Category: Debunk This

The Problem with Student Loan Forgiveness No Liberal DARES Talk About

Here’s an angle seldom addressed in the debate over forgiving mounting student debt; that it’s an entitlement for the upper class, not the poor.

Both Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have released their own plans to cancel all or part of the nation’s collective $1.6 trillion in student loan debt. Sanders’ plan is an across the board cancellation, while Warren’s $640 billion plan would cap student loan forgiveness at $50,000 for those making less than $100,000 annually. Of course, $50,000 is far above the average student loan debt, so her plan is essentially the Sanders plan with safeguards so we aren’t bailing out doctors and lawyers.

Regardless, student loan forgiveness would mostly only subsidize those from families near the top of the income distribution. An analysis of Warren’s plan (which is the more conservative of the two) from the Brooking’s Institute found that: “the top 20 percent of households would receive about 27% of all annual savings, and the top 40% about 66%. The bottom 20% of borrowers by income get only 4% of the savings. Borrowers with advanced degrees [Master’s degree or higher] represent 27% of borrowers, but would claim 37% of the annual benefit.”

Naturally since the Sanders plan would apply to everyone with debt, it would be even more lopsided in who it benefits. The Warren plan won’t let a doctor earning six figures with a six figure debt load off the hook, but Sanders does.

Bernie proposes paying for this plan with new taxes on Wall Street including a 0.5% tax on stock trades (50 cents per $100 of stock value), a 0.1% fee on bonds, and a 0.005% fee on derivatives. Ironically those on Wall Street would be best equipped to avoid such a tax. Sweden introduced an identical 0.5% tax on stock transactions in 1984, and later implemented smaller taxes on bonds and derivatives (which only garnered 5% of the revenue expected). Trading in futures fell 98%, the options market practically disappeared, and by 1990 half of all stock trading in Sweden had moved offshore to London. The tax was later repealed in 1991.

The Poor Already Have Programs in Place to Make College Cheap

It’s clear that the primary beneficiaries of loan forgiveness would be the upper class, but isn’t that simply because only wealthy families can afford to send their children to school in America? Obviously not for two reasons, the most obvious being that if that were the case we wouldn’t have a student debt crisis in the first place. Second, the Federal government already does have programs in place that make it possible for the poor to graduate with no debt from tuition.

The average Pell Grant a poor American student would be eligible for in 2017-2018 of $4,010 was higher than the average community college tuition that year ($3,347), and the maximum Pell Grant of $5,920 covered two-thirds of the average in-state college tuition that year ($9,970). None of this accounts for any low-income scholarships those students may also be eligible for.

Debt Elimination Wouldn’t Prevent Future Students From Accruing Debt

Debt forgiveness may wipe the slate clean for millions of students – but not for every subsequent student for future generations. Rather than address the root problem leading to student debt (skyrocketing tuition and campus living expenses), the Bernie and Warren plans only put a band aid on those currently injured with debt, but not the millions who will accrue debt after them.

Indeed, even tuition free college wouldn’t solve the student debt crisis, as the puzzling case of tuition-free-college existing alongside massive student debt burdens in Scandinavia proves.

While tuition is free, room and board are not. Paradoxically, offering free tuition seems to have incentivized students to be more likely to rack up debt by moving out early. While it’s becoming more common for American students to save money by living at home and attending a two-year community college, there’s less incentive to do so with “free” tuition.

  • In 2015 Swedes who borrowed to attend college had an average $17,266 in debt.
  • In Norway, the average student graduated with 280,000 NOK in debt in 2016. That amounts to roughly $32,000.
  • For contrast, the average student debt for someone graduating in America’s class of 2015 was approximately $30,100.

Furthermore, making college “free” risks greatly devaluing the worth of a college degree. An American college graduate earns 75% more than an American high school grad – but a Swedish college graduate earns only 9% more than a Swedish high school grad.

America’s higher education system needs major reforms to bring costs down – and both Sanders and Warren don’t even pretend to do that.

Libs FREAK Over “Trump Concentration Camp” Photos – But There’s One HUGE Problem

The insane rhetoric among the Left that the Trump administration is “separating families,” “caging children,” and putting people in “concentration camps” has become about as commonplace as their inability to fact check anything.

After Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez began drew fire for comparing illegal immigrant detention facilities to concentration camps, actress Nancy Lee Grahn attempted to give some credibility to the claim with visuals in a now viral tweet.

One can only wonder if Grahn had seen the original images as opposed to the cropped ones that she shared – because the originals were timestamped. And the timestamp proved the images to be from 2015.

Do we need to remind Nancy and the tens of thousands who shared her tweet who was president in 2015?

We’re supposed to believe that Trump invented the policy of family separation, but it was the 1993 “Reno v. Flores” Federal Court ruling that decided children cannot be held with parents that are in custody to be prosecuted. And what exactly is the Left’s alternative? Are we not supposed to detain asylum seekers awaiting trial? And do liberals realize that these asylum seekers are free to leave their “concentration camps” at any time and go home?

Figures from the ORR prove that between 2012-2016, almost 200,000 migrant children were referred to the DHS (because they were either separated from their families, or they were unaccompanied minors). I don’t recall seeing many liberal tears in solidarity with those 200,000 children.

This is hardly even the first time the Trump administration was blamed for a policy that was also present during the Obama administration. Last year countless journalists and pundits shared a photo of “caged children” in protest of the “Trump regime.” And when was the photo actually from? 2014.

Any one of those “journalists” could’ve learned as much if they simply read the date on the article they had shared.

When will they learn?

Probably never.

Major Economic Indicator Points to an IMMINENT Recession – But Don’t Panic Yet

Is the sky about to fall? You may have read in the news recently that an economic omen has been triggered – that the yield curve has inverted. But what does that mean anyway? 

The yield curve referred to is the series of interest rates on government debt of differing maturities (from 1 month to 30 years). The overwhelming majority of the time, the longer a debt takes to mature, the higher the interest rate will be on that debt. This makes sense from a lender’s perspective; more can go wrong over a longer time-frame, so more interest is needed to compensate for that additional risk.

That’s why an inverted yield curve, when short term debt yields more than long term debt, is viewed as such an economic omen by economists, as it implies that the market as a whole sees more risk to the economy immediately than in the distant future.

And historically that fear has been correct, with recessions beginning typically 1 year following an inversion of the yield curve. In May, the spread between the 10-year and 3-month Treasury bills inverted, and as you can see in the chart below, those inversions are usually followed by recession (which are shaded in grey). The past seven recessions have been preceded by a yield curve inversion.

While the yield curve’s predictive power has been 100% for the last seven recessions, a sample size of seven isn’t exactly much to work with. Just like a knowledgeable gambler is aware that past results are no predictor of the future, the same holds true today.

Not only is the past no guarantee of future results, this time the economy is in a drastically different state during our inversion.

According to Forbes:

Claudia Sahm of the Federal Reserve has detailed a novel way to both forecast recessions and make them less severe. She details a sound metric for tracking recessions early; it’s to look for a +0.5% rise in the unemployment rate relative to the unemployment rate’s past 12-month low. This metric has called each of the seven recessions back to 1970, never getting it wrong over that period.

That’s a good success rate, and comparable with the inverted yield curve.

Unemployment rising tends to coincide with the very start of a recession. It’s a fairly early signal, but it tends to be triggered 1-4 months after the recession begins looking back over history. So essentially, given that the current 12-month low for unemployment is 3.6%, if, theoretically if we saw a 4.1% unemployment rate at some point within the next 12 months, then it’s reasonable to assume on Sahm’s metric that would be in a recession.

So unless unemployment were to rise to 4.1% over the next year, there’s no reason to panic.

And that’s not all. The yield curve may have inverted not because of actual economic fears, but because of the Federal Reserve.

The Federal Reserve’s balance sheet now composes roughly 20% of GDP, but was only around 5% of GDP at the time of the past financial crisis. Most of the Fed’s holdings comprise of long term bonds and mortgage-backed securities. As one analyst noted:

According to some estimates, for every 10% of GDP of bond purchases, the 10-year treasury yield fell by anywhere from 0.15% to 2.4%.

Since late 2017, the Fed has been cutting down its balance sheet in a normalization process that should end in the coming months. However, this process has been done by mostly letting short- and medium-term bonds to expire without repurchasing new ones. As a result, the changes in the size and maturity of the Fed’s balance sheet may have also contributed to the fall in long-term term premiums and, indirectly, the flattening of the yield curve.

Additionally, as America’s national debt increases a larger percentage of our debt has been held by foreign countries, and that too may have flattened the yield curve.

While it may be true that the yield curve’s inversion has historically predicted a recession, the fact that are external factors causing it this time means this time, it may be different.

Currently, the betting odds on a recession occurring during Trump’s first term has been cut in half since January, and is among the lowest it’s been during any point of his Presidency.  Meanwhile, nearly 100% of corporations polled by CNBC say they don’t expect a recession this year.

SHOCK Poll Reveals AOC DOOMED In Her Own District

For as “incredible” the media portrayed the rise of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, her unexpected victory is considerably less impressive when you put it in the context of a 4,136 vote win against a notoriously corrupt opponent in a district of 700,000.

Cortez hasn’t denied that she polls poorly nationally – but has dismissed that majority disapproval as being the fault of old white men and used that as an opportunity to imply that polling itself is sexist.

A new poll of AOC’s own district has found her polling overwhelmingly unfavorable, and the demographics of her district (which is 50% Hispanic, 16% Asian, 11% black, 18% white, and D+29 overall) make her previous excuse impossible.

As reported by the Washington Examiner:

[The poll] found that she has a low 21% favorability rating, that just 11% believe she has their best interests in mind, and that only 13% would vote to reelect her.

The key findings:

  • 42% are unfamiliar with AOC.

  • 51% have an unfavorable view of her.

  • 33% are ready to vote against her, and only 13% would vote for her.

The poll comes after countless gaffes in the past few weeks.

Just this month the Congresswoman has complained that she won’t be receiving a $4,500 cost of living raise on top of her $174,000 salary after being on the job for six months. She referred to the $4,500, which is more than she reported earning bartending in the entire year of 2018, as “not even a raise.”

She’s insinuated that the GOP is against birth control (how can anyone honestly believe that?) in a tweet advocating for over-the-counter birth control, but it was Senate Democrats who blocked a push for OTC birth control back in 2015. Senate Republicans launched another bill to legalize OTC birth control in April of this year, but apparently AOC didn’t get the memo and believes this to be her cause.

She also blasted a camp where the children of illegal immigrants were being held as a “concentration camp” – a criticism she probably didn’t make when the Obama administration used those exact same “camps” for the same purpose.

What gaffe is coming next? Stay tuned tomorrow to find out.

Paul Krugman’s WORST Economic Predictions

Always a staunch enemy of the GOP, Paul Krugman’s partisanship has gone into overdrive in the Trump-era to the point where he appears to be suffering from Stage 4 Trump Derangement Syndrome. Even CNN appears tame by comparison.

President Trump has personally blasted the columnist for losing all credibility with his “false and highly inaccurate writings,” and there’s no hyperbole there.

On the night of the election Krugman made his first prediction of what would follow economically – and his predictions have only been downhill from there.

The Stock Market is Doomed Under Trump!

When it became clear that Donald Trump would win the presidential election late into the night on November 8th, the futures market initially panicked, with the Dow Jones shedding over 800 points.

Before the markets even had the chance to open the following day, Krugman took to his New York Times column to predict they would never recover. “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.”

The Dow closed up 250 points the next morning – and you all know what’s happened since.

Admittedly I’m not sure how to calculate the margin of error on the difference between “never” and “the next day.”

Krugman in 2017 – There Will Be No Return to 3% Growth

Appearing on Bloomberg in March 2017, Krugman expressed doubt that we’d be seeing a return to 3% economic growth under the Trump administration.

He reiterated the same point later in the year on Twitter, arguing that it would be difficult to achieve 3% growth due to baby boomers leaving the workforce.

Now, the Trump tax cuts didn’t take effect until the start of 2018, and growth was 3.1% from the fourth quarter of 2017 to fourth quarter of 2018. Even more impressive, the economy was only projected to grow 2% according to the baseline under Obama.

A Recession is Coming!

In February Krugman predicted that a recession is coming “this year or next.”

We’ve gone a decade without a recession (which historically occur roughly every seven years), so it wouldn’t be all to surprising if the economy did see a brief recession sometime in the future. But don’t be ready to give Krugman any credit for his predictive ability, because he’s been predicting a recession under the Trump administration every single year of his presidency. Anyone can be a prophet when they make the same prediction every day.

It is worth noting how Krugman has dialed back the severity of his prediction. On election night Krugman predicted that Trump would throw the entire planet’s economy into a recession. He now admits “By the way, my track record for this is bad—as is everybody’s. No one is good at calling these turning points.”

No kidding.

A Historical Comedy of Errors

It’s not just under the Trump-era that the world’s most arrogant economist has butchered his predictions.

In 1998, Krugman dismissed the rise of the internet’s popularity and its eventual economic effects: “The growth of the Internet will slow drastically, as the flaw in ‘Metcalfe’s law’–which states that the number of potential connections in a network is proportional to the square of the number of participants–becomes apparent: most people have nothing to say to each other! By 2005 or so, it will become clear that the Internet’s impact on the economy has been no greater than the fax machine’s.”

Only four years later Krugman came up with a plan to save the economy from the technology bubble which had just went bust – create another economic bubble! “To fight this recession the Fed needs…soaring household spending to offset moribund business investment. [So] Alan Greenspan needs to create a housing bubble to replace the Nasdaq bubble.” And with that came the worst financial crisis since the great depression.

And that’s not all! In 2010 he predicted that we’d begin experiencing deflation – when in reality we experienced relatively low inflation. In 2008 he predicted that Europe would outperform America economically – and then the financial crisis hit, and Europe was hit far harder than the U.S. (and took much longer to recover from it). On eleven occasions between April 2010-July 2012 Krugman predicted that the Euro would collapse – which obviously never happened.

Next time you see a prediction from the New York Times’ economic expert, be sure to take it with a grain of salt. Or perhaps a pound of salt.

OOPS: Maddow’s Favorite “Russian Connection” Turns Out To Be…

For over two years MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow was the mainstream media’s queen of promoting the conspiracy of Russian collusion, connecting countless dots with no real connection. Like any true conspiracy theorist, she hasn’t revised any of her beliefs since the Mueller report imploded the core of her thesis.

While the likes of Maddow will never adjust their beliefs to evidence, it is amusing to revisit just how wrong many of her “bombshells” were. One man she devoted a large chunk of her show to on June 8th of last year was Konstantin Kilimnik, a man she saw as central to Paul Manafort’s guilt. “Today the case marked United States of America versus Paul J. Manafort Jr., became United States of America versus Paul J. Manafort Jr. and Konstantin Kilimnik” she opined, trying to connect the two as proof of Russian collusion.

She further explained that “now that Manafort is charged in a joint indictment alongside Russian citizen Konstantin Kilimnik, this prosecution and the investigation that goes along with it could no longer be stopped simply by Trump pardoning Manafort. To stop this part of the investigation, Trump would also have to pardon Konstantin Kilimnik, Russian citizen, a Russian intelligence operative. And I know  Trump`s willing to push the envelope, but that seems unlikely.”

Now Kilimnik’s name it popping up again – but not in the way that Maddow and company would expect. According to The Hill’s John Solomon:

In a key finding of the Mueller report, Ukrainian businessman Konstantin Kilimnik, who worked for Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, is tied to Russian intelligence.

But hundreds of pages of government documents — which special counsel Robert Mueller possessed since 2018 — describe Kilimnik as a “sensitive” intelligence source for the U.S. State Department who informed on Ukrainian and Russian matters.

Kilimnik’s past State Department ties are not mentioned in Mueller’s report despite the fact that he was a “sensitive” intelligence source for them since 2013.

Kilimnik was not just any run-of-the-mill source, either. He interacted with the chief political officer at the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, sometimes meeting several times a week to provide information on the Ukraine government. He relayed messages back to Ukraine’s leaders and delivered written reports to U.S. officials via emails that stretched on for thousands of words, the memos show.  The FBI knew all of this, well before the Mueller investigation concluded.Alan Purcell, the chief political officer at the Kiev embassy from 2014 to 2017, told FBI agents that State officials, including senior embassy officials Alexander Kasanof and Eric Schultz, deemed Kilimnik to be such a valuable asset that they kept his name out of cables for fear he would be compromised by leaks to WikiLeaks.

Some of the information that Kilimnik provided the State Department included intel on Ukraine’s opposition bloc.

Kilimnik began his relationship as an informant with the U.S. deputy chief of mission in 2012–13, before being handed off to the embassy’s political office.State officials told the FBI that although Kilimnik had Ukrainian and Russian residences, he did not appear to hold any allegiance to Moscow and was critical of Russia’s invasion of the Crimean territory of Ukraine.

So why did none of this information make it into the Mueller report? Because it would’ve been impossible to portray Kilimnik as a Russian agent had the truth been included.

Was THIS Man Responsible for Framing Michael Flynn All Along?

Michael Flynn was only able to serve his position as Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser for less than a month before he had to step down following a controversial call with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak that he allegedly lied to the FBI about.

Then-President Barack Obama warned Trump against hiring Flynn only two days after the election, but his warning was hardly prophetic. Flynn didn’t’ have to resign for any real wrongdoing – but because he was framed.

The key details we knew thus far are this:

  • On December 29th, 2016, Michael Flynn received a phone call while on vacation in the Dominican Republic from Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
  • Earlier in the day, in retaliation for Russian interference in the election (not collusion), then-President Barack Obama forced the closure of Russian-owned compounds in New York and Maryland, and slapped new sanctions against Russia. Is there any doubt that such a move would prompt Ambassador Kislyak to call Flynn, Trump’s National Security Adviser at the time, to discuss what had just happened?
  • In taking Kislyak’s call, Flynn must’ve been aware that the call would be intercepted and monitored, given that he was speaking on an unsecured line in the Dominican Republic. Had Flynn been on U.S. soil he would’ve been able to prevent such surveillance, but due to the timing of Obama’s firings and Flynn’s location in the Dominican Republic, his conversation with Kislyak was intercepted and recorded.

Flynn was interviewed by two FBI agents about the call, in which he allegedly lied about discussing sanctions with Kislyak to them. Bizarrely,  two sources familiar with the meetings said Comey told lawmakers the FBI agents who interviewed Flynn didn’t believe he lied or intentionally provided any misleading answers.

Now there’s a new question – could Kislyak have been involved in framing Flynn too? American Greatness’ Julie Kelly has uncovered a wealth of information that portrays Kislyak in a questionably light.

For starters, Kislyak has bragged about gathering information on conservatives:

Kislyak appears 55 times in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s recent report. Alleged spy Maria Butina, sentenced last month to 18 months in federal prison for one count of conspiracy, met with Kislyak numerous times in 2015 and 2016 and promised to “collect the contact information of prominent conservatives” for him. He has openly bragged about his numerous contacts with Trump associates.

Visited the Obama White House liberally:

According to visitor logs, Kislyak visited the Obama White House nearly two dozen times, including at least twice in October 2016. He met with National Security Adviser Susan Rice in the White House on October 7, 2016, the same day intelligence officials issued the warning about Russian election interference.

Told Jared Kushner he had a direct line to Putin, then claimed it was Kushner who requested it:

In December 2016, Kislyak continued to pursue meetings with Trump’s son-in-law. “Kushner declined several proposed meeting dates. The Russian ambassador also was insistent about wanting “Kushner to meet someone who had a direct line to Putin.” Totally not sketchy. At all. A May 2017 Washington Post article claimed Kislyak told Moscow that it was Kushner, not him, who was seeking a “secret communications channel” between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

Kelly drew attention to other oddities too, including the fact that Kislyak received an unexplained $120,000 payment 10 days after the 2017 election. Kislyak also maintained a friendly relationship with Michael McFaul, Obama’s ambassador to Russia for two years, and a believer in the collusion conspiracy. McFaul had heaped praise on Kislyak just weeks after the 2016 election, which seems odd for a man seriously convinced that the country he represents just interfered in our election.

McFaul also may have revealed some anti-Trump tendencies of Kislyak. When Kislyak attended a Trump foreign policy speech in Washington D.C., McFaul tweeted about his friend;  “Did Russian ambassador Kislyak attend opposition campaign event today? #doublestandards.” Doesn’t that sound like McFaul questioning why his friend is attending the “enemies” event?

Kislyak was right back in March when he called the idea of Russian interference more generally a “hoax” – but he’s one Russia who certainly may have interfered in a way of his own.

Justice Dept. Refuses to Release the Flynn Wiretap Transcript – Here’s What They’re Hiding

On December 29th, 2016, Michael Flynn received a phone call (that was surveilled by the FBI) while on vacation in the Dominican Republic from Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak that would change his life forever.

Over the course of the next year Flynn would end up pleading guilty to charges of lying to the FBI about the contents of his conversation with Kislyak, but only after racking up millions of dollars in legal fees. Most strange, the FBI’s leadership at the time couldn’t seem to point to any actual wrongdoing from Flynn.. While we were told that Flynn lied to the FBI about discussing sanctions with Kislyak, when Flynn was interviewed by two FBI agents months after the Kislyak call, neither thought that Flynn was being untruthful about his account of the conversation. Similarly, James Comey did not believe Flynn was lying.

So how did Flynn wind up in this mess then, when those he supposedly lied to say over wise? That remains a mystery – as do the exact contents of his call with Flynn, which the Justice Department and their prosecutors are doing everything they can to refuse to release. If that call contained the evidence of Flynn’s guilt, wouldn’t you think they’d be happy to release it?

According to Sara Carter:

Knowing exactly what was said could be a game changer. Prosecutors don’t want that to happen. In fact, they argue that the transcripts aren’t essential to Flynn’s prosecution, in which he has already pleaded guilty. Joshua Geltzer, a former Justice Department official told the New York Times, Sunday that intelligence collection “would be a rare step to make public.” “What you see in today’s filing is the government trying to avoid disclosing that material,” he said.

U.S. intelligence officials previously leaked the contents of the Flynn/Kislyak call to the Washington Post’s David Ignatius, who broke the story on the call. It’s impossible to argue the call contains information unsuitable for release to the general public if it could be leaked to Ignatius.

Federal District Court of Columbia Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ordered prosecutors in May to turn over the transcript of the recording, which still has not been provided.

Sullivan’s order was rebuffed by the prosecution. Prosecutors did, however, release the full transcripts of a voicemail message left by Trump’s former lawyer John Dowd to Flynn’s lawyer Robert Kelner. They were formerly released by a court order and it appeared to tell a significantly different story than the one portrayed in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report.

Prosecutors made it appear in the Special Counsel’s report that Dowd was asking for a “heads up” if Flynn planned to say anything damaging about Trump and Mueller made it appear that he may have been obstructing. The full transcripts, however, revealed that Dowd was acting just as an attorney should and specifically stated that he did not want any classified or confidential information.

Both government sources and news reports suggest the audio transcript of the calls made by Flynn to Kislyak exist. Still, Special Counsel prosecutors suggest that “any other audio recordings” wouldn’t effect the purpose of establish guilt or determining the sentence of Flynn.

Just last Friday prosecutors said they aren’t relying on “any other recordings” than the one they won’t release…. even as they contradict themselves and say those transcripts aren’t “essential” to Flynn’s sentencing.   According to the Addendum to the Government’s Memorandum in Aid of Sentencing: “The government further represents that it is not relying on any other recordings, of any person, for purposes of establishing the defendant’s guilt or determining his sentence, nor are there any other recordings that are part of the sentencing record.”

In other words, it is that single recorded conversation that’s central to their case.

Now we know why they won’t release it.

Steele to be Questioned at Last – Here’s What Investigators Need to Ask

Over two years after the nonsensical document was brought to the nation’s attention by Buzzfeed, the anti-Trump dossier’s author Christopher Steele will be questioned by US investigators in a few weeks. The Russia hoax is over – but not for its perpetrators.

Investigators will have no shortage of questions to ask surrounding Steele’s suspicious behavior – and some previously unconnected dots regarding his own Russian sources.

When Steele was previously interviewed by the State Department’s Kathleen Kavalec, she made reference in her notes to Vyacheslav Trubnikov (an ex-member of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service) and to Vladislav Surkov, a top Putin adviser. Next to those names she wrote “sources.” Stefan Halper, the FBI’s inside source (a.k.a. spy) into the Trump campaign, had previously taught numerous courses with Trubnikov overseas.

That naturally raises some questions;

  • Was Halper acting as a liaison between Russian sources and Steele?
  • If so, was this at the FBI’s command? There is overlap between when Steele and Halper were working for the FBI.
  • Why would a Putin adviser “spill the beans” on supposed Russian collusion to the FBI, if not with the intention of misleading Halper/Steele? Since there was no collusion, what other motive could there have been?
  • A memo in Steele’s dossier dated June 20, 2016 makes a claim about Trump kompromat, which is attributed to “Source B,” a “Russian intelligence officer still active inside the Kremlin.” Is this Trubnikov?
  • What dossier information comes from Surkov, who is on the U.S.’s list of sanctioned individuals. And wouldn’t a sanctioned individual have even more motive to lie in an attempt to disrupt U.S. politics?
  • What does Steele believe his sources true motives were? They lied to him about no shortage of gossip (such as the infamous “pee tape” claim).

And if Steele and Halper were indeed connected:

  • Why does Steele believe that Halper stepped down from the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar after alleging Russian influence over the group, when he was also a close associate of Trubnikov? Halper had cited Michael Flynn’s visit to CIS in 2014 as a red flag. Was Halper’s resignation merely to help shape a narrative?
  • Why did Halper cite Flynn’s meeting between Flynn and Russian academic Svetlana Lokhova as a red flag, when Halper himself had invited her to his home in 2016? (She dodged the invitation).

And these are just the most pressing questions about new revelations. There are still plenty of unanswered questions about Steele. For example; what was the real reason Steele was fired from the FBI? The FBI says he was fired for leaking to the media, which Steele denies. Why was Nataliya Veselnitskaya (the Russian lawyer who had the controversial Trump Tower meeting with Donald Trump Jr.) also working for Fusion GPS at the same time as Steele? Why did the Clinton campaign and Obama’s Organizing for America decide to pay Fusion GPS by first paying law firm Perkins Coie, who then indirectly paid Fusion those funds? And isn’t hiring a former British spy like Steele more “foreign interference” than anything Trump was proven to have done (which was nothing)?

There are plenty of answered questions out there, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we hear more silence from Steele than answers when investigations come knocking.

The Problem With AOC’s “12 Year” Climate Catastrophe Claim

Within the course of only a few months, freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has gone from proclaiming the end of the world in a mere 12 years – to claiming she was merely being sarcastic, and that Republicans would have to have the “social intelligence of a sea sponge” to think she was being literal.

And then 16 days after the latter comment, she once again warned about climate catastrophe a mere 12 years out, with no obvious sarcasm (or hint or irony) to be detected.

Hypocrisy aside, Congresswoman Chicken Little’s 12-year time-time is based on an estimate from the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which stated that we only have 12 years to contain global warming to a maximum of a 1.5 degree Celsius rise in global temperature. A 1.5C rise was the target of most the world’s governments in the Paris Climate Agreement. According to the UN, meeting their goals would require ending the use of fossil fuels by the year 2030, which the authors estimate would cost the global economy $54 trillion, but say that’s cheaper than the consequences of climate chance. With that price tag, color me skeptical.

At the UN’s Rio Climate Summit in 1992 top scientists said we only had 10 years to get climate change under control, so clearly the goalpost has been moved throughout history (and there are dozens of similar examples). Three years prior, in 1989, a senior UN environmental official predicted doomsday by the year 2000, by which “entire nations could be wiped off the face of the Earth by rising sea levels.”

Clearly, pinpointing a future “point of no return” is problematic.

As Michael Marshall explains:

A study published in August in Earth System Dynamics takes a close look at the idea of a point of no return, and it is revealing. The researchers examined what it would take to limit global warming to either 1.5°C or 2°C. They first ask how certain we want to be: we could either have a 67% probability of meeting our target, or a 95% probability.

Next they ask how rapidly we can increase renewable energy’s share of the market: 2% per year, or a more ambitious 5% per year. And finally they ask whether we will use lots of “negative emissions technologies” later this century, to remove carbon dioxide from the air on an industrial scale and thus limit the temperature rise.

Depending on which combination of factors the researchers plugged in, they got a different point of no return. In the most exacting case, where we try to limit warming to 1.5°C with a 95% probability of success, without relying on carbon dioxide removal later in the century, they found that we might well be too late. On the other hand, if we’re prepared to accept 2°C, with a larger probability of going over and a heavy reliance on carbon dioxide removal, the point of no return looks to be way off in the 2040s.

The point is that the climate is not so simple as to give us a neat cutoff date for action.

As for the UN’s “12 years” estimate, the UN’s climate models overestimate warning massively. The UN’s estimates assume that the Earth’s equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) is somewhere between 1.5C-4.5C. The ECS is an estimate of how much the Earth’s temperature would increase if the amount of carbon in the atmosphere doubled above pre-industrial levels.

In contradiction to those figures, a study in the Journal of Climate found the planet’s ECS to be at least 30-45% lower than the UN estimates. The UN’s average estimate was 3.1C, while the JOC’s was only 1.66C. Similarly, a study published in Nature Climate Change in 2017 estimated an ECS of 1.5C.

If the sky is indeed falling, we have more time to adapt than AOC and her ilk pretend to believe. Indeed, it’s unlikely that even they truly believe doomsday is right around the corner, but do believe that fear is the only way to convince the American public to mindlessly spend tens of trillions of dollars on whatever they please.