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Shame On You, United

I don't often comment on current events, but the story about the passenger that United Airlines beat bloody and dragged off a flight -- for no reason but to accomodate some of their own deadheading employees, and despite the fact that he had a ticket that he'd bought and paid for and was doing nothing but sitting peacefully in his assigned seat -- has me seeing red.

Jimmy Kimmel said it better than I could.



I stand with Jimmy, with Alan Grayson, and with millions of other ordinary Americans from coast to coast who were outraged by these videos, and by the mealy-mouthed corporate bullshit the United's CEO chose to offer afterwards.

One point Jimmy did not raise: in what world does an airline employee's need to get to his next flight take precedence over a doctor's need to return to his hospital?

The "police" who dragged the man off the plane and beat him do not deserve the name of police officers, and should be fired immediately. "They were just following orders" is no excuse.

The United CEO should also resign. He's a disgrace.

I am old enough to remember when airlines were regulated, and passengers had rights. But we deregulated the airlines, and now passengers are cattle. The present rule seems to be just what Kimmel says: do what we say, or else. You may have given us your money, but we owe you nothing.

And here's the cherry for your (bloody) sundae: United has also announced plans to begin charging passengers for carry-on luggage.

Comments

( 69 comments )
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Ram Dent
Apr. 11th, 2017 07:08 pm (UTC)
Preach!

The lack of outrage at the police brutality is disgusting. 'just following orders' is no excuse for the horrible lack of discretion, logic, reason, and empathy.
Joseph Yorski
Apr. 11th, 2017 08:25 pm (UTC)
Not cops, security guards.
They weren't cops. They were airport security. Nice try though.
Re: Not cops, security guards. - grrm - Apr. 11th, 2017 08:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Not cops, security guards. - Gregory Hullender - Apr. 11th, 2017 10:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
RE: Re: Not cops, security guards. - grrm - Apr. 11th, 2017 10:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Not cops, security guards. - Sean T. King - Apr. 12th, 2017 03:47 am (UTC) - Expand
RE: Re: Not cops, security guards. - rms771984 - Apr. 12th, 2017 04:16 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Not cops, security guards. - writing_mombie - Apr. 12th, 2017 06:18 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Not cops, security guards. - gruelestx - Apr. 12th, 2017 09:08 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Re: Not cops, security guards. - AlBorsen - Apr. 12th, 2017 10:01 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Not cops, security guards. - SumaDvm - Apr. 12th, 2017 05:11 am (UTC) - Expand
Martin_F1B
Apr. 11th, 2017 07:10 pm (UTC)
Pls George
What's with the twitter posts from the last 24hrs?

Edited at 2017-04-11 07:11 pm (UTC)
Caleb Howell
Apr. 11th, 2017 07:11 pm (UTC)
Even worse are the news orgs digging up dirt on the victim as if that is relevant. Loved your tweets recently, is that going to become a thing?
moon_flower666
Apr. 11th, 2017 07:12 pm (UTC)
George RR Martin official Twitter.
Excuse me Mr.Martin, I know this is not in topic but was your Twitter account hacked or maybe taken over by a minion? Or were you truly the one who posted your recent Twitter posts?
gholam
Apr. 11th, 2017 07:30 pm (UTC)
As I understand it, this has nothing to do with (de)regulation - what United did here was illegal under the current law. This seems well-sourced:

http://disq.us/p/1hqpe1x
AliAnszrin
Apr. 11th, 2017 07:32 pm (UTC)
Livejournal is now subject to Russian censorship rules
Livejournal was bought by a Russian company in 2007, but it hasn't affected their user agreement until recently, when the servers were actually moved to Russia. Just in case you wanted to protest in some way: http://www.avclub.com/article/livejournal-bans-political-topics-now-subject-russ-253486
sdschaffer
Apr. 11th, 2017 11:44 pm (UTC)
Re: Livejournal is now subject to Russian censorship rules
Amusing that the top voted comment in that link basically only finds interest in that subject because of this blog.

I was going to joke that this whole site may fold if our esteemed host leaves for less authoritarian pastures, since these days I thought the user base for it is almost exactly the same size as the user base for WordStar 4.0, but judging by other comments it actually does have a decent number of people posting from Russia. So no more gay clown Putin pictures from this site!



Seriously, I mean it! Never again!

Seriously. Around the globe, why does it feel like every step we take nowadays looks like something out of the start of a dystopian novel?
birdsedge
Apr. 11th, 2017 07:33 pm (UTC)
I was pleased to see that apparently United's stock lost $450 million overnight. After eleven years of visiting the USA two or three times a year, I have no further plans for visiting (unless it's for Worldcon 2018), but - though I have flown United in the past I have no desire to do so ever again. This was horrifying and completely avoidable. I hope the guy sues the arses off United. I've seen some bad behaviour by airline staff, but this takes the biscuit.
Alan Dants
Apr. 11th, 2017 07:34 pm (UTC)
Agree 100%
Not to mention it's a Federal offense to disobey a flight attendant- the airlines have way too much power! This is disgraceful on every level. They are going to lose a ton of business over this and I sincerely hope this gentleman sues the blazes out of them. The idea to pick random people to have to give up their seats is absolutely stupid, who thought of such nonsense? Announce it over the loudspeaker and the compensation involved, and those who wish to make a few bucks, and are not in a hurry will gladly volunteer. Problem solved. Random people chosen? What a joke. Just goes to show also how much the CEO is detached from reality and has no moral compass.
litalex
Apr. 12th, 2017 06:24 pm (UTC)
Re: Agree 100%
It's actually not random in this case. The airline chose people who got on using cheaper tickets.
Re: Agree 100% - Alan Dants - Apr. 15th, 2017 07:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
damienjoreilly
Apr. 11th, 2017 07:39 pm (UTC)
BS
It worries me that that kind of behaviour from the police is considered normal.
Then when i see Sean Spicer in a press conference digging himself into a hole with uninformed BS.
And President Trump flip flopping on foreign policy because his daughter cried on his shoulder.
And every week shooting after shooting in schools and universities the US.
And then a noble instituation like the EU been attacked from all quarters who should know better.

I really see little hope for mankind. Bummer
Hurry up with the Winds of Winter to cheer me up! 😉
Scout Wellsrain
Apr. 13th, 2017 05:04 am (UTC)
RE: BS
How was Spicer inaccurate? Just curious. Seems to me his comment was pretty clear, Nazi Germany did not use chemical weapons in combat- though they easily could have- probably less due to the Geneva Conventions (which the Germans didn't respect on the Eastern Front in particular) than due to the German Chancellor's negative personal experiences with (I can't remember if it was mustard or phosgene) during the First World War. What Spicer said was technically completely correct. I'm no defender of the guy, but we're making ourselves look ridiculous with this throat-jumping, context-denying, hair-splitting, "look at us/gotcha" signalling. Obviously the guy knows the extermination narrative; and him not mentioning it in the context in which he was speaking was not at all technically incorrect.

We're supposed to be the fair-minded in all this nonsense, aren't we?

Off topic, but never mind that the likelihood of Assad doing what he is alleged to have done is about nil. Anyone knowing the geopolitics at play here, or who takes the time to research them, knew that instantly (when I first saw the gasping baby images, I thought "oh, here we go"). Trump had just announced we were backing off, Assad was winning the war, had ISIS on the run and just about had them BTFOed, and whatever else Assad is, he's not stupid. He would of course know what the international reaction would be to such an action, and such an action would in absolutely no way serve his goals and purposes. There are others, however, for whom the optics such an event would be extremely beneficial. Assad is not the type to snatch the proverbial defeat from slavering victory jaws. He's the most highly intelligent, anti-Islamist and savvy leader in the region (and the most "progressive" in comparison to his now mostly removed/erstwhile counterparts), who has led the region's most "diverse"- socially and religiously- nation for decades- women have more rights in Syria than in any other nation in the area (excepting Israel, of course)- for example- and he has been staunch in his opposition to the Sunni Fundamentalist Islamist terror cabal.

This last is the main reason the proudly evil, truly vile and openly criminal House of Saud hates him.

If people think things in Syria are bad NOW, wait til Assad is out and Al Qaeda/ISIS is running things. It will be butchery. Shia, Kurds, Sufis, Christians, Yazidis, Alawites (Assad's faith) and other syncretists- will all go literally under the knife. And this is why these elements in Syria love Assad so- he has at least - albeit in the region's characteristically brutal manner- kept the more extreme Sunni elements in line and/or marginalized, and thusly kept Syria from going the way of Iraq post American invasion. And strangely, I don't believe we'll be too concerned about any of that, as at least to all appearances, we're creating the conditions for an just such an Iraq-style radical Sunni/ISIS pogrom... so perhaps Assad's fall will end the "refugee" crisis. Since in order to be a refugee seeking succor in Europe from the "brutal civil war in Syria", you apparently have to be confirmed Sunni, a single male, 25 going on 15, and openly hostile to Western notions of civic responsibility, the flood may perhaps slow to a trickle as Syria becomes totally balkanized and the butchery reaches a scale heretofore unseen... Hard to flee when you're already beheaded, burnt, or raped to death.

But anyway. All that aside, this attack on Spicer was full cringe, juvenile and hysterical, and, again, nothing but manufactured outrage concocted by intentionally being context-blind. There are plenty of other- and far more legitimate- things to attack these guys on. This kind of stuff just makes me want to throw my hands up on the whole deal if we genuinely can't be better than the other side.

In order to posture from the moral high ground, you actually have to be standing on it. With these guys, it shouldn't be hard, so we shouldn't fall all over ourselves in the rush to signal- and we've been doing that an awful lot lately.
m_tootles
Apr. 11th, 2017 08:02 pm (UTC)
just following orders in war vs. police...
Amazing you posted about this, as I was just writing last nightt about your seeming agonizing over "following orders" in ASOIAF, as embodied by what's going to face Dunk-analogue Lothor Brune vis-a-vis Littlefinger's orders. See: Brune-Roland Crakehall parallel vis Crakehall's namesake/Brune's nemesis R. Waynwood. Crakehall seems a "good man", but he fights as ordered for Aerion in tHK, then in tMK comments that rebel knights and men-at-arms are in general "only following their liege lords" and not culpable for rebellion. Even Dunk minimizes Eustace's "collateral damage" but still fights for him.

Do you see following orders re: war as different than police work?

(To be clear: ACAB.)
mcsubbaiyen
Apr. 12th, 2017 05:56 am (UTC)
RE: just following orders in war vs. police...
Sure it's different we live in the 21st centurey not Medieval-inspired Westeros.
mcsubbaiyen
Apr. 11th, 2017 08:33 pm (UTC)
Is your twitter account hacked or those tweet are real? I'm curious.
grrm
Apr. 11th, 2017 08:39 pm (UTC)
Nothing has been hacked.
More tweets - David F - Apr. 11th, 2017 09:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - IronEad - Apr. 11th, 2017 10:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - David Levin - Apr. 11th, 2017 11:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
Tweet - cyniclclasicist - Apr. 12th, 2017 07:04 am (UTC) - Expand
livejournal
Apr. 11th, 2017 08:34 pm (UTC)
Hello! Your entry got to top-25 of the most popular entries in LiveJournal!
Learn more about LiveJournal Ratings in FAQ.
Pep Burillo
Apr. 11th, 2017 09:08 pm (UTC)
Carry-on
I actually think it's a good idea to start charging for carry-on bags, as long as checked-in bags are free. Right now people are scrambling to board first because of the shortage of overhead space. And everyone takes forever to get seated because they all are scrambling to get their bags up. If people were charged, they would check in their bags, and the boarding and deplaning processes would be much shorter and faster. And you wouldn't have to stand in line at the gate to board first. You want to have your bag with you, pay for the privilege.

The United behavior is despicable though, no question about that.
(Deleted comment)
Re: Carry-on - Pep Burillo - Apr. 12th, 2017 11:02 am (UTC) - Expand
sourbillytipton
Apr. 11th, 2017 09:24 pm (UTC)
This what happens when
you have a society that has been force-fed the idea of respecting and supporting men/women in uniforms to an unhealthy extent. Politicians, corporations, businesses big and small have all tried to garner positive public relations by expressing their support of troops and policeman.

I respect any taxpaying American who is a law abiding citizen, especially those who put their lives at risk by enlisting during a war. But, so many Americans are blind to the fact of a huge population of troubled individuals who join the military and/or police. They--especially the military--often attract insecure young men who come from an unstable homes and have never given any effort in school. That uniform is salvation to them, with it comes power and admiration that they so desperately seek. And their training and experience from the job does not change the person they are, it only increases their authority over the rest of the population.

Here is my solution:

-Every 18-year-old American (the rest of us are grandfathered in) must serve one year in one of the military branches. They can choose which one and then decide whether they want to continue their career in the military. That way, we can end this obsession with the military because it will not be so sexy when every American has experienced the life of a soldier. We can also be rid of these ridiculous recruiters who are too often involved in negligent schemes to raise their quotas.

And I'm not trying to shit all over the military. They do an incredible job instilling discipline and placing individuals in situations where they can only rely upon their training. That is something severely lacking in these safe-space craving millennials.

Edited at 2017-04-11 09:26 pm (UTC)
Teddy Williams
Apr. 13th, 2017 01:38 am (UTC)
Re: This what happens when
An amendment to your solution! Make it so that citizenship is a privilege. In order to gain citizenship you MUST serve in the military.
I think my amendment improves your solution.
Rachel LeeAnn Miller
Apr. 11th, 2017 10:19 pm (UTC)
Mudslinging
Now it seems they are shaming the abused patron by digging up some things from his from his past. Completely irrelevant to the situation at hand.


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/04/11/united-airlines-passenger-david-dao-convicted-soliciting-gay/#
msconduct
Apr. 11th, 2017 10:19 pm (UTC)
It was also so entirely unnecessary. If it were so all-fired important to keep their deadheads on that plane, they could simply have continued upping the offer until someone took the deal. Instead they chose to enforce their legal right to bump with violence. Noted, United. Noted.
sdschaffer
Apr. 12th, 2017 12:12 am (UTC)
It could just be a reaction to the cultural zeitgeist. From their voting patterns, an astonishingly large number of Americans recently seemed to indicate that they want more proto-authoritarian behavior and people in uniforms allowed to do whatever they want. United is simply catering to this demographic.
srjslowmo
Apr. 11th, 2017 11:22 pm (UTC)
Solution
Where's the dragons when you need them George?
Brad Thomas
Apr. 11th, 2017 11:29 pm (UTC)

I couldn't agree with you more George. By the way, are you on twitter? I thought this was your only social media spot (that and your website respectively).

(Deleted comment)
Stringer Bill
Apr. 12th, 2017 12:09 am (UTC)
I pray every flight to win the bumped off lottery. I am shocked nobody took the deal. the libertarian in me feels validated in the power of the consumer and stock holders.
duochan_maxwell
Apr. 12th, 2017 12:18 am (UTC)
A co-worker showed me the video, it was SURREAL. Not only the initial excuse ("overbooking") was very flimsy, but what followed was just so bizarre and unnecessary. They could have simply upped the offer until someone accepted.

And for me, overbooking is almost an unknown experience - after some chaos at the airports a few years ago, consumer law and the civil aviation agency here made overbooking a flight almost illegal, and the issue and passenger rights are very visible. It is viewed as a breach of contract and the penalties are incredibly heavy. Of course, the downside of this is that the no-show penalties also rose.

I must say that my only experience with United was rather awkward. I flew with them GIG-IAH-BJX and the last part was staffed by an all-American crew that didn't knew A SINGLE WORD IN SPANISH! They couldn't answer passenger questions on the Mexican entry forms because they didn't knew what was written and couldn't communicate properly with the passengers. Even though it was a small plane, usually international flights have flight attendants that speak (if not fluently, a little) of the language of the country they're flying to or from.
darkladystorm
Apr. 12th, 2017 12:20 am (UTC)
I hope this bankrupts United. I heard their stock has already dropped over $1 billion dollars. Serves the F-ers right!
David Dow
Apr. 12th, 2017 12:43 am (UTC)
This story sickened me from first blush, and the more I've learned the worse it's gotten. At any point in this tragedy, someone with customer service training should have seen that this was going badly and was going to be a major PR disaster, but at each of these turning points it seems that whichever United employee was making that particular decision kept pushing the issue further. The CEO's final blow was in waving off responsibility, something which I hope the courts will set him straight on and soon. The airport police at the very least exceeded the bounds of appropriate force and need to lose their jobs - criminal charges should be considered. The UA personnel involved at all levels need to be terminated at once and the CEO needs to be included, sans golden parachute. I doubt that will happen, but have some faith that market forces will reduce UA stock prices sufficiently to liven the Board meetings until something improves.
ravenclaw_eric
Apr. 12th, 2017 01:22 am (UTC)
Clearly, it was an honest mistake. They thought he was a guitar.
msconduct
Apr. 12th, 2017 02:55 am (UTC)
And here's the cherry for your (bloody) sundae: United has also announced plans to begin charging passengers for carry-on luggage.

That part I have no problem with. My national airline Air New Zealand restricts hand luggage to 7 kilos and enforces it. Hard. And that's a good thing. It's a safety issue: not only is heavy luggage dangerous when it falls out of overhead bins not designed to take it, in an emergency situation when you may literally have only seconds to escape people struggling with heavy hand luggage are a potential death sentence. As for the cost, meh. Flying is cheaper than it's ever been. It costs me considerably less now (in absolute terms, no less) to fly to London than it did in the 1980s.
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