Thursday, March 7, 2013

He Ate as Many as He Could Get

I know what youre thinking about, said Tweedledum; but it isnt so, nohow.

Contrariwise, continued Tweedledee, if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isnt, it aint. Thats logic.

Yesterday, the Koch Brothers stopped by Wit's End for an unexpected visit.
Seriously...I'm sure it was a random blunder from trolling through the blogosphere, with their hired minions little realizing, I suppose, that they had gone down the Rabbit's Hole.  Henceforth the misconceived duo will be known, here at least, as their misanthropic alter-egos, Tweedledee and Tweedledum.
They would have been welcome to stay for tea.

But, ever frumious, they had to galumph off to do battle.
 This, you see, is because they are, apparently, terrifically paranoid.
Maybe Mummy was mean?  I guess we'll never know.

Then again I suppose a certain degree of demented paranoia must be inevitable when you do such evil deeds.  How else to explain why they have hired a firm, CounterPoint Strategies, to keep tabs on the likes of Wit's End(!?).  Chaired by Nick "the dick" Nichols, this pugnacious and slithy entity has all the intellectual gravitas of a March hare with the juvenile bluster and bravado of a jubjub bird, as we shall see.
Just consider the online brochure which advertises their services to potential clients, services which appear to include monitoring, intimidating, harrassing, and suppressing those monstrous progressives - especially the menacing journalists - who might reveal or object to corporate malfeasance.  From the images and terminology which advance this agenda it appears the proprietors must be enamored with, of all things, the cavalry tradition.  You would think there might be a trace of internal cognitive dissonance from embracing the very pre-industrial primitive conditions (lacking modern sanitation) that their elite clientele dread being thrown back into by ecoterrorists.  If they had any qualms though, it's not in reflected in their advertising, which features a medieval citadel.
Despite catering to fortunes made by peddling fossil fuels, the image of the horse is used to represent power and virility.  Try not to burble or gag with too much derision when you scroll along and see that legal enforcement is illustrated, not with the scales of justice but with a gun (does this harken back to the good old days when might meant right?).  Other tactics they employ to manipulate the media image of their clients are depicted with artifacts known to exemplify about as much technical finesse as...oh, a 19th century cannon, an antique compass, and a sword.  Keep going though, if you think this is ludicrous, you'll find their video embedded at the end pricelessly risible!

All this mimsy would be sort of foppishly endearing but before you chortle consider that these cretins actually do possess manxome money and power...and as everyone knows, they use it for nefarious, borderline illegal purposes.  Why are people shocked, shocked to find out the US State Department review of environmental impacts from the proposed tar sands pipeline was ghost written by corporate interests?  Unlike progressives, the right wing knows how to join forces.

Tweedledum and Tweedledee
    Agreed to have a battle;
For Tweedledum said Tweedledee
    Had spoiled his nice new rattle.
Just then flew down a monstrous crow,
    As black as a tar-barrel;
Which frightened both the heroes so,
    They quite forgot their quarrel.

~ The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes

From The Jabberwocky
~ Lewis Carroll

“It seems a shame,” the Walrus said,
“To play them such a trick,
After we’ve brought them out so far,
And made them trot so quick!”
The Carpenter said nothing but
“The butter’s spread too thick!”
“I weep for you,” the Walrus said:
“I deeply sympathize.
With sobs and tears he sorted out
Those of the largest size,
Holding his pocket-handkerchief
Before his streaming eyes.
“O Oysters," said the Carpenter,
“You’ve had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?
But answer came there none--
And this was scarcely odd, because
They’d eaten every one.

“I like the Walrus best,” said Alice, “because you see he was a little sorry for the poor oysters.”

“He ate more than the Carpenter, though,” said Tweedledee. “You see he held his handkerchief in front, so that the Carpenter couldn't count how many he took: contrariwise.”

“That was mean!” Alice said indignantly. “Then I like the Carpenter best—if he didn't eat so many as the Walrus.”

“But he ate as many as he could get,” said Tweedledum.

This was a puzzler. After a pause, Alice began, “Well! They were both very unpleasant characters—”

Okay okay!  Let's move on...

A critique of the strategy to emphasize the Obama administration's approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, published in the Christian Science Monitor by Robert Rapier, has drawn much ire from climate organizers - as has every other suggestion that the effort is misguided.  To further complicate, the title - Are Environmentalists Wrong? - asks the wrong question, since it isn't environmentalists who chose that target, it was climate change activists.  Of course the line is easily blurred but for the most part, climate crusaders explicitly eschew environmentalism, since it's associated with hippies, an emotional attachment to Mother Nature, and unserious tree huggers:
By contrast, climate activists are desperate to seem serious, science based, and realistic.  Oh, and worthy of hobnobbing at receptions in Washington, DC.  Moral and philosophical arguments embarrasss them, as do actions that directly confront authority, especially  those with uncontrolled, scruffy participants.  (Unless they are garnering attention and attracting adherents, like the recent rash of local direct actions that are springing up spontaneously around the country against the impacts of pollution to air, water and soil.  Then the national activists claim victory.)

Is it just ego, or faulty logic, that leads the big green organizations to emphasize protests against big oil companies, or university investments, rather than having any campaign to educate people about the need to drastically lower consumption and population?  Is it simply because they really, really want to believe there is technical magic that will mean they will always have iphones and be able to jet to conferences and pre-arranged civil disobedience photo ops and produce movies with glamorous opening galas?  Or...if you look behind the curtain, is it even less noble than that?
An article in Canada's Financial Post, with the title "Rockefellers Behind Scruffy Little Outfit" is an attempt to discredit for being less than transparent, or worse.  I can't vouch for its accuracy, but I can say this - there's no good reason for 350 to not be completely transparent, since whatever money they receive is dwarfed by the sums given by oil, coal and other gigantic conglomerate corporations like Koch Industries to think tanks, universities, individuals, lobbyists, political action committees et al...unless, it truly is compromising and influencing the way they operate.

So here it is, starting with the subheading...make up your own mind.

Anti-Keystone protests get millions in funding

Nothing influences President Barack Obama’s decision on the Keystone XL pipeline quite like the protests against it, led by Bill McKibben, an American environmentalist, and his organization, called On Wednesday, and the Sierra Club participated in an anti-Keystone protest at the White House and this Sunday they are holding another one on Capital Hill. They expect 20,000 people from across the United States. has the look and feel of an amateur, grassroots operation, but in reality, it is a multi-million dollar campaign run by staff earning six-digit salaries.

By my analysis of information from the U.S. Foundation Center and the tax filings of American charitable foundations, McKibben’s campaigns have received more than 100 grants since 2005 for a total of US$10-million from 50 charitable foundations. Six of those grants were for roughly US$1-million each.

In the interest of fairness and transparency, McKibben should fully disclose’s funding and the Rockefellers and other charitable foundations that have been bankrolling the anti-Keystone campaign should come out from the shadows.

Since 2006, McKibben has led three campaigns: Step it Up, 1Sky and Each campaign built on the previous one. In the summer of 2006, Step it Up organized a protest walk across Vermont to push for a moratorium on coal-fired power plants and other federal actions. Created in 2007, 1Sky began a national movement to jump-start a clean energy economy. built on 1Sky and in April of 2011, the two campaigns officially merged.

More than half of the US$10-million came from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF), the Rockefeller Family Fund and the Schumann Center for Media and Democracy, where McKibben, a trustee, was paid US$25,000 per year (2001-09). Since 2007, the Rockefellers have paid US$4-million towards 1Sky and, tax returns say. The Schumann Center provided US$1.5-million to McKibben’s three campaigns as well as US$2.7-million to fund the Environmental Journalism Program at Middlebury College, in Vermont, where McKibben is on staff.

The founders of the Schumann Center were John J. Schumann Jr. and Florence Ford, a former president of General Motors Acceptance Corp. and the daughter of one of the founders of IBM, respectively.

Last spring, I emailed McKibben to ask about his campaign funding. He replied twice, but did not mention the Rockefellers or the Schumann Center, where he had been a trustee for 10 years. Last week, I again asked McKibben about his funding. He said that Step It Up, 1Sky or reimburse him for travel expenses, but do not pay him a fee for his services. To its credit, now provides an online list of the 30 foundations that funded the campaign in 2011. Until this week, the Schumann Center was not on the list and yet tax returns show that in 2011, Schumann paid US$311,300 to and 1Sky. admitted this week that the Schumann Center had been omitted from the list. It has since been added.

What’s list of donors fails to convey is that some foundations provide only US$5,000 or US$10,000, while two unidentified donors provide half of’s budget for 2011, according to its financial statements. Four grants accounted for two-thirds of’s budget. declined to identify the donors of those grants.

Back in 2007, the 1Sky Education Fund had starting revenues of US$1.6-million. Of that, US$1.3-million was from the Rockefeller Family Fund. In 2008, 1Sky received a further US$920,000 from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund as well as US$900,000 from the Schumann Center, tax returns show. What this means is that from the get-go, McKibben’s campaign was bankrolled by the Rockefellers and the Schuman Center.

Bill McKibben has been a director of 1Sky since it began, so one would think that he was aware of the organization’s finances. And yet, to hear McKibben tell the story, he started the climate movement and the protests against Keystone XL with nothing more than a few students and “almost no money.”

In a 2010 article by McKibben, posted on at least 10 websites, he writes, “Last year, with almost no money, our scruffy little outfit,, managed to organize what Foreign Policy called the ‘largest ever co-ordinated global rally of any kind’ on any issue.” In another article that McKibben penned for Tikkun magazine, he says that he built the climate movement with seven graduate students at Middlebury College and “no money or organization.” During the fall of 2012, in interviews with Jed Lipinski and Grand Valley University, McKibben again told the story of starting with seven students and “almost no money.” But that’s not what tax returns indicate.

1Sky began in 2008. In its first year, 1Sky reported expenditures of US$2.6-million, tax returns show. Of that, US$2.2-million was payroll, including US$1.2-million for consultants. In 2009, 1Sky’s campaign director, Gillian Caldwell, a lawyer by training, was paid US$203,620 through the Rockefeller Family Fund. A salary of more than US$200,000 is hardly typical of a “scruffy little outfit.”

During 2011, the most recent year for which tax returns are publicly available, again had a US$2-million payroll, including US$622,000 for consultants. spent US$1.2-million on grassroots fieldwork, partnership with other organizations and media coverage, and US$356,000 to recruit participants through emails, blogs and social networking.

The next time McKibben pens an article or gives a speech, he should acknowledge the US$10-million that his campaigns have received from the Rockefellers, the Schumann Center and other sources.

~ Vivian Krause

Enough!!!  Here for your amusement is the hilarious promotional video promised earlier (there's a playlist of more if you can't get your fill).  I could pick it apart, but it is already so profoundly, instrinsically silly I will let it speak for itself.  I laughed the whole way through...and then, it's followed by, finally, something that pertains to the primary purpose of Wit's End - a story about trees.


An aerial survey of trees dead and dying from sudden oak death in northern California counties reported last fall revealed a "stunning increase".  For years there were arguments about the cause, which now is generally agreed to be a fungus.  Ozonists and Ozonistas of course know that air pollution makes trees more susceptible to fungus and other pathogens.  What is astounding about this report is what I would personally characterize as an "exponential increase" with all the terrible implications that ensue (the pictures aren't from California though - they are from today in New Hampshire, of sugar maples.)

More than one-third of the nearly 376,000 trees killed by sudden oak death disease along the North Coast are in Sonoma County, with a concentration around Guerneville and Jenner, according to a U.S. Forest Service report.

The aerial survey, conducted by Forest Service officials flying about 1,000 feet above the ground, mapped 375,700 newly dead trees in a coastal swath from southern Humboldt County to Sonoma County and stretching inland over parts of Lake, Napa, Yolo and Solano counties.

An estimated 136,918 of the dead trees, predominantly tanoaks, were in Sonoma County, said Zachary Health, one of the surveyors.

The areas around Guerneville and Jenner “had some of the highest levels of mortality,” the report said.

Tanoak is one of three species common to Sonoma County, along with coast live oak and black oak, susceptible to sudden oak death.
The aerial survey, conducted on June 22, July 2 and July 5, reflected a stunning increase in sudden oak death’s impact on the North Coast.

More than 315,000 dead tanoak were mapped over 45,000 acres within the survey area this year, compared with just 24,000 trees on 5,300 acres in the same area in the 2011 survey.

Overall, the survey covered 2.8 million acres in portions of the seven counties.

Sudden oak death, discovered in Marin County in 1995, infects 14 counties, from Humboldt to Monterey along the coast, as well as Lake, Napa, Solano, Contra Costa, Alameda and Santa Clara counties.

In Sonoma County, an estimated 105,000 acres are infected with Phytophthora ramorum, the pathogen that causes the disease.


  1. Gail,
    Your posts are so well researched, entertaining, readable, and on point - thanks for all your hard work!


  2. Gail,
    I noticed CPS was using the 1st Cavalry insignia in their advertising. So I submitted a question to the 1st Cav's website to see if they were affiliated.


  3. Ohhh, plz let me know if you get a reply! I figure if they come after me for saying they have "all the intellectual gravitas of a March hare with the juvenile bluster and bravado of a jubjub bird" I can counter with their depiction of bloggers in the video as velociraptors (a genus of dromaeosaurid theropod dinosaur that lived approximately 75 to 71 million years ago during the later part of the Cretaceous Period), "...brazen ideologues, they will disregard facts, standards and decency if it means a chance to sink a bite" haha!


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