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: an anatomy of key memes, phrases, canards, shibboleths and obsessions in the Wall Street Journal and other GOTP language factories, March 28-April 4, 2015

conscience:  a cardinal virtue in GOTP terms; when Dems make conscience-based claims, however, they are called “fanatical and coercive rights.” (see below)

desperation: GOTP shorthand for Dem’s hope. See also “freakout” and “scorched earth policy” and :furious and unhinged,” below.

equality: stomping on religious liberty

fanatical, coercive rights: Democrats can’t help themselves–and become “furious and unhinged” (see below)–when they sanctimoniously claim special rights based on conscience. A moral imperative in a Republican becomes a deranged imposition on others when coming from a Democrat.

fealty: the pejorative form of loyalty. Only fit for vassals, slaves, and Dem ideologues.

fix: what the GOTP wants to do to a law when it becomes unpopular (as in the case of the Indiana and Arkansas religious freedom laws); but when the Dems want to “fix” , say, Obamacare, the GOTP says “end it, don’t mend it.”

freakout: any Dem moral or political stance; one of the ways that Dem ideals are belittled and diminished and made to appear freakishly out of touch with the “average” American.

furious and unhinged: any Dem claims of conscience or assertions of principles. This is basically akin to calling a woman “hysterical” whenever she raises her voice even an octave–a way of dismissing all arguments the GOTP finds discomfiting. Dismissal by hyperbole.

homofascism: Mike Huckabee’s spin on the backlash from Indiana and Arkansas “religious liberty” law. The revenge of the gays on lamestream culture.

indispensable nation: American exceptionalism, writ large. Let’s see, what “axis of evil” -type nations might the GOTP find “dispensable”? If a nation is truly “dispensable,” then annihilating it is morally permissible.

on paper: the pending agreement with Iran, for example, “sounds good on paper,” but when you spin out all the things that could go wrong or all the possible avenues for deception, no agreement is worth the paper it’s written on. Sometimes it seems that if Obama had written The Federalist Papers, the GOTP would say “it sounds good–on paper.”

prisoners: what orthodox Christians have become in an era of “intolerant” “political correctness” aka, pariahs, outcasts, the vilified, the smeared, the bullied, the crucified.

Selma envy: a particular malady of civil rights advocates protesting police brutality. The implication clearly is that any contemporary civil rights protests lack the moral weight of 1960’s civil rights demonstrations and marches. A particularly marginalizing and belittling smear, and a brilliant rhetorical way of turning using an iconic civil rights moment to argue against and current civil rights moments.

shield or sword?: another entirely manufactured distinction designed to undermine any liberal principle. For example, the GOTP says that the Indiana and Arkansas “religious freedom” laws are intended to be a a “shield” to ward off any interference with individual liberty, not a “sword” for bigots. yet merely saying that something is so doesn’t make it so, or, as The Onion put it, “Indiana Governor Insists New Law Has Nothing To Do With Thing It Explicitly Intended To Do.”

scorched earth policy: any Dem political tactic or moral stance. All Dem ideals are portrayed as absolutist and unyielding.

statist expansion: basically, any new law or regulation. Government is now called “statism”.

tolerance as a virtue: especially when it is invoked to defend intolerance, as in the Indiana and Arkansas “religious freedom” debate. We’re supposed to be “tolerant” of bigots.

true intent: Obama wants to make every Afro-American a welfare king or queen; Obama secretly promotes the interests of Iran over those of the US; Obamacare is a smokescreen for the “statist” takeover of all aspects of American life, etc.

Glossary: an anatomy of key memes, phrases, canards, shibboleths and obsessions in the Wall Street Journal and other GOTP language factories, March 9-15, 2015

cooperative and coercive policies: according to neocon icon Doug Feith, “cooperation”, collaboration, negotiation and “multi-laterilism” are now pejoratives, stand-ins for a “radically negative” foreign policy. Much to Rand Paul’s horror, the GOTP is running on a foreign policy platform of aggression, confrontation, and unilateralism.

criminalizing political speech: actually, in a classic GOTP rhetorical sleight-of-hand, what used to be called “regulating” political speech is now characterized as nothing less than “criminalizing” it. Government regulators are thus turned into “thought police.”

culture of agitation: any left-wing protest, as in Ferguson. When the Tea Party rallies, it’s called “grassroots activism”.

fatuous idealism: according to the GOTP, is there any other kind? “Idealism” itself is now a sneer, characterized as a stand-in for naivete, weakness, and delusional self-aggrandizement.

moral framework: another of those seemingly universal, neutral terms that, when politicized, comes to mean its opposite. For example, when Charles Murray and others blame blacks for their own poverty, the implicit (and sometimes explicit) argument is that they lack a “moral framework,” as if they are amoral creatures, even sub-human. This argument has been around for a long time–the current shorthand code for it is when the wingnuts portray Obama as a monkey.

permissiveness:  in the conservative moral lexicon, permissiveness is the root of all inequality. Blaming poverty, racism and inequality on the ’60s has never really gone away as a rhetorical trope, just as 60’s demonstrators are still secretly blamed for “losing” the Vietnam War. Permissiveness itself is actually of course a pejorative term for freedom: sexual freedom, gender and  identity freedom, racial freedom, etc., but usually limited in conservative circles to being the opposite of the cardinal virtues of restraint, “monogamy, sobriety, fidelity, and thrift,” in the words of Russ Douthait. Oh, the profligate, spendthrift, animal instincts of those negroes, most of whom lack a “moral framework.”

political indoctrination centers: colleges and universities, especially in the social sciences and humanities, hyperbolicly said to be “worthy of the high Stalinist Era or the age of Mao’s Cultural Revolution.”

pull up your socks: the gist of the conservative framing of racial inequality in America: get over it, take personal responsibility, be an autonomous person, quit being a dependent, working on the neo-liberal “plantation.” This limited definition of freedom scants notions of public good and civic engagement. It’s a kind of Hobbesian Choice.

stabilize: in GOTP language, this means nothing less than US dominance. Any contested foreign area not under our direct influence is, by definition, unstable. Thus, for example, a kind of two state, federalist solution in Ukraine is unacceptable because the U.S. would not be the dominate power.

treaties: according to neocon icon Doug Feith, treaties are lumped with going along with the UN and other world bodies and massively cutting defense spending as the hallmarks of a “radically negative”, “cooperative” foreign policy. (see “cooperative and coercive,” above).