How False Antifa Protest Rumors Spread – The New York Times

on the local level, the source of the false information has usually been more subtle, and shows the complexity of stunting misinformation online. The bad information often first appears in a Twitter or Facebook post, or a YouTube video there. It is then shared on online spaces like local Facebook groups, the neighborhood social networking app Nextdoor and community texting networks. These posts can fall under the radar of the tech companies and online fact checkers.

“The dynamic is tricky because many times these local groups don’t have much prior awareness of the body of conspiratorial content surrounding some of these topics,” said Renée DiResta, a disinformation researcher at the Stanford Internet Observatory. “The first thing they see is a trusted fellow community member giving them a warning.”

Justice Department Pressured Prosecutors to Go Easy on Roger Stone, Attorney Says

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A Justice Department lawyer who prosecuted Roger Stone is alleging that attorneys involved in the case were pressured by their superiors to “cut Stone a break” due to his relationship with the president. 

Stone was convicted of five counts of making false statements—as well as obstruction of Congress and witness tampering—after lying to the House Intelligence Committee about his efforts in 2016 to contact WikiLeaks regarding Democratic emails hacked by Russia. Evidence compiled by special counsel Robert Mueller showed that Stone consulted personally with Donald Trump and senior Trump campaign officials about Stone’s efforts to glean information on WikiLeaks’ plans for disseminating the stolen emails.

“What I heard—repeatedly—was that Roger Stone was being treated differently from any other defendant because of his relationship to the President,” Aaron Zelinsky says in written testimony submitted to the House Judiciary Committee ahead of a hearing scheduled for Wednesday. “I was told that the Acting US Attorney for the District of Columbia, Timothy Shea, was receiving heavy pressure from the highest levels of the Department of Justice to cut Stone a break, and that the US Attorney’s sentencing instructions to us were based on political considerations. I was also told that the acting US Attorney was giving Stone such unprecedentedly favorable treatment because he was ‘afraid of the President.’”

Shea was installed as acting head of the DC federal prosecutors’ office by Attorney General William Barr after Barr removed former US Attorney Jessie Liu. Shea is now the acting head of the Drug Enforcement Administration. This alleged meddling in the Stone case appears to be part of a pattern. Barr later moved to drop a case against former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, who had already pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators about his contacts with the Russian ambassador to the United States. And late last Friday, Barr ousted the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Geoffrey Berman, who was overseeing several cases related to Trump associates. Spokespeople for the DOJ, the DC US attorney’s office, and the DEA did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Zelinsky’s testimony.

Zelinsky describes how Shea and other Justice Department officials pressured the front-line prosecutors in the case to recommend a more lenient sentence for Stone than those prosecutors believed was fair. Zelinsky says their jobs were threatened. “We were told by a supervisor that the US Attorney had political reasons for his instructions, which our supervisor agreed was unethical and wrong,” he says. “However, we were instructed that we should go along with the US Attorney’s 10 instructions, because this case was ‘not the hill worth dying onand that we could ‘lose our jobs’ if we did not toe the line.”

The prosecutors initially suggested that Stones should receive more than seven years in prison. But the day after a 2:48 am tweet in which Trump complained that the recommendation was “horrible and very unfair,” Zelinsky says he learned that the department would issue a new memo recommending a lighter sentence.

In failing to adhere to normal sentencing guidelines, the department “treated Roger Stone differently and more leniently in ways that are virtually, if not entirely, unprecedented,” Zelinsky says. He and other lawyers who prosecuted Stone withdrew from the case in protest of this political interference.

It’s not clear if the DOJ reversal actually affected Stone’s sentence. US District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ultimately sentenced Stone to 40 months in prison, citing “the egregious nature of Stone’s conduct.” Cleary referring to Trump, Jackson said it was important that the sentence not be influenced by anyone whose “political career was aided by the defendant. And surely not someone who has personal involvement in the events underlying the case.”

Read Zelinsky’s prepared testimony:

Denial of community transmission hurting India’s fight

Political decisions causing health failures and more needless deaths in India

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Ever since the first case of Covid-19 was detected in the country on Jan 30, India has steadfastly denied community transmission of the coronavirus. The term refers to a person-to-person spread of an infection where the source is difficult to trace.

India’s denial implies it is capable of tracing the source of every coronavirus infection in the country.

It is a claim dismissed by many who argue the virus has begun spreading among population groups that have little to do with travel or have had no contact with travellers. This denial of community transmission has worrying implications, they add, because India’s limited healthcare resources are being spent trying to trace transmission chains of the virus in areas with community transmission when they should instead be dedicated to isolating and treating those infected.

India currently has the fourth-highest number of Covid-19 cases, trailing the United States, Brazil and Russia, with at least 440,215 cases and more than 14,011 deaths. On Sunday, it registered its biggest single-day spike of 15,372 cases.

But despite a rapidly growing caseload three months since the country’s borders were sealed for incoming travellers, the Indian government maintains there is no community transmission.

“India is such a large country and the prevalence is so low in our country. We have found the prevalence is less than 1 per cent in these small districts,” Dr Balram Bhargava, director-general of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), told a press conference on June 11.

He was speaking to discuss findings of India’s first sero-survey on the spread of Covid-19 that found a prevalence rate of 0.73 per cent in 83 districts surveyed. A sero-survey is conducted by testing blood serum drawn from a sample of people in a community to detect antibodies.

“In the urban areas, it may be slightly higher. In the containment areas, it may be slightly higher. But… India is not in community transmission,” he added.

The extent of Covid-19’s spread varies greatly across India. While Kerala has managed relatively well in containing the pandemic with discernible transmission chains, Maharashtra, Delhi, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat have seen a worrying rise in the number of cases, with embedded chains of transmission that remain untraceable.

A study conducted in April by some researchers, including those from ICMR, even found that 39.2 per cent of the Covid-19 cases analysed in the country did not report any history of contact with a known case or international travel.

Referring to Delhi, where cases have shot past 62,655, Ms K. Sujatha Rao, a former top bureaucrat of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, tweeted yesterday to say not acknowledging community transmission in the city means scarce resources and energies are “being wasted doing half-hearted tracing”.

Delhi’s Minister of Health Satyendar Jain, who is recovering from Covid-19, earlier this month said the source of the disease remains unknown in half of the cases in the city, but added that it was up to the federal government to declare whether the city had entered the community transmission phase.

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Wall Street likely to cut bonuses 15-20%, make significant layoffs: report

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Wall Street is likely to cut bonuses this year by 15-20% and make significant layoffs, according to a report published Tuesday by compensation consulting firm Johnson Associates Inc.

The estimates in the report by Alan Johnson, closely watched by financial professionals, are less severe than Johnson projected earlier this year. reut.rs/2WQHj5s

But layoffs could be significant. Companies were forced to make quick decisions and cut red tape during the pandemic, and they have recognized fewer employees are needed to do certain jobs, Johnson said.

“Technology has shown us that we don’t need as many people, don’t need as many management levels…and in many places there is going to be job insecurity,” Johnson said.

But cutting headcount adds expenses for severance pay, and companies will not want to be perceived as cheap with the economy in recession and millions out of work, Johnson said.

For those still employed, incentive compensation will be under strict scrutiny as banks consider their own performance during the coronavirus crisis, and also the Black Lives Matter movement.

This scrutiny will extend to chief executives’ compensation at public companies, Johnson wrote.

“With the impact of COVID-19 and recent focus on justice and equality, it will require a thoughtful analysis and balance of performance, competitive and societal priorities, and customer and employee expectations,” Johnson wrote. “This is not a year to be tone deaf.”

The ratio between CEO and worker pay, which banks publish annually, will receive significant attention this year as advocates for greater equality bring mainstream focus to the figures, Johnson wrote.

“Most of America is trying to stay above water,” Johnson said. “It’s almost a political statement that you’re going to make with senior management pay (and it is) going to be dissected by the public.”

Reporting By Elizabeth Dilts Marshall; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and David Gregorio

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Brazil registers 39,436 additional coronavirus cases, 1,374 deaths

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Brazil recorded 39,436 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours as well as 1,374 new deaths resulting from the disease, the country’s Health Ministry said on Tuesday.

Brazil has registered more than 1.1 million cases since the pandemic began, while cumulative deaths reached 52,645, according to the ministry.

Reporting by Pedro Fonseca; writing by Jake Spring; Editing by Leslie Adler

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Fauci, Redfield, testify to Congress on COVID-19 surge, vaccines | CIDRAP

Yesterday, US officials tracked 30,451 new COVID-19 infections, a number similar to outbreak highs previously recorded in April. Several southern and western states, including Arizona, Texas, and Florida, are well into their second week of record-setting hospitalizations.

Experts say they have not been asked to slow testing

Fauci, as well as Robert Redfield, MD, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Admiral Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for health at the US Department of Health and Human Service, all emphatically stated throughout the hearing that they had never been asked to slow down testing or restrict testing by President Trump.

On Jun 20, Trump said at a campaign rally in Tulsa that he asked people to test less so they would stop finding so many new cases.

“None of us have ever been told to slow down on testing. … In fact, we will be doing more testing,” Fauci said

Source: Fauci, Redfield, testify to Congress on COVID-19 surge, vaccines | CIDRAP

Trump Says He Was Dead Serious About Slowing Down ‘Overrated’ Coronavirus Testing

If you don’t weigh yourself, you can’t get fat – F#cking dumb and reckless enabling of thousands of more needless deaths. ksdaa3wt9tbwqtfmstvi.jpg

President Trump told reporters Tuesday that he was absolutely sincere about his intent to reduce covid-19 testing, an incoherent move given the sharp increase in covid-19 cases in several states. Trump first shared his plan during his recent flop of a campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, leaving the White House…

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President Creates Law Protecting Racist Hunks of Concrete From Human Constituents

OK that thousands die from ineffective anti-Covid-19 programs but 10 years in prison if you tear down a racist statue? tegwhsmbggjzuhmvedx4.jpg

When I was a child and thought childish thoughts, I believed that the main priority of the President of the United States of America was the welfare of the American people. Now that I am an adult with a fully formed prefrontal cortex, I understand that the POTUS’s main interests are: protecting rich people’s money,…

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