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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Monday, April 05, 2004

Iraqis Comment On Recent Violence

Healing Iraq

Monday

Al-Shu'la, Al-Hurria, Thawra (Sadr city), and Kadhimiya (all Shi'ite neighborhoods in Baghdad) have been declared liberated from occupation.

Looting has already started at some places downtown. A friend of mine just returned from Sadun street and he says Al-Mahdi militiamen are breaking stores and clinics open and also at Tahrir square just across the river from the Green Zone.

News from other cities in the south indicate that Sadr followers (tens of thousands of them) have taken over IP stations and governorate buildings in Kufa, Nassiriya, Ammara, Kut, and Basrah.

Al-Jazeera says that policemen in these cities have sided with the Shia insurgents, which doesn't come as a surprise to me since a large portion of the police forces in these areas were recruited from Shi'ite militias and we have talked about that ages ago. And it looks like this move has been planned a long time ago.

No one knows what is happening in the capital right now. Power has been cut off in my neighborhood since the afternoon, and I can only hear helicopters, massive explosions, and continuous shooting nearby.

The streets are empty, someone told us half an hour ago that Al-Mahdi are trying to take over our neighborhood and are being met by resistance from Sunni hardliners. Doors are locked, and AK-47's are being loaded and put close by in case they are needed.

The phone keeps ringing frantically. Baghdadis are horrified and everyone seems to have made up their mind to stay home tomorrow until the situation is clear.

Where is Shitstani? And why is he keeping silent about this?

I have to admit that until now I have never longed for the days of Saddam, but maybe we need a person like Saddam to keep those rabid dogs at bay. What a laugh! I am so disappointed in Iraqis. We are not worth your trouble.

UPDATE: Sorry for the depressing note. It seems like everything is back under control, at least from what I can see in my neighborhood. There is an eerie silence outside, only dogs barking. Until about an hour ago, it sounded like a battlefield, and we had flashbacks of last April. I don't know what happened, but there were large plumes of smoke from the direction of Adhamiya and Kadhimiya. I wanted to take some pictures but my father and uncle both said they would shoot me on the spot if I tried, they were afraid the Apaches would mistake us for troublemakers and fire at us. I'm dreading tomorrow.

Friday

Muqtada Al Sadr deserves no [press], but recent events force me to write about this man.

MS is simply an ignorant and repressed surrounded by thugs like him. He thinks that he inherited authority from his father. But MS is a timid man. He would not dare to utter one word if Saddam was still here. The Arab media inflates MS as a leader, just like other Arab tyrants, but MS is nothing but a lunatic.

What is happening is something bigger than one adolescent man. Very recently an important officer from the Iranian Intelligence services defected from Iran. He mentioned that the Iranian Intelligent Security had established many secret bases inside Iraq. We know that MS gets his money mostly from Iran.

MS may have a connection to the assassination of Majeed Khoei and maybe others. He should have been arrested by Iraqi police, not coalition forces, and put on trial in an Iraqi court. This should have been done before allowing him to organize groups and somehow train people for demonstrations and criminal acts.

The best solution now is for Mr Ali Sistani to issue a FATWA to ask for calm and to consider any unrest not acceptable. Such a Fatwa will do the magic that no other forces could do it. Let the Iraqi GC and CPA pressure this man to get the Fatwa.

If force must be used, it would be best if Iraqi police did it, because we need to do this for ourselves.

While writing these lines I am watching the junk TV of Al Jazeera inflame the situation as if the whole world were going into a 4th world war! They send the Wahabi journalist Ahmed Mansor who is a very poisonous man. He is broadcasting from Fullojah and he just injected his poison by claiming that GWB will face the same fate as his father.

Arab Al Jazeera and Al Arabyiah are poisonous channels that have a negative influence on the ordinary Iraqi man. Someone needs to put serious pressure on them, and the government that supports them. They need a serious and real warning - or better, they should be shut off. Likewise shut down anyone calling for unrest like MS by the appropriate means with no bloodshed.

Hammorabi

Friday

I was busy for the last 5 days and fortunately or may be unfortunately I haven't seen the attack of the 4 civilian Americans who have been attacked and their body mutilated by the indescribable stinky bloodthirsty dirty devils in Fulojaha.

I read about it in the newspapers and felt so sick of this crime, which has nothing to do with any Islam or any other religion or ethics. There is no simulation for it in the animal or insect species neither in the devilish species. It is worse than any thing in existence.

I was sick when I saw the pictures of the corpses hanged on the bridge and some thugs dance around them and stone them. These are the same thugs are those who were involved in the mass graves and atrocities of all crimes. Saddam has trained them for such things and they lost their jobs as executioners and now they tried to practice it in public. They also practice stealing and robbery from any car passing through their region.

Every one knows that infiltrator Wahabis used Fulojaha as a base, so surround it and search every one and put them on trial as terrorist Wahabis. You have those thugs caught on tape and in pictures.

So send in the Special Forces and the Iraqi police. Get them and put them into trial in an Iraqi court. And let capital punishment come back.

Any one who provides them with shelter should be held responsible and face the same fate. Any government that allows its citizens and money to go there should be punished. Every one knows from where the Wahabis are coming and what link they have with Fulojaha. The reconstruction in such areas should not be done until they cut the terrorist attacks and surrender the infiltrators.

We know that attacks will increase in the next few months, which are a sign of death for the terrorist because they dug their graves for themselves.

Our deep sympathy and condolences is for the families of the victims and our hearts with them. The best response to the thugs would be if we tell them that there is no retreat from freedom and democracy and because they are the enemy of this they have no place in the civilized world at all!

Nabil’s Blog

Saturday

The situation in Fallouga is increased day by day I want to give the Americans an advice that they should take a hard diction because these horror pics that we've saw was really hurt the feelings I cant imagine how could the human kill the others this way I mean why (why they are doing this) Iraq is getting better now and the situation is getting really good in Baghdad, the phone lines worked again the electricity is good but day by day it will because better and better.

They don't have any right to kill these men and shot there car with a missile and pull the bodies of the men on the ground. Now every bad thing happiness against the people of falluga they deserve it.

Firas

Monday

As an Iraqi in Baghdad in such day I should say something about what’s going on. But I’m not going to analyze anything...I’m going to give facts I saw and heard today and things I know about.

I started my day by attending my house building site and I talked to the ceramic worker who lives in Sader city, asked him about his friend the tiles worker who couldn’t come to work today because he lives in the same place, may be because the streets were closed.

And when I asked the man about what happened yesterday he said:

“It was bad yesterday, The Sader city people occupied all the police stations and burned one or two hummers, and they are all armed and on the houses roofs waiting to fight. But this morning the Americans entered the city without any fight with tanks as big as my house. They are ignorant people want to fight America. Master our problem is ignorance”

That was the words of a simple man from Sader city, after that we shouldn’t say they are all bad. If they were at work yesterday then they wouldn’t be in the protests and clashes that happened and this man and his friend is my evidence for that. That’s a fact we should admit, if they had jobs they would forget all about protesting. I Am saying this because I’m familiar with it.

I left the man working to attend the bank for some business and on my way I saw:

Communication workers trying to fix phone cable; two buses full of university students about to go to a picnic; traffic Police trying to enforce more order in the streets; teenage girls walking to school; gardeners taking care of public squares; many building workers working in the Mamon communication tower; and people shopping.

And many other normal people and normal daily life actions. And it wasn’t in one place; it was in Bayaa area, Mansor area, Dora area, Karada area, and these about 25 % of Baghdad. And in at work nobody is absent and they come from all over Baghdad. And we made many jokes about what happened and we were sorry it happened.

All that we heard about the clashes was from TV (Arabiya & Jazira). I am not saying it didn’t happen, but it was exaggerated. As I said I don’t want to analyze anything yet but I wanted to tell you about what I saw.

Kurdo

Monday

A Message for Bremer : Terrorize Al-Sadder before he terrorizes us

So Muqtada Sadder has called to terrorize his enemies which include "Coalition forces and the Kurds" yeah ? This young kid who acts as a teenager does not know nothing apart from terror. He is the most hated person in Kurdistan after Saddam Hussein.

His last message to the Kurds was "to the citizens of Northern Iraq, I don’t' say Kurds because they are Iraqis and are no different from us, stop assisting the coalition forces"....May I say Muqtada that we are assisting the coalition because we want to help people like you... We are not obliged to be part of your kingdom.. We are not following you and we are not supporting you... We do not want to be part of your Iranian plans....

Now Muqtada wants to be the president of Iraq, which was liberated by the Coalition Forces.. Just yesterday, his troops killed 7 US soldiers and injured 24... where were they just one year ago ?

Mr. Bremer; why Muqtada is still allowed to have his own government inside your Iraq ??? He has a completely Islamic government right under your nose, yet you fail to do anything about it.

Where were you Mr. Muqtada Sadder while Saddam was sucking up your blood ?

I have one thing to say against this Iranian agent..."Terrorize him before he terrorizes us"... A couple of Israeli tips would help here....They are great in dealing with these kinda people.. If Bremer gives a green light to his termination, it will be the right decision. There might be some unrest for a few days but there will be a great positive effect for long-term.

It is officially a war… and freedom-loving people will lose nothing because it is not us who started it.

Further ramblings...

Hat tip to Andrew Sullivan

Sean: Monday, April 05, 2004 [+] |
...

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