Tag: Rex Tillerson

Bankruptcy and the Boy Scouts


This morning, I caught a squib in The Wall Street Journal reporting that the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is contemplating filing for bankruptcy as a consequence of “dwindling membership and escalating legal costs related to lawsuits over how it handled allegations of sex abuse.”

I was aware of the decline in participation and I had a pretty good understanding of some of the causes. But I had somehow missed the fact that there was a sex abuse scandal — perhaps because 27 years have passed since it was exposed in The Washington Times and 24 since Patrick Boyle published his book on the subject: Scout’s Honor: Sexual Abuse in America’s Most Trusted Institution.

The article in The Wall Street Journal was strangely reticent. It did not specify what species of sexual abuse was involved. When I turned to Wikipedia, which has a good entry summarizing what Boyle and his colleagues at The Washington Times turned up, I discovered that what I suspected was true — that the misconduct involved was very much like that which plagued the Roman Catholic Church worldwide in the five decades preceding 2001. Prior to 1988 — when, in response to the problem, the BSA set up its Youth Protection Program — there had been quite a number of scoutmasters and others involved in scouting who had abused the trust of the boys and young men under their care for the purpose of sexual gratification. Put simply, in those years, pederasty was almost as much a problem for the Boy Scouts as it was for the Roman Catholic Church.

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are not all surprised by President Trump firing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson given their distant relationship and they hope Mike Pompeo can be effective as America’s top diplomat.  They also unload on Hillary Clinton after her ugly overseas explanations that Trump won the red states by appealing to people who don’t want blacks to have rights or women to have jobs and that white married women backed Trump because they did what their husbands or bosses told them to do.  And they slam liberal school administrators for actively supporting Wednesday’s National School Walkout to push for gun control.

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are generally encouraged by reports suggesting CIA Director Mike Pompeo may soon replace Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State and Sen. Tom Cotton would be tapped to lead the CIA.  They also discuss the latest lurid allegations against Minnesota Sen. Al Franken and longtime “Prairie Home Companion” host Garrison Keillor.  And they react to the reporting on Matt Lauer’s misbehavior, including the nugget that he had a special button under his desk that would lock his door.

How Would You Rate Rex Tillerson’s Job Performance?


Rex Tillerson seems to be criticized by every imaginable group: State Department employees, ex-employees, the media (of course), and now Congress. I thought it would be worthwhile to figure out, on balance, whether the disapproval is justified, and how he and his State Department are performing. Unfortunately, it’s not a pretty picture. And it’s not all Tillerson’s fault.

One of the first complaints is the large number of vacancies in the 75,000-employee State Department. One reason is that Tillerson is trying to re-organize the Department to have it run more efficiently and to free up resources to be used in more effective ways. Unfortunately, while he works on re-organization, lists for candidates provided by the Trump administration are being largely ignored by senior aides of State; most of the people at those levels are from the former Obama administration. One staffer describes the problem this way:

Foggy Bottom is still run by the same people who designed and implemented Obama’s Middle East agenda…. Tillerson was supposed to clean house, but he left half of them in place and he hid the other half in powerful positions all over the building. These are career staffers committed to preventing Trump from reversing what they created.

Can the Saudis Lead the Middle East into the Future?


Slowly but surely, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is trying to bring the Saudis into the 21st century. It is happening in fits and starts, and there are still many signs that the country has a long way to go, but I am cautiously optimistic.

Just last Tuesday, the Crown Prince talked about moderating Saudi Arabia’s practice of radical Sunni Islam at an economic forum in Riyadh:

We are returning to what we were before — a country of moderate Islam that is open to all religions and to the world.

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America actually welcome the increasing chatter from the left and from the op-ed pages for Democrats to embrace full repeal of the Second Amendment as a way of drawing clear lines in the gun debate.  They also wince as three top Trump cabinet officials reportedly agree to a so-called “suicide pact,” meaning all three will leave office if President Trump fires one of them.  And they slam Michelle Obama for another round of horrible statements, this time claiming people don’t trust politics because Republicans are supposedly all men and all white.

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America applaud the Trump administration for considering a full closure of the U.S. embassy in Cuba in response to the bizarre sound wave assaults on U.S. diplomats in Havana and urge officials to follow through on the idea.  They also discuss the revelation that the London tube bomber was a teenage refugee just three years ago and why extreme vetting makes perfect sense.  And they get a kick out of College Park, Maryland, council members having to admit they actually didn’t vote to allow illegal immigrants to vote in local elections because they didn’t know their own charter.

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America focus on North Korea today, in light of the recent news that the isolated nation now has the technology to put a nuclear warhead inside one of its missiles and is now threatening a strike on Guam.  With such a development, Jim says, we may have to begin looking at the the possibility of accepting North Korea as a nuclear power, Jim and Greg discuss the unpalatable downsides to that.  They examine the statements President Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson regarding North Korea, as Trump promises “fury and fire” and Tillerson says that’s the only language that Kim Jong-Un understands.  Jim also delves into the history of the past three presidential administrations and their failures to keep North Korea fee of nukes.

Nikki Haley: Pushing Back Hard on the UN


The United Nations is not on my list of favorite organizations. In fact, I’ve written an OP about leaving, if not disbanding, the institution. But now that Nikki Haley is the US ambassador to the United Nations, I’m having second thoughts.

In her short time in the UN, she has already ruffled some feathers. She’s proposed making cuts in key areas—“Everybody knows there’s fat at the UN. Everybody knows there’s fat in the peacekeeping missions. So that’s why we’re taking [a review of] each one.”

She has also proposed a focus on human rights in national security, and reforming the UN peacekeeping operations. She has said that peacekeeping missions have to be re-evaluated, and if they are not being managed well, countries may lose funding:

North Korea Fires Missile; Tillerson Gives Cryptic Response


North Korea fired a medium-range ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan, in an apparent effort to mar the upcoming US-China summit. Before the test, a senior White House official said regarding the rogue state, “the clock has now run out, and all options are on the table.”

President Trump echoed the tough talk in a recent Financial Times interview. “China has great influence over North Korea,” he said, “and China will either decide to help us with North Korea, or they won’t. And if they do that will be very good for China, and if they don’t it won’t be good for anyone.”

Trump added, “If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will.”

Sol Relentsky Construction Co.


I got a call yesterday from my college frat buddy, now successful pollster and political consultant, Phil A. “Buster” Mignon. Buster, who is a real-life doppelganger for White House Chief Strategist, Stevie Wonder O’Bannon, said his new client, the Obama community organizers group, OFA (Organizers Fighting America), was building a new tunnel connecting New Jersey and Staten Island. He wanted me to join him at the groundbreaking the next morning on the Perth Attaboy waterfront.

He couldn’t have called at a worse time.

Richard Epstein argues that a two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians is destined to fail (at least in the short-term) and that the uneasy status quo may actually be the best option available to both sides.

Breaking: Senate Confirms Tillerson (Update: News on Sessions and DeVos)


The US Senate voted Wednesday to confirm Exxon/Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson as the new Secretary of State. All Republican Senators supported him, along with three Senate Democrats: Heidi Heitkamp (ND), Joe Manchin (WV), and Mark Warner (VA). The final tally was 56 to 43. Sen. Angus King (ME), an independent who caucuses with Democrats, also voted to confirm the nominee.

In other nomination news Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved Sen. Jeff Sessions’s nomination to become Attorney General on a contentious party-line vote. Meanwhile, Republican Sens. Susan Collins (ME) and Lisa Murkowski (AK) have announced that they will not support Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos. Barring unlikely Democratic support, or other GOP dissent, this leaves the school choice advocate with an expected 50-50 vote in the Senate, requiring Vice President Mike Pence to cast the deciding vote.

Victor Davis Hanson looks at the controversies around Donald Trump’s relationship with the Russian government and analyzes the trajectory of Washington’s relationship with Moscow.

Questions for Mr. Tillerson


Rex TillersonThe American appetite for businessmen in government is a hardy perennial. Ross Perot won 19 percent of the popular vote in 1992 on the strength of his “get under the hood” appeal. The Republican Party nominated Wendell Willkie in 1940 (though he’d been a Democrat until 1939) because he was perceived as a businessman “with a heart.” Now, the president-elect has chosen ExxonMobil chief Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State. Is a businessman – a great dealmaker – according to the Trump camp, what we need as Secretary of State?

Progressives tend to respond in Pavlovian fashion to corporate CEOs, especially oil company executives. “Corporate America” is their bête noire – which just demonstrates their tunnel vision. In fact, the leaders of big corporations in the US tend to bend with fashion in political matters. Recall that a number of large companies denounced Indiana when it passed its Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and some even withdrew from the state. Among those bringing pressure to amend or repeal the law were Apple Corporation, Angie’s List, Subaru, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, and Gen Con. Some of the nation’s largest companies are very generous to progressive causes, and when they start foundations, it’s Katie-bar-the-door (yes, that means you Ford Foundation).

In my experience, small business owners tend to be more conservative than executives of large corporations. Why? 1) Small businesses lack the heft to influence the government; and 2) they lack the manpower/income to comply with costly regulations. Large companies are better positioned to lobby the government for favorable treatment, including policies that will harm their competitors (which often includes the small businesses), and they have the staff to fill out stupid, useless government forms.

Exxon CEO Pushes Back Against Environmentalists


RexTillersonAt a recent annual shareholders meeting, Rex Tillerson, Exxon’s longtime Chairman and CEO, did something very unusual for a business executive: he questioned the global warming hysteria.

Tillerson said that models predicting the effects of global warming “just aren’t that good,” and that it would be very difficult for the world to meet aggressive emission-reduction targets. He further noted that technology can help deal with rising sea levels or changing weather patterns “that may or may not be induced by climate change.” Tillerson added, “Mankind has this enormous capacity to deal with adversity. I know that is an unsatisfactory answer to a lot of people, but it’s an answer that a scientist and an engineer would give you.”

To compound his sins, Tillerson then rejected calls to invest in faddish renewable energy schemes such wind and solar saying, “We choose not to lose money on purpose.” According to the above article, the audience broke out in applause.