Below is a piece by Aldo Vidali, the director who is doing a film based on the ideas in George Lakoff’s Don’t Think of an Elephant. The Fellini-style film now in production—DEFLATING THE ELEPHANT: The Art and Science of Framing—will show people how to deflate rogue elephants. In this post Vidali deflates a few of the elephant frames behind which George Bush is hiding.
DEFLATING THE GREEDY OPPRESSIVE PACHYDERMS (GOP)
By Aldo Vidali
October 31, 2005
The current White House troubles are evidence of a cosmic law: The truth shall be revealed.
Many who followed the heroic stand of Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a fallen soldier, in Crawford, Texas’ Lone Star Iconoclast may have noticed that the question Cindy repeatedly asked was one too embarrassing for W to answer: “What is the noble cause for which our soldiers are dying?” Conniving George couldn’t answer because his “noble cause” metaphor is an outrageously false frame coined to cover the ugliest of facts (which are the exact opposite of anything noble): the “cause” George paints as “noble” is a series of vile, premeditated international crimes, the worst being an illegal armed aggression against another nation.
The 1945 Nuremberg Charter is clear: “To initiate a war of aggression…is not only an international crime, it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” At the Nuremberg trial of the Nazi leadership, counts one and two, “conspiracy to wage aggressive war” and “waging aggressive war,” refer to “the common plan or conspiracy.” These are defined in the indictment as “the planning, preparation, initiation and waging of wars of aggression, which were also wars in violation of international treaties, agreements and assurances.”
A wealth of evidence is now available that George Bush, Tony Blair, and their advisers did just that. Nazi leaders were sentenced to death and hung for their crimes. Under U.S. law the penalty for the same crimes is capital punishment. In the near future when the American people realize fully what has been done to them and their country and understand the irreparable damage they and their children have suffered at the hands of greedy, treasonous murderers, we will witness another war crimes trial.
No presidential pardon could ever be valid for such crimes against humanity no matter what platitudes and false frames right wing media cook up to defend these criminals.
In “The Epic Crime That Dares Not Speak Its Name,” John Pilger reports:
At Nuremberg, counts three and four referred to “War crimes and crimes against humanity.” Here again, there is overwhelming evidence that Blair and Bush committed “violations of the laws or customs of war” including “murder… of civilian populations of or in occupied territory, murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war.” Two recent examples: the US onslaught near Ramadi in which 39 men, women and children – all civilians – were killed, and a report by the United Nations special rapporteur in Iraq who described the Anglo-American practice of denying food and water to Iraqi civilians in order to force them to leave their towns and villages as a “flagrant violation” of the Geneva Conventions. In September, Human Rights Watch released an epic study that documents the systematic nature of torture by the Americans, and how casual it is, even enjoyable. This is a sergeant from the US Army’s 82nd Airborne Division: “On their day off people would show up all the time. Everyone in camp knew if you wanted to work out your frustration you show up at the PUC [prisoners'] tent. In a way it was sport… One day a sergeant shows up and tells a PUC to grab a pole. He told him to bend over and broke the guy’s leg with a mini Louisville Slugger that was a metal [baseball] bat. He was the fucking cook!” The report describes how the people of Fallujah, the scene of numerous American atrocities, regard the 82nd Airborne as “the Murdering Maniacs.” Reading it, you realise that the occupying force in Iraq is, as the head of Reuters said recently, out of control. It is destroying lives in industrial quantities when compared with the violence of the resistance.
No false frame like “noble cause” can ever blot out the infamy of evil men pushing the planet back to the death camp days of the past. The truth is surfacing everywhere.
Metaphors, slogans, proverbs have shaped all cultures for good or evil. In the best historical periods inspiring verbal frames have elevated and liberated human societies from oppression. The French Revolution followed the outcry of a people rising against the oppression and cruelty of greedy aristocrats: Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité (liberty, equality, brotherhood). That was a noble cause, a sincere aspiration. In dark times evil frames enslaved millions. Mussolini’s frame was: Credere, Obbedire, Combattere (believe, obey, fight). Hitler called for German supremacy with: Deutschland über Alles. The deluded Bush Administration has adopted the Mussolini-Hitler pseudo “patriotic” framing style to incite hatred of Islam as a way to justify his invasion and control of one of the world’s richest oil regions.
The sinister Orwellian aspect of right wing frames is embedded in their blatant duplicity. It is nothing new. This goes back to the invasion of native lands on this continent. “Manifest Destiny” was the false frame that justified a chain of Native Americans massacres. That evil frame was concocted by hypocrites like the present Republicans to make satanic genocide of native tribes appear as an act of Divine Will.
A transparently deceiving frame was created by the Bush mob to pay back coal and oil industries’ campaign cash bribes. This frame hides the illicit licensing of more poisonous pollution, allowing a brutal gradual repeal of our clean air and clean water legislation. It is purposely misnamed the “Clear Skies Initiative.” More than 300,000 Americans a year die victims of air pollution, 100 times the number who died on 9/11. Instead of being punished or held responsible, the corporate killers of these people are rewarded with tax cuts. The pollution costs of production — instead of coming out of their burgeoning corporate profits — are paid by the American people in this land of “freedom and justice for all…billionaires!”
It takes brass-faced impudence for conservatives to voice one of their most hypocritical frames: “Leave No Child Behind!” One wonders how criminally negligent right wingers dare to utter this grotesque misrepresentation when millions of children are left in desperate poverty behind the smoke screen of corporate media blackout. “Leave no child behind?!” What atrocious crap! That frame really means: “cast poor and black kids aside…let them starve or drown” or in Bennett’s evil words: “Let them be aborted.”
The Katrina tragedy was a wake up call, a bolt of lightning in the darkness of conservative egotism, evidencing again that Truth, in the end, will always be revealed. That irrefragable law liars never learn. It came home to conservative America with the shocking power of a hurricane. With Katrina, facts of widespread poverty, hunger, the uncared for sick in the richest country on earth were suddenly out in the open. The tempest of wind and tides aggravated by the Bush cabals’ long suppression of global warming science was a preview of coming attractions. The Administration’s choice to ignore predictions of a potential New Orleans disaster in favor repaying campaign finance bribery with tax cuts left thousands of our citizens unprotected. “Let them pull themselves up by the boot-straps!” “Let Jesus come walking on water again and save them!” So the poor were abandoned and died.
Meanwhile, America’s criminally negligent leadership was out playing golf, shopping for expensive shoes, strumming an acoustic guitar, imitating Nero while Rome burned. Now our low life politicians are busy playing the “pass the White House buck” blame-game. So much for “homeland security” farce with its bison-dung color coded alerts. The Taliban are laughing themselves silly at the Robinson, Falwell, Dobson failure of prayer. The christianoids couldn’t keep their psychotic God from devastating their holier-than-thou red states. They better go back to Sunday school.
Osama is singing, “Come get me dead or alive! Bring them on, buster-Bush!”
The storm exposed facts so overwhelming that corporate media bordellos faced in house revolts of pundit-whores who, for a few days, recovered their journalistic principles, shocked enough to protest. But that fresh air of honest reporting did not last long. Now the media pimps and harlots have been whipped back into their dungeons, tied down with even thicker chains and ordered to avoid the glaring images of a country ruled by treasonous liars like George Bush, Tom Delay, Dick Cheney, Scooter Libby, Karl Rove, Condi Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, and the rest of the cow-dung-patch mob.
Republicans do not want body counts on TV. That would upset advertisers. How can you sell cars or diapers after seeing dead bodies floating in the streets or after watching flag wrapped caskets bringing home the body parts of young Americans? Definitely not good for Halliburton’s bottomline.
On the political left the stagnant pool stinks a little less than the right wing sewer. A pathetic bunch of blindfolded donkeys has been intimidated by the loud trumpeting of elephant trunks, broadcasting endlessly deceiving verbal frames. And the Greedy Oppressive Pachyderms the (GOP) have been winning because Democrats are not even trying to be a real opposition party. The intimidated donkeys forgot that they were once the people’s party. If they don’t fight back, they may soon be extinct, leaving Democracy crushed under the iron boot of a coming neo-fascist dictatorship.
Now the remedy. If you haven’t read the explosive best-selling little book published by a brave independent publisher Chelsea Green from the best-run state of Vermont, you should get a copy ASAP to protect yourself and the future of your kids. George Lakoff’s, Don’t Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate, exposes the 30-year-long conservative linguistic-fraud that cost us our country and freedom.
A Fellini-style film now in production — DEFLATING THE ELEPHANT: The Art and Science of Framing — based on Lakoff’s ideas, will show people how to deflate rogue elephants in a short time. Find out how to effect immediate change through the power of language at: www.communication-evolution.org
Here is a frightening example of the power of words every American should hear about.
On September 9, 2005, only a month after Katrina’s blow, the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals struck an even more devastating blow to America by illegally overturning a lower court’s ruling that denied the President the authority to indefinitely detain any U.S. citizen without due process, thereby abolishing the most fundamental principles of our Constitution. This ruling set a staggering precedent for absolute executive power over citizens. No American citizen can let this outrageous, treasonous ruling stand unchallenged. The Germans made this mistake with Hitler. Let us not repeat it!
Our Constitution states: “The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.” Is there a rebellion? Not yet. Have we been invaded? No. We are the invaders. This Administration is in rebellion against our Constitution.
There can be no democracy without due process of law and a presumption of innocence.
The Fifth Amendment guarantees due process: “No person shall be… deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”
The Fourteenth Amendment contains the same guarantee
Unless we impose an absolute restoration of our Constitution and punish those who have betrayed their oath to defend it, we are no longer the land of the free.
In the words of a real patriot, Mike Whitney:
All the icons of American liberty — the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Statue of Liberty — are sad, empty shrines. The Vietnam Memorial, Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg Address, the 4th of July, the Federalist Papers, the American flag are empty souvenirs of a greatness that has vanished from America. Every man and woman who died in the service of our country, died in vain. Their sacrifice has been rendered completely worthless.
The problem is that most Americans are not well informed and don’t know that their democracy is being methodically stolen from under them. To change this is our most urgent task.
Let all be aware that by spreading false frames that incite public fear like “war on terror,” immoral media corporations, driven by evil men, have intimidated our representatives into passing legislation that violates the Constitution and our civil rights, like the maleficent “Patriot” Act. That vile, repugnant law never stopped a single act of terror: it just took away our liberty. False terror frames and outright lies swindled us into an illegal war that increased terror all over the world, made the plundering of our treasury possible, and sanctioned the pirating of a sovereign nation’s oil wealth.
All this evil was done by persistently using the power of verbal frames that demean traditional American values, values that have always been progressive. The repetition of false words through the vehicle of mass media allowed evil men to confiscate and distort the image of one of the most liberal and progressive teachers of all time: Jesus of Nazareth. They turned him into a grotesque supporter of oppression, assassinations, and ugly fanatical cults.
To survive this onslaught of poison, we must fully understand the awesome power of human language. Language can incite violence, start wars, and prevent us from resisting the destruction of our country. On the other hand, if we realize the magic of words, we can liberate ourselves from deceit. We must transmit to our young the liberal and progressive ideas we inherited from great Americans like Jefferson, Franklin, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, and others.
DEFLATING THE ELEPHANT will illustrate the science of framing so it is easy for people to use. We must deflate the rogue elephants or be crushed by them. Any person exposed to this coming film will become immune to political hogwash. The liars who dragged America in the right wing cesspool of corruption and pollution will find it impossible to deceive people who learn how to see through the transparent dishonesty of neo-con fascists. The Fitzgerald investigation is another proof that sooner or later the truth must be revealed.
Tell your friends to contact the production team of DEFLATING THE ELEPHANT at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 831-454-9191 to contribute their verbal bow and arrows. Join the rogue elephant hunt so together we can take back our country peacefully and with some deserved fun.
Let’s get started.