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, Dec. 11-18, 2017

price discrimination

paid prioritization

rhetorical claim: according to The Wall Street Journal 12/15 editorial “The Internet is Free Again”:

internet regulations have created uncertainty about what the FCC would or wouldn’t allow. This has throttled investment. Price discrimination and paid prioritization are used by many businesses [and will not] make the internet less free.

rhetorical effect: Green lights predatory and monopolistic pricing.


investing in growth

rhetorical claim: as the new tax bill takes effect, businesses will once again invest in growth and American prosperity, shaking free of  dead hand of federal regulation and uncertainty it produced. When Washington stops the beatings, growth happens on its own.

rhetorical effect: assumes that investment and hiring will drive a huge economic surge, whereas in reality most of the corporate tax saving will probably go to shareholders and buybacks. turns government regulation from a necessity to a “hardship” to be overcome. “Growth” doesn’t happen on its own, but needs the government to look the other way. When national growth, prosperity and civic health are measured solely by GDP and stock indexes, America loses its investment in human capital, tolerance, equality, and the rule of law.


Muslim apologists

rhetorical claim: why are we in the United States importing a population whose religious tenets clearly call for jihad upon non-Muslims? Muslim apologists like to point out that not all Muslims commit violent or civilizational jihad, but that is irrelevant to the question of why we would even consider taking in a population raised with a religion the dogma of which in its literal form mandates our submission or death.

For the last 1,400 years, approximately 270 million people have been murdered in the name of Islam.  This horrific outrage is not due to poverty, external oppression, or crusade.  Islamic doctrine as recorded in the faith’s holiest texts mandates jihad upon all infidels until all of mankind is under the dominion of Allah.  Nearly 61% of Quranic doctrine consists of violent verses, which call for conquest against the non-believers.

Europe is on its way to becoming an Islamist continent due to decades of Muslim immigration and a high Muslim birth rate.  The face of Western civilization in Europe, with its rich cultural history and past, is being erased with an intolerant backward 7th-century ideology devoid of pluralism, equality, and tolerance.  The adherents’ mission, to eradicate Western civilization, is being conducted upon an unsuspecting population who no longer believe in their own civilization’s worth and who seem incapable of understanding of the threat they face from Islam.

rhetorical effect: demonizes Muslims’ distorts Islam’s overall emphasis on tolerance and payer, not murder; reinforces Trump’s total ban on Muslims. Turns anyone defending Islam into an “apologist,” thus putting them on the defensive and implying that they have something to hide or apologize for. Similar to what was characterized as Obama’s “apology tour”: turning critical reflection into cravenness or hypocrisy.


people were strong in the family

rhetorical claim:  When asked by one of the only African-Americans in attendance at a September campaign event in Florence, Ala., what Trump means when he says, “Make America Great Again,” Moore responded in part: “I think it was great at the time when families were united, even though we had slavery, they cared for one another. People were strong in the family.

rhetorical effect: best explicated by Charles Blow:

See folks, this is how racism’s reasoning works: It requires a revisionist view of history, with stains removed and facts twisted. It strips away ancestral horror so that the legend of the lineage can be told as hagiography.

The sheer audacity of this historical lie, the depth of the deceit, is galling and yet it is clear that fabulists and folklorists have so thoroughly and consistently assaulted the actual truth, that this bastard truth has replaced it for those searching for an easy way out of racial responsibility.

If you can’t deal with it, lie about it.

Slavery was unfortunate, but tolerable. It was brutal, but people were happy. Enslavers were wrong, but their families were strong. These are all lies racists tell.

The same thing is happening with Roy Moore. These Republicans are willing to sacrifice Moore’s then-teenage accusers, because they believe in his fundamentalist zealotry.

That is a defining feature of these modern Republicans: contorted moral rationalization.

Moore and the GOP use the politics of memory to create false memories. They want to replace most people’s versions of the past with different ones that aren’t even good replicas. The real past–just like the real present–becomes “fake news” as we enter into the politics of memory.


a disgrace to the American justice system

rhetorical claim: Mueller’s investigation is politically biased or worse.  Sean Hannity has called Mueller a “disgrace to the American justice system” and said his investigation is “corrupt” and abusive. Newt Gingrich, says Mueller’s probe is corrupt, dishonest and a “partisan hit.”

rhetorical effect: The War on Mueller continues. In fact, NOT to investigate him is to be part of a coverup. The danger of this blame-the-messenger approach is perhaps  best explained by E.J. Dionne:

The more Mueller imperils Trump, the more McCarthyite the GOP becomes.

The apotheosis of Republican congressional collusion with Trump’s efforts to hang on at all costs came at a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee. One Republican after another attacked Mueller and the Federal Bureau of Investigation as if the latter should be placed on a new compendium of subversive organizations…When Republicans are FBI haters who are sidetracking probes into Russian subversion, the world truly is turned upside down.

Note also the statement of Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) that if every member of Mueller’s team who was “anti-Trump” were kicked off, “I don’t know if there’d be anyone left.” The implication is that even if Mueller’s investigation produced unassailable evidence of wrongdoing by Trump, we should ignore the truth, because Mueller’s team should have been vetted to exclude anyone who had a smidgen of doubt about the president.

Even if [the investigation] ultimately hurts Trump or proves Russian collusion, are Americans supposed to brainwash themselves? Trump’s allies want us to say: Too bad the president lied or broke the law, or that Russia tried to tilt our election. This FBI guy sending anti-Trump texts is far more important, so let’s just forget the whole thing.


Because we are inured to extreme partisanship and to the political right’s habit of rejecting inconvenient facts, we risk overlooking the profound political crisis that a Trumpified Republican Party could create. And the conflagration may come sooner rather than later, as Mueller zeroes in on Trump and his inner circle.

Only recently, it was widely assumed that if Trump fired Mueller, many Republicans would rise up to defend our institutions. Now, many in the party are laying the groundwork for justifying a coverup. This is a recipe for lawlessness.


government’s moral ends:

rhetorical claim: as PJ Media argues, :

Government does not exist to make us equal, but to treat us equally. It does not exist to make life fair, but to treat us fairly. Most importantly, it exists to secure our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Only in liberty can we treat each other ethically, because only in liberty can we make the choices that are the necessary condition for ethical life.

Trump has made our government more moral by making less of it: fewer regulations, fewer judges who will write law instead of obeying the law, fewer bureaucrats seeking to expand the power of their agencies, less money for the government to spend on itself. He has made government treat us more fairly and equally by ceasing to use the IRS and Justice Department for political ends like silencing enemies and skewing elections.

This is what moral government looks like. And if every male senator in America is grabbing the buttocks of some unsuspecting female while, at the same time, voting for more limited and less corrupt government, the senators are immoral, yes, but the government is more moral. That is why we should never let the leftist press game us with scandal hysteria, but should keep focused on voting in those who will help fulfill government’s moral ends.

rhetorical effect: The only morality for government is to have no morality at all. by limiting the definition of good government to what the government doesn’t do, justifies every Trump policy in the name of creating “liberty.” By arguing that the best government is one that doesn’t care about equality, fairness or regulation, makes the very concepts of social justice economic regulation seem unethical and self-serving, forms of “moral narcissism.”


conscience protection

rhetorical claim: Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said there is “wide support” among congressional Republicans for allowing medical professionals to pursue “legal action” if their personal anti-abortion beliefs are violated.

The Conscience Protection Act of 2017 would “amend the Public Health Service Act to prohibit governmental discrimination against providers of health services that are not involved in abortion.”

“Leadership will have to make the call on exactly when to be able to place it. I know [Mitch] McConnell is very pro-life as well, but this to me is not even an issue of being pro-life or not pro-life. This is allowing Americans to be able to live out their conscience and their values. Again, the conscience protection piece doesn’t stop with one abortion. It just allows individuals to say, ‘please don’t compel me to participate in that and to not have to,’” Lankford said at after a recent news conference on Capitol Hill. “There will be opposition by some. I mentally can’t understand why there would be opposition by some, but I’m sure there will be.”

Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) said conscience protection is “a civil rights issue.”

“You can’t coerce people,” he said after the press conference.

rhetorical effect: “conscience protection” is a euphemism for discrimination–whether it’s against women, minorities, the LGBTQ community, or progressives. Allows almost any kind of behavior if it is based on a matter of conscience of someone in a “faith community,” whatever that is.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s