The Wars on Poker and Porn: America Strikes Back

After the DOJ had a busy week shutting down the three largest online poker sites and instigating criminal charges against eleven officers and directors, you would think those advocating for greater control over Americans’ lives would be content. After all, everyone knows online poker is a national menace and grave security threat; it is about time something was done about it.

But no. Social conservatives will not rest until all moral vices have been banned, so that America may be free once again. Which is why it is an absolute outrage that the DOJ has taken moves to close down the Obscenity Prosecution Task Force, even if the DOJ has offered reassurances that the elimination of the task force doesn’t mean that such prosecutions will be halted, only that it will be “[r]e-incorporating the prosecution of obscenity violations into the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section.”

Reasons for dropping the Obscenity Task Force may include its completely inept handling of the John Stagliano case, as well as the fact that the DOJ’s own attorneys were deeply reluctant to carry out such prosecutions. But, as a disturbingly large portion of the Senate made clear in a letter to the DOJ, that is not good enough. Prosecuting porn is vital to the nation’s future, and the Senate is greatly distressed by the dearth of obscenity prosecutions that have occurred under the Obama administration:

Earlier this month, [Sen. Orrin] Hatch and 41 other senators sent a letter to Holder pushing him to bring criminal cases against “all major distributors of adult obscenity.”

“We write to urge the Department of Justice vigorously to enforce federal obscenity laws against major commercial distributors of hardcore adult pornography,” said the April 4 letter, circulated by Hatch. “We know more than ever how illegal adult obscenity contributes to violence against women, addiction, harm to children, and sex trafficking. This material harms individuals, families and communities and the problems are only getting worse.”

I expect that, within the next week, the DOJ will follow up by announcing prosecutions against rock ‘n’ roll, indecent dancing, and overly-fatty desserts.