Welcome to the eighth issue of The Outsider Perspective, brought to you by The Beltway Outsiders.
I apologize for not sending the newsletter out last week. Due to a death in my family, I was unable to write. We’re back on track this week, however. And I hope you find this week’s coverage useful. Donald Trump is officially the Republican Nominee for President of the United States. He gave a record breaking speech time-wise, delivering the longest acceptance speech in history. In his long speech he mentioned freedom once, liberty none, “I” 83 times, gave a brief mention to SCOTUS nominations, and no defense for being pro-life. Combined with his daughter’s speech, it was a Democrat’s speech. Conservatives has no home right now. But it must fight to defeat the alt-rightism and racist populism of Trump. These ideas cannot be allowed to flourish. Compare Ted Cruz’s conservative vision speech with Trump’s doom and gloom speech and you can see a stark difference in principles.
On to the analysis for the week…
This week I’m covering 5 heavy hitting topics: Race and police power, the failed coup in Turkey, the release of the 28 pages regarding Saudi Arabia’s role in 9/11 (one of our supposed allies), Trump’s Kremlin ties, and Ted Cruz’s convention speech. As always, for those wanting the quick links, those follow the analysis below.
1. Hashtage activism will not change America. We need to be more and do more.
#BlackLivesMatter, #BlueLivesMatter, #AllLivesMatter, the hashtags go on and on. They’re entirely worthless and allow people to engage with strawman arguments without engaging the problem.
The problem is this: #NoLivesMatter.
And when it comes to how lives with different races are valued across America, Black lives in particular don’t matter. Modern liberal culture devalues all lives. This devaluation has hit the black community particularly hard.
A while back I wrote a piece on abortion, in that piece I detailed how when we, as a people, choose to give value to life on the basis of extrinsic value, it devalues us all. Extrinsic value is when you assign value to a person based on something outside them (“I’m only friends with her because she’s pretty. Otherwise she’s worthless”). What we need, as a society, is to return to the idea that everyone has intrinsic value. Which is to say: every life has value purely because it exists. Ostensibly, you might think this is what #AllLivesMatter means. You’d be wrong. Saying all lives matter glosses over a real problem in America where we truly do not value black lives the same as other lives in the country. Society has given blacks a low value based on extrinsic value. And you can prove it with statistics. And the problem with the official #BlackLivesMatter movement, they don’t even understand the half of the problem. They focus on police shootings. That’s only the tip of the iceberg.
The problem begins before birth…
- Blacks account for 12.8% of the population, but 36% of all abortions in the United States are for black babies. Put another way, more than 1 out of 3 abortions in the United States occur to a minority group.
- Black babies, particularly black boys, are the least likely race to get adopted. White children are far more likely to be adopted. Seven times the rate of black children.
- Education statistics show that black children are behind educationally in schools at rates higher than other races.
- The war on poverty and other government programs have devastated the black family. 70% of black children are born to single mothers.
- Of the 2.3 million incarcerated people in America, blacks account for 1 million of them. Blacks are incarcerated at 6 times the rate of any other race. 1 in 6 black men had been incarcerated as of 2001, experts expect that trend to increase to 1 out of 3 black men. If blacks were incarcerated at the rate that whites were, the prison population would be cut in half. (source here with more numbers).
- Blacks are 2.5 times more likely to be shot by police than whites (source)
Why do rates and these numbers matter? Because a minority population should not have higher rates of death than groups if laws are applied equally. If everyone was treated equally, you would see the same rates across the board for every race. Statistical anomalies would occur, sure, some years would be better or worse than others. That happens. But continual trend showing one minority treated differently than another race says something deeper is at issue.
We do not value all lives the same. Saying #AllLivesMatter ignores this reality. We do not have a society that treats everyone with the same intrinsic value. Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence that “All men are created equal” and were endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights, and among these was: LIFE. America is founded on the principle that all people are born with inalienable rights, on the basis of natural law. When society violates these rights, it is the duty of those within the Republic to stand up for the downtrodden and forgotten.
If we truly believe that All Lives Matter, then we should acknowledge that American society currently does not recognize appropriate intrinsic value in black lives in the same manner it does other races. Facing this reality is the only way to restore Life as the foundational right of American society. Ignoring it reverts to an old racist past America has worked hard to overcome. We should rise above the past and protect those who need it the most. You have to be willing to acknowledge and respond to tragedies in all races and lives. If you’re willing to pray for the police officers in your local Chick-fil-A, then you should also be willing to pray for the black family who eats there too. If you only acknowledge the police, you’re showing extrinsic value. You give more value to a person because of a uniform, not because they’re intrinsically a person. Conservatives do this often, they react to the police who are shot, but not when blacks face the same reality. Acknowledge reality. Meet people where they are. Bring that change to your community.
2. Turkey’s failed coup is likely the end of secular Turkey as we known it
The failed coup attempt in Turkey, by a small segment of the Turkish military will only embolden President Erdogan to continue to Stalin-esque crackdowns he had previously started. Erdogan vowed to cleanse the government of all plotters. He declared a state of emergency and since the failed coup attempt last week we’ve seen: “60,000 soldiers, police, judges, civil servants and teachers have been suspended, detained or have been placed under investigation.”
The reality of the situation is this: Erdogan will make Turkey more Islamic and eliminate the moderate forces within the military. There’s no telling what would have happened had the coup gone down differently. But what we can be assured of is this: the actual result was the worst possible result for Turkey’s people.
John Schindler called it “Turkey’s Weekend of the Long Knives.” Comparing it to the event where Hitler deposed of his intra-party rivals and eliminated all opposition to his power. Erdogan, who has been in power since 2004, is doing the same here. Using groundless conspiracy theories to round up and cleanse anyone remotely against his regime. As Schindler noted, Turkey’s military has long been the moderating force on the country. With that moderating force out of the way, we’re likely witnessing the end to a secular Turkey. This is bad news for US and NATO strength in the region.
3. The “Missing” 28 Pages regarding Saudi Arabia’s role in the 9/11 attacks are explosive
One of the tweet storms I wrote over the last two weeks had to deal with the declassified release of “28 pages” of documents detailing Saudi Arabia’s alleged role in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. You can read that series of tweets here. I cover a number of the highlights from the report.
Among the many explosive items revealed was that the 9/11 attackers ran a test run of their hijacking plan. In 1999, in a flight from Phoenix, AZ to Washington DC, two of the hijackers tested out different strategies on getting into the cockpit of the plane. They asked a series of sensitive questions to the flight attendants. They attempted to enter the cockpit 3 times. The plane ended up making an emergency landing. The FBI investigated the two men but nothing ever came from their investigation. The Saudi Arabian embassy allegedly paid for the flight.
The next big item was how the FBI and CIA suspected throughout the 1990’s and 2000’s that Saudi Arabia was funding Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda by laundering money through mosques and charities. The Saudi’s would send money into mosques and charities sympathetic towards bin-Laden and Al-Qaeda. Those organizations would then send the money to Al-Qaeda through various means. The FBI and CIA were unsure if the Saudi’s were knowingly or unknowingly sending the money to terrorists or not. They pledged to continue investigating in these released documents.
The 28 pages reveal Saudi Arabia had a much more central role to the 9/11 hijackers than previously thought. The reason the FBI and CIA never fully investigated Saudi Arabia was because the State Department in the 1990’s never labeled the Saudi’s as state sponsors of terror. Which effectively took their investigative power away. We should draw a lesson from that report: we have to be able to accurately identify who our enemies are. If we do not, it severely hampers our intelligence gathering abilities. If you say our fight isn’t with radical islamic terrorists, it hampers our ability to gather intel against them. Just as it hampered our investigations against the Saudi’s. History should not be repeated.
4. Trump’s ties to Putin and the Kremlin is the most underreported story of the year – and most dangerous
“It’s official, Hillary Clinton is running against Vladimir Putin.” That is the highly provocative title from the Atlantic this week. While the headline may be mild hyperbole, as the author admits, the underlying point is entirely true: Donald Trump’s campaign is filled with operatives “friendly” to Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin. Trump’s conflict of interest, claiming to make America great again while pushing a pro-Putin, pro-Kremlin, and pro-Russia agenda from the top of the GOP ticket is the most underreported story of the year.
The Kremlin is rejoicing over a potential Trump Presidency. He is their favorite candidate by a mile, which is why their propaganda networks over TV and the Internet are fully supporting Trump. A member of their parliament said: “we have great expectations for Trump…” That includes Trump deconstructing US trade deals and not honoring NATO responsibilities. Both measures which bring immeasurable power to Putin’s Russia.
The reason it is being reported now is because Trump made two decisions: first, he came out and conditioned US support of NATO allies, suggesting that the US may not honor its NATO responsibilities if allies hadn’t “fulfilled their obligations to us.” This suggestion flies in the face of the foundation of NATO, which helps keep Russian aggression at bay. Russia has strong desires to retake former satellite nations, like the Baltic states. Trump would serve them up on a silver platter. Risking WWIII in the process. This in turn has made the Baltic states and nearly all Russian neighbors nervous. If the US refuses to honor its commitment to repulsing Russian aggression abroad, it will force these countries to ramp up their own national defense and pursue nuclear weapons to keep the Russians at bay. Saying NATO relationships aren’t important as Trump did escalates tensions abroad, making countries react in fear for their own national security. Russia has already invaded Georgia and the Ukraine. If Trump doesn’t care, you can be sure Putin will add more countries.
Second, Trump’s top advisors have the unpleasant sheen of being Kremlin cronies. Paul Manafort, Trump’s current campaign manager, has long had financial ties with Russian power brokers. He was also supportive of Pro-Russian forces during the Russian invasion of the Ukraine. His ties to Russia and Putin have made many foreign policy analysts question whether Trump should be allowed to receive classified intelligence briefings. Trump’s top military advisor, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, after being fired by the Obama Administration, was immediately scooped up by the Russian propaganda network RT. While there he blasted American foreign policy and became cozy with Putin. A former military intelligence officer getting cozy with the Kremlin raised more than a few eyebrows, especially when Flynn knows the evil of Putin’s regime. Flynn went even further and authored papers defending Russian’s actions in Syria. The last point here is that Trump himself has exposed himself to Russian power brokers and there is evidence he owes money to the Russians. Making him potentially a liability in Russian-US relations.
Further evidence of Trump being compromised in regards to Russian interests happened at the convention. Trump and his campaign have taken a largely hands off approach to building the platform. The only change they insisted on: soften the US’s stance against Russian invasion in the Ukraine and remove proposals giving lethal aid to the Ukraine to fight Russia. The only proposals Trump’s campaign had interest in was helping remove opposition to Russian geopolitical invasions.
Why does all this matter? Mitt Romney was right: Russia is the number one geopolitical enemy of the United States. European intelligence has found evidence Russia is masquerading as the “Cyber Caliphate.” The internet arm of ISIS. Using the group to hide their own nefarious acts on other countries. Yes, you read that correctly: Russia is masquerading as ISIS in order to attack the US and its allies. When Guccifer 2.0 released he had hacked Clinton’s server and the DNC, US journalists uncovered the fact that he is very likely a Russian intelligence operation trying to aid Trump in defeating Clinton. The twitter army Trump utilizes that mobs the internet to create buzz, has also been speculated to be a Russian intel op.
In other words: Russian intelligence services are actively aiding Trump in the election. Trying to spread Kremlin based Pro-Trump propaganda through the airwaves and attack Clinton in the process.
The party that gave the world Reagan and the end of the Soviet Union is now being represented by a man indebted to Russia, surrounded by sycophants who are Russian sympathizers, and being aided by Russian intelligence. These reasons are why nearly the entire Republican national security academic community has come out forcefully against Trump. Trump is a national security risk unlike any America has faced in a long time. He does not appear to have any desire to represent American interests foreign or abroad. And he just accepted the nomination for President.
5. The Cruz speech, while entirely true on substance, was a spectacle that gave Trump what he wanted: attention
Trump and the RNC knew and approved Cruz’s speech. Anything they say to the contrary is a lie.
Cruz did not deviate from that speech. He only used more time than the anticipated 10 minutes.
It was Trump and the RNC’s decision to whip people into booing Cruz at the end (multiple reporters saw/reported this). It’s why the Trump campaign put New York and other liberal states up front. They needed controllable fans.
It was Trump’s decision to walk into the arena and cause a scene right at the end of Cruz’s speech.
It was Trump’s decision to have his family present and never cheer any portion of Cruz’s speech. Ready-made camera optics.
Actually, that describes the entire speech: a spectacle.
Which brings us to the real question that needs to be asked: why would Trump and the RNC want what happened last night?
They obviously don’t care about unity. Trump has spent more time attacking conservatives and other Republicans than he has attacking Clinton. Trump supporters spend equal time attacking conservatives who don’t want to vote Trump as they do Clinton (they also say they can win without non-Trump conservatives. Which makes all of these attacks even dumber).
The only answer I’ve got: ratings. Ratings for the convention are down compared to previous years. The convention has been sparse and empty at multiple points this week. It is likely Trump is playing this like his TV shows. When you want big ratings for yourself, have a big splash of controversy. And Cruz gave Trump that controversy. The hope being this boosts viewers for Trump’s acceptance speech.
Trump / RNC also knew Cruz’s calculation since his aides and staff have been less than quiet about their belief Cruz is Reagan in 1976. Cruz thinks Trump will lose this year. He’s working to position himself as Reagan after that loss. The problem for Cruz is that he’s no Reagan. Neither in principle or unifying abilities. Cruz is incapable of working with other conservatives. Reagan was capable. Which is why Cruz’s calculation and political motivation will be the lens people view this speech. It won’t be seen as a principled stand for conservatism or constitutional principles (except by Cruz fans/voters & and desperate for anything Never Trump people). It will be seen as Cruz positioning himself for a Trump loss.
Again, Trump and the RNC approved all of these things. So they have no room to criticize (there are people saying the RNC plans to use this as a means to attack Cruz – look for Talk Radio to turn on Cruz). They wanted the ratings and they used Cruz’s ambitions to try and get them. I hope ratings plunge and people continue to ignore this idiotic spectacle in Cleveland. But I doubt I’ll get my wishes. Trump is running a reality TV campaign. And he needed a boost after people started getting tired of his shtick after a year. Cruz just gave that to Trump.
Quick slants and must reads
The GOP Convention Coverage
“But if the choice is between forgiving Ted Cruz’s obvious political calculation to become the standard bearer of an authentic conservatism or Donald Trump’s lizard-brain narcissism where no principle or cause outranks his own glandular desire to be worshipped like a conqueror atop the carcass of conservatism, I choose Ted.” – “I choose Ted” – Jonah Goldberg, NRO
When you become outraged at a man who encourages you to abide by your conscience, it means your conscience has already condemned you. – “Why Ted Cruz’s huge convention gamble will pay off in the end”
Race and Police Shootings
Reflections on Black Lives – Prophets of Culture
Other News This Week
What I’m Reading
This is a look inside the training environment of Chili’s with a focus on the “super-trainers.” The people who make Chili’s one of the top casual dining restaurants in America. After national journalists laughed at Mike Pence for eating at a Chili’s after being announced as Trump’s VP selection I found it an interesting read.
In related pieces: A debate broke out on Twitter and at the Free Beacon news site over the correct ranking of causal dining restaurants. It’s a fun and amusing debate. You have the first list of rankings by Sonny Bunch, who places Chile’s at the top of the list. And then another Free Beacon writer disagrees forcefully and places The Cheesecake Factory at the top of his list. A fun debate for your group of friends: how would you rank your favorite chain restaurants? The results might be more contentious than you think.
What I’m Watching
After staying up watching coverage of Trump’s speech, I’m done with anything serious. C-Span says his acceptance speech was the longest on record, surpassing 1996 Bill Clinton. So… I’m going with eye-bleach for the night. Puppies and kittens. Enjoy: