Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The stupid Internet Gambling bill

In our Big Brother's infinite wisdom, the imperial federal government has decided to prohibit American banks and credit card companies from processing online gambling transactions. Two of the more galling aspects of the bill were that (a) the banks still got some protection (who says lobbying is a dying art?); and (b) the bill was attached to completely unrelated port security legislation. Story here.

Riddle me this: where in the hell does the imperial American federal government get off telling any private business that they cannot process payments that settle bets made on the Internet?

You folks know how I loathe "saving us from ourselves" legislation. This is a matter of freedom of choice, pure and simple. When a consenting adult places a bet on the Internet, just whose rights are being violated? Who is being deprived of their right to life, liberty or property through placing that bet? Where in the Constitution does it say or imply that this is a compelling federal interest?

"But people can squander lots of dough when gambling!" Of course they can, and they often do! However, people also lose money in the stock market and in mutual funds. Are we going to ban trading stocks and 401(k)/IRA accounts as well? Maybe we should forbid banks from processing payments made to Merrill Lynch or Ameritrade!

Seriously, this pisses me off. At some point, Americans are going to have to determine if we are going to embrace freedom, or if we are going continue the downward spiral of eroding freedom in order to satisfy one group's moral compass at the expense of our own freedom and implemented through the police power of government.

"But what about adults who lose the rent/mortgage payment to feed their gambling addiction?" Good point! So let's determine all human activities that can end up hurting a family and ban them all! Or only the ones that you don't like or that don't pertain to you?

Let's start with drinking. Should we ban that? Oh, wait. We tried that in this country, didn't we? If my memory of history serves me well, that went over like a lead balloon. Speakeasies, Al Capone, rumrunners, bootleggers, etc. Never mind.

How about smoking? Smokers get sick more often, pay higher insurance premiums, and usually die earlier in life. Shall we outlaw smoking? It might be as effective as when we banned alcohol.

What about overeating? Getting big usually creates health problems and oftentimes and early death. If that's not a negative impact on the family, I don't know what is! Therefore, we should get the feds to ban overeating, or even eating the wrong foods. No, I'm not talking about implementing a silly "fat tax"...just ban the bad foods altogether!

Let's ban blogging, too! I mean, blogging (reading and writing) can be addictive, right? Little Johnny may not get the attention he needs at home because Pops is too busy cruising over here to Crush Liberalism or wherever else. Now while I'd expect Dan Rather (and some of my trolls lurking here) to be all for the banning of blogging, I think we should tell everyone else to deal with it, too!

The possibilities are endless, now that we understand the proper role of the imperial federal government is to be our caretakers. Responsibility? Hell, that's sooooooooo nineteenth century...or so the left has been telling us for years, anyway.

Anyway, rant over. Carry on...