Our county supervisors recently approved $100,000 to attract business to Lake County (California). They don't seem ready to approve a $20,000 piece of construction equipment that is very versatile in its use in that it could be used as backup power to our water system in the Middletown area. Of course, backup power in the event of an emergency may seem a frivolous expenditure to those focused on future profits. Aren't these the same supervisors who proclaimed early this year, "1999 Y2K Preparedness Year"? We know where your hearts are now, and it isn't with benefiting the taxpayers.
For those who, like our county supervisors, don't seem to see the need for emergency preparedness, a little caveat: You may think gasoline at $5 a gallon is expensive, but after the first of the year you'll gladly pay $10 a gallon. Why?
Fifty percent of our country's oil supply comes from other countries. Ninety percent of that amount comes from Venezuela, a country among the least Y2K compliant. We get most of our domestic oil and gas from the oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. Each of these platforms average 10,000 embedded computer chips. Half of these chips are embedded in concrete or underwater, and an untold number of those chips the oil companies don't know where they are located.
Another caveat: PG&E is mostly dependent on natural gas fired electrical generators to distribute electricity; they have no idea how Y2K compliant their suppliers of electricity are, that are provided by these natural gas generating plants. Enough said?
Here we are only a few days away from the beginning of the millennium and the prognostications for that fateful date, as far as I am aware, have been surprisingly few. Therefore, I shall get out my own glass ball and look through it darkly. There is one prediction which can be made with some degree of certainty. If history over the past millennia has demonstrated anything, it is that no empire has lasted forever. Even within living memory, we have seen the destruction of all modern empires except for one, our own. Thus, I predict that sometime, probably sooner rather than later, that too shall pass. It is of some comfort, as deluged as we are with chatter about "the new world order", "globalization" and other optimistic follies of our current government, to realize that probably before these visions of sugar plums can be fully realized that some peoples somewhere will put paid to these fantasies also. I predict that the 21st century will not be another American Century and a good thing too!
MARJORIE S. NEWELL
State College, Pennsylvania
It's too bad that The Progressive Populist didn't print Richard Estrada's views alongside the Gonzales/Rodriquez piece ["Estrada: Debate in Peace," 12/1/99 PP]. As it is, we don't know why Richard Estrada was against America's heavy immigration policy which lets in about 1,000,000 per year, not counting illegal immigration and the "H1B" job visas which allow foreign high-tech workers into the U.S. at 65,000 per year. Maybe Estrada was concerned about population control and the environment as am I. After all, U.S. population is expected to reach 400,000,000, largely through immigration, by 2050, with no end in sight. Imagine, no end in sight!
Instead we are treated to the character assassination of Estrada, questioning whether "he did hate Mexicans" or whether he simply "suffered from self-hate". Too bad Gonzales/Rodriquez didn't have the courage to debate Estrada while alive, instead of engaging in post mortem slander. After all, their views are the prevailing views in the U.S., supported and abetted by publications like The Progressive Populist that assume that anyone who questions U.S. immigration is necessarily a racist, having no valid reason for questioning immigration and that fail to present fairly articles by those opposed to immigration.
It's too bad that we are not allowed to benefit from a vigorous, open debate on the benefits and costs to the U.S. of our immigration policy in the liberal and progressive press, rather than hearing only the slanted views of those special interests who support our current immigration policy.
HOWARD A. PELLETT
Editor Replies: Regarding your criticism of Gonzales and Rodriguez, they wrote that they did debate Estrada at least once while he was alive and "as opposite as our views were, we still respected his right to voice them." They wrote that they did not address his views specifically in their column because they felt he had the right to express them. They agreed with the Dallas Morning News that his concerns about Mexican immigration were sometimes misunderstood as anti-Hispanic. On balance, I thought it was a sympathetic column.
As for The Progressive Populist, we don't assume that anyone who questions U.S. immigration policy is racist. We don't necessarily approve of the current immigration policy. For example, we oppose the use of immigration as an economic tool to lower the wages of labor, which as you note is permitted, or even promoted, under current federal policy. Nor do we perceive a pro-immigration slant to the nation's mainstream editorial pages. If anything, most newspapers are aligned closer to Estrada's position than that of Gonzales and Rodriguez. That's why we run the column.
Re: "We Can't Stand Pat" by Mike Whitty [12/1/99 PP}, Mike has found an excellent way of making the tiny Alliance for Democracy (AfD) and Reform Party (RP) -- of which I am a member of both -- even smaller, less powerful, effective, and influential. If this is Mike's objective I will offer him some suggestions.
As a married man who has three daughters aggressively "pro-choice'' -- why not have the AfD and RP exclude all Catholics, like Buchanan?
As a congenital "male chauvinist pig," why doesn't the AfD and RP exclude all females?
As a person of Danish heritage, why don't we exclude all Germans because of WWII?
Like Laverne Risen's letter to the editor, "Count Me for Buchanan" [12/1/99 PP] I read Pat's new book, including the party where he wrote "Hitler was evil." I don't agree with Pat's interpretation of WWII, but then he is not as old as I am.
Pat is for "campaign reform" and against the "WTO" -- so am I. When we are fighting the enormous powers of corporate globalism we need all the help that Pat can bring us.
Hasn't Mike heard the old bromide: "Politics makes strange bedfellows"?
The decision of George W. Bush to refuse to speak to the Log Cabin Republicans suggests that he is a homophobic bigot pandering to a religious group fueled by ignorance, hatred and superstition.
Pat Buchanan, whose writings dealing with homosexuality may have been fueled by a visceral homophobia, apparently has had his epiphany. This event occurred, of course, on the road which he hopes will reach to the White House.
The major contender for the Reform Party presidential nomination has agreed to meet with the Log Cabin Republicans and has urged them to enter the Reform Party and to support his candidacy.
Does this represent intellectual growth in a person who has been called a "bigot" and a "Nazi" by many in the media? Or is this sheer political opportunism in the manner of George W. Bush except that Pat Buchanan is courting the support of a different group of people?
Whatever it is, Buchanan cannot help but experience a measure of soul-searching and look upon some of his homosexual-bashing of recent years with regret.
As for George W. Bush, he has exposed himself for the bigot that he is. One can oppose the concept of homosexual marriage without being a bigoted homophobe.
But for Bush to refuse to speak to loyal members of his own political party because of their sexual orientation suggests that "Shrub" is still hopelessly immature and a coward to boot for his failure to recognize the humanity of persons simply because their sexual orientation is different.
REV. TOM HUTT, (Ret.)
GW Bush recently said that his tax plan would help low-income families. In fact, his plan would give two-thirds of the breaks to the richest 10 percent, while taxpayers making less than $38,200 per year (60 percent of the taxpayers) would get only 11 percent of the breaks. The poorest 20 percent of the people would get an average tax reduction of only $43 per year, compared to the average break for the richest 1 percent, which amounts to more than $50,000. [Reference: Citizens for Tax Justice, www.ctj.org/html/bush99pr.htm.]
Bush is for "the rich people", not "the people". Those in the lower 60 percent bracket should get some tax breaks, but more breaks for the wealthy would not be wise. We should eliminate corporate welfare, double the number of teachers, fix social security, and demand campaign finance reform. Dubya's major supporters are money & power hungry capitalists who do not support true democracy.
Apparently he's the best young Republican that money can buy and that's really sad.
Regarding the recent letter by Cris Moore of the Green Party of Santa Fe, New Mexico ["Greens Work with Grassroots," 11/1/99 PP], I feel they owe the country an apology by entering their congressional candidate in a race which helped elect reactionary William Redmond to office. Fortunately, the people of New Mexico defeated him in 1998 and elected Tom Udall.