will meet the savior sooner rather than later so perhaps, President Obama could turn the SC into a not corruptible high Court hence nominating another liberal…
    My two cents….

    • AdLib says:

      Thanks ExFan!

      The Crying Hyena and the Snapping Turtle may want to distance themselves from the wilder animals in the GOP zoo but there’s no escaping from those political cages. As always, the GOP leadership will bow to the extremists because that’s their core.

      And no one wants Jeb, there is no popular base for him on the right or left. Yes, if he wins the primary, mindless Repubs will support him but no matter who the Dem nominee is (and I am not convinced it will definitely be Hillary), I highly doubt America will want to go back to having another Bush in the WH…I mean, two were failures so let’s have another? Don’t see it.


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