Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Shi... Well You Know What Happened with Lance Armstrong

On the shores of “Lake Austin” (which is really just a dammed up river)…

 

Lance Armstrong sits up in bed and stretches his arms in the air then walks through the fancy $5M mansion on his way to the kitchen.

 

Inhaling the aroma of Juan Pelota java, he gazes upon the spectacular view of the river and hills from the kitchen window.

 

“Not bad for ten bucks,” he says with an evil smirk.

 

The phone in his pocket rings.

 

“McConaughey! Dude, what’s up?”

 

“Hey man, nice phallic symbol. I can see almost see it from my house with my new high-powered binoculars.”

 

“That’s not a phallic symbol. It’s a wind turbine. Hold on one second.”

 

Lance throws the phone on the counter and rushes through the sliding glass doors. He runs across the expansive grass lawn in his flip flops and pajama pants, waving his arms at the dozen men erecting a massive metal pole next to the boathouse.

 

“Guys wait! Stop! That’s not tall enough!” he yells at the construction crew.

 

“But, Mister Armstrong,” the foreman says, speaking in a low voice and pulling his construction helmet over his eyebrows, “we’re already breaking the code. Wind turbines aren’t allowed in this part of the city.”

 

“Oh c’mon. You think I care about the code? I want unlimited electricity at no cost. Double it and paint it yellow or I’m suing you!”

 

Inside the kitchen, he returns to his conversation with Matthew McConaughey.

 

“Sorry ‘bout that buddy.”

 

“What’s with the wind turbine?”

 

“I’m rebranding myself. I’m bringing yellow to the green energy industry. The techno-hippies are going to love… get ready for it… BlowStrong.”

 

A few days later…

 

Lance is standing in the kitchen, admiring the world’s tallest yellow wind turbine.

 

The phone in his pocket rings.

 

“McConaughey! Dude, what’s up?”

 

“Don’t you have caller ID?” a woman says.

 

“Uhhh… tell me your name and I’ll tell you mine.”

 

“Shove it Lance. That stupid wind turbine is blocking my view. Tear it down.”

 

“Who is this?”

 

*click*

 

A few hours later…

 

A tractor towing a massive 16th century catapult crashes through the driveway and onto the expansive grass lawn. Sandra Bullock, dressed in a lavender suit from the set of Miss Congeniality, hops down from the tractor. In her hand is a remote control with a shiny red button.

 

“This is your last chance Lance!” she shouts.

 

“Wha…what… what is that smell?” Lance says, waving his hand over his nose.

 

“First it was watering the pavement during a drought then it was the mud in Dripping Springs. Now it’s this!” she screams and points to the wind turbine. “Why can’t you just be a good neighbor? This is Texas for crying out loud. People are supposed to be nice! Why can’t you just be nice?”

 

“But it’s green energy. Everyone loves green energy.”

 

*SPLAT* A bird crashes into the blades of the wind turbine and falls into the river with a loud splash.

 

Sandra gasps. “Mister Armstrong you are insufferable!” she shouts as she runs up the steep driveway.

 

“I should get President Obama to fund this project. This is brilliant. Unlimited electricity at no cost. Government subsidies to pay for the turbines and it’s like free. I should make that my new slogan.”

 

*SQUAWK* A bird lands with a thud on the pile of rotting feathered carcasses near the shoreline.

 

“Unlimited electricity at no cost,” he says nodding in agreement with himself. “I like that. Good thinking Lance.”

 

Standing on the bright green lawn, the water-saturated grass tickles his toes. Holding a steaming cup of Juan Pelota java in his hand, Lance nods at the wind turbine. He turns to walk back to the house, mumbling about the stench. The phone in his pocket rings and he stops in the middle of the lawn.

 

“McConaughey! Dude, what’s up?”

 

“Doesn’t anyone else call you? This is the Lance Armstrong Legal Team. Don’t you remember paying us over a million bucks to defend you?”

 

*SPROING*

 

The loud snap of a metal rope breaking pierces the air. Lance turns around just in time to see the catapult fling a dump-truck-size load of deer droppings at the wind turbine.

 

“Hate it to be the bearer of bad news buddy, but…”

 

Lance looks up at the sky and says, “Oh shit.”

 

***

 

That’s right folks! The shit has officially hit the fan for Lance Armstrong. The government has joined the qui tam (a.k.a. “whistleblower”) lawsuit against him for fraud. Quick, everyone cheer!

 

Honestly, I’m not excited about this. Ok I sort of am and I am sort of not. I fight with this case on a technical and political level. My opinion waffles on a daily basis. Today, I am more waffley than usual. Yes, technically Mr. Armstrong’s contract required him to abide by the rules of the sport and his willful violation of those rules may have constituted fraud. But is this the type of fraud contemplated by the law? I don’t know. Is it the type of fraud the government should be suing a private citizen for? I’m not so sure.

 

Whenever the government gets involved, we should ask if it’s really necessary. Is it necessary for the government to sue Mr. Armstrong for fraud? Is the harm against the United States Postal Service, a quasi-government agency, the type of harm the federal government should defend against? Or is the government bowing to public pressure? Notice that Mr. Armstrong is the only USPS rider named in the complaint. Why not the other riders? Did they not also allegedly defraud the government too? Oh right, they didn’t own the team.

 

I’m disappointed the government opted out of vigorously prosecuting the financial executives who somehow managed to accumulate more derivatives liability than the global economy. Ah-hah! At long last, the secret has been revealed. Why does Anna Zimmerman despise the Obama administration? Because the Banksters are still sitting pretty in their entire-floor-offices with sweeping views of Manhattan! Even I, cold-hearted capitalist bastard, think they belong behind bars for what they did. Callous, wanton, criminally negligent and reckless disregard for arithmetic and reason. These are the people the federal government should be going after.

 

Take a seat people! We got Bernie Madoff, Alan Stanford, and now we’re coming for Lance Armstrong. Government’s got this under control. Bringing the Banksters to justice is so last election. Survey says people want to see Mr. Armstrong raked over the coals. Wait, President Obama hates coal. Or does he? I don’t know. Doesn’t matter anyways. Tie him up to a yellow wind turbine and crucify him. Oh! Who is ready for the return of #unconstitutionalvendettawitchhunt?

 

Let me demonstrate the relative significance of Lance Armstrong versus the Banksters:

 

Lance Armstrong: A flea in the fur of an Ewok.

 

Banksters: The Death Star.

 

I get it. Yes, Lance Armstrong allegedly defrauded the government. But why are we going after him and not the real crooks? Wait a minute, I’m having a small flashback to some Congressional hearings that involved a lot of talk of “everyone else was doing it,” “it was necessary to stay competitive,” and “we knew it was wrong, we just didn’t care… because everyone else was doing it and we needed to stay competitive.” Hmmm… now that I think about it that sounds eerily familiar. In fact, I would go so far as to say that if you read the transcripts from the Congressional hearings about the financial catastrophe, and replaced “derivatives, swaps, mortgage-backed securities, and CDOs” with “blood doping, testosterone, human growth hormone, and EPO,” you would end up with a document that looks almost exactly like the USADA’s Reasoned Decision, but about a thousand times longer.

 

And there it is. Now I’m back to thinking the government should sue Mr. Armstrong. Though I would much prefer nailing the Banksters to the bars in their prison cells, I will be content to go after a man who has come to embody all things shady. When you go on Oprah to confess, it’s not because you want the smallest possible audience to hear your confession. Mr. Armstrong wanted to tell the world he had doped for every year of his entire career (except for the 2009-11 comeback… because a man with an admitted 14-year history of doping suddenly decided to race clean *cough valid statute of limitations*). When you tell the world in that vainglorious of a fashion you doped whilst employed by the federal government, it makes it really difficult for the federal government to not get involved with the whistleblower lawsuit against you.

 

To be fair, the $40M paid by the USPS times three (intentional fraud allows the plaintiff to seek treble damages), so $120M, isn’t a laughing matter. Even if the government loses its case, people will remember Mr. Armstrong’s actions were wrong enough to warrant a lawsuit in the first place, and hopefully that will deter an entire generation of kids from growing up to become banksters.

4 comments:

  1. Love you Anna!

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  2. lance armstrong=madoff of cycling, sky-cycling=enron of cycling. just watch what happens at this year giro d'italia. big pile of deer dung!

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  3. Great story, Anna. Thanks so much.

    Would you join The Clinic at cyclingnews.com? We would love to have you tag team with Race Radio.

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  4. Anna, as a proud member of The Clinic 12, I am asking you to please please keep your nasty writing out of The Clinic. RaceRadio is our hero and you can follow him on Twitter if you want to learn something about cycling. Enjoy your Lance Tweets.

    ReplyDelete