Duck Dynasty Doesn’t Duck & Cover

You watch duck dynastyThese redneck duck assassins may have the number one reality show on cable TV, but the Robertson family has proven to be completely ignorant of what elite cultural arbiters demand of backwoods celebrities when they violate trendy cultural taboos.

Instead of abjectly apologizing and disowning the Bible and his beliefs when criticized by the militant homosexual lobby, Phil Robertson is unapologetic, unbowed and unafraid, which is not following the approved script.

For example: When Chick–fil–A President Dan Cathy commented, “We are very much supportive of the family – the Biblical definition of the family unit…and I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to try to redefine what marriage is about,” a firestorm ensued as hysterical homosexuals cried “hate.”

Chick–fil–A customers then set a single–day sales record for the restaurant to show their support, but it made no impression on Cathy as he immediately went into bunker mode and canceled all remaining public appearances for the year. (Details here and here.)

A few months later the Rev. Louie Giglio was invited to give the benediction at Obama’s second inauguration. Obama supporters were suspicious since he was an evangelical Christian, heterosexual and male. Any one of which would be cause for concern, but all three set off alarm bells throughout the secular left.

Sure enough, lavender lobby researchers found a sermon from the mid–90’s where Giglio said, “We must lovingly but firmly respond to the aggressive agenda of not all, but many in the homosexual community…That movement is not a benevolent movement, it is a movement to seize by any means necessary the feeling and the mood of the day, to the point where the homosexual lifestyle becomes accepted as a norm in our society and is given full standing as any other lifestyle, as it relates to the family.”

Giglio’s statement was prophetic, orthodox and true. But truth does not grant immunity against attacks from the left. Courage — as Robertson proved — is a defense but evidently not one available to Giglio. Instead the reverend apologized and withdrew from the event saying, “Clearly, speaking on this issue has not been in the range of my priorities in the past 15 years. Instead, my aim is meant to call people to ultimate significance as we make much of Jesus Christ.” Whatever that’s supposed to mean. (Complete details here.)

By not following the docile, slightly–ashamed–of–his–outdated–views template, Robertson has broken the mold. He is not apologizing for repeating what the Apostle Paul writes in the New Testament.

Before we delve any deeper, I would like to point out the blow–up should never have happened. One of my specialties is crisis prevention — an option A&E evidently doesn’t offer its stars.

Phil Robertson had no business giving an in–depth interview to GQ magazine and the A&E network representative who was present should have known better. The superficial metrosexuals that comprise GQ’s subscriber base couldn’t distinguish a duck call from a whoopee cushion.

The only hunting they do is in fashion stores. What’s more, reporters for GQ and its ilk define mainstream media arrogance and cultural elitism. They hold the people who love Duck Dynasty in utter contempt.

The only conceivable method of getting GQ readers to watch the show would be if the cast of Downton Abby joined for an episode or the Robertsons pledged to go vegan. So why give a potentially dangerous interview to a publication that will do little if anything to increase the show’s ratings?

It makes more sense to limit interviews to reporters who can prove they have a Walmart credit card.

I’m not on the PR roster for Duck Commander, but here is a free list of publications to avoid in the future: Maxim, Playboy, Details, Out, The Advocate, Pink Magazine, Harpers, Cosmo and the GLEE employee newsletter. Rule of thumb: If the magazine has ads for Glad Wrap you’re probably safe, but if the ads are for GLAAD say no.

Another problem with the interview is that Phil is evidently a graduate of the Rep. Todd Akin Academy of Anatomical Description. His language was crude and overly explicit and I doubt he would use the same terms discussing the issue at his family’s dinner table, so why regale a nationwide audience with the same language?

Once the rectum was out of the bag, A&E had to weigh in with its 2 cents. The obvious move would have been to express dismay with Phil’s language — an amorphous term that could mean either particular words or particular sentiments — and explain that Duck Dynasty is a ‘reality show’ and although what Phil said does not express the A&E corporate position, they will not censor his views.

That way the network pours KY on troubled waters, keeps the most popular reality show in history on the air and none of the A&E staff members have to remove those quaint blue and yellow equal signs from their Prius’ bumpers.

But A&E corporate misjudged the Robertson family. The meek may inherit the earth, but they don’t build dynasties. Not only did Phil not apologize, backtrack or ask to be grand marshal of the next ‘pride parade’ on the calendar, the rest of the family said no Phil, no film.

Which is a fine kettle of fish indeed, but so far the damage was confined to A&E. Then the great minds at Cracker Barrel corporate decided they wanted to alienate their customer base, too. The chain of hillbilly restaurants announced it was removing “selected products which we were concerned might offend some of our guests” from all company gift shops. In effect any item with Phil’s photo on it was seized.

This is the commercial equivalent of volunteering to be collateral damage in a drone strike.

But what prompted the pile on? Was the San Francisco Cracker Barrel the subject of repeated attacks by cupcake–hurling alternate lifestyle advocates? Or maybe the Times Square Cracker Barrel feared a sit–in by demonstrators chanting, “Nobody Wants to Ate Your Hate!”

But that can’t be it. Cracker Barrel doesn’t have a single location in California or in New York City. The vast majority of Cracker Barrels are located south of the Mason Dixon line, a section of the country where Duck Dynasty is most popular. So Cracker corporate decided to offend the majority of its customers to keep from offending the odd homosexual who might wander into a restaurant while on his way to Key West.

The next day Cracker corp. apologized for being caught offending while trying not to offend. Then over the weekend A&E crumbled and grabbed the nearest available fig leaf. It reinstated Phil Robertson after issuing a classic in corporate pander–speak that implied the family’s acknowledgement of the coarse language used meant they were in complete agreement with the spineless appeasers at the network.

The novel outcome of the controversy provided an interesting contrast. When presented with a choice between God and mammon, the Robertsons opted for God. A&E on the other hand chose mammon over GLAAD.

The best part is during a time when Christians celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace a family of orthodox believers took on a secular culture that celebrates sin and won, because the family was strong and united. Lets hope other high profile Christians take note.

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House GOP Doesn’t Listen Any Better than Walmart

New GOPOccasionally the wrong person takes a column to heart.

Earlier this month I wrote that Walmart doesn’t help its PR efforts when the company acts in a manner that only serves to reinforce its reputation as the Simon Legree of retail. (Details here.) In this instance an Ohio store had a display in the employee break room asking for donations to help other Walmart employees that had fallen on hard times during the Thanksgiving & Christmas season.

Asking employees who earn an average of $12.83/hour to contribute to other employees is a touching testimony to the innate decency of the Walmart workforce, but it also calls up unfortunate images of the widow’s mite particularly in comparison with the wealth of the Walton family.

The column concluded with a look at Walmart’s Associates in Critical Need Trust. This is a fund that dispenses up to $1,500 to employees suffering severe financial setbacks. (This does not include a bad losing streak in connection with the Powerball lottery.)

I liked the sound of that, until I learned that once again these donations are no skin off the Walton family’s stock certificates. This trust is funded by voluntary payroll deduction, again from the $12.83/hour employees.

And that’s when problems began at the Shannon household.

My wife announced that unless the Walton family stops being so selfish (they have $144 billion in Walmart stock) and makes a major contribution to the Trust we will be boycotting Walmart. Generally I have no problem with boycotts. It’s an individual decision that uses the market to bring pressure on a merchant. No government intervention required. Colonists did it during the run up to the Revolution.

For taste and political reasons, I never darken the door of Starbucks (homosexual marriage is “part of the corporate DNA”), Caribou Coffee (Sharia–compliant finance) or Chipotle (one of the nation’s leading employers of illegals).

On the other hand I’m also cheap, so I regularly shop at Walmart, in spite of linguistic encounters with Walmart employees that graphically illustrate what retail shopping is going to be like after John Boehner decides it’s safe to grant illegals amnesty.

The wife says Target is going to be the windfall beneficiary of Shannon shopping dollars in the future. But I have mixed emotions regarding that store, too. All too often in the Sunday advertising circular the clothes younger models wear contribute to the sexualization of tweenaged shoppers. Young girls are hard enough to shop for without major retailers urging them to dress like pint–sized Kim Kardashians.

This is not a problem encountered when viewing the frumpy models in a Walmart catalog. I don’t know for certain whom it is wearing those dowdy clothes, but most of them appear to be related to Fred and Ethel Mertz. Regardless of age there are no sex symbols in a Walmart catalog.

Besides the Target food section is mostly full of do–it–yourself yogurt mixes and it is about one third the size of Walmart’s. (Although, credit where credit is due, Target does carry Malt–O–Meal.) I do hate sneaking around behind my wife’s back. The fact that my future secret assignations are with a major retail chain and not a hoochie mama is probably a commentary on the dullness of my existence, but I plan to continue to visit Walmart.

On the other hand I won’t be visiting Republican members of the Virginia House delegation. Last week I wrote about the shameful Boehner/Ryan sellout they tried to spin as a “budget deal.” (Details here.) This capitulation raises taxes (fees), increases spending and negates the sequester.

Ryan is so proud of himself. The good congressman says he’s increased Pentagon spending by $2 billion, which means all the Coffee Colonels there can go back to using the Keurig instead of making do with Nescafe. In return for all this bounty Ryan agreed to let the Democrats increase their spending by $22 billion! That’s an 11 to 1 ratio and we’re on the short side.

GOP apologists talk about future spending cuts contained in the deal, but with these big spenders the cuts always remain in the future, just over the horizon, like a mirage.

You can’t bind a future Congress to a deal made today. Heck this Congress can’t even bind itself. Who do you think negotiated the original sequester?

Now Boehner is flush with positive MSM coverage and has declared war on the TEA party. He’s tired of having Obama hand him his hat, so the great strategist turns on his base. Now maybe Karl Rove will return his phone calls.

At times like this the favorite criticism of the TEA party centers on Senate candidates. The TEA party supported candidates that lost and that cost Republicans the Senate.

Establishment Republicans never foist a loser on the electorate. Just look at the great work being done by President Romney and Senator George Allen. Not to mention that paragon of tanning, Senator Charlie Crist from Florida. All these worthies are (or were, Crist became a Democrat this year) establishment Republicans with the full support of party elders.

The TEA party is not a monolithic closed structure resistant to outside ideas — wait that sounds like Boehner’s cabal — it’s a loosely affiliated collection of like–minded conservatives and tin foil distributors. (Just kidding.)

There is no national body that selects candidates. Local groups support local candidates.

The TEA party–backed candidate lost in Missouri because establishment Republicans in that state utilize a primary system that doesn’t have a runoff if no one gets 50 percent of the vote. That’s how Todd Akin becomes your nominee with fewer than 35 percent of the vote. Akin and his gynecological theories could have never won a runoff. The TEA party candidate would not have survived the primary if Missouri Republicans ran the party like Texas Republicans.

In Delaware, Christine O’Donnell was simply mislabeled. She would have had no problem winning as a Democrat. If Patty Murray of budget deal negotiating fame can win her first race running as “a mom in tennis shoes,” O’Donnell would have had few problems as “a mom who’s not a witch.”

Country club Republicans conveniently overlook the fact that TEA party energy is responsible for Boehner sitting in the Speaker’s chair today.

This wretched budget deal has now passed the Senate where Republicans with primary opponents voted against it as a sop to people like you and me. There was never a doubt as to House passage. If you want to see how your house member voted you can check here and here.

I’m sorry to say the deal passed with every GOP member from Virginia voting ‘yes.’ These Republicans are either too timid to vote conservative or they simply aren’t conservatives.

Regardless of the reason for their failure, I’ll be happily boycotting every one of these politicians until they’re out of office. No money and no votes from the Shannon household and I urge every conservative reading this to do likewise.

This is a boycott every conservative can get behind.

House GOP Has Nothing to Offer Conservatives

GOP surrenders principlesHere’s the situation: You’re in a high–stakes negotiation with an untrustworthy opponent. The opposition has violated every agreement the two of you have made in the past. Enforcement mechanisms are weak or non–existent.

In other areas of mutual interest your opponent regularly violates the law and dares you to do something about the violation. Your weak and vacillating leadership can’t be counted on in a pinch. And finally, the opposition lies shamelessly to the state media, doing its best to paint you as a fanatic and pathological liar.

So what do you do?

Bomb Iran is a good answer, but it’s not the answer for this question, because I’m talking about negotiating a budget deal with Democrats.

The Republican House leadership decision in this case was to sell out their conservative base in a brazen attempt to insure their own re–election at the expense of the nation’s fiscal future.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R–WI) and Sen. Patty Murray (D–Sneakers) have presented us with a plan that shatters the spending ceiling that was the main result of the bruising sequester fight, dilutes the small budget cuts from the sequester and raises taxes (Ryan calls it a “fee” but if the feds get more money and it comes from our pockets it’s the same as a tax).

Ryan even has the gall to say the deal will balance the budget in ten years and sidestep the threat of government shutdowns in January and October 2014.

And those dates are what are really important for craven House negotiators. In fact, the real motivation for the deal is Ryan’s shutdown statement. House Republicans still think they suffered a near–death experience in the recent government shutdown. But instead of seeing Jesus and a bright light, they saw a Mayflower moving van and a bright white resume. For them if it’s a choice between selling out to the Democrats and losing their cushy Congressional job, sellout is just another word for job security.

The risk of a potential shutdown in January and October of an election year was simply too much uncertainty for these stalwarts to bear. So instead of simply passing a continuing resolution as has been done for the past few years and keeping the sequester savings, Ryan decided to remove all uncertainly and cave in this year.

Ryan and Speaker Boehner (R–Risible) think they can get away with this lie to conservatives because the result of increased federal spending and budget busting won’t have the personal impact on voters that Obama’s insurance lie had. You don’t get a letter from the government cancelling your future. You get a Chinaman repossessing the Washington monument.

The rationalization for this total surrender is threefold according to our betters: The agreement restores some defense spending reduced by the sequester, cuts the budget and brings the entire budget into balance in ten years.

Let’s start at the top. Ace negotiator Ryan was able to restore $2 billion in Pentagon spending next year in return for letting Democrats increase wasteful social spending by $ 22 BILLION! That’s a ratio of 11 to one in welfare to warfare spending.

The sequester was bad enough — defense took half the cuts, while social spending took the other half spread over countless pointless programs — but this disaster in multiplication makes that deal look positively prudent.

Second the budget cut. I admire Ryan’s poker face as he announced $26 billion in cuts over ten years. This means the federal government will be cutting $2.6 billion a year out of a budget that’s over $1 trillion! For comparison purposes, the city of Washington, DC spends more than $2.6 billion in four months. In 2012 the IRS issued $11 billion in fraudulent income tax refunds. In the same year the government wasted $95 billion in programs identified by the Government Accounting Office that duplicated other wasteful government programs.

In federal terms, Ryan’s $2.6 billion is pocket change.

Finally, the budget balances in ten years. This is not because spending will finally be brought in line with revenue, which is how individuals balance budgets. No, Ryan is hoping that federal tax revenues will grow enough through a recovering economy to finally match the spending right now. In the other nine years the deficit continues to pile up.

This is like a drunk driver careening the wrong way down the interstate hoping his blood will absorb enough of the booze for him to regain control before the car hits the bridge abutment.

David Stockman, Reagan’s budget director who saw firsthand how Republicans agreed to increase taxes for Democrat spending cuts that never came, says, “First, let’s be clear—it’s a joke and betrayal. It’s the final surrender of the House Republican leadership to Beltway politics and kicking the can and ignoring the budget monster that’s hurtling down the road.”

Earlier this week reporter Paul Kane of The Washington Post seemed confused that TEA party members were mounting challenges to incumbent Republican senators. The answer is simple; conservatives have no reason to support big government incumbentcrats, regardless of whether they are Senators or Congressmen. Keeping the likes of Boehner or Ryan or Orrin Hatch in office is not the be all and end all of our existence. If nothing else even an unsuccessful primary can be a wakeup call for these whited sepulchers.

Why fight for them if they won’t fight for us? Why waste the gas necessary to drive to the polls to vote for these weaklings?

The only difference between these Republicans and Nancy Pelosi is we go broke slower and there’s a slim chance we won’t have to attend a same–sex marriage ceremony to qualify for Social Security benefits.

Retreating to a compound in Idaho is looking better and better. And since Janet Reno is no longer attorney general, we might even survive until the Chinese foreclose.

Walmart Encourages Grinch Accusations

WalMart NerdWalmart is a corporation that generates strong opinion. Unions — and their wholly–owned subsidiary the Democrat Party — view Walmart as a rapacious corporation run by brutal overseers whose overriding goal is exploiting the working class.

Many Republican officeholders view Walmart as a corporation run by a bunch of cheap so–and–sos who won’t make large campaign contributions and hire refugees from the Clinton administration.

Unions hold annual protests just prior to Black Friday and attempt to convince millions of shoppers that the largest private employer in the US might have low prices, but it’s only because the corporation harvests employee organs to sell on the black market.

The protests are held nationwide and union employees, rented homeless and liberal voyeurs demand the corporation pay full–time employees a minimum of $25,000 per year. Democrat officeholders show solidarity by attempting to pick the corporation’s pocket with minimum wage laws that give government the power to tell business how much employees should be paid, without government having any responsibility for the bottom line.

It’s vote buying through extortion.

In the Nanny’s Republic of Washington, DC animosity toward Walmart was so high the city council passed a bill amusingly titled the Large Retailer Accountability Act. (I wait in vain for the Bad Leftist Ideas Accountability Act.) The bill would’ve required Walmart to pay 50 percent more than the city’s current minimum wage. In fact the amount was more than the minimum wage the DC government pays its employees!

Fortunately for Walmart shoppers, the mayor vetoed the bill.

So one might ask at a time when Walmart is viewed as a penny–pinching, soulless exploiter of the down–trodden, why would a store manager in Canton, OH arrange a crèche of plastic bins in the breakroom with a sign that read: “Please Donate Food Items Here, so Associates in Need Can Enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner.” I suppose it beats letting them dumpster dive, but the optics are bad.

When it comes time for the 2013 Bad Public Relations Ideas nominations, this will be hard to beat. Why not invite Occupy Wall Street to provide entertainment at the next stockholder’s meeting?

This only feeds the narrative of Grinch–like exploitation that the MSM, unions and Democrats work so hard to tattoo on Walmart’s corporate hide.

Even regular Walmart shoppers have mixed emotions. Just thinking about it conjures up associations with domestic drama in the parking lot, unfortunate fashion choices and dangerously high customer BMI.

Who hasn’t experienced that all too common Walmart shopping experience? You can’t find the item you want and you can’t find an employee to direct you to it. (I just assume all the on–duty workers are either manning the cash register or in back passing the hat.)

Even cemeteries have a higher ratio of employees to customers than your average Walmart store.

Which brings us back to: When there is such a cultural divide in opinion regarding your business, why do something that reinforces the negative side?

In fairness to the manager, the charity display was in the employees–only section and not outside next to the Salvation Army kettle, but regardless of location once the media becomes aware the damage is done.

And sure enough, anti–Walmart organizer Norma Mills, quoted on Cleveland.com, observes, “That Walmart would have the audacity to ask low-wage workers to donate food to other low-wage workers — to me, it is a moral outrage.”

When you compare this to Walmart’s profit in 2012, $17 billion, and the net worth of the Walton family, $144 billion, even the most dedicated shopper can’t help but wonder why the company can’t toss a turkey leg to deserving employees.

Unfortunately, the majority of that profit has been used in recent years to buy back Walmart stock, which is essentially financial onanism that creates nothing and only serves to enhance the value of stock the Walton family owns.

The WaPost had a story about a woman and her daughter who were struggling and homeless much of the time. The Post, as usual, ignores the choice the woman made that created the problem: having an out–of–wedlock child, a sure path to poverty. (This by the way is not blaming the victim. The victim is the child and none of it’s her fault.)

After that bad decision, the woman worked hard to turn her life around. She finally landed a job with the YMCA and found an apartment she could afford on her salary, but she couldn’t save enough for the security deposit.

Management at the Y heard about her problem and instead of asking the towel boys to hold a car wash for her, the Y gave the woman a salary advance and she got the apartment.

In the Cleveland.com story, spokesperson Kory Lundberg defends the company. “This is part of the company’s culture to rally around associates and take care of them when they face extreme hardships.” But that is not completely true. It is part of employee culture, not management culture.

According to Lundberg the company has a program called the Associates in Critical Need Trust. Walmart workers can receive grants of up to $1,500.00 to “address hardships they may encounter, including homelessness, serious medical illnesses and major repairs to primary vehicles. Since 2001, grants totaling $80 million have been made.”

Here’s the problem: Walmart takes credit for the charity and the concern, but it’s paid for by payroll deductions from the workers. Walmart needs to stop dunning employees for this money. The corporation should provide all the funding.

That way the company is really buying into Lundberg’s “culture.”

It is simply good business practice for management to demonstrate real concern for the staff. Putting the corporation’s money where the corporate mouthpiece is will go a long way toward blunting future attacks on the company. And that will help everyone — management, employees and stockholders.