Third Party & Independents Archives

Sen. Frist Crashed My Tx. Hold 'Em Tournament

When I played my first game of Texas Hold ‘Em years ago, I enjoyed it so much that I went to a reputable internet site and signed up for free online play. Unfortunately, after my first few tournaments, I was completely frustrated by the rampant “calling station” mentality of free poker which, rather than encouraging strategic gameplay, encourages the mindless pursuit of some miracle river card until players run out of chips, at which point they simply reload…turning poker into a match of random chance and mindless redundancy rather than a game of skill.

I soon found it worthwhile to make a small $20 deposit and PAY for my games. Even on low stakes tables, the simple effect of risking real money provided the incentive for players to play STRATEGICALLY, developing the skills of money management, hand-selection and statistical analysis, so that even when I lost, I left the tables satisfied playing REAL poker. However, the simple transfer of $20 from my bank account to this site makes me a criminal in the eyes of some Senators.

A quick search of current legislative action on gambling demonstrates a concerted effort by Congress to criminalize gambling:
Student Athlete Protection Act [H.R.1422.IH]
Comprehensive Awareness of Problem Gambling Act of 2006 [H.R.6009.IH]
Internet Gambling Prohibition and Enforcement Act [H.R.4411]
Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (Reported in House)[H.R.4411.RH]
Common Sense Indian Gambling Reform Act of 2005 [S.1260.IS]
To create a commission to study the proper response of the United States to the growth of Internet gambling.[H.R.5474.IH]

Recently, the House of Representatives passed a bill (H.R. 4411-The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006) to prevent the use of certain payment instruments, credit cards, and fund transfers for unlawful Internet gambling. This bill ammends the 1961 Wire Act that bans telephone sports wagering except for state-sanctioned horse racing and lotteries.
( Don't get me wrong...I LOVE the lottery. The Idiot Tax, as I call it, is the one tax on those who are generally a drain on society...and they pay it WILLINGLY! However, one must question the selective morality and blatant hypocrisy which seeks to criminalize online poker while exempting state-sanctioned gambling.)

Hypocrisy aside for the moment, the most recent legislation has stalled in the Senate and if no action is taken before the end of the session in October, the whole process would have to restart in the House in 2007. Unwilling to allow lack of conviction in the Senate to speak for itself, on Sep 13 2006, AP Writer NANCY ZUCKERBROD reported that Frist recently negotiated with House and Senate members to impose the agenda by attaching legislation to a Defense Department bill authorizing U.S. military operations. (Bills in question are S.2507 and H.R.5122)

In addition to infringing upon our right to freely exchange money/property with others and to engage in activities that do not violate the liberties of others, one must also wonder what cost, in dollars and time, has been ammassed in his pursuit of this nanny agenda. I dare say, in reviewing the extensive legislation on gambling, that Frist and his peers neglect numerous national issues in pursuing their unconstitutional crusade on gambling.

Mr. Frist, it is none of your damn business how Americans spend their money in recreation. Our intrusive government plunders our hard-earned income in order to fund the various vote-purchasing entitlements of Congress, so understandably, many of us take great offense to your despotic rule over what little we retain.

And to promote such tyranny under the guise of national defense is simply shameful.


If you share my resentment, please notify Senator Frist through the following contacts:

Email: Email Form

509 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
202-224-3344, 202-228-1264 (fax)

28 White Bridge Road Suite 211
Nashville, TN 37205
615-352-9411, 615-352-9985 (fax)

Posted by M. Goldseth at September 20, 2006 7:24 PM
Comments
Comment #182974

I agree 100% and will fill out the email form.

The government has no business telling citizens what to do with whatever money is left over from taxes. And considering the number and the scale of state-sanctioned lotteries out there, it’s especially sickening that they forbid us to do what they do themselves.

In the same vein, we need to get them off our backs when it comes to marijuana-use and a whole host of other issues which the government nannies have stuck their puritanical noses into.

Campaign contributions is another one. If I want to give $200,000 instead of $2,000 to a candidate running for office who represents my values, who are these jerks to tell me otherwise?

Posted by: Pilsner at September 20, 2006 11:11 PM
Comment #182998

Regulate everything. - even yard sales …
Our government will not let us do anything that they are not 100% sure they can collect taxes on, if we make money that is.
If we put money in an offshore gambling account and win money, the government is not able to collect taxes - unless we get a check and deposit it in our bank account.

There is also an addiction concern.
In our state, at the end of every scratch off commercial, they say ‘gamble responsibly’.

Posted by: dawn at September 21, 2006 7:29 AM
Comment #182999

This was Abramhoff’s and Reid’s Milleu. These crooks have garnered millions by allowing some over others.
There’s no hypocrasy here, just greed.

Do you think this enter’s Frist’s mind? You betcha.

Posted by: gergle at September 21, 2006 8:10 AM
Comment #183000

Dawn,
I was reading recently, in some geaneology research I was doing, about the Regulators War in North Carolina. Seems the locals were sick and tired of being taxed and harrassed by corrupt sherrif’s and British officials. Many think this was the precursor to the Revolution. Sounds a lot like today.

Posted by: gergle at September 21, 2006 8:20 AM
Comment #183002

gergle,

I was ‘joking’ yesterday that soon I would be arrested for drinking my coffee past noon.

How many sin taxes are we paying now?
Is there any other product we purchase, besides gasoline, that does not show the tax we paid? Even when I get a receipt from the pump, it does not show tax on it.
How many new laws + taxes are there based on behavior or things we want to do in our ‘free’ time?
Lucky us. We have a democratically elected controlling- on the verge of suppressing - government. ( And it’s ALL of them. )

Posted by: dawn at September 21, 2006 8:42 AM
Comment #183101

I mailed Senator Frist this morning.
Im certain his clerks will enjoy reading this before hitting the button.

Ive recently noticed that the AP, Washington Post and other media sources are reporting that Senator Frist has recently negotiated with House and Senate members to impose the agenda by attaching legislation to a Defense Department bill authorizing U.S. military operations. (Bills in question are S.2507 and H.R.5122)

Mr. Frist, it is none of your damn business how Americans spend their money in recreation. Many voters resent the tendency of US government to abuse its authority by oppressing the American population rather than serving it.

While the GOP has experienced a swing in power over the last decade, that pendulum has turned and the Democrats are likely to regain many of the seats in the House.
Independents and Libertarians like myself, who voted for the GOP for national security reasons, are increasingly unwilling to make such compromises in future elections as the politicians continue their own attack on personal liberty.

For Senator Frist to neglect national issues of security and economics while pursuing some crusade against gambling exemplifies the arrogance of professional politicians.

To promote this agenda while excluding the state-lottery scams is even more disturbing.

And to promote such sneaky tyranny under the guise of national defense is simply shameful.

I will be following this, and similar issues closely before casting my vote and before speaking at political functions.

Posted by: Matt Goldseth at September 21, 2006 6:28 PM
Comment #183131

I agree. The government has no business meddling in my poker life. As far as I am concerned, poker is not gambling because skill prevails in the long run. The government, of course, defines gambling differently.

Look into Neteller if you want to get paid without using U.S. banks. No FICA protection, but if you withdraw via your net card whenever you make a large cashout, you can minimize your risk.

Posted by: Trent at September 21, 2006 8:04 PM
Comment #183138

More. … Frist is from Tennessee, where I live, and which two or three years ago amended its Constitution to allow a state lottery. I’m in favor of the lottery because it will in ten years help pay for my daughter’s college education. Having said that, state lotteries offer truly lousy odds — the sheer hypocrisy of Tennessee legalizing the state lottery while not even permitting social (that is, no rake) poker is staggering.

Posted by: Trent at September 21, 2006 8:28 PM
Comment #183171

I worked at an Albertsons for years long ago.

I repeatedly watched the same people come in every week and after getting change back from their food stamps, they’d go directly to the booth and get 5 quick picks.

Then there were the usual customers who come in on payday EVERY SINGLE week and get their Natural Light, Marlboros and their ‘numbers’.

You want to talk about addictive, mindless behavior based solely upon statistically futile hope?
The LOTTO my friends..
The IDIOT Tax.

And as far as paying for school…there have been audits in most states.
The Lotto creates government jobs, and the marketing costs eat up the bulk of revenues after that. The “kids” dont get much at all.
Just another government scam….for the children.

Posted by: Matt at September 22, 2006 8:04 AM
Comment #183196

Matt, I can’t speak for most states, but in Tennessee at least, thousands of kids are getting scholarship money. Enrollment in college has increased dramatically because of the lottery. However, I do agree that the lottery amounts to an idiot tax. It’s one thing to pay or buck or two for a dream; it’s quite another to drop hundreds or thousands a dollar a year buying lottery tickets. Just now, at the convenience store, I watched a woman who was clearly not well off buy $135 worth of tickets. It’s stupid, but so what? It’s her choice.

Posted by: Trent at September 22, 2006 12:30 PM
Comment #183204

Well, we agree there.
I do LOVE the Lottery because it is the single form of taxation that is paid WILLINGLY and is paid by a disproportionate number of those citizens who normally are leeching off productive society.

But the children dont benefit as as much as those making their living off it.
And I believe the benefit of funds provided for college is offset by the college industry’s recognition of this available funding which leads them to artificially raise tuition expenses on a regular basis.

Posted by: Matt at September 22, 2006 1:12 PM
Comment #183254

Matt,

I perfer to look at the actual numbers. Here is the financial information presented in the lottery’s annual report for 2005. This report was been verified by an independent auditor. I’ve rounded the numbers because I’m lazy.

$760 million in sales
$440 million in prize payouts
$16 million paid to gaming vendors
$54 million to vendors
$13 million in advertising
$10 million paid to employees and contractors
$218 net cash from operating activities

$230 paid to state for educational scholarships including a couple of million for after school programs

Not sure why more paid to state than net cash, but extra apparently came from a surplus fund of $50-$60 million.

So, in short, about 58 percent of sales goes back to ticket buyers (lousy odds, like I said).

Of the remaining $320 million, 22 percent went to gaming vendors and retailers, 4 percent went to advertising, 3 percent went to pay employees and contractors, and about 70 went to scholarships, etc.

Anyway, them’s the facts.

Posted by: Trent at September 22, 2006 4:58 PM
Comment #183268

Im not arguing that they aren’t profitable. However, considering that they have a tax-free monopoly on a product which amounts to slips of paper and an endless supply of false hope, one must wonder why their operating profit is only a shade above the Las Vegas Sands!!

My larger concern is that the law of unintended consequences is in play here.

The seemingly endless stream of money from government gambling, government grants and government loans has resulted in an artificially high demand for college education leading to stretched resources, reduced quality of education and lower standards of acceptance.

Knowing that the government basically prints money for the secondary education industry, universities simply hike the cost of tuition over and over, without the pressure of maintaining quality to retain ‘customers’.

As a result, the Lottery system (as well as govt grants) benefits a chosen few at the expense of the rest who now pay higher costs for a lesser product.

One must wonder what could be accomplished if the states lowered taxes, leaving citizens more disposable income, and used Lottery systems to fund those functions which serve ALL the citizens…such as roads, law enforcement, etc.

Then again, I really enjoyed the beer, pizza, pot and ladies when I was in college…I may not have enjoyed it so much had I paid for it all myself.
:-)

Posted by: Matt at September 22, 2006 6:23 PM
Comment #183272

Matt,

By artifically high demand for college, you mean that more people are going to college than should? I suppose if one could not afford college except for grants, lottery money, etc., then fewer would attend college. Actually, I’ll just accept that as a truism.

Essentially, you are saying that creating the circumstances for more people to go to college reduces the quality of the experience for those who don’t need help. At any rate, I’m not sure that is true. I admit I’ve done no research; if you have, please share. The University of Tennessee, which is near where I live, has increased its enrollment standards. It could to do so because there were more applicants due to lottery scholarships. Universities, of course, set enrollment standards based on the size of the applicant pool — too stringent, and not enough students, too loose, and not enough.

Look, I’m not even saying you are wrong. But this bit of evidence seems to contradict what you are saying. I mean no offense when I say I want facts, statistics, and analysis at hand before I sign off whole-heartedly to any opinion.

Posted by: Trent at September 22, 2006 6:43 PM
Comment #183273

Opps, that should read:

… too stringent, and not enough; too loose, and too many.

Posted by: Teades at September 22, 2006 6:45 PM
Comment #183335

Hi Trent

By artifically high demand for college, you mean that more people are going to college than should? I suppose if one could not afford college except for grants, lottery money, etc., then fewer would attend college. Actually, I’ll just accept that as a truism.

I’d again stress the importance of simple SUPPLY & DEMAND.
These entitlements (education is NOT an inalienable right, you know) have simply increased the demand for a commodity, while encouraging unrelated spending by universities, thereby inflating the cost of tuition. This should come as no suprise when one considers that there is a never-ending bounty of stolen goods available.
Essentially, you are saying that creating the circumstances for more people to go to college reduces the quality of the experience for those who don’t need help. At any rate, I’m not sure that is true. I admit I’ve done no research; if you have, please share. The University of Tennessee, which is near where I live, has increased its enrollment standards. It could to do so because there were more applicants due to lottery scholarships. Universities, of course, set enrollment standards based on the size of the applicant pool — too stringent, and not enough students, too loose, and not enough.
I’d be a bit more skeptical about that last sentence.
Universities set enrollment standards just high enough to avoid flooding the available real-estate…and low enough to ensure full enrollment and maximum profit.

I admittedly dont have any specific research to cite at the moment, but ‘statistics’ can be manipulated to either side of a debate….they are often a way to obscure common sense.

That said…
I did attend college within the last 10 years and have lived in 2 major college towns.
I’ve also worked in 4 different industries from entry level to management level and my wife is a Human Resources Manager.
The owner of my company didnt get a degree.
The owners of my wife’s company did not either.

Over the years, I’ve witness a growing population of college graduates who who employ themselves outside of their major, can recite Shakespeare and the major accomplishments of Islam, but struggle with basic communication, know little to nothing about economics, personal finance, world history and have no marketable skills.

The simple truth is that more people are going to college than are READY to or NEED to. For many, (Im guilty) college is a pretentious way to avoid embarking onto the journey of productive adulthood.
Many change majors repeatedly as they don’t know themselves well enough to choose a major that balances personal talents and career opportunities.

Meanwhile, much of the well-intentioned older generation is still preaching the “Need a college degree to be successful” mantra, completely unaware of that the college campus has turned into modern day Sodom & Gomorrah of binge-drinking, drug-experimentation and promiscuity…with a curriculum which prioritizies multiculturalism and social liberalism over the development of a productive work force with marketable skills.

Why cant we be honest and realistic…and acknowledge that not everyone is best suited to occupy 4-6 of the best working years playing Little Johnny Schoolhouse? Many are DO-ERS and CREATORS who would be better served applying themselves in the workforce.

How many citizens spend tens of thousands on college while compounding interest charges, when they very well could have been MORE prosperous by working full-time for 4 years after high school, climbing the career ladder and investing the earnings into stocks, bonds or real-estate.

I work for a finance company and I cant tell you how often I see contractors and truck drivers who own their own homes and make $50K a year plus…an then I see numerous graduates in the fields of sociology, psychology, education, etc who make little more than half that while still paying their debt.

There is little doubt that the free money of government plunder is a contributing factor.

That’s my long-winded, unsubstantiated, completely off-topic opinion.
:-)

Posted by: Matt at September 22, 2006 10:16 PM
Comment #183345

Ah well, Matt, we see the world through different lenses. What is the purpose of education? You, I think, value it in terms of economic advantage; I, obviously, don’t, or I would not be one of those guys who can cite Shakespeare.

I’m very good at dealing with people; I’ve been offered management positions several times, but always decline because I don’t want the stress and hassle. I chose a job that gives me as much liberty as possible because that improves the quality of my life.

As a sideline, I teach classes at local colleges and receive little pay; I think I can safely say I’ve given back more, in economic terms, than I took from the system.

In a democracy, we need an educated citizenry. I doesn’t matter to me if people work jobs outside their fields because I don’t see the main purpose of an education to prepare people to fit into some slot. Others do, and that’s cool with me.

At any rate, back to the Tennessee lottery — much of the money goes to students who wish to attend vocational schools, not just to people like me, to quote Aristophanes, with their heads in the clouds.

Posted by: Trent at September 22, 2006 10:40 PM
Comment #183420

Well, we may see the world differently, but we seem to have much in common.

I also chose a ‘career’ which maximizes lifestyle at the expense of maximum financial gains and it sounds like we both went to college, only to work in careers outside our majors.

And I certainly my head in the sky.
Course, I received a much better, self-directed education over $2 Au Lait’s at Barnes n Noble thatn I received at college….and I paid for my own coffee.
:-0

Posted by: Matt Goldseth at September 23, 2006 8:04 AM
Comment #183600

And we both are serious about poker, too.

Yeah, I learned more out of class, too. What I got from college was an introduction to certain topics and ways of thinking. But the things we really learned, we learned because of self motivation.

You know, Matt, I have a lot of sympathy for the Libertarian view, but I wonder if in terms of business it can really work on a large scale. For small groups, sure, but an entire nation? Is there any precedent?

Posted by: Trent at September 24, 2006 9:18 AM
Comment #183686

I think many confuse libertarianism with anarchy or lazze faire economics.

Libertarians affirm the need of JUSTICE as an inseperable aspect of FREEDOM. In business, people have a right to their property. Deception, false advertising and other unethical business practices are violations of someone’s FREE exchange of property.

I think the forefathers were the true libertarians…classical liberals…who epitomized this balance with a small, unobtrusive government that protected the rights of citizens from force and fraud.

That philosophy got America pretty far until entitlement and nanny governance found its way to Washington.

Posted by: Matt at September 24, 2006 9:05 PM
Comment #183716

Matt,

Where do things like monopolies and huge corporations fit into the picture? Or unions? Do you think collective bargaining is bad, or does that fit into what I gather is the contractural nature of Libertarianism?

Ultimately, ideals aside, the question is, what would life be like for most people? Would their general conditions improve or worsen? What happens to people who have, for whatever reason, no resources? Are incapacitated or starving or have no shelter? These are honest questions; I don’t really know much about Libertarianism.

Posted by: Trent at September 25, 2006 12:53 AM
Comment #183793

Well, I dont think monopolies are inherently evil. And I think they can be a good thing so long as they are transparent enough to be monitored so that consumers aren’t violated by force or fraud.

I kind of view unions the same way. The CAN be a force for good if workers can resist the temptation to violate contractual agreements with strikes.

But I think both monopolies and unions must not be propped up with legislation which benefits them, while diminishing the power of consumer retribution. (Tariffs, subsidies, minimum wage laws, etc)

Course, the questions you raise regarding those who struggle are fair ones and I cant say there’s a perfect answer.
However, I simply believe humanity is imperfect and those same situations occur with government intervention…usually with some greater unforeseen consequences as well.
Therefore, I believe it is always best to allow man to operate without intrusions on their liberty. In such cases, as liberty brings blessings and opportunity, the true charity of man is more likely to blossom as as a result.

Posted by: Matt at September 25, 2006 6:03 PM
Comment #183902

Thanks, Matt, for taking my questions seriously and for your balanced response. I don’t claim to be an expert in these matters, by any means, but it seems that big government really kicked into gear as a response to the Great Depression, though I know there is the view that WWII is what really got this country back on its feet. I gather you think FDR should have responded differently?

Do you think it’s really possible to scale back government enough for this country to call itself Libertarian? I’m guessing you might think not, but that of course you support scaling it back as much as possible. I think it’s gotten incredibly bloated, too, but we’d differ I think on cutting priorities.

Man is a social animal, and throughout history we’ve banded together and formed some sort of government, and whenever that happens, we are really talking about power. In terms of world history, people in the west are freer than people have every been in terms of personal liberty, though we still fall short in many ways.

I think in some ways you are as much a Utopist as old-school Marxists :)

Posted by: Trent at September 26, 2006 7:49 AM
Comment #183909

I cant say I know enough about bthe state of economics before the WAR. However, I’ve seen some opinions from sources I know to be trustworthy and wise in other arenas, so my gut tells me that America would have been just fine. While FDR may have stimulated the economy short term, he did it by forcefully confiscating money in the private sector…much of it through public debt, so that in the long run, we more than paid for what we got.

Now, I dont think this country will get back to its libertarian (classical liberal) roots. I believe America is running the same route as almost every other great civilization that rose to prosperity and crashed under the weight of immorality and entitlement.
The average “Joe” in Rome probably never knew he was witnessing the fall of Rome….and neither do most Joes in America.

Libertarians have basically been reduced to the role of, “I told you so”.
I guess my hope is that when the day comes that government is seen as truly oppressive, enough self-reliant libertarians will make it through the civil war to start things fresh!

Posted by: Matt at September 26, 2006 8:36 AM
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