Tuesday, July 24, 2012

London 2012 -- Commander Kelly's Top Ten Places

If the Olympics brings you to London this summer but you would like to see something in addition to sporting events, then Commander Kelly has just the ticket.  Here are my top ten favorite stops on the American Conservative Tour of London...

Greatest Briton
1) Churchill War Rooms.  http://www.iwm.org.uk/visits/churchill-war-rooms (See earlier posts, Churchill War rooms, 2/1/12,  Churchill Quotes 6/2/12, Blenheim Palace 6/1/12). A must see to put you in touch with the greatest Briton of all time.  The Spirit of Chartwell is not just a boat for goodness sake!  Please note the use of the Churchill statue in Danny Boyle's Olympic opening ceremony (see video below).

Cutty Sark, Greenwich
2) Cutty Sark.  http://www.rmg.co.uk/?PHPSESSID=551d49e93265f71e5ba5f50d4a11074c (See earlier post, Cutty Sark, 5/4/12).  They spent 50 million pounds restoring this tea clipper after a devastating fire and it sparkles.  Celebrate free trade and capitalism--have a tea party!

3)  Apsley House.  http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/apsley-house/
The best address in the city -- Number One London.  Home of the Duke of Wellington, victor of the battle of Waterloo (See earlier post, Day Out with the Duke of Wellington, 1/27/12).

4) Trafalgar Square and National Gallery.  www.nationalgallery.org.uk/ See England's most famous Admiral and England's most popular painting -- the Fighting Temeraire (See earlier posts, Horatio Nelson -- Champion of Liberty, 1/15/12; The Fighting Temeraire, 1/10/12, and Manet's Execution of Maximilian I, 2/22/12).

Elizabeth II and Commander Bond

5) James Bond's Costumes.  http://www.barbican.org.uk/ Now at the Barbican until September 5, 2012.  (See earlier post, Commander Bond and the Bikini, 7/11/12).  Daniel Craig as James Bond escorted Queen Elizabeth II to the Olympic opening ceremony (see video below).

6) Imperial War Museum at Duxford.  http://www.iwm.org.uk/visits/iwm-duxford Check out the American hangar and much more.  (see earlier post Duxford and...George Carlin?, 4/30/12).

HMS Victory, Portsmouth
7) HMS Victory.  http://www.hms-victory.com/ The only surviving ship left from the battle of Trafalgar and Nelson's flagship. Worth the two hour train trip to Portsmouth.  (See earlier post, Voltaire, the Gloomy English and Portsmouth, 3/4/12).

St. Paul's during the Blitz, London
8) St. Paul's Cathedral.  www.stpauls.co.uk/ Find out the "Dirty Corner" and learn how Commander Bond cleaned up St. Paul's.  Nelson and Wellington's tombs. Blitz survivor.  (see earlier post, Commander Bond's London, 2/23/12).

9) Sweetings Restaurant.  http://www.sweetingsrestaurant.com/ If you visit St Paul's stop by nearby Sweetinngs for the best lunch in London.  (see earlier post, Sweetings, 5/5/12).

10) Grosvenor Square.  Check out the statutes of great Republican Presidents Reagan, Eisenhower and the American Eagle monument.  (see earlier posts, Ronald Wilson Reagan 12/14/11, When Character was King 3/22/12,  Eisenhower in London, 7/23/12, American Eagle Squadron 12/16/11).

Reagan Statue, Grosvenor Square London
Photo courtesy: James Hooper

You can now purchase Commander Kelly's first book, America Invades here...www.americainvades.com or on Amazon...www.amzn.com/1940598427

Monday, July 23, 2012

Eisenhower in London

Ike Statue Grosvenor Square, London
The Conservative tour of London continues with a swing through Mayfair to Grosvenor square which is home to the American embassy in London.  On the square you will find a statue honoring Dwight David Eisenhower.  This is a particularly appropriate place to honor Ike as it is right near where the Headquarters for SHAEF which planned the European campaign were located.

Eisenhower arrived in London on June 24, 1942 and stayed for the first week at nearby Claridges.  Finding it a bit too gilt-edge for his tastes ("I think I'm living in sin" he told an aid) he moved into the Dorchester hotel across Park Lane from Hyde Park.  It was in wartime London that he first met and fell in love with his driver Kay Summersby.

Patton and Ike
Eisenhower was a good friend and supporter of George S. Patton.  They rode horses together and their families socialized together.  In the pre-war period Eisenhower had aspired to become one of Patton's subordinate regimental commanders.  After Pearl Harbor, Ike leapfrogged Patton to become his superior officer and, eventually, the Supreme Commander of SHAEF.  After the infamous slapping incident in Sicily, Patton might easily have been dismissed as this was a court martial offense.  This would have been the politically correct thing to do.  Ike, however,  recognized Patton's immense talent and value to the allied war effort.  Eisenhower brushed the affair under the rug knowing that Patton was irreplaceable on the battlefield.  The incredible performance of Patton's 3rd Army in the D-Day campaign proved the wisdom of Ike's decision (see earlier post, War without End, 7/18/12).

Eisenhower had an imperfect military record.  He was too timid about landing in Tunisia in North Africa in 1942, he failed to cut off the German retreat from Sicily in 1943 and the landings at Salerno were the closest that the Western allies came to disaster in the war.  Eisenhower's performance as Supreme Commander for Overlord  (D-day and after), however, more than atoned for his earlier shortcomings.  He showed masterful diplomatic and political skills in building a team consensus among disparate allied forces with distinct competing agendas.  The son a railroad worker from Abilene Kansas was able to effectively harness the talents of massive egos such as Patton, Montgomery and De Gaulle.

Some regard the 1950's as a relatively boring time of peace, prosperity and conformity.  President Eisenhower is often remembered as a bland figure who played a lot of golf but didn't do too much.  He seems colorless when sandwiched between the charismatic FDR and JFK's Camelot.  But the 1950's would have been a far darker time had President Eisenhower not been president.

President Eisenhower gives the lie to the popular notion that Republicans or conservatives are warmongers.  Ike was anything, but a "war lover".   Eisenhower said, "I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can."  "There is no alternative to peace," he famously added.  In his recent biography, Eisenhower in War and Peace (http:/www.amzn.com/140006693X) Jean Edward Smith writes, "He ended a three year no-win war in Korea with honor and dignity."
Latest Ike Bio
Edward Smith continues, "When the National Security Council -- Dulles, Nixon and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff --recommended intervention (including use of nuclear weapons) at Dien Bien Phu to rescue the beleaguered French garrison, Eisenhower similarly rejected the proposal.  'You boys must be crazy.' he told his national security assistant. Robert Cutler.  'We can't use those awful things against Asians for the second time in less than ten years. My God'.  Five years later, when China threatened force against Taiwan, the Joint Chiefs recommended an immediate nuclear response, and once again Eisenhower rejected the idea.

When Britain, France and Israel invaded Egypt to seize the Suez Canal in 1956, Eisenhower forced them to withdraw, toppling Anthony Eden's government in London, undercutting the Fourth Republic in France, and threatening financial sanctions against Israel.  That repudiation of what Ike called 'old fashioned gunboat diplomacy' not only kept the peace but enhanced American prestige throughout the world.

Domestically, Eisenhower tamed inflation, slashed defense spending, balanced the federal budget and worked easily with a Democratic Congress...In 1957, when a United States District court in Little Rock, Arkansas, ordered the desegregation of Central High, Eisenhower dispatched the 101st Airborne Division from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, to enforce the court's order.  if he had not acted, and if he had not used overwhelming force to ensure compliance with the district court's order, desegregation in the South would have been set back at least a generation.  'Sending in the troops was the hardest decision I had had to make since D-Day, ' Eisenhower said afterward.  'But Goddamn it, it was the only thing I could do.'

Eisenhower was a progressive conservative.  (Commander Kelly's Italics)  He believed traditional American values encompassed change and progress...

As president, Eisenhower restored stability to the nation.  His levelheaded leadership ensured that the United States would move forward in measured steps under the rule of law at home and collective security abroad....Eisenhower gave the nation eight years of peace and prosperity.  No other president in the twentieth century can make that claim."  Eisenhower in War and Peace (http:/www.amzn.com/140006693X) Jean Edward Smith.

Commander Kelly says, "Eisenhower's greatest accomplishment, among so many, may have been in driving the rot of isolationism out of the Republican party. A balanced budget, peace and prosperity -- I like Ike; too bad he's not on the ballot in November 2012!"*

* In defense of Romney, he does resemble Eisenhower in terms of the fact that both men have proven leadership ability in a field outside of politics.  Both these Republicans could also be considered "Progressive Conservatives" in Smith's phrase.

Ike's D-Day Speech

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The Origin of the D-Day Stripes

D-Day Stripes on an RAF Supermarine Spitfire (Photo courtesy: Jim Hooper)

During the 1943 invasion of Sicily on July 10 the allies experienced the worst incident of friendly fire in the entire war.  The 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment of Matthew Ridgway's 82nd Airborne "was decimated by friendly fire.  As the troop-carrying C-47's flew over the invasion fleet on their way to the drop zone, trigger-happy antiaircraft gunners opened fire.  Of the 144 planes that took off from Tunisia, 23 were shot down and 37 were badly damaged.  Fourteen hundred of the 5,300 paratrooper in the regiment were killed or missing--one of the worst friendly fire episodes in modern warfare."  Source: Eisenhower in War and Peace, Jean Edward Smith, 2012, page 280.  http:/www.amzn.com/140006693X

Please note that this one incident, on one day in World War II, claimed about half the American casualties of the entire 9/11 catastrophe or, alternatively, more than 1,000 X worse than the recent tragedy in Aurora CO.  But have you ever even heard of it before reading this? Has anybody ever asked you to remember 7/10/43?

When the time came to launch the D-Day invasion in 1944 a new approach was taken.  Every single aircraft in the vast Allied air armada was painted with D-Day stripes.  If you see a plane with D-day stripes today at an air museum (Duxford, Smtihsonian, etc.) that has black and white zebra stripes on the undercarriage you know that it was a D-Day veteran.

The allies learned from their mistakes and friendly fire on allied aircraft was largely averted on D-Day due to these preventive measures.

You can now purchase Commander Kelly's first book, America Invades here...www.americainvades.com or on Amazon...www.amzn.com/1940598427

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Austerity Works -- Just ask Estonia!

Tallinn, Estonia

If you still believe that Paul Krugman is an economic genius who deserved his Nobel prize then you may have missed this article...


Estonia's GDP grew by 7.5% last year and their debt is much lower than most European countries.  Sounds pretty good compared to the USA, where GDP growth was 1.7% in 2011 and our debt has soared. Great lessons from the Baltic Republicans!

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Corporations that Won WW II

Chance Vought's F4U Corsair (Museum of Flight, Seattle WA)

Businesses and corporations are now under attack in this country.  We now have it on the authority of our President that businesses are not made by people or at least, dear reader, not made by you. "If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that.  Somebody else made that happen,”  President Obama told us on 7/14/12, in Roanoke VA.

"Give us the tools and we'll finish the job," famously asked Winston Churchill during World War II (For an interesting article on WSC see What Would Winston Do? by Harold Evans, starts on page 32...https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:uV1E26zZPcAJ:mediacdn.reuters.com/media/us/editorial/reuters-magazine/reuters-aspen-2012.pdf+what+would+winston+do+harold+evans&hl=en&gl=ca&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESi44YlIkQLaTVX9nSNCBJJHfH1SJmxtTbcFtp1bT_T_JnoMnxTH9JZ7isZQmY5Rkr502qBeWfi5ALnhJwZ70UcHxanzETkwEbhZcVqQ4CmiEg7Mip0C6QMeLdNJV8d2Musy7se8&sig=AHIEtbSL_WH06UDC7ymFyHkzccXkREi7Rg.  It was corporations in the Allied countries that built the tools that allowed allied forces to prevail.  The market economies of the west were far more efficient than the state run command control economies of the axis nations.  These corporations working closely with allied governments became the "arsenal of democracy".

These businesses received no medals to honor their service.  Today no one places flowers at their headquarters in remembrance.  Nor has any government built a monument to the tomb of the unknown shareholder.  But, perhaps, one ought to!

Here is a very partial list of corporate heroes, some still with us, some merged into new entities and some long gone that did their duty in World War II...

Boeing's B-17F + Commander K. (Museum of Flight, Seattle WA)

Boeing                                                      B-17, B-24, B-29

Rolls Royce                                              Engines for P-51 Mustang (see earlier  

Avro                                                         Lancaster Bomber

AT&T                                                      Western Electric division of AT&T built radar systems for                                                                      the US Navy and Army Air Corps

North American                                        P-51 Mustang

Curtis Wright P-40 (Museum of Flight, Seattle, WA)

Curtis Wright                                            P-40

Chance Vought                                        F4U Corsair

Coke goes to war
Coca Cola                                              CEO Robert Woodruff asked the company in 1941 "to see that
                                                               every man in uniform gets a bottle of Coca-Cola for 5 cents,
                                                              wherever he is and whatever it costs the Company."

de Havilland                                          Mosquito bomber

Vickers                                                  Machine guns

Supermarine Spitfire (FHC, Everett WA)

Supermarine                                             Spitfire

Hawker Siddley                                       Hawker

General Motors                                       Sherman Tank engines

640,000 produced during world War II (Museum of Flight, Seattle WA)

Willys Overland and                               Jeep, Sherman tank engines
Ford Motor Company

Turbo Supercharger on a B-17F (Museum of Flight, Seattle WA)

General Electric                                      Turbo superchargers

Chrysler                                                  Sherman tank engines

RCA                                                      General David Sarnoff served on Eisenhower's
                                                               communications staff, arranging expanded radio circuits for
                                                               NBC to transmit news from the invasion of France in June

Edward R. Murrow
CBS                                                      Edward R. Murrow  Blitz Broadcasts, "This is London!"
                                                              Murrow flew on an astonishing 24 bombing raids during WW
                                                              II.  (Source: Citizens of London, Lynne Olson

Disney at War
Disney                                                  Nose art for Allied aircaft (free of charge), Propaganda films

Remington Arms (Dupont)                    M1903 A3 Springfield bolt action rifle

Hot Stuff

McIllheny (Tobasco sauce)                    Walter S. McIlhenny, Company President, served at                                                
                                                              Guadalcanal, became Brigadier General USMC,  small tabasco  
                                                              bottles included in all USMC K-rations

British Leyland                                       Cromwell tank

General Dynamics                                  Browning .50 Caliber Machine Gun

Douglas Aircraft                                     C-47, DB-7 "Boston", Dauntless (dive bomber), A-26

Smoke 'em if you got 'em

American Tobacco Company                 "Lucky Strike Green has gone to War".  Ike smoked 2-3 packs
                                                                 (all brands) a day while Commander of SHAEF.

Henry J. Kaiser, Bechtel, MK etc.          Liberty Ships  (Made by "Six Companies")

Lockheed                                                P38-J Lightning (one of these shot down admiral Yamamoto)

Hershey's poster in WWII

Hershey Company                                  Estimated 3 billion Tropical and Ration D bars produced
                                                                between 1940 and 1945

Caterpillar                                               Sherman Tank engines

Vauxhall Motors                                    Churchill tank

Westland Aircraft                                   Lysander 2 seater, used by Violette Szabo among others  (see
                                                               earlier post. Violette Szabo, 6/26/12

Riveting with Wrigley
Wrigley Gum                                        During World War II, gum, considered an emergency ration,
                                                              was also given to soldiers to relieve tension and dry throats on
                                                              long marches. G.I.s used chewed gum to patch jeep tires, gas
                                                              tanks, life rafts, and parts of airplanes. Wrigley advertisements
                                                              recommended five sticks of gum per day for every war worker,
                                                              insisting that "Factory tests show how chewing gum helps men
                                                              feel better, work better."

Der Fuhrer's Face

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

War Without End (General Patton + Lord Russell)

God of Endless War?

There is now much talk of perpetual war, endless war or "war without end" as John Burdett termed it (see earlier post, Ping Pong with John Burdett, 7/16/12) .  The conflict in Afghanistan that was initiated by President Bush and escalated by President Obama, is now the longest lasting armed conflict in US military history.  The history of Afghanistan itself seems to be a study in perpetual conflict over a strategically central position at the fulcrum of Asia.

In the period immediately following the conclusion of the Second World War there were voices on the right and left who advocated a continuation of the conflict -- a violent face off between the West and the Soviet Union.

George S. Patton, 1885 - 1945
George S. Patton (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Patton), "old blood and guts," has become, for those on the right a symbol of America's indomitable fighting spirit.  For those on the left, he is remembered as a slapper of soldiers and a lunatic advocate of perpetual war.

Patton 1970
I consider the movie Patton (http:/www.amzn.com/B00158K0S8) to be one of the great war films of all time (see earlier post, Commander Kelly's Top 10 War Movies, 2/17/12) .  Francis Ford Coppola's brilliant script makes use of many genuine Patton quotes and captures the essential spirit of the man who was a true "war lover" or fan of endless war ("God help me, but I do love it so.").  Coppolla makes it clear in the film's Blu-Ray introductory remarks that he made a conscious effort to make the film (written during the 1960s and the Vietnam war)  acceptable to viewers of both the left and right.  The movie displays Patton's military genius, his dynamic energy and his ability to inspire his men, but it also reveal his darker side.  Near the end of the movie, Patton is frustrated by the war's victorious conclusion and seems to long dementedly for a fight to the finish with the Soviet Union.

The historic Patton, as distinct from George C. Scott's portrayal, had legitimate reasons to be distressed by the Soviets.  After the Nazi surrender of May 8, 1945, General Patton was among the first to realize (along with Winston Churchill) the Soviet Union would cease to be an ally of the United States. According to Wikipedia, "He was concerned that some 25,000 American POWs had been liberated from POW camps by the Soviets, but never returned to the US. In fact, he urged his superiors to evict the Soviets from central and eastern Europe. Patton thought that the Red Army was weak, under-supplied, and vulnerable, and the United States should act on these weaknesses before the Soviets could consolidate their position."

While Patton can be held us as an advocate for "war without end" he can also be remembered as a man whose leadership shortened the war, ultimately saving lives on both sides.  As commander of the US 3rd Army he led an army that advanced "farther and faster than any army in military history, crossing 24 major rivers and capturing 81,500 square miles (211,000 km2) of territory, including more than 12,000 cities and towns. With a normal strength of around 250,000–300,000 men, the Third had killed, wounded, or captured some 1,811,388 enemy soldiers, six times its strength in personnel. By comparison, the Third Army suffered 16,596 killed, 96,241 wounded, and 26,809 missing in action for a total of 139,646 men, a ratio of enemy to U.S. losses of nearly thirteen to one."  (Wikipedia.org)

Field Marshal Erwin Rommel credited Patton with executing "the most astonishing achievement in mobile warfare." His role is assisting the Allied disinformation efforts prior to the D-Day landings (see earlier post, Double Cross -- the D-Day Spies, 7/1/12) should not be underestimated as well.

Patton's jingoism is well-documented and unsurprising.  He was, after all, the grandson of George Smith Patton, a Confederate general who was killed in the US civil war.  Robert E. Lee, regarding through his field glasses the carnage of the battle of Fredericksburg commented, "It is well that war is so terrible -- we should grow too fond of it."  What is far less understood and appreciated is the astonishing jingoism of the pacifist left in the post war years.

In Christopher Hitchens' book Why Orwell Matters (http:/www.amzn.com/0465030505) he writes, "In the haunted and febrile years of the late 1940s, when new fears about nuclear fission competed with fears of Stalinism and were superimposed upon the other disillusionments of the 1930s, a number of formerly pacifistic intellectuals actually proposed a preventive nuclear war with the USSR.  Among these were Bertrand Russell http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betrand_Russell, Orwell's co-editor at Polemic, and John Middleton Murry (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Middleton_Murry) , the ex-husband of Katherine Mansfield and Orwell's former literary patron at the Adelphi.  They thought that the temporary Western advantage in nuclear armaments should be employed to coerce or to destroy the Russian bear."
Bertrand Russell, 1872 - 1970

Bertrand Russell was a logician, mathematician and philosopher who won a Nobel prize for literature and was a titan of the British left. He was, paradoxically, a pacifist who felt logically compelled in 1948 to argue for a unilateral atomic attack on the Soviet Union.

Here is what Lord Lawson, an eyewitness to Russell's speech wrote to The Economist.

"Your review of “The Selected Letters of Bertrand Russell” (“Love, Bertie ”, July 21st) states that the book's editor, Nicholas Griffin, “scotches, for example, the often repeated claim that Russell once advocated a preemptive nuclear strike against the Soviet Union. ” Let me unscotch it. I was in the audience at the public meeting at which Russell advocated precisely this, and it made a big impression on me at the time. The occasion was a gathering organised by some peace-loving foundation whose name I forget (my records are in store at present), held in 1948 or thereabouts, in the still roofless hall of Westminster School, of which I was then a pupil. When, some 20 years later, I recalled the event in the Spectator, which I then edited, I received (and published) a letter from the man who had organized the meeting. He corroborated my account and added how surprised and shocked he had been at Russell's proposal.

Needless to say, Russell advocated a preemptive nuclear strike on strictly humanitarian grounds. In a nutshell, he pointed out that at the time the Soviet Union did not yet possess a nuclear capability but that it would very soon do so, after which all history made it clear that sooner or later there would be a nuclear war between the two superpowers that would be infinitely more devastating than either of the two world wars through which he had lived. The only sure way of preventing this Armageddon, he concluded with remorseless if unpalatable logic, was for America to launch a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union before it acquired the bomb: after that it would be too late."  http://www.economist.com/node/699582/print?Story_ID=699582

Russell's Formula would be...(Bomb + Logic = Armageddon).

Commander Kelly is once more compelled to warn against fanaticism of all stripes ...reminding his readers that...

                       "The best lack all conviction, while the worst
                         Are full of passionate intensity."
                                                                           WB Yeats

Here is a slice of the real Patton
Narrated by Ronald Reagan

Great Patton Quotes

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Ping Pong with John Burdett

John Burdett

John Burdett has responded to my earlier posts see John Burdett's Vulture peak (7/13/12) and Money and Drugs (7/14/12).


"You are a fanatic and keep missing the point."


I took up your challenge on the connection of "money and drugs" (7/14/12) and posted again.


Thanks for the inspiration.

I've been called worse that a fanatic!

Cheers from Seattle,
Chris Kelly


"Subject: Re: Money and Drugs

You remind me of Pyle in The Quiet American - full of theories but unable to see the blood on his own shoe. What you are, unconsciously, proselytising for is not actually capitalism in the form described hundreds of years ago by Adam Smith & Co, but a pagan religion forced on us by the military-industrial nexus which demands unlimited human sacrifice at home and abroad."


On 15 July 2012
No blood on these shoes.  Not even any shoes at the moment!

I hope that you could, at least, join me in helping to support the legalization of foie gras in California, UK, etc.  (see my earlier post on Marijauna and Pate in California 6/30/12)!

OK, I confess, there could be some goose blood, after all.

Cheers from Seattle,

Chris Kelly


"You cannot escape by trivializing - the last resort of a loser of argument. The reference to the military-industrial complex was taken from Eisenhower's warning - not only a Republican but largely the architect of American foreign policy to this day. Your parochial attachment to orthodoxy has resulted in a lamentable tunnel vision, to which I have already made reference. Of course there is blood on your shoes - and an awful lot of other boots. The unwritten but all too obvious ambition of 'war without end' has largely been achieved."

Ping Pong



You have now called me a "naive", "blind",  "fanatic who has blood on his shoes."  I am accused of a "parochial attachment to orthodoxy and a lamentable tunnel vision." I am also apparently an unconscious proselytizing pagan who worships at the feet of the military industrial complex.  All this and we haven't even met!

I suspect that I may have the advantage of you insofar as I have read all your novels while you seem relatively unacquainted with my blog postings.

In my blog I have ridiculed Republicans such as Ron Paul (see Ron Paul and Onanism, 12/16/11).  I have compared Japanese Prime Minister Tojo to the American President James Madison (James Madison's USA and Hideki Tojo's Japan 7/9/12).  Just  yesterday, I even praised Democratic President Jimmy Carter for goodness sake (Defending...Jimmy Carter? 7/15/12)).  These are hardly "orthodox" positions for a conservative American to take.

In my efforts to avoid "tunnel vision" I read, respect and quote many different writers including socialists who demonstrate intellectual integrity such as Christopher Hitchens (The Haitian Revolution and the USA 4/28/12 among others) and CLR James (Toussaint L'Ouverture versus Obama, 5/5/12).  I revere the socialist George Orwell as well.  Heck, I even read leftie crime novelists!

You seem to think that corporations are evil destructive forces (in our midst (your words "the destructive effect of vast multi-national corporations") , you rail against the military-industrial complex and are reflexively anti-American (In Vulture Peak on discovering three corpses in Bangkok, your hero Sonchai immediately blames "Reagan, Milton Friedman and capitalism").   You profess great admiration for Chief Seattle.  You have a fondness for conspiracy theories.  All these positions display a parochial attachment the the orthodoxy of the mainstream  media -- NY Times, Washington Post, The Guardian and the BBC.  You claim to be above partisan politics while you echo liberal orthodoxy over and over.  Yes, corporations are people too!  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303740704577524823306803692.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop

You accuse me of worshiping a pagan god -- Mars I presume -- at the altar of the military industrial complex.  Perhaps you may want to read my posts on Was Napoleon a Conservative? 5/29/12 and James Madison's USA and Hideki Tojo's Japan 7/9/12 to get some sense of my true position on jingoism.

You have asserted, without providing any documentation, that "according to some respectable accounts one third of the money washing around the world is owned by drug lords".  When I proved that this assertion is demonstrably false in my post, Money and Drugs, (7/14/12) you resorted to personal ad hominem attack.  Not a particularly strong debate technique.  If you continue to perpetrate this tosh  in your future works, knowing it to be false, then that, my friend, is on your conscience.

7%,  Made in NJ, USA
I would be happy to make a little wager with you.  If you can provide any credible documentation of your suggestion about 1/3 of the world's money belonging to Drug Lords, then I will publish it on this blog and send you a case of Two Blind Monks beer.  If, however, you can't, you need to send me a case of the same.  What do you say?

Commander K. has clean shoes!
You assert that I have "blood on my shoes".  This is untrue both literally and metaphorically.  In spite of my assuming the "nom de plume", Commander Kelly, I make no pretense of ever having ever served in the military.  I do not own gun, though I support second amendment rights.  I do, however, have great respect for those that have served the cause of freedom including James Doohan, Violette Szabo, Tommy Hitchcock, Alan Turing, Seal Team Six, the Tuskegee airmen (see multiple earlier posts) and millions more.  My late beloved father served in the US army during the Korean war until he was honorably discharged.  He was based in Verdun, France and used to remark that he "kept the North Koreans out of France!"  No blood on his shoes either.

You seem unfamiliar with my posts on military intelligence (Bletchley Park and the Judgement of History, 4/22/12, Bletchley Park and Stalin, 2/17/12) where I highlight that fact that these heroic efforts shortened the war and saved countless lives.  The quiet German, Johnny Jebsen, ((Double Cross D-Day Spies 7/1/12) worked in intelligence like Graham Greene's Pyle and the blood on his shoes and shirt that resulted from the Gestapo's torture was his own.

You are right about me in some respects though.  Reiterating, I do honor those that have served the military in defense of freedom.  “Sooner or later...one has to take sides. If one is to remain human,”  as Graham Greene said in The Quiet American.  I prefer to take the side of freedom.  I am glad that the USA is still, to some extent, an industrial and industrious society -- we still manufacture Boeing planes and a few other things.  I do appreciate that sacrifice is required to maintain our freedom -- "freedom is not free" as the saying goes.  I am proud that the military industrial complex (the arsenal of democracy) of the United States helped to defeat Hitler's nazi regime and the Japanese militarists in World War II.  I am proud that American military power helped to liberate the nazi death camps ending the grim work of the holocaust.  So was Ike.

Pyle wanted to contain communism while I, on the other hand, celebrate the West's decisive and peaceful victory over communism and the former Soviet Union, the necessary precondition for which was America's military industrial complex.  I am very pleased that my children do not need to grow up under the shadow of "mutually assured destruction (MAD)" as my generation did.  Perhaps it annoys you that Reagan, Thatcher and certain multi-national corporations deserve much credit for this?

You may have some interest in perpetual war; I have none.  My preferred American foreign policy action would be strong, decisive and non-violent (e.g. TR's The Great White Fleet see earlier post The American Bias for Action, 3/12/12, Carter's Boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics, etc.).  The Ur-Quiet American was, perhaps, TR who believed in speaking softly and carrying a big stick.

I have written 6 times in my blog about Eisenhower, who I admire very much for his leadership in World War II, his peacemaking in Korea and his integration of the US military. I wrote, for example, "No one despises war more than the warrior.  It is a curious fact of American history that those Presidents who had the greatest direct experience of the realities of warfare (Washington, Grant, Teddy Roosevelt and Eisenhower) all presided over extended periods of peace.  On the other hand, those who lacked military experience frequently found themselves embroiled in America’s costliest wars (Lincoln was a lawyer who opposed the very popular Mexican war, Wilson a college President, FDR a governor, LBJ a career politician, G.W. Bush a baseball entrepreneur and reservist who avoided the Vietnam war, and, the current author of our recent "Kinetic military action" in Libya, Obama, was a community organizer)." Earlier Post the Utility of War, 1/5/12.

As far as paganism is concerned, I respect those of all faiths and those who have none.

Given your residence in France and your evident interest in food, I regret that we did not find common ground on the foie gras issue (see earlier post, Marijauna and Pate in California, 6/30/12)!  That silly law was signed by a Republican, Governor Schwarzenegger, by the way.  Based on your "trivialization" comment, it seems that you support legalization of drugs and prostitution but have no problem with criminalizing foie gras?!    That is rich indeed!

Peace to you and your family!

Peace to Randy Newman too!

ECONOMIST ROBERT E. WRIGHT (author of One Nation Under Debt  http:/www.amzn.com/0071543937and Fubarnomics http:/www.amzn.com/1616141913) JOINS THE DEBATE...

"Both Commander Kelly (CK) and John Burdett (JB) could be right about this. It depends on what was meant by "one third of the money washing around the world." CK takes money to mean ASSETS and clearly shows the impossibility of the claim without even evoking the assets of major corporations. But of course money refers only to the most liquid of assets and cash only the bearer manifestation thereof. Due to the illicit nature of their business, drug dealers prefer physical cash over more traceable forms like bank accounts, hence the ridiculous stash of cache pictured above. (See The Wire or Breaking Bad for important caveats, however.) If by money JB meant "cash" his claim is very defensible though of course an estimate."

Commander Kelly notes that Robert E. Wright is a business, economic, financial, and monetary historian and the inaugural Rudy and Marilyn Nef Family Chair of Political Economy at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.


"Sorry, I have no more time, although it has been fun (the next book calls). As a final observation: are you aware how revealing of your inner world it is that you call yourself 'Commander'?"



I agree with Robert Wright's comment, by the way.  If by "money" you meant cash or currency you could well be correct--difficult to prove, but possible.  If  by "money" you meant any broader definition of money  (assets) then I think my case is pretty unassailable.   I think he is a pretty fair-minded economist who I have read and quoted previously.

"Commander" was a high school nickname.  Sometimes I even agree with "Commander Kelly" as, perhaps, you sometimes do with Sonchai.

Good luck with the next book!

You can now purchase Commander Kelly's first book, America Invades here...www.americainvades.com or on Amazon...www.amzn.com/1940598427

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Defending...Jimmy Carter?

Jimmy Carter POTUS 39

The London 2012 Olympics are almost upon us.  In the glossy Ultimate 2012 Olympic Guide (MagBook edited by Stuart Messham and unaffiliated with the IOC) -- on sale in newsstands everywhere, I read with some astonishment the following account of the 1980 Moscow Olympics...

                                                                 1980 Moscow (USSR)

Pre-Viagra Olympics Logo
"Only 80 nations competed in Moscow, the lowest since 1956.  This was largely because of American president Jimmy Carter's protest against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.  He threatened to revoke the passport of any American athlete who attended the games and forcibly cajoled weaker nations into following his lead.  In all, 65 nations turned down their invitations, 80% as a result of Carter's persuasions."

Reading this I suddenly felt, for the first time in my life, sorry for and defensive of Jimmy Carter!  He may have been a shockingly incompetent president on many levels, but does he deserve this?  Carter had the temerity to presume that winning the cold war was more important than adding to the American Olympic medal count.  That bully Carter would deny the rights of athletes to compete in their sports simply because Soviet helicopter gunships were slaughtering Afghans by the thousands.

One may put this kind of lame journalese down to the reflexively anti-American attitudes that so many people around the world seem sadly to have adopted.  John Burdett's Sonchai Jitpleeceep (see earlier post, John Burdett's Vulture Peak, 7/12/12), for example, seems always to be encountering arrogant, stupid and vulgar Americans.

Soviet athletes in Afghanistan
The American-led boycott of the 1980 Olympics marked the end of detente.  Their was bipartisan support for the boycott with both Carter and his 1980 opponent, Ronald Reagan, favoring the boycott.  The US House of Representatives voted 386 to 12 to support Carter's boycott of the games.

The USA was NOT, in fact, the first country to announce a boycott of the 1980 games.  Saudi Arabia, protesting Soviet invasion of Islamic land, announced that it would pull all its athletes out the the games on 1/17/80 BEFORE Carter's announcement at his state of the union address on 1/23/80. http://middleeast.about.com/od/afghanistan/a/me080803.htm

Consider a little thought experiment which may put things into perspective...

If David Cameron's UK were today to launch an unprovoked full-scale invasion of the Republic of Ireland do you think that some nations might  think twice about sending their athletes to London this summer?  In this highly unlikely scenario, would any boycotting country be "largely" to blame for spoiling the games or would we, more properly, hold "those bloodthirsty Brits" responsible?

Some would point out that the Soviet Union retaliated boycotting the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.  It is true that 14 Eastern Bloc countries including Cuba, the Soviet Union and East Germany stayed away from the Olympics in 1984.   A record 140 nations did, however, compete in the 1984 games which were accounted a success in contrast to the abject failure of the 1980 Moscow games.  The 1984 Olympic games in Los Angeles were a propaganda triumph for freedom and western-style capitalism over the brutish Soviet imperialists.

Mussolini invaded Ethiopia in 1935 using poison gas sprayed from the air in a campaign that would cost about 1 million lives; the world failed to react and the fascists were reassured that the west was decadent and complaisant.  A failure to act by Carter in 1980 would have smacked of appeasement.

Carter's boycott was a measured non-violent response to naked Soviet aggression in Afghanistan.  It expressed the free world's extreme displeasure with the USSR without needless bloodshed.  Soviet actions would have consequences.  Carter also deserves enormous credit for brokering a lasting mid-east peace between Israel and Egypt.

Go Team USA!

Carter passed the Olympic torch, so to speak, to Reagan, who led the West to to peaceful victory in the cold war.

It is 2012 and we are surely in the heart of the "silly" season in terms of electoral politics in the USA.  If you are tired of cheap shots and inane "my guy is better than your guy" comparisons in your e-mail in-box, on television, etc. then you are not alone.  Commander Kelly stands with you.  The amazing Miracle on Ice (see video below) which took place at the Lake Placid winter Olympics on February 22, 1980 is the best reminder I can think of that, when it comes right down to it, we are all Americans.  Much of rest of the world seems to consider us to be boobs and bullies regardless of our particular political affiliation, so we might as we unite for a few weeks at least and say, "Go USA!"

Commander Kelly, reaching across the aisle, says that "Jimmy Carter acted courageously and appropriately in boycotting the 1980 Moscow Olympics.  Good luck to all members of Team USA in London!"

Miracle on Ice

You can now purchase Commander Kelly's first book, America Invades here...www.americainvades.com or on Amazon...www.amzn.com/1940598427