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Climate Crisis Putting World's Food Security At Risk; Countries Warning Their Citizens About Gun Dangers In U.S.; Iowa Poll: Joe Biden On Top, Elizabeth Warren Surges; Elizabeth Warren, Beto O'Rourke: Trump Is A "White Supremacist"; Man Accused Of Attacking Kid After Disrespecting Anthem. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired August 8, 2019 - 14:30   ET



[14:31:11] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: New today, a dire warning on the climate crisis and the food you eat. A new United Nations report warns that humans must drastically alter our food production techniques in order to present the most catastrophic effects of global warming. More than 100 of the world's top climate scientists weighed in on this report on global land use and agriculture.

And let's go straight to Bill Weir, CNN's Chief Climate Correspondent there in Crescent, Iowa, which looks absolutely beautiful. And I know we're talking about the basics -- you can tell, the basics of the American diets, right, beef, corn. So how are farming techniques for these products linked to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming?

BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: Well, that is a great question. It's part of a bigger human imprint on this planet. This is just the latest warning, red light blanking warning from over 100 top climate scientists around the world says, you know, the human race is chewing through the planet at an unsustainable rate.

About two-thirds of the planet, actually three quarters of the planet has been altered in some way, paved or plowed or deforested in some way, and agriculture makes up almost about a quarter of that because of the diesel that goes into tractors and the fertilizer, the synthetic patrolling base fertilizer to get spread over crops to feed 7 billion people.

But what's interesting is that -- I've been here about a week and I talked to different farmers about, do you believe in climate change? And even those who don't want to acknowledge these sorts of studies say that climate is always changing.

They remember that their dad survived the '80s when things got so bad that Willie Nelson created farm aid, because so many farmers taken their lives. They remember their great granddad who survived the Dust Bowl, but this report shows that we are at risk of having those kinds of once in a generation devastating events, floods or droughts, every year possibly, unless things change.

But the bright news, Brooke, is that right now every soybean plant in this field, all that corn back there is pulling that heat trapping CO2 out of the atmosphere and putting it in the ground. And with just a shift in techniques, farmers can keep it there and still feed the planet. And it will be a win-win both for them and their crop yields, and everybody else who likes food.

It's just a matter of shifting the -- you know, sort of the financial incentives instead of paying subsidies, you know, basically giving a farmer a check because he can't sell his soybeans to China in the middle of a trade war, how about we pay them to carbon farm, to make not the cheapest soybeans and corn but the most sustainable.

BALDWIN: Now, we need to support our farmers and, you know, we need to eat, right? So, Bill Weir, I appreciate you being out there. And I know you're going to have so much more with Jake on "The Lead" coming up in a little bit. Thank you very much in Crescent, Iowa.

You know, other countries are responding to the recent mass shootings in America with a growing list of travel advisories. Have you heard about this? But what about people who live here? Actor Arturo Castro joins me next to talk about what it's like for Latinos living in fear.


[14:38:58] BALDWIN: Other countries definitely paying attention to last weekend's mass shootings. Uruguay and Venezuela issued actual travel warnings to their citizens this week cautioning about traveling to America.

On its website, Venezuela's foreign ministry blames the problem on "inexcusable indiscriminate possession of firearms by the population encouraged by the federal government." Harsh, right, but I should note that the U.S. State Department offers its strictest travel advisory on Venezuela.

But it's clear that people who have not grown up in America's gun culture are baffled by our relationship with deadly firearms. And this Comedy Central sketch perfectly illustrates that point.


ARTURO CASTRO, HOST, ALTERNATINO WITH ARTURO CASTRO: There's a lot of gun violence in my country, but I am very happy to be safe in America where there are no cartels, thank goodness, you know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, that may be true, Diego, we do have gun violence in this country, for example, mass shootings in schools.

CASTRO: Unfortunately, we have that stuff, too. Two students are in rival cartels and they shoot each other in the school. It's very tragic.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. In this country, it's more like a single student shoots other students.

[14:40:01] CASTRO: Because he's in a cartel so he's taking out the family of his rival, I understand.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, it's not a cartel thing.


BALDWIN: It's hilarious, but incredibly sad as well. This is from "Alternatino with Arturo Castro," a series about a Latin millennial trying to navigate life in America. And Arturo is with me now. Thank you so much for coming on.

CASTRO: Thank you so much for having me.

BALDWIN: Of course.


BALDWIN: I know. So, first, just the context. So, I was reading that you wrote the sketch, you were hoping for it to air last week, but then the Gilroy, California shooting happened and --

CASTRO: Exactly.

BALDWIN: -- you wanted to be sensitive.

CASTRO: Yes. Yes. We wrote it a year ago and we shot it in December. So, we hoped that it was never going to be relevant again. But right the week that it was supposed to air, as it happened we decided to push. And then this weekend happened. And I had a big night of soul searching and -- as to whether or not to air it.

But then I realized that it's always going to be too soon. If we don't get together and do something about it, it's always going to be too soon. And my art is all I have, you know. And in no way am I trying to make light of the situation, but it's just -- as you can see in the sketch, it's just really hard to understand.

BALDWIN: I mean, basically you play the Central American immigrant, right, in this class.

CASTRO: Big stretch.

BALDWIN: Right, right.

CASTRO: Fit to what I'm on it.

BALDWIN: And, you know, talking about -- you cannot wrap your head around how in America, unless you are connected with some kind of a cartel --

CASTRO: Right.

BALDWIN: -- how you would get your hand on a gun, like a massive gun.

CASTRO: Yes, exactly. I mean, listen, in Central America there's a ton of gun violence and I've seen firsthand what it can do to a community. But it's almost more systematic in the sense of like poverty equals crime, equals lawlessness. But in America, you do have -- it is a land of law, except when it comes to weapons, right? So when we were writing about the sketch, I also wanted to come from a point of view of the outsider than I am and trying to explain it to my fellow countrymen is sort of baffling. So I wanted to portray that in the sketch. But, yes, it was definitely like a good, you know, 24 hours of not sleeping.

BALDWIN: Is this based upon something you that experienced somewhere in you life? I mean --

CASTRO: Well, the first time, yes. I mean, definitely Sandy Hook was one of -- was the first time that I was incredibly baffled as to how somebody -- I've done military training with the Navy SEALs for a movie before, and I realize how much power these weapons have and I -- to me it's been baffling how one person can create so such damage in such a limited amount of time and how there is no sort of -- it's a very lack sort of back background check on it. So, yes, that was the first time that I was sort of baffled by it and then the writer assume that's what we try to express.

BALDWIN: So what's the reception been like to the sketch?

CASTRO: Well, thankfully a lot of great groups, like Avery Gifford (ph) and sort of great -- anti-gun advocates have come out in support of it. And I wanted the victims and their families to know that I come from a place of support and empathy.


CASTRO: It's just literally this is my only platform, this is what I can do, you know.


CASTRO: So raising awareness is the only thing I can do with that. It would be irresponsible to have a platform and not talk about it.


CASTRO: Particularly when it feels like in El Paso that people of my demographic were being targeted particularly. And I think it also goes back to using political rhetoric to gather votes has real-life consequences and the scary part is that we're seeing it now.

BALDWIN: Trump a couple days ago on a speech on a teleprompter at the White House, you know --

CASTRO: Right.

BALDWIN: -- condemned, you know, racism, white supremacism, bigotry and that kind of thing. But many Democrats say, you know, he's fanning the flames. I was listening to former President Joe Biden's speech yesterday and he basically said, you know, President Trump has more in common with George Wallace than George Washington.

CASTRO: Right.

BALDWIN: So, you had posted on Instagram that you "feel my people and many innocent folks are under siege."


BALDWIN: What do you mean?

CASTRO: Well, here's the thing, right, media is super important. And with so many empower dehumanizes us by calling us rapists or drug dealers, you know. If you repeat this often enough and then you see the image of people that look like me in cages, the human brain, particularly like cowardly confused man, like the gunman have been on the past couple of weeks, thinks that the President is talking to them to fix this "Latino problem."

And I think it comes back to empathy, right? Like you cannot -- you can't dehumanize a whole culture and then expect people and then be surprised when somebody does something about it. I think it's about -- I think words are nice, but action is better and also measuring your words moving forward.

BALDWIN: So, what do you want people to do to tackle hate in this country?

CASTRO: Well, I want, more than anything, for you to realize that if we -- you have way more in common with Latino immigrants or even Latino people that are American citizens than you do with the politicians that are trying to divide us, way more in common.

I really believe that the human experience at its essence is the same. We're all afraid for our kid's safety. We're all afraid about what we're going to eat the next day. And I feel as long as we take the race factor out of it and see the commonalties and look behind the strings and be like, why is it beneficial for us to hate each other, right?


CASTRO: And I think from that we can start building upon a more sensible way to treat each other.

[14:45:02] BALDWIN: How can people learn more about you and watch this whole sketch?

CASTRO: Yes. If you watch "Alternatino" every Tuesday on Comedy Central, or you can watch us online on "Alternatino" on the Comedy Central app.

BALDWIN: Alternatino, OK. Arturo Castro, a pleasure.

CASTRO: Thank you so much.

BALDWIN: Will you please come back?

CASTRO: Yes, of course.

BALDWIN: Come back.

CASTRO: I will stay here for days, as long as --

BALDWIN: I got an hour and 15 left, so co-anchor situation right there.

CASTRO: Yes, of course. Thank you.

BALDWIN: Thank you. I really appreciate it.

In Iowa State Fair tradition, candidates are stepping up to make fair Soapbox speeches. Right now, Joe Biden is on stage making his case to voters as a new poll show some changes for his competition.


[14:50:04] BALDWIN: Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden speaking at the Iowa State Fair taking questions from voters while standing on the fair's political Soapbox. Now, it is a time-honored Iowa tradition for White House hopefuls. The former vice president is speaking there right now as we're seeing a bit of a shakeup in the crowded Democratic field.

This new Monmouth University poll of Iowa voters shows Biden holding strong to his lead, 28 percent, Elizabeth Warren surging to second place with 19 percent, Kamala Harris in third with 11 percent, and Bernie Sanders sinking to fourth place with 9 percent.

So with me now, MJ Lee, our CNN Political Correspondent. What do those numbers tell you?

MJ LEE, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, Elizabeth Warren obviously had a very strong performance at the CNN debates last week and I think we're seeing that partly reflected in the polls. With the caveat that I usually give about obviously not reading too much into any single poll or polling in general, we have this Iowa poll.

And in addition to that, we also had a national poll earlier in the week that showed similar trend lines, right? We have Biden continuing to be in the lead and then Warren at 21 percent, so she is up significantly, and then Sanders trailing both of them at 14 percent.

And I think the good news probably for the Warren team right now is that this isn't just about the post-debate. This has been a trend that we have seen for her and her candidacy for a couple of months now, right?

Other candidates have seen their numbers fluctuate a little bit more, but with her, we have seen a pretty steady rise over the course of a few months. So I think safe to say that she does have political momentum right now.

But as I'm watching Biden do his thing in Iowa right now and we're going to see all of the candidates gather in Iowa over the weekend, good reminder that the Iowa caucuses are six months from now, so a lot could happen between now and then.

BALDWIN: Yes. Elizabeth Warren, who you've been following since day one of this year, she -- some of the language from some of these candidates, you know, condemning Trump and calling him. Initially, we were hearing white nationalist. Now, Elizabeth Warren has just called him a white supremacist there in Iowa, right?

LEE: Right. And if we could just sort of let that sink in, that we have now two presidential candidates explicitly referring to the President of the United States as a white supremacist. Warren has done this starting last night. Beto O'Rourke has called him that as well.

And my colleague, Daniel Diaz (ph), who is in Iowa right now with Warren, actually just asked her what was the turning point for you in referring to the President this way. And she basically said, look, he has not -- he has been embraced by white supremacists. He has not distanced himself from white supremacists.

But at the same time he is saying, but I'm not one of them. And Warren is making the point that you kind of can have it both ways, that she feels like based on his actions it is safe to sort of call him that.

I think an interesting thing to talk about right now is how so many of the Democratic candidates are trying to stick to policy, not get bogged down by everything that Donald Trump is doing, but politically speaking for some of these candidates they do have to start taking him on.

And I think we're seeing that, because look at this Quinnipiac poll on the electability question, right? Biden is by far the leader on that question and he has remained in that position on that question for a while now. So I think for a lot of these Democratic candidates on the electability question, they feel like they do need to take him on.

BALDWIN: It's such a great point and I'm glad you brought it up to that question, because at the end of the day for a lot of voters in this country, you know, if you lean left or didn't normally lean left, but are thinking leaning left because of this President, you know, it's about who do you think can beat Trump. MJ Lee, thank you very much for that.

How about this story? Backlash against a billionaire, the owner of Equinox and SoulCycle is facing boycott threats over a high dollar fundraiser for President Trump. The price of politics.

Plus, a Montana man accused of assaulting a 13-year-old boy for wearing a hat during the national anthem. We have new details in that case.


[14:58:27] BALDWIN: A 39-year-old Montana man has been charged with felony assault on a minor after he threw a 13-year-old boy to the ground at a rodeo. He told police he did it because the child failed to take off his hat during the national anthem.

Sara Sidner has been working the story for us. And this wasn't -- 39- year-old man, this is a kid. This wasn't just a shove. The child fractured his skull?

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I just can't. Yes. This guy was arrested on felony assault on a minor for attacking that 13- year-old boy, choking him first and fracturing his skull, according to the affidavit. The prosecutors had asked the judge for a $100,000 bond.

But get this, Brooke, the judge decided to release him on his own recognizance with an ankle monitor even though the suspect you're seeing there, Curt Brockway, has a previous criminal history.

Now, the boy for his part, he was airlifted from the scene, treated for skull fractures. The affidavit it the case says the reason the suspect attacked him, as you mentioned, was because the child didn't remove his hat during the national anthem while it played at the county fairgrounds.

You know, he was just going there to have a good time with other kids. Brockway told police that he asked the child to remove his hat, the child refused and curse at him so Brockway attacked the child for being disrespectful, the affidavit says.

There was a witness also that we talked to that told police that she never heard Brockway actually asked the child to remove his hat before attacked him. But even if he did, who cares. Let's remember, this is a 39-year-old grown man attacking a 13-year-old boy.


SIDNER: The child and his family had -- you know, he'd gone to the fairgrounds. They were trying to have a good time. I should mention this also, the attorney for Brockway, the suspects, has said that his client did have a brain injury and has problems with impulse control.

Get this, he said the Brockway takes the rhetoric of President Trump literally and does angered any time he thinks someone disrespecting the flag. So, apparently, he thought this child was disrespecting the flag and he attacked him. Brooke?

BALDWIN: Words matter. Sara Sidner, thank you.