Provocative stuff, as always, from Peter Vescey in today’s New York Post, in which the poisonous one wonders why David Stern has turned such a blind eye to Alfonso Mourning and Jim Jackson refusing to report to new clubs upon being traded.

“The Admissioner” is deeply alarmed about his league’s stained image; a large clump of Middle America has been turned off by acts of civil disobedience perpetrated by the pampered.

This was David Stern’s most salient reason, it says here, for coming down so hard on Ron Artest, Stephon Jackson and Jermaine O’Neal. Demonstrating unqualified abhorrence for extremist behavior was as much of a tactic to regain the confidence of fans and advertisers as it was a technique of punishing the perps.

Not that we can expect stiff sentences to deter players from attacking fraternity members (see recent exchange between Nene and Michael Olowokandi and the resulting four-game stretches in stir), but it’s likely we’ve seen the last of players launching themselves into the expensive seats as long as The Admissioner reigns.

OK, so at least that much was accomplished. Give Stern a rousing ovation, if you feel the urge. From where I’m meddling, though, penalizing players for rough stuff with fans and each other is easy; all it takes is a proper investigation and common sense . . . oh, well, never mind.

Stern’s command decision might have temporarily won back some in the red states, but you can’t fool all the people.

The only approach to assure that the hordes of defectors aren’t irrevocably repulsed is to confront each and every contempt of court. Instead, Stern seems to have carefully picked his plights, ignoring other outbreaks of insurgence that are sullying his system.

For example, the vulgar refusal of Jimmy Jackson and Alonzo Mourning (exercising their birthrights, I suppose) to report to their respective teams following trades because the state of the organizations failed to meet their sacrosanct standards.

And what was Stern’s response? Not a peep. With desolation and doom swallowing up vast regions of the world, The Admissioner allowed Jackson to extort the Hornets into re-routing him to the Suns. With millions of people starving and homeless Jackson was allowed to contemptuously stage a sit-down on the suspended list and shrug off dockage amounting to 302G.

Yeah, I’ll bet that power play went over real big in the red states. Blackmail pays, that’s a great memo to the masses. Could the league have looked any lamer?

What should Stern have done? Something drastic! Definitely not nothing, that’s for sure! Regardless of whether or not The Admissioner is empowered to junk Jackson for the season, he was indebted to react to such abject defiance.

Here’s my retort to any malignant malingerer declining to report within a reasonable period: Nobody in that position would be permitted to be traded; only when they spent as much time on active duty as on the suspended list would they be eligible to leave; and if AWOL past a certain point, throw ’em out of the league for the rest of the season.