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.

Parallel GOP Universes: Hyperbolic and Counter-Intuitive Myths, Claims, and Canards, August 26, 2013

1. GOP Racism on steroids showcased in this blogpost from MJ Media, linked to via the National Review website. This irony-gone-terribly-wrong post manages to link minorities with alcoholics, manual laborers, felons, profligates, law-breakers, and deadbeat dads:

There’s nothing wrong with making excuses for bad, self-destructive behavior. That might be called “enabling” in some other context, but not here. It’s not really the criminal’s fault, after all. Conservatives just don’t know how hard it is and how the world is mistreating people of color. When you see an alcoholic who is down and out, it’s just common decency to buy him a drink.

When Dr. King said that he hoped for a day when his children would be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin, he meant precisely that: That racial preferences are a good idea, and that telling someone that they can’t have a job or vote because of some silly felony conviction is terribly, terribly wrong.

And it’s not just crime that is no big deal. Why should employers be able to get away with telling people that they have to pass some kind of firefighting test before they can become firefighters? Why should bankers care if someone is likely to repay a loan before deciding whether to make a loan at a particular interest rate? In our schools, isn’t it more important that all racial and ethnic groups be disciplined at the same rates than that there actually be school discipline? And why encourage immigrants to learn English when everyone knows that not knowing English is no impediment to a rewarding and successful career as a ditch digger?

People of color are much, much better off if they are not encouraged to study hard, live within their means, follow the rules, and otherwise “act white.” Acting white is, after all, for white people, and conservatives should not insist on such undiverse behavior for anyone else. In the long run, if folks in a particular group are not meeting some standard, it is better for them if we get rid of the standard than if we encourage them to meet it. After all, too, too many people of color won’t.

What’s worse, the fact is that it is much harder to raise children who do well in school and stay out of trouble with the law and have a lot of “values” in a home without a father. Now, given the choice between getting rid of these trifling and unrealistic standards, on the one hand, versus embracing an inspiring diversity of childrearing possibilities, on the other, isn’t it obvious that we should be nonjudgmental?

Fess Up, Conservatives: Time to Accept Blame for MLK’s Unrealized Dream

2. It’s shaping up as a big week for GOP racism, pegged to the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington. They aren’t even hiding it anymore, as exemplified by this perfect counter-intuitive National Review piece that argues that affirmative action and racial preferences always actually only  hurt minorities’ educational attainment

But the Times story conveys a subtler point as well: Racial preferences are not just ill advised, they are positively sadistic. Only the preening self-regard of University of California administrators and faculty is served by such an admissions travesty. Preference practitioners are willing to set their “beneficiaries” up to fail and to subject them to possible emotional distress, simply so that the preference dispensers can look out upon their “diverse” realm and know that they are morally superior to the rest of society.

3. Not to be outdone on the race-baiting front, George Will plays the ancient, discredited and counter-intuitive non-sequitur card that single mothers are to blame for racial inequality, conservative columnist George Will asserted on Sunday that single mothers actually presented a bigger threat to minority communities than a lack of voting rights.

During a segment on ABC’s This Week to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the march on Washington for civil rights, Democratic strategist Donna Brazile noted that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would still be marching today if he were alive.

“Marching to raise the minimum wage, to ensure that workers could organize,” she said. “He would be marching for the same values that he marched for 50 years ago.”

ABC’s Cokie Roberts said that the progress made in the last 50 years was why the voting restrictions being passed by Republican-controlled legislatures around the country were “downright evil.”

Will, however, pointed to a report published by Daniel Patrick Moynihan eight months after the march that said there was crisis in the African-American community “because 24 percent of African-American children are being born to unmarried women.”

“Today, it’s tripled, 72 percent,” Will added. “And that, not an absence of rights is surely the biggest impediment.”

4. Obamacare Derangement Syndrome continues, in this nice little bit of hyperbole from Mark Steyn in the National Review:

It requires a perverse genius to construct a “health” “care” “reform” that destroys everything from religious liberty to full-time employment, while requiring multitudes of new tax collectors and other bureaucrats and ever fewer doctors and nurses.

5. Tomorrow marks the  onset of the media blitz for Obama’s impeachment, spearheaded by Aaron Klein’s # 1 Amazon bestseller, Impeachable Offenses: The Case For Removing Barack Obama From Office. This grasping-at-straws, ragtag collection of trial balloons that went nowhere include the following “high crimes and misdemeanors”, which, collectively, resemble a garage sale of discredited ideas:

·                  Obamacare not only is unconstitutional but illegally bypasses Congress, infringes on states’ rights and marking an unprecedented and unauthorized expansion of IRS power.

·                  Sidestepping Congress, Obama already has granted largely unreported de facto amnesty to millions of illegal aliens using illicit interagency directives and executive orders.

·                  The Obama administration recklessly endangered the public by releasing from prison criminal illegal aliens at a rate far beyond what is publicly known.

·                  The president’s personal role in the Sept. 11, 2012, Benghazi attack, with new evidence regarding what was transpiring at the U.S. mission prior to the assault – arguably impeachable activities in and of themselves.

·                  Illicit edicts on gun control in addition to the deadly “Fast and Furious” gun-running operation intended, the book shows, to collect fraudulent gun data.

·                  From “fusion centers” to data mining to drones to alarming Department of Homeland Security power grabs, how U.S. citizens are fast arriving at the stage of living under a virtual surveillance regime.

·                  New evidence of rank corruption, cronyism and impeachable offenses related to Obama’s first-term “green” funding adventures.

·                  The illegality of leading a U.S.-NATO military campaign without congressional approval.

·                  Obama has weakened America both domestically and abroad by emboldening enemies, tacitly supporting a Muslim Brotherhood revolution, spurning allies and minimizing the threat of Islamic fundamentalism.

Read more at 


Glossary, mid-July, 2013

an anatomy of key memes, phrases and obsessions in Wall Street Journal editorials and other precincts of the GOP blogosphere, July 3, 2013-July 16, 2013

agenda-driven.  What the Koch Bothers, among other Tea Partiers, call any investigative journalism that supports climate change theory, environmental and other regulation, and corporate taxes or liability.

extraneous: the House GOP’s characterization of everyone on food stamps.

fiat: any Obama administration ruling or policy. (aka, “end run”)

the Fourth Branch: the federal bureaucracy. Almost certainly illegitimate, probably illegal and surely unconstitutional.

King FDR V-VI. The Obama administration.

race baiting: anytime the Dems bring up race (aka, “playing the race card”).  If it’s meant as bait to get the GOP to over-react, the GOP’s response is to ignore or airbrush the race question. Curiously, “justice is blind” could be attributed to either side because it has a double meaning.

rammed through: any successful Obama administration legislation.

relief: Boehner talk for  repealing Obamacare. Supposedly, Americans are choking for “relief” from such totalitarian concepts as universal coverage, no exclusions based on pre-existing conditions, and insurance not tied to a job.

sidewalk as weapon: according to George Zimmerman’s lawyer, Trayvon Martin “weaponized” the sidewalk. So any black man out for a walk should be considered armed and dangerous?

victim community: defenders of civil rights, voting rights, equal justice and racial equality. An other variant on “playing the race card” and “race-baiting”.