About Ivan W. Parkins


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Front Page

In This Issue: 

· A Climax in the new American Revolution!

· What Have the People Noticed?

· Dangerous Horizons?

· A Matter of Rules   




By Ivan W. Parkins


This past weekend the firing of Juan Williams by National Public Radio and the release of 400,000 pages of highly classified documents by a hacker provided further illustrations of the “gulf” into which we are sinking.  Neither was an act of our government, but is there any reason to doubt which of our political parties is most likely to seek real remedies for such behavior? 


Obviously, Americans are much aroused.  But, the immediate crisis has roots that should help voters to make decisions about our future.


The elections of 1960 were close, contentious, and corrupt.  They were, however, between long established political elements.  And the winner with his chief primary opponent formed a shaky alliance in the Executive Branch.  Thus, when an assassin, a would-be communist loner, removed JFK he left us with LBJ.  And, at first, in his predecessor’s name, President Johnson expanded greatly upon war and social changes.


1968 was when the American Left really began to show its fangs.  It forced Johnson out and defeated his designated successor, leaving a Republican, Nixon, in charge, but with a heavily Democrat Congress.  Nixon made little effort to curb welfare spending; in fact it increased.  He did use the Executive Branch’s constitutional primacy in foreign and military matters to take vigorous charge of the War in Vietnam.  That was not what the Democrat Congress wanted, but the American people reelected Nixon by a record majority.  Congress continued in Democrat hands, and with some Republican complicity, they forced Nixon out.


The next several years, with a weak Executive Branch and large Democrat majorities in Congress, provided us some pretty wild preliminaries to the present fiscal, housing, and energy crises.  The public voted for change, i.e. for twelve years of Ronald Reagan and the first George Bush.  (Was that change really backward, as some Democrats contend?)    The Democrat Congress forced Bush to retreat from his “no new taxes” pledge and that helped to produce a three-way contest with Clinton as the 43% popular vote winner.


Most voters have some memory of political events since then.  Those events were confusing, and our “old mainstream” media have helped to make them more so.  I will not attempt to untangle that in this brief piece.




More Political Deceptions

By Ivan W. Parkins


      Less noticed but not less significant, Democrats had already begun (in 1954) their 40 years of almost total dominance in the House of Representatives.  And, although Republican Presidents would win five of the ten elections in that era, three of them by landslides (by well over 55%, as compared to Obama’s recent 52.9%), none of them would be supported by a majority of Republicans in the House.


      Indeed, between 1930 and still counting…no Republican President has had more than a slim Republican majority in Congress, and even those have been scarce.  Millions more of Americans turn out and vote for President than vote for Representatives, even when both are being elected at the same time.  At any time, a large portion of potential American voters cannot name their Representative, but most do know who is President. It is in the more obscure contests (congressional as opposed to presidential) that special interests and information media tend most to dominate.  And the wars that Democrats now support most consistently and strenuously are those for their own partisan dominance.


      Barack Obama is clearly the greatest Democrat presidential winner since LBJ.  But, does his victory signal, mainly, a triumph of personality, a desire of Americans for a more European style of politics, or the bit by bit triumph in America of one-party politics based upon the political dominance of information media (academic and artistic as well as journalistic)?  The most threatening part of President Obama’s agenda is the one that advances the latter. The chief danger from his Presidency is that it will extend that media dominance by changes in how the census is done, favors to unions, advancing the opportunities of unscrupulous trial lawyers, and legally harassing those information media that remain critical of Democrats.



Is Congress the primary defender of American democracy?

By Ivan W. Parkins


      The institution of law, i.e. specific and codified rules applying to varied persons and tribes within a particular jurisdiction, arose with the collection of such unrelated persons in cities.  Today, both the laws of the United States and those of each individual state fill several volumes.  They are few and simple compared to the legally enforceable rules handed down by various regulatory agencies.


      One result is frequent conflicts of rules.  Another is that nearly every person who is really active in public affairs is to some extent a rule breaker.  Political enemies, watching closely, can discover and use such violations.  How that plays out is often the result of who can manage the best media campaign for appealing to public opinion and enforcement authorities.


      Two Presidents in recent years have faced major impeachment proceedings.  The one whose prior election was by huge popular margins was forced to resign.  President Clinton joined two other Democrats as the only person to win twice without a popular majority.  He beat an indictment (on reduced charges by the House of Representatives), by obtaining a 50/50 vote of the Senate where 2/3’s majority  is required for conviction by the constitution.


      In both of those cases the Chief Investigative Counsel chosen by the House Judiciary Committee was a Democrat, and both Jerry Zeiffman and David Schippers subsequently published books denouncing as unfair and legally flawed the impeachment proceedings for which they had just investigated.  What does that do for the claim that Congress is the primary defender of American democracy?


      Too many rules, and selective enforcement of them, can negate one of the most fundamental provisions of our Constitution. Bills of attainder, designating individuals for punishment rather than acts to be punished, are forbidden to both the United States and the individual states by Article I, sections 8 and 9.  But, where violations are numerous and only rare individuals are selected for punishment, that principal of justice becomes virtually meaningless.  Such infringement of the principal is especially likely when punishment is inflicted by the public in reaction to media denunciations that can not be reviewed in courts of appeal.




By Ivan W. Parkins

Advantages in the media have, until recently, enabled Democrats to favor with wages; benefits; opportunities; welfare; and privileges; a variety of groups likely to vote for them.  It is a powerful phalanx to overcome at the polls. 10/28/2010  This is a reprint from Feb. 2008-

Democracy rests upon an assumption that the people are well-informed.  Or as Thomas Jefferson put it, “Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government.  Whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they can be relied upon to set them right.”


A long life of studying, teaching, observing, and writing about American government has left me with two main conclusions.  First: that the public has generally been right, and is so now in its belief that “the system” needs changing.  Second: that the public is greatly confused regarding what changes are needed.


Authoritarians may deny their people some information, but mostly they brainwash them with disinformation.  Old sayings about the pen being mightier than the sword can be misleading. Often the sword has been used first, to control most of the pens.  The pens are then used to disinform the people in ways that permit most swords to remain sheathed.  Once firmly established, authoritarians control virtually all schools, publishing, news facilities, and other sources of information.


Today, that is becoming more difficult.  But, what if most of the pens, i.e. professional communicators, were to unite in cooperation with one another and with one political party?  That is the transformation that I believe I have witnessed in American society since World War II.  Mass communication, especially television, has invaded households to an unprecedented degree.  Schools and teachers have been nationalized by union and governmental actions.  Possible competitors such as families and churches have been harassed and legally restricted.


The one place in our national system where information has been most extensive and public choice most informed has been presidential elections.  There, three recent Presidents, Johnson, Nixon, and Reagan won reelections by the largest popular pluralities and by three of the largest majorities in our history.  Johnson was then discouraged from seeking the additional term for which he was legally qualified. Nixon was promptly forced to resign.  Reagan survived and in many respects triumphed, but only by facing long and severe harassment.


Since then, President Clinton has survived two terms in office, in spite of having been impeached by the House of Representatives and losing in the courts on the several challenges that he brought there.  He and his defenders claimed that it was all over a “private” sexual matter.  Congress, unwilling to face media friendly to Clinton with another election pending, left most other issues to Clinton’s own subordinates.  Even so, the House indicted, and a secure room filled with hundreds of documents showing evidence and testimony of witnesses was provided for the Senate.  No Democrat Senator signed into that room before voting to acquit.  Coincidentally, Clinton was the only President since Wilson many years earlier to win the office twice without winning a popular majority either time.  Our current President, Bush, did win a popular majority in 2004, only a slim one, but better than any Democrat since Johnson. He has faced what have probably been the most voluminous and intense media attacks upon his Presidency and his person endured by any President. 


Now, talk radio, cable television, some of the newer publications, and a few web sites offer promise that the people may become better informed.  But several decades of public brainwashing by the media have left scars that threaten democracy in America.  How can people choose a better course when they know so little about the one that we have traveled recently? 2/08

Letter to the editor;  Morning Sun, 11/20/2004


Parker had correct assessment of what's wrong with Democrats


    Kathleen Parker was "right on" with her column in the Sunday, Nov. 14, edition, "Voters want sincerity, not fake values."

    In 1968, a year that I voted for the Democrat presidential candidate (my seventh and last instance of doing that), the party split badly over the war in Vietnam.  After losing that election, party leaders chose Senator McGovern to head a reformation of their "unfair" nominating process.  Shortly before the next nominating convention, THE U.S. NEWS on 6/12/72 reported a Gallup poll disclosing some results of the changes.  Of 13 categories (by region, race, job, education and age), Senator McGovern was the choice of Democrat voters in only one, those with more than four years of college.  Humphrey won 11 and tied with Wallace for the 13th.  But the reformed nominating process chose McGovern, who was an ex-professor and a Ph.D.  Nixon won that election by the largest popular plurality and one of the largest majorities in our history.

    Since 1972, Democrat presidential successes have been Carter, with 50.1 percent of the vote, and Clinton, the third man in our history to win twice without a majority either time.  (The other two were also Democrats, Cleveland and Wilson.)

    Shouldn't that history offer to America's self-anointed intellectual elite an alternative to blaming "mindless" followers of traditional values for election failures?


A foot note:  Hubert Humphrey, whose nomination for President in 1968, some people thought was so “unfair,” had  led most opinion polls of Democrats in that year .  Most showed him getting about two-thirds of those who identified with the party, about the same as his initial delegate count in the Chicago Convention.  I.W. Parkins 5/08

 This has been reprinted several times over last 3 years.-ED.