STOP Framing "us"

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

What priorities are being set for our nation? Are they the same priorities you would choose?

The GOP constantly cries over the debt limit and evokes the “spending problem” in Washington “frame” every time our Democratic representatives seek to place a priority on human needs. Paying for human needs with the common wealth we all contribute to helps sustain an America that works together.  Unfortunately, some of us are unable to contribute to the common wealth due to disease or an unfortunate disability, as well as those who have retired after working their entire lives, who become eligible to receive the earned benefits they contributed to during their most productive years.

We show empathy and care for these individuals by coming together as one nation to provide the essential services necessary to support their needs. Without the common wealth these people would not be protected, much like the millions of Americans currently living in poverty and the many Americans who die each year as a result of not being able to afford health coverage for their families.  Paying for human needs is essential for our nation to continue to be strong, along with investments in education, science and technology, and caring for our veteran population that bravely serve our country.  These priorities are reflected in the budget and tax policies our elected representatives advocate for and pass.

What are our national priorities?

Take a look at this chart from the National Priorities Project and consider what priorities you think we should adopt for our nation, and compare that to what our nations priorities actually are at this moment.

When our elected representatives decide to place a priority on spending the common wealth as can be seen in the chart above, we are sending the message to our friends, family members, and neighbors alike that we don’t care about the suffering of others.  We don’t care about education for our children.  We don’t care about investing in science and technology.  We don’t care about providing for those who are unable to provide for themselves.  We don’t care about our wounded soldiers who return from war.  When we enact immoral budget and tax policies that exclude the needs of the people, and ignore making crucial investments in our future, we not only increase the burden being placed on our families and communities, but we also send the message to other nations that we don’t care about each other.  It appears the one thing we do care about is increased military spending.  As indicated in this chart, we are spending the lion’s share of our tax dollars on military spending, at the expense of other social programs that provide for the needs of our citizens.

Even if we were to accept the frame put out there by pollsters working for the GOP regarding our “spending problem” in Washington, then we should at least be curious as to how that money is being spent.  If it is acceptable to spend nearly 60% of our discretionary spending on the military, then why not shift our priorities, and start focusing on the needs of our citizens, instead of using our tax dollars (ie, the common wealth) to build an empire around the globe, bomb and destroy communities abroad, and create more enemies in the process. We didn’t always spend this much on our military.  Even at the height of World War II, we spent a fraction of the cost we are spending today. The increase in military spending has more than doubled under former President George W. Bush’s watch to the point that we are now spending more money on our military than the rest of the world combined!

For the most part, the increased spending on the military was used to enrich shareholders of Haliburton and it’s subsidiaries (Dick Cheney’s former company) who received no bid contracts courtesy of Dick Cheney and former President Bush’s effective use of our Government to suppress competition. Rather than being used to keep us safe and protect us, which is the language the GOP repeatedly runs with when discussing increased military spending, Bush and Co. effectively used the power of the federal government to suppress competition and enrich fellow members of the privileged sector. This by the way is a textbook example of what the GOP’s frame of “picking winners and losers” is all about.  Just like the “spending problem” in Washington frame, also referred to as the fictitious “tax and spend” Liberal, the “picking winners and losers” frame was purposely crafted to be repeated endlessly when facing any opposition to the GOP’s efforts to place a priority on corporate greed over human needs.

The National priorities project is an excellent resource for showing us what we could experience in this country if we simply shift our priorities.  For example, instead of spending $22,000 per second to create enemies abroad, we could hire thousands of teachers, firefighters, and police officers, not to mention jump-start this economy by getting ahead of our national competitors in the development of clean, safe, fuels of the future like wind and solar power that will never run out, as opposed to focusing on dirty, unsafe fuels of the past that are polluting our planet and lungs, not to mention the devastating effects it will have on our economy when they do run out. This will finally eliminate (not just reduce) our dependence on foreign oil, increase our national security, and provide the desperately needed economic stimulus to get us back on track and working together as one nation.

Ultimately, the spending issue frame boils down to placing a priority on protecting and enriching the privileged in this country, (GOP led priorities) or protecting human needs and providing an equal opportunity for every citizen to pursue life, liberty and happiness by coming together in support of human needs over corporate greed (Democratic priorities).

Can Socialism rescue ‘us’ again from the grips of Crony Capitalism? Corporations seem to love it!

Although the modern day GOP would have us believe that our economy functions better when those at the top continue to receive endless tax breaks, oil subsidies, corporate jet subsidies, and other forms of corporate socialism, our nation’s history proves otherwise.  When we enacted economic policies that favored higher taxes on those making over a million per year in today’s dollars, built the interstate highway system, and initiated a Government led program that put America back to work, everyone, including those at the very top benefitted.  The result of this courageous leadership led to the introduction of socialist programs that were designed to rescue ‘we the people’ from the grips of crony capitalism that resulted in the great depression.

This was real courage, unlike the current “frame” being fed to the public about how Paul Ryan is being “courageous” for introducing his austerity leads to prosperity plan.  If successful, Paul Ryan’s plan will result in forced ‘austerity’ measures on all of us in order to continue to pave the “path to prosperity” for those born privileged in America.

Despite the rhetoric coming from the right wing echo chamber, we have elements of both socialism and capitalism in the United States.  When we take our grandmother to see her doctor about health concerns, we are embracing socialism.  When we drive on paved highways to pick up the medication for our grandmother, we are embracing socialism.  When we send our disabled child to a local specialist, we are embracing socialism.  When our parents use their earned benefits from working their entire lives to pay the bills and fund their daily needs, we are embracing socialism.  When we serve in the Military, or care for the wounded veterans who have served our country in the past, we are embracing socialism.

The right wing echo chamber has become so successful at convincing people to fear socialism that many overlook the obvious benefits socialism provides their family members, not to mention those who actively serve in our armed forces.  Many people do not think about socialism in this way.  This is partly due to the lack of effectively communicating the benefits of socialism, not to mention touting the fact that Social Security and Medicare are two of the most successful, efficiently run, and popular socialist programs we have ever had in this country.

We are led to believe that capitalism is good and socialism is bad.  This message is coming primarily from those on the far right, of course, who actually benefit from socialism, at the expense of everyone else. According to David Cay Johnston, corporate socialism is alive and well in the United States (see clip below). The problem is that it only applies to the privileged class, and not the rest of us.  The trick for those born privileged is to privately benefit from socialism, while publicly decrying it as a solution to help the rest of us out of the current economic crisis their immoral tax policies actually created.  In essence, they seek to privatize profits and socialize losses, which amounts to taking from the many and redistributing it to the few, as explained by David Cay Johnston in the clip below.

Our elected representatives have a choice.  They can decide to continue implementing the failed economic policies of the past that have continually led to crisis after crisis, and that only benefit the super-rich, or they can choose the tried and true economic policies that made this country a household name where everyone benefitted equally from the fruits of our labor.  This would require real courage on behalf of our elected leaders to do what’s right!  Not only for the sake of struggling families and putting Americans back to work, but to stimulate our economy and help achieve a happier and healthier society for all.  Since income equality is proven to lead to happier and healthier societies, and income inequality has proven itself to lead to more poverty, crime, stress, anxiety, depression, alcohol and drug addiction, and an overall less happy, and less healthy society, what are our elected representatives waiting for?  If ever there was a blueprint for courage this is it!

If we continue to pursue failed and immoral economic policies that strictly benefit the privileged in this country, then we are forced to inflict severe ‘austerity’ measures on everyone else.   As we can see by the example in Greece, the austerity leads to prosperity approach favored by Paul Ryan and backed by the GOP, is failing miserably.  Why not opt for an America that works together!

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.

For those who believe there is no need to participate in politics, think again! Watch this Unbelievable demonstration of how Clueless conservative representatives are becoming, thanks to framing.

The common reason people tend to give about why they are reluctant to get involved in politics, much less pay attention is because it doesn’t affect them.  All of this is about to change once you watch this brief interview on Jon Stewart’s the daily show. Aasif Mandvi conducted an interview with Wanda Brown, a member of Missouri’s State House of Representatives regarding the ridiculous notion of workplace discrimination against gun owners.  Besides the fact that this is not taking place, federal law already protects the rights of gun owners.  In what is clearly a demonstration of utter ignorance, Wanda Brown is not only unaware of what is happening in her own state’s House of Representatives, but apparently is unaware of her own actions in voting against a real discrimination issue.

This interview is a perfect illustration of how utterly misinformed conservatives are becoming, thanks to the echo chamber on the right spoon feeding them their talking points.  More importantly, people like Wanda Brown are becoming elected in state after state with the help of special interest money, courtesy of the citizens united Supreme Court decision, and are blindly introducing and passing laws once they get into office that will have a detrimental impact on our lives.  In this particular case, her actions have a negative impact on the gay community. Tomorrow her actions may have a negative impact on women, and the day after that her actions may have a negative impact on those too disabled or elderly to work. Such attacks are already occurring in state legislatures where Republicans are in positions of power.  This clip not only reveals the true priorities of the Republican party, but also sheds light on what’s to come in the future if we keep electing people like Wanda Brown to positions of leadership.

This interview reveals how critically important the ideological divide has become in this country, and provides a glimpse into how this divide is being strengthened daily by those on the right to force their ideology onto the rest of us.  With the help of the right wing echo chamber, conservatives are “framing” Government as being a failure in order to prop up state’s rights, so special interest groups like ALEC can slip in the back door and pass model legislation across every state in the nation.  This is a win-win strategy for conservatives.   They get to use Frank Luntz talking points to blame Washington for our problems, while they sneak in the back door and carry out the very actions they are literally “framing” Democrats for.

In essence, the right wing think tanks have discovered that they can literally use ignorant people to their advantage by convincing them, (via framing) to introduce nonsensical legislation.  In this case, the bill introduced by Wanda Brown is already protected under the 2nd Amendment of the constitution, as pointed out by Aasif Mandvi during this interview. It appears that unbelievably misinformed people are being sought after and encouraged to run for public office, while special interest money is used to prop them up in the public eye as being competent to represent their interests.  A few examples that immediately come to mind include Sharon Angle from Nevada, Sarah Palin from Alaska, and who could forget “I’m not a witch” Christine O’Donnell from Delaware.  Once these Wanda Brown’s get into office, they blindly follow the direction they are provided by ALEC and other special interests, who fight to keep them in positions of power (as seen in the case of Scott Walker in Wisconsin).

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.”

The “Slush fund” frame: Cover for the GOP efforts to raid the Public health and cancer prevention fund in order to transfer it up to the ‘privileged’ in America.

What John Boehner and the rest of the GOP are calling a “Slush fund” is the Public health and prevention fund that provides critical health services that all Americans depend on, especially women. The GOP is actively trying to convince the rest of us that we should be in favor of supporting an immoral bill that would eliminate 600,000 cancer prevention screenings for women across the country in order to prevent the student loan interest rates from doubling for college students. This stands in direct contrast to what Democrats are proposing, which is to simply end the taxpayer funded subsidies the oil industry receives. As it stands, the student loan interest rates are scheduled to double from 3.4% to 6.8% on July 1, 2012, and so our elected representatives are faced with a moral choice.

This issue is fundamentally about the priorities we hold as a nation, and involves the choices our elected leaders make about what we value in America.  Do we value the health of women in this country?  If given the chance, would we choose to prevent our wives, mothers and daughters from getting cancer?  Or, do we value profit over people?  Do we value protecting the privileged in this country by placing a higher priority on oil subsidies for billionaires like the Koch brothers rather than preventing women from getting cancer?

Unfortunately, the choice that an overwhelming majority of conservatives in the House of Representatives made when faced with this choice was to continue protecting oil subsidies for people like the Koch brothers.  After all, the Koch brothers were born privileged, and believe they are ‘entitled’ to free money from all of us, so their children can be born privileged too.

Why did the GOP pass this bill?  The obvious reason is so they can continue protecting and enriching the ‘privileged’ members in society, who fund their re-election campaigns.  More importantly, however, the GOP passed this bill because it is in line with their ideological vision for America.  This vision involves the pursuit of one’s self-interest to the dismay of everyone and everything else, including the destruction of the environment.  To make matters worse, conservatives are making sure we continue to use taxpayer dollars to rely on dirty, unsafe fuels of the past, even at the expense of preventing women from getting cancer!

It’s obvious that no one would be in favor of denying potentially life saving screenings for women to prevent cancer.  This is morally wrong, and goes against the values we hold dear in this country.  This is exactly why the GOP created the “Slush fund” frame to make it appear that Democrats are being selfish and are engaging in corruptive practices in order to line the pockets of special interests.  When viewed through the lense of this frame, who is going to support the use of a “slush fund” for private gain?

The incredible irony here is that this is exactly what members of the GOP are guilty of doing.  The GOP is literally “framing” Democrats for their actions, since they are completely selfish and are engaging in corruptive practices in order to line the pockets of special interests.  The GOP “Slush fund” is enormous in scope and was set up to purposely transfer wealth from all of “us” to a select few of “them.”  This and other frames are being used to justify inflicting draconian budget cuts on all of us, while they laugh all the way to the banks that they own with their latest tax cut.

For a visual of what this transfer of wealth into the GOP “Slush fund” looks like, take a look below.

This is the what happens when we vote for conservative politicians in Washington. Our choice to vote for the GOP leads to a “path to prosperity” for the top 1% that is being paved by a path to poverty for the rest of us.

Framing our unconscious: How language can be used to influence your thoughts, actions and beliefs beyond what you could ever expect (consciously)

Theoretical physicist, Leonard Mlodinow appeared on the Dylan Ratigan show today to discuss his new book Subliminal: how your unconscious mind rules your behavior.  Prior to introducing this guest, Dylan stated, “Revolutionary new neuroscience is proving that the way that our brain perceives so called facts in front of us dictates our emotional and overall experience in reality” Leonard Mlodinow discussed the implications current neuroscience research has on our very thoughts, actions and behaviors.  Since most of what we do is essentially determined unconsciously, the author notes, the brain is using whatever data it has available to inform your conscious mind about what decisions to make.  This readily available data, in the form of current topics in the news, for instance, combined with our previous experiences impacts the way we see the world, what we believe, and how we relate to others.

According to the author, the way you see the world isn’t the way the world actually is, it just so happens to be the way you feel about things based on your previous experiences, and the information you are exposed to.  Therefore, being able to tap into these feelings by controlling the information that is readily available for people to consume, according to current neuroscience research, has the ability to impact our entire belief system.  It just so happens that the radical right wing has spent billions of dollars in think tanks to figure out exactly how to tap into these feelings.  This is why they hire people like Frank “The Liar” Luntz to craft specific language that is purposely designed to influence us on an unconscious level, so that the “frame” becomes the reality we see.

To make matters worse, the media itself, from the newspapers we read, radio shows we listen to, and news stations we watch are almost entirely corporately owned and controlled.  Taken together, the influence of the “corporate media” combined with the “frames” Frank Luntz uses to manipulate us, is having a major detrimental impact on our culture.   Ironically, those in the “privileged sector” who are responsible for this pure and utter immoral manipulation are successfully using framing language to also convince us that we should blame “illegal immigrants”, “welfare recipients”, and “latte sipping liberals” for the problems they are responsible for creating.

When we accept the right wing “frames”, we tend to believe that those who are born ‘privileged’ in this country actually earned their money, and so we shouldn’t “punish the rich.”  We tend to believe that a healthcare system that would actually provide healthcare for all is somehow a “Government take-over of healthcare.” We tend to believe that asking people in the privileged class to contribute to our Democracy by helping to fund the very public services and resources that they utilize more than the rest of us is “class warfare.”  As an alternative, we tend to believe that giving more of our tax dollars to the privileged in this country is providing “tax relief” to those we tend to believe are “job-creators.”

Belief in these frames enables the status quo of income inequality to continue without objection.  The danger in not objecting is that more of us are sinking into poverty, losing our jobs, our homes, and experiencing higher levels of stress, anxiety and depression. It explains why were eating too much, smoking too much, drinking too much, and committing more crimes, all while those at the top are being showered with the wealth that we all help to create.  Despite all of this evidence, and the fact that the United States is still the richest nation on the planet, the frame “we’re broke” that is being used to perpetuate all of the immoral and devastating effects of income inequality persists.  Of equal importance is the fact that any attempt by progressives to reverse this disastrous trend is framed as a “Government intrusion into your life.”

This is why we all need to understand the power of language in shaping not only who we are, but who we are becoming as a nation. America works together, not in isolation from each other, where one privileged class prevails at the expense of everyone else.

Paul Ryan’s crusade to “Raid the Railroad” is being framed as an attempt to “save” taxpayers money. Where have we heard this language before?

Paul Ryan, Republican chair of the House Budget Committee, is attempting to Raid the Railroad Retirement fund by introducing a ‘poison pill’ that would effectively steal the hard earned money that Railroad workers have been putting aside for years. Many people may be familiar with Paul Ryan’s current budget plan for our nation, which he calls a “path to prosperity.”  What many people may not be aware of is that his plan for the nation is similar to his plan for local railroad workers, which is to create a “path to prosperity” for the top 1% that is being paved by a “path to poverty” for the rest of us.

Paul Ryan added a little something extra this year to the conservative’s immoral budget proposal for America.  In addition to devastating our social safety net by gutting social programs that benefit the most vulnerable populations among us, including the working poor, sick, disabled and elderly populations, Paul Ryan is extending this destructive crusade to include middle class working Americans who contribute to the railroad pension fund.  It should be noted that the money saved from this crusade will be transfered up to the wealthiest among us, who believe they are entitled to it!

According to the Railroad Retirement Board “An accompanying report (House Report 112-421) to the House of Representatives’ version of the federal budget for fiscal year 2013 includes a list of reforms that could impact government income security programs.” According to this report, conservative politicians in Washington are actively trying to “conform Tier I so that its benefits would equal those of Social Security, with an estimated savings to taxpayers of $2 billion over 10 years.”  What this means is that workers will be forced to alter their existing pension plan, which has been working to benefit retired and disabled railroad employees for years.

What Paul Ryan is not telling the American people is that the railroad pension fund has absolutely nothing to do with taxpayers.  The Railroad pension fund is completely funded by railroad workers themselves.  Not one dime of taxpayer money is used to fund this pension plan.  So, why would a conservative politician in Washington say otherwise?  The short answer is that Paul Ryan is operating under a radical ideology that seeks to transfer wealth from average working Americans to upper class members of what Vice President Joe Biden referred to as the “privileged sector.”

Despite the fact that Railroad workers fund their own pension plans, NOT TAXPAYERS! it is important to point out that this language of “saving taxpayers $2 billion over 10 years” will soon be the focus of attention by the majority of conservative politicians in Washington, not to mention Fox news, and all of the radical right wing talk show hosts.  Soon, they will all be on the same page, so to speak, and join forces to endlessly repeat this talking point of saving taxpayers money.

When viewed through the lens, or “frame” of saving taxpayers money, Paul Ryan’s comments appear to make sense.  This is how framing works.  Specific language is used to create a “frame” that represents how people see an issue.  In this case, the endless repetition of “saving taxpayers money” that will shortly occur will start to make sense to viewers and listeners of this right wing echo chamber because of the sheer repetition of this nonsensical frame.  This strategy works in a similar fashion to advertising.   The more a message is heard or seen, the more readily available it becomes once this topic is brought up.

With that being said, the sad, but ugly truth is that some of us will begin to view the Railroad Retirement pension fund through the lens of this frame, and believe that this issue is primarily about saving taxpayers money, and not about the fact that it really involves stealing money from working Americans.

The great thing about framing, (for conservatives who seek to manipulate us), is that any fact that doesn’t fit the frame is rejected, and only misinformed opinions that reinforce the frame are accepted.  They’re pretty slick aren’t they!

Since the ‘poison pill’ language above has not yet been used to amend the Railroad Retirement Act, the Railroad Retirement Board, who oversees the fund is not able to comment on what changes to tier I benefits will actually take place for current railroad employees.  I guess now would be the time for people who work on the railroad, as well as concerned citizens who care about threats to our current social safety net, should begin to take action by calling their local and state representatives to protest this immoral theft taking place by radical conservatives politicians.

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