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Letter writers this week addressed politics and politicians and water scarcity — and safety, among other topics. As always, we welcome contributions to our public forum, and thank those who share their thoughts with their fellow readers.

Put brakes on despots

In early December 2022, Donald Trump suggested one way to fix the “rigged” election and restore him to the presidency would be to terminate the Constitution (his words). No indication how. But he is trying to claim immunity for crimes committed even before he was president, and has long asserted that Article 2 of the Constitution conveys almost unlimited, unchecked presidential power.

That is the danger of him achieving even just that first, “one day” as the dictator he so aspires to be (also his words): he wouldn’t necessarily need much more than that. Sixty nay votes in the Senate might not exist and a complicit Congress heavily laden with like-minded Republicans could permit him anything. Or even do it for him, as they just did in scuttling their own immigration bill on the Trumpian whim.

Many in the electorate, especially on the right, don’t seem to realize “strong men” care for nothing but their own rule. It often requires a war (global or civil) to depose them. Think World War II, Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini; or Pol Pot in Cambodia; or any given “president for life” in Africa. “Constituents” serve only to put an autocrat in power. Maintaining control is the sole goal thereafter, whatever the cost in blood or treasure, or any freedom enjoyed before.

We thought the Cabinet and Congress would rein in Trump. We’ve all seen how that worked. We dare not risk it again. Cabinet members spoke up only after leaving their posts and making money from derogatory tell-all books. Mitch McConnell, Ted Cruz, Lindsay Graham, Marco Rubio and others who excoriated Trump during the 2016 campaign have fawned over him ever since. Republicans, drunk on the Trump Kool-Aid, are terrified of being “primaried.”

Anarchy on the right supersedes any desire to govern; power has replaced national — and international — interests.

An informed electorate must put the brakes on the wannabe despots by voting them all out of office — or “free and fair” elections may very well be a thing of the past in these dis-United States.

Vicki L. Bunderson


Navalny eulogized

Nobility and passion still exist in a world lost in the minutiae of accountability.

It is the era of Putinism, Trumpism and denial and rejection of human dignity and human worth. And Alexei Navalny, a butterfly in flight, floating in the tempestuous winds of time. And like a butterfly, exquisite and mesmerizing.

His body, mind and spirit captured and conquered, but the majesty and splendor of his brief his existence is forever etched in the reflection of his audacity to spread his wings and capture the imagination of the world.

In this handout photo taken from video provided by the Moscow City Court on Feb. 2, 2021, Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny shows a heart symbol while standing in a defendants’ cage during a hearing in the Moscow City Court in Moscow, Russia. (Moscow City Court via AP)

Rainbows and butterflies. Manifestations of the renewal of hope and the renaissance of human conscience and compassion, found in times of manifest tribulations commanded and demanded by the arrogance of tormented minds, that know not the passion nor the power of truth and of dreams.

Free at last — from the generational reign of terror and intolerance, and from the chains of oppression and suppression. Free at last, to fly beyond the rainbow, and beyond the fabricated and manipulated apocalyptic landscape of unlived vestiges of human dreams — like a butterfly in flight — forever exquisite, forever mesmerizing.

A. Garcia-Wiltse

San Juan

Economic discrimination

The Democratic Party’s preoccupation with rectifying racial discrimination in America has not left much room for exploring what history teaches is an even bigger and more devastating kind of discrimination — discrimination by an aristocratic class against a commoner class.

Those two classes are rapidly forming right before our eyes in America, and yet we can’t seem to articulate what is going on because we don’t read and study history any longer. We stick to breaking news instead.

Working class MAGA Republicans do not seem to realize they belong to a party that refuses to ask wealthy citizens and corporations to adhere to our traditional progressive taxation system that requires those who have more to pay more. Their party continually sponsors legislation to ease even the minimal existing tax burden on the wealthy and shift it to the middle class and working poor. Instead, the party appeals to the anti-immigration and anti-minority instincts of folks to get them to vote Republican.

Today we have a nascent aristocracy made up of wealthy citizens of Angle-Saxon and other European descent that includes healthy representation from ethnic minorities such as African American, Hispanic, Asian and others. In other words, racial justice does not ensure economic class justice. That type of justice must be pursued as an independent project.

LEFT: “How can I best serve my constituents..?” RIGHT: “I know!!! I’ll give my rich donor buddies another tax cut!” The header above reads, “Every. Single. Year.”

Our brand new aristocracy have been making legal claims for special social, economic and even political privileges over and above what everybody else gets in America, like immunity from prosecution for crime committed while in office. Black politicians like Clarence Thomas and Tim Scott, for example, join white sponsors of aristocracy like Lindsay Graham and Donald Trump to take away what minorities win in their civil rights campaigns.

The story of the pharaohs of Egypt and the kings of Africa should convince us that it is not skin color that is the biggest issue of declining democracies, but economic class. It is time for people of color to join with working white folks to learn about the history of aristocracy and kingship and to understand this as a great threat to democracy today.

How charming would it be for minorities to expand economic and civil rights only to lose them permanently for the next 500 years to an emperor and his aristocratic courtiers, just like what happened in ancient democratic Greece and Rome?

Kimball Shinkoskey

Woods Cross, Utah

Democrats denounced

Jawohl, herr commandant! I guess we Hispanics who don’t support Joe Biden and more locally Rep. Vicente Gonzalez are closet Nazis! Wow! Looks like Vicente has gotten the memo from the DNC with the winning campaign narrative.

He also got the memo not to vote for a border bill and the bill to protect women and girls in sports that passed without a single Democrat vote! A must vote to protect our borders and more importantly, to protect our wives, daughters and granddaughters!

You don’t need to be a veteran of a foreign war to be a patriot, but you need to be an American to care about our country! The USA!

We/you cannot afford life under the current administration! We/you ou don’t want to see our men and women dying in a foreign war because of a spineless leader!

Now more than ever, I recall that sentence that many of us typed over and over again: “Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country”! It’s that time, and add women to that quote!

Ernest Gorena


Wokeness and trees

After one of her art presentations, which happened to be about trees, an acquaintance told my better half (the instructor) that after the class she found herself admiring all the trees around her. Trees she had seen many times before but never noticed the beauty in them.

The above is a very good example of “wokeness.” So, for those who seem to think that “wokeness” is something bad, think again. As the saying goes, “Stop and smell the roses!”

Italo J. Zarate


Inspired by Trump
Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Waterford Township, Mich., Feb. 17, 2024. (Paul Sancya/AP Photo)

There once was an ignorant MAGA

Who knew absolutely NADA

With a ring on her nose

And her eyes really closed

She was given her due, a PATADA

There once was a man who mightily declared

Look upon my riches and beware

I can fix all your troubles and woes

But first you must give me your money and souls

When elected Trump showed it was power he cared.

He spoke of grandiose things he would do

If all would bow to him and subdue

I’ll bring back all those things that were nice

But first you must put up with all of my lies

Then Trump lied and lied said I fooled you! I live my life in my own universe

I cheat and make things go for the worse

In lies and chaos I thrive he boasted

TOP LEFT: “You’re right. Trump cheated on all three of his wives. He cheated students at Trump U. He created untold contractors out of their money. He cheated on his taxes.” TOP RIGHT: “He’s famous for cheating at golf. The scamp!” BOTTOM LEFT: “That’s my point! He knows cheating better than anyone.” BOTTOM RIGHT: “So if he says there was cheating somewhere, I believe him.”

And I think that I am really the mostest

But now we all know Trump is really a curse

I am good as gold he would boast

Better than God, Christ and the Ghost

I know my bible and I am very saintly

I am good and treat everyone gently

Then we found out Trump is really burnt toast

They adored a golden calf in the past

Today an orange pig is their best

They wear the logo of the MAGA

And talk of his deeds as if it were saga

But really, Trump is just a bad pest.

Arnoldo Gonzalez


Ex-officials draw attack

Where is Beto O’Rourke? He seems to have fallen off the face of the planet. He was a familiar face in Democratic circles, along with Filemon Vela, who famously told President Donald Trump to shove the wall into his nether regions. It seems both have retreated from politics.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke speaks to supporters at the Lark Community Center on Monday, Oct. 31, 2022, in McAllen. (Matt Wilson | [email protected])

Beto ran for everything from president to senator in Texas and was denied by the Red Wave, and Filemon went on to greener lobbying pastures, abandoning his congressional seat and his constituency and to add insult to injury he caused expense to taxpayers for the hasty election that seated Republican Mayra Flores in his place for a short period until Money Bags “Con Mi Gente” used his war chest to buy the post by outspending Flores in the election.

O’Rourke, Vela and Con Mi Gente are all birds of a feather; they all at one time or another served their purpose as the useful idiots for the Democratic Party. At one time all were against the border wall; now they are behind Joe Biden, who wants to resume the border wall and the useful idiots are called into service to advance Biden’s political agenda.

Vicente Gonzalez (Courtesy: Congressman Vicente Gonzalez/Facebook)

Of the three, Vicente Gonzalez is the only one left running for office. He was redistricted out of the 15th district and ran for the 34th district. I guess that says a lot, that you abandon something, and now he is calling Latinos who support Trump the equivalent of Jews for Hitler.

I have just one question for Mr. Gonzalez: How do you and your party condone the mass migration that has resulted in more than 9 million people invading our country, and the resulting costs to the state you represent, to the sanctuary cities, and taxpayers of the United States? This inquiring mind wants to know.

Jake Longoria


Water, energy in short supply

The water situation in the Rio Grande Valley is dire and none of the politicians in Austin are paying any attention to this critical part of our existence and the economy! Why is this happening with our elected officials?

Falcon Lake is dropping fast and according to the Monitor the lake stands at 15.7% of conservation capacity as of March 19 and Lake Amistad, a much larger body of water, is at 28.3%. I remember Falcon just a few months ago was at 8%, but we received some good rains to more than double that.

My congresswoman is crying crocodile tears over the sugar cane mill closing because of the water shortage, but where has she been these past several years?

Here is the rub of this situation: The governor is promoting a large influx of people (millions) to the state without providing the basic infrastructure such as water and electrical supplies.

Windmills are seen at a far distance near Falcon International Reservoir Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024, in Zapata County. (Delcia Lopez | [email protected])

In Israel, 85% of their fresh water comes from desalinization of brackish water along with salt water from the sea and it seems this is the way to go for Texas.

It will take large amounts of money to provide enough water to make up the shortfall from the Rio Grande, which we have grown to depend on for agriculture and personal use. We are wasting more than $10 billion dollars per year here in Texas with frivolous lawsuits, river buoys, travel expenses, lives of our Guard people, Rangers, local police and equipment on the border.

We should be investing in building large storage batteries to store electricity from wind and solar to make available for use in shortfalls due to weather and manmade causes.

Texas is now producing more electricity from wind than any other state in the nation. The U.S. uses about 29,000 terawatt hours of energy each year in total. Texas has the potential to generate 22,787 TWh and we could possibly almost electrify the whole country. But politics will not allow our elected people to have a vision longer than their noses!

In 2022 wind created 26,135 jobs with average annual wages of $109,826, and that’s not peanuts in any pocketbook! These workers had a much better view of the world and 90% healthier than a coal miner.

Bill Williams


Water safety

Don’t forget to dive into water safety before hitting the pool or heading to the beach for Spring Break.

Parents might be surprised to learn that drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 4 and the second leading cause of accidental death for kids ages 5 to 14, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That’s why responsible caregivers should know how to swim, be comfortable in all aquatic settings, and learn how to administer CPR in the event of an emergency. Adults and children should always wear a life jacket around open water, even if you know how to swim.

Finally, remember constant adult supervision is key to preventing accidents around the water. Vigilance matters: Nine out of 10 drowning deaths happen when a caregiver is supervising but not paying attention.

So this Spring Break, turn off that cell phone and put away your beach read if you’re on water watch. Or, better yet, make a splash and spend some quality time swimming with your kids for some family fun they’ll never forget.

Lisa Zarda

Executive Director

U.S. Swim School Association

Scottsdale, Ariz.

Boeing backed

I am really getting tired of the way the media portray stories. In every incident now involving Boeing aircraft it is implied that it is Boeing’s responsibility!

It could not be further from the truth. The only thing for which Boing is responsible is the blow-out of the cabin door in flight — that is its responsibility. All the others, the wheel falling off, the brakes failing, etc., are due to maintenance mistakes and those are the responsibility of the individual airlines, not Boeing.

A United Airlines Boeing 787 approaches for landing in Lisbon, Sept. 2, 2023, with the setting moon in the background. (Armando Franca/AP Photo)

I guess my real concern is that airlines have a choice of buying Boeing or Airbus (European). If people start refusing to fly on Boeing, guess what happens to American jobs?

Gerard Pahl


Make rich pay more

Franklin Roosevelt, probably the greatest of our nation’s presidents, said way back in 1932 or so, “They had begun to consider the government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob.”

President Roosevelt, of course, was referring to the billionaires and millionaires of his day, the Elon Musks and Koch brothers of his day and the obstruction these very wealthy elitist tycoons put up when he was trying to rehabilitate this country’s economy after the Republican Great Depression. These “economic elites,” as he often referred to the billionaires of his day, were always opposing any part of the President’s New Deal program that Mr. Roosevelt proposed when he was trying to lift this nation out of this horrible economic disaster it found itself in the 1930s.

The billionaire class of today could care less about the working stiffs. They do not care about kids going hungry to bed, they don’t care about people sleeping in tents on the streets of our major cities. All they are concerned about is for the government to keep giving them tax breaks and to gut the regulations that are keeping these fat cats from making even more obscene profits.

Our highest marginal tax rates have gone down from 70% in 1980 when Ronald Reagan took office to about the mid-30% it is today. But much worse, many major corporations pay no tax at all. They use all their tax accounting shenanigans to pay extraordinarily little if any taxes. In the year 2020, 55 major American corporations paid zero in income tax!

We are today where the rich have gotten extremely richer while the poor and middle class have gotten poorer. Is it socialistic or communistic to view our economic situation in this country for what it is, extremely top heavy?

The bottom half of American families hold just 2% of the country’s wealth while the top 1% of families have a third!

Is it socialistic or communistic to point these obscene discrepancies out?

I think not!

Mr. Joe Biden and most Democrats see the problem as it stands today in our country. They see an economic status quo that is so unfair, so uneven, that it is not sustainable for too long. They see the need for tax reform to remedy this horrible inequity. The Republican Party does not. Indeed, they want more tax cuts for the wealthy and more gutting of regulations to improve the bottom line of their beneficiaries, the “economic royalists,” as FDR used to call them the billionaires of his day. The wealthy must be made to pay their fair share of taxes!

Jesse Dorsett

Whittier, Calif.

Editor’s note: We welcome your letters and commentary. Submissions must include the writer’s full name, address and daytime telephone number for verification. Letters of 200 words or fewer will be given preference. Submissions may be edited for length, grammar and clarity. Letters may be mailed to P.O Box 3267, McAllen, Texas 78502-3267, or emailed to [email protected].