Sunday, March 17, 2013

Last Call In Steubenville

The Steubenville rape trial reached closing arguments yesterday, and a verdict handed down by Judge Thomas Lipps:  both suspects in the case were found guilty on all charges.

Two Ohio high school football players have been found guilty of raping a drunken 16-year-old girl in a case that roiled a small city and stirred reaction from activists online.

Judge Thomas Lipps ruled Sunday in juvenile court that Steubenville High School students Trent Mays and Ma'Lik Richmond are guilty of attacking the girl after an alcohol-fueled party last August.

The 17-year-old Mays and 16-year-old Richmond were charged with digitally penetrating the West Virginia girl, first in a car and then in a house.

Judge Tom Lipps ordered Richmond held in a juvenile detention facility for at least one year and Mays at least two years. The juvenile system could hold them until age 21. Both were required to register as juvenile sex offenders.

My first reaction to the guilty verdict was this:

Turns out I was right.  The verdict prompted this awful reaction from, of all people, CNN's Poppy Harlow and Candy Crowley, two women defending Mays and Richmond, not more than an hour and some change later.  Harlow had this to say:

"Incredibly difficult, even for an outsider like me, to watch what happened as these two young men that had such promising futures, star football players, very good students, literally watched as they believed their lives fell apart...when that sentence came down, [Ma'lik] collapsed in the arms of his attorney...He said to him, 'My life is over. No one is going to want me now.' Very serious crime here, both found guilty of raping the sixteen-year-old girl at a series of parties back in August."

This is what the permanent Beltway "Both sides share the blame" mentality brings us.  We have to pity and feel sorrow for these young boys for their "youthful mistake", a "mistake" called "being convicted of rape and sexual assault" because they raped and sexually assaulted a girl.

Ohio AG Mike DeWine, to his credit, isn't letting this one go.  More charges are pending.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, saying that "this community needs assurance that no stone has been left unturned in our search for the truth," announced at a press briefing at Jefferson County Juvenile Court "that we cannot bring finality to this matter without the convening of a grand jury," which he said would convene on or around April 15. "I anticipate numerous witnesses will be called. The grand jury, quite frankly, could meet for a number of days," DeWine said, adding that "indictments could be returned and additional charges could be filed." He mentioned failure to report a felony, tampering with evidence, and "others" as possible charges. He added that the boys who received immunity were likely to retain that right.

As it should be.  The message here is really, really simple.  Don't rape people.  If somehow you're more worried about the two convicted sex offenders than the girl they hurt, then you are part of the problem of Steubenville.  It's people like that who enable this behavior and give it a pass when it happens.  There are thousands of cases like this that go unreported, and the fact that we have a country "divided" on this issue at all is the reason why they will remain so.

Rape.  Is.  Wrong.  There are no qualifiers that make sexual assault okay or justified.  None.  Deal with that.

Got it?

Funny Definition Of "Liberties" You Have There, Rand Paul

Sen. Rand Paul is nothing more than a misogynist Tea Party douchebag like the rest of the Republican party's "conservatives".  The use of sweeping federal power to outlaw choice is fine, as long as it's used against groups that don't include the subset of white Republican male senators.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) on Friday introduced so-called “fetal personhood” legislation that would completely outlaw abortion in the United States.

The Life at Conception Act would declare that human life began at conception, providing fertilized eggs with the same legal status as born persons.

“The Life at Conception Act legislatively declares what most Americans believe and what science has long known – that human life begins at the moment of conception, and therefore is entitled to legal protection from that point forward,” Paul said in a statement. “ The right to life is guaranteed to all Americans in the Declaration of Independence and ensuring this is upheld is the Constitutional duty of all Members of Congress.”

So tell me again how Rand Paul respects individual choice, local freedoms, and states' rights when it comes to using the federal government to tell women what they must do with their own bodies, or face the wrath of the state.

I'm waiting for this explanation.   Do you buy Rand Paul's?

“The Court then admitted that if the personhood of an unborn baby is established, the right to abort ‘collapses, for the fetus’ right to life is then guaranteed specifically by the [14] Amendment,’” he said.

Seems to be he's nothing more than a crackpot Tea Party Republican.  It also explains why so many of his supporters are men.

So please, fill me in on how Rand Paul is a libertarian.  Go ahead.  I could use a laugh.

Operation Cypriot Slip

The big Eurozone news this weekend is the long-anticipated decision on a bailout for the tiny nation of Cyprus has been made, and this time the EU is making no effort to hide who will pay for it through crippling austerity.  Cypriots are scheduled to pay for a healthy chunk of the bailout by having their bank savings taxed.  Felix Salmon:

I stuck my neck out in January, saying that Cyprus was “certain” to default. After all, the Europeans weren’t willing to come up with the €17 billion needed to bail the country out, and EU economics commissioner Olli Rehn told the WSJ’s Stephen Fidler that Cyprus would have to restructure its debt. But now the bailout has arrived, and — in something of a shocker — there’s no default. Instead, €5.8 billion of the bailout is going to come directly from depositors in Cyprus’s banks, in the form of what the EU is calling an “upfront one-off stability levy”.

Don’t for a minute believe that this decision is part of some deeply-considered long-term strategy which was worked out in constructive consultations between the EU, the IMF, and the new Cypriot government. Instead, it’s a last-resort desperation move, born of an unholy combination of procrastination, blackmail, and sleep-deprived gamesmanship.

The details aren’t entirely clear yet: we’re told that deposits of more than €100,000 are going to have to pay a tax of 9.9%, for instance, but it’s not obvious whether that applies to all of the large deposit or just to the amount over €100,000. And there’s still a real chance that the Cypriot parliament could scupper the whole deal. But for the time being, everybody’s going on the assumption that the deal will go through, that Cyprus will get its €10 billion bailout from the EU, and that everybody with a Cypriot bank account in Cyprus (a group which includes members of the UK military) will see their accounts taxed by at least 6.75%.

That's already leading to bank runs in Cyprus.  The trick is, will it lead to bank runs across Spain, Italy, Ireland, Portugal and Greece if they think taxing deposits in those nations are next?  Neil Irwin:

The European Central Bank will now be on high alert, monitoring activity in Greece, Spain and beyond for evidence that the Cyprus precedent will result in new runs on those nations’ banks. Expect a flood of central bank liquidity into those nations if there is any hint that depositors across Europe seem to be thinking that Cyprus is the new normal and that their seemingly safe bank deposits could be reduced 10 percent without warning.

The best the rest of the world can hope for is that Cyprus’s case is sufficiently unique that it won’t spark panic in Athens and Madrid (or in Lisbon, Dublin and Rome).

For the past six months, the global financial markets have become increasingly complacent, convinced that the euro-zone crisis is, for practical purposes, over. Cyprus is the test of whether that is correct, or whether the complacency was instead misplaced.

In other words, if there is going to be a new wave of crisis in Europe, historians will be able to trace its starting point back to today’s Cyprus bank bailout.

It's going to be an ugly week in Europe's markets.  Keep a close eye on things.
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