Letters to the Editor

Readers views: Mississippi needs revenue from Gulf energy + Identify citizens in the census

Mississippi needs revenue from energy produced in the Gulf of Mexico

Supporters and skeptics of the federal government’s proposed offshore energy plan should keep one number firmly in mind: $31.7 million. That’s how much Mississippi and its coastal counties will receive from the federal government this year, courtesy of revenue from energy currently being produced in U.S.-owned Gulf of Mexico waters.

This revenue will be used to help pay for a variety of needs including critical municipal services, economic development, coastal beautification and restoration efforts, hurricane preparedness and environmental protection work. What’s more, these funds are likely to grow in the coming years as more production comes online.

In other words, those who say we should shut down the energy sector need it to maintain and defend their state’s picturesque shoreline.

Makes sense. Better to develop energy here, under the world’s strongest regulations, than to expensively import it from nations with less environmentally friendly practices. Domestic energy production also helps balance the seesawing supply-demand energy equation and keeps domestic prices as low as possible, a must for a state that had over 571,000 people in poverty last year.

Mississippians know firsthand the advantages of local production better. Our state has some of the least expensive gas nationwide, and a booming manufacturing industry which uses low-cost energy as a feedstock has helped keep the state’s unemployment mark near record lows.

Just imagine how much more the state could benefit, economically and environmentally, if additional federal waters — several miles offshore, far away from recreational activity and environmental havens — were opened for business.

Kaitlin Schmidtke

Mississippi director, Consumer Energy Alliance

A blessed nation

Letters have been posted recently about the question: Should we regard ourselves a Christian nation? Perhaps that question should be: Are there enough Christians in our nation that God will continue to bless us? Perhaps a name for ourselves is less important than the foundation of our lives that represents the character of our nation.

I remember the years after WWII ended. Everyone knew we were a nation blessed by God; no one would have spoken any words against that acceptance. With His blessing America saved the world from the Axis powers’ satanic dreams, and confirmed freedom to the world. That feeling lasted many years until it filtered away in later generations. Later generations had not felt that wonderful blessing recovering from that worldwide horror, therefore they were not touched by that wonderful feeling. Now many are led from His blessings by “false prophets and false apostles” as described in John’s letters to the seven churches of Asia.

Perhaps Barack Obama was referring to the demographic diversity of America when he proclaimed “we are no longer a Christian nation -- at least not just.” Some might believe his proclamation was to weaken and denigrate the relationship between America and Christ; while others might consider his comment as merely a demographic observation.

Thanks to our president, Donald Trump, the recognition of Christ’s blessings and influence on our nation have returned to our nation’s house. That recognition flows out and encourages Americans who feel that blessing within our personal lives.

God bless America.

Will Clark

Diamondhead

Identify citizens in the census

It is insane not to identify citizens in the census. There are estimates of 12 million to 20 million people in this country illegally. Of course the real number is not known. There are also many noncitizens in our country legally.

Why should we not know the number of actual citizens in this country? Why would some in Washington not want to know those numbers? Census numbers are more than just a number to put in a report or the latest trivia question. They are used for some types of federal funding to states and even more important to our democracy, they determine representation numbers in Congress and the number of electoral votes that a state has in electing our president.

Some states have a very large number of noncitizens. What percent of noncitizens, many here illegally in a given state, should determine how many representatives they have in Washington to make our laws or electoral votes to select our president.

Contrary to the opinion of some, we are a sovereign country that is supposed to have laws and policies determined by representatives of the people of this country. We are not a world entity, for anyone to drop in from anywhere at anytime and have an effect on the representation/self determination of the citizens of this country. It is time to ask our senators and representatives some of these questions.

Paul Stultz

Ocean Springs

Can we fix the immigration logjam?

There are about 400 immigration judges. The judges allow about four hours initially for trial. There are 58 locations where cases are heard. There is one appeal board in Washington, D.C. There are 750,000 cases, currently awaiting processing and growing daily. There are thousands more in detentions. You can’t make the numbers work in a timely manner.

We have sent billions of dollars to Central America to improve conditions to no avail. We are spending billions more for detention. New strategy: Take a portion of the $4.6 billion for more judges, place them at every detention center based on volume. Move the appeal system to the detention centers. In this scenario, the court system and the appeal system is coupled with the detention system.

The immigration system is established and run by the Attorney General, William Barr. The judges do not go through the judiciary confirmation process because they are not part of the judicial system but the DOJ administrative system and not a lifetime position. They can have as many immigration judges and appeal members as needed to handle the volume.

In the short term, put the courts all in tents like our troops use when deployed. Make the immigration judiciary system operate 24/7/365. When the process is complete, release or deport. Have the migrant sent to their final destination in the U.S. or back to their country. Can’t work any worse than the current system.

Rick Brown

Gulfport

Lack of empathy is a serious defect

Have you ever seen a tear glisten in President Trump’s eyes -- even after tragedies causing loss of lives? The words he mouths from the teleprompter or ad-libs are bone-dry of emotion.

He seems devoid of normal human empathy, a trait that enables one to feel kinship to the suffering of others.

Trump himself has said that, in business, you’re better off not having “heart.”

But lack of empathy in a U.S. president is a serious defect.

Researchers have found reduced activity in brain regions related to feeling empathy in people with borderline personality disorder, which is also marked by unstable moods (mentioned in White House leaks).

This might play into Trump’s general callous behavior and his penchant for creating turmoil to cover his ineptitude in governing.

On Trump’s botched response in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Julio Santos, a Puerto Rican minister, observed “That man has no emotions.”

After four U.S. soldiers were killed in an Islamic State ambush in Niger, Trump waited 12 days before calling one soldier’s widow. He told her that her husband “knew what he signed up for, but I guess it still hurts.”

Trump continued to mock Sen. John McCain after his death and railed about not being thanked for authorizing McCain’s funeral arrangements (which did not require his authorization).

Trump the businessman followed his base desires. Dragging that attitude into the U.S. presidency has been a recipe for disaster. Let’s hope our democracy survives it.

Look-away Trump enablers are the opposite of patriotic.

Richard Harkness

Ocean Springs

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