STOP Framing "us"

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

Archive for the tag “public protection”

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.

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

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

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

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

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a GOP gone wild, and every successful public protection policy put in place to prevent harm caused by the big banks was repealed via the use of the “burdensome regulations” frame.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

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

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

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.

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