National InterestThanks to Ross Perot, the budget and...


November 19, 1992

National Interest

Thanks to Ross Perot, the budget and national deficit drew a lot of verbal attention during the recent election campaign.

However, I'm not sure that the $1 billion dollars per day interest we pay on the national debt translates into how we get our economy back on track.

A national hue and cry from our taxpayers is decidedly in the public interest and should be listened to by Bill Clinton.

Richard H. Merchant


Hiss' Guilt

The Sun obligingly printed a letter from Alger Hiss (Nov. 10) in which he expressed his "joyous feelings" over his recent "vindication."

Are we to instantly accept the word of a Russian general-historian that Alger Hiss was not a spy for the Soviet Union, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary?

Let us consider the matter for a moment. On the one hand we have the word of Gen. Dmitri A. Volkogonov, who spent a mere four or five weeks going through KGB archives, that Alger Hiss did not serve as a spy for the Soviet Union.

On the other hand we have a tremendous body of evidence going back many years, some of which comes from Russian/Soviet sources, that Alger Hiss was guilty as charged.

For example, in a footnote in his book "KGB: The Inside Story," Oleg Gordievsky, the Soviet Union's spy chief in London from 1982 until his defection in 1985, referred to Iskhak A. Akhmerov as "Hiss' wartime [KGB] controller." This reference alone would seem to cast at least a smidgen of doubt on Alger Hiss' innocence.

And Thomas Powers, writing in the New York Review of Books on Aug. 17, 1989, tells us that the code name for Alger Hiss in the Soviet Union was "Ales." And then, of course, there are the dozens of witnesses who built the case against him. All liars, I suppose. In fact, the overwhelming case against Alger Hiss is meticulously documented by Professor Allen Weinstein in his book "Perjury."

To portray Alger Hiss as an innocent victim of "McCarthyism," it is necessary to ignore the vast quantity of evidence that Alger Hiss knowingly betrayed his country.

Paul Caliando

Springfield, Va.

Costly Power Scheme

Potomac Edison estimates that residents of Western Maryland could be paying 10 to 20 percent more for electricity to support the construction of the proposed Applied Energy Services power plant in Allegany County. But according to Potomac Edison officials this power plant is not needed.

How can this be? The one word answer is "politics."

Del. Casper Taylor, D-Allegany, and Gov. William Donald Schaefer are pushing hard for the construction of this privately owned power plant in the name of "economic development" for Western Maryland.

Sadly, this so-called economic development project could dampen real economic development in the region by making us less competitive because of higher electricity rates.

Existing big power users like Eastalco in Frederick County and Westvaco in Allegany County would be saddled with electric bills that would make them less competitive with others in their industry which pay less for power.

AES Corp. has given oral assurances that it plans to burn Maryland coal as fuel for the plant, and it estimates that the operation of the plant and the mining of the coal could create about 300 jobs.

In a region desperate for employment, it is apparently impolite to ask how much these jobs may cost us.

Ignoring both the cost to consumers and the issue of whether the power plant is actually needed, the Schaefer administration has strongly urged the Maryland Public Service Commission to grant AES a waiver from a permit requirement that would force the company to demonstrate that the power plant is really needed.

AES and the Schaefer administration argue that it would be unfair to the company to re-evaluate whether the power plant is needed when an analysis back in 1989 demonstrated that it was.

But what about fairness to Western Maryland electricity consumers?

Why should Potomac Edison's customers in Allegany, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett, Montgomery and Washington counties have to pay millions of dollars in increased utility bills for electricity we don't even need?

Glen Besa


Voters Rejected the Biblical Consensus

The election outcome was more than merely a victory for the Democratic Party. It represented the establishing of a new watershed for American society, the declaring by the majority of the adult population of a new consensus on morality and public policy.

As scholars and historians from virtually every camp have observed, America was founded upon the basis of an ethos that derived in large part from a Biblical and Protestant view of the world and life.

As Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. puts it, "For better or worse, the white Anglo-Saxon Protestant tradition was for two centuries -- and in crucial respects still is -- the dominant influence on American culture and society."

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