That's not Kevin Costner, is it?


Well, knock us over with a feather! Maybe one from an Arctic Tern, while you're at it, because we actually have some good news involving Exxon, Russia, and the Trump Administration: The Treasury Department today turned down ExxonMobil's request for a waiver from sanctions imposed on Russia following its (Russia's) invasion of Ukraine in 2014. Weird, huh? It seemed so obvious that former ExxonMobil Rex Tillerson had been selected as Secretary of State so that he could bring his great experience in doing oil deals international relations to the administration, so he could get right to work on rolling back all the sanctions and restoring Exxon's half-trillion dollar Arctic drilling contract with the Russian state oil company, Rosneft. So it's a pleasant surprise Exxon's application to bypass the sanctions and do some drilling has been scotched.

Maybe Chinese President Xi Jinping took ten minutes to explain to Donald Trump what "terrible optics" means.

The announcement from Treasury was remarkably brief and blunt, perhaps a late celebration of yesterday's 4/20 day:

"OFAC" there is the Office of Foreign Assets Control, the Treasury office responsible for enforcing economic and trade sanctions, even under the Trump administration. You know, for now, heh-heh-heh.

So that's all good, right? Not a hint of scandal here, and definitely no dirty deals done deep below the Kara Sea, yes?

Oh, we don't know. While we're pleasantly surprised to see Team Trump make the obvious no-brainer decision this week, you'll forgive us a bit of skepticism -- the Exxon waiver application had first been submitted to the Obama administration in 2015, and it's pretty fortunate timing that the Trumpers actually found one pooch they could actively choose to leave unscrewed, just before that 100-day mark that means absolutely nothing to Trump. In the meantime, even without a waiver to revive the huge Arctic drilling deal, Exxon was allowed in 2015 to keep an office open in Russia to ensure its Kara Sea oil claims would not expire due to the sanctions.

Secretary Tillerson, it should be noted, has already recused himself from any decisions involving ExxonMobil, but any rollback of economic sanctions against Russia would eventually have to be approved by both Treasury and the State Department.

We can't help but assume that deep in his private office -- not the one at the State Department, the one beneath a dormant volcano -- Rex Tillerson is even now sitting and petting a white cat wearing the "Medal of Friendship" awarded to him by his ol' bud Vladimir Putin, and whispering, "Patience, my darling. The time is not yet ripe. But it will come, oh yes. It will come."

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[Politico / Forbes / Mark Knoller on Twitter / Image by Kevin Rain, Creative Commons license 2.0]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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