The Daily Stern: This slope slippery with KY
: Government nannyism is surrounding us. The FCC wants to tell us what we can’t listen to on radio. The FTC is going after violence. Congress wants to freeze-dry free speech.
And now the Justice Department wants to take away your flesh.
John Ashcroft faces death in the ICU and the first thing he does when he gets out is launch a multi-million-dollar war on porn. Guess he didn’t want FCC National Nanny Michael Powell to have all the fun.
In this field office in Washington, 32 prosecutors, investigators and a handful of 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….
Drew Oosterbaan, chief of the division in charge of obscenity prosecutions at the Justice Department, says officials are trying to send a message and halt an industry they see as growing increasingly “lawless.”
“We want to do everything we can to deter this conduct” by producers and consumers, Oosterbaan said. “Nothing is off the table as far as content.”
The government wants to regulat content in this country. Let’s say that again: The government wants to regulate content in this country.
That should be sending a shiver up your American spine. It’s not just about the FCC. It’s not just about Howard Stern. It’s about free speech, people.
First they went after Stern and radio.
Next they will go after cable.
Then they will come after the Internet.
: One interesting sidelight to this raised by the Baltimore Sun story above and highlighted by TechDirt is the fight that’s coming over the definition of community standards.
The Justice Department’s flesh enforcer made a point of ordered video from a Hollywood producer in Pittsburgh, so the case could be tried there. That’s how they want to game “community.”
But the Sun adds:
Industry lawyers and top executives contend that the courts should rule that because the tapes were ordered on the Internet, the “community standard” demanded by the law should be the standard of the whole community of the World Wide Web.
Don’t you love that? My community isn’t New Jersey. It’s the Internet! And it’s true. That’s where I live. That’s where my friends are. That’s where I’m comfortable with the standards.
I am a citizen of the Internet.
: More comment elsewhere: Eric at Classical Values has a good analysis. See also Alphecca. Glenn Reynolds is pissed:
I blame John Ashcroft. No, really, this time I mean it. And if the Administration thinks that this is a good use of their “computer forensics” experts, then they must have decided that terrorists aren’t a threat any more.
This is so ham-handed and sure to blow up in the Administration’s face, making them look like stooges for the religious right while accomplishing nothing, that one almost suspects a Democratic mole in their ranks.
Ted at Game the World says:
I had gotten to the point where I had thought that my bad opinion of John Ashcroft was a result of some seriously selective reporting. Now comes this crackdown on pornography that shows me that I should pay more attention to my first impressions. Add this to the story about how the Patriot Act is being used in cases with no connection to terrorism, and you can see my truly deep ambivalence to the Bush Administrations attitude toward law enforcement.
Note to everyone enamored with Federal authority: Get the hell out of my life. I do not need you to worry about what I am putting into my mind (pornography), or what I am putting into my body (super-sized fries). Why don’t you just let me mind my own business, and you can mind yours. If what I do offends you or makes you think I am an idiot, let the effects kick me in the teeth. I’ll deal with the mess. In the meantime, please keep those freelance oppressors (criminals, terrorists, et al.) off my back. That’s what I’m paying you for.
First it was the limits on stem cell research, then the amendment to ban gay marriage, the spending like a drunken sailor, the protectionist flip-flops, the government funded faith-based initiatives, the Prescription Drug Program, etc. What’s next? Burkas? This is just completely ri-f***ing-diculous.
Andrew Sullivan says:
With the Justice Department having nothing better to do, like catch Jihadists, it’s very important that they keep a fierce and unrelenting eye on adults enjoying themselves in the privacy of their own homes.
I’ll bet Ashcroft is a closet S&M guy. Is it really that important that people, in their own damn homes, don’t watch porn? Who the hell cares? What happens in my bedroom is my business. If I want to have someone (man, woman or chimp) come into MY HOME and whip the crap out of me while I’m hog-tied and covered in processed cheese, that’s my business and my business alone. Maybe Ashcroft isn’t getting any at home and thinks no one else should either. Maddening. Like I said in a post a little while ago, if we let the govt start getting into our bedroom, where or when will it stop? What is next? And what else is this administration wasting money on?
John Ashcroft’s Justice Department, having defeated international terrorism, brought an end to money laundering, eliminated accounting fraud, won the war on drugs, driven computer scammers to extinction and routed organized crime, turn their attention to the greatest remaining evil in the world.
See Oliver Willis, too.
The Internet community is pissed. By our standards, Ashcroft, you are the boob that’s ruining America.
: We await comment from Fleshbot.