One More Step Back Into Darkness …

You know how I sometimes say that a headline made me jaw drop?  This headline sent a very cold chill down my spine, and not in a good sort of way:

CDC gets list of forbidden words: Fetus, transgender, diversity

“The Trump administration is prohibiting officials at the nation’s top public health agency from using a list of seven words or phrases — including “fetus” and “transgender” — in official documents being prepared for next year’s budget.

Policy analysts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta were told of the list of forbidden terms at a meeting Thursday with senior CDC officials who oversee the budget, according to an analyst who took part in the 90-minute briefing. The forbidden terms are “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based.”The Washington Post, 15 December 2017  

Vulnerable?  They are not allowed to use the word “vulnerable”???  Or fetus?  Diversity?  This … this … takes my breath and leaves me without words.  We started down this path on 20 January, and I began predicting this then, began noting Orwell’s 1984 in a few posts on this blog.  But even I did not see such blatant censorship happening this quickly.

“Censorship was rampant throughout Nazi Germany. Censorship ensured that Germans could only see what the Nazi hierarchy wanted people to see, hear what they wanted them to hear and read only what the Nazis deemed acceptable.”History Learning Site /

To be sure, this is not the first incidence where Trump & Co have censored certain words from federal agencies.  Remember back in August when the U.S. Department of Energy requested that scientists no longer use the terms ‘climate change’ or ‘global warming’ in their research?  Or in January, almost immediately following his inauguration, when the White House removed all mention of climate change from its official website?

“The chief function of propaganda is to convince the masses, who slowness of understanding needs to be given time in order that they may absorb information; and only constant repetition will finally succeed in imprinting an idea on their mind………the slogan must of course be illustrated in many ways and from several angles, but in the end one must always return to the assertion of the same formula. The one will be rewarded by the surprising and almost incredible results that such a personal policy secures.” – Adolph Hitler, Mein Kampf

And do you remember back in October when Trump decided to  withdraw from the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)? The mandate of UNESCO is to promote “the free flow of ideas by word and image [and] to foster free, independent, and pluralistic media in print, broadcast and online”.  The U.S. withdrawal is seen as making the world less safe for journalists, according to a joint statement by the Committee to Protect Journalists, and Reporters Without Borders.

And just this week, the repeal of not only net neutrality, which enforced internet equality, gave equal opportunity to websites large and small, and enabled us to search the web unfettered.  Now, our choices will be censored, not necessarily by government, but by the largest and wealthiest corporations around the globe.

Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) was a prominent Protestant pastor who emerged as an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler and spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps. Niemöller is perhaps best remembered for the quotation:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Bertolt Brecht was a German theatre practitioner, playwright, and poet who wrote the following, which was banned in Hitler’s Germany:

“There was once a nanny-goat who said,
In my cradle someone sang to me:
“A strong man is coming.
He will set you free!”

The ox looked at her askance.
Then turning to the pig
He said,
“That will be the butcher.”

Bertolt Brecht

Let us not be silent, friends.  Let us speak for our right to hear the truth. We cannot allow the government to turn everything we see, read or hear into ‘newspeak’, or ‘alternative language’.  Remember The Washington Post’s new slogan:  Democracy Dies In Darkness.

50 thoughts on “One More Step Back Into Darkness …

  1. Jill, I can’t bear to keep up with all this but this one – every time I think, this time he has gone too far – he just goes further. Where on earth is all this going? I do think Keith is right, keep asking why. And please don’t push yourself too hard – especially if you are not well – and get some more sleep! Nag nag nag (someone has to)!
    (Sorry I have been a bit quiet, btw, the muse fled and the black dog was sniffing around. Regrouping now.)
    Big hugs.

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  2. Wow, Jill, another new low for The Donald. In a way, it is almost good news. As he stoops lower and lower, the moderates who voted for him will back away and vote to take away his majorities in Congress. Even if he isn’t forcibly removed by law, he’ll never win a second term. Be of good cheer, dear! Lots of hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks John! While I have great hopes for the 2018 mid-terms, I also see a very dark cloud hanging over them (working on a post about just that). As for good cheer … I’m trying my best … even baked cookies and made a cheeseball! Many hugs back, my friend! 🎄

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The big question, as stated above, is “WHY”? And I guess the answers is not (only) because they are just stupid, ignorant and trying to block out anything they don’t like/understand …. so, why? – Reading this makes me feel very vulnerable in a science-based, evidence-based way, makes me want to curl up like a fetus, as I strongly believe I am entitled to diversity, even if I am not transgender!!! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • WOW … you managed to get all 7 words into a single sentence! You should write a book … oh wait … you are writing a book! 😉 Yes, the big question is ‘WHY’, and when that is the question, the answer can usually be found in that old saying, “follow the money”. I’m betting this is no exception.

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  4. Reblogged with the comment:
    Sorry to post something like this first thing on Monday morning, but like Jill Dennison, I can’t let this go unnoticed. The links she makes from Trump to Fascism are all too close.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Reblogged this on Anne Lawson and commented:
    Remember: Democracy dies in darkness

    Sorry to post something like this first thing on Monday morning, but like Jill Dennison, I can’t let this go unnoticed. The links she makes from Trump to Fascism are all too close.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Hi Jill, just wanting to check in on you. How you feeling now, friend? There isn’t much I can say to add to this conversation, (Well, Maybe, “Heil the Donald!” while raising my arm straight out at 45˙ upward from the parallel, and stomping my stormboot loudly on the floor!), I think my reply to Kersten says it all. So, here’s another hug for you — (Jill).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Rawgod! I am … okay … still a large bit of angst, and still battling on-again-off-again bronchitis, but I’m doing okay. I haven’t forgotten you and will answer your email soon … just been such a difficult few weeks that I am having to work to conserve what little bit of energy I can muster. Thanks for the hug! Much appreciated and you made me smile. 🙂

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  7. Jill, the list and announcement speak for themselves as a metaphor of this Presidency. The simple question is why? It reminds me of President George W. Bush, Governor Rick Scott of FL and Governor Scott Walker of WI telling their staffs the words “climate change” and “global warming” cannot be used in print or speeches. Why?

    Keith

    Liked by 3 people

    • I wish I could answer that question, but I am asking it over and over myself. Why? Control? Manipulation? And where is the outrage? If Trump had said it is illegal to march in a white hood and carrying a burning cross, there would be bloodshed in the streets. But where is the outrage here?

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      • Jill, what I say under my breath about what this President does and says does not make it to posts, as it is a slippier slope. We need to ask more “why” questions. When I see them asked, I see politicians who cannot defend statements or actions, or avoid the questions altogether. Keith

        Liked by 2 people

    • Isn’t it funny that everyone jumps in to defend the “free speech” of the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists like Bannon and Richard Spencer, but they remain silent when government censors the truth? What does that say about us? I’m still struggling to understand this one. Where is the outrage? Are I and my readers the only ones?
      Hugs, Jack … bunches of hugs!!! ❤

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      • You are most welcome, dear friend!!
        Let me call your attention to what I just woke up to …
        I don’t see any hope for this country … all I see is things going further and further down the proverbial ‘rabbit hole’.
        It looks as is no one is doing anything. He’s still there. The longer he stays, the more damage he can do. Do you really think this country can wait till 2018?? … as much as I try and wait, I can’t see that!!
        ‘Drumpf will announce Monday his new National Security Strategy, putting his own stamp on a defense plan that reverses an Obama administration policy by eliminating climate change from a list of threats to national security.’

        Liked by 1 person

        • I don’t know, my friend. I only know that at the moment, Mueller’s investigation is our best hope, short of Trump having heart failure in his sleep some night. What can happen between now and next November? I cannot even try to predict, but the one thing I know is that we can no longer be considered a nation whose government answers to the people. Instead, we have truly become a plutocracy, and the republicans don’t even bother trying to hide it any more … that is what chills me the most, I believe. Hang in there, for we are all in this together and I do find it is comforting to know that I am part of such a wonderful group of friends here on WordPress … many of you have become my family. Hugs and love, dear friend! ❤

          Liked by 1 person

  8. What happened to their administrations support of free speech ? It’s a case of I must be free to say what I think but you cannot be free.
    We have in recent years had this animal called politically correct speech so we are wary of saying mankind incase we offend half the human race. We are told we must allow boys to play with dolls and girls to play with toy trains. Is it not curious that all our speech and powers of description must be utterly colorless for fear of offense and yet abuse is widespread. In the UK MPs are ready to jump down one another’s throats at the slightest sign of language misuse yet physical misuse is popping up in all sorts of places.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Kersten, not exactly sure what you are trying to say, but political correctness does have a use: to ensure the equality of all persons in speech and the written word. This is not a law, you do not HAVE TO BE politically correct, but it sure is a nice way to live. Why would you want to insult half the human race by saying “mankind” when “humanity” is such a decent word to replace it. And why should not a boy be allowed to play with dolls, and girls to play with toy trains? Are not boys going to become fathers, and need to know how to hold their babies? And how can girls become engineers if they don’t understand the inner workings of trains or other mechanical objects? I have never seen a colourless word, but I have experienced abuse on many levels. Is abuse caused by colourless words? Or is it caused by people who use pointed words to describe the world around them, pointed words that perpetuate differences when acceptance could be a common and calming theme? The world I grew up in was loaded with words I refuse to repeat here, words that incited racism, genderism, homophobia, and hatred at all levels of life. That is the world created by your “colourful” words of chauvanism. It is a world I would prefer to see disappear forever. The Brits, yes, they can go overboard, but so can politicians in every nation of Earth. So, lets get rid of the politicians and the “colourful words of chauvanism” at the same time. That would speed up the coming of the “millenium” a whole lot faster, don’t you think?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I take your point remember humanity has man in it so perhaps for awhile we should use huwomanity until women have had their fare share of equality to correspond with the centuries of male domination. The loaded words you refuse to use have indeed been partly dropped but we now have a large number of four letter words in constant use in the visual arts. As for the coming of the millenium to me that implied progress and the only progress I see is scientific progress. The books of Enid Blyton have to be censored and the dubious passages in King Solomon’s mines. We live in a world of ruthless brutality and pretend we are being nice to each other.
        You are right there is not much to chose between any nations but politicians are no worse or better taken as a whole than any other group.
        Lastly without colourful words of all sorts freedom of speech would be silenced and the spoken arts would disappear . Would you advocate such censorship?

        Liked by 1 person

        • I advocate responsible choice, not censorship. But having said that, in my personal life I CHOOSE to use a lot of FOUR-LETTER WORDS because to censor them is to make them more interesting, more powerful. I use such words as weapons to fight hypocrisy, to fight sexism, to fight racism, and so on. The words are there, everybody uses them, even preachers and rabbis. So why not use them to advocate for us. I am not a fan of pornography because of its objectification of people, but I applauded a few years ago when Toronto passed a law allowing women to walk bare-chested in public if they chose to do so. Why? Because being exposed to women’s mammary glands takes the mystique out of the relationship between men and women. Boobs or whatever you want to call them are useful pieces of equipment in the care and feeding of newborn children. Why are they being hidden? That makes no sense to any rational person. Remove the mystique, normalize the behaviour, and sex crimes will go down. Maybe not completely away, but at least down.Normalize swear words, and that takes the power out of them. Same difference. The only reason people don’t like four-letter words is because they are taught not to like them. You are taught not to use them. Definitely don’t say them in front of a child. WHY NOT! If a kid hears them all the time, and learns to use them in normal speech, they won’t know to use them as power words. In two generations such words will be acceptable as omygoodness, and damn now are. These words were unspeakable when I was a child. I had my mouth washed with soap almost daily (which is just another form of child abuse, when you come right down to it!). No, I do not advocate censorship in any way, but I do advocate responsibility, and that is something few people are willing to take for what goes on in the world around them. And responsibility has become more of a a FOUR-LETTER word than most words that I use regularly.

          Liked by 1 person

    • I have always viewed ‘political correctness’ as nothing more than respect. Granted, there are times it goes too far, but for the most part, it is common sense and simple respect for the feelings of others. But this censorship, this insistence on “alternative language” is … lies, pure and simple. As one of my UK friends taught me to say a while back, “call a spade a bloody shovel!” I agree, especially when it comes to things such as climate change. And “science-based” or “evidence-based”. If Trump wishes to bury his head in a sand pile and deny that we are destroying our own planet, fine, let him. But we should not be denied the right to hear the truth, yet I fear it could come to that. Sigh.

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  9. I swear you’re sitting on the brink of 1984 and it’s an era the Republicans are ushering in while the Democrats sit there bemused. Trump meanwhile sits at the very centre of this web probably woven by Putin and manipulates everyone.
    Cwtch xxx

    Liked by 4 people

    • Yes, more and more these days, I think of Winston Groom. Sigh. And while Trump is certainly the great manipulator, people can only be manipulated if they allow it. It seems that they find it easier to lap up his lies, to play along with his agenda of hatred and plutocracy, than to educate themselves and stand for something. Yes, I despise Trump and I blame him and his minions, but more, I blame the people who blindly follow, for without them, he could not exist.
      xxx Cwtch xxx

      Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with you, my friend. Why aren’t they protesting? Heck if I know. Perhaps, like their counterparts in Germany in the 1930s, they think it cannot go beyond a certain point. Perhaps they do not understand. Perhaps they don’t care, until they wake up one morning to find that there is nothing but propaganda and falsehoods to be found on the internet, or find themselves in jail for speaking against Trump. I just don’t know. I am not protesting in the streets, either, but I am using my voice here, and hope it reaches some who need to hear it.

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      • If my experience is anything to go by, a lot of people ‘lurk’, sometimes for years, without making their presence known. But they read and the words pass via osmosis from you to them to others. -hugs-

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