Letters to the Editor for 12/24/2015

Special to the PRESS

Dear Editor,

I recently read a nationally syndicated column about terrorism in the USA that I thought made a number of good points. I quote a number of them.

“The bipartisan commission that investigated the 9/11 attacks conceded the primary driving force for Islamist terrorism was anger at the U.S.-led foreign policy in the Middle East.”

“In other words, terrorists don’t come here because we let girls attend school but mainly because we meddle in their countries.”

“Osama bin Laden said he attacked the World Trade Center because our forces are “too near to Mecca” and ‘occupy our countries’.”

“A University of Chicago study concluded the main objective of 95 percent of terrorist incidents was to compel a Western state to withdraw from territory the terrorists view as theirs. It’s not to make a religious point. Even Iraq War proponent Paul Wolfowitz admitted that America’s presence in the Middle East was ‘a huge recruiting device for al-Qaida’.”

“Now Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio want to do more of that? We will create new terrorists while killing current ones (plus innocent people) I don’t see how that makes that safer.”

“Terrorist incidents are rare (so far) Even if we include the horrible attack on the World Trade Center, many more Americans die riding bikes, swimming, or driving. When there is terrorism, most has been committed by non-Muslims. In 2012 alone, non-Muslim mass shootings caused twice as many fatalities as from Muslim-American terrorism in all 11 years since 9/11… Islamic terrorism doesn’t even count for 1 percent of 180,000 murders in the U.S. since 9/11.”

“I do not think the current crop of loud politicians have the answers. Most not only want to undo America’s tradition of immigration but also increase military interventions. These are not actions with good track records.”

“I side with Keith, a viewer, who in response to my question about security versus liberty tweeted, ‘If there’s a choice to be made, liberty needs to win’.”

Who wrote this column that I read and agree with every word that is quoted at length? Was it some wild-eyed left wing radical that the reactionaries love to say “hates America”? Was it a progressive? Was it a liberal Democrat? It was none of the above. It was actually written by John Stossel and published after the last Republican presidential debate. All of these quotes are to criticize the military interventionist positions of the different Republican candidates. I should not have to explain who John Stossel is, but given the low level of political awareness of the average reactionary supporters of the most popular candidates in the Republican field, Trump, Cruz, Carson, and Rubio; John Stossel is a conservative editorial writer and has his own program on Fox News.

Maybe there is some hope for our country if someone as conservative as Mr. Stossel can call out members of his own party just like I do Hillary Clinton. A long time ago, when I was in the US Army, I took an oath to “defend the United States and its Constitution from all enemies, both foreign and domestic” I’m still doing it and the domestic enemies are in the ascendency now; they are led by the Republican Presidential candidates.

Walter Birdwell

Laguna Vista


Dear Editor,


For the past several months, I have listened to Eddie Campirano, Port of Brownsville Director & CEO, state that the Port or BND (Brownsville Navigation District) will not decide if the 3 or more LNG (liquefied natural gas) export terminals will be constructed on the Brownsville Ship Channel, but the decision process depends entirely on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and its evaluation based on numerous filings and the Economic Impact Statement (EIS).

So, who in reality is the source of the LNG controversy? This controversy which has resulted in vocal opposition from the surrounding city/town councils of Laguna Vista, Pt. Isabel, SPI, Long Island Village, as well as the Laguna Madre Water District to name a few opponents. Why are the locals concerned about heavy industrial pollution, degradation of the environment that will affect current ecotourism, and resulting health problems?

After leasing the same LOMA Preserves to the USFWS (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service) for multiple decades and preserving the native vegetation for a corridor for the endangered ocelot, the BND and its commissioners decided to deny the previous long term (mitigation) lease of USFWS and instead lease to Annova LNG, LLC, for their export terminal which would block the ocelot corridor. Yes, presently Annova is slightly shifting its export terminal location to allow more room for the ocelot, but there will still be the heavy industrial export terminal/s for all of our endangered and threatened species to navigate through. In addition, let’s not forget the flare stacks the LNG multiple plants (Annova LNG LLC, Texas LNG LLC, Rio Grande LNG LLC) will also be utilizing in gas processing/refrigeration. There are also two migratory bird flyways in our area. Flare stacks have killed migrating birds in New Brunswick, Canada. Our current birding ecotourism industries will now be threatened and endangered as well.

But some people say that the Port is in business and LNG is a business. Yes, but LNG is a fossil fuel business that is gasping its last breaths of profitability before the renewable energies (wind and solar) proliferate to provide much cleaner energies. There is no need for a “bridge fuel” of natural gas. We have the green energies here and now. So, has our BND fallen behind in vision and instead cling to outdated energies?

The Port of Brownsville is governed by the Brownsville Navigation District, a political subdivision of the State of Texas. The District is guided by an elected Board of Commissioners who serve 4-year terms. The Brownsville Navigation District was created as a taxing entity in 1929. The BND includes most of the city of Brownsville, Rancho Viejo and Los Fresnos, as well as rural areas of Cameron County.

Let’s take a look at some of the good things that the Port has done for us. The BND tax rate has been lowered each year since 1983 or 22 consecutive years. But, how in the long term will the BND continue to decrease the tax rate? Will it be by embracing dinosaur energies that will produce air/water/noise/light pollution? Will it be by the BND encouraging speculator gas and oil titans that rely on energy markets which cannot be controlled and have presently decreased investment portfolios?

Case in point, how long has the drilling platform towered over Port Isabel and Long Island Village? Has it been 6 months or more? Sure, businesses go bust and those of us who have lived here for decades have seen various port businesses go bust and leave their abandoned structures/products behind for all of us residents to see daily. This looming abandoned drilling platform in the view of all residents and visitors is a daily reminder that the Port is responsible for what companies are allowed to lease land and whether our area benefits or not in the long run.

So who is responsible for LNG export terminals coming to town? BND!

Diane Teter

Laguna Vista

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