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Still Unsafe At Any Altitude

Boeing whistleblower, Ed Pierson, joins us to talk about the report he wrote entitled “Boeing 737 MAX – How Is It Really Going?” that paints a troubling picture of current problems with the notorious plane that includes reports of 43 malfunctions and onboard failures and six flights where U.S. pilots declared emergencies. Plus, constitutional scholar, Bruce Fein, stops by to talk about how the NATO Treaty should not override the US Constitution, the misuse of the “state secrets” law, and an ongoing U.S. war crime from the Vietnam era.

Ed Pierson is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and Navy Flight School and served in the Navy for 30 years. Mr. Pierson worked for Boeing from 2008 to 2018. He was a Production Manager in the 737 Program, and in 2019 he testified before Congress as a whistleblower. Throughout his career, he has served as a volunteer and chair of safety committees.

There were widespread issues going on in the factory… the backlog of unfinished airplanes, really horrific supply chain issues, we had a shortage of skilled staff, workers were being asked to work ridiculously long hours, all of our health metrics in the factory were at record low points and trending in the wrong direction. And there was just a lot of evidence of warning flags. All the information was there to say that this factory was dangerously unstable.

Ed Pierson


Obviously the [MCAS] software has gained all the attention because it was covered up, and the pilot training was also not there. But my point all along has been that there’s evidence of production quality issues…And in my reports I showed that production in fact did play a role in these crashes.

Ed Pierson

Of course, the airlines are telling us the airplanes are perfectly safe. Boeing is saying the plane is safe. And so for pilots to not use the legally-required reporting system… It’s very concerning when you have a bunch of US pilots feeling that they have to anonymously submit reports.

Ed Pierson


There are civil lawsuits by the families against Boeing of course underway. but it’s the criminal indictments and lawsuits that Boeing is really afraid of. Because they can always pay out to the families and it’s insurable and deductible and it’s just a business expense. What they’re really worried about is being prosecuted and sent to jail.  And the Justice Department is extremely secretive here. they don’t explain their decisions at all. And it’s important that people like [Ed Pierson] continue to persist and try to get another round of Congressional investigation.

Ralph Nader

Bruce Fein is a Constitutional scholar and an expert on international law.  Mr. Fein was Associate Deputy Attorney General under Ronald Reagan and he is the author of Constitutional Peril: The Life and Death Struggle for Our Constitution and Democracy, and American Empire: Before the Fall.

Since 1953, the state secrets privilege has just burgeoned. It has blossomed to cover all sorts of things, including concealing government rules for assassinations, kidnappings, torture. All these kinds of things that conceal government crimes.

Bruce Fein


During a ten-year secret war in Laos from 1963 to 1973 – an unconstitutional war never declared by Congress – the United States dropped 260 million bombs on a country of 2.3 million, or 120 bombs per person… still today 80 million of those 260 million bombs are unexploded, and they are maiming children and women and fathers in the hundreds per year. Since the end of the war, 50 thousand have died from unexploded ordnance. And, unfortunately, the United States has never made amends for these gross war crimes.

Bruce Fein


The NATO Treaty is subordinated to the US Constitution which accords only Congress the right to declare war.

Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader Radio Hour Ep 418 Transcript (Right click to download)


  1. David K Faubion says:

    A detailed analysis and time-line of the Boeing chronic homicidal negligence, thank you Ed Pierson.
    So why do other aviation builder designers, for example Airbus, have but a tiny fraction of the catastrophic SNAFUS of Boeing? I’d say it’s because Boeing is a defense contractor so it’s disregard for life is unavoidable. But other war suppliers are producing commercial aircraft without the carnage, eg., General Dynamic Inc among others.
    The US DOT missing in action is scandalous business as usual, so zero tolerance for that too. And the popular news media is all over this stinking heap of corporatist injustice.

    • Greg says:

      I would like to know if there is a transcript of this program? I, despite hearing aids in both ears, can not fully benefit from the presentations.

      • Skro35 says:

        Look for a transcript to be posted either Monday or Tuesday. It will be a blue pdf link just above the audio player.

  2. Don Harris says:

    When are you going to add comments to your blog?

    Part three of your assumed ten part plan to use 10 billion fictional dollars from enlightened billionaires was a nice exercise in theory, but it does not translate to reality as fictional dollars do not have purchasing power in the real world.

    Please provide a PSA that could have an effect in the real world before you continue the other seven parts as by the time you get through the other seven parts you will have squandered another opportunity that exists to make real progress in 2022 that could change the dynamic for 2024.

    Just 6-7% of the 150 million 2020 voters investing 100 dollars in contributions to small donor candidates in 2022 (no more than 200 dollars from any one donor per election-200 primary, 200 general) would total 1 billion dollars. This would also total 10 billion dollars over ten years and is much less likely to be fictional than the 10 billion from enlightened billionaires.

    This 6-7% making a demand that candidates run small donor only campaigns could be joined by as little as another 3-5% of voters in 2022 that do not or cannot afford to contribute in 2022 for a total of 10% of the vote nationally in 2022.

    This 10% of the vote will be below the average in some districts and above the average in some districts in 2022.

    In districts above the average it could result in a small donor candidate winning a Current Major Party primary.

    In the general election it in districts at or above the average it could flip a district gerrymandered for one CMP to the other CMP if there was a CMP small donor candidate running in the district gerrymandered for the other party.

    Or a small donor third party or independent candidate getting 10% or more in district could cause that district to flip.

    This would put many more gerrymandered districts in question in 2024, encourage more citizens to participate in demanding small donor candidates in 2024 and would also inspire more small donor candidates in 2024.

    And by 2026 there would many small donor legislators that would not require spending 100 million dollars a year on each issue in your ten part plan to lobby against the millions more than 100 million the big money interests are spending to “wine, dine and give campaign cash to the 535 members of Congress” as the small donor legislators would not be taking the campaign cash.

    Let’s kill ten birds with one stone and demand small donor only candidates now.

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