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Monday, October 24, 2016

It’s well known that harsh climate conditions can mess with your mind — from cabin fever to heat delirium. But America is now experiencing an even more dangerous mind-numbing disease called Climaticus Non-Vocalism Extremism.

Oddly, CNE Syndrome almost exclusively afflicts a narrow segment of our population: Republican political officials and candidates. Scientific studies suggest that CNE Syndrome might stem from a genetic defect, but scientists say more research is needed on that.

The symptoms, however, are uniform and include an obsessive impulse by GOP politicos to deny that human-caused climate change is happening. It’s often accompanied by a feverish insistence that government employees be banned from studying it, discussing it or even uttering such phrases as “climate change” and “global warming.”

Hard to believe? For an example of the mind-altering impact of Climaticus Non-Vocalism Extremism, look at Gov. Scott Walker’s Wisconsin administration. The Koch-funded governor and Republican presidential wannabe is an ardent climate-change denier — but the state’s public lands board has escalated his denial to Orwellian censorship. The two GOP commissioners on the three-member board, which oversees the ecological health of thousands of acres of Wisconsin forestlands, have banned agency employees from even considering damage caused by climate change. Worse, they have such severe cases of CNE Syndrome that they’ve imposed a gag order on freedom of speech by public lands employees, prohibiting them from even talking about climate change while on the job.

The heartbreak of CNE is that its victims even deny that they’re in denial about the disease. Thus, the Wisconsin duo say that their no-speech rule is not censorship, because employees are still free to talk about climate change at home — or even chit-chat about it “by the water cooler,” just as they might talk about sports.

Gov. Walker — who wants to be your president — says that he finds that censorship perfectly reasonable.

But it’s not just Wisconsin that has imposed such ridiculous levels of science denial and censorship. This raises the question: If a state government issues a right-wing political order, but it’s not written down, does it make a sound? Let’s ask Florida.

Bart Bibler, a respected employee of Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection, says you betcha it makes a sound — even though the order directed at state employees like him was meant to enforce the sound of silence. Since Rick Scott became governor of the Sunshine State, various agencies run by his appointees have issued 1984-style newspeak decrees that “climate change,” “global warming,” “sustainability” and other terms related to Earth’s looming climate disaster are verboten.

Unaware of this censorship edict, Bibler innocently blurted out the phrase “climate change” in a February teleconference. To his amazement, his breach of ideological correctness earned him an official letter of reprimand, a two-day suspension without pay, and — get this — an order to undergo a doctor’s evaluation to verify his mental “fitness for duty.”

When outrage over this blunt attempt to banish the idea of climate change spread across the country, the governor and his appointees doubled-down on Orwellian denial: “It’s not true,” said the slippery Scott, insisting that no such gag policy exists. By “exist,” though, he means his dictate is not written down. As many employees have confirmed, however, state officials verbally impose their policy of outlawing the language of climate change. The official taboo is so extreme that even a phrase as benign and factual as “sea-level rise” is banned. Instead, Scott’s team has mandated that this measurable (and alarming) reality be referred to as “nuisance flooding.”

It’s their mental fitness that needs to be evaluated! Trying to ban words only amplifies their sound, meaning, and impact — while also exposing how pathetically scared and stupid the censors are.

To find out more about Jim Hightower, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Web page at 

Photo: Florida governor Rick Scott (Gage Skidmore via Flickr)

  • Dominick Vila

    As ignorant as denying that Global Warming, or Climate Change if you like that term better, is a reality, the most dangerous part of this issue is the use of Third Reich tactics to suppress our freedoms. Climate change may be a natural phenomena, exacerbated by carbon emissions, but what is unequivocally caused by human intervention is the fact that some elected officials in this country are banning fellow Americans from doing research to prove whether or not climate change is, indeed, a reality. This goes well beyond science and the advancement of goals important to special interests, this is a direct attack against our Constitutional rights and freedoms…and the GOP is getting away with by using fear, ignorance, and public indifference. What is next? Eliminating science classes? Burning science books? A complicit media, and overt prejudice, have much to do with what is happening.

    • itsfun

      I doubt if anyone knows for sure what causes global warming or climate change. It probably has occurred since the earth was created. I read once that some soil in Alaska was thawed out and tropical type plants started to grow. Special interests are on both sides of this issue. How much money has Al Gore made off this, while he is the largest residential electric user in Tennessee. There are reputable sources on both sides of this issue also. The non-believers accuse the believers of hiding facts or manipulating the facts. Who really knows what is the truth? We don’t need groups just publishing “facts”, but an open forum of the facts with both sides debating the issue. One side saying something in area a and another group saying the opposite in area b does not help or solve anything, Put the 2 sides in the same room with cameras rolling and maybe then we could get real answers and not spin.

      • Dominick Vila

        Regardless of whether global warming is the result of a cyclical natural phenomena, or the result of human irresponsibility, the fact is that our polar caps are melting at an unprecedented rate, that glaciers in Greenland and in the Andes are melting. The latter are melting at a 3 meter rate per year. That large areas in the West Coast are enduring the effects of potable water shortages, and that weather patterns are changing.
        The focus should not be on whether or not this is strictly a natural phenomena, and doing nothing about it. The focus must be on what we can do to mitigate the effects of what is happening.
        BTW, disagreement among scientists is not about the evidence of climate change, but about its causes and the best course of action.

    • mike

      Enlighten us with those politicians banning Americans from doing research. So Americans can not do any research on their own, Really?? This I have to see.

      • Daniel Jones

        Sure they can. They can’t publish if these idiots have anythbing to say about it, however.

        And the bans are supposed to prevent any research data from being accessible.

        What they are hoping for.. I doubt you understand, it’s like handing people a blank book and telling them to do the reading themselves.

        • mike

          Show me specific cases that a politician did ban research.

          • jmprint

            I would say that reading a text book with missing pages is similar to banning, as they did in Arizona on reproductive parts where they tore out the pages so student couldn’t learn about the body functions.

          • mike

            Dom said: “the fact that some elected officials in this country are banning fellow
            Americans from doing research to prove whether or not climate change is,
            indeed, a reality”
            Put up or shut up!! It is very simple name names.

          • jmprint

            you didn’t answer my question: Are you OK with not being allowed to know what chemicals are being used to frack?

          • mike

            Name the elected officials that are banning climate change, or are you like the rest, you can’t!!!
            The chemical imbalance is all yours. Have you notices how your head tilts to the left.

          • jmprint

            That because when I look at you, you just shine so bright, I can hardly keep my head straight.

          • mike

            I do shine bright compared to your dimness.

      • charleo1

        You are a beyond enlightening useful tool. Yeah I know, my vacuous little
        head, nice try, LOL, LMAO,… etc..etc..etc…

        • mike

          Your post proves me right, you have nothing upstairs. You really are a dolt.

          • charleo1

            So has anyone enlightened you yet on why the research would be important to be done from a public perspective? But not something the private sector would find initially profitable? Don’t know of any instances where this has been the case? Where publicly funded research has laid the groundwork for entire industries? Or, when that groundwork is funded by other Countries. Those industries, patents, profits and advancement flows to competitor economies? Try looking up semi-conductors for a positive example of when public investment was applied. Or Bush’s religious opposition to stem cell research, as one example of when it wasn’t. You wanted enlightened? Well, you’ve obviously got plenty of room upstairs yourself for some enlightenment.

          • mike

            Name the elected officials who are banning research on climate change. No more of your mumbo jumbo crap, name the individuals!!!

            Dom said: “the fact that some elected officials in this country are banning fellow
            Americans from doing research to prove whether or not climate change is,
            indeed, a reality.”

          • charleo1

            Do you think climate change deniers are funding research on climate change? Governors that forbid the utterance of the words climate change are signing any State grants to fund any scientific studies on the possible effects on their State’s wildlife, forests, or ocean levels? And since, refusing to publicly fund this kind of research is in fact the de facto banning of research. You can find the names of every oil soaked Right Winger in every State House, and in the U.S. Congress, on Wikipedia if you’re interested.

          • mike

            Name the elected officials that are BANNING research by their fellow Americans on climate change.

            Dom said: “the fact that some elected officials in this country are banning fellow Americans from doing research to prove whether or not climate change is,indeed, a reality.”

          • charleo1

            Thick as a board aren’t you? I think it’s called willful ignorance. Because actually, you’re not that dumb of a guy. You support those oil company hugging politicians. That like yourself, have no arguable point on this. As even the suggestion that yet more research is needed on a proven subject, is clearly just more feet dragging. There is no point to further study, but to cater to, and enable those in the fossil fuel industry that fund their politics. Plain, and simple. Nothing complicated about it. And all worship like prostitutes at the alter of money, and power. And the Country be damned as far as they are concerned.

          • mike

            Name the elected officials that are banning climate change research?
            Thick as a board is all you. All you have to do is name those that are banning the research.
            FYI!!! There is no banning, Period.

          • JPHALL

            Most people keep ignoring your question because they think you actually read the article. Two governors mentioned as blocking talk about “Climate Changes” are Rick Scott and Scott Walker. I hope that helps you catch up with everyone else.

          • mike

            No, they can’t, nor can you, find an elected official banning fellow Americans from doing climate change research.

            Banning research is totally different from blocking talk, you idiot!
            Dom, said “banning”, so your turn to catch up!

          • JPHALL

            Be sensible for once. If you can not talk about a subject, how do you get the funding or time off to research it. Subject: Re: Comment on An Epidemic Of CNE Syndrome Strikes Our State Governments

          • mike

            Name one elected official who has banned CC research. Banning research is being done by who???

          • JPHALL

            I see now that you are just an ideologue, and nothing else. That is so sad! Common sense tells you that if you are restricted from talking about something and threatened by the state, you are effectively banned from doing the research when it is funded by the state. So since you are not someone with commonsense, this conversation is over. Goodbye! Subject: Re: Comment on An Epidemic Of CNE Syndrome Strikes Our State Governments

          • mike

            No, you keep trying to defend Dom’s statement that elected officials are banning research on CC. Name names, that’s all.
            The operative word is “banning”.
            Your the same idiot that is saying Obama won’t tell us all the chemicals that go into fracking. I gave you the chemical list and you claim there is more. So in your world Obama and his EPA are part of the problem, when anyone with a brain knows he hates fracking, but yet he makes sure we don’t know what additional chemicals are being used. Give me a break

      • jmprint

        Are you OK with not being allowed to know what chemicals are being used to frack?

        • mike
          • jmprint

            No, those are list of what can be used, we are not allowed to know which ones are used and amounts. The fractors do not need to report.

          • mike

            Such horse manure. Obama who hates fracking is going to play dead during all of this and has told EPA to stand down. What a crock.
            You really are delusional.

  • paulroden

    When Tom Corbett (R) was Governor of PA, he ordered the PA Department of Health not to respond to questions about the impact of fracking on the environment or speak at public meetings on the health impact from fracking. He squashed an environmental and public health impact study on fracking and blocked any state agency from responding to EPA’s call for state response plans on reducing carbon dioxide emissions or plans for mitigating the impact from global climate change. Republicans are clearly anti-science, anti-environmental, anti-regulatory, anti-tax, anti-government, and nothing but “nethering nabobs of negativism.” They are the party that “No’s” everything, except for TPP, TPIP, and cutting taxes and regulations for the “job creators.” They worship the “invisible hand of the free market in all things. They believe that there should be no “checks and balances” on big business. They know what’s best for us and the United States. They believe that government cannot and should not regulate, monitor or enforce anything on business and the freemarket. They believe that government can never do anything right. So “shrink the size of government,” and get the “government off the backs of people and the business community.”

  • idamag

    Not so different from Galileo’s arrest for saying the earth revolved around the sun. Or, the one that won’t die, wet feet can cause sore throats or colds are caused by a change in the weather. We are devolving. Maybe we are going back to when scientific studies were described as heretic. As I say, some people consider stupidity a virtue.

  • charleo1

    It’s called competition for favor. I’ll muddy the waters, block proposed mitigating legislation, and defund the EPA! Well, I’ll say the matter is still highly disputed, but most likely a Left Winger plot to takeover the free market! Pshaw! I’ll do them all one better. I’ll not only do all those things, Mr. Koch. But I’ll forbid the words global warming, climate change, warming oceans, and sea level rise to ever be uttered by public employees in my State, Well done Scottie! Keep that up, and we might just put that little brown nose in the Oval Office one of these days!

  • jmprint

    The Koch brothers love dumb and gullible, the dumber the better, and they got their money’s worth with scottie.

  • Insinnergy

    This can only get more amusing.
    Especially since Florida is largely low-lying.
    How much of Miami needs to be under water for it still to be defined as a “Nuisance”??

  • Whatmeworry

    Maybe if the warming nuts allowed independent groups to look at their emails they might be able to convince people if there is an issue. Every time they are caught cooking the books they clam up

    • Daniel Max Ketter

      Whats a waming nut? God bless our labor organizations for their service to our country.

  • Maybe if the waming nuts allowed dependent groups to look at their emails they might be able
    to convince people if there is no issue. Every time they are caught cooking the books they open

  • Eleanore Whitaker

    Maybe if the oil soaked, fracked drilled, coal ash damaged right wing shut their mouths for a while, all their noise and cacophony would allow their brains to improve in intelligence and intellect.

    Ever notice how it’s always the HAVES who are CONservatives and wingers?