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Archive for October, 2014

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This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

Most likely and for me that means the best guess and best educated guess, Senate Republicans win back the Senate on Tuesday and perhaps add five seats to their House majority as well. I don’t see a wave for 2014 where Republicans win 8-10 seats in the Senate and twenty or more in the House. But things are so bad for Democrats right now that Republicans despite their own problems with voters, do not need a wave to do well in Congress on Tuesday.

Democrats still have hope even in the Senate. They win Georgia and Kansas where they are currently ahead with Michelle Nunn over David Perdue in Georgia and Greg Orman over Republican Senator Pat Roberts has been in Congress since 1981 and maybe Democrats hold Republican gains to four or five and barely hold the Senate having to rely on a couple of new Independents to hold their majority. But they would also need to hold North Carolina and New Hampshire with Kay Hagen respectfully to pull that off. Also may need to hold Arkansas or Louisiana as well.

What may be the only victories for Democrats on Tuesday night could at the state level and not in Congress. But governor’s races and legislature races where Democrats have real pickup opportunities in both areas. Pennsylvania, Florida, perhaps even Georgia, Kansas, Wisconsin, Michigan. If they win those states or just a few of them and not lose any big states where they currently are in power, we could see better redistricting that could favor House Democrats in the future.
U.S. Senate

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U.K. Parliament
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

Things are already changing very fast in the United Kingdom. Thanks to the Scottish independence referendum in September, devolution and federalism is coming to Britain perhaps as early as next year. At least an agreement on what a federalist United Kingdom would look like. With the unitarian socialist state in Britain collapsing, with more power headed to the states as Americans would call it and the people of Britain over their own domestic affairs.

But devolution and federalism I believe will only work as an American outsider looking in on Britain, if they reform their Parliament as well. Because at the end of the day, for England, Scotland, Wales and North Ireland to be able to function properly in the United Kingdom, they will need to be well represented in Parliament in London with a functioning bicameral Parliament so not all over the power and resources are not so centralized in London with the national or federal government and in England.

For a bicameral Parliament to work in Britain the House of Lords or whatever they may call it in the future, perhaps the U.K. Council or Lordship, perhaps even Senate, needs to function like the upper chamber of Parliament that it is supposed to be. Where they actually have a say in what laws are passed in Parliament and not just be a rubber stamp for the House of Commons. Where they can conduct real oversight of the U.K. Government and have at least the same power and authority as the House of Commons. And where members of this body can be part of Prime Ministers Questions.

The way I would reform the U.K. Parliament is similar to how the U.S. Congress looks. The lower chamber the House of Representatives where Representatives represent districts inside of states. And where the upper chamber the Senators represent the whole state in America. But since Britain is a lot smaller physically and in population to America, where they would represent districts as well inside of a state. But with each state lets say in the U.K. Senate getting an equal amount of Senators. But in the House the Commons would be proportioned based on population.

England would still have more Commons than anyone else because they are by far the biggest state in the United Kingdom. But this would be a real bicameral parliament and the Lordship or Council or even Senate, each state would be represented equally. So England, Scotland, Wales and North Ireland would all have the representation in parliament needed to bring back the resources that their districts and states need from London to be able to function properly.
UK Parliament: Open Lecture- Reform in The House of Lords

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U.S. Congress
This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

National Journal: Opinion: Norm Ornstein: What If Independents Keep Senate Majority In Flux?

What if, what if, what if, what question is more fun to ask and even ask yourself than what if? But the reason why it is such a fun question to ask, is because it gives people who chance to imagine and throw out countless hypotheticals and imagine all sorts of interesting things. But to speak about Norm Ornstein’s what if, he may be on to something right now because of how partisan and divided America is politically right now. With an unpopular President, but an unpopular Republican opposition that Americans aren’t crazy about having complete control of Congress, both the House and Senate.

This is where the centrists, or as I prefer the more independently minded Senators and Senate candidates come into play. Because let’s say we do have a 50-50 Senate in the next Congress with Democrats still in control of the Senate because of Vice President Joe Biden, or a 51-49 Senate in the next Congress that goes either way, without either party having enough of a partisan advantage to run the chamber by themselves, that is where the Independents come into play. Especially if they don’t caucus with either party, or are not in lockstep with the political or governing agenda that their leadership wants to push.

In a divided Senate like that, that is where the Independents have the power, Assuming the Leader and Minority Leader are actually interested in governing and passing legislation in that Congress. And not simply looking for the next partisan advantage that will give them a clear majority in the next Congress. When the leadership’s in both parties aren’t interested in governing and simply looking for partisan advantage, as we’ve seen a lot in the Congress from both parties in both chambers, Independents do not mean a hell of a lot.

Whoever the next Senate Leader and Minority Leader is, they will still set the tone as far as what that Senate can pass in the next Congress. And if you are like me, you are looking for new leadership at the top in both parties without Harry Reid Mitch McConnell leading their respective caucus’. And hopefully new blood will come in and decide to work with the other party. Because whoever holds the next Senate majority, it will be paper-thin, perhaps 52-48 at best for one side. And if they decide to govern, the Independents will come into power and a lot legislation could get passed.
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Montreal CanadiansSource: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

The Montreal Canadians accomplishing something in 1979 which may sound impossible today, which was to win their fourth straight Stanley Cup. Winning two in a row is a huge deal now and has been going back to the Pittsburgh Penguins of the early 1990s, 1991 and 1992 when they won back-to-back cups. The Detroit Red Wings did in the late 1990s in 97 and 98, but no one else had done it since. Because of expansion and free agency with the parity, it is very hard to dominate the NHL for more than one season now.

The Canadians not only won four straight from 1976-79, but five overall in the 1970s. The team of that decade, which is what the Edmonton Oilers were in the NHL in the 1980s. And with the way the NHL is set up today, no other team has dominated an entire decade and been the team of the decade in the NHL since. Because there’s so much parity and so much traveling and so many other things that players have to go through to get through a long 82 game NHL season.

Swiss Habs-NHL Network: NHL 1979-Stanley Cup Finals Game 5-Montreal Canadians @ New York Rangers

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Nelson & Eleanor

Nelson & Eleanor

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat 

To understand Nelson Rockefeller’s politics, you have to first understand the politics of the Republican Party up until 1966-67 or so. When the Republican Party officially moved into a different direction politically and became the official right-wing party in America. That had already started in 1964 with Barry Goldwater’s nomination for president, but the 1966 mid-terms is where it started paying off for the GOP in Congress and with governorships around the country.

See the Republican Party that Nelson fit into, was the GOP of the 1950s with Dwight Eisenhower. Nelson Rockefeller was no Liberal at least he wouldn’t be today. He certainly wasn’t a Bernie Sanders Democratic Socialist or Social Democrat either of course. But he also wasn’t a Rand Paul Tea Party Conservative Libertarian of today, or a Barry Goldwater Conservative Libertarian. If there is such a thing even sixty-years ago, Nelson Rockefeller would’ve been a Progressive Republican. And I mean that in the classical sense.

A classical Progressive in the sense of someone who believes in hard work, education and opportunity for all. A safety net for people who fall though the cracks of the private enterprise system. Someone who believed in rule of law and a tough internationalist foreign policy and national security. But someone who also believed in civil rights and equal rights for everyone. Nelson was to the Left of Franklin Roosevelt on social issues especially civil rights. But not as far to the Left of Franklin on economic policy and who wanted to create the next chapter of the New Deal.

Nelson wanted a safety net for people who truly needed it. Not a welfare state to manage people’s lives for them. And for everyone who was physically and mentally able, which is most of the country, he believed those people should get a good education, work hard and be productive. And then get to enjoy the rewards of their production. That if you were on public assistance because you couldn’t find a good job or not qualified to get a good job, that government could help you finish your education so you can become independent.

The Eisenhower/Rockefeller Progressives were no longer running the Republican Party by 1964. When President Eisenhower left office in 1961, Republicans were looking for a new direction and leadership. Senator Barry Goldwater filled that vacuum for them in 1964 and that is the direction they stuck with until President Ronald Reagan left office in 1989. And because of this there was no longer a base of support for Progressives like Nelson Rockefeller to step up and lead the GOP in that direction. Because they were now outnumbered by Conservatives.
The Political Lion: Conservatives Re-Take The Republican Party- 1964 GOP Convention

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Governor Nelson Rockefeller, R, New York

Source: This piece was originally posted at FRS Daily Times

If Nelson Rockefeller was alive today and still involved in public service in some way, whether it was in public office or working for non-profits, which he did both in his very long and distinguished career in public service. What party would he be affiliated with? I think it’s clear that maybe outside of the Northeast and of course he was from New York I believe GOV. Rockefeller would’ve had a very hard time getting elected as a Republican today. Especially in a Republican Party that’s now dominated by the Christian Right and to some extent Neoconservatives.

But neoconservatism has lost a lot if influence in the Republican Party, at least in the last two elections. Which I believe is a good thing, but the Religious-Right is still there and powerful there. And of course now with the Tea Party movement that’s now run by economic Conservatives and Religious Conservatives and with GOV. Rockefeller being fairly liberal at least to some extent on social issues except for crime and punishment, I don’t see how Nelson Rockefeller gets elected in the Republican Party today. He would probably be a better fit as a Democrat today with his liberal views on some social Issues. And his beliefs in public service and infrastructure investment, but probably like a Joe Lieberman.

Nelson Rockefeller was a social Liberal and somewhat progressive on economic policy. But more conservative on crime and punishment and foreign policy. I mean the Rockefeller Drug Laws aren’t called that for nothing, GOV. Rockefeller played a big role in advancing the War on Drugs in America. And also served as President Ford’s Vice President. Mr. Rockefeleller clearly had conservative leanings, but not enough of them for him to be successful in the Republican Party today. So where would Nelson Rockefeller go politically or maybe he would work on a third-party Movement instead.

I don’t see Nelson Rockefeller as a centrist, but an independent and they are different. A centrist is someone who’s pretty much middle of the road on most major political issues. But Rockefeller had clear political views, some conservative which is why he was a Republican. But also some liberal and progressive which is why I don’t believe he would be a Republican today. So maybe the Independence Party or a movement for that would’ve taken off with Rockefelller and George Wallace as their Leaders.

Nelson Rockefeller would be a prototypical Independent candidate and perfect for that type of political party as well. Someone who could help advance an Independence movement and would’ve been a great third-party candidate today. I don’t think he would’ve gotten elected President this way, but definitely been a factor as a presidential candidate. Sort of like George Wallace in 1968, Jack Anderson in 1980 and Ross Perot in 1992. And perhaps because of this we could’ve ended the two-party-system that under represents a lot of American voters and we could’ve had more choices in who to vote for.
History Comes To Life: Nelson Rockefeller Announces For The Presidency in 1968

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Source: Billy Hill- Danielle C. Cushman & Billy Hill

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

I’m not a big fan of History Channel’s American Pickers. But I am a big fan of Danielle Colby Cushman on American Pickers, who is way underused on the show. And basically treated by Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz who own American Pickers, as a little girl who can’t handle big responsibility. Danielle might be as cute as a little girl physically, but she’s clearly a grown up, at least physically who can do more than just answer the phone and try to bring in new perspective clients for the business.

American Pickers is a real life business owned by these two guys, somewhere in Iowa, which could be said about a lot of towns in Iowa. Who find old pieces that people have had forever that still have value. And they try to buy them a fair price and then try to sell them for profit. The guys do most of the traveling and picking, why cute Danielle stays at home so to speak, answers the phone and try’s to find perspective clients and people who Mike and Frank can work with.

But the few opportunities that Danielle gets to hit the road, you not only get to see her knowledge for the business. Which granted is not as deep as Mike’s or Frank’s, but she has also hasn’t been doing it as long. But you get to see her personality, her humor, how adorable she is physically and personally. And last, but certainly not least, her great body. Tall, curvy, athletically built women who fills out a pair of Levis denim jeans well enough to get her a modeling contract for Levis.

Billy Hill: Tattoo TV Episode- Questions For Danielle Colby Cushman

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