published Friday, May 9th, 2014

Hart: Uncivil liberties: Sex, lies and audio tapes

By Ron Hart

The story of Los Angeles Clippers' owner Donald Sterling has all the elements of a titillating tale: sex, lies and audio tapes — plus politics and our Constitution.

What we should worry about here is why an 80-year-old rich man can't have an honest and private conversation with his 31-year-old mistress in the privacy of his and his wife's home. What has become of America?

The 30-something mistress, V. Stiviano, is a wretched woman, arguably worse than Sterling. She seems deceitful and duplicitous. She shortened her name to "V. Stiviano" because she gets sued so many times that Sterling et al v. Stiviano just saves court reporter time.

She's running around with Magic Johnson -- another solid decision. My theory is that Magic helped leak the offensive tapes, either for revenge or so Sterling would have to sell the NBA's Clippers to him at a distressed price.

Both Democrats and Republicans try to say Sterling is not one of theirs. He seems to have no deep political ties. He gives money to mostly Democrats, but you have to do that in California to protect yourself from the wrath of persecution. Under Obama, Democrats have used the power of government to go after enemies as never before. They cannot win arguments with facts and reason, so they seek to destroy those who dare to oppose them.

Sterling, an ex-plaintiff's attorney, has all the traits of a liberal Democrat opportunist. He twice contributed to Democrats Gov. Gray Davis, Sen. Pat Leahy and New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley, an ex-NBA player. He gave so much to the NAACP that he was twice awarded its Lifetime Achievement Award. Knowing Sterling's long history of racist acts, the NAACP still took his money and honored him. Like church indulgences in the days of not-so-yore, Sterling can buy his way out of sin.

But so maligned is he now that liberals will soon feel sorry for him, and he will be rewarded with the highest honor Democrats can bestow upon themselves: victim.

And of course Obama, who never misses an opportunity to call America racist, chimed in about America's "legacy of race, slavery and segregation." He's always so helpful in healing racial issues.

Should Sterling be forced to sell his team and thus trigger a big IRS payment, Obama will ultimately have to determine if he is a Democrat or Republican in order to decide how much tax he'll pay. If audited, Sterling is a Republican.

This man is unmistakably an accomplished racist, hypocrite and cad. Under the NBA's owner laws and strict code of ethics, Sterling is punishable by getting high-fives from all 29 other NBA owners for having a 31-year-old, hot mistress sitting next to him at Clippers games.

The NBA proved that it would not stand idly by and tolerate clear, demonstrable racism by an owner for more than a couple of decades -- until TMZ's journalistic work, not the mainstream media's, forced its hand.

Sterling will have to sell his team. Clippers' sponsors are in PR damage control mode now. Loan Mart, CarMax, Corona beer and Red Bull have announced that they have suspended sponsorship. These companies don't want this jerk to tarnish the good name of loan sharks, used car salesmen and purveyors of booze and stimulants in a bottle.

No matter what happens, at least Donald Sterling has his wife, mistress and selectively enforced parts of our Constitution on his side. And he so loves the NAACP; isn't taking the 2014 NAACP Lifetime Achievement Award away from him punishment enough? Those things cost something like 25,000 tax-deductible dollars.

Ron Hart is a libertarian syndicated op-ed humorist, award-winning author and TV/radio commentator.

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