Tuesday, April 11, 2017

"Thanks for flying United and may the odds be ever in your favor."

     (Special tip o' the tinfoil hat to constant reader CC for the documentation)
     Because this country is getting so nasty, especially to non whites, that we're inexorably becoming the world of the Hunger Games. If you don't step forward in tribute, get the shit knocked out of you.
     By now, I'm sure you all know about the savage beating suffered yesterday by Dr. David Dao. Apparently, even with computers and software that does all the work for them, United Airlines is still too stupid to count and they overbooked Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville, KY. Realizing their error and trying to make room for additional crew, they asked some passengers at random if they'd give up their seats for $800. None of them took the offer because, I guess, like Dr. Dao, they judged getting home in a timely manner was worth more to them.
     The Chicago airport police then grabbed Dr. Dao, a paying passenger, at random, beat him until he was bleeding from the mouth, yanked him out of his seat then literally dragged him down the center aisle in front of dozens of horrified passengers. The assault was documented from at least two angles.
     This is horrific enough as it is, that the third largest airline in the world would think so little of a paid passenger that they'd use airport police as their personal goon squad to make room for some of their employees. But what followed was even more horrific, if you can believe that:
     I can't recall the exact wording of yesterday's first press release by United but they've since scrubbed it from their newsroom page. But, true to form, United laid the blame squarely on the passenger. Since then, it's been replaced with more conciliatory press releases, including this masterpiece by United's CEO, Oscar Munoz, who earlier today called Dr. Dao, "belligerent" and essentially said he got what he deserved.

     Then, after United lost well over half a billion dollars on Wall Street's trading floor yesterday (at one point their share losses were as high as 4.4% or $990,000,000- Remember, it took even a world-class fuckup like Donald Trump all of one year to lose $918,000,000), this is what Oscar said:
     The truly horrific event that occurred on this flight has elicited many responses from all of us: outrage, anger, disappointment. I share all of those sentiments, and one above all: my deepest apologies for what happened. Like you, I continue to be disturbed by what happened on this flight and I deeply apologize to the customer forcibly removed and to all the customers aboard. No one should ever be mistreated this way.
     I want you to know that we take full responsibility and we will work to make it right.
     It’s never too late to do the right thing. I have committed to our customers and our employees that we are going to fix what’s broken so this never happens again. This will include a thorough review of crew movement, our policies for incentivizing volunteers in these situations, how we handle oversold situations and an examination of how we partner with airport authorities and local law enforcement. We’ll communicate the results of our review by April 30th.
     I promise you we will do better.
     Oscar, Oscar, Oscar...
     Using weasel words and phrases like "what happened", as if the assault happened spontaneously and was beyond everyone's control, is not going to put oil on the waters. Your underlings fucked up, overbooked a flight then instructed O'Hare's goon squad to pick a person at random to make way for one of your people. Which no one with a sound mind is interpreting as you putting employees first, as the narrative now goes.
     And shaming the assaulted passenger for prior transgressions is not going to make your own crime any more justified by conspicuous relief or with time. Yet this is the narrative we're reading in right wing outfits such as the Moonie Times and the Wall Street Journal, as well as as local TV stations and other outlets.
     Oh, speaking of the pro-corporate Wall Street Journal, their first article about it today, in which they quoted Munoz as calling Dao "belligerent", has since been rewritten and had adopted a softer tone, as has the beleaguered CEO, into this.
     Winston Smith lives and it's on the internet.
     Meanwhile, the Daily Mail in the UK and (typically) Business Insider as well as just about every other mainstream media outlet has started piling on the victim because, well, his criminal past meant he should keep paying for his crimes even after he had.
     But the airport cops didn't know that when they just grabbed Dr. Dao at random and beat him to a pulp before literally dragging him off the plane as if he was some jihadi terrorist. Not that their violence would've been excused, since the man had already paid for his crimes. And, without that context, he could've just as well had been the Dalai Lama in mufti, for all they knew.
     But this attitude goes far beyond United Airline and even the airline business in general. This goes to show how much corporations and banks loathe their own customers. They will use local police as their goon squad (and cops will always hop to when a call comes in from a moneyed individual or entity). We saw this thuggery during Occupy Wall Street, we saw it again a year ago with the Dakota Access Pipeline and where ever people all over the world protest these actions.
     Because with money and power comes a lot of sociopathic arrogance and the only thing that will make them even disingenuously conciliatory is when their bottom line is threatened on Wall Street or elsewhere.

Update: Thanks to a timely comment on Facebook from other longtime reader Mithras, apparently not only has United dropped $1.4 billion from its market cap since yesterday, but this whole incident is affecting the stock price of nearly every major airline.


At April 13, 2017 at 12:23 AM, Anonymous CC said...



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