The administration of American strongman Donald Trump is engaged in introducing a troubling form of “Newspeak” that is reminiscent of the politically-correct language instituted by the fictional super-state of Oceania in “1984,” George Orwell’s classic novel about a dystopian future.
Part of the reason for such a dramatic change in generally-accepted terminology used by past administrations and the general public is the presence, throughout the federal government, of far-right ideologues schooled in the art of neo-fascist propaganda by such organizations as the Heritage Foundation, the Koch Brothers-funded Heartland Institute, and the American Enterprise Institute. Some of Trump’s mid-level political appointees possess degrees from such dubious evangelical universities as Liberty, Regents, Oral Roberts, and Bob Jones.
Detention centers for children under the age of 5 who were separated from their parents at the U.S. southern border are called “tender age shelters” by a Department of Homeland Security, which, itself, uses a title that is more reminiscent of the jargon of Nazi Germany and apartheid South Africa. Asylum-seeking immigrants to the United States have become an “infestation,” according to Trump and his creepy policy gauleiter, Stephen Miller. Infestation is the same word Adolf Hitler once used to describe Jews. Trump calls for “merit-based immigration,” but that is “Newspeak” for white Europeans only. Trump has publicly called for more Norwegian immigrants to the United States rather than brown- or black-skinned people from elsewhere in the world.
Lies are referred to as “alternative facts” by senior Trump White House officials. The press is clumped together by Trump officials as the “lying media” when Trump’s lies are called out in broadcasts and in print. A corollary to “alternative facts” is the use of the term “fake news” to describe any information that runs contrary to the propaganda constantly emanating from the Trump administration. However, it was Trump’s counselor, Kellyanne Conway, who came up with the term “alternative fact,” who spoke of the “Bowling Green Massacre,” a terrorist attack ascribed to Muslims that never occurred. Former Trump White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer similarly referred to a Muslim terrorist attack in Atlanta, also one that never occurred. In Trump’s version of Oceania, alternative facts and alternate realities are the rules of the day.
Trump has called journalists “scum,” “low-lifes,” and “the lowest form of life.” Trump had no initial reaction when a deranged Maryland man, with a history of online support for Trump and Maryland neo-Confederate leader Michael Peroutka, stormed the Annapolis offices of the Capital-Gazette newspaper and shot to death four journalists and one member of the staff. Trump wants his words to cause maximum harm and pain as do all sociopaths.
Scientists and meteorologists working for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Weather Service find themselves restricted from referring to man-made climate change. Trump has referred to the current global devastation being wrought by man-made rising temperatures and sea levels as a “Chinese hoax.” Across the board, Trump and his cronies are championing “junk science” studies, commissioned by Big Oil and Big Coal, over peer-reviewed academic research.
Before he was fired as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt ordered all references to “climate change” deleted from EPA web pages. “Climate change” is called the “double C-word” by Trump political hacks at the agency. The Trump term is “weather extremes.” Within Trump’s EPA, “climate change” and “greenhouse gases” simply do not exist.
Trump’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC), America’s premier public health agency and part of the Department of Health and Human Services, has banned the use of seven words considered unacceptable. Modern-day Winston Smiths working for Trump’s very own “Ministry of Truth” as language enforcers do not permit the use of “diversity, entitlement, evidence-based, fetus, science-based, transgender and vulnerable.” The Affordable Care Act is officially known as “Obamacare.” “Sex education” is verboten. The term is now “sexual risk avoidance” through “abstention.”
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos uses the term “school choice” to mask her department’s deep cuts to public education. DeVos’s “school safety commission” specifically failed to mention the issue of guns and schools.
Some Interior Department officials, as well as Ohio Representative and Dennis Hastert-like wrestling pervert Jim Jordan, agree with Trump on his desire to change the name of Alaska’s Denali mountain back to Mount McKinley. The aversion to the name Denali matches Trump’s hostility to Native Americans and their sovereign tribal treaty rights.
Trump’s Federal Communications Commission, packed with telecommunications industry former lobbyists and executives erroneously called “net neutrality,” which has been abandoned, as “micro-management” of the Internet by the government. Nothing could be further from the truth as users are now discovering by seeing constriction of bandwidth and the slowing down of Internet speed as AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast, which now control the FCC, hand over more bandwidth to DirectTV and Netflix.
America’s system of law enforcement and jurisprudence is called the “deep state” by Trump and his acolytes, many of whom, including Trump, have had a long history of being investigated by their so-called “deep state” for ties to organized crime syndicates. Trump would find wholehearted support in his calling the FBI “corrupt” from the likes of George “Baby Face” Nelson, Al Capone, Bugsy Siegel, Ma Barker, and George “Machine Gun” Kelly.
There is no longer opposition to the menace of trusts and monopolies, recognized as anti-business and anti-democratic since the days of President Theodore Roosevelt. Under Trump’s “casino capitalism,” the more monopolies the better, so long as those monopolies pay fealty to Trump’s agenda. “Immigrants” are now called “criminals.” Neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klansmen marching in Charlottesville, Virginia, in support of the Confederacy and white supremacy became “fine people” in Trump’s eyes. Within Jeff Sessions’s Justice Department, the Anti-Trust and Civil Rights Divisions are quiet places these days.
As far as government ethics are concerned, Trump and his associates reject the constitutional term of emoluments—accepting money from foreign governments—blithely acting as if ethics and constitutional oversight do not exist within the executive branch.
In the area of foreign policy, the illegally-occupied West Bank is increasingly being referred to as “Judea and Samaria,” the names assigned by the Israeli government to territory that has been all-but-annexed by Israel. Other administration officials, including U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, have referred to the Gaza Strip as “southern Israel.” The official United Nations designation for the Palestinian territories is the “Occupied Palestinian Territory, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip.” In May of this year, Trump moved the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, thus conferring de facto U.S. recognition of Israel’s illegal annexation of east Jerusalem.
Similarly, the governments of Venezuela, Iran, and Syria are called “regimes” by Trump foreign policy officials. “Regime change” continues to be the stated policy of the Trump State Department with regard to all three countries. After Trump’s disastrous and unproductive summit in Singapore with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, some sectors of the Trump administration continue to refer to the North Korean government as a “regime,” while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has elevated the terminology to “DPRK,” or Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Prior to the withdrawal of the United States from the UN Human Rights Council, the State Department objected to documents calling out governments for “racism” and “xenophobia.” In Trump’s world, neither racism nor xenophobia are considered dangerous but are fully embraced as public policy. To Trump, African countries and Haiti are “shit holes” and Nigerians live in “huts.” Trump and his policymakers continue to use the loaded right-wing term “radical Islamic terrorism,” when most Islamic religious leaders of the Sunni, Shi’a, Sufi, and other sects reject terrorism. The Central Intelligence Agency’s “Factbook” now lists Al Qaeda as being aligned with Iran, even though Al Qaeda was born from Saudi Arabian Wahhabism and is considered a mortal enemy by predominantly Shi’a Iran.
Trump has often referred to his administration as “my government,” not seeming to recognize that the constitutional framework of the United States consists of three equal branches of government. Trump’s collusion with Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, and his packing of the Supreme Court with two right-wing ideologues, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, are indications that Trump does not believe in constitutional government but a substitute unitary executive with him holding supreme power.
Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.
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Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).