FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Tillerson, the Truth and Ryan Zinke’s Interior Department

Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was fired by Donald Trump on Twitter, gave an astounding speech last week in which he equated truth with freedom and warned: “If our leaders seek to conceal the truth or we as people become accepting of alternative realities that are no longer grounded in facts, then we as American citizens are on a pathway to relinquishing our freedom.” It’s obvious Tillerson’s comments were directed at President Trump, whom a recent poll found only 13 percent of the public believed was honest. Unfortunately, the comments are equally applicable to Ryan Zinke, the Montanan now at the head of the Department of Interior.

Ironically, Tillerson’s call for truth rang out just as news that the Interior Department official Zinke put in charge of reviewing 27 national monuments for reduction previously acknowledged: “Essentially, barring a surprise, there is no new information that’s going to be submitted.” That he made his announcement prior to receiving millions of public comments saying “hands off” the monuments shows just what a facetious charade Zinke and Interior pulled by acting like public comments made a difference in their national monument decisions.

Of course there’s nothing like getting it from the horse’s mouth, and as The Hill reported last Friday: “Trump and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke had often boasted about gathering public comment on Bears Ears and other national monuments” and quoted Zinke who said last year, “I appreciate everyone who took the time to log-on or write in and participate in our government.”

Apparently Zinke’s “appreciation” for all the members of the public who weighed in on the national monuments is one of the “alternative realities” of which Tillerson warned. Considering that a rather astounding 2.4 million people took the time to comment and 99.5 percent opposed reduction or elimination of national monuments, it’s obvious Zinke and his Department of Interior had predetermined the outcome. Simply put, the comment period was just another sad public relations deception by our reality-TV president and his forked-tongue administration.

If they had a shred of veracity, Zinke and Trump would have told the American public their comments were meaningless in the decision to slash Grand-Staircase Escalante and Bear’s Ears national monuments in Utah by 84 percent. If truth were a valued commodity in this administration they would have said “we’re opening up as much public land as possible to private resource extraction” — which is just what they did at the behest of the oil, gas, coal, uranium, logging, ranching and other development interests.

But truth is an endangered species in the Trump White House, where apparently the president and his minions think Americans are so dumb they can continually deceive the public and get away with it by claiming the media exposing their lies is “fake news.”

How strange is it that it took Rex Tillerson to issue the clarion call for truth after being booted from the Trump administration? Remember, Tillerson knows a little something about not telling the truth since he is the former CEO of Exxon, the oil and gas megacorporation that for decades covered up its certain knowledge that burning fossil fuels was contributing to climate change.

Surely Ryan Zinke remembers that in Montana a person’s word is taken as truth and a handshake is as good as a contract. While there’s no hope his boss Trump will ever change where telling the truth is concerned, Zinke should know better — and quit deceiving citizens that their comments will influence Trump’s or Interior’s resource extraction plans for our precious public lands.

 

More articles by:

George Ochenski is a columnist for the Missoulian, where this essay originally appeared.

Weekend Edition
January 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Star Wars Revisited: One More Nightmare From Trump
John Davis
“Weather Terrorism:” a National Emergency
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Sometimes an Establishment Hack is Just What You Need
Louisa Willcox
Sky Bears, Earth Bears: Finding and Losing True North
Robert Fisk
Bernie Sanders, Israel and the Middle East
Robert Fantina
Pompeo, the U.S. and Iran
David Rosen
The Biden Band-Aid: Will Democrats Contain the Insurgency?
Nick Pemberton
Human Trafficking Should Be Illegal
Steve Early - Suzanne Gordon
Did Donald Get The Memo? Trump’s VA Secretary Denounces ‘Veteran as Victim’ Stereotyping
Andrew Levine
The Tulsi Gabbard Factor
John W. Whitehead
The Danger Within: Border Patrol is Turning America into a Constitution-Free Zone
Dana E. Abizaid
Kafka’s Grave: a Pilgrimage in Prague
Rebecca Lee
Punishment Through Humiliation: Justice For Sexual Assault Survivors
Dahr Jamail
A Planet in Crisis: The Heat’s On Us
John Feffer
Trump Punts on Syria: The Forever War is Far From Over
Dave Lindorff
Shut Down the War Machine!
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: Student Voices of the Los Angeles Education Revolt  
Mark Ashwill
The Metamorphosis of International Students Into Honorary US Nationalists: a View from Viet Nam
Ramzy Baroud
The Moral Travesty of Israel Seeking Arab, Iranian Money for its Alleged Nakba
Ron Jacobs
Allen Ginsberg Takes a Trip
Jake Johnston
Haiti by the Numbers
Binoy Kampmark
No-Confidence Survivor: Theresa May and Brexit
Victor Grossman
Red Flowers for Rosa and Karl
Cesar Chelala
President Donald Trump’s “Magical Realism”
Christopher Brauchli
An Education in Fraud
Paul Bentley
The Death Penalty for Canada’s Foreign Policy?
David Swanson
Top 10 Reasons Not to Love NATO
Louis Proyect
Breaking the Left’s Gay Taboo
Kani Xulam
A Saudi Teen and Freedom’s Shining Moment
Ralph Nader
Bar Barr or Regret this Dictatorial Attorney General
Jessicah Pierre
A Dream Deferred: MLK’s Dream of Economic Justice is Far From Reality
Edward J. Martin
Glossip v. Gross, the Eighth Amendment and the Torture Court of the United States
Chuck Collins
Shutdown Expands the Ranks of the “Underwater Nation”
Paul Edwards
War Whores
Alycee Lane
Trump’s Federal Government Shutdown and Unpaid Dishwashers
Martha Rosenberg
New Questions About Ritual Slaughter as Belgium Bans the Practice
Wim Laven
The Annual Whitewashing of Martin Luther King Jr.
Nicky Reid
Panarchy as Full Spectrum Intersectionality
Jill Richardson
Hollywood’s Fat Shaming is Getting Old
Nyla Ali Khan
A Woman’s Wide Sphere of Influence Within Folklore and Social Practices
Richard Klin
Dial Israel: Amos Oz, 1939-2018
Graham Peebles
A Global Battle of Values and Ideals
David Rovics
Of Triggers and Bullets
Elliot Sperber
Eddie Spaghetti’s Alphabet
January 17, 2019
Stan Cox
That Green Growth at the Heart of the Green New Deal? It’s Malignant
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail