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Archive for Sunday, March 9, 2008

Boeing supporters targeting McCain

March 9, 2008

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— Angry Boeing supporters are vowing revenge against Republican presidential candidate John McCain over Chicago-based Boeing's loss of a $35 billion Air Force tanker contract to the parent company of European plane maker Airbus.

There are other targets for their ire - the Air Force, the defense secretary and even the entire Bush administration.

But Boeing supporters in Congress are directing their wrath at McCain for scuttling an earlier deal that would have let Boeing build the next generation of Air Force refueling tankers.

Rep. Todd Tiahrt, a Kansas Republican whose district includes a Boeing plant that could have gained hundreds of new jobs from the tanker program, said McCain's role in killing the earlier deal is likely to become an election issue.

"We'll hear it mostly from the Democrats and they have every right to be concerned," Tiahrt said.

Comments

notajayhawk 6 years, 1 month ago

bad_dog (Anonymous) says:

"Nevertheless, my thoughts don't matter to the powers that be in the Pentagon, Boeing, or EADS. I suspect this is a done deal."

Part one maybe. My understanding is that the contract will actually be awarded in three stages, and there's no guarantee that Northrop-Eads will get the next two. And if Boeing wants to compete, now they know they have to come up with a better proposal for round two.

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bad_dog 6 years, 1 month ago

igw:

I hear what you're saying, but the NYT isn't always a bastion of professional journalism, are they? In fact, isn't it a rare day indeed when a true conservative cites to anything reliable by the NYT?

Neverthless, if we believe the above, Boeing has to take accountability for bad planning, oversight, manners and probably halitosis ;-)

With respect to the issue of manufacturing certain tanker parts overseas, in the current global economy it appears to be something of a certainty this will occur no matter who manufactures the end product. What concerns me most is the loss of control and accountability when parts and assembly occur in remote parts of the world.

I believe we have a better chance of avoiding sabotage by political extremists and superior overall vetting of the workforce by performing the majority of the manufacture and assembly here in the U.S. And keeping those jobs in the U.S. can't hurt our economy either.

While I don't want to encourage perpetuation of the "same 'ol same 'ol" by merely going through the motions only to ultmately award the contract to Boeing, I believe national security interests and our economy justify giving this a second consideration.

Nevertheless, my thoughts don't matter to the powers that be in the Pentagon, Boeing, or EADS. I suspect this is a done deal.

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its_getting_warmer 6 years, 1 month ago

compnd: "Boeing, for example, would have made many of its own tanker parts overseas" -NYTimes article

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its_getting_warmer 6 years, 1 month ago

(Cool should take some notice on the relationship between being polite and professional, and securing professional engagements)

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its_getting_warmer 6 years, 1 month ago

"The Boeing team was not responsive and often was not even polite," said Loren B. Thompson, a defense analyst at the Lexington Institute in Arlington, Va., based on conversations he said he had with defense officials. "Somehow that all eluded senior management,"

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pisafromthewest 6 years, 1 month ago

bad_dog;

I can certainly understand what you mean about being "in the trenches." However, I'm sure you realize the inherent limitations of being in that position. A guy in a foxhole may know whether he has enough ammunition or food; he doesn't know what the guy on the other side of the hill has. Someone carrying an assault rifle in Panama may think it's the best weapon in the world, and it may have never failed him; that same weapon may be trouble prone and useless in the cold of the DMZ in Korea or the heat and sand of the deserts. A shoulder-fired rocket may slice right through the armor of a personnel carrier used by a warlord in Somalia, and bounce off one used by a wealthy Middle Eastern country who can afford the latest equipment. And for some people that are in your neighbor's position, i.e. having to live with the decisions of the big-picture folks, not every decision is going to be the best one for him ... but the decision has to be what's going to be the best one for everyone.

"I'm not sure how much I trust outsourcing mission critical aspects of our national defense"

It wouldn't be my first choice either. And if Boeing had made a proposal that was as good as the other one, that would have been terrific. Apparently, they didn't.

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bad_dog 6 years, 1 month ago

Pisa, you certainly raise some good points about capacity, but I'm a little reluctant to take the word of the Pentagon over someone "in the trenches" so to speak. I believe their perspective of the larger picture is more likely agenda driven than that of the fellow that has lived with the current product, recognizes its shortcomings and needs and is, I believe, a person in the position to understand the future needs of our nation in this respect. Nevertheless he gets to live with the results of decisions rendered by those in the Beltway looking at the "larger picture".

In addition, I'm not sure how much I trust outsourcing mission critical aspects of our national defense, particularly given the experiences I cited above.

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kansanjayhawk 6 years, 1 month ago

Tiahrt is a very good represenative! I think he should be applauded for standing up for the people of Kansas and his district. This decision to use our tax dollars to continue the process of deindustrialization is unbelievable. Comparable planes the benefit of the doubt should always go to the American worker!

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pisafromthewest 6 years, 1 month ago

bad_dog (Anonymous) says:

"Wasn't the fleet currently in service more than adequate to address 9/11 as well as to refuel aircraft in bombing raids on Libya or to refuel aircraft on missions to the Middle East and Afghanistan?"

And as I noted, the current purchases are not replacing that current fleet on a one-for-one basis. They are planning to buy 400 new planes to replace a fleet of about 600.

http://www.wtop.com/?nid=111&sid=1350289

With the smaller size and capacity of the 767-based aircraft, that would be like only buying a little over 300 of the A330.

"Considering Boeing manufactured the fleet that has been in service for the last 40 years I would consider them talented enough to develop an aircraft that would last as long as and be as adaptable as anything developed by EADS."

Did you know the Australian Air Force made the exact same decision as our own did, picking the A330-based tanker over the 767-based tanker.

As to why? Well, this is why our own Air Force made the decision:

"Gen. Arthur J. Lichte, commander of the Air Force's Air Mobility Command, said the Northrop plane offered many advantages over Boeing's proposed 767-based tanker. "More passengers, more cargo, more fuel to offload, more patients that we can carry, more availability, more flexibility and more dependability," he said, listing Northrop's edge."

http://www.iht.com/articles/reuters/2008/03/01/business/OUKBS-UK-USA-AIRFORCE-TANKER.php

No disrespect intended towards your neighbor, I have no doubt he knows his business as it applies to his job. But I think I'll take the word of the people actually at the Pentagon who might be looking at a slightly larger picture.

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bad_dog 6 years, 1 month ago

Pisa:

Sorry for the delay responding to you. I was out getting some exercise in this sunshine.

I think he word "task" and the phrase "entirely sufficient" are adequately definitive such that we don't need to try to create a distraction with fear mongering over 9/11 related topics. Wasn't the fleet currently in service more than adequate to address 9/11 as well as to refuel aircraft in bombing raids on Libya or to refuel aircraft on missions to the Middle East and Afghanistan? As "W" would say, this ain't their first rodeo.

Considering Boeing manufactured the fleet that has been in service for the last 40 years I would consider them talented enough to develop an aircraft that would last as long as and be as adaptable as anything developed by EADS.

As possible as it may be for Congress to act in any given manner, that potential is no more likely to occur simply because they agree to the EADS vs the Boeing contract. In fact, at 35 million dollars less per unit, I would argue that more Boeing aircraft are likely to be built, evening out the capacity issues.

As for your position on pork barrel jobs, is it only pork barrel for defense contracts awarded on this side of the Atlantic? I don't like what occurred with Boeing corruption any more than you, but you still have to consider and make a good business decision for everyone involved. I work with overseas subcontractors and the biggest problems we encounter involve communications and accountability. I'd love to bring those jobs back here but management made the decision to outsource solely based on promises of equal/better customer service and better pricing. The pricing was initiallly better, but is creeping closer to the baseline every day. Customer service? Don't even get me started.

Have a good day.

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compmd 6 years, 1 month ago

it_getting_warmer:

You see, there's a problem: to whom will they outsource military aircraft work? Nobody has the manufacturing capability of Boeing/Spirit. Nobody outside the US has the materials/structures capabilities. Nobody outside of the US can do avionics development. Then there's ITAR restrictions which severely limit export of military technology to outside countries, even for development and manufacturing. What exactly would they outsource?

pisa,

I'm pretty sure I know bad_dog's neighbor too; I'd believe him, the guy knows what he is talking about and is qualified to make his statement.

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pisafromthewest 6 years, 1 month ago

bad_dog;

Did your neighbor mention that the tankers being purchased will be replacing a much larger fleet ... that is, we're already greatly reducing the number of tankers in use?

Did your neighbor mention what "task" the Boeing plane was "entirely sufficient for?" I'm sure they're adequate for Guard pilots to get their required flight training; are they capable of maintaining a CAP over our major cities in the event of another 9/11? Or conducting a massive movement of planes to the Middle East or Europe if that became necessary?

Does your neighbor have some kind of information that assures him the "task" involved won't change significantly over the what, 40 year or so lifetime of these aircraft?

Is your neighbor a fighter pilot who defines the "task" at hand as there being enough fuel in the tanker to top off his own plane, maybe a tanker pilot whose concern is whether there's enough to top off a squadron in his monthly training exercise, or is he involved in the Pentagon's long range strategic planning?

Has your neighbor considered whether this contract might be cut back by some future administration or Congress (which tends to happen), and we'll end up with even fewer aircraft to do the same job? Or that using smaller planes with less payload and shorter range leads to more wear and tear affecting combat readiness, as well as reliability, safety, and longevity of the airframes?

I have friends in the Air Guard, too, working in tankers. If it's a matter of even one of them not having the best possible equipment we can give him which increases the potential for an accident, I really couldn't care less how many Americans got a pork barrel job as a trade off.

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bad_dog 6 years, 1 month ago

Pisa says: Define "savings." If the plane is smaller and will carry less for shorter distances, how does that come out to be a "savings?" It's like saying renting a smaller moving van is $5 cheaper, but you have to make two trips instead of one.

Savings as in THIRTY FIVE MILLION DOLLARS per unit. That still has meaning to me. The Boeing (or EADS) aircraft doesn't have to refuel the entire Air Force at one time. A neighbor of mine is a Colonel in the Air National Guard unit out of Topeka and he advises me the Boeing aircraft is entirely sufficient for the task. Your analogy is only appropriate if the U.S. needs a "moving van" the size of a tractor trailer. It does not-and that fact, combined with the additional cost factor and the loss of jobs to the U.S. economy should be enough to give the nod to Boeing.

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pisafromthewest 6 years, 1 month ago

bad_dog (Anonymous) says:

"I believe the media reported savings of approximately $35 million per plane utilizing the somewhat smaller Boeing aircraft."

Define "savings." If the plane is smaller and will carry less for shorter distances, how does that come out to be a "savings?" It's like saying renting a smaller moving van is $5 cheaper, but you have to make two trips instead of one.

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bad_dog 6 years, 1 month ago

I believe the media reported savings of approximately $35 million per plane utilizing the somewhat smaller Boeing aircraft. So are you really comparing apples to apples?

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its_getting_warmer 6 years, 1 month ago

compmd: You misunderstood my point. Boeing is positioned to outsource a lot more subwork internationally, period. Not even Spirit-related. They need to be careful throwing stones in their glass house.

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compmd 6 years, 1 month ago

"Why is it OK for Boeing to sell its plant in Wichita and subcontract for labor overseas and wrong for the Pentagon to do the same?"

Um, not quite sure what you're talking about. The old BCA-Wichita plant that is now Spirit Aerosystems is an American company, but they have overseas operations as well. Spirit would have done most of the structural manufacturing for the KC-45 if Boeing won the contract, just like they do for every commercial Boeing aircraft.

"A few hundred jobs in whichita is not worth the rip off of millions of tax payer dollars to the corrupt military industrial complex,"

How much do you think a "few hundred jobs" at a defense contractor costs? Surprise! Its "millions of tax payer dollars."

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pisafromthewest 6 years, 1 month ago

Sigmund (Anonymous) says:

"Not only was Boeing caught bribing but their costs were well above Airbus."

Which is pretty hysterical when one considers that the corruption included getting the details of the Airbus proposal from a Pentagon official ... they knew what Airbus was coming in at and still couldn't outbid them!

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Sigmund 6 years, 1 month ago

Not only was Boeing caught bribing but their costs were well above Airbus. But what is worse (in terms of LJW bias) is the fact that Airbus will be building 60% of the value add in the US and GE supplies all the engines for both the commercial and military versions of the A330.

"It's not like we are national and we produce everything in Europe and they produce everything in the US. The reality is Boeing and Airbus are increasingly outsourcing important segments around the world in order to stay competitive and that will go further." http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080308/ts_alt_afp/usmilitaryaerospaceeadsairbus_080308172642

Leave it to the LJW to tell less than half the story and try and drum up anti-corporate nationalistic isolationism in the process.

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pisafromthewest 6 years, 1 month ago

From the somewhat longer version of this story from the AP (as usual the award-winning LJW printed less than half of it):

http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5g8dw-9ToDpN8lzCLyiVd2NNL_d1QD8V9AE100

"I hope the voters of this state remember what John McCain has done to them and their jobs," said Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Wash., whose state would have been home to the tanker program and gained about 9,000 jobs.

"Having made sure that Iraq gets new schools, roads, bridges and dams that we deny America, now we are making sure that France gets the jobs that Americans used to have," said Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill. "We are sending the jobs overseas, all because John McCain demanded it."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., echoing the thoughts of many congressional Democrats, sees McCain's role in a less positive light. She said the earlier tanker deal was "on course for Boeing" before McCain started railing against it.

"I mean, the thought was that it would be a domestic supplier for it," Pelosi told reporters. "Senator McCain intervened, and now we have a situation where the contract may be - this work may be outsourced."


So the LJW prints the comments of a single Republican (whose district includes a Boeing plant), when the original story was somewhat more focused on several Democrats, including the speaker of the House. Besides the somewhat disturbing bias of the LJW, one has to ask what these (mostly Democrat) lawmakers are complaining about ... the fact that John McCain opposed a deal that was not just inappropriate or improper, but actually resulted in the conviction and prison time of both a Boeing and Pentagon official?

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cool 6 years, 1 month ago

why doesn't tiahrt get a real job ?

he is one of the worst.....

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oldgoof 6 years, 1 month ago

Does this mean that Sam Brownback has second thoughts about endorsements of his buddy McCain?

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oldgoof 6 years, 1 month ago

Why is it OK for Boeing to sell its plant in Wichita and subcontract for labor overseas and wrong for the Pentagon to do the same?

Why is it that Congress stepped in and virtually required more than a single bidder to respond to this contract?

After being burned by the Boeing corruption, why do you think the Pentagon is assiduously following the terms of the procurement law Congress enacted, rather than responding to concerns of "where the jobs" are?

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marcdeveraux 6 years, 1 month ago

Boeing is a parasite on the american taxpayer.They have overcharged and lied to the public long enough.Maybe they will think twice on the next bid.A few hundred jobs in whichita is not worth the rip off of millions of tax payer dollars to the corrupt military industrial complex,

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repaste 6 years, 1 month ago

10 billion in gov subsidies to airbus. We won ww2 because we could build planes and boats. We are losing that ablity.

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beobachter 6 years, 1 month ago

Sounds like Tiahrt is working hard to justify his campaign contribution from Boeing.

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madmike 6 years, 1 month ago

Boeing got caught bribing a DOD official to get this contract. That is what I believe lost them the contract.

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