National Review asks: Did WaMu fail because it employed minorities?

And a conservative professor warns that Barack Obama was assisted by affirmative action and has a "thinly veiled hatred for this country's unique culture and institutions."

Topics: Washington, D.C.,

(updated below – Update II)

National Review‘s Mark Krikorian notes that (1) Washington Mutual became the largest bank to fail in American history yesterday and (2) its last press release touted the fact that it was named one of America’s most diverse employers, having been “honored specifically for its efforts to recruit Hispanic employees, reach out to Hispanic consumers and support Hispanic communities and organizations”; for being “named [one of] the top 60 companies for Hispanics”; for “attaining equal rights for GLBT employees and consumers”; for having “earned points for competitive diversity policies and programs, including the recently established Latino, African American and GLBT employee network groups”; and for being “named one of 25 Noteworthy Companies by Diversity Inc magazine and one of the Top 50 Corporations for Supplier Diversity by Hispanic Enterprise magazine.”

While juxtaposing these two facts — (1) WaMu has a racially and ethnically diverse workforce and (2) WaMu collapsed yesterday — the National Review writer headlined his post: “Cause and Effect?” He apparently believes that the reason Washington Mutual failed may be because it employed and was too accommodating to large numbers of Hispanics, African-Americans and gays. Is that why Lehman Brothers, AIG, Bear Sterns and so many others also failed — too racially diverse of a workforce? Ironically, the night before, National Review‘s Mark Steyn and Hugh Hewitt agreed with one another that The Atlantic Monthly was forever destroyed as a journalistic entity because it employs Andrew Sullivan, whose writings about Sarah Palin are “a form of mental illness.”



At roughly the same time, Law Professor Glenn “Instapundit” Reynolds promoted this article by University of Oklahoma Professor David Deming, which described “Obama’s thinly veiled hatred for this country’s unique culture and institutions” and said he was “a hollow man that despises American culture,” and the article predicted that “more Americans will come to this realization and elect McCain/Palin in a landslide.” Professor Dunning explained that Sarah Palin compares favorably to Obama because she — unlike he — was “unassisted by affirmative action” and “is not embarrassed by being an American.” Then, this shining light of the right-wing blogosphere lavished praise on that article in a post entitled “Alien Obama” and explained that “Barack Obama despises America and American values because he has never known or experienced them, as he did not grown up in a normal American culture”; that “Obama is un-American”; and that “[Obama] is not one of us” (Professor Reynolds then linked to that “analysis,” too).

Yesterday, The Atlantic‘s Ross Douthat argued — more or less persuasively — that both presidential campaigns have decided, for different tactical reasons, that it’s in their interests to ensure that the election entails no real substantive differences between the two candidates and that the election has therefore become “an election about nothing.” Even if that’s true, the need to banish the faction that has been driven by drooling, ugly cretins like these — the people whose twisted mentality brought us torture and rampant lawlessness and endless authoritarian destruction and who crave still more of all of that (and economic crises always exacerbate hatemongering extremists and render their bile infinitely more dangerous) — is, by itself, reason enough to care about the outcome.

UPDATE: Yves Smith posts this informed speculation:

I understand that the explosion in the OIS spread is a reflection of the fear banks have for each others solvency. And it makes sense that it exploded right after the bankruptcy of [Lehman Brothers] — it was not the bankruptcy per se, IMO, but the that $110b of senior LEH debt went from trading .95 to .12 in a matter of days that concentrated the market’s attention. If you include the less senior debt that is trading at essentially zero, LEH had $110b hole in its balance sheet. And just days before this, the market was being told and was believing that the $10b disposition of Neuberger was going to solve their funding problems.

Now is there a precedent in this history of bankruptcy — excluding cases of accounting fraud — where bonds collapsed like this once a bankruptcy court opened up the books? I’m thinking the answer is ‘no.’ Which then makes you re-evaluate the premise that there wasn’t fraud at LEH in marking the value of their assets.

Now extrapolate this reasoning across the entire banking system and, voila, you have the seizure of the interbank lending market.

Now this leads me to the question: if the OIS spread represents eminently legitimate fears of inaccurate marks on banks books, how is a commitment from the treasury to buy hundreds of billions of distressed assets from the banks any assurance to a counterparty that that bank will not still become insolvent.

There are all sorts of reasons that led us to this financial crises — including, quite possibly, pervasive fraud at the highest levels of the financial world in how these “assets” were valued and, most certainly, a reckless institutional pursuit of endless profits by exploiting illusory financial instruments. Trying to blame it on the fact that home loans were made to racial minorities — or, worse, that these institutions employed too many racial minorities, as National Review‘s Krikorian did — is demagoguery so vile and reckless that it defies description.

UPDATE II: Digby has more on the Right’s strategy — including from National Review — to blame minorities for the financial crisis, here and here.

And good for conservative Professor Stephen Bainbridge, who says about the likes of Krikorian and Malkin: “They make you embarrassed to be a Conservative” and: “the freezing up of the credit markets doesn’t have anything to do with either affirmative action or illegal immigration, and people who believe it does are on a par with the conspiracy theorists who think flouridation is a Chicom plot.”

Glenn Greenwald

Follow Glenn Greenwald on Twitter: @ggreenwald.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 22
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Talking Heads, 1977
    This was their first weekend as a foursome at CBGB’s, after adding Jerry Harrison, before they started recording the LP “Talking Heads: 77.”

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Patti Smith, Bowery 1976
    Patti lit up by the Bowery streetlights. I tapped her on the shoulder, asked if I could do a picture, took two shots and everyone went back to what they were doing. 1/4 second at f/5.6 no tripod.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Blondie, 1977
    This was taken at the Punk Magazine Benefit show. According to Chris Stein (seated, on slide guitar), they were playing “Little Red Rooster.”

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    No Wave Punks, Bowery Summer 1978
    They were sitting just like this when I walked out of CBGB's. Me: “Don’t move” They didn’t. L to R: Harold Paris, Kristian Hoffman, Diego Cortez, Anya Phillips, Lydia Lunch, James Chance, Jim Sclavunos, Bradley Field, Liz Seidman.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Richard Hell + Bob Quine, 1978
    Richard Hell and the Voidoids, playing CBGB's in 1978, with Richard’s peerless guitar player Robert Quine. Sorely missed, Quine died in 2004.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Bathroom, 1977
    This photograph of mine was used to create the “replica” CBGB's bathroom in the Punk Couture show last summer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. So I got into the Met with a bathroom photo.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Stiv Bators + Divine, 1978
    Stiv Bators, Divine and the Dead Boys at the Blitz Benefit show for injured Dead Boys drummer Johnny Blitz.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Ramones, 1977
    “The kids are all hopped up and ready to go…” View from the unique "side stage" at CBGB's that you had to walk past to get to the basement bathrooms.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Klaus Nomi, Christopher Parker, Jim Jarmusch – Bowery 1978
    Jarmusch was still in film school, Parker was starring in Jim’s first film "Permanent Vacation" and Klaus just appeared out of nowhere.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Hilly Kristal, Bowery 1977
    When I used to show people this picture of owner Hilly Kristal, they would ask me “Why did you photograph that guy? He’s not a punk!” Now they know why. None of these pictures would have existed without Hilly Kristal.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Dictators, Bowery 1976
    Handsome Dick Manitoba of the Dictators with his girlfriend Jody. I took this shot as a thank you for him returning the wallet I’d lost the night before at CBGB's. He doesn’t like that I tell people he returned it with everything in it.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Alex Chilton, Bowery 1977
    We were on the median strip on the Bowery shooting what became a 45 single sleeve for Alex’s “Bangkok.” A drop of rain landed on the camera lens by accident. Definitely a lucky night!

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Bowery view, 1977
    The view from across the Bowery in the summer of 1977.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Ramones, 1977 – never before printed
    I loved shooting The Ramones. They would play two sets a night, four nights a week at CBGB's, and I’d be there for all of them. This shot is notable for Johnny playing a Strat, rather than his usual Mosrite. Maybe he’d just broken a string. Love that hair.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Richard Hell, Bowery 1977 – never before printed
    Richard exiting CBGB's with his guitar at 4am, about to step into a Bowery rainstorm. I’ve always printed the shots of him in the rain, but this one is a real standout to me now.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Patti Smith + Ronnie Spector, 1979
    May 24th – Bob Dylan Birthday show – Patti “invited” everyone at that night’s Palladium show on 14th Street down to CBGB's to celebrate Bob Dylan’s birthday. Here, Patti and Ronnie are doing “Be My Baby.”

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Legs McNeil, 1977
    Legs, ready for his close-up, near the front door of CBGB's.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Suicide, 1977
    Rev and Alan Vega – I thought Alan was going to hit me with that chain. This was the Punk Magazine Benefit show.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Ian Hunter and Fans, outside bathroom
    I always think of “All the Young Dudes” when I look at this shot. These fans had caught Ian Hunter in the CBGB's basement outside the bathrooms, and I just stepped in to record the moment.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Tommy Ramone, 1977
    Only at CBGB's could I have gotten this shot of Tommy Ramone seen through Johnny Ramones legs.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Bowery 4am, 1977
    End of the night garbage run. Time to go home.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>