The Trial of John Stagliano

This week's momentous obscenity case shows that Obama's Justice Department is no different than Bush's when it comes to pornographic speech.

It is business as usual in government, despite a president who was elected with a promise of hope, change, and the end of, well, business as usual.

At a conference of the nation's governors in Boston this past weekend, the main topic of conversation was the country's ongoing economic woes. Above all, the governors say, their states need jobs. California may be the headline basket case, with an unemployment rate of 12.4 percent, but my home state of Nevada is even worse—a whopping 14 percent.

So you would think a small businessman like John Stagliano would be held up as a model of entrepreneurship in the United States of 2010. Stagliano built his Southern California company from scratch into a business now worth millions, creating dozens of full-time jobs with benefits (and providing well-compensated work to hundreds of others, too). Included among those jobs were hires necessary for the specific purpose of compiling the bureaucratic paperwork his industry is required to maintain by various levels of government.

Despite the red tape, Stagliano's California business, Evil Angel, has thrived. Then in 2004, Stagliano invested millions into the Las Vegas economy with an original, dance-centered production show on the Strip. The Fashionistas ran for years, far outlasting better known competing Broadway-generated titles such as Avenue Q, Spamalot, and Hairspray. The show proved a surprise favorite with critics, myself included, who were awed by the artistically ambitious choreography, costuming, and tight storyline told through music and dance.

I became friends with Stagliano after he closed Fashionistas to concentrate on Evil Angel, and so it seemed unlikely I would ever be called upon to write about him again. But then in 2008 something shocking happened: Stagliano was charged by the United States government with enough crimes to potentially put him in prison for the remainder of his life. How could this happen?

Because outside Vegas, Stagliano's day job is as a pornographer. Indeed, within the subculture of pornography, Stagliano is revered for being the originator of the "gonzo porn" genre, in which the viewer is brought more directly into the proceedings, often via performers themselves holding cameras. Stagliano has won numerous artistic awards from his indutry peers, almost too many to count. His movies are taught in graduate film programs, and psychiatrists have used them to treat patients with sexual issues.  

Evil Angel not only distributes Stagliano's films, but also the work of other directors he hand-picks. In this, Stagliano turned out to be as good a connoisseur as director. By 2008, the year he was charged with obscenity, Evil Angel was perhaps the most successful adult DVD distributor in the country.

Stagliano was an economics major in college, and with Evil Angel he transformed the business model of porn. Before Evil Angel, traditional adult companies gave directors a flat budget for making a movie, then pocketed the profits. What was not spent on the actors, set, and production became the director's take-home pay. Once the director turned in the completed movie, he no longer held any financial stake in the project. The obvious economic incentive was to make the cheapest porn movies possible.

Stagliano instead entered into partnerships with his directors: They paid to make their own movies, Evil Angel paid for distribution and marketing, and the profits were split between the two. The result was that many of the best directors in the adult movie world immediately partnered with Evil Angel in order to maintain ownership of their work and have a unique chance at earning royalties from DVD sales. That a libertarian insight underlines Evil Angel's business practice is no accident; Stagliano is a committed libertarian and a donor to the non-profit Reason Foundation, which publishes this website.

Stagliano has operated Evil Angel this way for decades, which means he must comply with complicated government regulations set out specifically for his work. (Even his current prosecutors make no claim to the contrary.) Though the Justice Department in this case is essentially arguing that pornography is just a synonym for obscenity, that would seem to conflict with government rules such as the 2257 rule, a 1980s-era regulation requiring companies like Evil Angel to maintain documents proving that all of their performers in sexual videos are adults. Doesn't 2257 imply that pornography with adults, made for adults, is not a crime? Or is all pornography now obscenity? 

The answer, and its history, are complicated. Obscenity law in the United States evolved piecemeal after the courts attempted to specifically define an obscenity exception to the First Amendment for the first time in 1957's Roth v. United States. The Roth case, with a majority opinion written by Justice William Brennan, created the first standard for distinguishing obscenity from First Amendment-protected expression: Whether "to the average person, applying contemporary community standards, the dominant theme of the material taken as a whole appeals to the prurient interest." This definition did not work.

In the decades since Roth, judges have tried and failed to develop an objective test separating porn from obscenity. The problem is, quite simply, defining what obscenity means. Currently the courts use the Miller test, which dates back to 1973's Miller v. California, again applying "community standards," though carving out protection for works that have "serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value." Miller, like Roth, is more than a bit antiquated in our Internet age.

But doubts about the efficacy of obscenity tests long pre-date the Web. As the late Justice Brennan, who kicked things off with Roth, eventually came to conclude in a withering 1978 dissent:

I would place the responsibility and the right to weed worthless and offensive communications from the public airways where it belongs and where, until today, it resided: in a public free to choose those communications worthy of its attention from a marketplace unsullied by the censor's hand.

In other words, let the consumers and not the courts decide what is too obscene for a community. That bit of judicial wisdom has yet to take legal root.

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  • ||

    That dude actually makes a LOT of sense when you think about it.

    Lou
    www.privacy-tools.es.tc

  • Byron||

    Now's not the time, bot.

  • JB||

    So why isn't reason sponsoring a protest with 50 people outside the court holding signs that say "Obama is a Cunt"?

    Very easy way to defend the first Amendment and get your point across dramatically.

  • Fdo||

    Probably because Obama had nothing to do with it.

    This happened months before Obama even took power. This website even reported on it before Obama was sworn in.

    http://reason.com/archives/2008/09/07/obscenely-prosecuted

  • ||

    Fdo so you know the DOJ can drop a suit whenever they please no matter who initiated the suit.Stop apologizing for that whole wheat cracker.

  • Fdo||

    You are being pretty offensive to a guy who you expect to clean up after Bush's mess.

  • JB||

    Your wish to lick Obama's asshole is offensive.

  • ||

    I'm not gonna post Pete Townsend lyrics to tweak liberals proressives.

    I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
    Take a bow for the new revolution
    Smile and grin at the change all around me
    Pick up my guitar and play
    Just like yesterday
    And I'll get on my knees and pray
    We don't get fooled again
    Don't get fooled again


    OK, I lied.

  • ||

    Prorecessives makes some sense to me as a new label.

  • ||

    The Republican obsession with Porn has always been one of the most embarrassing and indefensible things they do. But, now the Democrats are just as bad.

    As much as I would like to blame the Dems on this, I think as much as anything it is the product of DOJ being a completely out of control entity. This "investigation" has probably been ongoing for years. DOJ just wants to get in the papers and throw people in jail for something anything they can make work. That is a constant no matter which party is in charge.

  • Don't squeeze the Charmin||

    Perhaps it is a failure of attempting to define and enforce "community standards", other than cases of robbery, fraud, trespass and misrepresentation.

  • ||

    The Dems have always been just as bad. I was in Minneapolis when the Dem-dominated city council unanimously banned pornography (whatever THAT is). It was vetoed by our clear-thinking, very liberal mayor.

  • ||

    I think Democratic politicians may, on average, be a tiny bit less awful on free speech that is pornographic than R politicians, but on this issue there is essentially just the Republicrat coalition.

  • Tim||

    "pornographic speech."

    You mean moaning and grunting?

  • A is Awesome||

    An "uhhh, oh yeah" is worth a thousand words.

  • ||

    Harder! Deeper! Faster!

  • ||

    Change! Hope!

  • ||

    "pornographic speech."

    You mean moaning and grunting?

    Rookie. Dirty talk during foreplay and fucking is an art that can make her slippery as hell.

  • ||

    hi internet alpha male

    how are you today

  • jonathan||

    Hi there embittered internet virgin boy! Internet alpha whatever, he's absolutely right. Go have sex and find out... No, doesn't work with sheep or the family dog, you'll have to work a little harder than that..

  • ||

    I understand why people object to public things like peep shows or strip clubs. They are a public nuisance. They don't bother me but I can at least understand how they would bother some people.

    But I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone would care what someone is downloading and watching in the privacy of their own home. How can "community standards" reach something that travels digitally through a phone line into someone's private home? It makes no sense.

  • ||

    This is about power, not porn.

  • Feministing Regular||

    Porn IS power. Patriarchal power with a boner.

  • ||

    Ultimately yes. But these people delude themselves with a lot of rationalizations.

  • ||

    This is modern Amurka. Success MUST and WILL be punished.

  • ||

    I understand why people object to public things like peep shows or strip clubs. They are a public nuisance. They don't bother me but I can at least understand how they would bother some people.

    The objectionable thing is the public advertising in contexts where the easily shocked may be expected to be passing. A discreet private club with no blatant outdoors advertising, or anything on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, are not public nuisances.

  • Don't squeeze the Charmin||

    If the press and the public cannot see the evidence, how will we know if the trial is fair?

    Has the material in question been banned?

  • ||

    "Enforcement is necessary in order to protect citizens from unlawful exposure to obscene materials."

    WTF? Seriously, what does that even mean? Does pornography hide and buses and expose itself to unsuspecting citizens?

    This is actually more sinister than the old, "pornography is immoral" arguments of religious people. This is the bastard evil step child of the nanny state liberals and the no fun evangelicals. If you listen to fuckwads like Dr. Phil, you would know that viewing pornography is just like having an affair. And the feminists will tell you that viewing pornography will make you into a rapist. The stuff is worse than drugs they will tell you. This is where that kind of thinking takes you.

  • Tim||

    How can the prosecutors dare to show all that porn to the jury? They might start raping right there in the courtroom.

  • ||

    I worked for the law firm that represented Playboy before SCOTUS on the case where, basically, they were being sued for not scrambling their televised content enough. The lead attorney on that case said that "porn day" at the court was interesting.

    Trivia point: Chief Justice John Roberts consulted on that case when he was a partner at the firm.

  • People for Milk Enemas||

    People who enjoy milk enemas are a minority just as much as homosexuals. We ought to be able to get married or anything else.

  • wingnutx||

    They really ruin an otherwise decent fuck flick with that sort of thing :|

  • Coeus||

    I ran across that the other day in an otherwise "vanilla" porn. No anal, no S&M, but a milk enema near the end. Confused the fuck outta me. Is this shit getting more common?

  • People for Ethical Analingus||

    Maybe they were sneaking it past. Just imagine if someone had to inspect it all.

    Someone like Chad could be hired for this job, perhaps?

  • Max||

    Obama has to pick his fights, don't you think? Imagine how the Tea Party crowd would react to Obama defending pornography. They already think he's a Muslim and the anti-Christ.

  • ||

    yeah because everyone is screaming for pornography convictions and dropping a five year old case would have made so much news. Shut the fuck up Edward.

  • ||

    Hear, hear

  • Max||

    But just imagine if the Obama moved to drop the case, and it was picked up. All hell would break out on the religious right and even among segments of the libertarian right. What would Ron Paul say?

  • ||

    He wouldn't say anything you fucking retard.

  • Max||

    Are you sure? Ron Paul is a pretty devout Christian and has said that the founding fathers envisioned a "robust Christian nation." I doubt Dr. Paul would want pornography to be part of his America.

  • Subsidize Me!||

    Amazingly, one can find something objectionable without trying to prohibit its use or publication.

    The rest of the world isn't filled with nanny-state progressive do-gooders, you dickwad.

  • Max||

    But isn't Ron Paul in favor of restricting immigration. His son Rand even wants to construct an i=underground electric fence on the U.S.-Mexican border. My bet is that Ron Paul would vote to outlwa pornography faster than you can sau Ayn Rand. Forget Obama, pornography isn't even a good issue for you libertarians to take up if you're really trying to make headway with middle America. How nuch does outlowaing pornograohy affect the average person?

  • ||

    "I doubt Dr. Paul would want pornography to be part of his America."

    Asuch as I like Dr. Paul, it isn't his America

  • ||

    Asuch= as much

  • ||

    Max, the Craphole, Ohio village idiot is arguing that Obama is a gutless coward who won't stand up for pronciple if it might cost him votes.

    He may be right, see Gitmo for exhibit A.

  • Max||

    Pronciple?

  • Subsidize Me!||

    He meant that, but he's too stupid to say it.

    Teabaggers and religious types interfere so much with his brain-bucket, so when he means to use his words to say Obama would lose support from the free-speech members of his constituency, all that comes out is "hurr durr teabaggers durr hurt."

  • Subsidize Me!||

    Whoops, meant "free-speech sensitive," instead of "free speech."

  • LarryA||

    But just imagine if the Obama moved to drop the case, and it was picked up. All hell would break out on the religious right and even among segments of the libertarian right.

    Which would hurt Obama how? It’s not like either group is currently short of issues.

  • Subsidize Me!||

    I've got an idea: gonzo government.

    You could watch yourself get ass-raped, sans lube, from the perspective of such amazing and enlightened autocrats as Eric Holder! And Nancy Pelosi! The Scalito Doubleteam!

    And best of all... Is it a man? A woman? No, it's a Kagan!

  • Elena Kagan||

    Many people ask me, "What is pornography?"

  • ||

    RELEASE THE KRAGEN!

  • ||

    How can "community standards" reach something that travels digitally through a phone line into someone's private home?

    I don't even know how you define the "community" in cases like this. I don't see how your local burg is a relevant community for something that travels through the intertubes to your computer, since they aren't affected at all.

  • ||

    Neither do I. If anything your community is defined by the web rather than the physical community around you. I would be more sympathetic to an obscenity case where someone hacked into a site directed at children or old ladies and dumped a bunch of porn onto it than this case.

  • Old Lady||

    I love the stuff you fucking agist.

  • Don't squeeze the Charmin||

    The little old ladies might like it. Who are you to judge ;)

  • ||

    "Community" was defined by the courts as the state. Now, of course, with teh internets, it makes even less sense.

  • ||

    "Community" was defined by the courts as the state.

    OK, fine. Now, how do I identify the community's "standards"? Remember: the government is not the community.

  • Tim||

  • A is Awesome||

    "This is a perfectly useless discussion," said Eve Layton. "No intelligent person believes in freedom nowadays. It's dated. The future belongs to social planning. Compulsion is a law of nature. That's that. It's self-evident."

    My favorite book quote.

  • ||

    From what book?

  • dave c||

    The Fountainhead.

  • ||

    Thanks.

  • ||

    I'm no fan of pornography or pornographers, and I don't think much of people who peddle alcohol in low income neighborhoods either.

    I just don't understand why my opinion should make any difference when it comes to other people's rights.

    No minors involved? No fraud? Then why is this a crime?

    Sometimes politicians are worse on issues they're afraid to be seen as soft on. ...like when Bill Clinton executed that retarded kid in Arkansas to show he was tough on crime.

    I'm sick of standing up for pornographers. That's supposed to be the government's job. Enforcing people's rights no matter people think. That's President Obama's job.

    You're shirking your responsibilities with this, President Obama. You're supposed to protect this guy, not prosecute him, you slacker. Do your freakin' job.

  • ||

    As a reformed conservative now firmly in the libertarian camp (FUCK LIBERALS!!) I will proffer the same advice about porn as I do about guns, totally irrespective of what recent "losses" or "victories" we might have achieved or be about to suffer : get it while you can. Once they take your second amendment, they are gonna take your first. No reason not to... Is this the only website that actually sees that all 10 of the bill of rights amendments are referring to protections of individuals and limiting government? Does anyone - besides Tony and Chad and Max - NOT see how they are all tied together like... like... like a JENGA TOWER!??!?!

  • MNG||

    Sort of like a Tower of Paranoia

  • ||

    Good, Max. The constitution is just a paranoid rave to prevent D's and R's from having things to suit their immediate mood.

  • ||

    Good, Max. The constitution is just a paranoid rave to prevent D's and R's from having things to suit their immediate mood.

  • Worst Best Friend Ever||

    Kunta Kinte, relax. You are being paranoid. Nobody wants to make you their slave. It's 1786 for fuck sakes! Get on that boat. Go to the New World! But most of all, have fun.

  • The Gobbler||

    First the came for the projectile lactators and I said nothing as I did not lactate.

    Then they came for the peeing Lolitas and I said WTF???

  • ||

    Slightly off-topic: Polanski free, Swiss reject US extradition request

    Roman Polanski was declared a free man on Monday after Switzerland rejected a U.S. request to extradite him to be sentenced for having sex in 1977 with a 13-year-old girl.

    The Swiss government blamed the decision on U.S. authorities, saying they had failed to address defense arguments that the 76-year-old filmmaker had actually served his sentence before fleeing Los Angeles three decades ago.

    So it appears the problem this time was being too unresponsive.

  • ||

    That sounds pretty lame. I can't imagine the U.S. didn't touch on that issue at all.

  • ||

    What's lame to me is that the Swiss court even considered that. I thought an extradition hearing was supposed to just verify that this person is actually the one who was charged in the original country and that was it (barring any concern that the charges were politically motivated, cruel and unusual punishments awaited, etc). The Swiss court shouldn't be delving into the facts of the court case.

  • People for Milk Enemas||

    Free Roman Polanski!

    What makes the U.S. think they can tell the Swiss and the French what to do?

  • ||

    they had failed to address defense arguments that the 76-year-old filmmaker had actually served his sentence before fleeing Los Angeles three decades ago.

    What utter horseshit.

    His sentence is a matter of record.

    The time served is a matter of record.

    The fact that he fled while out on bail is a matter of record.

    You'd think if there was one thing the Swiss could do, it would be the math.

    I'm guessing this is the Swiss sticking their thumb in Uncle Sam's eye for his thuggery on the whole bank secrecy thing.

  • ||

    Pretty much. At this point, it is up to the family if they want any justice. If I were the girls father, I would fly over there, blow his balls off and fly back to the US to fight extradition. I would make sure I found a really conservative rural town to live in and fight the case.

  • ||

    You'd still do it after the girl AND the mother gave Polanski permission way back when?

  • ||

    They gave Polanski permission to take photographs of her. They didn't give permission for her to pose nude. He also forcibly ass fucked her. Do a google search and read her original statement. It is appalling. Polanski is a serious criminal.

  • shrike||

    We agree for once.

    Polanski should have done 5-10.

  • ||

    I went and read the editorial written by the victim. She wants this whole episode finished. Who am I to argue with her?

  • ||

    I don't you know who *you* are, but who I am is the father of a 13-year-old who might at some point be in range of a would-be pedophile, and I want that pedophile to know for a certainty that if he crosses the line, the law will pursue him for the rest of his life.

  • ||

  • ||

    I am not an advocate of porn but I think that before the government attempts to clean up the morals of our society they should concentrate on cleaning their own house first. I understand that one of the reasons that the SEC was not attending to its business of protecting the average stock shareholder is because they were too busy watching porn on their computers during working hours. It is not just porn watching that is a problem in the government but surfing the net and watching anything that does not have to do with their particular job. This has been a problem within government since 1988. This is the big elephant in the room which no one wants to deal with. Doing any type of surfing on government time that does not pertain or is useful to the performance of their job is a violation of the public trust. Bottom line is that the government should clean their own house first before they clean other's dirty laundry. They are wasting the tax payers hard earned cash.......Sincerely, Pissed off tax payer.

  • Virginia||

    What's the jury makeup? Oh, we'll never know:

    District Court Judge Richard Leon... shut the press out of the jury selection process (which, after a full week, has yet to finish).

    What would be ideal from the prosecution's perspective? DC has 600,000 residents. 8% are gay. 3% are HIV positive like Stagliano. Could they really get twelve midwesterners (cattle lobbyists?) in the box?

  • BakedPenguin||

    They can probably get 12 elderly people, no problem. I don't think race is important in this case, as African-Americans tend to be socially conservative.

  • Virginia||

    I agree wrt race, but not necessarily age. If they pull any old men like my dad or granddad, the prosecution will only serve to introduce Stagliano's work to a wider audience.

    Maybe gender is most important.

  • shrike||

    Who is the prosecuting US Attorney?

    Is he a Bush holdover? Obama is not ideological enough to fire all the Bush burrowers like, well, Clinton did.

  • ||

    The case was started in 2005. Obama has had two years to stop the case and hasn't. He owns it now just as much as Bush.

  • shrike||

    Sure he owns it. I doubt he knows it though.

    Holder does - just as bad.

    Clinton cleaned out every one of Bush 41's US Attorneys. Obama is a little naive on the legal stuff.

    Bush (Rove) shot Carol Lam and who nabbed Duke Cunningham. For revenge no doubt.

  • ||

    As I said above, DOJ is an out of control organization not accountable to anyone. It is a truly bi-partisan problem. And Clinton firing all of the USAs to try to cover up whitewater didn't help. The whole organization sucks, not just the politicals.

  • MNG||

    I think its more complicated than that. Part of the idea of a "de-politicized" DOJ is we can't have every new administration dropping cases already brought by the previous one. That's at least the argument I've heard, not sure if I'm buying...

  • ||

    Bullshit. They change priorities and drop cases all the time. Each Administration tells DOJ what cases they do and do not want to pursue. That argument is crap.

  • MNG||

    Imagine if every time the administration changed all pending cases against allies of the current administration were dropped...That's the argument. It's one thing to change future policy re prosecutions, another to just drop all pending cases.

  • ||

    If there were a pattern of Obama allies **ahem ahem Andrew Sullivan ahem ahem** getting out of prosecution, then that would be correct. But if it were part of a larger change in priorities for DOJ, I don't see the problem with making it retroactive.

  • ||

    Obama is a little naive on the legal stuff.

    That's a swell thing to say about the person charged with executing every federal law in the land. Especially since it's true.

    Wait -- didn't Obama edit some law review at Harvard, proving his qualifications for the job as President?

  • shrike||

    You are correct.

    But the Obama MO is to avoid the cultural battles.

    I (me) would be a culture warrior on the opposite side of Bill-O.

    But Obama is not.

  • MJ||

    "Obama is a little naive on the legal stuff."

    The great Con Law scholar is naive on legal stuff?

  • Don't squeeze the Charmin||

    Probably the same cunt that prosecuted Tommy Chong and the Wizzinator guy

  • ||

    That was Mary Beth Bukakke, who is no longer a DA.

  • ||

    Sorry, US Atty, not DA.

  • Holy Cow||

    Hey, Shrike, how many hours a day do you spend fantasizing about Bush and Cheney cumming on your face?

    I'm thinking all of them.

  • shrike||

    That's all you have?

    How long did you lurk to come up with that?

  • ||

    http://www.blackfive.net/main/.....ounds.html

    Is there anyone or anything lower than your typical editorial cartoonist? Seriously, making fun of someone's eye patch?

  • Holy Cow||

    Oh, I've posted before. Mostly lurk, though.

    Hmm, about 3 or 4 seconds to come up with it. It was lame, I admit it.

    No, I got plenty more. I just saw a video of actress Ellen Page dissing Cheney. So I was thinking of, you know, me, Ellen, PNAC, a hot tub, maybe a little Star-Spangled Banner in the background, some non-French wine, etc...

    Seriously, get over Bush. You'll feel better.

    I can't stand Obama. Not at all. But I make a conscious effort to hardly ever discuss him, at all. Not to friends, family, etc. I'm happier because of it.

    I'm happier, damn it!

  • zoltan||

    Well, Ellen Page is Canadian, so there goes your all-American love scene.

  • People for Milk Enemas||

    I'd like to give Ellen a Milk Enema. I think she's old enough now, but since she is petit and flat chested it could get me busted if I film it.

  • MNG||

    It's absurd to assess equivalence to the Bush administrations' initiation of these prosecutions and the Obama administrations' winding up that sordid business. Both are terrible, but hardly equivalently so.

  • ||

    Bullshit. God you have turned into a hack. This case was hardly mid trial when Obama took over. They could have easily dropped this case and no one would have noticed. They continued it because they want to. And don't tell me there are not plenty of feminists on the left who are just as crazy or worse about porn as any evangelical.

    Is there anything the Democrats could do no matter how bad that your response wouldn't be "the Republicans are worse". That is just fucking pathetic MNG. You are as bad as Edward. Worse actually, at least he doesn't pretend to be anything but a troll.

  • MNG||

    Feminists don't have the clout with the Dem Party the way evans do with the GOP.

    Again, initiating prosecutions and finishing ones already brought are two different things. The test will be if the DOJ continues bringing such prosecutions.

  • ||

    "Again, initiating prosecutions and finishing ones already brought are two different things."

    That is completely ridiculous. Prosecutors drop cases all the time. They didn't have any problem dropping the black panther case did they?

    And feminists don't have clout in the Democratic party? Are fucking kidding me? Just suck it up and do yourself and everyone on here a favor and admit the obvious for once that Democrats are just as bad as Republicans in this. You are just making yourself look ridiculous.

  • MNG||

    It's absolutely two different things to fashion a policy of initiating prosecutions and finishing up prosecutions started by the previous administration.

  • ||

    Ah. So if you follow a president who fucked everything up, then you can't be blamed for continuing the fuckups. Isn't that convenient!

  • ||

    The Dems are indeed just as bad as the Republicans when it cums to porn. The DFL (Democrats in Minnesota) went jihad against Al Franken during the Senate race after Franken's old Playboy essay was discovered.

    PLAYBOY!!!

  • ||

    Feminists don't have the clout with the Dem Party the way evans do with the GOP.

    Bullshit. The Hawaii legislature had a horribly drafted bill this year pushed by a bunch of pissed off feminists that would have criminalized all sorts of consensual acts, a bill that was opposed by the prosecuting attorney's office, the office of the public defender, the cops, social workers -- basically, all sorts of camps that normally can't agree on the shape of the negotiating table all testified it was a horrible bill -- and yet, all the Ds and Rs fell into place like sheep because it would have looked bad to oppose something with that bill title.

    Fortunately, the R governor vetoed it, and because she also vetoed the civil union bill, the legislature is afraid to show up and have a veto override special session, since that would piss off their gay voters who inexplicably vote 90% D.

    Politics. Meh.

  • ||

    @John

    You need to understand that the left wants to undermine the family so they can make us more dependent on government. It's the same reason they want to undermine religion.

    What better way to undermine the institution of the traditional family than the mainstreaming of things like masturbation, sodomy/homosexuality, easy divorce, pre-marital sex, and yes, pornography?

  • MNG||

    I've alway said that with conservatives there is no strawman, if you just wait long enough one of them comes along and proves your point...

    Delightful.

  • shrike||

    A Pat Robertson Teabagger!

    D-3!

  • Subsidize Me!||

    What does any of this have to do with being taxed enough already?

  • ||

    "teabagger"

    The childishness of the "progressive" movement never ceases to amaze.

  • ||

    Just as the gob-smacking ignorance of fundies never ceases to amaze me. See my 4:44 PM post below, Teaboy.

  • ||

    Loose morals lead to traditional, private institutions of authority (like the church, the family) being weakened which means a bigger government and higher taxes.

    Liberty cannot survive in a nation that has no moral core.

  • Handsome Dan||

    Loose morals lead to traditional, private institutions of authority (like the church, the family) being weakened which means a bigger government and higher taxes.

    So what's your solution? Government regulation of sexual behavior so as to save us from...future government regulation?

    Liberty cannot survive in a nation that has no moral core.

    It also can't survive in a society of busybodies who work themselves into a lather over whether or not their neighbor has the correct attitude about "masturbation, sodomy/homosexuality, easy divorce, pre-marital sex, and yes, pornography?"

  • ||

    In the pre-internet era I wouldn't say the government has a duty to regulate pornography. Before the internet, if someone wanted to indulge in pornography he had to actually physically go to the store, buy a magazine, which involves some public shaming and risk of being caught.

    But now, when people can, from the privacy of their living rooms, indulge in any graphic, lurid, deviant sexual fetish they want at the click of a button, it needs to be better controlled. It's a cancer destroying our society. We're not talking about "Playboy Magazine" here.

  • People for Milk Enemas||

    Hugh Hefner never put his mouth where his money was like Buttman did.

    Society doesn't exist, but if it did, it would have no right to tell bisexual girls in the Czech Republic what to do.

  • zoltan||

    What's the word for you? Ahhh, PURITAN.

  • Matt||

    Maybe TMI, maybe not, but growing up with the internet and porn at my fingertips pretty much whenever I wanted it only served to allow me to appreciate the female form in different ways than just blonde-in-swimsuit variety.

    Maybe I'm a little weird though, but I can safely say I've never raped anybody.

  • ||

    "But now, when people can, from the privacy of their living rooms, indulge in any graphic, lurid, deviant sexual fetish they want at the click of a button, it needs to be better controlled."

    So it's important to give Barack Hussein Obama absolute power of everyone's personal life!

  • LarryA||

    But now, when people can, from the privacy of their living rooms, indulge in any graphic, lurid, deviant sexual fetish they want at the click of a button, it needs to be better controlled.

    Let me see if I’ve got this straight:
    1) Government is destroying morality.
    2) We should depend on that government to protect us.

    Right. Restricting liberty never protects freedom.

    Morality consists of making individual moral choices. If the government makes those choices for you, you don’t have the opportunity to be a moral person.

  • ||

    And let me also point out that these attitudes are being foisted on us by the "progressive" elites in the media and government.

    Just look at the mainstreaming of pre-marital sex and single mothers. It was a coordinated campaign by Marxists and other leftists. Cleon Skousen predicted in the '50s they would try to do that, and he was right...

  • People for Milk Enemas||

    Single Mothers are Marxists?

    I'll remember that one next time I'm in a strip club. Mercedes, why do you believe in Marxism sugar?

  • ||

    hahahahaha

  • ||

    Liberty cannot survive in a nation that has no moral core.

    I don't think "moral core" means what you think it means to libertarians.

    I don't think "liberty" means what you think it does, either.

  • ||

    Do you know what one of the first acts of the Bolsheviks were when they came to power in Russia?

    The legalization of pornography, divorce, and abortion. I don't think that's just a coincidence.

  • shrike||

    You should be on Red State, TEA.

    But hang around. You make for a nice foil.

  • ||

    I'd be banned from Red State, I don't agree with their internationalist/warmongering take on foreign policy at all. Stop pigeonholing people.

  • BakedPenguin||

    You make for a nice foil.

    I think you meant he "makes a nice foil hat".

  • Matt||

    Yeah, because there wasn't anything more important they wanted to do, like, oh, collectivize the economy and end private property.

    During the Spanish Civil War the Socialists broke up all the brothels, so your point is worthless.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Wow, you are fucking ignorant. Anyone trying to create or distribute porn in the USSR would have wound up in Lefortovo or Lubyanka ASAP.

  • ||

    I'm all for the destruction of theocracy and oligarchy.

    You're in the wrong site, man.

  • Sarah||

    Even if true, and I question a lot of your premises, that pornography and the rest can be used as weapons of the left does mean they should be made illegal.

  • Thomas O.||

    If people are free to enjoy whatever they want in the PRIVACY (as in, away from the public that is populated with children and easily-offended adults) of their own homes - and perform harmless sexual acts either by themselves or with other CONSENTING (as in, not against their will or without their knowledge) adults, where's the undermining?

    I am a heterosexual happily married to a loving woman, and that marriage is not at all weakened or otherwise diminished by two men who marry each other and engage in sexual activity with each other. The Christian Taliban need to come up with better arguments... or better yet, abandon their nanny-state aspirations and keep their moral-strengthening objectives where it belongs: at the grass-roots level. Where one can voluntarily subscribe to a set of moral beliefs without those beliefs being in the form or coercive laws.

  • ||

    I was going to comment about how TEA was a nanny know-it-all, but I think your rebuttal is much more eloquent.

  • mj86||

    "The Christian Taliban"

    Such stupid comments make it very difficult to defend libertarianism to others. It's certainly not eloquent.

  • Thomas O.||

    Well, it's the truth. Some Christians want to be as strict as the Taliban when it comes to upholding some ideal system of morals. And it's no worse than "Femi-Nazi" or "Lamestream Media" or whatever other catchphrases the right-wing loudmouths come up with.

  • ||

    So if my wife and I like to watch some porn and then watch each other masturbate we are somehow undermining the institution of the traditional family?

    Your antiquated idealism of the traditional family is adorable.

    In the traditional family wives and daughters were property. I guess you'd like us to go back to that huh?

  • HeadTater||

    Stupid Puritans! Why couldn't our nation have its roots in people knew how to have fun?

  • MNG||

    Hey, John Smith was a pretty fun loving dude...

  • ||

    John Smith was a Jamestown not Plymouth. There were no puritans at Jamestown. They were at Plymouth. Was Myles Standish a fun loving guy?

  • ||

    John Smith was, whoever, a Christian, as were all the settlers and Founders of this country.

  • ||

    "John Smith was, whoever, a Christian, as were all the settlers and Founders of this country."

    Is a Deist a Christian? I don't think tnat is necessarily so.

  • ||

    From HMDB: Near this site on July 11, 1733, five months after Oglethorpe founded Georgia, 42 Jewish colonists, having sailed from London, disembarked from the William and Sarah. It was the largest group of Jews ever to sail on one vessel from North America in Colonial Times.

    What was that you were saying, TEA?

  • zoltan||

    Ugh, TEA, you really are a moron. Obviously you have not read your Founding Fathers' history.

  • shrike||

    or he listens to Beck for his "history" lessons.

  • LarryA||

    John Smith was, whoever, a Christian, as were all the settlers and Founders of this country.

    And most of them came here to escape from the persecution of Christian governments. That’s why they intentionally set up a secular government designed to protect them from religious politicians.

  • MNG||

    Yes, and Virginia had Plymouth beat by a few years.

  • ||

    CROATOAN

  • Kiwi Dave||

    also, the Cavaliers that founded Virginia in the 17th C. were pretty fun-loving, and not Puritan at all (read D. Hackett Fischer's "Albion's Seed" about this)

  • MNG||

    That was my point...

  • Kiwi Dave||

    Sure, but although Smith was more referring to the Cavalier families that arrived a little later and came to dominate the place (the Berkeleys, Lees, Byrds etc.)

  • Kiwi Dave||

    I meant that although Smith was involved in the founding, he wasn't part of the elite that later came to dominate.

  • ||

    And Maryland was founded by Catholics, looking to escape persecution. Pennsylvania was a Quaker colony.

  • ||

    And New York was founded by Assholes, who still dominate it to this day.

  • ||

    @ Tulpa LMAO! BTW the puritans were headed to VA but they ran out of beer.

  • People for Milk Enemas||

    Free John Stagliano! Free Buttman!

    Buttman has a greater appreciation for the female form than anyone else in the twentieth century.

  • shrike||

    I have a VHS copy of his seminal work - 'Indecent Itch'.

    Its been in the box since 1991 or so - afraid to break the tape.

    Better than gold!

  • People for Milk Enemas||

    It's difficult for me to identify his Magnum Opus, I stand in awe. He is a Man after my own heart. If he does time for this I am skipping and I mean it.

  • shrike||

    Critics would say 'Face Dance' or the original Buttman would be his Magnum Opus but I prefer his early work - more pastoral in my humble opinion.

  • ||

    My friend has the Traci Lords "retrospective" on VHS. He used to brag about it but now denies everything -- haw-haw!

  • Jurist||

    Hey Judge, I'm going to need some more time to deliberate on these movies you're making me watch... mind if I borrow your office for about 20 minutes? I like to deliberate in private.

  • People for Milk Enemas||

    Laugh while you can! Soon we will be able to find out how you are masturbating in your own home and what you are using to do it!

    The Public cannot be trusted to govern their own behavior!

  • Holy Cow||

    Sorry, but I'm not fundie, and I don't play one on Reason.tv, but I'm gonna have to defend that Pat Robertson Tea Party Person from above....

    For leftism/Marxism to exist, creating chaos and disorder among the stable classes are prime directives.

    And it's not the fundies who wanna turn everything (or really much of anything into law).

    Gee, Tipper Gore anyone? Joe Lieberman and video games! Yay!

    But look out! A Bible!

  • shrike||

    Chaos breeds Darwinism - which we need more of.

    Its conservative/reactionaries that cling to a fading past.

  • Thomas O.||

    I don't want to pay exorbitant taxes and contribute to lazy welfare leeches. But I also don't want my morally-questionable movies or sex toys taken away from me, either.

    Two-way streets, people.

  • ||

    Welcome to the party, Holy Cow. I hope you stick around. I find your pithy, yet abusive, comments a refreshing addition to the usual.

  • ||

    Thank you, Holy Cow. Somebody gets it.

    As to Al Gore and Joe Lieberman, that's a classic leftist tactic. Create a problem (violence and promiscuous sex promoted and glamorized through the cultural Marxism of Hollywood) and then have the government "solve" it.

  • shrike||

    Add Hillary Clinton and her wretched Family Entertainment Protection Act (close anyway) to your reppoitoirre (no hope of spelling that word).

  • Matt||

    Stop watching the Glenn Beck Program and take your tin foil hat off for more than 15 seconds. Progressives aren't Marxists. Do I like them? No. Do I find the Roosevelts despicable people? Yes. But they aren't Josef Stalin. They aren't Mao. They never had gulags packed with unpersons.

    All your comments smack of this conspiracy theory crap that somehow touching yourself is a leftist tool utilized to break down the fabric of the Great Christian Republic of the Untied States of America populated by nothing but good, hardworking WASPs. But guess what? Our founding fathers were Deists. Some were Christians, yes. Most - the majority - were Deists.

    The way I read your comments, you'd have the Federal Purity Guard stand behind each and every one of us at urinals to make sure you don't shake more than twice, otherwise it's a leftist plot.

    And somehow that's not as bad as the USSR.

    (Ok, I went heavy on the hyperbole.)

  • shrike||

    I greatly admire TR's national parks set asides and trust busting.

    But I don't give a fuck about LP street cred.

  • Louis B. Mayer ||

    Sugar tits, before you start whining about Hollywood, I was a Capitalist's Capitalist, and I can tell you with all certainty, you ain't no Goddamned capitalist.

  • ||

    Libertarians are the only party to not give a shit about sexual imagery, porn, etc. I flirted with the Green Party back in 2000 (I'm pro-environment AND pro-porn) and quickly exited after their video game witch-hunts and anti-porn screeds.

  • I, Kahn O'Clast||

    Wow, a libertarian website with comments from readers who would restrict free speech and expression. If you don't like the porno you don't have to look at it.

  • ||

    with comments by non-libertarians who would restrict free speech, because this site hardly ever restricts comments because they believe in free speech.

  • Sean||

    I wonder if this has been brought to 4chan's attention yet

  • Holy Cow||

    >>Some were Christians, yes. Most - the majority - were Deists.

  • Holy Cow||

    Whoops. Got cut off there....

    Anyway, is Satan too religious to hold public office? He is mentioned in the Bible a lot. And I've never heard Satan speak in favor of Ron Kubby!

    Think about it, folks.....

  • Thomas O.||

    Do you really believe in Freedom of Religion? Or just Freedom of Choice in Christian Denomination?

    Let me guess: you're gonna argue that Freedom of Religion doesn't mean Freedom FROM Religion. No, it means BOTH. Andrew Wilkow - host of a conservative radio program - says that "your freedom to be you includes my freedom to be free from you". And I believe that holds true where religion and the First Amendment are concerned as well. Your freedom to believe in your God includes my freedom to be free FROM your belief in your God. And as long as no one else gets harmed or killed in my practice of my personal beliefs, where's the deterioration of society in that?

  • ||

    If you've heard Satan speak I think that means you are a danger to society.

  • Scarpe Nike||

    is good

  • دردشه عراقية||

    Thanks

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