Friday, August 24, 2012

Did He?

I'm truly devastated to think he did.  What say you?


  1. There is NO empirical evidence that Lance Armstrong violated doping rules of the USADA or the WADA. Armstrong failed no WADA or USADA tests. None.

    What there is is supposition about performances "deemed" too extraordinary by bureaucrats....and test results, although within regulatory limits, "deemed" to be extraordinary as well. The USADA claims to have 10 cyclist/witnesses least two of which are known violators who DID fail blood/urine tests. That is hear-say evidence, not scientific proof of anything.

    My "issue" with the Armstrong case with the USADA is two fold: First the USADA is a quasi-federal agency funded in majority part by taxpayer dollars, off budget. What on earth justifies federal government involvement in sport regulation? Second, the USADA "regulatory" approach is similar to other federal agencies...and that is "supposition means you are guilty until you prove you are not." If you refuse to participate in non-judicial determinations, then you are admitting guilt per se...e.g., "I quit" is equivalent to "Nolo Contendere." Finally, penalty actions are omnibus and retro-active. Presumption of guilt has replaced presumption of innocence. In many places...ask Gibson Guitar for their opinion, eh.

    Now, all that said, my personal opinion is that 98% of all A-level racing cyclists cheat and dope to some degree. In other words, to win you have to be better at doping than the losers and good enough at it to not get caught in testing. Armstrong was all of that and that is what pisses off the bureaucrats...particularly the Frogs. Said another way, "doping" in one form or another is what levels the racing field today.

    Doping has been an issue in international cycle racing for nearly 100 years. It went out of control long long ago. Like many other sports, the list of "banned" PED substances is such that about 75% of the world's civilized modern people could NOT pass a USADA test. I couldn't and my daily medications certainly do NOT improve my physical performance...but they are "deemed" potentially capable.

    Doesn't that word "deemed" seem to be growing more important every day, in sports, in politics, and in law enforcement where "rules" are made to have the force of law, without any basis in law. Best example?...the EPA regulations vis a vis the Clean Air Act. Even liberal federal courts are beginning to strike down EPA regulatory overreach these days...this week in fact as the DC Federal Circuit struck down the "Downwind Pollution" regulations of the EPA.

    1. Very informative comment ari, thanks for that, it puts the situation into much better perspective for me.


  2. Sally Jenkins writing in the Washington Post referring to the Balco labs federal criminal investigation....

    In the Balco affair, all the wrong people were prosecuted. It’s the only so-called drug investigation in which the manufacturers and the distributors were given plea deals in order to throw the book at the users. What that told us was that it was big-game hunting, not justice. It was careerist investigators trying to put athletes’ antlers on their walls. Meanwhile, the Fourth Amendment became a muddy, stomped-on, kicked-aside doormat.

    In other words, pursue and punish users, and essentially exonerate, by immunity pleas, the perpetrators and providers. No wonder we are losing the "war on drugs." Beyond that, it is more of the "guilty until proven innocent" meme ... e.g., a half dozen known criminals say you are guilty, so you are...and they get a pass. In other woods, extortion for hear say evidence works.

    Not enough ... so read the article in the WP where it talks about the Alberto Contador case (he was stripped of his 2010 Tour title and given a 2 year ban), quoted in part here....[CAS is the faux judical appeal system in WADA & USADA]

    Contador was found to have a minuscule, insignificant amount of clenbuterol in his urine during the 2010 Tour de France. After hearing 4,000 pages of testimony and debate, CAS acknowledged that the substance was too small to have been performance-enhancing and that its ingestion was almost certainly unintentional.

    Therefore he was guilty. He received a two-year ban.

    Hello? THAT system is what Lance Armstrong to say "nuts" to...and since retired, why not? He competed on the leveled playing field in the sport of cycling. Believe what you might, the fact is, he passed all tests.

    The USADA as a taxpayer funded, off budget (via Executive Office) quasi-agency is an unjustified federal expense and embarrassment that advocates bills of attainder writ large, with ex post facto force of retro-activity. Hot damn, maybe Lance Armstrong's or Alberto Contador's mothers should be jailed for giving birth to such criminals, ex post facto ..."criminals" that were never prosecuted in any criminal court. Just kangaroo ones.

    We can say both mothers intended to impose their criminal spawn on the rest of us ... so let them prove they didn't!! If the mothers fail to respond, for any reason, then Nolo Contendere!! Bring the rope.... :D

  3. How long has it been since Armstrong won his seventh title? As I recall, we were still posting on the tiny chartreuse ovoid sphere at the time. Something tells me that if a Frenchman had won seven titles this would not even be an issue. It is as possbile that Armstrong used enhancment drugs the same way that Herman Cain harassed those women -- it is cheapr to "pay up" than fight the charges because the other side has bottomless pockets and will bleed you dry until you quit.

    There are enough laws on the books that if someone wants to get you, they will be able to do it.

    1. "There are enough laws on the books that if someone wants to get you, they will be able to do it."

      Truer words...

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  5. Next up for the USADA....Michael Phelps (swimmer), Lindsey Vonn (ski racer), and most definitely definitely Usain Bolt if he races in USA jurisdiction again. Hell, pick an exceptional athlete and they're likely a target of USADA.

    Performance Enhancing Drugs (PED's) are ubiquitous today that they are absurd. There is NO sport at the World Cup or Olympic level that doesn't have some drug enhancement. None. Zero. Nada. It is not a level playing field without them. Simple as that.

    Don't think so...tell me, are pain killers "performance enhancing?" They enable you to perform in spite of pain. What is that? Yet...They are used carte blanc in several professional sports without concern, but Pseudophedrine and Ephedrine are universally banned as if they were meth amphetamine or "crank" per se. Total hogwash. You can NOT relieve a stuffy nose, but you can numb a knee or ankle to improve what again? Speed & agility you say? Whot?

    Back in my day (the Jurasic) I competed with codeine tablets, morphine tablets, and Novocaine or Lidocaine injections to suppress pain...otherwise, in some venues I could not have even stood up. I seldom won squat under those conditions...the enhancement was merely to be able to compete at all.

    First liars do not stand a chance. Except with the USADA.

    1. Meanwhile - Ye Shiwen, who cut 5 secs off her time for a faster finish than Ryan Lochte at the Olympics - is not being officially investigated, although it has been quite loudly called for.

      Very selective, these authorities are, in their crusade against "cheating". Harrison Bergeron much?

      Perhaps next they can ban asparagus.

    2. I'd support a ban on broccoli fer sure...and boiled cauliflower too, which smells like what old nasty sweat socks & jock straps would smell like if fermented.

      Any veggie "they" have to put a big wad of cheese on you just know is nasty ..... tell me I'm wrong, eh?

  6. I enjoyed Ari's comments, which I largely agree with.

    Everyone in cycling knows the story of Tom Simpson. Back in '67 competing on a "leveled playing field" (in Ari's words) pretty much required you to take amphetamines. If you Google around you can watch Simpson die on Mt Ventoux in a clip on YouTube. They found more amphetamines in his jersey pocket.

    It is not for nothing that there are doping controls in cycling.

    Years later more sophisticated doping came back to bite cyclists. In the mid '90's, Italian champion Marco Pantani's body became so dependent on the blood boosting hormone EPO that when he was hospitalized after a crash, he almost died of anemia from the withdrawal. Several young cyclists died of heart attacks in their sleep in the '90s... their blood was too thick. Too many red blood cells, too much EPO.

    Doctors like the infamous Dr. Ferrari (who was charged, and banned, along with Armstrong) certainly did help athletes cheat. They also helped keep them alive and healthy.

    With testing for stimulants, anabolic steroids, and hematocrit testing designed to keep EPO usage down to a dull roar, one could race on a level playing field without having to risk your health. Nobody could be jacked up on meth or testosterone during a race (Floyd Landis was a complete idiot) and so you had to use stuff judiciously, in training, and avoid becoming a hot 'roided mess in order not to get caught. Which Armstrong never did.

    This is pretty much the environment that Armstrong raced in.

    I don't understand how Armstrong doped. For one thing, he was so damn consistent - season on season, day after day. You don't win the Tour De France because of your awesome days. You win because your bad days just aren't that bad. When a doper has a bad day, they're really bad.

    I don't understand how Armstrong _didn't_ dope. A great many of his contemporaries and competitors did (e.g. Jan Ulrich).

    What he did exactly, or didn't do, I don't know, and neither does the USADA.

    One last point: if I have a beef with Armstrong now it's that he's left his coach, Johan Bruneel, alone to fight this bullshit. If there's going to be a kangaroo court, Lance could have faced it together with Bruneel; IMHO he owed him that much. Since Bruneel is going through with it, we'll get to see who steps up to testify against him.

  7. Thanks for those comments, Aridog, they were the best explanation of the situation that I've heard anywhere (and honest). When I first read about this, I didn't want to believe it. I admire Lance and know he's always passed his tests so I was assuming it was some kind of personal vendetta.

    I certainly hope this organization doesn't have the final word.

    As for the majority of the biking community using PEDs, I don't have a hard time accepting that. afw and I both are big fans of MMA and certainly a huge # of fighters use PEDs. There are even acceptable levels of TRT drugs that a fighter can use. You just have to ask yourself, why are so many of them on TRT??

    I am also EXTREMELY concerned that so many government departments apparently are making and enforcing their own rules and regulations. Scary what these bureaucracies have developed into, I believe their original intent was good but the thirst for more power and unchecked ego has morphed them into something quite different.

    1. OMG - don't even get me started on TRT!!! I loved Hendo until he started sucking down testosterone like it was Gatorade and divorced his wife.

      But I think lewy's point was so spot on - you HAVE to use something at that level, and everyone does. But, all of us use something anyway, even if we aren't athletes. I know I spend 6 months of the year with my Claritin D at close hand. My swimmer daughter has had to use Claritin D just to be able to practice during allergy season.

      It certainly doesn't make her swim faster, but it makes it possible for her to swim at all so that her training isn't interrupted when the trees are shooting out pollen. At higher levels, this is not allowed.

      In the case of MMA, I'm with the fight doctor that writes on MMA Junkie - these guys overtrain a ridiculous amount. Given the nature of what they do and the overtraining, it's not surprising that they need something to combat the injuries they sustain on a daily basis.

      I'm not sure how testosterone became that thing (really, Chael? Maybe you would be a nicer person without the TRT, and since you basically just throw people down and lay on them for 15 minutes, do you really need it?), but for now it's legal with permission. Until it isn't.

      Which seems to be a totally arbitrary decision.

  8. Thanks also to lewy for you take. It helps explain the situation and I know you are into competetive cycling so know a great deal about it.

    I should add that what I meant ^^^ is that I don't have a hard time accepting the *premise* that there is widespread use of some sort of PEDs in the competitive biking world.

  9. Here's some sports coverage of a different tilt. Openly heterosexual athletes!!

    1. LMAO!! Their own link was just as funny:

      Crowds Scream as Ferguson Mows for Gold

      In a stunning upset here at Beijing, Lamar Ferguson of Marietta, GA, won gold in the men's 3/4 acre lawnmower event over the heavily favored Mexican champion, Pedro Rodriguez.

      Our special correspondent Blogunov, who is in Beijing making sure that all events receive equal coverage, interviewed Ferguson for the People's Cube.

      Blogunov: Lamar, that was one intense race. You must be awfully proud.

      Lamar: Sure am.

      Blogunov: What would you say was the turning point of the race for you?

      Lamar: I think it was when I passed that Chinese feller after the weed trimmin' leg, and we was all scramblin' to git to our mowers. Now he come in third and got bronze and all, but they throwed him out cause he was disqualified for usin' a self propelled mower. Plus they sent them Public Security Bureau people after him to get him to run faster. They was wavin' clubs and yellin' in Chinese and all, so I guess they was tryin' to motorvate him or some such thang.

  10. Then there's dear leader and his mini-me....


  11. Wow, great comments ari and lewy. Thanks so much, I learned a lot.