Feb 20, 2012

Why Ron Paul's Undercurrent Rise may be a Blessing in Disguise

Recent reports have said that the Obama 2012 Campaign has recently changed their campaign strategy from making campaign attacks against Mitt Romney (and, in certain cases, Newt Gingrich) to making these attacks against former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. Santorum's recent victories in three major straw polls have led the media to begin labeling Santorum as the frontrunner in the GOP Presidential nomination race and this sudden apparent surge has made the Obama Campaign refocus its attacks and prepare for a scenario where Obama is running for re-election against Santorum in the general election. With Obama pretty much assured his re-nomination, it would seem to be wise politically to begin focusing campaign efforts against the prospective opponent.

What this may be doing, however, is providing a perfect cover for the man whom many believe is the "unrecognized frontrunner" in the GOP race. Texas Congressman Ron Paul's strategy of focusing on the caucus states is going to lead to a substantial number of delegates for him (at the very least that is) at the GOP nominating convention in Tampa, and this fact has gone largely unreported by the major media. In addition, Ron Paul Republicans are slowly taking over the Republican Party. They have already done so in Iowa, they seemed poised to do so in Nevada and if this trend continues, then Ron Paul could very well head into Tampa in a position to come away with a victory for the nomination, especially if the Republican Convention becomes an actual brokered convention like many are speculating that it might.

If that is so, and Ron Paul is only announced as the nominee of the GOP in August at the convention, then President Obama's re-election campaign could be in serious trouble. Paul has very few flaws to his record, background and stances, and with government intervention becoming very unpopular in America, the Obama campaign's stressing of the ideological and policy differences between Obama and Paul would actually be more a help then a hindrance to the Congressman. In addition, with just three months to go until the election after the Republican Convention, the Obama campaign would have to scramble to come up with any kind of effective campaign rhetoric against Paul's past and with no preparation due to the unexpected nature of Paul's victory, the rush to come up with campaign attacks would certainly lead to some poorly made and clumsily pointed attack ads which could only serve to reinforce the negative image of President Obama and his policies to the nation.

In closing, Ron Paul should continue doing what he is doing. His strategy is beginning to pay off and he will eventually win some state primaries (most likely in the Far West) which will reinforce his image as the underdog coming back from behind to win. America has always loved underdogs. The Founding Fathers and their fight against Great Britain was an underdog victory and Ron Paul's ultimate victory will inspire the nation in the same way. Like a shadow creeping up to surprise people, Paul and his movement are creeping up on the Establishment and the Obama Campaign and when he emerges, the advantage he will have gained by the surprise will give him the upper hand in his bid to win the White House on November 6, 2012.

© 2012 The Subsidiarity Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be re-published, re-broadcast, re-written or re-distributed without written permission from blog author.

Feb 18, 2012

How To Solve the Minnesota Vikings Stadium Dispute

As an ardent fan of the Minnesota Vikings and yet a citizen who hates to see taxes raised, the past couple months of debate surrounding the push for a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings has made me rather angry. It has become increasingly apparent that the two sides engaging in the debate, namely the Vikings ownership group and the Minnesota state government, have nearly come to a point where there is a real chance that there could be no reconciliation between the two. What angers me even more is that the debate seems to be focused more on the personal preferences of the owners and the state government rather then what is good for the fans of the team and the residents of the state of Minnesota. They seem to be the real losers in this debate.

The dispute is centered on where to place the stadium and how to pay for it. The Vikings ownership group wants to place a new stadium in the Twin Cities suburb of Arden Hills on the site of an old U.S. Army Ammunition Plant while the state government seems to be favoring a site in Minneapolis near the Vikings current stadium, the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. The problem of how to finance either of these proposed stadiums has been the most troublesome factor, especially in an economic climate where new taxes or raised tax rates are extremely unwise. Both stadium plans have called for the state and county governments to contribute a substantial portion of the financial bill and that has met with widespread opposition from the residents of the counties and many other Minnesotans. Due to this, the financing problem is fast becoming the albatross around the neck of the effort to keep the Vikings in Minnesota with a new stadium.

There is a solution to this standoff, believe it or not. It is based on a rule many parents use with children who have irreconcilable choices centering around what movie they want to watch, which park they want to go to, where they want to go out to eat and so on. If you cannot agree on the preferred choices, then scrap them and talk about other options. The Vikings and the State of Minnesota should do the same.

How would we do that? Simple. There are more Vikings Stadium proposals then the two currently being discussed. Throw out the plans which would place the Vikings Stadium in Arden Hills or Minneapolis and look at the other two options which have been presented and mostly ignored to provide the solution. The stadium plans which have the Vikings either placing their stadium in Shakopee, just south of the Twin Cities, or in Minnesota's great port on the Great Lakes: Duluth. Re-focus the debate to these two proposals, and it is pretty certain that a solution will be found which will be more beneficial for all involved then the two plans currently being discussed.

What is there to like about both proposals? For one, both stadium proposals do not call for raising taxes, which would make it easier for the fans to accept. Shakopee's plan calls for racino funding to pay for the stadium, which, while a bit controversial, is worth debating on and has been gaining some support. Duluth's plan calls for raising revenue by allowing liquor stores to remain open on Sundays, thus bringing in tax money without raising taxes or tax rates. Both options have potential and are definitely worth the debate if they will not adversely affect the citizens of Minnesota economically.

The Shakopee site has the advantage of a completely clean site ready to begin construction immediately. No expensive, extensive and lengthy environmental clean-up would be needed like the Arden Hills site requires. Also no building tear-downs and pavement bulldozing would be needed like the Minneapolis site requires. The site is ready to build on. At $920 million, the site would be the second cheapest to build on after the Metrodome site with the advantage to this price tag being that, unlike the Metrodome, no demolition or extensive re-building would be needed.

In addition, the stadium would be placed among many of Shakopee's big entertainment parks, such as the racing track at Canterbury Park and the nationwide-famous entertainment park ValleyFair. This would help attract even more fans and would raise even more money for the people of Minnesota as several Vikings fans, like yours truly, come from out of state to see their team and many would naturally enjoy themselves at many of the other attractions which would be surrounding the stadium. Finally, in its biggest advantage, the site would be just across the Minnesota River from Winter Park in Eden Prairie, Minnesota where the Vikings hold their practices during the season. It would make traveling for the team very simple indeed.

Here is the layout of the plans for the Shakopee Stadium Site: The Minnesota Vikings Shakopee Stadium.

The Duluth site, like Shakopee, also has the advantage of not needing environmental clean-up or bulldozed buildings or pavement. The site already has had it done. The price tag has not been set, but seeing as the site has already been cleaned, it should be around the same amount that the Shakopee site has been estimated at. Duluth, like Shakopee, is one of Minnesota's great tourism sites, though for its scenery and not amusement parks, and having the Vikings based there would also draw in more tourists and raise revenue for the people of Minnesota. Finally, it would place the Vikings in a similar situation to what the Green Bay Packers enjoy in their lake-side location in Green Bay. The stadium would be built on the shore of Lake Superior's main tributary, the St. Louis River, and would provide a gorgeous scenic background for Vikings fans to enjoy as they come to watch their team.

Here is the layout of the plans for the Duluth Stadium Site: The Minnesota Vikings Duluth Stadium.

So there it is. The Minnesota Vikings ownership group and the State of Minnesota should scrap the Arden Hills and Minneapolis sites and proceed with a constructive debate on the Shakopee and Duluth sites. This would likely lead to real results and a great new stadium for a team which needs one. It would keep the Vikings in Minnesota, possibly for good, and end all talk about re-locating the team to Los Angeles or San Antonio. Finally, Vikings fans would be able to re-focus their energies towards cheering their team on towards their first Super Bowl victory. Skol Vikings!

© 2012 New Agora and The Subsidiarity Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be re-published, re-broadcast, re-written or re-distributed without written permission from blog author.

Feb 8, 2012

Why Santorum's victory last night meant Nothing

The media is scrambling over the fact that Rick Santorum swept the three states which held their Republican caucuses last night. This, coming on the heels of Mitt Romney's wins in Florida and Nevada, has seemed to throw the Republican presidential nomination race into turmoil according to the media. However, it is not as complicated as the media is portraying it to be. The facts speak for themselves and those who investigate them should be able to see this clearly. Last night's results changed nothing. Rick Santorum will not be the Republican presidential nominee. All that his victories showed last night was that Mitt Romney's campaign is beginning to lose momentum. If that continues, then last night was possibly the turning point which has begun to sink Romney's once-promising campaign.

What is this? Santorum won all three states did he not? Yes he did. He won the vote convincingly in all three states did he not? Yes he did. So what is this? Why isn't this the surge which propels Santorum to victory in Tampa? Follow me on this examination of the facts and you will see why this is most likely just the swelling of pride before Santorum's ultimate fall.

Remember last month in South Carolina? The race looked like a toss-up and it seemed as if Romney might win just because of the division among the conservative ranks. Then, quite suddenly, Newt Gingrich surged and won South Carolina, propelling him higher in the polls. All were mystified as to how Gingrich had suddenly come out of nowhere and won the South Carolina Primary. Then the explanation slowly began to come out. Gingrich had slammed the news media in South Carolina in a convincing, fighting fashion and had inspired voters to follow him. The surge was enough to win South Carolina for Gingrich and to keep him in second place in Florida. However, as the fervor over that stunning performance began to fade, Gingrich began to fall and he lost the momentum. The memory only stuck around for so long. Now Gingrich is struggling to even keep his campaign alive.

Santorum's surge is similar, but it is not because of anything Santorum himself did. Rather, it was because of an action by the Obama administration. President Obama and the Department of Health and Human Services mandated in late January/early February that religious employers must provide medical services such as contraceptives and abortions to their employees even if those medical practices were at odds with the religion's doctrines. This action provoked outrage from several religions, but especially the Catholic Church. The Catholic bishops promptly responded with pastoral letters warning Catholics that opposition to this action by the Obama administration had to be undertaken. As the Abortion issue is one of Santorum's primary concerns politically, many pro-life religious citizens swarmed to vote for the man in the Republican race who was best seen as the champion of the pro-life cause. This explains Santorum's sudden surge and unexpected victories in the primaries last night following his dismal fourth-place showing in the Nevada caucus.

Santorum's surge is a temporary respite for his campaign. Once the fervor over the Obama administration's actions cools and forms into actual intellectual and political opposition, then Santorum will struggle to maintain his place and whatever momentum he has. Santorum has a very mixed record in the healthcare field and his opponents will bring it to the forefront to be sure over the next couple weeks. This will inspire doubts in the minds of many and Santorum will suffer a Gingrich-type implosion which will sink his campaign.

In addition to this explanation of his sudden surge and why it will fade, Santorum's campaign has some other very major flaws which will deny him victory in the end. First, Santorum's extreme lack of organization has denied him a chance at many unpledged delegates in Iowa, Minnesota and Colorado. Those delegates can only be won by those candidates who actually organize their supporters into running for delegate positions. The only vote which Santorum won last night was the straw poll vote which showed who the majority of voters in those states felt best about at that particular moment. In Missouri the delegates will not even be elected for another month and nothing was decided last night except the voters' preference at that particular moment. Second, Santorum, like Gingrich, is not eligible for a large number of delegates due to a lack of ballot access in certain states, without which he cannot hope to win the nomination in a four candidate race. In addition, recent news out of Indiana reveals that Santorum has failed to meet ballot access requirements for that state as well. Failure to obtain ballot access in even just a few states can be quite deadly to any presidential campaign. Third, Santorum's campaign has always been extremely short on money, and though he has picked up some donations as a result of last night's publicity-grabbing victory, once the surge fades, he will find himself short on cash again and likely unable to continue. Fourth, if Santorum continues to have public meltdowns on the debate stage like he did last month in Florida, (which is very likely considering his strong feelings against the views of two of his fellow contenders and the fact that Santorum does tend to get very emotional in some of his public responses), then the public will turn away from him as they turned away from Rick Perry after his debate meltdowns.

In all, do not read too much into Santorum's victories last night. They really mean nothing. If Santorum does manage to win some pledged delegates in upcoming primaries in Michigan and Arizona, then he might work his way into a bargain-maker position at the Republican National Convention in Tampa. However, the only way Santorum becomes the nominee is if the Republican National Convention becomes a brokered convention where delegates are released and bargains are made. Even then, considering how small his delegate count will likely be, that seems unlikely. In all probability, Rick Santorum will walk away from the Republican National Convention in August into the sunset of a once-promising career, cut short by an inability to stick to certain principles and to organize what followers he had.

© 2012 The Subsidiarity Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be re-published, re-broadcast, re-written or re-distributed without written permission from blog author.

A Third Party Manifesto

“A man who is made a prince by the favour of the people must work to retain their friendship;” – Niccolo Machiavelli

“Whatever your issue is, whether it’s racism or homophobia or policy issues or taxes or urban decay or health care, you’re not going to go anywhere with it if we don’t focus on the concentration of power.” – Ralph Nader

“If the people want to be free…there is no force that can stop them. If freedom is what we want, it is ours for the taking.” – Ron Paul


Americans have come to take the current political system of two major parties vying for government power for granted nowadays. It has become accepted that if one wishes to participate in and make policy changes at any level of government, then it has to be done while serving as a member of one of the two major parties. It is a classic example of an insider-only political system which, history shows, always leads to tyranny in some form or fashion.

The complaint that most people hear when discussing politics today is that there seems to be no major difference between the two major political parties. This analysis is very true. Many officials in both parties are genuinely concerned with the people they are seeking to represent and have different ideas on how to best do so. However, as seen by myself and many others who have worked in our nation’s capital for a time, there are very many insiders who seem to be the true power controlling the political machinery of both parties. As is natural with human nature, those who hold power are always reluctant to give it up. This truth has not only been witnessed by the outsiders who have worked in our nation’s capital, but has also been recognized and, in many cases, witnessed by those participating in the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movements. They have voiced their displeasure at the fact that true government power is so interwoven between the two major political parties that favors and shifts at the top are simply traded between the two under the cover of the democratic process of elections. If this is so, then it means that a form of tyranny reigns in a country which was founded on the belief that all men are created equal and the premise of checked and restricted government.

So for the abolition of insider-control and the resulting government tyranny, the two party system needs to be dismantled and a truly free process needs to take its place. To bring about this free process, discrimination against the other political parties needs to stop at all levels: federal, state and local. The mark of a truly free society is where many different viewpoints are allowed to be heard on the public stage, especially amongst candidates running for positions to represent their communities.

To reach this desired free society where the viewpoints of all the political parties running for office are freely presented to the public, the following actions could be taken:

I. Presidential Elections

1. The Commission on Presidential Debates should be dissolved. Presidential debates should be put together and sponsored solely by private intellectual organizations such as colleges and institutes. Moderators should be put forward by the private organizations sponsoring the debates. News organizations should have no power over the debates except to broadcast them to the nation to watch.

2. The debate stage should not be restricted to just the candidates who are polling 15% or higher in the polls. That is an elitist system which has no place in a country where the First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees Freedom of Speech. Access to the debate stage should depend on ballot access. If a candidate is serious about their run for the presidency, then a modest plateau of ballot access in around ten states should not be difficult to reach and all parties should be held to this standard, including the Republicans and Democrats.

3. Ballot access should be charged for all candidates and political parties in every state and they should have to renew it before every election that the candidate or party is participating in. The access requirements should be set at a reasonable level of something like 2,000 valid signatures, which should not be difficult for a serious candidate to reach.

4. Government money given to political parties should be discontinued. Money for all political campaigns should be raised through fundraising by the political parties themselves.

II. State and Local Elections

1. Debates should be scheduled for all political races where political parties are involved and the public should be invited to come free of charge in order to hear the issues affecting their communities freely discussed. Debate moderators should be unaffiliated volunteers from amongst the voters or from private local organizations and not in the pay of any news organization or political party.

2. Ballot access should be made easily attainable for the serious candidate for office and should be required of all political parties seeking to run candidates for the office.

3. For local political races, the required number of valid signatures to obtain a place on the ballot should be set at a very small percentage of the population of the district the candidates are running to represent. Example: In a district consisting of 500 people, only 65 signatures should be required for a place on the local election ballot.

4. State law should mandate that positions in the hierarchy of any political party should be determined every year by a presidential caucus-type election-and-ascension process within the parties themselves, rather then by appointment or a once-every-four-years selection process. This will help prevent the solidifying of power by any faction within a political party and will ensure that the people’s wishes shall be better represented.

III. Constitutional Amendments: Federal & State – Checking the Power of Political Parties

  1. The Constitution of the United States of America was founded on the idea of checks and balances limiting government power. Where the Founding Fathers did not prescribe checks and balances was in the realm of political parties’ power because they correctly foresaw that the formation of political parties would lead to a struggle for power rather then a true representation of the people. For this reason they sought to avoid political parties. However, political parties are an inevitable result of any democratic system due to the human tendency of like-minded people to congregate together for a common cause. With this in mind, Constitutional Amendments filled with the just-listed Sections I and II’s checks and balances for political parties need to be added to the Constitutions of the Federal and State Governments. These will help break down and prevent a massive concentration of power by any one or more political parties.
  2. Federal Constitutional Amendment: Commissions regulating and dictating presidential debates and access to the debates should be banned and no private intellectual organization is allowed to host, control or set-up more than one debate every four presidential elections; News organizations are only allowed to broadcast the presidential debates, not influence, host or have power over them; Federal Government money will be banned from ever going to any political parties; Debate access by a presidential candidate will be determined by one low number of states, preferably ten, that all candidates must have obtained a place on the ballot in and it will be ANY ten states, not a specific ten or fewer states.
  3. Constitutional Amendments in the States: State Government money shall not be given by any means to any political party. Ballot access for any political candidate should be set at a very low number of valid signatures required, thus making it easy for a serious candidate to obtain a place on the ballot: A. Presidential election candidate requirements – 2,000 valid signatures from current state residents; B. State and Local election candidate requirements – valid signatures from a very small percentage of the current population of the district the candidates are running to represent. All political parties and candidates are required to obtain ballot access every election. Debates are to be required to take place in every political race where political parties are involved and no candidate with ballot access is to be denied the right to participate. Debate moderators are to be volunteers unaffiliated with any candidate, news organization or political party. Political Party hierarchy is to be determined by a caucus-type election every year in every political party.

These changes would radically change the American political system as we know it today. However the Founding Fathers of America believed in the idea of allowing the people to speak their opinions and having a completely equal chance to serve their communities in a leadership position for a short period of time. The people should be free to choose the best from among their community to represent them, not the ones with the most money. By opening the door to a wider array of candidates, this original dream of the Founding Fathers can begin to be re-discovered and realized.

A society where positions are debated freely is a truly free society. America has drifted from this truth in the last one hundred forty seven years and it is time that she returns to it. If she does, then she shall be better-placed to once again become the true beacon the world looks up to as the example of freedom.

© 2012 New Agora and The Subsidiarity Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be re-published, re-broadcast, re-written or re-distributed without written permission from blog author.