Yon with Queen’s Royal Lancers

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader must admit that he doesn’t read Michael Yon as much as he would like. It is hard to keep up with all the things out there that one might want to read. Information overload is really a problem of the “information age” afterall…


If you haven’t read Michael Yon’s latest about his travels with the Queen’s Royal Lancers in Iraq, you ought to. It is excellent. Indeed, the link above takes you to the first published part of his work. This is part 1 of 4.


The Queen’s Royal Lancers have been living out in the desert for about six months, like nomads moving from place to place, sleeping under the stars, getting much of their resupply of food and water by nighttime parachute drop as they patrol the Iran-Iraq border. They were living out there, as some officers had told me, in true Lawrence of Arabia style, wearing shamals, sometimes taking camel rides when Bedouins would wonder through their camps with great herds of camels. Some soldiers would go for weeks without bathing, while others would wash-down with a bottle or two of water. Water is strictly rationed.

LTC Nixon-Eckersall would say that their job was to melt away into the desert, providing the eyes and ears that monitor the border. They’d apparently done their job well. I had been on many patrols with American forces along the Iranian border, but had no idea that Brits were out on desert safari. Although there had been some fighting, the Queen’s Royal Lancers had not lost a single soldier to combat during this tour.

Read the rest.

And one more thing… God bless the all the soliders in Iraq.

Carry on.

A Plan For Vermont

The Maximum Leader scoffs at the 13% of Vermonters who wish to secede.

I think they could do it (provided they can grow the 13% to 51% and win control of the state legislature).

First of all, there wouldn’t be a war. Nasty lawsuits maybe, but no one is going to volunteer to bayonet the Vermontians (Vermonters? Vermontites? Vermin?). The Civil War was fueled by a moral, religious, passionate issue. Folks like my ancestors were willing to march through Georgia to end slavery.

Other than the Maximum Leader, who among our readers is going to kill to keep Vermont part of the Northeast Dairy Pact?

Secondly, Vermont can assure that the rest of the states let them go peacefully. They can simply ramp up the gay marriage and then threaten to sue any state that denies the validity of Vermont marriage under the “Full Faith and Credit” portion of the Constitution. Rather than waiting for an aggrieved couple with standing to work the non-recognition of their marriage through the appeals process, Vermont could sue another state - say, Virginia - for impeding contracts made in Vermont. A state vs. state suit would go directly to the Supreme Court. And win.

So Vermont can simply argue: Let us go our way OR we force gay marriage down everyone’s throats. The Republican party would shower them with nice parting gifts.

Skiing, Subarus, Secession

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader hasn’t visited Vermont in years. It is probably a decade or more in fact. The last time he went to Vermont it was, explicitly, to go to the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream factory and gorge himself. (That mission was accomplished, by the way.)

Your Maximum Leader doesn’t pay too close attention to what is going on in Vermont, to be honest. So imagine his surprise when he reads that 13% of Vermonters (Vermonsters?) are in favor of seceding from the Union. Really now… Your Maximum Leader had no idea that 13% of Vermonters are certifiably insane. He knows that Vermont is the home of some people that he might charitably describe as “liberal wackos” (a term your Maximum Leader employs only sparingly); but frankly what state doesn’t have its share of wackos (liberal or otherwise).

Of all the questions posed throughout history, or at least the history of our great republic, your Maximum Leader would have thought that the question of secession was about as moot as you could get. There was a war faught (and in the minds of some still being faught) on the whole secession issue. As your Maximum Leader recalls, it didn’t turn out too well for those who thought that the United States of America was a voluntary association.

So… It seems as though the Vermont secession movement is organized and has manifestos… According to the article:

Supporters have published a “Green Mountain Manifesto” subtitled “Why and How Tiny Vermont Might Help Save America From Itself by Seceding from the Union.”

In 2005, about 300 people turned out for a secession convention in the Statehouse, and plans for a second one are in the works. A poll this year by the University of Vermont’s Center for Rural Studies found that 13 percent of those surveyed support secession, up from 8 percent a year before.

“The argument for secession is that the U.S. has become an empire that is essentially ungovernable — it’s too big, it’s too corrupt and it no longer serves the needs of its citizens,” said Rob Williams, editor of Vermont Commons, a quarterly newspaper dedicated to secession.

“We have electoral fraud, rampant corporate corruption, a culture of militarism and war,” Williams said. “If you care about democracy and self-governance and any kind of representative system, the only constitutional way to preserve what’s left of the Republic is to peaceably take apart the empire.”

If you were sitting near your Maximum Leader now you would hear him crying out “cukkoo!” Sweet mother! What the hell is going on up in the Green Mountain State? Honestly now, are the people favoring secession going to reconstitute the Green Mountain Boys (and Gyrlz) and take up arms to defend themeselves against the fraud-loving, corporately-corrupt, militarists who until recently were their countrymen? Your Maximum Leader would like to see that. Hell, your Maximum Leader would raise a group of Virginia Volunteers (he would be Colonel-in-Chief) and march on up and retake Vermont on behalf of the United States. He would be happy to liberate the Ben and Jerry’s plant…

If he couldn’t liberate the Ben and Jerry’s plant, he would be happy to secure the grave of Calvin Coolidge for the US… Sherman had his march to the sea. Your Maximum Leader would have his march to Plymouth, Vermont. Be warned! It would be just as bloody…

Watch out Vermont… We’re not gonna let you go peacefully.

Carry on.

Not excited…

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader knows a few techie types who will be rushing out on June 29th to get themselves a new iPhone.

Your Maximum Leader will not be one of them.

He just go himself a new Motorola Razr. He is replacing the first generation Razr he got when they first came out. Which brings him to a little rant…

Your Maximum Leader’s old Razr worked just fine. He got a software upgrade on it and everything just seemed to be peachy with it. Then it started getting to the point where his Razr’s battery wouldn’t hold a charge. He could hardly get 20 minutes of talk out of his cell phone on a full charge.

Now… Please know that your Maximum Leader fully understands how and why batteries (rechargeable batteries) wear out. He knows it happens. And he wasn’t surprised that his Razr’s battery started to give up the proverbial ghost after 2.5 years of heavy use.

The part that pisses off your Maximum Leader was that when he went to AT&T (or Cingular - or whatever synergistic name they happen to have now…) to buy a new battery he was informed that a replacement battery was $55. He was also informed that with a 2 year service commitment a brand new Razr (that would get some sort of TV streaming stuff) was only $50.

Talk about a waste. Your Maximum Leader doesn’t consider himself an “environmentalist” but he knows that making and disposing of batteries is about a dirty a business as you can have. So it seems particularly egreigous that the phone makers and resellers would price it out so that new phones are “more economical” than new batteries. It seems very wrong on one level.

At any rate… Your Maximum Leader will not be getting an iPhone… He’s going to be enjoying his Razr until the battery can’t hold a charge…

Carry on.

Bad laws rapidly made.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is not a fan of the Patriot Act as long-time readers know. His opposition to the Patriot Act is based largely in the fact that it was hardly debated and rushed through Congress to President Bush’s desk. While many provisions of the Patriot Act are fine, there are many others that just have not been well thought out.

As a matter of course, your Maximum Leader would prefer the status quo to change. (Isn’t that the heart of conservatism?) In the case of far reaching legislation, he feels that “rushing a deal through” means that the law will be a bad one.

And so he comes to the new Immigration Bill before the Congress…

Your Maximum Leader has tried to read the bill. (Which the Heritage Foundation has graciously posted.) He really has. He’s gotten pretty far along, but hasn’t finished the job. Allow him to say… The bill is a mess. One can tell that this is the worst kind of political compromise. He says the worst kind of political compromise because it seems just thrown together. It is like some of the negotiating entities (presumably various Senators and Administration officials) just started throwing things in that everyone seemed to agree on.

All in all this bill would need months of work and careful review to be made more thoughtful and workable. But, we live in an age where careful thought and consideration to the bill will not be given in the first place. And it now appears as though the Senate and the White House are hell-bent for leather to pass this bill in more or less its current form.

So, your Maximum Leader has to oppose its passage. He would prefer that no immigration “reform” bill be passed than to pass a bill that no one understands, or will have time to attempt to understand.

Your Maximum Leader sees that many of his own fellow-travelers are opposed to the bill for various reasons. They might oppose family reunification. They might oppose the proposed “point system” used in evaluating visa status. They might oppose that the border will not be fortified. These are all legitimate reasons to oppose the bill. On the other side, many liberals and Democrats are opposed to the bill because it does strengthen the border. They oppose the bill because it requires fines to be paid by illegals wanting to change their status. They oppose the bill because it doesn’t go “far enough” for them.

Whatever the reasons for opposition, they are all legitimate concerns. Your Maximum Leader will continue to make his standard points on this issue…

1) Until we can secure our borders (Canada included) none of this matters at all. And by securing our borders your Maximum Leader means that we have a comprehensive and workable strategy to detect and indentify people crossing into and out of the United States. He doesn’t anticipate that securing the borders will “get” everyone trying to enter the US. But it needs to get “most” of the people trying to enter the US. He isn’t sure what percentage constitutes “most” of the people. But he feels it ought to be a pretty high number.

Excursus - As we now know, thanks to lawyer with TB, our existing lax system doesn’t even work that well. Really now… If you are on a list to be detained and you reach the border and you are not detained… Due to human error or any other error… That is a big problem.

2) Once we secure our borders, then we can discuss what type of immigration reform we want. As your Maximum Leader has said before, after the borders are secured, he doesn’t care much what status we give to illegal immigrants. He imagines that if many of the current illegals were given some status where they could work in the US and travel to and fro to Mexico they might take that status.

We all reap tremendous benefits (and do pay significant costs) from the work of illegal immigrants. The US is a nation of opportunity. We can’t and shouldn’t bolt the doors and refuse to let more people in. Your Maximum Leader believes that we ought to raise our current levels of legal immigration. He remembers reading that there are only 18,000 H1B visas issued now. These visas are for highly trained and educated people who have tremendous skills (generally engineers, doctors, scientists). He was shocked to learn the number was that low. He would raise it to 100,000 a year. We need these people to build our economy and future. But we also need the low skill workers. Your Maximum Leader would like to see a floating number of temporary worker visas available. The number would be based on the number of jobs we project to be available. These people would be allowed to come to the US and work and then free to leave, and come back.

We need to give some serious thought as to how we want the path to citizenship to look. We also need to give serious thought to what it means to be a citizen of our nation. Just as we aren’t thinking about a true immigration reform package, we aren’t thinking about any of this right now…

Your Maximum Leader believes that the current immigration bill will likely pass the Congress and be signed by the President in more or less its current form. And that is a bad thing… Your Maximum Leader will write his two Senators and ask them to vote against the bill - or at least demand that more time is given to debate the bill. There is no reason to rush this.

Do you know who has some interesting thoughts on the immigration bill and how the President is acting… Peggy Noonan… You ought to read her piece on Opinion Journal about how George W. Bush is destroying the Republican base. She makes a very interesting observation:

One of the things I have come to think the past few years is that the Bushes, father and son, though different in many ways, are great wasters of political inheritance. They throw it away as if they’d earned it and could do with it what they liked. Bush senior inherited a vibrant country and a party at peace with itself. He won the leadership of a party that had finally, at great cost, by 1980, fought itself through to unity and come together on shared principles. Mr. Bush won in 1988 by saying he would govern as Reagan had. Yet he did not understand he’d been elected to Reagan’s third term. He thought he’d been elected because they liked him. And so he raised taxes, sundered a hard-won coalition, and found himself shocked to lose his party the presidency, and for eight long and consequential years. He had many virtues, but he wasted his inheritance.

Bush the younger came forward, presented himself as a conservative, garnered all the frustrated hopes of his party, turned them into victory, and not nine months later was handed a historical trauma that left his country rallied around him, lifting him, and his party bonded to him. He was disciplined and often daring, but in time he sundered the party that rallied to him, and broke his coalition into pieces. He threw away his inheritance. I do not understand such squandering.

Very interesting indeed.

Oppose the immigration bill… No bill is better than a bad bill…

Carry on.

Jutland + 91

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was afraid that he wasn’t going to have time to write this post bringing to your attention the anniversary of the Battle of Jutland during the Great War.

The Battle of Jutland was fought on May 31-June 1, 1916. It was the largest battle between fleets of modern battleships in the history of the world. It pitted the German High Seas Fleet and the British Grand Fleet against each other.

Wikipedia has a surprisingly good article on the Battle. Here is another site (and okay site overall) about the battle.

Your Maximum Leader’s own opinion of the battle has slowly evolved over the years. For many years he spouted the standard British Admiralty line which was “Brits won.” Now he has a more nuanced view. He believes that the German High Seas Fleet scored a tactical victory. Even though the High Seas Fleet fled the battlefield (so to speak), they had drawn more blood and by that standard they won. If one wanted to evaluate the performance of the two fleets, the Germans again would have the advantage in terms of gunnery accuracy, manoeverablility, and night fighting.

That said, the British won the strategic victory. The High Seas Fleet fled the battle. The High Seas Fleet never again ventured far out of port for the remainder of the war. And the British were left controlling the seas. But that standard the greater victory was won by John Jellicoe (the British Admiral). Your Maxmium Leader agrees (as he often does) with Winston Churchill who declared that Jellicoe was the only man on either side in the war who could lose the war in an afternoon. The destruction of the Grand Fleet would have dramatically changed the course of the war. Lucky for all of us he did not.

Carry on.

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