Wednesday, June 29, 2016     Volume: 17, Issue: 16
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Should all fireworks be banned on the Fourth of July?

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Thanks for protecting us like the children we are, government officials.
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Santa Maria Sun / Letters to the Editor

Current trade policy is destructive

Rogan Thompquist - Paso Robles -

I really appreciate Zaf Iqbal’s editorial commentaries including: “Dump Trump,” (June 9). However, I disagree with Zaf’s brief comments on trade with China. Zaf suggested Trump would risk a trade war with China that would lead to a “… drop in demand … (of U.S. exports to China equaling) $116 billion last year.”

Zaf doesn’t follow this argument to the next important step. Americans would benefit from $481 billion in demand that we sent to China plus the addition of material and intellectual capital investment to create those consumer products. This $365 billion difference would add millions of American jobs and stop that increased national debt. While this is a simple model it shows the destructive nature of our current trade policy, promoted by a false “free trade” Wall Street ideology, and accepted by much of the media. Yes, Trump scares Wall Street but he has struck a chord with American workers. Doubling down on bad trade policies won’t help defeat him.

In the last years of his life, John Maynard Keynes recognized the extreme importance of balanced trade. I hope that Zaf will be open to my criticism and talk to me about these ideas. I value his opinion. Two books that might bring out the importance of this discussion are Bad Samaritans—The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism by economist Ha-Joon Chang, and The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein. 


Bedrock principles

Bill Cirone - Santa Barbara County superintendent of schools -

It’s very clear that what sets America apart from other civilizations is our value system. Our respect for life, liberty, democracy, and social equality, and our tolerance for different religious views and lifestyles—these are all bedrock principles on which this country was founded.

These values are also the foundation of healthy communities, respectful workplaces, and safe schools, so they must be passed on to each new generation.

A child’s sense of morality and social conscience begins at home, and parents can nurture it. They can discuss with their children values such as the importance of each person’s life, respect for others’ property, compassion for the less fortunate, tolerance for people who are different, and respect for rules and laws.

It’s important to emphasize courtesy, honesty, and cooperation in everyday life. Explain to children that money isn’t everything, and that helping others brings personal satisfaction in many ways.

Learn to disagree by using words. If a local school offers adults an opportunity to take part in a conflict management program, sign up. You can learn techniques and approaches that will work well with children and will help you pass along those models at home and in the workplace. The most important skill is learning how to turn feelings of anger and frustration into positive action.

When necessary, say no. Intervene when needed. It’s difficult for parents to acknowledge signs of antisocial behavior in their own children and to seek professional guidance. But while most children develop appropriate social skills as they mature, others may begin showing antisocial patterns as early as the fourth grade. Some of these trouble signs include excessive use of intimidation and force to get their own way, frequent and skillful lying, and routine reliance on cheating or stealing.

Children who exhibit these behaviors may need some professional help to redirect their energies and anxieties. Parents are in the best position to sense when help is needed, and early intervention can make a profound difference.

There are no secret ingredients to making a healthy character or a good citizen or a responsible employee. Parents, educators, and all community members need to teach, nurture, and model these bedrock principles on which our nation was founded.