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Ken Melvin



Articles by Ken Melvin

It doesn’t matter what you think.

4 days ago

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

7 days ago

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

14 days ago

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

14 days ago

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

17 days ago

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

17 days ago

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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N95s

23 days ago

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

23 days ago

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

23 days ago

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

23 days ago

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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How We Got Here

27 days ago

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

27 days ago

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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Unfit

January 7, 2021

For eight years Mitch McConnell did everything in his power to block any initiative by President Obama; no matter the cost to the nation. It simply wouldn’t do to have the Democrats governing, to have a Democrat in the White House; especially not a popular black President. He never was much on democracy. McConnell couldn’t thwart the will of the people in the 2008 presidential election, but, from the start, it was ‘whatever it takes’ to ensure that Obama was a one-term president. Things didn’t get any better; Throughout the eight years. whenever Obama reached out his hand, McConnell spat in it.

In Obama’s last year in office, the year before Trump took-over, McConnell, single-handedly, unconstitutionally, denied him an appointment to the Supreme

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The Wealth of a Nation

January 7, 2021

One of Sandwichman’s good questions prompted my revisiting an earlier writing of mine on wealth (circa 2000?). Extensively revised to the extent that it is hardly recognizable; here is, a, second, best effort.

Herein, the terms wealth and capital are thought of as being interchangeable.

For thousands of years, humans lived off the bounty of nature. Some societies still do, but, today, and for centuries now, most societies have lived off that bounty much abetted by their own endeavors, and the endeavors of others.

A society’s wealth includes all of its resources. Those resources include the individual and collective knowledge, skills, creativity, talents, and energy, of the society’s members; i.e., all aspects of its innovative

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Huge!

January 6, 2021

The wins in Georgia are huge. Now, if Alabama, Mississippi, and South Carolina can just come up with their own Stacy Abrams, we could see a snowball effect that would change American politics forever. Well, at least, for a long time.

Some might think that this outcome along with its portents can solve the electoral college problem. It doesn’t. Doesn’t solve the problem of someone as unfit as Mitch McConnell tyrannizing the nation. The few Republican Senators of any account need to rise up and demand that he step down from all leadership roles. Because? Because he is an unfit human.

As anyone who has been known to have written more that few programs knows, the bugs will out. The next two years would be an opportune time to begin the

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The Fallacy of Unions

January 3, 2021

Because it had always been that way, none could think differently. From time immortal, labor was that what did much of the work of production. There is now a generation, maybe two, on this earth, most of whom will never know labor; will seldom see it performed. The energy for their world will not come from the sweat of the back’s of coal miners. So, if it wasn’t (production = material + labor) what was the real equation for production? The input was work, not labor. Today, machines, can and do, do the work. These machines doing the work are becoming more and more intelligent.

Without the help of governmental restrictions on immigration, the unions would never have been able to organize the coal miners; they had no leverage as long as there was a

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Rather Than

December 19, 2020

Rather than the Constitution granting us our rights, it should protect our inalienable rights. One might ask how is it that the constitution grants citizens the right to own a gun, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, privacy in their own home, …, all, notably, rights the colonists might not have had under a monarchy, but does not grant: every citizen the right to vote, personhood to all, women the freedom of choice? Much of the 18th century model constitution addressed the issues of that time, in the context of that time. The framers thought in terms of monarchies, class and race distinctions, male dominance, …; of the 18th century. A constitution more suited to the 21st century would move beyond class, gender, and race.The 18th century

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America’s Most Odious

November 25, 2020


Preface
Donald J. Trump is not on this list only because he is much so more than odious.

Grover Norquist* Because; in any list there has to be a number one. Though it was tough choosing a number one, no one is more deserving. Using one’s intelligence to bully, to manipulate others, is the most odious of things any human can do. Bastard even had them sign an oath not to raise taxes lest he primary them.His tax scam wasn’t even his idea. He got it from Howard Jarvis who got it fishing around for something to replace yelling communism when he found that no longer worked, which was something he, Jarvis, learned from watching Richard Nixon, who, if he were still alive would have been high on this listing. So, too, Howard, if he were still alive. Lineage

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Lord, the Pain of it

November 23, 2020

The good mayor of El Paso is at wit’s end. He is worrying himself into the grave. The City’s hospitals and morgues are overflowing. Seems that the people have to work to eat, and, if they work, they get the virus and get sick, and, too many die. Damned capitalism is as deadly as the virus; together they are a catastrophe. Maybe, if he would just step across the border into New Mexico, better yet, hop on a plane to San Francisco, better to get as far away from Texas as possible, we could explain the problem to him without being drowned out by the ignorant Texas dogma coming out of Austin; crapola he’s heard his whole life.
In a functioning state, there are dozens of examples, the government would have handed out masks and hand sanitizer, and free food as

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Is Hawley Right?

November 18, 2020

Josh Hawley is running for president; has been since he was big enough to walk. On the night of the November 2020 election, Josh Hawley, Junior Senator from Missouri, tweeted that henceforth the republican party was the party of the working class; and the democratic party was the party of the elites. Is Senator Hawley right?
Josh Hawley will be forty-one on December 31, 2020. The only Republican Presidents he’s known were Reagan, Bush, Bush and Trump. The Democratic Presidents he’s known were Clinton, and Obama. Both Clinton and Obama made their way up from poverty and broken homes by dent of intelligence and hard work. Reagan matriculated from Hollywood and the G.E. Theater Graduate School; both Bushes, worked their way up from the Brahman Elite via one

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Imagining

November 14, 2020

Imagine a world where 70% of the 7.4 billion population lives in its developing countries. Imagine a world where more than 70% of the population is considered to be of low income. Imagine a world where, in one continent alone, most of that continent’s 1.2 billion population live in its underdeveloped nations. Now imagine raising the living standard of all these people to first world standards. Imagine how much energy it would take to provide them just the basics, like sufficient food, housing, healthcare, clean running water, indoor plumbing, sewage disposal, … Imagine how much more burning of fossil fuels would be required to provide enough energy for these basics. Twice as much as now? More than twice?
Imagine, too, that the planet where all these 7.4

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Distribution

November 9, 2020

These days, the nation, the world, is faced with the problem of how to distribute wealth, wealth that is being created using less and less labor input? How to distribute the profits from highly capitalized, highly automated, production? Unions, that had been much a part of the solution to the distribution problem in the early 20th century, are becoming more and more irrelevant. A new economic model is desperately needed.
Since the dawning of the Industrial Revolution, wealth has been created by the production of manufactured goods. To date, the sharing/distribution of this wealth has been by way of exchanging labor for wages. Except for the brief period from around 1940 to 1970 when union jobs commanded good wages, this method never really work all that

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Outsourcing

November 5, 2020

Warning! First person ahead. I don’t usually talk about myself, don’t even like to talk about people, but this a story that I want to tell and don’t know how to otherwise do so. So, your forbearance, please. Those of you who have been around as long as I, have probably witnessed personnel changes that follow a change in political Administrations. I happened to be on campus when Reagan became governor in 1967 and saw people with no qualifications whatsoever, other than their political connections, take over high level administrative positions. As a child, I saw rural Postmasters come and go with changes in Presidential Administrations, and thought, wow, now that’s connected. Richard Nixon handed out contracts to build ships, and a whole sundry of other

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Dearly Beloved

November 3, 2020

Our beloved Constitution has flaws. Only a very few, but these few have cost the Nation dearly, and, unless corrected, will continue to do so. It is very possible that unless corrected, they will lead to the Nation’s demise. These flaws have been and are being taken advantage of by the worst among us, and used against the rest of us. The electoral college, that most undemocratic of bodies, has, in just sixteen years, seated two of our most incompetent presidents, both of whom have greatly damaged the nation. The Senators from states with less than one-million population have as much say in our nation’s affairs as do those from states with forty-million population. The structuring of the Senate has from our early days allowed abhorrents like Mitch McConnell

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