- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 25, 2001

Communists inhabit South African government

In an interview, South African Minister of Home Affairs Mangosuthu Buthelezi stated, "It is the … communists and the labor unions that pose the problems of the new South Africa" ("ANC's allies suspect, Zulu chief says," Feb. 20). While there is widespread awareness of the disruptions caused by the communist-affiliated Congress of South African Trade Unions, the presence of communist leaders in several key government positions has received little attention. For example, the chairman of the Communist Party, Charles Nqakula, is deputy minister of home affairs, and the party's former head of international liaison, Essop Pahad, is a minister in the president's office. In August 1992, during the transition to democracy, I asked Mr. Pahad how he expected his small party to achieve power. He replied that after the transition, there would be numerous problems the new government would be unable to solve, the people would become increasingly disillusioned and then, in desperation, they would turn to the communists. Mr. Pahad and his colleagues may have altered their agenda since then, but it still may include items other than democracy, prosperity and stability.

LORNA HAHN

Executive director

Association on Third World Affairs Inc.

Washington

Pro-life movement more varied than article suggests

In the article "Former abortion providers find peace, solace in therapy" (Culture, Et Cetera, Feb. 22), you report that the pro-life movement received a "black eye" when Eric Harrah, a former abortion clinic director, "renounced his faith and returned to his former homosexual lifestyle." Did the pro-life movement get the black eye when he left his faith or when he announced that he was gay? I am a 26-year-old devout Catholic who is gay. My best friend in St. Louis, Mo., is agnostic and straight. She and I are both active in the pro-life movement. Where in the pro-life agenda does it require a pro-life advocate to be both religious and heterosexual? Aren't we all in this pro-life movement together to promote life?

I believe the only reason the pro-life movement would suffer "a black eye" is if Mr. Harrah renounced his pro-life beliefs and returned to his former pro-abortion lifestyle.

JASON WINFREY

Takoma Park

PETA not the radical organization portrayed in letter

In the article "Former abortion providers find peace, solace in therapy" (Culture, Et Cetera, Feb. 22), you report that the pro-life movement received a "black eye" when Eric Harrah, a former abortion clinic director, "renounced his faith and returned to his former homosexual lifestyle." Did the pro-life movement get the black eye when he left his faith or when he announced that he was gay? I am a 26-year-old devout Catholic who is gay. My best friend in St. Louis, Mo., is agnostic and straight. She and I are both active in the pro-life movement. Where in the pro-life agenda does it require a pro-life advocate to be both religious and heterosexual? Aren't we all in this pro-life movement together to promote life?

I believe the only reason the pro-life movement would suffer "a black eye" is if Mr. Harrah renounced his pro-life beliefs and returned to his former pro-abortion lifestyle.

JASON WINFREY

Takoma Park

On natural gas issue, Senator in need of Economics 101

You just have to love liberals. When it comes to basic economics, they don't have a clue. In your Feb. 22 Inside the Beltway column, Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin complains bitterly about the high price of natural gas. He can't understand why "the demand for natural gas has increased 10 to 35 percent this winter" yet "the price of natural gas has increased a whopping 200 to 400 percent. These numbers simply don't square." Apparently, like most liberals, he just doesn't understand how free markets work.

In times of scarcity, prices will rise to a level where the demand for the commodity will be balanced by the available supply. Consumers will cut back on their purchases, reducing demand. Concurrently, producers will produce more, if they can, to increase their profits. In the case of natural gas, that equilibrium price seems to be, using Mr. Harkin's figures, 200 to 400 percent higher than it was previously. Of course, the government could mandate only a 10 to 35 percent increase in price to match, or "square," with his figures for the percentage increase in demand. Mr. Harkin then would be complaining about rolling "heatouts" across America as the available gas was consumed rapidly and actual shortages occurred. That would be somewhat akin to what happened to Democratic President Jimmy Carter's America with the gasoline shortages of the '70s or Democrat Gray Davis' California with the current rolling blackouts. Same cause, same effect.

Fortunately, Mr. Harkin has a better solution. He wants the General Accounting Office to investigate why prices are so high. Such a study undoubtedly should identify how liberal "feel good" policies required by all levels of government have reduced natural gas availability and artificially stimulated demand. Mr. Harkin should require the GAO to do one other thing: provide mandatory training classes for all Democrats and "moderate" Republicans on the Hill on the findings of the study and, equally important, a course in basic economics.

RAYMOND T. BEURKET

Alexandria

Ford faux pas

In his article criticizing wealthy Americans who favor the estate tax, Bruce Bartlett mistakenly claims that the Ford Foundation owns much of the voting stock of the Ford Motor Co. ("Beneficiaries of Estate Tax Benefits," Feb. 21). In fact, the foundation is wholly independent of the Ford Motor Co., has never owned voting stock and, for more than 25 years, has owned no stock in it, voting or nonvoting.

ALEXANDER WILDE

Vice President for Communications

Ford Foundation

New York

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