Tag Archives: F-35

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

My Thoughts on Militarism – Brad Geyer

My Thoughts on Militarism:  My words at the Good Noise, Good Neighbors Festival Oct 20, 2019

We don’t need the jets. We don’t need the base.

I served for 13 years in the US military, including 9 years here at Truax Field with the 115 Fighter Wing. During my time with the Air Force, I was deployed to the Middle East to combat zones and Southwest Asia five times.

Years ago, President and General Dwight Eisenhower warned Americans about the big money of the Military Industrial Complex. Through the years this corruption has gotten worse. Over the past 50 years, big business led by entities like the Chamber of Commerce and ALEC have purchased our legislators.

There are too many lobbyists in our government. A good example of a conflict of interest is the Secretary of Defense who is a former lobbyist for Raytheon. Raytheon makes at least four components of the F-35.

The activist courts have invented law taking away our ability to regulate bribery. With the decisions leading up to Citizens United, we now have a Military Industrial Complex on steroids.

Jimmy Carter and others have stated that the US is now an oligarchy. There are a few wealthy people, the 1%, that our government is serving. [Although, we could change that tomorrow if we had the will.]

Now is the time to talk about how much military assets we have. How much we spend on war and where we want to spend our money.

We don’t seem to be having an effective discussion on these questions. Instead we have propaganda about whether we support the troops or if we love the flag. Those are games being played. Those are not valid, logical arguments relative to the situation.

According to a poll from September, most Americans want more money spent on the domestic needs of people and less spent on the Pentagon.


Defending our homes and our constitution is very important, but we could do that and spend more money on…

  • More hospitals, clinics, staff, nurses and doctors for veterans and civilians
  • Clean energy
  • Giving teachers the tools they need
  • Art and music funding
  • Heating assistance and other help for the elderly
  • Processing refugees in a more humane manner
  • Dealing more effectively with substance abuse, trauma, mental health and PTSD
  • Protecting our natural world, our air, our water, our soil

A few numbers…

This is not defense. This is empire.

Some of our children, go to schools where the textbooks are 30 years old and dilapidated, while our government is buying weapons like the F-35 for one hundred million dollars, a jet that has a windshield made of sapphire and has a helmet that cost $400,000.

I think we can have a better balance. Part of that balance is pushing for laws to be enforced instead of bombs dropping so often, and we need a government that is not out there creating enemies for Americans.

Two priorities we should have in order to achieve real progress:
We need people to be involved and informed.
We need to get the big money out and the people in.

Raise Your Voice – No F-35’s – No to wasteful killing machines

Some of our public officials don’t know there is opposition to the F-35’s. They have heard from few of their constituents, and because of this some don’t even have it on their radar. Even if you know they oppose the F-35’s, your elected officials need to hear from you.

What you can do:

Contact local representatives on City Council, Dane County Board, State Senate and Assembly, and US Senate and Legislature – especially Tammy Baldwin, Mark Pocan, Joe Parisi, and Satya Rhodes-Conway.

Show up Sept 12 at our 5:00pm press conference at the Alliant Energy Center [see map] just before the Public Hearing on the Environmental Impact Statement. We will provide matching signs to hold and stickers or buttons to wear, to make it clear that we have a sizeable opposition.

*Please contact your alder and county supervisor AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

It can be simple, just that you oppose having the F-35’s stationed at Truax due to environmental and safety concerns.

Ask them if they’ll be attending the Sept 12th public comment session at Alliant Energy Center that the Air National Guard is holding to express their constituents’ reservations about the F-35 project.

If you want to provide more reasons go ahead. You can find lots of information attached and at safeskiescleanwaterwi.org

· Madison Alders – find your alder on this map: https://www.cityofmadison.com/Council/councilMembers/map.cfm

· Dane County Supervisors,  contact information may be found here: https://board.countyofdane.com/Supervisors OR

Enter your address to find your supervisor:

https://dcimapapps.countyofdane.com/supervisors/

· Rep. Mark Pocan….  https://pocan.house.gov/contact
· Sen. Tammy Baldwin…  https://www.baldwin.senate.gov/feedback
· Dane County Exec Joe Parisi… parisi@countyofdane.com
· Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway… https://www.cityofmadison.com/mayor/contact

If you are interested in setting up a meeting with your alder or County supervisor, please contact Tom Boswell at tomboswell2002@yahoo.com or 608/718-7312.

Please share this information with as many Madisonians as you can

Thank you, you make a difference.

Content from Vicki Berenson
for Safe Skies Clean Water Wisconsin
www.safeskiescleanwaterwi.org  

Air Force Environmental Impact Statement…
http://www.angf35eis.com/Documents.aspx

Illustration by Bill Krupinski

Kruptoons

No Nukes in Madison ~ Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR)

Back from the Brink Background

Back from the Brink Page – Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) Wisconsin

Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) Wisconsin is launching a campaign calling on Madison to support a “Back from the Brink” resolution.

The resolution endorses the 2017 United Nations ban of nuclear weapons, calls for specific steps to prevent nuclear war, and a commitment to nuclear weapons-free contracts and investments.

Support Back from the Brink  

 


In 1983, the Madison City Council passed an ordinance declaring the city a “nuclear free zone”. We are asking our City Council members (Alders) to pass a Back from the Brink Resolution which builds on this ordinance and commits the city to nuclear weapons free contracts and investments. Our City already has a socially responsible investment policy in place; it no longer invests in fossil fuel companies. We are asking the City do the same regarding nuclear weapons production.

Some say nuclear disarmament is an issue that should be taken up with our Senators and Representatives rather than our City Council members. But national policy has local consequences.

Plans are underway to expand the Truax Air Force base in Madison and bring in F-35 fighter jets designed to carry B61 nuclear bombs. If nuclear capable F-35’s were stationed here, Truax would become a nuclear target.

In the event of a nuclear-armed F-35 crash, Madison could be exposed to air, ground and water contamination with plutonium, even if a nuclear chain reaction did not take place.

No F-35’s – Safe Skies Clean Water Wisconsin


Back from the Brink: The Call to Prevent Nuclear War is a national grassroots initiative seeking to fundamentally change U.S. nuclear weapons policy and lead us away from the dangerous path we are on. The Call lays out five common-sense steps that the United States should take to reform its nuclear policy. We are asking individuals and organizations around the country to endorse The Call and build support for the U.S. government to adopt it as its highest national security priority. Join the effort and help build a safer world for our children to inherit.