Preventing Online Poker a Matter of "National Security"

In December, the U.S. Trade Office announced it had reached an agreement with Europe, Japan, and Canada that would involve the U.S. making major trade concessions in order to both keep its ban on Internet gambling, and simultaneously allow exemptions to that ban for state lotteries and horse racing. The agreement meant that the U.S. was willing to force U.S consumers and businesses to pay so that the federal government could prevent U.S. citizens from playing poker online.

Strangely, the federal government also refused to release the terms of the settlement. So Ed Brayton filed a FOIA request with the U.S. Trade Office to release the terms of the settlement. They responded this week. They have refused to disclose the details "in the interests of national security."

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  • Episiarch||

    Of course.

    Car owner: "Why is my registration fee higher than last year?"

    DMV employee: "Can't tell you. National security."

  • ed||

    "the federal government also refused to release the terms of the settlement"

    "The agreement meant that the U.S. was willing to force U.S consumers and businesses to pay"

    That does not compute.
    If the terms are secret, what are we (U.S consumers and businesses) "pay"ing for?

  • ||

    ed: You don't think Japan, Canada and Europe just agreed out of the kindness of their hearts to leave the US gambling market off the table, right?

  • ed||

    I asked what Radly meant by, "the U.S. was willing to force U.S consumers and businesses to pay". Pay for what?

  • ||

    Post National Health Care:

    "Why was my kidney transplant delayed?"

    "National Security."

  • ||

    I asked what Radly meant by, "the U.S. was willing to force U.S consumers and businesses to pay". Pay for what?

    Presumably for the willingness to allow tariffs or other costs to be added to other trade goods in lieu of allowing consumers access to alternatives to state-sponsored gambling.

    As to national security, I'm sure that if the terms of the deal were released, the security of our elected officials jobs would be in question...so of course it should be kept from the public...either that or Al Qaeda plays a mean Texas Hold em online.

  • mith||

    "I asked what Radly meant by, "the U.S. was willing to force U.S consumers and businesses to pay". Pay for what?"

    Since it's a trade agreement, it probably slaps tariffs on things in exchange for ignoring the gambling issue.

    Don't know, just guessing.

  • mith||

    Gaijin types faster...

  • ed||

    Presumably

    Don't know, just guessing

    Which is my point.

  • ||

    mith types with more clarity :)

  • ||

    They have refused to disclose the details "in the interests of national security."

    Sadly, this doesn't really surprise me anymore. The Bush administration isn't even pretending to follow the law anymore.

    Sue us. We'll be out of office with pardons in hand before SCOTUS tells us to give that info up. Neener, neener, neener!

  • ||

    Sue us. We'll be out of office with pardons in hand before SCOTUS tells us to give that info up. Neener, neener, neener!

    Interesting point...An honest question...Is it possible to pre-emptively pardon administration officials? or anyone else for that matter?

  • Rhywun||

    what are we (U.S consumers and businesses) "pay"ing for?

    For the privilege of being unable to buy a goddamn pack of cigarettes on state lottery days.

  • ||

    Is it possible to pre-emptively pardon administration officials? or anyone else for that matter?

    IIRC, Ford pardoned Nixon for anything he might have done. If Nixon had killed a child in the oval office, he was covered.

  • ||

    The power to pardon should be taken out of the hands of the President and put with the Supreme Court, IMHO.

  • James Bond||

    You do realize that poker funds terrorism, don't you?

  • Richard||

    The Bush administration isn't even pretending to follow the law anymore.

    You're right, J sub D. The old "in the interest of national security" card. The question remaining is whether the American public doesn't notice, doesn't care, or thinks Chaney, Bush, et al. are doing us a favor by putting the country under marshal law.

  • Elemenope||

    The power to pardon should be taken out of the hands of the President and put with the Supreme Court, IMHO.

    Since the pardon power was originally intended as a check upon the courts, that doesn't make much sense, IMHO.

  • Brian Carnell||

    "That does not compute.
    If the terms are secret, what are we (U.S consumers and businesses) "pay"ing for?"

    If you read the article, the assumption is that the agreement likely included "compensation payments" to European nations, but since it is secret no one knows for sure.

  • ||


    Since the pardon power was originally intended as a check upon the courts, that doesn't make much sense



    Well give Congress the ability to override it. Or Something. I just don't like the President having the complete ability to pardon anybody. Its so easily abused. (see: Richard Nixon, Marc Rich).

  • ||

    Nothing pisses me off more than when my pocket aces get cracked and I can no longer afford my subscription to Militant Jihadist Monthly

  • ||

    The pardon power should exclude members of the president's administration.

    Not so humbly,
    J sub D

  • ||

    The pardon power should exclude members of the president's administration, big campaign donors and blood relatives.

  • Fluffy||

    The #1 issue in the 2008 general election should be: Will the candidate supply the public with a full and complete accounting of every last question that Bush administration officials have stonewalled on for the last 8 years?

    I think we can assume that Hillary would not do so and has no interest in doing so. If Obama is the nominee, this is the #1 question I would want answered before I would go all Andrew Sullivan and support the guy in the name of hope alone.

    We can also assume that McCain would cover up anything and everything the Bush administration has done. Bush could be killing teenage girls in the Oval Office every night and McCain would make sure no one ever knew if he takes the office.

    So on the question of, "Will you sweep under the rug all the BS of the Bush years?" we have:

    Hillary - probably
    McCain - definitely
    Romney - I'll sweep under the rug twice as much as McCain
    Obama - unknown

    Since we can't count on Paul to run 3rd party, where's Ralph Nader when you need him?*

    *hyperbole and gallows humor

  • javier||

    what are we (U.S consumers and businesses) "pay"ing for?


    I've heard some estimates that we may have had to pay up to $20 BILLION dollars to the EU and Japan so that we can't play poker.

  • ||

    Maybe Brayton would have better luck getting the info from Canada, Japan, and Europe.

  • ||

    Cesar,

    In one of my nearly infinite number of postings about the Censor, I suggested that His Entogaedness should be empowered to have some sort of check on the pardon power.

    Barring the happy incorporation of the Office of the Censor into our system of government, I wonder whether moving the pardon power to Congress wouldn't make more sense. Given the increasing number of federal crimes, having the chief law enforcer hand out pardons seems a little odd. Congress could wield pardons on a 2/3rds majority vote or something. I dunno, maybe that's a bad idea, too, but it seems better than leaving it with the president.

    J sub D,

    Darned tootin'. Why it ever made sense for a president to be able to pardon one of his own staff for illegal acts is beyond me. "Hey, Condi, go shoot some Democrats in Congress so we can get a GOP majority again. Don't worry, I'll pardon you."

  • ||

    The #1 issue in the 2008 general election should be: Will the candidate supply the public with a full and complete accounting of every last question that Bush administration officials have stonewalled on for the last 8 years?

    Maybe not #1, but I pretty much agree with it's importance and your assessment of likely actions by the wannabes. Will anybody be asked that question in the inevitable debates?

    I'm taking no and giving 10 - 1 odds.

  • ||

    "Presumably

    Don't know, just guessing

    Which is my point."


    If that was your point, we've been giving you too much credit. The terms are secret, hence, Balko has no way of knowing the specific costs. He did not claim to know specific costs. He merely said generally that US consumers and businesses would "pay", which if you know even the slightest thing about trade policy, you would understand the comment. Economics lesson for cro-mag ed: you don't get something for nothing. In this case, possible compensation payments, possible increased tariffs or barriers, or any number of things that increase the cost of doing business. I appreciate a good trolling, but don't be a nitpicky dick.

  • ||

    The fourth branch of Censor sounds better and better. I don't know why none of the founders thought of it.

  • ||

    Cesar,

    They probably hoped that the checks and balances and the very limited number of enumerated powers would be adequate. Certainly, they were aware of the structure of Roman government. But with things the way they are today, an additional watcher couldn't hurt. Of course, Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? is the inevitable question, so a Censor's powers would have to be checked by the other branches somehow.

  • Dave W.||

    I can't wait till one of the talented journos we have here actually does their own FOIA. I used to bug Cathy Young about it. Maybe that is why she went away?

  • Episiarch||

    I'm taking no and giving 10 - 1 odds.

    You think there's a 1 in 11 chance that they're not going to ask that question? Don't you mean 1 to 10 odds?

  • ||

    While watching TV and the peppering of online stock trading website ads I couldn't help but wonder whats the fucking difference in that and online poker? I guess the government doesn't mind if someone takes it up the ass on shady stock dealings but they are sure concerned about my $50 deposit to play some small poker tournaments.

    I know the arguement would be that the money spent on stocks is economic stimulus that is good for the country etc and how it keeps the money from leaving the US. Then I see you can trade on all the different nations stock exchanges.

    Wouldn't this mean that money is also being sent offshore and invested in non-american companies all the same as online poker?

    Also if they are so worried about a few dollars getting past them without getting their cut they sure don't seem to concerned about it when the illegal aliens send back US dollars to their homelands.

    Not that anything they do makes sense but this one is so fucking stupid and to claim national security as the reason for no information only shows yet again the disfunction and corruption in our government.

  • Episiarch||

    I can't wait till one of the talented journos we have here actually does their own FOIA. I used to bug Cathy Young about it.

    You can't do a FOIA request with Archer Daniels Midland, Dave.

  • Phil Hellmuth||

    I can dodge bullets baby.

  • ||

    All the agencies hit with FOIA requests should just cut to the chase with a one sentence reply: "You are not in a position to question the Fuhrer."

  • Skoal||

    Epi,

    To the extent that ADM is involved in the Korn Syrup Konspiracy, if at all, they were just innocent pawns, ruthlessly manipulated by the colluding jugernaght of Coke/Pepsi.

  • EJM||

    Since we can't count on Paul to run 3rd party, where's Ralph Nader when you need him?

    www.naderexplore08.org

  • ed||

    The terms are secret, hence, Balko has no way of knowing the specific costs. He did not claim to know specific costs. He merely said generally that US consumers and businesses would "pay", which if you know even the slightest thing about trade policy, you would understand the comment.

    In other words, lamar, both you and Radley are pulling these undefined "costs" out of your asses. As you appear to be an expert at "trade policy" please explain to us yokels how much these secret "costs" will actually cost us. You can round up to the nearest $1 million if that makes it easier on you, but try to be specific. I'll wait.

  • ||

    You think there's a 1 in 11 chance that they're not going to ask that question? Don't you mean 1 to 10 odds?

    10 to 1 against that question being asked. Bet $1 it will, I pay $10. I don't do sports book much. I like draw lowball the best when I gamble.

  • ||

    I can't wait till one of the talented journos we have here actually does their own FOIA. I used to bug Cathy Young about it. Maybe that is why she went away?



    You are so fucking awesome it makes my teeth hurt.

    God, you're like some kind of superhero.

  • ||

    ...to claim national security as the reason for no information only shows yet again the disfunction and corruption in our government.

    Say it ain't so, Dee.

  • ||

    In other words, lamar, both you and Radley are pulling these undefined "costs" out of your asses.

    With that sentence, Ed wins!

  • ||

    "what are we (U.S consumers and businesses) "pay"ing for?"

    Being a senior (i.e., old doddering fart) gubermint officiol, I can only hope its blowjobs for our senior gobermint officiols.

  • ||

    which, I should add, should be TOP SECRET (like the movie)

  • ||

    In other words, lamar, both you and Radley are pulling these undefined "costs" out of your asses. As you appear to be an expert at "trade policy" please explain to us yokels how much these secret "costs" will actually cost us.

    ed, come on, are you really that obtuse? Nobody pulled any specific costs out of anyone's ass - they merely inferred, quite logically, that they exist. If you hear in the coming months that the Patriots have reached an agreement to keep Randy Moss but the terms are not disclosed, do you need to be an expert in labor negotiations to know that the Pats are paying Moss a substantial amount? Do you think there's some chance Moss just agreed to play for free because of his love of the game? Really, this isn't that hard.

    Those other countries brought a complaint against the US for its protectionist gambling policies. The US and those other countries reached an agreement that induced those countries to drop their complaints. What the hell do you think they did that for? Do you think perhaps they got something of value in return (i.e. something that will force us in the US to pay one way or another) or did we just threaten to nuke Canada if it didn't shut up?

  • ||

    Fred Reed's latest seems apropos. Or maybe I'm reaching. Regardless, my goal is to be half as surly and awesome as Fred Reed when I'm old.

  • ||

    I doubt this thing costs a lot of money in the grand scheme of things. But it is not the actual cost that matters. What matters is that we have trade policy being made in furtherance of big gaming and their government mandated monopoly. That sucks. Of course, this kind of thing goes on all the time for other industries. The U.S. makes all kinds of side deals and concessions for this or that special interests. How much do sugar subsidies cost the US in terms of higher prices and lost leverage in trade negotiations? A hell of a lot more than this. Such is the nature of trade negotiations and governments in general; let me screw the general public so that this or that special interest is protected and maybe if we are lucky at some point we get a little bit freer market.

  • Fluffy||

    Ed apparently thinks that the Europeans allowed us to say ten Hail Marys and go home.

  • From the New York Times||

    Wikipedia Islam Entry Is Criticized

    NOAM COHEN
    Published: February 5, 2008
    An article about the Prophet Muhammad in the English-language Wikipedia has become the subject of an online protest in the last few weeks because of its representations of Muhammad, taken from medieval manuscripts.

    More here:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/05/books/05wiki.html?_r=1&oref=slogin&pagewanted=all
    In addition to numerous e-mail messages sent to Wikipedia.org, an online petition cites a prohibition in Islam on images of people.

    The petition has more than 80,000 "signatures," though many who submitted them to ThePetitionSite.com, remained anonymous.

    "We have been noticing a lot more similar sounding, similar looking e-mails beginning mid-January," said Jay Walsh, a spokesman for the Wikimedia Foundation in San Francisco, which administers the various online encyclopedias in more than 250 languages.

    A Frequently Asked Questions page explains the site's polite but firm refusal to remove the images: "Since Wikipedia is an encyclopedia with the goal of representing all topics from a neutral point of view, Wikipedia is not censored for the benefit of any particular group."

    The notes left on the petition site come from all over the world. "It's totally unacceptable to print the Prophet's picture," Saadia Bukhari from Pakistan wrote in a message. "It shows insensitivity towards Muslim feelings and should be removed immediately."

    The site considered but rejected a compromise that would allow visitors to choose whether to view the page with images.

  • ||

    Related articles, not much in them.

    http://www.pokerpages.com/poker-news/news/value-of-us-wto-settlement-with-eu-questioned-30227.htm

    http://www.pokerpages.com/poker-news/news/eu-us-deal-made-in-wto-online-poker-and-internet-gambling-dispute--30204.htm

  • ||

    What the hell does Muhammad have to do with online poker?

  • Paul||

    let me screw the general public so that this or that special interest is protected and maybe if we are lucky at some point we get a little bit freer market.

    John, (established) industries and businesses don't want their government to provide them with economic freedom, they want economic protection. It's older than the oldest profession.

  • Paul||

    Do you think perhaps they got something of value in return (i.e. something that will force us in the US to pay one way or another) or did we just threaten to nuke Canada if it didn't shut up?

    Brian, they got coupons for the little chotchky shops in the capital.

  • ||

    "John, (established) industries and businesses don't want their government to provide them with economic freedom, they want economic protection. It's older than the oldest profession."


    Absolutely. That is why big business is so decidedly non-partisan. It doesn't matter which party is in power; they can always bribe, cheat and spin their way into some kind of protection from competition.

  • ||

    What the hell does Muhammad have to do with online poker?

    That's for us to know and you to, well, not know.

    Care to buy a lottery ticket?

  • ||

    If some yokel can bring up Muhammed in a thread about on-line gambling and misuse of security classification, I can do this.

    Happy Paczki day everyone! Cholesterol raising goodness for all.

  • Ed Brayton||

    The other "ed" on this thread appears to be, quite frankly, a fucking idiot. The whole point of my FOIA request is to find out how much the government is willing to give of our money, either in direct payments or in inflated prices due to tariffs, in order to keep up their pretense that online gambling is illegal here. I've seen estimates of tens of billions of dollars, and given the size of the online gaming market, that seems reasonable. The US is the largest market for online gaming and companies like PartyGaming and BetOnSports have lost huge amounts of money. The US Trade Representative spent months negotiating a settlement and it must be in the billions at the very least. The point is that we have a right to know how much of our money Bush is willing to waste in order to continue violating the rights of Americans who wish to gamble online.

  • ed||

    What the hell do you think they did that for?
    Do you think perhaps they got something of value in return?


    Yes, I do. That much is obvious. But back to my original question: how will the (secret) agreement "cost" U.S. taxpayers? Perhaps that "something of value" included relaxed tariffs on goods from Europe, Japan, and Canada? That would benefit all parties. How would this relaxation of trade barriers "cost" us? Again, I ask for evidence to support the assertion that "The agreement meant that the U.S. was willing to force U.S. consumers and businesses to pay."

  • ||

    I feel soooo much safer now.

  • BakedPenguin||

    spammin' for gamblin':

    The Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative promotes the freedom of individuals to gamble online with the proper safeguards to protect consumers and ensure the integrity of financial transactions.



    I've already annoyed my Representatives with emails they won't read. Why don't you do the same today!

    I'd also like to start a boycott of lotteries until all forms of gambling are legal. Except I know how that would turn out.

  • ed||

    The point is that we have a right to know how much of our money Bush is willing to waste in order to continue violating the rights of Americans who wish to gamble online.

    I certainly have no argument with the FOIA, other Ed. And I agree that Americans should be able to gamble anywhere, anytime, online or in a smoky room. Calling me a "fucking idiot" isn't very clever, though. Let us know when you finally discover the actual details of how "our" money is being "wasted" on "authoritarian fantasies".

  • Kolohe||

    Mr Dextrin-
    I thought you were a member of the steering committee of the HFCS conspiracy, no?

  • ||

    Thanks, Ed Brayton, for the FOIA and all your other good works. Now that your FOIA request has been denied, are you going to sue the bastids?

  • Metal Messiah||

    What the hell does Muhammad have to do with online poker?

    If we turn the river card, the terrorists win.

  • ||

    Willfully ignoring a valid FOIA request is a crime, no?

  • ||

    I'm taking no and giving 10 - 1 odds.

    In the interest of national security from gambling, J sub D, please report to Camp X-Ray at Guantanamo Bay tomorrow. And bring some Saran Wrap, they're running kind of low.

  • ||

    Willfully ignoring a valid FOIA request is a crime, no?

    No, it's actually technically a pseudocrime. A pseudocrime occurs when someone in the administration breaks the law.

  • ||

    I'm going to have to ask you to stop speculating on the terms of the trade concessions to Europe, Japan, and Canada....

    In the interest of national security, of course...

    Duh

  • ||

    Can't smoke pot.

    Can't play online poker.

    Can't wait for the revolution.

  • Peter S.||

    Amen, Zig Zag Man. Amen.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Sue us. We'll be out of office with pardons in hand before SCOTUS tells us to give that info up. Neener, neener, neener!

    So, the Bush Administration is planning on complying with the law that says they have to leave after his term is up. This is great news!

  • FLC||

    Good God, the politicians in this country suck.

  • ||

    There is so much talk about social security in trouble in the years to come. Why doesn't the Government legalize internet gambling and use the proceeds to fund Social Security? Sounds like a winner to me. It's time to clean house in Washington, the Bush Administration is by far the worse this country has ever had.

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