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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

WASHINGTON — Donald Sterling, the now banned-for-life owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, accomplished something that might be seen as a political miracle: The racist ranting that led the National Basketball Association to oust Sterling brought President Obama and Senator Ted Cruz together.

“We just have to be clear and steady in denouncing it,” Obama said, “teaching our children differently, but also remaining hopeful that part of why statements like this stand out so much is because there has been this shift in how we view ourselves.”

And then Cruz came along on Facebook with five words we never expected to see: “I agree with President Obama.” Cruz, a Texas Republican, called Sterling’s comments “ignorant and offensive” and said his “racist sentiments have utterly no place in our society.”

Well, hurray for that. But before we collectively congratulate ourselves for our shared revulsion over particularly crude forms of racism, consider why the NBA moved so quickly against Sterling.

Let’s face the issue of power.

Sterling could not survive his taped ramblings because he is part of an institution in which African-Americans are, in the most literal sense, the key players — some 76 percent of the members of NBA teams are African-American. In responding to Sterling, the men whose talents draw the audiences demonstrated a form of solidarity that their employers, Sterling’s fellow owners, simply could not ignore.

The timing was propitious. We are in the early stages of the NBA playoffs when the number of Americans watching the pro game rises, when sponsorships are especially lucrative, and when boycott threats (and even just bad publicity) are especially dangerous.

This is when the most celebrated players and coaches — notably the Clippers’ own coach, Doc Rivers — are in the spotlight. If there was ever a circumstance when management could not afford to alienate its stars, this was it.

But the nagging point was the one raised eloquently by NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in an essay in Time magazine. Sterling’s racism has never been a secret. Why did it take this episode to force the hand of the NBA leadership and ignite the people in the stands?

Abdul-Jabbar noted that in 2006, the Department of Justice sued Sterling, who got rich in real estate, alleging he had discriminated against blacks, Hispanics and families with children. (Where, by the way, was the pro-family crowd on that one?) Sterling had allegedly said: “Black tenants smell and attract vermin.” He reportedly paid $2.73 million to settle the case in 2009. The same year, Elgin Baylor, the Clippers’ former general manager and NBA Hall of Famer, sued Sterling for discrimination on the basis of age and race.

“Shouldn’t we have all called for his resignation back then?” Abdul-Jabbar asked. Why, he wanted to know, did it take “this ridiculous conversation with his girlfriend” to put us “over the edge?”

  • Paul Bass

    EJ as usual is spot on in his observations. Voter ID laws are mostly “prevent poor minorities, students, and elderly” from voting for democrats so the republicans can steal the elections.

    • paulyz

      Almost ALL voter fraud is by the Democrat Party so how can this policy help the Republicans “steal” elections?

      • awakenaustin

        From your perspective then, I guess it is a good thing that voter fraud is virtually non-existent.

      • midway54

        I found it amusing that you endorsed your own post in the space left of Reply.

        In light of the growing number of District courts striking down these statutes, asserting the lack of any showing that voter fraud requires the statute (Wisconsin was unable to furnish one case) as well as declaring the subject statute under consideration unconstitutional, perhaps it would be well that you come forward with your superior expertise. It is clear to any reasonable mind that the purpose of these statutes is not to combat fraud but to prevent voting by those whom the rightwingers deem will vote against their candidate(s).

        • johninPCFL

          He always endorses his own posts. He’s the only one who does.

          • joyce

            lol john

      • johninPCFL

        Simple. GOP leader Scott in FL decided to win the next elections for the GOP by simply eliminating Democrat voters from the roles. Unfortunately the elections supervisors in several counties decided that maintaining the franchise was more important than winning Scott and his cronies another term and refused to go along.

      • joyce

        Waiting for an example, paulz! You are just an instigator. Please go on FAUX news sites, where you belong.

      • Sand_Cat

        Do you have something other than your ass as a source for your statement?

      • WhutHeSaid

        Please cite some evidence, putzy. Don’t you goobers ever get tired of lying? Why is it that you are all too cowardly to admit what you are?

    • Dominick Vila

      Considering how bizarre and obnoxious the statements by Sterling and Bundy are, I can’t help wondering if some of this stuff is a deliberate attempt by the GOP to distract us from what is really happening, and to keep us engaged on “defense” instead of zeroing in on the anti-middle class policies promoted by the GOP. Public opinion and voter’s decisions are not going to change because of what Sterling and Bundy said. They may change if we remind voters of who opposed investment in infrastructure, who opposed the Veterans Jobs Act, who opposed raising the minimum wage, etc. Those are the arguments that should be at the forefront of our election campaign strategy, not what two bigots said.

  • latebloomingrandma

    Poor people have no power except for their vote, should they desire to use it. If it becomes too difficult, the idea is that they will just give up. What good does their one vote do anyway, I imagine a poor person thinks. Thing is, a whole bunch of votes together matters quite a bit. Just think Florida in 2000.
    The poor have no lobbyists. They only have organizations at the community level, if they can find a leader. Usually churches or Christian minded people spearhead these. How odd that our president, as a young man, engaged in community organizing, partnering with ministers, and yes, Catholic priests, to assist in organizing citizens to vote, and how to help themselves.
    AS a presidential candidate he was soundly mocked at the Republican convention, and accused of being a communist. (They always trot out Saul Alinsky)
    The only “organization” the lower class had was ACORN, a group with some flawed management practices, but whose corruption was vastly overstated. In fact, it was put out of business because of a corrupt sting operation. So the poor are back where they started and now being squeezed out of the voting booth. We are currently seeing the many ways that money talks. It’s always good when a zillionaire blabbermouth gets his due.

    • sigrid28

      So true. There is another national organization that has a very good chance of dislodging attempts to block the vote by Republicans, as long as it is uncorrupted: the courts. Tuesday a district court judge found that a Wisconsin law passed in 2011, requiring voter IDs, violates both the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment.

      Reporting for MSNBC, Zachary Roth writes, “Last week a state court struck down Arkansas’s voter ID law. And in January, a state judge in Pennsylvania struck down that state’s voter ID law.” The article on the MSNBC website continues: “But this one could have even bigger implications if it stands. Never before has Section 2 of the VRA, which bars racial discrimination in voting, been used to strike down a voter ID law. Similar challenges, filed by the U.S. Justice Department, are currently pending against Texas’s voter ID law and North Carolina’s sweeping voting law, which includes a voter ID component. The ruling decisively rejects the logic of voter ID laws.”

      In addition, Harry Reid’s decision to block filibusters for appointments and nominations coming before the Senate will be instrumental in filling vacant court seats with judges who will not simply rubber stamp decisions handed down by an activist Supreme Court or state legislatures representing financial interests, like the Koch brothers who funded elections in Wisconsin, whose poster boy is Paul Ryan, or Art Pope, who has taken over government in North Carolina.

  • princess_fiona

    Voter fraud is a very real problem and those that dispute this are simply ignorant. Remember Minnesota in 2008? Bags of votes simply appeared out of nowhere, paving the way for the election of Al Franken. Many others freely volunteer that they have voted three or four times. How many dead people are on the voter rolls? You can’t get on a plane without an ID, but you WAPO elitists never complain about that. Smarten up, if that is at all possible.

    • awakenaustin

      There is absolutely no factual basis or support for your statements concerning voter fraud related to people voting multiple times or as some other person. You cannot point to a single shred of evidence to support your position. Rumors and “I know a friend who knows someone who says that he personally witnessed, etc.” is not evidence.
      Texas, a much larger State than Minnesota has confirmed 18 cases of voter fraud since 2002. This is a State largely governed by Republicans dying to find examples of voter fraud. Imagine their frustration. Voter ID laws are a remedy in search of a problem.
      An interesting and well established fact about dead people on voter rolls is that they don’t vote. I think it has something to do with not being able to make it to the polls.

    • jnap

      I’l bet big foot voted and those little aliens from area 51.

    • Sand_Cat

      So you endorse your own posts, too? What a surprise.
      As I asked your other endorser – our resident troll Pauly – have you a source other than your ass for your statements?

      • princess_fiona

        Really classy, douche_bag. How about more votes recorded in many districts than there are actual registered voters? How about Obama winning 100% of the vote in areas around Philly — statistically impossible. Do some homework, fool.

        • midway54

          So, were there any statutory protests filed on these results? I assume that there were Republican official poll watchers/counters at the place where these alleged frauds occurred?

          • princess_fiona

            In several locations, Dem poll workers did not allow Repub officials to oversee. Have you ever heard of Google? Here’s two separate stories about the Philly scene… I could link many more examples but you would still dispute that anything was amiss. There were lots of problems in Ohio, too.



          • Paul Bass

            All these citations are from right wing sites on 11/6/2012, THE DAY OF THE ELECTION!

            Do you actually believe this? Do you think the Republicans wouldn’t be all over this for the last 1.5 years if it were true?

            Please stop “quoting” false, since unproven, sites.

          • princess_fiona

            Sukkit, Pauly.

          • Paul Bass

            Yea, right. As I thought, no real citations.

            BTW Pauly is the right wing troll you always upvote, I’m Paul B., NOT the Fox news regurgitater.

          • princess_fiona

            Pauly, if you thought the left leaning press would ever report on actual voter fraud you’re a bigger idiot than you pretend to be.

          • Paul Bass

            No, but I DO expect the RIGHT WING YAHOOS to be all over it like stink on a skunk!
            Where is all the right wing citations about this voter fraud?
            Right, there is NONE! Because there is no TRUTH to these statements.

          • Sand_Cat

            Yeah, like all the suspicious Ohio results in 2004 that may have actually changed the election results, unlike the BS you’re parroting.

          • princess_fiona
        • Sand_Cat

          Yes, yes. I’m sure the Mittwit won by a landslide but was cheated by ACORN and all those dark-skinned freeloaders.
          Maybe you should grow up and learn not to believe every idiotic thing told you, but I guess that’s too much to ask.

          • princess_fiona

            Yu and Pauly B should get a room.

        • ralphkr

          Very true, princess, I recall 3,000 votes cast for a TEA Party candidate in a precinct that had less than 2,000 registered voters. Another case of officials stuffing the box and voter ID would do nothing to curb that.

    • ralphkr

      Well, princess, you have shot yourself in the foot with your fallacious fraudulent voter argument. If you had a thought in your head you would have realized that “Bags of votes” do not come from fraudulent voters with false or no ID but are generated by the authorities running the voting process, i.e., voter ID would have absolutely no effect upon the real “Bags of votes” since they do not come from voters but from the officials monitoring voting.

      • ThomasBonsell

        Could have also addd that in most states – if not all – no dead people show up to vote because if a person does not vote in a presidential election his/her registration is automatically cancelled. No dead people show up to vote just to stay on the registered-voters lists.

        Also, we have always had to show an ID to vote; it’s called a registration card, and these laws to combat “voter fraud” are only directed to making it virtually impossible to get a registration card..

      • princess_fiona

        Same difference, ralphy boy. Voter fraud is voter fraud whether it is by an election official or a woman from Ohio who got an award despite outwardly acknowledging that she voted more than once. Sheesh.

        • ralphkr

          Wake up, princess, there is a big difference between a few people casting fraudulent votes (often only fraud because in wrong precinct) and the monitoring officials casting thousands of votes which shall not be deterred by voter ID laws because, Ta, Da, they are the ones checking ID & they have IDs.

          • princess_fiona

            A few people? Sure, Ralphy, keep drinking the Kool-Aid.

          • ralphkr

            Well, princess, it has been my experience that the only people who actually believe that hundreds, thousands, or millions of people vote early and often are those people who are mentally challenged and unable to count past ten without removing their shoes.

          • princess_fiona

            Good one, ralph. Have a great day.

  • bstockinger

    Nevada, hardly the most liberal state, had 2 cases last election. Both claimed they were trying to prove there was fraud occurring. Both got caught. Out of 1.2 million voters, that is not many.

    • midway54

      It’s enough for a ranting rightwing dupe.

    • ralphkr

      Actually, that is very telling since, according to what I read, both of those caught were Republicans. Yep, as usual, those screaming about illegal acts are those actually committing said acts.

      • bstockinger

        That is true. I believe there is a case in New Mexico also.

  • 1standlastword

    Racism and classism is the theme here. And what this case illustrates is that the only the thing a racist can do worse than call a Black person a “N” is to call a rich Black person a “N”

  • charles king

    America Where? is our Democracy, I find all of this clamour about Mr. Sterling being a racist a big farce because Our Democracy let you be Whom? you want to be. The good that People does live after them the Evil is often interior into their bones now that to me is a hell of away to leave the party.Of the People, For the People, and By the People is talking about all of the People not some of the People, Who? and What? the hell is a (Commissioner) Where does he get his power and if you look around small town America and all over America, these people are calling the shots about somebodies Rights. What? the hell is going on in America. i have been around America for four and a half generations and I Do Not like How? MONIES are calling What? the hell goes on in America. Wake up Americans because the (Capitalistic Pigs, Plutocracts, Republicans, Democracts, Do-Nothingiers etc.) with MONIES are trying to privatize your country and take it over under Management of the South. What’s? going on today from a black Perspective is What? went on in America in the twenties and thirties in Alamaba, Georgia, Florida, North and South Carolina’s, Texas, Okahoma, Virigina, Arkansas, etc. Thank You are the magic words in my book. I Love Ya All. MR. C. E. KING

  • Allan Richardson

    If those alleged “openly admitted” multiple vote stories were true, there would have been LEGAL ACTION taken against those people, and that legal action, HOWEVER it was resolved, would be in the PUBLIC record where attorneys defending the voter ID law in the COURT would have them available to show to the judge. Since there have been no cases found by the state officials who have a REASON to find them, the logical conclusion is that NO fraud by unqualified or misidentified voters has occurred.

    Furthermore, that is the least efficient way to rig an election, requiring one “conspirator” per fraudulent vote cast to risk JAIL TIME, knowing that hundreds or thousands of such votes are needed to change the outcome, and ONE voter caught would give up the whole group. It’s like counterfeiting by passing hand-painted one dollar bills!

    And when an ACTUAL case of a LEGITIMATE voter who would be illegally disenfranchised by new ID laws is brought up, the right wing supporters CHANGE THE SUBJECT. This obviously means that to them, that person is OF NO VALUE and does not deserve to vote LEGALLY. Our criminal justice system is, theoretically, based on the philosophy that it is better to let 100 guilty men go free than to punish ONE INNOCENT man. By analogy, voter protection advocates believe it is better to allow 100 false voters (IF they really exist) than to turn away ONE LEGAL VOTE; while ID law supporters apparently would rather turn away 100 legal votes than allow one fraudulent vote (or perhaps use the one fraudulent vote as an EXCUSE to disenfranchise 100 or more).