Saturday, 26 December 2009


Ken Berwitz

About that unsuccessful attempt to blow up that Delta/Northwest flight from Amsterdam to Detroit;

-A spokesperson for President Obama has called it an "attempted terror attack".  He's right, of course.

-So what happened to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano's brilliant alternative description, "man-made disaster"? - the one that Mr. Obama did not have any problem with when she floated it?  Could it be that the politically astute Mr. Obama realized how imbecilic he'd sound using this kind of mindless trivialization?  I'd like to think so.

-But what about Ms. Napolitano herself?  What does she call it?  So far all we've gotten from the Department of Homeland Security is a statement that:  

"Secretary Janet Napolitano has been briefed on the incident aboard Northwest Airlines flight #253 and is closely monitoring the situation. Passengers may notice additional screening measures put into place to ensure the safety of the traveling public on domestic and international flights."

As you can see, the only description of all of what happened is that it was "an incident".

No, Ms. Napolitano, it is not an "incident".  An "incident" is when someone accidentally bumps into someone else on the street and the two of them get into a fight over it.  This was an attempted act of terrorism.

Ms. Napolotano's tortured wording suggests that, even now, she is desperately searching for a way to avoid using the term "terrorism".  Why?  Because it might offend a terrorist or terrorist sympathizer?  

What a useless fool.


Ken Berwitz

This comes to us from CNN/Opinion Research.  I found it at  It is for the people who think trust in government went down the tubes because of George Bush.

There are two lines of data.  The first was just collected this past week, after a year of President Obama.  The second was collected during about the same time period last year when, popularity-wise, President Bush was at his lowest ebb:

CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll. Dec. 16-20, 2009. N=1,160 adults nationwide. MoE 3.


"How much of the time do you think you can trust the government in Washington to do what is right: just about always, most of the time, or only some of the time?"




Just About

Most of
the Time

Only Some of
the Time

Never (vol.)























As you can see, trust in government was a horror show one year ago.  Only 25% said government could be trusted just about always or most of the time.

Now, after a year of Mr. Obama and his lopsidedly Democratic congress?  It's down to 20%.

When Mr. Obama promised transparency in government he wasn't kidding.  Obviously the people of this country see right through him.


Ken Berwitz

Before you assume I'm going over the top with that title, read this, from (you can read the entire article by clicking here):

Geithner Gives Housing Industry A Huge Christmas Present: Unlimited Fannie And Freddie Bailouts

Henry Blodget | Dec. 26, 2009, 8:59 AM

The Treasury snuck in another big bailout on Christmas Eve: It removed the cap on the amount of money it will provide to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to cover their ongoing mortgage losses.  There is now no limit on how much we taxpayers will shovel down these black holes.

The move is designed to reassure Fannie and Freddie bondholders, who provide a lot of the money the companies use to support the housing market.  These bondholders have now apparently been given an explicit government guarantee, in perpetuity.   The move is also obviously designed to continue to prop up house prices, which, thanks to artificially low mortgage rates, are still above long-term norms.

On a more positive note, the Treasury also announced that it will stop buying Fannie and Freddie mortgages (though the Fed will presumably keep doing so).  The total bailout so far is $111 billion.

The removal of the cap will further distort prices and activity in the housing market, which is now massively subsidized by government programs.  It will continue to reward bondholders for being stupid.  And it will likely result in additional huge losses for taxpayers.

It was obviously not an accident that the Treasury announced the plan after the market close on Christmas Eve, or that the press-release headline made the announcement sound like a mere "update."  Republicans, understandably, are screaming.

Jessica Holzer and Michael Crittenden, WSJ: The U.S. Treasury said it would provide capital as needed to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over the next three years, effectively opening its checkbook to the government-controlled companies in a bid to reassure investors in their debt.

Treasury also will end its purchases of the companies' mortgage-backed securities and terminate a never-used short-term liquidity facility set up for the firms and the Federal Home Loan Banks.

And it moved to allow the companies to shrink their giant portfolios of mortgage securities more slowly, though it said it was still "committed to the principle" of reducing the portfolios.

Treasury announced the moves in a Christmas Eve press release, a week before its authority to change the terms of its agreements with the companies was set to expire. After Dec. 31, Treasury would need the consent of Congress to make such changes.

What would you call it?

Zeke ... ... California is the model of Mr. Obama's economic policy: ... ... spend money you don't have on things that are not needed ... ... and cry, when you cannot pay for them ... tough on your grandchildren - THEY will be left holding the bag on this ... (12/26/09)

Zeke There are a LOT of countries which have had massive public spending. In every case, the long term debt contracted as a result has been a heavy weight on their economy .... and, not one was able to "spend themselves rich". Greece, Jamaica, Japan .... the countries that have robust economies - China, India, are doing it through providing goods and services to international customers. Besides aircraft and grains, where else does the US compete on international sales? (12/26/09)

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