Friday, September 23, 2005

War on Porn - Screwing the Taxpayers


Tom Toles Cartoons, washingtonpost.com

"The adult obscenity squad . . . stems from an attorney general mandate, funded by Congress. The personnel assigned to this initiative take the responsibility of this assignment very seriously and are dedicated to the success of this program." FBI spokeswoman Debra Weierman

“We’re supposed to be taking down people who want to destroy this country and Alberto wants to turn us into a tittie squad?” unnamed FBI agent

Multiple choice question: We need to step up America's War on:

a. Terror
b. Poverty
c. Racism
d. Drugs
e. Porn

Porn? Why is Porn on the list?

Ah, ask our stellar Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, he'll tell you it's "one of his top priorities." Oookay. Sure. Are you freakin kidding me???

Well, wait a minute. If he's talking about Child Pornography and the stunningly heinous crimes it inspires against helpless young victims, I'm on board. There's a huge scandal in Philly right now about a decades-long Archdiocese cover-up to protect rampantly abusive pedophile priests. It's a scenario we've seen repeated all over the country. Many of those priests used--and abused--child pornography. So maybe the government's going after them?

No, that's not it. Gonzalos' mission, sanctioned from The Top is to go after the "manufacturers and purveyors" of adult pornography with a new FBI "Adult Obscenity Squad." Eight FBI agents, a supervisor and support staff. All being recruited from DC's field office to wage War on Porn. At taxpayer expense.

There's even a memo. Of course. There's always a memo. The Go Downing Memo? The Pounding Street Memo? The Bush Beats Off Porn Memo? I'm sure you can come up with your own, so to speak.

In the memo, agents are reminded that to get the best conviction rate, they should target porn that "includes bestiality, urination, defecation, as well as sadistic and masochistic behavior."

Uh, are we sure somebody didn't misunderstand? Let's review. Terrorists are undeniably bestial. They're often known to shout "I piss on America" as they attack. Many use manure to make their bombs. They're obviously sadists, as evidenced by the beheadings they so love to post on the Internet. And suicide bombers are clearly the world's ultimate masochists.


Perhaps the purported Porn Squad is code for a new terrorism task force? If only.

According to a variety of sources, most FBI agents are either laughing or crying over this latest atrocious lack of judgment inspired by the religious right wingnuts in the Bush administration. The Washington Post quotes agents referring to the new assignment as "Things I Don't Want On My Resume, Volume Four." I already gave at home. We have met the enemy and he is us.

The back story, from Doug Thompson, publisher of Capitol Hill Blue:

The “T&A Squad,” as it is known among agents, got its start under former attorney general John Ashcroft, a bible-thumping anti-pornography zealot who tried to prosecute a Missouri couple for selling a sex education video for adults. Ashcroft’s case was so laughable it took a jury of mostly middle-aged women less than 45 minutes to acquit the couple. The judge lectured the Justice Department for wasting the legal system’s time with such a “frivolous case.”
Pornography is not always frivolous to be sure, nor is it harmless. We all know that studies suggest it can engender serious consequences when used as an arousal tool by rapists.

That's a legitimate concern. But is it enough to generate a new federal initiative at god knows how much taxpayer expense? No, I don't think so. Local and state agencies are already waging battles against known pornographers and dealers on their own turfs, with their own inside tracks, supported by their own communities and funded by community dollars. They might not have a 100% win rate, but they're fighting in appropriate ways at local levels.

Our president, ardent purveyor of the notion that the federal government is too large, too overextended with national issues to burden itself with local and state concerns has long been a proponent of pulling out of other governing bodies to achieve tax relief. So why is he suddenly poking his ...FBI... into our business?

What, his load isn't big enough with the rebuilding from Katrina (and now Rita on the way), the poverty and misery revealed there, the horrendous War in Iraq, the protection of all American cities from terrorism?


There's a reason, of course. And it's political. Of course. The Post puts it succinctly, "Christian conservatives, long skeptical of Gonzales, greeted the pornography initiative with what the Family Research Council called 'a growing sense of confidence in our new attorney general.' "

Well, there you go, this isn't about stopping porn. It's about the Bush administration sating the desire of the Radical Religious Right in Congress to tell the rest of us how to live. These bogus right-to-lifers would have a lot more credibility if they put the genuine sanctity of life ahead of their own prurient, overactive imaginations. They seem to forget that we might not live too long if they don't turn their attention to the much bigger obscenities of poverty, terrorism and war.

A disgusted FBI agent sums it up, "I guess this means we've won the war on terror."

Right. And the main casualties in the War on Porn? Our tax dollars. So. It has to be said ... here goes: Screw the War on Porn!


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