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Richard Shelby and the Northrop-Boeing tanker war

Shleby U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) today ... :

Sen. Shelby has placed holds on several pending nominees due to unaddressed national security concerns. Among his concerns is that nearly 10 years after the U.S. Air Force announced plans to replace the aging tanker fleet, we still do not have a transparent and fair acquisition process to move forward. The Department of Defense must recognize that the draft Request for Proposal needs to be significantly and substantively changed. Sen. Shelby is also deeply concerned that the Administration will not release the funds already appropriated to the FBI to build the Terrorist Explosives Devices Analytical Center.

... And, as noted by the Washington Post's Ezra Klein, when George W. Bush was president:

I do not think that any of us want to operate in an environment where federal judicial nominees must receive 60 votes in order to be confirmed. To that end I firmly support changing the Senate rules to require that a simple majority be necessary to confirm all judicial nominees, thus ending the continuous filibuster of them.

The tanker purchases and new FBI center could benefit Shelby's state enormously, so the fact that his extraordinary action isn't at all based on principle does not surprise me. What's really perplexing is how he could think that going to such lengths to assist Northrop Grumman Corp. and European aerospace giant European Aeronautic Defense & Space Co., who would conduct major assembly of their A330-based aerial refueling tanker in Alabama, would actually help their chances of winning the contract.

Boeing Co. successfully challenged the Air Force's decision in 2008 to award the $40-billion deal to the Northrop-EADS team partly because of allegations that changes made to the evaluation criteria during the bidding process benefited the winners. Shelby is now asking the Air Force to "significantly and substantially" alter the tanker RFP draft in favor of Northrop-EADS. Should Shelby get his wish and if the Northrop-EADS team wins the contract (which I don't think will happen, as a split buy or outright Boeing win seem like the only viable options), you can bet Boeing would file another protest.

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Photo credit: Karin Cooper / Associated Press

 

Comments () | Archives (21)

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andrew nelson

Didn't Northrop and Boeing used to be California Companies? Where did they go? Why did they go? How come these guys are getting the work? Oh, I forgot. We're the Socialist Amnesty Zone for Illegal Immigrant Farmworkers and the Mecca of the Progressive Left Movie Industry. My Bad.

Jose Awesome

Teabaggers start with the assumption that Obama is an afro-fascist Indo-Kenyan socialist communist Muslim terrorist. This is the foundation for all their arguments. This is tantamount to starting a math problem with the assumption that 2+2 = 5; all your subsequent calculations will be laughably wrong.

While it would be a mistake to ignore these people - it would be a mistake to ignore ANY group of extremely uneducated yet heavily armed people- their pathetic attempts at debate need not be taken seriously.

donsmith7777

andrew nelson, California is the "Mecca of the Progressive Left Movie Industry" because right-wing movies like "An American Carol" with a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 12% are a huge failure on every level.

Excuse me if I'm wrong, but the left-wing, hit mega-hit "Avatar" was funded by right-wing predatory billionaire Rupert Murdock, correct?

Funny how a predatory, right-wing billionaire like Mr. Murdock is a major player in the "Progressive Left Movie Industry" isn't it?

I don't see George Soros funding left-wing movies, do you?

Also, the "Socialist Amnesty Zone for Illegal Immigrant Farmworkers" exists only because right-wing Republican farmers here in the heavily conservative, Republican owned California Central Valley hire illegal farm workers in droves.

john

that is kind of senator the teabagger want in washington to take their country back for them, too bad fools

Alan

Senator Shelby is being a jerk about the whole thing and worse, he's being cheered on by the Republicans who could easily help the Democrats override the hold, as well.

Lastly, the EADS tanker is a fine plane, but it's way bigger than the USAF needs to replace their aging KC-135s. The KC-30 is about 50% bigger and uses more than 20% more fuel to fly its missions, not to mention costs more to maintain. It's admirable that Shelby cares about jobs for his constituents, but bogus that he's now pushing the USAF into buying a plane they don't really want, according to their latest RFP.

treesa Collins

I beleive the Democratic senators including then-Sen Obama did the same thing during the bush admisistration but said it was because of the nominees' record. Right!

kathleen

This story should also include the fact that Shelby's chosen tanker-builder is basically a consortium put together by Airbus--a foreign corporation. That would be the same class of players (foreign corporations) that just were granted the right, by a partisan Supreme Court, to buy themselves a Congressional candidate or two--or perhaps even a president.
I am at a loss as to why the alleged super-patriots of the Republican party think any of this is a good idea.

ObiJonKenobi

Shelby tries to spin this sordid extortion by wrapping it in the flag as an attempt to maintain our "national security". Spoken like a true Re THUG LIE CON.

Meanwhile, his spokesperson, Jonathan Graffeo, larded up his statement in defense of this shakedown with snarky attacks on Obama by trotting out that favorite old southern attack dog, the weak-on-defense hound used by conservative "patriots" for ages to track down and kill Democrats. Graffeo says Obama's policy "impedes" the ability of the military and intelligence agencies in their efforts to fight terrorism and then seques into this little below-the-belt zinger, "The Obama Administration wants to read terrorists our Miranda rights and try them in U.S. courts but is impeding the processing of evidence that could lead to convictions. If this administration were as worried about hunting down terrorists as it is about the confirmation of low-level political nominations, America would be a safer place."

The amazing thing is that many reich-wing troglodytes will actual fall for this swill.

andrew nelson

Joe Awesome and Donsmith7777: lol. Your extremely irrudite and intelligent analysis still doesn't answer the basic question. Let me assert something you can further respond to, with the same stereotypical attacks against the education levels or dark ulterior motives, against anyone who dares to question the liberal progressive religion. Those two companies left California for the same reason the economy is now shedding jobs like dogs shed winter coats. No One will invest in this economy, no one will spend in this economy, and no one will buy in this economy, while this administration and Democrats continue the war against business, captialism, and the free market. Socialism is great, until you run out of other people's money.

C Lavant

At least "now" we "know" who is running the Republican Party. It's Richard Shelby.

C Lavant

I wonder to what extent Alberto Gonzales is contributing to Sen. Richard Shelby's political moves during the Obama administration. Mr. Gonzales is working more quietly now; but it is certain that he continues to believe that the ends justify the means. So, no doubt, do John Yoo and Jay Bybee. They were too "adept" at re-interpreting the Constitution to be simply set aside by those who loved their work. There is no doubt that Richard Shelby also believes that the ends justify the means. Love him or hate him, Shelby is an extension of the former administration.

Here is what Senator Shelby said about Mr. Gonzales on Feb. 3, 2005.

“I am pleased that the U.S. Senate confirmed Alberto Gonzales to be the next Attorney General of the United States. Judge Gonzales has the confidence of the President and, indeed, the experience to be an outstanding Attorney General. As White House Counsel, he served the President with great dedication and commitment and played an integral role in the selection of nominees to the federal bench.”

“As we continue to fight the war on terror, we are reminded of the importance and significance the position of Attorney General holds, and I am confident that Judge Gonzales will serve this post with integrity and great tenacity.”

Sanchez

If you can believe the GAO report is unbiased, you'll find they often agreed with Boeing on the award challenge. (at least it's better than flaming each other) Besides being too big, the EADS plane did not perform as required.

Look for "KC-30 Overrun and Breakaway Capability". This is just one problem the EADS plane had.

http://www.gao.gov/decisions/bidpro/311344.htm

WeNeedTankers

Mr. C Lavant loses the debate when he blames it on Bush with the statement "Shelby is an extension of the former administration"


ObiJonKenobi

Shelby tries to spin this sordid extortion by wrapping it in the flag as an attempt to maintain our "national security". Spoken like a true Re THUG LIE CON.

Meanwhile, his spokesperson, Jonathan Graffeo, larded up his statement in defense of this shakedown with snarky attacks on Obama by trotting out that favorite old southern attack dog, the weak-on-defense hound used by conservative "patriots" for ages to track down and kill Democrats. Graffeo says Obama's policy "impedes" the ability of the military and intelligence agencies in their efforts to fight terrorism and then segues into this little below-the-belt zinger, "The Obama Administration wants to read terrorists our Miranda rights and try them in U.S. courts but is impeding the processing of evidence that could lead to convictions. If this administration were as worried about hunting down terrorists as it is about the confirmation of low-level political nominations, America would be a safer place."

The amazing thing is that many reich-wing troglodytes will actual fall for this swill.

Joshua Teacher

If funding these projects is so vital to national security, why didn't Senator Shelby (or other Alabama representatives) use the regular appropriations process for the federal budget? Why do these have to be earmarks? It's like President Obama said, wasteful government pork tends to occur in other districts and in other states, not your own.

andrew nelson

Well, at least Shelby's constituents are getting representation, and jobs. They have more Fortune 500 Company Headquarters, than California has, less tax, less unemployment, and a balanced state budget. He fights, intelligently, for his state, and has the courage to do it. We got bumpkis.

Reasonable Guy

A complete and total *(^(*^%%. No shame. No concern for the country.

The Senate is dysfunctional due to this kind of unconscionable greed. Shame on the clown from Alabama.

andrew nelson

Reasonable Guy: as opposed to the extreme concern that California has for the country and the rule of law? Except for illegal immigration, of course, or unconstitutionally, unbalanced state governments, or...

Armchair Firebrand

Shelby’s objection has nothing to do with these qualified individuals themselves. Rather, it hinges upon a pair of earmarks, recently eliminated from our nation’s budget, that would benefit his home state of Alabama. Placing these narrow interests above filling so many vacant posts within our government is both irresponsible and inexcusable.

Shelby’s intransigence is also a sharp rebuke of President Obama’s recent request that the G.O.P. govern responsibly rather than blindly obstruct his agenda. If Senate Republicans insist on throwing such temper tantrums every time they don’t get their way, our country will soon become ungovernable.

Read more @ http://armchairfirebrand.wordpress.com/

Jmatt

1- Earmarks and glorified self interest are an ugly reality of making laws. They are nothing new and will be around for a long time because the are politically expedient and ingrained. We can all comment here that they should be abolished but the Congress will never do so, unless we make them.
2- The Republicans are playing from behind with a zone defense (like the Lakers w/ Kobe on the bench) and they are doing a fair job of it. The Democrats have been in this position many times and will make all the normal counter moves. I think its great that there are allot more people reading politics today but the strategies have been around for a very long time so get over the horror and disbelief.
3- The fact is that we need a new tanker in the Air Force and I want to see the details finally worked out so that can happen. If your particular State (or Country) did not invest in an Aerospace industry its likely that you will not benefit from the eventual contracts to build said tankers.

Aisle Walker

Schmuck! or Ignoramus...pick one


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