NROP: Are You Lovin’ It?

The below intro in italics is unrelated to the subject of this post. Feel free to skip if you are so inclined.

As I was preparing this post, I noticed a very weird and somewhat unsettling thing – as I added ‘war’ as one of the tags for this post, after a moment, it disappeared. Every time. Is WordPress being that involved in moderating what we write about?

Some people might call me a skeptic but I like to think of myself as observant and rational. I have seen too many platforms fall once they implemented seemingly positive changes. WordPress has recently launched a ‘We will help you promote your blog if you have the right content’ initiative and it sent a warning ping down my spine. Being unable to add ‘war’ as a tag made me put those two things together… I hope I am wrong and nothing will negatively affect my experience with WordPress in the near (or a more distant) future, but now I am worried. Up to this point, I was able to speak freely.

Recently, I was looking at my exported copy of this blog and realized that it is not in a readable format, which means that if I was ever to move to a different platform (or just wanted to put my blog in a book), it would not be as easy as I thought it might be.

Did you notice any red flags with WordPress on your end?

***

The news seems to be a collection of cycles these days. I remember many years ago when news from all different facets of life was presented in a single segment. Now – as many of you have noticed – the ‘news’ industry seems to rely on one topic at a time for all of their discussions. For a year and a half, it was COVID-19. Once the interest in that became waning, all eyes turned into the Canadian/tracker protest. Now, for many days now, it has all been about the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. We have all been affected by it in some way.

Whenever something happens on the international stage that is relevant to countries across the globe, I like to observe reactions. All I can do is shake my head and facepalm whenever I read about various people/organizations coming up with punishments that are said to make the ruler of Russia – Putin – realize his mistake, get on his knees, apologize, and then offer himself for a sacrificial lamb.

Let me ask you this – Who do you think was more affected by the coronavirus? A) the general public, or B) the wealthy/celebrities? Whom do you hurt when you impose increased tariffs? A) A single individual or B) the entire nation?

Now that we got that out of the way, let me tell you what is going on (or more accurately what is NOT going on) in Russia. Last week – to condemn Russia’s actions – McDonald’s announced they would be closing their Russian locations for the time being. I break out in hives whenever I read/hear that someone ‘condemns’ something or someone’s actions. When has that ever helped anyone?

If someone does something bad, do we need to stand up and scream that we think they did something bad or should it be assumed that we consider it as bad unless we say something else? You see, our morals have eroded so much the past few years that bad things need to be condemned in order to make them bad.

It is worth mentioning that McDonald’s is not the only business that has put its operations on pause. Paypal, Apple, and Netflix are some of the others that took a stand against the Russian ruler.

The first worry that I thought of when hearing the McDonald’s news was the employment of Russian citizens. Will people get laid off? Will employees be forced to take unpaid leave? Apparently, the company will pay their employees – over 60 thousand of them. But for how long? And what will the long-term effects of that be? The money will have to come from somewhere. Will costs be cut in other countries? As much as 9% of the company’s revenue comes from Russia and Ukraine (not sure why they are lumped together like that) while only 2% of all McDonald’s restaurants are in those countries. The only help comes from the decreasing worth of the Rubel – Russian currency. Will the prices of hamburgers and fries increase by tenfold in Russia once the fast-food chain reopens its locations? But no one is interested in that. We only care about what is here and now and what feels right.

“Our values mean we cannot ignore the needless human suffering unfolding in Ukraine.”

McDonald’s President and CEO Chris Kempczinski

And by you not selling fast food the human suffering will cease to exist? Or did you close your restaurants because of the pressure from social media activists who called for people to boycott your company if it did not ‘take a stand?’ Or because you were bullied and felt threatened?

“Companies like McDonald’s and PepsiCo, which have a large footprint in Russia, need to consider whether doing business in Russia is worth the risk during this extraordinarily volatile time…”

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli

If you look into the matter further, you will find out that Russian McDonald’s was experiencing some supply chain interruptions, which most likely factored into their decision to close their business for the time being. You cannot sell fries if you do not have potatoes or burgers if you do not have buns.

There are over 800 McDonald’s locations in Russia and over 80% of them are operated by McDonald’s, as opposed to being franchises (My head exploded when I took a closer look at a receipt many years ago and learned that not every McDonald’s was a ‘real’ McDonald’s), which means that the decision to close those locations was an easy one to execute.

Just like there were long lines when McDonald’s first opened in Moscow, there were many customers waiting to get one more fast food fix when the announcement about the closure was made.

“Closing down is an act of hostility against me and my fellow citizens!”

A man who chained himself to one of the doors in protest.

To me – that sounds like someone who will be biased against Americans in the future. The action of closure meant as something positive is causing hate, which we definitely do not need any more of. Like with anything else, some people saw that as an opportunity to make themselves richer at the expense of their compatriots – BigMac meals are now selling for hundreds of dollars.

A Yahoo article describes the psychological effect of the closures on regular Russians – a large portion of them will feel alienated, which will cause them to feel like the Westerners are their enemies. The country is motivated to become more self-sufficient and to show everyone that they do not need outsiders dictating their lives.

P.S. Russia found a loophole and might have locals reopen the McDonald’s locations anyway. That is just another reason that supports why these closures are not effective.

As I did the research for this post, I was reminded of how important it is to look for more information than what is readily available/ in front of your eyes. Yes, it is easier to consume whatever the social media feed tells us. But, what that does is deprive us of the full picture. So – PLEASE, be curious! Look at a piece of news from all angles. The more information you have, the more educated your opinion will be.

  • If you are from outside of the US, how would you feel if McDonald’s (or your favorite ‘Western’ brand) withdrew from your country?

Stay golden,

SGK signature.png

***

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43 thoughts on “NROP: Are You Lovin’ It?

Add yours

  1. Sadly, most people are lazy and are sheep. They DO NOT want to dig deeper into things to f8ind truth. They are quite happy to be told what to do and to submit. Sadly, this translates into every facet of life too. There are way to many people who think they are doing good, but do not do the research to find out what the consequences of those “good deeds” really are. No one wants to go deeper than scratching he surface of what’s really happening and going on. They do it “because it feels good”. Well their actions may “fee; good” at the moment, but they have dire consequences later.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I’m outside of the US. I’m close, in Canada, but we don’t get tons of American stuff that’s advertised (give me Hulu). I mostly don’t care. Except when I can’t enter contests.

    I’ve not noticed tags disappearing, but I’m aware that social media sites (WordPress included) moderate eating disorder posts and tags, often hiding them in the interest of “helping.” So, it makes sense they’d “moderate” other ones.

    For me, the problem with the news comes down to a few things. First, news skews towards violence. “If it bleeds, it leads.” It’s not an accident, and there are some interesting psychological benefits. Two, news everywhere became (mostly) owned by big business. That has impacted journalistic integrity. And three, the 24-7 broadcast cycle means you have to fill the space. It’s often a spectacle of the inane.

    When it comes to Russia, I think responding to war crimes is the right call. Putin is a dangerous and unstable man. The hypocrisy bothers me, however. We look the other way often, not just with Putin (we didn’t respond much when he started poisoning people at home and abroad). Unfortunately, our morals are flexible and our behaviours transactional.

    I don’t think it’s the age of liberalism and democracy anymore. It’s the age of capitalism, and God help us all.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Eating disorder tags being hidden? I fail to see why this would be good. If someone wants to learn how to give themselves a disorder, they will. By hiding the tags, they are actually making it more difficult for the recovering people to find support groups.

      So true. I remember back in the day news would come on at only specific hours of the day and would be done in about 30 minutes. It was much easier to fit just the bare facts in there instead of having to worry to fill the remainder of the time.

      A response for the sake of being a response is kind of pointless in my book. You are on point about hypocrisy and flexible morals.

      “God help us all…”

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s the age of information manipulation. Capitalism works. Socialism works. Communism works. It depends on the size of the society, the availability of resources, and the awareness and consciousness of the members of the societies. The challenge we have is that all of those economic models are dependent on the accurate transmittal of information, and at this point, there are too many sources of information, and some are spinning it so hard that pieces of truth keep flying off.

    I do think that many of the Russians are recognizing that this response of the Western businesses is related to the attacks on Ukraine. There are so many people who have family in both countries. It is difficult for the soldiers on both sides to be shooting at each other knowing they might be killing a relative! There are difficulties concerning desertion on the Russian side and emigration on the Ukrainian side because of this problem. It would be like US vs Canada or US vs Mexico. The Ukrainians and now some of the Belarussians are feeling betrayed by Russia now. They are beginning to mistrust their information and may be looking for information from a less-biased source and unless it’s the BBC, they’re not going to find it.

    If we were in the same position, our first reaction to Russians or Chinese pulling products or closing businesses in the US would result in immediate attacks on the sanity or intelligence of our president, not at the Russians and Chinese.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That’s interesting about WordPress… they have always prided themselves and been outspoken about Freedom of Expression. It’s why I use this platform and chose it over others out there. I feel like WordPress is one of the last ones out there not censoring… like you, this worries me, if we cannot be allowed to speak our own opinions in our own space.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Badabumbumbum, I’m lovin’ it!

    So many thoughts.

    We used sanction to overthrow governments in Iran, North Korea, Venezuela and Cuba and it worked pretty good, so it will definitely work in Russia! One thing I heard about all of these companies leaving is that the moral posturing is just an excuse. The truth is that the sanctions mean that even though they can make money in Russia they can’t wire it out of the country. And if you can’t pull any money out of Russia what’s the point? It’s also worth pointing out that we are currently leveling similar sanctions against Afghanistan, and helping to fuel a major humanitarian crises and famine.

    I really appreciated this Russian perspective on the sanctions. https://youtu.be/LyPtRg8O_b8

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely a lot of thoughts were running through my mind. I hoped some of them sparked some thinking in the readers’ minds.

      I just attended a presentation that presented results and made connections when certain factors might not have been considered. Too few people ask curious questions anymore.

      Hahahah! Not everyone wants to learn…

      Thanks for sharing that bit about wiring money out. I have not thought of that directly!

      Yea, I just can’t even…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. These past few years have been horribly confusing and terrible throughout the world. I cannot even begin to broach all its complicated twists and turns effectively, I feel, aside from sharing my hope that things do get better for everyone shortly. It’s unfortunate, but the wider population of people, regardless of the nation, tend to be the ones who have to endure or overcome what happens due to the actions of their leaders (the ones who just want to live their lives and be happy)–so they are the ones to whom my prayers always go out to the most.

    I hadn’t realized that about WordPress. Have you sent a note to them to discuss the subject of disappearing tags?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m glad I’m not the one who has to make these tough decisions. But if I was, one of my top priorities would be to not send young people into a combat zone where they could be killed, or have to deal with the potential lifelong consequences of having killed someone.

    that is very odd about the use of war in wordpress. I just created a quick draft with war as the title, war as the only word in the post itself, and war as the tag. I was able to save it and at least view it in preview mode, and the tag is still there…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The decisions are definitely tough and there will always be someone who will be unhappy with them.

      Hmmm… that’s interesting. I tried adding the tag and it keeps disappearing. I emailed WP to see if they can shine more light on that.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I laughed when I saw them respond with ‘press enter’ when adding a tag. No! Really? It’s not like this was my first time adding a tag…

          Then, they found a work-around. In ‘Posts’ however over the one you want to add the tag to and click ‘Quick Edit’ and then add the tag. It worked. I wonder if they will tell me ‘why’ one method words and not the other.

          Liked by 1 person

              1. I’ve found it’s luck of the draw. some of the WP tech people have been great; others not as helpful. I understand that people need to start somewhere, and so you may not know too much when you first beging. But in those csaes, let me know that upfron; Iw ill likely be more paptient, and the tech support person might be more willing to get help when she or he gets stuck…

                Liked by 1 person

  8. In this scenario, everyone loses.
    The companies might not meet their financial target. People loose their income.
    Also not to be forgotten is that these large brands do a lot of sponsoring for events.

    People are so superficial.
    I remember this one time when someone got angry with me for singing along with a Michael Jackson’s song.
    How dare I like his music after what he did to all those children.
    At the same time, he was eating an MCD burger.
    I recommend watching “the Founder” to understand more about this franchise.
    If you really have “morals”, you’d never eat it again.

    Nobody in this matter is clean.
    Let’s pull up the rug to see what has been shoved under it, because without the full story it is just wrong to judge.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly. There is so much to consider, but all they care about these days is for the gift to be nicely wrapped. No matter what’s inside…

      People are weird…

      Yes, I’ve seen the movie about McD – very sad.

      Indeed. Pull up the rug! should be a slogan!

      Like

  9. So many comments I had, not sure if I’ll remember them all! Let’s see.
    I tagged my Peace, Please post with a war tag, but I’m unable to find any tags as I’m on my phone now. If I remember, I’ll check later on my laptop to see if it’s still there!! I certainly hope so. (Or else!!!!)
    As for the sanctions, I’m naively hoping they will somehow (not sure how) make Russia bankrupt. As an ex-aviation worker, I know that for example flying planes is quite expensive. Apparently they are using ancient fleet from WWII. But… I think bankruptcy is just a dream. I can keep dreaming but it might not happen.
    As you break out on hives, I usually roll my eyes everyone lights a building in flag colours or uses a sympathising hashtag, and I usually think demonstrations are completely pointless. But this time I’m so frightened by the prospect of being invaded (selfish yes, but I’m scared for my kids) that I’m welcoming all and any attention to the topic.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. My daughter works for national retailer. They sell one product that is produced in Russia and they were told by corporate that they had to pull them from the shelves. It is a replacement part. This makes absolutely NO SENSE because the parts were already purchased by the retailer so the only one being hurt are those who need that replacement part but can’t get it. Can you say STUPID?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ridiculous!
      A great example of how superficial many of these measures are and how they are done for the wrong reasons. The store probably doesn’t want people boycott them because they are selling Russian parts, so they are just going to hide them for now…

      Liked by 1 person

  11. When the war began, putting forth measures to affect the economy seemed so fascinating to me. After all, the direct implications of other countries would have quickly paved the way for WWIII. I did find it funny that, of every business possible, McD took this stance. I doubt it’ll have any direct impact on what’s happening but at least it’ll wake some people up regarding the state of the world, the state of their own country, and motivate some to do something about a problem they wouldn’t have noticed unless… they went to McD and realized it was closed because of this… 😛

    Liked by 1 person

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