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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?

 

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funksands
Member

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]http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-uVL08D4xX7Q/Ui3Uo-f98WI/AAAAAAAAAZw/o5sngSLf2wU/s1600/crazy.jpg[/img]

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sillylittleme
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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.

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Beatlex
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Beatlex

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

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MurphTheSurf3
Editor

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.

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GreenChica
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GreenChica

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.

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kesmarn
Admin

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!

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Kalima
Admin

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. 🙂

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Nirek
Member

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.

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EXFANOFARIANA
Member
EXFANOFARIANA

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….

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