Surrealpolitic for surreal times.: We're Still Smelling that Abramoff Stench.


We're Still Smelling that Abramoff Stench.

When Congress tried to shut down your right to live the way you want to, who was there to defend you? When those government bureaucrats were going to break into your house and prevent you from doing what you want to do on your own computer, who was there to say "Thus far and no father!" And finally, who was there to tell the long arm of the Washington politician to mind his own business so you could be robbed the way you want to be robbed? It was Jack Abramoff - defender of the American Gambler!

On July 11th, 2006, The House approved a bill to curb online poker games, sports wagering and other Internet betting. Why? When gambling is for the most part legal in this country. There are currently 11 states that allow commercial casinos in some form, but almost all allow lotteries or some other, more regulated version of chance games including riverboats. Riverboats aren't considered a permanent fixture and so therefore are free from state regulations. So why the government's fixation on internet gambling?

For three reasons, one a structural, one protective and the other: surrealpolitic.

The first reason is because the I.R.S. simply haven't the resources to monitor online winnings. Nearly 6 billion dollars (Congressional Research Service) pass between suckers and owners so you can understand why Washington is salivating at getting their share. After all, like any good gang, if you don't get a cut, you have no reason to let some other mug muscle in on your action.

The second reason is that terrorists may or may not be setting up online casinos to gain finances to blow us up. This isn't a fact, but it's worth investigating.

The third and most probable reason, is that Jack Abramoff (and Tom Delay) are no longer there to protect the American gambler from the Grinches in Washington. You see, when Jack was taking those millions of dollars from Indian casinos he was also the point man for the online casinos. Many conservatives said, with a straight face, that they were shocked when they realized who was behind the lobbying for online casinos. After all, who bothers to investigate such matters? If Osama Bin Laden was lobbying to dismantle the FAA, I'm sure no one would notice. Also, Republicans were fulfilling their natural instincts, like that scorpion stinging the frog taking it across the river saying as it drowned, "It's in my nature." They were just instinctively protecting personal freedoms.

Until, of course, they had to run for cover while Abramoff self-destructed leaving parts of his gooey center all over K Street. Then, goodbye personal freedoms and hello new prohibition! Only six days (Washington is known for many things, but not subtlety) after a similar measure was defeated, the House, with great fervor, approved HR 4411, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, a bill to curb online gambling. It passed 317 - 93. Of the 93 nays, 76 were Democrats and 17 Republicans all of whom most likely had nothing to fear from the Abramoff stench. So now you have a majority of Democrats voting against governmental intervention on our personal rights. That's right, It's surrealpolitics.

Republican Robert W. Goodlatte, one of the legislation's chief sponsors said, "This is the opportunity to expunge a smear on this House done by many lobbyists. Now is the time to set the record straight." It's a good thing Jack Abramoff wasn't a lobbyist for the Fireman's Union or, judging by Congress' rush to cleanse itself, we'd be all be running around with flames on our backs.


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