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Going it alone

EDITOR: President Donald Trump recently mused, threateningly, about withholding immigration enforcement from California as a way to punish the 40 million residents of this progressive state by presumably encouraging an increase in crime. We should consider calling his bluff.

Such a unilateral executive action, with the stated intent to endanger Californians, would implicitly sever us from the union by presidential whimsy. Such an overt act would undermine any charges of secession leveled against Golden State citizens for deciding to go it alone.

Californians send more taxes to D.C. than are returned in federal services. As the seventh-ranked world economy, our new independent nation state would surely prosper.

We have our rich Central Valley farms, Silicon Valley tech giants, financial centers and a diverse population integrated into mainstream endeavors. Add in our robust film and media industry in the south and wine in the north.

We have major container port facilities connecting trade to the Asian markets. We excel with airplane, auto and rocket assembly plants, fine universities and strong historic and cultural ties to our neighbor Mexico. We have a bounty of natural resources (the Sierra, giant redwoods and the Pacific coastline) that draw foreign tourists to our state.

Before dissing our state again, Trump should be careful about what he wishes for.

ROBERT OSTLING

Santa Rosa

Democracy threatened

EDITOR: I would like to respond to the letter from Dennis Tobin (“No one cares,” Feb. 24). He again states that “nobody cares” about possible “collusion with the Russians to rig this election.” By “again,” I am referring to his previous letter, which was almost identical to the latest one (“On Russia: Nobody cares,” June 27).

I felt compelled to respond to his first letter (“Russian hacking,” Letters, July 2), because, as I stated then, I know many that do care — a lot. It has been proven that Russia launched a social media attack to aid the campaign of our current president. This alone should be enough to convince skeptics that this a serious threat to our democratic system.

Much of the Russian misinformation campaign (call it what it is — propaganda) used the technique of repeating over and over inflammatory, divisive and misleading opinions and commentary.

Tobin’s letter, I’m sure, is intended to be patriotic. But I can state unequivocally that he is wrong. I, for one (and most of the people I listed in my initial response letter), am concerned, which automatically renders his “no one cares” statement false.

And, as a U.S. Navy veteran (1968-1972), I am concerned that there is any apathy for our current threatening situation with Russia.

ANDY ARAJS

Santa Rosa

Key phrase omitted

EDITOR: Gilbert H. Vieira (“Students’ clear thinking,” Letters, Wednesday) asks that we judge for ourselves the 27-word statement known as our Second Amendment. The problem is you published an edited 24-word version, omitting three words from the final line. You left out “of the people.” The final line is “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” It makes a huge difference. It is the Bill of Rights, not the Bill of Needs. Does your staff check for accuracy?

MARK PROTIVA

Cotati

Marching for change

EDITOR: I bow to the Generation Z leaders who have emerged from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. They’ve called for marches nationwide to end gun violence on March 24. I’ll be here in Santa Rosa marching with them.

We must demand that our government adopt laws similar to those created by Australia after its 13th mass shooting, the Port Arthur Massacre in Tasmania, where 32 were killed and 17 injured. The government instituted a mandatory firearms buy-back and set strict limits on who could own a gun.

Mass shootings since that time: zero.

The National Rifle Association has 5 million members. How can they control the gun laws? Yes, politicians do feed at its trough, but the majority of its influence comes in money spent ($420 million in 2016) on advertisements and mailings backing its preferred candidates or criticizing its opponents with vividly alarming messages about crime and self-defense.

We must take control back and demand our government follow real “gun control” like those laws instituted in Australia.

See you on March 24.

DOT GEIGER

Santa Rosa

Fed chair and debt

EDITOR: The following statement from Jerome Powell, our new Federal Reserve chairman, gave me pause:

“Alone among all kinds of debt, we don’t allow student loan debt to be discharged in bankruptcy,” Powell told the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday. “I’d be at a loss to explain why that should be the case.”

Student loans are low-interest, unsecured debt. Loans for things like homes and cars are considered secured debt and typically carry a low interest rate. During the 1970s, to make education more affordable, Congress passed a series of laws allowing lenders to give out low-interest unsecured education loans with the covenant that they couldn’t be discharged. If education debt could be discharged, it would be like credit card debt with an undesirably high interest rate.

Powell’s statement demonstrates a naive understanding of debt that doesn’t instill confidence in his ability as chairman of our central bank. Asking about the nature of debt is akin to a pilot asking why flaps are necessary.

JAMES MILLER

Santa Rosa

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