State of state
October 9, 2017 8:27 AM   Subscribe

Dexter Filkins profiles Rex Tillerson, United States Secretary of State, for the New Yorker : The Breaking Point - "In an interview with a conservative Web site, Tillerson alluded to his ambivalence. “I didn’t want this job,” he said. “My wife told me I’m supposed to do this.”" posted by the man of twists and turns (93 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
 
"Will Donald Trump let Rex Tillerson do his job?"

No.
posted by parki at 8:28 AM on October 9 [6 favorites]


Looks like the T. Rex... (•_•) / ( •_•)>⌐■-■ / (⌐■_■)... is about to become extinct.
posted by dazed_one at 8:30 AM on October 9 [28 favorites]


"Will Rex Tillerson help the State Department do its job?"

No, no, a hundred times no.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:33 AM on October 9 [4 favorites]


Yesssss. Eat each other. Do it.
posted by loquacious at 8:33 AM on October 9 [48 favorites]


My wife told me I’m supposed to do this

Please tell me that's not because she decided that this was God's Plan
posted by thelonius at 8:38 AM on October 9 [5 favorites]


Others described a more pragmatic sensibility, noting that Tillerson’s favorite book is “Atlas Shrugged,”

leaving aside the very real question of what the author or these "others" think pragmatism even is, this whole tense situation is obviously a result of two bespectacled book-lovers having one too many late-night nerd arguments about who's better, Ayn Rand or Hitler. tillerson is a style man; trump loves his detailed world-building over all.

boys, boys! we can all read our favorite books, there doesn't have to be a winner! the important thing is we all love the written word and we all love our library cards.
posted by queenofbithynia at 8:45 AM on October 9 [35 favorites]


More like "Wrecks" Tillerson!
posted by Fizz at 8:47 AM on October 9 [4 favorites]


Remember being appalled at the Tillerson nomination, don't like him, bunch of bad, but but but, probably WORSE at this point if he's dumped. (scary worse)
posted by sammyo at 8:50 AM on October 9 [6 favorites]


Please tell me that's not because she decided that this was God's Plan

Can't help you there. Blaming the wife when there is Trump and Russia in the room seems naive, but God and Wife is the official story:

However, he said that when he returned to his Texas home after meeting Trump in New York, his wife, Renda St Clair, shook her finger in his face and said: “I told you God’s not through with you.”
posted by yellowbinder at 8:52 AM on October 9 [10 favorites]


Tillerson’s favorite book is “Atlas Shrugged"

Of course it is.
posted by AFABulous at 8:56 AM on October 9 [40 favorites]


Always this tiresome, dangerous bead-jiggling justification for everything.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 8:57 AM on October 9 [2 favorites]


Tillerson kind of bursts that myth that the best person for the job is the person who wants it least. Although maybe that idea only applies to the highest office, like Cesar or president-for-life.
posted by blakewest at 8:57 AM on October 9 [7 favorites]


Tillerson’s favorite book is “Atlas Shrugged"

I too had bad taste and a heightened sense of self-importance and selfishness when I was 16.
posted by Fizz at 8:59 AM on October 9 [51 favorites]


What's interesting about this story, from a journalism POV, was that (if you think about the New Yorker's legendary fact-checking process and loooooong lead times on stories) this was pretty clearly a story on how Rex's Exxon was a corrupt organization that routinely acted counter to the country's interests.

And then came the reports of the "fucking moron" comment, which they shoe-horned in, and (fortunately) put the article in the spotlight. Well worth your time, if you thought it was only about the well-documented WH infighting.
posted by martin q blank at 9:02 AM on October 9 [25 favorites]


Maybe Tillerson's Bene Gesserit wife is right and God isn't done screwing Tillerson over.

Fear is the mind-killer, Tilly. Gitty up.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 9:04 AM on October 9 [15 favorites]


This was the go-to excuse of my father's generation. "You know, I'd love to, but the wife..."
posted by clawsoon at 9:06 AM on October 9 [13 favorites]


I too had bad taste and a heightened sense of self-importance and selfishness when I was 16.

I had much better taste in books when I was 16.
posted by thelonius at 9:08 AM on October 9 [16 favorites]


you'd think a woman with a direct line to God's ear would be the best choice for secretary of state herself, over some lug she's married to, wouldn't you
posted by queenofbithynia at 9:08 AM on October 9 [43 favorites]


I had much better taste in books when I was 16.

I was also super into Tom Clancy and John Grisham for a few years. Oh wait...I'm making this worse.
posted by Fizz at 9:18 AM on October 9 [7 favorites]


“I told you God’s not through with you.”

That's right. God is gonna f. you. up.
posted by amanda at 9:18 AM on October 9 [25 favorites]


I don't want to brag but my favorite book when I was 16 was The Illuminatus! Trilogy
posted by OverlappingElvis at 9:19 AM on October 9 [43 favorites]


None of these fuckers can accept responsibility for their own actions, even to the point of relying on some bizarre 1950s henpecked husband trope.

I'm a big boy! Except I don't really want this job, I let others make my decisions, and my intellectual development stopped in high school.
posted by aspersioncast at 9:22 AM on October 9 [12 favorites]


My feelings on this are:

A: Fuck US foreign policy
B: Yet somehow this will make it worse, as we'll rely on the military in absence of functional diplomacy
C: To Tillerson, fucking suffer, you piece of shit. You should be in prison, and future generations of climate refugees will spit on your grave.
posted by Existential Dread at 9:22 AM on October 9 [10 favorites]


Tillerson’s favorite book is “Atlas Shrugged"

That's the one where the protagonists effect societal change by forming a union and going on strike.

I thought it was insightful when I was 15. Took me a while to get over that, I'm embarrassed to say. Having to work for shitheels who believe they're john fucking galt helps.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:27 AM on October 9 [6 favorites]


There's a tweet going around to the effect that "my favorite book is Atlas Shrugged" means "I don't read and I worship the market like a god" and it's not wrong.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:27 AM on October 9 [60 favorites]


I was also super into Tom Clancy and John Grisham for a few years. Oh wait...I'm making this worse.

No, those are better
posted by thelonius at 9:28 AM on October 9 [10 favorites]


Tillerson's tone of voice sounds like what an HR director would sound like if his marching orders included dousing children with gasoline and torching them.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:31 AM on October 9 [4 favorites]


“I didn’t want this job,” he said. “My wife told me I’m supposed to do this.”

To be fair, I always half-ass it when my wife makes me do something.
posted by MrJM at 9:38 AM on October 9 [44 favorites]


I don't want to brag but my favorite book when I was 16 was The Illuminatus! Trilogy

On those rare occasions that somebody tells me that Atlas Shrugged is their favorite book, I like to say that mine is Telemachus Sneezed.
posted by Strange Interlude at 9:41 AM on October 9 [19 favorites]


Man, his wife must _hate_ him!

(I may have stolen that from someone here)
posted by jclarkin at 9:43 AM on October 9 [3 favorites]


There's a wealthy guy in town who hosted these lavish private parties at his home every year, and would always hire a band I played in as entertainment. The first year I was in the band and played this party I noticed that his bookshelf had an Ayn Rand shelf featuring first editions of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. I thought this was creepy but harmless until a few years later when he was successfully sued for some pretty horrifying sexual harassment directed at one of his employees, which was all over the local news after he lost. We still played his party a few times, but after that I gave half my cut to a local non-profit that works to empower girls and young women. Anyway what I'm saying is don't underestimate what it means when someone says with a straight face that Atlas Shrugged is their favorite book.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 9:43 AM on October 9 [27 favorites]


> Others described a more pragmatic sensibility, noting that Tillerson’s favorite book is “Atlas Shrugged,”

John Rogers, who first quantified the Crazification Factor, wrote the definitive takedown of "Atlas Shrugged":

There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.
posted by HillbillyInBC at 9:43 AM on October 9 [108 favorites]


This was the go-to excuse of my father's generation. "You know, I'd love to, but the wife..."

Isn't the current conservative stance that Real Men are true Alphas who don't pay women any regard except to get the sex they deserve?
posted by Sangermaine at 9:48 AM on October 9 [5 favorites]


his wife, Renda St Clair, shook her finger in his face and said: “I told you God’s not through with you.”

Spoiler Alert: And then at the end of Season 1, Rex found out he was actually in The Bad Place.



[Hope that's not too "inside baseball," & shoutout to my Fanfare peeps.]
posted by NorthernLite at 9:51 AM on October 9 [19 favorites]


amanda: That's right. God is gonna f. you. up.

If you have not listened to Hand of the Almighty by John R. Butler you're missing out on life.
posted by komara at 9:51 AM on October 9 [4 favorites]


After reading The Fountainhead as a freshman in High School, I had an obsession with Ayn. In retrospect, I think it was largely due to the lurid sex passages that I eagerly read. Oh sure, I muddled through Anthem and the Virtue of Selfishness but was less than inspired (i.e., no sex). So I finally decided to tackle the massive Shrugged. No disappointment at the beginning with all the surrendering and ravishing. It also helped to have such evil antagonists; all those nasty unions, newspapers and leftist politicians. But the ending was truly transformative for me. Despite the huge hormonal gratification, I couldn’t get past the ending. How on earth did these folks build this objectivist paradise? Who cleared out the mountain much less cleaned out the sewers? Who picked the crops (or even planted them)? How could I believe something with such a huge logical hole? I tossed Shrugged in the trash and never looked back.

So when I hear that someone still looks to this literary dreck as their lifetime favorite, I know they have that logical hole in their reasoning. A giant blind spot. That and like me, they were a bit pervy in High School.
posted by jabo at 10:05 AM on October 9 [16 favorites]


Sangermaine: Isn't the current conservative stance that Real Men are true Alphas who don't pay women any regard except to get the sex they deserve?

Depends which part of the conservative-o-sphere you're in. My impression is that being part (or not) of a church makes the biggest difference. Women-on-a-pedestal misogyny sometimes plays out in different ways from MRA misogyny.
posted by clawsoon at 10:05 AM on October 9 [4 favorites]


I may have said this before, but...

On a car in the next lane was the bumper sticker:

"Who is John Galt?"

It was a nice day, so everyone had their windows down. I pulled alongside and laconically opined,

"A fictional fucking character."
posted by notsnot at 10:05 AM on October 9 [15 favorites]


Maybe Tillerson's Bene Gesserit wife is right and God isn't done screwing Tillerson over.

Fear is the mind-killer, Tilly. Gitty up.


And how can this be? For he is the Sadsak Fukitup.
posted by lagomorphius at 10:26 AM on October 9 [17 favorites]


How on earth did these folks build this objectivist paradise? Who cleared out the mountain much less cleaned out the sewers? Who picked the crops (or even planted them)?

Atlas Shrugged 2: One Hour Later
posted by Aznable at 10:31 AM on October 9 [18 favorites]


People think he should go.
posted by anem0ne at 10:35 AM on October 9 [1 favorite]


"... most non-Americans will realize that the madman's danger seriously threatens the whole world, and they will unite to stop and depose him somehow, thus starting World War 3 which will pit the USA against the rest of civilization ...
... a war which the United States will decisively lose, and which will lead -- in its following generations -- to strict laws forbidding any celebration of the country's evil nationalistic past, the demagogue leader Trump that led it astray, and the odious fascist Republican party that enabled him. Eventually a new American leader will emerge, a woman of intelligence and good will who will become known as an ally of immigrants and a champion of human rights. She will be called the real leader of the free world; some will consider her to be an Angel sent to make America truly great at last ...
posted by TwoToneRow at 10:42 AM on October 9 [4 favorites]


“I think running a Fortune 500 company is a whole lot easier than working as a Cabinet official, running foreign policy for the United State government,” a senior Trump Administration official told me.

Who could have conceivably thought that running the foreign policy (or trying to, at any rate) of the world's most powerful country in a time of deep worldwide instability and challenges, some of them caused by the reckless search for profit by certain companies including the one you ran, would be more difficult than running a Fortune 500 company? I mean, it looks so easy and there are only so many countries in the world, right?
posted by lesbiassparrow at 10:44 AM on October 9 [31 favorites]


(And a woman did it before, so can't be that hard, guys, right?)
posted by lesbiassparrow at 10:45 AM on October 9 [15 favorites]


I was reading this article out loud to my husband, and when I got to "Tillerson's favorite book is..." I paused and he was immediately able to fill in the blank with "Atlas Shrugged". Because of course it is.
posted by skycrashesdown at 10:50 AM on October 9 [15 favorites]


Depends which part of the conservative-o-sphere you're in. My impression is that being part (or not) of a church makes the biggest difference. Women-on-a-pedestal misogyny sometimes plays out in different ways from MRA misogyny.

It's the same misogyny you see with men who bemoan their wives making them see Chick Flick instead of Action Movie, or Soap Opera instead of Sports, or eat A Vegetable instead of Flame-Broiled Cow Wrapped In Fried Pig. This in turn is weakly countered by all of the Facebook Mom memes about day-drinking while the kids are in school. For some reason, it's culturally taken as a given that married people should despise their partners in this country.
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:16 AM on October 9 [26 favorites]


This is an instance of the more general cultural given that men and women should despise each other.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 11:42 AM on October 9 [6 favorites]


There are still bits of Atlas Shrugged I like, partly because I was brought up in a very patriarchal conservative backward society whose aim was to marry me off to the highest bidder by age 21 - "I swear by my life and my love of it, never to live my life for the sake of another man or ask another to live for my sake" - helped me keep my sanity and determination to study engineering etc in college.

But it's true, I wouldn't have read it if Indira Gandhi hadn't been assassinated and then we were stuck under curfew for the next three weeks while the city burned and people rioted murderously. Somehow a ragged copy of Atlas Shrugged kept my nose in a book through it all.
posted by infini at 11:46 AM on October 9 [27 favorites]


meanwhile, can he take his boss with him when he resigns.
posted by infini at 11:47 AM on October 9 [2 favorites]


The small gauge railroad just seemed cool, that's all I remember and do remember wondering about how the steel for the rails were smelted but as a die hard science fiction reader not too concerned with implementation details... we need FTL now!
posted by sammyo at 12:00 PM on October 9 [2 favorites]


Seems to me, you either went with Catch-22 or Atlas Shrugged. Both appeal to your averagely sociopathic teen, but only one is humane - almost forcibly so - and I suspect actually more powerful.
posted by GeorgeBickham at 12:02 PM on October 9 [22 favorites]


Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was another one
posted by infini at 12:24 PM on October 9 [8 favorites]


Do you think all these Randian sociopaths in congress are reconsidering their "One great man who has risen to the top" philosophy in the face of the walking Peter Principle who is running their party into the ground?

I'm guessing not, but it would be nice to believe.
posted by lumpenprole at 12:29 PM on October 9 [10 favorites]


okay for reals though the books that ruined me in high school were:
  1. Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch
  2. Gödel, Escher, Bach.
which like I could have done worse, but I'm not sure there's any way I could have done weirder.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 12:37 PM on October 9 [14 favorites]


You mean his favourite book wasn't Jonathan Livingston Seagull? I'm shocked.
posted by clawsoon at 12:39 PM on October 9 [11 favorites]


I am skeptical when notable conservative figures claim that their favourite book is Atlas Shrugged. I mean, it could be true. But it's a pretty convenient answer - AS or "the Bible" are the code word answers that will never get them in trouble.
posted by allegedly at 1:14 PM on October 9 [11 favorites]


I do feel obligated to link this old post about the trilogy Atlas Shrugged is the first book in.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:16 PM on October 9 [7 favorites]


Watching him tear down the organization my dad gave his life to (me too, since the family moved as well) has just been a fucking barrel of laughs.
posted by PussKillian at 1:23 PM on October 9 [6 favorites]


Pope Guilty just beat me to my line about Atlas Shrugged. As for Tillerson himself, he's a conservative in the Hindenberg tradition- happy to ally with the fascists if it keeps him in power. On the other hand, I shudder to think who would be dumb enough to actually take a cabinet post in the current administration. One would need be be a toady to Trump but at the same time full of themselves enough to think they would actually get anything done. So while Tillerson is a pimple on the ass of the shitbeast that is this administration, at least he isn't a gangrenous wound in the side of the country.
posted by Hactar at 1:24 PM on October 9 [1 favorite]


This situation has been perhaps the most confusing aspect of the current administration. Why do trump and tillerson want to destroy the state department? Unlike, say, Education, I didn't see this coming and it makes no sense to me.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 2:02 PM on October 9


LastOfHisKind: Why do trump and tillerson want to destroy the state department? Unlike, say, Education, I didn't see this coming and it makes no sense to me.

It started to make sense when I got to this part:
His budget called for drastically reducing or completely dissolving programs to help refugees, deliver aid to countries hit by disaster, support fledgling democratic movements, protect women’s groups, and fight the spread of H.I.V. and AIDS. The proposed cuts to such foreign-aid programs total some $6.6 billion.
Fledgling democratic movements and women's groups have generally been nothing but trouble for resource extraction companies. Things are much easier when no-one is publicizing the nasty things done by autocratic governments you've made agreements with and private security forces you've hired.
posted by clawsoon at 2:10 PM on October 9 [17 favorites]


After reading The Fountainhead as a freshman in High School, I had an obsession with Ayn. In retrospect, I think it was largely due to the lurid sex passages that I eagerly read.

And hopefully now you can recognize the rapeyness of those lurid sex scenes.
posted by srboisvert at 2:13 PM on October 9 [3 favorites]


From friends at State, it will take 2-3 generations minimum to repair the damage done in the last 9 months. Imagine what it will take at the end of 4 years?
posted by petrilli at 2:20 PM on October 9 [13 favorites]


The thing which fascinates me about the cult surrounding Atlas Shrugged is that I so rarely come across anyone who cites it as their favorite book who has done anything fundamentally worthwhile.

The guys (OK, not universally but oh-so-overwhelmingly guys..) who are citing this as their ethical foundation appear to envision themselves as Objectivist übermenschen but they aren't out there being genius inventors who create miraculous metal alloys or free energy devices. Especially in finance, for many of them the best they've ever managed is inventing or perhaps just manipulating a new type of financial instrument to extract a fraction of a percent from other people's inventive genius and the labor of those who implement it. But it's also pretty shocking how many in tech (my field) see themselves in these novels (dude, you're writing an app to "disrupt" the way we do birthday parties: get over yourself.)

Are they just completely incapable of the self-reflection it would take to recognize themselves as the most bloated among the parasites the book fulminates against or did they only read the summary as far as the word "selfishness" and decide "yeah, that's the book for me"?
posted by Nerd of the North at 3:09 PM on October 9 [25 favorites]


It's always seemed to me that the head of the State Dept ought to at least be able to pass the Foreign Service exam. It's not clear that Sleepy Rex can even change a roll of toilet paper, much less wipe his own ass.
posted by aspersioncast at 3:25 PM on October 9 [5 favorites]


When I was in high school I was super into Fear Street books so I'm pretty qualified to make out with boys, solve mysteries, and get murdered by a ghost but then come back as a ghost myself to help solve the mystery of my own murder, so I'm pretty sure I could run the State Department as well.
posted by supercrayon at 3:54 PM on October 9 [25 favorites]


Having slogged through Dostoevsky's "The Idiot" by the tender age of 12, I'm no doubt qualified to run the entire executive branch!

Is Trump essentially a looking glass Myshkin, whose facile dunderheadedness leads others to think he's playing Nth-dimensional chess, when really he's just a moron?
posted by aspersioncast at 4:17 PM on October 9 [1 favorite]



When I was in high school I was super into Fear Street books so I'm pretty qualified to make out with boys, solve mysteries, and get murdered by a ghost but then come back as a ghost myself to help solve the mystery of my own murder, so I'm pretty sure I could run the State Department as well.


I was going to say I was more of a Christopher Pike girl, so I'm...but then I remembered the Christopher Pike where the girl gets haunted by the ghost of her own aborted fetus. what a time to be alive the 90s were. so I guess that mostly just qualifies me to lead the RNC.

but I also read the Sweet Valley High super edition where Elizabeth goes to Switzerland or something, so I can fill in for you at State if you need a deputy.
posted by queenofbithynia at 5:27 PM on October 9 [12 favorites]


Big Boss man now has a shitty boss to answer to...Kharma, illustrated.
posted by Fupped Duck at 6:13 PM on October 9 [2 favorites]


Also no one's mentioned yet how they got Rex confirmed in the senate and got rid of the troublesome reg to disclose foreign bribes in orchestral fashion.
Thats all anyone needs to know about Rexxon, right there.
posted by Fupped Duck at 6:15 PM on October 9 [3 favorites]


in case anyone's still interested, today's edition of NPR's Fresh Air is talking to the author, Dexter Filkins. By tomorrow it should be up on the website.
posted by martin q blank at 9:21 AM on October 10


Tillerson’s favorite book is “Atlas Shrugged."

“Well, wudga marry him for, then?” Mary Jane said.

“Oh, God! I don’t know. He told me he loved Jane Austen. He told me her books meant a great deal to him. That’s exactly what he said. I found out after we were married that he hadn’t even read one of her books. You know who his favorite author is?”

Mary Jane shook her head.

“L. Manning Vines. Ever hear of him?”

“Uh-uh.”

“Neither did I. Neither did anybody else. He wrote a book about four men that starved to death in Alaska. Lew doesn’t remember the name of it, but it’s the most beautifully written book he’s ever read. Christ! He isn’t even honest enough to come right out and say he liked it because it was about four guys that starved to death in an igloo or something. He has to say it was beautifully written.”
posted by thursdaystoo at 11:21 AM on October 10 [7 favorites]


Trump's overuse of exclamation points (his least egregious abuse) have been driving me bonkers. I let off steam by making a Twitter bot that reduces each of his tweets to their !s.

https://twitter.com/exclamatrump

I'm not sure why anyone would follow it.

From what I can tell, he has ejaculated the most about the Oscars: "This cannot be the the Academy Awards #Oscars AWFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! — 8:19 PM - 2 Mar 2014"
posted by waninggibbon at 11:37 AM on October 10 [4 favorites]


L. Manning Vines

that's good username material, there
posted by thelonius at 11:47 AM on October 10 [1 favorite]


From what I can tell, he has ejaculated the most about the Oscars: "This cannot be the the Academy Awards #Oscars AWFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! — 8:19 PM - 2 Mar 2014"

Which just happened to be the year it was hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, coolcoolcool...
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:50 AM on October 10 [1 favorite]


And the year 12 Years a Slave won Best Picture.
posted by waninggibbon at 11:53 AM on October 10 [3 favorites]


You mean the year a Kenyan won an Oscar while one was in the Oval office?
posted by infini at 1:23 PM on October 10 [1 favorite]


Trump's challenged Tillerson to I.Q. test (and Mensa has finally justified its existence by volunteering to administer the test), and the State department made a statement saying Tillerson's I.Q. is "high".

Is anyone feeling like it's going to be a week at the most before Trump and Tillerson arrange to meet in a windowless room, tape measures in hand?
posted by orange swan at 3:19 PM on October 10 [4 favorites]


I think I heard Sarah Huckabee Sanders on the news saying that the president has 100 percent confidence in Tillerson. Isn't that usually the tip-off that the prez is going to give the person in question the big brushoff?

Also, she suggested that reporters need to get a sense of humor to understand Trump's 'jokes'. Somehow that made me laugh and laugh, the idea that S. H. Sanders knows enough about humor to lecture the rest of us.
posted by puddledork at 3:25 PM on October 10 [3 favorites]


Somehow that made me laugh and laugh, the idea that S. H. Sanders knows enough about humor to lecture the rest of us.

She has studied at the feet of a master comedian.
posted by Copronymus at 5:15 PM on October 10


I have not RTFA yet but I just want to remind everyone that Rex Tillerson once used the dopiest possible email alias - "Wayne Tracker" - when he was at Exxon for discussing climate change.
posted by mostly vowels at 6:06 PM on October 10


OK, I RTFA! Phew, Wayne Tracker merited a mention.

This article was fucking wild, on the level of that Vanity Fair article a few months ago about Rick Perry and the Department of Energy. These longform glimpses of how the dismantling of agencies is happening from the inside out is beyond upsetting, but these journalists are really doing the Lord's work.

Today I learned:
-Rex Tillerson said "I'm not a diplomat" at a diplomatic meeting with Iran and Russia
-Rex Tillerson said "I'm a businessman" as a reason corporate ethics are of no concern to him
-Rex Tillerson hates Nikki Haley
-Rex Tillerson had a band scholarship to college
-One of the State Assistant Secretary nominees got blocked by none other than Gin Blossoms Bannon
-Condoleeza Rica was a proponent of Tillerson's nomination
posted by mostly vowels at 6:45 PM on October 10 [3 favorites]


-Rex Tillerson had a band scholarship to college

as a drummer. a drummer.

Condoleeza Rice is going to hell for sure for her many crimes but every time I read anything about her early life and never-happened piano career I feel so sad and wistful. don't blame her at all for not wanting to teach piano to scrape out a living, but it would have been a noble life. she was capable, talented, she would have done good and harmed no one.

rex, though. the world lost a scholarship drummer but gained a present-day Rex Tillerson and maybe that wasn't even the worst way for things to turn out? his lost futures are as bad as his real one, that's remarkable. drumming or state departmenting, which is the omelet and which the broken eggs? which one is the nightmare timestream? I'm sure I don't know
posted by queenofbithynia at 7:56 PM on October 10 [2 favorites]


Mostly Vowels These longform glimpses of how the dismantling of agencies is happening from the inside out

It looks like you guys are getting some form of what has been called The New Zealand Experiment. Started by Labour and continued by however's been in power ever since, a review here

tl:dr - from review "Kelsey continues Williamson’s analysis that “[w]hen a major crisis occurs within an existing system it creates new initiatives for actors who until then have been prevented from taking the initiative.

Where a crisis does not occur `naturally’, it might make sense to provoke one to induce reform. The most effective time for the reform is to act in the honeymoon stage immediately after taking power, when the need for, and costs of, reform can be blamed on previous governments
"

I remember when it happened and new 'initiatives' were being rolled out so fast it was impossible to protest them. We're all hoping for a readjustment before the land and the people collapse - hooray for a politics where minor parties become kingmakers.
posted by unearthed at 7:59 PM on October 10 [6 favorites]


Is anyone feeling like it's going to be a week at the most before Trump and Tillerson arrange to meet in a windowless room, tape measures in hand?

Just the tape measures?
posted by loquacious at 5:20 AM on October 11 [1 favorite]




Just the tape measures?

I didn't have the stomach to get more explicit.
posted by orange swan at 8:35 AM on October 11


I think I heard Sarah Huckabee Sanders on the news saying that the president has 100 percent confidence in Tillerson. Isn't that usually the tip-off that the prez is going to give the person in question the big brushoff?

As a sports fan, when a coach has "the complete confidence" of the owner, he's about to get fired, yeah.

The New Zealand Experiment was called The Shock Doctrine when we did it in South America. Now it's being done to us, of course.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 2:23 PM on October 11


This thread will do, since the State Dept is responsible for considering the rest of the planet and making friends with them

The US is pulling out of the UN's cultural organisation Unesco, accusing it of "anti-Israel" bias.
posted by infini at 9:17 AM on October 12


I'm surprised by the number of adults who fail to notice the huge, society-destroying holes in Rand's supposed utopia. (I suppose I shouldn't be; white men are trained into obliviousness from infancy.) When I talk to Randites, I start by asking how they feel about child prostitution - invariably, they're against it (although I may have to drop to single-digit ages to get that answer), and then I ask who's going to stop it: who pays the taxes; who researches accusations; who makes sure a factory doesn't have 8-year-olds hooked on heroin and "servicing" clients to get their daily food and "medicine?"

The verbal dodges are always incoherent and full of shifting goalposts. I think a lot of them believe, "we will purge all the bad people in the world - all the slimebags who would ever want such a thing - and then such people will never happen again." How they're going to do that without gov't mandated education, I don't know.

Tillerson strikes me as yet another white dude who believes that he bootstrapped himself to where he is, and that he owes nothing for the taxes that paid for roads, police, health care standards, breathable air standards, and a public education system that, whether or not he attended, made sure that he had a large pool of literate co-workers and (sigh) employees.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 12:19 PM on October 12 [9 favorites]


Eris, I'm with you. I've had dozens of conversations with people who claim to be entirely self-made who, you know, went to a public school on a state scholarship and still don't fucking get it....
posted by xammerboy at 5:56 AM on October 13


Fortunately, Rand was not popular in Australia, and I never heard of her until a few years after I got to the US. I'm certain I would have been vulnerable to her ideas as a teenager.
posted by Coventry at 5:56 PM on October 14 [1 favorite]


Rex Tillerson and the Unraveling of the State Department, Jason Zengerle, New York Times - "With an isolated leader, a demoralized diplomatic corps and a president dismantling international relations one tweet at a time, American foreign policy is adrift in the world."
According to a senior administration official, other potential hires were knocked out of consideration for sins as minor as retweeting some of Marco Rubio’s “little hands” jokes about Trump. “The hiring pool is very different from your normal hiring pool,” the official says. “The people the Senate would expect to confirm have all been taken off the table.”

In the early days of the administration, according to State Department officials, White House officials, especially Bannon, sent over many names for State Department posts. But Tillerson, after looking at their résumés and in some cases conducting interviews, felt he had no choice but to reject them. “They didn’t meet the qualifications for the actual jobs,” another senior administration official says.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:40 PM on October 17 [1 favorite]


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