About Ivan W. Parkins
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American Political Commentary
Veritas Veneratio Virtus
I. W. Parkins
IN THIS ISSUE– FOCUS ON THE SUPREME COURT
and HEALTH CARE (REPRISE 9/01/2009)
· HOPING FOR A MEANINGFUL ELECTION IN 2012
· WHAT ABOUT HEALTH CARE?
· WHY ARE THE HC DEBATES SO CONTENTIOUS?
· REPRESENTATION AND THE MEDIA MAY CLARIFY REASONS.
Links to Articles and Items of Interest
· Ann Coulter on “On July 4th., Remember We are Not French”
· Amy Payne on “Trans. Secretary ..wants us to be like Communists”
· WSJ’s Kimberly Strassel on “Obama’s Imperial Presidency”
· WSJ’s Daniel Henninger on “ObamaCare’s Lost Tribe: Doctors”
· Alyene Senger on “Too Many Broken Promises in Obama Care”
· Dan McLaughlin-“The Supreme Court’s Disappointing Tax Ruling”
· WSJ Editorial on “A Vast New Taxing Power”
Or a more proper term is “Obama Doesn’t Care”
HOPING FOR A MEANINGFUL
ELECTION IN 2012!
By Ivan W. Parkins
Invited by, I assume the First Amendment and, now, the Supreme Court, I will try a shot of my own at the Health Care controversy.
First, I characterize the decision of the Supremes (6/28/12) as reducible to: “Do not expect us to decide the outcome of your damned partisan dilemma.”
So, what really is our damned partisan dilemma? I contend that it is the present, and perhaps ultimate, face of a radical partisan shift-- since at least the election of 1968. The positions and nature of our major political parties are now very different than they were before that time. Democrats had been predominant as the supporters of international leadership and military strength in addition to active, but moderate, advances of welfare for “the demos.” In 1968 they divided, allowing victory to a Republican President. Behind that shift were the nation’s two greatest public information systems, the rapidly growing mass media, especially television, plus public education by an increasingly centralized and unionized teaching profession.
With media help, and in a quite sudden change for so great a party, the Democrats became the chief advocates of leaving international order to the United Nations. They withdrew hastily from Southeast Asia. (That retreat was at a cost, in the massacres of our former Asian allies, approximately equal to the human cost of earlier warfare.) Meanwhile, Democrats were making domestic policy increasingly a matter of attracting greater partisan loyalty from increasing millions of economically and socially challenged Americans, and immigrants. To facilitate that, they chose a more European style of welfare.
Perhaps the best summarization of this is an increase of blindness among Democrats to POPULAR SOVEREIGNTY and an adoption, especially by that party, of a more radical DEMOCRATIC approach to constitutionalism.
For Democrats, a ruling elite would build a cohesive, that is well-indoctrinated and fed, mass following, and through them would dominate many, especially the less closely attended and policed, elections; for example, those of U.S. Representatives. Where more public attention was focused, and more Americans turned out to vote, i.e. The Presidency, the Democrat appeal was less effective. But, more and stronger Republican Presidents were nearly always handicapped, especially in their domestic leadership by Democrat control of at least the House of Representatives. Meanwhile, weak Democrat Presidents could usually claim some accomplishments of leadership, due to the support of majorities in Congress.
Please allow me: the above developments were not, I believe and hope, the product of any particular conspiracy or cabal. They are simply what has been allowed to “grow’’ out of lesser visions and party planning.
Ivan Parkins, 7/1/12
WHAT ABOUT HEALTH CARE?
Tort reform and Simple Tax Credit for
Insurance, Best Options
By Ivan W. Parkins
If health care is to be a constitutional “entitlement” it, and other social entitlements, should be limited, as the “safety net” simile implies. The circus performers’ safety nets are simple devices to preserve bodies and lives. They make it possible for individuals to continue. Comfort, dignity, and more advanced achievements will vary with the individual’s own efforts; it is unrealistic to guarantee them.
One simple and modest tax credit or grant, available to all Americans, and adequate to purchase insurance covering most common emergencies and illnesses, is needed. Several practical administrative hurdles stand in it’s way. One is the lack of a single reliable identification device for all individuals. Another is a plethora of state laws specifying what health insurance must include. Congress has adequate authority to resolve both of those impediments.
Regarding rarer health problems and those resulting from the individual’s own indulgences, any single centralized authority is at a disadvantage where cases vary widely from one to another. The nation may provide for health and medical research, and for controls of poisons and epidemics. It may also aid lesser governments and private agencies that are dealing with unique problems. It should avoid most varied services.
Most urgently, and relating to health care costs, the distortion of tort proceedings into “jackpot justice” should be crushed, and made costly for those who participate in it. Real injuries should be compensated on an actual loss basis, if specific negligence is demonstrated. The legal process should not be a game of chance for predatory and dishonest individuals.
HEALTH CARE TURMOIL
The problem with representation and the media is clearly made in this most recent issue for health care.
By Ivan W. Parkins
A little application of mathematics helps to demonstrate why our Representatives have a diminished and confusing role in American politics, and why the role of the mass media has become so great.
Allowing that ages, citizenship, and personal health or other restrictions reduce the effective populations of average congressional districts from about 670,000 to about 500,000 constituents, how many of them can a Representative contact in any “personal” way during this month of “vacation.?”
Assuming that town meetings are limited in size to about 250 participants if they are to be at all “personal,” let the Representative hold twenty of them. If each lasts about two hours, and the Representative participates, for an average of five minutes each, in accepting and replying to questions and follow ups, he can speak directly with 24 people, or to a little less than one in ten of those present. In twenty such meetings he can contact a total of about 5,000 of his constituents, or one in every hundred of the total.
Additionally, our Representative will spend forty hours of his time reading and responding to letters, phone calls, emails, etc. It will take on average 5 minutes each to accomplish that. Hence he can accommodate another one constituent in every thousand. With the expenditure of eighty hours, plus preparation and travel times, the Representative has had personal contact of some sort with a few more than1% of his constituents. “Some vacation!”
The above theoretical account of a Representative who is very devoted to fulfilling the role that our Constitution assigns to him/her should help to make it clear why the mass media, their choices of the above events they will attend, and how they report on them have come to overshadow some traditional political processes.
More and more it is becoming evident that America is facing revolution . We face changes not merely of national policies foreign and domestic., but changes also in the institutions and political means by which we are governed.
WHY ARE THE HEALTH CARE
DEBATES SO CONTENTIOUS?
Well the answer is relatively simple. The Media misleads the public and misinforms our representatives. This is purposeful and disastrous for our Republic.
This is a Republish from Sept. 1, 2009
By Ivan W. Parkins
Health care touches deeply the lives of nearly all of us. And, the present political turmoil is a reflection of much that has been neglected, for generations, in our political system. It is a rare thing when large and diverse portions of the general public pour forth to agitate for or against the actions of government.
The following is an article from a previously published column, Daily Times-News, 09/12/72
By Ivan W. Parkins
Those who agitate for political reforms often presume that democratic processes, like computers, can provide numerous and nearly instantaneous decisions. In fact the outputs of majority participation by masses of people are necessarily few in number and arrived at only slowly. The reason is quite simple. Even in our highly educated and mechanized society, most people have little time or energy for politics.
The classical example of ancient Athens, is misleading until one is aware that “citizens” were only a minority there and often enjoyed leisure provided by slaves or other non-citizens. As noted by Aaron Wildavsky in his REVOLT AGAINST THE MASSES, it is a luxury available only for a leisure class. Selecting representatives in well-scheduled elections, and rare protests, are about as much involvement as most Americans can afford.
A political system in which authority of elected representatives is diminished, and the authority of public clamor is increased, will not usually be responsive to the majority of its citizens. How this relates to the United States since the 1950s was suggested by Edward Shils in THE INTELLECTUALS AND THE POWERS, “…intellectuals in the United States have become demonstrators, not by rational argument, but by standing in public places, by covering themselves in buttons and badges, by signing petitions and public declarations. They have come to fill the air and the press.”
What needs to be clarified regarding the sixties and seventies of the last century, is that it was not new policy changes that need to be produced. They also initiated major changes in how national policy in America is determined. The newly emergent class of verbally advantaged “liberals” was assuming dominance of our political communication.
Political parties and personalities became increasingly the creations or victims of the mass media. Older political elements found it more difficult not only to be heard on matters of policy, but also to share in the interpretation and enforcement of the constitution.