Opinion Outpost Jan. 5

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Oregon takeover
The re-imprisonment scheduled for Monday of two rural Oregon ranchers on arson charges was the catalyst, but not the cause of the armed takeover of federal property by anti-government protestors that began on Saturday.
The incident is the latest symbol of distrust for what some perceive as an overarching and predatory government. It’s a perception that resurfaced with the ascendancy of Barack Obama, but it actually dates back to the Whiskey Rebellion just after the Revolutionary War
—  Brian Levin
CNN

 

The Oregon protest at a federal wildlife refuge has reignited an already intense debate on social media about policing, race and terrorism.
On Saturday, an armed group of antigovernment protesters occupied a remote federal wildlife refuge in Oregon and warned that they would not leave without a fight. The authorities have held back from attempting to stop the protest.
On social media, that led quickly to questions about a double standard, particularly from liberals and the left, who asked: What if the armed men were Muslim or black? They predicted the authorities would have been more forceful.
—  Katie Rogers
The New York Times

 

Bill Cosby

Let us be perfectly clear: Bill Cosby, who was finally arrested and charged for sexual assault … is innocent until proven guilty.  Although at this point, is there a person alive on Earth who believes all the women who accused him are lying in the exact same way?
… This may still be a tough case to prove, but at the very least, we no longer have to listen to his attorneys repeat that he’s never been criminally charged.
— Editorial Board
The Star Ledger 

It’s stunning to me that Bill Cosby has been charged with sexual assault. Yes, most of the dozens of women who have come forward with their allegations seem legitimate enough to have their complaints investigated.
… But the allegations are years, decades old. There is no forensic evidence. There are few corroborating witnesses — or contemporaries who could back up what a woman told her at the time.  I figured the 78-year-old entertainer would live out his days in the disgrace that he seems to have brought upon himself.
… Finally, Bill Cosby and one of his accusers will have their day in court. After months of bad publicity and organizations taking away honors and awards he was once given, it’s time that one of these cases moved from the court of public opinion into a court of justice.
— Carla Hall
The Los Angeles Times

At long last the case against comedian Bill Cosby will move from the court of public opinion— where he long ago was judged guilty of being a sexual predator — to a real courtroom, where at least one accuser will get a chance to tell her story however belatedly.
… Justice in sexual assault cases is often hard to find, but [this is] a start.
— Editorial Staff
The Boston Herald

As this case moves from the comedy club to the courtroom, Cosby is about to face the stinging reality of a celebrity at trial. The notion of a softer “celebrity justice” is a myth. Celebrities are often given harsher treatment in prosecutions. Indeed, celebrity trials are a national pastime in America. Judges and lawyers are transported into their own celebrity realms, while the public sits back to watch the ultimate reality show unfold.
— Jonathan Turley
USA Today

Saudi Arabia & Iran

The execution of the popular Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr and 46 other prisoners on Jan. 2 was about the worst way Saudi Arabia could have started what promises to be a grim and tumultuous year in the kingdom and across the Middle East. It is hard to imagine that the Sunni rulers of the kingdom were not aware of the sectarian passions the killings would unleash around the region. Saudi Arabia’s rulers may even have counted on the fierce reaction in Iran and elsewhere as a distraction from economic problems at home and to silence dissenters. America’s longstanding alliance with the House of Saud is no reason for the administration to do anything less than clearly condemn this foolhardy and dangerous course.

—  Editorial Board
The New York Times 

Much depends now on events in Saudi Arabia. If protests there grow, and if they are then suppressed by force, followed by more arrests and, potentially, more executions, the situation could slip out of the control of governments in both Tehran and Riyadh. Both Iran and Saudi Arabia are wasting their resources on aggressive foreign policies which have little chance of ultimate success. Both are taking large risks. As they pull back from this crisis it is to be hoped both will exhibit more sense in the future.
— Editorial Staff
The Guardian

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