Monday, July 27, 2015
Here is history few ever knew.
When baseball greats Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig went on tour in baseball-crazy Japan in 1934, some fans wondered why a third-string catcher named Moe Berg was included. Although he played with 5 major league teams from 1923 to 1939, he was a very mediocre ball player. He was regarded as the brainiest ballplayer of all time. In fact Casey Stengel once said: That is the strangest man ever to play baseball. When all the baseball stars went to Japan, Moe Berg went with them and many people wondered why he went with the team
Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth
The answer was simple: Moe Berg was a United States spy working undercover with the OSS forerunner to the CIA .
Moe spoke 15 languages - including Japanese - Moe Berg had two loves: baseball and spying.
In Tokyo, garbed in a kimono, Berg took flowers to the daughter of an American diplomat being treated in St. Luke's Hospital - the tallest building in the Japanese capital.
He never delivered the flowers. The ball-player ascended to the hospital roof and filmed key features: the harbor, military installations, railway yards, etc.
Eight years later, General Jimmy Doolittle studied Berg's films in planning his spectacular raid on Tokyo..
Catcher Moe Berg
Berg's father, Bernard Berg, a pharmacist in Newark, New Jersey, taught his son Hebrew and Yiddish. Moe, against his wishes, began playing baseball on the street aged four.
His father disapproved and never once watched his son play. In BarringerHigh School, Moe learned Latin, Greek and French. Moe read at least 10 newspapers every day.
He graduated magna cum laude from Princeton - having added Spanish, Italian, German and Sanskrit to his linguistic quiver.
During further studies at the Sorbonne, in Paris, and Columbia Law School, he picked up Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Indian, Arabic, Portuguese and Hungarian - 15 languages in all, plus some regional dialects.
While playing baseball for Princeton University, Moe Berg would describe plays in Latin or Sanskrit.
During World War II, he was parachuted into Yugoslavia to assess the value to the war effort of the two groups of partisans there. He reported back that Marshall Tito's forces were widely supported by the people and Winston Churchill ordered all-out support for the Yugoslav underground fighter, rather than Mihajlovic's Serbians.
The parachute jump at age 41 undoubtedly was a challenge. But there was more to come in that same year.
Berg penetrated German-held Norway, met with members of the underground and located a secret heavy water plant - part of the Nazis' effort to build an atomic bomb.
His information guided the Royal Air Force in a bombing raid to destroy the plant.
The R.A.F. destroys the Norwegian heavy water plant targeted by Moe Berg.
There still remained the question of how far had the Nazis progressed in the race to build the first Atomic bomb. If the Nazis were successful, they would win the war. Berg (under the code name "Remus") was sent to Switzerland to hear leading German physicist Werner Heisenberg, a Nobel Laureate, lecture and determine if the Nazis were close to building an A-bomb. Moe managed to slip past the SS guards at the auditorium, posing as a Swiss graduate student. The spy carried in his pocket a pistol and a cyanide pill.
If the German indicated the Nazis were close to building a weapon, Berg was to shoot him - and then swallow the cyanide pill.
Moe, sitting in the front row, determined that the Germans were nowhere near their goal, so he complimented Heisenberg on his speech and walked him back to his hotel.
Werner Heisenberg - he blocked
the Nazis from acquiring an atomic bomb.
Moe Berg's report was distributed to Britain's Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and key figures in the team developing the Atomic Bomb. Roosevelt responded: "Give my regards to the catcher."
Most of Germanys leading physicists had been Jewish and had fled the Nazis mainly to Britain and the United States . After the war, Moe Berg was awarded the Medal of Freedom Americas highest honor for a civilian in wartime. But Berg refused to accept, as he couldn't tell people about his exploits.
After his death, his sister accepted the Medal and it hangs in the Baseball Hall of Fame, in Cooperstown ,
March 2,1902-----May 29, 1972
Presidential Medal of Freedom (the highest award to be awarded to civilians during wartime)
Moe Bergs baseball card is the only card on display at the CIA Headquarters in Washington DC
Frank Sinatra considered Kate Smith the best singer of her time, and said that when he and a million other guys first heard her sing "God Bless America" on the radio, they all pretended to have dust in their eyes as they wiped away a tear or two.
Before you watch it, the story behind the song:
The time was 1940. America was in a terrible economic depression. Hitler was taking over Europe and Americans were afraid we'd have to go to war. It was a time of hardship and worry for Americans. This was just before TV, radio shows were HUGE, and families sat around their radios in the evenings, listening to their favorite entertainers, and no entertainer was bigger than Kate Smith.
Kate was also large; plus size, as we now say, and the popular phrase still used today is in deference to her, "It ain't over till the fat lady sings ". Kate Smith might not have made it big in the age of TV, but with her voice coming over the radio, she was the biggest star of her time.
Kate was also patriotic. It hurt her to see Americans so depressed and afraid of what the next day would bring . She had hope for America , and faith in her fellow Americans. She wanted to do something to cheer them up, so she went to song-writer, Irving Berlin (who also wrote "White Christmas") and asked him to write a song that would make Americans feel good about their country. When she described what she was looking for, he had just the song for her.
He went to his files and found a song that he had written, but never published, 22 years before - back in 1917. He gave it to her and she worked on it with her studio orchestra. She and Irving Berlin were not sure how the song would be received, but both agreed they would not take profits. Any profits would go to the Boy Scouts of America . Over the years, the Boy Scouts have received millions of dollars in royalties from this song.
This video starts out with Kate Smith coming into the radio studio with the orchestra and an audience. She introduces the new song for the very first time, and starts singing. After the first couple verses, with her voice in the background still singing, scenes are shown from the 1940 movie, " You're In The Army Now ." At the 4:20 mark of the video you see a young actor in the movie, sitting in an office, reading a paper; it's Ronald Reagan .
To this day, God Bless America stirs our patriotic feelings and pride in our country. Back in 1940, when Kate Smith went looking for a song to raise the spirits of her fellow Americans, I doubt she realized how successful the results would be for Americans during those years of hardship and worry..... and for many generations to follow. Now that you know the story, I hope you'll enjoy it and treasure it even more.
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
This question is being asked frequently among people I consider to be loyal American patriots under the meaning of the US Constitution as codified by the founders of this nation 239 years ago. When I was training different branches of active duty military, I often asked students, "What will you do if given an order to fire on or deprive citizens their civil rights" ? Some just remained silent and gave me a vacant stare as if to say, "You have got to be out of your mind, that won't happen and anyway Im just here for the benefits." The majority were very open in replying something along the lines of, " Then I would shoot the officer who gave that order instead." This gave me the utmost faith that the major parts of our military are still our military. Obama can replace all the flag officers he wants. When they start firing the NCOs and field grade officers, I will start worrying.
Now many are asking what is the purpose of Operation Jade Helm 15 and speculating it is a rehearsal for coming martial law and widespread incarceration of citizens. Since its planning and non-public purpose is classified, we can only speculate. What if its real purpose is to practice in case our military decides to stage a coup and set this country back on course to achieve its founding principles ?
I recently asked a friend who is active duty and has multiple combat tours with the USMC in Iraq and Afghanistan. His reply, " Here is what I would say. We have been training in the US forever. It is cheaper than flying overseas to train so nothing has changed there. There is never even a question as to why we are doing this. There is also never the slightest doubt that NO ONE would follow through with an order like that. The military is the most conservative (77%) of any in the US. The fallout from such an order would be immense and a disaster for the President. NO ONE would follow it. Period!! You might have your 10% who might try but they would be jailed or dead within a matter of minutes. The American people have nothing to fear from us. We hate Obama more than anyone else. We are just not allowed to voice it!!!"
The above article by TL Davis is worth reading and considering. How long and what will you do about it ?