Not only did Charles Paul Freund's article ("Secrets of the Clinton Spectacle," April) confirm my own observations and suspicions, it served to renew my frustrations with the current political climate.
Imagine my reaction when the very next day a TV news clip showed U.S. Senate candidate Hillary Clinton here in New York state responding according to "formula." The news story was about the recently released report on the campaign finance practices of the Clinton administration and the involvement of Al Gore and Hillary. She responded to questions with a wide-eyed smile and said it was "old news," "people know all about that," and it's time to "move on." The American people, especially New Yorkers, need to be reminded that the Clintons are still at it.
Charles Paul Freund's brilliant analysis of the Clintons' modus operandi in scandal management left out an essential tactic: the realization that if an issue is sufficiently complex, you can lie with impunity. Neither the public nor the press have the patience to sort out complicated issues regarding financial regulations and legal procedures.
You can laugh in the face of the 10 percent of the people who understand the issues if 90 percent of the people dismiss any discussion of them as the incomprehensible legal jockeying of paid flacks. If matters seem in danger of coming into focus, obfuscate and complexify with an air of injured rectitude.
But the most important Clinton tactic, I believe, will be left to future historians to analyze: the systematic use of blackmail.
Professor of History
Thanks for the interview with Norman Borlaug ("Billions Served," April). I've been a believer in organic gardening for years, although I'm not a fanatic about it. I don't use chemicals when gardening, but I do buy conventionally grown produce-- it's too expensive to do otherwise.
We seldom hear the other side of the food production argument, especially so clearly presented and (I hope) not biased by ties to an agriculture-based business.
I do not disagree with Dr. Borlaug's statistics and I have great respect for his contributions to agriculture. I don't, however, have his faith that agricultural technology can solve the food needs of an ever-increasing population. The resources of the earth are finite.
I did advanced studies in plant and soil sciences at Iowa State with a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. I have worked in production agriculture and agricultural research and development in the U.S., Central America, Africa, Haiti, and Saudi Arabia for more than 50 years. From what I have seen, the Green Revolution has penetrated the richer areas but has had little effect on the poorer ones. It takes money to take advantage of the Green Revolution.
A few years ago, Saudi Arabia produced only a fraction of its need for wheat. Now, I believe, they are practically self-sufficient--but at what a cost. I worked in research and development for Prince Muqrin, one of King Fahd's many sons and ruler of the Hail region. He uses short-stemmed wheat from Mexico (or at least did in that research). He pumps water from 2,000+ feet and pours on the fertilizers and gets excellent yields. The government guarantees him $35 a bushel, while the world market is around $4.