Taibbi v. York

Another notch in Taibbi’s belt, as he just shreds yet another Cornerite:

M.T.: What a surprise that you mention Franklin Raines. Do you even know how a CDS works? Can you explain your conception of how these derivatives work? Because I get the feeling you don’t understand. Or do you actually think that it was a few tiny homeowner defaults that sank gigantic companies like AIG and Lehman and Bear Stearns? Explain to me how these default swaps work, I’m interested to hear.

Because what we’re talking about here is the difference between one homeowner defaulting and forty, four hundred, four thousand traders betting back and forth on the viability of his loan. Which do you think has a bigger effect on the economy?

B.Y.: Are you suggesting that critics of Fannie and Freddie are talking about the default of a single homeowner?

M.T.: No. That is what you call a figure of speech. I’m saying that you’re talking about individual homeowners defaulting. But these massive companies aren’t going under because of individual homeowner defaults. They’re going under because of the myriad derivatives trades that go on in connection with each piece of debt, whether it be a homeowner loan or a corporate bond. I’m still waiting to hear what your idea is of how these trades work. I’m guessing you’ve never even heard of them.

I mean really. You honestly think a company like AIG tanks because a bunch of minorities couldn’t pay off their mortgages?

B.Y.: When you refer to “Phil Gramm’s Commodities Future Modernization Act,” are you referring to S.3283, co-sponsored by Gramm, along with Senators Tom Harkin and Tim Johnson?

M.T.: In point of fact I’m talking about the 262-page amendment Gramm tacked on to that bill that deregulated the trade of credit default swaps.

Tick tick tick. Hilarious sitting here while you frantically search the Internet to learn about the cause of the financial crisis — in the middle of a live chat interview.

B.Y.: Look, you can keep trying to make this a specifically partisan and specifically Gramm-McCain thing, but it simply isn’t. We’ve gone on for fifteen minutes longer than scheduled, and that’s enough. Thanks.

M.T.: Thanks. Note, folks, that the esteemed representative of the New Republic has no idea what the hell a credit default swap is. But he sure knows what a minority homeowner looks like.

B.Y.: It’s National Review.

I bet Rich Lowry wishes York had not corrected him at the end and had let people think York actually wrote for the New Republic. This has to have been the worst year for the National Review, ever.

At any rate, this just gets back to what everyone across the country is beginning to figure out- the bullshit artists who have been running this country and propping up the Republicans have no idea what they are talking about- ever. They have relied on invective and personal attacks and fear appeals and personal narratives for so long, we are to the point that they can not even debate coherently anymore. When pressed and pushed away from the talking points and the convenient scapegoating, they whiff. Reciting “fight them over there rather than over here” or yelling “no surrender” or babbling incoherently about American exceptionalism really doesn’t work when you are asked a specific question.

And for the record, I have only the fuzziest idea of how Credit Default Swaps work. It seems to me they are a ridiculously complex instrument whipped up by folks who in previous generations would be using their mathematical models to study theoretical physics. From what I have read, Ponzi scheme really does seem to sum up what they are.


Six Degrees of Stanley Kurtz

Yglesias is absolutely right:

Specifically, the Chicago Annenberg Challenge on whose board Obama served gave a grant to an outfit called the Coalition for Improved Education in [Chicago’s] South Shore (CIESS). CIESS was “linked to a network of schools within the Chicago public system” called the “South Shore African Village Collaborative.” According to Kurtz, this network which was linked to an organization which got a grant from a group on whose board Obama served, “was very much a part of the Afrocentric ‘rites of passage movement’” and also at time did events featuring guys named Jacob Carruthers and Asa Hilliard. These two, in turn, seem to have held fringy opinions somewhat similar to some of Jeremiah Wright’s fringy opinions. Ergo, according to Kurtz, Wright is back on the table.

I’d say McCain’s in luck with this one! Obama’s doomed!

Seriously, though, is there anyone who could withstand this kind of guilt-by-association. Obama was on the board of an outfit that gave a grant to an outfit that was linked to another outfit that organized an event where some dude spoke, and thus Obama is responsible for the dude? Really? I spoke at the Heritage Foundation once. Does that make Heritage’s board members responsible for stuff on my blog? It doesn’t make any sense.

It doesn’t have to make sense. It just has to scare people. Radical! Liberal! America-hater! Scary black man! Booga booga booga!

It all boils down to what we have been saying over and over again- the conservative movement is dead. They have no ideas. They have no vision. They have soundbites about tax cuts and American exceptionalism, and little else. Hell, in unguarded moments when they put down the pom-poms they will admit they hate McCain’s ideas when he talks about anything other than permanent war.

Go read the Corner. The only thing you will find are lame guilt-by-association attacks, tawdry smears, glowing reviews of An American Carol and whinges about media bias.The premiere conservative magazine, the National Review, has not had an honest to goodness new idea in it for as long as I can remember, and instead, has a dozen brain-dead hacks like McCarthy and Kurtx and K-Lo and Goldberg who do nothing but spend time telling you why the opposition is evil and must be defeated.

This is a movement on life support. It is time to pull the plug.

Unintentional Humor at Red State

Moe Lane, oblivious as ever, writing at the premier site for center-right thought:

I have had it reported to me – at third hand, which means that you can ignore the rest of this post forthwith with no complaints from me, if you like…

Shouldn’t that be the header of Red State at this point?

Another thought. Has anyone at The Next Right considered that it might be a tough sell considering the current right has sucked so hard?

And, in a shameless attempt to get Krista to “squee,” more pictures of Sam:

Speaking of Purity

While the son of William F. Buckley may no longer be pure enough for the National Review and the GOP, I would suggest this patriot and hero to the party surely is:

A new father has secretly named his baby girl Sarah McCain Palin after the Republican ticket for president and vice president.

Mark Ciptak of Elizabethton put that name on the documents for the girl’s birth certificate, ignoring the name Ava Grace, which he and his wife had picked earlier.

“I don’t think she believes me yet,” he told the Kingsport Times-News for a story to be published Tuesday. “It’s going to take some more convincing.”

Dedication like that should surely be enough to offer him a lucrative gig posting at the Corner. After all, when you are down to posting rumors and innuendo, quality control and intellectual heft are not really first order hiring principles. I would suggest that this guy has the dedication to the cause that is needed to continue the fight against the liberal fascists.

In all seriousness, Tim and I im’d back and forth, and we both agree this is one of the saddest things we have ever heard. Not even telling your wife?

One Step Closer to Purity

Excellent work, right-wingers:

Christopher Buckley, author and son of late conservative icon William F. Buckley, last week surprised readers of the magazine his father founded, the National Review: “Sorry, Dad, I’m voting for Obama” was the headline on The Daily Beast blog.

Tuesday in a phone interview with the Austin American-Statesman he revealed another surprise: After NR readers raised holy heck over his perceived betrayal of the right, he offered to resign his column – and it was accepted.

“It upset a great number of people – a huge number of canceled subscriptions, apostasy, the whole thing,” he said from Washington.

When he offered his resignation to the magazine’s editors, “I was sort of hoping for, ‘Well, let’s think about it,’ ” Buckley said. “But to paraphrase Ronald Reagan, I didn’t leave the Republican Party, the Republican Party left me.”

Join the club, Christopher. It will be interesting to watch the GOP shrink to a few nativists, a couple religious nuts, and the Kathryn Jean-Lopez. Oops. That may have been redundant.

I think it is going to be a while before we hear about the big tent Republican party.

*** Update ***

More here from Buckley:

As for the mail flooding into National Review Online—that’s been running about, oh, 700-to-1 against. In fact, the only thing the Right can’t quite decide is whether I should be boiled in oil or just put up against the wall and shot. Lethal injection would be too painless.


One editor at National Review—a friend of 30 years—emailed me that he thought my opinions “cretinous.”


So, I have been effectively fatwahed (is that how you spell it?) by the conservative movement, and the magazine that my father founded must now distance itself from me. But then, conservatives have always had a bit of trouble with the concept of diversity. The GOP likes to say it’s a big-tent. Looks more like a yurt to me.

While I regret this development, I am not in mourning, for I no longer have any clear idea what, exactly, the modern conservative movement stands for. Eight years of “conservative” government has brought us a doubled national debt, ruinous expansion of entitlement programs, bridges to nowhere, poster boy Jack Abramoff and an ill-premised, ill-waged war conducted by politicians of breathtaking arrogance. As a sideshow, it brought us a truly obscene attempt at federal intervention in the Terry Schiavo case.

So, to paraphrase a real conservative, Ronald Reagan: I haven’t left the Republican Party. It left me.

That bold part sounds familiar.