Rules to blog by?

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has not had the PC access he is accustomed to over the past few days. (No time to explain… Just cope…) But he was out surfing the blogosphere and came upon this posting from the Commisar at the Politburo Diktat. These are 10 good rules to blog by. But, as you may have noticed, your Maximum Leader has violated rule number one in this very post. He will review them all, and try to be better about how/what he writes.

But your Maximum Leader will not identify himself in the silly way the Commisar asks…

Carry on.

Bring out your dead!

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is pleased with the ongoing commentary between the Minister of Agriculture and the Foreign Minister. Thanks for blogging while I have be predisposed.

Your Maximum Leader was persusing NRO today in a free moment and read (as he is wont to do) John Derbyshire’s January Diary. Towards the end of the column he asked that readers forward to him lists of the recently dead who should be exhumed and hanged.

What fun! Here is the first list I could come up with… (after only 5 minutes reflection)

Lenin (not recently dead, but in such a state that hanging remains an option)
Stalin (ditto Lenin’s comments)
Kim Il-Song (isn’t this the current Kim Jong-il’s - dictator of North Korea - father?)
Fidel Castro (okay he isn’t dead… but if we could hang him…)
Idi Amin
“Papa Doc” Duvalier
Ayatollah Khomeni
Emperor Hirohito (okay, I think he was cremated… But after lots of reflection I think he should be hanged for complicity in WW2 crimes.)

Your Maximum Leader requests that his loyal Ministers and minions give this some thought and blog away!

Carry on.

Dead President Hair Auctioned!

Nothing says I love you like:


if he hasn’t seen it yet…

… the Maximum Leader might want to put this site on his blogroll.

(via Tacitus)


no porn surfing for me thanks to the small holder…

I thought I would come home (its late) and surf a little porn in the few hours that daddy has at night when the Warden and the Munchkin were in bed but
The M of A has to write a dissertation that begs for a clarification reply from me.

If the M of A could have read these (his own!) post 10 years ago when we were in college together he would not believe this stuff came from his own pen!
You are turning in to quite the conservative republican friend. The last hurdle is coming to the realization that your neighbors don‚ÄövÑv¥t need to be taxed heavily and your are IN!
Boy that Guard thing got your panties in a tussle didn‚ÄövÑv¥t it? Fortunately, we have the clarity that hind sight can give us. When you volunteer, you are usually given a choice of Jobs and when you get drafted, you usually get the shittiest job (combat infantryman). I am not saying that it was not possible to avoid combat duty in Vietnam by joining the Nat G. I am sure thousands did that. My point was that it was not a 100% safe bet. Fortunately, we did not have to use the Guard in Nam like we did in WW2. Maybe the reason more guard troops were not sent was that the guard was full of Senators sons. But in 1968, your average dude joining the guard could not guarantee that his unit would not be mobilized. If you wanted to avoid the war, go to Canada or the UK.
I got most of my figures from Google and it was not as easy to find as I thought. I had to cut and paste some from various sources, some used mobilization and some used actual figures of on the ground troops. My use of figures was just to reinforce the point that, in just about every War we are in, NG troops have been sent. I bet that there are more guard troops that are in or will go to Iraq than the numbers that went to Nam‚ÄövѬ but still some went.
RPGs were a Soviet development from the German concept of a hand held anti-tank device. Some sources say that the RPG-1 was simply the Soviets continuing to produce the German Panzerfausts (developed in August 1943) in captured factories. The RPG-7 is the one that Indian Jones used in the Pre-WW2 epic and was not developed until 1961. But that was not the only hokey thing about IJatTD!

Hey M of A
I had a unanswered question regarding Bull/Steers. Is it necessary to de-ball them? They are only living long enough to gain 1400lbs or 1 ¬Ω right? If they are not in a mating situation do you need to de-nut them? If you do de-nut them, do you replace hormones with a shot? If so why take the nuts off?

Back to the trenches

Sometimes It Is Embarassing to Be a Liberal — Er — I Mean a Progressive

I think I ‚ÄövÑv=m going to have an aneurism the next time some ignorant leftie decries ‚ÄövÑv Bush‚ÄövÑv¥s unilateral pre-emptive war.‚ÄövÑvp

Gosh darn it, it wasn‚ÄövÑv¥t unilateral. Note the root ‚ÄövÑv¨ ‚ÄövÑv uni‚ÄövÑvp ‚ÄövÑv¨ this means ‚ÄövÑv one,‚ÄövÑvp my vocabulary-challenged brethren. The U.K. was actively involved. Poland and several other nations sent contributions of diminishingly effective aid. I‚ÄövÑv¥ll grant you that France and Germany and Russia may have been against the war. But that doesn‚ÄövÑv¥t cancel out the folks who actively assisted in the military effort.

If you think the war was morally wrong or misguided, by all means argue your point. But stop yelling things that aren’t true.

When liberals use the term ‚ÄövÑv unilateral‚ÄövÑvp they are simply holding up a sign saying ‚ÄövÑv liberals are stupid.‚ÄövÑvp We‚ÄövÑv¥re not. Or at least some of us aren‚ÄövÑv¥t.

More on the pre-emptive thing later.

The National Guard and Vitnam

The Foreign Minister has challenged my assertion that National Guard Service was a way to avoid Vietnam.

FM: ‚ÄövÑv Speaking of George, I really get irritated when people mention Draft dodging by folks joining the National Guard.‚ÄövÑvp

The purpose of my post was not to bash our President. My concern was with the hypocrisy of partisanship ‚ÄövÑv¨ why would the same people who damned Clinton for student deferments give their man a pass on the Guard — Or damn Clinton for smoking dope while ignoring Bush‚ÄövÑv¥s chemical history. Or damn Clinton for lying about Monica and yet be unconcerned about Nigerian uranium. Shoot, the list goes on and on.

I don‚ÄövÑv¥t think Greg was rising directly to the defense of George; if I understand it correctly, he was simply disputing my assumption that the Guard was a haven for war-dodgers.

I had always bought the argument that serving in the Guard was a popular way to avoid dying in a rice paddy on the other side of the world, but I take the FM‚ÄövÑv¥s arguments about the military very seriously. His knowledge of military history is pretty darn scary ‚ÄövÑv¨ I remember his indignation as we watched an Indiana Jones movie: ‚ÄövÑv That‚ÄövÑv¥s inaccurate! The RPG the German is carrying wasn‚ÄövÑv¥t developed until 1942!‚ÄövÑvp So I began to second-guess myself.


In the event that I was mistaken, I asked my colleagues born in the late 1940s about their recollections, did a bit of googling, and applied a bit of logic to the numbers cited by the Foreign Minister. After this research, I think I have solidified my understanding of the Guard as a way to avoid Vietnam, but stand ready to evaluate additional information.

BRIEF ASIDE (Or, alternatively: Smallholder just can‚ÄövÑv¥t help himself)

But since the original post was about the partisan hypocrisy surrounding the condemnation of Clinton‚ÄövÑv¥s student deferment and giving Bush a pass on his student deferment and Guard Service, I do want to start with a link to an article that hits that point better than I did:

Selected quote from the article above:

Those are questions that nearly every American male born in the 1940s or ’50s has had to answer at some point, but they retain the greatest moral force for those who seek public office — particularly for those few who seek to become the nation’s commander in chief. Like many of the personal issues that have come to dominate debate in this era of tabloid journalism — from youthful drug “experimentation” to marital infidelity — the examination of Vietnam-era draft dodging is all too often an occasion for sanctimony, lying and hypocrisy.

The case of George W. Bush appears to be no exception. According to the exhaustively researched investigation published on July 4 by the Los Angeles Times, young Bush was jumped over a long waiting list of applicants to the Texas Air National Guard in 1968. Bush was about to graduate from Yale and lose his student deferment, and he obviously had no overwhelming urge to fight in the bloody jungle that his father — then a Republican congressman ‚ÄövÑv¨ would later blast Bill Clinton for avoiding.

One interesting trivia tidbit I found while doing research was that while Lloyd Bentson was blasting Danny Quayle‚ÄövÑv¥s Indiana Guard Service, he forgot to mention that he had used his political pull in Texas to get little Lloyd Jr. into the Texas Air Guard. Amusingly enough, LB III served in the same unit as our current president and was promoted to First Lieutenant on the very same day ‚ÄövÑv¨ election day between their two fathers. Small world, huh?

If any of you are readers of ‚ÄövÑv Lying in Ponds‚ÄövÑvp — — you know that one of the pieces of data used in assessing the partisanship of columnists is their willingness to apply standards that they use to criticize the other side to their own party. Look! Look! Smallholder is nonpartisan! He lambastes Bentson and Bush for the same sin!

But if, if I may, let us return to the matter at hand:

Was the National Guard used to avoid service in Vietnam?


I asked four members of my department (I teach history in a public high school) about their recollections. All four immediately responded that the Guard was a way to avoid service.

Jack told me that he was lucky in that he finished his active duty hitch in the army just thirty days before the Gulf of Tonkin resolution. He continued to serve in the National Guard, but was immune from a call-up. He remembers with pride that he coached an awesome basketball team for the guard ‚ÄövÑv¨ several athletes joined the guard as a way of immunizing themselves against the draft. In fact, Jack is still all warm and tingly about the game he played against Army Guard member Oscar Robinson, a hall-of-fame Basketball star.

Joe just laughed when I asked him the question. He had looked into the Guard himself ‚ÄövÑv¨ his draft number was 87 at a time when the first 100 were guaranteed to be drafted. But the waiting list was too long. Joe lucked out in that the war wound down and they didn‚ÄövÑv¥t make it to his number that year. He also pointed me toward CCR‚ÄövÑv¥s ‚ÄövÑv Fortunate Son,‚ÄövÑvp which criticizes the way that the war was really a poor man‚ÄövÑv¥s fight.


Some folks are born to wave the flag,
Ooh, they’re red, white and blue.
And when the band plays “Hail to the chief”,
Ooh, they point the cannon at you, Lord,
It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no senator’s son, son.
It ain’t me, it ain’t me; I ain’t no fortunate one, no,

Henry, who was in the sandwich generation between Korea and Vietnam and thus was in no danger himself, answered that, at least in the Shenandoah Valley, the saying was that the smart kids went to college, the rich kids went to the guard, and the poor dumb kids went to Vietnam.

Tim, whose athletic ability kept the student deferments flowing until marriage and fatherhood, agreed that the Guard was a good way out for those folks who couldn‚ÄövÑv¥t stay in school.

100% of the folks agreed that the Guard was a way out. I will grant you that a polling sample this small is unreliable. Would the other MWO bloggers ask their family members, friends, and co-workers and report back?


Quick Google survey:

The first article talks about today‚ÄövÑv¥s Guard and makes an explicit comparison to the Vietnam-era guard. According to the author, the use of the Guard to avoid combat has become a losing strategy because of the changing makeup of the armed forces.

Salient quotes:

Although National Guardsmen were not commonly called overseas during the Vietnam War, University professors and military analysts say the National Guard can no longer be considered a safe haven in the conflict with Iraq.

“I don’t think anybody who has half a brain thinks of the National Guard as a place to hide out,” University history professor John Lynn said. “But it may be more than they ever anticipated.”

And a bit latter on:

According to University history professor Mark Leff, the National Guard being called to service creates a different mentality in the United States.

“There is a major difference in terms of the people going or the people being concerned that they might go,” Leff said. “Now there is a different sense of commitment because people are no longer joining the National Guard in order to avoid the draft.”

The following article traces the changes in the force structure that makes a Guard call-up much more likely in 2004 than in 1965.

Selected quote:

There is no question that as currently constructed, Total Force has placed an increasing burden on Reserve forces over the past decade, as the U.S. military has confronted a steady stream of small wars and peacekeeping missions. In the four decades of the Cold War, Guard and Reserve forces faced only two presidential activations‚ÄövÑvÆfor the Berlin Airlift in 1948-49 and for a very limited call-up during the Vietnam War. Since 1990, in contrast, the Reserves have been activated at least six times, participating in major military missions in the Persian Gulf War, the southern and northern no-fly zones over
Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and now, once again, Iraq. It is not unusual to find reservists who have been called up four or even five times in the past decade.

This article is a good primer for the Total Force concept. As a former officer in the Reserves, I have to tell you that I think the Total Force concept is a bad idea and that I agree with Rumsfeld‚ÄövÑv¥s push to move essential duties back into the active arm of the military. Perhaps my disdain for the readiness of the Reserves would be a good future blog post‚ÄövѬ

Finally, here is a Washington post article that traces Bush‚ÄövÑv¥s use of connections AND talks about how the Guard could be used to avoid Vietnam.

Four months before enlisting, Bush reported at Westover Air Force Base in Massachusetts to take the Air Force Officers Qualification Test. While scoring 25 percent for pilot aptitude ‚ÄövÑv¨ “about as low as you could get and be accepted,” according to Martin ‚ÄövÑv¨ and 50 percent for navigator aptitude in his initial testing, he scored 95 percent on questions designed to reflect “officer quality,” compared with a current-day average of 88 percent.

Among the questions Bush had to answer on his application forms was whether he wanted to go overseas. Bush checked the box that said: “do not volunteer.”

Bush said in an interview that he did not recall checking the box. Two weeks later, his office provided a statement from a former, state-level Air Guard personnel officer, asserting that since Bush “was applying for a specific position with the 147th Fighter Group, it would have been inappropriate for him to have volunteered for an overseas assignment and he probably was so advised by the military personnel clerk assisting him in completing the form.”

During a second interview, Bush himself raised the issue.

“Had my unit been called up, I’d have gone . . . to Vietnam,” Bush said. “I was prepared to go.”

But there was no chance Bush’s unit would be ordered overseas. Bush says that toward the end of his training in 1970, he tried to volunteer for overseas duty, asking a commander to put his name on the list for a “Palace Alert” program, which dispatched qualified F-102 pilots in the Guard to the Europe and the Far East, occasionally to Vietnam, on three- to six-month assignments.

He was turned down on the spot. “I did [ask] ‚ÄövÑv¨ and I was told, ‘You’re not going,’ ” Bush said.

Only pilots with extensive flying time ‚ÄövÑv¨ at the outset, 1,000 hours were required ‚ÄövÑv¨ were sent overseas under the voluntary program. The Air Force, moreover, was retiring the aging F-102s and had ordered all overseas F-102 units closed down as of June 30, 1970.


The Foreign Minister cited the following statistics:

In WW2 300,034 Guardsmen reported for active duty

In Korea, 138,600 Guardsmen were federalized including eight infantry divisions, three regimental combat teams, and 714 company-sized units.

VIETNAM During the Vietnam War, 102 Air National Guard units, consisting of 10,511 personnel mobilized. This included four tactical fighter squadrons. The Largest Army units to mobilize were the 29th Infantry Brigade and the 69th Infantry Brigade. Thirty-four Army Guard units consisting of 12,234 personnel mobilized.

GULF WAR 1 Of the 265,322 reservists mobilized, 63,050 were Army Guardsmen and 12,428 were Air Guardsmen.

BOSNIA President Clinton deployed the National Guard again on Dec. 8, 1995. Although this is an on-going mission, as of Nov. 22, 1999, 19,093 reservists have or are serving in the Bosnia.

2003 ‚ÄövÑv¨ Iraq As of March 19, 2003, more than 138,000

My point is that joining the NG is no safe bet to avoid going to war. In Vietnam, it was mostly Air Guard units deployed and GW was a Pilot. Your chances of being sent to war are infinitely greater being in the Guard than being in Canada or England.

My first quibble with these numbers is that mobilization is not necessarily the same thing as going to Vietnam. Many of the units currently mobilized for the ‚ÄövÑv war‚ÄövÑvp in Iraq are not serving overseas. My old unit was called up to active duty and is running training exercises in New Jersey. While I don‚ÄövÑv¥t minimize the disruptive impact on my old colleagues‚ÄövÑv¥ lives and families and thank God that I have not been separated from my daughter, living in hotels in New Jersey is a far cry from getting sniped by a muhajadeen.

I would speculate (I don‚ÄövÑv¥t know and stand ready to be corrected) that many of the 10,000 or so Guardsmen called up for Vietnam never went overseas, instead freeing up better trained active duty folks to go overseas.

I also would call the reader‚ÄövÑv¥s attention to the ‚ÄövÑv 10,000‚ÄövÑvp mobilized. Vietnam was a long war. Even if we limit the timeline to between post-Tonkin and our withdrawal, you are averaging about a thousand men per year over a decade — this at a time when the draftee army was in for over half a million personnel. If you assume that half (I‚ÄövÑv¥d think is was more) of the activated Guardsmen never left the continental U.S., we are talking about 500 guys per year ‚ÄövÑv¨ less than a tenth of a percentage point of the troops ‚ÄövÑv in-country.‚ÄövÑvp

Furthermore, as the articles I found by googling indicate, going to Vietnam was something for which Guardsmen VOLUNTEERED (George checked ‚ÄövÑv Do not volunteer‚ÄövÑvp).

The Foreign Minister makes specific mention of the danger of pilots, but if the Washington Post is correct, Bush couldn‚ÄövÑv¥t have had he wanted to ‚ÄövÑv¨ there was a minimum number of flight hours required before you could volunteer ‚ÄövÑv¨ probably to limit pilot volunteers to former active-duty folks with real experience.


If membership in the guard carried the same risk of Vietnam service as being drafted, one wonders why Guard units had waiting lists while the same population that produced eager Guard volunteers earnestly endeavored to avoid the draft by any means necessary. My favorites are the hall of fame quarterback Joe Namath who was 4-F due to ‚ÄövÑv knee problems‚ÄövÑvp and Woodie Guthrie‚ÄövÑv¥s unique solution (

The Foreign Minister is certainly right that Guard members had a greater chance of getting sent to Vietnam than draft dodgers who ran to Canada, but only because an infinitesimal chance is infinitely greater than a zero chance.

Movie List

An internet poll comes to some different conclusions about top movies than we did:

Good Thoughts and Smallholder’s Response to the Gauntlet

I would like to send out good thoughts into the blogosphere for the Maximum Leader’s relations. They are good folk. I hope everything works out well for them.

The Foreign Minister has taken me to task for saying that people used the Guard to avoid Vietnam service. I am preparing a response, but it is likely to be another of my “brevity is the soul of wit” efforts, so I need a bit o’ time to formulate my response.

Woo-hoo! I love being spanked by the Foreign Minister. He’s firm but fair.

Smallholder is Movin’ On Up

I am sorry that the blogpostings have been a bit spotty these last few days. I could blame the fact that the new semester has kept me so busy and the snow kept me away from my high speed connection, but I guess I should level with you, gentle readers, about the real reason.

I think I may be too good for you.

My farm is now graced by a peacock. I mean, er, my estate. I don’t know from whence he came, but there he is, every day, hanging with my tick control guinea hens.

Caesar (named by my wife at the Maximum Leader’s suggestion) is a regal creature with a shimmering blue-green chest. He was stand-offish at first, but now he seems comfortable and joins the guineas as they beg for handouts (darn welfare queens!).

In fact, he may be getting too comfortable. He was doing a mating display yesterday. I guess he thinks the guinea fowl are simply ugly peafowl.

The Maximum Leader has had experience with peacocks (care to blog a bit, oh great one?) and tells me that they are nomadic by nature and eventually Caesar will make his way to a new home.

I suppose he originated on one of the estate homes in the neighborhood (As the Maximum Leader and Foreign Minister can attest, we are the smallest abode in the area - ALL of my neighbors NEED to be taxed). But, as long as he is here, Sweet Seasons Farm is now an estate.

Bow before me, unwashed peasants.

Sea Power, Oscars, and suffering.

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader took a few days off blogging to attend to some family business. The esteemed brother and sister-in-law of your Maximum Leader have been dealt a tough hand right now. And though they will come out of it better than they went into it, it is time to close ranks and support the family. Thus, your Maximum Leader hasn’t had a lot of time to blog.

To mention a few noteworthy items…

First. Your Maximum Leader believes that the decline of the Royal Navy of Great Britain is a bad thing. He also thinks that the decline of the US Navy is a bad (and potentially much worse thing). So, if you think you would like to help grow the US Navy you might want to check out this site. The Sea Power Ambassador site is financed, in large part, by the shipbuilding industry. But that sponsorship does not discredit the aim of the group, which is good.

Second. Your Maximum Leader is happy for the cast and crew of “Return of the King.” They got many well deserved Oscar nominations. Your Maximum Leader disagrees somewhat with the Air Marshal’s last post. I think Sean Astin did kick it up a notch as Sam in ROTK, but the ensemble cast was so strong it is hard to pick one (or two) for an Oscar nod. And if Bill Murray wins for “Lost in Translation” then we can honestly say that only an Oscar-award winning actor could have pulled off the job of Carl Spackler.

Third. Your Maximum Leader feels he must nit-pick a small point from a recent post over on the Big Hominid’s site. In the excerpt provided by the Hominid the good Rev. Mark Stanger said:

I think a 5-year-old who has to get cancer surgery and radiation and chemotherapy suffers more than Jesus suffered; I think that a kid in the Gaza Strip who steps on a land mine and loses two limbs suffers more; I think a battered wife with no resources suffers more; I think people without medical care dying of AIDS in Africa suffer more than Jesus did that day. I mean, I don’t want to take away from that, but this preoccupation with the intensity of the suffering, I think, has no theological or spiritual value.

While your Maximum Leader doesn’t for a moment think that the suffering of a child or a land-mine victim, or a battered wife are miniscule; crucifixion is one of the most horrible ways to be killed. The victim doesn’ die quickly, they often linger for many many days while they slowly drown in their own fluids. Because it is such a horrific way to go is why the Romans used the method with such frequency.

That said, your Maximum Leader (raised Catholic by the way) does believe that too much is made of Jesus’ suffering and that causes the main point (resurrection and salvation) to be missed. In the end, your Maximum Leader just disliked the analogies.

And as a postscript to that last note… Notice how the good Rev. Stanger mentioned the suffering child. Is there any more cliched appeal to emotion than suffering children. Once again, the modification of the good Dr. Johnson must be invoked in this space. Patriotism, and the welfare of children, are the last refuges of a scoundrel.

Light blogging over the next few days my minions. Your Maximum Leader hopes that his loyal minister will be able to blog in the meanwhile.

Carry on.

Oscar Thoughts

Ulitmately, I think the Acadamy Awards are a joke. That little Troll Jack Valenti needs to just go away, and never come back. Still, it’s fun to talk about them.

I’m a bit disapointed that there are no acting nominations for Return of the King. I thought Sean Astin deserved one for Sam, and I thought cases could be made for Ian McKellen (sp?), Billy Boyd, Andy Serkis and several others. I wasn’t enamored of Viggo Mortensern’s performance, or Elijah Woods, but they were fine.

And no nomination for Return of the King for Cinematography? Right there, that tells you how legit the Oscars are.

I was glad to see Johnny Depp get a not for Pirates of the Carribean. I thought he was great in that movie. Although there was more than a trace of Keith Richards in his performance. Maybe that’s what made it great.

Bill Murray for Best Actor? Hey, why not. I’m told Lost in Translation is the performance of his career.

Bing and Bong

Seen the show a couple of times. Pretty cool. My daughter likes it. Can’t get that theme song out of my head though.

My wife insists that the singer of the Bing and Bong show is the same woman who voices Dorothy the Dinosaur on the Wiggles. I haven’t bothered to check it out.

Another one of my vices Bing and Bong

Is anybody else out there a fan of this show/cartoon Tiny Planet?
i can’t get enough of this thing.

one empire recognizes another

Bill Gates will be receiving an honorary knighthood. Oh, for God’s sakes…


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