Letters to the Editor, Aug. 7 & 14, 2019

A tariff primer

We read about the president imposing a new 10 percent tariff on Chinese-made goods, but what does this really mean?

Say a retailer pays $250 wholesale for a Chinese cell phone which sells for $500, a 100 percent profit ($250). Post tariff, the cost is now $275, 10 percent more.

What is the result? Nothing changes dollarwise for the Chinese manufacturer; it still gets $250. The extra $25 the retailer pays goes to U.S. Customs.

Meanwhile, the retailer must make a decision on price ranging from keeping the same price ($500) making $25 less, charging $525 with the same profit ($250), or charging $550 with the same 100 percent profit margin. 

Ultimately the decision will be a trade-off between remaining competitive and being able to cover the costs of business.

So why impose tariffs since the U.S. consumer usually pays in the end?  The belief is the tariff will punish the Chinese economy through decreased exports while making U.S.-made goods more competitive since their wholesale price is unaffected.

This isn’t exactly true however. The Chinese could also lower their prices and the previously imposed tariffs on imported Chinese raw materials may have already caused price increases in U.S.-made goods.

Sherman Schapiro

Blue Lake

Cruelty’s limits

The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has continued to separate children from their parents in violation of court orders. 

As far as I know, they are not yet asking parents to choose which child they may keep and which ones will be taken from them. 

So I suppose this suggests a limit to the Trump administration’s cruelty.

Richard  Salzman

A fishy Aquafarm

 The July 31 article about Nordic Aquafarms asking for financial help from the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District (HBMWD), the County of Humboldt, California and the Feds to build their proposed fish farm in Samoa started smelling fishy to me the more I read it. 

Earlier this year, Nordic said they had thoroughly researched the entire West Coast and found that Humboldt Bay’s Samoa site “... meets all of our criteria for building a safe, clean, and sustainable fish farm.” 

 Since fish need water to live in, I would think their research would have already included the quality of the fresh water that they were going to buy from HBMWD for their fish farm. 

Wrong. Nordic’s president Erik Heim said last week that, “the freshwater source [from the Mad River] does have its challenges in terms of turbidity and bacterial spikes during parts of the year – and it’s not suitable for aquaculture.” 

He went on to say that the feasibility of the project will require money from all sources, by the way funded with our tax dollars, to fix the problems they seem to have just recently identified. Bogus. It would have taken one hour of Nordic’s time to get the last 50 years of turbidity and bacterial levels from HBMWD if they really wanted to know all this when the project was first proposed. 

Heim also asserted that Nordic didn’t know there were earthquakes or tsunamis in the area and they also want our tax dollars to mitigate for those potential problems. And, somehow Nordic didn’t know that the Samoa site had any environmental problems, so, of course they also want more money for toxic cleanup. Everything smelled like roses earlier this year when Nordic Aquafarms proposed investing $400,000,000 to get this project going, now it smells like really stinky fish. What I’ve read about Nordic Aquafarms’ other fish farms in Scandinavia and Maine suggests that they are not the environmental stewards they make themselves out to be. This was a corporate scam from the beginning and the sensible thing is to say “NO!”

Rocky Drill

Corruption exposed

It’s been a number of years perhaps, 30 or so. I had helped to expose a major corporate government fraud while an elected leader of a state employees organization. 

The California Youth Authority and the whole department of corrections was misusing government funds on a grand scale. 

Employees wanted that investigated and they set out to pursue that objective. much of the state government wanted to be rid of all of us who were calling for the investigation. 

We had not been successful but one by one, those of us calling for the investigations were being eliminated from state service through a variety of shenanigans. 

In my particular case, they claimed that I had gone AWOL, but it was a clear fact that I was then ordered on sick leave. 

State officials were attempting a most abusive fraud, (one of many), in my case and they planned to make it stick. They would use the pretext that I had absented myself from state service, while in fact I was known to be on official medical leave.

My case would ultimately appear on the agenda of the Supreme Court of California. The actual day that this outrageous case was to be heard, would prove most interesting. 

The governor, then already Jerry Brown would place the full three court justices on leave for that one day and his stand ins were to sit and hear my case. 

They would rule as planned; sick leave or no sick leave, whereabouts known or unknown-the Supreme Court would rule that I was in fact AWOL from state service.

This is not the kind of criminal behavior that can be tolerated in our state government. It is a clear example of how an honest government has been allowed to turn bad beyond measure. 

I much like your stated of the people, for the people commitment. With that at it’s core I belatedly forward this message for your expressed attentions to be forthcoming. 

A more complete telling of this story was addressed in the matter of the Mad River Union dated July 31, 2015 (available at this URL: madriverunion.com/dave-goggin-surveilled-for-life-after-a-500-ripoff.

Dave Goggin

Effectively fighting white supremacy

I probably speak for everyone when I express how agonized I feel over the recent mass shootings in Gilroy, Ohio, and El Paso. My heart goes out to the impacted families, their extended communities, and all of us who see the writing on the wall that white supremacy violence will probably continue.

Those of us who are of color, Indigenous, LGBTQ+, Muslim or Jewish in this country have experienced the violence or are living with the historical trauma of it. My ancestors have resisted against it since the inception of colonization.

Today, I turn the tragedy into a personal opportunity to re-pledge my commitment to fight against racial violence (I include poverty, lack of opportunity, exploitation, criminalization and other manifestations of structural racism as “racial violence”) and to continue to fight for racial justice.

Trying to stop Trump from inciting racial hatred is probably not the way to go, because I see him as a symptom of a larger, historical problem, and, understanding his motivations, it would probably be a waste of time.

I must act locally and push for racial justice where I live, in Humboldt County. I must have the courage to call out, and change, the practices, institutions, and historical patterns that are founded on racial superiority. 

How will I do this?

• I’ll continue to remind the dominant culture that communities of color, and other non-conforming communities, experience our County in unique ways, and our experiences deserve to be trusted and supported. 

• I’ll continue to hold our institutions accountable for their inaction in changing race-related inequities.

• I’ll continue to offer a race analysis even when others act confronted or uncomfortable even talking about racism.

• I’ll defer to communities on how I can offer solidarity and support their leadership.

• I’ll continue to organize with communities that deserve better than just paternalistic responses.

Of course, I know I can’t do this alone. Here in Humboldt, Indigenous Peoples have already done so much to change habits and practices to ones that encourage understanding and compassion, instead of hatred and scapegoating. Together, we have the power to create a community in which “othering” becomes impossible, and nobody is dehumanized, devalued, or criminalized because of who we are.

Justice for the shooting victims is Justice for Josiah Lawson. Justice for the shooting victims is Justice for migrants and Indigenous Peoples.

In honor of the recent killings, I hope you will also make a personal pledge.

Renee Saucedo
Centro del Pueblo





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