Monday, October 29, 2012

AMERICA HATES CHEATS AMERICA LOVES CHEATS



October 29 2012

Lance Armstrong never existed. Purged from humanity the way Lenin unfriended his Communist cohorts Trotsky and Kamenev by having their images erased from all official photographs.
They were victims of Kremlin politics. Armstrong was strong-armed out of the record books, still insisting his seven Tour de France cycling wins were legit. But the evidence against him was overwhelming - his victories were the result of performance-enhancing drugs.
He’s a cheat and America doesn’t like that kind. We’re a fair folk and we prefer a level playing field. Or do we?
One such field is the baseball diamond – the jewel of American sportsmanship but un-level thanks to drug use by top-level players. “Our own” John Rocker of the Braves admits he was using steroids and human growth hormone, adding: “Who wasn’t?”
And which student doesn’t employ cheat sheets and “study drugs”, in particular the ubiquitous Adderall? What about the teachers? The GBI investigated principals and educators in 44 Atlanta schools that obtained more than $500,000 in bonuses by falsifying test scores.
Adulterers were once pariahs, now half of married men and one in three wives cheat. So do we disdain dishonesty? Only sometimes. Therefore it’s hardly surprising that in this country’s most important contest we find underhanded practice perfectly OK. It’s the American Double Standard. We cheer the cheats if they’re on “our” side.
Yes, this is politics.
Are dead people voting for Obama? Republicans claim in-person fraud is rampant. Governors of all 50 states listed 2,068 cases covering 12 years for a News21 investigative project. Only ten proved to be genuine – less than one criminal per year.
Voter ID laws are really ways to disenfranchise thousands of the least among us. They’re always disguised as being for the general good. California’s Proposition 32 would prevent employers and labor unions from deducting political contributions at source. Seems fair until you realize workers never pay dues to employers, only unions.
The courts often kill unconstitutional regulations that amount to voter suppression. Several states must have new ID laws pre-approved by the Federal government.
So no widescale voter fraud but there is serious election fraud by officials involving manipulation, bribes, tampering with absentee ballots...
Other scuzzy poli-tricks include moving polling stations far from impoverished areas and installing too few voting machines that create long lines inducing voters to give up. Remember Diebold, the easily hacked machines whose company CEO was a major Bush contributor? A similar situation today with machines made by Hart InterCivic, a firm with Romney ties.
There are robocalls that disseminate purposely deceptive election information, always targeted at blacks, Latinos, the poor and the old.
Joe Arpaio, showboating sheriff of Arizona’s Maricopa County, reaps applause for his bizarrely tough measures against largely Hispanic wrongdoers. Coincidentally, Maricopa is the county where officials twice issued election documents in Spanish that list voting day as November 8 – two days too late. The English language equivalents give the correct date. “A mistake”? You decide. And don’t count on the sheriff they call Chicken Joe to investigate.
Miss Mabel, 89, is a World War Two heroine. Does she deserve to vote? Now an invalid, she finally gets a ride to the voting booth that isn’t where it’s listed and when she finds the right place she discovers it closed the day before.
Hooray for the cheats. They muted the voice of yet another American – one who served this country with honesty and valor. Unlike these guys.
For 40 years, an outfit called Acorn helped the infirm, the poor and the aged get to the polls. Then along comes slimy little James O’Keefe, posing as a pimp, his girlfriend playing a prostitute. His “sting” results in government and private funding being withdrawn (oh how quick we are to judge). Several subsequent criminal investigations show O’Keefe has doctored his video “evidence” to show the opposite of what really happened. He’s on probation now, but Acorn is dead: another win for the slimeballs.
More new tricks from those old dogs the Koch Brothers. These oligarchs just issued a veiled threat to their 47,000 Georgia-Pacific employees that voting Democratic could result in job losses. Of course they, and other CEOs warning their workers similarly, take pains to couch their coercion in verbiage barely inside the law. But it’s filthy sophism all the same.
If you resort to lies and flimflam then you’re sure that if you played it fair you’d lose. Majority rule is no longer what it’s about. Dirty tricks abound and yet many of us cheer this kind of thing. Meanwhile we hold ourselves up to the world as a shining example of democracy. Pah!
None of the above will make any difference in Walton County. Truth isn’t what folks want any more. We regard the election as some kind of team game as in “Go Dawgs, hammer them ‘Jackets!” There’s the ‘R’ on that ballot and that’s all we need to know. Just like the big ‘G’.
I am incredibly fearful of a Mitt Romney presidency. He and Paul Ryan have sidestepped all attempts to pin them down on what exactly they’d do if elected.
That’s the biggest trick of all and judging by the polls they’ve pulled it off.

ENDIT

© 2012 Fred Wehner is a journalist formerly with the Daily Mail in London, who then founded and ran the New York News Agency before settling in Monroe 22 years ago.