Sunday, February 04, 2007
"Puritanism - the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy." -- H.L. Mencken
It's good to see that President Bush and the GOP are doing their part to make America safe from religious fanatics this year.
If the U.S. government gets its way on Super Bowl Sunday, all bets will be off -- all online bets, that is.If you've been wisely following this blog, this will sound familiar. Let's hop onto the way-back machine and revisit a post I made shortly after April Fool's Day last year:
Federal prosecutors and agents in the FBI's organized-crime unit have been mounting a large-scale crackdown on Internet gambling, with indictments against executives at gaming Web sites, arrests of foreign businessmen who process payments and subpoenas to investment banks that may have helped bankroll the operations.
The aggressive campaign has gathered steam recently, as Americans prepare to wager more than $5 billion on today's game between the Chicago Bears and the Indianapolis Colts, the biggest betting day of the year, according to industry experts. [bold added]
Apparently, Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) is both a fan of this blog and interested in saving me from myself. Having missed the fact that the date for this post was April 1, he has introduced a bill to prohibit internet gambling! No need, Congressman! I only play nickel-ante poker at home a few times a year.Well, Goodlatte's particular bill didn't pass, but that didn't matter because the GOP slipped a similar measure into a port security bill last year -- doubtless aided by the convenient camouflage of the controversy about whether a Dubai company really should be in charge of operations at six of our ports.
He didn't mention an unrelated provision that seeks to put teeth into laws that forbid most online gambling. Instead, Bush focused on the multiple ways the legislation tightens security and closes a loophole in anti-terror defenses, especially at ports.In other words, our wartime President hoped nobody would notice that he shares the same basic goal as the religious fanatics waging war against America: To force Americans to obey the religious dictates of others. There are two differences, one unimportant and one important. The unimportant one is that Bush is acting as if forcing obedience to Christianity is somehow different than forcing obedience to Islam. The important one is that Bush and the GOP used this bill to posture as defenders of American freedom while acting to betray it.
Instead, Bush's remarks focused on the multiple ways the legislation could reduce the likelihood that terrorists could sneak a nuclear, chemical or biological weapons device into the country in one of the 11 million shipping containers that enter the country each year, many without any inspection. [bold added]
It may pay to be wary about betting online this year -- but work to make your country more free next year so you don't have to. We should be able to celebrate the Super Bowl without having to look over our shoulders for the religious police.