Patterico's Pontifications


Military Action in Iran? UPDATED x 2

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 9:25 pm

[Headline from DRJ]

Trump approved Iranian strike before pulling back: report:

President Trump approved a military strike against Iran on Thursday in response to the downing of a drone before eventually pulling back, according to a report from The New York Times.
The Times reported that there was a divide within the executive branch about whether to strike, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, national security adviser John Bolton and CIA Director Gina Haspel favoring a military response. Conversely, officials at the Pentagon warned that doing so could pose a risk to American forces in the region.

This story is developing


UPDATE BY PATTERICO: Here is a window into Trump’s sober decisionmaking process:

The question in my mind ended up getting asked outloud by Ken White:

Congress, take back your power to declare war and make it mean something.

UPDATE 2 by DRJ: The story changes again – “planes were not in the air” when Trump called off the attack.

Plus from Hot Air: Trump: The Pentagon Told Me About Estimated Casualties A Half Hour Before The Iran Strike

Perry Mason Moment in San Diego

Filed under: Law — DRJ @ 9:20 pm

[Headlines from DRJ]

Medic stuns courtroom saying he killed prisoner, not Navy SEAL on trial.

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) – A Navy SEAL medic testified on Thursday that he was responsible for the death of an Islamic State fighter – not the Navy SEAL defendant undergoing a court martial for war crimes – describing it as a mercy killing.
Scott’s testimony under immunity from prosecution appeared to take the prosecutors by surprise and stunned the courtroom, witnesses said.

More at Fox News.


Roy Moore Announces He Will Run For Alabama Senate In 2020

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:29 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Of course Moore is free to run for any office he darn well pleases. The question is, is he really who the GOP wants filling a vacant Senate seat, especially knowing that his candidacy could endanger Republicans’ chances of flipping the Democrats’ most vulnerable Senate seat next year?

It appears that the GOP doesn’t think he is the right person for the job because too much is at stake:

A push is underway to get President Donald Trump involved in derailing Moore. Republicans are actively moving to recruit Jeff Sessions to run for his old seat. And GOP leaders are warning the party will jeopardize perhaps its only chance at picking up a Senate seat next year if they let Democrat Doug Jones get his favored match-up.

“There will be a lot of efforts made to ensure that we have a nominee other than him and one who can win in November,” said Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.). “He’s already proven he can’t.”

Added Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, “We’ll be opposing Roy Moore vigorously.”

I’d like to believe that the move against Moore as the nominee has as much (or more) to do with his weak character and numerous accusations of sexual misconduct allegations against him as it does about making a shrewd political calculation… Anyway, the last thing the GOP brand needs is more of Moore, and the sordid history he brings with him. GOP elected lawmakers seem to agree:

“Give me a break. This place has enough creepy old men,” said Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), referring to Washington, when asked about Moore’s candidacy.

“The people of Alabama are smarter than that,” said Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), who as leader of the party’s campaign arm at the time vowed to try and expel Moore from the Senate if he won. “They certainly didn’t choose him last time, why would they choose him this time?”

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) has talked to Sessions about running for his old seat, which he left to become attorney general for Trump. Sessions did not indicate to him whether he will run[…]

Additionally, President Trump advised Moore against running last month. Strictly for political reasons. After all, Trump supported Moore in 2017, in spite of the allegations he faced. And while he still has nothing against Moore, and is not bothered by the allegations (and c’mon, why would he be?), he nonetheless has made his position very clear:

Republicans cannot allow themselves to again lose the Senate seat in the Great State of Alabama. This time it will be for Six Years, not just Two. I have NOTHING against Roy Moore, and unlike many other Republican leaders, wanted him to win. But he didn’t, and probably won’t…..

…If Alabama does not elect a Republican to the Senate in 2020, many of the incredible gains that we have made during my Presidency may be lost, including our Pro-Life victories. Roy Moore cannot win, and the consequences will be devastating….Judges and Supreme Court Justices!

While it seems likely that Moore wouldn’t win, if he did, what freshman lawmaker in an iffy state facing re-election would want to be associated with a party that has someone like Moore in office? Talk about handing red meat to the Democrats.

More concerns about Moore:

Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Ala.) and former Auburn Coach Tommy Tuberville are already in the race, and Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Ala.) is considering it. But that crowded field could easily play to Moore’s advantage given his past popularity with the state’s most conservative voters. What’s more, Moore also could conceivably win a general election with Trump atop the ticket, a nightmare for the Senate GOP that would then have to deal with a bomb-thrower in the caucus.

FiveThirtyEight provides an insightful analysis on the problem of Moore, and yet, we are reminded that he could make it through when you consider this:

…Moore does have a path — especially a path to a primary runoff if there’s a crowded GOP field. And if he does get there, he would be only one step away from a rematch with [Doug] Jones. National Republicans may have an “Anyone But Moore” attitude, and GOP groups would undoubtedly pound Moore with negative ads, but remember that a Trump endorsement of Strange couldn’t stop Moore in 2017. So it’s not impossible that Moore does end up winning his party’s nomination.

Trump said “the consequences will be devastating” to his agenda if that happens. And that might be true — Moore would probably improve Jones’s chances of winning reelection. (Jones even egged on Moore to run again.) But even as damaged as he is, Moore would still have a decent chance of winning a general election in conservative Alabama, and that is surely a big part of why he’s running again.

When Moore was asked how this would be different than the 2017 bid for Senate, Moore, without a hint of self-awareness, responded, “I would like to make more personal contact with people.”

To which Donald Trump Jr., without a hint of self-awareness, responded,

“This can’t be real… can it? Based on the allegations I’d stay away from that but hey I’m new to this.


He also pushed back on Moore’s claim that he wasn’t “going against” the President with his decision to run:

This is pure fake news. I can assure everyone that by running, Roy Moore is going against my father and he’s doing a disservice to all conservatives across the country in the process.”

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Philadelphia: 72 Police Officers Off Active Duty For Offensive Social Media Posts

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:49 am

[guest post by Dana]

Taking priority in the city of Brotherly Love and a city which has seen 153 victims of homicide so far this year (up 9% from one year ago):

The number of Philly police officers taken off the streets and placed on administrative duty for making racist and offensive posts on Facebook has increased to 72, the department announced Wednesday.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross said that of the 72 removed during the department’s initial investigation, discipline will range from a few days suspension “in many cases” and up to termination from the police force.

“Internal affairs has already begun to investigate each of these officers identified,” Ross said during a press conference.

“We recognize that because of the acts of a few … that in many ways, we understand how this can tarnish or did tarnish our reputation. But we will work tirelessly to repair that reputation, to improve police community relations, as we are equally disgusted by many of the posts that you saw and the rest of the nation saw,” he added.

The removal of the officers is described as “the largest removal of officers from the street in recent memory.”


The department has hired the private law firm Ballard Spahr to sift through the 3,100 posts identified as containing offensive messages. The firm will help determine whether the post was protected under the First Amendment, Ross said.

Additionally, anti-bias and anti-racist training will be conducted across the department, and officers will be reminded of what constitutes appropriate behavior on social media, according to Ross. Officials will also launch periodic audits of police officers’ social media accounts.

The department’s social media policy prohibits profanity, discriminatory language or personal insults.

Philadelphia currently has approximately 6,500 police officers. The 72 officers represent about 1.11% of officers.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Iran Shoots Down Navy Drone

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 5:44 am

[Headlines from DRJ]

Hot AirIran Shot Down One Of Our Drones. Now What?

So this was the depressing news that broke overnight. It appears that Iran has shot down one of our drones over the Strait of Hormuz. When the Associated Press originally reported on the story there was still confusion surrounding the event and our military wasn’t commenting on it. But later, ABC News received confirmation that the drone had indeed gone down. Where it was at the time remains in dispute.
There’s also the risk of either Russia or Turkey jumping in on the side of the Iranians. That would get messy very quickly. So here’s a thought. Saudi Arabia is spoiling for a fight with Iran and they have a (sometimes regrettably) close relationship with President Trump. I wonder if someone is putting a bug in their ear about now. Just some food for thought.

More at the Daily Mail:

The U.S. has hit out at Iran for ‘an unprovoked attack,’ after it shot down a $180million spy drone it claimed was in its airspace as Tehran declared it was ‘ready for war.’

U.S. Navy Captain Bill Urban condemned the ‘unprovoked attack’, adding that the ‘Iranian reports that the aircraft was over Iran are false.’


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