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Congress Threatens Internet

The lamestream media told you:
"Web Wagering Under Attack In Congress -- Gamblers who prefer their laptops to blackjack tables won't like what Congress is doing," reports Nancy Zuckerbrod for the Associated Press.

In an effort to enforce its ban on online gambling, Congress is seeking to control forms of payment used to settle gambling debts on the Internet.

It would also authorize unnamed law enforcement officials to "work closely" with web service companies to block access to gambling websites.

Opponents say it would be better to regulate the $12 billion industry and tax it, rather than attempt to close it, which they say would be impossible. Most gambling sites operate outside the U.S., though most gamblers are within our borders.

In condemning online wagering, the AP found a professor at U. of Illinois who calls the Internet, "the crack cocaine" of gambling. They also implicate disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who had represented gambling websites.

Online lotteries have been left out of the proposed ban, because state governments rely on them heavily to supplement their incomes. Horse racing has also been omitted, due to pressure from southern horse-breeding states that derive significant money from the sport. If these had been included in the ban, the bill would fail, experts say. An amendment to ban those gambling operations was killed.

Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.), who was unsuccessful in getting exemptions for dog racing and jai-alai betting, popular in his state, calls the bill unfair.

The next  day, Zuckerbrod reported that the House had passed the bill, saying, "Internet gambling is big business and growing. But lawmakers are hoping to stem that growth."

The CEO of the thoroughbred racing association acknowledged the bill would likely move gamblers away from banned sites and to horse racing sites allowed if the bill becomes law.

The Uninvited Ombudsman notes however that:
Under the pretense of protecting people from themselves, and from the cardinal sin and addiction of gambling, Congress has begun to flex its muscles for eventual total control and censorship of the Internet.

"This has nothing to do with gambling," said one political insider who wishes to remain anonymous. "The government recognizes the tremendous political power of the web and, fearing that power, knows it must exercise control over it. The focus on gambling is a sucker punch. "

The unbridled freedom of the web has already removed people from office, newscasters from their thrones, and exposed those in power to the righteous wrath of their constituents in a way never before possible without bloodshed, according to industry experts.

Enormous shifts in wealth have also been attributed to the unregulated and free growth of the Internet. Entrepreneurs, with boundless freedom at their side, have concocted ways of attracting money that no one knew existed, which would have been impossible in a heavily regulated environment. The web stands as a testament to the economic wisdom that says freedom is the ultimate driver of the abundance and prosperity America enjoys.

In classic fashion, government fears and resists that freedom, and now threatens to quash it, calling it dangerous, unbridled, addictive and harmful.

Violating basic ethical principles that require telling the full truth, the AP story merely outlines congressional plans for stamping out gambling sites it disapproves of, and doesn't mention obvious implications for the health and well being of the world wide web at large. To its credit however, AP does mention that government plans to keep government gambling sites open.

"The threat the Internet poses to those in power must inevitably lead to efforts to control it by the ruling classes," a Congressional staffer noted, speaking on condition of anonymity. "The new gambling proposal is a way of testing the tools for closing individual websites on an as-needed basis, putting a serious chill on others, stopping and confiscating payments, enlisting law enforcement to the task, and announcing that the days of Wild West digital freedom are coming to an end."

Congress has been working on the project for more than a decade, focusing initially on pornography, also an easy target because of moral implications. Mrs. Hillary R. Clinton, while in the White House, promoted the idea of "gatekeepers" for web content, an idea that was tossed out but not forgotten. No constitutional authority for regulating morality exists however.

Efforts to stop political speech before elections, proposed and pushed into law by Senator John McCain (R., Ariz.), were upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in a decision that left everyone but congressional leaders in a state of shock. The Bill of Rights requirement that, "Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech or of the press," had no apparent effect, causing confusion and disorientation among constitutional scholars nationwide.

Regulatory efforts for the web are also underway using the power to tax. Implying that it has the power to tax free speech if it appears on the web, Congress has enacted a five-year moratorium on taxing the Internet, and when that expired, it renewed it for three more years. Experts disagree on when Congress might decide to end the moratorium, and control web content by levying taxes of unknown size, complexity and burden.

"The Electronic Frontier Foundation and various web watchdogs believe the web is too robust and too entrenched to be successfully attacked by the ruling class," says one industry observer. "Behind closed doors, Congress laughs at that. The steps for total control of web content are well underway."

Iron-clad web regulation is already a done deal for Communist China's one billion people, where industry-giant Google has designed and implemented tools for totalitarian control of web content. Historically, one of the first things power-hungry regimes do when taking over a population is to disarm the public and place strict limits on what can be said, broadcast or published, with prison time and even execution for violators.

The ongoing push to restrict MySpace.com will be covered in a future Page Nine report.

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About the Author

  • Freelance writer Alan Korwin is a founder and past president of the Arizona Book Publishing Association. With his wife Cheryl he operates Bloomfield Press, the largest producer and distributor of gun-law books in the country. Here writing as "The Uninvited Ombudsman," Alan covers the day's stories as they ought to read. Read more.

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