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.
On the Inside
In This Issue: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
-The Earth Temperature Debate….And Trap
-The Surge in Afghanistan
-Did You Know?, Parkins Points to Ponder
-Partisan Advantage and Debate in the Senate
-Atmospheric Changes: Politics and Science
DID YOU KNOW?
Parkins Points to Ponder
Ivan W. Parkins Dec. 9, 2009
….. According to Wikipedia, a March 2009 atmospheric measure of CO² showed 387 parts per million (p.p.m). At 10,000 p.p.m. people get drowsy. At 70,000 to 100,000 they get ill or die. 10,000 p.p.m. can be reached in a poorly ventilated auditorium.
…. 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?
THE SURGE IN AFGHANISTAN
By Ivan W. Parkins
Thanks to President Obama, and to some bipartisanship, our considerable efforts so far to bring stability in a very dangerous portion of the world will continue. Unfortunately, the presence of a vigorous anti-war element in this country, plus a much older and recently revitalized reactionary element among Muslims, does not suggest an early or comprehensive success is likely. The Western World, and America as its vital center, faces difficult times.
For a serious, but not especially reassuring, view of recent Afghan history, see David Loyn’s IN AFGHANISTAN. Loyn notes that, in the last half of the nineteenth century, Britain attempted to control there with 60 military expeditions. Meanwhile, it took 23 “surges” to manage India and 15 in the rest of the Empire.
And, the real center of danger to further progress towards a planet that is more civil and sustaining to a vigorous and varied humanity may be Iran! Iran is more populous than Iraq or Afghanistan (about equal to both). It is also more highly developed industrially and militarily. And, it is doing a lot to aid terrorism throughout the region.
The President’s speech accepting his Nobel Prize should be a clarion call to reason for both Europe and some of ourselves. Americans should, and have, granted Europe some time of funk. Her suffering in the two great wars of the early twentieth century was unlike any that we have undergone unless in our Civil War of the previous century. They have rebounded remarkably, with some help from us. It is now time for them to recognize that in this real world there is a vast difference between maintaining the peace and not engaging in any violence.
General Richard Myers, who took over as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff only a few days after 9/11 (a previously arranged succession), has recently published his autobiography, emphasizing the specific wars and other hurdles he encountered in route to the top of our military. In his EYES ON THE HORIZON he notes of the Tora Bora incident that “Just as in Bosnia, hunting for individuals was a very difficult task.” Those who make too much of our failure to get Osama bin Laden should be reminded that the two top Serb war criminals, in Europe, evaded capture for many years.
THE EARTH TEMPERATURE
DEBATE ….AND TRAP
By Ivan W. Parkins
The real trap in the earth temperature debate is not whether our environments are warming or cooling, but how much and why. We know that the earth does warm and cool, and does so in ways that vary over time. The key view of those who advocate quick and radical reductions of man’s uses of carbon fuels is that man has been the chief cause of recent warming.
In the late twentieth century we were being assured a “scientific consensus” had determined that a rapid warming was occurring, and that it paralleled man’s rapidly increasing consumption of carbon fuels. But some temperature observations in the twenty-first century do not support that.
Now, it is becoming clear that the widely claimed consensus did not exist. Furthermore, much of the impetus for the earth warming claim may have been fueled by large public appropriations that “warmed” the enthusiasm of the alarmists. Some of those people were apparently unscientific enough to fudge their own data and to try suppressing contrary scientific work. The human taste for fame and fortune seems not to be limited to entertainers, capitalists and politicians.
If the temperatures of the earth are now ceasing to warm (after a decade of unparalleled carbon outputs by man) it does not disprove the theory that man’s actions may affect earth’s temperatures; it does provide strong reason to doubt that man’s actions are a major factor in atmospheric temperature variations worldwide.
ATMOSPHERIC CHANGES: POLITICS AND SCIENCE
By Ivan W. Parkins
This is a reprint from July 10, 2009 issue 15
Understanding our problems regarding atmospheric changes is greatly complicated by the vigorous participation of political action groups. That seems especially unfortunate when one notes that similar political participation produced the hasty and extreme measure of banning DDT. And that led to what may be the most horrendous and unnecessary sacrifice of human lives in the history of mankind.
The evidence regarding atmospheric dangers is greater, and the dangers more widely shared by all of us. Fortunately, Asians seeking economic growth are less willing to accept remedies advocated by “more sophisticated” Westerners than Africans were to accept the DDT ban. Furthermore, the evidence regarding atmospheric problems is vastly more convoluted than that regarding DDT.
Even allowing for its many currents and eddies, it is simplistic to think of one atmosphere serving the world. Yes, some poisoning of it should be a concern to all of us. But, many of the most intense problems are largely man-made, and local in effects. When it comes to broader problems of temperature and CO2, we all share in them even when we breathe. But, there are many reasons to question how significant man’s share is as compared to variations in the Sun’s emissions, variations in the orbit of the Earth, and emissions from the Earth’s interior.
Most of the evidence offered by scientists regarding atmospheric warming and cooling is true. Our problem is that it is also fragmentary and contradictory. There are actually dozens of factors contributing to cooling/warming of the Earth and their comparative importance is often unclear. For instance, how significant are the mostly unexplored seepages and eruptions from Earth’s core that occur deep within the oceans? The numerous geological and biological evidences of time cycles in atmospheric conditions are significant, but overlapping and not very precise as guides to our future.
We need to study environmental conditions. We need, also, to minimize the special interest politics of our conclusions and responses. Let’s at least keep the costs of atmospheric politics below that of major wars, the thing that those who obtained the ban on DDT failed to do. I.W. Parkins 070809
DEBATE IN THE U.S. SENATE
By Ivan W. Parkins
Under cloture, the Senate rule requiring 60 votes to close off debate, the Democrat Party has had the advantage.
Under FDR, five Congresses, for 10 years, the President had a majority of more than twenty Democratic votes, not always loyal but partisan.
Democrats held a similar advantage in the Senate during Republican President Eisenhower’s last 2 years, and for 8 additional years under JFK and LBJ. Also, for 4 years that ended Republican President Nixon’s tenure and included the first part of Democrat President Carter’s term.
Now Democrats must struggle to keep partisans in line, and hold two independent votes in order to reach the magic number of 60.
Republican’s? No Republican President in more than seventy-five years has had such an advantage!
REVISED: I failed in the above piece to allow for the change in the Senate's cloture rule, made in 1975 (after Nixon's resignation). As a consequence my computations of Democrat advantages prior to that
Democrats 24 years, Republicans 0.
I.W. Parkins, 2/20/10