Saturday, November 19, 2005

The Churchill Series - Nov. 19, 2005

(Sorry to be late with this post, one of a series of daily posts.)

In January 1943, Churchill and Roosevelt met at Casablanca with their Chiefs of Staff and other military and diplomatic aides.

On the night of the seventeenth, Roosevelt had only one guest to dinner: Churchill. By all accounts, things went very well until Churchill ran out of cigars.

No one at Roosevelt's villa had thought to lay in cigars for this guest who smoked the finest Cubans. The only cigars that could be found were a small package of White Owls, which a soldier's wife had packed and sent him. White Owls were then one of America's most popular five-cent cigars.

Churchill took one puff of his first White Owl and immediately stubbed it out while telling FDR America certainly did need a good five-cent cigar. (See note below)
Conrad Black, Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom. (p. 801)

Note: Woodrow Wilson's Vice President, Thomas Marshall, is the man who famously said, "What this country needs is a good five-cent cigar." You can read more about him and the circumstances in which he made his remark here. Except for the remark, Marshall is now forgotten, which I think you'll agree is unfortunate if you read the short bio I've linked to.

Gettysburg Address Anniversary

On November 19, 1863 President Lincoln delivered "a few brief remarks" at the dedication of the cemetery for Union dead at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
Sometimes a respectful silence is the most appropriate appreciation.

Abraham Lincoln Online
offers many excellent sites.

A brief history of a long war.

Two of my favorite bloggers link to the same Mudville Gazette post:A Brief History of a Long War (Iraq, 1990-2003).

Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit: "The Mudville Gazettte has produced a history of events relating to Iraq going back to 1990. Lots of must-read links and quotes."

Michelle Malkin: "Read it, print it, pass it on."

My favorite parts of MG's post are the quotes from Dems. Examples:

"If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program." - President Bill Clinton, February 17, 1998

"He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983." - National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, February 18, 1998.
Don't you know Clinton and Berger wish they could take those quotes and lots of similar ones by Dems and stuff'em all in Sandy's underpants.

MG's post is right here.

Friday, November 18, 2005

The Churchill Series - Nov. 18, 2005

(One of a series of daily posts about Winston S. Churchill.)

On the morning of May 26, 1943 Churchill left Washington. He'd completed a successful conference with President Roosevelt during which the two leaders reached a number of agreements, including one to share information and materials that each country would use to develop an atom bomb.

Churchill traveled by flying boat, first to Newfoundland where the plane refueled, and then on to Gibraltar. From there, he planned to cross to Algiers where he would talk to Eisenhower about future military operations aimed at putting Italy out of the war.

Accompanying Churchill were a number of aides as well as his bodyguard, Inspector Thompson, whom we met for the first time last evening. Also on the flight was US Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall.

Their flying time would be about 17 hours, with the refueling in Newfoundland adding a few more hours to the flight.

On the Newfoundland to Gibraltar leg, it was dark and Churchill decided to sleep.

Martin Gilbert, on whose Winston S. Churchill: Road to Victory, 1941-1945 I've relied for the information above let Churchill tell what happened next.

From Winston S. Churchill, The Second World War, vol. 4. (p. 727):

The large double bed ... was most comfortable and I slept for a good many hours. All at once there was a sudden shock and bump. I awoke. Something had happened. There were no consequences, which after all are what is important in air journeys. Nevertheless, being thoroughly awake, I put on my zip suit and went forward.

I sat in the co-pilot's seat. It was by now a lovely moonlight night. After a while I asked the pilot what caused the bump.

"We were struck by lightning," he said, "but there's nothing wrong."

That was good news. We had not caught fire or broken up in the air; there was no need to make a forced landing a thousand miles from anywhere.

I had always wondered why aircraft did not mind being struck by lightning. To a groundsman it would seem quite a dangerous thing.

Afterwards I learned that there had been a good deal of anxiety.
It was a serious incident but could you keep from smiling as Churchill let us know the pilot hadn't fooled him?

About the Riot Act

We've heard the phrase "read the riot act" all our lives. But until today, I never knew much about its origin or that the reading of the Riot Act once literally involved matters of life or death.

According to one online dictionary:

The official Riot Act was enacted by Parliament in 1715 to discourage unlawful assembly and civic turbulence, although the first recorded use of the term Riot Act to refer to this legislation does not appear until 1731. The act provided that if 12 or more people gathered unlawfully or for purposes of disturbing the peace, a portion of the Riot Act would be read to them, and if the assembled did not disperse by one hour after this reading, they would be guilty of felony.
The felony punishment could be death without benefit of clergy:
And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if any persons unlawfully, riotously and tumultuously assembled together, to the disturbance of the publick peace,... shall be adjudged felony without benefit of clergy, and the offenders therein shall be adjudged felons, and shall suffer death as in case of felony, without benefit of clergy.
Again, from the online dictionary:
The Riot Act, which was not repealed until 1973, became a part of the public consciousness and developed an extended sense in the phrase to read the riot act, meaning “to warn forcefully.” The first use of riot act in this way is found in a work published in 1819: “She has just run out to read the riot act in the Nursery.”
I found it all very interesting. How about you?

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The Churchill Series - Nov. 17, 2005

(One of a series of daily posts about Winston S. Churchill.)

Remember Thompson, Churchill's bodyguard?

For most of the years 1921 through 1945 Scotland Yard Detective Inspector Walter Thompson was Churchill's personal bodyguard. They traveled over 200,000 miles together, often in very dangerous circumstances.

Thompson kept notes during his service and planned to publish a book when he retired. But officialdom prevented him from doing so. The notes were put aside, forgotten, and then some while back rediscovered.

Now, they're the basis of a book, Churchill's Bodyguard: The Authorised Biography of Walter H Thompson, just published in the UK, and of a 13 part TV series, Churchill's Bodyguard, which begins airing in the UK this Sunday, Nov. 21.

Of course, the question: When it's all summed, what did Thompson think of him?

According to a London Sunday Times article of Oct. 25 :

From Thompson's plain prose, an unmistakable and living character breaks surface: irascible, impish, brave, with a child's curiosity and swift change of mood, unsullied by lasting spite or temper. No man could fake the lack of side and spin and the generosity of spirit. Not, at least, to his bodyguard.
I can't wait.

Here's a link to The Times article and another in The Guardian.

Here's a bit about the TV series (you'll need to scroll down.)

More on Truscott/New York Times falsehoods.

John in Carolina regulars know I've been dogging the New York Times to correct false statements it published in an June 28, 2005 op-ed. The false statements concern World War II Generals Bradley, Eisenhower, Marshall, Patton, and Truscott. I wasn't making much headway until this morning.

Then Kaboom! Betsy Newmark, guest blogging at Michelle Malkin, posted on my efforts and linked.

After a number of formal "We'll be back to you, maybe." emails from Times public editor Byron Calame I was able to speak with his associate, Joseph Plambeck, today (Calame is at a conference). I've been assured Calame will take a close look at the post and be back to me. I'll let you know right after I hear what I hear.

I want to stress that Plambeck made no commitment beyond saying he would make sure Calame gave the post a close look and made follow-up contact.

I've gotten many comments on the post via email but they are not registering at the post. I'm working to try to get that cleared up.

I'm in a time crunch now but will post more on all this tonight. Take a look in the morning. I'll have lots more to say then including an open email to Calame.

Meantime, many thanks to Betsy and Michelle.

I hope many of you email Calame at:

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Churchill Series - Nov. 16, 2005

(One of a series of daily posts about Winston S. Churchill.)

It was 1932, and the Great Depression was hard upon Europe and the world. With few exceptions, the continent's leaders thought the depression the gravest threat Europe faced.

But Churchill saw two other threats at least as grave: Bolshevism and Nazism. He despised both.

When Hitler obtained 40% of the vote in Germany's May '32 presidential election Churchill, almost alone among Europe's leaders, realized Nazism had now become the most immediate and gravest threat facing Britain and the civilized Europe he loved.

On May 13, three days after the German election, Churchill sat in Commons listening to Foreign Secretary Sir John Simon who, Martin Gilbert says:

urged upon the House of Commons the need for further rapid and comprehensive disarmament (to bring about parity between Germany and France's armies). Only by reducing the level of arms, Simon argued, could he dangers of a future war be averted."
Simon's appeal for disarmament was widely and enthusiastically supported.
And Churchill?

Gilbert goes on to tell us Churchill immediately stood and warned Commons:
"I should very much regret to see any approximation in military strength between Germany and France. Those who speak of that as though it were right, or even a question of fair dealing, altogether underrate the gravity of the European situation.

I would say to those who would like to see Germany and France on an equal footing in armaments: "Do you wish for war?"

Martin Gilbert, Churchill: A Life. (p. 506)

Times editorial misleads on WMD intelligence

( A welcome to readers from Betsy's Page. I hope you enjoy The Churchill Series. Just scroll down. And please take a look at some other posts. John )

In an editorial yesterday, the New York Times made a series of what can only be deliberately misleading claims regarding Iraq WMD intelligence and its prewar use.

The White House promptly issued a point-by-point refutation of the Times’ claims. Here's part of it:

The New York Times Editorial Says Foreign Intelligence Services Did Not Support American Intelligence.

"Foreign intelligence services did not have full access to American intelligence. But some had dissenting opinions that were ignored or not shown to top American officials." (Editorial, "Decoding Mr. Bush's Denials," The New York Times, 11/15/05)
But Even Foreign Governments That Opposed The Removal Of Saddam Hussein Judged That Iraq Had Weapons Of Mass Destruction (WMD.
French Foreign Minister Dominique De Villepin: "Right Now... We Have Evidence Of (Iraq's) Capacity To Produce VX And Yperite. In The Biological Domain, The Evidence Suggests The Possible Possession Of Significant Stocks Of Anthrax And Botulism Toxin, And Possibly A Production Capability." (United Nations Security Council, 4701st Meeting, New York, 2/5/03)
The New York Times Editorial Implies That Congress Was Presented With Incomplete And Manipulated Intelligence.
"Congress had nothing close to the president's access to intelligence. The National Intelligence Estimate presented to Congress a few days before the vote on war was sanitized to remove dissent and make conjecture seem like fact." (Editorial, "Decoding Mr. Bush's Denials," The New York Times, 11/15/05)
But The Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) Was Judged Not To Have Different Intelligence Than The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) Provided To Congress, Which Represented The Collective Opinion Of The Intelligence Community.
Then-CIA Director George Tenet Said The NIE Summarized The Intelligence Community's Assessment Of Iraq's WMD Programs. TENET: "Let's turn to Iraq. Much of the current controversy centers on our prewar intelligence, summarized in the national intelligence estimate of October of 2002.
Let me be clear: Analysts differed on several important aspects of these programs and those debates were spelled out in the estimate.
(They) painted an objective assessment for our policy-makers of a brutal dictator who was continuing his efforts to deceive and build programs that might constantly surprise us and threaten our interests. No one told us what to say or how to say it." (CIA Director George Tenet, Remarks On Intelligence-Gathering And Iraq's WMD Programs, Washington, D.C., 2/5/04)
If I had read the Times' editorial in a Syrian or Iranian newspaper, I'd know why it was there.

But why is an American newspaper now making claims that have been repeatedly shown to be false?

The Times' claims only undermine American and Coalition efforts in Iraq, damage our country's credibility in the world, and poison with falsehood our political discourse.

What does the Times think it will achieve with its false claims?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Churchill Series - Nov. 15, 2005

(One of a series of daily posts about Winston S. Churchill.)

It's one of the most frequently told Churchill stories. For most of my life, I've believed it. Now, I doubt it.

It's the Churchill and George Bernard Shaw story.

During the Edwardian years Churchill was, among many other things, a London theater critic (true enough) who often gave Shaw's play's bad reviews (I don't know about that.).

With the opening of his new play approaching, the story goes that Shaw wrote Churchill: "Enclosed find 2 tickets for my opening night. One is for you; the other for a friend, if you have one."

Churchill is said to have shot back: "Can't make opening night but will be there the second night, if there is one."

I can't find the story in either Martin Gilbert's Churchill: A Life or Roy Jenkins' Churchill: A Biography.

I doubt either biographer would pass on such a great story.

What do you think?

Can you cite an authoritative source for the story?

I'd love to confirm it.

And how are you liking the series?

This made me smile.

A friend told me about a sign in a shop:

Unattended children will be served a free espresso and given a puppy.

Monday, November 14, 2005

The Churchill Series - Nov. 14, 2005

(One of a series of daily posts about Winston S. Churchill.)

Lord Moran, Churchill personal physician, recorded in his diary many amusing incidents involving Churchill and his valet, Sawyers.

Here from Moran's entry of Feb. 3, 1945:

All morning the P.M. has been losing things.

"Sawyers, Sawyers, where are my glasses?"

"There, sir," said Sawyers, leaning over his shoulder as he sat, and tapping the P. M.'s pocket.

At last, when the P. M. was getting ready for his afternoon sleep, he cried out irritably:

Sawyers, where is my hot-water bottle?"

"You are sitting on it, sir," replied the faithful Sawyers. "Not a very good idea," he added.

"It's not an idea, it's a coincidence," said the P. M., enjoying his own choice of words, and without a trace of resentment.

Lord Moran: Winston Churchill: The Struggle for Survival, 1940-1965. (p. 240)

National Review comments on Raleigh racist

A few weeks ago I posted on remarks by Raleigh racist Kamau Kambon who during a forum at Howard University advocated racial genocide. Most MSM news organizations ignored the story but bloggers, most notably Jon Sanders of the John Locke Foundation, gave it some public attention.

Now, National Review, in its Nov. 21 print edition (paid subscription required), comments:

Participating in a panel at Howard University Law School, Mr. Kamau Kambon offered a solution to the problems facing black people: "We have to exterminate white people off the face of the palnet." Some in the audience applauded! None audibly protested. When this story came out, Mr. Kambon was listed as "affiliated faculty" on the website of the Africans Studies department at North Carolina State University. His name has since vanished from that list. Why race hatred persists is an interesting question in human psychology. What might more profitably be asked is, What on earth was a man like this doing on the faculty of a public university, and addressing a conference at a prestigious law school? And: Why did anyone applaud?
All good questions. But does anyone expect MSM to pursue them?

Why so much MSM riot reporting is nonsense

(Welcome visitors from Betsy's Page. )

A lot of MSM reporting on the riots in France is nonsense.

We're told rioters wearing Armani leather jackets who torch cars and ride off on deluxe motor scooters are “impoverished youths.”

MSM informs us that neither Muslim fundamentalists nor major drug dealers have much to do with the riots, despite their being in many riot areas more dominant forces than the police.

Now, the Associated Press, obviously responding to a comment by President Chirac that parents bear some responsibility for their children’s behavior, tells us the rioters’ parents are – what else – victims of circumstances that prevent them from effectively parenting.

Here’s an example of what the AP's saying:

(Parents) often can hardly communicate with their sons and daughters: Many parents are not French citizens and never learn to speak French, while their children don't learn the language of their ancestors.
That’s just more nonsense.

If parents speak one language in the home, it becomes their child’s first language, even if another language is the dominant one outside the home.

Parents who speak only one language surround themselves and their child with friends and neighbors who speak that same language. They listen to radio and watch TV broadcasting in that language. In France, for instance, Middle Eastern and North African stations are widely available.

By age 5, a child raised in such a language environment typically has a functional vocabulary of thousands of words and an understanding of language structure that allows him to form sentences; and understand and express concrete and abstract wishes, thoughts, etc., with his parents.

When a child begins to learn a second language, it doesn't prevent him from continuing to develop skill in his first language through conversation with his parents and immersion in their linguistic culture.

That's proven by the bilingualism of hundreds of thousands of first generation children of Middle Eastern and North African immigrants now living in France.

But if the AP told us any of that, it would have a harder job selling the "rioters as victims" storyline.

The next thing you know, people would notice that almost all poor immigrants in France and their first- and second-generation children aren’t rioting; and the whole MSM "rioters as victims" storyline could start to crumble.

We might even get to a point where the rioters were blamed for the riots. How many liberal MSM journalists and news organizations want that to happen?

So it's not hard to understand why the AP gave us the nonsense about parents who could "hardly communicate with their sons and daughters."

Readers note: You may enjoy a look at this brief post about Sir. Winston S. Churchill and his valet.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

The Churchill Series - Nov. 13, 2005

(One of a series of daily posts about Winston S. Churchill.)

In the early evening of November 10, 1940, a private secretary at Buckingham Palace phoned the Admiralty office: The King wanted the First Lord to visit him as soon as possible.

The First Lord had expected the call. He want immediately to the Palace.

When King George VI and his First Lord, Winston Churchill, met the King asked Churchill to form a new Government to succeed the one led by Neville Chamberlain, whose appeasement policies lay in ruins that night as Nazi forces swept through the Low countries and France, and drove British forces back to the sea.

Churchill formed a Government, and on May 13 the King's new Prime Minister stood in Commons and described the peril Britain and the free world faced. His speech included the imperishable: "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat."

Churchill closed with words of resolution, promise and courage:

We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering.

You ask, what is our policy?

I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy.

You ask, what is our aim?

I can answer in one word: It is victory; victory at all costs; victory in spite of all terror; victory, however long and hard the road may be. For without victory, there is no survival.

Let that be realized: no survival for the British Empire; no survival for all that the British Empire has stood for, no survival for the urge and impulse of the ages, that mankind will move forward towards its goal.

But I take up my task with buoyancy and hope. I feel sure that our cause will not be suffered to fail among men. At this time I feel entitled to claim the aid of all, and I say, "Come then, let us go forward together with our united strength."
Martin Gilbert, Churchill:A Life. (p. 646)