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Far Beyond Filtering: Is The GOP Looking To Shut Down Porn Producers?

from the if-we're-going-to-have-any-morality-around-here,-we've-got-to-ditch-a-fe dept

We recently discussed the GOP's decision to sabotage its new "internet freedom" platform by including some unfortunate anti-porn provisions. Romney declared that, if elected president, every new computer would have an anti-porn filter installed. At the very least, this filtering would be redundant. As Mike pointed out, porn filters already exist and are easily available. If this is being done "for the children," perhaps the application of a porn filter should be left to the parents, rather than made mandatory via legislation.

That handles the user end of the experience. I would imagine that additional filtering might be suggested (or required) at the ISP level, aligning it with efforts in the UK. Whether or not an opt-in Known Perverts option will be available is still open to speculation. Most likely, once the rhetoric clears, it will simply be a matter of computer manufacturers offering filtering software right out of the box. This will fulfill the requirement without needing much more than some cursory compliance checks, and everyone involved will feel proud to have "done something" to keep porn out of kids' eyeballs. This will also be a boon for developers of filtering software, who will be jockeying for lucrative OEM contracts.

Romney hasn't really specified what he means by "computer," meaning that the spread of pre-installed filterware could envelop any device that connects with the internet, including tablets and smartphones. There is also no information on how "mandatory" these filters will be or what issues computer/device manufacturers will face should they fail to comply.

It's a vague concept that hardly anyone will argue against for fear of appearing to be siding with pornographers, or worse, child pornographers (thanks to always-handy conflation). Perhaps more unsettling than the feel-good, do-nothing "filtering" promise is another sentence lurking in the platform: "Current laws on all forms of pornography and obscenity need to be vigorously enforced." Eugene Volokh tackles the troubling implications of this phrase, putting together a set of tactics the government could implement in an effort to enforce standing obscenity laws.

First off, Volokh tries to determine the endgame? Is the intent to shut down as many US pornographers as possible? If so, supply from other sources will fill the demand:
[E]ven if every single U.S. producer is shut down, wouldn't foreign sites happily take up the slack? It's not like Americans have some great irreproducible national skills in smut-making, or like it takes a $100 million Hollywood budget to make a porn movie. Foreign porn will doubtless be quite an adequate substitute for the U.S. market. Plus the foreign distributors might even be able to make and distribute copies of the existing U.S.-produced stock — I doubt that the imprisoned American copyright owners will be suing them for infringement (unless the U.S. government seizes the copyrights, becomes the world's #1 pornography owner, starts trying to enforce the copyrights against overseas distributors, and gets foreign courts to honor those copyrights, which is far from certain and likely far from cheap).
This is an interesting conjecture. Removing the producers from the equation opens up the possibility that foreign producers would simply do the math and up their profits by reselling product they didn't create. Having the US government eliminate their competition is an added bonus. It seems unlikely that the government would act on the behalf of porn companies it's legislated or prosecuted out of existence. But would it tolerate abuse of American IP, no matter how abhorrent the subject? Probably. The porn industry isn't known for its lobbying efforts.

Moving on, Volokh speculates on three possible outcomes of enforcing existing laws on pornography and obscenity.
The U.S. spends who knows how many prosecutorial and technical resources going after U.S. pornographers. A bunch of them get imprisoned. U.S. consumers keep using the same amount of porn as before.
This tactic sounds like it would work as well as current IP enforcement measures. As it stands now, ICE is better known for its RIAA/MPAA lapdog status than for producing credible results. Sites get taken down, sat on and returned to their owners with no charges brought or apologies offered. Drawing a bead on targets like porn producers makes for some rah-rah press but will have little effect on the amount of porn available. 

As ineffective as these actions would be, the greater issue is that increased enforcement will do absolutely nothing to change people's perception of porn:
Nor do I think that the crackdown will somehow subtly affect consumers’ attitudes about the morality of porn — it seems highly unlikely that potential porn consumers will decide to stop getting it because they hear that some porn producers are being prosecuted.
This falls right in line with the perception of file sharing as a "moral" issue. It's all well and good to claim the high road in the fight against infringement, but if the general public doesn't share your beliefs then the battle is not winnable. Legislation and prosecution aren't going to change anyone's mindset. It just makes the punishment seem ridiculous or unduly harsh.

There are more echoes of the ongoing anti-piracy efforts. Volokh's next scenario involves going after foreign producers:
The government gets understandably outraged by the “foreign smut loophole.” “Given all the millions that we’ve invested in going after the domestic porn industry, how can we tolerate all our work being undone by foreign filth-peddlers?,” pornography prosecutors and their political allies would ask. So they unveil the solution, in fact pretty much the only solution that will work: Nationwide filtering.

It’s true: Going after cyberporn isn’t really that tough — if you require every service provider in the nation to block access to all sites that are on a constantly updated government-run “Forbidden Off-Shore Site” list. Of course, there couldn’t be any trials applying community standards and the like before a site is added to the list; that would take far too long. The government would have to be able to just order a site instantly blocked, without any hearing with an opportunity for the other side to respond, since even a quick response would take up too much time, and would let the porn sites just move from location to location every several weeks.
This goes far beyond simply requiring pre-installed filtering software. Instituting any sort of a blacklist combines the futility of whack-a-mole with the "we don't have time to follow procedures/respect rights" urgency of "doing something" to make the internet a "safer" place. As these actions prove futile, enforcement will move to cutting off the money supply, targeting credit card transactions, pressuring foreign governments to play by the US''s rules, etc.

The third option, and probably the least palatable to politicians? Going after end users:
Finally, the government can go after the users: Set up “honeypot” sites (seriously, that would be the technically correct name for them) that would look like normal offshore pornography sites. Draw people in to buy the stuff. Figure out who the buyers are. To do that, you'd also have to ban any anonymizer Web sites that might be used to hide such transactions, by setting up some sort of mandatory filtering such as what I described in option (2).

Then arrest the pornography downloaders and prosecute them for receiving obscene material over the Internet, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1462; see, e.g.,United States v. Whorley (4th Cir. 2008) (holding that such enforcement is constitutional, and quite plausibly so holding, given the United States v. Orito Supreme Court case).
Politicians may state that they think porn should be outlawed or controlled, and some are even willing to trample on some rights to put that in motion. But it's hard for most to jump from taking down the supply side to attacking the demand. If your aim is to make the internet "safer," it's fairly easy to see that removing users has no effect on "safety." But while this logic leap is hard, it is by no means impossible. The War on Drugs has locked up thousands of users by making possession a crime. "Possession with the intent to distribute" is simply a matter of going above an arbitrary quantity. Possession laws assume the only reason a person would be carrying [x] amount of drugs is because they're selling to others. Would a person with more than [x] megabytes of porn on their hard drive be considered a distributor, thus opening up the possibility of additional charges? I don't see why not, given the attitude surrounding the issues.

There's plenty of food for thought in Volokh's post, especially considering the faint echoes of SOPA/PIPA present in the discussion of enforcing morality. Both parties claim to be working towards a more open internet, but seem willing to scuttle that openness in reaction to hot-button issues or overly-friendly nudges from lobbyists. Ultimately, the question isn't about whether or not porn is "bad" for citizens, but rather, how can these laws possibly be enforced without descending quickly into "draconian measures"?
How can the government's policy possibly achieve its stated goals, without creating an unprecedentedly intrusive censorship machinery, one that's far, far beyond what any mainstream political figures are talking about right now?
The answer is: it can't. But these concerns aren't being considered, at least not during an election run. Post-election, if anyone gets around to fighting this unwinnable battle, the concerns likely won't be considered at that point, either. It's usually not until the public gets noisy enough to jeopardize politicians' careers that any sort of consideration is given to the rights of the people affected. Even more disturbing is the fact that pursuing this end effects both sides of the creative effort: the producers and the consumers. Considering the resemblance these actions have to past overreaching legislative efforts crafted to "protect" certain industries, it's rather disconcerting to see the possibility of these same actions being used to destroy a creative industry simply because certain people don't care for the product.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 8:27am

    Once again the party of smaller government stays out of the lives of their fellow citizens!

     

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  2.  
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    TasMot (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 8:32am

    And What About the Bill

    Just who is going to pay for all this? How many BILLIONS of dollars of taxpayer money is going to get spent on this game of whack-a-mole. The cost to the taxpayer is going to go up and lots of people are going to be put out of jobs (maybe not the corn farmers but somebody is making money and paying taxes). So, the cost goes up and the tax revenue goes down. How is that helping?

     

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  3.  
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    Tim Griffiths (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 8:33am

    Republicans, all for smaller government and deregulation unless it's to do with sex, marriage or religion. It's such an obviously contradictory set of ideas that I'm utterly amazed that such a level of cognitive dissonance does not cause the brain to melt and dribble out the ears.... wait... that would actually explain a lot.

     

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  4. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 8:34am

    Sounds like an end to the sex lives of all of the Techdirt Mom's-basement dwellers.

     

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  5.  
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    SujaOfJauhnral (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 8:35am

    War on alcohol

    War on drugs

    War on piracy

    Now war on porn

    People love to throw money away, don't they?

     

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  6.  
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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 8:35am

    Got to be kidding me

    Politicians are trying to give US morals? Maybe they should grow some morals of their own first. Selling out your fellow human beings for a few campaign contributions does insanely more damage than porn ever could to humans.

    Republicans, working as hard as they can to take us back to the 1950's, except without worker's rights.

    Vote independent.

     

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  7.  
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    SujaOfJauhnral (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 8:36am

    Re:

    Aye. You'd better start looking for an alternative to your hand, AC.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 8:38am

    Re:

    Don't worry. I'm sure the two of you will find something to "fill the void".

     

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  9.  
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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 8:40am

    Highlighting

    To me, this is the most pertinent paragraph of the whole blog post. Many here have made this same point a great many times, yet those in power can't possibly grasp such a simple concept.

    This falls right in line with the perception of file sharing as a "moral" issue. It's all well and good to claim the high road in the fight against infringement, but if the general public doesn't share your beliefs then the battle is not winnable. Legislation and prosecution aren't going to change anyone's mindset. It just makes the punishment seem ridiculous or unduly harsh.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 8:41am

    Huh?

    "Draw people in to buy the stuff. Figure out who the buyers are."

    Who pays for porn?

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 8:44am

    The fact is the more conservative the area is the more porn sales per capita there are. This will only serve to increase the market for porn sales in the US, and be just as big of a failure as the war on drugs and prohibition.

    And there's LOTS of small porn producers in the US, especially free ones, so there would be lots of arrests if it got outlawed. Also an issue, if you outlaw porn what if a case happens like a girl friend gives a boy friend naked pictures of herself, but then they break up and the boy friend publishes them on the Internet, who's committed a crime by spreading porn to minors?

    It makes just as absurd a situation with prostitution being illegal, but selling porn being illegal. It's illegal to pay for sex, but it's legal to pay for someone (or two someones) to have sex in front of a camera so you can sell the video on the Internet.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 8:44am

    No more porn? Think of all the -jobs we'd be losing.

     

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  13.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 8:44am

    Re:

    I don't live in a basement. My mother's house for one didn't have a basement. Second, I live in a very nice two bedroom apartment, with easy access to local amenities (my workplace is only fifteen minutes walk away, so no need to use the car!)

    So, want to continue with that over generalisation?

     

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  14.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 8:45am

    Re: Huh?

    Precisely. I know of a lot of tube sites which I watch on sandboxed web browsers in a virtual machine, using a VPN, just to be safe.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 8:45am

    Re:

    You forgot to add immigration, education, the army and homeland security to the list. The Reps are one of the most blatantly hypocritical political parties I've ever seen.

     

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  16.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 8:46am

    Re:

    I saw what you did there :)

     

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  17.  
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    SujaOfJauhnral (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 8:47am

    Re: Re:

    I don't think they're aware of realms of existence outside their basement, hence the generalization.

     

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  18.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 8:47am

    They want to ban porn? Seriously, Romney wants to ban porn and he had the balls enough to say this during his campaign? Isn't the "no porn" thing what killed off Beta-Max? Romney really doesn't want to get elected does he?

    Time to do some civil disobedience. Be back in about half an hour.

     

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  19.  
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    PlagueSD (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 8:49am

    Leave my porn alone!!!

    Romney declared that, if elected president, every new computer would have an anti-porn filter installed.


    And every new computer will have that filter bypassed...Legally or not, and once again inconveniencing the lawful citizen. Last I checked, pornography is not illegal.


    He already lost the African-American, Hispanic, and Women votes. Now he's going after porn producers??? He keeps this up, no one is going to be left to vote for him.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 8:51am

    No Porn?

    "If they removed all the porn from the internet, there would be only one web site left: BringBackthePorn.com"

    - Dr. Cox
    Scrubs

     

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  21.  
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    Jason, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 8:53am

    You imagine?

    "I would imagine that additional filtering might be suggested (or required) at the ISP level, aligning it with efforts in the UK."

    Tim if there's a factual reason that you imagine this, you say so, otherwise this sentence makes it sound like one of two things:
    1. You're a no-good louse just trying to muck up someone's reputation (horrible though it may already be) by associating your unfounding imaginings to them. (This one doesn't have my vote. Your posts may have a less formal feel than others here, but you always seem like a well thought out and decent guy.)

    2. You were in a hurry and trying to squeeze in another techdirt link, which is relevant, but not just because you imagine it is.

    So, maybe reword or add support for that sentence.

     

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  22.  
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    Jason, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 8:54am

    Re: You imagine?

    Unfounding backformedness aboundifies!!
    *s/b unfounded

     

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  23.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 8:57am

    The only time you'll ever hear them talking about this is BEFORE an election. It's just a talking point to get votes from the Christian right.

     

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  24.  
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    relghuar, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 8:58am

    Child pornography...

    "...hardly anyone will argue against for fear of appearing to be siding with pornographers, or worse, child pornographers..."

    Count me in for child pornography...

     

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  25.  
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    Vog (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 9:01am

    "Ultimately, the question isn't about whether or not porn is "bad" for citizens, but rather, how can these laws possibly be enforced without descending quickly into "draconian measures"?"

    Simple - do the same thing that's been done since 9/11. Change the public's perception of what's "draconian".

     

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  26.  
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    Tunnen (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 9:06am

    I think the politicians are just trying to form a monopoly for themselves.

    If there is going to be anyone shoving something up people's asses, it'll be us!

     

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  27.  
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    DannyB (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 9:07am

    Re: They can take my pr0n when . . .

    They can take my pr0n when they pry it from my warm sticky hands.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 9:09am

    ...require every service provider in the nation to block access to all sites that are on a constantly updated government-run “Forbidden Off-Shore Site” list. Of course, there couldn’t be any trials applying community standards and the like before a site is added to the list; that would take far too long. The government would have to be able to just order a site instantly blocked, without any hearing with an opportunity for the other side to respond, since even a quick response would take up too much time...

    Something about this process sounds vaguely familiar...

     

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  29.  
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    weneedhelp (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 9:13am

    One thing they forget

    P0rn industry has money, and lots of it.

     

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  30.  
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    DannyB (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 9:14am

    Re:

    What do you want to bet this ability to shut down alleged pr0n sites will be misused to instantly shut down anything the government doesn't like?

    If you protest it, you are labeled a pornogropher, or worse a child-pedophile or worse. (What could be worse? A terrorist commie treasonous child pedophile congress critter?)

     

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  31.  
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    Rekrul, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 9:15am

    The Freemasons, the Illuminatti, the Puritans...

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 9:16am

    it doesn't matter what the subject is, the USA hates anyone else producing anything that is not taxable or profitable to the US. basically, what the US wants is to be able to use and profit from whatever it wants, regardless of where it is produced or by whom. the ultimate aim being to completely control the Internet. As Tim Berners-Lee said a couple of days ago, the Internet is a decentralised system. the only way to turn it off is if governments all over the world co-ordinated to make it a centralised system. seems like the US is trying to do that by the back door, forcing other countries to do as it says by threatening sanctions for non-compliance with what it says over IP rules and copyright regulations and introducing laws to protect it's own products at the expense of everyone elses

     

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  33.  
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    Beech, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 9:17am

    Lobbyists?

    The porn industry isn't known for their lobbying efforts? that's odd... One would think they would be really good at it. Just send a couple out of work actresses to visit a few lawmakers... Man, the laws would pretty much write themselves!

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 9:18am

    V Chip for the new century

    Remember the Vchip? How's that working out?
    It'll be no different.

    If the Reps want to do something for the children,they can start by getting rid of irresponsible parents and keeping their noses outta people's bedrooms.
    I have had lots of experience with Mormons and a more hypocritical and secretive bunch of wackos do not exist anywhere.(except for maybe Scientology)
    Also from experience...they do love their porn!

     

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  35.  
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    DannyB (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 9:19am

    Every new computer?

    > every new computer would have an anti-porn filter installed

    What about servers?

    What about smartphones, aren't they computers?

    mp3 players?

    Game consoles?


    Maybe this is intended as a large government "instant off" switch for some purpose beyond pr0n?

     

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  36.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 9:21am

    Re: Child pornography...

    OK, I gave the arguments a chance, but I don't think they bring enough to legalese child porn.

    I understand argument 1 and while I agree the current laws are more about hiding the problem then doing something about it, I don't think people will get in trouble for turning in child molesters.

    I completely agree with argument 2. In fact, that argument has been brought up here.

    I do not agree with argument three. There are plenty of things that we do not allow and do not violate the first amendment. If banning child pornography is a way to start censoring anything, then so is arresting people for planning a crime (conspiracy).

     

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  37.  
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    weneedhelp (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 9:21am

    Re: Re: They can take my pr0n when . . .

    Ewwwww!!!!! LOL

     

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  38.  
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    David Woodhead (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 9:23am

    Re:

        War on alcohol

        War on drugs

        War on piracy

        Now war on porn

        People love to throw money away, don't they?


    Don't forget the war on terror. That one's not cheap.

    I've always loved the idea of declaring war on an abstract noun ...

     

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  39.  
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    A Dan (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 9:27am

    Re:

    What's funny is that the candidate who was saying he would use obscenity laws to go after porn, Santorum, was soundly defeated in the primary. Why would they then take up his crazy stance?

     

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  40.  
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    relghuar, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 9:29am

    Re: Re: Child pornography...

    Have you checked the link under 3rd argument? http://falkvinge.net/2012/05/23/cynicism-redefined-why-the-copyright-lobby-loves-child-porn/
    I think the point is even if there are plenty of things you could start with, not many of them actually carry the moral battering ram power to hide general censorship. Personally, I agree with that. Just mentioning child porn makes most people's critical thinking shut down on the spot...

     

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  41.  
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    RocRizzo (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 9:31am

    If porn is outlawed, only outlaws will have porn.

    Why is it that these "small government" RapeubliCONs want to create bigger government to take away our free speech?
    And why do they say that government is the problem, then when elected, go and prove it with their stupid ideas??
    Inquiring minds want to know.

     

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  42.  
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    Forest_GS (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 9:32am

    "The U.S. spends who knows how many prosecutorial and technical resources going after U.S. pornographers. A bunch of them get imprisoned. U.S. consumers keep using the same amount of porn as before."

    That about sums it up.

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 9:32am

    Both parties claim to be working towards a more open internet, but seem willing to scuttle that openness in reaction to hot-button issues or overly-friendly nudges from lobbyists.
    "open internet"...
    "hot-button issues"...
    "nudges"...

    Jesus, man, do you kiss your mom with that mouth?

    On a more serious note: sure, everybody gets pleasure from porn on the internet, but let me ask you something - does any one of you ever think of pleasuring the internet? Do you buy it flowers once in a while? Do you ever just cuddle with the internet? Do you have the decency to at least use a RIBBED VPN?

    I didn't think so.

     

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  44.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 9:32am

    If they want to protect children that much, let them make a separate Internet just for them and stop trying to ruin the one we already have.

     

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  45.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 9:36am

    Re:

    > Republicans, all for smaller government and
    > deregulation unless it's to do with sex,
    > marriage or religion.

    And it's just the opposite with Democrats. They're all about the government keeping out of people's lives when it comes to sex, marriage, and religion, but then turn around and want the federal government to micromanage absolutely everything else, to include determining how much of your own money you actually need.

     

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  46.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 9:37am

    The Question I Have

    is whether rum-knee is for polygamy or not. I think this is something he should be asked.

     

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  47.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 9:38am

    Re: Re: Huh?

    > I know of a lot of tube sites which I watch
    > on sandboxed web browsers in a virtual
    > machine, using a VPN, just to be safe.

    Safe from whom?

     

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  48.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 9:40am

    Re: Lobbyists?

    I agree.Politicians do love a good freebie.

     

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  49.  
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    Manok (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 9:41am

    There can be such an easier way to kill porn instantly, without all these difficult internet laws. Just raise the minimum age that the actors/models must have from 18 to 65...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    icon
    Forest_GS (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 9:43am

    Re: Re:

    It would be nice if there was a law that said you could get instant temp citizenship if you start a business on US soil, and permanent citizenship after a year of running the business.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 9:45am

    I don't think the worst case scenarios listed above will happen. At worst, a slightly more porn-restrictive law or 2 will be passed. Don't forget, Romney's VP is the budget-hawk Ryan; Ryan will not OK spending so much tax dollars when those same dollars are better used elsewhere.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 9:46am

    Re:

    That would increase "illegal porn" or usage of foreign porn, but it is an interesting idea...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 9:56am

    Re:

    tax dollars are better spent on hookers and coke.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 10:07am

    Re: If porn is outlawed, only outlaws will have porn.

    Pretty sure anyone who uses terms like RapeubliCON (or Demoncrap, or Oblamer or Rob-me or whatever) doesn't actually have an inquiring mind nor wants to know anything.

    Seriously, stop with the terrible pun-based euphemisms. It just makes you look stupid.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55.  
    icon
    DannyB (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 10:08am

    Re:

    In Bush's mid term election season, preventing gay marriage was said to be a national emergency.

    Funny how it wasn't and hasn't been a national emergency in non election years.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56.  
    identicon
    Chilly8, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 10:09am

    ISP-level filttering will never work. Romney has obviously never heard of VPNs. VPNs will render any filtering regime useless.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 10:11am

    Re: The Question I Have

    who cares about that shit, it is not that important

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58.  
    identicon
    Rocco Maglio, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 10:18am

    Here is the platform

    Here is the NY Time's copy of the republican platform. It does not say anything about filters.

    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/08/28/us/politics/20120812-gop-platform.html

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 10:25am

    Volokh's missing the point

    What's scary about the Republican proposal is not the things that the government could do to "vigorously enforce" the current pornography and obscenity laws.

    Under the current laws, most internet pornography is not illegal. More than that, the current laws against obscenity already tend to be enforced pretty vigorously -- mostly because any porn that actually crosses the line into illegality is nasty enough to horrify almost everybody.

    What the Republicans are talking about here is not, in fact, anything to do with enforcement. What they're talking about is redefining obscenity to include a lot of things that were previously classed as protected speech. And that is scary.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60.  
    identicon
    Gregg, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 10:46am

    Only Republicans say sex is dirty, yet how many Republicans get caught having affairs or their body parts tweeted around the internet?

    The Government should stay out of our bedrooms and off our computers.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61.  
    identicon
    Jasmine Charter, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 10:50am

    Give me...

    Give me a V.... Give me a P... give me an N...

    Put it together....

    V-P-N! V-P-N!

    Goooo..... VPN!

    (And I thought my cheering would never come in handy!)

    Seriously... while I'm not a porn-a-holic... what scares me is how some people will be put in charge of deciding what is and what is not appropriate...

    Reminds me of... hm.... let me think... the Iranian Morality Police maybe.... Chinese Firewall...

    How long until the U.S. government has us goosestepping...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 10:56am

    Re:

    I want some of what your smoking.

    Since when (other than Cheney)did any VP do anything other than play golf and collect Campaign brib...errr "contributions".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63.  
    icon
    Mads Halling (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 11:14am

    Re: Re:

    Let's declare a war on war!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64.  
    icon
    Palmyra (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 11:25am

    Re:

    Let's not forget;

    War on nonexistent WMD. Or to put it another way, "War for OIL.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65.  
    icon
    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 11:25am

    You can't legislate morality.

    And By God, we're going to spend the next 200 years running a repressive totalitarian regime to prove it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66.  
    icon
    gorehound (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 11:44am

    The Current GOP are truly a bunch of disgusting A-Holes.These guys do not want smaller Government and less debt.They just want to force this whole Nation into backwards thinking 19TH Century World.Read some Article on how their Current Platform is sounding like a Platform from 1812 not 2012.
    And yes after they ram thru their Porn BS they will next ram thru some IP BS for all those Big Donor Copyright Maximalists.
    Both Parties would love to be able to control the Internet and both will do what they can to accomplish this goal.
    I truly hate this Current Government and give them a nearly ZERO Approval.
    Stupid Corrupt GOP & Dems I will not be sorry to see the lot of you Tarred & Feathered as in the days of old.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67.  
    identicon
    hegemon13, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 11:56am

    Prohibition has worked SO well for alcohol, and then drugs, that why WOULDN'T we try it for pornography?

    (/sarc, for those have broken detectors)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 11:58am

    Porn Traffic

    About a third of all internet traffic is porn

    http://www.extremetech.com/computing/123929-just-how-big-are-porn-sites/2

    if Romney and his crowd want to take on that many users (many of them their own)...good luck.

    I don't think it's possible to stop it!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69.  
    identicon
    quawonk, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 11:58am

    GOP = God's Own Party. They want to install a theocracy.

    Anyone who votes for them deserves what they get.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  70.  
    icon
    Richard (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 12:01pm

    Dilbert

    Crack out the old Dilbert Cartoon

    http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/1996-01-23

    Note the date...

    Nothing new under the sun

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  71.  
    icon
    Aaron *Head* Moss (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 12:08pm

    Yeah, this sounds much like SOPA reborn. Now instead of shutitng down "infringing" sites without due process, it's shutitng down "smut" sites without due process.

    And who determines if it's "smut"?

    So much for smaller government.......

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  72.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 12:21pm

    Re: Here is the platform

    I couldn't get past the Freer America in the preamble.
    Freer as in we're not free enough?
    Freer than whom?

    Is this the home of the brave and land of the freer?

    Either you're free or not free.

    If you're free you don't need to be freer!

    I don't understand...Freer? What an odd word.

    Just one more reason I'm not a republican.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  73.  
    icon
    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 12:30pm

    Re: You imagine?

    I'm not sure who's reputation it is that I'm supposedly ruining, seeing as this post is largely a hypothetical discussion of how current obscenity laws might be enforced.

    But, I don't think there's so much a "factual" basis for my very hedged claim as much as there is a very slim distance separating requiring filtering software in every computer (which the purchaser may decide not to install -- which puts us right back to "filtering software exists IF someone wants it") to requiring the filtering be done at the ISPs to make it a little less "optional."

    If things were to go this far, I can see how pre-installed filtering software that can be activated or deactivated by the end user won't be enough to protect children from porn, etc.

    Volokh's second scenario pretty much comes to the same conclusion, so I'm not alone in besmirching the GOP and UK ISPs:

    So they unveil the solution, in fact pretty much the only solution that will work: Nationwide filtering.

    It’s true: Going after cyberporn isn’t really that tough — if you require every service provider in the nation to block access to all sites that are on a constantly updated government-run “Forbidden Off-Shore Site” list.


    That's in the post above. It deals with foreign porn sites but you really don't have to worry about them until you've already filtered out the stateside offerings.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  74.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 1:09pm

    Re:

    I can jack off in my basement dwelling much as I like!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  75.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 1:23pm

    Re:

    At this point, considering all the 'brilliant' moves they've made this election season, I really feel they should change their party motto to this:

    2012 republicans: 'We may really hate Obama, but damn if we won't do our best to get him elected.'

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  76.  
    icon
    Eric (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 2:00pm


    Romney declared that, if elected president, every new computer would have an anti-porn filter installed.

    I guess he thinks that he can make sure Linux boxes have that filter? Or just ban Linux?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  77.  
    identicon
    bob m, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 2:29pm

    Re: legal porn production

    California is the only state where making porno flicks is legal. We can thank Sandra Day O'Conner for giving us folks in California this benefit.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  78.  
    icon
    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 2:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Child pornography...

    If child porn was legalized, something else would be used as a scapegoat. Look at what's happening with the evil, evil piracy. Piracy alone isn't working any more so now they're talking about counterfeit drugs and military equipment.

    The system will be abused unless we keep a strict eye on it. This is not a good reason to legalize anything.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  79.  
    icon
    doubledeej (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 5:32pm

    Sigh...

    Sigh... another article by a leftist quoting an article from a extreme left organization creating FUD by taking a statement out of context and expanding its original intent 1000 X over.

    Can't believe anything you read on the Internet any more.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  80.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 6:13pm

    Jealousy

    Ive often felt the reason right wingers have so much resentment towards sexually liberated people is because they are so repressed themselves. This goes double for the politicians. Imagine the frustration: you are rich, powerful, surrounded by beautiful women and men willing to bed you, but you can't take advantage of it for fear of getting caught in violation of your party's morality platform.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  81.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 6:14pm

    Sideshow distraction

    This is all this is. Those in control of the Republican agenda don't really give a shit about porn and never have. They give a shit about protecting the ability of the wealthy to abuse the system at the expense of those less wealthy than they. And to do that they have to focus public attention on other issues based on the religious convictions of the manipulated middle class. They don't have to be successful at stopping porn. They just have to be successful at convincing the middle class that the Republican agenda is in their best interest when it is clearly not to anyone that has the ability to stop and think about things logically long enough to see through the charade.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  82.  
    icon
    Any Mouse (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 7:04pm

    Re: Re: The Question I Have

    Well, not to you, but obviously it is to someone if they are asking the question.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  83.  
    icon
    Any Mouse (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 7:19pm

    Re:

    Sex is dirty... if you're doing it right.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  84.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 7:33pm

    This is absurd. If you think for one second that Romney is serious about this then you don't understand politics. It's obviously another pre-election promise that is specifically designed to be one of those things that everyone is politically required to agree to in principle. Thus, Romney can trumpet his "righteous" stance and moral grounding without any opposition- he's just filling space in airtime that doesn't alienate anyone. The mistake is in thinking that he will ever follow through on this noble stance... It will just be forgotten after the election like all his other promises...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  85.  
    icon
    Wally (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 7:55pm

    I just want to say that in spite of the GOP's efforts, Sexually Transmitted Diseases like HIV/AIDS and Gauranga may have beaten them to shutting down major porn producers.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  86.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 9:18pm

    Curiously, Jenna Jameson is supporting Romney. Go figure.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  87.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 10:24pm

    Re: And What About the Bill

    It is worse than that. The US government is running at a massive deficit, and has been for years. So the crazy politicians have already spent far more money than they have got. They make it up by borrowing and printing more money. They have now got themselves (and the US taxpayer) into a situation of stupendously large debt. So they have no alternative but to print money. Of course, they put a pleasant-sounding spin on it by calling it "quantitative easing", but money printing is what it really is. Hello inflation.

    Inflation is the only thing holding up the US stock market. The investors have figured out that USA is heading for economic disaster, but they are hanging in there until things get obvious. Then there will be a reckoning. It will not be pretty. If you thought US politics is nasty and stupid now, you ain't seen nothing, yet. The 99% will cop it with low wages and unemployment. The 1% will be laughing all the way to the bank, as per usual.

    Neither the Rs or the Ds have the faintest idea how to fix it. Come on, you US voters, do your duty.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  88.  
    identicon
    Chilly8, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 11:16pm

    I wonder if the copyright lobby might have something to do with this. There are some youtube like sites that are meant for porn, but where other copyrighted movies have been uploaded from time to time, because Hollywood is not likely to look there for any pirated copies of their films.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  89.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 8th, 2012 @ 12:31am

    If it stops Steve Jones and John Steele from suing innocent people... hm. I don't know. If it had the above effect I'd imagine people could be behind it. You can't get sued for allegedly pirating something that's illegal to produce!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  90.  
    identicon
    Chilly8, Sep 8th, 2012 @ 3:47am

    DNS level filtering is not as difficult to do. One open-source filter, OpenDNS, uses DNS-level filtering. It simply directs request at the DNS level to a blocked-site page, not unlike what Sen. Leahy wanted to do with PIPA. OpenDNS filtering is included on Netgear wireless routers.

    I would imagine any nationwide smut-filter might also use a DNS level filter like what OpenDNS uses.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  91.  
    icon
    slander (profile), Sep 8th, 2012 @ 4:06am

    Re: Re:

    The other of the most blatantly hypocritical political parties being, of course, the Democrats...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  92.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2012 @ 7:42am

    Re: Give me...

    So, is the picture of James Randi on your website an ironic dig ?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  93.  
    icon
    Austin (profile), Sep 10th, 2012 @ 7:49am

    Blocking TPB

    Anyone else notice this could be a back-door method to block The Pirate Bay in the US? They have porn, some of it illegal in the US, and require no age verification (only a user account.)

    Sounds suspiciously like hollywood is willing to weaken IP laws if it takes down BitTorrent. After all, the vast majority of trackers also have a porn category and thus almost all of them would end up under such a filter.

    Personally, I am a single athiest. I am also an American citizen. Last but not least, I am a fucking nerd. Take away my porn and you might as well take away citizenship.

    On second thought, scratch that. I've been meaning to become Canadian for a while now. After all, 14 cents per CD-R is a small price to pay for healthcare and unfiltered internet.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  94.  
    icon
    jupiterkansas (profile), Sep 10th, 2012 @ 9:17am

    Re: Re:

    Gotta love single-issue voters.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  95.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2012 @ 4:22pm

    Re: Re: If porn is outlawed, only outlaws will have porn.

    Fucking thank you! That shit is old and needs to go away.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  96.  
    icon
    Niall (profile), Oct 22nd, 2012 @ 3:10am

    Re: Re:

    Yes, because God/Krishna/Allah/Yahweh/FSM forbid that you actually want to benefit from 'socialised' benefits such as roads, infrastructure, food & air standards, healthcare, social security net, edumacation, etc...

    Also, I've never understood how people who scream "Bogeyman!" at the federal government will happily give the same powers, and more, to the state & city governments...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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