Poisonous Heartland, twisted billboards

by Gareth on May 4, 2012

The Heartland Institute, the Chicago-based right wing think tank notorious for its coordination, organisation and funding of climate denial around the world (including New Zealand), has set new standards for bad taste by launching an advertising campaign for its upcoming climate “conference” that compares those who want action on climate change to terrorists, murderers and tyrants. The first billboard, featuring “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski, appeared beside the Eisenhower Expressway in Chicago yesterday:


Jim Lakely, Heartland’s Director of Communications outlines the campaign:

The billboard series features Ted Kaczynski, the infamous Unabomber; Charles Manson, a mass murderer; and Fidel Castro, a tyrant. Other global warming alarmists who may appear on future billboards include Osama bin Laden and James J. Lee (who took hostages inside the headquarters of the Discovery Channel in 2010).

These rogues and villains were chosen because they made public statements about how man-made global warming is a crisis and how mankind must take immediate and drastic actions to stop it.

So have the Pope and the Dalai Lama. Are those august personages “rogues and villains” too?

Heartland’s press release ploughs on:

…what these murderers and madmen have said differs very little from what spokespersons for the United Nations, journalists for the “mainstream” media, and liberal politicians say about global warming.

Of course, not all global warming alarmists are murderers or tyrants.

Let’s be thankful for small mercies.

This despicable little campaign smacks of desperation. Unable to win any scientific argument, or to bend an ever-warming reality to its political views, and faced with dwindling interest from the mainstream media in the US, Heartland has resorted to tawdry sensationalism in an attempt to draw attention to its pathetic little denialist networking event. For an organisation that has made a specialism of breathtaking hypocrisy, this sets new standards. But don’t expect Bast & co, or any of their speakers and supporters to apologise. I confidently predict that the high horses that are so promptly mounted when any sceptic perceives the faintest slight will have mysteriously disappeared to some distant paddock. And yes, Anthony Watts, I’m looking at you…

See also: Leo Hickman at The Guardian.

Update: The internet is on the case:


(hat tip: Daniel Bird)

[Richard Thompson]

{ 115 comments… read them below or add one }

CTG May 5, 2012 at 12:18 am

I’m sure andyS will be here shortly to leap to the defense of Heartland. Did you know that Ted Kaczynski was a supporter of wind farms? Uh huh, that’s right, those bird-chopping, Golden Eagle destroying devil-machines were central to the Unabomber’s plot to overthrow humanity. There is just no end to how evil wind farms are.

Rob Taylor May 5, 2012 at 3:06 am

While we’re waiting for Andy, let me point out that kittens are NOT so cute… they grow into evil bird-destroying KILLING MACHINES that terrorise the countryside. No wonder Hitler was so fond of them…

Amoeba May 5, 2012 at 4:41 am

Hitler’s love of domestic cats might be related to a Toxoplasmosis infection. Cat spread Toxoplasmosis, a mind-controlling parasite that influences human behaviour in ways that are still being unravelled.
Use of the Hitler argument isn’t terribly useful. He was IIRC also a vegetarian and a Catholic.

The fact is that the Heartland is clearly scraping to bottom of the barrel. It’s a sign of sheer desperation. Peter Sinclair has a post about this:

mustakissa May 5, 2012 at 7:13 am

So while we’re all editorializing on Hitler’s love for kittens, am I the only one to recall reading that he had no special love for cats but loved his dog?

John Mashey May 5, 2012 at 6:02 am

As people here may recall, Heartland is (for now) a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) public charity in USA.

http://www.desmogblog.com/sites/beta.desmogblog.com/files/%281-15-2012%29%202012%20Fundraising%20Plan.pdf lists folks who got tax-write-offs for funding Heartland.

As a reminder on 501(c)(3):

http://www.desmogblog.com/fake-science-fakexperts-funny-finances-free-tax PDF p.8:

(quoting http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-tege/rp_1986-43.pdf , Rev. Proc. 86-43, 1986-2 C.B. 729 )

“Educational Purpose” section:


.03 The presence of any of the following factors in the presentations made by an organization is indicative that the method used by the organization to advocate its viewpoints or positions is not educational.

1 The presentation of viewpoints or positions unsupported by facts is a significant portion of the organization’s communications.

2 The facts that purport to support the viewpoints or positions are distorted.

3 ==> The organization’s presentations make substantial use of inflammatory and disparaging terms and express conclusions more on the basis of strong emotional feelings than of objective evaluations. <==

4 The approach used in the organization's presentations is not aimed at developing an understanding on the part of the intended audience or readership because it does not consider their background or training in the subject matter.'

Of course, given Heartland's ~20-year tobacco connection, I suppose nothing is surprising.

andyS May 5, 2012 at 7:16 am

I don’t think this campaign is the smartest move.
The comments at Watts are universally negative too.

AndrewH May 5, 2012 at 3:50 pm

Good call Andy

Bob Bingham May 5, 2012 at 7:58 am

At last the Heartland Institute have gone public and we can all see how truly mad they are. When they are a secretive group who operate from the shadows they can push an agenda without being exposed to ridicule. Now we can all see and check what they say. The coal companies that fund them know that climate change is real just as the tobacco companies knew that smoking killed people with cancer.

Thomas May 5, 2012 at 12:43 pm

The whole “I believe in….” slogan reveals where the wretched minds of the denileratie are operating from: Their world view is a matter of faith, not reason. I guess we know that much already but is so explicit in their ill conceived campaign. Faith as in “believing” is never part of the rational discussion and opinion building based on evidence in matters of scientific inquiries.
The term “belief” only comes in to play when it is all about switching reason and logic off in order to uphold prejudice and entitlements in a world that is obviously just not so….
The minds of the Heartland plotters and their disciples are stuck in a “religious” world view and the results are obvious for all to see.

cindy May 5, 2012 at 3:10 pm

So Heartland has now taken them down, trying to claim it was an “experiment”. Their press release includes this sentence

“Heartland has spent millions of dollars contributing to the real debate over climate change…”

Whose money, I wonder?

Thomas May 5, 2012 at 3:31 pm

… more likely: Heartland has spend millions of dollars on hijacking and obfuscating the real debate on what to do about AGW and is culpable in perverting the course of the public debate on an issue that is vital for the survival of our offspring.

cindy May 5, 2012 at 5:53 pm

and noting in that press release Bast also says “leading alarmists compare climate realists to Nazis”
two words: Monckton. Swastika.

bill May 6, 2012 at 12:35 pm

And these are the very people who host the conference where a barbarian like James Delingpole gets to feel ‘like a rock star’!

I hope this triggers long overdue recognition that Denial is at heart a conspiracy theory that, being unable to best, or even equal, its opponents in rational debate, must resort to denigrating them.

It cannot be civil in public discourse because it is asking us to credit – as HI’s ludicrous press release makes blatantly obvious – that all of the tens of thousands of pages of patiently assembled reports and papers and the hard-won science of actual researchers are merely manifestations of mass semi-criminal pathological enterprise on a scale unseen in prior history.

The irony is this: in AGW Denial we have a species of combined 9-11 Truth movement and Creationist enterprise that has has broken the bounds of the mere fringes and become internationally mainstream in a way that no previous collective hysteria has ever managed to achieve. We are in the process of discovering just how Stupid advanced technological civilizations can be; sadly, the result to date is ‘very Stupid indeed’. It’s not over yet, though; reason, though brutally battered, may still prevail.

Also, as Thomas points out – let’s imagine the impact if the text said ‘I still accept the reality of Global Warming. Do you?’ One of the other tropes Deniers employ routinely – along with the Creationists – is to pretend this is a debate about ‘beliefs’, whereupon they can play the post-Modern card; ‘and all beliefs are equal’! We should, indeed, always be aware of this trick…

John Mashey May 5, 2012 at 4:01 pm

So, Here is a list of Heartland experts. People might write polite notes to people nearby and perhaps their bosses inquiring as to their continued support of Heartland, assuming that anything less than a public dis-avowal means little.
Oh, the press might want to hear about this, too.

I do believe there are a few in NZ and OZ…

mustakissa May 6, 2012 at 1:58 am

I see Pielke Jr is there. Something to remember.

mustakissa May 6, 2012 at 9:46 pm

I learn that elsewhere, Pielke insists he is on their expert list involuntarily. Credible claim, given Heartland’s reputation. Yet, when the wrong people like you, perhaps you should reconsider the image you’re projecting ;-/

Gosman May 7, 2012 at 6:50 am

Are you serious???

This sounds like a good old fashioned witch hunt.

How is what you are proposing any different to what the McCarthy’s House Un-American Activities Committee.carried out?

John Mashey May 7, 2012 at 9:21 am

A convenient subset of the list is on p.52 of Fake science….
The NZ list is
Chris de Freitas
Terry Dunleavy
VIncent Gray
Kesten C. Green (I thought he was in AU?]
Owen McShane

They have the right to free speech and association,m so be polite. (Although “free” may not be exactly right, as some may have gotten $ from Heartland).

Perhaps, like Roger Pielke, Jr, they might claim never to have been associated with Heartland … but that would be odd, since all have participated in one or more Heartland events, NIPCC, or gotten money.

Of course, there is the “Casablanca Defense”: they might be shocked-shocked to find such stuff in here … but then, a few already got their winnings.

Anyway, people might ask them politely if they intended to continue their roles as Heartland Experts or not.

bill May 5, 2012 at 10:23 pm

This really is one of the most amazing own-goals I have ever seen!

I can only assume that Bast and co., under a lot of pressure after the Gleick document releases (yes, yes, the ‘strategy’ doc is in permanent quarantine, we know, we know!) have simply flipped and/or feel they have nothing to lose.

I think John M’s on the right track – every ‘expert’, funder, and speaker at the forthcoming conference should indeed be very publicly asked if they endorse/d such a toxic campaign.

(While I knew he was anti-wind and and AGW ‘skeptic’ I hadn’t actually realised David Bellamy had gone so far as to allow himself to be publicly associated with HI ! That’s a profound disappointment.)

And as John (and Eli R) are saying; way to shoot yourselves in the foot (well, both feet, kneecaps, and left elbow and hand!), guys, in relation to Charity status… I trust the filings are going on as we speak! ;-)

Shouldn’t that be ‘puppies and small blonde children’, incidentally? Oh, and Volkswagens.

RW May 6, 2012 at 10:36 am

A charitable view might be that Bellamy has succumbed to senility.

Richard Christie May 9, 2012 at 4:52 pm

I see Bellamy is also a patron of the British Homeopathic Ass.
along with the Duke of Gloucester
(roll eyes)

andyS May 9, 2012 at 7:18 pm

He probably doesn’t read the guardian and has vague affiliations with UKIP and has been mentioned in the Daily Msil and hates windmills and has Piers Corbyn as a Facebook friend and……

You get the picture

Tony May 9, 2012 at 7:45 pm

Here is Bellamy making a compelling case that the world’s glaciers are advancing not receding, backed up by hard evidence from the internet. If it is on the internet it must be true because people don’t lie on the internet, Monbiot on the other hand rants on about some half baked stuff he read in some sciencey journals. Its a no contest.


andyS May 10, 2012 at 9:49 pm

I did enjoy that video, especially the bit where Moonbat rustled in his jacket and pulled out that note.

Pure theatre,

bill May 9, 2012 at 9:25 pm

Wow, John Cook is the Chairman of the BHA – better ask him about that on the next Climate Show, Gareth! ;-)

I see Twiggy is another patron. And Julie Walters. Funny old world, eh?

So enthusiasm for Homeopathic Medicine – otherwise known as, um, ‘water’ – isn’t something of an indicator of one’s general scientific credibility then, andy? Why do I feel so confident that it would certainly be if our John Cook really was the Chair?

andyS May 10, 2012 at 10:34 am

I’ve always considered homeopathy a bit nutty, but consider this:

In France, 18,000 physicians prescribe homeopathic remedies. There are seven medical schools offering post grad degrees in homeopathy and all 23,000 pharmacies carry homeopathic remedies.

In England, 42% of British physicians refer patients to homeopaths. The Royal family has used used homeopathy for three generations. There are currently five homeopathic hospitals, and the oldest, the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital, has been there for 100 years.

In Germany , 20% of Physicians prescribe homeopathic remedies.

In the Netherlands, 45% of physicians consider homeopathy effective.


bill May 10, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Well, golly-gee, if ‘Homeopathy 4 Everyone’ says so, it must be true!

Thanks for that! I find this claim particularly enjoyable -

The worldwide influenza epidemic of 1918 killed 22 million people worldwide and 500,000 in the U.S. The death rate was 30% or higher for those treated conventionally, while homeopaths cured an amazing 98% of their cases!

98%?! No word of a lie?! Wow! Amazing! Gee, I bet those evil Big Science guys have been madly-suppressing this for nearly a century, like, you know, the over-unity engine and that car that runs on water…

Showing a certain consistency in standards of evidence there, andy… ;-) ? Or was this an attempt at ironic humour?

(PS: I wonder who they count as a ‘physician’?)

andyS May 10, 2012 at 1:32 pm


Presumably you can actually visit these homeopathic hospitals in person and check that they exist.

Again, I am not actually claiming that any of their cures have any validity, but there do seem to be quite a lot of these guys around.

You know, more than just David Bellamy

bill May 10, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Andy (since we’re Capitalising!), I don’t doubt for a moment that the hospitals exist.

What I do doubt is their efficacy; that they’re achieving anything beyond a placebo effect (though rest, attention and a sensible diet ain’t likely to do any harm, either!)

All fine – if somewhat expensive – for psychosomatic and minor illness; bloody dangerous indeed if you have a tumour.

(Is it possible you’re unaware of the ‘x’ factor? The theories of dilution and ‘like curing like’? Because Homeopathy is predicated on ideas so bizarre it’s difficult to credit that any educated adult could possibly hold them to be true. Here’s an enjoyable short primer.)

But, aside from that, what you’re saying is, Bellamy can’t be crazy because, look, so many other people are? This really is quite squirmingly revealing of your general train of thought, you know…

andyS May 10, 2012 at 1:50 pm

Yes, I am fully aware of what homeopathy is.

Thomas May 10, 2012 at 9:26 pm

Gee this has potential. With the hypothesis that AGW denial is a psychological condition not unlike that of the Psychosomatic Hypochondriac, who is generally best treated with Vodoo, Tribal Magic or Homepathetic sugar pills, perhaps in the shelves of some alchemist in the deep mid-west heartlands or in some forsaken bend of the river of Denial we might find the potion which, when shaken and diluted each time by an order of magnitude a gazillion times with water until all but that last atom of the original has been lost, has gained enough power over the mind of the dim witted, greed stricken or mentally stuck up to affect relief from the condition….

bill May 5, 2012 at 10:53 pm

Ho ho – the thick plottens!

The GOP’s Sensenbrenner threatens to withdraws from forthcoming HI conference. This is probably the most direct explanation for the ‘hey, we were just kidding’ stunt they’ve tried to pull – what, like they’re some smug, self-aggrandising ‘provocateur’ PR agency? (Hang on a minute!…) – and the sudden climbdown – that Cindy refers to above.

It really makes no difference if they take them down. This is toothpaste that ain’t ever going back in the tube!

I fully endorse this quote given at the WAPO:

“In some ways, this is an almost perfect illustration of what has happened to the `right.’ A refusal to acknowledge scientific reality; and a brutalist style of public propaganda that focuses entirely on guilt by the most extreme association.”

Thomas May 6, 2012 at 1:57 pm

At least we are recognized officially now for what we are doing (defense of Science and reason): :-)
New Scientist: http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21428626.300-guerilla-enlightenment-defending-science-online.html

plus a summary on the psychology of denial:

bill May 6, 2012 at 6:26 pm


The Heartland Institute does not speak for Microsoft on climate change. In fact, the Heartland Institute’s position on climate change is diametrically opposed to Microsoft’s position. And we completely disagree with the group’s inflammatory and distasteful advertising campaign.

andyS May 7, 2012 at 12:24 am

Donna has pulled out of the HI conference. Her explanation seems reasonable

Rob Taylor May 7, 2012 at 9:14 am

Andy, is your little group of AGW deniers so small that you refer to each other only by your first names?

Who is this “Donna”, anyway, and why should I care what she thinks? Is she a climate scientist, or does she – more likely – have no scientific credibility at all?

andyS May 7, 2012 at 9:20 am

Rob, I provided a think called a “hyperlink” above. If you click on the “hyperlink” you will be redirected to a “webpage” where you will find an article by one Donna Laframboise who has written a “book” called The Delinquent Teenager who Thought it was the Word’s top climate scientist

I am sure that you have collectively slagged of this book in the past, so presumably one or other of you have heard of it.

Rob Taylor May 7, 2012 at 9:34 am

I did check the link, Andy, but it gave no information on her credentials, except that she has been involved in messy divorces in the past – is she, perhaps, one of your ex-wives?

andyS May 7, 2012 at 9:50 am

You may recall a water scientist called Peter Gleick who obtained some information from the said Heartland Institute using interesting and unusual tactics.

This person was so offended that anyone could possibly criticise the IPCC that he gave Ms Laframboise’s book a one star review on Amazon whilst making it perfectly clear that he hadn’t read it.

It seems strange that most of the climate blogosphere has hear of Ms Laframboise including Real Scientists ™ such as Peter Gleick, yet you claim to have no knowledge of said person.

Rob Taylor May 7, 2012 at 9:56 am

Sorry, Andy, but I don’t have time to keep up with all the cranks out there – you and the two Dicks are quite enough for me…

andyS May 7, 2012 at 10:01 am

Oh well, you know something else now. I guess you can ignore the fact that Ms Laframboise is a feminist civil liberties campaigner and disappear back into your fantasy world where all climate deniers (sic) are grey-haired white elderly conservatives who are financed by Big Oil and the Koch Brothers to spread confusion about climate change and delay action to create a glorious Low Carbon Economy (sic)

Rob Taylor May 7, 2012 at 10:10 am

Judging from her comments in your link, Andy, it would appear that Ms Laframboise is herself waking up to that.

What else is the Heartland Institute but

white conservatives who are financed by Big Oil and the Koch Brothers to spread confusion about climate change and delay action to create a Low Carbon Economy”?

bill May 7, 2012 at 11:16 am

Diageo to end funding of Heartland Institute after climate change outburst

We’ve been over the Raspberry Woman before: her arguments are tosh written for people who actually have no idea how the IPCC is structured (let alone how science works.)

andyS May 7, 2012 at 11:55 am
bill May 7, 2012 at 12:53 pm

What, in a billboard campaign? In a publicly-subsidised ‘educational’ advertising campaign? And the Telegraph – home of one James Delingpole – throwing stones? Ho ho! Is that really the best you can do? Phhhttt! This doesn’t even rise to the level of pathetic…

The fact is, andy, this whole fiasco only makes starkly clear what has become increasingly obvious over time: Denial is an extremist fringe conspiracy theory.

And HI hosts your major ‘conference’, fer Chrissakes, where you all get together and pretend not to be just another bunch of noisy ratbags.

andyS May 7, 2012 at 1:05 pm

This billboard “campaign” was a single ad that cost $200 and was up for about 24 hours.

Perhaps we could look at the budget and reach of the 10-10 snuff movie, in which schoolchildren were depicted being murdered in cold blood by their teacher for failing to take an interest in reducing their “carbon footprint”

bill May 7, 2012 at 2:55 pm

It was ‘only’ up for ‘about 24 hours’ because it caused a riot, andy. This was the centrepiece of their promotion of their forthcoming conference, the only significant one you guys hold. How freakin’ Stupid can you be?

(I love the post facto claim that this campaign was an ‘experiment’! An experiment in how completely it’s possible to blow off whatever tattered remnants of credibility you may have remaining, I figure! ;-) )

The 10/10 mob manage the Warmists only major conference, do they?

You’re getting desperate, andy, and, utterly preditably, have now fallen into defending the indefensible. I still have no idea what you’re hoping to achieve here beyond confirming negative stereotypic impressions of Deniers.

bill May 7, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Pot, meet kettle.

andyS May 7, 2012 at 3:15 pm

You really must be choking on your muesli this morning. As I have already said, I don’t think the HI ad was in good taste or achieves anything worthwhile, but as O’Neill has already pointed out, there are a gazzillion examples of where activists have compared “deniers” (even the word has connotations) with mass murderers etc.

Two wrongs don’t make a right, but get over it. Do you really expect a massive public backlash on this? We recently had a drinks ad pulled from Facebook because it glorified date rape. Now that _is_ something to get offended by.

bill May 7, 2012 at 10:47 pm

It’s not morning in Australia, andy.

Even disregarding the inherent absurdity of your tu quoque fallacy attempt to establish false-equivalence, not on friggin’ billboards as the centrepiece of a major promotional campaign they haven’t.

I don’t expect a ‘massive public backlash’ – the public only really gets worked up about whether that last goal was offside or so-and-so really deserved that Emmy – but I do expect both HI and its pathetic little conference to be in serious trouble where it counts. Reality itself is a bit of a boutique interest in 2012.

Next. First hit in Google for ‘denier’ and ‘definition’.

Denier. Noun.

Dictionary.com – ‘a person who denies. ‘
Answers.com / American Heritage dictionary – ‘One that denies: a denier of harsh realities.’
Merriam Webster – ‘one who denies ‘
the Free Dictionary – ‘One that denies: a denier of harsh realities.’

‘Connotations’? Phhht!

Funny how that ‘I’m the victim here’ trope is so frequently run out by precisely the kind of people who aren’t at all averse to calling others ‘brownshirts’, or even accusing them of taking pleasure in the sufferings of defenceless people and animals. Know anyone like that?

Beaker May 7, 2012 at 11:52 pm

Brendan O’Neill? Brendan O’Neil of Spiked and Living Marxism, that Brendan O’Neil? Blimy, yes it is! Very popular with some sixth formers keen to appear radical and clever. I used to get stopped a lot by the LM sellers in the street, never knew their arse from their elbow, but desperate to tell you about the latest conspiracy. ‘Did you know that AIDS is just a fabrication to impose a code of sexual values on the people.’ I kid you not.
From AIDS, through Infant Formula and on to Climate Change, the Spiked gang have turned out their ‘provocative’ articles, challenging orthodoxy, or they would if they actually looked at the science and found something wanting. Instead just childish straw man cobblers. An illustration of their credibility on Climate science would be their endorsement of The Great Global Warming Swindle.
Speaking of straw man arguments, saw this link from Rabett Run, http://www.climatechange.gov.au/climate-change/understanding-climate-change/~/media/climate-change/prof-plimer-101-questions-response-pdf.pdf
I had not seen this latest of Plimers, but from the list of 101 risible questions, it must go down very well with the Spiked target audience.

Rob Taylor May 8, 2012 at 2:37 am

Ah yes, Brendan O’Neill…

Brendan O’Neill is an editor of “Spiked”, an organ of the libertarian LM (Living Marxism) group, a nominally left-wing front for corporate apologists for the tobacco, pharmaceutical and energy industries.

Spiked has a close association with the PR firm, Hill & Knowlton. Of the 34 seminars Spiked has organised in the last three years, over half have listed Hill and Knowlton as Spiked’s “partner/sponsor” and been held in the PR company’s office.


andyS May 8, 2012 at 11:00 am

I am surprised that you had heard of Brendan O’Neill, since you were claiming that you didn’t have time to know all the “cranks” out there.

Anyway, it’s good to know that the Failygraph is off limits now, along with every other paper except for Teh Grauniad.

I’ll try to be more choosy in future.

BTW, I didn’t realise that Brendan O’Neill had also been infected by the Lizard People who are controlling the Climate Denial (sic) industry. Thanks for pointing that out. Is he friends with David Icke by any chance?

Rob Taylor May 8, 2012 at 11:44 am

It is indeed unfortunate, Andy, that one of my ex-Trotskyist mates has been infected by the Spiked virus, but perhaps you are confusing Brendan O’Neill with Lyndon LaRouche?

Heartland would have been far better off to go with the LaRouchist anti-AGW slogan.

John Mashey May 8, 2012 at 3:35 pm

Hill and Knowlton: ~1954, John Hill created the confusion strategy for the tobacco industry, from which H+K made much money over following years.

Somewhat earlier, for health reason,s Hill had quit smoking..

bill May 7, 2012 at 10:59 pm

Most entertaining comment on the whole fiasco thus far? -

If they want to point out the Unabomber is more sane than they are, I am not sure we should stop them.

Comment in a thread below Charles P Pierce’s (author of Idiot America) punchy blog post at Esquire:

This is not the “mainstream.” Both sides do not do this. There is no “other side” to this argument. The people responsible for this billboard deserve to be shunned by decent society.

tom May 8, 2012 at 12:18 pm
bill May 8, 2012 at 2:48 pm

More on these withdrawals – this is the reaction I’m expecting, andy, the public is largely irrelevant, though public image is not -

On behalf of the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers, we write to disavow any future relationship with your organization. Recent revelations of the Heartland Institute’s radical position on climate change as portrayed on the new billboard featuring Ted Kaczynski made our association with other parts of your organization untenable.

‘Untenable’ is right.

John Mashey May 8, 2012 at 3:37 pm

State Farm just announced they are dis-associating with Heartland.

Our State Farm agent (a good guy) is relieved, as are some others, as letters were flying around.

andyS May 8, 2012 at 4:21 pm

This must be quite exciting for you guys. HI have self-destructed.

Peter Gleick didn’t need to commit a criminal act and destroy his career after all!

bill May 8, 2012 at 6:22 pm

Whatever he’s done to his career, I think there’s little doubt that Gleick started the ball rolling that may well have finished Heartland. And that would be a considerable consolation to him whatever else happens.

I have found their tactics throughout extraordinary – talk about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory! Their tone-deaf responses – and that’s being incredibly kind – are indicative of that species of zealotry that simply cannot perceive itself as others certainly will.

I also think the reaction we’re seeing now indicates that a lot of (often over-tolerant) small ‘l’ liberals are coming to the conclusion that we’ve been suffering these fools long enough…

Rob Taylor May 8, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Actually, I believe that Peter Gleick has enhanced his career and reputation, as it was his direct action that bought about HI’s panicked overreaction and self-destruction.

Peter Gleick should be an inspiration to scientists everywhere, to get active and directly oppose the tide of superstition and political chicanery that threatens our Enlightenment values and civilisation.

What have scientists got to lose, when denialists are already threatening their lives, and those of their children?

andyS May 8, 2012 at 6:37 pm

I agree. Using wire fraud to obtain documents illegally, and faking a document is such an inspiration to all aspiring young scientists.

He is truly to be admired for his contribution to humanity.

What have scientists got to lose, when denialists are already threatening their lives, and those of their children?

Which “denialists” (sic) have been threatening the lives of scientists and their children Rob? Any examples of this?

Thomas May 8, 2012 at 7:27 pm

AndyS: Walk a day in the shoes of James Hansen, or simply read his reflections and reports on the matter or listen to any of his talks. Again AndyS, you play dumb and ignorant on a matter that surely you know all about given your high level of energy towards throwing yourself under the wagon at every corner of the AGW debate for your denier point of view thus far. So don’t play like you are from another world now as nobody here will buy that sort of rhetoric from somebody like yourself!

andyS May 9, 2012 at 8:37 am

This would be the same James Hansen that thought that Fossil Fuel CEOs should be tried for High Crimes against Humanity, whilst pocketing $1 million in speaking and appearance fees, jetting around the world in the process?

bill May 9, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Vaguely credible link backing up the $1 million in speaking fees claim, please? Because at this stage the only similar claims I can find are from sites such as this. You’ll excuse me for being unimpressed.

While we’re waiting for that; know anyone on your side of the argument who ‘jets around the world’ collecting appearance/speaking fees?

Hansen is actually qualified to speak to the science of climate: please explain to us the relevant qualifications of, say, Monckton? Delingpole? The Raspberry Woman?

andyS May 9, 2012 at 3:10 pm
bill May 9, 2012 at 3:55 pm

‘Vaguely credible’ link still wanting, then. Any time you’re ready.

andyS May 9, 2012 at 4:06 pm

bill May 9, 2012 at 3:55 pm

‘Vaguely credible’ link still wanting, then. Any time you’re ready.
Oh sorry, predicatble response.
Chris Horner is taking James Hansen to court over this.
However it is not reported in Teh Grauiad or Al Beeba, so therefor is Not True ™

The State Broadcasting Apparatus ™ does not recognise the Wattage as a suitable information source for its Loyal Citizens.
Apologies for the Error.

bill May 9, 2012 at 6:36 pm


Rob Taylor May 8, 2012 at 9:51 pm

“You and your colleagues… ought to be shot, quartered and fed to the pigs along with your whole damn families”.

Climate denier brandishes noose to scientist at climate conference’

Not hard to find, Andy…

bill May 8, 2012 at 9:53 pm

Gee, andy, if we can just put your tales of righteous woe on hold for a moment, please remind us; which great thinker was it that said -

This is climate politics. It’s a dirty game, Get used to it.
I am just enjoying the show.


And the context for that brilliant insight was?…

Do you know what a hypocrite is, andy?

Any examples, you say? You’re kidding, right? Oh, let me guess, you’ve swallowed some nasty guff over at the Bishop’s and now you reckon you’re going to cough it all up and get your gotcha moment, do you? I’m right, aren’t I?

Pathetic. Yep, Quadrant and The Australian, right up there with HI in the credibility stakes…

bill May 8, 2012 at 10:06 pm

Right, let’s get a bit pre-emptive, shall we?

In the case of the 30 or so climate scientists mentioned previously, many received hate emails that were well beyond the pale. And yes, there were specific threats of violence, sexual assault and worse. In the most stomach-churning case, a woman’s children – a toddler and a pre-schooler – were named and threatened. Why wouldn’t she be rattled? She received those emails because she agreed to be photographed by a local newspaper to promote a community tree-planting event, and was briefly quoted as urging people to come along and plant trees to mitigate climate change. Disagree by all means, but write a letter to the newspaper’s editor, and sign it.

None of the scientists bragged about being a target, and all were apologetic about forwarding to our newspaper examples of the hate mail they received. So it came as a surprise to learn last week that a Sydney climate blogger had made a freedom of information request to obtain examples of these emails from the Australian National University. The ANU initially refused to release the documents, and in response to a formal appeal by the blogger, the Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim was asked to a adjudicate. He is reported as ruling that 10 of the 11 emails sought under FoI ”do not contain threats to kill” and the other ”could be regarded as intimidating”. The emails in question pertain to one scientist, ANU Climate Change Institute director Professor Will Steffen. He was among the group of 30 contacted by The Canberra Times, and revealed the worst threat he received – and we will not divulge it – was made verbally to one of his staff. It was the chilling nature of that threat – and the casual way in which it was made – that prompted the ANU to question its security arrangements. If they had not, they would have been guilty of ignoring staff safety requirements.

Should you, in a feat of tactical Stupidity fully equal to some of those mentioned above, elect to proceed with the forecast line of ‘debunking’, could you then please outline for us the moral distinction you evidently believe to exist between denigrating the validity of the fears of people on the receiving end of this kind of abuse, and the posting of hateful billboards beside the freeway?

Do you just not get it, andy? You, collectively, are the barbarians.

andyS May 9, 2012 at 3:24 am

Oh no bill, I wouldn’t dare use the example above. After all it dorsnt come from Teh Grauniad, and is therefore not True.

Yes I do know what a hypocritical is bill. A hypocritical is someone who morally objects to coal, yet continues to use byproducts of coal, such as steel.

We collectively are barbarians bill.who is We in this case? Is this everyone not part of your death cult? That’s probably a good chunk of the human race.

bill May 9, 2012 at 2:56 pm

No it doesn’t come from The Guardian, it comes from the Canberra Times. But you’d actually have to read the piece and check the link to know that, and that would exclude you, wouldn’t it?

Looks like I did indeed rain all over your sad little parade there, andy. ;-)


Because employing that argument is a strategy that is truly contemptible.

Much like being reduced to the following truly Stupid desperation argument; ‘anyone environmentalist who doesn’t live in a cave is a hypocrite’.

And ‘your death cult’. Sheesh – keep it together, man. Aren’t you supposed to be demonstrating to us that you aren’t all strident ratbags?

andyS May 9, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Looks like I did indeed rain all over your sad little parade there, andy

Which parade was that? You “pre-empted” something. i.e made up something that you thought I would say, and then responded to it.

Getting a bit Gleickesque aren’t we?

Oh and I think I have every right to call people out on the coal/steel thing. maybe the great unwashed who crawl out of their combis to chain themselves to coal ships don’t actually realise that the coal was used to make their frikken combi. or maybe they think that they are “victims” and the evil capitalist man got them ‘addicted” to fossil fuels and they can’t help the fact that 4000 years of civilisation has gone before them to get us where we are.

I’d be more than happy to have a discussion on “low-carbon” technology (ie real tech, not bloody windmills) but no one is interested.

bill May 9, 2012 at 4:18 pm

Well, that was a rant. Rather losing it, aren’t we? ;-)

Rob Taylor May 9, 2012 at 8:30 am

So, taking responsibility for our impact on the planet, based on scientific evidence, is nothing but a “death cult” in your opinion, Andy?

It is becoming ever more apparent who the real madmen and criminals are in this debate…

bill May 9, 2012 at 9:08 pm

If we accept the Heartland Institute’s premise, every single hunter or angler who believes our planet is warming is in league with a serial killer. In Heartland’s own words, “the most prominent advocates of global warming aren’t scientists. They are murderers, tyrants, and madmen.”

This kind of warped, twisted rhetoric is an insult to every American who hopes to pass on a healthy natural world to future generations. When the Heartland Institute ran this ad, it not only took direct aim at our hunting and fishing, it also put our children and grandchildren squarely in the cross-hairs. This dishonest attack must not go unchallenged.

Conservation Hawks is working with America’s hunters and anglers to address the single gravest threat on the horizon – climate change. We condemn the intellectually bankrupt and morally bereft Heartland Institute.

Conservation Hawks, Inc., “a group of hunters and anglers working to defend America’s sporting heritage,”

bill May 9, 2012 at 10:47 pm

It strikes me as a good plan with no major drawbacks.

I agree. I think everyone will love this.

Looks like we’ve got ourselves another leak from a Heartland board meeting! ;-)

tom May 10, 2012 at 1:51 pm


On Wednesday Heartland — a nonprofit research group that focuses primarily on anti-environmental regulation, according to its website — was dropped by the United Services Automobile Association. The USAA is a Fortune-500 financial services company that serves 8.8 million U.S. military members and their families. “In light of recent personnel departures at Heartland, we decided to end our support for the organization,” the USAA said in a statement on Facebook.

Richard Christie May 10, 2012 at 7:54 pm

Richard Treadgold’s little game of follow-the- (Heartland)-leader by creating smart arse billboards has just backfired.

bill May 10, 2012 at 11:03 pm

Aw, Richard, I’m curious now – what did the original billboard say?

And, seriously, ending a piece on the HI billboard with

But what a stupid, brave, heart-warming experiment.


Richard Christie May 10, 2012 at 11:40 pm

You know Bill, I can’t recall the copy exactly.

It was in the format of a series of popular Tui beer advertisements.

I think it said, “I still believe in Global Warming” or something similar that affirmed AGW and then followed it with the “Yeah right” catch phrase.

In local New Zealand vernacular “yeah right” translates to, in popular US jargon: “yeah sure I believe you….not”

Gareth May 10, 2012 at 11:42 pm

Like this, but with better typography.

andyS May 11, 2012 at 9:37 am

Can you confirm or deny that you are in the pay of “Big Beer”?

Gareth May 11, 2012 at 10:33 am

In debt to “little wine”, more like…

Richard Christie May 12, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Andy, I can confirm that Dominion Breweries thanked me nicely for passing on the information regarding Treadgold’s masterpiece and even offered me a free Tui tee shirt!

I declined the offer.

andyS May 12, 2012 at 5:09 pm

Good on yer mate.

Gareth May 10, 2012 at 11:43 pm

I may have more to say on RT’s warm heart…

bill May 11, 2012 at 12:05 am

Mysterious – that comment had just completely evaporated – no moderation warning, no nothing. And I didn’t even mention Soc!alism!

Please feel free to delete the one below if you can be bothered, Gareth.

(It’s not often someone says something so… well, just, um, wrong that I’m left speechless.)

‘Yeah Right’ means the same in Australia, too.

bill May 10, 2012 at 11:08 pm

Hmm, just lost one altogether, possibly for a link to Cl!mate Conversation?

Anyway, I did want to just run the final line from his post on the HI billboard -

But what a stupid, brave, heart-warming experiment.

Seriously; what can you say?

Richard Christie May 10, 2012 at 8:28 pm

Is my earlier comment in moderation? perhaps for mentioning R T’s name?

Gareth May 10, 2012 at 9:01 pm

It hit the spam filter, perhaps for the use of “arse” associated with a link to a twat. I wanted to use another word, but my daughter reads this… ;-)

andyS May 10, 2012 at 9:25 pm

At least he’s not from Scunthorpe

Rob Taylor May 10, 2012 at 11:31 pm

Evidently, Treadgold thought his lame attempt at a “Tui billboard” would be a cunning stunt, but the brand owner – thoughtfully prompted by RC – thought otherwise.

bill May 12, 2012 at 1:11 pm

So, to sum up (more at LA Times) – the results of this ‘stupid, brave, heart-warming experiment’* to date are:

Withdrawal of support from HI:

Diageo (e.g. Johnny Walker, et al)
Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers
State Farm Insurance
XL Group
Allied World Assurance
RennaissanceRe Holdings Ltd.
United Services Automobile Association

Plus the alienation of those environmental organizations, in addition to the insurers listed above, HI were working with in a coalition trying to get development away from shorelines and low-lying, flood-prone areas (I kid you not! and, yes; oh, the irony!) This is such a debacle that the entire HI unit that was engaged in this campaign may simply be forced to depart from the organization.

These are on top of GM’s and AT&T’s withdrawal of support after the furor associated with the Gleick papers release.

Withdrawal from forthcoming conference:

Laframboise -

Suddenly, we were all publicly linked to an organization that thinks it’s OK to equate people concerned about climate change with psychopaths.

McKitrick -

You cannot simultaneously say that you want to promote a debate while equating the other side to terrorists and mass murderers.

Threatened withdrawal:

Sensenbrenner -

Congressman Sensenbrenner will not participate in the upcoming Climate Change Conference if the Heartland Institute decides to continue this ad campaign.

With a cloud hanging over all remaining attendees who do not wish to be seen similarly as either similarly extremist or the fellow-travellers of such extremists.

There will also be increased scrutiny of the those who do attend (current speakers list) – the making of similarly extremist statements by any speaker, or prominent attendee, will in all probability only put more pressure on HI and its remaining supporters (e.g. Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline.)

Public distancing:

Microsoft -

The Heartland Institute does not speak for Microsoft on climate change. In fact, the Heartland Institute’s position on climate change is diametrically opposed to Microsoft’s position. And we completely disagree with the group’s inflammatory and distasteful advertising campaign.


Too many sources to list!

Have I missed / stuffed-up anything?

And can anyone point-out a more complete own-goal?

Joe Bast -

We do not apologize for running the ad, and we will continue to experiment with ways to communicate the ‘realist’ message on the climate.

Yeah, right.

*Richard Treadgold. Oh well; one out of three ain’t bad, eh? ;-)

RW May 12, 2012 at 7:23 pm

After inhaling the noxious vapours emanating from Treadgold and his idiot acolytes, I need some fresh air.

bill May 15, 2012 at 2:10 pm

We can now add BB&T, Pepsi and Eli Lilly to the list of withdrawers of funding from HI.

bill May 15, 2012 at 3:14 pm

I note that some of our old friends are on the forthcoming ICCC conference schedule.

Don Easterbrook,Ph.D.– Are Forecasts of a 20-Year Cooling Trend Credible?
[Um, no.]

Bob Carter, Ph.D. – The Misrepresentation of Science in the Public Domain
[Damn; my Irony Meter just fused again!]

Anthony Watts – How Reliable Are Twentieth Century Temperature Reconstructions?
[Very. But Anthony will doubtlessly be on his BEST behaviour!]

It’d be interesting to point out the obvious contradictions between the likely content of several of the speakers’ presentations in advance. You know: ‘we never said it wasn’t warming’ ‘but it isn’t actually warming’ ‘in fact, there’s an ice age coming’ ‘and anyway, a warmer world is a better world’ and all that…

bill May 15, 2012 at 3:20 pm

Oh, and JM reports that the Illinois Coal Association is now a ICCC7 Gold Sponsor!

Some people really cannot conceive of how they look from the outside, can they? ;-)

John Mashey May 15, 2012 at 4:10 pm

I also report that in Canada, BigCityLib<. is doing fine work, having emailed many Heartland Experts to see if:
a) They were aware of such status.
b) It was a status they wished to continue.

Answers varied, as referencing WaPo story on Landsea & Bastardi, Paul Reiter, Miklos Zagoni, Chris Landsea, and Dennis Avery.

No NZ names yet, somebody might ask.

bill May 15, 2012 at 10:09 pm

Pay back the love!?!

I note that NZ’s own NZCScC* is a Silver Sponsor of the forthcoming Deniapalooza, along with equivalent scientific luminaries, such as the International variant, the aptly named junkscience.com, the SEPP (a bit like the ‘Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’, that one!), and others who don’t like to boast about their indubitable sciencey credentials, such as the Ayn Rand Institute, the Australian Libertarian Society, the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance, the Austrian Economics Center, the Berlin Manhattan Institute (I’m confused now!) and Ice Age NOW (Woah!; that’s a pretty heavy demand, guys!)

Oh, and various other august permutations of ‘Freedom’ ‘Frontier’ and ‘Liberty’. (I wonder if they ever end up forgetting that ‘we’re the People’s Front of Judea!’? ;-) )

*the little ‘c’ stands for ‘cough’

John Mashey May 16, 2012 at 2:16 pm

You may have thought this was dumb (and it was).
For the sequel, see Illinois Coal Association Emerges As Heartland Denial-a-Palooza Sponsor.

About a week *after* the billboard, a new Gold Sponsor appeared, including Peabody, Arch, and Murray … i.e., biggies. Think hard about the multiple ways in which this public sponsorship might not have been wise.

bill May 16, 2012 at 2:53 pm

It’s appeared!

Roosters of the Apocalypse: How the Junk Science of Global Warming Nearly Bankrupted the Western World. (Rael Jean Isaac – Heartland Books 2012)


(Why do I just know that the relevant bird is going to be a Turkey? ;-) )

andyS May 16, 2012 at 7:43 pm

I’m quite enjoying your blow by blow account Bill. I hadn’t heard of this “Rooster” book before. Maybe you should go to the conference?

bill May 16, 2012 at 10:35 pm

‘Roosters of the Apocalypse’ came up with previous discussion with JM as a bizarre line item in the leaked HI budget. This is the kind of intriguing phrase that cries out for explanation. Now we know.

RotA’s a great title. Even the cover graphic’s rather cool. Things start going downhill immediately thereafter, though…

andyS May 16, 2012 at 10:53 pm

It’s interesting looking through the reviews of this book, on Amazon and elsewhere.

They are all either 4/5 stars or one star.

Pretty much like its sister title Watermelons,by our old friend James Delingpole, which I think tells a similar story.

One statement that we can probably all agree on from Delingpole’s book is this:

There is no middle ground.

Mike Palin May 16, 2012 at 7:34 pm

Between the billboard and Gleick episodes, Heartland should consider the likelihood of internal sabotage. Paranoia will destroy ya!

bill May 16, 2012 at 10:38 pm

I suspect the origin of the sabotage is intracranial, Mike! ;-)

Rob Taylor May 16, 2012 at 10:04 pm

Andy, if all one wanted was a cheap laugh, it’s better than the Comedy Festival over at Treadgold’s Climate Conversation blog, and think of all the carbon you save!


andyS May 16, 2012 at 10:29 pm

Rob, I must admit that after nearly 200 comments about hot spots and boreholes, I am starting to fade a little, humour or otherwise.

Must be old age..

andyS May 16, 2012 at 11:14 pm

Although the wind powered car story, courtesy of Sky News, should cheer us all up


Thomas May 17, 2012 at 6:35 am

Another fine example of somebody with great intentions being unaware of the laws of physics… but it looks pretty! ;-)

Rob Taylor May 17, 2012 at 9:32 am

The humour, Andy, is in the “knit your own physics” approach taken by ignoranti such as Treadgold finding settled science “unpersuasive” and others thinking that heat only flows upwards, or that the mythical “missing hot spot” somehow invalidates 150 years of observation and experiment…

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