Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Hate group's PR flack tries to revive failed boycott

Hamilton Strategies
Hamilton Strategies (Michael and Deborah Hamilton) is American Family Association's public relations firm. The Hamiltons have a strong connection to Jesus but seem to be indifferent to financial realities. Today they write (as Hamilton Strategies): “Dear Target, You Can't Have It Both Ways.”

Before I get into their polemic, let's take a look at Target Corp. (NYSE:TGT). 34 days have elapsed since Target reported favorable second quarter earnings and guidance. The company reported better than expected earnings and revised guidance upwards. Same-store sales increased 1.3%, nearly double the expectations of analysts. Company executives attributed the good results to the success of the company's private label brands. Online sales increased by 30%. Since then the stock has increased about 7%. The reality is that AFA's silly boycott died 34 days ago. This morning I caught up on some of the analyst views. I cannot find one that even mentions the boycott. It is irrelevant.

Enter the Hamiltons:
Target is desperately trying to turn around a dismal year, announcing last week that it will increase its holiday hiring by 40 percent and that it was lowering prices on thousands of items.
Dismal? Target had poor performance in the first quarter but seems to be moving in the right direction. An increase in hiring suggests (to normal people) an expectation of continued improved sales. I  presume that Target decreased prices to better compete with Amazon.com for back-to-school and then holiday shopping. The bottom line, reading the tea leaves, is that Target expects a surge in customers taking advantage of lower prices for increased profitability. But that's just me.
Target is also adding a line of home goods from HGTV Fixer Upper hosts Chip and Joanna Gaines, and the Christian couple is taking heat on social media for partnering with the retailer that puts women and children at risk through its dangerous and misguided open-door restroom and fitting room policy.
Hate group leader Tim Wildmon's source of talking points is revealed. This is nothing new. Where Target is headquartered in Minneapolis, transgender accommodation has been required by law for more than a quarter century. Nationwide there is no evidence to support the idea that such accommodations have ever put women and children at risk. It is just agenda-driven fear mongering. There is nothing either “dangerous” or “misguided” in allowing people to use gender appropriate facilities. It's not an “open door.” This has been Target's policy for a very long time without incident.

Lately, Tim Wildmon, perhaps at the urging of the Hamiltons, has been claiming that a couple of peeping Toms demonstrate the danger. Wildmon is not a terribly bright bulb because, in both cases, the alleged perpetrators are not transgender and they had done the same thing at other stores in their area which do not share Target's policy. It is an idiotic meme.
Huffington Post has reported that some shoppers are telling the Gaineses they won't shop at Target—or from their new line—because they've pledged to the American Family Association's (AFA, www.afa.net) 1.5 million-signature-strong #BoycottTarget initiative. For about 18 months, AFA has been reminding shoppers not to spend their money at Target—neither in-store nor online—as a way to voice their displeasure over the store's restroom and fitting room policy.
According to Target's results and guidance that doesn't seem to be working out. Call me a cynic but it is probably irrelevant to American Family Association. They are trying to boost donations and they are in much deeper trouble than Target ever was.

I have the tax return for American Family Association for the year ended June 30, 2016 (which they have managed to keep off of GuideStar). The hate group's revenues declined nearly 40% from the prior year. Contributions went from $27 million to $16 million and total revenues went from $30 million to $18 million. This represents the lowest amount of contributions received since the 2010 fiscal year.

Click to Enlarge
I wonder if Hamilton Strategies is aware of this economic catastrophe. The intended agenda of the Target boycott has nothing to do with Target's policies. It is aimed at garnering contributions.

Did I mention that Wildmon is a dim bulb? The Hamiltons have no problem quoting spectacular stupidity because those quotes (and the associated imbecility) seem to originate from Hamilton. Wildmon is willing to spout idiotic talking points because AFA is paying for those idiotic talking points.
"Target's latest announcements about dropping prices, holiday hiring and new product lines seem like desperate attempts to bring shoppers back to its stores after a dismal year," said AFA President Tim Wildmon. "Rather than worrying about prices, revenues and the bottom line, Target should flip its priorities and put the safety of women and children at the top of the list again. Still, nearly a year and a half after the announcement of its dangerous and misguided restroom and fitting room policy, Target continues to open the door for sexual predators and voyeurs who want to take advantage of the policy for their own evil intentions—many frightening incidents have shown they have."
There's that “dismal year” again — written earlier, along with most of Wildmon's nonsense, by the Hamiltons. You would think that someone would have the common sense not to repeat the same material; first from them and then parroted by their client. Moreover, the reality is that Target is enjoying a turn-around year.

As for gender-appropriate access, this has been Target's policy for many years. I cannot find a case nationally of any transgender person using access to commit a crime. I found one incident in Canada. Some quick math on last night's cocktail napkin with an olive stain tells me that transgender people do not present a risk to anyone. That's just common sense. They simply want to pee without drawing attention to themselves. That is their agenda.
To continue strong in the #Boycott Target efforts, AFA is urging several action steps for those who want to hold Target accountable for their irresponsible missteps when it comes to the safety of women and children: …
Presumably some of the rubes in AFA's constituency are going to snub Target and some people and foundations will continue to provide AFA with money. However, this dishonest campaign (and it has been highly dishonest) has not materially affected Target and is unlikely to do so in the future.

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