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Free speech

By Tom Toles

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Friday rant: rantless edition

The fevers came over me early this week, and I thrashed about in total indignation yesterday. I liked what I had written better before an editor locked me into a straitjacket and deleted some hastily-considered word choices I had made. He is standing here behind me now, and I can feel that icy air that editors exhale, on my very neck hairs. Oh, look! The sun is out as I write, and what a lovely day it is!

Okay, he's gone now. Yesterday I was reading an article in the New York Review of Books (ELITISM!), an article about creating a national digital library, to make, well, just about all information available to Americans online. There are beautiful quotes from some founders about the power and benefit of spreading information and ideas. I believe all that, too, or I wouldn't bother with this blog.

Still, though, we have ever-increasing access to information already, and the national discourse is decomposing before our eyes. The preposterous assertion gets made, amplified, adopted and re-spewed faster that the traditional media can refute, I mean repeat and give additional credibility to. It's just possible that the founders did not foresee how the dark arts of advertising and marketing, now perfected and cynically applied, might keep a confounded public perpetually turned around against their own better understanding and interests. Unless, of course, those messages are in fact just playing to and legitimizing pre-existing unwholesome tendencies in the populace. But perhaps better to leave that thought for another day. The editor just returned, rustling the straitjacket. --Tom Toles
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By Tom Toles  | October 8, 2010; 12:00 AM ET
Categories:  Supreme Court  
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Comments

jon...glad to be amusing, however we were not discussing your problems, were we...who are you to claim what God Is and or FEELS???
I also am very aware of the 'so called origin of the Bible,smith, etc...all man made in fact I have found discrepancy in the book of Genesis...perhaps you can tell me what I am referring to??
and for the record...your summation is nice but I'm afraid it is not accurate...just sayin'

On another, yet same, topic. Do you actually think organized religion is a good thing? We've got no-nos in all models of religion...you have brought up Hitler a couple times what about the crusades???? What about all the #%^@ going on right now in the name of religion....Do you actually believe that God is behind our madness??? What if god gave us the ultimate freedom to choose...not our government...what if we have chosen falsehood? Is God suppose to intervene and take our choices away? Or should we perhaps be responsible (adults?) and find a way to better ourselves/humanity? And another thing, as long as I'm ramblin' here....So...God of the Old testement was angry and vengeful and Jesus of the New testement was love and forgiving? Come on.....god scary/ jesus/comfy. How convenient....

Oh and Toles you'll be pleased to note that global warming was in fact mentioned on the front page of my local paper...course the article was a bit bland...

Posted by: bertzel | October 9, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

I used to have sympathy for the notion of regulating so-called hate speech. It's wearying having to continually debunk Holocaust deniers, 9/11 deniers, racists, etc. But not anymore. All my experience tells me that 'truth' speech is at least as powerful and persuasive as lies. The hardest thing for me to finally come to grips with is this: that we cannot a priori know what is true and what is not. Speech that we find revolting may be true. Maybe the racists are right. Maybe Hitler was correct about Jews. Our constitution has it right I think: if you're point-of-view is correct then you'll triumph via freedom of speech.

Posted by: GregS1 | October 9, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Bertzel, you make me smile. You're all right. Again, I will say that I feel like there is no problem with love and hate being expressed by the same individual. God is love and he hates what is evil. It is like a doctor who destroys the cancer that is killing his patient. He destroys it, cuts it out with a scalpel or blasts it with chemo because he views the cancer as a threat to his patient. The same was done by the Allies when they attacked Hitler to stop his violent horror. They loved the people of Germany and Europe enough that they gave their lives to rescue them from Hitler and stop him.

About who wrote the Bible. There are some 40 authors who were "carried along by the Holy Spirit" when they wrote. Some were doctors, Kings, peasants, farmers, shepherds, noblemen, fishermen, intellectuals. Mohammed spoke the Quran while he was in a spiritual state and it was written down by those who were listening. The Sanskrit is a compilation of stories collected from all over. It is unclear who wrote most of it. Joseph Smith wrote the Book of Mormon as he wrote it down from the Angel Moronai.

That's what they say.

Posted by: jonswitzer | October 8, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

That's nice I get phone calls from people asking me to donate my time to help campaign for their candidate....

Posted by: bertzel | October 8, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Some good news though, Fox News Channel lost 21% of their viewers in the last quarter per the Nielsen ratings..

Posted by: clairevb | October 8, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

What kind of information are we making available to voters? Have you been following the Rachel Maddow discussions about the huge amount of money pouring into an Oregon race from undisclosed donors? These donors are buying political advertisements for Republican candidates. Have you see the polls about Fox news watchers who score low on political facts tests? I receive slick, expensive flyers from pro-development groups and drive by paid sign-carriers on street corners supporting pro-development candidates. We have a group in town trying to get rid of our branch libraries. We have a university storing books off campus to create space for more computing facilities. Will the Koch brothers maintain our digital libraries?

Posted by: PaloAlto4 | October 8, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

and Please don't quote the bible to me...I've read it once already...granted don't remember it all but still....AND who do you think wrote that bible??? Did

God write it? Or was it MAN?
Who, in fact, wrote all the 'sacred documents' That all religions base their knowledge on????
More questions and still no answers from you...tsk, tsk.

Posted by: bertzel | October 8, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

jon...you are arguing 'to be or not to be' with me! Apathy is as you say...no feeling...hate and love are indeed feelings HOWEVER opposite feelings. Just as positive energy and negative energy are both a form of energy yet on opposite sides of the spectrum....Now would you care to answer my questions because I am not about to bend to your twisted state of fact and play your 'game' until you give me something better in return...guess that nonzerosumness is comming into play.

Posted by: bertzel | October 8, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Here are clear Bible passages about righteous men and God hating what is evil (Old Testament and New Testament). Psalm 36:2; 5:5; Ex 18:21; Psalm 45:7; 97:10; 101:3; 119:104; 119:113; 139:21; Prv 8:13; 13:5; Eccl 3:8 says there is a time to love and a time to hate...; Isa 61:8; Jer 44:4; Amos 5:15; Zech 8:17; Mal 2:16; Luke 14:26; Luke 16:13; Rom 12:9; REv. 2:16

We are told in the Bible that the Lord forgives those who repent and accept Jesus as Savior. Those who do not, he requires to pay their own debt. A loving God does not stand apathetic at the evils in this world. He hates what destroys people. He forgives those who repent. He does all this because He is loving NOT apathetic or impersonal.

Posted by: jonswitzer | October 8, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

"The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference." – Elie Wiesel

Try this link for a scientific study of the brain dealing with love and hate. http://sigmundcarlandalfred.wordpress.com/2008/11/17/the-thin-line-love-and-hate/

Basically, it says that both love and hate are irrational and use similar parts of the brain. Whereas Apathy just ignores what is happening.

All this fits the Biblical model.

Posted by: jonswitzer | October 8, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

jon...you are changing the subject.
The opposite of Hate is indeed Love.
Therfore you still have two negatives in your explanation of what you believe 'God' to be. and you have yet to answer my questions.

Posted by: bertzel | October 8, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Bertzel, It is fine for you to make a statement about apathy not being the opposite of hate. However, you have not given a logical reason why not. Apathy does not care at all. Love cares immensely. In fact, the one who hates does so passionately. I wonder how you would describe your "feelings" for Hitler or Stalin? The evil that was present in those situations was vile. So, we attacked with brutal force to stop what he was doing. We killed in the name of justice. Would you advocate that we should have just let Hitler alone until he came to his senses? The proper response to evil is to hate it and to work to stop it.

Posted by: jonswitzer | October 8, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

The opposite of love is NOT hate but apathy. Love acts to protect life and therefore hates what brings death. Apathy, on the other, could care less.

Posted by: jonswitzer | October 8, 2010 1:29 PM

The opposite of Love is Not Apathy. That is a false statement...care to answer any of my previous questions?

better????

Posted by: bertzel | October 8, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

"Still, though, we have ever-increasing access to information already, and the national discourse is decomposing before our eyes. The preposterous assertion gets made, amplified, adopted and re-spewed faster that the traditional media can refute"

Tom I am confused. Which of the following inspired your quote above?

1. Those who oppose Obama's policies are racist.

2. Anthropological global warming is real and a dire threat to the planet.

3. We are working tirelessly to stop the oil spill...

4. If it weren't for TARP, bailout, and stimulus, we would be in a great depression.

Posted by: Wiggan | October 8, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

CONDEMN THE ACT BUT NOT THE INDIVIDUAL. This does not mean that someone should not be held responsible for their actions. INDIVIDUALS CAN CHANGE
LET HIM WITHOUT SIN CAST THE FIRST STONE

Somehow I believe this particular congregation have forgoten those teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ. Up until the present all Christians have been living under his grace.

Posted by: JONAHandtheFISH | October 8, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

The opposite of love is NOT hate but apathy. Love acts to protect life and therefore hates what brings death. Apathy, on the other, could care less.

Posted by: jonswitzer | October 8, 2010 1:29 PM

Wrong...the opposite of love is NOT apathy...Now care to lay off Pete and start in on me...I'm back...

Posted by: bertzel | October 8, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

CONDEMN THE ACT BUT NOT THE INDIVIDUAL. This does not mean that someone should not be held responsible for their actions. INDIVIDUALS CAN CHANGE
LET HIM WITHOUT SIN CAST THE FIRST STONE

Somehow I believe this particular congregation have forgoten those teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ. Up until the present all Christians have been living under his grace.

Posted by: JONAHandtheFISH | October 8, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

@bignoisylawnmower I wrote about that: http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2010/7/25/887174/-Godless,-Gritless-Liberals,-Then-and-Now

George Washington was a tyrant for letting Hamilton get Congress to pass a Whiskey Tax. When Pennsylvanians not only tarred and feathered Revenooers but took up arms, Washington himself rode out at the head of the militia called up to suppress them. A different concept of "Commander in Chief" that anybody since. (And just as well.)

The John Adams administration put in the Alien and Sedition Acts to keep furriners and quash those calling for the overthrow of the gummint.

Thomas Jefferson was a Godless Jacobin who planned to burn down all of the churches just to get started.

It is impossible to convey the vehemence of Wall Street's hatred for Andrew Jackson when he shut down the Second Bank of the United States.

Millard Fillmore could not get his own party nomination for a second term after pushing through a compromise that included The Fugitive Slave Act. His Whig party fell apart and disappeared.

The South claimed that Abraham Lincoln was a Catholic. If you look at Protestant propaganda against Catholics (The Black Legend), that was very nearly like those calling President Obama the Antichrist. Abolitionists assailed him most bitterly for not wiping out slavery. (The Emancipation Proclamation did not apply in slave states that had remained in the Union.)

"Rutherfraud" B. Hayes removed Federal troops from the South in exchange for twenty votes from Democrats to settle the election controversy, thus leaving "Redeemer" Democrats free to create Jim Crow.

Teddy Roosevelt (malefactors of great wealth), FDR (economic royalists), LBJ (How many kids have you killed today?, "Socialist" Medicare), Nixon (phony as a three-dollar bill, Goldwater (Extremism in defense of Liberty), and now our beloved Nazi Muslim Commie racist Reparationist Antichrist OMG, he's BLACK!!!!! President Barack H. Obama.

Nothing new.

It is to me, and should be to others, more important that thousands fall away from the bigoted Religious Right churches every day, millions every year, and similarly for the Republican Party.

This brings us back to your rant.

Yes, the Right is organized.

Yes, the Right is louder and nastier than ever.

No, that doesn't mean that they are winning. It means that they are in shrieking denial that The End is Near, and I don't mean the Rapture. I mean that anti-gay bigotry has lost on DADT and gay marriage, but the dinosaur is too stupid to know that it is dead and should fall down now.

All of the Christian Rights issues except abortion (which is actually about something in the real world) are going away: Creationism, Global Warming denial, racism, nativism, the idea that this is a Christian country, all of them.

So if you think you have it bad, Tom, with them, please understand how they feel. We're all going to Hell, and taking them with us.

That can ruin your whole day.

Posted by: Antibogotes | October 8, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

"The cartoon today could just as easily be about how the Justices won't (will and do, actually) allow guns in every public establishment out there, yet don't allow them in THEIR courtroom."

Could be? Do ya think?

--

Epicurus said, "Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?"

Posted by: jonroesler | October 8, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

God does not hate. Hate only hurts the one who is doing the hating. Love endures the hurtful things that man does to man. Love strives to understand them. Love waits patiently for us to see the error of our ways. Ultimately, Love forgives us our trespasses.
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Peter, I respect your right to hold views about God with which I disagree. Let's just be clear that you are not promoting a Biblical religious perspective. I wonder where you get your religious views. Here are clear Bible passages about righteous men and God hating what is evil (Old Testament and New Testament). Psalm 36:2; 5:5; Ex 18:21; Psalm 45:7; 97:10; 101:3; 119:104; 119:113; 139:21; Prv 8:13; 13:5; Eccl 3:8 says there is a time to love and a time to hate...; Isa 61:8; Jer 44:4; Amos 5:15; Zech 8:17; Mal 2:16; Luke 14:26; Luke 16:13; Rom 12:9; REv. 2:16

We are told in the Bible that the Lord forgives those who repent and accept Jesus as Savior. Those who do not, he requires to pay their own debt. A loving God does not stand apathetic at the evils in this world. He hates what destroys people. He forgives those who repent. He does all this because He is loving NOT apathetic or impersonal.

Posted by: jonswitzer | October 8, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

The opposite of love is NOT hate but apathy. Love acts to protect life and therefore hates what brings death. Apathy, on the other, could care less.

Posted by: jonswitzer | October 8, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

God does not hate. Hate only hurts the one who is doing the hating.

Love endures the hurtful things that man does to man. Love strives to understand them. Love waits patiently for us to see the error of our ways. Ultimately, Love forgives us our trespasses.

Posted by: pete1013 | October 8, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

SidneyP said: "The cartoon today could just as easily be about how the Justices won't allow guns in every public establishment out there, yet don't allow them in THEIR courtroom."

While the same should obviously extend to protecting families from extremists disrupting their family funerals, they might also consider extending the protection privilege to the occasionally freaked out cartoonist.

(Shhhh, we won't tell. We wouldn't bother you so much Tom, if we didn't honestly love your work and if your insights didn't make so much real sense...)

Posted by: thanksforfish | October 8, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

oops..please excuse typos,I see many... was in a hurry as I am late!!

Posted by: bertzel | October 8, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Pete, are you saying that God loves tyranny, murder, poverty, disease, injustice? I hope not. I believe that God does hate such evils. I bet that you do too. It is LOVE to hate what destroys people. All religions, including Buddhism (which believes that the gods need to achieve nirvana as well), believe that God teaches that evil should be hated and avoided. The consistent teaching of the Bible falls in line with a God who hates what destroys. I hope you do too.

Posted by: jonswitzer | October 8, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

jonswizter, Jesus Christ is concidered amoung many to be a prophet as are the others you have hinted at...I said I don't CARE for organized religion....hatred has never came into my dialog.
If God actually hates evil would that not be a double negative? Is not evil hatred?
What then would be the opposite of Hate?
Perhaps you will find 'God" there.
For the record...we are all 'children of God' not just the select few chosen by man made religion....just sayin'
Also, why would you assume Jesus' spirit is living in you?? According to Christianity is it not the Holy Spirit Living IN YOU? Would that not be God?
Should you not be worshipping God and not Jesus? Did Jesus ask to be worshipped??

Posted by: bertzel | October 8, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

God is love. God does not hate. Love cannot hate. e.g. God does not hate.

Only man hates.

You are not in touch with God if you believe that God hates.

There is NO god in buddhism, only Nirvana. There is no good or bad Karma, only Karma. There is no good or evil, only pleasure and pain.

Your God is a god of hate and pain. Therefore, no God at all.

God is Love.

Posted by: pete1013 | October 8, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Certainly it would be unwise for the government to make it "illegal" to say a "lie" about spiritual things. That would be a total breach of the 1st Amendment: no law establishing religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. There is clear Biblical teaching that God judges nations that are immoral. It is pervasive in the Bible. Should we outlaw the Bible or promoting it in public? Is that what we are come to? May it not be.

Posted by: jonswitzer | October 8, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Tom, Let me keep going on this;

Wal Mart had to change their advertising and stop saying: "Wal Mart, always the low price" because it wasn't true. So now they say (something like) "Wal Mart has lower prices", which basically has some truth.

Likewise; when Kraft advertises that you can make a passable nacho dip out of velveeta, it is generally telling the truth.

The problem, as John Stewart adroitly points out every night, is that there is a total blurring of the line between fact and fiction on political issues such that most people can no longer tell the difference. Look at the attack ads. Remember the Swift-Boating of Kerry? It was a bunch of lies that got promoted as fact.

I'm not sure though if the problem is that the line is blurred, or if Americans no longer care about the truth.

Posted by: BattleOffSamar | October 8, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Tom, it's simple; just make it illegal to LIE!

You see, "thou shalt not lie" is NOT one of the 10 commandments, so the fox news crowd has no problem with lying. They can just make stuff up, or link some nonsense to some other nonsense (on a chalkboard of course) and say; "voila! that proves that Obama is a marxist" or some similar lie.

The problem is not free speech, the problem is that lies are considered free speech. If you can't somehow prove that "God hates America", then you shouldn't have license to say that outside of a church. You can just publish your views in editorial form and attempt to distribute it like everybody else has to do with the truth.

Posted by: BattleOffSamar | October 8, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

In fact, Bretzel, it is likely that because you perceive organized religion to be the source of oppression for the world that you passionately dislike (verging on hate) religion. Thus, your own life experience verifies that hate is normal toward what is perceived as destroying people's life, freedom and happiness.

Posted by: jonswitzer | October 8, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Bertzel, your challenge is welcome and important. I do claim to have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ; His Spirit living in me. However, when I refer to God hating evil I refer to the basic Judeo-Christian historical heritage of the West, in which you live. Judaism, Christianity, Islam... even Buddhism and Hinduism (though not Monotheistic) agree that there are certain things that God hates. (Remember Buddhism/Hinduism believe that even the gods are yet to be freed from the cycle of suffering due to their "attachments" to this world) God hating evil has been believed by the large portion of humanity for over 6 thousand years. That shared belief is history. It is a fact. Only the small minority of atheists (8% of current world population) would disagree with the belief. They cannot however deny the historical veracity of the world-wide shared belief that God hates evil; and that he does so because evil destroys lives.

Posted by: jonswitzer | October 8, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

I don't think it's what they say, as much as it is where they say it.

Protest, even ignorant hateful protest is and should be protected speech. However what is the point of protesting to and against someone who has absolutely no connection with, or power to control or change that which is protested against.

A family at a funeral (or wedding, birthday, etc.) has no power to right the alleged wrongs that these folks protest against.

If the SCOTUS can set limits on abortion protestors (and they have) who were protesting at abortion clinics. Then there is no reason they cannot or should not set limits and controls on this type of thing.

If the Westbury folks want to protest, they should take it to an appropriate forum, such as the Pentagon, Capitol Hill, The White House, main street etc.

Protests aimed at individual citizens who have no control over what is being protested should have their rights protected too.

Posted by: robinTX54 | October 8, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

jonswitzer, quite the arrogant claim on your part...you KNOW God? Have you conversed with God? or are you simply assuming to know the essence of God?
Perhaps, again, organized religion is leading you....not God.

Posted by: bertzel | October 8, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

The idea that God hates evil is nothing new. The contemporary debate is about changing what we have traditionally understood that God hates. For example, we know that God hates lying, stealing, murder etc. We know that God hates tyranny and injustice. However, sexual immorality is something that in the last 100 years, since Frued, we are to think that God has changed his mind and no longer hates it. In fact, we are to think of God as a hater for hating what he has always hated. When the large majority of what God hates, you and I hate as well. We hate to see injustice which is one of the top things God hates; because it destroys the lives of the weak and innocent. We also hate to see people's lives destroyed through poor self-management (i.e. drugs, laziness, etc.) So, the debate about God being a hater is a red-herring, a straw man. The real debate is about what God hates and what you and I hate. God has not changed his abhorrence for the destructive effects of sexual immorality on people's lives. Popular culture, however, would like God to change his mind on that.

Posted by: jonswitzer | October 8, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Glad you said that, SydneyP. As I sit here "playing to and legitimizing pre-existing unwholesome tendencies in the populace," I am also "clinging to my guns and religion."

Posted by: quiensabe | October 8, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

The cartoon today could just as easily be about how the Justices want allow guns in every public establishment out there, yet don't allow them in THEIR courtroom.

Posted by: SydneyP | October 8, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

As I sit here "playing to and legitimizing pre-existing unwholesome tendencies in the populace," it astounds me that someone like you who is capable of creating such subtle nuances is incapable of discerning that evolution is not a science and that climate change is a farce.

Posted by: quiensabe | October 8, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

~~~ When the next crisis hits, we will trust no one.~~~

Interesting statement. I have found, when an actual 'crisis' occurs, the majority of people actually 'pull together' for the common good and try to help their fellow man any way they can...just sayin'

Posted by: bertzel | October 8, 2010 8:33 AM | Report abuse

The problem with the issue is not free speech, or the consummate rudeness of the sad people with their deeply misguided and unloving placards. The problem is with our response to them. Imagine what would happen if they had been ignored from the start instead of being allowed to be a source of stress?

And then ignore them.

Posted by: elfpix | October 8, 2010 8:26 AM | Report abuse

"It's just possible that the founders did not foresee how the dark arts of advertising and marketing, now perfected and cynically applied, might keep a confounded public perpetually turned around against their own better understanding and interests."

Your point as far as cynical marketing is concerned is well taken. But people are simply hard-wired to maximize short-term benefits in lieu of long-term benefits, to themselves or to society. This is the harsh reality repeatedly documented by behavioral decision researchers.

Posted by: chickenlover | October 8, 2010 8:20 AM | Report abuse

All information digitized. Knowledge is not about information and information without wisdom is a snowstorm. The volume setting is always set on loud. The views of those who were our gatekeepers and helped maintain equilibrium now hold equal weight with the rabble rousers. When the next crisis hits, we will trust no one.

Posted by: EscondidoSurfer | October 8, 2010 6:37 AM | Report abuse

Free speech is tricky stuff. The right answer lies somewhere between Voltaire's comment, "I disagree with what you say but will fight to the death for your right to say it.", the SCOTUS decisions from the past (Holmes' discussion of shouting fire in a crowded theater, Morse v. Frederick--"Bong Hits 4 Jesus"). Be careful about testing things at WaPo or any other medium regarding a Mohammed cartoon--were he alive, Theo van Gogh might counsel caution as well.

For my dime, I'll side with Voltaire and, reluctantly, the "God Hates Fags" crowd.

Posted by: DougMUSN | October 8, 2010 5:50 AM | Report abuse

Tom Paine pointed out at the time of the American Revolution (that would be around 1775 or so, for the history deficient) how some political actors operated like the pickpocket teams of his day: while one calls attention to one distraction after another and diverts the crowd's attention, the other removes their money from their pockets. We now have more efficient means of distraction and some of today's political operators (Roger Ailes and his team of clowns come to mind) are skilled at using them. And we have well funded schools for scoundrels to develop yet more effective techniques.

Posted by: askalib-CA | October 8, 2010 1:25 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and for the degenerating national discourse blame your fellow buddies in journalism. They have just become lazy cut 'n paste artists. "Reporting" stuff in blogs without research. Repeating the right wing propaganda spewed by Fox and not bothering to refute it till paragraph 4 or 5 if at all. "Reporting" on politics as if it is some horse race or some team sporting event. These types of practices do not help the national discussion in any sane and productive way.

Posted by: bushidollar | October 8, 2010 12:29 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Toles,

CSPAN has a good library of our recent political history. You should check it out some time. I especially like the stuff on Richard Milhous Nixon. He cracks me up when he rants about liberals. Funny thing is that someone like him would be regarded as a "socialist" by the current crop of Republicans. Kind of puts it into perspective on how "mainstream" the current Republicans really are. Those k00ks are about as mainstream as the Taliban.

Posted by: bushidollar | October 8, 2010 12:20 AM | Report abuse

TONGUE & CHEEK'N it over here now Tom. I don't think I'm allowed over there on Ann's comment section anymore.

I don't think God hated FREE SPEECH. Only when his name was taken in vain. As long as the Church of Hateful Attitudes doesn't carry guns instead of signs all those they deem to be sinners will be safe. I heard the Washington Post actually had a RUBBER ROOM for aspiring political journalists. Check me out on facebook. The NSA is waiting.

Posted by: JONAHandtheFISH | October 7, 2010 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Another hilarious POLITICAL CARTOON by Mr. Tom Toles, my favorite political cartoonist.
Lighten up people, the man is simply brilliant.
Keep up the good work Tom!

Posted by: CharlyFranklininSF | October 7, 2010 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Google was well on the way to a National (or World) Digital Library and still may make it. But as cost go down, groups may do the same for all that we want to share.

So we will learn if the truth can drive out lies.

Once and for all time.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | October 7, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Waste of time trying to discuss anything other than politics, fox news and global warming....have at it.

Posted by: bertzel | October 7, 2010 9:47 PM | Report abuse

~~~ Oh well. Access to information is not a problem. People who cannot disagree without getting personal are. bobbo2~~~

Access to information is Indeed a problem...look at our school system bobbo2...look at the high cost of getting a degree....that is the information that is not guaranteed. That type of information should be a right.
And Personally bobbo2, who gives a rats butt about fox news? I mean really.

Posted by: bertzel | October 7, 2010 9:40 PM | Report abuse

It's interesting that the Post and other papers have chosen to prominently display the "God Hates Fags" sign and other potentially offensive language, obviously in the name of free speech.

So let's take this free speech out for a spin. How about a Mohammed cartoon?

Posted by: simpleton1 | October 7, 2010 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Concerning your cartoon Mr. Toles. The members of the Westboro Baptist Church are cowards. They hide behind the First Amendment. To be so vile while a family buries a son or daughter who died in service to our country is unfathomable. It is evil. The speech is protected, there is no question of that. If our Supreme Court can find that the actions of the group can be restricted so be it. But your cartoon could have been aimed more at the scum who deliver this emotional distress to mourning families, and less at the members of our Supreme Court who must protect our freedoms and at the same time find some form of justice for these families of the fallen.

Posted by: bobbo2 | October 7, 2010 8:37 PM | Report abuse

Admit it Mr. Toles, some of your frustration stems from the fact that Fox News celebrated it's 14th birthday today. For decades the American public has had to get it's visual news from the same tired old liberal elite sources. And in the 14 years of Fox News existance it has come to dominate the cable news service. The other sources are stuck at the bottom of the ratings constantly. Your comments seem to link the access to information as leading to a decline in the quality of public discourse. Alternative sources of news appear to really bother the Left. They call names and belittle those who look to other sources of news besides the same, old, tired, elite sources. Oh well. Access to information is not a problem. People who cannot disagree without getting personal are. Maybe if the Left didn't think that they know it all things might go better. I know people from the far Left that watch Fox News everyday. Why? Because they are willing to listen to everyone, not just their own.

Posted by: bobbo2 | October 7, 2010 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Wow if ever a picture was worth a thousand words….thank god I am one of few.
That being said, I read in the paper today about the ‘phelps’ clan…I fail to understand how a ‘group’ of people can say the words God and Hate in the same sentence…truly amazes me. Then again, I guess I just did the same. Is it that difficult to distinguish ‘good’ from ‘evil’, right from wrong, love, from hate, these days? I will say it again, I do not care for religion…religion is all about agenda…not God. If it were about God we wouldn’t have so much hatred in the world today period

And another thing, why does this country defend, religiously, freedom of speech,for all, when it comes to such hateful/hurtful words, yet, when it comes to having equal access to the knowledge and ideals of the great authors and masters, only those who can afford to purchase that right have access? Freedom of speech, after all should be heard/read by all who choose to read/listen to it, no matter who you are or how much money you have... free-dom.
fyi...public libraries don't cut it.

Posted by: bertzel | October 7, 2010 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Top Ten Insane Realities in America

1. Charging sales tax on toilet paper or clothes, but not taxing a trillion dollar credit default swap that could bring our economy to it’s knees.

2. Not having a plan to end our reliance on fossil fuels.

3. In most states in America, texting while driving is legal.

4. Not having comprehensive national, state, county and city plans to repair and modernize our infrastructure.

5. Not allowing Americans to buy into Medicare if they are willing to pay for it and not negotiating prescription drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries.

6. Corporations are people too in the eyes of a majority of our current Supreme Court.

7. Allowing politicians to choose their voters every 10 years.

8. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans don’t have the same rights as the rest of us.

9. Poisoning America’s water supply is legal if you’re mining for natural gas.

10. Believing that the 51st year of the Cuban trade embargo will achieve different results and help either the Cuban people or Americans.

Posted by: EarlyBird1 | October 7, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Toles, how about educating yourself? Read some history about what Thomas Jefferson said of the evils of the free press during his time and you will find it's not that bad today. I am sure the buggy whip makers had some very bad days once they heard about Ford. In 5,000 years of human history wholesomeness has survived.

Posted by: bignoisylawnmower | October 7, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

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