STOP Framing "us"

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

Archive for the tag “Koch brothers”

Scott Walker and his Billionaire Buddies are Framing us!

Thanks to a loophole in Wisconsin state law, Governor Scott Walker is able to raise unlimited amounts of money from out of state donors in order to bombard Wisconsin voters with a massive misinformation campaign.  Billionaires like the Koch brothers and other special interest groups, such as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) have contributed to over two-thirds of the $25 million dollars Scott Walker has raised in order to spread misinformation about the Governor’s plan to inflict austerity on Wisconsin workers.

The consequences of Scott Walkers’ proposed austerity plan are already being felt, and have led to an overwhelming pushback from those who realize the harm he is trying to inflict on workers in Wisconsin.  Fortunately, a recall effort has been launched with the goal of removing this radical Governor from his position of authority and to to prevent the forced austerity measures that have already contributed to the worst jobs record in the nation.  Since taking office, Governor Scott Walker’s failed austerity plan, currently being embraced on a national scale by Paul Ryan and the rest of the GOP, has led to the most job losses anywhere in the country.  Under Scott Walker’s watch, over 30,000 jobs have been lost in Wisconsin.

This is where the misinformation and framing comes into play.  Scott Walker’s abysmal record of 30,000 job losses is being spun by countless television ads, Fox news appearances, and backing by billionaires to conceal this reality in favor of misinformation that frames Scott Walker as a job-creator, as opposed to a job-cremator.  In this fictional framed version of reality created by billionaires like the Koch brothers, Scott Walker is portrayed as protecting working Americans, and somehow having added the same amount of jobs he actually destroyed.

Another tried and true method used in the billionaire-backed war on workers is to “frame” harmful legislation that will strip away people’s rights as laws that will supposedly protect people from abuses of power.  This “right to work” law being advocated by radical right-wing Governors across the country is purposely designed to fit that frame. In reality, this law will force people to work-for-less and strip away their rights to fight back (ie, collectively bargain) once this occurs.

The National Right to Work Committee, another right wing group backed by ALEC, recently cited a single question from an 18-page survey conducted by Frank “The Liar” Luntz as proof that union workers support “right to work” legislation.  For those who are unaware, Frank Luntz is the consultant/pollster who specializes in the creation and use of deceptive language to convince the general public to vote against their well being by supporting bad legislation.  “Here is the question Luntz’ pollsters asked union members across the country…”

Please tell me whether you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree or strongly disagree with the following statement: “Workers should have the right to decide whether to join a union. They should never be forced or coerced to join or pay dues to a union as a condition of employment.”  Responses to this single survey question was offered as proof that 80% of union members agree that right-to-work is the best policy.

Wait a minute.  Notice the obvious deception in trying to convince us that “right to work” literally means forcing someone to join a union.  This question is framed in such a way as to practically guarantee the desired response.  Responses are then used to justify implementation of radical legislation that destroys the very rights and freedoms the GOP claims to be protecting.  It is important to note that this survey by Frank “The Liar” Luntz was commissioned by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, whose motto is “Defending America’s workers from the abuses of compulsory unionism since 1968.” With a slogan like this, no wonder they commissioned a professional liar to make sure their biased “facts” fit the frame.

This “right to work” frame will be endlessly repeated via the right wing echo chamber, just like Scott Walker’s abysmal jobs record, to ensure that as many people in Wisconsin as possible hear this distorted version of reality which suits the needs of special interests and billionaires.  If repeated often enough, neuroscience research tells us that many Wisconsin voters will likely reject the facts in favor of the frame, since this is how framing works! For a glimpse of the disastrous effects that work-for-less laws actually have in states where framing efforts were successful, take a look at the research conducted by the Economic Policy Institute.

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Governor Scott Walker receives the NRA’s ‘defender of freedom’ award: Proof that we truly are living in a land of George Orwell.

For those who may not have been paying attention to politics in Wisconsin in the past year, Governor Scott Walker is in the process of being recalled.  This has happened only twice in history!  Basically, Scott Walker attempted to strip workers of their rights, and once the workers figured this out, they decided to stage massive protests, and eventually decided to boot him from office altogether.

Like many other radical right-wing Governors throughout the country, Scott Walker is following an ideology that creates extreme environmental conditions for the vast majority of people, while showering the ‘privileged’ class with more taxpayer funded wealth and prosperity.  In fact, this transfer of wealth taking place from average working Americans to those at the top can only be carried out if these radical Governors are successful in convincing (ie, framing) voters to support them in their efforts to strip all of us of our rights, not to mention our ability to fight back once our freedoms are taken away as well.

Its important to point out that every frame being used by radical Governors like Scott Walker is Orwellian in nature, in that the exact opposite is true!  Take the example that Scott Walker runs with every time he makes a public appearance on a corporately controlled media outlet.  During every interview he makes sure to repeat the frame that ‘big union bosses’ from out of state are pouring money into Wisconsin in order to impact the recall election.

In reality, ‘big corporate bosses’ from out of state, including David and Charles Koch (aka the Koch brothers) are pouring millions of dollars into Wisconsin in order to prop up Scott Walker in the public eye as a defender of freedom, who supports worker rights.  It’s no surprise then that other special interest groups like the NRA have decided to give Scott Walker an award for being a ‘defender of freedom.’  After all, this fits the frame, and has the added impact of helping him overcome the backlash he is facing for attempting to strip away workers rights.

The facts and “frames” surrounding the Keystone XL Pipeline: Game over for the planet, or “Ethical Oil” for U.S. consumption.

Bill McKibben, from 350.org began a 24 hour drive earlier this week to urge our elected representatives not to cave in to the demands of the super-wealthy Koch brothers, who together with TransCanada are determined to build the Keystone XL pipeline regardless of the devastating consequences to the people or the planet.

The battle over whether to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline is a prime example of the fight progressives have been waging against the powers that be for decades, and arguably since the founding of this country.  The rich and powerful have always insisted on gaining more wealth and power at the expense of the people.  Today is no different, and the Koch brothers are the rich and powerful who stand to gain a fortune if this pipeline gets approved.

Like the majority of political, social and economic issues we face today as a nation, this fight boils down to a battle between facts and frames.  The facts are that that the Keystone XL oil pipeline is an extremely dangerous venture that will devastate the planet.

One of America’s foremost climate scientists says that if the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline is built to tap the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, the impact on the Earth’s climate will be devastating.” 

“Essentially, it’s game over for the planet,” said James Hansen, the head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. He is quoted by reporter Jane Mayer in the Nov. 28th issue of “The New Yorker” magazine as making the statement to environmental activist Bill McKibben.”

For a summary of what’s really going on with the Keystone XL oil pipeline watch this short video clip.

Robert Greenwald, the filmmaker who made this video had this to say, “The Koch brothers personify the top 1% and have used their wealth to influence policies, like those surrounding the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, to make more money at the expense of middle class families.”

Clearly this doesn’t look good for the Koch brothers, which is precisely why the need exists to “frame” this incredibly unethical venture as something that is ethical and in our national interests.  Hence, the “ethical oil” frame was born, and specifically crafted to appeal to our sense of morality.

Here’s the “ethical oil” frame in action.

This frame suggests that we will stop our dependence on foreign oil by using “ethical oil” from our friends in Canada, as opposed to getting it from dictators in the Middle East.

There’s just one major problem with this frame, as pointed out by the only study not paid for by TransCanada and the Koch brothers,

“The idea of energy independence clearly resonates with the American public, and the paid advertisements depicting Canadian Tar Sands as the source of “ethical oil” (and therefore a better option than oil from dictatorships like Saudi Arabia) plays to that sentiment. But KXL is a global project driven by global oil interests. Tar Sands development has attracted investment capital from oil multinationals—with Chinese corporations’ stake getting bigger all the time.1 If approved, KXL will be almost certainly be constructed by temporary labor working with steel made in Canada and India. Much of the Tar Sands oil will be refined in Port Arthur, Texas, where the refinery is half-owned by Saudi Aramco, the state-owned oil company of Saudi Arabia.2

Given the obvious devastating impact the Keystone XL oil pipeline will bring, not to mention the fact that this oil will be shipped to the global market, will kill more jobs than it will create, and is only in the interests of the Koch brothers and other multinational investors (including China), perhaps it’s time to end our addiction to foreign oil once and for all this time.

Instead of relying on dirty, unsafe fuels of the past, we should focus on clean, safe fuels of the future.  As Drew Westen pointed out, “we have a choice, we can move toward the safe, clean fuels of the 21st century – energy from the sun, the wind… fuels that will never run out, don’t have to be burned to produce energy, and will create new jobs and help us restore prosperity.  Or we can continue to rely on the fossil fuels of the 19th century, which will run out, threaten our economic and national security, and destroy the land and air as we extract and burn them – pouring billions of tons of pollutants into the air, including those that are destroying our atmosphere and altering the delicate balance of nature.”

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