Here is the email that the PPA sent out to members late yesterday. I sort of mulled it over a bit to give it time to sink in but I still don’t get it.
Now Is the Time We Fight Back!
April 15, 2011 will forever be a dark day for the online poker community. Seemingly out of nowhere the U. S. Department of Justice (DoJ) took from us the ability to play online poker on many of the websites we have grown to trust. While the target of DoJ’s action is on the Internet poker companies and not the player, the poker community is being adversely affected by this prosecution.
These recent developments should be viewed as nothing less than a declaration of war against poker and the people who play the game. It is a clarion call to all poker players to take action. We cannot sit idly by and wait for this issue to resolve itself. We need to let U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder know we are disappointed with his decision to shut down trusted Internet poker sites in the United States and we need to again remind Congress and President Obama that now is the time to pass sensible legislation that licenses and regulates Internet poker in this country.
Today is no day to be a passive poker player. Your right to your personal property has been trampled on and your recreation, and in some cases livelihoods has been jeopardized. We need to fight and seize back what is rightfully ours.
The PPA wants you and every poker player to take action this week. Please go to this specially created PPA Action Page to learn what you should do. If every person who loves poker takes a few minutes to take these actions we will make a huge impact. Your support of PPA in these efforts ultimately supports your right to play!
Thank you for your continuing support.
Proud to Play
Senator Alfonse D’Amato
That’s the message in its entirety. Now let’s just look at what was said:
Seemingly out of nowhere the U. S. Department of Justice (DoJ) took from us the ability to play online poker on many of the websites we have grown to trust.
Out of nowhere? For nearly a year we’ve been hearing about possible secret grand jury indictments being in the works. If this is out of nowhere for the PPA then I have to question how close to the ground they have their ears.
Likewise, what is with the statement that the DOJ took our ability to play online poker on websites we’ve grown to trust? If the allegations against Stars, Tilt, and Cereus are true then the sites themselves are responsible for taking away our right to play online poker on their sites as, again, if the allegations are true, they engaged in money laundering and bank fraud. They’re not being charged with jaywalking. These are serious crimes. If Amazon had a side business of dealing kiddie porn would the PPA defend Amazon’s site shutdown by saying that the DOJ has stolen consumer rights to purchase reasonably priced books and other merchandise online? Should all crimes be overlooked as long as you provide a valuable service as well?
These recent developments should be viewed as nothing less than a declaration of war against poker and the people who play the game.
First, it’s online poker that they’re targeting. Not all poker. As far as I know there have been no FBI raids of the Bicycle Club, Commerce, or any Vegas poker rooms.
And the declaration of war (if it was that) is not against the players. It’s against companies who allegedly laundered money and bribed banks. Was a single online poker player been arrested on Black Friday? No. Were any online poker players indicted? No.
We need to let U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder know we are disappointed with his decision to shut down trusted Internet poker sites in the United States and we need to again remind Congress and President Obama that now is the time to pass sensible legislation that licenses and regulates Internet poker in this country.
Wait, hold on a second there. You just said that the DOJ has declared war on us. That’s pretty serious. When someone says, “I am declaring war on you,” I hardly think an appropriate response is to express my “disappointment.” Words like outrage, anger, and so on seem more appropriate if you’re going to use rhetoric like declaring war.
Thank goodness that the PPA was not running the country on December 7, 1941. Instead of the inspirational and moving words uttered by President Roosevelt below the PPA would have whipped the US people into a state of severe disappointment with Japan.
Yesterday, December 7, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy – the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.
The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its Government and its Emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in Oahu, the Japanese Ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to the Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or armed attack.
It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time the Japanese Government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.
The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. Very many American lives have been lost. In addition American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.
Yesterday the Japanese Government also launched an attack against Malaya. Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong. Last night Japanese forces attacked Guam. Last night Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands. Last night the Japanese attacked Wake Island. This morning the Japanese attacked Midway Island.
Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.
As Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense.
Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us. No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.
I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.
Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger.
With confidence in our armed forces – with the unbounded determination of our people – we will gain the inevitable triumph – so help us God.
I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December seventh, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire.
And why does D’Amato repeat the phrase “trusted” when referring to the websites that have been shut down. Is he unaware that Ultimate Bet and Absolute Poker have been involved in some of the most untrustworthy actions a poker room could commit? How are rooms that have backdoors allowing employees and high-level management in the company to conspire and cheat against other opponents classified as “trusted”?
And again, if the charges hold to be true, is the PPA saying that companies that commit bank fraud and money laundering are trusted?
I mean, this couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the fact that the NY Times reports about the PPA, “Its budget is subsidized by a Canadian trade association whose members include the companies that run Poker Stars and Full Tilt Poker,” could it?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against the PPA. However we shouldn’t sugarcoat the facts just because they may be inconvenient. And we certainly should not be standing by poker rooms that may have committed crimes. I’m not saying they did, however, if the interests of the PPA are with the players there is no need to even defend the online poker sites in question.
Now is the time for the PPA to show that it’s on the side of the players. Point out that if there was proper legislation in place companies wouldn’t need to deal with unscrupulous payment processors and put player money at risk. Don’t muddy the message by calling Ultimate Bet and Absolute Poker sites that are “trusted.” It completely destroys the credibility of everything you say after that. Don’t spend half your email doing a PR job for Stars and Tilt if you are supposed to be standing up for the rights of players.
Though I, in general, agree with the overall stated goals of the PPA and I’ve bent the ear of former PPA president Michael Bolcerek several times in the past, I have lost confidence in them as a leader in this fight. Yes, they’ve done some good work but this sort of email and the same old talking points interviews John Pappas gave over the weekend worries me that there is no real plan. They want me to express disappointment (BTW, the PPA really needs to purchase a thesaurus. Just look through their news releases and see how many times they use the word “disappointment.”? Really? Is that the best the PPA can do?
Editor’s Note: Added the link to the Pokerati story (citing The Financial Times) saying that Full Tilt was under federal grand jury investigation a year ago. Thanks @ShaneSchleger