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This week, contributors offered their thoughts on the U.S. House speaker’s performance and efforts to remove him from his position, as well as comments regarding whether our political system should be considered a democracy or a republic.

Other writers memorialized Valley military personnel killed in action, addressed political parties and candidates and efforts to ban books in local schools, among other topics.

As always, we invite readers to share their opinions, and thank those who have done so.

Speaker backed

We have an intelligent, well-meaning, well-spoken, speaker of the House, Mike Johnson. Being the good person that he is, he believes in playing by the rules of “bipartisanship.”

With all due respect, Democrats are never interested in real bipartisanship. They will put on their goody-two-shoes “bipartisanship” masks that never materialize. They will swear that “they have Johnson’s back.”

Please don’t fall for it, Mr. Speaker. Just watch them salivating to make Hakeem Jeffries their speaker of the House. By the way, Hakeem Jeffries is part of their Washington swamp. There are documented reports that he only paid $213 for his New York City property taxes through subsidies designed for them only. All this while the poor American middle class is being decimated with Biden’s increasing taxes to support foreigners.

To those Republicans wanting to oust Speaker Johnson, cool your jets; we don’t have the majority to give away our fragility to the salivating Democrats.

Let’s keep our cool and keep on standing up for ourselves, and defying these power-hungry elitists who call themselves Democrats “taking care of the illegal poor” with our American middle-class, hardworking, taxed-out blood and sweat.

When they criticize Republicans for rejecting Republican Sen. James Lankford’s supported “bipartisanship border bill” that failed, there was nothing in it for Republicans on border security but garbage, only codifying (enhancing) their own Marxist open borders agenda. Everything was for their evil empowerment to cling to their globalist, DEI, woke agendas to destroy America’s freedom.

Be reminded that you can’t side with an administration that openly displays hate for America and our flag.

To Republicans, let’s keep standing up in unity to root out this abusive Washington swamp.

Imelda Coronado


Pay city officials

Hurricane season begins June 1, and our recent summer weather is becoming more erratic with temperatures in the triple digits and torrential downpours spaced between periods of drought. Our Hidalgo County commissioners proved their worth during the past multiyear pandemic, but their comprehensive planning also extends into the future with multiple drainage improvements to prevent flooding risks through the 2023 Drainage Bond Program.

With this planning and proven expertise, we’ve seen continuity along with experience; but, I wondered that surely the county commissioners would be paid, and they are. All the individuals make more than $100,000 base salary and receive additional allowances for the administration of a county whose population is almost 900,000.

What do our local cities pay the mayor and councilmen? Do you know?

If we want qualified young men/women who are not financiers but from other lines of work guiding our cities and making the important decisions, shouldn’t our city mayors/council be paid for their full-time job, like our county commissioners?

Diane Teter


Fallen heroes remembered

On May 27, American Vietnam Veterans Chapter 1 from Brownsville held our 39th annual ceremony to honor the men from Brownsville who lost their lives during the Vietnam War.

The plaque with the names of the men from Brownsville was placed in front of Hanna High School because all these men attended Brownsville High School when it was on Palm Boulevard and on Price Road when we moved there in the spring of 1967, when there was only one high school, until the name was changed to Hanna High School in August 1974.

These men (average age was 19 years old) gave up their dreams and their futures by answering the call to serve their country whether in the Coast Guard, Merchant Marines, Army, Navy, Air Force or Marines.

Fifty-eight years ago on May 26, 1966, the city of Brownsville received news of its first Vietnam War casualty. That was followed by 27 more until the last casualty news was received on June 5, 1972.

So to our fallen brothers, neighbors, schoolmates, rest in peace. You will never be forgotten, till we meet again.

In memory of Gordon E. Gullet, May 26, 1966; Roberto Rocha Jr., June 18, 1966; Albert A. Avalos, June 26, 1966; Daniel Z. Post Jr., July 21, 1966; Teofilo C. Rios, Nov. 15, 1966.

Francisco Garcia, Feb. 22, 1967; Antonio Morales Jr., Oct. 17, 1967; Anthony Perez, Oct. 18, 1967.

Abelardo Veera, March 20, 1968; Atanacio Gomez, April 13, 1968; Miguel R. Lopez, May 5, 1968; Israel Perez, May 5, 1968; Jesus Mejia, May 14, 1968; Ramiro L. Salinas, Aug. 4, 1968; Benito Alaniz, Aug. 18, 1968; Albert Duenes Jr., Nov. 11, 1968; Jose C. Santos, Nov. 13, 1968; Claude Cole Jr., Nov. 20, 1968.

Jimmy L. Myers, Feb. 24, 1969; David E. Williams, April 22, 1969; Esteban A. Trevino, May 12, 1969; Jose F. Arroyo, June 20, 1969.

Carlos A. Estrada, March 19, 1979; Robert C. Flores, July 21, 1970; Jose M. Perez, July 28, 1970; Benigo Zamudio Jr., Nov. 14, 1970.

Walter S. Mullen, June 5, 1972.

James A. Champion, missing in action (who has since been declared killed in action).

So spirited, so young, so many. Thank you.

Rogelio A. Rocha


American Vietnam Veterans

Chapter 1


Trump’s support

A dozen Republican U.S. senators showed up at Donald Trump’s criminal trial to show support for their “friend,” and while at it they also showed their disgust for our judicial system. This is nothing new; many folks out there still love “their guy.” That he has been accused of multiple crimes, that he paid two porn stars hundreds of thousands of dollars to not expose his lecherous demeanor, is insignificantly piddly to them.

Instigating a brainless mob of rioters to savagely attack and vandalize our revered Capitol just so that he could stay in power is his most heinous crime of all. Heck, even Osama bin Laden wasn’t able to accomplish that!

So, kudos to Trump from Republicans who think he deserves a second chance, that is to overturn the election if he is once again rejected. What’s this? The castration of our democracy at work, with our own tax dollars? Brilliant!

During the Roosevelt years and World War II, conservatism became what Professor Raymond English calls “the forbidden faith,” the words carrying connotations of stupidity and selfishness. And today’s conservatism, would Professor English label it, “the forbidden faith on steroids? Hoo-boy.

Italo J. Zarate


Building a nation

How does a group of people become a nation? First, they need to be united in their way of thinking or they will never become a nation and depend on others who are better organized.

Today we can see what happens when a group of people are not well organized to be a nation. They live in chaos all their lives and blame others for their lack of responsibility and failure.

A group of people in a failed state live in a permanent state of isolation, confusion and disorientation, because they lack the guidance to lead them out of their misery. They need to know in their heart where they came from and where they are going. If there is no goal, there is no desire to improve and just continue to be stuck in a quagmire state unable to go forward for generations for some.

Nations can fail when the original population is overtaken by foreign immigration and foreign ideology that will change the nation from its origin. The lack of will to keep the nations strong for the sake of not intruding with the new immigration loses its drive. It becomes a translating nation. A passing through change in becoming a nation through change, interconnecting with other thoughts and ideals to form a new nation.

Rafael Madrigal


MAGA politics: Deceit, conceit

The mind of man, fueled by the arrogance of vanity and the disdain of virtue: a chamber of tortured, narcissistic afflictions of kaleidoscopic illusions and delusions.

Prodigies of time, and of the art of deceit by the masters of conceit — a man, a movement, a travesty of human conscience that conceives and deceives, and finally destroys the legacy of faith, the power of dreams, the inspiration of expectation.

The mind of broken men, evolving and dissolving into figments and fragments of criminal genius and ordinary madness. And lost among the filaments of logic, of meaning: the clarity of purpose, of emotion, of devotion, of allegiance.

And in the end, life but a canvas of flowing, blending, fusing rivers of colors, sounds, motions, emotions, and notions — comingled into fabricated, contrived and twisted imageries that astound and mystify. And always, the artistry of deceit by the masters of conceit — MAGA — that damaged and wounded human mind of losers and rabbles that transform, deflect and manipulate the fabrications of manipulated imagination and suggestion, into unhinged moments lost in the milieu of non-existent purpose and fabricated truths, representing nothing more than a gnat, a fly —a momentary reflection or deflection of a speck of time that thought itself invincible and invulnerable, and above ordinary scrutiny, judicial inquiry or personal accountability.

Al Garcia-Wiltse

San Juan

No more patriotism

Signs, signs, signs everywhere. Facts, facts, facts, to no avail.

Victims now overrule the justice system, and the plaintiffs are now the victims. Handpicked colleagues who uncover their superior’s criminal activity are traitors.

Patriotism is now a thing of the past and treason is very popular now. The joy of pledging allegiance to our flag and country has flown the coup. Ignorance is booming.

Juan Gonzales


No difference among parties

Gazing out across cretindom, one shudders at the alarming lack of reliable public information.

The perception management Industry has labored long and hard to keep the public’s nose out of the business — the actual business — of those in charge, the protected elite, who’s job it is to throw around other people’s money.

There is but one party, desperately vying for their fill at the taxpayer trough, to get their financial and personal dreams satiated, “consent of the governed” be damned.

The American Ideal is that we select a local politician to go to Washington to represent our interests, of which they dutifully affirm. But once they get a taste of the aristocracy glamor club, they never again descend their mighty perch for their constituents.

We are no longer their true constituents anyways; it’s the Ukrainians and the global citizenry “surging the border” like a broken river dam flooding a vast valley.

Thus is the sad state of affairs in American government, both parties.

Trump is pulling incredible numbers at polling and rallies but Joe Biden’s going to emerge victorious. He’ll top his previous record and get more than 100 million votes this time.

Jamey Honaker


Not voting for Trump

On May 25 Rafael Madrigal states why “Trump supporters are being criticized for supporting him, considering the charges against him in court.” Let me count the reasons I will not vote for him:

1. When his company’s businesses fail, he declares bankruptcy and leaves his creditors hanging; check out his Atlantic City casino failure.

2. Signed checks documenting his company’s tax fraud in New York resulted in a $354 million fine.

3. Trump University swindled his “students.” He had to pay them $25 million.

4. “When you are a star you can do anything … (You can) grab (women) by the ——-.”

5. “I moved on her (Nancy O’Dell), and I failed. I’ll admit. I did try to (have sex with) her. She was married.”

6. A jury found he sexually harassed and defamed Jean Caroll and has to pay her $83.3 million. Other women have said he abused them also.

7. He committed adultery with a porn star and Playboy centerfold.

8. He has embraced white supremacists and Holocaust deniers.

9. After 9/11 he claimed small business allocation of $150,000 for “rental loss and repairs” for buildings not even close to the twin towers.

10. As president he made Secret Service agents stay in his hotels to the tune of 1.4 million taxpayer dollars.

11. He is buddies with Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un and has alienated our allies.

12. He was impeached twice; once for withholding $391 million from Ukraine unless it produced dirt on Joe Biden and again for “incitement of insurrections.” His Republican buddies saved him each time. (He says he will withdraw support for Ukraine if reelected.)

13. Thirty-one cases challenging the results of the 2020 election; 30 found no evidence, yet he continues the “big lie.”

14. He had boxes and boxes of White House files in Florida and some were classified. He tried to keep them from being taken to the National Archives, though he was no longer president.

15. And finally, he told his followers to go to the Capitol and “take back our country,” resulting in millions of dollars in damage, and people died!

Now he says he will pardon those convicted and jailed if he is re-elected.

Donald Trump has no honor and the only person he cares about is Donald Trump.

Gerard Pahl


Book bans in schools

What is it that attracts radical carpetbaggers from North Texas and other parts of the country to our Valley? Recently two radical conservative pseudo-Christian start-up social reform groups have been introduced to the Harlingen ISD by a superintendent who apparently believes he is unable to do his job without the assistance of outside radicals.

These groups, Citizens Defending Freedom and Remnant Alliance, from North Texas and Oklahoma, after securing the participation of two misguided locals, a pastor from an unknown Harlingen storefront church and the superintendent, have demanded that books with 676 titles be immediately removed from all RGV school libraries.

They have already instituted costly litigation toward school districts in other areas that failed to cower before their demands. They have demanded immediate hearings before our local school boards and threatened to “cause a ruckus” if one is not granted. According to a spokesman, the local pastor, Mr. Luis Cabrera, if the requested meetings don’t happen, “then things get downright nasty.” A conservative Christian threat of what? The nasty actions that we real Americans will then get blamed for.

I’ve been here only 24 years but in that time I have never heard any questioning or parental complaints about the contents of our ISDs’ libraries or even our city ones for that matter.

We elect school boards and superintendents from our neighborhoods, to establish local standards and carry out those from the state. That should be enough. The fact that this is being accomplished is illustrated by Brownsville ISD Superintendent Jesus Chavez noting that out of all the libraries in the ISD, only five titles were found out of the 676.

Please understand the list has not been made public, so you the parents can’t decide. Even Pastor Cabrera has not confirmed how many of the 676, if any, he has read to confirm “harmful content.”

Where do we go from here? Does this evolve to the book burnings of Nazi Germany, or do we quash it and allow the policies and laws we have to work?

Shouldn’t we just appoint ISD boards and supers that will carry out policy, not cower before a threat or become part of it? At the bare minimum it is unconstitutional censorship and the worst it can progress to book burning and thought control like George Orwell’s 1984.

I offer this as evidence of how fast these bans can go bad if not nipped in the bud.

Ned Sheats


Validating existence

They came for our children’s health care, their psychological and social well-being. They came for our adults in the forms of bans from public restrooms and athletic opportunities. Now, far-right, evangelical figures want to come for our educational rights.

Every student should be afforded well-rounded experiences that encourage personal growth; books that open students’ minds that reflect a larger world out there. Books can also provide confirmation of their own personal thoughts and feelings.

Young people need encouragement and support in order to feel valued.

For many students, seeing quality books by respected authors is tangible proof of their existence within the LGBTQ community in a positive light. If we continue to allow society to exclude proof of our existence, we are saying that their lives don’t matter!

Sara Hinojosa-Parsons


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].