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“The Powell Memo” as the Blueprint for Conservative Doublespeak by Donald Lazere and Anne-Marie Womack

This is a section from the forthcoming, revised edition of Reading and Writing for Civic Literacy: The Critical Citizen’s Guide to Argumentative Rhetoric (Routledge, 2019), by Donald Lazere and Anne-Marie Womack). It is a historical-rhetorical summary and analysis of key sections of “the Powell memo.”  The complete text is too long and filled with dated details to reproduce whole, Read more

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When an Entitlement Is Not an Entitlement

The day that Mitch McConnell, Senate Republican majority leader, announced that cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid would have to be made because they were a drain on the budget, ”the real drivers of the debt,” the proliferation of doublespeak was something to behold.

Just a day after the Treasury Department reported that “the U.S. budget deficit grew to Read more

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“Globalist” vs. “Globalization” by Don Lazere

President Trump and his followers have put on the public rhetorical agenda a supposed opposition between “globalist” and “nationalist” in which the first term connotes the long history of right-wing  xenophobic delusions about “the international *** conspiracy,” at various times “Communist,” “banking,”  “Jewish,” “world order,” etc.  Trump has added the twist of other countries ganging up economically against the US, … Read more

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Freedom of the Press:  A Precious and Precarious Right

It’s in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Children in the US learn about it in school. If you grew up in the States, you’ve probably taken freedom of the press for granted your whole life. Can we afford to do that now?

Current State of Press Freedom

Billions of people around the world live under regimes that … Read more

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Elvira Arnoux–On a recent speech by Mauricio Macri, President of Argentina

I am posting this for Elvira Narvaja de Arnoux, Professor Emerita of Linguistics and Sociology of Language at the University of Buenos Aires who has published widely in Spanish on political discourse. Her comments here indicate that replacement of truth by emotional “truthiness” noted by comedian Stephen Colbert is a widespread political phenomenon.

On a recent speech

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How the rich got away with it

According to British psychologist and author Adam Phillips, “getting away with it” was first used by Aldous Huxley in his 1923 novel Antic Hay. In Huxley’s postwar ethos, getting away with it is what smart, literary-educated people do to make a living, for example, in modern advertising and propaganda. The novel’s main character is “open and honest in the … Read more

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Commentators from Latin America

The countries of the Americas share much common history: Indigenous peoples, European colonizers, revolutions of independence, global immigration, racial and ethnic diversity, natural resources, wild and beautiful landscapes, hopes for the future invested in education, young and experimental societies. We also share periodically troubled democracies and monied oligarchies who attempt to control the ferment of these newly emergent lands.

So … Read more