Tag Archives: Kevin Johnson

Privacy rights sacked for one old racist’s scalp

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling and V. Stiviano

Associated Press photo

In this late 2010 photo, Donald Sterling and his former mistress, V. Stiviano, watch Sterling’s team, the Los Angeles Clippers, play the Los Angeles Lakers during an NBA pre-season basketball game. Apparently, in a vengeful move, Stiviano released illegally recorded racist comments made by Sterling, and a nation that no longer is bothered by blatant violations of privacy has mostly overlooked this element to the scandal, which I find chilling. 

Soon-to-be-former Los Angeles Clippers team owner Donald Sterling strikes me as a racist asshole. Probably the best thing that we can say about him is that he has far many more days on this planet behind him than he has ahead of him. So let’s agree on that, since that may be all that we can agree on in this post.

The thing is that I have a real problem with the way that Sterling has been publicly tarred and feathered. How you do something, and how something comes about, do matter.

First of all, I agree wholeheartedly with fellow leftist Ted Rall that Sterling’s privacy rights very apparently were violated. As Rall notes in a column he recently wrote for aNewDomain.net (the links are Rall’s):

… Yet there’s a major part of the Sterling story that American journalists aren’t covering. One that’s just as important as the reminder that racism is still thriving in the executive suite — a suite whose profits derive mostly from African-American players, and whose boss has a half-black, half-Mexican girlfriend, no less.

What about Sterling’s privacy rights?

They tell us privacy is dead. Online, between the NSA and the public’s failure to take to the streets to bitch about the NSA, privacy is probably finished.

But what about a private phone call?

V. Stiviano, Sterling’s 31-year-old former mistress, appears to have surreptitiously recorded the call, baiting him into making disgusting remarks for the record and releasing it to the media, including the gossip sites TMZ and Deadspin, in retaliation for a $1.8 million lawsuit filed last week by Sterling’s wife. Mrs. Sterling is seeking the return of an apartment, cash and several cars — communal marital property under California law — that Sterling gave Stiviano.

Contextually, this is more gossip than journalism, closer to the ranting Alec Baldwin voice mail to his daughter tacklessly released by ex-wife Kim Basinger, than anything like WikiLeaks. We aren’t supposed to know about this. [I mostly agree with this, but when you leave a voice mail, you know that you are being recorded, and so that is a critical difference from being recorded without your knowledge or consent.]

What’s being ignored amid a firestorm of controversy so out of control that even the president of the United States felt compelled to weigh in on this matter so beneath the dignity of his office is this: Sterling’s privacy rights have been violated, both legally and morally.

Which is not good for him. Much more importantly, it’s terrible for us. …

I will add that in criminal law, there is the concept of the “fruit of the poisonous tree.” This means that evidence against a person that is obtained illegally — such as by violating one’s constitutional right to privacy — may not be introduced into the courtroom. If you did not obtain the incriminating evidence legally — constitutionally — you may not use it against the individual.

Further, as Rall goes on to note in his column:

… First, the legal issue: California, where this call almost certainly took place, requires the consent of both parties in order to record a phone conversation. Stiviano risks a year in jail and a $2,500 fine. (There doesn’t appear to be a penalty for making the recording public. California’s state assembly should consider one.) …

I, for one, hope that a district attorney prosecutes Sterling for her criminal act (although I doubt that that will happen, because of the race-charged politics of this matter), and I hope that Sterling sues Stiviano in civil court for having violated his right to privacy. (Um, he certainly can prove that he has sustained damages…)

I make this stance not to support a racist, as the race hustlers will accuse me (and there are so-called race hustlers of every race), but I make this stance to support the principle that a blatant violation of another’s constitutional right to privacy — such as recording him or her during a phone call and then publicizing the surreptitious recording of that phone call — should be punished. If it isn’t punished, then it means that privacy, and the law, mean nothing. (I know…)

Many certainly want to make an example of Sterling where racism is concerned — more on this shortly — and these same people, if they truly support our constitutional rights, which even blatant racists possess (just as they possess free-speech rights), should be fine with the privacy-rights-violating Stiviano’s being made an example of also.

Rall continues:

… Then there’s the moral question.

I have no beef with TMZ. When reporters find news, it is their duty to report it no matter where it comes from or who, it hurts. I’m a purist on this point: I don’t think WikiLeaks or Edward Snowden had any moral duty to protect intelligence secrets, not even the identities of spies, when they released classified U.S. government documents.

My problem is that nobody else seems to have a problem with recording private conversations and releasing them to the media.

As we learned from The People vs. Larry Flynt, society must defend its worst scumbags from having his rights violated, or everyone else risks losing theirs too. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live in a world where every stupid thing I blather over the phone is potential fodder for public comment, Twitter wars and cause for dismissal from work.

Until we descend into the Stasi-like “Lives of Others” dystopia into which the NSA seems determined to transform the Land of the Formerly Free, everyone — including racist douchebags like Donald Sterling — ought to enjoy a reasonable presumption of privacy on the telephone. …

Yup.

And how about some due process? It was unseemly to have even the president of the United States calling for Sterling’s scalp before it was even concluded whether or not it was Sterling’s voice on the illegal recording. (Like most others, at this point I more or less am taking Sterling’s non-denial as fairly solid confirmation that it was indeed his voice that illegally was recorded, but at this point, if we value the truth, we will admit that we still have no actual evidence that it was indeed Sterling’s voice. [If Sterling has confessed, then OK, I stand pretty corrected, but I haven’t seen news of such a confession yet, if there is such news.])

And of course the mayor of my city (Sacrament0), former NBA player Kevin Johnson, had to insert himself into the whole Sterling mess, publicly declaring today, “I hope every bigot in this country saw what happened to Mr. Sterling.”

Johnson reportedly has been “a leading spokesman for NBA players during the Sterling controversy.”

I don’t know — the mayor of my city making such a threatening statement strikes me as thuggery. That’s a loaded word, thuggery, I know, but does Johnson’s public proclamation — his public threat exactly foster reconciliation among the races? Or does it only deepen racial divisions? Was Johnson, with his public statement — his thinly veiled threat — utilizing love or fear?

It was unseemly and unstatesmanlike, methinks, for Johnson to wave Sterling’s scalp in his hand as he did, and I can tell you, having lived in Sacramento during Johnson’s tenure as mayor (he’s now in his second term), that Johnson has done little for the city (California’s capital) outside of his personal interests.

Johnson apparently cares only about basketball (he recently was quite instrumental in denying us Sacramentans the ability to vote on whether or not there should be public funding for a new basketball arena that has been shoved down our throats by Johnson & Co.) and the ambitions of his wife, the infamous Michelle Rhee, to destroy teachers’ unions and turn our public schools into for-profit schools.

(And perhaps you should know that contributing to my use of the term “thuggery” above is the fact that from Day One, Johnson has pushed his so-called “strong-mayor” initiative, a rewrite of city governance that would greatly increase his power and decrease the power of the city council. Johnson has been pushing for this right since he took office. Kevin Johnson always has been, and always will be, all about Kevin Johnson and more pure, raw, political power for Kevin Johnson. He’s yet another example of why former jocks almost never should be handed the reins of power.)

I suppose that I digressed there (but I view Johnson as corrupt and dangerous as he is ambitious, and so I believe in educating people about what he’s really all about), but I come back now to the concept of the fruit of the poisoned tree: If it was even legal to do so, was it fair for Donald Sterling to have been punished as harshly as he was* for something that he said during a phone conversation that he had thought was private but that illegally was recorded by the other party, apparently for revenge? (Why else would you record a phone conversation, in whole or in part, except to use the recording later, such as by releasing it to other parties or by threatening to release it to other parties?)

I highly doubt that not one of the many black (and other non-white) Americans (prominent and non-prominent) who have publicly (and privately) slammed Donald Sterling for his racism never has uttered anti-white sentiment (and/or other racist sentiment) in a private communication with another individual.

How would any of them like it if a recording of them engaging in such talk in private were made public?

In the Sterling affair I just don’t see a national quest for justice and for racial reconciliation. I see Sterling as the stand-in for all old white bigots. Indeed, the size of his punishment indicates that Sterling is being punished not only for his own crimes, but for those of many, many others. (Indeed, Kevin Johnson directly proclaimed today, in his characteristically self-serving grandstanding, that he publicly was waving Sterling’s scalp as an example to “every bigot in this country.”)

That’s not fair, and making a scapegoat of Sterling — while ignoring the fact that his constitutional right to privacy blatantly was violated — won’t improve race relations in the United States of America. Indeed, it might make them worse.

Racism is institutionalized, is deeply ingrained, within the United States of America, and the racial hatreds in the United States are not only one way, whites hating blacks, but also run the other way, blacks hating whites, and of course the other races also engage in race-based hatred, and so we have many possible permutations of raced-based hatred in the U.S., and there is no quick or easy fix to this ugliness.

Electing a black president (twice) sure hasn’t helped very much — as Tavis Smiley remarked in October, “The data is going to indicate, sadly, that when the Obama administration is over, black people will have lost ground in every single leading economic indicator category” — and neither will punishing one old white bigot by dangling him in the public square for all to see and revile.

P.S. I listened to the clip of Kevin Johnson again, and the fuller, more accurate quote is: “I hope every bigot in this country sees what happened to Mr. Sterling and recognizes that if he can fall, so can you.”

Wow. Is that really the tone that we want to set for interracial reconciliation? And what does this mean, exactly? That from now on all of us can expect to have our phone conversations recorded, because all is fair in interracial warfare?

*Yes, it seems to me that imposing upon Sterling the maximum allowable $2.5 million fine, banning him from the NBA for life, and forcing him to sell his team for something that he said in an illegally recorded phone conversation probably is too harsh a punishment for the crime, a crime that he could not even be criminally tried for, since the evidence against him was obtained illegally and unconstitutionally.

It seems to me that we’re no better than Sterling if we celebrate his downfall, which has been orchestrated so underhandedly, and that when one person’s privacy so casually can be violated, then none of us has any privacy.

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Can we start the civil war now, please?

Associated Press photo

Barack Obama, shown above during his Lincolnesque formal kick-off of his candidacy for president in February 2007 at the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois, now finally concedes that with the Repugnican Party, “The day has passed when I expected this to be a full partnership.” Yup. Attempting bipartisanship with Repugnicans, who respect the results of the democratic process only when those results go their way, is bullshit and it’s time to open a can of blue-state whup-ass, because that’s all that the fucktarded red states can understand. 

They say that the Civil War even pitted family member against family member.

Yeah, I can see that.

My mother and I today exchanged some pointed e-mails about Arizona’s handling of its “illegal immigrants.” She still lives in Arizona, where I was born and raised and from where I escaped in 1998 to my new home state of California.

I haven’t set foot back in Arizona since I left it, and I don’t plan to any day soon.

In fact, I support boycotting Arizona, and I am delighted that my city of Sacramento is expected to add itself to the list of cities boycotting the racist, white supremacist state of Arizona.

In fact, today I saw Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson (himself also a former resident of Phoenix; he used to play for the Phoenix Suns) eating lunch outdoors here in Sacramento. I almost stopped and attempted to speak to him, but I didn’t want to disturb his lunch (he was eating with some other people). Instead I e-mailed him later that I support the boycott, even though he already leans toward it.  

My mother, on the other hand, apparently has imbibed the right wing’s Kool Aid that the nation’s ills have been caused primarily by the poor and powerless brown-skinned peoples from south of the border.

Gee, I didn’t know that the “illegals” were responsible for the nation’s economic meltdown. I’d thought that it was the mostly white white-collar crooks, such as the crew of Goldman Sachs, who did that.

Of course, the reason that the right wing pushes hatred of the “illegals” is not only because the “illegals” are powerless and poor, and can’t fight back, but because it’s a great diversion from the nation’s real enemies: the white-collar criminals, most of whom are Repugnicans and whom the Repugnican Party aids and abets.

I mean, for instance, who’s responsible for the oil that continues to fill the Gulf of Mexico? The Mexicans?

I’m beyond sick and fucking tired of the red-state bullshit. We have Alaska’s Repugnican Sarah “Drill, Baby, Drill!” Palin-Quayle now saying that President Barack Obama is too chummy with Big Oil; we have Arizona’s Borg Queen governor, Jan Brewer, Sen. John McCainosaurus, and McCainosaurus’ primary election opponent, J.D. Hayworth, all Repugnicans, of course, all trying to out-hate each other where it comes to the “illegals” for their personal political gain; and we have Kentucky’s Rand Paul saying that he disagrees with at least some of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and that criticism of British Petroleum is “un-American.”

While my mother is pontificating in her e-mails to me about how much the “illegals” are costing us, it’s funny, because not only do the billions of dollars in taxpayer-funded bailouts go to the corporatocrats, and not only do we, the people, also always end up paying for shit like the Vietraq War and the British Petroleum debacles — both of which Dick Cheney’s Halliburton has had an oily hand in — but Arizona itself is a welfare state.

As I noted in April 2009, Arizona gets back from the federal government about $1.20 for every dollar that it puts into the federal government.

My home state of California gets less than 80 cents for every $1 that it puts into the fed.

Palin-Quayle’s Alaska approaches two dollars back for every dollar that it contributes, and Rand Paul’s Kentucky gets about a buck and a half from the fed for every buck that it puts into the fed.

Yet here are these right-wing asswipes bitching and moaning about the evils of welfare when their states are sponging off of us blue states. The majority of the blue states get less from the federal government than they put into it, while the majority of red states get back more from the federal government than they put into it.

And they hate our president, too, primarily because he’s black.

Well, fuck off, red-staters, because 53 percent of Americans voted for Barack Obama, more than who ever voted for your precious George W. Bush in 2000 (less than a full 48 percent) or in 2004 (less than a full 51 percent).

I’ve had it with the right wing and the red states, and I’m ready for a second civil war.

Of course, the red states can prevent that and secede, and we blue states should fucking let them. They only drag us down anyway.

Texas, a.k.a. Bushland, whose Repugnican stupid-white-male governor already has raised the specter of secession, can be home to the New Confederacy’s capital. Texas, which loves to rewrite American history, would be the perfect headquarters for the coalition of states that don’t want to follow the wishes of the majority of Americans who voted for Barack Obama.

Speaking of whom, since Obama has compared himself to Abraham Lincoln — he formally announced his candidacy for president in Lincoln’s Springfield, Illinois, and he even was sworn in on the same Bible that Lincoln used (I saw the Bible when it was on display here in Sacramento as part of a Lincoln museum exhibit) — Obama could preside over the Second Civil War, if it comes to that. It would be fitting that the nation’s first black president should finish the red-state ass-kicking that Lincoln should have finished but did not.

If the secession of the racist red states won’t happen, I’m fine with another civil war.

I’m fighting fucking mad.

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I’m psychic; new Sacramento mayor’s term gets off to a scandalous start

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Sacramento Bee photo

Not even in office for a month, new mayor of Sacramento Kevin Johnson, shown above at his swearing in last month, already wants more power. Why don’t we just crown him Emperor of the Fucking Universe already?

No, really, I am psychic.

First I endorsed former Mayor Heather Fargo for re-election as mayor of Sacramento. She’s not exciting, but she’s competent.

At that time I wrote:

…I have a problem with jocks entering politics, as I just wrote, and [Fargo’s challenger, Kevin Johnson,] is a former NBA player. It seems to me that when jocks are washed up, they think of politics as another avenue with which to bolster their egos. (Millionaires also tend to turn to politics when they don’t know what else to do with themselves.) 

So Johnson would have had to overcome my loathing of jocks who enter politics more to masturbate their egos than to actually help anyone out through the use of political power.

Johnson didn’t do that, so I voted for Fargo, and right after Johnson ended up unseating incumbent Fargo on Nov. 4, I wrote:

Kevin Johnson won Sacramento’s mayoral race by a large margin. I had voted for incumbent Heather Fargo, who struck me as rather boring but at least competent, and my guess is that Johnson, given his scandalous history, is going to have a scandal-plagued term as mayor.

Maybe, just maybe, he’ll surprise me and he’ll do a kick-ass job, but my guess is that his election was a mistake. I surmise that Johnson won on both the Schwarzenegger Effect (celebrity jock turns politician) and on the coattails of Barack Obama.

And I surmise that the voters will come to regret their choice, which, again, they seemed to have made based upon celebrity more than upon careful consideration.

So the Sacramento Bee reports today:

Mayor Kevin Johnson is proposing a strong mayor system for Sacramento.

In an interview with the Bee this morning, Johnson’s aides said he is proposing a citywide vote next year to change the city charter and give the mayor more executive power.

Under the new system, the mayor would propose the city budget, appoint department heads and have veto authority.

The city council would act as a legislative body and would have the authority to approve the city budget and confirm mayoral appointees. The council would have an elected president and the shift would likely mean the city would need to add a ninth council district when redistricting occurs in 2010.

The system is similar to the those used in most large cities, including Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco….

This is just the beginning of what is to come, I sense.

Sacramentans elected a power-monger because of his celebrity.

Stupid.

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Mixed results

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sacbee.com photo

With the sound passage of Proposition 2 and the apparent passage of Proposition 8, Californians seem to care more about chickens’ rights than gay men and lesbians’ rights. Maybe if I stuff some eggs up my ass and start laying them I can get some fucking rights around here…

Well, the most important contest yesterday was the U.S. presidency, of course, and I am happy that we real Americans will not have another four years of Repugnican rule.

And I’m glad that President-elect Obama won by a large-enough margin — preliminary election results are 52 percent of the popular vote for Obama to 46 percent for John Fossil Fool McCain, and the Electoral College standing at 349 Obama to 147 McInsane — that the Repugnicans cannot claim, with any credibility (not that they ever had any credibility on any subject anyway), that Obama is not the pick of the clear majority of the American people.

The wingnuts need to shut the fuck up and let the man whom the majority of the American people elected as their leader lead the nation out of the fucking mess that the unelected, treasonous Bush regime got us into. 

Kevin Johnson won Sacramento’s mayoral race by a large margin. I had voted for incumbent Heather Fargo, who struck me as rather boring but at least competent, and my guess is that Johnson, given his scandalous history, is going to have a scandal-plagued term as mayor. Maybe, just maybe, he’ll surprise me and he’ll do a kick-ass job, but my guess is that his election was a mistake. I surmise that Johnson won on both the Schwarzenegger Effect (celebrity jock turns politician) and on the coattails of Barack Obama. And I surmise that the voters will come to regret their choice, which, again, they seemed to have made based upon celebrity more than upon careful consideration.

An anti-abortion proposition (Prop 4) on California’s ballot died, and an anti-animal-cruelty/pro-animal-rights proposition (Prop 2) passed, which I’m glad about, but it looks as though the anti-gay proposition, Prop 8, has passed. (So animals apparently have more rights in California than do we faggots and dykes. Woo hoo!)

Prop 8’s final results haven’t been released yet, as many votes remain to be counted, but I expect that it passed, as The Associated Press reports that with 90 percent of precincts reporting, it was 52 percent yes to 48 percent no. I don’t expect that 4-percent margin to be erased. It might be reduced a bit, but it seems to me that Prop 8 passed, which means that in a future election, when more homophobic old farts have kicked off and Californians are more evolved, we faggots and dykes will have to put another proposition on the ballot to get ourselves as many rights as animals have…

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Heather Fargo for mayor of Sacramento

 Sacramento Mayor Heather Fargo appears at a news conference ...  Sacramento mayoral candidate and former NBA star Kevin Johnson ...

Associated Press photos

Former jock Kevin Johnson is challenging two-term Mayor Heather Fargo for the leadership of Sacramento.

I’m not crazy about Democratic Party establishment candidate Heather Fargo, who is seeking her third term as the mayor of Sacramento. (I’m not crazy about any Democratic Party establishment candidate.)

But I’m much less crazy about Fargo’s opponent, political neophyte Kevin Johnson.

First off, I have a problem with jocks entering politics, as I just wrote, and Johnson is a former NBA player. It seems to me that when jocks are washed up, they think of politics as another avenue with which to bolster their egos. (Millionaires also tend to turn to politics when they don’t know what else to do with themselves.) 

So Johnson would have had to overcome my loathing of jocks who enter politics more to masturbate their egos than to actually help anyone out through the use of political power.

The latest Johnson scandal — he’s a scandalous dude — is that with the cooperation of a security guard Johnson tried out the mayor’s chair last month after city hall was closed. Can you say “ego”?

I wasn’t planning to vote for Johnson anyway, but his latest antics have sealed my vote for Fargo. (In the primary election I strategically voted for Muriel the Bearded Chicken Lady.)

Johnson, far from being a Barack Obama type, strikes me more as a thug.

Oh, and just as Ahhhnuld Schwarzenegger is shockingly short, Kevin Johnson’s campaign office is in my neighborhood and I’ve passed him twice on the sidewalk near his campaign office. Johnson is so short that it’s hard to see how he was an NBA player.* In case you were wondering.

*This source puts him at 6’1″, but he didn’t seem that tall to me.

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