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Jun 26, 2017, 06:03 AM
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 41 
 on: Jun 24, 2017, 02:12 AM 
Started by Deva - Last post by Helena
Hi Deva,

me too, i'm ready to continue.

Thank you,
Helena

 42 
 on: Jun 23, 2017, 06:53 PM 
Started by Deva - Last post by Wei
Thanks Deva~~
And yes I am ready for next step.

 43 
 on: Jun 23, 2017, 03:14 PM 
Started by Deva - Last post by dollydaydream
Hi Deva, ready when you are.  Smiley

 44 
 on: Jun 23, 2017, 10:04 AM 
Started by cristina - Last post by Gonzalo
Venus transitando por Tauro se acerca a perfeccionar una oposición a Lucifer Rx en Escorpio, la cual estará exacta el 30 de Junio. Venus y Lucifer estarán al mismo tiempo formando una cuadratura bastante exacta con el eje de los Nodos Lunares, que están en Acuario el Nodo Sur y en Leo el Nodo Norte.

Las cuadraturas al eje de los Nodos Lunares son muy importantes desde un punto de vista evolutivo. Simbolizan lo que en AE se llama ‘pasos saltados’ en la evolución del Alma: dinámicas o complicaciones en la evolución ocurridas generalmente en una serie de encarnaciones, basadas en inseguridad emocional, que han creado un cambio de la estructura de personalidad el cual, por las mismas razones basadas en inseguridad emocional no resuelta, tampoco ha funcionado, producto de lo cual el individuo ha estado saltando de un tipo de personalidad o tipo de ego, a otro, sin que ninguna de esas ‘formas de ser’ logre cumplir su función intentada y esté resuelta. Por eso a estos nativos les cuesta diferenciar el futuro del pasado – porque antes ya han experimentado ambos, de maneras que no están resueltas al nacer en esta vida, complicando de manera muy importante el intento evolutivo. Entonces, cuando una persona busca una lectura de AE, normalmente los temas relacionados con esos planetas en cuadratura a los Nodos serán parte de lo que se hablará en la lectura: son muy importantes en esa carta natal. Eso es cuando hablamos de los pasos saltados mirando una carta natal. En este post en cambio yo simplemente me refería a los planetas que transitan en este momento. Los planetas que forman cuadraturas nodales en el cielo – es decir, independientemente de tener que mirar una carta natal - se correlacionan con un tiempo en que las dinámicas o tipos de deseos que están simbolizados en esa configuración pueden ser una forma en que las personas creen pasos saltados - sobre todo si el potencial de esos pasos saltados está simbolizado en la carta natal.

En este momento, los ‘pasos saltados’ potenciales se refieren a Venus en Tauro opuesta a Lucifer Rx en Escorpio, con el Nodo Sur en Acuario, y el Nodo Norte en Leo.
Hay que tener presente que Urano/Pallas en Aries y Saturno Rx en Sagitario están formando un Gran Trígono de Fuego con el Nodo Norte de la Luna en Leo que también está en conjunción con Vesta en Leo. Es decir, durante unos meses muchos han estado sintiendo un gran potencial de realización interior o exterior, y la motivación y entusiasmo para abrazar su propia visión para su vida, y sus proyectos. No sólo existe en este tiempo una abundante energía sino también la capacidad de acción racional con arreglo a fines, y de realizar esfuerzos sostenidos, constantes y determinados en dirección al logro, con bastante adaptabilidad además. Es una configuración de energía muy dinámica, con una gran creatividad y la capacidad de producir importantes cambios en la realidad individual de quienes hagan los esfuerzos por alcanzar su visión o avanzar en ella, dado que los trígonos como sabemos también simbolizan que es fácil, debido a la fluidez de la energía, dejar pasar la oportunidad que representan sin aprovecharla. Por ejemplo, si existe un enfoque dominante en sólo 'pasarlo bien', seguramente va a ser así, pero a la vez se puede perder la oportunidad de lograr algo más que también deseamos o necesitamos.

En algunos casos, también para quienes sienta que no pueden realizar muchos cambios externos o materiales en sus vidas, estos símbolos reflejan que existirá el potencial de ‘entender’ el por qué y encontrarle sentido interiormente, expandiendo la propia visión y proveyendo a la mente filosófica de una capacidad de comprender más que antes, incluyendo una visión panorámica que abarque la propia vida y la propia evolución. Por si misma, esta expansión interior permitirá movilizar la energía de nuevas formas, en todos los niveles en que se necesite, si es que ha existido un estancamiento reciente.

Por otro lado, no hay que olvidar en esta configuración que también es posible llegar a puntos de agotamiento o burnout debido al exceso de motivación y falta de descanso suficiente.

Es en este contexto que aparece la oposición de Venus a Lucifer Rx cuadrando los Nodos de Luna. Me voy a referir muy brevemente a algunas de las implicaciones de estos símbolos y algunas de las posibles ‘tentaciones’ que representan – las cuales, en el caso de que sean seguidas, pueden crear complicaciones y ‘pasos saltados’, y echar a perder por así decirlo todo el potencial de cosas buenas que pueden alcanzarse ahora:

* Venus se correlaciona con todo tipo de relaciones. Venus en Tauro tiene la intención evolutiva de ser totalmente auto-sostenida, auto-contenida, auto-suficiente, etc. Es entonces necesario para aprovechar este tránsito minimizar las expectativas emocionales, afectivas y sexuales, proyectadas en otras personas, y operar desde una base de total autonomía.

* Venus en general se correlaciona con lo que llamamos ‘expectativas’, y Venus en Tauro representa la posibilidad de expectativas de ganancias materiales o de cualquier tipo. En este punto, sería preferible ‘liberarse’ de expectativas, y actuar guiados por el corazón, por el simple gusto de hacer las cosas o de hacer lo que es correcto o está guiado por una visión superior según el caso. A veces esto es más fácil decirlo que hacerlo, sobre todo cuando existen necesidades – Venus – que necesitan ser atendidas. Lo que estos símbolos representan es que son mayores las posibilidades realizar una acción exitosa si el enfoque está puesto en seguir la guía interior, más que en esperar una ganancia o beneficio. De hecho, existe el potencial en algunos casos de que se presenten aparentes ganancias que serán más bien tentaciones porque el costo de obtenerlas, respecto a su real valor en el contexto de la vida, será demasiado alto y perseguir tales ganancias puede sacarte del camino y de las reales fuentes de satisfacción.

* El auto-interés excesivo, la ambición o la codicia, pueden crear ahora ‘pasos saltados’. Es necesario actuar tomando en cuenta las necesidades y el beneficio de todos. Es necesario objetivar qué necesita el grupo, para aprender a dar a los demás lo que necesitan, en vez de sólo tomar en cuenta la conveniencia personal. Estos símbolos reflejan que está en juego el recordar que como especie estamos adaptados para sobrevivir como grupo o comunidad, que todos estamos interrelacionados, y que las necesidades de todos son igualmente valiosas e importantes.

* Debido a la necesidad de ir al encuentro del grupo, lo social, para atender necesidades del colectivo, estos tránsitos enfatizan la necesidad de auto-consistencia, o el ser capaces de mantener la propia individualidad a pesar de cualquier unión e independientemente de las definiciones de las demás personas en el grupo. Más que rigidez o impermeabilidad, es una cuestión de permitir que las propias definiciones, la propia forma de ser, sean un aporte para otros en la sociedad o el grupo, lo cual requiere que la propia individualidad se conserve en cierta medida.

* Estamos hablando al mismo tiempo de un potencial de individuación o de devenir minoría: la Venus en Tauro que se resuelve vía el Nodo Sur de la Luna en Acuario. Reitero que es muy importante en este tiempo ir activamente al encuentro de otras personas de mentalidad afín, que respalden a través de las dinámicas de colaboración y de dinámicas de amistad, los propósitos individuales – y viceversa. Esta es una energía arquetípica que está favorecida en este tiempo, y de hecho es una vía privilegiada para avanzar en la propia evolución. La auto-consistencia también puede crear dificultades evolutivas si llega al punto de crear aislamiento o no-integración o no-aplicación del potencial individual.

* Aparecerán posibles relaciones clave, individuales y grupales, que representen potenciales avances en las intenciones evolutivas individuales y colectivas. Al mismo tiempo, por supuesto que existirán ‘tentaciones´ también en el área de relaciones, incluyendo relaciones que evolutivamente hablando no sean adecuadas para lo que se requiere en este tiempo, con muchas posibles variaciones.
Recuerden que en la base de los ‘pasos saltados’ siempre existe inseguridad emocional no resuelta, y es esto lo que - traducido en una necesidad excesiva de contacto afectivo o sexual, o en una necesidad de ser valorado o querido otra persona - o en una necesidad de intensidad emocional que recree dinámicas no resueltas del pasado o del entorno temprano – lo que puede gatillar atracciones o relaciones compulsivamente durante este tiempo, o dar lugar a intensas manipulaciones
Además de este tránsito de Venus opuesto a Lucifer en Escorpio, es muy decidor que Pandora está transitando por Libra, Signo regido por Venus, y está en oposición exacta a Urano en Aries, reiterando la necesidad de liberación y de ‘dejar ir’ expectativas de que aparezca alguien externo a colmar mis expectativas, el que puede parecer lleno de virtudes, pero resultar finalmente una fuente de problemas, como relata el mito de Pandora.

* En algunos casos, este será un tiempo en que aparecerán relaciones del pasado, con quienes existan temas evolutivos o kármicos no resueltos, con la intención de resolverlos.

* Venus en Tauro puede generar una gran inercia. Estando opuesta Lucifer en Escorpio, a esto se suma la inseguridad emocional y psicológica que puede en algunos puntos alcanzar grados de intensidad elevada. Si esto se presenta, es necesario vencer la inercia cueste lo que cueste, y ponerse en movimiento, aunque el actual stellium de planetas en Cáncer de hecho garantiza la posibilidad de inmersiones en el cuerpo emocional, una intención clave de la Lunación en este Signo de Agua.

* Escorpio se correlaciona con el arquetipo Junguiano de la Sombra, y este puede ser un tiempo de realización de aspectos de la sombra. Tauro y Venus, la Casa II, se correlaciona como arquetipo con los arreglos de la subjetividad individual, sensación, sentimiento, valor y significado, desde un punto de vista que depende del instinto de supervivencia. Escorpio se correlaciona con el ´por qué' de esos arreglos, cuáles son los deseos que crean esos arreglos subjetivos. Este es un tiempo en que está favorecida la penetración psicológica, el auto-conocimiento emocional y psicológico profundo, la sanación a esos niveles. Y dentro de eso, la posibilidad de que se manifiesten aspectos de la sombra, es decir, contenidos de la psique del individuo, o del colectivo, que en el pasado han sido reprimidos por no ser 'presentables' o adecuados desde un punto de vista social, y han sido excluidos de la personalidad consciente, adquiriendo niveles de autonomía en algunos casos, en los que puede operar como una sub-personalidad.

En general, existe un gran caudal de energía con un enorme potencial de logros, y aun así, es necesario que esta energía transcurra por un cauce que en muchos casos necesitará ser un tanto estrecho. Es parte de la naturaleza de este tiempo evolutivamente exigente. Es importante, en consecuencia, apuntar bien y dirigir esta energía con concentración, enfoque y seriedad.

Dos días después del Solsticio, hoy Viernes 23 de Junio tendremos la Lunación de Cáncer (a las 10:30 pm AST + 4:00), siendo el Sol el regente del Nodo Norte de la Luna. Esto nos indica que las consideraciones precedentes estarán vigentes aun durante algunos meses más.

Por supuesto, se trata sólo de descripciones generales de los planetas en el cielo, en cada caso individual habría que mirar la carta natal de esa persona, los tránsitos a esa carta natal, etc. No es lo mismo para todos, ni por las mismas razones.

Ojalá todos sepamos aprovechar la naturaleza de este tiempo. Bendiciones




 

 45 
 on: Jun 23, 2017, 08:44 AM 
Started by Deva - Last post by Barbara1
Hi Hi Deva and all,

Yes, I'm ready ...Smiley

Namaste,
Bárbara

 46 
 on: Jun 23, 2017, 07:21 AM 
Started by Deva - Last post by The Otherside
Hi Everyone,

Deva I am ready whenever you and everyone are...

Thank you
Heather

 47 
 on: Jun 23, 2017, 06:41 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja

Albania heads to polls, vows end to confrontational politics

Neweurope.eu
6/23/2017

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Albania holds parliamentary elections Sunday after the country's two largest political parties set aside decades of bitter rivalry and reached a landmark agreement aimed at furthering efforts to eventually join the European Union.

(1 of 3) Supporters of the governing Socialist Party (PS) wave Albanian national flags during the closing electoral rally in capital Tirana, Albania, on Thursday, June 22, 2017. Albania holds parliamentary elections Sunday, in a poll that will gauge the country's readiness to start European Union membership talks.
June 23, 2017

The country of 2.9 million people, slightly smaller than Belgium, joined NATO in 2009 and earned EU candidate status in 2014 but has struggled with key reforms vital for the bid to advance — with the election process at the top of the list.

Seeking a second term, 52-year-old Socialist Prime Minister Edi Rama argues that Sunday's vote — closely watched by international observers — could be a pivotal moment in the country's history. "These elections in Albania will either open the door to the European Union, giving us a seat at the negotiating table, or we can again slam it shut ourselves," he said.

Albania is hoping to launch EU membership talks later this year. __ LANDMARK COMPROMISE Rama's Socialists and Lulzim Basha's Democratic party reached agreement in May, ending a three-month parliamentary boycott by the opposition, which charged that election rules had been open to manipulation.

The overhauled rules delayed the election date by one week and handed the opposition greater oversight. The move was introduced together with a battery of other legal reforms considered important for European integration.

Not everyone, however, was happy with the compromise. It sparked a heated spat between Rama's governing party and its ally, the Socialist Movement for Integration, or LSI and its leader Ilir Meta, Albania's president-elect.

The LSI has been the country's coalition kingmaker in the past two elections, in 2009 and 2013, first siding with the Democrats and then the Socialists. Both the Socialists and the Democrats insist they will not join the LSI in another coalition.

__ QUIET CAMPAIGN All main parties campaigned on a reform agenda, pledging faster economic growth, pay hikes and a further reduction in unemployment, which currently stands at a little over 14 percent.

The May compromise produced an unusually quiet election campaign, with parties scaling down budgets and ending a modern tradition of large public rallies and giant banners on buildings. The battle migrated to social media, where campaign events were streamed live.

A total of 18 political parties and groups will field candidates for the 140 seats in parliament. Some 6,000 police officers will be on duty for election security, while more 300 international observers will monitor the electoral process.

Voting starts at 0500 GMT and ends 1700 GMT. Preliminary results are expected Monday.

 48 
 on: Jun 23, 2017, 06:13 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja
Crocodile Poaching Booms as Egypt Tourism Crumbles

Fewer foreign visitors and political chaos has led some Egyptians to turn to hunting Nile crocodiles as a source of revenue.

By Peter Schwartzstein
National Geographic
PUBLISHED June 23, 2017

Lake Nasser, EgyptIf they’re small, you use the bulk of the boat to hustle them into the shallows, then snag them by hand, Mahmoud tells me. He should know, having spent the past decade poaching the scaly beasts around the southern city of Aswan.

If they’re medium-size, perhaps the length of a kayak, he says (he won’t tell me his family name because of the illegal nature of his work), you noose them with barbed wire traps. And if they’re monsters—up to 18 feet of whiplashing tail, bristling teeth, and relentless aggression—you dazzle them with a spotlight, entangle them in fishing nets, and subdue them with a shot to their exposed underbelly.

“There’s not a crocodile I can’t catch, or a hunting ground I don’t know,” Mahmoud bragged. “I’ve made my life doing this.”

Mahmoud hunts the Nile crocodile, the world’s second largest reptile. Found across much of sub-Saharan Africa, mostly in large lakes and rivers, it’s renowned for its ferocious behavior. (Read why Nile crocs are bigger and badder than alligators.)

The Nile crocodile’s fortunes have veered from one extreme to the other over the millennia. From an object of veneration in some ancient Egyptian temples—and even the namesake of an entire city, Crocodilopolis—the species was extinct along the lower Nile by the 1950s as people encroached on its habitat.

The Aswan High Dam, finalized in 1970, created Lake Nasser, and with it a 250-mile-long croc-friendly mecca in Nubia, Egypt’s sparsely populated south. The species began recovering.

Now, thanks to a dwindling tourism industry and an unstable political system, the pendulum has swung back the other way as people look to make a profit off illegal sales of the reptile.

High prices for crocodile skin, meat, and penises—used as an aphrodisiac across East Africa— have attracted some professional hunters, even as larger numbers of impoverished local people try to muscle in on the trade.

On top of that, some lake fishermen are killing crocodiles to stop them gobbling up their catches of Nile perch and other fish, such as tilapia, environmental officials say. (Read about how tiger eyes and crocodile penises are hot on the black market.)

According to Mahmoud, smugglers are exporting record numbers of crocodiles—perhaps up to 3,500 eggs and hatchlings and a few hundred adult live crocs a year—abroad mostly via Egyptian ports, mainly to the Arabian Gulf.

The Egyptian government’s last large-scale survey of lake crocodiles, in 2008 and 2009, estimated the population at anywhere between 6,000 and 30,000. Its historic numbers are unknown.

Even with limited resources, Egyptian environmental officials have seen the species’ numbers decline precipitously in their 60-mile study area of Lake Nasser’s shorelines.

“The population was down by half between [2008 to 2009] and 2012, and then from [2015 to 2016], it was down again,” says Amr Hady, a researcher in the Crocodile Management Unit of the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency, which was established to watch over the lake’s largest residents.

“The habitat is the same, the pollution is the same. It’s because of the hunting,” Hady said in his Aswan office, where a small mountain of confiscated crocodile carcasses—all seized from the city’s airport and ferry port since 2013—gather dust in the corner.

If Nile crocodiles disappeared from Lake Nasser, the environment would suffer. Vociferous consumers of dead fish, insects, rodents, and invasive marine species, the reptiles occupy a key role in Lake Nasser’s ecosystem.

Moreover, part of the country’s heritage would disappear with it. The beasts were once so synonymous with Egypt that crocodiles often served as its symbol during the Roman era, says Salima Ikram, a professor of Egyptology at the American University in Cairo.

It’s illegal to hunt Nile crocodiles in Egypt, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature lists the species as least concern, while noting its population is falling in many countries.

In 2010, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the body that monitors global wildlife trade, downgraded Egypt’s Nile crocodiles from the highest level of protection.

This means that some trade in the species is permissible once a quota is agreed, but many hunters have interpreted this as legalizing their activities, Hady says.

“People always do what they must to survive—they make money where they can,” says Abdelhalim Tolba, whose family is heavily involved in the illicit and legal wildlife trade in Egypt. He estimates that his relatives illegally take at least 500 crocodiles from Lake Nasser every year. (Read an exposé of the world's most notorious wildlife dealer, from National Geographic magazine.)

“Right now, the crocodile is very much in demand.”

Desperate Times

People in the Aswan area, just north of Lake Nasser, have long dabbled in small-scale crocodile poaching, but it wasn’t until the Tahrir Square uprising of 2011 and the ensuing chaos that hunting really took off.

Political instability and the specter of terrorism have tanked the tourism industry, hurting local economies that have long depended on foreign dollars. Hotel occupancy in Aswan fell by more than 70 percent between 2010 and 2015, says hotelier Hussein Mohammed, proprietor of the Suheil House. Guesthouse owners and tour guides have been struggling.

Many appear to have resorted to hunting crocodiles to make ends meet, for example by offering illegal hunting trips on the lake, promising skins as souvenirs. “You have to understand, they’re desperate,” Mahmoud says.

Meanwhile, villagers on the Nile’s west bank have been illegally raising crocodiles as tourist attractions. In some upscale lodges and hotels, staff occasionally offer guests hatchlings as gifts.

In the past, local security services cracked down on illegal wildlife trafficking, even conducting shop-to-shop searches in Aswan’s downtown bazaar. But since the 2011 revolution, there’s been none of that.

The governor’s office, responsible for local administration, is loath to pick a fight over animals at a time of hardship, and the security services are preoccupied with other types of smuggling—drugs and weapons, for instance—and with foiling political dissent. (Read about unusual wildlife smuggling busts.)

“The police are not a big obstacle because they know that this is just good people making their living,” says Assad Tolba, Abdelhalim’s brother.

Revenge Killings

Because there are increasingly fewer and smaller fish in Lake Nasser, some fishermen reason crocodiles are to blame, and kill them out of revenge.

“They’re enormous, so obviously they have huge appetites,” says Abdullah Salem Abdelaziz, a fisherman who plies the lake’s northwestern reaches with his two young sons.

But that supposition, according to biologists, is misguided. The crocodiles actually have relatively small stomachs, and they mostly eat species unappealing to fishermen, such as catfish, says Sherif Baha El-Din, co-founder of Nature Conservation Egypt, a local nonprofit.

Some fishermen have also gone into the trafficking business, looking to supplement their meager earnings by selling a croc or two on the black market.

“You have fisherman who catch these things, and they just want to make an extra buck, so they put these things on the market,” says El-Din.

The problem could get worse as more fishermen from farther north and places like Lake Qarun, where pollution has eviscerated fish stocks, move south into the Lake Nasser area, El-Din adds.

As with the police in Aswan, marine authorities appear to be turning a blind eye, according to Abdelaziz.

“In the past they supervised everything,” he says. “They actually weighed your catch and checked to make sure you hadn’t caught small fish. But what happens now is that you can take anything—small fish, all the fish in the lake, crocodiles, and no one will notice.”

Big Business

Some smugglers ferry live crocs across the Red Sea to Saudi Arabia to be sold as household ornaments. According to Mahmoud, crocs have allegedly been hidden in shipments of frozen vegetable shipments out of the port of Safaga.

“The Saudis alone could take 10,000 a year if they were available,” Abdelhalim Tolba says.

Other smugglers send crocodile meat abroad, especially to Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. (Many Muslims won’t consume carnivorous animals due to their religious beliefs.)

Crocodile skins are big business. After skinning an animal, hunters soak it in saltwater, then leave it to dry in the dark, before selling it on to leather dealers, usually in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital.

“It’s a real art—it’s ruined if it sees any sunlight,” says Assad Ibrahim, a former hunter who now works as a tailor just off Aswan’s riverside boardwalk.

He once sold large skins for around $400 a pop, most of which ended up in China, he says. By the time they’ve been treated, and molded into clothing accessories, they can sell for up to $2,500 a wallet.

Then there’s the appetite for crocodile genitalia. According to Ibrahim, some Egyptians—and people in East Africa—eat the animal’s penis (the largest ones sell for more than $100) crushed up with honey and ginger, believing it will improve their sex lives.

Uncertain Fate

The fate of Egypt’s Nile crocodiles depends on how authorities in Cairo respond. The Crocodile Management Unit is severely underfunded, with only two researchers on staff.

The small team has no access to aerial surveillance, which is necessary to properly survey Lake Nasser’s jagged 3,700-mile shoreline. “It’s a big issue, you often feel like you’re working alone,” Hady says.

Coordination among the dozen or so ministries and agencies responsible for managing the lake and its wildlife is poor, according to an agricultural official, who spoke off the record for fear of publicly criticizing the government. He says that enforcement of wildlife protection laws is so lax that some of those involved in the trafficking business genuinely appear to believe what they’re doing is legal—in particular due to the change in the species’ CITES designation.

And no one has yet come up with a plausible plan for what the hunters and smugglers could do instead. Jobs are scarce in rural areas, and so there’s little incentive for them to change their ways.

“Maybe 30,000 or 40,000 depend on [reptile dealing] as our main source of bread,” Abdelhalim Tolba says, and with large crocodiles selling for up to $1,200 each, it will be difficult if not impossible to staunch the illicit trade.

There are some signs of progress. In 2016, the Egyptian Ministry of Environment announced its intention to start raising crocodiles—in partnership with the army—on a farm a few miles from Lake Nasser. They’ll take eggs from the lake, incubate them, and then harvest a certain number of crocodiles every year for legal sale in skins.

With the lake’s crocodile population acting “as an open bank,” Hady says, both the authorities and local villagers, some of whom will be hired to work on the farm, will, in theory at least have a stake in protecting the wild population.

Egypt’s Nile crocodiles have come back before, and there’s reason to hope they can do it again.

 49 
 on: Jun 23, 2017, 06:07 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja
Chameleon Mummified Alive by the Tropical Sun

Even reptiles adapted to hot environments can succumb to heat stress, a concern as the world warms, experts say.

By Jason Bittel
National Geographic
PUBLISHED June 23, 2017

    Chameleon Mummified Alive by the Tropical Sun pic.twitter.com/BRPieQtHyl
    — Romina Jakki (@ThursthylpSumpl) June 21, 2017

Death by desiccation may be unpleasant, but it makes for a lovely corpse.

Such was the fate of an unlucky Indian chameleon that apparently died while trying to drink from a pipe that had been turned off. Writer and wildlife filmmaker Janaki Lenin witnessed the macabre scene recently in India.

According to Lenin’s posts, it seems the reptile expired while clutching the spigot, and was then quickly mummified by the intense tropical sun. Two tiny holes cut into the dried remains suggest that ants may have helped themselves to the animal's innards, completing the preservation process.

Even animals adapted to live in hot environments, like the chameleon, can succumb to heat stress, says Jeanine Refsnider, a herpetologist at the University of Toledo in Ohio.

All animals “can handle temperatures up to a certain limit,” says Refsnider, “and if the temperatures get beyond that, your proteins actually start to unfold.”

“At the cellular level, your cells start to fall apart, and once that happens you can’t really reverse it.”

In what could be bad news for animals—and people—in already hot climates, heat waves are on the rise due to climate change. According to a new study, 30 percent of the world’s population is currently exposed to potentially deadly heat for 20 days per year or more.

Reptiles Hard Hit

While there’s no way to know if or how much climate change was responsible for this specific animal’s death, Refsnider says reptiles such as the Indian chameleon may be harder hit than other animals as the globe heats up.

Because reptiles are ectotherms, their body temperature is controlled by whatever’s around them, says Refsnider. They can regulate their temperature—for example by moving in and out of shade—but if relief eludes them, death comes quickly. (Related: “Cave Dwelling Tortoises Are A Big Surprise.")

“A lot of these reptiles who live in the desert or tropics, they’re in areas that are already almost as hot as they can survive, so even a small increase in temperature beyond that could push them into pretty severe heat stress,” says Refsnider.

What's more, scientists have already discovered evidence of climate-related declines in reptile species across the world. For instance, research suggests that tortoises and iguanas of the Galápagos and the Gila monster of the American Southwest are at risk of plummeting populations.

A World of Males?

And it's not just heat that snakes, turtles, and lizards must contend with.

For many reptile species, the temperature at which eggs are incubated determines the offspring's sex—which means global warming could result in reptile populations that are heavily skewed female or male, says Refsnider.
 
Boomslang vs. Chameleon

On New Zealand's North Brother Island, for instance, rising temperatures have already biased the local tuatara population male—recent surveys are showing fewer and fewer females.

Fortunately, says Refsnider, painted turtles have shown some capacity to adapt to this, such as choosing more shaded nesting spots in hotter years. But even this strategy has limits.

“At some point, if the temperature in the environment warms up too much, even shade won’t be able to compensate."

 50 
 on: Jun 23, 2017, 06:00 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Darja

USA

Russia Probe Continues To Bury Trump As House Committee Will Interview First Major Witness

By Sean Colarossi on Thu, Jun 22nd, 2017 at 9:20 pm
PoliticusUSA

Despite the insecure president's social media tantrums, the investigation into his presidential campaign's ties to Russia isn't going anywhere.

As the scandal surrounding Donald Trump and his presidential campaign’s ties to Russia continues to plague the White House, the House Intelligence Committee will interview its first major witness next week.

According to CNN, who first broke the story, the committee will interview Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign chairman, John Podesta, who had thousands of his emails hacked and released during the campaign last year – which was an embarrassment for the Democratic nominee’s campaign that helped Trump beat her last fall.

More from CNN:

    Podesta will be one of the committee’s first major witnesses to meet with the panel behind closed doors as it tries to determine the extent of the Russian involvement in last year’s campaign and whether any of President Donald Trump’s associates coordinated with the Russians.     

    The committee sent out requests to interview six witnesses this week, sources said, with Podesta expected to be interviewed next week in a classified session. The committee is expected to question Podesta about the leak of thousands of his emails, which became a political headache and embarrassment for Clinton in the heat of the campaign season.     

    Podesta’s appearance comes days after the panel’s leaders met behind closed doors this week with special counsel Robert Mueller, who is trying to ensure that the multiple investigations on Capitol Hill do not conflict with his ongoing probe into Russia meddling and whether there was any criminal activity by Trump associates.

The news that the House Intel Committee will interview Podesta comes on the same day that Trump himself went on yet another tweetstorm about the ongoing Russia scandal. In his Twitter posts, the president attacked the Obama administration for not stopping the Russians and then called the scandal a “hoax” and a “scam.”

But despite the insecure president’s social media tantrums, the investigation into his presidential campaign’s ties to Russia – and his efforts to thwart that investigation – is a serious matter that isn’t likely to end anytime soon, regardless of how often Trump whines about it.

Health care has seized the attention of the nation over the past several days, and rightly so, but behind the scenes, the explosive Russia scandal continues to hang over this White House like a storm cloud.

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Collusion Smoking Gun As Russian Hacked Voter Data May Have Ended Up In Trump’s Hands

By Sarah Jones on Thu, Jun 22nd, 2017 at 12:14 pm
PoliticusUSA

It is being reported that the Russian hacking of state and local election databases was more extensive than previously reported and some of the stolen information might have ended up in the Trump campaign's hands.

It is being reported that the Russian hacking of state and local election databases was more extensive than previously reported and some of the stolen information might have ended up in the Trump campaign’s hands.

TIME is reporting that Russian hacked private voter data may have ended up in the hands of the Trump campaign:

The fact that private data was stolen from states is separately providing investigators a previously unreported line of inquiry in the probes into Russian attempts to influence the election. In Illinois, more than 90% of the nearly 90,000 records stolen by Russian state actors contained drivers license numbers, and a quarter contained the last four digits of voters’ Social Security numbers, according to Ken Menzel, the General Counsel of the State Board of Elections.

Congressional investigators are probing whether any of this stolen private information made its way to the Trump campaign, two sources familiar with the investigations tell TIME.

“If any campaign, Trump or otherwise, used inappropriate data the questions are, How did they get it? From whom? And with what level of knowledge?” the former top Democratic staffer on the House Intelligence Committee, Michael Bahar, tells TIME. “That is a crux of the investigation.”

The Trump campaign could use the private data of voters to build a database that would help them their campaign to specific voters. If the Russian hacked data ended up with the Trump campaign, that would be the collusion smoking gun. The data would be extremely valuable to the Trump campaign, and if Trump was working with Russia could be useful in helping the Russians tamper with voter records to undermine U.S. democracy.

Investigators need to follow the hacking trail because of the data ended up with the Trump campaign it will be clear proof that Trump and the Russians were working together to steal a presidential election.

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Democrats Expose Republican Sabotage of America With Bill to Protect US from Russia Attacks

By Sarah Jones on Thu, Jun 22nd, 2017 at 11:58 am
PoliticusUSA

While Republicans often resort to attacking the patriotism of Democrats, it turns out in action it’s actually Republicans whose patriotism is at issue in a rather frightening and appalling manner.

President Trump and Republicans are pretending Russia didn’t attack the U.S. during the 2016 election and isn’t continuing to attack it right now, Democrats are trying their best as the minority party to protect the country.

Thursday, House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01), and 21 other original co-sponsors introduced the Fostering Unity Against Russian Aggression Act of 2017.

“It is time for Congress to lead on this issue, especially given President Trump’s unwillingness take the danger seriously. This bill adopts an intelligent and proactive approach to strengthening allied and partner defenses, increasing deterrence, and boosting our cohesion while requiring measures to reduce the risk of miscalculation and accidental nuclear war,” said Ranking Member Smith.

A summary of the bill:

The Russian Federation has pursued a deliberate campaign to undermine democracies around the world and weaken U.S. alliances and partnerships. The United States government has not developed a comprehensive response to this danger, including efforts to enhance military deterrence, respond to aggression, and punish Russian violations of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, while acting responsibly to reduce the risk of miscalculation and accidental nuclear war. The Fostering Unity Against Russian Aggression Act of 2017 would lay the groundwork for such a response.

• Comprehensive Strategy to Counter Russia:
o Requires the Secretary of Defense to develop and implement a comprehensive
Russia strategy, which would align U.S. and allied efforts to deter and respond, if necessary, to Russian aggression.
• Reaffirming Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty
• Conventional Weapons in Europe:
o Mandates a plan to boost stocks and pre-positioning of forward-deployed
conventional precision-strike munitions in order to increase conventional deterrence against Russia.
• Reducing Risks of Miscalculation and Nuclear War:
o Supports the U.S. interest in strategic stability by requiring parallel planning to
reduce the risks of miscalculation and unintended consequences that could precipitate a nuclear war.
• Imposing Sanctions for INF Noncompliance:
o Requires a plan to impose sanctions on Russia to punish its violations of the
Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
• Forward Presence of Forces in Europe:
o Mandates an assessment of the impacts, logistical requirements, strategic need,
and cost of stationing additional permanent forces in Europe.
• Training for Forces in Europe:
o Mandates an assessment of training ranges and facilities in Europe, any capability
gaps and requirements for improvements in those facilities, and training requirements for additional permanent or rotational forces in Europe.
• Countering Russian Military Modernization:
o Mandates plans to counter Russia’s military capabilities, including unmanned
systems, electronic warfare, and long-range precision strike capabilities, as well as a plan to accelerate programs to improve U.S. military operability in GPS- denied environments.
• Countering Unconventional Warfare:
o Mandates delivery of a whole-of-government strategy to counter Russian
unconventional warfare efforts, as required by Section 1097 of the FY 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (Pub. L. No. 114-92).
• Countering Russian Propaganda:
o Strengthens efforts to counter Russia propaganda aimed at undermining U.S. and
allied national security by prioritizing funding for the NATO Strategic Communications Center of Excellence, recognizing the Russian Information Group established by EUCOM, and encouraging greater leveraging of the U.S. Global Engagement Center.
• Strengthening Cyber Cooperation:
o Strengthens cyber cooperation with NATO partners and regional allies by
emphasizing bilateral training, and prioritizing funding and collaboration with the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence.
• Maritime Response:
o Requires an assessment of Naval efforts as a component of the comprehensive
Russia strategy, and highlights the need for increased availability of fast-attack submarines as noted in the 2016 Force Structure Assessment (2016).

“Russia’s aggressive actions make clear the need for a comprehensive U.S. deterrence strategy. By passing this bill, Congress can forcefully reaffirm America’s commitment to the NATO alliance and jumpstart needed improvements to our own and our allies’ readiness to counter unconventional modes of aggression, including propaganda and cyberattacks,” said Shea-Porte.

If anyone had asked me even a year ago if I thought Republicans would ignore an attack on the U.S. by Russia, I never would have said yes.

But it’s come to this. The minority party is fighting to protect the country they swore to serve, while Republicans whistle Dixie to focus on leaks, reporters doing their jobs, and how they can most quickly take healthcare away from millions of Americans while undermining a huge sector in our economy.

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Trump floats possibility of removing ‘very bothersome’ special counsel Robert Mueller

Travis Gettys
Raw Story
23 Jun 2017 at 06:55 ET                   

President Donald Trump signaled that he might fire the “very bothersome” special counsel, Robert Mueller, who is investigating his possible ties to Russia.

The president appeared Friday morning on “Fox & Friends,” which he urged his Twitter followers to “enjoy,” and discussed the investigation and the Senate bill to overhaul health care coverage.

Trump complained that Mueller, who served as FBI director under presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, was close friends with his predecessor, James Comey, and had hired Hillary Clinton supporters to join his investigative team as special counsel.

“There has been no obstruction, there has been no collusion,” Trump told Fox News host Ainsley Earhardt. “There has been leaking by Comey, but there has been no collusion, no obstruction — and virtually everybody agrees to that, so we’ll have to see.”

“I can say the people that have been hired are all Hillary Clinton supporters,” he added. “Some of them worked for Hillary Clinton — I mean, the whole thing is ridiculous, if you want to know the truth from that standpoint.”

Earhardt asked whether he believed those relationships should force Mueller to leave the probe, and he agreed that was a possibility.

“Well he’s very, very good friends with Comey, which is very bothersome,” Trump said. “We’re going to have to see.”

Some of Trump’s allies have suggested that Mueller be removed from the probe or step aside, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich called the former FBI director the “tip of a deep state spear aimed at” the president.

Mueller is investigating whether Trump obstructed justice by firing Comey last month after asking him to scale back the FBI’s Russia probe.

“Robert Mueller is an honorable man, so hopefully he’ll come up with an honorable solution,” Trump said.

The president has complained on Twitter that the FBI and congressional probes of his campaign and longstanding financial ties to Russia are “the single greatest WITCH HUNT in American political history,” which he claims was “led by some very bad and conflicted people!”

Trump has also cast doubt on the assessment of 17 U.S. intelligence agencies that have alleged Russia interfered with the presidential election through propaganda “active measures” and hacking.

He calls those allegations “fake news,” while also accusing Obama of not doing enough to stop those Russian efforts to disrupt the election.

    "There has been no obstruction. There has been no collusion. There has been leaking by Comey." –@POTUS pic.twitter.com/tqpEuMNUJM

    — FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) June 23, 2017

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The ultimate lawsuit: Trump will eventually fire special counsel Robert Mueller — and a lawyer games out what will happen next

Steven Harper, Moyers & Company
23 Jun 2017 at 01:43 ET                   

Eventually, Trump is likely to fire special counsel Robert Mueller. Trump’s repeated statements about the Russia “hoax” — along with his apparent attempts to influence the FBI’s investigation — warrant a close look at the process by which he could do so. Equally important are the limited ways to stop him. Whether by design, inadvertence or a combination of both, Trump and his minions — including Newt Gingrich and Trump’s lawyers — have been laying the groundwork for what could become America’s defining moment.

The Rules and the Players

To stop the investigation, Trump’s cleanest path requires that one of his loyalists occupy a Senate-confirmed position in the Justice Department’s chain of command. With Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recusal, the power to end the inquiry has now landed in Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s lap. But Sessions’ recusal also gave Rosenstein the authority to appoint a special counsel. When he tapped Robert Mueller for the job, it was a game-changer.

Under the Justice Department’s special counsel regulations, Trump can’t fire Mueller directly. Only the attorney general can pull the trigger for “misconduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest or for other good cause, including violation of departmental policies.” For now, that determination rests with Rosenstein. If he drops out, next in line are Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand and US Attorney Dana Boente. After that, things get murky, because the Senate has not confirmed any other Justice Department official. That’s important because without Senate confirmation, even temporary advancement to departmental leadership is problematic.

Step 1: Clearing the Board

As the FBI’s Russia investigation intensified, so would have Trump’s desire for DOJ loyalists whom he could direct to end it. That might explain Trump’s curious about-face involving Manhattan’s US Attorney Preet Bharara. In November, Trump had personally asked Bharara to remain on the job during his administration. But on March 10 — a week after Sessions’ recusal from the Russia investigation — Trump made a stunning reversal: He fired Bharara, along with every remaining US attorney in the country, except for Rod Rosenstein and Dana Boente. Overnight, the Justice Department was without any Senate-confirmed officials, except for the three who now remain: Sessions, Rosenstein and Boente.

Step 2: Removing Rosenstein

After Trump cleared the board, Rosenstein became a problem for the president, starting with his appointment of special counsel Mueller. Then Rosenstein testified before the Senate Appropriations Committee on June 13 that he would not fire Mueller without the necessary “good cause” — and that he hadn’t seen any yet. After that performance, Trump couldn’t count on Rosenstein to fire Mueller, and the process for moving Rosenstein out began swiftly. Once reports surfaced that Mueller was investigating the possibility that Trump had obstructed justice by firing FBI Director Comey, it took only a tweet to put Rosenstein in the hot seat:

    I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt

    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 16, 2017

Then Trump’s personal attorney followed up on the Sunday morning talk show circuit — Face the Nation, Fox News Sunday, Meet the Press — reviving the false story that Rosenstein’s May 9 memo led Trump to fire Comey. Bottom line: If Mueller’s investigation includes the circumstances surrounding Comey’s firing, Rosenstein will likely become a witness and may feel compelled to recuse himself from supervising Mueller.

Step 3: But Trump Can’t Count on Brand or Boente

If Rosenstein drops out, Rachel Brand takes the stage. The Senate confirmed her as associate attorney general on May 18. A longtime Republican, she worked on Elizabeth Dole’s presidential campaign and in the office of legal policy for President George W. Bush’s Justice Department. But Brand’s solid Republican credentials are irrelevant to her personal and professional integrity. Benjamin Wittes, a friend in whom then-FBI Director James Comey confided some of his concerns about Trump, tweeted on June 16:

    I think very highly of Rachel, who is a friend, a patriot, and a person in whom I have confidence.

    — Benjamin Wittes (@benjaminwittes) June 16, 2017

If Wittes’ assessment is correct, Brand would balk at executing an unlawful Trump order. At a minimum, Trump’s advisers gaming out the “fire Mueller” scenario have to assume that she would not fall in line.

Next up, Dana Boente, would be no sure thing for Trump, either. Regarded as tough but evenhanded, he’s a career prosecutor who has spent 33 years in the Justice Department.

Step 4: Find Allies

For three months after he fired every incumbent US attorney, Trump didn’t nominate any replacements. But on June 12 — the same day Trump’s longtime friend and chief executive of Newsmax Media, Chris Ruddy, visited the White House and then said on the PBS NewsHour that Trump was “considering, perhaps, terminating the special counsel” — Trump announced his first wave of nominees:

    Alabama (Southern District): Richard W. Moore
    Alabama (Northern District): Jay E. Town
    Alabama (Middle District): Louis V. Franklin Sr.
    District of Columbia: Jessie K. Liu
    Ohio (Northern District): Justin E. Herdman
    Oklahoma (Eastern District): Brian J. Kuester
    Tennessee (Western District): D. Michael Dunavant
    Utah: John W. Huber

Once confirmed, each of these US attorneys becomes eligible for the Justice Department’s line of succession. The next step would be for Trump to issue another executive order. (It would be his third one resetting the departmental lineup.) He could list new US attorneys based on their fealty to him. When the time came to fire Mueller without satisfying the “cause” requirements of the governing regulations, Trump could proceed down that list until he got compliance.

Step 5: Move ‘Em Through the Senate

Regardless of Trump’s underlying motivations, the prior sequence of events raises the stakes in the otherwise routine task of confirming a president’s selections for US attorney. Perhaps it’s a coincidence, but three nominees hail from Jeff Sessions’ home state of Alabama. And Trump’s Ohio pick comes from White House counsel Don McGahn’s former law firm, Jones Day — which has supplied a dozen lawyers to the Trump administration. All eight nominees merit close scrutiny.

What Can Stop Trump?

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) could halt the confirmation hearing on Trump’s Ohio nominee by using the Senate’s traditional “blue slip” process to express disapproval. But except for the District of Columbia, which has only “shadow senators” who can’t vote, all other Trump nominees are from states with two Republican senators (Alabama, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Utah). Unless they break ranks, there’s no “blue slip” obstacle to Senate hearings on those nominees.

In the upcoming confirmation hearings, senators should ask each candidate a critical question that transcends party politics: Will you defy a presidential order to fire Robert Mueller?

The answer will reveal everything the country needs to know about the nominee’s respect for democracy and the rule of law. To assist concerned citizens who want to prod members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to do the right thing, here’s a list with links to individual contact information:

Republicans

    Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
    Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
    Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
    John Cornyn (R-TX)
    Michael Lee (R-UT)
    Ted Cruz (R-TX)
    Ben Sasse (R-NE)
    Jeff Flake (R-AZ)
    Mike Crapo (R-ID)
    Thom Tillis (R-NC)
    John Kennedy (R-LA)

Democrats

    Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
    Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
    Richard Durbin (D-IL)
    Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
    Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
    Al Franken (D-MN)
    Christopher Coons (D-DE)
    Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)
    Mazie Hirono (D-HI)

It’s possible that Trump won’t fire Mueller and precipitate a constitutional crisis. But that would require unprecedented Trump behavior: placing the country ahead of his personal self-interest.

Firing Mueller will mark a new low in Trump’s scorched-earth attack on established norms and the rule of law. When Mueller files suit to keep his job, it will become the most important litigation in American history. Every patriot should pray that he wins.

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Rachel Maddow Shows How The New GOP Health Plan Will Devastate 75 Million Americans

By Sean Colarossi on Thu, Jun 22nd, 2017 at 10:03 pm
PoliticusUSA

"Seventy-five million Americans all have the same health insurance, and the big health bill that the Republicans unveiled in the Senate today takes a meat ax to that health insurer."

Rachel Maddow explained just how devastating the newly unveiled Republican health care legislation would be for tens of millions of Americans, outlining how the Senate bill makes drastic cuts to the nation’s number one insurer: Medicaid.

Maddow pointed out that 75 million Americans could be hurt by the cuts, noting that nearly half – 49 percent – of all births in the country are covered by Medicaid, as well 76 percent of all poor children.

    #Maddow outlines just how many Americans – 75 million – could be hurt by the Medicaid cuts in the GOP #HealthcareBill pic.twitter.com/qjOWepQWlr

    — Sean Colarossi (@SeanColarossi) June 23, 2017

Not only, as the MSNBC host pointed out, would it hurt newborn babies and low-income children, but it could hurt adults with disabilities (30 percent covered by Medicaid), children with disabilities (60 percent covered by Medicaid), and children in general (39 percent covered by Medicaid).

Oh, and let’s not forget that nearly 2 million U.S. veterans are covered by Medicaid, as VoteVets noted in a tweet earlier today.

Maddow slammed the GOP legislation’s cuts: “Seventy-five million Americans all have the same health insurance (Medicaid), and the big health bill that the Republicans unveiled in the Senate today takes a meat ax to that health insurer.”

Despite the millions of Americans who rely on this insurance – despite the fact that many of them are disabled people or children – the newly revealed GOP health plan, which is supported by Donald Trump, makes even deeper long-term cuts to Medicaid than the original House plan.

This is may be political suicide for Republicans in the Senate, but even if they pass this legislation, they’ll still go to bed at night not having to worry about losing their health insurance.

The same can’t be said for millions of Americans – the 20 percent of the U.S. population that relies on Medicaid – who need this coverage to survive.

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Obama Blasts Republicans For Stealing People’s Heath Care In Order To Cut Taxes For Rich

By Jason Easley on Thu, Jun 22nd, 2017 at 7:45 pm
PoliticusUSA

In a lengthy post on his Facebook page, former President Obama called for Democrats and Republicans to work together to save health care for 23 million people while smacking down Republicans who are trying to take away health care to cut taxes for the rich.

The former president wrote:

The Senate bill, unveiled today, is not a health care bill. It’s a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America. It hands enormous tax cuts to the rich and to the drug and insurance industries, paid for by cutting health care for everybody else. Those with private insurance will experience higher premiums and higher deductibles, with lower tax credits to help working families cover the costs, even as their plans might no longer cover pregnancy, mental health care, or expensive prescriptions. Discrimination based on pre-existing conditions could become the norm again. Millions of families will lose coverage entirely.

Simply put, if there’s a chance you might get sick, get old, or start a family – this bill will do you harm. And small tweaks over the course of the next couple weeks, under the guise of making these bills easier to stomach, cannot change the fundamental meanness at the core of this legislation.

I hope our Senators ask themselves – what will happen to the Americans grappling with opioid addiction who suddenly lose their coverage? What will happen to pregnant mothers, children with disabilities, poor adults and seniors who need long-term care once they can no longer count on Medicaid? What will happen if you have a medical emergency when insurance companies are once again allowed to exclude the benefits you need, send you unlimited bills, or set unaffordable deductibles? What impossible choices will working parents be forced to make if their child’s cancer treatment costs them more than their life savings?

To put the American people through that pain – while giving billionaires and corporations a massive tax cut in return – that’s tough to fathom. But it’s what’s at stake right now. So it remains my fervent hope that we step back and try to deliver on what the American people need.

Obama still knows how to mobilize millions while putting Republicans in their place. The former president spoke the blunt truth. The Republican bill isn’t a health care plan. It is a tax cut that will make very rich people even richer while leaving very sick people without the health insurance that they need.

It is hard to fathom, but it is what Republicans are doing, and exactly why they must be stopped.

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Senate Bill Would Take Health Care Away From 441,000 Veterans

By Jason Easley on Thu, Jun 22nd, 2017 at 7:24 pm
PoliticusUSA

Perhaps, the most un-American element to the Republican health care bill is that it would take health insurance away from 441,300 veterans who are on Medicaid.

The Center For American Progress broke down the impact of the legislation on vets, “A new analysis by the Center for American Progress finds that 441,300 veterans would lose Medicaid coverage by 2026 under the plan of President Donald Trump and House Republicans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Senate proposal, crafted behind closed doors, contains even larger Medicaid cuts in the long term than the House plan—cuts that would ultimately result in more veterans losing Medicaid coverage. Moreover, like the House bill, the Senate plan allows states to make changes to essential health benefits, which would reduce current protections for veterans with pre-existing conditions—including service-connected disabilities such as spinal cord injuries, amputations, and post-traumatic stress disorder—and lead to steep increases in medical costs, harming American veterans and their families.”

Veterans would be hardest hit in four states that Donald Trump won in 2016. 71,000 vets would lose their health insurance in Texas, 43,700 in Florida, 31,200 in Georgia, and 26,400 in North Carolina. This legislation would be a disaster in many ways for Americans in all walks of life, but the fact that Republicans are willing to take health insurance away from people who put their lives on the line for this country is a hypocritical contradiction of all the GOP’s empty praise for our vets.

The American people, Democrat, Republican, and Independent, must come together to stop this piece of legislation before it can make out of the Senate and take a big step towards the desk of Donald Trump. The Senate bill isn’t just bad legislation. It is morally wrong.

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Al Franken Drops A Truth Bomb And Calls The GOP Health Care Bill A Tax Cut For Billionaires

By Jason Easley on Thu, Jun 22nd, 2017 at 3:51 pm
PoliticusUSA

Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) is calling the Republican health care bill what it really is. Franken described the bill as a thinly disguised tax cut for billionaires.

In a statement provided to PoliticusUSA, Franken said:

After weeks spent in secret, behind closed doors, Senate Republicans have finally released their health care plan. As expected, the bill does not address the real health care issues that people are facing and would be a disaster for the economic stability and livelihood of Minnesota families. This is nothing more than a thinly disguised attempt to gift billions of dollars in tax breaks to the very richest few Americans by dismantling our health care system, fundamentally destroying Medicaid as we know it, and making life harder and more expensive for millions and millions of Americans.

Like its sibling in the House of Representatives, this is a horrible plan born of a dangerously partisan bill-making process. And now Senate Republicans want to pull one over on the American people by forcing a vote as quickly as possible—without meaningful debate, public input, or committee oversight. I will fight this plan with every ounce of strength that I have, because the livelihoods of Minnesotans are at stake. I believe we need to be directing our efforts towards working in a bipartisan way to address the actual problems that exist in our health care system, like the lack of competition in the insurance exchanges and skyrocketing prescription drug costs. We should be working to improve people’s lives, not make them more difficult.

Franken assumes that people will still be alive under Trumpcare, but estimates are that 30,000-40,000 Americans will die each year if the ACA is repealed. Sen. Franken went there and said what Republicans don’t want the American people to know. The health care legislation isn’t really about health care. This bill is designed to cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans and pay for it by taking health insurance coverage away from the most vulnerable Americans.

The legislation is going to gut the health care sector of the economy, lead to an economic slowdown, and make life worse for millions of Americans just so a few billionaires can have more money in their pockets.

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