“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Monday, January 22, 2007

Americans abroad: Death in Iraq, Pura Vida in Costa Rica.

Saturday was the third deadliest day for twenty and thirty something young American troops in Iraq. Daily, and by the thousands they do their country’s duty in a selfless risky business. They are not doing it for the money and often pay in blood and with their lives. They are a very small percentage of an age group that is defending the laws and security interests of the United States of America.

On Saturday night I attended a function that included several dozen Americans of the same age group as the GI's. They are part of an army encamped in Costa Rica openly flaunting the laws of the US and prospering for doing so.

They arrived at the function in sharp contrast in manner and dress when compared to the elegantly dressed Costa Ricans. To the Costa Ricans, this is the face of the Americans they see and hear throughout the restaurants and clubs of San Jose.

This army, of several thousand, is involved with on-line sports betting, money laundering, tax evasion, conspiracy to evade the laws of the United States. Smug, arrogant and unfettered by the touch of US laws, they live the good life. Why are they getting away with it? The laws are all there and some have been so for some time. They include:

Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006

Statutory Instruments and State Laws:

"Wire Wager Act,"
Title 18, United States Code, Section 1084(a) provides that:
The Prohibition of Illegal Gambling Businesses Act 1955

Section 1952 of Title 18, United States Code, which is also referred to as the Travel Act, also proscribes interstate gambling activity by stating:
''... the use of any facility in interstate or foreign commerce, including the mail, with intent to (1) distribute the records of any unlawful activity ... or (3) otherwise promote, manage, establish carry on or facilitate the promotion, management, establishment or carrying on, of any unlawful activity ... shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned for not more than five years or both.''

The Organized Crime Control Act of 1970
was signed into law by President Richard Nixon. It prohibits the creation or management of a gambling organization involving 5 or more people, if it has been in business more than 30 days or accumulates $2000 in gross revenue in a single day. The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) is a United States federal law which provides for extended penalties for criminal acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization. RICO was enacted by section 901(a) of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970, Pub. L. No. 91-452, 84 Stat. 922 (15 October 1970). RICO is codified as Chapter 96 of Title 18 of the United States Code, 18 U.S.C. § 1961 through 18 U.S.C. § 1968.

'US probe' knocks gaming shares BBC

Millions have already been wiped off the value of internet gaming firms
Shares in online gaming firms have tumbled again - amid reports the US Department of Justice is stepping up its probe into the industry.
It has demanded that investment banks hand over documents and details of phone calls connected with internet gaming firms, reports say.

Partygaming shares fell 7.5% in early Monday trading while Sportingbet and lost about 3.5%.

Online gambling was effectively banned in the US last year.

Legislation was introduced that outlawed financial transactions related to gaming.

Falling values

Reports on Sunday said that the Department of Justice had ordered 16 banks, including HSBC, Dresdner Kleinwort and Deutsche Bank, as well as accountants and law firms to pass on information.

In July last year, executives from online gaming firms, including Sportingbet and Betonsports were detained by US authorities.

Last week, two founders of internet payment firm Neteller, which has been used by gaming sites, were charged with handling billions of dollars in illegal gambling proceeds.

Millions were wiped off the value of internet gaming firms last year as they ceased US trading.

Before the US crackdown on internet gaming, Partygaming had generated about 75% of its income from the US market while about half of 888 Holding's business came from the country.


  1. College educated, on unpaid student loans and grants, I'd betcha.

    But get in a little local tangle, that navy blue US passport is presented, front and center.

    But can or will they buy condos, duece? That is the real question. Or developing another line of wanna be expats.

  2. Great remarks at Ace of Spades, this morning:

    Ace of Spades


    “12 Another good quote from Martin Amis.

    People of liberal sympathies, stupefied by relativism, have
    become the apologists for a creedal wave that is racist,
    misogynist, homophobic, imperialist, and genocidal. To put it another way, they are up the arse of those that want
    them dead.
    - 15 January, 2007 The Independent”

  3. We got the idea from San Fran Gays who delighted at the dangerous thrill of having unprotected anal sex w/known AIDS Victims.

  4. This bombshell, posted at Moonbattery is not getting the traction it deserves. First, there was Hitchens and Fallaci, now Cohen – is a trend developing?

    Iraq War Has Liberal Columnist Nick Cohen Questioning the Left

  5. doug,

    Russian roulette is so much more humane and efficient.

  6. Where's the sex?
    Plus, it doesn't last long enough.
    Stay the Course!

  7. Infidel Warriors, Staying the Anal Course.

  8. doug,

    Who says the barrel must be inserted into the mouth?

  9. As ussual, Oak Leaf does a good job distilling the mash facing the manning of the military.

    Manning The Reserve Force, Like Starting A New Vineyard

  10. That was the expected move.
    Who ever seriously thought they'd stand down because of the first round of Sanctions?

    We try to dry up their financing, they try to diminish US influence in the Middle East.

    Makes one wonder how many millions USD we've doled out in Iran, in support of instability.

  11. rufus,

    There is a lot of wishful thinking in that piece, Rufus. So far, I am not seeing the numbers of enemy fatalities to validate Lizard's optimism. I'm hoping time will prove me wrong.

    Yesterday, I commented on the defeat of the Celts by the Romans in 60 A.D. The ratio of Roman to Celtic dead (accomplished in about five hours, the old fashioned way) was in the range of 180/1. Would Iraq be more pacific today had the RoE allowed for such a kill ratio, i.e. would 576,000 dead Muslim bad guys have made a difference? Yes, I understand politics is important, but not even an MSM politically driven agenda can resurrect the dead.

    Destroying the careers of fire-eating officers won’t help the American side.

  12. Our new patron, wu, see the brightest of sides, being in denial on the US signing on to "Cleansing" in Iraq

    This piece from that liberal rag, "The Weekly Standard" tells how the scrubbing occurs, right under US eyes.

    " ... All the work was done quietly through Iraqi intermediaries so it would not look like an American project and become a target for insurgents. By late December, the bank was open again.

    And here is where the story takes an all-too-familiar turn. After three weeks of brisk activity, the bank was no longer doing business, a victim not of insurgent bombs, but of the Iraqi government. The finance ministry, which is controlled by the Shia SCIRI party, ordered the bank closed. It's not secure, ministry officials explained, and therefore must be shut down. Military officials with responsibility for Amiriyah say the claim is bogus. "That bank is secure because these people have a vested interest in keeping it secure," says Major Brynt Parmeter. "We could open it tomorrow." The military suspects the bank was shuttered for another reason: It was injecting economic vibrancy into a Sunni neighborhood that had been slowly dying.

    This kind of story is told and retold every day in Baghdad. The Shia-dominated federal and local governments are systematically denying resources to Baghdad's Sunni neighborhoods. You see it in lines that go on for blocks at fuel stations. The Sunni areas don't get much gas or kerosene. You see it in the trash strewn everywhere in once upscale Sunni neighborhoods. Sanitation trucks don't come anymore. "They have the trucks," says Major Parmeter. "They have the people to drive them, but the trash isn't picked up." Fuel lines are much shorter in the Shia neighborhoods, but access to those stations is frequently blocked by Shia militia thugs who stand in front of the stations and, mafia-like, decide who gets fuel and who doesn't.

    Several U.S. military officers I spoke to in Baghdad are convinced that the squeezing of Baghdad's Sunni neighborhoods is a deliberate operation carried out primarily by Baghdad's unelected Shia provincial government. The local government, they say, is trying to "soften" the Sunni neighborhoods, so Shia militias can move in and force out Sunni residents. Whether it is government malfeasance or incompetence, the result is the same.

    So under the watchful security eye of the US Army, the Sunni are pressured to leave. Over 1.8 million external refugees, another 500,000 internal refugees.

    We are active agents in the exodus, up to our collective necks. It is an easy claim to make because it is true. The people we empowered are cleansing Iraq and we are assisting them in their efforts.

  13. That is about half of the preInvasion Sunni population having moved on, changing their address, since the US arrived.

    What is to keep the Shia, the Iraqi Federal Government from not following Mr Bush's advice, they'll "Stay the Course".

    Lip service to US interests when required, but business as usual on the streets of Baghdad.

    They'll keep their eye on the prize

  14. Now according to the FOX head, the white haired fellow, says that a new Law will name the Minutemen Border watch as Domestic Terrorists.

    Terrorists on the border.
    Open up those bank & phone records, fellas, you'll got nothin' to worry 'bout.

  15. Kinda ties in w/my comment re: Al-Z in the next thread.

  16. What's the legal rationale in taxing gamblers. There is no service provided between gamblers when they gamble. If I decide to donate my money, does the government tax that donation?

  17. Gotcha!

    "The caches that we found were a mix of all sorts of ordnance from mortars to heavy machine guns,” said Maj. Sean M. Riordan, battalion executive officer. “There’s no doubt that the rural areas in Iraq contain numerous weapons caches, and the things we took away from the insurgency help to chip away at their tactical capabilities."

    The Marines discovered the stockpiles in a combined cache hunt designed to interrupt insurgent activity in the area. Intelligence reports led the Marines to the area, and an immediate operation ensued to uncover the buried caches.

    All explosive materials were destroyed on site while the machine guns, rifles and ammunition were brought to Camp Fallujah.


    More than 600 fighters loyal to Moqtada al-Sadr, the Shia leader, and 16 of their commanders have been captured in a crackdown on the Mahdi Army, US military officials say.

    "There are currently over 600 illegal Jaish al-Mahdi [Mahdi Army] militia in detention awaiting prosecution from the government of Iraq," the US military said in a statement.

    The military added that five "high-level individuals" detained were from Sadr City, Baghdad's Shia bastion loyal to al-Sadr and a Mahdi commander was killed during a series of operations.

    As long as the catch-and-release protocol doesn't get implemented; otherwise, this will all be for nothing.

  18. Desert Rat said, "Now according to the FOX head, the white haired fellow, says that a new Law will name the Minutemen Border watch as Domestic Terrorists."

    And Bush will sign it to get the Hispanics to like him. You know, the Hispanics who vote for Democrats anyway.