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, April 1-5, 2017

crime

rhetorical claim: crime is the new black entitlement. As long as black people are permanent victims of relentless white racism, cops should not chase them, juries should not convict them, judges should not sentence them, schools should not punish them, and white victims should not complain about the black crime and violence so wildly out of proportion.

This is what a growing number of lawmakers, professors and, of course, reporters are prescribing as a way to “improve the way our system serves justice.”

rhetorical effect: criminalizes being black; justifies all police violence against blacks; re-inforces the gross insinuation that blacks are dependent on the public dole and feel entitled to government support just because they are black.

******

teachers’ unions

rhetorical claim: the only group ever able to give America’s teachers a bad name.

rhetorical effect: extends the demonization of teachers as greedy hypocrites hungry for power and indifferent to education outcomes. In other words, accuses teachers of caring least about their students, whose welfare is ostensibly the only reason anyone would take on such grinding, unforgiving, low-paid work.

******

environmental extortion rackets

rhetorical claim: “global warming,” “climate change,” automobile fuel standards, scares over CO2 levels, almost all EPA regulations are all hoaxes and literally extortion rackets to fine corporations and force them to make outlandish financial investments in technology that can’t solve imaginary problems.

rhetorical effect: relativizes environmental regulation by either devaluing its causes or its effects. As is almost always the case, makes progressive environmental activists out to be power-hungry hypocrites.

******

the Democratic steno pool

rhetorical claim: the dishonest MSM has c0ncocted the entire Russian election hacking story to discredit the Trump administration. They are little more than stenographers of whatever false narrative Hillary Clinton Chuck Schumer, Elizabeth Warren and Susan Rice give them

rhetorical effect: seems to make it impossible to get at the facts–let alone the truth–of gettin of the extent of the Trump campaign’s collusion with the Russians. Reinforces the idea of a “post-truth” era, in which they challenge any assertion of fact. Yet they have it both ways because they also insist (see “rumor mongering,” below) that “the real story” is the Obama/Susan Rice monitoring of the Trump transition team. So none of te mainstream media news is considered real, and none of their news can ever be fake or self-serving.

******

flexibility

rhetorical claim: states’ rights should guarantee flexibility is such broad areas as health care policy and mandates, environmental protection, public safety, birth control, gender discrimination laws, consumer laws, etc.

rhetorical effect: absolves the Trump administration from any of the political blame for inadequate or unaffordable insurance coverage, police violence against minorities, racial, sexual and gender discrimination, inadequate womens’ sexual health protections, air and water pollution, consumer fraud, etc.

******

rumor-mongering

rhetorical claim: any of the Russian election-hacking stories. The real story is Susan Rice and the Obama administration’s surveillance of the Trump transition team.

rhetorical effect: reduces facts to rumors–that is, unsubstantiated claims made for politically partisan purposes. Any criticism of Trump is trivialized as rumor or gossip. If this was a courtroom, it would be impossible for the prosecutors to present any acceptable evidence because they could not conform to the canons of evidence. It’s the Alice in Wonderland scenario:

“When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

’The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

’The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.”

Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass

******

the war on fossil fuels

rhetorical claim: the “climate change” conspiracy has finally lost its war on fossil fuels now that the Trump administration has opened up oil and gas drilling, provided  regulatory relief, and more or less banned any climate change research.

rhetorical effect: denies the reality of harmful CO2 emissions; dismantles 50 years of environmental regulation; absolves corporations from any liability for harmful effects of their activities. Fossil fuels are now fighting a war on the earth.

******

churches

rhetorical claim: America’s greatest cohering force. Religious freedom must be upheld.

rhetorical effect: the defense of religions at the expense of basic human rights–as in the cases of abortion, gay rights, gender identity, school curriculum, women’s rights, birth control, etc–not only sanctions prejudice but enshrines it as the cornerstone of national cohesion.

Glossary: Key memes, counterfactuals, dog whistles, canards, euphemisms, innuendoes, insinuations, fake outrages, and obsessions in The Wall Street Journal and other GOP language factories and fever swamps, March 18-31, 2017

Fifth Column

rhetorical claim: Every day brings new evidence that today’s media are engaged in clandestine fifth column activities involving journalistic acts of sabotage, media malfeasance, blatant disinformation or media espionage conducted by secret sympathizers. President Trump is engaged in a vicious counter-terrorism war with the media and the Democratic Party.  Yes, terrorism, for what is terrorism but violence or intimidation to achieve some political mean?  The Democrat Party, aided and abetted by their army of fifth column “journalists,” are waging a clandestine war against the heart and soul of America. They are fake Americans producing fake news.

rhetorical effect: discredits any mainstream media reporting; turns them into “the enemy of the people,” and Obama collaborators, and could eventually lead to relaxed libel laws that will muzzle the press and consolidate government power. Turns the Trump Administration into the true resistance movement.

******

virtue signalling

rhetorical claim: feel-good policies such as allowing men to use girls’ bathrooms and ruinous $15/hr. minimum wages are progressives’ way of signalling their virtue and political correctness.

rhetorical effect: reduces idealism, social justice, and equality to self-serving attempts at cynically holding power. Renders any claim of morality sound sanctimonious and hypocritical.

******

the Obama-Clinton pushover axis

rhetorical claim: why would the Russians hack our election when they had the feckless, incompetent Clinton/Obama apparatchiks doing their very bidding. Obama was recorded on a hot mic telling “Vladimir” he would have more flexibility after the 2012 election (and boy did he).   Obama/Clinton let them take Crimea and Georgia without a peep.  Obama/Clinton apparently (allegedly) signed over 20% of America’s uranium for some huge donations (said to be over 100 million dollars) to the Clinton Foundation plus mega dollars for Clinton speeches that were of no value.  The botched Russian reset button, the drawdown of our military, the total feckless weakened foreign policy of Obama/Clinton, and more; the list of reasons for Vladimir to love Clinton are legion.

Given all those facts, why in the world would Putin want to change from the easy marks he had to a bulldog, a fighter, a man of accomplishment who ran on toughness, a man who wanted to reassert America’s greatness, a man who promised to build the strongest military in the world, a man who wanted to vie, compete and beat Russia as a player in the energy markets?

rhetorical effect: this incredible string of lies and half-truths shifts the narrative away from Trump and back onto the Clintons and Obama.

******

reverse monitoring

rhetorical claim: In its final stages, the Obama administration ordered wiretaps on targets they knew that the Trump transition team would be speaking with. This subterfuge and deception was a backdoor way of mining the incoming administration for dirt

rhetorical effect: deflects attention away from the Russian election hack story; distorts events into a hurricane-strength dose of fake news; makes Obama sound like a traitor and a felon for authorizing these taps. Their claim that anyone who reveals names and details of this surveillance should go to prison also has a chilling effect on public disclosure and journalism.

******

hard power

rhetorical claim: the strong-power administration needs a strong military to overcome Obama’s perpetual “apology tour”and make America respected and feared again. Makes sure that no one “messes with us” (see below) ever again.

rhetorical effect: justifies enormous defense budget increase at the expense of domestic programs; makes our allies less likely to build up their military spending;  purity and patriotism carry the day over compassion and alliance-building; an increased likelihood of  state-based aggression in the form of American bellicosity , coercion, and military intervention, and, as Nina Burleigh explained in Newsweek,:

What Trump’s budget ensures is that the nation continues down the road that got him elected in the first place—poorly informed and sickly people, ill-served by unfunded public education, lacking decent health care, poisoned by pollution, eating food and using machinery whose safety is not ensured by public agencies, and slipping behind other countries in science and innovation

******

originalism and textualism

rhetorical claim: When interpreting the Constitution, judges should confine themselves to the words of the Constitution. Originalism says that if the words are at all unclear, then judges need to consult historical sources to determine their meaning at the time of ratification, and the correct application of these words to new cases should clearly  limit judicial discretion. As Justice Scalia argued, if judges are not bound by words and history, they will inevitably exceed the limits of their judicial authority and, like “activists” or “super-legislators,” make the Constitution say whatever they want.

rhetorical effect: guarantees conservative SCOTUS decisions because it does not take into account the modern meaning of terms such as “right,” “unreasonable,” “probable cause,” “due process,” “excessive,” “cruel and unusual” and “equal protection.”  Does not allow justices to consider context, the intent of the Constitution, contemporary circumstances, and the political and social effect of opinions. Also naively assumes that 250-year-old language is transparent, when clearly anyone attempting to channel the minds of the framers is herself interpreting. Interpretation is a speech act, and anyone reading anything is thus an “activist.”

******

governance

rhetorical claim: Congress should do everything it can to dismantle government and eliminate regulation.Its mandate is not to use government to solve problems, but instead to treat government as the problem.

rhetorical effect: lets the private sector do whatever it wants, in effect making profit the sole government principle. Replaces a socially-oriented government–a public sphere– with a military-police operation.

******

fashionable political statements

rhetorical claim: federal appeals judges blocking the travel ban are using fashionable political statements to undermine national security.and weaken America They should have no jurisdiction over national security judgement calls.

rhetorical effect: turns two of America’s greatest strengths–judicial review and the separation of powers–into a traitorous-sounding weakness.The GOP calls favorable judicial rulings “Constitutional originalism,” while unfavorable ones are demoted to being “political statements.” In what ways is the theory of original construction not a political statement in itself, since it is based on speculation, ideology and interpretation?

******

messing with us

rhetorical claim: Trump has promised to make the U.S. armed forces “so big, so powerful, so strong, that nobody — absolutely nobody — is gonna mess with us.” Purity and patriotism carry the day.

rhetorical effect: Purity and patriotism carry the day. As Katrina vanden Huevel put it in the Washington Post:

The question is whether we will continue to mess with them. A military that can go anywhere and do anything is called on constantly to go somewhere and do something. The problem with endless wars without victory is that they must be ended without victory. The challenge for a true America First policy is to reduce the lives and resources squandered across the globe in order to rebuild at home. Trump’s budget submission omitted plans for his promised rebuilding of U.S. infrastructure. Clearly the military buildup took priority. And that buildup — along with the doubling down on current policies in Europe, the Middle East, Korea and the South China Sea — suggests that once more the bipartisan consensus of the United States as the “indispensable nation” on duty across the world will betray the promise to rebuild our country.

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, Feb 20-28, 2017

deconstructing the administrative state

rhetorical claim: The long-standing critique on the right not just of the Obama and Clinton years but of the entire thrust of U.S. government since the Progressive Era and the New Deal. Critics of the administrative state — “the vast administrative apparatus that does so much to dictate the way we live now,” as Scott Johnson, a conservative lawyer and co-founder of the Power Line blog, put it in 2014 — see it as unconstitutional because regulatory agencies make and enforce rules based on authority they claim was illegitimately ceded by Congress. Deconstruction actually means dismantle or destroy.

rhetorical effect: best described by E.J. Dionne:

this is a war on a century’s worth of work to keep our air and water clean; our food, drugs and workplaces safe; the rights of employees protected; and the marketplace fair and unrigged. It’s one thing to make regulations more efficient and no more intrusive than necessary. It’s another to say that all the structures of democratic government designed to protect our citizens from the abuses of concentrated private power should be swept away.

It’s a very strange moment. Trump and Bannon are happy to expand the reach of the state when it comes to policing, immigration enforcement, executive-branch meddling in the work of investigative agencies, and the browbeating of individual companies that offend the president in one way or another. The parts of government they want to dismantle are those that stand on the side of citizens against powerful interests.

 ******

ethnonationalism

rhetorical claim: “America First” means putting our economic and political interests ahead of the interests of the rest of the world

rhetorical effect: the end of multilateralism; the return to the zero-sum game of blood-and-soil xenophobia; narrow, tribal paranoia; brinksmanship and bellicosity. Creates an “us vs. them” rhetorical climate in which any internationalism is considered traitorous.

******

freedom

rhetorical claim: according to Paul Ryan, “Freedom is the ability to buy what you want to fit what you need. Obamacare is Washington telling you what to buy regardless of your needs.”

rhetorical effect: reduces the definition of freedom to economic activity (is freedom more than “the ability to buy”?); assumes that  people know their health “needs” even before they need substantive insurance, which will not exist under Trumpcare; does not address what happens to people who lack the ability to “buy what they want”, despite tax credits or medical savings accounts; in essence confuses (or “replaces”) “affordable” with “cheap”. Freedom to Paul Ryan is the right to get fleeced by insurance companies.

******

hate crime laws

rhetorical claim: hate crime laws are designed to divide America, criminalize the Bible, and protect gay pedophiles.

rhetorical effect: criminalizes LGBT and directs all nationalistic anger and hostility at the LGBT community. Will eventually lead to the reversal of all discrimination laws.

******

globalist covenant

rhetorical claim: those opposed to Trump’s travel ban see immigration law as a globalist covenant, not a mater of national sovereignty. They would open the immigrant floodgates, thus greatly threatening national security.

rhetorical effect: makes any multilateral p olicy suspect because it isn’t part of Trump’s “America First” economic nationalism. Makes it seem that foreign powers are dictating US immigration policies and practices, which certainly is not the case. “Globalist” has become one of the great pejoratives of Trump’s administration.

******

lawyer-centered lawsuits

rhetorical claim: frivolous class-action lawsuits have long served as a revenue source for litigious attorneys, whose main interests are paydays, not their clients’ well-being. Class action suits have clogged the court system and cost billions in lost productivity. It’s time to make these suits  fairer in order to maximize recoveries by deserving victims and weed out unmeritorious claims that would otherwise siphon resources away from innocent parties.

rhetorical effect: in the name of “fairness,” severe limitation on all class action lawsuits, as explained here

Critics warn that proposed legislation designed to “reform” class action lawsuits, appears to be engineered to block consumers from joining together to pursue claims against corporations and big businesses. 

The legislation, H.R. 985, was introduced by Republicans in the House of Representatives on February 10, and has been referred to the Judiciary Committee.

Known as the “Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017”, the bill seeks to add new requirements for plaintiffs attempting to bring a class action lawsuit, where they are seeking damages on behalf of a large number of individuals.

The proposed new requirements place the burden on plaintiffs to identify each class member, forbids class representatives from being a previous client of the class action lawyer, and prevents attorneys from being paid until all class members have been paid. In addition, each class member must prove they suffered the same “type and scope” of injury.

The bill would also require every class representative to describe the circumstances by which they were included in the complaint, and would force them to reveal any other class action lawsuits where they played a similar role.

The bill would not only affect class action lawsuits, but would impact multidistrict litigation (MDL) procedures as well, where similar lawsuits are consolidated for pretrial proceedings, yet are still considered individual claims. The bill would require every plaintiff to present evidence of injury before being allowed into the MDL, which may counter efforts by judges to streamline filing procedures and move the litigation forward efficiently.

Critics say that the bill’s measures are designed to be prohibitively restrictive, and will have a major effect on the ability of consumers to hold companies accountable for wrongdoing that results in damages for a number of individuals. For example, they note that proving the same type and scope of injury is almost impossible in discrimination cases and many similar claims. They also point out that prohibitions on being a previous client of the class lawyer more or less prevents class action lawsuits by investors, who may use the same attorney for investment lawsuits

Glossary: Key memes, counterfactuals, dog-whistles, canards, euphemisms, fake outrages and obsessions in the Wall Street Journal and other GOP language factories, June 29-July 7, 2016

anti-trade: pro worker. As Paul Krugman argues, this is the the ultimate Trump sleight-of-hand, part of his phony populism:

No matter what we do on trade, America is going to be mainly a service economy for the foreseeable future. If we want to be a middle-class nation, we need policies that give service-sector workers the essentials of a middle-class life. This means guaranteed health insurance — Obamacare brought insurance to 20 million Americans, but Republicans want to repeal it and also take Medicare away from millions. It means the right of workers to organize and bargain for better wages — which all Republicans oppose. It means adequate support in retirement from Social Security — which Democrats want to expand, but Republicans want to cut and privatize.

Is Mr. Trump for any of these things? Not as far as anyone can tell. And it should go without saying that a populist agenda won’t be possible if we’re also pushing through a Trump-style tax plan, which would offer the top 1 percent huge tax cuts and add trillions to the national debt.

Sorry, but adding a bit of China-bashing to a fundamentally anti-labor agenda does no more to make you a friend of workers than eating a taco bowl does to make you a friend of Latinos.

debt: the key to success, according to Trump, the self-styled “Kine of Debt”. Apparently, though, US government debt and trade deficits are not OK, so Trump wants it both ways.

dishonest: what the media is whenever they claim Trump is lying. Thus, by definition, Trump is incapable of lying and the media is incapable of honesty–it’s all part of the “rigged” system.

Freddie-Franny Clintonite crowd: the crony capitalists who get rich by pushing sub-prime loans onto unsuspecting minority borrowers, and then bail each other out when the loans go belly-up. These were also the instigators of the 2008 market crash. To the Tea Party, anyone who advocates non-discriminatory loan practices for minorities falls into this category.

gradualism: Obama’s foreign policy; aka capitulation, disengagement, surrender, appeasement. The opposite of gradual is Trump’s threatened sudden and tumultuous changes to the world order.

pay-for-play: the Clinton way of governing, always maximizing privilege, power, and class.

political correctness run amok: lefty charges of Trump’s racism, sexism or anti-semitism  Even though Trump re-tweets these memes from proto-fascist and white supremacist websites, he’ll take the tweets down when criticized and then take credit for being such a steadfast champions of “the blacks,” the “Jews,” etc. This is a classic rhetorical ploy of innuendo and dog-whistle to his base–it’s all between the lines and has built-in plausible deniability. The fact that it keeps happening though, and that the material is always lifted from these heinous websites and web forums seems like proof that the Trump campaign knows exactly what it’s doing.

puritanical alarmism: any opposition to Trump. It’s called “puritanical” because liberals are characterized as being sanctimonious and hypocritical, pretending as they do to only noble, lofty ideals and censoring Trump for any of his foibles or failures. It’s called “alarmism” because Trump is not nearly the threat to civilization that they make him out to be. This works so well rhetorically because any criticism of Trump is deflected as being “alarmist”. It’s akin to calling Hillary “hysterical” whenever she speaks at all stridently about Trump.

race baiting: bringing up the subject of race, since racism is officially over in the US, according to the Supreme Court in Obergfell. Accusations of racism are the instinctive and cynical Dem response to any Tea Party candidate or policy. This rhetorical ploy turns any race-baiting Tea Partiers into the victim, and astonishingly talks about the GOP/Tea Party as the true home of Blacks and Hispanics, even though the party is against affirmative action, does everything it can to suppress minority voting rights, defends mass imprisonment of minorities and police violence against minorities. tries to get every social safety net program whenever possible, supports elitist white charter schools, etc. Here’s a typical counter-intuitive rant that turns the world upside down:

For too many years Republicans have acted helpless in the face of Democrats scapegoating us as racist.  Because we are then rejected by blacks, we allow Dems to claim that we are against blacks.  In reality, it is our values and our policies that would benefit blacks, while Democrat policies destroy them.  Blacks who join Republican or Tea Party ranks are welcomed with almost delirious enthusiasm.  We would love blacks to join us in our defense of freedom and prosperity for all, but scapegoating works.  We have let ourselves be marginalized as racists.

reckless: crooked Hillary has also become reckless Hillary, lacking the judgement to be President. Thus the Clinton Derangement Syndrome makes yet another pivot, as explained in the Financial Times:

Clinton scandals never end. They continue long after their purported original sin is forgotten and multiple investigations prove that there was nothing much there to begin with. We are still talking about the Vince Foster scandal, the allegation that the Clintons murdered their aide in 1993. That scandal is now into a third decade of groundless innuendo.

The email inquiry is a perfect example of this scandal-industrial complex and its capacity for perpetual motion.

resilience: deregulation, particularly in the financial sector. A resilient, robust economy releases the animal spirits, the unseen hand of the market–constraints removed, Atlas Unchained!

rights: constitutional rights, not human rights. Constitutional rights, like the right to bear arms, or the right to do whatever you want in the name of your religion,  are sacred, whereas human rights, like the right to health care, or the right to be free from discrimination, are not.

Glossary: Key memes, counterfactuals, dog-whistles, canards, euphemisms, fake outrages and obsessions in the Wall Street Journal and other GOP language factories, June 9-21, 2016

divorced from reality: Obama and Clinton, especially in their failure to use the term “radical Islamic terrorism”. “Reality” in this case is solely defined by the Tea Party/GOP, so any position antithetical to theirs is “divorced”–that is estranged–from reality.

global warming: an environmental scare campaign.

government tribunal: any rubber-stamping federal agency regime which holds a Sword of Damocles over capitalism, free enterprise and individual rights.

guilty until proven innocent: Hillary Clinton, Muslims.

multiculturalism: a twisted ideology, a sickness, a form of mass delusion, leading to the acceptance of terrorism.

Muslims: blood-cult monsters; the Aztecs of the Internet.

orthodoxy: any politically-correct Dem position, such as “climate change”, inequality, “the GOP war against women”, etc. These are all fictions,  confected for maximum political effect, full of empty calories, false promises, and faulty premises.

public sector: the chief role of the public sector is to produce wealth for the private sector. This is best done by lowering taxes, ending government regulation, and ending judicial interference in the private sector (aka, “tort reform”). To the Dems, the only role of the private sector is to produce wealth for the public sector.

rammed through (or snuck by): what the Dems have to do to win court decisions–either stack the courts or use subterfuge to fool gullible or inattentive judges.

real Americans: Trump and Romney supporters. Romney’s 47% aren’t genuine Americans, but social parasites not worthy of full citizenship.

there’s something going on: ban Muslims, period. Somebody needs to look into this.

 

Glossary: Key memes, counterfactuals, dog-whistles, canards, euphemisms, fake outrages and obsessions in the Wall Street Journal and other GOP language factories, April 21-30, 2016

the climate police: anyone concerned about the environment, climate change, global warming, etc. Rhetorically hints that any environmental regulatory action is authoritarian at best, and a form of schoolmarm scolding and social control. These police are related to the “pc police.”

the collective: the ultimate leftist cult, in which individual rights and matters of conscience are always subordinated to the authority of the collective.

equal protection under the law: leftist ideology

Hillary-as-criminal: a given. Here’s what happened to “innocent until proven guilty”:

Guilt and innocence do not determine judgment, but rather judgment determines all, including the definition of guilt.–Anthony Marra, The Tsar of Love and Techno

Leviathan: the federal government.

market uncertainty: the real culprit of the 2008 financial meltdown, caused by government inconsistency, regulatory excess, and pressure to issue sub-prime loans to unqualified minority borrowers. Perfect certainty would cause perfect markets.

raid: government policing or regulatory actions, especially those that affect consumers and businesses.

regrettable infelicities: any of the Donald’s statements that provoke outrage in the liberal Democrats. Aka, “lapses of taste and judgment.”

resentment: the rhetorical heart of Trumpism: economic resentment, immigration resentment, racial resentment, gender resentment.

trends: what pass for principles among Dems. Always shifting and subject to change, depending on what’s trending or politically correct at the time. Examples include playing “the woman card” and identity politics, climate change, and charges of p0lice violence. None of these rest on a principled foundation: gender identity politics for its own sake is pandering; climate change is a man=made fiction, and “police violence” is an urban myth.

“unfair” and “abusive”: government-speak for market-driven business practices.

“you can’t say that about a woman”: Trump’s attack on political correctness that he uses as ironic justification whenever he calls women screamers, “disgusting”, ugly, etc.