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Poker Politics & “Conservatives”

By way of introduction to my brand spanking new (8-month old) blog, I will blast some chuckleheads who fancy themselves “conservatives.”

This past weekend, I interviewed with Ricky Spero for The Context Machine portion the TMO Weekly Round up (iTunes Link).

The Weekly Roundup is a weekly podcast recapping the week’s Apple and related-tech news. It’s great for you folks looking to catch up on everything in one great-sounding podcast. The Context Machine (a name I LOVE) is an analysis segment where Ricky brings on TMO editors to dissect the news, to give it more context, and to offer our opinions on what it means.

This particular show, we talked most about the recent house bill that attempts to stop online poker, while protecting online horse betting and online lotteries. In addition to this bill being hypocritical, pointless, and un-American, it’s real intent is not to stop online gambling (never mind that poker is a game of skill), but rather to be a handy wedge issue for the upcoming midterm elections in the States. It’s pandering to the fundamentalist Christians who don’t get that they’re merely the other side of the Taliban coin.

The Republican party wants to be able to run ads saying that this person or that person supports gambling because they voted against the bill, and they want to bring the fundamentalists to the polls. That they do so while protecting other forms of gambling is just mind-numblingly ballsy, but there you have it.

Now, I said as much in my interview with Ricky, and that has already drawn out those “conservatives” who prefer to squelch opinions that differ from theirs, rather than engaging in a conversation about such issues.

It, “used to be good about Macs,” writes one illiterate chump at iTunes in a review of the podcast. iTunes user ravenmick is unsubscribing to the podcast, “after such a liberal diatribe FOR online gambling!!!” Never mind that true conservatives want small government that doesn’t intrude on our moral and private lives, this fellow thinks that criticizing efforts by the government to curtail our freedoms is the equivalent of a liberal diatribe.

“Be objective,” he advises, “and report the news not your opinion.”


It’s The Context Machine, you dolt. It is not reporting at all.

And, frankly, I stand behind our record at TMO and iPO for reporting the news in an unbiased fashion for the last 8 years.

Kyle, however, wrote in to me to tell me in a much more effective and well-written manner that I go too far when I say that laws protecting big media at the expense of our individual rights is an aspect of fascism (my context to his comments), or when I discuss the poker bill in the terms described above.

Now, I’ve gotten this kind of crap from readers and listeners for almost a decade, so I’m pretty used to it. On a few occasions, I’ve had those on the left accuse me of being a conservative, especially when I’ve voiced my opinion about pirates and thieves. Most of the time, though, it’s people on the right who like to label me a liberal right after telling me I have no business expressing an opinion.

Every once in a while, someone like Kyle comes along who does so in a very mature and intelligent fashion. Most of the time, though, it’s an idiot hick who has no idea what freedom means, and even less understanding of what “America” means.

And it’s no coincidence that such attacks have increased in recent years as Karl Rove and the rest of the Republican leadership has so successfully hoodwinked the Midwest and so many blue collar folks into believing that their interests are aligned.

Of course, all of this is completely ignoring the little issue that I also criticized the Clinton administration for its own part in chasing online casinos offshore, a process only finished by Bush’s crew, not started. To “conservatives” (I use the quotes to differentiate between true conservatives and today’s concept of a conservative), by criticizing this poker legislation and naming the Republican party for the evil work it’s doing with this bill, I am a “liberal,” and must be turned off or shut up.

Fortunately, I won’t give in to such pressure. My role at TMO has always been a mix of reporting, which I do in an unbiased fashion, and an editorialist who analysizes and dissects the news. It’s what I built the site on, and it won’t stop any time soon.

And when politics and technology cross, as it is increasingly doing, I will blast whomever and whatever is on the wrong side as I see it. That goes for Microsoft, Apple, pirates, Big Media, and Republicans/Democrats/the Green Party.

2 Responses

  1. Good points, Bryan. (as usual)

    For most of my life I’ve leaned toward the conservative side but have always shied away from labeling myself a Republican. I don’t believe the two labels are necessarily linked since one describes a theory of governance and the other, a political grouping. Sadly, most people don’t make the distinction any more.

    Governing would be much more effective without politics but that’s just not possible when the system is run by people. As with socialism, which can only be truly effective if it is implemented by completely un-corruptable people, that can only happen in the vacuum of theory.


  2. Thanks, Dan, and I am deep empathy with your own comments. A long time ago, I identified myself as Republican (Robert Novak is singularly responsible for showing me otherwise, but that’s another story for another time), but am definitely more in the Libertarian camp than anywhere else.

    Save when it comes to the environment. And a few other areas. 🙂

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