Misfeasance and malfeasance: corporate and government II

Melvyn Magree

It seems the fashion for one group of people to think that government can do nothing right and that corporations always do everything right, and for another group to think that corporations can do nothing right and that the government always does everything right.  Interestingly, many in the first group think the government knows everything about invading other countries, and many in the second group are eager for the latest gadgets from large corporations.  This second group also buys books from Amazon on how bad corporations are!
This second group should consider buying books from local booksellers.  I know Duluth is down to one local bookseller, but it still has a few used booksellers.  If you do want to buy books online, try ABE Books.  It is a consortium of booksellers around the world.  You can find a whole range of prices, sometimes with free shipping.
This column was inspired by a head-banging problem on Apple’s iPhone.  About the middle of the month the weather app started giving the time for locales in the Central Daylight Time zone as five hours later.  How about sunset at 11 o’clock in the evening?
In the Apple Community Support topics, other users suggested various resets, that might or might not be disruptive to proper functioning.  I did a “soft reset” of my iPhone and it did nothing for this problem.  I and many others thought the problem was really in Apple’s own computers because the problem started happening for many users at the same time.  My post follows:
“Don’t touch that dial!
“I lay awake last night thinking about the weather app having the wrong time for the Central Time Zone.
“It occurred to me that the time given is Greenwich Mean Time.  I even got up and looked up the time in London.  It was one hour later than Greenwich Mean Time because Britain is on daylight savings time.  The British time was one hour later than the time in weather app.
“This morning I checked my wife’s iPhone.  It had the wrong weather time, and she is still on iOS 9.0.1.  I asked several people in a fitness center and they reported that their iPhone weather apps had the wrong time.  Some even reported that this started at the end of last week.
“I think what has happened is that whoever maintains the data for Apple’s weather app took off the -5 adjustment for Central Daylight Time.  So, the problem is not in your phone and no kind of reset will fix the problem.  We’ll just have to wait for somebody in Apple to put the correct adjustment on Central Daylight Time.
“Now I have to find Apple’s Feedback page and post the above to it.”
I did send feedback as did several other users.  The problem was fixed in about three days.  The squeaking wheel does get greased!
I have another iPhone problem in that my bank’s online access will not work when I use cellular data.  It either gives a cryptic error message or states that the connection could not be made.  It works fine if I use Wi-Fi.  The bank says that my provider keeps changing the IP address.  My provider states that they do not change the IP address.
How often have you been caught between corporate pointing fingers?  “Not our problem.”
If corporations can do such marvelous stuff, how come there are so many recalls?  The Volkswagen diesel exhaust problem is one of malfeasance:  knowing the problem existed and not doing anything about it.  The ignition problem with Chevrolets was a mix of misfeasance and malfeasance.  It took GM awhile to realize they had a problem and quite awhile before they acknowledged it.
If corporations are so smart, why can’t they figure out that doing something right in the first place is cheaper in the long run than cutting corners now for short-term profits?
I think in too many cases, corporations have become the broom of the sorcerer’s apprentice.  They keep working away mechanically without considering the real needs of their customers.
Many who are pro-corporation relish bashing the federal government, especially the Post Office and the Internal Revenue Service.  My experience is that many government agencies, including these two, strive to do the right thing for their customers.  Unfortunately, they are undercut by those who should be supporting them as part of “Promoting the General Welfare”.
Interestingly, some of these same government bashers think that the military can do no wrong.  Have they forgotten the terms SNAFU and FUBAR were created by draftees or enlisted personnel who were fed up with the bureaucracy and the mistakes of generals and other officers?
I think these military worshipers also forget their history.  A bunch of ragtag farmers held off an imperial army for several years, mostly by avoiding combat until their general thought the situation was favorable.  In another country and in another century, a bunch of civilians kept harassing an occupying army until other countries could mobilize for an invasion to push back the occupiers.  Meanwhile, on the other side of the continent, an army of mostly peasants took horrific losses to repel that same occupying army from their country.
In the long run in case after case, it is the local people who, if they don’t prevail, will keep harassing the invaders as long as there are more to take their places.
The secret to the success of any organization is the management.  Does management come up with ideas to make its employees effective?  Does it listen to its employees and support them when they have good ideas?  Or does it “know best” and keep muddling along until another company takes away its business.  In the case of government, do the elected politicians act in a positive way to support government workers?  Or do the elected politicians do their best to belittle the workers?  We certainly are lucky to have so many thick-skinned government employees.