Trump Appoints Discovery Institute Senior Fellow

This may not be as bad as our title suggests, but it’s bad nevertheless. As we’ve mentioned before — see Discovery Institute: Their 2014 Tax Return — most of the Discoveroids’ multi-million dollar annual revenue (which was nearly $4.7 million in 2014) is spent for the promotion of creationism, but they also engage in a few other activities.

Less than 10% of their 2014 revenue was spent on their transportation work — the sort of thing a respectable think tank would do. We regard it as window-dressing to present the facade of being a real think-tank, and sometimes they attract real people as a result. Back in 2003 they proudly announced Institute Hails $9.3 Million Grant from Gates Foundation, in which they said:

The Discovery Institute today announced a 10-year, $9.35 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The grant will enable Discovery Institute to increase the efforts of its “Cascadia Project,” a long-term initiative to develop balanced, seamless, and expanded transportation systems among Washington, Oregon and British Columbia through public-private partnerships and innovative financing.

Among the Discoveroids’ other non-creationist activities is something they call the Center on Wealth, Poverty, and Morality, which appears to have an acceptable function. Listed among the Center’s “team,” besides well-known Discoveroid Jay Richards (co-author of The Privileged Planet), and creationist talk-show host Michael Medved, we find the name Bill Walton. Who is he? They have a full page biography on the guy, which says:

Bill Walton is a Senior Fellow of the Center on Wealth, Poverty, and Morality, and Vice President of the Council for National Policy. He is the chairman of Rappahannock Ventures, LLC (private equity) and Rush River Entertainment (feature film production), which he founded in 2010. … As an entrepreneur, he co-founded two educational service companies, Success Lab and Language Odyssey. Bill is actively engaged in public policy, political action, the arts and his local community. …

Why do we care? It’s because of something we just found at a website called Morning Consult, which describes itself as “a media and technology company at the intersection of politics, policy, Wall Street, and business strategy.” Their headline is Trump Adds Economists, Private Equity Chief to Transition Team. Here are some excerpts from their article, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

President-elect Donald Trump on Monday announced the addition of four transition team members who will help shape the Treasury Department under the next administration. Here’s what we know about the new additions.

The first of those four names is William Walton, about whom they say:

Walton is chairman of Rappahannock Ventures LLC, a Washington, Va.-based private equity firm. He is also vice president of the right-leaning Council for National Policy and a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, a think tank advocating the “intelligent design” theory of human biology.

Walton served as chief executive of Allied Capital Corp. from 1997 to 2009 and as managing director of the private equity firm Butler Capital Corp. He serves on the board of several nonprofit organizations, including the Media Research Center, a conservative group describing itself as “the nation’s premier media watchdog.”

That’s all they say about Walton, and the other three appointees mean nothing to us. So what does this mean? Technically, it means nothing, because: (a) Walton may be no more a creationist than Bill Gates is; and (b) he’d on a “transition team” for the Treasury Department, so he isn’t involved in deciding who will be an education or science advisor. Nevertheless, it gives the Discoveroids bragging rights, and what’s more important, a communications channel into the heart of the Trump administration. We don’t like it.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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14 responses to “Trump Appoints Discovery Institute Senior Fellow

  1. Our Curmudgeon whistles past the graveyard:

    This may not be as bad as our title suggests

    Indeed not. It may well be about to get much, much worse. This isn’t “draining the swamp”, this is re-stocking it with genetically-modified man-eating alligators.

    Predications are a fool’s game, I know, but at least I’m smart enough (as was Socrates) to recognise his own foolishness, so here goes: Curmy, sooner rather than later you will recognise that the incoming US administration is a YUGE set-back to rational conservatism. I say nothing of the damage to international relations and the health of the biosphere…

  2. The science denial is strong within the Trump administration. Maybe he can bring back school prayer and Creationist Bible lessons with his regressive agenda.

  3. Well, at least The Donald is making good on his campaign promise to “Make America Grate Again.”

    Perhaps he could also upcycle an old Reagan slogan and proclaim,

    “It’s Mourning in America!”

  4. Megalonyx says: “Our Curmudgeon whistles past the graveyard”

    Hey, I’m reporting the news. You gotta at least give me credit for that.

  5. στέργει γὰρ οὐδεὶς ἄγγελον κακῶν ἐπῶν…

    But we make an exception for our Curmudgeon 🙂

  6. “You gotta at least give me credit for that.”
    Sure.
    We also give you credit for voting them into position.

  7. Interestingly, the DI does have some political pull. Klinghoffer and Slade Gorton, ex-Senator from Washington state. They likely lobbied like hell to get on board, but SC is right that they’ll be gloating about this for a long time. I’ve heard of Cascadia, but I’ve never seen any results from such a project. And is there really any accountability on how and on what donations are spent?

  8. You left off the end of the Bio: “He resides in Washington, VA with his wife Sarah and their three terriers, Coco, Buddy and Jackie.”

  9. Just now on CNN website:
    “President-elect Donald Trump says he’s “seriously considering” Dr. Ben Carson for housing secretary.”

  10. Maybe that is where Carson could do the least damage.

  11. Mr. Trump, I’d like you to meet Mr. Wedge, er, Walton.

  12. AU’s take on the matter:
    “What Happens to Science in a Trump White House?
    http://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/what-happens-to-science-in-a-trump-white-house

  13. michaelfugate:
    “You left off the end of the Bio: ‘He resides in Washington, VA with his wife Sarah and their three terriers, Coco, Buddy and Jackie.’ “

    Do you know if they are adopted, or are they the Walton’s biological offspring?

  14. Meh. Forgot to turn off the bold. O Mighty One, I beseech thee to fix.

    Thank you.

    [*Voice from above*] As you wish, my son.