Friday , June 11 2021
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Ken Melvin

Articles by Ken Melvin

The Big Lie

5 days ago

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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5 days ago

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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11 days ago

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

19 days ago

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

24 days ago

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

26 days ago

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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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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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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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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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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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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The Danger From Within

April 9, 2021

No doubt, they saw these decisions as moments of greatness. Or, at least hoped that history would see it that way. One, an egotistical ass who used his intellect as a cudgel with which to intimidate, to bully others. The other, simply a small minded man selected for that very smallness of mind. The one, recently departed Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. The other, now Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.

Had Justice Scalia been even half as smart as he thought he was, he would have known that America is as great as we the people make it. That the right to vote, not the right to possess a gun, is our path to our destiny. That the constitution was given to us not as sword to fall upon, but rather as a rock upon which to build our

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April 3, 2021

Imagine four or more Sears and Roebuck catalog — and much, much more — type web pages; one of which belongs to the USPS, Amazon gets to keep one, if they can show copyright. Let’s call these Web Pages Amazon, Nile, Mississippi, and Danube, with Mississippi being assigned to the USPS. Each of these Four or More Rivers of commerce would have large numbers of manufacturers/producers as paid subscribers; we are, after all, now in the post retail, post warehouse era.

Anything anyone might want to purchase would be listed on one or more of these Web Pages along with the price and delivery time. The Four or More Web Pages would compete with one another on the basis of their Web Page and quality and value of delivery service. The manufacturers/producers

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A Wee Bit of History

March 30, 2021

Off and on, in 1967, 68, 69 & 70, I worked the San Francisco waterfront as a marine electrician troubleshooter while going to University. Then, there were still the freighters owned by big shipping lines, the cruise lines, and a lot of the old Victory ships coming and going from SF. I worked on all of them before they were no more. This was during the Vietnam war. In the early years, I saw stevedores and longshoremen working the docks, down in the holds, troubleshot the boom winches, the radars, the steering, emergency generators, …, engine room stuff. Worked on the first Sealand and Sea Train ships (They were the first container shipping lines; really just converted/extended old freighters). Both were in and out of Oakland. In those days, most ships

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March 30, 2021

An Investment in the Future

It is said that Eisenhower brought home the Autobahn; that he foresaw the need for airports. Let us say that President Eisenhower, seeing these needs for infrastructure, brought America into the 20th Century, and say, “Thanks, Ike.” Through the years, the interstate gave everyone access to work, to recreation, to their Doctor, to the shopping mall, … ; Today, for these same reasons and more, every household should have good access to the internet, and, have a few other good things.

Before Eisenhower, President Roosevelt’s New Deal and its kin employed the unemployed of the Great Depression to build a lot of infrastructure, much of which is still in use today, nearly one-hundred years later. New Deal

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Duplicitous Bastards

March 24, 2021

These are they who insist on their right to easily buy guns, to own as many guns as they wish. They who insist that mass shootings should be dealt with by prosecution. They who vehemently oppose any addressment of the question of who should be permitted to own guns. They who would only treat the symptoms of gun violence; who dare not look to science for the causes. They who think their Second Amendment rights are more important than the lives of mass shooting victims.

When it comes to voting rights, these same they are those who would make it difficult if not impossible for millions to vote whom they think might vote differently from them. They who think that not everyone has the right to vote. They who fear that the right to vote might fall into

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March 22, 2021

Back when they came up with the shtick about divine right, was a time when the people were more amenable to such. If not, then they, the people, could almost always be convinced. After the monarchies, and their off-shoots the sub-monarchies of Lords and Ladies, began losing some of their divine radiance, this at about the same time that the people started to become more enlightened, the true blues realized that they needed to come up with something better. This time, they would need a more subtle way of convincing the masses of their entitle. They, the true blues, of course, did neither the coming up with nor the convincing. True to form, they found someone to do it for them. Not that finding someone would be difficult in the least. Seems there was

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The Long Term Consequences of Economic Downturns

March 16, 2021

Chairman Powell, Secretary Yellen, and President Biden have recently spoken about the long term consequences for many of economic downturns. More should, more often. The Media should recognize how important this is; ask the question whenever it needs to be asked. The Congress should put this front and center in any and all discussions about economic policy.

Why? Because millions of Americans never recovered from 1979-1980. Millions more never recovered from the 2001. More than from either of those never recovered from the recession of 2008. Who didn’t recover? Those who just gotten their first decent job, just taken out a mortgage, just gotten married and started a family, those who had just experienced a family medical emergency, … The types

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What to do?

March 15, 2021


The US spent $Billions to help Columbia stem the flow of cocaine. Why not spent a few $Billions to alleviate the poverty and social unrest produced by Climate change in El Salvador? Why not spend a few $Trillion to slow, then reverse Climate Change? —The Biden Administration is faced with a problem of asylum seekers at the southern border. The problem was there before, and before that, … The guy just before was of the throw rocks at them, build walls, treat the symptoms, type. Not much use, maybe worse. Was cheered on by the ever squawking, panic striker, “What ever shall we do?,” Fox News.

Let’s start by giving it all a good sorting. What are the area’s problems? Poverty for

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We are Better

March 12, 2021

There are 24 Senate Committees (listed here: Clicking on anyone of the committees yields the Committee’s Web Page from which one can choose Members and get a photo listing of the members by party. This allows for a side by side comparison of the membership by party. Do this for any committee, for each committee. Based on these comparison, which party has the better Senators? Do the same for the House Committees.

Sure, there are cases where there is little difference between a given pair of republican and democratic counterparts on a committee; where there are glaringly weak members on both sides, but, en balance, being objective as possible, there is no getting around the fact that democratic membership is head

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March 10, 2021

Back in 1919, in the Schenck v. United States decision, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes reasoned that Schenck’s right to speech was not protected under the First Amendment because:

The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic. […] The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent.

In 1969, the decision in Brandenburg v. Ohio limited the scope of banned speech to that which would be directed to and likely to incite imminent lawless action.

Today, in March 2021, we are hearing a lot

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The Role of The Big Lie

March 7, 2021

Usually, lies are told for purpose. So, in most cases, if we can determine whose purpose is being served, we will know who is behind the lie.

Whose interests were being served by the Confederacy during the American Civil War? Sure as heck wasn’t those of the yeomen farmers who did most of the fighting and dying. There’s a good chance that it was the planters who told the lies that got so many killed. Heady stuff; people knowingly and willingly telling lies to people that were willing enough to believe in enough to die for those lies.

Whose interests are being served by American Capitalism? Free Markets? Who’s putting up the perpetuating? Sure as heck isn’t the lower fifty-percent.

Who in America’s interests were best served by the Vietnam

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Bearing Witness

February 28, 2021

A very few of us now living lived through The Great Depression; only a very few more of us lived through WWII; some more than that of us lived through the Korean War; more yet of us lived through the Vietnam Era; and so it goes up until now. All of us now living may have thought of the possibility of seeing another war, pestilence, the disaster of Climate Change, … , may have even thought of the possibility of experiencing a pandemic; but who amongst us thought of witnessing the concurrence of a Trump presidency and this once in a century level COVID-19 Pandemic? In the past five years, each of us have witnessed a lifetime of history. These past five years have been equal several normal lifetimes.

On January 6, 2021, the unthinkable nearly

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