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, November 28, 2005

Soldiers Ask: Don't Give Up On Iraq Now

The Times Online reports on Bruce Willis attending the homecoming ball of Deuce Four in Seattle, WA.

Willis visited the war zone with his rock and blues band, the Accelerators, in 2003. Willis is currently offering a $1 million bounty for any Al Queda leader. He plans to make a film about the soldiers in Iraq in the next year.

"I am baffled to understand why the things I saw happening in Iraq are not being reported," he told MSNBC, the American news channel.

They also give this report from independent blogger Michael Yon, a former special forces green beret embedded with Deuce Four:

[Michael] sensed that the inhabitants of Mosul were turning against the insurgents. "People began realizes that all the insurgents ever did was break things and kill people," he said. "It started to switch from a firefight to an intelligence war. People started to talk more to us. They would pull us over and give us tips."

The Iraqi security forces began to take pride in their work, Yon added: "These guys were getting slaughtered but they continued to volunteer and fight. It' very dangerous now to be a terrorist in Mosul. They're still out there but it's not like it was."

Willis said it would be wrong for Americans to give up on Iraq just as progress is being made. "The Iraqi people want to live in a world where they can move from their homes to the market and not have to fear being killed," he said. "I mean, doesn't everybody want that?"


The Christian Science Monitor reports that other soldiers are similarly perplexed by the portrayal of the war as a disaster in US MSM.

"We know we made a positive difference," says Cpl. Jeff Schuller of the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines, who spent all but one week of his eight-month tour with Mayer. "I can't say at what level, but I know that where we were, we made it better than it was when we got there."


Why does the media only report the bad stuff?

"It comes down to the familiar debate about whether reporters are ignoring the good news," says Peter Hart, an analyst at Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting, a usually left-leaning media watchdog in New York.

Part of the reason that such stories usually aren't told is [that] travel around the country is dangerous and some reporters never venture far from their hotels.

"It has to have some effect on what we see: You end up with reporting that waits for the biggest explosion of the day," says Mr. Hart.


Here is an interesting story:

It happened one day when he was on patrol. Out of nowhere, a car turned the corner and headed down the alley at full speed. "A car coming at you real fast and not stopping in Iraq is not what you want to see," says Mayer. Yet instead of jumping in his truck, he stood in the middle of the street and pushed the [Iraqi] kids behind him.

The car turned. Now, Mayer and Schuller can finish each other's sentences when they think about the experience. "You really start to believe that you protect the innocent," says Schuller. "It sounds like a stupid cliche...."

"But it's not," adds Mayer. "You are in the service of others."


CMS sums it up this way: "And by virtually any measure, America's servicemen and women are accomplishing the day-to-day tasks set before them."

Sean: Monday, November 28, 2005 [+] |
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Monday, November 21, 2005
Who's Who, and What's What in Iraq

The Jawa reports on the best weapons and tactics of both our guys and theirs in Iraq. The M-16 needs to be retired, the Colt .45 needs to be reissued, and Iraq's "insurgents" hail from all over the world (except Iraq). But you knew all that. If you didn't, you can read up here.

The Iraqi "freedom-fighters" actually appear to be Iranian, Palestinian, European, and even Chechyan. Many are young, idealistic, and unemployed. They are treated like cannon fodder by Zarqawi and crew. About 35k have been killed and their dwindling numbers have forced the use of more IED's and even family and high ups in Zarqawi's gang (see the recent bombing in Jordan).

Our soldiers think they are winning, decisively, and cannot understand the media portrayal of a "quagmire" or the public lack of confidence in the war. However, the soldiers don't think that the terrorists will ever run out of dumb new recruits unless the US can send in more troops to seal the borders with Syria and Iran. Exactly who is mistaken about this war (nearly everyone, both for and against)?

Andrew Sullivan links to hearings in which commanders restate the need for more troops.

Sean: Monday, November 21, 2005 [+] |
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Wednesday, November 16, 2005
White Phosphorus

The Daily Kos and Italian Communists are excited about the report of White Phosphorus being used as a weapon in Fallujah. The news of this technique was first reported by US soldiers discussing effective tactics in the Army's Field Artillery Magazine. The Far Left saw the story as an example of the US using chemical weapons against civilians and they are hopping mad about it.

"WP proved to be an effective and versatile munition. We used it for screening missions at two breeches and, later in the fight, as a potent psychological weapon against the insurgents in trench lines and spider holes when we could not get effects on them with HE. We fired "shake and bake" missions at the insurgents, using WP to flush them out and HE to take them out. ... We used improved WP for screening missions when HC smoke would have been more effective and saved our WP for lethal missions."


White phosphorus is not a banned weapon under any treaty that the us is signatory to. It is not a "chemical weapon" in the sense that Kos and the commies would like to think, although it is a weapon and is works via a chemical reaction, but then again so does TNT. In fact, WP has been used for decades as standard part of the Army's munitions.

The use of white phosphorus or fuel air explosives are not prohibited or restricted by Protocol II of the Certain Conventional Weapons Convention (CCWC), the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons which may be Deemed to be Excessively Injurious or to have Indiscriminate Effects.


White phosphorus is useful because it can be made into a waxy paste that ignites on contact with oxygen (the air) and it produces a lot of smoke. Thus it has been used in flares (even in civilian use) and smoke screens. It is also the element that makes tracer rounds light up at night (and is used in nearly every size and type of weapon both civilian and military).



From Wikipedia: "Phosphorus is used in the production of fertilizers, explosives, friction matches, fireworks, pesticides, toothpaste, and detergents. White phosphorus is used in military applications as incendiary bombs, for smoke-screening as smoke pots and smoke bombs, and in tracer ammunition."

From the National Security Council: "In the military, white phosphorus is used in ammunition such as mortar, artillery shells, and grenades... In military operations, [the WP produced] smoke screen is used to protect potential targets and to conceal movement of personnel and material."

The Global Security website explicitly sites Fallujahah as an important battle in which WP was employed against vehicles and enemy strongholds. "White Phosphorus (WP), known as Willy Pete, is used for signaling, screening, and incendiary purposes. White Phosphorus can be used to destroy the enemy's equipment or to limit his vision. It is used against vehicles, petroleum, oils and lubricants (POL) and ammunition storage areas, and enemy observers."

Kos gets particularly excited about the "toxic cloud" produced by WP artillery shells (probably because this gets the closest to traditional imagery of "chemical weapons" such as Mustard Gas). Kos probably doesn't realize that the toxic effects of inhaling such gas are cumulative and historically have led to "phossy jaw" (a bone defect) in match-stick factory workers after many years.

There are usually civilian casulaties in any military opperation, but this loss has to be weighed against the value of the target. Fallujahja was a city-sized terrorist encampment and it was being used to facilitate attacks against Iraqi civilians in other cities, such as Baghdad. Its recapture was paramount to the effort to create security and democracy in Iraq.

The US called off an attack in April due to the risk to civilians. Then it cordoned off the city and advised all civilians to flee (screening for terrorists as best they could). Reports from the Iraqi minister are that at least four-fifths of Fallujah's civilians fled before the military's assault on November 8, 2004. And US soldiers reported few encounters with civilians during the operation to retake the town.

Firing WP rounds in a unique application, as "shake and bake" munitions may sound like "chemical warfare" and if you consider terrorists as "civilians" than maybe you remain upset about this war story. On the other hand, US soldiers have long been known for their creative initiative in the field and this tactic, in fact the very idea that they can make such decisions, has been hailed as one of the greatest strengths of a democratic military force.

Sean: Wednesday, November 16, 2005 [+] |
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Sunday, November 13, 2005
Blogger Sued

Macleans reports on Louisette Lanteigne, a Canadian mother who blogged about the problems plaguing her subdivision who is being sued for $2 million by the developer.

The mother merely posted images and text that documented her complaints to the environmental minister of her province. She was even thanked by the ministry which noted that they could only do their regulatory job with such help from citizens.

"Your advocacy on behalf of your neighborhood is commendable and I encourage you to contact the ministry . . .to report any further incidents."


On Sept. 16, Lanteigne was notified that she was being sued for libel by the developer, Activa Holdings Inc., one of the largest developers in the Waterloo, Ontario region.

The developer wants punitive or exemplary damages to ensure that the mother is "appropriately punished for her conduct and deterred from such conduct in the future."

The commentary sorta writes itself here.

Sean: Sunday, November 13, 2005 [+] |
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Monday, November 07, 2005
Striking For America

My best friend is an Oregon Trail public school teacher. Even with his graduate degree and yearly continued education (requred of all teachers in Oregon) I made double his salary when I was working in high-tech. Teachers make squat unless they can last on the job for decades.

But he has earned my respect by caring about his job and being good at it. He takes on extra duties in order to ensure that his students have access to all pertinent school programs, from math to sports and music (and in order to earn enough money to pay his bills).

He is loved by the kids, admired by teachers, and respected by administrators. He is also a parent of kids in the district and he is the sole breadwinner for his family of five.

I know it was heartbreaking for him to vote for a strike. He cannot afford it and the kids and his program are suffering over a dispute among "adults". But he shared with me the negotiating process, its lack of progress, and the serious consequences it will have for everyone.

Originally the teachers wanted a better contract, if only slightly, cost of living increases and the like. But the district told them to get stuffed. So they dropped all "demands" and simply want their old contract back, but again the district told them to take a hike.

The real goal of the district is to make teachers "at will employees", you know "right to work" b.s. and all (this helps avoid having teachers who last for decades and finally start earning what I made in high-tech). I was an "at will employee" until I lost my job, at my employer's will not mine.

This is a future that lots of workers in our state will have to face as they re-negotiate their contracts, which is why the Sandy picket line is staffed by cops and firemen as well as teachers. If labor loses here it will lose everywhere.

Meanwhile I watch our local media make the striking teachers look like gready toads. Teachers deserve our appreciation, respect, and a decent contract. We really cant cut costs here, anyone who begrudges paying teachers best get ready to pay more for cops and prisons.

Sean: Monday, November 07, 2005 [+] |
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Sunday, November 06, 2005
The Reverse Crusades

This is ridiculous. Europe is in the early stages of a massive civil war and all the US media cares to put on our TV is a story about one escaped con, a tornado, and the new Harry Potter film. Mark Steyn puts it all into perspective for us in the Chicago Sun-Times, if anyone is listening.

Today, a fearless Muslim advance has penetrated deep into Europe. They're in Brussels, where Belgian police officers are advised not to be seen drinking coffee in public during Ramadan, and in Malmo, where Swedish ambulance drivers will not go without police escort.

In the no-go suburbs [of Paris], even before these current riots, 9,000 police cars had been stoned by ''French youths'' since the beginning of the year; some three dozen cars are set alight even on a quiet night.

''There's a civil war under way in Clichy-sous-Bois at the moment,'' said Michel Thooris of the gendarmes' trade union Action Police CFTC. ''We can no longer withstand this situation on our own. My colleagues neither have the equipment nor the practical or theoretical training for street fighting.''

[The Muslim youths are] seizing their opportunities, testing their foe, probing his weak spots. If burning the 'burbs gets you more ''respect'' from Chirac, they'll burn 'em again, and again.

In the current issue of City Journal, Theodore Dalrymple concludes a piece on British suicide bombers with this grim summation of the new Europe: ''The sweet dream of universal cultural compatibility has been replaced by the nightmare of permanent conflict.''


When the MSM does cover the violence they carefully shift the focus from Islam to unemployment, as if all France has to do is up the dole and end the unrest. The Danish kids said it best "This is our land (now), keep out". All the left in America and Europe can see is how "this is all our fault". We are merely paying for the Crusades, for colonialism, for our treatment of the tribal people in America. Well, yes, so what? Do we want our side to live? Do we want to retain a homeland at all? Or are we to allow ourselves to be enslaved by our enemies in retribution for what our great, great, great grandparents did? Heck, does anyone even want to watch our own cultural suicide? Can I get a lousy news update beyond the number of torched cars in Paris?

UPDATE: Anyone who thinks that this violence is merely an immigration issue and not about islamofacism needs to read the news more carefully...

An Algerian Islamist organisation, the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), has issued a call for action against France which it describes as "enemy number one", intelligence officials said Tuesday.

"The only way to teach France to behave is jihad and the Islamic martyr," said the group's leader Abu Mossab Abdelwadoud, "France is our enemy number one, the enemy of our religion, the enemy of our community."

Interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy said Monday that the risk of terrorist attack in France is "at a very high level... There are cells operating on our territory."


More from Captain Ed.

Sean: Sunday, November 06, 2005 [+] |
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Jarhead: A Modern War Film

Just saw Jarhead. It was a good movie. It seemed true to the experience of joining the Marine Corp, good and bad. But it was a different type of war film, a modern war film... I don't want to spoil it for you if you haven't seen it. But this film isn't about shooting people, just as our modern wars are not about shooting people either. Yes, people die and yes, war is hell. But honor has returned to the field of battle, in the sense that soldiers are professionals and try to only shoot other professionals. Cities don't get bombed as in WWII, targets IN cities get bombed, and there really is a difference. This doesn't mean that wars are anti-septic or don't carry moral freight. But if you do you moral arithmetic with 'Nam or WWII in mind, you would be wrong. The author of the book this film is based on is from Portland.

Sean: Sunday, November 06, 2005 [+] |
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Former US Marine gets French book deal dipicting US Marines as "psychotic killers", turns out he's just nuts and not a word he said is true. Will France recall the slanderous books? Well, I mean, after they put the fires out at the book stores.

Sean: Sunday, November 06, 2005 [+] |
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Saturday, November 05, 2005
European Intefada

The recent violence is not limited to France. The Free Republic reports that Denmark is also on fire. I expect reports from Germany next.

Sunday evening the fire department needed police escorts to get in and extinguish an arsonist fire.

"This land belongs to us", declared the young rioter. He calls himself 100 percent Palestinian, born in a refugee camp in Lebanon, 19 years ago, and is now unemployed in Denmark.

The words of the young Muslimss sound like an open declaration of war against Danish society. The police must stay away. This area belongs to immigrants.


Modern Europe has had a "love affair" with the Muslim world ever since Lawrence of Arabia (you could go back to Napoleon's invasion of Egypt, the Crusades, or Alexander the Great). When Europe failed to hold on to its conquests in the Middle East and North Africa they made the (perhaps fatal) mistake of inviting the Muslims back to Europe with them when they pulled back.

Today much of France, Denmark, and Germany is kept working by wretched Muslim immigrants doing the worst jobs. Meanwhile Europe's population is getting older and failing to reproduce. I've just been waiting for the problems to start, and they have. In fact, of course, they have been going on for years with out much notice (the murder of Theo Van Goh, attacks on Jewish graves, violent crime).

But the interesting thing today is that Europe has been bending over backwards to appeasee the "Muslim World" and the "Arab Street". France has been a faithful friend of Palestinians, Saddam, and Muslims everywhere, they even barred their children from wearing crosses to school (and Muslims from wearing headscarves). But they bought nothing by their efforts.

In the Netherlands, with one million Muslims, the Deputy Prime Minister declared "war" on Islamic extremism and their Immigration and Integration Minister said that the time "of cosy tea-drinking" with Muslim groups was over.

Danish blogger reports.

UPDATE: Violence now in Belgium and Germany.

UPDATE: French business owners call on Chirac to deploy troops.

Sean: Saturday, November 05, 2005 [+] |
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Friday, November 04, 2005
The Failure of Greater French Civilization

Although the French military has been ridiculed for years, the French have remained confident in the power of their culture and civilization. When they gave up control over Algeria in North Africa they made the calculated decision to allow any former subject to move to France.

These economic refugees settled in the depressing Corbusian towers that ring Paris. But they also brought their own language, religion, and culture with them. Over the years they have NOT become French and they have not been assimilated.

These immigrants have been difficult to educate, train, and employ. The recent controversy over wearing crosses or headscarves in school was one attempt to improve the ability of public education to melt the racial barriers, but it failed. Today Algerian youths are with out jobs and prospects and tensions are high.

Recently crime in these areas has gotten out of control, a bank was robbed by a man in camo with a bazooka, and the police refuse to enter these neighborhoods with out the support of the Army. There has been a civil war brewing for years, and now it appears to have started.

The trouble started last Thursday when two North African teens died fleeing from a police check point. On Sunday a tear gas canister was fired into a Paris mosque. Although police denied responsibility the Algerian community responded with by setting parts of Paris on fire.

French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy responded by promising to wipe out the "scum" responsible. This language only inflamed the anger French Muslims and North Africans who began burning cars on Wednesday.

CNN now reports that the riots have spread to other cities.

Burnig cars were reported in Strasbourg, in east of France, Rennes in the west, and Toulouse in southwestern France.

Violence also hit Rouen in northern France, Dijon in the east and Marseille in the south between Thursday and Friday.

These riots may not lead to soldiers in the streets and true warfare (actually, they might according to CNN's poll numbers). But they may still finally destroy the idea of Greater France and the power of its culture to civilize.

Sean: Friday, November 04, 2005 [+] |
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