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Letters to the editor: Oct. 18, 2016


Responsible leaders needed to end gridlock

Re: Oct. 8 commentary, “Ponnuru: Don’t Fall for President’s Self-Serving Sob Stories.”

Ponnuru fails to mention the debt ceiling battle in 2011, a prime example of all that is wrong with contemporary politics. Balancing interests, conducting meaningful deliberation and debate, respecting adversaries and focusing on problem solving took a back seat with a few Congressional members’ take-it or leave-it bargaining positions.

The single-minded focus on scoring political points over solving problems, escalating over the last several decades, has reached a level of such intensity and bitterness that Congress and the executive branch seem incapable of taking and sustaining public decisions responsive to the major challenges facing the country. All the boastful talk of American greatness cannot obscure the growing sense that the country is squandering its economic future and putting itself at risk because of the inability to govern effectively. We need members with institutional pride and loyalty who understand the essential and difficult task of peacefully reconciling diverse interests through processes of negotiation and compromise.

JOHANNE IBSEN-WOLFORD, AUSTIN

War on drugs wasteful, encourages criminality

Re: Oct. 12 article, “Study calls for legalizing drugs for personal use.”

The Statesman’s Chuck Lindell hit the nail squarely on the head with his article.

The drug war empowers our terrorist enemies brave enough to grow the flowers we forbid. This prohibition enriches barbarous cartels that have killed well over 100,000 individuals. Our war on drugs gives reason for existence to thousands of violent U.S. gangs who prowl our neighborhoods with high-powered weapons enticing our children to lives of crime and addiction. Despite the expenditure of well over a trillion U.S. taxpayer dollars and the arrest of nearly 50 million of our fellow citizens, the number of addicts, drug deaths and diseases continues to rise.

What is the benefit? What do we derive from this policy that even begins to offset the horrors we inflict on ourselves and the whole world by continuing our eternal belief in drug war?

DEAN BECKER, HOUSTON

Jury room now a target for political correctness

Re: Oct. 12 article, “Court seems favorable to jury race bias claims.”

So now political correctness has invaded the jury room. Be careful what you say in your discussion, another juror may not like it and report you for bias. Since political correctness can involve anything, a juror who leans one way based on personal beliefs cannot be persuaded to change his/her vote since other jurors won’t even know why he/she is voting that way. Many jurors change their vote after a long discussion, but you can’t change someone’s vote if you don’t even know about the reason why.

BARBARA BOYNE, LAGO VISTA

Supreme Court worries are wink-wink for Trump

Even though Donald Trump has done everything possible that would alienate him from true believers and people of faith, they just can’t quit him. Now, the far right and prominent religious leaders know they cannot link their name with Trump’s and mustn’t officially endorse him, so they cloak their endorsement of him with threats about the dire consequences of the Supreme Court nominations to come in the future.

One very well-known religious leader says he can’t endorse Trump, nor can he endorse his opponent because of the “godless direction” President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are taking this country. Then he warns his followers to think of the Supreme Court nominations the next president will make. It is endorsement by innuendo, but endorsement nonetheless.

NANCY LABASTIDA, AUSTIN


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