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Ken Melvin



Articles by Ken Melvin

Hence Extractive

22 days ago

An economy (noun) is a social entity’s aggregate activity of producing, distributing, and consuming goods and services. Economics (noun) is the study of economies. The various aspects, attributes, and metrics things associated an economy are sometimes referred to as economics (noun). An economic policy is intended to influence or control the behavior of an economy. All governments have an economic policy. Usually, governmental economic policies put the interests of the nation, and/or special interests within the nation (e.g., its wealthy, or its political leadership) first. All too rarely do they put the welfare of the general populace, or the environment first. These governmental economic policies are often nominally formed around one or more

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Originalism

October 20, 2022

If one were to look in the U.S. Constitution for the meaning of ‘Originalism’, they wouldn’t find it. It’s not there. It wasn’t anywhere until the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown vs Board of Education (1954). ‘Originalism’ originated with segregationists opposed to the decision. Since, it has been heard a lot from white supremacists, white southern politicians, racists, and bigots. Been heard a lot from the Federalists Society and the Republican Party since the 1980s. Its origin, its subscribers, says it all. It suits their purposes.

Whereas ‘Originalists’ would, when it suits their purposes, harken us back to an imagined past; the writers of the Constitution were breaking from the past; plowing new ground. Imagine what the Constitution would have

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Of Leopards and Hypocrites

October 10, 2022

By adolescence, Bill Barr, Sam Alito, Stephen Miller, …, …, and lord knows how many other young boys, knew that they saw things somewhat differently than most. More, they felt that they alone knew how these things should be. Many of this grouping went on to graduate from some of our very best universities. Neither education nor anything else that happened in their lives seems to have altered their way of seeing these things somewhat differently than most others. By adolescence, the die was cast. It is hard to imagine that someone could graduate from the likes of Princeton University and Harvard Law School and come out with the mindset of a twelve years old; but, to a man, they did.

It wasn’t as if they had bent by home or parish schooling. More

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Unaffordable

October 5, 2022

Poor Puerto Rico, she is now two hurricanes behind. Understandably so, since, of late, five-hundred-year hurricanes, floods, and droughts, …., have been coming every five years or so. Another one strikes before we can recover from the previous. And, it will only get worse. With each season, we will be getting further, and further behind. In Florida alone, $100 Billion in damages from Ian. How much would it cost to build buildings, infrastructure, …, that can withstand a category 5 hurricane? Are underground utilities, housing, …, even viable options in an area of rising sea level? How much time do we have? What is the cost of a home that only last five years? Or, how much will it cost to insure a Florida coastal home against hurricane damage?

The

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Honey, I’m Home

October 1, 2022

What if someone told you that one man from one mega law firm chose the last three appointees to the U.S. Supreme Court? In a new book, ‘Servants of The Damned’, David Enrich did just that, and much more. That one man was Don McGahn; the law firm, Jones Day. The suggestion leading to his being enabled to do so came from one Sen. Mitch McConnell. McGahn, a super lawyer from a powerful law firm with a right-wing agenda (better yet, a federalist Society member with an ultra-right-wing agenda) was McConnell’s kind of guy.

McGahn didn’t like government agencies telling big business what it could and could not do. The three appointees, Justices Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Coney Barrett are of like minds. Sequitur: They do believe that it’s fine for the

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Lingua Pavlovian

September 21, 2022

For Senator Mitch McConnell the most important thing in the world is for him to be Senate Majority Leader; because, as Senate Majority Leader, Sen. McConnell has a lot of power. In Washington DC, power is a commodity. Being Senate Majority Leader pays well. For McConnell to be Leader, he needs to raise a lot of money for republican senatorial candidates. If he raises money for a candidate’s campaign and the candidate wins, the candidate owes McConnell big time. With enough allegiance from enough republican senators, Mitch gets to be Leader; gets his power. Power which he peddles in exchange for campaign funds for republican candidates who will be indebted. Rinse and repeat.

Never mind that Sen. McConnell has never deliberately, directly, or even

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Bullying

September 18, 2022

Sen. Lindsey Graham, SC has been busy as a cat trying to cover up his saying, “And I’ll say this: If there is a prosecution of Donald Trump for mishandling classified information after the Clinton debacle … there will be riots in the street,” comment by saying several different things about what he was trying to say, when what he was really trying to do was bully the Justice Dept, the Democratic Party, the President, the Speaker of the House, the Senate Majority Leader, and the Nation into halting the investigation into former President Trump’s purloining of secret files (there is reason to believe that the Senator has good reason to want to halt the investigation). This is not the first time Sen. Graham, other persons, parties, or even countries have

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The Party’s Over

September 11, 2022

The latest PBS Frontline, Lies, Politics and Democracy; says it all. The Republican Party is rotten from top to bottom. Happened in that order. Beginning with Nixon, consummated by Reagan, they made a pact with the devil. Of the Party’s some 250 currently elected members in Congress, only the fewest of the few (< 5 %) had the decency to do the right thing. All the others are craven cowards. Sold out. The Party’s ruins are a slime from which nothing majestic could ever rise.

Farewell Grand Old Party. Farewell and good riddance. Pray we that you have not done the Nation in.

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Inflation

August 30, 2022

In chemistry, and in physics, a positive feedback loop usually yields an explosion. In biology, it is a population explosion. In electronics, it might be an unpleasant screech. In economics, both housing bubbles and inflation are products of a positive feedback loop. In re Global Warming: The melting of permafrost due to Global Warming releases methane a greenhouse gas which increases Global Warming, …, …. The melting of Arctic Ice reduces reflectivity melting more Arctic Ice, …, ….

The Real Estate Agent tells the prospective buyer to buy now before the price goes up even more. We see it in stock markets. Problem is, bubbles burst/markets crash.

Like a runaway team of horses, almost anything, real or imagined, can set off inflation. There may be

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irs.gov

August 29, 2022

The republicans are indignant as hell that the Inflation Reduction Act, née Climate and Healthcare Bill, would increase funding for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Since Reagan, republicans had been defunding it for them that brought them; them being the very rich who don’t like paying taxes. After the 2010 cuts, it had gotten to the point that the rich hardly pay any taxes at all. Why bother; the IRS didn’t have the money nor the personnel to audit them. None so indignant as the scoundrel(s).

These indignants are the same they who wage unfunded wars and cut taxes for the rich. Much of the government’s revenue (income) with which it pays for expenses incurred, such as wars, and deficits due to tax cuts for the rich, comes from income taxes.

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Student Loans

August 28, 2022

America is the land of equal opportunity. Well, yeah, truth be, your odds are little bit better if your parents can afford to send you to a good university. Other that, it’s even stephen.

What if those who weren’t born to means could borrow the money? That would almost be as good, no.? Before 1965, if they went to their friendly banker, he asked them if they or their family had an account at the bank. If the answer was that their parents did have an account, he would say that he would look into the possibility and get back to you soon. The bank would take it from there.

Under the 1965 Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program, private student loans were subsidized and guaranteed by the Federal Government. Banks like to make loans that are

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At Hand

August 24, 2022

In each of the coming years, we will see more floods destroy billions upon billions of dollars worth of property, crops, and infrastructure, and take hundreds of lives; more frequent, more deadly, tornadoes and hurricanes that will do the same; an increasing lack of water for crops cause food shortages and higher food prices, which will lead to more people going hungry, starving. Before long, in America, we will begin to see the lack of water cause displacement of populations, and we will see rising temperatures make large areas of the once habitable become uninhabitable. These things we will see here in America. Some other parts of the world will suffer much more, some a little less. All these things are happening because of the burning of fossil

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From Regression to Rot

August 23, 2022

“America is the most advanced country in the world.” So we hear. Even if it is so, it is so, perhaps, and only perhaps, on average. Seems the majority of the population does want to progress. Also seems that a significant minority of the population is, has long been, inclined to regress. Moreover, many of this same minority are inclined to want to impose regression on the rest of us. And, while these folk may like technology and all the other benefits of science well enough; many, though not all of them, are inclined to not trust science. Lastly, many of this minority group are inclined to think that reality is fungible; to believe that more than one version of reality is possible and that these different versions can coexist. These inclinations make

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The Last Straw

August 21, 2022

Just as some of those first to suffer the consequences of Climate Change were those who had been subsisting on marginal lands; some of the first to suffer the consequences of the most recent round of inflation were those who had been subsisting on marginal incomes. This was a lot of Americans. Before inflation, they were barely making ends meet because too much of their too little income was going towards housing. In a more balanced economy, housing would cost about one-third of one’s income. Today, it is often one-half and more. Fair to say that too many Americans are not being paid enough; that their wages need to go up substantially. Also fair to say that, even if the minimum wage was doubled, housing would still be too high for many working class

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‘Til the Rivers Run Dry

August 15, 2022

Reactors in France had to reduce power because of low flow in the rivers being used for cooling. The pictures show Lake Garda in Italy at record lows. The Rhine is becoming too low for barge traffic, for cruise ships. In Rome, the River Po is low. The Mediterranean is too warm.

We hear a lot about mitigating the effects. OK, as long as it isn’t being used to enable; instead of addressing the causes. No doubt stop gaps are needed until we get emissions under control, but let’s not piss away money that could be better spent on alternative energy.

Do TV stations in the deep red states show the heat maps for 2050?

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/aug/03/edf-to-reduce-nuclear-power-output-as-french-river-temperatures-rise

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Desperate

August 12, 2022

Are we about to get an answer as to why Trump was so desperate on Jan 6, 2021?

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In The Scheme of Things

July 30, 2022

“What’s in it for me?” they asked. They being the transactional species. “Truth be, nothing,” was the answer. Truth be, there was nothing they nor anyone else could do in their lifetimes that would make it better for them, their kids, or their grandkids. Too late. So, they kept on doing the things that would kill the very thing that had given them everything.

There was a time when they believed that this that had given them life and everything else had done it for them out of its love for them. A time in the past when this species sought to give back. But, that was a while before. For some time now, it has been, “What’s in it for me?”

In space, time is distance. From self-centered and self-absorbed to one-way transactional is hardly a small step

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Capture

July 14, 2022

Wikipedia offers an excellent synopsis of Regulatory Capture. In her book, Media Capture, Anya Schiffrin does so for Media Capture. In 1971, soon-to-be Associate Justice Lewis Powell Jr., then a corporate lawyer, wrote a memorandum to his friend Eugene B. Sydnor, Jr., Chair of the Education Committee of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce titled Attack On American Free Enterprise System.

To his mind, the status quo, which he called The American Free Enterprise System, was under threat of destruction by a revolution at the ballot; destruction by democracy. Whether he knew it or not, Powell’s plaint was really about Economic Capture. Powell, though he had majored in commerce at Washington and Lee University, may yet have never realized that such a thing

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SCOTUS

July 4, 2022

It began the day of the leaking of the draft, maybe even in anticipation thereof. Legal scholars, bright law students, and informed journalists began the shredding process. In the days since and for far into the future they have and will point out the many fallacies in logic; the disregard for unintended consequences; the disregard for reality, personal rights, females, and human life; the intent of the founders; the need for the Constitution to evolve. The Federalist Society told Sam, Clarence, and CO that they were geniuses. The damned fools believed them. The process of disabusing begins.

This is the way it has always been done; a way that takes far too long.

For a Supreme Court to be effective, it must, as nearly as possible, comprise the

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Strange Fruit

July 2, 2022

For the sake of the nation, the current Supreme Court majority needs to acknowledge that they were wrong and rescind their decisions on Roe, EPA, Guns, Church and State, Vaccinations, and School Prayer; then, resign en masse. They need to do so in order to save the nation the agony of the traditional fifty – one-hundred years wait for overturning such odoriferously bad decisions: in order to reduce the strain on our already strained democracy. As further housecleaning, while they are rescinding, and for these same reasons, they need to rescind other slightly precedent, equally as odoriferously and heinously bad, decisions such as Heller, Citizens, Shelby, and Rucho.

Once the likes of these six were culls to be tossed aside by the legal community

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Oh, The Camus Of It All

June 21, 2022

Jean-Paul loved Simone as he could never love anyone else; gave her his heart and, with some great effort, won hers. Simone, she wasn’t one to be particular. Both he and she were Existentialists. Albert, an Absurdist, and Jean-Paul were friends. Simone fell for Albert on first sight. Absurd or not; big minds attract. Absurd or not; he demurred. Unrequited or not; seems Simone’s hots for Albert ruined one of philosophy’s great friendships. Lo, the Absurdism of it all. Whether humans and the world, are, or are not, absurd, they do tend to take things there.

When a nation has more guns than capita, more guns per capita than any other nation by two, and more than ten times the gun deaths per capita than the average of developed nations. As night

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What Mo Said

June 15, 2022

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

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

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In The Throes Of Change

June 5, 2022

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

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2nd Amendment

June 1, 2022

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

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

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Taxing

April 29, 2022

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

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

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One of the Greatest Cons of all Time

April 23, 2022

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

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Of a Time

April 16, 2022

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

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

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Desperados

April 9, 2022

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

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

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Oops!

March 30, 2022

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

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

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Oops!

March 30, 2022

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

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

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