First today, apparently it's still not "terrorism" when a non-ISIS American carries out a mass shooting, as was the case last Friday at the Fort Lauderdale International Airport. The alleged shooter, a veteran of the Iraq War and former National Guardsman, killed five and wounded six others, even as Republican Florida lawmakers press for more guns in airports and elsewhere.
Then, as many as eight of Trump nominees are all set to come before U.S. Senate committees this week for confirmation hearings, pretty much all at the same time, and even before the U.S. Office of Government Ethics has even completed the background checks for many of them for the first time since the OGE was created. That, despite unprecedented corporate conflicts of interests for virtually all of the cabinet-level and top advisory positions being filled — not to mention the first press conference in six months scheduled by Trump at the same time, along with the Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's plan plan to hold a budget "vote-a-rama" concurrently with all of the above.
One of the nominees set for truncated confirmation hearings this week is Exxon's Tillerson, who last week filed papers with the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) explaining how he plans to divest from some $180 million in Exxon stock. While Tillerson's attorneys describe the scheme as a way to sever ties with the oil giant, Public Citizen's David Arkush finds a discrepancy in the legal filings that suggest Tillerson may still have a reason for allegiance to Exxon, rather than the well-being of U.S foreign policy.
"In the agreement between Exxon and the trustee [set to keep Tillerson's holdings while he serves as Sec. of State]," Arkush finds wording "that would leave him with a clear incentive to still favor Exxon as Secretary of State."
"He has viewed the entire world through the lens of what's good for Exxon," Arkush explains after detailing the concerns with the SEC declarations. "A lot of people look at that record and are critical of the fact that he has no government experience and, technically, I guess, in a certain sense, no foreign policy experience. I don't think that's the issue. I think the issue is he does have experience…He has spent 41 years working at a single company that has a single motive, which is to make money by finding oil around the world, digging it up, and burning it." He goes on to optimistically warn: "We are headed toward utter disaster." Finally today: Hollywood takes a stand against Trump and in favor of press freedoms.
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