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.


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.

Business News

Last Update on October 13, 2015 07:30 GMT


SEATTLE (AP) -- Nearly seven years after Bernie Madoff's investment empire was revealed to be a $17.5 billion fraud, the battle by investors to recover their losses ramps up with jury selection that began Monday in a case in Seattle.

A Washington state investment company is seeking to pin about $100 million of its losses from Madoff's crimes on auditor Ernst & Young.

FutureSelect Portfolio Management of Redmond and some related firms, headed by hedge fund manager Ronald Ward, lost a total of about $129 million in the pyramid scheme. In court papers, the company alleges that Ernst & Young would have uncovered the scheme if it had taken even the most basic steps to verify Madoff's assets -- something the auditing firm denies it had any obligation to do.

The case was initially dismissed, then revived by an appeals court. Washington state's Supreme Court denied a bid by the defendants to have the case transferred to New York or to apply New York law, which would not have allowed the lawsuit. Ernst & Young is the only defendant so far heading to trial; most of the others have reached confidential settlement agreements.


BEIJING (AP) -- China's imports fell by an unexpectedly wide margin in September in a new sign of weakness in the world's second-largest economy.

New customs data shows imports plunged 20.4 percent from a year earlier to $145.2 billion, worse than August's 5.5 percent decline and analysts' expectations of a decline of about 15 percent. Exports shrank 3.7 percent, though that was an improvement from the previous month's 13.8 percent decline.

Weakness in trade has fueled doubts Beijing can hit its economic growth target this year of about 7 percent.

Much of China's slowdown over the past five years was self-imposed as the ruling Communist Party tries to steer the economy to more self-sustaining growth based on domestic consumption. But the past year's unexpectedly deep decline has raised fears of politically dangerous job losses.

The government has cut interest rates five times since November and pumped money into the economy through spending on public works construction. Economic growth held steady in the quarter ending in July at 7 percent. But that was the lowest rate since the 2008 global crisis.


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Traders will be focusing on corporate earnings this week as they try to assess the impact that slowing global growth is having on company profits.

Johnson & Johnson gets things going this morning, reporting its quarterly financial results before the market opens. CSX and JP Morgan Chase issue their results after the market closes.

Overall, earnings are forecast to slide by 5.3 percent, compared with the same period last year, as overseas demand weakened. But much of that decline is due to a big slump in energy company profits. S&P Capital IQ forecasts earnings in the energy sector slid by 66 percent.

Still, some analysts are confident that the outlook for companies will improve next year, as demand revives overseas and improving consumer confidence boosts the U.S. economy. Scott Wren at the Wells Fargo Investment Institute, says this earnings season will be a "confirmation process," showing inflation is low and the economy is growing moderately, but "fairly dependably."

Also on the schedule, for this afternoon, Treasury releases federal budget data for fiscal year 2015.


NEW YORK (AP) -- Transit experts say a planned $29 billion infusion into New York City's transportation network will help but not completely overhaul the massive system.

A deal was brokered over the weekend that includes $2.5 billion from the city and $8.3 billion from the state.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority's five-year modernization plan funds 1,000 new subway cars, more real-time countdown clocks and track repairs.

But many transportation experts argue that the capital-spending program is mostly a maintenance plan rather than a blueprint for a robust transportation system for a 21st-century global city.

Local officials have said more ambitious plans aren't possible without significantly more federal funding.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (KWOH'-moh) and Mayor Bill de Blasio (dih BLAH'-zee-oh praised it Monday as improving straphangers' commutes.


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Abbott Vascular's dissolving heart stent has passed its first major test.

In a large, one-year study published online by the New England Journal of Medicine, doctors found the Absorb stent performed as well as a conventional stent.

Stents are tiny mesh cages that keep blood vessels from reclogging after artery-opening procedures. They are used on about 850,000 people each year in the United States alone.

The stents available now in the U.S. are permanent metal implants. Abbott's Absorb stent, which is already sold in Europe, works like dissolving stitches. It's made of a material that degrades over several years. It performed as well as but not better than a conventional stent for preventing reclogging in the one-year study.


MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A jury in Wisconsin is weighing whether the owners of a gun shop should be held financially responsible for a crime committed with a weapon purchased at their store.

Two Milwaukee police officers are suing the shop for several million dollars after they were shot by a suspect using a gun purchased at Badger Guns by a straw buyer. Lawyers for the officers told jurors there were several tipoffs that should have been sufficient to cancel the sale, including improperly marked forms and the behavior of the buyer and the eventual recipient, who was too young to buy the weapon.

Attorneys defending the owner and operators of Badger Guns and its predecessor, Badger Outdoors, said in closing arguments Monday that their clients were not negligent but were duped by the straw buyer.

Authorities have said more than 500 firearms recovered from crime scenes had been traced back to Badger Guns and Badger Outdoors, making it the "No. 1 crime gun dealer in America."

Washington Times