The Missiles of October

Fifty nine years ago today President of the United States John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev

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Fidel Castro and Nikita Khrushchev bullfax.com

were “eyeball to eyeball” over the missiles earlier placed in Cuba by the Soviet leader. “This was the day recalled by almost everyone in ExComm as “doomsday Saturday,” and seemed to all involved to be the immediate prelude to a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union.” That, and much of what follows was taken from the magnificent book:

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It begins: October 14th, 1962: A U-2 flight over Cuba photographs many of the 36 MRBMs and their mobile launchers at multiple sites.

October 15th: The CIA’s National Photographic Interpretation Center (NPIC) in Washington, D.C. develops the film and interprets the images; this is the day that the missiles were discovered.

October 16th: President Kennedy is informed, and the Cuban Missile Crisis, as it is defined by historians, begins; this is the first day of thee harrowing “thirteen days,” to use Robert F. Kennedy’s terminology from his book about the event.

October 18th: President Kennedy kept a long-standing date with Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko and Soviet Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Dobrynin in the White House. At that meeting, Gromyko lied to JFK and denied that any offensive weapons wee being placed in Cuba. The public still did not know about the missiles, and the Soviets still did not know that we knew.

October 19th: President Kennedy met with the Joint Chiefs of Staff as a body to receive their advice, and was severely pressured to adopt massive air strikes and a full invasion as his response the the Missile Crisis. The Chiefs unanimously pressured JFK to bomb and then invade Cuba, and Air Force Chief of Staff LeMay’s exchange with JFK was unusually blunt, rude, and provocative. [Specifics to come later in this essay.]

October 20th-22nd: It had proven difficult, but by Saturday, October 20th, after four days of back and forth in multiple meetings every day, Bobby Kennedy had built a narrow consensus within ExComm for a blockade as an initial response to the crisis, with an air strike and invasion a future options, or course, if a blockade did not work.

JFK met with the hastily recalled Congressional leadership early on the evening of Monday, October 22nd. It was a stormy session, with most of the leadership declaring they were against the blockade option and in favor of military action. President Kennedy then gave his nationally televised address that evening,

and the Cuban Missile Crisis then moved into its public phase, (lasting from October 23 through 28th). In his speech, JFK announced the blockade option (a “quarantine” of any offensive weapons headed to Cuba, since a blockade was technically an act of war), and threatened that the launch of any nuclear missile from Cuba against any nation in the western Hemisphere would result in a full-scale nuclear attack upon the Soviet Union by the United States. President Kennedy also moved the American armed forces from DEFCON-5 to DEFCON-3 just prior to the speech. (Defense condition 5 was peacetime deployment, and at the other extreme on that scales of readiness, defense condition 1 was “nuclear war.”)

October 23rd: The United States successfully engineered a 19-0 vote in favor of the Cuban blockade option by the Organization of American States (with Cuba abstaining).

October 24th: On this day the naval “quarantine” of Cuba was initiated.

Let us pause for a brief break in the action for personal recollections. This writer was in the seventh grade having turned twelve at the end of August, just before school began after Labor Day.

The earliest memory I have of my father, a deeply religious man, is of being in church and looking up at him holding a Bible in his hand while singing this song:

There was a gentleman in the neighborhood who had a small barber shop located in his back yard, which is where my hair was cut for many years. Like most of the men in the neighborhood he had served in the military during World War II. Some of the men would come there to talk and smoke cigarettes, and to get away from the wife for a time. I recall being there with my father during the Cuban Missile Crisis when he was asked if he thought it a good idea for me to be listening to their conversation. “The boy has got to grow up some day. Might as well be now,” replied my father. All the men were Republicans and Baptists and loathed and detested JFK. Those men were what became known as “Goldwater Republicans.” They did not care for change and especially when it came from a Yankee, Catholic, POTUS. They hated Communists and were ready for war at any cost. My father was a radioman with the Navy during “The Big One” and must have been very good at what he did because he was assigned to the Pacific Task Force and was in many, if not all of the major battles about which movies have been made. After the war he had what has come to be known as PTSD. Sloppy Floyd Bailey, who proudly called himself an old “Jarhead,” made fun of my father, saying he had “spastic colon disease.” My father never talked about the war until we were watching the Braves play in the World Series and the flood gates opened wide; did they ever…My father was opposed to war, especially nuclear war, because he had experienced enough of it to last a lifetime. The men at the Barber Shop were full of bluster, but I could sense they were scared and afraid of what the future might bring. They attempted to act like macho men around the other men but when I overheard some of them at the Boys Club they were filled with a palpable fear of the future. My father told me to say nothing about what I had heard to the other members of our family. Other members of the family, aunts,uncles and cousins, would come over and sit around the kitchen table drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes while talking in hushed tones so my sisters and I could not hear them. It did not work. Everyone was on edge; you could feel the vibes. At school we were told to not discuss anything about what we had seen and heard about the “Crisis.” This was while being made to prepare for War by learning how to “Duck and Cover.”

Everyone old enough to be aware was on edge, and even those too young to understand knew something was happening even if they did not know what it was, Mr. Jones.

It was around this time that something major happened that altered the course of my life, and I have always wondered what, if any, part the Cuban Missile Crisis played in how my life developed…

October 25th: On Thursday, U.N. Ambassador Adlai Stevenson debated the ill-informed and hung-out-to-dry Soviet Ambassador Zorin on television at the televised U.N. Security Council meeting over the missiles in Cuba. Confronted with Soviet denials and stonewalling, Stevenson and his team produced for public consumption undeniable evidence of the Soviet missiles in Cuba on several large photographic briefing boards prepared for this purpose by the CIA’s NPIC in Washington, D.C.

October 26th: As a symbolic act meant purely to demonstrate that the U.S. blockade had teeth, on Friday, October 26th the U.S. Navy stopped and boarded a harmless Soviet-chartered Lebanese freighter manned by a Greek crew, which was known to be carrying innocuous cargo. The blockade had accomplished its goal of preventing the introduction of any more offensive weapons into Cuba, and stopping this ship was intended as proof that America was not afraid to stop ships n the high seas.

New york daily cover October 1962

Unfortunately, this was also the date that ExComm informed JFK that the MRBMs in Cuba were probably now operational. (This was a remarkably accurate estimate; the Soviet Commander in Cuba confirmed readiness to fire the 36 MRBMs the next day, on October 27th, by cable.)

Low-level reconnaissance flights, which had been taking place twice per day since Tuesday, were accelerated to once every two hours on Friday to increase the psychological pressure on the Soviet Union, and to provide as much up-to-date information as possible to Ex Comm and the U.S. military. On this date Castro ordered his anti-aircraft gunners to begin firing on all low-flying U.S. aircraft.

On this date, we now know, the Soviet missile commander, General Prilyev, moved the nuclear warheads for his 35 MRBMs (in their mobile vans) from the nuclear bunker sites (under construction), to the field sites where the mobile launchers and the missiles were located.

October 27th: This was the day recalled by almost everyone in ExComm as “doomsday Saturday,” and seemed to all involved to be the immediate prelude to a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union.

End Part One

Kasparov Describes Grisly Shooting Death of Friend Murdered by Putin

Friend of Murdered Putin Enemy Describes Grisly Shooting Death

Yahoo News and Finance Anchor Bianna Golodryga talks to pro-democracy leader and human rights activist Garry Kasparov about the death of his close friend Boris Nemtsov, the Russian opposition leader who was shot to death in Moscow on Friday.
http://news.yahoo.com/video/friend-murdered-putin-enemy-describes-110000455.html

As you watch, and listen, to the interview with former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov I would like you to consider the following, taken from pages 267-268 of the book JFK: An American Coup D’etat: The Truth Behind the Kennedy Assassination by Colonel John Hughes-Wilson:

“When the stretch Ford Lincoln Continental made it to the Parkland it was carrying at least three vital pieces of information. There were both blood and brains in the car; there were bullet fragments on the floor; and there was a bullet hole in the windscreen. Sgt. Ellis of the Dallas Police who escorted the car to Parkland was quite clear: ‘you could have put a pencil through it.’ Photographs confirm this, but there was pressure on Ellis to ignore the evidence: ‘some Secret Service agent ran up [and] said, “That’s no bullet hole. That’s a fragment!” It wasn’t a damn fragment. It was a hole.’ The Secret Service ordered a policeman to stand guard on the limo and forbade any more photography. They then began to wash the blood off the car with a bucket of water, thus destroying vital evidence. For professional law enforcement and security officers this was suspicious behaviour.”

To say the least! The books, Survivor’s Guilt: The Secret Service and the Failure to Protect President Kennedy by Vincent Palamara, and, Inside the Assassination Records Review Board, Volumn V, by Douglas P. Horne, prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that there was at least some complicity of some members of the Secret Service in the assassination.

Russian President Vladimir Putin condemned the murder as “vile” and vowed to find the killers, according to the BBC. (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-31691727)
The Warren Commission also vowed to find the killer and never looked further than a man who may, or may not have been Lee Harvey Oswald.

Moscow based English journalist Tim Wall writing about the recent World Chess Championship match in Sochi, When Magnus met Vladimir, in the best chess magazine in the world, New In Chess 2014/8, had this to say about the man who no doubt ordered the murder of Boris Nemtsov, “Holding the World Championship in Sochi clearly fits into a plan that Putin sees as being in Russia’s national interest, in my opinion, for three clear reasons: 1) It helps to build on the idea of Sochi as an important destination for major international sporting and other events, reinforcing the prestige that Russia feels from hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics there; 2) Associating Russia with the World Championship recalls Russia’s glorious Soviet-era chess traditions at a time when many symbols of Soviet power and influence are being revived; 3) There seems to be a clear plan to use chess around the world as a tool of soft power, or soft diplomacy, to improve Russia’s image – as a major centre of world culture.”

There can be no doubt that the murdering criminal Vladmir Putin wants to be seen as a friend of chess. Tim Wall goes on to write, “Putin’s new plans to support chess currently don’t seem yet to be widely appreciated in the West,” and “Such chumminess may be a way off.”

Let us hope Mr. Wall is correct because with a friend like Rootin’ Tootin’ Pootin’ chess needs no enemies.

This just in!

Kasparov: Putin is “Ultimate Danger for Everybody,” Bigger Threat to U.S. than Iran

Garry Kasparov, pro-democracy leader and human rights activist, tells Yahoo News and Finance anchor Bianna Golodryga that President Putin is the threat that President Obama should be most worried about.
http://news.yahoo.com/video/kasparov-putin-ultimate-danger-everybody-110000226.html

Can You Handle the Truth?

Yesterday Mike Murray started a new thread in the “All Things Chess” section of the USCF Forum. The title of his thread is a question, “Does chess develop transferable skills ?” (http://www.uschess.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=21185&sid=fc8aa899349128eec2cc1414646786be) Mike begins his post answering the question by writing, “Evidently, not so much.” He then quotes from this blog by copying something I copied verbatim:

“…recent research into expertise has clearly indicated that, the higher the level of expertise in a domain, the more limited the transfer [of skills to other fields] will be… Moreover, reaching a high level of skill in domains such as chess, music or mathematics requires large amounts of practice to acquire the domain specific knowledge which determines expert performance. Inevitably, the time spent in developing such skills will impair the acquisition of other skills.”

Mr. Murray then gives a link to my post, and adds a link with which I was unfamiliar:
“see also” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4126200/

I would like to express my thanks to Mike Murray for drawing my attention to this paper.

Before deciding to write about what is currently known in regard to the question of whether or not chess is beneficial for children I took the time to read several papers pertaining to what has been learned by those who study these types of questions. These are the papers:

Facing facts about deliberate practice

David Z. Hambrick1*, Erik M. Altmann1, Frederick L. Oswald2, Elizabeth J. Meinz3 and Fernand Gobet4
1 Department of Psychology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA
2 Department ofPsychology, Rice University, Houston, TX, USA
3 Department of Psychology, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Edwardsville, IL, USA
4 InstituteofPsychology, Health, and Society, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK
*Correspondence: hambric3@msu.edu
Editedby:
Michael H. Connors, Macquarie University, Australia
Reviewed by:
Lena Rachel Quinto, Macquarie University, Australia
Michael H. Connors, Macquarie University, Australia

The Role of Domain-Specific Practice, Handedness, and Starting Age in Chess

Fernand Gobet and Guillermo Campitelli
Brunel University

The genetics of music accomplishment: Evidence for gene–environment correlation and interaction

David Z. Hambrick & Elliot M. Tucker-Drob

Accounting for expert performance: The devil is in the details

David Z. Hambrick a,⁎, Erik M. Altmann a, Frederick L. Oswald b, Elizabeth J. Meinz c, Fernand Gobet d, Guillermo Campitelli e
a Department of Psychology, Michigan State University, United States
b Department of Psychology, Rice University, United States
c Department of Psychology, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, United States
d Institute of Psychology, Health, and Society, University of Liverpool, United Kingdom
e School of Psychology and Social Science, Edith Cowan University, Australia

Does high-level intellectual performance depend on practice alone? Debunking the Polgar sisters case

Robert W. Howard∗
School of Education, University of New South Wales, Sydney 2052, Australia

Longitudinal Effects of Different Types of Practice on the Development of Chess Expertise

ROBERT W. HOWARD*
University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Deliberate Practice and Performance in Music, Games, Sports, Education, and Professions: A Meta-Analysis

Psychological Science published online 1 July 2014
Brooke N. Macnamara, David Z. Hambrick and Frederick L. Oswald
DOI: 10.1177/0956797614535810

Intelligence and chess

Fernand Gobet, & Guillermo Campitelli

Educational benefits of chess instruction: A critical review

Fernand Gobet & Guillermo Campitelli
University of Nottingham

What put me on this path was the flap over what Malcolm Gladwell wrote in his book. “In Gladwell’s bestselling “Outliers” he discusses the “10,000-hour rule”: If you practice the necessary 10,000 hours you can reach the zenith of your field.” (http://www.salon.com/2014/07/15/is_malcolm_gladwell_wrong_scientists_debate_the_10000_hour_rule/)

In the same article Zach answers, “We found that, yes, practice is important, and of course it’s absolutely necessary to achieve expertise,” Hambrick told the Times. “But it’s not as important as many people have been saying.”

The article, Is Malcolm Gladwell wrong? Scientists debate the “10,000-hour rule: The argument between talent versus practices deepens with the release of a new study, by Sarah Gray, Tuesday, July 15, 2014. This particular article begins:

“A new study, published in the journal Psychological Science, is fueling the practice-versus-talent debate. The study was co-authored by Zach Hambrick, of Michigan State University, Brooke Macnamara, who is currently at Case Western Reserve University, and Rice University’s Frederick Oswald. According to the New York Times, this study is the “most comprehensive review of relevant research to date.”

“The paper, which looked at 88 different studies, covering a wide range of activities, from chess to music to sports, found that only 20 to 25 percent of a person’s ability — in music, sports and chess — came from practice. In academics, the Times reports, it is even lower; only 4 percent of a person’s academic ability came from practice. However, the authors note that academic skill was more difficult to measure, because it was tough to gauge how much people knew beforehand.”

The book by Malcolm Gladwell was a best-seller and the author, no doubt, made much money. Unfortunately for him, his theory has been refuted. Even so, their are many people who have not gotten the word. For example, I was sitting at a table in a Barnes & Noble with a chess board in front of me while reading a copy of the best chess magazine in the world, New In Chess, when an older fellow walked up and asked, “Putting in your 10,000 hours?” I asked if he were referring to Gladwell’s book and he answered in the affirmative. As he took a seat I told him Gladwell’s theory had been refuted. Having read the book, he was in disbelief. “The man would not have written the book if it were not true,” he said. Nothing I said could disabuse him of his belief. Fortunately, someone whom he knew arrived and he took his leave, but not before telling his friend that I was a “party pooper.” I have been called far worse…

This kind of thing happens all the time in our society. An example would be what the Bushwhackers said happened to Private First Class Jessica Dawn Lynch during the invasion of Iraq. Initial reports by the Bushwhackers said that before being captured and brutalized, PFC Lynch, in her best Rambo imitation, fired all the rounds in her weapon until the weapon was so hot it burned her hands, but still she continued, in great pain, to hold onto the weapon, using it to club Iraqi soldiers until there were so many of them she could no longer swing said weapon…or some such. I will admit to paraphrasing here, but you get the idea. The truth came out later, and I quote, “Initial official reports on Lynch’s capture and rescue in Iraq were incorrect. On April 24, 2007, she testified in front of Congress that she had never fired her weapon, her M16 rifle jammed, and that she had been knocked unconscious when her vehicle crashed. Lynch has been outspoken in her criticism of the original stories reported regarding her combat experience. When asked about her heroine status, she stated “That wasn’t me. I’m not about to take credit for something I didn’t do… I’m just a survivor.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jessica_Lynch#Further_reading) See The authorized biography, I Am A Soldier Too: The Jessica Lynch Story, by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Rick Bragg.” See also, “The truth about Jessica.” (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2003/may/15/iraq.usa2) People can still be found who will tell you all about the brave woman during the invasion of Iraq who made Rambo look like a wuss…

The lies the Bushwhackers told about former NFL star Pat Tillman are even more egregious, and the truth still has not been told to WE THE PEOPLE. I do not mean to single out the Bushwhackers. “Presidential aide Arthur Schlesinger has written that President Kennedy said just days before the assassination that Johnson was a man “incapable of telling the truth.” (See Robert F. Kennedy and His Times, page 655. I have taken this from the masterful work by Douglas P. Horne, Chief Analyst for Military Records, Assassination Records Review Board, “Inside the Assassination Records Review Board: The U.S. Government’s Final Attempt to Reconcile the Conflicting Medical Evidence in the Assassination of JFK – Volume 5.”)

Another example would be the prosecutor who, while the defandant is on the stand, looks the jury in the eye and says, “The defendant is obviously a scurrilous scumbag!” The public defender then leaps to his feet saying, “Your Honor, I most strenuously object.” At which time the judge says to the prosecutor, “The objection is sustained. Mr. Prosecutor. I cannot believe a man with your credentials would would say such a thing.” To which the prosecutor says, “Yes Your Honor. Forgive me. It will not happen again.” The judge then say, “That last remark will be stricken from the record and the jury will disregard the comment made by the esteemed prosecutor.”
When the trial ends and the jury is marched into chambers to decide the fate of the accused, the only question to be decided is which one will be chosen foreman. Once a foreman is chosen he will say, “Do we really need to spend any time voting? It is more than a little obvious the defendant is a scurrilous scumbag.”
Someone will mention the judge said to disregard the remark and will be turned on by the rest of the pack while the foreman says forcefully, “What the hell do you mean? The ESTEEMED prosecutor said the defendant was a scurrilous scumbag, and he would not have said it if it were not true!” Meanwhile the rest of the pack will nod in agreement, saying, “Uh huh, uh huh, right on, right on, right on.” The poor defendant will be lucky to have a show of hands before being declared guilty.