I think you are wrong on both points. Both the green party and the left party now have stances on copyright that are very similar to the ones that the pirate party have propagated. The pirate party were also quite visible in the media at times, although I'm sure they were ignored by many.
I think that the public debate before the entry of the pirate party (and the pirate bureau) was one of "I want free stuff" against "we need to pay the artists", after their entry it turned more sophisticated and idealogical. I think this is a good thing.
Of course, there are also complete nuts in the party, and some of the arguments put forward aren't particularly good. I never really liked the former party leader.
However, Christian Engström seems to be doing some good down in the European Parliament right now, and as a force against what I perceive to have been a very one-sided "we need longer copyrights, and we need to jail everyone as soon as they copy one song!!!1" discourse I think they have been a very valuable force.
I think now that extensions are out, and distros can start using them again, Ubuntu will make a comback.
Ubuntu doesn't even come with gnome-shell installed by default, why would they profit (much) from this?
Based on your comment I don't think you've bothered to read more than a few random words of these stories and the associated blog posts.
I'm just speculating here, but it may well be the cause that John Haught said something under pressure that didn't accord with the teaching of the Catholic Church, and now he doesn't want it getting outthere.
If his job were to - as you speculate - rely on him remaining intellectually dishonest in public, I don't quite see how that's a redeeming factor..
You could argue about whether it matters if we survive as a species or not, but I would argue that we are almost obliged to try our best at doing just that. What else could be more important, if you at all care about anything except your short-term survival and enjoyment of life.
I mean, if someone claims that the fact that the earth orbits around the sun means that we must adopt communism, the right thing to attack is the said "communism policy" by point out the step where they go wrong in their logic ("The earth does indeed go around the sun, but this is why I think this should not lead to communism.").
The wrong thing to do is to start to spew nonsense about how the sun is actually orbiting around the earth.