Monday, February 16, 2009

Obama Picks Defender of Child Porn

President Obama has appointed David Ogden to be Deputy Attorney General. This selection will be a major disappointment to anyone concerned about our cultural slide into the sewer since Ogden, in private practice, was an ardent defender of pornographers in general and child pornographers in particular. Now as a Deputy Attorney General it will be his job to prosecute those who seek to exploit children for sexual purposes, but it's hard to imagine how he could do this with any enthusiasm given his view that pornography is protected free speech.

Here's Matthew Schmitz of the Witherspoon Institute on Ogden:

Ogden has argued that a law designed to protect children from molestation and rape at the hands of child pornographers would "burden too heavily and infringe too deeply on the right to produce First Amendment protected material." The law Ogden opposed reasonably asks that those who wish to profit by selling explicit content keep documents verifying that their models are of legal consenting age.

Even those who think that adults have a right to obtain and use pornographic material should recognize that David Ogden's advocacy for the pornography industry goes much further. His position would allow the purveyors of exploitative images to hide their abuse behind a vanishing paper trail. There is some irony in the fact that while our country employs thousands of inspectors to ensure that meat and poultry are safe, David Ogden opposed even basic steps to ensure that the images consumed by pornography users are not of children. While David Ogden's stated concern was protecting "free speech"-in his confirmation hearing he said that he is opposed to the exploitation of minors, and presumably he is sincere-it is hard to see any justification for a position that has the effect of abetting abuse.

In addition to making it harder to prosecute those who sell images of child molestation and rape, Ogden has sought to ensure that pornography can be easily distributed and readily accessed in almost any medium or location. He has fought cases in Puerto Rico to allow Playboy to broadcast explicit programming on TV. He represented Philip Harvey, a man who runs the nation's largest mail-order pornography shop out of North Carolina, in his attempt to deflect a Department of Justice investigation of his business. Completing a sort of multi-media grand slam, Ogden has sued to allow sexually-explicit content to be transmitted over the phone. Taking this quest to its absurd limits, he has even claimed in court that there is a constitutional right for pornography to be kept in firehouses. Ogden's position is good for the industry groups he has represented but bad for female firefighters who could be subjected to humiliating and harassing images in the workplace. With an equal disregard for the comfort and protection of children, in 2000 Ogden sued to allow pornography to be accessed in public libraries.

It's hard to imagine how a man with two young daughters would choose someone with Ogden's history to serve anywhere in his administration, let alone in the Justice Department, but he has. The Senate must still confirm the appointment so there's a chance that enough senators will find Ogden more repellent than does our President. But who knows with this bunch?

Rumor has it that Larry Flynt is set to chair the President's new Council on Marriage and the Family.


British Dhimmitude

Dogs, cats and other animals will often, when afraid, adopt a posture of submission and obsequiousness to their owner, and may, if they're nervous enough, even wet the carpet. I thought of that when I read about the action of the British Foreign Secretary, David Miliband.

In an astonishing spasm of cowardice and dhimmitude Miliband has barred Geert Wilders, the Dutch parliamentarian, from entering England. Wilders, recall, was the man who made the sixteen minute movie Fitna which inflamed Muslims because it revealed the truth about Islamic extremism. Now the Foreign Secretary prevents Wilders from entering his country on the pretext that Fitna contains "extreme anti-Muslim hate and we have very clear laws in this country" against that sort of thing. Perhaps, but according to a post by Andrew Stuttaford at NRO Fitna itself has not been banned in England, so why should its producer be?

But here's the best part. Edmund Standing at Harry's Place writes:

Miliband, having watched Fitna, obviously feels it does "stir up hate, religious and racial hatred." But, hold on... When asked by the interviewer if he had actually watched Fitna he responded that he had not and didn't need to as he already knew what was in it!

Fitna is a 16 minute film, easily accessible online. Is it really so much to ask that our political overlords bother to watch a film before condemning it and supporting its creator being barred from the country? How is Miliband any better than Muslims who screamed about The Satanic Verses without bothering to read it?

This is as reckless and irresponsible as three Republicans and all but seven congressional Democrats voting on the $780 billion stimulus bill without having read it.

Anyway, Mark Steyn, the Canadian writer who was recently hauled before a Canadian tribunal for the crime of offending Muslim sensibilities in his book America Alone, has some caustic reflections on the unseemly self-abasement Western political leaders seem determined to disgrace themselves with when any Muslim chooses to be insulted by an exercise of free speech. It's worth a read.

Meanwhile, next time the British Muslim population casts a baleful glance at Secretary Miliband somebody better quick grab the carpet cleaner.


Loose Lips

No wonder the Bush administration tried to keep sensitive information from the Democrats. They just can't help blabbing whatever they know to anyone who'll listen. Take, for instance, the recent case of Senator Dianne Feinstein:

A senior U.S. lawmaker said Thursday that unmanned CIA Predator aircraft operating in Pakistan are flown from an airbase inside that country, a revelation likely to embarrass the Pakistani government and complicate its counterterrorism collaboration with the United States.

The disclosure by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, marked the first time a U.S. official had publicly commented on where the Predator aircraft patrolling Pakistan take off and land.

At a hearing, Feinstein expressed surprise at Pakistani opposition to the ongoing campaign of Predator-launched CIA missile strikes against Al Qaeda targets along Pakistan's northwest border.

"As I understand it, these are flown out of a Pakistani base," she said of the planes.

The basing of the pilotless aircraft in Pakistan suggests a much deeper relationship with the United States on counterterrorism matters than has been publicly acknowledged. Such an arrangement would be at odds with protests lodged by officials in Islamabad and could inflame anti-American sentiment in the country.

This information had been kept secret because it would doubtless create problems for the Pakistani government if their people knew we were launching air strikes on Islamic terrorists from their soil. Now there might well be pressure to end the use of Pakistani air bases which may make it more difficult to hit terrorist leaders in the western wilderness of the country.

I wonder how many intelligence services around the world are reluctant to share sensitive information with the U.S. because they know that our government is filled with Dianne Feinsteins?