Ron Paul

Balko on the Hill


This weekend, I'll post the testimony I'm going to give on Capitol Hill this morning.

But in the meantime, here's a link here where you can watch the Internet gambling hearings where I'll be speaking. Kicks off today at 10 am ET. My co-panelists include poker deity Howard Lederer, an executive from a web payment processing service, and, arguing contra, a pastor whose son robbed a bank to fund his online poker habit.

I'm told that Ron Paul will be introducing me.

NEXT: Friday Funnies

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  1. Internet gambling hearings eh? Well that’s cool. A Ron Paul intro is a nice feather too. (Do you think you can get me an autograph pic?) I wonder if they’ll ever have “Jack-booted government thugs terrorizing US citizens” hearings.

  2. Give ’em hell Balko. I’ll bet that Limbaugh and his ilk rarely make much of the fact that their beloved GOP killed internet gambling. Maybe they try to spin it on the democrats for not doing more to stop it…Think about that for the minute, think about the accomplishments of the GOP Congress in the last two-three years they had power. With all the turmoil in this nation and abroad here it is as I remember it: Banned internet gambling, passed a totally f*cked up presription drug bill and credit card company help bill. Jesus.

  3. Radley Balko, that’s pimptastic.

  4. Good to see somebody finally standing up for the rights of sleazebags to more easily have access to the pocketbooks of desperate Americans.

  5. Wow Dan T, and I thought I was contrarian…
    We are talking about POKER here, right? It’s a game. Why is allowing people to play this game, albeit for money (in which some folks will lose), wrong? I mean, people lose all the time on ebay, right (they pay too much for junk). Should we ban ebay? WTF?

  6. Is there anything legal in Dan T. world?

  7. JLM,

    Anything his masters allow.

  8. Gambling is a social ill that almost always goes hand-in-hand with corruption (recent case in point is the sad tale of the North Carolina lottery and Jim Black scandal).

    I actually don’t see a problem with a handful of friends getting together for a night of poker with a few dollars on the line to make things interesting. But internet gambling strikes me as mostly a way to enable people with serious problems to continue to lose money.

  9. Or, like other internet related things, a way for a few people with like minded interests to get together and share a pasttime they enjoy, despite being spread around the world.

    I cant get friends together to play a cash game of O8. Online, though….

  10. I’m constantly amazed at how eager folks like Dan T. are to scale back EVERYONE’S freedom to whatever the least capable of us can handle. Should the overwhelming majority of Americans be treated like infants just because a handful of “desperate Americans” have poor impulse control?

  11. 10:00 AM? Ugh! That is opposite the Opie & Anthony Show! Any chance they will cover the hearing live?

  12. a pastor whose son robbed a bank to fund his online poker habit

    I’ve always heard you have to watch out for those preacher’s kids. Perhpas clerical celibacy isn’t such a dumb idea.

  13. Abdul,

    I’ve always heard you have to watch out for those preacher’s kids.

    If it is true (I can think of many examples and counter-examples) I think it is due to a lack of a father presence, because the Dad is spending his time with his congregation’s problems.

    My uncle is a good counter-example, his kids turned out fine, but he was a (public) high school principal while they were growing up (at least that I can remember, they were older than me). He did most (all?) of his church pastoring after he retired from the school system – which was after his kids were off to/graduated from college.

  14. arguing contra, a pastor whose son robbed a bank to fund his online poker habit.

    Freedom is bad because you could use it to make bad decisions that result in your suffering. We here in congress will make your decisions for you and you’ll never suffer. If just one person chooses poorly, nobody should choose at all.

  15. Dan T.,

    So, in order to prevent the corruption that supposedly follows gambling, ensure that gambling is lucrative for organized crime by keeping it illegal. That is a sure-fire, time-tested formula for reducing corruption.

  16. Supermarkets strike me as mostly a way to enable people with serious problems to continue to get fat.

  17. Barney Frank’s on a roll so far.

  18. Yes, this IS a debate over whether to legalize something that is currently illegal, Spencer Bachus you jackass.

  19. Keep feeding me, fools.

  20. I’m having problems opening the webcast through I have a mac and I’m using firefox, any ideas? Thank you.

  21. It is on C-SPAN live too. Now I can get the full O & A experience along with a little RB.

  22. Freedom costs a buck-O-five…

    or $0.25 if you prefer slot machines.

    Ken, thanks for reminding me of the summer in which I officially became a libertarain. Stupid Sensenbrenner.

  23. Rep. Wexler (D-FL) is making a key distinction, which makes this law sound even dumber. The law only outlaws some gambling, not all.

    He also has a different idea of “brief” than I do.

  24. Ron Paul’s speaking now.

  25. Rep. Paul, (R-TX) finally wandered around to the point, by making some interesting and good points.

    Glad he is on-board to “restore” rights.

  26. The law only outlaws some gambling

    Mostly the kind of gambling Casinos give large campaign contributions to keep anyone from competing with them.

  27. Thanks Guy. But I’m in South America without access to CSPAN (tv) and can’t get it to work from the CSPAN webcast either.

  28. Rep. Frank (D-MA) is blaming ‘improper’ credit card usage on Republicans? Yea, this must be in the chambers of the Congress.

  29. Warren,

    Mostly the kind of gambling Casinos give large campaign contributions to keep anyone from competing with them.

    Every one of the legal forms of gambling cited by the FL guy are heavy State operations.


    Thanks Guy. But I’m in South America without access to CSPAN (tv) and can’t get it to work from the CSPAN webcast either.

    The Pirate Satellite Industry is being unfairly restrained! 🙂

  30. Guy: He’s saying that Republicans who complain about kids getting credit cards too easily probably shouldn’t have voted for a law that makes it easier for kids to get get credit cards. Still a somewhat cheap shot, but that was part of the bill.

  31. Radley owns a suit? Cool.

    Intro by Mr. Paul.

  32. Heh, nice shout-out to Reason Rep. Paul.

  33. Woo, Ron Paul likes Reason!

    Radley looks so cute. I want to reach through the screen and give him a hug.

    Also, he’s smart and stuff. Go Radley!

  34. Got it. Just in time!

  35. Mentioning wasting money on booze without Ted Kennedy on the panel was a wasted joke. He could have used escort services instead, in honor of the Chairman.

  36. Well done, Mr. Balko! I think you managed to hit a wide range of reasons to support your point, while giving enough time to each one so it wasn’t just a laundry list. You did us proud!

  37. 14 months, and the parents knew? Think you should’ve done something???

  38. I’m sympathetic to how painful and difficult it must be as a parent to watch your son go through that, but my god, I think I just pulled a muscle eye-rolling.

    “Dad, you never told me gambling was evil.” *headdesk*

  39. I wish this guy would answer the question. Would he ban other forms of gambling? Yes or no?

  40. Lemme help you out, Dan T.:

    Laws againstgambling isare a social ill that almost always goes hand-in-hand with corruption.

    Seriously – corruption is impossible unless there is a government official with the power to ban/control/allow an activity. The root of corruption is prohibition.

  41. Radley, how’s it feel to have the Rev. Cleaver as your “surrogate” blasphemer?

  42. For some reason the video link isn’t working for me. Forgive me if this has already been pointed out, but:

    Am I right in thinking that if Barney Frank’s bill passes, what was once a perfectly legal, unregulated and untaxed activity* will become a perfectly legal, regulated and taxed activity?

    Why am I having a hard time getting excited about this?

    *(and in fact is still legal — it’s the third-party payment making that’s now illegal.)

  43. Did the rep. from Indiana just claim that her state had more casinos than any other state in the Union?

    Let’s not even bring up Nevada. Has she not been to Iowa?

  44. Any chance of this making it to YouTube/GoogleVideo (or any other source on the interweb)? Some of us aren’t in South America, but do have day jobs precluding C-Span watching during the day.

  45. Please believe me when I tell you this: Ping pong ruined my life. At first, I’d play a game or two a week– just in my spare time, wouldn’t even break a sweat. Before long, I was playing a game every day, then two, then ten. I had become a ping-pong-playing blob. I didn’t work, my girlfriend broke up with me, my family disowned me. I lost my life savings paying to replace the worn out net, paddles, and balls. Fortunately, my life savings was only about 40 dollars. Still though, that’s a lot of money to spend on ping pong.
    Because of my idiocy, no one else should be allowed to play ping pong.

  46. Hey Radley, any chance you’ll throw in a few quips about no-knock raids? Or does that get you blacklisted from our hallowed halls of government?

  47. Mr. Balko, great shirt! What was that monogram? BTW, great cleaners with the perfect starch job too.

    Also, awsome testimony. I had to leave for a meeting at 1150ish, but everying till then, especially the Abramhoff thing, was awsome.

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