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Lance Armstrong, American Villain

Lance Armstrong, American Villain

prologue1Lance Armstrong’s Oprah interview: His threats and bullying are the real story. – Slate Magazine

Armstrong couldn’t deny all the lawsuits he had filed and all the times he’d accused people of lying. So he attributed these intimidation tactics to fear, a rough childhood, and his cancer. He had vilified witnesses who told the truth because he saw them “as a friend turning on you.” He had attacked any threat because when he was a kid, his family “felt like we had our backs against the wall.” And, tragically, “my diagnosis … turned me into a person” who was resolved to “win at all costs,” since cancer compels you to “do anything I have to do to survive. … And I took that attitude, that ruthless and relentless and win-at-all costs attitude, and I took it right into cycling.”

That seems to be the game plan Armstrong brought to this interview. Downplay your power over others. Deny issuing explicit orders to dope. Convert any such story into a matter of setting a poor example.  Take responsibility for yourself, but suggest that others—those who claim you pressured them—must do the same. Recast your threats, retributions, and demands for silence as products of a hard life. Reduce your sins of coercion to a sin of deceit. When Winfrey asked Armstrong “what made you a bully,” he answered: “Just trying to perpetuate the story and hide the truth.”

That’s Armstrong’s message: Everything he did, no matter how domineering, menacing, or manipulative, was a desperate effort to protect a single lie. “I tried to control the narrative,” he says. And he’s still trying to control the narrative. Which is a good reason not to believe it.

Lance Armstrong’s Oprah interview: His threats and bullying are the real story. – Slate Magazine

Armstrong seemed to be exposing himself the most when he confessed to bullying Emma O’Reilly, the former massage therapist who tried to expose Armstrong’s doping in 2003. “We ran over her, we bullied her,” he said. But then when Oprah asked if he’d sued O’Reilly, he couldn’t remember even the basic details—who he’d sued, for example. His admissions stopped exactly at the point when it turned from a character trait to real adult, legal action, which caused actual measurable harm in another person’s life. Yes, sure, we agree with Lance Armstrong he was a bully. As team leader and megastar cyclist, he had far more power than the people around him, and he used it to make their lives miserable when they did things he didn’t like, especially exposing the cheating and lying that allowed him to build his own myth and stay on top. But bullying hardly covers it. More like, “he assaulted people with intent to absolutely destroy,” as a Twitter user named Brian G. Fay wrote to me last night.

Lance Armstrong was a bully, but that hardly covers it. – Slate Magazine

Yes, cycling is corrupt. If there is any one individual who made it impossible to compete without cheating, it’s Lance Armstrong.

I don’t think, people are getting the picture here of a long term criminal conspiracy to subvert a sport. Yet, that is exactly what was going here. Armstrong is the Bernie Madoff of cycling. He didn’t just cheat, he used such a wide variety of banned substances, the only way he could’ve broken the rules further was by riding a motorcycle, or putting in a double.

He didn’t just steal money. He stole our ideal of what a sports figure should be. He cheapened heroism, and made a world of high athleticism, cheap and tawdry.

His victims include those who deserved those medals, those endorsements, the keys to the city and the honorary degree. We’ll never know their names or respect their accomplishments because he stole their glory.

He’s a villain, and he deserves to be treated like one.

James Pilant

From around the web –

From the web site, Poems and Sundry Writings by Rebekka Roderick:

Just go away and shut up already. You have done more than enough damage. Just fuck off. Everybody is tired of your BS. Just go. We know you don’t mean what you say. We know you’re just a liar who kept lying right up until the entire house of cards was pulled down, torn up and set on fire. I know this because I was a similar person the last few years, lying to and cheating on and not appreciating the man that loved me unconditionally. I was not a tad bit remorseful, contrite or altruistic about it at all until the ultimate realization of all the pain I had caused him and the awareness that I had let go of somebody that I was important to, a once in a lifetime thing, hit me in the face.

From the web site, Live STRONG Blog:

We expect Lance to be completely truthful and forthcoming in his interview and with all of us in the cancer community. We expect we will have more to say at that time. Regardless, we are charting a strong, independent course forward that is focused on helping people overcome financial, emotional and physical challenges related to cancer. Inspired by the people with cancer whom we serve, we feel confident and optimistic about the Foundation’s future and welcome an end to speculation.”

From the web site, Growing Dogwood:

I never bought the fact that he was not using. Call me a skeptic if you must, but it never made sense that that these athletes could do what they did and then turn around and do more the next day – for three weeks. Sorry, I think they’re all using. With that said, what’s the problem? How different is the use of PED’s from say the actress that has plastic surgery to enhance her performance? I would never endorse or do either, but I guess I just don’t want success that badly. At the same time I am not in any position to judge anyone’s decision on what they do.

As far as I care what he did is still a great accomplishment. Like I said, everyone was cheating and he was clearly the best cheater. So hats off to Mr Armstrong on those seven yellow jerseys.

From the web site, [un]-conscious stream- [ing]:

Meaning that to look at the whole picture of a person is to see the truth about their material reality. Peter used the idea that behind closed doors, Hitler may well have been a ‘really nice guy’, when he was playing the piano and people were drinking tea and having dinner with the polite house painter. But the material reality of Hitler – the totality of his existence, the big, whole picture was that he sanctioned and ordered the ethnic and elitist ‘cleansing’ of Germany and the killing of over six million Jews.

Which led me to the thought that, if Lance does admit to the doping allegations, then no matter who interviews him, we have already seen the ‘real Armstrong’. The ‘real Armstrong’ is in the totality of his material reality, not in the soft, contrite and repentant man that we might see on a tv screen attempting to win back the favour of the public.

If the allegations are true, the ‘real Armstrong’ has already revealed his hand and shown his true colours: someone who is ruthless, prepared to systematically cheat his way to the top of a sport, push others out, lie repeatedly about it, bully his way through to rule the peloton and bully a number of journalists on the way as he churned out untruth after obfuscated distraction over and over again (I’ve heard many of the interviews over the years). Someone who has to be in control and on top and will stop at nothing to get there.

And finally, from the web site, Getting Back in Shape:

That pretty much sums up my feelings towards this whole confession. He sued dozens and dozens of people that said he was doping. Test after test proved without a doubt he was doping all those years. Eventually once the USADA took all his Tour De France wins away, banned him from the sport for life, and all his sponsors dropped him, did he finally admit his guilt. Really, what choice did he have? That is as rock bottom as one can get. Some might commit suicide, others might just live in a cave the rest of their life. He obviously is the type that wants to move on, and this was the only thing that could be done. If not, he would be treated horribly anytime he was seen in public, I’m sure of that. Disgraced is a good word I would use. But on the flip side, he did play a part in raising millions and millions for cancer research. And if so many other people are doping just like he was, it still shows his performance was superior to theirs. Coming back from being diagnosed and treated for cancer, that is very impressive.

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A Song For Occupy Wall Street

Nathan Shaffer – Come Back America – YouTube

(Something I found on You Tube – You can buy the music and other works by the artist online.)

Sometimes the music has a message.
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Cry Me A Freaking River! Says Karen Handel

Daily Kos: Komen Foundation official deletes evidence of anti-choice bias from Twitter

The Susan G. Komen Foundation, and its senior vice president of public policy, Karen Handel, who is “staunchly and unequivocally pro-life,” have been getting beat up pretty bad for the blatantly political decision to stop funding cancer screen and prevention at Planned Parenthood.

It appears that yesterday, Handel signed on to the “cry me a freaking river” sentiment on Twitter that anti-choicers are gleefully expressing because nothing makes them happier than women dying of cancer if it means sticking it to the nation’s biggest provider of health care to women.

Daily Kos: Komen Foundation official deletes evidence of anti-choice bias from Twitter

Here’s the tweet –

tweet

Apparently cutting women off from health care shouldn’t evoke emotions. I disagree. The tragedy of underserved populations unable to get breast exams and other care is a tragedy.

Since the organization has serious qualms about actually pursuing it goals of preventing breast cancer, it is only logical that giving to the organization is a poor move if that is your concern.

I further suggest that wearing a pink ribbon is a sign of support for an organization that has lost its way, and lacks the courage to act in support of women’s rights.

Perhaps, a different color ribbon signifying actual committment?

James Pilant

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Dan Bodine Comments on My Last Post

Dan Bodine was kind enough to comment on my travails at moving to a new site. Here’s what he has to say –

Little confused over the “mechanics” of this and why you’re worried so much. Really enjoy you’re content, by the way. But I’m in the early design stage of doing something similar. Only instead of moving my blog, I’m continuing it and starting a new blog. The new blog will be just or political comment, which I feel is inappropriate for my present news and features blog. And of course that means moving some of my old stories and re-posting them in the new blog’s morgue. Is what you’re doing radically different than this? And I’m just an old fogey who still ain’t gotta clue as to how all these website really works?

I’m building a site with at least two sliders, a video feed and about three news feed with probably a half dozen RSS feeds from individual blogs I find important. I’m reading and watching videos from You-Tube on blogging. I’m fifty-five and this stuff does not come as easy as it does to the young.

I’ve been blogging off and on for the past three or four years. This new blog will encapsulate all the lessons I’ve learned in that time.

This is going to be combination of good content, powerful imaging, video content and heavy, heavy search engine optimization.

James Pilant

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The BlackBerry Riots — What Should RIM Do? (via The Business Ethics Blog) Are Twitter and Facebook major elements in recent unrest?

We have learned that Chris MacDonald quickly analyzes current events for ethical issues and can be counted on to get a post up in a day or less. This is one of those.

Chris MacDonald

My favorite paragraph is this one –

The question is complicated by questions of precedence. Tech companies have come under fire for assisting governments in, for example, China, to crack down on dissidents. Of course, the UK government isn’t anything like China’s repressive regime. But at least some people are pointing to underlying social unrest, unemployment etc., in the UK as part of the reason — if not justification — for the riots. And besides, even if it’s clear that the UK riots are unjustifiable and that the UK government is a decent one, companies like RIM are global companies, engaged in a whole spectrum of social and political settings, ones that will stubbornly refuse to be categorized. Should a tech company help a repressive regime stifle peaceful protest? No. Should a tech company help a good and just government fight crime? Yes. But with regard to governments, as with regard to social unrest, there’s much more grey in the world than black and white.

We’re going to come across this issue again and again. Modern social unrest, justified, unjustified or simply beyond our understanding, is now also a product of social networking. As these machines gain complexity and power, so will the possibilities of social action. We are entering a new world in which a protest or similar action can be organized in very short chunks of times. Flyers and bullhorns are as obsolete as Egyptian hieroglyphs in this new climate of computer assisted unrest exemplified by Facebook and Twitter.

James Pilant

The intersection of social media with social unrest is a massive topic these days. Twitter has been credited with playing an important role in coordinating the pro-democracy protests in Egypt, and Facebook played a role in helping police track down culprits after the Vancouver hockey riots. But the mostly-unstated truth behind these “technologies of the people” is that they are corporate technologies, ones developed, fostered, and controlled by c … Read More

via The Business Ethics Blog

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Facebook, Twitter Push Hazare's Lokpal Bill Fight Facebook, Twitter Push Hazare's Lokpal Bill Fight (via Pratyush K. Pattnaik)

By all means, let’s join the struggle. Hazare’s battle is our battle, wherever we live, whatever we do, our lives are diminished by corruption – but also enriched by the efforts of the wise and heroic.

Go to Facebook – Join up.

James Pilant

Facebook, Twitter Push Hazares Lokpal Bill Fight Facebook, Twitter Push Hazares Lokpal Bill Fight Over 1,00,000 followers on Facebook; over 7 lakh people express their solidarity through phone lines Satyagraha finds its way onto new media, after Facebook, Twitter and SMS added teeth to social activist Anna Hazares crusade against corruption. Hazares protest involves him fasting until death till the government agrees to table the Lokpal Bill, which puts corrupt politicians to accountability and scrutiny by an independent body. In practically … Read More

via Pratyush K. Pattnaik

Twitter and Facebook Dangerous for Your Pocketbook

$430k Love settlement shows tweets can be costly (via Yahoo News)

From Yahoo News

Courtney Love’s settlement of a case sparked by online attacks on a fashion designer show that while Twitter posts may be short, they can also be costly.

The singer has agreed to pay Dawn Simorangkir $430,000, plus interest, to settle a lawsuit the designer filed in March 2009 over comments Love made on Twitter and her MySpace blog.

Many users assume that because the comments or brief or similar to casual conversation, that a lawsuit for libel is unlikely. No, it’s just as likely as for any other media. It’s hard to think of defamation in terms of a newspaper with a 20,000 circulation being similar to a twitter post, but that twitter post could go viral and be seen by 20,000,000 people.

Here’s more from the article.

“People are getting in trouble for Twitter postings on an almost daily basis,” said First Amendment Attorney Doug Mirell, a partner at Loeb and Loeb who did not handle the case.

“The laws controlling what is and isn’t libelous are the same regardless of the medium in which the statements appear,” he said.

From further down in the article –

The fact is that this case shows that the forum upon which you communicate makes no difference in terms of potential legal exposure,” Freedman said. “Disparaging someone on Twitter does not excuse one from liability.”

When you communicate with Twitter or Facebook, pretend you are editorializing in a newspaper because legally, it’s very similar.

James Pilant

Is Access to Social Networking a Measure of a Society’s Freedom? (via The Philosopher’s Eye)

Access to social networking is becoming a measure of freedom, certainly not the main or the only one, but a measure of freedom. And it will become more critical as time goes by.

Everywhere and particularly in the United States, the Internet and social networking are the only remaining avenues of citizen democracy as the rest of the media and the government settle into a single pointless monolith.

My heart goes out to people everywhere on this earth – who suffer the terrible pain to live in countries with the kind of leadership we have now.

James Pilant

Is Access to Social Networking a Measure of a Society's Freedom? In responding to the political demonstrations, the Egyptian government has disrupted internet service and mobile phone services, in the obvious hopes of (a) reducing the volume of testimonies and videos being communicated outside of the country and (b) to disrupt the capacity of the protesters to remain organised and to communicate their progress to the greater population. The BBC reports that both Facebook and Twitter— relied upon by protest org … Read More

via The Philosopher’s Eye

Elias Lists The Ten Worst Things About the Holidays – Christmas Downers!

This is from an ELIAS comment on my blog. It’s great, read them.
James Pilant

OK, the ten worst things about the holidays this year…
1)No Daily Show
2)Being Stuck at the airport
3)Being stuck at A DIFFERENT AIRPORT!
4)Had to buy a new phone charger…watched too much DVR with my TV Everywhere app, ran down the phone, plugged it in..and left the charger in the airport terminal
5)fruitcake, always fruitcake
6)Didn’t get Inception on Bluray
7)STILL STUCK AT THE AIRPORT!!
8)slipped in ice and fell, much to the amusement of all those around me
9)Still no Daily Show!!
10)that the holidays are over. Despite the stress and aggravation, I always love this time of year and am bummed when it’s over.

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