Sen. Feinstein's Response to Terrorist Arrests: Ban Things from the Internet

Another round of complaints about the evils of information.


Bombes, not bombs

Today, law enforcement officials announced the arrest of two women in New York for allegedly trying to make bombs in a basement as some sort of show of support of the Islamic State. Take note that, as is usual with these domestic cases, it appears the FBI was heavily involved the whole time, and the women didn't seem to know what the hell they were doing (consulting an introduction to chemistry book to try to get instructions for building the bomb). When ABC News broke the story, they reported outright that any plotting "was more aspirational than operational."

But nevertheless the existence of tools online, like The Anarchist Cookbook and al Qaeda's Inspire magazine, tools that could possibly help anybody make things explode, has activated the censorious tendencies of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif). Here's what she has to say about the plotting, via The Hill:

"I am particularly struck that the alleged bombers made use of online bombmaking guides like the Anarchist Cookbook and Inspire Magazine," she said in a statement shortly after the arrests were announced. 

"These documents are not, in my view, protected by the First Amendment and should be removed from the Internet."

Feinstein has previously tried to turn her personal interpretation of the limits of the First Amendment, unsuccessfully, into law before, back in the 1990s. She attempted to put a provision in a defense spending bill that would make it unlawful to demonstrate the making of any explosive materials or distribute such demonstration material if the person "intends or knows" that such information would be used for criminal activity. That seems to be an awfully vague threshold that could target anybody teaching chemistry. It was removed from the spending bill.

There is no chance Feinstein's wishes would come true, or even could come true these days. It's nevertheless a reminder that Feinstein is perfectly fine with censorship. Just don't try to censor her stuff.

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  1. “I am particularly struck that the alleged bombers made use of online bombmaking guides like the Anarchist Cookbook and Inspire Magazine,” she said in a statement shortly after the arrests were announced.

    Is there a way to burn books online?

    1. If there were, we’d have an edit button.

    2. Well, with the FCC usurping jurisdiction over the Internet, why not shut down “offensive” content based on Pacifica standards?

    3. Someone needs to tell Fi that it’s the World Wide Web, and she doesn’t run all of it.

  2. I see Ms. Feinstein decided that she might be losing ground to Gov. Moonbeam in the race for the most odious California politician, so she wanted to just go for it and make sure she gets back to that #1 spot.

    1. It’s such an intense competition though!

      Di-Fi, Moonbeam, Pelosi, Boxer, Waters…..so many to choose from!

      Well done Cali.

      1. What is Waxman? Chopped nose liver?

        1. How could I forget about the leader of the Mole People. For shame!

    2. She is well in the lead.

    3. Feinstein’s name or image always causes a single word to pop into my head.


  3. This is really a teacher’s union plot to shut down the Khan Academy.

    1. Do they offer bomb making lessons?

      1. Do they offer bomb making lessons?

        Its the *teacher’s union*. All they offer is protection from being fired, no matter how awful you are, and oversized paychecks. Teaching isn’t even on their list.

        1. I mean Khan Academy.

  4. Man am I glad that the wild west is over and the internets are in the hands of responsible and accountable government now.

  5. I like to point out to pants-wetters who get the vapors about The Anarchist Cookbook exactly where I purchased my copy: the main exchange at Ft. Bragg. It still has the AAFES price tag on it. So not only is it dangerous subversive literature, the government is distributing it!

      1. Hey…..why not order all three and save on shipping?!?!

        This item: U.S. Army Improvised Munitions Handbook by Army Paperback $10.53

        U.S. Army Guide to Boobytraps by Army Paperback $8.52

        U.S. Army Special Forces Guide to Unconventional Warfare: Devices and Techniques for Incendiaries by Army Paperback $8.52

        Somewhere an old woman has a case of the vapors!

    1. The recipe for making hashish that is in there is hilarious.

    2. It’s like they think making a bomb is hard, and people haven’t been mixing gunpowder since the 9th century, and Greek fire before that.

  6. So she finallly completed the bridge crossing into the land of the senile.

  7. There is no chance Feinstein’s wishes would come true

    Do I really need to type up the list of previously unthinkable violations of the Bill of Rights that then got enacted into law — and upheld by SCOTUS?

    1. I think he means blocking information is no longer possible due to technology.

      1. People in China and especially in North Korea would beg to differ.

        It’s electrons carried over fiber optic cables. Those cables can be altered.

        1. But even in North Korea there is a thriving underground exchange in forbidden literature, movies, etc. You really can’t block information completely.

          And let’s keep a little perspective. Everyone would be fucking pissed if they severely curtailed information freedom on the internet, not just right wing nut jobs and anarchists. Net neutrailty you can sell because no one understands what it is. But big time censorship isn’t going to happen. Even in China, you can get to supposedly banned information if you put in a little effort. Our politicians are stupid, but not so stupid as to ruin something so valuable as the Internet. This is stupid, dumbass posturing from a moron who probably knows nothing about how the Internet works.

          1. Every infringement of liberty that we tolerate, and we’re tolerating far more than I ever once expected, the closer we come to what you’re saying not being true.

            1. Yeah, but I’ll try to look surprised.
              I may be being overly optimistic, but I think that the Internet as it is is too popular and too difficult to control. How long have government busybodies been trying to make porn less easy to get on the internet?

        2. And it’s photons in fiber optic cables.

      2. I think that’s what he meant, too, Florida Man.

        And I think Google, et. al. will easily be able to block whatever the government tells them to block before long (if they can’t already), and the IP addresses of whomever looks up stuff will be easily handed over to the authorities (if the NSA isn’t already collecting all that data anyway).

    2. Such as, oh, this from a hour or two ago:

      “Christie Pardons Philly Mom Who Dared Enter New Jersey With a Legally-Owned Firearm
      Shaneen Allen originally faced up to 11 years in jail”

      Or what happens to me and everyone else at a TSA checkpoint?

      We’re a handful of Congressional seat switches, or another generation of government reeducation centers for kids, away from Feinstein’s visions becoming status quo.

  8. “These documents are not, in my view, protected by the First Amendment and should be removed from the Internet.”

    I don’t understand what the risks here really were or what these two women have to do with the Second Amendment, but I also think we should ban “assault weapons” because of this–just to be safe.

  9. Do you think she even knows what

    should be removed from the Internet.


    Does she think it’s like a library down on Main Street where the cops could stage a SWAT raid and remove it? Do you think she even knows what ‘a series of tubes’ means? And she’s a respected elder in the Senate. Oy vey.

    1. I bet she doesn’t know anything about how easy it is to make a bomb. Is she also going to ban all the safety publications that tell how to keep things from blowing up, which gives you all the information to make one?

  10. “These documents are not, in my view, protected by the First Amendment and should be removed from the Internet.”

    Don’t fuck with Dianne, folks. She might be carrying concealed.

  11. God, my Senators are a joke! Boxer is just plain stupid (but leaving soon, fortunately), and Feinstein is downright evil. I fear she’ll never be voted out of office and will likely outlive me.

    1. That’s what you get for voting for them, I guess.

      1. I’ve never voted for either one. Unfortunately, my thoroughly-researched, informed vote is buried by the ignorant, non-thinking idiots in this state who blindly step into the voting booth and continue to re-elect the incumbents.

        1. Then in what sense are they your senators?

          1. Because I live in the state they rule. I don’t like Obama or agree with anything he does, but I still consider him to be my President.

            1. Well that’s tough shit for you I guess. I live in California too, but I don’t take responsibility or ownership for anything that I had no control over.

              1. Typical libertarian scum. Ducking responsibility whenever you can.

    2. Seems like if she’s in imminent danger of outliving you. that could be something to consider for the bucket list.

      Speaking entirely tongue-in-cheek and hypothetically, of course.

      1. Hmmm…don’t tempt me. But she’s allowed to carry a gun (something regular Californians can’t legally do) and would likely fight back…

    3. Feinstein has been just over 60 years old for like 40 years now.

      If she doesn’t get sick with something soon, then it’ll take sunlight, a stake, and a crucifix to get rid of her.

      1. It sure feels like she’s been in that seat forever, and will never go away.

  12. If you engage in the politics of envy, fear mongering, and grievance mongering then you are appealing to the basest parts of human nature. You will attract the worst kinds of people and bring out the worst in others. This is who the left is, who they have always been.

    I notice that the most reprehensible politicians, the scheming, conniving, lying scum, all seem to be leftists. The further left you go, the worse they get. The awful ones on the right are usually awful because of plain ignorance and stupidity. There is evil on the right, but it is not of the same level as that on the left.

    Eventually Feinstein will do one thing to make the world a better place.

    1. i find them to be utterly indistinguishable.

  13. One of the worst effect of all this terrorist shit is that it has become unacceptable and largely illegal to make your own explosives. Blowing shit up is good clean fun and a great way to learn about sciency stuff. Fuckers.

    1. I often wonder how much longer I’ve got to start making my own rocket motors before the government tries to clamp down on that.

      1. Making your own fireworks used to be a respectable hobby. Now it’s almost impossible to do without running afoul of the law.

      2. I’d imagine that acquiring the raw materials for rocket motors already gets you on a list somewhere.

  14. The possibility of Feinstein living 1000 years is reason enough for us to question the ethics of trying to prolong human longevity. It’s just not worth the risks.

  15. But nevertheless the existence of tools online, like The Anarchist Cookbook. . .

    Look, while ‘The Anarchist Cookbook’ *aspires* to be dangerous, if you were to follow any of its instructions you would be *lucky* if you lost some fingers. Most of it won’t do anything.

  16. Interesting that she wants to ban the book that says how to make the explosives, but not the book that inspired the terrorism in the first place — the Quran.

  17. Alternatively, if we were (hypothetically) banning information that has the possibility of causing societal problems, perhaps we should start on the insane collectivist religious cults that result in massive suicide? Like, say, the organization of Feinstein’s old friend, Jim Jones?

  18. I’d like to tape up DiFi’s head with duct tape and send her on a mission to remove the Anarchist’s Cookbook from the internet before she suffocates. Hypothetically…

  19. OT:

    To the right of these comments (on my computer) are a series of “Trending Now” headlines.

    One reads:
    “4 Bodily Signs of a Heart Attack”

    As opposed to what other signs?

  20. I’ll see your Anarchist Cookbook and raise you one Progressive: https://www.progressive.org/images/pdf/1179.pdf

  21. Well, now that Feinstein has finally gotten Google to cooperate (https://fee.org/articles/), I went to TechDirt (offices located in San Francisco) to see if they had ever honestly assessed the horrorshow that is the Honorable Diane.

    Found an article (responding to her 2015 performance, as in this very article) calling her out for her violation of principle, though nothing current, now that she’s got her way using the “But we all agree that THIS is bad, right?” fallacy, for which all progressives always fall. In the comments, some people noted that it’s PROGRESSIVES who keep electing this senile bitch, progressive like the people who work at and produce TechDirt. And their defense?

    As you might expect, their justification for her electoral victories (and those of senile, amoral piece of shit Harry Reid next door) was “Well the conservative might have been worse!” IOW, a known evil vs. an imagined, projected one. Great work, High Information Voters!*

  22. *-directed at TechDirt and their commenters. I would never accuse reasonoids of being High Information Voters. (My comment along these same lines at TechDirt disappeared. I must be an alt-right or something.)

    But I fucking give up. The self-styled “decent, well-educated”** people are welcoming their own enslavement. People clearly are just members of groups, and government needs to be powerful enough to “level the playing field”, right?
    Just don’t look to closely at who benefits most from said ‘leveling’, you might become an enemy of the state. Not that that could ever happen, since you have good intentions. Slavery, iPhones and virtue-signalling, the brave new world. Fucking enjoy, you fucks.

    I’m now down to futile rants on three-year-old comment threads on (relatively) obscure websites. Ah, the bitter…

    **-TechDirt again. I would never accuse hit n’ run commenters, etc., etc…

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