Romney’s Curious View of Freedom

Exclusive: Election 2012 is a choice between two visions for America’s future and also a contest between two versions of the U.S. past. Mitt Romney and the Tea Party draw from a national narrative that claims the Framers opposed a strong central government, while President Obama sees the opposite, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

Mitt Romney is famous for answers so disconnected from what normal people say that some observers joke that he must be from another planet. He lands in Michigan and declares “the trees are the right height.” He goes on a TV show and says he “wears as little as possible” to bed, which would suggest nudity or some moral clash with his Mormon faith.

And when the Republican presidential nominee is asked on CBS’ “60 Minutes” about the specifics of his tax plan, he demurs with the response: “The devil’s in the details. The angel is in the policy, which is creating more jobs.” A reasonable reaction to such an answer might be, “What the hell is that supposed to mean?”

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney greets a crowd. (Photo credit: mittromney.com)

Yet, the Romney campaign has bristled when analysts and critics have stepped in to fill the void on Romney’s vacuous tax strategy by making their own assumptions about what it would take to enact his 20 percent cut in income tax rates while not raising the deficit, as Romney has claimed he would do. Romney’s fuzziness has left little choice but to speculate how he might handle the math.

One of those logical assumptions is that Romney would have to eliminate or sharply curtail the mortgage-interest deduction which amounts to a tax break for homeownership. If the deduction were removed or phased out, the immediate impact would be a decline in home prices, which would push even more Americans underwater on their home equity. That would deliver another body blow to the U.S. economy.

So, rather than an “angel” of a policy “creating more jobs,” the reality is that slashing the mortgage-interest deduction would further reduce the spendable income of many middle-class American homeowners, which would mean they could buy fewer goods and services, which, in turn, would mean more layoffs and fewer jobs.

Plus, more foreclosures and short sales would discourage new homebuilding and threaten millions of jobs associated with that industry. Not to mention that there are independent studies that conclude that Romney’s 20 percent tax cut would so reduce tax payments from the rich that his only alternative would be raise taxes on the middle class through elimination of more tax deductions.

However, on “60 Minutes,” rather than pursue Romney with aggressive follow-ups on his tax plan, CBS correspondent Scott Pelley teed up a softball for the Republican presidential nominee, noting, “Presidencies are remembered for big ideas, emancipation, Social Security, man on the moon. What’s your big idea?”

Romney’s response was just as vague as his angelic tax plan: “Freedom. I want to restore the kind of freedom that has always driven America’s economy. And that’s allowed us to be the shining city on the hill.”

Defining Issue

Again, Romney offered no details, but he did touch on what may be the defining issue not only for this campaign but for America’s future. How do you define “freedom”?

For Romney, freedom appears to be freeing up corporations – which (or who) “are people, my friend,” according to another Romneyism – and letting them to do pretty much whatever they want to those flesh-and-blood people.

Romney seems to think that “freedom” means freeing Wall Street from government regulation, letting health insurance companies shed sick people from coverage, liberating “job-creators” from pesky labor unions, unleashing oil companies from environmental rules, and letting wealthy investors pay lower tax rates than middle-class Americans who actually work for a living.

In other words, despite Romney’s stylistic differences from the Tea Partiers, he – the uptight princeling from Mormon royalty – and they – the followers of Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh – are more in agreement than many pundits might think. They both equate “freedom” as freedom from the federal government, although they come at the issue from different directions.

Romney’s grievances against federal authority may reflect his Mormon heritage, including his grandfather’s flight to Mexico in the 1800s amid a federal crackdown on Mormon polygamy and against the church’s theocratic rule in the Utah territory. Romney also absorbed the cultural resentment that freewheeling “venture capitalists” typically feel toward securities regulators and other obstacles to extracting big profits.

For the Right’s Tea Party base, however, the anger toward the “tyrannical” federal government derives, in part, from a different source, their false narrative describing the nation’s founding. Tea Partiers put on tri-corner hats, dress up in Revolutionary War costumes and wave “Don’t Tread on Me” flags because they have been sold a bogus storyline about how and why the Framers wrote the Constitution.

Over the past several decades, one front in the Right’s “war of ideas” has been to transform the Framers into anti-government ideologues who saw the Constitution as a device for constraining the authority of the central government, while ceding broad powers to the states and creating a “you’re-on-your-own” economy.

In reality, nearly the opposite was true. The Constitution’s Framers engineered the most significant transfer of power from the states to the central government in U.S. history. They also wanted the federal government to be an engine for national progress, and they had little regard for states’ rights.

On a personal level, key Framers, including James Madison and George Washington, despised the idea of state “sovereignty” and “independence.” As commander in chief of the Continental Army, Washington had confronted the national disorganization resulting from 13 squabbling states under the Articles of Confederation. The chaos continued into the post-war era with economic stagnation and commercial challenges from Europe.

So, with Washington’s staunch support, Madison plotted the destruction of the states’ rights-oriented Articles of Confederation and its replacement by the federal-government-is-supreme Constitution. That was the whole idea of the Constitutional Convention held in secret in Philadelphia in 1787.

Madison’s Makeover

However, in recent years, the Right’s “scholars” – recognizing the allure of a national mythology whether true or false – have labored to revise the history. Their makeover of Madison has been particularly striking.

By cherry-picking and taking out of context some of his comments in the Federalist Papers and by exaggerating his sop to the Anti-Federalists in the Tenth Amendment, the Right turned Madison into his opposite, a hater of a strong central government and a lover of states’ rights. [For details on how this history was distorted, see Consortiumnews.com’s “The Right’s Inside-Out Constitution.”]

Next, the likes of Glenn Beck popularized this false founding narrative, giving important impetus to the Tea Party. Millions of Americans associated themselves with a movement that they thought was defending the Framers’ vision of a weak central government, powerful states and little or no federal role outside the maintenance of a huge standing army.

In effect, today’s Right merged Ayn Rand theories of unbridled selfishness with the quasi-religion of magical markets and placed it all under the umbrella of a founding national narrative that equates states’ rights and the rights of corporations as the essence of American “liberty.”

In an imperfect way that is what Election 2012 is about, which narrative will dominate the future. President Barack Obama, who was a constitutional law professor, sees the Constitution in the context of the pragmatism that was at the core of what the Framers were trying to achieve, that is, a governing structure for addressing the needs of a diverse and growing nation.

Those early national leaders applied the constitutional powers creatively and broadly, whether Alexander Hamilton’s national bank or Thomas Jefferson’s purchase of the Louisiana Territories (negotiated by then-Secretary of State James Madison).

During the last century, the trust-busting policies of Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and later reforms like Medicare and civil rights legislation drew on those traditions by using federal authority to solve problems impinging on the nation’s “general welfare.”

Obama has tried to follow that path, albeit with a fair share of stumbles, by pushing through the Affordable Care Act, the economic stimulus bill, the auto bailout and new Wall Street regulations. Broadly speaking, Obama favors putting the power of the federal government on the side of average Americans.

He also has done so in the face of stiff resistance, at a time when the Republicans and many media pundits are enthralled by the revisionist narrative, that American “liberty” has always been about letting corporations and the rich do whatever they want – and letting states dominate national governance.

The Romney Example

Romney has come to personify that approach, an extremely wealthy financier who prides himself on paying low taxes and who – in private settings with fellow millionaires – speaks with disdain about the struggling masses and their need for government help. He also wants to defer to the states on major national problems like health care.

Whether on behalf of his Mormon ancestors or his Wall Street chums, Romney may see his quest for the presidency as a decisive moment to enshrine the anti-government narrative – and to defeat the alternative one that says “We the People” in the Constitution’s Preamble means putting the power of government to work building a country for all.

Without doubt, the Framers were flawed men. Many were slave-owning aristocrats who feared the dangers of unrestrained democracy in which the downtrodden might demand a reversal of fortune for the rich. Some of Madison’s “checks and balances” were designed to avoid extreme swings in popular passions.

There were other obvious tensions within the constitutional structure regarding exactly where the boundaries of authority were. That, too, was part of Madison’s structure.

But the Framers clearly saw the Constitution as creating a powerful central government and a dynamic system that had the flexibility to address national problems, then and in the future. For instance, one of Madison’s most cherished features was the Commerce Clause, which gave the federal government the power to regulate national commerce.

The whole point of including the Commerce Clause among the enumerated powers of Congress was to put the federal government to work improving the economic conditions of the nation. In their time, the Framers talked about construction of roads and canals, but they also wanted the federal government to protect the competitiveness of U.S. commerce versus the more developed economies of Europe.

But that role – along with that history – is on the line in Election 2012. The American people can side with the actual Framers in treating the Constitution as a tool for addressing national problems or they can join with the Tea Partiers who embrace a false narrative that equates “freedom” with hostility toward the federal government.

If that’s the result, it could mean near total “freedom” for our fellow citizens, the corporations.

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at neckdeepbook.com. His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & ‘Project Truth’ are also available there.

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19 comments on “Romney’s Curious View of Freedom

  1. When you stick to thoughtful pieces like this one, you’d have my total support. Unfortunately, your paranoid fixation on Israel and Jews negates much of the good work you’ve done in exposing the extremest republican party and its slate of candidates.

    • Fixation on Israel’s crimes like attack on USS Liberty ? Is it factual or paranoid?

      • The Lie that Won’t Die: The U.S.S. Liberty Attack Slander

        Israelis may think that Richard Falk is no friend of theirs, but, in a way, they are wrong; the redoubtable professor emetrius of international law at Princeton is arguably one of the better advertisements of the mendacity and unhinged lunacy that pervades the anti-Israel, pro-terror left.

        Falk, in 1979, authored one of the true classics of Western useful idiocy, “Trusting Khomeini,” where he decried the depiction of the Ayatollah Khomeini by certain American leaders as “fanatical, reactionary, and the bearer of crude prejudices” as wrong, and added that this was done “in a manner calculated to frighten.”

        Then, evincing that matchless precsience for which he has come to be known, he predicted that “having created a new model of popular revolution based, for the most part, on nonviolent tactics, Iran may yet provide us with a desperately-needed model of humane governance for a third-world country,” and, excoriating the naysayers, asserted that, “To suppose that Ayatollah Khomeini is dissembling, seems almost beyond belief.”

        More recently, Falk has become something of a champion in the fever swamps of the left, tagging Israel as an apartheid state, accusing her of genocide, and comparing her to the Nazis. On the 9/11 attacks, he has also argued that “there have been questions raised here and there and allegations of official complicity made almost from the day of the attacks,” and that there are “well-evidenced doubts about the official version of the events: an al Qaeda operation with no foreknowledge by government officials.”

        And now, courtesy of Annie Robbins of Mondoweiss, we see Falk speaking last week about the “realities of the Israel Palestine conflict and how it has distorted the American reality,” before the St. Marks Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle, where he added a new talking point on his resume of slanders upon the Jewish state: the attack on the USS Liberty, which occurred 45 years ago last June 8.

        Long believed to have been an accident by both Israeli and American experts and higher ups, Falk resurrected this loathsome canard of the anti-Israel left because, in his view it

        “…illustrates for me the fundamental distortion of our sense of reality that has been fostered by this disturbing relationship between our government and the government of Israel because this attack on the USS Liberty was a deliberate attack by the Israeli government. It has been well confirmed including by former CIA operatives, [and by] Stephen Green among others, and the reason for this attack was that this ship was listening to the messages between Tel Aviv and the Israeli forces on the Egyptian border. And the Israeli leadership, particularly the military commander Moshe Dayan, at the time didn’t want the US to hear the Israeli plan to attack Syria and occupy Golan Heights. And the US at that time was very nervous about doing anything in Syria because that could easily draw the Soviet Union into the conflict and escalate the situation in ways that were potentially extremely dangerous. So there was a motive for attacking the USS Liberty.

        And what I think is really extraordinary about this is that Israel, the supposed closed ally, would conduct such an attack. The ship was well marked and in international waters, but what is more revealing and more disturbing is that the American government would suppress the reality of what happened and engage in a cover-up all these years that was originally ordered by Lyndon Johnson, the president at the time.”

        Every word uttered above is a complete and total fabrication, staggering in its mendacity. Of course, lies and fabrications about the attack on the USS Liberty are, and have long been, used as a tool to foment tension and discord between Israel and America on the part of haters and enemies of Israel (including Muslim organizations both here and abroad), so Falk’s remarks were hardly a shock.

        Unfortunately, such viewpoints are not confined to the anti-Israel left, and Falk is far from alone in these views. Last Friday, at a Veterans for Peace commemoration in Cedar Rapids, Iowa observing the 45th anniversary of the attack, more than a few stepped forward to accuse Israel of deliberately attacking the ship, and the U.S. of covering it up at Israel’s behest. It was pretty ugly.

        Said former Illinois Congressman Paul Findlay, who attended the event, as reported by The Gazette,

        Findley, 90, said the planes and boats attacking the Liberty “could not possibly” have been unaware that it was a U.S.vessel. He and others have alleged that Israel meant it to look as though Arab forces had launched the attack; Carpenter told the Courier he thought Egyptwas the source at first.

        “There’s been a cover-up mandated from the first hour by (then-President Lyndon Johnson), which every succeeding administration has honored,” Findley said. “The attempted sinking of the ship was followed by an enhanced U.S. relationship with Israel.

        “Both sides took part in a deceitful commentary about the attack.”

        Later that same day Senator John McCain, while speaking in California, was harassed by hecklers shouting “What about the cover-up for Israel of the USS Liberty?!”

        Similar scenes, sadly, were enacted at veterans organizations all over the country.

        Why is it so difficult for people who would otherwise have no animus toward Israel to believe the worst when the facts as we now know them today so clearly dictate otherwise?

        Here, in any event, is what really happened.

        On June 8, 1967, on the fourth day of the Six-Day War between Israel and the Arabs, the USS Liberty, an American intelligence gathering vessel, was strafed and bombed by Israeli Warplanes and then converged upon by torpedo boats in an obvious effort to sink her. After a brief exchange of fire and a torpedo that slammed into the Liberty‘s starboard side, the Israeli vessels abruptly ceased attacking, and extended help and immediate medical attention to the Liberty‘s crew. 34 Americans died and 171 were wounded in the attack. The Israelis, who said they had mistaken the Liberty for the Egyptian warship El Quseir, immediately apologized to the U.S. for the attack, and assumed full responsibility. They would eventually pay some $12 million in compensation to the victims and their families, to survivors, and to the US government.

        A slew of American and Israeli inquiries, including a 1967 Navy Court of Inquiry convened in Malta by Rear Adm. Isaac C. Kidd Jr., generally substantiated the Israelis’ explanation that the attack was an accident. But the inquiries also raised more questions than they answered, and these questions were by no means limited to those hostile to Israel; they were also harbored by some of Israel’s strongest supporters in the Johnson Administration. Why did the Israelis attack a neutral ship without provocation? How had they failed to see the Liberty’s flag or the painted markings on her hull after several overflights by their aircraft? How could they confuse the Liberty with the El Quseir?

        For the next three decades the absence of satisfactory answers to these questions would help spawn a cottage industry of books and conspiracy theories asserting that Israel had deliberately attacked the Liberty and that the US government had covered it up. And Israel’s motive? It was asserted that the Israelis had done so to prevent the Liberty from revealing their impending seizure of Syria’s Golan Heights, a move that Washington was said to have opposed. It was also asserted that the Israelis may have done so in an attempt to blame the Egyptians and thus draw America into the conflict. Another theory, posited by author James Bamford, asserted that the Israelis attacked the Liberty to conceal a massacre of Egyptian prisoners in the Sinai. The Israelis, all had argued, had thus killed 34 Americans in cold blood and the American government had covered it up, influenced, aided and abetted by the all-powerful pro-Israel lobby, at whose pleasure they serve.

        In 1997, the Americans and the Israelis released a bushel of top-secret documents and other evidence in observance of the 30-year declassification rule on the Liberty attack, and these cleared up many of the mysteries that had long dogged the incident. It was shown that despite a warning from the White House to the American Sixth Fleet to keep its ships within a 250 mile arc from the Egyptian coast, the Liberty‘s handlers in the NSA disregarded the order and put the Liberty within 12.5 miles of the coast to eavesdrop on Egyptian military communications with the Soviet Union. Five communications were sent by the Navy’s European headquarters to the Liberty for her to pull back at least 100 miles. However, due to the Six Fleet’s bulky communications apparatus, the messages got diverted to the Philippines and did not reach the Liberty until the day after she was attacked. Furthermore, the request of the Liberty’s skipper for a destroyer escort was denied by the Sixth Fleet CIC on the grounds that “the Liberty is a clearly marked US ship in international waters…and not a reasonable subject for attack.” A request by the Israeli ambassador at the outset of the conflict that the US provide a naval liaison to coordinate communications between the two countries was refused by the US, and thus no one informed Israel of the Liberty‘s presence in the area.

        Israeli aircraft spotted the vessel in the early morning of June 8. The pilot could not make out the flag, but spotted a hull marking that read “GTR-5″ and the headquarters identified the ship as the USS Liberty. However, with the change in watch in the Israeli HQ at 11:00am, the officers, following standard operating procedure for removing old information from the board, had erroneously assumed that the Liberty had left the area; when the Liberty was spotted earlier at 5:00am she was identified at the further south west end of the control board and headed westward at 15 knots, and it was only natural that they assumed six hours later that she was some 90 miles further along that course by that time, and thus far away from the area encompassed by the control board. When an explosion rocked an Israeli arms depot at El Arish at 11:24am, the Israelis, spotting the vessel in the vicinity, incorrectly assumed it was an Egyptian warship bombarding them, and sent three torpedo boats to engage it.

        Through a series of miscalculations from the motor torpedo boats sent to engage the vessel, including that of the vessel’s speed, the Israelis concluded, from about 20 miles distance, that the ship was an enemy vessel at about 1:51pm. That is when they ordered the first air strike on the Liberty, which they thought to be an Egyptian vessel shelling them.

        The skipper of the Liberty then executed a 90 degree starboard turn to the south, eventually turning 283 degrees west. The Israelis, pursuing what they thought was an Egyptian warship heading home, called in for air support, and two Mirage fighters (named air mission “Kursa”), closing in on the Liberty from the west at 1:57pm, raked her with 30mm cannon fire in three strafing runs until their ammo was spent. The first air attack had lasted three and a half minutes.

        By this time Commander McGonagle, the Liberty skipper, though seriously wounded, ordered the ship to turn right full rudder 360 degrees to the north. The second air attack (referred to as air mission “Royal”), at 2:06pm, was by a squadron of three Mysteres fighters returning from bombing Egyptian infantry. Hastily recalled from this ground support mission, they raked the Liberty with bombs, napalm, and cannon fire—hardly appropriate ordinance for attacking a naval vessel.

        At 2:11pm transcripts of communications between the Israeli pilots and HQ show that during the second strafing run an Israeli pilot recognized the Latin markings on the hull of the ship: “Pay attention! Ship’s marking is Charlie Tango Romeo 5” (i.e., CTR 5—the Israeli pilot in fact misidentified the hull markings; they were GTR-5) and adds, “She looks like a minesweeper.” An air controller named Menachem, Chief Air Controller at Air Control South in the Sinai, then unhelpfully garbled the pilot’s misidentification of the ship’s markings even further as “Charlie Senator Romeo,” i.e., CSR.

        When this is reported to HQ, Colonel Shmuel Kislev, the Chief Air Controller at the Kirya in Tel-Aviv, obviously now hysterical with the prospect that they could be attacking a neutral vessel, now screams “Leave her! What ship is this?” He then immediately orders the Royal leader and his wingman to disengage, and cancels the third air attack deployment headed to attack the ship (which was code named flight mission “Nixon,” consisting of two French-built Mystere IV’s armed with 500lb iron incendiaries that would surely blown the Liberty right out of the water, and with all hands). This second air attack had lasted about five minutes.

        The Israeli Motor Torpedo Boat (MTB) skipper, Commander Oren, arriving at the scene at 2:24pm, consulted his intelligence manual and, viewing the silhouette of a smoke-engulfed ship some six thousand yards distant and directed westward toward the sun at an elevation of 50 degrees and azimuth 88 degrees, concluded that the ship was the Egyptian freighter El Quseir, and the skippers on the other two torpedo boats reached the same conclusion themselves. Oren attempted to signal the ship, asking for identity; getting no response, he ordered the MTBs into battle formation. At 2:30pm Naval HQ gave the go ahead to attack.

        The Israeli MTB’s caught up with the Liberty as a sailor on board her then opened up fire on them with .50 caliber machine guns, not receiving McGonagle’s order not to fire on the approaching craft; the Israeli MTBs then returned fire with 20mm and 40mm cannon, and at 2:35pm fired back torpedoes. Four missed but one hit the Liberty’s starboard side midship, killing 25 sailors.

        At 2:41pm the Israeli MTB captain cut off the attack. At 2:45pm the IDF Navy log reads “May be Russian nationality, based on writing on aft”; the Israelis thought they might be attacking a Russian vessel. When the Israeli boat captain got close enough to identify the hull markings of the Liberty, now listing badly, he recognized the Latin markings on the hull, and offered help and medical attention to the survivors at 3:03pm.

        These are the circumstances of the attack. What may be inferred from them?

        Professor Falk asserts that the Liberty was “well marked and in international waters,” and thus could not have been plausibly misidentified by the Israelis. Is he right?

        The 1967 US Navy Court of Inquiry stated that “the calm conditions and slow ship speed may well have made the American flag difficult to identify.”

        But let’s say this was not the case, and that there was sufficient wind. Is there any evidence that the Israeli pilots could have known they were attacking an American ship or that they could have seen the flag, even if it were extended by wind? No, there is not.

        In the first place the pilots were sent to attack a ship, not to reconnoiter or identify it. Secondly, the strafing runs on the first attack were a head-on attack of the Liberty’s bow. The Liberty was cruising at about five knots westward and the Mirage fighter was approaching it head-on eastward at about 600mph, or at about 1000 feet per second. In the attack run it had 2-3 seconds at most to fire its guns and pull off the target before getting closer than 3000 feet. Was it really possible to positively identify a 5×8 foot flag in the proscribed time of 2-3 seconds (at most), and at the speed of 600mph and a distance of in excess of 3000 feet? Hardly.

        Audio tapes transcripts indicate that the Israelis did not know they were attacking an American ship in both air attacks and, five minutes into the second air attack, immediately disengaged when they did.

        All available evidence, including IDF Navy logs, indicate that the Israeli boat captain misidentified the ship, then engulfed with smoke, at 6000 yards distance at about 2:30 pm, incurred fire from the Liberty as they approached her at 2:35pm, returned it, cut off the attack at 2:41pm pending further ID, got close enough to identify the Latin hull markings of the Liberty, and offered help and medical attention to the survivors at 3:03pm.

        Those are the facts. The air attacks occurred in minutes, not hours, of intense combat at high subsonic speeds and long distances, rendering positive ID difficult to say the least, and the naval attacks lasted about ten minutes from distances of thousands of yards while being fired on, making positive ID also difficult. The only logical inference that can be drawn from them is that the attack was a case of mistaken identity. There is, in all the hundreds of pages of declassified material from both countries, not a shred of evidence to support the contention thatIsraeldeliberately sought to attack and sink the USS Liberty. None whatsoever.

        Also, there are many other logical and evidentiary problems concerning the intentional attack theory.

        The first is a plausible motive for the Israelis to have knowingly attacked a ship belonging to their strongest ally. On this count, no one has yet produced a plausible motive. The notion that the Israelis attacked the Liberty to conceal a massacre of Egyptian prisoners in the Sinai, as author James Bamford has asserted, or to hide their pending seizure of the Golan Heights from Syria from the United States as Professor Falk has asserted, are both contradicted by a) the absence of any evidence that any such massacre in the Sinai ever took place, and b) diplomatic cables showing that Washington was well informed of the Israelis’ impending attack, and had not objected. Again, there is no plausible motive for the Israelis to have knowingly attacked an American ship.

        Secondly, it begs the question why the Israelis, if they had indeed been tracking the Liberty from the early morning to the moment of the attack as many have claimed, would knowingly allow the Liberty into the combat zone, reconnoiter the ship for nine hours, thus giving the Liberty nine priceless hours to relay the very information that the attack was supposed to silence, before finally attacking her in broad daylight. It makes no sense.

        Third, even if the Israelis were monitoring the communications of the Liberty as Professor Falk suggests, they would have heard nothing to concern them because they would have known that the Liberty wasn’t even monitoring their communications, as the Liberty had no Hebrew linguists.

        Fourth, if the Israelis were monitoring their communications, and heard, or sought to prevent them from hearing, something disturbing, and were able to jam the Liberty’s frequencies, why wouldn’t they have just done that rather than something as dangerous as attacking an American vessel?

        Fifth, if it was really the intention to destroy and sink the ship, why did the air controller Col. Shmuel Kislev order the “Royal” air mission to cease attacking at 2:11 pm and scrub the “Nixon” air mission of two Mystere IV aircraft armed with 500 lb. iron bombs? If not cancelled, the Nixon air mission would have reached the Liberty in half the time it was taking the MTB’s, and would surely have blown the Liberty to smithereens with all hands; one 500lb fragmentation bomb to the boiler would have detonated her like a hand grenade. Again, why cancel the mission if the intent was to destroy and sink the Liberty, and kill all the survivors?

        The attack on the Liberty, in fact, was a classic case of friendly fire. After winning the battle of Chancellorsville in 1863, Stonewall Jackson was accidentally killed by his own Confederate troops. On the first day of the German invasion of Poland September 1, 1939, a platoon of German soldiers fired their rifles on what they thought to be an enemy plane that had been flying about them, causing the plane to come crashing down into their midst; out stepped a raging Luftwaffe general in charge of ground-air coordination. On February 22, 1940 a German bomber sank two German destroyers in the North Sea, killing 578 German sailors. During the 1956 War the Israelis attacked a British destroyer, the HMS Crane, that it had mistaken for an Egyptian Z-class destroyer. The largest tank battle of the 1956 War occurred at Abu Ageila where two Israeli tank units fought each other to a standstill. On June 5, 1967 The IAF bombed a column of IDF Sherman tanks in the battle for Jerusalem, and did so again on June 8, just a few hours before the attack on the Liberty. Many, many more instances could be cited.

    • sulphurdunn on said:

      Your statement commits the ad hominem fallacy. What the gentleman says about the intent of the Framers is true or false on its merits and bears no logical relationship to his positions on Israel. Furthermore, I have never read anything by Mr. Perry that would even remotely suggests to me that he has some kind of “paranoid fixation” about Jews. However, after reading this article I suppose a paranoid reader could arrive at the same mistaken conclusion as you have but about Mormons rather than Jews.

    • je proteste on said:

      It negates nothing. But apparently it lessens your approval – which is not the same thing.

      Who are you to decide which truths should be told – or how often they should be told?

      Want to be the arbiter? Start your own site.

      • je proteste on said:

        Sorry, ‘it’ should have reflected a specification of reporting on Israel, not to the non-existent ‘fixation.’

  2. Romney doesn’t appear to have thought anything out very completely. He simply buys into right wing gospel.

  3. eenie meanie miney moe Plutocracy or Theocracy or maybe both if you vote for the GOP in 2012

  4. Romney’s view of freedom has a good deal in common with the view of antebellum plantation owners: Freedom means being able to make as much money as possible from other people’s work. He may be from Michigan, but he’s a Confederate at heart.

  5. JonnyJames on said:

    Obama’s curious idea of freedom: NDAA 2012. Ask Chris Hedges and Dr. Cornel West about the lawsuit against the Obama admin.

    NDAA 2012 gives the exec. branch arbitrary powers to detain anyone without charge, without evidence, without trial – indefinetely. In addition to shredding much of the Bill of Rights, NDAA nullifies a good part of the Magna Carta of 1215. We have rolled back our legal framework to the Dark Ages.

    With “freedom” lovers like this we don’t need no stinkin Romney.

    The rank hypocrisy of the WinnerTakesAll two party system is unbelievable.

    Either way, the US is a neo-feudal prison state. Obama has not, cannot, and will not change anything for the better. It will only get worse.

    Been to the airport lately? Freedom? How Orwellian can we get?

    • je proteste on said:

      Take back the Democratic Party. Throw out all the neo-liberals.

      Change the rules that favor a two-party system. Instant run-off voting or something like it would be a good start: you can tackle that at the state level.

      Work on better organization of a single leftist third party.
      But first, keep the far worse of the two evils out of the White House, and kick them (or keep them) out of other elected offices. The more power they have, the worse your chances for doing any of the preceding.

      • JonnyJames on said:

        No worries, the status-quo shall prevail and Obama will “win” the multi-billion dollar “election”. The neo-fascist, neo-feudal agenda will continue until massive organized civil disobedience occcurs. (see Hoaward Zinn et al.) The Occupy movement was just a small taste. Whatever happens, the Orwellian slow train wreck will coninue, as it has since Clinton signed NAFTA, CFMA, FSMA, FCA etc.

        At least Obama (just like Bubba) is a much slicker, more sophisticated liar and he generates much better PR image for the Empire Inc. than that other freak. Despite his BS rhetoric, Romney is bad for business. Sure the Kochs, Adelson and many other neo-fascist plutocrats support Rommey, but Obama has raised far more money and has the backing of Goldman-Sachs and JP Morgan.

        I will not vote for either corporate-puppet candidate, but if I were to wager a bet, I would go with Obama since the bankstas got his back. (just like last time).

  6. Parry et al gets a free ride regarding an obsessive fixation criticizing Israel. Never a peep about the medievalist arab theocratic regiemes or their treachery.

  7. clarence swinney on said:

    yes we can—-BALANCE THAT BUDGET
    1945 to 1980 we taxed wealth and estates to pay off WWII debt.
    Now, we need the same to Pay off the “Republican” debt.
    We have an income of 14,000B.
    2013 budget calls for 2900B in revenue and 900B in deficit.
    A shame that a nation with 14,000B income borrows 900B on a 3800B Budget.
    We rank #4 on Inequality in OECD nations and above only Chile and Mexico as Least taxed.
    In Federal-State and Local taxes we tax 27% of our GDP..
    Since 1980, our tax rates have been cut to favor the wealthy.
    Top 50% take 86% of individual income and pay a 12.5% Tax Rate
    70,000,000 take 14% and all pay the full payroll tax.
    The top 400 are billionaires. Some pay no payroll tax.
    Most pay less than 1%.

    We MUST go back to taxing Estates and Wealth at higher rates.
    One family has more wealth than 90% of families.

    We can balance our budget and pay off our debt which will give the middle class a larger share of our wealth and an improved standard of living. clarence swinney

  8. lokywoky on said:

    The reason for the “fixation” on Israel is that the Israeli government drives much of what purports to be US foreign policy in the Middle East. Other countries not so much. Simple as that. When Lebanon or UAE or Dubai has such an outsized influence on the US foreign policy, then I would expect the writers here at CN to “fixate” on them as well.

    But just this week we have Bibi Netanyahu pounding on the desk at the UN demanding that the US draw a red line in the sand for Iran and then attack them if they cross it, complete with cartoon bombs and all. Israel, with its 200 nukes and it’s ghetto-like encirclements around Gaza etc.

    Yah. Ok.

    The same Bibi who basically told the US to go suck eggs when he was asked nicely to abide by the treaties and agreements Israel has signed over and over again to stop building settlements in the West Bank.

    Yup. Them.

    So stop defending Israel and open your eyes.

    • When your country is surrounded by 200mm medievalist fundamentalist regiemes who wish you dead either physically or economically, you do anything to protect its citizenry. Prime Minister Netanyahu may not always be 100% correct, but you arab ass kissers never criticize their totalitarian ways. Instead your antisemitic paranoid delusions of Israel “controlling” US policy is paramount. Even during WW2, our closest ally Great Britain, whose commanding General Montgomery was at loggerheads w/General Eisenhower, Patton; yet, we still remained allied against Nazism.

      • paschn on said:

        So, it angers you that people might be kissing Arab ass rather than israeli?
        I would proffer this, you go “home” to Israel, fight your own hegemonious wars with white phosphorous/nuclear/biological/chemical weapons until you piss off the semites in the area enough that they finally kick all the thieving, non-semite Ashkenazi’s and their ill obtained/never followed, (on their part), Balfour Declaration in which Britain, (under orders from the City of London?), “gave” Palestinian land to the Khazars, back to Easern Europe and take their land back,

        http://wwi.lib.byu.edu/index.php/The_Balfour_Declaration

        we’ll turn our focus on preventing arm twisting to get Pollard released to a heroes welcome in Tel Aviv and check Romney’s birth records very closely;

        http://www.brasschecktv.com/videos/campaign-2012-1/a-visit-to-the-romney-family-colony-in-mexico.html

        Exposing israel’s rabid temper, horrendous human rights violations is political, not religeous. So why don’t you stop flinging the mostly comic rantings about WAAAAH!!, antisemitism,

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUGVPBO9_cA

        and find a new catch phrase to promolgate the “poor victimized Ashkenazi” used to sucker the West into murdering/stealing for “the chosen” thus keeping it where it belongs, in the political arena not religeous? There’s simply too much evidence pointing in the other direction.

        Below is a link to a very enlightening book, written, (ironically), by a jewish man.

        http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/13trindx.htm

        Many jews themselves find israel a pebble in their shoe as well;

        http://www.erichufschmid.net/TFC/Ben_Freedman.html

        Truth is just that, truth and nothing more, (or less).

  9. DefineYourTerms on said:

    “Obama has tried to follow that path, albeit with a fair share of stumbles, by pushing through the Affordable Care Act, the economic stimulus bill, the auto bailout and new Wall Street regulations. Broadly speaking, Obama favors putting the power of the federal government on the side of average Americans.”

    Your analysis of the rewriting of history by the republican party is a well worded and thoughtful analysis.

    I don’t see how you spare Obama from the spotlight of his own pro-corporate attitudes?

  10. BARBBF on said:

    OBAMA’S CURIOUS VIEW OF DEMOCRACY:

    http://blackagendareport.com/print/content/butchering-gaddafi-america%E2%80%99s-crime

    The Butchering of Gaddafi Is America’s Crime

    by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

    “Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton appeared like ghoulish despots at a Roman Coliseum, reveling in their Libyan gladiators’ butchery.”

    Last week the whole world saw, and every decent soul recoiled, at the true face of NATO’s answer to the Arab Spring. An elderly, helpless prisoner struggled to maintain his dignity in a screaming swirl of savages, one of whom thrusts a knife [4] up his rectum. These are Europe and America’s jihadis in the flesh. In a few minutes of joyously recorded bestiality, the rabid pack undid every carefully packaged image of NATO’s “humanitarian” project in North Africa – a horror and revelation indelibly imprinted on the global consciousness by the brutes’ own cell phones.

    Nearly eight months of incessant bombing by the air forces of nations that account for 70 percent of the world’s weapons spending, all culminating in the gang-bang slaughter of Moammar Gaddafi, his son Mutassim and his military chief of staff, outside Sirte. The NATO-armed bands then displayed the battered corpses for days in Misurata – the city that had earlier made good on its vow to “purge Black skin” through the massacre and dispersal of 30,000 darker residents of nearby Tawurgha – before disposing of the bodies in an unknown location.

    The saner sections of America’s psychological operations machinery – including their collaborators in the corporate media – were doubtless as horrified as anyone at the Libyan jihadis’ insistence on revealing so graphically to the entire planet the barbaric character of the “revolution.” The months of gushing, ad nauseam press reports of near-universal jubilation in Tripoli and elsewhere at rebel “victories” – always under cover of NATO bombs – now made great sense. Who but those in search of instant martyrdom would voice displeasure at the NATO-jihadi triumph, with murderous fiends such as this roaming the streets?

    “In a few minutes of joyously recorded bestiality, the rabid pack undid every carefully packaged image of NATO’s ’humanitarian’ project in North Africa.”