Friday, January 8, 2016


The post New Year’s blahs continues however tonight AJ will post the Agenda for the first Storch Council meeting and there should be material that will interest most readers.

So far 2016 has been a year of natural disasters and manmade potential catastrophes. All of which is lost in the excitement of a ¾ billion lottery.

One columnist wrote: “2016 is looking like it might be a turbulent year. Rising populism, great power revanchism, the continued specter of terrorism, disputes over “cyber-sovereignty,” intensified regional turmoil, and dramatic shifts in the global economy presage unsettled times. Against this uncertain backdrop, here are the top 10 notable geopolitical risks to keep an eye on in the year ahead”:
I shall post one daily if I have space. The first one: “The rise of populism: The combination of the middle-class economic squeeze and Islamic extremism at home risks fueling the populist politics of xenophobia and anger surging across Europe and the United States. This could continue to weaken establishment politicians and empower those on the far left and far right, making both American and European foreign policies more unpredictable and diverting leaders from engagement abroad in favor of damage-control domestically. It could encourage greater insularity that would allow regional crises to fester.”

This item could be important to many: “On Monday, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case that experts say could provide a sizeable blow to the unions that represent millions of American public employees.”   “The case concerns a teacher in California, Rebecca Friedrichs, who has sued the California Teachers Association, arguing that being required to pay a fee to the union violates her First Amendment rights. Friedrichs is not a member of the union, but, like many other public employees, is required to pay a so-called agency fee to cover the costs of collective bargaining and other negotiations with the school district—union activities that all teachers, even non-union teachers like Friedrichs, benefit from in the form of higher salaries and better benefits. To be clear, these agency fees are different from dues that union members pay, which can be used by the unions for political expenses such as lobbying and electoral work. The law allows public-sector employees to opt out of dues and just pay an agency fee to cover the cost of bargaining—an accommodation intended to protect people’s First Amendment rights. Teachers who, like Friedrichs, have opted out of the union are still represented by it in various contract negotiations, which is why they are required to pay a fee. In California, members pay annual dues that average about $1,000 a year, while non-members pay about $600 to $650 for the agency fee alone.

On Monday we will have our first chance to see what kind of a political year OZ will have. 

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