Molecules Of Freedom? Freedom Gas?

Shades of George Orwell!

A few days ago, media outlets reported on the Trump Administration’s most recent effort to  fulfill Tallyrand’s famous dictum that “Language is given to man to conceal his thoughts.” Or, in this case, to deceive and mislead.

The Department of Energy appears to have a surprising new nickname for natural gas: “freedom gas.”

The unexpected new moniker made its debut in a press releaseissued Tuesday to announce the approval of additional liquified natural gas (LNG) exports from a terminal on Quintana Island, Texas. It also included the term “molecules of U.S. freedom.”

Under Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes unveiled the term “freedom gas” in the release, which notes that he highlighted the approval at the Clean Energy Ministerial in Vancouver, Canada…

Later in the release, Steven Winberg, the assistant secretary for fossil energy, said the department is promoting an efficient regulatory system to enable “molecules of U.S. freedom to be exported to the world.”

Gee, almost makes me nostalgic for “Freedom Fries”…

Inept–okay, hilariously stupid–as this may be, this most recent aggression against the proper use of language is hardly a new effort by the Trump administration. In December of 2017, employees of the Centers for Disease Control leaked a list of words that they had been newly forbidden to use: “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based.”

Evidently, the administration was operating on the theory that, if there isn’t a word, the reality the word is intended to describe no longer exists. (And if you can’t see a ship named the USS John McCain, the annoying military hero for whom it is named can no longer diminish Cadet Bone Spurs by his mere presence.)

Doublespeak is a term coined by (or at least closely associated with) George Orwell. It describes language that is intended to obscure, disguise or distort the meaning of words, and the Trump Administration isn’t the first to employ it.  (Remember when George W. Bush dubbed his roll back of air quality protections the “Clear Skies” bill?)

According to Wikipedia,

Doublespeak may take the form of euphemisms (e.g. “downsizing” for layoffs and “servicing the target” for bombing), in which case it is primarily meant to make the truth sound more palatable. It may also refer to intentional ambiguity in language or to actual inversions of meaning. In such cases, doublespeak disguises the nature of the truth. Doublespeak is most closely associated with political language.

“Downsizing” and “Clear Skies” are pretty effective uses of doublespeak. “Molecules of Freedom,” on the other hand, is just risible, and “Freedom Gas” sounds like a euphemism for farts. These silly labels are evidently meant to counter environmental concerns about fossil fuels, but they are more likely to trigger ridicule.

“Molecules of freedom” and ‘Freedom Gas” are gifts to late-night comedians.

Actually, this whole ham-handed effort at managing the language of public policy should remind sane Americans that we were lucky to “elect” Trump. We could just as easily have elected a white nationalist criminal autocrat who was smart, or at least competent–a Mitch McConnell type–who would have been able to effectively dismantle American democracy and destroy the rule of law.

We lucked out: we are reminded daily that our accidental President is an intellectually limited buffoon and that he has assembled a staff and cabinet that can’t even operate as a cabal.

Think Keystone Kops trying to be ruthless–while farting Freedom Gas.


  1. Over two years in office and THIS is what the Trump administration gives to the country???? GAS????

  2. OK, surely such nonsense amounts to “high crimes and misdemeanors.” A crime against our Intelligence. Surely there are 27 Republican Senators sufficiently embarrassed by this “very stable genius” and his unstable syncophants to approve impeachment by the House. Impeach away, Pelosi. Remove, turtle face McConnell. Compose a writ of impeachment as detailed as was the Declaration of Independence against King George, the tyrant.

  3. In the UK, “downsizing” targets those who are “redundant.”

  4. Yes, we are incredibly lucky to have Donny as POTUS. If you want a lesson in doublespeak, read the attached article about Trump’s visit to the UK in the Guardian. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt was full of them trying to dodge direct questions from the British media.

    The London Mayor nailed Trump whose baby blimp will greet him in the UK filled with freedom gas. LOL

    “On Sunday, Khan described the US president as “just one of the most egregious examples of a growing global threat” and compared the language he has used to that of the “fascists of the 20th century”.

    “Before landing, Trump described Sadiq Khan as “a stone cold loser.”

    “And the beat goes on…”

  5. Don’t forget that 40% of the voting public in this country believe he is, in fact, a “very stable genius” and they don’t care that he kills the language and the planet.

  6. When we continually focus on the 40% who support Trump, we forget that 60% do not support him. That 60% may not be organized and under one banner… yet, but 60% is a majority.

  7. Donald Trump is a political KNOCK-OFF. He’s not the real thing. He’s an embarrassment to Adolph Hitler and the Third Reich. Adolph Hitler whether you like him or not was a war hero, this female impersonator, excuse me, male impersonator couldn’t fight himself out of a wet paper bag if properly challenged.

  8. Well, every political entity tries to frame their B.S. Some B.S. is benign, some is malignant. In the case of today’s Republican party and its titular (or should I say mammalian) head the frame is made of pure, hardened and unadulterated B.S. How in our time could we accept constant lying and denigration as normal? Those 62 million fools who voted from their reptilian brains think the B.S. is gifts from God.

    Now, for those 92 million potential voters who stayed home and allowed this egregious, embarrassing horror to poison the world, what sort of framing do YOU need for you to get off your ass and vote from your cerebral hemispheres?

  9. So, when are the 60% going to get organized? I think Trump is an embarrassment, a loose cannon, and a threat to democracy and to the continuation of the human species on this planet. I also fear that we will not see a 2020 election. Trump and his boot-lickers will stage a Reichstag event to keep him in office and we will find ourselves trapped in a fully realized fascist state. The Democrats continue to diddle about, instead of organizing to launch a credible bid for the White House in 2020 , while we, as a nation, remain leaderless. Rats scurry through the White House pantry, gobbling up everything in sight and no one has lifted a finger to call an exterminator. Mueller, having half-completed his job, slinks off to retirement, ignoring the sneers and derision all around him, the Great Progressive Hope who never was.

  10. This is a pretty easy target at which to poke fun – but this is really just the pink polka dot fin sticking out of the water… There is a big ugly shark attached to that fin just under the surface. The shark is the politics of natural gas — and that’s the real story here.
    The big picture is that the US has lots of oil because of fracking. As long as we are pumping oil, we are also finding natural gas (again the fracking). In order to keep the oil moving there needs to be a market for natural gas. In some places, they are burning the gas off at the wellhead because they cannot pipe it. The Trump administration is determined that our oil and natural gas will not become like coal – a big resource left locked underground.

    Domestically there is a move away from natural gas – particularly in residential construction. Some folks are ahead of the curve and insisting on all electric homes that can run on renewable electricity (that’s only 17% renewable now). Gas has is being demonized and it’s starting to go mainstream. There was a recent opinion piece in the NYT “Your Gas Stove is Bad For You and the Planet – To help solve the climate crisis, we need to electrify everything”. I’ve seen these ideas going mainstream on other forums online as well.
    Exporting the gas provides an additional market. There are also balance of trade issues and geopolitical issues (both with the Middle East and with Russia). Of course, it helps powerful people and corporations domestically also. The geopolitical issues are not minor – with Russia able to hold parts of Europe essentially hostage with natural gas sales.
    Here’s the thing: Although natural gas has half the carbon footprint of many other forms of fossil fuels, it will not get us where we need to be in 30 years to contain global climate change. Not even close.

    The reason is that, in the US, 20% of our power comes from nuclear power plants. Whatever you think about nuclear plants, they don’t produce carbon. New nuclear power plants are not being built and many will age-out in the next 30 years. If we simply replace them with cheap natural gas plants, we will not reduce our carbon output in 30 years – even with significantly more renewables.

  11. Vernon,

    “…..what sort of FRAMING do YOU need for you to get off your ass…..”

    Right on. They need a CLEAR PICTURE of what their VERY NEAR FUTURE is going to look like, if they don’t GET OFF THEIR ASS, in a “NEW YORK MINUTE.”

  12. Propaganda comes in many different forms with its own peculiar inclusion into the legislative lexicon. The Patriot Act comes to mind. Tax reduction acts often include labor or employment in their titles. The practice is in keeping with Trump’s crimes of obstruction committed in plain sight, as were those of Big Brother in Orwell’s 1984, crimes that were redefined to suit good and unquestioned policy found only in the dictatorial designs of such as Big Brother and wannabes in search of all ;power.

    We are not there – yet – and patriots like Sheila are performing a public service in calling our movement toward that end into public view for ridicule. Smith should have been so lucky to have had open and countervailing views at his disposal before coming to “love” Big Brother.

  13. Gerald,

    “We are not there-yet….”

    Yes, we are. We have to NOW move pre-emptively.

    To quote Wayne Gretzky again: ” I skate to where the puck is gonna be, not where it has been.”

    We can’t afford to wait for the “shit to hit the fan.” That’s the mistake the British made in the ’30s. We should know better.

  14. “US President Donald Trump climate adviser William Happer once compared the “demonization of carbon dioxide” to how Jews were treated under Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany.

    Happer, who sits on the National Security Council as Trump’s deputy assistant for emerging technologies, said in 2014, “The demonization of carbon dioxide is just like the demonization of the poor Jews under Hitler. Carbon dioxide is actually a benefit to the world, and so were the Jews.”

  15. There are some interesting things about the current situation around natural gas.

    In some ways it’s the best transition fuel to expidite the move to sustainable energy. It’s the cleanest fuel. It’s good feedstock for making other fuel based products. It is typically burned in turbines which can be used to back up intermittent sources like wind and solar.

    A smart country wouldn’t be selling it now but letting nature store it where it has for 300,000,000 years, underground. Those who are rushing to extract and sell it must believe that the market for it is of limited duration, it’s replacement is relatively imminent. Or, more likely, this is just another example of make more money now regardless of the impact on others ever.

    Capitalism out of control. The root problem, the solution of which is obvious. More regulation.

  16. Pete,

    “Capitalism out of control. The root problem, the solution of which is obvious. More regulation.”

    Agreed. But, first, we have to find a way to, effectively, neutralize the ELITE DEVIANTS hiding behind the scene.

  17. Pete and Marv,

    I think comments such as “it’s all about greed” or “Capitalism out of control” or “elite deviants” are too simplistic and don’t provide much in the way of a path forward.

    If you think in terms of preventing a country like Russia from holding other countries hostage with gas exports – then “Freedom gas” isn’t as silly as it sounds on the surface.

    If you understand that we need to ramp up renewable sources of power much faster and our reliance on natural gas isn’t going to meet our carbon targets – then all of this investment in LNG ports and oil production is wrong headed.

    It’s very possible that both things are true at the same time – that we need to be dramatically ramping up renewables AND have the facilities to export natural gas.

    Of course there are people like the Koch brothers who see an opportunity and are happy to assist with a geopolitical fight and profit handsomely as well – They are going to keep this about fossil fuels as long as possible.

  18. From the Guardian: The US navy has confirmed reports about an internal email that said the White House military office wanted the USS John McCain kept “out of sight” when Trump was in Japan. The email was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

    On Sunday, Mulvaney told NBC’s Meet the Press: “The fact some 23- or 24-year-old person went to that site and said, ‘Oh my goodness, there’s the John McCain, we all know how the president feels about the former senator, that’s not the best backdrop, can somebody look into moving it?’

    “That’s not an unreasonable thing to ask.”

    I am no fan of John McCain – he never saw a War he did not like, or he wanted to provoke one.
    This hiding of the ship McCain fits the Reactionary – Evangelical – Republican Party, that is now a wholly owned subsidiary of President Agent Orange and Pastor Pence – fits in with denying, covering up, stonewalling, of anything factual, or that could arouse anger in President Agent Orange.

    The Elected Republicans are as usual silent about this incident. HA, HA, I just thought about something. During the Stalin years, old cronies of his were air-brushed out of pictures, after they were executed.

  19. Kurt,

    “I think comments such as “it’s all about greed” or “Capitalism out of control” or “elite deviants” are too simplistic and don’t provide much in the way of a path forward.”

    Those are basic statements, not simplistic ones. The PATH FORWARD, certainly, isn’t going to appear on this blog and, maybe, not even on the internet.

    “The profusion of new voices online and the noise they’ll generate will require all of us to adjust our definition of a dissident. After all, not everyone who speaks his or her mind online—which to some degree is almost everyone with an Internet connection—can be branded a dissident. The people who surface in the next wave of dissident leaders will be the ones who can command a following and crowd-source their online support, who have demonstrable skill with digital marketing, and, critically, who are willing to put themselves in harm’s way. Digital activism, especially when done remotely or with anonymity, lowers the stakes for would-be protestors, so true leaders will distinguish themselves by taking on physical risks that their virtual supporters cannot or will not.”

    “The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations, and Business” by Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen (Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2013) pp. 125-126.

    At the time of publication, Eric Schmidt was executive chairman of Google and Jared Cohen was director of Google Ideas.

  20. Pelosi needs to appoint a Select Committee to hold Hearings on the “The Mueller Report and other Criminal Activity of the Executive Branch.”

    Several months of initial hearings to be completed by the various standing committees.

    The Democrats need to tell a story and create a brand. Hearings supported by a constant barrage of Tweets and Facebook Posts. Cadet Bone Spurs and his criminals must be branded for what they are.

  21. Dan,

    “Every word of you’re unamerican malarkey rings true…….of you’re beloved odummy! A greaser of words. Just like you”

    A message from an AMERICAN, but not a TRUE one.

  22. Marv, excused! I was hung up back there on ‘liquified.’ You’ve seen this sad scenario or something like it before. Good luck to us all. Vote like your lives depend on it. They do!

  23. Betty,

    “Marv….You’ve seen this sad scenario before or something like it before.”

    You’re absolutely right. WE (emphasis on we) fought this same battle in Dallas for ten years, ending in the VICTORY for ONE MAN, ONE VOTE. It’s the same line-up again, UNFORTUNATELY, there are some forces, the Italian author Umberto Eco calls them UR-FASCISTS, who never give up. I wish it wasn’t so.

  24. Just for grins and giggles here’s the info on natural gas and global climate change from union of concerned scientists:

    Here is an article from Washington Post about Eastern European countries trying to reduce dependence on Russian gas. Note the part about Europe’s own gas resources running out in a few decades. Also note the part about Russia cutting off gas supplies to Ukraine.

    Here is an article from Forbes touching on the growing dependence on Russian gas by Western European counties:

    So… “Freedom Gas” may be ham handed – it may sound silly – it may sound like propaganda (which it is)… but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t an actual basis to the threat.

    Here’s the thing: I’m solidly Center-Left. But if the Left / Center Left is going to be taken seriously, then we need step up with solutions that recognize that the world is a dangerous place. Western Europe running out of gas in 30 years and Russia being very glad to help them out is a big problem (as is global climate change). We can make the world less dangerous – but not if we are talking about farts and lame propaganda while Russia is building gas pipelines to a Western Europe that is running out of energy.

    I love Sheila’s posts, but this time I think she missed the mark by focusing on a trivial issue when the actual story is something that is really significant.

  25. Per Sheila: “We could just as easily have elected a white nationalist criminal autocrat who was smart, or at least competent–a Mitch McConnell type–who would have been able to effectively dismantle American democracy and destroy the rule of law.

    We lucked out: we are reminded daily that our accidental President is an intellectually limited buffoon and that he has assembled a staff and cabinet that can’t even operate as a cabal.”

    I think our luck has run out, though. Barr appears to have long been a fan of the imperial presidency and is working toward entrenching and expanding it. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that he is a major player in the movement to assert that the Article II branch is unaccountable to the Article I branch, including the proposition that the Article II branch can defy subpoenas issued to its current and former employees. McConnell paved the way for flouting norms of governance without consequence, and now Barr is legalizing it. I’m not convinced Barr is doing this to enable trump now, so much as to permanently hobble Congress. trump is an incidental (although enthusiastic) beneficiary of Barr’s actions.

    Someone recently observed that Republicans have a spine but no principles, and Democrats have principles but no spine. Unless Democrats get a spine posthaste, and enforce their subpoenas – perhaps through innovative use of the Capitol Police? – we, and the country, will be that person who waited for a green light before crossing an intersection but got killed when the mayor ran the red light.

  26. So a possible solution – or insurance policy – for gas in Europe is a European Strategic Gas Reserve and the infrastructure to distribute it. Possibly under the EU or Possibly under NATO. The US doesn’t have to supply all the gas to Europe, Europe just has to be able to make an interruption from Russia non-impactful in the short run (for a winter, for example) and be able to ramp up other suppliers if needed.

    US’s role in such a proposed reserve is negotiable. Supplying some of the gas would help to stabilize natural gas prices for suppliers in the US as well.

    Here is a 2014 paper from The Harvard Kennedy School making a similar point.

  27. Ok folks, hereʻs the latest on Barr, McGahn & Wilber Ross scheduled to be voted in contempt of Congress on June 11, 2019:

    The “wheels of justice” turn much slower than I would like, yet they are moving forward. Iʻm hopeful we will reach critical mass relatively soon and write up articles of impeachment waaay before Iowa in 2020. Call your representatives and encourage them to do their duty!

  28. ?”accidental President”? I already called dibs on “freedom gas=farts”. I could say “hide those dictionaries” was a joke as well. However, of late, I’m no longer sure that is a joke as much as it is a (sad) harbinger of what’s to come.

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