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Ken Melvin



Articles by Ken Melvin

They are Anti-War, Stupid

14 days ago

Reuters says the students are protesting the war in Palestine.  The students say that they are protesting the war — the killing of innocents.  Still and yet, the U.S. media doesn’t get it — says that the protesters are pro-Palestian, or anti-Semitic.  Seems it is about the narrative.

To be clear. Netanyahu and ultra-orthodox Jews wanted this war.  They wanted Gaza, the occupied territories.  An observer over the years might envision caged Palestinians being poked with a stick.

Israel is being led by men of millennials ago, men bringing ancient mythology, ancient conflicts, to bear on this, the twenty-first century.  Turns out that time travel isn’t us going back in time or forward in time.  That the Putins, Xis, Netanyahus, Talibans, the

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The Old Man and the E.R.

15 days ago

The old man knew what it was. At first, he hoped to wait until tomorrow. That wasn’t meant to be. He had to go now, and his regular Doctor was too far away; especially at the time of day. The nearest Emergency Room (E.R.) it was. By this time, he could barely walk, but felt that he was alright to drive.

The walk from the parking garage to the hospital front entry took all he had. There, the security guy told him that he couldn’t go through to the E.R., would have to go around to the back of the hospital. The old man told him that he couldn’t, couldn’t even make it back to his car in the parking garage; told him that he was having heart problems, was in great distress.

Slowly they made it through the hospital to the E.R. There, the old man told

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The Big Crunch

January 13, 2024

Our current economic model, premised on profits and returns, consumption, and growth — on greed, has proven to be problematic for the environment, society, and governance.*  

Over time, humans have inflicted grave damage to the land, forests, rivers, streams, and atmosphere. Some of this was in the interest of survival. A lot more was done in the interest of greed. Of late, we have done especially grave damage to the atmosphere by burning increasing amounts of fossil fuels. Gasses emitted from this burning of fossil fuels have induced Global Warming – aka – Climate Change. Today, our species and many others face extinction because of the accumulation of these greenhouse gasses in the earth’s atmosphere. Much of this damage, too, was and is being

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Untainted

December 10, 2023

Throughout history, there have been times when some human minds shone brilliant lighting the way forward for us all. For much of time, their light could be said to be enough. Never omniscient, but enough. At these times, these big minds saw far enough ahead to lead us forward.

Along the way, our world has become more and more complicated. So complicated that even our best and brightest minds may not be capable of dealing with all the variables involved in matters such as economics, governance, psychology, …, and education.

For the past few decades, computers have assisted us more and more in studying the hard sciences and, to some extent, the soft. Artificial Intelligence (AI), the intelligence of machines or software, has been developing since

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Divine Right

November 25, 2023

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

To change the world, we must change the way people think. The Declaration of Independence, a result of

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Caveat Emptor

October 30, 2023

Upon hearing the Latin term caveat emptor, we likely think of the Uniform Commercial Code – of legal matters regarding commerce. These days – it turns out – ‘let the buyer beware’ is also very applicable to politics and the media.

Fox News isn’t only hiding behind the First Amendment; it is also saying that one should know better than to believe the lies it is peddling. Facebook sells its consumers little-fettered access to a hotline to spread gossip and false info and engage in braggadocio in exchange for their personal and then some information, which Facebook then sells to the highest bidder. Section 230 says caveat emptor applies to this exchange; that it applies to buyers who don’t know fish from fowl about what it is they are buying or what

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When America Became a Banana Republic

October 22, 2023

Eight out of ten of our poorest states are former states of the Confederacy. Less than a handful of the original Confederate states have been able to begin to rise. The ‘again’ was always impossible. Because, in the antebellum South, one percent of the population had all the wealth; most whites were little, if any, better off than slaves. —, politically unstable, economy dependent on the export of one or two products such as agricultural products, social classes divided by wealth that include a large, poor working class and a small ruling class (elite) made up of businessmen, planters, politicians, and the military that controls and exploits the country’s economy, — The antebellum South, the Dixie of song, had all the characteristics of what today is

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Whew

October 18, 2023

On this day, 18 October 2023, a group representing, at best, 10 percent of House Republicans, 5 percent of the total House, and 5 percent of the total populace came too close to getting Jim Jordan selected Speaker of the House. We came this close to a coup. Albeit partial, a coup.

If they had been successful, as their first order of business, they would set about expunging Trump’s impeachments.

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Blame and Consequences

October 17, 2023

There are good reasons to want to know the cause of an accident, a fire, – or even a crime; finding out the cause of – the reason for – something undesirable happening could help prevent a recurrence.The media seem to think that we, the public, feel that assigning blame is at least as important as determining the cause. Or, perhaps, it is top-down; the media want us to think it is at least as important to find someone to blame as it is to find the cause.A cause (noun) is a reason for an action or condition, as in cause and effect. To blame (verb) is to find fault with or hold responsible for something going wrong. Sometimes, the media gets it right; points out that there is a cause to blame for something going wrong. Too often, they don’t; they only

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Starting a War is Criminal

October 8, 2023

Around the world, up through the mid-20th century, it was pretty much dog-eat-dog. Until the 19th, according to legend, nations attacking one another gave the peasantry something worthwhile to do with their lives and provided entertainment for the Nobility. Until the 19th, legend was a bit weak on the details. Then, history and photography came along and screwed everything up. Turns out, far from being splendid, wars were too awful to even think about.

WWI dispelled the splendid war myth for all except maybe a few frat boys from Harvard and Yale. Its horrors, its utter senselessness, catalyzed consensus on the need to prevent wars; consensus that is only as long as it didn’t impair the right of the powerful to wage war; deny them the right to hold

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Drones and Trenches

September 30, 2023

For less than $1 thousand a pop, Ukrainians are taking out Russian tanks costing $3 million. For less than $300 thousand a pop, they are taking out Russian warships costing $ billions. Ukraine is doing these things with homemade cardboard drones, store-bought drones, and their roll-your-own mostly-submerged drones. Ukraine’s TLK-150 and TLK-400 submersible drones with 700-1200 mile ranges and up to 500 lb payload cost around $250k apiece.

One US cruise missile costs about $2 million; its launch platform is likely more than $1 billion. A patriot missile costs about $4 million; the launch platform $10 million. Each High Mobility Artillery Rocket (HIMAR) costs around $170 thousand; the launcher, about $4 million. US drones like those being used in the

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It is not the economics,

September 23, 2023

The myth of markets

How is it that a market created by Madison Avenue becomes prescient? Omniscient? It doesn’t. It isn’t; never was. Like capitalism, the primacy of private healthcare and the myth of markets are a big lie.The planet is dying from our burning of fossil fuels, yet we hear ‘news readers’ demand that alternative energy needs to be competitive with fossil fuels. Like hell, it does. Markets may, probably do, have a place in an economy, but this isn’t one. It isn’t even about economics. It is about the survival of our species, of most species. If markets and other economic tools, government policy,— can be used to speed the cessation of the burning of fossil fuels — go for it.Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of the United Kingdom recently

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Pocket Doctor

September 22, 2023

Siri: “Hey Jill, how are you? Anything you would like to talk about?”Jill: “I fell while hiking today.”Siri: “Were you hurt?”Jill: “Left ankle is somewhat swollen and sore from jamming the foot into a rock while trying to stay upright.”Siri: “Sorry to hear that, Jill. Any idea why you fell?”Jill: “I don’t know, just fell.”Siri: “Did you feel dizzy?”Jill: “No.”Siri: “Did you trip?”Jill: “I guess so.”Siri: “Why do you think that, Jill?”Jill: “I think my left foot may have caught on the log that I was stepping over.”Siri: “Were you distracted?”Jill: “No, not really.”Siri: “I think you should have your podiatrist take a look at your left ankle; especially the tibialis anterior tendon.”

In addition to always being available to ask the right questions

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The Narrative and the Wall

August 11, 2023

Of late, Mr. Trump’s defense lawyer, John Lauro, has been making rounds of the TV News shows. All with a purpose, of course. Turns out that Mr. Lauro wants to defend Mr. Trump not against the charges of the recent indictment accusing Mr. Trump of conspiring to subvert American democracy but against other, different things that aren’t charged; aren’t in the indictment; and, to do so in the court of public opinion rather a court of law. If the facts and the law aren’t on your side, change the narrative; create your own. Change it to one better suited to your purpose. Rather a form of trial/case shaping, if you will. This in an America where a significant portion of the populace has little or no use for the facts. Just the narrative, please.

In a

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The Narrative and the Wall

August 11, 2023

Of late, Mr. Trump’s defense lawyer, John Lauro, has been making rounds of the TV News shows. All with a purpose, of course. Turns out that Mr. Lauro wants to defend Mr. Trump not against the charges of the recent indictment accusing Mr. Trump of conspiring to subvert American democracy but against other, different things that aren’t charged; aren’t in the indictment; and, to do so in the court of public opinion rather a court of law. If the facts and the law aren’t on your side, change the narrative; create your own. Change it to one better suited to your purpose. Rather a form of trial/case shaping, if you will. This in an America where a significant portion of the populace has little or no use for the facts. Just the narrative, please.

In a

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Denial and the Law

July 27, 2023

For those old enough to remember the 1960s, the denials of the oil companies these days have a certain ring. Back then smokers were dying and the tobacco companies lying. Then Bogie, Ty, Errol, Clark, and Coop. Finally, it was all too much. Hollywood was good at dying. But, the real thing? Reality hits. Big Tobacco was real good at lying and hiring Senators who wail about livelihoods, theirs and others, being dependent. It was the lying what did it, in the Senate. To some of the same who took the money. Took nigh on 30 years in total to stop after we all knew.Big oil? Been 30 years and the jig is yet not up. Rigs would have been down but for the free marketing going on in the Senate. The good old boys sold us out again for a few shekels. Mostly the

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About the Past

July 23, 2023

How we humans came to be where we are today had a lot to do with stability and the invention of calendars. Before stability, glaciers came and went. Best we and most other animals could do was run around looking for food and shelter. After the Last Glacial Period(LGP), aka as the Last Ice Age, weather patterns became more and more stable. Enough so that humans soon figured out that there was a pattern, an interconnectedness, to it all — all being the weather, plant growth, animal migration, and things like that.

Around 10-11,000 years ago, most everywhere that there were humans, calendars of some sort began cropping up. Calendars, perhaps the greatest, most significant invention of humans, allowed humans to be able to predict when and where various

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The Innocents

July 21, 2023

Per the Heritage Foundation (Heritage), each year, American civilians use firearms defensively between 500,000 and 3 million times. Which is saying that they have been exercising their relatively newly lawful Second Amendment Right to bear arms for the purpose of self-defense a lot. Further research might indicate that the number is well below 700,000 (might even be as low as 11). As Heritage does make note, there is no way of really knowing. After all, it is highly unlikely that a civilian gun owner would report their using of a gun defensively, or that the media would report any such reporting. For these same reasons, there is little or no way of knowing how many times a civilian gun owner used their gun to intimidate, to bully, another person. Good

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The Innocents

July 21, 2023

Per the Heritage Foundation (Heritage), each year, American civilians use firearms defensively between 500,000 and 3 million times. Which is saying that they have been exercising their relatively newly lawful Second Amendment Right to bear arms for the purpose of self-defense a lot. Further research might indicate that the number is well below 700,000 (might even be as low as 11). As Heritage does make note, there is no way of really knowing. After all, it is highly unlikely that a civilian gun owner would report their using of a gun defensively, or that the media would report any such reporting. For these same reasons, there is little or no way of knowing how many times a civilian gun owner used their gun to intimidate, to bully, another person. Good

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The Coup

July 6, 2023

The US Constitution was their best effort to answer the question, “How should it be?” Then, they were seeking a new and better way of governance. Now, some two-hundred-forty years later, a latter-day majority of Justices on the US Supreme Court, the one charged with interpreting the Constitution, are saying, “This is how it should be.” The one, asking; the other, dictating. Merely a matter of word order? Hardly. Whereas their focus was on getting the Constitution as close as they could to ‘how it should be’; this latter-day majority’s is about imposing their interpretation of the document as dictum. As diametrically opposed as all hell; yet, this latter-day majority dares call what they are about ‘originalism’. After all the arduous, painful, years of

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The Economics of Economics

June 20, 2023

Little doubt, economic policy will be one of the things experiencing the greatest change due to Global Warming (Climate Change). Always a construct, economic policies have, heretofore, in the main, been determined by the powerful. Seldom, if ever, have they been based on how it should be. If we are lucky, in the very near future, that determination will become a democratic one based on how should it be. If not, we haven’t a snowball’s chance in hell of avoiding a cataclysmic ending.

To date, in our addressment of Climate Change, the most powerful impediments to reducing greenhouse gases are being employed in the interest of wealth. Capitalism was always about preserving the power of wealth, an Industrial Age adjustive construct meant to do just

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Still

June 11, 2023

Meanwhile, Trump is on the campaign trail busily trying to foment another insurrection/revolution a la Jan 6th. Can’t but still wonder if there isn’t something darker than the documents driving this desperation.

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Debt

April 27, 2023

To be clear, our national debt problem is due to revenues insufficient to cover expenditures. More than anything else, for the past 40 plus years, this accumulated deficit is due to Republican opposition to tax increases coupled with their eagerness to cut taxes on the wealthy given the opportunity to do so. Most, if indeed not all, currently serving Republican US Senators and Representatives, and State legislators have signed a pledge to never vote for any tax increase. This oath is not to their constituents; it is to someone named Grover Norquist.

Grover Norquist is of a spawn of 1980s College Republican groups. A spawn that included other notable Republican operatives such as Jack Abramoff and Ralph Reed. Via College Republican groups, the

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Financialism

April 16, 2023

Back before, municipal and state governments, pension funds, etc. mostly invested in financials of the manufacturing sort. Then, America was in the manufacturing business. An issuing manufacturer was contractually bound to hand over the return owed. The investors were entitled. If they didn’t get their entitle, it was, ‘”see you in court.” In 2023, in Biden v. Nebraska, six states are arguing that Biden’s proposed cancellation of certain student loan debt would deny them their entitle. Many of the loans in question were made to poor black students who were unable to capitalize on the education the loans went toward; who have little hope of ever being able to pay them off. What was the genesis of these loans?

Financials in the form of corporate and

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What’s Going On?

April 8, 2023

Poland, Hungary, Turkey, Russia, Israel, India, Italy, Brazil, …, and even the USA; around the world, we are seeing democracies lurching toward autocracy and/or theocracy. A hundred years from now, history will tell us what it was all about. It would help to know now.

Though no common denominator stands out; one of the more common is religion. More specifically, it is right-wing religious groups either leading the charge toward theocracy or being used by would-be autocrats.

In Israel, we see a coalition of right-wing/ultra-orthodox Jewish groups being used to facilitate the clinging to power by the corrupt Netanyahu whom they would use to facilitate the installation of a theocracy. In order for this to all happen; put the judiciary under the

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When They Go Low

April 2, 2023

Prejudices, bigotry, misogyny, sexism, discrimination, racism, and put-downs are all forms of bullying. Around since when, the put-down is an especially egregiously harmful form of bullying meant to diminish its target’s self-esteem. To bring them down; to keep them down. Long common to inter-city ghettos, it has of late (or maybe not so late) become a favorite of the Republican Party. Its members reflexively denigrate anyone holding viewpoints different their own. Newt Gingrich, with a little help from the likes of Frank Luntz, brought it with him when he came to Congress. Whether or not it was there before Gingrich, in some form or another, the put-down it has become a fixture of Republican politics. To the extent that red states have become

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DeSantis

March 13, 2023

What is it that the good folks in Idaho, Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas, Florida, Alabama, (13 states and counting) have against LGBTQ folks? We hear a lot of, “I believe ….”, and “god said, …, ” from them. They may well, but, for sure, he-she-they didn’t. Folks, it turns out that the same percentage of your kids are LGBTQ as are anyone else’s. Seems it is all a part of the spectrum of being humans. Speaking of which, what sort of parent would be against the best interests of their own or anyone else’s child? All too likely, the same sort that doesn’t want their child to know about our history of racism, or — to learn about and understand science. All too likely, too, those who would impose their ignorance on their own children would impose it on all

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Adjudication by Fox

March 4, 2023

Credit Kevin for bold creative thinking. Of course, the privatizing of adjudication was logically next given that state legislatures had long since been farming it all out to ALEC. Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas, …, — all the reds. Legislating’s really hard when you can barely read and write. There’s no telling how much state and federal legislation the NRA has had ghostwritten. Some states had forever commercialized their courts to the extent there was an established price associated with each judgeship. Of late, Mitch and Donald farmed out the Supreme to the Federalists Society.

But, who but bold Kevin would have thought of Tucker for much of anything; let alone adjudicating the Jan 6thInsurrection Protest? No qualifications at all. None

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How To Know

February 25, 2023

History is replete with those times when we got it all catastrophically wrong. Including for sure those times when some deranged soul led a people into the insanity of war; but also those like The Spanish-American War, World War One, The Vietnam War, and The Iraq and Afghanistan Wars where the cues of change were missed or misread.

For many of these times, ‘none so blind as those who will not see’ was a good fit. The very thought of change makes some anxious. So indisposed, they do not want to see. Others, seeing change as a possible threat to their personal status, may be disposed to oppose or suppress anything that smacks of change. Truth be: Our very advancement has required, requires yet, both stability and change. Our well-being requires that

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— Rents —

February 16, 2023

In March, 2022, Pew Research released a study showing that in 2020, 23% of Americans spent more than half their income on rent. Since then, rents in most parts of the country have gone up 16% (because they could). Safe to say, the income of those 23% did not go up 16%.

Rent increases play a major role in the current round of inflation. Though the percentage of increase in rent (inflation) was greater than most other items; the media has said little to nothing about rent increases. This when 36% rent nation-wide and >60% rent in most cities.

Rent increases have literally taken food off tables, precluded purchase of prescription drugs, postponed dental and medical visits, meant no new clothes, … Rent increases of the order we’re seeing are

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