By Michael Brenner
Mitt Romney’s provocative remarks in Jerusalem this week on Palestine and Iran have focused attention on how he thinks about American foreign policy generally. Beyond the immediate controversy, there is fresh reason to puzzle as to who exactly the Republican presidential nominee is and who are the people he relies on for advice. For his reputation in the United States as a reserved, scripted candidate who strives to avoid impetuous comments is now contradicted by radical pronouncements that ran against the grain of both his cultivated public persona and the established norm that you limit criticism of a incumbent president when speaking abroad.
Romney pledged that he would give the Israeli government of Bibi Netanyahu carte blanche to attack Iran when they decide it necessary in the face of Washington’s assiduous efforts to instill restraint and to leave open its response to a military strike. On Israeli settlements in the West Bank, the Obama administration has refused to accord them blanket approval. Rather, it affirms that the final status of the settlements can only be resolved as part of a mutually agreed peace deal negotiated between Israelis and Palestinians. Yet Romney declared that the settlement issue was a topic to be discussed only between the United States and Israel themselves behind closed doors. He then added insult to injury by offending the Palestinians by his ill-informed comparison of standards of living in Palestine and Israel that stressed some sort of cultural liability of the former while ignoring the Israeli Occupation. To complete this trio of contentious statements, Romney announced his intention to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem — thereby putting the official American imprimatur on the annexation of the city, a step that previous American presidents have steered clear of. … Read More
by Judy Molland
Mitt Romney wants to destroy public education in the US and get rid of the Department of Education.
I am not inventing this: you can read all about it in his education white paper entitled “A Chance for Every Child: Mitt Romney’s Plan for Restoring the Promise of American Education” with a forward by Jeb Bush, no less. If you believe that destroying public education as we know it and turning our schools over to the private sector will solve its problems, then this plan is for you.
The central themes of the Romney plan are a rehash of Republican education ideas from the past thirty years. Here’s how Romney is planning to destroy public education:
1. Subsidizing parents who want to send their child to a private or religious school. Romney offers complete support for using taxpayer money to pay for private school vouchers, privately managed charters, for-profit online schools, and almost every other alternative to public schools.
2. Encouraging the private sector to operate schools. To cut costs, Romney encourages the proliferation of for-profit online universities. Romney’s plan says that no new money is needed because more spending on schools will not fix our problems. However, he proposes to dedicate more taxpayer money to the priorities that he favors, such as vouchers, charter schools, and online schools.
3. Putting commercial banks in charge of the federal student loan program. Romney claims that more federal aid leads to higher tuition, so he offers no new federal funding to help students crippled by debt. Instead, Romney would encourage involvement of the private sector by having commercial banks serve as the intermediary for federal student loans. Obama eliminated this approach in 2012 as too costly