Ivan W. Parkins
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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.
In This Issue: Happy Thanksgiving
-Did You Know?, Parkins Points to Ponder
-Representatives, Partisanship and Budgets
-Revolution in America, Healthcare!!
-Road to Chaos
DID YOU KNOW?
Parkins Points to Ponder
By Ivan W. Parkins
…. The great post-WWII spy scare ( referred to as McCarthyism) was not a wild exaggeration. The actual Soviet penetrations of America’s secrets, and their facilitation by Americans of communist belief or sympathy, actually exceeded the official investigations and prosecutions. Many persons who were “cleared” were actually guilty and many who were guilty, were never identified.
…. “The Youth Movement” of the 1960’s and 1970’s actually generated here at home an increased rate of death among youths, while the rates of other age groups were falling. Many deaths in that increase were violent, and their numbers totaled more than those from our military combat abroad.
….. At the time that Congress ordered a halt to all financial, air, and military equipment support to our allies in South Vietnam, it appeared the South Vietnamese were successfully and willingly holding off the attacks of the Communists, without support from American ground forces.
….Both of the major presidential impeachment efforts of recent Congresses, Nixon’s and Clinton’s, were subsequently denounced as improper in books by the Chief Investigative Counsels chosen by the House Judiciary Committees to pursue them—and those Chief Investigators were both Democrats. In Nixon’s case the charges were drawn by the Judiciary Committee in such a way as to exclude evidence of any similar behaviors by earlier Presidents; in Clinton’s case they were drawn so as to exclude Clinton’s most obviously official and illegal acts, grants of citizenship to persons not eligible and severe campaign finance violations.
….. Since the Korean War, the trend of military spending, as a portion of this nation’s gross domestic product , has been downward to a little less than half of what it was in 1951-52. Meanwhile, spending for education, health, and other welfare have all taken increasing portions, and together have taken much more than spending for defense.
…..One hasty act of the Environmental Protection Agency, joining with the World Health Organization in the ban on DDT, resulted in more deaths (of Blacks from malaria) than all the deaths from all ethic conflicts and American military engagements in our nation’s history.
. . . . . . . .
Were any of the above episodes the choices of an American public who were well served by the educational, journalistic, and representative institutions of our nation?
PARTISANSHIP AND BUDGETS
This is a reprint from Sept. 22, 2009
By Ivan W. Parkins
If you doubt that, for about 80% of the time that even our oldest citizens remember, Democrats have dominated the House of Representatives, or that their majorities in the House have been, on average about 4 times larger than Republican majorities of that period, please check some of the many available records.
So, how does a President, when he is faced with a large opposition party majority in the House, accomplish the things that he believes he must do? He accepts compromises, and that with modern day Democrats usually means spending, and taxes, for things that the Republican President opposes at least in the present budget year. That has been the fate of every recent Republican President throughout much, or all, of his administration.
One of the first things that Congress did after forcing President Nixon out was to vote itself a larger role in the process of budgeting—and taxation.
President Ford, advised by his medical experts that a very dangerous flu season was coming, approved expenditures and legal protections to assure adequate flu vaccine. In order to get that, he had to approve a bill that also included a larger expenditure for job training which he had recently vetoed.
President G.H.W. Bush, trying to counter Saddam Hussein’s seizure of Kuwait, was faced with Democrat resistance, not only to war, but to enacting the annual budget without substantial increases of social spending and taxes. Bush gave up his “no new taxes” pledge, won the Gulf War, and lost his chance to be reelected.
Representation of at least, some people, arose from medieval traditions, especially England’s. Kings, in need of more money looked for ways to raise taxes with less public resistance. They granted, to at least some of their more prosperous subjects, a voice in taxation issues.
Our Constitution goes considerably farther. It provides for a House of Representatives first among the several branches. And it further requires that “All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; . . .” The Constitution also provides, and practice has enlarged, roles of the other branches. But, in evaluating how our political parties have managed finances in recent times, it is important to take notice of which party has held majorities in the House and how large those majorities were over what periods of time. Most people will, I believe find, as I have recently, that partisan advantages of Democrats in the makeup of the House of Representatives have been even larger than I had noticed.
The last House majority of Republicans as large as 100 votes was the one that greeted Herbert Hoover following his election in 1928. FDR’s first five House majorities were: 194, 219, 246, 93, and 105. The next best Republican majority in the House was the one of the 80th Congress, 57 votes. It was lambasted and ended by Truman in the elections of 1948. Eisenhower entered office with a House Republican majority of 10 votes; he was the last Republican President to hold any House majority until 2000. In his last two years Eisenhower faced a Democrat majority of 130 in the House. But let’s get beyond the Great Depression, New Deal, and World War II, and the period of their aftermaths
About half a century ago President Kennedy entered office, along with a House of Representatives in which the Democrats had an 89 vote majority. That majority was just about the average of those the Democrats have enjoyed for 38 of the following 50 years. In that period Democrats had six House majorities of 100 or more. Meanwhile, during the Clinton and Bush Administrations there were 12 years of Republican majorities in the House, but they averaged only about 20 votes. The net result, if we make a combination of years and sizes of majorities, is to give Democrats in the House an advantage of about fourteen to one over Republicans in shaping the nation’s budgets during the past half century.
Shouldn’t the above conditions count in assessing the comparative spending habits of Democrat and Republican Administrations? All of the above is very much a matter of public record. Too little of it has been given much notice by our “old mainstream
REVOLUTION IN AMERICA?
And it is occurring right in our own Congress. Healthcare!!
This is a reprint from June 21, 2009
By Ivan W. Parkins
What we are witnessing, and many Americans find confusing, is a major stage of revolution in America. Whether this is to further, perhaps to cement, revolutionary change or to fade into something more compromising and consistent with our past, is yet to be determined.
President Obama has developed for himself a remarkably attractive personality and manner. But, on “the greatest” political stage he often seems to follow a script that has been written elsewhere, and one that is both disturbing and dangerous to America. Certainly there were evidences of this before his election. But far too many of those whose job it is to reveal such matters to the public share with Obama most of his disturbing and dangerous political attitudes.
To take just the policy issue most salient at the moment, health care is deserving of prime consideration. But, the nationalization of an increasing portion of health finance appears to be counter-indicated by most of the evidence at home and abroad. Our existing government programs are already operating “on borrowed time” by most financial indications. Other advanced nations, with greater health care roles, are having severe and increasing difficulties. Nothing that this new Administration has reported so far suggests that it has really incorporated new or especially constructive research into its proposals.
On the contrary, what is probably the most wasteful, and dangerous, aspect of our health care, is also a major source of campaign revenue for Democrats who now press for health care reform. (I was drafting this as President Obama was addressing the
American Medical Association. If he does act vigorously in this matter, I will need to apologize.) Excessive, and too often corrupt, tort proceedings utilize the complex variations in how individuals respond to medications and treatments. That, plus the limited comprehension of medical science and the often sympathetic reactions of jurors to individuals who are ailing, enables trial lawyers to extract vast “booty” from the health care industry.
First, among those who profit from the above practice, are the trial lawyers; they are followed by various coconspirators. Among the latter are dishonest medical practitioners and other witnesses. Not least among beneficiaries have been the judges and politicians who maintain or make the rulings and laws that facilitate such practices. The few huge damage awards that are widely publicized are only the tip of the iceberg. Many more, and often not small, cases are settled out of court. Physicians and others of the medical professions pay high insurance premiums to protect themselves. They also prescribe expensive tests, often mainly for their own protection. And defense attorneys seldom work for free.
Worthy of emphasis in all of this is the fact that both gross bribery, and the more widely accepted practice of politicians allowing their legal rulings and legislation to be tipped by the campaign contributions they receive, are both essential to its continuation at any but a tiny fraction of the level now prevailing.
When this Democrat Administration can act decisively to remedy such health care related tort abuses, perhaps it will be able to deal with such practices in other parts of our economy. That would weaken substantially my charge that what we are really facing is not mere reform, but revolution. I.W. Parkins 061908
Road to Chaos
This is reprint from June, 2009
By Ivan W. Parkins
It takes a bizarre partisanship for the majority of 110th. Congress to suppose that their modest victory (in an election attended by nearly 30 million fewer American voters than elected the 109th. (Two years earlier) mandates major changes in the nations direction. The evidence suggests more clearly that many Americans are alienated and confused about how their government does, or does not, work.
Congress has come to believe that oversight of the Executive and Judicial Branches is it’s most important function. And, the resulting conflicts do win media attention. Meanwhile, Congress focuses too little of its attention on providing our country with effective laws for dealing with immigration, energy needs, etc. Even more significantly, Congress fails to approve timely, manageable, and “clean” budgets. If the United States is to survive and to prosper, it cannot afford a Legislative Branch that neglects its own primary, and most constructive, powers while it interferes in time-consuming and other damaging ways with the Executive and Judicial Branches.
No simple reform will remedy what has become a systemic and institutional failure of Congress. The problem extends beyond the short comings of individual members and practices. Congress must be reconstituted to be both closer to the American people and more respectful of the other branches. Anything less is just more pavement on the road to chaos. See Disassemble the House
On the Inside