Friday’s Follies for January 17, 2014

The first news item to cross my desk this morning was the announcement that Senator Tom Coburn, (R-OK), would leave the Senate at the end of the year. His term won’t expire until 2016, but due to a recurrence of his prostrate cancer, he’s leaving the Senate early. Erick Erickson of Red State calls Coburn the Horatius of Oklahoma.

With an unknown future, I can understand Coburn’s desire to spend more time with his family. I wish my so-called republican senator had Tom Coburn’s voting record and leadership.

I wish you well, Tom Coburn.

***

Union organizers lose another one. The International Association of Machinists attempted to organization an Amazon site in New Jersey and failed. As expected, the union claims it was all Amazon’s fault! In retrospect, that is true. Amazon provided a working environment that supported their employees, more than the union who only wanted their ‘take’ from the members paychecks.

Their unusual thug tactics failed.

Is It Hubris Or…? Undemocratic and dysfunctional Machinists’ union blames Amazon for employees’ rejection

 

LaborUnionReport (Diary)  | 

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Whether it is extreme hubris or blatantly deceptive spin, the International Association of Machinists does not seem to realize that, over the last several months, the union has done a number of things to sully its own reputation in the minds of its members—as well as the general public—which is likely costing it potential new members.

On Tuesday, a group of 27 Amazon workers employed by the company in Delaware overwhelmingly rejected representation by the Machinists in an NLRB-supervised election by 21-6.

According to union spokesman John Carr, the union’s loss was all the company’s fault.

The majority of 27 technicians at an Amazon fulfillment center in Middletown, Delaware, voted to reject an initiative to form a union under the auspices of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, said John Carr, a spokesman for the IAMAW. The vote, held late yesterday, was 21 to 6.

That number is a clear reflection that the tactics Amazon and their law firm employed were very effective,” Carr said. “Under the intense pressures these workers faced on the shop floor, it was an uphill battle all the way.” [Emphasis added.]

Either Mr. Carr is completely ignorant of how the goings-on within his own union impact its reputation among potential new members or he is merely looking for a scapegoat to blame for his own union’s shortcomings.

In either case, events over the last several months within the Machinists’ union do not make a good case for the union to sell itself to union-free workers.

Guess the New Jersey employees weren’t too impressed with a union that jacked around its members as they have done with Boeing.

***

There were two stories in the news today about a theater overlooked by liberal media—the Western Pacific and the buildup of Chinese military forces. The Chinese declared an exclusion zone encompassing islands owned by Japan in addition to their claims in the South China Sea that covers territory claimed by a number of other nations including Viet Nam, Japan and the Philippine Islands.

(See my post from last year.)

Under our current non-leadership, our military forces have been degraded to the point that we can no longer secure the open seas nor support our allies in the Pacific. Japan is considering a massive buildup of their defense forces due to American military weakness.

Ominous warning: Admiral concedes U.S. losing dominance to China

Commander of Obama’s Asia pivot eyes military posturing by China

 

An F-18 Super Hornet flies ahead of the USS John C. Stennis while in the Pacific, 2013. (Image: U.S. Navy)

The Obama administration’s ballyhooed military “pivot” to Asia is running into some frank talk from the top U.S. commander in the Pacific. 

Three years after the Pentagon said it was de-emphasizing Europe in favor of the Asia-Pacific region, NavyAdm. Samuel J. Locklear III said this week that U.S. dominance has weakened in the shadow of a more aggressive China.

“Our historic dominance that most of us in this room have enjoyed is diminishing, no question,” Adm. Locklear, chief of U.S. Pacific Command, said Wednesday at a naval conference in Virginia.

Although Adm. Locklear said it is obvious that Chinese military power is growing, he suggested that it is unclear whether China will seek to be a hard adversary to the U.S. in the long term, so Washington should be working overtime on steering Beijing toward a cooperative security posture.

China is going to rise, we all know that,” Adm. Locklear said, as reported by Defense News, which included several quotes from his speech at the annual Surface Navy Association meeting.

“[But] how are they behaving? That is really the question,” the admiral said, adding that the Pacific Command’s goal is for China “to be a net provider of security, not a net user of security.”

His remarks offered insight into the introspection at the Pentagon’s highest levels about how the U.S. should tailor its military presence in the region, where Beijing and Moscow — regional powerhouses and former Cold War adversaries to Washington — are keen to challenge U.S. dominance.

“The problem with this formulation is, for whom does Adm. Locklear think China will be providing security?” said Dean Cheng, an analyst at the Heritage Foundation. “The implicit answer is ‘to everyone,’ because the assumption is that we can somehow mold China into being ourselves — that China will see its interests as somehow congruent and coincident with those of the United States, and therefore China will assume the mantle of regional provider of public goods.

The column continues here.

Military weakness abetted by Chinese holdings of US debt can lead to an extremely dangerous future. The US is ignoring our pledge to protect and support Taiwan and our WesPac allies. We promised to provide Taiwan with diesel-electric subs for a decade or more. The US doesn’t have any, nor does the US build any, but that didn’t stop the promise from being made. To date, that promise has not be fulfilled. The US has also promised to provide Taiwan with some P-3C patrol aircraft. Some, two of twelve, have been delivered.

Taiwan, hoping to give China pause, is now conducting anti-submarine exercises in their territorial waters.

IN CHINA: Taiwan’s anti-sub drill

The Taiwanese navy this week conducted an anti-submarine warfare drill as part of a recent effort to improve the island’s defenses against a Chinese underwater attack.

Conducted Tuesday about 10 miles off Taiwan’s southwestern coast, the drill involved surface vessels and helicopters in simulated hunt-and-kill operations against submarines.

China’s massive military buildup over the past two decades has prompted Taiwan to enhance its defenses — with significant help from the U.S. Washington provides key weapons systems that are mandated by the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, which requires the U.S. to provide arms that allow Taipei to maintain parity with Beijing’s communist government.

However, the United States has been hampered by obstacles that have prevented Taiwan from keeping its defense capabilities on par with China’s offensive capabilities.

For example, the George W. Bush administration in 2001 approved the sale of eight diesel-electric submarines to Taiwan, even though the U.S. long ago ceased making non-nuclear-powered subs. Prolonged talks about cost and congressional concerns about technology transfer resulted in inaction that continues to this day.

China’s navy, with nearly 60 submarines, including a half-dozen nuclear-powered attack and ballistic missile subs, holds a decisive advantage over Taiwan. Taipei currently deploys only two old Dutch-made submarines.

Analysts say Taiwan must strengthen its anti-sub capabilities to counterbalance China’s forces.

To help meet Taiwan’s anti-submarine needs, the U.S. in 2007 agreed to sell P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft to the Taiwanese military. The first four were recently delivered.

The Taiwanese military recently upgraded two submarines by arming them with up to 32 UGM-84A Harpoon anti-ship missiles. The Harpoon, made by McDonnell Douglas [now Boeing], is an advanced, all-weather, sea-skimming, radar-guided missile. Its “over-the-horizon” system can reach targets about 70 nautical miles away, placing many of China’s surface ships within its range.

The column continues with the news of the assignment of the USS Ronald Reagan, (CVN-76) to its new base in Japan. The USS Ronald Reagan will replace the USS George Washington, currently on-station in the Western Pacific.

The world is a dangerous place. It always had been. All too many in the US fail to understand that truism.

A side-bar poll on the Washington Times website asks, “Will U.S. military might be the envy of the world 50 years from now?” That is a good question. I won’t be around then, well, it’s highly unlikely. I fear the answer will be, “No.” The website could have asked, “Will the U.S. still have a Constitutional Republic 5o years from now?” I fear the answer to that question, too, may also be, “No.”