STOP Framing "us"

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

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Why the GOP’s vision for America is a dangerous one! The true source behind Paul Ryan’s nightmare budget

The only way to adequately understand the motivation behind the modern day conservative and the George Orwell Party (GOP) is to become familiar with the vision of Ayn Rand, whose philosophy is largely guiding their actions.   Gary Weiss wrote an article recently about this very subject, entitled, “ The Horrors of an Ayn Rand World: Why We Must Fight for America’s Soul“, in which he discussed what the world would look like if we adopted an Ayn Rand vision for America.

As indicated by Gary Weiss, Ayn Rand’s vision includes a world with NO Social Security, NO Medicare, NO Medicaid, NO public schools, NO public hospitals, NO regulation of any activity that runs counter to one’s self-interest, basically, NO public anything Weiss says, “Just individuals, each looking out for himself, not asking for help or giving help to anyone.”  Thus, the motivation behind the GOP’s actions is based on the philosophy of Ayn Rand and involves a single focus of pursuing one’s immediate self-interest to the detriment of society, the environment, and anyone or anything that gets in the way!

The GOP’s vision is one that is strictly concerned with protecting and enriching members of the “privileged sector”, while the rest of us struggle with the consequences of their immoral actions.  Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett have described in detail, the effects such consequences have on our society as a whole.   Briefly, they include more negative social outcomes for all of “us”, such as high rates of depression, anxiety, drug and alcohol abuse, incarceration rates, decreased levels of trust and community involvement, and of course, dramatic increases in poverty.  This is in contrast to increases in positive social outcomes for a select few of “them”, such as more corporate welfare, increased bonuses, and additional wealth, power, and influence to perpetuate the status quo of income inequality based on the philosophy of pure selfishness above all else!

Those in the top 0.1%, who are born ‘privileged’ want to use tax payer money to benefit themselves and the corporations they run, while claiming “we’re broke” and can’t afford to pay for the sick, the poor and the elderly, or anything else for that matter that uniquely benefits the rest of us, including, but not limited to the following;

–        Hospitals to care for our families when they get sick

–        Schools to educate our children

–        Social safety net for our disabled, elderly and sick populations

–        Environmental and safety protections for (food, air, water)

–        Worker rights, safety standards, livable wages, unemployment insurance

However, since the items mentioned above do not further enrich members of the “privileged sector”, they are “framed” as “entitlement programs” that are contributing to a “welfare state”, or dependency on Government, in order to justify their plan to either completely eliminate, or provide a path to privatization, as can be seen in Paul Ryan’s “path to prosperity” for the top 1% plan.  The frame needed to convince the public to go along with this plan to continue providing welfare for the rich is none other than the standard talking point of Government is inefficient and can’t do anything right.  The logical conclusion of this “Government inefficiency” frame is that the so-called ‘free’ market can do a better job.  Therefore, we should profitize it, so the “privileged sector” can enjoy more wealth at our expense.  (Perhaps, we should start using the word profitize when referring to privatization efforts, since privatization amounts to more profiting at the expense of the people.)  George Lakoff suggests using the term profiteering to refer to the same concept.

It’s important to understand that the various frames being used are intended to misinform and scare the public into supporting radical right wing initiatives (ie, tax policies and budget proposals) like the Paul Ryan immoral budget plan that will devastate our social safety net (eliminate Medicare, ‘profitize’ Social Security), eliminate public education, and get rid of environmental regulations that currently protect the air we breathe in order to contaminate the water supply for millions of people, as well as pollute our lungs and the atmosphere with toxic chemicals (see keystone XL pipeline), all so a select few in the “privileged sector” can reap enormous profits at the expense of the health and well being of the people and the planet in what “they” would like to see as the Divided States of America.

The simple but ugly truth is that Paul Ryan’s budget plan is a realization of Ayn Rand’s vision, which is based on the immoral value of selfishness and greed at the expense of all else.  It should be noted that Paul Ryan was so impressed with the philosophy of Ayn Rand that he attributed his interest and eventual career in politics to her influence.  In fact, it has been reported that Paul Ryan actually instructs his staffers to read the philosophy of Ayn Rand prior to coming to work for him.  His way of litmus testing the help to ensure everyone is on the same unethical page. Unfortunately, for the rest of us, Paul Ryan is desperately trying to make the horrors of an Ayn Rand world into a reality.

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.

Why we should ALL be in favor of the Occupy Wall Street Movement

The protests currently spreading throughout the country in support of occupy wall street are nothing short of amazing!  People are fed up with the current political system we have that primarily supports the top 0.1%, while the rest of us struggle to make ends meet!

Now, many of you, especially those who identify with the Tea-party, may be thinking that I have a descent job, and this doesn’t affect me, or I work hard for my money, so why can’t others just do the same? 

Well, the short answer to this question can be seen in the amount of income our society generates, versus how this income is distributed among all of us. 

This article from Mother Jones pretty much sums it up!  As illustrated in one of the charts, the vast majority of people in this country, roughly 90% of us only earn 30K, while those at the very top (.01%) make 27 million per year.   What’s interesting about this astonishing figure is how this group is making their money.  The current system we have is set up for their benefit at our expense, which is why 99.99% of American citizens will have ABSOLUTELY NO CHANCE OF BEING IN THIS GROUP!! 

Another interesting fun fact is that those in the top .1% used to pay 70-91% of their income in taxes.  This was not an isolated time period in history.  This top tax rate has been in effect ever since we implemented taxes in 1913.  The very implementation of this top tax rate enabled the creation of what we all know of and recognize as the “middle class”.  During this time period 35% of the population was unionized, which meant that people were paid higher wages, and could afford to purchase the products they were making.  The distribution of income was more equalized, and the overall health and well-being of the citizens of this country was increased. 

In the past 30 years, however, this pattern has reversed.  Descent union wage jobs have been eliminated, or outsourced, pension plans have been eliminated or dwindled to next to nothing, wages have become stagnant for the majority of workers, the minimum wage has not been raised to account for inflation, or to ensure a living wage is provided for working families.  This new pattern has been taking place despite the actual doubling of our economy during this time period.    

Why?  Well, for the same reason the occupy wall street protesters are showing themselves and allowing their voices to be heard.  To prevent the top .1% from exploiting all of “us”, so “they” can continue their lavish lifestyle.  There is a name for this.  It’s called  income inequality, and it is something we all should be familiar with. 

The bottom line:  Occupy wall street is something all of us should be a part of, especially if we are not in the top 0.1%.  After all, the system is set up to exploit the rest of us.

Obama’s been framed! His speech contained many common frames used by those at the top to convince us of a framed version of reality.

 Although the President should be applauded for his efforts in discussing a means of putting Americans back to work, he unknowingly reinforced a set of common “frames” used repeatedly by the radical right-wing and other advocates of the top .1% to convince us of a framed version of reality that supports the status quo of income inequality.  It’s quite possible that President Obama’s advisors were not aware of the relevance of framing in shaping our understanding of the world around us when offering assistance in crafting his speech.  More specifically, how the use of such frames trigger a specific mind-set in the observer, such that only the framing elements make sense, and all other relevant facts to the contrary are miraculously, and quite conveniently ignored. 

The consequence of activating the radical right-wing frames is that more and more people are being “informed” of a world view that is causing the very destruction of our economy, our well-being, and the overall health of our nation.  Let’s take a look at how Obama has been framed!

                President Obama acknowledged the following frames.  There is wasteful spending in Government.  Regulations are putting an unnecessary burden on businesses.  The corporate tax rate is the highest in the world.  Businesses need certainty in order to hire again.  We need to help the job creators.  We need to get our fiscal house in order.  We need to cut taxes, and Free-trade agreements will help us create jobs and save our economy. 

Let’s take a look at a few of the frames he activated, and discuss how they are contributing to the status quo of income inequality, and what this means for all of us.    

1.   First and foremost is the issue of cutting taxes.  The common frame with respect to taxes is that we need to provide businesses (big businesses) and people (really rich people) “tax relief”.  As George Lakoff pointed out, when these words are used in conjunction, tax relief assumes there is an affliction that requires some sort of relief.  Take hurricane or disaster relief for instance.  Obviously, an area hit by a hurricane would require some sort of disaster relief, as in aid to the victims, relief from suffering, etc.  So, the words “tax relief” creates the frame of taxes are bad, and anyone who provides relief from taxes is the savior and deserves praise.  Likewise, anyone who attempts to raise taxes, which does not fit the frame, is viewed as inflicting pain, or responsible for causing the affliction.  

In reality, taxes are the responsibility of everyone in this country to ensure the safety, protection and empowerment of us all.   High tax rates on the top .01% are what helped build our nation through times of war and uncertainty, and helped sustain what are known as the commons that we all have come to love and depend on in daily life, such as roads, bridges, hospitals, schools, fire and police protection, and of course, the internet.  The commons are what make us unique.  The knowledge that we can send our kids to school to receive a descent education, that we can receive care when we get sick, and most importantly the thought of knowing that we all pitch in to ensure everyone has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is comforting to us.  As the President rightly pointed out in his speech, “No single American built this country on their own”.

2.  Regulations basically fit the same profile as mentioned above with taxes.   According to this frame, regulations are bad, and anyone who implements them is preventing businesses from creating jobs.  This ties into another classic frame of “Let’s get Government out of the way” so we can help the private sector solve our problems.      

In reality, regulations offer all of “us” protections from the exploitative practices “they” engage in through the corporations they own; including ignoring safety standards (BP oil disaster), polluting our air, water, and land via toxic chemicals released into the atmosphere (Co2 emissions, not to mention the more devastating Nitrous Oxide and methane greenhouse gases) fracking for dirty energy, and other means of ignoring regulations that were put in place to prevent “them” from poisoning our communities.

3.   “Wasteful spending in Government” and “Getting our fiscal house in order” frames inform us that Government is inefficient and spends money frivolously, and that we have a “Spending problem in Washington” (a related frame soon to be discussed in a separate post)   

Together, these frames assume that the Government is literally incapable of doing anything right.  This frame has become so prevalent that the common tendency when discussing anything related to the Government is regarding how slow or inefficient it is, how easy the jobs are, or how brainless the people are who work in any Government capacity.  This is a result of a concerted long-term strategic effort to “frame” Government as inefficient and wasteful in order to convince us that the private sector is the answer.  The advocates of the top .1% even go as far as hiring people who are diametrically opposed to the Government agencies they are tasked with running.  Thomas Frank wrote about this in his book, The wrecking crew.  

In reality, the waste in Government is in programs that are or have become partially privatized.  Our healthcare system is a prime example.  We are the ONLY industrialized nation on earth that has a for profit, privatized healthcare system that benefits the top .1% at our expense, literally!!  All other industrialized nations have realized that healthcare is a right not a privilege for those who can afford it.  In fact, it is illegal in these other countries to profit from someone else’s pain and suffering.  After all, the only way to profit is if coverage and care is denied.  One more useful fun fact is that 33% or “waste” in our healthcare system goes straight to the top .1% in the form of executive compensation, big fancy offices, private jets, and bonuses, of course. 

The bottom line:  In the framed version of reality, the Government is the problem and is preventing businesses and the private sector from helping all of us achieve the American dream.  If only we can get Government out of the way and reduce the burden on businesses by eliminating agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Education and other obstructive Governmental over-reaching regulations, and implement Free-trade policies to create jobs and to enhance economic growth.  Government should lower the personal and corporate tax rate on the job-creators, and since Government is inefficient and wasteful, privatizing everything is the way to get our economy moving in the right direction, and to ensure prosperity for all.  

So, you see, all of these frames tie together and paint a picture or a specific mind-set (framed version of reality) that supports the radical right-wing ideology and further leads to the implementation of policies that favor the rich at our expense.  The goal of this framing effort is to convince us to assist them in eliminating any and all social protections and regulations that currently prevent “them” from exploiting “us”, to permanently lower taxes on the super-rich, to maintain lasting and deep cuts to our social safety net, to continue outsourcing our jobs to those who are most easily exploitable, to reduce and eventually phase out pension plans completely, and to implement many other rigid policies and programs that support the status quo of income inequality.    

Bottom line: By acknowledging and repeating the language of the common frames used against us, we are essentially advocating for this world-view ourselves.  A world-view that ensures we all feel pain, so they can enjoy social and economic gain.

Marco Rubio attempts to “frame” our social safety net as weakening our nation. Who really has a sense of entitlement?

Ed Shultz pointed out the other night on his show how Marco Rubio accused our cherished Government institutions such as Social security, Medicare and Medicaid, as weakening our nation.  This is an example of an Orwellian style frame designed to convince us of the opposite of reality.  In reality, these programs are examples of social safety nets originally put in place by President Roosevelt shortly after the ‘great depression’ to protect the citizens of this country (all of “us”) from exploitation by a select few of “them”.

We pay into programs like social security with our own money, and thus are ‘entitled’ to receive this money when we retire from working our entire lives.  Programs like this help make us stronger as a nation due to the financial security it provides in later years, not to mention maintaining a vibrant middle class.  It also serves to protect us from a select few at the top who seek to do us harm.

But this is not the story you may have heard or are being told by advocates of the top .1% in this country, such as political pundits and right-wing radio talk show hosts, who pander to the richest among us.  These individuals are actively trying to convince us of an alternate reality, a framed version of reality that involves a belief that Government programs are making us weaker as a nation.

Programs that help strengthen and protect working families, the sick, the poor and the elderly are presented as being inefficient and ultimately rewarding laziness.  We are being convinced that protecting and caring for our sick children, and providing a social safety net for our grandparents must be cut down in size in order to stop those who feel ‘entitled’ to something they didn’t earn.

This frame is also used to justify the current austerity measures being inflicted across the nation by implying that those benefiting from these programs (nearly all of us) are somehow contributing to the moral and cultural decay of our nation.  In reality, the real cause of our nation becoming weaker is a direct result of the sense of entitlement felt by the top .1% in this country, which produces income inequality, and truly represents the weakening and moral decay of our social fabric (see about section).

The newly elected extreme right-wing state Governors are telling us that we are broke and need to cut vital public services that we each depend on daily.  In addition, our jobs are slashed, our wages reduced, our work hours extended, our benefits and pensions cut, all so we can transfer wealth up to the ruling class, who believe they are entitled to receive it! The plain, but ugly truth is that there is a class war in this country, and “they” do not care about all of “us”.   The super-rich in this country are extremely selfish and believe they are entitled to all of the wealth created in this country.  Take a look at this trend.

As can be seen in this graph, nearly all of the wealth generated in this country is going straight to the top .1%.  In order to continue this trend, and extract wealth from all of us, they spend billions of dollars in think tanks and language experts to devise appropriate frames to convince all of us to believe in the opposite of reality, or what I call a framed version of reality.  In this sense, the poorest among us are literally framed for the actions of the richest among us, and the rest of us are framed linguistically to believe it.

The bottom line: The poorest among us are blamed for having a sense of entitlement instead of the richest among us, and this belief is repeated over and over on the corporately owned media with the sole purpose of convincing us of this framed reality.

So, are we weaker as a nation due to a sense of entitlement?  Actually, yes!  However, as indicated above, there are two versions of reality.  In the framed version of reality, the poorest among us are causing all of our problems, and in plain old reality, the richest among us are to blame.

The key to stopping this madness is to first recognize that we are being framed!  The Government institutions discussed above are vital to our strength as a nation and should be upheld and fought for, just as they initially were when implemented.

Second, we should call out the political pundits and right wing talk show hosts whenever they use these frames against us.  Simply turn on fox news on any given day, or listen to right-wing talk radio and post a comment, or send me an email (stopframingus@gmail.com) and let’s get the discussion going.

Jon Stewart shows how Fox news “Frames” Class Warfare

Jon Stewart pointed out the other night on the Daily show how Fox news contributors and guests are actively ‘framing’ class warfare.

According to billionaire Warren Buffet, “While most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks, we have been coddled long enough.”

Coddling the rich, ironically, is what Fox news, and other advocates for the top .01 want us to believe about the poor in this country.  Here is just a sample of the framing attempts being made by a host of contributors from Ann Coulter to John Stossel (of all people).

“It is all out war on the productivity class in our society for the benefit of the moocher class”

“The makers and the takers”

“They want to take it from someone else”

“Parasites we have out there depending on Government”

AND my personal favorite from Ann Coulter, “Welfare will create generations of utterly irresponsible animals”

The goal of framing is to constantly repeat the same or a similar message (eg, demonizing the poor) as indicated above, and then, in true Orwellian fashion, take the opposite of this reality (eg, demonize the rich) and attempt to convince people that this frame represents reality.  In other words, “frame” your opposition for your actions, both linguistically and literally.  Thus, demonizing the poor becomes, demonizing the rich!   Watch this clip to see how Fox attempts to frame us.

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-august-18-2011/world-of-class-warfare—the-poor-s-free-ride-is-over?xrs=share_copy

Basically, these frames are used to distract all of “us” from the real moochers, takers, and parasites, who have rigged the system to “their” advantage, via manipulating the tax code, corporate welfare for transnational companies, welfare for corporate jets, paying poverty wages, outsourcing jobs, taxpayer-funded bailouts for big banks and austerity measures for all of “us”, and last but not least the 37,000 lobbyists in Washington who help make all this happen.

The bottom line: The ruling class find it necessary to say these things and frame reality in order to distract us from the devastating effects of income inequality that is literally destroying our very way of life.  (see the about section for more on this)

In order for a select few of “them” to buy a corporate jet, a third yacht, and second vacation home in the Hampton’s, all of “us” must suffer.  We end up taking a hit on our salaries, wages, benefits, pensions, extended work hours (unpaid, of course), loss of vacation time.  Some even lose our jobs, our homes, become bankrupt due to rising medical costs, and may find ourselves joining the 1 in 7 Americans who are below the poverty line.   The remaining jobs available are from wal-mart or some other transnational corporation paying poverty wages, which of course necessitate the need for food stamps.  If the select few who own the corporations decided to pay descent union wages, then there would be no need for people to become dependent on food stamps and other government programs that “they” (and those they have convinced with their frames) so eagerly point out as being a moocher or taker dependent on government.

Ironically, the same ruling class who rigs the system to their advantage use their political and economic power that they derive from exploiting all of “us” (particularly our labor) and use it against us via the right-wing echo chamber (fox news and others) to convince us that the very people that are exploited by these practices deserve to be poor because they are inherently lazy and do not wish to work hard.   They are quick to point out the end result of a chain of systemic causes (manipulating the tax code, election rigging, the 37,000 lobbyists in Washington buying off politicians, etc) without ever references how this process began, and why millions of people are joining the ranks of the poor, all thanks to income inequality.

When in reality, the simple truth is that “they” are only extraordinarily wealthy (top .01) because of shady practices, and exploitation of others, seemingly with no empathy whatsoever for the lives they destroy in the process.  To put it in perspective, the top 400 households in this country own more wealth than the bottom 50% of the population, or 154 million people combined!

As Jon Stewart pointed out on his show, the bottom 50% have a combined wealth of 1.45 trillion dollars, and would have to give up half of what they own (which is not much considering most are earning less than 22,350 per year for a family of 4) in order to raise revenue to the tune of 700 billion.

This truly is class warfare when fox news and other advocates of the top .01 are actively supporting the idea that the bottom 50% should pay more rather than close a few loopholes that the real parasites created to siphon off more of “our” tax dollars to “them” in the form of corporate jet subsidies, and other forms of corporate welfare the ruling class enjoy at our expense.  What?

Obviously this is another attempt to frame the public and convince “us” that we should be angry at those who are truly being punished, the poor in this country.

But then again, as Warren Buffet commented, his class is winning the war!

The Balanced Budget Amendment Frame: A Rational approach to balancing the budget, as the name implies, OR A Dirty little secret “they” don’t want all of “us” to know about?

If one were only to look at the title of the proposed Balanced Budget Amendment to the constitution, one might be convinced that this is the way to go, especially since we have also been convinced that we have a budget crisis and our deficit is out of control, right?  Wrong!  The far right-wing conservatives in this country are actively trying to convince us all that we are spending money like its going out of style (on the sick, the elderly, and the poor) and that this balanced budget amendment will ensure we are put back on the right track (i,e, to continue spending all of our money on the top .1%).

Rep. Bobby Scott D-Virginia, a member of the Budget Committee, sums up the ‘Dirty little secret’ of the Orwellian balanced budget amendment in this short clip.

 

It was pointed out by Rep. Scott that the Balanced Budget Amendment would actually make it harder to balance the budget.  Not only that, but it would almost certainly guarantee continued deficits and more drastic cuts to social programs, including cuts to job training, education, clean water, transportation, more layoffs of teachers, firefighters, police officers, etc.  This is due to the provisions of the Balanced Budget Amendment that make it possible to cut taxes on the wealthy with a simple majority vote, but to raise any revenue to pay for all of the above would require a 2/3 vote in both the House and the Senate.  Surely, this is an impossible feat, and will inevitably lead to more ‘austerity’ and ‘pain’ for the average American, while the top .1% continues to get a tax cut, that all of “us” pay for.

Rep. Bobby Scott draws our attention to the fact that the nice sounding title or frame is nothing more than a means of perpetuating the very problem they claim to be preventing. Why would Republicans be advocating for such an amendment if it makes things worse?  It’s very simple.  The Republican Party advocates on behalf of the corporations, and those who own them, or approximately, .1% of voters in this country.  If this Balanced Budget Amendment were to pass, then “they” (top .1%) will be able to work in conjunction with the Government (Fascism anyone?) to ensure all of our social safety nets, (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid) and consumer and environmental protections (EPA, FEMA, Wall street regulations, etc.) will be eliminated under the guise of “it exceeds 18% of GDP”, thus, firmly placing the framed rhetoric of “we can’t afford it” into LAW!!

Putting it into perspective, the far right-wing conservatives in this country want “us” to suffer.  It’s the only way “they” can gain!  This is why it is essential to frame issues and debates in such a way that conceals their true ideological agenda.   Think about it, who is going to vote for a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that says, “we will make it more difficult to balance the budget, give more of the people’s money to the top .1%, and slowly but surely phase out any and all social safety nets and Governmental protections for everyone who is not in the top.1%.   The only way to garner support for this type of immoral ideology is to use Orwellian style language to describe their plans, and convince us that such actions are for the good of the country.

In summary, Bobby Scott says,

“We should not be distracted by misleading titles, we should notice that the legislation will make it harder to actually balance the budget because it increases the number of members who might have to cast career ending votes, makes it virtually impossible to raise revenues or close loopholes, it will compel deep cuts in social security and medicare, and you can’t cure that with a simple, nice little title”.

Glenn Beck: True Patriot or Loyal Puppet?

Glenn Beck recently made a point to criticize and mock Fareed Zakaria for his piece on Iceland’s  attempts to revise their constitution. Fareed noted that, after Iceland was crippled by the recent  economic crisis, they ‘all’ wanted a fresh start and felt that the document (constitution) was outdated, so they decided  to open up the political conversation to the people, via social media (twitter, facebook).  This enabled any one of the 320,000 citizens of Iceland to submit ideas on how the constitution should reflect the values and interests of the people of Iceland.  Although this sounds like a no-brainer, the idea that the people of a country can actually have a say in how they are governed, you would not get this impression if you listened to Glenn Beck.   In fact, Glenn instantly attempted to frame the issue.  He mocked the two most popular ideas submitted by the people of Iceland, that of a universal healthcare system, and making sure corporate donations do not influence their political system, and purposely directed our attention (via framing) to a well orchestrated plot to take over the American way of life.  He stated that Fareed’s entire coverage of this story is a propaganda piece, suggesting somehow that either Iceland wasn’t crippled by the economic crisis, or that this occurrence is also tied to the plot by various left-wing peace activists, unions, immigrants, and other minorities to take over our government and strip our freedoms away.  Never mind the incredible irony, given that peace activists and unions are devoted to standing up for workers rights and freedoms of the citizens in this country.  It is evident that Glenn Beck is not in favor of a participatory democracy, where all voices are heard.  Instead, he is simply ignoring the facts and concentrating on what he wants all of “us” to focus on which is best summed up by Glenn himself. This is more or less what he had to frame, I mean say: http://www.glennbeck.com/content/videos/?uri=channels/451373/1382057

The people wanted a fresh start, and they had the courage to start over again, and they came up with a new better idea.  So, they wanted to have it open on the internet, where people just like you, who know best.  Free-health care, they know, because they can come up with these new ideas.  It’s a new way, it’s a new dawn, a new era! If you put all 3 of these things together, the American society is sick, we have lost our way, we have lost our history, we have lost an understanding of who put the constitution together, why it was put together. Then you have the people who are stirring up trouble on the left, you have Van Jones, Francis fox-Piven, the unions, the Marxists, south Americans coming across our border, the Middle East, our own white house causing chaos, our economy is going to be crippled pretty soon.  What is Van Jones starting this week, restoring the American dream.  He was involved in Storm, a communist movement to overthrow the United States government.  It’s a false pride and false history.  (Ironically, the movement to rebuild the American dream is similar to Iceland’s approach, which is to open up the conversation of politics to “we the people” – See for yourself what this so-called, false pride is all about http://www.rebuildthedream.com/)  Then you have the internet, oh it’s going to be changed by you, look the people are changing the world.

So, why would Glenn Beck insist on mocking the people for their efforts to participate in crucial decisions that affect their way of life, and frame what Fareed reported on in this way?  If he is truly a patriot and recognizes devotion to one’s country, shouldn’t he be in favor of a participatory democracy, where everyone’s voice is heard?  And what about universal health care?  Why would he be against something that provides health care to all citizens, particularly for all of “us” in the United States.   After all, every other industrialized nation on the planet provides “free” health care for its citizens.

Rather than being a true patriot, it appears that Glenn Beck’s role is that of a puppet of the radical right in this country, to present half-truths, or framed versions of reality by insisting that the idea of a truly representative government by the people, for the people, is akin to a violent take-over by the so-called, “others” (immigrants, Islamic people, unions, George Soros) who want to destroy our way of life, by overthrowing the Government.   Thus, he is advocating in a truly Orwellian fashion, the opposite of reality.

He claims that, what Fareed is doing is launching the beginning of an attack that will lead to the fall of Israel and eventually the fall of the United States, or the ‘West’ as he put it.  If one were only to listen to Glenn Beck, then one would believe the framed version of reality that suggests a threat of some “other” group is imminent and we need to join him in his pursuit to wake up the American people to the evil doers plan on actively attempting to take away our freedoms.  In fact, he went as far as pleading with his listeners to join him to help protect freedom.  He goes on to say that there is a very well-coordinated attack that is well-funded and put together, but we can win if we stand together.  Even in his framed reality, he is plainly suggesting that ‘we the people’ need to stand together and fight threats to our freedom, our constitution, and our way of life.  So, he clearly acknowledges that it’s a bad thing if our government and the constitution it was founded on to protect “we the people” were to be jeopardized.

Let’s step out of the frame for a minute and consider the actual ramifications of this thought.  If the purpose of Glenn Beck’s message is to protect “we the people” and our government, which is designed to protect and empower its citizens, then the idea of a truly representative government by the people, for the people (ie, input from the people) via social media is a fantastic idea!  After all, our elected officials are supposed to represent “our” view point in the policies and programs they enact, as opposed to a select few of “them” who seem to be the only group whose interests are being advocated for.  I realize that facts are not welcome in a framed version of reality, (since facts are rejected if they don’t fit the frame) but consider the undeniable reality that there are approximately 30,000 lobbyists in Washington, up from 300 or so in 1980, prior to Ronald Reagan’s presidency, all advocating on behalf of the interests of .1% of Americans.  That is, 99.9% of “us” do not have a single lobby supporting our interests.  Does this make sense?  So, Fareed Zakaria made a suggestion that we take a page out of Iceland’s play book and consider making adjustments to our constitution, which is far more outdated than the one created in Iceland in 1944. By opening up the conversation to all of us, via social media, the people’s interests will finally be heard, and they will actually have an input into the policies and programs affecting their lives.  The best ideas will then have a chance of being put into action, such as universal health care, and taking money out of the equation in our election process in an attempt to eliminate, or at least drastically reduce corruption.

So, why is there a need for Glenn Beck to frame reality in a different way?  Hopefully, this question answers itself.  But, for those who would like a bit more information, consider the ramifications of a movement where everyone is able to voice their opinions on issues affecting their well-being.  This is truly a dangerous idea for those in the top .1%, since this group and NOT immigrants, George Soros, unions, and others who advocate on behalf of people over profit are to blame for our problems.  The select few of “them” that currently hold more wealth than the bottom 90% of “us” are the real danger to our collective rights and freedoms, since income inequality is precisely how this group has managed to gain a greater proportion of wealth and power than at any time in history, including the Gilded age.  Income inequality and maintaining this status quo is the true evil force in society that Glenn Beck and other radical right-wing talking heads are desperately trying to uphold.  As this blog entry notes, the puppets of the radical right are trying to convince us that the coordinated, well-funded attack on our way of life is due to poor people, immigrants, peace activists, unions, wealthy progressives like George Soros, as opposed to the real culprit, which is those at the very top of the pyramid, who stand to gain enormous wealth and political power that they have certainly wielded over of all of “us”, and the world over.  Thus, attempts will continue to be made to frame reality in a way that demonize the victims and true patriots, who fight against the devastating effects of income inequality, while painting those who support and defend the status quo as heroes, and courageous defenders of freedom and democracy.  This is but just one attempt to call them out on it.

Good ol’ boy Chris Christie’s private joy ride!

This is amazing!  New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie decided to take his wife with him to his son’s ball game today in a $2,500 per hour state-owned helicopter.  Then, if this wasn’t enough, he had to be driven the extra 100 yards in a black sedan (tinted windows, of course) to the field once he landed.  Who does this? Should we start calling him the Good ol’ Governor?  So, the tax payers of New Jersey paid $2,500 per hour to chauffeur his family around for the day.  To add insult to injury, he took this helicopter to a private meeting with his Good ol’ boy network (ie, a select few really rich guys) who are trying to convince him to run for president.  Since the purpose of this $12.5 million dollar tax payer funded helicopter was to be available to take citizens to the hospital in an event of an emergency, this begs the question, whose interests does the Governor have in mind?  Certainly not ours.  Wasn’t he the guy who claimed we need to tighten our belts and live within our means.  Where’s the so-called, “shared sacrifice”?  Oh, I forgot, this only applies to all of “us”, not a select few of “them”.

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