Best Show in History? Could Well Be!

We’ll be getting back to serious business soon but I got to tell you, this looks like it would be a huge amount of fun.

If you’re going to be in England in late June, I think you should look into it. From the Daily Mail.

It is a line-up like no other… from a Second World War fighter pilot and a famous comedian to A-list actors and renowned academics.

Geoffrey Wellum, 93, who was the youngest Spitfire pilot in the Battle of Britain, will make a rare public appearance at the Chalke Valley History Festival, sponsored by the Daily Mail.

On the bill are Al Murray, known for his Pub Landlord act, actor Damian Lewis, War Horse author Michael Morpurgo, journalist Kate Adie, Ian Hislop, the editor of Private Eye, and Jeremy Paxman.












Guests:  Spitfire pilot Geoffrey Wellum is to speak at the Chalke Valley History Festival about his war service while Al Murray is to deliver a talk entitled Watching War Films With My Dad

Tudor expert Suzannah Lipscomb and historians Antony Beevor and Dan Snow will speak at the event, tickets for which go on sale today. Murray, who did a history degree at Oxford University, will give a talk titled Watching War Films With My Dad. Lieutenant Colonel Ingram Murray served with the Royal Engineers. He knew many who fought in the 1939-45 conflict, and passed on his expert knowledge to his son.

As a result, Murray says he ‘can’t help himself’ when he spots inaccuracies in blockbusters such as 1969’s The Battle of Britain.

via All-star cast for the best show in history: Celebrities and war vets head Chalke Valley line up | Mail Online.

In other stuff from British history, I’ve been trying to fit this in for a while now because it is pretty interesting. It shows, in some ways, the price Britain has paid and is still paying for its wonderful stand against Hitler. Enjoy from the London School of Economics.

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Hard Power, Soft Power, and Muddy Power and the Current World

Windsor Castle Muster ER 60 LONDON 2012I was taught many years ago that there are several types of militaries (specifically armies but it’s applicable across the board)

  • The political army: this is used mostly to keep the civilian populace under control. The original (prewar) SS would be a good example of this
  • The parade ground army: this is the army that looks really good on parade, but unexpectedly fall apart when confronted by an enemy
  • The war fighting army: this is the army that can’t parade for a damn but look out on the battlefield. For a good part of its history, this is a fair fit for the US Army
  • Then there is one more type: The army that can look good (or better) on the parade ground, and fight a war excellently, and even more to the point, do it anywhere in the world. The prototype of this one is Imperial Rome. In the modern world, there are two: Since the Second World War, the United States Army, and since (at least) the Napoleonic War, the British Army.

The spread of liberty since its nadir in 1941 is because those two armies have been armies of the free, and allies around the world. Read more of this post

70 Years Ago, in Nazi Germany

Seventy years ago today, 200 + Allied airmen tried to break out of a German prison camp. Only 3 made it home. 77 made it out, and seventy were recaptured. But the shocking thing, then and now, is that 50 were murdered by the Gestapo.

While it is by no means a documentary, they made a little move about it.


I can’t speak for you but, tonight in my house, a toast of Scotch will be drunk to those 50 brave men.

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The Wages of Cronyism, Big Government, Lies, and Corruption = Bankruptcy

Cronyism, Part I: Prosperity

Well, I suppose we may as well begin the Economic Confidence Index, it’s only good news if you are one of the leeches living around Washington D.C. Yes, I know that not everybody there is a leech, some are very important and necessary to us remaining a free people. Maybe as many as 10%, the rest need to get a real job.

The Bible says that “the wages of sin is death,” but the same can’t be said of Washington, DC.

The bureaucrats, lobbyists, politicians, contractors, insiders, cronyists, and influence peddlers have rigged the system so that they get rich by diverting money from people in the productive sector of the economy.

How bad is the disconnect between Washington and real America?

Well, according to Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index, people in every state have a negative outlook.

But there is one outpost of giddy prosperity, and that’s the District of Columbia, where residents have a 20-point gap compared to the most optimistic (or, to be more accurate, least pessimistic) state and a whopping 35-point gap with the average American.

Gallup Confidence DC

Continue reading The Wages of Cronyism, Big Government, and Corruption | International Liberty.

Cronyism, Part II: Detroit

There’s and amazing story in here. Detroit, not so long ago, had more millionaires than any American city, including New York City. This is the heart of the fabled American industrial miracle. And now? It looks like a third world city and works like one too. Todd Zywicki writing on The Volokh Conspiracy yesterday talked about this, here’s an excerpt:

What comes through in the movie is that the bankruptcy of the automakers and Detroit largely arose from the same forces: horribly inept and unaccountable management and insatiable demands by labor interests that drove both the automakers and the city into the ground.  This manifested itself in rising costs and deterioration in quality (cars in one case and city governance in the other, such as failure to supply basic public services).  One of the more poignant moments in the film is the observation by a longtime Detroit resident of the differing fortunes of Chicago and Detroit over the decades of the second half of the 20th Century—two large, otherwise comparable Midwestern cities that experienced very different fortunes over a multi-decade period.  The parallel between Detroit and Chicago’s fortunes is similar American carmakers and the challenge of Japanese and other foreign carmakers beginning in the 1970s is similar.

Another interesting thesis suggested by the movie is that GM’s welfare mentality was a long time in coming, dating back to the noxious Poletown case where GM used its political clout to enlist the public eminent domain power to destroy a longtime ethnic neighborhood in Detroit so that it could build a new factory.

Do read it all at: Bankrupt: How Cronyism and Corruption Brought Down Detroit

In addition Mr. Zywicki linked the film made by Ben Howe. It’s here

Cronyism, Part III: Obamacare

David Harsanyi writing in The Federalist had considerable to say about Obamacare as well. Much of what he is writing about is how this lawless regime is modifying the law for political purposes, and to benefit the President’s friends. An excerpt from his article

Another Obamacare fiasco? Guess what? We’ll rationalize that disaster into something awesome, tout de suite. You can’t keep your insurance if you like it? Consider yourself lucky. Obamacare disincentivizes work. Be grateful!  The Affordable Healthcare Act will cost three times as much as initial estimates? Spending creates jobs.  The exchanges have been a disaster? Stop rooting for the president to fail, for God’s sake.

The Treasury Department just announced it will delay a coverage mandate for companies with 50 to 99 employees for a year. And liberals who grouse about the anarchic tendencies of grassroots conservatives will be prepared to rationalize why this news is not only unavoidable but great for Americans. It always is.

According to the Congressional Research Service, the Obama administration has probably missed half of the deadlines of the Affordable Care Act. Here’s a list of 13 executive alterations Now, if all this haphazard implementation were only a matter of improving what are onerous and poorly written facets of Obamacare, that would be one thing. A bad thing, yes. But what makes this free-for-all an especially blatant abuse of power is that the delays are enacted almost exclusively for political reasons.

Continue reading: Obamacare is Just Another Word for laws We Ignore Together

Lies, Damned Lies, and Government

Angelo M. Codevilla writing on the LIbrary of Law and Liberty had much to say the other day about our media (specifically in this case Bill O’Reilly) letting Obama get away with lying. It’s an excellent article, which you should read, and  it is linked below. At the end he talked a bit about Alexandr Solzhenitsyn. I chose to excerpt that part.

This is new and incomplete. But only in America. It is the very routine, the very constitution, of totalitarian society. Returning our attention to the indissoluble link between truth and freedom, lies and servitude, was the great Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s enduring contribution to our civilization.

Aleksandr-SolzhenitsynSolzhenitsyn showed that totalitarianism works by leading people to take part in the regime’s lies, and that it does so mostly by a host of petty incentives. Then he wrote: “the simplest and most accessible key to our self-neglected liberation lies right here: Personal non-participation in lies. Though lies conceal everything, though lies embrace everything, but not with any help from me.” The lies that hold up corrupt regimes, he noted, like infections, “can exist only in a living organism.” Hence whoever will live in freedom “will immediately walk out of a meeting, session, lecture, performance or film showing if he hears a speaker tell lies, or purvey ideological nonsense or shameless propaganda.”

We should all do that. Even Bill O’Reilly.

The article is here: Live Not by Lies

Yesterday we talked of what is right with America, and that is and will remain true. The huge majority of Americans are honest, hardworking people with a strong sense of honor. But, and it’s a huge but, that is mostly no longer true of the Wall Street-Washington D.C. axis, and until that is rectified America is going to have a lot of trouble.

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Pearl Harbor Day

We often talk of World War II, it was a major series of events in American and world history, as long as those survivors were in charge, things were better than ever, as they leave the stage, we are seeming to come face-to-face with the fact that they went to easy on us, and the discipline to succeed in the real world appears to be lacking. We need to look back and take the lesson that America was taught starting today, 72 years ago.

72 years ago today, America was attacked at Pearl Harbor. We were thus thrust onto center stage of the 20th Century’s biggest conflict and the most clear-cut war for liberty in the history of the world. It’s a day to remember the sacrifices made by that generation, who are now leaving us at a very rapid pace. They saved the world for freedom, this would be a very good day to thank them. In this video, I want you to listen to resolve of Franklin Roosevelt, in it you will learn much about leadership in a free country.

This is how an American President responds to an attack on the homeland.

The forward magazines of the U.S. Navy battles...

The Arizona at Pearl Harbor: Image via Wikipedia

We all know (or should) that behind them the Japanese attackers left 2,403 dead, 188 destroyed planes and a crippled Pacific Fleet that included 8 damaged or destroyed battleships. One of them the USS Arizona is still there, minus her hull, still to this day leaking oil, and designated as both an American Military Cemetery and the Pearl Harbor Memorial.

The Japanese fleet also left behind it the most implacable foe there is, the determined and united people of the United States. ADM Halsey’s comment is an indicator: “When this war is over, Japanese will be spoken only in Hell”. It nearly came to that. The casualty projections for the invasion of Japan ran to over 1 Million American casualties only, the only other alternatives were for the Navy to starve the entire country while the Air Force burned it down. Every American (and Japanese) should thank their God for the Atom Bomb for this was the future it prevented. And as the Confederate Air Force has said: “There would have been no Hiroshima without Pearl Harbor”.

It probably should be noted that nearly the entire Royal Navy, Royal Canadian Navy, and Royal Australian Navy, as well as the US Atlantic Fleet were in the process of joining the US Pacific fleet, which had long since become (by far) the most powerful fleet in the history of the world. Also transhipping were the Allied armies that had defeated Nazi Germany. Götterdämmerung had come for the Japanese as it had for the Germans before them. The implacable free people of the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, China, the Philippine Islands, and even Soviet Russia had made the world (mostly) free, again.

We live in a world shaped by tragedies inflicted on the United States, 9/11 has been very influential in our lives but, Pearl Harbor is even more so. It taught us again that freedom is never free, if we don’t defend it, it will pass as it did, for a time, for many of our allies. It also taught us that when America leads anything is possible.

English: General Douglas MacArthur signs as Su...

The Surrender in Tokyo Bay: Image via Wikipedia

The Pacific Campaign was marked by a series of terrible battles in some of the most inhospitable of climates. Who can forget the battles that followed Pearl Harbor: Guadalcanal, the Coral Sea, The Mitchell raid, Corregidor and the Bataan Death march, Midway, the Marianas, Tarawa, the Liberation of the Philippines, Iwo Jima and the flag, Okinawa, and that final scene in Tokyo Bay, where MacArthur and Wainwright accepted the Japanese surrender on the deck of one of the most powerful battleships ever built: The USS Missouri.  All of this happened in only 44 Months.

English: "Remember December 7th" US ...

Image via Wikipedia

People my age knew the men who fought all those battles, they were our heroes. Combat may not have been realistic but it fired our admiration. Ensign George Gay, the sole survivor of Torpron 8 at Midway, grew up about 10 miles from where I did. They deserve our memories today, because 72 years ago they started the counterattack that built the free (and mostly peaceful) world we have known all our life. We seldom remember that the Pax Americana has mostly held since 1945, we owe a debt to those men (and women), our parents (and mostly grandparents now) that we will never be able to repay except by keeping the peace and freedom they won.

In My Lifetime…America transforms from honorable to dishonorable in fifty years-a commentary by Don Koenig

Ozzie Nelson

Ozzie Nelson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


I don’t have much to add to this, I pretty much agree with Sherry. I think it to be the base problem of our country. We’re going to have a major problem in being the America we know and love without an honorably citizenry. We always had a subset of dishonorable citizens (see any western film) but on average we have been able to trust our fellow citizens. That seems to be changing. If so, we may be done. If not, we need to change it back.


We are seeing the results now of an amoral ruling class in Washington (and in other parts of our government as well). It’s not pretty and if it continues we will prove again as Yeats said “The center cannot hold”.


The early 1960′s certainly were not perfect but the vast majority of people in America led fairly honorable lives back then. The mid 60′s probably were the very last of the Happy Days of Richie Cunningham. That TV program and programs like the Andy Griffith Show or Ozzie and Harriet were not that far off the mark for small town white America in the 50′s and most of the 60′s. There were a lot of children in those days, birth control was limited, abortion was not legal or acceptable, and there was little confusion about the role of males and females. People in most of America were living pretty honorable lives in those days. My, how things have changed from the honorable toward the dishonorable in much of America in just fifty years.

If there is any one thing that changed our culture, it would be the destruction of the family unit. Fifty years ago people basically stayed married. The man of the house worked and the wife stayed home and raised the children. The family with an extended family of relatives in the same vicinity was something most of us had in common fifty years ago. The family and not government took care of those in need. The family had a stabilizing influence because most were held accountable to the values of their family.

The destruction of the family unit can be viewed from both a sociological and a religious perspective. Creeping socialism with its entitlement programs and big government social engineering is the major sociological reason for the breakdown of the traditional family and liberal teachings coming from our religious institutions was the major religious reason.

In just fifty years America has “progressed” from almost all of our children being raised by two parents to half of our children being raised by one parent. If that is not destructive enough, that one parent usually has to work so children are really being brought up by the social system and by peers. Without strong leadership in the family, the most influential people in many of the lives of American children are street smart punks and the bad characters of our “entertainment” media. They teach children to be disrespectful, foul-mouthed, and to emulate all that is dishonorable in any civil society.

Some Liberals will label me a racist for just giving the history of the family breakdown in America but nothing could be further from the truth. The real racists are those that put their race above the Human Race that most of the rest of us are in (psychopaths could be soulless exceptions). With that said, the breakdown of the family structure in America first started among blacks in the 50′s.

After World War II many southern black men that honorably served in the military looked for jobs in the industrial north. Many of the jobs that black men could only get hired for were the low paying jobs that white men would not do. Many black men lost self-respect and became frustrated and angry. It led to the downward spiral into hostility and behaviors that destroyed many two parent black families.


Continue reading In My Lifetime…America transforms from honorable to dishonorable in fifty years-a commentary by Don Koenig.


I don’t have any easy answers, this is going to have to be fixed, one person at a time, or not.


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