Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Heartland Institute vs The Angry Badger

The Heartland Institute is a self-described libertarian group (read a hive of collectively-thinking ultraconservative nut jobs) that think they have an influence in the Midwest in pushing the corporate agenda of breaking the unions, destroying the environment by arguing against global warning and even have worked hand in hand with companies like Phillip Morris in an effort to try to show smoking doesn't cause lung cancer.

To get a better idea of what kind of people they are, well, they get their funding in part by the Bradley Foundation, whose CEO is Michael Grebe, the same guy that's chaired Walker's campaign and is back in that position now. Oh, and the Koch Brothers have been known to fund their efforts at turning the county into a corporate state.

So what this has to do with anything? Well, they've set their targets on us, the good people of Wisconsin.

In their 2012 Fundraising Plan, which they did not want to be publicly known, the Heartland Institute has a section starting on page 13 a section titled "Operation Angry Badger." Here's what they have to say about us and their anti-Wisconsin agenda:
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.

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
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.
We know that this group is without scruples and will do everything and anything they can to prevent the people from reclaiming Wisconsin from the very same corporate interests that fund this shadow group.

I say let's show them what angry badgers are all about!


  1. I was intrigued by what this 'Angry Badger thing was about (I'm from the UK) - so thanks for this post. I note that the Heartland Institute are waging a campaign asking "Are Wisconsin Teachers are really underpaid?" In which case it might be interesting to counter with some details of the salaries that the Heartland Institute hands out to itself:

  2. According to their figures the average salary for a teacher with a four-year college degree is $40,976 and for someone with a Masters $52,208 . Those aren't starting salaries - they are the average of all teachers including ones with decades of experience.

    By contrast Office Managers at the Heartland Institute would appear to be on about $60,000 a year:

  3. Wingnut welfare is a fully funded program.

  4. So they are going to highlight problems that schools have, are they? Instead of helping the schools they are trying to make our teachers look bad?

  5. Wingnut dead-beat Dad Congressman Joe Walsh of the Illinois 8th District comes out of the Heartland Institute....That should tell you everything you need to know!

  6. Look at table 5 and 6 at the report. One single donor "Anonymous Donor" or "AD" has given Heartland over $13 Million since 2007.

    "Anonymous Donor" has already committed $100,000
    to "Operation Angry Badger", Heartland expects another possible donation of $250,000 for Operation Angry Badger or similar from this "AD" later in the year.

    Who is "Anonymous Donor"?

  7. And if that wasn't enough, gaze upon what else the Heartland Institute is up to:

    1. And shortly after I posted that, I realized that both were from the same document. Natch.