The Bad Professor's Beltway Decoder: A Lexicon of Washington Media

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markets, the: casinos for the rich that we subsidize.
national interest, the: corporate interest, the.

Adam Francis Cornford


adult: (see responsible).

average income: a figure used for lying about how most people live.

all options are on the table: preparing to do something hideously destructive.

articulate: can form a grammatically coherent English sentence at least 31% of the time.

austerity: stealing from the poor, old, and sick to compensate the rich for their own folly.

balance: giving equal time to absurd and/or bogus claims without further investigation; tilting rightward.

Beltway Consensus: platitudes congenial to the plutocracy.

bipartisan: right-leaning.

bold: vicious.

business-friendly: corporate brogue-licking.

capitalism: the only economic system compatible with plutoc-(ahem)democracy; will endure until Judgment Day or planetary ecological collapse, whichever comes first.

challenging business as usual: extra shameless groveling to the plutocracy.

civility: subservience.

clean energy: unmonopolizable and cheap once installed, therefore held to be too costly and forever inadequate to meet “the world’s energy needs” (see petroleum).

clean coal: an imaginary technology, similar to a Star Trek warp drive, discussed for marketing purposes.

climate change skeptic: well-paid liar.

competition, global: requires the beggary of the great majority of the human species.

controversial: bigoted.

courageous: stunningly cruel and stupid.

Dana Millbank: chief well-paid liar at WaPo.

David Broder: deceased former chief well-paid liar at WaPo.

deeply religious: fanatically repressive.

democracy: regular elections involving a right-wing party and an extreme-right-wing party--and no others.

distinguished: has worn through many pairs of knee-pads at corporate thrones.

editorial independence: putting your finger on the scales before corporate tells you to

energetic: frothing.

energy independence: like “God” and “America,” a traditional ritual invocation meant to legitimize the despoliation of common air, land and water by oil, gas, and coal companies.

economic growth: profit growth, at any and every cost; planetary life shrinkage.

entitlement: money earned by workers and partly paid back to them when they get old and/or sick; something that working-class people are not really entitled to after all.

flexible labor markets: low-paid, terrorized workforce.

fiscal conservative: financial fellator of the rich.

foresight: greed.

game-changer: actually changes nothing but team logos.

God: a) a polite fiction, like the common good, to be invoked in speeches; b) the will of the financial markets.

illegal immigrant: worker who follows the free flow of corporate capital across borders.

independent voter: ignorant knee-jerker, or human sea-slug.

intellectual: polysyllabic bullshitting.

infrastructure: stuff America can’t afford any more because that wouldn’t leave the rich quite enough.

investment incentives: government bribes to corporations with taxpayer money.

Israel: sincerely committed to a two-state solution as long as Americans are looking.

issues: topics identified and bracketed as safe for anodyne pseudo-debate

journalist: stenographer to the powerful.

left-leaning: halfway sane.

libertarian: stands for the liberty of capital (and the enslavement of workers).

markets, the: casinos for the rich that we subsidize.

military: sacred.

moderate: slightly less reactionary.

national defense: imperialist aggression.

national interest, the: corporate interest, the.

Palestinians: (see workers).

petroleum: the eternal golden elixir of God and the fount of civilization.

philanthropy: patting us on the head after kicking us in the stomach.

plainspoken: monosyllabic bullshitting.

political talk-show pundit: well-paid liar.

populism: corporate-funded demagoguery.

private: go-o-o-od.

private campaign finance: legalized bribery.

private health insurance: protection racket.

privatization: looting followed by abolition.

pro-life: anti-female sexuality, anti-child.

protest (100-1,000 white reactionaries): important, game-changing (see bold).

protest (1,000-100,000 unionists, students, women, and/or people of color): yawn (see workers).

public education reform: (see privatization).

public: ba-a-a-ad.

racially tinged: racist.

realistic: conformist.

right-leaning: fascist.

responsible: sadistic.

science: class of stories assigned to cub reporters.

serious: heartless.

shared sacrifice: we get the sacrifice, the wealthy get more shares.

social conservative: misogynist homophobic hypocrite.

sound fiscal policy: regressive taxation.

special-interest groups: unions, public-service nonprofits, ordinary working people.

spending: what the government should not do, except on the military.

talking points: genetically engineered viral falsehoods.

Tea Party activists: white people high on manipulated fear and selfishness.

urbane: smarmy.

unions: obstructions to economic looting, therefore “obsolete” and “blinkered”.

visionary: myopic.

way out in left field: anywhere left of center-right.

well-informed: (see talking points).

workers: a disposable commodity, not unlike toilet paper and to be similarly treated.


Poet, writer and editor Adam Francis Cornford lives in Oakland, California and is the sole proprietor at Precision English. The Occupy movement inspired him to write the poems Oakland (after William Blake) and OCCUPY EVERYWHERE TOGETHER.

Copyright © Adam Francis Cornford. All rights reserved.

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