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, May 19-26, 2017.

libertarian America

rhetorical claim: America is a land of free individuals responsible for their own fate. The dynamism of the free market and personal freedom and responsibility produce consumers, entrepreneurs, workers, and taxpayers.

rhetorical effect: precludes any discussion of citizenship, compassion, collectivity, environmentalism, or human rights.

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Fortress America

rhetorical claim: “America First”!  The country has lost its traditional identity because of contamination and weakness — the contamination of others, foreigners, immigrants, Muslims; the weakness of elites who have no allegiance to the country because they’ve been globalized.

rhetorical effect: This backward-looking and pessimistic narrative has contempt for democratic norms and liberal values, and it justifies autocracy and prejudice.  It personalizes power, routinizes corruption and destabilizes the very idea of objective truth.”

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demonize

rhetorical claim: the Dump Trump Dems reflexively attack health care and tax reform bills in order to continue their scorched earth policy of villification and demonization of all things Trump and GOP. They will accept nothing less than Trump’s removal from office.

rhetorical effect: turns any criticism into a threat and a deliberate distortion and exaggeration. Makes the Dems sound like one-dimensional sufferers of Trump Derangement Syndrome. This projection of their own Total War strategy unto the Dems is an attempt to make themselves seem to be the reasonable and accommodating party instead of the callous, cruel, and conspiratorial party that they have turned into. . Makes any agreement with the Dems politically radioactive.

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Tax Payer First Budget

rhetorical claim: to quote White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney:

If I had sort of a subtitle for this budget, it would be the Taxpayer First Budget. This is I think the first time in a long time that an administration has written a budget through the eyes of the people who are actually paying the taxes. So often in Washington I think we look only on the recipient side: How does the budget affect those who either receive or don’t receive benefits?…Can I ask somebody, a family in Grand Rapids, Michigan, to pay tax money to the government so that I can do X?…“We’re no longer going to measure compassion by the number of programs or the number of people on those programs, but by the number of people we help get off of those programs,” said Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, describing massive safety-net program cuts that would not “help” people “get off” safety net programs so much as eject them violently and immediately, regardless of where they land.

rhetorical effect: distorts reality in a number of ways:

  1.  assumes that anyone getting social safety net aid is not paying taxes.
  2. assumes that merely cutting social safety net programs will eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse without specifying how this will be accomplished.
  3. Applies that government programs Trump voters like–the military, Social Security, Medicare–aren’t really government programs at all.
  4. assumes that scapegoating the poor for federal budget deficits will fool people into accepting massive tax cuts for the rich.
  5.  Republicans only propose massive safety net cuts when the people they’re victimizing don’t have enough political power to fight back.
  6. massive safety-net program cuts will not “help” people “get off” safety net programs so much as eject them violently and immediately, regardless of where they land.
  7. As Catherine Rampell argues in The Washington Post,

    Trumponomics — like Ryanonomics — is based on the principle that living in poverty doesn’t suck quite enough. That is, more people would be motivated to become rich if only being poor weren’t so much fun. The political ideology is reflected in major cuts to anti-poverty programs and the social safety net, all in the name of not “discourag[ing] able-bodied adults from working.” And so, with the “compassionate” goal of making the poor a little less comfortable and a little more motivated, this budget savages nearly every anti-poverty program you can imagine.

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unapologetic

rhetorical claim: President Trump’s unapologetic foreign policy puts America first. Unlike Obama, Trump wastes no time blaming America or making excuses for our adversaries. Trump also offers safety for the entire civilized world.

rhetorical effect: implies that anyone opposing Trump is uncivilized and on the side of the terrorist, and that you either love America or are cast out as an evil adversary. Being American once again means you never have to apologize. In this hypermasculinized world, apology is tantamount to weakness and surrender.

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voluntary exchanges

rhetorical claim: a thriving free market relies on voluntary exchanges between willing parties, and rests on the assumption that customers know best what is good for them and their families. In a truly fee market, the little guy is king, and can challenge the big guys with the right new idea. Everyone can participate in this totally free market without the government dictating what they can and can’t do. Big government removes the critical “voluntary” dimension of the free market. if the government would just get out of the way, business investment and worker productivity would rise substantially

rhetorical effect: justifies monopolies, price fixing, and greed in the same of competition. Acts as if markets are not rigged by tax breaks, friendly regulators, monopoly pricing, and coercion. Perpetuates the Big Lie that the free market is any way truly “free,” and that we are all primary actors in that market, directing our own fate.

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cost sharing

rhetorical claim: in the new Trump budget food stamps and other safety net programs will be phased out or put on a cost sharing basis with the states.

rhetorical effect: the only people sharing the costs of these cuts will be the poor. Cost sharing is a euphemism for starving a federal program to death and blaming its demise on the states.

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compassionate

rhetorical claim: Mick Mulvaney argues that the new budget shows compassion for the poor by making them honor the dignity of work and get off the dole. It’s tough love, but being dependent on government handouts is not in their long-term bests interests.

rhetorical effect: Lumps all the poor together, regardless of circumstances or disabilities; makes government assistance a shameful act; accuses the poor of deceit and laziness; defines compassion as the lack of any assistance–in Christian terms, the opposite of charity. As Gail Collins puts it,

Mulvaney claimed the new budget was all about “compassion.” It’s not everybody whose heart bleeds so much for wealthy taxpayers that he’s prepared to feed them the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

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slapping on

rhetorical claim: Obama-era regulators “slapped on” layer after layer of unwanted, stifling, and preemptive regulations in their heavy-handed attempt to rule America by regulatory diktat. A “light touch” administrative approach better serves the consumer and the market.

rhetorical effect: makes any regulation sound draconian and unnecessary; paves the way for massive concessions to private industry.; conflates the concepts of the consumer and the market–as if the public’s best interests are always congruent with those of private corporations. (he old way of putting this was ‘What’s good for GM is good for America.”) Makes the case for government actions that are reactionary rather than preventative.

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liberal media

rhetorical claim: the liberal media are creating a false narrative about Trump, Comey, and the Russians. There is not one shred of evidence of any electoral collusion with the Russians; Comey was fired because he is incompetent and because of the Clinton investigation, and now the media has made up a story about how Trump is either impeachable or crazy.

  • Trump fired FBI Director James Comey for his mishandling of the Clinton investigation and his stubborn insistence on continuing the Russia investigation despite no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
  • The liberal media drove this narrative to take down Trump, who only wanted the investigation “done properly,” and then started to question Trump’s mental stability.
  • The “deep state” leaked classified info to the Washington Post. Plus, Trump has the right to disclose classified information to Russians, and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster agrees.
  • Comey is getting revenge with memos that reveal Trump asked him to shut down the investigation into his first national security adviser, Michael Flynn.

rhetorical effect: strips the Comey and Russia/Trump stories of context to make these events seem random or non-existent; makes up an imaginary third party–the evil liberal media–to be the main villain in the piece; creates a false narrative of Trump as the victim of a witch hunt. Stripping context away from these stories allows Trump supporters to make up a false alternative narrative. As Vox explains:

Let’s be clear about what’s happening here: Right-wing media is creating coherent alternate storylines with different characters and different context — but a narrative that competes with contextual facts that support a more accurate story. Even amid some of the most troubling presidential news in decades, a huge portion of this country is having a very different experience of these events, and repeating it over and over. Our collective memories — and, in turn, our shared culture — are being splintered.

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, May 13-17, 2017

economic nationalism

rhetorical claim: economic nationalism, especially fairer trade deals, will lead to more jobs, more investment, and greater prosperity for all Americans.

rhetorical effect: conflates economic nationalism with free trade, even though they are polar opposites.

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peripheral and incidental

rhetorical claim: the fake Trump-Russia narrative is fueled by the constant, hyperventilating reporting of peripheral and incidental connections of the Trump campaign and business empire to Russia.

rhetorical effect: trivializes the possible collusion or else nonchalantly makes it sound like business as usual; discourages any attempts to connect the dots.

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one of the greatest electoral victories ever

rhetorical claim: Trump’s electoral victory was one of the greatest ever, and he actually won the popular vote if you discount the three million fraudulent Hillary votes.  He is overwhelmingly the people’s choice, yet the media continues to undermine his legitimacy.

rhetorical effect: this ridiculous claim represents Trump’s signature style: crude myth-making rooted in paranoia and cloaked in the language of democracy and the rule of law.

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opportunity

rhetorical claim: the Trump boom will create unparalleled economic opportunity for all Americans.

rhetorical effect: conflates opportunity with opportunism. Not only are Trump family members and cronies cashing in, but proposed tax cuts will mostly benefit the wealthiest Americans. Trump is the greatest opportunity ever for the richest Americans to get richer in the greatest redistribution of wealth in American history.

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negotiation

rhetorical claim: negotiating better trade deals for America will create greater prosperity and stop foreign nations from taking advantage of the US.

rhetorical effect: turns the reciprocity of negotiation into a zero-sum game with clear winners and losers. Equates winning with justice and equity.

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Trumpism

rhetorical claim: like racism and sexism, the media’s knee-jerk, eye-rolling response to Trump represents an inborn form of discrimination. It’s all about the “feigned pained look, the furrowed brow, the curled lip.”Or comments such as, “That makes no sense” or “You must be lying” that anchors make anytime an advocate of President Trump goes on television to defend him.

rhetorical effect: makes the media appear dismissive of Trump even when they are responding to the substance (or lack of substance)i of one of Trump’s tweets or one of his surrogates’ defenses. This attack leads to false equivalency (call it “on the one hand, on the other hand”ism). Makes them treat false facts and phony narratives as real, thus normalizing deceptions and creating an ultimately exhausting fog of confusion.

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pansy America

rhetorical claim: from The American Thinker website:

Americans have become a wilting, withering mass of weak, needy crybabies who have departed far and away from the strength of back, intellect, and character of America’s Founders, who created a system that none other has ever equaled.  Rather than follow along the path that made America a strong, economically thriving and prosperous nation, many Americans, especially Millennials, pursue petty and paltry pleasures, as would a sloth and a glutton, and claim their slightest whim to be a “right.”

Some things, like food, shelter, clothing, water, and health care, are critical to our lives.  However, they are not “rights.”  Even if they were made rights, this would set in motion a confiscatory requirement to satisfy that right at the expense of others, much as America currently chafes against our current welfare system.

More and more, Americans hear a clamor from their progressive countrymen of all rank and file, for wants and desires to be provided through government funds, the taxpayers’ dollars.  Now, not only do many across the nation demand health care as a right, but they also demand a $15-per-hour minimum wage and free university educations.

rhetorical effect: this diatribe demeans concepts such as health care is a right, workers deserve a living wage, the social safety net. etc. It posits a Darwinian world where the government is reduced to the military/police complex.

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Trump’s “hopes”

rhetorical claim: in Comey’s alleged memo, Trump is quoted as saying that he “hopes” Comey gives up the pursuit of Flynn. Note that he never directly orders Comey to do so. How can Trump be impeached for just “hoping” for something?

rhetorical effect: makes a thinly-veiled threat–an impeachable offense– sound like a reasonably honest wish or feeling–hardly an impeachable offense.

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economic equality

rhetorical claim: under Obama (and really going to back to FDR), individual Americans’ right to personal property has been taken away in the name of “equality” and “economic security.” This redistributionism will lead to the collectivization of rights and then the collectivization of property. Individual rights will be a thing of the past. The current political fight is over the future of the Bill of Rights.

rhetorical effect: turns equality into a pejorative term; privileges property over human needs; reframes the social safety net as an iron cage of fascism.

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misspoke

rhetorical claim: Trump and his spokespersons sometimes misspeak when tweeting, characterizing events or making statements. This is equivalent to a typo, but is seized upon by the mainstream media as proof of collusion or deception.

rhetorical effect: bait and switch: swapping a major sin (lying) for a minor one (tripping up on language, using a malapropism, etc.)

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obstruction of the executive

rhetorical claim: the mainstream media challenges Trump’s authority to manage the executive branch by obstructing his every statement and policy.

rhetorical effect: turns the phrase “obstruction of justice” upside down and inside out by making it appear that it is Trump who is being obstructed. Part of the master-meme to make the media the true threats to America.

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light-touch regulatory framework

rhetorical claim: we need to return to the light-touch regulatory framework of the Clinton and Bush years, where government more or less got out of the way of Wall Street, public utilities, mortgage lenders, and payday loan companies.

rhetorical effect: a euphemism for a non-touch regulatory framework; complete deregulation

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reciprocity

rhetorical claim: trade deals have to be reciprocal, otherwise America is getting taken advantage of.

rhetorical effect: conflates retaliatory tit-for-tat with matching concessions, so, instead of imposing, say, a 10% surcharge on a nation that has its own 10% surcharge on US exports, instead we charge 10% somewhere else in our trade portfolio with that country. In other words, the reciprocity should be impacts from initial conditions, not knee-jerk retaliation.

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appropriate

rhetorical claim: according to McMaster, what Trump said was “wholly appropriate to that conversation” and, “in the context of the conversation,” “wholly appropriate with what the expectations are of our intelligence partners,” and it is “wholly appropriate for the President to share whatever information he thinks to advance the safety of the American people. That’s what he did.” It was also “wholly appropriate given the purpose of that conversation and the purpose of what the President was trying to achieve”—whatever purpose he might have, it seems, and whatever he might be trying to achieve.

rhetorical effect: makes it seem literally impossible for the President to ever violate classification rules; makes appropriate behavior totally dependent on circumstances. Also, as Amy Davidson points out in The New Yorker:

“There are no sensitivities in terms of me,” McMaster said. He tried to return the reporters to what he, personally, considered the “real issue”: leakers. They were the ones endangering national security, McMaster said. It sounded like the coming attractions for the next episode of White House chaos: the bitter hunt for whoever on the inside was talking to the Post.

And yet it might be the leakers who are keeping the country safe. Government officials turn to reporters when there is something that strikes them as not right. The events of this week and last have gone to the heart of what it means to work for Donald Trump. The likelihood that one will be publicly humiliated may be the least of it; participation in policies that are not good for this country is a grimmer prospect. And so is the possibility that we might forget what we expect from a President, or from the people who work for him. It might be seen as improper for a member of the intelligence community to meet with a journalist, or out of line for a national-security adviser to publicly break with his boss. But there are times when it is appropriate to do so; there are even moments when it is necessary.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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, dog-whistles, canards, euphemisms, fake outrages, and obsessions in the Wall Street Journal and other GOP language factories, October 8-19, 2015

beating up: regulating (the drug companies, the banks, etc.)

big government: any government.

cost-benefit tradeoffs: any regulation that incurs any costs nullifies its supposed benefits. This analysis always overestimates the costs and understates or underestimates or ignores the benefits. For example, clean air is not a calculable benefit.

culture-war leftists: any Dem who wants to play the race card, the war-on-women card, the gun control etc. Any issue that threatens the Tea Party is called part of “the culture war,” and thus intended to be “taken off the table.”

economic know- nothings: anyone who wants to regulate the free market, the banks, the insurance companies, Big Pharm, etc. Also, anyone who wants to raise taxes on the rich.

House leader: a Speaker who takes directions from the Freedom Caucus. More of a follower than a leader.

inequality: solely caused by the successes of our millionaires and billionaires. A temporary condition caused by hard work and entrepreneurial guile. Anyone shouting “inequality” simply disrespects success.

Pander bears: Dems offering the poor “free stuff”.

personal responsibility: blaming the government. The more vociferously someone goes on about “personal responsibility,” the more that obsessively that person blames government for all the country’s woes.

Presidential veto: a frustration

the rich: the middle class–the ones Dems really want to tax.

utopianism:  any species of idealism. Since inequality, poverty, war, and guns will never go away, attempts to regulate them or ameliorate their impact are delusional and naive.

Glossary: an anatomy of key memes, phrases, canards, shibboleths and obsessions in the Wall Street Journal and other GOTP language factories, Dec. 29, 2014-Jan 6, 2015

note: GOTP=Grand Old Tea Party

adherence to the rule of law: like “Constitutional originalism” or “American exceptionalism,” this is a GOTP appeal to so-called natural law.  By definition, any GOTP law or policy is orderly and supportive of “common sense” values, whereas any Dem law or policy is by definition unruly, irrational, and socially destructive. Just another instance of “how the GOTP saved civilization” rhetoric.

balancing : lip-service phrase for seeming to compromise when you actually have no intention. Somehow, the “balance” always seems to tip in favor of the GOTP. For example, fracking proponents argue that they are willing to “balance” (or “take into account”–another weasle phrase) their position against “environmental concerns.” But they always have their finger on the scale: when the “balancing” is done, the fix is in.

first principles: GOTP bedrock: Constitutional originalism (always “strictly adhered to”), limiting the federal government, and protecting individual liberties. Dems, by contrast, don’t have “principles” so much as “dogmas” or “ideologies”. GOTP “first principles” serve “the people,” whereas Dem policies serve “cronies and special interests.”

gridlock is a good thing: only GOTP Congress members–people with government jobs, being paid with taxpayer money–has the audacity to say that Washington gridlock is a good thing because it means no governmental acts are taking place.  Using their usual form of reverse English, where everything means its opposite, their highest principles are thus realized when they get paid for doing nothing.

judicial engagement:  when the GOTP agrees with court decisions; judicial “activism”, on the other hand, is when courts implement Dem laws & policies, or overturn GOTP laws & policies,. (see “adherence to the rule of law,” above)

malign: what libs do when they criticize the police.

market-driven and patient-centered: the paradox at the heart of the GOTP’s Obamacare alternatives. This mythical creature could also be called a griffin, minotaur or dragon: pure fantasy. As if anything that is purely “market driven” can be anything other than that.

mob: any public gathering opposing GOTP policies or positions. Sometimes, in a nifty bit of thinly-veiled racism, it’s called a “lynch-mob mentality”. When Teabaggers gather, it’s simply called a “crowd.”

self-government: since any government is axiomatically nothing but “meddlesome,” it’s useful for the GOTP to enforce this dichomy netween “free people” somehow governing themselves, and “Washington — its officeholders-for-life, its strangling bureaucratic sprawl, its incestuous network of staffers and lobbyists, its naked cronyism, and its invested media.” Apparently, every person is to be a government of one; radical self-reliance without any mitigating mutuality; freedom without responsibility.

the time for debate is over: what either side says when they are losing the argument.

 

Glossary: an anatomy of key memes, euphemisms, sneers, innuendos, and meta-narratives in the Wall Street Journal and other GOP language factories, October 22-28, 2014

banker-bashing: regulating the banks. Usually the nefarious work of the “Sandinista wing” of the Democratic Party (see below), especially Elizabeth Warren.

black-on-black crime: the real reason for the high incarceration rates of black males in the US. Even though it is a Non sequitur, this card is always played to re-direct any charges of white police brutality, “driving while black,” etc.

broken culture: another of the “real reasons” for the high incarceration rates of black males in the US. Just as the housing crisis was supposedly caused by scheming, lying  minorities cadging bad loans, any economic, political or social inequality in the US is blamed on Black Folks’ general lack of culture, shame or gumption. Just as with the meme of “black-on-black crime,” this serves as a Non sequitur designed to re-direct the conversation and blame the victims.

criminalize: regulate. See “banker-bashing,” above.

electoral integrity: voter suppression.

handover: under Obama, the allegedly vast wealth transfer from the middle class to the poor.

looting: suing BP. Another form of “banker-bashing” or “criminalizing” (see above).

moral compass: an inherently Republican character trait, usually entirely lacking in Democrats (who will say or do anything to get elected), especially Afro-American Democrats (who have a “broken culture”–see above).

(of) negligible economic impact: the Obama stimulus package, the largest in US history. Can also be used to refer to any disparate economic impacts that arise from price-gouging, monopoly pricing, restraint of trade, etc.

political speech: money talks.

sabotaging our borders: the secret Obama master plan to let in terrorists, Ebola, and undocumented aliens.

Sandinista wing of Democratic Party: Elizabeth Warren, Barney Frank, Chuck Schumer, Bernie Saunders.