STOP Framing "us"

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

Archive for the tag “profit over people”

The Bain Approach: Mitt Romney’s Plan to Profitize America!

During his CEO days at Bain Capital, Mitt Romney engaged in vulture capitalism (not to be confused with venture capitalism). Vulture capitalism, or private equity as it is otherwise known is nothing more than legalized corporate raiding.  The Bain approach is to seek out healthy companies with sizeable pension plans for their employees, and lure them in with false promises of ‘strengthening’ these companies while hiding their true intentions of ripping them apart.  Under the guise of expanding revenues and cutting costs, the Bain approach is sold to investors, management, and employees of companies they prey upon as a means of promoting growth and making them more efficient.

Despite this rosy sounding language that’s sure to resonate with companies that seek to expand their business, the Bain approach of increasing revenues and cutting costs has a more sinister meaning.  The Bain approach only involves increasing revenues for shareholders of Bain Capital, at the expense of shareholders of the companies they seek to devour.  The costs they are cutting come in the form of employee layoffs, reduced benefits, lower wages, and out-right theft of worker funded pension plans.  For a better understanding of how the Bain approach works, Ampad provides all the evidence needed to understand the true intentions of vulture capitalists like Mitt Romney.

While CEO of Bain Capital, Mitt Romney bought American Pad & Paper Co. (Ampad) for $5 million in 1992.  The Bain approach of bleeding this company dry was very successful.   Revenues in the form of dividend checks (ie, un-earned income) were substantially increased for shareholders of Bain Capital, while investors of Ampad lost millions, along with employees who lost their livelihood and life savings.  In fact, Mitt Romney continues to live large off of the un-earned income he stole from people during his Bain days.

When Mitt Romney and other vulture capitalists claim that they are in favor of rebuilding companies by expanding revenues and cutting costs to make them more efficient, this is what they mean.  The costs they are cutting are people’s jobs, wages, and pensions, which make up the expanding revenues (un-earned income) for the super-wealthy shareholders of this vulture capitalist firm.  This siphoning of wealth to a tiny group of super-wealthy people is a result of adopting the Bain approach.  This Bain approach is what has led to the Great depression, the savings and loan crisis, the housing crisis, and the near financial global meltdown and big bank bailouts witnessed recently that amounted to the largest transfer of wealth in the history of the United States.

Mitt Romney made himself, along with his privileged wealthy investors huge fortunes at the expense of workers losing their jobs and life savings. This is what Mitt Romney and the rest of the GOP mean when they say capitalism produces winners and losers.  This is also why Frank “The Liar” Luntz alerted a room full of GOP politicians not to use the word capitalism any longer.  The reason for this advice is because many people are starting to figure out that capitalism no longer works as intended.  The Bain approach has taken over and turned capitalism into a Wall Street Casino, where only the house wins! The house, of course, represents the vulture capitalists that are destroying our democracy, and preying upon us to feed their addiction for more wealth and power.

The Bain approach involves racking up enormous debt so a select few privileged shareholders can reap mind-boggling profits.  Why does this sound eerily familiar to the problems facing American today?  The unfortunate reality is that we have been following the Bain approach ever since Ronald Reagan was elected into office.  It’s safe to say that this approach to governing our nation has failed miserably and represents the source of the political and social divide currently taking place on important issues affecting our lives.

This new breed of capitalism is seeping its way into our daily lives by influencing our most valued and precious institutions, including our health care and education system, our social safety net, and the vital public protections that exist to ensure we all have safe food to eat, clean water to drink, and non-polluted air to breathe.

– The Bain approach seeks to profitize our healthcare system by denying care to those in need in order to maximize profits for insurance companies at the expense of our health.

– The Bain approach seeks to profitize our education system by using taxpayer dollars to fund the education of rich kids.

– The Bain approach seeks to profitize the water we drink by reducing our reliance on public sources of drinking water.

– The Bain approach seeks to profitize the food we eat by eliminating safety inspections in order add unsafe chemicals and by-products.

– The Bain approach seeks to profitize our energy policy by eliminating public protections and preventing the development of clean, safe, fuels of the future, while advocating for a continued reliance on dirty, unsafe fuels of the past that will run out and are polluting our lungs and the environment, not to mention jeopardizing our national security.

In essence, Mitt Romney’s Bain approach to governing our nation, if elected president, will seek to profitize America! Romney’s recent claim that 80% of the Bain Capital deals grew their revenues may actually be a true statement.  The part he left out is how this occurred and at whose expense.

Why Newt Gingrich can’t believe he is not the front-runner for the GOP, especially since he is doing everything right! (to manipulate people, that is)

Newt Gingrich has certainly come a long way since the early 1990’s when he teamed up with Frank “The Liar” Luntz to craft a memo called, “Language: A Key Mechanism of Control“, which he then circulated to every member of the Republican Party.  The primary purpose of this memo was to educate fellow GOP members on how to effectively use language to manipulate voters into supporting legislation that is detrimental to their health and well being.  This is accomplished by “framing” issues that are important to the average voter in such a way that demonizes Democratic proposals, (ie, use of negative language) and praising anything put forth by the GOP (ie, use of positive language).

Since then, Newt Gingrich has learned how to perfect this framing technique, or art of manipulation for many of the key issues affecting our livelihood, including how to secure a job (ship them overseas) educating our children, (no need, just reinstitute child labor laws, and have poor kids clean up after the rich kids) providing healthcare to our family members when they get sick (let the for profit insurance companies can handle it) and ensuring our parents and grandparents are taken care of when they retire (take away our safety net by handing over the Social Security purse strings to the Wall Street casino).

In the process of learning how to better himself when it comes to manipulating the rest of us, Newt Gingrich has also become a natural at deflecting attention from his own immoral acts and redirecting the focus on the issues that he wants us to pay attention to by virtue of “framing” them.   A classic example can be seen in the opening Presidential debate when he was asked about his “open marriage” request with regards to his ex-wife.  His response, taken straight out of the memo was, “I think the destructive vicious negative nature of much of the news media makes it harder to govern this country, harder to attract decent people to run for public office. I’m appalled you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that.”  He cunningly tried to redirect the focus of this reasonable question by using the “liberal media” frame.

Although the issues he “frames” may appear to make sense on the surface, deep down they actually serve to enrich the most privileged members of our society at the expense of everyone else (ie, the people he is framing).  This is why Newt Gingrich is scratching his head wondering why he is not the front-runner of his party.   After all, he is ahead of his time in the sense that he has learned how to successfully use language to manipulate people into thinking we should reinstate child labor laws, end Medicare, dismantle Medicaid and Social Security, and continue to give our hard-earned money in the form of tax cuts to the upper class in the “privileged sector”, who are benefitting at our expense at every turn.   Can you blame him for not wanting to take credit!  In his mind, the ruling elite he his helping to enrich owe him at least a spot in the White House.

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.

Poll-tested, Focus group approved! How Frank Luntz manipulates public perception.

The Motto Frank Luntz uses is “Its not what you say, It’s what people hear.”  What this means to Frank Luntz is that he is not manipulating the public if they choose to believe what he says!

In his “dial sessions” Frank Luntz asks people what their deepest thoughts, feelings and emotions are about whatever issue his corporate masters want him to focus on in order to manipulate public opinion to support their radical agenda of maximizing profit at the expense of the people.

Once he discovers how we really feel about these issues, he attempts to “frame” language in such a way that will bring about support for positions favorable to those who are paying him to manipulate public perception.  This is accomplished by using the feedback he receives from one focus group on another group of unsuspecting people in order to test this language to see how well it works!

Once he is confident, based on visually witnessing his manipulation tactics in action, (seen below) Frank Luntz then runs straight to the corporations, GOP, and other members of the “privileged sector” to brag about how well he did his job, and how effectively the use of certain language can be at manipulating people into supporting an agenda that is detrimental to their own well being.

The following clip is a great illustration of Frank Luntz’s dirty work in action!

Watch how excited he gets (like a kid in a candy store) when he discovers what language will work to manipulate the next batch of people with.

“This is going to work, watch. This will work.”

“I told you, the words work, the words apply to the policy, this is how were going to sell it!”

“LOOK AT THIS”, he says.

He then brags to the person interviewing him, “I will be able to walk to this electricity company on Monday and be able to say to them your policy makes sense and here is the language to explain it.”

The next step Frank Luntz takes to ensure he can effectively manipulate public opinion is to cunningly craft questions using the language that worked in the focus groups to create surveys, or polls to further test these frames.  Interestingly, Vice President Joe Biden is catching on to the GOP’s use of such tactics.  Vice President Biden recently gave a speech on C-span where he called out the GOP for their use of Frank Luntz style poll-tested language to sell Paul Ryan’s “path to prosperity” for the top 1% plan.  After all, he says, “today’s new Republican party is fixed on one thing, additional tax cuts for the very wealthy.”

The feedback Frank Luntz receives from both the poll-tested language and focus groups are later used against the public at large through the right wing echo chamber.  This is where all forces unite, so to speak, against the public, in a well-coordinated fashion to endlessly repeat (ie, echo) the latest batch of Frank Luntz “frames.”  The echo chamber consists of the corporately controlled media, radical right wing talk show hosts, and members of the GOP, all of whom are ‘believers’ in this radical agenda of placing profit over people.

Since this agenda primarily benefits the “privileged sector”, or those in the top 1%, Frank “The Liar” Luntz’s services are required in order to manipulate public opinion in favor of this radical agenda by creating the perception that the status quo of income inequality is somehow good for us, despite actual evidence based research that proves the opposite.  In this sense, the “frames” Frank Luntz ends up crafting are Orwellian in nature, since the exact opposite of what the frame suggests is true!

A prime example is the “liberal media” frame.  In reality, a handful of corporations control the media, including what we read in newspapers, see on television (particularly Fox news), and hear and the radio (90% of which is right wing).  Therefore, what we have in this country is a “corporate media” that benefits the radical right wing, not a media that is controlled by the left, which is what the Orwellian “liberal media” frame suggests.

H.R. 5: The GOP plan to protect the “privileged sector” from prosecution, otherwise framed as a plan to “save” Medicare.

Paul Ryan admitted on C-span that the George Orwell Party’s (GOP) plan to “save” Medicare involves one of the top 5 priorities of the Republican Party since taking control of the House of Representatives.  The 5th bill introduced by GOP members of the House (H.R. 5) as soon as John Boehner took over as speaker, is designed to protect the “privileged sector” from prosecution, which has absolutely nothing to do with Medicare.  Many people getting their news from the corporately controlled media, especially Fox news or some radical right wing talk show host, however, will not be aware of this reality.  Instead, they are likely to believe that this bill will “save” Medicare because the plan to “save” Medicare is the latest “frame” being endlessly repeated by members of the GOP in order to convince people of this Orwellian lie!  In reality, the GOP wants to end Medicare, not “save” it.

As can be seen in the details of this bill, H.R.5 is designed to shield the “privileged sector” from any liability or accountability for their actions.

What this means is that any future act of wrongdoing on the part of callous corporations to knowingly and willingly put people’s lives in danger amount to nothing more than a slap on the wrist.  By limiting the liability of damages caused by corrupt and willfully negligent corporations, H.R. 5 actually encourages immoral behaviors, and encourages the cost cutting measures that put people’s lives at risk, since the only punishment the “privileged sector” will receive is a measly fine of $250,000.  In short, this bill protects the “privileged sector” from prosecution.

Successfully holding corporations accountable for their immoral actions by awarding large sums of money (ie, class actions lawsuits) to the victims of such egregious violations of the law sends a message that these actions are not tolerated in a civilized society.  However, rather than discouraging the reckless and callous behavior of corporations by increasing the penalty and holding corporations accountable for their actions, the “privileged sector” and their advocates in the GOP have a different message they want to send.  A message that encourages this sort of immoral behavior due to the impact it has on the bottom line, not to mention limiting the amount of damages they have to pay, once their cost cutting measures inevitably fail, and we the people pay the price!

A clear cut example of attempting to protect the “privileged sector” can be seen in the recent BP oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.  Instead of demanding answers from the CEO of BP at a House congressional hearing on this matter, a GOP member of Congress, Joe Barton, R-Texas, apologized when we attempted to hold BP accountable for their actions.  Joe Barton had this to say, “I’m ashamed at what happened in the Whitehouse yesterday, I think it is A tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown.”  This of course, was in reference to the restitution payments BP was being required to pay for the damage they were responsible for causing.

Amazingly, as seen in this short video clip, Joe Barton’s top priority and concern was not for the people who died as a result of BP’s willful disregard of safety standards, nor was he concerned about the catastrophic damage these callous actions caused to the environment.  Instead, this ranking member of the Energy & Commerce Committee’s primary concern was apologizing to the CEO of BP.  This example clearly shows what members of the GOP really care about, protecting the “privileged sector.”

In the end, the GOP’s plan to “save” Medicare is nothing more than a frame designed to divert our attention away from their real agenda of protecting the “privileged sector” from prosecution. Unfortunately, GOP members in both the House and the Senate are not only helping the “privileged sector” get away with profiting at the expense of the people, but they too are actively receiving a piece of the action!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“The war is just beginning”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mitt Romney reveals his party’s ‘moral budget priorities’ for America at the CPAC convention: More profit for the ‘privileged’ at the expense of the ‘public’.

Although budget and tax policy may not seem like very exciting topics, budgets are extremely important since they are essentially moral documents.  The budgets we set for ourselves and the tax revenue we use to fund them reflect our shared values as a people.  Just as our parents and grandparents budgeted and paid for the things we publicly share today, such as the paved roads and bridges we drive on, the public schools we send our children to, the hospitals we go to when we get sick, and the court system we use to protect the public by prosecuting those who violate the social norms and values we share.

These are just a few examples of what our ancestors thought were necessary and worthy values, so they decided to act on this information and budget our tax dollars to pay for these things in order to serve the common good.

Unfortunately, there is another group of ‘privileged’ individuals in society, who prefer to be separate from the rest of us by walling themselves off in gated communities, who choose not to send their kids to the same schools we do, and who don’t want to pay for the heavy use and abuse of the common good we all help pay for.

In fact, this privileged group of super-wealthy elites does not want to protect the rights, or support the values of anyone who is not a member of the “privileged sector.”  This is reflected in their adamant opposition to participating in our Democracy by refusing to contribute any tax revenue to help solve the problems they are responsible for creating.  The so called “debt crisis” Republicans constantly refer to was caused by the same two budget and tax priorities Mitt Romney supported at the CPAC convention.

The primary values favored by Mitt Romney and the Republican party are simple. Increase the size of Government through unsustainable military and war spending, and more tax breaks for members of the “privileged sector.”

In order to accomplish this goal of valuing profit over people, it becomes necessary to decrease spending and impose ‘austerity’ measures on the rest of us by eliminating or privatizing the social safety net (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid), deep cuts to public education, to include mass layoffs of teachers, cuts to our health and safety systems, including denying access to healthcare for people in need, laying off firefighters and police officers, and eliminating food, air and water safety protections.  Basically, the destruction of our shared value system in order to satisfy the greedy needs of the “privileged sector.”

Mitt Romney admitted to supporting these values by favoring a budget and tax policy that is against raising taxes on the super-wealthy, ”Tax hikes are off the table”, his support for an unsustainable level of military spending, “I will not be cutting our military budget” and imposing austerity on the rest of us “without raising taxes, I will finally balance the American budget”.

In the end, Mitt Romney and other radical Republican politicians are getting away with their skewed immoral priorities by framing Democratic opponents for their actions.  Budget and tax policies that are designed to increase the size of Government in order to protect and support the “privileged sector” are being framed as “tax & spend” policies that increase the size of Government to protect and support “welfare recipients.”

Unfortunately, many people believe these “frames” and actively support policies and programs that they mistakenly think will uphold our shared values.  Instead, what tends to happen is that a belief in these frames leads people to support the very budget and tax policies that are detrimental to our health and well being.  Policies that reflect underlying values that are diametrically opposed to the shared values we hold as a nation, and only serve to further enrich the already wealthy and powerful “privileged sector.”

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