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  • The U.S. media have been tellingly silent on this critically important story, but Greg Laden posted about it:
    We’ve known for some time that Big Oil channels money to Big Denailism to support a variety of efforts, including projects to ruin science education in schools, to pay people to show up at demonstrations, to fund “research” that confuses, if not attempts (unsuccessfully) to throw false wrenches in the intricate and vital scientific machine. And now, we learn that some of these connections are more direct than previously thought, and involve much larger sums of money than most had imagined.
    And he links Steve Connor at the Independent:
    A secretive funding organisation in the United States that guarantees anonymity for its billionaire donors has emerged as a major operator in the climate "counter movement" to undermine the science of global warming, The Independent has learnt.

    The Donors Trust, along with its sister group Donors Capital Fund, based in Alexandria, Virginia, is funnelling millions of dollars into the effort to cast doubt on climate change without revealing the identities of its wealthy backers or that they have links to the fossil fuel industry.

    However, an audit trail reveals that Donors is being indirectly supported by the American billionaire Charles Koch who, with his brother David, jointly owns a majority stake in Koch Industries, a large oil, gas and chemicals conglomerate based in Kansas.

    Laden:
    Conner documents a link between billionaire Charles Koch and Donors, via another organization called the “Knowledge and Progress Fund,” which is a Koch Family run non-profit. This organization gave $1.25 million each in 2007 and 2008, $2 million in 2012 to Donors, and appears to have made no other donations to anyone or any thing.
    Read Laden's entire post, and there's more from Connor here and here, as well as from Meghan Keneally at the Daily Mail, and Roxanne Palmer at the International Business Times.
  • And speaking of dangerous climate change deniers, a few years ago a bunch of thugs used some stolen emails to misrepresent and lie about the credibility and integrity of some of the world's leading climate scientists. The phony scandal was thoroughly and repeatedly utterly debunked, until it became clear that the real scandal had been the traditional media's incompetent if not witting enabling coverage of it in the first place. But scientists were under attack, just for doing honest science that some very wealthy and powerful special interests did not want done, and one of the main targets of those attacks was climatologist Michael Mann, whose reputation and career clearly were being threatened.

    Over the next couple of years, nine separate investigations by universities, scientific institutions, and official government bodies both in Britain and the U.S. completely exonerated Mann and his colleagues, and the thugs clearly picked the wrong target, not only because Mann has the intellect and integrity that the deniers lack, but also because he is not one to be bullied. He wrote a book with the apt title The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines, and also has launched a lawsuit against the Competitive Enterprise Institute and The National Review for comparing him to a convicted child molestor. And now there is this great news:

    Faculty members Long-Qing Chen and Michael E. Mann have been conferred the status of distinguished professorship in Penn State's College of Earth and Mineral Sciences (EMS). Chen and Mann were recommended to EMS Dean William Easterling by a selection committee consisting of highly regarded faculty from across the college that screened faculty candidates nominated by faculty, staff and students of the college....

    Mann, professor of meteorology and director of the Earth Systems Science Center, is an acknowledged leader in the climate change community.  He has achieved research breakthroughs in the area of climate change science, especially the reconstruction of global temperatures over the past 1,000 years.  His work has garnered national and international recognition, including his most recent election, by his peers, as a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society; as well as the 2012 Hans Oeschger Medal and Fellow of the American Geophysical Union.

  • Submitted without comment:
    Behind a disguised offshore company structure, the church's international portfolio has been built up over the years, using cash originally handed over by Mussolini in return for papal recognition of the Italian fascist regime in 1929.

    Since then the international value of Mussolini's nest-egg has mounted until it now exceeds £500m. In 2006, at the height of the recent property bubble, the Vatican spent £15m of those funds to buy 30 St James's Square. Other UK properties are at 168 New Bond Street and in the city of Coventry. It also owns blocks of flats in Paris and Switzerland.

    The surprising aspect for some will be the lengths to which the Vatican has gone to preserve secrecy about the Mussolini millions. The St James's Square office block was bought by a company called British Grolux Investments Ltd, which also holds the other UK properties. Published registers at Companies House do not disclose the company's true ownership, nor make any mention of the Vatican.

  • Catering to the crazies isn't going to help the Senate's top Republican, although he will try. Mitch McConnell deserves the political wars that he gets.
  • And austerity's great champion Angela Merkel may soon get the political war she deserves.
  • David Cameron, George Osborne, Nick Clegg and everyone else responsible for Britain's right wing austerity government are failed human beings:
    The squeeze on tax credits and benefits will push 200,000 more children into poverty, the government has admitted for the first time. This suggests that in total a million extra children will be in poverty as a result of government welfare measures.
    The Republicans must be so envious. Meanwhile, the economic effect of this incomprehensible cruelty is that Britain seems headed for a triple-dip recession, and even the chief economist of the International Monetary Fund is warning that it's time to ease off the austerity; but the catastrophic Osborne says no.
  • And for Britain, the leadership failures could actually get even worse:
    The one thing we can now forecast with near certainty during any cold snap is that a Telegraph writer will use the plunging mercury to breezily state it provides the necessary proof to declare that the theory of global warming is over-hyped, unscientific bunkum.

    The typical reaction to such verbiage is mocking laughter, or, if you've awoken on the wrong side of the bed, huffy exasperation. The best strategy is to view these articles as trolling, for that is largely what they are: blatant attempts to jam a sharp stick into a seething nest that is The Climate Debate. These writers want to wind you up and provoke a reaction. By doing so, you are playing into their hands. Do not feed the trolls, as the saying goes.

    But Boris Johnson, the eye-wateringly well-paid Telegraph columnist who also does a nice turn as the mayor of London, needs to be viewed in an altogether different context. He is, after all, widely touted as the next prime minister of this country.

  • Russia denies it, but this could be a hopeful sign, for Syria.
  • And this clearly is a hopeful sign for the Czech Republic and the world:
    Milos Zeman, a burly former leftist prime minister and economist known for his outspoken populism, was elected president of the Czech Republic on Saturday, becoming the country’s first popularly elected president.

    The election of Mr. Zeman, 68, an avowed supporter of European integration, signals the end of the era of Vaclav Klaus, the Czech president for the past 10 years, whose vociferous skepticism of the European Union and scorn for the battle against climate change made him a sometimes awkward partner in Europe and the United States.

  • If you're going to be anywhere near Sarasota, do not miss this!
  • Don't tell the Republicans, but we are all family.
  • Submitted without comment:
    For years, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles fought to keep secret its confidential files concerning pedophile priests. Hundreds of sex abuse victims hoping for a full accounting of what church leaders knew about the growing scandal and what they did to stop it were rebuffed time and again.

    But the cover-up is finally coming to an end. On Monday, a series of memos and letters filed in a civil case confirmed that Cardinal Roger M. Mahony and other church leaders plotted to shield pedophile priests rather than turn them over to police and prosecutors.

    The documents, which date to 1986 and 1987, show how Mahony and Msgr. Thomas J. Curry, his top advisor on sex abuse cases, discussed strategies to keep priests from coming to the attention of law enforcement.

  • Water is still wet, and The Wall Street Journal editorial and opinion page still sucks.

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