CNN Reporter Jim Acosta Slams EPA Chief On Climate Change Denial

WASHINGTON — A day after President Donald Trump announced he will withdraw the U.S. from the historic Paris Agreement on limiting carbon emissions, CNN Senior White House Correspondent Jim Acosta challenged Scott Pruitt’s denial of climate science, telling the EPA chief he appears to have his “head in the sand.”

Asked during Friday’s White House press briefing whether he believes human beings are at all contributing to climate change, Pruitt said he does but that “measuring with precision” the degree of human influence is “very challenging.”

“It still begs the question — What do we do about it? Does it pose an existential threat, as some say?” Pruitt asked. “You know, people have called me a climate skeptic or a climate denier. I don’t even know what it means to deny the climate. I would say that there are climate exaggerators.”

Pruitt added that the American people deserve a transparent discussion about the issue, and the Paris pact put America at a “disadvantage with very little benefit environmentally across the globe.”

Acosta asked Pruitt how he explains the rapidly melting Arctic ice shelf, rising sea levels and record-breaking global temperatures.

“When NASA says that 95 percent of the experts in this area around the world believe that the Earth is warming, and you are up there throwing out information that says, ‘Well, maybe this is being exaggerated,’ and you talk about climate exaggerators, it just seems to a lot of people around the world that you and the president are just denying reality,” Acosta said. “And the reality of the situation is that climate change is happening and it’s a significant threat to the planet.”

Pruitt resorted to talking about the advances the U.S. has made in curbing its carbon emissions.

“We are going to stay engaged and try to work through agreements and achieve outcomes that put America’s interests first,” he said. “This is not a message to anyone in the world that America should be apologetic of its CO2 position. We are actually making tremendous advances, we’re just not going to agree to frameworks and agreements that put us at an economic disadvantage and hurt citizens across this country.”

“I think you’re putting your head in the sand though, Mr. Pruitt. I’m a little worried that you’re putting your head in the sand on that,” Acosta said.

“Well there’s no evidence of that,” Pruitt responded.

Pruitt, a longtime ally of the fossil fuel industry who has said he does not believe carbon dioxide is a primary contributor to global warming, appeared at Friday’s press conference to defend Trump’s decision to exit the U.S. from the Paris accord. Pruitt was asked several times if Trump still believes climate change is a hoax. Each time he dodged the question, just as he did earlier this week in an interview with CNN.

Michael Bloomberg: I’ll make sure UN gets $15 million it needs for Paris agreement

Billionaire Michael Bloomberg says he is ready to help foot the bill for the Paris Climate Agreement after President Trump announced his decision to pull the Unites States out of it

Bloomberg Philanthropies said Friday it will pull together $15 million to “support the operations” of the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, the arm of the UN that coordinates the Paris pact.

The $15 million would cover the U.S. share of the convention’s operating budget, according to Bloomberg spokesperson Carl Pope. The money will come from Bloomberg Philanthropies and its partners.

“The pledge aims to fill a significant funding gap that comes as a result of President Donald Trump’s announced withdrawal from the Paris agreement and proposed steep budget cuts for international programs, including on climate,” the Bloomberg Philanthropies statement reads.

Related: Top CEOs tell the president he’s wrong on Paris

During Trump’s speech Thursday, he claimed that U.S. contributions to the Green Climate Fund — a pool of money the United Nations uses to help countries implement clean energy tech — and other environmental initiatives have placed a “draconian” burden on the United States. He vowed to stop making payments to the United Nations for such purposes.

Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor who Forbes estimates has amassed a $50 billion fortune, said on Twitter the world “can’t wait for governments to act on climate change.”

Patricia Espinosa, the executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, called the Bloomberg Philanthropies financial commitment “crucial.”

“In order to achieve Paris in full and deliver a low emissions, resilient and more secure future for every man, woman and child, it is very encouraging to see that all actors reaffirm their willingness to work together,” Espinosa said.

Related: Tim Cook says he asked Trump to stick with Paris deal ‘but it wasn’t enough’

Bloomberg’s charitable organization has long worked on environmental initiatives. Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Clean Energy initiative, for example, has helped fund efforts to take coal-fired power plants offline.

Bloomberg has been associated with both the Democratic and Republican parties. He now identifies as an independent. Bloomberg is also the founder and CEO of Bloomberg — a media and financial software company.

Red Flag McMaster Is ‘Being Used’ for His General’s Stars, His Old Military Comrades Say

All The President men The national security adviser is also a current Army officer, which means he isn’t supposed to take place in partisan activity—and is supposed to always tell the whole truth.

 

A growing cadre of former military officers who served with Trump National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster are quietly calling for him to retire from service, worried the embattled Trump administration is tarnishing the U.S. military’s reputation by deploying their own personal three-star general as a political shield.

In recent weeks, McMaster has acted almost as a White House spokesperson, thrust into the spotlight to promise that President Donald Trump didn’t reveal anything inappropriate when he shared another spy agency’s intelligence with two Russian officials in the Oval Office. McMaster was also the face—or the voice—of the administration on Trump’s first foreign trip, giving off-camera interviews to explain what the president hoped to accomplish from Saudi Arabia to NATO.

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Trump himself gave no interviews, as news broke back in the states that his son-in-law and key organizer of the trip, Jared Kushner, had reportedly sought to establish back-channel communications with Russia, using Russian communications equipment. McMaster claimed he was “not concerned” by “back-channel communications,” though fellow military professionals say what Kushner proposed went far beyond discreet diplomacy.

“It makes me uncomfortable that a serving military officer is in that role,” said a retired senior military officer who calls McMaster a friend. “The credibility he has is precisely why they are using him as a spokesman. I think that’s unfortunate.”

“H.R. is being used here,” added a former military adviser who worked with McMaster overseas. “If he didn’t have three stars on his shoulder, he’d be useless to them. It’s the worst of all outcomes for him. He’s got this miserable interagency process and then gets trotted out to defend the most inane and corrupting things,” said the adviser who spoke anonymously, like others in this story, fearing reprisals from the Trump administration.

Current and former army military officers have expressed to The Daily Beast unease with how the Trump White House has sent McMaster repeatedly into the political breach to defend the commander in chief’s actions to the American public.

That’s fueling calls for the maverick Army officer to retire from military service if he wants to stay in the White House, lest his increasingly political role damage the U.S. military’s reputation as being above party and politics.

“He has to retire,” said an officer who served with McMaster overseas. “Being the national security adviser that this president requires—given the random things Trump’s going to say that he has to defend—he can’t do that in uniform.”

McMaster’s most recent foray into “defense of Trump” territory came in the form of a Wall Street Journal op-ed that praised Trump and slammed Obama administration policies.

The Wall Street Journal article was rolled out after Trump’s first foreign foray, as German Chancellor Angela Merkel was warning darkly that “The times in which we could rely fully on others, they are somewhat over.” She reflected near-universal grumbling by NATO leaders after Trump lectured them that they were failing to invest enough in their defense, leaving the U.S. to make up for the shortfall.

“America will not lead from behind,” countered McMaster and co-author Gary Cohn, director of Trump’s National Economic Council. It was a not-so-subtle reference to a criticism often aimed at the Obama administration. “This administration will restore confidence in American leadership as we serve the American people,” they add.

To some former army officers, McMaster’s op-ed smacked of lauding the current administration at the expense of the last one.

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“In the first paragraph, he takes a swipe at Obama, then he goes well within the language of political adulation,” said former Army officer Dr. Jason Dempsey. “For H.R. to write an overtly political piece, to be a front man for the administration, and to sign as Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, the norm of officers keeping their mouths shut on partisan political matters is just dead,” said Dempsey, who researches civil-military relations at the Washington, D.C.-based Center for a New American Security.

Serving soldiers are not allowed to take part in overt political campaigns, according to Army Regulation 600-20. That includes “any outward or demonstrable activities or support for partisan political parties, candidates, or issues,” one army manual warned soldiers ahead of last year’s election.

But legal experts say McMaster would only have to append a personal disclaimer that his writing does not reflect the government’s view, if he was criticizing Trump’s policies.

“I don’t see a violation because he’s focusing on an issue rather than a candidate or a party,” said Richard Painter, former chief White House ethics lawyer for George W. Bush, in an interview. “He’s not seeking to influence an election,” said Painter, who now teaches at University of Minnesota Law School.

“He’s not explicitly endorsing a presidential candidate. He’s clearly engaging in strategic messaging in support of Trump’s objectives,” agreed Jason Wright, a national security lawyer and former Army lawyer, in an interview.

“From our standpoint, we concur with the legal opinions and would point out the Powell precedent,” a senior administration official said, citing a 1989 New York Times opinion piece penned by then-active-duty Lt. Gen. Colin Powell.

Of those who say he should retire, “They are entitled to their opinion, but he is doing the job to the best of his ability,” the official said, speaking anonymously because the official was not authorized to comment on the matter publicly.

McMaster did intend to retire from his last job in the army, before being asked to stay on to serve President Trump, according to two former military officers familiar with his thinking. The national security adviser job was an unexpected “Hail Mary pass” for his army career, giving him a chance of earning a fourth star, they said, speaking anonymously to describe their discussions with him.

McMaster is the third active-duty national security adviser, after Vice Admiral John Poindexter and Lt. Gen. Colin Powell, who were both appointed by President Ronald Reagan. Alexander Haig and Brent Scowcroft served as the deputy national security advisers while still in uniform, and under President George W. Bush, Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute served as deputy national security adviser for Iraq and Afghanistan before retiring and staying in the post as a civilian.

The way each national security adviser is perceived depends on how their particular commander in chief uses them: as a coordinator of national security agencies; or as a shield of military propriety.

Dempsey, reflecting the views of many who spoke anonymously, said what he sees as McMaster’s partisanship adds to the danger that the American public may start seeing the military as political, because there are so many former military officers in the Trump administration.

In a Center for New American Security report, Dempsey and his co-author write that it reflects a trend of more politicization of the military’s ranks, demonstrated by the prominent speeches retired generals made at both Republican and Democratic national conventions in 2016.

A recent National Defense University study also found more troops are expressing their views on political candidates or leaders through social media despite the military’s ban on overt displays of political support (PDF). “A striking percentage of the 500+ individuals surveyed reported that their military friends, both active duty and retired, have used or shared insulting, rude, or disdainful comments directed against political leaders on social media,” wrote study author Col. Heidi Urben.

“Better H.R. than Mike Flynn,” Trump’s first national security adviser, the former military adviser said. “At least when Flynn was there, you knew it was a disaster. H.R. gives them the patina of respectability,” the former military adviser said.

This adviser, like so many in the military community, revered McMaster for his battlefield prowess, his scholarship, and his willingness to speak truth to power. And that made his current role as a voice for this most controversial of administrations all the more jarring.

“H.R., by virtue of his scholarship and service, is the standard for military professionalism and integrity for a whole generation of military officers. And that’s a heavy burden to carry,” said former Army officer Paul Yingling.

Yingling added that he was unwilling to either critique McMaster or disclose any conversations he may have had with his former commander. But, echoing a plea he published on the Foreign Policy website, he insisted that active duty officers must maintain a strict code of conduct that civilians do not.

“An officer cannot tolerate a lie. It’s not enough to tell the truth,” Yingling told The Daily Beast. “You have to be not just truthful but completely honest. You can’t remain silent while others lie. That is the dilemma of any officer serving in the strategic and political world…You have an obligation to tell the full truth, including correcting the record when others misrepresent it.”

Without openly faulting McMaster, Yingling hinted that obligation is at odds with McMaster’s new duties as a face of the Trump administration. Team Trump “obviously has not been forthcoming about its contacts with Russia, either as a campaign, a transition team, or an administration,” Yingling said.

McMaster was also put in an awkward position of defending Kushner’s reported attempts to communicate with Russia during the transition.

“It’s not appropriate for a transition team to seek a communications channel with a hostile foreign government, using the communications facilities of that hostile government,” Yingling said. “It’s an irrational, irresponsible risk.”

Two senior retired military officers said they understand both why McMaster said yes to the job, and why he’s reluctant to leave the army career he loves.

“It is in H.R.’s nature, as with any others, if the commander in chief calls and says I want you to do something, every bone in your body says that’s what I do, no matter how uncomfortable that may be,” one of the officers said. The second officer said if candidate Hillary Clinton had won and asked him to take the job, he likely would have said yes.

“It’s really a personal choice. If he thinks he can give the president national strategic advice that he’s required to give without tainting his military position, then more power to him,” said retired four-star Gen. George Casey in an interview. Casey commanded McMaster in Iraq, and now teaches a class on civil military relations at the Korbel School at the University of Denver.

“In my opinion, his integrity is beyond reproach as well as his work ethic and desire to do what is right,” added retired Col. Steven Boylan, who worked with McMaster in Iraq. “I feel confident that H.R. is able to provide frank advice to the President in their discussions.

“We may not always agree with their decision which leaves us a decision. We either execute the decision the best we can or if we cannot in good conscience abide by the decision, we can resign/retire depending upon the situation,” Boylan said in an email.

That’s a dilemma all the generals current and former must wrestle with, including McMaster, according to former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, retired Adm. Michael Mullen.

“Inside the White House, it’s politics all the time,” Mullen said in comments at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “In these jobs, you get pushed to the edge of who you are.”

The retired four-star admiral said you have to decide, “What are my limits here? When am I going to say no, meaning I’m not here anymore?”

For McMaster, that time hasn’t yet come.

 

Mummy – Win 4 Tickets To A Theater Near You

Tom Cruise headlines a spectacular, all-new cinematic version of the legend that has fascinated cultures all over the world since the dawn of civilization: The Mummy.

Thought safely entombed in a tomb deep beneath the unforgiving desert, an ancient princess (Sofia Boutella of Kingsman: The Secret Service and Star Trek Beyond) whose destiny was unjustly taken from her is awakened in our current day, bringing with her malevolence grown over millennia and terrors that defy human comprehension.

From the sweeping sands of the Middle East through hidden labyrinths under modern-day London, The Mummy brings a surprising intensity and balance of wonder and thrills in an imaginative new take that ushers in a new world of gods and monsters.

Cruise is joined by a cast including Annabelle Wallis (upcoming King Arthur, television’s Peaky Blinders), Jake Johnson (Jurassic World), Courtney B. Vance (TV’s American Crime Story: The People V. O.J. Simpson) and Oscar® winner Russell Crowe (Gladiator). (

Win 4 Tickets to the Mummy Movie when you register (Free)  in the Fifty Fifty One Store

The creative team on this action-adventure event is led by director/producer Alex Kurtzman and producer Chris Morgan, who have been instrumental in growing some of the most successful franchises of the past several years—with Kurtzman writing or producing entries in the Transformers, Star Trek and Mission: Impossible series, and Morgan being the narrative engineer of the Fast & Furious saga as it has experienced explosive growth from its third chapter on. Sean Daniel, who produced the most recent Mummy trilogy, produces alongside Kurtzman and Morgan. www.themummy.com

Fox host under fire for remark about Ivanka Trump

Fox News host Jesse Watters is under fire for making what critics say was a sexually charged remark about Ivanka Trump, further fueling Fox’s critics who have accused the network of fostering a sexist work environment.

On Tuesday night’s episode of “The Five” – the 9 p.m. show that followed “The O’Reilly Factor,” which was canceled after longtime star Bill O’Reilly was dismissed over mounting allegations of sexual harassment – the network played a clip of Trump holding a microphone close to her mouth as she talked about women’s rights at a panel in Germany.

“It’s funny. The left says they really respect women and then when given an opportunity to respect a woman like that they boo and hiss … so I don’t really get what’s going on here, but I really liked how she was speaking into that microphone,” Watters said.

Watters gestured with his hand toward his mouth as he made the remark and then grinned at his co-hosts.

Top figures in conservative media went on Twitter to express their disgust with Watters. John Podhoretz, an editor at The Weekly Standard, called Watters a “disgusting creep.”

Burt Reynolds makes rare public appearance at film festival

The Associated Press Robert De Niro, from left, Burt Reynolds and Chevy Chase attend the screening of “Dog Years,” during the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival, at Cinepolis Chelsea on Saturday, April 22, 2017, in New…

NEW YORK (AP) — Robert De Niro helped Burt Reynolds onto the red carpet for the Tribeca Film Festival premiere of his new movie “Dog Years” Saturday night in New York. It was a rare appearance for the 81-year old actor, who at times struggled to walk.

Reynolds was given a chair on the red carpet, so that he could speak to a limited number of press outlets about the film.

NEW YORK (AP) — Robert De Niro helped Burt Reynolds onto the red carpet for the Tribeca Film Festival premiere of his new movie “Dog Years” Saturday night in New York. It was a rare appearance for the 81-year old actor, who at times struggled to walk.

Reynolds was given a chair on the red carpet, so that he could speak to a limited number of press outlets about the film.

In the film, which is still shopping for distribution, Reynolds portrays an aging movie star who realizes his best days are behind him. The actor sees similarities in the character with his own life.

Reynolds laughed at the obvious parallel with his own life, though he said, “I guess I’m doing all right. I think because it’s a hell of a turnout.”

Written and directed by Adam Rifkin, the film also stars “Modern Family’s” Ariel Winter, Chevy Chase and Nikki Blonsky.

Reynolds joked about working with younger co-stars.

“You don’t learn from young actors,” Reynolds said. “You just tell them how to behave.”

Loverboy’s Mike Reno talks new music, playing live and obsessive fans

After nearly four decades as a band, Loverboy lead singer Mike Reno says the group is taking a DIY approach to getting their music to fans. Instead of relying on record companies, Loverboy is releasing a new song each month for free through their website. The latest is “Stop the Rain” and it’s accompanied by a fan-produced video that is out of this world. Mike Reno checked in last week to discuss the present, past and future of Loverboy.

TME: The new single “Stop the Rain” sounds like it could have come from one of your classic 80’s albums. What is the story behind this song?

Reno: We have a lot of songs that we recorded but couldn’t find a home for and we’re starting to put them out now. It’s a song that we’re very proud of and we’re doing something new with our music. Instead of putting out a new album, we’re putting out a new song every month on our website – www.Loverboyband.com. You can get it for free, enjoy it and come see us in concert.

TME: The video for the song features the members of Loverboy getting beamed aboard a UFO. Apparently, aliens have good taste in music.

Reno: We held this video contest and it was fun to see what some of our fans came up with. You know, we’ve done the million dollar videos in Hollywood with the best directors and we decided to just have fun and do something tongue-in-cheek. You can imagine there were some weird and wacky videos submitted but we liked this one because it was a little more mainstream but also creative. Last week, we met the guy who produced it (David Napolillo), in Texas, and we gave him an autographed Fender guitar. He and his family came backstage at the concert and it was a joyful experience.

TME: It seems like with all of the changes in the music business, you’ve put together a new business model to get your music out there. Have you moved away from the tradition of recording and selling albums and CDs?

Reno: The record companies have let us all down. They don’t know what to do anymore and people seem to just want to do things on their computers so we put together an official Loverboy flash drive containing everything we’ve ever done. It has all of the TV shows we did in the early days, all of the promo videos, tour magazines, newspaper articles and every album we’ve ever recorded. It’s a $10 item and you can watch it and listen for days. For people who prefer CDs, we have those too.

TME: I’ve heard you say that some nights are better than others. When Loverboy is performing, what constitutes a good night for the band?

Reno: Mike, I don’t want to sound like we’re too full of ourselves but every night is a good night. It’s just that some nights are magical. If we’re all exactly on the same wavelength, it makes for a magical night. We’re five guys standing on stage playing everything you hear. There’s nothing pre-recorded. Some nights, there’s magic in the air and it happens about every seventh show. You can’t predict it. You just hang on and enjoy the ride.

TME: The band has some very dedicated fans that have been there from the beginning. Have you ever had fans who crossed the line and took that fandom a little too far?

Reno: The coolest interactions with fans are when we’ll just have a discussion, maybe sign an autograph, take a photo, meet their family – that kind of thing. We’re a public band and that kind of thing is great. We love our fans. There were a few instances in the early days where things got a little out of hand. We had some people who were stalking us. They would come to every show, stand behind the stage and try to vibe us out with weird stuff. One night in my hotel room, I went to take a shower, closed the shower curtain and saw they had written their name and number in lipstick. That was a little freaky. You can imagine there was some very weird stuff that happened.

TME: Do you have special plans for the band’s 40th anniversary in 2019?

Reno: Maybe we’ll take a run at old Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. We’ll have to see.

http://www.themainedge.com

Written by Mike Dow

Edge Staff Writer

Face Book Murder posted Live

Should Facebook be held accountable

Facebook Killer

The manhunt is on for Steve Stephens, a man who posted a clip of himself killing an elderly man live on Facebook today. The Facebook account with the killing video has since been taken down, but NBC News reports they have archived them before that was able to happen. Another website, not only saved the graphic clips, but they have posted them for others to view.

People are also posting this video to their social media sites, so this disturbing clip it is still out there being viewed by the masses. The authorities are in high gear trying to hunt down this cold-blooded killer, who was driving in his car and pulled up to the curb near an elderly man walking along the sidewalk. Stephens got out of the car and shot this man with the same amount of emotion one would use to go grocery shopping.

According to NBC News Steve Stephens is considered armed and dangerous as police and the FBI embark on a manhunt after viewing these clips. Stephens killed this unidentified elderly man live on Facebook and he bragged about numerous other murders he had recently committed, which were as recent as today. So far, police have only found one victim, none of the others he has bragged about have been located.The homicide, which Stephens broadcast live on the social media site, occurred in northeast Cleveland near the shore of Lake Erie. Police also found a series of posts on Facebook coming from Stephens, who sounds like a very disturbed and disgruntled man.

Stephens claimed he had lost everything to “gambling” and he requested specific people by name to talk to. In one of his earlier posts he claimed that he “killed 12 people today,” then later on, in another post, that number jumped to 15, according to NBC News.

The website The Heavy has also downloaded the video, which is extremely graphic and disturbing. In the video you hear Stephens talking as he approaches an elderly man that is seen on the screen. Stephens asks the man if he knows a woman and then he names her by name. He also asks the man how old he is as he points the gun at the unsuspecting gentleman.

Before Stephens pulls the trigger he tells this elderly man that the reason this is happening to him is because of the woman, and he names her once more. The expression on the victim’s face turns to horror and he holds up a shopping bag as if to protect himself from what is about to happen. The gun goes off and the video shows this elderly man lying on a blood spattered sidewalk.