Sean LaFreniere

Independent News And Political Commentary
Welcome to Sean's Blog blog | home | contact
The Blogger
Blogger Bio 
The Archives
Search This Site

Site search Web search

powered by FreeFind

Support This Site
Favorite Links
World Trade Center Attacks
Bali Nightclub Attacks
Beslan School Attack
London Underground Attacks
Raddison Hotel Bombing
Katrina Hits New Orleans
Defend Denmark's Free Speach
The Anglosphere
Support Democracy In Iraq
Democracy Whisky Sexy
Chief Wiggles
Anderson Cooper's 360
The Command Post, making CNN look like the school newspaper.
Andrew Sullivan Dot Com
The Argus, Central Asian news.
Winds Of Change Dot Net
Free The Chief's Iraqi Generals
Michael J Totten
Blog Iran
Moderate Risk
Roger L Simon
free iran petition
victor davis hansen
Save Angel
Oregon Trip Check
iraq's election news
The Hitch
Game Of Life
Sponsored Links
Find info on VA loans and watch this video on the VA loan process.
News Links
Arab News Portal
Belfast Telegraph
BBC News
Dublin News
Edinburgh News
French News
German News
Iran Daily
Iran News
Iraq News
Irish Abroad
Irish Emigrant News
Irish News
Irish Quarterly
Israeli News
Jerusalem Post
London Local
London Times
Los Angeles Times
New York Times
Pakistan News
Persian News
Roman News
Scottish News
Translated News
World Wire
Magazine Links
The Atlantic Monthly
The American Prospect
The Economist
Foreign Affairs
Front Page Magazine
Mother Jones
The National Review
New Republic
New Yorker
NY Review Of Books
Policy Review
Tech Central Station
Washington Monthly
Weekly Standard
Movie Links
Film Jerk
McMenamins Theatres
Movie News - Trailers
Rotten Tomatoes
Sean's Political Dictionary
So that YOU know what SEAN is talking about when he opens his big mouth:



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.



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.



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



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



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



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.



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.



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.



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



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.

Blogging Resources
Technocrati Link Cosmos
This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?
Weblog Commenting and Trackback by
Site Meter
Blogroll This Site
(Copy image and hyperlink)
Sean LaFreniere
Support This Site

Friday, December 31, 2004

Tsunami Relief

CNN reports that tsunami relief funds are pooring in to the Red Cross.

Thousands of Americans were clicking Internet sites Friday, donating millions to help victims of Sunday's earthquake and tsunamis.

The giant Internet retailer placed a link to the American Red Cross prominently on its opening page. By midday Friday, more than 100,000 people had donated more than $8 million.

The NonProfit Times, a publication for nonprofit managers, reported that online fund raising for nonprofits brought in about $2 billion in 2003, a 60 percent increase over the previous year. Overall, Americans gave $241 billion to charity in 2003.

For those of you who are paypal dependent (like me) you can make a donation through Kevin McDonald at Writerscafe. Thanks Kevin.

Sean: Friday, December 31, 2004 [+] |
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
Tsumani Report

If you've been under a rock this week... an earthquake off the northern island of Indonesia caused a tidal wave, tsunami, that wrecked havoc from Asia to Africa.

"The events began just before 7 a.m. (midnight GMT Saturday) when a massive earthquake -- at 9.0, the strongest in the world since 1964 -- struck just 160 kilometers (100 miles) off Aceh's coast." -CNN

At least 80,000 people are now reported dead, with the toll expected to top 100,000 by the end of the week (some areas were completely cut off and damage reports are filtering in slowly). After that the secondary problems, plauge and pesitlence, may kill another 100k. This is a huge disaster.

Check Michael Totten's blog for photos of the disaster in SE Asia... also check his link to a chap with videos (the poor guy's bandwith charges are devestating, so if you watch, please donate).

(from Yahoo slideshow)

Sean: Wednesday, December 29, 2004 [+] |
Monday, December 27, 2004
Opposition Victory In Ukraine

CNN reports that Victor Yushchenko has won in a landslide victory over Moscow-tied Viktor Yanukovych in a "redo" election made necessary by massive fraud in the last election.

"For 14 years, we were independent, but we were not free," he said. "This is a unique, clear political victory, an elegant victory from the people who have proved their power."

This is a victory for all who value freedom and democracy world-wide. Up Ukraine!

Sean: Monday, December 27, 2004 [+] |
Thursday, December 23, 2004
Fear Of Democracy

Mike's new Tech Central column is online, check it out here.

Money quote: "Saddam's Republic of Fear was a masterpiece of the genre that terrified even its architects. High-ranking officials lived in constant fear of denunciations, executions, purges, and show trials. Saddam himself famously scrambled from palace to palace on a daily and sometimes even hourly basis."

Mike goes on to point out that many Iraqis are worried about the outcome of their first election because in their history the losers are smashed to the bottom of society with a jack-boot.

We Americans, who can safely denounce the opposition President as "Hitler" and live to brag about it, owe it to the Iraqi people to stick out this war, the election, and the aftermath and ensure that they have a peaceful transfer of power.

There is talk on the radio about pulling out of Iraq after the bombing of the mess tent in Mosul. That is, of course, nonsense.

Pulling out of every conflict whenever more than a dozen people are killed is exactly what makes us targets to those with a will to kill and die.

And we would be abandoning a people on the verge of freedom. Americans don't (or shouldn't) do that.

Sean: Thursday, December 23, 2004 [+] |
Saturday, December 11, 2004
Ukraine Opposition Candidate Poisoned

Doctors in Vienna have confirmed that Ukraine opposition presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko was poisoned (by Ukraine government officials).

"There is no doubt about the fact that Mr. Yushchenko's disease has been caused by a case dioxin poisoning," Zimpfer said.

(Check the photos above, taken mere months appart, for the obvious signs of such poisoning).

The 50-year-old opposition leader fell ill in September, a day after attending a reception and dinner with the leadership of the Ukrainian security services.

He went to the Austrian hospital for treatment five days later. Aides said if he had remained in Ukraine he could have died.

What is happening in Ukraine right now is historic. A long suffering people (at the hands of Nazis and Socialists) has finally, gotten off its knees and stood up for the Liberal principle of self-rule and democracy.

The response of Russian President Vladimir Putin to events in neighboring Ukraine has been typical of their Big Brother relationship... mocking disdain "What, will he have another runoff election, and another, and a 25th?" Meanwhile Russian soldiers have been seen offloading at Keiv's airport.

Yet many Liberal Democrats here at home have told me "It's none of our business". These people seem more annoyed by the constant presence of the US on the world stage - with a comment or concern about everyone's business (Hey, we are the superpower, we do not have the luxury of not having an opinion about these things, silence is approval). Like the French, they would accept nearly any international misfortune so long as it took the US down a nothch.

This attitude is unacceptable. An entire nation has taken to the streets to demand Liberal self-rule and democracy. They are literally crying out to be "a normal European nation". Meanwhile Russia worries about their loss of "influence", poisons the opposition leader, and sends special forces to prop up "their man". This is brutal oppression of the people of a sovereign nation by a quasi-democracy (that claims to be friends with our "right-wing Republican" President).

So why can't/won't Lefties support the people of Ukraine?

Sean: Saturday, December 11, 2004 [+] |
Wednesday, December 08, 2004
Mr. Totten Goes To Lybia

I've been remiss in linking to Michael since his return from behind the green curtain. Mike went to Lybia and toured the ruins of Roman civilization and Lybian civilization. Check out his amazing photos here, and watch for his article in the LA Weekly.

Sean: Wednesday, December 08, 2004 [+] |
Friday, December 03, 2004
Terminator Shipping To Iraq

In the first moves of the Skynet takeover the US military is sending the Talon, or as I fondly call it T-01a, to help out in Iraq. The new version of the bomb unit robot will now be armed with an M249 machine gun, or the M240 grenade launcher, yeehaw!

Hat tip to Michael Totten.

Sorry for the lack of blogging, I've been in finals week... just one more to go.

Sean: Friday, December 03, 2004 [+] |

Copyright (c) 2003-2008 Sean LaFreniere


Copyright 2003-2009 by Sean LaFreniere