“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” - Margaret Mead -
J U LY- AU G. 2 0 1 2 “ Pea ce i s no t j u s t th e a b sen ce o f v io l en ce, b u t th e p re s en ce o f j us t i ce. ” D r. M a r ti n L u th e r K i ng , J r.
OKC Billboards say: Tell Congress “No War On Iran” Three billboards in the OKC metro area are now calling local and interstate drivers on I-35 and I-40 to contact Congress to resist calls for war on Iran. They are sponsored and endorsed by the local group Americans Against the Next War and a coalition of Oklahoma churches, organizations and individuals lending their names an/or support to the project. The billboards were announced at a news conference (see photo at right) held July 10th, at which members of AANW spoke or were quoted. Nathaniel Batchelder of the Peace House, emcee of the event, said that inflammatory language and unsubstantiated accusations about Iran’s intentions in the media are reminiscent of the build-up to war with Iraq. “Our group’s activities have all urged patience and reason, on all sides, to allow diplomacy, negotiations, inspections, and other non-military strategies to resolve whatever differences are of concern in that region. Another war would be a disaster,” he said. Dr. Katherine Scheirman, Col., USAF (ret) said, “The same people who were cheerleading for the Iraq War are now fear-mongering about the threat from Iran.” She said, “I agree with Ron Paul who said that the threat to US security is not Iran, but endless wars.” Oklahoma City resident and donor to the billboards project Bob Lemon said, “I oppose war. I see men and women dying, children losing arms, legs, and eyes, and I just oppose another war.” Jalal Farzaneh, resident of Norman, OK, and member of AANW, said, “Our generals and Secretary of Defense confirm that ... (continued page 3)
Inside this issue:
Oil Spills Challenge Pipeline Safety
Pass the Buffet Fair Tax Rule
Plantation America - a trend to resist
Okla. Conscientious Objectors Honored
St. Stephens UMC Acts on Bullying
THE PEACE HOUSE 2912 N. Robinson Oklahoma City, OK 73103
Sierra Club responds to Daily Oklahoman
Non-profit U.S. Postage Paid Okla. City, OK 73125 Permit No. 1096
Address Service Requested
Building our way out of recession
Page 1, OPS , May-June 2012
by Nathaniel Batchelder, published in the Oklahoma Gazette, July 11, 2012 A recession is no time to cut taxes. I wish those fortunate enough to be able to pay taxes would reflect on public services taken for granted that make for a civilized society: police and fire protection; sewage treatment and water treatment facilities; public schools and teachers who lift our children’s hopes; family services for lives that have run off the rails. Tens of millions of Americans lost jobs resulting from globalization. More millions watched their retirement dreams shattered in the 2008 crash resulting from greedy gambling with other people’s money by Wall Street and banking financiers. Emergency government bail-outs beginning under President Bush probably prevented a depression. So, the national debt is huge, but much of it resulted from waging two wars while cutting taxes, and the crash was caused by unregulated ponzi schemes by criminals. The debt and the crash were not caused by beneficiaries of Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, food stamps, public schools, or aid to families with dependent children. If you live well, be grateful that your taxes are repairing a ruptured economy and society. Taxes fund streets, bridges, and working traffic signals. Taxes once funded mental hospitals for the indigent, now warehoused in jails. Taxes once funded alcohol and drug treatment facilities that kept families together and reduced our prison burdens. Every tax cut eliminates services needed by people struggling to survive in a severe and heartless economy. Oklahoma City’s economic “miracle” resulted from investments in infrastructure that have inspired private rehabbing of old buildings, launching new restaurants, protecting real estate values, injecting wages and inspiring hope in our city. Oklahoma’s prospects could be as bright as Oklahoma City’s, with similar public investment in infrastructure and programs serving the common good. If you have a home and a job, rejoice in the favor that has rewarded your efforts. Celebrate the opportunity your success can provide to extend education, opportunity, and the blessings of society to others. Acts of charity do not build the economic justice that creates ladders of opportunity others need to rise and prosper. Government created the conditions resulting in the debt and crash. Only government can regulate our economy in a way that prevents such abuses. Let’s not cut taxes in fear, but build boldly, knowing that Page 2, OPS, May-June 2012
economic recovery floats all boats and supports a society worthy of us. In the 1950s, as America paid the debts from World War II, depression recovery, and the Marshall Plan, the tax rate on the highest bracket was an astonishing 90%. It was a matter of principle then that those who could pay more should contribute more, as Americans shouldered the load together. We used to be proud of our large middle class. Am I my brother’s keeper? No, Cain, we are all our brother’s brother, brother’s sister, sister’s sister, or sister’s brother. Let us ask everyone to contribute to the common good as members of the family that we are. Let us not permit America to turn its back on the least of these, but rise together as one state and nation.
Sierra Club Response to Daily Oklahoman Editorial The Daily Oklahoman has recently published letters to the editor and an editorial attacking the Sierra Club. The national Executive Director of the Sierra Club, Michael Brune, wrote a response to these attacks. The Daily Oklahoman has never published it. Here is his response.
Building Our Way Out of Recession
To the Editor, In recent weeks, the editorial pages of The Oklahoman have used ample space to heap praise on the oil, gas, and coal industries while attacking anyone interested in defending the health of American families. Oklahomans deserve a complete picture and all the facts about the energy choices we have – and the facts are simple. Across the country, natural gas companies are exploiting legal loopholes in decades-old safeguards in order to blast diesel fuel, kerosene and other toxins into our water supplies as part of the fracking process. While gas companies fight any law requiring they inform local citizens of these activities, entire communities get stuck with poisoned drinking water that is in some cases is actually flammable. Meanwhile, coal-fired power plants pump mercury, arsenic and other life-threatening pollutants into the air we breathe every day, causing asthma in our kids, sending thousands to the hospital, and costing us more than $100 billion in health costs every year. These dangerous threats to our families and our communi-
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Oklahoma Peace Strategy News is produced by The Peace House in Oklahoma City. It has been published since 1983. It is written, compiled, typeset, composed, labeled, and mailed by volunteers. Letters to the Editor and articles submitted for publication are welcome. They must be signed with a phone number and address for the author; however, requests for anonymous publication will be considered. OPS News reserves the right to edit for space and to refuse publication of statements that are libelous or unsubstantiated. Send to: The Peace House 2912 N. Robinson Okla. City, OK 73103 Or to firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 405-524-5577 Peace Education Institute 11404 N. Midwest Blvd. Jones, OK 73049 405-204-6479
Billboards—continued from page one. Iran is not building nuclear weapons. We ask Congress to say no to a war on Iran based on faulty intelligence, and to not put our troops in harm’s way. A war with Iran would not serve America’s interests.” Gold Star father John Scripsick of Wayne, OK, lost his son Bryan to a car bomb attack in Iraq in 2007. Scripsick meets with the AANW group and said at the news conference, “If our efforts can save one soldier from what happened to my son and our family it will all be worth it.” Scripsick feels strongly that those responsible for getting the US into a war with Iraq based on “faulty intelligence” should be held accountable. Rev. Bruce Prescott, Executive Director of Mainstream Oklahoma Baptists also meets with the AANW group. Prescott said, “Frankly, I am opposed to nuclear weaponry in any nat ion’s arsenal. As long as the world turns a blind eye to nuclear weapons in Pakistan and Israel, it is hypocritical to be alarmed about the possibility that Iran might acquire them. We need to be working for the nuclear disarmament of all nations.” A partial list of endorsing and sponsoring churches and organizations includes Mayflower Congregational Church, UCC, First Unitarian Church of OKC, Church of the Open Arms, UCC, the Board of Church & Society of the Oklahoma United Methodist Conference, Joy Mennonite Church, Tulsa Peace Fellowship, National Lawyers Guild of Oklahoma, Peace Education Institute, Oklahoma Center for Conscience and Peace Research, and othBob Lemon of Oklaers. homa City was a doIndividuals endorsing or sponsoring the nor to the billboard project include OKC attorney Rex Friend, project and speaker Randall Smith, State Senator Constance Johnat the news conferson, President of the OKC United Nations Asence, July 10th. sociation Bill Bryant, University of Oklahoma
Please Help The Peace House Oklahoma City’s Peace House depends upon your contributions — all sizes — to survive. Please use the “coupon” at right to return a donation supporting peace activism in Oklahoma City. Send us your suggestions, and the names and addresses of friends you’d like to receive our newspapers and mailings, which we send free to everyone. The Peace House collaborates with many groups and individuals to bring about public events, peace walks, demonstrations, speakers, editorials, educational events, peace camps … and a host of activities relating to human rights, economic justice and environmental sustainability. If you know us, you know it’s true. The Peace House website — www.peacehouseok.org — is updated frequently and regularly to share announcements, alerts, photos, and essays about peace as well as events and links to other organizations with whom we are aligned. Thanks to all who help! Thanks to all who will help us now!
Associate Professor Dr. Martha Skeeters, and Iraq War veteran Kenneth Meador. A complete list of churches, organizations and individuals endorsing or cosponsoring the billboard project can be found on the website AmericansAgainstTheNextWar.org. The website is on the three billboards, inviting comments. The AANW group sponsored full page ads earlier this year in the Tulsa World and Oklahoma Gazette, quoting retired US generals and two Secretaries of State, agreeing that war with Iran would be catastrophic.
Sierra Club Response
Continued from page 2 ties put an unacceptable price tag on dirty energy -- which is why the Sierra Club’s 1.4 million members and supporters fight them every day. And more Americans are recognizing that we don’t have to sacrifice clean air, clean water, and the health of our families for jobs and reliable energy. That’s why millions are speaking up for clean energy and speaking out against big polluters that would put their profits before our health. Clean energy doesn’t just mean healthy families – it means Oklahoma jobs. Thousands now work in clean energy, while growth in the sector outpaced growth in the overall economy. Oklahoma Secretary of Energy Mike Ming – himself a former oil executive – declared that clean energy “has been a significant driver of economic growth in the state” and will “continue to be a strong area for economic growth in the near future.” The U.S. and Oklahoma can do better for our health and our economy by choosing clean energy. We can make wind turbines and solar panels in the U.S. -- and we’re already doing that right here in Oklahoma. While oil, gas, and coal companies consistently show they are willing to risk public health to boost their profits, Oklahomans deserve the truth about the energy choices that protect the future of their economy and the health of their families. Sincerely, Michael Brune, National Sierra Club Executive Director
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Send to: PEACE HOUSE 2912 N. Robinson Oklahoma City, OK 73103 Page 3, OPS , May-June 2012
Third Oil Spill Fuels Calls for Alberta Pipeline Review By Nathan Vanderklippe and Carrie Tait The Globe and Mail, Calgary Published Tuesday, Jun. 19 2012, 6:34 PM EDT About 230,000 litres of heavy crude oil spilled from a pumping station on an Enbridge Inc. pipeline onto farmland, Alberta’s oil and gas regulator, the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB), said Tuesday. The regulator said 1,450 barrels of oil spilled from a pumping station on Enbridge’s Athabasca pipeline, 24 kilometres from Elk Point, Alta., a small town roughly 200 kilometres northeast of Edmonton. That pipeline, briefly shut down but then restarted Tuesday, connects the oil sands with Hardisty, Canada’s most important crude oil hub. The spill comes while crews are still working to clean up two other large leaks in Alberta, nearly 800,000 litres of oil from a Pace Oil & Gas Ltd. well about 200 kilometres from the Northwest Territories border, and 160,000 to 480,000 litres from a Plains Midstream Canada pipeline that ruptured beneath the Red Deer River. Environmental groups are now seizing on the confluence of accidents, which includes another massive spill from a Plains pipe last year, to call for an expansive look at pipeline safety in Alberta. “Given the significant number of pipeline spills in recent months, Alberta should conduct a review of the integrity of Alberta’s pipeline system,” said Simon Dyer, policy director with Alberta’s the Pembina Institute. “Pipeline spills are inevitable but the risks can be reduced through stronger regulation and practices.” The ERCB defended the province’s rules. “Alberta has a fairly strong safety record of pipeline safety regardless of the recent incidents,” spokesman Darin Barter said. “I couldn’t speculate on whether the province should or shouldn’t call any sort of
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Support The Peace Education Institute The Peace Education Institute is committed to educational and practical opportunities for people to explore nonviolent living options. We need your support. Send your contributions to: The Peace Education Institute 11404 N. Midwest Blvd. Jones, OK 73049 Contributions to “PEI” ARE tax-deductible. Page 4, OPS, May-June 2012
review of pipelines because I know our pipelines, at this point, we consider to be adequate.” In 2010, the province averaged nearly two pipeline failures a day, spilling 9,350 litres. Mr. Barter said Alberta’s record may look ugly compared with other areas because it demands all incidents be reported. He acknowledged, however, that “there’s also room to improve and we’ll be looking at everything in front of us. But at this point, the ERCB is confident its regulations are protective of public safety.” Enbridge, in a statement, blamed “a failure of a flange gasket” for the spill and said “there is no risk to public health or safety.” Pipeline safety is a critical issue for Alberta, as its government mounts a major domestic and international initiative to convince people in British Columbia and the U.S. that a series of new oil sands pipelines – including Keystone XL and Northern Gateway, an Enbridge proposal – can be built without causing environmental damage. That has made the subject of spills a touchy one that officials have sought to play down. On Tuesday, for example, Alberta’s Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development said the recent spills are not necessarily cause for alarm, noting they happened in different parts of the province. Editor’s note: Both the national and Oklahoma Sierra Club are among the environmental groups following these issues. Their websites: National: www.sierraclub.org Oklahoma: oklahoma.sierraclub.org/ oklahoma2.sierraclub.org oklahoma.sierraclub.org/cimarron
Contact Elected Officials:
PETITION: Pass the Buffett Rule NOW!
The White House Washington, DC 20500 202-456-1111 (comments) 202-456-1414 (switchboard) FAX: 202-456-2461
Join Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) in supporting "The (Warren) Buffett Rule" for fair taxation of all Americans, especially restoration of taxes on the highest-income brackets.
Congressional Switchboard (202) 224-3121 (202) 225-3121 Mail: US Senate US Senate Washington, DC 20510 Mail: (Name of Rep.) US House of Representatives Washington, DC 20515 Senator Tom Coburn (OK) DC Tel: (202) 224-5754 DC Fax: (202) 224-6008 OKC Ofc: (405) 231-4941 Tulsa Ofc: (918) 581-7651 Senator Jim Inhofe (OK) DC Tel: (202) 224-4721 DC Fax: (202) 228-0380 OKC Ofc: (405) 608-4381 Tulsa Ofc: (918) 748-5111 U.S. Representatives (OK) Dist 1: John Sullivan (Tul) DC Tel: (202) 225-2211 DC Fax: (202) 225-9187 Tulsa ofc: (918) 749-0014 Dist 2: Dan Boren (Musk) DC Tel: (202) 225-2701 DC Fax: (202) 225-3038 Muskogee: (918) 687-2533 Dist 3: Frank Lucas (W. OKC) DC Tel: (202) 225-5565 DC Fax: (202) 225-8698 OKC Ofc: (405) 373-1958 Dist 4: Tom Cole (Nrm & S.) DC Tel: (202) 225-6165 DC Fax: (202) 225-3512 Norman Ofc: (405) 329-6500 Dist 5: James Lankford (OKC) DC Tel: (202) 225-2132 DC Fax: (202) 226-1463 OKC Ofc: (405) 234-9900
The Buffett Rule is a common-sense tax reform that ensure everyone making over a million dollars a year pays the same tax rate as a middle income family. It’s named for Warren Buffett, a billionaire investor who often wondered why he pays a much, much lower effective tax rate than his secretary, despite his massive wealth compared to her modest income. Progressives like Tammy Baldwin are fighting hard to pass the Buffett rule because for too long, there’s actually been two tax systems in America. One for the hyper-rich who take advantage of loopholes galore, and another for the middle class families who play by the rules and often wind up paying a higher tax rate than the very wealthy. Support the Buffett Rule — ensure that all Americans play by the rules, and pay their fair share. http://www.tammybaldwin.com/petition/w1202brg/ What if millions of Americans supported The Buffett Rule?? ****************************************************************************
Tell President Obama and Secretary Chu: Stop taxpayer loans for Georgia reactors! This is big. The $8.3 Billion taxpayer loan for construction of two new reactors at the Vogtle site in Georgia, the centerpiece of the Obama Administration's support for the "nuclear renaissance," may be blocked--by the Obama Administration. You can help make this happen. The Department of Energy last week extended the deadline for completion of the loan package until the end of 2012--an indication this loan is in serious trouble. WE CAN STOP THIS LOAN AND END THE ENTIRE NUCLEAR LOAN PROGRAM! According to an article from the industry publication Platt's, the nuclear industry is growing increasingly worried that the White House's Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which also must approve the loan, will not give its final approval. That's because the nuclear industry wants a sweetheart deal--one where Southern Company has to put up virtually none of its own money and where all financial risk is laid squarely on the shoulder of taxpayers. But both OMB and DOE have come under scathing criticism, especially from Congressional Republicans, over the failure of the Solyndra solar company loan granted by the Administration. And the proposed Vogtle loan would be 15 times larger (and far riskier) than the one given to Solyndra. Thus, the Administration is being much more cautious over the Vogtle loan than it would have been when first agreed to more than two years ago. And the more public scrutiny the Administration receives--and the more letters we send--the more likely that caution will lead to a cancellation of this loan. Our actions now matter--a lot. It may not be too much to say that the strength of our actions now could determine the fate of new nuclear power in the U.S. Tell President Obama and Secretary Chu below to stop these loans now. Petition at: http:// org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5502/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=9662
Hon. Steven Chu Secretary of Energy Washington, DC Contact one or more of them Fax:(202) 586-4403
President Barack Obama Phone:(202) 456-1111 Fax:(202) 456-2461
NIRS has also has a petition for much more stringent emergency planning for nuclear power plants and provides an avenue for action at: http:// org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5502/p/dia/ action/public/?action_KEY=10720
Executive Director, Nuclear Information and Resource Service email@example.com Page 5, OPS , May-June 2012
Plantation America (a trend we must resist) AlterNet/by Sara Robinson, June 28, 2012 |
Conservative Southern Values Revived: How a Brutal Strain of American Aristocrats Have Come to Rule America America didn't used to be run like an old Southern slave plantation, but we're headed that way now. How did that happen? It's been said that the rich are different than you and me. What most Americans don't know is that they're also quite different from each other, and that which faction is currently running the show ultimately makes a vast difference in the kind of country we are. Right now, a lot of our problems stem directly from the fact that the wrong sort has finally gotten the upper hand; a particularly brutal and antidemocratic strain of American aristocrat that the other elites have mostly managed to keep away from the levers of power since the Revolution. Worse: this bunch has set a very ugly tone that's corrupted how people with power and money behave in every corner of our culture. Here's what happened, and how it happened, and what it means for America now. North versus South: Two Definitions of Liberty Michael Lind first called out the existence of this conflict in his 2006 book, Made in Texas: George W. Bush and the Southern Takeover of American Politics. He argued that much of American history has been characterized by a struggle between two historical factions among the American elite -and that the election of George W. Bush was a definitive sign that the wrong side was winning.
more land. Woodward described the culture they created in the crescent stretching from Charleston, SC around to New Orleans this way:
It was a near-carbon copy of the West Indian slave state these Barbadians had left behind, a place notorious even then for its inhumanity....From the outset, Deep Southern culture was based on radical disparities in wealth and power, with a tiny elite commanding total obedience and enforcing it with state-sponsored terror. Its expansionist ambitions would put it on a collision course with its Yankee rivals, triggering military, social, and political conflicts that continue to plague the United States to this day. David Hackett Fischer, whose Albionâ€™s Seed: Four British Folkways in America informs both Lind's and Woodard's work, described just how deeply undemocratic the Southern aristocracy was, and still is. He documents how these elites have always feared and opposed universal literacy, public schools and libraries, and a free press. (Lind adds that they have historically been profoundly anti-technology as well, far preferring solutions that involve finding more serfs and throwing them at a problem whenever possible. Why buy a bulldozer when 150 convicts on a chain gang can grade your road instead?) Unlike the Puritan elites, who wore their wealth For most of our history, American economics, culture and politics have modestly and dedicated themselves to the common good, Southern elites been dominated by a New England-based Yankee aristocracy that was sank their money into ostentatious homes and clothing and the pursuit of rooted in Puritan communitarian values, educated at the Ivies and maripleasure -- including lavish parties, games of fortune, predatory sexual nated in an ethic of noblesse oblige (the conviction that those who possess conquests, and blood sports involving ritualized animal abuse spectacles. wealth and power are morally bound to use it for the betterment of society). While they've done their share of damage to the notion of democracy But perhaps the most destructive piece of the Southern elites' worldin the name of profit (as all financial elites inevitably do), this group has, view is the extremely anti-democratic way it defined the very idea of libfor the most part, tempered its predatory instincts with a code that valued erty. In Yankee Puritan culture, both liberty and authority resided mostly mass education and human rights; held up public service as both a duty with the community, and not so much with individuals. Communities had and an honor; and imbued them with the belief that once you made your both the freedom and the duty to govern themselves as they wished nut, you had a moral duty to do something positive with it for the better(through town meetings and so on), to invest in their collective good, and ment of mankind. Your own legacy depended on this. to favor or punish individuals whose behavior enhanced or threatened the Among the presidents, this strain gave us both Roosevelts, Woodrow whole (historically, through community rewards such as elevation to posiWilson, John F. Kennedy, and Poppy Bush -- nerdy, wonky intellectuals tions of public authority and trust; or community punishments like shamwho, for all their faults, at least took the business of good government seri- ing, shunning or banishing). ously. Among financial elites, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet still both parIndividuals were expected to balance their personal needs and desires take strongly of this traditional view of wealth as power to be used for against the greater good of the collective -- and, occasionally, to make sacgood. Even if we don't like their specific choices, the core impulse to imrifices for the betterment of everyone. (This is why the Puritan wealthy prove the world is a good one -- and one that's been conspicuously absent tended to dutifully pay their taxes, tithe in their churches and donate generin other aristocratic cultures. ously to create hospitals, parks and universities.) In return, the community Which brings us to that other great historical American nobility -- the had a solemn and inescapable moral duty to care for its sick, educate its plantation aristocracy of the lowland South, which has been notable young and provide for its needy -- the kind of support that maximizes each throughout its 400-year history for its utter lack of civic interest, its hostil- person's liberty to live in dignity and achieve his or her potential. A Yanity to the very ideas of democracy and human rights, its love of hierarchy, kee community that failed to provide such support brought shame upon its fear of technology and progress, its reliance on brutality and violence to itself. To this day, our progressive politics are deeply informed by this Pumaintain â€œorder,â€? and its outright celebration of inequality as an order di- ritan view of ordered liberty. vinely ordained by God. In the old South, on the other hand, the degree of liberty you enjoyed As described by Colin Woodard in American Nations: The Eleven Rival was a direct function of your God-given place in the social hierarchy. The Regional Cultures of North America, the elites of the Deep South are dehigher your status, the more authority you had, and the more "liberty" you scended mainly from the owners of sugar, rum and cotton plantations from could exercise -- which meant, in practical terms, that you had the right to Barbados -- the younger sons of the British nobility who'd farmed up the take more "liberties" with the lives, rights and property of other people. Caribbean islands, and then came ashore to the southern coasts seeking (Continued, next page) Page 6, OPS, May-June 2012
Plantation, contâ€™d: Like an English lord unfettered from the Magna Carta, nobody had the authority to tell a Southern gentleman what to do with resources under his control. In this model, that's what liberty is. If you don't have the freedom to rape, beat, torture, kill, enslave, or exploit your underlings (including your wife and children) with impunity -- or abuse the land, or enforce rules on others that you will never have to answer to yourself -- then you can't really call yourself a free man. When a Southern conservative talks about "losing his liberty," the loss of this absolute domination over the people and property under his control -- and, worse, the loss of status and the resulting risk of being held accountable for laws that he was once exempt from -- is what he's really talking about. In this view, freedom is a zero-sum game. Anything that gives more freedom and rights to lower-status people can't help but put serious limits on the freedom of the upper classes to use those people as they please. It cannot be any other way. So they find Yankee-style rights expansions absolutely intolerable, to the point where they're willing to fight and die to preserve their divine right to rule. Once we understand the two different definitions of "liberty" at work here, a lot of other things suddenly make much more sense. We can understand the traditional Southern antipathy to education, progress, public investment, unionization, equal opportunity, and civil rights. The fervent belief among these elites that they should completely escape any legal or social accountability for any harm they cause. Their obsessive attention to where they fall in the status hierarchies. And, most of all -- the unremitting and unapologetic brutality with which they've defended these "liberties" across the length of their history. When Southerners quote Patrick Henry -- "Give me liberty or give me death" -- what they're really demanding is the unquestioned, unrestrained right to turn their fellow citizens into supplicants and subjects. The Yankee elites have always known this -- and feared what would happen if that kind of aristocracy took control of the country. And that tension between these two very different views of what it means to be "elite" has inflected our history for over 400 years. The Battle Between the Elites Since shortly after the Revolution, the Yankee elites have worked hard to keep the upper hand on America's culture, economy and politics -- and much of our success as a nation rests on their success at keeping plantation culture sequestered in the South, and its scions largely away from the levers of power. If we have to have an elite -- and there's never been a society as complex as ours that didn't have some kind of upper class maintaining social order -- we're far better off in the hands of one that's essentially meritocratic, civic-minded and generally believes that it will do better when everybody else does better, too. The Civil War was, at its core, a military battle between these two elites for the soul of the country. It pitted the more communalist, democratic and industrialized Northern vision of the American future against the hierarchical, aristocratic, agrarian Southern one. Though the Union won the war, the fundamental conflict at its root still hasn't been resolved to this day. (The current conservative culture war is the Civil War still being refought by other means.) After the war, the rise of Northern industrialists and the dominance of Northern universities and media ensured that subsequent generations of the American power elite continued to subscribe to the Northern worldview -- even when the individual leaders came from other parts of the country. Ironically, though: it was that old Yankee commitment to national betterment that ultimately gave the Southern aristocracy its big chance to break out and go national. According to Lind, it was easy for the Northeast
to hold onto cultural, political and economic power as long as all the country's major banks, businesses, universities, and industries were headquartered there. But the New Deal -- and, especially, the post-war interstate highways, dams, power grids, and other infrastructure investments that gave rise to the Sun Belt -- fatally loosened the Yankees' stranglehold on national power. The gleaming new cities of the South and West shifted the American population centers westward, unleashing new political and economic forces with real power to challenge the Yankee consensus. And because a vast number of these westward migrants came out of the South, the elites that rose along with these cities tended to hew to the old Southern code, and either tacitly or openly resist the moral imperatives of the Yankee canon. The soaring postwar fortunes of cities like Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Houston, Dallas, and Atlanta fed that ancient Barbadian slaveholder model of power with plenty of room and resources to launch a fresh and unexpected 20th-century revival. According to historian Darren Dochuk, the author of From Bible Beld to Sunbelt: Plain-Folk Religion, Grassroots Politics, and the Rise of Evangelical Conservatism, these post-war Southerners and Westerners drew their power from the new wealth provided by the defense, energy, real estate, and other economic booms in their regions. They also had a profound evangelical conviction, brought with them out of the South, that God wanted them to take America back from the Yankee liberals -- a conviction that expressed itself simultaneously in both the formation of the vast postwar evangelical churches (which were major disseminators of Southern culture around the country); and in their takeover of the GOP, starting with Barry Goldwater's campaign in 1964 and culminating with Ronald Reagan's election in 1980. They countered Yankee hegemony by building their own universities, grooming their own leaders and creating their own media. By the 1990s, they were staging the RINO hunts that drove the last Republican moderates (almost all of them Yankees, by either geography or cultural background) and the meritocratic order they represented to total extinction within the GOP. A decade later, the Tea Party became the voice of the unleashed id of the old Southern order, bringing it forward into the 21st century with its full measure of selfishness, racism, superstition, and brutality intact. Plantation America From its origins in the fever swamps of the lowland south, the worldview of the old Southern aristocracy can now be found nationwide. Buttressed by the arguments of Ayn Rand -- who updated the ancient slaveholder ethic for the modern age -- it has been exported to every corner of the culture, infected most of our other elite communities and killed off all but the very last vestiges of noblesse oblige. It's not an overstatement to say that we're now living in Plantation America. As Lind points out: to the horror of his Yankee father, George W. Bush proceeded to run the country exactly like Woodard's description of a Barbadian slavelord. And Barack Obama has done almost nothing to roll this victory back. We're now living in an America where rampant inequality is accepted, and even celebrated. Torture and extrajudicial killing have been reinstated, with no due process required. The wealthy and powerful are free to abuse employees, break laws, destroy the commons, and crash the economy -- without ever being held to account. The rich flaunt their ostentatious wealth without even the pretense of humility, modesty, generosity, or gratitude. (Continued, next page) Page 7, OPS , May-June 2012
The military -- always a Southerndominated institution -- sucks down 60% of our federal discretionary spending, and is undergoing a rapid evangelical takeover as well. Our police are being given paramilitary training and powers that are completely out of line with their duty to serve and protect, but much more in keeping with a mission to subdue and suppress. Even liberal cities like Seattle are now home to the kind of local justice that used to be the hallmark of small-town Alabama sheriffs. Segregation is increasing everywhere. The rights of women and people of color are under assault. Violence against leaders who agitate for progressive change is up. Racist organizations are undergoing a renaissance nationwide. We are withdrawing government investments in public education, libraries, infrastructure, health care, and technological innovation -- in many areas, to the point where we are falling behind the standards that prevail in every other developed country. Elites who dare to argue for increased investment in the common good, and believe that we should lay the groundwork for a better future, are regarded as not just silly and soft-headed, but also inviting underclass revolt. The Yankees thought that government's job was to better the lot of the lower classes. The Southern aristocrats believe that its real purpose is to deprive the lower classes of all possible means of rising up against their betters. The rich are different now because the elites who spent four centuries Vision and Action sucking the South dry and turning it for Ending War into an economic and political backwater have now vanquished the more Education/Outreach on forward-thinking, democratic NorthConscience and Military ern elites. Their attitudes towards Legal Services for freedom, authority, community, govConscientious Objectors ernment, and the social contract Counter recruitment/peace aren't just confined to the country education tools clubs of the Gulf Coast; they can now War Resisters League be found on the ground from Hollyaffiliate wood and Silicon Valley to Wall Street. And because of that quiet 504 NE 15th St., OKC 73104 coup, the entire US is now turning Phone 405.598.7362 into the global equivalent of a Deep centerforconscience.org South state. As long as America runs according to
N EW M EDIA
Web Sites - design, hosting, administration Print and digital publication production Publicity and online marketing Specializing in nonprofit/grassroots groups
Rena Guay Page 8, OPS, May-June 2012
Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin's 2012 "tax cut" proposal would have lowered taxes on the wealthiest Oklahomans and raised taxes on lowerincome tax brackets. This is the POLITICS OF THE 1% against the interests of THE 99%. VOTER REGISTRATION takes place at any tag agency or any County Election Board. -Help others get registered - If you moved, you must re-register - If you haven't voted in a long time, you may need to re-register. - To vote, you will need to have a photo I.D.
You are invited to a farewell dinner celebration for the Benedictine Sisters of Red Plains Monastery, Piedmont The Sisters of Benedict of Red Plains Monastery are moving to Atchison, Kansas On July 29, 2012 at Epiphany Catholic Church Hall 7336 W Britton Road, OKC
4:30 pm Gather in the foyer 5:00 pm Worship (you need to be seated at a table)
6:15 pm Celebrating Legacy 7:00 pm Blessing and sending forth Please bless the Sisters with a 8 ½ “x 11” page of your memories or photos for a scrapbook.
Democracy done digitally
the rules of Southern politics, economics and culture, we're no longer free citizens exercising our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as we've always understood them. Instead, we're being treated like serfs on Massa's plantation -- and increasingly, we're being granted our liberties only at Massa's pleasure. Welcome to Plantation America. Sara Robinson, MS, APF is a social futurist and the editor of AlterNet's Vision page.
PROUD TO BE UNION
RSVP before July 19th to Marge Delaney, by email firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a voicemail at 424-1025.
Oklahoma Conscientious Objectors Honored by Rena Guay, OCCPR Executive Director On May 12, in honor of International Conscientious Objector’s Day, the Oklahoma Center for Conscience and Peace Research presented its 2012 Oklahoma Conscience Award. Our annual recognition, begun in 2011, honors an Oklahoma citizen (or organization) for extraordinary courage and commitment in opposing war. This year, OCCPR decided to honor a multiple individuals who each made a tremendous sacrifice to uphold their personal resistance to war, yet whose act of conscience is almost completely unknown to their fellow citizens -- conscientious objectors from, living in or stationed in Oklahoma, or who served their sentence in the federal prison in El Reno. The recipients of the award included Lawrence Hart, a Cheyenne peace chief who retired as a pilot in the Air Force to serve his people as a role model of nonviolence; Joshua Key, the first Iraqi War CO who fled to Canada rather than return to what he considered an immoral war; as well as members of the Mennonite, Quaker and Brethren historic peace churches, and other faith-led COs who served in demanding, often dangerous, public service jobs as an alternative to fighting. One recipient, whose family requests anonymity, received the award posthumously. After deserting during the Vietnam conflict, he was stripped of his citizenship and US passport, which was only restored shortly before his death in 2011. His daughter requested he be included when she heard about the award going to COs this year; she told us that it meant a lot to her, to have her father remembered and honored for his position of conscious regarding the war he was asked to fight, and the great sacrifice he paid for it. Excepts of her emails were shared at the event, which brought most of the audience to tears. Recipients received a personalized certificate and an autographed copy of Joshua Key’s 2007 book, A Deserter’s Tale, in which he recounts the war crimes he witnessed in Ramadi and his subsequent refusal to return. Key, too, expressed his gratitude to OCCPR and those in attendance for being among those honored, which he noted was a welcome change from how many perceive his 2004 desertion. The small-town boy from Guthrie still resides in Canada, making a new life in Manitoba, “the most Oklahoma-like part of the country.” The award program, held at Mayflower Congregational UCC Church in Oklahoma City, included a recounting of the history of COs in Oklahoma from Moses Mast; a Q and A with local COs Moses Mast, Ralph Edinger and Bruce Johnson; a taped phone interview with Key by James Branum, who also read selected excerpts from Key’s book; and music by Joy Mennonite Church and friends, performing two peace-themed hymns. The annual event also serves as OCCPR’s major fundraiser, and we
Moses Mast, Ralph Ediger and Bruce Johnson recount their experience as COs at a recent program honoring their war resistance and public service in lieu of combat.
are grateful that this year, as always, our friends and supporters were so generous. The work of OCCPR includes legal support, and because of donations we are able to maintain an attorney, James Branum, as our Legal Director. James provides legal counsel for conscientious objectors across the country, trains other attorneys and GI rights counselors, and writes about matters of conscience and law. His is a unique voice of faith, conviction and experience that needs to be heard by many more people, which our other program work seeks to publish and promote We hold our award ceremony and fundraiser in mid-May to mark International Conscientious Objector’s Day, which is officially on May 15. We are grateful to all those who helped plan or promote, or host the event this year, especially Joy Mennonite Church, the Peace House, and Mayflower. The Oklahoma Center for Conscience and Peace Research was founded in 2004 and is supported by sponsoring churches and organizations: Joy Mennonite Church, the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), Catholic Peace Fellowship, Pax Christi, Mayflower UCC, and generous donors in Oklahoma and beyond. We are the state affiliate of the War Resisters League and work with many local, state and national organizations that share our desire to end war and provide support for those who oppose war and militarism. For more information, visit centerforconscience.org or call (405)771-4743. Page 9, OPS , May-June 2012
In the Wake of Fukushima: The Energy Department REDUCES Emergency Preparedness Requirements Robert Alvarez Senior Scholar, Institute for Policy Studies Having the Energy Department control radiation health research makes as much sense as giving tobacco companies the authority to see if smoking is bad for you.
ing in a radiation-contaminated environment. Although doses in a peerreviewed study of 19 groups of children living near Chernobyl were consistently lower than the MIT mouse study, most showed lasting genetic damage from radiation. "MIT's presentation of its study as the first scientific ever examination of the genetic risks of living in a nuclear disaster zone is pure science fiction, not fact," Goddard concludes.
Last month, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) heralded an Energy Department funded study indicating that evacuation zones around nuclear power stations might not be needed after a major nuclear accident. The study, which exposed mice to radiation levels comparable to those near the Fukushima nuclear disaster, found no evidence of genetic harm. "There are no data that say that's a dangerous level," says Jacquelyn Yanch, a leader of the study. According to the MIT press release "current U.S. regulations require that residents of any area that reaches radiation levels eight times higher than background should be evacuated. However, the financial and emotional cost of such relocation may not be worthwhile, the researchers say."
Even more troubling, the Obama administration reduced emergency preparedness in case of a major nuclear accident in a quiet announcement made six months ago, right before Christmas -- virtually guaranteeing minimal media attention. Given that the number of people living near nuclear stations has grown four-and-a-half times larger since 1980, a move in the opposite direction would make more sense. Yet, the government's low priority for radiation protection is underscored by the Environmental Protection Agency's Inspector General, who recently reported as radioactive fallout from the Fukushima nuclear site drifted over the U.S., 20 percent of EPA's radiation monitoring stations were out of service for more than 6 months.
It's quite a leap to claim that evacuation zones around nuclear power plants might not be needed based on the chromosomes of 112 irradiated mice. In a devastating critique, blogger, Ian Goddard points out that the MIT study excluded extensive evidence of genetic damage to humans liv-
Also, during early stages of the Fukushima accident, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) officially doubled the baseline annual public radiation dose from the environment by adding medical procedures. According the NRC this dose, " has not been shown to cause humans any harm." Although medical radiation exposures have soared over the past several years, unlike accidental nuclear power releases, an x-ray involves a choice by the patient and doctor. Moreover, in 1970, the world's largest human study of pregnancy x-rays reported that NRC's harmless dose more than doubles the risk of childhood cancer.
FULL MOON DRUMMING DATES Fridays nearest the full moon, at 8:30pm With the Peace Education Institute At MettaWing Corner of E. Wilshire & Post Rd. August 3 August 31 September 28
The Peace Education Institute Visit our website for more information, location & directions www.PeaceEducationInstitute.org
Observations based on radiation-exposed humans have long been considered of greater scientific importance, some which were obtained with a callous lack of ethics. In March 1954, after the U.S. exploded an H-bomb in the Marshall Islands that released a roughly comparable amount of cesium-137 as the Fukushima accident, Japanese fishermen and Marshallese were exposed to life-threatening doses of radioactive fallout while forcing Japan to confiscate four million pounds of fish. Two years later, medical advisors to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC now DOE) secretly recommended returning the Marshallese people to their homes after being told they would be living in "by far the most contaminated place in the world." At the meeting an AEC expert stated," it would be very interesting to go back and get good environmental data... when people live in a contaminated environment... While it is true that these people do not live, I would say, the way Westerners do, civilized people, it is nevertheless also true that they are more like us than the mice." Given this well-documented history of deception, why is the government reducing nuclear emergency preparedness and claiming no harm from radiation exposure, right after a major nuclear power disaster? The answer lies in the fact that since the 1940's, the United States remains a major pillar of nuclear support here and around the world. Currently, about 70 percent of the Department of Energy's $26.3 billion budget goes for (Continued, next page)
Page 10, OPS, May-June 2012
Peace House Donors, Jan.1 through July 7 — We are grateful!! KAY ADAIR LEE AGNEW & LONNIE CORDER AGNEW BOB ALDRIDGE DOROTHY ALEXANDER VALERIE J. ALLEN KATHRYN & ANDY ANDERSON MONA BAIRD LOIS BARBER PAUL BARBY FANNIE BATES CARA & RONALD BEER NAN BINDER-SMITH ROBERT & SHARON BISH LINDA BLACKERBY FRED & SUE BLACKMON DAVID BLATT TERRY & KAY BRITTON RON BURKARD NANCY CAIN .SHERRY BACUS SCOTT & JERRY CARROLL JACK CLIFFORD ORRA G. COMPTON MARGARET COX DAVID & BETTY CRAIGHEAD LOIS & RAY CROOKS KATHY CULLINAN R.L. DOYLE "OZIE, KAY AND ANTHONY" EDWARDS ROBERT & HARRIETTE ELLIOTT HAWTHORNE FARR JALAL FARZANEH THURMA FIEGEL CHRISTY A FINSEL MARGARET FLANSBURG JOHN S. AND GAIL P. FLETCHER MARY FRANCIS TOM FREDGREN & ELLEN FRANK NAOMI FRENCH GUS W FRIEDRICH MIKE FULLER
GAIL GARLOCH JANE & BILL GARTHOEFFNER SUSAN A GONZALEZ DIXIE MOSIER GREENE JOHN & FRANCIS GRIFFIN DAVID GROW JIM HANKINS FRANCES HARBERT DIANE HARDERSEN WILLIAM R. HENRY LOIS & R.E. HILBERT JIM & CAROLYN HOLLORAN JILL HOLMES JEAN HUBINGER TERRY AND REBECCA JAMES BARBARA HAGEN & BRUCE JOHNSON EDWIN KESSLER MARTHA & BILL KING BERYL & ESTHER KINGSBURY MARY JO KINZIE WILMA J & PERRY KLAASSEN JOAN & MICHAEL KORENBLIT JIM LAZALIER CONNIE LEAHY BOB LEMON & ROBYN LEMON SELLERS ROGER LIENKE JOHN R LONG JANIS LOVE GENE M KASMAR & KERRY LUND PHYLLIS MCKENZIE & PETER MAHER RUTH MALES MOSES & SADIE MAST JIM "MAXEY,D.D.S." JAMES MCUSIC GORDON & JUDY MELSON MARY MENGES MYERS DOROTHY MESSENGER MR. & MRS. T.H MILBY DAVID MILLER & BARBARA NEAS MARY MOLONEY SP
BILL & HELEN MOORER FRAN MORRIS ANNE MURRAY
KENT & SHEILA MYERS CHRIS NANNY
See DONORS, continued, Page 13
In the Wake of Fukushima Continued from page 10 nuclear activities -- not including $18.5 billion in loan guarantees for new U.S. power reactors being sold by Japan's failing nuclear industry. The Energy Department is also the main source of funding for radiation health research -- much like having the tobacco industry determine the safety of smoking. This conflict-of interest is not new. Several prominent scientists on the nuclear payroll in the 1950's and 60's vigorously claimed that radioactive fallout from atmospheric nuclear weapons tests was harmless. Some went so far as to assert that fallout might be beneficial because increased radiation-induced genetic mutations could weed out the weak. This problem was not lost on congressional investigators over the past 35 years. They have revealed the government's suppression of incriminating data, blacklisting of uncooperative researchers, unethical human experiments, and submission of fraudulent research in federal court. By the late 1980's DOE was forced to move funding for radiation research to public health agencies. This all changed 10 years later, when the Republicancontrolled Congress restored DOE's monopoly control. Things have gotten to the point that the agency gave a $1.7 million grant to MIT, last month that will address among other things, the "difficulties in gaining the broad social acceptance" of nuclear power. MIT has also received millions of dollars from Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), which is responsible for the Fukushima nuclear disaster. This conflict of interest has tragic dimensions. The government and nuclear industry still face the costly disposal of enormous amounts of radioactive waste and profoundly contaminated "sacrifice zones" at the Energy Department's nuclear sites. Not to mention tens of thousands of sick nuclear workers, uranium miners, military veterans, experiment victims, and nuclear test "down-winders," who are receiving billions of dollars in compensation after being put in harm's way on behalf of splitting the atom.
“My attorney suggested that we try to work things out in mediation to avoid a litigation disaster” Since 1988, Jim Stovall, founder and Director of the Mediation Institute, has worked with individuals, families, and organizations to resolve difficult and complicated disputes that often threaten valuable relationships. Jim works to assist those in conflict to retain control over the decision-making process and prevent a matter from turning into a lengthy court battle or a painful grudge match. Divorce and Custody Matters Family & Interpersonal Disputes Elder Care, Estate and Inheritance Issues Training and Consultation Call 405-607-8914 for more information and a free initial consultation. The Mediation Institute, 133308 N. MacArthur Blvd., Oklahoma City, OK 73142 Page 11, OPS , May-June 2012
St. Stephen’s Teams Up with OU Students to Produce “It Gets Better” Videos
CUTLINE (Contact Brenda Wheelock, St. Stephen’s UMC, church 321-4988, cell 620-1305)
St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church of Norman has partnered with a team of University of Oklahoma journalism students to produce a series of “It Gets Better” videos to combat bullying and promote the church’s mission as a community of faith that welcomes all people. The series of 10 videos can be viewed on YouTube and on the church’s website at www.ststephensnorman.org. Since their launch in May, the videos have received more than 1,800 visits and have earned St. Stephen’s an award for
best lay-led ministry project from United Methodist Church South Oklahoma City District. The videos were produced by St. Stephen’s Reconciling Ministries Committee and a team of OU students as part of their senior capstone project, said St. Stephen’s minister Rev. Amy Venable. The worldwide “It Gets Better” video movement began in 2010 in response to bullying against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth. Since then, thousands of videos have been created featuring celebrities and not-so -famous people to reassure young LGBT people that they are not alone, and that life does get better. Jason Martin, a member of St. Stephen’s Reconciling Ministries Committee, was excommunicated from his childhood church and rejected by his family for being gay. He said he found love and acceptance at St. Stephen’s and came up with the idea of creating a video series to reach out to LGBT individuals and others searching for a church that welcomes all people. “Initially our mission was to connect with one person, one teenager or one LGBT person, one young family – and let them know that there are families of faith out there that welcome ALL people,” Martin said. “For so many people in the
LGBT community, church and religion are dirty words because they have been beat down most of their lives and told they are not worthy. “To be told by your family you are not good enough is hard,” Martin said. “To feel like God is telling you you’re not good enough is a totally different rejection. St. Stephen’s is there to help heal the hurt that so many have faced on many levels.” The video series not only tackles bullying, but it also spotlights the church’s commitment to service and mission work, its programs for youth and families, and its long history of working for social justice. It features members of the church staff as well as individual members and families. “We wanted to send the message that not only does ‘It Get Better,’ but at St. Stephen’s we are working to make it better,” Martin said. Founded in 1958, St. Stephen's is a progressive Christian church committed to welcoming and affirming all people without regard to any of the divisions which have been used to separate God's family, such as race, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or physical or mental ability. For more information, contact St. Stephen's at (405) 321-4988 or visit the church's web site at ststephensnorman.org.
TURTLE ROCK FARM RETREAT CENTER
A Center for Sustainability, Spirituality, and Healing
2412 N Shartel
UPCOMING EVENTS Visit our website for details.
August 4 - Earth Dinner - Considering Food and How to Cook it (or How Eating Can Change The World) August 11 - Meeting Nature Again For the First Time Learning to see through photography August 18 - Vermi-Composting and Fall Gardening September 1st - Living in the Moment Retreat September 8 - Bee-Keeping Workshop September 22 - Fourth Annual Prairie Dinner Concert
Monday thru Saturday 2 pm to 7 pm Retro Clothing . Essential Oils . Hand Crafted Jewelry. Pendulums and Stones. Peace House butto0n & bumper stickers. Hard to find Books on Spirituality . Para-Normal . Metaphysical and many more interesting subjects . Quality Incense including Nag Champa . Band T-Shirts Misc Hemp products. Sage sticks and Herbs . Really Cool Purses ! Hand made Soaps and Lotions . Tie Dyed novelty items . Bandanas . Silk Scarves . Oils Eclectic Art . Candles . Unusual Post Cards . Kung Fu Shoes . Many More Unusual Items
Home of Oklahoma Ghost Tours call 405.521.1010
Page 12, OPS, May-June 2012
WE’RE STILL OPEN!!
Donors to Peace House,
continued from page 11
CLAYTON & SANDRA NESS PETER J. NEUFELD DONNA O'KEEFE CAROL PALMER LAURA ELIA WOODS SCHALLER & ALLEN PARLEIR MARY & MAX PLISKA-KINTNER LOIS POKORNY BEN & LAURA POLLARD LYDIA POLLEY DENNIS & CAROL PRESTON GHISLAINE RABIN LORRIE SYLVESTER & PAUL REYNOLDS C.J. ROBERTS JEFF SALAMAT VIRGINIA SAVAGE FLOYDETTE SEAL GAIL SETO PAULA SHARP SONDRA SHEHAB SUSIE SHIELDS & MARK DERICHSWEILER FRANK SILOVSKY SUSAN SINGH MARTHA SKEETERS RANDY SMITH CLIFF SOUSA CONSTANCE ST HILAIRE MARGARET STEICHEN JERRY STEIN SHARON & JIM TAPPAN SABRA TATE LESTER TAYLOR JENNY THOMPSON HANK & SHEILA TIARKS BECKY & WILL URANECK SAUNDRA VALLEJO-DELGADO JOHN & ROSIE WALTERS SUSAN & JIM WARRAM SHAWN WICKER KAY WOODY
DO YOU WANT TO DO YOUR PART TO IMPROVE THE WORLD? You can start by joining
OKC Amnesty International Local Group #238 Anne Frank said, “How wonderful it is that no one needs to wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” We meet at the Church of the Open Arms, 3131 N. Penn on the 1st Monday of the month at 6:30 PM, in the basement. Call John at 720-6467 for more information.
OKC Monthly Letter-Writers For Justice & Peace
“Postage For Peace” Some solidarity and letter-writing too:
3rd Monday each month 5:30pm-6:30pm (Aug. 20th, Sept. 17th, Oct. 15th) Gathers @ Church of the Open Arms 3131 N. Pennsylvania, Page 13, OPS , May-June 2012
Earth’s Environmental Problems: So WHAT can an individual or a family DO? by Joel Olson, Occupy Activist Earth's environmental problems keep getting worse. Global warming has become obvious, driven by ever-increasing amounts of greenhouse gases being pumped into the atmosphere.
zen's Climate Lobby are just a few, and all can be found on-line.
And the political process isn’t encouraging. With corporations in control of the political process, our elected representatives seem either malicious or helpless. And the non-governmental groups are struggling, their messages ignored and refused access to the public airwaves.
Some wind power perhaps, if you're in a rural area, and definitely some solar panels if you're in a more urban setting. Every kilowatt-hour that you generate displaces one that would have come from burning fossil fuel, and takes another bite out of your carbon footprint.
You can take a few minutes to write a simple letter to your representatives expressing concern for the climate. Attending environmental events, expos, Our economic organizations are more problem than solution. Faced with educational lectures, perhaps even going to a demonstration are other opthe necessity of changing from fossil fuels to renewable energy, they resist tions. and obstruct at every point. Exploitation rages unchecked, destroying the biosphere and extinguishing species wholesale, even before they've been Today, I suggest you consider more than just a gesture, but a stronger named. move … that you generate some renewable energy yourself.
So, WHAT can an individual or a family DO? Well, there are a number of things individually, some not so 'small' things, which when done by many people will have an effect -- recycliing, buying local, choosing energyefficient appliances, monitoring the thermostat, driving more slowly.
State and federal net metering regulations require that your utility company allow you to connect to the national grid, and recover the cost of your investment over time by running the meter backward, reducing your electricity bill. Also, there is a deduction of 30% from your federal income tax. As the panels get cheaper and better every year, this becomes an entrepreneuAnd then there are more active measures, like joining an interest group. rial opportunity. Not to be gone into blindly, but something to investigate The Sierra Club, ths Sustainability Network, Nature Conservancy, the Citi- seriously.
Peace and War -
- - - Dixie Anne Mosier-Greene
Often we think of peace As a stillness And war as motion. Ultlmately, We are wrong. Peace is a wave of flowers, Petals sunward Growing and expanding. Flourishing on the frog-filled bank Of a clear, pure stream Full of bright fishes. War is a decimated jungle Full of Agent Orange A forest of stunted trees Downed in a firestorm, Voiceless children, Too shocked and worn to play. And the quiet white tombstones Locked in a motionless dance Peace is organic harmonyLife as meant to be. And war is the static silence of death. Always work to defend Peace Thereby assisting God In His eternal work Of Creation.
Page 14, OPS, May-June 2012
TELEPHONE (405) 605-6547 FACSIMILE (405) 605-6577 DMURDOCK@RESIDESLAW.COM
DAN MURDOCK ATTORNEY AT LAW
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Latin America: How the US has Allied with the Forces of Reaction Honduras three years ago created a new template of the US backing coups to compensate for lost influence on the continent ministers from the Union of South American Na- Meanwhile, Honduras since the 2009 coup has by Mark Weisbrot tions, including Brazil and Argentina, travelled to turned into a nightmare, with the highest homiguardian.co.uk, Friday 29 June Paraguay on Thursday to tell the rightwing oppo- cide rate in the world. Political repression is 2012 11.37 EDT sition that this clear violation of due process was among the worst in the hemisphere: journalists, also a violation of UNASUR's democracy clause. opposition activists, campesinos fighting for land It was three years ago this week Brazil's president Dilma Rouseff suggested that reform, and LGBT activists have been murdered that the Honduran military with impunity. This week, 84 members of the launched an assault on the home of President US Congress sent a letter to US Secretary of Mel Zelaya, kidnapped him, and flew him out State Hillary Clinton urging US action against of the country. The Obama administration, acmurders of LGBT activists and community cording to its own conversations with the members in Honduras. In March, 94 member press, knew about the coup in advance. But the of Congress asked her "to suspend US assisfirst statement from the White House – unlike tance to the Honduran military and police those from the rest of the world – did not congiven the credible allegations of widespread, demn the coup. serious violations of human rights attributed That sent a message to the Honduran dictatorto the security forces". ship, and to the diplomatic community: the US The Obama administration has so far ignored government supported this coup and would do these pleas from Congress, and the internawhat it could to make sure it succeeded. And tional media has given them scant attention. that is exactly what ensued. Unlike Washington Soldiers patroling the streets of John Fitzgerald Kennedy Ironically, this is not so much because Honduand its few remaining rightwing allies in the ras is unimportant, but because it is important: Square in Tegucigalpa, on 27 June 2012. Since the coup hemisphere, most of Latin America saw the that brought to power President Profirio Lobo, Honduras the US has a military base there and would coup as a threat to democracy in the region and, has had the world's highest murder rate at 82 per 100,000 like to keep the country as its property. residents. Photograph: Orlando Sierra/AFP/Getty Images But the hemisphere and the world have indeed, to their own governments. "It would be enough for someone to stage a cichanged. The US has lost most of its influence vilian coup, backed by the armed forces, or sim- the coup government should be kicked out of in the vast majority of the Americas over the past ply a civilian one and later justify it by convoking UNASUR and MERCOSUR, the southern cone decade. It is only a matter of time before even elections," Argentine President Cristina regional trading bloc. poor countries like Honduras and Paraguay gain Fernández told South American leaders. "And But the Paraguayan right, which had one-party their rights to democracy and self-determination. then democratic guarantees would truly be ficrule for 61 years until Lugo's election, was detertion." mined to return to their ignominious past. And Americans Must Vote in November, 2012 Vote in Record Numbers. For that reason, South America refused to recog- they knew that they had one ally in the heminize the Honduran "elections" held six months sphere they could count on. Do what you can. The next President may later under the dictatorship. But Washington "As a general matter, we haven't called this a appoint one, two, or three Supreme Court Juswanted the coup regime legitimized. The Obama coup because the processes were followed," said tices. administration blocked the Organization of US State Department spokeswoman Victoria NuWE THE PEOPLE must protect: American States (OAS) from taking action to re- land on 26 June. And, as if to remind the world of The EPA – Environmental Protection Agency store democracy before "elections" were held. Washington's strategy with the Honduran coup, The Clean Air Act "We have intelligence reports that say that after she added: Women’s reproductive freedoms and choices Zelaya, I'm next," said President Rafael Correa of "You know that they're supposed to have elecWorker’s rights to collective bargaining / Ecuador, after the Honduran coup. This turned tions in 2013, which need to go forward. So I unions out to be correct: in September of 2010, a rebel- think we will refrain from further comment until Personal sovereignty against government lion by police held Correa hostage in a hospital we see how we come out of the OAS meeting." abuses until he was freed, after a prolonged shootout be- Of course, she knew that the OAS meeting would tween the police and loyal troops of the armed not resolve anything, because the US and its alforces. It was another attempted coup against a lies can kill anything there – as they did earlier VOTER REGISTRATION takes place at any tag social-democratic president in Latin America. this week. The conclusion is obvious: any rightagency or any County Election Board. Last week, Cristina Fernández' warning against a wing faction, military or civilian, that can over-Help others get registered "civilian coup" proved prescient in Paraguay. The throw a democratically elected, left-of-center - If you moved, you must re-register country's left president, Fernando Lugo, was government, will get support from the United - If you haven't voted in a long time, you may ousted by the Congress in an "impeachment trial" States government. Since the US government is need to re-register. in which he was given less than 24 hours notice the richest and most powerful country in the - To vote, you will need to have a photo I.D. and two hours to defend himself. All 12 foreign hemisphere and the world, this counts for a lot. Page 15, OPS , May-June 2012
Actions for Justice & Peace in a Very Political Year - Summer, 2012 Dear Friends of the Peace House, Thanks to all who have sent us gifts of support. They mean so much, regardless of size. If everyone gave something, we could be fully funded. Send what you can to support the Peace House, so that we can do what we do. Here’s what we do: The Peace House sponsored public events in OKC and Norman featuring former CIA analyst Ray McGovern. As one of the daily briefing staff for Presidents Clinton and G.H.W. Bush, McGovern is a powerful voice for truth and reason in U.S. affairs. He exposes the lies used to justify foreign wars, and hates the way the CIA is used to support wars. The Oklahoma Peace Strategy Newspaper continues as our primary communication vehicle. We print 5000 copies for mailing, distribution through libraries, coffee houses and restaurants, and at public events. Every issue encourages actions and letter-writing on “Alerts Page 5”. Most articles include an action component. “OPS News” is paid for by your donations. As Co-Chair of COHRA (Central Oklahoma Human Rights Alliance), Batch strongly advocates continued work on State Question 759 that will be on all Oklahoma ballots in November. If passed, S.Q. 759 will repeal Oklahoma’s Affirmative Action statutes. These are voluntary compliance policies with no quotas or mandates, policies that have helped primarily women in Oklahoma, but also minorities. S.Q. 759 is an abomination. A new statewide Oklahoma Universal Human Rights Alliance is being formed in response to Governor Mary Fallin’s recently disbanding state task forces on Affirmative Action, Hispanic-American affairs, AsianAmerican affairs, and Native American affairs. Batch and the Peace House are active participants. You might join the monthly meetings currently set for the second Monday of the month, a brown-bag lunch meeting at 11:30 am, at the Langston University OKC campus building, 4205 N. Lincoln Blvd. The Peace House participates in Friday meetings of the Iran peaceworking group that began in April as “Americans Against the Next War.” AANW’s editorial, “Preventing Another Catastrophic War,” was published under Batch’s name in the Tulsa World and Norman Transcript. The group is now working to get billboards saying, “Tell Congress: No War on Iran”. Batch and others garnered church sponsorships for full-page ads in the Tulsa World and Oklahoma Gazette saying, “Mr. President, Say No to War on Iran.” AANW recently forwarded another Op-Ed piece to state and national newspapers urging Congress to heed top U.S. military personnel saying military action against Iran would be disastrous. Check out AANW’s editorials, photos and videos at the website: AmericansAgainstTheNextWar.org. The Peace House opposed the state income tax reduction pushed by Governor Mary Fallin, which thankfully died a political death. It would have cut taxes on the wealthy, but actually have raised taxes on some lower income brackets. It would have forced deeper cuts to public education Page 16, OPS, May-June 2012
and social programs for Oklahoma’s vulnerable. A recession is not the time to cut taxes, but to invest in building what society needs. Batch was involved in lobbying at the Capitol, writing letters to the editor, and forwarding information about the consequences of budget cuts. The Oklahoma Gazette will publish Batch’s editorial on this theme, “Building our way out of recession”. Also dying without a vote at the State Capitol, thankfully, were the “personhood” bills that would have given full human rights from the moment of fertilization. These are terrible public policy, drastically curtailing women’s family planning options, and criminalizing all abortions without exceptions for rape, incest, or domestic violence. Say I, “Teach what you will about reproductive choices, but public policy should be to leave these decisions to the woman involved.” As Activist in Residence with the Women & Gender Studies Department at O.U. two years ago, Batch met the women who founded OCRJ (Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice) and remains faithful to the struggle to preserve women’s access to reproductive health care central to every woman’s health and life opportunities. Batch regularly writes and submits Op-Ed pieces and letters-to-the editor to state and national publications on a host of issues in this crazy time of political incivility; too many guns; human rights insults; demonization of Iran; deregulation of corporations; “jobs over environment” talk; assaults on women’s rights; and preserving tax cuts for the 1%. With these efforts the Peace House spreads perspectives adding to the national dialogue. Conversations about the coming elections in November are heating up, and advocates of justice, peace, and policies for the common good of all are called to do what we can as individuals. We urge everyone to be involved … to contact leaders for the party or candidates of your choice and join others making phone calls, walking neighborhoods, stuffing envelopes, etc. Whatever your hopes and dreams for America and the world, those who win elections get to run things. Never doubt that our actions and words make a difference. These are not times when quiet hopefulness will suffice until someone else comes along. Quoting Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador, “Everyone can do something.” Remember especially, the next President may nominate one, two, or three Supreme Court Justices. Please use the enclosed envelope to send the Peace House your own support. Sincerely, Nathaniel Batchelder and the Peace House Crew
Newspaper from the Oklahoma City Peace House, published six times a year.