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‘Hit Piece on a Dead Woman’: AP News Attacks ‘Insurrectionist’ Ashli Babbitt’s Character, Cites 2016 Incident

Western Journal

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In an investigative report published on Monday about Ashli Babbitt, the 35-year-old Air Force veteran who was shot and killed by a police officer during the Jan. 6 Capitol incursion, The Associated Press said former President Donald Trump and his supporters “have sought to portray her as a righteous martyr who was unjustly killed.”

The AP made clear its intention to disabuse readers of that notion.

How, exactly, would the wire service go about doing this?

By drudging up lurid details of Babbitt’s past.

According to Michael Biesecker, the AP’s national investigative reporter, the life of Babbitt — whom he explicitly refers to as an “insurrectionist” — was “more complicated than the heroic portrait presented by Trump and his allies.”

In order to back up this claim, Biesecker wrote about Babbitt’s alleged extramarital affair in 2015, a 2016 road-rage incident she allegedly perpetrated and various social media posts she had made leading up to her untimely death.

Biesecker spoke with Celeste Norris, the alleged victim of the 2016 incident, regarding Babbitt’s character.

According to the report, the two women were put at odds “when Babbitt engaged in a monthlong extramarital affair with Norris’ longtime live-in boyfriend.” When Norris found out, she called Babbitt’s then-husband, which — according to Norris — prompted Babbitt to ram Norris’ vehicle three times with an SUV on July 29, 2016.

After spending several paragraphs detailing Norris’ side of the story, in one short sentence, Biesecker noted that “a judge acquitted Babbitt on the criminal charges.”

The AP reporter argued the incident “is an example of erratic and sometimes threatening behavior of Babbitt,” without providing any additional examples of such behavior.

Implicit in such a statement is the suggestion that Babbitt was acting in a threatening way when she was shot during the Jan. 6 incursion, but official police documents obtained by Judicial Watch and released in October seem to debunk this notion.

According to the report, witness testimonies indicate Babbitt was not armed at the time of the shooting, and one Capitol Police sergeant had no clue why Michael Byrd — the officer who killed Babbitt — had discharged his weapon.

“I saw Lt. Byrd kind of. I don’t know if it was before or after,” the sergeant said. “I don’t know if something happened to him [that] caused him to take the shot or not.”

Byrd was exonerated of wrongdoing following a Capitol Police internal investigation.

The AP report also said Babbitt was a Libertarian and a supporter of the Second Amendment who often posted “profane rants against Democrats, COVID-19 mask mandates and illegal immigration.”

Biesecker wrote that some of Babbitt’s posts also repeated catchphrases used by QAnon, although it is difficult to gauge whether she believed the most radical views of the fringe right-wing movement.

Shortly after the AP report was published, many people on social media criticized the attack on Babbitt.

“Holy s*** you wrote a hit piece on a dead woman,” conservative commentator Cassandra MacDonald tweeted.

WARNING: The tweet below contains vulgar language some readers will find offensive.

Perhaps the most repeated criticism was the AP’s double standard. George Floyd — a man thought to be and characterized as a martyr by many on the political left after he died in Minneapolis police custody in May 2020 — has yet to receive such coverage detailing his own criminal past.

“Liberals get enraged when news outlets dig up dirt on the past of unarmed victims of police shootings in order to show they were ‘no angels’: i.e. to justify the shooting. Apparently it’s OK sometimes,” journalist Glenn Greenwald wrote.

“‘On social media, Babbitt identified as a Libertarian and ardent supporter of the Second Amendment. Her posts included videos of profane rants against Democrats, COVID-19 mask mandates and illegal immigration.’ Oh, in that case: glad the police killed her. Got what she deserved.”

Obviously, Ashli Babbitt has been unable to tell her side of the story when it comes to these accusations.

However, back in July, The Western Journal spoke with Michelle Witthoeft, Babbitt’s mother.

“The Capitol Police should be held accountable like every other police department in the country,” Witthoeft said.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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Elon Musk Announces Twitter Deal ‘Cannot Move Forward’ Unless CEO Proves Key Claim

Western Journal

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In a tweet that could shake the foundations and future of Twitter, Elon Musk said Tuesday morning he believes fake accounts make up as much as 20 percent of the platform.

The billionaire tweeted that his offer to buy Twitter was contingent on the accuracy of the company’s estimate that fewer than 5 percent of its accounts are spam or bot accounts instead of real people.

As such, Musk said, he will not move forward with his proposal to buy Twitter until company CEO Parag Agrawal proves Twitter’s numbers are accurate.

“20% fake/spam accounts, while 4 times what Twitter claims, could be *much* higher,” he said. “My offer was based on Twitter’s SEC filings being accurate.

“Yesterday, Twitter’s CEO publicly refused to show proof of <5%. This deal cannot move forward until he does.”

Earlier, Musk had responded with skepticism to a series of tweets from Agrawal about the company’s spam calculations.

“So how do advertisers know what they’re getting for their money? This is fundamental to the financial health of Twitter,” he said.

His point was that advertisers pay to connect to real people, and if the platform has fewer real people than it claims, its bottom line could be shakier than it has reported.

The Tesla and SpaceX CEO has long proclaimed that Twitter is riddled with fake accounts.

On Friday, Musk posted that the deal with buy Twitter was “on hold” over the issue because the company’s numbers were lower than what he thought they should be.

Twitter had said in a quarterly filing on May 2 that its “estimation of false or spam accounts may not accurately represent the actual number,” language similar to that used in its past filings.

Musk followed up shortly thereafter to say, “Still committed to acquisition.”

Between Friday’s tweet and Tuesday’s, experts and analysts have offered three groupings of opinion.

One is that Musk is using the issue of bots to walk away from the deal.

Others believe that he wants to use this to lower the price of the purchase.

Tim Draper, an investor in Tesla and SpaceX as well as the Twitter venture, said he thinks the deal will eventually go through, according to the New York Post.

“I think so,” Draper said. “But I think he’s going to get a better deal because he found out that, whatever, two-thirds [of users] are bots or something.”

Axios pointed to a third option: “Some are even wondering whether the entire takeover attempt is anything more than Musk trolling Twitter, using Twitter.”

On Monday, Musk had brought up the subject of bots while speaking at a tech conference in Miami and estimated that the 20 percent number he tweeted Tuesday could be accurate, according to Bloomberg.

“Currently what I’m being told is that there’s just no way to know the number of bots,” he said. “It’s like, as unknowable as the human soul.”

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

In a tweet that could shake the foundations and future of Twitter, Elon Musk said Tuesday morning he believes fake accounts make up as much as 20 percent of the platform. The billionaire tweeted that his offer to buy Twitter was contingent on the accuracy of the company’s estimate that fewer than 5 percent of its accounts are spam or bot accounts instead of real people. As such, Musk said, he will not move forward with his proposal to buy Twitter until company CEO Parag Agrawal proves Twitter’s numbers are accurate. “20% fake/spam accounts, while 4 times what Twitter claims, could be *much* higher,” he said. “My offer was based on Twitter’s SEC filings being accurate. “Yesterday, Twitter’s CEO publicly refused to show proof of <5%. This deal cannot move forward until he does.” 20% fake/spam accounts, while 4 times what Twitter claims, could be *much* higher. My offer was based on Twitter’s SEC filings being accurate. Yesterday, Twitter’s CEO publicly refused to show proof of <5%. This deal cannot move forward until he does. — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 17, 2022 Earlier, Musk had responded with skepticism to a series of tweets from Agrawal about the company’s spam calculations. Let’s talk about spam. And let’s do so with the benefit of data, facts, and context… — Parag Agrawal (@paraga) May 16, 2022 Unfortunately, we don’t believe that this specific estimation can be performed externally, given the critical need to use both public and private information (which we can’t share). Externally, it’s not even possible to know which accounts are counted as mDAUs on any given day. — Parag Agrawal (@paraga) May 16, 2022 “So how do advertisers know what they’re getting for their money? This is fundamental to the financial health of Twitter,” he said. So how do advertisers know…

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Op-Ed: Xi Jinping Is Watching Putin to Decide When to Attack Taiwan

Western Journal

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Chinese President Xi Jinping is watching Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine to decide when to attack Taiwan. At this point that decision is made, but the timing won’t be settled until this fall and before President Joe Biden leaves the White House.

Let me untangle some issues that will dictate Beijing’s timing for its assault on Taiwan: Xi’s enemies and economic challenges, Biden’s green light indicators for Putin’s war, a growing list of battlefield lessons, and Biden’s broken foreign policy.

Beijing regards Taiwan as a breakaway province, and Xi stakes his future on returning it to Chinese rule.

Last fall, he declared the Chinese people have a “glorious tradition of opposing separatism” and that “complete reunification of the motherland must be fulfilled, and will definitely be fulfilled.” The communist chairman added, “The Taiwan question is purely an internal matter for China, one which brooks no external interference,” and he warned last year, “Anyone who would attempt to [interfere] will have their heads bashed bloody.”

Yes, Mr. Xi is committed to reunification, but the timing is bound by two realities.

The first is the possible confirmation of his third term in office, an unprecedented eventuality since Mao Zedong’s death in 1976. Xi’s third term would begin this November.

Xi’s hold on power, however, isn’t assured. Feng Chongyi, a professor at the University of Technology Sydney, said last year that some officials are “in strong opposition and are trying their best to prevent Xi’s next possible term.”

Those enemies know Xi’s Achilles heel: a sagging economy. According to the Communist Party’s “Shanghai Gang” faction, Xi is ruining the Chinese economy and must be ousted.

So, if Xi is to gain a third term, he must balance his domestic opposition and his economic vulnerability before assaulting Taiwan. After all, he learned from the Ukraine war that an attack on the democratic island nation will earn him severe economic sanctions, further threatening China’s economy. Thus, he intends to delay any invasion until after he is assured another term.

The other reality for Xi’s anticipated assault is identified by Andrei Illarionov, Putin’s economic adviser for almost six years in the early 2000s.

Illarionov, now a senior fellow at the Center for Security Policy, said the Chinese are learning from Putin’s war. He explained that Putin’s “decision to invade Ukraine is based on his absolutely correct understanding of President Biden. Without Biden in the White House, Putin would never invade Ukraine.”

Xi learned from Putin that Biden is weak and broadcasts what he will and won’t do — a predictable enemy.

“Mr. Putin is a very good psychologist,” Illarionov said. “He studied [security agency] files for Mr. Biden. He understood that’s a person who would never do anything against his invasion against Ukraine.” In fact, Biden showed his hand long before the war began.

Last year, Biden removed sanctions on Nord Stream 2, renewed the U.S.-Russian nuclear arms agreement without negotiations, did nothing about the buildup of Russian troops on Ukraine’s border and ordered U.S. warships out of the Black Sea after a Russian-Dutch naval confrontation. Putin perceived these moves as weaknesses, an effort on Biden’s part to avoid confrontation.

Biden’s representatives weren’t any better.

He sent William Burns, the CIA director, to Moscow, where, according to Illarionov, he offered guarantees “on issues of security, even when Russian troops [were] on the Ukrainian border and ready to attack Ukraine. That can be understood only in one way: Biden administration is giving green light for Putin to attack Ukraine.”

Then, in December, Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with his Russian counterpart to discuss the Ukraine crisis. However, Illarionov said, “90 percent” of the discussions were about the Iran nuclear deal, yet again “giving a green light to Mr. Putin to attack Ukraine.”

On other fronts, according to Illarionov, Biden recalled American citizens and military personnel from Ukraine. He even offered to help President Volodymyr Zelenskyy leave Ukraine. Once again, Illarionov said, “Mr.  Putin understood these signs in the exactly right way”: as weakness and a go-ahead to invade.

Xi understands that Biden was never serious about stopping Putin’s war. In fact, Illarionov said Xi, like Putin, “understands very well that there is a unique window of opportunity … when Mr. Biden is the president. With any other U.S. president … [an invasion of Ukraine or Taiwan] would be impossible.”

The Russian concluded, “This dangerous moment will last at least until January 2025, until hopefully another president will be in the White House.”

Of course, there are numerous other lessons from Russia’s war for the Chinese dictator. His invasion of Taiwan will be tougher than Putin’s assault on Ukraine because the Chinese are attacking a well-fortified island nation 160 miles from the mainland, a true logistics nightmare. Further, unlike the go-it-alone fight forced on Kyiv, the government in Taipei expects the U.S. and other Western powers to directly intervene.

The most important lesson for Xi is that Biden is a predictable, weak enemy who broadcasts his intentions. So unless the Biden team finds better foreign policy acumen, we could as soon as late fall see the skies reflect green lights signaling Xi to assault Taiwan.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is watching Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine to decide when to attack Taiwan. At this point that decision is made, but the timing won’t be settled until this fall and before President Joe Biden leaves the White House. Let me untangle some issues that will dictate Beijing’s timing for its assault on Taiwan: Xi’s enemies and economic challenges, Biden’s green light indicators for Putin’s war, a growing list of battlefield lessons, and Biden’s broken foreign policy. Beijing regards Taiwan as a breakaway province, and Xi stakes his future on returning it to Chinese rule. Last fall, he declared the Chinese people have a “glorious tradition of opposing separatism” and that “complete reunification of the motherland must be fulfilled, and will definitely be fulfilled.” The communist chairman added, “The Taiwan question is purely an internal matter for China, one which brooks no external interference,” and he warned last year, “Anyone who would attempt to [interfere] will have their heads bashed bloody.” Yes, Mr. Xi is committed to reunification, but the timing is bound by two realities. The first is the possible confirmation of his third term in office, an unprecedented eventuality since Mao Zedong’s death in 1976. Xi’s third term would begin this November. Xi’s hold on power, however, isn’t assured. Feng Chongyi, a professor at the University of Technology Sydney, said last year that some officials are “in strong opposition and are trying their best to prevent Xi’s next possible term.” Those enemies know Xi’s Achilles heel: a sagging economy. According to the Communist Party’s “Shanghai Gang” faction, Xi is ruining the Chinese economy and must be ousted. So, if Xi is to gain a third term, he must balance his domestic opposition and his economic vulnerability before assaulting Taiwan. After all, he learned…

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