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Aug 23, 2017, 11:42 AM
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 1 
 on: Today at 11:34 AM 
Started by Deva - Last post by Deva
Hi All,

To continue with our practice of the Evolutionary Paradigm, let’s apply a mitigating factor to a birth chart. For example, let’s put Pluto conjunct the South Node. As taught by JWG, from an evolutionary point of view, Pluto conjunct the South Node correlates with three possible conditions. My suggestion is to review the chapter Pluto and the Nodal Axis in the Pluto vol.1 book as it outlines the core evolutionary intentions of Pluto conjunct the South Node.

The three archetypal conditions are these:

1)The Soul is in an evolutionary and karmic reliving condition because of a failure to resolve successfully the dynamics described by the house and sign position of the Pluto/South Node conjunction. This is not common as it reflects total resistance which is rare.
 
2)The Soul is in a karmic fruition condition. This reflects a situation in which the Soul has put so much effort into actualizing the evolutionary/karmic intentions of the past that it has a special gift/destiny relative to the house and sign position of Pluto conjunct the South Node. The individual is reaping that which was sown before. This is also not a common expression. Even in this expression, the Soul will feel the pull towards the polarity point and the North Node, the evolutionary future.

3)The Soul is in a simultaneous evolutionary and karmic condition in which certain conditions of the past must be relived while others are in a fruition state. This is the most common expression.

As taught by JWG, the best way to determine which condition exists for the individual is to use the observation and correlation approach. This is because astrology can only be applied correctly relative to a given context. While there are mitigating factors in the birth chart that indicate a probable karmic condition it can be hard to determine the condition from the birth chart alone. For example, stressful aspects to Pluto tend to indicate a relive condition, and non-stressful aspects tend to indicate a fruition condition. If there are both stressful and non-stressful aspects to Pluto it tends to indicate a dual condition exists. But this is not some hard and fast rule. 

In order to identify the expression of Pluto conjunct the South Node through observation and correlation, ask questions that center about the Soul’s ability to understand and integrate the evolutionary intentions of Pluto’s polarity point and the North Node. If there seems to be a total blockage relative to the dynamics indicated by the polarity points, then the first condition exists. If there there seems to be elements of both reliving and fruition then the second condition exists. If there seems to be something special about the individual’s life relative to the house and sign position of Pluto/South Node conjunction then condition three exists. 

For sake of simple example, let’s put Pluto in the 6th house. Pluto is conjunct the South Node in the same house. My suggestion is to review Pluto in Virgo/6th house in the Pluto vol.1 book. What are the core evolutionary intentions and desires of the past? Pluto in the 6th house conjunct the South Node symbolizes core desires to serve the Whole, serve or be of service to those most immediate to the Soul, or to serve others in some way, to affect self-improvement, and to learn egocentric humility. These lesson are being learned through the work function, through intense self-analysis, and of being of service to others in some way.   

Virgo is a transitional archetype from subjective development to objective development. Aries-Leo symbolizes a necessary subjective development and focus. Libra-Pisces symbolizes a necessary objective development and focus. The sign of Virgo correlates with an inverted pyramid effect. It is through the inverted pyramid that the necessary inner adjustments are made, and the transition from subjective development to objective development takes place. In essence, following the proceeding sign of Leo, the balloon of self-inflation is pierced, and we become aware of all that we are not.

Pluto in Virgo/6th house conjunct the South Node reflects that the Soul is leaving behind the egocentric orientation of the past, and transiting into objective development and focus. As such, any dynamic that is linked to the subjective orientation of the past reflected by archetypes of Aries-Leo will subconsciously not feel “right” or adequate. The dynamics linked with objective development symbolized by the archetypes of Libra-Pisces will feel “right” as they reflect the necessary humility, and purging of egocentric delusions of grandeur. In other words, the standard of conduct used to determine “correct” conduct is based upon the transition from subjective development to objective development.

All to often, there is an intense feeling of inner aloneness and emptiness. The Soul is stripping itself bare, and has a magnified focus on all that is lacking and deficient. Typically, a variety of avoidance oriented behavior is used in an attempt to fill the void. For example, the “busy bee” syndrome may manifest in which the Soul creates excessive external activities and obligations. Mundane work, or work performed just for the sake to keep busy, has been used by many of these individuals in order to fill the void. Crisis then results in order to induce the necessary self-analysis of what dynamics must be changed, and to bring these patterns into conscious awareness. It is important to note that self-analysis can replace excessive crisis if the Soul makes inner adjustments as necessary. In so doing, unnecessary crisis can be purged from the Soul.

Most commonly, memories of prior indiscretions and mistakes relative to the dynamics described above are held within the unconscious. The resulting guilt and need to atone for these indiscretions is emphasized coming into the life. Positively responded to, the guilt can be resolved through alignment with a work function that reflects service to the Whole, or service to others in some way. The work or service function then becomes a vehicle through which egocentric humility and self- improvement takes place. Self improvement of course can also take place through critical and honest self analysis or reflection. This can create the awareness of what the Soul need to do in order to affect, actualize, whatever the self improvement is or needs to be.

Another central dynamic is that of negative feedback. In a positive expression, critical feedback is used constructively to make the necessary changes and self-adjustments. Negatively responded to, the Soul externalizes a self-critical and negative focus. In this situation, the individual will attract critical feedback from the external environment as a reflection of it’s inner negative focus. The individual will typically feel victimized by such feedback, and use it as an excuse not make the necessary adjustments. This creates yet another source of guilt as the Soul did not affect the improvement(s) that It has the intrinsic capacity to create; self-denial of the actual abilities of the Soul. In the worst extremes, this can create a perpetual state of crisis. The key within this is to use negative feedback to affect positive change and egocentric humility. In turn, the Soul can help others who also feel victimized by their life circumstances in the same way.

So to summarize:

Pluto’s conjunction to the South Node symbolizes that these core evolutionary intentions can be expressed in three possible ways:

1) Evolutionary/karmic reliving: In this condition, the Soul has totally avoided the evolutionary intentions described above and is reliving these conditions in order bring them to resolution. Victimization, externalization of an inwardly critical focus, and the need to learn to serve the Whole are the central dynamics that are being repeated in order to be resolved.

2) Evolutionary/karmic fruition: In this condition, the Soul is in a state of fruition relative to the core evolutionary dynamics of past, and has a special destiny in those areas. The dynamics of service to the Whole, self-improvement, and egocentric humility are in a state of fruition. The individual has a special gift in the context of these dynamics. For example, this natal signature reflects that the Soul has an innate capacity to help others who are in a state of crisis, and feel victimized by life in general; service to the underprivileged. 

3) Simultaneous karmic and evolutionary reliving and fruition: In this condition, the Soul is simultaneously reliving certain dynamics of the evolutionary past previously described, while others are in a state of fruition. For example, the individual may in state of fruition relative to the need to learn to serve the Whole and affect self-improvement, yet reliving the dynamics of victimization and externalization of a inner critical orientation.

Please write out in your own words an analysis of Pluto in the 6th house conjunct the South Node relative to the three possible archetypal expression.

Namaste,

Deva

 2 
 on: Today at 06:16 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja
The future of Finnish pensions

New Europe
8/23/2017

Finland has confirmed that the country’s future pensioners have little to worry about, rejecting claims that the pension system is insecure.

Nobel Laureate Bengt Holmström’s warned last week that Finland’s pension system was based on overly optimistic assumptions about the return on investment.

As reported by Yle online, the pension funds currently assume a return of 3.5% each year on their €181bn in investments, which Holmström said is overly optimistic.

Addressing a centenary seminar organised by the Finnish Chamber of Commerce, Holmström warned that while the baby boomer generation would receive their pensions, younger generations might find the system unable to pay what it promises when they retire.

But Heikki Tikanmäki of the Finnish Centre for Pensions says projections from the centre and the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra show that there’s little to worry about.

According to Martti Hetemäki, senior finance ministry official, Finland should aim to increase the employment rate to 80% from the current 72% by the end of the 2030s.

That’s also one scenario projected by Sitra and the pensions centre, and it provides a much sunnier outlook.

If Finland manages that leap in employment, pensions would rise and pension funding would be even more secure.

According to Yle, it’s an ambitious goal, but Sitra’s report points out that both Iceland and the autonomous Åland islands already have employment rates of 80%, for instance.

 3 
 on: Today at 06:12 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja
Germany, France, and Italy want national veto over Chinese corporate takeovers

New Europe
8/23/2017

Italy, France, and Germany have petitioned the European Commission to allow member states to veto takeovers of European companies, La Stampa reported on Tuesday.

The European Commission would be asked to review takeovers to determine whether a takeover is underpinned by an economic or political rationale. That would seem to signal the ability to veto takeovers from state owned corporations, especially if there is evidence to suggest shareholders are offered excessive premiums to sell.

The Italian paper cites a leaked letter to the European Commission. The 10-page document suggests that Berlin, Rome, and Paris fear that Chinese state-owned companies will take over European companies to achieve technology transfers and increase market share.

Another concern is the lack of reciprocity, especially in China, where European companies have limited market access.

The letter is dated July 28 but follows up on a string of previous correspondence that kicked off in February 2017 and reported at the time by Reuters.

The three countries also recommend that member states report every six months the takeovers of national companies from third-country corporations based outside the EU, except those in the defense sector, where member states effectively already have a veto.

The concern over Chinese takeovers appears to be justified. According to an Ernst & Young report, 164 Chinese companies took over European enterprises during the first half of 2016, compared to 183 Chinese takeovers in the whole of 2015.  One of the most high profile takeovers that has recently raised concerns is China’s Mideaa take over of the German robot manufacturer, KUKA.

 4 
 on: Today at 06:11 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja

Macron braces for class warfare à la française in September

ETIENNE LAURENT
New Europe
8/23/2017

Following consultations with French trade unions on Tuesday, President Emmanuel Macron’s administration braces for a major political standoff over proposed labour market reforms.

Currently, the French economy has returned to growth and unemployment has dropped to its lowest level since 2012, although it remains unacceptably high at 9,5%. However, the Macron administration is determined to address “structural issues” in the French labour market.
Bracing for war with the unions

Macron campaigned on the promise to take on some of France’s most emblematic battles, taking on the totemic 35-hour week, calling for an end to job-for-life careers in the civil service, and the elimination of wealth tax.

These are the issues on which he had built his brand. And he sees as a priority to move France towards the direction of an “easy-hire, easy-fire” labour market model. That objective entails capping compensation for fired workers to make mass layoffs easier, although he is also proposing to offer more generous support for the unemployed.

In addition, Macron favours reforms promoted by the previous government, which should undercut unions by promoting sectoral and firm based negotiations rather than national collective bargaining. Macron now also wants to change ballot rules for unions wanting to take strike action.

This battle inevitably means war with the unions, which has been waging since the Hollande administration. For Macron, the next battle will probably erupt with the presentation of a labour reform bill in parliament on August 31st.

Public opinion

In addition, Macron promises austerity. The new government wants to push forward reigning over the French budget deficit. Among other things, this means austerity measures such as cuts in housing support for poor households.

The toxic combination of austerity and labour market liberalization is not entirely popular in France. Macron’s popularity has dropped faster during his first 100 days in office than any of his predecessors, even Francois Hollande. According to an Ifop poll last week, only 36% of the French approved Macrons’ performance, compared to 54% at the end of Hollande’s 100 days in office.

 5 
 on: Today at 06:07 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja
Florida by Water: See Sea Turtles in the Wild

During nesting season on Florida's Atlantic coast, thousands of female loggerhead turtles emerge from the surf.

During the summer nesting season on Florida's central Atlantic coast, thousands of female loggerheads emerge from the surf and laboriously haul themselves across the sand. Using flippers as shovels, each loggerhead digs a nest, then deposits and covers her eggs before crawling back into the ocean. Witness this amazing spectacle by joining a guided turtle walk.

Loggerhead Marinelife Center, Juno Beach

Loggerhead Marinelife Center biologists have been monitoring the nesting sea turtle population along northern Palm Beach County beaches since 1989. The annual tally consistently averages 12,000 leatherback, loggerhead, and green sea turtle nests. "Our particular stretch of beach is one of the most densely nested beaches in the world for loggerhead sea turtles," says Tom Longo, Loggerhead Marinelife Center senior communications manager. "Our campus also features a state-of-the-art sea turtle hospital where sick and injured animals rehabilitate for their hopeful return to the ocean. Visitors can get an up-close view of our patients in outdoor recovery tanks and through large viewing windows." To observe nesting loggerheads, join one of the center's guided nighttime turtle walk programs, offered Wednesday through Saturday evenings during June and July. Beach scouts patrol the sand and alert guides via radio when a nesting loggerhead female has arrived to begin the egg laying process. The guides then lead small groups (programs are limited to 30 participants nightly) down to the beach to witness the egg laying process.

Hobe Sound Nature Center, Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge, Hobe Sound

The Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge maintains over a thousand acres of endangered and threatened habitats, including coastal mangroves, sand pine scrub, and 3.5 miles of pristine barrier island beach. The beach, one of the nation's most productive sea turtle nesting areas, is where Hobe Sound Nature Center guides lead nighttime turtle walks. Programs are held from late May through mid-July, and, if a turtle's natural timetable coincides, could include observing a nesting female loggerhead. Each walk is limited to 30 people and begins with a brief sea turtle orientation program at the nature center, located five minutes (by car) from the beach. When, and if, a turtle is spotted, the nesting portion of the walk lasts about an hour.

Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge, Melbourne Beach

This 20.5-mile-long coastal stretch from Melbourne Beach to Wabasso Beach is named for world-renowned sea turtle expert Dr. Archie Carr, Jr. The Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC), the world's first sea turtle research and conservation group, was started in response to a book Carr wrote, and he served as the group's founding scientific director. From mid-May until August, the STC offers guided tours (limit 22 people) to see sea turtles nesting at night in the Carr Refuge. The turtle walks include an educational presentation that begins at the Barrier Island Center on Melbourne Beach. "The Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge is the most important sea turtle nesting beach in the United States," says David Godfrey, STC executive director. "More loggerhead and green turtles nest here than on any other beach in North America, and the Carr Refuge also is the only federal refuge established specifically to protect sea turtle nesting habitat."

TRAVEL TIPS

Practical Tip: Because turtles determine the schedule, the length of each Loggerhead Marinelife Center nighttime turtle walk varies. The program begins at 9 p.m., and a nesting turtle could appear at any point in the evening. Turtle nesting views are not guaranteed, however, and no refunds are given if a turtle does not come ashore.

When to Go: On Florida's east coast, early nests start hatching in late June and early July. This is an ideal time to visit the Loggerhead Marinelife Center since baby hatchlings are routinely kept (and can be viewed) in holding tanks before they're released into the ocean,

What to Bring: Wear long pants, shirts, and covered shoes, and bring insect repellent and water. No flash photography or flashlights are allowed.

What to Read Before You Go: Download the free You Can Help Protect Sea Turtles environmental education pamphlet produced by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Best Bet: Summer turtle walk programs are extremely popular and sell out quickly since space is limited to small groups each evening. Online registration begins April 1 for the Hobe Sound Nature Center and May 1 for the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge and the Loggerhead Marinelife Center.

Fun Fact: On average, a loggerhead sea turtle nest, or clutch, contains between 100 and 126 eggs. Incubation takes about 60 days but can vary widely depending on the temperature of the sand surrounding the nest. Warmer sand speeds development and tends to produce more female hatchlings.

 6 
 on: Today at 06:02 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja
Trump paints himself as the real victim of Charlottesville in angry speech

Speaking at a rally in Phoenix, president attempts to counter widespread, bipartisan condemnation of his response to far-right violence

David Smith in Phoenix
Guardian
Wednesday 23 August 2017 06.24 BST

Donald Trump has sought to portray himself as the true victim of the deadly events in Charlottesville, launching an all-out assault on the media and branding journalists who “do not like our country” as the true source of division in America.

At a rally in Phoenix, evocative of his populist election campaign, the US president attacked coverage of his response to the white supremacist violence and complained bitterly to his audience about how he had been treated.

He re-read three statements he made in the wake of the tragedy and, deploying authoritarian rhetoric, declared: “It’s time to expose the crooked media deceptions and to challenge the media for their role in fomenting divisions and yes, by the way, they are trying to take away our history and our heritage.” The crowd – some scowling, some laughing – turned and jeered at journalists in the media enclosure and chanted: “CNN sucks! CNN sucks!”

Even as he spoke protesters outside the Phoenix Convention Center had gathered to voice anger at his presence. Police used smoke bombs and teargas on the crowds after plastic bottles were reportedly thrown.

The rally was the latest example of Trump as a Jekyll and Hyde public performer, coming just 24 hours after a sober speech to the military setting out future strategy in Afghanistan.

On Tuesday he was back in his element, pugnacious and freewheeling, throwing red meat to an eager crowd. The arena, which has a capacity of 19,000, was mostly full of people waving signs saying “Drain the swamp”, “Make America proud again” and “Women for Trump”.

The president caused outrage when, in a chaotic press conference at Trump Tower, he blamed “both sides” for the carnage in Charlottesville. On Tuesday night he insisted that he had in fact condemned hatred, bigotry and violence as well as neo-Nazis, white supremacists and the Ku Klux Klan.

He took his first statement on Charlottesville from his pocket and told his audience: “You know where my heart is. I’m really doing this to show you how damned dishonest these people are … I don’t want to bore you with this but it shows you how dishonest they are.”

Trump proceeded to read out the remarks to polite applause, although he failed to repeat the inflammatory words he had used when he blamed “both sides”.

He repeatedly broke off from his teleprompter to call out “the failing New York Times” and Washington Post, which he branded “a lobbying tool for Amazon”. Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, bought the Post but the entities have no relationship.

But it was when the president mentioned CNN – “which is so bad and so pathetic and their ratings are going down” – that the crowd booed loudly and burst into a chorus of “CNN sucks!”

Trump even made reference to the former CNN contributor Jeffrey Lord, who was fired for tweeting the Nazi salute “Sieg Heil” at a liberal activist. “Poor Jeffrey,” the president said. “I guess he was getting a little bit fed up and was probably fighting back too hard and they said, ‘We gotta get out of here.’”

The president also mocked the protesters outside, claiming the turnout against Tuesday’s rally was lower than expected. He returned to a theme of moral equivalence for which he was criticised in the wake of Charlottesville: “You know, they show up in the helmets and the black masks. They’ve got clubs and they’ve got everything.

“Antifa!” he shouted – a term used to describe anti-fascist groups.

In a drawn-out performance piece, Trump read out his second and third pronouncements in the aftermath of Charlottesville, while throwing in that he lives “in a bigger, more beautiful apartment” than the elites aligned against him, “and I live in the White House too”.

Then came perhaps his key line: “The media can attack me but where I draw the line is when they attack you, which is what they do, when they attack the decency of our supporters. You are honest, hard-working, taxpaying Americans – and by the way, you’re overtaxed, but we’re going to get your taxes down – who love our nation, obey our laws and care for our people.

“It’s time to expose the crooked media deceptions and to challenge the media for their role in fomenting divisions and yes, by the way, they are trying to take away our history and our heritage. You see that. These are truly dishonest people. Not all of them. You have some very good reporters, you have some very fair journalists. But for the most part, these are really, really dishonest people.

“They’re bad people and I really think they don’t like our country. I really believe that. And I don’t believe they’re going to change and that’s why I do this. If they would change, I would never say it. The only people giving a platform to these hate groups is the media itself and the fake news.”

Trump then mocked the cameras in the arena, claiming they were turning off their red lights and stopping live coverage. “These are sick people. You would think they want to make our country great again and I honestly believe they don’t. If you want to discover the source of the division in our country, look no further than the fake news and the crooked media, which would rather get ratings and clicks than tell the truth.”

The crowd turned around several times to boo and shout epithets at the media. The tactic was similar to Trump’s last rally in West Virginia, when he sought to blame Democrats for the investigation into his campaign’s alleged collusion with Russia, and cast it as an attack on his own supporters. But he went on to praise conservative Fox News for “treating me fairly”.

Earlier, speakers at the rally had included the housing secretary, Ben Carson, who is African American, and Alveda King, the niece of the civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. Prominent behind the speakers was an African American man wearing a T-shirt that said: ‘Trump & Republicans are not racist.’

During his sprawling 75-minute speech, the president turned to illegal immigration, a major issue for his base in Arizona.

He dropped a clear hint that he intends to pardon Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff of Maricopa county, over his conviction for breaking the law with immigration patrols.

He asked: “Do the people in this room like Sheriff Joe?” There was a roar from the crowd and chants of “Pardon Joe!” Arpaio was in the crowd.

Trump said: “Was Sheriff Joe convicted for doing his job? He should have had a jury. I’ll make a prediction. I think he’s going to be just fine. But I won’t do it tonight because I don’t want to cause any controversy.”

In another startling moment, Trump, who hours earlier had visited the border at Yuma, threatened to shut down the federal government unless Congress provided funding for his promised border wall. He told the rally that he had a message for “obstructionist” Democrats. The House has passed a spending bill with funding for the border wall but it faces an uncertain future in the Senate.

“If we have to close down our government, we’re building that wall,” he said. “We’re going to have our wall. The American people voted for immigration control. We’re going to get that wall.”

Trump accused Democrats of putting US security at risk by not supporting the proposal, one of his most popular campaign promises. The crowd erupted in cries of: “Build that wall!”

Trump also took swipes at Arizona’s two senators, Jeff Flake and John McCain, who have criticised him. He said that after his well-received address on Monday, he was told: “Please, please Mr President, don’t mention any names. So I won’t.”

He continued: “I will not mention any names – very presidential. And nobody wants me to mention your other senator [Flake], who’s weak on border, weak on crime. Nobody knows who the hell he is! See, I haven’t mentioned any names, so now everybody’s happy.”

On a night when he had brought his verbal machine gun, Trump also took aim at the Nafta trade deal with Canada and Mexico, which is being renegotiated. “Personally, I don’t think we can make a deal,” he said. “I think we’ll end up probably terminating Nafta at some point.”

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James Clapper questions Trump’s mental fitness for office after ‘scary and disturbing’ Arizona speech

Brad Reed
Raw Story
23 Aug 2017 at 07:38 ET                  

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper went on CNN Tuesday to sound the alarm about President Donald Trump’s mental fitness to be president.

Reacting to Trump’s angry speech in Phoenix on Tuesday, Clapper said Trump’s behavior had left him unnerved about the stability of a man who controls the world’s most powerful arsenal of nuclear weapons.

“I really question his ability to be — his fitness to be — in this office,” said Clapper, who also described Trump’s speech as “scary and disturbing.”

It wasn’t just one speech that bothered Clapper, either — he said that months of observing Trump had led him to conclude that the president suffers from “complete intellectual, moral and ethical void.”

At the end of the day, Clapper said that he didn’t see how the country could continue to put up with this for another three and a half years.

“How much longer does the country have to, to borrow a phrase, endure this nightmare?” he asked.

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‘What do you say to that?’: Stunned Don Lemon rips Trump’s ‘unhinged, embarrassing’ speech

Elizabeth Preza
Raw Story
22 Aug 2017 at 23:42 ET                   

A stunned Don Lemon on Tuesday reacted to Donald Trump’s “unhinged” rant during a campaign-style rally in Phoenix, Arizona, noting the president “lied directly the American people” and behaved “without thought, without reason, devoid of facts, devoid of wisdom.”

“Well, what do you say to that?” Lemon asked Tuesday, after the president’s 80-minute speech, where he maligned the “fake news media,” argued anti-Confederacy protestors are trying to change “our history” and essentially reverted to vintage Trump rally form.

“I’m just going to speak from the heart here,” Lemon told his audience. “What we witnessed is a total eclipse of the facts, someone who came out on stage and lied directly the American people and left things out that he said in an attempt to rewrite history—especially when it comes to Charlottesville.”

“He’s unhinged, it’s embarrassing and I don’t mean for us—the media—because he went after us, but for the country. This is who we elected president of the United States. A man who is so petty that he has to go after people he deems to be his enemy, like an imaginary friend of a 6-year-old.”

“His speech was without thought, without reason, devoid of facts, devoid of wisdom,” Lemon continued. “There was no gray. He was like a child blaming a sibling on something else. He did it. I didn’t do it.”

“He certainly opened up the race wound from Charlottesville” Lemon said. “A man clearly wounded by the rational people abandoning him in droves, meaning the business people and the people in Washington now questioning his fitness for office and whether he is stable. a man backed into a corner, it seems, by circumstances beyond his control and his understanding.”

“That’s the truth,” Lemon said. “If you watch that speech as an American, you had to be thinking, ‘What in the world is going on?’ This is the person we elected as president of the United States? This petty, this small, a person who who’s supposed to pull the country together? Certainly didn’t happen there.”

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‘Who are these people?’: Morning Joe hammers Trump crowd calling for McCain’s death

Travis Gettys
Raw Story
23 Aug 2017 at 06:59 ET                  

MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough blasted the Arizona crowd who cheered President Donald Trump’s attacks on their senator, John McCain, as he battles brain cancer.

The “Morning Joe” host was appalled that crowd members shouted out calls for McCain’s death as Trump attacked the Republican senator for casting the deciding vote against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

“Who talks like that?” Scarborough said. “But here’s another question: Who cheers at that? Who cheers when a man speaks derisively about an American war hero who has given his life to the people of Arizona and the United States of America in a POW camp, is battling brain cancer, is going through chemotherapy. And not only are they derisively going along with Donald Trump — but people are actually shouting that they want John McCain to die.”

Scarborough said he was sure McCain wasn’t personally offended, and co-host Willie Geist pointed out that Trump made no mention of the 10 missing or dead sailors following a crash involving the U.S. Navy ship named for the senator.

“Now John McCain’s a tough guy, he can handle that,” Scarborough said, “but Willie, who are these people that act like they’re cheering on a pep rally at a high school basketball game when he’s saying deeply, deeply offensive things about this country and about a lot of people that have given their lives to this country?”

Click to watch: https://vid.me/TuE6n

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Consumed With Russia And Unhinged Trump Blew Up At McConnell For Russia Sanctions Bill

By Jason Easley
PoliticusUSA
8/23/2017

An unhinged Donald Trump is reported to be obsessed with the Russia investigation to the point where he blew up and swore at Majority Leader Mitch McConnell after the Senate passed the Russia sanctions bill.

A Republican Senator told The New York Times that Trump is consumed with Russia:

    GOP senator describes POTUS to NYT as "consumed with #Russia" investigations. We speak to @jmartNYT on @OutFrontCNN at 7p ET

    — Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) August 22, 2017

Trump berated McConnell on the phone, which triggered a shouting match:

    Trump berated Mitch on phone re: RUSSIA, triggering profanity-laced shouting match

    Flake to Ky this wk for Mitch $https://t.co/297n9RveMl

    — Jonathan Martin (@jmartNYT) August 22, 2017

Manu Raju of CNN added that Trump exploded in rage over the Russia sanctions bill:

    Sources confirm to me Trump blew up and swore at McConnell at not just Russia probe but also Russia sanctions bill. https://t.co/it94dACfae

    — Manu Raju (@mkraju) August 22, 2017

The question of what Russia has on Trump should be at the front of a lot of minds this evening. Why would Trump be advocating for Russia after they attacked the presidential election that Trump won? The obvious answer is that Trump was fully complicit in whatever collusion went down between his campaign and the Russian government. A deeper answer goes back to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation into Trump’s financial dealings with the Russians.

There has been a lot of talk that the President is compromised. Russia has dirt and information on Trump that could bring him down. Some even speculate that Putin is blackmailing Trump. The more likely answer is that Trump has deep financial ties to Russia that he would like to keep a secret. The Russian government helped Trump win the election, and his end of the deal was supposed to be the lifting of sanctions.

Donald Trump is obsessed with Russia, but the Russia scandal is where his crimes are. Trump is losing it, and alienating the Senate Majority Leader who controls his fate could be the final mistake that undoes the Trump presidency.

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McConnell, in Private, Doubts if Trump Can Save Presidency

By ALEXANDER BURNS and JONATHAN MARTIN
AUG. 22, 2017
NY Times

The relationship between President Trump and Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, has disintegrated to the point that they have not spoken to each other in weeks, and Mr. McConnell has privately expressed uncertainty that Mr. Trump will be able to salvage his administration after a series of summer crises.

What was once an uneasy governing alliance has curdled into a feud of mutual resentment and sometimes outright hostility, complicated by the position of Mr. McConnell’s wife, Elaine L. Chao, in Mr. Trump’s cabinet, according to more than a dozen people briefed on their imperiled partnership. Angry phone calls and private badmouthing have devolved into open conflict, with the president threatening to oppose Republican senators who cross him, and Mr. McConnell mobilizing to their defense.

The rupture between Mr. Trump and Mr. McConnell comes at a highly perilous moment for Republicans, who face a number of urgent deadlines when they return to Washington next month. Congress must approve new spending measures and raise the statutory limit on government borrowing within weeks of reconvening, and Republicans are hoping to push through an elaborate rewrite of the federal tax code. There is scant room for legislative error on any front.

A protracted government shutdown or a default on sovereign debt could be disastrous — for the economy and for the party that controls the White House and both chambers of Congress.

Yet Mr. Trump and Mr. McConnell are locked in a political cold war. Neither man would comment for this article. Don Stewart, a spokesman for Mr. McConnell, noted that the senator and the president had “shared goals,” and pointed to “tax reform, infrastructure, funding the government, not defaulting on the debt, passing the defense authorization bill.”

Still, the back-and-forth has been dramatic.

In a series of tweets this month, Mr. Trump criticized Mr. McConnell publicly, and berated him in a phone call that quickly devolved into a profane shouting match.

During the call, which Mr. Trump initiated on Aug. 9 from his New Jersey golf club, the president accused Mr. McConnell of bungling the health care issue. He was even more animated about what he intimated was the Senate leader’s refusal to protect him from investigations of Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to Republicans briefed on the conversation.

Mr. McConnell has fumed over Mr. Trump’s regular threats against fellow Republicans and criticism of Senate rules, and questioned Mr. Trump’s understanding of the presidency in a public speech. Mr. McConnell has made sharper comments in private, describing Mr. Trump as entirely unwilling to learn the basics of governing.

In offhand remarks, Mr. McConnell has expressed a sense of bewilderment about where Mr. Trump’s presidency may be headed, and has mused about whether Mr. Trump will be in a position to lead the Republican Party into next year’s elections and beyond, according to people who have spoken to him directly.

While maintaining a pose of public reserve, Mr. McConnell expressed horror to advisers last week after Mr. Trump’s comments equating white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va., with protesters who rallied against them. Mr. Trump’s most explosive remarks came at a news conference in Manhattan, where he stood beside Ms. Chao, the transportation secretary. (Ms. Chao, deflecting a question about the tensions between her husband and the president she serves, told reporters, “I stand by my man — both of them.”)

Mr. McConnell signaled to business leaders that he was deeply uncomfortable with Mr. Trump’s comments: Several who resigned advisory roles in the Trump administration contacted Mr. McConnell’s office after the fact, and were told that Mr. McConnell fully understood their choices, three people briefed on the conversations said.

Mr. Trump has also continued to badger and threaten Mr. McConnell’s Senate colleagues, including Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, whose Republican primary challenger was praised by Mr. Trump last week.

“Great to see that Dr. Kelli Ward is running against Flake Jeff Flake, who is WEAK on borders, crime and a non-factor in Senate,” he tweeted last week. “He’s toxic!”

    Great to see that Dr. Kelli Ward is running against Flake Jeff Flake, who is WEAK on borders, crime and a non-factor in Senate. He's toxic!
    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) Aug. 17, 2017

At a campaign rally in Phoenix on Tuesday, Mr. Trump alluded to Mr. Flake unfavorably, referring to him as “weak on borders” and “weak on crime” without mentioning him by name. He referred to Mr. McConnell only in passing, calling on him to abolish the Senate filibuster.

Senior Republican officials said before the rally that they would stand up for Mr. Flake against any attacks. A Republican “super PAC” aligned with Mr. McConnell released a web ad on Tuesday assailing Ms. Ward as a fringe-dwelling conspiracy theorist.

“When it comes to the Senate, there’s an Article 5 understanding: An attack against one is an attack against all,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, who has found himself in Mr. Trump’s sights many times, invoking the NATO alliance’s mutual defense doctrine.

The fury among Senate Republicans toward Mr. Trump has been building since last month, even before he lashed out at Mr. McConnell. Some of them blame the president for not being able to rally the party around any version of legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act, accusing him of not knowing even the basics about the policy. Senate Republicans also say strong-arm tactics from the White House backfired, making it harder to cobble together votes and have left bad feelings in the caucus.

When Mr. Trump addressed a Boy Scouts jamboree last month in West Virginia, White House aides told Senator Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican from the state whose support was in doubt, that she could only accompany him on Air Force One if she committed to voting for the health care bill. She declined the invitation, noting that she could not commit to voting for a measure she had not seen, according to a Republican briefed on the conversation.

Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska told colleagues that when Mr. Trump’s interior secretary threatened to pull back federal funding for her state, she felt boxed in and unable to vote for the health care bill.

In a show of solidarity, albeit one planned well before Mr. Trump took aim at Mr. Flake, Mr. McConnell will host a $1,000-per-person dinner on Friday in Kentucky for the Arizona senator, as well as for Senator Dean Heller of Nevada, who is also facing a Trump-inspired primary race next year, and Senator Deb Fischer of Nebraska. Mr. Flake is expected to attend the event.

Former Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, a Republican who is close to Mr. McConnell, said frustration with Mr. Trump was boiling over in the chamber. Mr. Gregg blamed the president for undermining congressional leaders, and said the House and Senate would have to govern on their own if Mr. Trump “can’t participate constructively.”

“Failure to do things like keeping the government open and passing a tax bill is the functional equivalent of playing Russian roulette with all the chambers loaded,” Mr. Gregg said.

Others in the party divide blame between Mr. Trump and Mr. McConnell. Al Hoffman, a former finance chairman of the Republican National Committee who has been supportive of Mr. McConnell, said Mr. McConnell was culpable because he has failed to deliver legislative victories. “Ultimately, it’s been Mitch’s responsibility, and I don’t think he’s done much,” Mr. Hoffman said.

But Mr. Hoffman predicted that Mr. McConnell would likely outlast the president.

“I think he’s going to blow up, self-implode,” Mr. Hoffman said of Mr. Trump. “I wouldn’t be surprised if McConnell pulls back his support of Trump and tries to go it alone.”

An all-out clash between Mr. Trump and Mr. McConnell would play out between men whose strengths and weaknesses are very different. Mr. Trump is a political amateur, still unschooled in the ways of Washington, but he maintains a viselike grip on the affections of the Republican base. Mr. McConnell is a soft-spoken career politician, with virtuoso mastery of political fund-raising and tactics, but he had no mass following to speak of.

Mr. McConnell, while baffled at Mr. Trump’s penchant for internecine attacks, is a ruthless pragmatist and has given no overt indication that he plans to seek more drastic conflict. Despite his private battles with Mr. Trump, Mr. McConnell has sent reassuring signals with his public conduct: On Monday, he appeared in Louisville, Ky., with Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, for a discussion of tax policy.

Mr. McConnell’s Senate colleagues, however, have grown bolder. The combination of the president’s frontal attacks on Senate Republicans and his claim that there were “fine people” marching with white supremacists in Charlottesville has emboldened lawmakers to criticize Mr. Trump in withering terms.

Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee rebuked Mr. Trump last week for failing to “demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence” required of presidents. On Monday, Senator Susan Collins of Maine said in a television interview that she was uncertain Mr. Trump would be the Republican presidential nominee in 2020.

There are few recent precedents for the rift. The last time a president turned on a legislative leader of his own party was in 2002, when allies of George W. Bush helped force Trent Lott to step down as Senate minority leader after racially charged remarks at a birthday party for Senator Strom Thurmond, Republican of South Carolina.

For the moment, Mr. McConnell appears to be far more secure in his position, and perhaps immune to coercion from the White House. Republicans are unlikely to lose control of the Senate in 2018, and Mr. Trump has no allies in the Senate who have shown an appetite for combat with Mr. McConnell.

Still, some allies of Mr. Trump on the right — including Stephen K. Bannon, who stepped down last week as Mr. Trump’s chief strategist — welcome more direct conflict with Mr. McConnell and congressional Republicans.

Roger J. Stone Jr., a Republican strategist who has advised Mr. Trump for decades, said the president needed to “take a scalp” in order to force cooperation from Republican elites who have resisted his agenda. Mr. Stone urged Mr. Trump to make an example of one or more Republicans, like Mr. Flake, who have refused to give full support to his administration.

“The president should start bumping off incumbent Republican members of Congress in primaries,” Mr. Stone said. “If he did that, Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan would wet their pants and the rest of the Republicans would get in line.”

But Mr. McConnell’s allies warn that the president should be wary of doing anything that could jeopardize the Senate Republican majority.

“The quickest way for him to get impeached is for Trump to knock off Jeff Flake and Dean Heller and be faced with a Democrat-led Senate,” said Billy Piper, a lobbyist and former McConnell chief of staff.

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 on: Today at 05:45 AM 
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Russian flight attendant sues Aeroflot for discrimination

New Europe
8/23/2017

MOSCOW (AP) — A Moscow court postponed a hearing Tuesday in the case of a flight attendant who is suing Russia's flagship airline Aeroflot. She says she was taken off sought-after long-haul international flights because of her looks.

Moscow City Court said that the hearing would now be held on Sept. 6 over Yevgeniya Magurina's claim that she has been sidelined in an apparent drive to make the cabin crew younger and more physically attractive.

Aeroflot has denied her claims. Magurina submitted pay slips showing that she stopped receiving bonus pay, roughly 20 percent of her salary, after she asked for a larger-sized uniform, and that she was no longer assigned the role of senior steward.

Magurina is seeking $8,500 in damages and wants the court to rule that the company's regulations on clothing sizes are discriminatory.

 8 
 on: Today at 05:43 AM 
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'Why are you having sex?': women bear brunt of Uganda's high HIV rate

National survey shows women and girls disproportionately affected, with 570 infections a week among those aged 15-24, despite decline in overall rate

Samuel Okiror in Kampala and Hannah Summers
Guardian
Wednesday 23 August 2017 12.16 BST

The prevalence of HIV in Uganda is more than 3% higher among women than men, according to research revealed by the government.

While the overall rate of those aged between 15 and 49 living with the infection has declined in the past five years to 6% – from 7.3% – women remain disproportionately affected by the epidemic.

Health experts have attributed the disparity to the fact men tend to have more sexual partners, so a man with HIV would spread the infection to more people. Teenage girls and young women are also more likely to face discrimination when seeking preventative measures, such as asking for condoms.

A national survey found that while the proportion of men living with HIV has declined by 1.8% to 4.3% since 2011, the rate among women has decreased by just 0.8% – from 8.3% to 7.5% over the same period. The survey was conducted between August 2016 to March 2017, and the results represent the initial findings.

Analysis by the Uganda Aids Commission found that 570 Ugandan girls and young women aged 15 to 24 get infected with HIV every week.

The US ambassador to Uganda, Deborah Malac, said: “The burden of HIV infection in the country is still unacceptably high. Women remain disproportionately affected by the epidemic compared to their male counterparts. Ugandan youth, especially girls, carry the burden of new infections.”

Preliminary results reveal there are 1.3 million Ugandan adults and children living with HIV. Announcing the figures, Uganda’s health minister Jane Ruth Aceng said the country had made significant progress, a testament to its intensified HIV prevention programme.

“HIV prevalence has declined across socio-demographic sub groups and across the country. This decline may be a result of falling new HIV infections,” she said.

However, HIV advocacy groups have warned the information should be treated with caution until the full dataset is provided. Interviews and blood tests were conducted among 12,483 participating households. So far only the prevalence rate – a measure of the number of people with HIV in the population – has been released, rather than the incidence of HIV, which is an estimate of the rate of new infections.

Asia Russell, the Kampala-based executive director of global Aids advocacy organisation Health GAP, said it was unwise to over-interpret the reduction from 7.3% to 6%.

    Teenage girls report [that] when they try to access HIV prevention services ... nurses say: 'Why are you having sex?'
    Asia Russell, Aids advocacy group Health GAP

“The government is framing this as a good news story but how appropriate is that when the lion’s share of the data is missing? Nobody can say conclusively the decline is because there is a lower rate of HIV infections,” she said.

“Prevalence on its own is not helpful – what is important is incidence data, which is not expected until November. Research findings on the knowledge, attitudes and sexual practices of Ugandans is also vital.

“There is reams of important data still to come in establishing whether or not Uganda is on track to achieve epidemic control of HIV by 2030, which is a promise President Museveni made just a few weeks ago.”

While there have been positive developments over the past five years to address the HIV crisis, there remain “extremely concerning” political barriers to an effective Aids response, said Russell.

“Certain populations face stigma and discrimination, particularly gay Ugandan men and sex workers but also adolescent girls and young women.

“Teenage girls trying to access HIV prevention services from the health sector report discrimination at the first point of contact – nurses and other hospital staff are saying: ‘Why are you having sex? You should be married’.”

The first figures from the national survey have sparked concern that not enough is being done to tackle the high incidence of HIV among women and young people.

They show while 3.3% of 20- to 24-year-olds live with HIV the infection affects 5.1% of women compared with 1.3% of young men in the age group. The prevalence among 25- to 29-year-old is 6.3% but 8.5% of women are affected compared with 3.5% of men.

The government has said more prevention, awareness-raising and treatment is needed for those in the 15 to 29 age bracket.

Following the preliminary results of the survey, the health ministry called for “concerted efforts from all stakeholders for scale-up of evidence-based interventions for sustainable HIV epidemic control”.

 9 
 on: Today at 05:39 AM 
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'A triumph of reason': Chile approves landmark bill to ease abortion ban

Campaigners hail President Michelle Bachelet’s bill legalising abortion in some circumstances as a victory that opens the way for possible further liberalisation

Piotr Kozak in Santiago
Guardian
23 August 2017 18.37 BST

The decision by Chile’s constitutional court to approve a bill that will allow abortion in some circumstances has been hailed as “a triumph of reason and an act of justice” by campaigners.

The legislation, a victory for the centre-left president, Michelle Bachelet, will allow abortion when a woman’s life is at risk, in case of rape and when a foetus is not viable.

“Today, women have won, democracy has won, all of Chile has won,” said Bachelet, who introduced the bill in 2015.

Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International, said Chile had finally moved one step closer to protecting the human rights of women and girls.

“This victory is testament to the work of millions of women across the Americas and the world who fight against draconian laws that punish women and push them to seeking clandestine and dangerous abortions, putting their health and lives at risk.”

Maria Stella Toro, from the EPES (Popular Education in Health) collective, said it was “a triumph of reason and an act of justice”, and that the move opened up the possibility of a much fuller public debate on abortion – with the ultimate goal of further liberalisation.

José Miguel Vivanco, Human Rights Watch’s director of the Americas, called the decision a “landmark for human rights in Chile. By ending the cruel, harmful, and regressive policy of criminalising abortion in all circumstances, the court protected women’s lives and fundamental rights.”

Toro did, however, sound a note of caution: “It’s difficult to view this as a complete victory, given that apart from the three cases permitted, all other forms of abortion continue to be criminalised. And most of the women who have been prosecuted have been reported to the authorities by medical institutions after suffering complications from an illegal abortion.”

Judges ruled in favour of the bill by 6-4 votes. The full text of the ruling will be published next week.

The court did allow for conscientious objection, meaning that any doctor or medical assistant can refuse to carry out an abortion.

Reaction from opponents of the bill, led by the Catholic church, has been vitriolic. Cristián Contreras, vice-president of the Episcopal Conference of Bishops, said the ruling was “a terrible decision, influenced by an ideology of death” and runs against the fundamental principles of the country’s constitution.

Chile once had some of the most liberal abortion laws in Latin America. But conservative views, particularly those of the church, began to take hold. In the final phase of his dictatorship, Augusto Pinochet introduced an outright ban.

A recent opinion poll by the research firm Cadem found that some 70% of Chileans (pdf) supported the legalisation of abortion as specified in the bill.

Figures are difficult to come by, but as many as 70,000 illegal abortions are performed each year in Chile. However, few cases are actually brought before the courts.

Guevara-Rosas added: “The real test now is to ensure the law is actually enforced, that women and girls are fully able to access the comprehensive health services they need and that this reform opens the door for them to be able to fully enjoy their sexual and reproductive rights.”

Activists hope the Chile ruling will open the doors for a relaxation of laws in other countries. El Salvador, Nicaragua, Malta and Dominican Republic have outright bans on abortion.

 10 
 on: Today at 05:37 AM 
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Murdered environment officer’s family says land-clearing law change would diminish his life

Alison McKenzie, whose husband Glen Turner was killed by a farmer, is ‘horrified’ broadscale tree clearing could return in NSW
The family of murdered environment officer Glen Turner. His wife Alison McKenzie (centre) says it appears the NSW government ‘caved in to property developers’ over land clearing.

Joshua Robertson
Guardian
23 August 2017 04.28 BST

The widow of a New South Wales environment officer murdered over his role in overseeing tree-clearing laws has asked the state government to reconsider deregulation that would see “the value of his life diminished”.

Alison McKenzie said her family was “horrified” that changes would allow a return to broadscale clearing that her husband Glen Turner “gave his life trying to prevent”.

McKenzie, in an emotive letter published by Fairfax, told the premier, Gladys Berejiklian, that she had “resounding feedback” from Turner’s former colleagues that “the environment is doomed if the new regulations are implemented”.

“They are unable to speak out through fear of losing their jobs and some are suffering [post traumatic stress disorder] as a result of what happened to Glen,” she said.

Turner was shot dead in 2014 by landholder Ian Turnbull, who was last year jailed for 35 years.

McKenzie said Turner’s family were “determined to ensure that Glen’s death will be a turning point for improved environmental protection and enforcement of laws to prevent the inappropriate clearing of native vegetation”.

But it appeared the government had “caved in to the property developers” with changes that would legalise the kind of clearing of remnant vegetation that Turner was investigating on Turnbull’s property at Croppa Creek, she said.

“Whilst I have never wanted Glen’s death to be politicised, I had hoped that the focus of the new regulations would be conservation, not destruction,” McKenzie said.

She said Turnbull was “overheard to say that he was willing to be a ‘martyr for the cause’ and murdered Glen in an act to force the hand of government to change the laws to suit large property developers such as himself”.

“It seems that he was successful.”

McKenzie appealed to the government to delay the introduction on 25 August of new laws that appeared to “have been written to satisfy farmers/property developers like the Turnbulls”.

“From what we have heard, the expert knowledge of staff was not included, nor were environmental scientists and conservation groups or their submissions which also appear to have been ignored,” she said.

The NSW environment minister, Gabrielle Upton, who also received McKenzie’s letter, said she welcomed the family’s advocacy but the new laws would “in no way diminish Glen’s work or life”.

“Glen Turner was a highly valued and experienced environment officer who was murdered just doing his job. Our state lost a good man,” Upton said in a statement.

“I look forward to meeting Glen’s family in the near future. I can assure them that the new codes and laws in no way diminish Glen’s work or life.”

McKenzie said a “loophole” in the draft legislation that allowed farmers to “self-interpret” whether their land was regulated without fear of prosecution gave “the opportunity of a lifetime for them to clear what they like and get away with it”.

McKenzie said she, Turner’s sister Fran and two of his former colleagues were grateful for the chance to preview the new scheme in a briefing with state official weeks ago. “However the meeting did not dispel our concerns. In fact it is clear to us that under the new regulations the scale of clearing Glen investigated at Croppa Creek could be done legally after 25 August,” she said.

“It is deeply concerning that after Glen’s death the laws would be weakened so significantly. It is with disbelief that any property with a large woodland remnant (such as the Turnbulls had) could be considered disadvantaged and enabled to clear 625ha of it.”

The government could avoid a “backlash” by delaying the introduction of new rules until their review and modification on the advice of environmental scientists.

“Without the input from all stakeholders the regulations will never be accepted, and you can expect the issue will haunt the government at the next election,” McKenzie said.

The Labor opposition’s environment spokeswoman, Penny Sharpe, told Fairfax that Turner’s work “cannot be in vain” and the proposed codes should be “dumped altogether”.

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