First Amendment?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Desertrat, Dec 9, 2004.

  1. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #1
    From the Seattle Times:

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2002112639_diss08.html

    "In an apparent reversal of decades of U.S. practice, recent federal Office of Foreign Assets Control regulations bar American companies from publishing works by dissident writers in countries under sanction unless they first obtain U.S. government approval.

    The restriction, condemned by critics as a violation of the First Amendment, means that books and other works banned by some totalitarian regimes cannot be published freely in the United States."

    and

    "Officials from the U.S. Treasury Department, which oversees OFAC, declined comment on the lawsuit, but spokeswoman Molly Millerwise described the sanctions as "a very important part of our overall national security."

    "These are countries that pose serious threats to the United States, to our economy and security and our well-being around the globe," Millerwise said, adding that publishers can still bring dissident writers to American readers as long as they first apply for a license.

    "The licensing is a very important part of the sanctions policy because it allows people to engage with these countries," Millerwise said. "Anyone is free to apply to OFAC for a license."

    Critics say they shouldn't have to."

    Add the Desertrat to the list of critics.

    What strikes me as totally irrational in this spokesperson's blather is that somehow writings by one opposed to a regime on our Bad Guy list could somehow be harmful to OUR national security. Seems to me these writings would be harmful to the Bad Guys' national security.

    Boy, could I find it easy to mispronounce that acronym!

    The only heartening part in the article is the list of those entering into the court suit. However, after the SCOTUS decision about First Amendment infringement in the Campaign Finance Reform law, I'm not particularly optimistic...

    'Rat
     
  2. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #2
    wow. welcome to communist vietnam and china.

    what was it that jfk said about fear?
     
  3. Desertrat thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #3
    Dunno 'bout Kennedy, but FDR said, "We have nothing to fear but fear itself."

    This book deal bugs me as much this morning as it did when I first ran across it. Maybe more.

    I went through WW II's censorship, "Loose lips sink ships" and all that stuff. As a Cold War Kid, I had a Top Secret clearance during my two years in Paris. I like to think I have a clue about various forms of security, whether physical or in the realm of control of the flow of information.

    But non-think of the Millerwise style just gives me a serious case of the splutters...

    'Rat
     
  4. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    Jeez. You guys need to watch the Russia House again...and not just to hear Michelle Pfiffer do a pretty good job with Russian. What about if a dissident from another country asks a Western book publisher (who drinks too much but is still dashingly handsome in his decay) to publish his country's military secrets as a book? What then? Certainly you wouldn't support Dante's plan to publish the Soviet Military's plans and capactities. Shouldn't such material go to the authorities? Don't you trust Ned and Russell?
     
  5. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #5
    And why not?
     
  6. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #6
    Why not?!?! Because then you'd have no leverage to save Katya! What's more important, saving to world or shacking up with Michelle Pfiffer in Lisbon. Sheesh. Some people have screwy priorities.
     
  7. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #7
    Silly me! Not familiar with the storyline - or the cast!
     
  8. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #8
    I wonder if there are any Iraqi writers out there who may or may not be working on something that would be unflattering to the US?

    It SEEMS like we'd want to hear from dissident voices within countries we oppose, but then we also thought that we'd be greeted with flowers and candy upon driving into Baghdad. Perhaps some of the voices aren't saying the things the government wants us to hear?

    I would note also that unless an American has international TV stations that they aren't seeing things like the condition of the city of Fallujah right now. US news companies are happy to self-censor so as to avoid any kind of outcry from the public over some version of 'protecting the children' or 'it's unpatriotic to show the US military in anything other than flattering terms'. Also, it's simply too dangerous to send any Western news crews in unescorted to check things out.

    Yes, in America we have freedom of choice. But look at what we are given to choose from...
     
  9. Xtremehkr macrumors 68000

    Xtremehkr

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    #9
    Ayn Rands book was banned in the 50s I believe, it was published in the UK and imported to the US later.

    You just have to wait a couple of generations and people forget and you can do all of this bad stuff again.

    Really, our education system sucks ass.
     
  10. Desertrat thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #10
    NO, I don't think it was Rand. I read both "The Fountainhead" and "Atlas Shrugged" during 1958-1962.

    Lotsa flap over "Tropic of Capricorn" and "Tropic of Cancer", though. "Banned in Boston" was a standing joke, back then.

    About the only books that were banned were those depicting "graphic" sex. By today's standards, "back then" sex scenes weren't graphic at all.

    I think it was around 1951 or 1952 that the movie "The Moon Is Blue" came out. Maggie Smith and IIRC Joseph Cotten. Anyhow, there's a scene where she's willing to resew a button on his coat, if they go to her apartment. Her question about inviting him made Time magazine: "If I do, will you try to seduce me?" In them thar days, kiddies, that was considered quite risque.

    'Rat
     
  11. Xtremehkr macrumors 68000

    Xtremehkr

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    #11
    It was neither of her big books, it was her first book I believe.
     

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