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Ken Melvin



Articles by Ken Melvin

Liars and Their Lies

7 days ago

Poor Jim Jordan, singled up with no Doug Collins, Trey Gowdy, Darrell Issa, Louis Gohmert, Mo Brooks, Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, …, along side him, on 12 and 13 Jan, 2021, tried valiantly, well, at least loudly and indignantly, to pull the Republican wagon out of the ditch; the ditch that they all had taken a hand in lying the party into. Proving once again that there are none so as indignant as the scoundrel(s), Jordan indignantly rose to accuse his constituents of telling him the lies that he had been telling to them for years and was repeating at the moment and time, and to blame the Dems for letting him get by with the telling. It was all their, the both of theirs fault. All good leaders run and hide behind those they pretend to lead and all

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Tort

11 days ago

When Fox News and Newsmax recently accused voting machine manufacturer Dominion Voting Systems of rigging the 2020 election results, Dominion quickly and vigorously struck back at the two with a threat of civil lawsuit; a suit claiming that they, Dominion, had been harmed by the actions of Fox News and Newsmax. Consequent Dominion’s filing, Fox and Newsmax began to quickly and forthwith profusely apologize for and correct their ‘misstatements’.

For years and years, and years, tobacco companies were, with political immunity and lots of good lawyers, allowed to sicken and kill Americans by the tens of thousands with their products every year. In the mid 1990s, more than 40 states commenced litigation against the tobacco industry, seeking monetary,

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Unfit

13 days ago

For eight years Mitch McConnell did everything in his power to block any initiative by President Obama; no matter the cost to the nation. It simply wouldn’t do to have the Democrats governing, to have a Democrat in the White House; especially not a popular black President. He never was much on democracy. McConnell couldn’t thwart the will of the people in the 2008 presidential election, but, from the start, it was ‘whatever it takes’ to ensure that Obama was a one-term president. Things didn’t get any better; Throughout the eight years. whenever Obama reached out his hand, McConnell spat in it.

In Obama’s last year in office, the year before Trump took-over, McConnell, single-handedly, unconstitutionally, denied him an appointment to the Supreme

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The Wealth of a Nation

14 days ago

One of Sandwichman’s good questions prompted my revisiting an earlier writing of mine on wealth (circa 2000?). Extensively revised to the extent that it is hardly recognizable; here is, a, second, best effort.

Herein, the terms wealth and capital are thought of as being interchangeable.

For thousands of years, humans lived off the bounty of nature. Some societies still do, but, today, and for centuries now, most societies have lived off that bounty much abetted by their own endeavors, and the endeavors of others.

A society’s wealth includes all of its resources. Those resources include the individual and collective knowledge, skills, creativity, talents, and energy, of the society’s members; i.e., all aspects of its innovative

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Huge!

15 days ago

The wins in Georgia are huge. Now, if Alabama, Mississippi, and South Carolina can just come up with their own Stacy Abrams, we could see a snowball effect that would change American politics forever. Well, at least, for a long time.

Some might think that this outcome along with its portents can solve the electoral college problem. It doesn’t. Doesn’t solve the problem of someone as unfit as Mitch McConnell tyrannizing the nation. The few Republican Senators of any account need to rise up and demand that he step down from all leadership roles. Because? Because he is an unfit human.

As anyone who has been known to have written more that few programs knows, the bugs will out. The next two years would be an opportune time to begin the

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The Fallacy of Unions

18 days ago

Because it had always been that way, none could think differently. From time immortal, labor was that what did much of the work of production. There is now a generation, maybe two, on this earth, most of whom will never know labor; will seldom see it performed. The energy for their world will not come from the sweat of the back’s of coal miners. So, if it wasn’t (production = material + labor) what was the real equation for production? The input was work, not labor. Today, machines, can and do, do the work. These machines doing the work are becoming more and more intelligent.

Without the help of governmental restrictions on immigration, the unions would never have been able to organize the coal miners; they had no leverage as long as there was a

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Rather Than

December 19, 2020

Rather than the Constitution granting us our rights, it should protect our inalienable rights. One might ask how is it that the constitution grants citizens the right to own a gun, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, privacy in their own home, …, all, notably, rights the colonists might not have had under a monarchy, but does not grant: every citizen the right to vote, personhood to all, women the freedom of choice? Much of the 18th century model constitution addressed the issues of that time, in the context of that time. The framers thought in terms of monarchies, class and race distinctions, male dominance, …; of the 18th century. A constitution more suited to the 21st century would move beyond class, gender, and race.The 18th century

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America’s Most Odious

November 25, 2020


Preface
Donald J. Trump is not on this list only because he is much so more than odious.

Grover Norquist* Because; in any list there has to be a number one. Though it was tough choosing a number one, no one is more deserving. Using one’s intelligence to bully, to manipulate others, is the most odious of things any human can do. Bastard even had them sign an oath not to raise taxes lest he primary them.His tax scam wasn’t even his idea. He got it from Howard Jarvis who got it fishing around for something to replace yelling communism when he found that no longer worked, which was something he, Jarvis, learned from watching Richard Nixon, who, if he were still alive would have been high on this listing. So, too, Howard, if he were still alive. Lineage

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Lord, the Pain of it

November 23, 2020

The good mayor of El Paso is at wit’s end. He is worrying himself into the grave. The City’s hospitals and morgues are overflowing. Seems that the people have to work to eat, and, if they work, they get the virus and get sick, and, too many die. Damned capitalism is as deadly as the virus; together they are a catastrophe. Maybe, if he would just step across the border into New Mexico, better yet, hop on a plane to San Francisco, better to get as far away from Texas as possible, we could explain the problem to him without being drowned out by the ignorant Texas dogma coming out of Austin; crapola he’s heard his whole life.
In a functioning state, there are dozens of examples, the government would have handed out masks and hand sanitizer, and free food as

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Is Hawley Right?

November 18, 2020

Josh Hawley is running for president; has been since he was big enough to walk. On the night of the November 2020 election, Josh Hawley, Junior Senator from Missouri, tweeted that henceforth the republican party was the party of the working class; and the democratic party was the party of the elites. Is Senator Hawley right?
Josh Hawley will be forty-one on December 31, 2020. The only Republican Presidents he’s known were Reagan, Bush, Bush and Trump. The Democratic Presidents he’s known were Clinton, and Obama. Both Clinton and Obama made their way up from poverty and broken homes by dent of intelligence and hard work. Reagan matriculated from Hollywood and the G.E. Theater Graduate School; both Bushes, worked their way up from the Brahman Elite via one

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Imagining

November 14, 2020

Imagine a world where 70% of the 7.4 billion population lives in its developing countries. Imagine a world where more than 70% of the population is considered to be of low income. Imagine a world where, in one continent alone, most of that continent’s 1.2 billion population live in its underdeveloped nations. Now imagine raising the living standard of all these people to first world standards. Imagine how much energy it would take to provide them just the basics, like sufficient food, housing, healthcare, clean running water, indoor plumbing, sewage disposal, … Imagine how much more burning of fossil fuels would be required to provide enough energy for these basics. Twice as much as now? More than twice?
Imagine, too, that the planet where all these 7.4

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Distribution

November 9, 2020

These days, the nation, the world, is faced with the problem of how to distribute wealth, wealth that is being created using less and less labor input? How to distribute the profits from highly capitalized, highly automated, production? Unions, that had been much a part of the solution to the distribution problem in the early 20th century, are becoming more and more irrelevant. A new economic model is desperately needed.
Since the dawning of the Industrial Revolution, wealth has been created by the production of manufactured goods. To date, the sharing/distribution of this wealth has been by way of exchanging labor for wages. Except for the brief period from around 1940 to 1970 when union jobs commanded good wages, this method never really work all that

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Outsourcing

November 5, 2020

Warning! First person ahead. I don’t usually talk about myself, don’t even like to talk about people, but this a story that I want to tell and don’t know how to otherwise do so. So, your forbearance, please. Those of you who have been around as long as I, have probably witnessed personnel changes that follow a change in political Administrations. I happened to be on campus when Reagan became governor in 1967 and saw people with no qualifications whatsoever, other than their political connections, take over high level administrative positions. As a child, I saw rural Postmasters come and go with changes in Presidential Administrations, and thought, wow, now that’s connected. Richard Nixon handed out contracts to build ships, and a whole sundry of other

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Dearly Beloved

November 3, 2020

Our beloved Constitution has flaws. Only a very few, but these few have cost the Nation dearly, and, unless corrected, will continue to do so. It is very possible that unless corrected, they will lead to the Nation’s demise. These flaws have been and are being taken advantage of by the worst among us, and used against the rest of us. The electoral college, that most undemocratic of bodies, has, in just sixteen years, seated two of our most incompetent presidents, both of whom have greatly damaged the nation. The Senators from states with less than one-million population have as much say in our nation’s affairs as do those from states with forty-million population. The structuring of the Senate has from our early days allowed abhorrents like Mitch McConnell

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Redux et Redux

October 16, 2020

Slavery, never gone, had been given new life in Europe with slaves from Africa; first by Portuguese Traders in the 15th Century, then by the Spanish in the 16th. The bubonic plague of the 14th Century had wiped out one-third of Europe’s population; Europe needed laborers. Slavery was widely practiced on the continent and in the colonies until the 19th Century. Sharecropping, but another form of Western European feudalism dug up after having been buried for some 400 years, was brought over and resurrected in the postbellum south. It all seems somehow lacking in imagination, doesn’t it? More greedy-grubby than creative. Even the Peonage of the postbellum south was borrowed from the Spanish who borrowed it from Eastern Europe. Though outlawed in 1867, Peonage

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Deniality

October 8, 2020

Le dénialité est trop cher.
Denial isn’t specific to Americans, though we do seem to be better at it than most. We are now at least 30 years into severe climate change, yet 30-40% of Americans are in denial; assumedly, still looking for, waiting for, a return to normal. Not only are we not going back to the way it was 30 years ago; under the best of scenarios, no one of the next 5 generations will see the weather and climate of 1990 again. Under less than best of scenarios, neither the current generation nor the following 3 generations, will see weather and climate return to those of today. Still we see these professional deniers push and shove their way into any public discussion to argue that we can’t afford to take the necessary steps to halt Climate

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To Do IV. Education

October 7, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is just what the Doctor ordered for American education. Well, it could be. First, we must, as is our wont, muddle for as long as possible. Plenty of time. What with students and teachers being quarantined one right after another, it’s going to be a long year. Time a plenty to fall for all that state propaganda about how classrooms are safe and kids need to be in the classroom just like before. You’d think we would learn. It’s been a long year already.
Dr. says: In order to safely open the schools, class sizes need to be reduced by at least one-third, by one-half being even mo betta. Class schedules need be staggered in order to reduce hallway, bathroom, and cafeteria crowding. Extra staffing required. Ventilation needs to be improved.

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History

October 3, 2020

What is this that we call history? What is it good for?
History is: a chronological record of significant events (such as those affecting a nation or institution) often including an explanation of their causes, a branch of knowledge that records and explains past events, the study of the past, …, the past in context. History is all these things.
What is missing from ‘a chronological record of significant events’? History without context is meaningless. And context is? Context is all those things that were going on before and during those significant events; the environment of their occurrence, if you will; and the events that followed these significant events; their consequences.
A branch of knowledge that records and explains past events, the study of the

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Just Saying

September 30, 2020

We the majority 60% are being tyrannized by the minority 40%. Other the democratically elected House of Representatives, we are being governed by a President and Senate that are not representative of us, that oppose our majority positions. We the majority are being particularly tyrannized by the current Senate Majority leader who is from the small state of Kentucky. Kentucky is a state of less than 4.5 million population that gets back about $2.40 for every dollar it sends to Washington D.C. No doubt, Kentucky has a lot of poor folks who really need the money. If indeed it’s the poor getting the money, and if it’s not going through the hands of some multimillionaire republican farmer before they get anything at all; then you are more than welcome folks. It

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Wages and The Market

September 28, 2020

In the 19th century, employers stove off employee demands by bringing in immigrants willing to work under existing conditions. In the 20th Century, consequent the Great Depression, prohibition of child labor, immigration reform, … it was no longer so easy for employers to ignore workers demands. Unions took root and membership grew and so did the workers’ wages and benefits; welcome: the end of child labor, the 40 hour week, living wages, and paid vacations.
Fast forward to the late 1960s: Beginning of the end for US manufacturing dominance. Unionized industries moved south in quest of lower wages; thence to Mexico, … Fewer and fewer union jobs, fewer and fewer union members. 1970S, manufacturing exodus to Asia begins; labor becoming more and more

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All My Children

September 25, 2020

Though more different than alike, they do have a lot in common. All are, in some way, progeny of the microprocessor. Some were born in around Silicon Valley, others quite distant. The first generation was born in the US early in the last third of the 20th Century. The second was born near the end of the late 20th — early in the 21st Century. None of them could have been born in an earlier era. Microsoft* 1972, Apple*1976, and Oracle*1977, were instrumental in developing the power of microprocessors either through developments in software, hardware, or both. Amazon*1994, Google*1998, Facebook*2004, and Twitter*2006 were all about utilizing the vast computing power of microprocessor based computers. They grew like weeds. The nation had not seen the likes

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The Combination of Things

September 19, 2020

What about all the forest fires in the West? The most proximate cause of these fires is high temperatures along with associated lightning and high winds; both of which, directly or indirectly, can easily ignite a fire in tinder dry forests.
Beyond beyond being dry, many western forest are far from being healthy. There are large areas in the southern Sierra Nevada Range where the forest are dead and gone; they were the first to go. There is less damage to the forest as one goes farther north; still, going east on Highway 108 up over the Sonora Pass, it is not unusual to see forest areas where upwards of half the trees are dead or dying. Most are dying from infestations of bark beetles. Healthy trees can survive bark beetles, but these trees were first

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To Do I, II, & III

September 16, 2020

The COVID-19 Pandemic, the inadequate response thereto, and the incompetency of the Trump Presidency in general, combined, have exposed our nation’s weaknesses and failings to an extent unknown since at least the Great Depression. This is likely a do or die moment for America. Recovery will be difficult. Improbable unless we are careful in our choice of goals and daring in our efforts to achieve them. The margins for error do not allow for dawdling. Attempting to just return to a time before Trump and The Pandemic would be disastrous. A time like this should also be seen as a time of opportunity.

First, we must rid ourselves of denominational economics such as Capitalism, Socialism, Hayekism, Free Marketism, … These, but ideologies, dogmas, that some

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Tone Deaf

September 11, 2020

Working-class Black and Latino Americans, more likely to be paid lower wages, less likely to own significant assets; feel that they are being deprived of a fair share; see this as a consequence of white privilege. Meanwhile, white working-class American’s see themselves as less than privileged, barely hanging on; feel that such demands by Blacks and Latinos amount to a threat to their meager share, their livelihood. Neither group is the other group’s problem, the two groups have a common problem; America’s wealth and income distribution problem.
In a prosperous nation with more than 800 billionaires, no one should have to work for low wages, work multiple jobs, in order to survive. Yet, not enough is coming down to the working class for sharing. Robbing

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Markets and Entrepreneurs

September 5, 2020

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
That’s easy, First, there had to be a market. Without a market, no matter how good the idea, how well capitalized the enterprise, how competent the management team, or how skilled the workforce; there can be no business.
So, where do markets come from? Markets seem to come in three forms. They may be found in plain sight, they may be hidden in a forest of commerce, or they may be foreseen and realized only by people of exceptional vision. All three forms are available in a wide range of sizes.

Existing businesses, facing things like changing taste, obsolescence, … are obliged to always be looking for ways to expand their share of an existing market or for different markets to enter, and to always be on the

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Trump and Antifa

September 4, 2020

No one seems to know what or who Antifa is; so far be it from me to pretend that I do. I did meet a self-avowed one once. Interviewed the young man for 30-45 minutes; even talked on the phone a few minutes with his parents who lived in Oakland. By way of providing context; this was during the Occupy Wall Street protests in Oakland, CA. Down from Portland, OR, he was looking for a place to stay for ‘up to a week’. Twitchy, desperate, and vague, …, fits the description. I encouraged him to talk on the premise that I would learn more from listening than from asking.
It’s been a while, memory fades, but here’s what I recall: There was some connection to Guy Fox (Fawkes). His parents told me that they were estranged from their son, that he was involved in

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A Carrier Named Stennis

September 2, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]That’s Stennis as in John C. of Mississippi. An Aircraft Carrier as in a really big ship that cost $4.5 Billion in 1995. John C. Stennis was a renowned segregationist who rose to power in the US Senate on the basis of seniority which means that he was very popular in Mississippi; US Senate from […]

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250B

September 1, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]We have a President who tells us that he has an education in economics from an Ivy League School who doesn’t know what per capita means; who doesn’t understand doubling. Inescapable: Our president is not educated. Most of our high schools turn out a better product. This President is on track to be the very […]

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Innovation

August 30, 2020

The customer goes online and chooses a face mask from those listed on the USPS Web Page and places an online order. Their order goes direct to the factory making the mask of choice where it is filled within minutes or less and dropped in the on-site USPS bin that is picked up several times a day. The USPS then delivers the order to the customer. The USPS could enhance its revenue stream by charging a very small fee for advertising on its Web Page
Background: For the last maybe five years I have, for the most part, limited my substitute teaching to AP and Honors Economics, Government, History, Physics, and Environmental Science. These are subjects where I can wing-it; take that late call where I know that there will not be a lesson plan. On my way in I

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On Demanding Dignity

August 22, 2020

In 1968, when Richard Nixon called for Law and Order, a term used by Goldwater in 1964 and Reagan in 1966, he was appealing to working-class voters who would normally be expected to vote Democratic but were becoming more and more uneasy about a perceived increase in crime and frequent stories of protests in the streets. In 1968, the real domestic issue was the economy, but that was far too complicated for American political discourse, and, besides, this group might have found Nixon’s and the Republican Party’s real thoughts on economic policy unsettling. While Johnson had waged a War on Poverty to end a very real poverty in America, Nixon would wage a War on Crime to stoke fear and paranoia. Though economics, poverty, and crime are inextricably linked;

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