9.20.2005

New threat looms on the American horizon

posted by D. Mason at 6:39 PM
That's right folks, the FBI must once again shift its focus to combat the non-stop onslaught against the American citizens. This new threat doesn't come from overseas, well most of it doesn't anyways, in fact this is a home-grown horror, and its name is ... Hardcore porn? The estimated $10 billion a year porn industry has been growing steadily for upwards of 25 years in America, thanks largely to overwhelming consumer demand, so why then, in a time of economic un-certainty, would The White House want to attack the thriving industry? Morals. Pornography is a hot issue with Christian conservatives, a group with whom Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales has had a hard time winning favor, and a major source of votes for the Bush administration.

The new anti-obscenity squad, a small division of the FBI, would be tasked with gathering information to be used in prosecutions against "manufacturers and purveyors" of hardcore pornography featuring consenting adults in acts considered to be obscene. So what is considered to be obscene? The Supreme Court says something is obscene only of the "material is offensive and prurient and has no artistic value", a vague ruling at best, leaving some to question the possible scope of prosecutions.

The far right, including Gonzales believe "that adult pornography is a threat to families and children" based largely on the possibility of such materials falling into young, impressionable hands. The Department of Justice has gone as far as to declare fighting obscenity "a top-priority" in the department. When asked by FBI supervisors what the top enforcement priority would be, U.S. Attorney Alex Acosta said "it's obscenity. Not pornography involving children, but pornographic material featuring consenting adults.", leaving some agents reasonably shocked. With all of the things on the FBI's plate, such as Terrorism, Immigration and Narcotics trafficking, it's a wonder that obscenity laws can get any attention, let alone top billing. An un-named FBI agent was quoted as saying "I guess this means we've won the war on terror". Indeed.

The Lefties have cited the First Amendment in defense of pornography in the past and will no doubt do so again when it comes time to stand up to the anti-porn task force, if they bother. The First Amendment is a often used crutch on which to support a multitude of expression related issues. Pornography is a moral question mark and something that many Americans find offensive, but then again, the Constitution doesn't give much play to what offends people. Pornography is a legal gray area without doubt, but in a time of economic crisis, war and amidst a rebuilding effort all along the Gulf Coast, is it really a good place to focus governmental attention? You know the agenda is in trouble when right wingers speak out against a War on Porn as misplaced priorities.

But don't worry, we're not alone, America has a powerful ally in the War on Porn.

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