TAXPAYERS AT RISK
Are we all being naive as we try to caution against reckless and unbalanced tax cuts by the Trump administration and GOP Congress? Past experiences in Kansas, Reagan’s and Bush’s deficit/debt problems have led to serious economic downturns and deep recessions and should be a lesson for anyone. But what we have missed is that following these downturns the wealthy gain an increasing portion of the nation’s wealth. This was true even as Obama tried to bring the deficit under control, which is required before you can decrease debt. The deeper the recession, the greater the gain for the wealthy.
Very wealthy people have large amounts of “discretionary” income. This enables them to maintain their standard of living during these downturns as well as “scoop up” distressed businesses, properties and investments. Then they will await the recovery. Think that’s nonsense? Did anyone see the increase of wealth going to the upper class after Bush’s recession? Do you really think an economic downturn is always a poorly planned program? Or is it by design? Don’t we all like to buy low and sell high? The difference is now the government can use this method by letting the taxpayer take the risk. What have they got to lose? Now questionable business tactics are being taught by the present administration to willing political recipients seeking donations to aid re-election and job security. Will this make America great again? Or will it make America a plutocracy which is government by the wealthy?

~ JIM MATLOCK
VENTURA

A RESPECTFUL KNEE

The foundation of American capitalism has been the exploitation of slave labor, white, brown or black. In “The Billie Holiday Story,” she is quoted as saying, “I got real evil one day and just plain decided I wasn’t going to say anything or do anything unless I meant it. Not “Please, sir, Sir …” Nothing, unless I meant it. You have to be poor and black to know how many times you can get knocked in the head just for doing something as simple as that.”

Colin Kaepernick proves that we are still in Billie Holiday’s era when it comes to civil rights. Blacks can’t even say — or, by taking a respectful knee — show how they feel in today’s society. They are owned by the “owners.” 

By black-balling Kaepernick, “owners” might as well be saying, “N—–, I’ll tell you what you can say, and when you can say it, if it’s on my field, on my plantation! And if you don’t like my rules, we’ll whip you and starve you boy, and no one will know your name.” 

Many people, especially in the Deep South, blame Kaepernick for his own predicament, and that his actions are not seen as a statement drawing attention to the fact we still are not treating African Americans as equals in our society. Instead, Southerners everywhere see Kaepernick’s and others’ self-expression as mutinous acts against America, the military and patriotism. Many Southerners, from South Carolina to Southern California, say Kaepernick’s defiance, or self-expression, is deserving of alienation, blacklisting and a return to poverty. Many rich, white American “owners” continue to demand the right to control the freedom of speech of the poor, particularly minorities. I say shame on them, and shame on our democracy, when the owner’s word is the last.

Colin Kaepernick, by not being able to pursue his happiness for the game he loves, is being denied his rights. If it’s any consolation, historian G.K. Chesterton expressed Billie’s experience and Kaepernick’s best, stating, “When one is oppressed, it is a mark of chivalry to hurt one’s self, in order to hurt the oppressor.”

I want to thank Colin Kaepernick for his sacrifice, his sacrifice of fulfilling himself in order to draw attention to the voiceless who are denied our first right, and who have died, because of America’s 400-year history and ongoing oppression of black people, brown people and poor people.

~ GRANT MARCUS

VIA EMAIL

NEVER TOO LATE

Most of us learned about cause and effect in grade school. Apparently, SeaWorld’s executives cut class that day or they’d realize why they have to keep cutting jobs — the 350 just announced on top of 320 last year and 311 in 2014.

Cause: SeaWorld won’t stop exploiting orcas, dolphins and other animals.

Effect: People who care stay away; profits nosedive; SeaWorld, desperate to stay afloat, passes out pink slips.

But it may not be too late to learn a lesson. Transition the animals to coastal sanctuaries so they can taste the freedom they’ve been denied; focus on innovative, non-animal attractions; watch the turnstiles spin.

~ AMY ELIZABETH

PETA FOUNDATION

NORFOLK, VIRGINIA

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