Ivan W. Parkins
To order Dr. Parkins book,
Perspectives For American Society
©Ivan W. Parkins 2009, All articles, text, web pages property of Ivan W. Parkins. Use of any material requires permission of the
author and can be obtained by contacting, firstname.lastname@example.org
About Ivan W. Parkins:
Dr. Parkins is a retired professor of Political Science from Central Michigan University. He received his PhD from the University of Chicago and is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy. Dr. Parkins served as a naval officer during WWII aboard the battleship Alabama. He is a recent widower with three daughters, 3 grand children and 2 great grand children. Dr. Parkins has written extensively, having authored 3 books and a newspaper opinion column for many years.
Inside This Issue
THE HONDURAS AFFAIR
DOES THE ADMINISTRATION REALLY
By Ivan W. Parkins
Rarely, if ever, has an Administration of the United States demonstrated so little appreciation of what constitutional democracy means as both the President and the Secretary of State did recently regarding events in Honduras. It only deepens the question of their wisdom when we note that both have extensive legal back grounds. Yes, President Zelaya had been duly elected, but he was seeking, illegally, to force a plebiscite that would likely extend his rule.
Even allowing for the embarrassment of President Zelaya’s undignified deportation in the hands of the military, the legislative and judicial heads of Honduran government acted, in a constitutional sense, far more appropriately than either Zelaya or our own top executives did.
No doubt the incident is a major thorn in the side of our own Administration, considering that we are trying to oversee pending elections in two nascent constitutional democracies. Still, such a display of low regard for “constitutionalism” as opposed to “democracy” is not helpful.
For more than two millennia political thought has featured mob rule as the demise of democracy. The Constitution of the United States has become an international symbol of how democracy can be tamed from its wilder past excesses.
Now, and here at home, the Obama Administration’s haste in seeking vast new “entitlements” without clear public information and acceptance of how they are likely to weigh upon the future of America’s constitutional democracy projects questions about legality. Those questions can only be hardened by the Administration’s reaction to the Zelaya affair.
All of the above would be much less compelling if it did not follow more than forty years of political turmoil and confusion regarding the Constitution of the United States.
Since at least 1968, the difference between a “people’s government” and constitutional democracy has been confused, especially by the “liberal” Democrats and the “mainstream media” of Estados Unides del Norte.
Real constitutionalism defines the offices of government and their powers, plus rights of the people, and requires previously devised and specific measures, usually some special election(s), in order to make changes.
Zelaya of Honduras was attempting a coup d etat by means of illegal elections; the other branches opposed and thwarted him. Our President and Secretary of State displayed their ignorance of constitutional democracy by coming to the aid of Zelaya.
Actually, all of this, in both the United States and Honduras, is a major illustration of how much very rapid communication and mass media are altering the dynamics of our traditional constitutional democratic government.
By Ivan W. Parkins
This is a reprint from march of this year under a different title, “We Have a New Administration”
President Obama has survived his first 100 days in the Presidency for which his experience had prepared him so meagerly. Even the “empty suit” that Democrats nominated four years earlier had had more “real world” experience. As a community organizer and advocate Obama had served effectively in one significant, but quite limited, sector of America’s public life. His broader public service was exceptionally brief and undistinguished for a presidential candidate.
For a national leader faced with economic panic, charisma, action, and hope are especially important. Obama has excelled handsomely in all of those. But now, as panic subsides, where do we go from here? The Obama Administration’s approach is “Don’t waste the panic (or chaos).” To me, that appears to be nearly the opposite of what is needed.
For instance, the idea that we can enhance America’s international reputation by curbing our military is likely to become one of the great jokes of future world history. It will almost certainly be juxtaposed at some point to the widely known, but largely unpublicized, facts that “benevolent” America had been mainly responsible for denying a life protecting chemical to millions of the world’s poorest people, mostly blacks. That America’s First Black President would permit the resulting genocide to continue will astound even our critics. That carnage may already have exceeded the total fatalities that can be attributed to our military throughout American history.
Of course, restraining President Obama is the fact that some of the political elements to which he is most indebted, quasi-religious people and organizations, are the prime originators and supporters of the genocide. Is it to obscure the lethality of ill-considered “liberalism” that so many of our self designated paladins concentrate their demands for more disclosures upon our intelligence and military operations?
Extreme domestic experiments, and programs initiated quickly on a grand scale without much experimental basis, plus the huge costs of new “entitlements,” are not likely to speed our economic recovery. They may relieve some of the pent up frustrations of “liberal” political elements.
(Note: I place the term liberal in quotes to suggest that I think it is usually misapplied, as a designation for what are really reactionary, i.e. left-wing and ideologically based, politics.)
Or has the so called “progressivism” pushed by the
Democrat’s new elite of the 1970’s led us down the wrong path?
This is a reprint from March of this year.
By Ivan W. Parkins
By the early 1960s major and significant political changes regarding race and equal representation were already mandated by the U.S. Supreme Court. The public school decisions of 1954 and 1955 were, as anyone then teaching American Constitutional Law could see, little more than a gravestone for the already nearly buried “separation in public facilities can be equal” doctrine. Several earlier, but more limited, decisions made that outcome virtually certain. Then, in Baker v. Carr, 1962, the Court extended it’s own jurisdiction in a direction, unequal and gerrymandered districting, that assured greater equality in voting for representatives.
The elections of 1960 would, as David Pietrusza notes in his recent book on that subject, shape the Presidency for nearly two decades. In 1960, however, all of the top contenders were identified mainly with the old system, in both the sources of their strength and the major issues. That alignment would not be seriously threatened until 1968, or changed until the 1970s.
But, the bitter conflict in Chicago in 1968, and Nixon’s record setting popular plurality in 1972: followed, as they were by that President’s forced resignation, suggest something closely akin to a coup. The Democrat’s push floundered in the late 1970s. It was substantially reversed by the twelve years (1981-92) of Reagan/ Bush leadership. One thing that persisted throughout was control of the House of Representatives by substantial to huge Democrat majorities.
The Democrat majorities in the House, combined with Senate majorities throughout the late 1970s, enacted several measures of a new “progressivism” that are of major significance to our politics, even now. They repeatedly cut in half our aide to S. Vietnam and forced our withdrawal from there; they supported a ban on DDT; they passed the Communities Reinvestment Act (early source of our present economic crisis); they restricted our intelligence and our military services; and they assumed for themselves a greater role in the nation’s budgeting process.
Meanwhile, prominent academics, previously great admirers of executive leadership (under Democrat Presidents), became sworn enemies of ‘The Imperial Presidency’ once that office fell into the hands of leaders less friendly to academic political aspirations. Harvard Law supplied most of the key players in the legal case against President Nixon; Yale Law supplied the Clintons; Harvard
By Ivan W. Parkins
A key to major legal cases against high political figures is how the official charges are defined. The House Committee on the Judiciary carefully drafted charges to limit relative evidence in the case against President Nixon to the 1972 election, thus excluding what previous Presidents had done. A careful prosecutor ordered an aide to collect evidence from previous Presidencies. When Hillary Rodham came up with a report documenting numerous examples of similar irregularities, he ordered her to get rid of it.
For the Clinton impeachment, the Judiciary Committee excluded possible charges of illegal campaign donations (Chinese) and of illegal citizenship grants, for both of which there was documentary evidence. Clinton was charged only with perjury and obstructing justice derived from his “private” dalliances.
“Scooter” Libby was convicted of giving false testimony to an investigator in a matter that was already known to have been misreported, and not actually criminal.
Democrat committee chairmen, in both House and Senate, are promising us more political “justice” soon. 2/10/09
DOES THIS ADMINISTRATION BELIEVE IN OUR
The following series of articles are related to this administration’s purposively misguided policy interpretations of our constitutional democracy.
Letter to the Editor:
THE ATANTA JOURNAL
AND CONSTITUTION, 1/11/87
By Ivan W. Parkins
Concern for the Presidency deserves priority over concern for Ronald Reagan, as Bill Shipp’s Dec. 26 column suggests. However, my concern for the Presidency first became critical when Lyndon Johnson was being hounded from office in 1968.
I was reassured by the vigorous leadership of Richard Nixon and by his record plurality in 1972. We all know the outcome of that.
Ronald Reagan has been a significant President because of his capacity to win and retain a large popular following and because of his success in imparting a spirit of hope and direction to America. Much more than his personality and reputation is at stake.
If, within one generation, a third President of the United States is driven into oblivion not long after winning a landslide confirmation of his leadership, I will regard that as the greatest repudiation of constitutional democracy in history.