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Text Box: Vol.5,Issue 7-rev
Text Box: March 23, 2012

American Political Commentary

Veritas Veneratio Virtus

 

I. W. Parkins

Front Page

IN THIS ISSUE-

¨ Birthday “Yes I am 90”

¨ What Precedent?

¨ A Key to the Deep Division

¨ The Price of Long Democrat Domination in the House

¨ Maturing Fruits

¨ The Constitutional Issue

¨ A New Truth

¨ Empirical Evidence of a Grand Adventure

YES, It is True

I am turning 90 years old.

By Ivan W. Parkins

By the time that many of you read this I will be 90 years old.  With age, one difficulty is keeping up with media output and public opinion.  One advantage that I do have is a long memory, an ability to remember how we got into this crisis.  I am hopeful that these several repetitions of my past writing will convey, with some increased clarity, how we got to where we now are and what past mistakes we should avoid.

  WHAT  PRECEDENT ?

The New Deal was a reaction to the problems of that time

By Ivan W. Parkins

 

             President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, beginning in 1933, will no doubt be thought of by some Americans as a precedent for President Obama’s Administration.  There are several very weighty reasons why it should not be.

             First, FDR entered office in a time of greater need, substantial portions of Americans were facing imminent threats to their most basic livelihood.  Many were being driven from farms into cities that were already struggling with unemployment and inadequate welfare systems.  There was very little federal system for dealing with such matters.

             Second, FDR had won the office of President by larger electoral and popular margins than President Obama has now done.

             Third, whereas the Obama Administration has just been handed an unusually severe loss in its first mid-term election, the Administration of Franklin Roosevelt won the next three elections by margins that greatly enhanced his claim to be serving the American people.  (FDR also won several more, a feat since banned by amendment of the Constitution.) 

             It should be further noted that the Judicial Branch of our Federal Government delayed and invalidated numerous parts of the New Deal.  The Supreme Court eventually, relented, but only after President Roosevelt had refilled some vacancies in the Supreme Court and Justices, as well as other Americans, had observed the extent of  The President’s election support by “We the People…” .

A KEY TO THE DEEP DIVISION OF

AMERICA–THE MASS MEDIA

By Ivan W. Parkins 

             For the past half a century Americans have experienced growing conflict between the burgeoning “mainstream” mass media and those Chief Executives who have won by the largest popular margins.  Both have been key elements of our political system, and have claimed to speak for us.

             The clearest evidence of our problem is the fact that the three Presidents (one Democrat and two Republicans) who won the greatest popular pluralities, plus record majorities of the votes cast, were either driven from the office that they had recently won or sorely harassed in their conduct of it.  That would be less startling if it were not for the fact that all three were especially well known to the public before their elections to the Presidency.  And, all three of their landslide elections were returns to the office they had just occupied.

             Meanwhile, the House of Representatives, the branch of our government that was supposed to be closest to the people has been, during the same half century, almost a one-party stronghold, and often opposed to the Presidency. Thanks it appears to media influence upon relatively obscure political races for the House, Republicans have had only one  period of government unity, and that a narrow one.

THE PRICE OF LONG DEMOCRAT

 DOMINATION IN THE HOUSE?

See my article on Naked Emperors

By Ivan W. Parkins

             Recently, we have witnessed the capacity of a modest Republican majority in the House of Representatives to modify the financial policies of a determined Democrat President supported by a Democrat majority in the Senate.  But why does that seem new?

             I say “modest” because, although the present Republican majority in the House is the largest in more than half a century, it is only about half as large as the average for seventeen of the nineteen Democrat majorities in that same period.  The two smallest Democrat majorities in that period were not much different than the one that Republicans hold now. 

             Other than the present one, the six Republican majorities of recent times, three each under Presidents Clinton and G.W. Bush, numbered between 9 and 30 votes.  In this same half of a century, Democrats have had six House majorities of a hundred votes or more.

             Even granting that many Americans score low in mathematics, and that our information media have tended to treat some facts lightly, can Americans really believe that our major parties have had equal chances to influence the nation’s finances?

 

(Please note: partisan numbers, for the 435 House members authorized by law, are likely to be exact only for the moment at which they were taken.  Deaths, resignations, changes of affiliation by individuals, and other factors are likely soon to make small differences in the counts.)

Budgeting: The Thune Proposal

The recent suggestion of Republican Senator John Thune that two-year federal budgets cycles be adopted is one that has too long been neglected.  In that regard the Constitution requires only that appropriations for the Army not be for longer than two years.  Such a schedule, with budgets enacted as soon as is politically reasonable after a new Congress is seated, and with the year before elections devoted largely to considerations of needed changes, should produce more orderly results in terms of both our politics and our administration.

MATURING FRUITS OF THE 1960’s AND 1970’s?

By Ivan W. Parkins

             In 1983 a small news story caught my attention, partly because it was so small.  It stated that during the 1960s and 1970s every age group in the United States except one had enjoyed a decline in its death rate.  The one group was 15-24 year olds.

             Why did the story get so little attention?  If people of military age were the losers, that would surely have prompted some of the anti-war sentiment of the time.  But, I soon discovered that our fatalities in Vietnam were not included.

             I inquired of the White House and received an advance copy of Health-United States, 1983.  From that and Census statistics, I was able to estimate that domestic deaths from homicide and suicide had totaled among 15-24 year olds about three times our losses in Vietnam.  Furthermore, just the increase probably exceeded Vietnam’s cost, especially if we noted that the problem extended a year or two before 15 and after 24.

             Apparently, the 60’s and 70’s were not a grand adventure for all young Americans.  Could the anti-Vietnam protesters have saved more lives at home?  How much of the “fruit” of that age is now reaching/passing its maturity?

        THE CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUE: 1930s VS 2010s

DO OBAMA "LIBERALS" BELIEVE IN CONSTITUTIONALISM?

By Ivan W. Parkins

             There is at least one striking difference between the situation today and that of four score years ago.  Then, the President and the majority party in Congress gained office by larger majorities, and those majorities were further extended in two successive elections.  In electoral terms, the Administration of Franklin Roosevelt was a unique episode of our history.  Furthermore, that electoral triumph was achieved in spite of the continuing bitter opposition of most elements in the traditional media.

             The present Administration has yet to display any evidence of growing or lasting popularity.  And, unlike the issues of long ago, this administration’s appeal has been strongly supported by most of the traditional media, journalistic and academic.

             If further evidence of thin ice is needed, consider that some major elements of the coalition supporting the Obama Administration are potentially major embarrassments to the nation internationally, if not domestically.  The environmental movement of the United States has recently been the foremost contributor to an unprecedented genocide—unprecedented mainly because it was primarily a product of regulatory haste rather than of totalitarian hate.  Additionally, the now largely unionized education profession has converted what was once perhaps the world’s leading educational system into a largely stagnant promoter of political correctness.

             Surely there are constitutional grounds here enough to delay any blessing by the nation’s Supreme Court, at least to a point beyond the opportunity for Americans to register another statement of their sovereign intent.

         EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE OF A GRAND

ADVENTURE

By Ivan W. Parkins

 

 

We are the species Homo sapiens.  Increasingly, bits of fossil remains suggest that our earlier ancestors separated from other primates on the continent Africa a few million years ago.  A capacity for upright locomotion improved our opportunities to feed diversely and our capacity to defend ourselves.  And greater use of hands and arms increased our uses for brains.

 

The ancestral species grew in numbers and divided into groups occupying varied environments.  Some prospered; others declined.  It was, in general, those most able to  defend against predator species and to adapt to varied natural conditions that survived and multiplied. 

 

Cooperating and communicating groups of humans developed more and more elaborate oral communication and shared thoughts about their origin and relationship to the world about them.  As their language and arts grew they devised viewpoints and practices, communities of common culture, material and aesthetic.  They defended and preserved those with concepts of right and wrong.  One major defense was to attribute important aspects of the culture to ancestors or to super-beings called gods.  Thus did social orders and the religious and political institutions for preserving and advancing them begin.

 

Our greatest challenge, now, is how to unite our species with its numerous and varied social and political divisions and ideologies in a more concerted effort to assure man’s continuing survival and progress.

 

For more than two centuries this nation, The United States of America, has provided humanity with its largest example of how better to establish a social order and government that will facilitate both a high degree of public order and safety and extensive opportunities for individuals to enhance man’s progress.

 

Much more than the political success of individuals or particular parties is a risk in the pending elections.

A New Truth !

Or A New Truth?

By Ivan W. Parkins


The idea that truth will survive and triumph is one with which I grew up.  Increasingly, I have found it difficult to believe.  In one respect, the triumph of truth has become more valid.  Large modern societies (North Korea may be an exception.)  are too much committed to rapid communication to permit much suppression of ideas or facts by means of traditional censorship.  And, obvious censorship becomes self-defeating.  But mass media have become so overwhelming that those who manage the major outlets exercise almost the same power over facts and ideas as traditional censors, simply by choosing to emphasize or neglect particular stories. 
Especially where political communication is concerned, we face a new situation. If realities can be buried until the next election, "old" truths can then be subordinated to "relevant" propaganda before the election after that.  

© I.W. Parkins from

Polinfodissed: 10/25/07