Reidblog [The Reid Report blog]

Think at your own risk.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Raise your hand ...
... if you think Michelle "Internment Camps" Malkin and her crowd really care one iota about the people of Iran. After all, we're talking about Michelle Malkin -- probably the only brown person ever published by the white supremacist site Vdare, who has never demonstrated any emotion toward Muslims outside of the narrow chasm between hatred and loathing -- theoretically being in favor of people who are out yelling "Allahu Akbar" -- a phrase that is an anathema to people like her. No, I'd guess that the wingers are really after with all their carping about Iran is a plan they can reproduce, and thereby pretend that at long last, they're freedom-fighters, too: fighting Barack Obama (of course) ... maybe even in the streets! Witness this interesting comment thread on Malkin's latest supposedly heartfelt Iran post:
On June 24th, 2009 at 5:47 pm, Elm Creek Smith said:

On June 24th, 2009 at 2:56 pm, MrOlympia said:
I reckon somebody is studying the Iranian situation so when he has to deal with it here…….his brown shirt Besij will be much better prepared. He knows many United States citizens are armed, therefore he will have to be even more brutal.

There are millions of us with military training (only 20 years, 22 days, in my case) who do not consider ourselves to be released from our oaths. There are hundreds of thousands in the active military who understand and honor their oaths. If civil war comes, and that is what you are postulating, the Constitution will win, in my opinion.

Hope is not a plan; not all change is good. WE are the civilian national security force! If you have any doubts as to why the Founding Fathers included the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights, watch the Teheran coverage. “Who will be our George Bush?” The resistance is here; the resistance is now. RESIST!!!!!!!!!


Ladies and gentlemen, I think we may have spotted the next lone gunman. Hopefully someone who knows this weirdo "Elm Creek Smith" will keep one eye on his gun stash, and 911 on speed dial. And what's really scary is that his comments aren't all that far from the recent nuttiness Twittered by Florida's very own Marco Rubio.

By the way, on the not really giving a crap about Muslims but shooting their mouths off anyway front? Throw in the right wing local politicos who probably couldn't find Iran on a map, or think Barack Obama is a Muslim, and probably can't stand Muslims as a rule anyway ... or all three combined. Say ... I wonder if my old pal O'Neal Dozier is a member of the Southeastern Broward Republican Club ...)

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posted by JReid @ 1:03 AM  
Sunday, June 14, 2009
The threat, and cause, of Obama Derangement Syndrome
Stipulated that people on my side of the aisle had no love for George W. Bush. But dislike of Bush was different from the current, truly scary, Obama hatred in a couple of significant ways.

First of all, Bush derision was initially based on the 2000 election, which was seen as illegitimate not because people didn't think Dubya eligible to serve as president, say, because he's secretly a foreigner or a Muslim or a terrorist ... but rather because the election was decided by the Supreme Court. After 9/11, even Bush criticism, let alone "bashing" was practically disallowed in public, and pressure was even extended from the deferential media to the entertainment industry. Once the fear of criticizing the president wore off, the lingering dislike (and in some cases hatred) of the former president was based on a collective alarm about such ephemera as his administration's massive domestic spying apparatus, the war against Iraq, which it turns out, was as unnecessary and ideologically driven as it was deadly, not to mention what turns out to have been a policy of American-made torture. In other words: "Bush Derangement" if you want to call it that, was based on a loathing of Bush administration policies. Attitudes toward Bush himself, if you have to characterize them broadly, tend to lean more toward the comical. And while derision of Bush as a dunce bugs those on the right, it's hardly the same chilling talk that derides our current president as tantamount to a Marxist, Socialist, anti-American Muslim terrorist. [Left: a leaflet distributed in Dallas on the day of JFK's assassination. Courtesy of Prose]

Obama hatred is based on something entirely different than Bush hatred: not anger at his policies, but a profound and irrational fear and loathing of the man himself, because of myths -- including some that were generated by Republicans during the 2008 campaign, in some cases to the point of hysteria -- about his background, "associations," plus paranoia about the dastardly things he's really, really planning to do to conservatives, up to and including confiscating their firearms and putting them in concentration camps... And rather than being scorned, minimized (or ignored) by the media, as opposition to Bush often was, especially in the two years between 9/11 and the start of the Iraq war, Obama hatred is being fueled in the hearts of the black helicopter crowd by elements of the influential right. Frank Rich concludes
WHEN a Fox News anchor, reacting to his own network’s surging e-mail traffic, warns urgently on-camera of a rise in hate-filled, “amped up” Americans who are “taking the extra step and getting the gun out,” maybe we should listen. He has better sources in that underground than most. ...

... Obama’s Cairo address, meanwhile, prompted over-the-top accusations reminiscent of those campaign rally cries of “Treason!” It was a prominent former Reagan defense official, Frank Gaffney, not some fringe crackpot, who accused Obama in The Washington Times of engaging “in the most consequential bait-and-switch since Adolf Hitler duped Neville Chamberlain.” He claimed that the president — a lifelong Christian — “may still be” a Muslim and is aligned with “the dangerous global movement known as the Muslim Brotherhood.” Gaffney linked Obama by innuendo with Islamic “charities” that “have been convicted of providing material support for terrorism.”

If this isn’t a handy rationalization for another lone nutjob to take the law into his own hands against a supposed terrorism supporter, what is? Any such nutjob can easily grab a weapon. Gun enthusiasts have been on a shopping spree since the election, with some areas of our country reporting percentage sales increases in the mid-to-high double digits, recession be damned.

The question, Shepard Smith said on Fox last week, is “if there is really a way to put a hold on” those who might run amok. We’re not about to repeal the First or Second Amendments. Hard-core haters resolutely dismiss any “mainstream media” debunking of their conspiracy theories. The only voices that might penetrate their alternative reality — I emphasize might — belong to conservative leaders with the guts and clout to step up as McCain did last fall. Where are they? The genteel public debate in right-leaning intellectual circles about the conservative movement’s future will be buried by history if these insistent alarms are met with silence.

So what is the right overreacting to? Perhaps it's to what they see coming, electorally and demographically:
Democrats have won the popular vote in four of the past five elections, though in one case (2000) they did not end up in the White House. In years in which they have also won the electoral vote, Democrats have racked up sizable margins. Obama bested John McCain by 365 to 173, and Bill Clinton's two victories were in the same range. George W. Bush's two electoral-college victories were narrow; he won 271 votes in the disputed election of 2000 and 286 in his 2004 reelection.

What has brought this about? It's not just one thing -- it's everything. Start with the Democrats' success in the suburbs. Lang's formula is that demography and density have combined to help Democrats: They dominate not just the cities but also the urbanized suburbs that contain the largest share of the suburban population in America.

Democratic strength in the counties around Philadelphia, around Detroit and in Northern Virginia have squeezed Republicans dramatically. Increasingly, Republican strength outside the urban areas counts for less. "There's just not enough rural folks and small-city people left in America in the key states that determine the electoral college to offset that difference," Lang said. "You're out of people."

That's one geographical reality. The other, which became acute in 2008, is that outside the South, Republicans are in trouble. McCain won the South in November, but Obama swept the rest of the country by an even bigger margin. The same pattern holds now for House and Senate seats. Republicans may continue to win governorships in Democratic-leaning states, but in congressional and presidential elections the geographic divides are sizable.

Brownstein reeled off a list of statistics that all arrived at the same place: The South now accounts for a greater share of Republican strength than at virtually any time since the party's founding. That base is too narrow, as even Republicans know.

Demographically, the forces at work have chipped away at what was once a GOP-leaning majority in the country. The most important is minorities' rising share of the vote. Whites accounted for 76 percent of the overall electorate last November, down from 85 percent in 1988.

In the last election, there were more than 2 million additional African American voters, about 2 million more Hispanic voters and about a million more Asian American voters. All are groups in which Obama increased the Democratic share of the vote over 2004. Frey estimated that minority voters in nine states made the difference in Obama's victory margin.

Republicans can't reverse the demographic trends; their only solution is to increase their share of the minority vote. Opposing Judge Sonia Sotomayor, Obama's Supreme Court nominee, because of her pride in being a Latina won't help solve that problem.

... Leading Mike Murphy to predict a coming Republican Ice Age. If you want to see what might be aptly renamed Republican Demographic Panic in action, you need only read anything by increasingly unplugged white nationalist Pat Buchanan.

Of course, not everyone agrees with this analysis, but those who differ had better come up with a good reason Republicans can win nationwide again, short of an absolute Obama meltdown. And while they're at it, they might want to chat with their highest profile people about perhaps not trying to bring about such a meltdown by vilifying the president of the United States in ways that riles up the scariest elements of their base.

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posted by JReid @ 9:33 AM  
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
James Von Brunn: another right wing nut acting out
This time in New York, at the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C., where an Obama-hating anti-Semite white supremacist shot an (African-American) security guard to death as former Defense Secretary William Cohen and his wife Janet Langhart Cohen watched (or heard.) The interracial couple were preparing to enjoy a reading of her play about racial tolerance, in which Anne Frank has a theoretical dialogue with Emmett Till. Go figure. The attacker is named James Von Brunn. I'll bet you can take a good guess what's on his radio dial and reading list... His former wife had this to say about him:

The ex-wife of the racist who stormed the U.S. Holocaust Museum described him as an abusive alcoholic whose hatred against Jews and blacks "ate him alive like a cancer."

"It's all he would talk about," the ex-wife said of James von Brunn, 89, who was wounded in a firefight with museum guards.

"When I questioned him, he would get very angry and abusive."

Von Brunn is also apparently part of the Obama "Birther" movement: the wingnuts who question Barack Obama's citizenship ... still ... (led by their godfather, Rush Limbaugh) He even wrote a book about his ... um ... complaints... And his writings further reveal him to be adamantly pro-Bush and pro-Sarah Palin:
More about Von Brunn from the New York Times:
The gunman was identified by law enforcement officials as James W. von Brunn, who embraces various conspiracy theories involving Jews, blacks and other minority groups and at one point waged a personal war with the federal government.

... Officials and others who track conspiracy theorists have long been familiar with Mr. von Brunn, whose latest address is believed to be in Eastern Maryland, in part because he maintains a Web site. (Wednesday night, only an archived version of the site was available.) He has claimed variously to be a member of Mensa, the high-I.Q. society; to have played varsity football at a Midwestern college, where he earned a degree in journalism; to have been a PT boat commander in World War II; and to be a painter and an author.

Mr. von Brunn has also claimed to have been victimized by a court system run by Jews and blacks.

Before Wednesday, he was best known to law enforcement officials for having walked into the Washington headquarters of the Federal Reserve System on Dec. 7, 1981, with a bag slung over the shoulder of his trench coat. A guard chased him to the second floor, where the Fed’s board was meeting, and found a revolver, a hunting knife and a sawed-off shotgun in the bag.

Mr. von Brunn, who lived in Lebanon, N.H., at the time, told the police he wanted to take board members hostage to focus news media attention on their responsibility for high interest rates and the nation’s economic difficulties. He was convicted in 1983 and served several years in prison on attempted kidnapping, burglary, assault and weapons charges.
Hm ... guns ... anti-government paranoia ... federal reserve conspiracy theories ... white supremacist movement... hey, remember back when the righties got all hot and bothered about this?

The Department of Homeland Security is warning law enforcement officials about a rise in "rightwing extremist activity," saying the economic recession, the election of America's first black president and the return of a few disgruntled war veterans could swell the ranks of white-power militias.

A footnote attached to the report by the Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis defines "rightwing extremism in the United States" as including not just racist or hate groups, but also groups that reject federal authority in favor of state or local authority.

"It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single-issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration," the warning says.

Read the full report here. Janet Napolitano may want to take back that apology now. Michelle Malkin helpfully highlighted other increasingly relevant passages from the report:

From the report. p. 3:

(U//LES) Rightwing extremists are harnessing this historical election as a recruitment tool. Many rightwing extremists are antagonistic toward the new presidential administration and its perceived stance on a range of issues, including immigration and citizenship, the expansion of social programs to minorities, and restrictions on firearms ownership and use. Rightwing extremists are increasingly galvanized by these concerns and leverage them as drivers for recruitment. From the 2008 election timeframe to the present, rightwing extremists have capitalized on related racial and political prejudices in expanded propaganda campaigns, thereby reaching out to a wider audience of potential sympathizers.

(U) Exploiting Economic Downturn

(U//FOUO) Rightwing extremist chatter on the Internet continues to focus on the economy, the perceived loss of U.S. jobs in the manufacturing and construction sectors, and home foreclosures. Anti-Semitic extremists attribute these losses to a deliberate conspiracy conducted by a cabal of Jewish “financial elites.” These “accusatory” tactics are employed to draw new recruits into rightwing extremist groups and further radicalize those already subscribing to extremist beliefs. DHS/I&A assesses this trend is likely to accelerate if the economy is perceived to worsen.

Sounds about right ... Thanks, Michelle! BTW Ms. Malkin is strangely silent on Von Brunn today, preferring to devote her entire site to stupid posters opposing "Obamacare." UPDATE: Malkin did post about the shooting after all. But she claims, nonsensically, that Von Brunn was NOT, I repeat NOT ... a right winger. And this link-friend of Michelle's takes it one step further ...

Let's give the last word to the one good thing Fox News has going for it: Shep Smith, who reveals that the winger extremists are starting to creep him out, too...

As the right wing nuts react... Meanwhile, Irregular Times keeps tabs on the equally scary FReepers...

Meanwhile: Gawker muses about Von Brunn's Net savvy, and his artwork. ... and about the rise of right wing violence.

Now you see why the security was so unbelievably tight at the inaugural.

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posted by JReid @ 9:45 PM  
Monday, June 01, 2009
It didn't take long: RedState plays the Ayers card
What's the last refuge of right wing scoundrels when one another of their own runs amok and becomes a domestic terrorist? Bill Ayers. Of course.

Meanwhile, the phone number in the car story is confirmed. The notation, captured on tape by Kansas City TV station KMBC, did indeed contain the phone number of an Operation Rescue operative:
The phone number is written on an envelope with the name "Cheryl" and "Op Rescue." Cheryl is Cheryl Sullenger, Operation Rescue's senior policy adviser, who in 1988 was convicted of conspiring to bomb a California abortion clinic. She served two years in prison.

Sullenger tells The Pitch that she hasn't spoken with Roeder recently.

"No, he hasn't called me recently," Sullenger said. "No."

She went on: "You know, he's somebody who's been around. My name is on the Internet. It's on every press release. My phone number is on every press release it. It's all over the internet. I don't know. He probably has lots of people's phone numbers. You know? So I don't know. I don't have any more comment other than that."
I'll bet.

Meanwhile, the KCStar has more about the murder suspect, Scott Roeder:
Scott Roeder harbored a burning, “eye-for-an-eye” anger toward abortion doctors. He once subscribed to a magazine suggesting “justifiable homicide” against them, and apparently likened George Tiller to the Nazi death-camp doctor Josef Mengele.
And it appears Roeder had deeper problems:

Roeder’s family life began unraveling more than a decade ago when he got involved with anti-government groups, and then became “very religious in an Old Testament, eye-for-an-eye way,” his former wife, Lindsey Roeder, told The Associated Press.

“The anti-tax stuff came first, and then it grew and grew. He became very anti-abortion,” said Lindsey Roeder, who was married to Scott Roeder for 10 years but “strongly disagrees with his beliefs.”

“That’s all he cared about is anti-abortion. The church is this. God is this.’ Yadda yadda,” she said.

Lindsey Roeder said that the early years of the marriage were good and that Scott Roeder worked in an envelope factory. But she said he moved out of their home after he became involved with the Freemen movement, an anti-government group that discouraged the paying of taxes. The Roeders have one son, now 22.

“When he moved out in 1994, I thought he was over the edge with that stuff,” his ex-wife said. “He started falling apart. I had to protect myself and my son.”

Roeder was arrested with the bomb making materials in his trunk in 1996.

And get a load of Roeder's friends:
Some anti-abortion activists said they were familiar with Roeder. Regina Dinwiddie, a protester in the Kansas City area, said she had picketed a Planned Parenthood clinic with Roeder. She said she was “glad” about Tiller’s death.

“I wouldn’t cry for him no more than I would if somebody dropped a rat and killed it,” she said.

Meanwhile, Operation Rescue founder, and seriously deranged individual Randall Terry, isn't weeping for Tiller either. Instead, he's making creepy videos for his followers:

Scary stuff.


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posted by JReid @ 10:54 PM  
Fox News: the assassination station

... Secretary of State Colin Powell, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice and others have appeared from time to time on { } shows. ...

Unfortunately, these episodic, and usually fleeting, appearances do not begin to match -- let alone to counteract -- the incessant drumbeat of { } victimization, anti-{ } vituperation and approval for acts of violence thus justified when perpetrated by terrorists.

Who do you suppose that passage is referring to? What about this one?

"It is a professional institution but it is a militant institution that wants to convey an ideological Jihadi message..."

If you answered Al Jazeera, score one for you. The first is from a strikingly Goebelesque Frank Gaffney post on the Fox News website at the height of the Iraq invasion in 2003 (a piece in which he was advocating bombing Al Jazeera out of existence, and taking over Iraqi television ourselves, to broadcast pro-American messages directly to the Iraqi people. Hey, it's Frank "Destroy the Arabs" Gaffney....) The second is a quote from Fox terrorism analyst Walid Phares (who was actually "discovered" by one of my mentors at NBC 6, Ike Seamans, back in the day) quoted in a "news story" about the dangers of PBS picking up Jazeera content. Phares was also describing Al Jazeera. But with a few tweaks, either man could have been describing Fox News itself, America's home grown right wing extremist network, broadcasting to the right's very own '"qaida" (the base.)

Keith Olbermann dismantled Fox tonight, for just one of its extremist veins: its jihad against the now very dead Dr. George Tiller. Keith's recommendation? Quarantine the bastards, just the way the right believes that an Arab news station which it says broadcasts extremist propaganda (though actually, Al Jazeera turns out to be more "fair and balanced" than Fox...) would have us do. In fact, they tried.

Watch Keith's excellent riff here:

Fox's hands have been busy in other Devil's work, from countenancing the vicious anti-Obama protests of the McCain-Palin nightmare campaign, to coddling ideologues who have accused Barack Obama of being a terrorist collaborator, a dangerous black nationalist, and even the anti-Christ. If you're a Fox News viewer: somewhere north of 60, longing for the "good old days" before the "hippies" took over, angry, isolated, and enraged by Obma's election, and a "news" channel existed that for 24 hours each day encouraged you to arm yourself with as many guns as you can get your hands on, to literally fear the president of the United States (a Marxist / Communist whose policies are akin to the 9/11 terror attacks...) to join the fringe anti-tax movement which is often tied to the militia movement, ridicule and indulge in veiled threats against the president, to feel that white people are under assault and that Obama is threatening to flood the country with immigrants, to stand up and "surround" your "enemies," who are also the enemies of your country and your children, and to hate people like Dr. Tiller, whom you are told over and over and over again are mass murderers, and in short, to believe, as PoliticalBase put it, that

Barack Obama is an evil Muslim socialist dictator who isn’t even a citizen! He is going to ration health care so people die, remove his enemies from the radio airwaves, impose communism, cripple businesses, slash defense, put terrorists on the streets, put Capone-like Chicago criminals in charge of the government, take everyone’s guns, force women to have abortions, rig the census, put our children in Communist indoctrination camps, and send gays in to destroy our army, invalidate all straight marriages and make all our wives whores and our children bastards!

... what might you do?

And what would you call the channel that incited you?

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posted by JReid @ 9:58 PM  
Tiller murder suspect believed killing abortion providers was 'justifiable homicide'
Murder suspect: 51-year-old Scott Roeder of Merriam, Kansas
is seen being driven away by police. Source: Kansas City Star

From the Kansas City Star:

In the rear window of the car that Roeder was driving when police stopped him was a red rose — a symbol that is often used by abortion opponents. On the rear of his car was a Christian fish symbol with the word “Jesus” inside.

Those who know Roeder told The Kansas City Star that he believed killing abortion doctors was an act of justifiable homicide.

“I know that he believed in justifiable homicide,” said Regina Dinwiddie, a Kansas City abortion opponent who made headlines in 1995 when a federal judge ordered her to stop using a bullhorn within 500 feet of any abortion clinic. “I know he very strongly believed that abortion was murder and that you ought to defend the little ones, both born and unborn.”

And this:

Roeder was a subscriber to Prayer and Action News, a magazine that advocated the justifiable homicide position, said publisher Dave Leach, an abortion opponent from Des Moines, Iowa.

“I met him once, and he wrote to me a few times,” Leach said of Roeder. “I remember that he was sympathetic to our cause, but I don’t remember any details.”

Leach said he met Roeder in Topeka when he went there to visit Shelley Shannon, who was in prison for the 1993 shooting of Tiller.

“He told me about a lot of conspiracy stuff and showed me how to take the magnetic strip out of a five-dollar bill,” Leach said. “He said it was to keep the government from tracking your money.”

Meanwhile the right is running, at full speed, away from Mr. Roeder; attempting to pawn him off on only the militia movement and escape the blame already being directed their way. Via LifeNews:
As has been the case with most previous incidents of abortion-related violence, Roeder appears to have an affiliation with extremist political groups but not with the mainstream pro-life movement.
Well, yes, Roeder was involved in the militia movement, and he appears to be a violent and disturbed anti-government conspiracy nut. But here's the thing:

In April 1996, Roeder was arrested in Topeka after Shawnee County sheriff’s deputies stopped him for not having a proper license plate. The deputies said they searched the car and found ammunition, a blasting cap, a fuse cord, a one-pound can of gunpowder and two 9-volt batteries. One of the batteries was connected to a switch that could have been used to trigger a bomb.

Roeder was found guilty and sentenced in June 1996 to 24 months of probation with intensive supervision. He also was ordered to dissociate himself from anti-government groups that advocated violence.

But in December 1997, Roeder’s probation ended six months early when the Kansas Court of Appeals overturned his conviction. The court ruled that evidence against Roeder was seized by authorities during an illegal search of his car.

Militia-nut? Check. And yet, even his fellow militia people seem to recognize that abortion was Roeder's main issue:

Morris Wilson, a commander of the Kansas Unorganized Citizens Militia in the mid-1990s, said he knew Roeder fairly well.

“I’d say he’s a good ol’ boy, except he was just so fanatic about abortion,” said Wilson, who now lives in western Nebraska. “He was always talking about how awful abortion was. But there’s a lot of people who think abortion is awful.”

Not sure there's far to run, guys.

Go to the full thread: abortion provider murdered

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posted by JReid @ 1:31 AM  
Sunday, May 31, 2009
After Tiller's murder, fears of right wing extremism
Suddenly, this doesn't seem so funny anymore:

Not saying this woman was necessarily dangerous, but with the first Black president in office, right wing extremism on the rise, and armed, truly crazy people lurking out there, thank God the Secret Service takes no chances.

Original ReidBlog thread: the murder of Dr. George Tiller

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posted by JReid @ 11:48 PM  
Doctor who performed abortions gunned down at church
(**Scroll to the bottom of the post for the latest updates.**)

Disturbing news out of Kansas:

WICHITA, Kansas -- Dr. George Tiller, a Kansas doctor whose clinic received national attention for performing late-term abortions, was shot to death as he entered his Wichita church on Sunday.

"Members of the congregation who were inside the sanctuary at the time of the shooting were being kept inside the church by police," the Wichita Eagle reported, "and those arriving were being ushered into the parking lot."

Media reports said the suspected killer fled the scene in a blue Taurus. Police described him as a white male in his 50s or 60s.

***UPDATE***More awful details:

Deputy Police Chief Tom Stolz said Tiller, 67, was serving as an usher during morning services when he was shot in the foyer of Reformation Lutheran Church. Stolz said the gunman fired one shot at Tiller and threatened two other people who tried to stop him.

... Stolz said that Tiller apparently did not have a bodyguard with him in church, although the doctor was routinely accompanied by one. An attorney for Tiller, Dan Monnat, said the doctor's wife, Jeanne, was in the choir at the time of the shooting.

Monnat said that Tiller recently had asked federal prosecutors to step up investigations of vandalism and other threats against the clinic out of fear that the incidents were increasing and that Tiller's safety was in jeopardy. However, Stolz said authorities knew of no threats connected to the shooting.

Adam Watkins, a 20-year-old who said he has attended the church his entire life, said he was sitting in the middle of the congregation when he heard a small pop at the start of the service.

"We just thought a child had come in with a balloon and it had popped, had gone up and hit the ceiling and popped," Watkins said.

Another usher came in and told the congregation to remain seated, then escorted Tiller's wife out.

"When she got to the back doors, we heard her scream, and so we knew something bad had happened," Watkins said.

Tiller was among the few U.S. doctors to perform late-term abortions, he had been the target of numerous protests, and even a dubious prosecution that seemed to be brought on by pro-life forces. Wingers dubbed him "Tiller the Killer," and the notorious Operation Rescue had targeted him with a website called TillerWatch. Their statement on his murder:

“We are shocked at this morning’s disturbing news that Mr. Tiller was gunned down,” anti-abortion group Operation Rescue said in a statement on its Web site. “Operation Rescue has worked for years through peaceful, legal means, and through the proper channels to see him brought to justice. We denounce vigilantism and the cowardly act that took place this morning. We pray for Mr. Tiller’s family that they will find comfort and healing that can only be found in Jesus Christ.”

Apparently, the FBI is involved in the case, and police are checking on a person whose car license plate is linked to the scene.

RedState comments RedStatily:

This is apparently not the first time George Tiller has been shot at. He was shot in both arms back in 1993. He also has a history of flouting sensible regulation and oversight on abortion, in a quest to perform as many late-term abortions as possible.

Because of that, combined with the fact that reports say there were steps taken to cut out security cameras, I find it highly likely that this was a politically-motivated shooting. It is entirely the wrong thing to do though, achieves nothing to save lives, and must be prosecuted vigorously.

Pro-Life Blogs tells it like it is.

The Christian Defense Coalition condemns.

But this RedStater sounds what is the more likely El Rushbo/Glenn Beck/Hannity crazy talk position:

I can’t help but to follow the logic. “Doctor” Tiller is committing late-term abortions, which by any sane person’s calculation is infanticide. This is murder. Through perversion of the law, this is permitted, despite it flying the face of the history of civilization. This has been tolerated for two decades, and nothing has happened to stop the killing. He would have continued to commit this crime.

I can’t escape the conclusion that killing Tiller was the right thing to do. I am uncomfortable with this conclusion because it’s dangerous. But nevertheless, it was the ethical thing to do. Tiller would have continued to take numerous lives. Nothing was going to stop him. So someone did stop him. And now fewer lives will be taken.

We celebrate the breaking the laws every time the media canonizes Rosa Parks. She broke the law. There is no question of that. The question is whether it was the ethical thing to do (it was.) We celebrate the Nazi resistance, we celebrate the Tiananmen Square uprising. I’m sure those were all illegal actions, yet were unquestionably the moral things to do. So how would killing a killer, when all options are exhausted, not also be the right thing to do?

You have to wonder if the reason why we have a legal system is in order to steal the oxygen from moral vigilantism. You have to wonder if the legal system breaks down whether vigilantism, when all other options fail, becomes a moral imperative.

So the killer is ... the right's Rosa Parks? I take it this person does know that Parks never killed anybody, and that the movement she sparked and was a part of was fundamentally about non-violence .... right, RedState???

UPDATE: The White House released the following statement:

"I am shocked and outraged by the murder of Dr. George Tiller as he attended church services this morning,'' Obama said in a statement issued by the White House this evening.

"However profound our differences as Americans over difficult issues such as abortion,'' the president said, "they cannot be resolved by heinous acts of violence.''

UPDATE 2: A suspect has apparently been arrested. He's 51 years old and was stopped outside of Johnson County Kansas, according to police. Meanwhile the National Right to Life Committee has also condemned the slaying. Kind of would be nice if these groups would eschew violence before their crazy afficionados utilize their Second Amendment rights in violation of someone else's right to life...

McClatchy is doing video updates.

UPDATE 3: Right wing bloggers are ID'ing someone they say is the suspect, a guy named Scott Roeder (they're getting it from AP,) who apparently had been leaving creepy comments on the Operation Rescue website, and at the site According to the Little Green Footballers:

Scott Roeder posted a creepy comment at the Operation Rescue website in 2007, in this topic about Dr. Tiller: Operation Rescue® » Pray in May to Stop Abortion, Wichita, KS, May 17-20, 2007:

Scott Roeder Says:
May 19th, 2007 at 4:34 pm

Bleass everyone for attending and praying in May to bring justice to Tiller and the closing of his death camp.

Sometime soon, would it be feasible to organize as many people as possible to attend Tillers church (inside, not just outside) to have much more of a presence and possibly ask questions of the Pastor, Deacons, Elders and members while there? Doesn’t seem like it would hurt anything but bring more attention to Tiller.

And the FReepers add this, courtesy of the Anti-Defamation League:

Not the first arrest for Tiller's Killer?
ADL ^ | unk | unk

Posted on Sun May 31 19:34:48 2009 by aft_lizard

July 7, Kansas: Scott Roeder is sentenced to sixteen months in state prison for parole violations following a 1996 conviction for having bomb components in his car trunk. Roeder, a sovereign citizen and tax protester, violated his parole by not filing tax returns or providing his social security number to his employer.
So what is a "Sovereign Citizen?" With a hat tip to LGF, here's the Wiki:
The sovereign citizen movement is a network of American litigants who claim to be "sovereign citizens"; that is, people who claim to have certain rights under English common law and to be unaccountable to the federal government. The litigants advance this concept in opposition to "federal citizens" who, they believe, have unknowingly forfeited their rights by accepting some aspect of federal law.
This "sovereign citizen" concept originated in the Posse Comitatus movement as a teaching of Christian Identity minister William P. Gale. It has gone on to influence the tax protester movement, the Christian Patriot movement and the Redemption movement. Gale identified the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution as the act that converted sovereign citizens into federal citizens, but other commentators have identified other acts, including the Uniform Commercial Code, the Emergency Banking Act, the Zone Improvement Plan and the supposed suppression of the Titles of Nobility Amendment.
So he's part of Operation Rescue AND the "tea party movement." Brilliant! And per the ADL's Extremism Watch:
Origins: Çirca 1970; fully developed by early 1980s
Ideology: Anti-government, some white supremacist elements
Outreach: Vigilante courts, seminars, shortwave radio, the Internet, "schools of common law"
And this, which links our murder suspect to the same movement subscribed to by Terry Nichols:

In April 1992, an angry resident of Sanilac County, Michigan, wrote a letter to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources stating he was no longer a "citizen of the corrupt political corporate State of Michigan and the United States of America" and was answerable only to the "Common Laws." He therefore expressly revoked his signature on any hunting or fishing licenses, which he viewed as contracts that fraudulently bound him to the illegitimate government of Michigan.

That obscure Michigan hunter would, three years later, become known to the entire world. He was Terry Nichols, friend and accomplice of Oklahoma City Federal Building bomber Timothy McVeigh. Nichols subscribed to an unusual right-wing anti-government ideo-logy whose adherents have in recent years increasingly plagued public officials, law enforcement officers and private citizens with a variety of tactics designed to attack the government and other forms of authority. Its members call themselves, variously, consti-tutionalists, freemen, preamble citizens, common law citizens and non-foreign/non-resident aliens (Nichols used several of these), but most commonly refer to themselves as "sovereign citizens."

Members of the sovereign citizen movement engage in a variety of seemingly bizarre activities. Nichols, for instance, several times repudiated his allegiance to federal and state governments. He tried to pay a credit card debt with a fictitious financial instrument called a "certified fractional reserve check." Brought into court in Michigan in 1993, he refused to walk to the front of the courtroom and denied the court's jurisdiction over him. Even when he wrote addresses on letters, Nichols made sure to use the abbreviation "TDC" to indicate that he was using the federal zip code under "threat, duress and coercion." These exhibitions of behavior might seem odd or even humorous, but the same ideology that led to those activities also helped lead Terry Nichols to assist Timothy McVeigh in building a bomb that would kill 168 people and injure hundreds more. By then the sovereign citizen movement to which Nichols subscribed had embarked upon a nationwide resurgence that would last into the 21st century; its anti-government activities would cause problems in every region of the country.

Meanwhile, Donklephant muses:
His name is Scott Roeder and it looks like he’s involved with Operation Rescue in some way. Obviously that doesn’t mean they’re to blame, but if you convince your followers that somebody is a mass murderer and is doing it legally…you think something bad might happen?
Ya think??? So why are the winger blogs so proactive in going after Tiller's killer? Our FReeper friend aft_lizard explains:

All Pro-Lifers will raked over the coals for this lone nut case....

In other words: fear of guilt by association. Well isn't that ironic...

UPDATE 4: Randall Terry, whose group Operation Rescue the murder suspect is linked to, says he's more concerned about Barack Obama's reaction to the murder than about the killing itself. Per the HuffPo:

Randall Terry, the founder of anti-abortion group Operation Rescue who led protests against George Tiller's clinic in Wichita, Kansas in 1991, issued a statement about today's killing of the abortion doctor.

In his comments, Terry does not grieve for Tiller or denounce the murder but seems more concerned about President Obama's reaction and what it bodes for the pro-life movement.

"George Tiller was a mass-murderer. We grieve for him that he did not have time to properly prepare his soul to face God. I am more concerned that the Obama Administration will use Tiller's killing to intimidate pro-lifers into surrendering our most effective rhetoric and actions. Abortion is still murder. And we still must call abortion by its proper name; murder.

Those men and women who slaughter the unborn are murderers according to the Law of God. We must continue to expose them in our communities and peacefully protest them at their offices and homes, and yes, even their churches."

Terry did not return calls for comment.


And what say you now, Bill O'Reilly? From Salon's Gabriel Winant:

... there's no other person who bears as much responsibility for the characterization of Tiller as a savage on the loose, killing babies willy-nilly thanks to the collusion of would-be sophisticated cultural elites, a bought-and-paid-for governor and scofflaw secular journalists. Tiller's name first appeared on "The Factor" on Feb. 25, 2005. Since then, O'Reilly and his guest hosts have brought up the doctor on 28 more episodes, including as recently as April 27 of this year. Almost invariably, Tiller is described as "Tiller the Baby Killer."

Tiller, O'Reilly likes to say, "destroys fetuses for just about any reason right up until the birth date for $5,000." He's guilty of "Nazi stuff," said O'Reilly on June 8, 2005; a moral equivalent to NAMBLA and al-Qaida, he suggested on March 15, 2006. "This is the kind of stuff happened in Mao's China, Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Soviet Union," said O'Reilly on Nov. 9, 2006.

O'Reilly has also frequently linked Tiller to his longtime obsession, child molestation and rape. Because a young teenager who received an abortion from Tiller could, by definition, have been a victim of statutory rape, O'Reilly frequently suggested that the clinic was covering up for child rapists (rather than teenage boyfriends) by refusing to release records on the abortions performed.

... While he never advocated anything violent or illegal, the Fox bully repeatedly portrayed the doctor as a murderer on the loose, allowed to do whatever he wanted by corrupt and decadent authorities.

UPDATE 5: Attorney General Eric Holder has ordered U.S. Marshalls to protect the country's women's clinics:

Holder issued the following statement:

The murder of Doctor George Tiller is an abhorrent act of violence, and his family is in our thoughts and prayers at this tragic moment. Federal law enforcement is coordinating with local law enforcement officials in Kansas on the investigation of this crime, and I have directed the United States Marshals Service to offer protection to other appropriate people and facilities around the nation. The Department of Justice will work to bring the perpetrator of this crime to justice. As a precautionary measure, we will also take appropriate steps to help prevent any related acts of violence from occurring.
Tiller's family is also out with a statement:
"Today we mourn the loss of our husband, father and grandfather. Today's event is an unspeakable tragedy for all of us and for George's friends and patients. This is particularly heart wrenching because George was shot down in his house of worship, a place of peace.

We would like to express the family's thanks for the many messages of sympathy from our friends and from all across the nation. We also want to thank the law enforcement officers who are investigating this crime.

Our loss is also a loss for the City of Wichita and women across America. George dedicated his life to providing women with high-quality heath care despite frequent threats and violence. We ask that he be remembered as a good husband, father and grandfather and a dedicated servant on behalf of the rights of women everywhere."

And this from Kansas right to life groups:
"Killing isn't part of saving lives," said Pat Turner, Kansas Right to Life. "We never encouraged anyone to do it."
Well, not directly, anyway. Meanwhile, a Kansas Planned Parenthood official calls it like it is:
"To use violence, to kill someone, is not ever okay," said Peter Brownlie, Planned Parenthood. ...

... Brownlie said he knew Tiller personally and knew of the threats he faced. He calls them acts of domestic terrorism.

"I'm sad that people who provide medical care to women have to live in fear," he said.

BTW, remember when the right started foaming at the mouth about a Homeland Security report about violent right wing extremist groups? Makes you wonder... One line from the report:
Gun-related violence: “Heightened interest in legislation for tighter firearms … may be invigorating rightwing extremist activity, specifically the white supremacist and militia movements.”
UPDATE 6: I haven't been able to corroborate the net chatter that Roeder's car had a post-it note in it with the phone number of Operation Rescue written on it. The links provided by LGF and other sites go to this story, where that info, if it was there before, isn't there now.

More on Tiller and Roeder:

Federal marshals protected Tiller during the 1991 Summer of Mercy protests, and he was protected again between 1994 and 1998 after another abortion provider was assassinated and federal authorities reported finding Tiller's name on an assassination list.

Someone named Scott Roeder, then 38, was charged in Topeka, Kan., in 1996 with criminal use of explosives for having bomb components in his car trunk and sentenced to 24 months of probation. However, his conviction was overturned on appeal the next year after a higher court said evidence against Roeder was seized by law enforcement officers during an illegal search of his car.

At the time, police said the FBI had identified Roeder as a member of the anti-government Freemen group, an organization that kept the FBI at bay in Jordan, Mont., for almost three months in 1995-96.

The article may be mistaking the "Freemen" or "Montana Freemen" with the Sovereign Citizen movement. The two are apparently related.

Also, Roeder's family has spoken to the media, specifically to KMBC-TV in Kansas City:
Roeder's uncle, Clarence Roeder, issued a statement Sunday evening."This is a tragedy for the Tiller family and we feel so badly about that, that Scott would murder the doctor in the Lutheran church. We are also Lutherans, and that adds a double touch of sadness and irony."

Family members told KMBC's Jim Flink that Scott Roeder had been in and out of trouble in the 1990s, and they had not seen him since 2000, when his father died.
I'll provide more updates as I find them.

UPDATE 7: Tiller murder spawns a bit of left vs. left in-fighting.

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posted by JReid @ 2:52 PM  
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Right wingers continue to identify with the crazies
Heidi Harris last night on Hardball became the latest winger to identify themselves -- willingly -- with right wing extremists (or ex-treh-mists, if you're from Boston...) And she makes the extraordinary claim that there are no lone wolf nuts out there. None at all! She just doesn't believe it.


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posted by JReid @ 11:41 AM  
ReidBlog: The Obama Interview
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