December 10, 2008

KHQA Renounces Its Nov. 5 Story, But Reported Obama-Blago Meeting as a Fact on Nov. 8

This is entering into the realm of the bizarre — from the web site of KHQA TV (HT LGF), regarding a story I have saved at my web host from November 5 (bold is mine):

KHQA TV wishes to offer clarification regarding a story that appeared last month on our website ConnectTristates.com. The story, which discussed the appointment of a replacement for President Elect Obama in the U.S. Senate, became the subject of much discussion on talk radio and on blog sites Wednesday.

The story housed in our website archive was on the morning of November 5, 2008. It suggested that a meeting was scheduled later that day between President Elect Obama and Illinois Governor Blagojevich. KHQA has no knowledge that any meeting ever took place. Governor Blagojevich did appear at a news conference in Chicago on that date.

That’s fine, except for the fact that the KHQA story in my NewsBusters/BizzyBlog post earlier today was from November 8 — three days later (link again is to a file saved at my web host, obtained from Google cache shortly before it disappeared). It (obviously) talked about the meeting in the past tense (bold is mine):

Now that Barack Obama will be moving to the White House, his seat in the U.S. Senate representing Illinois will have to be filled.

Obama met with Governor Rod Blagojevich earlier this week to discuss it. Illinois law states that the governor chooses that replacement. There’s already been speculation about his selection…from Congressman Jesse Jackson, Junior to Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs Director Tammy Duckworth.

So KHQA is saying it “has no knowledge” that an Obama-Blagojevich meeting it thought in its November 5 story would occur actually did occur.

I suppose the station will also tell us at some point that it “has no knowledge” as to whether the meeting it definitively reported HAD occurred in its November 8 story really DID occur.

Are we having fun yet?

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Obama Busted on His ‘No Contact’ Statement? Oh, I Think So (UPDATE: Ace Has Pic of ‘Contact’ at Guvs’ Conference)

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 1:34 pm

Yes indeed (content at original link was deleted; current link is to copy at my web host; HT to an e-mailer, who tells me that “this is (in) the newspaper from Quincy, IL from KHQA, a CBS affiliate”; bold is mine):

By Alexis Hunt
Saturday, November 08, 2008 at 9:48 p.m.

Duckworth comments on consideration for Senate

QUINCY, IL — Now that Barack Obama will be moving to the White House, his seat in the U.S. Senate representing Illinois will have to be filled.

Obama met with Governor Rod Blagojevich earlier this week to discuss it. Illinois law states that the governor chooses that replacement. There’s already been speculation about his selection…from Congressman Jesse Jackson, Junior to Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs Director Tammy Duckworth.

Obama, yesterday (a quote that, strangely enough, seems barely present on Google News, and on Google Web):

“I have had no contact with the governor or his office, so I was unaware of what was happening.”

My take: Barack Obama was, at best, trying to limit his “no contact” statement to the last few days of Blago’s troubles without saying so.

But if so, why did David Axelrod feel the need to back off his assertion of November 23 that “I know he’s [Obama] talked to the governor [about the Senate vacancy] and there are a whole range of names many of which have surfaced, and I think he has a fondness for a lot of them”?

Somebody’s pants are on fire.

It seems surreal that this would be “breaking news” a full 21 hours after Obama’s “no contact” statement. But there it is.

I believe Obama’s call for Blago’s immediate resignation is as much a matter of self-protection as it is any interest in getting rid of a corrupt governor. The faster Blago goes away, the more quickly Obama’s apparent untruth becomes “old, irrelevant news” to Old Media.

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UPDATE: Let’s also not forget that Obama spoke at the National Governors Association conference last week, and that Blago was there:

Obama promises governors he’ll be listening

Reporting from Philadelphia — The nation’s governors came to tell tales of financial woe, but President-elect Barack Obama was already sold on them playing a role in the national economic recovery plan.

….. Governors also asked for help to expand children’s healthcare, to continue unemployment benefits and for continued support of food stamps and Medicaid.

Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich, a Democrat, was among those arguing that money should go directly to people bearing the brunt of the worsening economy. Facing an estimated $2-billion deficit, Blagojevich has already made budget cuts that closed state parks and historic sites.

“The more help we can give to the average American, the better the economy will be,” Blagojevich said. “And it’s a far better way than bailing out a few corporate, well-connected entities that have powerful lobbyists.”

It’s a little difficult to believe that Obama and Blago “had no contact” during the conference.

UPDATE, Dec. 11: I was right; they had “contact” (HT Hot Air) –

obamablagoatgovernorsmeeting.jpg

Given that Obama’s statement had no qualifications, this moves it definitively into the “false” category, regardless of all of the backtracking KHQA does from its own November 5 and 8 stories.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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UPDATE 2: Commenter Doug has noted this Volokh post — “The Blagojevich Timeline: Everything Fits Easily Except Obama’s Monday Denial.”

UPDATE 3: The same source I cited at the beginning of this post also had an article that was written just in advance of an Obama-Blago meeting (link is to backup copy at my web host; original content was removed earlier this afternoon, and Google cache was apparently deleted shortly thereafter):

Ill. governor meeting with Obama today

By Carol Sowers
Wednesday, November 05, 2008 at 10:39 a.m.

CHICAGO, ILL. — Now that Barack Obama will be moving to the White House, his seat in the U.S. Senate representing Illinois will have to be filled.

That’s one of Obama’s first priorities today.

He’s meeting with Governor Rod Blagojevich this afternoon in Chicago to discuss it.

Illinois law states that the governor chooses that replacement….

Old links that don’t work:

http://www.connecttristates.com/news/story.aspx?id=219212

http://www.connecttristates.com/news/story.aspx?id=217582

Couldn’t Help But Comment (121008, Morning)

Filed under: Economy,Environment,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:06 am

The Wall Street Journal has noted something yours truly addressed here at BizzyBlog and at Pajamas Media last week and last spring (here and here) — namely the “worker and industry backlash in Europe” against climate-change legislation (HT Benny Peiser’s CCNet e-mail):

Mr. Obama is still embracing the line from Greenpeace and the Environmental Defense Fund that cap and trade can generate five million “green jobs.” If you throw enough tax subsidies at something, you’re bound to get some new jobs. But if the money for those subsidies comes from higher energy taxes — and a cap and trade regime would amount to as much $1.2 trillion of new taxes — millions of jobs in carbon-using industry are also going to be lost.

The Europeans once believed the “green jobs” myth too. Now, as blue-collar workers take to the streets, they have learned that climate-change legislation means green unemployment.

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IBDeditorials.com calls out the CYA on the CRA (Community Reinvestment Act) as a bunch of BS.

This is the history that can’t be rewritten:

In a more aggressive pursuit of “social justice,” the Clinton administration revised the CRA in April 1995 to mandate that banks pass lending tests in “underserved” communities and suffer tough new sanctions for failing to make enough loans there.

According to the language of the new Clinton regs, banks that used “innovative or flexible lending practices” to address the credit needs of low-income borrowers passed the test. Banks with poor CRA ratings were hit with stiff fines and blocked from expanding their operations. Soon, “flexible” lending became the norm, and banks used subprime loans, which charge higher interest rates, to cover the added risk.

But it wasn’t enough. So Clinton ordered HUD to pressure Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to buy the higher-risk loans from private banks and lenders, while adopting the same “flexible” credit standards. By 2000, HUD had mandated that low-income mortgages — including CRA-related loans — make up half of their portfolios.

To further spread the risk, Clinton legalized the securitization of such mortgages. In 1997, Bear Sterns securitized the first CRA loans — $385 million worth, all guaranteed by Freddie Mac. Thus began the massive bundling of subprime mortgages that wound up poisoning the entire industry.

The cause and effect is clear. As ex-Fed chief Alan Greenspan recently testified: “It’s instructive to go back to the early stages of the subprime market, which has essentially emerged out of the CRA.”
It strains credulity for top regulators to now say the CRA had “absolutely nothing” to do with the subprime crisis.

It doesn’t just “strain credulity.” It’s a pathetic pack of lies.

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Arrested, disgraced, corrupt, and almost certainly prison-bound Illinois Governor Blagojevich still has the ability to appoint Obama’s US Senate successor. Don’t put it past him — and I’m not sure, based on the 17th Amendment, that anyone can do anything about it, short of ordering a post-appointment election as soon as possible. Blago should resign now, or be impeached today.

It’s probably too much to hope for, but there is a serious need to reopen the debate over the wisdom of the 17th Amendment, especially because there is no provision for a voter-driven recall. We have a pack of 100 people who are untouchable regardless of what they do for six years, who can (and do) fill their campaign coffers with money from non-constituents, and who could in general care less what their state legislatures think of them. Angels don’t deserve such unchecked power, let alone flesh-and-blood men and women.

“Direct election” of senators is thus, despite appearances, actually undemocratic. It is also totally against what the Founders intended, as under the original Constitution legislatures selected Senators. There was nothing wrong with that. If the “problem” was corrupt legislatures, the solution should have been to fix them.

As it is, the 17th Amendment moved huge amounts of power from the states — and voter control — to Washington, to our detriment. Does anyone believe that Senators selected by legislatures would even be entertaining the idea of a Big 3 auto bailout?

Though it’s probably a pipe dream, I am firmly in the “Repeal the 17th” camp. Short of that, Senators and Senate candidates should only be allowed to receive campaign contributions from individual residents of the state they represent or wish to represent.