Monday, March 9, 2015

More Politics of RAWA

Yes, this is the same pic as in yesterday's post.  It still rankles me.

This is kind of the Part One of yesterday's Part Two about Politics and RAWA.  What set me up to discuss the political nature of RAWA at all was the above quote from Andy “right-hand-man” Abboud and a recent story in CQ Roll Call about the scheduled (but never consummated) hearings set for last Thursday.  I normally consider politics in its truest definition:
  • Poly, meaning many, and
  • Ticks, meaning blood-sucking creatures.

I also believe that you judge a person by their deeds, not their words, but I remember what my High School English teacher said to a poorly grammaticalized short story: “Words mean things.”

Let’s start with Abboud’s words above.  They are almost beyond commenting on, so to speak.  Presumptuous, surely.  Insulting to the political process?  Doubly so.  Certainly, as pointed out, it’s not HIS LAW.  He’s paying the freight, but he is no more a lawmaker than I am.  His money is his influence, and that’s what is currently wrong with the political process (well, one thing).  And to immediately cut out a carve out without debate or discussion?  I have another word, and it also begins with the letter “P.”

Of course, to make his word become law requires lawmakers.  What a group he’s picked (and that last word rhymes with the “P” word I was thinking about).  Rep Jason Chaffetz, in his new role as Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, is trying to out Darrell Issa Darrell Issa.  Not a day goes by without Chaffetz foaming at the mouth, finding potential corruption or fighting voter-approved marijuana laws.  He’s been anti-gambling for a long time, so his sponsoring RAWA seems a natural fit.

And yet – in explaining his rationale for CQ Roll Call, he said little about the dangers of gambling.  And much more about his angle.

Chaffetz said in an interview Tuesday he would look to rally support for the bill in the hearing by making the case that the administration exceeded its executive authority, a theme that has resonated with his party's base on a range of other issues including immigration, labor issues and the environment.  "It will be helpful and a necessary part of moving the bill forward," Chaffetz said. 

And sending the bill to the House Judiciary is also a shrewd move, as the Chairman is Robert Goodlatte, author of the 2006 “Internet Gambling Prohibition Act” which was morphed along with another bill to what we know as UIGEA.  What Goodlatte had in his version was “controversial references” to the Wire Act, which were eventually dropped. 
It’s not just this, though.  Something about the "...making the case that the administration exceeded its executive authority" phrase rang a bell with me, and it makes even more sense to put RAWA in Goodlatte’s committee.  Back in June, Goodlatte claimed that “…the Supreme Court has ruled 13 times that Obama exceeded his constitutional authority.”  Of course, Goodlatte was a bit off base with his claim, but that won’t matter here.

What made me laugh (and then get mad) was Chaffetz’s explanation about the need for RAWA:

"If you want to change the law, you have to introduce a bill and go through regular order. You can't just issue a memo and fundamentally change the law," Chaffetz said. He said the memorandum containing the Justice Department ruling "opened up online gaming nationwide with no rules, no anything."  Chaffetz said the hearing would focus on the handling of the online gambling decision by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel.

Of course, UIGEA was soooooooooo regular order.  And that’s what pisses me off (and worries me again), that the normal way “a bill becomes law” will get circumvented… AGAIN… and we’ll get screwed from our legal right to play poker… AGAIN.

So to repeat from yesterday’s post – it’s obvious that this is political theatre at its best/worst (bloodsucking and all), and that these guys will do ANYTHING to make RAWA the law of the land.  Especially going the UIGEA route – hide, sneak, jam, and run. 

We must be vigilant.

PS – I have yet to discuss Senator Lindsey "Do-as-I-say-not-as-I-email" Graham and his part in this, but until (and unless) he does his part in re-introducing RAWA in the Senate (and I think it’s 50/50 he does), I will save my scorn and ridicule until then.

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