Saturday, June 30, 2012

Marijauna and Pate in California

California Contraband

As of tomorrow (7/1/12), it will be legal in the state of California to smoke marijuana (with easily obtainable marijauna cards) but illegal to eat pate (http://eatocracy.cnn.com/2012/05/04/foie-gras-laws-causing-a-flap-with-california-chefs/)!   California has legalized marijauna and criminalized foie gras!

Choom POTUS
I used to believe that Marijauna was an ambition suppressant, but that was before I read about our President in the Choom gang on Hawaii (http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/05/obama-and-his-pot-smoking-choom-gang/)!  Clearly one can now inhale and still aspire to the highest office in the land.  Such a pity about his buddy Ray though (Obama's high school dealer was killed by his gay lover with a ball-peen hammer)!

A "wasted youth" is always to be preferred over a "youth wasted."

When foie gras is outlawed, only outlaws will eat foie gras!  I look forward to reading police reports of midnight raids on Chez Panisse in Berkeley and The French Laundry in Yountville.  Will we soon be seeing Alice Waters in Chains, or, at least, handcuffs?  These animal-hating, gourmandizing members of the one percent must be brought to heel immediately!  Enlightened Californians have once more blazed a trail for the rest of us to follow...like the proverbial lemmings.

No more pate in the hamper for Roger!
In the UK, which already has the pate ban in place, butchers that do not comply with the law are losing their jobs (http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/02/18/butcher-jack-o-shea-selfridges-pate-banned-foie-gras-_n_1286275.html).  Even the former James Bond actor, Roger Moore ("There's an excellent pate in the hamper" suavely declared the turncoat in 1973's Live and Let Die!), has been recruited to to promote this nonsense!  I always knew that Sean Connery, who enjoys foie gras while at a fat farm in Never Say Never Again (contraband Bond, I know), was the one true Bond anyway!  Don't tell anyone, but the secret password is "French Fillet".



First they came for the soda pop
and I didn't speak out because I don't drink soda.

Then they came for the foie gras
and I didn't speak out because I don't eat foie gras.

Then they came for (your favorite food or drink here)
And there was nothing left to eat but rice cakes and water.

Call me a reactionary, but Commander Kelly still thinks that a Chateau d'Yqem pairs better with foie gras than Maui Wowie.

The next innovation from California will, no doubt, be..."medical foie gras".


A Musical Tribute to Barack's "Main man Ray" RIP


The truth about Foie Gras



Update from Bloomberg! 7/22/12  "Duckeasies" popping up in the Golden state...http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-07-17/foie-gras-goes-underground-at-california-duckeasies-.html 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Flying Heritage Collection

Hawker Hurricane (FHC Everett, WA)

Near Paine Field where the massive Boeing hangars and testing runways are, you will find the Flying Heritage Collection in Everett, Washington.  (http://www.flyingheritage.com/TemplateHome.aspx?contentId=1).  This collection was assembled by Microsoft founder Paul Allen. Allen's father was in the U.S. army in the second wave at Normandy on D-day in 1944.   Allen has noted the rapid technological progress that took place during World War II (jet engines, radar, rocketry, FM radio and much more).

The collection features famous aircraft from World War II that are maintained in flying condition.  These planes don't just collect dust -- they take them out for a spin on a regular basis.  These planes are lovingly cared for and curated.

B-25J "Mitchell" Bomber (FHC, Everett WA)

The FHC features a B-25, the same type of plane used in Doolittle's famous 1942 raid on Tokyo.  They have a P-51 Mustang -- the most famous American fighter of the war  (see earlier posts on Red Tails versus...Obama, 6/20/12 and Tommy Hitchcock and the P-51, 6/27/12).  The FHC has a Hawker Hurricane and a Supermarine Spitfire the two planes that won the Battle of Britain for the RAF.  They also have some amazing axis planes as well including two Focke Wulfs and a Japanese Zero.  They even have examples of the V-1 buzz bombs that rained down on London in the later stages of the war in Europe.

Japanese Oscar (FHC Everett, WA)

You will find the ME-109, the workhorse fighter of the Luftwaffe...

ME-109 (FHC Everett, WA)

Each plane has a unique story behind it and the volunteer docents who work here are seasoned citizens who have a passion for flying and telling great stories.  They do a fantastic job of bringing the displays to life and are generous of their time.

Here is a great example of a classic American close air support plane, the P-47, from World War II...

Republic P-47D (FHC Everett, WA)
The Soviet Forces are well represented with Polikarpov's, including "The Rat" (see below).

Polikarpov 1-16 "The Rat"  (FHC Everett, WA)


The Soviets built probably the best tanks of World War II and here you will find some interesting examples as well...

T -34 (FHC Everett, WA)


Commander Kelly says, "Go visit the Flying Heritage Collection soon!"


You can find signed copies of America Invades here...www.americainvades.com

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Night Witches (Nachthexen) of World War II

Polikarpov Po-2 (FHC Everett, WA)

World War II was an accelerant of social change in the USA and throughout the world.  In the USA the bravery of the Tuskegee airmen (see earlier post "Red Tails versus Obama," http://americanconservativeinlondon.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/red-tails-versusobama.html) led the way for the civil rights advances of the second half of the 20th century.  "Rosie the Riveter" assembling Boeing bombers on the production line proved that women were more than a match for men in the workplace and paved the way for women's liberation.
Rosie the Riveter
In the Soviet Union women advanced even further on the road to gender equality where they served  and suffered in the fighting lines alongside men.  Women made some of the finest snipers at Stalingrad.

Soviet Night Witches

Moreover, there is the astonishing true tale of the Soviet "Night Witches" or "Nachthexen" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Night_witches).  The 588th Night bomber Regiment or 46th Taman Guards was an all-women unit that flew in Polikarpov Po-2 biplanes on the Eastern front in World War II.    These planes were made of wood and canvas.  The planes only carried two bombs per mission, some of which were actually thrown by hand!  Pilots would sometimes fly as many as ten or twelve sorties per night to harass German positions.  When you consider the fact that these women were flying in open cockpits during the Russian winters and you get some idea of how tough these women were.

Ian Fleming, James Bond's creator, served as the assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence during the war.  Could Ian Fleming have had the Soviet Night Witches in mind when he conceived Pussy Galore and her Flying Circus in his novel Goldfinger?

World War II was a total war that was fought by all races, all genders and all social classes.  Allied participants ranged from Polo-playing preppie bankers like Tommy Hitchcock (see earlier post, Tommy Hitchcock and the P-51 Mustang, 6/27/12) to the Tuskegee airmen flying their red tails.  They ranged from widowed single mothers like Violette Szabo (see earlier post, Violette Szabo, 6/26/12) to homosexual heroes like Alan Turing (see earlier post Bletchely Park and the Judgement of History, 4/22/12).  They included Gurkhas, Navajo Code Talkers and even the Soviet Night Witches.

What is the conservative point to a bunch of flying Soviet amazons?  The Night Witches remind us once more about the overwhelming sacrifices of the Soviet people in World War II which they commemorated in a May 2010 parade (see earlier post, Moscow's 65th Anniversary Victory Day Parade, 3/12/12).  President Obama and VP Biden, however,  were too busy to attend.  Now we are surprised that Russia is supplying the brutal Syrian regime with half a billion dollars per year in arms  (http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/26/syria-russia-arms-idUSL6E8HQ0X620120626).  So much for statesmanship that transforms the world's views of America!

Commander Kelly is proud to note that Russians now form my blog's third highest readership after the USA and UK.  Thanks for reading, Tovarich!

Special thanks to Paul Allen's Flying Heritage Collection in Everett, WA! http://www.flyingheritage.com/TemplateHome.aspx?contentId=1)



Here is an English translation of the Russian Lyrics to the poem written by Eugene Yevtushenko...

When you, people, sing your songs in the land
The sky will quietly resonate with you.
Fatalities for the motherland during the flight,
We always carry on and on our mission.

We have not turned into silent shadows,
We are the wind and the cry of the cranes,
Fatalities in the sky for the Motherland
Become the sky itself above it.

We breathe, warming the birds' nests,
Lull children in the midnight hour,
You would think that you look at the sky with the stars,
And it is us from heaven, who are looking at you.

We have not turned into silent shadows,
We are the wind and the cry of the cranes,
Fatalities in the sky for the Motherland
Become the sky itself above it.

We became the sky, the clouds,
And seeing you from the very top of the gone century,
We're gently touching your hands,
And you think that it is just snowing.

We breathe, warming the birds' nest,
Lull children in the midnight hour,
You would think that you look at the sky full of stars,
And it is us from heaven, who are looking at you.

We did not turn into silent shadows,
We are the wind and the cry of the cranes,
Fatalities in the sky for the Motherland
Become the sky itself above you all.

Courtesy of Valentine Lebedev





Order your signed copy of America Invades now here www.americainvades.com 

Or on Amazon.com..www.amzn.com/1940598427


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Or on Amazon...www.amzn.com/0692902406

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Listen to my interview with John Gibson here...http://podcast.gcnlive.com/podcast/johnGibson/0718173.mp3

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tommy Hitchcock and the P-51 Mustang

Expats Who Made a Difference

Tommy Hitchcock Jr. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Hitchcock,_Jr.) was probably the most famous American polo player of the 1930's.  I am indebted to Lynne Olson for introducing me to this all-but-forgotten hero of World War II in her wonderful book, Citizens of London, published in 2010 (http:/www.amzn.com/0812979354).

Tommy Hitchcock 1900 - 1944
Olson writes that Hitchcock "was he kind of man other people wanted to be.  Wealthy businessmen like Averell Harriman and Jock Whitney idolized him...Fitzgerald wrote that he was high 'in my pantheon of heroes.'"  He inspired two of F. Scott Fitzgerald's fictional characters Tom Buchanan in The Great Gatsby and Tommy Barban in Tender is the Night.

Tommy Hitchcock was a product of a privileged upbringing.  He attended St. Paul's and later Harvard. Before his sixth form year at St Paul's, however,  he joined up to fly in World War I with the Lafayette Escadrille.  He was shot down, captured and sent to a German POW camp.  During a train transfer between camps he managed to steal a map, jump off the train and hike almost 100 miles to neutral Switzerland.  He was 18 years old at the time!

He was a highly accomplished polo player.  Olson describes him as "a whirling dervish on the polo field, wielding his mallet with violent force and driving the ball astonishing distances."  One fellow player said, "there was no player like him--ever."

Flying airplanes, however, was his greatest love.  "Polo is exciting," he said, "but you can't compare it to flying in wartime.  That's the best sport in the world."

"In the early 1930's Hitchcock became a partner in the investment banking firm Lehman Brothers and brokered a number of key deals, including the purchase of one of the country's leading shipping companies."  He married a Mellon family heiress in 1928, with whom he had four children.

Having experienced the grisly reality of the First World War, he was an fervid isolationist who hoped that America could avoid the devastation of a Second World War.  Pearl Harbor, of course, changed everything.   Tommy volunteered his services to General Hap Arnold, chief of staff of the U.S. Army Air Force.  The Army Air Corps turned him down.  He then approached Gil Winant, the American ambassador to the court of St. James (who succeeded and was an enormous improvement over the dreadful Joseph Kennedy, see earlier post, Daffodils, Joseph Kennedy and Americans Behaving Badly, 3/19/12) who hired him to act as an assistant U.S. military attache to the RAF.  His brief was to act as a liason between U.S. 8th Army air force and the RAF's Fighter Command.

Until the invasion at Normandy in June 1944 the principal Allied response to Hitler was the Allied Bomber campaign.   The KIA rate for Allied heavy bomber crews was an staggering 71%.  "The U.S. air operations in Europe alone would suffer more fatalities--26,000--than the entire Marine Corps in its protracted bloody campaign in the Pacific."  The biggest problem that the vulnerable bombers faced was a lack of long range escorts to accompany them over targets in the heart of Germany.

P-51D (FHC in Everett, WA)
North American Aviation Co. in California was developing a promising new fighter, the P-51 Mustang, for the RAF.  Hitchcock visited the RAF development facility at Duxford (see earlier post, Duxford and...George Carlin, 4/30/12) to observe the performance tests of the new plane.  "The Mustang was faster than the Spitfire, had a longer range, and, at medium and low altitudes, was nimbler at diving.  It was, said one observer, "the cleanest and sweetest thing in the air.'"  The RAF test pilots observed that its performance could be enhanced even more if its underpowered American engine (the General Motors Allison V-1710 which tended to stall over 15,000 feet) was replaced by the high-performance Merlin engine manufactured by Rolls-Royce.

Such thinking was anathema to Hap Arnold and the 8th U.S. army Air Corps brass.  Tex McRary, a Groton and Yale alumnus, who worked in the Eighth's PR office wrote, "Somehow, if a thing was British, two strikes were already chalked up against it in America.  Tommy reversed the formula.  If an idea had been tested and okayed in Britain's battle lab, then Hitchcock called it right.  He knew that the toughest air fighting in the world was over here.  Anything that survived had to be good."

In spite of concerted opposition from the 8th US Air Army brass, Hitchcock became a strong advocate for introducing the British engines into the American fighter.  Hitchcock turned for support to Robert Lovett (see earlier post, The Millionaire's Unit,  6/18/12) who was the U.S. undersecretary of war at the time.  Both men had flown in World War I.  Hitchcock became the ramrod on the project making repeated trips to California to the plants where the Mustangs were manufactured to ensure that the planes were off the production lines as quickly as possible.  The first large shipment of P-51's arrived in Britain in January 1944 in time for the D-day invasion.

These iconic planes were critical to the success of the Allied bomber campaign and saved the lives of many aircrews.  They were later used by the famous Tuskegee airmen (see earlier post, Red Tails versus Obama, 6/20/12) and even succeeded in  shooting down several of the German ME-262 jet fighters.

After the war when Luftwaffe chief Hermann Goring was interrogated about when he realized that Germany would lose the war he replied, "The first time your bombers came over Hanover escorted by fighters, I began to be worried.  When they came with fighter escorts over Berlin, I knew the jig was up."

Commander Kelly with P-51 D (FHC in Everett, WA)

In the early months of 1944, however, there was growing concern about the Mustang. Several planes had crashed for no apparent reason.  Hitchcock, as head of research and development, felt a keen responsibility for finding out what was wrong.  Rather than delegating the job to a test pilot he insisted on finding out for himself.  On an April morning in 1944 he climbed into a test Mustang and took it up to 15,000 feet.  Olson writes, "suddenly without warning, it hurtled down, faster and faster, until it smashed into the ground, sending a plume of oily black smoke into the sky.  Hitchcock's body was found nearby."

Ambassador Winant wrote that the Mustang, "is tangible evidence of Tommy's contribution to victory.  without it we would not be winning the air war over Germany today."  Tommy Hitchcock was "a chase pilot --first, last and always."

Special Thanks to Paul Allen's Flying Heritage Collection in Everett,WA (http://www.flyingheritage.com/TemplateHome.aspx?contentId=1).  Commander Kelly says, "Be sure to visit if you are in the Northwest and have any interest in World War II."



Commander Kelly's first book, America Invades, is now available here...www.americainvades.com
and on Amazon...www.amzn.com/1940598427



Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Violette Szabo

Violette Szabo 1921 - 1945
Happy Birthday Violette Szabo (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violette_Szabo)!  She would be 92 years old today, had she survived the war.  Violette Szabo (nee Bushell)  was born on this day, June 26th, in 1921.  She was eighteen years old at the start of World War II -- the daughter of a British taxi driver and a Frenchwoman.  She was working at a department store when the war began.  She met, fell in love with and married a French officer of Hungarian descent named Etienne Szabo. Etienne was killed at the battle of El Alamein in 1942.  It was after this death that Violette Szabo volunteered to work for the SOE or Special Operations Executive.  Winston Churchill had directed the SOE to "set Europe ablaze."

Violette Szabo of the SOE, London
Photo courtesy: Jim Hooper

Violette Szabo
Violette Szabo had movie star good looks.  She was a young single mother.  Fluent in French, she volunteered for hazardous missions in occupied France.  She parachuted not once, but twice into Nazi-occupied France.  She was reputed to be "the best shot in the SOE." The Special Operations Executive, MRD Foot, 1984. (http:/www.amzn.com/0563201932)

She became involved in a firefight with the Gestapo and was captured giving covering fire to other resistance members who managed to escape.

She was interrogated by the Gestapo and tortured but did not reveal anything.  She was sent to Ravensburg extermination camp where she was subject to sexual abuse, torture and, eventually, killed by firing squad.  She was 23 years old.

Here is the unforgettable poem, written by Leo Marks that Szabo used in the field for enciphering purposes that became her theme song...

Violette and Etienne Szabo
The Life That I Have


"The life that I have
Is all that I have
And the life that I have
Is yours.
The love that I have
Of the life that I have
Is yours and yours and yours.
A sleep I shall have
A rest I shall have
Yet death will be but a pause.
For the peace of my years
In the long green grass
Will be yours and yours and yours."

Violette Szabo won posthumously the George Cross, the Croix de Guerre, and the Medaille de la Resistiance.  They were given to her daughter Tania.

SOE Plaque, Baker Street

The Conservative tour of London stops by the SOE Headquarters on Baker Street in London to pay our respects.  Here you will find a plaque comemmorating the organization.  The plaque is located near a lighting store whose current mission is presumably to "set London living rooms ablaze" with light.
Setting Europe Ablaze!







Commander Kelly says, "Thank God for Violette Szabo and others like her (e.g. The US Navy Seals in Act of Valor - see earlier post, http://americanconservativeinlondon.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/act-of-valor.html) who sacrificed everything for our freedom."



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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Island of Vice

Richard Zacks' latest

Richard Zacks, author of The Pirate Coast (see earlier post, The Pirate Coast, 5/9/12) recently published Island of Vice.  This lively history tells the story of Teddy's Roosevelt's "doomed quest to clean up sin-loving New York" in the early 1890's.  This relates Roosevelt's term as one of the four police commissioners in New York City from 1895 to 1897.  This is the young Roosevelt before San Juan Hill or the white house.  Here he is taking on the corrupt Democratic machine politics of Tammany Hall.  Vice flourishes in a community where the police are paid to look away.  "Big Bill Devery" the Tammany pick for NY Police chief, was fired by a reform mayor, Seth Low in 1902.   Shortly after, he purchased a dozen buildings at auction in Manhattan for the extraordinary sum of $377,800.  He later went on, for example, to purchase with his bookmaker pal, Frank Farrell, a strugling baseball team in Baltimore and brought it north in 1903.  "That ball club which had no official name was soon called the "Highlanders' or "Hilltoppers" but would later take the name the New York Yankees."

Alexander Hamilton wrote in The Federalist Papers that, "Energy in the Executive is a leading character in the definition of good government. It is essential to the protection of the community against foreign attacks; it is not less essential to the steady administration of the laws; to the protection of property against those irregular and high-handed combinations which sometimes interrupt the ordinary course of justice (Commander Kelly's italics; to the security of liberty against the enterprises and assaults of ambition, of faction, and of anarchy"

Teddy Roosevelt fairly quavered all his life like a tuning fork set on the channel of righteousness.  He positively hummed with executive energy whether as police commisioner, assistant Navy secretary, Vice president, or President.  His view of righteousness may, at times, have been been narrow.  It is fascinating to see how TR the NYC Police commissioner enforcing blue laws would mellow into the statesman who, as President, won a Nobel prize in 1906 (back in the day when these were earned rather than awarded on the basis of party/ideological affiliation) for helping to end the Russo-Japanese war.

TR by John  Singer Sargent

Hamilton maintained that the executive function required energy and Teddy Roosevelt had plenty.  Evans Thomas' War Lovers (see earlier post Remember the Maine, but Forget The War Lovers, 2/20/12) suggests that it was TR's father's exemption from service during the US Civil War that drove him to becoming a bellicose young man.  Zacks is far more even-handed and sympathetic than Thomas.  He too suggests that TR's attempt to enforce the blue laws in NYC may have been driven, at least in part, by the premature death of his alcoholic brother, Elliot.

Island of Vice contains some excellent scenes that paint a wonderful picture of fin de siecle New York City.  The crusading Reverend Parkhurst trolls through the city's red light district on the sin tour of New York with a gang of worthies.  They are guided to a cross-dressing homosexual brothel.  Parkhurst declares, "to say that the police do not know what is going on and where it is going on is rot...Anyone who with all the easily discernible facts in view, denies that drunkenness, gambling and licentiousness in this town are municipally protected, is either a knave or an idiot."  Roosevelt accosts a sleeping policemen on his beat who responds, "Come on now, get a hustle on before I dump you."  Later that night, noticing an officer in extended conversation with a presumed lady of the evening, TR confronts him thus, "Officer, is this the way you attend to your duty?"  The officer responds, "What are you looking for, trouble?  You see that street?" he said pointing down Second Avenue. "Now run along, or I'll fan you and I'll fan you hard."

A contemporary editorial in the Brooklyn Eagle quoted by Zacks says, "Roosevelt is a good man in the most obnoxious sense of the word.  He is about as unwise and whimsical as can be."  At times TR seems to be entirely quixotic in his attempt to shut down all saloons on Sundays enforcing the existing laws.  He alienated many New Yorkers and many in his own political party in his self-righteous pursuit of crime.  Tammany Hall rebounded sharply in the election of 1895 in reaction to TR's enforcement of the blue laws.

In a telling episode Zacks' book firmly establishes the fact that Teddy Roosevelt did, however, have a sense of humor.  Herr Ahlwardt, an anti-semitic rabble rousing German, planned to give a Jew-bashing speech titled "The Essence of Modern Judaism" at Cooper Union.  On the day of the speech TR requested that "about forty good, true intelligent Jewish members of the force, men whose faces clearly show their race and  and order them to report to me in a body....I want them to keep order at this Ahlwardt meeting tonight."  A potential crisis was thus averted.  Zacks writes, "the police has squelched any riot  and had admirably handled the night.  Editorialists citywide denounced Ahlwardt...Roosevelt's clever and humane strategy of setting Jews to guard a Jew-hater went largely unnoticed and unreported."

Zacks concludes his work, "As in ancient Rome, the vitality of New York City sometimes seems to come more from the crooks than the do-gooders."  Zacks comment is undeniably fair--my favorite line in The Godfather is, "Leave the gun, take the Canolli."  The price we pay for the "vitality of the crooks,"however, is the necessary lack of vitality of so many many of their victims -- 'Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes"!

TR campaigned actively in support of the McKinley ticket in 1892.  It is interesting to note how the political rhetoric of 120 years ago has changed...or not.  TR declaimed then, "Instead of a government of the people, for the people and by the people, which we now have, Mr Bryan would substitute a government of a mob, by the demagogue, and for the shiftless and disorderly and the criminal and the semi-criminal."

At the end of the day, are the interests of the American people served better by energetic political leaders who, though self-righteous, have character, conviction and a boy scout-like determination to improve the world OR by the products of Big City corrupt political machines such as Tammany Hall?  Today, in the light of the conviction of Governor Blagojevich, the Solyndra scandal, and, mostly recently, the invocation of Executive privilege in connection with the "Fast and Furious" scandal, this question and Zack's illuminating book seem more relevant than ever.




In 2014 Richard Zacks reviewed America Invades...

"I would have lost the bet. I had no idea that the United States over its history has invaded almost HALF the countries on the globe. That’s an astounding amount of K-rations and munitions and mayhem, however well-intentioned. Authors Laycock and Kelly, with breezy wit and a dogged pursuit of neutrality, deliver a country-by-country compendium of U.S. intervention. Use it as reference; or, read it cover to cover, sea to shining sea, for the adventures and misadventures of American attacks on foreign soil. An eye-opener! a mind-expander! Can an attack of Bhutan or Lichtenstein be far off? One important final note:  this book is written with respect for the men and women of the U.S. armed forces."

Richard Zacks, author of "The Pirate Coast: Thomas Jefferson, the First Marines and the Secret Mission of 1805" and  "An Underground Education"

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







Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Beaulieu, Bond and the SOE

Beaulieu Palace House

The American Conservative tour of London takes a detour of about 2 hours from London near Southampton to Beaulieu (http://www.beaulieu.co.uk/).  Here you will find the National Motor Museum which has exhibits featuring the vehicles from Top Gear, over 50 vehicles from various James Bond films, the Secret Army museum devoted to the SOE, and much more.

Top Gear (http://www.topgear.com/uk/) is a tremendously popular BBC program which looks at the world of the automobile in a light-hearted manner that has appeal even to those who care very little for cars.  Jeremy Clarkson, the lead host of Top Gear,  is extremely non-pc in many of his declarations and has a clear rightward tilt.   He referred to Gordon Brown, the previous Labor prime minister, as "a one-eyed Scottish idiot."  In December of 2011 he said of striking public sector workers (the passport control workers, for example, declared a one day strike creating 12 hour waits at British airports and threatening the lifeblood of the British economy -- tourism), "I would have them all shot."  Remember that this is a BBC production and that TV viewing in the UK requires the payment of a license fee to the government that subsidizes BBC productions.  Imagine if PBS in the states carried the Rush Limbaugh show -- unthinkable -- but something very like this goes on in Britain.

Clarkson loves to mock the Prius-driving liberal left.  Their horrified reactions to his antics continue to demonstrate to the world the near total lack of a sense of humor of the contemporary left.

Clarkson on Global Warming


Clarkson on Politics



James Bond (see earlier post, Commander Bond's London, 2/23/12) is a British icon that celebrates suave British competence in the world of espionage.  Here you will find "Little Nellie," the one man helicopter from You Only Live Twice, Goldfinger's awesome Rolls Royce 1937 Phantom III (see below) and several Aston Martins.  You may also find the Lotus Esprit S1 that transformed into a submarine that was used in The Spy Who Loved Me.  At Beaulieu the AMC Hornet that jumped over a river making a 360 degree twisting turn in The Man with the Golden Gun is on display.

It is interesting to note that James Bond was first created with the publication of Casino Royale in 1953, -- the same year as Queen Elizabeth II's coronation and the British conquest of Everest.  Happy Jubilee, Mr Bond!

Auric Goldfinger's 1937 Phantom III
You will also find a small museum, the Secret Army museum, dedicated to World War II's "secret war".  The Beaulieu estate was utilized during the Second World War as a "finishing school" for agents of the SOE or Strategic Operations Executive.  It was here at Beaulieu that they would be instructed in the tradecraft of espionage.  They would learn survival skills, how to operate a radio, enciphering and the art of silent killing.  "The characteristic that SOE's agents had in common, besides their courage, was that they were liable to be drawn from any class at all in the community in which they lived.  The best of them were like the strong, silent men of romantic fiction: calm, clear-headed men and women, who knew that Nazism was abominable, and were ready to use disreputable methods -- if clean ones would not do -- to make sure that it was crushed."  SOE: The Special Operations Executive 1940- 1946, MRD Foot, 1984. (http:/www.amzn.com/0563201932).  Kim Philby, the infamous double agent who later defected to the Soviet Union, trained SOE agents at Beaulieu.

Commander Kelly, says "Spend a fun day out at Beaulieu".



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



Red Tails versus...Obama?

Tuskegee Airmen

The George Lucas produced movie, Red Tails, tells the story of the Tuskegee airmen in World War II.   Lucas' first major film, Star Wars, contained very deliberate homages (Harrison Ford et al. blasting Imperial Star Fighters from the Milennium Falcon) to the Allied gunners in World War II bombers such as the B-17.   Red Tails is based on the true story of the 332nd fighter group that served in North Africa and Italy in World War II.

P-40 with Flying Tiger Markings (FHC Seattle)
The movie contains lots of aerial dogfighting sequences with P-40s and P-51s.  The film has the latest in digital special effects that you would expect from George Lucas.  Personally, I find digital effects suffer from overuse and seem "phony" compared to actual stunts.  Give me Tora, Tora, Tora over Pearl Harbor any day! Sadly, this movie about such an important part of history tends to be a bit soulless. The interracial romance is cardboard at best.  Red Tails is cliche-ridden and flat.  The movie features "operation Shingle" where the 332nd helped to provide vital air cover for the landings at Anzio but fails to point out the significance of the landings in the context of the Italian campaign.  Does Hollywood think that Americans are too dumb to realize that World War II was not won solely by Tom Hanks storming the beach at Normandy?

Double Eagle
Red Tails does, however, complement The Millionaire's Unit  (see earlier post, The Millionaire's Unit, 6/18/12) in interesting ways.  Both tell the tales of minority groups (the wealthy and Black Americans) who longed to fly and to serve in the American military aviation forces.  Robert Lovett was a Yale undergraduate gunner who flew bombing missions over Brugges in World War I.  Dr. Roscoe Brown (see video below) was a Tuskegee fighter pilot who shot down a German Me 262 jet fighter over Berlin in World War II. Only in America could these two men, different in so many ways, both be united in their expression of American military airpower (see earlier post, Duxford and...George Carlin, 4/30/12).  These two men represent two sides of the same coin -- surely a double eagle -- of American power and American exceptionalism.

Double Victory
The Red Tails DVD contains a supplementary documentary entitled "Double Victory" that is narrated by Cuba Gooding Jr.  Quite frankly, I found the documentary far more effective than the movie.  "Double Victory" was a term coined by the Pittsburgh Courier, a leading black newspaper, and refers to the victory over fascism abroad and over discrimination and prejudice against blacks at home during World War II.   Black officers were, for example, excluded from officer clubs.  German and Italian POWs sometimes received better treatment than the Black Tuskegee airmen.  Sixty-six members of the Tuskegee arimen were killed during World War II.

Eleanor Roosevelt at Tuskegee
Commander Kelly is delighted to cross the aisle and give a shout out to First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.  In March of 1941 she visited Tuskegee Army Air Field and asked to take a flight with one of the Tuskegee pilots. Although the Secret Service was anxious about the ride, flight instructor Charles A. Anderson piloted Mrs. Roosevelt over the skies of Alabama for over an hour.  She remarked to her pilot. "“I always heard that colored people
couldn’t fly airplanes,” but after her experience “saw no reason why blacks could not fly.”  She later did everything in her power to help them in that endeavor.


The US military was the first part of American society to be integrated and this was accomplished  by a World War II hero and Republican President, Dwight Eisenhower.  In his first inaugural Ike said, "I propose to use whatever authority exists in the office of the President to end segregation in the District of Columbia, including the Federal Government, and any segregation in the Armed Forces."  Moreover, it was Eisenhower who in 1957 dispatched the 101st Airborne division to integrate the public school system in Arkansas.  Double Victory, however, omits all mention of Eisenhower who was, of course, the overall theatre commander for the 332nd fighter group.


George Lucas is a self-proclaimed 1960's era San Francisco liberal.  Check out this interview with Charlie Rose in which he bites the hand that has overfed him...http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505271_162-57362574/george-lucas-billionaire-down-on-capitalism/.  George Lucas says, " I'm a very ardent patriot. But I'm also a very ardent believer in democracy, not capitalist democracy. And I do not believe that the rich should be able to buy the government. And that's just the way I feel."  Need I point out that this is the same George Lucas who contributed $33,100 to the Obama Victory Fund in 2008, $30,400 to the Democratic Committee Campaign Fund in 2008 and has given exclusively to Democratic candidates. George Lucas seems to despise the capitalist system that has heaped riches upon him! It upsets his "feelings" that some would attempt to buy political influence!

Near the conclusion of the documentary Double Victory a brief shot of President Obama is flashed before our eyes.  Finally, the Lucas agenda is on full display.  Lucas would have us believe that Obama is the apotheosis of the dreams of the Tuskegee airmen.  Red Tails, released in 2012 and screened at the White House amidst much fanfare, is an extended campaign film for Obama's re-election.

Commander Kelly with P-51D (FHC Seattle)
This simply will not work for several reasons.  First, the Tuskegee airmen served their country and risked their lives confronting fascism and racism.  Obama never served in the US military.  Second, the Tuskegee airmen saved allied lives by escorting allied bombers to their targets in a campaign partially conceived by Winston Churchill (Churchill said, "There is one thing that will bring (Hitler) down, and that is an absolutely devastating, exterminating attack by very heavy bombers from this country upon the nazi homeland.").  One of President Obama's first moves as President was to remove the  bust of Winston Churchill form the White House. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/barackobama/4623148/Barack-Obama-sends-bust-of-Winston-Churchill-on-its-way-back-to-Britain.html)
Third, Double Victory makes  it clear that the Filmmakers hoped with Red Tails to inspire young black males, yet this is precisely the demographic that this administration has utterly failed to help.  According to the Wall Street Journal, "Black teens have had the worst of it, with their unemployment rate rising to 41.6% in April (2012) from 29% in 2007, faster than almost any other group."  Fourth, The Tuskegee airmen epitomize American exceptionalism while President Obama seems only able to offer the most tepid support for the concept ("I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.")  Finally, Red Tails recalls a significant part of US military and political history; President Obama recalls "Polish Death Camps."  (http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/words-polish-death-camps-cut-deep-article-1.1087670?localLinksEnabled=false)

World War II forced America to reappraise its attitudes about both race and gender.  Both the US civil rights movement and the women's liberation movement ("Rosie the Riveter" assuming traditional male roles in the workplace) owe a huge debt to World War II which proved to be a change accelerant.  It was the allied triumph over an overtly racist nazi Germany that forced America to re-evaluate its own racial attitudes.  It was World War II that, in a sense, broke the back of the 19th century.

Commander Kelly hopes that you will join us in working for a "Double Victory" over Obama and the Hollywood Left this fall!


Roscoe Brown -- Only in America!




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