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The American Taliban Hard At Work

Just like their extremist counterparts in Afghanistan who seek to repress and stomp on anything that is culturally liberated or progressive, the American Taliban is hard at work here. These cultural fascists seek to use government, law and any other means available to impose their own strict religious views on society as whole and don't respect the rights of others to choose what they consider to be free choices based on their own moral world views and opinions.

spitzer.jpg

The Elliot Spitzer story (Spitzer is pictured above in happier times with his wife Silda shortly after his election to New York's governorship) was just one good recent example. Certainly the man brought a lot of embarrassment and disgrace to both his wife and family on one hand, and jokes for the late night comics as well.

But if he had not been the Governor of New York, the question really remains whether the public destruction of this man really served any worthy purpose for society as whole. Would American society really crumble down and collapse if the private actions of Elliot Spitzer were simply ignored by government?

Morally, his choice to frequent the high-end call girl business might have well been a very poor one. But was it any business of the government to get involved in this?

It was Spitzer's very own money. No evidence exists that he embezzled it. Why is it any business of government if this man made a poor choice that many, if not most would consider immoral as a way to spend his own money?

And the application of some laws meant to stop illegal financial transactions by drug dealers by the feds was only the latest outrageous example of the far-fetched abuse of some laws meant to collar-in serious crime such as dangerous narcotics.

Adultry was once considered a sin to be judged by God alone. But some in government think they need to be doing "God's work."

SI-SWIM_cover.jpgBut the American Taliban isn't satisfied to just stop there. Self-righteous religious and cultural extremist, Bob Peters, President of Morality In Media, has gone on the attack against store displays of this years' SPORTS ILLUSTRATED swimsuit issue. Peters manages to ignore all the other conduct by WalMart regarding poor wages or lack of health care by many employees, and instead is outraged that the SPORTS ILLUSTRATED swimsuit issue is displayed and available for sale at their stores.

Cultural extremist Peters has had a long history of crackpot crusades, some of the most absurd being defending guns during campus shooting massacres... but blaming the entertainment industry instead. Who would know that directors like Spielberg or Lucas were responsible for these bizarre actions by violent mentally ill persons if persons like Peters did not make a major effort to point that out?

mwc.jpgAnd over at the FCC, some socially and culturally retarded bureaucrats are still running after FOX and a number of FOX local stations that ran a heavily-pixelated bachelor party scene during one moment of MARRIED WITH CHILDREN several years ago. Leave it up to some religious and cultural regressives to stew in anger for several years because some heavily pixelated scene with absolutely no nudity or even bad language was aired many years ago on TV, and attempt to extort FOX stations out of $1.18 million dollars in fines.

While the short scene on the long-canceled TV show has been long forgotten by all normal and rational persons, all the years of threats and extortion schemes coming out of the FCC offices by some cultural screwballs lives on forever it seems. It seems that some persons at the FCC simply lack the intelligence and discretion to drop this stupid matter.

Just a few days ago, out of Washington, DC, came the indictment of a major California adult website operator and DVD distributor on obscenity charges that could potentially have a very sweeping and chilling impact on freedom of expression on the Internet as a whole.

One portion of the multiple count indictment dealt with a new application of the Communication Act Of 1934, by bringing a new charge against a website by claiming that it offered material that could be considered offensive to persons under 18. If the federal government should win such a case, then a heavy blanket of censorship could fall all over the Internet, greatly restricting content of all types, including words and other editorial content. Every website of all types would have to greatly restrict language and content down to a level which would not be considered to be morally objectionable for viewing by a child.

Right now the Internet acts as an information "Superhighway" for all types of thoughts and communication, some very G-rated, and some not very G-rated at all.

But the chilling impact of any such ruling in favor of this new application of this old 1934 law which originally regulated indecent telephone messages to modern communications like the Internet cannot be understated. This is highly likely to become a major Supreme Court case and will definitely impact what the Internet looks like after such a ruling.

Further, the old 1934 law even refers to controls over foreign communications as well, and raises some serious questions of American law enforcement imposing their will on foreign Website operators who are not even U.S. citizens or operating in many European nations with little or no regulations dealing with indecent or even obscene content or editorial material. The freedom with which one can establish a Website and pretty much say or post what one desires may be coming to an end. The cultural extremists may have just found a new way to use children as human shields in a new attempt to justify their efforts to control the thoughts of others.

American soldiers are risking their lives fighting cultural fascists overseas, meanwhile cultural fascists just as dangerous lurk around over here.


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Comments (7)

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

Great post, Steve. As more and more of our personal civil liberties are drained away by the Republican administration, what we we're seeing in these examples you've cited is the attempts by social conservatives to make their mark on fabric of American life.

Today, the same ideology that is 'represented' by the FCC's attacks over silly nonsense such as the "Married with Children" is measurable in the polls, and if I recall correctly it's now less than 20 percent of Americans who hold these strict, moralistic views.

The election of "Four More Years McCain" will only serve to extend the rule of this tiny minority or gatekeepers who are so far removed from the mainstream.

But they will be the first to admit, with pride, that they are indeed removed and righteously 'above' all of us ordinary folks -- who look on with amazement at their misguided
antics.

The really creepy thing about the indictment against the website operator isn't that a single website is somehow being unfairly targeted with 8 serious federal crime charges, but that the Bush controlled justice department is really using the indictment as a test case to destroy freedom of speech on the Internet by misapplying the intent of some old dusty law meant to control indecent telelphone conduct way back in 1934. The intent of this case is force all websites under some new federal regulation similiar to what the FCC does for network TV and make the Internet a "G" rated means of communication with the only legally acceptable content that which is suitable for viewing by a small child. The intent of this case stops just short of asking Americans to get approval from the government before they are allowed to publish something on the Internet.

It needs to be mentioned that most nations in Europe dropped regulations on obscenity as far back as the 1960's. So the Bush Administration is only socilly retarded by mere 47 or so years behind the more libetarian views of press freedoms in Europe. It seems like not that many years ago comics like Lenny Bruce were jailed as political prisoners of the state for making jokes about the Cathoiic Church and other institutions in a controversial manner. It also needs to be mentioned that this nation used to round up Communists and others for merely printing up newspapers that peacefully advocated their politics, while far more freedom of the press existed in Europe to publish without fear of arrest by the state.

As for the website operator, the Bush justice department only has to prove just two of the eight charges, and then can legally seize all the assets of this website operator under racketeering laws, which can include any bank accounts, his home, his car, any business assets, plus he will rot away for years in a federal prison as a political prisoner of the Bush Administration controlled state and the radical televangelists and cultural extremists it serves like James Dobson, etc. It's nonsense for the U.S. to have any credibility lecturing China on Tibet or other matters, when the Bush Administration has more than it's own share of political prisoners, serving time for political crimes against the Bush state such as expressing themselves in a controversial manner like the website operator. The website operator is not some dangerous criminal or a terrorist or such, just a noncomformist, which hardly ranks as a crime in my view, yet he faces potential penalties far greater than those brought against almost any violent criminal. Your average murderer will not have all his property seized by the government for example, and could be out in 10 or less years if the charge is manslaughter, while an obscenity conviction under racketeering standards could mean 20 or more years in prison.

The indictment also serves the purposes of public intimidation by the Bush Administration just like a public hanging. The Bush Administration brownshirts figure by bringing outrageous charges that can result in millions in fines, years of imprisonment and loss of any assets against a single website at random, that many other controversial websites will simply close up shop rather than risk everything to continue. Even Cuba's Castro couldn't have more strongarmed the free media than this act of free press intimidation from the Bush Administration brownshirts.

The Bush Administration record of destroying the constitution and civil liberties only continues.

bryanD:

Re: Spitzer:

Nothing new in the American zeitgeist since Jamestown became James City. A looong time ago.

Can't respond to you other points due to vodka ingestion. I see 3 or 4 good subjects! Baby bites next time, please. (This isn't Orcinus.com!)

ke_future:

well, with spitzer there is a non-trivial possibility that he broke a federal law when he arranged for someone to be transported across state lines for the purpose of sex for money.

peters sounds like a guy on a crusade. i may not agree with him, but it's his right to voice his opinions on things and to try to get the government to agree. personally, i think he's a nut. but at least he isn't cutting the heads off those who don't follow his religion. say, like those taliban people do.

i know it's the "in" thing on the left to compare bush to hitler and the nazis. all this does is show your incredible ignorance of the nazi party platform, their tactics, their goals, and just how incredibly vile they were.

fine, you don't like bush. you don't like his policies. you think he's a bad guy. but he didn't personally order the systematic murder of over 4 million people becuase they were jews, homosexuals, gypsies, and were convienient scapegoats. you lessen the horror of what the nazis did everytime you make such a lame comparison to your political adversaries.

it's funny who you complain about our lack of free press...by posting about it on a public forum.

and just because europe is okay with obscenity doesn't mean that we should be. i've never understood this fixation with how great europe supposedly is from people on the left. europe is not the end-all be-all of existance. just why should we try to emulate them?

honestly, i fear the left more than the right when it comes to cultural facism. all you have to do is look at the speech codes and indoctrination happening in the schools and universities these days. but neither side is without it's extemists. to only point to the extremism on the right ignores half the problem.

Let's see: Spitzer was a prosecutor who made headlines busting prosecution rings with high-profile clients. Gets himself elected Governor, patronizes similar criminal enterprises using subterfuges he believes will cover his identity, gets exposed . . . this is somehow NOT newsworthy?

It's nonsense for the U.S. to have any credibility lecturing China on Tibet or other matters, when the Bush Administration has more than it's own share of political prisoners, serving time for political crimes against the Bush state such as expressing themselves in a controversial manner like the website operator.

Okay, I'll bite. Name 'em.

The problem with any U.S. laws regulating obscenity is that unlike Europe, the United States has a "Bill Of Rights" that clearly guarantees the individual the following rights:"Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibitng the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peacefully to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances". On pure face value there is cettainly no wiggle room here for government to ake away any free speech rights from the public, even if the individual chooses to express themselves in an offensive or even obscene manner. I think "no law" cannot be more clear, as well as banning Congress from enacting laws means that government at any level cannot regulate speech. I don't think the wording can be any more clear than that. Every "obscenity" or "indecency" law is clearly unconstitutional.

In the outrageous 5 to 4 Supreme Court decision of 1973, Miller v. California, the conservative majority on the Nixon era court decided to allow local politicians, prosecutors or police new powers to go after local "obscene speech" by allowing them to establish "local community standards", which was nothing short of a nonsense way to outlaw some expression. By allowing local law enforcement rather than Congess to allow some expression, the conservatives on the court thought that they found some absurd legal loophole to allow for the criminal prosecutions of controversial culture. But slowly the court even dropped this standard and then allowed the Congress to vote for an ever increasing set of laws regarding "obscene" speech as well. I don't think that the wording of the First Amendment could have been more clear, the Founding Fathers simply didn't want government in the business of regulating free speech at any level. The First Amendment guarantees absolute free speech rights just as much as the Second Amendment allows for the public ownership of guns for example.

Obscenity laws didn't always exist in the United States either. It wasn't until 1840 in Massachusetts when a bookstore owner was arrested without a charge for selling a copy of the racy European novel, "FANNY HILL", that the first arrest of an American for an obscenity offense was noted. It wasn't until a full year later in 1841 before lawmakers in Massachusetts actually wrote a law regulating "obscenity" in order to justify the arrest without a charge against this bookstore owner.

Comics, bands and others have faced their own battles with local obscenity charges including comics like Lenny Bruce or recording acts like 2 Man Live Crew, not just the Larry Flynts.

And because free expression has generally survived around any obscenity laws, the penalties have groewn to outrageous levels. In the 1960's some San Francisco bookstore dealers might have faced a $50 fine for selling an "obscene" book, then by the 1970's fines grew to around $5,000-$10,000 for selling aingle item, and an year in prison. Now federal laws and some states allow for racketerring laws to seize any assets of someone convicted of an obscenity offense as well as fines that can run into the millions of dollars and many years in prison. In Virginia, a married couple who ran a chain of eight businesses including family video stores had all eight businesses seized by the government, about $2 million in fines, and the husband 90 years in prison for selling only 3 adult videotapes. Interesting one of the titles that was found obscene involved a transexual, while four other titles involving heterosexual couples were not considered obscene by the jury.

The definition of obscenity certainly varies from state to state. For example, DVDs or tapes involving homosexual activity might be illegal in some states, whereas tapes involving heterosexuals are generally legal in most states. And in order to commit a "federal crime" involving obscenity, a person has to violate the local community standards in the area that that the item is sold. And an "obscenity" violation is a matter of opinion of a judge or jury, compared to real crimes in which murder is always murder, or robbery is always armed robbery. Obscenity violations are matter of personal taste crimes. This is an absurd standard to establish for criminal prosecution of someone with high penalties. And since juries seldom are informed of the penalties that someone faces who is charged with an obscenity offense, many are shocked at the outrageous sanctions one faced. In the Virginia video store case, one juror said that he would have changed his vote to not guilty had he known the outrageous penalties that the owner of the busineses faced. The Juror only thought the videostore owner would face a tiny fine, not 90 years in prison and government seizure of all his business and personal assets and a huge fine that he would be unable to pay after the government took everything from his family and left his wife living alone in poverty and crying while he rotted away in prison as a political prisoner of the state.

I don't personally like everything done in the name of free speech. But it's not my job or the job of anyone else to empower government to do something to someone just because they expressed themselves in some offensive manner. If I don't like something, I avoid or ignore it. Likewise it's not the job of former drunk or cokehead George Bush or any of his crooked cronies to to attempt to justify their own bad behavior by hunting out someone else to brand as immoral. What someone may find appealing, another finds offensive. But usually such speech only appeals to some fringe audience of buyers and has already faced low sales in the marketplace of public ideas. I say let the marketplace decide whether something has value or not, not some self-righteous prosecutor. What qualifies some prosecutors to think that they're an art critic anyway? The smug little bastards.

And lastly the Taliban in Afghanistan usually only beat-up someone who offends their sense of values. The American Taliban wants to jail someone for up to 90 years, take away all their property and fine them millions of dollars. You tell me who the real extremist cultural conservatives are. I think the answer is pretty self-evident.

Is it wrong to compare Bush to Hitler? Hitler rounded up enemies of his government and jailed them. The Bush Administration rounds up controversial website operators and attempts to jail them, take their property anf fine them millions of dollars. In my view, both Hitler and Bush are cut from ther same cloth. Both are clearly self-righteous cultural fascists.

All the years I spent as an entertainer, as the lead singer and a songwriter for the outrageous new wave punk band, THE INPUTS, and opening shows for Frank Zappa's Band, The Dils or even in later years, The Dead Kennedys, the band faced problems with club owners over the content of our songs or stage show antics. I've had more than my share of problems with the censors, although we managed to get airplay on one song, ELVIS IS DEAD, on the radio. It was actually, Courtney Love, who managed to convince the band to fire me as lead singer, and replace me with her then boyfriend, Rozz Rezabek, and carry the band in less controversial direction. But I managed to write and record quite a few really funny and just plain outrageous songs in the years I was lead singer for this group. Our shows were always controversial, but at least one serious music critic who wrote for THE OREGONIAN like us and thought we were cool. If a serious music critic for a major newspaper believes our music was substantial, then maybe it was? Huh?

epador:

Wow.

I'm definitely not drinking any more tap water near Portland.


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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