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Front Page

In This Issue

· Gridlock in Washington?

· Human Tragedies—One and a half Centuries apart

· New Americans and Multiculturalism

· Voter Turnout and Our Elections

· Our Most Liberal and Generous Crisis

GRIDLOCK

IN WASHINGTON

A short review of representation and Presidencies

By Ivan W. Parkins

 

President Obama decries gridlock in Washington.  In one sense he is right. The last Democrat President to experience similar levels of opposition from a Republican majority in the House of Representatives was Harry Truman, and that was in 1944-48 for a partial term that Truman had inherited from FDR..  It also included a mostly Republican Senate.

 

Four more recent Republican Presidents (1956-92) Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan, and GHW Bush, won five popular majorities, three of them landslides (over 55%), and all faced solid Democrat majorities in the House (33-147 votes) to go with their victories, a situation without any parallel in earlier American history.  Meanwhile, the three Democrat Presidents enjoyed nothing except partisan support in the House (60-155 votes), after winning only one landslide and one very narrow majority of the popular vote.

 

One Democrat priority of our recent past has been enhancing entitlements.  They are not mentioned in the Constitution, but have been recognized by the Supreme Court in controversial extensions of that document.  The Social Security program initiated by FDR was one of the items over which the Truman Administration battled with Republicans in Congress. Senator Robert Taft argued that its, then, claim of being financed by those who contributed was misleading; many paid and only few lived long enough to benefit.  It was and argument still very relevant now that most Americans live, often for many years, beyond their eligibility for benefits.  The result, long obvious but neglected, is that Social Security and other more recently created entitlements are rapidly driving us towards national bankruptcy.  They are, however, a “sacred cow” of Democrats, who seek to maintain a major vote advantage by charging Republicans with a lack of human concern for those least able to provide for themselves.

 

Housing issues have become a part of the battle over entitlements.  In the middle 1970s that took on the form of pressures on banks, first by individuals like Jesse Jackson, to be more lenient about lending mortgage money to would be home owners.  Soon government financial administrators, mainly Democrats, were acting similarly.  And, Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac were encouraged to cooperate.  Wholesale speculation and, now, collapses have followed.  It is a crisis with worldwide significance.  Home mortgages had long been a major and stable part of American banking and finance.  They have now become a key element in worldwide financial crisis. 

 

Would such a change have been possible if the more than a century old link between popular Presidents and House majorities of the same party had not collapsed in the late twentieth century?

How much of this would have happened without a major shift in our information system? IWParkins080911

HUMAN TRAGEDIES:

ONE AND A HALF CENTURIES APART  

 

By Ivan W. Parkins

 

Americans who choose to recall this nation’s great official tragedies would do well to compare more closely President Andrew Jackson’s “Trail of Tears” and our EPA’s joining with UN in banning DDT.

 

Of course the thousands of deaths and the suffering of tens of thousands as a result of the Indian Removal Act of 1830 and the millions who suffered or died from malaria, especially in Africa, following the ban on DDT, are barely comparable in numbers.  And some, but not most, of that is a matter of the growth in human populations.

 

President Jackson accepted responsibility for his decision, but with the claim that it was to prevent even greater conflicts between whites and native peoples.  That argument must have carried much greater weight in our southeastern frontier of that time than it does now.

 

The original ban on DDT was justified by the claim that it was to avoid irreparable damage to both humans and the environment.  And there was evidence that DDT was being dangerously over used, especially in agriculture.  The evidence of its benefits as initially employed against malaria was also huge.

 

So, has our government recently (i.e. the EPA) done better by us than Old Hickory did? And, have persons managing our information system, both schools and journalism, presented the two matters appropriately?  Which tragedy is more likely to have future repercussions for us?

 VOTER TURNOUT & OUR ELECTIONS

By Ivan W. Parkins

 

Since Amendment XXVI to our Constitution was ratified in 1971, the turnout of voting age Americans for a national election has not reached 60%. Our last, 2008, was best at 56.8%.

 

Perhaps more important is the difference between turnouts in Presidential and off-year elections.  It’s been more than a quarter of a century since the turnout in an off-year came within 20 million of the previous Presidential election.  In 2006, an off-year that gave us Pelosi and Reid as leaders of Congress, the voting fell more than 40 million below that cast in 2004.  The 2006 off-year vote was more than 50 million less than that in 2008.  Source: Infoplease.com

 

If anything could be sadder, it is the plentiful evidence that those who sign up to fight for our rights are often prevented, by largely civilian failures, from recording votes for their civilian leaders.  Isn’t it time that we had one national system of IDs and a single central electronic balloting for at least our top federal offices? IW Parkins 080911

NEW AMERICANS AND

MULTICULTURISM

A Reprint from 2008

By Ivan W. Parkins

 

     One of the greatest of liberal, mainly Democrat, changes to America in recent decades has been multiculturalism.  Regarding this and related matters, I recommend Michael Barone’s book, THE NEW AMERICANS: HOW THE MELTING POT CAN WORK AGAIN.

     Barone compares Irish immigrants during the mid-nineteenth century with the great migration of Black Americans north from the Old South, especially that since 1940.  He also compares Italian and later Latino immigrants, and Jews with recent Asians.  All are interesting, but the Irish/Black comparison is especially sharp in the political lessons that it offers.

     Barone concludes that “race, as liberals have wisely insisted for years, is an arbitrary category.”  But, “the descendents of past immigrants have now become deeply interwoven into the fabric of American life.”  It can happen again.  “There is less overt bigotry and discrimination,” now.  “The greatest obstacle…is the American elite”; it, since the 1960s, does not promote assimilation.

     He points out that in one major respect the Irish fared much better than recent Blacks.  Both came from crude and repressive environments, poorly educated, inclined to violence and uncivil.  Both also relied heavily on their own churches.  The Irish soon learned the advantages of discipline and civility in Catholic schools; the Blacks encountered public schools that would change to accommodate their shortcomings.

     Partisanship is not emphasized by Barone; with the 2008 election pending, it will be by me.  Multiculturalism, and its implied divisions of America, is mainly an innovation of liberal Democrats, and mainly since the Vietnam era.  It has been imposed, or “sold,” as an example of acceptance of other cultures as equal to, and as appropriate as, our own.  Actually, from my own experiences, it seems to be more a rejection of traditional America and of the chief types of leadership that America has produced.

     Do liberal Democrats really want to improve upon the America that we have known, or do they plan instead to replace that with a quasi-Marxist nirvana, their own ”creation”?

OUR MOST

LIBERAL

AND GENEROUS CRISIS?

A Reprint from 2008

By Ivan W. Parkins

 

     A large part of Senator Obama’s campaign is above reproach; it is not aimed at any real person.  The President Bush that we all know is mainly a media construction.  Like most recent Presidents late in their terms, the present occupant of the White House has a very poor media image.

 

     Media images are one large part of the present credit crisis.  That began long ago when “more sensitive” politicians, mainly liberal Democrats, began pressuring banks to lend to persons who had poor credit ratings.  Years of rising housing prices, especially in more crowded areas, made almost any loan based upon current value a safe loan, and stimulated such things as ARMs (adjustable rate mortgages).  Coincidentally, about one half a trillion dollars ($500,000,000,000) of ARMs were scheduled for readjustment in the first half of 2008.

 

     Meanwhile, primary lenders traded their mortgages to larger banks for more cash to lend.  The larger banks and financial institutions packaged various loans into “derivatives” and sold those widely.  Groups such as ACORN encouraged and aided people, who had previously been unable to qualify, to obtain mortgages.  And with all of that our TVs carried numerous ads to “Buy this house and flip it.”

 

     Recently, some economic slowdown and declines of home prices in local areas, plus demands of regulators regarding the capital of lending institutions, initiated a collapse of that house-of-cards, and major problems for the World’s economies followed.

 

     It is a crisis in which the foolish or guilty are almost as numerous as the victims.  If special culprits are to be singled out, politicians who promoted the easier lending rules, who encouraged unlikely individuals to seek loans, and who promoted the lending excesses of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are prime candidates.  They include former President Clinton, Finance Committee Chairmen Dodd and Frank, and former ACORN Trainer Obama, none of them a friend of either the real or the media-image Bush.

 

     Can such people now buy the White House?  If so, to whom will they flip it? 

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