Vermont Congressional Delegation Opposes Vermont Voters

By William Boardman
March 29, 2018

What happens when the lives of citizens get in the way of political egos?

he politics of American imperialism are alive and well in Vermont, where elected officials are defending the military-industrial war-making machine against voters who reject ruling class priorities. At the symbolic center of this democratic confrontation is the notorious F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the world’s most expensive weapons system, designed to kill in many ways, including a nuclear first strike. And the few times Vermonters have had the chance to vote, they’ve voted against basing this loud, health-harming, housing-destroying offensive war machine in the state’s most densely populated area. Now it’s coming to a head in a people versus career politicians face-off.

At a Town Meeting on March 6, Burlington voters chose, by a 55% majority, to ask the Air Force to base the F-35 in some other state. On March 26, the Burlington City Council, by a 9-3 vote, forwarded that request to Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson to “replace the planned basing of the F-35 with a basing of a low-noise-level plane with a proven high safety record….” For whatever reason, the council request left out the rest of the ballot resolution’s request: “… proven high safety record appropriate for a densely populated area” (perhaps because that densely populated area is NOT Burlington). The City Council asked Secretary Wilson to respond by May 1.

Vermont’s quisling Congressional delegation – Democratic senator Patrick Leahy, Independent senator Bernie Sanders, and Democratic congressman Peter Welch – made what looks like a cheap shot effort to influence the council vote at the last minute. Late on the afternoon of March 26, Vermont’s “representatives” issued a joint statement saying they stood by their years of pushing for the F-35 basing at the Burlington Airport, which is in South Burlington (which has no voice in the decision).

[FULL ARTICLE]

Corrupt Democrats Trash Constituents Over F-35 Basing in Vermont

By William Boardman
April 19, 2018

Author’s Note: Since the Burlington mayor’s non-veto veto of his city council’s anti-F-35 resolution, two other affected towns have acted. On April 16, the city council in Winooski, which sits in the airport’s flight path, voted unanimously for a resolution opposing the F-35. Also on April 16, the city council in South Burlington voted 3-1 for an anti-F-35 resolution. No Vermont town is on record supporting the warplane.

Burlington mayor betrays majority of constituents for what?
And why?

On April 11, the mayor of Burlington, Vermont, announced that he was betraying a 55% majority of Burlington voters and a 75% majority of his city council that had opposed basing the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter at the Burlington Airport in South Burlington. The mayor betrayed his constituents in the limpest way, not by vetoing the popular resolution opposing the F-35, but by sending it on without his signature, while appending a dishonest and misleading cover letter inviting unelected leaders to have their way with Vermont. The third-term Democratic mayor has now asked the Air Force to impose its deafening fighter-bomber on a neighboring city for no cogently articulated reason, following a process bereft of integrity, rigor, or honor.

Earlier this year, when Miro Weinberger was in a challenging, three-way race for re-election as mayor of Burlington, he seemed to make promises. He said things that sounded like promises, things that voters reasonably understood to be promises. One of those promises was a deceptively worded non-commitment commitment to reconsider the justice of basing the nuclear-capable F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in the neighboring city of South Burlington, even though South Burlington has no say in the matter.

Weinberger was slip-sliding his way along the F-35 question because he has a long, unambiguous record of supporting the military escalation of the airport in the most populated region of Vermont, and this year voters had finally put the question on the ballot, against serious opposition from officialdom. Weinberger, a former airport commissioner, apparently needed to sidestep a question on which he had never shown any official doubt despite health, safety, military, economic and other evidence that the world’s most expensive weapons system was going to do more harm than good to Vermont.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Request to halt F-35 goes forward without Weinberger’s support

By Katie Jickling

April 11, 2018

Mayor Miro Weinberger will not give his blessing to a Burlington City Council resolution asking the feds for an alternative plane to the F-35 fighter jets. He announced Wednesday in a press release that he will neither sign nor veto the letter, which will be sent to the U.S. Air Force on April 16 without his support.

A veto “would serve little purpose other than extending the divisive debate indefinitely,” Weinberger wrote in a commentary published on VTDigger.org that explained his decision.

It is the first time in Weinberger’s six-year tenure as mayor that he has not signed a council resolution, according to the release. Instead, he sent a letter to U.S. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson explaining his decision and voicing his continued support for the jets.

The council considered the resolution after 55 percent of Burlingtonians, on an advisory Town Meeting Day ballot question, voted to halt the basing of the F-35s and request a new mission for the Vermont Air National Guard at Burlington International Airport. The F-35s are currently scheduled to arrive in 2019.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Weinberger won’t sign off on Burlington City Council F-35 resolution

By Anne Galloway
April 11, 2018

Mayor Miro Weinberger announced Wednesday morning that he will not support a Burlington City Council resolution calling for an alternative mission to the F-35 fighter jets, which are slated to be based at the local airport in 2019.

Weinberger consulted with the Vermont Air National Guard and federal officials who he says satisfactorily addressed noise and public safety concerns raised by the public and a series of investigative stories by VTDigger.

Burlington voters on Town Meeting Day rejected the basing of the fighter jets at Burlington International Airport and asked that city leaders urge the Air Force to give the Vermont Air National Guard an alternative mission.

A City Council resolution passed on March 26 reflected the will of city voters.

Weinberger will not sign the resolution. While the mayor previously said he would reconsider his backing of the F-35 basing if voters opposed the fighter jets, he is now reiterating his support for the planes.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Burlington City Council Votes to Request Replacement of F-35

By James Ehlers

April 10, 2018

Here is my position on the F-35. Besides my past study and experience, the DOT&E Report and analysis from the Project On Government Oversight offers further basis for the James Ehlers for Vermont position on this controversial issue.

I applaud the Burlington City Council for their resolution to replace the basing of the F-35 at Burlington International Airport (a site that was not supported by many in the Air Force at the time).

The people of Burlington spoke out on Election Day, and it is essential that we as leaders respect and promote the will of the people. We have to work together to find a reasonable replacement.

We cannot and MUST not allow whole communities–our schools, businesses and homes– to be degraded by massive noise impacts and extreme environmental risks in the event of a crash. Many of the most affected communities had no say at all in the basing process. Let’s invest in Vermonters, not unproven, financially irresponsible weapons of war.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Burlington city council to ask for F-35 plane alternatives

By Tom Garris
March 27, 2018

The Burlington City Council voted 9-3 in favor of a resolution to send a letter to the secretary of the United States Air Force asking for an alternative mission to the F-35 fighter jets that are set to arrive in 2019.

The measure passed after hours of public comment and council debate and requests a response from the secretary by May 1.

This comes after Burlingtonians voted in favor of a Town Meeting Day advisory question, also known as ballot question No. 6, asking the council to request a cancellation of the planes.

City Council President Jane Knodell said she voted in favor of the resolution because it’s what the voters in her district wanted, but she noted that there is a risk.

She said the Vermont Air National Guard could pull out altogether.

“But they might say that we want the Air Guard to really work very hard on noise mitigation, because people are very concerned about that,” Knodell said.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Weinberger could veto city council vote on F-35

By Katie Jickling
March 28, 2018

The Burlington City Council passed a resolution on Monday night requesting an aircraft less noisy than the F-35 fighter jets — but it may be premature for opponents of the jets to celebrate.

Mayor Miro Weinberger can sign or veto the resolution, according to Katie Vane, a spokesperson for the mayor. A veto would then require two-thirds of the council to vote to override the decision.

Weinberger needs to “take action or provide a response” by the council meeting on April 16, according to Vane, and he plans to make a decision by then.

On Tuesday, the mayor indicated that he’ll be deliberate.

“I will use that time as needed to continue the further work on this issue that I promised, and to make this decision with care,” Weinberger said in a statement.

Weinberger, who has previously expressed support for the jets, “is still digging into the repercussions of the city requesting an alternative mission,” Vane said.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Weinberger says he may take 20 days to decide on F-35

By Kelsey Neubauer
March 27, 2018

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger said Tuesday he will need up to 20 days to decide whether to support a City Council resolution asking the Air Force for an alternative to the controversial basing of the F-35 jet fighter.

Weinberger said he expects to use as much time as he needs before the council’s next meeting on April 16. Under the city charter, he must decide within that time frame.

“I will use that time as needed to continue the further work on this issue that I promised, and to make this decision with care,” he said in a written statement.

Weinberger has long been a supporter of the F-35 basing, but he told VTDigger in February that he would reconsider his stance if voters opposed it.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Burlington city council approves resolution calling for F-35 cancellation

By Kelsey Neubauer
March 27, 2018

The Burlington City Council voted 9-3 Monday in support of a resolution requesting the cancellation of a planned F-35 fighter jet basing at the Burlington airport in favor of an aircraft that is quieter and has a proven safety record.

The City Council vote follows a ballot measure passed by Burlington residents on Town Meeting Day demanding that the City Council ask the Air Force to cancel plans for basing the F-35 fighter jets at the Burlington International Airport.

The motion states: “the Burlington City Council values the Air National Guard’s contributions to our community and respectfully requests the Honorable Secretary of the United States Air Force, Heather Wilson, replace the planned basing of the F-35 with a basing of a low-noise-level plane with a proven high safety record, consistent with the ballot question previously cited.”

Like the ballot measure, the letter is advisory in nature. With the basing already approved, the Air Guard has the final say on whether to cancel the basing.

“We obviously have no authority over the Air Force, but we are clear on what we’re asking,” said Councilor Joan Shannon, D-South District, who drafted the resolution.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Burlington City Council wants F-35 based elsewhere

March 26, 2018

City councilors in Burlington want the F-35 to be based somewhere else.

Public comment on the issue lasted for hours at a packed City Hall Monday night. People on both sides of the debate stepped up to share their opinions about whether the Queen City should support the Air Force’s latest fighter jet set to land in Vermont in fall 20-19.

On Town Meeting Day, voters approved a non-binding ballot item saying they do not want the jets here.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Burlington City Council could vote to request cancelation of the F-35

By Katie Jickling
March 26, 2018

The Burlington City Council will take up a resolution Monday that asks the U.S. Air Force to base a safer alternative to the F-35 fighter jets at Burlington International Airport.

The proposed measure comes after 55 percent of Burlingtonians voted on Town Meeting Day to ask the council to “request the cancellation” of the planes and find a less noisy, less risky option.

“The voters asked us to take action, so we’re going to take action,” said Councilor Joan Shannon (D-South District), who sponsored the resolution.

It includes a lengthy list of questions for Air Force secretary Heather Wilson: whether an alternative mission would be plausible, the safety and environmental risks of the F-35s, how often pilots would use afterburners and whether Burlington is the only populated area where F-35s will be deployed. The resolution asks for a written response from Wilson by May 1.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Testing the Impact of Jet Noise on South Burlington School

By Cory Dawson
March 20, 2018

School officials will begin conducting noise pollution tests soon at a South Burlington elementary school that sits about a half mile from Burlington International Airport runways.

For years, teachers, students and staff at Chamberlin School — with 250 students from kindergarten through 5th grade — have endured jet noise from the nearby airport, said South Burlington Superintendent David Young.

“Our teachers often have to just pause for a few minutes, because it’s just difficult to talk over,” Young said. “This is particularly when the F-16s, or prior to that when the F-4s were flying over. It was kind of known as the ‘Chamberlin pause.’”

Young said he has been asking for years to use money from a Federal Aviation Administration grant program that allows for noise insulation for buildings that are affected by high noise levels.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Democracy 1, War Machine 0 | SocialistWorker.org

By Paul Fleckenstein
March 14, 2018

Burlington, Vermont, last week approved a referendum directing local officials to oppose the basing of the F-35 warplane at the Vermont Air National Guard Station in Burlington.

While majority opposition to the basing has been clear in neighboring towns, the referendum marked the first time the issue has been put to a popular vote. “This is a huge victory for democracy,” said organizer Jimmy Leas, “All the congressional delegation, the entire political establishment of Vermont was addressed by this electorate today that, with 55 percent of the vote, said ‘Yes,’ we want to cancel the F-35.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Lawmakers to military: don’t buy another money pit like the F-35

By Matthew Cox
March 7, 2018

Lawmakers on Wednesday put senior military officials on the spot to explain how current acquisition reform efforts will prevent costly programs such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter from becoming “too big to fail.”

Members of the House Armed Services Committee met with acquisition chiefs from the Army, Navy and Air Force to assess how the services are using new congressional authorities to streamline the bureaucratic policies and procedures that often prevent combat systems from being fielded efficiently.

[FULL ARTICLE]

VPR VT Edition on F-35 Burlington vote

By Jane Lindholm & Matthew F. Smith
March 12, 2018

Eighteen F-35 stealth fighter jets are set to come to Vermont next year, but on Town Meeting Day, a ballot question with language rejecting the fighters passed with wide support in Burlington. We’re looking at what that vote means and what happens next for the F-35s in Vermont.

Fifty-five percent of Burlington voters called for canceling the basing of the F-35s at the Burlington International Airport. Ballot Measure 6 now tasks the Burlington City Council to “request the cancellation” of the F-35 basing decision, and “request instead” alternate “low-noise-level equipment” for the Burlington Air Guard station.

After surviving past council efforts to vote down the fighters and a legal challenge to the site selection process, the Vermont National Guard says the vote won’t change their plans to bring 18 F-35s to Burlington starting in 2019.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Seven State Legislators Call to Cancel F-35 Basing

March 2, 2018

We are pleased to announce that Burlington Representatives and Chittenden County Senators, have signed a group letter urging Burlington voters to vote “Yes” on ballot question #6 regarding the F35s. The letter follows:

To whom it may concern,

We stand together in favor of Burlington’s ballot question #6 to oppose the basing of the F-35s at the Vermont Air National Guard. The issues are as follows:

1. Noise/Housing: The F-35 is over four times louder than the current F-16, which will put over 6,600 people’s home in a high decibel noise zone that the Federal Government classifies as unsuitable for residential use.1

2. Crash rate: The planes are still new and as such have an eight times higher crash rate than the F-16s. Typically the Air Force chooses a remote base for the new military aircraft. With 1,400 homes in the crash zone, we cannot take this risk. The current runway aims directly at the largest shopping area in Vermont with two dozen big box stores one mile away in Williston. This is not an abstract issue. In 1965, a military jet crashed in Williston. Fortunately, the area was an open field at the time so the casualties were limited to the two people on board.2…

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 Ballot Discussion at Burlington’s North End NPAs

February 28, 2018

Each of Burlington’s neighborhoods has its own unique history, resources and problems to be solved, and the Neighborhood Planning Assemblies reflect this diversity. Because many of the Neighborhood Planning Assemblies grew out of existing neighborhood groups, each has a different character and a different approach to resolving issues.

The February meeting of the Ward 4 & 7 NPA (North End NPAs) addresses ballot items for Town Meeting Day, candidates running for office, and other neighborhood issues.

Scroll to 25:00 mark in the video above for coverage of the F-35 ballot item.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Ben & Jerry’s co-founder: I knew I was disturbing the peace

March 4, 2018

The co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream knew he was disturbing the peace with a noisy demonstration against fighter jets.

Ben Cohen told the Burlington Free Press that’s exactly the point.

Cohen was one of three activists arrested for disorderly conduct Saturday after blasting jet noise from a mobile public address system in Burlington, Vermont.

He said the goal was to simulate what it might be like for residents living under the flight path of Vermont National Guard F-35 fighters. He tweeted that if he violated the city noise ordinance then the fighter jets will, too.

[FULL ARTICLE]

A letter from South Burlington teacher, Kathy Buley, against F-35

By Kathy Buley

I have been a teacher in the South Burlington school district for over thirty years. I have taught in all three of the elementary schools, and have been here at Chamberlin for twenty years. I have also lived in the Chamberlin neighborhood since 1980. I have, therefore, had a considerable amount of time to witness the changing dynamics of the airport and military aircraft during both my work day and at home.

When I first moved into the Chamberlin neighborhood, the sounds of the airport were a slight nuisance to which one could adjust. Over time, however, the growth of the airport and the introduction of the F-16s has created a significant intrusion into the lives of those in the neighborhood. The level of disturbance has become a reality that no one could have predicted when we bought our homes or built our school.

[FULL ARTICLE]

An F-35 jet blast demonstration leads to noise complaint charges

By Dom Amato
March 3, 2018

Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s led a public service demonstration Saturday, simulating the sound of an F-35 jet blast.

Cohen and other organizers were eventually arrested by Burlington Police, and charged with disorderly conduct by noise. The protestors drove a truck with multiple speakers throughout Burlington — to allow people to hear what they say over 6,000 people in the F-35 flight path will hear multiple times a day. Burlington Police issued at least one set of tickets to the organizers for a noise violation as well. Multiple residents and businesses were heavily impacted and complained to the group about the lack of warning.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Ben & Jerry’s co-founder arrested in Burlington

By Rebecca Reese
March 3, 2018

A well-known Vermont businessman was handcuffed today in front of Burlington City Hall.

Police say Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen was arrested this afternoon. He was taken into custody after leading a public service demonstration intended to simulate the sound of the F-35 jet blast.

Lt. Matthew Sullivan explained a truck with amplifiers was pulled over multiple times throughout Burlington receiving tickets for violating the city’s noise ordinance.

“Because it was the third violation it’s disorderly conduct by noise so they were arrested,” Lt. Sullivan said. “Three protesters were arrested.”

Supporters of the demonstration such as James Leas said arresting protesters for noise proved their point about F-35 jet blasts.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Ben (of Ben & Jerry’s fame) arrested for noisy protest in Burlington, Vt.

By Lucas Phillips
March 03, 2018

Ben Cohen was reportedly driving around the city giving sound demonstrations, purportedly of an F-35 jet, like one that may come to a local airport. One of the founders of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream was arrested after repeatedly violating noise ordinances in Burlington, Vt., as part of a protest Saturday, police said.

From 11 a.m. until his arrest at 3:20 p.m., 66-year-old Bennett Cohen of Williston (better known to the world as Ben) was driving around the city giving sound demonstrations, purportedly of an F-35 jet, like one that may come to a local airport, according to Lieutenant Matthew Sullivan of Burlington police. Sullivan said Cohen was pulling a trailer with “speakers you’d find in a club . . . probably 6 feet . . . in height” and powered by four generators.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Ben & Jerry’s cofounder arrested during F-35 protest

By Tom Garris
March 3, 2018

The cofounder of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream was arrested-along with two other people-Saturday, for disorderly conduct by noise.

Ben Cohen was among a group that staged a political demonstration in downtown Burlington.

They had a pickup truck hauling a trailer with heavy audio equipment, playing aircraft takeoff noises.

It was a form of protest to simulate F-35 aircrafts set to come to the South Burlington Airport in 2019.

“We are sorry to disturb people,” Cohen said. “We don’t want to do this, but it’s a disturbance once for people that are going to hear this demonstration.”

Sound levels peaked more than 100 decibels, and police received complaints about the noise.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Ben and Jerry’s Homemade Inc. co-founder Ben Cohen arrested during F-35 protest in Vermont

By Jess Aloe
March 3, 2018

Ben and Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen was arrested Saturday in downtown Burlington for violating the city’s noise ordinances while holding a “public demonstration” about F-35 fighter planes, police said.

Activists opposed to the impending basing of the Air Force F-35s in Burlington played jet noise from speakers mounted on the back of a pickup truck at a decible level they said simulated what it would be like to be underneath the flight path of the planes

Cohen was one of three people arrested for disorderly conduct shortly after 3 p.m., said Lt. Matthew Sullivan. Cohen was escorted from a downtown intersection in handcuffs.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen Arrested for Protesting F-35 Fighter Jets – Breitbart

By Sean Moran
March 4, 2018

Burlington, Vermont police arrested Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen on Saturday after he repeatedly violated a local noise ordinance in a personal protest against the F-35 fighter jet.
Cohen, a supporter of Bernie Sander’s presidential campaign, attached several amplifiers to his car and drove through the city to simulate the sound of an F-35 fighter jet.

The protest began around 11 A.M. on Saturday and was cited numerous times before Cohen was arrested for violating the town’s noise ordinance.

Burlington Lieutenant Matthew Sullivan said, “Because it was the third violation it’s disorderly conduct by noise, so they were arrested, three protesters were arrested.”

Cohen tweeted on Saturday, “Getting ticketed. It’s either legal or it’s not, if it’s legal for the F-35 to make this noise 16 times per day, 52 wks a yr, for the next 50 yrs, it should b legal for us to do this limited demonstration of extreme jet blasts which are the subject of Item #6 on the March ballot.”

Supporters of the protest argued that by arresting the demonstrators, the police proved their point about the dangers of excessive noise pollution.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Save Our Skies VT March 4 Press Release

March 4, 2018

Save Our Skies VT is making public the dire health impacts—both physical and cognitive—to the
children in our area from the noise of the F-35. They will hold a press conference at 11:00 AM

on Monday, March 5, 2018 outside of Burlington City Hall (Church St side). Health care profes-
sionals, teachers, parents, Colonel Rosanne Greco, and Ben Cohen will be present to speak based on their expertise and personal experiences.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Jimmy Leas Interview with WCAX

March 4, 2018
By Darren Perron

Good morning everyone, I’m Darren Perron. Right now on “You Can Quote Me,” how much it will cost you. Federal Tax Changes hitting some Vermont families hard. The state’s Tax Commissioner joins me in just a bit.

Also, campaign countdown in the Burlington Mayors race. Meet the candidates making their final push before Town Meeting Day.

And progress report on the F-35, plus controversy surrounding a ballot question about the fighter jet.

[FULL ARTICLE Part One] [FULL ARTICLE Part Two]

Burlington Ward 6 NPA Meeting

March 1, 2018

Neighborhood Planning Assemblies (NPAs) are grassroots, neighborhood organizations that were established in each of Burlington’s seven Wards to empower citizen participation in City government. Working as neighborhood advocacy groups, Neighborhood Planning Assemblies facilitate communication between the citizens of Burlington and city government through regular meetings scheduled in each Ward.

Scroll to 87:03 in the video above for the segment about Ballot Item Regarding the Vermont Air National Guard Basing of F-35’s at Burlington International Airport.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Local 22 F-35 press conference coverage

By Torrance Gaucher
March 5, 2018

Tuesday is Town Meeting Day, and Vermonters can head to the polls starting at 7 am.

In Burlington, voters will be voting to elect a new mayor, city councilors, and seven ballot items. Those items range from recommending to raise the age of sale for tobacco from 18 to 21. To the controversial ballot item, whether the F35 should be based in the community.

On Monday, concerned residents gathered outside of City Hall on Church Street to inform voters about the health impacts of the fighter jet.

Also, how the level of noise will disturb way of life.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Ice cream mogul Ben Cohen, activists arrested for ‘jet blasts’ in Burlington

By Anne Galloway
Mar 4, 2018

Demonstrators don’t often break the law to get their point across, but on Saturday, three activists who oppose the F-35 basing in Burlington, did just that.

Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream, Ray Gonda, a military vet, and Richard Joseph broke the city’s sound ordinance to make a point: The F-35s that are coming to the Burlington area are loud. Extremely loud. So loud that when the three men blasted neighborhoods with the jet sound residents emerged from their houses (with their hands over their ears) to shout at the activists to stop the deafening roar.

The noise came from a set of speakers on the back of a pickup truck. It simulated an F-35 fighter jet flying at 1,000 feet — a booming rumble that hits a decibel level of 115 — about four times louder than the F-16, the fighter jets that have been based at Burlington International Airport since the 1980s.

“We cranked this thing up and it’s insane,” Cohen said. “A lot of people were pissed off, how could you make this much noise in front of my house?”

Cohen was apologetic. He said he knew the jet blasts were obnoxious in the extreme, but he said, “It was necessary to do this to prevent a greater harm.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Stop the F-35 March 5 Press Conference

March 5, 2018

TIME STAMPS:

Intro Rosanne Greco (Ret. Air Force Colonel): https://youtu.be/oimxPvbGXmM

Fiona Griffin, Winooski mother: https://youtu.be/oimxPvbGXmM?t=2m10s

Bob Walsh on behalf of Kathy Buley (Teacher at Chamberlin School): https://youtu.be/oimxPvbGXmM?t=5m8s

Bob Walsh (Retired teacher and former Marine): https://youtu.be/oimxPvbGXmM?t=6m16s and earlier at https://youtu.be/oimxPvbGXm M?t=4m32s

Sharon Hopper on behalf or Ann Goering (Winooski doctor): https://youtu.be/oimxPvbGXmM?t=8m21s

Dr. John Reuwer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oimxPvbGXmM&feature=youtu.be&t=11m36s

Ben Cohen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oimxPvbGXmM&feature=youtu.be&t=13m30s

Closing (Rosanne Greco): https://youtu.be/oimxPvbGXmM?t=15m58s

Call and response (Rachel Siegel, Director of Peace & Justice Center): https://youtu.be/oimxPvbGXmM?t=17m56s

F-35 opponents highlight children’s health risks in final ballot push

By Mike Dougherty
Mar 5, 2018

Activists opposed to the planned basing of F-35 fighter jets in Burlington made a final plea to voters Monday to consider the health effects of noise exposure on area children when they cast their ballots on Tuesday.

Question #6 on the Burlington ballot asks voters whether the City Council should request the cancellation of the planned basing and ask for quieter aircraft. Vermont Air National Guard officials and local economic development boosters have stressed that the ballot measure is non-binding and will not affect the military’s plans.

Environmental impact data compiled by the Air Force in 2013 states that the F-35 will be four times louder than the F-16s currently stationed at the Vermont Air Guard base. That volume increase will disproportionately affect young children at area homes and schools, opponents said at a press conference Monday.

Among the dozens of activists gathered at City Hall was Fiona Griffin, who lives under the airport flight path in Winooski. Griffin said that her two children, now ages 4 and 2, have been afraid of the F-16s since they were toddlers.

“Fighter jets have woken my babies while they slept, scared them while they played, and brought them to tears on more than one occasion,” Griffin said. “It’s just really disruptive.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Leahy and staff had role in F-35 basing decision

By Jasper Craven
Mar 5 2018

In December 2012, more than 100 Vermonters gathered outside U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy’s Burlington office to voice their displeasure over his support for a plan to base a squadron of F-35 fighter jets at Burlington International Airport.

While many of the activists in attendance generally agreed with the senior senator’s political philosophy and that of his two fellow Vermont congressional colleagues, they found themselves at odds on the F-35 issue. One woman’s sign read: “Leahy, Sanders, Welch, You’re Breaking My Heart.”

According to a Seven Days report, protesters entered Leahy’s office and demanded the Democratic lawmaker hold a public hearing on the F-35. Leahy’s chief of staff, John Tracy, appeared on the senator’s behalf and dismissed calls for a forum.

Jimmy Leas, a South Burlington attorney long opposed to the planes, pointed out to Tracy that “so far, (Leahy) has only made himself available to speak with supporters of the plane.”

 

[FULL ARTICLE]

 

F-35 noise public service announcement

March 3, 2018

Stop the F-35! Give the guard a plane that doesn’t hurt our neighbors and their children. Vote YES on #6.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Former Air Force colonel commands F-35 opposition

Rosanne GrecoBy Jasper Craven
Mar 2 2018

For nearly three decades, Col. Rosanne Greco served her country in the U.S. Air Force. But for the past five years, she’s been engaged in a fierce battle with the military over the planned basing of F-35 fighter jets at Burlington International Airport.

And while Greco looks back fondly on her service, her perspective on the military — and jet noise — has changed dramatically since she began asking questions about plans to base 18 F-35s in Burlington, scheduled to begin next fall.

“I just get sort of a thrill with that loud noise, so it never bothered me personally,” Greco recalled. “As a matter of fact, we used to run out and listen to it. Although I emotionally enjoy loud jet noise, now my head knows that it’s not really good for me. … Now when I hear the noise I connect it to the people who are trapped, who really have nowhere to go.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Vermont officials steadfast in support of F-35

By Jasper Craven
Mar 1 2018

In December 2012, Vermont’s then-Gov. Peter Shumlin squeezed into a nine-seat charter jet for a trip to Florida.

Those on board — including Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger and then-Winooski Mayor Michael O’Brien — were headed to Eglin Air Force Base. The mission: To hear the noise of the F-35 fighter jet firsthand, and report back to Vermonters.

The trip was paid for by the Greater Burlington Industrial Corp. (GBIC), a business group that has supported the basing of F-35 stealth fighter jets in the Burlington area. One of that group’s leaders, real estate magnate Ernie Pomerleau, also accompanied Shumlin on the trip.

Noticeably absent were officials from South Burlington, the city expected to shoulder the greatest burden when 18 of the jets are scheduled to arrive at Burlington International Airport next fall. They were not invited.

After touching down in sunny Florida, Democrat Shumlin and the rest of his delegation took a tour of an F-35. “It’s a pretty amazing machine,” Shumlin remarked to a Vermont Public Radio reporter who accompanied the officials.

After the tour, Shumlin listened to two idling jet models: one simulating an F-16, the military aircraft currently based in Burlington; the other mocking an F-35, the replacement. Shumlin and his colleagues also witnessed both planes taking off. “Volume, seems to me, is about the same,” Shumlin observed.

“Listening to this has been a real eye opener,” he said.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Problems have plagued the F-35 for many years

By Jasper Craven
Feb 28 2018

Many adjectives have been used to describe the F-35 stealth fighter jet scheduled to arrive at Burlington International Airport next year, and few of them are flattering.

The F-35 program has been pilloried in the national press as “flawed” and “failed.” It’s been called a “nightmare,” “a mess” and “a trillion-dollar mistake.” And just last month, a Bloomberg report bluntly stated: “The Pentagon Isn’t Happy with the F-35.”

Sen. John McCain, a longtime military stalwart, has been a consistent critic of the Joint Strike Fighter program over its years of development delays and cost overturns that continue to this day.

“The F-35 program’s record of performance has been both a scandal and a tragedy with respect to cost, schedule and performance,” the Arizona Republican said when he chaired a 2016 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the F-35.

In 2013, the Defense Department inspector generaldetermined that the plane’s main developer, Lockheed Martin, was inadequately overseeing the F-35’s development, which “may result in nonconforming hardware, less reliable aircraft, and increased cost.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Already battered by thunderous noise, community braces for arrival of F-35

By Jasper Craven
Feb 27 2018

Conversations in Ray Gonda’s house came to an abrupt halt whenever the F-16s started roaring. As the growling grew louder, Gonda and his wife moved away from the windows, which vibrated as if they were possessed. As the plane took off and flew over their home, family pictures hanging side-by-side on the living room wall shook violently.

“I’d often have to readjust those pictures after the plane took off,” Gonda recalled recently.

For decades now, a fleet of F-16 fighter jets have flown out of Burlington International Airport. While the noise has become routine to many, the impact of the sound hasn’t lost its potency.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Town Meeting Day Burlington Ballot Forum: The F-35 Question

February 25, 2018

Advocates on both sides of the F-35 debate Nicole Citro, Bill Keogh, Jimmy Leas, and Roseanne Greco share their perspectives on the F-35 plane to be used by the VT Air National Guard slated for 2019 during this live call-in forum with Channel 17 Moderator Meghan O’Rourke

[FULL ARTICLE]

Doug Dunbebin blasts F35 noise for Burlington City Councilors

Above clip (approx. 3 1/2 minutes) from when the Burlington City Council refused to limit aircraft noise at the airport, thereby clearing the way for the basing process to continue. Councilor Joan Shannon changed the meeting’s rules at the last minute, disallowing anyone who had ever spoken before on the issue to speak at that meeting (even though two weeks earlier she had promised everyone they would be able to speak). Therefore the people with the most knowledge, including our lawyer, were given no opportunity to refute the misinformation from the proponents.

Doug Dunbebin, a former city councilor himself, broadcasted the recorded sound of the F35s to the council.  You can hear Councilor Shannon in the background screaming at him and pounding her gavel.

“Do you feel it?  Do you feel it?  Are all of you feeling this?  This is anger, and it’s what people will feel every time they hear that airplane take off. Do you understand that?”

Doug Dunbebin

[SOURCE]

General Cray’s February 9, 2018 Press Conference

February 9, 2018

There seems to be some misinformation being circulated about where we are in the F35 basing process by the opponents of the F35. I also want to make a few comments about the non-binding ballot question being presented to the voters of Burlington.

I need to make it perfectly clear that I am the spokesperson for the Vermont National Guard, the opponents of the F35 are not…

There is no alternative mission being planned for the VT Air National Guard.

[FULL ARTICLE]

A Plea from Winooski Citizens – Burlington Free Press

By Coalition for a Livable Winooski
February 18, 2018

We’ve always thought of ourselves as part of the Burlington community.

We like you.
We think you like us.
We need your help.

The extreme noise level from the current military places at the airport doesn’t affect most of you. But it affects most of us. It’s driving us crazy.
And it’s about to get WAY, WAY, WAY, WAY worse for us if the F-35 comes here, because the Air Force told us the F-35 is 4 times louder than the F-16.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Air Force reply and motion for judgment

March 7, 2016

“NO MILITARY AIRCRAFT” AT BURLINGTON AGS IS NEITHER THE PROPER NO ACTION ALTERNATIVE, NOR A REASONABLE ALTERNATIVE
According to Plaintiffs, this “no military aircraft” alternative should have been the no action alternative, or was at least a reasonable alternative that should have been considered in the FEIS…
However, conspicuously absent from the VTANG’s presentation was any suggestion that once those aircraft were retired the VTANG would abandon its decades old mission of flying fighter jets.

[FULL ARTICLE]

 

To the contrary, the Air Force informed the public that if Burlington was not selected, the base’s “current mission would continue.” … In short, Plaintiffs’ speculation regarding “empty hangars at Burlington” is unfounded, and Plaintiffs have failed to show the Air Force used an improper no action alternative.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Burlington Residents Will Vote on F-35 Question As Written

By Katie Jickling
January 30, 2018

The Burlington City Council on Monday agreed to allow voters to weigh in on the future basing of the F-35 fighter jets — but not before a lengthy discussion about ballot wording that, in the end, will remain the same.

The Town Meeting Day ballot question is advisory, and is not likely to prevent the planned 2019 arrival of the F-35s. The crux of the debate during Monday’s meeting centered not around the vote itself, but around language F-35 opponents used conveying “strong support” for the Vermont Air National Guard.

Three councilors — Jane Knodell (P-Central District), Dave Hartnett (D-North District) and Kurt Wright (R-Ward 4) — proposed an amendment to delete the phrase, “as part of our strong support for the men and women of the Vermont National Guard, and especially their mission to ‘protect the citizens of Vermont.'”

Col. Hank Harder, the guard’s 158th Fighter Wing Vice Wing Commander, agreed with the proposed amendment, saying Monday that it would be “disingenuous and misleading” for F-35 opponents to frame their question in terms of support for the guard.

[FULL ARTICLE]

FAA offers few solutions for F-35 noise mitigation in South Burlington

By Emily Greenberg

February 17, 2017

An official with the Federal Aviation Administration told residents here that there is little that can be done to mitigate noise from F-35 jet fighters taking off and landing at the Burlington International Airport.

The airport is located in the middle of a residential area. At a question and answer session Thursday night with officials from the FAA and the Vermont Air National Guard there was only one solution offered to concerns about noise pollution from the aircraft: Home buyouts.

“The best way to mitigate noise, at high noise levels, is to buy homes and remove them,” said Richard Doucette, the FAA’s New England Environmental Program manager. “But the city of South Burlington doesn’t want that. Usually it’s the opposite.”

South Burlington city councilors have suggested noise barriers as an alternative to home buyouts, but Doucette said that the odds of the FAA funding a noise-wall would be slim.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Burlington Airport Commission and FAA Joint Meeting on Noise Mitigation


February 16, 2017

The Burlington International Airport (BTV) and its Commissioners held a question and answer session on February 16, 2017 with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) representatives, Airport representatives , Vermont Air National Guard, Vermont Army National Guard and various Airport consultants in relation to the Home Buyout Program, Land Use and Reuse Program, Noise Exposure Maps and Noise Compatibility Program. We welcomed any questions that you may have regarding these programs or any other Airport initiatives.

[SOURCE]

Response from the Guard about the Burlington F35 Vote

The military says it’s set to base the F-35 fighter jet in Burlington by next fall, but opponents have renewed a long-simmering fight to prevent the next-generation fighter jet from landing.

A plan to base the military’s F-35 jet in Burlington has sparked nearly a decade of debate. Efforts to stop it have included lawsuits and anti-campaigns. The latest — a group called the Coalition for a Livable City.

“We urge the public to join together to protect the right to vote on an issue of fundamental importance, and not allow the mayor to force F-35 basing and bashing on Burlington without a vote,” said
James Leas, a long time F-35 opponent, and ring leader of the group.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Press conference on getting the F-35 issue onto the Burlington ballot

By Katie Jickling

January 19, 2018

Opponents of the decision to base F-35s at Burlington International Airport collected 2,700 signatures — nearly 1,000 more than required — to put the question to Queen City voters on the Town Meeting Day ballot, members announced in a press conference outside City Hall on Friday.

The advisory question, which must be approved by the city council to be on the ballot, asks voters to “advise the city council” to cancel the planned basing of F-35s, which are scheduled to arrive at the airport’s Air National Guard base in 2019. The ballot item asks if voters will “request instead low-noise-level equipment … appropriate for a densely populated area.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

CCTV video of F-35 discussion

December 12, 2017

Charles Simpson, retired professor of sociology, sits down with Jimmy Leas, activist with Save Our Skies, Rosanne Greco, retired Air Force Colonel and Save Our Skies activist, and Carol Miller, of the New Mexico based Peaceful Skies Coalition, to pokes a few holes in the message to which Vermont’s political establishment is wed: that the U.S. Air Force’s F-35 fighter plane is a wise investment and an appreciable factor in Greater Burlington’s livability.

[SOURCE]

PRA and FOIA request for VTANG sources for statements on needing the F-35 for a mission

By James A Dumont, Esq., P.C.
February 8, 2018

I write on behalf of numerous residents of Burlington, Winooski, South Burlington, and
surrounding communities, including but not limited to Mr. Leas, to submit this Public
Records Act and Freedom of Information Act request to the Vermont Department of the
Military, the Vermont Air National Guard, the Vermont National Guard and to you, as well
as to the Air Force.

The Vermont Air National Guard website contains a FOIA page. The FOIA page refers
all requests to the Air Force. To be complete, I am submitting this request to you under
both FOIA and the Vermont Public Records Act, and I am submitting it as well to the Air
Force at the email address on the Air Guard’s FOIA web page.

However, I must insist on a response from the Vermont Department of the Military as well
as a response from the Air Force. You were selected by the Vermont legislature to head
the Vermont Department of the Military, to fulfill functions mandated by the Vermont
Constitution and Vermont statutes.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Leahy pressures Air Force to base F-35 in VT

By George Nichols, E Maj. USAF
September 3, 2013

Notes from today’s phone conversation between Senator Leahy and General Welsh

  • Senator Leahy opened with casual conversation and wanted to be a little more “Parochial” concerning F-35
  • He strongly supports F-35 in Vermont. Tiny vocal minority that is against it. He has received over 200 letters from the group; however, he has over 13,000 signatures for it
  • He strongly urges the Air Force to not delay the RoD in light of rumor that there would be a two year delay for Ops 3 (ANG)
  • He understands the rational of splitting the decision into two RoDs, one for Active Duty and one for ANG but asks for little or no delay in the two RoDs
[FULL ARTICLE]

It’s not too late, We can still save our communities!

By Jasper Craven

Feb 6 2018

It’s NOT TOO LATE! We can still save our communities from the inappropriate F35 basing in our residential neighborhoods!

Burlington voters — please help by voting YES on article #6 at Town Meeting Day on Tuesday, March 6.

“Elsewhere in recent years, military plans have been scrapped or greatly reduced in scope following intense push back from community and political leaders.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 nuclear capability sooner than expected

By Alex Lockie

Jan. 12, 2017

The Air Force designed the F-35A with nuclear capability in mind, and a new report indicates that the Joint Strike Fighter may carry nuclear weapons sooner than expected.

The Air Force originally planned to integrate nuclear weapons in the F-35 between 2020-2022, but Air Force Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus told Defensetech.org that “it would definitely be possible,” to hasten the deployment of B-61 nuclear gravity bombs on the F-35 should the need for it arise.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 at Burlington Mayoral Debate

February 5, 2018

NH Senator’s ability and actions to counter Air Force plans

A Republican senator on a leading defense panel in Congress has moved to block the Air Force’s plans to retire the A-10 Warthog attack plane.

[FULL ARTICLE]

 

A Republican senator has blocked the confirmation of the woman nominated by President Obama to be the next Air Force secretary until the service offers up more information over its plans to cut the A-10 fleet.

[FULL ARTICLE]

 

Ayotte spokeswoman Liz Johnson said the senator lifted her hold on James’s nomination after she received a second round of responses from the Air Force about potential cuts to the A-10 fleet.

[FULL ARTICLE]

 

Lawmakers on key defense panels have reached a deal on the annual defense authorization bill that would block the Pentagon from retiring the A-10 fleet. Key senators such as Sen. John McCain, who next year will succeed Levin as chairman of the Senate panel, and Sen. Kelly Ayotte, a Republican from New Hampshire whose husband was a Warthog pilot….

[FULL ARTICLE]

 

Senator Ayotte has a personal reason for keeping the plane the pentagon wants to kill…

[FULL ARTICLE]

 

Joint explanatory statement to accompany the National Defence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 (Sec 133)

[FULL ARTICLE]

Air Force to Impose Limits on F-35 Training Flights at Eglin

By Dan Cohen

July 9, 2014

Air Force officials have decided to impose operational limitations on F-35 training flights at Eglin Air Force Base on the Florida Panhandle to reduce noise over the city of Valparaiso, according to a record of decision published Wednesday.

Officials selected the “no action alternative” for the basing of up to 59 F-35s at the Eglin joint training site, which represented the environmentally preferred alternative.

“The Air Force listened to the community’s concerns and worked hard to find a solution that meets mission requirements and also reduces noise impacts,” said Kathleen Ferguson, acting assistant secretary for installations, environment, and energy.

The decision demonstrates the Air Force’s desire to limit impacts on communities around Eglin, Ferguson said.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Valparaiso Settles Suit with F-35 Noise Concerns

By Meagan O’Halloran

Mar 02, 2010

A year and a half ago, every city and town in Okaloosa County was anxious to welcome the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter pilot training program to Eglin Air Force Base.

Every city except Valparaiso, where residents said they were worried about the additional flights and excessive noise.

his week the Air Force and Valparaiso announced a settlement to the city’s federal lawsuit.
The whole episode has left Valparaiso looking like the villain of the county.
Some call it the “Sound of Freedom”, others call it an ear-splitting nuisance.

Regardless, Elgin Air Force Base will become the new home to 59, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets this fall.
Folks in nearby Valparaiso were worried about the noise the additional five dozen jets will cause.
They decided if they couldn’t stop the jets from coming to Eglin, at least they’d have some say about where at Eglin.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Successful effort to reduce F-35 impact on citizens

By Kelly Humphrey

April 23, 2016

The F-35 and its three variants (the Air Force’s F-35A, the Marine Corps’ F-35B and the Navy’s F-35C) have both ardent defenders and fierce critics in Congress, at the Pentagon, in the defense industry and on the Internet. Thousands of critics and conspiracy theorists have questioned the aircraft’s safety, effectiveness and cost.At first, it seemed as if that controversy might bypass Okaloosa County, where support for the military runs deep.

But not long after the recommendation to build the training center at Eglin was announced, Valparaiso Mayor Bruce Arnold and many city residents began to express concerns about the projected noise levels of the new aircraft.

With plans for dozens of daily takeoffs and landings from a nearby runway, Arnold feared the impact the noise would have on his citizens’ quality of life. The city sued the Air Force twice over the noise concerns.
Both lawsuits were eventually settled, and today Arnold maintains that his issue was never with Eglin, per se.

“Our concern was if the noise levels were too high, it would stop future development in the city, and would negatively impact our homeowners’ property values,” he said. “But that hasn’t turned out to be the case. It’s been noisy at times, but the current level of flights has been tolerable.”

Arnold said there’s no question in his mind that he did the right thing to question the Air Force’s plans, despite the enormous criticism he received from other local politicians and residents who feared the controversy would lead the Air Force to look elsewhere for a home for the program.

He dismisses those who say the subsequent reduction in the number of aircraft from the proposed 107 to less than half of that is directly connected to his city’s actions.

“That was purely a political decision based on available funding,” he insists.

The Base Realignment and Closure Committee (BRAC) recommended that up to 107 jets be stationed at the base, and a multi-million dollar training complex be constructed to serve students from the Navy, Marines and Air Force, as well as international pilots from eight allied countries.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Up in the air: F-35 training program remains strong despite reduction in aircraft

By Kelly Humphrey
April 23, 2016

While the Marine Corps originally trained its pilots at Eglin, last year the branch relocated its school to Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina, and took its F-35B’s with them. Going forward, F-35B pilots from the United Kingdom will also train at Beaufort.

That leaves less than 50 F-35s at the Eglin training facility.

While that reduction has caused some observers to wonder if the training program is in jeopardy, Okaloosa County Commissioner Wayne Harris isn’t worried.

“There are a lot of reasons that the reduction in planes has happened, and those are mostly due to fiscal constraints,” Harris said.

“The F-35 is a great plane, but it’s very expensive, and they’re still working on getting some of the bugs out of it,” he said. “I believe the training program at Eglin is very secure — the government has too much invested in it. I’m confident it will stay up and running.”

Whether the Navy will continue to train pilots at Eglin is still up for debate, however.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Addendum to Record of Decision for F-35 Beddown at Eglin AFB, FL

April 23, 2015

A one-time, temporary increase in certain F-35 operations is allowed due to required construction-related closure…but only after all mitigations measure have first been implemented and/or exhausted, limited additional F-35 operations up to the number and type of average daily operations.

The DoN is authorized to deliver up to fifteen additional BAI F-35C aircraft, provided VFA-101 continuously monitors F-35C operations to ensure they do not exceed the average daily operations analyzed under the No Action Alternative on a weekly basis.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Richard Joseph: ‘Save the Guard’ – The big lie

By Richard Joseph

September 12, 2016

In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act. — Anonymous

The truth revolution faces fierce opposition in Burlington. In fact, during the past four or five years, Burlington has been subjected to a concerted disinformation campaign touting the supposed benefits of basing the troubled F-35 Joint Strike Fighter at Burlington’s commercial airport. Lies have been told and repeated by F-35 basing proponents attempting to build public support. Now, in government documents released in conjunction with an ongoing lawsuit against the Air Force, some of the deceit has finally been exposed.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F16 transfer Eielson to Elmendorf

May 2013

Proposed Action: The Air Force proposes to relocate 18 primary assigned and 3 back up F-16 aircraft from EAFB to JBER, Alaska and to adjust EAFB personnel over the following 2 years to reflect reduced base operating support requirements. EAFB is the only Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) base with a one squadron wing. The Proposed Action to consolidate 3 squadrons of fighters under the 3rd Wing would achieve operational efficiencies in the PACAF Pacific Region that would meet both Air Force cost saving
and force-sizing requirements while maintaining current operational capabilities within PACAF.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Alaskan Senator Submits Eight Point Document to USAF Contesting F-16 Proposal

March 1, 2013

As the time closed for comments to be submitted from Alaskans, Senator Lisa Murkowski today delivered a stinging and comprehensive refutation of the flawed United States Air Force proposal to transfer the F-16 Aggressor squadron from Eielson Air Force Base to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson – in addition to the comments received directly from Alaskans through her “Eielson Closing Argument” online initiative she created before the U.S. Air Force allowed comments to be sent via the Internet.

“I am proud to have been a part of this statewide effort; where the Air Force thought they could pit different regions of our state against one another, Alaskans created a united front,” said Murkowski. “Alaskans came out in Southcentral, Alaskans came out in the Interior and they chimed in via the ‘Eielson Closing Argument’ initiative. In addition to all their voices, my letter today is an attempt to sum up all the best arguments and say ‘case closed.’ Alaskans must be heard, have been heard – and I will work in Washington, DC to make certain the Air Force listens.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Navy changing plans at Oceana Air Station

September 19, 2008

Proposed sites selected with objective to:
Minimize impacts to landowners and residents
Avoid National Wildlife Areas, wetlands, Important Bird Areas, and Threatened and Endangered species…

[FULL ARTICLE]

Environmental Law Center To File Suit Challenging Navy’s OLF Plan

January 9, 2004

The Southern Environmental Law Center, representing the National Audubon Society, Defenders of Wildlife and the North Carolina Wildlife Federation, will file suit in federal court Friday challenging the Navy’s plan to build a military jet landing field in the heart of the Atlantic migratory bird flyway and a few miles from a national wildlife refuge.

The groups say the government’s environmental impact studies for the landing field downplayed the substantial risk of collisions between jets and the large flocks of tundra swans, snow geese and other birds that winter in the area, and minimized adverse impacts to the wildlife refuge.

Citing extensive evidence from wildlife experts, including the scientist who led part of the Navy’s own study, the lawsuit characterizes as “reckless” the plan for a new F/A 18 E/F Super Hornet jet training field within five miles of the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in eastern North Carolina.

The refuge is winter home to some 100,000 large swans, snow geese and other waterfowl known to represent a severe risk to low-flying aircraft and their pilots.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Hundreds drawn to celebrate ruling on OLF

By Kate Wiltrout
Mar 30, 2008

The setting was humble and wholesome, and so was the food. Fresh-cooked pork barbecue, green beans and homemade pound cake, all served on paper plates at picnic tables inside a giant barn.

The people, too, were humble. Even on a Saturday night when they could gleefully have celebrated their David-vs.-Goliath victory over the U.S. Navy, they refrained.

Instead of high-fives, hundreds of people exchanged thanks – first to God, then for one another, and finally, with a standing ovation, to the lawyers who represented them in court.

In fact, some guests even thanked the Navy for bringing them together.

“I don’t want to say, ‘We beat them,'” Ronnie Askew said. “I want to say, ‘With the good Lord’s help, we showed them the error of their ways.'”

Askew was one of about 500 people in this rural community who packed the Beasley family’s barn for what North Carolinians Opposed to the Outlying Landing Field called, “Our Blessed Celebration.”

It was a party more than four years in the making. One, two and three years ago, similar events packed the barn. But those were fundraisers or get-to-know-you gatherings for politicians, journalists and environmental groups they brought together to talk about the cause.

This night was a chance to savor, finally, the battle that reversed the Navy’s decision in 2003 to make 30,000 acres of farmland in Washington County into a place for Navy jets to practice simulated aircraft carrier landings.

In January, Navy Secretary Donald Winter removed Washington County – Site C, in the Navy’s voluminous study – from the service’s list of potential locations.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Super Hornet Final Environmental Impact Statement Released

July 18, 2003

The Secretary of the Navy has released a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for introduction of the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet to the East Coast of the United States.

The document contains two preferred home basing alternatives, each recommending split basing of 10 Super Hornet squadrons at Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana in Virginia Beach, Va., and at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Cherry Point in N.C. The FEIS also recommends construction of an Outlying Landing Field (OLF) in Washington County, N.C., for use in practicing aircraft carrier landings.

Atlantic Fleet Commander, Adm. Robert J. Natter, has recommended the Secretary of the Navy select the alternative that calls for basing eight Super Hornet squadrons (96 aircraft) and one Fleet Replacement Squadron (24 aircraft) at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, Va., and two squadrons (24 aircraft) at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in North Carolina. The second preferred alternative contained in the FEIS recommends basing six squadrons at NAS Oceana and four at MCAS Cherry Point. Both alternatives recommend construction of an OLF in Washington County, N.C.

The recommended basing alternative maximizes existing facilities and limits capital investment requirements at both NAS Oceana and MCAS Cherry Point, providing substantive mitigation of environmental impacts at both sites at an acceptable cost. The geographic proximity of the two bases allows for combined use of training ranges and OLFs by all Super Hornet squadrons, as well as other aircraft based in the area.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Jet Noise Can Make You Rich!

May 16, 2007

Market Watch is reporting the following: “The Justice Department and the U.S. Navy have reached a settlement agreement with approximately 3,400 property owners in Virginia Beach and Chesapeake, Va., regarding litigation relating to jet noise at a naval air base. Under the terms of the agreement, the participating plaintiffs agree to dismiss their claims and acknowledge that the settlement does not constitute an admission of liability by the United States.

“‘We are pleased that the federal government and residents near the Naval Air Station Oceana and Naval Auxiliary Landing Field, Fentress have been able to reach an amicable resolution in this matter and avoid further litigation,’ said Matthew J. McKeown, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. ‘This resolution signals an end to six years of litigation and provides positive results for the citizens as well as the government.’

[FULL ARTICLE]

Julie Macuga: The true sound of freedom is not an F-35

By Julia Macuga

February 8, 2018

The stack of speaker sign-up sheets for the F-35 ballot item towered at a packed City Hall last Monday night. People from around the state and members of the press crowded the first floor and balcony. People in polished brass mingled with those in salt-stained boots. The session had skipped right to public comment; by my tally, 35 people spoke in support of the issue being placed on the ballot, and five spoke in favor of the F-35’s and against the ballot initiative that would advise for an alternative to these aircrafts.

The winter chill could not freeze the petitioners nor democracy in the weeks leading up to this meeting — over 2,700 signatures, about 1,000 more than the 1,787 required to put the F-35 advisory question on the Town Meeting Day ballot — have made their way to the city clerk.

City Hall filled with murmurs as supporters of the F-35 debate said, “Why are we still arguing this?” I tried to gauge the council and Mayor Miro Weinberger’s reactions as my fellow Vermonters spoke. Despite the Air Force’s 2016 declaration that “… if there is no F-35A operational bed-down at Burlington Air Guard Station, the current mission would continue,” Vice Wing Commander Harder asserted that there would be no alternative mission for them if the F-35’s were stopped. Ray Gonda, a Vietnam veteran who lives near the airport, stated, “Burlington gets the goodies, while I and my neighbors pay the costs … Burlington has profited handsomely [from this project] by acquiring, free of charge, many formerly private-owned properties near the airport in my community.” People spoke about livelihoods, democracy, racism, birds, noise pollution and justice. The council asked the audience to settle down on numerous occasions — but applause, like the noise of jet engines, could not be mitigated.

[FULL ARTICLE]

VT National Guard press conference

February 09, 2018

The leader of the Vermont National Guard has a message for Burlington voters. It’s about a ballot question on the new F-35 fighter jets heading for the Green Mountain Boys next year.

Opponents of the jets pushed for the nonbinding question on the March ballot requesting cancellation of F-35 basing at Burlington airport. Maj. Gen. Steven Cray says even though the measure won’t change the Air Force’s decision on the F-35, he’s speaking out because it could trick voters.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Air Guard pushes back on F-35 ballot measure

By Elizabeth Gribkoff and Mike Dougherty

February 9, 2018

Vermont National Guard officials spoke out on Friday against a ballot measure that will allow Burlington voters to signal opposition to basing F-35 fighter jets at the Burlington International Airport.

Maj. Gen. Steven Cray, Vermont’s adjutant general, said at a press conference that the question “misleads the voter into thinking they are supporting the Air Guard.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Greg Guma: Claims that F-35 basing will protect jobs are overstated

By Greg Guma

January 25, 2018

In Vermont’s ongoing debate about the basing of F-35 fighter jets at the Burlington International Airport the arguments in support often center on balancing noise and other admitted impacts against economic necessities, benefits and fears. But the controversy also raises questions about the real economic impacts of military spending.

In 2012, for example, dire warnings that thousands of Vermont jobs were jeopardized by looming defense cuts and changes in Air Force priorities turned out to be overstated. Speaking at an Air Force public hearing on the F-35 Environmental Impact Statement, Phil Scott, then Vermont’s lieutenant governor, explained that one of his main fears was “that, with all of the talk at the federal level about reducing costs, if the program is not located here, there is a real chance the base could be reduced in size or possibly closed altogether.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Advocacy group questions F-35s

By Renee Wunderlich
February 8, 2018

Rosanne Greco is a former South Burlington city councilor and a retired Air Force colonel.

She spoke to University of Vermont students Thursday about her work with the advocacy group “Save Our Skies VT.”

Greco said there are a lot of reasons she’s not a fan of the F-35s.

“Health impacts, property value impacts, not to mention the bombardment of this noise on our children,” she said.

But it could be crucial for the Air Guard that the jets arrive next year.

Col. Hank Harder of the 158th Fighter Wing spoke to the Burlington City Council during their last meeting, saying, “… there is no alternative mission for the Vermont Air National Guard. But Greco says that’s not true.

“There are direct contradictions between what the Vermont Air National Guard senior leaders are saying — which is, if we don’t get the F-35s, we’re out of business. We have no mission, no job — and what the United States Air Force has said in their Environmental Impact Statement as well as in court,” she said.

Greco cites documents from the United States Air Force that she says contradict what the Guard says about the need for the F-35’s.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Why Are Democrats and Progressives Pushing the U.S. War Machine in Vermont?

By William Boardman

February 3, 2018

This is a story primarily about corrupt practices by the Burlington City Council, in its headlong determination to force a neighboring city to be the base for a weapon of mass destruction, the nuclear capable F-35 fighter-bomber (in development since 1992, first flown in 2000, still not reliably deployable in 2018, at a cost of $400 billion and counting). Yes, the premise itself is corrupt: Burlington owns the airport in South Burlington, so South Burlington has no effective say in how many housing units Burlington destroys in South Burlington to meet environmental standards for imposing the quiet-shattering F-35 jet on a community that doesn’t want it and won’t benefit from it. The entire “leadership” of the state of Vermont, mostly Democrats, has spent more than a decade making this atrocity happen, with widespread media complicity.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Impact on Winooski

DOD agrees to halt F-15 fighter jet transfers

June 22, 2012

The Department of Defense is telling U.S. Senate leaders that it will stop scheduled Air Force transfers of aircraft until Congress finalizes 2013 budget plans later this year, which could also further prevent those transfers.

The announcement, released by Montana U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, comes as several states become increasingly worried about their Air National Guard units losing aircraft missions.

Montana filed a lawsuit earlier this month against the Defense Department, seeking to stop the military’s transfer of F-15 fighter jets to California. Montana wants assurances that the state will later get its planned replacement mission of C-130 cargo planes.

But political leaders from the Gulf Coast states are threatening action to prevent movement of the C-130s from their states, where they help with hurricane preparedness.
[FULL ARTICLE]

Airstrip proposal could test limits to development

By David Murray
September 22, 2017

Sometime in the next several weeks an environmental assessment study will be completed on the grounds of Malmstrom Air Force Base. If that assessment on a narrow strip of land stretching near dead center through the base doesn’t reveal any big problems, it’s fair to assume that construction on a new dirt airstrip will begin as the weather permits.

The proposed Assault Landing Zone will resemble little more than a runway scratched out of the clay soil that forms the foundation of Malmstrom Air Force Base. Its purpose will be to provide a training ground upon which Montana Air National Guard flight crews can practice C-130 transport aircraft landings and take-offs under similar less-than-ideal runway conditions they might encounter in remote locations throughout the world.

[FULL ARTICLE}

Governor sues over Montana Air National Guard’s loss of mission

June 15, 2012

Gov. Brian Schweitzer filed a lawsuit against the Defense Department on Friday to block any plans to take away the state’s Air National Guard mission without a suitable replacement.

Attorney General Steve Bullock filed the complaint Friday in U.S. District Court in Great Falls. It asks the court to place a hold on the military’s plan to transfer 15 fighter jets to California. It argues that the transfer would violate federal law that requires the governor’s permission before the federal government can make a change in a state guard’s organization.

Schweitzer, as commander in chief of the Montana Air National Guard, is the plaintiff in the lawsuit.

[FULL ARTICLE}

F-35 Fighter Jets: What Would Martin Luther King, Jr. say?

What would Martin Luther King, Jr. say about the proposal to locate F-35 supersonic fighter jets at Madison’s Truax Field Air National Guard base?

In his 1967 “Beyond Vietnam” speech, Dr. King spoke passionately about the injustice of the growing spending on war—while anti-poverty projects were de-funded. “A Nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death,” he said.

A January. 12, 2018 Cap Times letter to the editor by former Madison Alder J. Michael Shivers called the proposal to base the F-35s at Truax Field in Madison an “outrageous waste of taxpayers’ money.” Each of the 18 jets to be located at Truax costs $150 million dollars—for a total of $270 billion.

[FULL ARTICLE}

MCAS Air Show reflects value of the F-35 to Beaufort, nation

By Shannon Erickson
April 25, 2017

The Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort Air Show reminds us of our community’s proud support for America’s military, and the importance of our military both to national defense and our local economy.

Because of this impact, I led an effort for the South Carolina House and Senate to pass resolutions supporting the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, and our county and city councils have joined us in clearly declaring their approval.

Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort is one of the only bases in the country to house the F-35, and more squadrons are coming.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Billboards support F-35 in Alabama

By Jalea Brooks
April 25, 2017

You may have noticed them around town – The Montgomery area Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring billboards across the city to raise awareness of the effort to get the F-35 to locate here. Leaders of the F-35 Task Force say it’s important that the community be aware Montgomery is in the running as a possible home for a fleet of F-35A jets.

Leslie Sanders, chair of the F-35 Task Force says “community support is one of the areas that is looked at when the decision makers are trying to decide where to put the next installation…it’s also important because it underscores the strong partnership and the value that our community on the military.”

Paul Hankins, co-chair of the task force explains “we’ve really ramped up our efforts to really publicize what the F-35 is all about what this competition means to us in terms of jobs and economic impact”.

The F-35 would replace the F-16 planes currently used by the 187th Fighter Wing based at Dannelly Field. Hankins says “they’re flying some of the oldest F-16’s in the Air Force, those planes are due to be retired over the next maybe 5 to 10 years or sooner”.  Hankins adds that while the community support is vital to getting the F-35 to the, “The best hometown of the Air Force”, he hopes that decision makers consider a number of other factors that set Montgomery apart from the competition.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Trump claims F-35s flew over Japan undetected: ‘Pretty cool, right?

By Brad Lendon
May 12, 2017

US President Donald Trump thinks the F-35 fighter is “pretty cool,” but he seems to be a bit confused over what the newest US warplanes have been up to in Japan.

In a White House interview with Time magazine published Thursday, Trump said almost three dozen of the stealth jets flew over Japan undetected during a visit to Tokyo by US Defense Secretary James Mattis in February.
“They had 35 of them fly over Japan … and they were not detected by the radar. They flew over and everyone said where the hell did they come from? That’s stealth. It’s pretty cool, right,” Time quotes Trump as saying in the interview.
[FULL ARTICLE]

Bernie Sanders keeps Vermont press at arms length


By John Walters
Mar. 22,2017

On his way out of the St. Johnsbury Academy gymnasium last Thursday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) stopped in the hallway and faced the media.

For all of two minutes. He answered three short questions and hustled on to his next engagement.

Little did I know that this would be my one and only opportunity to ask Sanders a question. I attended five Sanders events in four Vermont towns last week without ever getting another chance.

But that’s just par for the course.

Sanders rarely interacts with Vermont news media.  He’s a constant presence in national newspapers and on cable news — the very “corporate media” he rails against at every opportunity — but not in this state’s media, most of it locally owned. I guess if you’re looking for the biggest possible audience, well, principle be damned.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Pentagon buries evidence of $125 Billion in Bureaucratic waste

By Craig Whitlock and Bob Woodward
December 5, 2016

The Pentagon has buried an internal study that exposed $125 billion in administrative waste in its business operations amid fears Congress would use the findings as an excuse to slash the defense budget, according to interviews and confidential memos obtained by The Washington Post.

Pentagon leaders had requested the study to help make their enormous back-office bureaucracy more efficient and reinvest any savings in combat power. But after the project documented far more wasteful spending than expected, senior defense officials moved swiftly to kill it by discrediting and suppressing the results.

[FULL ARTICLE]

MacKay laments not buying F-35s

By Stephanie Levitz
June 13th, 2016

Buying a fighter jet that’s different from the one used by Canada’s closest allies risks disconnecting the country from the global alliances it needs the most, a former Conservative defence minister said Monday.

Peter MacKay told a Senate committee that in his mind, there’s no question the Lockheed-Martin F-35 is the right plane for Canada — from defending the Far North to helping to confront the threat of terrorism around the world.

MacKay’s government tried to purchase that very plane but questions about its costs and capabilities forced a halt to the process — something MacKay said he regrets.

“I’m very much lamenting some of the to-ing and fro-ing that’s going on currently over the purchase of fighter aircraft,” he said.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Noise information delayed

BY MORGAN TRUE
DEC. 10, 2015

City officials, the Vermont Air National Guard and the Burlington International Airport are making progress toward a joint noise mitigation commission that would include representatives from other affected communities.

Newly released noise exposure maps show more than 2,200 people fall into the area negatively impacted by excessive noise from the airport and the F-16 fighter jets now in use. The maps don’t account for louder F-35 fighter jets that are expected to be based at the airport in 2020.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Lockheed Martin to get $3 billion from F-35 sale to Denmark

By Peter Levring

Denmark’s government plans to replace its aging fleet of fighter jets with Lockheed Martin planes in an order worth 20 billion kroner ($3 billion).

The minority government of Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen, which still needs parliamentary approval before the order can be placed, wants to spend the money on 27 F-35 jets to replace old Lockheed Martin F-16s, Defense Minister Peter Christensen and Rasmussen said at a press conference in Copenhagen on Thursday. Boeing had also competed for the deal.

Denmark is revamping its fleet at a time when the “world security map has changed, producing new threats closer to Europe and Denmark,” Rasmussen said, highlighting Russia, the Middle East and Northern Africa as areas for concern.

[FULL ARTICLE]

America’s last fighter jet makers scramble to keep production alive


BY MARCUS WEISGERBER
MAY 12, 2016

In the southwest corner of a mile-long assembly plant here, an F-16 fighter jet is slowly coming to life. That plane, being built for the Iraqi Air Force, is far more sophisticated than the first Falcon to come off this production line more than 40 years ago, but it soon could become one of the last.

To the northeast by 575 miles, a similar scene is playing out inside another manufacturing facility. Here it’s the F-15 Eagle and F/A-18 Super Hornet, two more 1970s relics that have been redesigned and modernized heavily over the decades.

Without more orders by the U.S. military or its allies, production of these three planes, which gave America supremacy of the skies for more than four decades, will halt by 2020.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Decades later, sickness among airmen

By Dave Philipps
June 19, 2016

It was one of the biggest nuclear accidents in history, and the United States wanted it cleaned up quickly and quietly. But if the men getting onto buses were told anything about the Air Force’s plan for them to clean up spilled radioactive material, it was usually, “Don’t worry.”

“There was no talk about radiation or plutonium or anything else,” said Frank B. Thompson, a then 22-year-old trombone player who spent days searching contaminated fields without protective equipment or even a change of clothes. “They told us it was safe, and we were dumb enough, I guess, to believe them.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 Will Fly Despite Auditor’s Fleet-Grounding Warning

By Patrick Tucker
April 17, 2016

Pentagon officials say the plane can fly without the aircraft’s enormously complex diagnostics system.

Problems with the Joint Strike Fighter’s logistics software will not keep the F-35 fleet from flying, the Pentagon says, contrary to a new Government Accountability Office, or GAO, report that hinted at a possible grounding.

In the April 14 report, GAO officials say problems with one of the jet fighter’s software suites are so severe that “it could take the entire F-35 fleet offline” if there was a failure, in part because there’s no backup to the system.

[FULL ARTICLE]

DOD F-35 program office, breaking the law

By Eric Palmer
April 18, 2016

The U.S. Government Account Office has released two reports on the troubled F-35 program.

One on the program and “new capabilities”. Another, on the F-35s faulty total logistics management system called ALIS.

The one on ALIS has no surprises. The problems have been ongoing for years and, it was years ago that fixes were promised.

The other report? Billions needed to work on Block 4 of the F-35. The problem with this is it is blue-sky marketing. The F-35 program is still in DOD procurement milestone B. That is, after all these years: early development. The primary goal of the F-35 program currently in its system design and demonstration (SDD) stage is to show a fully functional Block 3 capability. Key word: ‘demonstration.’

[FULL ARTICLE]

Flying Public Relations Blitz? Pentagon Finds Only Good Use for F-35

March 26, 2016

With its reputation effectively flown through the mud, the F-35 will seek public approval by performing alongside WWII fighters in an air show tour.

With a price tag of over $1 trillion, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has been riddled with problems that include everything from cybersecurity issues to basic flight capabilities.

“[The F-35] has already been in development for more than twenty years,” reads a report conducted by the non-profit Project on Government Oversight. “The plane is still years away from being capable of providing any real contribution to the [US] national defense if, in fact, it ever will be.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

The Truth about the F-35

By Eileen Andreoli
Apr. 18, 2016

This commentary is by a member of SaveOurSkiesVT.org.

In recent stories about the accelerated pace for the basing in Vermont of the under-tested and mechanically flawed F-35s, Gov. Peter Shumlin states, “This initiative will benefit the Vermont National Guard, create jobs, and spur economic development in Chittenden County and surrounding areas.”

Shumlin has repeated these same lies for the last three years. When challenged in 2013 to provide the source for his comments that the F-35s would create jobs, his reply was: “The specific quote you referenced should have referred to the more than one thousand direct and indirect jobs attributable to the air base that I strongly believe will be retained if we are chosen for F-35 basing.”

Retaining jobs does not equal creating jobs! Even after he was challenged on these falsehoods, and despite his excuse that he meant to say “retained” jobs instead of creating them, he is back at it again, repeating the same lies. His continued misrepresentation of the facts must be exposed for the outright lies they are.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Sanders’ position on the F-35 contradicts his views on defense spending

By Sarah Sicard
Jan. 14, 2016

Though Sen. Bernie Sanders advocates for spending cuts, he also supports the costliest program ever funded.
Democratic candidate for president and Vermont senator, Bernie Sanders, seems to have contradictory policies regarding the Defense Department.

Within his platform regarding the military, he suggests that the U.S. military spends too much money on defense, and is known to staunchly oppose military engagement unless absolutely necessary.

In a town hall meeting in Iowa City, Sanders said, “We know that there is massive fraud going on in the defense industry. Virtually every major defense contractor has either been convicted of fraud or reached a settlement with the government …We need a strong military, it is a dangerous world. But I think we can make judicious cuts.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Bernie Backs Trillion Dollar Weapon System

By Ben Armbruster
Feb. 17, 2016

As we all know by now, Bernie Sanders is campaigning on a promise to change American politics in such a way that benefits the middle class and working families at the expense of corporate greed and influence.

“I am asking you to be part of a political revolution,” Bernie told his supporters last summer. “A revolution which transforms our country economically, politically, socially, and environmentally.”

While some have wondered how Bernie’s revolution will stand up to the realities of governing should he win the White House, what’s often been overlooked is the fact that the Vermont Independent has had plenty of opportunities to buck the system as a U.S. Senator. He has not always taken those opportunities, instead siding with big corporations at the expense of the taxpayer.

Nowhere is this more evident than his unwavering support for one of the biggest boondoggles in U.S. military history: the F-35.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Thunder without Lightning: The high costs and limited benefits of the F-35

By Bill French

August 2015

The National Security Network (NSN) is pleased to release a new policy report, Thunder without Lightning: The High Costs and Limited Benefits of the F-35. According to our analysis, the F-35 lacks the capabilities to execute its primary mission, and costs too much relative to its predecessors. The Department of Defense should examine ways to reduce its commitment to this albatross of an acquisition program.

From the report:

“To perform against near-peer adversaries, the F-35 will have to be capable of executing a range of missions, from defeating enemy aircraft to penetrating enemy air defenses to strike surface targets. But the F-35 will struggle to effectively perform these missions due to shortcomings in its design and program requirements, despite costing between three and nine times more than the 4th-generation aircraft it is designed to replace.

The F-35 will find itself outmaneuvered, outgunned, out of range, and visible to enemy sensors. Going forward, full investment in the F-35 would be to place a bad trillion-dollar bet on the future of airpower based on flawed assumptions and an underperforming aircraft. To avoid such a catastrophic outcome, Congress and DOD should begin the process of considering alternatives to a large-scale commitment to the F-35. Staying the present course may needlessly gamble away a sizable margin of American airpower at great expense and unnecessary risk to American lives.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Sanders position on the F-35 contradicts his views on defense spending

Sarah Sicard
January 14, 2016

Though Sen. Bernie Sanders advocates for spending cuts, he also supports the costliest program ever funded.
Democratic candidate for president and Vermont senator, Bernie Sanders, seems to have contradictory policies regarding the Defense Department.

Within his platform regarding the military, he suggests that the U.S. military spends too much money on defense, and is known to staunchly oppose military engagement unless absolutely necessary.

In a town hall meeting in Iowa City, Sanders said, “We know that there is massive fraud going on in the defense industry.  Virtually every major defense contractor has either been convicted of fraud or reached a settlement with the government …We need a strong military, it is a dangerous world.  But I think we can make judicious cuts.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Bernie Sanders Loves this $1 Trillion War Machine

Tim Mak
February 9, 2016

MANCHESTER, New Hampshire — Sen. Bernie Sanders has railed against big defense corporations at rallies, but he has a more complex history with the military-industrial complex. Most notably, he’s supported a $1.2 trillion stealth fighter that’s considered by many to be one of the bigger boondoggles in Pentagon history.

Sanders has made his opposition to Hillary Clinton’s hawkishness a cornerstone of his campaign. But he hasn’t exactly been antiwar all his career. When it has come time to choose between defense jobs and a dovish defense policy, Sanders has consistently chosen to stand with the arms-makers rather than the peaceniks—leading to tension with some of the most adamant adherents of progressive ideology.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 total disaster

By Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry
January 27, 2016

The F-35 is an absolute disaster, and it needs to go. The scandals around it are legion.

The supersonic stealth plane called the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter was supposed to be the greatest and best military plane the world has ever seen. While the United States’ stealthy F-22 is an “air superiority” plane, ensuring the country’s dominance over the skies, which is why exporting it is illegal, the F-35 was supposed to be able to do everything, and be the standard fighter-bomber of the U.S. and most countries with which the U.S. has friendly relations. It was supposed to be stealthy, to be able take off and land vertically, and to know everything about everything thanks to its amazing software and sensors. It can’t do any of those things so far.

The program has cost $1.3 trillion so far. By comparison, the Apollo Program, which actually sent people to the moon, cost about $170 billion in 2005 dollars. The F-35 is literally the most expensive military project in history. By 2014, the program was $163 billion over budget, and seven years behind schedule.

[FULL ARTICLE]

An intrusion on our home

By Bruce S. Post
FEB. 1, 2016

The passionate disagreements about the F-35 and industrial wind share a commonality: the meaning of home.

“Home is the place,” wrote Robert Frost, “where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” Home and hearth are rooted in our soul, private places of respite and retreat from the grinding gears of public life. The expression “if these walls could talk” symbolizes that our dwellings are more than simply structures; they are storehouses of memories, giving us a sense of our individual and familial selves.

That is the romantic vision. Less romantically, we are never completely safe in our homes. We are wary of the stranger at the door, fearful of the burglar and the thief. We fear the sense of violation that comes with a lock pried, window broken and drawers thrown about indiscriminately. We arm ourselves with dead-bolt locks, alarm systems, barred windows and bullets and guns. The claim “I never lock my door” seems naïve and foolhardy. “Be careful,” we caution, “you never know.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Resident frustration with airport noise maps

BY MORGAN TRUE
November 10, 2015

SOUTH BURLINGTON — Close to 150 residents packed the gymnasium at the Chamberlin Elementary School on Monday night to take a first look at new noise exposure maps drafted by the Burlington International Airport.

The noise maps were last updated in 2006, and the draft maps released Monday are the first to account for the afterburners on the Air National Guard’s F-16 fighter jet engines.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Bernie and the Jets

by JEFFREY ST. CLAIR
NOVEMBER 13, 2015

As Clintons are wont to do, Hillary laid a political trap and Bernie Sanders, in his Schlemiel-like way, stumbled right into it. In the wake of Jeremy Corbyn’s smashing victory as the new leader of Britain’s Labour Party, Hillary’s super-PAC, Correct the Record, tarred Sanders as a Corbyn-lite renegade who has cozied up to untouchable figures like Hugo Chavez.

About a decade ago, Sanders was part of a delegation that negotiated a sensible deal to bring low-cost heating oil from Venezuela to poor families in the northeastern United States. But instead of defending his honorable role in this ex parte negotiation, Sanders wilted. In a fundraising email to his legions of Sandernistas, Bernie fumed at being “linked to a dead Communist dictator.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Bernie Sanders continues to support the military-industrial complex over Vermonters

From: “U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders” <Senator@sanders.senate.gov>

Date: November 9, 2015, 5:41:22 PM EST

Subject: Email from Senator Sanders

bernie-sanders

Thank you for contacting me about the U.S. Air Force’s decision to base the F-35 Joint Strike Fighters in South Burlington.  I appreciate the opportunity to respond to your concerns on this very important issue.

Let me begin by stating that I believe it speaks to the commendable record of the Vermont National Guard that the Air Force decided to base its newest generation of planes in South Burlington.  The Vermont Guard played a critical role responding to the September 11 attacks in New York, Tropical Storm Irene in Vermont, and Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast.  And, while I personally have deep concerns about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, there is no question that Vermont Guard members have served admirably and honorably – often at enormous personal cost – when called to active duty.

I do not want to see the role of the Vermont Air National Guard diminished or eliminated, and this decision ensures the mission of the Vermont Air Guard far into the future.  It protects the jobs and educational opportunities for more than a thousand Vermonters while securing the Guard’s significant contribution to the local economy for years to come.  Moreover, a failure to be chosen in the first F-35 basing round would have exposed the Burlington Air Guard Station to the Base Realignment and Closure process, and that is why the Vermont Guard leadership unequivocally believed the best way to ensure their mission was to get the F-35.  I supported that position.

There are residents near the airport who are very legitimately concerned about noise, and I share that concern.  Along with Senator Leahy and Congressman Welch, I have asked the Air Force to address noise concerns.  We have also urged the Guard to work closely with its airport neighbors to reduce noise to the extent possible through operational measures such as limiting afterburner use, flying at less than full military power, modifying take-off and landing patterns, etc.

And, like many Vermonters I have serious concerns about the cost of this plane.  Throughout my career, I have called for cutting military spending and rooting-out fraud, waste and corruption in the defense industry.  At the very least, I believe Lockheed Martin must cover cost overages, rather than the U.S. taxpayer. 

However, whether one likes the F-35 or not, the Air Force is moving forward with plans to replace the F-16 with the F-35.  As long as the F-35 is deployed anywhere, I would rather protect the mission of the citizen soldiers of the Vermont Guard, and maintain 1100 jobs here in Vermont, rather than in South Carolina or Florida. 

Thank you again for contacting me, and please feel free to stay in touch about this or any other subject of interest to you.  For up-to-date information on what I am working on, please sign-up for my e-newsletter, the Bernie Buzz, at http://sanders.senate.gov/buzz/.

Sincerely,

BERNARD SANDERS

United States Senator

Pilots praise survivability and stealth of F-35

By Phillip Swarts
October 5, 2015

Some pilots who have flown the F-35 Lightning II say its capabilities are “unmatched.”

“This is by far the easiest airplane I’ve ever flown in my life,” said Col. Todd Canterbury, chief of the F-35 Integration Office Operations Division, during a Sept. 18 showing of the aircraft at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland.

“What does that mean? That means that I can now focus on the battlefield, focus on the tactics at hand, rather than try to manipulate and fly the aircraft to where I need it to be,” Canterbury said. “The increased situational awareness that this brings increases my survivability on the battlefield. That’s really what it’s all about. It’s protecting the men and women that are going to fly these airplanes every single day and bringing themback home safely.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

AF to airmen: Defend the F-35

By Phillip Swarts
October 5, 2015

Air Force leaders are telling airmen to “explain why we need the F-35,” according to a leaked internal document from Secretary Deborah Lee James’ office.

The eight-page internal memo, marked “Not for Public Release,” gives airmen a step-by-step guide on how to “debunk false narratives and inaccuracies reflected in news media reporting” about the military’s controversial new plane.

[FULL ARTICLE]

General Blasts A-10 vs. F-35 Debate as ‘Ludicrous’

By Richard Sisk
September 15th, 2015

Air Force Gen. Herbert. J. “Hawk” Carlisle said Tuesday the raging debate over whether the A-10 or the F-35 is better equipped to perform close air support was totally missing the point on the future of the mission.

“What we’ve got to talk about is how you do UCAS (unconventional close air support) better,” rather than which aircraft can do it better, the head of Air Combat Command said. “The discussion of what platform is going to replace the A-10 is ludicrous. We have to talk about how to do it better, and we do it better with technology.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Canada’s Liberals Against F-35 Purchase

Agence France-Presse
September 20, 2015

OTTAWA, Canada— Canada’s Liberal leader Justin Trudeau said on the campaign trail Sunday that he would scrap the purchase of F-35s — the apparent frontrunner to replace the nation’s aging fleet of fighter jets.

“We will not buy the F-35 fighter jet,” he told a rally in Halifax ahead of Oct. 19 elections.

Taking Lockheed Martin’s F35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters off the table would leave Ottawa with three options: the Eurofighter Typhoon, the Dassault Rafale and Boeing’s Super Hornet.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Kendall: Canadian Suppliers Will Continue To Support F-35

By Lara Seligman
September 23, 2015

FORT WORTH, Texas — Amid renewed questions about Canada’s commitment to the F-35 fighter jet, the Pentagon’s top acquisition official said the Canadian supply base will remain an essential part of the program, even if the nation does not buy the aircraft.

“I believe those suppliers are part of the team, I don’t see any reason why they would not continue to be part of the team whether Canada [buys jets] or not,” Frank Kendall, the Pentagon’s undersecretary of defense for acquisition, told reporters here during a ceremony to celebrate the roll out of Norway’s first F-35. “We make our decisions on participation based on best value, and if Canadian firms are still best value, then they will be part of the program.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Increase Air Force budget or face consequences: Column

By Deborah Lee James
September 25, 2015

At a time when our nation is slashing defense budgets, we face a security environment that is extraordinarily complex and volatile, and our Air Force is busier than ever.

Over the last year, 25,000 Airmen deployed in support of contingencies around the world. They flew almost 20,000 close air support missions and dropped over 3,800 bombs with a 99{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} hit rate. Airmen flew more than 100,000 mobility and tanker sorties offloading almost 200 million gallons of fuel to joint and coalition forces and performed over 900 medical evacuations, including critical lifesaving surgeries in flight. Airmen collected and analyzed 18 million images and 1.6 million hours of video garnered by our air patrols, performed over 9,000 cyber operations protecting critical networks and launched 11 space missions.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Baloney Meter: Will cancelling F-35 ‘crater’ the Canadian aerospace industry?

By The Canadian Press
September 22, 2015

OTTAWA — “He’s not giving shipbuilding anything; he’s merely talking about cratering our aerospace industry, which is, as I say, bad policy…. I don’t understand where they’re going with this.” — Conservative Leader Stephen Harper on Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s promise to scrap the F-35 stealth fighter program and channel the savings into naval shipbuilding.

One of the cornerstones of the Liberal defence policy is to formally opt out of the Conservative government’s plan to acquire 65 F-35 stealth fighter jets to replace the Air Force’s aging fleet of 1980s vintage CF-18s.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Lockheed considering laser weapon concepts for F-35

BY: JAMES DREW
OCTOBER 5, 2015

Lockheed Martin’s F-35 has not yet seen combat, but already the defence manufacturer is exploring “concepts” for installing and employing a high-power fibre laser weapon on the new-generation combat jet for shooting down missiles and other airborne threats.

The company believes it finally has the right technology to produce modular and scalable fibre laser weapons for trucks, ships and aircraft, and a high-power, 60kW example will enter production for the US Army later this month

[FULL ARTICLE]

Election Will Determine Canadian Role in F-35 Program

By David Pugliese
October 11, 2015

VICTORIA, British Columbia — Whether Canada withdraws from the F-35 program will be decided next week as Canadians select a new political party to form the country’s next government.

Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau says if elected on Oct. 19, his government would remove Canada from the F-35 program and select a less costly aircraft to replace the Royal Canadian Air Force’s CF-18 fighter jets. The savings from such a move would be redirected into naval shipbuilding, according to Trudeau.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Competition in Canadian fighter jet project would benefit taxpayers, industry, says former procurement chief

By DAVID PUGLIESE
October 4, 2015

On Sept. 24 Richard Shimooka had an opinion piece in the National Post arguing that the F-35 is still the best bet for Canada. He stated that a competition would be a costly and largely pointless process “with the outcome likely to be the reselection of the F-35.”

 

Alan Williams, who signed the original MOU committing Canada to the research and development aspect of the F-35 disagrees.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Ten Things You Should Know About the Air Force’s F-35 Propaganda Effort

By Tony Carr
Sept 23, 2015

WASHINGTON — Recently, the Air Force’s F-35 program has been facing fresh skepticism and new scrutiny. Interestingly, it’s not the program’s trillion-dollar price tag, dubious design, or stunted development raising new doubts, but something more fundamental: senior officials speaking for the program are hemorrhaging public credibility with transparently desperate misrepresentations aimed at putting a positive face on a failing program.

Media, members of Congress, thought leaders, and even airmen themselves are growing uncomfortable with the risks lurking in the program, notwithstanding endless streams of reassuring propaganda, much of it paid for with public funds.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Military Carbon Footprint

By Lisa Savage
July 12, 2015

I oppose wars and militarism of policing because they are morally wrong. People suffer from state-sponsored violence in their lives and I do not want to fund it, tolerate it or ignore it.

But “join me in opposing war because it is wrong” is not a very effective message in these times.

One must counter immense spending on propaganda constantly persuading fellow citizens that investment in weapons of mass destruction, and basing an economy on “security” and surveillance, makes everyone safer. Along with regularly orchestrated (and well-funded) terror events and squads designed to keep fear high.

[Full Article]

American security psychosis

By Stephen Kinzer
APRIL 12, 2015

WHEN AMERICANS look out at the world, we see a swarm of threats. China seems resurgent and ambitious. Russia is aggressive. Iran menaces our allies. Middle East nations we once relied on are collapsing in flames. Latin American leaders sound steadily more anti-Yankee. Terror groups capture territory and commit horrific atrocities. We fight Ebola with one hand while fending off Central American children with the other.

In fact, this world of threats is an illusion. The United States has no potent enemies. We are not only safe, but safer than any big power has been in all of modern history.

[Full Article]

The battle to kill the A-10

By Brian Everstine, Staff writer
March 23, 2015

The Air Force is on the attack to eliminate the beloved A-10, insisting that the venerable Warthog is not the only airframe up to the close-air support task.

To press the point, service leaders showcased a group of fighter pilots, who described their CAS missions in other aircraft. But opponents on Capitol Hill, and troops on the ground, aren’t having it, and the service faces an uphill battle to cut the jet and bring its beleaguered F-35 online in time.

[Full Article]

Anon F35 letter from Washington DC area

Anon F35 letter from Washington DC area

Domestic Military Expansion Spreads Through the US, Ignites Dissent

By Dahr Jamail, Truthout | Report

What if you lived in a country that allowed its Navy to fly the loudest aircraft in the world over your home day and night, generating sonic booms that rattled the windows of people living in a neighboring country, and test new weapons in areas that would knowingly harm, or possibly kill, humans and wildlife?

Welcome to the United States, which has a military with an increasing domestic expansion that may soon be coming to your town, city or national forest.

That the US military knowingly tested new weapons on US citizens (possibly in the thousands), wildlife or even its own soldiers is nothing new. Publicly available documents reveal how the US military has even released nerve gas in public areas, as well as farms, to see the effects on civilians and animals. This occurred during the 1960s, when the United States secretly tested both chemical and biological weapons on US soil, including releasing deadly nerve agents in Alaska and spraying bacteria over Hawaii.

Full Article

The People Versus the Military Industrial Complex

3-year campaign comes to a head this Monday

The improbable campaign against the basing of the F-35 in Burlington began as early as 2010.

That year, a local official described himself to a Seven Days reporter as “100 percent receptive” to having F-35s at Burlington International.  He infamously said, “I hear the noise the F-16 makes, I think it’s exciting.  I think it’s part of being in a lively community. If you want quiet all the time, you should move to Montgomery.”

This was Gene Richards, a former chair of the Burlington-run Airport Commission—who has now been promoted to Airport Director.  Media reports described Richards as a local mortgage broker, banker, and real estate entrepreneur.  Regional officials, downtown business leaders, airline representatives, and the Vermont National Guard all endorsed Richard’s nomination by Burlington Mayor Weinberger to Airport Director. He has no doubt continued to work closely with Mayor Weinberger and other F-35 boosters, including the Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation, the Chamber of Commerce, and Commercial Real Estate baron Ernie Pomerleau.  All these boosters share 2 things in common: They all stand to economically or politically benefit from the basing, and they all had taken for granted they can decide important matters like the F-35 basing without public involvement and without suffering any of the negative impacts.

Read rest of article:  http://saveourskiesvt.org/the-people-versus-the-military-industrial-complex/

Way To Go BFP: Asks Tough Questions of Vermont Delegation, Governor and Burlington’s Mayor on F-35

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Tuesday June 4th, 2013

Burlington, VT

Journalist, John Briggs reports that the Burlington Free Press has sent numerous detailed and specific questions to Senators Patrick Leahy, Bernard Sanders, Congressman Peter Welch, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, and Burlington Vermont Mayor Miro Weinberger emanating from a meeting with aviation designer Pierre Sprey, USAF Col. Rosanne Greco (ret.) and Chris Hurd and from Friday’s revised Air Force Environmental Impact Statement. The Free Press has specifically asked for individual responses from Vermont’s top political leadership rather than their unified joint comments with a June 12th deadline for responses.

We wholeheartedly applaud the journalists and leadership at the Burlington Free Press. This is a shining star example of the important role a FREE press plays in our democracy!

Click here to read the entire list of questions the Burlington Free Press sent to Vermont’s Political Elite Leadership all steadfast supporters for bringing the F-35’s to Vermont.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

BFP: Politicians continue F-35 support as Air Force ups number of residents affected by noise

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Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Burlington VT

Burlington Free Press Reports: A joint statement from the congressional delegation and the governor reiterated the group’s support for the plane: “We continue to believe basing the plane in South Burlington will be good for the future of the Vermont Air Guard and for the state’s economy,” the statement said.

These guys can’t be for real. They’re going to go down with the ship.

Come on Vermont. Just say NO!

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately.

MAJOR BREAKING NEWS!!! BFP EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR AKI SOGA STATES F-35 DECISION MUST BE OPEN PROCESS

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

Burlington Vermont

This morning the largest paper circulated in Vermont, The Burlington FREE Press and their Editorial Editor issued a major article confirming that there are serious implications concerning the F-35’s coming to Vermont and too many unanswered questions. The BFP and Mr. Soga wrote that the time is now for a CALL TO ACTION for an open and transparent disclosure(s) regarding the basing of F-35 warplanes in Vermont. We applaud the Burlington FREE Press and Mr. Soga for their/his courage to take this position and their call for openness, transparency and disclosure at this time.

We ALL need to come together and say NO to the basing of F-35’s here until we have all necessary facts and they have been properly presented via public forums/meetings with all interested parties present including our political, business, military leaders, Lockheed Martin and our citizens.

Perhaps, we should call on the Burlington Free Press to moderate such an event, call it a Citizens’Hearing #2, bringing everyone together to GET THE FACTS OUT so that we can arrive at the best decision not only for Vermont but for our country at such a fragile moment in our economic health. Tell us what you think!

Make no mistake! The door has just widened in a MAJOR way to build deeper opposition to the F-35 basing in Vermont. This call for openness and transparency is what We have been calling for ALL along.

We need you Vermont, one and all, to get engaged on this and “pitch in” to help defeat the F-35 now!! The public comment period is ticking down. We only have until July 15th, which is a legal deadline, at which time the door will permanently close for any citizens to comment in any way with regard to this issue.

WE HAVE NO TIME TO WASTE VERMONT!

WE NEED YOU NOW!

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately.

 

 

As jets seem bound for Vt., questions of political influence arise

By Bryan Bender
Boston Globe

[…]

A Globe examination of records, and interviews with Pentagon officials directly involved with the review, show the Air Force — in selecting Vermont over competing locations — relied on inaccurate, excessively low estimates of the impact of the jet blast on the local population.

One of the Pentagon officials said in an interview that the lengthy base-selection process was deliberately “fudged’’ by military brass so that Leahy’s home state would win.

“Unfortunately Burlington was selected even before the scoring process began,” said the official, who asked that he not to be identified for fear of reprisals from his superiors. “I wish it wasn’t true, but unfortunately that is the way it is. The numbers were fudged for Burlington to come out on top. If the scoring had been done correctly Burlington would not have been rated higher.”

Leahy, in an e-mailed statement, reiterated his support for the planes but did not respond to allegations of political influence. The Air Force denied the fix was in for Vermont, even though it now says it is reassessing residential impacts and other factors using updated information — a review that could end in a reversal of its preliminary decision.

Pentagon officials said the first set of sound projections, provided by Burlington International Airport and Vermont National Guard in 2008 to the Federal Aviation Administration, caused the Air Force to underestimate the number of homes that would be affected by replacing the Vermont Guard’s current squadron of F-16s with up to 24 of the more sophisticated, but louder, F-35s.

[…]

In general, the FAA recommends that local authorities not permit the construction of residential homes in the areas affected by high noise levels, but the decisions on how to mitigate problems are left to communities. Homeowners are unlikely to be forced to move, but the FAA’s designation of a sound zone that is “incompatible with residential use’’ makes it exceedingly difficult to sell homes.

“I realize the military needs to advance,” Tucker said, “but there is a community here that needs to be addressed.”

Leahy’s senate colleague Sanders, too, says he wants more information about how the selection of Burlington was made.

“I take seriously allegations that the scoring process may have been flawed,” he told the Globe in a statement Friday, adding that the Air Force should release all of its documentation. “I do believe the process must be transparent and fair.”

SOURCE

F35 Basing Scoresheets: Clear and Serious Errors

These are the Burlington scoresheets for the potential basing of the F-35. This scoresheet is compared against others scoresheets (which have been kept secret by the Air Force) to help determine which locations are the best ones for the F-35 to be located at. The scoresheets are a bit complicted and we’ve tried to clarify them in our comments. We point out the clear and serious errors in the scoresheet below.

Regarding “encroachment” on the scoring sheet, the first two questions (see page 5 for the questions) are:

  • Is there incompatible development in the clear zones and/or accident potential zones?
  • Is there incompatible development in noise contours above 65 dB DNL?

As indicated on the scoring sheet, a check in the box means “yes” and no check in the box means “no.”

Under “encroachment” Burlington got no check in the box and 3 points for having “no” development in the clear zones and/or accident potential zones. Burlington got no check in the box and another 3 points for having “no” development in noise contours above 65 dB DNL.

But Burlington has 32 commercial buildings in the clear zones and 1400 residential properties in the accident potential zones and Burlington has 2944 homes in the noise contours above 65 dB DNL.

Burlington should have gotten a check in both boxes indicated “yes,” to development in both. Burlington should not have gotten 3 points for each. Burlington’s score was boosted by a total of 6 points.

Some more articles about the Boston Globe article

Boston Globe, WPTZ, WCAX, Burlington Free Press, Seven Days, VPR

Meeting at 7pm today at Winooski High School (north wing) to plan action.

“As jets seem bound for Vt., questions of political influence arise,” By Bryan Bender and Globe Staff April 14, 2013
http://bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2013/04/13/selection-vermont-guard-base-for-jets-was-based-flawed-data-raising-questions-political-influence/pmhiPtI1BPWxwC3yK1adAL/story.html

“F-35 basing data ‘fudged’,” by David Charns WPTZ April 14, 2013
http://www.wptz.com/news/vermont-new-york/burlington/Report-F-35-basing-data-fudged/-/8869880/19747334/-/gv95nmz/-/index.html

“Is political influence driving F-35 decision?” Posted: Apr 14, 2013 6:00 PM EDT By WCAX News
http://www.wcax.com/story/21974714/in-a-report-in-sundays-boston-globe-critics-of-the-program-say-its-more-sen-patrick-leahys-political-sway-driving-the-decision-making-rather-than-the

“Leahy’s role questioned in bringing F-35 to Burlington,” by John Briggs, Burlington Free Press, April 15, 2013
http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/article/20130415/NEWS03/304150017/Leahy-s-role-questioned-bringing-F-35-Burlington

“Globe Probes “Political Influence” in Vermont’s F-35 Selection,” by Paul Heintz, Seven Days, April 15, 2013, 8:46am
http://7d.blogs.com/offmessage/2013/04/morning-read-globe-probes-political-influence-in-vermonts-f-35-selection.html

“Leahy Responds To F-35 ‘Preliminary Approval'” by Kirk Carapezza, April 15, 2013
http://digital.vpr.net/post/leahy-resonds-f-35-preliminary-approval

Credit Kirk Carapezza / VPR
Vermont real estate developer Ernie Pomerleau observes a F-35 fighter jet inside a hangar at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida in December

BFP on Florida trip

 

Fighter_jet_opponents_see_Florida_trip_as_junket_-1cFighter_jet_opponents_see_Florida_trip_as_junket_-1a Fighter_jet_opponents_see_Florida_trip_as_junket_-1b

The People of Vermont versus the Military Industrial Complex

F-35 opponents turned out to the Bernie Sanders Labor Day Picnic in Burlington. The Coalition distributed informational leaflets to over 200 people. Picnic attendees were overwhelmingly eager to learn more about the issue.
protester
(See some of the great placards below.) Unfortunately Senator Sanders continues to dismiss those opposed to the basing by saying that he doesn’t need their votes anyway, and he still refuses to even meet with some of the over 6,000 people who live in the area that will be “incompatible” with residential use if the F-35 is based in Burlington. We believe meeting with us would be very helpful since he clearly doesn’t understand what the effects of the F-35 will be on residents, schools, and neighborhoods, and he continues to repeat unsubstantiated claims about jobs losses if the F-35 doesn’t come to Vermont.
protester
protester
protester

Greco: F-35A Basing Flaws: Scores, Process, and Arguments

After reading the scoring sheet and the accompanying background paper, and speaking with the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the AF (Installations), I’ve come away with new reservations—this time about the process.

I’ve maintained mistakes were made in scoring the Burlington Air Guard Station (AGS), which led to Burlington being selected as the preferred base for the F-35A multi-role fighter aircraft. But I had no reason to doubt the process. However, I now conclude that BOTH the scoring data AND the scoring process are flawed. And after reading some public comments, I think the two major arguments in favor of basing–economics and support of our military–are also flawed.

Scoring Flaw
The scoring sheet shows the mistake. In simple terms, the questions asked are whether there are any homes in the accident and noise areas. The answer given is ‘no.’ But, there are thousands of homes there. Look at the questions, look at the answers, and then look around the airport area. Without a doubt that question was answered incorrectly, and Burlington received more points than it should have. We need the scoring sheets for the other Air Guard bases considered, to see that Burlington was not the top candidate. Unfortunately, the AF will not release that data to us without a freedom of information act request.

Process Flaw
It was during my conversation with Secretary Ferguson, that I learned of process flaws. The AF evaluated a base’s suitability for the F-35A in four categories: cost, mission, capacity, and environment. The first category (cost) seemed to be straightforward, as it reflected the cost-of-living in the area. The next two categories (mission and capacity) evaluated whether the base could accommodate the F-35A. It asked whether the airspace and weather in the area would be suitable for the F-35A mission. It asked whether the runway length could accommodate the F-35A. It asked whether the base facilities (maintenance bays, munitions storage and other infrastructure) could accommodate the F-35A.

However, the questions asked in the environmental category were not related to the F-35A. They were related to the existing F-16. The questions were not whether there would be homes and other structures in the accident and noise areas for the F-35A; but whether there are existing homes and structures in the accident and noise areas for the F-16. Of course, the answer to that question is ‘YES’ (see above). The process the AF followed in this scoring is mind-boggling. For two categories (mission and capacity), they evaluated the base’s suitability for the future aircraft–the F-35A; but for one category (environment) they evaluated the base’s suitability for the existing aircraft—the F-16.

Argument Flaws
Most of the economic impact arguments made in support of basing the F-35A center around the AGS closing. The implied assumption is that if Burlington is not selected now for the F-35A that the AGS will close. No official has ever said that. This basing process is only the first of several rounds for selecting bases for the F-35A. Burlington could likely be selected in a subsequent round. It’s not a “now or never” proposition. But, even were Burlington not selected to base the F-35A in the future, that does not mean the Burlington AGS will close. Despite F-16 retirement predictions, military aircraft often fly years (sometimes decades) beyond their expected lifespan. But even when the F-16 eventually stops flying, that does not mean the AGS will close. The Guard would likely get another mission. As world threat conditions change, military missions change, and bases get new missions.

Others say that supporting the F-35A shows our patriotism and support for the military. I disagree. Giving the Guard an outlandishly-priced weapon system is not the way to show our appreciation. Giving them pay raises, increasing their benefits, insuring they receive adequate health care, insuring their retirement benefits are not reduced, and above all, trying to keep them out of harm’s way are far better ways to support our military members.

We can show our support for the military by opposing the routine practice of paying for extravagant weapon systems by cutting military personnel benefits, salaries, and jobs. The AF routinely reduces the force (fires) military members in order to use this personnel money to pay for weapons. Supporting the F-35A will make senior defense industry executives richer and the average military member poorer.

With all of the above flaws, and the many unanswered questions, many hope it would prompt our Congressional delegates to re-consider their position on F-35A basing. But at a minimum, I respectfully urge them to at least call for a temporary hold on any decision until the scores and the process are reviewed more thoroughly. Without this detailed examination, doubts will forever linger.

Colonel Rosanne M. Greco, USAF, (ret)
South Burlington, VT
8 July 2012

From Pentagon, a Buy Rating on Contractors

By JOE NOCERA
At the Cowen & Company military industry investment conference on Wednesday, the breakfast speaker was a man named Ashton B. Carter. A former academic and industry consultant, Dr. Carter, as he likes to call himself — he has a doctorate in theoretical physics, in case you were wondering — is the Defense Department’s under secretary for acquisitions, technology and logistics. That is, he’s the Pentagon’s chief weapons buyer.

This article from the NY Times. Original at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/12/business/12nocera.html.

Cowen is a small firm, but its military analyst, Cai von Rumohr, has been on the beat for more than 40 years. Companies tend not to turn him down when he invites them to his conference. W. James McNerney Jr., the chief executive of Boeing, would be making a presentation later in the day, as would executives from Northrop-Grumman and other contractors. Big institutional investors like T. Rowe Price were out in force.

As was the Defense Department. In addition to Mr. Carter, a top Naval official was scheduled to present the next afternoon.

If you’re wondering what high-ranking Pentagon officials were doing at an investment conference, well, suffice to say that this was not a question on the minds of the people in this room. They’ve gotten used to it. For the last few months, beginning with a secret meeting last October, Defense Department officials have been making the rounds of analysts and investors.

Their main message, to put it bluntly, is that even in an era of tighter budgets, the Pentagon is going to make sure the military industry remains profitable. “Taxpayers and shareholders are aligned,” Mr. Carter intoned on Wednesday. Then he laid out a series of reforms that he said would both increase competition and maintain, as he put it, “profitability over the long term” — a phrase he repeated for emphasis.

He told the assemblage that the Pentagon would frown on mergers among the five giant military contractors — the so-called primes: Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Northrop-Grumman and Boeing. However, he added, the Defense Department was going to encourage mergers among smaller military contractors. And, he said, “we will be attentive” to innovative smaller companies that provide services (as opposed to weapons systems) to the Pentagon.

If you were an investor in the military industry, would you find this useful information? You bet — this is the stuff that can move markets. Although Mr. Carter made several references to “market forces,” the only market for the military industry is the government, which spends some $400 billion a year on weapons systems and other purchases. In economic terms, the Pentagon is a “ monopsony,” a single buyer with life-or-death power over its vendors. If the Pentagon wants the military industry to be healthy and profitable, it can pretty much ensure that outcome.

Not being an industry insider, however, I found myself a little taken aback by Mr. Carter’s “guidance.” Monopsony or not, why should the Pentagon be talking up the stocks, even implicitly, of the companies it buys from? Why was Mr. Carter going out of his way to talk to investors and analysts? Didn’t he have more important things to do?

The answer, I eventually learned, has to do with something that happened a very long time ago, and goes under the category of “Be careful what you wish for.” Let’s just say that banking isn’t the only industry where the government has allowed a handful of companies to become too big to fail.

The year was 1993. Bill Clinton was the new president, and Les Aspin was his defense secretary. As recounted later by Norman R. Augustine, then the chief executive of Martin Marietta, Mr. Aspin called together about 15 C.E.O.’s of the prime military contractors for a dinner at the Pentagon. Mr. Augustine would memorably label this dinner the Last Supper.

Mr. Aspin and several other high-ranking Pentagon officials (including Mr. Carter, who was then an assistant secretary of defense) had brought the group together to send a tough message. With the Berlin Wall gone, the Soviet Union dissolved — and the Pentagon budget flat-lining — the Defense Department was no longer willing, as Mr. Augustine later recounted, “to pay the ballooning overhead” of all those contractors. In no uncertain terms, Mr. Aspin told the group that they needed to start merging.

“The rest is history,” Mr. Augustine later wrote. “General Electric Aerospace merged with Martin Marietta, which combined with Lockheed. McDonnell Douglas joined Boeing. Grumman joined Northrop. When the dust had cleared, there were only a few firms left standing.” Five, to be exact.

The Last Supper has become part of the lore of the military industry — though partly that’s because Mr. Aspin’s prediction about tighter Pentagon budgets turned out to be so wrong. “On the day George W. Bush took office,” said Loren B. Thompson, a well-known military consultant, “defense spending was around $300 billion.” Today it is more than double that amount, around $700 billion. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — not to mention the Pentagon’s voracious appetite for expensive weapons systems, and the lack of competition among the remaining contractors — have been a gold mine for the Big Five.

Not surprisingly, for most of the first decade of the 21st century, the stocks of these companies soared. But after peaking in 2008, they came crashing back to earth. Which, for the Pentagon, has turned out to be a problem. These companies need access to the capital markets, which is more difficult when their stocks are down. And the Pentagon simply can’t allow them get into serious financial difficulty; there are just too few of them. “What we can’t afford from the defense perspective is a sick industry,” said Jacques S. Gansler, a former procurement official for the Pentagon who teaches at the University of Maryland.

There is another problem, too. Having reached that $700 billion mark — which amounts to about half the discretionary spending in the entire budget — there is simply no way military spending is going to keep growing the way it has, not in these difficult economic times. (When the defense budget is released on Monday, it is expected to increase only slightly.) Recognizing that leaner times lay ahead, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates made a speech last May acknowledging that Pentagon budgets were unlikely to rise substantially any time soon, and laid out a plan to create new efficiencies and increased competition among the companies.

Since then, several weapons systems have been canceled. Others are in jeopardy. Military contractors have been told that they have to become more efficient. New military contracts will try to impose some financial risk for the companies — so if there are huge cost overruns, the companies will have to absorb some of the pain. (On the other hand, companies are going to be allowed to pocket 50 percent of any savings they produce.)

Is it any wonder that the stocks dropped so precipitously, and that investors are nervous? Mr. Carter notwithstanding, taxpayers and shareholders are decidedly not in alignment: the tougher the Pentagon gets with its contractors, the better it is for taxpayers and the worse it is for shareholders. And yet it can’t get too tough, because if it is, the companies will start running into financial trouble, which means the stocks will sink even further and the companies will start to have trouble raising capital. This is the bind created by the Last Supper.

Now can you see why the Pentagon has taken to talking up the industry to the investment community? With one side of its mouth, the Pentagon is saying it is going to be more tough-minded in its approach to military contractors than ever before. But with the other side of its mouth, it is telling investors not to worry: the profits will be there, no matter what. Partly, this is political posturing; the Pentagon worries that the contractors and their allies in Congress will push back if the Defense Department doesn’t emphasize industry profit. Still, the Pentagon’s two-sided stance is not a terribly tenable position and requires much papering over. Hence Mr. Carter’s road show.

The sidling up to investors actually began last October, when the deputy defense secretary, William J. Lynn III, held a private meeting for about a dozen Wall Street analysts, laying out the Pentagon’s cost-cutting plans in astonishing detail. Indeed, according to Reuters, which uncovered the meeting, the analysts were sworn to secrecy. Although this would seem to violate, at the least, the spirit of transparency that Americans expect of market participants, notes of the meeting became public only after Reuters exposed it. (A military consultant named James McAleese published his notes on his Web site a few days after the Reuters story broke.)

Whatever the ethics of this meeting — and the Pentagon insists that nothing new was divulged during the session — it appears to have had an effect. If you look at the stock charts of the Big Five, you’ll see that they all started to rise around October. Imagine that.

In December, Mr. Carter and several other Pentagon officials attended a conference thrown by Credit Suisse and Aviation Week magazine. When I first spoke to Mr. McAleese, he casually mentioned that he had organized a private meeting for the Pentagon officials with institutional investors only. Then his cellphone went dead. Four days later, when I spoke to him again, he denied any such private meeting had taken place, and blamed his previous statement on the fact that “I hadn’t slept in three days.” (A Pentagon spokesman also denies a private meeting took place.)

Since then, the stocks have been booming. Maybe I’m putting too much emphasis on the Pentagon’s road show, but it is hard to imagine it’s had no effect at all.

Does the country need a healthy military industry? Of course. It also needs efficiently built weapons. But the Pentagon road show hardly seems like the right way to go about it. Mr. Carter and his minions might be better served taking steps to unwind some of the damage done by the Last Supper, perhaps by letting some of those midsize companies grow into prime contractors, or by taking steps to break up some of the modern behemoths.

But never mind. Next week, there’s an Aviation Week conference where Mr. Carter is supposed to speak. And there’s another conference a few weeks after that. I hear Mr. Carter will be there, too.

War Gains

Vermont’s Pentagon payout: What’s our bang for the buck? | Seven Days | By Ken Picard [11.10.04]

The Pentagon doesn’t discriminate between red states and blue states. The spoils of war come in just one color — green. Like it or not, military spending is on the rise, and the reelection of President Bush all but assures that the trend will continue. Between 1997 and 2003, the U.S. defense budget rose from $296 billion to $379 billion, not including supplemental appropriations; experts say it could surpass $500 billion in 2005. Next year, according to the World Policy Institute, the United States will spend about $1.15 billion per day on the military — or $11,000 per second.

A rising tide raises all ships, and the flood of money that’s flowing from the Pentagon to civilian defense contractors is lifting Vermont, too. Though pacifistic and peace-minded Vermonters prefer not to think about it, the U.S. Department of Defense funnels hundreds of millions of dollars each year into the state’s economy, buying goods and services, funding research and development, providing start-up grants to new high-tech firms, and ultimately, creating new jobs.

While Vermont can’t hope to compete with larger states like California and Texas in manufacturing or research-and-development money, this state often fares better than others of comparable size and population when vying for defense and homeland-security dollars. Largely, that’s due to the influence of Senator Patrick Leahy, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee who sits on the subcommittees on defense and homeland security. Leahy also wrote the rule that requires every state to get at least a minimum share of all homeland-security grants, which in Vermont totaled more than $51 million in 2004.

It’s not easy to measure the state’s exact slice of the Pentagon pie, since defense dollars can flow through a number of different channels, depending upon what the money is used for: research and development, small-business seed money, direct purchases, and so forth. But according to the Federal Procurement Data System, the Department of Defense is by far the biggest spender among government agencies with civilian contracts in Vermont. It drops more dollars on Vermont than four other big-budget federal agencies combined.

Not surprisingly, the military’s Vermont shopping list is growing. In fiscal year 2000, the Pentagon spent about $243 million on defense contracts here; by 2003, the number had jumped to $455 million. In comparison, the second largest federal spender in 2003 — the U.S. Department of Transportation — spent just $25.6 million in Vermont; Veterans Affairs spent $7.9 million.

But even a state-by-state breakdown of defense contracts doesn’t necessarily paint an accurate picture of where the money ends up or who benefits from it. For one thing, the state in which a company is headquartered — and thus where a contract may be listed — isn’t necessarily the state where the company or the majority of its employees or performs most of its work.

Goodrich Aerospace of Vergennes is an example. The company manufactures a wide range of high-tech electronic, fuel and utility systems for both military and civilian uses. Goodrich products can be found on everything from Boeing 727s to Black Hawk helicopters and F-16 fighter jets; their products have been on every manned space flight since the Apollo missions. Goodrich, which has been in Vermont for more than 50 years, currently employees about 700 people as engineers, assemblers, technicians and the like, and about 60 percent of its work is for the U.S. government. But because its parent company, Goodrich Corporation, is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, some state-by-state breakdowns don’t reveal the millions of dollars that Goodrich contributes to Vermont’s economy.

On the other side of that equation –that is, at the top of the local defense-spending list –is General Dynamics Armament Systems of Burlington, the state’s largest defense contractor. Between 2000 and 2003, General Dynamics’ armament division saw its Pentagon contracts jump from $14.7 million to $437 million.

But looks can be deceiving, explains Art Woolf, an associate professor of economics at the University of Vermont. With 550 employees, the company’s impact on the local economy is far less than it was in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when the facility — then General Electric — employed nearly 3000 people in Burlington. Plus, Woolf notes, many of the government dollars probably pass right through Vermont to out-of-state plants or subcontractors that now do most of the company’s manufacturing.

A better way to assess the impact of defense dollars in Vermont is to look at employment, suggests Burlington policy analyst Doug Hoffer. How many local jobs do defense contractors provide and what do they pay? It’s also important to look at where these companies buy their supplies and how much business they do with other Vermont firms. “It’s never enough to say how much money goes through the company,” says Hoffer. “You have to say how much of it stays in Vermont, to be recycled in Vermont.”

In this respect, General Dynamics differs significantly from a smaller, less traditional defense contractor in Vermont: New England Woodcraft of Forest Dale. This family-owned and operated-company on the western edge of the Green Mountain National Forest manufactures institutional wood furniture — beds, desks, dressers — that is sold to colleges, universities and the U.S. military. New England Woodcraft has been around for more than 40 years and employs about 100 people full-time, but only began getting defense contracts a few years ago. In 2003, the company landed a $4.2 million contract to build furniture for military barracks. Today, defense contracts account for about half the company’s business.

But unlike General Dynamics, New England Woodcraft does all of its manufacturing in Vermont and buys all of its raw materials from local and regional sources. Moreover, when New England Woodcraft adds jobs, most of the workers are hired locally, not through national searches. New England Woodcraft’s manufacturing jobs don’t pay as well as the high-tech jobs at General Dynamics. But all of the company’s profits go to its Vermont owners, not Wall Street investors.

Another factor to consider is how defense dollars “multiply” in the local economy in terms of creating new jobs and earnings for other Vermont businesses. Hoffer cites U.S. Department of Commerce figures showing that two traditional defense-related categories — aircraft and missile engines, and ordnances and accessories — don’t multiply in the Vermont economy as well as other industries do.

Every $1 million increase in wood-furniture manufacturing in Vermont translates into $1.88 million in total economic output for the state. But every $1 million uptick in ordnance and accessories spending in Vermont translates into just $1.47 million for the Vermont economy.

The same holds true for job creation, Hoffer says. Commerce Department figures show that every $1 million increase in wood-furniture manufacturing adds 20 new jobs in the state. But a comparable $1 million increase in manufacturing of aircraft or missile engines translates into just 14 new jobs in Vermont; for ordinance and accessories manufacturing, 12 new jobs.

Other concerns are the stability of those jobs, and the company’s long-term employment prospects. Does the company produce goods and services that have both military and civilian applications, or does its business rely entirely on a war economy? As Hoffer points out, “if you’ve got one customer that’s 80 percent of your business, you’ve got a problem.”

Mine Safety Appliance employs 120 people at its helmet-manufacturing plant in Newport. In the last year, the Pittsburgh-based company secured three defense contracts totaling more than $78 million to produce more than 230,000 helmets for the U.S. Army. According to a company spokesman, defense contracts account for just 15 percent of the company’s global sales, but all the work done in Newport is for the U.S. military.

The Newport plant may seem vulnerable to the ebbs and flows of U.S. military operations overseas, but the helmets produced in Newport also have applications for homeland security and law-enforcement. And the U.S. Army always needs helmets, even in peacetime. Moreover, according to the company’s spokesman, the Newport production line can be converted to produce similar products, like fire helmets and riot gear.

Some defense contractors in Vermont produce more obvious “dual-use” technologies. The portable hospital units Mobile Medical of St. Johnsbury builds for the U.S. military have a wide range of domestic applications. Other contractors produce military goods that are needed even after conflicts end. For example, Applied Research Associates of South Royalton builds remote-controlled tractors that deactivate and remove undetonated landmines and other ordnances. For better or worse, this technology will likely be needed throughout the world for years to come.

Even after you’ve untangled the economic puzzle of local military contracts, that still leaves questions about the ethics of profiting from armed conflict. “If you’re asking me if defense spending is good for Vermont, I’ll say that it’s probably a regrettably good thing for Vermont,” Woolf concludes. “It’s like saying, is it good for a hardware store when I buy a lock to put on my door? Well, yeah, the hardware store is selling me a lock, but it’d sure be nice to live in a world where I don’t have to put a lock on my door.”

It Pays to Make War Machines

There is something that Wall Streeters and Captains of Industry pay close attention to and it is called The Spade Defense Index. The SDI is a blended index of “publicly traded companies that benchmarks the performance of companies involved with defense, homeland security, and space. The Index is composed of more than 50 firms…with representative…activities including: naval vessels, military aircraft, missiles and munitions, battlespace awareness, C4ISR, network centric warfare, homeland security including border security and biometric and screening systems, and space systems.” (http://www.spadeindex.com/aboutspadedefense.php)


Click on image for full size chart.

Two companies of prominence in The Index are the two leaders of our beloved F-35 project Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. As a whole The Index has grown by 247{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} since its debut on December 30, 1997, which far exceeds gains in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the broader S & P 500, which increased by 136 and 118{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}, respectively, between then and now. So, it stands to reason that the forced arrayed against our mission are not simply military and political but financial as well given the volatility of conventional investments. There are certain industries that are “recession proof” and the Military Industrial Complex seems to be one of those industries. It not only is buffered against austerity and crisis but thrives in the milieau created after post-crisis Shock Therapy is implemented. In a more volatile world both climatic and economic more and more of Wall Street’s best and brightest will reallocated their money to the MIC and will most certainly push the creation of more and more F-35s as well as even more bloated MIC projects quixotic or not these types of projects socialize the risk and privatize the gain in the hands of people willing to leverage this country’s long-term viability at the expense of short-term wealth aggregation. The data does not lie. As Michael Bloomberg once said “In God we trust…Everyone else, bring data.” (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/09/nyregion/09mayor.html?scp=1&sq=bloomberg{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}20in{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}20god{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}20we{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}20trust{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}20everyone{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}20else{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}20data&st=cse)

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