Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

Please note I have a new phone number...


Alan Maki

Alan Maki
Doing research at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

A program for real change...


What we need is a "21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity" which would make it a mandatory requirement that the president and Congress attain and maintain full employment.

"Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens"

- Ben Franklin

Let's talk...

Let's talk...

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Mr. Peter Bakvis (U.S Representative, International Trade Union Confederation),

Previously, we spoke on the phone at length.

Here you go again begging hat in hand to the global capitalist monopolies and their governments.

Your press release (attached below in full) states:

“The achievement of decent work is crucial if we are to convince people that globalisation can work to their benefit.”

Since when is it the responsibility of the labor movement to convince workers that globalization can work? You don’t even dare use the term “capitalist” globalization… no mention of state-monopoly capitalism, no mention of imperialism; no mention of the need for socialism in order to assure trade is conducted fairly where the needs of working people and their communities come before anything else.

This from a labor organization which doesn’t have the courage to take a stand in defense of the rights of casino workers here in the United States who are employed in smoke-filled casinos at poverty wages without any rights under state or federal labor laws… not a peep of protest from the ITUC.

No one takes your “campaign” seriously; least of all working people.

Your statement does not even declare for peace as thousands of working people die daily in these imperialist wars for oil and profits.

You are simply “reaffirming” what is already enshrined in the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights--- going on 60 years. When are you going to call for real action which will force the governments of the world to comply? Without a means of forcing and coercing compliance this campaign is meaningless. You don’t even insinuate compliance should be coerced. You rely on the “goodwill” of capitalist governments which are riddled through and through with corruption… the worst form of corruption is exploitation of human beings at the hands of corporations.

Perhaps we should initiate a real “Campaign for Decent Work, Decent Pay, Decent Working Environment, and a Decent Life for ALL Working People.”

Right now in the State of Michigan your darling Democratic Governor has negotiated another “Compact” with one of the biggest mobsters in American history, which with legislative approval, will create another casino placing some 2,000 workers (in addition to close to two million in some 400 casinos strung out across the country) at risk and guaranteed nothing except for a life of health problems, misery, and everything else associated with poverty; and, the ITUC remains silent… do you really expect that working people are going to take this "Decent Work, Decent Life" campaign of the ITUC seriously?

Instead of uniting working people globally to confront capitalist globalization and imperialism while challenging state-monopoly capitalist rule by moving working people forward in class struggle, the ITUC is pushing the working class movement backwards, relegating us all to the position of beggar.

The time has come to mobilize working people in a campaign to force compliance with the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights from the world’s governments.

Your claim is that you represent 168 million workers in 153 countries; where is the united action from these 168 million workers?

Workers of the world unite! Dare to struggle; dare to win. Dare to be bold, and go on the offensive against capitalist globalization.

Please pass on my comments to Guy Ryder.

Alan L. Maki

Director of Organizing,

Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council


ITUC Online

Call to Action to collect citizens’ demands for Decent Work, Decent Life


Lisbon, 31 October, 2007 (ITUC Online): Half of the world’s workforce earns less than 2 $ a day. 12.3 million women and men work in slavery. 200 million children under the age of 15 work instead of going to school. 2.2 million people die due to work-related accidents and diseases every year. Add to this massive global unemployment, the lack of social protection for the majority of workers employed in the “informal economy”, and the violation of trade union rights and the consequences of the lack of decent work are clear.

The urgency of ameliorating this situation will today be underlined by the launch of the Call to Action for Decent Work, which Decent Work, Decent Life* campaigners will use to call on governments and global leaders to implement the promises made in the July 2006 UN Ministerial declaration ‘to create an environment at the national and international levels that is conducive to the attainment of full and productive employment and decent work for all’.[1] <#_ftn1>

In launching the Call in front of an audience of leaders from governments, trade unions and civil society from throughout the world, ITUC General Secretary Guy Ryder will call on global institutions to re-orient their policies towards the achievement of decent work.

“Today, the global financial architecture is more fragile than ever – the lack of regulation in financial markets has led to global economic panic, a risk of downturn in the real economy, and thousands poised to lose their homes. Meanwhile private equity firms make billions from shady deals due to lax tax laws, but workers are left out in the cold. And the WTO talks have stalled, partly because people no longer believe that globalisation works to their benefit. Governments agreed to making decent work a goal, now those same governments must act to ensure that decent work is mainstreamed in global institutions,” he commented.

“The achievement of decent work is crucial if we are to convince people that globalisation can work to their benefit. With the debate in Europe over the mini-treaty, with citizens in Europe feeling more and more that they are losing out, that their lives are less stable and with the retreat to nationalism that we see creeping up on us, now is the time to reassure them by establishing good quality jobs for workers in and out of Europe and a just trading system that shares the benefits of trade equally,” said Josep Borrell, the head of the GPF and chair of the European Parliament’s Development Committee.

Rabiatou Diallo, Member of Governing Body, ILO and General Secretary, Confédération Nationale de Travailleurs de Guinée (CNTG), who will also join the call emphasised the importance of providing protection for workers in the “informal economy”, mostly women, who currently have no access to pensions, maternity cover or health care.
“We know that for a very small investment governments could extend social protection to all workers and that the benefits of this in terms of education, health and well being of the population are exponential. The next Financing for Development meeting of governments in Doha in 2008 must look to how these basic human rights can be extended to all,” she said.

The call will be launched at 12.15 pm in the Auditorium VIII, AIP Centro de Congressos de Lisboa.

The Call to Action calls on governments to do the following:

1. Decent work: Reaffirm the contribution stable and quality jobs make to a healthy economy and just and equal communities by implementing inclusive strategies for full and productive employment, including for those currently working in the so-called informal economy who need rights and justice to defend their interests. All people have the right to work, to good working conditions and to sufficient income for their basic economic, social and family needs, a right that should be enforced by providing adequate living wages.

1. Rights: Workers’ rights to form and join trade unions and bargain collectively with their employer are fundamental to realising decent work, and all international organisations, governments and businesses must live up to their responsibilities to respect workers’ human rights.

1. Social protection: Strengthen and broaden social protection coverage by ensuring access to social security, pensions, unemployment benefits, maternity protection and quality health care to all. These benefits should be available to everyone, including workers in the so-called informal economy.

1. Trade: Change unfair trade rules and ensure that trade agreements are used as an instrument for decent work, sustainable development and empowerment of the world’s workers, women, the unemployed and the poor. Binding mechanisms for the promotion and enforcement of decent work, including core labour standards, must be included in trade agreements. Governments must stop making trade deals which hurt the poor, create unemployment and lead to exploitation. The demands of workers’ organisations and the rest of civil society must be listened to.

1. Debt: Ensure that the priorities of the international financial institutions incorporate social and environmental concerns. Particularly, loan and debt conditions which force countries to deregulate labour markets, reduce public spending and privatise public services at the cost of access and quality must be stopped. All projects funded by these institutions must adhere to core labour standards in their implementation.

1. Aid: Ensure that governments keep their commitment to increase the level of official development aid of rich countries to at least 0.7% of GDP. Adequate financing for development is imperative if the UN’s Millennium Development Goals are to be reached.

1. Migration: Ensure that migrant workers are not exploited and enjoy the same rights as other workers by ratifying the relevant ILO Conventions and the 1990 UN Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families.

The Call to Action will be publicised throughout the world and the signatures collected will be presented to decision-makers at key events. All people are urged to add their voice to the call for decent work by going to www.decentwork.org .

[1] <#_ftnref1> http://daccessdds.un.org/doc/UNDOC/LTD/G06/625/46/PDF/G0662546.pdf?OpenElement

For further information and to arrange interviews, please contact Kristin Blom on 0032 487 38 44 91 or Kristin.blom@ituc-csi.org.

*The Decent Work, Decent Life campaign is led by the International Trade Union Confederation, Solidar, the Global Progressive Forum, Social Alert International and the European Trade Union Confederation.


The ITUC represents 168 million workers in 153 countries and territories and has 305 national affiliates. Website: http://www.ituc-csi.org

For more information, please contact the ITUC Press Department on: +32 2 224 0204 or +32 476 621 018.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

"Indian Gaming" where the money goes... obviously not to casino workers

Have you ever walked into a casino and wondered why there would be any poverty on any Indian reservation where casino gambling has become the dominant business...

Well, check this out.

Station Casinos is the company which will be "managing" the casino for the Gun Lake Band in Michigan...

And, even considering this agreement, Michigan's Democratic, labor backed Governor, Jennifer Granholm, signed away the rights of casino workers who will go to work in a smoke-filled casino at poverty wages with no rights under Michigan or Federal labor laws...

Oh, and the Governor anticipates such an agreement will help Michigan's economic woes after the State gets an even smaller take from the "house" than the Gun Lake Band...

See what will be left for the "sparrows" by the time the Fertitta Family and the Kansas City Mob get done with their job...


Form:8-K Filing Date:4/20/2005

Gun Lake Tribe

Pursuant to a Memorandum dated April 18, 2005, the Office of the
Secretary of the United States Department of the Interior (the "DOI") authorized
the conveyance of approximately 145 acres of fee land located on Highway 131
near 129th Avenue, approximately 25 miles north of Kalamazoo, Michigan (the
"Property"), into trust for the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi
Indians, a federally recognized Native American tribe commonly referred to as
the Gun Lake Tribe ("Gun Lake"), subject to the publication of notice and
expiration of the 30-day waiting period required by law.

As previously disclosed in its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year
ended December 31, 2004, Station Casinos, Inc. (the "Company") owns a 50%
interest in MPM Enterprises, LLC, a Michigan limited liability company ("MPM").
MPM and Gun Lake are parties to amended and restated development and management
agreements, each dated as of November 13, 2003, pursuant to which MPM will
assist Gun Lake in developing and operating a gaming and entertainment project
to be located on the Property. The amended management agreement provides for a
term of seven years from the opening of the facility and provides for a
management fee of 30% of the project's net income. Pursuant to the terms of
MPM's amended and restated operating agreement, the Company's portion of that
management fee is 50% of the first $24 million of management fees earned, 83% of
the next $24 million of management fees and 93% of any management fees in excess
of $48 million.

The proposed project, as currently contemplated, would include up to
2,500 slot machines, 75 table games, a buffet and specialty restaurants.
Construction of the project includes the conversion of an existing
192,000-square foot building into the casino and entertainment facility.
Development of the proposed project and operation of Class III gaming are
subject to certain governmental and regulatory approvals, including, but not
limited to, the governor of the State of Michigan signing Gun Lake's state
gaming compact, the DOI completing the process of taking the land into trust on
behalf of Gun Lake and approval of the management agreement by the National
Indian Gaming Commission. No assurances can be given as to when, or if these
government and regulatory approvals will be received.

Pursuant to the requirements of the Securities and Exchange Act of
1934, the Registrant has duly caused this report to be signed on its behalf by
the undersigned hereunto duly authorized.

Station Casinos, Inc.

Date: April 20, 2005 By: /s/ Glenn C. Christenson
Glenn C. Christenson
Executive Vice President, Chief
Financial Officer, Chief Administrative
Officer and Treasurer

Friday, October 19, 2007

End the War Now

Bring the Troops Home Now!


Saturday, October 27, 2007


Hiawatha & Lake Street

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Info: http://www.antiwarcommittee.org or 612-379-3899.

(Or, for $75, you can take a bus at 4 am from Joan of Arc, march in Chicago at 1 pm, and be back at St Joan's around midnight. Call 612-823-8205 for details. For general Chicago info, go to http://www.oct27chicago.org)

Nancy Pelosi has it all wrong in telling peace activists what to do. Pelosi demonstrates typical well-heeled chauvinism and arrogance in telling peace activists to go after Republicans and leave Democrats alone.

Nancy Pelosi would never tell a lobbyist with a wad of cash from the health care or casino industries to take a hike down to see the Republicans… nor would she tell a lobbyist from the military-financial-industrial complex, “Stop bothering Democrats, go see the Republicans.” Nor would Nancy Pelosi tell any of the wealthy lobbyists from the Israeli lobby with a satchel full of cash, “Stop bothering me, go see a Republican.” One only has to look at campaign contributions to know that Nancy Pelosi has never told any lobbyists for big-business--- like she has told peace activists--- to, “Stop bothering Democrats, go see the Republicans.”

Pelosi doesn’t understand democracy; she works for us, not the other way around--- or, at least this is what they teach everyone in school.

The peace movement reflects the sentiments of the over-whelming majority of the American people and even greater majorities in other parts of the world.

I wonder what part of, “Get out of Iraq Now!” Pelosi and the Democrats do not understand… I have yet to hear anyone suggest, “We want the killing and bloodshed to continue so you can use this issue to get re-elected or elect a Democratic President.” What is it about “Out Now!” Pelosi and the Democrats do not understand?

Maybe we can cut Brian Melendez--- chair of the Minnesota DFL, and Congressman Collin Peterson a little slack in being unable to comprehend the message contained in “Out Now!” considering their handicap of being challenged in their ability to use a dictionary since they have no concept of the meaning of the word “shame;” but, the rest of these pathetic parasites who live off the handouts from big-business and the spoils of war understand what the American people mean when they say, “Out Now!” They are simply ignoring the will of their constituents in favor of supporting the policies of U.S. imperialism--- lock, stock, and barrel; they take their orders from the Wall Street coupon clippers who are raking in the profits from this war.

Pelosi and the Democratic Party are playing the American people for fools. First she says, “Give us a Democratic majority in the House and Senate and we will end the war." Anti-war Americans went to the polls in droves and gave her the majority she asked for in both the House and Senate; the war hasn’t ended.

Now Pelosi says, “Give us a Democratic majority in the House and Senate and the Presidency and we will end the war in Iraq.”

Common sense tells us if the three top contenders are unwilling to commit to ending the war, voting for Clinton, Obama, or Edwards is not going to end this war. In fact, all three candidates take us for a Nation of fools in the way they play with words… all three talk about “America’s continued commitment towards ‘supporting our troops’ and ‘our mission’ in Iraq…" Ironically, rather than telling these three to, “Take a hike,” many people in the peace movement are trying to figure out which one of these three pathetic candidates to endorse.

As I traveled all over Michigan I saw yard signs popping up like dandelions in the spring after a warm rain all over the place, “Support the troops; End the war.”

Other than getting these troops out of Iraq as the yard signs in Michigan demand, we have no responsibility to support what these troops are doing in Iraq in any way, shape, or fashion--- they are killing and maiming people, and destroying the country as they incite ethnic and religious strife as a calculated tactic of “securing the population;” in fact, many of these troops should probably stand trial for war crimes and be placed in the docket of the World Court right beside Bush and Cheney.

Check out the article by Conn Hallinan below: “The Casualties of Iraq.”

We have no “mission” in Iraq; the oil companies do.

Alan Greenspan, a big-time booster of this war, has made it very clear--- this war is about oil and regional domination; none of the three top Democratic contenders for president are willing to acknowledge this truth.

In fact, reading Barack Obama’s writing in “Foreign Affairs Magazine” published by the big-business outfit--- Council on Foreign Relations--- his outlook isn’t much different from any other imperialists out to create a “New American Century.”

The fact is, if the Democrats were to win every single seat in the House and Senate and capture the Presidency this war will not end--- not without the American people demonstrating their outrage against this war in ways that make this country unmanageable; let’s get real here… voting for these representatives of Wall Street is not going to bring an end to this war in Iraq. Maybe if we elected a peoples’ contingent to Congress consisting of Communists and Socialists of the variety of the old Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party like U.S. Senator Elmer Benson, Congressperson John Bernard along with a good healthy group of real liberal and progressive Democrats like U.S. Senator George McGovern we would have a fighting chance to end this dirty war… but, even they would have a difficult time without support from the people militantly demonstrating their outrage… for crying out loud… we know what it took just to win union recognition in the mass production industries and to win things like Social Security… even the Roosevelt Administration couldn’t get universal health care included as part of the Social Security package because of the strength of the business class… the very same class, only stronger today, that is responsible for the war in Iraq. During the Vietnam War we saw what it took just to get the attention of the politicians and even with people taking their outrage into the streets it still took the heroic Vietnamese people, guns in hand, to drive U.S. troops out of their country.

The Democrats are a Party of big-business, just like the Republicans. The Democrats are part of this two party trap and charade that passes itself off as the worlds’ greatest democracy; the Democrats and Republicans are simply the tools big-business uses to maintain state-monopoly control to perpetuate this rotten capitalist system which has advanced to its most barbaric, cannibalistic, and anti-democratic stage in order to keep the profits rolling in and the Wall Street coupon clippers smiling and happy: imperialism. Imperialism is about greed, exploitation, and war… with the U.S. big-business and financial empire constantly scoping out the globe for greater profits to see what country will be raped next of its natural resources using the cheapest labor attainable as they create an international pool of cheap labor for manufacturing.

One only has to read the entire speeches, not just listen to thirty second sound bites at election time, to understand that the Democratic Party is in step and sync--- and beholden to, the aims of U.S. imperialism. One example is the speech made by the former leader of the United States Senate, Tom Daschle, who was much more “liberal” than Harry Reid and 95% of the Democrats in the U.S. Senate at present.

Daschle’s speech before the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars in Washington D.C. on August 9, 2001 was entitled, “A New Century of American Leadership; meeting our global obligations.” After reading this speech no one should find it surprising that this war will not be ending any time soon if left to Pelosi and Harry Reid and the majority of the Congresspersons and Senators, most of whom are much more reactionary and subservient to big-business and financial interests and the military merchants of death and destruction than Tom Daschle will ever be… and, much more committed to big-business interests than Daschle ever was or will be… one only need examine where campaign contributions are coming from.

In labor, neither John Sweeney not Jimmy Hoffa are as liberal in their thinking as Tom Daschle… so, even campaign funds from the AFL-CIO and Change to Win does not assure a truly liberal or progressive President, House, or Senate. Sweeney and Hoffa are up to their eye-balls in league with imperialism… like Pelosi, they pay lip service on issues of peace and social justice--- including the issue of single-payer, universal health care.

If Sweeney and Hoffa truly wanted this war to end they would shut this country down until both houses of congress cut off funding for this dirty war. Continuing to spend another dime on this war makes about as much sense as me walking out my door down to the shore of Lake of the Woods and tossing my wallet out into the murky, mercury contaminated water the result of draining the Big Bog to mine peat and iron ore… at least me doing that wouldn’t be killing people.

The time has come for the peace movement and peace activists to get serious.

There are only two ways this war is going to end: when the U.S. gets run out of Iraq; or, when the American people take decisive action to halt business as usual. Chances are, given the bestial nature of this government and this rotten capitalist system, it is going to take both.

Workers at the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant circulated a letter: Workers for Peace. This is a good initiative to build on. Read it below.

The time has come for working people to flex their muscle to put an end to this dirty oil war.

Pelosi should be told: Cut off funding for this dirty war in Iraq by Election Day or we aren’t voting and we aren’t going to work--- simple as that.

Working people pay and suffer the brunt of this war. We are paying for it every time we fill our gas tanks; working people die while plants close and workers lose their jobs as millions can no longer get the health care. Why is it so hard to understand that every bomb dropped and every bullet fired in Iraq destroys us in the process? Every dime spent on this senseless war should be going into things like health care and keeping people working.

The time has come for working people to step to the front of this anti-war movement and say:


The time has come for working people to initiate rank and file organizations and activities based upon the initiatives of “Workers for Peace;” building upon this effort will enable Pelosi and Harry Reid to get the message: Cut off funding for the war by Election Day--- or, we are not going to the polls.

This is an ultimatum peace activists should not be shy about delivering to Democrats or Republicans… after all, they are supposed to be working for us… and WE want an end to this war NOW!

Everyone knows the two party system is a fiasco, a farce and a hoax… as far as working people are concerned it is a complete failure like the capitalist system which has spawned it…. the time has come to end the charade... instead of wasting our time talking about if we should support Clinton, Obama, or Edwards, we should be exploring alternatives to the two party trap set for us by big-business.

There is no way I am going to waste my time, and my gas, going to the polls to vote for Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards or any of these other dumb donkeys like Nancy Pelosi or Collin Peterson who are so arrogant they think they have the right to tell us who we should lobby and where we should demonstrate against this dirty war… I will be spending my time and energy talking to people about how we are going to have to act in a decisive way to force an end to this dirty imperialist war.

Let October 27 be the beginning of no more business as usual in this country until this war is ended.

A note I received from Charley Underwood, a peace activist and member of the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party State Central Committee...

From: Charles Underwood [mailto:charleyunderwood@hotmail.com]

Sent: Thursday, October 18, 2007 4:34 PM

To: Alan Maki

Subject: Re: [thoughts from podunk] All Out on October 27 to End the Iraq War... for peace and social justice...

Hey, Alan,

I don’t know if you still get my peace calendar somehow; Just in case, I will copy the 10/27 listing below.

If you aren’t on my peace calendar list now, but would like to be, just let me know.

Peace, Charley Underwood

Saturday, 10/27, noon, demonstration: Bring the Troops Home Now!, Hiawatha & Lake St, Mpls. http://www.antiwarcommittee.org or 612-379-3899. (Or, for $75, you can take a bus at 4 am from Joan of Arc, march in Chicago at 1 pm, and be back at St Joan's around midnight. Call 612-823-8205 for details. For general Chicago info, go to http://www.oct27chicago.org)

Statement of “Workers for Peace”

Workers for Peace

(We invite everyone in our world to sign this call for a conversation about peace. It doesn‘t matter if you are a housewife, farmer, teacher, office worker, student, union or nonunion or unemployed. We are all Sisters and Brothers here and we must rely on each other to get the Solidarity World we deserve. To add your name, send an email to: tlaney@earthlink.net).

In our workplaces and poverty lines across our world, plutocrats and corporate royalty and their union lackeys collude to persuade us to see other workers as competitors and enemies.

We are pushed by powerful labor sellouts to believe that it is now the business of trade unionism to put our brothers and sisters out of work.

We see how this dog eat dog attitude towards all workers - with whom we have everything in common - is on the same evil, competitive continuum as war itself.

We see that competition against other workers diminishes those workers in our eyes.

We see that in war, soldiers - the production workers of war - lose not only their jobs but also their lives while the rich profit.

We say that war is the eventual endgame outcome of worker against worker, dog eat dog competition which workers lose so the rich can be richer.

War is the ultimate, evil competition.

We call on workers everywhere to stop the competition between us and to fight for a world based in solidarity.

Everyone can at least talk and we ask that our talk include what we can all do to make the world a safe and happier place. We call on workers to simply talk about the traditional direct action tools of the labor movement.

Can we call for and have international conversations about redeveloping our traditional weapons - slowdowns, sitdowns, and strikes - to bring down those who kill us; and, to equalize wages and working conditions at the highest possible levels throughout the world?

If we must fight, let us fight against those who constantly divide us and play us against each other for their own profit even to the point of forcing us to kill each other.

If we must fight a war let it be a war against selfishness and poverty.

Let us fight to unite all workers against the destructive, dictatorial greed of corporate moguls. Let us fight to see that those who have the least gain equality in wages, health care and education and the right to a happy life.

A simple conversation started amongst workers who believe in the working class values of solidarity, equality and democracy can change the world.

Let our war begin with the peaceful exchange of words and ideas.

- Signed, Workers for Peace

Victor Reuther, UAW Pioneer, Washington, DC * Jim Emerick, Recon Infantry 1949-1957, Korean Combat Vet, 1950-51, 2nd Infantry; 1952-53, 40th Infantry, (CIB, 2 Silver Stars, 5 Bronze Stars, 2 Purple Hearts, 2 Unit Citations - mailed medals back to Dept. of Defense during ‘Nam as protest of that war) Veterans for Peace (VFP), Former AFSCME Bargaining Chair, I.W.W. * Dennis Serdel, 11th Light Infantry Brigade, Americal Div., Vietnam 1967-68 , VFP, UAW Local 5960 Pontiac, MI * Gregg Shotwell, Editor Live Bait & Ammo, UAW Local 2151, Grand Rapids, MI * David Yettaw, Vietnam Vet, Strike Leader, Fmr. Pres (now retired) UAW Local 599 , Flint, MI * John Kiel, Pipefitter, UAW Local 1111, Indianapolis * John Martinez, Editor, UAW Local 22 * Trish Staiger, Anti-Poverty & Peace Activist, Hastings, MN * Al McKinnis, Fmr. USMC, UAW Local 879, St. Paul, MN * Barbara Laney, Commercial Closer, Mpls. * Vern Gagner, 1st Cavalry, Vietnam; Mechanic, UAW Local 879, St. Paul * Tom Laney, Fmr. 82nd Airborne, UAW Local 879, St. Paul * Caroline Lund, Trustee and Exec. Board Member, UAW Local 2244, Fremont, CA * Barry Sheppard, Steward IAM Local Lodge 1781, UAL Mechanic, Oakland, CA * Nancy Schillinger, Fmr. Committeewoman, UAW Local 879, St. Paul * Wendy Thompson, President, UAW Local 235 Detroit * John Spritzler, New Democracy, Boston * Doug Hanscom, Editor Disgrunted Autoworker, UAW Local 239, Baltimore * John T. Cabral, New Democracy, Chicago * John E. Lewis, U.S. Navy 1945-46, Vets for Peace, Traverse City, MI * Dale A. Richardson, USMC 2nd Battalion, Echo Co., 1st Marine Div., R.V.N. 1969 * Bruce Sanderson, WWII, Svc. 1st ARMD Corps (Patton’s own) N. Africa, Sicily, Later Okninawa, President Veterans for Peace N. MI, Jordan, MI * Dave Stratman, Editor, New Democracy, Boston * Maria Josefina Saldana, PSC City U. of New York AFT Local 2334 * Greg Mondry, Fmr. Bargainer, UAW Local 879, St. Paul * Ben Moore, Tri Level UAW Local 879, St. Paul * David Payne, TriLevel, UAW Local 879 St. Paul * Mary Henehan, Foreign Exchange Trader, US Bank, Mpls. * Martin Schreader, Local 707, National Production Workers Union, Detroit * Vic Roberts, UMWA Local 1981 * Joe Callahan, Peace & Picketline Activist, UAW Local 879, St. Paul * Ken Little, Carpenters Local 1144, Seattle * Pete Bennett, UAW Local 2093 * Matt Lammers, Teacher St. Pius X Catholic High School, Atlanta * James Ketola, UAW Local 467, Fmr Paratrooper Infantryman, US Army, RVN 1969-71, Burlingame, CA * Steven Saelzler, UAW Local 372, 4th Division, 3/8 Infantry Vietnam, Vets for peace, Michael Gramlich Chapter Brownstown, MI * Vic Roberts, Ret. Coalminer, UMWA Local 9819 * Neil Chacker, UAW Local 1700, Ret. Sp/4 3rd Cavalry, US Army, Ret. * Shiffi Bluestein, Student, Melbourne, Australia * Steven K. Shotwell, Grand Rapids, MI * Elly Leary, VP & Bargaining Chair Ret., UAW Local 2324, Boston * Paula Murray, UAW Local 424, Rochester, NY * Erwin Bauer, UAW Local 306 President Ret. * Carlene A. Crnkovich, Foreign Exchange Trader, US Bank, Mpls. * Margaret J. Rickerson, Fmr. US Navy WAVE 1968-71, US Bank, Mpls. * Maeves & Allan Martin, 1/1107 TGWU, Ford Dagenham, UK * Buck Buchanan, Quality Control Inspector, UAW Local 879, St. Paul * Paul “The Champ” Elliott, Brotherhood of Railway Carmen, St. Paul * Joel Gobats, Chassis Worker, UAW Local 879, St. Paul * Bill Hanline, (USMC) FLC, FLSGA, LSU-1, 1968-69 * Rob Funk, Social Worker, St. Paul * Carmel Funk, Legal Secretary, St. Paul * Barbara Gibbs, Activist for Workers’ Rights, UAW Local 2209, Ft. Wayne, IN * Doug Fuda, New Democracy, Boston * Roman Dietinger, Youthworker, Austria * Konrad Stein, Dortmund, Germany * Lloyd Overfield, Editor, Union Times * Peter Rachleff, Labor History Professor, Macalester College, St. Paul * Hermann Westveld, Ford Volvo Worker, Belgium * Terry Engler , President , I.L.W.U. Local 400, Vancouver B.C. * Jurgen P. Kuhl, One Big Union, Scotland * Einar Schlereth, Journalist * Sarah Beamish * Dave Prodrick, Ford UK Worker * Rebecca Burrill, Boston * Khaled Hamam, Doha, Qatar * Irma
Ponti-Cowperthwaite, MSW,Recife Brazil*

The Casualties of Iraq

By: Conn Hallinan

Foreign Policy in Focus - October 17, 2007


The great 19th-century Tory Prime Minister, Benjamin
Disraeli once remarked there were three kinds of lies:
lies, damned lies, and statistics. It is a dictum the
Bush administration has taken to heart when it comes to
totaling up the carnage in Iraq: If you don't like the
numbers, just change them; and when in doubt, look 'em
in the eye and lie.

For instance, according to the Department of Defense
(DOD), the United States does not track civilian
casualties. As former commander General Tommy Franks
put it, "We don't do body counts."

But testimony in the recent trial of U.S. Army snipers
from the First Battalion of the 501 Infantry regiment
indicated the generals indeed do body counts. In a July
hearing at Fort Liberty, Iraq, Sgt. Anthony G. Murphy
said he and other snipers felt "an underlying tone" of
disappointment from their commanders when they didn't
rack up big body counts.

"It just kind of felt like, 'What are you guys doing
wrong out there?'" he testified. When the snipers
started setting traps to lure in unsuspecting Iraqis,
the kill ratios went up and the commanders, he said,
were pleased.

The choreography the Bush administration does around
casualties is aimed at creating a dance of lies and
disinformation to cover up one of the worst
humanitarian crises to strike the Middle East since the
Mongols sacked Baghdad.

That is not an overstatement.

A recent poll by the British agency Opinion Research
Business (ORB) found that the war may have killed more
than one million people, a toll that surpasses the
800,000 killed in the Rwandan genocide. The ORB used
'excess mortality' as its measure, that is, deaths over
and above mortality figures from the past.

The Grim Numbers

Trying to figure out the butcher bill in Iraq is an
uphill task.

For instance, according to the London-based
organization Iraq Body Count, by March of this year,
civilian deaths stood at 65,160, although the
organization noted that 2007 has seen "the worst
violence against civilians in Iraq since the invasion."
The conservative Brookings Institute's Iraq Index posts
slightly higher figures, and the United Nations higher

The Iraq Interior Ministry is highly critical of the
UN's conclusion that 34,000 Iraqis died in 2006,
calling the figures 'inaccurate' and 'unbalanced,' but
refuses to release its own figures. And the only sum
the Bush administration has ever come up with is when
the president commented to the press in December 2005
that the number of Iraqis killed was "30,000, more or

The first serious statistical investigation of the
war's impact was a survey by Johns Hopkins University
published in the British medical magazine, The Lancet.
According to the study, from the March 2003 invasion
through September 2006, the number of deaths due to the
war was 654, 965 Over half of those were women and
children. The Johns Hopkins study also used the 'excess
mortality' methodology, which measures not only deaths
from war, but violent crime and disease. It found that
91.8% of the excess mortality was due to violence, 31%
of that inflicted by coalition forces.

President Bush immediately dismissed the study's
methodology as "pretty well discredited," and the media
either ignored it or accepted the White House's

In fact, there is virtual unanimity among biostaticians
and mortality experts that the methodology used in the
Johns Hopkins study is accurate. Following up on an
earlier version of the study, Liala Guterman, a senior
reporter for the Chronicle of Higher Education, says
she contacted 10 experts in the field about the Lancet
article, and "not one of them took issue with the
study's methods or conclusions." Indeed, she said, the
experts found the conclusions "cautious."

According to John Zogby of Zogby International, one of
the world's most respected polling services, "The
sampling [in the Lancet survey] is solid, the
methodology is as good as it gets." Ronald Waldman, a
Columbia University epidemiologist, said the method was
"tried and true," and British Defense Ministry science
advisor, Sir Roy Anderson, said the survey was "close
to the best practice."

Indeed, the Bush administration used exactly the same
methodology to determine the number of deaths in
Darfur, figures that were used to convince the U.S.
Congress to label the current crisis in the Sudan

U.S. Casualties

The administration's sleight of hand on deaths and
casualties even extends to its own forces. There are,
for instance, no hard figures on the number of private
U.S. and British contractors wounded or killed, even
though private contractors outnumber the number of
coalition troops in Iraq.

And when casualty statistics come out in ways the DOD
doesn't like, it just changes how they are counted.

On January 29, 2007, the Pentagon listed 47,657 "non-
mortal" casualties in Iraq. One day later this number
had fallen to 31,493 by the simple device of dropping
any casualty that did not require "medical air
transport." The DOD also doesn't include vehicle
accidents, or soldiers who are taken ill, including
those with mental problems.

Other Consequences

No one has systematically collected information on the
number of Iraqis wounded by the war, although a ratio
of two or three to one wounded to killed in excess of
one million people -- is considered a good rule-of-
thumb figure.

Besides the deaths and injuries, the war had unleashed,
according to the Financial Times, "The worst refugee
crisis in the Middle East since the mass exodus of
Palestinians that was part of the violent birth of the
state of Israel in 1948." According to the UN High
Commissioner for Refugees, 2.2 million Iraqis have fled
their country, mostly to Jordan and Syria, and another
2 million have been turned into internal refugees. If
one adds to that the ORB figures for deaths, it means
at least 20% of Iraqi's pre-war population of 26
million has been killed, wounded, exiled, or displaced.

The White House has simply ignored the refugee crisis.

In 2006, the United States budgeted $3 million for
refugees, although according to Amman-based researcher
Noah Merrill, none of the relief organizations,
including the UN, has seen any of that money. And if
they had, Merrill points out, it would come to a grand
total of $3.50 per person. "Jordan is an expensive
country, " he says, "and $3.50 will not help anyone --
not even for a day."

Half of Iraq's population are children, nearly 20% of
them under the age of five. Some 25% are malnourished
and 10% suffer from acute malnutrition. According to a
UNICEF study, 70% of Iraqi's children suffer from
traumatic stress syndrome.

Food rationing, a system on which five million Iraqis
rely to stay alive, is breaking down, and according to
Patrick Cockburn of The Independent, two million can no
longer be fed because of security concerns.
Unemployment is at 68%. Once the most industrial
country in the Arab world, Iraq is devolving into an
oil-rich, agrarian backwater. Some 75% of the country's
doctors and pharmacists have fled, bringing its medical
system -- at one time the best in the Arab world -- to
the point of collapse.

And finally, like a biblical plague, cholera is working
itself down the country's river system, from the
Kurdish north to Basra in the south. Over 7,000 cases
have been confirmed in northern Iraq, according to the
World Health Organization.

In 1258 the Mongol generals Hulagu and Guo Kan besieged
and took the city of Baghdad. They murdered its
inhabitants, burned its libraries, and ravished its
lands. The Bush administration has done the same, but
hidden it behind a smoke screen of lies and voodoo

For the average Iraqi, there is little difference
between the Mongols and the United States. Both have
laid waste to their country.

[Conn Hallinan is a Foreign Policy In Focus columnist.]

Thursday, October 18, 2007

All Out on October 27 to End the Iraq War... for peace and social justice

People across the country will be demonstrating for an end to the war all over this country on October 27.

Just recently Nancy Pelosi, the Democrat who is the House Leader, gave anti-war activists the advice they should leave Democrats alone, and focus their efforts on Republicans.

We should all be looking to see which politicians join in the anti-war demonstrations on October 27.

When I spoke at an anti-war rally a while back and noted that there was not a single politician present, and I asked, "Where is the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party today? (I then began naming a few politicians)" there was swift retorts from politicians.

I was later approached by a number of these politicians who said I had taken an uncalled for cheap shot at them because I had not invited them to the demonstration.

This criticism is fair enough; although, not completely true, since I had sent out an e-mail to each and every member of the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party State Central Committee of which I am an elected member... a Committee which automatically includes every single state and federal elected politician in Minnesota.

So, while I had not personally invited any of these politicians, many of whom respond to my e-mails quite regularly, so I know they are reading them... they, in fact, had been invited to participate.

Now, since I am sending this blog posting to each and every member of the MN DFL State Central Committee I should not be hearing similar excuses from these politicians this time around.

In fact, I would encourage each and every person reading this blog posting to give your elected officials a call, and send them an e-mail, suggesting they make their views known on this dirty imperialist war for oil on October 27.

If doing nothing more than writing a letter to the editor of each and every newspaper within their constituencies stating that they are opposed to the war in Iraq; explaining to their constituents how they are working in league with peace activists.

This way, Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats can show they are part of the peace movement, which now gains its strength from the majority of the people in this country who are opposed to this dirty war. Right now it simply is very unclear where Democrats, with a very few notable exceptions, really stand on putting an end to the war in Iraq.

In fact, the positions of most Democrats is so ambiguous, one has to wonder how it is Nancy Pelosi would have the gall to suggest that peace activists should leave Democrats alone and focus only on the Republicans.

How would any peace activists conclude they really do need to continue to keep the pressure on Democrats AND Republicans? One only has to listen to what these Democrats say. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards are all on record that they will not make a commitment to bring this war to an end in their first term in office if elected; this is reason enough why pressure should continue to be brought on Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats, together with the Republicans.

In fact, this is neither a Democratic or Republican war. This is an imperialist war for oil and regional domination which has been supported from the very beginning by both Democrats and Republicans; we all know that.

If Democrats truly wanted to end this destruction, bloodbath and carnage in Iraq they could do so today... right now. They could simply cut off all funding for this war. The United States Constitution gives the Congress the "power of the purse."

Until Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats decide to exercise the "power of the purse" to put an end to this dirty war I hope mothers for peace will continue congregating in front of Nancy Pelosi's homes in California and Washington D.C. hanging dirty diapers on the branches of trees... and, I hope her neighbors continue to complain loudly.

The stench of dirty diapers which so offends Nancy Pelosi and her well-heeled neighbors is nothing compared to the stench of death lingering over Iraq.

So, invite your state and federal elected officials to participate with you in demonstrating against this dirty war in Iraq on October 27.

No excuses; all anyone has to, including any politician, is do a simple Google search for:

october 27 anti-war demonstrations

and a demonstration for an anti-war activity can be found in your area.

Although, if there isn't an anti-war activity a politician or any one else for that matter finds convenient or appropriate, they can at least be a little creative and initiate some kind of activity on their own.

Here are a few ideas if you can't find something of interest by doing the Google search for:

october 27 anti-war demonstrations

* Write a letter to the editor

* Distribute a leaflet at your local supermarket telling people why you oppose the war

* Organize a gathering at a local community center... have a forum or debate on the war (invite a politician)

* Get a few friends together and hold up anti-war signs on a busy street corner

* Take a camera to what ever peace activity you decide to participate in on October 27... take a picture of each politician participating.

* Write up your experiences demonstrating against the war on October 27 and blog your experiences.

* Ask people you work with to sign a letter or statement calling for an end to the war.

All the resources, financial and human, being squandered on this war in Iraq could be used to:

- Fund public education

- Finance a world-class, comprehensive, no-fee, single-payer, universal healthcare system

- Re-tool the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant and bring it under public ownership saving 2,000 jobs and creating an additional 12,000 jobs

- Repair bridges, roads, and infrastructure which would put thousands to work

Every dollar spent on death and destruction could be spent making this world a better place to live.

Just do something on October 27 to demonstrate your opposition to this senseless, immoral, unjust, and illegal imperialist war for oil and regional domination.

Join with Minnesotans for Peace and Social Justice and in some way, make everyday, in every community, a demonstration against the war in Iraq... in a way we are each like one little snowflake in this struggle for peace and social justice... one little snowflake doesn't amount to much... but, a Minnesota blizzard is something else.

Pass the link to this blog on.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Double Down Nation... Daily Kos... and casino workers' rights

I seldom read the Daily Kos, but a friend sent me the link to this posting--- "Double Down Nation"--- on the Daily Kos. Generally I don't read the Daily Kos because there is seldom anything of merit concerning the lives of working people. Mostly another dose of liberalism like we get from The Nation magazine. Now, don't get me wrong, I prefer liberalism to neo-liberalism and the conservative agenda... However, when you have someone publishing a post like this and over one-hundred and fifty people offer their opinions on gambling and the gaming industry and there isn't a single mention of the Draconian conditions millions of people are forced to work under in the gaming industry--- especially the so-called Indian Gaming Industry--- there is something terribly wrong in my opinion... but, then again I might be somewhat biased.

Here is the thing, not only have the deplorable working conditions and lack of rights of casino workers been ignored in the original posting--- Double Down Nation--- but, the little fact that these ill begotten profits obtained through the ruthless exploitation of casino workers (not to mention the other "industries" associated with casinos: drug dealing, loan sharking and prostitution, and of all things in a gambling establishment: illegal gambling) from these profits politicians are, also, big winners as the owners and managers of these casinos make fabulously huge campaign contributions to the politicians in return for their approval to expand gaming in this country as law enforcement agencies look the other way as drugs are sold and loan-sharks profit from gamblers' losses.

Right now, more than 400 of the so-called "Indian Gaming" casinos exist across the country--- all created through special "Compacts;" each requiring individual approval from federal and state elected and appointed public officials (remember Mr. Abramson, now residing in a Federal Penitentiary who had shopping bags full of cash in the parking lot at the Red Lake Nation IGA Supermarket supposedly destined for the "Red Lake Nation Boys and Girls Club") Actually... you can add "money laundering" and tax evasion schemes to the list I mentioned.

Anyways, anyhow... some two million workers are employed across this nation at these casinos and in the associated hospitality industries--- hotels, motels, resorts, water parks, shopping centers, restaurants.

All two million of these workers are employed in smoke-filled work environments at poverty wages with no protection by any of the state or federal labor laws enforced by state and federal agencies which protect all other workers.

The Daily Kos and the liberals who patronize this site simply don't give a damn about workers rights or the conditions they are forced to labor under.

The reason I even bother publishing "Double Down Nation" from the Daily Kos along with the more than one-hundred and fifty plus responses is to make a point...

Right now, Michigan's Democratic labor backed governor has signed away the rights of casino workers once again... the majority of the Democrats in the Michigan legislature are set to approve this "Compact." The reason these good liberal Democrats can get away with ignoring the plight of casino workers is because good liberals like those who put together the Daily Kos and those who so eagerly respond continue to ignore the plight of working people in this country.

Ironically, only one elected official out of the thousands occupying the United States Congress and State Legislatures in the entire United Sates has had the courage to question any of this... it was a Republican member of the Michigan Legislature... she asked her colleagues to vote in opposition to the resolution approving the proposed Gun Lake Casino until the "Compact" provided a provision requiring a smoke-free workplace. She made the motion... there was complete and dead silence as she looked every which way for a second for her motion... first towards her Republican colleagues... getting no "second" for her motion from them she looked towards her Democratic colleagues... as tears swelled in her eyes there was more silence.

There is a word for the Daily Kos and its readers along with public officials ignoring the plight of casino workers forced to work under such Draconian conditions... the word is "SHAMEFUL."

Like Phil Ochs once sang, "Love me, love me, I'm a Liberal..."

Read for yourself... all that has been written here. Not a single mention of the plight of casino workers.

By the way... Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards are getting massive campaign contributions from the "Indian Gaming Industry." To date Hillary Clinton has received well over one-million dollars... much of it from the Fertitta Family who as the managers of Station Casinos fronts for the skimmers of the Kansas City Mob... it is the Fertitta Family which will be managing the Gun Lake Casino in Michigan.

One of Hillary Clinton's biggest campaign contributors in addition to the Fertitta Family (the movie "Casino" is based upon the real-life, violent and corrupt exploits of the Fertitta Family and the Kansas City Mob); one of the other really big contributors to Hillary Clinton is one Melanie Benjamin who presides over a huge casino empire here in Minnesota which employs the infamous thugs of the Blackwater Security Agency to "protect" workers from union organizers.

With this kind of "concern" about gambling from "The Daily Kos" which intentionally excludes any discussion of workers' rights in all this talk about casinos and gaming and gambling it is no wonder Michigan's wannabe Hollywood starlet and Democratic Governor--- Jennifer Granholm--- can sit down with a representative of the Fertitta Family, and without batting one of her pretty eyelashes, Granholm can sign away the rights of casino workers so easily... all without a peep of protest from the Michigan AFL-CIO or AFL-CIO President John Sweeney... gees, isn't liberalism just the cat's meow?

Double Down Nation

by Devilstower

Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 10:48:25 PM PDT

Right this moment, there are four channels on my television showing different poker tournaments. The nearest gas station doesn't have biodiesel, but they sell ten kinds of lottery tickets. Most of the attractions that lined St. Louis' riverfront when I moved to the city are gone, but four blocks of downtown are being replaced by a huge new casino. It'll compete with the new casino that flashes and glitters on the Illinois side of the river.

The NPR program On Point had a program this week about the rapid growth of gambling in the United States. In less than a generation lotteries and casinos have swarmed over the land. The progressive position in most locations has been if not "pro-gambling," at least "gambling tolerant." After all, even those of us without libertarian leanings are still likely to be strongly in favor of individual rights. I know that I wasted twenty dollars at the first Yearly Kos trying to play poker at 3AM when my ability to even discern the numbers on the cards was severely limited. The idea that we should have shunned the tables never occurred to me at the time.

But there are some good reasons that progressives might want to rethink our position toward gambling. Reasons that have nothing to do with "sin" or with any of the traditional evils (crime, drugs, women in spangly costumes, David Blaine) gambling might bring to a community.

Gambling spread rapidly starting in the 1980s at the same time that Reagan took the stage. This might seem counterintuitive. After all, aren't conservatives supposed to frown on gambling? Maybe, but decades of experience have shown that conservatives really have only one commandment that counts: thou shalt cut taxes. Everything else is secondary. With trickle-down economics trickling away the budgets of states and localities, most conservatives were more than willing to look the other way as lotteries and casinos filled in the budget gap left from vanished taxes.

Gambling is intrinsically regressive. A casino is nothing but a very large machine, and the purpose of that machine it to extract money and bring it to the casino owners. By its very nature, gambling cycles money from the poor to the rich. This would still be true even if the rich participated in gambling at a higher rate than the poor -- which they don't. In moving a state's or locality's funding from taxes to gambling, the rich gain enormously more than the poor.

Gambling places all importance on chance, and in doing so it devalues work. In fact, it makes it much easier to keep paying people miserable wages when they get to rub off a few magic tickets each week. And stories of the janitor who won ten jillion dollars are just what you need to keep people happy with their lot. Mix in a few stories of the guy who would have won a billion, only he didn't buy a ticket with his newly rich buddies that week, and you have a perfect mix to keep people worshiping at the quick-pick altar.

We're at the point now where gambling isn't just accepted, it's worshiped. Democratic lawmakers in Illinois are fighting to add more casinos so they can fund the budget. Poker players are treated as superstars. School systems are run on lottery revenue.

Is there any way for the Democratic Party to extract itself from this bad bet? Could Democrats snag more of the Christian vote by opposing gambling in favor of fairer taxes? Or is America so addicted to gambling, that there's no point trying to stop it?

Permalink | 152 comments

Daily Kos

Now I'm going to go watch (24+ / 0-)
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Shannon Elizabeth is playing for the national heads-up championship (which even for poker is a very silly contest). I'm watching entirely for... the cards, of course.

by Devilstower on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 10:49:38 PM PDT

It's a rerun... (2+ / 0-)
Recommended by:StrayCat, Hey BB
not that there's anything wrong with watching it again...

by diplomatic on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:02:10 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

"Paying the Math Tax" (16+ / 0-)
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That's what a close friend of mine calls it. People who don't understand basic probability and statistics, paying a de-facto tax for their lack of math skills.

About the psychology of gambling for money

Once when I was on business travel in Nevada, I figured this out: It's about people who normally view money as something serious, even grim, being able to play with it like a toy for grownups. By analogy, like soldiers playing paintball on a weekend.

Competitive gambling such as poker championships, is more in the same category as chess championships, which is a whole different thing. And horse races are in that category as well, along with betting on sports in general. But all the card games, roulette, and slot machines: the psychology of those seems to me to have something to do with turning a deadly-serious thing into an amusement, thereby getting over some of the deadly-seriousness of it.

Think of a banker who during the work week makes decisions that put millions of dollars into play on investments that carry risk, and then on the weekend they go spend a few hundred bucks to just have fun with money.

When it's at that level I don't see a problem with it, any more than with professional pilots who spend money building radio-controlled large scale model aircraft and flying them on weekends.

When it twists the culture into something weird, for example promoting a mentality that everything in life is about luck rather than work (which produces a sense of learned helplessness), then I have a problem with it at a cultural level.

The Libertarian Democratic or progressive libertarian position should be

Treat it in the same manner that porn is treated: legal but limited. Private casinos, consenting adults, but limited by zoning to prevent it getting out of hand; and limited in other ways to prevent the gambling industry developing the power to distort the political process.

There could be small-scale gambling allowed in bars, subject to a license similar to a liquor license, where these licenses are restricted in number to keep it within reason. And there could be large casinos as part of resort complexes, again subject to zoning to keep them few and far between. As for internet gaming, that could be subject to age limits that are enforced with a requirement for a credit card.

However, don't use lotteries to fund public sector activities. Use taxes. That sounds counterintuitive for a libertarian position, but it's not: if we want competent and effective government, we have to be willing to pay for it in a manner that is equitably distributed and establishes a direct relationship between what we're paying and what we're receiving. "Indirect" methods for anything are tyrannical and cowardly policy, and that includes "taxes" that "are not taxes" such as lotteries.

And re. gambling addictions, use taxes on gambling to fund advertising of recovery programs, and subsidize the costs thereof to make them accessible. There is no question that gambling addictions destroy lives and families, as does alcoholism and other forms of substance abuse, but banning these things does not make those problems go away, and the state has no business interfering with everyone's right to make their own choices just because some percentage of individuals get into trouble with it. Education is the best prevention, and readily available treatment is the necessary cure.

by G2geek on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 01:30:03 AM PDT

[ Parent ]

What's worse, our capital markets seem to have (0 / 0)
acquired a casino-like aspect where financial speculation seems more allied to "gambling" than it does to capital formation. Whenever things become too stable, the financial wizards invent new financial instruments for the suckers to gamble and lose money on. Look at real estate, once it was both an investment and a place to call home, now it is a "flip this house" commodity that people trade like they were playing a real life game of monopoly. When everything is financialized, luck is the most important factor, not hard work. No wonder the country is growing more religious since we have come to rely on the actions of supernatural more than solid reality.

And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

by MrJersey on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 07:04:36 AM PDT

[ Parent ]

Massachusetts too, Deval Patrick is selling (7+ / 0-)
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it as a jobs initiative. Yikes. On his behalf, it may be that he just wants to get the state in early so we get the best deal because this tribe here has already won the right to build one in court.

by masslib on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 10:51:07 PM PDT

Very disappointed w/Patrick on the casinos n/t (6+ / 0-)
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Why I support Obama in 08!

by pontechango on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 10:58:52 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

Me too. And, I have five ticked off voters (6+ / 0-)
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I dragged to the primary for him. :-(
It's a bit uncomfortable.

by masslib on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:00:49 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

going to disagree (5+ / 0-)
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casino's exist because people want them too, adults even poor ones have the right to make choices with thier bodies and with thier money. If Mass residents want to pay a voluntary "tax" so be it. Programs should be there to help compulsives but I think the dems do best when they aren't seen as being moralistic.

OBAMA--because 51% isn't enough!

by nevadadem on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:10:15 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

This isn't just a matter of individual choices, (7+ / 0-)
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it's a matter of who state programs are financed. Conservatives have simultaneously suckered the voting public into a hatred for taxes while bankrupting the government. Piggy-backing on the gambling industry is not a viable way out of this mess.

Why I support Obama in 08!

by pontechango on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:14:58 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

don't disagree but the SOLUTION (4+ / 0-)
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is trying to educate people that services like roads and schools cost money and are good for society. The gambling indusrty is supported by dems because sin taxes are the only way at this juncture to get things done without costing them politically. If all the money is going into Foxwoods in Conn or Vegas or AC I can't blame states for thinking it should be everywhere. If casino gambling was legal everywhere and regulated like in vegas it wouldn't be that big of a deal.

OBAMA--because 51% isn't enough!

by nevadadem on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:25:23 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

Believe it or not (4+ / 0-)
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I am actually paid to work on that solution. :-)

and I would much rather be doing this than getting twice as much money from a casino job.

Why I support Obama in 08!

by pontechango on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:39:24 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

And I remember reading somewhere (13+ / 0-)
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that in one of the eastern states (New York?) the lottery was meant to fund education, which gave the populace the reason to cut all other funding.

The lottery itself didn't earn enough to pay the complete education bill, but voters thought it would and then were pissed they got taxed, too.

What suffered? Education funding.

Gambling gives the appearance of a free ride, and there are no free rides.

I've never found it much fun to lose money, in whatever form.

And had an uncle whose gambling nearly bankrupted my aunt and the business she'd built up over decades.

by judybrowni on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:29:32 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

California, too (12+ / 0-)
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When the CA State lottery started it was to add to the funding for education. So what happened? The (mostly Republican and conservative Democratic) governors cut an equal amount of money from the traditional education budget.

On a related but different topic, when I was a student the UC system was funded 75% by state money. Now it is funded about 25% by state money. (And they still call it a public university?) Where did the money go? To the prison system.

by Ready2fight on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:48:33 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

You might also note the increased tuitions (3+ / 0-)
Recommended by:bmaples, StrayCat, Hens Teeth
and student debt resulting.

Of course, some corporate contributors check in to pick meat off the bones.

For every penny the West gives in aid to Africa a 'counterpenny' is given to tear these cultures apart through war.

by tecampbell on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 12:07:13 AM PDT

[ Parent ]

And don't forget... (2+ / 0-)
Recommended by:StrayCat, Hens Teeth
all the private loans students are forced to take out because of continual cuts to federal and state-based aid and grants. College grads are being increasingly shunted away from all by the most corporate jobs by horrific debt.

by AimlessDriver on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 02:01:20 AM PDT

[ Parent ]

education funding seems always the first hit (1+ / 0-)
Recommended by:Hens Teeth
bands? theater programs? music? don't need that in school...

Measure 5 in Oregon
Proposition 13 in California

by Hey BB on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 06:27:09 AM PDT

[ Parent ]

Perhaps, (6+ / 0-)
Recommended by:pontechango, SherwoodB, StrayCat, The House, J Royce, JeffW
but I sure didn't want to live in Vegas anymore. The place is a cesspool of broken dreams. What a way to build a society.

Happy Seattle resident atm.

For every penny the West gives in aid to Africa a 'counterpenny' is given to tear these cultures apart through war.

by tecampbell on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:16:42 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

I don't know a place is what you make of it (1+ / 0-)
Recommended by:justalittlebitcrazy
I live in Henderson and know plenty of normal people who lead rich and fullfilling lives.

OBAMA--because 51% isn't enough!

by nevadadem on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:27:07 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

Ha! Have you looked around lately? (5+ / 0-)
Recommended by:SherwoodB, tecampbell, StrayCat, J Royce, JeffW
America is a "cesspool of broken dreams."

Welcome to Repub World.

by Bush Bites on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 02:58:12 AM PDT

[ Parent ]

there is no popular mandate for casinos in MA (4+ / 0-)
Recommended by:Minerva, PsychoSavannah, StrayCat, Neon Mama
I like casinos, but they're a seriously bad idea. They're not coming to MA because we want them, but because somebody else wants us to have them. Big difference.

by klondike on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 12:10:40 AM PDT

[ Parent ]

Yeah, I'm kind of off-track with CW here too. (0 / 0)
Heck, I've been wondering if a national lottery might not help us get out of our fiscal mess.

Sorry, I know gambling is regressive but it is a tax freely chosen.

however, it's not the best way to get out of our mess, I agree, so I'd also entertain a national sales tax (with maybe food a few other essentials exempted).

by Bush Bites on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 02:55:15 AM PDT

[ Parent ]

I agree with nevadadem 100%. Yes, I agree with many agruments in the diary. But, trying to legislate morality is exactly what drove some people from the Republic Party and many indies towards ours (e.g., Marriage Amendment).

"I am not a member of any organized political party — I am a Democrat."
~Will Rogers

-5.25, -4.87

by cotasm on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 06:54:33 AM PDT

[ Parent ]

More than disappointed here (0 / 0)
This is not the person I thought I was voting for, and he's not getting my vote again.

- What happens on DailyKos, stays on Google.

by Jon Meltzer on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 06:54:00 AM PDT

[ Parent ]

Gambling is NOT worshipped (5+ / 0-)
Recommended by:Dump Terry McAuliffe, nevadadem, hhex65, turnover, debedb
As demonstrated by the fact that it's a lot harder for me to gamble on sports online than it used to be. Although this is just because the USGOV wasn't getting their cut, and because of that crazy online-poker playing student from Bucknel that robbed a bank.

"You don't need a weather man to tell which way the wind blows" - BD

by demotarian on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 10:53:56 PM PDT

'Zactly. They canned the one form of gambling (2+ / 0-)
Recommended by:rick, samddobermann
that takes real skill.
Harold Pinter: "There are very many sides to America."

by hhex65 on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:39:44 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

I wouldn't even consider Poker gambling (2+ / 0-)
Recommended by:rick, Scarce
in tournament form, where you pay an entry fee and the winners divide it. That is no different than many semi-professional sports that have prize money. The fact that there is an elite group of players that consistently do well is very strong evidence that skill is more important than luck at the table.

Tournament play has a certain quality that cash games don't - I think it is the fact that everybody is equal at the start, no matter how rich or poor the players.

WaPo Prints My Letter!!!

by Kudos on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 03:40:02 AM PDT

[ Parent ]

I was born and raised in Vegas. (9+ / 0-)
Recommended by:rogun, Fabian, SherwoodB, StrayCat, J Royce, klondike, Neon Mama, Justus, Atheinostic
Yet I hate gambling. I've watched too many family members caught up in a number chasing nightmare of denial.

I often remind people about Vegas: those casinos are not made of sand.

That being said, I don't believe in making gambling illegal. I just don't believe we should be giving business licenses for it. If mom and pop want to hold a card game, so be it.

But instead we first had the mob, now mega-corporations selling gambling like candy.

For every penny the West gives in aid to Africa a 'counterpenny' is given to tear these cultures apart through war.

by tecampbell on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 10:54:31 PM PDT

Should we be funding our government (8+ / 0-)
Recommended by:rogun, pontechango, SherwoodB, JanL, tecampbell, The House, Dar Nirron, Neon Mama
By selling a system that encourages people to destroy their lives?

I honestly don't know how to handle this. I think it's a miserable way to fund government, yet I'd also be disturbed if there was a serious effort to ban gambling.

by Devilstower on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 10:57:17 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

What would you replace gambling with? (1+ / 0-)
Recommended by:Atheinostic
Legalizing all drugs? Legalizing prostitution? Raising income taxes? Raising property taxes?

Or, would you cut or rollback the programs partially funded by gambling taxes or lottery proceeds?

The tax revenue is part of the budget, so if gambling is taken way, what do you do to replace it?

by Magnifico on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:01:48 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

#3 and #4 (9+ / 0-)
Recommended by:rick, rogun, samddobermann, pontechango, babatunde, Mother Mags, StrayCat, Lesser Dane, CenFlaDem
Will do quite fine, thank you.

Better a fair tax, fairly levied, than erratic funding derived by taking all from a few.

by Devilstower on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:05:32 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

Typical voter response (4+ / 0-)
Recommended by:debedb, The House, J Royce, Atheinostic
Typical voter: So not only are you taking away my lottery ticket, but you're also raising my taxes? No thanks. I think I'll vote for the guy running against you.

by Magnifico on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:08:08 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

Republicans transfer the tax burden to us (4+ / 0-)
Recommended by:Magnifico, StrayCat, khereva, Neon Mama
If the tax rate on the corporations and the wealthy were rolled back to what they were during the 1950s and 1960s (when the middle class was strong the nation prosperous) then the tax burden on the middle class would be significantly reduced. Republican "tax cuts" are really shifts in tax burdens to the middle class. Don't just look at the your obvious taxes, consider all the "hidden taxes", too.

by Ready2fight on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 12:00:14 AM PDT

[ Parent ]

Property taxes can be pretty regressive too. (2+ / 0-)
Recommended by:samddobermann, JeffW
I'd stick with #3, so call me a stereotypical tax and spend liberal.

For every penny the West gives in aid to Africa a 'counterpenny' is given to tear these cultures apart through war.

by tecampbell on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:08:28 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

Nothing wrong with that... (5+ / 0-)
Recommended by:samddobermann, pontechango, tecampbell, Neon Mama, JeffW
Better than credit card republican

by Gravedugger on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:10:34 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

Credit card Republican.. that's good! n/t (3+ / 0-)
Recommended by:samddobermann, tecampbell, JeffW

Why I support Obama in 08!

by pontechango on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:16:03 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

#1 and #2 are the correct answers (0 / 0)
If the education system was not intended to dumb down children, well-informed people would surely have a better chance to exercise personal responsibility. And I think that accommodating our dumbed-downness by relying on laws against victimless – yes that is "victimless" in the sense that no one was coerced to do something they did not want to do – behaviors is a dangerous and gravely injurious mistake. We would be better off with laws against prudishness and naiveté.

#3 and #4 would be fine too, if there could only be honesty in government.

"Chickens are decent people." - G. Carlin

by The House on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 04:46:44 AM PDT

[ Parent ]

See my comment to Magnifico below. (5+ / 0-)
Recommended by:samddobermann, Janet Strange, SherwoodB, StrayCat, Neon Mama
I think lotteries are awful: a tax on people who are bad at math. This is a bad way to fund schools.

Government should not be in the business of selling gambling.

For every penny the West gives in aid to Africa a 'counterpenny' is given to tear these cultures apart through war.

by tecampbell on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:06:11 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

Let me ask you this (1+ / 0-)
Recommended by:tecampbell
Ultimately I agree with you about lotteries being a tax on people bad at math, but are they worth it if they help to educate people to this fact? I don't know much about lotteries -- they're illegal in my state, though it's an issue that's constantly being debated -- but it's the one form of gambling that I'd support if it truly helped fund education. I mean, it doesn't seem like a bad deal if people who are throwing their money away are also helping to fund their children's education, right? Having said that, I am against all other forms of legalized gambling for profit.

I'm not being factitious here, because I'm truly curious of your opinion. What do you think?

Democrats -- Progress for the Working Class

by rogun on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:19:04 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

I think long term, (10+ / 0-)
Recommended by:rogun, samddobermann, SherwoodB, PsychoSavannah, Lesser Dane, J Royce, RKOines, Dar Nirron, Neon Mama, Cassandra Waites
people need to be weened off of cheap gimicks.

We have to be honest with people: you want roads, schools, healthcare... pay for it. Stop this something for nothing mentality: which gambling represents all-too-well, I might add.

It is true that people need to be convinced that there will be a return on their investment in government. Who is going to convince them?

Government needs taxes to provide essential services. The people need essential services. Republicans lie to people by saying that governments are bad at providing essential services, but then let corporations provide those services at greater expense with worse results then any government.

We need taxes, not gimicks. We need people to believe in taxes.

Yes, I know this is not a winning strategy for us Dems.

But someone has to say it.

For every penny the West gives in aid to Africa a 'counterpenny' is given to tear these cultures apart through war.

by tecampbell on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:34:35 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

And I'm thankful that you did (3+ / 0-)
Recommended by:SherwoodB, tecampbell, J Royce
Like you, I'm sure that it's not a winning strategy either. In fact, I'm not sure that it's even a feasible strategy. But I completely agree and would support any candidate who said it 100% on this point.

Democrats -- Progress for the Working Class

by rogun on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 12:09:57 AM PDT

[ Parent ]

that actually makes them good (1+ / 0-)
Recommended by:Lesser Dane
I think lotteries are awful: a tax on people who are bad at math. This is a bad way to fund schools.

In fact it's the perfect way to fund schools. What's the problem.

by debedb on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:24:51 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

Punish the stupid? (2+ / 0-)
Recommended by:PsychoSavannah, J Royce
Seems like a good idea until you consider that we will be paying in more ways then one for the dysfunctional families destroyed by financial debt for years to come.

For every penny the West gives in aid to Africa a 'counterpenny' is given to tear these cultures apart through war.

by tecampbell on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:42:04 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

the point being (0 / 0)
better to take this money and use it to mitigate the problem for the future.

by debedb on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 12:13:52 AM PDT

[ Parent ]

The money will never pay for the damage done. (2+ / 0-)
Recommended by:J Royce, khereva
It's like burning houses down for insurance money: net loss to the communtiy at large.

For every penny the West gives in aid to Africa a 'counterpenny' is given to tear these cultures apart through war.

by tecampbell on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 12:22:49 AM PDT

[ Parent ]

I don't have much sympathy for lotteries (3+ / 0-)
Recommended by:rick, PsychoSavannah, khereva
But... When the Federal Government tells me I can't patronize a private business in a foreign country via the internet, and mandates that banks block any financial transaction made of free will by Americans, if the recipient is identified to be participating in any form of gambling. And, they put this law in a anti-terrorism bill.

That shit pisses me off. And it should piss even rabid prohibitionists because you now have the government saying what you and I can do using the internet.

WaPo Prints My Letter!!!

by Kudos on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 03:52:52 AM PDT

[ Parent ]

Mob, mega-corporations, same thing (0 / 0)
different era.

Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

by StrayCat on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 06:13:04 AM PDT

[ Parent ]

I distinctly remember a time... (5+ / 0-)
Recommended by:Devilstower, pontechango, StrayCat, rrheard, JeffW
...in the early 1990s when the fastest growing industry in the country was the casino industry - while, at the same time, the fastest-growing employer was Manpower Inc. (the temp agency). And I remember being very disturbed by this state of affairs.

I have very conflicting feelings about gambling. I'm a casual horseplayer, and on very rare occasions I'll spring for a $1 scratch-off just for fun. But I freely acknowledge that lotteries tend to be just another regressive tax.

Still, some lotteries have been very well administered (see Georgia).

Difficult choices in these cash-strapped times.

by turnover on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 10:55:06 PM PDT

"Gambling is intrinsically regressive." (7+ / 0-)
Recommended by:rogun, Janet Strange, pontechango, PsychoSavannah, JanL, Magnifico, Neon Mama
Yes, yes, yes!

When will people get it that "the man" always has to keep the little people down and poor so that they can run his shit?

This nation needs to wake up to the facts about who is really paying to line the pockets of the wealthiest among us. Well, not among me, but you get my drift.

The Rapture is not an exit strategy. (-6.5/-7.33)

by pidge not midge on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 10:56:48 PM PDT

Opposing gambling isn't a voter winner (9+ / 0-)
Recommended by:rick, diplomatic, LordMike, Elise, JanL, Mother Mags, Bush Bites, justalittlebitcrazy, Atheinostic
My suspicion is the Democratic Party isn't going to gain any more conservative Christian voters by opposing gambling, but it sure might lose some independent voters. The gambling move got started when conservatism was ascending and I doubt voters want to get rid of it.

As much as I personally dislike gambling, it isn't a battle I'm willing to choose.

by Magnifico on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 10:56:51 PM PDT

The pragmatist in me favors a balanced approach: (3+ / 0-)
Recommended by:rogun, pontechango, Bush Bites
reminding people of the dangers, looking for safeguards, without calling for outright bans... kind of like with guns.

But I do think that it is very appropriate to fight against the expansion of gambling at the local level, and I applaud those who do so.

For every penny the West gives in aid to Africa a 'counterpenny' is given to tear these cultures apart through war.

by tecampbell on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:03:26 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

See my post below... (1+ / 0-)
Recommended by:Elise
...opposition to gambling has cost the
republicans significant support over the years...

nothing wrong with gambling.. it's the world's second oldest profession...as long as its regulated, it should be fair game...



by LordMike on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:10:50 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

Regardless (2+ / 0-)
Recommended by:samddobermann, Neon Mama
Even if it did help to gain Christian voters, would we really want that? I'm not really sure, because we already have the liberal Christian vote, and I'm not sure that I'd want the conservative Christian vote, since it would likely be nothing but trouble for us. Still yet, I'm in favor of some sort of action against gambling, merely because it hurts the poor.

Democrats -- Progress for the Working Class

by rogun on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:28:47 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

Have you seen Ohio? (0 / 0)
We have our state lottery, but the last three times they got a gambling issue on the ballot they were voted down, every single time.

We have neighboring states that have casinos, yet we resist.

No more lies - IMPEACH!

by Fabian on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 03:44:48 AM PDT

[ Parent ]

Lottery mentality (19+ / 0-)
Recommended by:Devilstower, rogun, Minerva, retrograde, Janet Strange, Hardhat Democrat, Albanius, pontechango, Calisher, SherwoodB, PsychoSavannah, JanL, Mother Mags, Magnifico, Neon Mama, cville townie, JeffW, Cassandra Waites, Zaq
Not only has gambling swept the nation, but we have become a nation with a lottery fixation. Everybody seems to think they are entitled to not just a good living, but a life of effortless luxury. Houses are expected to double in value every few years. Every businessman wants to be Larry Page. Every lawsuit begins with a billion-dollar demand.

I think it's some kind of sickness, arising from the fact that, for many people, a plain living from ordinary wages is no longer possible. And the Republicans have fostered the lottery mentality by convincing the impoverished that they should support tax cuts for the rich because, heck, someday you too could be a millionaire!

by jwb on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 10:56:55 PM PDT

Republicans have taught the public that work (11+ / 0-)
Recommended by:rogun, Janet Strange, Hardhat Democrat, pontechango, PsychoSavannah, Magnifico, rrheard, Neon Mama, JeffW, Cassandra Waites, Zaq
is no longer valued. Look at what they promote as ways to strike it rich: savings (saved from what?), lotteries, stocks, and investment real estate, just to name a few.

Our society has changed. Blue-collar, well paid jobs are a thing of the past.

The Rapture is not an exit strategy. (-6.5/-7.33)

by pidge not midge on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:01:39 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

Why isn't this a Democratic message? (2+ / 0-)
Recommended by:pontechango, PsychoSavannah
Politics is, and always has been, nothing more then class warfare, imo.

Democrats -- Progress for the Working Class

by rogun on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:33:54 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

And if work is no longer valued... (0 / 0)
...people who do a good job are marginalized.

Especially if they are public employees...

Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight.

by JeffW on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 06:13:39 AM PDT

[ Parent ]

Doesn't just about every entertainment industry.. (6+ / 0-)
Recommended by:Elise, SherwoodB, PsychoSavannah, Major Organ, StrayCat, justalittlebitcrazy
...move money from the poorer to the richer? I pay upwards of $49 a pop for tickets to a baseball game where beer is $6 for 12 ounces and peanuts are $4.50 a bag. Movie tickets near me are $10.50 for evening shows and $9 for matinees. Gambling is another form of entertainment, and needs to be budgeted like it. Come up with what you consider an acceptable amount to spend over a given period of time, and hold yourself to that budget.

As to lotteries, I would point out that the Hope Scholarship program in Georgia is one of the most popular Democratic programs that state has ever seen, and it's entirely funded by lottery revenues. I just don't see free college educations as a 'bad bet.'

The American people are competent. Why shouldn't the government be competent? The people tell the truth. Why should our government lie? -Jimmy Carter

by JR on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 10:59:42 PM PDT

The difference is... (3+ / 0-)
Recommended by:rogun, Fabian, PsychoSavannah
that if the Cardinals lose, I'm only out the $49. If the dealer hits 21, I can be out another $50, and another $50.

I know what you're saying about entertainment -- that's certainly the line that both the industry and the government take when promoting the idea. I'm not even sure I disagree. But it's made very easy to "overindulge."

However, how many states are proposing to fund their education systems based on baseball tickets?

by Devilstower on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:03:37 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

The Temptations (4+ / 0-)
Recommended by:JR, LordMike, PsychoSavannah, JeffW
But it's made very easy to "overindulge."

If that's the standard, then we better outlaw blogs. Too easy to comment. Too tempting.

by Magnifico on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:05:42 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

When blogs are outlawed... (0 / 0)
...only outlaws will have blogs!

Oh, wait. That's how the Republican view us!

Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight.

by JeffW on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 06:14:48 AM PDT

[ Parent ]

bad metaphor (2+ / 0-)
Recommended by:PsychoSavannah, justalittlebitcrazy
The $50 baseball tickets can last you around three hours. So compare it to losing $50 over three hours in a casino, instead of one hand. While it may suck, it's really not that bad if you do it once a month. That's why you throw down $.50 or a dollar at a time. Just like you can get more expensive baseball tickets, you can play more expensive hands. The sober gambler can budget themself.

I'm not saying gambling can't be a problem, but let's advocate awareness for gambling addiction and promote self control instead of outlawing it altogether. It's very similar to alcohol policy.

by Major Organ on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:43:47 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

You have to be kidding (12+ / 0-)
Recommended by:rick, raatz, nevadadem, Boris Godunov, LordMike, Redbug, PsychoSavannah, Magnifico, justalittlebitcrazy, chewie333, rrheard, hollywood politcaljunkie
Your view point is paternalistic. Please spare me being protected from playing poker online. Democrats should support personal choice and freedom. We should accept the futility of trying to control vices like gambling. Gambling is not a cure all, nor is it a jobs program, but it is an activity that a consenting adult should be able to participate.

by hhesse on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:00:13 PM PDT

You might have a point if local and state (17+ / 0-)
Recommended by:rogun, Minerva, samddobermann, Janet Strange, Hardhat Democrat, Albanius, pontechango, Fabian, Elise, PsychoSavannah, babatunde, JanL, Mother Mags, tecampbell, rrheard, Neon Mama, pidge not midge
governments were not running the lotteries, and giving tax breaks and planning incentives to favor casinos.

It's not being attacked as a "vice" so much as a regressive way of promoting economic development.

I get the idea that people should be allowed to do it, with reasonable regulations.

But government has turned the corner by encouraging it, subsidizing it, and using it to create easy short-term revenues at the expense of longterm economic waste.

"My candidate is going to SAVE THE WHOLE WORLD with his fart-powered car!" --Plutonium Page

by Joelarama on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:05:23 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

You are right about incentives... (3+ / 0-)
Recommended by:rick, samddobermann, PsychoSavannah
It should be legal, but govenment should not give tax breaks to casinos.

by hhesse on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:07:48 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

Huh? (0 / 0)
Was somebody advocating prohibiting gambling?

And as for giving up controlling vices, I suppose we should just accept legalized prostitution, legalized drugs, etc.?

Our country needs for people like you to grow up a bit and participate in our society in a more productive way than just complaining about those darn liberals.

by jimpharo on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 04:57:14 AM PDT

[ Parent ]

Excellent (9+ / 0-)
Recommended by:rogun, samddobermann, SherwoodB, PsychoSavannah, Mother Mags, StrayCat, rrheard, pidge not midge, Cassandra Waites
I hate State run lotteries, for I tire of seeing people struggling to buy food always willing to spend a few precious dollars into the lottery, "just in case."

I hate it.

Until our government gets back to the business of serving the PEOPLE, rather than corporations (which is a problem at every level of government, and we all know it is), we will continue to be inundated with this hopeless bit bound to our collective jaw.

Freedom Press Handbills - Activism For Everyone

by CinDan on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:00:21 PM PDT

I remember when (2+ / 0-)
Recommended by:diplomatic, LordMike
Kansas City proposed casinos in the nineties. People screamed about crime addiction and prostitution. Never happened.

I think job training programs would be more beneficial than casino jobs.

"Sometimes I wish I could change my nickname" Me

by givemhellHarryR on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:00:33 PM PDT

Gee... (0 / 0)
...I wish that would happen in Chicago. Daley has
been shell-gaming taxes with TIF's so much, we
don't have enough money coming in just to keep
the basic services going, and he wants a City-owned

Why, oh why, can't we just attract a nice battery
factory or three?

Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight.

by JeffW on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 06:17:19 AM PDT

[ Parent ]

Um, It's called "gaming." (2+ / 0-)
Recommended by:Fabian, tecampbell
With the name change it doesn't sound half as bad. No different than a trip to Disney World.

"My candidate is going to SAVE THE WHOLE WORLD with his fart-powered car!" --Plutonium Page

by Joelarama on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:01:12 PM PDT

Ah, you mean D&D? Board games? (2+ / 0-)
Recommended by:StrayCat, Joelarama
Fun family entertainment?

Oh, not that kind of "gaming"!

No more lies - IMPEACH!

by Fabian on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 03:47:55 AM PDT

[ Parent ]

Oh come now DT (4+ / 0-)
Recommended by:Devilstower, Elise, Lesser Dane, Gravedugger
Your true agenda of keeping the Native American down is utterly transparent. ;-)

My Band Rocks!

by keirdubois on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:02:13 PM PDT

It's like Nietzsche said... (1+ / 0-)
Recommended by:rogun
... Man would rather will nothing, than not will at all.

by punditician on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:02:51 PM PDT

You're right. It's wrong. (15+ / 0-)
Recommended by:rick, rogun, Minerva, samddobermann, Janet Strange, pontechango, Fabian, PsychoSavannah, JanL, tecampbell, Lesser Dane, rrheard, Neon Mama, pidge not midge, JeffW
And I'm a gambler.

It's incredibly corrosive to have our government sponsoring self destructive (and yes, narcotic) behavior, in the form of casino gambling, and generating money in a such a super regressive fashion, simply because they don't want to raise tax the citizens who can truly afford it, and are benefitting most from government policies.

It's a loser. It's unethical. And people interested in Democracy and Justice, have no business advocating it.

by recontext on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:05:48 PM PDT

Metaphor for the downfall of American culture (3+ / 0-)
Recommended by:SherwoodB, PsychoSavannah, protectspice
we'll gamble on anything except the shared burden of taxation funding wealth producing infrastructure. Look up America in the dictionary and the synonyms include irony, stupidity, unrepentent greed, corruption, and overconsumption . . . to the point of death of a society. IMHO.

"An entire credulous nation believed in Santa Claus, but Santa Claus was really the gasman." Gunter Grass

by rrheard on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:05:59 PM PDT

I think many things can be said about gambling (6+ / 0-)
Recommended by:CarolDuhart, Elise, debedb, StrayCat, justalittlebitcrazy, chewie333
and casinos...

...but the bottom line is, adults make their own choices.

Prohibition didn't work.

Criminalizing drugs has filled our prisons, destroyed countless families and drained our government coffers.

What it comes down to is the old sixties saying, "You can't legislate morality."

So, I say, let the casinos do what casinos do - and let the smart people avoid them.

Otherwise, you just wind up with bookies and illegal gambling and the foundations for organized crime.

Let's focus on getting back Habeus Corpus, stopping the insanity in Iraq and getting that chimpanzee out of the White House.

Why do I think tinfoil hat makers are about to make a fortune?

by moosely2006 on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:06:39 PM PDT

We have 43 state lotteries (7+ / 0-)
Recommended by:rick, samddobermann, Janet Strange, Fabian, PsychoSavannah, debedb, Zaq
and half that many states already with casinos. I dont care one whit about the morality of gambling. I do care about replacing our tax system with a less than flat funding mechanism.

by Devilstower on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:17:42 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

Gamblin issues hurt Republicans... (2+ / 0-)
Recommended by:Elise, Bush Bites
...In 1998, we won the governorship and several seats in Georgia due to Republicans' opposition to the lottery...

Last year, Republicans attacked a portion of the base that is generally very republican... poker players... they passed a bill essentially outlawing online poker... Considering that most, if not almost all, avid poker players are republican "libertarian" types, they really kicked some of their most loyal voters in the face...

Novick called the ensuing voter backlash the "green velvet" revolution... republican poker players who campaigned for democrats as revenge...

One easy way to get a bunch of votes is to simply allow regulated online gambling back... We could gain a ton of potential republican voters with that one simple bill.



by LordMike on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:08:59 PM PDT

most if not all are Republican libertarian types? (1+ / 0-)
Recommended by:rick
I disagree with that observation. I guess it depends on where you play cards, doesn't it?

by diplomatic on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:33:15 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

I guess so... (0 / 0)
...almost every heavy gambler I know (and I know a lot of them) is a staunch republican... Almost all the online players I've seen are the same way... and the folks on TV rend to be quite wingnutty, too...

But, that may be just my bias...



by LordMike on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 12:08:42 AM PDT

[ Parent ]

I know some liberal tech-guys who gamble online (0 / 0)
It does depend where you're from.

by Bush Bites on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 03:05:27 AM PDT

[ Parent ]

Leave poker out of this. (7+ / 0-)
Recommended by:rick, diplomatic, hhex65, wgard, StrayCat, justalittlebitcrazy, Gravedugger
Poker isn't gambling, it's a game of skill. Yes, there is luck involved, and on any given night, a bad player can beat a good player, but it definitely requires skill to be a winning poker player long-term. Games like craps, roulette, and slot machines are in an entirely different category than poker, in that they are based purely on chance. If you don't like poker, don't play. But leave those of us who enjoy it and are skilled at it to our game.

The Constitution may not be perfect, but it's a lot better than what we've got!

by buddhistMonkey on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:11:10 PM PDT

If memorizing statistics is skill... (2+ / 0-)
Recommended by:samddobermann, pontechango
But, in all seriousness, I agree. Poker stands out as one form of gambling that doesn't have an intrinsic house slant.

All other craps, blackjack, roulette, slots, etc. all favor the house by a small percentage.

If your idea of fun is memorizing very large statistics tables, then Poker is most certainly a game of skill. people who play blindly are going to lose.

by Gravedugger on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:16:22 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

Well (5+ / 0-)
Recommended by:rick, pontechango, Fabian, Magnifico, tecampbell
since the house takes a cut of the pot, I'd say the house slant is pretty stable in poker, the house always wins, no matter whether you do or not.

by Nellebracht on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:19:06 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

True (1+ / 0-)
Recommended by:StrayCat
I forgot how that was structured...They sure as hell don't get a cut of my Friday night game though. I wouldn't take a cut of the pot either.

by Gravedugger on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:56:02 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

Memorization is not necessary... (0 / 0)
on the scale you suggest. In fact, knowing and playing only a few select hands in hold'em will net you in the green, even if pot-odds are largely ignored. Phil Hellmuth has demonstrated that.

Time lost is always a disadvantage that is bound in some way to weaken him who loses it. -Clausewitz

by Malachite on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:24:41 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

my idea of fun (4+ / 0-)
Recommended by:rick, Fabian, StrayCat, bartcopfan
First, it's probabilities, not statistics. You'd use statistics to determine the percentage of World Poker Tour champions who were left-handed; you'd use probabilities to determine the likelihood of completing an open-ended straight draw with two cards to come.

Second, there's a lot more to skillful poker than understanding probabilities. For many great players, poker math is secondary (though it would be a rarity for a world-class player not to know at least the basics). Besides calculating the odds, pot odds, and implied pot odds, there is also the psychology of bluffs and tells, pattern recognition, logic, and deductive reasoning. Personality can also be a big factor in live games. That's what makes poker so great: there are as many different styles of play as there are poker players.

The Constitution may not be perfect, but it's a lot better than what we've got!

by buddhistMonkey on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 02:02:39 AM PDT

[ Parent ]

lottery and 1984 (8+ / 0-)
Recommended by:diplomatic, Janet Strange, pontechango, SherwoodB, PsychoSavannah, tecampbell, StrayCat, JeffW
The lottery was a fairly important element in "1984" who's purpose was to separate the proles and their money.

by squarewheel on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:11:31 PM PDT

To a certain extent (5+ / 0-)
Recommended by:Redbug, Elise, justalittlebitcrazy, Cassandra Waites, Yoshi En Son
regressivity is hard to avoid in a capitalist economy. Any sort of "sin tax" and that's essentially what lotteries and taxes collected from gambling are, will be regressive taxes. Gas taxes, cigarette taxes, liquor taxes, all of them disproportionately impact the poor.

It's futile to try to eliminate all forms of regressivity. The best that can be done is to mitigate it with highly progressive funding structures in other areas.

by Nellebracht on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:12:29 PM PDT

I Certainly Haven't Done the Research (2+ / 0-)
Recommended by:Janet Strange, PsychoSavannah
so perhaps I'm completely mistaken, but I've never discerned any real correlation whatsoever between state-sposored or -promoted gambling and Democrats or progressives in power. Does the available data really support the proposition that this is in any way associated with Democrats?

And whether it is or isn't, I don't know how we can effectively make an issue out of this without coming across as a bunch of elitists who want to regulate personal behavior because "we know what's good for you and have to stop you from your own bad habits."

Personally, I wish we could unwind the presesnt situation and vastly diminish the prevalence of casinos and lotteries, but at this point, I doubt that government could readily be weaned off the gambling teat. Lotteries are probablly the most pernicious in this regard, as they are most often sold/promoted as being a supplement to state aid to education, but the data on that definitely seems to be that once the state's share of the revenue begins to flow in, the rate of increase in education spending in the regular state budget decreases significantly (and sometimes, these "savings" have been passed back as a tax cut, which tends to make effective tax rates even more regressive).

I just don't see how we can get out of this mess anymore, at least not in the near term, especially given federal court rulings regarding Native American gaming rights (i.e., casinos to be allowed in states that permit virtually any other form of legalized gambling, right down to scratch-off lotteries). Thus, absent outright state bans, legislation probably wouldn't hold up in the courts, and the thought of a constitutional amendment brings up unhappy memories of Prohibition. So I'm at a loss.

by The Maven on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:13:03 PM PDT

Gambling is fun... (4+ / 0-)
Recommended by:Fabian, debedb, StrayCat, justalittlebitcrazy
...because of the rush.

But I'm too responsible to go to casinos, I'm at the group of buddies playing cards level.

There's something attractive about invincible ignorance... for the first 5 seconds.

by MNPundit on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:15:45 PM PDT

IF the casinos had to rely on people like me (2+ / 0-)
Recommended by:SherwoodB, debedb
to make a profit, they'd close 'em all down.

"Reality has a well-known liberal bias." --Stephen Colbert

by InsultComicDog on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:17:34 PM PDT

the purpose of that machine (7+ / 0-)
Recommended by:samddobermann, Redbug, PsychoSavannah, debedb, StrayCat, justalittlebitcrazy, JeffW
A casino is nothing but a very large machine, and the purpose of that machine it to extract money and bring it to the casino owners. By its very nature, gambling cycles money from the poor to the rich.

Very good observation, but is that not true of just about every company selling us the crap that we buy every day of our lives? Computers, phone service, food, healthcare, and just about everything we ever see in tv ads? It never stops.

Hawkish on impeachment.

by clyde on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:20:48 PM PDT

Junk is the ideal product... (5+ / 0-)
Recommended by:samddobermann, SherwoodB, PsychoSavannah, tecampbell, StrayCat
the ultimate merchandise. No sales talk necessary. The client will crawl through a sewer and beg to buy.

- William Borroughs

Why I support Obama in 08!

by pontechango on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:31:59 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

-> Burroughs n/t (1+ / 0-)
Recommended by:StrayCat

Why I support Obama in 08!

by pontechango on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:32:21 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

I think that was the point (1+ / 0-)
Recommended by:Neon Mama
And the reason it needed to be made was because of how gambling is often sold to us for other purposes, such as education.

Democrats -- Progress for the Working Class

by rogun on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:58:46 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

Yes, but... (0 / 0)
...you can use computers, phone service, food, and/or
health care. In fact, you usually need the latter two.

You don't need to gamble.

Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight.

by JeffW on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 06:25:10 AM PDT

[ Parent ]

Tony Soprano on Gambling (0 / 0)

by cheech93 on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:21:28 PM PDT

I'm okay with gambling - (6+ / 0-)
Recommended by:Boris Godunov, Fabian, SherwoodB, truong son traveler, debedb, JeffW
well, I'm okay with other people gambling if they want to. I don't do it. I think it's a waste of hard-earned money to be honest. I gambled at the slots at YKos in 2006 trying to win a car - I got to $6 and I hadn't won yet and I was bored and I realized that I could think of 20 more exciting ways to spend $6. That was enough gambling for me then. On my 21st birthday my friends took me to "the boat" (the very glittery one you're talking about there on the IL side of the Mississippi River, btw), and I spent $10 and got annoyed when I realized that that was like 1/5 of a pair of jeans or 1/7 of a pair of shoes or something like that. And I thought, "well, that was a waste of money!" - and demanded that we leave and go somewhere fun because it was my birthday and I wanted to dance instead of gamble. Dancing is free - and WAY more entertaining anyway!

But yeah...I don't mind the gambling thing. I'm not interested in telling people what to do - and the taxes on gambling do help fund schools and more. I wish more people felt the way I did about gambling...but perhaps then it wouldn't be very popular :-)

I will say that I don't think I'd call gambling "progressive" - or support for gambling "progressive" either. I think most of the time politicians see it as a practical way to bring in some extra money.

I touched the Universe -- And back it slid -- and I alone -- A Speck upon a Ball -- Went out upon Circumference -- Beyond the Dip of Bell --

by Elise on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:23:37 PM PDT

Yeah, there is a cost of freedom... (5+ / 0-)
Recommended by:diplomatic, Elise, wgard, debedb, justalittlebitcrazy
And these are the costs. Some people will make bad choices, but they were the ones that could choose....

And sure there's a psychological aspect to the whole shebang... but it's still not a basis for any sort of legislation prohibiting the entire practice.

ESPECIALLY when it comes to poker, a game where it has been consistently proven that players of skill clearly profit while players without skill do not, with individual games being meaningless - poker is a LONG RUN "game" rather than a true "gamble."


That's me.


When the going get weird, the weird turn pro.

by inspectorgadget on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:24:58 PM PDT

Please excuse the snarkiness (5+ / 0-)
Recommended by:samddobermann, pontechango, debedb, Neon Mama, JeffW
but around this house we call the lottery a tax on people who can't do math.

An indictment of both our education and revenue-generating systems.

by tethys on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:25:02 PM PDT

!! (1+ / 0-)
Recommended by:PsychoSavannah
i've been occassionally musing with friends about how american society's 'philosophy' now is 'double or nothing'... 'DOUBLE OR NOTHING!! WHAT ARE YA, CHICKEN?? MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY!!'

appealing to the 'fuck you, i win' demographic... fume. >:(

'i believe we should only tax the stupid people... but then again, we already have the lottery.' - emo phillips

by theChild on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:29:13 PM PDT

This is backwards (16+ / 0-)
Recommended by:rick, rogun, Boris Godunov, pontechango, Fabian, Elise, SherwoodB, PsychoSavannah, truong son traveler, Magnifico, StrayCat, justalittlebitcrazy, Lesser Dane, Cassandra Waites, Yoshi En Son, JCAinCLE
The point is not that it is regressive. The point is the reason why it's regressive -- in other words, why do the poor gamble more? Not just because of the promise of the riches, but ultimately because of the belief that only a remote event can change the current dead-end circumstance. I think if you change that -- reduce the number of truly dead-end circumstances which push one to seek what seems as the only reachable escape, gambling is reduced to just another form of entertainment.

And while we're at it, aren't TV and pro sports also enterprises that are (a) addictive and (b) funnel money from poor addicts to the rich providers? How about that...

by debedb on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:30:33 PM PDT

Great comment. (9+ / 0-)
Recommended by:rogun, PsychoSavannah, debedb, Magnifico, StrayCat, bartcopfan, Neon Mama, Cassandra Waites, Yoshi En Son
I absolutely agree...it's about changing the circumstances for people so that they aren't put in the position to feel like they have to gamble in order to win. Work should equal winning.

I touched the Universe -- And back it slid -- and I alone -- A Speck upon a Ball -- Went out upon Circumference -- Beyond the Dip of Bell --

by Elise on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:32:39 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

right (2+ / 0-)
Recommended by:Elise, StrayCat
I don't care for gambling, but my parents like it -- but they don't really have any illusions about being able to buy Trump Tower tomorrow, they just like going there a couple times a year to chill out. Why not...

by debedb on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:34:36 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

This is 100% correct. (8+ / 0-)
Recommended by:rick, Fabian, PsychoSavannah, truong son traveler, debedb, justalittlebitcrazy, bartcopfan, Cassandra Waites
Gambling isn't the problem, it acts as a focus to highlight the real issues in the society.

I do not feel that the government should tell people not to gamble - I'm not certain that I like the idea of state sponsored gambling: scratchoffs and lotto - but in general, if someone wants to go to the Horse tracks and place a few wagers - I think that is a great time out. An entire evening can be had, taking $20 bux and it isn't hard to just enjoy the excitement of watching your horse and the rush of choosing a winning longshot.

But when people are doing it because they feel that there is no other option to "get out of" debt, trouble, dead-end - then they start seeing that $20 bux isn't gonna make them rich and they borrow against the next paycheck so they can wager $1,000.

Flowers Bloom for my Ex - though Honeybees are pretty cool too.

by Yoshi En Son on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:43:18 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

Yes. (0 / 0)
Gambling = Entertainment? Fine.

Gambling = Investment? Disaster!!

by bartcopfan on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 06:50:37 AM PDT

[ Parent ]

I'd much rather see (8+ / 0-)
Recommended by:rogun, PsychoSavannah, Magnifico, StrayCat, justalittlebitcrazy, Neon Mama, Cassandra Waites, Zaq
Democrats pushing for better pay for more math teachers so that they can teach people how to figure out the vig on a Hard Eight roll themselves. Then we can let people decide for themselves if they want to make sucker's bets or not.

by magurakurin on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:33:10 PM PDT

How refreshing dt, thanks (2+ / 0-)
Recommended by:PsychoSavannah, StrayCat
It is an important subject that never get attention because it has so rapidly become the fabric of America. Insidious at best, destructive at its core. The poor lose, the rich win.

by randallt on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:40:10 PM PDT

Does Missouri still limit how much you can spend (0 / 0)
on gambling? While it may not be the perfect answer, I always considered that better then nothing.

Democrats -- Progress for the Working Class

by rogun on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 12:03:55 AM PDT

Um, I don't know. (0 / 0)
That sounds really hard to get a handle on. I mean, what's to stop someone from giving someone else money to bet? Heck, you could be dragging more people into gambling that way. No, I don't like that idea at all.

by Bush Bites on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 03:06:43 AM PDT

[ Parent ]

give them bread and circuses (7+ / 0-)
Recommended by:Devilstower, Fabian, SherwoodB, PsychoSavannah, Neon Mama, Cassandra Waites, Zaq
gambling is the circuses and bread will be all they have to eat soon enough.

Several studies have demonstrated that casino clientele are disproportionately poor and they frequently gamble "too much" while insisting they like it for various reasons.

A study quite a while ago in Georgia found that the scholarships from the lottery money were mainly used by middle class children. That they were going to GA schools rather than going out of state. Very few were going to poor children. The conclusion was that the lottery acted to transfer wealth from the poor to the middle class.

Getting tuition funds doesn't cut it when you have to support yourself. They don't know about all the financial aid, jobs etc because they aren't being groomed for college.

I had a tax client who came to me for tax prep for years. She got caught up in it badly; her family had to take away her bank card and checkbook but she still managed to gamble.

One year she came and happily told me how she had won a big prize -- $4,000 which the casino had withheld taxes from. She also had taken about $20,000 from her 403B (like a 401k 'cept for gov't jobs) because she really, really needed it. After I explained how bad that was and that she'd have to pay a 10% penalty on it plus how it was a dumb thing to do.

Then I asked if she could back up her gambling spending because we could offset the winnings against the expense, she said she had most -- all the casino ATM receipts -- so I told her to go home and add them all up and phone me with the amount.

Now she knew she had a gambling problem. But she was shocked and embarrassedly told me she had receipts for over $26,000 not including cash she brought. I pointed out that she could have bought a whole lot of fun for that $22,000 she had given away to the casino operators.

I hope to hell that cured her, but I lost track of her after that.

Most people don't know how much they are spending and how badly they are hurting themselves.

The biggest problem is winning, especially early on. I bought a few tickets when they first went on sale for the heck of it, knowing I was throwing my money away and that only a small portion goes to the schools. First they take out expenses including rater lavish salaries for the high mucky mucks. Then what's left over gets split. Any way, I got a few $1 scratchers and low and behold I won $10 on the first. Who hoo. So I bought a few more . . . But I bought just a few a week and only scratched one when I finished a block of work on my gd thesis. And I would sit a daydream a bit about what I would spend it on -- so I was buying some day dreams in a time of stress. got boring after a while.

We have to stress that paying taxes are what you do for the privilege of being an American. It's the patriotic thing to do. Right after we start making America mean something besides torture, invading other countries, talking like a bullyboy and being scared of everyone who is not just like us.

Long way to go.


Do NOT donate to the DSCC or the DCCC, think Lieberman & BlueDogs. Support DNC and progressive candidates directly!

by samddobermann on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 12:43:08 AM PDT

Curse you samddobermann --for typing faster and (1+ / 0-)
Recommended by:PsychoSavannah
using "free bread and circus" reference --- both firsterer and betterer than I.

De fund + de bunk = de EXIT--->>>>>

by Neon Mama on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 01:25:25 AM PDT

[ Parent ]

Gambling is "free bread" and tv "free circus" (2+ / 0-)
Recommended by:PsychoSavannah, Cassandra Waites
Keeps the hopelessly enslaved masses from rioting. It worked in Roman Empire for a while.

It can't and doesn't bring in enough to run a state school system -- as they promise to get it passed. This lie then makes it harder to get school bond issues passed.

St. Pete Times published good research on how state lotteries had harmed other states previous to Florida with this false promise. Showed it took about 10 years to get ugly. This was the THIRD time lottery pushers came back at voters here-- after two rejections. They won. Within the predicted 10 years -- it got ugly here too.

There is NO FREE LUNCH. If you want educated populace, you have to collect taxes. Bridges that don't fall down cost money. Education is cheaper than jails. Preventive medicine covered by S-CHIP is cheaper than drastic intensive care AFTER child's family is bankrupted enough to qualify for medicaid.

Penny poker among friends is cool. State sponsored gambling sucks. Casinos are great for folks rich and connected enough to get license by donating to right politicians.

The first few states got bigger cash due to lack of competition. States who do it now --- just make smaller pieces of the pie for all at the trough. Warning --this opinion is free unless routed thru Nigerian internets tubes.

De fund + de bunk = de EXIT--->>>>>

by Neon Mama on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 01:18:23 AM PDT

Studies show that gambling has a negative impact (0 / 0)
on the economies of the communities where it infiltrates.

Gambling should not be so widespread. I'm not going to say to shut all of it down, leave Vegas there for folks to have fun... bingo is fun for some people, but gambling is a disease that has spread too far now.

They use greed to get into communities, saying that gambling will pay for schools, for services. That is BS.

Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshall

by bronte17 on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 02:17:11 AM PDT

Guess I disagree with your arguments. (0 / 0)
First, it will never be "just in Vegas." Even before Indian gaming, gambling was expanding rapidly.

Second, just because the governments abuse the money that comes in doesn't make it a good case for stopping gambling.

I mean, you could say the same thing about taxes too, but you don't want to stop taxing people because of the abuse, do you?

by Bush Bites on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 03:12:11 AM PDT

[ Parent ]

I'm over in another diary right now (0 / 0)
and so posted a quick opinion here.

Check out Scholar Google for some research into the topic.

Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshall

by bronte17 on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 03:17:42 AM PDT

[ Parent ]

I don't want to appeal to the Religious Right (1+ / 0-)
Recommended by:Karmafish
That's not an argument that works for me.

Frankly, one of the reasons I enjoy gambling is that it's opposed by the Religious Right.

A liberal is a conservative who's been hugged.

by raatz on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 02:28:59 AM PDT

We need a "Jesus Casino" to really tick them off (1+ / 0-)
Recommended by:Karmafish

by Bush Bites on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 03:12:59 AM PDT

[ Parent ]

Devilstower, et al, (4+ / 0-)
Recommended by:Fabian, PsychoSavannah, Lesser Dane, bartcopfan
this is an interesting discussion.

I live on the MS Gulf Coast where "dockside" gaming has been legal since 1989. One of the first pieces of "recovery" legislation immediately after Hurricane Katrina was to allow the casinos to move their gaming facilities ashore 800 feet; previously, the gaming facilities had be be on the water, usually on a barge, while the rest (restaurants, parking, lodging, etc) could be located ashore.

Even more interesting (from my perspective) is that the coastal county of Jackson (where I live) will be voting on a non-binding referendum this Nov concerning the Mississippi Choctaw Nation opening a casino on some land they own near the intersection of I-10 and Highway 57.

In both of these cases, justifications from opposition and support have been thrown about like you wouldn't believe.

I would love to participate in this discussion today, but I will be unable to post from my work computer (I'm on a .mil account). I will, however, be checking the comments throughout the day.


I had come to an entirely erroneous conclusion which shows, my dear Watson, how dangerous it always is to reason from insufficient data.

by TheBigKahuna on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 03:07:37 AM PDT

Yeah, wasn't it amazing how fast those casinos (3+ / 0-)
Recommended by:PsychoSavannah, StrayCat, Cassandra Waites
were rebuilt?

It was depressing to me. It told me that the major industry in those areas was gambling. Not manufacturing but low wage, take-from-many give-to-a-few gambling.

No more lies - IMPEACH!

by Fabian on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 03:57:19 AM PDT

[ Parent ]

Most Disgusting Lottery Ticket Ad (6+ / 0-)
Recommended by:Fabian, SherwoodB, PsychoSavannah, StrayCat, JeffW, Cassandra Waites
Here in Indiana, the Lottery Commission has been running one of the most disgusting lottery ads I seen to date.

A bunch of moronic Hoosiers are entertaining themselves by standing around in a parking lot in a circle scratching off lottery tickets, carrying on like it is a tupperware party on drugs.

Yes, a perfect values system for the lower class workers. Get your check. Cash it for a stiff fee a the local check cashing store, because you have no credit or bank account.

Then take that cash and go buy a stack of lottery tickets and stand there and scratch them off, laughing and smiling and happy because you just KNOW you are about to win a big jackpot you can retire on.

And of course discover you now have no money left until your next payday. And there is no milk in the fridge for kids. And those tax credits for health insurance don't go a long way when you don't have any money to cover the expenses to begin with.


by HeartlandLiberal on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 03:13:30 AM PDT

I want us to lose our "nanny state" image. (0 / 0)
Gambling bans also tend to feed into the "nanny state" image that I hope to hell we start to lose.

It's not helping us to tell people we're doing this and that for people's "own good."

They still resent it and vote for the Repubs just to spite us.

by Bush Bites on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 03:20:32 AM PDT

The jackpot mentality (5+ / 0-)
Recommended by:PsychoSavannah, StrayCat, bartcopfan, Justus, Cassandra Waites
I agree with this post completely, and I think it's one sign of the times.

We've gone from a society that rewarded hard and smart work for all income classes, to one in which nearly all the rewards go to the top. How do people reconcile this situation? By developing the "jackpot mentality".

This is what the American Dream has come to under right-wing ideology.

by Jonathan on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 03:56:44 AM PDT

That Hits the Nail on the Head (0 / 0)
Rather than the American dream including working at becoming good at what one does, investing, perhaps going into business for oneself and reaping the rewards , the new American dream is to win the lottery and be set for life.

I don't like referencing the Bible much, but two stories in there (at least) bear on this attitude. First, of course, the Garden of Eden - where after gaining the knowledge of good and evil, it became their responsibility to work for a living. Then, Jesus admonished his followers not to pay too much attention to laying up treasures because where your treasure is, there will your heart be, also.

So the message is that humans should pull their own weight, work for a living, and not be blinded to the good by their drive to amass wealth. And somewhere in there, there is something about being honest and not stealing or lying or cheating.

The Lottery, and other gambling, reverses that by nurturing the dream of something for nothing and creating a condition where the winner will live off of the efforts of others.

Write Your Representative!

by Justus on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 06:25:55 AM PDT

[ Parent ]

Lotteries are the worse (2+ / 0-)
Recommended by:PsychoSavannah, StrayCat
My friends calls Lotteries "Volunteer Taxes" and his right

the fact is the poor buy a majority of the lottery tickets

this money is suppose to go to schools but as the NY Times recently noted

For years, those states have heard complaints that not enough of their lottery revenue is used for education. Now, a New York Times examination of lottery documents, as well as interviews with lottery administrators and analysts, finds that lotteries accounted for less than 1 percent to 5 percent of the total revenue for K-12 education last year in the states that use this money for schools.

In reality, most of the money raised by lotteries is used simply to sustain the games themselves, including marketing, prizes and vendor commissions. And as lotteries compete for a small number of core players and try to persuade occasional customers to play more, nearly every state has increased, or is considering increasing, the size of its prizes — further shrinking the percentage of each dollar going to education and other programs

Not only is the lottery not giving a large percentage of the revenue but the money it is giving is now REPLACING not adding to education budgets -- in others words states are abdicating their budgetary responsiblities to fund education and replacing it with lottery money -- this is not the promise of what the lottery was suppose to do.

by smartone on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 04:19:22 AM PDT

Compulsive Gamblers Are Being Created (4+ / 0-)
Recommended by:PsychoSavannah, StrayCat, Lesser Dane, Cassandra Waites
I've been involved with Gambler's Anonymous and I've personally seen dozens of people whose lives have nearly been destroyed by gambling. And there are thousands more out there. The lucky ones make it into the program and find improvement, but it's a long and ongoing struggle, and relapses are common.

There's a particular mindset that is vulnerable, and they can't just "turn it off".

To emphasize the chemical or biological, I'll tell you that there's a drug for Parkinson's disease and Restless Leg Syndrome that has a potential side effect of causing people to become compulsive gamblers. I saw a 50-year-old man who lost his house after taking this medication.

Gambling is a plague. It's an illness. It's depressing to see it grow like this. It's another bullet in the gun of our suicide culture.

Poor me, I dig myself holes! Somebody marry me, I'm getting old! -- Sole

by MediaRevolution on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 04:22:12 AM PDT

After reading the first (0 / 0)
bit of Devilstowers list of "downsides" to gambling, I was waiting for the "creating compulsive gamblers" bit.

I have had quite a few discussions with a relative of mine. She is a (self-proclaimed) addict, and strongly in favor of prohibition - be it alcohol, nicotine (!), cannabis, other drugs - or gambling. I will call all these "X" below.

I have often been arguing the case for the other side - my main arguments being:

- Personal freedom - I REALLY don't want the government to tell me what to do, as long as I am not harming others. - Detachment from organized crime. - Possibility of government control (safety of drugs, "fairness" of games). - Possibility of taxation, with revenues being (partially) used to fund addiction programs and educational campaigns.

My relative, on the other hand, argues that:

- Prohibition would help her, and some other addicts she knows - the fact that X is legal/socially accepted means there is a lesser barrier to using it. - Society should legislate from the perspective of protecting its weaker members, not from allowing "more freedom" for the stronger ones.

I am far from convinced by her arguments - but I do think she has a point.

The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice.

by Lesser Dane on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 05:14:44 AM PDT

[ Parent ]

Nanny state vs personal responsibility (3+ / 0-)
Recommended by:PsychoSavannah, BlueInARedState, Lesser Dane
I'm not taking a stand here, just genuinely seeking an understanding.

Am I the only one who sees a parallel between the gambling issue and the sub-prime mortgage issue? In both cases, people were led by institutional entities to do unwise things with their personal finances. On the one hand, you feel that people should have the personal freedom to make these choices; on the other hand you feel that people should be protected from being preyed on.

And if people do make unwise choices, we as democrats often feel that they should be "rescued" rather than hung out to dry and suffer the consequences.

So does that mean that if we promote gambling through state action, that we will also have the responsibility to rescue people who lose their assets through the unwise actions of themselves or their close relatives?

Or do we say that was their choice and so be it?

I can see the conservation viewpoint, too. They say look at two people with the same income. One is prudent and purchases a small house because he looks at adjustable rate mortgages and considers the consequences if the rate goes up. The other buys a big house because he is not prudent and is enticed by the bankers to buy more than he can really afford. Now we want to help the guy in trouble hang onto his big house while the guy who was prudent is still stuck living in his little house. This doesn't seem fair.

Somehow, I feel there's a difference between the person who over-extended his mortgage because it was the only way to get a place to live, and the guy who bought way more than he should have because he was greedy. But how to make this distinction when dealing with a bailout?

I am not trying to be provocative here - just expressing the thoughts I have had when trying to consider the morality of these issues.

I beg to dream and differ from the hollow lies..

by lesliet on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 04:28:42 AM PDT

Go to Clusterf*ck Nation (2+ / 0-)
Recommended by:PsychoSavannah, JeffW
by James Howard Kunstler to get a similar take on gambling. There is no hope for a nation that sees gambling as a budgetary savior.

by redterror on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 04:29:47 AM PDT

Americans are brought up like that (0 / 0)
People think that some day they will be able to earn a million dollars (or win it) or they will be the next Ameican Idol, Michael Jordan, Bill Gates, or Brittany Spears. It's what keeps the people from complaining too much about the inequities built into a free market economy. People have been told that if they play their cards right, if they go to college, if they work hard, they too can live the American dream. But of course, that never does happen for the vast majority of people.

* 3827 * http://icasualties.org/oif/

by BDA in VA on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 04:40:56 AM PDT

Chicago deserves a casino (0 / 0)
I find gambling a total bore, but millions of people enjoy it and it's time for Chicago to get their piece of the profitable pie. Why should we continue to export that revenue to Indiana?

by ChgoSteve on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 04:51:54 AM PDT

Shell shocked victims (3+ / 0-)
Recommended by:Minerva, SherwoodB, JeffW
I will never forget the visual of walking into my first casino. It was Foxwoods in Connecticut. I was being a good sport by accompanying my much more excited wife. As we walked through the parking garage towards the entrance, the folks around us were chipper and festive. This was in stark contrast to the stream of folks coming OUT of the casino. Every single one (and I mean EVERY one) looked either shell shocked, depressed, or just distracted; Obviously from getting their pockets picked clean. What kind of "entertainment" leaves people feeling worse after they participate in it? Oh, wait, I know. The answer is "an addiction." (The alternate answer is "Being a Cubs fan", but I digress)

Gambling is not the answer to any question, other than "is there a faster way of wasting money than flushing it down the toilet?".

If vegetarians eat vegetables, then what do humanitarians eat?

by bigtimecynic on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 05:37:30 AM PDT

Invstigative Reporting... (0 / 0)
in America has brought down many many regessive ideas in the public mind, from Slavery to Food Safey to Unjust War. The list is endless, and that is where we must begin to dismantle Gambling Nation. It is a tough nut to crack, since many "religions" from Native American rituals to Catholic bingo sanction some form of gambling, but I have the idea that enough reporters typing constantly in an unlimited amount of time will turn the tide on the rosy glow of America's gamblng addiction.

Let's find and post some recent feature stories of lives ruined, families split, children harmed, income lost, the American Dream twisted, and mental health compromised. It wont be that hard to find.

Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

by OregonOak on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 05:44:58 AM PDT

North Carolina Lottery (2+ / 0-)
Recommended by:Devilstower, JeffW
This is a very important diary. In my state of NC, the legislature sneaked in a lottery vote with some tricks "to fund education". They are mostly "pro-business", and they used the argument that our neighboring states have them and we were losing potential money form our residents who cross the border. They promised some huge return to the state coffers.

Many of our progressives were aligned with the Fundies against it, but it still got sneaked through.

The Governor then played some shell games and reallocated some education funding since the lottery would bring in the money.

Now the state recently reported that we are not going to get anywhere near the anticipated revenue.

by Carolina On My Mind on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 05:58:05 AM PDT

Isn't that always the case? n/t (0 / 0)

Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight.

by JeffW on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 06:29:27 AM PDT

[ Parent ]

Gambling is Not Economic Development (0 / 0)
Short version: Gambling was promoted across the nation as a method of economic development. But in reality, gambling takes money from gamblers and gives it to the game operators. There are, of course, inducements such as intermittent payouts. And there are jobs created, but those jobs produce nothing anyone can use to feed, cloth or house themselves.

Nothing is added to the economy.

Write Your Representative!

by Justus on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 06:30:23 AM PDT

I like to gamble (0 / 0)
I do it sparingly and for amusement only. Be it the nickel slots or video poker or just a kitchen card game with friends, it's an enjoyable pasttime for me. The fact that some people can't control themselves with it is a shame, and I hope those people get help--but really, I don't see why their problem should interfere with the fundamental rights of myself and others to enjoy an activity that, in and of itself, causes no harm.

By all means, I don't think government should be in bed with gambling outfits. Funding schools with state-run lotteries is of dubious merit, and I'd much rather see those funds come from elsewhere. But in the face of massive shortfalls in budgets, can we blame them? It's easy to call it short-sighted when you're sitting on the outside and aren't one of these officials who is under enormous pressure to find money from somewhere. As another commenter said above, we need to treat the disease, not the symptoms.

Gambling, whether online or in casinos, is enormously popular. Democrats would be suicidal to come out in opposition to something like that. Moreso, it would simply be wrong for the Dems to stick their noses into people's pasttimes. It would play right into the old canard that the Dems want a nanny state. I'm all for curbing the tax breaks for casinos and the like, but prohibition would be a horrible idea.

I finally put in a signature!

by Boris Godunov on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 06:34:11 AM PDT

On Point (0 / 0)
is the best show on radio -- Tom Ashbrooke is an excellent, fair and very smart host, and Jack Beatty is a great, liberal commenter (who, based on his comments, reads the blogs regularly).

The Democratic Message: Security, Privacy, Justice

by Upper West on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 06:35:09 AM PDT

A very interesting question... (0 / 0)
Could Democrats snag more of the Christian vote by opposing gambling in favor of fairer taxes?

I'd bet the answer is no, that cutting their masters' top marginal income/estate/inheritance/capital gains tax rates trump all else.

by bartcopfan on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 06:35:10 AM PDT

no, they are to busy witht their own (0 / 0)
form of gambling:the prosperity gospel. it helps keep them content with their lot in life.


by AltruisticSkeptic on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 07:50:37 AM PDT

[ Parent ]

BINGO! (0 / 0)
Not only is the lottery not giving a large percentage of the revenue but the money it is giving is now REPLACING not adding to education budgets -- in others words states are abdicating their budgetary responsiblities to fund education and replacing it with lottery money -- this is not the promise of what the lottery was suppose to do.

This is what has happened and is happening in Oklahoma. As stated, this is not what was promised.

by bartcopfan on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 06:40:14 AM PDT

Gambling is entertainment (0 / 0)
And isn't "the rich benefiting from the poor" any more than people selling alcohol, or fast food, or anything that might not be in the best interest of your health.

I don't disagree with the idea that gambling still causes some problems. But crusading against gambling as a whole is a mistake. Much smarter to focus on a narrow aspect of gambling and target it.

there are only two sides -- with the troops or with the President

by danthrax on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 06:42:48 AM PDT

You're last point is key (0 / 0)
I remember my last months in Belgrade saw new casinos popping up and explained to my wife that this was a bad economic sign. Casinos cater to those looking for their break, which everyone gets every now and then. But, this is looking for a big break, i.e., "I've got a few pennies left in my pocket, a couple hundred on my credit card, no prospects professionally, and if something doesn't happen soon, I'll be dead financially. Might as well go down in style and take my chances. If I fail, I am in no worse a situation. If I succeed, I'll be better off."

It is often a last ditch hope for those who are in proximity, i.e., despite cheap tickets and hotels and meals, Las Vegas won't draw those looking for one last chance. If it's a couple hours' drive, that's doable. The more the casinos pop up, the more they will draw in, and they usually locate in places where those down on their luck live/ congregate, e.g., rural areas, Atlantic City. When you see them encroaching on the suburbs, then you'll know we are in trouble because it means the owners smell the desperation.

Give me ten lines from a good man and I'll find something in there to hang him. - Cardinal Richelieu

by lgrooney on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 06:56:56 AM PDT

One of the worst things about gambling (0 / 0)
Is how it spreads like some kind of disease from state to state.
As a hypothetical, let's say pennsylvania doesn't have a lottery but New Jersey does. A whole lot of people from Philadelphia are going to start going across the Delaware River to buy lottery tickets, thus draining money from Pennsylvania into New Jersey. Pennsylvania then has to start its own lottery, just to keep from losing revenue, even if Pennsylvanians don't really want a lottery.
I would love to see some kind of law passed saying that you have to live in a state to play its lottery. I don't know what kind of problems there would be in doing that, but I'd love to see it happen. That way, states could choose not to have lotteries and not worry about whether their neighbors have them or not.


by Mumphrey on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 07:03:51 AM PDT

It's Just One Symptom (0 / 0)
We're at the point now where gambling isn't just accepted, it's worshiped.

What is really worshiped is Mammon, Money, Conspicuous Consumption. Not to be Puritanical about it, but pretty much everything in our society is geared to more, more, more, latest and greatest, here's the new stimulus du jour, and don't pay attention to the Man Behind the Curtain who's picking your pocket (unless you want to be Just Like Him!)The American ethnic is less and less about cooperation (although that's sometimes trotted out as a cover story)and more about competition: 'I got mine, screw you, buddy.'

Was the guy's name Reverend Ike who preached that LACK of money was the root of all evil, and he'd sell you prayer cloths to rub on your forehead?

Gambling is just another gimmick, not a financial plan.

by Uthaclena on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 07:23:17 AM PDT

Exactly. (0 / 0)
I have long been opposed to gambling- I don't care if revenues pay for education or universal health care or even a complete and total withdrawl from Iraq... it is a REGRESSIVE tax, period. And progressives are suckers for going along.

As far as the libertarian in me- it ain't libertarian to be for laws that allow Harrah's, etc. to run gambling enterprises but barr me from running a pokeer game in my basement. Its all or nothing.

Bush will be impeached.

by jgkojak on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 07:26:33 AM PDT

have you folks ever been in a casino? (0 / 0)
I guess the crowds of people in there are just wrong. Shame on them for being so stupid

The Democratic folly: WE know best what YOU should be doing and what activities you must enjoy. Go read a book. Or a blog...

I'm for Gore

by pitbullEmily on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 07:32:51 AM PDT

all this says to me is that (0 / 0)
if a state government is not committed enough to raise revenues in a fiscally and morally sound fashion for important education and social service programs, they don't believe these programs are important enough to fund in the first place. And shame on Governor O'Malley here in Maryland also for trying to bring more gambling into our state. The City of Detroit put casinos all over the place and the downtown area still looks like Gotham City - it has does nothing to help that city recover economically. The Gamblers Anonymous website describes gambling not as glamorous and exciting, but as "one of the most baffling, insidious, compulsive addictions" there are. It is a progressive illness that only gets worse (MUCH worse) over time, never better. The Democratic Party needs to stop supporting these gambling expansion initiatives now. These initiatives don't solve economic problems and they spread nothing but more misery wherever they go.

by Mr Rick on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 08:05:38 AM PDT

gambling a losing battle (0 / 0)
just like gambling more often than not leads to big losses for the gambler, fighting against it is a losing battle for democrats. the christian right goes from church on sunday to the indian reservation on monday, and I don't mean to do volunteer work.

by goldmj on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 08:13:58 AM PDT

I'm pro-gambling and progressive... (0 / 0)
I think we should have MORE casinos and MORE opportunities to gamble. Why should the government tell me how to spend MY money? It's mine - I earned it, and I should be able to spend it however I please as long as I don't hurt anyone else.

Gambling taxes are different from most other taxes (income, sales, property, payroll) because it is voluntary. You only pay if you play. So, who cares if it is regressive? People are voluntarily giving their money to the government. That's good, and better than other types of taxes (although those are also necessary).

by econlibVA on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 08:15:09 AM PDT

Dems in PA adore gambling (0 / 0)
Thanks to the abysmal leadership of Ed Rendell. One of his deputies, Don Cunningham, ran recently for Lehigh County Executive and was seeking support from activists. I emailed his campaign Chair to ask where Cunningham stood on gambling (Bethlehem and Allentown were both angling for new slots parlors at the time), which I view as regressive taxation and highly destructive to society.

In response, I got the most sleazy, unprincipled, gushing praise of all things related to "gaming" (they refused to use the word "gambling", however many times I pointed out that "gaming" means to "manipulate illicitly", as in "gaming the system").

My response was that Cunningham is a disgrace to the Party, and there's no way in hell I'd support somebody who proposes to fuel gambling addictions.

Look forward in anger.

by smintheus on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 08:32:14 AM PDT

Permalink | 152 comments