Tuesday, October 27, 2009


An amazing video:

Sign of the times: Doublespeak comes of age

Life under the Chief Doublespeak Officer by William Lutz

No one gets fired these days, and no one gets laid off. If you're high enough in the corporate pecking order, you "resign for personal reasons." (And then you're never unemployed; you're just in an "orderly transition between career changes.")

But even those far below the lofty heights of corporate power are not fired or laid off. Firing workers is such big business in these days of "re-engineering," "restructuring" and "downsizing" that there are companies whose business is helping other companies fire their workers. (Think about that for a minute.) These companies provide "termination and outplacement consulting" for corporations involved in "reduction activities." In other words, they teach companies how to fire or lay off workers. During these days of "cost rationalization," companies fire or lay off workers many different ways. How do I fire thee? Let me count the ways.

Companies make "workforce adjustments," "headcount reductions," "census reductions," or institute a program of "negative employee retention." Corporations offer workers "vocational relocation," "career assignment and relocation," a "career change opportunity," or "voluntary termination." Workers are "dehired," "deselected," "selected out," "repositioned," "surplussed," "rightsized," "correct sized," "excessed," or "uninstalled." Some companies "initiate operations improvements," "assign candidates to a mobility pool," "implement a skills mix adjustment," or "eliminate redundancies in the human resources area."

One company denied it was laying off 500 people at its headquarters. "We don't characterize it as a layoff," said the corporate doublespeaker (sometimes called a spin doctor). "We're managing our staff resources. Sometimes you manage them up, and sometimes you manage them down." Congratulations. You've just been managed down, you staff resource you.

An automobile company announced the closing of an entire assembly plant and the elimination of over 8,000 jobs by announcing "a volume-related production schedule adjustment." Not to be outdone by its rival, another car company "initiated a career alternative enhancement program"' that enhanced over 5,000 workers out of their jobs. By calling the permanent shutdown of a steel plant an "indefinite idling," a corporation thought that it wouldn't have to pay severance or pension benefits to the workers who were left without jobs.

Doublespeak From SourceWatch

Doublespeak is language deliberately constructed to disguise its actual meaning, such as euphemisms.

The word doublespeak was coined in the early 1950s. It is often incorrectly attributed to George Orwell and his dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. The word actually never appears in that novel; Orwell did, however, coin Newspeak, Oldspeak, duckspeak (speaking from the throat without thinking 'like a duck') and doublethink (holding "...simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them..."), and his novel made fashionable composite nouns with speak as the second element, which were previously unknown in English. It was therefore just a matter of time before someone came up with doublespeak. Doublespeak may be considered, in Orwell's lexicography, as the B vocabulary of Newspeak, words "deliberately constructed for political purposes: words, that is to say, which not only had in every case a political implication, but were intended to impose a desirable mental attitude upon the person using them."

Whereas in the early days of the practice it was considered wrong to construct words to disguise meaning, this is now an accepted and established practice. There is a thriving industry in constructing words without explicit meaning but with particular connotations for new products or companies.

William Lutz, a professor at Rutgers University, has written several books about doublespeak and is the former editor of the Doublespeak Quarterly Review, which examines ways that jargon has polluted the public vocabulary with phrases, words and usages of words designed to obscure the meaning of plain English.

Psycho-Babel: A Ponerological Approach to Modern Doublespeak and the Distortion of Language by Harrison Koehli and members of the Signs of the Times forum

In his book, Lobaczewski approaches the question of political evil as a physician approaches the pathodynamics of an infectious virus, following the causal links between psychopathic individuals in positions of political power and the negative effects they have on a non-psychopathic population. One of the key concepts throughout his analysis is the psychopath's use of language. From an early age, psychopaths become aware of their difference from the vast majority of their peers, and learn to recognize each other in a crowd. As a psychopath does not have the in-born ability to feel complex emotions, expressions of such emotion in normal humans (like an expression of love, a widow in mourning, a man fearing for his life or family) are seen by the psychopath as contemptible signs of weakness and naiveté, and only provoke in him a misplaced sense of superiority. Normal humans are seen by psychopaths as little more than cattle, and are treated accordingly by them.

However, while psychopaths are aware of their difference (they might say 'superiority') from 'the mob' of general humanity, they learn to act as if they, too, are 'normal'. Growing up, they learn to mimic the movements and expressions that accompany specific human emotions. They do this because appearing normal is essential to their own survival at the expense of their victims. A psychopath can appear to be in emotional pain, eliciting pity and material support; he can seduce women with his air of confidence (the textbooks are full of unattractive psychopaths who are surprisingly successful in this venture); he can lead a church congregation with high-sounding words, while embezzling the funds they give in support. However, psychopaths know that if what lies behind their mask of sanity were to be publicly exposed, and if the masses of normal people were suddenly to understand that psychologically deviant human beings in positions of power are the real source of war, the most the Pathocrats could hope for would be long stretches in the nearest penitentiary. The people would rebel against the terror they have been subjected to under their influence - the manipulation, the lying and injustice that have led to interminable war, death and suffering. But for a psychopath, the only injustice is not getting what he wants: power.

Once a group of psychopaths has reached a position of such power in government (although the dynamic applies to any organization or hierarchy), such a government must work to make itself and its policies appear acceptable to the non-psychopathic human's sense of morality. If such a government were to lower its mask prematurely and truthfully say, "We, the government of psychopaths, despise you as much as we despise our so-called 'enemy'. We will work our hardest until you, our very own citizens, and those of any hostile foreign power, are utterly destroyed. Through poverty, total war, and genocide we will kill you all", the people would naturally revolt. As such, the government of psychopaths (or pathocracy) must mask its language in an acceptable ideology. Thus, a war of aggression becomes a "holy war" or "pre-emptive" war, not for the purpose of imperialistic invasion, but to "protect the homeland". This language is immediately recognized for what it is by other psychopaths, and they can pledge their support accordingly. But with experience, and after extensive observation and research, a non-psychopathic individual, too, can develop an ability to read the hidden meaning.

The effect of such language on the minds of normal individuals is that which Lobaczewski calls 'conversive thinking'. This is a subconscious selection of premises that leads to false or paralogical conclusions. The conscious manipulations of psychopaths are unconsciously converted in the mind of the normal person and taken for truth. For example, we see evidence of this in the irrational fear many Americans have come to have for Muslims. It is not uncommon to hear emotional pleas to "nuke them all", or "turn the whole Middle East into a glass parking lot". A recent CNN commentator, Glenn Beck, even went so far as to ask a Muslim congressman, Keith Ellison, why he should not suspect him of being "a terrorist". The net effect of this hysteria is that the guilt of the minority of every population (i.e., the psychopathic minority) is projected onto a separate and identifiable religious or racial group.

Graveyard of Justifications -
Glossary of the Iraqi Occupation by PAUL de ROOIJ

Any time there is war or an occupation of another country, propagandists or their media surrogates require language that mollifies, exculpates and hides the grim reality or sordid deeds. In an attempt to gain a deeper understanding of what is really happening in Iraq, this glossary elucidates the terminology commonly used in the media. Its aim is to enable us to peer through the linguistic fog.

There is a fundamental problem with such a glossary. The propagandists will coin terms to exculpate or palliate aspects of the occupier's activities, and aspects of the occupation whose mention cannot be avoided. However, propagandists loathe referring to the uncomfortable and repugnant aspects of the occupation or war. For example, it is very clear that the US military will not publicize lists of Iraqi civilian deaths (NB: they compile some lists, but these aren't made public [1]). Iraqi hospital officials are "discouraged" from compiling lists of civilian casualties and granting journalists access to morgues. The list of "forbidden" compliant media topics is rather long, but a subset is presented below.

Finally, the justifications for the war against Iraq, and the subsequent occupation, have changed over time, and the third list below documents the justifications proffered by the American occupiers to date. This growing list is the graveyard of justifications.
The Glossary

Abused terminology



Bogeyman Rex.

There was no link between Al-Qa'ida and pre-2003 Iraq, and even now, the US can't point to evidence of an Iraqi connection.

Abused terminology




It is rather odd to call Paul Bremer an ambassador; the man even wears army boots!

A Political Glossary - Euphemisms - Double Speak

Backdoor Draft - A term that defines the current (2001-2008) federal policy of using economically disadvantaged volunteer citizens to serve in the military, rather than subjecting all draft age citizens to a lottery type national induction service, which is not politically viable.

Blowback - CIA terminology for a covert operation that is most probably not legal or moral, but has the approval of the government and if this program/operation fails, will result in adverse publicity and/or action if it becomes known to the general public or officials from who it is being kept secret. A CIA term first used in March 1954 in a recently declassified report on the 1953 operation to overthrow the government of Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran. It is a metaphor for the unintended consequences of the US government's international activities.

Collateral Damage - The civilian casualties that result from Military actions.

Coercive interrogation - A euphemism for torture.

Conflating - Mixing up ideas in your head, causing you to make connections. The Bush administration telling the public Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, the means to deliver them, and Hussein was connected to al-Qaeda, while al-Qaeda was responsible for 9-11 ... there being no connection to Hussein or Iraq.

Corporatocracy - A form of government where a corporation, group of corporations, or entities run by corporations, control the direction and governance of a country or group of countries.

Covert Operations - Those operations and policies by the government which are ignored by congress and the media until they overflow into public awareness too far to avoid comment. They are then treated as scandals and isolated incidents.

Crop Science- A euphemism used by corporations engaged in genetic engineering of plants. They say, for the public good.

Decapitation Strategy - Coined March 19, 2003, by the Bush Administration when they preemptively invaded Iraq. A military strategy to attack and eliminate if possible, the leader or head of a sovereign state, before or during the opening actions of any military engagements.

Democracy Development - A Euphemism. A strategy adopted by the Pentagon and Bush Administration and now the Obama government, which is to install democracy at gunpoint inside failed or backward societies, along with unrealistic security guarantees to states and people of marginal strategic interest to the U.S.

More From the Folks Who Brought You 'Friendly Fire' by Jack Smith

In the council's Quarterly Review of Doublespeak, its editor, William Lutz of Rutgers University, noted that there are four kinds of doublespeak, and sought to define them.

Doublespeak has been in the language several years. In his preface to "Doublespeak Dictionary," William Lamdin says he uses the word doublespeak to describe distorted language because "it recalls the doublethink and newspeak that George Orwell said are employed to make lies sound truthful and to give an appearance of solidarity to pure wind."

Lutz says that one of the four kinds of doublespeak is euphemism--that is, a word or phrase that is meant to avoid a harsh or distasteful reality. A euphemism used to spare someone's feelings is not doublespeak--for example, passed away instead of died . But a euphemism used to mislead or deceive is doublespeak-- cleansed (as of a bombing site) instead of wiped out .

A second kind of doublespeak is jargon. When used by scientists or professionals in their internal communications, jargon is useful. When used to confuse the layman it is doublespeak.

A third kind of doublespeak is gobbledygook. This is language in which a large number of big and obscure words are piled one upon another with the intent of confusing, overwhelming or intimidating. It is bloated and obfuscatory.

[ ... ]

A fourth kind, according to Lutz, is inflated language. It is designed to make the commonplace seem important. It is inflated language to call a car mechanic an automotive internist, a garbage collector a sanitation engineer, or to call used cars previously enjoyed or experienced.

A glossary of terms in foreign affairs

As we debate the many scary enemies and exciting possibilities for new wars -- escalation in Afghanistan, our very own "Cuban Missile Crisis" against the Persian Hitlers, the Socialist Menace in Venezuela -- events can become very confusing. Compounding that problem are the many complex, technical terms often used in media discussions of foreign affairs. It's therefore helpful to keep track of the relevant terms --- ones just from the events of the last week alone -- to maximize clarity as we debate our imperial responsibilities:

The act of dangerous, threatening Hitlers -- NYT, today:

Iran was reported Monday to have test-fired long-range missiles capable of striking Israel and American bases in the Persian Gulf in what seemed a show of force.

The acts of a peace-loving democracy - Telegraph, January 18, 2008:

Israel has carried out the successful test launch of a long-range, ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, in what was intended as a clear show of strength to Iran.

Washington Post, May 2, 2000:

An Israeli short-range ballistic missile splashed down in the eastern Mediterranean last month near a U.S. Navy Aegis cruiser, causing momentary fear that the ship was under attack, Defense Department officials said yesterday.

The Jericho 1 missile, which can carry nuclear warheads or about 1,000 pounds of chemicals or high explosives, was launched from a missile-testing facility at Yavne, Israel, on April 6 and landed about 40 miles from the USS Anzio, they said. . . . [O]ne of the Defense Department officials ... said the repeated "no-notice" launches have made the Pentagon think that the Israelis are trying to prevent the United States from monitoring the tests and acquiring technical data about the operation of the Jericho.

A nation up to no good -- USA Today, last week:

President Obama said today that Iran has been building a covert nuclear enrichment facility for several years and warned that Tehran would be "held accountable" if it did not immediately demonstrate its peaceful intentions by opening the site to international inspectors. . . .

The Iranian leader says Iran had informed the IAEA early about the facility. . . . The Iranian leader tells reporters that Iran doesn't have any problems with IAEA inspections of the new facility.

A peaceful and law-abiding ally - Foreign Policy, last week:

The UN nuclear assembly voted on Friday to urge Israel to accede to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and place all atomic sites under UN inspections. . . .

This is a major victory as the Israel's representative on the council has already promised to "not cooperate in any matter with this resolution which is only aiming at reinforcing political hostilities and lines of division in the Middle East region."

It also probably won't do a whole lot for the credibility of the IAEA to have one more country over which it is powerless to enforce its rulings.

A thuggish dictator crushing democracy -- Washington Post, February 16, 2009:

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez won a referendum Sunday to eliminate term limits, paving the way for him to rule far into the 21st century to carry out his socialist transformation of this oil-rich country.

A criminal Leftist abolishing freedom - National Review, June, 2009:

But make no mistake: The Honduran soldiers who escorted Pres. Manuel Zelaya from his home on Sunday were acting to protect their country’s democracy . . . . Zelaya’s ultimate goal was to extend or abolish presidential term limits, mimicking the example of Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chávez and other Latin American populists.

Moral Clarity - An Unauthorized Glossary of War by Cynthia Cotts

Operation Iraqi Freedom: Official name for the war on Iraq. Bush says his goal is to free Iraqis, not to occupy their country and seize their oil resources.

Pockets:Term used to shrink bad news. For example, swarming Fedayeen are termed "pockets of resistance." Hordes of hungry people are "pockets of need."

Reactive Skin Decontamination Lotion, a/k/a RSDL: A Canadian product approved by the FDA, for troops to apply after a chemical attack.

Reconstruction:New term for nation building. The U.S. plans to award $1.9 billion in reconstruction contracts, which will go exclusively to U.S. companies.

Title: Wittgenstein on language: toward a theory (and the study) of language in organizations

Author(s): Robert P. Watson

Journal: Journal of Management History

Year: 1997

Volume: 3

Issue: 4

Page: 360 - 374

ISSN: 1355-252X

DOI: 10.1108/13552529710191252

Publisher: MCB UP Ltd


What has emerged in large organizations is the use of hybrid language of abstractions, jargon, euphemisms, and complex syntax known as bureacratease. Often this misuse of language is done with the purpose of deceiving and misinforming. Whether or not this was the intent, however, the result of bureaucratees is often just that along with the breakdown of communication between the organization and the clientele it serves. Moreover, there is insufficient research devoted to this phenomenon. Borrowing from Wittgenstein, this article offers a model for understanding bureaucratese and attempts to move the field of public administration toward a theory of this misuse of language in organization.

Big Thinking: Wittgenstein, Language Games and Presidential Debates by Levi Asher

And for instance the kinds of number form a family in the same way. Why do we call something a "number"? Well, perhaps because it has a-direct-relationship with several things that have hitherto been called number; and this can be said to give it an indirect relationship to other things we call the same name. And we extend our concept of number as in spinning a thread we twist fibre on fibre. And the strength of the thread does not reside in the fact that some one fibre runs through its whole length, but in the overlapping of many fibres.

But if someone wished to say: "There is something common to all these constructions -- namely the disjunction of all their common properties" -- I should reply: Now you are only playing with words. One might as well say: "Something runs through the whole thread -- namely the continuous overlapping of those fibres".

So, says Wittgenstein, it's a mistake to think that every word we use must have a clear or universal meaning. A word can be useful, and can be widely understood, even if its meaning can never be pinned down. This idea of meaning as a "family resemblance" presents something like a philosophical equivalent to Albert Einstein's theory of relativity. We believe our thoughts are grounded in a firm foundation of meaning, but in fact the meanings of our most basic concepts turn out to be as ephemeral as quantum particles.

Once you begin to think of words and concepts as existing without definite meanings, you notice how often arguments revolve around these words.

How Much Doublespeak Can One Day Hold?

To illustrate the prevalence of doublespeak, let's follow John Citizen throughout his day, as doublespeak is thrown at him from all sides: on the drive to work, at work, on the way home, at the store, and at home.

On the drive to work, John tunes in to his favorite AM station, and hears that US troops are beginning a "rescue mission" in an obscure "developing nation." It is hoped that the "incursion" will go quickly, with "weapons systems" achieving "effective results" during their first "visit" and with little "collateral damage" caused by "incontinent ordnance."

At work, John goes to lunch with some friends. He learns his company is implementing "operation excellence" in which at least one-third of the employees will be "involuntarily separated from the payroll." Management is "refocusing the company's skill set," by practicing "work reengineering" and "proactive downsizing." He wonders what he will say on his next application: "I was chosen to participate in the 'voluntary resignation program'. . ."

On the way home, John passes a business called "Feed Materials Production Center," never suspecting that the place is a uranium processing plant. He would be even more horrified to know that the Department of Energy allowed the emission of harmful levels of radiation and that groundwater in a one mile radius around the plant was contaminated by improperly stored nuclear waste.

At the store, John runs in to buy some chicken for supper. He makes sure to buy a chicken that is labeled "fresh." Little does he know that fresh doesn't really mean fresh--a "fresh" chicken is one that has been "deep-chilled" (as opposed to frozen) to 28 degrees F. Hmm. . . last I heard, 32 degrees F was the freezing point. . .

At home, John flips the channel to the President's state of the union address. The newly-elected President who promised "no new taxes" in his campaign was now proposing billions of dollars in "receipts proposals," "user fees," and "revenue enhancements." Hmm. . . sounds kind of suspicious. What, exactly, is a "user fee"?

Politics, Philosophy, Doublespeak & Humor

What do you get when you mix politics with philosophy, add a dose of cartooning and a heaping helping of wit? You get a perspective on the presidential campaign that's serious yet funny and insightful. In honor of President's Day, two philosophers join us to decipher political doublespeak.


Daniel Klein
co-author, "Aristotle and an Aardvark Go To Washington: Understanding Political Doublespeak Through Philosophy and Jokes" (Harry Abrams)

Thomas Cathcart
co-author, "Aristotle and an Aardvark Go To Washington: Understanding Political Doublespeak Through Philosophy and Jokes" (Harry Abrams)


Bush's Orwellian Address - Happy New Year: It's 1984 by Jacob Levich

Seventeen years later than expected, 1984 has arrived. In his address to Congress Thursday, George Bush effectively declared permanent war -- war without temporal or geographic limits; war without clear goals; war against a vaguely defined and constantly shifting enemy. Today it's Al-Qaida; tomorrow it may be Afghanistan; next year, it could be Iraq or Cuba or Chechnya.

No one who was forced to read 1984 in high school could fail to hear a faint bell tinkling. In George Orwell's dreary classic, the totalitarian state of Oceania is perpetually at war with either Eurasia or Eastasia. Although the enemy changes periodically, the war is permanent; its true purpose is to control dissent and sustain dictatorship by nurturing popular fear and hatred.

The permanent war undergirds every aspect of Big Brother's authoritarian program, excusing censorship, propaganda, secret police, and privation. In other words, it's terribly convenient.

And conveniently terrible. Bush's alarming speech pointed to a shadowy enemy that lurks in more 60 countries, including the US. He announced a policy of using maximum force against any individuals or nations he designates as our enemies, without color of international law, due process, or democratic debate.

He explicitly warned that much of the war will be conducted in secret. He rejected negotiation as a tool of diplomacy. He announced starkly that any country that doesn't knuckle under to US demands will be regarded as an enemy. He heralded the creation of a powerful new cabinet-level police agency called the "Office of Homeland Security." Orwell couldn't have named it better.

By turns folksy ("Ya know what?") and chillingly bellicose ("Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists"), Bush stepped comfortably into the role of Big Brother, who needs to be loved as well as feared. Meanwhile, his administration acted swiftly to realize the governing principles of Oceania:

WAR IS PEACE. A reckless war that will likely bring about a deadly cycle of retaliation is being sold to us as the means to guarantee our safety. Meanwhile, we've been instructed to accept the permanent war as a fact of daily life. As the inevitable slaughter of innocents unfolds overseas, we are to "live our lives and hug our children."

FREEDOM IS SLAVERY. "Freedom itself is under attack," Bush said, and he's right. Americans are about to lose many of their most cherished liberties in a frenzy of paranoid legislation. The government proposes to tap our phones, read our email and seize our credit card records without court order. It seeks authority to detain and deport immigrants without cause or trial. It proposes to use foreign agents to spy on American citizens. To save freedom, the warmongers intend to destroy it.

IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH. America's "new war" against terrorism will be fought with unprecedented secrecy, including heavy press restrictions not seen for years, the Pentagon has advised. Meanwhile, the sorry history of American imperialism -- collaboration with terrorists, bloody proxy wars against civilians, forcible replacement of democratic governments with corrupt dictatorships -- is strictly off-limits to mainstream media. Lest it weaken our resolve, we are not to be allowed to understand the reasons underlying the horrifying crimes of September 11.

US doublespeak on proliferation

On July 8, 1996 the World Court held that states possessing nuclear weapons have not just a need, but an obligation to commence negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament. The court also held that the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons would be generally contrary to the principles of international law, though there was some doubt about the extreme contingency when “the very survival of a state was threatened”. Despite this World Court opinion, the United States, Russia, France and the UK reserve the right to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons whenever their interests so demand. The US and Russia together possess around 19,000 nuclear warheads; France has around 350 warheads and the UK 160 warheads.

The 2005 US Doctrine of Joint Operations spells out several contingencies when the US could use nuclear weapons, including situations where it wants to “rapidly end a war on terms favourable to the US” or to ensure that American and international operations are successful. President Jacques Chirac announced in January 2006 that France reserves the right to use nuclear weapons against states supporting terrorism or seeking weapons of mass destruction. In 2003, British Defence Secretary Geoffrey Hoon warned Iraq that “in right conditions” the UK reserved the right to use nuclear weapons. China and India have ruled out the “first use” of nuclear weapons. Israel and Pakistan have indicated that they would use nuclear weapons if their very survival is threatened. President Barack Obama has indicated that the 2005 US Doctrine would be reviewed. But the US and its NATO allies will not rule out the use of nuclear weapons against states that do not possess such weapons, or give a “no first use” pledge against states possessing nuclear weapons.

Mr Obama has indicated that he does not expect to see the goal of a nuclear weapons-free world achieved in his lifetime. The so-called ‘nuclear weapons states’ may talk about arms limitations and undertake some token cuts in certain categories of strategic warheads. But they have no intention of eliminating nuclear weapons in the foreseeable future. Moreover, the American record on non-proliferation has been selective. In their book Deception: Pakistan the United States and the Global Nuclear Weapons Conspiracy, Adrian levy and Catherine Scott-Clark have revealed how the CIA and successive US Administrations covered up information they had about Pakistan’s relentless, China-assisted quest for nuclear weapons because of larger strategic considerations

A glossary of Republican doublespeak by Jaime O'Neill

The Republican universe is a bit topsy-turvy, rather like the one created by Lewis Carroll in "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland." In that story, the Queen of Hearts did not restrict herself to the generally accepted meaning of words. When she used a word, she said, it meant exactly what she wanted it to mean, no more and no less. It was good to be queen.

And, until recently, it was good to be Republican. They held the White House, and their top guys had most of the money and consequently got most of the tax breaks. Yet they still felt aggrieved and put upon, stalked by demon Democrats who didn't understand their fundamental goodness or the language they were speaking.

People who don't dwell in the land of Republicans might become confused upon hearing the alternative English they speak. Republican is a tough language, but with application and study, you, too, can learn it:

Activist judges: Judges whose rulings are at odds with the perceived wisdom of Republicans, as explained to them by Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh.

Bankers: Stewards of the capitalist system who always know what's best for the economy, who deserve low taxes and big year-end bonuses no matter how poorly their institutions have performed.

Class warfare: Assaults on rich people in the form of the usual whining of poor people.

Clinton, Wm. Jefferson: Democrat president whose sexual dalliance sent the nation into a tailspin from which even George W. Bush could not save it.

Compassionate conservatism: Ignoring the poor, except for an occasional contribution to the collection plate at church. Also see "conservatism."

Democrats: Devil-worshiping scum, foes of free enterprise, champions of the shiftless and the lazy, enemies of hardworking Americans everywhere.

Doublespeak in the Modern Pathocracy

Free Speech Zone - A (usually) wire enclosure in which human beings who wish to publicly voice their displeasure with the PTB are confined, which is set up at a enough of a distance from the representatives of the PTB to ensure the displeasure does not actually reach them. Free Speech Zones replaced Free Speech at the end of the the first term of the Bush Administration.

The Language of War by Michael Hillmer

In a Pentagon document “bullets” are referred to as being “kinetic energy penetraters”... “combat” is referred to as “violence processing.”

Doublespeak is language that only pretends to say something. It's language that hides, evades, or misleads... words are used not to extend thought but to limit it... it is language that makes the bad seem good... the U.S. Army doesn't “kill” anyone--they just “service the target”... it wasn't an “invasion,” it was a “predawn vertical insertion”... “soft targets” are cities... actions start happening to fulfill the words that have been spoken.
--William D. Lutz, Professor of English at Rutgers University, author of Doublespeak Defined

These are different hours
That turn our mind, send it
Down the dead-end alley
Littered with past follies
Draped in flags
With words that transcend or deceive
The very bones of definition
Feed inward on themselves
Their fog hovering, descends
As if sheltering some hidden compulsion
The age was not ready to see

Trace their lineage back far enough
On the walls of caves
Is fallen blood
A tri-color blur
Red white and blue

soft language by Richard Nordquist, About.com


A phrase coined by comedian George Carlin to describe euphemistic expressions that "conceal reality" and "take the life out of life." See also:
* Gobbledygook

Examples and Observations:

* "I don't like words that hide the truth. I don't like words that conceal reality. I don't like euphemisms or euphemistic language. And American English is loaded with euphemisms. Because Americans have a lot of trouble dealing with reality. Americans have trouble facing the truth. So they invent a kind of a soft language to protect themselves from it. . . .

A Political Glossary

1984 A novel by George Orwell which was written in 1948 in which he portrayed how life might be in an England of the future should we succumb to totalitarian influences. In particular communist influenced. Far from being an exercise in crystal-ball gazing, the content of the book draws heavily on what was actually happening at the time in the former Soviet Bloc. Goldstein being a portrayal of Trotsky and "Big Brother" being a seeming likeness to Joseph Stalin.

Some say that the world described in the book began to manifest itself in 1984 as this was the year chosen by Maggie Thatcher and the Tory party to precipitate the Miner's strike. Whatever the case we are moving faster towards this reality under Labour than at any time in human history.

See Fascism, Communism, Totalitarianism

The Erudite Human’s Glossary of Oxymorons, Redundant Double-Talk, Language of Diplomacy & Other Forked Tongues


(evasive or ambiguous language; speech using nonsense syllables.) And of course, “redundant double-talk” is just twice as much of the same sneaky nonsense. Very popular with preachers, presidents and Popes, not to mention your average Joe explaining to the little woman why he’s 3 days late getting home from work.

American Newspeak - Word Collisions by Wayne Grytting

Starring our New Feature -- "The Orwell Awards" for cutting edge advances in the mangling of meaning by members of the Empire.

The Orwell Awards

The "pre-emptive strikes" on logic and the English language by politicians, CEOs and the media has turned into one of our Empire's major industries. In recognition of the cutting edge advances being made today in American Newspeak, we are offering these awards to deserving individuals. Entries were judged by an exacting standard -- how many times their utterances would make George Orwell roll over in his grave. Here are this year's winners so far from various categories

Father Knows Best Dept.

The U.S. Justice Department broke new ground with its crafting of the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003. Among it's finer encroachments on civil liberties, revealed by the Center for Public Integrity, is Section 501. It would allow the government to strip U.S. citizenship away from anyone giving "material support" to any group designated as terrorists. Some of you may recall the U.S. Constitution forbids depriving Americans of their citizenship. A minor point. Justice Department lawyers adroitly found a loophole -- the Constitution allows to voluntarily give up their rights. The bill's authors then reasoned that, "an intent to relinquish nationality need not be manifested in words, but can be inferred from conduct." Thank god, we have enlightened people making those inferences.

Getting the Visuals Right

When Secretary of State Colin Powell addressed the UN, his background "visuals" consisted of blue draperies neatly trimmed by a row of flags. Few knew the draperies had to be installed that morning to cover over a work of art that normally stands there -- a massive tapestry reproduction of Picasso's famous anti-war painting "Guernica." Speaking in defense of the cover-up of Picasso's images of dying women, children and animals was UN spokesperson Stephane Dujaric, who stated, "We needed the right background that would work on television." (If only Picasso had painted happy faces.) Unbeknownst to himself, Powell was presenting the world with a perfect metaphor of how our policies and language of "collateral damage" cover over the realities of human suffering.

The Doublespeak Awards (1975-2008)

Presented by the Committee on Public Doublespeak, of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)
In 2006, the group was renamed the NCTE Public Language Committee, reaffirming: "the award is an ironic "tribute" to American public figures who have perpetuated language that is grossly deceptive, evasive, euphemistic, confusing, or self-contradictory."

2008 President George W. Bush

The term "aspirational goal”: George W. Bush has used the term "aspirational goal" in place of setting a deadline for withdrawal of troops in Iraq. Likewise, Bush, members of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum, and others have set "aspirational goals" for reducing carbon emissions and slowing global warming. In announcing the award, the NCTE Public Language Award Committee said, “As textbook Doublespeak, ‘aspirational goal’ is both a tautology and a paradox. Aspirations and goals are the same thing; and yet when the terms are combined, the effect is to undermine them both, producing a phrase that means, in effect, ‘a goal to which one does not aspire all that much.’ The goal of ‘aspirational goal,’ clearly, is to disguise inaction and thwart legitimate aspirations.”

The more things change...


The 100th Nobel PEACE Prize went to the United Nations and its Secretary General, Kofi Annan, to honour their work "for a better organized and more PEACEFUL world."

Kofi Annan, in accepting the gold medal award and the 10-million Swedish crowns said, "It seems almost indecent to be accepting a prize for peace when peace and security are still denied to so many people in different parts of the world."

At a news conference in Oslo, there was scant talk of peace.

Police with sub-machine guns have been guarding the normally relaxed Nordic capital.

UN accepts Nobel Peace Prize as war rages. Globe & Mail, Dec 10, 2001.

Nkunda loyalists in army warn of return to war

Josh Kron reports for the Daily Nation :

Former Tutsi rebels integrated into the Congolese army have warned of a possible return to conflict.

The warning, made public on Friday, comes nearly a year after a peace agreement was first signed.

The National Congress for the People's Defence termed the humanitarian situation in eastern Congo “catastrophic”, adding that “hopes of peace were more distant than ever”.

They warned DRC President Joseph Kabila and Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame over the “indisciplined” Congolese troops, adding that they risked faltering the peace agreement.

The proclamation, dated October 15, comes days after a document written by their former leader, Gen Laurent Nkunda, before he was arrested, was published.

Gen Nkunda, whose forces threatened the Congolese political establishment last year with a series of resounding victories in the east of the country, was arrested in January by Rwandan troops.

Edmonton jail first to eliminate in-person visits with inmates

Family and friends will not be allowed to visit inmates at the new $620-million Edmonton Remand Centre when it opens in early 2012.

Instead, all contact with loved ones will be conducted via video from an off-site location — a first for any Canadian correctional institution.

The province said the switch will be more efficient, eliminating screening for visitors and allowing as many as 1,400 more contacts with prisoners each day.

But those close to inmates are decrying the change, fearful the setup will rob visits of real emotional connection.

"It wouldn't be the same. At least (live) they'd get to see your face, but over a screen it's not real. I wouldn't find it to be real," said Carrie, whose husband recently finished a two-month stint in the current downtown remand centre.

~ more... ~

Why We Fight [trailer]

Why We Fight won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. It is an unflinching look at the anatomy of the American war machine, weaving unforgettable personal stories with commentary by a "who's who" of military and Washington beltway insiders. Featuring John McCain, Gore Vidal, William Kristol, Chalmers Johnson, Richard Perle and others, Why We Fight launches a bipartisan inquiry into the workings of the military industrial complex and the rise of the American Empire.

'An expectation of unlimited Internet access during a pandemic is not realistic'

From SEC, Homeland Security need Web backup, GAO says by Maggie Fox, Reuters.

Homeland Security Department accused the GAO of having unrealistic expectations of how the Internet could be managed if millions began to telework from home at the same time as bored or sick schoolchildren were playing online, sucking up valuable bandwidth.

Experts have for years pointed to the potential problem of Internet access during a severe pandemic, which would be a unique kind of emergency. It would be global, affecting many areas at once, and would last for weeks or months, unlike a disaster such as a hurricane or earthquake.

H1N1 swine flu has been declared a pandemic but is considered a moderate one. Health experts say a worse one -- or a worsening of this one -- could result in 40 percent absentee rates at work and school at any given time and closed offices, transportation links and other gathering places.

Many companies and government offices hope to keep operations going as much as possible with teleworking using the Internet. Among the many problems posed by this idea, however, is the issue of bandwidth -- especially the "last mile" between a user's home and central cable systems.

[ ... ]


Private Internet providers might need government authorization to block popular websites, it said, or to reduce residential transmission speeds to make way for commerce.

The Financial Services Sector Coordinating Council for Critical Infrastructure Protection and Homeland Security, a group of private-sector firms and financial trade associations, has been working to ensure that trading could continue if big exchanges had to close because of the risk of disease transmission.

~ more... ~

'There is a high probability of a crisis and collapse by 2012'

From Death of 'Soul of Capitalism': Bogle, Faber, Moore by Paul B. Farrell (MarketWatch):

Jack Bogle published "The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism" four years ago. The battle's over. The sequel should be titled: "Capitalism Died a Lost Soul." Worse, we've lost "America's Soul." And, worldwide, the consequences will be catastrophic.

That's why a man like Hong Kong contrarian economist Marc Faber warns in his Doom, Boom & Gloom Report: "The future will be a total disaster, with a collapse of our capitalistic system as we know it today."

No, not just another meltdown, another bear-market recession like the one recently triggered by Wall Street's too-greedy-to-fail banks. Faber is warning that the entire system of capitalism will collapse. Get it? The engine driving the great "American Economic Empire" for 233 years will collapse, a total disaster, a destiny we created.

OK, deny it. But I'll bet you have a nagging feeling that maybe he's right, that the end may be near. I have for a long time: I wrote a column back in 1997: "Battling for the Soul of Wall Street." My interest in "The Soul" -- what Jung called the "collective unconscious" -- dates back to my Ph.D. dissertation, "Modern Man in Search of His Soul," a title borrowed from Jung's 1933 book, "Modern Man in Search of a Soul." This battle has been on my mind since my days at Morgan Stanley 30 years ago, witnessing the decline.

[ ... ]

Bogle warned of a growing three-part threat -- a "happy conspiracy" -- in "The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism:" "The business and ethical standards of corporate America, of investment America, and of mutual fund America have been gravely compromised."

But since his book, "Wall Street America" went over to the dark side, got mega-greedy and took control of "Washington America." Their spoils of war included bailouts, bankruptcies, stimulus, nationalizations and $23.7 trillion new debt off-loaded to the Treasury, Fed and American people.

Who's in power? Irrelevant. The "happy conspiracy" controls both parties, writes the laws to suit its needs, with absolute control of America's fiscal and monetary policies. Sorry Jack, but the "Battle for the Soul of Capitalism" really was lost.

~ more... ~

Guanta'namo torture: UK wants claims of complicity to be heard in secret

The government wants allegations that it was complicit in the torture by the US of Britons held as terrorism suspects to be heard in secret.

In documents seen by the Guardian, lawyers for the government argue it must be allowed to present evidence to the high court with the public excluded, otherwise Britain's relations with other countries and its national security could be damaged. The government also wants its evidence kept secret from defence lawyers.

Lawyers for seven men who are now all back in the UK after the US released them without charge will tomorrow go to the high court in London to fight the government's attempt, which they say is designed to cover the embarrassment of ministers and the security services.

The attempt to have unprecedented secret hearings comes as part of a case brought by four British residents and three UK citizens who were held in Guantánamo Bay. They are suing and allege the government and the security services were complicit in their rendition, unlawful detention and torture.

~ more... ~


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