About Ivan W. Parkins

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Front Page


Front Page

· Disassemble the House

· The Political Long View

· Media Bias

· Book Reviews

· War and Their Costs

· Broken Congress

· Dividing America

· Dividing America, Part two

· Disinform., Liberal Ideology

· The Supreme Court /Judiciary

· Environmentalism

· The Presidency, Part One

· The Presidency, Part Two

· Failure of the People’s House

· The Republic in Danger

2010 Archive

2009 Archive

2008 Archive

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 Perspectives For American Society  

In This Issue:


JULY 4, 2010

This issue is dedicated to all those who served  in

establishing, preserving and protecting our Great

Republic throughout our 234 year history.

¨ This Independence Day?

¨ Courage and Consequence, a commentary on Karl Rove’s  new book

¨ The Supreme Court and It’s Innovations

¨ The BP Gulf oil leak



By Ivan W. Parkins

     Should the Supreme Court of the United States adhere strictly to an “originalist” interpretation of the Constitution, or may the Court adapt constitutional language to historical trends?


     If one compares closely what was probably the greatest Supreme Court decision of the twentieth century, Brown v. Board of Education, cited in some arguments for a more “liberal” approach, I believe that he will see that the Warren Court’s holding differed little from Justice Brown’s holding in1896 regarding the Constitution.  Brown said that the Constitution, Fourteenth Amendment, requires “absolutely equal treatment” of the races in public facilities.  The difference between the two was not on the constitutional language but on what, in fact, is equal treatment.  The old decision was that separate facilities could be equal; the newer decision is that they are not equal. Even if the words of law are seen to be unchanging, the facts to which they apply may change.


     The growth and mobility of our population and industry have certainly changed.  John Marshall’s original holding in Gibbons v. Ogden that “commerce among the states” meant that commerce that affects more states than one seems logical enough.  But, facts are certainly changing when mortgages that are issued by private banks under state laws become “toxic” and disruptive to national and world-wide finance.  Actually, many of those mortgages were granted by banks under federal pressure to extend credit to previously unqualified applicants.


     The Supreme Court’s great decisions on racial equality (1950s) and on equal legislative districting (a few years later) did represent some extensions of its authority.  However, they were also major advances in popular sovereignty that the Congress had, for decades, failed to act upon.  And they soon received the approval of most of the public.  In those cases, I believe that the Court honored the most basic of our constitutional principals, popular sovereignty.


     There is good historical ground for believing that major Supreme Court decisions of the period prior to World War II, when they conflicted sharply with actions of the elective branches, were soon overcome by popular politics.  Apparently, that is now less true.  One of the baldest evidences more recent thinking is the statement of the late Justice Thurgood Marshall that he was only doing what the people would do if they knew what he knew. I remarked to my class in Constitutional Law at the time that the reasoning was remarkably similar to some by the  “Fuehrer” Adolph Hitler.


      Increasingly, we are faced with “entitlements” that alter the capacity of newly elected Congresses to make policy and with judicial references to foreign political entities as authoritative.  Such things are good reasons to fear that an articulate minority of Americans, strongly entrenched in the information media and some times successful in elections, will work with the Judiciary to limit the effectiveness of our Constitution’s most fundamental principal.  That principal is popular sovereignty.


The current Supreme Court nominee, Elena Kagan has expressed her admiration of the Justice for whom she clerked, Thurgood Marshall.  Marshall was certainly a great advocate, and significantly responsible for our ending racial segregation, but his performance on the Supreme Court raises question of whether he made a real transition from advocate to jurist.  Do we need more advocates such as Marshall and Kagan serving on the court?


By Ivan W. Parkins



We owe much of what America has become to our independence.  Ideas such as the rule of law and popular sovereignty were gaining popularity in England and Europe, but there they were much impeded by social and political institutions that had developed centuries earlier.  Here, vast natural wealth and rapidly growing population, of varied origins, escaped much of the Old World’s restraints.  Especially in economic matters, we enjoyed greater freedom.


Our most urgent political issues today concern whether or not we should hastily adopt  much of the economic system that countries from which most of us originated now have.  As the recent G-8 meeting has disclosed, there is a movement by most of the members away from those kinds of socialist economic policies that they have used in the past to a more independent market economy much like  what ours has been.



A commentary on

Karl Rove’s new book


By Ivan W. Parkins


Karl Rove’s book, title above, was for me both heartening and discouraging.  It reassured me that my views of recent politics have not been far off, and it deepened my concern for America.


             Rove’s picture of his early life is one of perseverance under less than desirable circumstances.  Early on, in high school, he became addicted to political history and campaign management.  He pursued those things in a variety of ways, including as an aide to G.H.W. Bush, then Chairman of the Republican National Committee, and as  owner of a direct mail firm that served many individuals, of both parties, nationwide.

             Rove’s real importance begins with his managing of George W. Bush’s 1994 campaign to unseat popular Democrat Governor of Texas, Ann Richards.  One measure of that unlikely success was that soon afterwards the Democrat chairman of a powerful legislative committee remarked that he had just spent more time discussing Texas problems with the Governor-elect than he had spent in four years with the out-going Democrat governor.

             The presidential election of 2000 is one that I believe I remember well, and Rove’s account reassures me besides adding details.  Among those details were the several calls by major news media of a Gore victory before polls had closed.  Rove contends that they cut Republican turnout, and popular vote totals.  He also reminds us that all actual counts, including later reviews by major media, ended in Bush victories, albeit narrow ones.

             The unusual role of the U.S. Supreme Court, often derided and characterized by Democrats as 5-4, was actually 9-0 to begin.  The nation’s top court merely asked the Florida Supreme Court for the basis of that court’s jurisdiction.  There was none, and the Florida court did not respond.  Then, more specifically and by 7-2, the U.S. Supreme Court informed the Florida court that neither U.S. nor Florida law provided such jurisdiction.  When the Florida court persisted, the United States Supreme Court ordered it, by 5-4, to get out of the election controversy.  Only the gross bias of much of our major media could have enabled the Democrats to sustain a hate Bush campaign on that issue.

             Among statistical facts that Rove offers is the calculation that between 2000 and 2008 the American economy grew by 4.5 trillion, and amount larger than the entire Japanese economy (page 236).  He also quotes balloting authorizing the war in Iraq; at more than 2-1 in our House, 3-1 in our Senate, and 15-0 in the UN Security council (pages 303-4).  He refers to the charge that Bush lied about WMDs as “a bald-faced lie” (page332), and he offers a detailed account.

             What shocked me most in Rove’s account was not the lie or the Wilson/Plame hoax to prolong it, but Rove’s details of the three year long battle and financial burden imposed upon himself by Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald’s demands that he answer repeated and innumerable questions, several times before grand juries, about details selected from his thousands of conversations with hundreds of officials and journalists.  Rove was cleared in the end; another Bush Administration aide, Libby, was not.  And there was no original crime, only some failure to respond properly to a meaningless investigation.

             Rove dedicates his book’s title, Courage and Consequences, to George W. Bush.  It seems to me that it applies no less appropriately to Rove himself. And, I believe that it is likely to become an American historical classic, hedging only on the bet that we continue to have such things.

BP’s Gulf Oil Leak

The Containment

Issue and resulting

Misleading Reports


By Ivan W. Parkins


Two critical portions of the BP disaster in the Gulf might have been reduced by a relatively simple and inexpensive precaution.


In that spill there was first an uncontrollable fire, followed by the collapse of the drilling platform.  That created the need for reestablishing control of the drill pipe in very deep water.  Advance provision for buoying and cutting the pipe just below the Gulf’s surface would have halted fuel to the fire and provided a better environment for regaining control of the pipe and emissions.  It might also have saved the platform.



Media reporting of British Petroleum’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico leaves me more perplexed than satisfied.  That is particularly true regarding the size of strike that should have been expected.


The 55,000 barrels a day estimates being used recently are about five times as large as the averages for major producing wells so far as I can find.


In 2007 thirty-one American states produced oil.  Michigan, where I live, was number seventeen.  This one well in the Gulf might displace Michigan’s entire production of oil.  How much of the confusion on all sides stems from the size of this strike compared to others?   If it is controlled, will we soon be envying those, now beleaguered, Gulf Coast residents their “black gold” bonanza?


Obtained from Wikipedia


Elena Kagan http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/91/Kaganinherownwords.png/225px-Kaganinherownwords.png


45th Solicitor General of the United States


Incumbent Assumed office 
March 19, 2009

President Barack Obama

Preceded by Gregory Garre


11th Dean of Harvard Law School

In office
July 1, 2003 – March 19, 2009

Preceded by Robert Clark

 Succeeded by Martha Minow


Born April 28, 1960 (1960-04-28) (age 50)[1]
New York City, New York
United States

Alma mater Princeton University
Worcester College, Oxford
Harvard Law School


 Religion Conservative Judaism[2