Death Toll Rises to Five in California Shooting Rampage After Body of Gunman’s Wife Found
Update, Nov. 15, 2:10 p.m.: The gunman, identified as Kevin Janson Neal, began his mass murder by first shooting his wife and hiding her body under the floor of their home, bring the death toll to five. “We believe that's probably what started this whole event,” Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston said.
Neal’s mother, interviewed by the Associated Press on Wednesday, said her son had phoned her before the killings, seemingly filled with despair. “Mom it's all over now. I have done everything I could do and I am fighting against everyone who lives in this area,” she recalled him saying. “All of a sudden, now I'm on a cliff and there's nowhere to go.”
Original post, published Tuesday, Nov. 14, 7:43 p.m.:
A gunman killed four people and hospitalized at least 10—including two children—on Tuesday after opening fire at an elementary school and six other sites in a Northern California community 130 miles north of Sacramento. Armed with two handguns and a semiautomatic rifle, the shooter, an as-yet unidentified man who was killed by two law enforcement officers, appears to have been attacking victims at random following a domestic violence incident.
The string of shootings began at 8 a.m. at a home in Rancho Tehama Reserve, a rural subdivision with fewer than 1,500 residents. Resident Brian Flint told local reporters that his roommate had been killed and his truck stolen by their neighbor, whom he says was a known felon. Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston declined to offer details or name the man but confirmed the suspect had prior encounters with law enforcement. Flint said that the gunman had been “threatening us” and “shooting a lot of bullets lately, hundreds of rounds, large magazines.”
Rancho Tehama man talks about incident. pic.twitter.com/uy1l06fw1K— Jim Schultz (@JimSchultz_RS) November 14, 2017
Using two stolen vehicles, the gunman went on what Johnston described as a “shooting rampage” in the community, opening fire at targets with whom he had no known connection, including a woman and child driving to school as well as other students, teachers, and parents at the 100-pupil elementary school. According to witnesses, the shooter fired 90 to 100 rounds, some of which came through the windows of a kindergarten classroom. Johnston confirmed that while no children had been killed, at least two were wounded; the Redding Record Searchlight reported that a 6-year-old had been shot twice and was airlifted to a nearby medical center. The shooter ultimately exchanged fire with two officers, who killed him.
U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris of California responded to the tragedy on Twitter, with Feinstein wondering how to prevent future shootings.
Another heartbreaking shooting, this time in Rancho Tehama, California. When will this stop and how can we stop it?— Sen Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) November 14, 2017
Republican Rep. Doug LaMalfa, who represents Tehama County as part of California’s 1st District and described himself as “an ardent defender of our Second Amendment rights” on his campaign website, has not yet issued a statement on the shooting.
“This is a very tragic event for all of us,” said Johnston. Indeed, the murders would be tragic on their own, but the news is more harrowing considering how common mass shootings have become: This is the fifth mass shooting in the past month and a half, according to Mother Jones’ running tabulation, and comes just nine days after the Sutherland Springs massacre.
School Lockdown Saved Students’ Lives During Northern California Shooting Rampage
School administrators in Rancho Tehama Reserve, California, apparently saved young students’ lives when they put the elementary school on lockdown amid Tuesday morning’s mass shooting. During the 45-minute string of shootings at seven locations throughout the Northern California subdivision, two children were injured, but no students were among those killed by gunman Kevin Janson Neal (whose identity was confirmed by the Sacramento Bee). Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston said the school lockdown prevented what could have been a far greater tragedy: “The quick action of those school officials, there is no doubt in my mind, saved countless lives.”
Rancho Tehama School, which has an enrollment of around 100 students, was one stop in the middle of the shooter’s seemingly random rampage. (Update, 1:53 p.m.: The sheriff’s office announced that Neal first killed his wife and hid her body in their home.) According to national and local reports, Neal shot two neighbors with whom he’d been feuding, including a woman who had a restraining order against him for a previous violent attack, then sped away in a stolen truck. “The bell had not rang, roll had not been taken, when the shots were heard,” said Corning Union Elementary School District Superintendent Richard Fitzpatrick. Students, parents, and teachers rushed into classrooms, locked doors, and sheltered in place under desks. “This was a question of minutes,” Fitzpatrick added.
Neal crashed his vehicle through the school gates but was unable to enter classrooms, so he stayed outside the school for six minutes and fired through the windows and walls before continuing his shooting spree elsewhere and being fatally shot by law enforcement. He wounded one student, who was taken by helicopter to a hospital.
Two-thirds of schools in America practice active-shooter lockdown scenarios. While these shelter-in-place drills have incurred controversy because they scare children, in the case of Rancho Tehama, the lockdown procedure kept students safe.
The Fall of Mugabe: Zimbabwean Strongman Arrested by His Own Military
Looks like it was a coup after all.
Zimbabwe’s military has put President Robert Mugabe under house arrest after a night of uncertainty and conflicting reports. Mugabe’s confinement was confirmed by South African President Jacob Zuma, who spoke with him by phone this morning.
It is a stunning turn of events for the world’s oldest head of state, who has kept an iron grip on power since Zimbabwe gained independence in 1980.
Zimbabwe’s domestic political opposition is weak and disorganized, and there’s been little international pressure on Mugabe to step down, so the overthrow appears to be mainly the result of a power struggle within the ruling Zanu-PF party. Mugabe has seemed increasingly feeble and erratic lately, and his fatal mistake apparently was attempting to clear a path for his wife, Grace, to become vice president, potentially putting her in line to be his successor. Last week he fired Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is part of an influential faction within Zanu-PF of veterans of the guerrilla war against white minority rule in the 1970s. Another member of that faction, Constantino Chiwenga, commander of the armed forces, was the one behind the current intervention. Earlier this week, he had accused the party’s youth faction, loyal to Grace, of purging veterans of the country’s liberation struggle.
It’s not quite clear what happens now. A uniformed general appeared on the country’s main broadcaster to deny that the military was taking power, though that’s hardly reassuring.
Subtle indication there may be a coup: your news anchor is suddenly this guy, telling you it’s totally not a coup. pic.twitter.com/lKOX5uQGnW— Carl Fridh Kleberg (@FridhKleberg) November 15, 2017
Despite years of economic mismanagement, autocratic rule, and human rights abuses, Mugabe still has some significant support. The army’s chief of staff was quick to say that the target of their action was not Mugabe but “criminals around him who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice.” It seems plausible that the military could reinstall Mnangagwa, whose current whereabouts are unknown, as vice president while allowing Mugabe to remain as a figurehead. Even so, he would be a vastly diminished figure.
Zuma, who has generally backed Mugabe despite rough patches in the relationship, has dispatched South African envoys to meet with Mugabe and the Zimbabwean military leaders. The South African government warned against “unconstitutional changes of government.” The U.S. government, which maintains targeted sanctions on a number of Zimbabwean leaders including Robert and Grace Mugabe, has not yet commented on the coup, though the U.S. Embassy in Harare encouraged American citizens in the country to shelter in place until further notice. The New York Times notes that Gen. Chiwenga visited China, a close ally of Zimbabwe’s, last week, but it’s unclear if any plans for the takeover were discussed.
Trump Appears Unable to Keep Mass Shootings Straight, Consoles Sutherland Springs Again
Donald Trump has occasionally bungled his role as the nation’s consoler in chief, as when he congratulated Puerto Rico on not being a “real catastrophe like Katrina” and contradicted a Gold Star widow on Twitter.
On Tuesday, a day that included a shooting in Northern California that killed four and injured 10, the president tweeted his condolences—to the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas, the sight of the deadly Baptist church shooting more than a week ago.
His message to the people of Sutherland Springs caught Twitter’s attention not so much because of his tendency to put his foot in his mouth but because of what appeared to be simple confusion. Or, perhaps, some lazy copy and pasting.
"May God be with the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas," he wrote Tuesday night. "The FBI and Law Enforcement has arrived."
May God be with the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas. The FBI and Law Enforcement has arrived.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2017
Here’s the tweet from Nov. 5, the day of the Baptist church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas:
May God be w/ the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas. The FBI & law enforcement are on the scene. I am monitoring the situation from Japan.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 5, 2017
You might notice that there are enough differences between the two tweets that the former was not simply a copy-and-paste of the latter that was sent out before edits could be made. He even abbreviated the “with” and rephrased the bit about the FBI and law enforcement. One could theorize he used a template, started to edit it and then got distracted and fired it off without changing the name of the town. Or that he legitimately did believe Sutherland Springs was the site of the latest shooting. Or that he simply meant to send continuing condolences to Sutherland Springs, no matter how poor the timing might appear.
Roy Moore’s Lawyer Just Sent a Grammatical Apocalypse of a Letter Threatening Local Media
Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore is taking preliminary legal steps to challenge the reporting on the recent allegations that he had multiple relationships with teenagers, by issuing a demand letter to the local Alabama Media Group, the publisher of AL.com, which has been reporting the story following the Washington Post’s story last week. The letter accuses the publication of defamation, libel, slander, fraud, malice, suppression, wantonness, conspiracy, and negligence.
The letter appears to be a legal scare tactic aimed at making publications, particularly smaller ones, think twice about publishing stories they would normally publish. It seems unlikely it would ever go to court because discovery would likely be unkind to Roy Moore, such that the legal maneuvering is likely a political move to prove Moore’s mettle and belief in his own innocence to Alabama voters. But, perhaps more importantly, the letter is utterly incoherent, full of typos, and incomprehensibly written. It’s worth reading, if only for that. Let's not forget Roy Moore is also a lawyer and a former judge.
Today's Impeach-O-Meter: Republicans Beg Republican to Reopen Hillary Case Closed by Republican
The Impeach-O-Meter is a wildly subjective and speculative daily estimate of the likelihood that Donald Trump leaves office before his term ends, whether by being impeached (and convicted) or by resigning under threat of same.
Republicans have been quite successful of late in elections and control both chambers of Congress and the White House. On Tuesday, given a chance to present a unified response to minority Democrats' pointed questioning of attorney general Jeff Sessions at a House Judiciary Committee hearing, America's powerful governing party ... squabbled with itself about whether it's necessary to launch another investigation into Hillary Clinton's email server.
The background here is that a number of Republican legislators believe Crooked Hillary's vast past crookedness warrants the appointment of another special counsel. Among them are Virginia Rep. Bob Goodlatte, Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, and Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert, who sit on the Judiciary Committee. Their beef with Clinton involves the server but, as this as this graphic demonstrates, also extends to most of the rest of the events that have ever taken place in the universe:
IMPORTANT UPDATE: Here, care of Rep. Louie Gohmert's office, is the full chart he displayed at today's House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing. pic.twitter.com/dPSHtGvwqK— Chris Geidner (@chrisgeidner) November 14, 2017
(Please note that the State Department is presented on this chart as a subsidiary of "Benghazi" and that there is a line between the box on the lower right labeled "Obama" and another box toward the middle which is also labeled "Obama." What do the binary Obamas have to hide?)
The long and short of this conspiracizing is that Clinton has been let off the hook for the email thing—but also for the majestically overhyped Uranium One "scandal" and for her involvement with the uncorroborated "Steele dossier" which is misleadingly being presented by right-wing figures as the basis of the Trump-Russia investigation—because the entire Obama Justice Department was in the bag for her. The man who has become the face of this alleged Obama deep-state fix, in the right-wing imagination, is former FBI director James Comey.
In reality world, however, Comey is considered a credible figure by nonpartisan observers and the general public. He's a respected federal law-enforcement lifer who moreoever was himself a registered Republican until very recently. Jeff Sessions, whose job involves maintaining good relations with the federal law-enforcement community and who has tangible (if highly controversial) non-Hillary priorities of his own, does not appear to have an appetite for picking a fight with a former FBI director or spending resources on a special-counsel goose chase. At Tuesday's hearing, his feelings on the matter broke into the open as he demonstrated spectacularly little patience for Jordan's rambling Comey/Clinton questions:
Rep. Jordan: We know that Mr. Comey publicized the [email server] investigation and we know he made the final decision on whether to prosecute or not. And then when he gets fired, he leaks a government document through a friend to the New York Times—and what was his goal? To create momentum for special counsel. It can't be just any special counsel, it's Bob Mueller, his mentor. The same Bob Mueller who now is in this investigation with Russian businesses wanting to do business here in the United States. So I guess my main question is, what's it going to take to actually get a special counsel? What's it going to take to actually get a special counsel?
Jeff Sessions: It would take a factual basis that meets a standards of the appointment of a special counsel.
Ya burnt, Jim Jordan. Jordan didn't give up, though:
Jordan: It sure looks like the FBI was paying the author of [the Steele dossier] and it sure looks like a major political party was working with the federal government to then turn an opposition research document, the equivalent of a National Enquirer story, into an intelligence document, take that to the FISA court so they can then get a warrant to spy on the campaign. That's what it looks like.
Replied Sessions: "'Looks like' is not enough basis to appoint a special counsel." Cold!
Making the whole situation even more bizarre: Jordan and the other legislators pursuing this line of inquiry are just following the lead of Sessions' boss, who is still mad at his own A.G. for allowing the Russia investigation to go forward and has been taking it out on him for months by whining in public.
Uranium deal to Russia, with Clinton help and Obama Administration knowledge, is the biggest story that Fake Media doesn't want to follow!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 19, 2017
So why aren't the Committees and investigators, and of course our beleaguered A.G., looking into Crooked Hillarys crimes & Russia relations?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 24, 2017
Thus do we have Republican legislators carrying water for a Republican president who's ticked off that his Republican attorney general won't relitigate a decision that was made by a Republican FBI director. Unified government, indeed.
Today’s meter level is unchanged because 60 percent is already quite high, but it's a confident 60 percent. Do the people described above seem to you like they're capable of running the government until 2020 without a self-inflicted catastrophic collapse?
Here Is Jeff Sessions’ Current Official Story About George Papadopoulos
Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. The Democratic questioning was focused largely on the accuracy of Sessions’ shifting testimony about whether or not he was aware of Russian intermediaries having communicated with members of the Trump campaign. The latest version—that he was aware of such communications in at least one case—is worth closely parsing, considering how significantly the story has changed over time.
First, here’s a recap of the previous iterations.
Version one: During his Senate confirmation hearings in January, Sessions was asked by Sen. Al Franken: “If there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of this campaign” what would Sessions do? Sessions responded “I'm not aware of any of those activities.” He also said he did not communicate with Russians himself. That was proven untrue when it was revealed that he had met with Russian officials in the course of the campaign. Sessions later claimed he had actually been denying the allegations in the first part of Franken’s question, which mentioned a CNN report saying there was a “continuing exchange of information” between Russian intermediaries and campaign officials.
Version two: To a follow-up question from Sen. Patrick Leahy one week after that testimony, Sessions said he had never been in “contact with anyone connected to any part of the Russian government about the 2016 election.”
Version three: In June testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sessions broadened the scope of his denial, saying he was unaware of conversations between anyone connected to the Trump campaign and any Russians “concerning any type of interference with any campaign.”
Version four: In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Oct. 18, Sessions acknowledged that his sworn statement to Leahy in version two was possibly inaccurate. He offered that it was “possible” that “some comment was made about what Trump’s positions were” at his various Russia meetings.
Version five: In that Oct. 18 testimony, he also furtherer clarified his initial statement to Franken. Sessions said he was unaware of communications between members of the campaign and Russians, basically repeating his initial version but without any after-the-fact caveats:
Franken: You don’t believe that surrogates from the Trump campaign had communications with the Russians? Is that what you’re saying?
Sessions: I did not, and I’m not aware of anyone else that did, and I don’t believe it happened.
Franken: And you don’t believe it now?
Sessions: I don’t believe it happened.
On Tuesday, Sessions acknowledged this testimony was also inaccurate. Here is his current version of events in light of George Papadopoulos’ guilty plea for lying to the FBI about communications with Russians and Russian intermediaries.
1. Sessions did know about Papadopoulos’ communications with Russians.
Sessions acknowledged that Papadopoulos was in a March 31 foreign policy meeting attended by Sessions at which Papadopoulos raised the issue of his connections with Russians and offered to set up a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler asked Sessions: “Did Mr. Papadopolous mention his outreach to the Russian government during that [March 31] meeting?” Sessions responded: “He made some comment to that effect…”
2. Sessions only remembered Papadopoulos’ comments about his communications with Russians once the news of his guilty plea broke, after Sessions’ most recent Senate testimony.
“I remember[ed] after having read it in a newspaper,” Sessions said in response to Nadler.
“I would have been pleased to have responded and explained it if I’d recalled it,” he said later.
3. Sessions said a number of times that he had “pushed back” against Papadopoulos’ proposal at that March 31 meeting for a Trump-Putin meeting, as well as against him making any contact with Russians on behalf of the campaign.
“I believe that I wanted to make clear to him that he was not authorized to represent the campaign with the Russian government, or any other foreign government, for that matter,” Sessions said during his opening statement.
“[Papadopolous] said something about going to Russia and dealing with the Russians and I pushed back and said ‘you shouldn’t do it,’” Sessions said in later response to a question by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries.
“I did say ‘you don't represent something,’” he added in response to Rep. Eric Swalwell. “I pushed back at his trip and was concerned that he not go off somewhere pretending to represent the Trump campaign. He had no authority for that. This young man didn’t have any ability and ought not to be going off representing the campaign.”
And one more time in response to Rep. Jamie Raskin: “I remember that he suggested an ability to negotiate with Russians or others. And I thought he had no ability or it would not be appropriate for him to do so. And I was pretty clear about that he shouldn't be pretending to represent [the campaign].”
4. Sessions doesn’t recall what Trump’s response to Papadopoulos’ proposal for a Putin meeting was, or how anyone else in the meeting responded.
5. Sessions was not aware of any further contacts between Russians and campaign members.
“I don't believe I had any knowledge of any further contacts and I was not in regular contact with Mr. Papadopolous,” Sessions said when asked by Nadler if he had taken “any further steps to prevent Trump campaign officials and advisors or employees from further outreach to the Russians.”
“I'm not aware of it,” he added when asked if he thought that any such contacts had happened.
He then said “I don’t recall it” when asked again if he had discussed the Papadopolous issue with anyone in the campaign after that March 31 meeting.
6. Sessions did not discuss “Papadopolous’ efforts” with anyone at the FBI, the Department of Justice, on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team, or at the White House.
7. Sessions attended a dinner meeting of Trump’s foreign policy team on June 30, 2016—paid for by Sessions’ Senate re-election campaign—which Papadopolous also attended.
8. Sessions never communicated with Papadopolous electronically about Russia after that March 31 meeting.
Rep. David Cicilline: Did you exchange any e-mail, text message, or any other communication to, or from Mr. Papadopoulos about Russia or any other subject?
Sessions: I do not believe so. I'm confident I did not.
He did "not recall," however, if he was ever "forwarded" any campaign communications about Papadopoulos.
9. Sessions may have discussed Papadopoulos with someone else on the campaign, though, at some point.
"I can't say there were no conversations about him, before or after this event," Sessions said.
Given what we know about the falsehoods in Sessions’ previous testimony, Special Counsel Mueller and Senate Intelligence Committee investigators would be wise to look out for inconsistencies between the above statements and any evidence they acquire in their respective Russian investigations. Something tells me that we still might not have heard Sessions' final version of these events.
Alabama Robocall Impersonates a Washington Post Reporter Willing to Pay for Dirt on Roy Moore
Adding further muck to the already deeply icky Alabama Senate race is local CBS affiliate WKRG-TV's report Tuesday that a robocall by someone posing as a Washington Post reporter had been caught on the voicemail of a local pastor. During the 25-second recorded call, a man posing as “Lenny Bernstein,” a Washington Post reporter, says he’s looking for women “willing to make damaging remarks” about Roy Moore in return for “a reward of between 5,000 and 7,000 dollars.” Everything about the portrayal of the reporter is cartoonish down to his unrecognizable, vaguely Bostony accent.
Unsurprisingly, the call is a hoax that comes in the wake of the Washington Post’s bombshell of story last week about Roy Moore’s alleged sexual interactions with teenagers that yanked the rug out from under the special election race scheduled to go to the polls on Dec. 12. Washington Post Executive Editor Marty Baron said in a statement* that paying for information is not within the bounds of the Post’s (or most any newspaper’s) reporting. “The Post has just learned that at least one person in Alabama has received a call from someone falsely claiming to be from the Washington Post. The call’s description of our reporting methods bears no relationship to reality,” Baron said in a statement Tuesday. “We are shocked and appalled that anyone would stoop to this level to discredit real journalism.”
Here’s the full text of the call:
“Hi, this is Lenny Bernstein, I’m a reporter for the Washington Post calling to find out if anyone at this address is a female between the ages of 54 to 57 years old willing to make damaging remarks about candidate Roy Moore for a reward of between 5,000 and 7,000 dollars. We will not be fully investigating these claims however we will make a written report. I can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, thank you.”
Recorded campaign calls are not uncommon in closely contested elections. National politicians, like President Trump and President Obama before him, often call and put in a good word for their candidate of choice in the closing days of a race. Sometimes negative calls are also sent out. But all calls are regulated by the Federal Elections Commission and, like a campaign TV ad, require disclosure of who has paid for the call. This particular call is a bit different, because like a push poll its goal is more covert. It’s not clear how many households received the recorded call nor the exact intent of the call, but it certainly appears to be an attempt to discredit the earlier reporting by the Washington Post. The Roy Moore campaign has struggled with the fallout from the accusations and the call appears to be an attempt to sow doubt about the claims made against Moore as the work of a coastal media paying for dirt. Roy Moore and his supporters have said as much in public responses to the accusations.
*Correction, Nov. 14, 2017: This post originally stated there is no reporter named Lenny Bernstein at the Washington Post. The Post’s Lenny Bernstein informs me that is not, in fact, the case.
Today in Conservative Media: Let’s Not Forget That Roy Moore Was a Democrat
A daily roundup of the biggest stories in right-wing media.
Conservatives continued to assess the fallout from the sexual misconduct allegations against Roy Moore on Tuesday. National Review’s Alexandra DeSanctis wrote a piece arguing that defenders of Moore—and Trump—in the face of assault allegations “betray conservative women.” “Women on the right routinely have to explain that one can be a Republican without accepting sexual assault as just ‘boys being boys,’ ” she wrote. “Of course, part of the blame goes to disingenuous feminists and leftists who take every opportunity to discredit conservatism and its female constituents. But conservatives who attempt to defend Trump and Moore as moral and upstanding men contribute enormously to the problem.”
Moore has denied the allegations, but some of the answers he gave to Sean Hannity on Fox News about “dating teenage girls” when he was in his thirties were unimpressive. It is an issue because of the acute sensitivity to physical harassment of women and even greater public outrage about any form of abuse of minors. Both are well-founded and justly righteous public attitudes. Their application in this case is mitigated by the absence of authoritative corroboration, any seriously alleged pattern of repeated misconduct (as in the Weinstein allegations), and the fact that the alleged incident is violently denied by the former chief justice of the state, occurred 38 years ago, did not involve any direct physical grope or probe, [Ed. Note: Leigh Corfman alleges that Moore undressed her, touched her over her underwear, and placed her hand on his underwear when she was 14] was not reported to law authorities (and was not necessarily illegal if it happened at all and certainly is not actionable now) and was given instead to the trusty first battery of reliable Democratic artillery in the media. (After the Watergate character assassination, the Washington Post holds that status permanently, like the nuncio of the Holy See being the dean of the diplomatic corps in all countries that attended the Congress of Vienna.)
It is a reasonable supposition that most people in public life have something not much less embarrassing than this in their backgrounds that remain unknown, one form of misconduct or another. It is also true that even if this incident occurred, as long as it was not repeated, it does not disqualify Moore from being a senator, if he has had 38 subsequent years of unexceptionable sexual and romantic conduct.
At RedState, Caleb Howe pondered the potential consequences of a Moore win:
The fact is, these are credible accusations. They are not proven, but they are credible. In this case. With this man. With these witnesses.
The consequences of a Moore win would play out across the GOP. And to what end? You may think you are preserving a particular number of votes, but that’s not so if you’re tanking other races. Every Senator will have to answer for Moore now. Already. How much worse will that be if he sits?
And how much worse are we if he sits and then even more comes out? If he turns out to be guilty as sin. What are we, then?
Gateway Pundit ran a post about “Bombard,” a YouTube “body language expert” who concluded that Moore’s denial of the latest accusation against him in a brief appearance before the press Monday was “genuine”:
Bombard notes Moore keeps perfect eye contact with various members of the crowd.
“He looks at everybody — that’s good!”, says Bombard.
Bombard then goes on to note as Moore touches on the allegations that he’s clearly disgusted by the claims as he’s talking out of the side of his mouth.
Moore puts genuine emphasis on his words, while his speech is in-sync with his body movements.
Bombard notes Moore is not stiff while fighting back against the allegations.
“He’s being genuine and looking at those who are looking at him,” adds Bombard.
On his radio show, Rush Limbaugh reminded listeners that Moore was a Democrat at the time his misconduct allegedly occured:
Did you know that before 1992, when a lot of this was going on, that Judge Moore was a Democrat? You didn’t know that? How about all these people saying, “Yeah, yeah, everybody knew about Judge Moore, he’s a good ol’ boy!” While he was a Democrat, nobody said a word. When he supposedly was attracted to inappropriately aged girls, he was a Democrat.
In other news:
Conservatives responded to a column in the New York Times from Michelle Goldberg (formerly of Slate) arguing that Juanita Broaddrick’s rape accusation against Bill Clinton should be taken seriously. The Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro criticized Democrats taking a second look at Broaddrick for their tardiness on The Ben Shapiro Show:
Slow clap for coming to the correct conclusion 25 years after the fact. Slow clap for that. Juanita Broaddrick came out with her allegations in like 1992. And she alleged that Bill Clinton took her into a room and forced himself on her, and physically raped her, and that there was a dinner afterward that she attended where Hillary Clinton came up to her, patted her on the hand, and said “Thank you for all you do.” Meaning, “Keep your mouth shut.” The left for two decades has been ignoring Juanita Broaddrick, and pretended that Juanita Broaddrick didn’t exist. During the last election cycle, when the Trump campaign brought up Juanita Broaddrick, the media quashed interviews with Juanita Broaddrick—they said, “This is old news. Why would we cover this. And only now, when the election’s over, and when they’re trying to look to weaponize all sexual allegations against the right do they finally admit that this stuff happened.
NewsBusters’ Clay Waters gave the column reserved praise. “It's a fairly big step from a fiercely pro-abortion Democratic defender like Goldberg,” he wrote. “But she still can’t stop blaming the ‘right-wing,’ as shown in the text box, ‘Coming to terms with Bill Clinton and right-wing disinformation.’ ”
Is What’s Happening in Zimbabwe a Coup, or Does It Just Look Like One?
It bears all the traditional signifiers of a military coup: a beret’d military commander addressing the media, flanked by fellow officers, armored vehicles headed toward the capital. But what’s really going on in Zimbabwe now?
The latest crisis kicked off last week when President Robert Mugabe fired powerful Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Mnangagwa is a former intelligence chief and veteran of the 1970s guerrilla war against white minority rule and was widely seen as a likely successor to Mugabe. War veterans are a powerful constituency within the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union—Patriotic Front party. Mnangagwa’s removal was widely seen as a move to clear a path for Mugabe’s increasingly influential wife, Grace, to be named as his successor. Grace is a controversial figure at home and abroad, not only because of a recent high-profile incident in which she had to ignominiously flee from South Africa after allegedly beating a fashion model with an extension cord, but also because she has the backing of many younger members of the party.
Then on Monday, Gen. Constantino Chiwenga, a close ally of Mnangagwa’s who was considered a possible future vice president himself, called a press conference, denouncing moves to purge “members associated with our liberation history.” If the purge did not stop, he warned, “the military will not hesitate to step in.” On Tuesday, Reuters reported that two armored vehicles were seen headed toward the capital, Harare. While the country’s state-linked media has had little to no coverage of the events, the ZANU—PF Twitter account did issue this catty denial:
Thanks for your concerns, there is NO coup happening in Zimbabwe. Please continue with your lives and face up to your own problems.— ZANU PF (@zanu_pf) November 14, 2017
Blessing-Miles Tendi, a Zimbabwean lecturer in African history and politics at Oxford, told me he doubts Chiwenga has the clout to pull off a coup.
“Despite being the overall commander, he actually doesn’t have the degree of authority that one would assume. He’s always been seen as an extremely political commander. During the liberation war, he was a political commissar. For that reason, he hasn’t always had complete authority,” he said. “I very much doubt that what he had to say had wide resonance within the military itself.” In contrast to West Africa, southern Africa rarely sees coups, and regional governments have at times moved aggressively to prevent them.
Tendi says the fact that Chiwenga addressed the media before taking any military action doesn’t bode well for any attempt to take power. “You’d like to think when you issue such a show of warning that it’s a show of power, but it turned out to be a show of weakness,” he said. ZANU—PF’s youth wing moved quickly to condemn the general and call on troops to stay in their barracks.
However this crisis is resolved, Zimbabwe’s post-Mugabe future looms. At 93, he’s the oldest head of state in the world and in poor health, spending much of his time abroad to receive medical treatment, out of contact with his own government. Grace is now quite likely to take her place as one of the country’s two vice presidents before the end of this year, but Tendi says that doesn’t necessarily mean we should assume she will succeed her husband. While the Mugabes have worked effectively together to sideline political allies, Mugabe “tends to be quite sexist, quite misogynist. He’s never rated women as political leaders.”
Mugabe is likely to have a significant say in whoever takes power after him, and, as Tendi notes, “It’s very hard to know what’s in Robert Mugabe’s head.”