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:



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.

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Monday, September 12, 2005

Foreign Assistance

The international community has pledged more than $700m to the United States to help after Hurricane Katrina.

"There have been $460m in cash assistance received," ambassador Joseph Sullivan told reporters in the Louisiana state capital of Baton Rouge.

The remainder would be in the form of cheap fuel, technical assistance, vehicles, and food.

We don't really need the money, but that's not the issue. A nation gives what it has and what it can spare. Kuwait may not have much experience with flooding, but they have cash. Meanwhile the Netherlands has both, but we only need the dike experts.

Giving anything shows they at least pay attention to what happens to us. You can judge for yourself how much they care by weighing what they gave to what you think they could have given.

As far as I know, as of September 11th these nations have made the following offers...

AFGHANISTAN: $100,000 to American Red Cross (2).

ARGENTINA: Six disaster relief and rescue coordinators (2).

AUSTRALIA: $8 million to American Red Cross (1). UPDATE: $10 million per CNN (4).

AUSTRIA: $7.6 million to the American Red Cross, water pumps, plastic sheets, cots; An Austrian Red Cross team is in Houston to set up a communication network (2).

BAHAMAS: $50,000 for U.S. victims and additional aid to Bahamian citizens in stricken areas (2).

BANGLADESH: $1 million to American Red Cross (1).

BELGIUM: medical, logistics, civil engineering and diving teams, pumps, generators (1).

BRAZIL: willing to contribute but awaiting specific request from United States (2).

BRITAIN: 500,000 ready-to-eat meals; medical experts, search-and-rescue gear, marine engineers, high-volume pumps (1).

CANADA: three navy ships, a coast guard vessel, several Sea King helicopters and about 1,000 personnel (1). UPDATE: navy divers to help clear waterways and inspect damaged levees, and offered to pump an extra 91,000 barrels per day of extra crude oil (to be sold or donated?)(2). UPDATE: $4 million to the international Red Cross (3).

CHILE: plans to contact U.S. authorities to see what is needed. (2)

CHINA: $5 million to the American Red Cross (1).

COLOMBIA: rescue and paramedic teams. (2)

CUBA: 1,100 doctors and 26 tons of medicine (4).

CZECH REPUBLIC: rescue teams, field hospital and pumps and water processing equipment, as well as transport planes (2).

DENMARK: water purification units (2).

DOMINICA: police to help patrol disaster zone police to help patrol disaster zone (2).

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Rescue workers, doctors and nurses (1).

EL SALVADOR: 100 army troops, including medical personnel and engineers (2).

ESTONIA: rescue teams, medics and policemen as well as relief supplies. (2)

FINLAND: a search and rescue team. (2)

FRANCE: a fire brigade, 600 tents, 1,000 camp beds, 60 generators, three water treatment plants, and 1,000 jerrycans (filled with petrol?). (2) UPDATE: Also offering aircraft and two ships with helicopters, disaster unit with 20 soldiers, civil defense detachment of 35 people. (2)

GERMANY: medical supplies, vaccination teams, water purification equipment, medical evacuation aircraft and crisis management experts (2) UPDATE: Also 40,000 meals; 30,000 more coming. UPDATE: (5) On Monday Sept 5th they offered 3.6 million barrels of oil (to be sold or donated?), they also offered communications equipment, 25 tons of humanitarian aide, and the German Red Cross has sent seven rescue experts. (5)

GREECE: two cruise ships and an emergency rescue team (2).

GUATEMALA: 80 specialists from army, health and interior departments (1).

HONDURAS: a 134-member medical and rescue brigade (1). UPDATE: Mayor of capital, Tegucigalpa, offers a similar group (2).

HUNGARY: unknown at this time.

INDIA: $5 million to American Red Cross. Offering medical teams with experience in waterborne diseases and to set up community water purification plants (2).

INDONESIA: a medical team of 45 doctors and 155 other staff and 10,000 blankets (2).

IRAN: unspecified aid through its Red Crescent agency if needed (2).

Israel: hundreds of doctors, trauma experts and other medical staff as well as field hospital (2).

ITALY: 300 cots, 300 blankets, 600 sheets, a water pump, six life rafts, 11,200 chlorine tablets, first-aid kits; baby food (1).

JAMAICA: unknown at this time.

JAPAN: $200,000 to American Red Cross, tents, blankets and generators (4). UPDATE: now offers $1 million.

KOSOVO: $500,000 to American Red Cross (1).

KUWAIT: $500 million worth of oil and other aid (1).

LATVIA: disaster relief team, financial aid, blankets, bottled water (1).

LITHUAINIA: rescue teams, meals, building materials, (1). UPDATE: also medics and policemen (5).

LUXEMBOURG: two jeeps, 1,000 cots, 2,000 blankets (2).

MEXICO: a navy ship carrying food, amphibious vehicles, helicopters and medical teams, 15 army vehicles carrying food, health brigades, water-treatment plants and mobile kitchens with capacity to feed 7,000 people. Also the government set up bank accounts to collect donations from citizens and donated $1 million to American Red Cross (2).

NETHERLANDS: a frigate with water, medicine, helicopters and beds, three giant water pumps, as well as expertise in dike and water engineering, and forensic ID help (2).

NEPAL: $25,000 donated to the American Red Cross (7).

NEW ZEALAND: $1.4 million to American Red Cross. Government has also offered to send an urban search and rescue team, a disaster victim identification team or recovery personnel (2).

NICARAGUA: flooding and sanitation experts (evidently they are spending $200 million to repair their system after Sandinista neglect) (1).

NIGERIA: $1 million to American Red Cross (4).

NORWAY: navy divers, 10,000 blankets and unspecified financial aid (1).

PAKISTAN: doctors and paramedics (1).

PANAMA: 120,000 lbs of bananas (1).

PERU: 80 to 100 doctors with expertise in tropical diseases and disasters. But President Alejandro Toledo said Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld requested Peru instead send medical supplies and canned foods. Peru will try to comply (2).

THE PHILIPPINES: 25-man relief team (1). UPDATE: $25,000 to American Red Cross (2).

PORTUGAL: Lending 2 percent of its strategic oil reserve, equivalent to 500,000 barrels of oil (1).

QATAR: $100 million in humanitarian assistance (2).

ROMANIA: two teams of medical experts (2).

RUSSIA: Three transport planes with generators, food, tents, blankets, drinking water, medical supplies (1). UPDATED: two cargo planes have delivered 44 metric tons of aid (6).

SAUDI ARABIA: $5 million to the American Red Cross and offered to increase oil production to replace shortfalls caused by Katrina (to be sold at a nice profit?) (4).

SINGAPORE: three CH-47 transport helicopters and 38 soldiers in training unit at Grand Prairie, Texas, to Fort Polk, Louisiana, to work with Texas Army National Guard in disaster relief operations, including resupply and airlift missions (2).

SLOVAKIA: water purification gear, cots, water (1).

SLOVENIA: cots, bedding, first-aid kits (1).

SOUTH KOREA: $30 million in government and civilian assistance and sending search team and relief supplies (2).

SPAIN: firefighters and equipment, medical staff, search-and-rescue expertise, tents, cots, blankets, water treatment units, heating equipment, meals, water, generators (1).

SRI LANKA: $25,000 to American Red Cross (1).

SWEDEN: first-aid kits, blankets, meals, generators, plastic sheeting, 2 water purification units and instructors; aircraft ready for immediate deployment (2).

SWITZERLAND: blankets, 50 tons of aid supplies, two logistic experts from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, two doctors and two water specialists (2).

TAIWAN: $2 million to American Red Cross (1). UPDATE: $3 million per CNN (4).

THAILAND: at least 60 doctors and nurses along with supplies of rice (2).

TRINIDAD: local Red Cross sending 10-15 relief workers (2).

URUGUAY: two mobile water purification units and two tons of powdered milk (1).

VENEZUELA: 1 million barrels of gasoline, $5 million to American Red Cross, water purification plants, rescue volunteers and more than 50 tons of canned food and water. Government's Citgo Petroleum Corp. pledges $1 million (2).

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: Tents, clothing, food and other aid (1).

This was a night of data scraping from many sources but most can be found at these sources...(1), (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), and (7).

If you learn of other aid offers please email me at sblafren(at)

Sean: Monday, September 12, 2005 [+] |

Copyright (c) 2003-2008 Sean LaFreniere


Copyright 2003-2009 by Sean LaFreniere