GOP pushes porn as the answer to border wall funding

GOP pushes porn as the answer to border wall funding

An Arizona Congresswoman introduced a bill to the House yesterday that, if passed, would fund President Trump’s border wall — at least in Arizona. Introduced by Republican Rep. Gail Griffin, HB 2444 would levy a one-time $20 fee per-device on Arizonans wishing to access pornography online. In peddling porn, it would seem the “family values” party has one foot planted firmly in the evangelical church and another in the adult entertainment industry.

If you couldn’t make it past the glossary of terms at the beginning of the bill (nobody wants to read Rep. Griffin’s description of a “turgid” penis, we get it), allow us to break down its contents for you.

  • All devices capable of accessing “obscene material” manufactured or sold in the state of Arizona need a “porn blocker” installed.
  • To remove the block, users will have to prove they are at least 18-years-old and pay a minimum fee of $20.
  • The bill establishes the “John McCain Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation Prevention Fund” which will be used to “build a border wall between Mexico and this state,” and fund various other initiatives, at the state‘s discretion, via grants.
  • Circumventing the block is a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to six months  in jail, three years of probation, and a $2,500 fine.
  • If a device-maker doesn’t block all sites displaying obscene material the “Attorney General or any person” may bring forth a civil suit asking for up to $500 per unblocked website found plus legal fees.

To sum, the GOP wants to censor legal websites in the state of Arizona. The bill would force companies making computers, smart phones, and other internet-connected devices to block anything that could be considered obscene by state Republicans.

What does “obscene” mean? It could mean almost anything:

‘Obscene material‘ means content that: the average individual applying contemporary community standards, when considered or taken as a whole, would find appeals to the prurient interest. Depicts or describes sexual activity in a patently offensive way by audio or visual representations. When considered or taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.

The wording of the bill indicates its passage could put certain clips of Howard Stern’s radio show, podcasts like Savage Love, and the 2002 hardcore pornography film “The Anal Girls of Tobacco Road 2” behind the same paywall. If that weren’t enough, by purchasing access to pornography from the US government, you’d also be paying to fund a border wall that’s been shot down by Congress and the majority of US citizens.

It seems disingenuous to call something obscene and then sell it to your constituents in a bid to circumvent the democratic process. A government packaging the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution behind a paywall, censoring legal content on the internet, or selling its own citizens access to pornography as a fundraising method is unconscionable.

Under normal circumstances we’d end by pointing out elected officials have tried this before to no avail. This is almost certainly a publicity-seeking move on the part of Rep. Griffin that has a zero-percent chance of being passed.

But the US government selling pornography to fund a border wall? That doesn’t seem any more far-fetched than this guy getting elected.

Rep. Griffin’s office didn’t respond to our request for comment.

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