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Czech president to keynote Heartland conference despite objections to billboard campaign

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Václav Klaus, the Czech president and prominent climate sceptic, has condemned a controversial billboard campaign used by a rightwing US thinktank to advertise the forthcoming conference at which he is scheduled to give the keynote speech. However, his spokesman said Klaus will not join other speakers who have pulled out in protest and says he still intends to proceed with the engagement.

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Last week, the Heartland Institute, a thinktank based in Chicago that promotes climate scepticism, withdrew an advertising campaign that compared people concerned about climate change with mass murderers and terrorists such as Osama bin Laden, Charles Manson and Ted Kaczynski. Despite later removing a billboard which appeared over an Illinois expressway featuring a picture of Kaczynski with the caption: “I still believe in global warming. Do you?”, the group refused to apologise for the campaign, instead describing it as an “experiment”.

Klaus, who is scheduled to give the keynote speech at the Chicago Hilton on 21 May, has previously appeared at the thinktank’s annual conference for climate sceptics, as well as given keynotes for similar climate sceptic groups such as Lord Lawson’s Global Warming Policy Foundation in the UK and the Institute of Public Affairs in Australia.

Klaus’s spokesman told the Guardian: “President Klaus is principally against non-serious, aggressive and provocative billboard campaigns of the kind the Heartland Institute used recently.” Asked if Klaus would now be pulling out, his spokesman said: “Mr president will attend this conference.”

Ross McKitrick, a Canadian economist, and Donna Laframboise, a Canadian climate sceptic blogger, have both confirmed that they will no longer speak at the conference in protest at the billboard and Heartland’s continued refusal to apologise.

The controversy has led to a wave of corporate donors publicly stating that they will no longer financially support the thinktank. On Wednesday, the United Services Automobile Association, an insurance and financial services company for US military families, confirmed on its Facebook page it was the latest donor to abandon Heartland. It joined other insurance companies, such as State Farm, and the drinks giant Diageo in cutting ties with the group. The Sierra Club, one of the US’s leading conservation groups, said on Wednesday 20,000 people had backed its call for corporations to pull the plug on Heartland.

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© Guardian News and Media 2012

[A billboard in Chicago, Ill., published by climate denial group The Heartland Institute.]

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New York Times editorial board asks Trump if he didn’t do anything wrong — why he won’t let witnesses testify

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The New York Times editorial board issued a scathing op-ed Sunday detailing the ways in which President Donald Trump is destroying one of the key branches of the United States government.

While many presidents battle with Congress, Trump has taken his "obvious contempt" to a whole new level. But if he was truly innocent of the accusations he's facing, then why is he hiding so much.

"If Mr. Trump is so clear in his own mind that he didn’t try to pressure the Ukrainian government to interfere in the 2020 election, why won’t he send the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, to testify under oath that there was no quid pro quo?" asked The Times. "Instead, he has issued a blanket refusal to allow officials of his administration to testify or submit documents demanded by Congress. His approach is pitting Republican House members’ fealty to him against their respect for their own institution. They are making a fateful choice to diminish the House."

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Former Republican Congressman admits he ‘can’t explain’ Ted Cruz: ‘You’d think he’d have more self-respect’

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Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) appeared on "Meet the Press" Sunday to perpetuate the false narrative that Ukraine hacked the 2016 election, a fact that has been disproven by all of the U.S. intelligence agencies. When asked to explain what Cruz could possibly have been thinking, former Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) confessed he has no idea how to explain Cruz.

"So, Charlie, what's going on here?" asked CNN host Fredricka Whitfield.

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Trump busted for acting like the Saudi’s ‘press secretary’ after Florida naval yard shooting

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Conservative Washington Post columnist Max Boot blasted President Donald Trump for essentially becoming a "press secretary" for the Saudi Arabian government in wake of the Pensacola, Florida mass shooting.

In his column Sunday, Boot noted that the typical mass shooting sentiments like "thoughts and prayers" were absent Friday when Trump discovered that the shooting was done by a Muslim.

"It turns out that Trump actually has a triple standard, because he treats attacks by Saudis differently than those from other Muslim nations," Boot observed. "On Friday, a Saudi air force officer studying at the Naval Air Station Pensacola shot dead three Americans and wounded eight others. Instead of expressing outrage or vowing vengeance, or even waiting for all the facts to come in, Trump sounded as if he were auditioning for the job of press secretary at the Saudi Embassy."

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