- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 27, 2000

Feelings, not reason, guide decisions of most voters

Thomas Sowell's discussion of the liberal news media's "mindless mantra" to " 'get out the vote,' " even to those who are totally uninformed, highlights not just a problem for our political system, but one of the most fundamental problems in our society ("Terminal triviality?" Commentary, Sept. 24).

The American public has lost its ability for reasoned discourse. Feelings trump rationale. In fact, rational discourse is forbidden.

The policies and ideas supported by the liberal elite in the news media, public schools and universities are flawed at their most basic assumptions. Clear thought and simple questions demonstrate that their ideas are devoid of value and thus destructive to the moral and ethical fabric that has made this nation great.

By controlling the schools and the major news media, the elite have created an ignorant public, which has allowed them to effectively push their agenda. High school students graduate unable to read or write proficiently. Those high school and college students who can read and write are bombarded with propaganda that teaches them that everything is relative and there are no absolutes. All ideas are equal, or at least all those proposed by the elite. Feelings become more important than facts. The public systems have become irrational.

Irrationality breeds chaos. Chaos provokes a public cry for the government to provide more safety, even at the expense of individual freedoms and liberties. How convenient. The liberal elite believe they know what's best for a public they see as ignorant, and heaven forbid that the public gets in the way of their plans.

J.V. LEDBETTER

Alexandria

Legislators should clean up dry cleaning hazard

Henry S. Cole's commentary on dry cleaning and the many hazards both to the environment and to human health associated with perchloroethelyne (perc), a traditional cleaning solvent, was both informative and alarming ("Dry cleaning the regulations," Commentary Forum, Sept. 10).

Currently, 35,000 national dry cleaners use this solvent that the International Agency for Research on Cancer has determined to be a "probable" cause of cancer in humans. Millions of Americans bring this toxic chemical into their households each year without realizing the health ramifications to themselves and their loved ones.

There are safe alternatives to perchloroethelyne that are currently and successfully being used in the cleaning industry. Wet cleaning and liquid carbon dioxide are both nontoxic and safe for our health and the environment.

I am proud to say that Wisconsin has adopted these new technologies. For example, Hangers, a Wisconsin cleaning company that uses liquid carbon dioxide, will have its first grand opening in October, with eight more stores to come within the year. Alliance, a leading liquid carbon dioxide provider, has its headquarters in Wisconsin as well.

There is currently legislation pending before Congress that would provide incentives to dry cleaners that switch to environmentally safe technologies. I support this idea, as well as the many state and local efforts to clean up perchloroethelyne. The majority of dry cleaners mom and pop operations cannot afford these technologies. With federal and state assistance, they will be have that opportunity.

I appreciate Mr. Cole's insight into existing cleaning alternatives, which are good for public health as well as our environment. We need to clean up the dangerous chemicals in the cleaning industry and start using technologies that are safe.

DOUG LA FOLLETTE

Secretary of state

Madison, Wis.

No militants in the Council of Khalistan

Manpreet Singh Nibber's Sept. 16 letter, "India human rights criticism from unreliable source?" is so full of disinformation that he must be fronting for the Indian Embassy in its effort to confuse the American people.

Mr. Nibber, who is a member of the Punjab Welfare Council of the USA, does not address any of the facts we brought up in our last letter. Instead, he spreads Indian disinformation about the Council of Khalistan and its origins. He knows there are no "militants" involved in the council. We consistently support the liberation of Khalistan, the Sikh homeland that declared its independence from India on Oct. 7, 1987, by democratic, nonviolent means, through the Sikh tradition of "Shantmai morcha," or peaceful agitation.

The Indian Embassy has interfered in American elections, calling for the re-election of former Sen. Larry Pressler and attempting to damage the re-election campaign of Sen. Robert Torricelli. A few years ago, the Indian Embassy was caught giving illegal campaign donations to members of Congress through an immigration lawyer named Lalit Gadhia, who pleaded guilty to the scheme in federal court.

There are many other Gadhias throughout this country. Former Indian cabinet minister R.L. Bhatia admitted in a 1995 news conference that the Indian government is spending "large sums of money" through the embassy to influence American politics. But what is that money defending?

On Sept. 8, militant Hindus attacked the home of a priest and beat the priest and his servant. The servant was so severely beaten that he died of the injuries. On Aug. 25, news stories reported that militant Hindu nationalists kidnapped and tortured a priest in Gujarat, then paraded him naked through town. This attack was part of a wave of terror against Christians since Christmas 1998.

Incidents have included the murder of priests, the rape of nuns and the burning to death of a missionary and his two sons in their van by members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the parent organization of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. Schools and prayer halls have been attacked and destroyed. The individuals who raped the nuns were described by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, a militant organization within the RSS, as "patriotic youth." The RSS was founded in support of fascism.

In March, 35 Sikhs were murdered in the village of Chithi Singhpora in Kashmir. Two extensive independent investigations, one conducted by the Movement Against State Repression and the Punjab Human Rights Organization and another conducted by the Ludhiana-based International Human Rights Organization, proved that the Indian government was responsible for this massacre.

The Indian government has murdered more than 250,000 Sikhs since 1984, according to figures published in Inderjit Singh Jaijee's "The Politics of Genocide." India also has killed more than 200,000 Christians in Nagaland since 1947, more than 70,000 Kashmiri Muslims since 1988 and tens of thousands of other minorities. Amnesty International reports that thousands of political prisoners are being held without charge or trial in "the world's largest democracy."

India is hostile to the United States. It votes against America at the United Nations more often than any country except Cuba.

In May 1999, the Indian Express reported that Indian Defense Minister George Fernandes led a meeting with Cuba, China, Iraq, Serbia, Russia and Libya to construct a security alliance "to stop the U.S."

India openly supported the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan. Its nuclear weapons test started the nuclear arms race in South Asia. It refuses to allow the Sikhs, Kashmiris, Christians and other minority nations seeking their freedom to decide their political future in a free and fair vote, the democratic way.

America must not accept this kind of brutality and tyranny from a government that claims to be democratic. We must cut off aid and trade to India and support a free and fair plebiscite to ensure human rights and self-determination for Khalistan, Christian Nagalim, Kashmir and all the minority nations and peoples living under Indian rule.

GURMIT SINGH AULAKH

Council of Khalistan

Washington

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