Monthly Archives: June 2012

Why is Lance Armstrong on defense instead of Jose Rodriguez, Dick Cheney, Bruce Jessen or James Mitchell?

(NOTE: ADDITIONAL COMMENTS RELATED TO THIS WILL BE FOUND IN THE NEXT ARTICLE RELATING TO ERIC HOLDER HEARINGS)

The priorities in this country are whacked beyond belief. Today we learn that Roger Clemens is found not guilty of lying to Congress related to juicing the ball. At the same time, we’re hearing that Lance Armstrong will be additionally investigated for doping in 2009-2010 based on inference analysis not real detection and on the word of known liars and known dopers.

Yet, Jose Rodriguez goes out and tells us his role in international crimes and we do nothing. What the hell does this tell you about why we’re a laughing stock around the world? Why can Bruce Jessen and James Mitchell walk the streets and yet lesser consequential people are being dragged up all the time for far more scrutiny than these two torture architects?

$10,548,772
This is the cost of investigating a Baseball player.
Think about how many children could get a good meal if we spent that money to help them in the mornings instead of chasing down a single athlete with those dollars.

Roger Clemons was accused of lying to Congress about steroids. Big old boy stuck to his guns and the government’s case didn’t convince all the jury. The resulting mistrial should invite us to ask, “was it worth it?” or “was the money well spent?”

Case against Armstrong
Lance Armstrong has been accused. Accusations are easy to make. Did he dope? Did he seek unfair advantages along with an entourage of insiders? After a federal investigation into Armstrong was dropped in February 2012, we should have already asked, why are we paying them to go after people in this manner?

See, the case against Armstrong before February actually had  reasons tax payers should want to know. The case was asking did US Postal Service Team use tax payer money related doping and/or did their doping constitute fraud. It was technically a money laundering case. These things are important when asking if tax payers paid for that activity.

But what if the question isn’t the people’s resources. If the case isn’t about the people’s resources, but a hunt to purify the body of human beings for sport, this isn’t a good use of people’s resources and amounts to what I would consider a violation of my 4th Amendment rights. However, I do not have the ‘right’ to race in sanction races without permission and permission is granted based on conditions. One set of conditions has to do with advantages via  doping. I don’t care if those entities test for access. When it comes to government resources though, we don’t need to be policing our professional athletes with government money.

What could we do instead?
Focus those same dollars on campaigns to stop the youth entering sports from considering doing these things by actively showing them the consequences. Let them understand that in the end, the shortcuts aren’t worth the risks. Many won’t listen but that isn’t your role. Make sure for instance that HGH isn’t found in High School sports.

Truth is, doping and cycling are hooked at the hip. Only a handful of my favorites never confessed or were busted in any way for doping but the greats that I looked up to were. Merckx, Anquetil, Moser,  and others were either busted or professed. Laurent Fignon may have died as  a consequence of his doping. But they are no less miraculous to me.

There are better ways to deal with this issue than racking up a witness list of liars and cheats. Asking Floyd Landis to take the stand is a futile task. I’m not even a lawyer and I could rip his credibility in seconds and sit down and be absolutely confident that the jury would not trust him. He’s the Floyd who cried “Lance”.

Conclusion

We rant and rave about accountability in politicians but do we do anything when they don’t come through? We repeatedly vote these jokes back into office to screw us over and over again. They use our contempt against Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, etc to their own gain then forget those aims when they get up in the House and forget who sent them there, the promises made to get that vote, and the law they swore to uphold.

Why can Jose Rodriguez pimp his book in primetime without sanction? Why wasn’t he arrested the next day because he clearly and publicly admitted to torture. If Lance Armstrong had said, “I doped” months ago, he’d have faced far more serious consequences.

THIS IS ABSURD!!!! This turns our country on its ear.

We have more scrutiny of Lindsey Lohan than Bruce Jessen and Jessen’s actions have international consequences. Ask anyone “who is lindsey lohan and what has she done wrong?” then ask “who is Jose Rodriguez and what did he do wrong?”

The answer will show you what is wrong with this ‘nation’.

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Can we all just get along for Rodney King?

I’m saddened at the news of the death of Rodney King. I don’t know Mr. King but like many watched him over the years after his beating and the L.A. riots. He always seemed a gentle man, though he may have had problems. He seemed focused on trying to be happy in this violent and chaotic world.

Consider his message after all these years, “Can’t we all just get along?”

Have we done this? In some areas…Yes. Consider the tensions in L.A. and how this event brought out lots of the subsurface problems that plagued not only L.A. but other cities. These problems included police behavior, tensions between immigrant shop owners and other members of the poor community who felt offended by treatment in their stores. A reflection on these conflicts helped  many communities across the country.

I remember some of the meetings I went to in NYC after the events in L.A. Several community organizers were holding discussions to find out where we were in the rest of the country. Stories related to treatment by police officers, profiling by shop owners, and unresolved economic progress was all the topic. Many were asking, “what did we suffer for all those years ago?”

Those in L.A, I’d love to hear what you think about the change in the atmosphere between the days of the trial, verdict and riots and today. My sense from the couple of times I’ve been back to L.A. is that it is different. But as an outsider, I’d miss it anyway.

In other cities, I can tell you there were noticeable differences. Many people across divides were more willing to come out and speak on these topics. Groups like CopWatch became more common and acceptable. There is a whole generation who doesn’t know the intense feeling of watching Rodney King being beaten like we saw. They weren’t born in the same innocence experienced in America before the days of personal video cameras could capture the unsightly.

I grew up with few fears. I think I was more afraid of being knocked out by a baseball line drive than being kidnapped. I wasn’t afraid of killer bees or any bees. I wasn’t afraid to drink the water from streams near my house in the Ozarks. I didn’t have the glare of eyes on me when I walked in to stores as a youth and was unaware of many problems that faced the world outside huge headlines. My naivety was reinforced by parents who always projected an optimism about the world despite being rather informed about its problems. They didn’t discuss politics with me or much with each other.

So life about the world abroad didn’t happen until I started travelling with friends as a teen in the 70s and even then we weren’t exactly headed to the next protest when we would. A trip to Kansas City wasn’t exactly going to produce an eye-opening experience that would bring Stokley Charmichael in my world or open me up to the poetry of Gil Scott Heron. No, I wouldn’t find that until I went to NYC and started trying to get some college done. I had a friend in the first year who was hyper aware of the world at a level that inspired me to look into whatever she could talk about. She had been active in several groups on campus and was always using language about “empowerment” and “consciousness”. It didn’t take long for her to turn me on to the words of Ginsberg, the teaching of John Henrik Clarke, and the music of Gil Scott Heron, Stuff, and Sun Ra.

But you cannot learn what a community feels from these various exchanges. You can’t encapsulate the suffering, aggravation, and sense of futility with authority by discussing books, listening to records, and sipping coffee over politics. It was not clear from even studying the Watts riots or other examples how serious the tensions could get until a verdict came down that simply told a wide range of people, it may be the 90s, but you aren’t any better off than you have been. You haven’t succeeded at defeating the power structure that is bent on holding you in an appointed place not of your choosing.

This was to be different. Years later I was with family as the television started its nightly news ramble. But we didn’t expect to see this beating. This was a thing of the 50s, said one person in the room. I think he meant 60s but whatever he meant, it didn’t feel like we were in the 90s. Twenty plus years ago we thought we were above all of this. Twenty years ago we thought we had a perfect moment to reflect upon race relations but did we learn anything? Did we take those lessons and create something out of them?

I think the answer is a combination of yes and no. In many ways, police forces have engaged in changes that are meant to bring a better relationship with the community. In others, those same efforts are done more for “more cooperation” from the community instead of a better relationship. In some cases, we have less tension regarding race because the demographics are changing. But in many important areas like economics, profiling, and education, we aren’t see much progress from 20 years of lessons.

We have the death of Kelly Thomas at the hands of the Slidebar’s ignorance and the out of control rage of police officers from Fullerton PD showing us nothing changed here. We have the death of Trayvon Martin to remind us that profiling never stops in America. But we have to remember to keep the whole picture in view. If we are to make progress, we should applaud it and set it aside for distinction from the abuses.

We are humans. We aren’t perfect. But if we take a look at the simple act of Rodney King at the point in the riots when he veered of script and said, “can’t we all just get along?” perhaps we can drop the bullshit like he did and just ask for some kindness and civility. He was supposed to read the comments prepared for him but obviously felt they weren’t his words and just spoke from his spirit.

Thank you Rodney for taking a beating for us all. Thank you for showing that even as people raged at the treatment you and they had been receiving, you showed a care for the whole that spoke up so clearly.

Can’t we all just get along? I don’t know. But we can try. It wouldn’t hurt.

And to Rodney and his family. You didn’t suffer in vain. In some areas of the world, we saw you as a gentle person who just had some problems; much like the rest of the world. Rest, good sir.

Vicious hatred of workers spreads across the land

Today a friend sends a labor mail out of Houston with a link to a story about a woman who lost her job after participating in a strike for a boost in wages up to $10. The story is compelling enough but what stunned my friend the most were the mean comments by people who obviously hate common people, see themselves as superior in deed and rank, and of course have to drop in their obligatory racism regarding “illegals”.

The story revolves around janitor workers in Houston. Texas is a very anti-union state with the ironic title of “right to work” state. There is no “right to work” in Texas under “right to work”. You have a right to shut the fuck up according to Texas law. Don’t like how your employer is treating you? Tough Shit says Texas as it also tries to claim to be a ‘pro-jobs’ state.

(note: Great article from Truthout on Right to Work going to the country)
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What is a hero? Was Chris Hayes wrong to apologize?

Just over a week ago MSNBC talk show host Chris Hayes said something about heroes that drew quick and fiery responses from people who felt they had something of value in his comment.

The comment related to Memorial Day:

” Why do I feel so uncomfortable about the word ‘hero’? I feel uncomfortable about the word hero because it seems to me that it is so rhetorically proximate to justifications for more war. I don’t want to obviously desecrate or disrespect the memory of anyone that’s fallen, and obviously there are individual circumstances in which there is genuine, tremendous heroism, you know, hail of gunfire, rescuing fellow soldiers and things like that. But it seems to me that we marshal this word in a way that is problematic. But maybe I’m wrong about that.”

It is pathetic that he that he’s actually engaged in a proper question in the proper moment and others in their shallow patriotic fervor missed the meaning.
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Speaking Truth to Truthers

“9-11 was an inside job” says my friend.
“what’s your proof?” I respond.
“come on, you can’t believe the official story, man! They’re lying.” he snorts.
“I don’t believe any story yet, I asked for proof.”

This conversation represents not just one encounter but nearly a hundred encounters in person and via the net. We have a lot of videos related to George Bush and 9/11 on our pages for historical usage. In all the work I’ve done with this small crew to seek the indictment and imprisonment of the former administration, it never ceases to amaze me the level of intensity this “inside job” view has taken.
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