14 May 2014

Donald Sterling and Hypocrisy

Stephen Kershnar
Donald Sterling: Hypocrisy on Parade
Dunkirk-Fredonia Observer
May 3, 2014

On April 29, 2014, NBA commissioner Adam Silver banned Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling from the league for life, fined him $2.5 million (the maximum allowed by the NBA constitution), and announced that he would force Sterling to sell the team. The NAACP had planned to give Sterling a lifetime achievement award at its 100th Anniversary celebration and then canceled it. It had already given him a 2009 lifetime achievement award. The hypocrisy here is worth cataloging.

 Here are the quotes 80-year-old Sterling made to his 31-year-old half-black mistress (V. Stiviano) that triggered these punishments. “It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to? … You can sleep with [black people]. You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it on that … and not to bring them to my games. … I’m just saying, in your lousy f***** Instagrams, you don’t have to have yourself with, walking with black people.”

 In 2009, he was made to pay the largest discrimination fine ever, $2.7 million, based on his attempts to evict blacks and Hispanics from his rental properties. Apparently, this didn’t attract the attention of the NBA and NAACP.

 It is unclear whether Sterling’s comments show him to be a racist. Racists (for example, members of Aryan Brotherhood) do not have black girlfriends whom they openly squire around. It is a common and legitimate defense against a charge of racism or anti-Semitism that the alleged racist or anti-Semite’s close friend is black or Jewish. Sterling isn’t granted this defense, although I don’t know why.
Even the ridiculous exhortations from black celebrities (for example, Sister Souljah) for black men to avoid dating white women generate little to no criticism, whereas Sterling is skewered for a few rude comments made after repeated promptings in private to a mistress.

 At the NAACP award ceremony scheduled to celebrate Sterling, the NAACP had scheduled to give Rev. Al Sharpton “Person of the Year” honors. Sharpton was at the center of several Jew-baiting incidents. In 1991, a car driven by a Hasidic Jew struck and killed a 7-year-old black child. Sharpton rushed forward to help whip the crowd into a frenzy. An example of his Jew-baiting comments included the following, “If the Jews want to get it on, tell them to pin their yarmulkes back and come over to my house.” The “Crown Height” riots then broke out and a rabbinical student, Yankel Rosenbaum, was stabbed to death and over a hundred others were injured.

 In 1995 in Harlem, a Jewish store owner (who owned Freddy’s Fashion Mart) was alleged to have driven a black store owner out of business (Side note: he didn’t do so). Reverend Al held rallies to scare away the Jewish owner. He made comments such as “[W]e will not stand by and allow them to move this brother so that some white interloper can expand his business.” Three months later one of the protesters stormed Freddy’s, ordered all blacks out, and fired a pistol and burned the place down. Eight people died. No one can reasonably judge Sterling’s comments worse than Sharpton’s.

If the NAACP was to French kiss a notorious Jew-hater, that’s its business. But it speaks volumes for the NBA to hammer Sterling when it allows its players to associate with the NAACP and for NAACP leaders to be welcome at games.

 A fun fact is that the head of the Los Angeles NAACP when it decided to celebrate Sterling and Sharpton was Leon Jenkins. He was a judge in Detroit until the Michigan Supreme Court removed him for routine-and-systematic corruption. Again, no end to the criticism of Sterling, but putting a judge who sold his office in charge of a prominent NAACP chapter generates nary a word of criticism.

 The New York Daily News reported that Clippers player Chris Paul demanded to have a black coach. Being their star player, his demand carried real weight. How is this better than discriminatory social requests? I don’t have a problem with Paul’s racial preferences and neither should you. People like different things. Why the different reaction to Paul’s and Sterling’s preferences?

 While playing in the NBA, Brooklyn Nets coach Jason Kidd was convicted of domestic violence. This did not disqualify him from coaching in the NBA. Is domestic violence worse than racist statements? The NBA has not banned Allen Iverson who was a one-man crime machine, once searching for his wife brandishing a gun. He also had a number of assault charges pressed against him. Ron Artest locked his wife up and also was convicted Michael-Vick-style for animal negligence. One of my favorite players, Charles Barkley, was twice arrested for assault while a player. In these cases, the sensitivity police were not offended. Why?

The most upsetting hypocrisy involves President Obama. Obama’s Justice Department recently announced that it will grant clemency to thousands of prisoners, most of whom are serving drug sentences. A large number of them are black or Hispanic. Why didn’t Obama do this years ago? Politics. That’s right, he let thousands of black men rot in cages for an extra 6 years and be subject to the brutal prison system so he could get elected again and didn’t endanger Congressional Democrats. Anyone not on crack has to admit that this shows less respect for black men than Sterling’s comments.

 The people outraged over Sterling’s comments are oversensitive babies and hypocrites. These are not the worst flaws one can have, but they do signal a lack of integrity.

01 May 2014

Clinton vs. Obama: Who has less respect for the law?

Stephen Kershnar
Obama versus Clinton: Who had less respect for the law?
Dunkirk-Fredonia Observer
 April 24, 2014

 It is an interesting thought experiment to consider whether the Obama administration has less respect for the law than did the Clinton administration.

 First, consider the Obama administration’s flagrant disrespect for the law that is his crowning achievement. As George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley has pointed out, the Obama administration has flagrantly ignored the law here. At the center of Obamacare is a set of minimum conditions for a medical insurance plan to be legal. After millions of people’s policies were cancelled, Obama unilaterally even added a couple of years to the compliance deadline.

He also made up new compliance dates for the employer mandate, added subsidies to members of Congress and their staff (despite the fact that Congress had clearly declined to do so), and exempted political allies from other Obamacare requirements. Eleven state attorneys general signed a letter protesting these illegalities. Overall, Jeffrey Dorfman of Forbes notes, he made more than 20 unilateral changes to the act.

Obama asked Congress to exempt certain illegal aliens (particularly children) in his proposed Dream Act. Congress refused to do it, preferring to protect taxpayers against the exploding welfare costs that would accompany an amnesty. Obama merely proceeded as if the Act had been passed and ordered immigration enforcement agencies to act as if it were in effect.

He chose to ignore clear laws on minimum sentences for nonviolent drug crimes, a ban on internet gambling, and a constitutional prohibition on unauthorized appointments to his administration when Congress is in session. He even gutted the No Child Left Behind Act through waivers. The American system of laws doesn’t allow the Obama to bypass duly passed laws whenever it suits his fancy.

 Now a couple of these changes are long overdue. No one who cares about liberty, for example, supports harsh sentencing of drug criminals or criminalization of internet gambling. This, however, is beside the point as it is not his call alone.

 Even the Obama’s administration’s attorney general is a criminal. In 2012, the House voted 255 to 67 to hold Eric Holder in contempt after his Justice Department failed to turn over thousands of pages of subpoenaed documents related to a gun smuggling operation (Operation Fast and Furious).

 The Clinton administration had a more venal side. President Bill Clinton was impeached by the House for perjury and obstruction of justice. Sadly, the gutless Senate acquitted him, providing only 50 of the 67 votes needed to convict him on perjury. He was later found by a federal judge to be in contempt of court, fined, and had his law license suspended. Had Clinton not been the President, he would have been convicted. He followed that up by paying the woman who accused him of sexual harassment $850,000 to shut her up, but only after the IRS targeted her and the White House public relations machine did their best to destroy her. 

The forking out of pardons to campaign donors and family, friends, and allies was crass even for the Clintons. The collective memory of Bill’s campaign shenanigans, sexual assaults (see, for example, Juanita Broaddrick and Kathleen Willey), and Arkansas influence peddling has been lost down the memory hole as he has recently reappeared to great acclaim. Nixon could have used a similar public relations makeover.

Chinese donors gave a boatload of illegal campaign contribution to the Clinton administration. All the major donors were convicted of giving money illegally. Conveniently, no one in the Clinton administration was convicted of taking it. This campaign grab was actually less sleazy than Bill and Hillary’s Arkansas deals involving land speculation, cattle future contracts, and government influence and that’s saying something. Again, nearly every other major player involved in these deals was heavily fined or convicted while the Clintons skated free.

During both administrations, the IRS relentlessly targeted the administration’s enemies, thus showing that the Bill and Barack worship at the altar of Nixon, even if this would have horrified them in their younger days. The most disturbing illegality is that both started wars that were neither authorized nor funded by Congress. Clinton crushed Serbia through air strikes, Obama did the same to Libya. In doing so, both obliterated the notion that Presidents cannot go to war without Congressional approval. This will haunt future generations.

In the end, I have to give the nod the Obama administration. The misuse of the IRS and the unconstitutional wars are a draw. The Obama administration’s large-scale illegality trumps the Clinton administration’s venal-and-crass illegality. Plus, the latter had more panache doing it. One has to wonder about people who make a big deal of the law in their classrooms, take an oath of office, or spend their days prosecuting people for silly crimes, and still voted for these guys. They’re lucky it’s not a crime to be foolish.