Those brave souls at the Department of Justice are at it again,
protecting freedom and democracy pissing on the Constitution, in violation of their oath of office.
XBiz reports that John Stagliano and Evil Angel Productions are the latest targets of the Bush administration’s faith-based censorship task force and its lead toadie, Brent Ward.
Stagliano and his related companies were charged with “three counts of using a facility of interstate commerce to sell and distribute DVDs containing obscene films together with a movie trailer in violation; two counts of using a common carrier for the conveyance or delivery of DVDs containing obscene films in interstate commerce; one count of engaging in the business of selling or transferring an obscene film and a movie trailer; one count of using an interactive computer service to display an obscene movie trailer in a manner available to a person under 18 years of age; and one count seeking forfeiture of certain assets of the defendants.” (source)
I will agree that films involving squirting milk up a girl’s ass, and then watching it spray out again are on the far side of strange-world. Nevertheless, is this something that you want your government pursuing? Do you really think that your government should be spending its resources trying to put Stagliano in prison?
Who is the greater threat to us all? Stagliano or Brent Ward?
Ward is a repressed Utah fascist who came to power during the Bush administration’s push to make the entire government a faith-based initiative. After years of languishing in frustration in Utah, Ward was given a position of power at the Department of Justice — heading up the DOJ’s obscenity task force. When prosecutors laughed at him for trying to divert government resources to putting people in jail for selling “dirty movies,” he got pissed — and did his best to remove prosecutors who didn’t follow his faith-based anti-First Amendment crusade. (source). Remember the U.S. Attorneys scandal from a few months ago? At least two of the U.S. Attorneys lost their jobs because they thought that pursuing crime was more important than trying to criminalize First Amendment protected expression.
Adult obscenity prosecutions are notoriously difficult to win, since prosecutors must show that materials involving and used by consenting adults have violated local “community standards.” In the post-9/11 era, law enforcement experts have questioned whether a focus on federal obscenity cases makes sense, given the massive resources diverted to counterterrorism and the demands of other criminal priorities like gun violence, identity theft and the proliferation via the Internet of sex crimes against children.
“With everything else going on, should they really have FBI agents and prosecutors devoted to sitting around watching dirty movies?” said a senior law enforcement official who attended a national conference on adult obscenity orchestrated by the Gonzales Justice Department in October 2006. “We’re not the policymakers,” he said. “But I guarantee you won’t find any office in any major metropolitan area that would seriously consider this a priority.” (source)
Well, it looks like someone threw Ward a bone. That bone is Mr. Stagliano — but Mr. Stagliano stands in as a proxy for all of our freedom, whether we like milk enema movies or not.
I do not believe that obscenity can truly and honestly be Constitutionally prohibited. See Two Girls, One Cup – Practical Obscenity Law. Nevertheless, for as long as we have zealots serving as prosecutors, and they seek to pander to the worst people in society, there will be obscenity prosecutions.
I believe that even the worst content (as long as that content is of consenting adults) should be constitutionally protected. Nevertheless, the reality is that the social conservatives have funded this modern-day thought police, this obscenity task force that exists for one purpose — to watch dirty movies and put people in prison for making and selling them. Somewhere, right now, there is a Ned Flanders type with deep feelings of repressed homosexuality watching a film with some church-chat looking woman who spent three years in law school with her face buried in Andrea Dworkin law review articles, and the two of them are deciding that the person who made a certain movie needs to be in prison.
In the United States of America… Your tax dollars are spent on efforts to put adults in prison who filmed other consenting adults and sold the movie to other consenting adults.
So much for the land of the free.
The only “crime” that Stagliano committed was dissemination of speech that challenges the morality that Brent Ward has decided we should all live by.
If you don’t like milk-enema films, then exercise your right to not watch it. But, shouldn’t we all, as free Americans, have the right to make that decision for ourselves? Nobody forced the girls to be in the video. Nobody forced the guy to make the video. Nobody forced anyone to fork over their hard earned cash to buy the video.
That’s what freedom is. You make your own choices — for ill or for good.
The government has no right to take a hand in that decision. And the only person who belongs in jail in this equation is Brent Ward, a crusading lowlife who thinks that he should have the right to reach into my life, and your life, and punish us for exercising our fundamental rights to express ourselves any way that we damn well please.
Update Here is a link to Stagliano’s legal defense fund page.