The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

Posts tagged ‘Poker’

SPAM ME–SPAM ME NOT

Those of us who maintain our blogs on WordPress are fortunate.  We are provided with a spam protection device known as Akismet.  This program reviews the comments we receive and helps reduce the amount of spam in our comment notifications.

Although I receive a lot of comments, my spam comments which Akismet has caught are starting to rev up in number and are getting close to totaling as many as the legitimate comments I receive from my readers.  About 80% of them have one thing in common.

They are designed to get us to click on them so that they can show us the product they have for sale.  And what is that product?  Prescription pharmaceuticals.

Today alone I received eight solicitations.  None originated within the United States but came from  locations in Mexico, Spain, Ireland and Italy.  The drugs they had to offer included Viagra, Cialis, doxycycline and clomid, so we have two drugs for erectile dysfunction, one that treats Lyme disease and one to increase female fertility.  Now I’m beginning to question my own orientation and I’m definitely going to cut down on my walks through the woods where tics might be present.

In April last year, the Department of Justice cracked down on several large sites that were located overseas which offered people the opportunity to play poker on-line.   Apparently, these sites will soon be able to offer their services again to American players of the game.  (I guess they’ve figured out a way to tax any profits Americans might make).

The settlement calls for the three on-line companies to pay $731 Million, a portion of which is to be reimbursed to U. S. players whose funds were used to pay the board members and owners of one of the sites, instead of being held in segregated accounts as they claimed.  I’m glad these players will get their money back – or at least most of it.

But let’s put the vigor which the government put into its effort with on-line poker into perspective.  $731 Million is a lot of money in anyone’s book.  Heck, I would accept less and still have a fun weekend at Disneyland.  But when we compare that to the total of worldwide sales of pharmaceuticals for last year it pales by comparison.

The pharmaceutical industry last year had sales of $880 BILLION globally.

So I’d like to make this an open appeal to the FDA with a little help from their buddies in the Department of Justice.  Why don’t you look into these overseas providers who solicit Americans to buy their prescription drugs from them?

After all, the FDA doesn’t regulate the standards of manufacture of these drugs and who knows if any agency in the country of origin does either.  For that matter, who knows if they actually are real drugs or placebos?  Now there’s something into which the government could really sink its teeth.

And from a strictly selfish standpoint, I’d like to cut down on the spam in my in box.

BETTING ON AMERICA

A recent ad run by President Obama says that he is “betting on America.”  Although I find little in the President’s messages with which I concur, I have to agree with this statement.  This is the underpinning of his entire approach to governing.

To bet is to wager, to gamble.  Living in Las Vegas, I’m mildly familiar with the concept as you can even engage in this activity in the supermarkets if you choose.  Video poker machines are to be found everywhere.  And if you do decide to play, you should have an understanding of the enterprise on which you have embarked.

The casinos have upgraded and attempted to make this pass time sound more legitimate by renaming it from the original, “gambling” to what is now referred to as “gaming.”  Whatever you call it, it’s the same thing.  And what is that?   It’s a system for re-distributing wealth.

Although I’ve used this example before to explain the principle, I hope that my long-term readers will indulge my repetition for those who are newcomers.

Texas Hold ‘em has gained a lot of popularity as a spectator sport as the World Series of Poker has the richest prize in the history of the game and is broadcast to millions of viewers.  So we’ll use that as an example – although the principle applies equally to all games of chance whether those are card games, dice games, slot machines or lotteries.

Ten players meet for a game of No Limit Texas Hold ‘em at one of the player’s houses.  Each player brings $1000 to the game as his buy in.  No additional chips may be purchased during the course of play and the game is to be played for three hours and then will end.

At the end of play, some players may have been eliminated and lost their entire investment.  Other players will have more than their original thousand dollars and others less.  But if you add up all the chips on the table you will still come up with the amount with which these ten people started – ten thousand dollars.  Not a dollar has been made or lost – it has merely been re-distributed.

Isn’t that the heart and soul of President Obama’s vision for America?  To re-distribute it from certain of us and give that to others of us?  But where did this wealth that is up for re-distribution come from?

President Obama, the Congress and the bureaucracies in Washington “didn’t build it.”   Small and large businesses were the ones who created the wealth in the first place.  And if it weren’t for their success, the sycophants who rely on us to support them would actually have to go out and find gainful employment.

As a former small business owner I doubt I would hire them, because I always tried to choose employees with drive, motivation, vision and a strong work ethic.  While there are some in government who possess those attributes, their numbers are few and far between.

So, yes I agree with President Obama that he is “betting on America.”  And if you believe that, you’ll probably enjoy coming out to Las Vegas and participating in the game.

It’s a real crap shoot.

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