Vladimir Putin

Russia supplies talking points to its man in DC. Donald Trump on July 1 lashed out at reports that Russia's GRU intelligence service paid bounties to the Taliban for every American soldier they killed in Afghanistan.

He tweeted:

The Russia Bounty story is just another made up by Fake News tale that is told only to damage me and the Republican Party. The secret source probably does not even exist, just like the story itself. If the discredited @nytimes has a source, reveal it. Just another HOAX!

The president must be an avid follower of the twitter feed of Russia's DC embassy. On June 27, it posted the following statement from Russia's foreign ministry:

"We have paid attention to another piece of fake news, launched in the media space by the American intelligence community, about alleged involvement of Russia’s military intelligence unit in contract killings of US troops in Afghanistan. That unpretentious fake clearly demonstrates low intellectual abilities of US intelligence propagandists who have to invent such nonsense instead of devising something more credible."

The statement went on to accuse the US intelligence community of involvement in Afghanistan drug trafficking, "making cash payments to militants for letting transport convoys pass through, kickbacks from contracts implementing various projects paid by American taxpayers."

Trump, who claims the US intelligence community is part of the Deep State cabal out to get him, hasn't gotten around to the drug trafficking attack. He hasn't sunk that low—yet.

The president desperately needed a diversion to deflect attention from his epic failure to deal with the COVID-19 crisis, but the Russian bounty story is a doozy.

Mad as hell…More than seven in ten (71 percent) of Americans are "angry" about the state of the country, while two-thirds are "fearful," according to Pew Research. That anger and fear are widespread among Democrats and Republicans.

Forty six percent of respondents are "hopeful" about the country and only 17 percent are proud to be American.

The poll found that Joe Biden has a 10-point bulge (54 percent to 44 percent) over Trump in the election contest.

The respondents give Biden big advantages over Trump in several personal traits and characteristics. The former VP trumps Trump in the "even-tempered," a "better role model," "cares about ordinary people" and "honest" categories.

They are basically tied in the "courageous" department.

Trump scores his only win over Biden (56 percent to 40 percent) in the "energetic" department. That "Sleepy Joe" nickname must be sticking in the minds of voters.

Zuck in a hard place as more than 150 major advertisers including Unilever, Verizon, HP, Ford Motor and Adidas are "pausing" their spending on Facebook to protest the platform's failure to combat false information and hate speech.

That's just the tip of the iceberg. The World Federation of Advertisers, which covers 90 percent of he world's advertising spending, says a third of the globe's biggest brands will either suspend or are likely to suspend their spending on all social media sites. A WFA survey of its membership found another 41 percent undecided about joining the fun.

Stephan Loerke, CEO of he WFA, said advertisers and their agencies are extremely concerned about the proliferation of illegal and harmful content on social media platforms.

The WFA believes the best way to drive change is for advertisers to work with platforms to change current practices and create a safer and fairer online media environment for everyone.

The ball is in your court, Mark.