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Australian senator claims ‘eco-terrorists’ caused bushfires

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An Australian senator called on the nation’s spies to investigate whether eco-terrorists were responsible for the country’s unprecedented bushfire crisis.

Addressing parliament Tuesday Concetta Fierravanti-Wells — a senior member of the ruling conservative Liberal party and former government minister — echoed online conspiracy theories to claim it “defies logic” that hundreds of bushfires could have started at the same time.

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Head of the New South Wales Rural Fire Service Shane Fitzsimmons earlier said arsonists were not the main cause of the fires that tore through millions of hectares of south-eastern Australia in 2019.

“This season has been dominated by natural causes, mainly lightning,” he said in January.

Fierravanti-Wells claimed that the vast number of fires that started around the same time “not only gave the impression of the possibility of arsonist attack but also suggests a level of coordination.”

“Who are they? What was their motive and intent? Are they lone actors or part of a sinister collective conducting eco-terrorism?” she asked.

The bushfires have reignited Australia’s climate change debate, and the senator’s comments echo online disinformation about the cause of the flames.

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Fierravanti-Wells is the latest lawmaker from Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s party to blame arson for the bushfires.

The PM is likely to distance himself from the claims after public pressure forced him to acknowledge climate change is a driver of the fires.

Over months blazes scorched more than 10 million hectares in the country’s east and south, killing at least 33 people and an estimated billion animals while destroying more than 2,500 homes.

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The fires were exacerbated by prolonged drought and worsened by climate change in the country’s hottest and driest year on record.


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‘Didn’t Trump want the death penalty for drug offenses?’: White House mocked for claim Blagojevich was freed to combat ‘aggressive sentencing’

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During an appearance on Fox News this Wednesday, White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley addressed President Trump's recent pardons and commutations, specifically the commutation of Rod Blagojevich, suggesting it was done in an effort to clamp down on "aggressive sentencing" by prosecutors.

"The fact is, the president is clearly against excessive sentencing," Gidley said. "Whether it's Rod Blagojevich or Alice Johnson, he's focused on making sure people who serve time in prison, who have rehabilitated, who show regret and show remorse, don't have to rot away in a jail cell their whole life."

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2020 Election

Will Wednesday’s debate finally prove that Bloomberg is not Batman?

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After months of highly repetitive Democratic primary debates that, with pointless inevitability, turn into tedious squabbles over different health care plans that will never actually be passed in their proposed forms, there's finally going to be some real tension going into a debate again. That's because information billionaire and former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg is expected to show up tonight in Las Vegas, having purchased his way into the debate by infusing the airwaves and our very bloodstreams with a series of ads that are as inspiring as Bloomberg the man is not.

This article was originally published at Salon

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2020 Election

‘Don’t listen to them’: Insurance industry front group to run ads attacking Medicare for All during Democratic debate

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"We are winning, so the industry is attacking Medicare for All to protect their profits and help the politicians defending those profits."

The Partnership for America's Health Care Future, an insurance industry front group formed in 2018 to combat Medicare for All, announced Wednesday that it will run television and social media ads against healthcare reform during the Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas.

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