Happy Birthday Indeed

Friday, July 4th, 2008, 4:16 pm

Day 1b of the World Series of Poker just started and they had a country singer do a twangy a capella version of the "Star-Spangled Banner". They also handed out flags to players entering the Amazon Room (and not just U.S. flags) to wave to show that this is indeed the "World" Series of Poker. I savored the irony, as Harrah’s does not permit online sites who allow Americans to play to have hospitality suites at the Rio. Yes, America is indeed the "land of the free". You’re just not free to play online poker. At least not at the Rio. Made me want to stand up and wave my little flag.

Of course, as Americans we’re also no longer free to not have our conversations wiretapped without a warrant. Or be held incommunicado indefinitely without trial. Or be tortured if the government thinks that maybe, just maybe, you might be a bad guy. That’s why I find people who are optimistic about online poker being legalized rather naive. Our current government is not interested in giving Americans rights. It’s interested in taking them away. Except for guns–guns you can have. But online poker? Ooh, no, much too dangerous for Americans to mess with. This is the "home of the brave"? Yeah. Right.

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9 Responses to “Happy Birthday Indeed”

  1. Pauly Says:

    Well said.

  2. randeroo Says:

    I second Pauly’s.

  3. Darx Says:

    It’s kind of how I felt back in, what, 1990? when the 4th of July headline was about the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Happy Independence Day, let’s all celebrate freedom, unless you want to decide what you want to do with your own body, in which case, you’re hosed.

  4. Another Cool Thing About My Job | jasonkirk.net Says:

    […] This piece by Gene Bromberg is one of the most succinct summaries of the state of America that I’ve read in recent memory, despite the fact that I’m still optimistic about online poker being legalized. Gene-o also has great taste in beer and laptop bags. […]

  5. StB Says:

    Name me one American having their calls tapped, being held, or tortured.

  6. Gene Says:

    Jose Padilla was held for years without charge, without access to counsel, and was tortured while in custody. I don’t have specific names of Americans who’ve had their calls illegally intercepted, but why would the government be pushing a bill to give telecom executives amnesty for illegally wiretapping phone calls if nothing illegal was done?

  7. StB Says:

    He was an enemy combatant. It was a legal detention.

    So you are saying that in interest of national security, no one should assist the government? The telecoms acted in good faith, being told it was legal. To go back and try them is ridiculous pandering to liberal interests. It serves no good but the lawyers who continue to jack up the cost for us taxpayers.

  8. StB Says:

    Oh, and torture? I am sure you believe every one held at Gitmo is tortured as well. No proof, just him and his legal team following the terrorist play book.

  9. Gene Says:

    Padilla was an “enemy combatant”? Sez who? President Bush. Bush declared Padilla an enemy combatant while providing no proof of that and held Padilla in custody for years without charging him with any crime. When it looked like he was going to get his day in the Supreme Court, THAT’S when all of a sudden he was actually charged with something. And he wasn’t charged with what Bush said he was allegedly doing, planning to detonate a dirty bomb.

    To say that “So you are saying that in interest of national security, no one should assist the government? The telecoms acted in good faith, being told it was legal. To go back and try them is ridiculous pandering to liberal interests” is ludicrous. The telecoms acted in “good faith”? To whom? Not their customers. They were BREAKING THE LAW. The President of the United States is NOT allowed to break the law. He’s a President, not a King. We’re ruled by laws, not by a King. The President is NOT allowed to order people to break the law. Bush asks you to break the law, you’re breaking the law and should be punished accordingly.

    He wants calls intercepted, get a warrant. That’s what FISA is for. He wants calls intercepted without a warrant? Tell him to get stuffed. That’s what the telecom companies should’ve done. They didn’t, and they should be held responsible for their actions. So should the President and those in his Administration who broke other laws. They aren’t exempt from the laws of the United States of America just because we were stupid enough to put him and his cronies in office.

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