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Political-Religious Doublespeak: Medical care is both good and bad

This story is more than a month old, but the doublespoken-ness of it didn’t really register for me until just the other day.

As a State Senator, Mark Green (R-TN) voted against Tennessee’s expansion of the Medicaid program; he still resists the idea. Currently running for the US Congress, Senator Green made the comment below (click anywhere on the photo … Read more

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Why is Trump Covering Up Jamal Khashoggi’s Murder?

Jamal Khashoggi is dead. The journalist was murdered on October 2 at the Saudi consulate in Turkey. The available evidence suggests with increasing certainty that it was plotted and carried out by members of Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman’s coterie of advisors and confidantes. The scandal over Khashoggi’s murder has only grown over the past two weeks, with new … Read more

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Words Divide and Conquer: Political-legislative Language in International Arms-Dealing

In 2015, the US State Department signed a deal to sell Saudi Arabia 532 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles, 48 Harpoon Block II Missiles, and 188 Block II Rolling Airframe Missiles. By law the agreement had to be approved by Congress. Facilitating such approval is the function of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, an arm of the Department of Defense. So … Read more

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Rhetoric of Identification and Young Men of the Alt-Right

Last Friday, members of the alt-right group the Proud Boys violently attacked a number of innocent people in New York City. This group is one of a number of groups that are united by some combination of white nationalism, misogyny, and other prejudicial ideologies—with some prejudices outranking others for some young men. Young men are drawn to … Read more

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Demagoguery: Why Liberal Mobs are Easier to talk about than Soybeans and Trade Wars

While right-wing talk show hosts and conspiracy peddlers like Alex Jones have claimed for some time that liberals are deranged and violent, the claim is now pouring out of the lips of a wider range of conservative media figures. Tomi Lahren recently claimed the average citizen who supports Trump is in danger. Laura Ingraham warned viewers about “marauding Read more

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A Rhetorical Analysis of Trump’s Man on Campus and his Audiences

You are likely familiar with the presidential address genre of the Trump rally. As seen on TV, this presidential act is new and Trump is the central star in the show. He leads chants, he calls out and/or mocks Democrats, people cheer at cringe-worthy moments, and his supporters love the “fight” he embodies.

What you may not be familiar with … Read more

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Paid Protestors and Angry Mobs: Does a Double-Dose of Doublespeak Count as Quadruple-Speak?

About the “angry mob” of “paid protestors” “assaulting” GOP senators over their vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh….

Others have made two points I was planning to make about the “paid protestor” nonsense. Paul Waldman, in the Oct 9 Washington Post, mentions both of them at least in passing: (1) the GOP invokes the conspiracy, especially the connection to George … Read more

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Kavanaugh’s Rant and the Old Republican “Tu Solus” Trick — by Don Lazere


In his rant that was the defining moment of his confirmation hearings, Brett Kavanaugh charged that he was the victim of a political “hit” orchestrated not only by vengeful Clinton Democrats but by millions in “dark money” spent by “outside special interests.” (He didn’t speak the name George Soros, but the multitudes of right wing conspiracy theorists … Read more

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Turning Arguments Back on the Accuser, Senator Collins Evades Accountability

The Senate hearings surrounding the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh as a potential, and now confirmed, Supreme Court justice have been a showcase for a number of rhetorical strategies employed to persuade the Senate and the public. One rhetorical strategy in particular, however, stands out—that of tu quoque, the strategy of refuting an allegation against one’s accuser by accusing the … Read more