It’s been quite some time since I’ve graced the pages of Cyclismas, as I’ve been preoccupied with the actions of the U.S. Congress in December and their activities surrounding PIPA and SOPA. Funnily enough, the examples of those pieces of so-called legislation have a direct relationship to the Friday announcement by Andre Birotte out of Los Angeles that he was closing the Armstrong case without charges or an indictment.
The investigative team was purportedly told thirty minutes prior to the decision that the case was being closed. It seems they also had additional witnesses scheduled for testimony next week, and the mounting evidence seemed to say that the charges of fraud were going to be successful in court, this according to Charles Pelkey’s comments in his latest Explainer column.
Since the UCI Overlord was on The Spokesmen podcast yesterday, I decided to tune in. What struck me funny was how everyone was focusing on the cost of the case, including our @UCI_Overlord, who seemed more pissed off and passionate than usual. He said that it shouldn’t have been a fraud case and there should have been a USADA case from the very start. Strip Armstrong’s titles, he said. The panel disagreed with him, especially Carlton Reid, but O’Lord has a point, no matter how much I agree with Carlton, since doping isn’t criminalized here in the States like it is in Europe.
Then I remembered that the Countrywide Mortgage Corp. case was closed as well. You remember them? The company that was one of the key cogs in the mortgage fraud scheme which ultimately bankrupted many in our country. Another big investigation that concludes with no charges, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.
What the hell is going on?
The peddling of influence in our country has hit an all-time high. As a recent example, the music recording industry can convince the public and lobby Washington that it ‘s okay to sell products at an extremely inflated value, while returning a pittance of this money back to the artist. Is this acceptable? You see the results of this full-court lobby press in a military-style take down of a businessman in New Zealand, who, based upon the reports coming out, had his “compound” attacked as if he were a drug kingpin, or Osama bin Laden.
The recording industry is a powerful lobby. The pharmaceutical industry is a powerful lobby. Wall Street maybe has the strongest lobbying ability, as demonstrated in the documentary The Inside Job. Armstrong has influential friends in the latter two lobbying groups, and his spin doctors, Mark Fabiani slash Chris Lehane, have close ties to the current head of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice in one Lanny Breuer. This was pointed out by Twitter personality @theraceradio, and discussed by @nyvelocity in an opinion piece on the their site that went up on Sunday. How close are the Clintons with these folks? Let’s just say that Breuer began his career by going to law school with Hilary Clinton.
The excuse coming from folks like Fabiani and Lehane as public relations “Masters of the Political Dark Arts” (according to the NY Times) is to say that someone has done enough by “fighting cancer” and being a “role model” for the American public. It is supposed to “excuse” him from alleged illegal actions in his attempt to become that “role model.” Armstrong isn’t a role model, he is emblematic of how screwed up our priorities have become. The neo-liberal attitude of the means justifying the ultimate end is exactly why the masses are in a precarious position now, courtesy of the elite few.
Since this is the big picture from my perspective, you may ask why do I have such a problem with Armstrong? Friends have accused me of being jealous. Friends have accused me of not appreciating his athletic ability. I was never able to answer back why until now.
I am bitter towards Lance because I believe he didn’t use his talents to the fullest of his ability. I think he could have done MORE to fight cancer. I think he could have been a MORE complete cyclist. I believe he denied cycling fans of his true talent, and has short changed the cancer community with his half-hearted efforts.
Armstrong rode the Tour de France. Not much else. You know why? Because some corporate pricks told him that the “best return on investment” was to limit his racing season, and tailor the U.S. Postal Team around victory at the Tour de France in order to make Armstrong and his cronies wealthy. Disagree? How many times did Armstrong ride the Vuelta España? How about the Giro d’Italia? How many classics did he ride and win? Compare his race days in .1 races or higher with Cadel Evans in 2009 and you’ll see that Evans rode 89 days in comparison to Armstrong’s 61. Lance didn’t care about cycling or the fans. He cared about what he could get out of the sport with his undeserved superstar status.
You may have heard the stories of his exploits at the Tour, but did you ever hear of any kindness demonstrated by him at the Tour? Any stories about him turning his bike around to ensure a child received a water bottle? No, just rudeness and telling fans to get away. Except for those who treated him like a rock star. Usually female. Or manic comedians.
You see, Armstrong and the corporate crowd around him represent the attitude of the elitist in America. They are exclusive. Access to them is limited. You want to see Armstrong at an event? Prepare to pony up 500 bucks a plate to see him. Or buy his shoes at two hundred bucks a pop. Lance is a poster child for the 1% of America, and the fact that Birotte dismissed the case under a cloud of suspicion while the investigation was currently active speaks volumes to that fact.
Guess what? You can still do something. Cases closed can always be re-opened. The Occupy movement made some huge strides in this respect, and you can do the same from the comfort of your own home. Tell Birotte that you think it’s a miscarriage of justice that the case has been closed in order to protect the corporate interests that Armstrong pimps himself for, just like a the fillies in the Mayflower Madam’s stable.
In response to those saying the investigation is a big waste of money, perhaps it might not have been had the case gone to court. Amgen, Thomas Weisel, and Livestrong are just three of the sacred cows that would have been implicated. Who knows what fines would have been netted for the government coffers if assets were seized and frozen…?
Even more food for thought: as @bikehugger recently tweeted, “A conspiracy theorist could write a book about burying the Lance news on Friday [before the SuperBowl] and then releasing the Contador news on Monday.”
How to contact Andre Birotte – U.S. District Attorney