The War on TVism

The number of Americans who die in terrorist attacks is comparable to the number crushed to death by their televisions. So why are we building a vast surveillance state and conducting a violent drone war to prevent such a trivial threat?

22 thoughts on “The War on TVism

  1. But Mr. Rall! TVs aren’t as scary, we can’t kill them, they don’t hate our freedoms, and they don’t SEEM as foreign even if they originate overseas.

    Really just one of my favorite cartoons automatically. There’s a lot contained in this one. I love the generic shades military adviser. He’s quite the recurring character.

  2. Exactly. In fact, the NSA using the excuse that we must give up our civil liberties to be safe — is nothing but a canard. The real reason is simple: They want everything. They want ALL the data. They want every last thing we say or do tracked and recorded, and searchable on demand.

    Thomas Drake, another NSA whistleblower, just posted an article on the Guardian where he talks about this. Here’s what he says:

    ———————-
    General Michael Hayden, who was head of the NSA when I worked there, and then director of the CIA, said, “We need to own the net.” And that is what they’re implementing here. They have this extraordinary system: in effect, a 24/7 panopticon on a vast scale that it is gazing at you with an all-seeing eye.

    The reality is, they just want it all, period.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jun/12/snowden-surveillance-subverting-constitution
    ———————-

    I suggest everyone read this piece, and prepare to be scared shitless. The all seeing eye is here, and it’s getting bigger by the day.

    (Side note: That’s why we need to be focused on the NSA abuses of power and NOT on loony conspiracy theories some nuts (Susan Stark) on this site are trying to propagate.)

  3. @Ted: While you’re at it, how about a “Worst of the NSA Spying Editorial Cartoons”? There’s got to be plenty of them out there. It’s become a beloved feature of tedrall.com, so (if possible) keep it going! It’s the best series on bad cartooning out there!

  4. NO. NO MORE BAD POLITICAL CARTOONS.

    I want to apologize for the all-caps, but I can’t. I mean it.

    As to the matter at hand, the reason for ginned-up terrorism scare is straight-up bigotry and racism. I said before that fear is a shitty motivator for the American People — the problem is that the specifics of fearmongering don’t filter down to the people because we simply don’t care.

    But racism always makes it through.

    Tribalism is easily communicated. We’re visual creatures, so all you need is a pic. For a recent example, look at this shit. That’s an article about a scientist who discovers a new part of the human body. It’s named after him. His picture is therefore on the page. He is brown.

    Guess how many racist comments on the bottom. Commenters were confused as to why.

    Once tribalism matters, tribalism ALWAYS matters. In every goddamn thing. It never ends. That’s why terrorism is more important than automobile accidents and falling televisions. The substance is irrelevant, the facts are irrelevant; the point is that there is a subset of humanity that will always blame someone else for their fuckups or for the fuckups of their authoritarian superiors.

    The torture “debate” is people defending rapists against innocent men, women and children.

    The spying “debate” is people defending traitors who defy the constitution against patriots who defy regulations.

    These “debates” exist because the victims aren’t treated as humans, so the perpetrators are not considered wrongdoers.

    As long as you have a classifcation of people who Simply Are Not People, every damn discussion comes down to that.

    And terrorism automatically makes you Not People. It’s the new black.

    Remember the guy who flew a plane into the IRS building for the explicitly stated reason to cause terror? Not a terrorist, according to Newsweek. He was much to white, they said.

    Once we can tie falling televisions to the Other, I’m sure there will be cops pouring through black and poor neighborhoods for “unsecured TVs” within weeks.

  5. This ‘toon is completely in line with my thinking, Ted. In a Facebook discussion one of my “Friends” responded to one of my posts with something to the tune of “Snowden is not a hero to me. He is a traitor. What the government did was legal.” My comeback to that was: “Everything that Nazi Germany did, including the extermination of Jews and dissenters, was legal. Those who protested government actions were also eliminated. Others chose to flee to other nations, but that doesn’t make them cowards.” Good job, Ted!

  6. I just noticed (by visiting another website) that the cartoon I was seeing is *TOMORROW’s* cartoon and has nothing to do with TV’s! It’s about gassing Jews and a “collective shrug”! I’ve been victimized!

  7. derlehrer,

    This has displaced the TVism cartoon on here this morning. Ted’s spitting ’em out so fast, they’re getting mixed up on the site. 🙂

  8. “So why are we building a vast surveillance state and conducting a violent drone war to prevent such a trivial threat?”

    I’ve told you why, Ted- so that when enough of the left gets sucked in by this “revolution” silliness to actually try it, their “revolution” can be shut down as quickly as possible, and the right can use their (provoked and obviously doomed to fail from the get-go) attempt at revolution to justify the imposition/transformation of American into a fascist theocracy.

    The right has been wishing for, planning for, and working towards the left trying to stage a revolution for 40+ years now (and its chilling how close they’ve come to getting their wish). The right WANTS you to try a revolution- that ALONE is sufficient reason not to.

    • No, the Right has been plotting to create an authoritarian/Christianist state. No revolution needed for that. In fact, a revolution would get in the way. They’ll get their way thanks to the pseudo-Democrats negotiating against themselves, and their liberal enablers.

      Also:

      The Right isn’t automatically wrong about everything. Like distrust of government. I buy that. Post-NSA, everyone smart does.

  9. @Whimsy:

    Here’s news for you: unwarranted, pervasive and escalating surveillance is pretty much fascism, the likes of which Benito could only have dreamed of. Add in the cult of state and nationalism, of which both the “left” and the “right” are guilty of and, presto, you have your terribly feared “theocratic fascism”.
    Now it’s your turn to try to rationalize away Obama’s fault in the matter…

  10. @buc

    All your post tells me is that you don’t really grasp the concept of theocracy (or fascism for that matter, though you did do a little better there). When the right wins and gets the fascist theocracy they’ve been working towards, many people on the left are going to be in for a rude awakening, going “Oh, I didn’t think it would be THIS bad.” And I’ll say “you were warned”.

    As for Obama, given the circumstances he’s done close to the best that could reasonably be asked of him (certainly, I don’t think there’s a person on the planet if put in that position that could’ve done much better). And that’s not even going into the hypocrisy of the left complaining about the politicians their attitude has made inevitable…

    The attitude of the left has driven the Democratic party hard right for 40+ years, and instead of looking in the mirror and changing their attitude to get better results, the left doubles down on the same losing attitude time after time after time. What was that Einstein said about doing the same thing over and over yet expecting different results?

    Really, it would be funny if it wasn’t so sad…

  11. OK. This is just too stupid. The reason the ‘left’ has lost for so long is because they’ll settle for ANYTHING FROM ANYONE so long as that anyone has a (D) after his name. Republicans don’t put up with that shit. Do something they don’t like? They’ll primary you hard. You still win nomination? They vote for the Dem they hate instead of you. They’ll do anything to defeat a RINO because they aren’t pussies like Democrats are.

    “As for Obama, given the circumstances he’s done close to the best that could reasonably be asked of him (certainly, I don’t think there’s a person on the planet if put in that position that could’ve done much better).”

    Reasonably? He’s either evil, a coward, or both. He is the EXECUTIVE. Do you know what that means? He leads all of this intelligence/counter-terrorism. It is done with his direction and approval. He even keeps Congress in the dark most of the time. This BRAZEN breach of the 4th Amendment was done on his watch. It is his fault. The buck stops here. What a TERRIBLE leader. He should resign immediately and be put on trial for violating his PLEDGE TO DEFEND AND PRESERVE THE CONSTITUTION. He gave all of these programs the go ahead.

    Why in hell do you constantly claim, WITH NO EVIDENCE, that Obama’s COMPLETE failure was the best ANYBODY could do? What a flimsy, baseless assumption. He is a consistent failure and you’re still calling him the BEST of anyone in the fucking world? YOU ARE THE PLANT IF ANYONE HERE IS, WHIMSICAL!

  12. @Whimsical

    ” What was that What was that Einstein said about doing the same thing over and over yet expecting different results?”

    Yeah, kinda like voting Democratic.

  13. I started voting Independent years back when i saw that both parties were supporting and trying to maintain shitass quo back when the jobs starting gettting shifted overseas – actually before the wars that both sides have fairly well support through apathy and blind patriotism. How apathetic are the crowd gonna be when they get a new reality TV show that shows drones visible flying through clouds of poisonous gas over in Syria? They can call the show Syrian Restoration or Fast N Clouds or sum’thin’ – maybe “no boots on the ground”, but boots propped on the desktop while our video heroes manhandle their joysticks.

  14. I am continually amazed at the number of people who still believe that Obama is extremely intelligent and is playing a game of 11-dimensional chess when his actions and inactions do not comport with his words.

    Some will say he is playing his game of 11-dimensional chess to better serve the people; and others will now say he plays his game as an enemy of the people.

    Obama is not playing 11-dimensional chess. It only seems that way to those who are awed by him and try to assemble his inconsistencies into a logically consistent whole they believe must exist.

    It is time for people to learn to see him as he is and not as they choose to imagine him, as if he were some character in a novel whose actions will all be tied together into a comprehensible whole at its end.

    He only looks smart if you choose to stupidly believe the corporatist media’s portrayal of him.

    • Well said. And if The One WAS playing some amazing double triple (that was also the argument of those who defended Marshall Henri Philippe PĂ©tain), all that tells us is his state of mind.

      Who cares?

      What affects us is a politician’s policies. If their politics are sound, it doesn’t matter that their soul is rotten. And vice versa, of course.

      It turns out that, according to Robert Caro, LBJ was a relatively decent man. But that didn’t do anything to help the Vietnamese. Who would have had every right to imprison him had they gotten the chance.

  15. Made TVs illegal ?!! Not until everything else has been made illegal first – why TV is the very basis of the «American way of life» (or is it «American dream» ? – as a foreigner I always confuse the two) !…

    Henri

  16. @jack

    “Republicans don’t put up with that shit. Do something they don’t like? They’ll primary you hard. You still win nomination? They vote for the Dem they hate instead of you. They’ll do anything to defeat a RINO because they aren’t pussies like Democrats are.”

    Bullshit. Tea partiers got their start because it was their TURN after years of patient service. They only started to LOSE their effectiveness when they threatened to vote for Democrats. Much like liberals who threaten revolution or not voting arent effective.

    As for Obama, the fact that he is the excutive is meaningless if is orders can be (and indeed have been) blocked – which you continually conveniently overlook.

    “Why in hell do you constantly claim, WITH NO EVIDENCE, that Obama’s COMPLETE failure was the best ANYBODY could do? What a flimsy, baseless assumption.”

    Why in the hell do you think, WITH NO EVIDENCE, that anyone could do better than Obama? What a flimsy baseless assumption.

    @Susan

    Thanks for the example of the losing attitude of the left has that has driven the Democratic party so far right, but really, after Jacks foaming at the mouth, it just comes off as redundant.

    @Ted

    Once again, you’re not grasping the concepts of fascist theocracy. Or Fascist.

    And if you really have a problem with liberal enablers of the right, I suggest you stop being one.

  17. @jack

    “Republicans don’t put up with that shit. Do something they don’t like? They’ll primary you hard. You still win nomination? They vote for the Dem they hate instead of you. They’ll do anything to defeat a RINO because they aren’t pussies like Democrats are.”

    Bullshit. Tea partiers got their start because it was their TURN after years of patient service. They only started to LOSE their effectiveness when they threatened to vote for Democrats. Much like liberals who threaten revolution or not voting arent effective.

    As for Obama, the fact that he is the excutive is meaningless if is orders can be (and indeed have been) blocked – which you continually conveniently overlook.

    “Why in hell do you constantly claim, WITH NO EVIDENCE, that Obama’s COMPLETE failure was the best ANYBODY could do? What a flimsy, baseless assumption.”

    Why in the hell do you think, WITH NO EVIDENCE, that anyone could do better than Obama? What a flimsy baseless assumption.

    @Susan

    Thanks for the example of the losing attitude of the left has that has driven the Democratic party so far right, but really, after Jacks foaming at the mouth, it just comes off as redundant.

    @Ted

    Once again, you’re not grasping the concepts of fascist theocracy. .

    And if you really have a problem with liberal enablers of the right, I suggest you stop being one.

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