Author Archives: Brad Geyer

Over 500 Join in Parade Opposing War Profiteers & F-35 Weapons Threatening Madison

Wisconsin State Journal  |  Saturday, February 29, 2020  | 
*Headline – Brad Geyer of VFP-Madison

Picture by Paul McMahon

Veterans for Peace-Madison Statement in Support of Opposition of F-35’s

“A chant of “take your planes and go away” grew in intensity as several hundred protesters temporarily blocked Anderson Street near Madison Area Technical College early Saturday afternoon.

A passing driver honked along to the beat, adding to the festive atmosphere. Keeping pace with swinging big-band music from the Forward Marching Band, protesters of all ages, including whole families, held signs reading “Noisy polluting jets,” “Tell the truth,” “No nukes,” and simply, “No!” 

The march was organized by the Safe Skies Clean Water Coalition, a grassroots organization that opposes basing a squadron of $90 million F-35 fighter jets at Truax Field in Madison. The protesters peacefully marched from the intersection of Anderson and Wright streets to outside the base of the Wisconsin Air National Guard’s 115th Fighter Wing.

Steve Lyrene, of Madison, said he joined the protest because he believes the planes would be “noisy and polluting” and a symbol of “America’s aggression and warlike presence.”

“That’s not what Madison is,” he said. “We’re not a warlike people, and we don’t want to push people out of established housing.”

 

 

 

It isn’t just the noise that concerns opponents of the F-35s. The Safe Skies coalition has decried the potential environmental impacts of construction in areas contaminated with hazardous PFAS chemicals; the cost of the F-35s relative to domestic needs such as education and employment; the capability of the planes to deliver nuclear payloads; and the potential displacement of low-income families and people of color who live close to Truax Field.

Picture by Paul McMahon

Madison remains the top choice among five Air Guard bases under consideration, despite impacts to local housing and the environment outlined in a final environmental impact statement released Feb. 19.

Those in favor of basing the F-35s in Madison, including the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, say the squadron would boost the local economy, create dozens of jobs, and keep the 115th Fighter Wing and its estimated $99 million annual economic impact at Truax Field.

Ald. Grant Foster, whose 15th District would be one of the most affected by increased noise at Truax Field, was watching the protest march from the opposite sidewalk. For the second time, he and Ald. Rebecca Kemble, 18th District, will introduce a resolution opposing the F-35s during Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Foster said. The resolution will likely be up for discussion during the council’s March 17 meeting.

“I don’t see how anybody can stand by and say this is a good idea, based on the final (environmental impact statement),” Foster said.

Foster said he was somewhat disappointed by Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway’s recent statement about the F-35s — specifically, that where they will be based is a federal decision, not a local one.

That’s why some protesters expressed feeling like wheels are turning somewhere out of reach.

 

“I get that impression,” Lyrene said. “There’s this sense of powerlessness, like we don’t have a voice. It’s sad that people aren’t being listened to. But that’s why we’re doing this — to make our voices heard.”

Vicki Berenson, a member of Clean Skies, doesn’t believe the F-35s are a done deal.

“It’s totally not a foregone conclusion,” she said. “We just don’t know what the answer will be.”

The final environmental impact statement was published in the Federal Register on Friday. After a 30-day review period ending in late March, a final decision will be issued by Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett.

Find the background data and facts on our concerns at Safe Skies Website


Photographs marked are from Paul McMahon

Heartland Images Photography,  4317 Tokay Blvd

Madison WI  53711 608-215-5031 (cell)

Photos:  www.flickr.com/photos/heartlandimages

Bio:  www.linkedin.com/in/heartlandimages

Hundreds march on Truax Field to protest basing F-35s in Madison


Veterans for Peace-Madison stands with Safe Skies Clean Water Wisconsin and the concerned citizens engaged in the struggle. We oppose F-35’s coming to Madison, we oppose F-35’s anywhere and we oppose the war machine and its crimes. 

We oppose the racism and systemic racism that forces brown, black, natives and the poor to sacrifice their health and quality of life so that corrupt politicians can enrich the billionaire owners of Lockheed Martin and the corporate rulers connected to the Chamber of Commerce: US Chamber and Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce.  We oppose the effect that these jets and the military will have on children. 

We must not allow the pollution of our water and soil to continue while the US government avoids accountability for around 80 years of PFAS forever chemical pollution and burn pits. This has poisoned much of Monona and Madison’s groundwater.

The F-35A, is a combination stealth fighter and bomber and can carry several B61 nuclear bombs with a range of less than one kiloton of explosive mayhem to 50 kilotons. That seems to be a lot of environmental impact, when compared to the 12-kiloton bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

Is the hundreds of billions dollar cost of this latest child of the military-industrial complex worth it? As a low-flying stealth bomber capable of carrying nukes, it is an extremely risky and potentially destabilizing war machine in an already unstable world, whether you consider the Middle East, the near east, or the far east. One error in deciphering a tense situation could set off a nuclear tit-for-tat that would produce the worst environmental impact statement of all.

One only has to read nuclear war planner Dan Ellsberg’s recent “The Doomsday Machine” to learn of the horrors American cities could experience, and that we have been living on the brink.

The Pentagon has hyped the F-35 as a “computer that happens to fly,” and Lockheed Martin says there are 8 million lines of software code which control weapons deployment, communications, radar and flight controls. Given the extent of computer hacking continuously going on, what could anyone have to fear with a flying computer carrying nuclear weapons?

Veterans for Peace works to end the arms race and to reduce and eventually eliminate nuclear weapons, and to abolish war as an instrument of national policy. We do not want to see nuclear-enabled stealth fighter bombers stationed here in Madison — or anywhere, for that matter. 

The cost of F-35 fighter jets, Lockheed Martin calls it the “F-35 Joint Strike Fighter,” is phenomenal and will be paid by taxpayers. A recent book – Preventing War and Promoting Peace: A Guide for Health Professionals – tells that Lockheed Martin claims that parts of the F-35 are “built in forty-five states.” That makes it possible for politicians across the U.S. to claim that the F-35 and, therefore, the defense industry, will produce jobs everywhere. Compared to needed civilian jobs that could be funded for much less taxpayer money, the sum for F-35s is enormous and the jobs to be produced are few.

Lockheed Martin is the lead contractor for F-35s, and “…the world’s largest defense contractor,” according to the book, edited by William Wiist and Shelley White.

With a (current) price tag of $1.4 trillion per plane…[F-35] has become the most expensive weapon system in history…punctuated by reports of one malfunction after another, from flaws in the fuel tanks that made the planes vulnerable to lightning-caused fires, to criticism of its maneuverability….”

The F-35 program is projected to use most of the U.S. budget for aircraft through 2030, the authors write.

The size of the US military machine is massive and currently causes more violence than it prevents. The US has far more bases, jets, aircraft carriers than anyone. Our military spending is more than the next seven nations combined. We do not need F-35’s for defense. This is war profiteering and imperialism.

None of the effects on human beings were improved in the final Environmental Impact Statement, in fact, the US government made no effort to alleviate the impacts. The money is there to protect people, the choice is made to serve the war profiteers and harm the people.

For Peace & Justice,

Bradley J. Geyer

Monday Noon – Vigil for Peace – Anniversary: 2 Dec 2019

PDF of document: Vigil for Peace WK 1652 12.02.2019 

VIGIL FOR PEACE Mondays Noon-1P

Corner MLK Jr. Blvd. & Doty St. Madison City-Cty. Bldg.

WK 1652 12.02.2019 JOIN US!

 

The Vigil for Peace, on this first Monday of December, is celebrating thirty-eight years (1981-2019) of presence in the Downtown Madison public square speaking out as, “. . . We become, by our presence, a voice for justice.” FG

We remember our deceased vigilers: Charlotte S., Karin S., Lars P., Jackson T.

 

“I vigil for peace and for peaceful solutions to our climate emergency. I vigil because I believe humanity must change and transcend its current military and economic culture in order to survive.” – Kathleen C.

“I am a “newbie” at the Monday noon vigil. I have been participating for
almost two years. I “Vigil” as a witness standing in solidarity with the others who
are here. We share information about important social issues that need our
attention and action. We become, by our presence, a voice for justice. We offer
information in printed form to those who pass by and interact with those driving
vehicles inviting them to “honk for peace” and draw their attention to a witness
here on the corner of Doty and MLK Jr. Blvd. It is one of the ways I have to
“stand up and be counted.” – Frank G.

 

“It has been my privilege to be a participant at the Vigil for Peace for seven years now. Being timid by nature, I still feel a little uncomfortable standing there on the corner holding up a peace sign. Several factors keep me coming to the vigil most every Monday noon:

  • It is one way I can respond, even in a small way, to the disturbing and seemingly persistent news about the violence, corruption, and destruction happening on our precious planet.
  • It is heartwarming to hear the occasional “beeps for peace” from motorists as they drive by, or see them hold up their hand in a peace symbol. Also it’s rewarding to have pedestrians say “keep up the good work” or “thank you for being here” every week.
  • I am inspired and encouraged by my fellow vigil participants who I consider to be stalwart peacemakers – models of hope and persistence and a faith that peace will dwell on our earth someday. I am proud to stand among them as an ongoing “presence for peace” on this corner made special by it’s proximity to the city, county and state seats of governance!” – Marge L.

“Why I vigil, whenever I have the opportunity: I stand with others with signs of protest and fliers of information to spread education about issues I care deeply about – war & peace, a healthy earth, and abolishing nuclear weapons. Vigiling is a way to draw myself away from everyday activities, to remind myself of dangers that could be averted if citizens come together in protest. A regular vigil is a place to meet my friends-in-peace, to share information, and feel that
I’m not alone with my feelings. It’s also a place to meet new passers-by and spread the ideas of peace and justice. Does it make a difference? It’s like throwing that pebble into the sea – you never know what wave it will create!” – Judy M.

“Here are some thoughts on peace, justice, sustainability: If you want peace, work for justice.  Likewise, if you want justice, work for peace; peace and justice are intertwined. And as a matter of fact, if we don’t work for sustainability, the world may not be able to work for peace and justice…. Working for peace can begin with a simple smile, offered politely.

Working for sustainability can begin with thinking carefully about our lifestyles. Mindfulness in our daily affairs eases the path to peace, justice, and sustainability. Onward to peace and love, trees and flowers!”
Larry O.

 

Vigiling for peace, justice and sustainability is for me an interpersonal means of educating myself and sharing information with others. It allows me to express an ever-deepening sense of injustice I have for a wounded humanity, and an earth desperately in need of healing. Our flier messages convey to the public the systematic exploitation of those who are marginalized by the obscene cost of U.S. wars and exploitative foreign policies when and where it suits our own national interests. The nuclear arsenal we finance, build and threaten to use is capable of killing millions of people at the press of a button. Corporate-profiteering through weapons
manufacturing, sales and systems of delivery blindly creates a viability-for-profit in every state of the Union.

Connections between militarism and environmental exploitative practices are culpable in threatening our very existence. This lack of moral courage to face reality is only outmaneuvered by our own looking the other way.

The late Rep. Elijah Cummings (1951-2019) said: “We are better than this.”

 

Neta Crawford reminds us that: “Local action is essential.”

Check out the video from Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, Neta Crawford is a political scientist and the co-director of the Costs of War project:

Costs and Consequences of US Post-9/11 Wars: Focus on Climate Change

 

Together, we can all make a difference. We invite you to join us in seeking to make that difference.

Mary Beth S.

 

National Priorities Project (NPP)

“The federal government found a way to spend $97 billion in a single month last year, of which more than $61 billion can be attributed to the Pentagon. It’s not a new phenomenon. In the last month of every fiscal year, federal agencies work to spend all that’s left in their annual budgets.
If they don’t, the agencies worry they’ll be appropriated a smaller share by Congress next year, hence the “use-it or lose-it” spending sprees…”

Some of the big ticket spending items are attributed to the usual major defense contractors. The Pentagon spent $8.1 billion on contracts with Lockheed Martin and $5.1 billion with Boeing in September, for instance.

 

The Pentagon wants to know how a border wall will improve troops’ ‘effectiveness’ before it contributes DoD dollars

 


 

Cost of National Security

US Budgetary Costs: $ 6.4 Trillion

Full Paper on Costs of War

“The vast economic impact of the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan is poorly understood  by the US public and policymakers. This paper estimates the budgetary costs of war, including past expenditures and obligations to care for veterans of these wars throughout their lifetimes.”

Since late 2001, the United States has appropriated and is obligated to spend an estimated $6.4 Trillion through Fiscal Year 2020 in budgetary costs related to and caused by the post-9/11 wars—an estimated $5.4 Trillion in appropriations in current dollars and an additional minimum of $1 Trillion for US obligations to care for the veterans of these wars through the next several decades.

 

“One of the major purposes of the Costs of War Project has been to clarify the types of budgetary costs of the US post-9/11 wars, how that spending is funded, and the long-term implications of past and current spending. This estimate of the US budgetary costs of the post-9/11 wars is a comprehensive accounting intended to provide a sense of the consequences of the wars for the federal budget. Since the 9/11 attacks, the Department of Defense appropriations related to the Global War on Terror have been treated as emergency appropriations, now called Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO).3 When accounting for total war costs, the Department of Defense and other entities often present only Overseas Contingency Operation appropriations.”

National Priorities Project: Cost of National Security 

 


Dear Vigilers,
We were ten strong at the vigil yesterday, and five strong “with-us-in-spirit.” Pretty good for a mostly unorganized, pop-up peace vigil. It was a beautiful bright sunny day, but boy, was it cold!
Nonetheless, we were warm-in-heart-and-spirit. I came by about two hours later and there were our beautiful Tibetan Peace Flags hung in the three Ginkgo trees still fluttering in the wind. People were walking be them like it was the most natural thing in the world. Maybe it was? What a great idea, Christina, to pass them out to passersby, too. We even got to pass one out to our old vigiler friend, Todd M. It surprised me at how amenable people were to taking them right along with the flier.
We had a nice assortment of their favorite signs people brought with them—oldies-but-goodies!
And we used my niece, Jamie’s, little red wagon (to which Christina sang the little red wagon song) for a stand-in table in which we served gingerbread boy cookies and hot Turmeric Ginger Buddha tea to complement our peace flags and cookies. (According to the tea label, “Good if you have a medical condition.” Our only ‘medical condition’ may be that we are ‘sick’ of war!) The only thing we missed was music—maybe next year?
We closed with our usual announcements, see: (www.safeskiescleanwaterwi.org,and Dona Nobis Pacem which Martina kicked off for us. We then dispersed to the four winds to spread our spirit-filled peaceful actions to the whole earth (Well, to Madison, anyway.) just like our Tibetan Peace Flags’ messages joyfully bore their fruit across Downtown Madison and beyond.

 

This Spring: Conference on Trauma in Madison

Image credit – Ghosts by Mario Sanchez Nevado
Trauma has become a precondition to how we organize our everyday lives, whether from familial violence or mass shootings, or as an outcome of war, oppression, famine and disasters.

Keynote address given by special guests Arno Michaelis and Pardeep Kaleka of the Forgiveness Project.

“From the age of 17 Arno Michaelis was deeply involved in the white power movement. He was a founding member of what became the largest racist skinhead organization in the world, a reverend of self-declared Racial Holy War, and lead singer of the race-metal band Centurion, selling over 20,000 CDs to racists round the world.

Today Arno is a speaker, author of My Life After Hate, and works with Serve2Unite, an organisation that engages young people of all backgrounds as peacemakers.”

In August 2012, six people were shot in a mass shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. It was the worst race-based attack in the U.S. since the KKK bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in 1963. Pardeep Kaleka‘s father was murdered during this event, since then Pardeep has become a powerful voice against hate crime and violence.

 

There will be workshop/panel led by Masood Akhtar and Mike McCabe of Wisconsin’s United Against Hate (https://www.united-against-hate.org/). 

 

We Are Many-United Against Hate is an organization of common people—urban and rural, spiritual and secular—seeking equal protection for all, united against hate, bigotry and racism.

 

For more information on the conference and the Wisconsin Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies, please visit https://www.wisconsin-institute.org/.

Conference registration at http://mitbytheater.org/

We Must Rethink Drone Warfare

VIGIL FOR PEACE Mondays Noon-1p Corner MLK Jr. Blvd. & Doty St. Madison City-Cty. Bldg. WK 1650 11.18.2019

 

Volk Field ANGB, Camp Douglas, WI trains personnel to operate the RQ-7 Shadow Drone, used for reconnaissance, surveillance, and acquisition integral to U. S. Drone Warfare. Albeit unwittingly, Wisconsin taxpayers support these illegal, immoral actions with our tax dollars.

We must rethink drone warfare.

 

Andrew J. Bacevich Jr. (born July 5, 1947) is an American historian specializing in international relations, security studies, American foreign policy, and American diplomatic and military history.

Bacevich is a professor of history and international relations at Boston University. A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, he received his Ph.D. in American Diplomatic History from Princeton University. Before joining the faculty of Boston University, he taught at West Point and Johns Hopkins University. Read posts on BillMoyers.com written by Andrew Bacevich.


Volk Field ANGB, Camp Douglas, WI

Seven peace activists walked onto the base at Volk Field at noon on Tuesday, November 12, wearing black veils, carrying limp dolls and posters of children killed by drones. They were
arrested by Juneau County officers, handcuffed and taken to the station in Mauston, where they
were booked and cited for trespassing and released.

 

Joy First: Seven Arrested Mourning Children Killed By Drones

 

Statement read on the grounds of Volk Field ANG Military Base, November 12, 2019 

by Bonnie Block . Joyce Ellwanger . Joy First . Bob Graf . Jim Murphy . Phil Runkel . Brian Terrell

We come, in peace.

We come, because we mourn the children who have died from attacks by U.S. military drones. We remember these children, whose lives have been cut short while also remembering their
mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and grandparents who continue to mourn the deaths of
these beautiful children.

We come, because the United States is solely responsible for the deaths of many thousands of people from drone attacks, including thousands of children who have been killed by drones.

We come, because our government covers it up, and it is impossible to really know how many innocent lives have been lost in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and other countries in the Middle East and in Africa, yet the Journal for Investigative Journalism claims that between
8,000 and 12,000 people have been killed by U.S. drones.

We come, because we are causing unimaginable grief to mothers and fathers, sons and daughters whose loved ones have been murdered by the US government. We must remember that these are real people with names and families who love them.

We come, because killing with drones is a violation of human rights and international law. Drone attacks are clearly extrajudicial assassinations, going against the constitution and have
been condemned by the United Nations.

We come, because the personnel working with and training with the RQ-7 Shadow Drones at Volk Field are an integral part of and are complicit in the whole US drone warfare program.

We come, because Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The Arc of the Moral Universe Is Long, but It Bends Towards Justice.” We want to be a part of making the arc bend towards justice. We call upon you to be part of it also.

Contact: joyfirst5@gmail.com
(Photo by Cassandra Dixon)