Scott Roeder: CONVICTED MURDERER (updated)

The jury deliberated for 37 minutes, and then convicted Scott Roeder of first degree murder, for killing George Tiller, MD in church.  He was also convicted of aggravated assault for threatening to shoot two church ushers as he ran away from the scene.  Hey, if he was so convinced murdering Dr Tiller was the right thing to do, why did he run away?  Why not stick around and proudly claim credit for shooting a man point-blank in the head?

The Judge in the case previously ruled that this murderer could not use a voluntary manslaughter defense.  Rightly so, in my opinion, since this murder occurred after ten years of pre-meditation and stalking of Dr Tiller, and there were no fetuses in danger of being aborted in the Reformation Lutheran Church lobby — Roeder’s main purpose for murdering Dr Tiller.

Abortion is legal in this country, even though anti-choicers have succeeded in making it very difficult to access legal abortion services.  Scott Roeder failed to accomplish the end of abortion by murdering Dr Tiller, and any future violence against women’s clinics and doctors will meet with the same failure.

Scott Roeder is no martyr to the cause — although he tried very hard to become one.  No, Roeder will be just another murderer in the prison world, having murdered a law-abiding citizen in church.

Rot in jail forever, Scott Roeder.  The Court will be far more merciful than you.

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UPDATE: Wayne A. Schneider’s take on Roeder’s conviction.

UPDATE 2:  Scott Roeder was today sentenced to life in prison:

Sedgwick County District Judge Warren Wilbert could have made the Roeder eligible for parole after 25 or 50 years, but gave him the harsher sentence because he said the evidence showed Roeder stalked Tiller before killing him.

Wilbert also sentenced Roeder to serve an additional year in prison on each of two counts of aggravated assault for threatening two church ushers in the melee. That means — allowing for possible time off those sentences for good behavior — Roeder won’t be eligible for parole for 51 years and eight months.

Roeder is 52 now, so he won’t be eligible for parole until he’s over 103 years old.

Rot in prison, murderer and domestic terrorist.  As predicted, Roeder received far more mercy from the Court than he showed Dr Tiller.


Angelina Jolie, the Tailor and the Mafia

I am considering myself as someone who is going through life with open eyes and knows a little about the underbelly of capitalism. But yet, when I heard the words “designer fashion” and names like Valentino or Dolce&Gabbana, well lit studios used to come to my mind where the nimble hands of highly professional and well paid seamstresses turned silk and satin into gorgeous clothes.

Roberto Saviano’s book “Gomorrah – Italy’s other Mafia” put an end to my naiveté.

The production of clothes in a price range that’s far beyond the means of a middle class person is auctioned out to sweat shops in Italy where the salary level is pathetic and where sometimes even child labour is found.  The sweatshop owners get presented with the original fabric and the design and will then state the price and the timeframe for the production of  a given number of clothes. Three to five bidders get the chance to make good on the promise and the fastest and cheapest sells it’s production. The rest of them can market their output in the grey area of semi-fakes. Of course, the fakes, which are still made with the original fabrics are sold with the knowledge and silent consent of the fashion brand. The control of the business is, as expected, in the hands of the Camorra.

The specific tailor, who actually made the white tuxedo-style suit actress Angelina Jolie wore at the Oscar ceremony in 2001, saw the pictures on tv and broke down crying, as Roberto Saviano, who was researching undercover for his book at that time, witnessed.

Whenever I see a gorgeous robe now, I see a dimly lit sweatshop where underpaid, often illegal, immigrants to Italy spend most days of the week to produce luxury for a world oblivious to their existence.

Read the review of Saviano’s book here and if you have the time read the whole book. It’s worth it, if only because the courageous man who wrote that book, now lives in costant fear for his life.

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Madoff reloaded: It can’t get worse? Oh yes it can.

Stanford brings out $20m in a big box at his press conference to announce the ‘Stanford 2020 for 20’ tournament.

(Thanks to nwmuse for researching the story)

While the Republican majority and the Bush administration in line with a number of crooked Democrats were busily creating the Ponzi scheme a.k.a. Bush’s economic policy, the fat cat crooks were equally busy in ripping off investors.

We all have heard about Madoff, of course, but here’s another one. His name is R. Allen Stanford, and he’s a Texas billionaire:

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) lodged 25 pages of allegations with a court in Detroit yesterday, detailing a $9.2 billion fraud allegedly perpetrated by Mr Stanford and three companies he controls.
(read article)

Full text of complaint by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Eschewing the prospect of a Madoff-style luxury arrest, Stanford decided to split the scene and fly to Antigua, but his credit card was refused. He has disappeared nevertheless. Meanwhile, desperate customers are trying to get their money back.

More than 600 people queued outside two branches of the tycoon’s Bank of Antigua in an attempt to withdraw their cash, even though the bank is not one of the companies involved in the alleged fraud.

Similar panic was reported in Panama, where bank regulators stepped in to take control of the Stanford Bank Panama – also not involved in the fraud allegations – after retail customers began a run on it.
(read more)

There are speculations that the damage done could be well in the vicinity of Madoff’s $ 50 billion fraud.

Stanford invested heavily into getting legislation focused away from money laundering as far back as 2000 and a couple of familiar names crop up in the bipartisan list of his beneficiaries:

Stanford’s [l]obbying disclosure reports in 2000 made it clear that the company had only one interest in federal policy: money-laundering legislation. Former Treasury Department official confirmed, in interviews with Public Citizen, that Stanford Financial vigorously opposed the legislation – along with several other Texas-border banking institutions – in meetings held on Capitol Hill. Between February 2000 and June 2001, Stanford Financial gave Republican party committees $208,000 and Democratic party committees $145,000.

But Stanford didn’t stop there. Stanford Financial and R. Allen Stanford gave another $95,000 to the 527 groups of three influential politicians – Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle ($40,000), House Democratic Caucus Chairman Martin Frost ($50,000), and Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott ($5,000).

In doing so, Stanford became the single largest contributor between July 1, 2000 and June 30, 2001 to the 527 groups of Daschle and Frost. (read more)

The New York Times has more details and the juiciest bit at the end of their story:

The current S.E.C. charges stem from an inquiry opened in October 2006 after a routine exam of Stanford Group, according to Stephen J. Korotash, an associate regional director of enforcement with the agency’s Fort Worth office.

He said the S.E.C. “stood down” on its investigation at the time at the request of another federal agency, which he declined to name, but resumed the inquiry in December 2008.

Another federal agency. Figures.

Honestly, I’m sure we will be busy writing about similar cases still. Whatever wealth may have been created during the Bush years – and Paul Krugman makes the case that none was – filled the pockets of crooks. Now that figures, too.

UPDATE: It now turns out that the SEC’s fraud charges may be the least of Stanford’s worries. Federal authorities tell ABC News that the FBI and others have been investigating whether Stanford was involved in laundering drug money for Mexico’s notorious Gulf Cartel.

UPDATE 2: Found! Accused Scammer Stanford Turns in Passport in Washington

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