Tuesday, March 25, 2014

"Who Needs Facts?"

As Walter Pincus says, "Not these guys."  Permit us to quote at length:
[Rand] Paul (R-Ky.) told the primarily student audience that “if you own a cellphone, you are under surveillance.” It quickly became clear who he was talking about. 
“NSA believes that equal protection means that Americans can be spied upon equally, even Congress,” Paul said. 
He made no distinction between the foreign collection program — known as the 702 program, which could involve listening to phone calls or reading e-mails overseas — and the domestic 215 program, the collection of U.S.-based telephone metadata, which does not involve listening to calls. 
In no case did Paul mention that the predicate for searching those domestic records is a link to an overseas phone related to a suspected terrorist source, or that overseas, a relationship to collecting foreign intelligence is the requirement.
Who's another liar Pincus calls out?
On CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney said one response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s move into Crimea could be to “reconsider putting our missile defense system back into the Czech Republic and Poland, as we once planned. And as you recall, we pulled that out as a gift to Russia.” 
President Obama in September 2009 did change the George W. Bush administration’s plan for a missile defense system against Iran to be located in Poland and the Czech Republic. He replaced it with a better and earlier-deployed system now being installed in Poland and Romania. 
The Czechs, who were to get an X-band radar, decided that they did not want a lesser radar, as proposed in the Obama system. The Romanians replaced them and will host radar and missile interceptors, the first to be operational in 2015. 
Interceptors in Poland will be deployed starting in 2018 under the Obama plan, about the same time as under the Bush plan, but they will be larger and faster, and there will be more than the 10 contemplated by Bush.  
All this has hardly been a secret. On March 18, Vice President Biden announced in Poland that the missile defense system was on track with the 2018 initial operational date. 
In fact, in September 2009, then-Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates wrote in a New York Times op-ed that under the earlier plan, which he as Bush’s defense secretary had proposed in 2006, “there would have been no missile-defense system able to protect against Iranian missiles until at least 2017 — and likely much later” because of initial delays in getting the Polish and Czech legislatures to agree to host the system. 
Gates described Obama’s system as “far more effective” than what he’d recommended to the Bush administration.  (our emphasis)
It should come as no surprise to readers of this blog that we believe Republican politicians have a serious allergy to facts and the truth (a.k.a., "reality").   They, and their credulous base, sift out the facts they don't like, twist truth, and proceed at great harm to our nation.  But, as Pincus quotes Aldous Huxley, "Facts don't cease to exist because they are ignored."

Unfortunately, the damage is done regardless.

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