Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Quackery

We are a bunch of rednecks from Louisiana, but I am not uneducated, I have a degree from Louisiana Tech. But this week I have been called an ignoramus,” Duck Dynasty star, Phil Robertson, 67, recently told his Bible study group, as reported by The Daily Mail.

While most people might think this is really an indictment of Louisiana Tech, Robertson, a former football all-star quarterback – he actually started for two years over his college teammate, Terry Bradshaw – received his Bachelor's in Physical Education and his Masters in Education before starting the wildly successful company, Duck Commander, in 1973. His son, Willie, now runs the multimillion dollar conglomerate as CEO while Patriarch Phil spends his time cooking and hunting, staying out of the corporate limelight, but always in the spotlight of the highly popular TV series, “Duck Dynasty,” the most valuable and watched franchise on A&E network.

Robertson taught school after graduating from Louisiana Tech, was a commercial fisherman, ran a bar – and afoul of the law for a short time – before finding God and being baptized at the age of 28. He and his family are known as being very religious and true to the Christian faith as practiced by the Church of Christ. He was interviewed for the January, 2014, issue of a gentleman's magazine, GQ, and by repeating his dogmatic Christian religious beliefs, started a controversy that has become a lightning rod for a mixed audience of Americans, most of whom have never seen a single episode of the TV show. A lightning rod that has become dangerous to touch. Just ask the executives who run Cracker Barrel restaurants.

The GQ article, written by Drew Magary, temptingly asked Robertson's views on sin, a leading question for any Christian that simply could not miss sparking controversy in this age of shrinking church memberships and dwindling congregations. Much of the shrinkage in today's establishment churches has been their intransigent opposition to a liberal understanding of human nature by the general population. In other words, the church is preaching against their own memberships as gay and lesbians stand up to be counted. The churches are losing the popular battle.

What better way to have people buy your magazine than to ask a loaded question of the TV star who has the highest rating for the season that will evoke an answer that flies in the face of current relaxing attitudes. A good attorney never asks a question they don't already know the answer to, and the GQ article was no different. Robertson in all honesty could not have avoided the controversy and still remain true to his convictions. In other words, he was a sitting duck.

That interview, leaked in advance of the publication, resulted in A&E suspending Robertson for saying simply what he believes. He didn't say it on the television show, but he responded honestly to the interviewer's question by paraphrasing a Biblical passage from First Corinthians, something not uncommon or unknown among Christians. A&E network responded by placing Robertson on “leave,” even though it shrewdly did not affect the television programming. Cracker Barrel restaurants, swept up in the knee jerk moment of being politically, or rather, socially, correct, announced it would remove all Duck Dynasty products from its restaurant’s shelves. The back-lash, however, was instantaneous, and blisteringly effective.

Apparently, there are millions of dogmatic Christians who like Robertson's beliefs and All-American, cholesterol laden, high calorie food. Enough to make Cracker Barrel reverse their decision and place the Duck Dynasty items back on the shelves, within two days none-the less! Dollars beats dogma in this country every time.

This isn't Robertson's first rodeo with A&E executives. When he noticed editors were adding “bleeps” to the shows dialog, he asked A&E why. The camera crews had no idea dialog was being bleeped, and Robertson found out the “bleeps” were being added by studio editors to make it appear the Robertsons were cursing, something they religiously do not do. A&E wanted to make the show “more entertaining.” Robertson said, “If they want to hear profanity, they can change channels!” A&E executives relented and the original, profanity-free dialog was restored.

As Seth Meyers recently said on Saturday Night Live, while Phil Robertson's full bearded image was shown larger than life behind him, “Sometimes you can tell a book by its cover.” 

It is an American right to read what ever book you want to read. Whether or not you want to read the book is up to you.



Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Paper Tiger - Viewpoint


I wrote an article for the Charlotte Sun-Herald newspaper back in 2005 that floated back up through my memory as I watched the world news recently about China arbitrarily and unilaterally expanding its Air Defense Identification Zone, or ADIZ, far out into the China Sea in an area considered International waters.  The United States responded by flying two B-52 bombers through the area without prior announcement, but cautiously advised all commercial airplanes to comply with the new Chinese ruling.  Vice President Joe Biden is in China as I write this, and spent two hours this morning behind closed doors with the Chinese Prime Minister specifically addressing the ramifications of this almost war-like move.

This article is the only article I submitted in the six years I wrote for the Sun-Herald they refused to print.  My editor wanted to run it, but was overridden by the executive editor.

Read it and see what you think.
______________________________________


For Immediate Release
George Mindling Column 7-19-2005
Paper Tiger

"The Capitalists will sell us the rope we use to hang them." While Lenin's exact words were far more verbose, they apparently did not fall on deaf Chinese ears.
According to a report published in the summer of last year, the Communist Chinese government held 790 billion dollars of U.S. currency and bonds! Chinese General Zhu Chenghu told the world the very same week of the report they WILL attack the United States with nuclear weapons if we try to defend Taiwan, the Republic of China, from Communist takeover. We are paying for the two largest military buildups in recent years: Ours and the very forces we may have to go to war with, the Communist Chinese.
Why do American companies, especially those that purport to be Christian based, do business with the godless dictatorship that is Communist China? Which is the real answer: morals or money? Are we so busy trying to create a Christian, democratic utopia that selling our energy and technology assets to a security threat to our country in the name of "Growing Democracy," is naively ignored? What will we sacrifice chasing the 490 billion dollar market China appears to offer to American retailers in 2006?
A year ago this February, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld testified at a Congressional hearing on the Chinese buildup and the Chinese policy paper challenging the U.S. military presence in the Pacific. The Chinese Navy will soon be the largest in the world. They will have one of the largest, modem submarine forces in the world.
(http://www.jeflhead.comlredseadragonJplanbuildup.htm) U. S. intelligence believed China to have a fleet of only "60 to 70 operational submarines, most of which are aging, and only a handful of which are nuclear powered."
However, the June 9th 2005, the Washington Times reported a U.S. security document found that American intelligence has missed the Chinese naval buildup for TEN years! Among the items missed were China's development of a new long-range cruise missile, deployment of a new attack submarine known as the Yuan class that was missed by U.S. intelligence until photos of the submarine appeared on the Internet, and development of surface-to-surface missiles for targeting U.S. aircraft carrier battle groups. This from a country from which we borrow two billions dollars daily! If we default, how will they foreclose?
Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice warned on August 18th, 2005, that China must make significant structural changes in its economic policies, lest it remain "a problem for the international economy."
"The overwhelming sense I got was that they do not want a conflict with the United States," said Robert B. Zoellick, the Deputy Secretary of State. But he said that he, too, "tried to get them to see how their actions are perceived by the other side," particularly "if they were not transparent, they would create uncertainties, and uncertainties lead people to hedge."
The patient Chinese are not stupid. They measure time by generations, not fiscal years. By then, we will be the Paper Tiger.


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