Category: Debunk This

Two Times The Clinton Campaign Faked “Russian Collusion”

Does anyone really think that a single member of the Democrat establishment actually believes that there was Russian collusion with the Trump campaign during the 2016 election? I’d assume few truly believe the claim, but instead found it to be a compelling narrative for the general public that could dissuade voters from voting for Trump.

Robert Mueller’s special counsel has raged on for over a year (which replaced an FBI counterintelligence investigation that began in July 2016), and yet not a single shred of collusion has been uncovered. While indictments have been made, every single one excludes the keyword “collusion,” just like we’d expect from a witch hunt.

There was no real Russian collusion – but there sure was an attempt to make it look like there was.

And on that note, here are two of my favorite examples of manufactured “Russian collusion.” Note that all references (and additional details) can be found in our new book “Spygate: The Attempted Sabotage of Donald Trump.”

About That Trump Tower Meeting….

Remember when Donald Trump Jr. briefly got himself in some hot water when it was revealed that he’d met with a Russian lawyer in Trump Tower in 2016? “Trump Jr. Met with Russian Lawyer During 2016 Campaign” may same like a damning headline, but the true story behind the meeting isn’t so straightforward.

The meeting was organized through Rob Goldstone, a publicist of Trump acquaintances Emin and Aras Agalarov. Trump knows the father and son duo through the “Miss Universe” pageants. Of note; the mythical “golden showers” incident from the Chris Steele/Fusion GPS dossier is alleged to have occurred at a Ritz-Carlton that Trump stayed at with the Agalarov’s in 2013, meaning the story potentially originated with them.

We’re supposed to believe that George Papadopoulos is the official reason for the FBI launching a secretive counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign?

Meanwhile, the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya was working with Fusion GPS at the time of her meeting with Trump Jr.. In other words, Veselnitskaya, a Russian lawyer, was working with the firm trying to “prove” Russian collusion with the Trump campaign, right as she set up a meeting with Donald Trump’s son. Veselnitskaya met with Fusion’s co-founder Glenn Simpson the day of, and the day after the Trump Tower meeting. What do you think they discussed, if not how to further solidify the optics of the collusion narrative?

Among the men who accompanied Veselnitskaya to the meeting included translator Rinat Akhmetshion, a former Russian spy who also worked for the Clinton State Department. If Trump Jr. did “bite” and say anything incriminating, he was there to make sure nothing was lost in translation. Luckily, Trump Jr. didn’t say anything incriminating, because there wasn’t any collusion, or desire to collude.

George Papadopoulos and the FBI’s Counterintelligence Investigation 

We’re supposed to believe that George Papadopoulos is the official reason for the FBI launching a secretive counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign. This was “revealed” in a New York Times article published December 2017. We’re told in the article that it all began with a meeting in a London bar that Papadopoulos had with former Australian ambassador Alexander Downer, at Downer’s request. It’s odd that Downer would be interested in meeting with Papadopoulos, a Trump foreign policy adviser, because of his own political allegiances. In 2007, Downer helped broker a $25 million donation from the Australian government to the Clinton Foundation.

George Papadopoulos

It’s at this meeting that Papadopoulos (drunk, according to the NYT’s account), told Downer that he’d possessed Hillary Clinton’s hacked emails (which he did not). Downer, in turn, reported that information to the FBI, sparking their investigation into the entire Trump campaign (according to the NYT’s narrative).

While Papadopoulos didn’t actually possess Hillary’s hacked emails – he did have the idea planted in his head weeks later that he may know someone who did; a Maltese professor named Joseph Mifsud who began taking an interest in Papadopoulos after leaning his connection to the Trump campaign. Mifsud has donated to the Clinton Foundation in the past, but met with Papadopoulos as a supposed ally, falsely telling him that he possessed Hillary’s hacked emails. Mifsud also claimed, and never delivered on any of his promises to Papadopoulos about setting up foreign policy meetings with the Russian government.

Even without Downer, there are other, contradictory excuses for why the FBI began investigating the Trump campaign. Former CIA Director John Brennan claims that it was he who did so by relaying British intelligence to the FBI. “I was aware,” Brennan said in May, “of intelligence and information about contacts between Russian officials and U.S. persons that raised concerns in my mind about whether or not those individuals were cooperating with the Russians, either in a witting or unwitting fashion, and it served as the basis for the FBI investigation to determine whether such collusion—cooperation occurred.” That’s even more interesting if Mifsud is an agent of British intelligence like Papadopoulos believes.

The FBI’s spy inside the Trump campaign, Stefan Halper, also tried to arrange meetings with Papadopoulos for dubious purposes. Two months before the 2016 election Papadopoulos received a random meeting request from Halper to fly to London to discuss international relations and the possibility of Papadopoulos writing a policy paper on a gas field in the Mediterranean for $3,000. Halper paid for his flight to England, and in the course of their conversations, Halper suddenly turned to the subject of Russia, asking Papadopoulos, “You know about hacking the emails from Russia, right?” Where did that question come from? Papadopoulos smelled a fishing expedition and offered him no information.

Note that in both cases (the Trump Tower meeting and various Papadopoulos meetings) it was always the supposed Russian agent (or person inquiring about them) that made the first contact. No one from the Trump campaign was reaching out to the Russians – but those claiming to be reached out to them. And in each case, all those involved have more invested in Hillary Clinton than the Trump campaign.

New Evidence Suggests Fusion GPS Founder Glenn Simpson Lied to Congress

What exactly was it that sparked the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign to investigate potential collusion with Russia?

In December of 2017, the New York Times told us that it was interactions involving former Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos that sparked their investigation – which is in direct contradiction to statements made by former CIA Director John Brennan, who claims that it was he who did so by relaying British intelligence to the FBI. “I was aware,” Brennan said in May, “of intelligence and information about contacts between Russian officials and U.S. persons that raised concerns in my mind about whether or not those individuals were cooperating with the Russians, either in a witting or unwitting fashion, and it served as the basis for the FBI investigation to determine whether such collusion—cooperation occurred.”

The “finding” was based on DNS logs – and spread by Hillary Clinton herself

The fact that there are conflicting narratives as to how the FBI’s investigation started proves that launching an investigation which could derail the Trump campaign was priority #1 – while coming up with a specific reason to justify it was secondary. All they were certain of (or at least pretended to be certain of) was that Trump colluded with the Russians.

And it didn’t matter how they “proved” it, especially to Fusion GPS, which was feeding the FBI their bogus opposition research. We’re now learning just now of how one popular bogus conspiracy theory before the election, which alleged Donald Trump maintained a computer server in Trump Tower during the campaign which allowed him to communicate directly with Russia, was pushed by Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson (who later denied doing so). Slate Magazine published the “bombshell” story alleging that a server in Trump Tower was communicating with Alfa Bank, Russia’s largest bank. The “finding” was based on DNS logs – and spread by Hillary Clinton herself.

The left-wing publication The Intercept later debunked the story, pointing out that Trump Tower’s server was sending promotional emails promoting Trump hotels, not secret messages to Russia. In reality, among those thousands of people receiving emails included Alfa Bank employees who’ve stayed at Trump properties.

The truth of the matter didn’t stop Glenn Simpson, however. According to notes written by Bruce Ohr obtained by the Washington Times, Simpson actively pushed the discredited conspiracy theory in an effort to have the Justice Department investigate. The fact that Simpson would lie for political purposes isn’t the story here – it’s that he lied to Congress about it. To summarize the key parts of the Times’ report:

  • Simpson told senators he didn’t know whether there was any dedicated Trump-Alfa server and drew no conclusions, according to a transcript of his August 2017 closed-door testimony.
  • Simpson continued to push the theory even after it was discredited. In December 2016, Ohr met with  He made note of Simpson, saying: “The New York Times story on Oct. 31 downplaying the connection between Alfa servers and the Trump campaign was incorrect. There was communication and it wasn’t spam.” If Ohr’s note taking is correct, Simpson was clearly pushing the Alfa narrative.
  • When questioned during his Senate testimony by Heather Sawyer, Sawyer asked “Do you have any information there have been reports about potential communications between a server at Alfa Bank and potentially servers that belong to the Trump organization or Trump — some entity associated with Donald Trump? Do you have any information about those particular reports?” Simpson responded: “That’s kind of an open-ended question. I think what I said is we were asked about that and it wasn’t — that information wasn’t generated by us and I’m happy to say it’s beyond our competence to have generated, but in the course of being asked about it, you know, people gave us information. I don’t know what else to say.”
  • In Ohr’s notes, Simpson is quoted on another occasion as referencing an “Alfa server in US as link to campaign.”

It’s either Simpson lying, or Bruce Ohr. Of course, since Ohr never expected his notes to be read, it’s probably Simpson lying.

Chuck Grassley already caught Simpson in one lie, when Simpson told his committee that he had no anti-Trump clients. Still no word on how Simpson, the man funded by the Clinton Campaign to produce opposition research on Trump, managed to say that with a straight face.

In Defense of “Owning the Libs”

Earlier in the week, Dan authored a great piece titled “Own the Libs” and I felt that I could expand upon one concern that Dan touched on – that “owning the libs” would be counterproductive in the long term (a point which Nikki Haley has argued in the past).

To that, I’d point to how selective the Left is when it comes to “civility” (and of course, we’re not arguing that anyone should be uncivil in shooting down silly left-wing talking points and beliefs).

It is amusing to see Leftists, particularly those in the media, romanticizing the days of “civil” politics (in their mind: the pre-Trump era). The liberals in that camp are those who ushered heaps of praise on the late John McCain, and have even gone as far as to remember the “good ol days” of the Bush Presidency Those pundits must think the average viewer has no ability to store memory – because we all remember what they thought about Bush when he was the President – and McCain when he was running against Obama.

Yet, when McCain came out against Trump, the Post began treating him as if he were the last sane man on Earth.

Even a milquetoast Republican like Mitt Romney received all the generic charges of racism and sexism, with the allegation of sexism being predicated on Romney hiring “binders full” of women. Yes – their complaint was that Romney employed too many women (no wonder they hate Brett Kavanaugh).

Jonah Goldberg documented this phenomenon where it’s the “Republicans of the past” who are the reasonable ones spectacularly in a 2012 piece in the National Review titled “The Myth of the Good Conservative.” To reference just a few examples (the first is my own):

  • In 2013, The Atlantic declared that the GOP is no longer the “party of Eisenhower and Reagan” – neither of who I imagine they’d want to have as President today. I find this especially ironic, given that it’s not uncommon to hear liberal pundits accuse the GOP of today wanting to take this country “back to the 1950s.” So, they fear going back to the 1950s – but love the Republican presiding over that decade? Interesting.
  • “The Republican Party got into its time machine and took a giant leap back into the ’50s. The party left moderation and tolerance of dissent behind” reported the Washington Post’s Judy Mann — in July of 1980. I guess her favorite era of Republicanism was the 19
  • Within a year of William F. Buckley’s founding of National Review in 1955, liberal intellectuals insisted that the magazine’s biggest failure was its inability to be authentically conservative. The editor of Harper’s proclaimed the founding editors of NR to be “the very opposite of conservatives.”

The fact of the matter is that the Republican Party hasn’t changed ideologically since at least the 1980s (which is where the studies I’ll be drawing from tend to start their measurements). It’s the Left that has gone completely haywire.

The Economist measured the ideology of Democrat and Republican candidates since 1980 – and while Republicans have inched rightward, Democrats sprinted a mile to the left.

The Pew Research Center discovered much of the same when it comes to political polarization. According to their research, as recently as 1994 we lived in magical times, where a near-majority of Democrats agreed that government regulation is harmful, and the majority agreed that government spending is wasteful. A majority even opposed legal immigration, meaning even more opposed illegal immigration.

Note that the Economist analysis was of candidates, while this is of individuals.

As for the partisan hatred we see today, Democrat animosity towards Republicans pre-dates its reciprocation. The percentage of Democrats reporting that they “hate” the Republican Party began to surge in the early 2000s, while Republicans didn’t begin thinking the same until the Obama years.

To quote the headline from an article by the left-wing writer K.T. Nelson in VICE; “Owning People Online Really Is The Left’s Only Path to Victory.” I un-ironically agree, in that the same is true for the right. As she notes, “a staggeringly small portion of the 22-to-45-year-old demographic watches cable news, and in fact almost 50 percent of young people do not watch traditional TV at all, instead opting to get their content from online streaming services, social media, and the like.”

The political landscape, and how prospective voters obtain information, has changed in the information era. Let’s beat the libs at their own game.

Here’s Why Brett Kavnauagh is Exceptionally Qualified for the Supreme Court

While I can sympathize with conservatives who believe Amy Coney Barrett would’ve been a better SCOTUS pick because it could’ve avoided the political circus we’ve been watching unfold in recent weeks, you have to remember that the Left would’ve come up with something else to attack her over. After all, just think about how absolutely ridiculous all the criticisms Kavanaugh faced were before Christine Blasey Ford came forward as an accuser.  Remember when the press was shaming him for buying baseball tickets?

The Left is going to bork any SCOTUS candidate Trump puts forward (Neil Gorsuch was an exception only because his nomination wasn’t in a midterm year), so picking a nominee to cater to the Left would be like an abused woman catering to her abuser. What’s the sense in that – especially when Republicans control the Senate anyway?

In reality, Brett Kavanaugh is objectively the most qualified SCOTUS nominee on President Donald Trump’s shortlist, so why even consider anyone else? To recap, here are four reasons why Kavanaugh should be confirmed immediately to the Supreme Court.

His Resume Surpasses Current SCOTUS Justices

Kavanaugh spent 12 years on the U.S. court of appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, graduated from Yale University, had a Supreme Court clerkship under Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, and held top posts under George W. Bush’s administration. He’s also taught law students at Yale, Harvard, and Georgetown.

His Resume Surpasses Other Picks on Trump’s Shortlist

Kavanaugh has written over 300 legal opinions and sent 41 of his law clerks to posts at the high court – more than any other competitor on Trump’s list of potential SCOTUS candidates. Ironically it’s with the exception of Merrick Garland that no one has sent more of their law clerks to work for justices of the Supreme Court than Kavanaugh has.

He has the American Bar Association’s Approval

Kavanaugh was awarded the American Bar Association’s highest rating, and while the ABA were among those calling for the FBI to investigate Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations, they did not rescind their support for him.

He’s a Solid Conservative Justice

If you like Neil Gorsuch, you’ll love Brett Kavanaugh, as he’s, even more, ideologically conservative. If confirmed, only one Justice on the Court would be more conservative, Clarence Thomas.

In conclusion; thanks to the Left, we’ve enjoyed the most chaotic SCOTUS confirmation process in recent history for the most qualified candidate in recent history.

Just wait until it’s time to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Something tells me when it comes to liberal hysteria, we ain’t seen nothing yet.

RECAP: The Biggest Anti-Kavanaugh Lies from the Kavanaugh Hearings

Democrats must be praying that Christine Blasey Ford is telling the truth – because they literally have nothing else on Brett Kavanaugh. It’s easy to forget the desperate criticisms Kavanaugh faced from the Left in the pre-Ford months. The Washington Post ran an “exposé” back in July that Kavanaugh once racked up credit card debt – and then proceeded to pay it off (the horror!). In August the Associated Press tried to shame Kavanaugh by reporting that he enjoyed basketball in college, while his friends spent their time on the debate team. And who could forget those who tried to claim his associate Zina Bash is a white supremacist because the manner in which she rested her hand?

That was truly the extent of anti-Kavanaugh criticism, and after sitting through his initial confirmation hearing and subsequent questioning about Ford’s allegations, it’s clear that’s still all they’ve got.

And on that note, let’s review the top anti-Kavanaugh lies that have arisen from both his testimonies.

Kamala Harris Deceptively Edits Abortion Answer

Unable to accurately represent the views of the Supreme Court candidate she opposes, future 2020 presidential candidate Kamala Harris decided to upload a clip to Twitter that appeared to show Kavanaugh opposed to birth control, in which he appeared to call them “abortion inducing drugs.” Hillary Clinton was among those who shared the tweet, which quickly went viral.

There was just one problem: Kavanaugh wasn’t stating his own opinion, he was quoting terminology a plaintiff used in a 2013 court case. Indeed, Kavanaugh made that clear, beginning his statement with “they said” in making reference to the plaintiff. The full quote is “They said filling out the form would make them complicit in the provision of the abortion-inducing drugs that they were, as a religious matter, objecting to.” Harris conveniently cut that part from the video before uploading it to her millions of followers so it would appear to be Kavanaugh’s personal opinion.

Kavanaugh did indeed choose his words wisely as Harris noted – which is why she had to twist them to create a lie.

Cory Booker Spartacus Lie

Prepping for his own inevitable presidential run, Cory Booker compared himself to a Thracian gladiator during the hearings in what he wanted to be a “mic drop” moment. “This is about the closest I’ll probably ever have in my life to an ‘I am Spartacus’ moment,” he said, threatening to release confidential documents he claimed would expose Kavanaugh as a supporter of racial profiling.

Just one problem: the documents were not confidential, they were released the night before by Bill Burck (though Booker’s stunt would’ve been cringe-inducing regardless).

Ironically, the documents showed that Kavanaugh opposed racial profiling, not supported it. What an alternative fact that was!

Did Kavanaugh Perjure Himself? NBC’s Shameless Reporting

NBC News is continuing to prove the media is the enemy of the American people that President Trump derides them as.

On October 2nd they ran a story claiming that texts from Kavanaugh prove he was trying to discredit accuser Deborah Ramierez before her accusations were made public when they were published in a New Yorker story.

From these texts, the left-wing publication Slate concluded that “Kavanaugh said, under oath during his testimony last week, that the first time he had heard of Ramirez’s allegations was in the New Yorker story. The text messages would indicate that that is not true and would get to the larger point that Kavanaugh has not told the truth in a number of instances during the confirmation process, and potentially perjured himself…”

Just one problem: NBC screwed up their timeline. Rather than make any note of a correction to their story, they stealthfully edited it without saying a word. Below is a side by side comparison, with the original text on the left, and the revisions on the right, which clarified that Kavanaugh’s texts came after the New Yorker article was published, not before.

And yet, the headline on their article remains “Text messages suggest Kavanaugh wanted to refute accuser’s claim before it became public.”

NBC truly is shameless.

The Calendar Corroboration Myth 

After mocking the fact that Brett Kavanaugh kept detailed calendars in his youth, liberals are now swarming on one theory that attempts to use them against him. Of the boys Ford remembers at the party she was allegedly assaulted at, in addition to Kavanaugh and Mark Judge, she remembers a boy named Patrick “PJ” Smyth. Why is that relevant? Because in Kavanaugh’s 1982 calendar, there’s an entry for July 1: “Go to Timmy’s for skis [beers] with [Mark] Judge, Tom, P.J., Bernie and Squi.” Since both Judge and Smyth are among the invitees, as are three others, could this be a reference to the party Ford was allegedly assaulted at?

That’s the theory of Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse…. and it’s nonsense.

For starters, Timmy’s house was a townhouse, not the kind of home that Ford describes in her account. Second, that townhouse is 11 miles away from the Columbia Country Club, while the house Ford was allegedly assaulted at was 8 miles away from the country club. Third, “Squi” (Chris Garrett) is a friend of Kavanaugh’s who Ford herself dated. Squi thus would’ve been named as one of the boys at the party she remembered, if this was indeed the same party.

It’s ironic that it was journalists on the left that created the term “fake news” to attack the right, since in their industry “fake news” tends to be the rule rather than the exception.

Flashback: Three Times Rod Rosenstein Betrayed Trump and Protected Hillary

Last Friday the New York Times published a bombshell report alleging that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein floated the idea of secretly recording conversations with President Donald Trump in 2017, and also proposed the possibility of removing Trump from office by invoking the 25th Amendment. Interestingly, their prior “bombshell” op-ed anonymously published by a “member of the resistance inside the Trump administration” said that “Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment.”

Whoever wrote that op-ed is anyone’s guess, but it is interesting that both Rosenstein and this anonymous writer both discussed invoking the 25th to get rid of Trump.

Rosenstein’s comments about recording Trump came after the firing of James Comey – which was followed by Rosenstein authorizing Robert Mueller’s special counsel. The counsel has since resulted in dozens of indictments, none of which are within the scope of the investigation, which includes examining “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump campaign.”

Rosenstein’s leaked comments come as no surprise, given the ally he’s proven himself to be for Democrats in the past.

Extending Surveillance of Carter Page

Rosenstein played a role in renewing the FISA warrant used to spy on Carter Page during the 2016 election, in-part enabled by British spy Christopher Steele’s dirty dossier.

As we learned from the Nunes Memo, Rosenstein approved an application to extend surveillance on Carter Page. He signed the final FISA renewal in late June 2017, not longafter he appointed Mueller in May. Republican lawmakers have argued that Rosenstein and others failed to sufficiently explaine why they allowed the spying to continue, and why they failed to properly vet the warrant application.

Rosenstein Wrote the Memo Justifying Comey’s Termination – Then Used the Firing Against Trump 

James Comey would’ve been fired by President Trump regardless, but it was a memo from Rosenstein that was used to officially justify it. Rosenstein wrote in a memo to Jeff Sessions evaluating Comey’s handling of the Clinton email investigation that “I cannot defend the Director’s handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Secretary Clinton’s emails, and I do not understand his refusal to accept serious mistakes; it is one of the few issues that unites people of diverse perspectives.” While not a partisan document, Rosenstein also supports the the left-wing narrative that Comey’s actions may have cost Hillary the election in the memo.

There’s no way that Rosenstein didn’t know his memo would be used to justify Comey’s firing, but he was reported being “shaken” and “overwhelmed” by the New York Times following Comey’s termination.

While Rosenstein says that publicly, his actions set the stage for inevitable calls for a special counsel that he could fulfill. And why wouldn’t they? The firing of Comey would unquestionably be interpreted as “obstruction of justice” by liberals. And not only that, Rosenstein could then use this as justification for invoking the 25th Amendment. As Andrew McCarthy noted:

Immediately after Comey was dismissed, Rosenstein let it be known that Trump seemed incompetent in interviews of candidates to run the FBI. Though he had shredded Comey in his May 9 memo, Rosenstein reportedly began telling FBI officials that he wished Comey were still running the FBI, and even contemplated consulting Comey on appointment of a special counsel.

And when was he doing that? The Times tells us it was in the period May 12 to 17. That is, at precisely the time Rosenstein reportedly was floating the idea of wiretapping Trump and ousting him under the 25th Amendment, he decided to appoint a special counsel.

And with that, one witch hunt was swapped for another.

Uranium One

The FBI had uncovered the shady web of Russian interests engaging in bribery, kickbacks, and other acts of corruption designed to grow Russia’s nuclear influence, before Obama signed the Uranium One deal in 2010. The DOJ spent four subsequent years investigating the sketchy deal without notifying the American public. The scandal wasn’t brought to light until 2015, thanks to the work of author Peter Schweitzer.

The man who supervised the investigation, which found evidence of Russian nuclear corruption, was Rod Rosenstein. Among that corruption included donations from Russian interests to the Clinton Foundation.

And what did Rosenstein do with that information? A whole lot of nothing. The Justice Department and FBI did charge a man named Vadim Mikerin, the Russian overseeing Putin’s nuclear expansion in the U.S., in 2014. However, the DOJ and FBI were largely silent about the charges, with the first public statement about the charges being in a press release a year later.

Why be so secretive – if not to provide cover for the Obama administration and Clinton State Department that were the ones interacting with these Russians?

Conclusion

Rod Rosenstein meets with Trump on Friday. Hopefully he’ll be hearing the same words that hundreds of contestants on “The Apprentice” have heard before him.

THE LIST: Not a Single Special Counsel Indictment Mentions Russian Collusion

Robert Mueller’s special counsel has resulted in dozens of indictments and subsequent charges, which many casual observers on the Left seem to view as confirmation that there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Witch hunts (even of the literal nature) always find some “guilty” individuals, though a common theme is that their guilt has nothing to do with the original goal of the hunt. That’s on full display in Mueller’s special counsel.

When Rod Rosenstein authorized Mueller’s special counsel after the firing of James Comey, it authorized Mueller to investigate “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump; and (ii) any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation; and (iii) any other matters within the scope of 28 C.F.R. § 600.4(a).”

After reviewing those charges, it’s clear that no evidence of “collusion” has been uncovered.

George Papadopoulos

First charged: October 3, 2017.

Charges: One count of making false statements to the FBI.

Specifics: Made misleading statements to the FBI about his interactions with “an overseas professor” (Joseph Mifsud) who had alleged ties to the Russian government. Mifsud has donated to the Clinton Foundation in the past. No charges relating to actual Russian collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Rick Gates and Paul Manafort

First charged: October 27, 2017, then February 22, 2018.

Charges: Manafort – Found guilty of 8 counts: five tax fraud charges, one charge of hiding foreign bank accounts and two counts of bank fraud. Gates – 2 counts: conspiracy against the United States and false statements.

Specifics: All regarding tax evasion and money laundering. Zero charges are related to collusion between the Donald Trump campaign and the Russian government.

Michael Flynn 

First charged: November 30, 2017.

Charges: One count of making false statements to the FBI. Flynn allegedly lied during an interview with two agents.

Specifics: As James Comey confirmed, neither of the FBI agents that Flynn allegedly lied to thought that Flynn was being untruthful. Flynn spoke to a Russian ambassador following the 2016 election, which is standard given Flynn’s former position. Flynn was quizzed on the contents of his conversation with the ambassador, none of which were criminal. The FBI had known this because they surveilled Flynn’s call and knew its exact contents before testing Flynn on how well he could recall it.

Richard Pinedo

First charged: February 2, 2018.

Charges: One count of identity theft.

Specifics: Pinedo operated the website Auction Essistance, which brokered bank account numbers to allow people banned from eBay and PayPal  (and similar websites) to return to those websites under a different identity. Pinedo transferred, possessed and used the identities of other people in connection with unlawful activity, according to a statement of the offense. I’m not sure how this could have less to do with Russian collusion.

Alex van der Zwaan

First charged: February 2, 2018.

Charges: Lying to the FBI and Special Counsel about his interactions with Rick Gates and Konstantin Kilimnik (a Ukrainian associate of Manafort).

Specifics: None relating to Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.

Dzheykhun Aslanov, Gleb Vasilchenko, Internet Research Agency LLC, Irina Kaverzina Vladimir Venkov, Anna Bogacheva Maria Bovda Robert Bovda Mikhail Burchik Mikhail Bystrov Aleksandra Krylova Vadim Podkopaev Sergey Polozov Yevgeny Prigozhin Concord Catering, and Concord Management and Consulting LLC

First charged: February 16, 2018

Charges: Multiple charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States and aggravated identity theft. Conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud.

Specifics: Mueller alleges that the Russians indicted “communicated with unwitting individuals associated with the Trump campaign,” with the key word being “unwitting,” as there’s no evidence that the Trump campaign members knew. More specifically, their crimes include “making expenditures in connection with the 2016 U.S. presidential election without proper regulatory disclosure; failing to register as foreign agents carrying out political activities within the United States; and obtaining visas through false and fraudulent statements.”

While they did try to interfere with the U.S. election, there is no evidence of collusion.

Konstantin Kilimnik

First charged: June 8, 2018

Charges: Two counts: obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Specifics: Communicated with Rick Gates and Paul Manafort (who he’d known since 2005), and aided them in laundering money. “Russia” is mentioned in his indictment only when referencing to the country as a location.

Boris Antonov, Dmitriy Badin, Nikolay Kozachek, Aleksey Lukashev, Artem Malyshev, Sergey Morgachev, Viktor Netyksho, Aleksey Potemkin, Ivan Yermakov, Pavel Yershov, Aleksandr Osadchuk, and Anatoliy Kovalev

First charged: August 31, 2018.

Charges: Multiple charges of conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, aggravated identity theft, and conspiracy to launder money.

Specifics: Attempted interference with U.S. election, but not through collusion with the Trump campaign. Also money laundering and identity theft.

W. Samuel Patten

First charged: August 31, 2018

Charges: Violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act

Specifics: Patten failed to register as a foreign agent with the Justice Department when he represented the Ukrainian political party “Opposition Bloc” from 2014 through 2018. He also admitted to laundering a $50,000 donation from Kilmnik to the Trump inauguration committee (there is no evidence to suggest anyone associated with the Trump campaign knew anything of this).

In Conclusion

Mueller has burned no shortage of witches at the stake with his investigation – but we still have yet to see a single charge of witchcraft.

Hawaii Democrat Accidentally Reveals Their Real Anti-Kavanaugh Strategy

In the wake of the sexual abuse allegations against Brett Kavanaugh, Hawaii Senator Mazie Hirono made headlines earlier this week for comments about sexual harassment and abuse she directed at half the world’s population. “Guess who is perpetuating all of these kinds of actions? It’s the men in this country. And I just want to say to the men in this country: just shut up and step up, do the right thing for a change.” I’m not sure how we’re supposed so simultaneously step up and also shut up, but that’s neither here nor there.

Incoherence aside, it’s comments Hirono made afterward that revealed her true motives in delaying the Kavanaugh confirmation; retribution for Merrick Garland. “I think we’ve had those kinds of vacancies before, and we certainly had over a one-year vacancy with Merrick Garland,” Hirono said separately on MSNBC. “So the world does not come to an end because we don’t fill all of the nominees.”

Please note that I am not commenting on the truth of Christine Ford’s (Kavanaugh’s accuser) claims – I am merely arguing that they’re being exploited by Democrats who aren’t actually interested in the truth of them. After all, if Democrats truly were concerned about claims of abuse, they wouldn’t be ignoring the abusers in their own Party, such as DNC Chair Keith Ellison (who is ironically among those calling to delay Kavanaugh’s confirmation for doing less than he’s been accused of). Nor would Democrats have waited until the 11th hour to come forward with such allegations unless their motives were political.

To Hirono’s point, is delaying Kavanaugh no different then Republicans delaying Obama nominee Merrick Garland? Of course not – because Garland was nominated in an election year. Ironically, the precedent that SCOTUS nominees aren’t to be confirmed in election years was set by the then-second-in-command, Joe Biden. After Bill Clinton won the Democratic nomination to challenge George H.W. Bush in 1992, Biden said on the Senate floor that June; “Politics has played far too large a role in the Reagan-Bush nominations to date. One can only imagine that role becoming overarching if a choice were made this year, assuming that a justice was announced tomorrow that he or she was stepping down.”

Biden said if Bush were to nominate someone, “the Senate Judiciary Committee should seriously consider not scheduling confirmation hearings on the nomination until after the political campaign season is over.”

Biden now calls the Biden Rule “ridiculous,” presumably because he only ever wanted it to work in Democrats’ favor.

Meanwhile, Ford’s lawyer said she’d be willing to testify before the Senate about her allegations – which has since been walked back on. Ford is now demanding an FBI investigation, which the Bureau already clarified was out of their jurisdiction before Ford’s demand. Republicans have only expressed interest in having Ford testify – which some crazies are twisting into a narrative that Republicans are trying to “rush” the confirmation process.

https://twitter.com/FoxNewsResearch/status/1041728331979411459

But in reality, this confirmation process is already taking longer than average. Over the past four decades, it’s taken 67 days on average between a SCOTUS nomination and confirmation vote. The longest delays have been for conservative-leaning justices, with the exception of Elena Kagan.

Kavanaugh was nominated on July 10th, meaning there’s been 71 days since his nomination (as of publication – September 19th), above the historic average. Kavanaugh’s confirmation will undoubtedly set the record for the longest delay from nomination to confirmation in recent history if Democrats get their way.

Given that Republicans are extending Ford an olive branch and giving her opportunities to plead her case, it can hardly be argued that Republicans are trying to expedite anything, but instead uncover the truth. But what can be proven is that Democrats are using Ford’s allegations to obstruct and ultimately delay Kavanaugh’s confirmation indefinitely – whether they’re true or not. For them, the truth of the allegations are only secondary.

 

Illegal Immigration and Crime 2.0 – Addressing Some Criticism

Authored by: Matt Palumbo

Last week I published a “Debunk This” piece examining whether or not illegal aliens commit crimes at a lower rate than native born Americans, which I was prompted to do after seeing a debate featuring the Cato Institute’s Alex Nowrasteh.

Alex responded and directed me to some criticisms of the studies I cited in making my own case, some of which is necessary to incorporate into my arguments. Dan invited Alex and I to debate the subject on his NRATV show, so ahead of that, I thought I’d address some of the criticisms of my criticism. I’d recommend reading my article “Do Illegal Aliens Really Commit Fewer Crimes” to anyone who hasn’t done so already, before reading this.

Alex linked to some of his writing on John Lott’s immigration study, and the Government Accountability Office’s, both of which I relied on:

Before addressing those criticisms, I think it is worth reiterating my point that any estimates we have of illegal immigrant crime based off of prison statistics are going to be understated for the reasons I mentioned in my initial piece:

  • In America, the average convict released had 3.9 prior convictions (excluding convictions that didn’t result in jail time). Given that many illegal immigrants will simply be deported at the end of their sentence (or be deported in lieu of other punishment), the chance of them re-offending is essentially zero (unless they’re to reenter the U.S.). Thus, we’re working with a biased sample, whereas many of the worst illegal alien offenders are no longer in the U.S. in the first place.
  • Most crime victims in America are victims at the hands of people who look like them. Many of the victims of illegals are likely illegals themselves, or the children of illegals, both of which wouldn’t want to get law enforcement involved.

And since the studies I referenced were based on illegal immigrant prison statistics, there are two other variables that cause illegal alien crime to be understated:

  • Over 60% of illegal aliens live in just 20 sanctuary cities, and some of those cities solve serious crimes at far lower rates than the national average. In 2015, 46% of the violent crimes and 19% of the property crimes reported to police in the U.S. were cleared, according to FBI data. In San Francisco and Los Angeles, only about a third of violent crimes are cleared.
  • There are certain crimes illegals commit that we’re not even considering – such as identity theft/fraud.  The IRS has documented 1.3 million individual cases of employment related identity theft from 2011-2016. While this isn’t the same as aggravated identity theft, the fact that nearly 40 million Social Security numbers have been compromised by illegals isn’t exactly heartwarming.

That aside, let’s dive into the two studies I cited.

John Lott/Arizona Study

Nowrasteh’s main criticism here is that Lott is overstating the number of illegal immigrants by looking at the incarceration rates of “non-citizens,” but that includes people besides illegal aliens (such as someone with a green card, whom Nowrasteh points out account for 10% of those deported).  Fair enough.

To narrow down which “non-citizens” are illegal aliens, Nowrasteh isolates which have ICE detainers outstanding (which require an inmate to be deported at the end of their sentence). About 38% of illegals in his sample had ICE detainers.

There were 1,823 prisoners with ICE detainers in 2017, which out of a prison population of 42,200 amounts to an incarceration rate to be “a maximum of only 4.3% of all prisoners,” compared to the 4.9% of Arizona’s population illegals compose.

Where Nowrasteh and I disagree is in our interpretation of those ICE detainer figures. Nowrasteh sees them as the maximum number of non-citizens that are illegals, which I see that as the absolute minimum. Politics has played a large role in the number of ICE detainers outstanding, with fewer than half being in existence in 2017 than their peak in 2010. Note the figures charted below are overall detainers (not just prisoners), and the same trend holds nationally.

Furthermore, to believe that 62% of the non-citizen prison population in Arizona are non-illegal immigrants would betray everything we know about legal immigrant crime statistics. There are about 13 million legal permanent residents in the U.S., which is similar to the illegal alien population of 10-15 million. Are we to believe that legal immigrants, that have gone through background checks (among all the other hurdles to immigrate), are committing crimes at double the rates of illegal immigrants?

That seems unlikely, and as Lott himself noted, “if we adjust the 2017 rate of detainers during the Trump administration to equal the Fiscal Year 2011 rate, then Nowrasteh’s range of incarceration rates would actually be from 6.79% to 7.89%,” which is greater than their share of Arizona’s population.

GAO Study 

A second study I cited was from the Government Accountability Office, which provided State level illegal immigrant crime statistics based on the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP), which reimburses States for the costs of illegal immigrant prisoners. That report found that in 2009 there were 295,959 criminal aliens in state, local, and federal prisons, which Nowrasteh says suffers from double-counting, because the 295k figure is based on total incarcerations, not incarcerated individuals.

As an alternative figure, Nowrasteh uses the American Community Survey (ACS), a Census-like survey that (among many other things) garners data on prisoners, including whether or not they’re American citizens, and their country of birth. Nowrasteh cites 156,329 non-citizens incarcerated at the federal, state, and local level in 2008, about half the SCAAP figure. Of course, this is self-reported data, and some non-citizens could slip through the cracks when it comes to reporting their citizenship status.

Again, the disagreement between Nowrasteh and I appears to be in how to interpret both studies. In my view the SCAAP survey is an absolute maximum figure for illegals incarceration. While it does suffer from double counting, it’s hard to imagine it’s by a large extent, unless we’re to believe that the illegals are only being incarcerated for months at a time, then immediately re-offending, and all without risking deportation. Meanwhile, I’d view the ACS figure as a minimum.

Since the truth is likely somewhere in the middle, and it’s not possible to know, I’ll be retiring this study in the future (which unfortunately means I’ll have to retract the snarky comment at the end of my prior essay). I will note however that there is another way to look at the data, based on the percentage of overall prison time illegals serve, rather than the percentage of prisoners they compose.  According to the 2009 SCAAP data, illegal aliens accounted for 5 and 6 percent of the total days of prison time served in state and local jails, respectively. If we’re to assume 12.5 million illegal aliens in America and an overall population of 325 million, illegals account for 3.8% of the population.

And Let’s Suppose I’m Wrong

Hypothetically speaking, let’s say I’m wrong that illegal aliens commit crimes at rates higher than native born Americans. That still doesn’t change the fact that there are crimes being committed that otherwise wouldn’t have happened. Suppose for the sake of a thought experiment that there was a city of 1 million people, and an additional 1 million illegals began living in the city. In the sake of this thought experiment, natives are victimized at a rate 85% higher than they were before the influx of illegals, due to increased crime from the illegal share of the population.

But at the same time, the population of the city doubled, meaning there would be simultaneously more native victims of crime, and yet the crime statistics would actually appear to decrease. Would any of those victimized notice (or find comfort in knowing) that they were technically being victimized at a lower statistical rate?

NBC Claims Semi-Automatic Rifles Are Twice as Deadly – Are They Really?

Authored by: Matt Palumbo

Most conservatives have had to explain at least once that “semi-automatic” doesn’t mean “automatic,” that “AR” doesn’t stand for assault rifle, or that there are no mechanical differences between “assault” and ordinary rifles (the only differences are cosmetic). It seems like liberals are more concerned with banning “scary” guns above anything else. But are the scariest guns also the most dangerous? NBC would like you to believe that. “Semi-automatic rifles kill twice as many as other guns, study finds,” reads their headline.

Unlike the traditional debunking I do, this is more a case of correcting “misleading”reporting – as I get the impression from NBC’s actual article that they’d hoped nobody read past the headline (much like when CNN reports that there have been dozens of school shootings this year, and then you read the fine print and find out that a school window being shot by a pellet gun is counted as a “school shooting”).

The math behind the claim couldn’t be any more fuzzy. While the headline doesn’t mention it, the study from which NBC is quoting is looking at mass public shootings, not ordinary shootings in making the claim. The study tracked 248 active shooter events (classified as such by the FBI) since 2000.

According to NBC’s report, “the average number of people wounded in semi-automatic attacks totaled nearly six, versus about three in attacks with a non-automatic weapon. Roughly four people were killed on average in semi-automatic attacks, compared with about two in other attacks, the study found.” Yet, the rest of the study they’re quoting from also found that “gunmen with semi-automatic rifles wound and kill twice as many people as those using non-automatic weapons, although the chances of dying if shot with either type of weapon are the same.” Given that no weapons are automatic, presumably the NBC writer meant to distinguish between rifles and non-rifles. “Overall, 44 percent of people hit in such attacks involving semi-automatic weapons died, the same as those wounded in attacks with non-automatic weapons [non-rifles?],” the study found. So, doesn’t that disprove the entire premise of NBC’s argument?

The study also found that semi-automatic rifles are rarely the weapon of choice in mass shootings. “Researchers examined FBI data on nearly 250 “active shooter” incidents in the United States since 2000. Almost 900 people were wounded and 718 were killed. One in four of these attacks involved semi-automatic rifles.” Furthermore, most of those with semi-automatic rifles also carried other weapons, such as a handgun or shotgun. But the study made no effort to differentiate between the damage done with each weapon. If a shooter carried out a massacre with a semi-automatic rifle and a handgun, the rifle gets the blame, regardless of if people were killed by their other weapons.

That’s probably how it’s simultaneously the case that this study claims twice as many people die in shootings with rifles, but also found that rifles are no more likely to kill people. The supposed paradox can be reconciled by the fact that those shooters with rifles also carried many other weapons too, which lead to more deaths.

But enough of NBC, what do the statistics overall say? If we were to hypothetically suppose that gun control policies actually did reduce gun violence, leftists should be directing their attention to handguns, which kill 8,300-9,600 per year, as opposed to all rifles, which kill around 250-300. And by all rifles, that figure includes bolt action rifles, non-assault rifles, and all others which aren’t “scary” AR-15s.

It’s also noteworthy that knifes kill 5-7 times as many people every year as rifles, and even blunt objects such as clubs and hammers kill more. Shotguns, which some gun control advocates (most famously, Joe Biden) have proposed as using for home self defense instead of an assault rifle, kill more than all rifles.

Note: I didn’t use FBI statistics from 2016 as there was incomplete data from Alabama, and the 2017 report is only preliminary so far.

And that too illustrates a fatal flaw in NBC’s report – that the study they were reporting on only captured a sliver of gun murders in the U.S. For some perspective on what they missed, a friend put together a helpful chart….

The semi-automatic rifle murders the NBC report is talking about includes 241 deaths over a period where there were 160,000+ total gun murders, the overwhelming majority of which were committed with handguns.

If NBC’s headline were accurate, it would’ve read something along the lines of “Semi-automatic weapons more deadly in 0.2% of shootings.”

Meanwhile, despite their fear of automatic weapons, we have lost a grand total of zero Americans at the hands of automatic weapons since the year 2000.

Do Illegal Aliens Really Commit Fewer Crimes?

by: Matt Palumbo

The Cato Institute’s Alex Nowrasteh appeared on Tucker Carlson’s show last month in the aftermath of Mollie Tibbett’s death, to argue that contrary to popular belief, illegal aliens are more law-abiding than the rest of us (I suppose we’re supposed to ignore the criminality of their immigration status). I’m not sure what comfort Mollie’s parents are supposed to feel in “learning” that their daughter was at least murdered at a statistically lower rate than the overall population, but such was Nowrasteh’s take.

Most of Tucker’s argument centered on how illegal immigrants are disproportionately represented in federal prisons, while Nowrasteh argued that’s only due to immigration-related offenses, and claimed that illegals are imprisoned at rates lower than the general population in Texas. As Nowrasteh could’ve learned from prior segments on Tucker’s show, that’s indeed not the case at the federal level.

It should be noted off the bat that all estimates of illegal immigration crime are underestimates, for a simple reason. In America, the average convict released had 3.9 prior convictions (excluding convictions that didn’t result in jail time). Given that illegal immigrants will simply be deported at the end of their sentence (or be deported in lieu of other punishment), the chance of them re-offending is essentially zero (unless they’re to reenter the U.S.). Furthermore, illegal immigrant victims of crimes committed by other illegals go unreported nearly 100% of the time for an obvious reason. Given that most white crime victims were victimized by other white people, and most black crime victims victimized by other black people, would it be a stretch to suggest that its the majority of illegal immigrant crimes going unreported, since they’re against other illegals?

Right off the bat, we’re comparing a native population that can re-offend, to one that will experience difficulty in doing so, as it’ll require them to again illegally immigrate. Despite that, U.S. Census data from 2011 to 2015 shows that noncitizens are 7% more likely than the U.S. population to be incarcerated in adult correctional facilities.

For some perspective on how deportations may have understated those figures, note that 1.5 million illegals who committed crimes were deported from 2005-2015, which is ten times higher than the number of adult illegals imprisoned in 2015. In other words, annual deportations of criminal illegals averaged the size of the illegal alien prison population (and yes, I realize how redundant the phrase “criminal illegals” is).

Illegals in Arizona

According to one study of illegal immigrants in Arizona by John Lott:

Undocumented immigrants are at least 142% more likely to be convicted of a crime than other Arizonans. They also tend to commit more serious crimes and serve 10.5% longer sentences, more likely to be classified as dangerous, and 45% more likely to be gang members than U.S. citizens.

If those figures were extrapolated nationally, illegals in 2016 “would have been responsible for over 1,000 more murders, 5,200 rapes, 8,900 robberies, 25,300 aggravated assaults, and 26,900 burglaries.”

Government Studies on Illegal Alien Murder Rates

A 2011 Government Accountability Office study of the illegal alien populations in Arizona, California, Florida, New York, and Texas found much of the same.

Looking at murder rates, the study found:

  • Arizona: 68.57 illegals imprisoned for homicide per 100,000 illegal aliens, compared to 54.06 per 100,000 for legal citizens in Arizona (21.16% higher)
  • California: 92.7 illegals imprisoned for homicide per 100,000, compared to 74.1 per 100,000 for legal California residents (25.1% higher).
  • New York: 168.75 per 100,000 illegals imprisoned for homicide, compared to 48.12 in the legal New York population (250.69% higher).
  • Texas: 54.54 illegal aliens per 100,000 imprisoned for homicide, compared to 63.43 in the legal Texas population (14.02% lower).
  • Florida: 54.85 per 100,000 illegals imprisoned for homicide, compared to 67.8 for legal Florida residents. (19.1% lower).
  • *Note that these are rates of imprisonment per 100,000, not annual homicide rates.

So, illegals actually are safer than the general population in Texas, hence why Nowrasteh chose to highlight Texas as “exhibit A” in proving illegals commit less crimes (in this case, murder).

However, the statistically lower rates that illegals commit homicides in Florida and Texas are far overshadowed by the States where they commit far more crimes. If we average together the average murder rates from the five states, we find that there are 87.882 illegal aliens imprisoned for homicide for every 100,000 illegal aliens, compared to a rate of 61.5 for the legal population. In other words, illegal aliens commit murders at rates 43% higher than the general population.

Perhaps Nowrasteh will mention illegal alien criminality in New York next time he appears on Tucker – but I won’t count on it.

SPYGATE: The Characters You Need to Know

Authored by: Matt Palumbo

Preorder Now: Spygate: The Attempted Sabotage of Donald J. Trump

“Spygate” has been the big story of 2018, but that doesn’t mean it has been easy to follow. The scandal has more characters than a Harry Potter novel, and with our 24/7 news cycle, has more moving parts than the average person has time to keep track of.

One of the most common requests Dan and I receive is to put out some informational content to help keep track of all the relevant characters in the “Spygate” scandal, and how they intersect. To do that, I thought it would make the most sense to show all the most relevant connections in flowcharts, with brief explanations of each bubble and their connections to the others below.

Obama’s campaign arm Organizing for Action paid $972,000 to the law firm Perkins Coie, which funneled that money to Fusion GPS. The Clinton campaign paid Perkins Coie $5.1 million in 2016, while the DNC shelled out $4.5 million. Most funds were for legal services, but at least $168,000 of it made its way to Christopher Steele so he could commission his anti-Trump dossier.

Former MI6 spy Christopher Steele was simultaneously working for Fusion GPS where he was researching Russian collusion, and the FBI, where he was presenting his faux evidence. Meanwhile, Fusion had some interesting Russian connections of their own. Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya (from the infamous “Trump Tower” meeting with Donald Trump Jr.) was working with Fusion to defend the firm Prevezon, which had been accused of laundering money for the Russian government. At least one person worked on the Prevezon case and also aided Steele with his dossier, a man named Ed Baumgartner.

It appears as if Veselnitskaya’s meeting with Trump Jr. was just to give the mere appearance of Russian collusion – as evidenced by the fact that she met with Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson the day of, and day after the Trump Tower meeting. Simpson claims the two never discussed the meeting, but are we to really believe he was helping Steele “prove” Russian collusion while working with a Russian who just met with Trump’s son, and this meeting didn’t come up in conversation?

Even more suspicious, during the Trump Tower meeting, Veselnitskaya was accompanied by translator Anatoli Samochornov, who was previously an interpreter for Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and Barack Obama.

And then there’s who helped organize the meeting; publicist Rob Goldstone at the request of Aras and Emin Agalarov, a father and son duo who knew Trump through the Miss Universe pageants. It was during a 2013 Moscow trip for those pageants that Trump would stay at a Ritz-Carlton (as did the Agalarovs), which would be the location where the fictitious “golden showers” story in Christopher Steele’s dossier allegedly occurred. It’s thus highly likely that the “golden showers” lie originated with the Agalarovs.

Steele also had an “in” to the DOJ through Bruce and Nellie Ohr, a married couple. Nellie worked with Fusion on the dossier, while Bruce was employed at the DOJ. Their relationship was not disclosed when the dossier was presented as evidence to surveil Carter Page. Nellie worked with Fusion since 2015, which makes it possible she was one of the FBI contractors illegally mining NSA databases for information on Republican presidential candidates. When Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel would begin in 2017, Bruce kept Mueller’s right-hand-man Andrew Weissman “in the loop” regarding his continued contact with Steele.

Steele had friends in the Clinton State Department through Victoria Nuland and Jonathan Winer. Nuland was Obama’s Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, and claims to have received the Steele dossier at the State Department and then passed it on to the FBI before their investigation into the Trump campaign started.

Nuland told CBS that “in the middle of July [2016], when [Steele] was doing this other work [on Trump] and became concerned . . . he passed two to four pages of short points of what he was finding and our immediate reaction to that was, this is not our purview. This needs to go to the FBI if there is any concern here that one candidate or the election as a whole might be influenced by the Russian Federation. That’s something for the FBI to investigate. And that was our reaction when we saw this.”

The dossier made its way to Nuland through a mutual contact, Jonathan Winer, also a State Department employee. Winer later admitted to doing pro bono work for the Clinton Global Initiative while he was working at the State Department and exchanging information with Steele.

While Steele passed on his dossier to Winer, Winer had one to give Steele. There was a second dossier, authored by Cody Shearer, a long-time fixer for the Clintons. Shearer’s dossier is suspiciously similar to Steele’s, and even contains the same bogus “golden showers” story.  According to The Guardian, Steele passed the Shearer memo on to the FBI in October 2016, because it “corroborated” what he had learned from his independent sources. Garnering the same information from separate sources seems like a slam-dunk in verifying a claim, but Steele and Shearer had the same bogus information fed to them. What are the chances of that?

Former UN ambassador Samantha Powers, in the words of the Washington Free Beacon, “appears to be central to efforts by top Obama administration officials to identify individuals named in classified intelligence community reports related to Trump and his presidential transition team, according to multiple sources.” Power revealed the names of at least 260 people during her last year as UN ambassador and increased her pace to one per day in the final months of Obama’s presidency. She would later deny making those requests, meaning that she’s either lying, or someone else was unmasking members of the Trump campaign in her name.

It wasn’t just Democrats finding themselves acquainted with Steele.  British ambassador Andrew Wood knew both Chris Steele, and John McCain. In November 2016, he participated in a Canadian conference also attended by McCain and his associate David Kramer. At this conference, McCain and Kramer were briefed by the British Ambassador Andrew Wood about making contact with Steele regarding the dossier. Kramer would later obtain the materials from Steele and deliver it to McCain.

George Papadapoulos was a key target of those looking to frame the Trump campaign in giving the appearance of Russian collusion.

Papadopoulos’ story began in March 2016 when he was named a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign with a supposed emphasis on improving U.S. relations with Russia. During this time, Papadopoulos traveled to Italy and met Joseph Mifsud, a Maltese professor of diplomacy based in London. On April 26, 2016, Mifsud met with Papadopoulos in London and told him he had damaging information from the Russians on Hillary Clinton. One contact he claimed to know well was Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Interestingly, one connection we know that Mifsud has is with the Clinton Foundation, whom he’s donated to in the past.

In May, after Mifsud falsely told Papadopoulos about the Russians having dirt on Clinton—something Mifsud now claims he never said—Papadopoulos went to the Kensington Wine Rooms in London to meet with Australia’s top diplomat in the United Kingdom, Alexander Downer (at Downer’s request). Downer was previously part of Hakluyt, a secretive British intelligence firm founded by former MI6 members. Downer remained associated with the firm following their departure, and this connects Downer to the British intelligence actors in this drama.

During their discussion, Papadopoulos told Downer (allegedly while drunk) about the Russians having material that would damage Clinton, which Downer later reported to the FBI. That bogus claim, of course, was planted in Papadapoulos’ head by Mifsud. The FBI has used this as cover for why they opened a counterintelligence operation into the Trump campaign. After reports of this meeting surfaced, The New York Times commented, “It is unclear whether Mr. Downer was fishing for that information that night in May 2016.” Unclear to only the New York Times, perhaps.

Like Mifsud, Downer is connected to the Clinton Foundation, but to an overwhelmingly greater extent. Downer used his influence as ambassador to broker a $25 million donation from the Australian government to the Clinton Foundation in 2007. Downer also potentially has a connection to Fusion, as Glenn Simpson described the “Downer/Papadpoulos” meeting in Senate testimony before news of the meeting was made public.

Meanwhile, FBI spy Stefan Halper had met with Papadaopoulos two months prior to the election, and immediately asked him if he’d known anything about Hillary’s emails. In other words, he was trying to fish out information that Downer didn’t. Papadopoulos says Halper wasn’t the only suspicious person to approach him. There were two others. Papadopoulos’ wife, Simona Mangiante, told The Daily Caller that one of the contacts offered to pay him $30,000 a month during his time with the Trump team. Papadapoulos’ wife said that one of the people who contacted Papadapoulos was Sergei Millian, a businessman that’s cited in Steele’s dossier as “Source D.” “Source D” is where Steele claims to have sourced the “golden showers” story from. How it was communicated from the Agalarovs to Millian is a mystery.

British intelligence agency GCHQ was headed by Robert Hannigan, who resigned shortly after Trump was inaugurated without any notice. During the campaign, Hannigan intercepted communications of the Trump team, and passed them onto the CIA’s John Brennan, who then passed them on to the FBI. Brennan takes responsibility for sparking the FBI’s counterintelligence operation, in direct contradiction to the thesis that Papadapoulos was responsible.

As previously mentioned, Stefan Halper was the FBI’s spy in the Trump campaign. He’d worked for the CIA decades prior, and had connections to the British intelligence agency MI6 (where Steele previously worked) through a man named Sir Richard Dearlove. Halper believed that a Hillary victory would be better for U.S/U.K. relations, and given the number of actors from British intelligence, perhaps they shared similar motives.

In 2012, Joseph Mifsud worked with Claire Smith, a member of the U.K. Joint Intelligence Committee. As a member of the Joint Intelligence Committee, Smith participated in overseeing all British intelligence agencies, thus meaning she’s a high ranking member in British intelligence. This makes it unlikely that Mifsud was a Russian spy – and makes it more likely he’s part of the world of Halper, Steele, and others.

Conclusion

These are just the characters in the “set-up” stage of the Spygate scandal. For the tangled web of actors in the Robert Mueller special counsel, stay tuned for our next series of flowcharts.

And in the meantime, preorder a copy of “Spygate: The Attempted Sabotage of Donald Trump.”

 

 

Does the U.S. Lead the World in Mass Shootings?

Authored by: Matt Palumbo

An inevitable talking point following any mass public shooting is that such tragedies “simply don’t happen” anywhere else in the world. Former President Barack Obama famously said following the 2015 Charleston church shooting which killed nine, that “This type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency.”

To support the claim, the White House released a statement citing research from criminologist Adam Lankford, which concluded the U.S. has roughly 5% of the world’s population, but 31% of the world’s mass shootings (with 90 of 292 mass shootings having a minimum of four victims having occurred in the U.S.). The time-frame was from 1966-2012, and put the blame on America’s gun laws and gun culture. The study also found that American mass shootings tend to be carried out with multiple weapons, while mass shootings abroad tend to be carried out with a single weapon (though interestingly the average death toll per shooting is lower in the U.S. despite that, with about 6.87 victims per incident in the U.S. and 8.8 per incident abroad). 

Countless publications cited the study as proof that mass shootings are a uniquely American problem, but a new study found serious flaws in Lankford’s research, concluding instead that despite having 4.6% of the world’s population and 40% of the world’s firearms, we in the U.S. experience just 2.88% of the world’s mass shootings. According to the study, authored by John Lott and titled “How a Botched Study Fooled the World About the U.S. Share of Mass Public Shootings: U.S. Rate is Lower than Global Average“:

Lankford claims to have “complete” data on such shooters in 171 countries. However, because he has neither identified the cases nor their location nor even a complete description on how he put the cases together, it is impossible to replicate his findings.

It is particularly important that Lankford share his data because of the extreme difficulty in finding mass shooting cases in remote parts of the world going back to 1966. Lack of media coverage could easily lead to under-counting of foreign mass shootings, which would falsely lead to the conclusion that the U.S. has such a large share.

As it turned out, Lankford massively under-counted mass shootings abroad, giving the U.S. an unjustly high share of the world’s mass shootings in his findings. Lott’s study used the same criteria for mass shootings as Lankford, though his researchers relied on a wide array of crime databases to search for mass shootings, and also hired people who spoke Chinese, French, Polish, Russian, Spanish, and other languages to scour international sources Lankford may have missed.

And boy did Lankford miss a lot. Lott’s list include:

1,448 attacks and at least 3,081 shooters outside the United States over just the last 15 years of the period that Lankford examined (1998-2012). We find at least fifteen times more mass public shooters than Lankford in less than a third the number of years. Coding these events sometimes involves subjectivity. But even when we use coding choices that are most charitable to Lankford, his 31 percent estimate of the US’s share of world mass public shooters is cut by over 95 percent. By our count, the US makes up less than 1.43% of the mass public shooters, 2.11% of their murders, and 2.88% of their attacks. All these are much less than the US’s 4.6% share of the world population. Attacks in the US are not only less frequent than other countries, they are also much less deadly on average.

In other words, the U.S. has had 43 mass shootings between 1998 to 2012, compared to 1,448 from the rest of the world. 

While there’s an impression that mass shootings are on the rise in the U.S., that’s certainly not true relative to the rest of the world:

And aside from mass shootings, America is not a uniquely violent country despite widespread gun ownership. Americans commit just 3.7% of the world’s murders, despite having 4.6% of the world’s population and 40% of the world’s firearms.

Who Was Stefan Halper?

Authored by: Matt Palumbo

Preorder Now: Spygate: The Attempted Sabotage of Donald J. Trump

Just two months before the 2016 election, former Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos received a random meeting request from Stefan Halper, a University of Cambridge professor and member of the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar (CIS), which was founded by officers from British intelligence agencies. Halper was involved in a CIA spying scandal in the 1980s to benefit Ronald Reagan’s campaign, and while his history is as a Republican, he publicly supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.

So why was he speaking to Papadapoulos? Because Halper was the FBI’s inside source to infiltrate the Trump campaign.

Halper asked Papadopoulos to fly to London to discuss international relations and the possibility of Papadopoulos writing a policy paper on a gas field in the Mediterranean for $3,000. This was all cover so Halper could try to fish information out of Papadapous. Once they met, Halper was quick to turn to the subject of Russia, asking Papadopoulos, “You know about hacking the emails from Russia, right?” Papadopoulos didn’t offer up any information, and contact with Halper didn’t extend much past that trip. Papadapoulos would finish and submit his policy paper to Halper, but there’s no evidence it was ever used for anything. 

So where did that comment about Hillary’s emails come from?

Months prior, Papadapoulos had a serious of meetings with Joseph Mifsud, a Maltese professor who at one point claimed to have Hillary Clinton’s hacked emails (he didn’t), and Alexander Downer, an Australian diplomat whom Papadopoulos would (allegedly drunkenly) tell he (falsely) had possession of Hillary’s emails. Mifsud reportedly only became interested in Papadapoulos after learning of his role within the Trump campaign, while Downer requested his meeting with Papadapoulos. Both are of note because Mifsud is on record having donated to the Clinton Foundation, and Downer helped broker a $25 million donation from the Australian government to the Clinton Foundation. Neither were political allies of Papadapoulos, but had their sights on him. 

Why? To help further a narrative about Russian collusion with the Trump campaign, which Halper was well aware of.

Downer would later go to the FBI to report Papadapoulos’ claim, which would later be the claimed justification for the FBI’s counterintelligence operation into the Trump campaign (though John Brennan claims it was actions he took which sparked the investigation). Regardless, the FBI now had a reasonable excuse to spy on the Trump campaign (regardless of their actual motive, to secure Hillary Clinton’s presidential victory).

Papadopoulos says Halper wasn’t the only suspicious person to approach him. There were two others. Papadopoulos’ wife, Simona Mangiante, told The Daily Caller that one of the contacts offered him $30,000 a month during his time with the Trump team to work as a consultant. According to Mangiante:

It looks to be one among a series of attempts to entrap George. The question today to me [is whether] these people are simply shady businessmen or are they part of a greater attempt to entrap George in illegal activity.

And speaking of entrapment, while Papadapoulos didn’t do anything legally wrong, he’d later be charged with lying to the FBI about his conversations. That’s the same charge that Michael Flynn faced, even though the FBI agents who interviewed him didn’t believe that he lied. Unsurprisingly, Halper also spread a bogus warning to American authorities that Flynn was at risk of being compromised by Russian intelligence because of his relationship with a female journalist named Svetlana Lokhova. Why? Because in 2014 Flynn sat next to her at a dinner hosted by CIS. Lokhova said she thought the allegations were a joke, adding “In Britain, I am now being accused of being a Russian spy. In Russia, some think I am a British spy. And I am neither.”

In addition to Papadapoulos, Halper also made contact with Trump campaign co-chair Sam Clovis and Carter Page, who was surveilled by the FBI.

Halper and the Steele Dossier

Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson first hinted at the existence of Halper when he testified to Congress that the information in Christopher Steele’s dossier mirrored that of an FBI informant in the Trump campaign. Simpson told Congress, the FBI believed “Chris’ information might be credible because they had other intelligence that indicated the same thing and one of those pieces of intelligence was a human.”

Who else could that have been except Halper?

Page and Halper first met at a conference in London on July 11th and 12th, which was when Page was on his returning trip from Moscow (a detail included in Steele’s dossier). The two then remained in contact during the following months. That conference was also attended by former MI6 head Sir Richard Dearlove, an associate of both Halper and dossier author Christopher Steele, who was working with the FBI at the time of Halper’s spying. Dearlove and Steele met in early fall of 2016, so Steele could get his advice on how to move forward with the information in his dossier.

Halper would also met with  Sam Clovis, but only once. Halper would later pitch himself as an ambassador to China for the Trump team after his presidential victory. In other words, even after Trump’s victory, the FBI looked to keep a spy planted within the presidency.

Given the excess number of leaks from the Trump White House during the first two years of the presidency, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were others who did manage to make their way in.

For more on the unprecedented infiltration of the Trump campaign, pre-order our forthcoming book “Spygate: The Attempted Sabotage of Donald J. Trump.” 

Yes, Trump is Tougher on Russia than Obama

Actions speak louder than media rhetoric, and that couldn’t be more true when it comes to President Donald Trump’s supposed romance with the Kremlin. It is amusing to note how randomly the Left seems to create new villains, given that as recently as the 2012 presidential election, showing any concern over Russia’s global influence was laughable to Democrats.

Now, all of a sudden, not only are the Russians public enemy no. 1, they’d supposedly been in cahoots with a Republican presidential candidate and now-President. Vladimir Putin did admit that he preferred President Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election at the Helsinki Summit (leading some liberals to cite this as “proof” of collusion), but those same liberals didn’t notice (or care) that Putin also preferred Obama over Romney in 2012.

It’s not hard to see why. As the left-leaning Brookings Institute reminds us:

  • Obama turned a blind eye to Russia’s war with Georgia in 2008.
  • In 2009 Obama axed missile defense plans for Poland and the Czech Republic, which Russia interpreted as America retreating from the European continent. Russia then became more interventionist in Europe.
  • Obama didn’t utter a peep as Russia annexed Crimea and invaded eastern Ukraine in 2014.
  • Obama ignored calls from Congress, foreign policy experts, and members of his own cabinet to provide lethal weapons to Ukraine.

Obama has also been criticized by his fellow Democrats for not doing enough in response to the alleged Russian hacking of the DNC (which they now claim didn’t occur), or the alleged Russian hacking of Hillary Clinton’s private email server (which we now know was done by the Chinese).

Biggest of all however is the failure of Obama’s attempted “Russia reset” in 2009, which began with Hillary Clinton literally traveling to Russia with a “reset” button” that vaguely resembled one of those “That Was Easy” buttons you’ll see in a Staples commercial. The word “reset” was misspelled on the button, and things only went downhill from there. U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul was the architect of the reset plan – and encouraged future administrations to not pursue the same policies that the Obama administration did. Bill Clinton also deemed the attempted “reset” a failure.

Unlike Obama, Trump hasn’t been weak on Russia. Trump has said he’s the “toughest on Russia,” and while he’s no stranger to hyperbole, there’s no question that he was tougher than his predecessor.

While Trump isn’t shy to heap praise on Putin, you wouldn’t think the two had a cozy relationship if we were to judge Trump only by the actions he’s taken towards Russia as President.

  • Trump did approve the sale of lethal weapons to Ukraine in December 2017.
  • On the annexation of Crimea, Sarah Huckabee Sanders stated “We do not recognize Russia’s attempt to annex Crimea. We agree to disagree with Russia on that front. And our Crimea sanctions against Russia will remain in place until Russia returns the peninsula to the Ukraine.”
  • Trump has ordered missiles to be fired at Syrian military sites (after President Assad was accused of using chemical weapons on his own people), which have a strategic alliance with Russia. In response, Putin accused the U.S. of “making the already catastrophic humanitarian situation in Syria even worse and bring[ing] suffering to civilians with its strikes.”
  • In August 2017, Trump signed into law CAATSA, the “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act,” which imposed sanctions on Iran, North Korea, and Russia. In the words of the geopolitical intelligence platform Stratfor, “CAATSA demonstrates that the United States is more strident than ever in pushing other countries to reduce their defense and energy ties with Russia.”
  • In March, following the poisoning (presumably by the Russian government) of former KGB agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Trump expelled 60 Russian diplomats.
  • In April, Trump imposed more sanctions on Russia following the indictments of 13 Russians for “malicious cyber activities” earlier in March. Russia’s stock market dropped 11% on the news. Shares of the Russian aluminum giant Rusal (which is the world’s second largest aluminium company) tanked 40% on the news.

And what’s the evidence that Trump has been kind to Russia? Because Trump says nice things about Putin, and vice versa?

In reality, the two are respectful to one another despite politics – not because of them.

 

Liberal Lies About Trump’s Stock Market Surge

Anyone that has checked their retirement accounts since Donald Trump’s presidential victory already knows that the market is on a historic tear. What few know however is that this bull market we’re currently in is now officially the longest running bull market in American history. Note that when I’m speaking about the U.S. stock market, I’m referring to the S&P 500 index, not the Dow Jones or NASDAQ.

According to Quartz:

At the close of trading in New York Wednesday (August 22nd), the stock market will make an impressive milestone. It will set the record for the longest bull market in history. A bull market generally begins when the market rises 20% from the low set at the end of a bear market, which itself is measured by a 20% fall from a previous peak. The last low set by the benchmark S&P 500 index was on March 9, 2009. It’s been 3,453 days of fairly steady growth since then, with the S&P 500 climbing by more than 320% over that period. The previous record bull run was set between Oct. 1990 and March 2000.”

The two are charted below. While the 1990-2000 boom outperformed this current steak, the 90-2000 boom was fueled mainly by the tech bubble (which ended up bursting in a spectacular fashion). This bull run is not comparable to the internet bubble, which we know from the ratio of a company’s value to their earnings. The S&P 500 traded at 45 times earnings in 2002, compared to only roughly 23 today.

Now, onto some myths.

Was it due to Trump?

The most common claim is that this current bull run has nothing to do with Donald Trump, and is rather an extension of a run that began under Obama. In other words, we’re supposed to believe that Trump was passed the baton and just ran the final 100 meters. The only element of truth in this claim is that it is true that the bull run didn’t begin under Trump.

As evidence to support their critisism, some critics (such as Paul Krugman) point to how European stock performance in 2017 mostly paralleled that of U.S. stocks.

“Sure the markets surged in 2017” the argument goes, “but it was just part of a global economics recovery.”

Below is a clearer chart, comparing the S&P 500 to a fund that tracks the EAFE (an index of developed market stocks, mostly European). The date range is January 1st 2017 to December 31st 2017, and more-or-less paints an identical picture to Krugman’s chart. It shows the EAFE rising 21%, to the S&P’s 19.3%.

A Nobel Laureate like Krugman really ought to know better when making such a claim, as he’s not accounting for how the value of the US dollar impacts foreign stock prices for domestic investors. Here’s why; for an American investor, the underlying assets in the index Krugman is citing are quoted in whatever domestic currency those companies reside in (so a British company’s stock price would be quoted in Pounds, for instance). The value of foreign stocks to an American investor therefore increase when the relative value of a dollar decreases, as their foreign stocks (quoted in that foreign currency) will be worth more in terms of US dollars.

This is relevant because the US dollar declined 10% in 2017 (12.4% against the Euro in particular) meaning that the foreign funds returns that Krugman is drawing attention to are significantly higher than they should be.

We can prove this because the same financial institution which created the EAFE fund charted above also offers a “currency hedged” version of the fund (meaning it’s not impacted by the dollar’s fluctuations at all), and that one has lagged the S&P 500 massively, rising only 12.5% over the same period.

Furthermore, U.S. stocks and international stocks have completely diverged in 2018. As a recent article in the Wall Street Journal noted, “U.S. foreign policy has driven sharp swings in European and Asian markets this summer, drawing investors into the safety of the U.S.” They prove that with an accompanying chart comparing U.S. markets to the rest of the entire world, minus the U.S.:

Hilariously Bad Predictions

You have to remember just how bad the predictions of Trump’s market critics have been. On the night of the election, stock futures declined as it became evident that Trump would win the presidency, briefly confirming the fears of the Chicken Littles among us. Krugman famously wrote that night, “it really does now look like President Donald J. Trump, and markets are plunging. When might we expect them to recover?…  If the question is when markets will recover, a first-pass answer is never.”

Nailed it.

Within days of Trump’s victory the market began to roar, which should’ve silenced critics, but not the brain trust over at CNN. “The big surge on November 7 snapped a nine-day losing streak for stocks that many attributed to Donald Trump’s newfound momentum” columnist Paul R. La Monica wrote on November 14th. But, he warned, “several market strategists expressed concerns that the market is underestimating the possibility of Trump rattling the markets during his time in office.” Another supposed threat to the markets? Trump’s stance on immigration. “Trump’s anti-immigration stance could also be a big problem for U.S. tech companies, which have attracted a lot of talented foreign workers due to the H1-B visa program. Will Trump seek to end that?”

He concluded “Now this isn’t to say that the market definitely is due for a crash during the Trump administration. But experts think investors may now need to take a step back and remember that there still isn’t a lot that the market knows about possible Trump policies.”

The market knows a lot now – and it certainly likes what it sees.

The Two Biggest Myths About Privatizing Social Security

Authored by: Matt Palumbo

The Social Security (SS) system turned 83 years old on Tuesday, but given the programs fiscal issues, it has few birthdays left to celebrate. When SS was created, it acted as old age survivors insurance, as the average American died before turning 65 (when they’d be eligible for benefits). It wasn’t until LBJ’s war on poverty that SS became the retirement plan we know it as today.

While there were five workers supporting each retiree in the 1950s, there are now fewer than three. Proving that nothing changes in government, the retirement age has remained unchanged as average lifespans now push 80, hence this declining ratio of workers to retirees. In June, government trustees warned that SS will be insolvent by 2034, and only able to pay out 3/4 of what recipients are owed based on how much taxes they paid into the system.

The most common solutions to SS’ fiscal troubles usually center around raising the retirement age, or having the payroll tax apply to all levels of income. While that would close the gap if done correctly, it doesn’t change the fact that SS’ returns are godawful from an investment perspective, or that politicians can raid SS’ trust fund whenever they please (as Bill Clinton did).

Myth #1: It’s a Radical New Idea

Chile privatized their government pension system in 1981, with great success. Workers are required to put 10% of their incomes towards retirement, but unlike our SS system, they’re allowed to invest their money as they like, into a handful of approved stock and bond funds.

The average Chilean worker who retires after 40 years can expect to receive 87% of their prior salary in retirement under the Chilean system. The average U.S. worker receives SS benefits that equal 38% of their prior income (52% for lower-income earners). 

Unlike our ponzi-like system where current recipients are paid by future recipients, the majority of retirement funds paid out under Chile’s system are the result of income earned on investments. One study of returns over a 32 year period in Chile found a 8.7% compound annual return net of inflation, and that 73% of the pension funds workers retire on comes from profit made on investments, with only 27% coming from the principal.

Another benefit of the kind of private accounts Chile has is that when a recipient dies, there’s money left over to pass to their family. That’s impossible in the “pay as you go” system we have.

Australia also has privatized their retirement system, requiring workers to pay 9.5% of their wages into the system (up to 12% in 2020). Savings in Australia equal 130% of GDP, and unlike our SS system, theirs runs large surpluses.

Myth #2: Market Crashes Make it Too Risky

What about market crashes, like in 2008-09 when the stock market lost half its value? For that objection, we need some perspective. Imagine for a second that you were the unluckiest investor in the world, investing your entire life savings at the stock market’s peak in 1929 before the great depression. At the end of a 45 year period in 1974, you would have increased your portfolio in value eightfold, for an annual compounded return of 4.9% after inflation. And that’s an understatement. In reality someone would be contributing to retirement every year, and thus dollar cost averaging their investment during down years.

What if you had to retire after a crash? Someone who invested in 1887 and retired 45 years later in 1932, when the market hit its absolute bottom during the great depression would have a 4.3% average return after inflation. (Source: Pages 29-30) And like the prior example, this is an understatement, as in reality no sane person would be invested in 100% stocks near the end of their career. 

Historically, Social Security’s returns have amounted to 2-2.5%, roughly in line with inflation. In other words, the real return on investment for Social Security contributions is close to zero. This also means that even the worst market timing in history is preferable to SS. 

Source: Social Security Administration

By contrast to SS returns, even corporate bonds tend to yield a similar return after accounting for inflation, while stocks have historically yielded near 6% after inflation.

Australia’s pension system is routinely ranked as the best in the world, and given the facts laid out here, it’s no surprise why.