If I ever ran for elected office I would introduce a simple platform to legalize (and regulate and tax) marijuana, prostitution, and online poker. That sounds like a normal Thursday night for some of my readers.
I would funnel the revenue generated for taxing pot fiends, hookers, and online poker rooms into better schools and affordable healthcare for all Americans and the fortunate Mexicans who scurried across the border in the Arizona desert. I would also hand out big ass tax breaks to U.S. corporations who kept jobs at home and hired American citizens as their customer service reps instead of outsourcing them fourteen time zones away.
Our current politicians would not cure our social maladies if they got their hands on an abundant pool of revenue generated from taxing online poker, prostitution, and marijuana. Think about the possibility of Uncle Sam getting $1 for every bong hit, blow job, and dealt hand on Poker Stars... then they'd have no problems funding the next war in Iran. With a war chest thanks to taxes on marijuana, prostitution, and online poker, the U.S. military could offer twice as much in bonuses to sign up for the armed forces which would alleviate their current enlistment problems. Americans will do anything for money, if the price is right.
Risking a limb against an IED on a road in the Al Anbar province is what many of our soldiers do on a daily basis. That's the most real and brutal form of high stakes gambling out there. Life can really be boiled down to that gambling cliche "luck of the draw." I know 19 and 20 year old kids with six figure poker bankrolls who are paying off their parents' mortgages while kids their age are half-way around the world praying their balls don't get blown off during a routine mission.
Legalized weed, hookers, and Party Poker is a pipe dream. They will never happen because there are entities paying off or blackmailing the career criminals in DC to keep those things illegal. Multi-national drug companies, the duplicitous religious right, and the big swing dicks like Harrah's, Apollo Texas Group, Penn National Gaming, Aztar Corp., Columbia Sussex, MGM Mirage, Carl Ichan, Steve Wynn, Boyd Gaming, Station Casinos, and Sands contribute enough money to politicians on both sides of the fence to make sure their interests are given preference instead of yours and mine.
We all fucked the donkey like a bunch of idiots with regard to online poker and acted like fat lazy Americans. The blame should be placed on ourselves not the soulless bad suit wearing thugs in Washington. Instead of buying plasma screen TVs and donking off our winnings at the WSOP, players should have been supporting advocacy groups and using their winnings to bribe and payoff local officials and the fat cats in DC.
Poker pros should have greasing the palms of the IRS and acting like Mike McD in that scene in Rounders at the judges game to the important magistrates and noblemen of America. The suits at WPT and ESPN should have been kissing serious ass and contributing to the reelection campaigns for influential politicians.
The online poker rooms like Party, Poker, PokerStars, Full Tilt and companies like Neteller should have showed up in Washington with truck loads of cash and dumped them on the steps of the Capitol while they handed out fortune cookies that read, "Online poker in America equals happiness and wealth."
That might all seem like it could work on paper, but like the shady results of the 6th race at Belmont, the fix was in before you even woke up in the morning. Welcome to Newmerica. Where there's the illusion of freedom of choice, 945 cable TV stations, a Starbucks on every corner, and everyone speaks Spanish.
I can't help but reread a post that I wrote in October called Exile on Main Street. Some passages are haunting. It's worth reading again. Here are some excerpts:
The post-apocalyptic poker world will not have mutant kids with three eyes running around and Jesus Freaks jumping out of the bushes spraying Holy Water onto the faces of hedonists. I don't think black helicopters will land in your cul de sac and the federalies will whisk you away if they find you playing an SNG on Poker Stars and ship you in a secret CIA prison in Djibouti where they'll fry your testicles with car batteries and rip out your fingernails with rusty pliers before they toss you into a 10 by 10 cell with a fingernailess zealot named Ahmed who has a tattoo of "Death to America" written in Farsi on his forehead.
Or maybe they will?
Poker players are gamblers at heart and some will take risks to maintain their fix. The world is filled with greedy people and they'll be several ruthless companies who'll flip the bird to the American courts and lawmakers that will take risks to gain access to the subculture of online poker players.
Politicians don't care about the people. They only care about themselves. Same goes for corporations. If it comes down to a choice between you or them... they'll cut the rope everytime and let you fall to your death. That's the way it is and that's why I've lost my passion for politics. It's not apathy but ultimately realizing that we don't live in a true democracy and we don't have freedom of choice but the illusion of freedom and choice. We can vote out the politicians currently in office, but they'll be replaced with a new group of lying scumbags that will sell your kids to the highest bidder if it meant they'll get another term in office.
That's why I don't see a revolutionary change happening in America. Not just with poker but with everything else surrounding the eroding civil liberties of Americans. Here's my reasoning... my peers in Generation X and the kids born after me are spoiled, lazy, dumbass little shitheads. We're overly selfish, hypersensitive, and too self-centered. We don't have the vision or the passion to evoke a world wide change like the baby boomers did in the 1960s. The hippies were better educated and organized. They believed in a better way and a brighter future. They put themselves on the line and for a while, the people in power got spooked the fuck out.
Most of the Americans that I know are more concerned with watching TV and buying stuff rather than hitting the streets to protest en masse. Some might write up whiny diatribes on their blogs or write nasty letters to their congressman, but after their little rants they'll never leave the couch or their cubicle to actually do something. We're a nation of apathetic scared fatasses and we're going to continue to let scrupulous politicians and multinational corporations dictate policy. Me included.
I've traveled around the world enough and extensively throughout America to honestly say that this is an amazing country but our leaders are war mongering pimps selling our souls to suits in a boardroom somewhere.
Ryan had an interesting post about the effects of Neteller called The Price and Cost. It's worth a read. Here's a bit:
I think about prices and costs a lot. I essentially get paid to do it. I think about shearing sheep and skinning them, about schooling the fish and killing the frog. I have been accused of being even-tempered to a fault, and the fact that I'm not currently on the phone with Neteller, my congressional representatives, a lawyer and a shrink, well, that might put some truth to that. I'm not angry over this, just disappointed. But if I'm disappointed, stands to reason plenty of people are angry. The cost of online poker should be higher than what we've been paying, but it's to nobody's benefit for it to cost any of us everything... MoreThe hard thing for me to stomach is that I was paid for the Aussie Millions via Neteller days before the debacle with the federalies. Maybe I should be pissed off that the government seized my freelance pay?
My funds in Neteller felt like those poor folks caught on the roof of the American Embassy during the fall of Saigon in 1975. They were so close to escaping and next in line to get out. Alas, they were left behind and seized by an angry mob. In the fog of war, my funds have become a casualty and thrown into one of those prison camps right out of The Deer Hunter. If given the choice, I'd rather play Russian Roulette to get them out.
Maybe Chuck Norris (early 1980s Chuck Norris ala Missing in Action) will come to save the day and rescue my money. Until that happens, I light a candle every day in remembrance of my missing funds knowing deep in my heart that they are gone forever.
And yes, I ended up working for two weeks at the Aussie Millions for free. At least I got $50 a day in free food and booze. There ended up being a minor problem with my per diem and instead of charging items to my room, I was given the go ahead to charge things to Shecky's room. For the last week I went around signing the tab as "Shecky" at the Pub or for the $32 breakfast buffet.
Or maybe I should not leave the country? The last three times I left America... Katrina destroyed New Orleans (Spain), the Tao of Poker was hacked (Holland), and my money got seized in Neteller (Australia).