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Hanlon's Razor: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Hypocrite + Hubris

This is a fun story that has been in development for almost 5 years. Why haven't we heard about it until now? Well, you'll just have to ask your friendly Fox New Reporter. Prepare yourself, because love triangles are always messy.

A group of small islands in the eastern Caribbean combine to make a country by the unlikely name of Antigua and Barbuda. That's one country, two main islands, and a name that includes the word 'and'. I'm going to call them A&B. Besides having a unique name their main economic sources are tourism and online gambling.

Yes, raise your hands if you can see where this is going... All of you with your hands up, you're partially right, but I bet you're missing the juicy details.

As you all know the United States has outlawed online gambling. It is illegal for banks and credit card companies to transfer funds for internet gambling purposes. What a blow to this poor little country's economy. But wait, the US and A&B are both part of the W.T.O...


So, the W.T.O. has international treaties that state "recreational services" are considered an item of trade. Recognized items of trade are to be treated similarly internationally as they are domestically. Because the US makes the highly hypocritical exception for online gambling involving horse racing and state lotteries, the W.T.O. has ruled the US in violation.

"Oh noes!" says the US, so they fight it in court, and they lose, and appeal, and lose, and appeal, and lose again. The US is now out of appeals, so they have no choice but to legalize online gambling or impose a ban on all forms of internet gambling domestically!

Wrong! this is the US, our government does what it damn well pleases! So, now, 5 months after being finally and permanently ruled in violation, we've done nothing. China, of course, is laughing their asses off. Our government has been beating them over the head with W.T.O. violations for years in order to force them to do our bidding.


The W.T.O. is now in the painful position of disciplining its largest and loudest member. The trade group can't just raise trade barriers, because it would be less than a slap on the wrist. No, A&B is much smarter than that.

A&B is asking the W.T.O. to grant permission to violate intellectual property laws by allowing them to distribute American music, movie and software products. They would immediately become the cheapest exporter of American pop culture in the world, which would make a HUGE impact on the US economy. This little maneuver worked wonderfully for Ecuador. I’m sure A&E will do at least as well.

The drama is heating up! Who will back down first? Will it be the W.T.O, which would permanently damage their clout as a world authority. Will it be the US, which would be the mature and ultimately the best outcome. Or will it be A&B in some kind of out of court settlement.


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1 - I will buy it
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3 - Other people think it's good, but I wasn't interested when I first heard about it
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PC? - Will it be released on the PC?