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11 posts from May 2007

May 29, 2007

BOOK TOUR: New York City!!

NEXT EVENTS:

May 30: New York, NY The Tank

Location: 279 Church St, New York, NY (map)

Time: Doors Open 6:30pm, Event Starts 7:00pm

Description: FROM BLOG TO BALLOT BOX - Framing the Netroots Campaign Since Howard Dean first put out the call for all Americans to consider running for office, a number of bloggers have launched campaigns. Only now, in the wake of the tremendous gains of the 2006 election cycle, do we have a chance to learn from those members of the netroots who orchestrated the challenging move from blog to ballot box.

Joining in a conversation on these and other questions, Brian Keeler will share his experience running in the tight race for State Senate in New York's 41st district. Keeler began his political activism as writer and founding member of two online organizations, Political Cortex and ePluribus Media, the largest citizen investigative journalism organization on the Internet. It was from these prominent points on the netroots that he mounted an innovative campaign to unseat a long-time incumbent in New York's Hudson River Valley. Joining Keeler will be Philip Anderson, a blogger, filmmaker and activist and an integral part of the Keeler campaign's communications team.

In a discussion moderated by author and blogger Jeffrey Feldman (Framing the Debate, Ig Publishing 2007), Keeler and Anderson will discuss the experience and challenges of running a campaign--telling stories and recounting first-hand the dynamics of stepping up to run for office.

Continue reading "BOOK TOUR: New York City!!" »

May 23, 2007

Frameshop: The Double Bind of Iraq

For the first time in a long, long while, I find myself at odds with much of what I have seen on the blogs in the past 24 hours--those pieces that argue Dems in Congress have "collapsed" or become "weak" by putting forward a bill without the "timetable" wording or requirement. These arguments are passionate and persuasive, but they are--unfortunately--all based on the same fundamental misreading of what is happening right now in our federal government.  In other words, they get it wrong.

Senator Russ Feingold, for  example, has argued in a DailyKos diary that Dems are showing weakness against Bush's strength.  I typically agree with Senator Feingold, but this time he has it wrong.  It's not that his heart is in the wrong place, but just that what he has written is not accurate.  Dems shifted position here not in the face of strength, but in the face of astounding weakness.  They shifted, in other words, not in reaction to Bush, but in an attempt to rebuild congressional power in spite of Bush.  Why?  Because they are attempting to re-balance our constitutional system which is the only way to stop the Iraq mess.   

The key, then, is not to see "withdrawal" as the solution to Iraq, but to see rebuilding Congressional power as the solution from which withdrawal will follow as the policy.

Continue reading "Frameshop: The Double Bind of Iraq" »

May 14, 2007

Frameshop: Flim Flam Frank (a.k.a. The Luntz)

A "con," a "scam," a "grift," a boo-boo, a bunko, a flim flam.  All these are synonyms for what street crime experts call the "Confidence Trick." 

I will add one more synonym to the list:  The Luntz.

Continue reading "Frameshop: Flim Flam Frank (a.k.a. The Luntz)" »

May 09, 2007

Frameshop: Cheney's Contempt for Thomas Jefferson

One of the principles we hold dear in the United States is freedom of the press--an idea Thomas Jefferson listed in his 1801 Inaugural Address as one of the basic concepts on which this nation was founded:

About to enter, fellow-citizens, on the exercise of duties which comprehend everything dear and valuable to you, it is proper you should understand what I deem the essential principles of our Government, and consequently those which ought to shape its Administration. I will compress them within the narrowest compass they will bear, stating the general principle, but not all its limitations. Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political; peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none; the support of the State governments in all their rights, as the most competent administrations for our domestic concerns and the surest bulwarks against antirepublican tendencies; the preservation of the General Government in its whole constitutional vigor, as the sheet anchor of our peace at home and safety abroad; a jealous care of the right of election by the people -- a mild and safe corrective of abuses which are lopped by the sword of revolution where peaceable remedies are unprovided; absolute acquiescence in the decisions of the majority, the vital principle of republics, from which is no appeal but to force, the vital principle and immediate parent of despotism; a well-disciplined militia, our best reliance in peace and for the first moments of war till regulars may relieve them; the supremacy of the civil over the military authority; economy in the public expense, that labor may be lightly burthened; the honest payment of our debts and sacred preservation of the public faith; encouragement of agriculture, and of commerce as its handmaid; the diffusion of information and arraignment of all abuses at the bar of the public reason; freedom of religion; freedom of the press, and freedom of person under the protection of the habeas corpus, and trial by juries impartially selected. These principles form the bright constellation which has gone before us and guided our steps through an age of revolution and reformation. The wisdom of our sages and blood of our heroes have been devoted to their attainment. They should be the creed of our political faith, the text of civic instruction, the touchstone by which to try the services of those we trust; and should we wander from them in moments of error or of alarm, let us hasten to retrace our steps and to regain the road which alone leads to peace, liberty, and safety.

(read Jefferson's address here and a full discussion here)

Dick Cheney, apparently, has no time for Jefferson. 

In his press "availability," today--part of his surprise visit to Baghdad--the Vice President let it be known that there are rules he defines and that the press must follow.  In other words, Dick Cheney believes in freedom of the press, so long as they do what he says.

For a long time, many in the Vice President's press corp have been doing just that--following Cheney's rules and, as a result, forfeiting Jeffersonian principle in the process. 

But not today.  Hats off to Associated Press reporter Tom Raum, who asked a question of Cheney, today, that apparently broke the rules--a question about "benchmarks" in Iraq.

Continue reading "Frameshop: Cheney's Contempt for Thomas Jefferson" »

May 06, 2007

Frameshop: Keep Cheney Away from U.S. Diplomacy

Cheney

A Symbol of Everything Wrong With Bush Era, Cheney's Visit to Middle East Can Only Make Things Worse

Similar to Ariel Sharon's disastrous and oft-discussed visit to Jerusalem's Temple Mount (Sep 28, 2000)--a symbolic slap in the face that led to an escalation in Middle East tension--Dick Cheney's upcoming "diplomatic" visit to the Middle East will be nothing more than a provocation resulting in yet another explosion of violence.  More Americans and more Iraqis will die as a result of his trip. 

If the Bush administration was serious about saving lives, building U.S. credibility in the world, involving regional allies, and ending the Iraq occupation--then they would put Dick Cheney back in his hidden location, lock the door from the outside and throw away the key.

Cheney should not be allowed anywhere near Middle East diplomacy.  Any diplomatic effort that involves Dick Cheney will result in one thing and one thing only:  more violence, more failure, more death.

Continue reading "Frameshop: Keep Cheney Away from U.S. Diplomacy" »

May 03, 2007

Frameshop: Tommy Thompson Says OK To Fire Gays

"You're gay?  You're fired!"

That's what Republican candidate for President Tommy Thompson thinks every employer in America should be allowed to say.  When asked if it would be OK for an employer to fire an employee solely because they were gay, Thompson gave a states-rights style argument--only he applied it to businesses. "That should be up to individual employers to decide."

The MSNBC moderator then followed up by asking, "So, you think it should be OK?"  Thompson answered, "Yes."

Uh...whoops!  I could've sworn we had a constitution that protected all Americans from discrimination.   I guess that would not mean much during a Thompson Presidency.

Continue reading "Frameshop: Tommy Thompson Says OK To Fire Gays" »

Frameshop: Vote for My Question

I've submitted my question to Politico.com (You may need to sort the questions to find it). If enough people vote for my question, it may make it on the air, tonight. Registration is free at the site...

Frameshop: My Question for the GOP Debate--Violence?

If I could pose one question to the Republican presidential candidates showing up for tonight's debate, it would be this:

Do you believe there is such a thing as an "acceptable level" of violence?

I would ask this question because just the other day in an interview with Charlie Rose, the leader of the Republican Party--President George W. Bush--made the case that there is such a thing as an "acceptable level of violence."  Well, is there? 

It is my belief--a conviction held widely by a majority of Americans--that the acceptable level of violence in American life is zero.  Either we have zero violence or the situation is unacceptable and we are working hard as a society to get to zero.  We may never reach a level of zero violence, but we certainly will not accept anything short of zero. 

So, given this belief--this principle of zero violence--I would want to know who among the Republican Presidential candidates also holds that the only acceptable level of violence.  And if they do agree that the only acceptable level of violence is zero, how do they explain the position of the leader of their party--the position that there exists--in American life and in American policy--an acceptable level of violence?

That is my question to the entire GOP field.  And frankly, if no other question but that one were to be asked and answered, tonight, the evening would be worthwhile.

Continue reading "Frameshop: My Question for the GOP Debate--Violence?" »

Frameshop: White House "Compromise," Manners

White House Seeks to Controll Rules of Political Manners to Win Iraq Debate

In the White House Press briefing, yesterday (May 2), the word "compromise" was repeated 13 times by Tony Snow and reporters asking questions.  Clearly, the power to define "compromise" is part of the framing strategy the White House sees as essential in the post-veto environment of the Iraq debate. 

In his first answer to the first question, Snow tried very hard to set the rules of the discussion, repeating "compromise" like a drum beat:

  Let me make a couple of points about -- it's interesting, it appears that the discussion about compromise is all the White House needs to compromise, it's never asked what the Hill is going to do. Fortunately, when there are talks today I think both sides are going to be working in a spirit of trying to get something constructive done.  But as tempting as it may be, I'm not going to tell you what precisely the President is going to say.  You'll have opportunities to hear from people who will have been involved in the meeting and they can give you their readout. What the President is not in the mood to compromise about is an attempt to try to tie the hands of generals or troops on the ground. He's not in the mood to compromise about an approach that creates a sense of doubt among our allies, weakens the Iraqi government. Instead what he wants to do is to pull together a package -- and I think both sides want to do this

(full transcript here)

Snow's performance, yesterday, should make it very clear that the White House sees defining acceptable behavior in the debate as a key part of defeating the Democrats in this Iraq spending bill.

Snow is trying to define certain behavior as bad--trying to impose political manners on Democrats.

Will Democrats take the bait?  Possible.  There is a strong core identity amongst Senate Democrats who get suckered by these arguments about behavior in debate.

But Dems should not fall for this as any discussion of what is and is not good manners in a debate is just a thinly veiled attempt to control a negotiation--it is an extreme form of passive aggression.

Democrats should see that they are advancing the voice of the people and keep a tough tone in their language.  And they should continue giving President Bush bills to sign that force him to reject the will of the people:  putting an end to the occupation in Iraq.

Continue reading "Frameshop: White House "Compromise," Manners" »

Frameshop: Edwards Calls "War on Terror" a "Political Frame"

Key Turn in 2008 Presidential Race

John Edwards First Presidential Candidate to Specifically Address Danger of Bush "Framing"

Jonathan Singer at MyDD.com reports a major moment in the 2008 Presidential election:  John Edwards stating specifically that the "Global War on Terror" is calculated political rhetoric that should not be the basis for defining America's national security.

Edwards called the "Global War on Terror" a "political frame" during a recent speech in Portland, OR:

And I don't know how many of you even noticed this or how many of you watched the Democratic presidential debate from South Carolina, but I suspect some of you did. But a question was asked whether you agree with the language - the Bush language, which is what it is - "Global War on Terror." And I did not. And I said, I took that position at the debate.

This is a political frame and political rhetoric. They use it to justify everything they do. They use that language to justify the war in Iraq. They use it to justify Guantanamo. They use it to justify torture. They use it to justify illegal spying on the American people.

It is time for us to quit kowtowing to these people. We have to say what we really believe. Now, are there really dangerous people in the world? Of course there are. We need to be smart and aggressive and intelligent, use intelligence - did I say dangerous people? - we have to use intelligence to fight them and stop them. Everybody recognizes that. But the one thing that's been proven beyond any doubt as a result of what's happened in the last six years is raw power alone will never make you a leader. You actually have to have the moral authority.

(transcript courtesy of MyDD)

In this statement, Edwards is seeking to build on a moment in last week's Democratic candidate debate.  But notice how Edwards is seeking to move the discussion forward by using the phrase "smart and aggressive and intelligent" to define a broad logic for a new American vision of foreign policy.

The "smart and strong" frame for national security has been suggested many times on Frameshop as a strategy for changing the debate whenever Bush tries to link Democratic positions on Iraq to future terrorist attacks in this country.

Edwards appears to be taking huge strides forward in an effort to drive the debate to new terrain.

His rejection of the "Global War on Terror" as problematic political framing comes on the heels of several weeks where his campaign message was dominated by calls for "action" to end the war.

With his big vision for rejecting Bush's framing, Edwards now opens himself up to define the purpose of U.S. military and diplomatic action in general, beyond the stifling confines established and re-enforced by Bush and Cheney.

Can we imagine a foreign policy discussion that was not stymied before it even began by knee-jerk fears  set down by the Republican framing?  Edwards appears to be trying to move the country to that place.

Continue reading "Frameshop: Edwards Calls "War on Terror" a "Political Frame" " »