By Robert A. Vella

In today’s news, we’ll cover Joe Biden‘s acceptance speech at the virtual Democratic National Convention plus another big endorsement from his Republican supporters, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy‘s testimony before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee concerning cuts and delays to mail delivery services, a new public opinion poll on President Trump’s fears of losing the election, Facebook’s plan to prevent Trump from using its social media platform to contest the election outcome, another example of how the Trump administration is sidelining the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the latest developments in the poisoning of Vladimir Putin’s main political rival in Russia.

Biden’s speech

From:  Joe Biden puts character on the ballot and other takeaways from the final night of the DNC

“Character is on the ballot, compassion is on the ballot, decency, science, democracy. They’re all on the ballot,” Biden said. “Who we are as a nation, what we stand for, and, most importantly – who we want to be. That’s all on the ballot. The choice could not be more clear.”


“Just judge this president by the facts,” Biden said, before citing statistics on the virus’ spread in the U.S. and the jarring numbers of deaths, job losses and business closures.

“We lead the world in confirmed cases. We lead the world in deaths,” Biden said. “Our economy is in tatters, with Black, Latino, Asian American, and Native American communities bearing the brunt of it.”

“And after all this time, the president still does not have a plan,” he added.

Biden accused Trump of having “cloaked America in darkness” using anger and fear.  He said he would be “ally of the light” if elected.

He chronicled some of the president’s actions overseas and domestically, including the Trump’s reaction to the deadly white supremacist attack in Charlottesville, Va., when he said there were “very fine people on both sides.”

“Is that the America you want for you, for your family, your children?” Biden asked.

See also:

Full text and video: Joe Biden’s DNC speech

Voices from Fox News to MSNBC praise Joe Biden’s acceptance speech

From:  More than 70 former GOP national security officials wrote an open letter backing Biden, calling Trump corrupt and unfit to lead

  • More than 70 former Republican national security officials have publicly endorsed the Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden, saying President Donald Trump is unfit to lead.

  • The Defending Democracy Together alliance on Thursday published an open letter, which included a 10-point list of grievances.

  • Among the signatories are former CIA Director Michael Hayden, the former FBI and CIA chief William Webster, former Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte, and former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

  • “We are firmly convinced that it is in the best interest of our nation that Vice President Joe Biden be elected as the next President of the United States, and we will vote for him,” the group wrote.

  • As the November presidential election looms, Trump is increasingly losing the support of Republican officials. A growing number of party heavyweights have said they will vote for Biden.

DeJoy’s testimony

From:  Postal Service hearing live updates: Postmaster general grilled [in Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing] over mail-in voting

After a week of Democratic lawmakers calling for his resignation, the embattled head of the U.S. Postal Service, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, on Friday faces a public grilling for the first time since he began his short and controversial tenure.

A former logistics executive and longtime Republican financier, DeJoy arrived at the Postal Service in June, and he almost immediately set about enacting a series of cost-cutting initiatives that he said would streamline the ailing agency’s dwindling finances.

But those new initiatives reportedly caused delivery delays and coincided with a full-on attack on “mail-in voting” from President Donald Trump, prompting accusations that the administration was seeking to undermine voter confidence of the Postal Service ahead of November’s presidential election.

Related stories:

Factbox: A state-by-state look at some of the U.S. Postal Service’s cuts [note: all of the states listed in this story are blue-states]

Absentee ballots: Officials in multiple states caught off guard by USPS ban on witnessing

Ex-Postal Service official: White House involved in slowing mail

Second Dem lawsuit claims USPS changes will harm mail voting

Trump’s fears

From:  Most Voters Believe Trump Is Against Mail-In Voting Because He Fears Losing: Poll

Published on Thursday, the new Morning Consult poll, which saw 1,994 registered voters surveyed between August 14 and 16, found that 51 percent of voters think Trump is afraid of losing the election, should widespread mail-in voting move forward.

Meanwhile, 37 percent said they think Trump genuinely believes mail-in voting will “increase voter fraud”. Another 12 percent said they did not know or had no opinion on the matter.

Meanwhile, a plurality of voters believe that recent operational changes implemented to the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy are “politically motivated” and “designed to make it harder for Americans to vote by mail.”

Facebook’s plan

From:  Facebook Braces Itself for Trump to Cast Doubt on Election Results

SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook spent years preparing to ward off any tampering on its site ahead of November’s presidential election. Now the social network is getting ready in case President Trump interferes once the vote is over.

Employees at the Silicon Valley company are laying out contingency plans and walking through postelection scenarios that include attempts by Mr. Trump or his campaign to use the platform to delegitimize the results, people with knowledge of Facebook’s plans said.

Facebook is preparing steps to take should Mr. Trump wrongly claim on the site that he won another four-year term, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Facebook is also working through how it might act if Mr. Trump tries to invalidate the results by declaring that the Postal Service lost mail-in ballots or that other groups meddled with the vote, the people said.

Related story:  Zuckerberg questioned by FTC in Facebook antitrust probe

FDA sidelined

From:  Trump administration bars FDA review of some coronavirus tests

The Trump administration will allow coronavirus tests developed by individual laboratories to be used without Food and Drug Administration (FDA) review, the administration announced Wednesday.

Officials told Politico and The Washington Post that the decision came after the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) determined the FDA does not have the authority to regulate lab-developed tests for any condition, including COVID-19.

FDA officials reportedly opposed the move as some tests have proven to be faulty, but supporters argue that the FDA approval process hampered their ability to develop and release tests promptly.

The change in policy led to escalated tensions between HHS Secretary Alex Azar and FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, the Post reported. Hahn argues that an emergency like a pandemic gives the FDA the authority to regulate laboratory tests.

Related story:  A top FDA official threatened to resign if the agency green-lights an unproven coronavirus vaccine

Russian poisoned

From:  Doctors Blocking Aleksei Navalny’s Transfer Out of Russia, Supporters Say

A Russian hospital is refusing to allow the prominent Kremlin critic Aleksei A. Navalny to be transferred abroad for treatment after a suspected poisoning, the opposition leader’s spokeswoman said on Friday, setting up a potential standoff as a plane from Germany arrived to fly him out of the country.

See also:

Alexey Navalny: Russian doctors who say opposition leader wasn’t poisoned are untrustworthy, says wife

For Russian intelligence, poison has long been a weapon of choice

‘We’re looking at it’: The Trump administration has barely acknowledged the reported poisoning of Russia’s top opposition leader


Judge exempts journalists, legal observers from Portland protest dispersal orders

US isolated as allies and opponents reject its bid to snapback UN sanctions on Iran

Mali coup leader was trained by U.S. military, officers say

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