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Ken Melvin



Articles by Ken Melvin

What Mo Said

10 days ago

All this we’ve been hearing about the sanctity of the Second Amendment? Seems that what the Second really means is that Americans have the right to buy assault weapons to use to exercise their right to overthrow the government. That big surge in AR-15 purchases after the election of Barack Obama? Turns out that it wasn’t about defending the purchasers from criminals after all. It was about arming a well-armed militia that could overthrow the US Government. All after some significant co-opting of law enforcement and the US Military, of course. The good old boys, and their manipulators, have been very, very, busy for a long time. Maybe, since the beginning of the Nation.

Seems that, for some, the shooting of varmints with an AR-15 is serving as

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In The Throes Of Change

20 days ago

After all this time, and even with the benefit of history, the causes of World War One (WWI) are still a matter of discussion amongst scholars. For scholars living then to have understood what the causes were, they would have needed to have known an awful lot about all that was going on at the time; which would have been difficult. They would also have needed to cross the philosophical Rubicon and not have allowed long-held beliefs and norms to influence their thinking. For example; could scholars of the time look past what had for so long been the norm and see that monarchies were in their death throes? That Colonialism was unraveling? Could they see the role that the demands of the Industrial Age and the Capitalism-Market economic model were playing

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2nd Amendment

24 days ago

5/29/2022, on Fox News, Mo Brooks explains to the nation that the Second Amendment was intended to protect the citizenry from a tyrannical government. Course it wasn’t, but then Mo, being Mo, believes that it was. Mo, no doubt believes in ‘The Lost Cause’, too; and, until it became too obnoxious to say out loud, that the South would rise again. Mo, was one of the founders of the Freedom Caucus.

Mo explained to the Fox host that, “The Second Amendment is designed to help ensure that we, the citizenry, always have the right to take back our government should it become dictatorial.” Thanks, Mo. This certainly affords us more insight into the January 6, 2022, Insurrection, and the record sales of AR-15s. As justification for overturning a free and fair

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Taxing

April 29, 2022

If anyone ever knew, it might have been Wilbur. But Wilbur got caught chasing Fanne in the park late one night. Then, too, he died a long time ago. So, “What would Wilbur do?,” is not an option. Even if it were, Wilbur might not have even ever asked ‘how should it be’; only knew a lot about ‘how it is’. Elizabeth knows a lot. Maybe more. Smart as hell. Cares a lot. Could be a big help. Other than that, it’s slim pickens and tax cuts. Never was nor ever will be a better time to ask questions and find answers, “How should it be?”

Barack borrowed from Elizabeth when he said, “You didn’t build that.” Both were bang on. Taxes, in one form or another, fund all government services; and that’s a lot. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears – and taxes, have gone

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One of the Greatest Cons of all Time

April 23, 2022

“One for you, and one for me,” works well enough for divvying up when there are only two. When there are more than two and the divvier gets one for everyone else’s one, that’s capitalism; one of the greatest cons of all times. Somehow, 1% convinced the other 99% to believe in something that was in the interest of the 1% and contrary the interests of the 99% without necessarily invoking religion. More like, they who hold the marbles make the rules; have since forever. Capitalism wasn’t that much better/different than feudalism/serfdom, if any. All those who got one each time around got an early pass to eternity; the divviers, wealth beyond imagining. For a very few decades in the mid-20th century, the divvied ones enjoyed some parity; unions were

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Of a Time

April 16, 2022

“Because, that is just the way it is,” we are told. The ‘way it is’, for sure, but that doesn’t mean that it is how it should be. Or, we hear, “Because, that is the way it has always been.” It’s too late to change the ‘always has been’ part, but just because we have always done something a certain way doesn’t mean that is how it should be done. The proper response to both of the two axioms is, “How should it be?” A third reason/axiom often proffered is, “That is how it is supposed to be.” For this one; “Says who?”

Economics and politics are history’s leading characters. The three, economics, politics, and history, are inextricably linked. Given that politics is the art or science of government; the ‘politics’ character sometimes goes by the name,

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Desperados

April 9, 2022

The ‘House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th 2021 Attack on the United States Capitol’ plans to open its hearings to the public sometime in May. Then, we are sure to learn a lot more about then President Trump’s role in the lead-up to the insurrection. Until then, given that he didn’t seem to relish performing the job itself and wasn’t very good at it, we are left to ponder just what it was that made him and his cadre so desperate to hold on to the office.

Only desperation accounts for the brash and extreme criminal actions taken by Trump and his coterie of extremists, quack lawyers, washed-up politicians, pseudo-intellectuals, and brownnosers during the period from just before the November 2020 election until January 6th, 2021? No

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Oops!

March 30, 2022

Or was it? How many philosophical ‘baby Hitlers’ does it take? That’s a tough one, because how could you know? By 1937, it was a no brainer. By 2002, it was a no brainer. By 2008, less than zero. Now, there is no doubt it has been discussed at the highest levels, here, in Europe, and between. Especially since February this year.

Is war a sport with rules as to what is fair and what is not? Then, one man caused the deaths of 75-80 million human beings. This guy, well on his way to a million, could easily top that. Why let him continue? Do the rules say it is better to let millions die instead of one? The one responsible? In a democratic nation, world, such a threat would be arrested and tried in a court of law. Another reason to outlaw autocracies.

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Oops!

March 30, 2022

Or was it? How many philosophical ‘baby Hitlers’ does it take? That’s a tough one, because how could you know? By 1937, it was a no brainer. By 2002, it was a no brainer. By 2008, less than zero. Now, there is no doubt it has been discussed at the highest levels, here, in Europe, and between. Especially since February this year.

Is war a sport with rules as to what is fair and what is not? Then, one man caused the deaths of 75-80 million human beings. This guy, well on his way to a million, could easily top that. Why let him continue? Do the rules say it is better to let millions die instead of one? The one responsible? In a democratic nation, world, such a threat would be arrested and tried in a court of law. Another reason to outlaw autocracies.

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Those Who Pander

March 27, 2022

Ever since maybe five hundred years before this current era, maybe even before then, demagogues, in their quest for power, have appealed to ignorance and the lowest common denominator while belittling reason and rational thinking. Of late, any listing of such should include Huey Long, George Wallace, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, most if not all red state republican politicians, and Donald Trump.

If the demagogue is one who panders for power, what do we call someone who panders for riches? An “Alex Jones” or a “Rush Limbaugh”? Possibly. Other possibilities include the likes of religious hucksters like Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, and a very long list of mega-church pastors. In addition to riches, both of these two types

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Bedfellows

March 26, 2022

To be very clear; there is no chance (as in zero, nada, ganz sicher nicht, rien, none) that NATO will invade Russia. Never was. There is no chance that the United States would ever invade Russia (everyone knows we only invade much smaller countries). No one knows the both better than Vladimir Putin. The fear of invasion by NATO, the EU, or the United States was not why he invaded Chechnya, Georgia, and now Ukraine.

Putin invaded Ukraine because, to him, the possibility of having a successful western-style democracy next door was the scariest thing imaginable. The idea of Russians, his people, being able to look over the border and seeing anything other than the Russian ‘Culture’, the Mother Russia of the tsardom he so wanted to restore; kept him

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A Recipe for Failure

March 19, 2022

A government to consist of three coequal branches, the Legislative, the Executive, and the Judicial was chartered in that order by the first three articles of the U.S. Constitution. Three coequal in order to provide checks and balances on one another lest any one of them should become too powerful was the reasoning.

Perfectly understandable, given the world of the late 18th. To have foreseen a time when one or more of the branches didn’t believe in government would have been difficult then, but for forty years and more now, we have one of our two parties denouncing government. We now have a majority of the third branch of government of the same mind. Then they rightfully feared authoritarianism. Of late, we’ve been moribund with too little

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On Education

March 18, 2022

Time was when being able to read and write was good enough to meet the demands of industry. After a while, workers needed to have an eighth grade, then a high school education to be of much value. That was then, back before the world became complicated. Today, in order to understand what is going on at work, workers need a good foundation in mathematics and science, and to be able to read and understand fairly complicated instructions in order to maintain and operate more and more sophisticated machines.

For all these many years, it has been much about the needs of employers. Time to say, “Enough of this Carnegie-Mellon, in service of capitalism, education.” Time to ask, “how should it be?” Beyond making us employable, what should be the role of

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Whilst We Wait

March 6, 2022

Vladimir who daren’t dismount III. Estragon is french for sunflower. How in the hell, Samuel? These days, fossils are paying good money for carbon capture stories. More for the hacks. Lord knows we’ve them aplenty.

The €13 billion-plus overruns Nord Stream in a time of global warming was silly. The commitment to fossils, sillier. Being dependent on Russia, was stupid. Nord Stream II was doubling down on silly and stupid. Enough Carpe Diem. Too much, already. Carpe Diem Not! As in boolean. Henceforth, fossils are to be used for transitional purposes only. Maybe, alternative/clean mostly with fossil only at night, peak until storage perfected. Any investment to be in clean.

In the final why; there is always corruption. Are we now to be counted

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Stage

March 4, 2022

The low levels of Lake Powell and the lack of rainfall in the west are not symptoms of drought. They are stages of Global Warming.

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Freedom v. Rights

March 3, 2022

World wide, wearing masks prevented millions of hospitalizations and saved hundreds of thousands of lives. When vaccines became widely available, they prevented millions of hospitalizations and saved hundreds of thousands of lives. Both could have saved many more lives, prevented many more hospitalizations but for opposition to masking and vaccination. So why were so many Americans opposed to the requiring of wearing masks and vaccination?

“An infringement of their freedom,” they said. Their exercising of this ‘freedom’ greatly extended the lifespan of the pandemic and increased the hospitalizations and deaths from the virus. Was it their right to do so?

In the early days of the pandemic, before the vaccine and before much was known about the

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The Gilded Lily

February 25, 2022

One micron is about ten gold leaves thick. The gilded age, one. Since, and yet, there are those who would return the nation to that time. To their minds, it was the best of times; that all that need be done was rid the nation of the odious Progressive and New Deal Era laws that in fact had had nothing to do with the age’s demise, and the labor unions that formed up during the period; then let the laws of capitalism and of free markets take their course. For these some, and seems quite a few more of us, in times of change, when the future is unclear, it is, “backward ho!” After the 1960s, came the 1970s. By the 1970s, the times were really changing.

One way to figure out what was happening in the 1970s was to not even try; was to just pretend that

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Now

February 3, 2022

History is the study of the past. We can not undo the past; but we can make use of knowledge of the past to help us understand what is going on now so as to make the right choices, to take the right actions for issues of the present now; and to better our odds for survival into the future.

——-past—————————————————–|now|———future——-

Now is the present time interval (one of definable duration) between the past and the future that moves forward with the passage of time. With the passage of time, what was now becomes the past and what was the near future becomes now.

— History gets to tell the tale. —

In 2052, a US History class is studying the period 2021 & 2022. What will their history book/google say was going on in America during that

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On Rethinking Journalism

January 16, 2022

Before paper, journalists drew on the walls of caves, trees, rocks, in the dirt and sand, … About 3,000 BCE, they were given papyrus by Egyptians. Then they learned how to write, leaving the art to others. The ink, with which to, followed around 2,600 BCE. On parchment around 300 BCE, paper since about 200 BCE. Printing on paper evolved in several locations between 1040 and 1440 CE. For more than 600 years, journalism was associated with writing and printing with ink on paper. Newspapers have had a good run.

At all times, they did it the way they did because that was what they had. Today, there are options. Options that don’t involve walls, paper, … or any of these things. How would William Shakespeare present his works, if he were alive today? As

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Let It Be On Their Heads

January 13, 2022

Today the conservative majority of Supreme Court Justices decided that federal vaccine mandates are unconstitutional, that states rights and employer rights are more important than the public’s welfare in this time of pandemic. It is likely that their decision will result in the unnecessary death of as many as 250,000 Americans. Let it be on their heads. Let history show for all times that these 250,000 unnecessary deaths are upon the heads of Justices Gorsuch, Thomas, Alito, Roberts, Kavanaugh, and Barrett.

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Redistricting

January 12, 2022

When a fellow CNN correspondent asked their own Dana Bash what were the underlying causes of the nation’s partisan gridlock, Bash replied, “Three things: redistricting, redistricting, and redistricting.”

Congress, let’s get it right. First off, Congressional Districts are under the purvey of federal, not state, law because the constitution says:

Section. 4.

The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.

The …’but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations,’… means that the federal government, not the

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Insurrection

January 6, 2022

To say that the Republican Party since Nixon had pandered to the lowest common denominator isn’t quite accurate, is it? Probably because the term is derived from the arithmetical least common denominator which makes one think of a unique number. Perhaps lowest common denominator was a more polite way of saying that the Republican Party would thenceforth pander to lowbrows, to their basest; to ignorance. Theirs was a war on elites, and, of course, hippies. Not to mention, non-whites. Not directly, please.

While Nixon did this pandering using Buchananesque slogans such as ‘The Silent Majority’, Reagan used the mendacious racial code words long used in the southern states, along with allusions to large northern cities. There has been no looking back!

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The Second and Last Death of Capitalism

December 17, 2021

—We study history in order to better understand what is going on now, to be better able to look into the future. —

The Great Depression was a manifestation of the utter and complete failure of capitalism. Social Security, unemployment, and Welfare were implicit admissions of this failure. Capitalism had spectacularly failed to provide for labor, therefore capitalism should have borne the cost of Social Security and Welfare. The capitalists, with no real hand, but with a few politicians up their sleeves, won the hand; got labor to pay for half and more of the fix.

Today, as in 1929, we sit on the brink of another spectacular failure of capitalism. As then, only worse, fully forty percent of American workers have no savings and no way of

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e pluribus pluribus

December 16, 2021

The defense against COVID-19 called for an all-out united effort. In times past, America would have risen to the challenge. Much of the failure to respond is attributable to the deep political divide that grips the country. A divide that was fostered and nurtured by the Republican Party for political purposes. (Yes, Judy, it is the Republican Party that is responsible)

The coincidence of Trump’s election and the appearance of the virus was an unfortunate, catastrophic happenstance. One that could have been offset by a normally functioning Congress. In the House, much of this dysfunction was attributable to Republicans such as Darrell Issa, Doug Collins, Trey Gowdy, Jim Jordan, … In the Senate, most of the discord is attributable to Mitch McConnell

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Trinity

December 10, 2021

There are to be only three branches of government, the Legislative, the Executive, and the Judicial; so sayeth the Constitution in Articles I, II, and III. A trinity of man, by man. We were among the first to have broken free of that old ruling triad of the Church, the Army, and the King that at times in previous times had been only the one, the same. We are indeed, a nation born free.

Or so we thought. First the nose, then before you know it, the whole of the beast is in the tent; holding court; knocking things over and about; demanding that we throw some things out, and trying to sit on the throne, or else. We once worried about its sneaking in via the Legislative or Executive, but it was by way of the Court(The Judicial) that the beast got back

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A Day of Days

December 4, 2021

Wednesday, 1 December 2021, the state of Mississippi argued before the US Supreme Court that the 1973 Roe vs Wade decision [410 U.S. 113 (1973)] giving women a constitutional right to have an abortion was in error; that it should be overturned. During Wednesday’s oral arguments, Justice Sotomayor asked Mississippi’s Solicitor Stewart whether Mississippi’s challenge was premised on religious grounds.

No doubt about that. In Missouri, Alabama, Mississippi, and in a dozen and more other states they would rather that the people of the state decide when a human embryo becomes a human being. No science or philosophy, please.

The case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, is being heard by nine Supreme Court Justices, six of whom are avowed

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The Crimes of Punishment

December 1, 2021

Surely someone, not something, must be to blame, must be responsible for whatever catastrophe that may have just occurred. Even CNN knows this. Blaming an event on someone obviates the need to fully explain, to seek a cause; relieves us of the responsibility to understand, to acknowledge the true cause. Seems it is somehow better if someone started the forest fire; not lightning or the effects of Climate Change. Blaming someone is different than blaming something. Though, seeking something to blame is more likely to lead us to the cause. Finding the cause is more likely to prevent recurrence.

While scientists seek to identify causes; the law (here, law enforcement and the criminal courts in concert), representative society, seeks someone to blame,

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Decentralized Education

November 23, 2021

Some, if not all, of the original thirteen may have had some claim to state’s rights in that as individual and separate colonies they had known some autonomy. None of the states admitted later, with the possible exception of Texas, had claim to such rights. Any legitimate claim by Texas, or any of the thirteen original, was abrogated with their secession from the Union during the Civil War.

So many of our current ills are attributable to this original sin of according significant rights to the individual states. This autonomy allowed for legitimatizing slavery, and later, the implementation of Jim Crow Laws. This autonomy allows for gerrymandering. Allowed segregation to persist and persist.

Unfortunately, our system of public schools is much

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Essential Freight

November 14, 2021

Seldom do we get the chance to build something the way it should be. For the internet, the first chance was back in the 1990s. Not enough was known then. We’ve learned a lot the hard way since.

Let us begin our design by asking, “How best to utilize the internet?” It is apparent that everyone needs, should have basic access. Access on the order of that afforded by the U. S. Postal Service all the years. Like the Postal Service over all the years, today, the internet is an essential service. It is our Postal Service, Sears and Roebuck catalog, telephone and telegraph, TV, visit to the Dr.’s Office, and taxi service rolled into one, and so much more. Like with the Postal Service, access to the internet opens up whole new industries, markets, and

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Teach Your Children Well*

November 9, 2021

Appears that Parents’ Rights is the Republican Party’s latest wedge issue. My how they do love wedge issues. And, this one goes so well with their States Rights. Lot in common, the two. States’ Rights allowed a state to keep doing the same old. Parents’ Rights give parents the right to appropriate their child’s life.

Or, do they? What about Children’s Rights? When does the child’s thoughts, life, become their own?

For some parents, that would be never. Mankind would be caught up in this never ending cycle of each generation reliving the preceding’s. Why even bother? For the species to survive, to thrive, there needs to be progress. Surely, each generation should pass the best it has to offer on to the next; provide the shoulders to stand on; and

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