Monday, January 30, 2017

Episode 71: The Distortion Factories Part I

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(This episode is part of the series The Powell Movement.)

Once a bunch of extremely rich people heard the organizing call from Lewis Franklin Powell, Jr.; once their fortunes established philanthropic foundations professionally staffed with the best money could hire; what happened then? This is the topic I explore in Episode 71: The Distortion Factories Part I.

I decided to dive deeply into what I think is a good example of such a Distortion Factory, one that suckered me in back in '90 or so: The Breakthrough Institute.

(Cards on the table: I am neither pro- nor anti-nuke: I feel there are a lot of promising technologies one can find that happen to function through nuclear fission; I also recognize that there are a lot of bad designs that should be retired and scrapped as soon as possible. The Breakthrough Institute initially got me interested in its brash rejection of traditional "environmentalism" and, yes, its embrace of nuclear tech. They lost me with their convoluted logic and embrace of *all* things nuke. Once I learned about distributed generation—the very antithesis of centralized nuke plants feeding a hub-shaped power grid—I started to realize how business-centric the Breakthrough Institute really was.)

In this episode, I read from: the Breakthrough Institute's premiere piece, "The Death of Environmentalism;" from the Breakthrough Institute's web site listing their sponsors; and from a couple of web sites run by those supporters and supporting organizations. One supporter, Ross Koningstein, who works for The Searchies, had an interesting paper that I both read from an, with help from a rebutting essay, rebut.

Musically, I played a couple of pieces from Jahzzar's album "Tumbling Dishes Like Old-Man's Wishes"; "The Flowers Are Still Standing," and "No End Ave." I opened the show with KMFDM backing Henry Giroux.

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