[Marxism] Obscenity & war: billions more for Iraq & Afghanistan wars, penalties for porn
binesi at gvtel.com
Mon Jul 12 10:20:39 MDT 2010
This antiporn measure is an obscenity in itself, and it shows how the
feminist antiporn crusades of the 1970s have played into the campaigns
of the antisexers. More evidence of Democrat suppression of speech.
July 9, 2010 12:19 PM
House Passes Appropriations Bill with Anti-Porn Measure Intact
Provision would restrict funds from agencies (and perhaps contractors and
subcontractors) that do not filter porn from their computer networks
by Tom Hymes
WASHINGTON, D.C.-The House of Representative passed a supplemental
appropriations bill (H.R. 4899) July 1 that has a hefty price tag that runs
into the many billions of dollars. It also contains an easy-to-miss
provision that some legislators have been trying to get passed into law for
several months that would prohibit funds to any recipient that doesn't block
porn on its computer network.
According to an OpenCongress summary of the legislation, which passed by a
vote of 239-182, "This bill would provide $34.7 billion to support U.S.
troops in Afghanistan and Iraq in addition to providing non-military
assistance and building up State Department Operations in Iraq, Afghanistan,
and Pakistan. It also provides $24 billion to help keep teachers, police,
and firefighters employed during the recession, $13 billion to Vietnam War
veterans that have been exposed to Agent Orange, $2.8 billion for Haiti
relief, $5.7 billion for PELL grants, $677 million to strengthen the border,
$275 million for the Gulf oil spill, and $725 million to offset other
Tucked into the second-to-last page of the bill is the short provision-Sec.
4601(a)-that outlines the pornography restriction, which reads, "None of the
funds made available in this Act may be used to maintain or establish a
computer network unless such network blocks the viewing, downloading, and
exchanging of pornography."
Seemingly straightforward, the wording of the anti-porn provision has some
people concerned that its reach may extend far beyond actual
government-owned computer networks to include those belonging to any
contractor or subcontractor who receives even a dollar from the government
for any work required under this bill.
In an article on CNET, Declan McCullagh cites John Morris from the Center
for Democracy and Technology as sounding a clear warning about the language
contained in the bill.
"It really is breathtaking how broad the reach of this is, and will lead to
constitutional problems and economic problems," Morris said.
McCullagh also quotes from the ACLU's Laura Murphy, director of the ACLU's
Washington legislative office, who said, "The Supreme Court has made clear
that government attempts to eliminate sexually explicit speech on the
Internet raise serious free speech concerns. Congress should not pass such
vague and potentially speech-restrictive provisions that are
But it's not just the usual free speech suspects who are speaking up about
the potential ramifications of this amendment. NextGov.com quotes Jim Lewis,
a cyber security specialist at the Center for Strategic and International
Studies who previously headed national security and technology initiatives
at the State Department, as saying that this solution is an example of
congressional micro-managing that could be potentially disruptive.
"I think most agencies haven't bought filtering programs and rely instead on
deterring employees. People can be fired pretty quickly for this," said
Lewis. "Usually it's better to avoid specific prescriptions. They'd be
better off setting the goal and letting agencies figure out how best to meet
it. If they wanted to scare people, they could mandate termination of
Needless to say, anti-porn advocates see no problem with the purpose, method
or constitutionality of the provision.
"I don't think the courts would have a problem with it," said the Family
Research Council's Tom McClusky. "I think they would view it as
Ditto Chris Logan of Enough is Enough, who told McCullagh, "I wouldn't be
surprised if (federal agencies) didn't have the necessary software in place
to block employees' easy access to pornography. We set healthy parameters,
guidelines and restrictions regarding appropriate use of taxpayer funds, and
this is no excuse."
Pat Trueman, a former Justice Department official, was slightly more
cautious, saying he had yet to examine the exact language, but that if it
could be legally problematic if it says that in order to get a government
contract, a business "must filter out all porn for all employees-even those
not on a government contract."
The bill, which McCullagh says is "one of those almost-certain-to-pass
spending measures," will next be voted on by the Senate.
AVN has calls out to industry attorneys for comment, but had not received a
reply by the time this story was posted.
July 8, 2010 5:29 PM PDT
Politics and Law
House votes to block Net porn on government PCs
by Declan McCullagh
A recent vote in the U.S. House of Representatives seemed straightforward
enough: government computers must block viewing or downloading porn.
After all, a series of news reports have highlighted, in scandalous detail,
how some financial regulators earning six-figure salaries were watching porn
at work as Wall Street imploded. So, as it turns out, did employees of the
National Science Foundation and the Interior Department--including ones who
were supposed to be inspecting oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.
But the exact wording of the legislation (PDF) that the House approved last
week by a 239-to-182 vote could, civil libertarians warn, go too far and
unreasonably infringe on Americans' First Amendment rights.
The measure, which arrived in the form of an 111-page amendment sponsored by
House Appropriations Chairman David Obey, a Wisconsin Democrat, says on the
second-to-last page: "None of the funds made available in this act may be
used to maintain or establish a computer network unless such network blocks
the viewing, downloading, and exchanging of pornography."
That choice of wording could sweep in government contractors as well as
federal agencies, says John Morris, general counsel for the Center for
Democracy and Technology in Washington, D.C.
"It really is breathtaking how broad the reach of this is, and will lead to
constitutional problems and economic problems," Morris said. If a
mom-and-pop business has a contract to deliver toilet paper to a military
base that includes overhead, he suggested, they'd have to pay to filter
their computer networks even though the owner is the only one who uses it.
If Rep. Obey's proposal were limited to federal networks, criticism would
likely be muted--after all, some agencies already block "inappropriate"
material. But the idea of extending the filtering requirement to military
and civilian contractors makes it far more controversial.
The ACLU is no less critical. "The Supreme Court has made clear that
government attempts to eliminate sexually explicit speech on the Internet
raise serious free speech concerns," said Laura Murphy, director of the
ACLU's Washington legislative office. "Congress should not pass such vague
and potentially speech-restrictive provisions that are constitutionally
Ellis Brachman, a spokesman for Rep. Obey, did did not respond to requests
for comment on Thursday. No hearings appear to have been held on how the
porn-filtering requirement would be implemented.
Antiporn groups, however, say there are no constitutional concerns and have
generally applauded the requirement, which has been glued onto a bill that
is known on Capitol Hill as the "FY10 Disaster Supplemental." That means
it's one of those almost-certain-to-pass spending measures allocating funds
for what Obey's office calls "pressing" needs, including $37 billion for
Iraq and Afghanistan, $3 billion for Haiti, $1 billion for summer jobs for
youth, and $180 million for "innovative technology energy loans."
"I don't think the courts would have a problem with it," said Tom McClusky,
vice president for government affairs at the Family Research Council. "I
think they would view it as constitutional."
McClusky added: "Most Americans wouldn't even think about the
constitutionality if they hear that government workers or government
contract workers are surfing porn."
Patrick Trueman, the former chief of the Justice Department's Child
Exploitation and Obscenity Section who now does legal work for the
conservative Alliance Defense Fund, says the government can easily say that
while working on a federal contract, there can be no porn surfing--or even
card-playing--because taxpayers have a "right to get their money's worth
Trueman said he has not had a chance to review the appropriations bill. He
added, however, that the legislation would be more constitutionally
problematic if the government says in order to get a contract, a business
"must filter out all porn for all employees--even those not on a government
One argument that antiporn groups have in their favor is the history of the
Children's Internet Protection Act, which Congress enacted a decade ago also
as part of a must-pass bill to fund the federal government. CIPA said that
public schools and libraries that receive federal funds must adopt policies
that protect "against access" to certain sexually explicit Web sites.
The ACLU and the American Library Association sued, claiming that CIPA was
unconstitutional. But in a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court upheld the law,
saying that while buggy filtering software could block legitimate Web sites,
library patrons have the option to ask that it be disabled. (That
requirement, part of CIPA, is not part of Rep. Obey's legislation.)
On the other hand, the Obey bill uses the term "pornography," which is not
as specific as the legal terms used in CIPA. Salon.com has proudly featured
not-quite-safe-for-work photographs; should the government's filters deem
them news, art, or porn?
Cris Logan, director of communications for the venerable anti-porn group
Enough is Enough, says her group is familiar with and supports the Obey
amendment, which is now awaiting a vote in the Senate.
"I wouldn't be surprised if (federal agencies) didn't have the necessary
software in place to block employees' easy access to pornography," Logan
said. "We set healthy parameters, guidelines and restrictions regarding
appropriate use of taxpayer funds, and this is no excuse."
If you look at what's on the Internet today, Logan added, you'll find
"close-ups of graphic sex acts, lewd exhibition of the genitals and deviant
activities such as group sex, excretory functions, and the
like...Pornography addiction in this country is skyrocketing, and it's
having a direct impact on the productivity of those who use it."
--Declan McCullagh has covered the intersection of politics and technology
for over a decade. E-mail Declan.
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