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Boeing: Murder Incorporated

Ralph welcomes investigative journalist for Bloomberg, Peter Robison, to do a deep dive into his new book, “Flying Blind: The 737 MAX Tragedy And The Fall Of Boeing” and poses the question, “Did Boeing get away with murder?” Plus, Ralph answers more listener questions.

Peter Robison is an investigative journalist for Bloomberg and Bloomberg Businessweek. He is a recipient of the Gerald Loeb Award, the Malcolm Forbes Award, and four “Best in Business” awards from the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing. He is the author of Flying Blind: The 737 MAX Tragedy And The Fall Of Boeing.

There was a case where one young engineer… asked repeatedly for a more sophisticated type of flight control on the MAX. Ultimately– after the third time– he was told no. And one of his managers told him that ‘people will have to die’ before Boeing will change things.
Peter Robison, author of Flying Blind: The 737 MAX Tragedy And The Fall Of Boeing

The unions in the Seattle area had developed a power base of their own. And the company said in their own documents– which were later revealed in an NLRB case– the company felt that it would reset the relationship if they had another workforce in South Carolina– which also happened to be a lower-paid workforce– to leverage against that union workforce in Seattle.
Peter Robison, author of Flying Blind: The 737 MAX Tragedy And The Fall Of Boeing

I wrote the book from the point of view of Boeing as epitomizing what’s happened across corporate America. And you look at Purdue Pharma, you look at the performance of GE during this time period, and it’s meant to be a cautionary tale that relates not just to Boeing, but to all of corporate America.
Peter Robison, author of Flying Blind: The 737 MAX Tragedy And The Fall Of Boeing

When companies like Boeing spend over 50% of their profits on stock buybacks, they’re disinvesting in engineering, research, and development in their own company… Listeners, when you hear about all these stock buybacks, that’s just not something that the SEC may be interested in or permitting. It’s not something that some financial people on Wall Street [may be interested in]. It’s burning money. It’s not creating jobs. It’s not expanding pensions. It’s not developing research and development.
Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader Radio Hour Ep 405 Transcript (Right click to download)

11 Comments

  1. NooN says:

    Do I understand there are “PRIVATE PROSECUTORS” (?)

    I was VERY IMPRESSED with the Representative Aide
    who spoke so well on Radio Hour a month or two ago.
    I would like to contact this CongressionaL Aide Group
    to be updated on their Visions.
    I look forward to your positive & lazy negative 🎼ong🎼
    Thank Y’all for all Yall do.I’d like to know what i can do.

  2. Don klepack says:

    My mother said to me when I was a child, you can learn something from every person. Since your brought up Donald Trump with your amazing guest Peter Robison, Please Respond to Donald Trump’s statement ‘I don’t want Albert Einstein to be my pilot’

  3. Dale West says:

    I am horrified to learn that Boeing has not armored the 737 Max rudder cables that are not up to FAA protection specs for un-contained engine failure shrapnel. Since the 1989 United Airlines 232 crash landing at Sioux City, Iowa, the 737 variants have not complied with the FAA 1997 guidance 14 C.F.R. § 25.903(d)(1). Shocking that this long term design flaw is still not resolved after the 20 month grounding! The pitch elevator system is also vulnerable to jams and no electronic checklist capabilities exist to assist the pilots during emergencies. Frankenplane – unsafe at any altitude.

    REF:
    https://transportation.house.gov/imo/media/doc/DeFazio,%20Larsen%20Letter%20to%20FAA%20re%20rudder%20cables,%20lightning%20covers.pdf

  4. Robert Magyar says:

    The elephant in the room appears to be our political leaders cult like devotion to all things driven by our military-industrial capitalist complex. Boeing is a major defense contractor player as in billions every year. Who in our government can stand up to them? The U.S. nuclear industry continues on zombie like wasting billions while our military relies on depleted uranium for their weapons systems. Who in our government can stand up to the nuclear industry and the military who relies on that industry’s waste product? Rampant sexual assaults’ in the U.S. military forces, same who stands up to them issue. These and most likely other issues tied to the military industrial complex appear unrelated and disconnected from each other, but in my opinion they are not.

  5. David Faubion says:

    Death penalty to Boeing; revoke its charter, yesterday.

    Breaking news: Boeing drops its COVID 19 vaccine mandate–as further evidence of its homicidal disregard for life.

  6. Bruce K. says:

    +sarcasm+
    Maybe Ralph Nader’s mom should replace him with a completely new redesigned son since for all the good work he’s done, he got George W. Bush elected and screwed the world up horribly … W. killed masses of people in wars, drove the debt into near default ( which still might happen so the Republicans can kill all social programs ), and in keeping Gore from the Presidency probably ensured that global warming will not be managed and the whole world might die.
    -sarcasm-

    So, how much is Boeing supposed to spend to satisfy Mr. Nader’s ego about a plane that since the horrible accident has flown 2700 flights with let’s estimated say 200 people per flight … 540,000 people, apparently without indicident.

    Nader’s atttiude, and the attitude of commentors here is like the whole Beoing company is murdering people for fun and profit. I just find that ourtrageous and detestable, but mostly incredibly misguided and unrealistic. I am the first to agree with him about the corruption of our government and industry, but I see nothing done or suggestecd about that but blah, blah, blah on podcasts, to quote someone from this century.

    For someone I have apprecaited and admired for decades in the previous century, all that has been undone and his reputation and credibility destroyed in this one. Not that he is wrong about much … just the major existential questions.

    Just stick to the little stuff Ralph like cars and appliances.

    Sorry If I offended but this stuff and others like it really piss me off and make me depressed and I prefer to get mad.

    • Skro35 says:

      (+sarcasm+
      Maybe Ralph Nader’s mom should replace him with a completely new redesigned son since for all the good work he’s done, he got George W. Bush elected and screwed the world up horribly … W. killed masses of people in wars, drove the debt into near default ( which still might happen so the Republicans can kill all social programs ), and in keeping Gore from the Presidency probably ensured that global warming will not be managed and the whole world might die.)

      For someone who presents himself as a smart, informed, insightful guy, it amazes me that you still hold onto this particular piece of conventional wisdom. And trust me, it’s nowhere close to being “wise.” I’ve had this “Nader elected Bush” debate hundreds of times, and I am waiting for someone to say something I haven’t heard before. I’m still waiting, Bruce K. You can be comforted knowing you bring nothing original to the discussion. You merely robotically spout corporate Dem talking points like everyone else.

      You know who doesn’t blame Ralph Nader for costing Al Gore the election? Al Gore. Because he knew better. I give him credit for being more politically sophisticated than you and most of the people who voted for him. In a lot of ways, losing that election was the best thing that happened to him personally. He got to be the President who never was, the one who would have made all the right moves. All pure speculation of course. The assumption is that if Al Gore had been elected, we would be living in a liberal paradise where 9/11 would have never happened and without vice-president, Dick Cheney, pulling the strings we never would have gone to war in Iraq.

      That’s right. Joe Lieberman was Gore’s vice-president, so maybe we would have gone to war with Iran.

      When the Bush White House made the case for going to war with Iraq, the Democrats controlled the Senate. There was very real public skepticism about the so-called “slam dunk” evidence presented that Saddam Hussein’s regime had Weapons of Mass Destruction. Yet, twenty-nine of fifty Democratic Senators voted in favor of allowing Bush to go to war, including John Kerry, John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Chuck Schumer, Dianne Feinstein, Harry Reid, majority leader, Tom Daschle, and – well what do you know – the VP who wasn’t, Joe Lieberman. The Democrats could have stopped it. They chose not to. So, it’s obvious who is responsible for the Iraq War:

      Ralph Nader. -sarcasm-

      You know who the only candidate to bring up the topic of global warming in the 2000 election was?

      Al Gore? Wrong! Ralph Nader.

      But you didn’t know that, Bruce K, did you? Need I go on? Because I will if you want me, too. We’re just scratching the surface here of your ignorant and lazy analysis on this topic. After all that has transpired in the twenty years, after all we now know about voter suppression and what happens (and doesn’t happen) when Democrats do get elected, you persist in hanging onto this scapegoating of the one person who was sounding the warning.

      (-sarcasm-
      So, how much is Boeing supposed to spend to satisfy Mr. Nader’s ego about a plane that since the horrible accident has flown 2700 flights with let’s estimated say 200 people per flight … 540,000 people, apparently without indicident)
      .
      346 people die in two separate plane crashes, and you attribute them being called to account to “Mr. Nader’s ego?” How dare you! Talk about “outrageous and detestable.” Do you have Boeing stock? Or are you just standing up to bullies like us who are picking on this poor multi-billion-dollar corporation? The simple truth is the penalties have to be enough to change behavior. So far, for Boeing it’s the cost of doing business. How would you feel if a loved one of yours died in one of those preventable crashes – the second one after Boeing did nothing after the first one – and someone said to you, “Look at all the people who didn’t die, you egomaniac!” That’s vile.

      (Nader’s atttiude, and the attitude of commentors here is like the whole Beoing company is murdering people for fun and profit. I just find that ourtrageous and detestable, but mostly incredibly misguided and unrealistic. I am the first to agree with him about the corruption of our government and industry, but I see nothing done or suggestecd about that but blah, blah, blah on podcasts, to quote someone from this century.)

      I don’t know if it’s for fun, but it’s definitely for profit. To quote Peter Robison: “There was a case where one young engineer… asked repeatedly for a more sophisticated type of flight control on the MAX. Ultimately– after the third time– he was told no. And one of his managers told him that ‘people will have to die’ before Boeing will change things.”

      ( someone I have apprecaited and admired for decades in the previous century, all that has been undone and his reputation and credibility destroyed in this one. Not that he is wrong about much … just the major existential questions.
      Just stick to the little stuff Ralph like cars and appliances.)

      That “little stuff’ you glibly refer to has saved hundreds of thousands of lives. How many lives have you saved, Bruce K, with your lengthy pontifications on the “major existential questions?”

      (Sorry If I offended but this stuff and others like it really piss me off and make me depressed and I prefer to get mad.)

      Ralph isn’t online, so he will probably never see this hateful, thoughtless screed, but you certainly offended and pissed me off. Happy Holidays! – sarcasm – Steve

    • Richard McGowan says:

      Bruce,
      Maybe you should read Flying Blind and actually learn about about the decisions Boeing made, in pursuit of fighting regulation and in order to maximize profit, of allowing fatal structural flaws into their 737 max. There were grave consequences, and 346 people died, including Ralph’s grandniece whom he shared dinner with just two days before she died. Ralph’s laser focus on consumer protection and safety is something we need more of in this age of increasing automation, regulatory capture, and extremely avaricious corporations. He is, and forever will be my greatest political hero for the courage he has shown in dedicating his life to this cause. I would never tell Ralph what issues to stick to. He has lead the way for decades before I was even born.

      • DLehman says:

        Steve, You got one thing right. Yours is a “hateful, thoughtless screed” ; could a 12 step program help you?

        Both Gore and Carey sold us and the U.S. out . They are invested in the industries that need war to make money. Biden is front man now. The US is trying to spark a war with Russia over Ukraine; the key issues being: gas/banks/ weapon sales. Big oil, big banks and the Pentagon are stoking the violence along with the neocons like Victoria Nuland who demonstrate it is on behalf of Israel they work.

        Ukraine on Fire: The Real Story – Full Documentary by Oliver Stone . https://vimeo.com/252426896

        The ruling class and their CIA is the threat not Nader.

        • Skro35 says:

          Not sure I understand your comment about me needing a twelve-step program. What does anything you said have to do with anything I said?

  7. WaltK says:

    Skro35 does an excellent job of pointing out that a Gore win in 2000 really wouldn’t have mattered all that much, and that Nader having cost Gore the election is a sad trope of “conventional wisdom” that is patently untrue.

    But the biggest problem with BruceK’s accusatory comment is that Al Gore actually won the 2000 election. He and the other useless corporate Dems that make up the party hierarchy were just too chickenshit to fight for it. This was pointed out at the time by many.

    In light of the 1/6/2021 BS at the US Capitol, Jacobin recently published labor organizer Jane McAlevey’s on-the-ground description of how the Dem party and Labor leadership sold out a large majority of the people of the U.S.

    https://jacobinmag.com/2020/10/trump-coup-florida-2000-recount