Monday, March 28, 2016

Poe and Poland

With Poe in Boston
Sculpture by Stefanie Rocknak
Edgar Allen Poe Square, Boston, MA

Edgar Allen Poe,  though identified with Baltimore, was born in Boston on January 19, 1809.  The master of suspense and poet of The Raven was born at 62 Charles Street (know as 62 Carver Street at the time).  He enlisted in the US Army at the Customs House in Boston under a false name in 1827 claiming to be 21 when he was, in fact, 18 years of age.

Poe found little support from the moralistic Brahmins of the New England literary scene.  He referred to them as croaking "Frogpondians".

In our book, America Invades, we discussed the surprising connection between Edgar Allen Poe and Poland...

"Poland may be a long way from the United States, but a shared experience of fighting for freedom (as well as Polish immigration into the United States) has created many close links between the two nations.

Poles fought for the American cause right from our founding.
Koésciuszko  statue
USMA West Point, NY
Tadeusz Koésciuszko (1746-1817) fought for America’s independence from Britain in the American Revolution and then went on to fight for his homeland’s independence from Russia. He directed the fortification of West Point and rose to become a brigadier general in the Continental Army. A statue of Koésciuszko stands atop the US Military Academy at West Point today.

Another Pole, Casimir Pulaski (1745-1779), also rose to the rank of brigadier general in the Continental Army and fought against both the Russians in Poland and the British in America. At the battle of Brandywine on September 11, 1777, he even helped save General George Washington from near certain capture. Pulaski died from wounds received at the Battle of Savannah. For his efforts and for his bravery, he has often been called the “father of the American cavalry.”

Kosciuszko, Pulaski, and the other Poles who fought on our side in the Revolution were major factors in giving Poland a good reputation in the United States. When, in November 1830, the Poles rose against up against Russia, there was plenty of support in the United States for the Poles. For instance, a young soldier in the US Army wrote this letter to his commanding officer in 1831:
Having no longer any ties which can bind me to my native country—no prospects—nor any friends—I intend by the first opportunity to proceed to Paris with the view of obtaining, thro’ the interest of the Marquis de La Fayette, an appointment (if possible) in the Polish Army. In the event of the interference of France in behalf of Poland this may easily be effected—at all events it will be my only feasible plan of procedure.

E.A. Poe Plaque, Boston, MA
The author of this letter was Edgar Allan Poe (who, in the end, never did make it to the fight in Poland)."

You can find signed copies of America Invades
or regular copies on

Friday, March 18, 2016

So Many Reasons to Vote for Trump!

Making America Great...?

There are SO MANY REASONS to vote for Donald Trump this spring!  Here are just a few...

If you believe that Republicans' quaint preference for "Limited Government" should now be replaced by "Authoritarian Nationalism" then you should VOTE TRUMP this spring.
Sucker Punch at Trump rally
If you believe that "Compassionate Conservatism" should be replaced by "Violent Opportunism" then you should VOTE TRUMP this spring.

If you believe that our children's education standards should be set by the founder of Trump University then you should VOTE TRUMP this spring.

If you believe that the Smoot-Hawley style of protectionism that launched the world into the Great Depression in the 20th century deserves a re-test in the 21st century then you should VOTE TRUMP this spring.

If you believe that Americans pay prices that are FAR TOO LOW for imports then you should VOTE TRUMP this spring.

If you believe that slapping tariffs on imports would never lead to...retaliation by foreign governments then you should VOTE TRUMP this spring.

If you believe that the POTUS should fix foreign exchange rates rather than free markets then you should VOTE TRUMP this spring.

If you believe that Anger IS an Agenda then you should VOTE TRUMP this spring.

If you believe that it is safer to have an "outsider" novice in the cockpit of your 747 rather than a pilot with many hours of experience flying the plane then you should VOTE TRUMP this spring.

If you believe that the Old Testament is an "outdated book" whose admonition "Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child" (Ecclesiastes 10:16) has no relevance to the choice faced by American voters in 2016 then you should VOTE TRUMP this spring.

If you believe that a candidate who refuses to disclose his taxes has absolutely nothing to hide from the American public  then you should VOTE TRUMP this spring.

If you believe that the travel rights of American citizens should be determined by their religious affiliation then you should VOTE  TRUMP this spring.

John McCain

If you believe that John McCain, veterans of the Bataan death march in World War II, Tommy Hitchcock (see video below) and even Winston Churchill (captured in the Boer war) were never heroes then you should VOTE TRUMP this spring.

If you believe that "Bush lied, People Died" and that Michael Moore basically got it right on 9/11 and the Iraq war then you should VOTE Trump this spring.

Kim Jong Un on a "Good Hair Day"
If you believe that our next Commander in Chief should match North Korea's Kim Jong Un in terms of militarism, mental stability and haircut then you should VOTE TRUMP this spring.

If you just started rooting for the Kansas City Royals and the Denver Broncos in the past six months then you should VOTE TRUMP this spring.

"The Putin"
If you believe that Putin had a point in killing journalists and that libel laws should be strengthened then you should VOTE TRUMP this spring.

If you believe that Neidermeyer was the real hero of 1978's Animal House then you should VOTE TRUMP this spring.

If you hope for all members of the GOP in Congress and in statehouses to be sandblasted from the political scene for the next decade then you should VOTE TRUMP this spring.

If you believe that Nancy Pelosi should be given a second chance as Speaker of the House then you should VOTE TRUMP this spring.

If you believe the many polls which showed that Trump would win Florida were accurate but that the many polls which show that Trump will lose to Hillary (or Bernie) in the general election are bogus (6 out of 7 according to RCP... then you should VOTE TRUMP this spring.

If you believe that Hillary should begin measuring drapes for the White House then you should VOTE TRUMP this spring.

You can find signed copies of Christopher Kelly's book America Invades
or regular copies here on Amazon...


Sunday, March 6, 2016

Jefferson and Mazzei

Commander K with Fonterutoli Chianti

I was delighted to sample a bottle of Fonterutoli Chianti from the cellars of Giovanni's ( on a recent trip to Florence.  Their Riserva (Castello Fonterutoli) is delicious!  A great wine to serve with pasta and meat.  Giovanni's is a fantastic Osteria in Florence.  Excellent Ribollita (vegetable soup with bread) and Bistecca Fiorentina (T-bone steak).  History never tasted so good!

Philip Mazzei's Wine!
We wrote about Thomas Jefferson and his vinous friendship with Mazzei in Italy Invades: How Italians Conquered the World...

Thomas Jefferson, Paris, France
"William Paca, who was later elected governor of Maryland, was an Italian American signatory of the Declaration of Independence. Philip Mazzei (1730–1816) was a Tuscan aristocrat who immigrated to Virginia and acted as an agent for the colony, purchasing arms for the Patriot cause. He was a great friend of Thomas Jefferson and wrote that “All men are created equal” even before Jefferson penned it in the Declaration of Independence in 1776. The two men shared a love for both liberty and wine; Mazzei helped Jefferson to plant grapes at Monticello. The Mazzei family has been making wines in Chianti since the fifteenth century and continue to do so to this day."

You can purchase a signed copy of 
Italy Invades

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Nietzsche on the 2016 election

Friedrich Nietzsche

Nietzsche was an astonishing prophet on many topics.   In a note written in 1885, Friedrich Nietzsche foretold the American Presidential election of 2016...

Sanders: "the poisonous and desperate face of American Socialism"

"Socialism--as the logical conclusion of the tyranny of the least and the
dumbest, i. e., those who are superficial, envious, and three-quarters
actors-is indeed entailed by "modern ideas" and their latent anarchism;
but in the tepid air of democratic well-being the capacity to reach
conclusions, or to finish, weakens. One follows --but one no longer sees
what follows. Therefore socialism is on the whole a hopeless and sour
affair; and nothing offers a more amusing spectacle than the contrast
between the poisonous and desperate faces cut by today's socialists--and
to what wretched and pinched feelings their style bears witness! --and
the harmless lambs' happiness of their hopes and desiderata (CRK adds..."FREE COLLEGE!").
Nevertheless, in many places in Europe they may yet bring off occasional
coups and attacks: there will be deep "rumblings" in the stomach of the
next century, and the Paris commune, which has its apologists and
advocates in Germany, too, was perhaps no more than a minor indigestion
compared to what is coming (CRK adds...The Russian Revolution of 1917 would "rumble" the Tsar and his family).

Trump: "One must possess something in order to be something."
The "poorly educated" want development too!

But there will always be too many who have possessions for socialism to signify more than an attack of sickness — and those who have possessions are of one mind on one article of faith:
"one must possess something in order to be something." But this is the
oldest and healthiest of all instincts: I should add, "one must want to
have more than one has in order to become more." For this is the
doctrine preached by life itself to all that has life: the morality of
development (CRK adds..the morality of developers too!). To have and to want to have more--growth, in one word--that is life itself (CRK adds..."More winning!").

In the doctrine of socialism there is hidden, rather badly, a "will to negate life"; the human beings or races that think up such a doctrine must be bungled. Indeed, I should wish that a few great
experiments might prove that in a socialist society life negates itself,
cuts off its own roots. The earth is large enough and man still
sufficiently unexhausted; hence such a practical instruction and
demonstratio ad absurdum (CRK adds...demonstration or proof of absurdity) would not strike me as undesirable, even if it were gained and paid for with a tremendous expenditure of human lives (CRK adds...How many victims of Socialism in the 20th century "felt the burn"?  The Black Book of Communism estimates around 100 million victims of collectivism in the 20th century

Hillary Clinton: "The Marasmus Femininus" that threatens America?
Delayed by Bernie?

In any case, even as a restless mole under the soil of a society that
wallows in stupidity, socialism will be able to be something useful and
therapeutic: it delays "peace on earth" and the total mollification of
the democratic herd animal; it forces the Europeans to retain spirit,
namely cunning and cautious care, not to abjure manly and warlike
virtues altogether, and to retain some remnant of spirit, of clarity,
sobriety, and coldness of the spirit- it protects Europe for the time
being from the marasmus femininus (CRK..."feminine decay or atrophy") that threatens it."

(Source: The Will to Power, Friedrich Nietzsche,

Nietzsche could see around time's corners.  American voters this fall will likely face a stark choice between a grasping vulgarian, on one hand, and "feminine decay" on the other.  Unless a Superman emerges, we are witnessing a new electoral Birth of Tragedy as we cannot seem to move Beyond the Lesser of two Evils.   Thus Spake the Commander!

Commander Kelly is the co-author of