Republicans have nothing but reaction, and it’s all bad reaction. [Shorter Question Everything]



• A Fox News host who joked that women have all the rights the need because they can shop got a two-word response from The Young Turks co-host Ana Kasparian on Tuesday: “Fuck you!”

• New Version of Violence Against Women Act Shows GOP Only Hates the Most Vulnerable Women

• “A woman’s right to choose, in Canada, in 2012, is not up to negotiation,” New Democrat MP Niki Ashton said.

• Facebook and Google Turned Into Government Spies? The Dangerous New Law Before Congress (CISPA)

• White House Veto Threat Scrambles CISPA’s Prospects

• The US justice department has made the first arrest in connection with the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, charging a former engineer with destroying evidence relating to the amount of oil gushing from BP’s stricken well.

• Romney hasn’t actually said what he intends to do. There’s no meat in the speech. Either Romney has no policy, or the policy is so terrible that he doesn’t want you to know it ahead of time, for fear he’d never stand a chance. Either way, it’s bad.

• ‘Romney’s Man In Congress’ Falsely Blames Obamacare For High Student Loan Rates

• Austerity Pushes The UK Back Into Recession — Will American Conservatives Learn The Lesson?

• “America has got the equivalent of the stage three cancer of socialism because the federal government is tampering in all kinds of stuff it has no business tampering in”

Romney’s Disconnect With Average Americans

Obama praises Senate student loan bill: IOWA CITY, Iowa, April 25 (UPI) — President Obama, speaking at the University of Iowa Wednesday, praised the introduction of a Senate bill that would keep student loan rates at current levels.

…”Now, the good news is, the Senate introduced a bill last night that would keep student loan rates from doubling. That’s the good news. And what’s also good news is some Republican senators look like they might support it,” Obama said.

“But I’ve got to tell you, the Republicans who run the House of Representatives have not yet said whether or not they’ll stop your rates from doubling,” he said. “And they’ve hinted that the only way they’d do it is if they cut things like aid for low-income students. So let me scratch my head there for a second. Think about that. We’re going to help some students by messing with other students. That’s not a good answer.”

…He ridiculed a remark by Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., who is running for the state’s Republican U.S. Senate nomination. Obama did not mention Akin’s name but referred to a remark Akin made Saturday at a candidates’ debate in explaining why the government should not offer student loans.

“America has got the equivalent of the stage-three cancer of socialism because the federal government is tampering in all kinds of stuff it has no business tampering in,” Akin said.

“Stage-three cancer?” the president said Wednesday as the audience of students laughed. “I don’t know where to start. What do you mean? What are you talking about? Come on. Just when you think you’ve heard it all in Washington, somebody comes up with a new way to go off the deep end.” [upi/25 Apr 2012]

House to vote on student loans: An electoral battle between President Obama and Republicans over young voters escalated Wednesday when Speaker John Boehner scheduled a Friday vote to stop interest rates on student loans from doubling this summer. Boehner (R-Ohio) coupled the vote with an attack on Obama’s healthcare law, announcing he would pay the $5.9 billion cost of extending the loans with funds from what he called a healthcare “slush fund” set up for preventive care. [thehill/Molly K. Hooper, Mike Lillis and Amie Parnes/25 Apr 2012]

Obama: Romney Can’t Walk Back Primary Rhetoric: President Obama does not believe that the Mitt Romney will be able to escape the conservative rhetoric and policies he pushed during the primary season, he told Rolling Stone in an interview in early April. Without referring to Romney by name – the interview was before Santorum dropped out and Romney became the presumptive nominee – Obama said: “I don’t think that their nominee is going to be able to suddenly say, ‘Everything I’ve said for the last six months, I didn’t mean.’” Obama also intoned that he would hold his opponent to his positions: “I’m assuming that he meant it. When you’re running for president, people are paying attention to what you’re saying.” [talkingpointsmemo/Pema Levy/26 Apr 2012]

Ex-CIA Officer Who Destroyed Waterboarding Videos: Torturers “Disgusted” at Being Labeled “Torturers”Former CIA officer, Jose Rodriguez on waterboarding tape destruction: ‘Just getting rid of some ugly visuals’: The former CIA officer who ordered the destruction of videotaped interrogations which showed the torture of Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Nashiri in a secret CIA prison in Thailand in 2002, says he did so because he worried about the global repercussions if the footage leaked out and wanted to get “rid of some ugly visuals.” Amnesty International activists protest near the U.S. Capitol in 2009, called for an independent investigation into alleged human rights abuses by the Bush administration and its torture program. (Photo: Getty images) Jose Rodriguez, who oversaw the CIA’s once-secret interrogation and detention program, in his new book “Hard Times,” writes critically of President Obama’s counterterrorism policies and complains openly about the president’s public criticism of Bush’s torture policies. “I cannot tell you how disgusted my former colleagues and I felt to hear ourselves labeled ‘torturers’ by the president of the United States,” Rodriguez writes in his book, “Hard Measures,” which the Associated Press previewed in a new report. Complaining about “bureaucratic” hand-wringing in Washington, Rodriguez claims he had the authority to dispose of the tapes. “I wasn’t going to sit around another three years waiting for people to get up the courage,” to do what CIA lawyers said he had the authority to do himself, Rodriguez writes. [Common Dreams/25 Apr 2012]

House Republicans Would Rather Kick 280,000 Low-Income Kids Off Free Lunch Program Than Raise Millionaires’ Taxes: House Republicans recently proposed cuts to nutrition assistance that will kick 280,000 low-income children off automatic enrollment in the Free School Lunch and Breakfast Program. Those same kids and 1.5 million other people will also lose their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly food stamp benefits) that help them afford food at home. Ten years’ worth of these nutrition cuts could be prevented for the price of one year of tax cuts on 3,340 multimillion dollar estates that House Republicans are protecting in their budget….The Republican budget sells this bill as an effort to “reduce lower-priority spending” to avert military cuts that will otherwise take place in January 2013 due to the debt deal agreed to last summer. But when it comes to reducing the deficit, it’s clear the House would rather ask low-income kids and families struggling against hunger to foot the bill than asking multimillion-dollar estates to pay their fair share. [Think Progress/Melissa Boteach/25 Apr 2012]

Senate Passes Plan to Give Postal Service Fiscal Relief: WASHINGTON — The Senate on Wednesday overcame opposition from several Republicans and passed legislation that would overhaul the financially ailing Postal Service, voting weeks before the agency plans to begin closing thousands of post offices and consolidating hundreds of processing centers to cut costs. The measure was passed 62 to 37, despite a warning from Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee, that it would add to the national debt. … But one of the Republican co-sponsors, Ms. Collins, argued that the bill would not add to the debt because any spending would come from revenue generated by the Postal Service, not from federal coffers. [nytimes/RON NIXON/25 Apr 2012]

ALEC Chairman Confirms Disbanding Non-Economic Task Force Is Just PR Stunt: We already knew this was a PR stunt. But in an recent interview, the Republican state legislator who chaired the disbanded committee confirms it:

Republican State Rep. Jerry Madden of Texas chairs the Public Safety Task Force and although he is disappointed the committee is disbanding, he said many of the issues will be transferred to other committees. “ALEC’s decision won’t impact the important issues we’ve worked on,” Madden told The Christian Post. “But I will say this, these groups are targeting ALEC because when conservatives get together, we influence state and federal policy in a major way and these groups are scared of us – and should be.”

[Color of Change/25 Apr 2012]

The Biggest Student Uprising You’ve Never Heard Of: On an unseasonably warm day in late March, a quarter of a million postsecondary students and their supporters gathered in the streets of Montreal to protest against the Liberal government’s plan to raise tuition fees by 75% over five years.  As the crowd marched in seemingly endless waves from Place du Canada, dotted with the carrés rouges, or red squares, that have become the symbol of the Quebec student movement, it was plainly obvious that this demonstration was the largest in Quebec’s, and perhaps Canadian, history…. So, why haven’t you heard about this yet? While the Quebec student strike is comparable in scale to student movements in Europe and Latin America, it is entirely unique in the context of Canada and the continental United States, which makes the absence of media coverage outside the province puzzling at best and disturbing at worst.  As the veteran Canadian activist Judy Rebick observed in a recent column, “it is incredible that there has been almost no coverage of this extraordinary uprising of young people in Quebec in English Canada,” and, save for a brief mention on Democracy Now!, the movement has been ignored by even the independent American press.  [chronicle//23 Apr 2012]

85 arrests after violence erupts in Montreal: Violence erupted in the streets of Montreal Wednesday night after talks broke down between student groups and the Quebec government, leading to 85 arrests and shattered windows. Several police officers were also injured in the riot that left the city stunned Thursday. [ Size/26 Apr 2012]

Harper won’t rule out staying in Afghanistan past 2014: Prime Minister Stephen Harper has not ruled out extending Canada’s military involvement in Afghanistan beyond the 2014 withdrawal of NATO forces. Under questioning from Opposition Leader Thomas Mulcair in the House of Commons Wednesday, Harper said Ottawa will “examine all options” if asked to leave a contingent of special forces in the war-ravaged country after spring 2014. According to a media report, the U.S. has asked Canada and Australia to keep some of their troops in Afghanistan to help American forces capture Taliban and al Qaeda insurgents and train Afghan soldiers. But Harper said Canada has received no “specific” request from the U.S. to stay on past 2014. [CTVNews/25 Apr 2012]

Israel military chief: Iran not pursuing nuclear weapon: JERUSALEM — Israel’s military chief toned down the rhetoric over Iran’s nuclear programme on Wednesday, describing the Iranian leadership as “very rational” and unlikely to take the decision to build a bomb. Speaking to the left-leaning Haaretz newspaper, Lieutenant General Benny Gantz said Iran was systematically approaching the point at which it would be able to decide on whether to build a bomb, but had not yet made that decision. “It still hasn’t decided yet whether to go the extra mile,” he said. [Agence France-Presse/25 Apr 2012]

California Advances Bills To Expand Access To Abortions: While states across the nation are imposing new restrictions on abortion procedures, California advanced legislation yesterday to expand access to a first-trimester abortions. Under a senate measure, “nurse practitioners, nurse midwives and physician assistants would be able to perform what is known as an ‘aspiration’ abortion, which is the most common abortion procedure and takes place in the first trimester of a pregnancy.” A separate bill advanced in an Assembly Committee “passed a separate bill that would expand access to birth control by allowing registered nurses to dispense the medication.” Supporters of both measures hope that the bills would expand the accessibility and affordability of the procedures, especially for women who live in rural areas (where 97 percent of rural counties have no abortion provider). Significantly, the expansion is also safe: a five-year study conducted by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco “found that nurse practitioners, midwives and physician assistants can perform the abortions as safely as physicians.” [thinkprogress/Igor Volsky/25 Apr 2012]

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