Friday, May 2, 2014

While Donald Sterling is a racist who pays players millions, right-wing hero Cliven Bundy doesn't think blacks even have jobs

The NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling has been banned from the league, fined $2.5 million and being pushed to sell the team. This is after Sterling’s voicemail enunciating his objection to his young mistress’ bringing black friends to games, for reasons one might expect from someone his age whose social attitudes never evolved since the 1950s. Apparently the girlfriend wanted to get “even” with Sterling, because his estranged wife was suing her for reimbursement or return of expensive gifts that Sterling had given her. 

Sterling is heard to say "It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people”—with Magic Johnson of all people. Sterling (whose birth name is Tokowitz) is Jewish, so this apparently means that not all Jews are free from racism despite the fact they should “know better.” Sterling’s estranged bleach-blond wife initially expressed disgust at her husband’s remarks, although one suspects that her “disgust” was enhanced by the involvement of a young, attractive female. It has since been revealed that Rochelle Sterling not only shared her husband’s racist views, she was even less reticent in going in detail explaining her “reasons”—which, of course, were the usual ugly stereotypes about blacks and Latinos, and her unhappiness that minorities in plain view give the Sterlings’ residential properties the “wrong image.”

One wonders, of course, if Sterling has a “pragmatic” view of the situation. After all, he pays the Clippers’ black players millions of dollars each. He isn’t reticent about being photographed with his star players (presumably in non-social circumstances). Perhaps Sterling “differentiates” between different “classes” of minorities (his mistress is Latino), just as they do in the South (“blacks” and the “N” word). This apparently has led some commentators, like Rush Limbaugh and the rest of that Jurassic Age bunch, to assume that because Sterling is Jewish and owns an NBA team that he must be a Democrat—how “interesting” it is for the “libs” to treat their own in this way (not this is anything new). But as it turns out, Sterling has been a registered Republican for at least 15 years. A better explanation is that Sterling sees himself as a kind of overlord presenting his games to the masses, and in order to put on the best possible show, he has little choice but to pay for talent, whether he likes to or not. It is a business decision.

What interests me most about this case is how it has overshadowed more egregious examples of bigoted buffoonery. Take for example the recent story of Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher and anti-government fanatic who has been allowed to get away with grazing his cattle on Bureau of Land Management property without paying usage fees. He didn’t just stop doing so as he had done since 1954: Bundy suddenly declared his “opposition” to the obeying the law after the election of the “radical leftist” Bill Clinton in 1993. Despite being ordered to vacate the land by the U.S. District Court in Nevada last year, Bundy continues to squat on the land at gunpoint. Not surprisingly, right-wing extremists, Tea Partiers, Republicans, “patriots” and gun rights fanatics have rallied to support Bundy. That is until Bundy went off message:

 “I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro…in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids—and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch—they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do.

“And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do? They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”

I suppose that Bundy has been holed-up in his ranch for so long that the outside world has passed him completely by. Job discrimination is allegedly over, and he might be surprised to learn that some black people actually have jobs that pay real money. This is the kind of thing that can shut-up the political cheerleading squad pronto, once they start paying attention to the words. Let’s see. Sen. Rand Paul—the son of Ron Paul who publishes a newsletter full of racist rants from “contributors”—belatedly “condemned” Bundy’s remarks.

So did almost the entire staff at Fox News (CNN, of course, didn’t know there was a story).  Joe Scarborough—a usually “reliable” Obama administration basher on MSNBC—claims to have seen “through” Bundy from the start, as little more than a common criminal with a lawless Old West mentality where people can simply behave in a destructive manner, where civilized principles are irrelevant to their world view. Bundy’s racist and law-breaking views only embarrass and brings disrepute to those who have called him a “patriot” and “proudly” stand by his side in defense of “freedom.” Funny how these views always seemed tied together, but only belatedly "discovered."

And then there is The Dallas Morning News endorsing anti-immigrant fanatic, anti-Obama anything, minority voter-suppressing, white-supremacist conference invitee Sen. John Cornyn bid for re-election. Why not? The “alternative” is another racist fanatic in the Texas U.S. Senate primary, Chris Mapp—who is apparently a good friend of Sen. Ted Cruz. Mapp told the Morning News editorial board that ranchers should be allowed to shoot on sight “wetbacks” on their land, and that Obama was a “socialist son of a bitch.” Mapp “clarified” his views by spouting the usual stereotypes ignorant racists have:

“The term good citizen means earning your own way, paying taxes, No entitlements, No food stamps, NO FREE HEATH CARE, NO HAVING NUMEROUS NEW BORNS TO COLLECT MORE WELFARE, no free housing, no obama phones, and no right to vote for the first three years. … What that means to Americans who were born here is, ‘GET OFF YOUR DEAD ASS AND GET TO WORK!’"

And these people actually get elected to public office and “represent” the views of a large number of people. Some of them are even given "credibility" on cable news channels. Who is “punishing” them?

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