Thursday, March 7, 2013

MacIver Institute - Most Definitely Not A News Service

A year ago, I exposed the MacIver Institute for being the right wing propaganda machine they really are.

A few months later, writing for the Shepherd Express, I also pointed out how they have gotten themselves in some hot water due to the way they play fast and loose with the laws of the land:
In March, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign (WDC) announced that it had filed a complaint with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service against the MacIver Institute, the Heartland Institute and Americans for Prosperity (AFP), another group that has received funding from the Koch brothers and the Bradley Foundation. In its complaint, WDC accuses AFP and MacIver of violating their 501(c)(3) status by creating their "It's Working Wisconsin" project, which spent $1.2 million on advertising alone, urging people not to sign the recall petitions. In addition, WDC accused these groups of holding public meetings and other activities to try to influence the outcome of the recalls. WDC also alleged that the Chicago-based Heartland Institute's planned "Operation Angry Badger"—a public relations effort to support Walker in the recall—would violate the group's tax-exempt status.
But now they have completely beclowned themselves more than I could ever hope to do.

With a tip of the crown to Carol at blue cheddar, we see that the intrepid news service has found that a UW professor is allegedly tied in with a group that promotes seal clubbing:
An organization called Freedom Ferrous is trying to attract attention to Sauk County's iron mining potential, while reassuring the public this would lead to thousands of jobs, lower property taxes, more tourism, prostitution and seal clubbing, according to its brochure "American Iron for American Jobs."

This brochure was available at a display in the Capitol Rotunda this week. Dr. Joseph Skulan, University of Wisconsin-Madison's Department of Geoscience, told the MacIver News Service he took out the permit for the display.
Here is the brochure which they mention. Please do take a read, because it's one of the funniest things I've seen in a long time.

The "think tank" even stopped thinking long enough to post this as part of their "expose":
Skulan's science-based arguments in conversation contrast sharply with the tone of Freedom Ferrous' brochures.

"Acid mine drainage does not happen in modern mining. And any acid mine drainage that does happen can be controlled with a combination of modern science and legislation. Remember, under Wisconsin law there are no sulfides in iron mines. No sulfides means no acid mine drainage," the brochure reads.
The part that got me laughing so hard as to bring tears to my eyes was when the professor in question left this comment on their post (emphasis mine):
The title of this article (UW Prof Tied to Group Promoting Seal Clubbing?) is a scurrilous attack on my integrity. As is clearly explained in the Freedom Ferrous brochure, “seal clubbing for the kids”
is only one of the activities that will be available at Big Joe Lake. Adults will have an assortment of other amusements to choose from, including porpoise hunting and cruises on our pleasure barges. Big Joe Lake will be a wholesome destination for the whole family, and not merely, as you imply, a place to take the little ones for a bit of fun.

I will pass over as undeserving of comment most of the other inaccuracies in your article (you might want to look up the difference between ‘geology’ and ‘geography.’ If you read all the way to the end of each word you’ll see that they are different). However, I cannot leave unchallenged the imputation that Freedom Ferrous is not serious about iron mining, that we are some kind of joke. You should know that Freedom Ferrous’ plans for an iron mine in Sauk County are as serious and well thought out as those of any company currently proposing an iron mine in Wisconsin.
Something tells me the professor's comment was much too subtle and much too clever for the "think tank."

Y'know, it's one thing to get punked, but it's a whole other thing to punk yourself.

I won't pretend to know whether they bought on to this hook, line and seal club because they are just that dense or whether it's because they've been telling lies for so long that they can no longer discern truth from fantasy.

But it should cast a whole new light on the way they keep claiming that Scott Walker's agenda is working, when just about everyone else in the state, including Walker himself, knows all too well that it's not.

You can find Freedom Ferrous' Facebook page here.


  1. But you know, if we did have seals in Wisconsin, Joel Kleefisch would propose a clubbing season.

    1. Quick! Someone needs to add seal clubbing to the new McKenzie Environmental Center RFP! Who could possibly be against clubs for kids? Only anti-American anti-family mine fanatics, that's who!

      Gosh, this is fun. Maybe I should consider a career change. Do you suppose the MacIver Institute is hiring?