A new biography reveals the Koch brothers' very early role in creating organized climate denial

The Koch brothers are quite an enigma: on the one hand, they owe their vast fortune to extremely long-range planning: Charles Koch is famously contemptuous of entrepreneurs who take their companies public, believing that the public markets insist on such short timescales that they undermine real growth; and he grew his father's hydrocarbon empire by investing heavily in automation systems with extremely long amortization schedules. Read the rest

Australia's raids on journalists signal an authoritarian turning point

Yesterday's spectacular series of raids on Australian journalists by the Australian Federal Police are a turning point in how democracies view the role of the press and leaks: the raid targeted News Corp's Annika Smethurst over her reporting on a secret plan to grant the Australian Signals Directorate -- a spy agency -- the power to surveil Australians; 2GB radio's Ben Fordham over his reporting on human rights abuses of refugees; and ABC Sydney's offices over their 2017 Afghan files reports, which documented war-crimes and other misconduct by Australian military personnel. Read the rest

Google, Facebook and Microsoft were the top sponsors of a conference that featured climate change denial kooks

Libertycon is the annual conference of Students for Liberty, a libertarian youth group, held in DC; at this year's conference, Google was the $25,000 platinum sponsor, while Facebook and Microsoft were each $10,000 sponsors. Read the rest

Professional climate denial took hundreds of millions from the CO2 industries, then slipped off their leash

Five years ago, it looked like big oil and big coal were finally acknowledging the reality of climate change, shifting from the early posture of outright denial and the intermediate strategy of sowing confusion, and moving into an endgame of "clean coal" and monopolizing renewables, but the think tanks they had funneled hundreds of millions in dark money to were not having any of it -- and it's they, not the hydrocarbon barons, who've got the ear of the conspiracy-theorist-in-chief, Donald Trump. Read the rest

Now any Floridian can ask to have public schools' science and literary curriculum censored

Florida Governor Rick Scott [R] has signed CS/CS/HB 989: Instructional Materials, sponsored by Rep Byron Donalds [R-Naples, @ByronDonalds, (239) 417-6270], and that means that anyone in Florida, regardless of whether they are the parent of a Florida pupil, can ask for an "unbiased hearing officer" to censor the teaching materials used in Florida classrooms. Read the rest

Canadian government caught secretly smearing scientist who published research on tar-sands

The Harper petro-Tory government's money comes from the people who got rich from the tar-sands, the dirtiest oil on the planet, and they've done everything they could to suppress science critical of Alberta crude; finally a scientist who wasn't under their thumb published his work and they started maneuvering behind the scenes to discredit him. Read the rest