First and foremost, I’m a full disclosure guy, and since my blog here concentrates on how everything surrounding the faulty notion that illicit funding ‘corrupts’ skeptic climate scientists, I’m compelled to mention the recent change to my own funding. However, this is also a can’t-miss opportunity to put that entire enviro-activist notion to the ultimate test, with an outright challenge to billionaire Tom Steyer to consider a far more chancy gamble than the $100 million he’s pledged toward Senate and gubernatorial races that “attack climate-change deniers” – a gamble that either makes or totally busts the two decade-old accusation that skeptics are paid to lie and spread misinformation.
Regarding my own personal news, I’ve already disclosed in 2013 (under “A Note About Funding”) and in January this year that I had received a $12,000 strings-free grant from the Heartland Institute for last year and this year. For sheer emphasis, strings-free means it is a gift for me to use as I please, coming with no supervisory direction of any kind. But do the math on it under what everyone accepts as the standard of a 40-hour workweek, even though the grant each year is not a salary: it amounts to about $5.88 per hour. Apart from some ‘sympathy money’ my mother gives me and occasional random sales of personal items on bay, it is all I have to live on. That, folks, is a sub-poverty level of living.
However, in my January blog post about receiving the first of two installments of my grant, I said “I will have a new one for this year at exactly the same amount, unless my benefactors choose to add a bit to it later”. Well, I have good news: whoever decides what amount I was to receive July 1st for the second installment decided to double it to $12,000. Again, do the math here. That’s now $18,000 to live on for this entire year, which works out to $8.65 per hour, a buck and some change over the federal minimum wage. If our Occupy Wall Street friends want all poor people to live at a $15 per hour living wage, then they need to start picketing the Heartland Institute or whoever funds them. Don’t hold your breath for that to happen anytime in our future.
Now, here’s where my direct challenge to Tom Steyer comes in: for around two decades, poorly insinuated at first but later gaining media traction under the efforts of global warming alarmist book book author Ross Gelbspan, skeptic climate scientists have been accused of being ‘shill experts for hire’, paid to lie at the behest of the fossil fuel industry or whatever the latest ‘enemy du jour’ happens to be; the Koch brothers, Donor’s Trust, or ‘dark money’. All without a shred of evidence proving a quid pro quo arrangement exists, in case anybody hasn’t noticed yet.
In other words, skeptic opinion is bought, if you believe what is heard from all on the Al Gore side of the issue, including Tom Steyer:
The Steyer-backed outside group, NextGen Climate, has billed itself as a progressive, pro-environment counterbalance to the wealthy oil and gas industry — as well as the primary foil to the pro-business Koch brothers and their well-funded conservative donor network.
Well, then. If greed is the ruling motivation, then by default a guy like me will be more than happy to be rewarded to tell what Steyer and his friends believe is the actual truth. So how about it, Tom? Care to gamble a tiny portion of your $100 million on a strings-free deposit straight to my bank account of, say $36,000? Or if you believe I am lying about my grants, how about using your imagination and depositing an amount you think will top whatever Heartland is supposedly ‘paying me’? Surely something under a million is still chicken feed to you while also being likely far more than whatever amount you think I might be receiving. Myself, I have no doubt you and your friends can find a way to make the donation / reward, or however you term it, in a very public and verifiable way.
But, no need to deal with small fry. How about making the same kind of strings-free deposit in the bank accounts of other highly influential “climate deniers”? Say, a deposit of a couple of paltry million dollars in the account of Anthony Watts, the proprietor of the world’s most viewed site on global warming and climate change? Or in the accounts of international skeptic speaker Lord Christopher Monckton or former staffer for Senator James Inhofe Marc Morano? Or, gather your best estimates for the annual budget of The Heartland Institute itself or other organizations like CFACT and top that with a massively public donation straight to their account.
If I may humbly suggest, 100 million dollars spent on campaigns to defeat GOP Senate candidates has more risk – the Democrat candidates may bail out on the global warming issue in favor of other issues the public is more interested in – and less or potentially no media traction, compared to a very public gamble that has every potential of prompting the kind of skeptic rollover you believe will happen….. that is, if you and your friends truly believe skeptics like me can be so easily bought.
So, time for you to stand and deliver, Tom. Problem is, all the odds are on you figuring out that what I say, and what Watts, Monckton, Morano, Heartland, CFACT, and other skeptics say was never bought in the first place. And that’s where the entire “paid skeptic industry shills” accusation implodes, and you are its ultimate destroyer when you don’t put your money where your mouth is.
But go ahead and surprise me, Tom. Make my day.
One more thing for all the readers out there: I’ve already detailed a prior email correspondence I had with Steyer’s Next Generation group spokesperson. Rest assured my challenge has been emailed straight to that person.
[3/5/15 Author’s note: Never heard back from Steyer’s people. But late last year, while jousting with an ardent global warming believer blog post commenter, that fellow wrote this gem: “You know neither Steyer nor desmogblog is going to try to buy you off…” Inadvertently, the man exposes just how much actual faith global warming believers place in the notion that skeptic climate scientists or folks like me can be paid to lie.]