Hobby Lobby’s Actions Refute Its Hype

Wholly Holy Hobby Lobby – taking its demand to impose its beliefs upon its employees all the way to the Supreme Court — paid for full-page ads in the Independence Day editions of the OKC and Lawton papers touting its desire for an American Theocracy, where the values of good folks like themselves could keep the rest of us in line.

Per usual of its type, the ad was a compendium of cherry-picked, out-of-context misinformation that misrepresents our Founding Fathers and our heritage.

The very next day the story broke that Oklahoma’s most vocal alleged Christians had agreed to pay a $3 million fine for smuggling 5,500 looted Iraqi antiquities into the country.

With the stolen material earmarked for a museum in D.C., the story made national news. Somehow, the OKC-based sponsors of a full-page ad in the OKC paper rated only Page 4 in Section C and didn’t make the Lawton paper until the next day.

From all appearances, the Lawton version was the Associated Press version of the story Paul Monies wrote for The Oklahoman.

The Lawton story, too, was also Buried Inside, which happens to be the title of the unpublished and never-performed play I wrote after my first black-balling from the news business. It deals with the difficulties small-town journalists face getting anything into print that might reflect poorly on local bigwigs.  Evidently, this is not just a small-town predicament.

The good-old-boy version of the thefts was heavy-laden with Hobby Lobby’s self-serving press release. It managed to get Hobby Lobby President Steve Green quoted as saying the company, “should have exercised more oversight,” and reminded us of what upstanding, Christian folks the Greens are.

“Our passion for the Bible continues, and we will do all that we can to support the efforts to conserve items that will help illuminate and enhance our understanding of this Great Book,” Green said.

Monies – who has one of the best names ever for a business writer – didn’t contact any local archaeologists about the looted treasures.  Either that or his efforts were lost in editing.

Other news organization were more enterprising.

Archaeologist Amr Al-Azm, of Shawnee State University, told CBS that Hobby Lobby escaped with a slap on the wrist:

“It was a civil case, which is quite shocking considering the amount of material that was basically looted….The fact is very clear that they knew what they were doing.”

And, if you’re talking about looting Iraqi antiquities, we know who the looters were.

“When you’re buying looted antiquities,” Al-Azm said, “particularly from a war zone like Iraq or Syria, you are most likely aiding, abetting or allowing funds to reach terrorist organizations like ISIS or al-Qaeda.”

This  led some unsympathetic tweeters to challenge Hobby Lobby to identify the truck bombs it had funded or maybe volunteer some reparations for the victims.

Bob Murowchick at Boston University, citing the warning Hobby Lobby had received from its own expert, expressed his doubts to ABC on the company’s claims that it didn’t know what it was doing.

“It’s like the scene in ‘Casablanca’: ‘I am shocked, shocked that there is gambling going on here,’” Murowchick said.

Ancient cuneiform tablets from the Cradle of Civilization were labeled “ceramic tiles” or “clay tiles (samples).” Three hundred such “samples” were valued at $1 each instead of the $84,000 that better represented their value.

The Oklahoma account revealed that, “A dealer based in the United Arab Emirates shipped packages containing the artifacts to three different corporate addresses in Oklahoma City.”

Various shipping manifests claimed that the stolen antiquities originated in Israel or Turkey.

The efforts made to disguise the contents of the smuggled goods and spread out delivery destination lends credence to the archaeologists’ dismay at the civil handling of the case.

“Our goal is, if we can cut down on the demand or make the punishment severe enough, we will have a chain reaction and people will be unwilling to loot,” Murowchick said.

Worse than burying the original, incomplete story deep within its pages, The Oklahoman came out a week later with an editorial that again ignored the evidence, the likely chain of provenance through terrorists and the outrage of professionals.

“Good intentions may have bad results,” they opined, and spun the fiction that their upright advertisers were conducting a salvage operation of sorts. They cited several unrelated cases while ignoring that their own examples showed it is the terrorists doing the looting and destruction; that the acquisition of 5,500 relics probably put dollars into the pockets of those trying to destroy us – crusading Christians especially.

The kicker on the editorial proclaimed, “Policy changes worth considering.”

I’m thinking more along the lines of, “Black marketers deserve their black eye.”
The lies on Holy Lobby’s shipping manifests reflect those on the full-page ads that seem to buy them such positive local coverage.

Writing in Wall of Separation  for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Rob Boston says, “the ad’s purpose is to imply that Christianity once had a prominent place in American law and government but was forced out by the mean old courts.

Identifying the source of the misinformation as David Barton, “the Religious Right’s favorite pseudo-historian,” Boston adds, “It would take a small book to dissect the entire ad.”
Boston chose not to write the small book, and I will cite only two of his examples. The opening  italics are his:
“The ad claims that the Supreme Court struck down ‘voluntary prayer in schools’ in 1962 without using any precedent. First off, there was nothing voluntary about those prayers. In many parts of the country, youngsters were compelled to take part. Moreover, Hobby Lobby’s assertion that the 1962 case, Engel v. Vitale, does not cite precedence is simply wrong, as anyone who takes the time to read it can see.

“The ad distorts James Madison’s views on separation of church and state. By wrenching a quote from context, the ad does a great disservice to James Madison, a primary author of the First Amendment and the Father of the Constitution. Ironically, the quote in question comes from Madison’s 1785 Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments, one of the most powerful defenses of church-state separation ever written. No one who gives that document an honest read could walk away from it believing that Madison favored any form of church-state union.”

Quoting an Independence Day quote of his own, Boston remarks,  “the ‘Christian Nation’ thesis collapses because our Constitution nowhere says that the country is officially Christian. Instead, its First Amendment protects the exercise of all faiths and bars government from establishing any.”

Ironically, while searching for exact quotes from the experts, I ran across the book release information from Holy Hobby Lobby Founder and CEO David Green about the values that govern his business.

No need to read the book; his values are on display.

(Gary Edmondson is Stephens County Democratic Party Chair.)

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OKLAHOMA CITY — Last November, voters answered State Question 780. “They voted to move drug offenses from felonies to misdemeanors for a lot of drug offenses,” said Representative Forrest Bennett, a Democrat. But then HB 1482, known as the “Keep Oklahoma Children Safe from Illegal Drugs Act of 2017” recently passed the house. Bennett voted against…

via Criminal justice reform: State representative says HB 1482 is an insult to voters — KFOR.com

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Oklahoma History and 45’s Immigrantion Solution

I’m a little astounded that so many Oklahomans have forgotten their own history as regards immigration.

During the Dust Bowl, hand bills began to appear, offering work in the fields and groves of California, at $25 a day, a relative fortune to a working man. Many of them sold their land at pennies on the dollar, packed up what they had and headed west.

What they had no way of knowing was that the wealthy land owners in the Central Valley had sent out bushels of these handbills throughout the Midwest and southwestern U. S. , and that when their quota of workers filled up, they called their friends in the state Capitol, and troopers waited at the state line to turn those workers away.

Think about it. A state in the Union turning away United States citizens under law. They had made that long journey for nothing, and had to face crossing the brutal desert again to make it back to a home that no longer existed. Highway 66 is littered with the bones of people who died in route.

Perhaps a closer knowledge of the past would elicit some compassion in their descendants, who are so cavalier about 45’s solution to the migrant issue.

They want you stupid for a reason. Wake up.

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Phillip William Brock

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Steve Brannon “Shock Event”

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What Bannon is doing, most dramatically with last night’s ban on immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries– is creating what is known as a “shock event.”

Such an event is unexpected and confusing and throws a society into chaos. People scramble to react to the event, usually along some fault line that those responsible for the event can widen by claiming that they alone know how to restore order.
When opponents speak out, the authors of the shock event call them enemies. As society reels and tempers run high, those responsible for the shock event perform a sleight of hand to achieve their real goal, a goal they know to be hugely unpopular, but from which everyone has been distracted as they fight over the initial event. There is no longer concerted opposition to the real goal; opposition divides along the partisan lines established by the shock event.

Last night’s Executive Order has all the hallmarks of a shock event. It was not reviewed by any governmental agencies or lawyers before it was released, and counterterrorism experts insist they did not ask for it. People charged with enforcing it got no instructions about how to do so. Courts immediately have declared parts of it unconstitutional, but border police in some airports are refusing to stop enforcing it.

Predictably, chaos has followed and tempers are hot.

My point today is this: unless you are the person setting it up, it is in no one’s interest to play the shock event game. It is designed explicitly to divide people who might otherwise come together so they cannot stand against something its authors think they won’t like.

I don’t know what Bannon is up to– although I have some guesses– but because I know Bannon’s ideas well, I am positive that there is not a single person whom I consider a friend on either side of the aisle– and my friends range pretty widely– who will benefit from whatever it is.

If the shock event strategy works, though, many of you will blame each other, rather than Bannon, for the fallout. And the country will have been tricked into accepting their real goal.

But because shock events destabilize a society, they can also be used positively. We do not have to respond along old fault lines. We could just as easily reorganize into a different pattern that threatens the people who sparked the event.

A successful shock event depends on speed and chaos because it requires knee-jerk reactions so that people divide along established lines. This, for example, is how Confederate leaders railroaded the initial southern states out of the Union.
If people realize they are being played, though, they can reach across old lines and reorganize to challenge the leaders who are pulling the strings. This was Lincoln’s strategy when he joined together Whigs, Democrats, Free-Soilers, anti-Nebraska voters, and nativists into the new Republican Party to stand against the Slave Power.
Five years before, such a coalition would have been unimaginable. Members of those groups agreed on very little other than that they wanted all Americans to have equal economic opportunity. Once they began to work together to promote a fair economic system, though, they found much common ground. They ended up rededicating the nation to a “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.”
Confederate leaders and Lincoln both knew about the political potential of a shock event. As we are in the midst of one, it seems worth noting that Lincoln seemed to have the better idea about how to use it.”

Heather Richardson, professor of History at Boston College:

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The Public’s Viewpoint: Regulations are Protections

George Lakoff

The American Majority got 2.8 million more votes in the 2016 election than the Loser President. That puts the majority in a position to change American political discourse and how Americans understand and think about politics. As a start, what is needed is a change of viewpoint.

Here is a typical example. Minority President Trump has said that he intends to get rid of 75% of government regulations. What is a “regulation”?

The term “regulation” is framed from the viewpoint of corporations and other businesses. From their viewpoint, “regulations” are limitations on their freedom to do whatever they want no matter who it harms. But from the public’s viewpoint, a regulation is a protection against harm done by unscrupulous corporations seeking to maximize profit at the cost of harm to the public.

Imagine our minority President saying out loud that he intends to get rid of 75% of public protections

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Republicans, Climate Change, and the New Reality – LA Progressive

.Trump Destroying Environment — No amount of disassembling and deflecting will change the fact that the Republican Party made this happen.

Source: Republicans, Climate Change, and the New Reality – LA Progressive

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Putting the Constitution Up for Sale

Forget the Bill of Rights, Abbott is proposing a Bill of Sale, effectively transferring the title of our national government from The People to The Plutocrats.

Source: Putting the Constitution Up for Sale

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