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      Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – August 1, 2021 by Tony Wikrent Strategic Political Economy U.S. Population Growth, an Economic Driver, Grinds to a Halt [Wall Street Journal, via Naked Capitalism 7-26-2021] America’s weak population growth, already held back by a decadelong fertility slump, is dropping closer to zero because of the Covid-19 pandemic. In h […]
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Things that are worse than White House Blow Jobs Including Things that Actually Deserve Impeachment:

This from the New York Times:

Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will

Mr. Obama is the liberal law professor who campaigned against the Iraq war and torture, and then insisted on approving every new name on an expanding “kill list,” poring over terrorist suspects’ biographies on what one official calls the macabre “baseball cards” of an unconventional war. When a rare opportunity for a drone strike at a top terrorist arises — but his family is with him — it is the president who has reserved to himself the final moral calculation.

“He is determined that he will make these decisions about how far and wide these operations will go,” said Thomas E. Donilon, his national security adviser. “His view is that he’s responsible for the position of the United States in the world.” He added, “He’s determined to keep the tether pretty short.”

I don’t know how to pick and choose from this report — I’m so shocked I’m tempted to copy and past the whole thing.

But, Charles Pierce at Esquire – Obama’s Kill List and the End of the Post-9/11 World did a pretty good job so I’ll give him some credit here:

The big story on the front page of The New York Times today about the decision-making process involved in putting together the White House “kill list” — and I’m old enough to remember those romantic days when the only one involved was Gordon Liddy and the only name on the list was Jack Anderson’s — is not about the means of killing and the relative merits of killing from afar, or even about what the story refers to as the president’s “own deep reserve” about the possibility that he might have to drop a Hellfire or some teenagers. (Let’s face facts: If he didn’t have a “deep reserve” about this, he’d be a sociopath and, as it is, the available evidence indicates that he seems to overcome his deep reserve fairly readily.) It’s really not about what he does. It’s about what we tolerate.

Read these articles then tell me: Are we going to tolerate this?

Friday Morning News and Views


Good Morning Conflucians! TGIF!

I guess state-run media got together with the President and decided to try to distract us with some cutsie, lightweight news this morning:

Obama: “I Can Go to My Right, but I Prefer My Left”

President Obama hit the basketball court and talked politics with CBS “Early Show” co-anchor Harry Smith this morning.

Smith asked Mr. Obama, who is left-handed, if he can ever go to his right.

“I can go to my right, but I prefer my left,” the president says.

He doesn’t always sink his famous jump shot.

“You know, I’ve got a few other things on my mind,” said Mr. Obama, who then makes the jump shot. “Its like health care, I always come from behind – I finish strong.”

{Gag!} I don’t know, somehow cutsie just isn’t working for me at the moment.

Obama also gave Smith a recycled version of his famous “bitter working class people” remarks from the primaries. Some of us (the angry, creepy ones) are bitter, he says, but “the vast majority of Americans know that we’re trying hard, that I want what’s best for the country.” Obviously Obama either doesn’t read or doesn’t believe his poll numbers.

Today President Obama is going the Charlotte, NC, to make another speech–this time about “his administration’s plans to create jobs.” I wonder if he will reveal what that plan is? My guess is it’s “just words.”

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate is still 9.7% (actually about 20%) even though the Labor department claims the addition of 162,000 jobs in March.

Here’s a nice feel-good story that works a lot better for me than Obama’s weak basketball jokes: Teen with autism advises other ‘different’ kids

Haley, 15, is using her experience as a person with autism to help others deal with middle school. She wrote and illustrated “Middle School: The Stuff Nobody Tells You About,” which details her advice for students….

Haley’s case is on the high-functioning side of the autism spectrum. She has always attended regular schools, doesn’t have special classes and is a straight-A student at a prestigious private school in South Florida.

“Most people just notice that I’m shy, and that I don’t eat a ton of food at school,” said Haley, of Parkland, Florida. “Other than that, I come across pretty normal.”

Go Haley! I like your style.

Thank goodness, Scott Roeder, convicted murderer of Dr. George Tiller, was sent to prison for life yesterday.

The sentence was handed down Thursday by Judge Warren Wilber at the end of a remarkable nine-hour hearing in which a self-righteous Roeder, shadowed by a burly bailiff, spoke unrepentantly in his own defense while the doctor’s widow, Jeannie Tiller, sat shaking her head “no.”

Roeder had been convicted in January of first-degree murder for gunning Tiller down in his Wichita church last May. The question remaining today was whether Roeder’s mandatory life sentence would carry a minimum of 25 or 50 years before he would be eligible for parole. Prosecutors — citing Roeder’s longtime stalking of Tiller and assault of others in the aftermath of the shooting — argued for the so-called “hard 50.” Determining that those aggravating factors were not outweighed by factors presented by Roeder and his counsel, the judge gave Roeder the maximum sentence.

Throwing the book at Roeder sends the clearest possible message that nothing — not even his stated belief that his actions prevented the “murder” of millions more — mitigates his crime.

This as the Democratic Congress and President as well as the Kansas legislature act to curtail women’s reproductive rights, and consequently women’s basic freedoms to seek life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Today at Counterpunch, Dave Lindoff is arguing that Obama should be impeached.

Here’s Lindorff back in October 2008 explaining why he planned to vote for Barack Obama instead of a third party candidate:

The reason is partly because I know I would vote for Obama if I lived in Ohio or Indiana, where the race between McCain and Obama is too close to call, and so, to vote for Nader when it is simply safe to do so here in Pennsylvania is really a cop-out.

But even more important, when I see the hate-filled racists and right-wing yahoos braying at McCain and Palin rallies, when I hear people calling for Obama to be killed or lynched, and when I see the rabid hate mail circulating in email inboxes falsely labeling him as a secret Muslim, a terrorist, a Marxist and a black nationalist, I want to see the man resoundingly win this election.

But it’s more than that. I also, perhaps against all logic and experience, admit that I expect something good of an Obama presidency.

Call me naive, but based upon my own life experience, I keep thinking that a guy who has worked as a community organizer, a Harvard Law School grad (and even law journal editor!) who could have named his price at a Wall Street law firm, but who chose instead to be a political and community activist, a guy who has relatives who live in humble surroundings in Kenya, and who spent some of his childhood actually living in a Third World Asian nation, not to mention a guy who has surely felt the sting of being called a nigger, has to bring something new to the White House. Certainly no other president in the history of the country has come to the office with such a background.

OK, Dave. I’m calling you naive.

So what are you reading this morning? Please share! And have a fabulous Friday!!!!!

Amy Bishop and Massachusetts Politics

The scene of the crime, Dec. 6, 1986

I’m still obsessed with the Amy Bishop case–most of all I’m fascinated by the events of December 6, 1986, when Bishop shot and killed her younger brother Seth. As I’m sure you all remember, Bishop is now in jail, after being charged with one count of capital murder and three counts of attempted murder for shooting six of her colleagues in the Biology Department at the University of Alabama Huntsville, three of them fatally.

Over the past few days, a great deal more information has come out and it appears more and more likely that local politics played a role in preventing Bishop from being charged with a crime in connection with the shooting of her brother Seth on December 6, 1986 in their home in Braintree, Massachusetts.

To recap, a day after the shootings in Alabama, current Braintree Chief of Police Paul Frazier released a statement in which he criticized the handling of the 1986 shooting by then Chief John Polio, now retired. Frazier had spoken to Officer Ronald Solimini, who in 1986 had arrested 21-year-old Amy Bishop and brought her to the police station to be booked.

Solimini told Chief Frazier that the file on the case had been missing at least since 1988, when Chief Polio’s successor, Chief Edward Flynn looked for it (I would love to know why he was looking for it).

Solimini said he had been in the process of booking Bishop for murder (witnesses say that word had been written on the booking sheet) when he was told by a Lieutenant to release Bishop to her parents. Supposedly the order had come down from then Chief of Police John Polio. From Chief Frazier’s statement of Feb. 13, 2010 (click on link in article to see Word document):

“I was not on duty at the time of the incident, but I recall how frustrated the members of the department were over the release of Ms. Bishop. It was a difficult time for the department as there had been three (3) shooting incidents within a short timeframe. The release of Ms. Bishop did not sit well with the police officers and I can assure you that this would not happen in this day and age.”

“It is troubling that this incident has come to light. I can assure you that the members of the Braintree Police Department maintain the highest of integrity. Since it was discovered this morning that the report is missing, I have been in contact with Mayor Joseph Sullivan. Mayor Sullivan and I have spoken with District Attorney William Keating and we will be meeting with him next week to discuss this situation. The Mayor supports a full review of this matter and agrees that we want to know where the records are.”

Rep. William Delahunt (D-MA)

After Frazier’s public statement, a March 1987 report by the State Police (PDF) was released to the public. Based on this report, then Norfolk County District Attorney William Delahunt, now a Democratic member of the House of Representatives, had ruled the the death of Seth Bishop to be accidental and no charges were filed against Amy Bishop, according to Frazier.

On Feb. 16, Braintree Mayor Joseph Sullivan announced that the missing report on the 1986 shooting (PDF) had been found in the files of an unnamed police officer. Who was that officer? No one is telling as yet.

Neither the Braintree police report nor the State Police report included the information that after shooting her brother, Amy Bishop had held two auto mechanics at gunpoint at a car dealership near her home and demanded the keys to a car, or that after leaving the dealership she had pointed her shotgun in the face of a 16-year-old boy who was working at a newspaper distribution office. It was there that Bishop was finally arrested, but not before she also trained the shotgun on police officers.

Basically, Bishop had gone on a rampage around her neighborhood on Dec. 6, 1986. After discharging her 12-gauge pump-action shotgun three times in her home, killing her brother with the second shot, she had run out of the house, tried to stop a man in a car by pointing the shotgun at him (that was in the police report for some reason), gone into the car dealership in search of a get-away car, then tried again to get a car by pointing her shotgun at a 16-year old boy. Finally, she pointed the shotgun at two Braintree police officers who were trying to disarm her, according to Boston’s WCVB, Channel 5.

A source close to the shooting investigation told NewsCenter 5 that police officers who arrested Bishop in 1986 called it the “scariest day” of their lives.

“I remember looking at her and thinking ‘She killed her brother and now she’s going to kill me,'” one officer, who did not want to be named, told NewsCenter 5’s Kelley Tuthill.

William Keating, the current Norfolk County district attorney, said Bishop should have been charged with assault with a dangerous weapon for her alleged actions after shooting her brother in 1986.

“There was a mistake in not doing it. I don’t think you can justify it,” Keating said.

Come on. Bishop should have been charged with manslaughter at the very least. The weapon she used, a 12-gauge shotgun, had to be manually pumped in order to chamber a round. And it could not just “go off” accidentally. She would have had to pull the trigger. Amy had loaded the weapon in her bedroom, where it supposedly discharged “accidentally,” blowing a hole in the wall. She had tried to cover up the hole before going downstairs. Her mother Judy Bishop later claimed she did not hear the shotgun blast upstairs. Continue reading

A History of Violence

Something is very wrong with Amy Bishop, and there has been something wrong with her for a very long time. But just what is her problem, and how did she manage to keep it at least somewhat under control for so long? As a psychologist, I have found this story so fascinating that I have barely been able to focus on anything else for the past few days.

Amy Bishop is a professor at the University of Alabama at Huntville who shot six of her colleagues at a Biology Department meeting on Friday, February 12. She had taken a 9-millimeter pistol with her to the meeting, loaded with 16 bullets. She did not have a permit for the weapon. She has been charged with one count of capital murder and three counts of attempted murder so far. From The New York Times:

Those killed were Gopi Podila, 52, the chairman of the biology department; Maria Ragland Davis, 50, a professor who studied plant pathogens; and Adriel Johnson, 52, a cell biologist who also taught Boy Scouts about science.

Two of the wounded were Joseph Leahy, 50, a microbiologist, and Stephanie Monticciolo, 62, a staff assistant, both of whom were in critical condition. The third was Luis Cruz-Vera, 40, a molecular biologist, who was released from the hospital on Saturday.

A neuroscientist with a PhD from Harvard University, Bishop was working on a start-up company to market a portable cell incubator that she had invented with her husband. The couple had won the $25,000 seed money in an Alabama business competition. Bishop and Anderson have four children, the oldest of whom is 18.

Bishop had been denied tenure twice by her department, and her appeal had been denied in April of 2009. At the end of the Spring semester she would have had to leave UAH. She felt she had been unfairly treated because of personality issues, and had apparently retained a lawyer to help her fight the decision. However, with her qualifications, Bishop should have been able to find another teaching job easily. On the other hand, why did she end up at UAH in the first place when she had such outstanding qualifications?

My excuse for writing about this at TC is that, according to the Boston Herald, quoting “a family source,” Bishop

was a far-left political extremist who was “obsessed” with President Obama to the point of being off-putting.

In addition, many right-wing blogs are trying to turn this tragic story into a political issue, claiming that Amy Bishop is a radical socialist, and supposedly that should explain her losing control and going on a shooting rampage.

At least one blog is suggesting the shootings were based on race, because most of the people Bishop shot were people of color. I also saw this suggestion made on Twitter several time yesterday.

…Bishop shot almost every non-white faculty member in the department. (She also shot and wounded two white victims, a professor and a staff member.) She killed both African-American professors in the department (one of whom was too junior to have had anything to do with Bishop’s tenure decision). She killed the department chair, who was ethnically South Asian. A Latino faculty member was wounded. There may only be two non-white faculty left in the department. Whether she intended it or not, Amy Bishop effected a racial purge of the Alabama Huntsville biology department.

The following is a summary of what I have learned about Amy Bishop so far. Continue reading

Will Obama Call the Murder of George Tiller What it is–Terrorism?

Dr. George Tiller

Dr. George Tiller

George Tiller, 67, a Witchita, KS doctor who performed abortions was shot dead inside his Lutheran church this morning during the service. His wife was in the choir at the time. This is terrorism, and it is evil. Dr. Tiller was targeted as part of a concerted effort to intimdate women who need and seek abortions and the doctors who help them. May he rest in peace.

Apparently Dr. Tiller had been a target of anti-abortion forces for years. He was previously shot in both arms and his clinic was bombed, yet he went on doing the work he believed in.

Dr. Tiller, who had performed abortions since the 1970s, had long been a lightning rod for controversy over the issue of abortion, particularly in Kansas, where abortion opponents regularly protested outside his clinic and sometimes his home and church. In 1993, he was shot in both arms by an abortion opponent but recovered.

Dr. Tiller had also been the subject of many efforts at prosecution, including a citizen-initiated grand jury investigation. In the latest such effort, in March, Dr. Tiller was acquitted of charges that he had performed late-term abortions that violated state law.

Many are celebrating Tiller’s death today.

Anti-abortion groups like Operation Rescue are hypocritically rushing to condemn the killer’s act, but they incited it over many years.

The “Tiller Watch” page is no longer available of Operation Rescue’s website. But this is a group that made it its business to learn the identities of Tiller’s family and employees. It publicized their home addresses and, yes, it publicized where Tiller went to church….Operation Rescue is by no means the only group….They made the fight personal and up close. They should not be surprised, or pretend to be appalled, upon learning the news that Sunday, in a house of worship, a murderer got too close.

Ann Coulter has been an enthusiastic voice calling for Tiller’s murder:

In fact, the hands are many in the death of George Tiller, some more directly than others. Take Ann Coulter, for example. I watched her describe, to a church full of right-wing activists, abortion-clinic doctors and health care personnel who were murdered as either having been shot, “…or, depending on your point of view, had a procedure performed on them with a rifle.” And she’s still out there today, spewing the same bile with violent force.

Interestingly, a worker at Tiller’s clinic was honored at the White House during a Memorial Day luncheon on May 26, yet so far we have heard no comment from President Obama on Tiller’s murder.

Will he speak out? I imagine he’ll eventually be dragged kicking and screaming to the teleprompter to say a few mealy-mouthed words. But will he denounce this crime as an act of terrorism? I’d have to say that is highly unlikely. I hope I’m proven wrong.

UPDATE 1: President Obama released a statement a short time ago:

I am shocked and outraged by the murder of Dr. George Tiller as he attended church services this morning. However profound our differences as Americans over difficult issues such as abortion, they cannot be resolved by heinous acts of violence.

I was right. It was pretty mealy-mouthed. Abortion is a “difficult issue?” Why not take an opportunity to defend the courageous doctors who keep helping women at the risk of their own lives? Why not defend the rights of women to make decisions about their own bodies? Oh yeah, because he doesn’t believe those things. Never mind….

Update 2: The AP has a list of abortion-related violent events.

Update 3: Seriously mentioned this website, A Heartbreaking Choice, in a comment on the previous thread. They have stories of women who were helped by Dr. Tiller.


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