Glossary: Key memes, counterfactuals, dog whistles, canards, euphemisms, innuendoes, insinuations, fake outrages, and obsessions in GOP language factories and fever swamps, Oct. 29-Nov. 6, 2018

#MeToo

rhetorical claim: now exclusively used as a weapon of mass political destruction; has lost all credibility when used by so-called “victims”.

rhetorical effect: turns victims into perps; assumes women are liars; turns a historical moment into a vast left-wing conspiracy.

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incendiary rhetoric

rhetorical claim: media figures and Democratic leaders are to blame for political violence. Recent attempts by liberal protesters to challenge GOP officials in public are more responsible for the national unrest than the president’s combative politics or the rise of conspiracy theories on the right. Mr. Trump’s team rejected any linkage between his language and the acts of isolated extremists. “Everyone has their own style, and frankly, people on both sides of the aisle use strong language about our political differences,” Vice President Mike Pence told NBC News. “But I just don’t think you can connect it to acts or threats of violence.” Trump himself tweeted: “The Fake News is doing everything in their power to blame Republicans, Conservatives and me for the division and hatred that has been going on for so long in our Country,” he wrote. “Actually, it is their Fake & Dishonest reporting which is causing problems far greater than they understand!”

rhetorical effect: Justifies Trump’s defense of white nationalists, his dehumanizing language about undocumented immigrants and his nativist appeals. Even though those theories appear to have driven the suspects behind the bombs sent to Democratic officials and the mass shooting Saturday at a Pittsburgh synagogue, charging that the media and Democratic protesters have been largely responsible for inciting hate, Trump and his allies have seemingly equated the influence of activists and journalists with the singular power and reach of the American presidency.

“The idea that Trump and conservatives share no blame for scaremongering on immigrants and the refugees is really ridiculous,” said William Kristol, a veteran conservative commentator and Trump critic who is Jewish — and was called a “loser” by Trump at a Saturday rally in Illinois. “A little dignity and cessation of ‘what-about-ism’ or ‘you-too-ism’ would be welcome.”

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them or us

rhetorical claim: Democrats are “evil,” “un-American” and “treasonous” subversives who are in league with criminals. It’s either them or us in this election, which has turned into an all-out battle for the existence of the real America.

rhetorical effect: Eliminates the political middle. Gives the unhinged right an excuse to display their blatant racism, As Max Boot put it:

Most of all, I’m sick and tired of Republicans who feel that Trump’s blatant bigotry gives them license to do the same — with Rep. Pete Olson (R-Tex.) denouncing his opponent as an “Indo-American carpetbagger,” Florida gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis warning voters not to “monkey this up” by electing his African American opponent, Rep. Duncan D. Hunter (R-Calif.) labeling his “Palestinian Mexican” opponent a “security risk” who is “working to infiltrate Congress,” and Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) accusing his opponent, who is of Indian Tibetan heritage, of “selling out Americans” because he once worked at a law firm that settled terrorism-related cases against Libya.

This hate speech also ought to put an end to Trump apologists, as argued by Ruth Marcus:

To all the Republicans who think that words don’t matter, who rationalize support for the president because of judges or tax cuts, who insist that domestic terrorism is unrelated to normalization of virulent racist rhetoric and who remain silent believing they have no moral responsibility for this brand of politics, I would say this is reason enough to vote, as my colleague Max Boot has suggested, against each and every Republican on the ballot. We have not seen individual Republican candidates, let alone House and Senate leaders, denounce the ad or insist that Trump take it down. Silence is assent. And therefore each one deserves the ire of decent voters.

To all the White House staffers who think they are “saving” the United States from harm, who bristle at the notion they should be shunned from polite society (not harassed, shunned) and who insist that they be treated like staffers of previous administrations (e.g. thanked for their service), I would say that you will share the blame for a dark chapter in American history.

To Rupert Murdoch, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Lou Dobbs, Fox shareholders, Fox producers and Fox executives and other on-air Fox personalities, I would say that this is in large part your doing. You’ve spent years drumming up fear of immigrants, misrepresenting the danger they pose, blurring the line between criminals and noncriminals (including “dreamers”) and sending dog whistles — no, make that trumpet blasts — to the white nationalists. I would say to you that Fox is not a news organization but a source of material and affirmation for the worst elements in our society, a small sliver of whom become violent. It’s not a place where reputable news people should want to work, nor a network that advertisers should support or viewers should indulge.

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it’s costing us billions

this crazy lunatic policy

rhetorical claim: as the President put it

The Democrats want to continue giving automatic birthright citizenship to every child born to an illegal alien. Even if they’ve been on our soil for a mere matter of seconds. Hundreds of thousands of children born to illegal immigrants are made automatic citizens of the United States every year, because of this crazy lunatic policy that we can end.

And they’re all made instantly eligible for every privilege and benefit of American citizenship. All of you, you get nothing more than they do. They’re full citizens. And it’s costing us many, many billions of dollars a year.

rhetorical effect: Two more of Trump’s many hate narratives. Us vs. themism,  even if “they” are legal US citizens, with full protection under the law. The “crazy lunatic policy” is not a policy at all of course, but a cornerstone of American democracy, enshrined in the 14th Amendment. Pits US citizens competing against each other, with some apparently “more equal than others.” They cost us, and so they should not be granted the privileges of American citizenship that you are granted, because this deprives you of what is yours. This meme proves once again that Trump knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

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full Trumpism

rhetorical claim: Trump told thousands of red-capped supporters, “If Cryin’ Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi and the legendary Maxine Waters, if they take power, they will try to erase our gains and eradicate our progress.

“The Democrats want to raise your taxes. They want to restore job-killing regulations. They want to shut down your steel mills. And that will happen.”

“They want to take away your real health care and use socialism to turn America into Venezuela,” Trump continued. “Lovely place, lovely place. And Democrats want to totally open borders.”

rhetorical effect: As Phillip Rucker explains,

President Trump is painting an astonishingly apocalyptic vision of America under Democratic control in the campaign’s final days, unleashing a torrent of falsehoods and portraying his political opponents as desiring crime, squalor and poverty.

As voters prepare to render their first verdict on his presidency in Tuesday’s midterm elections, Trump is claiming that Democrats want to erase the nation’s borders and provide sanctuary to drug dealers, human traffickers and MS-13 killers. He is warning that they would destroy the economy, obliterate Medicare and unleash a wave of violent crime that endangers families everywhere. And he is alleging that they would transform the United States into Venezuela with socialism run amok.

Trump has never been hemmed in by fact, fairness or even logic. The 45th president proudly refuses to apologize and routinely violates the norms of decorum that guided his predecessors. But at one mega-rally after another in the run-up to Tuesday’s midterm elections, Trump has taken his no-boundaries political ethos to a new level — demagoguing the Democrats in a whirl of distortion and using the power of the federal government to amplify his fantastical arguments.

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protecting the integrity of the vote

rhetorical claim: acts of so-called voter suppression are just legal ways to guarantee the integrity of the vote.

rhetorical effect: Voter suppression is a slow-moving coup, and completely undermines the integrity of the vote–the very thing they say they are protecting.  What is voter suppression anyway but an attempt to thwart the will of the people? And what is democracy itself if not a government formed by the will of the people and designed to protect their rights — the rights of all of them, whether they are in the majority or the minority? In its baldest terms, any attempt to prevent people from voting, or to dilute the governing force of those who do manage to vote, is really nothing less than an act of treason.

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psychological warfare

rhetorical claim: after two years’ worth of psychological warfare directed at Trumpism by the Deep State, the liberal, mainstream media, academia, the Dems and the Establishment, public education, popular culture, films, television, music, etc., the day of reckoning is here at last.

The nation is in turmoil largely because of the MSM. Many of the issues that have emerged and been flogged to death are nothing more than emotional triggers. Their purpose is to obscure larger more important concerns – like the existential threats posed by Jihad, Red China, and massive illegal immigration, the loss of our constitutionally protected rights including to free speech, and so many more.

The latest looming illegal alien caravan invasion for example – a major lead story in recent weeks – should never have happened. If it did, it could have been dealt with swiftly and definitively without the MSM dragging it out and making it a big polarizing issue to help the Democrats. But of course it is another in a series of PsyOps – made to guilt trip the white middle class population, especially “educated white independent voters in the suburbs” –  the swing voters who will hold the balance of power this year, as we have been told.

The further descent of the MSM – especially but not limited to CNN and MSNBC – into a sea of total lies and left wing propaganda is mind boggling. Nothing like it has ever been seen before. The complete debasement of almost all of the nation’s media and journalism – these purveyors of Fake News – truly has become, as President Trump has insisted, an “Enemy of the People.” This the end point of the century-long march toward Marxism.

rhetorical effect: more conspiracy theory run amok. Criminalizing free speech as an act of psychological terrorism.Sowing the seeds of distrust of all institutions, in order to justify attacks on freedoms of speech and assembly, immigration, diversity and racial and gender equality, etc. Trotting out the long-since dated chestnut of “Marxism.”

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open season on whites

rhetorical claim: The increasing threat of violence against Trump supporters continues to expand. Violence is a classic tactic employed throughout history by hardcore leftists, Communists, Bolsheviks, Maoists, Castroites, and Chavistas in Venezuela.

The fact is, it is already unsafe in many areas of the country to be visible in public as a conservative, Trump-supporting, Christian white person. It is open season on what is now this new minority. Where will that lead, since it’s growing worse? And the Democrats have openly advocated their unhinged followers to get in the face of Republicans and make their lives miserable.

Whites are now the new N-word in this country. Last week, innocuous handmade signs that were posted in a Texas neighborhood reading “It’s OK to be White” were treated like a hate crime. Police said they were searching for those responsible so they can be charged and prosecuted. No more I’M OK, YOU’RE OK. Similar signs popped up at Tufts University near Boston. Again, officials there decried them as hate speech and said they will not be tolerated.  The nation’s anti-white trajectory continues.

Your daughter’s daffy feminism, the lionization of increasingly bizarre sexual anomalies, undying dream of economic collectivism and Christophobia are all skirmishes that need managing but America is becoming dangerously anti-white at a time when with the world’s only white-majority societies are becoming white minority.

The main reason Trump is popular is not because he “hates brown people” like the Left hopes or even because he’s some free market bulwark like Reagan. Trump sees what awaits our posterity if society does not change course.

rhetorical effect: tries to turn whites, the nation’s most dominant and powerful majority, into the new pariahs and victims. Likens diversity to anti-whiteness. Hopelessly divides America in a way that will take decades to heal.

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affluent progressivism

rhetorical claim: As Victor David Hanson puts it:

The old working-class Democrat ethos was insidiously superseded by a novel
affluent progressivism.

Conservationism morphed into radical green activism. Warnings about global warming transmogrified into a fundamentalist religious doctrine. Once contested social issues such as gay marriage, abortion, gun control, and identity politics were now all-or-nothing litmus tests of not just ideological but moral purity.

A strange new progressive profile supplanted the old caricature of a limousine liberal, in that many of the new affluent social-justice warriors rarely seemed to be subject to the ramifications of their own ideological zealotry. New share-the-wealth gentry were as comfortable as right-wing capitalists with private prep schools, expansive and largely apartheid gated neighborhoods, designer cars, apprentices, and vacations.

For the other half of America, cause and effect were soon forgotten, and a new gospel about “losers” (deplorables, irredeemables, crazies, clingers, wacko birds) explained why the red-state interior seemed to stagnate both culturally and economically — as if youth first turned to opioids and thereby drove industry away rather than vice versa.

Half the country, the self-described beautiful and smart people, imagined a future of high-tech octopuses, financial investments, health-care services, and ever more government employment. The other half still believed that America could make things, farm, mine, produce gas and oil — if international trade was fair and the government was a partner rather than indifferent or hostile.

rhetorical effect: us vs. themism; defensive stance against inexorable global forces; siege-and-fortress mentality; sneering inferiority complex; hatred of change.

Glossary: Key memes, counterfactuals, dog whistles, canards, euphemisms, innuendoes, insinuations, fake outrages, and obsessions in GOP language factories and fever swamps, Oct. 23-28, 2018

the real drivers of debt

the demographics of the future

rhetorical claim: According to Mitch McConnell, the rising budget deficit is “disturbing” and  “entitlement programs” are “the real drivers of the debt” and must be adjusted “to the demographics of the future.” McConnell also promises to try again to repeal the ACA, calling the failure to achieve that “the one disappointment of this Congress.” Cuts in “entitlements,” he suggested, must be done in a bipartisan fashion, while ACA repeal is a partisan Republican fixation. If Democrats take the House, he will push for cuts in Social Security. If Republicans retain control, they will try to repeal Obamacare again.

rhetorical effect: Beltway code for cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Republicans pass tax cuts largely for the rich and for corporations, then use the exploding deficits to justify slashing core security programs that most Americans rely on. Social Security provides the majority of cash income for 61 percent of seniors, and 90 percent of income for one-third of the elderly.  As Jennifer Rubin explains,

This Republican duck-and-cover effort impedes the debate we need to have. Corporations continue to abandon pension plans; most Americans have no retirement plan at work. Boomers are beginning to retire, after laboring during the decades of unprecedented wage stagnation. Rising health-care costs continue to eat up small raises for workers. Congress should be moving to expand Social Security, not cut it, and to make health care universal and affordable, not try to weaken the programs we have. If Trump and Republicans succeed in their mendacious scare campaign against those calling for Medicare-for-all, they will torpedo progress on any of these issues. And for that, millions of Americans will pay dearly.

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the politics of personal destruction

rhetorical claim:  The aftermath of the Brett Kavanaugh hearings continues. Chuck Grassley has referred Michael Avenatti to the Justice Department for a criminal investigation. He is right to do so.

As Judiciary Chairman, Senator Grassley’s burden was to preside over the extraordinary chaos that engulfed the committee after its Democratic members brought forth accusations of sexual misconduct against then Judge, now Justice, Kavanaugh.

Amid high political tension, Mr. Avenatti, famous only for representing porn star Stormy Daniels, produced another accuser who claimed to have been gang-raped at a party attended by Mr. Kavanaugh in the early 1980s. Senator Grassley’s criminal referral alleges that Mr. Avenatti and his client, Julie Swetnick, made false statements to the committee’s investigators, which is a crime.

“I don’t take lightly making a referral of this nature,” Senator Grassley said, “but ignoring this behavior will just invite more of it in the future.” Deterring the politics of personal destruction sounds like an excellent idea.

rhetorical effect: Attacking the attacker rhetoric demeans and even delegitimizes any legal action or criticism brought against Trump or his administration as both  “personal” and destructive. Tries to criminalize free speech by turning Kavanaugh into the victim.

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the Antifa threat

rhetorical claim: according to the American Thinker blog, the Swamp continues to lionize the ultra-left

Antifa mobocracy. Antifa operates with near impunity due to supporting the establishment’s values of open borders, globalist socialism, censorship, social degeneracy, and limitless centralized power. There is an organized network of leftist lawyers who will defend these terrorists free of charge, and countless deep state apparatchiks working as judges, journalists, law enforcement officials, university administrators, and federal bureaucrats who regularly abuse their power to protect these unabashedly violent activists. This is a far worse problem than Antifa merely getting payoffs from Soros and other far-left oligarchs through their shady non-profit networks…The leftists tuned us out when we talked about nonaggression, the Bill of Rights, the Constitution, free-market economics, and all of our other talking points. These people are jackals and on the march. Complacency only emboldens them. It is time for unity to emerge amongst the right, along with an understanding that we are all under attack and all in this together. It is time for unity to emerge amongst the right, along with an understanding that we are all under attack and all in this together. Whether you are a moderate Christian like Brett Kavanaugh or a rowdy Trump-supporting Proud Boy or anywhere in between, the organized left means business and are rapidly advancing to destroy you and everything you hold dear.

rhetorical effect: Trump uses this right-wing paranoid conspiracy theory to shore up his base and undercut the media. This rage and paranoia is what leads to mail bombs and, ultimately, to attempts to he suppression of free speech and the media. Time to start preparing for a new Civil War?

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tech censorship

rhetorical claim: Tech companies have been censoring and will continue to censor the news to prevent “fake news” and “hate speech” from spreading.  Congress should pass the Social Media Anti-Censorship Act (SMACA), which would “prohibit censorship of lawful speech on major social media platforms.”

rhetorical effect: government interference is search results; tHe nationalization and even control of  the Internet by the GOP.

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Deep State henchmen

rhetorical claim: The process by which the FBI and Department of Justice were corrupted into serving as political attack machines for the Democrats is finally coming into focus.  In an article in The Hill that is today’s read of the day, a retired senior FBI executive puts together the evidence already on the record to offer a roadmap of how the politicization of these powerful bureaucracies was accomplished.

Kevin R. Brock, who is identified as “former assistant director of intelligence for the FBI, was an FBI special agent for 24 years and principal deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC),” sees Andrew McCabe as the point man, pulled up through the career bureaucracy of the bureau by his mentor, James Comey, who was, after all, an outsider political appointee in need of a henchman to implement his political machinations.  Once Comey was fired, McCabe became the key figure leading the law enforcement branch of the Deep State’s resistance to Trump.

rhetorical effect: this purely fanciful confecting of “facts” will continue forever, like Benghazi. Both are part of the GOP’s long-running Clinton Derangement Syndrome, their Great White Whale: a phantasm that has seized hold of their souls and will destroy them in their endless pursuit of it.

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incitement

rhetorical claim: the media’s endless battering and baiting of Trump incites his base and directly translates into their anger and resentment. They have truly become the enemy of the people–the vast majority of whom, especially in flyover America– support Trump.

rhetorical effect: as argued by Jennifer Rubin:

Incitement is defined as “an act of urging on or spurring on or rousing to action.”

Trump and his defenders claim the mainstream media incites anger. There is no denying that his followers get angry when they read news accounts that do not adopt their conspiracy theories or when journalists debunk Trump’s falsehoods or when wrongdoing in his administration is revealed. However, incitement to hate and attempts to stir anger along gender, racial and ethnic lines do not come from the press; they come from the president.

Trump calls the press the “enemy of the people” and describes journalists as “very bad people,” “truly bad people,” “the worst,” “among the most dishonest groups of people I have had to deal with,” “corrupt,” “a great danger to our country,” and “troublemakers.” He encourages his crowds to turn around to harangue members of the media covering his events, and at times has directed his attention — and the crowd’s abuse — at a single journalist. When demonizing a specific outlet, he most frequently picks CNN.

It should be obvious that such language is designed to increase anger and resentment in his base, to delegitimize the free press and to suggest it is undeserving of its constitutional protections. (He actually threatened to “pull the license” on NBC for its unfavorable reporting.) Such language from a president is unprecedented in modern American history. His followers get the message; they chant and insult the traveling press, and social media is full of abusive, threatening and/or hateful messages directed to or about the press.

One would think the distinction between critical coverage (even unfair coverage!) or persuasive commentary, on one hand, and, on the other, vituperative, dehumanizing speech designed to provoke an emotional, irrational response should be obvious. And yet Trump and his ilk blame the media for a toxic political environment that has cast a pallor over our politics since his election…Trump’s notion that any criticism of him (no matter how provable) is equivalent to his baseless insults, expressions of bigotry and praise for violence is the sort of moral equivalence that conservatives used to deplore.

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Shariah law in Europe

the robust exchange of knowledge and ideas

rhetorical claim: As argued in The National Review:

In European law, It is verboten to say things that might upset Muslims. Particularly offensive is mention of Islam’s many doctrinal tenets that make us cringe in the 21st century — approbation of child marriage, violent jihad, the treatment of women as chattel, the duty to kill apostates, and so on. That these tenets are accurately stated, supported by undeniable scriptural grounding, is beside the point. Or as the ECHR put it, reliance on scripture could be classified as “an abusive attack on the Prophet of Islam, which could stir up prejudice and put at risk religious peace.”

What the vestiges of Western civilization are coming to: I say something that is true; it hurts your feelings, so — of course — you blow up a building; and it’s my fault…

If a society is to be a functioning, flourishing, free society, it must safeguard the robust exchange of knowledge and ideas. Absent that, the rule of reason dies, and with it freedom of conscience, equality before the law, due process, property rights, and equality of opportunity.

Islamists and their transnational-progressive allies seek to redefine democracy as a guarantee of domestic tranquility, on the road to global tranquility in a post-Westphalian order. It is a sweet-sounding roadmap to tyranny, in which “tranquility” is enforced Soviet-style, with an official version of history and truth that is not open to question or debate. Your “freedom” to speak is strictly limited to those confines.

There is no free speech in Islam. Sharia states do not merely forbid speech that insults or denigrates Islam; they regard as blasphemy — and punish with cruelty — any form of expression that casts Islam in an unfavorable light.

rhetorical effect: reduces Islam to a totalitarian state bent on world domination; suppresses free speech; defines “the robust exchange of knowledge and ideas” as discourse that reinforce Christianity, white supremacy, and all things Trump. Argues for free religious speech while condemning Islamic religious speech, thus invoking the very thing (in this case, censorship) it ostensibly opposes.

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fear-mongering

rhetorical claim: In their own smear and fear campaign, The Dems claim that Republicans are campaigning on fear. At least, that’s the latest overwhelming consensus that the journalistic hivemind occasionally produces. And when the GOP is not stoking unfounded terror in the hearts of their constituents, they’re being patently mendacious.

The Washington Post declared that Trump and the GOP have settled on “fear” and “falsehoods” as a closing argument, with a little “racially tinged rhetoric” as a topper. On health care and entitlements, the report noted, the GOP has shown a willingness to “instill fear in their electorate.” On that topic, CNN’s reporters also accused Republicans of appealing to “fear and misdirection.”

rhetorical effect: You have to read GOP rhetoric backwards and upside down, as if you are deciphering it in a mirror . As is the case of the politiscripts cited above (incitement, the politics of personal destruction, the real drivers of public debt, etc.) the GOP’s language is primarily used to reverse engineer any liberal or progressive claims–calls for tolerance become a form of intolerance, or gun control laws lead to more shootings, etc. Turning the tables, false equivalencies and Whataboutism are their means and ends, their weapons of mass distraction. They create the fear, then make the voters fear the fear that has been artificially constructed. Isn’t this a description of hysteria?

Glossary: Key memes, counterfactuals, dog whistles, canards, euphemisms, innuendoes, insinuations, fake outrages, and obsessions in GOP language factories and fever swamps, Oct. 14-19, 2018

Democratic bloodlust

rhetorical claim: the majority of voters are now expressing about their extreme distaste for the Democrats’ bloodlust. They see it for what it is: there is no search for truth, it’s not about justice. It’s a well-orchestrated political hit-job designed to destroy a good man and accomplished judge because he represents an end to Leftist control of the Supreme Court which they have used since the 1930s as a super-legislature to force their radical, dehumanizing agenda on the country over the objections of the American people. At least they know what’s at stake. When looking back on the 1930s and Britain’s failure to rearm or oppose Hitler when it would have been easy, Churchill described the nation as having been ‘lost in a pacifist daydream.’ The same could be said for some Republican Senators who seem not to know that the new politics is, sadly, one of no holds barred political warfare. They need not engage in the immoral tactics of the Democrats, but they must at least recognize what they’re up against.

This will have an impact on the upcoming midterm elections—but not the way Democrats will hope. They envision their pussy-hat wearing legions descending on the polls and sweeping into power a host of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez clones and their “male allies.” “This is it comrades,” you can hear them say, “today we overthrow the patriarchy!” But no. They have done, once again, for Republicans what Republicans could not do for themselves: energize the base.

rhetorical effect: classic table-turning: in their no holds barred, Total War mode, the GOP accuses the Dems of the same. Dems are also smeared as “immoral,” “radical,” “dehumanizing” and Communists (“comrade”). Labeling  political opposition as “bloodlust” plays into the meme of the Dems as hypocrites who only care about getting and keeping power and also on the conspiratorial idea that the Dems want to “foist” their radical Leftism onto “the American people,” as if the Dems are un American people.

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Donald Trump in Full

(aka, letting Trump be Trump)

rhetorical claim: Kellyanne Conway says it’s time to unleash Donald Trump in Full.

rhetorical effect: unfiltered, unedited, unleashed: the Full Donald just doubles down on lies, mendacity, cruel taunting, and the flouting of all moral norms. Expect the worst the next two weeks.

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I never did anything wrong in the first place

I made the right decision at the time

I did it but it’s not illegal

rhetorical claim: President Trump is often accused of things he never did, such as collude with Russians, profited from government business with his companies, paid off Stormy Daniels with campaign funds, etc.

rhetorical effect: the Trump three-step retreat: 1) I never did it in the first place 2) I may have done it unwittingly because I was misinformed or trusted the wrong people 3) I did it but it isn’t illegal anyway.

Never admit you were wrong or made a mistake because you always want to appear strong.

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being a baby

rhetorical claim: Trump says he never wants to appear to be a “baby.”

rhetorical effect: being a “baby” not only means being defenseless but also being civil, sympathetic, generous, tolerant, gracious, accommodating, cooperative and moral or ethical. The irony of course is that Trump is the ultimate enfant terrible. As William Galston puts it in the Wall Street Journal:

Mr. Trump has a consistent way of judging people. Strong is good, weak is bad. Big is impressive, small is defective: “Little Marco.” Winners are admirable, while losers are contemptible. A corollary is that there is neither dishonorable victory nor honorable defeat, which is why Mr. Trump poured scorn during his candidacy on John McCain for having been captured — never mind McCain’s heroic conduct as a prisoner of war.

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bourgeois values

rhetorical claim: minorities could overcome economic and educational disparities by embracing bourgeois values, including child-rearing within marriage, hard work, self-discipline on and off the job, and respect for authority. It’s quite revealing that Dems see the espousal of these values as “hate speech.” The late 1960s took aim at the bourgeois ethic, encouraging an antiauthoritarian, adolescent, wish-fulfillment ideal [of] sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll that was unworthy of, and unworkable for, a mature, prosperous adult society.” Today, the consequences of that cultural revolution are all around us: lagging education levels, the lowest male work-force participation rate since the Great Depression, opioid abuse, and high illegitimacy rates.

rhetorical effect: toxic racism, sexism, homophobia, tribalism, the erosion of standards of decency, tolerance and charity, and the encouragement of a Darwinian, winner-take-all society.

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we don’t want to lose any jobs

rhetorical claim: when pressed on his denial of man-made climate change, Trump said,”I don’t want to lose millions and millions of jobs.” Trump also says that punishing the Saudis would cost lots of money and jobs in lost arms sales.

rhetorical effect: dollars before decency, today’s jobs before tomorrow’s earth. Trump indeed knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

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Trump’s unexpressed thoughts

rhetorical claim: Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana’s said, in relation to Trump’s characterization of Stormy Daniels as a “horseface”,  “We’ve all done something like that before.” To which Kennedy unhelpfully added that he believes the president “grows anxious when he has unexpressed thoughts.”

rhetorical effect: makes you realize that we are all trapped inside Trump’s id. conjures up the unsettling thought that we are now just prisoners trapped inside Trump’s rage and bottomless vindictiveness. The Trump Wound oozes bile and venom like some toxic, infernal volcano of the soul as his “unexpressed thoughts” sooner or later surface. Thus he defends Nazi sympathizers, Confederate generals, and murderous dictators the world over. Unlike with the Sphinx-like Obama, everyone already knows just what Trump really has on his mind, or maybe just lurking under it. Trump is truly the American id, unleashed, barely censored, and annihilating.

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tough cookie

rhetorical claim: In praise of Montana congressman Greg Gianforte, President Trump said:

“Never wrestle him. You understand that? Never. Any guy who can do a body-slam. He’s my kind of,” said President Trump, mimicking the act of body-slamming someone,”he’s my guy. … So I was in Rome with a lot of the leaders from other countries … And I heard about it. And we endorsed Greg very early, but I had heard that he body-slammed a reporter.”

Applause and cheers rose from the audience.

“And he was way up. And he was way up, and I said … ‘Oh, this is terrible, he’s going to lose the election.’ Then I said, ‘Well, wait a minute, I know Montana pretty well, I think it might help him.’ And it did. Nah, he’s a great guy. Tough cookie.”

rhetorical effect: endorses physical assault of the media; encourages lawless violence and silencing of first amendment rights; further erodes civility and tolerance, and turns politics into an open war with no rules. It seems that in Trumptown you’re either a “baby” or a “tough cookie.”

 

 

 

 

Glossary: Key memes, counterfactuals, dog whistles, canards, euphemisms, innuendoes, insinuations, fake outrages, and obsessions in GOP language factories and fever swamps, Sept. 27-Oct 9, 2018

no big deal

rhetorical claim:  the administration has decided it is really no problem to freeze federal fuel-efficiency standards, though this would increase greenhouse-gas emissions. Why? Because, the administration reasons, the planet’s temperature is already set to rise by 7 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century — so a little bit more warming will hardly matter. They also argue that radiation exposure is not as dangerous as it seems, and that a little bit of it may actually be good for us.

rhetorical effect: the “no big deal” ploy not only demeans any findings or policies they don’t like, but turns the logic of regulation inside-out: we shouldn’t regulate to protect because regulation causes even bigger problems without addressing underlying problems, which you can’t do anything about anyway. It’s a weird combination of fatalism and outright hostility toward regulation-as-protection. Moreover, they argue that “small differences” are not differences at all–so that you might as well not regulate guns since such regulation would make “no difference” in gun deaths.

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respect

rhetorical claim: Dr. Ford should be respected, not insulted, not ignored.

rhetorical effect: like the entire GOP  Kavanaugh campaign, this disingenuous plea for “respect” is self-contradictory: they “respect” her but claim she’s either a liar, a pawn of the vast left-wing conspiracy, or just plain confused. Call this cynicism or irony, but they clearly mean the opposite of what they say. In the same fashion, “hearing her out” means letting her talk until she shuts up; calling her testimony “compelling” means it’s really just a vivid lie, and saying she “shouldn’t be insulted” means humoring her to the extent of appearing to care about what she says but dismissing it from the start. False respect is like false outrage: manufactured emotion and smug condescension  designed to claim the high moral ground. “Respect” is thus an insult.

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originalism

rhetorical claim: In July, Leonard Leo, executive vice president of the “constitutional originalist Federalist Society,” as RealClearPolitics phrased it, told Fox News:

Any Supreme Court confirmation is transformative. This is a court that is often equally divided. At the end of the day, I think what’s really important to remember is that there’s been a movement on the court toward being more originalist and textualist. In other words, the idea that law means something, it has determinate meaning. And that’s the trend that I think this president wants to continue.

rhetorical effect: as Charles Blow argues:

when I think of originalism, I think this: Many of the founders owned slaves; in the Constitution they viewed black people as less than fully human; they didn’t want women or poor white men to vote. The founders, a bunch of rich, powerful white men, didn’t want true democracy in this country, and in fact were dreadfully afraid of it.

Now, a bunch of rich, powerful white men want to return us to this sensibility, wrapped in a populist “follow the Constitution” rallying cry and disguised as the ultimate form of patriotism.

We have to learn to see everything around us, all that is happening on the political front, through that lens. This is what the extreme measures on illegal immigration and even the efforts to dramatically slash legal immigration are all about.

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economic nationalism

rhetorical claim: as explained in The Financial Times

Eric Chewning, deputy assistant secretary of defence for industrial policy: “The US is strategically repositioning for [a] period of interstate competition. A competition that recognises the inter-relationship between economic security and national security.” As part of this, the Pentagon is having ongoing conversations with US multinationals about issues like IP theft, insourcing, and so on. “Based on our conversations, corporations recognise that the strategic conditions are changing,” says Chewing. “As China continues to pursue the objectives laid out in Made in China 2025 and actively distorts the economic playing field in favour of their national champions, western businesses will also likely need to re-evaluate their confidence in the long-term China business case.”

Translation: businesses may, by choice or by force, have to take sides in this new trade war/cold war. The same is true in China. I moderated an event last week at the China Institute in New York, with former Google China head and venture capitalist Kai-Fu Lee (pictured below). He told me he doesn’t expect to be able to make any further investments in the US, thanks to tighter rules around capital inflows. He believes that the US and China will develop their own separate technology ecosystems, with the big race being between Google, the company, and China, the country, in terms of who is able to develop the most sophisticated artificial intelligence systems.

rhetorical effect: total war between the US and China over trade, economic influence, and the spread of technology. The end of economic globalization, and a return to a Cold War mentality.

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the war on men

rhetorical claim: a culture of victimization has been foisted on America by angry, vengeful feminists. All of our sons, brothers, fathers and husbands–good men–are in mortal danger of having their lives ruined by one of these harpies.

rhetorical effect: turns victimizers into victims by presuming that all women claiming assault or either lying or mistaken.

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angry mob

rhetorical claim: best described by Robert Costa:

The characterization evokes fear of an unknown and out-of-control mass of people, and it taps into grievances about the nation’s fast-moving cultural and demographic shifts that Republicans say are working against them. With its emphasis on the impact on traditional values and white voters, particularly men, it strikes the same notes as earlier Trump-fanned attention to immigrants, MS-13 gang members and African American football players protesting police treatment of young black men….

This time, the GOP’s foil is composed of leftists, elitists and feminists, of academics and celebrities, of Trump nemesis Michael Avenatti, philanthropist George Soros and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), who has called for the president’s impeachment.

The turn toward a culture war is also a tacit admission that many of the issues that Republicans had sought to run on, from tax cuts to the upbeat state of the economy, have not been enough to fan GOP voters’ enthusiasm and counter an electrified Democratic electorate.

“It’s aimed at firing up Fox viewers and the more strident elements of Trump’s base; it’s fearmongering,” said John Weaver, a longtime Republican strategist who is a frequent Trump critic. “I’m sure there is some little old lady in Iowa who now keeps her doors locked because she thinks there’s going to be some anarchist mob coming through Davenport….“They want to take the freedom to assemble and turn it into a negative,” Weaver said. “ ‘The mob’ is trying to dehumanize and belittle and dismiss the current activism that we’re seeing around the country.

Never mind that anti-Trump protestors are far from being a mob, and have as much right to be “angry” as Bart Kavanaugh. And also never mind that all Trump criticism is now being demonized, and protest itself could ultimately be punishable, as in Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, etc.  Never mind that showing anti-Trump “anger” may soon be a hate crime or a sign of derangement. And, finally, never mind what it means to call a gathering a “mob” rather than a crowd. It’s OK to use deadly force on “mobs”, especially “angry” ones.

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rape apologists

gender traitors

rhetorical claim: From American Greatness:

It’s hard to see the value of the Democratic Party picking a fight with the largest voting demographic four weeks before a crucial election. But the tactic is obvious: Democrats cannot sway white women based on their ideas for the economy or national security or tax policy, so they’re left with coercion and intimidation. They want to shame white women voters into electing more Democrats by implying if we vote for Republicans, we are enabling and empowering rapists.

It is a highly cynical, if not craven, ploy with major implications for the health and sustainability of our political system. It does nothing to ensure the consideration of real sexual assault victims, assigns automatic guilt to half of the population based on gender, and empowers the peddlers of despair and racial hostilities. And it unfortunately guarantees the nation will suffer through many more horrific periods like the past few weeks.

rhetorical effect: hyperbolic turning of the tables: now that all men are considered rapists, to even vote for a man makes a woman a “rape apologist.” While this is far from the more nuanced position of most women that sexual assault often goes undisclosed, unaddressed or unredressed, putting these words into feminists’ mouths turns “women’s rights” into cartoon parody of itself.

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the new Dark Ages

rhetorical claim: In our own age, the disproven but still legendary tales of “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot,” the Duke Lacrosse fantasies, the Rolling Stone folktales, or Lena Dunham’s fictive memoir won out and became fact, inasmuch as such lies were not real lies given their service to progressive aims. And that is where we are now headed—the world of the Athenian popular court, the Inquisition, the Salem Witch Trials, the Star Chamber, the cycles of the French Revolution—except that in all those cases, reason and sanity eventually returned. Perhaps not now. We are entering a new Dark Ages.

If we to look to the universities for truth and courage we find increasingly medieval darkness, wherein matters of alleged sexual harassment there is no due process for the accused.

Free speech on campus vanishes if minority views are dubbed “hate” speech or declared merely “hurtful.”

There is little diversity of opinion and even less tolerance of any dissent from majority dogma. Obsequiousness so often is redefined as courage; real courage condemned as a crime against the people. Campus segregation becomes desirable, if privileged by “safe spaces.” Censorship is sensitivity and justified by “trigger warnings.” The apparent absence of bias becomes proof of bias if dubbed a “micro-aggression.” Racial discrimination in admissions affirms liberality.

rhetorical effect: lumps together vastly dissimilar things (college admisssions policies, false news stories, etc.) to tar them all with the same brush. Turns Trump critics into “haters” undermining civilization. Turns everything apocalyptic, and renders all Trump criticism null and void.

Glossary: Key memes, counterfactuals, dog whistles, canards, euphemisms, innuendoes, insinuations, fake outrages, and obsessions in GOP language factories and fever swamps, Sept. 18-25, 2018

the progressive political apparat

rhetorical claim: the progressive political apparat has targeted Devon Nunes and Brett Kavanaugh in an all-out attempt to use hysteria to derail them.  Make no mistake: this is not so much “the voice of the people” as it is a last-ditch desperate shout designed to make Dem loyalist cattle stampede in one direction. The demonization of Nunes is especially a window into our times. We hunt for mythical Russian collusion while foreign collusion between Christopher Steele and his Russian sources is ignored. Progressives who claim an affinity for the middle classes demonize farmers as hicks. A supposedly noble press prints fake news and traces down someone’s long-dead great-grandmother to suggest divided loyalties. They exhibit an unthinking animus toward anything Trump-related.

rhetorical effect: makes Dems out to be tantamount to Bolsheviks; turns “progressive” into a slur, suggesting progressivism out to be a secretive cabal ; changes the Mueller investigation of Russian hacking into a non-existent investigation of Hillary.

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blacks for Trump

rhetorical claim: President Lincoln was not a Democrat, as they’d been led to think in school. It was not Republicans who were the party of racism, but Democrats. Blacks learned for the first time that Democrats were slave owners. Over and over, they share their surprise at learning the Democrats are the party of Jim Crow and the Ku Klux Klan. Democrats are the party that destroyed the black family. Bill Clinton set off the explosion of black incarceration. They are done permanently as Democrats. But many black men feel targeted by feminism. Others are appalled by the Democratic Party’s promotion of abortion, which disproportionately targets black communities. Black men and women are furious that illegal aliens seem to receive better treatment from Democrats than American citizens.  Intersectionality is failing to unite them with the other privileged grievance groups. These voters realize their interests are not identical or even similar to leftist politics.

rhetorical effect: divide and conquer rhetoric always drives a wedge between groups in a coalition even if those in the coalition have far more similarities than differences. The tired old chestnut that the Dems were responsible for slavery is one of those statements that, while factually true, is actually demonstrably false. Lincoln would not be a Republican today, and the Dixiecrats changed parties years ago. Ignoring, Trump’s defense of police brutality and he KKK, systematic stripping of all safety net program funding, environmental racism in the form of stopping the cleanup of toxic waste sites, calling African nations “shitholes,” etc., it’s impossible to believe that more than a handful of  blacks would ever vote for Trump. Black voters can’t be bought with a bogus “paychecks are up” argument, since they are more ensconced at the bottom of the food chain than ever.

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disreputable anonymity

rhetorical claim: the attempted rape allegations against Brett Kavanaugh raise a red flag: we will no longer have a free country or enjoy civil liberties and the safety of a Bill of Rights, if any American, at any time, can be ruined by an allegation of unproven sexual assault of some 36 years past, when the accused was a 17-year-old teenager, by an accuser who initially trafficked anonymously in such allegations, came forward only as part of a wider, more intensified and collective last-ditch effort to destroy the reputation of the accused, and yet has no clear memory of exactly where she was at 15, or the approximate date, when she claims that she was assaulted, or why she made no such accusation for 30 years—or when she raised the issue some six years ago privately during counseling, why her therapist’s notes of such revelations do not now match her current version of the incident…Anonymity has never become more disreputable—and legitimized. An unidentified source is the new American means that is to be justified by noble progressive ends, often in the context of somehow delegitimizing Donald J. Trump and anyone or anything remotely connected to him.

rhetorical effect: of course, these charges are no longer anonymous since Prof. Ford came forward, but, as with the Mueller probe, the GOP strategy is to go after the process by which the facts were generated and not so much the facts themselves.

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transparency

rhetorical claim: Trump has ordered the release of documents related to the Mueller probe because the FBI has run amok with its witch hunt and political vendettas. The Dem attempt to nullify the last election will fail because transparency reveals the truth–in this case the conspiracy among Trump haters who were running the FBI AND Justice Dept.

rhetorical effect: best explicated by the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent:

President Trump and his Republican allies in Congress are running a systematic campaign of harassment and disruption directed at legitimate law enforcement activity being conducted on behalf of the American people — with the active goal of protecting Trump and his cronies from accountability and denying the public the full truth about a hostile foreign power’s effort to corrupt our democracy.

The latest example of this, like the others that preceded it, is being justified with the laughably disingenuous falsehood that the goal is “transparency.” And this one, like the others that preceded it, will likely blow up in Trump’s face in spectacular fashion.

Trump has ordered the Justice Department to release numerous classified documents related to the Russia investigation. A White House statement claims this is in the interests of “transparency.” One of Trump’s most dutiful servants in Congress, Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, insists this release will “reveal to the American people some of the systemic corruption and bias” at “the highest levels of the DOJ and FBI.”

In reality, this is an effort at obfuscation, concealment, deception, and the weaponizing of the oversight process for “partisan political ends.” If recent precedent is any guide, the release itself will broadly confirm this — even though Trump and his allies will lie uncontrollably to the contrary.

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Set-Up

rhetorical claim:  the desperate, last-minute slur against Brett Kavanaugh has all the hallmarks of a set-up: unprosecuted, unproveable, and largely unremembered misconduct, toxic to even talk about politically without alienating women voters, and a ready-made excuse to delay Kavanaugh’s confirmation until after the mid-term election. It’s a continuation of the war against Kavanaugh that was earlier fought with aggressively provocative, politically loaded questions and shouting. It is tantamount to a political mugging. It is a disgrace that this should happen in this republic, and in connection with the courts, which are not supposed to be political forces, but which have been converted into an uber-political institution that progressives are desperate to control.

rhetorical effect: forecloses on the possibility of any sober investigation of the claims; victimizes the alleged victim by calling her “mixed up”; turns any criticism of Kavanaugh into a nearly criminal act: a “mugging”. Alternatively, any critical question is potentially a “set-up”, a perjury trap for Trump, a habitual liar.

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fairness

rhetorical claim: Kavanaugh deserves a fair hearing to clear his name.

rhetorical effect: exactly the problem: “fair” to the GOP only ever means “winning.” “Fairness” never entails evidence, reason, justice or any moral position, but just allowing them time enough to generate as much smoke as possible. For example, they use the concept of fairness to justify racism, sexism, and homophobia. In this sense, in their rhetorical universe “fairness ” is synonymous with “transparency” and “tolerance” as deceptive master-tropes.. Moreover, they aren’t “hearing” Kavanaugh’s accusers, since they seem tone-deaf to their shame, anger, pain, and candor.

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descent into political madness

rhetorical claim: best described by the Victor Davis Hanson:

The progressive street is leading fossilized Democrats into a sort of collective madness.

The dinosaurs of the party desperately seek relevance by sounding crazier than the new unhinged base that disrupts Senate hearings, loudly pronounces a new socialist future, and envisions octogenarian Maxine Waters as more the future of the party than is septuagenarian Nancy Pelosi. The spectacle is right out of Euripides’s Bacchae, as the creaky old guard of the polis, Tiresias and Cadmus, dress up in trendy, ridiculous ritual costumes to stumble along after the racing and frenzied young maenads in their lethal courtship of suicidal Dionysian madness.

rhetorical effect: makes it impossible to seriously debate any political issues because one of the parties is unhinged, so must be treated as either mentally deranged or as children. (Note how the GOP goes from calling Dems deranged and adolescent to calling them unscrupulous, calculating hypocrites who have an insatiable will to power and a plan to seize it. Surely both charges can’t be true!)

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socialism

rhetorical claim: According to Jonah Goldberg in Commentary:

Socialism has never been a particularly stable or coherent program, a point I made in these pages in 2010. It has always been best defined as whatever socialists want it to be at any given moment. That is because its chief utility is as a romantic indictment of the capitalist status quo. As many of the defenders of the new socialist craze admit, socialism is the off-the-shelf alternative to capitalism, which has been in bad odor since at least the financial crisis of 2008. “For millennials,” writes the Huffington Post’s Zach Carter, “‘capitalism’ means ‘unaccountable rich people ripping off the world,’ while ‘socialism’ simply means ‘not that.’”

As a matter of practical politics, socialism’s durability as a concept owes almost nothing to economics and almost everything to the desire for power—power for the poor, for the left-out, for the “workers of the world”—and for the intellectuals who claim to speak for them. In countries experimenting with what Friedrich Hayek called “hot socialism,” the transfer of power from one set of elites to another was bloody and total (and no one, save those at the top of the new system, experienced much of the freedom Robin describes). In countries that have pursued “soft socialism” of the Western European varieties instead, power shifted primarily to bureaucrats and politicians—but these managerial classes managed to work well enough with other elites and recognized that their long-term interests were best protected by subsidizing not the poor but middle-class voters instead, mostly in the form of trade unions and government workers. The cost for this kind of socialism is typically a few points of GDP growth and the sort of sclerotic, corporatist economy that invites populist uprisings at the mere hint of reform and makes integration of immigrants much more difficult.

rhetorical effect: undercuts any social cohesion by giving preeminence to individuality and laissez-faire competition–substitutes Social Darwinism for cooperation and social justice. Labels any attempts at cooperation, from labor unions to the *Me Too movement, as subversive, fatuous and ultimately doomed to failure.

Glossary: Key memes, counterfactuals, dog whistles, canards, euphemisms, innuendoes, insinuations, fake outrages, and obsessions in GOP language factories and fever swamps, Sept. 11-17, 2018

Obama vs. the nation

rhetorical claim:  As expressed on The American Thinker website:

In a moment reminiscent of Hillary Clinton’s outrageous characterization of Trump voters as “deplorable” and “irredeemable,” President Obama said: “I have to say this… Over the past few decades, the politics of division and resentment and paranoia has unfortunately found a home in the Republican Party.”

Labeling the 63 million Trump voters as “deplorable” and “irredeemable” didn’t work out for Hillary Clinton when she ran a failed presidential campaign against Trump in 2016.  Labeling the same voters as divisive, resentful and paranoid will not work for Democrats in the November midterm elections.

No, it will not, and the remarks by this poster child for self-serving hypocrisy and delusion go a long way toward explaining how Obama shrank the Democratic Party by a thousand state, local, and federal legislative seats during his eight years in office.  Once again, to use President Obama’s own phrase, he “acted stupidly.”

From Ferguson to Baltimore and beyond, President Obama’s words aiding and abetting the war on cops and inciting racial division have been the equivalent of yelling “fire” in a crowded theater.  He has encouraged a false narrative of racist cops and racist police departments whose officers are guilty until proven innocent, or buried, whichever comes first.  Never mind that in both Baltimore and Ferguson, the cops accused of racism and murder were found guilty of neither.

It was Ferguson, Missouri, where President Obama’s Justice Department sent forty FBI agents to prove that Officer Darren Wilson was a racist murder of an innocent black teen. He made the race-baiting Al Sharpton, who helped create the myth of “hands up, don’t shoot,” a key adviser on race matters and Ferguson…

Jesus preached peace long before the prophet Muhammad mounted a horse, grabbed his sword, and began beheading infidels on his way to Mecca.  As for the Crusades, they came after and in response to centuries of Islamic conquest and aggressive war against the infidels of the Christian West.  As Princeton scholar and Islamic expert Bernard Lewis explains, “The Crusade was a delayed response to the jihad, the holy war for Islam, and its purpose was to recover by war what had been lost by war – to free the holy places of Christendom and open them once again, without impediment, to Christian pilgrimage.”  According to St. Louis University and Crusade scholar Thomas Madden, “[a]ll the Crusades met the criteria of just wars.”

Slavery was an institution supported by Democrats in the South.  Jim Crow laws were written by Democrats.  Evils may have been committed in the name of Christ, but not at the urging of Christ, who preached peace and love and mercy to one’s enemies.

It is Barack Hussein Obama who divided America and incited paranoia, attacking, cops, Christians, and clingers, just to name a few.

rhetorical effect: not even the Russians could do so well at stoking the dying embers of the Culture Wars.

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pretty heavy cost

rhetorical claim: the National Park Service wants to charge protestors for the cost of the charges incurred by public protests. One NPS official said that last year’s Women’s March carried with it a “pretty heavy cost.”

rhetorical effect: essentially a tax on free speech. Ballots, vote-counting, poll watchers, etc. also cost money. Are they going to tax us to vote (i.e., impose a new [poll tax)?  Also makes it sound as if the NPS owns public lands, when, is essence, they are the steward of these lands on behalf of its citizen-owners.

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color blind

rhetorical claim: since conservatives don’t  see color and that therefore there’s too much talk about racism. People of all colors can get ahead, so nobody should whine about outcomes. Just talking about racism is itself racist.

rhetorical effect:  classic rhetorical inversion, turning racism on itself and claiming that its actual meaning is the diametrically opposite of its commonly-held meaning; elides structural racism (minorities being more likely to attend underfunded schools, have far lower incomes and higher unemployment than whites, are far likelier to be imprisoned than whites, etc.) ; robs social justice advocates of their political voice.

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the anti-Trump media firing squad

rhetorical claim: in the midterm election kickoff, the anti-Trump media firing loosed a fusillade of damp squibs, none of which had any effect on the President. They tried everything: disrupting Kavanaugh’s hearing, calling Kavanaugh a liar with, at best, cherry-picked evidence, the Bob Woodward fictional account of the White House, the New York Times’ fictional account of the White House (written by the Times but attributed to “anonymous”) wheeling out Barack Obama, falsely accusing Trump of killing thousands in Puerto Rico, etc. The American public just tunes this guff out.

rhetorical effect: undercuts, demonizes, or delegitimizes any criticism of Trump: this is total rhetorical war, scorched earth.

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self-destructive anti-Trump rage

rhetorical claim: according to Michael Walsh:

We are witnessing a similar self-destructive rage today: the rage of the American Left against the Trump Administration in general and the president in particular, an explosion of frustrated, impotent (but still dangerous) anger that has given up all pretense of genuine protest—against the results of a duly constituted American election, let us remember—and has devolved instead into a toddler’s extended tantrum. It bears the hallmarks of one of the most unseemly displays in American political history.

It’s being conducted in the halls of Congress, where the Democrats have at last dropped all pretense of civility and shown the voters their true, foam-flecked faces. It’s being waged in the media, where the ladies and gentlemen of the press, such as they are, have thrown over journalistic practices that served the profession well over the past century or so, and now regard malicious gossip and news as one and the same thing.

Most ominously, it is taking place in the streets where, over the past year, Republican congressmen and Trump supporters have been shot, attacked with a switchblade knife, clubbed with a bicycle lock, had their vehicles and offices vandalized and set on fire; even the president’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was destroyed.

The masked fascist thugs who ludicrously call themselves “Antifa,” routinely attack public gatherings, and Left wingers sporting “Say No to Hate” t-shirts scream at the sky at the very thought of Trump and his policies. Not since the 1960s have we witnessed such a public breakdown in moral and psychological order.

rhetorical effect: again, infantalizes the Left as socialist and power hungry, rendering any criticism of Trump as misguided at best, and part of a voracious will to impose a socialist state on Americans at worst. Equates political dissidence with mental illness.

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corruption

rhetorical claim: corruption from the Obama-Clinton era continues to be unearthed, in everything from the Clinton Foundation finances to the corrupt origins of the Mueller probe.

is really about the corruption of purity rather than of law. Officially, the fascist politician’s denunciations of corruption sound like a denunciation of political corruption. But such talk is intended to evoke corruption in the sense of the usurpation of traditional order.

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toxic feminism

rhetorical claim: The damage that radical feminism has done to our education system is incalculable.  Yet the movement continues to grow exponentially, and gender studies faculties, which promote female empowerment at the expense of what is called “toxic masculinity,” continue to multiply.

Feminism has patently skewed the syllabus in the direction of gender asymmetry.  In the name of diversity, equity, and inclusion, women have progressively come to dominate campus life regardless of aptitude and competency.  Hiring protocols are female-friendly, as are faculty postings and grant opportunities.  Qualified male candidates need to make alternative arrangements.  (As Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute muses, in the prevailing climate, Einstein might have trouble getting hired for a professorship.)  Male students, already in declining numbers, are under threat of allegations of sexual assault or harassment, ad hoc tribunals, and arbitrary expulsion.  McGill University anthropology professor emeritus Philip Carl Salzman warns parents in a comprehensive essay for Minding the Campus, “Your sons will learn they should ‘step aside’ to give more space and power to females.”

Unfortunately, too many careers have been built on gender studies and feminist theory to allow surrender.  Leftist government bureaucrats, university administrators, “diversity and inclusion” officers, and faculty across the entire academic landscape are dependent on preserving perhaps the greatest scam in the systemic apparatus we call education.  Investing in a false theory or inequitable practice never prevented its adherents, whose reputations and livelihoods are at stake, from surrendering their perquisites.  Rather, educrats and their cohorts will double down and increase their efforts to further their agenda.  They will persist in finding ways to evade the most far-sighted and ethically determined efforts to redress the parietal imbalance by refusing to implement new directives from enlightened government agencies.

rhetorical effect: demonizes feminism as unethical, unequal, and self-serving, deeming it a kind of cabal or conspiracy against merit and equality.

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right to work

rhetorical claim: an increase in freedom because workers can no longer be required to pay for union services as a requirement of their employment. This is a union security clause, which Right to Work laws ban. Imagine if Best Buy entered into a contract with Sony whereby the store promised if they sell any other manufacturers’ TVs they will charge them $10 per square foot of floor space. Now imagine the government came in and said, “no, you can’t have deals like this”. This may increase Panasonic’s freedom by not forcing them to pay $10 per square foot, and in a sense it increases Best Buy’s freedom by allowing them to violate the terms of their contract. But this is at the cost of Best Buy and Sony’s ability to contract. In most contexts conservatives would agree that the government’s action decreased, not increased freedom, and in most contexts they would be correct.

rhetorical effect: The “right to work” laws really mean “right to work for less pay.” But these laws are not about liberty. Their real purpose is to tilt the balance of power in favor of employers at the expense of their workers.Some whose ideology tells them that the market system metes out perfect justice see no reason to worry about the weakening of workers and their unions. Let everyone compete in the market. But in order to make an idol of the market system, one has to ignore both common sense and the history of labor in America.

Common sense should tell us that if workers have to deal one-by-one with a giant company, they will be on the short end of a huge imbalance of power between management, which is unified, and the workers, who are each on their own.

In every other contest of power – politics, war, etc. – the side that is unified and a coordinated defeats the side that is fragmented. Why should labor-management relations be any exception?

Also institutionalizes economic inequality, one hallmark of a fascist state. As  Hannah Arendt argued, fascism flourishes when individuals are “atomized” and divided. Hitler denounced labor unions because he feared they might create solidarity among racially and religiously diverse workers. And he shows that the “right to work” movement that today seeks to cripple unions in the United States has its roots in an effort by Southern business elites to divide black and white workers in the 1940s. Many commentators have linked Trump’s victory to the economic dislocation brought by globalization. But by focusing on declining participation in labor unions — which can. From this perspective, labor unions must be crippled because they create class solidarity across racial, ethnic and religious lines, and the resultant economic stress buttresses fascist politics.

Glossary: Key memes, counterfactuals, dog whistles, canards, euphemisms, innuendoes, insinuations, fake outrages, and obsessions in GOP language factories and fever swamps, Aug 31-Sept. 11, 2018

it oughta be illegal

rhetorical claim: President Trump said it ought to be illegal for audience members to shout out at Congressional hearings.

rhetorical effect: suppresses free speech. Other things Trump has said “ought to be illegal” include White House leakers and sources, protestors at his rallies, black or Hispanic judges ruling on race cases, Mexicans, Muslims, the free press, libel laws, flag burning, abortions, “flipping” in criminal cases to avoid jail time, not cheering and standing for Trump at the State of Union address, not kneeling for the national anthem, LGBTQ rights, migration, etc. He often uses “maybe”, “possibly” or “perhaps” to qualify “ought to be illegal” as a form of fake hedging. These are the wish-fulfillments of a would-be dictator. As the NYT editorialized:

Mr. Trump quickly corroborated these accounts by demonstrating precisely the sort of erratic, antidemocratic behavior that is driving administration officials to come forward with their concerns. He ranted that the stories were all lies and raved that the gutless traitors who had slandered him must be rooted out and handed over to the government. Finger-pointing, name-calling, wild accusations, cries of treason — it was an unsettling display, not simply of Mr. Trump’s emotional fragility and poor impulse control, but also of his failure to understand the nature of the office he holds, the government he leads and the democracy he has sworn to serve.

Twenty months into the job, Mr. Trump has yet to grasp that the highest law of this land is the Constitution, not whoever occupies the Oval Office at any given moment.

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fair and unbiased

Constitutional originalism

rhetorical claim: Brett Kavanagh will restore the Constitution to its rightful place as the lodestar for law-making in the US. Left-wing justices legislating from the bench will be a thing of the past.  The task of a justice will no longer be to formulate new constitutional law according to his personal preferences, but, rather to exercise restraint and wisdom in preserving the original constitutional scheme of separation of powers and preeminence of state and local governments.

rhetorical effect: Makes it harder for minorities to vote, for workers to bargain for better wages and conditions, for consumers to stand up to big business and for women to control what happens to their bodies. It also means making it easier for people to buy and sell weapons of mass killing, for lawmakers to green-light discrimination against gay, lesbian and transgender Americans, for industries to pollute the environment with impunity, and for the wealthy to purchase even more political influence than they already have. the court had laid the groundwork for the destruction of our constitutional scheme, and had nearly abandoned the traditional ideas that judges were not legislators and that it was the state and local bodies, not the federal government, that were supposed to be the primary movers in national life. Justices David Souter, Sandra Day O’Connor, and Anthony Kennedy, all Republican appointees, had been instrumental in this dismantling of jurisprudential tradition, but they are all gone now.

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rigged search results

rhetorical claim:  Donald Trump denounced Google for having news results “RIGGED” against him, “so that almost all stories & news is BAD.” It happens on  various technology platforms, including Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, all of which have a liberal bias. according to  PJ Media, “96 Percent of Google Search Results for ‘Trump’ News Are From Liberal Media Outlets.”

rhetorical effect: as Michelle Goldberg argues

Essentially, conservatives want to create a world where objective information and right-wing disinformation are treated equally. They’re running the same playbook on tech that they ran, for decades, on media, caterwauling about bias so that defensive editors would treat them with kid gloves. Only now, these howls about viewpoint discrimination have the force of the United States government behind them.

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economic leveling

rhetorical claim: Congressional liberals want to change how GDP is measured in order to bring about a socialistic redistribution of wealth. This new, rigged way of counting–called distributional national accounts–will ignore trickle-down economics and be a stalking horse for fraudulent claims that a booming economy is stagnant. It is based on a misguided claim that economic inequality is a bug, not a feature, of capitalism.

rhetorical effect: best put by Paul Krugman:

By now everyone knows that conservatives routinely yell “socialist!” whenever anyone proposes doing something to help less fortunate members of our society — which is a key reason so many Americans now think favorably of socialism: If guaranteed health care is socialism, bring it on. But the right doesn’t just cry foul at any attempt to limit inequality; it does the same thing whenever anyone tries to talk about economic class, or measure how different classes are faring.

My favorite example here is still former senator Rick Santorum, who denounced the term “middle class” as “Marxism talk.” But that was just an especially ludicrous version of a general attempt on the right to suppress talk about and research into where the economy’s money goes. The G.O.P.’s basic position is that what you don’t know can’t hurt it.

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subversive

rhetorical claim: the subversive who penned the anonymous NYT attack on Trump ought to be exposed, fired and jailed.

rhetorical effect: the exercise of free speech becomes subversive: the First Amendment is turned upside down. Anyone criticizing Trump is undermining the country because Trump is now synonymous with America.

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your body is a battleground

rhetorical claim: your body is a battleground for the life of the fetus, which should be protected at all costs.

rhetorical effect: militarizes the abortion rights debate by turning women’s bodies into occupied territory and  robbing them of their autonomy.

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the circus Resistance

rhetorical claim: the anti-Trump resistance continues to hit new lows: 1) Apparently, in the case of Elizabeth Warren, fabricating an ethnic identity is sane, and getting out of the Iran deal or the Paris Climate Accord is insanity and grounds for removal; 2) Barack Obama, in his sanctimonious way, has taken credit foe the economy that he failed to resuscitate for eight years; 3) according to Victor David Hanson:

Contrary to popular opinion, there was nothing “newsworthy” about the recent anonymous op-ed, written by an unnamed “senior official” about the supposed pathologies of President Trump.

Or rather to the extent the op-ed was significant, it confirmed what heretofore had been written off as a “right-wing” conspiracy theory of a “deep state.” The anonymous author confessed to being part of a group that is trying to use subterranean methods to thwart an elected president, not because his record is wanting (indeed, the author admits it is often impressive) but because he finds Trump unorthodox and antithetical to the establishment norms of governance and comportment….

To cut to the quick, the op-ed was published to coincide with the latest Bob Woodward “according-to-an-unnamed-source” exposé, Fear. The intent of anonymous and the New York Times was to create a force multiplying effect of a collapsing presidency—in need of the Times’ sober and judicious handlers, NeverTrump professionals, and “bipartisan” Democrats of the sort we saw during the Kavanaugh hearing to “step in” and apparently stage an intervention to save the country…The recent op-ed is yet another episode in an endless resistance cartoon, another pathetic effort of self-important grandees to undo by fiat what the voters did by voting in 2016.

The op-ed is the latest cartoon of Trump, the Road Runner, finally, at last, and for sure driven off the cliff by the Resistance as Wile E. Coyote—infuriated by yet another Road Runner beep-beep. There were earlier and serial Looney Tunes efforts to nullify the Electoral College, to sue about election machines, to boycott the Inauguration, to introduce articles of impeachment, to invoke the 25th Amendment, to try out the Emoluments Clause and the Logan Act, to sue by cherry picking liberal federal judges, to harass officials in public places and restaurants, to warp the FISA courts, to fund a foreign spy to do opposition research, and to weaponize even further the FBI, NSA, and Justice Department—along with the now-boring celebrity assassination chic rhetoric of blowing up, stabbing, shooting, burning, hanging, smashing, and decapitating Donald J. Trump….

The media’s hatred of Trump is not necessarily determinative, but it is a force multiplier of the 24/7 unhinged narrative of the universities, popular culture, and Hollywood. Their shared goal is to make saying that one supports the Trump agenda so socially unpalatable, so culturally Neanderthal, that no sane person wishes to confess his delight with a new economy, foreign policy, and approach to the administrative state.

rhetorical effect: minimizes the mounting internal criticism, of Trump as nothing bur Dem propaganda and unsubstantiated rumor; dismisses all attempts to derail Trump  as desperate measures of an increasingly unhinged and totally unscrupulous Deep State Resistance; portrays Trump opponents as, curiously enough, both clowns and “grandees”–in the latter case, stirring up old class warfare, us-vs.- the elites-sentiments.