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Virginia Politicians Looks To Tax Speech In The Form Of Porn In The Name Of Stemming Human Trafficking

from the rights-swap dept

Every once in a while, you'll come across stories about one government or another looking to censor or discourage pornography online, typically through outright censorship or some sort of taxation. While most of these stories come from countries that have religious reasoning behind censorship of speech, more secular countries in Europe have also entertained the idea of a tax or license for viewing naughty things online. Occasionally, a state or local government here in America will try something similar before those efforts run face first into the First Amendment. It should be noted, however, that any and all implementations of this type of censorship or taxation of speech have failed spectacularly with a truly obscene amount of collateral damage as a result. Not that any of that keeps some politicians from trying, it seems.

The latest evidence of that unfortunate persistence would be from the great state of Virginia, where the General Assembly will be entertaining legislation to make the state the toll booth operators of internet porn. The bill (which you can see here) was introduced by Viriginia House member David LaRock (and there's a Senate version introduced by State Senator Richard Black).

There is a new bill being proposed in the General Assembly that would lock all pornographic sites from your phones and computers, and the only way to unlock them is to pay the state $20. Virginia House Bill 1592 is also known as "The Human Trafficking Prevention Act." Lawmakers who proposed the bill said that by making pornography less accessible on the internet, it will reduce the amount of human trafficking.

It should go without saying at this point that attempts to tie human trafficking to the global pornography industry are specious claims at best. It also seems to have escaped those supporting this legislation that pornography, an entirely legal industry in America, is absolutely full of companies and providers that in no way are involved in human trafficking or any other illegal behavior, either. As you can imagine, the industry is actually heavily regulated and tightly controlled for the obvious reasons. This tax would impact their legitimate business as much or more than any nefarious party that might be impacted. Nothing screams great legislation like a bill that would punish the innocent and guilty alike.

Of course, there's also the fact that pornography, whatever you personally think of it, is certainly protected speech as well. And taxing protected speech is sort of a thing we don't do 'round these parts because, again, the First Amendment. And the people of Virginia aren't going to take kindly to having their rights infringed over specious claims.

“I think that’s a freedom we all have as Americans,” said Grace Owens. “I just don’t see the relevance at all.”

Others say it's not farfetched to link human trafficking to porn, but restricting all adult sites might be going too far.

“I feel there are a lot of side alleys you could go down, maybe only types of porn verses other types,” said a woman named Carrie.

Some people say it’s like the state is punishing you for looking at something perfectly legal that some find offensive.

“It’s like a sin tax, getting cigarettes or alcohol or anything else,” said Charles Plant.

And there's another side to this still. What this tax will essentially do is put the state of Virginia in the pornography business. After all, if it is collecting taxes and tolls for the service of porn, in some way it is itself monetizing that porn. It does this to some extent with alcohol and cigarettes, of course, except that those are physical products already subject to some form of sales taxation. A sin tax on those items, while still itch-inducing to those of us with a libertarian bent, makes more logical sense than a sin tax on internet streamed speech.

So, does Virginia really want to dive into the porn business while infringing on speech and the rights of consumers in the state, all in the specious name of preventing human trafficking?


Reader Comments

The First Word

Okay, as a massive pervert, I will admit wholeheartedly I have a bias in this argument (as arguably as those pushing it are massively sexually repressed IMHO). With that 'conflict of interest' out of the way...

How the hell is me drawing or writing pornography of fictional characters, even IF those works themselves involve human trafficking (just to make the argument as relevant as possible), supporting, promoting or abetting human trafficking anymore than a violent movie supports, promotes or abets violence? Should Breaking Bad run afoul of the law because of its focus on illicit drugs?

Lets say you successfully reduce the availability of pornography for most of your state. Do you honestly believe that this is somehow going to LOWER the demand for less ethical outlets of repressed sexual desire? Because you know, prohibition REALLY helped make everyone sober, and totally didn't result in everyone both making and drinking even more dangerous, less controlled alcoholic concoctions. Surely... SURELY making things harder on the law abiding producers of pornographic material isn't going to create a less scrupulous underground market with far fewer scruples.

This of course assuming people don't find a way around your filtering... cause you know... no teenager with minimal education in technological matters has ever bypassed a porn filter.

What the hell part of ANY of this makes sense?!

This is with me barely scratching the surface of the 'Why is a consentual act of sexuality between consenting adults treated as so indecent and evil when LITERALLY impossible amounts of violence and gore are considered perfectly acceptable for the public's consumption.' topic that I really wish wasn't a thing.
—Anonymous Coward

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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 1 Feb 2018 @ 8:53am

    "It's terrible, absolutely horrible! $20 and we'll look the other way."

    Lawmakers who proposed the bill said that by making pornography less accessible on the internet, it will reduce the amount of human trafficking.

    Yeah, no. The sites that are willing to let the state tax them are not likely to be the ones involving unwilling participants, whereas the ones who are aren't likely to be willing to make their books available, and will almost certainly be out of reach of them anyway.

    This is a cash grab, a 'we don't like it so you must pay to access it' sin tax, or a mix of the two, and will hopefully be shot down as such.

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    • identicon
      Agammamon, 1 Feb 2018 @ 6:46pm

      Re: "It's terrible, absolutely horrible! $20 and we'll look the other way."

      They're not taxing the sites. They're taxing each device that can receive internet.

      You pay the state $20 to have the state-mandate filter on your device (be it phone, computer, or somewhere in between) deactivated.

      And, of course, your name will go in a database that will be publicly searchable.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2018 @ 7:01pm

        Re: Re: "It's terrible, absolutely horrible! $20 and we'll look the other way."

        You can keep your name out of that database by wiping out and reinstalling Windows, and not paying the $20

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      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 1 Feb 2018 @ 7:05pm

        Re: Re: "It's terrible, absolutely horrible! $20 and we'll look the other way."

        True, that would make a lot more sense(relatively), thanks for the correction.

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  • icon
    hij (profile), 1 Feb 2018 @ 10:56am

    Partisan Gamesmanship

    Now that Virginia is almost evenly divided between two political parties it looks like politicians will try to find wedge issues that will divide their constituents while motivating the parties' bases to get engaged. Yay.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2018 @ 11:03am

    "While most of these stories come from countries that have religious reasoning behind censorship of speech, more secular countries"

    Secularism is the same as any religion. Follow our beliefs or suffer for it and will contain, to varying degrees, peaceable and radical elements.

    Government is just looking for an excuse to make money off of peoples vices and what better way to get support than to choose a divisive issue? You practically have one group on your side from the outset.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2018 @ 11:59am

      Re:

      "Secularism is the same as any religion."

      This makes no sense.

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

      • icon
        Roger Strong (profile), 1 Feb 2018 @ 12:07pm

        Re: Re:

        It sounds like a variation on the "atheism is a religion" claim. Evangelists who insist that a lack of religious belief is in itself religious belief.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2018 @ 12:53pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          That's what I figured also - and it makes no sense.

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

        • icon
          Cdaragorn (profile), 1 Feb 2018 @ 1:16pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          While I understand why those who choose to be atheists really really really don't want to believe that it is a belief, that doesn't make it what you're describing.

          Atheism is not a lack of religious belief. It is the belief that there is no God or other similar being. Trying to twist that into being a "lack of religious belief" is disingenuous at best. You have chosen to take up a belief on a religious subject. That by definition is a religious belief.

          Lack of religious belief would be someone that just doesn't have an opinion or belief either way. Atheism distinctly does not fit that description.

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

          • identicon
            Jordan Chandler, 1 Feb 2018 @ 1:28pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            By that idiotic rationale "Not golf" is a sport.

            By your idiotic rationale, not believe in Space Monkeys is the belief in lack of space monkeys.

            So you must be one of those non-Zeus god believers!

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2018 @ 1:28pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            For the last time. A lack of religious belief is not in itself a religious belief. Good lord the amount of bother you people go to, to try to twist a lack of belief into proof of a belief is mind boggling.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2018 @ 1:34pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Alright, I'll bite. Different people use different definitions of words. "Atheism" is a word that people get very particular about. Obviously, the definition you seem to be using is what would by others be classified as a "Strong Atheist" or some one who believes with 100% confidence that there is not and can not be a God.

            However, most people who call themselves "atheists" are not Strong Atheists. They don't believe with 100% confidence that there can't be one, only that they haven't seen any evidence to support the idea that there is one. There are Strong Atheists out there, but among people who call themselves atheists, they are a minority. It's really funny to me that it seems to be mostly religious people who use "Atheist" in the "Strong Atheist" sense, and mostly non-religious people who use it in the "Agnostic Atheist" sense.

            For more useful terminology that is clear about some one's position and how to classify people, use these terms:
            Gnostic Theist: Some one who is 100% convinced there is a god.
            Agnostic Theist: Some one who believes there is a god but admits the possibility of being wrong.
            Gnostic Atheist: Some one who is 100% convinced there is no god.
            Agnostic Atheist: Some one who does not believe in god but would admit the possibility of being wrong.

            Most people who call themselves atheists and those who call themselves agnostic would fall into Agnostic Atheist; as would babies and small children who don't even know what god is.

            Gnostic Atheists are what you're referring to by your usage of the word Atheist, but not necessarily what was meant by the person you replied to.

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

            • icon
              Roger Strong (profile), 1 Feb 2018 @ 2:09pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Even for all that, I wouldn't claim to fit into either of your Atheist definitions. If Cdaragorn tells me that there's an invisible elephant in the room, no evidence presented, I wouldn't believe it. But that doesn't make me a "Gnostic Invisible Elephant Denier" or an "Agnostic Invisible Elephant Denier."

              I find that the religious tend to say "You're atheist, so you believe _____!!!" Citing something that some atheist somewhere may have once actually said. Claiming that Richard Dawkins or someone else speaks for me.

              I'm simply "not religious."

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2018 @ 3:15pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                They're classifications not identities. And I kept the descriptions short, but not necessarily completely precise. Agnostic Atheist is that bucket you fall in. It's just another name for "lacks a belief in god" where the two different atheist buckets just differentiate between levels of knowledge. We are all Agnostic Atheists of whatever we have not not heard about, or anything we do not believe and haven't claimed to have proof of non-existence.

                If I asked you, "Do you believe in god?" and you answer anything other than yes, that would put you on the Atheist side of the 4 quadrant space. If you didn't answer "yes", and I asked the follow up question "Do you claim to know with 100% certainty that there is no god?" and you answered anything other than "yes", then you're in the Agnostic Atheist bucket. Like I said, it's also where babies fall since we can be sure that they don't know what god is, they can't answer yes to the first question, and again because they don't know what god is, they can't answer yes to the second question. It's a bucket that includes anyone who is just "not religious" as well as a few slightly related other things like some forms of Buddhism (where they don't believe in any sort of gods or afterlives, but merely practice the philosophy as a way of life) or some Jewish people are very religious in the sense that they participate in much of the culture and ceremony but who don't believe god/afterlife is real.

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

                • icon
                  Roger Strong (profile), 1 Feb 2018 @ 4:38pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  I would suggest that there are other classifications not covered above:

                  1) You're non-religious, going by the evidence, not taking anything on faith. Suddenly you find yourself in Heaven standing before God.

                  So you then believe in the existence of God. But this is entirely consistent with your previous stance; you've been handed the evidence, and adjusted your beliefs accordingly. But are you truly religious, since you're still not taking anything on faith?

                  2) You're non-religious, going by the evidence, not taking anything on faith. Suddenly you find yourself in Heaven standing before God.

                  You're *still* not religious. What you've been handed evidence of is a much more technologically advanced being. As above, you're still not taking anything on faith.

                  3) You've been raised without religion. You've never heard of any "god" claims. And so you're neither Gnostic nor Agnostic.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2018 @ 10:23pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Cases 1 and 2 are irrelevant. These terms are for classifying people here, not in heaven. Nor do these categories preclude the possibility of some one changing their position in this space.
                    In case 1, that's just some one going from atheist to theist, possibly from agnostic to gnostic depending on the degree of the certainty of their new found evidence.
                    In case 2, that's no even some one changing their position on this spectrum. These terms are usually used to refer to a person's knowledge and belief in the Judeo-Christian God. If that person found themselves in "heaven" and meeting a more technologically advanced being who was our creator, I think that most followers of the God of Abraham would agree that that is not the god they believe in. That person would remain an agnostic atheist.

                    I already mentioned that case 3 (what you've described is a good description of a baby) is an Agnostic Atheist. It takes some one who believes there is proof or is convinced with 100% certainty that God doesn't exist to go from agnostic to gnostic.

                    It might sound like the gnostic side includes almost no one on either side of Atheist/Theist, and that's correct.

                    Gnostic = with knowledge
                    Agnostic = without knowledge
                    Theist = with belief
                    Atheist = without belief

                    But if you still don't think everyone is classified by these terms, maybe they wouldn't well suit what you'd like to say, but these are what is meant by people who use them, and I think people more familiar with them would very easily be able categorize any person you might imagine into them.

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

          • icon
            That One Guy (profile), 1 Feb 2018 @ 1:47pm

            'Off', my favorite tv channel

            While I understand why those who choose to be atheists

            Belief, or lack thereof, is not a choice. You either believe something or you don't. Now you can pretend that you believe something, potentially even so much so that you eventually convince yourself that what you're pretending belief in is true('fake it till you make it' as I've heard it described), but for the most part you don't choose what you believe.

            It is the belief that there is no God or other similar being.

            False, though that can be added on top of the base 'lack of belief in one or more gods/deities', in a similar way that one could say that some theists believe in transubstantiation, reincarnation, or that eating pork is a sin, but none of those are requirements to be a theist.

            Is not believing in bigfoot the same as believing that there is no bigfoot? If someone tells me that they have a pet dragon and I say 'I don't believe you unless you can provide evidence' is that the same as me stating that I know they don't have one?

            You have chosen to take up a belief on a religious subject.

            A lack of belief is not a belief, anymore than 'bald' is a hair color.

            You have chosen to take up a belief on a religious subject. That by definition is a religious belief.

            ... what. Ignoring for a moment that not believing something is not the same as believing that it's false, by that definition if someone for example objects to religiously-motivated suicide bombings then their objection to that belief would itself be a religious belief, which is just insane.

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

          • icon
            Roger Strong (profile), 1 Feb 2018 @ 1:52pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            If you tell me that you believe there's an invisible elephant in the room, offering no evidence, it's not an act of faith for me to not blindly go along with your belief. Just the opposite, actually.

            It's not a denial of invisible elephants. It's saying "I see no evidence to support this claim, and so I won't base my decisions on it. But if you have evidence, by all means please present it."

            It's no different than a lack of faith in everything from horoscopes to perpetual motion machine and free energy claims. There's no religious motive, no act of faith, in not blindly believing in those either.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2018 @ 2:03pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              My favorite part of that insane kind of logic is that it makes every belief or lack thereof a religious belief.
              Proof:
              First, if every lack of belief is a belief in and of itself, then everyone believes in a lack of an infinite number of things they've never even heard of.
              If I secretly make up some entity, let's call it Schmord, then every one who's never heard of it has a belief in a lack of Schmord. And because no one knows what Schmord is, for all they know it could be a god. Which makes their belief in a lack of Schmord a religious belief.
              And if they claim that it doesn't count if they've never heard of it, then let me inform them "Schmord exists" and then ask "Do you believe in Schmord". If they answer anything other than "yes", then they have a belief in a lack of Schmord.
              Except in this case, their beliefs would be wrong, because as it turns out, Schmord is just a name for my computer.

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

              • icon
                Roger Strong (profile), 1 Feb 2018 @ 2:13pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours."
                - Stephen F Roberts

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2018 @ 3:02pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Yeah, that's a good simple quote rather than my own delve into exploring the consequences of the insane not-religion is a religion declaration masquerading as logic.

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

              • icon
                Dark Helmet (profile), 2 Feb 2018 @ 6:01am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                ALL HAIL SCHMORD! May he watch over us always....

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2018 @ 1:56pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Atheism is not a lack of religious belief. It is the belief that there is no God or other similar being.

            You sure convinced me. Let me say that as an atheist, I certainly also have the belief that you morons who worship the functional equivalent of Santa Claus are retarding the advancement of the gene pool, and society as a whole.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2018 @ 2:05pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Unfortunately, gene pools don't 'advance' so much as they 'change'. Evolution doesn't have a goal in mind. But I'd agree that organized religion has plenty of negative consequences.

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

          • icon
            Dark Helmet (profile), 2 Feb 2018 @ 5:57am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "Atheism is not a lack of religious belief. It is the belief that there is no God or other similar being. Trying to twist that into being a "lack of religious belief" is disingenuous at best. You have chosen to take up a belief on a religious subject. That by definition is a religious belief."

            This simply could not be more wrong. For someone to take a stance on a topic (i.e. a religious stance) there must be a proposition on the table for which the stance is taken. For the religious, that proposition is "There is a God" and, more commonly and importantly, "There is a personal God that cares about what I do, who I sleep with and in what position, how I prepare my food and what I eat, and how many times a day I pray. The religious, therefore, are basing their religious stance on that proposition.

            The atheist position is that there is no evidence that such a proposition is necessary or valid. There's simply nothing on the table about which to argue or side. The atheist position is that one ought not found a belief for something that lacks evidence for existence.

            It is NOT a religious stance in the argument over religion at all, it's the position that no such argument ought to exist to begin with.

            You REALLY need to understand the viewpoint of the atheist before you go around ascribing your own game-rules to their positions, or else you'll never get anywhere with them.

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

          • identicon
            JEDIDIAH, 2 Feb 2018 @ 8:14am

            Forget this "prince of peace" weenie.

            It's called a lack of "faith". I like the idea that I won't fade into oblivion when I die. I like the idea that some other alternative may be true. I just don't believe it.

            My fear of death doesn't overwhelm my intellect.

            And yes, I have faced death.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2018 @ 1:19pm

      Re:

      Yes, because just like secularism, all religions are all about making sure laws aren't based on religious dogma.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 2 Feb 2018 @ 9:35am

        Re: Re:

        Hahaha - good one.

        Laws based upon "religious freedom" are much desired among various religions. They hate us for our freedoms takes on new meaning.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 2 Feb 2018 @ 4:32pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Yes, there are some religious people who, I think rightly, desire religious freedom. But there are many Christians in the US who wish that the US was a theocracy, and there are and have been many theocratic governments.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2018 @ 11:06am

    Yes, it will miraculously stop human trafficking despite the fact that 49 other states and the rest of the world will still be capable of visiting these website unimpinged.

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

  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 1 Feb 2018 @ 11:09am

    Wikipedia: Governor of Virginia: Duties:

    At the beginning of every regular session, he or she must report the state of the Commonwealth to the Virginia General Assembly (both the House of Delegates and the Senate). He or she must convene the legislature when two-thirds of each house calls for a special session. The governor must ensure that the laws of the Commonwealth are faithfully executed by either signing, or allowing it to come into law, or vetoing, not allowing it to become law. They are responsible for the safety of the state, as they serve as commander-in-chief of the Virginia Militia.

    ....They are the commander-in-chief of Commonwealth wankers, responsible for faithful gatekeeping of porn...

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  • identicon
    Jordan Chandler, 1 Feb 2018 @ 11:25am

    How will it know?

    How will it know if it's a porn site?

    Do classic paintings of nudes count as porn?

    What happens when legitimate web sites get blocked?

    lol they're so stupid

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2018 @ 7:18pm

      Re: How will it know?

      if it is blocked, you use a VPN to circumvent that.

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

    • identicon
      Wendy Cockcroft, 2 Feb 2018 @ 7:25am

      Re: How will it know?

      Indeed. I hate porn, I think it's degrading but trying to ban a demand-side issue causes more problems than it solves. As my liberal friends would say, "Don't like porn? don't watch it."

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 2 Feb 2018 @ 9:39am

        Re: Re: How will it know?

        "Don't like porn? don't watch it."

        Yeah. But, the self righteous indignation will still get the headlines.

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      • icon
        The Wanderer (profile), 3 Feb 2018 @ 4:25am

        Re: Re: How will it know?

        To be fair, there's a reasonable argument to be made that the process of making porn inherently involves degrading and/or otherwise negative activities, and so permitting it to be made at all is a bad thing, regardless of whether or not one watches it oneself.

        I disagree with the premise of that viewpoint, but there are those who do agree with it, and the logic is consistent from that perspective.

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        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 3 Feb 2018 @ 6:47am

          Re: Re: Re: How will it know?

          To be fair, there's a reasonable argument to be made that the process of making porn inherently involves degrading and/or otherwise negative activities, and so permitting it to be made at all is a bad thing, regardless of whether or not one watches it oneself.

          How's that work, because I'm not seeing offhand how the mere act of filming would be degrading/negative unless it involved some puritanical, 'anything involving sex is inherently negative' angle.

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          • icon
            The Wanderer (profile), 4 Feb 2018 @ 4:21am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: How will it know?

            It's not the sex so much as the "exposing self to strangers" humiliation aspect and/or the "doing private things for money" economic/could-be-coercion aspect.

            I think. As I said, I disagree with the premise (I can see counterarguments to both of the aspects I cited just now, in fact), so I'm probably not the best person to explain what it is - but I can still see it, though I'm not managing to put it into words well right now. (I might do better on another occasion.)

            On consideration, I might want to retract the use of "reasonable".

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            • icon
              That One Guy (profile), 4 Feb 2018 @ 7:38pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How will it know?

              It's not the sex so much as the "exposing self to strangers" humiliation aspect and/or the "doing private things for money" economic/could-be-coercion aspect.

              Both of those only really seem to make 'sense' if you operate under the idea that actions involving the body are inherently humiliating/degrading though.

              What about 'exposing the body to strangers' is inherently 'humiliating' if you don't think that the naked body is somehow flawed and/or 'sinful'? So long as it involves informed consent on the part of both parties it's the choice of the one who's stripping down, and so long as they're okay with it I don't see a problem, any more than I'd see an issue with a model involved in a photo-shoot fully clothed.

              Likewise the 'doing private things for money', it's their body to make use of as they wish, and barring the idea that there's some inherent problem with a naked body and/or sexuality, not seeing an issue.

              Actual coercion, rather than just 'maybe' would of course change things up, but in that case the problem would be the lack of consent more than the actions involved, though forced use of the body would of course make it worse.

              I don't mean to come across as critical of you, from the sound of it you're trying to explain someone else's position, but I'm just not seeing it as presented.

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              • icon
                The Wanderer (profile), 5 Feb 2018 @ 4:58am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How will it know?

                I think it's possible to have the idea that actions involving the body (in the sense at hand) are inherently private, and thus that actions involving exposing those actions to strangers are inherently negative, without having the idea that the underlying "actions involving the body" are inherently negative. I.e., it's about privacy, not sex; the mindset would be something like "even if this person doesn't think these actions are degrading/humiliating, these inherently-private actions are still being made public, and so this person is being degraded/humiliated regardless of what that person thinks about it".

                I can certainly see your lack of seeing it! The counterarguments you gave to the ideas from my previous comments are pretty much the ones I mentioned seeing myself, and I suspect that this is on the edge of what I myself am (currently) capable of seeing. It's just that I can see a mindset which either does not see those arguments, or does not acknowledge them as valid; it's the reasons behind not so doing that I'm having trouble articulating.

                I have the sense that I'm also focusing on only a fraction of the mindset involved, so far here, and that even if I manage to explain it that may give an overly narrow impression of it. Unfortunately, this isn't a mindset I've spent long enough considering to have a full toolbox of explanations ready to hand...

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

                • icon
                  That One Guy (profile), 5 Feb 2018 @ 7:29pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How will it know?

                  the mindset would be something like "even if this person doesn't think these actions are degrading/humiliating, these inherently-private actions are still being made public, and so this person is being degraded/humiliated regardless of what that person thinks about it".

                  That seems to wade into the idea of 'your body isn't yours to do with as you wish', which is something I not only don't buy but very much object to.

                  If someone has their privacy violated without their consent and/or knowledge, then yes, I would agree that that is degrading and potentially humiliating. If they choose to make something that was private public however then I don't see how it's anyone's business but theirs, and fail to see the degradation/humiliation angle.

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

                  • icon
                    The Wanderer (profile), 6 Feb 2018 @ 5:31am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How will it know?

                    It does a bit, yes. That bears on the "inherently" bit; if whether something is (to be kept) private is up to the opinion of the individual, then it is not inherently (to be kept) private. To a certain extent, it becomes a matter of definitions.

                    Part of the problem is that this mindset seems to arise - at least in some cases, at least in part - from a complete inability to comprehend, on a relevant (probably subconscious) level, that/why/how someone could not think that sexual matters are and should be (to be kept) private.

                    Here, however, we're getting beyond the limits of my ability to speak on this subject - even to the inadequate extent I've been able to do that thus far.

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

                    • icon
                      That One Guy (profile), 6 Feb 2018 @ 6:35am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How will it know?

                      Fair enough, guess I'll have to chalk it up to yet another strange thing/position some people hold that I just do not get. Thanks for trying to explain it, even if I am still scratching my head on it.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 3 Feb 2018 @ 10:32am

          Re: Re: Re: How will it know?

          "the process of making porn inherently involves degrading"

          Doesn't have to - It depends - right?
          As not all videos of sexual activity are the same and such activity does not have to be degrading.

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

  • identicon
    Altaree, 1 Feb 2018 @ 11:49am

    Not a state.

    VA is a Commonwealth....

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2018 @ 11:59am

    Virginia is for lovers

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

  • icon
    discordian_eris (profile), 1 Feb 2018 @ 12:07pm

    Unconstitutional on its face. They know this, they all know this. Just like the Mormon Porn Act in Utah, people need to look for the real reasons behind this. The legislators are (presumably) intelligent enough to read their own proposed legislation, and to have their staffs research it's constitutionality. So either they know it is unconstitutional and simply seek to burden the state with millions in lawyers fees to unsuccessfully defend it, or they and their staffs are unable (or unwilling) to understand basic constitutional law. Either way, if this mockery gets passed, anyone who had anything to do with it need to go.

    My bet? Dies in committee. Publicity gained, political opponents smeared for not "thinking of the children", goal achieved. And fundraising goes way up.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2018 @ 12:21pm

    I guess it is time to publicize their browsing habits.

    Since anonymity is long dead, we should request the top sites for every politician who proposes or votes for these laws. I'm sure once their favorite fetish is exposed to the world, they will suddenly stop being so high and mighty and leave the internet alone.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 1 Feb 2018 @ 12:27pm

      Re: I guess it is time to publicize their browsing habits.

      Seems fair. If porn is such a terrible blight, and people have to let the state know that they are willing to pay to access it, it's only right that the public has some assurance in the form of verifiable and personally identifiable information on the browser history of politicians that the ones in charge are above such sinful activity themselves.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2018 @ 5:42pm

        Re: Re: I guess it is time to publicize their browsing habits.

        While we're at it, let's not forget that a few years ago the IP addresses of the Vatican and RIAA were respectively discovered to be downloading pornography and music.

        Since the authoritarian outlook of the site's usual critics insists that IP address evidence is absolutely irrefutable, I think we can go ahead and assume that they must be guilty of assisting human trafficking...

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

    • icon
      Ben (profile), 1 Feb 2018 @ 4:36pm

      Re: I guess it is time to publicize their browsing habits.

      Since the computers are public property, the browsing history of every computer owned by the states should be posted on a regular basis, maybe once a month. That should allow the automatic removal of sites which are somehow considered "privileged" (by whatever metric).

      Machine (MAC? IP address?), date time, and URL would be all that is needed. A FOIA-equivalent request would then be able to link the Machine to a location if something untoward was noticed (why was the chief of police's computer connecting to porntube.com?)

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2018 @ 12:28pm

    So um, how?

    Let's say that somehow this ends up getting passed. I mean, after all, stupider things have happened...

    Have they thought as to how this runs counter to law enforcement complaining about how encryption (specifically VPNs) make their jobs harder?

    Where is the law enforcement outrage when you need it?

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

  • identicon
    Whoever, 1 Feb 2018 @ 12:53pm

    The answer

    So, does Virginia really want to dive into the porn business while infringing on speech and the rights of consumers in the state,

    Yes. The qualifier about human trafficking is redundant.

    Authoritarian party strikes again.

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

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 1 Feb 2018 @ 1:52pm

    Many religions..

    For some reason there is a Mentality that SAYS if we abolish TEMPTATION we can all be Holy..
    I believe that TEMPTATION IS PART of life and we have to Experience it...It is OUR OWN MORALITY that we can resist.
    Let those that wish it, have it. It would give me a better chance into heaven..

    THE IDEA that certain things are/WERE/ALWAYS have been against MORALITY IS STUPID.. Even in the bible, God only ask 1 thing.."Dont eat the fruit of THAT TREE." aND THE 10 COMMANDMENTS..SAY NOTHING ABOUT any oF this..

    tHE "iM RIGHT, YOU ARE wrong." MENTALITY OF RELIGIONS IS GETTING us no where..

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2018 @ 1:55pm

    Keep your lady friends away from State Senator Richard Black. He basically just admitted that when he watches porn, he's inspired to participate in some aspect of human trafficking. Only someone without self-restraint would imagine that porn leads to or promotes human trafficking.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2018 @ 3:16pm

    Okay, as a massive pervert, I will admit wholeheartedly I have a bias in this argument (as arguably as those pushing it are massively sexually repressed IMHO). With that 'conflict of interest' out of the way...

    How the hell is me drawing or writing pornography of fictional characters, even IF those works themselves involve human trafficking (just to make the argument as relevant as possible), supporting, promoting or abetting human trafficking anymore than a violent movie supports, promotes or abets violence? Should Breaking Bad run afoul of the law because of its focus on illicit drugs?

    Lets say you successfully reduce the availability of pornography for most of your state. Do you honestly believe that this is somehow going to LOWER the demand for less ethical outlets of repressed sexual desire? Because you know, prohibition REALLY helped make everyone sober, and totally didn't result in everyone both making and drinking even more dangerous, less controlled alcoholic concoctions. Surely... SURELY making things harder on the law abiding producers of pornographic material isn't going to create a less scrupulous underground market with far fewer scruples.

    This of course assuming people don't find a way around your filtering... cause you know... no teenager with minimal education in technological matters has ever bypassed a porn filter.

    What the hell part of ANY of this makes sense?!

    This is with me barely scratching the surface of the 'Why is a consentual act of sexuality between consenting adults treated as so indecent and evil when LITERALLY impossible amounts of violence and gore are considered perfectly acceptable for the public's consumption.' topic that I really wish wasn't a thing.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2018 @ 3:25pm

      Re:

      > Because you know, prohibition REALLY helped make everyone sober

      It's exactly like trying to attempt prohibition. Or rather, it's like they've already banned alcohol (sex trafficking is already illegal), and now they're trying to ban all drinks other than water because they might be gateway drinks to drinking alcohol.

      While we're at it, we should eat Cornflakes to prevent masturbation http://mentalfloss.com/article/32042/corn-flakes-were-invented-part-anti-masturbation-crusade

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2018 @ 6:21pm

        Re: Re:

        Like I said, what are they going to do about people who just decide to wipe out and reinstall the operating system, and not pay the $20?

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

        • identicon
          Agammamon, 1 Feb 2018 @ 6:57pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          They'll require special ROM for phones sold in the state and it will become a felony to root your phone.

          And all the big carriers/manufacturers will jump on because, from their point of view, putting the censorware in *every* phone is easy, leaving it turned off in phones sold in other states is easy, and getting your hardware locked to their service and whatever OS they decide to support is a great ROI.

          It'll probably be classed as a DCMA violation (because all sorts of industries love how the DCMA allows them to fuck over their customers) or a CFAA violation. Both allow them to bring the Feds into the picture.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2018 @ 7:03pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            If they arrest you for rooting your phone, you just post bail that not appear in court.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2018 @ 7:06pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Not if you periodically wipe your phone obliterate evidence of what you did.

            No evidence = NO CASE

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2018 @ 8:35pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            This does not work, however, for personal computers. What I was talking about there is buying a new copy of Windows and reinstalling the operating system.

            That is something that states cannot stop.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2018 @ 10:16pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            CFAA maybe, but not DMCA

            In order for it to be a crime under the DMCA, you have to be doing it for financial gain.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2018 @ 10:29pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              One other thing about the enforceability of this down the road will be if Calexit ever suceeds

              Someone could offer software to get neutralize the filters, from a server in an independent California, and Virginia would not be able to do anything about it.

              If Calexit should ever happen, web sites based in the new country will be only subject to California law. The laws of the remaining United States will not apply in the new country.

              That means that the DMCA, and other laws will no longer apply to Internet company in the new country. US laws will no longer apply to any Internet company in California, if Calexit happens.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 2 Feb 2018 @ 11:50am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            It is not a CFAA violation to bypass filtering. If it were, half the teenagers in America would be felons.

            When I ran my online radio station, and provided a proxy to so that people could bypass workplace filtering, so they could get my station from work, I did see a lot of traffic on my proxy coming from high schools in the United States, mostly going to social media sites.

            Those teens were not violating the CFAA by using my proxy to bypass the filters in their schools.

            In short, bypassing filtering does not violate the CFAA.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2018 @ 8:14pm

        Re: Re:

        I have to say, your analogy works better than my prohibition one. Kudos! :D

        Also, holy **** I made First Word comment! :D That's a first! Glad my healthy, harmless thought crime ridden perverse mindset is finally contributing positively to a comment section conversation rather than getting me flamed to hell and back XD

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2018 @ 6:06pm

    You just use a VPN to get around the blocking.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2018 @ 6:08pm

    That can be circumvented, on computers, by going out and buying a new new copy of Windows, or whatever OS you are using, and then re-installing the operating system. There is no way this can be stopped.

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

    • identicon
      Agammamon, 1 Feb 2018 @ 7:04pm

      Re:

      That's OK though - then its just an excuse to levy a $20 fee on the sale of all internet capable devices, period.

      Buy a new computer - extra 20 bucks. Buy a router - 'nother 20 bucks. Add in an ethernet card - 'nother 20 bucks. Wifi enabled smart tv - 'nother 20 bucks. Grandma's Jitterbug - can be used as a mobile hotspot so 'nother 20 bucks.

      And of course, 5 years later the pols will be scratching their heads. 'Why' they will ask each other 'why are we not getting money hand-over-fist here?' one will ask plaintively. 'I'M LOSING JOBS RETAIL ELECTRONICS JOBS LIKE CRAZY IN MY CONSTITUENCY!!11!!' another will wail. 'How come everyone drives to Marlington to buy computers now?' they will ponder.

      And in the end the solution they will come up with is to send the state police across the border to get the license plate of and then arrest those who buy 'bootleg' electronics out of state.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2018 @ 7:17pm

        Re: Re:

        However, the state cannot stop you from using a VPN. I could see VPN sales taking off if this goes through, to get around this.

        Since businesses use VPNs for secure remote access, VPNs cannot be outlawed, otherwise busiesses will leave Virginia

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2018 @ 7:23pm

        Re: Re:

        Operating systems, on personal computers, are quite different. Reinstalling the operating system is quite different than rooting a phone.

        All someone would need to do is to, say, download Linux, and install that on their machine, and, voila!!, no more filter.

        I could see Unix and Linux starting to take off if this goes through, and there is no way that the state of Virignia could stop that.

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

        • icon
          Avatar28 (profile), 2 Feb 2018 @ 12:44pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Nah, even if it came preinstalled on Windows it's not likely you wouldn't be able to remove it. Aside from the whole blow it away and reinstall a clean copy option if you have local administrator access it's killable.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 2 Feb 2018 @ 4:01pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Quite correct. There is no way the state could stop you from wiping out Windows and reinstalling.

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

            • icon
              The Wanderer (profile), 3 Feb 2018 @ 4:36am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              As a counterexample, I point you to Secure Boot, and the example of Windows RT.

              When Secure Boot is enabled on a computer, it will refuse to begin booting of any OS which is not signed by a cryptographic key that's known to the firmware (BIOS, UEFI, whatever applies). It was introduced by Microsoft along with the release of Windows 8, as a way to improve security and/or reduce piracy (exactly which was the main motivation is not entirely clear).

              When Microsoft released Windows 8, their hardware-certification program for "works with Windows 8" came with a mandate that Secure Boot be included. The reason we can still put Linux on a computer that comes with Windows today is that the mandate also required that it be possible for the end user A: to disable Secure Boot via the firmware, and B: to update the list of keys included in the firmware.

              However, they only mandated that for x86-compatible hardware. For other hardware, such as ARM devices, they did not; in fact, IIRC, they specifically required that such things not be possible.

              Windows RT is built to run on that other hardware, and if there's any way to bypass Secure Boot on that hardware and get any other OS running on something that comes with Windows RT, I've never heard about it.

              IIRC, the mandate that Secure Boot be disable-able and that it include a way to add to the valid-keys list was dropped with Windows 10, but most if not all manufacturers still include those features - if only out of inertia. There's nothing requiring that they have to continue to do so, however, especially not if the government were to start requiring that they stop.

              In theory it would be possible to bypass the Secure Boot requirement by replacing the firmware with a custom firmware that doesn't enforce Secure Boot. Even leaving aside how difficult it could be to create such a firmware that's compatible with any given motherboard in the first place, however, that approach is easily defeated by making the firmware-update functionality (which itself is built into the firmware) employ a similar signing requirement on the prospective replacement firmware; it wouldn't surprise me if many or even all manufacturers nowadays already include that.

              Basically, if a government wants to prevent anyone from booting an un-approved OS, all they have to do is prohibit the hardware makers from including firmware that will permit loading any such OS. The technical challenges are already solved.

              (Building your own hardware could still work around the problem, of course, but the requirements which that necessitates - including the infrastructure to actually make the equipment - make it prohibitively impractical, especially if you need to do it without the government noticing.)

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

  • identicon
    Agammamon, 1 Feb 2018 @ 6:43pm

    I wonder if anyone in the legislature has ever looked at a map.

    Every point in Virginia is less than a hundred miles from the state border. Its, literally, just a day's trip to run down to Greesnboro or up to Charleston and get a phone there.

    Or people can just order one to be delivered to their home while providing a false service address to get service started and then transferred.

    So, unless the State of Virginia is going to seize control of the internet infrastructure inside the borders of the state (and, *somehow*, catalog all the pornographic sites and keep that catalog up to date in the face of VPNs) then all this is going to do is the same thing that the 'wet/dry country' divide has done in other states - close all the phone sellers in the state and see the border lined with phone stores.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2018 @ 8:09pm

      Re:

      So true,

      When they tried to get a measure on the ballot in Colorado to prohibit the sales of mobile phones to under 13s, that would have never worked.

      Denver, where a lot of Colorado's population lives, is only 102 miles from Cheyenne. A parent, who, say, wanted to buy a phone for their 12 year old could have drive the 102 miles to Cheyenne to buy a phone for them, and there is nothing the State Of Colorado would have been able to do.

      That is pretty much why that went nowhere fast. There would been nothing to prevent a parent from driving to Cheyenne to buy a phone for their under 13.

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

      • icon
        Avatar28 (profile), 2 Feb 2018 @ 12:45pm

        Re: Re:

        What would stop a parent from walking into AT&T and just buying a phone without saying oh it's for my kid? It's not like they're going to make you take a lie detector. Oh, you want to add another line of service? Great! Right this way please.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 2 Feb 2018 @ 3:59pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          The Colorado statute would have required the the store to ask, and lying about it would have been a criminal offense, which is why a lot of Denver residents would have driven the 102 miles to Cheyenne to buy a phone.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2018 @ 8:12pm

      Re:

      Also, companies like MetroPCS do not require a home address to be on file. You just go buy a phone, pay the $15 for the phone to activated, and you are in business.

      So MetroPCS in another state is not required to follow Virginia law.

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

  • identicon
    oliver, 1 Feb 2018 @ 11:40pm

    Hey TD
    Do I have to do everything here...
    All those comments and not one of them a Simpsons quote that fits?
    Cue H.Lovejoy..... "Would anyone think of the children....?"

    Suck on that Virginia!

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

  • identicon
    Giglameash, 2 Feb 2018 @ 4:43am

    Richard Black strikes again.

    There isn't anything Mr. Black wont' do to further his Christian beliefs. In the apring of 2016, he traveled to Syria to thank Bashar al-Assad for "protecting Christians."

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

  • identicon
    Altaree, 2 Feb 2018 @ 5:23am

    They are just going to add 40$ to my monthly spend.

    Two lines from the bill:

    Prohibits the distribution or sale of any product that makes content accessible on the Internet unless such product possesses an operating digital content blocking capability that renders obscene content inaccessible. Alternatively, the bill provides that such person may distribute or sell such products without the digital content blocking capability if he pays a fee of $20 for each product sold or distributed.

    So, if you can't create a perfect porn filter, you must charge $20. I have a cell phone and cable internet. Those two companies would just add a $20 fee and call it a day.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Feb 2018 @ 6:52am

    Good luck.

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

  • icon
    dolz (profile), 2 Feb 2018 @ 9:45am

    Just great

    Now we have to pay for the privilege of watching our politicians screw us over.

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

  • icon
    nasch (profile), 2 Feb 2018 @ 11:53am

    LaRock

    introduced by Viriginia House member David LaRock

    Sounds like a porn name.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Feb 2018 @ 2:22pm

    Commonwealth

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


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