Debt is the surest and shortest path to a global economy. Punishing all actors in local economies but those who are “too big to fail” empowers “too big to fail” systems and “too big to fail” economies. Encouraging debt and the eventual assumption of debt passed on and commodified by increasingly larger political and economic entities creates supraentities built on debt and dedicated to economic regulation.

The assumption of state debts by the Federal government was a major step in the federalization of the United States. The growing assumption of micro and macro debts by the United States government and by international bodies allows for greater macro and micro regulation of economic activities.

Rewarding and promoting irresponsible economic behavior creates debt which creates opportunities for intervention. Individuals are encouraged to engage in irresponsible day to day consumer spending and large scale home and college loans. Financial institutions package irresponsible loans into commodities of debt. Governments bail out financial institutions by amassing even more debt to pay for the bailouts.

The buck keeps getting passed on until everyone is in debt from the micro to the macro level, from the citizen who has his own debts, the annual and the lifelong, and those of the nation which he is also being taxed to repay, up to banks and governments, where the same experts move imaginary numbers around until everyone is in debt and also a debt holder and then a global state of debt has become universalized.

The universalization of debt leads to the universalization of economic authority and eventually planned economies. By indebting everyone from the individual to the government, everyone is forced to maintain a bankrupt and broken system. Debts are obligations. Obligating everyone to the same system forces everyone to comply with the system.



In his latest book, fellow PJM columnist Victor Davis Hanson explores that unique, and exceedingly rare, military man, the savior general. Or as the subtitle of the new book puts it, How Five Great Commanders Saved Wars That Were Lost — From Ancient Greece to Iraq.

These men range from Themistocles and Belisarius to the Civil War’s General Sherman, Matthew Ridgway, in Korea and David Petraeus in Iraq. They became “savior generals” in VDH’s estimation, because each salvaged a war that appeared to have been hopelessly lost by a previous general whose name and ego caused him to make a hash of the fight. In some cases, their battlefield predecessors, such as MacArthur in Korea, were fighting the last war all over again, instead of responding to the conditions of the current battle. How did the savior generals VDH chose for his book manage to rise to the top ranks of their respective armies, and yet keep their ego in check? How did they learn to stay flexible and respond to the battles they were tasked to fight? And how does a savior general learn how to balance the warfare of politics, versus the actual warfare on the battlefield?

During our 28-minute long interview, Victor will discuss:

● What can we learn from the generals of antiquity?

● How did VDH narrow his list of “savior generals” down to five, and which men didn’t make the cut?

● What are the current states of Iraq and Afghanistan in the Obama era?

● Why “savior generals” often have unfortunate post-military careers.

● Is America’s culture still capable of producing further savior generals?

● The complex relationship between America’s hard left and the military.

● How VDH’s home state of California is surprisingly resilient, despite the best efforts of its politicians to destroy it.

And much more. Click here to listen:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

(28 minutes long; 25.6 MB file size. Want to download instead of streaming? Right click here to download this interview to your hard drive. Or right click here to download the 4.79 MB lo-fi edition.)

If the above Flash audio player is not be compatible with your browser, click on the YouTube player below, or click here to be taken directly to YouTube, for an audio-only YouTube clip. Between one of those versions, you should find a format that plays on your system.

Transcript of our interview begins on the following page; for our many previous podcasts, start here and keep scrolling.

MR. DRISCOLL: This is Ed Driscoll for PJ Media.com, and I’m talking with fellow PJ Media columnist, Victor Davis Hanson. In addition to his weekly column at PJM, Victor also writes for National Review, is a member of the Hoover Institute, is a gentleman farmer in Fresno California, and has new book out titled, The Savior Generals: How Five Great Commanders Saved Wars That Were Lost – From Ancient Greece to Iraq. It’s published by Bloomsbury Press, and it’s available from Amazon.com and your local bookseller.

And Victor, thanks for stopping by today.

DR. HANSON: Thank you for having me, Ed.

MR. DRISCOLL: Victor, we should probably start by defining the title. What exactly is a “savior general,” and who qualifies for that definition, in your opinion?

DR. HANSON: Well, you know, the word is somewhat ambiguous, because it doesn’t say “victorious general” or “losing general.” It means people who saved, but not necessarily, you know, achieved ultimate victory. So people like Matthew Ridgway, that were asked to go into Korea when the United States, essentially — by December 1950, essentially had written off the effort, and yet he restored American and U.N. forces to the 38th Parallel, but he didn’t reunite Korea; or David Petraeus, who was the architect of the surge that saved the American reputation in Iraq and brought somewhat quietude to a really — a terrible insurgency, but he didn’t really triumph over all of the enemy in Iraq — today it even has problems — so in the sense that when wars are going very badly and consensual or constitutional societies are about ready to write off the effort, there’s a certain type of commander that comes to the fore that you might not have wanted before the conflict or after.

And the other thing is it’s savior — we say “savior” — savior, it sounds sort of almost religious in its tone. And I think there’s — they were great savior generals in the sense of restoring lost battles: Rommel, Model, von Manstein, Zhukov. But their efforts were on behalf of authoritarian societies that you probably would have preferred they’d failed rather than win. So what I did was I went through history and said which generals fought for causes that most people who are supporters of constitutional government support, and [asked myself] how were they different than people like Alexander the Great or Napoleon or Wellington? And what I came up was oh, twenty or thirty people throughout history who didn’t necessarily have advantages in manpower, they were not well-connected, they didn’t have maybe the best technology, they didn’t start a war. But they were brought in, in the eleventh hour, to restore something.

Because I wanted to look at the leadership qualities of generals when there was no advantage, they didn’t have any momentum, or there was no reason why they should win, rather than just somebody like Napoleon or Wellington that had a lot of other criteria besides their own genius that might explain why they won it at Waterloo or Austerlitz or something.

MR. DRISCOLL: Now, is the phrase “savior generals” a phrase that you yourself coined?

DR. HANSON: Yes, it is. It is. I hadn’t seen it — I hadn’t seen it mentioned before. I talked to — in some interviews, when I was writing the book, I talked about it in paper — a news — a couple of newspaper columns, and I noticed that for some generals in the American Army it caught on.

General Petraeus himself, before the book came out, often referenced himself as sort of a Sherman or a Matthew Ridgway. So I think that it was an idea that caught on, because — again, we’re not saying that they’re victorious generals, or they’re people of a stature of Alexander the Great or Hannibal or Napoleon, but they’re a particular subset.

I often — in the book, I mention this image of the Western — especially in the 1950s and 1960s movies like Shane, The Professionals, or The Magnificent Seven, especially The Searchers and High Noon, or Maginif — if I said The Magnificent Seven — where we give — we have a particular type of person, a western cowboy marshal, savior-general, so to speak, that comes into a town or a cause, and he defeats the enemy, but there are certain personality quirks, eccentricities. They tend to have a maverick profile, or they’re just too scary. And after they’re — they’ve done their duty, they don’t fit well.

So Shane has to take off. He can’t stay in the Wyoming small farmer community. Ethan Edwards, in The Searchers, has to leave. We know that in High Noon, Gary Cooper throws down — Marshal Will Kane throws down his badge. And all of these savior generals were not really men of the hour before the war started. They were not the architects of their cause. They weren’t favored by political leaders. And then after they did quite extraordinary things, they — to be frank — ended up pretty badly, because they’re the type of people — maybe it was their character, maybe it was the way they talked or wrote or maybe the way they were portrayed by the public — they didn’t — they weren’t — I guess they weren’t comfortable with post-war consensus or tranquility.

When I finished the book, of course, David Petraeus’ problems had not happened. I had to insert a little sentence in the galleys. But somebody had remarked to me who read the galley before that — I had done that, and said well, wow. Petraeus is now CIA director, he ended up well. And I said well, it’s not over till it’s over.

Themistocles killed himself. Belisarius ended up as a beggar in the streets of Constantinople. Sherman spent most of the post-war period in the 1870s defending his record from criticisms that he’d been a terrorist. Ridgway got on the wrong side of everybody. George Marshall, Dwight Eisenhower, especially Omar Bradley, and then most of the chairmen of the joint chiefs, and was asked to retire by Eisenhower.

And then Petraeus, I think anybody — whatever their feeling was about Iraq or the surge, did believe that David Petraeus deserved to be chairman of the joint chiefs, or at least supreme NATO commander, and yet he was given no chance for either billet. And the CIA is sort of the cul-de-sac of political careers. And so he — so far, he hasn’t ended up too well after his moment in Iraq.

MR. DRISCOLL: In addition to modern generals such as Petraeus, your book covers well over 1,000 years of history from Themistocles and Belisarius to the American generals Sherman, Ridgway, and Petraeus. Most Americans have some basic understanding of their own history. What can they learn from those generals of antiquity that you’re also writing about?

DR. HANSON: Well, I tried to look at people in antiquity to make the point resonate that technology is not the issue in war that makes one side win or one side lose, or it’s not necessarily essential to leadership, or there’s not a new social science, or there’s not a new facet of human nature. In other words, that human nature is set, it’s static throughout time and space. And we can go back to antiquity even through we’re talking about triremes rather than submarines, or we’re looking at Byzantine cavalry rather than Humvees. The essentials remain the same. War is sort of like — whether you like it or not — like water. It doesn’t change through the centuries, but the delivery system, a pump, can produce it in much greater volumes. But don’t fool yourself into thinking that water has changed because you see it pumped out of an enormous dam, or something, at thousands of gallons per second versus a hand pump, a few gallons per minute.

It’s still the same thing. And that’s what I’m trying to get at in this book, that leadership and these oddball, eccentric, contrarian, eccentric people are sort of timeless. They’re — because they represent parts of human nature that’s familiar to all of us.

MR. DRISCOLL: Well, you mentioned eccentrics. And I was kind of surprised not to see General Patton or any American general from World War II in your book.

DR. HANSON: Well, it was a hard call, because I wanted to limit the study to about 120,000 words, there were generals in antiquity like Scipio Africanus, after the battle of Cannae, that helped Rome regroup and salvage the Second Punic War. And of course, George Patton, after the Kasserine Pass and the disaster in North Africa, reconstituted the American effort.

But here I was a little bit more arbitrary. I asked myself, are these generals — if you took that general away, would they have won the war. And I think as great as General Patton was, and he was the center of a book I wrote — the focus a book I called — I wrote, called The Soul of Battle, fifteen years ago — that even if we had not had General Patton, or Curtis LeMay, for that matter, who was a great savior general in the B-29 program — we probably still would have won.

I don’t think we would have won in Korea. We would have lost that war without Matthew Ridgway. I don’t think without David Petraeus we would have had a surge. And without a surge we probably would have given up in Iraq. I surely don’t think — if Sherman was not around we would not have taken Atlanta — we being the Union forces — before the election, and Lincoln probably would not have been reelected in 1864.

I know of the antiquities, great generals — without Themistocles, there wouldn’t have been a Salamis. It’s beyond — beyond controversy. And I think without Belisarius, Justinian wouldn’t have ever been able to hold together the new borders of the Byzantine Empire.

So I guess what I’m saying is that there were savior generals of fronts, of battles, of areas, and then there are savior generals that preserve an entire war or an entire effort. And I think the five that I chose fall into that latter category.

MR. DRISCOLL: Victor, I really enjoyed the chapter on Matthew Ridgeway. Could you talk a bit about him, and why the Korean War is so little known today, outside of, I guess, it being the background for TV’s long-running M*A*S*H series in the 1970s?

DR. HANSON: The Korean war was controversial, because it was really the first war that the United States didn’t win in the sense that we didn’t defeat North Korea and unite the peninsula, that some people thought was either the original aim of the war, or should have been the original aim of the war. And then second, after the war — after the armistice, there was not a — there was not what we thought would be a peace treaty. There was no side that admitted defeat or victory.

And then given the problems we have with Korea today, people go back and say, my gosh, when you don’t win a war, you bequeath it to your ancestors. And that’s sort of what happened.

All that being said, today South Korea is a successful country. It gave us everything from Hyundai to Samsung. And we forget that in December 1950, the United States and the United Nations forces had pretty much lost the war. They had gone all the way the way up under Douglas MacArthur, who never really spent a night in Korea — he was he commander by autopilot from Japan — the Yalu River and the Manchurian border.

Then in — quite unexpectedly — I think it shouldn’t have been unexpectedly — but the Americans were caught napping and 700,000 People’s Army troops from Red China came across the border — largest, longest, most serious military retreat in American history, saw us retreat back 400 miles to the 38th Parallel. And then our supreme commander on the ground, General Walker, gets killed in a jeep accident. MacArthur’s engaged in a political war with the State Department and the joint chiefs about Communism, how to best deal with Communism. And everybody expects Seoul to fall within a week. And it did fall again.

And suddenly they — in late December they tell Matthew Ridgway, who was a World War Two hero, but pretty much destined for a retirement in obscurity, to go to Korea, ostensibly to oversee a retreat, perhaps down all the way to Busan, and evacuation to Japan. And he lands there in late December of 1950, and immediately he says, where’s the plans for the offensive.


http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2013/06/vladimir_tells_mr_flexible_to_go_jump_in_a_lake.html It seems like just yesterday that Barack Obama sent a message to Vladimir Putin, via outgoing President Dmitry Medvedev, that after the 2012 election he’d have “more flexibility.”  A year and a half after Obama sent that message, Putin found out what America is coming to realize: nothing Barack Obama says means anything.  If […]


http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324637504578565644044355964.html?mod=opinion_newsreel From Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas‘s concurring opinion in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, June 24: While I find the theory advanced by the University to justify racial discrimination facially inadequate, I also believe that its use of race has little to do with the alleged educational benefits of diversity. I suspect […]



‘One of the things I intend to do as President is restore America’s standing in the world. We are less respected now than we were eight years ago or even four years ago.”

— Barack Obama, first presidential debate, September 26, 2008.

The Obama Administration wants the world to know that it cares very deeply about bringing self-admitted national-security leaker Edward Snowden back to the U.S. to stand trial. If only the world seemed to care as much about what the U.S. thinks.

Last week the U.S. announced that it had indicted Mr. Snowden on espionage and other charges and asked Hong Kong, where he’d been hiding out and giving interviews, to detain and extradite him. On Wednesday, Attorney General Eric Holder called Hong Kong Secretary of Justice Rimsky Yuen to ask the government “to honor our request for Snowden’s arrest,” according to an official cited in the Washington Post.

Tom Donilon, the White House national security adviser, added his own rare public demarche on Saturday, saying, “Hong Kong has been a historically good partner of the United States in law enforcement matters, and we expect them to comply with the treaty in this case.”

On Sunday, Hong Kong let Mr. Snowden board a plane to Moscow.

Lisa Weiss, Woman Who Released Sex Chats With Anthony Weiner, Says She’d Vote For Him


Although the women involved in the Anthony Weiner’s sexting scandal are still struggling to put ‘Weinergate’ behind them, at least one says she’d still vote for the former congressman, given the chance.

“I cannot tell you the devastation,” 42-year-old Lisa Weiss, a blackjack dealer in Nevada, told The New York Times of her life since the world learned of the lewd messages she and Weiner exchanged. “I obsess about it everyday.”

In 2011, Weiss gave RadarOnline.com access to the explicit Facebook correspondence she shared with then-Representative Weiner. It was a decision she regrets. “I thought I could control it,” she said of the story.

Weiss’s relationship to Weiner, however, is complicated.

“So great to see you back!” she commented last year on his Facebook page next to a photo of Weiner with his wife, Huma Abedin, and their new baby. “Your wife and son are beautiful! Please let me apologize again for any pain I caused your (sic) or the beautiful Huma…it was unintentional…I still think you are our liberal hero and we need you back in politics!!”

Now she tells the Times that despite everything Weiner would still get her vote.

“If he lived here, I’d vote for him,” she said. “He is such a big fighter for all of our causes.”



Barack Obama’s critics are loud enough and persistent enough, but maybe we’ve been baying at the wrong moon.It’s not the president’s ideology, his arrogance, his attention-deficit disorder, his endless deference to alien religious faith and his contempt for the faith of those close to home (or even his backswing) that’s what’s wrong with the man in charge of the government. It’s the sheer incompetence of the leader and his gang.

This is the gang that can’t shoot straight, eager to stifle or soften the First, Second, Fourth and Fifth Amendments and ever ready to stumble abroad with timidity in the face of governments that mean us ill. In the circumstances, maybe incompetence is not necessarily a bad thing. They could be doing a lot more harm if they actually knew how to do what they’re trying to do. The Obama legion can’t figure out which is the business end of the gun.

The spectacle of a 29-year-old computer geek armed with a laptop and a credit card racing across the hemispheres, eluding the FBI, the CIA, the TSA, the IRS and the rest of the alphabet soup available to the president, taunting the entire U.S. Government to catch him if it can, has much of the rest of the world applauding, cheering and laughing. This is the entertainment nobody has seen since Bonnie and Clyde redefined the job of bank examiner on the front pages of 80 years ago. This is also something new in our history, the world laughing at the ineptitude of the United States. Only Mr. Obama, who set out years ago to cut America down to a size to suit the third world, can be pleased.

Nobody roots for the fuzz, and a petition to the White House to grant a full pardon to Edward Snowden had collected 111,000 signatures by mid-day Monday, seeking “a full, free, and absolute pardon for any crimes he has committed or may have committed related to blowing the whistle on secret [National Security Administration] surveillance programs,” and calling him “a national hero.” The petition, to the White House “We, the People” website, has earned an official White House response, even if all the petitioners can expect is the usual argle-bargle, full of mush and slurry, signifying nothing.



In a final theatrical flourish in the immigration-reform drama, the Senate has scheduled a hasty vote on the so-called amendment offered by Senators John Hoeven and Bob Corker — an “amendment” that amounts to an entirely new piece of legislation. The Senate is to be presented with a Monday vote on a 1,200-page bill substantially amended on Friday, meaning that few if any of our senators will have had the chance even to read the final bill, much less to digest its details. As Yuval Levin and others have noted, this amounts to another case of passing the bill to find out what’s in it. Republicans should not be party to that.

Among the many promises he has made regarding this issue, Senator Marco Rubio averred that he would not support the passage of a bill without sufficient time for debate, discussion, study, and public input. This is yet another assurance from Senator Rubio that has gone by the wayside. If the amendment is adopted on Monday and Senator Harry Reid follows through with his plan to have a vote on the legislation before the July 4 recess, that leaves a matter of mere days to evaluate it. That means no score from the Congressional Budget Office, though the bill will have hundreds of billions of dollars in fiscal consequences. That means no time for detailed analysis of the so-called security triggers in the bill, which are much less robust than the Gang of Eight would have us believe.

This is, in a word, dishonest. No senator — and especially no Republican — associating himself with this sort of charade deserves to escape with his reputation undamaged. Perhaps that is no great loss for Senator John McCain, who has for years shown himself to have grievously defective judgment on the subject of immigration, but Senator Rubio emerges from this process much diminished.

The fundamental problem with this bill, both in its earlier form and in the new Hoeven-Corker form, is that it confers an immediate amnesty on illegals already present in the country in exchange for promises of tightened border security at some point in the future. Not very tight, mind you: The bill’s own supporters do not contest forecasts that over the next 20 years we would once again find ourselves with 11 million or more illegal immigrants, just as we have now. Stronger security provisions, such as requiring that the border fence be completed before amnesty is handed down, were rejected. Under this bill, the only purported consequence of failing to secure the borders is delaying the process under which the newly legalized residents would be able to apply for green cards and citizenship. Given that many illegals have been here for decades — and that they care more about legalization than about the prospect of citizenship — slowing down that process would not matter very much.



The scandal involving the IRS’s discrimination against conservative groups seems to grow more dizzying by the day.

Acting IRS commissioner Danny Werfel on Monday told reporters that the now-infamous “Be On The Lookout” list was far broader than originally disclosed in the Treasury Department inspector general’s report. News accounts in outlets such as the Associated Press and Bloomberg News supported Werfel’s claim, indicating that terms on the list ran the gamut, politically speaking, from “tea party” to “progressive” and “occupy,” and even to groups whose applications included the word “Israel.”

A November 2010 version of the list obtained by National Review Online, however, suggests that while the list did contain the word “progressive,” screeners were instructed to treat progressive groups differently from tea-party groups. Whereas they were merely alerted that a designation of 501(c)(3) status “may not be appropriate” for progressive groups — 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from conducting any political activity — they were told to send applications from tea-party groups off to IRS higher-ups for further scrutiny.

That means the applications of progressive organizations could be approved by line agents on the spot, while those of tea-party groups could not. Furthermore, the November 2010 list noted that tea-party cases were “currently being coordinated with EOT” — Exempt Organizations Technical, a group of tax lawyers in Washington, D.C. Those of progressive organizations were not.
To Werfel’s account, add the testimony of Holly Paz. The highest-ranking official interviewed by the House Oversight Committee to date, Paz did not contend that the lookout list was politically inclusive. Rather, she told committee investigators that the use of the term “tea party” to flag applications was politically neutral. Paz, who served as the director of the IRS’s Office of Rulings and Agreements before she was put on administrative leave earlier this month, told committee investigators that “tea party” merely served as shorthand for an application for tax exemption from any group, conservative or liberal, that showed a potential for political intervention. “It’s like calling soda ‘coke’ or, you know, tissue ‘Kleenex.’ [Line agents] knew what they meant, and the issue was campaign intervention.”

Paz continued, “The criteria didn’t seem to limit what side of the issue,” according to an interview transcript reviewed by National Review Online. “There was a variety of different political persuasions amongst the groups that were — you know, whose applications were in this bucket of cases.”

Her testimony, however, stands in stark contrast to that of Cincinnati IRS agent Elizabeth Hofacre, who handled all tea-party cases between April and August 2010. Hofacre told investigators that she understood “tea party” to be a proxy for conservative and Republican groups; she said she sent back the applications of liberal groups for general processing.



I was just watching Senator Ted Cruz’s floor speech in opposition to the atrocious immigration bill and took note of a remarkable exchange between Senators Cruz and Chuck Schumer, the New York Democrat and mastermind of the legislation. The short YouTube video is worth your time (Schumer interrupts about a minute in). Cruz pointed out that the hefy 1,200-page Corker-Hoeven Amendment was dropped like a stealth bomb late Friday with supporters now pushing for an immediate vote when it is perfectly obvious that no one could possibly have read, studied and analyzed the proposal. As if it were a defense, Schumer insisted that of the 1,200 pages “only” 100 pages are new, and that certainly a senator should be able to read “only” 100 pages of “important legislation” over a weekend.

Let’s pretend Schumer is correct — and he’s not: Senator Corker says it is actually 119 new pages. When a bill is amended in a sneaky manner, as this one has been, no responsible senator could just read 100 new pages. The amendments are interspersed thoughout the bill — it’s not like you could sit and read them as a unit, even if you had the time. Since the proponents are clearly trying to pull a fast one, prudence, as Senator Cruz pointed out, would dictate rereading every line of text, old and new, to search for insertions — and, indeed, news reports indicate that numerous new buy-offs and pot-sweeteners have been inserted.

But there is a larger point: no “important legislation” should be 100 pages long, much less 1,200 (or the even more mind-boggling girth of monstrosities like Obamacare). The United States Constitution is about 4,500 words long — outfits like Cato and Heritage publish it in small pamphlets that can be read in a few minutes. Nowadays, not only are the bills so gargantuan that no one could conceivably master them and predict their consequences; each page produces even more pages of regulations. They can’t even be lifted, much less digested.