Trump's Secretary of Hate

Trump's Secretary of Hate

Why Rex Tillerson is a bad mama-jama ft. Putin

Donald Trump recently announced his pick for Secretary of State, and his choice is less than ideal (like, waaay less). I can’t honestly say that I was surprised at Trump’s pick, because at this point I don’t think anything he could do would surprise me, but I did lose some of the already minimal hope I had for his presidency.

First, let’s discuss what the Secretary of State does. He is essentially the president’s right-hand man when it comes to foreign policy. The Secretary of State negotiates for the United States, personally participates in international conferences, ensures the protection of the government to Americans and interests in other countries, informs the people of foreign relations, administers the Department of State, and much more. The Secretary of State is one of the most important people on a president’s cabinet, so making a great selection for the multifaceted job is crucial for any president. This is why the selection of Rex Tillerson is so troubling.

Next, let’s focus on who Rex Tillerson is. He is the CEO and chairman of ExxonMobil, a billion-dollar oil company. He earned a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and began his Exxon career in 1975 as a production engineer. Eventually, he moved up the ranks within the company to become the CEO that he is today.

Since Tillerson is the company’s top man, he has led many of Exxon’s international deals. He has met with leaders across the world to discuss oil and the expansion of his company’s reach. This is the only type of foreign policy “experience” he has - meeting with leaders to make deals for oil. He has no background in traditional foreign affairs, no formal education on how to interact with other countries, and no real experience in negotiations with other countries outside of business. Some of his past dealings are rather controversial now, because he has been known to be amicable with nations that are not on good terms with the United States, such as Russia.

Tillerson’s relationship with Russia is one of the main reasons for skepticism about his selection for the position of Secretary of State. The relationship started when Exxon made a deal with a Russian oil company - Rosneft - in 1999. Since then, Exxon has made many deals in Russia and has continued interactions with Rosneft, giving the Russian company stakes in many of Exxon’s projects based in the United States. What is most troubling about these deals is that throughout the United States’ shaky relationship with Russia, Tillerson has stayed close to Putin. After Russia’s annexation of Crimea, Tillerson even condemned the U.S.’s sanctions on Russia, because his own business deal was cancelled. Finally, Tillerson was awarded Russia’s Order of Friendship medal in 2013. In the context of this current election and all of the issues surrounding it, this close of a relationship between Tillerson and Putin is troubling.

Everyone and their mother knows that the legitimacy of this past election has been called into question due to the possible intervention of Russia. Seventeen intelligence agencies in the United States have said that Russia was behind hacks into U.S. systems during the election. Therefore, Trump’s selection of someone so close to Putin himself is not a good sign for his own innocence in this situation. If the Russian government is trying to gain access to the inner-workings of the United States government, having Tillerson chosen as the Secretary of State would be a good start. Tillerson’s conflicted interests are troubling to many, since he would hold both the balance of his company and the balance of our foreign relations in his hands. For example, a decision to lift sanctions against Russia would make him richer and affect the United States’ reputation as a foreign policing force. It would remove the United States from the group effort that is in place to warn Russia about taking foreign policy actions that are not condoned by the West.

Tillerson’s relationship with Russia isn’t the only issue, though. Since he is the CEO of a major oil company, the potential danger to the environment is clear. His interests in his company would affect his judgment on the United States’ climate policies with other nations. To summarize the situation in a sentence: the selection of Tillerson as Secretary of State does not have good implications for the future of the fight against climate change. Sorry, Mother Nature.

Rex Tillerson is definitely not the best choice Trump could have made for Secretary of State. When Trump said he would “drain the swamp,” I did not think that meant he would put big oil companies so obviously in charge of the country. Big business has been running the country through politicians for a long time, and now it is becoming painfully obvious. Only now, we don’t get to pretend that we have the control. Trump is pulling out all the stops to show us that we don’t.
Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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An Open Letter to the Person Who Still Uses the "R Word"

Your negative associations are slowly poisoning the true meaning of an incredibly beautiful, exclusive word.

What do you mean you didn't “mean it like that?" You said it.

People don't say things just for the hell of it. It has one definition. Merriam-Webster defines it as, "To be less advanced in mental, physical or social development than is usual for one's age."

So, when you were “retarded drunk" this past weekend, as you claim, were you diagnosed with a physical or mental disability?

When you called your friend “retarded," did you realize that you were actually falsely labeling them as handicapped?

Don't correct yourself with words like “stupid," “dumb," or “ignorant." when I call you out. Sharpen your vocabulary a little more and broaden your horizons, because I promise you that if people with disabilities could banish that word forever, they would.

Especially when people associate it with drunks, bad decisions, idiotic statements, their enemies and other meaningless issues. Oh trust me, they are way more than that.

I'm not quite sure if you have had your eyes opened as to what a disabled person is capable of, but let me go ahead and lay it out there for you. My best friend has Down Syndrome, and when I tell people that their initial reaction is, “Oh that is so nice of you! You are so selfless to hang out with her."

Well, thanks for the compliment, but she is a person. A living, breathing, normal girl who has feelings, friends, thousands of abilities, knowledge, and compassion out the wazoo.

She listens better than anyone I know, she gets more excited to see me than anyone I know, and she works harder at her hobbies, school, work, and sports than anyone I know. She attends a private school, is a member of the swim team, has won multiple events in the Special Olympics, is in the school choir, and could quite possibly be the most popular girl at her school!

So yes, I would love to take your compliment, but please realize that most people who are labeled as “disabled" are actually more “able" than normal people. I hang out with her because she is one of the people who has so effortlessly taught me simplicity, gratitude, strength, faith, passion, love, genuine happiness and so much more.

Speaking for the people who cannot defend themselves: choose a new word.

The trend has gone out of style, just like smoking cigarettes or not wearing your seat belt. It is poisonous, it is ignorant, and it is low class.

As I explained above, most people with disabilities are actually more capable than a normal human because of their advantageous ways of making peoples' days and unknowingly changing lives. Hang out with a handicapped person, even if it is just for a day. I can one hundred percent guarantee you will bite your tongue next time you go to use the term out of context.

Hopefully you at least think of my friend, who in my book is a hero, a champion and an overcomer. Don't use the “R Word". You are way too good for that. Stand up and correct someone today.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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Sorry People, But #BelieveWomen Is #UnAmerican

Presumption of innocence is a core American value


There's a saying: "Lack of faith and blind faith - both are equally dangerous". Believing sexual assault accusers who are women just because they are women besides being the very definition of sexist - prejudice based on sex - is setting a harmful precedent on the way justice is served in this country. See, what this movement has done is changed justice from "prove guilt" to "prove innocence", an important and incredibly dangerous difference. Where is the due process that our Founding Fathers envisioned, fought, and died for?

Due process is an integral part of the reason why we have the United States of America. It was so important to our Founding Fathers that they included it in the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eight (the Bill of Rights), and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution. It galls me to see how privileged modern day feminists are - so privileged they seemingly forget the freedoms this country affords them, so they may live their life, expect liberty, and be unhindered in their pursuit of happiness.

#BelieveWomen is a vigilante movement - and with vigilante justice the innocent always hang with the guilty, one of the very reasons for due process. I've heard the argument it's better to let innocent men rot in jail than have rapist men walk free, an argument, despite being incredibly moronic and unAmerican, that would not be made if the accused was a man close to the woman's heart. Because with the change to "prove innocence", the assumption will be guilt, and a confirmation bias will be created. Whereas if the assumption is innocence, the jury must be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime has occurred. I understand that a high percentage of rape accusations are truthful (I believe the number is in the high 90s), but the small percentage that are not means we cannot, in good conscience, assume guilt. To assume would damn some men to a fate they do not deserve, a fate they would have to endure simply because of their sex. Any real feminist should be appalled at how sexism is implicitly encouraged in this movement.

If you choose to #BelieveWomen in spite of everything I outlined, that is your prerogative, but you must #BelieveAllWomen. If your father, husband, boyfriend, or son gets accused, you must #BelieveWomen and stand with their accuser. Any less and your feminist privilege will show. Vocal #MeToo activist Lena Dunham has already shown her privilege - accusing actress Aurora Perrineau of lying about being assaulted by her friend Murray Miller. When the going gets hard, feminists rarely stick to their principles. And sadly, feminism - and the double standards it always brings - rears its ugly head once again.

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