Tom Toles and America’s Big Picture

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Tom Toles We Hold These Truths TWN.jpg
Toles (c) 2009 The Washington Post. Used by permission of Universal Press Syndicate. All rights reserved.
I think it’s our responsibility as American citizens to critique and applaud government’s moves as we see fit. I try to do my part at The Washington Note with words, with video, with meetings, and yes — even in my policy chatter at DC’s more fun cocktail parties.
And Tom Toles does it with drawings — and his band Suspicious Package.
Barack Obama may get a lot wrong in these coming years — but I still think America got something quite right in electing him.
This is a powerful cartoon — and I just noticed that folks can order it if they like here, in all different sizes and at quite reasonable prices. (And if you want an original limited edition with Tom Toles’ signature on it, here’s the higher priced version.)
— Steve Clemons

Comments

24 comments on “Tom Toles and America’s Big Picture

  1. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Ya gotta love it. Tenacious absurdity.
    Most people like to flush their crap as quick as they deposit it. Sweetness obviously tries to hold onto it as long as possible, no matter how bad it stinks.

    Reply

  2. Sweetness says:

    Should have said…”…with whom I disagree…”

    Reply

  3. Sweetness says:

    You can say, “Read the main post, but keep in mind there are many
    commenters here with whom I agree, most notably Biblia-Historia
    because she’s clearly an anti-Semite.”
    Or you can snip out the bits you want others to read and post those
    and leave the comments behind.
    Otherwise, you “own” it in the sense that you are spreading and
    furthering its dissemination and giving it your implicit approval.

    Reply

  4. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Hey Sweetness, you blithering idiot, if I link to TWN, without any disclaimers, do I “own” your comments, or Arthur’s?

    Reply

  5. PissedOffAmerican says:

    So everytime I link to TWN, this blithering idiot Sweetness expects me to devote about thirty paragraphs to disclaimers, stating which comments I disagree with. And if I don’t, I “own” all those comments I disagree with.
    Its amazing to me how some of these jackasses can dig their heels into absurd arguments.

    Reply

  6. Sweetness says:

    POA writes: “Truth is, I’ve linked to this site before just to
    underscore positions I DON’T agree with, such as some of
    Steve’s complimentary comments about Powell.”
    If you link to disagree, and you say you disagree, then it’s clear
    you disagree, IMO. If you just link, however, you own it. Sorry,
    we’re not simply unthinking worker bees spreading the pollen
    wherever we happen to light without any understanding of what
    we’re doing.
    I understand that there are challenges with this view given the
    number of interlinkings that take place on the Web, but the
    opposite, in which you aren’t held responsible for spreading
    garbage, but can disown responsibility simply because you didn’t
    write it or didn’t sign it–especially when virtually everyone is
    working under an alias–is unacceptable to me, and it’s a rule I
    try to hold to.
    In point of fact, the quote in question was just under the
    collage, almost a caption, if you will. And Cee was given the
    opportunity to repudiate, which she did not.
    So, that’s my view; I get that it’s not yours

    Reply

  7. ... says:

    have a great trip paul!

    Reply

  8. Paul Norheim says:

    Ok Sweetness,
    I guess POA said it: the benefit of the doubt.
    Perhaps I was a bit too crass…
    I`ll take a plane to Oslo today, and then to Ethiopia tomorrow,
    together with three brothers and one sister. Two weeks of
    nostalgia with family members (three of them were born there),
    and then I`ll travel on my own. I`ll drop in at TWN once in a
    while, perhaps even write a comment or two. But I will basically
    be offline for a couple of months.
    Have fun in the meanwhile.

    Reply

  9. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “I said, Cee is spreading it; she owns it. That’s my view of the responsibility one has in “linking” to a site and I’m saying it
    outright.”
    Oh bullshit, if that was true, everytime I link to TWN I am endorsing you and Wig-wag’s dissembling bullshit. Truth is, I’ve linked to this site before just to underscore positions I DON’T agree with, such as some of Steve’s complimentary comments about Powell.
    You know, Sweetness, some of your premises, such as the one I quote above, are so outlandish and ridiculous that I can’t believe you offer them in good faith. But thats giving you the benefit of the doubt. Maybe you are so incredibly ignorant that you believe half the crap you blather at us.

    Reply

  10. Sweetness says:

    Sorry, Paul.
    I did not say that Cee “wrote” that comment herself.
    I did not say that that was Cee’s Website.
    I did not say that Cee was an anti-Semite, though I do believe
    she is spreading anti-Semitic garbage.
    I said, Cee is spreading it; she owns it. That’s my view of the
    responsibility one has in “linking” to a site and I’m saying it
    outright. (Perhaps instead of “posted by Cee” I should have said
    “spread by Cee. Okay, I accept that.) You wanted my view and
    now you have it. It’s complicated, of course, because most sites
    have many linkages, and it’s impossible to be held responsible
    for an infinite regression.
    But the opposite–in which one can link to whatever and then
    disavow responsibility simply because one didn’t write it himself
    but only linked to it–one didn’t say it himself–is irresponsible.
    I refuse to accept that as a valid principle of Internet conduct, if
    you will. You may disagree and hold that only what one signs is
    one’s own. So be it.
    As far as my attempt to screw up the thread, I’ll only say this:
    You called me out on that thread. You insinuated that when
    confronted with “the truth” way back when, I ducked. I
    responded to you in a pleasant enough way and offered to give
    you my view any time. You then pushed me off onto this thread,
    not wishing to mess up the thread on which you called me out.
    Apparently, it wasn’t messing up the thread for you, out of the
    blue, to, how should we put it? cop a feel, put one over the bow,
    but it WAS messing up the thread for me to respond. Oh well.
    As far as Wig goes, I’ve tangled with him myself around Obama
    and can attest to his hardheadedness (my view). But the point
    is, all of us have different styles of argumentation. If you find
    Wig annoying, just scroll on past him and write what you want to
    whom you want. That’s what I do. Wig no more “screws up a
    thread” than you do. Or anyone else for that matter.
    As far as Dan goes, I’d have to re-read the thread, but I don’t
    think Wig called him an anti-Semite, and I certainly didn’t. He
    did call his comments racist. So what? Is Dan somehow
    incapable of racism? Is Dan inoculated against making offensive
    remarks? Since when? I actually thought your defense of Dan on
    this point was pretty good. In fact, you made me re-read Dan’s
    remarks. Wig disagreed. So what?

    Reply

  11. Paul Norheim says:

    There are different methods to get a message across. You did it
    not by not calling anyone anything directly, you alluded to anti-
    semitism, with the help of a petty lie. Do you think you can
    escape that fact by small rhetorical games, “denying” that you
    called me an anti-semite – as if I have ever claimed that? I said
    that I would be honored IF you did so. But you never do.
    This time we are privileged: we have just to posters; one
    insisting that respecting banal facts instead of inventing or
    distorting them is important; the other one trying to escape the
    fact that you where caught in a lie. WigWag had the advantage
    in his arguments with Dan that there were more than 150
    comments in that thread, so it was easier to get away with
    distorting the facts. In this case, anybody who cares to read the
    thread, can follow, step by step, how you act as if being caught
    telling a lie doesn`t matter at all, since your intuitive feeling
    with regards to deeper meaning and “ownership” entitle you to
    disregard and distort plain facts. Instead of admitting it when I
    pointed it out for you, you play this game, asking if I am “really
    interested in facts”.
    Since you obviously are willing to sacrifice facts whenever it
    serves your cause, why should I be interested in, or trust you
    when you claim that you did or did not call me or Cee an anti-
    semite?
    Yes, I`m a bit cruel here. But Sweetness, I wouldn`t care, nor be
    so insistent if it weren`t for the fact that there are certain
    patterns and methods in your and WigWags attempt to screw up
    thread where someone severely criticize Israel or Zionism as an
    ideology.
    Personally, I have never been a target for your nor WigWag`s
    accusations and insinuations and hints; but when one of you
    two even try to make Dan Kervick an anti-semite, I`ve had
    enough.
    I don´t think that Cee is bothered, because she has seen how
    you operate. But if you want to be respected, you should start
    by respecting certain facts and apologize for distorting them.
    You can`t opine yourself out of that hole.

    Reply

  12. Sweetness says:

    Well, Paul, if you really are interested in facts, you’ll note that I did
    not call you or Cee or anyone else an anti-Semite. Sorry; you won’t
    find it. I did say that Cee owned what she spread around. I still
    stand by that.

    Reply

  13. Paul Norheim says:

    The fact is that Cee did not post that comment you claimed she
    did. It´s as simple as that, as a start. After admitting that, you
    may air your opinions.
    And this is not “a judgement call” or a question of perspectives,
    points or nuances. If we stick to conventional use of language,
    you lied when you factually claimed that Cee wrote that post. In
    fiction, you may say that someone turn to the left when they
    turn to the right. But dealing with realities, dealing with the
    serious question whether someone actually wrote an anti-
    semitic message on a blog, you`re lying if you claim that
    someone did so when you know that this is not true –
    regardless of whether you believe it is “true in a higher sense”
    or something like that.
    But I notice that both you and WigWag are rather generous in
    the use of labels like “anti-semite”, “bigot” and “racist”
    nowadays. DonS, Dan Kervick and POA have been blessed by
    this label just within the last 24 hours.
    Believe me, Sweetness: I would be honored if you called me an
    old fashioned anti-semite as well, because I despise your and
    WigWag`s frivolous use of that term.

    Reply

  14. Sweetness says:

    Okay. I see your point.
    But where are “the facts” in the collage?
    Are the Israelis the same as the Nazis as the collage clearly
    implies?
    When Cee tells Karen to “deal with it” (when Karen was making the
    distinction that Israel is not Nazi Germany), what facts are she
    pointing to when she posts the collage?

    Reply

  15. Paul Norheim says:

    You have to get it right on the factual level. If you don`t – and
    this is particularly important when it comes to anti-semitism,
    genocide, crimes against humanity and related material – i.e. if
    you mix facts with half facts, moral judgements and
    metaphysical levels, but disregard the banal facts as such –
    then you run the risk that the events, how they happened, when
    they happened, who were directly, and who were indirectly
    responsible, and even what happened; that all these questions
    disappear in a fog of moral issues, emotions, myth, rumors,
    lies, suspicions and legends.
    I thought you knew that.
    And in this case: Cee did not (as far as we know) post that
    specific anti-semitic comment; she linked to a site where
    someone else made that comment. These distinctions are
    crucial when you deal with this kind of stuff.

    Reply

  16. Sweetness says:

    Sweetness,
    it boils down to this: you are correct that you at that time made
    the same point that you did now: “I do believe that if you
    link to a site–in essence, choose to spread it around–you own
    it”, when I pointed out that Karen was wrong in claiming that
    Cee had created that website. It is “her” in a moral sense – fine,
    that`s an opinion.
    But that was not your argument with regards to the comment by
    an anti-semitic GUEST COMMENTER (“BibliaHistoria) at the
    linked site. To that you asked a rhetorical question: “What do
    you think of the commentary she posted on the pictures” and
    then you quoted the comment signed by BibliaHistoria.
    Sweetness: It’s the same point. Cee is spreading it, the
    comment, around. But you’re also ignoring what I think is
    clearly the point (and the weakness) of the pictures Cee did,
    DIRECTLY, post to TWN. The two dovetail. You see, this stuff
    doesn’t work by “logic” or anything so clear as “Cee’s NAME isn’t
    on it, so she’s not responsible for it.” That’s not how the
    pictures work and that’s not how this sort of posting works. It’s
    the moral equivalent of copping a feel. By the time the person
    turns around, the copper has disappeared into the crowd, and
    everyone’s saying, in effect, BibliaHistoria isn’t me.
    Or think of it as demagoguery. For example, this morning I read
    where Chavez, his economy sliding with the price of oil, has
    managed to whip up anti-Jewish sentiment among “the people.”
    The pretext is Gaza, but do you honestly think that people
    yelling “Jew get out” in Venezuela are motivated by Gaza? (For
    one thing, what do Venezuelan Jews have to do with Gaza?) Now,
    of course, Chavez is denying any responsibility in this outbreaks,
    and he can because of the nature of the communication.
    You see, what Biblia “got” from the montage is just as “valid” as
    what you got or anyone else. It’s a wide open, multi-directional
    communication. It packs the power of big, broad and emotional
    powerful symbols. That’s why it’s so effective.
    Moreover, when the point was brought up, Cee didn’t disown it.
    She’s happy with the little turd she laid with, of course, plausible
    deniability.
    If it doesn`t bother you when you mix false statements on the
    factual level with some moral “ownership” (which is highly
    questionable with regards to comments made by guests) in your
    effort to prove that a fellow commenter at TWN is an anti-
    semite, I don´t know what to say.
    Sweetness: I’m saying, Paul, that you’re being way too literal.
    Nor am I trying to prove anything. I’m objecting to something
    that’s been posted.
    Or perhaps I do. I would say that you, Sweetness is an anti-
    semite yourself. And I can “prove” it with your own intellectually
    dishonest and factually false modus operandi:
    You talk in favor of TWN, as a more “thoughtful” blog than the
    one Cee linked to. This means that you somehow “own” TWN.
    And as we all know, several anti-semitic, rather nasty racist
    comments have been posted at TWN.
    Sweetness: But I don’t spread it around. Except with
    commentary that says pretty clearly what I think of it.
    You know what, Sweetness? Those anti-semitic comments were
    written by you!
    Sweetness: Same point.
    As to whether Cee (or even arthurdecco) is an anti-Semite…the
    question is a bit too metaphysical when dealing with bits and
    bytes. But it’s clear that they do spread anti-Semitic trash. And
    that is what I’m objecting to. And I’m not letting her off the
    hook simply because her “name” isn’t on it. Linking to
    something is an implicit endorsement.
    I admit: This is a judgement call, but it’s how I see it. I can see
    how you see it differently.

    Reply

  17. Paul Norheim says:

    Sweetness,
    it boils down to this: you are correct that you at that time made
    the same point that you did now: “I do believe that if you
    link to a site–in essence, choose to spread it around–you own
    it”, when I pointed out that Karen was wrong in claiming that
    Cee had created that website. It is “her” in a moral sense – fine,
    that`s an opinion.
    But that was not your argument with regards to the comment by
    an anti-semitic GUEST COMMENTER (“BibliaHistoria) at the
    linked site. To that you asked a rhetorical question: “What do
    you think of the commentary she posted on the pictures” and
    then you quoted the comment signed by BibliaHistoria.
    If it doesn`t bother you when you mix false statements on the
    factual level with some moral “ownership” (which is highly
    questionable with regards to comments made by guests) in your
    effort to prove that a fellow commenter at TWN is an anti-
    semite, I don´t know what to say.
    Or perhaps I do. I would say that you, Sweetness is an anti-
    semite yourself. And I can “prove” it with your own intellectually
    dishonest and factually false modus operandi:
    You talk in favor of TWN, as a more “thoughtful” blog than the
    one Cee linked to. This means that you somehow “own” TWN.
    And as we all know, several anti-semitic, rather nasty racist
    comments have been posted at TWN.
    You know what, Sweetness? Those anti-semitic comments were
    written by you!

    Reply

  18. Sweetness says:

    Thanks, Paul, I’ll try to respond here:
    Ok Sweetness, my post at that time was perhaps a little unclear,
    but the basic points are:
    1) Cee linked to a website.
    S: Yes.
    2) “Karen” and you claimed that the website was created by Cee.
    S: I’m not sure I claimed that per se, but I do believe that if you
    link to a site–in essence, choose to spread it around–you own
    it. In a later post in that thread, I made that point. Unless the
    person qualifies the reasons for linking to it–e.g., I agree with
    this, but not that, or some such–I don’t see anyway around it.
    You may not agree with this, but this is my point of view.
    3) Cee said it was not.
    S: Right, if I claimed it was her web site, or she had created it, I
    misspoke. But that’s my point.
    4) You claimed that one particular anti-semitic COMMENTER on
    the website Cee had linked to was identical with Cee.
    S: No, I at least meant to claim that she owned it.
    I regard this as playing a rather dirty game.
    S: It’s not a question of identity; it’s a question of what do you
    believe and what is the point you’re trying to make. It seemed
    clear to me Cee was making this point and, once it was brought
    up, she didn’t disavow it. This didn’t surprise because, in fact,
    these sorts of pictorial propaganda pieces are intended to stir
    these emotions without shedding any light on the situation. For
    example, I could create a collage of the severed body parts of
    the victims of suicide bombers and put them along side the
    stacked bodies of Auschwitz. Would that “show” that the
    Palestinians are Nazis? Or Nazi-like? No. Would that shed any
    light on the situation or what needs to be done? No.
    Here`s the post you didn`t
    reply:
    “Posted by Paul Norheim Jan 23, 8:59PM – Link
    Sweetness,
    you said:
    “But what is Cee talking about? Maybe you can tell me. What do
    you think of the commentary she posted on the pictures:
    “”Why can the Jews not see how dumb and stupid they are
    acting? etc…””
    ————–
    “She posted on the pictures”?
    Cee linked to a website, and then Karen referred to that as
    Cee`s website. Cee says it`s not, but you argued that it is, since
    he approves what the poster says…
    Well…
    And Just like on TWN, there are all kinds of comments from
    readers under the post on that website. Now you are claiming
    that one of these commenters (BibliaHistoria) is the very same
    Cee that Karen claimed was the original poster.
    I am getting confused. Why are you mixing Cee`s identity with
    several other bloggers or commenters on a site she just linked
    to?”
    Sweetness: I see your point, but I think there’s a distinction to be
    made between the thoughtful character of TWN and much of the
    commentary (though not all) and a collage whose point is to say
    that the Israelis are Nazis and whose purpose is to elicit the
    visceral response you see in that commenter.
    Perhaps the question to ask is to ask Cee if she agrees with
    BibliaHistoria and judge her response. If she says “no,” then we
    can ask her what her point in posting the collage was. If she
    says “yes,” then there you have it.
    In general, I’m suspect of the debate called Israelis = Nazis.
    Since the Nazis have come to personify Evil Incarnate to most
    people, and there are manifestly worse regimes and popular
    actions (e.g., 700K dead Rwandans in 100 days) that are NEVER
    called “Nazis,” I have to wonder what the point is. This is not the
    old equivalency argument, it’s a question: Why are the Israelis
    called Nazis when the Syrians can kill 7,000 to 25,000 of their
    own people in a single action–7 to 25 times the death toll in a
    single action–and the world’s reaction: “There they go again.”
    Maybe it’s what Bush called the tyranny of low expectations.
    To Rich’s point (somewhere) about the reactions of Holocaust
    survivors and resistance fighters comparing Israel and the Nazi
    regime, I feel, in a certain way, they’ve earned the right.
    Fighting Nazis is their life’s context, their life’s structure, their
    life’s meaning, if you will. If that’s the way they see it, I
    understand it. But armchair guerillas like Cee, they’re just
    getting off on it. It’s kind of exciting for some people to swim
    around in the anti-Semitic muck while carrying their “emergency
    flotation” device to save them from the charge of playing dirty
    themselves: I’m not anti-Semitic; I just hate the Zionists.” And,
    of course, “Pictures don’t lie,” when, of course, they do. Like
    mad.

    Reply

  19. ... says:

    paul, perhaps sweetness is hoping that those with short memories are in the ascendancy around here… waiting like you to see a response….

    Reply

  20. Paul Norheim says:

    Ok Sweetness, my post at that time was perhaps a little unclear, but the
    basic points are:
    1) Cee linked to a website.
    2) “Karen” and you claimed that the website was created by Cee.
    3) Cee said it was not.
    4) You claimed that one particular anti-semitic COMMENTER on the
    website Cee had linked to was identical with Cee.
    I regard this as playing a rather dirty game. Here`s the post you didn`t
    reply:
    “Posted by Paul Norheim Jan 23, 8:59PM – Link
    Sweetness,
    you said:
    “But what is Cee talking about? Maybe you can tell me. What do
    you think of the commentary she posted on the pictures:
    “”Why can the Jews not see how dumb and stupid they are
    acting? etc…””
    ————–
    “She posted on the pictures”?
    Cee linked to a website, and then Karen referred to that as
    Cee`s website. Cee says it`s not, but you argued that it is, since
    he approves what the poster says…
    Well…
    And Just like on TWN, there are all kinds of comments from
    readers under the post on that website. Now you are claiming
    that one of these commenters (BibliaHistoria) is the very same
    Cee that Karen claimed was the original poster.
    I am getting confused. Why are you mixing Cee`s identity with
    several other bloggers or commenters on a site she just linked
    to?”
    And here is the context:
    http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/2009/01/coming_down_fro/

    Reply

  21. JS says:

    During the campaign there was a ‘toon (by Luckovich?) showing Obama walking down the street, and Hillary as little girl peering over a fence at him, saying “Hey Obama, that’s my White House, stay out of there” or something to that effect… and Obama saying “Birdsong. I think I hear birdsong…” I actually began to pay more attention to Obama after that.

    Reply

  22. thetruth says:

    This is my favorite Obama cartoon.
    http://politicalhumor.about.com/od/politicalcartoons/ig/Political-Cartoons/Obama-and-Lincoln.htm
    Lukovich achieves pure genius here, and it made a genuine impact on me.
    Whenever I think about President Obama’s place in history, this cartoon will be front in center in my mind.

    Reply

  23. ... says:

    Lila – it was closer then i thought it would be… when the election was stolen under bush and his admin was responsible for such a breakdown in so much of what many had thought to represent the usa, all bets were off as to whether obama would get in or not…
    thanks for the comic reminder steve.. i like it and it is cause for optimism!

    Reply

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