President Obama DNC2012: “We can out-educate and out-compete any country on Earth.”

“You can choose a future where more Americans have the chance to gain the skills they need to compete, no matter how old they are or how much money they have. Education was the gateway to opportunity for me. It was the gateway for Michelle. And now more than ever, it is the gateway to a middle-class life. …And now you have a choice – we can gut education, or we can decide that in the United States of America, no child should have her dreams deferred because of a crowded classroom or a crumbling school. No family should have to set aside a college acceptance letter because they don’t have the money. No company should have to look for workers in China because they couldn’t find any with the right skills here at home. Government has a role in this. But teachers must inspire; principals must lead; parents must instill a thirst for learning, and students, you’ve got to do the work. And together, I promise you – we can out-educate and out-compete any country on Earth. Help me recruit 100,000 math and science teachers in the next ten years, and improve early childhood education. Help give two million workers the chance to learn skills at their community college that will lead directly to a job. Help us work with colleges and universities to cut in half the growth of tuition costs over the next ten years. We can meet that goal together. You can choose that future for America.”

— President Obama, DNC2012

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New policy: President Obama to grant work permits to young immigrants

A Familiar DREAM: Obama Grants Immunity to Young Illegal Immigrants

As many as 800,000 young immigrants could avoid deportation under a new policy President Barack Obama plans to announce Friday, granting work permits to those who entered the country illegally as children…  Obama is expected to announce the new policy in a 1:15 p.m. Rose Garden address.

Read more at The Atlantic Wire. [Image: Reuters]

Meanwhile, at the Republican ranch: They all look alike — 

The RNC launched a new Spanish-language website designed to “have open communication about the goals and vision of the Republican Party” with Latino voters. Mashable notes a stock photo in the top banner “featured a group of children that weren’t Latino — but Asian.” – Political Wire

Morning Bunker Report: Saturday 4.21.2012

————————————WHAT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY STANDS FOR TODAY

CNN’S DANA LOESCH tells ‘foreigner’ MSNBC’s Martin Bashir to ‘go back to his own country’ — Yesterday, Bashir called former Massachusetts Governor and presumptive Republican candidate for president Mitt Romney a liar and said that by his own faith’s tenets, he’s going to hell for what he said about President Obama and the economy. That was apparently more than Loesch, a CNN contributor, erstwhile Andrew Breitbart protege and supporter of corpse desecration could stomach hearing about her party’s nominee. In a sputtering freakout rant from Thursday’s edition of “The Dana Show,” she called Bashir “an unintelligent hack” and “a foreigner” who isn’t qualified to cover U.S. politics. “I don’t want to hear a foreigner talking about media in this country, or politics in this country.” she said, “You don’t understand it.” She urged the award-winning journalist to go back to “his own country” and report on British politics and celebrities, “and be famous off of that.”

WOMEN ARE STUPID! AMIRITE? Presumptive GOP nominee MITT ROMNEY’s new foreign policy spokesperson RICHARD GRENELL has an odd penchant for targeting the wives of male politicians and women in general on Twitter. Grenell, who served as George W. Bush’s spokesperson at the UN and was announced as the Romney campaign’s new representative yesterday, has gone after Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, Callista Gingrich, Sandra Fluke and others. He also asserted that President Obama’s children should be fair game for political debate. A selection of his thoughts on women… In another comment, that has since been removed, Grennell discussed the first lady “sweating on the East Room carpet.” This afternoon, Grennell offered an apology, of sorts, for his attacks, writing, “my tweets were written to be tongue-in-cheek and humorous but I can now see how they can also be hurtful. I didn’t mean them that way and will remove them from twitter. I apologize for any hurt they caused.” [New Romney Spokesman Used Twitter For Sexist Attacks]

MAKES YOU WONDER — HOW MUCH ROMNEY MONEY IS INVESTED IN A KEYSTONE PIPELINE ‘BLIND’ TRUST? Romney: I’ll build Keystone pipeline even ‘if I have to do it myself’ — Mitt Romney vowed Friday that, if elected president, he would build the controversial Keystone Pipeline linking oil deposits in Canada to refineries on the Texas gulf coast. “I will build that pipeline if I have to do it myself,” Romney said during a speech before state Republican Party leaders gathered at a retreat in Arizona. [...] Romney, who took the stage to a standing ovation, delivered essentially the same speech he has given for the last two days, attacking President Barack Obama on everything from his handling of the economy to his policies on energy, health care and education. “The president has failed,” Romney said. He took specific aim at the Democratic Party’s ties to labor unions, accusing Obama of putting union heads above the needs of the American people. “That’s where they get their money,” Romney said. “And that’s where they pay obedience.”

Romney: I like firing people. Vote RepublicanIF BY ‘ENTREPRENEURSHIP’ YOU MEAN ‘LOWER TAXES FOR BILLIONAIRES’   Billionaire energy businessman William Koch, whose brothers finance an array of conservative political causes, directed another $1 million into a “super PAC” backing GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, according to new campaign finance records filed Friday. The donation to Restore Our Future was made through Huron Carbon, a subsidiary of Oxbow Carbon, a privately held coal and petroleum supplier that Koch founded and runs. The contribution means that Koch has steered at least $2 million to the super PAC: Last year, Oxbow Carbon gave $750,000 to Restore Our Future, while Koch personally gave the group $250,000. [...] “Bill Koch is becoming more engaged because he wants to see entrepreneurship in this country improve,” spokesman Brad Goldstein said Friday. “He has known Mitt Romney for more than three decades and believes Mitt Romney possesses the business skills needed to turn our economy around.” [latimes.com]

PRESIDENT OBAMA / DEMOCRATS—————————————————————-

MAYBE OBAMA SHOULD HAVE PROMISED TAX CUTS FOR THE WEALTHY TOO? Obama Campaign Faces Dropoff in Big Donations — With big checks no longer flowing as quickly into his campaign, Mr. Obama is leaning harder on his grass-roots supporters, whose small contributions make up well over half of the money he raised through the end of March, according to reports filed Friday with the Federal Election Commission. And Mr. Obama is asking far more of those large donors still giving, exploiting his joint fund-raising arrangement with the Democratic National Committee to collect five-figure checks from individuals who have already given the maximum $5,000 contribution to his re-election campaign. “They clearly are feeling the pressure,” said one major Obama fund-raiser, who asked for anonymity to characterize his conversations with campaign officials. “They’re behind where they expected to be. You have to factor in $500 million-plus in Republican super PAC money.”

  • March fundraising report shows Romney even more dependent on wealthy donors than Barack Obama and George W. Bush in 2004. [Buzzfeed Politics]

YET THE GOP IS OKAY WITH CONTINUING TO SUBSIDIZE BIG OIL, BIG FARMS, ETC: “In America, higher education cannot be a luxury; it’s an economic imperative that every family must be able to afford,” Obama said in his weekly address. “That’s why next week I’ll be visiting colleges across the country, talking to students about how we can make higher education more affordable – and what’s at stake right now if Congress doesn’t do something about it.” …”If Congress doesn’t act, on July 1 interest rates on some student loans will double,” Obama said. “Nearly seven and half million students will end up owing more on their loan payments.” The College Cost Reduction and Access Act, introduced in the Democrat-controlled Congress in 2007 and passed on bipartisan votes, halved the rate on federally subsidized Stafford loans to 3.4 percent. If Congress doesn’t act, the rate returns to 6.8 percent. Republicans contend keeping the low interest rate costs too much… [Obama: GOP needs to prevent doubling of student loan rates]

  • IN FAIRNESS, it’s worth noting that Republicans have argued, accurately, that the lower rate would cost about $6 billion according to the Congressional Budget Office, and Democrats haven’t said much about how they’d pay for the extended rate freeze. Then again, House Republicans just passed an unnecessary tax cut bill with a $46 billion price tag, which they didn’t try to pay for, either. For GOP officials to say we can afford to add $46 billion to the deficit for a tax break, but we can’t afford $6 billion on student aid, is a problem. As for the president’s likely opponent, Mitt Romney has said he intends to dramatically scale back the federal role in helping students go to college. [Dems, GOP fight over student loan rates]

NEW AFL-CIO WEBSITE | EXECUTIVE PAYWATCH: Corporate Cash Hoarding Holds Back Job Creation – Since the Wall Street financial crisis, the largest U.S. non-financial corporations have amassed record levels of cash. But rather than investing these cash hoards to expand their operations and create jobs, many companies have shed workers in the United States. At the end of 2011, the largest non-financial companies in the S&P 500 Index had accumulated more than $1 trillion in cash, a historic high. Corporate cash was up 66 percent from the end of 2007, before the Wall Street financial crisis.[1] This comes at a time when the U.S. unemployment rate has exceeded 8 percent and more than 12 million Americans are looking for jobs. While overall employment at S&P 500 Index companies has grown since 2007, cash stockpiles have grown even faster. Most of this job creation has been overseas. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the U.S. parents of multinational companies cut a total of 864,000 jobs between 1999 and 2009, while their foreign affiliates added 2.9 million jobs.[2] Public companies are not required to disclose the percentage of their global workforce that is based in the United States. However, they must disclose the total number of employees, and a number of large companies have been cutting jobs while stockpiling cash.

Monday morning’s 9 barely interesting things

1) Obama At AIPAC  | Andrew Sullivan - For the worldview of Cheney and Netanyahu to prevail, Obama must be defeated. That is clearly the agenda of the current Israeli government, and what the NYT delicately but accurately calls “Israel’s backers” in the US. My worry is that once the Likudniks begin to realize Obama may not be defeated by the GOP at home, the current Israeli government would launch a war without warning to create a crisis to humiliate the president, rally end-times evangelicals to vote, send oil prices soaring, and force the US president to coopt a war he does not want and does not yet believe is necessary. If that helps the GOP nominee, so much the better. Every GOP candidate is now committed to the most extreme positions of the Likudnik Israeli right – and are to the bellicose right of most Israelis. I hope that the Israeli government is not that reckless or extreme. But ask yourself when thinking about Netanyahu: what would Cheney do? These individuals are radicals. They turned the US into a torturing nation and regarded that decision as a “no-brainer.” A “wag-the-dog” scenario in which Netanyahu creates a war to wound and weaken a US president before an election is, sadly, not unthinkable. And he will have the GOP as his critical back-up.

2) Should We Be More Scared Of Pandemics? – “Worst case for a severe pandemic would certainly be in the millions [of deaths] in the U.S. alone,” says John Barry. He has advised the last two U.S. presidents on the flu virus and wrote The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History. … When the so-called Spanish flu struck in 1918, it resulted in 500 million infections and 50 million to 100 million deaths, in a world with a population of about 1.8 billion people. That’s equivalent to around 385 million deaths—only a little less than the current population of South America—if extrapolated out to today’s population. “Because of the mildness of the 2009 pandemic, I would say most people underestimate the threat,” says Barry.

3) And Breitbart goes out not with a bang but a whimper – Apparently the big expose Breitbart promised before his death has been released at one of the Big Morons sites, and the shocking revelation is… Obama attended a play 14 years ago that was about Saul Alinksy. || And THIS is the “damning information” that caused Breitbart’s “assassination” by Obama, according to conspiracy theorists. lol.

 4) David Frum: HBO’s ‘Game Change’ Charts Sarah Palin’s Revenge - The professionals soon discover their mistake. “I don’t even like to say this, but has it occurred to you guys that she might be mentally unstable?” asks one staffer about the woman the McCain campaign proposed to put next in line to America’s nuclear codes. As they come to know Palin, the campaign professionals begin to feel an awakening of conscience: first qualms, then fears, and finally revulsion—not for the campaign, not for their careers, but for their country. They supported McCain because they saw him, in Schmidt’s words, as a statesman and national hero running against a celebrity with no major life accomplishments. In hopes of reversing adverse poll numbers, they yoked a great man to a running mate who was not merely unworthy, but dangerous. Some of the best acting in the film is in the looks of unspoken dread that flit about the faces of Sarah Paulson’s Wallace and Harrelson’s Schmidt as they react to Palin’s wilder and wilder provocations. What have they done? And if this campaign somehow wins—and Palin is put within reach of the presidency—what might they have done?

If ever there were a scenario in which Godwin’s Law was apropos, Sick Rantorum is it.5) Santorum: Contraception ‘a grievous moral wrong’ – “The Blunt amendment was broader than that. It was a conscience clause exception that existed prior to when President Obama decided that he could impose his values on people of faith, when people of faith believe that this is a grievous moral wrong. [...] I’m reflecting the views of the Church that I believe in. We used to be tolerant of those beliefs. I guess now when you have beliefs that are consistent with the church, you are somehow out of touch with the mainstream. And that to me is a pretty sad situation when you can’t have personally-held beliefs.” || I find it “pretty sad” that, as president, Santorum would like to impose his personal religious beliefs on the entire country.

motherjones:Context: Rick Santorum pledges to repeal 130,000 legally recognized same-sex marriages if elected president.6) Santorum backs nullifying existing gay marriages – There are 18,000 married gay and lesbian couples in California and at least 131,000 nationwide according to the 2010 census, conducted before New York state legalized same-sex marriage in July. Rick Santorum says he’ll try to unmarry all of them if he’s elected president. Once the U.S. Constitution is amended to prohibit same-gender marriages, “their marriage would be invalid,” the former Pennsylvania senator said Dec. 30 in an NBC News interview.

7) 99% of Republicans expect their kids to go to college, according to Pew report. – No matter what political beliefs they hold, nearly all parents—99 percent of Republicans, 96 percent of Democrats, and 93 percent of independents—expect their children to go to college, the survey found. That resounding endorsement makes clear that Santorum is all but alone in his opinion that only snobs encourage all kids to go to college. || And there you have it: 99% of Republicans are snobs.

8) Chris Wallace: Fox News covers contraception for female employees - During a discussion about women’s health issues on Sunday, Fox News host Chris Wallace revealed that the insurance provided by the conservative news network included oral contraceptives. “Before coming on today, I checked with the women here at Fox News and it turns out that Fox News health coverage does cover — there’s a co-pay — but it does cover contraception,” Wallace explained. “When it comes to contraception, you know the idea that — and we’re not talking about religious institutions. According to the Blunt amendment, any — U.S. Steel, as I said, Fox News, any company could simply decide, we are not going to offer that. An insurance company could decide, one that has no ties to any religious organization.” || There’s an FYI for Limbaugh and his zombie hoard — the “sluts” at Fox News have the health insurance benefit that Sandra Fluke was talking about. 

9) You might wonder: how are Limbaugh’s hoards in the wingnut blogosphere handling the advertising exodus from the barren land of El Rushbo? Like this:  SLUTGATE: CONTACT CARBONITE – DROP ED SCHULTZ!!!!! – A 30-year-old poses as a 23-year-old, chooses a Catholic University to attend at $65,000 per year and can not afford ALL the birth control pills she needs… so she wants the US taxpayers to pay for her rampant sexual activity. By all accounts she is banging it five times a day. She sounds more like a prostitute to me. She must have an gyno bill to choke a horse (pun intended). Slut was a softball. Obama calls her and tells Sandra Slut Fluke that her parents should be so proud of her. He’s a pimp. As for Rush calling a spade a spade, or in this case, a slut a slut, advertiser Carbonite is playing selective outrage. Contact Carbonite here and demand that they drop their ads from Ed Schultz’s program. || That’s courtesy of a woman, Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs. Who better to casually throw around such pejoratives about another woman than a true lady like Geller? 

Monday morning’s 9 just barely interesting things

1) Mitt Romney and NASCAR — he’s just like us! (not) - Mitt Romney visited the Daytona 500 rally in Florida on Sunday, praising what he called a “quintiseentially American” sport. Asked whether the trip outside of Michigan was a sign of confidence that he would win the hotly-contested state, he replied, “No, it’s a sign of a guy who loves cars.” It’s what happened next, though, that has set the net ablaze. Here’s how CBS News described it: [...] Asked by the AP reporter if he follows NASCAR, Romney responded, “Not as closely as some of the most ardent fans. But I have some great friends who are NASCAR team owners.”

2) Rick Santorum’s NASCAR car “The Frothy” (but where are the brown splat marks?) – GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum hopes the car his campaign is sponsoring in the Daytona 500 today can have the same come-from-behind success as his campaign. The Santorum campaign is sponsoring Front Row Motorsports’ Car #26, a Ford Fusion driven by veteran race car driver Tony Raines, in the premiere stock car event of the season taking place today in Daytona Beach, Florida.

3) Rick Santorum is a Dangerous Demagogue – Rick Santorum is dangerous. There’s no other way to put it. He’s now saying things that could literally lead to the deaths of more service members serving in Afghanistan right now. Speaking in Marquette, Michigan, Sunday, Rick Santorum addressed an incident Sunday in which 7 U.S. service members were injured in a protest in response to U.S. military members burning a Koran. Santorum called the protestors evil, using the word repeatedly. He also condemned President Obama’s apology over the Koran-burning incident, saying that apologies only incite more violence because they are a show of weakness. Let me get this straight — apologizing for burning Qurans is a sign of weakness and will somehow lead to more violence? And repeatedly calling those who were offended ‘evil’ is supposed to help?

  • Car bomb hits airport in eastern Afghanistan – The blast comes a day after demonstrators hurled grenades at a U.S. base in northern Afghanistan, and a gun battle left two Afghans dead and seven NATO troops injured Sunday in the escalating crisis over the burning of Muslim holy books at an American airfield. More than 30 people have been killed, including four U.S. troops, in six days of unrest. Still, the top U.S. diplomat in Afghanistan said the violence would not change Washington’s course.
  • Taliban: Blast was retaliation for burning

4) We Don’t Need No Education – “President Obama once said he wants everybody in America to go to college,” Santorum sniped. “What a snob!” [...] Yes, increased knowledge tends to generate a more liberal world view. But it’s not a wild sci-fi conspiracy. It’s just reality. When you learn more about important things you tend to realize that the world is more complex and diverse than a GOP bumper sticker. College students are taught to think critically and independently by default due to the difficulty of the material — not through some kind of mandate. And this kind of critical thinking tends to produce a more liberal perspective rather than a lockstep conformist perspective.

  • Flashback: In 2006, Rick Santorum Wanted To Send All Pennsylvanians To College

5) Studies Refute Santorum’s Claim That College Makes People Less Religious - “Contrary to our own and others’ expectations, however, young adults who never enrolled in college are presently the least religious young Americans,” the journal concluded, noting that “64 percent of those currently enrolled in a traditional four-year institution have curbed their attendance habits. Yet, 76 percent of those who never enrolled in college report a decline in religious service attendance.” Or Santorum may have been referring to a 2006 Harvard study in which 62 percent of college Republicans said “religion is losing its influence on American life.” But that study negates Santorum’s larger point: It found that “a quarter of students (25%) say they have become more spiritual since entering college, as opposed to only seven percent (7%) who say they have become less spiritual.”

6) Sick man – So is the idea that the first Catholic president was sickening a big seller among Catholics these days? Who knew? I don’t think Ricky understands his history very well. Evidently, he was unaware that in 1960, conservatives thought of Catholics the same way think of Muslims today. He seems under the impression that America was a wonderful religiously tolerant nation until the horrible secularists came along and ruined everything. I guess he didn’t know about this, perpetuated, by the way, not by the secularists who didn’t give a damn, but by his favorite allies, the right wing protestants.

  • Does Ronald Reagan make Santorum want to ‘throw up’ too? - But I really wonder if Santorum is prepared to level the same accusation against Ronald Reagan: “We in the United States, above all, must remember that lesson, for we were founded as a nation of openness to people of all beliefs. And so we must remain. Our very unity has been strengthened by our pluralism. We establish no religion in this country, we command no worship, we mandate no belief, nor will we ever. Church and state are, and must remain, separate.” Hear the retching? That’s Santorum. Just wait till he finds about Vatican II.
  • Rick Santorum’s tiny mental Jesus is telling him lies – Kennedy did not say that “people of faith have no role in the public square,” nor did he say that “faith is not allowed in the public square.”  Not even close. Kennedy said that all people and churches should be created equal.  That’s it.  It’s a simple concept, really—one that Republicans, the self-styled masters of the Constitution, should have grasped by now.  Frankly, I can’t even begin to understand what Santorum’s Brain was thinking when it interpreted Kennedy’s speech as some sort of attack on faith and the First Amendment. It is nutbaggery most foul, and I simply do not get it.

7) How the 2012 Primary Has Revealed a GOP on the Verge of Collapse – many Republicans are already looking past 2012. If either Romney or Santorum gains the nomination and then falls before Obama, flubbing an election that just months ago seemed eminently winnable, it will unleash a GOP apocalypse on November 7—followed by an epic struggle between the regulars and red-hots to refashion the party. And make no mistake: A loss is what the GOP’s political class now expects. “Six months before this thing got going, every Republican I know was saying, ‘We’re gonna win, we’re gonna beat Obama,’ ” says former Reagan strategist Ed Rollins. “Now even those who’ve endorsed Romney say, ‘My God, what a fucking mess.’ ”

8) Putin warns attack on Iran would have “truly catastrophic” consequences - Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Russia is concerned about the “growing threat” of an attack on Iran over its nuclear program, warning that the consequences would be “truly catastrophic.” In an article on foreign policy for publication on Monday, six days before a March 4 presidential election he is almost certain to win, Putin also warned Western and Arab nations against military intervention in Syria. “I very much hope the United States and other countries … do not try to set a military scenario in motion in Syria without sanction from the U.N. Security Council,” Putin said, according to a transcript.

9) AP News: WWII vet says nobody helped after he was carjacked - Brantley told The Associated Press said several people passed by him as he crawled, unable to walk because his leg was broken in the attack. The carjacker knocked Brantley down, took his keys and drove off in his car about 10:40 a.m. “I was trying to go in … and see if somebody could call the police and an ambulance because I couldn’t stand. I had to crawl – I tried two or three times to get up,” Brantley said Saturday. He said he was on way home from Bible study when he stopped to put gas in his 2010 Chrysler 200, which he recently bought to replace another car that had been stolen. “People were passing me just like I wasn’t there. … I was crawling and they just walk by me like I’m not there,” he said.

Sunday morning’s 9 barely interesting things

image: alapoet

1) Romney Says Obama Has ‘Secular Agenda’ (or Wait a minute! Isn’t the US of Amurica SUPPOSED to be a secular nation?) - “You expect the president of the United States to be sensitive to that freedom and protect it and, unfortunately, perhaps because of the people the president hangs around with, and their agenda, their secular agenda, they have fought against religion. I can assure you, as someone who has understood very personally the significance of religious tolerance and religious freedom and the right to one’s own conscience, I will make sure that we never again attack religious liberty in the United States of America.” || Note: I wonder if Santorum thinks Romney, as a Mormon, is a true “Christian”?

image: mcbrewster

2) Romney makes no apologies for his cars (warning: Washington Times article) – Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, criticized by some for his unprompted comments Friday on the number of cars his family owns, said Sunday he can’t please everyone on the campaign trail. “I can’t be perfect. If people think there’s something wrong with being successful, then they ought to vote for the other guy, because I’ve been extraordinarily successful,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.” Mr. Romney, campaigning in Michigan on Friday ahead of Tuesday’s primary, told an audience that his wife, Ann, “drives a couple of Cadillacs.”

image: current

3) Santorum: Romney and Paul in ‘coordination’ against me (or the calculated alliance between Romney and Paul to vote Santorum off the island) – “I felt like, you know, messages were being slipped behind my chair,” he added. Santorum’s remarks, which came in response to a question from a member of the audience, reflect growing attention on a theory about an unlikely political partnership. “It is pretty remarkable in 20 debates that Ron Paul has never attacked Mitt Romney,” Santorum said. Calling him Romney’s “wingman,” Santorum said of Paul, “he is no conservative,” adding, “we don’t need the Ron Paul faction and the moderate establishment teamed up to attack the real conservative in this race.”

4) Michigan Tea Partiers Share Rick Santorum’s Fears Over Obama’s College Push (Teabaggers are equating college with Communism now) – But for the tea party crowd gathered here as part of an Americans For Prosperity rally, Santorum’s words about higher education were right on point. “President Obama wants everybody in America to go to college,” Santorum said. “What a snob!” Santorum started by saying some people don’t need to go to college: “Not all folks are gifted the same way. Some people have incredible gifts with their hands.” He then suggested there was an sinister motive behind Obama’s push to get more Americans in college classrooms. [...] So I set out into the crowded ballroom to find out just what the people the AFP crowd thought of Santorum’s attack line. Turns out they quite liked it…

Ayatollah Santorum’s Bluecollar Pandering Fail – Today at an Americans For Prosperity rally in Michigan, Rick Santorum called President Obama a “snob” for wanting to send more Americans to college. “There are good, decent men and women who work hard every day and put their skills to the test that aren’t taught by some liberal college professor,” Santorum declared. But back in his 2006 Senate re-election campaign, Santorum was touting his plan to send every Pennsylvanian to college. Evan McMorris-Santoro reports from Michigan.

image: ohgodwatwhy

Also at this rally: Santorum Again Relates Food Stamps to Minorities (except this time he didn’t say “BLAH people”) - Rick Santorum on Saturday resuscitated one of his more controversial remarks from the past few months of campaigning for president, connecting food stamps with “minority communities.” Speaking to a large crowd at the conservative Americans for Prosperity Presidential forum here, Santorum said he planned to “talk to minority communities, not about giving them food stamps and government dependency, but about creating jobs so that they can participate in the rise of this country.”

image: dailykos

5) America’s last hope: A strong labor movement – Instead of being fundamentally discredited, the oligarchs and plutocrats who crashed our economy are raking in record profits and acting even more aggressively to bury the American labor movement once and for all. Over the last year, several labor leaders have told me that they believe unions have only about five more years left if they don’t figure out some kind of breakthrough strategy. The complete collapse of unions would have devastating consequences. The labor movement has played a crucial role in advancing economic justice in the workplace and in politics. Union membership raises median weekly earnings and reduces race- and gender-based income gaps, and union workers are much more likely to receive health care and pension benefits than workers who are not members of a labor union. The decline of organized labor is directly linked to the rise in economic inequality over the last 40 years and the onset of a “Second Gilded Age.” The decline in union density coupled with the decline in the real value of the minimum wage explains one-third of the dramatic growth in wage inequality since the early 1970s.

image: divineirony

6) Practically Frothing For War – The redemption of Rick Santorum as Serious Foreign Policy Thinker(tm) comes courtesy of Michael Ledeen in the WSJ.  And so it goes. Clearly the Murdoch machine is hedging their bets when it comes to the very real possibility that the man who will carry the GOP’s standard into battle against President Obama is going to be a know-nothing fundamentalist dipstick. So like Bush 43 before him, the same “scholars” who told us that it didn’t really matter that the Republican candidate is a moron because he would be surrounded by a brain trust of great minds led by the necessary vision and will to “win” are hard at work constructing the exact same fantasy with Iran as their target.

image: liberalsarecool

7) Last week the Christianity police (Rick Santorum and Franklin Graham) came forward to discredit the president’s religious beliefs – According to a 2008 poll by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, more than half of American Christians believe there are many paths to heaven. The data say it best: No matter what exclusivist doctrines pastors preach from the pulpit, Americans are more open-minded. Last year, an evangelical pastor from Michigan named Rob Bell roused the ire of his colleagues by suggesting, in a book called “Love Wins,” that mostly everybody goes to heaven. It was a massive bestseller. America was founded by people who hoped that by allowing religious diversity to flourish, they might discourage extremism from growing. Counter to the claims of so many Christian conservatives, the intent of the First Amendment is not to protect any particular brand of Christianity from government encroachments, but to allow all kinds of believers to practice freely.

image: dceiver

8) What Happens At A Brokered Convention? The last time Americans saw a full-on major party brawl was when Teddy Kennedy decided to push his liberal economic vision at the 1980 New York City Democratic convention. Kennedy attempted to overcome sitting president Jimmy Carter’s nomination by fighting a rule change that would compel delegates to vote on their first ballot for the candidates to whom they had pledged their votes during the primaries. He lost this challenge, along with the nomination, but fought hard to have his pro-workers’ rights views incorporated into the party platform. Kennedy’s impassioned speech to convention delegates led to 40 minutes of floor demonstration, proving once and for all the power of quivering, patrician timbre, and straight-up audacity. Jamelle Bouie believes that “Republican leaders would have a serious problem on their hands if they tried to buck the voters and install a candidate of their own.”

9) OPERATION HILARITY: How Serious Is The Democratic Crossover Vote Threat In Michigan? – Are clever Democratic activists really going to cost Mitt Romney his home state on Tuesday? Or is the grassroots plan to use Michigan’s open primary as a means to humiliate the candidate most see as the biggest threat to President Obama in the fall just a red herring? Romney’s allies aren’t worried. Democrats and Obama’s campaign aren’t getting involved. And yet, activists think they just might pull this thing off. Welcome to the Michigan primary sideshow that just might play a part in the main event.

Saturday morning’s 9 semi-interesting things

1) F**king Alaska! Can we throw this state out of the Union already? — An Alaskan man has filed a lawsuit to prohibit President Obama from appearing on the November ballot not on the grounds that he was born in Kenya, but on the basis that his skin-color alone is enough to bar him from being a citizen. A man from Juneau, Alaska, has filed suit with the state’s Division of Elections to bar President Obama from appearing on that state’s ballot on the basis that the President is a “Mulatto”, and “the race of ‘Negro’ or ‘Mulatto’ had no standing to be citizens of the United States under the United States Constitution.” 

2) What Are the Gobshites Saying These Days? – Santorum decided to flagellat… er… explain himself to Glenn Beck, and to Beck’s audience of angry shut-ins… The two public intellectuals got into a discussion of religion, and Santorum said: “I saw one poll that said 62 percent of kids who go into college with a faith commitment leave without it… I understand why Barack Obama wants to send every kid to college, because of their indoctrination mills, absolutely… The indoctrination that is going on at the university level is a harm to our country.”  …The putative Republican frontrunner is a fking religious loon. This, I believe, should be something of an issue in the campaign.

3) Rick Santorum: Americans With ‘Special Needs’ Won’t Survive Under Obama’s Health Reform – But the Affordable Care Act actually prevents insurance carriers from denying coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions (and disabilities), prohibits health plans from putting a lifetime dollar limit on benefits and specifically invests in programs for people with disabilities. For instance, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has “announced $2.25 billion to extend the existing Money Follows the Person Rebalancing Demonstration Program, which is designed to facilitate people with disabilities staying in their communities instead of being placed in institutional settings” and has provided additional funding for aging and disability resource centers and other programs for sicker Americans. This why groups like the American Association of People with Disabilities, National Organization For Rare Disorders, and The Arc of the United States not only support the law, but have filed an amicus brief in its defense.

4) Romney Fails His Own ‘Moral Responsibility’ Test, Can’t Balance His Campaign’s Budget  - A series of ads lift excerpts from a speech Romney gave in November at an event in New Hampshire in which he says “we have a moral responsibility not to spend more than we take in,” and “it is a moral responsibility to believe in fiscal responsibility. We do and I do.” That raises serious questions about Romney’s morality then, since in January his campaign spent nearly three times more than it brought in during the month. Financial reports filed with the Federal Election Commission shows that the Romney camp raised about $6.5 million in January, but spent almost $19 million during the same period.

5) Can you imagine how fucked Obama would have been if he’d said Michelle drove a couple of Cadillacs? – For his embarrassing partial quote of the day, Mitt Romney ended a speech in Detroit with an apparent attempt to reach out to the car-making community there, saying, “I actually love this state. This feels good being back in Michigan … I like the fact that most of the cars I see are Detroit-made automobiles. I drove a Mustang and a Chevy pickup truck. Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs, actually.” Reporters have immediately jumped on the latter half of the comment as another example of Romney appearing “tone deaf” when making oblique references to his wealth among voters. (Think “I like being able to fire people” or “corporations are people, my friend.”) “Politically, I don’t there’s anything wrong with mentioning your wife drives a Cadillac. But it’s a little riskier if you mention she drives ‘a couple,’” writes The Hill’s Christian Heinze. “For the love of Pete,” tweets Politico’s Ben White. “… It would be better for that campaign if he didn’t speak.” “PROBLEM” adds Politico’s Dylan Byers. But let’s all take a step back. It could have been worse! Something like, “Ann used to drive two Cadillacs but that was years before we hired her a private driver.”

6) Higher gas prices: The folly of blaming Obama for higher gas prices  – The real problem is not that gas gets expensive sometimes, but that the United States, with its extremely high levels of per capita oil consumption, is much more vulnerable to supply disruptions than are rich countries in Asia and Europe. A larger share of Americans drive on a daily basis, and they drive heavier cars longer distances. Not coincidentally, gasoline is cheaper here thanks to lower taxes. But while American politicians like to pay lip service to the idea of tax reform that encourages work and investment, they refuse for political reasons to levy higher fees on environmentally and economically destructive gasoline in exchange for lower taxes on socially beneficial labor and savings. Until that happens we’re doomed to endless repetition of the pointless gas-price blame game every time global conditions push prices up.

7) Gov. Gregoire: Obama Is The ‘Inspiration’ Behind Washington’s Same-Sex Marriage Bill – Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire (D) praised President Obama’s record on gay rights following a meeting between the President and Democratic Governors, thanking him “for his leadership on GLBT issues.” Gregoire, whose state recently passed a same-sex marriage bill, said that it was through his efforts they were able to achieve what they did, adding, “He’s been the inspiration that allowed the state of Washington recognize that we need to have equality.” President Obama says he is still “evolving” in his support for marriage equality.

I think at least they’re doing it the right way, which is going through voters, giving them a chance to vote and not having a handful of judges arbitrarily impose their will,” Gingrich said when asked about the votes in Washington state and Maryland. “I don’t agree with it. I would vote no if it were on a referendum where I was, but at least they’re doing it the right way.”Newt Gingrich on Washington state enacting same-sex marriage

8) Kansas may raise taxes on the poor to fund cuts for the rich – In the version of the bill approved by a House committee this week, half a million of the state’s poorest residents who earn less than $25,000 will wind up paying an average of $72 more per year, while the 21,000 Kansans who make over $250.000 will get an average tax cut of $1500. A source in the state legislature told the Associated Press that the legislation will also reduce state revenues by more than $850 million oer the next five years. Kansas Democrats are predictably outraged. “It’s been Robin Hood in reverse,” Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley complained last month. “What we are doing is stealing from the poor to give to the rich.” It could be worse. the plan originally proposed by Governor Brownback would have given the wealthiest Kansans a $5200 tax cut, while forcing the lowest-income residents to pay $156 more.

9) Why Medicaid Is Hard To Cut – The biggest share of the pie, or the greatest percentage of Medicaid money, is spent on the blind and disabled. It’s going to be difficult, if not impossible, to cut care from that group. The next largest share of Medicaid goes to the elderly. Yes, even after they get Medicare, the very poor among those age 65 or older also get Medicaid. We call them dual-eligibles. Does anyone think that we’re going to cut from seniors after the 2010 elections? Unlikely. Should we cut from kids in foster care? Or perhaps “BCCA Women”, or women who are getting breast or cervical cancer assistance. No?

Newest example of The Republican Strategy: dividing the DREAMers

This is just the latest example of The Republican Strategy. The GOP recognizes that it needs people who wouldn’t vote for them to be divided against each other. United We Stand. Divided, maybe some would vote Republican?

GOP Bill Tries To Drive Wedge Between Undocumented Servicemembers And Undocumented College Students

During Monday night’s debate, the two Republican presidential front runners voiced their support for a modified DREAM Act that covers only those undocumented immigrants who are willing to serve in the United States military, and not those who attend a college or university in pursuit of a degree.

Now, a Florida Republican has introduced a bill to do just that:

Inspired by Monday night’s Republican presidential debate over immigration, Rep. David Rivera, R-Miami, filed a bill that would give young people who serve in the military — not college students — a path to U.S. citizenship.

[...] The new push for a military-only version of the DREAM Act is a not terribly subtle attempt by the Republican presidential nominees to create a wedge between military DREAMers and the college student DREAMers who have been lobbying for the bill for years.