This is both my personal learning project and my contribution in the struggle to confront the ongoing Republican/ libertarian assault on rational science and constructive learning, as manifested in their malicious strategic Attacks on Science ~ A collection of articles, scientific resources, plus my own essays and indepth critique of various presentations from unidirectional-skeptics ~ Hopefully a resource for the busy, yet discerning, student who's concerned about the health of our Earth
Reject Rex Tillerson, EXXON's Russian Obligate Oil Guy - Here's why.
A collection of informative articles about Rex Tillerson and why we should never allow such a single-minded corporate machine to become USA’s Secretary of State. A position demanding respect for our Constitution and a much broader understanding than a dedicated oil man(42+years) who knows nothing but drilling for profits is capable of acquiring. No matter now many big shot deals he may have closed!
Why are supposedly patriotic Republicans so accepting of Tillerson’s oh so cozy, nay intimate, ties to Russia’s Putin, which he is disingenuously back peddling? More importantly Tillerson is a corporate guy who despises our government for interfering with his business dreams. Given the powers of the Secretary of State you can be sure that his objective will not be to uphold his oath and USA's constitution but to rearrange USA from a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, into the Corporation of Amerika, a government fully owned and dedicated to the interests of today’s corporate oligarchs. People who have utter disregard and contempt for anything beyond their own oh so myopic self-interests.
Also consider, Tillerson still deludes himself about the scientific understanding regarding manmade global warming. Yet another issue that should have disqualified him outright - but than what can we do when most Republican politicians are so beholden to corporate money that they themselves remain steadfastly willfully ignorant on an issue that is already inflicting substantial damages to our global economy, infrastructure and its vulnerable citizens. With the guarantee of worse on the way, while we sleep.
I share the following full text of “Tillerson Called Out for 'Lying About Climate' During Confirmation Hearing” thanks to Common Dreams generous “Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License” ~ I also include quotes and links to a variety of articles, listed below:
When pressed by Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) about the major charges unearthed by the ongoing ExxonKnew investigation—namely, that the oil company hid evidence going back to the 1970s of how the burning of fossil fuels impacts the climate, and funded misinformation campaigns to spread skepticism about growing scientific consensus—former Exxon CEO Tillerson "essentially pled the fifth," said Oil Change International executive director Stephen Kretzmann.
"Since I'm no longer with ExxonMobil, I'm in no position to speak on their behalf," said Tillerson, who recently separated from the company after 42 years. "The question would have to be put to them.”
Kaine asked as a follow-up question: "Do you lack knowledge to answer my questions or are you refusing to answer my question?”
Tillerson responded: "A little of both.”
The coy retort left environmentalists unimpressed.
"Tillerson is still lying about what Exxon knew about climate change," said 350.org executive director May Boeve, whose group organized a 200-strong anti-Tillerson protest outside the hearing on Wednesday. "Asked directly about the company's climate cover-up, Tillerson demurred and denied. We need a secretary of state who acknowledges that the climate crisis requires bold action, not an oil industry CEO who is dedicated to spreading misinformation.”
Added Carroll Muffett, president of the Center for International Environmental Law: "The universe of subjects Rex Tillerson knows, admits to knowing, or is permitted to speak to is vanishingly small for someone who would be the U.S. voice to the world. Listening to his hearing, it would be easier to conclude Tillerson is under criminal investigation than under consideration for secretary of state.”
Meanwhile, InsideClimate News reporter Neela Banerjee noted that "Tillerson answered questions about whether the United States would remain in the Paris climate accord in a such a non-committal way that he left open the possibility for the Trump administration to ditch the agreement or pull out of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), as some of the President's team have recommended.”
And when questioned about whether human activity is contributing to climate change, Tillerson also failed to give a straight answer.
"The increase in greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere are having an effect," he told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "Our ability to predict that effect is very limited."
In fact, Banerjee wrote, "[t]hat's incorrect. Climate scientists have gotten an increasingly fine-grained view of the effects climate change is having and could have, including longer and more intensive heat waves and droughts, sea level rise and its impact on coastal communities, loss of species, increase in pests, and constrained water resources."
ExxonMobil itself has for decades been preparing for "rising sea levels, warming temperatures, and increasing storm severity" caused by climate change, as the Los Angeles Timesreported in its 2015 ExxonKnew investigation.
"If after 40 years of climbing up the company ladder and 10 years at the helm, Tillerson 'lacks knowledge' about ExxonMobil corporate strategy on climate change—including its role in spreading climate disinformation and funding denial groups—then he should have been fired as CEO long, long ago," declared Kathy Mulvey, climate accountability campaign manager for the Union of Concerned Scientists, on Wednesday. "And as someone who continues to disparage climate models, he is unfit to lead the U.S. and world on climate action.”
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License
On the same day that former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, President-elect Donald Trump's secretary of state nominee, was dodging questions about the ongoing ExxonKnew investigation, a Massachusetts court on Wednesday ordered the oil company to hand over decades of documents regarding what it knew about climate change.
The ruling (pdf), handed down by Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Heidi Brieger, denied Exxon's attempt to delay, directing the company to comply with the investigation by state Attorney General Maura Healey.
The decision was widely hailed as a big win for Healey and other state AGs probing allegations, unearthed by the Los Angeles Times and InsideClimate News, that the oil giant had suppressed evidence going back to the 1970s of the impact of burning fossil fuels on the climate as well as funded misinformation campaigns to spread skepticism about the growing scientific consensus.
"This order affirms our longstanding authority to investigate fraud," Healey wrote on Twitter after the ruling. Both Healey and New York AG Eric Schneiderman have launched investigations into whether the oil company mislead its investors. "@exxonmobil must come clean about what it knew about climate change," she added. …
In fact, the Oil & Gas Industry receives more than $17 Billion in Subsidies per year, and according to our new analysis ExxonMobil likely gets as much as $1 billion of that.
Former ExxonMobil CEO, Rex Tillerson, testified in front of the Senate Foreign Relations committee and may be about to head the State Department – and it’s not looking good for the climate.
Under Tillerson and his predecessors, Exxon knew that climate change was happening yet spun a massive disinformation campaign to sow doubt about climate science, and spent hundreds of millions buying influence in Washington to block progress on climate pollution.
Today Tillerson was at it again, testifying that the science on climate change, and the impact it might have on the world and our country, is still fuzzy. …
The incoming Republican government is waging a war against regulations.
“For every one new regulation, two old regulations must be eliminated,” Donald Trump promised after the November vote. Since then, Republicans in Congress have voted to give themselves broader authority to strike down federal rules of all kinds.
The way I see the difference between liberals and conservatives is, in part, in their different approaches to our flawed body of regulations. Liberals think we should keep them and improve them. Conservatives would rather scrap many of them altogether.
Both approaches confront the same problem: No government run by humans will ever be perfect. Some regulations give us clean drinking water and safe food, whereas others may be outdated or poorly written.
And when you’re the one on the wrong side of the red tape — the small business owner hindered by regulations written for enormous corporations, or the innocent person wrongfully placed on the No Fly List — your anger and frustration are justified.
Yet regulations are, at their core, intended to protect us. …
Tillerson may also face hostile questioning from Republican Senator Marco Rubio, who if he votes with the Democrats could block Tillerson’s nomination. The Committee currently stands at 10-9 between Republicans and Democrats.
Here are some of the issues that might have Rex on the ropes:
In one of the futile demonstrations that marked the run-up to the Iraq war, I saw a woman with a sign that read “How Did Our Oil End Up Under Their Sand?” In nine words she managed to sum up a great deal of American foreign policy, back at least as far as the 1953 coup that overthrew Mossadegh in Iran and helped toss the Middle East into its still-boiling cauldron.
If the Senate approves Rex Tillerson after his testimony on Wednesday, they’ll be continuing in that inglorious tradition – in fact, they’ll be taking it to a new height, and cutting out the diplomats who have traditionally played the middleman role.
Rex Tillerson – who has literally spent his entire working life at Exxon – is big oil personified. It’s like appointing Ronald McDonald to run the agriculture department (which is certainly a possibility, since that job is still unfilled).
So in one sense Tillerson’s appointment simply makes formal what has long been clear. But in another way, his announcement is truly novel: the honor (secretaries of state are usually considered the second-most important official in our government) comes after a season of disgrace at the world’s largest oil company, in a moment when the energy business is on the ropes and when its product is causing the greatest crisis the planet has yet faced.
Those three things are linked, of course. The disgrace is the long, slow reveal by investigative reporters that Exxon knew all about climate change as early as the late 1970s. Their scientists were so far ahead of the curve that management was taking precautions and planning strategy a quarter-century ago – building drilling rigs to account for the sea level rise they knew was coming, and plotting to bid for leases in an Arctic they knew would melt.
But instead of telling the rest of us, the investigations revealed their deep involvement in the effort to spread doubt and confusion about climate change. …
We’re facing the prospect of a government literally of the Exxons, by the Goldman Sachses and for the Kochs.
President-Elect Donald Trump’s cabinet and top nominees draw more deeply from an extremist faction of the corporate class than any in memory, and likely in history. We are witnessing the wholesale corporate takeover of the American government.
Nothing more plainly shows Trump’s complete cynicism and dishonesty than his absolute betrayal of the core claim of his campaign – to rid Washington of corruption, cronyism and insider dealing. The corporate interests who he properly alleged in the campaign buy politicians will now themselves be directly in charge of the government.
With this cabinet, it is a virtual certainty that this administration will be the most corrupt and scandal prone in American history.
And it is absolute certainty that, by design, they will pursue a policy agenda that serves the interests of the corporate class against and does deep harm to the American people.
To understand the scope of what we are facing, it’s useful for a moment to step back and consider not just one or two of Trump’s nominees, but the totality of his handover to corporate interests:
•Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who has strong ties to Koch Industries and raked in eye-popping sums from the finance sector, construction industry, pharmaceutical industry and chemical industry;
•Rex Tillerson, Trump’s secretary of state pick, spent his entire career at Exxon Mobil, which is not just among the world’s largest oil companies, but the corporation most responsible for spreading climate denial and intimidating climate activists.
•Steven Mnuchin, treasury secretary nominee and longtime Goldman Sachs executive, through a hedge fund took over the failed IndyMac, turned it into One West and went on a foreclosure rampage, engaging in robosigning and other abuses such that one judge found the bank to have engaged in practices that were ““harsh, repugnant, shocking and repulsive.”
•General James Mattis, the pick for secretary of defense, has spun through the revolving door, leaving the military to serve on the board of General Dynamics, a multinational military contractor, and the scandal-ridden Theranos, a start-up company which misled investors and consumers about its blood-testing technology.
•U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), under consideration for attorney general, despite a racist record that disqualified him from a federal judgeship three decades ago, and who has a record of gentle treatment of the finance, tobacco and other industries.
•Betsy DeVos, named to be education secretary, is a billionaire scion and whose husband is heir to the Amway fortune, is a purveyor of extremist education privatization proposals and has herself invested in for-profit education companies.
•Elaine Chao, up to run the U.S. Department of Transportation, who served on the board of directors of Wells Fargo during the cross-selling scandal, as well as a half dozen other corporate boards.
•Former Goldman Sachs executive Gary Cohn, slated to head the National Economic Council, who led Goldman Sachs as it profited off the housing market collapse in part by misleading its own clients;
•Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, Trump’s pick to the run the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, believes that climate science is “far from settled,” has repeatedly sued the agency he will be tasked with leading, and as Oklahoma attorney general sent letters to federal agencies that were literally drafted by Devon Energy, one of the state’s largest oil and gas corporations.
•Steve Bannon, a special adviser to Trump who once ran and may maintain undisclosed business or other ties with Breitbart.com, a far-right, racist website, and is a former Goldman Sachs executive;
•Linda McMahon, picked to run the Small Business Administration, who as World Wrestling Entertainment CEO helped ensure the wrestling industry remained largely unregulated, putting the health and safety of wrestlers at risk;
•Andy Puzder, who is to head the U.S. Department of Labor, the long-time mogul in charge of the Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. fast-food chains, companies known for being anti-worker and anti-union, and who opposes many or all of the most important, recent, pro-worker initiatives of the Obama Labor Department, including a rule to ensure that worker are properly compensated for overtime.
•Wilbur Ross, a billionaire whose firm has profited from buying distressed firms and cutting workers’ benefits, named to take the post of secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
•Carl Icahn, named as Trump’s “special advisor on regulatory affairs,” is the emblematic corporate raider and epitomizes predatory corporate capitalism, with financial holdings that give him a direct stake in many of the matters about which he will be advising the president.
In any prior administration, it would have been a tempest if even one of these individuals had been named to the cabinet.
The totality of the harm these individuals can inflict on America is hard to overstate. Consider some of the particulars. …
MOSCOW — As a member of the U.S.-Russia Business Council and chief executive of Exxon Mobil, Rex W. Tillerson frequently voiced doubts about Russia’s investment climate, saying as late as 2008 that Russia “must improve the functioning of its judicial system and its judiciary. There is no respect for the rule of law in Russia today.”
This past February, however, Mr. Tillerson, President-elect Donald J. Trump’s choice to be the next secretary of state, was sounding a very different theme, telling students at the University of Texas that he has “a very close relationship” with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.
In the intervening years, oil industry experts and other analysts say, as Mr. Putin consolidated his control over Russia’s oligarchs, Mr. Tillerson underwent a profound change of outlook. He came to realize that the key to success in Russia, a country deeply important to Exxon’s future, lay in establishing personal relationships with Mr. Putin and his friend and confidant, Igor Sechin, the powerful head of Rosneft, the state oil company.
And as Mr. Tillerson and other oil executives pivoted from the private sector to the state oil company, the criticism that they had directed toward the Kremlin dried up. The payoff for Exxon was immense: a $500 billion joint venture in 2011 to drill for oil on the Arctic shelf and the Black Sea and another huge deal to develop shale oil deposits in Siberia. Those projects were shelved in 2014, after the West imposed sanctions on Russia for Mr. Putin’s actions in Crimea and Ukraine.
The 64-year-old Tillerson, a lifetime Exxon employee, came up through the ranks by managing the company's Russia account.
In fact, his close relationship with Russia is one of the major reasons Tillerson was selected to succeed Lee Raymond as CEO of Exxon (XOM) in 2006, according to Steve Coll's book "Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power.”
Once he became CEO, Exxon bet billions on Russia's vast but notoriously-elusive oil resources through a bold partnership with Russian oil giant Rosneft. Putin himself attended the 2011 signing ceremony for the deal with Rosneft, which is majority owned by Moscow.
Russia has already indicated it would welcome Tillerson being named America's top diplomat. …
In June 2008, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson attended the St. Petersburg Economic Forum, Russia’s answer to Davos, its way of showing itself to the world as the kind of economic powerhouse that can attract executives like Rex Tillerson to its banquets.
It was a key and very shaky moment for Russia. Vladimir Putin was bowing out after his second term as president of Russia—the most the Russian constitution allows in a row, though he would figure out a way around it by 2012—and his successor, the relatively liberal Dmitri Medvedev, was debuting at the Forum. Tensions were heating up with Russia’s southern neighbor, Georgia, and would soon spill into war. The Russian economy was already getting shaky, and within a few months it would crater, faring the worst out of all the G20 economies, sinking from 8 percent GDP growth, to negative 8 percent.
Even after eight years of Putin assiduously taking control of the Russian economy and trying to restore some modicum of Soviet geopolitical power, Russia was still a pretty weak player. It had been relegated to last place among the BRICs, …