A little over a week ago George W. Bush and his administration snuck another law by the American people. The law took away rights of Americans, and there was nothing the American people could do about it.
Forget that he did it without telling us.
Forget that he did it in a non-democratic way, without a public vote.
Forget that, even for congress, he passed the law in an unethical way.
Forget all of that, but remember that the law he signed has restricted what you are allowed to do in the privacy of your own home.
On Oct. 12, I was playing online poker. I don’t spend a lot of money doing it, and I usually end up making more than I spend. On this particular night I spent $18 and won $65. Not bad for a couple of hours’ play on some small wagering tables. The next day I went to log in and see if I could make more cash with that $65 I won, but I was no longer allowed to play.
A big window popped up before I could pick a virtual table to sit at and play. The window notified me that, as an American, I am no longer allowed to play online poker, because of a law that Bush signed that morning.
The law Bush signed on Oct. 13 was a bill called the SAFE Port Act. This act was passed to make sure that our ports were safer to travel through, because the 9/11 commission, along with others, have complained about port security for some time.
The bill was one that would definitely pass, so Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist attached a part to the bill that said it was illegal for banks and credit card companies in the U.S. to distribute the funds they have to online gambling sites.
This online gambling statement has absolutely nothing to do with what the bill is about. Port security and online gaming are not related, but this is how they pass laws without having to talk about it.
Bush said a major reason for doing this was because minors were getting their parents’ credit cards and playing online when their parents weren’t home.
If your child is stealing your credit cards to gamble online, their love of poker might not be the biggest problem to deal with.
If this is the main reason why Bush signed the bill, then fine. If he thinks he needs to act as a father figure to the children of this country, because parents are inadequate, then he is entitled to his opinion, but I disagree.
If children are playing online poker when they are not allowed, then it is the job of the parents to stop the child.
This is just like Internet porn. Internet porn is something a child could see without being allowed to, and a child could even steal a parent’s credit card and spend money on Internet porn online.
So where is Bush’s backdoor bill to make Internet porn illegal? How is it different from the reasons Bush gave for signing the bill?
They are the same, except for one key difference where the government is concerned: money. The U.S. receives money from Internet porn, and as long as the country gets its cut everything is OK. The online poker sites are out-of-country, so the money is not being spent inside the U.S. Whenever Americans are buying things without the country receiving taxes for it, there is a problem.
There is also the money of the established casinos in America. These casinos lose money when online casinos take their business, so they have a problem with online gambling as well. With chattering casino lobbyists and the amount of money that the government sees from casinos every year, I’m sure they felt they had to do something about this threat to the industry.
Unfortunately, that action is something that hurts the American people. Bush has now said it is OK to take away the right of a U.S. citizen to do what they want in their own home when it does not put anyone in harm’s way.
Bush has done this without public discussion or a public vote in a country that prides itself on democratic values and freedom.
William Kammer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.