Letters: Swipe fees | FAA hobbled | Humane execution | RFK Jr. record | Trump propaganda

Letters: Swipe fees | FAA hobbled | Humane execution | RFK Jr. record | Trump propaganda

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Support bill that would
lower swipe fees

Surging credit card “swipe fees” have dealt a severe blow to small businesses throughout the Golden State. In 2022, these fees totaled nearly $130 billion nationwide — a 20% increase from the previous year.

Over the next few months, U.S. Senators Alex Padilla and Laphonza Butler have an opportunity to address the issue. The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing on the Credit Card Competition Act — a bill that will rein in costs for California businesses and lower prices for consumers.

Currently, Visa and Mastercard leverage their 80% control of the market to drive up swipe fees at will. The bill aims to inject competition into the credit card industry, presenting more options for businesses on how they can process transactions. Experts project the move to save businesses and consumers up to $15 billion annually.

I urge Padilla and Butler to support the Credit Card Competition Act.

Varish Goyal

Congress has hobbled
oversight by FAA

Re: “Boeing 737 Max 9 problems show FAA isn’t doing its job” (Page A6, Jan. 25).

Debra Katz is right in that problems with the Boeing 737 show someone isn’t doing their job; she’s completely wrong in pointing the finger at the FAA.

Why has the FAA abdicated “much of the expertise in safety to the airplane manufacturers and third parties”? Why does the FAA “effectively {operate} as an agency …captive to some of the largest aviation companies”? Why is the FAA such a disempowered regulator?

Look no further than Congress. In enacting the 2018 FAA Reauthorization Act, Congress directed the FAA to establish the Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) Office — the office that empowers manufacturers to be their own regulators. Congress funds the FAA and mandates FAA priorities (such as the ODA).

Under Ronald Reagan 30 years ago began the mantra: government bad, big business good. We continue to pay the price for that fallacy today.

Thomas Gray

More humane means
exist for execution

Re: “Alabama executes a man with nitrogen gas, the first time the new method has been used” (Jan. 24).

A witness to Alabama’s nitrogen gas execution said it was, “the most horrible thing I’ve ever seen.”

States are trying new ways to execute prisoners, because “normal” execution chemicals are sparse and expensive. But clearly, they also want the condemned to suffer — hence nitrogen suffocation is their new thing. Hideous.

With overdoses on fentanyl occurring daily, it’s unconscionable that it and similar drugs are passed over.
The overdose victims calmly fall asleep never to awake.

Alabama could have mercifully used such a drug. Instead, the convict struggled for agonizing minutes because revenge is the reason the death penalty still exists in our country. Savage.

Edward Chainey

RFK Jr. has strong
environmental record

Today I’d like to celebrate independent presidential candidate Robert F Kennedy Jr.’s visit to the East Bay.

A widely loved figure across the nation and a lifelong environmental lawyer, he’s dedicated his career to protecting America’s waterways and landscape, and, more importantly, to guarding Americans’ health from the ill effects of industry pollution. He has sued giant corporations such as General Electric, ExxonMobil and Monsanto, held them accountable for their reckless endangerment of the ecosystem, and won billions for his injured clients. His organization WaterKeeper Alliance is the world’s largest nonprofit for clean water. Under Kennedy’s leadership, the alliance restored the Hudson River and safeguards 2.7 million miles of waterways with the support of over a million volunteers across 46 countries.

Facing today’s challenges of environmental crises, Kennedy’s policies in office will be pivotal to maintaining and restoring our natural environment for a healthy and prosperous future.

Scarlett Fang

Trump propaganda has
only kernel of truth

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In the 1950s a dual track meet was held between the United States and Russia. TASS, the propaganda arm of the Soviet Union, promulgated the results of this meet to all its citizens. Their report stated that at the track meet held in Moscow, Motherland Russia came in second. The United States finished next to last.

After the primary in New Hampshire last week all the media reports in this country have stated that Donald Trump scored a double-digit win in that election and is now the presumptive nominee. Trump got 11 delegates and Nikki Haley got 9 delegates from that primary. I guess 11 is double digits. Trump has now 32 of the 1,215 delegates needed for the nomination.

I can see no difference in the reporting in either country. Propaganda at its finest, as in both cases, usually contains a shred of truth.

Frank Murray