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After Columbine, Eric Holder Advocated Internet "Restrictions" 430

Posted by timothy
from the but-that-was-then-and-this-is-now dept.
ErikTheRed writes "In an audio clip discovered by NewsBusters, then-Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder advocated federal censorship of the Internet. This was in the aftermath of the Columbine High School shootings. From the clip: 'The court has really struck down every government effort to try to regulate it. We tried with regard to pornography. It is gonna be a difficult thing, but it seems to me that if we can come up with reasonable restrictions, reasonable regulations in how people interact on the Internet, that is something that the Supreme Court and the courts ought to favorably look at.'" Holder is reported to be Barack Obama's choice for Attorney General of the United States.
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After Columbine, Eric Holder Advocated Internet "Restrictions"

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  • oblig (Score:5, Insightful)

    by negRo_slim (636783) <mils_oRgen@hotmail.com> on Friday November 21, 2008 @06:34PM (#25852223)
    Once again, who deemed the internet to be appropriate for children?
    • Re:oblig (Score:5, Funny)

      by tnk1 (899206) on Friday November 21, 2008 @06:48PM (#25852423)

      Once again, who deemed the internet to be appropriate for children?

      I hear that Internet has the prestigious Pedobear Seal of Approval(tm).

    • by DRAGONWEEZEL (125809) on Friday November 21, 2008 @06:58PM (#25852557) Homepage

      Almost any thought is inappropriate in the context of something else. I agree that the burden of parenting falls to "the parent(s)." But I really feel like in "Man of the Year" [imdb.com] Whoops! Hopefully the new Prez will realize the devastation of censorship.

      The interwebs freedoms (freedom to speech, free viagra for 6 months, and free "entertainment") are the last freadoms we still have in the world. You will be shot if you try and stake a claim to new lands (unless your heading to antartica). You will be on the news (and in jail) if you open the throttle of just about any car out there. You just can't go out and tinker anymore: You can't make modifications to your house w/o an inspection, you can't build your own chemistry sets, you can't create your own fireworks, god forbid if you actually make the devices you use every day. You are labeled a terrorist if you do these once playtime activities.

      For god sakes, let me at least use the internet to help me and my kids imagine w/ graphic images, surround sound, and the like, what a real gun looks like, or the difference between real and fake tatas, the chemistry behind gunpowder, why the largest slaughters of humans have been in the names of religious deities.

      Curiosity is the mechanism by which we live, and the mechanism to which we grow. W/o curiosity we would not lose our innocence, discover new things, or taste new fruits. The internet gives us a medium to try before you buy. To see what really happens if you set yourself on fire. You can google you how to fix a sink, build nuclear weapons, refine uranium, put together a solar installation that won't pass inspection but will produce e-, start your own business, and more. The interenet is a great place to satisfy curiosity.

      With all sources of information, discretion (the better part of valor) belongs to the user, and in the case of a minor, the user is the one who pays the cable bills (parents & taxpayers (for library filtering only)).

      I say if there is any censorship (I'll vote no), that any act of censorship is forced also to remove anything that isn't true, real, or declared a work of fiction.

      that's my .02 not that anyone asked.

      Please moderate this guy Obama! Not into the ground, lest you lose your purpose in picking him, but not into the sky lest we lose one of the things we rely on, inaccurate wiki's! (and more.. that was just to illustrate that the net is not the source for all knowledge, just a means to access knowledge presented)

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        ...why the largest slaughters of humans have been in the names of religious deities.

        Not according to this [erols.com].

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by operagost (62405)

        why the largest slaughters of humans have been in the names of religious deities

        In the name of which deity were six million Jews murdered in WWII? For what religion did Chairman Mao execute and starve millions in the "Cultural Revolution?" To what religion did Josef Stalin, who was responsible for the death of at least 10 million, belong?

        You may find this ironic, but I have asked all my Christian friends to challenge Obama if given the opportunity; since he claims to be a Christian, we are expected t

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by DRAGONWEEZEL (125809)

          political parties, cults... Same diff right?

          really, I was just thinking of all the people still dying in the middle east because of religion (still), and the crusades of course, converting or killing everyone in their path.
          nothing I post is not even close to fact, just commentary. (P.S. my "research though would have found me wrong if you would have let me conduct it though right?)

          Is nazi(ism) a religeon or a political belief? I honestly don't know.

          Abortion is a subject I feel strongly about. I am anti-a

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Who deemed the world appropriate for children? Kids should be kept indoors, driven directly to and from school, kept off the internet and away from TV.
  • Of course (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zak3056 (69287) on Friday November 21, 2008 @06:36PM (#25852247) Journal

    I guess this is what they mean by "Change you can believe in."

    • Re:Of course (Score:5, Informative)

      by conlaw (983784) on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:19PM (#25852877)
      Okay folks, you're bringing up some very good points about the new administration in general and Mr. Holder in particular. But don't just leave those ideas here for other /.'ers to discuss. Send your thoughts here: http://www.change.gov/page/s/ofthepeople [change.gov]

      Obama and Biden say that they are listening, so tell them how you feel about curtailing our rights and freedoms in the name of protecting the country.

      • Re:Of course (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Zordak (123132) on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:59PM (#25853355) Homepage Journal
        They also say they are going to ease taxes while providing bailouts for every failing industry and providing every man, woman, and child in America with unlimited free health care, a bullet-proof retirement, unlimited free energy, and a magical flying puppy(okay, I'm exaggerating a little---they never actually promised the puppy would fly). I'm afraid something has to go, and my guess is that "listening to the people" will be the first thing out the window. Yes, folks, the honeymoon is waning.
        • s/a little/a lot/ (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Mr2001 (90979) on Friday November 21, 2008 @09:49PM (#25854353) Homepage Journal

          They also say they are going to ease taxes while providing bailouts for every failing industry and providing every man, woman, and child in America with unlimited free health care, a bullet-proof retirement, unlimited free energy, and a magical flying puppy(okay, I'm exaggerating a little---they never actually promised the puppy would fly).

          They never promised to lower taxes across the board, or that health care would be free or unlimited, retirement would be bulletproof, or energy would be free or unlimited either.

          But hey, you wouldn't have gotten modded up if you'd just stuck to the facts, right?

      • Re:Of course (Score:4, Informative)

        by Xiroth (917768) on Friday November 21, 2008 @09:40PM (#25854301)

        Speaking of, from their transition site [change.gov]:

        • Protect the Openness of the Internet: Support the principle of network neutrality to preserve the benefits of open competition on the Internet.
        • Encourage Diversity in Media Ownership: Encourage diversity in the ownership of broadcast media, promote the development of new media outlets for expression of diverse viewpoints, and clarify the public interest obligations of broadcasters who occupy the nation's spectrum.
        • Protect Our Children While Preserving the First Amendment: Give parents the tools and information they need to control what their children see on television and the Internet in ways fully consistent with the First Amendment. Support tough penalties, increase enforcement resources and forensic tools for law enforcement, and encourage collaboration between law enforcement and the private sector to identify and prosecute people who try to exploit children online.
        • Safeguard our Right to Privacy: Strengthen privacy protections for the digital age and harness the power of technology to hold government and business accountable for violations of personal privacy.

        Mostly seems reasonable to me, although the third is a little worryingly vague on the 'increased enforcement resources' and 'collaboration between law enforcement and the private sector' (is this code for wiretapping?). I guess we'll just have to see how it goes.

      • Re:Of course (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 21, 2008 @11:01PM (#25854825)

        If you really believe that'll make a difference, you're naive.

        Let's make this a test: look, there are thousands of people who read Slashdot. Each of us have plenty of friends. Agitate to get each and every one of them to go to change.gov and protest this appointment (or Clinton for SOS, if you like).

        See if it makes one bit of difference.

        Hey, nothing against Obama. I wish him the best. But I never bought into that "Change" mantra. That was nothing but marketing that, apparently, was swallowed by a lot of people who are going to be increasingly disillusioned and disappointed over the next few months.

      • Re:Of course (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ShakaUVM (157947) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @03:14AM (#25855983) Homepage Journal

        >>Obama and Biden say that they are listening

        Uh, Obama already knows that Holder is about as corrupt as people get. Holder engineered the Mark Rich pardon, and the pardons of two Weather Underground members, which Obama criticized Hillary over during the democratic debates.

        This naive projection onto Obama that he's listening, when he's repeatedly shown his enormous... well, let's call it "bad judgment" in choices of people that he chooses to listen to is, frankly, quite disturbing to me, since so many people are doing it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Zak3056 (69287)

      I guess this is what they mean by "Change you can believe in."

      I know it's bad taste to respond to your own post, but I can't help doing so in this case.

      I've been reading/posting on slashdot for eight or nine years now, and I'm pretty sure that the above is the first of my thousand or so posts to be modded -1 (though I'm willing to bet that this one will be the second.) All I can say to this is have fun, I've got plenty of karma to burn. But as you're modding me into oblivion, I'll leave you with a little

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by WTF Chuck (1369665)

        I guess this is what they mean by "Change you can believe in."

        I got the memo about "change", I never got the memo on whether or not the "change" would be beneficial or detrimental. I can only hope for the former, but I fear the latter.

  • This is sickening (Score:4, Insightful)

    by seanadams.com (463190) * on Friday November 21, 2008 @06:38PM (#25852269) Homepage

    Obama, do not appoint this man!!

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jmorris42 (1458) *

      > Obama, do not appoint this man!!

      Heh! Guess this isn't the Change you thought you were getting. And this isn't even the scummiest bit in Holder's record from back in the Clinton years.

      Not quite time to start yelling "I told ya so!" but I'm getting ready.

    • Re:This is sickening (Score:5, Interesting)

      by arth1 (260657) on Friday November 21, 2008 @06:58PM (#25852563) Homepage Journal

      He already appointed Ms. Clinton.
      Now he only needs Joseph Lieberman and Jack Thompson, and it's complete.

      Anyhow, you didn't really think there would be much change, when the choice was between an ultra-conservative corporation-owned reactionary and a republican?

      Why those who voted in the primaries didn't say "enough is enough" and voted in someone a bit further to the left (i.e. approaching the European center right) is beyond me. The only thing I can think of is that they thought that Obama was from the left. After 8 years of someone so far to the right that it makes brownshirts appear leftist, it's conceivable that people have lost all perspectives, and think Obama is actually moderate.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        "Left" and "Right" make up only one axis of the political spectrum, that of the economy. But there also is a freedom axis. Hitler and Stalin would be the highest of this authoritarian axis, while Stalin would be to the left and Hitler near the center. So of course, Ron Paul would make Hitler look like a leftist, Bush less so. Ron Paul, however, is pro-freedom, Bush is much more authoritarian.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:03PM (#25852657)

      You can always go over to change.gov [change.gov] and tell him what you think of this guy.

      But to be fair, it wouldn't hurt to see if this guy has changed his mind any time in the last decade or so. I mean, back in the 90s, they were clamoring to have encryption regulated as a munition and now you see them talking about requiring it...

      • by theodicey (662941) on Friday November 21, 2008 @08:02PM (#25853385)

        And don't forget the V-chip, which allows parents to disable certain TV channels. It's in all new TVs and unused in nearly all of them.

        The 90s were a very different era, and the culture war/political correctness issues that dominated the decade look painfully idiotic in retrospect.

        I am pretty confident that Holder has many higher priorities than regulating speech on the internet, but someone definitely needs to ask him.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by truesaer (135079)

          I agree with you...seems to me that just after the internet caught on everyone was worried and trying to figure out how to regulate it. None of the regulations worked and now...well we're pretty used to the internet the way it is. I don't think Obama or Holder or the administration will really give a shit about censoring the internet.

          I would note that Russ Feingold is on the Senate Judiciary Committee so he will actually be questioning Holder for confirmation. I've seen people link to Obama's public inpu

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510)

          And don't forget the V-chip, which allows parents to disable certain TV channels. It's in all new TVs and unused in nearly all of them.

          I find the V-chip to be a big, big let down.
          I figured that once every mom, dick and harry had the ability to protect precious lil junior's eyes from boobies and other pink parts that we would see a great increase in tv getting down and dirty on primetime. After all, if you didn't want to watch it, you could just tell your tv to block it for you.

          But so far, Janet Jackson's jewelry encrusted nipple [b12partners.net] is the best we've had and frankly, that just doesn't cut it, in anything less than HDTV it looked like it was c

  • by nakajoe (1123579) on Friday November 21, 2008 @06:38PM (#25852271)
    I can't think of any feasible government restrictions that would also be reasonable.
    • by megamerican (1073936) on Friday November 21, 2008 @06:50PM (#25852445)

      That is why you'd never be considered for a government position.

    • by Tackhead (54550) on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:03PM (#25852641)

      I can't think of any feasible government restrictions that would also be reasonable.

      I can. Try this on for size. The language is a little dated, but I think it gets the point across pretty nicely:

      "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

      That seems like a perfectly "reasonable restriction", upon which the Supreme Court not only ought to, but has, repeatedly "favorably looked at".

      If, as Holder says in TFA, the court has "struck down every attempt" that he and his kind (whether they be religious zealots attempting to censor whatever their God deems "pornography", or nanny-statists attempting to censor portrayals of violence and whatever "hate speech" is this week) have made to get around it, then what would be so wrong with respecting the court's decision?

      Holder, you're about to become the Attorney-General. If you really want to demonstrate "change" relative to the prior Administration, why not do things differently? You could start by respecting the Judiciary as a coequal branch of government, even when (and especially when) its rulings aren't to your personal liking.

      As Lenny Bruce put it almost 50 years ago, "If you can't say 'Fuck', you can't say 'Fuck the government.'" As the Supreme Court ruled in 1971, Cohen v. California, can even say Fuck the Draft [wikipedia.org].

      Sometimes offensive speech is political speech. In modern idiom, Holden doesn't have to post tits, but if he thinks he can stop you from posting tits, the Courts have made it clear that he's the one who should GTFO.

    • by kenobi_wan_obi (586333) on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:11PM (#25852747)
      Actually, the restrictions Holder had in mind were mostly passed into law four months after he gave that interview. See 18 USC Â 842(p):

      (2) Prohibition. - It shall be unlawful for any person -
      (A) to teach or demonstrate the making or use of an explosive, a destructive device, or a weapon of mass destruction, or to distribute by any means information pertaining to, in whole or in part, the manufacture or use of an explosive, destructive device, or weapon of mass destruction, with the intent that the teaching, demonstration, or information be used for, or in furtherance of, an activity that constitutes a Federal crime of violence; or
      (B) to teach or demonstrate to any person the making or use of an explosive, a destructive device, or a weapon of mass destruction, or to distribute to any person, by any means, information pertaining to, in whole or in part, the manufacture or use of an explosive, destructive device, or weapon of mass destruction, knowing that such person intends to use the teaching, demonstration, or information for, or in furtherance of, an activity that constitutes a Federal crime of violence.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by servognome (738846)

      I can't think of any feasible government restrictions that would also be reasonable.

      Restrictions of spam, net neutrality, protection of personally identifiable information...

  • by PeeAitchPee (712652) on Friday November 21, 2008 @06:38PM (#25852277)
    People will believe any promise pandered to them during a campaign. Daschle, Clinton, and now Holder? Change, indeed.
    • Not sure Obama ever claimed to be an outsider. He was a Senator, after all. I believe it was the lobbyists and the crony appointments of the Bush administration that he said he would avoid.

      I could be wrong though.

      But setting aside the rhetorical point you're trying to make, what's wrong with having smart, capable, experienced people in positions of authority?

      • by sumdumass (711423)

        Look what it did to Bush's presidency. I mean he surrounded himself with the brightest people in washington but they were from another era and it didn't quite work out for him. The more then shined, the more Bush Failed.

      • by jlarocco (851450) on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:03PM (#25852663) Homepage

        Oh please! Did you not hear his slogan "Change you can believe in"? The entire foundation of that slogan was an attempt to convince people he wasn't a Washington insider.

        He'd look pretty ridiculous saying "Vote for change by voting for a Washington insider", now wouldn't he?

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          He'd look pretty ridiculous saying "Vote for change by voting for a Washington insider", now wouldn't he?

          Maybe he meant he would change into a Washington insider?

    • by zxnos (813588)

      biden... ...daschle... ...clinton... ...holder... can someone fill in the gaps? i am too lazy.

      technically, it is change. otherwise the administration would be made up of all bush appointees. it just isnt the change people expected. kinda like casting wish in d&d. it sounds good at first, then you get fucked.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by PeeAitchPee (712652)

        biden... ...daschle... ...clinton... ...holder... can someone fill in the gaps? i am too lazy.

        You forgot Rahm Emanuel. These appointments are laughable and downright hypocritical coming from someone who railed against Washington during his entire campaign.

  • by ravenspear (756059) on Friday November 21, 2008 @06:40PM (#25852307)
    Even if this dude is appointed, he can't unilaterally make law that will censor anything. And even if he pushes for that, the SCOTUS has been heavily against any censorship of the internet for many years, so I would hope they would strike down any such efforts.
    • The problem isn't whether he can carry out censorship; the problem is he has been shown to support it. What else does that say about him?

      • by krou (1027572)
        If you thank that says a lot about him, what does defending Chiquita [portfolio.com], which paid some $1.7 million to death squads in Columbia (death squads which just happened to play nice, be pro-business, and just target Leftists and unionists), say about him?
  • Change (Score:5, Funny)

    by isotope23 (210590) on Friday November 21, 2008 @06:40PM (#25852311) Homepage Journal

    All your CHANGE is belong to us....

    Welcome to the Obamanation.

  • Great buzzword.

    Since the speaker defines first that restrictions are "reasonable" then, obviously, it's just a matter of how far those restrictions should go, right?

    Wouldn't want to be "unreasonable".

  • What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Reapy (688651) on Friday November 21, 2008 @06:43PM (#25852347)

    The internet is just a way for people to talk to each other. If you censor "the internet", it is the same as censoring what you can speak to another person. We have this whole thing called the 1st amendment that protects that.

    If a parent doesnt want their child on the internet, they shouldn't allow them on it. Case by case. It is the same reason why you don't bring your kid with you to a sex shop. The material should be allowed to be there, and the parents should choose whether it is appropriate for their child or not.

    There is no such thing as "reasonable" censoring.

  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@hacki s h . o rg> on Friday November 21, 2008 @06:44PM (#25852367)

    "We have too long taken the view that what we would term to be minor crimes are not important," Holder said, referring to current attitudes toward marijuana use and other offenses such as panhandling.

    When he was a U.S. Attorney in D.C., he seemed to spend a lot of effort attempting to impose [washingtonpost.com] massive penalties for low-level marijuana possession. Because, you know, people possessing small quantities of marijuana are really a big problem, and overcrowded prisons aren't. I wonder if Holder thinks Obama, as an admitted drug user, ought to be a convicted felon instead of in the White House? Or is it only a crime if you get caught? Basically either Holder is wrong here, and possession of marijuana should not automatically ruin someone's life with felony charges, or Obama is unfit to be president. Either way, I don't see how the two can be reasonably paired.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      I suspect he was pressured by the white house and their crazy anti-marijuana stance. Ironically Bush was an admitted drug use as well.
      But when crazy people with an agenda based on belief control a portion of the government, what do you expect?

      You assume he feels a felon is unfit to be president.

    • Obama has said time and time again he wants to bring in people he disagrees with to staff his cabinet. I would presume the purpose of doing that would not be to enact policies he disagrees with. Presumably, since Obama made reducing jail time for non-violent drug offenders an (admittedly minor) issue in the campaign, he will have spoken to Holder about that view and made sure that Holder isn't going to do anything monumentally stupid. I am not afraid that being caught with weed will be worse under the Ob
  • by ravenspear (756059) on Friday November 21, 2008 @06:45PM (#25852377)
    Yet another case proving that as soon as children enter the decision making process, rationality goes out the window.
    • by arth1 (260657)

      I don't think the problem is children. I think the problem is the religious, who feel an obligation to protect other people's children from what's against their personal doctrines.
      And, of course, if you appoint a freethinker, you are guaranteed not to get re-elected.

  • Could someone clarify if this is even one of the roles/responsibilities of the Attorney General? Given the size and the scope of the "problem", wouldn't it be beyond him? And if it is beyond his control then, so what? (I have a pretty good answer in mind, but I'll wait to hear from what others might say).
    • I am pretty sure that his job as Attorney General would be to oversee the federal attorneys in their duty to prosecute according to the law, not to push legislation for a personal agenda. Of course, the president is also not able to introduce legislation, and it is not his job to push agendas, laws, etc. through congress (read the Constitution). Yet every president since Andrew Jackson (a real American asshole) has done so or attempted to do so.

      • by sumdumass (711423) on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:06PM (#25852687) Journal

        The AG's office also creates legislation to be presented to the congress, that's where the patriot act and many other bills came from, they check over the president's purposed legislation for legalities like constitutionality and they give validation to policies.

        The AG isn't some office drone who does only what he is told to do. He is like the head of the legal department at a large company and plays a large role in steering their actions.

  • by thermian (1267986) on Friday November 21, 2008 @06:45PM (#25852383)

    Is it not possible that he was just reacting out of a still far too fresh sense of the horror of those events?

    People say all sorts of things after distressing events that they wouldn't say normally, or believe in the long term.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by couchslug (175151)

      "Is it not possible that he was just reacting out of a still far too fresh sense of the horror of those events?"

      A professional should not react that way, slaughter or not. If he did so for that reason it bespeaks poor self-mastery and that's not what we need in an AG.

      • by thermian (1267986)

        A professional should not react that way, slaughter or not. If he did so for that reason it bespeaks poor self-mastery and that's not what we need in an AG.

        Let me disabuse you of that notion. All professional training and experience gets you is the ability to cope while a crisis is occurring (I speak as a former nurse who used to work in a casualty department, that's ER to Americans).
        Afterwards you're just normal folk, as likely to get outraged as anyone else. Or puke on the way home as you think about what you saw during your duty hours, that happens too...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by GrumblyStuff (870046)

      My memory is a little fuzzy. What part did the internet play in the Columbine shootings?

      • by Sloppy (14984) on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:24PM (#25852931) Homepage Journal
        A gun barrel is a type of tube. Ergo, the internet is a series of guns.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kaboom13 (235759)

      The ability to resist the mob-mentality and knee-jerk overreaction that occurs after events like Columbine, or the World Trade Center attacks, are precisely what we should look for in our leaders.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 21, 2008 @06:46PM (#25852393)

    This was being held over heads for years as net hostile yahoos like Biden and Lieberman worked on the Communications Decency Act which got stuck down in the courts, then by the Supremes.

    Early drafts of this act would make an ISP and all its employees go to prison if someone typed a swear word, and it went through their routers to another destination.

    Later drafts would still make it a Federal felony to have anything "indecent" on the tubes.

    This passed the House and Senate, Clinton signed it into law... and before it took effect, the courts stuck it down.

    What Clinton did get passed was the DMCA.

    Looks like Obama's administration will be just as net hostile if not worse. Expect "trusted" chips in all computers/devices and forcible positive identification everywhere.

    The RIAA will score, repressive governments who love monitoring their citizens will score, game companies will score, even criminal organizations will score... the honest law abiding citizen gets nothing except increased criminal penalties, more in your face DRM, and no anonymity.

  • Surprise, surprise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MikeRT (947531) on Friday November 21, 2008 @06:47PM (#25852411) Homepage

    Holder is in favor of censorship, massive gun control, a drug war hawk... and you *ahem* hoped for change from Obama. How is this any different than Gonzalez, Ashcroft or Reno, except maybe a squeamishness about torture?

    Go ahead, moderate me down, but you know I'm right. For anyone who believed that things would change, Holder's nomination is basically total effing treason to that.

    Seriously, I will be surprised if we don't trade Gitmo and secret CIA prisons for a second round of Waco and Ruby Ridge if this is the start that Obama is off on with his DoJ appointments.

    • by zxnos (813588)

      all anyone needed to see was his vp pick. seriously.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Holders position is to enforce laws and to lower crime. Within the proper context, he is doing his job.

      It is YOUR(and mine) job to change the laws he is bound to enforce.
      Thinking of better ways to do his job isn't a bad thing. It one of many reasons we have a process in place.

      Legalizing it would be a better solution, but as a DA he can't really say that.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by krou (1027572)

      All the individuals who became the mass movement behind Obama believing there would be real change should read a book called The True Believer [amazon.co.uk] by Eric Hoffer.

      One of the most potent attractions of a mass movement is its offering of a substitute for individual hope. This attraction is particularly effective in a society imbued with the idea of progress. For in the conception of progress, "tomorrow" looms large, and the frustration resulting from having nothing to look forward to is the more poignant. ... A ri

  • by decalod85 (1214532) on Friday November 21, 2008 @06:49PM (#25852431)
    Censorship does not have a party affiliation.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Khaed (544779)

      Censorship does not have a party affiliation.

      I'd extend this: Censorship doesn't have a party affiliation, but both major parties are affiliated with it.

  • awesome (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zxnos (813588) <zxnoss@gmail.com> on Friday November 21, 2008 @06:51PM (#25852449)

    change we can believe in

  • This was in the aftermath of the Columbine High School shootings.

    And then the ACLU intervened, calling for calm, fearing backlash against innocent gun owners [thepeoplescube.com]:'all gun owners aren't terrorists'.

  • Not a concern (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BountyX (1227176) on Friday November 21, 2008 @06:52PM (#25852465)
    Big suprise. Lawyer wants more laws. I don't think this would happen under obama's watch who has clearly stated the preservation of an "open" internet and "net neutrality". Furthermore, he regularly seeks counsel from the EFF. See obama state his tech policy on this page [barackobama.com]. I understand that saying and doing are two complete different things. The article; however, is speculation and ignores the president's stated policy. I'm sure the EFF would have commented on this if they thought it was a concern. They havn't and I doubt they missed obama's speculated appointment.
  • by XLawyer (68496) * on Friday November 21, 2008 @06:52PM (#25852477) Homepage

    Doubtless the point will be made that NewsBusters is a strongly partisan site, and this is true. Fortunately, though, they aren't asking anyone to take their word for it, instead posting a recording of Holder himself.

    While the Bush administration has certainly been no friend of free speech, I am not sure why anyone thinks that Democratic politicians and administrations have been better. For example, when Janet Reno was AG under Clinton, she warned the TV networks to clean up their shows, or the government would do it for them. Influential voices on the left call (unsuccessfully for the most part, it must be recognized) for censorship of various things on various grounds.

    The point here is not that one party is great and the other is terrible, but that neither major party is committed in principle to individual freedom, including freedom of expression. Believing otherwise is a dangerous but widespread error.

  • Libertarian legal scholar Eugene Volokh has posted a discussion [volokh.com] of this in which he concludes that what Holder advocated was actually a very narrow restriction on helping people build bombs.

  • in a democracy, you don't get to choose the candidate who fits your beliefs exactly, because such a candidate would, by definition of appealing so tightly to you, therefore appeal to only a small subset of society, and therefore be unelectable

    at BEST you get a candidate that appeals to you very weakly. because that candidate must cover as many commonalities of belief as possible in order to get elected

    and this is a GOOD thing: a government should closely adhere to the center of society, not to its various fringe groups. so if you are severely disappointed in obama, you're a fool, for judging him against absurd standards that will never, ever be met in reality

    in a democracy, you get a choice betwen the candidate who is slightly less evil than the other. that's all you EVER will get to choose from. and that is a sign of a HEALTHY society. meanwhile, when someone is elected who appeals to a small group of people ecstatically, something has failed, and society will suffer for that, for this candidate most certainly doesn't appeal to the majority of society he or see is supposed to lead. got that?:

    large appeal to small group != small appeal to large group. large appeal to small group is BAD for society. small appeal to large group is GOOD for society

    some of you need to focus on that, and let the implications of that sink in for how you value and judge your leaders

    all you could ever hope to do is tug the administration in power SLIGHTLY in the direction of your beliefs. anyone who believed barack obama was going to be some messiah of radical change is frankly, an idiot

    i will tell you right now with 100% certainty what you are going to get out of the obama administration: TINY incremental steps away from the bush administration bullshit. and YOU ARE GOING TO LIKE IT, because that is the best you could ever possibly get in reality, as opposed to the fantasies in your head, which some of you seem hellbent on judging your government against. absurd

    because the alternative is a continuation of the bush years bullshit. that's worse, right? then pleasde remember that when you judge

    • by PeeAitchPee (712652) on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:14PM (#25852803)

      Change, REAL CHANGE, and eliminating the evils of Washington insiders and lobbyists were a centerpiece of Obama's campaign. Do you really think that message would have been as strong if he said he was going to appoint Holder, Emanuel, Daschle, and Hillary fucking Clinton as part of his cabinet? He would have been laughed at and then ripped to tiny pieces trying to pass that off as *real* change, and rightly so. Instead of a career politician, why not appoint someone that really knows something about healthcare instead of friggin' Tom Daschle, married to a one of Washington's top lobbyists?!!?? The hyprcrisy is downright insulting.

      Oh yeah, quit telling me I'M GOING TO LIKE IT. You don't know a damn thing about me.

  • Surprised ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Arthur B. (806360) on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:03PM (#25852645)

    But... but it's O-ba-ma...

    http://hnn.us/blogs/entries/57241.html [hnn.us]
    Yup this guy is also a strong drug warrior.
    You thought Obama would be nice on drugs? Think again.

    I'm fucking pissed off by the morons who keep cheering at every election for a candidate or the other. Oh yea, sure politics is screwed and power corrupts... but but, *this* guy, he's for real, you'll see.

    We need change, but not political change. In politics, change means, more shit than before. Political change is for the worth.

    Wake up, it's not about the people in charge, the problems lie with the incentives and yes, democracy itself.

    • by JohnnyGTO (102952)
      There is only one problem with American Democracy and that is the entitlement mentality that has overtake it's people in the last few decades. It's only a short matter of time before there will be more on the cart then pulling it.

      Sorry for the inconvenience.
  • Whoopde Dooo (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sweatyboatman (457800) <sweatyboatman@hot m a i l . c om> on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:05PM (#25852673) Homepage Journal

    I'm sorry, I don't know why this is a big deal. It's not like he said this yesterday. He said it 10 years ago in a panicked climate when a great number of tax-paying citizens were clamoring for the government to do something to keep the intarwebs from contaminating our children.

    As far as I can tell, no legislation was ever introduced. Not that the AG writes legislation, which is another reason this is a non-issue.

    If this makes headlines, I am sure we'll see a clarification of some kind from Holder.

    But other than that, I mean is "Politician in 1999 was wrong about the internet" really a big story?

  • by burris (122191) on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:07PM (#25852697)

    Regardless of personal views, doesn't the AG advance the position of the administration? You say what your client wants you to say or you find another job. Isn't that the case for all attorneys? So the real question is what will Obama's policy be?

  • by bersl2 (689221) on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:31PM (#25853029) Journal

    Everyone's said stupid things once in a while, right? If he's willing to say that he was an idiot for advocating pervasive restrictions in the wake of such an event, I could let it slide.

    It's important to make a big deal about things like this, but don't completely lose it over this.

  • by viridari (1138635) on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:38PM (#25853109)

    Is it ok to start criticizing Obama and his judgment now?

    Or is he still the Messiah?

  • by realinvalidname (529939) on Friday November 21, 2008 @08:24PM (#25853625) Homepage

    Good to see that Obama is sticking with Presidential tradition:

    1. Find the most singularly disturbing, deranged, freedom-hating person you can
    2. Nominate that person as Attorney General

    Hey, it worked for Reno, Ashcroft, and Gonzales. The hits keep on coming...

  • First Amendment. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jcr (53032) <jcr@mEULERac.com minus math_god> on Friday November 21, 2008 @08:36PM (#25853749) Journal

    The man doesn't respect it, so he shouldn't be a member of the bar, let alone living on the public payroll.

    -jcr

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