Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Death To That Guy!

Oh boy. Blogging has truly entered a dark age of sorts with diddly squat happening in the news. Well, one thing happened. Department of Veteran Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald just ate a bus load of nuns. Or maybe he didn’t. Maybe people are overreacting. Hmm. Let me work through this...

On Monday, DVA Sex-kitten Bob McDonald said some words he now regrets. He was asked about wait times at VA Hospitals and he said:
“When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line? Or what's important? What's important is, what's your satisfaction with the experience? And what I would like to move to, eventually, is that kind of measure.”
Everyone on the right grabbed their pitchforks and immediately went after old Bob. He doesn’t care about wait times for veterans who are dying every day in those lines. Damn you Bob. Damn you to hell!

Honestly, this is ridiculous. It’s not like Bob is actually saying that wait times don’t matter. What he’s saying is that they want to look at more factors than just wait times when it comes to determining whether or not the VA is providing good service. The idea that Bob meant he didn’t care about wait times is manufactured outrage. Ditto on the idea that it’s somehow wrong to compare Veterans to customers at Disney. The man chose Disney because they have an amazing reputation for customer service.

So I’m with Bob, right? Nope. Why? Because he kept talking. Bob went out and doubled-down by saying the following:
“Look, we get it. Wait times are important. There’s no question wait times are important, but they aren’t the only measure of the veteran experience. If I was misunderstood or if I said the wrong thing, I’m glad I have the opportunity to correct it.”
Grr. Now I have to fault Bob. This is pure arrogance. Translate this statement and you get: (1) duh, your argument is stupid because no sh*t everyone knows the point you are trying to make... what are you? Slow? (2) And if you are one of those who is too stupid to get what I was saying then learn to cope. This is not the tone one should strike if you genuinely didn’t mean what the public thinks you meant. He should have just said what he had to say about the issue genuinely. He didn’t though, and today, Bob tried again:
“If my comments Monday led any Veterans to believe that I, or the dedicated workforce I am privileged to lead, don't take that noble mission seriously, I deeply regret that. Nothing could be further from the truth.”
Now this really pisses me off. This is the modern corporate apology and I find it to be truly insulting. It is evasive. It avoids taking responsibility. It is not genuine. It is public relations of the most cynical kind. What’s more, I can guarantee you that the lawyers who wrote this are laughing about the last part. You simpletons are supposed to believe this is an apology, but it’s really just an intentionally injected ambiguity. What exactly couldn’t be further from the truth? The idea that whatever you think he said is really what he said? That he didn’t take his noble mission seriously? Or that he regrets your belief? At no point is there a genuine apology here, it only seems he apologized. Big Business America never apologizes.

So I think, all told, my view is that people were stupid to read this quote to be negative in the first place, but I can’t feel sorry for Bob because he’s not dealing in good faith with the issue. In fact, I simply don’t accept the corporate apology... it is for fundamentally dishonest people who only want to shut you up rather than making a situation right. No one should ever trust anyone who uses the corporate apology. So go ahead and string the bastard up.

This stuff makes my head spin.



tryanmax said...

I guess I'd have to actually hear his tone when he made the second statement, because in print it doesn't seem that bad. Yeah, the third line is pure corporate speak, but it also sounds like the apology the folks it was directed at deserve.

AndrewPrice said...

Dude, you're harshing my buzz or is it mellowing my outrage? Actually, you may be right. I was a tad tired when I wrote this and the point I was trying to make is that I'm kind of sick of all of this. On the one hand, most outrage today is manufactured for one reason or another. There is little where the "victim" is genuine. And then, no matter how genuine the offense, you get these bland non-apologies written in legalize by lawyers trying to be super clever and never actually say anything. Ug.

Whatever happened to people being genuine?

Kit said...

My first thought: Apparently, that guy has never been to a Disney theme park...

Koshcat said...

The biggest problem I had with the first statement is it is false. Disney does track wait times. It is also dismissive. It basically stated that waiting several weeks for a call back is not a big deal as long as the person got good service. Yeah, as long as they didn't die waiting to hear back but of course to a bureaucracy dead customers just shorten the lines and cut costs.

What he should have said is the VA has numerous problem and wait times are just one of them. Ou vets deserve better and we are going to work on improving the whole system.

These guys also need to shut up after the first statement.

Allena-C said...

LOL! Wow, this guy sure knows how to dig a hole for himself. I agree, Andrew, that the first statement, taken by itself is not insulting or anything to be concerned about.
If I were the big enchilada of the VA I think I would have avoided this metaphor, however, or probably any metaphor, because it's too easy for people to project something negative into them.
I mean, why go there? Did he think angry vets who have legitimate grievances about the VA would appreciate the comparison to a Mickey Mouse operation?
The VA "experience" is not freaking Splash Mountain (maybe Pirates Of The Carribean or Haunted Mansion).

I know he didn't mean that but what did he expect? Veterans have died waiting for care while some of those who are charged with caring for them have lined their own pockets, covered it up, etc., and there's no accountability.
Not exactly an environment where I would bring of Disneyland.

Veterans simply want their concerns addressed and the problems fixed so they can have access to the medical care they were promised, not the bureaucratic nightmare it has become.

Personally, I wasn't offended by this idiot's first comment, but I can certainly understand why many would take it it the wrong way.
To start with, If Goofy wants to make the VA "experience" better than start by eliminating the damn bureaucracy and let the doctors and nurses do their jobs.
That's what the vast majority of veterans want, and that's what most of the healthcare professionals want, because it's more efficient and it works. All bureaucrats do is ruin everything.

Digging more holes, metaphorically and in real life isn't gonna solve anything.
But that's what we have come to expect from out of touch bureaucrats who aren't held accountable.

Allena-C said...

I just realized I said metaphor, but what that Guy said isn't a metaphor, lol.
Not sure why I thought that originally. Still, the same holds true with comparisons.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, Disney is obsessed with wait time. I forgot to mention that too.

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, I agree. Disney pays tremendous attention to wait times. And I totally agree that the first statement is dismissive and misunderstands the importance of getting timely care -- especially for the head of an agency that is notorious for frustratingly long waits.

And yeah, these guys absolutely need to stop talking after they make their mistake.

AndrewPrice said...

Allena, I agree. I don't think he meant anything bad, but it was a poorly chosen comparison, especially for veterans. And of course, because it was wrong. And as Koshcat points out, it is dismissive of long-terms concerns.

The VA has long been an agency that needs to be purged and rebuilt.

BevfromNYC said...

Wow, it was really stupid to even use the Disney reference at all. If ONLY the VA ran half as well as Disneyland/World! Everyone would be happy and getting the kind of patient/customer care they rightfully deserve with minimum hassles.

and Allena - Never forget that bureaucrats exist to create/worsen problems for job security. If they actually fixed or corrected problems, they would not be "needed". See/Read: Hitchhikers Guide To The Universe

Allena-C said...

So true, Bev! LOL!

Critch said...

Us vets took it as a smart-ass remark. We feel that we've been told for years to just wait and we'll get around to you..I had to wait a whole year for a hearing test, take off a whole day from work, ride the VA bus to St Louis (3 hours), do the test, wait for another 3 hours at Cochran VA and then ride the van back for 3 hours. It would have been easier for them to have me go to the ENT that ended up having to go to anyway because they didn't trust their own hearing test at Cochran VA...the inefficiency is appalling...

Kit said...

Oh, in the comics it was just revealed that Captain America has been a HYDRA agent all along.

In unrelated news: massive earthquakes were detected near the graves of Captain America creators Joe Simon and Jack Kirby.

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