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Plus ca change

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader thought this was very funny.

Sadly, your Maximum Leader closed the tab containing the link to the blog where he first saw this video. Sadly, he cannot give appropriate linkage to the blog author. He apologizes for this…

Carry on.

Triumphant!

NB: This is nearly a complete repost of the entry for October 21, 2009.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader will be lifting his glass today to toast Admiral Lord Nelson and the hearty tars of the Royal Navy as he celebrates the 204th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar.

On this day in 1805, Lord Nelson led the fleet into combat against the combined French and Spanish fleets off Cape Trafalgar. By the end of the day the Franco-Spanish force was destroyed or driven to port. Any hope Napoleon had for invading Britain was dashed that day. The battle also resulted in about 100 years of complete naval supremacy by Britain over the seas of the world.

The late and very lamented hero of the hour:

Lord Nelson.

Nelson’s plan called for the fleet to be divided into two columns. The two columns would be sailed (under tremendous fire) into the Franco-Spanish line in a way that would bisect that line in two places.

Before the battle Nelson’s flagship, HMS Victory, flew the following signal:

England expects that every man will do his D - U - T - Y.

And over the course of the day, every British sailor did his duty.

During the course of the fighting Nelson was killed by a sniper.

Nelson’s body was preserved in rum and returned to a joyful nation who interred the hero in the crypt of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.

Nelson’s Tomb St.Paul’s

Your Maximum Leader hopes that all you Anglophiles (and lovers of the fruits of the Anglo-Western tradition that we continue to enjoy in the US) will remember the great service done on behalf of civilization by Lord Nelson and the men of the Royal Navy over two hundred years ago.

Two years ago when this post first ran, there was some discussion in the comments as to whether Trafalgar was (as you Maximum Leader billed it) the greatest naval victory in the history of the world. Among the other contenders were: Salamis, Actium, Lepanto, Tsushima and Midway.

Your Maximum Leader will let you all decide which of these famous battles might be the greatest naval battle in the history of the world…

Carry on.

Democracy equals Rule of Law?

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was reading the Washington Post the other day and this piece by Anne Applebaum provoked him to want to write a post… This is that post.

In the Applebaum piece one part stood out to your Maximum Leader. She wrote: “Democracy is based on the rule of law. Democracy works only within distinct borders and among people who feel themselves to be part of the same nation.” Your Maximum Leader completely agrees with the second sentance there; but was lost by the first.

Is democracy based on rule of law? If you are talking broadly about those nations that are part of the Anglo-Western tradition (the UK, USA, Canada and Austrailia); then you might have a point that rule of law and democracy go hand in hand. But in and of itself, there is nothing inherent in democracy that would lead one to assume that rule of law is part of said democracy. One could have an open democratic process to elect a dictator with sweeping and arbitrary powers. Democracy is only means that the people vote on things. In most countries that are fully-functioning (or seemingly functioning) democracies the people elect leaders to “rule” them. But again… Rule of law, while we take it for granted here, is not part or parcel of democracy.

This line of thinking also applies to “rights.” We have politicians talking about a “right” to healthcare in our democracy. There is nothing in a democracy that grants rights to people. Rights are (depending on your outlook) either given to you by the state or are granted to you by God/Nature/outside forces.

Your Maximum Leader doesn’t disagree with the general thrust of Applebaum’s argument; but it annoys him that she (and so many others) think that democracy is so much more than it is. Let’s just say that if you believe in the political system we’ve worked on in the United States for over 200 years; then you need to work on change within that political system to get the outcome you desire. Street protests are fine to call attention to a problem, but the protests don’t do anything to fix a problem.

Unless of course the protests lead to widespread discontent and revolution. But your Maximum Leader isn’t sure that is what the Occupy (fill in name of street) people are looking to do…

Carry on.

Strange dream

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader woke this morning from the strangest and most real seeming dream he’s had in a long time. It goes like this…

Your Maximum Leader is going to the liquor store to buy some Scotch. He buys some and notices that right next to the liquor store is a church. The name on the church sign is “Saint Garrioch’s Anglican Church and Scottish Cultural Center.” Of course, your Maximum Leader goes in. He sat down in a pew and realized that the whole congregation seemed very lively and animated and very “scottish looking.” The pastor came out from behind an altar screen and invited everyone to come down into the common room downstairs. So we all got up and went downstairs. Once downstairs we were in a large room that vaugely resembled my paternal grandparents basement. It had late 60’s wood composite paneling and a dark colored shag carpet. There were chairs and sofas and more pews in the room. Your Maximum Leader sat down again in a pew. The pastor reappeared in clerical robes that seemed to be tucked down into a Royal Stewart tartan kilt. Around this point various bottles of whisky started to appear and everyone started drinking. The pastor began a sermon on drunkeness. Mid-way through his sermon he called out for our good lesbian friend “Michelle” to start the karaoke contest. Your Maximum Leader looked to his left and saw a very masculine woman stand up. As he looked at her more carefully, she seemed very familiar. Then he realized that the lesbian karaoke leader looked like a cross between your Maximum Leader and his great-aunt. At this point the pastor came over to your Maximum Leader, hugged him and declared “Laddie, your mum over there [pointing to the lesbian] is a fine lookin’ woman.”

Around this time your Maximum Leader awoke… Very strange…

Carry on.

Blathering.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has not forsaken this blog. Well… You wouldn’t know it from looking at how rapidly he’s been updating it recently. He keeps thinking of a good post here and there, but doesn’t get around to writing. He knows he’s been playing this tune for over a year… But it is the tune of the moment so it will keep playing.

Your Maximum Leader sees that FLG is now on Twitter… Huzzah. Follow him here.

Are you following your Maximum Leader on Twitter? You can get him @maximumleader.

Your Maximum Leader has had three urges lately. The first is to watch Dr. Zhivago. The second is to go to Venice for Christmas. (You are all getting pretty sick of hearing that one and wondering when your Maximum Leader will just go already…) The third was to cure some bacon.

That third urge was a little more difficult than he suspected. Normally, your Maximum Leader goes to his local butcher and grabs some pork bellies and gets to curing. Sadly, the butcher has been running out of pork bellies of late. Apparently, lots to people are buying pork bellies for various uses. It is crazy but now your Maximum Leader is on a waiting list to get some when it comes in. (He could have had some on Wednesday, but didn’t feel like paying an extra $2.50/pound to get it special ordered.)

Your Maximum Leader’s church is beginning to roll out some of the changes to the Mass. Today we got the new Gloria, Memorial Acclamation and Great Amen. In a few weeks they will be remembered. The big problem for your Maximum Leader will be the new translation of the Nicene Creed. That will be a toughie.

Speaking (a little) about religion… Rick Perry ought to get some of his more religious followers to shut the hell up. Your Maximum Leader isn’t sure there is a polite way of saying that Mormonism is a cult. And if you can’t be polite about it, you might as well just shut the hell up about it.

Of course, your Maximum Leader doesn’t much care that Rick Perry is faltering in the polls. If your Maximum Leader may be frank (and it is his blog so he will be frank), there is not a circumstance under which your Maximum Leader would ever (EVER!) vote for Rick Perry to hold any office of public trust at any level. Your Maximum Leader would no sooner vote for Rick Perry for dog catcher than he would for President of the United States. If (in the seemingly more and more unlikely event) Rick Perry gets the Republican nomination for the Presidency your Maximum Leader would throw his vote away on a third party candidate - or even write someone in on the ballot. Your Maximum Leader knows that the great Commonwealth of Virginia might be close next year. Even that knowledge would not lead him to change his mind.

You see, your Maximum Leader believes Rick Perry is unfit to hold any public office after his involvement in the case of Cameron Todd Willingham. If you haven’t read or do not know about Cameron Todd Willingham, you would do well to start with this article from the New Yorker magazine. You might also check out the Innocence Project’s page on Cameron Todd Willingham for more information on this heinous miscarriage of justice.

The case of Cameron Todd Willingham horrifies your Maximum Leader so much that he is continually rethinking his support of the death penalty. For the record your Maximum Leader has long supported the death penalty. He knows that it is quite possible that people have been executed for crimes they did not commit. But often those executed had long track records of hideous criminal behavior and while perhaps not guilty of the crime for which they were executed; they likely had it coming. (Which your Maximum Leader knows is no justification for being “satisfied” with an execution. This is nothing more than a salve for his conscience.) But as best your Maximum Leader can tell Cameron Todd Willingham was executed having committed no capital crime whatsoever. (NB: Willingham did have a criminal record including theft and other petty crimes. Not anything that would rise to the level of a capital offense.) Rick Perry is at least partially responsible for Willingham’s death, and as such he is not qualified to be President.

While your Maximum Leader is going on about those who are not qualified to be President… He is glad that Sarah Palin is not going to run. But he is saddened by the fact that she still has a soapbox from which to speak to the masses. While your Maximum Leader can’t imagine voting for Sarah Palin for President, he would consider he for other political positions. County Council or City Council leap to mind. She might also be an effective mayor of a small to medium sized town. She would even be okay in Congress; but your Maximum Leader couldn’t imagine casting a vote for her to any federal office. Regrettably, plenty of news outlets continue to give her time/coverage and we have to listen to her…

Your Maximum Leader was listening to APM’s Marketplace recently. On Marketplace, David Frum has been a longtime commentator who spoke “on behalf of the right.” Your Maximum Leader wrote “spoke” there because Frum has left Marketplace. The reason? He no longer feels as though he speaks on behalf of the majority of the right. Your Maximum Leader knows how he feels. Your Maximum Leader doesn’t really feel at home in the current iteration of the Republican party; and feels marginalized on the political right.

Your Maximum Leader is not a Tea Party type of fellow. He doesn’t think President Obama is a full-out Socialist. He doesn’t deny evolution. He is an old fashioned conservative. He would likely be labeled a RINO by many. Or a “Rockefeller Republican.” Or even a “Moderate.” Your Maximum Leader doesn’t think that he is any of those three things… But he is thinking that more and more he is becoming the old man yelling for the kids to get off his yard. Only in this case he is yelling at the kids that he is a true conservative and they are something else…

Your Maximum Leader believes in small government. But there is a role for government in society and it is possible for government to be too small. (Ours is too big now, by the way.) Your Maximum Leader believes that taxes are a price we pay for civilization. But he doesn’t see that tax cuts now will help our economic situation. (Neither will a tax increase by the way. Uncertainty - about all things economic is at the heart of our current crisis.) Your Maximum Leader is in favor of a strong national defense. And currently the US is overextended around the world and in need of a rethink of priorities. Your Maximum Leader is pro-life. But the best outcome a pro-lifer can hope for in the nation today are some restrictions of some types of abortion. Your Maximum Leader is a pretty traditional guy and does believe that permissiveness in many areas of civil society is damaging to that society in the long run. But he also believes that government is not the agent of social change many think it is and should be. Your Maximum Leader appreciates science and learning and is put off by those who seem to flaunt their ignorance.

So what is he to think? Your Maximum Leader likes to think he is a rational right-leaning fellow. That said he certainly doesn’t think that he is in the mainstream of the political right. Neither is he off to the far right. He thinks that the right have moved further right and he is looking to be more of a centre-right type of guy.

Of course, this is all from his perspective… To many it would look like your Maximum Leader has moved left and become a squishy centrist…

Ah well…

Carry on.

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