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20 posts from October 2006

October 31, 2006

Frameshop: Progress!

As an inevitable Democratic Party landslide looms just a week away in the Mid-Term elections, the Republican Party has pinned all its hopes on death and taxes. 

Death and taxes:  inevitable in life and unavoidable in Republican stump speeches and campaign ads.

Pariah President George W. Bush used the words "tax" and "taxes" over 30 times in each of his last few stump speeches.  He also used the words "terror" and "kill" about the same number of times.  The only only word repeated as often in the Bush stump speech is "vote."  Take away all the phoney awe-shucks filler that Bush crams into his rhetoric and this is what his stump speech looks like:

Death and Taxes.  Vote.

Cryptic?  Well, the Republican Party seems to think that only two things motiviate the American public to vote:

Fear and Greed

"If you are afraid and you are greedy, vote Republican."  That's their message.  And it's not working.

Continue reading "Frameshop: Progress!" »

October 27, 2006

Frameshop: Allen Claims Webb "Against" Marriage Between Men and Women

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SAME SEX SMEARAGE: Republican Senator George Allen has accused his Democratic opponent for Senate of being against marriage between a man and a woman (image: Friends of George Allen).

Just when you thought George Allen (R-VA) was all out of crazy and hateful comments to hurl at the good people of Virginia, he surprises us yet again. Macaca?  Done that. Not Jewish?  Been there.  This time it's:  George Allen's crazy statement on marriage! 

According to the Allen campaign, his opponent in the Virginia Senate race, Democrat Jim Webb, is "against" marriage between a man and a woman.   Specifically, Allen says, "I'm for marriage between a man and a woman while my opponent is against it." (link)

But wait!  (yep...you knew this was coming...)  Jim Webb is married--to a woman!

Frankly, I think George Allen needs to lay off the hooch.

Continue reading "Frameshop: Allen Claims Webb "Against" Marriage Between Men and Women" »

October 25, 2006

Frameshop: RNC Ad Makes Al Qaeda Look Cool for Teens

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MURDER, DEATH, KILL: The new ad from the Republican Party claims that a vote for Democrats in the mid-term elections will lead directly to the mass death of Americans (image: RNC).

This week the Republican National Committee launched a new Al Qaeda recruitment video called "stakes." The message of this new ad is:  Kill all Americans.

Of course, one could argue, as some in the media have, that the message of this new Republican ad is really "If you vote for Democrats, then terrorists will kill all Americans."  But this second, broader reading is not actually accurate.  There is nothing in the ad that says anything about the Democrats.  The end of the ad simply says,"These are the stakes.  Vote November 7."  And then the head of the Republican National Committee offers a disclaimer of responsibility for the ad.

The "stakes" as presenteed in the ad are crystal clear:  Al Qaeda must kill all Americans to win its battle.  And there is much to be gained, according to the ad's images and quotes.  It shows key figures in Al Qaeda as well as karate-trained Al Qaeda fighters.  The message is:  want to be cool like these guys in the video?  Join Al Qaeda.

So, the Republican Party creates a rock solid Al Qaeda recruitment ad with high production values, explicitly claims responsibility for this Al Qaeda recruitment ad, and urges people who support the ideas in this Al Qaeda recruitment ad to vote for the Republicans. 

Why is the RNC now recruiting for Al Qaeda? 

Well, the trick is--the RNC wants this ad to set Democrats on the defensive. But in fact, the best solution to this ad is to simply draw attention to what it is:  a glitzy, action-packed, Hollywood-style Al Qaeda recruitment video that glamorizes the karate-kicking, gun-slinging Al Qaeda movement. 

Continue reading "Frameshop: RNC Ad Makes Al Qaeda Look Cool for Teens" »

October 24, 2006

Frameshop: Same Old Change

Americans should pay very close attention to President Bush's latest use of the word 'change.'  In need of some kind of revision in his Iraq sales pitch, Bush is now claiming that his policy is, and has always been, constant change--always been the same, constantly changing.  But could it be that the President is trying to redefine the idea of "staying the course" so that it means "change" the course?  In his Radio Address, for example, we can see the President thrashing around inside this struggle to define his policy as "unchanging" in its committment to "change":

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CH-CH-CH-CH-CHANGES: President Bush tries to convince Americans that his policy in Iraq has always been, and will continue to be, constant "change" (image: CNN).

Our goal in Iraq is clear and unchanging: Our goal is victory. What is changing are the tactics we use to achieve that goal. Our commanders on the ground are constantly adjusting their approach to stay ahead of the enemy, particularly in Baghdad. General Pete Pace, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, recently put it this way: "From a military standpoint, every day is a reassessment day." We have a strategy that allows us to be flexible and to adapt to changing circumstances. We've changed the way we train the Iraqi security forces. We have changed the way we deliver reconstruction assistance in areas that have been cleared of terrorist influence. And we will continue to be flexible, and make every necessary change to prevail in this struggle.

(President's Radio Address 10.21.06)

Based on dizzying statements like that, the White House will probably try to tell the American public that the new slogan on Iraq is "flexible" strategy--a word that Bush also repeated a bunch of times.  "Change" as "flexibility" is the idea--we are not the same, we are flexible, adjusting to circumstances.  But the frame is "change"--which the President is trying very hard to distinguish from "change."  In the doublespeak of George W. Bush, there's "change" and then there's "change"

Continue reading "Frameshop: Same Old Change" »

October 23, 2006

Frameshop: 'Change' is the 'Course

STOP THE PRESSES! President Bush's Press Secretary, Tony Snow, just announced that while the policy on Iraq had not changed, the slogan the President uses to describe the situation had changed.  If we listen closely, the President is no longer saying "stay the course" when talking about Iraq, but is now saying...er...something else:

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SNOW THE JOB: White House dumps its old "stay the course" slogan, but the Iraq policy stays on the same deadly path.

Q Tony, it seems what you have is not "stay the course." Has anybody told the President he should stop calling it "stay the course" then?

MR. SNOW: I don't think he's used that term in a while.

Q Oh, yes, he has, repeatedly.

MR. SNOW: When?

Q Well, in August, because I wrote a story saying he didn't use it and I was quite sternly corrected.

MR. SNOW: No, he stopped using it.

Q Why would he stop using it?

MR. SNOW: Because it left the wrong impression about what was going on. And it allowed critics to say, well, here's an administration that's just embarked upon a policy and not looking at what the situation is, when, in fact, it's just the opposite. The President is determined not to leave Iraq short of victory, but he also understands that it's important to capture the dynamism of the efforts that have been ongoing to try to make Iraq more secure, and therefore, enhance the clarification -- or the greater precision.

Q Is the President responsible for the fact people think it's stay the course since he's, in fact, described it that way himself?

MR. SNOW: No.

(Press Briefing by Tony Snow, 10.23.06)

So, the real battle the President is fighting is the war of "impressions," apparently.  What Bush is now reaching for is an Iraq slogan that captures the 'dynamism of the efforts.'

Continue reading "Frameshop: 'Change' is the 'Course" »

October 18, 2006

Frameshop: Back To The Future!!

When President Bush assumed despotic power over America, yesterday, he framed the issue in the logic of the "History" frame:

Over the past few months the debate over this bill has been heated, and the questions raised can seem complex. Yet, with the distance of history, the questions will be narrowed and few: Did this generation of Americans take the threat seriously, and did we do what it takes to defeat that threat? Every member of Congress who voted for this bill has helped our nation rise to the task that history has given us.    Some voted to support this bill even when the majority of their party voted the other way. I thank the legislators who brought this bill to my desk for their conviction, for their vision, and for their resolve.

Why mention history at this particular moment?  Because for President Bush, the law he signed giving himself the power to arrest any American simply because he deems them to be an "enemy combatant"--this law is really about winning the 2006 and 2008 elections.  President Bush has ended 230 years of Democratic rule so the Republican Party can hold a majority in the Congress and the Senate.

Continue reading "Frameshop: Back To The Future!!" »

October 17, 2006

Frameshop: Declaration of Despotism

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DECLARATION OF DESPOTISM:  Bush signs military law giving himself absolute power to arrest anyone for any reason.  Republican leaders look on and smile.

On the morning of October 17, 2006, President George W. Bush signed the Military Commissions Act--thereby ending 230 years of American Democracy. 

Because of this new law, President Bush now has the power of a king, a despot, an absolute ruler.  He has now risen above the law.  He has become the law. 

At any moment, for any reason and with nothing to stop him but his kingly conscience, President Bush now has the regal power to declare any American--anyone in the world, really--an "enemy combatant," and then to cast that "enemy combatant"  forever into a dungeon--where they will sit in chains, hands behind their back, hood over their head, without access to a lawyer, without rights to see the charges brought against them, never to talk to friends or family again, dissappeared, lost, gone, forever. 

Continue reading "Frameshop: Declaration of Despotism" »

October 11, 2006

Frameshop: "The Stakes Are High"

Bush has repeated the phrase "the stakes are high" about 100 times in his press conference.

What we are seeing is a textbook image of the "Dumb American" frame of foreign policy. For Bush it's all about security through brute force.

Frameshop: Bush Blames Clinton for North Korea Blunder

It appears, based on listening to Bush stumble his way through his press conference, that the new strategy out of the White House is to blame the Clinton administration for the North Korea crisis.

He keeps saying "North Korea has been a probelm for years."

He also said that Kim Jong-Il is a leader characterized by his "intrangidigence" (a.k.a. "intransigence").

Frameshop: The Smart American

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SMART STATESMAN: Jim Webb epitomizes a new voice of Democrats who frame security in terms of the "Smart Statesman."

What does it sound like when a Democrat frames the national security debate in terms of a "Smart America," versus a Republican framing the debate through a "Dumb American"?

To see the difference, we need only look as far as the race for Senate in Virginia. There we can see the Democrat, Jim Webb, framing national security as a "Smart Statesman" while the incumbent Republican, George Allen, continues to push the frame of the "Dumb Brute."

Continue reading "Frameshop: The Smart American" »