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, Nov. 4-8, 2016

business: to the Dems, another arm of the state, rather than being driven by the free market. (see “public service,”below)

fact-checking: to the Dems, a vehicle to do partisan politics.

Hillary supporters: Inside-the-Beltway, trust-funded supercilious snots from third-tier Ivy League wannabe schools who, as Victor Davis Hanson put it, “sound quite clever without being especially bright, attuned to social justice without character. Their religion is not so much progressivism as appearing cool and hip and ‘right’ on the issues … . Well-connected and mediocre … . They write and sound off about the buffoon Trump and preen in sanctimonious moral outrage … .”

market distortions: public safety, public health, financial regulation rules and laws, welfare, environmental regulation–all the ways the Dems distort the free market’s natural outcomes.

As Karl Polanyi argued,  the “Market Society” substitutes utility and self-interest for reciprocity and redistribution. Economic policy decisions intended to ameliorate the Darwinian/Hobbesian aspects of the “free” market actually are the free market, not distortions of it. Without them, there is no market.

minimum wage increase: Teenage Job Elimination Act

the press never talks about it: the rising murder rate, global cooling, immigrant murderers and rapists, the Clinton Foundation’s shakedown schemes, Hillary’s lying about her Benghazi coverup or her e-mails, the millions of immigrants pouring over our borders, etc.

The press never talks about these things because they aren’t true.

public schools: Dem dropout factories. By protecting the teachers’ unions, the Dems are sentencing millions of black kids to academic failure.

public service: to the Dems, deferred compensation, as they move to the meeting place of government and business.

redistribution: Dem buzzword/smokescreen for redistributing political power–to the Dems!

rigged system the insider elites who control Washington and “rig” the system so the free market is never set free.

As Paul Krugman, paraphrasing Robert Reich, argues, the opposite is actually true: the elites make sure the playing field is always “predistributed” to tilt in their favor:

there’s a feedback loop between political and market power. Rising wealth at the top buys growing political influence, via campaign contributions, lobbying, and the rewards of the revolving door. Political influence in turn is used to rewrite the rules of the game—antitrust laws, deregulation, changes in contract law, union-busting—in a way that reinforces income concentration. The result is a sort of spiral, a vicious circle of oligarchy.

The Tea Party/GOP’s faux populism is intended to cover over, and perpetuate, this “vicious circle of oligarchy.” Donald Trump, of course, has been at the center of this circle for his entire life. The system has actually been “rigged” for him via tax breaks, write-offs, lawsuits over property and contract rules, cheap foreign labor, free publicity, etc. He’s right-the system is rigged–but he’s done the rigging, and his phony populism–“the blue collar billionaire” meme– shouldn’t fool anyone.




Glossary: Key memes, dogwhistles, canards, shibboleths and obsessions in the Wall Street Journal and other GOP language factories, June 17-23, 2015

All men are created equal: the Tea Party wants this to mean that everyone has a shot at the American Dream (see below), so the rich should have lower tax rates to allow income to magically “trickle down.” The phrase’s original intent, however, had more to do with equal political opportunity, which of course is not widely distributed in America due to racial and class divisions.

The  American Dream: Tea Party/GOP  myth of upward mobility, probably the biggest lie ever. Ever-ready rationale for Social Darwinism.

grifters: anyone working for the Clinton Foundation or on Hillary’s campaign staff. Aka, “political operatives” or “grandees.”

hangers-on: anyone attending the Charleston funerals or voicing support for calls of racial justice or gun control. Aka, opportunists, easy riders, exploiters, the mob, interlopers, and the Deadheads of racial grievance.

overclass: Obama administration officials or any Dem political strategists, all of whom consider themselves vastly superior to Tea Partiers.  Aka, “grandees.”

playing politics: any time Obama comments on public policy, especially when it comes to guns, race, climate change, or financial reform.

quasi-Marxism: the hidden agenda of all Dem policies. As explicated in the National Review, this Dem pathology/arrogance/naivete assumes that:

human nature is infinitely malleable, that power dynamics can explain all undesirable human interactions, and that re-education can serve not only to change society for the better but to wipe out all instances of immorality or law-breaking

This cartoon version of liberalism reduces it to a naive belief in the perfectibility of human nature, a belief that ultimately is “suicidal.” This Tea Party “law of nature” philosophy, based on conflict and hierarchy, views all rational attempts to reconstruct or reform society as doomed. Thus the very notion of Progressivism is delusional.
racism: A “leftist construct.” This is an insidiious conflating of the idea of race as a social construct–a word-made world–into charges of racism as leftist propaganda, rendering any moral claims as nothing more self-serving fictionalizing.
redistribution: another of those master-tropes (such as The American Dream (see above) that has become the oppose

stigmatization of normalcy: the subversive Dem master-strategy. The Tea Party narrative here is that “normal” American values are being marginalized by the liberal media and an incessant Dem campaign to make “normal” seem racist, sexist, or selfish. This entire meme harkens back to the hippies vs. squares culture wars of the Sixties.

taking over our country: migrants, underclass “grifters,” the “entitled,”and the politically correct. Having “lost” the country, the question is whether to try to “take it back” or just preserve enclaves and stay separate.

transgenderism: the normalization of insanity.

the Unabomber manifesto: the Pope’s encyclical about climate change and other self-destructive human activities.

the wrong time: it’s ” always the wrong time ” for a conversation about race, etc

Glossary, mid-January, 2013

an anatomy of key memes, phrases and obsessions in Wall Street Journal editorials, Jan. 5-Jan. 17, 2013

“assault” weapons: (note: “assault” must always be in fright quotes). Demspeak for any guns–rifles, handguns, etc. Really a recycling of the old “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” meme.

“biggest tax hike in twenty years”: not actually a new tax, but  “fiscal cliff”-related reinstatement of mostly Bush-era tax cuts.

global retrenchment: Obama’s diabolical strategy to let the bad guys take over the world.

growing world disorder: any challenge to American policy or power, anywhere in the world. “Disorder” always has to be “growing,” a meme to maintain the steady drumbeat of impending doom under a hapless, appeasing Obama (see also, “global retrenchment”). aka, “global troubles and disarray,” traced ultimately to liberals clinging to their entitlements.

growth agenda: any economic policy that promotes deregulation, tax cuts, and an unchecked private sector. Anything that unleashes the inherent and unfailing magic of the free market. “Growth” defined, of course, in purely economic terms, regardless of social or environmental consequences, as if a society cannot “grow” morally. (see also, “market failure”). (see also  the “productive engine”)

market failure: any economic policy that promotes deregulation, tax cuts, and an unchecked private sector.

productive engine: the unleashed power of private sector free markets policies. As opposed to the unproductive “entitlement” culture. Obama wants to “extend and entrench entitlements into the daily expectations of the middle class–from cradle to college to health care during the working years to retirement and then the grave,” in the process “reorienting the private economy to finance income redistribution”.

redistributionism: “the prevailing socialist mindset in the academy”.  aka, “Obama Unfettered”. aka, “the progressive agenda: reordering the relationships of Americans to their government”.

tax “reform”: the Democrat Trojan Horse for raising tax rates and broadening the base of taxed. Part of the Democratic masterplan to “spend, borrow, elect, tax, and then tax some more”. note: “reform” must always in fright quotes

troubling: any Obama nomination the Journal opposes (Hegel, Kerry, Lew)

Republicans’ War on Green Energy and Their Curious Born-Again Populism

While the last couple of weeks have been absorbed with gun control and the “fiscal cliff,” the Wall Street Journal editors have also been uncommonly obsessed with energy issues, mostly contrasting “green energy” with fracking.  The five editorials between Dec. 17-Jan 4 on these two subjects paint the usual Manichean world of growth vs. regulation, and “market-driven” natural gas investments vs. “trendy eco projects”. The key editorial in this sequence, “The Jackson Damage” (12/27), lays all the blame for high unemployment at the feet of retiring EPA Director and she-devil Lisa Jackson, whose “aggressive and punitive” regulators have “contributed to business uncertainty and stole dollars otherwise available for private investment.”

At the beating heart of this robbery are Obama’s “repressed green id” and the risible Democratic bias toward “racial justice and economic redistribution”. This bizarre psychoanalysis of the environmental movement seems confused insofar as it pits the desire for social justice, labeled as elitist and “anti-growth”, against American workers’ best interests.

A further twist of this inverted logic occurs in the Jan. 2 editorial, “Crony Capitalism Blowout,” which summons Republicans to a “new populist message” based on–wait for it- less corporate regulation, fewer constraints on corporate profit, lower taxes and less government. In this brave new populist America, “the social service planners who can’t run health care, education, or public housing” will be eclipsed by small businesses, investors, and the affluent. The ants (“those who save their money”) will triumph over the grasshoppers (“those who spend their money”).

But the ants are also due a huge tax break because the $5 million exemption on the estate tax is a “pittance for 50 years of work and thrift”, and should be raised. Only in GOP la-la-land is $5 million a “pittance”. Populism spreads to the 1%!

Let the Chess Game Begin: Rope-A-Dope

If rhetoric is akin to a chess game, with strategies, maneuvers, feints and sudden attacks (sort of like boxing), then Wednesday’s first debate was just the opening gambit. Neither candidate performed his expected role: Romney became a born-again moderate redistributionist, while Obama retreated to the chilly Olympian heights of the Presidency, giving all the correct answers but conveying none of the necessary emotions. So everyone says Obama lost the rhetorical battle (which is always to persuade your audience by connecting to them both emotionally and substantively), though if you read the transcript he pretty much countered everything Romney claims. It just didn’t feel that way.

In Aristotelian terms (Rhetoric, 1356 A), oratorical persuasion relies on three elements: ethos (establishing an image or identity), logos (the appeal to reason through argumentation), and pathos (arousing the audience’s passion).  All three have to work in tandem. On Wednesday, Obama failed at pathos, but Romney is now even more vulnerable on ethos and logos because his identity is ever-shifting and his arguments don’t add up.

Romney’s is now totally exposed as Etch-A-Sketch Man, Hollow Man. The rhetorical key is that Obama did not surrender his authenticity or authority, and did not shape-shift. His identity, gravitas, and dignity remained firmly intact. He banked his fires and  stayed within himself because he’s the one with a core and a consistency. He still has authority because he is the author of himself. He just needs sharper focus and cogency, as Jonathan Alter put it to Rachel Maddow.

He needs presence, not just reporting as present.

The Town Hall format of the next encounter should prove more conducive to openly challenging Romney face to face. Obama can try a little more of that scoffing, mocking tone he clearly excels at when he allows himself off the leash. (He did it a bit on Wednesday, like when he said that Romney’s new campaign slogan should be “never mind.”)

And let’s also hope for the return of Wednesday’s no-show memes that play so well for Obama–practically every women’s issue, “the 47%”, immigration, labor rights, Republican obstructionism, Bain, Romney’s offshore tax shelters, etc. Obama is playing the long game and betting that Romney will not wear well over the next few weeks as his evasions, hypocrisies and contradictions become transparent. Like Warren Buffet says, you don’t know who’s not wearing trunks until the tide goes out.

Who’s Better Off? Mitt Romney, For One

Romney’s Final 2011 return:

Adjusted gross income: $13,696,961

Total federal tax paid: $1,935,708

Effective federal tax rate: 14.1 percent

Romney’s Final 2010 return:

Adjusted gross income: $21,646,507

Total tax paid: $3,009,766

Effective rate: 13.9 percent

So Romney has made $34 million in just two years of the so-called “first socialist” (or redistributionist) President. While he won’t reveal any other taxes from previous years, let’s conservatively assume that he’s made at least a cool $60 million under Obama. So why does he want to change anything? Could he really be that avaricious?

Greed indeed seems to be the animating emotion of the Romney-Ryan-Rand ticket. Don’t forget that virtually all of Mitt’s income is from capital gains, interest and dividends. Is it any accident that the Ryan Plan would more or less eliminate these income streams from federal tax? Won’t Mitt become one of the 47% if Ryan has his way with the tax code? A recent Atlantic Magazine article estimates Romney’s post Romney-Ryan tax rate at .82 percent Let the Plutocrats’ Ball begin!