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Nathanial Batchelder (click image to read news and views from Peace House OK's Director, Nathaniel Batchelder)

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November-December 2012 issue of Peace Strategy News published and available online

In this issue:

  • Honoring the life of George McGovern
  • Renewable Energy Oklahoma
  • US/NATO munitions causing birth defects in Iraq
  • What’s in those tax shelters?
  • Action Alerts
  • and more

Action for Garry Allen Clemency (“Stop this Execution”)

Monday, Nov 5, 3:00 pm, State Capitol 2nd Floor Rotunda

The PURPOSE of this RALLY is to present the varied and strong rationales for the governor to exercise her authority to grant clemency for this 56 year old, African American, son, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, mentally ill man who has been on death row for 25 years and faced his execution dates three previous times.

The death penalty, according to the governments’ stated standards, is to be reserved for the worst of capital murderers. The Supreme Court has prohibited use of the death penalty for murder in two types of limited culpability: Juveniles and Mentally Retarded. They have not yet addressed mental illness. It is an acknowledged fact that Garry Allen has serious mental health issues, presently, and at the time of the murder. His attorneys, supporters, family & OK-CADP believe that his limited mental capacity renders him not culpable.

Allen was first scheduled to be executed May 19, 2005. A stay of execution was granted one day before this scheduled execution. He was scheduled for execution the second time for Feb. 16, 2012. A conservative Pardon & Parole Board voted 4-1 to recommend Clemency-Life w/out Parole to Governor Henry who didn’t act on the recommendation. Governor Fallin denied that clemency recommendation and set April 12, 2012 as his third date for execution. With legal appeals exhausted, only the Governor’s courage to step beyond “tough on crime” with compassion to grant mercy can stop Mr. Allen’s execution at 6 pm on Election Day-Nov 6, 2012.

Enough is enough. He has suffered enough cruel & unusual punishment. Our plea is to let him live out his life behind bars where his family can visit him until his natural death.

Attend the Rally– Call the Governor—521-2342
FAX the Governor – 521-3353
Write the Governor—2300 N Lincoln, Suite 212, OKC, 73105

Co-sponsored by NAACP and Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (OK-CADP) for Garry Thomas Allen and his family

Recommendations on the six state questions (and judges)

This year the ballot will contain six state questions for voters to weigh in on.

Consulted groups included the OK Policy Institute, The Oklahoma Observer, State Parties, and individuals.

Quick Summary:

  • Vote “Yes” on #762 to remove the Governor from the Pardon & Parole Board process on nonviolent crimes.
  • Vote “No” on the other five questions (but check on #764 below).

#758 – Lowers the cap on annual increases in taxable value of homestead property and agricultural lands from 5% to 3%. But this adversely affects state funding of public schools, so a “No” vote is recommended.

#759 – Would repeal Oklahoma’s Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity statutes that have helped to level the playing field for women and minorities in state contracting, hiring, and selection of students, so a “No” vote is recommended to save affirmative action. (The language of S.Q. 759 implies that women and minorities are receiving “preferred treatment”. This is false, as Oklahoma’s statute encourages, but does not mandate, equal treatment. There are no quotas, mandates, or set-asides for women and minorities.

#762 – Would remove the Governor from the Pardon and Parole Board process on nonviolent crimes. Any Governor is loathe to agree to recommendations for paroles out of fear that the parolee might commit a crime and they would be blamed. Removing the Governor from the process allows the P&P Board to act more freely. Governor Fallin supported this measure until her Party objected to it. A “Yes” vote is recommended.

#764 – Gives the Oklahoma Water Resource Board (OWRB) authority to issue bonds to be used to create a reserve fund to be used as a last resort if a municipality defaulted on a loan and all other reserve funds had been depleted. (The opinion of Oklahoma Observer Editor Arnold Hamilton is that the OWRB answers to the prompting of the State Chamber of Commerce and Oklahoma City’s “downtown elite”. The use of some $300 million annually is at stake and The Oklahoma Observer opposes giving the OWRB this power. NOTE THAT THE SIERRA CLUB RECOMMENDS A “YES” VOTE, believing S.Q.764 could lead to more water conservation. Vote as your conscience dictates.

#765 – A Constitutional Amendment doing away with the current structure of the Department of Human Services (DHS) and giving the Governor the authority to select the director of DHS. Currently, selection of the director of DHS and oversight of DHS operations is by a commission. No other state authorizes the Governor to select the director of Human Services. Advocates believe this measure threatens DHS operations by making it as political as the Governor’s appointee. A “No” vote is recommended.

#766 – This question eliminates property tax on all intangible property instead of just some intangible property. Intangibles include trademarks, trademark slogans, customer relations, and other issues. Estimates are that this would reduce state funding to public schools by $50 million or more annually. A “No” vote is recommended.

ON THE JUDGES (We vote to “retain” or “dismiss” 12 or 13 Judges)

Attorney Doug Parr knows the ins and outs of Judge selection. He said judges are almost always “retained” with 70% of the vote. Very hard to “dismiss” any Judge. Attorneys I have consulted had no major “red flags” on any of the Judges on the ballots. Follow your own information and conscience.

My “Commentary” in this week’s Oklahoma Gazette

I sent this “Vote For Peace” Commentary a month ago, and gave up hope. But, Hooray, it’s in.

It’s posted on this site here. The Gazette retitled it “Voting for Peace

Oklahoma’s 27th Peace Festival

We ask your assistance in getting this word out. Please forward, share, announce and promote freely. Flyers can be downloaded and printed for distribution (see links below). Thank you!

Details are in place for Oklahoma City’s 27th annual Peace Festival to be held Sunday, Nov. 11th, from 11 am to 5 pm, in the Civic Center Music Hall’s “Hall of Mirrors” in downtown in Oklahoma City. The event is free and open to the public.

“Visitors will be inspired by tables and booths of local groups and organizations serving in the areas of social justice, human service, human rights, environment and peace,” said Nathaniel Batchelder, director of the Peace House. “Oklahoma City cares about people and the world,” he said.

The Peace Festival has become a holiday shopping opportunity as groups and vendors sell items as gifts for the holiday season. Fair trade and home-made goods on sale include pottery, crafts and organic coffee from Central America, carving and hand-made items from Africa. Local artists and craftspeople sell their art as well. Many groups sell books, calendars, t-shirts and bumper stickers furthering their mission. All groups offer brochures, newsletters, and membership opportunities in addition to sales items.

“Background music during the festival includes musicians Steve McLinn, Jahruba, and others,” Batchelder said. Folk singers and guitarists Jerry Carroll and D. Ray Polk will entertain. Dance recitals will be performed by students from Oklahoma City’s Aalim School of Dance.

A Children’s Activity Room, supervised by adults during the event, is sponsored by the Peace Education Institute, a cosponsor of the Festival.

Other sponsors with the Peace House and Peace Education Institute include the Social Justice Committee First Unitarian Church, Home Creations, Bright Lights of OKC, Summit Business Systems, and Bob Lemon.

More information is available by calling the Peace House in Oklahoma City at 405-524-5577, or by going on the website

Flyer 1 up

Flyer 2 up

Presidential Debates and Global Warming

It is shocking that global warming and climate change were not mentioned in Tuesday’s debate. The consensus of the world scientific community is that that the release of heat-trapping gases is the primary cause of global warming and climate change, and that fossil fuels are the chief source of elevated levels of CO2 in the atmosphere.

Mitt Romney made it clear that he and his party plan to accelerate production of oil, natural gas, and coal toward making America energy independent. They assert that environmental regulations must not stand in the way of energy production. They fully support the Keystone XL pipeline to transport bituminous crude from Canada’s tar sands to Texas refineries, considered by environmentalists a guarantee of more decades of high CO2 release. The Republican position on solar and wind potential is to let them compete in the market place.

By contrast, President Obama has said that global warming is real, not a hoax, and has shown leadership in extending incentives for the development of clean energy alternatives as part of the “all of the above” mix of energy sources the U.S. must pursue.

Future generations will judge our generation’s responses to the challenge to protect and preserve earth’s natural systems that, in fact, support human life. Voters have clear choices in November.

On the Elections: What’s at Stake. What we can do.

This letter went out to our mailing list this week. Please read, act and share!

Dear Friends of Justice and Compassion in America,

Thinking about the November Elections, it is clear to me that We The People must stand in the gap to reverse the drift toward America becoming a nation and government of, for, and by the few who are doing well while the many struggle merely to get by. The stakes are daunting:

It is shocking that candidates on the national scene profess commitment to more tax cuts for the wealthy, shifting tax burdens to the middle class, and balancing the budget by cutting social programs that ease the lives of America’s most vulnerable. They would repeal the Affordable Health Care Act, removing health insurance from some 30 million qualifying people. They would privatize Medicare with vouchers. They would shift resources out of public schools with vouchers. They oppose as “job killers” government regulation of industry, banking, and finance. They propose cutting the Environmental Protection Agency and oppose legislation to protect the air, the oceans, and land. They oppose labor rights and raising the minimum wage. They dismiss as unproven the consensus of the scientific community that production of heat-trapping gases is the primary cause of global warming and climate change. They would pass a human life amendment to the Constitution restricting women’s reproductive choices, and have curtailed reproductive freedoms in every state they could. Once again, we are hearing dangerous talk accusing a foreign nation – Iran – of being a threat and source of weapons of mass destruction, reminiscent of the language that prepared America for war on Iraq. And aging members of the Supreme Court are likely to retire soon, their replacements to be nominated by the next President.

Those listening regularly to Fox Radio and TV News are wildly misled by purposeful distortions and misinformation into voting against their own interests. Huge financial support for the politics of the 1% must be countered with People Power, doing what we can to encourage an outpouring of voting for the agenda of The Reasonable Majority.

I urge everyone passionate about justice and peace to take personal action encouraging a huge voter turnout in November for candidates who will legislate for the common good and general interest of all people and earth’s challenged environment. What can individuals do?

We can speak fearlessly with family and friends; pen a brief expression of our political hopes and the crucial significance of voting this November and send our note to select address book recipients; help with a particular campaign that calls us; register one or more friends. You may already be doing these or other things. Just imagine more people voting in 2012 than in 2008.

GOTV: Let’s Get Out The Vote as a mission in this election season, and Keep Hope Alive.

Blessings and Peace,

Nathaniel Batchelder

Oklahoma Voter Registration Information:

Registration is free: Visit any Tag Agency or County Election Board.

Deadline to register for November 6th General Elections: October 12th
You must re-register if you have moved since last election.

Early Voting at County Election Boards (check times open)
Friday, November 2nd; Saturday, November 3rd ; Monday, November 5th

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