San Francisco, CA
One of my favorite political writers is Matt Taibbi, columnist at Rolling Stone magazine, who also penned a few books such as The Great Derangement, which included an astute observation about politics and Big Business...
"You don't elect politicians to commit crimes; you elect politicians to make your crimes legal." - Matt TaibbiBlack Friday more than put a wrinkle into the lives of American poker players, it decimated the entire online poker landscape. On April 15th, we all discovered that we could no longer play on our favorite online poker sites. Just the day before on April 14th, Americans went about their lives with the ease and comfort knowing their bankrolls were safe in a virtual bank somewhere overseas. We were under the impression that we could exercise our right to gamble... or choose not to gamble... because after all, we're adults protected under the Constitution of the United States. We have the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Online poker could be one of those, or it could be all three. I know I spent too many hours logged onto a different online poker site bogged down in the pursuit of happiness, only to get sucked out by a one-outer, which sent me on mega-LAGtard-Scandi-tilt.
Online poker was a short-term escape from the harsh reality that we live in corporatocracy. Our nefarious politicians are pwned by oligarchs and plutocrats, all of whom don't give a rat's ass about your personal liberty to engage in any sort of activity (gambling or otherwise) on the internet. If you haven't been paying attention to SOPA or the NDAA, then you should get off your ass and do some research. Uncle Sam and Big Brother are now one in the same while a shadowy cabal of international banksters are pulling the strings.
Remember that scene from The Godfather, after the ailing Don handed over the reigns of the Family to his son, Michael Corleone?
"You are like me," mumbled Don Corleone. "We refuse to be fools, to be puppets dancing on a string pulled by other men."
I'm still trying to figure out why some activities in America are considered a crime and why other things are permitted, but then again most laws these days defy all logic. We're living in a rigged political system that is rotten to the core. Corruption is the grease that keeps the wheels of Big Business churning. Corruption is what re-balances the manipulated scales of justice.
Who were the real culprits behind online poker prohibition in America? After doing some research and "following the money" trail, I pointed fingers in a post titled Black Friday, Vampire Squids, and 1,000 Masturbating Monkeys. Almost eight months later, I continue to search for more concise answers. Sure, we have the names of the unscrupulous politicians leading the witch hunt, but like Don Corleone explained, someone else is tugging at those puppet strings.
Who are the puppeteers?
Why did they cock block us?
What is so terrifying about online poker?
What kind of crimes against humanity did we commit by sitting around in our underwear and playing cards?
How did the simple act of playing online poker become threatening to the Establishment?
I guess the answer to my last question is this: poker players are rebellious in nature and free thinkers. Many of us would not have taken the courageous leap into the virtual waters at online poker sites unless we were strong-willed, determined, and seeking an alternative way to live our lives. Online poker provided income, happiness, purpose and validation instead of following the herd and the Master Plan (college > job > marriage > mortgage > kids > college fund > retirement) that had been beaten into our heads since birth. We were conditioned to conform from the moment we popped out of our mother's womb. We've been corralled into institutions like cattle, stripped of any semblance of individuality, brainwashed into living a life that we think is what we're supposed to do -- obey, consume, reproduce -- all of this without questioning authority and expressing an independent thought. The moment any of us stray from the path, we're ostracized and marginalized, and if that doesn't deter us, then agents of the state (paid by our tax dollars) will beat the shit out of us until we get back in line. And those whom stay on the path and do not upset the herd are thrust into a fabricated world in which the entire point of existence is to...
1. Become obedient cubicle slaves exploited by corporate overlords.I was drawn to poker because of its anarchist nature, but since then it's been bastardized both economically and politically. Do you want me to scare the shit out of you? Many pundits vehemently against online poker are convinced online poker sites (and other online gambling sites) launder money for terrorist networks. The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was passed the other day, which gives the military the green light to scoop up American citizens and detain us indefinitely as an enemy of the state if we're suspected of having ties to al-Qaeda or any other terrorist groups and anti-American organizations. Say goodbye to "innocent until proven guilty."
2. Generate tax income for the bloated state.
3. Create profits for the banking cartel in form of debt creation -- credit cards, car loans, school loans, small business loans, mortgages and second mortgages.
4. Buy cheap stuff (Made in China) that we don't need, which proliferates ginormous profits for Big Business.
5. Breed children so a new generation of consumers and debt slaves will continue this maddening cycle.
"Theory of Poker" translated into Farsi
Under the NDAA, our totalitarian government can demonize anyone, including online poker players, by simply labeling them enemy combatants. Many of you thought not being able to play in the Sunday Million sucked, just wait until the military shows up at your front door, bags a black hood over your head, then whisks you away to Gitmo or some other secret prison, where you're forced to do the naked pyramid with other freshly-detained Jihadists.
What the hell has this country come to? It's poker, for fuck's sake! It's just a card game. A game. An all-American game. Texas Hold'em. The Cadillac of Poker. "It takes seconds to learn and a lifetime to master," according to Mike Sexton, the ubiquitous ambassador to poker, whose name will now pop up on the FBI's Watch List in between Ramadan Abdullah Mohammad Shallah and Husayn Muhammad al-Umari.
Any way you look at it, unsuspecting Americans were squeezed by the government and we all got caught up in this shakedown when the UIGEA passed in 2006. Our last hope is to sway politicians to alter the laws, just like Matt Taibbi said in his famous quote... "You don't elect politicians to commit crimes; you elect politicians to make your crimes legal."
The sobering reality is that all the letters and emails in the world won't change the mind of our licentious elected officials. The poker industry dusted off hundreds of millions in a concentrated effort to lobby Congress, yet those we trusted to get the job done dropped the ball time and time again. We must think outside the box to solve the problem, and resort to drastic measures in order to re-install the freedom to fire up online poker sites once again. It will take a shitload of cash and gold to persuade the immoral muppets in DC to end online poker prohibition. If bribes don't work, then we'll have to call in a favor with the wiseguys. Because all it takes is just one severed, bloody horse's head in the right politician's bed to shape policy in our favor. Then, and only then, will we be able to play online poker again.
While we wait for the proverbial horse's head, the time has come to say farewell to a couple of dear friends. RIP online poker. RIP America.