Saturday, December 22, 2007

Lumono Kuelede Kutolela Munyika!

This blog post's title comes from my sister Tatiana, who is serving in the Peace Corps in Zambia, Africa. It is the phrase "May Peace Prevail on Earth" in the language of Citonga.

Veterans for Peace in SB will be setting up their Arlington West memorial just as they have every Sunday for several years now, honoring the fallen in our current wars. They anticipate being critically short of volunteers tomorrow and would like some help from 7-9am for setup and after 3pm for take-down. Arlington West takes place on the beach next to the pier.

Dennis and Elizabeth Kucinich's Peace Train has been traveling the California coast and making key stops along the way. Although Dennis' brother Perry died earlier this week (which puts the Kucinich's at funeral services in Ohio), the Peace Train rolls on with veteran campaign organizer, activist, and key aide Amy Vossbrinck filling in. The train arrives at the Ventura station at there by 9:30 to join other supporters in greeting its arrival!

Tanner and Michael Akseven of Ventura are collecting gently used and recently washed, cleaned and dry-cleaned blankets and coats for local farm workers. If you bring them to me, i'll get them to the Aksevens. Contact me for drop-off availability: evan austin at or 805-746-3750

Cross-posted at

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Contractor Accountability, Milk Labeling, and Peace Caroling

"I think the American people - I hope the American - I don't think, let me - I hope the American people trust me."
President George W. Bush
Washington D.C., 2002

This may well be my last Action Blog entry for 2007!
i hope your holy-days are green and meaningful, and i'll reconnect in 2008! (aka
the year we restore democracy, the year we end war, and Year
of the Planet Earth

In This Issue

Local Happenings
Nader: An Unreasonable Man
Hold Contractors Accountable in Iraq!
Protect "rBGH-free" Labeling of Milk!
Reject Bad Healthcare Bill



· Ojai Peace Vigil - every friday evening from 5-6pm under the Pergola in front
of Libbey Park. bring a candle and a sign, and dress warmly!

Documentary: "An Unreasonable Man"

Ever wonder how Public Citizen got started?
Now is your chance to find out. Check out "An Unreasonable Man," a documentary about
Ralph Nader and the launch of the modern consumer movement, to be broadcast nationwide on PBS Channel 28 (KCET) today, Dec. 18 at 9:00pm.
The film traces consumer activism back to 1968, when a young bunch of "Nader's Raiders" began working on issues ranging from abuses involving public health and safety to nursing homes to economic concentration. Soon after, in 1971, Ralph Nader founded Public Citizen, and we've been fighting for health, safety and democracy ever since. The film also documents Nader's campaign for president in 2000, outlining both the pros and cons of his run.


Hold Contractors Accountable!

Jamie Leigh Jones was a 20-year-old woman working in Iraq for a subsidiary of Halliburton when she was drugged and brutally gang-raped by several co-workers.
The next day, Halliburton told her that if she left Iraq to get medical treatment,
she could lose her job.
Jamie's story gets even more horrific: For the last two years, she's been asking
the US government to hold the perpetrators accountable. But the men who raped her
may never be brought to justice because Halliburton and other contractors in Iraq
aren't subject to US or Iraqi laws. They can't be tried for a crime in any court.
Call on Congress to investigate Jamie's case, hold those involved accountable, and
bring US contractors under the jurisdiction of US law so this can't happen again:
CLICK HERE to sign the petition.


Protect "rBGH-free" Labeling!

Ohio and New Jersey are both trying to make it illegal for dairies to label
their milk as "hormone-free." A recent poll conducted for Food & Water Watchindicates that 80 percent of consumers want milk from cows not treated with rBGH to be labeled "rBGH-free." Consumers have a right to know what's in their milk, and dairies have a right to tell them.

Contact the Governors of Ohio and New Jersey today!


Reject bad healthcare bill ABX1 1

The legislature is about to vote on healthcare reform bill ABX1 1.

Unfortunately, ABX1 1 will neither provide universal coverage nor
will it control costs because it funnels most healthcare dollars
through the inefficient private health industry, which is the main
obstacle to real healthcare reform. Reject ABX1 1 as an impediment to
real universal healthcare reform - SB 840(private health care, public

TAKE ACTIONby sending an email to our State representatives. Be sure to add your
own personal message or story for maximum impact!


Democratic Leadership Training in January

The California Democratic Council and the Democratic Party of Ventura County present
a Democratic Leadership Training on Saturday January 12 2008 from 8am to 6pm in
the EP Foster Library's Topping Room in Ventura.
The training will include such topics as The California Democratic Party Structure,
How to Run a Meeting: Robert's Rules of Order, Club Finances, Increasing your Membership, Reaching Out to Youth, Technology, and The Progressive Challenge.
The Training is FREE ($10 suggested donation to cover food and materials costs)
Please RSVP by January 10 to training@cdc-ca.orgor 1-800-446-9709.


Caroling for Peace at the Mall this Friday

Join the Ventura County Committee to Stop the War this Friday December 21st at the
Pacific View Mall at Main and Mills in Ventura for a Candlelight Vigil from 5:30-6:30pm, followed by caroling for peace from 6:30-7:30pm.
For more information, contact VCCSW or the Peace Coalition of Greater


Merry Everything!,
evan austin
Ojai Peace Coalition

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Climate Change, Kucinich, and Impeachment...Oh My!

Ack! i THOUGHT that this morning's email felt kind of light, and then a bunch of new actions poured in! i hope you're thrilled that i'm sharing them with you!

i neglected to mention Bodhi Day (Buddhism) last Saturday, Eid Al-Adha (Islam) on the 20th, and Yule (Wicca and Pagan) on the 23rd. Happy Winter!


In This Addendum
Local Happenings
Citizens for Impeachment Meeting
House: Take Torture Off The Table!
George Won't Address Climate Change, But Al Will
December 15: Contribute to Dennis' Campaign!

· Ojai Peace Vigil - every friday evening from 5-6pm under the Pergola in front of Libbey Park. bring a candle and a sign, and dress warmly!

Citizens for Impeachment meets tomorrow (Weds)
Citizens for Impeachment meets tomorrow (Wednesday) evening at 6:30 at Rusty's Pizza, 1413 S. Victoria Ave in the meeting room.

House: Take Torture Off The Table!
On Wednesday, December 12, the House of Representatives is expected to vote on legislation that would establish one humane standard of treatment for all detainees in U.S. custody.

This is our chance to eliminate the CIA double standard created by President Bush's executive order in July. If this legislation passes, U.S. intelligence agencies would have to comply with the U.S. military's clear interrogation standards. Tell your Representative you're counting on their vote on Wednesday.

CLICK HERE to take action!

George Won't Address Climate Change, But Al Will

Dear Friend,

As I head off to Bali, I just wanted to take a moment to thank all of you who have worked so hard and so long to bring the issue of climate change to prominence. I want to especially thank MoveOn members, and Wes, Joan, Eli and the whole MoveOn team, for the years of support and encouragement. To all of you who have written, emailed, called and organized, thank you.

In Bali, Indonesia thousands of delegates from nearly 190 countries have gathered at the UN Conference on Climate Change. In a few days, I will address the conference to urge the adoption of a visionary new treaty to address global warming and I want to bring your voices with me.

So, I need your help again.

Sign my petition today by clicking this link and I will bring your signatures on stage with me as a clear demonstration of our resolve.

Together, we will call on the U.S. government to assume a new leadership role in solving the climate crisis.

World leaders including British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and newly elected Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd have all agreed to aggressively battle the climate crisis-yet our country still lags behind.

Over the next few days, I would like to ask you to help me get people from across the country to sign our message to the global community. We can demonstrate that the American people understand the immediacy of the climate crisis and want to work with the nations of the world to solve it. Time is short-we need to mobilize everyone to bring this message to Bali. Click here to add your name to my petition.

The American people want a visionary treaty to address climate change and for the U.S. government to play a positive leadership role in its development.

Together, we can make it happen.

Thank you,

Al Gore

P.S. After signing the petition, please urge your friends and family to sign the petition and join the movement.

December 15: Contribute to Dennis' Campaign!
On December 15th, 1791, the Bill of Rights took effect.

On December 15th, 2007, the biggest gathering of new Dennis Kucinich contributors and supporters will happen in living rooms across the country - with your help.

You already know that as president Dennis will be the strongest defender of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution - ready to lay down his life to defend them. Now Dennis needs you to bring that message to your neighbors, friends and family.

On the 15th, you can join supporters from around the nation by hosting a house party in your home and bringing new contributors to the campaign.

how to help?



Stop the Wars, Shop for Peace!

Good morning, and happy December 11th! Last Friday was Pearl Harbor Day (on which the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to support the creation of a Department of Peace), and yesterday was International Human Rights Day. Two days ago was the last day of Chalica, and tomorrow is the last day of Hanukkah. Saturday the 22nd is Winter Solstice, Tuesday the 25th is Christmas, and Wednesday the 26th is the first day of Kwanzaa. So much to celebrate!!!

In This Issue
Local Happenings
Call the Senate: No More Blank Checks for War!
Hey Elton: No War With Iran!
Kucinich: The OPC's Candidate of Choice!
Shop in (and for) Peace!

· Ojai Peace Vigil - every friday evening from 5-6pm under the Pergola in front of Libbey Park. bring a candle and a sign, and dress warmly!

Call the Senate: No More Blank Checks for War!
from MoveOn:

Last month, Majority Leader Reid and other Democratic leaders drew a line in the sand. They said there would be no more funding for the war in Iraq unless it was attached to a timeline for withdrawal.1 And they told President Bush that they were standing firm.

Well, now it looks like they're poised to cave in and give the president another blank check. Can you call Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein right away and tell them to oppose any deal that does not include a firm timeline to end the war?

Senator Barbara Boxer
Phone: 202-224-3553

Senator Dianne Feinstein
Phone: 202-224-3841

Afterward, report your call by clicking here.

Hey Elton: No War With Iran!
Please join local organizer Kris Young in this MoveOn-sponsored action to deliver petitions to Elton Gallegly's office in Thousand Oaks, making clear our strong opposition to war with Iran.

2829 Townsgate Road, Suite 315
THURSDAY 13 Dec, 12:00 PM



Kucinich: The OPC's Candidate of Choice!
After 7 days of voting, the preference is very clear: when asked "Which Democratic presidential candidate best represents the OPC values of Peace, Justice, Environment, and Democracy", 82% of you voted for Dennis Kucinich!

Hillary Clinton and Bill Richarson each garnered 7% of the vote, with "No Democrat" receiving 3%.

Look for a dedicated Dennis section in the right-side column of this page, where you can follow our candidate's campaign and find ways to contribute. i'll also be putting up new polls...check in often!

Shop for Peace!
There's a section in the right-side column with links to progressive and Peace-themed gift ideas. what would you add? what would you remove?

Saturday, December 8, 2007

This February and next November, Vote for Peace!

Dear family and friends,

As is the case in most presidential elections, our upcoming one is marked by serious and complex issues that We, The People are tasked with deciding the course of. More often than not, these issues are about our common humanity and morality and NOT as shallow as partisan politics, as the media and political machines would have us believe. The most urgent issues facing me this election cycle are
Iraq – a strategy for ending the war and bringing every soldier home.
Iran – preventing another unnecessary war by exercising creative and intelligent diplomacy
Nuclear Weapons – halting the development of a new generation of U.S. nukes, and leading the international community in disarmament.

Some very brief facts about each of these topics:
Iraq - as of NOW – Saturday December 8th at 9am – there have been 3,886 U.S. troop deaths in Iraq, coupled with tens of thousands of injuries and estimates of up to a MILLION killed Iraqis, and all at a cost to our children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren of more than $475 BILLION.
Iran - a recent intelligence report reveals that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program as long as FOUR YEARS AGO, and yet the Bush Administration continues to try to scare us with the threat of a nuclear Iran. Reports are showing that President Bush knew about the cessation of nuclear activities, and yet his administration is currently spinning that data as reinforcement for their belief in imminent danger and fear.
Nukes - this administration has been pursuing production of new nuclear weapons during its entire term, even though we already have a stockpile of nearly 10,000 Earth-destroying weapons (approx. 1/3 of the entire nuclear stock on this planet, and most of them are armed.) each ONE of them carries about 30 times the destructive power of the Hiroshima bomb, and it would take no more than a few hundred of them to destroy a major portion of the world.

Most of our choices for President have a position on these issues, which makes it fairly clear what kind of world we can expect with them in office. Here’s my simplified rundown:

> if your value system and religious morals and American dream include more illegal war, indefinite deployment of troops, military action against Iran, and the production of more weapons of mass destruction capable of destroying all life, then vote for
Sam Brownback
Rudy Giuliani
Mike Huckabee
Duncan Hunter
John McCain
Mitt Romney
Tom Tancredo
Fred Thompson

> if your values include Peace, Justice, and Democracy; if your religion tells you to honor life and creation; if your America is one that leads the way toward Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness for all, then vote for
Joe Biden
Chris Dodd
John Edwards
Dennis Kucinich
Mike Gravel
Hillary Clinton
Barack Obama
Ron Paul
Bill Richardson

Of course it’s slightly more complex than that; there are other issues, and variations within my either-or analysis. However, on these three major issues – Iraq, Iran, and Nuclear Weapons – it really is pretty clear who would go in with proverbial and literal guns blazing and who would exercise intelligence and compassion. It is my belief that we vote not for our selves so much as for generations just beginning and yet to come. With them in mind, i refuse to be programmed for fear and a twisted sense of “justice” that amounts to no more than bestial vengeance. I refuse to continue to leave this world less healthy, less just, and less peaceful than when i found it when all the tools and opportunities to do the opposite lay right before me.

If you want to be an active participant in your political community (a Citizen):
1. REGISTER TO VOTE! One super-easy way is to go to and fill in the form. You print it, sign it, and mail it. Done! You have until 15 days before an election to register or change your party. The Primaries are on February 5, 2008. You have until January 22 to get your registration in their hands.

2. EDUCATE YOURSELF. It’s nothing less than your responsibility. All of the candidates have websites, and many organizations make voting guides and catalogue the candidates’ positions. One that i really like is from Peace Action West.

3. VOTE! The United States is one of the only democracies to place the burden of voting on the Citizens (many other places make it a holiday so you don’t have work or school to contend with). Please make voting a priority! If you’re crazy and believe in being the change you wish to see in the world like i am/do, you can declare it a personal holiday...skip work and school, volunteer at a polling station, and vote!


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Immigration, Birth Control, and Diplomacy

Dear friend,

i hope your Thanksgiving celebration was gratifying...we truly have so much to be thankful for, including our right and responsibility to dissent and create positive change!

right now you're reading the NEW OJAI PEACE COALITION BLOG, which will serve mostly as an online home for these action alerts (although you can comment on them as well). it's an easy way to archive our actions, and it's simple to direct friends and relatives to, or to check on when you're away from your own email! Sweet!

(look to the right for links to organizations that contribute actions to us, places to get peace-themed and progressive gifts for the holydays, and content not available in action emails!)


In This Issue:
Local Happenings
Immigration and War
Save Mississippi Wetlands
Call for a Department of Peace
Restore Affordable Birth Control
Support Diplomacy with Iran



· The Environmental Health Committee of the Ojai Valley Green Coalition is meeting
Wednesday November 28 at 1030 Dominion (take left or right at Vons, go down to Fairview past The Deer Lodge and make a Left at Fairview, a Left on Rice and a Left at Dominion). For time and with questions, call 646-4792.

· Support Dennis Kucinich! Meet on Thursday morning at 10 at John Azevedo's place (former site of Ojai Creates!) at 207 N. Ventura. The initial plan is to brainstorm ideas on how we might support Dennis, maybe as individuals, maybe as a group, maybe doing a fundraiser or concert, or maybe all of that and more. Time is of the essence; the primaries are coming up fast. Whatever we can do to support Dennis's voice being heard counts.

· PEACE VIGIL every friday evening from 5-6pm under the Pergola in front of Libbey
Park. Dress warmly!

· Sacred Space Yoga Studio presents a community film screening of YYoga Movie on Saturday December 1 at 8pm. The studio is at 410 Bryant Circle, Suite A. 646-6761
These screenings are supported by your generous donations.



The following comes to us from OPC-member Connie Lowry, in response to an Editorial Page entry in the Ventura County Star on 11/26/07:

Dear Representative Kucinich,
I support your candidacy for President and loved seeing you and your wife here in Ojai, California.
Today in our local Ventura County Star Newspaper is an article titled "Is illegal immigration at the heart of the Iraq war?" written by Jose De La Isia of Houston.
He wrote The Rise of Hispanic Political Power and writes a weekly commentary for Hispanic Link News Services. Today he wrote that after the Treasury collects the money, it allows the SSA to carry the amount as a receivable for bookkeeping purposes. Then Treasury uses the funds to pay other government expenses. The biggest one is the war in Iraq. Right now it is running, coincidentally, at $500 billion, according to the National Priorities Project. If no one claims this Social Security windfall, it's free money to pay for war.
This is shocking to me as a senior citizen and patriot and peace worker.
Please investigate this and bring it to the light of correction.
Kind regards,
Connie Lowry



Some of the richest natural resources in the nation are in the heart of the Mississippi River flyway. The Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) wants to spend $211 million of your tax dollars on a project that could drain and damage more than 200,000 acres of the wetlands in this area.
In one of the most sparsely populated regions in the state of Mississippi, the Corps would like to build the world's largest hydraulic pumping plant.
In a throwback to another era - and contrary to federal policy - the Yazoo Pumps would be used to drain wetlands so agribusiness can intensify production to reap more farm subsidy payments.

SEND AN EMAIL to the Corps of Engineers, the EPA, and Department of the Interior requesting that they dump the pumps and protect the wetlands.




From Monday, December 3rd through Friday, December 7th, Americans of all generations
will unite to telephone the offices of our Federal House of Representatives every 30 minutes to "Call for a Department of Peace!"
We must act now. The impact of violence on Americans of all ages is too painful and costly, and the opportunities for peace are too great. We must make it known that all of us, from all generations, Call for a Department of Peace!
By calling every 30 minutes for a week, we make it known that the Department of Peace is of importance to our congressional districts. See below to sign up for one time slot, and how to organize your friends, family, and network to do the same!
Simply visit the website, follow the instructions to sign up for a timeslot, then make your call!



Students and low-income women around the country have seen a dramatic increase in the price of their birth-control prescriptions. It's the result of a 2005 bill that wasn't even supposed to do what it did.

Thanks to efforts by students on college campuses across the country Congress has finally introduced a fix. We need this bill to move quickly before more women are impacted by high prescription birth-control prices.

Send an urgent message to your members of Congress about the need to restore affordable birth control immediately.

evan's note:
Radio host Thom Hartmann explained this week on his Air America program that one of the biggest contributors to global warming is sheer unsustainable population. Population, he went on, is directly related to the empowerment of women, as seen in cultures and regions where empowered women keep the population at zero or negative growth. So take this double action: work for gender equality and climate crisis at the same time!



In the wake of the Senate vote on the Kyl-Lieberman Iran amendment and continuous pressure from the peace movement, many senators have become more proactive in pushing for diplomacy with Iran. Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) has offered a new resolution stating that the president needs Congress's approval before conducting offensive military action against Iran.

We cannot afford another mistake like the tragic war in Iraq. Write your Senators and urge them to stand up to the Bush administration and support Durbin's resolution:



Mas Paz! (More Peace!),

evan austin
Ojai Peace Coalition

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Interfaith, Impeachment, and Culture-Building!

Good afternoon, friend!

My current operating goal for the Ojai Peace Coalition email alerts is to put one out every other Tuesday (predictable for you and me both!), unless there’s something hot that needs to be known!

Well, now is one of those times:

At Glen Muse, 815 Libbey Ave at 7pm
If you’re connecting your own spirituality with a healthy value of the diversity of other spiritual traditions with Peace and activism, come check it out! Topics for discussion will include:
- Organizational name and status
- Jerusalem Women coming next week.
- Next year's Living Peace
- Other activities and initiatives we might want consider in the future

This past Tuesday, Rep. Dennis Kucinich introduced via personal privilege H.Res.333 charging Vice President Richard Cheney with high crimes and misdemeanors and calling for his impeachment. A motion was made to table (kill) the resolution, for which Dennis required a full electronic vote. It lasted over an hour, and included two key exclamation points:
!: the vast majority of House Democrats voted to kill the resolution, preventing further debate.
!: House Republicans’ strategy was to vote AGAINST tabling, which they did en masse at the end of the voting period.

At the end of that vote, more Republicans had voted in favor of keeping the resolution alive than had Democrats...shocking and dismaying! A motion was then made to refer the resolution to the Judiciary Committee, where it is speculated that the Republicans hope it will die. The Judiciary Committee is lead by Democrat John Conyers and has a majority of Democrats, but they had just shown that they don’t want to talk about impeachment despite support of the American people.

At any rate, the resolution – H.Res.799 – is in the Judiciary Committee. Many actions are being suggested in this Open Thread on the Ojai Post.

I’ll copy some here:
Actions from
• Which include emailing the entire Judiciary Committee (make sure to include a personal comment!)
• Find out who’s on the Judiciary Committee
• Hint: Elton Gallegly’s ON the Committee! Email him!
• Call Elton’s office and request that the Committee begin hearings and that he support impeachment: 1-202-225-5811
Email Dennis Kucinich and let him know you support impeachment of Dick Cheney. DK will compile all the messages and deliver them to the Judiciary.

Why impeachment? For me, it’s about justice, accountability, and upholding the Constitution. As Dennis said during a call to C-SPAN during the voting, it’s not about him or his campaign for President, and it’s not even so much about Dick Cheney. It’s about whether anyone’s going to stand up for and with the American people and our Constitution. It matters not to me how much more time they have in office....crimes have been committed, and our founding documents give us the power and responsibility to pursue accountability. There is no timetable for justice.

The Buddhist association, Soka Gakkai International (Society for the Creation of Value), is a grassroots movement promoting a Cultural, Educational, and Humanistic Network pursuing nonviolence & dialogue. They will be hosting a free community event entitled “Creating a Culture of Peace” this coming Sunday the 11th from 1-3pm at the Ojai Retreat (160 Besant Road, Meiner’s Oaks), and I’LL BE SPEAKING as part of a panel that also includes OPC-member Peggy LaCerra! I’m thrilled to have been invited to share my thoughts on Peace and Culture, and invite you to join us for music, food, entertainment, and discussion!