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.

November 21, 2018
Manuel García, Jr.
Climate Change Action Would Kill Imperialism
Kenneth Surin
Return to Denver: Clouds on the Horizon
Jonathan Cook
Netanyahu’s Ceasefire is Meant to Keep Gaza Imprisoned
John Steppling
Liar Liar
Bill Hackwell
Paradise Lost
Gary Leupp
“Maybe He Did, and Maybe He Didn’t:” Reflections on Morality in 2018
W. T. Whitney
Criminal Behavior: US May be Developing Biological Weapons
Zhivko Illeieff
How Media, Tech, and News Networks Normalize Trump’s Propaganda
NEVE GORDON - NICOLA PERUGINI
Migrant Caravan: Branding Migrants “Human Shields” Has a Deadly Motive
Wouter Hoenderdaal
Jordan Peterson’s Disturbing Views on Inequality
Dean Baker
Nicholas Kristof and the China Trade War
Colin Todhunter
Approaching Development: GMO Propaganda and Neoliberalism vs Localisation and Agroecology
November 20, 2018
John Davis
Geographies of Violence in Southern California
Anthony Pahnke
Abolishing ICE Means Defunding it
Maximilian Werner
Why (Mostly) Men Trophy Hunt: a Biocultural Explanation
Masturah Alatas
Undercutting Female Circumcision
Jack Rasmus
Global Oil Price Deflation 2018 and Beyond
Geoff Dutton
Why High Technology’s Double-Edged Sword is So Hard to Swallow
Binoy Kampmark
Charges Under Seal: US Prosecutors Get Busy With Julian Assange
Rev. William Alberts
America Fiddles While California Burns
Forrest Hylton, Aaron Tauss and Juan Felipe Duque Agudelo
Remaking the Common Good: the Crisis of Public Higher Education in Colombia
Patrick Cockburn
What Can We Learn From a Headmaster Who Refused to Allow His Students to Celebrate Armistice Day?
Clark T. Scott
Our Most Stalwart Company
Tom H. Hastings
Look to the Right for Corruption
Edward Hunt
With Nearly 400,000 Dead in South Sudan, Will the US Finally Change Its Policy?
Thomas Knapp
Hypocrisy Alert: Republicans Agreed with Ocasio-Cortez Until About One Minute Ago
November 19, 2018
David Rosen
Amazon Deal: New York Taxpayers Fund World Biggest Sex-Toy Retailer
Sheldon Richman
Art of the Smear: the Israel Lobby Busted
Chad Hanson
Why Trump is Wrong About the California Wildfires
Dean Baker
Will Progressives Ever Think About How We Structure Markets, Instead of Accepting them as Given?
Robert Fisk
We Remember the Great War, While Palestinians Live It
Dave Lindorff
Pelosi’s Deceptive Plan: Blocking any Tax Rise Could Rule Out Medicare-for-All and Bolstering Social Security
Rick Baum
What Can We Expect From the Democrat “Alternative” Given Their Record in California?
Thomas Scott Tucker
Trump, World War I and the Lessons of Poetry
John W. Whitehead
Red Flag Gun Laws
Newton Finn
On Earth, as in Heaven: the Utopianism of Edward Bellamy
Robert Fantina
Shithole Countries: Made in the USA
René Voss
Have Your Say about Ranching in Our Point Reyes National Seashore
Weekend Edition
November 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jonah Raskin
A California Jew in a Time of Anti-Semitism
Andrew Levine
Whither the Melting Pot?
Joshua Frank
Climate Change and Wildfires: The New Western Travesty
Nick Pemberton
The Revolution’s Here, Please Excuse Me While I Laugh
T.J. Coles
Israel Cannot Use Violent Self-Defense While Occupying Gaza
Rob Urie
Nuclear Weapons are a Nightmare Made in America
Paul Street
Barack von Obamenburg, Herr Donald, and Big Capitalist Hypocrisy: On How Fascism Happens
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail