Sean LaFreniere

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Sean's Political Dictionary
So that YOU know what SEAN is talking about when he opens his big mouth:

 

Conservative:

Date: 1831. From Latin conservare, for "to keep", "guard", or "observe". A Conservative relies upon family traditions and figures of authority to establish and maintain values. 

A Conservative puts group security above personal freedoms. 

A Conservative believes that successful use and maintenance of power proves God's favor for the government. 

A Conservative believes that social values, religious rules, and forms of governments may only be altered gradually. 

Stability and continuity are the goals of government.

 

Liberal:

Date: 1820. From Latin liberalis for "free". A Liberal uses reason and logic to set personal, social, and religious values. 

A Liberal places personal freedom above group security. 

A Liberal believes that governments rule by the consent of the governed. 

A liberal believes that governments may be changed or removed at the will of the people.  

A Liberal supports rapid change in the pursuit of progress and reform.

Freedom and Justice are the goals of government.

 

Note: a nation, and an individual, may move back and forth between these positions often. They rarely sum up a personality completely. And they should never be permanent blinders for anyone to view the world.

When a people succeed in a Liberal revolution, for instance, they often find themselves in the Conservative position protecting these gains. Similarly a person might have a Liberal view on public financial assistance and then move into a conservative position once these demands are met.

One might say that Affirmative Action is a prime example. At one point instituting Affirmative Action was a Liberal position, it was needed to reverse decades of discrimination following the end of Slavery. However, today the Liberal position might well be the ending of Affirmative Action, as it has largely completed its task and now stands as a stumbling block to truly moving the nation beyond race as a discriminatory trait. Meanwhile, the position of defending AA is now actually a Conservative stance (whether its so-called "liberal" defenders realize it or not).

Another way to think about this is that these terms describe a way of thinking about issues, not the positions on those issues. That is a Conservative might support a war because politicians they respect urge it, because the enemy scares them, and ultimately because it just "feels right". A Liberal might also come to support the war in spite of the position of authority figures and celebrities, not because it feels right, but because hours of research and consideration support the cause.

Neither is a "better way" of coming to a position, necessarily. Sometimes too much thinking interferes with a solid moral judgment, such as on the Abortion issue. And then other times only rational examination can skip over the emotional baggage and come to the most reasonable decision, as we see in the Abortion issue.

I realize this might be difficult for some people to accept after a long time of hearing party dogma on the issue. Personally I find value in BOTH positions. On some issues I am myself rather Conservative and on others I am quite Liberal. The same with the terms Radical and Reactionary, noted below. I found that stepping beyond these labels opened up my thoughts and cleared my head of a lot of bs.

 

Reactionary:

Date: 1840. From Latin reagere for "to act". A Reactionary uses government pressure as a means of containing and responding to changes in society.

 

Radical:

Date: 14th century. From Latin radicalis from radix for "root". A Radical supports social movements and political pressure groups as a means of affecting change in government.

 

The Right:

Date: early modern. The term comes from  English Parliamentary Rules; which place the party in power on the right of the Speaker. As the Conservatives held sway for a long time, the term Right came to be associated with the "Establishment" and thus with Conservative politics.

 

The Left:

Date: early modern. The party in Opposition sits on the Speaker's left. The Left came to be associated with labor movements, the lower classes, and socialist politics. It has also come to be associated with Liberalism. This was useful for Conservative politicians, and Socialists as well, during the 60's. But I find this to be a big intellectual and political mistake.

 

Capitol Goods:

Date: circa 1639. From the French from Latin capitalis for "top", used in French for "principal" or "chief". (1) : a stock of accumulated goods; especially at a specified time and in contrast to income received during a specified period (2) : accumulated goods devoted to the production of other goods (3) : accumulated possessions calculated to bring in income

 

Capitalism:

Date: 1877. An economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market

 

Socialism:

Date: 1837. From Latin socialis for "friend" or "companion" or "associate". Any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods; usually there is no private property; in Marxist theory this is also considered just a transitional stage between capitalism and communism and it is distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done.

 

Communism:

Date: 1840. From French communisme, from Latin communis for "common". A doctrine based on revolutionary Marxian socialism and Marxism-Leninism in which goods are owned in common and are available to all as needed. It is the final stage of society in Marxist theory in which the state has withered away and economic goods are distributed equitably. In its only examples of practical application, in the USSR, China, and Cuba it became a totalitarian system where a single authoritarian party controls state-owned means of production and the people are enslaved in production geared to support the power of this party.

 

Note: in Marxist theory these three systems represent a sliding scale, with Capitalism on the Right, Socialism in the middle, and Communism on the Left. A nation was supposed to move from one to the other over time. However, in practice few systems in the world have ever been purely one or the other. Most national economic models employ some of all three.

While the US and Europe are considered the paragons of Capitalism, they both retain many Socialist elements. Both the US and Europe offer state sanctioned monopolies of public utilities. The American Postal Service is a state owned enterprise, as are the European aerospace entities. Europe offers state run healthcare, as do many American states, and both regulate the health industry heavily.

Through out history Europe and the US have also held some Communist elements. The common grazing lands of town centers and the great unfenced Western plains were both representative of these traditions. One might say that Social Security, Unemployment Insurance, and the Dole are also holdovers from our more communal days.

On the other hand, while China has long been a paragon of Socialism / Communism, it still has many elements of free enterprise. They allow small farmers and craftsmen to sell excess production on the open market, they have private telecoms and industrial companies, and now they have a stock market, the ultimate symbol and apparatus of Capitalism.

When one system or the other fails to serve a nation, many proponents argue that actually the system simply was not implemented purely enough. However, attempts to purify these systems require a heavy hand in government, education, and economic practice. And this has led to oppressive regimes and brutalized citizens.

 

Democracy:

Date: 1576. From Greek dEmokrati, from demos "people" + kracy "rule". A government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections; usually accompanied by the absence of hereditary or arbitrary class distinctions or privileges.

 

Republic:

Date: 1604. From Latin respublica; from res "thing" + publica "of the people". A government having a chief of state who is not a monarch and who is elected by popular vote.

 

Note: that the root of the word Democracy is Greek, while the root of the word Republic is Latin. These terms are NOT antithetical, they do not even derive from the same language.

In common use they both have come to describe types of Liberal governments, specifically the one is a type of the other. It is possible for a nation to be a Democracy, but NOT also a Republic. However, a nation that is a Republic is ALWAYS also a Democracy. A Republic is a TYPE of Democracy.

The UK is a Democracy, but not a Republic, because of the Queen. Ireland became a Republic only after it dropped from the Commonwealth and replaced the Queen with an elected President

 

Fascism:

Date: 1921 From Latin fascis for "bundle" or group. Last, but not least, is this term, which actually combines the economic system and the political system entirely. In this system the state and large corporations merge, the rights of the individual are subordinated to the glory of the State, and all dissent is suppressed. It often utilizes a racial or religious cause to motivate the people into giving up their rights in the first place. These states usually rise out of an economic collapse or hardship with high inflation and unemployment.

 
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Sunday, March 02, 2003

Iraqi Chemical Weapons Exposed

The majority of claims against the Iraqis regarding the use of chemical and biological WMD come from Iran during the Iran-Iraq war. One should recall that the Tehran hostage crisis, in which Iranian socialist students held US embassy workers hostage for 444 days, was in 1979-1980. The Iran-Iraq war was 1980 to 1990. So Iran was not our friend, not by a long shot. However, during the decade of fighting Iran pointed the finger at France, Germany, and Russia for being the major suppliers of Iraqi WMD. They even accused the Swiss and the Brazilians of at least marginal support. But they never once accused the US.

During the war Iran sent many wounded soldiers to Europe for treatment. Wounds from chemical weapons reveal information about the trace and precursor elements used in their creation. The materials and techniques used in the creation of these weapons tell you who produced them or assisted in their production. European medical teams forwarded information to forensic teams, which reported back to the UN. From this data the UN was able to positively exclude the US as a likily source of these weapons.

But you wont hear this much in the media, even Conservative pundits dont bring it up, the Leftist line that "we helped arm Saddam" has been repeated so much that it no longer has to prove itself or face critique. Well, here I have done some homework for you, cribbed off some UN documents, and even a Leftist article critical of the Administration. Check out the strength of the argument blaming us for Saddam's weapons for yourself:

Mustard Gas

During World War II mustard gas was produced by Britain; Canada; France; Germany; Hungary; Italy; Japan; the Netherlands; Poland; South Africa; the USA and the USSR. This is the large pool from which Iraq might have gone for help in developing their own weapons.

Mustard gas may be made in different ways according to whether ethylene, vinyl chloride or thiodiglycol is chosen as the starting material. Published UN findings suggest that the Iraqi mustard had been made from the last of these precursors.

Thiodiglycol is a quite widely used industrial commodity, finding application as an antioxidant, as a vulcanizing agent, as an intermediate for other commodities, and as a solvent for dyes used in the textile industry.

Its conversion to mustard gas is very simple indeed, the only technological problem being that of preventing its manufacturers from becoming its first casualties. That, however, is not a small problem. When Britain first manufactured mustard gas, there were, over a six-month period during 1918, 1.27 cases of mustard illness per person employed.

The quantity of thiodiglycol needed to produce enough mustard gas to fill eight of the bombs sampled by the UN team would be about 350 kg. A hundred tons could yield sufficient mustard to arm maybe 300 aircraft sorties or to keep a medium-artillery battalion firing nothing but mustard shell for a fortnight.

In addition to bulk-filled free-fall aircraft bombs, at least two other categories of chemical munitions have reportedly been employed: artillery shell and air-to-ground rockets. There is no evidence that mustard-filled air-to-ground rockets have ever been stockpiled by Western countries.

The UN report provides only negative evidence of the origin of the mustard gas sample. The absence in the sample analyzed in Sweden and Switzerland of polysulphides and of more than a trace of sulfur indicates that it is not of past US-government manufacture, for all US mustard was made by the Levinstein process from ethylene and mixed sulfur chlorides. That process is also said to have been the one used by the USSR. From similar reasoning, British-made mustard, too, can probably be ruled out, even though substantial stocks were once held at British depots in the Middle East.

Tabun

Another chemical weapon used either with mustard, or on its own, was tabun. Like sarin, this was a secret discovery of Germany’s at the time of World War II. About 12,000 tons of it were made by Germany from 1943-44. Sarin was also weaponized at the same plants but at a much smaller scale.

For loading artillery shell and bombs the German tabun was left diluted with up to 20 per cent of the solvent that had been used during its synthesis, namely monochlorobenzene. The sample analyzed by the UN team contained a comparable proportion of monochlorobenzene, suggesting it had been made by the original German method.

That method used the simplest of a number of possible routes to tabun. It started from phosphoryl chloride in a two-stage chemical process, both stages of which were conducted within the same reactor. Advanced containment measures were used to protect plant workers from the tabun, but even they were insufficient to prevent at least ten deaths and innumerable lesser exposures.

The quantity of phosphoric chloride needed to produce enough tabun to fill, undiluted, eight of the bombs examined by the UN team would be about 500 kg. Also needed would be about 120 kg of sodium cyanide, 150 kg of ethyl alcohol and 65 kg of dimethylamine (synthesized from ammonia and methyl alcohol). A hundred tons of phosphoric chloride could yield sufficient tabun to arm about 200 Migs.

Arsnics

Iran informed the UN Secretary-General last year that "compounds containing arsenic" had been used in Iraqi chemical weapons. Speaking to reporters, one of the Swedish specialists treating Iranian gas casualties said he thought it probable that the latter had been exposed to a mixture of mustard gas and lewisite. Such mixtures were standard munitions fill in the arsenals of Japan, the USSR and probably other states too during World War II.

There has also been speculation in the press about Iraqi use of a toxic agent unknown in the West. This was excited by reports early in March from the Gzaiel sector, just to the north of Basra, of groups of Iranian corpses having been seen that were said to bear no external trace of injury--looking as though they had fallen asleep in their foxholes.

Positive ID

Only the USSR has been known to have weaponized all three of the agents utilized by Iraq. However, the USSR always denied such a supply. Iran has blamed Brazil, France, and Britain for supplying some of the weapons. The Czechs and the Germans also stand accused by Iran of supplying at least precursor agents. Egypt also possessed actual warheads of the type used by Iraq. During the 60’s, when Iraq used chemical weapons on Kurds, Western papers blamed Swiss and German suppliers.

In 1976 Iran blamed Germany intelligence officials for training Iraqi chemical weapons developers. There is strong public evidence (but by no means conclusive yet) that Iraq has been endeavoring to acquire these or related technologies from private corporations in the USA, Britain, FR Germany and Italy since 1975. The most common Iraqi cover story has been that they were only trying to acquire production capacity for phosphorus-based pesticides.

The 12,000-page weapons declaration that Iraq delivered to the United Nations in December identifies 31 major foreign suppliers for its chemical weapons program. These included 2 companies based in the United States that are now defunct (July 3, 1991, the Financial Times reported that a Florida company run by an Iraqi national had produced cyanide -- some of which went to Iraq for use in chemical weapons); 14 from Germany; 3 each from the Netherlands and Switzerland; and 2 each from France and Austria. It has been previously admitted that Russia and China also sold weapons of mass destruction to Iraq.

According to a CNN Report by Steve Young on 20 February 1990: Saddam Hussein bought more than 70 percent of his chemical warfare arsenal or the makings from the so-called G-7 nations (major industrial nations) Japan, France, United States, Italy, Britain and Germany; only Canada apparently sold nothing; experts say that's only because Canada had no chemical weapons to sell. A report commissioned by the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles details how Germany sold more poison gases, the chemicals to make them, and facilities to test them than any other country in the world.

Sean: Sunday, March 02, 2003 [+] |
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