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Ken Melvin



Articles by Ken Melvin

The Danger From Within

2 days ago

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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Next

8 days ago

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

12 days ago

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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Infrastructure

12 days ago

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

18 days ago

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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Conservatism

20 days ago

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

26 days ago

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?

27 days ago

Https://angrybearblog.com/2020/04/tip-of-the-iceberg#more-56219

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: https://www.senate.gov/committees/). 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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First

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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It doesn’t matter what you think.

February 24, 2021

It isn’t that no one cares what you think, they probably don’t, it is that what you think doesn’t really matter. Chances are that what you think, you didn’t; didn’t think that is. Even if you did, it doesn’t matter because facts are facts, and facts don’t care. Facts just are. Feel free to think, to opine, about the unknown, to believe what you want, but facts are reality and can be known. Facts couldn’t care less what you learned at mother’s, or anyone else’s, knee; what you learned in school; what you heard on Fox News, … . Facts are facts.

Opinions are not the same as facts. Opinions, in fact, have nothing to do with the facts. Opinions are just something, like a preference, that each of us is entitled to. This may help explain our fondness for

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Self-sufficiency

February 21, 2021

Trade is great; trade is good.

Since at least 2000 BCE, since the first inter-tribal (what was to become international) trading of horses, gold, silver, silk, foods, oils, wines, knowledge, technologies, …; trade between peoples has enrichened the lives of humans everywhere. Traditionally, trade was the great cross fertilizer. Without trade, our world would be a lot more like it was 4000 years ago than what it is like today. But first, before there was trade, there had to be enough self-sufficiency (self-sufficiency being relative to a given civilization at a given time) amongst the peoples, the tribes, trading for them to feel that they could afford to part with a goat, a horse, a bit of gold, … in exchange for something different they would more

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Cause

February 14, 2021

Before Science, treating the symptoms of an illness was all we had. Along our way, using trial and error, we found a few things that worked. The big breakthroughs came when we started to look for the causes of an illness. The association of an illness with toxins was deducible. Then, as we knew more and could see farther, we found that most of our physical illnesses were caused by such other things as bacteria, and viruses.

Still and yet, we see attempts to treat illnesses symptomatically. It wasn’t that long ago President Ford wanted to the nation to deal with the swine flu by treating the symptoms. Only yesterday, President Trump wanted us to treat the symptoms of COVID-19 with whatever occurred to him. At first look, it might seem that this

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Lil·li·pu·tians

February 13, 2021

The Slightly Less Than August

Back in the days of Adm. Rickover’s Navy, we were taught the technical term CRUD for the radioactive metallic deposits found in the reactor’s coolant system, that the word stood for Chalk River Undetermined Deposits, Chalk River being a river in Canada with a Nuclear Lab named after it, which was mostly true excepting maybe the part about heavy water. This was long, long before the Republican Party started sending the likes of: Richard Shelby, Tommy Tuberville, Dan Sullivan, John Boozman, Tom Cotton, Marco Rubio, Rick Scott, Mike Crapo, Jim Risch, Todd Young, Mike Braun, Chuck Grassley, Joni Ernst, Jerry Moran, Roger Marshall, Mitch McConnell, Rand Paul, John Kennedy, Susan Collins, Roy Blunt, Josh Hawley, Steve

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Bipartisanship

February 11, 2021

Dear Judy,

I just want to let you know that I’m here for you on your problem with bipartisanship, and to apologize for not being there for you when you were struggling so with your problem with her emails.

As far as I’ve been able to determine, to date: Partisans were a subspecies of humans found mostly in the forests of middle-europe during the mid-twentieth century. I did use were, but, to be honest, it isn’t known for certain whether or not they are extinct. Skeletal remains of both male and female adults, and partial skeletal remains of what are thought to be teenagers, are still being found today. Here’s the thing, breeding pairs of partisans were known as bipartisans. Isn’t that exciting? There is no historical record, at least none that I

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Bipartisanship

February 11, 2021

Dear Judy,

I just want to let you know that I’m here for you on your problem with bipartisanship, and to apologize for not being there for you when you were struggling so with your problem with her emails.

As far as I’ve been able to determine, to date: Partisans were a subspecies of humans found mostly in the forests of middle-europe during the mid-twentieth century. I did use were, but, to be honest, it isn’t known for certain whether or not they are extinct. Skeletal remains of both male and female adults, and partial skeletal remains of what are thought to be teenagers, are still being found today. Here’s the thing, breeding pairs of partisans were known as bipartisans. Isn’t that exciting? There is no historical record, at least none that I

Read More »

N95s

February 5, 2021

Turns out that the best weapon against the COVID-19 virus was, and still is, the N95 face mask. If this wasn’t known from the start, it should have been. We, the greatest nation on earth, the greatest nation that has ever been, were, and still are, dependent on China, and South Korea, for N95 masks. Couldn’t even get enough N95s in those early days of the pandemic for our front-line healthcare workers. During those early weeks, doubling 1,000 new daily infections meant 2,000 infections could be expected soon. We have just watched November 2020’s 67,000 become January 2021’s 260,000. Yet, we haven’t tooled up. Still, we aren’t self-sufficient for N95 face masks. Yet, we are not handing out free N95 face masks. How many lives would have been saved if

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N95s

February 5, 2021

Turns out that the best weapon against the COVID-19 virus was, and still is, the N95 face mask. If this wasn’t known from the start, it should have been. We, the greatest nation on earth, the greatest nation that has ever been, were, and still are, dependent on China, and South Korea, for N95 masks. Couldn’t even get enough N95s in those early days of the pandemic for our front-line healthcare workers. During those early weeks, doubling 1,000 new daily infections meant 2,000 infections could be expected soon. We have just watched November 2020’s 67,000 become January 2021’s 260,000. Yet, we haven’t tooled up. Still, we aren’t self-sufficient for N95 face masks. Yet, we are not handing out free N95 face masks. How many lives would have been saved if

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Shades of Greene

February 4, 2021

Even Scalia said that there could be restrictions, so how is that someone as certifiable as Marjorie Taylor-Greene got that gun permit? Anywhere? Even Milledgeville, Capital of Georgia, 1804 to 1868? Too bad that the founders didn’t see fit to keep someone so unfit out of Congress. “No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.” Never mind the he, surely and who shall not, when elected, be of good mind must be at least as important as be an Inhabitant?

What are we to make of the newly elected Congresswoman who is a believer in QAnon, a disproven and

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Shades of Greene

February 4, 2021

Even Scalia said that there could be restrictions, so how is that someone as certifiable as Marjorie Taylor-Greene got that gun permit? Anywhere? Even Milledgeville, Capital of Georgia, 1804 to 1868? Too bad that the founders didn’t see fit to keep someone so unfit out of Congress. “No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.” Never mind the he, surely and who shall not, when elected, be of good mind must be at least as important as be an Inhabitant?

What are we to make of the newly elected Congresswoman who is a believer in QAnon, a disproven and

Read More »

How We Got Here

January 31, 2021

From the lowest common denominator down

The unbound political ambition we see in the likes of Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, Nikki Haley, Tom Cotton, Marco Rubio, …, reminds those of us old enough to remember of Richard Nixon. It was but a small step from Nixon’s whatever it takes ambition-driven politics to appealing to the lowest common denominator. A step he took; the first Presidential Candidate to do so in a while. FDR, HST, DDE, JFK, and LBJ; none of them did. But, from Nixon on, all Republican Presidents have. Appealing to the lowest common denominator has become the Republican Party’s political stock and trade.

Back then, the lowest common denominator was seen as being those who got their news, if they consumed any news at all, from the

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How We Got Here

January 31, 2021

From the lowest common denominator down

The unbound political ambition we see in the likes of Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, Nikki Haley, Tom Cotton, Marco Rubio, …, reminds those of us old enough to remember of Richard Nixon. It was but a small step from Nixon’s whatever it takes ambition-driven politics to appealing to the lowest common denominator. A step he took; the first Presidential Candidate to do so in a while. FDR, HST, DDE, JFK, and LBJ; none of them did. But, from Nixon on, all Republican Presidents have. Appealing to the lowest common denominator has become the Republican Party’s political stock and trade.

Back then, the lowest common denominator was seen as being those who got their news, if they consumed any news at all, from the

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Senate Trump Committee

January 27, 2021

If ever there was a time for a Senate, and a House, Investigative Committee on anything, it’s now. The Nation needs, the world is waiting, history is begging, for such. This Nation, the world, wants and needs to know, to understand, what happened, how did it happen, and what should be done to prevent its happening ever again? What in the hell is going on in America?

Oh ‘twould be nice to find another Senator Sam Ervin, a Lowell Weicker, … before beginning the hearings.  Nice, but it’s not at all necessary. Senators Whitehouse, Durbin, Klobuchar, Blumenthal, et al will do nicely, and, anyway, the both, Ervin and Weicker, will be there in spirit; wouldn’t miss it for anything. As for the House Committee, who can ever forget Barbara Jordan? Peter

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Senate Trump Committee

January 27, 2021

If ever there was a time for a Senate, and a House, Investigative Committee on anything, it’s now. The Nation needs, the world is waiting, history is begging, for such. This Nation, the world, wants and needs to know, to understand, what happened, how did it happen, and what should be done to prevent its happening ever again? What in the hell is going on in America?

Oh ‘twould be nice to find another Senator Sam Ervin, a Lowell Weicker, … before beginning the hearings.  Nice, but it’s not at all necessary. Senators Whitehouse, Durbin, Klobuchar, Blumenthal, et al will do nicely, and, anyway, the both, Ervin and Weicker, will be there in spirit; wouldn’t miss it for anything. As for the House Committee, who can ever forget Barbara Jordan? Peter

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The Less Than Supreme Court

January 25, 2021

How Recent Supreme Court Decisions Have

Damaged Both the Court and the Constitution

There’s a pattern:

In November of 2000, immediately following the very close, highly contested, presidential contest between George W. Bush and Al Gore, John Roberts, a lawyer in private practice who had clerked for Chief Justice Rehnquist, rushed to Florida to be legal adviser to then Governor Jeb Bush during the to be decisive Florida recount; a recount decided not by the counting of ballots but by Reagan Appointee Justice Scalia’s bullying the court into its halting. Six months later, now President George W. Bush nominated the aforementioned John Roberts for the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals only to be rebuffed by a Democratic Senate Majority. When

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Unity

January 24, 2021

“Unity,” they cried. “First, we must have unity.” “Whose unity shall we have, yours or mine,” I asked?

Knowing there was a Unitarian Church nearby, I stopped by and asked the minister. This ordinate tells me that theirs is all about a god of one; a unity god. Always wondered.

Is there such a thing as unity of minds? A singularity? Called up an old physicist friend; says it’s something to do with essence, he thinks.

This unity you are demanding, can you please tell us what you mean by unity?

David Graham at the Atlantic on The matter:

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/01/why-are-republicans-being-so-divisive/617648/

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Liars and Their Lies

January 13, 2021

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

January 10, 2021

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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