Getting something for nothing is tough these days. But that, obviously, doesn’t stop millions of Americans from throwing money away trying, every day. And there’s a lot of money to be made off of those suckers. Witness the current hoopla between two bands of Pomo Indians, the Manchester-Point Arena Band v the Guidiville Band, over the latter’s push to develop a new “gaming” facility in the San Francisco Bay Area. Gaming is the new gambling, gambling having gotten a bad name for some reason, but certainly not the obvious reason that millions of people throw their money away on it and some of them suffer a lot thereafter.
If you don’t want to throw your money away on the slots, however, an anonymous gentleman (Joe Prosflow?) in Daly City, CA, invites you to toss it his way. (I Googled it, but you don’t want to go there; it’s pretty much defunct.) In a bright-yellow-background 2-column ad in today’s San Francisco Chronicle, a 76-year-old male who avows “I believe I have discovered a solution which has eliminated all of my symptoms” — i.e. waking up 3 or 4 times a night for bathroom calls — says he will send you “specific information” for $20 check or money order. Plus a self-addressed stamped envelope. Even though there are those near and dear to me who are known to arise multiple times during the night, I am resisting the temptation to respond to Mr. Prosflow.
But back to the slots. In a former life I had reason to attend occasional conventions in Las Vegas, which required walking through airports and hotel lobbies ad infinitum, all filled largely with little old ladies holding containers of coins and relentlessly feeding them into machines. Being now a little old lady myself, the remembrance of that sight makes me even sadder than ever. This is fun and games? I do not recall seeing anyone smiling. (Forgive me, Las Vegas, I’m sure you have good, smiling citizens there somewhere.)
But casinos cry at the top of their neon lungs about what a fun time you’ll have there! Glamour! Excitement! Not to mention all that money you’ll win! Just as lotteries tout the last gazillion dollar winner. Win big! Jackpot now over a gazillion! Hello? Have you met many gazillion dollar winners?
What brings this to mind, in addition to the interesting just-send-your-money ad, is the fact that casinos and lotteries and other nifty ways to abuse the poor — who are a large percentage of lottery ticket buyers if a smaller percentage of casino-goers — all get your votes. Because they advertise how their profits will make schools better (have you noticed schools getting better on casino taxes?) Or other wonderful benefits they will bring to the ‘hood. They somehow neglect to mention the increased costs they will bring in human miseries and public services required.
They get your votes, or your legislators’ votes, because they have a gazillion dollars to spend in order to get them.
Exactly as multinational corporations will now have a gazillion dollars to dominate every election in the country, large or small, thanks to the Supreme Court ruling that they can spend all the gazillions they want. Leaving us one-person-one-vote suckers still free to send our money to Daly City. But otherwise with not much of a voice.