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Friday, Aug 07th

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Intel officials tell Congress that Russia is spreading false information about Biden

Joe BidenUS intelligence officials have presented information to lawmakers and presidential campaigns indicating Russia is behind an ongoing disinformation push targeting former Vice President and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, according to sources familiar with the matter.

But while Republicans and Democrats overwhelmingly agree that Russia is once again attempting to interfere the US presidential election, the two sides have emerged from recent election security briefings at odds over what the classified intelligence says about Moscow's intentions. The dispute mirrors how the two sides sparred over the Russian interference campaign in the 2016 election as GOP and Democratic leaders privately battled during the heat of that campaign about how much they should disclose to the public.
On Friday the intelligence community's top election security official William Evanina put out the clearest statement yet that the intelligence community believes Russia is working to hurt Biden while stating that China and Iran are attempting to damage Trump.

Facebook Fired An Employee Who Collected Evidence Of Right-Wing Pages Getting Preferential Treatment

Mark ZuckerbergFacebook employees collected evidence showing the company is giving right-wing pages preferential treatment when it comes to misinformation. And they’re worried about how the company will handle the president’s falsehoods in an election year.

After months of debate and disagreement over the handling of inflammatory or misleading posts from Donald Trump, Facebook employees want CEO Mark Zuckerberg to explain what the company would do if the leader of the free world uses the social network to undermine the results of the 2020 US presidential election.

“I do think we’re headed for a problematic scenario where Facebook is going to be used to aggressively undermine the legitimacy of the US elections, in a way that has never been possible in history,” one Facebook employee wrote in a group on Workplace, the company’s internal communication platform, earlier this week.

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Health directors told to keep quiet as Florida leaders pressed to reopen classrooms

DiSantis stiooed health directors from telling schools if they were unsafeAs Gov. Ron DeSantis pushed this summer for schools to reopen, state leaders told school boards they would need Health Department approval if they wanted to keep classrooms closed.

Then they instructed health directors not to give it.

Following a directive from DeSantis’ administration, county health directors across Florida refused to give school boards advice about one of the most wrenching public health decisions in modern history: whether to reopen schools in a worsening pandemic, a Gannett USA TODAY NETWORK review found.

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'All Bark And No Bite': Trump Holds Prescription Drug-Pricing Order In Search Of Deal

Trump seeking deal for drug prices

Two weeks after President Trump signed an executive order "Lowering Drug Prices By Putting America First," the White House still hasn't released the text of the order. The unorthodox move is apparently a leverage play, an attempt to squeeze drug companies into offering concessions, but so far there's little indication Trump is getting the deal he was after.

Trump had American flags and women in white lab coats behind him, his big presidential sharpie marker in hand when he signed the order July 24.

"This one will go into effect on Aug. 25 if we don't make a deal," Trump said at the time as he held the order up for the cameras.

TVNL Comment: Photo ops don't lower prescription prices.  Big Pharma is not on board, but Trump takes these meaningless photos anyway.

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Reuters:Germany and France quit WHO reform talks amid tension with Washington

WHO: Frand and Germany leave talks with US

The move is a setback for President Donald Trump as Washington, which holds the rotating chair of the G7, had hoped to issue a common roadmap for a sweeping overhaul of the WHO in September, two months before the U.S. presidential election.

The United States gave the WHO a year’s notice in July that it is leaving the U.N. agency - which was created to improve health globally - after Trump accused it of being too close to China and having mishandled the coronavirus pandemic.

The WHO has dismissed his accusations. European governments have also criticised the WHO but do not go as far as the United States in their criticism, and the decision by Paris and Berlin to leave the talks follows tensions over what they say are Washington’s attempts to dominate the negotiations.

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US coronavirus deaths surpass 160,000

Coronavirus deaths pass 160,000

The US has the highest number of COVID-19 deaths in the world, followed by Brazil and Mexico.

The total number of US coronavirus deaths surged past 160,000 with more than 4.8 million confirmed infections across the country.

  • More than two million people have now been confirmed infected in India, which is the third-worst hit country for COVID-19.
  • Meanwhile, Mexico's coronavirus deaths have passed 50,000, as the government faces criticism of its handling of the crisis and the economic fallout.

‘Screw COVID’: 250,000 Bikers to Defy Common Sense for Nine Days at Sturgis Rally

Sturgis bikers

Friday is the official start of the 80th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, where 250,000 people are expected to gather in the South Dakota town of that name for nine days of defying proven precautions against the spread of COVID-19.

“Nobody is social distancing and none of them are wearing masks,” local psychologist Michael Fellner told The Daily Beast. “None.”

Fellner is originally from Brooklyn in New York City, which was once the nation’s COVID-19 epicenter but has just reported three straight days without a single death from the virus. The transformation is almost certainly the result of the same precautions the bikers in Sturgis are ignoring.

TVNL Comment: This is why Covid-19 will continue to thrive in the US for years to come.  These ignorant bikers will go home to communities from all over the country and take the virus with them.  Stupid is as stupid does.

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House Democrats can sue to force ex-Trump counsel Don McGahn to testify, appeals court says

McGahm can be forced to testify: Appeals CourtHouse Democrats can sue to force former White House counsel Donald McGahn to testify before Congress about potential obstruction of justice by President Trump during the Russia investigation, a federal appeals court ruled Friday.

The ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit breathes new life into Democrats' efforts to hear from one of the president's closest aides at the height of the Russia probe. However, it does not guarantee a testimony from McGahn anytime soon or before the presidential election.

The ruling reverses a previous decision by an appeals court panel, which dismissed the case in February. In a 2-1 decision, the panel ruled that the Constitution forbids federal courts "from becoming an ombudsman" who resolves "deeply political" disputes between the executive and legislative branches of government.

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Georgia teens shared photos of maskless students in crowded hallways. Now they’re suspended.

Georgia teens suspended for sharing photo of crowding, no masks

At least two North Paulding High School students have been suspended after sharing images of a school hallway jammed with their mostly maskless peers, and the principal has warned other students against doing the same.

North Paulding High School in Dallas, Ga., about an hour’s drive from Atlanta, was thrust into the national spotlight this week when pictures and videos surfaced of its crowded interior on the first and second days of its first week back in session. The images, which showed a sea of teens clustered together with no face coverings, raised concerns among online commenters and parents over how the district is handling reopening schools during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Facing a fierce online backlash, Paulding County Schools Superintendent Brian Otott told parents and guardians in a letter that the images “didn’t look good.” But he argued that they lacked context about the 2,000-plus student school, where masks are a “personal choice.”

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