A good part of the reason I started blogging was because I went to a history conference at a UT branch up between Dallas and Fort Worth and found that, contrary to belief, many well known academic historians have found community history projects to be invaluable because of their focus and details. Photos rated high. Photos with details rate high. Interviews with participants in events rated high. Interviews with older people rated high if you cover their experience and perspective.
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The last place you will hear about the new American labor movement is in big American outlets.

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The CIW is a community-based organization of mainly Latino, Mayan Indian and Haitian immigrants working in low-wage jobs throughout the state of Florida. Via.


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« This Week in Tyranny | Main | Deep Thought on a Friday Evening »

Extending the 'Financial 9-11' Metaphor

I’ve heard this week’s crisis in financial markets as an economic 9/11. I agree completely, and think the analogy can be extended beyond just a generic catastrophic event. Republicans have done a great job of casting the attacks as completely out of the blue and unknowable. They have also adopted the unfathomably bizarre reasoning that the President has done a great job protecting us ever since the first 3,000 Americans were murdered on his watch. (This is the same tactic that allows them to claim The Surge - accompanied by an assassination and ethnic cleansing campaign - worked while ignoring the much larger strategic failures that surround it.) But as I’ve written previously there was plenty of warning before the attacks for those with eyes to see. Some in the intelligence community were desperately trying to get this lazy, indifferent administration’s attention when the red flags started popping up. The event was foreshadowed well in advance, and the biggest failures came at the very top. As then, so now. Plenty of people have been warning for years about the hazards (via Blue Girl) posed by the Republicans’ unwavering commitment to deregulation and toothless oversight. It was obvious that dismantling the structures erected to enforce a certain modest degree of prudence and good practice was not all about streamlining Byzantine procedures, modernizing the financial industry to compete in the modern global marketplace or any of that happy horseshit. It was not about creating a Randian paradise of unfettered capitalism, but unleashing the instant-gratification attitude that controls the mental six year olds on Wall Street. We created an environment that rewards the absolutely worst behavior. We knew it, the results were easy to predict and we could see it coming from a long way off. Let’s not even start with how no one could have known, or that spending some time on an autopsy is politicization - especially when the right was only too happy to politicize it when it worked for them.

And a trillion dollars is a lot of fucking money.

And please - spare me the wailing about how conservatism cannot fail, only be failed. When you postulate that government is evil you will necessarily view abuse of it as a virtue if not a moral imperative. And lofty claims of fiscal probity can self-evidently not survive extended contact with Washington, D.C. We have now conclusively seen that its claims and objectives are not practical and are essentially impossible to implement in the real world. Communism suffered the same crisis of idealism and now is on the ash heap. Time for conservatism to join it.

Reader Comments (8)

Only one heartfelt complaint here: Please, please. Let's separate real conservatism (not my ruling philosophy, but a respectable one for sure) and what calls itself conservatism these days -- a radical neo-conservatism. It would be real shame to throw the healthy baby out with bathwater containing a lot of neo-shit.

September 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPW

I don't know - as currently constituted it has comprehensively failed in practice. More to the point, its underlying orientation towards government is hostile - so everything that flows from it is fruit of the poison tree. I really think the entire philosophy, and its rhetoric, has to be torn out by the roots.

September 20, 2008 | Registered CommenterDan

What makes me know that it's important (urgent) to save the real conservatism is my recent tune-in to the debate of the FF's as the nation and its constitution were being cobbled together. I defy you to read/listen to the debate and not find yourself leaping from side to side. In other words, the legitimate debate is itself what democracy is all about. The neo-cons worked hard to outlaw debate, destroy the playing field, focus on an all-or-nothing game.

September 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPW

Yes, PW, real conservatism, true conservatism, anything to distance conservatism from the results of conservatism. Which magic conservatism is this perfect conservatism with no consequences? The one that failed in the 19th century? The one that failed in 1929? Stop being hypocritical and open your eyes.

September 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterQrazyQat

Funny how "Pruning Shears" is the kind of name a true conservative blog might have.

Given the history of prudent government vs imprudent government in the US, is it not time for the Democratic Party to point to the record and claim its rightful conservative end of the radical-conservative spectrum?

For at least the past century, the Democratic Party has been the liberal/conservative coalition against radicalism.

September 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAlanDownunder

Thanks for pointing that out Alan. Maybe these things are more obvious from halfway around the world. :)

September 21, 2008 | Registered CommenterDan

Republicans/conservatives:recent financial crisis::Al Qaeda:9/11

Pretty simple way to present it to people.

September 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRandy Owens

Golden parachute? Nancy Pelosi should look at Congress where the junior members can leave and draw a pension for the rest of their lives. Now that's a golden parachute.

September 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

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