The 2014 dawn of 'Politispeak' is nearly upon us

Updated: Thursday, April 17, 2014
The 2014 dawn of

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Over the next two-and-a-half years, there will be two major elections in this country.

This fall we've got Governor's races, Congressional contests, local races and issues, and then in 2016, we pick a new president.

Tonight in Tom's Corner, our Tom Van Howe says it's an exciting period not only because we see who who manages to win, but because of all the new "political speak" that comes along with it.

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I know it's a little early--for me, anyway--to start talking election politics so early in the game.

But these days, even while still on the on-ramp, we've got be be paying attention to notice the newly invented cute  little words, phrases, and terms that are designed to  give new meanings to old political positions.

Here are some examples:

For those who advocate drilling for oil in never-touched areas of Alaska--no longer say "oil drilling," say "energy exploration." One term conjures up a messy, dirty, spill-plagued, and environmentally destructive undertaking. The other a calm, rational, lab coat-and clip board operation that keeps everything spiffy clean.

But they mean the same thing.

The law that got passed during President Obama's first term--one that Republicans have fought every step of the way--is called the Affordable Health Care Act. But detractors have come to call it "Obamacare," or a "government takeover." The pejorative does seem to work wonders.

My personal favorite? "Job creator." A term that came out of nowhere just a couple of years ago. You still hear it mostly on FOX News and from the likes of Limbaugh and Hannity. It refers to the rich and their corporations, who, of course, are people, too--who don't care so much about you as they do about their bottom lines.

So instead of referring to them as "soulless and greedy multinational giants," it gets softened by calling them "job creators."

Forget that they haven't been creating that many new jobs.  But  by calling them job creators, we place  them in league with philanthropists. How nice.

We soften the worries of "global warming" with "climate change."

For the record, all the examples used so far are from one guy: the super-smart Republican pollster and consultant Frank Luntz.

He writes 'em, they make a talking points list, and presto.

So now we're heading into a huge 30-month election and campaign period. More money will be spent for and against candidates and issues than ever before. And we are certain to hear and buzz words and phrases--all designed to confuse reality--along the way.

The key is to recognize them for what they are.

In fact, the whole process could become a parlor game, making up your own as time goes by.

Here are a few I came up with over the past couple of days:

When referring to women who still don't make as much money as men while doing the identical jobs...let's romanticize the struggle by calling them "workplace pioneers." Gives you kind of an easy, peaceful feeling.

To the fraction of one percent of us who will be spending untold sums of money on the coming elections, we could simply call them "free speech enablers." That way we won't be reminded that they can buy free speech  in ways we can't compete with.

And for those who continue waging war against "gay marriage" and "marriage equality," we can refer to them with a much more acceptable label of "gay agenda activists."

Instead of talking about the desperate avoidance of giant potholes, just call it "selective motoring."

It really doesn't take much to make something more negative or more positive. Give a try.

Send me your best, and we'll air the best of those right here, sometime in October.

Let's call it "Politispeak." Let the games begin.

In this corner...I'm Tom Van Howe.

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Last Update on August 31, 2015 17:08 GMT

ANDROID SMARTWATCHES-IPHONE

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Google is introducing an application that will connect Android smartwatches with Apple's iPhone, escalating the rivals' battle to strap their technology on people's wrists.

The move thrusts Google on to Apple's turf in an attempt to boost the lackluster sales of watches running on its Android Wear software. The program uniting the devices running on different operating systems is being released Monday in Apple's app store.

Until now, Android watches only worked with smartphones powered by Android software, just as the Apple Watch is designed to be tethered exclusively to the iPhone.

Google's new app, though, will enable the latest Android watches to link with the iPhone so people can quickly glance at their wrists for directions, fitness information and notifications about events, emails and Facebook updates.

EPIX-HULU IN-NETFLIX OUT

UNDATED (AP) -- The cable network Epix and streaming service Hulu have agreed to a multiyear, digital subscription video on demand deal, while rival Netflix has decided not to renew with Epix.

The Hulu-Epix deal starts Oct. 1 and will bring new releases from Lionsgate, MGM and Paramount to Hulu subscribers, the companies announced late Sunday.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Hulu said it involves new titles, library films and Epix original programming.

Meanwhile, Netflix said in a Sunday blog post that that many of the movies it received through its Epix agreement also were widely available at the same time through other subscription platforms. Netflix said it intends to improve its customer offerings through original films and licensing deals with movie studios.

BLUE BELL

BRENHAM, Texas (AP) -- Blue Bell ice cream is back.

Blue Bell Creameries has resumed selling its products in select locations Monday, four months after the Texas-based retailer halted sales due to listeria contamination.

Blue Bell ice cream is now available at stores in the Houston and Austin areas, including in the company's hometown of Brenham, plus parts of Alabama.

The company voluntarily recalled its products in April after they were linked to 10 listeria cases in four states, including three deaths in Kansas.

Production plants in Texas, Oklahoma and Alabama then underwent an extensive cleaning and decontamination, under the regulatory oversight of health officials.

Listeria bacteria can cause serious illness, especially in older adults, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems.

GERMANY-GREECE-BAILOUT

BERLIN (AP) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel is making clear she expects Greece to continue complying with its obligations to creditors after upcoming elections, and says she doesn't see any possibility of reducing interest rates on its bailout loans.

Merkel said Monday, however, that while interest rates are already very low there is "a certain room for maneuver" on when Greece must pay back debts and the level of those payments. She says she's "relatively optimistic" of finding a solution that satisfies the International Monetary Fund's demand for debt relief.

Greece is holding elections Sept. 20 after Alexis Tsipras stepped down as prime minister, seeking a stronger mandate to implement austerity measures creditors demanded in return for a new bailout.

Merkel said in Berlin: "I assume that Greece will comply with its commitments."

EUROPE-ECONOMY

BRUSSELS (AP) -- Official figures show inflation in the 19-nation eurozone was stable in August at an annual rate of 0.2 percent.

The European Union's statistics agency, Eurostat, says Monday that a large drop in energy prices made up for increases in the costs of food, alcohol and tobacco, services and industrial goods.

The inflation figures remains far below the European Central Bank's aim for a 2 percent annual rate. The central bank is pumping 60 billion euros ($68 billion) a month of new money into the financial system of the eurozone to boost inflation.

A prolonged period of low inflation or, worse, an outright drop in consumer prices, can hurt an economy by encouraging consumers to delay purchases.

GERMANY-UN-CLIMATE TALKS

STOCKHOLM (AP) -- U.N. climate talks began anew Monday in Germany, three months before world governments are supposed to adopt a landmark deal to fight global warming.

The climate pact envisioned for Paris in December will be a crucial test for the diplomatic process, which failed to deliver a strong deal six years ago in Copenhagen.

U.N. officials note things look much brighter this time around because most major economies have already presented national plans to limit their emissions of climate-warming gases after 2020, when the new deal is meant to take effect.

Still, much work remains on how to ensure that countries live up to their pledges and how to divide the responsibilities of climate action among countries in different stages of development.

EGYPT-ECONOMY

CAIRO (AP) -- Experts say the discovery of a huge natural gas field off the Egyptian coast is a major boon for the country that will help alleviate energy shortages and boost the economy.

They say that the new "supergiant" offshore field revealed a day earlier by Italy's Eni SpA and billed as the "largest-ever" found in the Mediterranean Sea could alleviate the Arab world's most populous nation's need for gas imports.

Egypt is making a gradual economic recovery from the years of chaos since a 2011 uprising toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak. Rolling power cuts have been a regular feature of life as the country has been ruled by the military, an Islamist president and then a military-backed government.

This summer, however, Cairo has been largely spared the power cuts.

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