Heartland CEO Joe Bast Calls Bill McKibben and Michael Mann ‘Madmen’

Leo blog : The Heartland Institute conference billboard in ChicagoThe Heartland Institute is doubling down on its widely-condemned effort to label leading proponents of climate science as “murderers, tyrants, and madmen.”

CEO Joe Bast has sent a letter to one of the scholars who “have expressed trepidation about continuing their long-time associations with us.” Not to worry, says Bast, we’re still into wacky hate speech, same as ever, we just will use our website — and not billboards — to smear folks. He explains:

Of course, what’s fake here is, well, pretty much every single word in this letter. Heartland lecturing folks on accuracy? If you look up chutzpah in the dictionary….

Heartland posted a statement saying “We do not apologize for running the ad.” And they kept online their original defense of the billboard, which made absurd statements like, “the most prominent advocates of global warming aren’t scientists. They are murderers, tyrants, and madmen.” Some mistake.

Obviously, Bast stands by this nonsense. The uber-vindicated Michael Mann, one of the most highly regarded climatologists in the country, had this to say in reply to Bast:

Being called a “mad man” by Joe Bast & Heartland is like being called overexposed by Kim Kardashian.

Michael Mann and Bill McKibben?

UPDATE: The too-sane-for-this-world Bill McKibben sends me this response:

Was preparing to feel insulted, but then I thought … Don Draper! and fired up some Johnny Mathis on my spotify.

How out of touch are Bast and Heartland?

They post their beyond-the-pale extremism in a blog named “Somewhat Reasonable”:

In the Bizarro World of Htrae that Heartland inhabits, I guess Somewhat Reasonable = Most Unreasonable.

Finally, Bast just can’t stop defending the billboard with nonsensical arguments:

Our billboard was factual: The Unabomber was motivated by concern over man-made global warming to do the terrible crimes he committed. He still believes in global warming. We simply put his picture on a billboard, pointed out the “inconvenient truth,” and asked, “do you?”

But wait, I thought Bast just said the billboard was a mistake? In any case, as Greenwire reported on the Unabomber’s manifesto (which you can confirm online):

The words “climate change” don’t appear in the manifesto, nor are there references to “global warming” or “carbon.”

Asked about this discrepancy, Heartland spokesman Jim Lakely pointed to a passage from Kaczynski’s manifesto that says the Industrial Revolution has “inflicted severe damage on the natural world.”



29 Responses to Heartland CEO Joe Bast Calls Bill McKibben and Michael Mann ‘Madmen’

  1. Pangolin says:

    I’m waiting for Heartland to denounce math. After all Ted Kaczynski did have a legitimate PhD in mathematics.

  2. Mike Roddy says:

    Bill and Mike should respond with a link to a clip from Peewee’s Big Adventure, where James Brolin says “I know you are, but what am I?”

  3. Chris Winter says:

    “Asked about this discrepancy, Heartland spokesman Jim Lakely pointed to a passage from Kaczynski’s manifesto that says the Industrial Revolution has ‘inflicted severe damage on the natural world’.”

    “That’s right,” Lakely went on to say, “all those coal-fired steam engines, coal- and diesel-fueled trains, motor vehicles of all kinds, electric power plants, industrial facilities generally, and the extraction industries that power them. We support all these things, just because the Unabomber opposed them. He was a madman, after all, to think they should be limited in any way.”


  4. Merrelyn Emery says:

    When you back a wild animal into a corner, it comes out fighting, like a wild animal, ME

  5. SecularAnimist says:

    In a sane world, Bast would be facing a multimillion-dollar lawsuit for slander and defamation.

  6. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    As is pretty plain to anyone who has studied Rightwing psychopathology in any detail, if only in a dilettantish fashion, this behaviour was utterly predictable. When thwarted in any way, the Right always go ape-shit, out of outraged frustration that they have not got their way, which they see as their right by virtue of greater egomania and boundless contempt and hatred for others and their rights and interests. They prefer violence and bullying intimidation as methods, and having failed to browbeat and threaten the laws of physics, climate science or the facts into acquiescence, they are rapidly losing the plot. I think it would be a fatal mistake to underestimate just how visceral and violent is the hatred of the Right for environmentalism and environmentalists. The threat to their way of life, of consuming more and more, forever (in a pathetic attempt to fill their spiritual and moral emptiness within)represented by the limits of the finite planet, cannot bring about any transformation in these creatures through reflection and intellectual and spiritual growth. They are, tragically for us all, incapable of these, and will always return to invective, hate and threats to get their way. The half-decent fraction of the Right is being purged by outbreaks like this, and the ever more fanatical diehards will simply grow more and more extreme. That has been the evolution of denialism over its sordid history, and I see absolutely no chance of it ever changing.

  7. SecularAnimist says:

    No need to disparage “wild animals”. There are no nonhuman animals who behave like Bast. Some types of evil are peculiar to human beings.

  8. M Tucker says:

    Bast will not back off from the ad. He really cannot lose by standing by it and the arguments will always be nonsensical. They are preaching to the choir and that is the song the choir wants to sing. However, it is interesting that Bast seems to know so much about Kaczynski and what he believes now. Even if that madman did say he believed that global warming was a problem it is a lame argument. It would be easy to associate Hitler with Volkswagen and Ford with anti-Semitism…so what.

    Bast and Heartland really wants to smear everyone “on the other side of the issue” but he will focus on just a few who have a high profile like Dr Mann and Bill McKibben. Anyone with half a brain sees through Bast’s insanity and those with less than half belong to Heartland.

  9. Mike 22 says:

    Bast is at the fore front of a science denial movement which is at least a billion times more dangerous than the Unabomber–based on the delays created already.

    Inevitably, the whole world will look back at these insane people and see them for the monsters they are–a billion time worse than Charles Manson.

  10. Solar Jim says:

    The spelling for this institute of carbonic acid gas purveyors is incorrect. It should be Heartless Institute. It is exhausted, exhausting and one of many American examples of impoverishing and predatory corporatism. All entities associated with it should be boycotted.

  11. D. R. Tucker says:

    The Co-director of a new watch dog group, Checks and Balances, joins The Green Front to talk about what they’ve unearthed from ultra conservative think tanks about plans to destroy our earth! Gabe Elsner digs up more dirt on the American Tradition Institute, a new coalition aimed at discrediting climate science and viability of renewable energy sources, in order to preserve the status quo dominance of fossil fuels and erode support for President Obama. Next, teen climate activist Alec Loorz of Imatter, brings us up to date on legal efforts to hold all three branches of government accountable for taking steps to reduce climate change.

  12. bjedwards says:

    I still marvel that Heartland’s Board of Directors allows Bast anywhere near a keyboard or microphone.

    Or does the Board have any say at all?

  13. Jay Dee Are says:

    Adolf Hitler was Catholic. Are all Catholics

  14. Ozonator says:

    In all fairness, al-Qaida is also against global warming – and the Looter Limbaughs rarely have said anything bad about them …

    “Chuck Schumer Wants Extremism? Maybe We Should Give Him Some … March 30, 2011 … RUSH: … Frankly, folks, I want some extremists when it comes to budget cutting. … Maybe Boehner could put one of those headdresses on and pretend to be a member of the Arab League … Republicans … John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, do you see extremists?  … our economic liberty. … the Democrat … they’re destroying everything … like this cap and trade from the EPA. … Obama and Mrs. Clinton are suggesting now that we … start arming the rebels in Libya.  … arm Al-Qaeda — and yet, ladies and gentlemen, we, you and me, are the extremists.” (the old, ugly and evil Rush “looting” Limbaugh whistlesucker perfuming the stink at

  15. Ozonator says:

    Now if Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri decided to run for any US office, I am sure he would be treated as bad as any Democrat veteran who bravely served to cover the GOP’s aka conservative draft dodging abundance.

  16. Sou says:

    Bast has admitted he’s got no argument against the science by resorting to name calling and effectively saying everyone except science deniers are sociopaths.

    Godwin’s Law in action.

    However admitting defeat re the science does not mean he admits defeat. I’ve noticed on blogs generally climate science denialism comes and goes in waves. The higher the wave the less coherent are the science deniers and the more they resort to name calling.

    In Australia, substitute Professor Flannery, who has become Australia’s Al Gore – and subject to arguable defamation and an endless stream of out of context quotes, misattributed quotes and outright lies.

    For simplicity’s sake, disinformers focus on one or two individuals at a time. Disinformation campaigns are not based on science, they are based on defamation of high profile individuals. In this case keeping it very simple, labelling people who study science and those who communicate science as ‘madmen’.

  17. dorlomin says:

    “Victim envy” is one of the key motivators of the antiscience movement. They see the sympathy their vitriol creates for people like Dr Mann and they want to wallow in victimhood to try to gain the same kind of sympathy. This is why they are always bleating about holocausts and (ironically) ow being a sceptic will soon mean they have to wear yellow badges

    This is just another example of their victim envy. They made an asbolute clusterf*ck of a poster campaign and now they want to paint themselves as equal victims because people call them on their antiscience.

    “Ideological extreamists”, “ongoing attack”. It paints themselves as the poor marginalised victims.

  18. J Bowers says:

    Heartland expert Alan Caruba writes today (my bold)…

    “God knows I would like to ignore or — better still — never have to hear from these climate Nazis, but that is not going to happen so long as The New York Times, the United Nations, and a host of others keep repeating their lethal lies.”

  19. dorlomin says:

    Alan Caruba is a critic of Islam. Caruba writes “Islam, from its beginning in 632 A.D. has always had the goal of killing or enslaving every Jew on planet Earth

    In the late 1970s Caruba founded the PR firm The Caruba Organization, and in 1990, the National Anxiety Center, which identifies itself as “a clearinghouse for information about ‘scare campaigns’ designed to influence public policy and opinion” on such subjects as global warming, ozone depletion and DDT


    These are the people that are driving this debate?

  20. Steven Leibo says:

    I think we should encourage Heartland in all its work. I can’t think of a better ally than they have been for the climate movement in recent years. Every time they put their foot in their mouths again we make progress. Long live the Heartland Institute.

  21. wxbee says:

    The billboard campaign is clearly an attempt at guilt-by-association, and that sword cuts both ways. I now think of the Heartland Institute as the Unabomber Institute.

  22. Chris Winter says:

    That’s quite a rant. I call Godwin on it. A couple of notes:

    The ranter calls himself a science writer. Alan Caruba is a science writer? It’s a mystery to me how he manages to find work, if this is typical of his output, unless he survives by writing similar stuff.

    And he mentions a new book by “Dr. Robert Zubin” (sic). Alas, I hate hearing that Zubrin (correct spelling) has followed in the wake of Harrison Schmitt and become an environmentalist-denouncer. Looking at Zubrin’s interview in Front Page magazine, I note his roster of 12 historical and contemporary figures who, he claims, all use Al Gore’s phrase “An inconvenient truth.” Unfortunately for this thesis, every single one of Zubrin’s quotes has that phrase outside the quotation marks. So, like other deniers, he makes up stuff. But perhaps we should be grateful for small favors; at least we know he refrains from total fabrication in these quotes.

    But that’s a small favor indeed. Like every true denier, Zubrin claims global warming is a hoax whose purpose is a power grab by environmentalists.

  23. Dennis says:

    Is it just me, or does anyone else here get the feeling that, thanks to the Heartland Institute’s stupid billboard camapaign and the failure of so many in the denialsphere to firmly condemn it, that the climate deniers have official invoked Goodwin’s Law as a regular part of their argument?

  24. Merrelyn Emery says:

    You are right. My apologies to wild animals everywhere. I wonder if any of this behaviour would qualify under the proposed ecocide laws in the International Court, ME

  25. Anne van der Bom says:

    Did any of the other right wing think tanks comment on this? Do they distance themselves from the Heartland Institute to not be dragged down with them?

  26. Richard Lee Dechert says:

    Mr. Bast’s increasingly bizarre behavior suggests that he may be suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. He clearly manifests some of its symptoms, and they’re apparently being reinforced by Heartland colleagues and supporters. So goes the psychopathology of global warming/climate change denial.

  27. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    I’m afraid you are slightly in error. Kaczynski caused the deaths of three people, whereas the denialist genocidaires will cause seven or so billion deaths, so they are, in fact, two billion, not one billion, times worse than the Unabomber.

  28. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Sou, Flannery cops a lot of abuse, but from such deranged wretches that he must be pleased by the tribute to his intelligence, honesty and good character that they infer. To suffer a typically slimy hate offensive from ‘The Australian’ is, I would say, the finest testament to one’s moral rectitude that I can imagine. If I was a public figure and received praise in any form from that ‘organ’, I would be inconsolable.

  29. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    What would the Rightwing Authoritarian Personality do without its enemies and its paranoia?