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Letters are posted as we receive them during the week, and before they are printed in the paper, so check back frequently to see new letters. If you'd like to send a letter to the editor, use this postmarks submission form, or email your letter directly to mail@austinchronicle.com. Thanks for your patience.
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Unpleasant Truth

RECEIVED Tue., June 21, 2016

Dear Editor,
    While I enjoyed Louis Black's editorial ["Page Two: All or Nothing Is No Way Forward," June 17] advocating support for the "lesser of two evils" candidate, and thought he eloquently made the case, I wanted to respond to the line "there is no way of knowing how Gore would have responded to 9/11." True, but was that attack simply inevitable? Unavoidable?
    The Clinton national security team told the incoming Bush team that al Qaeda would be agenda item No. 1 every morning, but that idea was dismissed. Our intelligence operatives knew something big was coming, definitely an attack on American soil, and that one likely mode was hijacking aircraft to crash into a building. They even knew about the guys in flight school who apparently had no interest in learning about landing the 747. They desperately tried to get the Bush White House to respond to their warnings and dire predictions. But again, the threat was not taken seriously. For many working in intelligence, the attack was not a surprise.
    A different national security team might have continued the Clinton-era vigilance regarding al Qaeda, and been receptive to the numerous attempts to raise the alarm. It's not unrealistic to suggest the possibility that had Gore become president, the 9/11 attack would have been prevented. Just like how that type of attack has been prevented for the last 15 years.
    Suddenly I realize I agree with Trump on this matter, (i.e., Bush administration failure). Argh, that makes the unpleasant truth even worse!
John Silberberg

American Nightmare

RECEIVED Fri., June 17, 2016

Dear Editor,
    While Louis Black’s analysis is well-meaning [“Page Two: All or Nothing Is No Way Forward,” June 17], it is in the end the kind of “fall-in-line” establishment rhetoric that Sanders and left activists struggle against. It is a kind of intellectual bullying to say that those who supported Nader, or those who would support Bernie in a possible three-way race, are handing the race to Trump. This tactic has been much used to cow dissident voters who would divide the party. Ultimately, this betrays the inherent problems of our two-party system and further solidifies this unchanging dichotomy. Undoubtedly this election cycle has exposed a polarization in American politics, but that has less to do with candidates than with the extreme economic divide that resulted after the Wall Street fabricated housing bubble, which has had profound effects on our society, economically and psychically. As Black indicates, it has driven some to the left to meet with their cohorts on the far right, in a strange and disturbing union. He wonders why the right has attacked Clinton so hard, yet it seems strange he wouldn’t see through the cat-and-mouse show of American politics. The political elite differ on hot-button issues (viz., abortion, LGBT rights, taxes, immigration) that secure votes, but really effectuate policy around private interests. In fact, Republicans and Democrats often cooperate, and if elected Clinton will continue the policies of her predecessors: Under Obama, drone strikes have increased; we are engaged in a proxy war in Syria; zero gun control; zero Wall Street regulation; internment camps for undocumented workers; corporate personhood; the failed war on drugs; 22% of the population is incarcerated and private prisons flourish. No single president can legislate alone, as Black rightly points out; our modern American nightmare is the result of cooperative legislation between Democrats, Republicans, and the private interests that lobby them.
Brett Thompson
   [Louis Black responds: While Thompson's analysis is well meaning, ultimately he reinforces my point, that there is a chance for all kinds of noble reasons people wrapped up in progressive politics may hand the election to Trump as the Naderites did to Bush. Though he accuses me of trying to cow dissidents, he argues that valuing his perception is more important than who is elected president. I don't agree.]
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