Nazi “Greta” is Heartland Institute’s Death Rattle

March 8, 2020

Last ditch attempt to promote Nazi Youth is not enough.

The Heartland Institute, which has been a conduit for anti-science information for decades, is failing financially, even as it’s efforts reach full flower in the current corona-virus denial we see coming from the Republican Party and its base.

Above, I was fortunate to attend one of Heartland’s “climate conferences” in 2012 – and fortunate also not to have ever been back.

Huffington Post:

An influential climate-denial think tank bankrolled by President Donald Trump’s far-right billionaire donors has laid off nearly a dozen staffers amid financial troubles, according to three former employees.

The Illinois-based Heartland Institute ― which captured headlines last month for promoting a German teenager with ties to neo-Nazis as the climate denier’s alternative to acclaimed youth activist Greta Thunberg ― pink-slipped at least 10 staffers Friday, shedding what one former employee described as “more than half” the organization’s staff.

“Heartland is broke,” Nikki Comerford, the nonprofit’s events coordinator on staff for nearly 21 years, told a former colleague in a text message, a screenshot of which HuffPost reviewed.

Comerford blamed Frank Lasée, the former Wisconsin Republican state lawmaker who took over as Heartland’s president last July, for squandering the organization’s budget during his nascent tenure and leaving the group in dire financial straits. Another former employee accused Lasée of mismanaging the budget, and private Facebook posts from other current staffers expressed dismay over the state of the organization, but HuffPost could not independently verify the state of Heartland’s finances because the nonprofit’s tax filings for 2019 are not yet due.

“Frank Lasee spent all of our money in six months including the savings,” she wrote in a text. “They had to lay off more than half the staff today and more coming. What an asshole.”

Lasée did not respond to an email requesting comment on Friday night, but HuffPost confirmed the details with two former employees who left Heartland between 2016 and 2017 but maintained ties to the organization.

When, in late 2017, then-Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt began planning a sort of mock trial on climate science, pitting credible researchers against industry-backed rogues, Heartland submitted a list of 145 names of contrarian scientists to consider.

A HuffPost investigation found that the list included a child sex offender: Oliver Manuel, a nuclear chemist whose crank theories about the sun alienated even the most ardent climate deniers, and who was convicted of attempted sodomy of an 11-year-old girl. In a response to the exposé, EPA distanced itself from Heartland. Five days after the story was published, Heartland, which is known to attempt to publicly discredit journalists and critics, disputed the nature of the list in a statement calling HuffPost “shameful and even disgusting.”

Last month, Heartland made a bid for a comeback. The group announced that it hired Naomi Seibt, a 19-year-old German who makes YouTube videos railing against what she calls the “alarmism” of millions of youth climate activists. Heartland cast Seibt as the climate-skeptic right’s answer to Greta Thunberg, the Swedish 17-year-old whose demands for radical action to halt planet-heating emissions captured the world’s attention and won her the title of 2019’s Time Person of the Year. 

“The events surrounding Koprowski put a real damper on Heartland’s momentum in 2017,” a second former employee said by phone. “Naomi Seibt was meant to be a way for Heartland to reappear on the map.”

But Seibt, too, became a lightning rod for controversy. Her mother, Karoline Seibt, is an attorney who works with Alternative für Deutschland, Germany’s far-right nationalist party with ties to neo-Nazis. In 2018, the mother was pictured partying with Milo Yiannopoulos, the far-right former star columnist at Breitbart who, according to BuzzFeed News, pushed white nationalist ideology into mainstream U.S. politics.

Following a terrorist attack on a synagogue in Germany last year, Naomi Seibt said in a YouTube discussion that Jews were considered “at the top” of groups perceived as oppressed, while “ordinary Germans” were “at the bottom,” The Guardian reported. Muslims, she said, landed somewhere in between. Making her American debut at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland last week, Seibt declared herself “a fan, absolutely” of white nationalist YouTuber Stefan Molyneux and defended his past remarks pining for an all-white country.

14 Responses to “Nazi “Greta” is Heartland Institute’s Death Rattle”

  1. dumboldguy Says:

    Don’t pop the corks on the champagne too soon. Their are enough rich RWNJ’s and climate deniers out there to save Heartland from itself. The fact that Heartland has survived this long in spite of being a scientific and ethical joke should tell us something.

    (And has anyone noticed that Seibt’s looks are a bit odd? Not unattractive, but sort of “alien” or “cartoonish”—-a line of “Naomi Dolls” would likely sell well)

  2. Keith McClary Says:

    “And has anyone noticed that Seibt’s looks are a bit odd? Not unattractive, but sort of ‘alien’ or ‘cartoonish’ ”

    It’s called “makeup”.

  3. Lionel Smith Says:

    The trouble with ‘Lasée fair’ economics.

  4. Peter Scheffler Says:

    Hey folks, please back off the comments about Seibt’s looks. Not relevant and unkind. I realize it’s tempting, given that the original Nazis made lots of derogatory remarks about how the Jews looked. Thanks.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Leave it to someone with the good German name of Scheffler to bring Godwin’s Law into play by talking about what Nazis did. Lord love a duck!

      It may be tempting to YOU, Peter, to go off into those bushes, but her looks ARE a bit unusual, and that’s all our comments refer to.

    • mboli Says:

      Thank you Peter Scheffler!

      Reading that comments about Siebt’s feels kind of grimy. It is not what civilized people do.

      I’ll add that when people post that kind of trash talk about somebody’s looks it discredits the Climate Crocks web site.

      The site is partly judged by the type of comments it attracts.

      (And chooses not to delete: I hope @greenman’s moderator removes them.)

      • dumboldguy Says:

        Now we have some delusional comments about what is “politically correct” and what’s “civilized”? LOL—what is UNcivilized and even downright stupid is bringing up Nazis and their treatment of the Jews when it had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the comments that were made. Grow up, you PC morons! Find something real to obsess over.

      • Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

        She is 19 and an adult and put herself on media for (no proof but high confidence) personal aggrandizement and/or profit. In this case, crimes against humanity. Being nice and quoting facts has failed. Time for some denigration and some unkind attacking.

  5. […] via Nazi “Greta” is Heartland Institute’s Death Rattle | Climate Denial Crock of the Week […]

  6. Majura Wombat Says:

    The list that Heartland provided the EPA is strange to say the least. If I was trying to put together a red team I would include some people with some semblance of scientific credibility such as Lindzen, Curry and Christie. The list published by Huffpost appears to consist almost entirely of members of spin factories whose claims to any sort of expertise are in economics and energy.

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