Monday Ethics Pot The End Of The Rainbow, 12/30/19: The Post Turns On Maddow, Second Amendment Rights In Action, And A Fast Food Fiasco

There‘s a huge rainbow outside!

Either its the sunshine coming through the just lifted rain, or the LBGTG army has taken over!

1.  But..but..the narrative! On Sunday, a man entered a church in White Settlement, Texas, and started firing on worshippers, until he was shot dead by a member of the church security team. Two worshipers died.  Thettacker was only able to get off two shots before being shot by a security guard ,reportedly an ex-FBI agent, who was an excellent marksman.

Several other armed congregants at the West Freeway Church of Christ grabbed their own firearms and prepared to shoot if necessary.

A 2017 law passed by the Republicans in the Texas legislature allowed church goers to carry licensed guns, on the theory that gun-free zones wouldn’t deter killers and criminals, which yu would think would be self-evident. Democrats and allies of Michael Bloomberg condemned the law.

Where’s that “if it only saves one life” rationalization that President Obama was so fond of?

2. Fun at McDonalds. Caught between an appointment and skipped meal, I found myself at what is known in our household as the Bad McDonald’s, which had joined a local Fridays in a lifetime ban after an outrageous piece of non-service that I barely recall. (The Good MacDonald’s isn’t all that great, but it’s tolerable.) I was in a hurry, soused the drive-thru lane—where I could rouse no reaction after shouting into the speaker for about 5 minutes. After maybe three more minutes of shouting in the second speaker, I roused a thick, THICK accented Hispanic woman (no, not “Latinx”) whom I could barely understand and who seemed to barely understand me. “Gee, I wondered if you were going to ever answer,” I said, with an edge. “I’ve been yelling into your speakers for almost ten minutes.” She said something about the other speaker being broken.”

“THAT’s good to know,” I relied. “Why don’t you put up a sign? Is that so hard?” She said, I think, that she’d check with her supervisor. I ordered a Bacon Barbecue burger, the only non-basic McD’s fare on the new bare-bones menu, plus a small fries and a small shake, it being a festive season. When I went to pay, I suggested to the cashier  that someone should post an “out-of-order” sign, as I noticed that the car behind me had also been stuck shouting  into the wrong speaker. Then, reaching the window that is supposed to emit the food, I was told my order wasn’t ready, and asked to wait in one of the “waiting for your fast-food order that is no longer fast” parking spaces, where I waited…and waited.

Finally a middle-aged, accented but not so much that she was incomprehensible woman came over to my car. She said she was sorry, but they couldn’t fill my order because the special sauce for my Bacon Barbecue burger was “out.”

I was not in the mood to be conciliatory. “Why did you take my order, then, if you couldn’t fill it?” I asked. She muttered something about not knowing the sauce was gone. “How?” I asked. “You run out, you tell the staff not to accept any more orders. Right? Isn’t that the procedure?” She admitted that it was, and said she was sorry.  I said that I didn’t care how sorry she was: I paid my money and had no meal. And since we were chatting, why doesn’t your speaker work? She said again that they had run out of sauce. “SPEAKER” I said with emphasis. Oh, she said, it had broken down and it takes a while to get a repair person in. I asked when it had broken down, and she said, “Two years.” TWO YEARS? “Oh, I mean two days.”

She was flustered. GOOD.

“You’re the manager” (I correctly assumed) “and it didn’t occur to you to put an ‘out of order’ sign up?  I came here because I ‘m in a rush, and this allegedly fast food establishment has taken 20 minutes to tell me it accepted my money for a product it couldn’t provide. That’s not acceptable….

“Wait!” she said. “They are telling me that they COULD make your sandwich! I’ll be right back!” She left, and after another wait, returned with a bag. “I’m so sorry,” she said. “My name is Lotta, and when you come back, ask for me, and we will give you a free lunch.”

I forced a smile, said thanks and drove off, thinking, “Like THAT’S going to happen.”

The fries were ice cold, and there might have been a half-teaspoon of sauce on the burger.

3.  Rachel Maddow Ethics. That’s an oxymoron, as I hope you know. When one of my progressive friends says that they watch Maddow on MSNBC, I regard that an admission as damning as  conservative friends saying that they are loyal Sean Hannity fans, or my closed-head injury friends saying they admire Brian Stelter, Chuck Todd or Chris “Fredo” Cuomo.  She’s a shameless, arrogant propagandist, and has always been so, with her cute little sneer and feined professionalism.  Finally someone in the mainstream media is pointing out what Glenn Greenwald and the conservative media has repeatedly noted already: she hyped and lied about the Russian collusion case, and promoted the Steele Dossier shamelessly. Washington Post media critic EriK Wemple wrote last week,

Sorting through the silence from the FBI and the unverified claims in the dossier, Maddow riffed on her Jan. 13, 2017, program: “I mean, had the FBI looked into what was in that dossier and found that it was all patently false, they could tell us that now, right?” said Maddow. “I mean, the dossier has now been publicly released. If the FBI looked into it and they found it was all trash, there’s no reason they can’t tell us that now. They’re not telling us that now. They’re not saying that. They’re not saying anything.” That line of analysis has gained some important context via the Horowitz report. The FBI did, in fact, find “potentially serious problems” with Steele’s reporting as early as January 2017. A source review in March 2017 “did not make any findings that would have altered that judgment.”

Maddow’s entire perspective, like the rest of MSNBC, but her colleagues have been thoroughly outed as hacks–she’s supposed to be better—has been that she so, so wanted the dossier to be true, so the “resistance’s” wet dream could be realized.

Wemple:

The “baseline” claim of the dossier — that the Trump campaign and Russia participated in a towering election conspiracy — hadn’t yet borne out, conceded Maddow. “But even if that is as yet in itself uncorroborated and undocumented,” she said, “all the supporting details are checking out, even the really outrageous ones. A lot of them are starting to bear out under scrutiny. It seems like a new one each passing day.” 

…On May 3, 2017, Maddow cited a CNN report that “parts of this dossier passed muster even in federal court when the dossier was used in part to justify a secret FISA court warrant for U.S. surveillance on a Trump campaign adviser.” Thanks to Horowitz, we now know that officials misused the dossier in this process, failing to disclose to the FISA court dossier-debunking information. Never place blind faith in the FBI!

“The Republican claim today was that the dossier has been increasingly discredited. That’s not true in terms of the public record about the dossier. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. As time goes on, more and more pieces do get independently corroborated,” Maddow said.

[Obligatory note: Charles Green, erudite progressive commenter here who is a corporate ethics consultant, and who told me he was a Maddow fan, quit the blog because I wrote that the FBI’s manipulation of the FISA court was finally obvious and showed a “get Trump” mentality. He said that proved that I had chugged the right-wing Kool Aid. Still waiting for that mea culpa, Charles.]

After more documentation, Wemple, a left-biased reporter himself, concludes,

When small bits of news arose in favor of the dossier, the franchise MSNBC host pumped air into them. At least some of her many fans surely came away from her broadcasts thinking the dossier was a serious piece of investigative research, not the flimflam, quick-twitch game of telephone outlined in the Horowitz report. She seemed to be rooting for the document. And when large bits of news arose against the dossier, Maddow found other topics more compelling. She was there for the bunkings, absent for the debunkings — a pattern of misleading and dishonest asymmetry.

This was all convincing to those who had drunk the real tainted Kool-Aid that MSNBC, led by its star, Maddow, has been peddling all along.

26 thoughts on “Monday Ethics Pot The End Of The Rainbow, 12/30/19: The Post Turns On Maddow, Second Amendment Rights In Action, And A Fast Food Fiasco

  1. One of the few downsides to full employment is that employers feel a need to hire incompetent people. Your McDonalds seems to fit the bill. Then again, in your neck of the swamp, there are many whose competence extends only so far as to figure out how to use the government to advance their own interests. Here in my neck of the swamp we have a lot of those as well that live here but drive to the trough in DC daily.

    I know Charles is an anti Trumper but is it a good idea to offer the obligatory note when he was not part of the actual story. A bit of magnamity might be appropriate. Obviously he is having to eat crow but I don’t understand the need to remind those who knew Charles’ perspectives of his current forced menu options. Ridicule makes sense only when the object of derision truly deserves it. If the situation were reversed I wouldn’t want it happening to anyone here.

    • McDonald’s problem is that they got rid of their franchises. In the 1990’s, McDonald’s noticed that all of their most profitable stores were franchises. They wanted to know why the franchises, run by people without any requirement for formal education and training, could outperform the corporation-owned stores run by professional managers thoroughly trained in ‘best practices’ by the corporation itself. They decided that the franchisees must have the best markets, so they went about buying up very successful franchises and running them themselves. The result was that they turned high-volume stores into low-volumes stores as the previous managers and employees quit under the new restrictions and treatment by the corporation (stores went from $15,000/day in sales to $5,000/day even with increased staffing). This decline in sales and profits were so pronounced that they sued some of the franchisees for artificially inflating their sales figures to boost the purchase price of their stores. The corporation lost as the franchisees easily proved that wasn’t the case.

      Professional managers just don’t have the stake in the game that a store owner does. Professional managers also are more interested in following every rule the central headquarters publishes rather than pleasing customers and providing service that will increase sales. Many years ago, as a crew member of a newly purchased-by-the-corporation store, I was told to train a manager on how to cook the food in the grill area. He kept telling me I couldn’t do this…couldn’t do that. I told him that these methods worked fine and it wasn’t against any health code. For example, he pointed out that I wan’t cleaning the grill in the approved way (I was using the pickle juice). So I asked him to clean it in the approved way. It tore all the meat patties. He did it again with the same result. I cleaned it and the burgers came off perfect. He insisted his way had to work because they had paid consultants a lot of money to come up with that cleaning method. The whole day went like this with his ‘corporate way’ not working and my ‘unapproved way’ working. I never saw him again. I asked the store manager when he would be working again. I was told he was a McDonald’s vice-president from headquarters who wanted to see how these ‘franchise people’ worked. Because of this, I am not surprised when I go to a McDonald’s and they tell me the shake machine is broken. It isn’t broken, they just don’t know how to clean it and put it back together. My son wanted shamrock shakes and we went to 3 different McDonald’s around noon on a Saturday, none of which could make shakes because the 1 person in the store who knew how to put the shake machine together wasn’t there (the store manager at one store couldn’t put it together). Noon on Saturday! In each store, I asked them if they wanted me to put it together for them. They all said no.

      The Chick Fil-A leaders are making a terrible decision by allowing people to own more than one store. They used to at least pretend to have more sense. Of course, they used to pretend to be Christians too.

    • “He said that proved that I had chugged the right-wing Kool Aid”
      Nothing personal; I like Charles, but being magnanimous after a comment like that might be easier said than done. It was said in a public forum, and so it seems perfectly appropriate to respond to it publicly.

      This reminds me a bit of the time a few months ago when I was struck by a pickup truck in a Cumberland Farms at about 15 mph or so, and sent flying into the side of the store. Naturally, I was livid, but instead of stomping his guts out, I opted to vent about watching where the Hell he was going. Some twentysomething sub-moron female chastized me, because it was obvious that “he didn’t do it on purpose”, to which I responded “Let him do it to you, and see if you still feel that way”.

    • He has an ethical obligation to apologize, Chris. When he exited, I was willing to take it as a good faith objection, even though I knew, KNEW, he was dead wrong and being misled by his liberal biases and hatred of Trump. I could respect his decision, even if it was a mistake. But the facts are out now, and he owe me, and others here, an apology.

      Charles is a colleague, in the ethics field. he quit once before after I chided him for appealing to his own authority and questioning mine shortly after he first commented. To his credit, he apologized off site, and became a valuable participant here, as well as someone I considered a friend, if a remote one.

      So yes, I have called out Charles publicly because he impugned my judgement publicly, and he knows, as an ethics guy, what has to come next. Anyone can make a mistake; I make plenty. But I thought I could rely on his integrity, and my periodic references have been designed to try to remind Charles of what ethical professionals have to do.

      Clearly, it’s not working. I will never speak of this again. I will unsbscribe to Charles’ newsletter, though, today.

  2. I went into a Wendy’s today because I felt it would be faster than the drive-thru. It took about 20 minutes for them to take my order because they only had a staff of three people: One in the kitchen, one at the register (who stood around helplessly waiting for food to assemble) and one manning the drive-thru.

    I kept wondering why they didn’t just close the inside and do drive-thru only until more staff came in. I’ve seen stores lock doors before when they are so understaffed that they can’t deliver good service.

    And the fries were over-salted and not that great.

  3. (1) My father told me that the news in the north (where he lives) is reporting that the Texas church shooter was taken down by the ‘Church Security Guards’. They are suggesting that these were hired armed security guards. I told him all the churches here have sign-ups for people to work as ‘church security’ on Sundays and other days. Some church are having training sessions for parishioners who have concealed carry licenses and want to work security. Hostility to Christians (or is it ‘Easter Worshippers’?) seems to more intense than any time in my lifetime. Churches are responding and red-states are allowing armed self-protection. There are even consulting firms that help churches come up with defense plans and train church members.

    • I live in the very rough vicinity of the shooting (the outer edges of the DFW metroplex) and this is what we do. We do have a retired police officer leading the security team, but the rest are just “good ol’ boys” with a concealed carry license and some training by the former officer.

  4. 1. We have a group of individuals in our church (a larger-than-average congregation) that handle security. I believe they are called “Gate Keepers”. I know one of them pretty well – a super-nice guy who could drop a rogue mosquito with his Glock at fifty feet.

    I apologize for the cynicism in advance, but I’m trying to figure out what piece of legislation President Obama could have suggested that the phrase “if it only saves one life” would actually make sense. The first one that came to mind was Fast and Furious…oh, wait…

    2. I feel your pain. Our local McDonald’s was recently remodeled with those ordering kiosks. We decided to try it out, but it took 25 minutes to get an order of medium fries at 7:30pm. They were good fries, but we haven’t been back. In 25 minutes, I could just about grow my own potatoes, harvest them, and fry them. At least it feels that way.

    • I just remembered what that McDonalds did that made made me ban it more than a decade ago. I was buying lunch for my son and a friend, and his friend wanted a plain cheeseburger, with nothing else on it. I ordered a cheeseburger with nothing on it, and he was served a plain hamburger, no cheese. I pointed out that this wasn’t a cheeseburger, and the assholes, including teh manager, who acted like I was the jerk, argued that a cheesburger with nothing on it was a plain hamburger with no cheese.

      • Did you ever see the movie “Falling Down”? For some funny reason, the fast-food restaurant scene just popped into my head…

          • Jack,

            I saw your response early this morning and have been thinking about this for a while. My error here is rather severe, and the more I ponder the implications of what I wrote (using that scene as a reference), the worse it gets. I am very sorry for that comment and the offense it caused. You were right to question me. And I will remember the Search in the future.

            • Oh, heavens, Joel, no regrets necessary. I didn’t take that as any kind of insult, just wanted to note that “Falling Down” is a major, and one that I have had occasion to think about often this past year, especially in regard to the climactic line I quoted, “I’m the bad guy?”, the devastating moment in which Douglas’s character realizes what he has become.

              With almost 11,000 posts here, the search function and tags are invaluable, and I use them often myself. I used the rely to you to remind everybody of the resource, which is wildly underused. There are only three posts that carry the tag…I need to use the film more, and I thank you for reminding me.

              • Jack,

                I appreciate your gracious response!

                But my thinking was pretty off-base in this…and since you’ve said I’m not in trouble, let me see if I can talk myself into some…

                When you talked about the “cheeseburger” frustration, my mind went to that scene in the movie. I thought of times that I, in a similar moment, wanted to respond like Douglas’ character – shoot a machine gun into the ceiling and say quietly, “I said I just want a cheeseburger with nothing on it!”

                Where I went wrong was then transferring my desire to behave like that onto you…assuming that you might think that way as well. That’s pretty darned presumptuous on my part, and potentially a jab at your character. I hope this makes sense. That’s why I wanted to apologize.

                • I understand. Then again, I didn’t have a machine gun at the time.

                  What I did do is say, in my best actor voice, “So I am to understand that to this McDonald’s, this piece of unadorned meat between two buns is a cheeseburger regardless of the absence of CHEESE, and not only do you not believe that the customer is NOT always right, but that even when it is obvious that a customer IS right, your policy is not to admit fault, apologize, and fix what was, as best, a stupid mistake. I will certainly do everything I can to warn unsuspecting consumers from trusting this place.”

      • I actually have found that the McDonald’s app makes it better. When I order in person, I often get the wrong thing, but when I order with the app, I have gotten my order right every time and I get a discount for using the app. So, the problem isn’t the people in the back making the food, the problem is that the people on the counter and at the drive-though window can’t enter the order right.

  5. Re: Rachel and the Dossier Reliables.

    I think our fearless leader doth protest too much.

    Actually, the dossier HAS been proven accurate and, therefore, reliable. It’s true. Really.

    Check it out:

    Fact: it was complied and/or written by Steele;

    Fact: with the assistance of Fusuon/GPS and the wife of an Obama Administration official;

    Fact: paid for by the DNC and the Clinton Campaign;

    Fact: it said bad things about Trump;

    Fact: it was written in English;

    Fact: it talks about the Russians;

    Fact: . . . Erm . . . that’s all I got but it is enough.

    Based on those facts, the FISA court was not misled when it authorized surveillance on Carter Page. Move along. Let’s not be all knitpicky.

    In the immortal words of Pontius, “truth? What is truth?”

    jvb

  6. She was there for the bunkings, absent for the debunkings — a pattern of misleading and dishonest asymmetry.

    Isn’t that the main problem with the mainstream media in general? Take for example the recent antisemitic attacks in the NYC area. This weekend, USA Today managed to dig up some vaguely antisemitic comment by a local Republican official, while omitting the race of the actual attacker, the attackers in the recent deli shooting, the NJ school board official who called jewish people “brutes”, etc.

    Or bringing up climate change in response to every extreme weather event or natural disaster, but when there’s a May frost they roll their eyes at the ignorant conservatives who conflate weather and climate.

  7. 1. We are allowed to carry guns in our churches in Texas. We carried them, concealed, before the law caught up to the fact.

    Picking a fight here is risky, especially in rural areas. A great many of our law abiding citizens are armed, and no one knows who. This I the way our country was intended to be run.

    2. McDonalds. Meh. Even the kids won’t go there now (Whataburger rocks, after all… until the new owners kill it, anyway)

    3. I agree about Maddow, but Hannity (whose voice I cannot stand, like fingernails on a chalkboard) was reporting these very facts about the dossier years ago. If he is a hack, he is a very well informed one. I might not like the guy, but he has been vindicated these past few months. Facts is facts, regardless of the messenger’s reputation, no?

    Full disclosure: I have not listened to Hannity in over a year. Now I wonder what he has uncovered in that year that we will catch up to in 2022?

    Too bad I just cannot stomach him. Too much stress.

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