FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The Boeing Way: Blaming Dead Pilots

Photograph Source: Oleg V. Belyakov – CC BY-SA 3.0

The House Transportation Subcommittee on Aviation held an oversight hearing last week on the two recent Boeing 737 MAX airplane crashes.

Testifying were the heads of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

Asking questions and making statements were 39 members of the House – 22 Democrats and 17 Republicans – who during the 2018 election cycle took in a total of $134,749  – or an average of $3,455 each from Boeing in campaign contributions.

Inoculating their interests from responsibility, blame, shame and liability were the Boeing lobbyists and lawyers swarming the Capitol.

The chair of the subcommittee, Rick Larsen (D-Washington) ($7,048 from Boeing in 2018, $101,134 over his career), artfully steered the hearing away from Boeing’s corporate responsibility for the deaths of the passengers on the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines planes that crashed within five months killing all 346 passengers on board.

During his question period, Anthony Brown (D-Maryland) ($8,500 from Boeing in 2018) didn’t once say the word “Boeing.”

Sam Graves (R-Missouri) ($10,000 from Boeing in 2018) spent his seven minutes of question time shifting the blame from Boeing to the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airline pilots.

“Pilots trained in the United States would have successfully been able to handle these situations,” he said as a matter of fact.

This did not sit well with pilots trained in the United States.

The Seattle Times reported last week that Allied Pilots Association (APA) President Captain Daniel Carey was incensed at what he saw as a deliberate campaign by Boeing supporters to point to pilot error.

“Boeing needs to stop dodging responsibility and stop blaming dead pilots for its mistakes,” Carey said.

The Times reported that APA spokesman Dennis Tajer said that laying blame on foreign pilots — “It’s kind of a dog whistle” — could logically lead to the notion that the MAX should be flying only in America, a position that would harm Boeing’s interests in selling the plane globally.

Robert Sumwalt, the chair of the NTSB, also bristled at the blame the dead pilot story being pushed by Boeing.

“If an airplane manufacturer is going to sell airplanes all across the globe, the airplane needs to be trained to the lowest common denominator,” Sumwalt told the subcommittee.

Why is Boeing pointing the finger at the dead pilots?

To shift the blame. After all, there is an active criminal investigation focused directly on Boeing and the responsible executives.

The Times reported this week that Peter Lemme, a former Boeing flight-controls engineer who is now an avionics and satellite-communications consultant, recently underwent six hours of close questioning by two prosecutors in the U.S. Justice Department’s Fraud Section, at least one federal agent and several other people.

Lemme told the Times that during the meeting he highlighted his perceptions of shortcomings in the development of the MAX based on available information about its production.

Most of the questions focused on Boeing and the company’s processes rather than the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) certification of the plane, Lemme said.

Here are the total contributions from Boeing to members of the House Aviation Subcommittee. Republicans: Troy Balderson (R-Ohio) $0. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pennsylvania) $9,700. Mike Gallagher (R-Wisconsin) $5,999. Garret Graves (R-Louisiana) $6,000. Sam Graves (R-Missouri) $10,000. John Katko (R-New York) $15,400. Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky) $0. Brian Mast (R-Florida) $7,681. Paul Mitchell (R-Michigan) $5,000.  Scott Perry (R-Pennsylvania) $3,000. David Rouzer (R-North Carolina) $2,000. Lloyd Smucker (R-Pennsylvania) $8,000. Ross Spano (R-Florida) $0. Pete Stauber (R-Minnesota) $0. Daniel Webster (R-Florida) $0. Rob Woodall (R-Georgia) $2,000. Don Young (R-Alaska) $1,000. Total Boeing Contributions to Republicans on the Aviation Subcommittee $75,780. Average for each of the 17 members: $4,457.

Democrats: Colin Allred (D-Texas) $94. Anthony Brown (D-Maryland) $8,500.  Julia Brownley (D-California) $0. Salud Carbajal (D-California) $5,000. Andre Carson (D-Indiana) $10,000. Steve Cohen (D-Tennessee) $2,000. Angie Craig (D-Minnesota) $703. Sharice Davids (D-Kansas) $122. Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) $5,000. Jesus Garcia (D-Illinois) $0. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) $6,000. Henry Johnson (D-Georgia) $1,000. Rick Larsen (D-Washington) $7,048. Daniel Lipinski (D-Illinois) $6,000. Stephen Lynch (D-Massachusetts) $0. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-New York) $3,500. Grace Napolitano (D-Washington) $0. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) $0. Donald Payne (D-New Jersey) $1,000. Stacey Plaskett (D-USVI) $0. Greg Stanton (D-Arizona) $2. Dina Titus (D-Nevada) $3,000. Total Amount Boeing contributions to Democrats on the Aviation Subcommittee in 2018 cycle: $58,969. Average for each of the 22 members. $2,680.

Total contributed by Boeing to the 39 members of the Subcommittee: $134,749. Average per member: $3,455.

More articles by:

Russell Mokhiber is the editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter..

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

June 19, 2019
Matthew Stevenson
Requiem for a Lightweight: the Mayor Pete Factor
Kenneth Surin
In China Again
Stephen Cooper
Abolishing the Death Penalty Requires Morality
George Ochenski
The DNC Can’t Be Allowed to Ignore the Climate Crisis
John W. Whitehead
The Omnipresent Surveillance State
William Camacaro - Frederick B. Mills
Guaidó’s Star Fades as His Envoys to Colombia Allegedly Commit Fraud With Humanitarian Funds for Venezuela
Dave Lindorff
What About Venezuela’s Hacked Power Grid?
Howard Lisnoff
Try Not to Look Away
Binoy Kampmark
Matters of Water: Dubious Approvals and the Adani Carmichael Mine
Karl Grossman
The Battle to Stop the Shoreham Nuclear Plant, Revisited
Kani Xulam
Farting in a Turkish Mosque
Dean Baker
New Manufacturing Jobs are Not Union Jobs
Elizabeth Keyes
“I Can’t Believe Alcohol Is Stronger Than Love”
June 18, 2019
John McMurtry
Koch-Oil Big Lies and Ecocide Writ Large in Canada
Robert Fisk
Trump’s Evidence About Iran is “Dodgy” at Best
Yoav Litvin
Catch 2020 – Trump’s Authoritarian Endgame
Thomas Knapp
Opposition Research: It’s Not Trump’s Fault That Politics is a “Dirty” Game
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
U.S. Sanctions: Economic Sabotage that is Deadly, Illegal and Ineffective
Gary Leupp
Marx and Walking Zen
Thomas Hon Wing Polin
Color Revolution In Hong Kong: USA Vs. China
Howard Lisnoff
The False Prophets Cometh
Michael T. Klare
Bolton Wants to Fight Iran, But the Pentagon Has Its Sights on China
Steve Early
The Global Movement Against Gentrification
Dean Baker
The Wall Street Journal Doesn’t Like Rent Control
Tom Engelhardt
If Trump’s the Symptom, Then What’s the Disease?
June 17, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
The Dark Side of Brexit: Britain’s Ethnic Minorities Are Facing More and More Violence
Linn Washington Jr.
Remember the Vincennes? The US’s Long History of Provoking Iran
Geoff Dutton
Where the Wild Things Were: Abbey’s Road Revisited
Nick Licata
Did a Coverup of Who Caused Flint Michigan’s Contaminated Water Continue During Its Investigation? 
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange and the Scales of Justice: Exceptions, Extraditions and Politics
John Feffer
Democracy Faces a Global Crisis
Louisa Willcox
Revamping Grizzly Bear Recovery
Stephen Cooper
“Wheel! Of! Fortune!” (A Vegas Story)
Daniel Warner
Let Us Laugh Together, On Principle
Brian Cloughley
Trump Washington Detests the Belt and Road Initiative
Weekend Edition
June 14, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump’s Trade Threats are Really Cold War 2.0
Bruce E. Levine
Tom Paine, Christianity, and Modern Psychiatry
Jason Hirthler
Mainstream 101: Supporting Imperialism, Suppressing Socialism
T.J. Coles
How Much Do Humans Pollute? A Breakdown of Industrial, Vehicular and Household C02 Emissions
Andrew Levine
Whither The Trump Paradox?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: In the Land of 10,000 Talkers, All With Broken Tongues
Pete Dolack
Look to U.S. Executive Suites, Not Beijing, For Why Production is Moved
Paul Street
It Can’t Happen Here: From Buzz Windrip and Doremus Jessup to Donald Trump and MSNBC
Rob Urie
Capitalism Versus Democracy
Richard Moser
The Climate Counter-Offensive: Secrecy, Deception and Disarming the Green New Deal
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail