STOP Framing "us"

How a select few of "them" are Framing all of "us"

Archive for the tag “President Obama”

The Solyndra Frame Exposed! How Mitt Romney and the GOP are Framing reality.

In a speech given last Thursday, Mitt Romney broke out the GOP Solyndra frame once again, but this time while standing in front of the now vacant plant in Freemont, California.  His of way of giving people a visual image to go with the framing, perhaps.  In a nutshell, the Solyndra frame involves the literal framing of President Obama for actions that both former President Bush and the ‘wannabe’ president Mitt Romney are guilty of committing, such as giving taxpayer money to wealthy donor friends (ie, Bush tax cuts) and engaging in ‘crony capitalism’ or Mitt Romney’s specialty (ie, vulture capitalism). This type of immoral behavior regularly practiced under the Bush administration and characteristic of Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital days were projected onto President Obama during this brief speech.

The very first question asked after three solid minutes of misinforming the public was, “In 2005, President Bush signed the energy policy act that created the government loan guarantee (ie, putting taxpayers on the hook when companies fail) doesn’t he get the blame for this?”

Instead of answering the question, which is based on facts, Mitt Romney continued framing this issue by deflecting attention away from who is truly responsible by making it appear as if President Obama was to blame for the failure of this single company. The untold reality is that the circumstances that led to the use of $535 million dollars of taxpayer money (a mere 1.3% of all loan guarantee amounts) was implemented by former President Bush, hurried along by GOP politicians, and backed by the super-wealthy Walton family, who have donated millions to GOP politicians over the years.

As reported by Stephen Lacey and Richard Caperton, It’s often claimed that the Solyndra loan guarantee was “rushed through” by the Obama administration for political reasons” In fact, the Solyndra loan guarantee was a multi-year process that the Bush administration launched in 2007.”  They go on to note that “Rather than “pushing funds out the door too quickly,” the Obama administration restructured the original loan when it came into office to further protect the taxpayers’ investment.”

This reporting is backed up by Politifact, who noted, “The Energy Department’s loan guarantee program was created as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, passed by a Republican-controlled Congress and signed by Bush.”
 To make matters worse, President Bush touted the bill as a success at the time, while using many positive sounding words to provide the illusion of responsible governing.

President Bush: “This bill will strengthen our economy and it will improve our environment, and it’s going to make this country more secure. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 is going to help every American who drives to work, every family that pays a power bill, and every small business owner hoping to expand.” What President Bush failed to tell the American people is that this positive sounding language is an intentional act of deception that conceals the GOP’s true intentions of minimizing the risk made by wealthy investors who donate to his campaign, while maximizing the risk to unsuspecting taxpayers. This two-faced political strategy of the GOP involves taking credit for initiatives they frame as strengthening our economy and helping Americans, while blaming the opposition for any market failures that occur as a result of gambling with our tax dollars.

This win-win strategy is a product of the memo Frank “The Liar” Luntz crafted with the former speaker of the House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich, in the mid 1990’s, called Language: A Key Mechanism of Control.  Ever since then, the GOP began using positive sounding language when describing any social, economic or political position advocated by the GOP, regardless of any immoral or devastating consequences to the public, while simultaneously using negative sounding language when describing any social, economic or political position in opposition to their ideological agenda.

So, when Mitt Romney breaks out the Solyndra frame and says that “It’s a symbol not of success but of failure, and that “the president was taking money from the taxpayer to give freely to his friends”, he is partially correct.  It just so happens the serious conflict of interest and the decision to line the pockets of wealthy donors was a result of the immoral actions committed by Bush, not President Obama. This is what the modern day George Orwell Party (GOP) does.  They literally frame the opposition for actions they are guilty of committing.

When the market fails, or when the immoral and reckless behavior of a select few causes catastrophic conditions for the rest of us, people like Mitt Romney and other corrupt politicians step in and use it to their political advantage by framing the issue, and focus media attention and blame on the very people who are trying to protect the public from the abuses of crony capitalism.

Mitt Romney literally “frames” President Obama for his own actions of supporting out-dated and failed policies

What would you do if you were running for president and it was becoming clear to voters that all you offered were old ideas, and failed policies, while your opponent was getting traction on his theme of introducing new ideas, and sound policies? Pinning it on the other guy sounds like a good place to start.

In a campaign speech yesterday in Michigan, Mitt Romney literally “framed” President Obama for his own actions of supporting out-dated and demonstrably failed policies.   This was accomplished by the linguistic framing he used when he repeating the word “liberal” in a derogatory fashion several times in relation to our current president.

In fact, judging by the repetition of the L-word, perhaps Mitt Romney’s communication team reached out to the well-known GOP pollster and spinster, Frank Luntz for precise instructions on how to use this language most effectively.  By most effectively, I mean in a way that packs the biggest emotional punch to stir up our emotions and blame the wrong person!

As reported in the Business Insider, here is a snapshot of this framing effort in action.  To illustrate the reality of what is occurring, as opposed to the framed version of reality team Romney is trying to create, I made a side by side comparison reflecting both versions.  This way, the truth behind what Mitt Romney is trying to do becomes clear, provided we are re-direct the frame in order to assign proper blame.

Framed version of reality: “President Obama chose to apply liberal ideas of the past to a 21st century America.  Liberal policies didn’t work then, they haven’t worked over the last four years, and they won’t work in the future. … “

In Reality: Mitt Romney will choose to apply conservative ideas of the past to a 21st century America.  Conservative policies didn’t work then, they haven’t worked during the eight years of Bush’s presidency, and they won’t work in the future. … “

Framed version of reality: Old-school liberals saw a problem and thought a government-run program was the answer. Obamacare is the fulfillment of their dreams. …

In Reality: Old-school conservatives saw a problem and thought a corporate-government run alliance was the answer. The Romney loop-hole is the fulfillment of their dreams. …

Framed version of reality: The liberals of the past raised taxes, often with little thought of how they would hurt small business, and the economy. …

In Reality: The conservatives of the past lowered taxes on the super-rich often with little thought of how they would hurt everyone else and the economy. …

Framed version of reality: Old-school liberals envisioned government guiding and providing every need of every citizen. …

In Reality: Old-school conservatives envisioned the corporate-government alliance as guiding and providing every need of the privileged class. …

Liberalism once taught that unions would ensure lasting prosperity for workers. … (This was and still is true today!)

What does it say about the fiction of old conservatism to insist that good jobs and good schools and good wages will result from policies that have failed us, time and again?

It says, we should become aware of framing, and realize whenever we hear Mitt Romney and other GOP members discussing “liberals”, they are really describing themselves!

Paul Krugman on why President Obama may lose the election! It’s all about firmly communicating their values.

Nobel-prize winning economist, Paul Krugman recently criticized the communication strategy of President Obama’s team in a recent TPM article.   According to Paul Krugman, “There may not be much President Obama can do to improve the economy between now and the election, but telling a clear story about why it remains weak could mean the difference between victory and defeat this November.”

The moral of this story, and Krugman’s take on this issue is that we should not be afraid to speak out about the value and role of our Government to help us out of the economic disaster the Republican Party created for all of us by their strict focus on enriching those in the ‘privileged sector’.

Perhaps, the President’s communication strategy should revolve around the fact that the public protection policies, and other Democratic tax and budget proposals serve to protect all Americans and prevent those in the right wing from harming the rest of us with their immoral vision for America.  As noted by Paul Krugman, “What they should be saying is, ‘We have the right ideas and we’re pursuing them as far as we can given the opposition from Republicans,’ which would be more or less the true narrative.”

Therefore, Democratic legislators, political pundits, and the President’s team should join together in reminding people daily that the ‘Great Depression’ was a result of Wall Street greed, much like it this culture of corruption on Wall Street was responsible for the near global financial meltdown that sparked the current depression we are now in.

We should remind people that Government led the way out of the depression through stimulus spending, and more stimulus spending, not less is needed to get us out of this one.  Paul Krugman agrees, and unfortunately, he points out that the President’s team “never conceded that that first stimulus was too small, or that there really should have been a second round of stimulus.

As a remedy to this, we should remind people that Roosevelt’s New Deal enabled the birth of the middle class in this country, which led to the ‘golden age of capitalism’ where everyone essentially shared in the wealth that we all helped to create.  Similarly, Krugman notes that we should reverse the “state layoffs of teachers, firefighters and other employees, and then ideally with a New Deal-style public works push to rebuild American infrastructure by putting the unemployed to work.”

These are sound policy decisions that were once made and openly communicated to the public.  Everyone at the time understood the value and place of Government in their lives.  It was understood that Government was highly capable of, and directly responsible for vastly improving the living conditions for individuals, families and communities alike.

It was this focus on America working together and sharing in the prosperity we all helped to create that made this nation the beacon of the world.  We shouldn’t be afraid to tell this story, and we certainly shouldn’t be fooled by attempts to paint Government as a failure, when clearly Government once led the way!

Most importantly, we should remind people that all of the progress that was made over the years, such as the expansion of real freedoms, such as civil rights and voting rights for both African Americans and women, along with environmental protections of the air we breathe and water we drink are now being systematically replaced with immoral budget policies that amount to a war on women and the middle class, so a few at the top can continue to stroll down a path to prosperity that is paved by a path to poverty for the rest of us.

The public protection laws, along with the progressive taxation and budget policies that led to the greatest time period in our nations history were based on the principle of the common good, where we all have a stake in what we help to create, and we all pay into this system to ensure the freedom of opportunity and prosperity for all that comes with it.  This vision was based on the values of fairness, equality of  opportunity, and freedom for all!

Why are we shying away from the policies that once worked?  It’s time to start communicating the value and role of Government in being able to re-create these circumstances today, and let the people know that if we work together, we can all help to create the golden age of capitalism part II.

Mitt Romney “frames” President Obama for his plan to “End Medicare as we know it.”

In an article written by Sam Stein of the Huffington Post, it was reported that Mitt Romney and a radical conservative group 60 Plus, simultaneously launched attacks aimed at President Obama and Senate Democrats for attempting to “end Medicare as we know it.”

Sam Stein pointed out that the most glaring omission in the Mitt Romney attack was “a mention of Romney’s own plan, which would create an optional voucher system for beneficiaries.”  A plan that is, “far more likely to “end Medicare as we know it” than what the president’s proposed.”  An optional voucher system is basically code for privatize it, which would mean that those who would stand the most to gain would be members of the “privileged sector.”

The conservative group 60 Plus focused their attack on the Democrats that are up for re-election in the Senate.  This attack consisted of a television ad accusing Senate Democrats of slashing Medicare benefits.   In reality, “the 60 Plus Association is spending millions of dollars to distract voters from the Republican plan to privatize Medicare which would make seniors pay thousands more for their coverage,” said Matt Canter, spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.”

The trick is to literally “frame” the opposition (ie, President Obama and Senate Democrats) for GOP actions to end Medicare, and then endlessly repeat the linguistic frame of “end Medicare as we know it” on Fox news in order to convince as many people as possible that this misinformation is accurate, or should I say “fair and balanced.”

Once this occurs, and enough people are convinced, or duped into believing the George Orwell Party’s lies, then the GOP is free to hand the purse strings of Medicare over to the “privileged sector.”   As a consequence, the money needed to provide for the sick and elderly in America to sustain their daily living will be used to create the latest feeding frenzy in the Wall Street Casino, where only the house wins!

George Lakoff on the Santorum Strategy: Why we’re all in trouble if this strategy is successful in 2012.

George Lakoff wrote an article recently in the Huffington Post describing what he calls the Santorum Strategy.  He began this article by stating, “The Santorum Strategy is not just about Santorum.  It is about pounding the most radical conservative ideas into the public mind by constant repetition during the Republican presidential campaign…It is about guaranteeing a radical conservative future for America.”

A perfect illustration of pounding radical conservative ideas in our heads can be seen by examining the speech Rick Santorum gave in Missouri after winning the Minnesota primary.  (Pay particular attention to the amount of times the words listening, he knows better, rights, and freedom were used)

Rick Santorum began his speech by thanking your average Fox news viewer and all of the “smart idiots” for helping to build the conservative party.  “Tonight was a victory for the voices of our party, conservatives and Tea party people, who are out there every single day in the vineyards building the conservative movement in this country, building the base of the Republican Party, and building a voice for freedom in this land.”

This was immediately followed up by continuously repeating language to evoke the “frame” that President Obama “knows better” than you.   This is illustrated by the overwhelming number of references being made to President Obama not listening to the voice of the American people (14X’s), because he knows better than you (5X’s), and is using the Government to run your lives by taking away your rights (10X’s), and freedoms, (12X’s).

In addition to the linguistic framing mentioned above, Rick Santorum is also literally “framing” President Obama for his actions, since it is Rick Santorum who believes he knows better.  I would argue that this too, is part of the Santorum Strategy, since it represents another common tactic the George Orwell Party (GOP) uses against the American people to convince them of a radical conservative view of reality.

In order to fully appreciate the Orwellian nature of this literal frame, take a look at what happens when we make a couple of substitutions to this frame.

Rick Santorum is not listening to the voice of the American people because he knows better than you and is using his radical conservative evangelical religious beliefs to run your lives by taking away your rights and freedoms.

The problem, as pointed out by George Lakoff, is that continuous repetition of language expressing radical conservative values leads to more and more people accepting those values and becoming politically active, as alluded to by the opening lines in Rick Santorum’s speech.  The unfortunate reality according to Lakoff is that, “Liberals tend to underestimate the importance of public discourse and its effect on the brains of our citizens. All thought is physical. You think with your brain. You have no alternative. Brain circuitry strengthens with repeated activation. And language, far from being neutral, activates complex brain circuitry that is rooted in conservative and liberal moral systems.”  (For more on these individual moral systems, see the article)

In reference to how Conservatives were able to get a majority of Americans to vote against President Obama’s health care plan, for instance, George Lakoff points to the Conservative effort to re-frame this issue by claiming that this plan will lead to a “Government takeover” and will include “Death panels.”

As indicated by George Lakoff, President Obama’s health care plan had strong public support.  This is primarily due to fact that it helped solve the major problems people experience when dealing with health insurance companies, such as their refusal to cover pre-existing conditions, and denying coverage in order to reap enormous profits at the expense of people’s health.

George Lakoff notes that conservatives never argued against any of the realities associated with the provisions designed to help the American people, “Instead, they re-framed; they made a moral case against “Obamacare.” Their moral principles were freedom and life, and they had language to go with them. Freedom: “government takeover.” Life: “death panels.”Republicans at all levels repeated them over and over, and convinced millions of people who were for the policy provisions of the Obama plan to be against the plan as a whole. They changed the public discourse, changed the brains of the electorate — especially the “independents” — and won in 2010.

Bottom line: If the Santorum strategy is successful in 2012, we’re all in trouble, since our rights & freedoms will be taken away by the very conservatives who mistakenly “frame” us to believe we should blame Liberal Democrats, (who are actually trying to prevent such actions from occurring).  The only way to ensure that freedom and liberty are protected is to advocate for a progressive vision for all Americans, not a radical conservative future advocated by the modern day GOP, where only the “privileged sector” prevails

The Republican Jobs Act: Nothing more than a repackaging of old bills with the added twist of “Framing” ‘Big Government’ for the actions of the ‘Big Banks’

Almost immediately after taking office President Obama launched an initiative to help jump-start our economy by making it easier for small businesses to gain access to the capital they need in order to start up or expand their businesses and add jobs.

“Small businesses are the heart of the American economy,” said in announcing the measures. “They’re responsible for half of all private-sector jobs, and they created roughly 70 percent of all new jobs in the past decade. . . . But today, too many entrepreneurs can’t access the capital to start, operate or grow their business. Too many dreams are being deferred or denied by a form letter canceling a line of credit.”

The simple, but ugly truth is that the big banks are not lending small businesses the money they need.  This is in spite of sitting on trillions of dollars, some of which was the result of the massive Government funded bailout, or ‘transfer of wealth’ from the average American taxpayer to Wall Street banks, compliments of former President George W. Bush.

As pointed out by staff writers from the Washington Post, Treasury Secretary Timothy Gitner, “admonished the nation’s largest banks for withholding loans to many small businesses, telling the banks that they helped create the current mess and “bear a special responsibility for helping America get out of it” by increasing the flow of credit, especially since they have benefited from massive federal bailouts.

As a result of the big banks failure to help small businesses get access to the capital they need, President Obama stepped in and attempted to jump-start small businesses in this country by providing financial stimulus to the tune of $15 billion dollars in order to encourage the big banks to lend us our own money back! (with interest)

What this means is that the Government must intervene in order to coddle the big banks into lending small business owners money in this country.

This is truly unbelievable!!!

So, what are the Conservatives saying about all this?

Well, naturally, they are using “frames” to argue their point.  Conservative politicians also point out that small businesses are being denied access to the capital they need.  However, they must misinform the public by claiming that Government regulations, red tape and bureaucracy are to blame instead of the real culprit, which is the ‘Big Banks on Wall Street’.

Here are just a couple of illustrations of the “frames” being used by Conservative politicians in relation to the repackaged House bills that form the basis of the Republican Jobs Act.

This is just a snap shot of what it looks like when Republican politicians literally “frame” ‘Big Government’ for the actions being committed by the ‘Big Banks.’

As pointed out in the Washington Post article, “some critics said the government is relying on a broken program that may end up benefiting big banks and lenders more than small businesses. Through the SBA, lenders would see larger profits and take fewer risks than they would through ordinary loan programs. As a result, lenders could steer borrowers into the SBA program even when they qualify for ordinary loans, said Veronique de Rugy, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. “This is a system that rewards banks,” she said.”

In the end, should we be more upset with the fact that we are all being “framed” to believe that ‘Big Government’ is to blame instead of ‘Big Banks’ for restricting access to capital for small business owners, or the fact that Conservative politicians in Washington are abusing their power by allowing ‘Big Banks’ to take advantage of Government programs such as the SBA to enrich members of the “privileged sector” at the expense of ordinary taxpayers.

Why Mitch Daniels was chosen to give the response to President Obama’s State of the Union Address.

The Governor of Indiana, Mitch Daniels was selected to give the response to President Obama’s state of the Union address.  The reason this particular politician was selected is due to one of the primary tactics the radical right wing uses in their on-going war against the middle class and working poor in this country.  This tactic involves literally “framing” the opposition for actions they are guilty of committing.

The majority of Mitch Daniels speech was filled with frightful language designed to scare us into believing that the only way out of the disaster of debt we are drowning in, as he puts it, is to follow the policies he and other radical republicans will put into place, which are the same policies that got us into this mess in the first place.  Policies stemming from the failed trickle-down economics theory that favor starving this country of revenue by slashing tax rates on the top 0.1% to historic low levels, a third of what they used to be on this group of super wealthy elites.

For those who are unaware, Mitch Daniels was President Bush’s budget director, and thus, he was directly responsible for the Bush tax cuts and other policies that dramatically increased the wealth of those in the top 0.1%, while leaving the rest of us destitute and holding the bag.  This is why it was necessary for Mitch Daniels to give the response, so he can be the one to “frame” President Obama for his failed policy decisions.

The NY Times reviewed the impact of the policies under former President Bush and made an apples-to-apples comparison to President Obama’s policies.  The results are very revealing, and confirm Mitch Daniels is attempting to “frame” President Obama for the Bush era policies he helped to create that significantly added to our deficit, and continue to produce catastrophic conditions for an overwhelming majority of American citizens.

As illustrated in this comparison, $5 trillion of debt was racked up under President Bush and only 1.5 trillion under President Obama.  But this doesn’t tell the whole story.  As pointed out by Ezra Klein, “What’s also important, but not evident, on this chart is that Obama’s major expenses were temporary –the stimulus is over now – while Bush’s were, effectively, recurring.  The Bush tax cuts didn’t just lower revenue for 10 years.  It’s clear now that they lowered it indefinitely, which means this chart is understating their true cost.  Similarly, the Medicare drug benefit is costing money on perpetuity, not just for two or three years.  And Boehner, Ryan and others voted for these laws and, in some cases, helped to craft and pass them.”

To quote Mitch Daniels, “In three short years, an unprecedented explosion of spending, with borrowed money, has added trillions to an already unaffordable national debt.  And yet, the President has put us on a course to make it radically worse in the years ahead.”

The tactic of framing the opposition works best when the person who is actually responsible for the behavior is the one who makes the accusation, or uses the frame against their opponent.  This is why it was necessary for Mitch Daniels to give the response to the President’s speech.

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