Letters, Jan. 16
A free and functioning democracy that guarantees rights and meets the need of its people depends upon an informed populous. Traditional news sources and institutions that people have come to rely on have been accused of spreading “fake” news. So, what do we do in this contentious time to be informed? For one thing, look at our laws and history.
Take tariffs. Trump claims China will pay great amounts of money in tariffs and make us rich. He has stated that Mexico will pay for his “wall” through tariffs under the new trade deal. So, what is a tariff? Where does the money come from?
Essentially a tariff is a tax on consumers. If there is a 10 percent tariff on Chinese goods and the price has been $10, we — the American people — pay a $1 tax, so the price is $11. Like a national sales tax. Neither the Chinese government nor the Chinese manufacturer pay it. We do. So, the Chinese are not paying anything to us. Mexico is not paying for the wall, we — consumers — will be paying for it.
Therefore, if we want to keep our democracy, we need to be informed. Tariffs are just one case.
One of a kind?
Can anybody here remember anyone remotely like Donald J. Trump?
Someone so egregiously unqualified for the high office he was elected to that he rates not one but two stories on the front page of our local newspaper, both of which are bad news?
One whose election is in question and one who may soon feel the heavy hand of justice descending on him?
One who is seemingly so amoral and uncaring he uses a government shutdown to get his way on a wall across our border with Mexico, a longtime friend?
One who ignores the plight of thousands of furloughed federal workers who soon may be unable to pay their bills or mortgages?
One who rudely walks out on talks with congressional leaders the minute he hears what he doesn’t want to?
How long are we going to allow this vulgar blowhard to push us around?
William J. Mac Bean
Time will tell
I am, fundamentally, sanguine with respect to anthropogenic climate change. I know there is much we can do to ameliorate (but probably not eliminate) the effects of our excesses. History indicates that we are unlikely to take effective action. We are, after all, encumbered by a two-party system wherein, “When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles” accurately capsulizes the Republican Party’s attitude toward the population as a whole. And, the Democratic Party seems incapable of developing a coherent progressive agenda.
From a cosmological point of view, our inability to minimize our destructive behavior is of no real consequence. Mass die-offs are a feature of long-time-constant processes in the world. Our descendants may morph (via evolutionary processes) to become the inheritors of the world (think: descendants of the dinosaurs birds) or perhaps to become food for those better adapted to the changing environment. Only time, as they say, will tell.
Robert I. Price