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Democrats for Boeing-The truth about the tanker deal
Weekly Standard ^ | 3-24-08 | Christian Lowe

Posted on 03/15/2008 5:37:09 PM PDT by smoothsailing

Democrats for Boeing

The truth about the tanker deal.

by Christian Lowe

03/24/2008, Volume 013, Issue 27

It was one of those insider deals that give the defense industry a bad name, conjuring up images of smoke-filled negotiations between the brass and corporate fat cats in plush leather chairs. By the time it was over, two fat cats were in jail, a top Pentagon official had been forced to resign, a corporate CEO had lost his job, and the reputation of an iconic company that had served American troops for decades had suffered irreparable damage.

Then it turned out it wasn't entirely over. In a twist of fate that only election year politics could weave, the same nefarious deal is now being eulogized as a wasted opportunity, and the man largely responsible for scuttling it--the Republican nominee for president--is being vilified as a cold-blooded globalizer who cost America 40,000 jobs.

It's hard to believe so much controversy has surrounded such an unremarkable plane. For upwards of 50 years, the Air Force has maintained a fleet of over 500 tanker aircraft that act as airborne gas stations--originally, for squadrons of Cold War-era B-52s headed for targets in the Soviet Union. The Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker and McDonnell Douglas (now owned by Boeing) KC-10 Extender were militarized versions of the 707 and DC-10 passenger planes. Because the tanker fleet was based on built-to-last commercial designs, the Air Force was able to buy a lot of planes for a relatively low cost and keep them flying longer than if it had used a purely military design.

The ability to refuel in midair is one of America's "asymmetrical" advantages in war--and peace. The stunning victory during Desert Storm was in large part due to the use of overwhelming airpower. It wouldn't have been possible without a lot of aerial tankers flying day and night. In that war, over 300 tankers flew 16,865 missions delivering 800 million pounds of gas in over 51,000 midair refuelings. Same goes for the aerial wars over Serbia and Kosovo, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom--lots of tankers, lots of sorties, and lots of flight time.

Which means lots of wear and tear. The Air Force saw the writing on the wall in the late 1990s and convinced Congress to provide some money to replace the KC-10s and KC-135s. And that's when the double-dealing started.

What the Air Force eventually presented to Congress was a deal to lease 100 militarized versions of the commercially successful Boeing 767 jetliner for about $30 billion rather than conduct a competition and buy new planes. Around 2011, the service would pay off the lease and keep the aircraft--the ultimate "rent-to-own" scheme.

The Air Force argued that this was the only way to get tankers quickly; if Congress forced a design competition and the construction of a whole new plane the process could take decades. The Government Accountability Office and the Pentagon's own internal investigations disagreed, arguing taxpayers would overpay Boeing about $6 billion under the lease/buy arrangement. On the face of it, this looked like a bad deal.

Despite the convoluted nature of the setup--or perhaps because of it--Congress budgeted money to start the lease in 2001, pending the approval of the Senate and House Armed Services Committees. That's when a sharp-eyed staffer for John McCain raised a red flag, alerting the senator to what appeared to be an insider deal. McCain demanded hearings, eventually strong-arming the Air Force into a more thorough examination of the alternatives for replacing the much-needed tankers and forcing the service to adhere to acquisition laws. Then, the bottom dropped out.

After a series of internal inquiries--and some fantastic investigative reporting by the defense trade press--it emerged that the Boeing tanker lease deal was rotten to the core. It had been negotiated by then-Air Force acquisitions chief Darleen Druyun, who inked the agreement after receiving a promise from Boeing to hire her as a senior executive after she left the Air Force. Druyun and the Boeing official who negotiated the employment deal with her, Michael Sears, were both eventually convicted and sent to prison, and Boeing chief Phil Condit was forced to resign along with Air Force secretary James Roche.

So the Air Force scrapped its tanker-lease scheme and conducted an open competition for a new tanker. The result was announced on February 29: A consortium of Northrop Grumman and European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co. had beaten Boeing for the $40 billion contract to build nearly 200 new tankers. That meant the primary builder of America's next tanker fleet would be the European company Airbus, which had offered a militarized version of its successful A330 commercial airliner. The award set off a protectionist furor in Congress--mostly in the House--involving all the predictable players.

On March 5, the powerful chairman of the House Appropriations Committee's defense panel, John Murtha, summoned Air Force officials to explain their decision to award the contract to Airbus. The hearing was a circus of accusations and I-told-you-so's, with mostly Democratic lawmakers lecturing top Air Force officials on how they should have reached their decision. Through it all, the service's top acquisition official, Sue Payton, stuck to her guns, repeatedly telling the bitter lawmakers she had adhered strictly to contracting laws and that, in the end, the Northrop Grumman/EADS team had "brought their A-game."

It was Murtha, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, who lathered on the criticism of McCain, blaming him for outsourcing American defense business, delaying the Air Force's tanker replacement, and costing the United States a purported 40,000 jobs.

"Because of the individual in the other body stopping what the Air Force and this committee agreed to is [sic] costing billions of dollars, and we're at a point where we don't know how long it's going to take to get these [KC-135s] out of the air," Murtha whined, blaming McCain instead of the Air Force or Boeing for the entire fiasco.

Despite the winners' claim that 25,000 new American jobs will be created by the deal and that about 60 percent of the plane will be made in the United States, both Democratic presidential candidates have criticized the award and hinted that McCain is to blame. And Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi threw her own political grenade at the Republican nominee.

"Senator McCain intervened, and now we have a situation where contracts may be--this work may be outsourced," she said.

As usual, McCain is refusing to budge, reminding the public that the earlier Air Force deal he fought was rotten and that his dogged exposure of it saved the government money. What's more, if the Democrats are campaigning on ethical purity, how ironic is it that they would have parochialism and pressure from unions trump the fair and lawful competitive bidding that produced the Airbus win?

"I intervened in a process that was clearly corrupt," McCain said at a campaign event in early March. "That's why people went to jail. That's why the Government Accountability Office said that I saved the taxpayers over $6 billion."

On March 11, Boeing filed a formal protest of the Northrop Grumman/EADS award to the GAO, which handles such acquisition challenges, citing "irregularities" that "placed Boeing at a competitive disadvantage." So, now there's political hay to be made over the issue of lost jobs and "outsourcing" while the auditors pore over Boeing's complaint--a process that is likely to play out through the November election. Democrats will try to damage McCain's prospects in "red" states like Kansas--where the Boeing tanker was to be assembled--and Missouri--where the Boeing division that designed the tanker is headquartered--by waving the bloody shirt of exported jobs.

As defense budget watchdog and Capitol Hill veteran Winslow Wheeler said last week of the upcoming political battle: "If Boeing wants to go down the road in Congress, we're in for a real food fight. Boeing has 40 states involved in the 767 contracting; Northrop Grumman has 49. That's not going to be a pretty thing to watch."

Christian Lowe is managing editor of military.com.

© Copyright 2008, News Corporation, Weekly Standard, All Rights Reserved.


TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: aerospace; airbus; boeing; condit; darleendruyun; daschle; defensecontractors; druyun; eads; jamesroche; johnmccain; johnmurtha; lindadaschle; mccain; michaelsears; murtha; philcondit; roche; sears; tanker; usaf

1 posted on 03/15/2008 5:37:11 PM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: smoothsailing

Good article. Boeing was acting in bad faith. Ripping off the taxpayers. Shame on them.


2 posted on 03/15/2008 5:45:52 PM PDT by yldstrk (My heros have always been cowboys--Reagan and Bush)
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To: smoothsailing

btt


3 posted on 03/15/2008 5:48:05 PM PDT by Cacique (quos Deus vult perdere, prius dementat ( Islamia Delenda Est ))
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To: jazusamo; RedRover; Chickenhawk Warmonger
Murtha Watch.
4 posted on 03/15/2008 5:52:54 PM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: yldstrk
[ Good article. Boeing was acting in bad faith. Ripping off the taxpayers. Shame on them. ]

Airbus hasnt acted in good faith ever..
Bid rigging is SOP.. Socialism is a rotten barrel.. ripped off by your countrymen or
ripped off by a foreigner.. I'll take the thief I'm related to..

5 posted on 03/15/2008 5:54:20 PM PDT by hosepipe (CAUTION: This propaganda is laced with hyperbole....)
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To: smoothsailing

Well, here’s one thing I certainly WILL agree with McCain about. I’ve personally witnessed how DoD contracts are manipulated, usually with Congressional help. Always said that if the taxpayers really knew how much of this goes on, Washington would be facing an armed rebellion.

If McCain DOES win the Presidency, I hope he gets well and truly stuck into cleaning up the fraud and backscratching that goes on, and blows the whistle on the Murthas in Congress. Maybe he’ll cut a deal with Conservatives for support in this crusade, which is LONG overdue, and signs up to prevent our country be over-run with illegal aliens. Would be a win-win for all of us.

BTW it’s quite amazing to see how many DoD contractors have set up offices in Murtha’s district. Given that Johnstown PA is the place you would stick it if the Earth needed an enema, I can’t imagine anybody going there voluntarily.


6 posted on 03/15/2008 5:58:36 PM PDT by Supercharged Merlin (Only way to get the money out of politics is to get the politics out of money!)
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To: smoothsailing; 1stbn27; 2111USMC; 2nd Bn, 11th Mar; 68 grunt; A.A. Cunningham; ASOC; ...
Do I smell roast pork?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

On March 5, the powerful chairman of the House Appropriations Committee's defense panel, John Murtha, summoned Air Force officials to explain their decision to award the contract to Airbus. The hearing was a circus of accusations and I-told-you-so's, with mostly Democratic lawmakers lecturing top Air Force officials on how they should have reached their decision. Through it all, the service's top acquisition official, Sue Payton, stuck to her guns, repeatedly telling the bitter lawmakers she had adhered strictly to contracting laws and that, in the end, the Northrop Grumman/EADS team had "brought their A-game."

It was Murtha, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, who lathered on the criticism of McCain, blaming him for outsourcing American defense business, delaying the Air Force's tanker replacement, and costing the United States a purported 40,000 jobs.

"Because of the individual in the other body stopping what the Air Force and this committee agreed to is [sic] costing billions of dollars, and we're at a point where we don't know how long it's going to take to get these [KC-135s] out of the air," Murtha whined, blaming McCain instead of the Air Force or Boeing for the entire fiasco.

7 posted on 03/15/2008 5:59:33 PM PDT by freema (Proud Marine Niece, Daughter, Wife, Friend, Sister, Cousin, Mom and FRiend)
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To: hosepipe

As a rule of thumb, whichever side Murtha is on is going to be the wrong side.


8 posted on 03/15/2008 6:02:17 PM PDT by Verginius Rufus
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To: smoothsailing; abigailsmybaby; Badeye; billmor; bmwcyle; brityank; desherwood7; FairOpinion; ...
Thanks for the post and ping, Smooth.

Murtha Watch Ping!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Code Pinkos

To be added to the Murtha Watch ping list please notify myself or RedRover.

9 posted on 03/15/2008 6:04:39 PM PDT by jazusamo (DefendOurMarines.org | DefendOurTroops.org)
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To: smoothsailing

Living in KS, I get only the Boeing side of this. (big factory in Wichita)The KS pols are really throwing the bull. However, from the national media, it looks like Boenig screwed itself with crooked business practices and no-bid contracts.


10 posted on 03/15/2008 6:05:10 PM PDT by ozzymandus
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To: freema; smoothsailing
Do I smell roast pork?

LOL! The whole pig!

11 posted on 03/15/2008 6:06:04 PM PDT by jazusamo (DefendOurMarines.org | DefendOurTroops.org)
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To: yldstrk

That doesn’t matter to the so called conservative republicans who know treat defense spending as public works program.


12 posted on 03/15/2008 6:08:50 PM PDT by Perdogg (Reagan would have never said "She's my girl")
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To: Supercharged Merlin

Lockheed Martin has a plant in Johnstown (and another one close by in Clarksburg WVA). There were worries a couple of years ago that the end of the C130 would shut the plant down.


13 posted on 03/15/2008 6:12:06 PM PDT by Perdogg (Reagan would have never said "She's my girl")
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To: smoothsailing

“China now has a role in all current Boeing models,” he added.”

Oh yeah, we should really take seriously all this whining about exported jobs on Boeing’s behalf.

“According to Burns, Boeing currently has 170 direct Boeing employees in China and 3,000 people working in Boeing joint ventures.”

Boeing is a leader in exporting high tech and high paying US jobs.

http://forums.industryweek.com/showthread.php?t=1331


14 posted on 03/15/2008 6:12:36 PM PDT by Will88
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To: ozzymandus

That’s the way it is here in WA, the media plays everything in Boeings favor. The union at Boeing in Seattle absolutely went nuts when this was announced.

I don’t know the particulars as yet but like another poster stated, if Murtha is against the awarded contract I tend to think it might be on the up and up.


15 posted on 03/15/2008 6:17:12 PM PDT by jazusamo (DefendOurMarines.org | DefendOurTroops.org)
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To: freema; jazusamo
Do I smell roast pork?

It's worse than that, Ma.

Murtha is doing this to pressure SECNAV Winter, that's the understory about all this.

16 posted on 03/15/2008 6:29:10 PM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: Perdogg
The C-130 is safe for a long time now! Everybody wants them! Now if the U.S. would let us sell F-22s to Israel and Australia. Heck if congress don't want them let somebody else buy them.
17 posted on 03/15/2008 6:37:07 PM PDT by southernerwithanattitude ({new and improved redneck})
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To: smoothsailing

If Murtha thinks something is wrong with the deal, it must be ok. Whatever he is for, I am against and vice versa.


18 posted on 03/15/2008 6:44:08 PM PDT by calex59
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To: smoothsailing
The truth about the tanker deal.

I'm disappointed that the truth seekers at the Weekly Standard didn't mention the role of Linda Daschle (ex-Senator's wife and overpaid college-dropout lobbyist for the well-connected law dogs at Baker, Donelson) in this stinking Boeing deal that only an amoral crook like John Murtha could love.

19 posted on 03/15/2008 7:06:25 PM PDT by RoadKingSE (How do you know that the light at the end of the tunnel isn't a muzzle flash?)
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To: yldstrk

I am bothered, though, by the behavior of congress in this. It takes little more than a contract and a calculator to figure out what the planes will actually cost. X payments of Y dollars. XY = how much money the planes will cost. Divide that by the number of planes and you know what you are about to pay for each one. If this is more than the planes cost, it is easy to see how much more, and if the financing is worthwhile. Pilots seem to like the Airbus plane, and the cost is good, but this whole thing stinks.

Was it really neccessary to prosecute people for offering a selling price, even if it was high? Boeing is a business, not a charity. If the offer was not good, congress could have easily said so.


20 posted on 03/15/2008 7:11:10 PM PDT by sig226 (Real power is not the ability to destroy an enemy. It is the willingness to do it.)
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To: smoothsailing
Murtha is doing this to pressure SECNAV Winter, that's the understory about all this.

I don't quite get the connection. Why would Murtha pressure the SECNAV instead of the SEC Air Force or SECDEF. How does Winter figure into this?

21 posted on 03/15/2008 7:16:45 PM PDT by 17th Miss Regt
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To: Supercharged Merlin
Given that Johnstown PA is the place you would stick it if the Earth needed an enema

Yizzle hafta wait ondat enemer. Whyn't yinz worsh up and go dahntahn to Isaly's n'at and get some chipped ham and city chicken. Anya mize well bring back 6 bawdles of arn.

22 posted on 03/15/2008 7:21:38 PM PDT by RoadKingSE (How do you know that the light at the end of the tunnel isn't a muzzle flash?)
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To: sig226
Was it really neccessary to prosecute people for offering a selling price, even if it was high?

The prosecutions were not about high prices, they were about an Air Force procurement official and a Boeing official who knowingly broke laws designed to protect the integrity of the acquisition process. And they both went to jail for their acts.

23 posted on 03/15/2008 7:22:58 PM PDT by 17th Miss Regt
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To: 17th Miss Regt
Chain of command and undue influence.
24 posted on 03/15/2008 7:27:33 PM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: sig226
Was it really neccessary to prosecute people for offering a selling price, even if it was high?

If that was the only issue no one would have gone to jail. It was much worse than that.

25 posted on 03/15/2008 7:35:19 PM PDT by Starwolf (I rode to work today, did you?)
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To: sig226

They didn’t go to prison for submitting a high price, but for bribery and corruption.


26 posted on 03/15/2008 7:40:08 PM PDT by expatpat
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To: RoadKingSE; Supercharged Merlin
Yizzle hafta wait ondat enemer. Whyn't yinz worsh up and go dahntahn to Isaly's n'at and get some chipped ham and city chicken. Anya mize well bring back 6 bawdles of arn.

Well, that would make more sense if Merlin was talking about the 'burgh.

He's not, and J-town is a crapper.

27 posted on 03/15/2008 7:46:11 PM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: smoothsailing

Shame on you, Boeing!


28 posted on 03/15/2008 8:28:43 PM PDT by lilylangtree (Veni, Vidi, Vici)
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To: smoothsailing

I wonder how (and how much) Murtha was going to profit from this, because he certainly would have gotten something for his help.


29 posted on 03/15/2008 8:30:16 PM PDT by Rembrandt (We would have won Viet Nam w/o Dim interference.)
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To: freema
Where are all the McCain haters lately ?
Its been a bad week for them . First , there guy Obama crash and burned and now the phony Boeing scam was just dismantled ! And what shocker the trail of the phony scam
leads back to the Dem biggest liar and porker ,Murtha.
30 posted on 03/15/2008 8:39:02 PM PDT by ncalburt
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To: smoothsailing

Nothing about this deal makes sense from a user standpoint, to me. First off, why did Boeing stick to the B767 when the Air Force wanted a B777 variant? And if a B767, why the -200ER and not the more AirBus comparable -300ER, or better yet the -400ER which needed orders anyway? Why try to get the USAF to buy the low-end model?


31 posted on 03/15/2008 8:51:07 PM PDT by tanuki (u)
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To: 17th Miss Regt; Starwolf; expatpat

I can’t fault a company for trying to make as much money as possible on a deal, especially when the deal involves the US government and its notoriously fickle procurement procedures and votes. We are often faced with situations, especially in military procurement and construction, in which the officers are given an unrealistic price by the representatives for something the officers know they need, and the contractor has to submit an unprofitable bid knowing that he will make it up on add ons and amendments. The fact that some people in congress have really stupid ideas about what things cost is beyond question.

I see bid rigging as a fairly simple process. One bidder conspires to eliminate competitive bids by subterfuge - falsely claiming that the competitor’s bid was inadequate, submitted late, etc. I don’t know enough about this case to pronounce what happened, but I do know that anyone with a calculator can analyze a bid and determine the actual cost. Bidding law is complex and often silly. What were the specifics of the criminal charges? Maybe I’m being naive.

Starwolf - plenty of indictments have been ignored for less than this, and plenty of people have got not guilty verdicts for more. Think of Murtha and Abscam and McCain and Keating.


32 posted on 03/15/2008 8:53:58 PM PDT by sig226 (Real power is not the ability to destroy an enemy. It is the willingness to do it.)
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To: tanuki

The bid was for a bit of a Frankenbird. Various parts of different 767 models.

The GAO has 3 months to get a ruling out on the protest. Given the visibility of this procurement, I believe it was tightly run and clean. I will read the GAO report with a lot of interest since I am an APC member.


33 posted on 03/15/2008 9:40:27 PM PDT by Starwolf (I rode to work today, did you?)
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To: tanuki
First off, why did Boeing stick to the B767 when the Air Force wanted a B777 variant? And if a B767, why the -200ER and not the more AirBus comparable -300ER, or better yet the -400ER which needed orders anyway? Why try to get the USAF to buy the low-end model?

The B777 wouldn't have been able to meet the $40B cap.

The -300/400 would have added empty weight, hence increaed MTOW with a full fuel load. That would have increased runway length.

The best hope the Big B had was the -200bitzer with the small body, big wings and hope Uncle Sugar would accept "meets mininum requirement" as reason to buy American.

34 posted on 03/15/2008 10:44:53 PM PDT by Oztrich Boy (NO I don't tag sarcasm)
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To: Starwolf; Oztrich Boy

Thanks for the info, guys. I didn’t realize there was that much development work to do.


35 posted on 03/16/2008 12:24:41 AM PDT by tanuki (u)
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To: Oztrich Boy

“The best hope the Big B had was the -200bitzer with the small body, big wings and hope Uncle Sugar would accept “meets mininum requirement” as reason to buy American.”

Absolutely correct. This enden up in the Boeing KC-767 “Frankentanker” ( http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/sundaybuzz/2004147565_sundaybuzz27.html ). A mixup of all spare 767 parts Boeing had on stock.


36 posted on 03/16/2008 2:14:20 AM PDT by buzzer
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To: freema

I wouldn’t mind delving into a nice pork roast about now. A chilled bottle of a real nutty/buttery Chardonay, roasted little red skin potatoes, perhaps French cut green beans with onions and almonds, etc.. Come to think of it. Throw in a few extra bottles of the Chard. Good grieve. I may have to settle for a few hot dogs and a bowl of soup tonight.


37 posted on 03/16/2008 12:38:05 PM PDT by Marine_Uncle (Duncan Hunter was our best choice...)
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To: Marine_Uncle

Oh, that does sound good! Hot dogs are best at a ball game : )


38 posted on 03/16/2008 1:22:28 PM PDT by freema (Proud Marine Niece, Daughter, Wife, Friend, Sister, Cousin, Mom and FRiend)
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To: smoothsailing

I am usually a “McCain hater” but unless we find out McCain twisted someone’s arm illegally, I don’t see anything that McCain did wrong in this deal. The Air Force made the decision.

However, the author of this article did not bother to mention that the US government is suing EADS for unfair trade (received illegal govermnent subsidies).

Furthermore, EADS sold Nickel 63 and so-called “Tritium Targets” – both crucial to triggering a nuclear explosion – to the South Korean firm Kyung-Do Enterprises, which sold themto Parto Namaje Tolua, a front for the state-owned Iranian firm Partoris.

Russia owns 5% of Airbus. What does the Air Force comment? That it wasn’t their responsibility to take US national security into account. That is really a major WTF.

Boeing is dirty, but to me Airbus is a bigger worry, especially given the Air Force’s indifference to security.


39 posted on 03/16/2008 10:44:39 PM PDT by ding_dong_daddy_from_dumas (I want to "Buy American" but the only things for sale made in the USA are politicians)
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To: ding_dong_daddy_from_dumas
I am usually a “McCain hater”

Yeah, well there's plenty enough of that to go around here.

I've never understood all this "hate" stuff.

I figure it this way...

Do we want to survive, or don't we.

Roll the dice, pick your cupie doll.

When all is said and done, where does a blind man go?

40 posted on 03/16/2008 11:08:37 PM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: ding_dong_daddy_from_dumas
Russia owns 5% of Airbus.

Boeing has a design office in Russia, and the Russian office designed the modifications to the Boeing 747 DreamLifter that is carrying parts for the new 787 from around the globe to Washington for final assembly.

Your point?

41 posted on 03/17/2008 11:40:11 AM PDT by Yo-Yo (USAF, TAC, 12th AF, 366 TFW, 366 MG, 366 CRS, Mtn Home AFB, 1978-81)
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To: Yo-Yo
>> Boeing has a design office in Russia, and the Russian office designed the modifications to the Boeing 747 DreamLifter that is carrying parts for the new 787 from around the globe to Washington for final assembly.

Your point?<<

As I said above, I do not blame McCain for revealing some Boeing sleaze, but I question the Air Force's decision.

You are correct that we should not trust Boeing too much. I certainly don't. Murtha defending Boeing is a bad sign.

I'll take your word for it that Boeing does some business with Russia. The point is that having a 5% ownership in Airbus gives Russia greater power than having a business relationship with Boeing. In a global security crisis, I think the fact that a foreign power that is currently somewhat unfriendly to the US owns part of a supplier to the US military is a concern. But the Air Force seems unconcerned about security risks.

Also, there is the EADS-Hugo Chavez connection.

Spain defies US on Venezuela deal

Spain has said it will go ahead with the sale of 12 military planes to Venezuela despite US objections.

However, the aircraft will be made with more expensive European parts because the US has blocked the use of its technology for Venezuela.

The US says Venezuela's Socialist President Hugo Chavez could use the planes to destabilise the region.

Both Madrid and Caracas have said the equipment - also including eight patrol boats - is for defensive purposes. Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega said Spain "did not share" the US reasons for blocking the deal.

She said the deal would create 1,000 Spanish jobs over the next few years.

42 posted on 03/17/2008 2:01:00 PM PDT by ding_dong_daddy_from_dumas (I want to "Buy American" but the only things for sale made in the USA are politicians)
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To: smoothsailing

43 posted on 03/17/2008 2:13:19 PM PDT by ding_dong_daddy_from_dumas (I want to "Buy American" but the only things for sale made in the USA are politicians)
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