Politics is a Team Sport: Rand Paul’s Destiny

adfa7100cb2d163a27ee88a1965a4c19_400x400Rick Perlstein said it best, “I believe politics is a team sport. That, for awful and unfortunate reasons beyond any of our control, the American system only allows, effectively, for two teams.”

Is politics a team sport? The question resurfaced recently when Senator Rand Paul referred to the Graham-Cassidy Health Care Plan as — “Amnesty for Obamacare.”

When I saw this, I immediately fired off a tweet to Senator Paul stating, “Not again! It’s a team sport. Time is up. If you are not Republican, then get off the team and go join the Democrats.”

An unidentified third party then replied, “Wrong – it’s absolutely NOT a team sport. Members must represent their constituents’ wishes – not follow some pigheaded slogan.”

In reality, it’s Senator Paul who’s following a self-contrived “pigheaded slogan”, while most Republicans in the House, 90%+ of those in the Senate, and the Trump Administration are in support of a “bill”, which repeals the main provisions of Obamacare, and takes power away from the District of Columbia, handing it back to the states.

If politics isn’t a team sport, then why do political parties exist? And, what is the purpose of winning the majority in both houses and the White House if the party in control isn’t going to stick together on major legislation? Of course, politics is a team sport.

Yet there always seems to be at least one grandstanding maverick, almost always a Republican, who wants to make a name for himself rather than play his position. Face it, Rand Paul doesn’t represent any constituents. Like John McCain and a few others, he merely represents himself.

If Senator Paul represents anyone, it should be the party he belongs to, whichever that may be. At this point, he represents constituents of the Democratic Party, who oppose the bill at all costs, and cares nothing for Republicans, the majority of whom favor some measure of victory.

Under the Graham-Cassidy plan a Federal block grant is given annually to states to help individuals pay for health care, Planned Parenthood is defunded, and the individual mandate, employer mandate, and medical device tax are completely repealed, to name a few. But even better, it’s supported by most Republicans in the House, 90%+ of those in the Senate, and the Trump Administration. So, what’s Rand Paul’s problem?

If Senator Paul can’t get 90%+ of Republican Senators to go along with his proposal, which he can’t, then perhaps he should dismount from his high horse and support the 90%+ of his party who see merit in Graham-Cassidy. If that’s not good enough for Senator Paul, then only one choice remains.

Stop calling yourself a Republican, and go team up with those more in line with your views. At this point in time that would be none other than the Democratic Party, which stands firm, in unison, against every proposal favored by the President and the majority of Republicans.

Extremist v. Extremist, Intolerance

charlottesville81217If you’ve ever been out in the streets protesting anything, you’re an extremist. If you’ve ever assembled peaceably to petition anyone, other than the government for redress of grievances, you’re an extremist. If you can’t handle the First Amendment rights of peaceable assembly and freedom of speech, you don’t deserve to be called an American.

According to the First Amendment, “Congress shall make no law …abridging the freedom of speech, …or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Freedom of speech may be defined as, “the right to express any opinions without censorship or restraint.” The right to peaceably assemble, and to petition government for redress of grievances may be defined as, “the individual right or ability of people to come together and collectively express, promote, pursue, and defend their ideas; and make a complaint to, or seek the assistance of, one’s government, without fear of punishment or reprisals.”

Congress has, thus far, made no laws abridging the freedom of speech, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. Yet others, including some local governments, federal government employees, extremist groups, the Democratic Party, Google / YouTube, and Facebook, often enforce their own un-American statutes.

For example, Google recently suspended my Google Plus account indefinitely, without any right of appeal, simply for declaring myself to be a Trump supporter and posting pro-Trump news articles. Of course, prior to doing so my Collection, entitled, “Trump 2016 / 2020” had over 10,000 followers and more than 10,000,000 views. My attempts to reinstate the account fell on deaf ears.

Since I did not violate any of Google’s rules, it claimed that I violated its impersonation policy, even though, unlike others, I used my real name and biographical profile. Thus, I am no longer a part of Google’s social networking experiment. I no longer have the freedom to express myself, nor the right to peaceably associate with friends and followers, at least not using Google’s services. Nine years of associations, thousands of followers, hundreds of posts and comments, gone in a flash. So, what’s next?

If the KKK, Neo-Nazi’s, white nationalists, Alt-left, Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter or any other group wants to assemble peaceably to petition the government, they have a right to do so without fear of punishment or reprisals. Certainly, such groups have the right to assemble, and the freedom to write or say whatever they wish. But, that’s not the problem in this era. The plight of our day lies in counter-protests.

Counter-protesters serve no useful purpose other than to deny others of their basic Constitutional guarantees. Government condemnation of domestic hate groups serves no meaningful purpose, as they have a right to exist. The role of the federal government should be to condemn intolerance. There is no place for intolerance, at any level, in our society.

Counter-protesters are not petitioning the government for anything. They are rather protesting against other people’s rights to speak freely, to assemble and to petition the government. Shutting down the right of free speech, or the right to associate and petition the government is not the American way.

What the federal government should do is shut down counter-protest movements in every shape, form and fashion. Congress must pass additional laws protecting basic first amendment rights, by cracking down on counter-protesters. It must also outlaw the practice of street protests. Allowing opposing groups to protest at the same time, in public venues, is asinine.

Allowing any group to protest in the streets, or public places, violates the rights of others. Allowing groups with opposing views to counter-protest encourages violence. Rather than cultivate intolerance and violence, the federal government should do everything within its power to discourage it, while at the same time protecting everyone’s First Amendment rights.

The role of the federal government, and all who have taken oath to uphold the Constitution, is not to pick sides, but rather to promote tolerance in a diversity of ideas.

Google’s actions against me are reprehensible. But, the freedom I have was not granted by Google, and Google cannot take it away. Rather than fight, I have chosen to take my business elsewhere.

If you don’t like MSNBC or CNN, don’t watch. If you don’t like Donald Trump, don’t go to a Trump rally, stay at home. Better yet, pow-wow with the candidate of your choice and prepare for the 2020 election. If you don’t agree with the KKK, Neo-Nazi’s, white nationalists, the Alt-left, Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter, the Democratic Party, or any other group, don’t support them or attend their functions. Instead support and associate with groups you agree with. Actions such as these are not extreme in nature, but are simply the American way.

Adventures in Politicking II : No Shot

Repetitious Rhetoric vs. Genuine Policies

* By: Larry Walker, Jr. *

According to Barack Obama, “the President’s job is to make sure everyone has a fair shot.” But as I explained in Part I, the United States Constitution declares that a President’s real job is, “to the best of his/her Ability, to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Whether or not Mr. Obama has abided by the true standard will soon be revealed, with the Supreme Court’s ruling on Obamacare. However, when judged according to his self-contrived measure, based upon his job performance to-date, Mr. Obama’s policies actually ensure that future generations of Americans will have ‘no shot’.

In my post entitled, “Stimulus: How China Created 22.0 Million Jobs While Obama Squandered 3.3 Million,” I compared the goals of the Chinese government to those of the Obama Administration. The reason Mr. Obama’s stimulus plan fell short wasn’t because the federal government didn’t spend enough; China’s two-year stimulus package cost an estimated $595.4 billion, while the Obama Administration spent more than $830 billion. The main reason the Obama-Plan faltered was because it didn’t raise the bar high enough. You see, the Chinese government set a goal of reaching full employment, while the Obama Administration merely sought to create 3.5 million jobs, by January of 2011. The fact that Mr. Obama set a goal of creating just 3.5 million jobs, at a time when more than 15 million Americans were unemployed, is telling.

Mr. Obama’s employment policies haven’t lived up to his self-contrived ideal of what a President should do. If a President’s job is to “make sure everyone has a fair shot”, then why didn’t Mr. Obama make full employment his objective? Wouldn’t this have been more consistent with a ‘fair shot’, than squandering better than $830 billion to salvage a mere 3.5 million jobs, while leaving 11.5 million people on the sidelines, to make due on unemployment benefits, welfare and food stamps? Although his repeated use of the catchwords “fair shot” may play well in politicking, if he means that everyone should have an opportunity to participate in the economy, then Mr. Obama has failed.

According the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, since December of 2008, a month before his inauguration, the Civilian Labor Force has declined by 261,000 (from 154,626,000 in December of 2008, to 154,365,000 by April of 2012). See chart below.

During the same time-frame, the Working Age Population (Civilian Noninstitutional Population) grew by 7,749,000 (from 235,035,000 in December of 2008, to 242,784,000 by April of 2012). See chart below.

So while the Working Age Population has grown by nearly 8 million, during Mr. Obama’s term, the Labor Force has contracted by 261,000. Is the fact that nearly 8 million newly added Working Age Americans haven’t gotten a shot at participating in the economy, since Mr. Obama took the oath, consistent with his rhetoric? That depends on your definition of the catchphrase, “to make sure everyone has a fair shot”. Is ‘no shot’ synonymous with a ‘fair shot’?

To top it off, the Number of Working Americans (Employment Level) has declined by 1,463,000 during Mr. Obama’s term (from 143,328,000 in December of 2008, to 141,865,000 by April of 2012). See chart below.

Has Mr. Obama learned the lesson and since shifted his policies towards a goal of full employment? Not as far as we know. All we hear from him lately is that everyone should have a fair shot, pay their fair share of taxes, and play by the same rules, as if this hasn’t always been the case.

Aside from repetitious rhetoric, what grand policy is Mr. Obama now promoting to advance his goal of fairness? Will the act of raising taxes on millionaires, and everyone else for that matter, open up new opportunities for the next generation? If so, how does that work? Will offering tax credits to small business owners that hire more workers and pay them higher wages, while simultaneously raising their tax rates, do the trick? Not in my opinion (see Obama’s Economic Fallacy: The Not-To-Do List).

The Bottom Line: Since Mr. Obama believes that his job has been to “make sure everyone has a fair shot”, and since the Labor Force has declined by 261,000, while the Working Age Population has expanded by 7,749,000, and the number of Working Americans has fallen by 1,463,000, all since the beginning of his four-year reign, and since he has taken a pass on making full employment his goal, it may be concluded that what Mr. Obama really means by the expression, a fair shot, is “no shot”. However you slice it, Mr. Obama had his shot, and failed. He has no shot at reelection.


To Give Americans a “Fair Shot,” Obama Should Stop Violating Our Rights

Adventures in Politicking I : A President’s Job

* By: Larry Walker, Jr. *

“In America the President reigns for four years, and Journalism governs forever and ever.” ~ Oscar Wilde *

According to Barack Obama, the job of the President of the United States is to “make sure everyone has a fair shot.” However, according to Article II (Sections 1 – 3) of the United States Constitution, in which the job of the President is officially and clearly outlined, nowhere do we find such ‘verbage’. Therefore, it is unnecessary to try to figure out who’s included or excluded in ‘everyone’, and how fair a shot must be – before it becomes unfair. What a relief! So what’s the President’s real job?

According to the United States Constitution, a President’s main job is, to the best of his Ability, to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. The Executive Power is vested in a President of the United States primarily to act as Commander in Chief of the Military, to Read the opinions of the Principal Officers of each Executive Department, and to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

The Constitution also grants a President the power, with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, to appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the Supreme Court, and all Officers of the United States, although the Congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior Officers in the President alone, or in the Courts, or the Heads of Departments.

The President also has the power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.

Thus far, there’s no mention of making sure everyone has a fair shot. Has the current POTUS made enough nominations to to fill the growing number of judicial vacancies? No.

Other than the duties mentioned above, a President is commissioned by the Constitution to, from time to time, give to the Congress information on the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he may judge necessary and expedient.

I believe our forefathers meant that a President should give Congress the actual state of the Union, not just the part that improves his chances for reelection. And by making recommendations to Congress, I don’t think they meant publicly browbeating and demonizing those who might disagree.

The President may also, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both or either Houses of Congress, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper. The President is further directed to receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers. Finally, a President must take care that the Law is faithfully executed, and to Commission all the Officers of the United States.

Well, that’s it. Nothing here about making sure everyone has a fair shot.

Although Article II (Section 3) states that the President shall from time to time recommend for Congressional consideration, such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient, that’s not the same thing as roaming around the countryside espousing radical, partisan ideals about what he feels is fair and unfair. In fact, some would call Mr. Obama’s attempts to indoctrinate the most radical elements of the public to his personal philosophy, through making repetitious statements regarding his own notion of fairness, instead of listening to the Principal Officers of each Executive Department, and instead of making his recommendations directly to our elected Representatives, as outlined in the Constitution, many of whom express genuine concern over whether such ideals may lead our Nation to the brink of bankruptcy, akin to Treason.

In other words, instead of egging on the most radical members of the public, inciting many to violence, Mr. Obama should be talking with our Congressional Representatives and Senators. The act of advocating to the general public, a policy of raising taxes in the midst of a weak Global economy, based upon nothing more than his own personal beliefs, after having been warned of, and in spite of, the dire consequences which will surely follow, instead of doing his job as clearly outlined in the Constitution, should be treated as a Crime against the United States. This is precisely why Article II (Section 4) adds that the President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, may be removed from Office upon Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.


The job of the President of the United States is outlined in Article II of the U.S. Constitution. The President’s job is not to lecture the public as Professor in Chief, nor to make sure everyone has a fair shot, whatever that means. And to take it a step further, it really doesn’t matter whether a presidential candidate used to be a college professor, a community organizer, a State senator or Governor, or the Chief Executive Officer of a Private Equity Firm, what matters is whether he or she is capable of comprehending the duties of the Office, as outlined in the Constitution, and has the willingness and ability to carry them out.

The qualifications for being President of the United States are also found in Article II (Section 1). “No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.” That’s it.

Is Obama qualified to be President? Is Mitt Romney qualified? Are Ron Paul, Gary Johnson, and Tom Hoefling qualified? Your guess is as good as mine, however, this Election isn’t about qualifications any more than it’s about some eccentric job description pulled out of thin air. This Election is about whether or not Mr. Obama has fulfilled the official job of President, not his make-believe ideal, to the satisfaction of the majority of the American people. It’s about whether we the people want real change, or perhaps just a freaking break. The fact that Mr. Obama has no idea what his job is, after nearly three-and-a-half years of on-the-job training, says a lot.


Hope and Change on Ice


The United States Constitution

Voting Without Passion | 2012 Election

Thoughts from an Independent Fiscal Conservative –

– By: Larry Walker, Jr. –

“What kind of man did you go into the wilderness to see? Was he a weak reed, swayed by every breath of wind?” ~ Mathew 11:7 [New Living Translation]

You either live in a red state, or a blue state. You are either black, or you are white. You are either a millionaire, or you’re in the middle-class. You are either a Republican, or you’re a Democrat. You will either cast your vote for the Republican nominee, or for the Democratic nominee. There is no in-between; there are no other alternatives. So make your choice today. And if you have to hold your nose while voting, then hold your nose and choose between Red and Blue, because that is your patriotic duty. That’s pretty much the way things are, or at least the way some candidates, and propagandist media outlets would have us believe.

Now, back to earth – The truth is you can vote for anyone you want. You are not confined to choosing between the classic Red and Blue. There are literally dozens of people running for president, from Libertarians to Communists. Also, many have forgotten that having a legal right to vote, doesn’t mean one must vote. You have a legal right to drive a car, if you are of age, and secure the appropriate license and insurance, yet not everyone chooses to drive. Some people rely on taxis, limousines or public transportation. No one is forced to drive a car, but everyone has the right to drive. You also have God-given rights to get married, to have children, to buy a home or other property, but not everyone exercises these rights. Thus no person may compel another to vote. Neither are we limited to crawling into those little boxes that politicians and media propagandists have so allotted.

Passion – Each and every vote for a presidential candidate, for which there is no passion, is a waste of one’s legal right. If you are not passionate about a candidate, or a political party, and merely follow the dictates of a third-person, you have not really exercised your right. You might as well have stayed home. Last time I checked, refusing to vote isn’t a sin, but rather a vote against the establishment. I haven’t voted in every single presidential race, or in every single primary. For example, I didn’t vote in the 2008 presidential primary, because I felt no passion toward any of the candidates. I certainly felt nothing for John McCain (and still don’t), and although I felt a little something for Mike Huckabee, the bond wasn’t strong enough to compel me to the local precinct to show my support (although I nearly did).

I did vote in the 2008 presidential race, but my vote was cast more against one candidate than for the other. In other words, I wanted to send a message that I was against the blue party, but I wasn’t really for the red party. Then as today, I feel as though my 2008 presidential vote was merely thrown away. In retrospect, I wish I would have turned my back on the status quo, and supported a third-party candidate. But that was then, and this is now.

“Pathos (Greek for ‘suffering’ or ‘experience’) is often associated with emotional appeal. But a better equivalent might be ‘appeal to the audience’s sympathies and imagination.’ An appeal to pathos causes an audience not just to respond emotionally but to identify with the [candidate’s] point of view–to feel what the [candidate] feels. In this sense, pathos evokes a meaning implicit in the verb ‘to suffer’–to feel pain imaginatively….

Perhaps the most common way of conveying a pathetic appeal is through narrative or story, which can turn the abstractions of logic into something palpable and present. The values, beliefs, and understandings of the [candidate] are implicit in the story and conveyed imaginatively to the [voter]. Pathos thus refers to both the emotional and the imaginative impact of the message on an audience, the power with which the [candidate’s] message moves the audience to decision or action.” ~ Derived from: Ramage, John D. and John C. Bean. Writing Arguments. 4th Edition. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon, 1998, 81-82.

Independent – Since I come from a family of left-leaning independents, having been reared as a free-thinker meant I had to find my own way in the political arena. My parents never attempted to influence my political views. At the age of 20, my very first vote in a presidential race was for Ronald Reagan. I didn’t vote for Reagan because he represented a particular political party (I could have cared less about all that at the time), but rather because I heard the man speak, and I was touched by the emotional and the imaginative impact of his message. In fact, I was inspired enough to change my college major to political science (although it would later change), which led to my interviewing local politicians and working as a volunteer at a local voting precinct.

So how in the world was Ronald Wilson Reagan ever able to reach out and touch a 20-year old black male, from North-Central California, who was dropping in and out of Junior College, and on his way to a life of despair? For me, pathos is the critical element, and it trumps the old red or blue, black or white, rich or poor, Republican or Democratic rhetoric in any era. If your message isn’t transcending political ideology, or if you’re still trying to convince the public as to why you’re qualified to hold office, you really don’t have a message, so perhaps you should do us all a favor and just drop out.

Since I officially quit the Republican Party in 2007, I have been a free-agent when it comes to politics. I can vote for whomever I please. I am not bound by the strings of media propagandists. I can vote for anyone who is on the ballot, or any qualified write-in candidate. Nobody will tell me who to vote for, and no one will constrain me from casting my vote for the candidate or party of my choosing. I am free, I am independent, and I will vote, or not vote, according to my conscience. I hope you will do the same.

Clueless? – For the political class, passion is achieved through persuasion, by appealing to voter’s emotions. It’s not just about ethos, and logos. So you are credible. So you can make a logical argument. Big deal! Yet you have not persuaded independents, such as me, because you have failed to connect with my sympathies and imagination. What we have today is a president who lacks logic and credibility, but who can win on passion, versus a group of candidates, strong in the former, but woefully lacking in the latter. Thus I may vote in the 2012 presidential race, or I may sit this one out, or perhaps I will send a message this time, by throwing my support to a third-party candidate. I’m not sure about that yet, but one thing that I am sure of is that until I hear a message which fires on all three cylinders, I will not enter into the wilderness, but will rather work to expose every weak reed, swayed by every breath of wind.