Just weeks after the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) professed its support for Occupy Wall Street, the 2.1-million-member organization disclosed an early endorsement of President Obama’s reelection. "We believe in a country that invests in good jobs here at home, where everyone pays their fair share," SEIU President Mary Kay Henry averred in a conference call to reporters. "Do we want leaders who side with the needs of rich corporations and the 1 percent, where they are prospering at the expense of everyone else? Or do we want leaders who will side with the rest of us, the 99 percent?"

In early October, the organization issued a union-wide endorsement of Occupy Wall Street, and championed the movement’s ideology of income inequality and its political rally cry for hiking taxes on America’s wealthy. "The brave students, workers, and unemployed Americans occupying Wall Street have shaken the conscience of our nation," Ms. Henry avowed in an October 4 press release. "The crowds and demonstrations will only get larger and louder as more Americans find the courage inside themselves to stand up and demand Wall Street CEOs and millionaires pay their fair share to create good jobs now."

SEIU officials have employed measures to drive higher turnout numbers to Occupy Wall Street solidarity events throughout the United States and Canada. On October 15, SEIU members and other unions, such as the AFL-CIO, joined an OWS march in Minneapolis to demand that banks end foreclosures, and members have participated in similar OWS protests in Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and dozens of other cities across the country.

One should always be prepared for the worst. Considering that we have a dumbed-down public who votes emotionally rather than rationally, it is quite possible that Barack Obama can win a second term by simply scaring Americans into believing that they will lose their Social Security, their Medicare, their Medicaid, their food stamps, and all other federal goodies, if a Republican is elected president. Those who remember the 1964 presidential election may recall the scare tactics used by the Lyndon Johnson campaign to frighten Americans into thinking that should Republican candidate Barry Goldwater be elected president, it would be the same as "tearing up" their Social Security card. Americans are now so addicted to government entitlements, that the idea of limited government probably frightens them. They actually want unlimited government. The more the better, they think, and by November 2012 most Americans may decide that Obamacare is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Thomas Sowell, in a recent column, noted that liberal Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt won four elections for the presidency (1932, ’36, ’40, and ’44) despite the fact that the economy was in a depression, unemployment was high, and money was tight. The Democrats blamed it all on the Republicans, naming the shanty towns built by the jobless "Hoovervilles." In 1935, they enacted Social Security, which has become the most sacred entitlement in American history, saving millions of the poor from starvation. What kind of a heartless Republican can be against that.

Evidence shows that CNBC manipulated its online poll following a debate and that its action is part of CBS policy to ignore certain candidates and prop up others. This has placed CBS and CNBC under harsh scrutiny. However, according to Murray Sabrin — professor of finance in the Anisfield School of Business at Ramapo College in New Jersey, 2008 Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate, and regular writer for LewRockwell.com — the main motivation behind the media’s bias against Ron Paul has been Paul’s harsh criticism of the Federal Reserve.

 

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said that a good catch phrase could stop thinking for 50 years. One of the often-repeated catch phrases of our time — "It's the economy, stupid!" — has already stopped thinking in some quarters for a couple of decades.  There is no question that the state of the economy can affect elections. But there is also no iron law that all elections will be decided by the state of the economy.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt was re-elected for an unprecedented third term after two terms in which unemployment was in double digits for eight consecutive years.

We may lament the number of people who are unemployed or who are on food stamps today. But those who give the Obama administration credit for coming to their rescue when they didn't have a job are likely to greatly outnumber those who blame the administration for their not having a job in the first place.

An expansion of the welfare state in hard times seems to have been the secret of FDR's great political success in the midst of economic disaster. An economic study published in a scholarly journal in 2004 concluded that the Roosevelt administration's policies prolonged the Great Depression by several years. But few people read economic studies.

Days ago, reports revealed that Ron Paul is in a dead heat in the Iowa caucus with Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, and Newt Gingrich. Since then, Paul has also gained support in New Hampshire, where he is now in second place in the polls. A Bloomberg News New Hampshire poll reveals that Paul currently sits at 17 percent in New Hampshire, surpassing the new GOP frontrunner Newt Gingrich, who garnered 11 percent of the vote, and Herman Cain, who received just 7 percent. The only candidate ahead of Paul is Mitt Romney, who sits comfortably at 40 percent.

 

When it comes to the requisite familiarity with crucial issues of domestic and global importance, some are suggesting that the current GOP presidential front-runner might be “faking it.” Particularly in the areas of foreign affairs and domestic security, there are those making compelling arguments that perhaps the former Governor of Massachusetts is out of his league.
 
 

Imagine a world in which Americans weren’t remotely as susceptible to media manipulation as they currently are. Let’s call it “America 2.” In such a world, Americans would be more disposed to “think for themselves,” as we say, to think just a bit critically about the images and sound bites to which they are bombarded daily. The measured skepticism with which they would treat the media, especially its coverage of politics, would cultivate within them intellectual and moral virtues that, in reality, are sorely lacking among a good portion of the electorate. In this possible world, Americans would be far more fortified against intellectual dishonesty and hypocrisy than are their counterparts in the real world.

 

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich earned at least $1.6 million between 1999 and 2007 in "consulting" fees from mortgage giant Freddie Mac, Bloomberg News reported November 16, even as Gingrich acknowledged for the first time that he had a larger consulting role than as a staff historian. The figure was more than five times the previously reported amount.

Gingrich, asked how he earned some $300,000 in consulting fees with Freddie Mac in a November 9 presidential debate, said his role was to offer advice as an "historian." Moreover, Gingrich denied acting as a lobbyist and claimed to advise the mortgage giant to end their practice of guaranteeing sub-prime mortgages. Freddie Mac and its sister organization, chartered by Congress, fueled the housing bubble in the last decade. "My advice," Gingrich said in that debate, "I said to them at the time, this is a bubble. This is insane. This is impossible."

The Bloomberg report countered Gingrich's debate claims about his dissent from Freddie Mac's policies. "None of the former Freddie Mac officials who spoke on condition of anonymity said Gingrich raised the issue of the housing bubble or was critical of Freddie Mac’s business model." Gingrich told Bloomberg that he "offered them [Freddie Mac] advice on precisely what they didn’t do," but it's unclear during which stint as a counselor Gingrich offered this advice, if he offered the advice at all. Gingrich worked for Freddie Mac as a consultant from 1999-2002 and 2006-07 and his consulting firm, The Gingrich Group, earned between $1.6 million and $1.8 million in consulting fees.

Newt Gingrich's lucrative $300,000 consulting contract with mortgage giant Freddie Mac in 2006 — during the height of the housing bubble it was fueling — was geared toward stopping Republican support for new restraints on the guarantee of sub-prime mortgages, according to a November 15 report by Bloomberg News.

The controversy went public again during the CNBC debate November 9, when CNBC Host John Harwood asked Gingrich: "Your firm was paid $300,000 by Freddie Mac in 2006. What did you do for that money?"

Gingrich responded by denying he'd been a paid "lobbyist":

I have never done any lobbying. Every contract was written during the period when I was out of the office, specifically said I would do no lobbying, and I offered advice. And my advice as a historian, when they walked in and said to me, "We are now making loans to people who have no credit history and have no record of paying back anything, but that's what the government wants us to do," as I said to them at the time, this is a bubble. This is insane. This is impossible.

Of course, Harwood hadn't accused Gingrich of lobbying, and had only asked what he had done to earn the $300,000 contract. By knocking down the lobbying straw-man argument, Gingrich hoped to end the issue. But his "historian" remark only made those in the press more curious about what he'd done to earn this very substantial paycheck.

Writing in Business Week, Hans Nichols announced that with the improvement in the economy President Obama’s chances for reelection in 2012 are improving as well.  He noted that the unemployment rate fell last month (from 9.1 percent to 9.0 percent) while unemployment claims dropped (by 10,000). And the outplacement firm of Challenger Gray & Christmas noted that government layoffs have slowed as well. Then he reviewed several different polls that showed improvement in President Obama’s ratings (each still below 50 percent), and then concluded that this mass of positive data is improving the president’s “political prospects.”

 

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