I am Proud to say, “I Vote With People of Color, I Vote with LGBT/T People”

I live in a northeast Dallas suburb.  The development where we live is racially and ethnically mixed, struggling to stay in the middle class or what is left of the middle class.

Tina and I are progressive Democrats.

We have a vested interest in LGBT/T equality and human rights.

We are also strong supporters of anti-discrimination laws that protect all.

We support Women’s Rights, including access to abortion and contraception as well as anti-discrimination measures.

We are environmentalists opposed to  tar sands oil extraction, mountain topping and whale murdering.

I voted for Obama in 2008 after voting for Hillary in the primary.

I am disappointed that he hasn’t been able to do more.

Health Care Reform was a baby step in the right direction.

I wish he would end most measures put in place by Bush that are supposed to make us more secure.

I wish we were already out of Afghanistan.

But I’m supporting him and voting for him again this fall.

Yesterday we went to vote in the Texas primary.

In the 1960s I was about five years too young to have taken part in the Civil Rights Movement.  My big movement was the anti-war in Vietnam Movement.

Yesterday we had a Primary Election Run-off here in Texas.

The Republi-Nazis were trying to figure out which candidate was the craziest and hated people of color plus Teh Gayz, the most.

We went to vote and it was like a journey back in time.  The right wing crazy Republi-Nazis officiating their primary were all lily white and folks officiating the Democratic primary were all African American.

I’ve rarely felt more pride in voting than yesterday when I walked up to those wonderful folks who volunteered to officiate the election and voted Democratic.

While we were voting another old white woman came in and also voted Democratic.

When one looks at all the things that can make one an oppressed minority one finds there are far more people who are part of one or several minority categories than there are privileged white people.

The most foolish thing a member of a minority group can do is vote Republican.

Not voting is the same thing as voting Republican, this is why the Republicans are trying to suppress the vote with voter ID laws, and the purging of voter rolls.

Obama and the Democrats are far from perfect, one might argue they barely measure up to good enough, but there is much to be said regarding voting for the lesser of two evils.  Each time you do that you move closer to where you want your government and the people who represent you to be.

Every anti-discrimination law or ruling moves everyone closer to equality and respect for all.

Like a wind blown grain of sand or water continual small steps move us closer to the goal of freedom, equality and human rights for all.

Yeah…  I’m proud to be a Democrat, I wish they were further left but that is up to you and me moving them further left.

I am also proud to say I vote with people of color, LGBT/T people and other progressives.

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‘Matrix’ Director Reveals Transition To Lana Wachowski

This is kind of one of those revelations many of us have known about for several years.

From Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/30/matrix-director-sex-change-larry-wachowski_n_1720944.html

By
07/30/2012

The director of “The Matrix” and the highly-anticipated film “Cloud Atlas” has become the first major Hollywood director to publicly come out as transgender.

Lana Wachowski has revealed her transition while promoting her new film, the New York Post reported. Though the Post claims she has undergone gender reassignment surgery, this appears to be unverified.

Lana, formerly known as Larry, has been transitioning from a man to a woman for years now, the Post also reported. This new clip for “Cloud Atlas,” starring Tom Hanks and Halle Berry, appears to her first public appearance since transitioning.

In the trailer, Lana introduces the film with her brother, Andy Wachowski, and director Tom Tykwer.

“Hi, I’m Lana,” she says with her hair styled in pink dreadlocks.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/30/matrix-director-sex-change-larry-wachowski_n_1720944.html

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Start Early: Addressing Gender-Based Bullying in Elementary School

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/elizabethe-c-payne/start-early-addressing-ge_b_1715644.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices


07/31/2012

Kids learn the gender rules very young, and elementary schools are key sites for the construction and affirmation of culturally patterned gender relations. They learn that biological sex, gender, and sexuality are interrelated pieces of who we are and how we see the world, and they quickly learn that there are “normal,” expected ways for these three things to fit together and “normal” ways to present themselves as boys and girls. Education sociologist Deborah Youdell argues that this relationship between sex, gender, and sexuality works to create possibilities and set limitations on who children are “allowed” to be in schools. These rules of social interaction, expression, and identity are intertwined with the traditional gender roles associated with heterosexuality — even in the Pre-K and early elementary years.

It has become all but impossible to find gender-neutral spaces or toys in most stores. The girl aisles are the pink aisles, and toys there are miniature pink plastic replicas of cooking utensils, cleaning equipment, home décor, fashion (including bridal wear), child-rearing supplies, and dolls. On the boy aisle, one is likely to find trucks, guns and cars, and toys associated with “masculine” vocations, like fireman or superhero. There are no small blue plastic vacuum cleaners, ironing boards or high chairs on the “boy” aisle, no baby dolls that pee and cry. You may perhaps find a brightly colored lawn mower. This division in toys and the expected accompanying play mirror gender roles associated with “traditional” (1950s) heterosexual marriage — women cook, clean and raise babies, men work away from the home and mow the lawn. Women are primarily in the home. Men are outside the home, making an impact on their environments–through building, bulldozing, fighting, or saving the world with their superhero feats. Together in couples, men and women get it all done. So, though childhood play is usually gender segregated, it is often based upon heterosexual coupling and normative gender roles.

The cultural assumption that girls and boys are essentially and naturally different also underlies the organization and pedagogy of many early years classrooms. There may be classroom activity centers such as a “building block corner,” kitchen or dress-up area. Children playing in these areas may be given clear gender appropriate messages from both teachers and peers: “Boys don’t wear dresses,” “Girls don’t like trucks.” Class activities often require “girls vs. boys” competitions, and many daily organizational tasks, like lining up to go to lunch, rely on gender difference: “Girls line up here, boys line up there.” These iterations of the gender binary visibly divide and categorize all students in the classroom into two distinct gender groups. Nothing in between.

Continue reading at:   http://www.huffingtonpost.com/elizabethe-c-payne/start-early-addressing-ge_b_1715644.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices

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Chick-fil-A Dustup Shows Freedom For Fundies is a One-Way Street

From Truth Wins Out:  http://www.truthwinsout.org/blog/2012/07/27537/

by Wayne Besen
July 30th, 2012

In his latest screed, New York Times columnist Ross Douthat implored thosewho are opposed to Chick-fil-A’s anti-gay views to, “Say what you really think: that the exercise of our religion threatens all that’s good and decent, and that you’re going to use the levers of power to bend us to your will.”

Well, let’s toss the idea right back at Douthat. “Say what you really think: that you and other fundamentalist Christians are superior and that allowing people with whom you disagree to have equal rights and opportunities threatens all that’s good and decent, and that you’re going to continue in the un-American business of using the levers of power to bend us to your will.”

Fundamentalist Christian authors George Grant and Gary North best summarized this view in their infamous book, Changing of the Guard:

“But it is dominion we are after. Not just a voice. It is dominion we are after. Not just influence. It is dominion we are after. Not just equal time. It is dominion we are after.

This is precisely what fundamentalists have been doing for as long as they could get away with it. When it was permissible, they would bully non-Christian students into reciting their sectarian prayers in public schools.

How about race?

Continue reading at:  http://www.truthwinsout.org/blog/2012/07/27537/

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Partisan divide over gay marriage continues to widen in US

From Gay Star News:  http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/partisan-divide-over-gay-marriage-continues-widen-us010812

New poll shows 65% of Democrats favor marriage equality with Republican support down to 24%

By Greg Hernandez
01 August 2012

The partisan divide over gay marriage continues to grow in the US with a new poll showing that 65% of Democrats now favor marriage equality while just 24% of Republicans do.

The numbers are from a survey of 2,973 adults taken between June 28 and July 9 conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life and the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

The 65% figure is a rise from the 50% from just four years ago and is more than double the 29 percent of those Democrats who are opposed.

Complete article at:  http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/partisan-divide-over-gay-marriage-continues-widen-us010812

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Bush Appointee Strikes Down DOMA, Citing Historic Discrimination Against Gays And Lesbians

From Think Progress:   http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2012/07/31/617231/bush-appointee-strikes-down-doma-citing-historic-discrimination-against-gays-and-lesbians/

By Zack Ford
on Jul 31, 2012

Another court has overturned the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act, ruling in Pedersen v. Office of Personnel Management that “no conceivable rational basis exists for the provision.” Judge Vanessa L. Bryant, a district judge in the Second Circuit appointed by President George W. Bush, therefore ruled that DOMA “violates the equal protection principles incorporated in the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”

The suit was brought by same-sex couples living in Connecticut, Vermont, and New Hampshire who argued they were unfairly denied access to various programs available to other married couples. House Republicans, under the guise of the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) and Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) leadership, intervened at taxpayer expense to defend the anti-gay statute. In her decision, Bryant took BLAG to task for attempting to rewrite the past by claiming that gays and lesbians have not been subject to discrimination throughout history:

The fact that the concept of homosexuality as a distinct category or class wasn’t fully recognized until the late nineteenth century is not indicative of an absence of a long history of discrimination in light of the long standing proscriptions on homosexual conduct – conduct that is central if not tantamount in some sense to identity. Moreover, the pervasiveness of the “closet” in which homosexuals purposefully hid their sexualities could very well explain why it was only in the late nineteenth century that conceptions of homosexual identity emerged as gay Americans moved into cities and began tentatively stepping out of the closet. […]

Continue reading at:   http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2012/07/31/617231/bush-appointee-strikes-down-doma-citing-historic-discrimination-against-gays-and-lesbians/

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Scotland: Catholic Church challenged on reduced gay life expectancy claim

From Pink News:  http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2012/07/30/scotland-catholic-church-challenged-on-reduced-gay-life-expectancy-claim/

by
July 30, 2012

The co-convenor of the Scottish Green Party Patrick Harvie MSP has challenged the Scottish Catholic Church to produce evidence for its claim that gay relationships harm life expectancy.

The Catholic Church has said it will respond later this week.

Appearing on Scotland Tonight last week to discuss the Scottish government’s plans to legislate for same-sex marriage, spokesman Peter Kearney said: “There is a link between same-sex sexual practice and early death.

“That’s not something that the Catholic Church believes; there is an overwhelming body of medical evidence to suggest that. One study has shown that the life expectancy of a practising homosexual man will be reduced by something between 12 and 20 years.

“We only need to imagine the complex infections, diseases and illnesses that are caused. I think we’re all aware of it. We tend to indulge ourselves in a willful fantasy that there are no dangers, that it’s not harmful.

“That’s not a particularly compassionate response for a society to take.”

Now, Scottish Green Party co-convenor Patrick Harvie has called for Mr Kearney to substantiate his claims.

Continue reading:  http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2012/07/30/scotland-catholic-church-challenged-on-reduced-gay-life-expectancy-claim/

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Carole King Supports President Obama – Join Rural Americans for Obama

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Is There Racial Bias in “Stand Your Ground” Laws?

From PBS: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/criminal-justice/is-there-racial-bias-in-stand-your-ground-laws/

by
July 31, 2012

The Florida killing of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teen earlier this year, has brought national attention to the laws that allow people to use lethal force to defend themselves.

At least 20 states have laws with provisions that don’t require civilians to flee from an intruder before fighting back, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Of those, eight states, all of them in the south, specifically use the phrasing, “Stand Your Ground.” That includes Florida.

Since Martin’s killer, George Zimmerman, invoked the stand-your-ground defense, these laws have been defended by gun rights groups for empowering civilians. They’ve also been criticized by civil rights groups for encouraging violence and being racially biased.

A recent study suggests that laws may lead to more deaths. According to a June study [pdf] by researchers at Texas A&M University, the rates of murder and non-negligent manslaughter increased by 8 percent in states with Stand Your Ground laws. That’s an additional 600 homicides per year in the states that have enacted such laws.

The study, which analyzed FBI crime data nationwide from 2000-2009, says it could mean either that more people are using lethal force in self-defense, or that situations are more likely to escalate to the use of violence in states with the laws. “Regardless, the study said, “the results indicate that a primary consequence of strengthening self-defense law is increased homicide.”

But how do you measure racial bias? John Roman, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center, recently conducted a study examining racial disparity using FBI data on 43,500 homicides from 2005 to 2009, the most recent years for which data was available. He sifted out only the killings in which there was a single shooter and a single victim, both of whom were strangers to each other — narrowing the pool to about 5,000 homicides.

Continue reading at:  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/criminal-justice/is-there-racial-bias-in-stand-your-ground-laws/

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Barber: Legal Abortion to Blame for Colorado Shooting

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The War On Workers’ Religious Liberty

From RH Reality Check: http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/07/29/war-on-workers-religious-liberty

By Amanda Marcotte, RH Reality Check
July 30, 2012

The war on women advanced dramatically on Friday, when a judge in Colorado issued a preliminary injunction on behalf of an air conditioning and heating business owner who doesn’t want his employees to use contraception. The ruling only applies to this particular business, so it’s not like anyone else is going to be able to start denying insurance benefits to their employees because they disapprove of their sex lives. Still, it’s a worrying development, especially as the judge seemed sympathetic to the idea that an employer can deny benefits to an employee and earned by their work on the basis of religious disapproval of the employee’s private life.

This is part of the war on women, of course, but also part of another war: the war of employers on their employees. Chris Bertram, Corey Robin, and Alex Gourevitch co-wrote a piece at Crooked Timber where they explained how the workplace has become the place where human rights go to die.

In addition to abridging freedoms on the job, employers abridge their employees’ freedoms off the job. Employers invade employees’ privacy, demanding that they hand over passwords to their Facebook accounts, and fire them for resisting such invasions. Employers secretly film their employees at home. Workers are fired for supporting the wrong political candidates (“work for John Kerry or work for me”), failing to donate to employer-approved candidates, challenging government officials, writing critiques of religion on their personal blogs (IBM instructs employees to “show proper consideration…for topics that may be considered objectionable or inflammatory—such as politics and religion”), carrying on extramarital affairs, participating in group sex at home, cross-dressing, and more. Workers are punished for smoking or drinking in the privacy of their own homes. (How many nanny states have tried that?) They can be fired for merely thinking about having an abortion, for reporting information that might have averted the Challenger disaster, for being raped by an estranged husband. Again, this is all legal in many states, and in the states where it is illegal, the laws are often weak.

Efforts like the attacks on the contraception mandate are part of a larger conservative push to give employers even more power over the private lives of their employees. Salary and benefits aren’t something that rightfully belongs to the employer, but are something earned by the employee. The point of compensation is that once the employer turns it over to the employee, it’s the employee’s to use as they see fit. If conservatives are successful with this effort, it means opening a huge door where your employer has rights to control the compensation after you’ve earned it. If they can prevent you from using your earned insurance benefits from buying contraception, then what’s the legal reason they can’t extend that power to say that you can’t buy it at all, not with money you made working for them?

Continue reading at:  http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/07/29/war-on-workers-religious-liberty

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The Terrible Economy and the Anti-Election of 2012

From Robert Reich:  http://robertreich.org/post/28289563809

Robert Reich
Sunday, July 29, 2012

The worst economy since the Great Depression and you might think at least one of the candidates would come up with a few big ideas for how to get us out of it.

But you’d be wrong. Neither candidate wants to take any chances by offering any large, serious proposals. Both are banking instead on negative campaigns that convince voters the other guy would be worse.

President Obama has apparently decided against advancing any bold ideas for what he’d do in the second term, even if he has a Congress that would cooperate with him.

He’s sticking to a worn script that says George W. Bush caused the lousy economy, congressional Republicans have opposed everything he’s wanted to do to boost it, it’s slowly on the mend anyway, the Bush tax cuts shouldn’t be extended for the rich, and we shouldn’t take a chance electing Romney.

Yet the public wants bigger ideas from the President, and wants to know what he’ll do in his second term to get us out of this mess. A New York Times-CBS News poll released last week showed that a majority of voters believe the president “can do a lot about” the economy. That’s a double-digit jump from the fall of 2011.

Continue reading at:  http://robertreich.org/post/28289563809

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Terrifying Peace: Living Within a Permanent War Economy

From Truth Out: http://truth-out.org/news/item/10384-terrifying-peace-living-within-a-permanent-war-economy

By Kingsley Dennis
Monday, 30 July 2012

The opening years of the 21st century have been characterized by new levels of security and safety fears that have plunged the world into a post-millennium state of in-security. These insecurities have been heightened by the deliberate breakdown of old and familiar dualities, such as friend vs. foe, so that the “enemy” has now been shifted from someplace outside of society to dwell as the potential enemy within society. What this means is that all civilians can effectively be categorized as “potential terrorists.” Over recent years, the US government especially has been using “function-creep” to bring into law policies which ever increasingly encroach upon the basic freedoms of civilians. What is occurring is a seeping militarization of the social sphere. This socio-militarization now claims a legal right – and “duty” – to arrest and detain any civilian on the pretense of suspicion only. This has been most recently highlighted by President Obama’s signing of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) whose Section 1021 sanctions the military detention of American citizens without charge. One wonders here how many nails it takes to put the coffin lid on the American Constitution. The NDAA states that suspects can be held without trial “until the end of hostilities.” However, when such “hostilities” are now part of a permanent war economy, such definitive “end of” seems to be an obscured issue. Further, it allows the militarized state to bring in troops (such as the National Guard) and local police forces, combined with extensive authorized surveillance, to “secure” the social sphere. With no defined enemy and no defined timeline, the notion of peacetime becomes meshed with socio-militarization to produce a state of terrifying peace.

Much of the world has been plunged into a state of mental and emotional warfare; the heightened activities of terrifying peace now characterize the social construction of the global war on terror. This might be more appropriately named a “war in terror,” as it perpetrates a rising tension of fear, anger and also bloodthirsty hatred. As Howard Zinn rightly noted, “How can you have a war on terrorism when war itself is terrorism?” By bringing the specter of terror into our very homes, the potential for social breakdown, or break-out, is magnified. A breakdown in community cohesion serves into the hands of the authorities as it decreases the effectiveness of organized social unrest. A break-out may also serve the ruling authorities by giving them ammunition to call for further draconian ‘in-security policies. Such measures are not only worrying for civil liberties, but act to bring unease and paranoia into people’s everyday lives; in other words, to really bring the terror within our homes. This cleverly orchestrated movement within modern states confirms that civil space is increasingly becoming the new battle zone. Not only does this assist nation-state anti-terrorism laws in that citizens forfeit their rights if they are “suspected” of being a potential terrorist (or harboring terrorist tendencies), it also brings in levels of social distrust and community disharmony. Such dystopian trends further create an environment where human behavior is increasingly governed by processes outside individual control.

Further, the presence of fear, anxiety and distress, as they permeate through the fabric of a society, can weaken the mental and emotional resilience of people.

Continue reading at:  http://truth-out.org/news/item/10384-terrifying-peace-living-within-a-permanent-war-economy

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New Disneyland Ad! now with police brutality!

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Eurozone crisis: the bankers are happy to play Nero as Europe burns

From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jul/31/eurozone-bankers-nero-europe-burns

To prop up the euro – whose survival is vital only for the banks’ balance sheets – a generation is thrown into poverty


guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 31 July 2012

While Rome burned, Nero put on fancy dress, stood on a tower and played his lyre. He sang of the Sack of Ilium and roasted Christians at the stake to light up his party. The people were taxed to pay for his extravagance, but he appeased them with games of ever increasing spectacle and sadism. He clad slaves in deerskins and had lions eat them. It was immensely popular. When Nero duly fell from grace and committed suicide, he cried: “What an artist dies in me.”

I like the Olympics now that athletes have taken over from fatcats on centre stage, but the media coverage is disproportionate, idiotic and Orwellian. Never has the BBC in particular purveyed such nationalistic opium to the people. Is it really necessary to ignore all news of the city burning for the duration?

Last weekend a small island off the coast of Schleswig-Holstein saw the American treasury secretary, Tim Geithner, and the German finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, attempt a feat as yet unknown to the Olympics. It is called “save the euro”. This marathon is being played simultaneously and in real time by bankers and politicians in all Europe’s capitals, while a claque shouts “two weeks to save the euro” over and over again.

I have a stack of “two weeks to save the euro” cuttings dating back to early 2010. It is a morgue of daft subjunctive journalism. Every known disaster “could” be about to happen. Germany “may decide” not to bail out Greece. Spain “may need” a bailout, or the euro “could” be heading for the rocks. According to this week’s Economist, yet another Athens visit by the EU’s José Manuel Barroso means a Greek exit from the euro “could occur within weeks”. Of course it could, or not.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jul/31/eurozone-bankers-nero-europe-burns

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Wall Street Be Damned: We’re the Economy We’ve Been Waiting For

From Common Dreams:   http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/07/31-3

by Sandy LeonVest
Published on Tuesday, July 31, 2012 by Common Dreams

Bill Moyers observed recently that poor people haven’t “lost their voice.” Rather, he said, “They can’t afford a voice.”

That “voice,” as more and more Americans are beginning to understand, is further muffled by Washington political elites, aided and abetted by their water-carriers — a puffed up pundit class, whose members dominate the corporate-owned airwaves with their circular and pointless election-year yammering and “intellectual masturbation.”

I am convinced that Tolstoy was referring to this self-enamored bunch in his novel War and Peace, when he wrote: “Whatever question arose, a swarm of these drones, without having finished their buzzing on a previous theme, flew over to the new one and by their hum drowned and obscured the voices of those who were disputing honestly.”

Yet, at this late date, agonizing over how the “swarm of drones” came — and continue — to drive the narrative (in the wrong direction) may not be nearly as important as “occupying” that narrative.

And, while the concept of occupying the political discourse may have been tapped, it has not yet come close to being fully exploited, notwithstanding the presence of various “alternative” media sources.

That discourse continues to be monopolized by the same swarm of corporate drones who have for decades dominated the political space with their endless hum of white noise, and whose job it is to perpetuate the themes and myths that serve the interests of a few (“one-percenters”). These shameless pimps justify their inflated salaries by drowning out the “rest of us” – and any meaningful conversation — with partisan pontificating that serves no more useful purpose than to clutter the already crowded airwaves, while selling consumers illusory “salvation” — currently packaged in election-year politics.

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/07/31-3

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Mitt Romney’s 20th-Century Worldview

From The Washington Post:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/katrina-vanden-heuvel-mitt-romneys-20th-century-worldview/2012/07/30/gJQAS1GRMX_story.html

By
Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Like a caveman frozen in a glacier, Mitt Romney is a man trapped in time — from his archaic stance on women’s rights to his belief in Herbert Hoover economics.

And now it appears his foreign policy is stuck in the past, as well.

This week, Romney is on a six-day, three-nation tour. The trip comes days after he promised in a speech on international affairs to usher in another “American century.”

What does Romney’s American century look like? His speech and his itinerary tell us volumes.

Romney’s world is one of special relationships, particularly with Britain, Israel and Poland — the three nations he’s visiting. It’s also a world of special enmities — against Iran — and unending suspicions — about China and Russia. For Romney, there are three types of countries: countries that are with us; countries that are against us; and countries that will be against us, sooner or later.

If this seems like foreign policy out of a 20th-century history book — or the George W. Bush neocon playbook — that’s because it is. A President Romney wouldn’t bring about “another American century.” Rather, he would return us to some of the worst policies of the last century.

Continue reading at:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/katrina-vanden-heuvel-mitt-romneys-20th-century-worldview/2012/07/30/gJQAS1GRMX_story.html

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