Boeing! Boeing!

"You might be surprised to hear what one portion of the population thinks is the real problem behind the 737 Max mishaps. It's the black guys."

Boeing! Boeing!
"I think I can, I think I can!"

I know and apologize for this being the title of a play and movie, but hey, it has been a tough month for Boeing, the legendary aircraft manufacturer founded by William Boeing in 1916. It has produced some classic aircraft for both military and civil aviation. Two of the bombers that helped win World War II, the B-17 and B-29, for example, and of course, the granddaddy of all Cold War bombers, the B-52 and it's forerunner the B-47.

r/aviation - A B-29 Superfortress, a B-17 Flying Fortress, and a B-52 Stratofortress flying in formation at the 2017 Barksdale AFB airshow
A lot of hurt in this photo.

And then there are the commercial aircraft. Starting with the plane that made commercial jet travel practical, the 707, and on down the line.

r/interestingasfuck - Comparison of Boeing’s commercial planes

There were WWII bomber vets who would only fly on a Boeing plane commercially, such was the trust and love for the company's products. The mergers and acquisitions in the aircraft industry have shortened the list of companies making planes. Gone are Douglas, Convair, North American, Consolidated, Chance Vought and McDonnell.

In fact, McDonnell swallowed Douglas, and in 1996, Boeing bought the whole thing. That, according to insiders, is where the problems began. It is analogous to the auto industry. Historic companies, founded by engineers and "car guys" were eventually led by accountants. The "bean counters" cared only about the bottom line, and thus we ultimately got things like...

"I'm not a real Mustang but I played one in the 70's."

Yeah, I know. The Mustang II was essentially the late, unlamented Pinto, the literal Chariots of Fire, with a truncated, stubby Mustang-like body dropped on. It actually sold very well, so the bosses were happy and car guys were crying in what beer they could afford after buying spare parts to keep real Mustangs running until the company came to its senses.

This was the problem for Boeing after the McDonnell-Douglas deal. In 2020, Quartz Magazine reported that...

"After the merger there was a 'clash of corporate cultures, where Boeing's engineers and McDonnell Douglas's bean-counters went head-to-head', which the latter won, and that this may have contributed to the events leading up to the 737 MAX crash crisis."

And now you can add the quality control crisis to the list. So, the problem, as with Detroit, was one of over-paid, bottom-line guys cutting corners and jobs to squeeze every last penny out of the operation. It took the Big 3 staring into the abyss of bankruptcy to change things, and now you can make the case that they produce some of the finest machines on the road.

But, you might be surprised to hear what one portion of the population thinks is the real problem behind the 737 Max mishaps. It's the black guys.

And this racist snowball was started downhill by a corporate executive who is the spiritual descendent of the auto and aviation bosses I mentioned earlier, Elon Musk.

Elon Musk.
"And of course, when I say we will sleep on the floor, I mean you."

Yep, the guy who told workers in Austin that they should plan on sleeping on the factory floor to make the new Tesla electric car. And admit it, nothing screams safety like a vehicle built by sleep-deprived workers.

But, hey, at least they aren't union, right?

Elon Musk says Tesla workers will be sleeping on the factory floor when new $25,000 EV goes into production next year
"I'll take the roll around chair, and Bob, you sleep next to the toolbox."

So, anyway, after the Alaska Airlines door blowout, and grounding of the fleet for investigation, Elon didn't blame greedy, cost-cutting execs, he blamed...

“Do you want to fly in an airplane where they prioritized DEI hiring over your safety?” asked Musk in another tweet. ”That is actually happening.”

DEI is part of the alphabet soup of hated practices for conservatives today, along with CRT. It stands for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. And it is a concept that many companies, and before state legislatures intervened, universities used to make their workforces and student bodies more representative of the country at large. And, of course, saying you want a diverse group, treated equitably and welcomed into your company culture must be a bad thing, right?

Well, it is for the guy who wanted workers to never leave the shop. Of course, nothing in the concept of DEI includes unqualified, but the inclusion of minorities in your workforce, to these guys, is synonymous with lowered standards. Why? I'll let you figure that one out.

And Musk's explanation for engineering mistakes caught on, and spread throughout the conservative hate-o-sphere.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken was delayed in Switzerland returning from Davos after his Boeing jet broke down. Rep. Mike Collins (R-Ga.) had a no doubt hilarious and piercing ripost.

“Maybe take your electric car instead of your gas-guzzling DEI jet next time.”

To be fair, Collins is from Georgia so he may not realize you can't drive home to DC from Switzerland. But then, the Trump family had to weigh in, because, well, Trump.

Donald Trump Jr. said, without evidence, of course, “I’m sure this has nothing to do with mandated Diversity Equity and Inclusion practices in the airline industry!!!”

Note, the excessive use of exclamation marks is apparently genetically inherited.

And then there is the rabid little NAZI-wannabee, Charlie Kirk.

How Trump's movement helped Charlie Kirk become a millionaire | AP News
"Thank you for making me rich."

Kirk heads a merry band of white nationalists called Turning Point USA. Their annual convention and bitch-fest has been attended by the guy in that picture above, and of course Marjorie Taylor Greene, Glenn Beck, Rosanne Barr, Mike Lindell, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Tucker Carlson and our own Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Cancun).

Kirk said this in response to Musk's madcap witticism...

“I’m sorry. If I see a Black pilot, I’m going to be like, ‘Boy, I hope he’s qualified."

For the record, as of 2022, about 2% of airline pilots are black, so Charlie can fly safely assured that no one will screw up. Well, except as CNN reported...

"A pilot preparing to pull a passenger jet away from an airport gate forgot to disengage the parking brake, damaging a part of a towing vehicle that was trying to pull the plane to the runway.

Another pilot had so much trouble landing a passenger jet on a windy day that it took three tries before the plane touched down successfully.

In another incident, the first officer forgot to turn on the anti-icing mechanism that ensures the altitude and airspeed sensors on the outside of the plane are not blocked by ice." 

They blamed the pandemic for being "rusty." But, to reassure Charlie, at least none were black, so we're in the clear there.

So, this is how societal trends start, and if it suits an agenda, catch fire no matter how little they have to do with any problem. Just tie it to something you already don't like, and voila! We have an issue to keep the huddled masses occupied as they watch Fox

And these pompous pronouncements of racial distrust, if not superiority, are now common, and made publicly. Now, of course, there has always been that sort of bigoted haughtiness, but just a few years ago it would have been unseemly to make public pronouncements of your ignorance.

Now, certainly, no matter how many Colin Powells, Neal DeGrasse Tysons and Barack Obamas there are, there will always be those who simply assume someone along the way lowered the bar so they could join the rest of us in politics, literature, the arts, sports, science, the military or whatever previously lily-white enterprise their talents directed them to. But you didn't air your private prejudices for fear of being labeled a George Wallace impersonator.

Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace is shown in this Oct. 19, 1964 photo speaking in Glen Burnie, Md. at a rally supporting Republican presidential candidate Sen. Barry Goldwater.
"Well, it looks like I'm apparently back, for some reason."

But now, they can, and do all too frequently. It started when such reticence was called "politically correct." In my day it was simply good manners, so I had no idea there were politics involved. But apparently there were and slowly, with the help of birtherism and such, we have thrown off our linguistic shackles.

Free at last! Free at last!

Now, we, meaning Donald Trump, can offer $5-million for anyone who could produce President Obama's college transcripts from Columbia. Of course, he had a point. I mean, really, a black guy at Columbia? And then Harvard Law? OK, his fellow students elected him President of the Harvard Law Review, but surely it was just a sympathy vote, right? I mean, Rutherford B. Hayes attended Harvard Law School, for crying out loud.

Now, also consider that DJT never asked for McCain's record at Annapolis or Hillary's from Yale. But, The Donald says he is the least racist guy you'll ever meet. OK.

In 1973, for example, the Justice Department sued the real estate tycoon and his father for their alleged refusal to rent apartments in predominantly white buildings to Black tenants. Testimony showed that applications filed by Black apartment seekers were marked with a “C” for “colored.”

In 1989, Trump infamously took out full page newspaper ads calling for New York state to reinstate the death penalty as five Black and Latino teenagers were set to stand trial for beating and raping a white woman in Central Park.

The five men were eventually exonerated in 2002 after another man admitted to the crime and it was determined their confessions were coerced.

In the 1990s, the Atlantic City casino "mogul" frequently cast doubt about the legitimacy of tribes seeking to build casinos in the New York area, citing their light skin as evidence they were faking their ancestry.

“They don’t look like Indians to me, and they don’t look like Indians to Indians, and a lot of people are laughing at it,” Trump said of the Mashantucket Pequots who operate Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut during testimony before Congress in 1993.

Yeah, "a lot of people say." So, even at an event honoring a couple of the last Navajo "Code Talkers" from WWII, men who helped insure the enemy couldn't eavesdrop on US military plans, he couldn't help calling Elizabeth Warren "Pocahontas" for her questionable claim of Indian heritage. And he did it in front of these guys.

"But I like you."

So, given this leadership, and dinner companions like another little goose stepper, Nick Fuentes...'s not really that surprising. And, yep, dinner with the Donald at Mar-a-Lardo. And he is meeting regularly with GOP'ers in Texas. The Texas Tribune broke this story last fall...

Nick Fuentes is just the latest white supremacist embraced by Defend Texas Liberty
While Fuentes’ unapologetic hate mongering has made him one of the nation’s best-known white supremacists, he was merely the latest in a long line of people who have been embraced by Defend Texas Liberty and its close allies.

And for all the talk about "rapists and murders" coming across our border in his announcement speech in 2016, the Republican front runner now wants the Congress, or at least what passes for one these days, to simply block any attempt to fix the border mess. Why? Because it makes a good campaign issue and we don't want to give Biden anything in the interim, now do we?

And the wretchedly pusillanimous members of the House of Representatives, smartly saluted and said the issue they've all been claiming was existential to our very survival is not really a biggee. Senator Mitch McConnell would have looked more courageous if he simply stared at the camera again.

And this gives the Greg Abbotts of the world, well actually, thankfully there is only one, a chance to showboat by risking civil unrest, and drag other showboat governors along with him. Abbott's claim that the Constitution allows him to defend the border rests on two things. His claim that the President is not doing it and calling a lot of Latin folks wanted to come here and work, an "invasion."

Neither is true, and this nonsense is all designed to get Trump, Abbott, and all the other boot lickers who have joined in, elected. We are not at war with Mexico or any of the others. And the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution forbids what Abbott is doing. His case here is astonishingly weak. And he is ostensibly a lawyer.

It didn't work over slavery or desegregation and it won't work here.

Now, could the administration do a better job? Of course. Is there a bigger influx since the pandemic? Again, of course. But much of Trump's argument is premised on his supposedly stellar border policies when in office.

The Cato Institute is about as conservative a think tank as you will find these days. They make Hillsdale College look like Berkley, and here are a couple of recent headlines from their research.

New Data Show Migrants Were More Likely to Be Released by Trump Than Biden

Trump Didn't Actually Accomplish Much on Immigration

President Trump Reduced Legal Immigration. He Did Not Reduce Illegal Immigration

And so on. So, add the developments this week involving racism, manipulating a crisis and outright lying about solutions, to the pathetic cowardice of our elected officials, and it's going to be one ugly political year.

In other words, this is where we are now. So, on we go to the rigged election.

Roger Gray has toiled at the journalism trade since 1970 and his first radio news job at KTRH in Houston. Over those woefully misspent years, he has worked in radio, TV and written for magazines. He was twice elected President of the Texas Automobile Writers Association and was elected to the Texas Radio Hall of Fame. He covered the first Persian Gulf War, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the reunification of Germany, Oslo Accords in Israel and peace talks in Ireland. He interviewed writers, actors, politicians and every President from Ford to George W, and none of them remember him.
Now, he is part of the Texas Outlaw Writers, and if this doesn't pan out, the outlaw part will still work as he will indeed resort to robbing banks.
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