S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Examining Bush Administration Language

This is the look of the sound in my head when I am confronted with the Administration's newest attacks on Webster's dictionary. My head spins. The idea that we are now living in the "1984" Orwellian world of "newspeak" (see title link) is widespread in the blogosphere, and certainly not original with me.
Latest "newspeak" initiatives:

  • It will not be long before the actual nature of the proposals in the Bush State of the Union speech will become known for their true content. You can bet that the "American Competitiveness Initiative," and the "Advanced Energy Initiative" are just as hollow, as actual propositions, as was the "No Child Left Behind" initiative.
  • Recently, the White House decided to redefine spying on Americans, domestic surveillance, as "terrorist surveillance." Media manipulators are trying to arbitrarily redefine the practice of the NSA's secret warrentless wiretapping program. And it is an affront to civil libertarians and to all the innocent plain citizens caught in the administration's data-mining web.
This is not new: Jacob Levich set the stage for me with this prescient September 22, 2001 article in my Common Dreams newsletter, entitled "Happy New Year: It's 1984." The author discusses the ideas that "Was is peace, Freedom is slavery, and Ignorance is strength."
As a matter of fact, there is an entire website devoted to this weird comic subject. The writer reports that Senator Harry Reid talked about "Orwellian" Bush tactics in his Jan. 21 radio address. Quote,
    Reid used the Democratic Party's weekly radio address to issue an indictment of Republican policies. He said the GOP has been "naming something just the opposite to cover how unpleasant it really is." Reid said GOP use of language reminds him of George Orwell's "1984" -- with such programs as "Clear Skies Initiative," "Healthy Forest Initiative," and "No Child Left Behind" all harming the areas they were designed to help.
    Mine is not the only head spinning: "E.J. Graff" posted very effectively about the idea of inside-out words at TPMCafe yesterday. To quote,
    Clear Skies Act. Consumer Protection Act. Patriot Act. Death tax. We all know how brilliantly Orwellian this administration has been in naming its various efforts. . . Let me add one: "Tort reform." Kate Steadman recently commented on the SOTU mention of "tort
    as a way to improve healthcare. Of course it's not about healthcare (or trial lawyers) at all. It's about helping corporations plan how much they'll have to spend when they violate federal regulations. It's about killing off gov't regulations, once and for all.

    "JayAckroyd" also at TPMCafe writes about the change wrought by the administration on the meaning of "privatization." According to him, it started as a term referring to the conversion of government owned companies to private firms, but now refers to outsourcing government functions so that private companies provide the service.
    My "creative" post today at Southwest Blogger is an exploration of "words."

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