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U.S. Justice Department Prepares Assault on Pr0n 1103

Posted by michael
from the shock-and-awe dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Baltimore Sun is reporting that the Justice Department is preparing to reawaken old laws to fight the war on ... no, not terrorists... porn! And not just the kinky stuff either. In the age of Internet connectivity, will this mean these jobs are headed to India too?"
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U.S. Justice Department Prepares Assault on Pr0n

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  • by thesolo (131008) * <slap@fighttheriaa.org> on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @06:42PM (#8785934) Homepage
    This is of course being spear-headed by John Ashcroft, a very conservative christian. The very same John Ashcroft who spent $8000 of taxpayer money [thevoicenews.com] to cover up the bare breast of the statue of Lady Justice [commonlaw.com].

    He once gave a speech at Bob Jones university [spectacle.org], that contained such amazing lines as "Unique among the nations, America recognized the source of our character as being godly and eternal, not being civic and temporal. And because we have understood that our source is eternal, America has been different. We have no king but Jesus."

    If he's offended by the bare breast of a statue, just imagine what he thinks of porn. That this man holds public office frightens me very, very much.
  • Re:Pointless (Score:3, Informative)

    by Iberian (533067) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @06:43PM (#8785966)
    The only reason we have VHS instead of BETA is the porn industry chose VHS.
  • by User 956 (568564) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @06:45PM (#8785995) Homepage
    Asscroft wasn't elected. He was appointed.
  • Re:Pointless (Score:3, Informative)

    by stevejsmith (614145) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @06:57PM (#8786159) Homepage
    The plural of medium is media. "Mediums" is just one of those words we're forced to accept due to mass ignorance (e.g., formulas, personas, platypuses).
  • by severed (82501) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @07:01PM (#8786204) Homepage
    I make porn. That's what I do. I work a 50 to 60 hour week.

    I pay my taxes, and make payroll on time.

    I comply with the law, while still standing up for my first ammendment rights.

    I do my best to screen our tallent to make sure that they can handle doing this type of work. Sometimes when it looks like they don't really want to do this type of work, but they're just down on their luck, I'll buy them dinner and help them consider other options.

    I even use 100 percent recycled 2 ply Facial Tissues (The brand is seventh generation, btw) when... testing... the product.

    In my morning review of all the sources that I get my news from, I continue to watch the Bush administration and their wacko and corrup cronies continue to wage murder under the guise of war to line their own pockets, while continuing to push these insane and unrepresentative extreme right religious agendas, that were bought and paid for by the religious right.

    After that, I go through the considerable frustration of trying to forge business partnerships with other business such as banks, credit card companies, insurance companies, etc, etc, to be able to function in the business world. All the while being discriminated against because the widgets I happen to sell have some naked bits.

    I choose between people who often have little interest in supporting my business, but would love to freely copy my work, and the people who want to throw everyone in prison for copying anything, and at the same time throw me in prison for making it.

    However I don't let either group of assholes get to me. Instead, I remember that there are more people out there who will choose to support what I'm doing in order to see that I keep doing it.

    I don't spam. I don't film anyone who is a minor. I work as hard as the next guy, trying to make the economy recover.

    However, until I get arrested, just for exercising my first ammendment right to speech, the speech that I'll be making will be against Bush, Cheyney and Ashcroft.

    Why go through all this? Why not just go back to being a database programmer working in a cube somewhere? Because I love what I do. I've built my own company from the ground up, and kept it going. The fundamentalists aren't the only people who believe in what they're doing. They're also not the only people who will stick up for their way of life.

  • Re:who cares? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @07:03PM (#8786230)
    Whatever do you mean? [filariasis.org]
  • by Crixus (97721) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @07:04PM (#8786259) Homepage
    Our immoral wars are NEVER about the price of gasoline.... our government doesn't care if oil companies gouge us... it's about ACCESS to oil. That the access sometimes causes gas prices to fall is irrelevent. :-)

    Rich...
  • Re:Pointless (Score:3, Informative)

    by cosmo7 (325616) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @07:09PM (#8786305) Homepage
    Or rather, Sony tried to prevent adult entertainment companies using the VHS logo, thinking it would hurt the wholesome family appeal of the market.

    If anything pornography doesn't just adopt new technology, it totally motivates it.
  • by vex24 (126288) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @07:13PM (#8786361) Homepage
    Amusingly, he got the job after losing a Senate race to a dead man (Mel Carnahan). No joke!
  • Re:Pointless (Score:2, Informative)

    by rockmanac (640230) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @07:30PM (#8786560) Homepage
    You mean Sony tried to prevent them from using the BETA logo? JVC = VHS.

    -A
  • Re:The problem is (Score:5, Informative)

    by SacredNaCl (545593) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @07:36PM (#8786615) Journal
    That is pretty much what happened when Ashcroft was prosecuting cases in Missouri. He would go after small book/video stores. He wasn't going to go after General Motors (who owns a controlling interest in a company that distributes hardcore pay per view material in hotel rooms.) He knew he couldn't win even against the small guys, but he would seize their assets over and over again and hold onto their inventory for a period of time (long enough for them to have to reorder it) to disrupt their business and cost them tons of legal fees till they went bankrupt. He would let them get it back, seize it again... He did eventually bring several of them to trial (and I don't remember him winning though I believe a couple of the stores closed from all of the disruption of their business). Temporary injunctions also work well for business disruption.

    I've always thought that this trait in Ashcroft could be put to good use by telling him most spam is advertising pornography and a good portion of it ends up in the in-boxes of kids and teens. Try to get him to go after spammers instead through the back door. Unfortunately that has not happened.

    To me it's all kind of silly. Porn wouldn't be a multi-billion dollar industry with exceptional growth rates if people didn't want it. It also wouldn't be the money maker it is without the internet there to let people shop in relative privacy. It's worked out fantastic for the sellers of sex toys as well, eliminating the barrier to entry for customers that would be averse to buying the double ended ... at a retail outlet.

    Given his prior history if I hosted a site that sold scat films or beastiality I would probably try to move it off-shore.

  • by severed (82501) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @07:52PM (#8786775) Homepage
    Thanks. Comments like that one help me to feel like I'm not alone. I always tell people that you want your first amendment fights to be in the "fringe" areas like porn... Because when it's in the places where all the "normal good decent" people live, you've got a serious problem, and the games probably already over.
  • Re:who cares? (Score:3, Informative)

    by b0s0z0ku (752509) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @08:13PM (#8787032)
    Actually, incorrect. If you turn SafeSearch completely off, you get mild pr0n images. If you select "Moderate -> filter images but not text" you get the first really disturbing image.

    -b.

  • by hoovs (44014) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @08:26PM (#8787171) Homepage
    Frontline [pbs.org] did an excellent documentary called "American Porn [pbs.org]", where it talked about how obscenity prosecutions were put back on the agenda when Ashcroft was confirmed. They had meetings with old US attorneys who did obscenity work in the 80s, and this was only put on hold because of terrorism concerns. (You can watch the entire episode online.)

    Two of the most interesting points: one US attorney basically said that no prosecutor should ever lose an obscenity trial since there is (no matter what the Supreme Court tells you) a common decency standard in 99% of the US: penetration. The second interesting bit is that one of the porn industry's main attorneys came up with a list [pbs.org] of things never to be filmed if the company distributing it wants to stay in business.

    I think that the government's resources could be better spent elsewhere, and for the most part consider myself a libertarian, but after seeing some of the more extreme parts of the porn business covered in the documentary I think I would be hard-pressed to not call it obscenity.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @09:04PM (#8787496)
    Actually the cover up of the bare breasted Lady Justice statue is something of an urban legend. They just wanted a nice uniform background for the televised speech Ashcroft was giving and they used a drape. It wasn't just a ordinary drape thrown over the statue but one that cordoned off that section of the room. The drape blocked the view of the entire background. The statue just happened to be one of the things covered-up. The same thing happened when Colin Powell gave his speech to the UN - people accused the administration of covering up Picasso's Guernica saying that the anti-war painting didn't fit Powell's message. What they forget is that Guernica's message wasn't simply anti-war. It was against state repression since it depicted the facist Spanish government slaughtering civilians - something Saddam was often did. The Shrub Administration is media savy but it's not that savy.
  • by GeoGreg (631708) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @09:29PM (#8787707)
    Conservatives *are* for free markets. Bush, Cheney and Asscroft aren't conservatives. They're right-wing radicals.. i.e. fascists.
    I would have to say that your sentence would be correct if you replace "conservative" with "libertarian". Historically, "conservatives" are those who wish to preserve and maintain established social and economic structures. The Conservative Party in England, for instance, was historically founded on maintaining traditional English institutions (such as the Crown and the House of Lords) against the Whigs, Liberals, Labour, etc. I think in the defense of capitalism against socialism, it has been assumed that conservatism==free market capitalism, which has not always been so.
  • Re:who cares? (Score:4, Informative)

    by themo0c0w (594693) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @09:41PM (#8787816)
    I am not a doctor, but I think its an inguinal hernia, where the intestines bulge out from the abdominal muscle walls, generally in the groin area.

    It's unusual in females, but it happens. More often, it occurs in males -- hence the "Turn your head and cough" test the doctor does during a general checkup. Since the herniation will bulge more when you cough, they can usually catch the small ones before they get worse.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @11:00PM (#8788392)
    affect

    \Af*fect"\, n. (Psychotherapy) The emotional complex associated with an idea or mental state. In hysteria, the affect is sometimes entirely dissociated, sometimes transferred to another than the original idea.

  • Re:who cares? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Wes Janson (606363) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @12:24AM (#8788959) Journal
    THE BURN! OH GOD, THE BURN!

    In case you are like I am, and curiosity runs hard, all I'll say is that it's an image of elephantitis of the female genitalia, and if you want a rough idea, imagine a really deformed baby cat between the girl's legs. It makes one long for the mild horror of goatse.
  • Re:Dear dear dear (Score:3, Informative)

    by extra the woos (601736) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @12:28AM (#8788986)
    To preface, I'm a christian.. I follow the 10 commandments, and yes I go to church on saturday (the real sabbath, sunday was just made up by the catholic church lol, another weird thing that people somehow believe is that jesus changed the day..uhhh-huhhh, riggghhttttt you find it for me..lol) ...but you know what you can find in the bible? "Though shalt not have sexual relations with your wife's sister while your wife is still living" (paraphrased but that's *exactly* what it says... seriously! and i'm not even taking that one outta context, there's a whole bunch of "sexual relations" verses in the bible, go search a concordance if you want more")

    You can use quotes from the bible to prove ANYTHING... Just as a lot of people try to do to say sex before marriage is a sin. It says that NO WHERE in the bible.. NO WHERE!!! Also, there is NOTHING saying masturbation is a sin!......

    everything people say there is out of context! The one text people try to use to say it's wrong is taken soooo out of context..god was angry because the guy didn't impregnate the woman, when god had specifically told him too..yeah, that might upset god. Masturbation isn't gonna upset god unless your looking at some 8 year old when your doing it or something. Why do you think god gave us sexual urges if he didn't want us to act on them. He put us here to enjoy life not to suffer. (please no flames if you dont believe in god or whatever, i'm just saying that alot of us are way off base sometimes when it comes to the bible)

    As far as drugs/drinking etc, everyone tries to claim thats a huge sin. The reality is, it says no where in the bible that you cannot enjoy these thigns responsibly. It says not to be a drunkard (ie dont be an alcoholic or get wasted and puke all over yourself), and that you sholdn't have any other gods before you (addiction applies here 100%)...But tons of people in the bible drank responsibly, tons of god's followers...even jesus drank wine... And no i'm not saying this because I drink, haven't drank alchy since I was 15 lol...

    What's really really great is you see all these people who preach that you can't have sex before marriage, masturbation is wrong, drugs are wrong, etc...GETTING DIVORCES.. Go read what the bible has to say about divorce someday (even what jesus had to say about it hahahaha, although he isn't so harsh on it as a lot of places in the bible!)... The bible is very very harsh on divorce. If ashcroft actually cared about doing right, he would not be worried about porn or drugs, he would be trying to establish marriage counseling centers accross the nation to help couples work through their differences and to prevent the high divorce rate from going up any further!)

    People really have no idea what the bible actually says a lot of the time...
  • by bnenning (58349) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @12:50AM (#8789105)
    From the Article: Ashcroft, a religious man who does not drink alcohol or caffeine, smoke, gamble or dance

    Right, but that's not conclusive. I don't smoke or drink, but I don't think it's a sin to do so. Although this [kcstar.com] seems to confirm it:
    Ashcroft and his wife, Janet, declined to dance even at his inaugural gala as Missouri governor, upholding his church's stance on dancing.


    On the night before he joined the U.S. Senate in early 1995, Ashcroft knelt in a Washington home and allowed family and close friends to anoint him in oil and lay their hands on him in prayer. The ritual dates to the anointing of ancient kings of Israel.
    Um, great.
  • by dargaud (518470) <slashdot2@ g d a r g a u d . net> on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @02:56AM (#8789809) Homepage
    "Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest."
    This quote is misatributed. It's from Jean Meslier ( -1729), a French priest, in a letter he left after his death denouncing all the abuse of the Catholic church.
  • by metalligoth (672285) <metalligoth.gmail@com> on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @05:08AM (#8790229)
    Some other good United States religious quotations:

    "The United States is not a Christian nation any more than it is a Jewish or a Mohammedan nation."
    -- Treaty of Tripoli (1797) signed by John Adams (the original language is by Joel Barlow, U.S. Consul.)

    "Lighthouses are more helpful than churches."
    -- Benjamin Franklin

    "The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as his father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter."
    -- Thomas Jefferson, Jefferson's Works, Vol. IV, p. 365, Randolph's ed.

    "My earlier views of the unsoundness of the Christian scheme of salvation and the human origin of the scriptures, have become clearer and stronger with advancing years and I see no reason for thinking I shall ever change them."
    -- Abraham Lincoln, to Judge JS. Wakefield, after Willie Lincoln's death

    "Mr. Lincoln was not a Christian."
    -- Mary Todd Lincoln
  • by Bootsy Collins (549938) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @07:13AM (#8790577)

    You miss the point, and fail to distinguish between two methods of obtaining true beliefs.

    No. I simply don't personally use your "method," that's all.

    One of them is a bad way, the other is good.

    I agree with this statement! But I think we'd disagree as to which is which. Heh.

    1. Your claim that you are able to determine right and wrong independant from God or the threat of hell is a testimony to your willingness to listen to subjective feelings about good and evil.

    Of course.

    Since you willingly concede that different people will have different conceptions, then you must also agree that such terms "right" and "wrong" are subjective. And without a God, or a yardstick, such understandings must be fluid.

    Absolutely. Not only that, but I'd also claim that as a practical matter, such understandings are subjective even if there is a supreme being, because earnest believers will still differ in interpretation. I've known many many devout Christians in my life. None of them had identically the same moral sense as any of the others, since their interpretations of what they felt God wanted out of them were not all identically the same.

    2. My point was a logical one - if there is no afterlife, no God, then there is no "right" or "wrong". The important question is not "could you know the right thing to do without the threat of eternal punishment", but rather "is there a right or wrong if there is no God or eternal punishment?"

    And here is where we disagree. If, instead, you wrote your first sentence as "if there is no afterlife, no God, then there is no objective right or wrong, independent of human feelings" then I'd agree. I don't know how one comes up with an absolute, objective metric for measuring right and wrong in the absence of a supreme being. But that's different from saying that there's no right or wrong. I make decisions every day based on what seems to me to be morally right or wrong. Those decisions are made using my personal moral compass, rather than one imposed on me from without. But that doesn't make them any less an attempt to do right and not do wrong.

    And this is one of the greatest hypocricies of the atheist position - a failure to acknowledge the logical conclusion, that "good" and "evil" only make sense when we consider the divine. Without any God, there is no right or wrong.

    This is circular reasoning. You're saying "without any God, there is no right or wrong, because right and wrong only make sense if there is a God." And the source of this circular reasoning is the implicit assumption that the concepts of right and wrong only make sense if those concepts are absolute, objective ones. I don't see any logical reason to buy that.

    Naturalists are probably deathly afraid of these conclusions for two reasons:

    Well, I hope I've illustrated above that I, at least, am not deathly afraid of these conclusions, since I don't think the first one is bad, while I don't think the second one makes any logical sense. But anyway . . .

    Oh, and what's a naturalist? Is that the same as an athiest?

    1. It goes against every fibre of humans, because the truth is we do know good and evil, and that we know it because there is a God. The understanding is so overwhelming that even a logical conclusion denying "good" or "evil" is avoided, because it is counter to what we know a priori.

    If it reassures you to think that some people feel that way, go for it. I can't speak for anyone but me. In my case, I don't have an overwhelming understanding that there is any supreme being. In fact, just the opposite. I think claims require evidence, and extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. I think the concept of an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent supreme being is pretty extraordinary . . .pretty far outside anything we encounter in our lives. So where's that extraordinarily c

  • by Greg W. (15623) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @09:17AM (#8791230) Homepage
    How sad that we are willing to go to the wall for images of women being degraded by rape, Russian pre-teens [...]

    READ THE ARTICLE! Here, I'll quote it for you:

    FBI agents are spending millions of dollars to bring anti-obscenity cases to courthouses across the country for the first time in 10 years. Nothing is off limits, they warn, even soft-core cable programs such as HBO's long-running Real Sex or the adult movies widely offered in guestrooms of major hotel chains.


    And:

    In 2001, though, one interesting case emerged from St. Charles County, Mo., the heart of Ashcroft's conservative Missouri base. First Amendment lawyer Cambria defended a video store there against state charges that it was renting two obscene videotapes that depicted group sex, anal sex and sex with objects.


    Cambria won, convincing a jury of 12 women, all between the ages of 40 and 60, that the tapes had educational value and helped reduce inhibitions. They reached the verdict in less than three hours.


    Any more questions?

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