It was a day of mourning, and a day of shame. Using the sword of fear, Boeing’s CEO Jim McNerney, threatening to move Boeing if the machinist’s union didn’t ratify their new contract, successfully won the union vote, barely—51% to 49%. Clearly, the fear factor was the decisive edge: No one wanted to see Boeing leave Seattle—that was the sword of Damocles hanging over their collective necks. But for their (understandable) capitulation, they now lose their pensions. They are also forbidden to strike for ten years. It is a bitter pill indeed. This is yet another example of how  Corporate America, which is almost entirely Republican, has been ruining America, and continues to do so.

Once we were a great nation with a vision of life that thrilled the rest of the civilized world: “Give me  your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…” But today, with Corporate America  re-making America along strictly class lines, with the 1% richest at the top, and 85% of the country  at the bottom of the pyramid , with a middle-class shrinking by the hour, we are entering  our own Dark Age, where money alone —and all the power, persuasion, and predominance money can buy—rules in the place of our older, formerly much-cherished, noble ideals of equality, prudence, compassion,  initiative, and opportunity.

Republicans, especially Tea Party people, like to liberally sprinkle their political discourse with “self-made man” images when in reality they neither assist those same “self-made men and women” on their assault up the fortified mountain of financial success nor aid them when they are forced to abandon their goal, by personal or family illness or tragedy, or being laid off, or seeing their factory move to China,  destructive weather, and other conditions or events beyond their control. Where then are these talkers of the glory of “the self-made”? The rich help the rich,  but no one helps the middle or lower classes.

McNerney has proven yet again that when the rich rule (with only a few exceptions like the Kennedys), they care only about themselves. Boeing’s workers must now pay more for health care as well as start all over again in saving a pension—while McNerney has had to live on a oh so meager 22 million dollars this past year! O How the rich they do suffer…!

In this particular series of pitched battles, once again the 1% have won handily,  with their war cry “Your pension or your job” striking  fear into the hearts of workers,  and paralyzing just enough machinists to win the voting  battle. But Boeing’s gain is America’s loss. Our once-heralded  country  of opportunity, unique in history, has become a nation like all the other nations, where only money, and not initiative or ability, rules. Like India, we now have our own caste system. America requiescat in pace.

Len Sive Jr.


Not even Sophocles could have dreamed up the degree of hubris shown by Boeing CEO Jim McNerney in his company’s negotiations with the Machinists Union for a new contract. McNerney, who last year pulled in 22 million dollars!, told the union that if they wanted to keep their jobs, they must give up their pension and accept higher healthcare costs!

This is the epitome of how Corporate America works: The lowly worker (who, be it noted, really makes the company) is threatened with losing his job unless he agrees to such draconian terms as those stated above, or ones similar. A Boeing toolmaker called the offer “extortion,” and indeed one is hard-pressed to call it anything else. Of course, conservatives never stand with the worker, but when his job is taken from him and he is unemployed, he is then accused of being lazy and shiftless. Naturally, there’s not a single word from Ted Cruz or Paul Rand—both presidential Tea Party aspirants—on the injustice of this situation. For Republicans it’s just “business as usual”—everything for the top 1% and nothing for the lowly 85%.

There has got to be a grass-roots movement to change the laws dealing with corporations in order to make them more humane. As things now stand, they are omnipotent; they do whatever they want, get from Congress whatever they want, get from states whatever they want (the state of Washington is going to give them billions in new tax breaks)–while the media extols them and prestigious business schools train their CEOs. (McNerney went to HarvardBusinessSchool).

Do you think McNerney could even survive on a machinist’s salary, let alone one without a pension, and having to shoulder higher healthcare costs to boot—and raise a family, too?—not on your 22 million dollars!

Len Sive Jr.