Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

He Did It, Not Me!

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

There is something Kafkaesque about the current round of investigating possible FBI, CIA, National Security Agency, Justice Department, and National Security Council wrongdoing during the 2016 election, Trump transition, and early presidency.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller had been permitted to range well beyond his mandate of “Russian collusion.” He outsourced much of the selection of his “dream team” and “all-star” staff of attorneys to his deputy, Andrew Weissman. In turn, Weissman—who commiserated with Hillary Clinton at her ill-fated “victory” party on the evening of her defeat—stocked the team with Trump-haters, liberals and progressives, Clinton donors, a few who had previously served as attorneys for the Clinton Foundation, and Clinton or Obama aides. Most of these were themselves briefed during the early dissemination of the fraudulent Steele dossier.

Yet after all the bias, prosecutorial leveraging, the process crimes, the perjury traps, and after 22 months, $34 million, and a 440-plus page report, Mueller’s “hunter-killer” team did not establish that President Trump colluded with the Russians to warp the 2016 election.

In fact, Mueller could not find prosecutable “obstruction” of justice by Trump to impair the investigation of what Mueller concluded was not a crime.

Read the full article here.

Our Modern ‘Satyricon’

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Sometime around A.D. 60, in the age of Emperor Nero, a Roman court insider named Gaius Petronius wrote a satirical Latin novel, “The Satyricon,” about moral corruption in Imperial Rome. The novel’s general landscape was Rome’s transition from an agrarian republic to a globalized multicultural superpower.

The novel survives only in a series of extended fragments. But there are enough chapters for critics to agree that the high-living Petronius, nicknamed the “Judge of Elegance,” was a brilliant cynic. He often mocked the cultural consequences of the sudden and disruptive influx of money and strangers from elsewhere in the Mediterranean region into a once-traditional Roman society.

The novel plots the wandering odyssey of three lazy, overeducated and mostly underemployed single young Greeks: Encolpius, Ascyltos and Giton. They aimlessly mosey around southern Italy. They panhandle and mooch off the nouveau riche. They mock traditional Roman customs. The three and their friends live it up amid the culinary, cultural and sexual excesses in the age of Nero.

Certain themes in “The Satyricon” are timeless and still resonate today.

Read the full article here.

China’s Brilliant, Insidious Strategy

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

The Chinese Communist government does not have so much a strategy to translate its economic ascendance into global hegemony as several strategies. All of them are brilliantly insidious.

On matters of trade, China is always flexible in responding to critics of its asymmetrical, 30-year mercantilism. In the initial stages of Westernization, China was exempted from criticism over serial copyright and patent infringement, dumping, and espionage. Western elites assumed that these improprieties were just speed bumps on the eventual Chinese freeway to liberalism. Supposedly the richer China got, the more progressive it would become. Huge trade deficits or military technological appropriation were small prices to pay for an evolving billion-person Palo Alto or Upper West Side.

After a time, the now-worrisome huge trade deficits and Chinese cheating were further contextualized as “our fault.” The Tom Friedman school of journalism chided our clumsy republican government as lacking Chinese authoritarian efficiency that could by fiat connect new planned utopias by high-speed rail and power them with solar-panel farms. The Wall Street–investor version of this school saw flabby, pampered Americans getting their just deserts as more productive and deserving Chinese workers outhustled and outproduced us. In such tough-love sermonizing, the more Michigan or Pennsylvania rusted, the quicker culpable Americans would either emulate China or die. China of course again agreed.

Then there came a third phase of Chinese contextualization — one of Western arrogance that confused China’s emulation with supposed admiration. We were not to worry about China, because they love buying our rich homes, visiting Stanford, and going to Disneyland. In short, they love being us.

Read the full article here.

Is Russia Preparing A Gas Nuclear Option?

Please read this piece by my colleague Paul Roderick Gregory published by Forbes

Vladimir Putin is noted for taking surprise action, which confronts his victims with a fait accompli. They must then either accept the new unfavorable status quo or react in a way that they would consider too risky. Putin has employed this playbook in Georgia, Crimea, East Ukraine, Syria, on Ukrainian naval vessels in the Black Sea and to prop up the Maduro regime in Venezuela.

Putin’s potential targets should put themselves inside Putin’s head to anticipate his next hostile move in order to avoid again being caught off guard with few good options.

Putin loves the unexpected; so beware. On paper, this would be the worst time for Russia to act up in its European gas market. Russia’s Gazprom just narrowly saved its key project – the undersea Nord Stream 2 pipeline directly to Germany – despite almost universal opposition in Europe. Gazprom faces new unfavorable (unacceptable) regulations: On April 5, 2019, The European Parliament and European Commission adopted a new gas directive that requires Gazprom to unbundle delivery from production. Moreover, Germany’s Angela Merkel has promised Ukraine that, Nord Stream 2 or not, Russian gas will continue to flow through Ukraine. That’s not all: With the threat of competition from American LNG, Russia would strive to emphasize the reliability of its deliveries to its massive European market. Finally, LNG competition would surely constrain Putin from taking hostile action that jeopardizes Russia’s European gas revenues.

Read the full article here.

Journalism is Dead—Long Live the Media!

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

There still exists a physical media in the sense of airing current events. But it is not journalism as we once understood the disinterested reporting of the news. Journalism is now dead. The media lives on.

Reporters today believe that their coverage serves higher agendas of social justice, identity politics, “equality,” and diversity. To the degree a news account is expanded or ignored, praised or blasted, depends on its supposed utility to the effort to fundamentally transform the country into something unlike its founding.

At the recent third president-less White House Correspondents’ Dinner, passive-aggressive journalists whined that they were victims, standing on the barricades against the all-powerful, all-evil—and all absent—Donald Trump. If the attempt was to return professionalism to the evening and eschew the pathological celebrity obsessions of the past, the result was only more confirmation of the self-referential and narcissistic culture of the Washington press corps.

Why should we believe reporters suddenly worried about ethics, free inquiry, and speech?

Read the full article here.

Progressives Face a Bleak Post-Mueller Landscape

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Democrats have grown infuriated by Attorney General William Barr’s indifference to their hysteria over the Trump-Russia collusion narrative.

Barr recently released a brief summary of special counsel Robert Mueller’s conclusions that Donald Trump did not collude with the Russians to warp the 2016 election. Barr added that Mueller had not found enough evidence to recommend that Trump be indicted for obstruction of justice for the non-crime of collusion.

Progressives, who for 22 months had insisted that Trump was a Russian asset, were stunned. But only for a few hours.

Almost immediately, they redirected their fury toward Barr’s summation of the Mueller report. Yet few rational people contested Barr’s synopses about collusion and obstruction.

Both the Mueller report and Barr’s summation can be found on the internet. Anyone can read them to see whether Barr misrepresented Mueller’s conclusions.

Read the full article here.

Why Progressive Anti-Semitism — and Why Now?

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

The New York Times International Edition recently published an anti-Semitic cartoon of a dachshund with the face of Benjamin Netanyahu. The composite animal was leading a hunched Donald Trump who had on dark sunglasses, as if blind, and a yarmulke.

Almost immediately, everyone pointed out that the theme of doglike Jews pulling along their clueless befuddled blinded “Aryan” masters was a favorite in Hitler’s Germany. The theme, style, and imagery of the cartoon might have trumped what was often published in Der Stürmer, the Nazi megaphone of propagandist Julius Streicher. The latter was hanged after the Nuremberg Trials for two decades of fomenting the Jew hatred that helped lead to the Holocaust.

Stranger still, at first the New York Times merely explained how the sick cartoon got published in its international edition, but without an apology for its publication. Its subsequent second-try mea culpa was rendered a pathetic joke when, a few days later, the paper published yet another incoherent anti-Semitic cartoon of a Benjamin Netanyahu, this time as some sort of blind Moses with selfie stick in one hand and a stone tablet with the Star of David in the other, as he descends from Mount Sinai.

It has been noted that the Times has had a long history of anti-Semitism, dating to before World War II, and, after that, of serial anti-Israel venom. Certainly, if the cartoon had similarly portrayed any other ethnic or religious group (except heterosexual white Christians), the Times would immediately have fired anyone remotely involved in running such trash. Was it any surprise that the Times recently referenced Jesus as a Palestinian rather than Jewish?

Read the full article here.

Uncommon Knowledge Victor Davis Hanson on “The Case for Trump”

How did blue-collar voters connect with a millionaire from Queens in the 2016 election? Martin and Illie Anderson Senior fellow Victor Davis Hanson addresses that question and more in his newly released book, The Case for Trump. He sits down with Peter Robinson to chat about his motivation to write a book making a rational case for those voters who chose Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton.

Hanson and Robinson, the Murdoch Distinguished Policy Fellow, discuss how voters connected with Trump’s “personal authenticity” during the campaign and how the media has a “historical amnesia” of the bad behavior of past presidents when talking about President Trump. The president, Hanson argues, was always an outsider from elite society in Manhattan, which helped him to better to connect with voters who felt like outsiders. He analyzes President Trump’s platform agenda, which was composed 80% of traditionally conservative views with the remaining 20% being radical ideas that fit with many of the views of the midwestern states. He breaks down why, in the end, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, and John Kasich didn’t appeal to voters in the way that Trump managed to.

Hanson turns to talk about his background and life growing up in California’s Central Valley and how different the area feels now compared to when he was younger. He talks about seeing the majority of the family-run farms being steadily replaced with large commercial operations and how that’s drastically impacted the workforce and economics of the region. He goes on to discuss issues of water protection and water quality in the Central Valley and how Bay Area elites prioritize their water quality over that of the rural farmers.

Watch the interview here.

How Socialist Is Bernie Sanders?

Please read this piece by my colleague Paul Roderick Gregory published by Hoover Institution

The candidacy of Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination raises the real prospect of an avowed socialist as President of the United States. Notably, Sanders reveals little about what socialism means to him, other than giving many things away free. He disarms critics by asserting that he is not a “socialist” but a “Democratic Socialist,” without defining what that means.

Sanders, however, is not the only self-declared “Democratic Socialist” around. The largest American socialist party, the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), unlike Sanders, openly declares its intent to abolish capitalism as we know it. A staff writer for a DSA house publication could not be clearer: “In the long run, democratic socialists want to end capitalism…we want to end our society’s subservience to the market.”

Does Sanders agree? That is the question.

Socialism burst on the American political scene with Sanders’ strong bid for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. Not a one-time fluke, Sanders currently ranks at the top of the crowded 2020 Democratic field. The 2018 elections of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) and Rashida Tlaib to the House added momentum to the socialist chic sweeping the country.  In the past few years, candidates identifying themselves as socialist have won more than 50 state and municipal offices, the latest being the election of five candidates to the Chicago city council.

Sanders has spent a long political career obfuscating his true political beliefs. The media rarely pushes back on his standard platitudes, such as “we must create an economy that works for all, not just the very wealthy.” His two-minute video, promising to explain his brand of socialism, leaves the viewer clueless, probably deliberately. Sanders insists that he is not a “socialist” but a “Democratic Socialist,” as if the difference is self-explanatory. When pressed further about his Democratic Socialism, he resorts to filibustering about the Scandinavian-like paradise of free medicine and education, guaranteed jobs, livable wages, and other free things he intends to introduce when elected. He does not bother to note that the Nordic states rank among the most free-enterprise economies of the globe.

Read the full article here.

The Fright of James Comey

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

In a recent op-ed, fired FBI Director James Comey was back again preaching to the nation about the dangers of Donald Trump and his capacity to corrupt any top-ranking federal official of lower character than Comey’s own.

Comey seems to have become utterly unhinged by Donald Trump, especially when the president, in his thick Queens accent, scoffs in the vernacular—quite accurately, given the transgressions of the FBI hierarchy—about “crooked cops.” What an affront to Comey’s complexity, his subtlety, his sophistication, his feigned Hamlet-like self-doubt—at least as now expressed in his latest incarnation as Twitter’s Kahlil Gibran.

One can say a number of things about the timing of Comey’s latest sermon and his characteristic projection of his own sins on to others.

First, Comey’s unprofessionalism was home-grown and certainly did not need any help from President Trump. His schizophrenic behavior both as a prosecutor and investigator in the Hillary Clinton email matter was marked by exempting Clinton aides Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin from indictment, despite their lying to his own federal officials about their knowledge of a private Clinton email server. Comey wrote his summation of the Clinton email investigation before he had even interviewed the former secretary of state. He was hardly independent from a recused Attorney General Loretta Lynch in the Clinton email investigation. As her rubbery courier he bent to her directives on all key decisions that led to de facto exoneration of likely next president Hillary Clinton.

Read the full article here.

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