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Nelson Mandela

Detecting the Scam

 

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Obama, Osama and Trump — And Nelson Mandela's Ghost

(May 7, 2011)



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Moral Authority and Common Sense:
The birthers and two sporting scandals

Late last year, two sporting scandals have rocked Europe. These scandals reminded me of the birthers movement and the Duck School. What does this have to do with The answer is “everything.” Because some prominent people appear to support the birther movement doesn’t give it any more credibility than it deserves. And just because the owners of two prestigious sports franchises approve of cheating doesn’t make it right…

Let’s start with the birthers whose argument rests on three premises:

And who would possibly believe this? Apparently the whole birther movement and their supporters on cable television and some quite prominent Republican lawmakers. Clearly, these supporters couldn’t overcome the patently absurd premises upon which their argument is based. Did this stop them, though? No… The problem for them though was that by propounding such an absurd argument, they undermined whatever legitimate positions they would later take...

Now for those two sporting scandals that have rocked Europe…

Last year, the prestigious Harlequins rugby club in London was playing in the semi-final of a major European competition. In the final few minutes of the game, they were trailing by a few points. They needed to get a kicker on the field, but could only do so if one of their players was injured. At a break in play, the club physiotherapist gave a Harlequins player a blood capsule with fake blood. The next time that player was tackled, he bit into the capsule and he left the field for a blood injury. Unfortunately for the club, the whole deal was captured on film—as was the player winking as he left the field. When this was exposed, the coach lost his job; the chairman resigned; and the player was suspended. What were these guys thinking? Did anyone consider just saying “no” when they were asked to cheat? Or was it OK because the coach and doctor said it was OK?

The second incident was reported by the London Times on September 17, 2009. Under the headline, “The worst act of cheating in the history of sport,” the Times described a Formula One scandal. Nelson Piquet Jr, the son of the three-times world champion, and a young man desperate to make his mark on the sport, was told by his team’s management to have an “accident” at the Singapore Grand Prix last September. He was told exactly where it was to take place and when. As a result of his crash, Piquet’s team-mate, Fernando Alonso, was able to win a race he would otherwise not have won. He did so by taking advantage of the safety procedures that are laid down in Formula One. Piquet turned whistleblower.

So, what kind of people have we become who have created an environment in which ludicrous positions are argued and when demands for cheating are accepted blindly?

Again, what does this have to do with the Duck School? The answer is “everything.” Because some prominent people appear to support the birther movement doesn’t give it any more credibility than it deserves. And just because the owners of two prestigious sports franchises approve of cheating doesn’t make it right…

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