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Wed, 2012-05-09 13:35Brendan DeMelle
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Corporate Exodus From Heartland Institute Continues As USAA and Insurers Bail

In the wake of the outrageous Heartland Institute billboard campaign equating everyone who acknowledges the science of global warming with “murderers, tyrants, and madmen,” many of the group's corporate donors are fleeing away, lest their public reputations get sullied by Heartland's recklessness.  

Today, Forecast The Facts announced that USAA, a Fortune 500 financial services company, has denounced the Heartland Institute and pulled its funding. A USAA spokesperson announced their decision on Facebook, saying, “In light of recent personnel departures at Heartland, we decided to end our support for the organization.” 
 
Earlier the group announced the withdrawal of around two dozen insurance companies, most notably State Farm, who have now ditched Heartland, joining GM, AT&T, Diagio and what's sure to be a continuing list of defections. E&E ($ubscription required) has a great recap of the fallout in the early wake of the billboard disaster, and The Guardian covered the insurance industry exodus today.   
 
Bravo to these companies for dumping Heartland. It is ridiculous to describe everyone from the Pentagon, President Obama, religions leaders and a majority of global citizens as “mostly on the radical fringe of society.” In Heartland’s twisted worldview, we’re all “murderers, tyrants, and madmen.”
 
This type of reckless behavior isn't new at Heartland, in fact it's par for the course for their leadership. The billboard idea illustrates Heartland's core mentality.
 
Sun, 2012-05-06 11:26Richard Littlemore
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Diageo: Liquor giant backs away from science-dissembling Heartland Institute

The London-based liquor giant Diageo has joined the companies that are criticizing or cutting off the Heartland Institute in protest over its campaigns to confuse people about climate science and to cast prominent climate activists as “murderers, tyrants and madmen.”

As Leo Hickman reports in the Guardian, a Diageo spokester said: “Diageo vigorously opposes climate scepticism and our actions are proof of this. Diageo's only association with the Heartland Institute was limited to a small contribution made two years ago specifically related to an excise tax issue. Diageo has no plans to work with the Heartland Institute in the future.”

This news came a day after Microsoft also criticized Heartland, (although the world's second-richest computer company has not indicated that it will STOP supporting Heartland in the future). Auto giant General Motors cut off its funding of Heartland in March in apparent embarrassment over being associated with the Chicago-based “think” tank's anti-science activism. (Heartland is a big promoter of tobacco as well as a dissembler about climate science.

Look here for an excellent compilation of all the public corporations that have or continue to support Heartland (and hat's off to Brad Johnson and ForcastTheFacts.org.)

Mon, 2012-04-30 06:30Guest
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Heartland Institute Attacks Forecast the Facts, Denies Its Climate Change Denial

This is a guest post by Daniel Souweine, Campaign Director, Forecast The Facts

On April 24, Heartland Institute President Joe Bast issued an angry missive attacking Forecast the Facts, a new campaign that successfully petitioned automobile giant General Motors to end their financial support of Heartland earlier this month. In a 2,000-word screed, Bast defended his organization's efforts to disseminate anti-science propaganda to public classrooms and the general public, while making a number of wildly inaccurate claims about our group.

While much of what Bast wrote does not warrant a reply, we felt it important to address the most pernicious falsehoods, and also to remind Heartland's corporate donors exactly why support for the organization is so untenable (although Bast does an excellent job of that himself). 

The saddest and most offensive attack on Forecast the Facts is the Heartland president's suggestion that the more than 20,000 signatories of our successful petition to General Motors may not even exist, calling the petition a “fraud.” We stand by the validity of our petition one hundred percent. But even more so, we proudly affirm the existence of our members and their commitment to fighting climate change denial. The signers of the petition are real people with valid email accounts and sincere concerns that major corporations continue to support Heartland's climate change denial. (You can see some of their powerful comments here).

While Bast directs his venom at the everyday Americans who comprise the Forecast the Facts campaign, it's clear that his primary intent is to soothe the concerns of his corporate donors, many of whom are now reconsidering their support of his organization. If anything, his rant lays bare just how disreputable Bast is.

In a truly Orwellian turn, Bast vehemently denies Heartland Institute's climate change denial. (As a reminder for those less familiar with Bast, his primary focus before becoming a leader in the climate change denial movement was to question the links between smoking and lung cancer at the behest of Philip Morris, which remains a Heartland backer.) 

Fri, 2012-03-30 13:19Brendan DeMelle
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GM Dumps Heartland Institute, Will No Longer Fund Climate-Denying Spinstitute

General Motors is breaking up with the Heartland Institute, announcing recently that the company will discontinue funding to the notorious climate-denying spin shop.

The move by GM comes in direct response to a national outreach campaign organized by Forecast the Facts, which garnered more than 20,000 people, including 10,000 GM vehicle owners, calling on GM to drop its financial support of the Heartland Institute.

“We applaud GM’s decision and the message it sends: that it is no longer acceptable for corporations to promote the denial of climate change, and that support for an organization like Heartland is not in line with GM’s values. This victory belongs to the 20,000 Americans, including 10,000 GM owners, who demanded that GM put its money where its mouth is on climate change and sustainability,” said Forecast the Facts Campaign Director Daniel Souweine.

Climate One director Greg Dalton revealed the GM pullout after receiving confirmation directly from GM during an event at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club.  Dalton had pressed GM CEO Dan Akerson about its support for Heartland at a Climate One event earlier this month. Akerson said at the time that he would personally review the Heartland funding. 

Heartland President Joseph Bast was understandably upset to learn of GM's decision to cease any further financial support, but continued to push his trusty shiny penny version of events rather than own up to the real reasons for the waning support of his group's efforts. Internal Heartland documents made public last month exposed the shocking revelation of Heartland's plans to deceive schoolchildren about climate science, most notably.

Mon, 2009-02-09 22:13Richard Littlemore
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Bob Lutz, GM's Denier-in-Chief, Makes for the Exit

Bob Lutz, don’t let the door bang you in the backside on your way out of the building.

As reported in this excellent post at Solve Climate, General Motors Denier-in-Chief and Vice President for New Product Development is being excused from duty - accepting retirement to make room for Tom Stephens, the executive who has been leading the development of hybrid technology at GM.

Lutz has been GM’s leading dinosaur, the reigning champion of GM’s obsession with the fuel-guzzling muscle cars that helped Toyota become the number one automaker in the world.

If you doubt that Lutz is inflicted with a fantasy gene, check the comments that he wrote on his Fastlane blog under the headline, “You’re not rid of me yet” (he’s actually hanging around in one diminished capacity or another till the end of the year):

“Please note that I relinquish these responsibilities secure in the knowledge that the guiding philosophy of pursuit of absolute product excellence is now firmly embedded in the organization. That unquestionable fact made a very difficult decision much easier for me.

“I feel very comfortable handing over the keys to Tom Stephens, …. Tom will do a great job ensuring the continued excellence of GM’s new cars, trucks and crossovers”

Mon, 2008-07-14 11:05Kevin Grandia
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What if General Motors built the Smart Car?

What if the makers of the gas-guzzling Hummer had gotten ahold of the Smart Fortwo  car?

My guess is that it would probably look something like this:



 

Tue, 2008-06-03 16:18Emily Murgatroyd
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Is General Motors Ditching the Hummer?

General Motors has announced the closing four truck and SUV plants in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, affecting 10,000 workers, as surging fuel prices hasten a dramatic shift to smaller vehicles.

On the Hummer, General Motors CEO, Rick Wagoner said GM is:

undertaking a strategic review of the Hummer brand, to determine its fit with GM's evolving product portfolio” in light of changing market conditions. [my emphasis]

Mon, 2008-02-25 10:12Ross Gelbspan
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GM Exec: Global Warming is a 'Crock'

General Motors Corp Vice Chairman Bob Lutz has defended remarks he made dismissing global warming as a “total crock of shit,” saying his views had no bearing on GM's commitment to build environmentally friendly vehicles.

 

On GM's Fast Lane Blog , Lutz writes:

 

Never mind what I said, or the context in which I said it. My thoughts on what has or hasn’t been the cause of climate change have nothing to do with the decisions I make to advance the cause of General Motors.”

 

Wed, 2007-10-03 13:09Bill Miller
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In a classic display of corporate cynicism, Toyota fights stronger emission standards in U.S.

As the U.S. Congress debates the first substantial fuel-economy boost in decades for automakers, Toyota has joined Detroit in the fight to sustain the practices that have imperiled the planet and driven American car manufacturers to the brink of bankruptcy.

Why would the industry leader in fuel-efficient cars take such a reckless path amid growing awareness of global warming? Because there’s a lot more money to be made if Toyota can slow innovation in Detroit and sustain gas-guzzling.

Tue, 2007-09-18 10:01Kevin Grandia
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California vs. Automakers dropped - bickering continues, greenhouse gas emissions rise

A federal judge has dismissed the lawsuit filed by the State of California against auto manufacturers. The suit claimed damages against automakers for the environmental damage being caused by excessive greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles. 

Or in other words, the automakers named in the lawsuit (General Motors, Toyota, Ford Motor, Honda Motor, Daimler Chrysler and Nissan) can continue to pump greenhouse gas into our atmosphere and taxpayers will continue to foot the bill to study, plan, monitor and respond to the impacts of global warming.

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