STOP Framing "us"

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

Archive for the category “Occupy Wall Street”

Bernie Sander’s attempt to ‘Protect the Public’ from the immoral behavior of the Big Banks!

In an interview with Wolf Blitzer, Bernie Sanders describes a much needed effort to reign in the big banks who are walking all over us. As pointed out by Bernie Sanders, the 6 largest financial institutions (ie, big banks) own more than half of all mortgages in this country, two-thirds of all credit cards, and assets of $9 trillion dollars, which is equivalent to two-thirds of the entire Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the United States.

What does this mean for you and me? Well, for starters, it means the privileged class in this country is accumulating massive amounts of wealth at the expense of everyday citizens by squeezing them with increased ATM and other bank fees, hikes on their credit card interest rates, and predatory lending practices that led to the housing crisis we are still recovering from. To make matters worse, these privileged members of society are using their enormous wealth and power to influence our elected officials to enact a variety of legislation that perpetuates the status quo of income inequality.  By doing so, the GOP is effectively allowing a select few at the top to achieve prosperity at the expense of the rest of us, who are doing our best to keep our heads above water and make ends meet.

As explained by Bernie Sanders, when the big banks engaged in this immoral behavior in the past, a Republican president, Teddy Roosevelt, put an end to it by preventing the big banks from gaining even more wealth and power by breaking them up. Legislation was introduced to protect the public from this immoral behavior, which served the purpose of stopping powerful special interests from colluding with one another and exploiting the rest of us.

Look at how far the Republican Party has moved to the right since then.  Ever since Ronald Reagan was elected president in the early 1980’s we have witnessed a GOP gone wild, and every successful public protection policy put in place to prevent harm caused by the big banks was repealed via the use of the “burdensome regulations” frame. The GOP cleverly made it appear as if enacting public protections (ie, regulations) were somehow causing the very problems these protections were trying to prevent.  As a result, people are more inclined to support GOP efforts in expanding the size and power of the big banks, while firmly believing that they are helping to solve our problems.

This language of “burdensome regulations” has been repeated so often by our elected representatives, media personalities, and other newscasters that it simply rolls off the tongue of those who have been exposed to it whenever discussing any attempt to enact public protection policies. The unfortunate reality is that the instant gut reaction many people feel when simply hearing the word regulations is enough to activate this frame, which leads one to believe action is needed to stop regulations from being imposed on us. In order to avoid this trap of adopting a self-defeating view on a particular issue, we should stop using the term regulations, and start calling them what they are, public protections that seek to prevent people, both real and imaginary (ie, corporations) from causing the rest of us harm.

According to Bernie Sanders, “we need to re-regulate the big banks”, or re-enact the Glass Steagall (public protection) Act in order to prevent the Wall Street Casino from crashing our economy again. As an added slap in the face to the American taxpayer, Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase (one of the 6 big banks) is currently serving on the Board of the New York Federal Reserve, which is responsible for protecting the people from the immoral actions of the big banks.  Just as we did in the past, Bernie Sanders is planning on introducing legislation next week to break up the big banks, and put an end to the “fox guarding the hen house” situation of putting Jamie Dimon in charge of stopping the immoral behavior of the big banks.

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Why Occupy Wall Street? A former insider reveals the ‘game’ Wall Street is playing with our lives!

In her article, “Why I Had to Get Out: Confessions of a Wall Street Insider, Alexis Goldstein says, “before I occupied Wall Street, Wall Street occupied me.”  This insider writes about the ‘cultural indoctrination’ that occurs once a person is hired on Wall Street, stating that “Most of the message revolves around how hard everyone works, and how hard you are expected to work in return.” This type of messaging ties directly into the “frame” that the privileged folks on Wall Street somehow earn the money they make, and we shouldn’t “punish” their success.  She goes on to note, “This dueling masochism/machismo brings with it a tremendous superiority complex.  People on Wall Street truly believe they work harder than anyone else.”  “When you are wealthy and successful, you have a choice.  You can believe your success stems from luck and privilege, or you can believe it stems from hard work.”

This so called, “hard work” ethic on Wall Street is nothing more than getting ahead by selfishly manipulating and betraying others, including one’s own clients, and the very firm one works for.  “Wall street employees quickly learn that even their company is an enemy. To the firm, employees are a cost to be minimized, or a producer to be exploited.”  The secret to what we are framed to believe defines “success” is to become a knowing and willing participant in a culture of corruption that involves winning at any cost!  This winning at any cost attitude is pervasive and involves a ‘game’ being played on Wall Street where everyone seeks to enrich themselves at the expense of everyone else.   This is in line with the Ayn Rand philosophy being embraced by Paul Ryan and the rest of the modern day GOP.

“What this environment did to me is that I began to see everyone as a threat. From that idiot two cubicles down from me, to the moron on the other end of the phone (the client), to—more than anything—the faceless, imagined people on government assistance that I assumed (incorrectly) were causing such large percentages to disappear from my paycheck.”  Despite the insidious nature of this immoral view of reality that is detrimental to society at large, there is something we can learn from this insider’s courageous exposure of this sinister culture.  She is proof positive that people can walk away from this framed version of reality and join the rest of us that live in non-gated communities and actually care about one another. “The true key to getting out was taking off my blinders: meeting others who were outside Wall Street’s bubble.”

This Wall Street insider eloquently points out the distinction between what the culture of Wall Street believes in and how this differs from what the Occupy Wall street movement believes in.  She mentions that Wall Street believes in and embraces a culture of scarcity, which breeds hoarding, distrust and competition.   Occupy Wall Street on the other hand, seems to believe the opposite, she says, which breeds sharing, trust and cooperation.

“On Wall Street, everyone was my competitor.  They’d help me only if it helped them.”

“At Occupy Wall street, I am offered food, warmth and support because it’s the right thing to do, and because joy breeds joy.”

It appears that we all have a choice to make regarding the direction we want our country to go in.  We can vote for radical conservatives who embrace this psychopathic mentality of only being concerned with our immediate self-interest at the expense of everyone else, (as this former insider admitted doing) or we can Occupy Wall Street and help progressives change the rules of the game!

How the American Spring is being “framed” by the true radicals on the right! A glimpse into what is really happening as opposed to how this issue is being framed.

Today marks the beginning of the American Spring.  The well needed continuation of the Occupy Wall Street movement that is alive and well!  As can be seen in the clip below, legal, non-violent occupy protests are being thwarted by police officers (following orders) to crush dissent, and hamper our ability to speak out against those at the top, who are literally tearing our social fabric apart with policies that perpetuate the status quo of income inequality.

As pointed out in this clip, our elected officials are currently enacting laws with broad language that enables the arrest and prosecution of protesters easier, not to mention blatant violations of our civil liberties and right to free speech.

“Only 3 elected officials voted against expanding federal restrictions on protests.  While U.S. leader can’t resolve issues like national debt and homelessness, they are all on the same page when it comes to how to handle all those citizens flooding the streets to demand change and accountability.”

So, as things get worse for all of “us”, our elected officials continue to bow down to a select few of “them” by enacting laws that effectively silence any dissent by ‘we the people’ who are trying to speak out against the status quo of income inequality that is dividing this country.  America works together!  Perhaps, we should remind our elected officials of this simple truth.

The clear violation of our first amendment rights, combined with the fact that our elected leaders are enacting legislation to silence any form of dissent, provides more than enough evidence of the need to continue occupying until our voices are not only heard, but valued in such a way as to lead to more meaningful change and greater equality for everyone now!

Here is another short clip summarizing the need for an American Spring in this country.  It hardly resembles the framed version of reality Glenn Beck is trying to convince his viewers of with his fear based rhetoric. (see below)

For a glimpse of how Glenn Beck is framing this issue, take a look at the clip below.  His strategy is very simple, SCARE PEOPLE!

Here are some of the more interesting fear based quotes from this video clip.

“The best case scenario at an occupy event is vandalism.  There’s rapes, there’s assaults, there’s murders, there’s threats, there’s death’s, there’s thefts, there’s calls for anarchy and overthrowing the government and revolution.”

“The people flaming these fires are evil, and they don’t think like you and me.  They are trying to start a fight, and the worst thing we can do is swing back. DO NOT swing back”

“Most people don’t even know what the occupy Wall Street movement really is because the media is ignorant, lazy or compliant”

“You haven’t seen anything.  Please understand this is going to get very violent in the end.”

Making sense of the “George Soros” frame: It turn out George Soros is being “framed” for Rupert Murdoch’s actions.

Glenn Beck has persistently attacked George Soros by name, depicting him as the puppet master for everything that is wrong in society, when in fact Rupert Murdoch is to blame.  Glenn Beck is simply “framing” George Soros for Rupert Murdoch’s actions.  Actions that largely benefit the top 1%, or “privileged sector” at the expense of the bottom 99%.

In an interview with Fareed Zakaria, George Soros was asked what he thought about Glenn Beck’s endless pursuit to paint him as the puppet master.  Soros indicated that Glenn Beck is projecting what Rupert Murdoch is doing through Fox news.

Fox news makes a habit out of doing this says Soros, “it has imported the methods of George Orwell, you know – ‘newspeak’, where you can tell the people falsehoods, and deceive them.”

Glenn Beck even goes as far as making the outrageous claim that George Soros literally helped put people in ovens during the holocaust in Nazi Germany when he was just a small boy.  This statement is way out of bounds, not to mention utterly despicable.  However, like other radical right wing talk show hosts, Glenn Beck serves a purpose for the “privileged sector”, which is to use negative language to evoke strong emotions because this tactic works!  The use of emotions is a very powerful motivator, especially when combined with Orwellian newspeak.

A prime example of this tactic working can be seen here, describing how Byron Williams intended to kill people at the ACLU and Tides Foundation after watching Glenn Beck depict George Soros as the puppet master.

It appears that profiting at the expense of the people (which is what George Soros is being “framed” for) is viewed by Bryon Williams, and other believers of the Orwellian right wing “frames” as totally unacceptable, and warrants the motivation necessary to start a revolution in this country.   The problem is that people like Bryon Williams are getting their information, or misinformation from Rupert Murdoch’s Fox news network, and end up placing their anger in the wrong direction!

Interestingly, the motivation to stop the top 1% from further oppressing and exploiting the people in Egypt and Tunisia, for instance, has led to revolutionary uprisings in this region, beginning with the Arab spring.

The same type of motivated behavior aimed at preventing the “privileged sector” from profiting at the expense of the people is also occurring in the United States.  This movement is known as Occupy Wall Street, or 99% vs 1%, and is currently spreading throughout the world!

And of course, all of these movements are being “framed” by Rupert Murdoch’s media empire as a bunch of Socialist, Marxist, and Communist’s, who are trying to wage war against America.

This is how Glenn Beck is “framing” the uprisings all across the globe.

“The war is just beginning”

“Shoot me in the head if they try to change our Government”

“You have to be prepared to take rocks to the head, the other side is attacking”

“There is a coup going on, grab a torch, drive a steak through the heart of the bloodsuckers”

“They are taking you to a place to be slaughtered”

In the end, the radical right wing is attempting to “frame” George Soros for the actions of Rupert Murdoch’s global media empire.  Take a look at Rupert Murdoch discussing his global media enterprise and how he tries to use it to shape public opinion.

When asked if he was using his global media enterprise to shape public opinion in favor of the war, Rupert Murdoch replied, “we’ve tried”, then started to laugh.  He followed this up with, “Clearly public opinion NOW, has grown very, very tired of the whole enterprise.” (emphasis added on NOW)

This is a joke to Rupert Murdoch and his loyal puppets like Glenn Beck and others, who willingly import the methods of George Orwell with the intention of manipulating public opinion to support an ideology that is based on the principle of profit over people, and in the case of war, profit at the expense of people’s lives!

As George Soros put it, “people need to be aware that they are being deceived.”

The consequences of not having an equal distribution of wealth in the U.S., and what the Occupy Wall Street movement can do about it.

The level of income equality in this country has been in a reversing trend since Ronald Reagan’s presidency.  However, many people will not know this by listening to Fox news, or some other radical right-wing talk show host, including Glenn Beck, who had this to say on his blog.

This is Glenn Beck’s attempt to create further division among us by perpetuating the latest right-wing “frame”, which states that 47% of Americans pay no income taxes.  This of course, is another Orwellian frame designed to convince all of us to take out our anger and frustration on the poorest and most disabled among us.  After all, these are the people who make up the 47% Glenn Beck is referring to.

Instead of looking up at the upper class who are truly responsible for our economic hardship, this frame ensures we look down at the very victims of income inequality, and ignore the fact that we are currently experiencing the largest transfer of wealth in the history of this country from the working poor and middle class (all of “us”) to a select few in the upper class (“them”).

David Cay Johnston does a beautiful job of summing up what is really happening in this country, being led by those in the upper class, or the top .1%.

Although each of the 9 things David Cay Johnston discusses are enlightening, I would like to focus on #5, which states, “And (surprise!) since Reagan, only the wealthy have gained significant income”  This disheartening reality ties into what the Occupy Wall Street movement is all about, and why it is critical to understand there is a class war being waged against all of “us” (99%) by a select few of “them” (top .1%)

Now, why do I say the top .1% instead of the top 1%?  Well, this chart from the Economic Policy Institute says it all!

Between 1979 and 2005, households at the bottom fifth of the income scale have seen an average, inflation-adjusted income growth of just $200. Importantly, that does not represent an average annual increase in income of $200, but rather, an increase of $200 over the entire 26-year period. By contrast, a small number of households at the top 0.1% of the income scale saw average income growth of almost $6 million over that same period

Why is this important? Well, because the 26 year period prior to 1979 paints an entirely different picture.

“These latest patterns of extremely uneven income growth stand in stark contrast to the period between 1947 and 1973, when income growth was distributed roughly equally across income classes, with the poorest 20% of families seeing income growth at least as fast as the richest 20%.”

So, what does this mean to the average citizen?  Why should anyone care about the income inequality that is illustrated in this article, or by what David Cay Johnston has to say?

Here’s why –  Prior to the current trend that has taken place ever since Ronald Reagan took office, a significant portion of our citizens (1 in 3) held a high paying union job.  Everyone was doing well, including those at the very bottom.  During this time period, those in the bottom 20%, in terms of income distribution, saw their incomes grow at a pace equal to those in the top 20%.  As a result, 1 parent could work and earn enough to support the entire family.  People could afford to purchase a home, save for their children’s college fund, and retire with the comfort of knowing they were secure in their old age due to the pensions they were receiving.

Of equal importance, there was less poverty, crime, alcohol and drug abuse, imprisonment, obesity, teenage pregnancies, etc.  Why?  Because the more equal the distribution of income is in a society, the less social-ills seen in that society.  (See the about section of this blog).  Notice there is no Occupy Sweden movement taking place.

As a result of the increasing income inequality trend that has taken place over the past 30 years, our political system continues to favor the top .1% at the expense of the rest of us, not only in terms of our wages, benefits and pensions, but also in terms of the social-ills mentioned above.

The only chance we have to reverse this devastating trend is if the Occupy Wall Street movement is successful, and we go back to a time when all segments of the population grow at an equal rate.  After all, an equal distribution of income is what enabled the creation of the ‘middle class’, which is now being systematically destroyed.

Bottom line:  Income inequality is the problem, and income equality is the solution.  In my opinion, income equality ought to be the primary focus of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

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