Lies, damn lies, and fake news

In his 2007 book The Assault on Reason, former Vice President Al Gore warned about what he saw as a dire threat to American democracy. “The ‘well-informed citizenry,’” Gore fretted, ”is in danger of becoming the ‘well-amused audience.’” In a presentation on Super Tuesday 2008 (“That’s Entertainment: Politics as Theater in Campaign ‘08”), I elaborated on Gore’s alert.

When politics is entertainment, the first thing that suffers is the truth.

More than nine years later, the American people have a professional entertainer in the Oval Office. And as recent headlines have shown, the truth is suffering indeed. Despite the unified assessment of the U.S. intelligence community that Vladimir Putin’s Russia interfered in the 2016 election, only one-third of Republicans polled believe it. Other surveys found that 72 percent of Trump voters said stories about Russia are “fake news,” with 32 percent even rejecting the claim that Donald

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9/11 recovery worker facing deportation freed from ICE custody

Thanks to the efforts from elected officials and advocates like you, an undocumented immigrant and 9/11 recovery worker who was facing imminent deportation has been freed from ICE detention. Despite the fact that Carlos Cardona has been here for three decades and suffers from ongoing health issues due to his recovery work in the Twin Tower wreckage, ICE wanted to deport him for a nonviolent conviction from 25 years ago.

But following public outcry, Cardona went home to his family this week:

Cardona said he could hardly believe his ears when officials told him he was getting out.

“I couldn’t believe it when they came this morning,” he said. “I wasn’t sure if they were letting me go or if they were going to deport me. They took me to their offices on Varick St., and I signed some (documents). They told me I could go. I couldn’t believe it.”

Cardona called his wife Liliana,

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NY governor pardons 9/11 recovery worker facing deportation after 30 years in U.S.

A 9/11 recovery worker facing imminent deportation for a nonviolent conviction from over 25 years ago has received a pardon from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, an important step that advocates hope will help keep him in the country after 30 years here.

Despite the fact that Carlos Humberto Cardona suffers from respiratory issues due to his recovery work and has not been in trouble since his 1990 drug conviction, the Trump administration has decided this 9/11 worker is a threat and should be torn from his U.S. citizen wife and teen daughter. Cardona was “detained because of a rash, ultra-conservative” immigration policy, Cuomo tweeted in issuing the drug pardon:

Cuomo, a Democrat, said that if Carlos Cardona is deported he might not be able to receive adequate health treatments for ailments he suffers after working in the Sept. 11, 2001, recovery effort.

“In the more than 30 years

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Trump admin set on deporting 9/11 recovery worker after 30 years in U.S.

Carlos Humberto Cardona is one of the thousands of 9/11 recovery workers who suffers from health issues—for some, these health issues can be debilitating—after breathing in toxic air following the deadly terror attack. Cardona is also one of the tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants to have been swept up by Donald Trump’s deportation force in the past months.

Cardona was initially issued a deportation order in 2000, but federal immigration officials decided he could stay so long as he stay out of trouble and check in regularly with ICE, which he has done since. Even with the threat of deportation from the U.S. looming over his head, Cardona did what he felt was right and helped clear the rubble of 9/11.

But following Trump’s inauguration, Cardona was arrested due to an attempted drug sale conviction from over 25 years ago, a transaction the family insists he was not a part of. Despite

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9/11 survivor Lauren Manning on strength, power, and overcoming unspeakable adversity

The conservative narrative around 9/11 is an entirely negative one—a tragedy of unspeakable proportions used and manipulated to justify all manner of additional evils, from unwarranted and unsanctioned military adventurism, to the abandonment of our nation’s principles on torture. To this very day, we have Donald Trump demanding the U.S. engage in plunder and subjugation. 

But there’s another narrative—one that saw a city and its people come together in its time of distress, facing that tragedy head on and overcoming the kind of adversity most people can’t even fathom. In this version of the story, evil was vanquished with love, charity, and unity. And no one tells this story better than Lauren Manning. A breakout star at the Democratic National Convention, I got a chance to ask her a few questions. This is a great one, so read on. 


1. Unlike politicians and artists on stage, you aren’t a

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Republicans show how it’s done

They say the best defense is a good offense. As the GOP prepares for its convention in Cleveland, Republicans have little other choice. After all, the Party of Lincoln is about to officially crown the pathological liar, race-baiting bigot, and parasite posing as a populist Donald Trump as its nominee for president of the United States. Voters in Ohio and around the country would do well to remember that many of the GOP’s best and brightest are shunning the Buckeye State altogether rather than be seen trying to defend the indefensible.

Which is why Republicans and their water carriers are launching an all-out attack on Secretary Hillary Clinton over her email practices at the State Department. When Rep. Trey Gowdy’s $7 million Benghazi committee finally wrapped up the eighth and final investigation to find no wrongdoing in the tragedy that claimed four Americans in Libya, the manufactured uproar

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Two weeks after Orlando, Trump’s reaction looks even crazier

There are statements that may appear foolish and wrong-headed when initially uttered, yet which—after the passage of time—we recognize as containing previously unseen wisdom. This ain’t one of them.

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A few hours after we learned of the horrific massacre of 49 people on Latin night at Pulse, a gay club in Orlando, the Republican nominee for president reacted. He knew that this attack was about “radical Islamic terrorism.” He didn’t need no stinkin‘ investigation. He just knew. Or maybe that was just the narrative that best suited his campaign.

Of course, we have since learned that Omar Mateen’s motives for carrying out this mass murder are not so clear. There is a great deal of evidence

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Libya and ‘bad language:’ Obama and Bush reveal their worst mistakes as president

In an understandably rare interview with Fox News on Sunday, Barack Obama spoke bluntly about the “worst mistake” of his presidency. That error, as he had also recently explained to the BBC and The Atlantic, was the unraveling of Libya following the fall of Muammar Qaddafi:

“Probably failing to plan for the day after what I think was the right thing to do in intervening in Libya.”

Whatever you think of that answer, Obama’s mea culpa stands in stark contrast to that of his Republican predecessor, George W. Bush. To the extent he could even think of a single mistake he had made, President Bush cited only his “bad language.”  You read that right. The man who presided over the worst two-term economic performance since World War II, suffered the devastating 9/11 attacks on his watch, launched the catastrophic Iraq war, and birthed ISIS repeatedly said his

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Libya and ‘bad language:’ Obama and Bush reveal their worst mistakes as president

In an understandably rare interview with Fox News on Sunday, Barack Obama spoke bluntly about the “worst mistake” of his presidency. That error, as he had also recently explained to the BBC and The Atlantic, was the unraveling of Libya following the fall of Muammar Qaddafi:

“Probably failing to plan for the day after what I think was the right thing to do in intervening in Libya.”

Whatever you think of that answer, Obama’s mea culpa stands in stark contrast to that of his Republican predecessor, George W. Bush. To the extent he could even think of a single mistake he had made, President Bush cited only his “bad language.”  You read that right. The man who presided over the worst two-term economic performance since World War II, suffered the devastating 9/11 attacks on his watch, launched the catastrophic Iraq war, and birthed ISIS repeatedly said his

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Before Flint, FBI feared terrorists would poison U.S. water supplies

With Tuesday’s announcement that the FBI will join the expanding investigation, anyone who doubted the seriousness of the poisoning of the Flint, Michigan, water supply should now recognize their error. After all, until the administration of Republican Gov. Rick Snyder and his emergency manager in Flint knowingly jeopardized the health of thousands, the FBI feared al Qaeda terrorists would do the same thing.

As the Detroit Free Press reported:

Gina Balaya, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit, told the Free Press Monday that federal prosecutors are “working with a multi-agency investigation team on the Flint water contamination matter, including the FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, EPA’s Office of Inspector General, and EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division.”
The office of U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said Jan. 5 that it was assisting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in a Flint drinking water investigation,

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Chris Christie’s Super PAC lies about 9/11 so Chris Christie doesn’t have to … again

Here we go again. Chris Christie’s Super PAC, America Leads, is out with this web ad called “Mary Pat,” in which the governor tells his already debunked story about being “named U.S. Attorney on September 10.” Which is a big ol’ lie.

On September 10, Christie got the letter from the Bush administration telling him he was under consideration, and that he would be undergoing a background check. He was actually nominated in December and didn’t get the confirmation and start the job until January, 2002. Clearly the background check didn’t delve too deeply into checking to see if the things he says in public are actually true.

Of course, that’s not the only thing he regularly lies about in trying to be this cycle’s Rudy Giuliani (noun, verb, 9/11). Among his other overblown claims are that he is the only candidate who filed applications with and “has

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Chris Christie’s version of his national security creds completely overblown

This is going to come as a shock, so brace yourself: Chris Christie isn’t telling the truth about his national security record. The New Jersey governor and Republican presidential candidate likes to play the fear card and it might just be working for him, as he’s inching up in the polls. But his claims to be the only guy in the field who has really fought the terrorists are very much overhyped.

At the first Republican debate in August, Mr. Christie called himself “the only person on this stage who’s actually filed applications under the Patriot Act, who has gone before the Foreign Intelligence Service Court.” Similarly, his campaign website says “Christie’s office” secured authorization from that court, which is actually called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, for the surveillance of terrorism suspects.
While the court, which is also known as the FISA court, did approve national security wiretaps

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War Crimes R Us

Watching the Republican presidential debate Tuesday night, I kept flashing back to George W. Bush’s acceptance speech at the 2000 Republican National Convention. Vice President Al Gore, Bush charged that August night, “now leads the party of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, but the only thing he has to offer is fear itself.” Given that the economy was booming and two wars in the Balkans had been ended by Democratic leadership in the White House, Bush’s slander was bad enough at the time. But now, with Bush’s would-be heirs on stage warning that “America has been betrayed” even as “our nation is in grave danger” and “we have people across this country who are scared to death,” the perpetual fear machine that is now the GOP makes Dubya’s dig all the more grotesque. In the age of ISIS, the Daddy Party has become the Bedwetter Party. 

But along with ISIS itself,

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Ben Carson blames the media for his claim he saw Muslims in New Jersey celebrating 9/11

Monday Dr. Ben Carson said that he, like Donald Trump, saw footage of Muslims in New Jersey “celebrating” the fall of the World Trade Center. Given that this (1) never happened and (2) never freaking happened, this caused consternation in his campaign, which quickly issued word that their own candidate was merely momentarily confused as to whether New Jersey was part of the Middle East, because he meant the Middle East.

Today Dr. Ben Carson weighed in to blame the whole thing on the stupid media asking him stupid loaded questions.

“Yeah, yeah. I thought we were just talking about the fact that Muslims were inappropriately celebrating,” he said. “I didn’t know that they had an agenda behind the question.”

The agenda being trying to determine if Dr. Ben Carson, like Donald Trump, is an unhinged lunatic with little grasp on our own reality. Point taken but Dr. Ben

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Politico: Bush administration ignored far more detailed warnings about 9/11 than previously revealed

Chris Whipple has written a story at Politico offering a long teaser of the upcoming Showtime documentary The Spymasters. He and two colleagues spent more than a hundred hours interviewing the 12 living CIA directors, with considerable focus on the 9/11 attacks. Although the overall picture of failure by the administration to prevent the attacks has long been known, the story and documentary provide some added details. The key detail is that the warnings the Bush White House received from the CIA in the summer of 2001 were a lot more chilling than the infamous August 6 presidential daily brief. Writes Whipple:

[George] Tenet vividly recalls the [July 10] White House meeting with Rice and her team. (George W. Bush was on a trip to Boston.) “Rich [Blee] started by saying, ‘There will be significant terrorist attacks against the United States in the coming weeks or months. The attacks will be spectacular.

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Rep. Maloney calls on Paul Ryan to back the 9/11 victims compensation fund

The sponsor of legislation to reauthorize the 9/11 victims compensation fund, which the GOP-led Congress allowed to expire in September, is now pressuring House Speaker Paul Ryan to take it up. Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York spoke at an Association for a Better New York event Thursday, reports Conor Skelding:

“It took us nine years to pass the bill, and they capped it at five years,” she said. “If we do not reauthorize it, many of our heroes and heroines will literally die because they will not have the healthcare that they deserve.”

Maloney said that her bill has “over 240 co-sponsors” in the House and “over 61” in the Senate, “including Kirsten and Chuck,” she said, referring to New York’s U.S. senators, Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer.

“But on the day that Paul Ryan was sworn in, they put in another two bills that completely gut the

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While Blair offers ersatz apology for Iraq War, Bush offers none at all

In the coming weeks, the U.K. is certain to be rocked by the Chilcot Inquiry, the years-overdue investigation into the planning, marketing, and execution of the Iraq War under former Labor Prime Minister Tony Blair.
That timing explains the preventive public relations war Blair launched over the past week to soften the coming blows. On the airwaves and in the op-ed pages, the mastermind of New Labor repackaged some old apologies to defend—not atone for—his decision to join U.S. President George W. Bush in ousting Saddam Hussein. Acknowledging that there are “elements of truth” to the well-documented history that the invasion and occupation of Iraq fueled the rise of ISIS, Blair nevertheless countered that, “I find it hard to apologize for removing Saddam.” Speaking to Fareed Zakaria of CNN, Blair made the historical strategic catastrophe for his country and ours sound like an ill-timed

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Jeb! Bush gushes over George W.’s ‘case study of leadership’

U.S. President George W. Bush (L) greets his brother, outgoing Florida Governor Jeb Bush, at a Republican Party congressional mid-term election campaign rally in Pensacola, Florida, November 6, 2006. Bush is campaigning for Republican party Congressional

The brothers Bush in 2006.

For those who don’t remember George W. Bush’s presidency as a warm, wonderful time, his little brother Jeb! is here to set us straight.

“The case study of leadership is how George responded to 9/11, period, over and out,” Jeb told the audience of some 175 donors and supporters who gathered in a ballroom at a Houston hotel, according to a pool report.
“And the idea that a candidate could think that they could make political hay to create a new … narrative on the reality on how he led is a joke,” Bush said. […]

“How he responded to 9/11,” Jeb Bush said of his brother, “was just awe-inspiring.  

“People were united. And people really got it that he had a heart for them,” Bush added. “At that time, as you know, kids were crying. All around people, children and grandchildren didn’t

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Jeb Bush and Sean Hannity agree: Let’s blame Bill Clinton for 9/11!

Former President George H.W. Bush, U.S. President George W. Bush, and Governor Jeb Bush, leave together after the christening ceremony of the USS George H.W. Bush at Northrop-Grumman's shipyard in Newport News, Virginia October 7, 2006. The Navy's Nimitz-

From left to right: Iran-Contra guy, 9/11 guy, 9/11 guy’s brother.

We may need to inaugurate a new series, Sean Hannity is the lead paint of punditry. The Fox News “personality” was keen Monday night to take up the Fox & Friends paint can and partake of a few swigs, opining that if only President Bill Clinton had done in al Qaeda and bin Laden before handing things over to George W. Not Necessarily The Dumbest Bush, everything would have been fine and the incoming Republican wouldn’t have had to worry his precious little noggin over it. Why didn’t he do that, then?

After playing the clip, Hannity asked the former Florida governor: “If Bill Clinton knew he wanted to commit crimes against America and was offered him and he didn’t take him, isn’t that in and of itself a legal basis to take the guy?”

Hannity here is

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Team Jeb claims Dubya ‘inherited’ 9/11 and recession

The Republicans' Magic Calendar.

Stung by Donald Trump’s self-evident truth that history did not begin on September 12, 2001 and end at noon on January 20, 2009, Jeb Bush asked, “Does anybody actually blame my brother for 9/11?” As it turns out, this is hardly the first time the former Florida governor complained about the unkindness the calendar has shown his brother. In August 2012, Jeb declared it was “unbecoming” for Barack Obama to continue to “blame others” for the economic calamity he inherited from George W., and went so far as to suggest the president should be “spanked” for pointing the finger at his brother. And in April 2009—just weeks after Obama entered the Oval Office in the midst of the greatest American economic calamity since the Great Depression—Jeb protested:

“If I had one humble criticism of President Obama, it would be to stop this notion of somehow framing

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