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Pearl Harbor, Again?
Roberts’ Rules
by Stanley Roberts

Americans hate sneak attacks. They are the work of cowards. Any nation or group who has perpetrated such an offense against us has felt our wrath and been very sorry for the ultimate result. On September 25th this year, the Online Gaming industry was the victim of such an egregious attack. On that date, Congressman Jim Leach and his band of thugs moved to suspend the rules of the United States House of Representatives, a 435 person legislative body, and passed an anti-Internet gambling transaction bill by a voice vote of just six congressmen!

Is this the way our honorable congressmen should be creating new laws to govern us? I don’t think so. That same Congressman Leach tried to sneak similar legislation as a rider onto the Anti-Terrorist legislation a few months earlier. Fortunately, it was excised.

Polite conversationalists would refer to Jim Leach as a “true believer.” Someone who believes so strongly in his cause that he is willing to suspend the rules to make his point, even though he does not have the support of a majority. Is this the proper duty of a legislator? I think not. Our constitution has set up rules of law by which new laws can be made. Knowing he has not the support needed for his pet project, Leach and his cohorts sought ways around the constitution to enact their own rules. In my book, this man is a “fanatic.” Not much better than the other fanatics in this world who would force our people to adhere to their own set of standards.

This same thing happened over 80 years ago when Congress passed Prohibition. It didn’t work. It caused chaos and bred lawlessness. For more than a decade outlaws rose to great wealth and power by defying the law, while the common citizen lost his respect for law enforcement, as will happen whenever a small group like this forces their will upon the majority. Passing a law is a serious matter. It deserves serious consideration by the entire body of legislators. In the USA, majority rules, not a small subset that would justify any means to achieve their ends.

By the time you read this it is probable that the bill in question (H.R. 556) will have died, as it appears at this time that the Senate will not have time to consider the matter. On the other hand, there is a small chance this bill could become law. If it does, the New Age of Prohibition in America will have begun.

This law prevents banks from making transactions regarding Internet gaming. It also forces ISP’s to report such activity, but the only real way to enforce this law would involve arresting citizens for gambling on their home computers. That would put so many of our population in jail that our economy would go into depression.

There are other fanatics at large in America. One of these is New York Attorney General, Eliot Spitzer. This man’s motives are very suspect. Since New York not only has a lottery and OTB betting shops, Spitzer’s motives in coercing such giants as Citibank and E-Bay (new owners of Pay Pal) from no longer taking betting pay transactions in exchange for dropping or reducing pending criminal litigation is just one step above blackmail. Whatever happened to honor? We the people need to throw these scoundrels out.

This story was originally published in the Winter 2002-2003 issue of Gambling Times Magazine.

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