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Monday, November 24, 2003

Who's a Minority?
The government forces many kinds of institutions, some more against their will than others, to recognize some of us as "minorities." Only some of these minorities are granted special privileges over the others, with little reason or rhyme as to why some are chosen over others.

The US government has decided that those who are from or descended from the Iberian peninsula of Europe are Hispanic. Oh, wait, no, they include all those people who come from Central and South America, no matter if their ancestors are European or not, they can be African or Native American, or perhaps even Asian. No, wait again, they only include those from countries in Europe or Central or South America that speak Spanish. Belize, French Guyana, and Brazil don't count. Neither does Portugal. Why does that make sense?
I don't like this inherently racist way of treating people differently simply because of their ancestry. In fact, I would like to see someone challenge it in court someday by claiming that it violates the Constitution's proscription against "corruption of the blood." Why am I, of Portuguese descent, denied the protected status that someone gets whose ancestors are from a few miles across a border on the Iberian Peninsula in Spain? Of course the reason is because the Spanish speaking people are a bigger minority than the Portuguese speaking people. More people grant them more political muscle. Isn't it odd that being a minority is only good if it's a majority minority?

It's not like Portuguese people aren't discriminated against. If you live in many parts of the South West, being Hispanic is a distinct advantage. But being Portuguese in some parts of Massachussetts is very rough. So the argument of disadvantageousness doesn't apply.

How does one prove one's ancestry? If I claimed to be descended from people from Spain or Mexico whose progeny briefly lived in the Azores and Lisbon, how could anyone prove otherwise? As a matter of fact, if I claimed to be black how could anyone prove me not? Maybe I am. Many Africans invaded Spain and Portugal. There's probably some Moor in my ancestry. How far back can we go in calculating race or politically protected ethnicity?

I know a family who escaped from Czechoslavakia after World War II and moved to Argentina. Their son moved to California. If he wanted to, he could claim to be Hispanic, even though he's Czech, has a Czech name, and can speak Czech among his family. He has a strong Argentinian accent, and since the Spaniards that settled there before his Czech family did were of Germanic ancestry (I don't have access to my sources right now, I think they were Vandals or Alemanni), he doesn't look any different from anyone else from Argentina. What makes him hispanic?

The idea of favoring some people based on their ancestry is bad enough, but it's even worse when you realize that it's impossible to clearly define who does or doesn't belong to each protected group.

We need to end racism. The politics of socialism won't let that happen any time soon, though.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

LtCol West has seen too many movies
An army battalion commander is undergoing a court martial for ordering his soldiers to beat a prisoner of war, threatening to kill him, and twice firing a pistol to scare him. He claims he was just trying to protect his men. He claims that he knew that this prisoner had information about a plot to assassinate him and ambush his troops. Somehow he was able to know this, but he didn't know anything more.

It doesn't appear to me that this occurred during a firefight or in the heat of action, which still wouldn't much excuse him, because they were garrisoned long enough for him to supposedly be targeted by the enemy by name.

LtCol West has successfully garnered sympathy from the public, including many who should know better, by claiming to have the prescience to know that he was saving the lives of his troops, a spurious claim that he repeats ad nauseum.

He should be put in jail, and here's why.
I think LtCol West has seen too many movies. I also think it is presumptive to believe that the ambush wouldn't have been averted anyway, or that the prisoner wouldn't have talked without being beaten and threatened with a pistol. We can't know alternative futures, nor can he. Yet he has been telling us that he can.

I suspect that any battalion commander that orders a prisoner beaten up by his troops has some issues with the law. I don't have a big problem with firing a pistol into a safety drum. I can't imagine that intimidating anyone. (Dogs bark when they're chained up. When they're not chained, they either run or bite and don't waste time barking.) It wouldn't have intimidated me, I've heard gunshots before. I suspect that the prisoner would have talked if just yelled at from the way I heard the story. But then, I wasn't there.

Regardless, I think that we have laws and that if you publicly flaunt the laws as the commander, you can't expect anyone else to follow them. How can he expect his troops to treat prisoners properly when he's not around if he's going to do this in front of them all, and then make it a part of his official report? He should be cashiered for simply being stupid. If the situation were really as dire as he now presents it, he should have been more discreet.

Part of having command or being in charge is to know which rules are to be bent and when. I know that the troops working for me occasionally broke the rules. It's impossible to live without doing so. But if one of them came to me with a written confession telling me that not only was a rule broken, but a criminal offense was committed then I'd be obliged to act on it even if no harm was done. So putting this sophomoric stunt in his official report was honest but idiotic.

If he really thought this was the only way to preserve the lives of his men, to take upon himself the responsibility of maltreating a prisoner, then he should accept the consequences of his decision. He holds a commission to obey the laws of the officers over him and the government who commissioned him. If he wants to disobey their laws and publicize his misbehavior so openly, then he should salute smartly and accept the consequences.

I understand that no one was hurt or at least not given serious injuries. But this guy just got lucky. He probably knows nothing about interrogation techniques. What if his shooting into a barrel foolishness didn't work? What would his next step have been? Shooting at his feet? Shooting him in the leg? Pistol whipping him?

I think this officer was out of control, and afterwards was smug about getting lucky that his silliness worked and bragged about it in a report. He needs to be punished, and probably put in jail.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

String Theory, The Big Bang, and the End of All Things
I watched a show on PBS the other day called "The Elegant Universe" which was about string theory. String theory is still controversial and no one can say to what degree it is accurate, or if there is anything legitimate about it at all. But some of the ideas presented in this television show have some disturbing implications for our long term, or even short term future.

I had always regarded intelligence to be the opposite of entropy. That is, the principle of entropy requires that all things will move to a less organized state. Chemical reactions, and even organic reactions such as photosynthesis can temporarily organize matter and energy, but so far as we know, only intelligence has the potential to continuously delay the onset of entropy. I had always had faith that no matter what happens in the universe we would be able to face it with intelligence and action, not unlike Buck Rogers, and be able to survive as a species.

After watching this show I can no longer have this faith. Even if we won't be capable of stopping the end of the Big Bang, it seemed to come at a predictable time frame, measurable in billions of years. String theory blows this out of the water.
We've all heard about the Big Bang theory which surmises that the universe began as all matter and energy concentrated in a single point which then exploded and dispersed all matter into the expanding universe that we now perceive. Variations on this theme further surmise two different scenarios, one where the universe expands infinitely, the other where it reaches a maximum and then retracts into a point again.

The problem with this theory is that it can't explain the end points, nor can it explain what is beyond the universe. I refuse to accept that there is nothing beyond the universe. It may be true that we can't see past it or travel past it, but something is beyond it nonetheless. The Big Bang theory doesn't address this possibility at all.

Enter string theory and the concept of membranes, or "branes" as they called them on the show. (I'll have to get the book!) Essentially one new theory put forth is that we exist in 11 dimensions, though we only immediately perceive three of the spatial dimensions and the time dimension. The dimensions that we perceive are contained in a brane which exists in the vicinity of other branes. Imagine that our brane is a pancake and the other branes are other pancakes in a stack. Better yet, imagine that the branes are pieces of cellophane floating in a swimming pool. Normally, each brane or piece of cellophane floats by itself and nothing happens, but occasionally the pieces of cellophane will touch each other. This brane to brane contact would be extremely violent, and the theory as presented on this television show is that this point of contact is the origin of the Big Bang.

As pictured on this television show, these brane-to-brane contacts are haphazard or random. No one can say if any of this is true, but the randomness of a new Big Bang occurring is unsettling. By this theory we could all be dead tomorrow or a hundred years, rather than in billions of years.

I'm not about to run around in the streets with a "The End is Near" sign, but this new world view has shaken my confidence in man's intelligence being able to find a solution for every problem we can face. I'd always accepted that there will be challenges to our future eons, and we could very well fail to continue in existence, but I'd always hoped that our intelligence could offset entropy and every other threat to our future.

Intelligence is still the opposite of entropy, but there is no defense from randomness of events we can't perceive.

Ah, but I can still hope that someday we'll understand this string theory or whatever else comes along, and be learn how to perceive this potential threat to our existence. Who knows, maybe if this random brane collision doesn't occur for a few billion years, perhaps we will have figured a way to move between branes, and maybe even control them. I guess I'm an incorrigible optimist.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Wesley Clark is Insane
He's being interviewed by Tim Russert right now, and he's displaying a complete infamiliarity with rationality.

He's a cog in the Clinton machine.
He's criticizing everything about the military actions in Iraq, and despite his having worn 4 stars on his collar in the past, he shows absolutely no military insight whatsoever. He says we must make the size of the forces we use in Iraq larger. He says we must make the size of the forces we use in Iraq smaller. Then realizing the incongruity of his two statements, he quickly says that we need to increase our forces in the short term.

How short is that term, Wes? You mean until we succeeed and the Iraqis are safe again? Wow, that's original. What insight!

His criticism of the war in Iraq lacks substance. I expect regular politicians to speak glibly about military tactics and strategy. I expect much more coherent discussion from a man with his background. What are the specific points he disagrees with? The names of which units should be doing what better using what assets? I expect a discussion from him that is much more original and coherent, yet all he has done is speak in sound bites that wouldn't sound intelligent even coming from Tom Daschle.

His explanation of his past behavior is Clintonesque. I guess if it worked for Clinton, it should work for him since the target is the same democrats. He supports George Bush, but now he doesn't support George Bush. He supports the war in Iraq, but not the war in Iraq.

He claims that he wasn't told not to meet with Mladic, who was known to be a despot. But here we must apply the common man test. If the common man were to meet with a cold-blooded murderer accused of committing genocide and ethnic cleansing, would the common man think it is appropriate to laugh and joke with him, and swap hats like a bunch of college boys? Or would the common man, if he found it useful to meet with this butcher, only act as civilly as possible to communicate the position of the government he is representing? Wes yuks it up with mass murderers.

Now he's made a statement of the ecomony, regarding unemployment. After saying how terrible it is to lose a job, he tells us that people who were once executives are now selling cars. Hmm. Is there something wrong with selling cars? Car salesmen often make handsome salaries. How many Americans really feel sorry for out-of-work executives who now make six figure salaries as car salemen? I don't think that will play well with the democratic base.

The rest of his blatherings are unimportant. The only thing that is important is that Wesley Clark is a stalking horse for the Clinton machine. The Clintons still retain power at the top of the Democratic party and they have every intention to keep it that way. If another democrat wins the presidency their power among democrats wanes significantly. Their goal is to control the machine of the Democratic party, with its money and power, even at the cost of their party occupying the White House.

The political machine of the Democrats is more than merely the presidency. It is a vast network throughout the country for raising money, controlling activists, and exerting power. After watching the filibuster of the judicial nominees, can anyone say that they lack any power? The Clintons intend to keep control of that power as long as their tendrils can wind around any part of it.

Wesley Clark is an ethically deficient man, fired as a general, confused about what political party he should join, and incapable of articulating a cogent policy that isn't self-contradictory. He is meaningless except as a stalking horse, meant to disrupt the democratic nominating process to allow the Clinton machine to retain power over the party.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Where do I belong?
Most people divide politics into "liberal" and "conservative" labels. There is no clear definition of these terms. This nation is the birthplace of liberalism, but nowadays liberals are called conservatives, which used to mean something entirely different. Labels mean so little because we give such conflicting meaning to the labels.

In the past decade we've seen a growth in the recognition of other ideologies, sometimes associated with new parties like the Greens and the Libertarians, and there have been parties that are new without any ideology, such as the Independent Party.

People have often tried to pin me into a political category, and they're often so wrong. Most think I'm a conservative, and some even think I'm a liberal. Both labels fit me poorly. I'm not a conservative, I'm not a liberal, I'm not a green socialist, or a libertarian. I'm an objectivist.
I'm not a conservative. I do not believe in a strong federal government except for national defense. Many modern conservatives tend towards libertarian principles, but rarely practice it. They'll say that they don't like big government, yet they are often in favor of government interference in business, spending my money on putting their children through schools, and even social security, welfare, and medicare. Conservatives are quick to inflict their religion and opinions on fellow Americans at the end of a gun, and are in favor of a "war on drugs." They believe in federal control over the monetary system. That ain't me.

I'm not a liberal. The term has been so corrupted that it no longer means the beautful system of liberty that our nation was founded for. Modern liberalism is a strange cross breed of ultra-socialism, communism, environmental fascism, gun confiscation, and has degraded to the point of being dangerous to our freedom. Its practicioners have become incapable of rational discourse and its leaders unable to open their mouths without lies and outright fabrications. They no longer stretch the truth, or spin misleading viewpoints, they now lie with impunity on every topic. That ain't me.

The Greens are just a bunch of extremist liberals. They are a mix of the worst of the communists, ultra-socialists, the misguided disciples of the meddlesome Ralph Nader and others who are anti-life, anti-human, and think that humans are a pestilence on the Earth. That ain't me.

For a while I considered myself a libertarian and at times I even worked with and voted for the Libertarian Party. I never felt comfortable with orgainizations like the North American Man-Boy Love Association seeking to associate with the party, but despite that they attracted some fringes of society like hedonists and anarchists, they seemed the most principled party out there. I felt less and less comfortable with them over the years, and after the terrorist attacks, I was horrified that the LP's first response was to blame the United States for being attacked. I can't abide that way of thinking. The LP has since become a pacifist party. That ain't me. I mailed back my membership card.

I often say that I'm an Anti-Federalist. But that confuses people. Those that have any recognition of the term usually think I mean the Federalists like Jefferson, Adams, and Washington, rather than the Anti-Federalists like George Mason and John Randolph. Mason and Randolph are my greatest political heroes and they struggled hard to limit the creation and growth of federal power. Their most significant victory was inserting the Bill of Rights, written by George Mason, into our Constitution. Few know who these people are, and they're all dead. There is no Anti-Federalist party, they have been defeated.

I started writing these rants mostly after 9/11 and I've been surprised that most of my opinions have been echoed by writers at the Ayn Rand Institute. I don't agree with everything written there, but most of what I've written I've seen afterwards on their site. I've studied Ayn Rand's philosophy, Objectivism, for many years and I've been pleased with how my way of thinking has been mirrored by others independently from me. It proves that having a solid philosophical foundation is the basis for having a correct understanding of world events.

So I'm an Objectivist. Few people recognize that term, and no one runs for office using that label, but there's no better way to say it. I am for laisse faire capitalism. I am for eliminating the federal bank. I am for private schools. I am against religion, but I support anyone's right to pollute their own mind with religion if they so choose. I like literature and movies that exalt the heroic in man. I am against nihilistic post-modernists. I am for a vigorous defense of our freedom, and I am for the destruction of the anti-freedom, anti-life, anti-mind culture of Islam.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Heroes are Supposed to be Winners
The reasoning for naming heroes has changed. Heroes were once the men who won battles. Later heroes were the people who rescued the wounded. We used to call Alvin York and Audie Murphy heroes. Now we call Jessica Lynch a hero.

(major revisions made on 11/12/03)
Jessica Lynch is often called a hero because of what happened to her in Iraq. She was in a car wreck, had a poorly maintained rifle, and was taken prisoner. She was a victim of a major screw up, not a hero. Her senior officers left her section of the convoy behind. The guides directing traffic left their posts because they assumed all vehicles had passed. The officer in her immediate charge was using an incorrectly penciled map, and not reading his instructions. Because of this blunder, Lynch and several other poorly armed vehicles drove into a large city occupied by heavily armed and untouched enemy forces. Oops. It was a classic blunder of careless leaders not keeping track of their people, and low ranking officers not using their head. I'll refrain from further criticism because I wasn't there, but I'll say that poorly trained troops with dirty rifles who are led into heavily armed enemy cities are not well led. So why is she a hero?

When the USS Cole was attacked by Al Qaeda and had a big hole punched in it, one of the female sailors was shipped home locally and heralded as a hero. She even claimed to be a hero in the excitement of having a lot of cameras and microphones being thrust at her. No one seemed to question why an uninjured woman was sent home when the rest of the crew was still on the ship fighting to keep it afloat. Does anyone else see a trend? Let me start at the beginning again.

Alvin York was a hero when he single handedly captured a German machine gun company in the Great War. It's true that again a map error caused his squad to be behind enemy lines, but he became a hero by winning, not by being captured.

Audie Murphy is the most decorated American in our history. His exploits during the Second World War are too numerous to relate, but they all involved courage in the face of the enemy and most definitely involved winning.

Even in Korea, heros recognized publicly were winners. But a shift seems to have begun. A shift that became most apparent in Viet Nam.

I can't give statistics. My old boss, Col. Wesley Fox, was awarded the Medal of Honor for distinctly brave actions in the A Shau valley. But his example is unusual from what I normally see from that war and since. In Viet Nam, probably because of the unpopularity of the war, the most public heros weren't those who killed the most enemy soldiers. Watch, and you'll see that when heroes from that war are mentioned, it's almost always from life saving actions, for brave medevac actions, mostly. It's not a new reason for giving out medals, it just seems more frequently the cited reason.

What happened to the heroes that won battles? The ones that through their bold action turned potential disaster into a great victory? They were there, and they are honored, but not as publicly. Our public taste in heroes has changed. Politics and trendy social agendas affect what we call heroes.

Now back to the present. Who are our heroes? Have you heard of Capt. Hornbuckle? I'll bet not. He was awarded a Bronze Star with V for valor during the assault on Baghdad. His story is compelling and he led his soldiers in an eight hour battle, badly outnumbered. And he won. And I think there are many others who probably were even more courageous. I'd rather have a man like Hornbuckle in my list of personal heroes than a Jessica Lynch. He was a winner, she was a victim. Her actions are blameless, but I'm sorry, I can't call her one of the great heroes (and her own statements agree with that sentiment). My standards for heroism are higher than getting in a vehicle accident, passing out, and being rescued in a hospital.

So why is the American public fixated on her story, why is she the only famous hero from this war? One reason is that having women in combat is a novelty, and so it's new to us. But the biggest reason is a result of social policy agendas, there are a lot of people who want to believe women should be equal to men in combat and to them this symbolizes that equality.

It's part of a perverse logic. It is by necessity of mission roles, among other reasons, that it would be hard to find a woman who will lead assaults to victory against overwhelming odds, but it's easy to find women who can be victims. Women are still not in the infantry, so you won't find a female Audie Murphy single-handedly destroying enemy tanks at close range. You won't find women leading attacks on a determined and entrenched enemy. But with women in combat support roles, some of them are going to be killed and captured. It's a variation on another theme: If passing the physical fitness test means you can be a capable soldier, and if women can't pass the test, then if you redefine the test so that women can pass it, they become capable soldiers.

The perverse logic of why Jessica Lynch is a hero goes like this: A woman can be a dramatic victim as well as any man, and if being a victim is considered heroic, then both men and women have the same potential for heroism.

It's not a conspiracy. It's just a popular way of thinking. And I don't like it. My heroes win.

Monday, November 10, 2003

To the Marines on our Birthday
In the first world war, the Marines set the standard for all other militaries for tenacity, teamwork, and success. The Germans called us Teufelhunden, or devil dogs because they had never encountered a military force that pressed the attack so viciously in the face of very strong resistance. And this was just the beginning of the modern Marine Corps.

This is my most assuredly bigoted analysis of the US Marine Corps in comparison to the US army, with as much inter-service rivalry that I can muster.
When the army commissioned a French sculptor to make a bronze statue that personifies the American fighting man, the sculptor chose a Marine as his model. The embarrassed army gave the statue to the Marine Corps and it still stands in front of Little Hall in Quantico, Virginia.

Between the wars, the Marines set the standards for military efficiency, from the banana wars where they invented dive bombing, to their relief of the Legation in Peking. Marines defined amphibious warfare and honed the complex skills and equipment needed to land large numbers of troops where the enemy didn't want them, and this became our means of starting every campaign in the second world war, from North Africa, to Okinawa.

When WWII began Marines defending Wake Island, led by Major Devereaux became the only defenders on either side in the entire war to throw an amphibious assault back into the ocean, using only one battalion and a few airplanes. And the Japanese were thrown back twice before the unrelieved Marines finally surrendered. They would likely have succeeded a third time had they not lost communication due to a broken wire between the two halves of the island. Having lost communications with the other half of the island, Devereaux incorrectly assumed that they were over run, and so surrendered.

It was during WWII that the successes of the Marines continued to contrast with those of the army. The only time a Marine regiment has ever surrendered was when it was led by an army general, MacArthur, who abandoned them in the Philipines. Even then, they surrendered only because they ran out of food, medicine and ammunition, they were never over run. It seems that MacArthur found a way to get a submarine to smuggle him out, but never found a way to smuggle supplies in.

In Okinawa, the first time Marines commanded large army units, an army commander had to be relieved because his progress was too slow compared to his Marine peers.

In Korea, despite the reluctance of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Marine Corps formed a full strength division using troops it scavenged from bases across the country and equipment that it had recovered from WWII that the army abandoned. The Marines were appalled at the army's waste at the end of the war and had the foresight to collect it all and refurbish it to acquire first rate equipment at a bargain.

The army, driven into a pocket at Pusan, barely avoided anihilation. The First Marine Brigade, hastily formed and deployed on very short notice, was divided up and inserted between the army units, to keep them from collapsing completely. The First Marine Division then landed in Inchon, and drove across the peninsula so fast that they reached the other side before the western amphibious assault forces could land. They swept away the same enemy that had sent the US army cowering in Pusan.

In the offensive heading north to the Yalu River, the Marines outpaced the army, and when the Chinese attacked, they sent one Chinese division to attack each army division, yet sent nine to attack the First Marine Division. With the army retreating head over heels, the Marines were forced to pull back, fighting those nine divisions and bringing all their men and equipment with them. Their feat will forever be lauded as one of the finest withdrawals ever conducted under fierce attack, and it included the innovation of air dropping a bridge. Here, more than anywhere else, the Marines proved the theory that all Marines are riflemen, which the army is only now beginning to understand.

In Viet Nam, while the army was flailing, the Marines were famous for their brilliant successes at Khe Sanh, the A Shau Valley, Hue City, etc. The army had some successes, but I'm biased enough to say that the Marines shone in comparison.

After Viet Nam, the Marines were everywhere, and had one notable disaster in Lebanon, but the difference between the army and the Marines came into starkest contrast in Somalia. The Marines did their last amphibious assault using conventional landing craft, and were met by camera crews, just like in Wonsan in Korea thirty years earlier. The Marines regrettably were "meals on wheels" and delivered food to starving villages, but yet performed brilliantly. Their mission was so well executed that it was only the subsequent army bungling that demonstrated their brilliance. During their entire deployment, the Marines remained scrupulously neutral towards all sides in the civil war being waged, and the warring factions stepped aside while the Marines delivered the food in armed convoys. The Marines then did an amphibious withdrawal, leaving the continent.

It was only after this withdrawal that President Clinton, for reasons I can't comprehend, sent in the army special forces and tried to disarm the forces that were most legitimate and most loyal to us in the civil war. People remember Somalia for the army's incompetence, and forget the Marines brilliance only a few months earlier.

Now, in the second Iraq War, the Marines have again displayed their military superiority to all other forces on this Earth. Unlike the incompetence of some army units, no Marine convoys got lost and took a wrong turn into a hostile city. No Marines were captured because they didn't keep their weapons clean and lubricated. All Marines are riflemen and they performed with their customary brilliance. Areas where Marines are now occupying are largely pacified, while wherever the army is, they experience frequent attacks and deaths. The army likes to point out that they occupy the Sunni Triangle, but the Shiite areas were initially very hostile as well, but were pacified by the Marines using creativity in working with the Iraqis and ruthlessness in attacking our enemies.

There are some fine people that have been and are in the army. People are people, and those in the army are no different than those in the Marine Corps. The only difference is how they think as an institution. It's true that much of the Marine Corps' mission is redundant to the army's mission. But the institution of the Marine Corps is unparalleled in the history of mankind, and their ability to perform superbly in all conditions is the best reason to keep them on.

Happy Birthday, Marines, and Semper fidelis.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

"It is the dream of every young man to be a war correspondent. Isn't it?"
That's the quote of some pretensious woman on the television. I'm watching another of the innumerable television homages to the so-called "wonderful heros," the war correspondents. I think there are more of these shows than there are homages to the people who actually face danger regularly to fight the wars. Some of this is interesting, some of it is appropriate, but when Christianne Amanpour puts her mug on the screen and tells us that only they can tell us what is happening in the world, I am sickened. She compounded my revulsion by insisting that she and her colleagues were the ones to interpret the world's events for us.
What makes this so especially vile a claim is the revelation that CNN admitted that it purposefully became the propaganda machine for Saddam Hussein. I hope no one ever forgets that CNN reporters were the only western reporters allowed inside Iraq because they were the only ones that promised to not tell the truth about Hussein's regime. They knew about the reign of terror, the tortures, the fear and mutilations, yet they told no one.

These are the people who keep lionizing their own value to this world.

The truth is that "journalism" is not a special profession. The US Constitution's first amendment doesn't grant "journalists" any special rights that the rest of us don't have. The truth is that anyone can witness the truth and write about it, it is only the "journalists" that have in the past 55 years granted themselves an aura of authority to bill themselves as having some special insight that others can't have. The basis of their claim is that they have studied at journalism school and received a degree that means that they did less work and were taught less than used to be common among high school graduates. People who couldn't be bothered to spend their college years learning a real education have become the self-proclaimed filters for our understanding of world -- and local -- events.

I can't say when it began, or when it became dominant, but my impression is that this journalistic arrogance began after the second world war. With the rise in power of the FCC, and the difficulty of receiving alternative news sources for most people, their arrogance was matched only by their power, not by their skill or objectiveness. With the recent overt and filthy admission of treason of CNN in the years before this recent war, regarding "journalists" with any degree of respect as a profession can no longer be taken seriously. Yes, there are some that are respectable as individuals, but they are the exception to the rule.

Finally, free speech through the internet is trumping the power of control over our information sources. When reporters give their biased, ignorant, and foolish versions of events going on, you can count on some local person who is more aware and better educated on the matter to set their lies straight.

I have little patience for these frequent homages to war correspondents. The news writers shouldn't be the news, or even the history to a greater extent than the people actually making the history are. Andy Rooney took a few flights on a bomber in WWII, and people think he's a hero. I'm unimpressed. The people who rode those bombers everyday, knowingly steering their craft into danger, were the heros.

Okay, the show is still on and I just finished screaming obscenities at the screen. Some effete "journalist" just finished saying that the war correspondents were brave by choice. The infantrymen who had to stick their heads around corners and get shot at were not as brave, because they had no choice, they had to be there. The journalists were braver than the soldiers! He actually said this, and some editor put it on the show! This is why I hate journalists. This is the twisted and warped view of the world that they are so arrogant to claim is our world view. Without them, they believe, we would know nothing. The truth is that despite them, we try to understand what is happening because they are so often wrong about basic facts and the simplest shades of understanding. What kind of sick mind thinks that a man who stands nearby with a camera is braver than the ones in front of him who have to run into the on coming bullets to stop the enemy from shooting?

I'm too sickened to continue. Thank god for the internet. The unchallenged power of these intellectual midgets is ending.