Tuesday , September 21 2021
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Ken Melvin



Articles by Ken Melvin

Lodestar

7 days ago

Time was when the future could be and was read from the tea leaves of the past. Elders, old timers, and other records could tell us what to expect in the way of weather. That wasn’t so long ago. Today, all we have to go on is the scientific models. The past no longer applies when it comes to weather. Without the benefit of science, we’re flying VFR at night. Oh, the Meteorologists can still tell us what to expect in the next few days, but they haven’t a clue what the weather will be like one year, five years from now; unless of course they get ahold of the scientists’ predictions. Talking about Climate Change, of course.

Problem is, we still have experts talking about how if we only manage the forests in the west a little better the problem of

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When The Past And The Present Collide

8 days ago

For some, the past is not past. The past is something to hold on to; is something to be always brought forward. They don’t want, don’t like, change. The rest of us, we know that we must change in order to progress, to survive. In order for those who would remain in the past to have their way, they must be in charge. Thus it is that, presently, around the world, we have the forces for the past attempting, by one means or another, to either retain, gain, or regain control of governments.

Consequences:

These efforts to block change, to reverse changes, go back centuries; greatly affect the present, the ‘what is’ of today’s world. Seems twenty-four-seven, our TVs and computers provide real-time images from half-way around the world of men in

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The Red List

8 days ago

On January 6, 2021, the Honorable Mo Brooks admonished Trump’s ‘Stop The Steal’ crowd to, “… start taking names and kicking ass.” ‘Open Sesame’, Mo; just for you. Beginning with Alabama’s own little theocrat, Kay Ivey; then, Mississippi’s Tate Reeves; then, Tennessee’s Bill Lee, then Missouri’s Mike Parson; then, Texas’s Greg Abbott; then, Florida’s Ron Desantis; then, Idaho’s Brad Little; then, South Dakota’s Kristi Noem; then, North Dakota’s Doug Burgum; then, Arkansas’s Asa Hutchinson. Ten be enough for starters, Mo?

Notice, Mo: All ten are Republicans? All were at least once rabid Trump supporters? All are responsible for thousands of unnecessary deaths from COVID-19?

Mo, these people were elected to govern their states. To provide

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The Recently Disposed

July 31, 2021

In their testimony before the Committee, all four of the witnesses described the rioters as being supporters of the Recently Disposed one (t·R·D·o).

More than one of the four said that many in the crowd told them, the police, that they had come to DC at the invitation of t·R·D·o to stop the steal; and, — maybe overthrow the government while they were at it.

With invitation in hand, come they did. By mid-day 6 January 2021, as many as 30,000 of t·R·D·o’s followers had come from out of the woodwork to be in Washington D.C. where, after having been incited by t·R·D·o and others at a noon rally to ‘stop the steal’ by whatever means necessary; they stormed the US Capitol. Over a nearly three-hour period, in wave after wave, they viciously

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Distraction*

July 22, 2021

So … . What was the House Un-American Activities Committee (1945-1975, with a few interesting precursors) really all about? Looking back through the lens of history, it was much about distracting the Nation’s attention from the racist atrocities being committed in southern states. Still today, all a red state Republican politician needs do is yell, “Communist!”, “Socialist!”, “Nancy Pelosi!” or “Hillary Clinton!” and their constituents forget to even think about whatever it is that is really wrong with their state; about whatever it really is that is ailing their neighborhoods, their livelihoods, and begin to focus on the object offered as a distraction. Such distraction techniques have become instinctual with Republican (nee Dixie-crat) red state

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Florida

July 18, 2021

Imagine that in the 1970s you bought a plat along the coast in Florida that was on a large pile of sand that was basically at sea level upon which you planned to build a four-hundred unit, twelve story tall, condominium complex. This complex was to rest on a slab of concrete that rested atop the pile of sand and a lot of long pilings driven deep into the pile (but not to bedrock). If you will, the building(s) were to rest atop a concrete many-legged table with sand beneath the table top itself.

Imagine that, for several years now, there had been an encroachment of sea-water onto the property during high tides; that with each encroachment, the sea-water wet the sand beneath the table supporting the building, then drained away. That with each

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Fact-Free

July 10, 2021

During the first Trump impeachment, and the second, House Republicans strongly opposed subpoenaing any witness who might tell the world some of the more egregious things that Trump had done and said as President. During the Senate trials, Mitch McConnell used his position to ensure that no witnesses were called, no incriminating evidence was presented, lest the truth rear its ugly head. Who would have ever thought it would come to this in ‘Our Nation of Laws’,?

Why this great fear of the very truth that we were told would set us free. Seems the truth got in the way of ideology. These days, nearly one-half of Americans, the whole of the Republican Party, have gone on a fact-free diet. Not low-fact, nor no-fact; fact-free. What would a totally

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How Trump Rid the Nation of All Those Goddamned Confederate Statues

July 9, 2021

Most of the statues were of Confederate War heroes, most were erected in the 1920s. All were meant to commemorate one of the biggest of the Big Lies; the one about a noble Lost Cause. The one invented after the fact, the one that begat ‘The Birth of a Nation’. The one meant to deny the fact. To deny, first you must lie. Denial is but a lie to oneself. One lie necessitates another. First thing you know, you have a narrative.

And it must follow, as the night the day,

William Shakespeare, circa 1603

As sure as the night follows the day, one lie leads to another, ‘The Birth of a Nation’ was then used to perpetuate the very Big Lie that begat it; the one about the nobility of the cause.

Oh what a tangled web we weave

When first we practice

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Water

July 6, 2021

Utah and Beyond

Tuesday, June 29, 2021: The small town of Lytton, British Columbia, Canada recorded a high of 121 degrees Fahrenheit. This was the highest ever recorded in Lytton, in British Columbia, in Canada. Wednesday, June 30, 2021, the small town of Lytton burned to the ground.

On Monday, June 28, 2021, the temperature in Portland, Oregon reached 116 degrees Fahrenheit, the highest ever recorded. On that same day, Seattle recorded 108 degrees Fahrenheit; 3 degrees above the previous record high.

From NPR, June 24, 2021:

… Town in Utah has stopped issuing building permits because of the drought.

… Henceforth, Pinal County, Arizona is requiring developers seeking project approval prove that the proposed project has a 100-yr supply

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Threatened

June 26, 2021

Living the Big Lie

In the more insular areas of the red states, of all the states, some have been saying, thinking, and believing like Marjorie Taylor Greene since forever. In these areas, this narrative of Marjorie’s wasn’t unusual to the local ear; neither was what Trump was saying. Trump’s election in 2016, accorded the narrative the presidential seal of approval. Henceforth his election, Marjorie felt free to say these things to the world without resorting to the slick code words still being used by some of her contemporaries.

The ‘Big Lie’, embraced long before and long after the Civil War by both elite and working-class white southerners, was a construct meant to obscure the truth, to counter the facts; is still very much ingrained in

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Hook and Peg

June 16, 2021

Your money or your life. Highway robbery has been around since. On the high seas, was known as piracy. Been writ that pirates didn’t always even offer the choice. All made for generations of good bedtime reading for youth. And, for mock sword, and bow and arrow, fights. And, really bad movies. Thanks, Howard Pyle, Robert Louis Stevenson, …, and Walt Disney. No thanks, Errol Flynn.

These days, it’s neither sword nor bow and arrows, musket nor cannon. It’s malware. Goes by cyberattack or ransomware attack. A malware fight? Has no lilt. Aargh! I’ve been hit by a virus.

First, there had to be computers. Ransomware showed up; around 1980, about the time computers got really going. By floppy or tape, then. Your cashier check or you crash. No panache;

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The Lewis Powell Court

June 10, 2021

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, RI, has recently begun giving a series of speeches on the Senate floor in ref. dark money and the effect on the Supreme Court. The two so far have centered on Lewis Powell’s secret memo to the US Chamber of Commerce in 1971 just before his appointment to the US Supreme Court. The two speeches go a long way toward explaining the present makeup of the Court, how we got to this point, how capitalism works in America, southern aristocracy, our aristocracy, … . Herewith, for your perusal, are links to the videos of both the speeches along with copies of their transcripts.

Senate Session, Part 2

The Senate confirmed, in a 51-48 vote, Kristen Clarke’s nomination for assistant attorney general for civil rights at the

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The Big Lie

June 7, 2021

Ross Barnett didn’t invent the big lie, but he was a practitioner. One might even say that Ross was to the manor born. The big lie had been a southern thing from the get go; comes with the turf. First you must lie to yourself, and so they did. Hitler appropriated, without acknowledgment, the concept in Mein Kampf, Chapter 10. That wasn’t all he appropriated from the American South; they had beaten him to a lot of the Nazi shtick.

Joseph McCarthy had given it a pretty good ride in the 1950s. Many a pol has flirted with it since then. Ross’s run was in the tumult of the early 1960s. Then, just when he thought he was being slick, he got exposed by northerners Jack and Bobby. Then, his whole career was flushed down the drain.

Of late, it has been

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Wings

June 6, 2021

Why the reference to the wings in re the two major political parties? Are we being asked to envision either of our two major political parties as a bird, an aircraft. If so, each would surely have two matching wings, one on either side of the body/fuselage. Maybe they meant to make an analogy with the sides of an aisle in a room, or the banks of a river as in rive gauche or rive droite, or to those seated on the far left hand side of the room or on the far right hand side of the room from the front? All, implying that there is a body politic made up of members from both parties that is pretty much in the center of wherever. Sounds nice, but has nothing whatsoever to do with today’s politics.

How many Republican members of the House could be

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2050

May 31, 2021

Needing a new shirt? Pair of pants? Sports jacket? Suit? Log on, get your body profiled, if you haven’t recently; chose material. Screen shows what you would look like in the item while you make changes if any. Place the order and item shows up at your door in 7 days; still untouched by human hands. Prêt à porter? Même chose.

Could fly to Albuquerque to see your, or your spouses’, mom and dad. Or, you could avoid the old hassle of the airport, of being sardined and fleeced; the long since strengst verboten spewing of carbon dioxide, and visit with them on your big monitor from the comfort of your living room, and they with you from theirs. Dine or watch a movie together. Every night if you are of a mind. All for the price of a Zoom, Amazon, Google,

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After All These Years

May 24, 2021

Adam Smith’s been dead for more than 230 years now; Karl Marx for 138. The industrial age began around 1760; ended around 1960. Around 1950, we entered the information & technology age, an age every bit as epochal as the industrial age. Missing to date in this new age is the Adam Smith equivalent to rationalize it; the Karl Marx equivalent to analyze it. Hopefully, one or more of their big minded equivalents will appear forthwith.

Will the next Adam/Amanda eat from the tree of capitalism, carrying forth the Darwinesque evolution of economics, or will he or she be able to see clearly, to truly think anew? It would be good and proper if it be that they do think anew.

Took the world some 170 years to iron most of the wrinkles out of the industrial

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Population and the Economy

May 18, 2021

Hear that China is in trouble with an aging, decreasing population. Headline says that California is in trouble; decreasing population for the first time ever. Years ago now, we heard that Japan was in trouble with an aging, decreasing population. Japan’s doing fine, thank you. And, China and California will both be better off for the decrease. More is not always better.

We know where they are coming from with this stuff. They bought into the old perpetual growth, dance ’til you drop, capitalism pyramid scheme. The one where we were never supposed to look behind the screen, to look around and about; to stop digging and look up. We just might be able to get by without capitalism; we haven’t a chance without enough clean air, clean water, plentiful

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Cyber War

May 16, 2021

For just a pocketful of Russia’s rubles, Putin facilitated Brexit, doing irreparable harm to the UK and the EU. With what was left over, he did enormous harm to the US, and weakened NATO. No shots were fired, no missiles were launched, and no missions were flown. No weapons that go bang were deployed, and not a single Russian boot trod foreign soil. Putin did more damage with that pocketful of change than his army could have ever done. Yet, the United States continues to spend $billions upon $billions on weapons, troop readiness; and military adventures. China will not be fighting any boots on the ground war, nor one with missiles launched, with the US. China is not stupid. Only the US would be so stupid.

Back when, Ike tried to warn us. Today,

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Scuppered

May 12, 2021

The former actor campaigning for President said,

“The government is the problem.”

Who needs government? We need it, that’s who. In 1980, any damned fool could look around and see that nations with strong governments succeeded while those with weak governments failed. Yet most of the people believed the damned fool when he told them that government was the problem. There’s little reason to doubt that he believed it. Question is, who paid him enough?

When a nation turns one way when it should have turned the other, each day spent going the wrong direction doubles the error, doubles the cost, of the choice. In the 1960s and 70s, the understanding of what was happening escaped most everyone. Now, at anytime, is an elusive, hard to grasp, thing.

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When the Law is Part of the Problem

May 5, 2021

Whether it be by legislative intent, or due to some interpretation of the law by a judge or by the supreme court; behind each incidence of police brutality, shooting of an unarmed person, or other unwarranted police behavior in America, lies the question of how is it the law of the land allows law enforcement officers to act with relative impunity? Of course, there is the question of whether the law does indeed allow law enforcement officers to use unnecessary, excessive force? While there can be no doubt that they should be be allowed to use necessary force; does it not follow that any force beyond what is necessary is unnecessary force? And, that anything beyond necessary is excessive? Should a routine traffic stop warrant a police officer pointing

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Mining Poverty

May 1, 2021

Recall Senators McConnell’s and Graham’s strong opposition to the first COVID relief package? Said it was because they feared it might reduce the incentive of workers in their states to work for low wages; that’s really low wages as in less than a living wages. Mitch and Lindsey, and most of the present day republican party, are miners of poverty. Miners as in get every last possible cent possible out of the working class and personally wheelbarrow it up to those living in the big houses on the hill. Being as they are professionals, Mitch and Lindsey don’t come cheap.

Right to work states are right to mine states. With few exceptions, right to work states are red states. A living minimum wage is an anathema to the miners of poverty.

The miners’

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Alternatively

May 1, 2021

The executive increases the return to shareholders, in return they increase the executive(s) salaries; and so it goes. The Trump tax cuts were used by corporate executives to buy back shares; increasing the stock value, sending more along to the shareholders who then reward the executive(s) with bigger salaries. What’s missing? The workers. Time was when industrial work forces were huge and unions were strong; when the unions had lots of clout with the democratic party, ergo with government; when they could leverage their clout into a fairer share. Having little leverage, workers are left to suck hind teat. Consequently, more and more of the returns from business go to the shareholders, bondholders, and executives.

If workers were guaranteed a fair

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Disparity

April 29, 2021

When a Guatemalan family borrows money to pay a coyote to, hopefully safely, smuggle one of their children into the United States, we might yet hear the talking heads refer to it as the search for a better life. Perhaps. More likely it is done out of deep despair. Despair from seeing year after year of failed crops, of failed government, of their country being a failed nation, …. That’s despair, as in the lack of any hope; despair as in desperate.

Despair is not foreign to our shores. Across America, for almost two generations now, we’ve seen too many good paying jobs disappear from our towns and cities; our towns dry up and blow away, our intercities fall farther into disrepair and decay; too many of our own have fallen into despair. Here, in

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Education

April 24, 2021

These past few decades have been witness to great change. It is hard to imagine that the Covid Pandemic will not increase this rate of change; that the pace of change will be slowing down anytime soon. Looking back, the advent of the microprocessor and all that followed changed the world forever. Looking forward, the COVID-19 pandemic, too, will little doubt change the world forever. The one gave us the means to do things differently, the other, the desperate need to do things differently. The pandemic has forced us to rethink things like education, office work, retail, healthcare, work commutes, construction, … .

Education was already under great stress. Over the past several decades, as more and more mothers went to work, as poverty and drugs

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Why Not Fraud?

April 22, 2021

First to step out of the right hand corner was John Cornyn of Texas. Floated something he had read in Politico; it didn’t. None of Cornyn’s stings, stung. Departing the ring before the first was over; Cornyn mumbled something about butterflies and bees, or maybe it was something about Dinah. Next, Senator Lindsey of South Carolina would show his fellows how it was done; how to handle an uppity black women. Stepped in; wham never knew what hit him. Lindseee went down without even a sarcastic whimper. Time to bring in the heavyweight favorite from, and now of, Louisiana — in the right corner — John Kennedy. What is that on his lips, all over him? Is that molasses? Ref should check Kennedy’s notes for the presence of a foreign substance, of a fact. Leads

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Windsor, VA

April 20, 2021

Recently, in Windsor, Virginia, United States of America, a local police officer, Police Officer Gutierrez, pulled over Army Second Lieutenant Nazario; ostensibly for the lack of displayed license plate. As it was to turn out, a temporary plate was on display in the vehicle’s rear window. When Lt. Nazario slowly proceeded to a well lighted area in front of a convenience store, pulled over, and stopped, Police Officer Gutierrez, and a second, back up, officer approached the Lt.’s vehicle with guns drawn and pointed at Lt. Nazario while giving somewhat conflicting commands. Lt. Nazario is heard to say that he is afraid to get out of the car.

Was it reasonable force for the two police officers to draw to draw their weapons for a traffic stop after it

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Numbers

April 17, 2021

The interviewee says that blacks are disproportionately imprisoned in the United States; notes that though blacks only make up 13% of the general population, they make up 40% of the prison population. While it is quite likely that blacks are disproportionately imprisoned, it is what the interviewee didn’t say that begs asking. Why is it that blacks are being disproportionately imprisoned? For the answer to that, first, let’s take a look at some U.S. Department of Justice data on arrests:

Selected from the above linked table: Estimated number of arrests by offense and race, 2019, All ages:

All offenses blacks more than 25% of total

Murder and nonnegligent manslaughter

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On Ghost Walls

April 17, 2021

Raffi Khatchadourian’s Ghost Walls {Surviving the Crackdown in Xinjiang ( As mass detentions and surveillance dominate the lives of China’s Uyghurs and Kazakhs, a woman struggles to free herself.)} is beyond Margaret Atwood dystopian. Ghost Walls gives a victim’s accounting of her own experiencing of China’s reaction to the cultural differences between the Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other indigenous Turkic peoples, and China’s Han Chinese majority. A reaction that seems to be a crazy of mixture of the 13th and 21st Centuries with a f—ed up, post Mao, culture thrown in. For the world, the worst thing that could possibly happen is for this manic genocidal crackdown to succeed. When in doubt, when in China, double down. Can anybody make anyone do anything?

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What the Future Holds

April 14, 2021

It was a warm October evening, back in 1957, when we heard the news and began looking anew toward the night skies. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) had just launched a satellite that they called Sputnik into orbit; an event that changed the world forever. A whole new concept; actually, a couple, maybe more, new ones. Thenceforth everyone knew what a satellite was; well, most everyone. Took us awhile longer though to wrap our heads around the orbit bit.

That launch into orbit started a space race that pretty much defined the next 12 years. Actually, it was more of a technology race, a how to do and how to do it first race. How to get a rocket with a man onboard into orbit and on into outer space; how to do all sorts of things in a

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On Gerrymandering

April 11, 2021

Every citizen of the United States has the right to be represented in both their state and federal governments by a representative chosen in a free and fair election. In a free and fair and election, each and every vote is equal. By definition a gerrymandered election is unfair because it favors one group of citizens over another. In a gerrymandered district, one’s vote may count for nothing, one party’s vote may count for nothing. In a gerrymandered state, the majority of residents’ votes may count for nothing. In gerrymandered states, many of the state’s residents are being deprived of their right to representation at both the state and federal level.

In states with gerrymandered districts, the members of the state’s legislature are not

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