Glossary: Key memes, counterfactuals, dog whistles, canards, euphemisms, innuendoes, insinuations, fake outrages, and obsessions in The Wall Street Journal and other GOP language factories and fever swamps, March 8-14, 2017

The Right To Try

rhetorical claim: prolonged FDA drug approval policies are depriving sick patients of needed drugs and driving up costs. Therefore, the FDA should only approve drugs for safety, not efficacy. The market will determine which drugs succeed and fail.  Patients should get the right to try new drugs to more quickly discover what’s best for them.

rhetorical effect: makes anyone arguing that drugs need to be proven effective before approval seem like part of the administrative state that Bannon says is destroying America. Will end up wasting billions of dollars  on drugs that don’t work, and, in the process, making sick people sicker and causing a lot of false hope and disappointment. But, on the bright side, will greatly increase Big Pharm’s revenue and enormous profits.


health care reform

rhetorical claim: the American Health Care Act will force states to set priorities in patient coverage–including only the truly needy– and create a more vibrant insurance market through the low-cost policies that people actually want. It will bring freedom to he health care market. defederalizing, block granting, and capping

rhetorical effect: Translations: “setting priorities in patient coverage” actually means rationing; “the truly needy” will be an ever-diminishing pool of low income patients; a “vibrant insurance market” means the right to ever-cheaper, unregulated,  and useless policies; and “policies that people actually want” hastens in a new race to the bottom. People will only think they have policies they “want” until they actually have to rely on these policies to save them from financial catastrophe. As for freedom, here’s Gail Collins’ matchless description:

There’s freedom for wealthier Americans not to pay taxes that help subsidize health insurance for their low-income fellow citizens. Freedom for those who can afford coverage to refuse to buy it. Freedom for insurance companies to hike their prices for middle-aged customers. Freedom for the states to stop providing Medicaid-backed health insurance for maternity care, when nearly half of all the births in the country are currently covered by Medicaid.

“It gives power back to the insurance companies to discriminate against women’s health care, which is more expensive, obviously,” said Senator Patty Murray of Washington.


global community fantasyland

rhetorical claim: multilateral trade agreements and other international treaty obligations only promote the one-world globalists whose main aim is to supplant US sovereignty. This global community fantasyland threatens US courts and domestic democratic institutions. The era of global governance is rapidly passing.

rhetorical effect: excuses the US from participating in any international organizations or tribunals; makes the  “America First” mentality the sole arbitrator of our stance toward climate change, environmental justice, women’s health human rights, and labor laws.


messaging problems

rhetorical claim: the lamestream media is the enemy of the people and of the Trump administration, so naturally they portray all Trump policy initiatives as chaotic failures. This is laughably not the case as Trump systematically begins to tackle immigration, a border wall, health care, and deregulation. Any “chaos” around these efforts is simply a matter of the new administration’s messaging problem, amplified by a hostile media elite always poised to pounce.

rhetorical effect: blames the media for Trump’s obvious struggles; reduces bad governance to “miscommunication”–as if a little spin can turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse. Messaging problems can be tweaked; policy problems are irredeemable without major restructuring.



rhetorical claim: ironically, college campuses have become the new centers of intolerance and hate speech. This McCarthyite speech suppression has created  a hostile atmosphere toward controversial speakers, whose very expression of ideas has been called a “violent act.”

rhetorical effect: the elimination of all campus speech codes, designed to protect vulnerable and minority populations from hate speech and prejudice. Civil liberties  (the freedom to do things) will be privileged over civil rights  (the freedom from things) as the rights of minorities are suppressed. Discriminatory harassment–which  includes conduct (oral, written, graphic or physical) directed against any person or, group of persons because of their race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, or veteran’s status and that has the purpose or reasonably foreseeable effect of creating an offensive, demeaning, intimidating, or hostile environment for that person or group of persons–will be permitted; marginalized, oppressed groups will become even more marginalized and oppressed;


our civilization

rhetorical claim: there is a clash of civilizations between Islam and the West, and we are committing cultural suicide by admitting Muslims immigrants. As Iowa House member Steve King puts it,  “culture and demographics are our destiny.  We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.” National identity and racial identity overlap entirely

rhetorical effect: reinforces the claim that the GOP owns the “America” brand and so to oppose them is un-American. (Thus “our” is not an inclusive term.) Puts economic nationalism at the center of all US foreign and economic policy. Offers tacit support to racism, xenophobia, and and anti-religion violence. Defines civilization solely in terms of Western values and accomplishments.


deep state mischief

rhetorical claim: Democrats play to win, though this time with a perversity and desperation that’s downright scary. They’re trying to scorch the earth — and then rule among the ruins. Their efforts to overturn Trump’s election are not just politics as usual. Slandering Trump as Putin’s Manchurian candidate-turned-president is a gambit aimed at destroying the man and his movement.

Obama — formally or casually — sanctioning Trump Tower wiretaps without due process is criminal. Deep State mischief, in concert with Obama holdovers, threatens liberties. Loretta Lynch encouraging violence in the streets promotes lawlessness. Democrats’ silence at street violence is agreement. Democrats’ ploys are wildly irresponsible, promoting even greater divisions and conflict. This invites reprisals toward a future Democratic president. Does the nation survive if Democrats are fighting for a zero-sum win?

rhetorical effect: makes any opposition seem subversive and even treasonous; refutes any claims about Trump corruption, incompetence, or irrationality; makes Dems the opponents of liberty and the rule of law.


liberal issues

rhetorical claim: liberal virtue-signalling results in a sanctimonious testament of lies and self-serving hypocrisies. Their bullying lies and non-negotiable demands–black lives matter; women’s rights are human rights, science is real–are a form of political agitation and the suppression of free speech.

rhetorical effect: creates conditions for what Putin calls a “post-truth world” where power trumps reason and economic prosperity is the sole measure of political success.


black suffering

rhetorical claim: Truth-telling is agaon possible thanks to Donald Trump. This is especially true when it comes to telling the truth about inner cities and black suffering. As explained by Lloyd Marcus on The Federalist website:

Then, there is the black thing. Leftists say you had better not tell the truth about why blacks are suffering in cities controlled by Democrats — generational poverty, epidemic school dropouts, high out of wedlock births, over 70% fatherless households, high unemployment and record-breaking black-on-black crime.

All this black suffering is the result of Democrats pardoning blacks of all personal responsibility for their lives. Democrats claim all issues plaguing blacks are the fault of white racist America. This leftist poisonous lie robs blacks of their personal power by placing their success or failure in the hands of someone other than themselves. Leftists hate this truth. America is the greatest land of opportunity on the planet for all who choose to go for it! Period.

Despicably, leftists lie claiming cops routinely murder blacks. The truth is blacks are killing each other to the tune of 20, 30, and 40 every weekend in cities like Chicago and Baltimore, controlled by democrats for decades.

But Leftists forbid us from telling the truth about black lives. Doesn’t common sense suggest that if Leftists truly cared about black lives, they would relish an honest discussion? Leftists high-tech crucified white TV commentator Bill O’Reilly for compassionately daring to address the real reasons why blacks are suffering. For years, I have been routinely excoriated, called an Uncle Tom and a traitor to my race for simply stating truths; petitioning blacks to assume responsibility, which equals real black empowerment.

rhetorical effect: blaming the victim for institutional and historical violence and oppression; justifying the demolition of the social safety net; condoning police violence, and creating an overall atmosphere of racist hatred.


the Russia insinuation

rhetorical claim: the ignominious collapse of the Democratic claims and insinuations that Donald Trump was improperly connected to the Russian government has de-escalated the Democrats’ campaign against the president — from a frenzied assault seeking impeachment and removal for a cause to be named later, to guerrilla war. Russian collusion has vanished down the same deep hole as the charges of sexism, racism, and a will to autocracy.

rhetorical effect: trivializes and dismisses any talk of the ever-more-apparent Russia-Trump connection; renders Trump impervious to criticism; equates all critical media coverage as fake news.

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