Feb 20, 2012
Feb 18, 2012
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.
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.
Feb 8, 2012
“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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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