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Leaky Koch Disease

scarshapedstar's picture

So an insider has unceremoniously dumped a number of internal documents from the Heartland Institute, a Koch front group. And it's a doozy. People are making a fuss over the "controversy" based climate denialism, but that's so obvious, it's not what intrigued me. Skimmed over one doc so far. After a fairly entertaining couple of grafs tying together fracking, anti-net neutrality, charter schools, untested pharma, and tort "reform", they got to talking about Wisconsin...

C. Operation Angry Badger [*snicker* sounds dirty!]

Wisconsin was the focus of national attention due to recall campaigns waged in 2011, and campaigns are taking place in 2012 against Gov. Scott Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and three Republican senators who voted for Act 10, the landmark collective bargaining reform legislation adopted in 2011. We have been following the Wisconsin debate closely, reporting on it in Budget & Tax News, commenting in op-eds and LTEs and on blogs, doing television and radio interviews, and sending research and commentary to elected officials in Wisconsin and nationally.


The recall elections of 2012 amount to a referenda on collective bargaining reform at the state level, making them of national interest. Successful recalls would be a major setback to the national effort to rein in public sector compensation and union power. Heartland is the largest and most influential national free-market think tank in the Midwest, so we are in the right place and with the right resources to help defend and secure Wisconsin’s recent gains.

So I guess that means Scott Walker's claim that this was all about balancing budgets was in fact a fucking lie? Funny how these guys will admit that and the SCLM won't, eh?

We are contemplating five projects:
1. Recruit and promote superintendents who support Act 10
2. Explain the benefits of Act 10
3. Document the shortcomings of public schools in Wisconsin
4. Expose teacher pay in key districts
5. Create blogs that shadow small town newspaper coverage of the controversy

You don't say! Why, it's almost as if the right-wing blogosphere is one big astroturf farm! Speaking of, who's the farmer? (Also, why do I suspect these "small town newspapers" sprang up last month?)

We anticipate that this project will cost about $612,000. Maureen Martin, Heartland’s legal counsel, with be the chief researcher and writer for this project. The anonymous donor has pledged $100,000 toward this project. We are circulating a proposal to other potential funders.

Damn, it costs that much to "recruit" a few superintendents? Interesting. Maybe those are just some expensive-ass blogs. Anyway, I wonder if Maureen Martin would be willing to reveal exactly which blogs she is maintaining as "chief writer"?

Well, gang, I'm gonna print these out and curl up in bed with a highlighter. This is gonna be loads of fun.

Oh, and there's a page with the emails and phone numbers of their entire Board of Directors, which I'll just leave here...

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scarshapedstar's picture
Submitted by scarshapedstar on

Okay, actually, the climate stuff is pretty entertaining.

We are
pursuing a proposal from Dr. David Wojick to produce a global warming curriculum for K-12 schools. Dr. Wojick is a consultant with the Office of Scientific and Technical Information at the U.S. Department of Energy in the area of information and communication science. His effort will focus on providing curriculum that shows that the topic of climate change is controversial and uncertain - two key points that are effective at dissuading teachers from teaching science.

Full stop. Nice! (Wojick, according to another document, "has a Ph.D. in the philosophy of science and mathematical logic from the University of Pittsburgh and a B.S. in civil engineering from Carnegie Tech." Evidently that's good enough to "pay Dr. Wojick $5,000 per module, about $25,000 a quarter, starting in the second quarter of 2012, for this work"!)

Heartland plays an important role in climate communications, especially through our in-house experts (e.g., [James] Taylor) through his Forbes blog and related high profile outlets, our conferences, and through coordination with external networks (such as WUWT [James Watt's $90,000 astroturf blog, see below] and other groups capable of rapidly mobilizing responses to new scientific findings, news stories, or unfavorable blog posts).

This seems to be a theme with these guys...

Efforts at places such as Forbes are especially important now that they have begun to allow highprofile climate scientists (such as Gleick) to post warmist science essays that counter our own.
This influential audience has usually been reliably anti-climate [curious phrasing...] and it is important to keep opposing voices out.

Dare I ask how that might be accomplished...?

Efforts might also include cultivating more neutral voices with big audiences (such as Revkin at DotEarth/NYTimes, who has a well-known antipathy for some of the more extreme AGW communicators such as Rornm, Trenberth, and Hansen) or Curry (who has become popular with our supporters).

Not exactly a surprise that the Old Gray Whore showed up, innit?

We have have also pledged to help raise around $90,000 in
2012 for Anthony Watts to help him create a new website to track temperature station data.

Sweet! His "undercover" work is already being, ah, celebrated in his own comment section.

scarshapedstar's picture
Submitted by scarshapedstar on

Turns out the "Curry" mentioned is one Judith Curry. Never heard of her, but I googled her name + Heartland and found this post on her blog.

I have not attended any of their conferences. I was invited to present at the 2009 conference but I declined. However, I have spent a considerable amount of time going through the videos and powerpoint presentations of several of the Heartland climate conferences. The Heartland Institute has become a focal point for organized climate change skepticism, although I will add that much climate change skepticism does not associate in any way with the Heartland Institute.

Jump to the bottom of the thread and who do you see?

David Wojick | July 29, 2011 at 6:25 pm

Pekka, this is all just speculation presented as likely facts. You are postulating a speculative model of CO2 exchange. Please present it as such, so we can assess it.


Submitted by Hugh on

Kleptocrats and their whores. You have to wonder who and how much they had to pay someone to come up with a name like Heartland Institute. It's solid and reassuring and the "institute" bit gives it scholarly and intellectual heft. Perfect rube bait and cover for another Koch brother propaganda mill.

I mean it sort of invites you to come up with other possible names. Sockpuppets for Billionaires or SOBs for short. Or how about the Center for Responsible Alternative Policy or CRAP? Or the Blog of United Liberty Lovers (BULL)? This last could team up with the Society for Hard Intellectual Truths to produce, you guessed it, BULLSHIT.