Senate Overwhelmingly Confirm Weapons Exec For Top Pentagon Position
BAILEY T. STEEN | MONDAY, JANUARY 29, 2018
In reports that went under the radar, the United States Senate voted in overwhelming support of appointing the former executive of the billion dollar military aircraft manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, to a key policy position within the Pentagon.
Lawmakers, from both the Republican party and so-called Democratic “#Resistence”, showed staggering support for President Donald J. Trump’s choice for the new under secretary of Defense for policy, with an 81–7 majority voting for a man by the name of John Rood, the former senior vice president of Lockheed Martin International.
Only a hand-full of Senators were opposed to such a clear display of conflicting interests, seeing Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), as well as the Independent Senator for Vermont, Bernie Sanders, all voting no. Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) was not in attendance to cast his vote.
Republicans voted almost unanimously on party lines, with twelve Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Orin Hatch (R-UT), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Richard Burr (R-NC), Dean Heller (R-NV), Jerry Moran (R-KS), David Perdue (R-GA), James Risch (R-ID) and
Tim Scott (R-SC) not voting on his confirmation.
And it was then that the revolving door of Washington corruption kept spinning. Rood, having made it big in the military industry during the days of the Iraq war, soon severed several positions within the George W. Bush administration at the State Department and National Security Council several years later, according to The Hill.
Such a fluid career path shows the perfect problem with Washington, pointed out several times by the one anti-lobbying “Drain The Swamp” candidate Donald Trump, where you have a business you profit from in the private sector, join the public sector to influence the global market for your business, leave government to profit off changes you influenced, and repeating this all over again for some other administration that takes the reins.
We see this same brand of corruption with Wall Street executives, as reported by Business Insider who highlight 29 key figures doing just that. Men like Roger Altman, the former partner at Lehman Brothers who became Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under Clinton, became Co-Head of investment banking at Lehman Brothers, then taking on the Vice-Chairman and head position of M&A at Blackstone, then became Clinton’s deputy Treasury Secretary after his reelection, then returning to Blackstone, founding another finance company in Evercore Partners for which he is now Chairman.
This time it’s the same pattern in a fundamental policy position at the Pentagon which will oversee a market and company for warfare.
What happened to the five year ban on lobbying and special interests the president campaigned on? So much for swamp draining.
What happened to the resistance to Trump and his appointees with clear incentives outside public service? Those Russian corruption hawks, who comprise most of the votes for Rood, are awfully silent these days.
Where are the mainstream news outlets holding such a blatant ceremony of corruption to account for the voters? This wasn’t in Vox, Salon, the New York Times, the ironically named “BuzzFeed News”, anywhere.
The closest to be found, other than the good work on display at The Hill, was some laissez faire article published The Washington Post, one of America’s biggest newspapers, who take five paragraphs of your time before they even mention that the man had a position at Lockheed Martin. They don’t even use the words “senior vice president” anywhere. Just “[George W.] Bush official” and a very brief brief mention of him being a Lockheed “senior executive”. Way to skip over the actual story.
Thankfully, the confirmation process, which started in October, wasn’t without some trouble. The Hill noted specific lawmakers, on both sides of the aisle, that saw Rood to have ethics issues during last November.
A noteworthy trick Rood and company did was to sign what’s know as an “ethics pledge”, which is a non-binding agreement (which appears to all us as binding) where he says he will recuse himself from any and all decisions involving Lockheed for two years, divesting himself from the contractor to remove the any more appearances of corruption… which is all held together by his voluntary should he be so kind as to do so.
This would already be concerning if not for an altercation Roon had during a Senate hearing with Senator Warren. When asked about this non-binding agreement, the man refused to give a definitive “yes” or “no” as to whether he would seek a waiver which would allow him to participate in matters involving the contractor as under secretary.
“Will you commit not to seek such a waiver during your time in office?” Warren asked Rood during the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. After elongated responses, Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) accused Rood of quote “ducking the answer here”, with no confirmed answer to this date.
Thanks for reading!
Bailey T. Steen is a journalist, editor, artist and film critic based in Victoria, Australia, but is also Putin’s Puppet ™ on occasion.
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Cheers, darlings!! x