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Ken Melvin

Articles by Ken Melvin


13 days ago

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

23 days ago

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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Of Patches Paint and Ploy

February 11, 2023

Up from craft workers to those of the large industrials, by the mid-20th Century unions had grown to represent large segments of American workers (density peaked at 35% of workers in 1954, membership at 21 million in 1979). From the mid-1930s through the mid-1960s they played a huge role in the nation’s politics, social order, and economy. Unions gave us the 8-hour day, weekends off, paid holidays, …, and helped end child labor. They raised living standards for their members, for all workers, for everyone. Theirs was one of the most effective addressments of disparity in the industrial age, ever. America’s heyday, from ~1940 to ~1972, was union-made.

Less than living wages for men industrial workers during the 19th century led to child labor; to

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Iberian Curse

February 2, 2023

Democracy Under Threat in Peru!

The Long Downtrodden Majority of Peru are Complaining About Being

Governed by a Minority Elite That has Subjugated Them for Some 500 years!

The first headline was the one we read and heard. The second one; too long, too complex.

How can it be that a minority elite of European descent can rule a democracy for 200 years now? By keeping the indigenous majority poor and ill-educated then using the excuse that they are unready for self-governing is one way. By controlling who can run for office, another. How can it be a democracy if your vote doesn’t really count? Seems it is the status quo, not democracy, that is under threat in Peru. Seems a good time to give real democracy a try in Peru.


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From Deficit to Debt

January 31, 2023

In the real world, if someone spends more money than they make, they run a deficit. Income – Spending = Deficit. Accumulatively, deficits become debt. In order to avoid the accumulation of debt; they need to either reduce spending, increase income, or both; a lessening of income would require a reduction in spending, an increase in spending would beg an increase in income, and so forth. Governmentally, spending stays spending and income becomes revenues (taxes).

Laffer’s plainly showed that if you chose the sweet spot at the top of a very smooth curve of tax rates vs tax revenues, revenues would be maximized. Ergo, up to some point, tax cuts would more than pay for themselves (some imagination is required). After Laffer, for some in politics, all

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Oh The Cost Of It

January 29, 2023

The 2nd that is.

If there was ever anything that cried out for a cost-benefit analysis it is surely the more recent Supreme Court interpretations of our ‘Second Amendment Rights’.

On The Benefit Side:

The right to protect our family and selves at all times and in all places from all dangers both real and imagined with deadly force.

The right to experience any pleasure one might get from firing automatic and semi-automatic weapons whenever and wherever.

The right to experience any pleasure one might receive from killing or intimidating other living things.

The right to experience the pleasure one might receive from the shooting, shooting up, of inanimate things.

The right to experience the pleasure one might receive from being

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January 7, 2023

Follow the money’s good. But, sometimes, looking for the me(s) in what’s in it for me works better. Trump wanted something from Kevin. Marjorie did too; was among the first to make her deal. Then, Matt, Paul, Scott, Lauren, and Andy (after being together on C-Span for four days, all of us are on a first name basis). As for the ‘what’s in it for me’ part? A lot. For Paul, Scott, and ‘I’m so out of here Louis’; maybe hard time. Maybe so for Kevin himself. The others, probably not. More likely only career-ending. For Trump, a resurrection morning.

Their big ask, the one Kevin agreed to, “make The United States House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol go away as if it never existed.”

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On Leverage

January 3, 2023

Archimedes is said to have to have said, “Give me a place to stand and a lever and I shall move the earth.” They say, “Give us a seat and we will screw up The House of Representatives, the Nation.” They proved it.

NRA said, “Here’s some cash.”

There is no distance between the Freedom Caucus and the NRA.

Forty-two current, give or take, with six of seven from southern states, nine of ten from red states, with noted alumni that include Mulvaney, Meadows, Gohmert, DeSantis, Rohrabacher, and Sanford; all are more motley than representative.

Poor Kevin. Not really – none more deserving. Poor America. We deserve better than this.

In politics, leverage means tyranny. In Republican politics, primaries are used as leverage. From business, Trump

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Nous sommes dans le changement

January 1, 2023

Indeed we are. Tout les mond sommes dans le changement. Change comes sometimes fast, sometimes slow; but always, inexorably. Still and yet, some would deny, attempt to slow down or even stop change. Too few recognize it when they see it.

Throughout history, blood has flowed like rivers resultant efforts to slow down or stop change. Our own Civil War, ‘The Great War’, … . Then, they couldn’t, didn’t want to see the changes that were taking place. Today; Putin and Xi; Assad, Erdoğan, Myanmar’s Junta, and Khomeini; Evangelicals and Hasidics; The American Petroleum Institute and The Federalist Society; the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys; even Saints Mitch and Donald, as did Lewis Powell and William Rehnquist afore them, ride forth to slay the dragon

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December 12, 2022

For some fifty years now, the question of how to get labor a fair share has been tantamount. Fact being, it was a problem from the beginning of the industrial age and even before. Union labor has never had leverage – the bosses don’t work for them.

For the past 40-50 yrs, the bosses and the shareholders have operated with great reciprocity — management gets rewarded to the extent they reward the holders. Much of this rewards system has come at the expense of the workers, and there wasn’t much they, the workers, could do about it. Over this same period, the demand for labor has decreased. As a result, today’s wages are about one-half what they should be.

Looking ahead another 40-50 yrs, as automation continues apace, the situation for the working

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The Inflations

December 2, 2022

Inflation is defined as a significant increase in the price of most goods and services in an economy over a short period of time. No controversy. Or, is there? And, … since inflation is likely but an effect, a symptom; the real question might should be, “What are the causes of inflation?” It is always better to address the cause rather than the symptom, is it not?

Sometimes, in hard times when there isn’t enough money to go around, in an effort to give the public the wherewithal to buy the necessities, a country’s government will attempt to offset a bad economy, perhaps even kick-start that economy, by ‘printing’ money. Invariably, it takes more of this so-called printed money to pay for the same amounts of goods and services; ergo, their prices

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Hence Extractive

November 7, 2022

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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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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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?


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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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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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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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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?

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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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