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Sun

07

Oct

2007

Quackery from the Podium
Sunday, 07 October 2007 21:06
by Paul J. Balles

What you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing; it also depends on what sort of person you are.
- C S Lewis
Speaking on September 25th, 2007, George W. Bush, the president who squanders the riches of his country on invasions and occupations, lectured the United Nations General Assembly, saying:

This great institution must work for great purposes — to free people from tyranny and violence, hunger and disease, illiteracy and ignorance, and poverty and despair...
Look closely at those coupled bits of presidential quackery in disguise:
"Free people from tyranny and violence"?
What greater tyranny than the murderous occupation of Iraq by the US and the brutal terrorizing of Gaza and the West Bank by US taxpayer-supported Israeli Defence Force?

Since June 1, 2007, 18 Palestinians from Gaza under the age of 19 have been killed by Israeli fire of some kind: seven under the age of 15, not counting a year-old baby who died waiting at a checkpoint, and 11 between the ages of 15 and 18, according to figures kept by the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group. Freedom from tyranny and violence indeed!
"Free people from hunger and disease"?
This came from the president of a country that made Iraqi innocents suffer through 10 years of sanctions that killed half a million children. The same president left his own citizens to fend without support or aid after the disaster left in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.
"Free people from illiteracy and ignorance"?
The highest illiteracy rates are in central Africa. How can a US president talk of freeing people from illiteracy and ignorance, when billions of dollars support invasions and occupations and the greatest amounts of foreign aid go to countries with high rates of literacy?
"Free people from poverty and despair"?
This from a country (the U.S.) that will be $2 billion in arrears to the UN by the end of the year, including hundreds of millions needed for the peacekeeping force in Darfur. Israel threatens to cut off electricity and water to Gaza while the US supports the Israeli military with 2.46 billion dollars this year alone.

Do people hear these mantras coming from the mouth of a quack? If they hear these dual paradigms of virtue, do they register? Do they have significant meaning? They sound virtuous; and that is supposed to imply that the speaker is noble.

Even when a speaker like George W. Bush has been proven ignoble for his lies and deception, those who voted for him and still support him seem to need reassurance that their choice of shepherd has at least a modicum of decency left.

It is said that seeing is believing, but often it’s the other way around. We do not form our beliefs on the basis of what we see; rather, what we see is determined by our beliefs. We see not what is there, but rather what we want to see or expect to see.

Writer Katherine Mansfield put it a bit differently out of a similar belief when she said, “Could we change our attitude, we should not only see life differently, but life itself would come to be different. Life would undergo a change of appearance because we ourselves had undergone a change of attitude.”

It’s time for politicians to stop swindling the public with flim-flam, and for the public — especially those who have been betrayed by political frauds — to revolt against con men, especially if they happen to be selling snake oil from the podium at the UN.
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