Salvator Rosa Lucrezia as poetry 1640-41
Trump imitating Biden holding a “press conference” is hilarious
“And then he walks into a wall”🤣🤣🤣 pic.twitter.com/BOtolBaCcx
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) January 6, 2024
Dementia Hitler. 🤣 pic.twitter.com/qO8ECQOhWB
— MAZE (@mazemoore) January 7, 2024
Joe Rogan “horse paste” rap ft. Pierre Kory pic.twitter.com/giBK36IfE9
— yu muvii (@YMuvii) January 7, 2024
“Americans have preferred to destroy Europe rather than save the West.”
A renowned French historian and sociologist better known for predicting the Soviet Union’s dissolution well in advance now foretells the West’s overthrow in his newest book. French historian Emmanuel Todd believes that NATO is already losing the Ukrainian conflict. He likewise concluded that the defeat would eventually culminate in Russia’s reconciliation with Europe and its rapprochement with Germany, contrary to the wishes of the United States. This view was expressed to Le Point Magazine during an interview ahead the release of his new book La Defaite de L’Occident (The Defeat of the West). In the book, he denounces the Western attitude toward Russia, stating that “Avoiding the rapprochement between Germany and Russia was one of the US goals. This rapprochement would have signed the ejection of the United States from the European system of power. Americans have preferred to destroy Europe rather than save the West.”
Todd’s La Defaite de L’Occident excerpt highlights America’s waning status as a global superpower and its weak military-industrial complex. The French historian also underlined the diminished influence of Europe, once represented by a strong partnership between France and Germany, highlighting that Germany has taken a dominant role since the 2007-2008 financial crisis. Furthermore, he pointed out that in the wake of the Ukrainian conflict, the European Union has distanced itself from Russia, therefore hurting its own trade and energy interests. “We also saw Emmanuel Macron’s France vaporize on the international stage, while Poland became Washington’s main agent in the European Union, succeeding in the role of the United Kingdom that became outside the Union by the grace of Brexit…
On the mainland, overall, the Paris-Berlin axis replaced a London-Warsaw-Kiev axis piloted from Washington,” Todd opined. Todd decried the dominant narrative in the West about the conflict in Ukraine: “We are in a completely Putinophobic and Russophobic world.” He went on to argue for a pluralistic view that recognizes different perspectives. “I am fighting to keep the West pluralistic. If we look for my values, they are values of truth and pluralism,” he remarked. Addressing the question of how this year’s US election might alter the trajectory of the Ukrainian conflict, the expert highlighted Russia’s steadfast commitment to its existing course. “For the Russians, it makes no difference. For Russia is at war with America, and they ignore changes in rulers,” according to Todd.
Republican and Democrat leaders have reached an agreement on US government spending for 2024, sidelining negotiations to secure additional resources for Israel and Ukraine, as well as money for border control. The deal comes as lawmakers are set to return from a break this week, ahead of a two-tiered federal funding deadline. The agreement follows defense and domestic spending caps set by Congress as part of a bill to suspend the US debt ceiling until 2025. It “clears the way for Congress to act over the next few weeks in order to maintain important funding priorities for the American people and avoid a government shutdown,” Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a joint statement with top House Democrat Hakeem Jeffries on Sunday.
The first set of allocated federal finances are set to expire January 19, the second on February 2, without which the US government would be forced to shut down. Overall, the deal provides for $886 billion in defense funding, and $772 billion in domestic, non-defense spending. In a letter to Republican colleagues, House Speaker Mike Johnson said the deal would secure $16 billion in additional spending cuts compared to the previous agreement negotiated by then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy and President Joe Biden, and is around $30 billion less than what the Senate was weighing. “This represents the most favorable budget agreement Republicans have achieved in over a decade,” Johnson claimed.
Biden thanked the lawmakers for cooperating in reaching a consensus in a statement published on Sunday, but added that he expects them to work harder to unlock billions in military aid to Israel and Ukraine. “Now, congressional Republicans must do their job, stop threatening to shut down the government, and fulfill their basic responsibility to fund critical domestic and national security priorities, including my supplemental request,” he said. In October 2023, the White House released a sweeping set of proposals to support Israel and Ukraine in their respective military conflicts, among other things. The total cost of the supplemental funding request was over $100 billion, of which just over $60 billion was slated for Kiev. House Republicans have blocked iterations of this supplemental budget numerous times, on the grounds that US border security should take precedence over aid to Ukraine.
He can’t freeze it. Only Russia can.
There is no way to help Ukraine aside from Congress approving a new package, Team Biden signaled on Friday. The Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft does not rule out the possibility that US congressmen will refuse provide Joe Biden with requested aid in the near term. US aid funds for Ukraine officially ran out this week, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told the press on January 3. “We have given now Ukraine the last security assistance package that we have funds to support right before New Year’s, right after Christmas. And we’ve got to get support from Congress so we can continue to do that,” Kirby said. Shalanda Young, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, warned on Friday that Ukraine is running out of time and needs legislators to react urgently. Although the US Department of Defense still has some limited ability to help the Kiev regime, “that is not going to get big tranches of equipment into Ukraine,” Young stressed.
The Ukrainian leadership admitted on Wednesday that they have no “plan B” if US funding runs out despite previous speculations by economist Oleg Ustenko, an advisor to Volodymyr Zelensky. Meanwhile, House Speaker Mike Johnson has demanded illegal immigration issues be solved before approving new aid packages for Ukraine. On January 3, Johnson together with 60 fellow Republican lawmakers visited the Mexican border to push for stronger measures. “If President Biden wants a supplemental spending bill focused on national security, it better begin with defending America’s national security. We want to get the border closed and secured first,” Johnson underlined.According to the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, “it is no great exaggeration to say that what happens on Capitol Hill over the next few weeks could decisively shape the next phase” of the Ukrainian conflict.
The DC think tank suggests that the Senate “has never been the real obstacle” to passing the Ukrainian package, while the House remains the major battleground in this internal game of funds. Johnson wants H.R. 2, the Secure the Border Act, which was passed by the lower chamber last May, to be signed into law. One shouldn’t underestimate the House speaker’s determination as he has made it clear that he’s going to risk a government shutdown to pass the bill. H.R. 2 would obligate all employers to verify, under penalty of prison, that all their workers were documented. It would make it far harder for immigrants to claim asylum, and also require the federal government to build at least a 900 mile-wall along the US’s roughly 2000-mile border with Mexico. The bill would also require the Department of Homeland Security to re-establish migrant family detention and fast-track deportations of unaccompanied minors. But with much of the Democrat voter base in favor of liberal immigration laws, the government faction in Congress may block the legislation. “The main takeaway is clear: Congress may well fail to pass new funding for Ukraine aid this year,” believes the DC-based think tank.
“To fight successfully, to reclaim what is yours… ”
Read more …
Ukraine can continue to resist Russia only if Western countries show solidarity on numerous fronts while intensifying joint arms production programs, President Vladimir Zelensky has said. Speaking via video link at the annual Society and Defense conference held in Sweden on Sunday, Zelensky claimed that Russia, which he described as “a much larger enemy… in terms of military strength,” was using “the potential that has… amassed over the lifetimes of several generations” against both Ukraine and Europe. The president said Moscow’s attacks on Ukraine, and what he described as its “hybrid” activities against the West, could be foiled only via cooperation on numerous fronts. “To fight successfully, to reclaim what is yours… and to teach the aggressor that aggression brings no benefits, is only possible if defense gets strength from solidarity,” Zelensky stated.
In this vein, he urged his European partners to “create an arsenal for the defense of freedom” by intensifying joint weapons production. “Regardless of which political moods will dominate on both sides of the Atlantic, our strength can and should be sufficient to protect our way of life,” he added. Zelensky’s comments come after Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba admitted last month that Kiev was aware of acute concerns in the West regarding Ukraine’s prospects in the conflict, as well as growing “war fatigue” following the country’s botched counteroffensive. In early November, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni acknowledged in a phone call with a pair of Russian pranksters that EU nations were getting tired of the conflict and that it would eventually have to be resolved through some kind of a compromise.
Meanwhile, the EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell warned in December that the parliamentary election in the bloc scheduled for later this year could result in right-wing politicians – many of whom have been skeptical about sending arms to Ukraine – gaining more clout. On the other side of the Atlantic, US President Joe Biden has vowed to support Ukraine “as long as it takes,” but his efforts have been hampered by congressional gridlock. Republicans continue to block the White House’s supplemental funding request, which includes more than $60 billion for Ukraine, demanding that the administration do more to enhance border security. Russia has repeatedly warned the West against sending weapons to Ukraine, arguing it will only prolong the conflict and make it a direct participant in the hostilities.
“..American officials have privately warned him against opening a second front, the Washington Post reported.”
A secret assessment from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) in Washington has found that Israeli forces would find it “difficult to succeed” in a two-front war against Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Washington Post reported on Sunday. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have engaged in tit-for-tat exchanges of fire with Hezbollah militants since the start of the war with Hamas in October. Initially limited in scale, Hezbollah’s pounding of an Israeli intelligence base with missiles on Saturday in response to Israel assassinating a senior Hamas leader in Beirut several days earlier, has marked a significant escalation. While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised to make a “fundamental change” to the security situation along the Lebanese border, American officials have privately warned him against opening a second front, the Washington Post reported.
“If it were to do so, a new secret assessment from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) found that it will be difficult for Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to succeed because its military assets and resources would be spread too thin given the conflict in Gaza,” citing two anonymous officials and a classified report by the DIA. Israel’s military is relatively small in peacetime, relying on reservists to swell its ranks in times of conflict. The IDF called up around 360,000 reservists when the war with Hamas began, although a senior Israeli official told Reuters last week that an undisclosed number would soon be released from duty.
Amid this drawdown, Hezbollah has been open about its role in the conflict. The group’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, claimed in November that his forces had tied up around a third of Israel’s troops along the Israel-Lebanon border, preventing them from being deployed to Gaza. He added that Hezbollah’s continued skirmishes with the IDF were causing “a state of anxiety, anticipation, panic, and fear among the enemy’s political and military leadership.” Multiple US officials told the Washington Post that they fear Netanyahu may attack Hezbollah in order to save his political career. The Israeli leader faced widespread protests before the start of the war, and was criticized afterwards for failing to pre-empt Hamas’ October 7 assault, which left around 1,200 Israelis dead.
“A full-scale conflict between Israel and Lebanon would surpass the bloodshed of the 2006 Israel-Lebanon war on account of Hezbollah’s substantially larger arsenal of long-range and precision weaponry,” the paper stated, citing officials who also warned that the militant group could launch missile attacks on Israeli petrochemical plants and nuclear reactors. Washington also fears that such a conflict could draw in Iran – Hezbollah’s principal backer – and eventually the US, the paper’s sources said. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Jordan on Sunday, ahead of visits to Israel, the West Bank, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. “We have an intense focus on preventing this conflict from spreading,” he said, before meeting Jordanian King Abdullah II and Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi.
“..We need to defend our national interests to wherever they extend..”
The commander-in-chief of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) sounded a note of defiance in a speech Saturday, warning enemy countries to “stay away from this area.” “Today we are facing an all-out battle with the enemy,” said Major General Hossein Salami in a ceremony marking the debut of a new ship and missile launchers. The remark comes as war threatens to break out in the Red Sea, where Houthi militants in Yemen have been attacking ships associated with Israel in retribution for the country’s incursion in Gaza. The death toll recently reached 22,438 in the besieged enclave according to local authorities. “We need to defend our national interests to wherever they extend,” said the general in the speech carried on Iranian television.
“It will be harmful for the enemy to be found near and at a half distant.” He added that Iran’s navy had made a “brilliant leap in its offensive and defensive powers.” The United States recently announced a coalition of countries would work together to counter the Houthis’ attacks, but the Biden administration has had difficulty securing substantial commitments. Spain was originally believed to be part of the coalition, but its defense minister clarified it would only act along with NATO or the EU. France insisted its ships would only operate under its own command. Meanwhile several shipping countries have begun taking longer routes around Africa in order to avoid the area.
Iran sent a warship to the Red Sea earlier this month to protect its own commercial interests there. Some analysts have suggested Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu desires a broader war between the United States and Israel’s arch-enemy Iran. Netanyahu frequently employs threatening rhetoric against the country. The Israeli president recently announced military operations would continue in Gaza for several more months, but international condemnation of the country’s conduct there is mounting. Recently South Africa filed charges against Israel in the International Court of Justice, accusing the country of authoring genocide. Israel is expected to answer the charges next week in The Hague.
“In this election, voters can choose anyone they want, as long as it is Biden.”
“This is like something out of a fairy tale, a bad fairy tale.” That line, from the speech of President Joe Biden at Valley Forge this week, may have been the most accurate observation in the entire address kicking off Biden’s 2024 campaign. The speech was a masterpiece of contradiction. Biden started by denouncing how Donald Trump’s campaign is only “about him” and “obsessed with the past.” He then spent virtually all of the speech obsessing about Trump and Jan. 6, 2021. It was an early indication of the Orwellian character of the speech. Facing the lowest polling numbers of any modern president, Biden attempted a constructive substitution. “Democracy is on the ballot,” he said. So voters do not have to vote for him. When they see Biden, they should just read “democracy.”
That will require more than an act of substitution in the voting booth. It would require an act of willful blindness. Biden spoke of how Democrats are fighting to protect the “right to vote.” Democratic activists and officials across the country are seeking to remove Trump from the ballot even though he is the most popular choice for the presidency right now. In fact, dozens of Democratic officials have sought to remove 126 Republicans from Congress on the same basis. Even as Biden was telling citizens to vote Democrat to preserve democracy, a Democratic activist was seeking to remove a GOP congressman from the ballot in a nearby Pennsylvania district. Biden’s speech would be more credible if he had joined principled Democratic politicians who have denounced this nationwide effort. As usual, he has remained silent as he did on court packing in the last election.
It would also have been a tad more convincing if his party were not preventing citizens from voting for anyone other than Biden in the primary. Florida called its Democratic primary for Biden and blocked opposing candidates, despite two-thirds of Democrats wanting an alternative to Biden. Faced with such polling numbers, the party establishment is so committed to democracy that it has decided voters cannot be trusted with a choice. North Carolina’s Democrats became the latest to bar anyone but Biden from the ballot. Democratic officials are approaching democracy the way Henry Ford responded to calls for different color choices for the Model T. He pledged to provide “any color the customer wants, as long as it’s black.” In this election, voters can choose anyone they want, as long as it is Biden.
For millions of voters, democracy may be on the ballot but it is aspirational. If you vote for Biden, you might just get democracy back, but only after the election. Even more galling was Biden’s claim to be the defender of free speech. As I have previously written, Biden has been the most anti-free speech president since John Adams. His administration has been unrelenting in pushing for censorship and blacklisting of those with opposing views.The Biden censorship efforts have been described by one federal court as unprecedented in our history and a virtual “Orwellian ‘Ministry of Truth.’” The Biden Administration has called for the censorship of even true statements that it deems misleading. For Biden to run on free speech is about as convincing as Bill Clinton running on abstinence.
“The majority are single, military age men.”
The House Homeland Security Committee will be holding a hearing this week as part of its chairman’s stated plan to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Chairman Mark E. Green, R-Tenn., said the Wednesday hearing will be held to evaluate the impacts on the country of” Mayorkas’ “failed leadership and refusal to enforce the laws passed by Congress.” The hearing is the first of three the committee has scheduled this month, Green said last month as the committee released its fifth report evaluating Mayorkas’ policies. The committee majority released five reports as part of its nearly year-long investigation into “the causes, costs, and consequences of the crisis at the Southwest border and how the reckless decision-making and legally dubious policies of Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and President Joe Biden have precipitated the worst border crisis in American history.”
The first report details the laws and court orders the committee says Mayorkas “ignored, abused or failed to follow.” The second report details how Mexican cartels “have seized unprecedented control at the Southwest border to smuggle illegal aliens, criminals, suspected terrorists, and deadly fentanyl and other drugs into the United States.” The third report detailed how transnational gangs are working with cartel operatives to oversee a massive human smuggling operation; the fourth estimated border crisis costs to U.S. taxpayers of over $451 billion. The fifth report details “consistent misuse and abuse of taxpayer resources enabled by Mayorkas, specifically through his failure to detain illegal aliens and use Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention resources in accordance with their intended purpose.” It also addresses the costs of halting construction of the border wall already paid for by taxpayers.
The committee also released 65 pages of transcripts of interviews with multiple Border Patrol chiefs. The chiefs told committee members “illegal aliens spread the word the border is open” and that the policy of pulling Border Patrol agents from the field has had “detrimental consequences and the homeland isn’t safe.” Agents in California and Arizona also described the consequences of these policies on CBP sectors in their states, including closing checkpoints at ports of entry and in the field with no boots on the ground to interdict criminals, and expressing concerns about the record number of gotaways entering the country posing national security risks. “Gotaways” is the official CBP term to describe foreign nationals who illegally enter the U.S. between ports of entry, avoid capture and don’t return to Mexico or Canada.
Gotaways don’t file asylum or other immigration-related claims; intentionally illegally entering to avoid being caught. Many have criminal records and often run when they are pursued by Border Patrol agents or others in law enforcement, authorities have explained to The Center Square. The majority are single, military age men.
New American priorities.
As of last week, California’s taxpayer-funded healthcare system now covers sex changes for illegal immigrants, thanks to legislation recently signed by Governor Gavin Newsom. The cost of the program is expected to top $3 billion. California became the first state in the US to provide health insurance to all adults regardless of immigration status on January 1, when legislation signed by Newsom last summer came into effect. Approximately 700,000 illegal immigrants will now have their healthcare covered by the state’s taxpayer-funded Medi-Cal insurance system, according to a press release from State Senator Maria Elena Durazo in May. Among the procedures covered by Medi-Cal are hormone therapy and gender transition surgery, according to a report this week by the Daily Caller, a conservative news outlet.
“Gender affirming care is a covered Medi-Cal benefit when medically necessary,” a 2022 state memo cited by the outlet states. “Requests for gender affirming care should be from specialists experienced in providing culturally competent care to transgender and gender diverse individuals and should use nationally recognized guidelines.”According to the Transgender Law Center, Medi-Cal should cover “hormone treatment, gender reassignment surgery, and other necessary procedures.”Newsom’s expansion of the Medi-Cal program will cost California taxpayers an estimated $3.1 billion, according to an Associated Press report from last year. Republican lawmakers criticized the expansion even before it emerged that it would cover transgender surgery, but their criticism turned to ridicule in recent days. “California is now paying for illegal aliens to get sex changes,” Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert wrote on X (formerly Twitter) on Friday. “There’s no punchline to this tweet. California is the punchline.”
Newsom has defended the decision to add 700,000 more patients to the program. “In California, we believe everyone deserves access to quality, affordable health care coverage – regardless of income or immigration status,” his office told ABC News. “Through this expansion, we’re making sure families and communities across California are healthier, stronger, and able to get the care they need when they need it.”Some 300,000 illegal immigrants were caught entering the US from Mexico in December 2023, the highest number on record for a single month. Under President Joe Biden’s controversial ‘Catch and Release’ policy, almost all of these migrants are released into the US with orders to show up at court hearings at a later date. Amid a backlog of more than two million cases, the average wait time for such a hearing stood at 762 days as of last January.
“..the attorney general has woefully failed to prove her case and is not entitled to any of the relief,” including any financial penalty.”
The New York attorney general on Friday asked the judge who had overseen the civil fraud trial of Donald J. Trump to penalize the former president about $370 million, saying the trial had demonstrated that he had gained that amount through unlawful conduct, Report informs, citing The New York Times. The sum was well over the $250 million that the attorney general, Letitia James, had estimated in the fall of 2022, when she sued Mr. Trump, accusing him of inflating his net worth to obtain favorable treatment from banks and insurers. The trial began in October and proceedings ended last month, but Mr. Trump’s fate is not yet settled. The attorney general’s penalty request came in a post-trial brief filed on Friday. Mr. Trump’s lawyers, in one of their own filings, wrote that “the attorney general has woefully failed to prove her case and is not entitled to any of the relief,” including any financial penalty. In a statement, a lawyer for Mr. Trump, Christopher M. Kise, called the amount “unconscionable, unsupported by the evidence, untethered from reality and unconstitutionally excessive.”
“All presidential trips are highly scripted because of the need for security. The Secret Service places assets at all locations where a president may go.”
It has become one of the enduring messages of the House Democrats’ final report on the Jan. 6 riot: Donald Trump had a plan and an intention to go directly to the U.S. Capitol to join those disrupting the certification of the 2020 election results. “The Committee’s principal concern was that the President actually intended to participate personally in the January 6th efforts at the Capitol, leading the attempt to overturn the election either from inside the House Chamber, from a stage outside the Capitol, or otherwise,” the committee wrote in its final report on December 2022. “The Committee regarded those facts as important because they are relevant to President Trump’s intent on January 6th. There is no question from all the evidence assembled that President Trump did have that intent,” it added.
Lawmakers, pundits and journalists have all echoed that line in the months before and after the report’s release. “I imagine that he thought that he would enter like Mussolini being carried on the shoulders of his supporters and enter the Capitol,” Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., said, comparing Trump to Italy’s fascist leader during World War II. In his speech at Valley Forge on Friday reviving his argument that Trump and MAGA supporters pose a threat to democracy, President Joe Biden pointedly avoided making the claim. In fact, he took the opposite tact and suggested a cowardly Trump declined to join his supporters storming the Capitol. “He promised he would right them — right them. Everything they did, he would be side by side with them. Then, as usual, he left the dirty work to others. He retreated to the White House,” Biden said.
Such conflicting portrayals may be confusing to voters. That confusion is also rooted in an undisputed fact: Trump never actually went to the Capitol after his speech on the Ellipse. The House Democrats claims are based on two pieces of testimony. Some Trump aides recalled to the committee the 45th president mentioning in a meeting on Jan, 4, 2021, that he might want to go to the Capitol. And then former aide Cassidy Hutchinson claimed in a disputed account based on hearsay that on the way back from his speech Trump lunged at the driver of the presidential limo to commandeer it and take it to the Capitol. The Secret Service and Trump deny that happened, and no evidence has emerged to validate Hutchinson’s claim.
That did not stop the account from making its way into mainstream media. The Democratic Party’s narrative is further undercut by internal Secret Service documents reviewed by Just the News, which show there was no plan heading into the Jan. 6 event to take Trump to the Capitol. All presidential trips are highly scripted because of the need for security. The Secret Service places assets at all locations where a president may go. That did not happen at the Capitol, according to the Secret Service records reviewed by Just the News, suggesting Trump’s alleged statements to the presidential aides two days earlier did not result in a change of plan.
“..have been hounding people that really, you know, just walked into open doors in the Capitol and hung around..”
Former Attorney General Bill Barr said that the Justice Department went “too far” in charging more than 1,200 people in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot, including those he said simply walked around the building but did not assault anyone. “Like everything else the left does, they did, I think, go too far,” Barr said Saturday, the third anniversary of the Jan. 6 riot, in an interview on Fox News. Some people, such as those who assaulted police officers and literally broke into the Capitol, should be prosecuted for Jan. 6, Barr said. “But I think they cast their net far too broadly and have been hounding people that really, you know, just walked into open doors in the Capitol and hung around,” he also said. “I think they just took it too far.”
Barr said that he does not want to “minimize” the events of Jan. 6, but he thinks it was a “shameful episode” rather than an insurrection. The Justice Department said last week that more than 1,265 defendants have been charged in connection to the riot in nearly all 50 states. More than 90% of the defendants, or about 1,186 of them, were charged with entering or remaining in a restricted federal building or grounds.
“Under these standards, police officers should not shoot unarmed suspects or rioters without a clear threat to themselves or fellow officers.”
The long-awaited tort action from the family of Ashli Babbitt has now been filed in Southern California. Babbitt was shot and killed on Jan. 6th and her family is seeking $30 million in a wrongful death. Equally important, the lawsuit could force additional answers to why Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd shot and killed the unarmed protester as she attempted to climb through a window near the House Chamber. I have previously raised concerns over the shooting as conflicting with governing standards on the use of lethal force despite the Capitol police. I also noted contradictions Byrd’s own statements and the government’s conclusion that this was a justified killing. The complaint below adds some troubling facts to these prior concerns. Babbitt, 35, was an Air Force veteran and Trump supporter who participated in the riot three years ago. She was clearly committing criminal acts of trespass, property damage, and other offenses. However, the question is whether an officer is justified in shooting a protester when he admits that he did not see any weapon before discharging his weapon.
Just to recap what we previously discussed in the earlier column: When protesters rushed to the House chamber, police barricaded the chamber’s doors; Capitol Police were on both sides, with officers standing directly behind Babbitt. Babbitt and others began to force their way through, and Babbitt started to climb through a broken window. That is when Byrd killed her. At the time, some of us familiar with the rules governing police use of force raised concerns over the shooting. Those concerns were heightened by the DOJ’s bizarre review and report, which stated the governing standards but then seemed to brush them aside to clear Byrd. The DOJ report did not read like any post-shooting review I have read as a criminal defense attorney or law professor. The DOJ statement notably does not say that the shooting was clearly justified. Instead, it stressed that “prosecutors would have to prove not only that the officer used force that was constitutionally unreasonable, but that the officer did so ‘willfully.’”
It seemed simply to shrug and say that the DOJ did not believe it could prove “a bad purpose to disregard the law” and that “evidence that an officer acted out of fear, mistake, panic, misperception, negligence, or even poor judgment cannot establish the high level of intent.” While the Supreme Court, in cases such as Graham v. Connor, has said that courts must consider “the facts and circumstances of each particular case,” it has emphasized that lethal force must be used only against someone who is “an immediate threat to the safety of the officers or others, and … is actively resisting arrest or attempting to evade arrest by flight.” Particularly with armed assailants, the standard governing “imminent harm” recognizes that these decisions must often be made in the most chaotic and brief encounters. Under these standards, police officers should not shoot unarmed suspects or rioters without a clear threat to themselves or fellow officers. That even applies to armed suspects who fail to obey orders.
Indeed, Huntsville police officer William “Ben” Darby was convicted for killing a suicidal man holding a gun to his own head. Despite being cleared by a police review board, Darby was prosecuted, found guilty and sentenced to 25 years in prison, even though Darby said he feared for the safety of himself and fellow officers. Yet law professors and experts who have praised such prosecutions in the past have been conspicuously silent over the shooting of an unarmed woman who had officers in front of and behind her on Jan. 6. Byrd went public soon after the Capitol Police declared “no further action will be taken” in the case. He proceeded to demolish the two official reviews that cleared him. Byrd described how he was “trapped” with other officers as “the chants got louder” with what “sounded like hundreds of people outside of that door.”
He said he yelled for all of the protesters to stop: “I tried to wait as long as I could. I hoped and prayed no one tried to enter through those doors. But their failure to comply required me to take the appropriate action to save the lives of members of Congress and myself and my fellow officers.” Byrd could just as well have hit the officers behind Babbitt, who was shot while struggling to squeeze through the window. Of all of the lines from Byrd, this one stands out: “I could not fully see her hands or what was in the backpack or what the intentions are.” So, Byrd admitted he did not see a weapon or an immediate threat from Babbitt beyond her trying to enter through the window. Nevertheless, Byrd boasted, “I know that day I saved countless lives.” He ignored that Babbitt was the one person killed during the riot.
Being a bird
They’ve grown tired of it all
📹 Pablo Rochat
— Science girl (@gunsnrosesgirl3) January 7, 2024
Baby capybara walking in the water.. 😅
🎥 IG: zwfmiami pic.twitter.com/a2ZtfXH9Fk
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden) January 7, 2024
Now that's courage!pic.twitter.com/j4lICCkniz
— Figen (@TheFigen_) January 7, 2024
This is how elephants rapidly assume a defensive formation to protect the young with a 360° view.pic.twitter.com/7mhHtBG89t
— Massimo (@Rainmaker1973) January 8, 2024
Support the Automatic Earth in wartime with Paypal, Bitcoin and Patreon.