Tag Archives: Military-industrial-complex

WI State Journal : County More Reporting on PFAS

original link

Emily Hamer

 

“The Dane County Board on Thursday approved a proposal that will require additional public reporting on PFAS contamination and seek more information on much power the county has to regulate or halt airport projects if soil is too contaminated.

In another proposal aimed at supporting efforts to address PFAS contamination, the board backed a state bill that, if passed, would fund new state staff to come up with a PFAS action plan, create grants for local governments to conduct testing and remediation and other statewide initiatives to mitigate contamination due to the chemicals.

PFAS compounds are toxic, manmade chemicals that don’t break down in the environment and have been shown to increase the risk of cancer and other ailments. The “forever chemicals” have been found at the Dane County Regional Airport, where firefighters have used fluorinated foams for decades. Environmental advocates worry construction could further disburse PFAS.

Sup. Yogesh Chawla, 6th District, the author of the proposal on public reporting, said the county needs to make it “as easy as possible” for members of the community to find out about contamination levels and any remediation efforts. With the resolution’s approval, Public Health Madison and Dane County, along with county staff, will be directed to make a website for posting information on PFAS tests and minutes from any public meetings where PFAS is discussed.

The resolution also asks county staff to provide a legal opinion on “any and all ways” the county can regulate airport activities and the work to clean up PFAS. Chawla said it’s not clear exactly what the county can do to protect from PFAS contamination, and the legal opinion should shed some light on that.

“We … need to know what power the County Board has to keep our drinking water safe for our community,” Chawla said.

The resolution is the latest iteration of a series of proposals from Chawla looking to address PFAS contamination. The previous proposals failed, likely because they included language opposing the placement of F-35 fighter jets in Madison, which has faced opposition because of noise and environmental concerns. Thursday’s resolution doesn’t mention the jets at all.

Sup. Jeff Weigand, 20th District, was the only board member to vote against the PFAS resolutions. Weigand said he supported the public reporting but was against efforts to regulate airport activity. He said the proposal supporting the state bill “does nothing,” and he’s against passing a measure just “so we can all feel good.”

Car camping

Also Thursday, the board passed a resolution that directs staff in the county’s Department of Human Services to prepare a report on potential sites for lawful car camping for homeless individuals. Weigand was the only board member to vote against it, but he did not say why.

More than nine years ago, local nonprofit Madison-area Urban Ministry, now known as Just Dane, recommended that the county identify parking spots on properties owned by the county, businesses and faith communities that could be used for car camping. Just Dane also recommended creating a registration process and a community outreach program to explain the car camping to neighbors.

The new report will include ways the county could implement those recommendations and take “a fresh look” at car camping, Human Services Director Shawn Tessmann said. Staff are required to present interim recommendations no later than March 1 and a full report on the site options by June 1.

Sup. Heidi Wegleitner, 2nd District, the author of the resolution, has said implementing lawful car camping in the county is “overdue.”

WI State Journal, Hubbuch: Future noise concerns could scuttle housing along planned transit corridor

original link

 

useful links:

Alders for City of Madison

Dane County Board of Supervisors

Contact other elected officials – Safe Skies Website

“With its strip malls, auto repair shops and used car lots, the stretch of East Washington Avenue between Aberg Avenue and Stoughton Road shows no signs of the revitalization happening a couple of miles to the west, near Downtown.

That could soon change with the addition of a planned bus rapid transit system.

Bill Connors, who heads a coalition of real estate developers, envisions three- and four-story buildings with ground-floor retail stores below apartments, much like those that have sprung up on the Isthmus.

City plans call for high-density housing that would both provide equitable access regardless of income and support a new bus rapid transit (BRT) system that’s expected to begin shuttling commuters between the city’s East and West sides in 2024.

But with the Air National Guard expected to begin flying a fleet of new F-35 fighter jets from nearby Truax Field in 2023, this ¾-mile strip is expected to be subject to noise levels considered too loud for residential development without significant soundproofing.

The conflict has created a dilemma for leaders of a fast-growing city in desperate need of more housing: By allowing the type of high-density development that would support rapid transit, Madison could also subject thousands more people to unhealthy levels of noise.

Connors argues the market will solve the problem, as builders who don’t do enough to muffle the sound will struggle to keep their buildings full.

City Council president Syed Abbas has appointed a council workgroup to explore possible alternatives, including a development moratorium or zoning changes, in an effort to prevent a situation where poor and minority people bear a disproportionate share of the environmental impacts.

“I have to see the situation with the lens of environmental justice,” Abbas said. “If you go historically, the market decided to put all the people of color there — Black and brown folks.”

Military decision

The Air Force last year selected the Wisconsin Air National Guard’s 115th Fighter Wing as one of the first Guard units to fly the military’s new F-35 fighter jets.

There is disagreement on just how much louder the F-35s will be compared to the F-16s that currently fly out of Truax. But there would be more takeoffs and landings, at least initially, which would increase the overall noise exposure for those living near the airport.

 

New Yorker: The Other Afghan Women – Anand Gopal

September 6, 2021   | 

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/09/13/the-other-afghan-women 

 

“In the countryside, the endless killing of civilians turned women against the occupiers who claimed to be helping them.”

 

Late one afternoon this past August, Shakira heard banging on her front gate. In the Sangin Valley, which is in Helmand Province, in southern Afghanistan, women must not be seen by men who aren’t related to them, and so her nineteen-year-old son, Ahmed, went to the gate. Outside were two men in bandoliers and black turbans, carrying rifles. They were members of the Taliban, who were waging an offensive to wrest the countryside back from the Afghan National Army. One of the men warned, “If you don’t leave immediately, everyone is going to die.”

Shakira, who is in her early forties, corralled her family: her husband, an opium merchant, who was fast asleep, having succumbed to the temptations of his product, and her eight children, including her oldest, twenty-year-old Nilofar—as old as the war itself—whom Shakira called her “deputy,” because she helped care for the younger ones. The family crossed an old footbridge spanning a canal, then snaked their way through reeds and irregular plots of beans and onions, past dark and vacant houses. Their neighbors had been warned, too, and, except for wandering chickens and orphaned cattle, the village was empty.

Shakira’s family walked for hours under a blazing sun. She started to feel the rattle of distant thuds, and saw people streaming from riverside villages: men bending low beneath bundles stuffed with all that they could not bear to leave behind, women walking as quickly as their burqas allowed.

The pounding of artillery filled the air, announcing the start of a Taliban assault on an Afghan Army outpost. Shakira balanced her youngest child, a two-year-old daughter, on her hip as the sky flashed and thundered. By nightfall, they had come upon the valley’s central market. The corrugated-iron storefronts had largely been destroyed during the war. Shakira found a one-room shop with an intact roof, and her family settled in for the night. For the children, she produced a set of cloth dolls—one of a number of distractions that she’d cultivated during the years of fleeing battle. As she held the figures in the light of a match, the earth shook.

Around dawn, Shakira stepped outside, and saw that a few dozen families had taken shelter in the abandoned market. It had once been the most thriving bazaar in northern Helmand, with shopkeepers weighing saffron and cumin on scales, carts loaded with women’s gowns, and storefronts dedicated to selling opium. Now stray pillars jutted upward, and the air smelled of decaying animal remains and burning plastic.

In the distance, the earth suddenly exploded in fountains of dirt. Helicopters from the Afghan Army buzzed overhead, and the families hid behind the shops, considering their next move. There was fighting along the stone ramparts to the north and the riverbank to the west. To the east was red-sand desert as far as Shakira could see. The only option was to head south, toward the leafy city of Lashkar Gah, which remained under the control of the Afghan government.

The journey would entail cutting through a barren plain exposed to abandoned U.S. and British bases, where snipers nested, and crossing culverts potentially stuffed with explosives. A few families started off. Even if they reached Lashkar Gah, they could not be sure what they’d find there. Since the start of the Taliban’s blitz, Afghan Army soldiers had surrendered in droves, begging for safe passage home. It was clear that the Taliban would soon reach Kabul, and that the twenty years, and the trillions of dollars, devoted to defeating them had come to nothing. Shakira’s family stood in the desert, discussing the situation. The gunfire sounded closer. Shakira spotted Taliban vehicles racing toward the bazaar—and she decided to stay put. She was weary to the bone, her nerves frayed. She would face whatever came next, accept it like a judgment. “We’ve been running all our lives,” she told me. “I’m not going anywhere.”

The longest war in American history ended on August 15th, when the Taliban captured Kabul without firing a shot. Bearded, scraggly men with black turbans took control of the Presidential palace, and around the capital the austere white flags of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan went up. Panic ensued. Some women burned their school records and went into hiding, fearing a return to the nineteen-nineties, when the Taliban forbade them to venture out alone and banned girls’ education. For Americans, the very real possibility that the gains of the past two decades might be erased appeared to pose a dreadful choice: recommit to seemingly endless war, or abandon Afghan women.

This summer, I travelled to rural Afghanistan to meet women who were already living under the Taliban, to listen to what they thought about this looming dilemma. More than seventy per cent of Afghans do not live in cities, and in the past decade the insurgent group had swallowed large swaths of the countryside. Unlike in relatively liberal Kabul, visiting women in these hinterlands is not easy: even without Taliban rule, women traditionally do not speak to unrelated men. Public and private worlds are sharply divided, and when a woman leaves her home she maintains a cocoon of seclusion through the burqa, which predates the Taliban by centuries. Girls essentially disappear into their homes at puberty, emerging only as grandmothers, if ever. It was through grandmothers—finding each by referral, and speaking to many without seeing their faces—that I was able to meet dozens of women, of all ages. Many were living in desert tents or hollowed-out storefronts, like Shakira; when the Taliban came across her family hiding at the market, the fighters advised them and others not to return home until someone could sweep for mines. I first encountered her in a safe house in Helmand. “I’ve never met a foreigner before,” she said shyly. “Well, a foreigner without a gun.”

Shakira has a knack for finding humor in pathos, and in the sheer absurdity of the men in her life: in the nineties, the Taliban had offered to supply electricity to the village, and the local graybeards had initially refused, fearing black magic. “Of course, we women knew electricity was fine,” she said, chuckling. When she laughs, she pulls her shawl over her face, leaving only her eyes exposed. I told her that she shared a name with a world-renowned pop star, and her eyes widened. “Is it true?” she asked a friend who’d accompanied her to the safe house. “Could it be?”

Shakira, like the other women I met, grew up in the Sangin Valley, a gash of green between sharp mountain outcrops. The valley is watered by the Helmand River and by a canal that Americans built in the nineteen-fifties. You can walk the width of the dale in an hour, passing dozens of tiny hamlets, creaking footbridges, and mud-brick walls. As a girl, Shakira heard stories from her mother of the old days in her village, Pan Killay, which was home to about eighty families: the children swimming in the canal under the warm sun, the women pounding grain in stone mortars. In winter, smoke wafted from clay hearths; in spring, rolling fields were blanketed with poppies.

Our Hearts are Weary ~ September 11 Madison Action

MOBILIZATION AGAINST MILITARISM

Sept. 11, 2021

Downtown Madison Farmer’s Market

On Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of 9/11, our hearts are weary after at least 20 years of the “forever wars” and skyrocketing Pentagon budgets.  So many innocent children, women, and men have been killed, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Yemen, and so many other places in the Middle East and Africa.  And we are no closer to bringing peace.  War WAS NOT the answer!


End the ever-increasing military profiteering

End the violations of human rights, natural rights and legal rights


8:00 am – noon:  FLY KITES, NOT DRONES Join us at King St. corner of the square. The Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice table will have kites, leaflets, buttons, and other information.

10:00 am:   ALL ARE WELCOME AS WE gather for a rally outside Senator Baldwin’s office at 30 West Mifflin St. (near the State St. corner of the square).

Speakers include: 

Bonnie Block activist and rebel with Wisconsin Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars

Vicki Berenson, human being for peace and justice, WNPJ, Friends, Safe Skies Clean Water Wisconsin Coalition 

Allen Ruff, historian, concerned citizen and activist 

 

Senator Baldwin, stop voting for the War Machine, fund human needs, and lead us to a peace economy!

The U.S. government spends more on the military than the next top eleven countries combined.  And we are no closer to bringing peace!

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet program, one of the biggest boondoggles in military history, are looking to come to Madison.  And we are no closer to bringing peace!

As we move closer and closer to ecocide, the military remains the biggest source of pollution on earth.  And we are no closer to bringing peace!

Suicide, PTSD, and moral injury is a huge problem for our veterans who have been emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually damaged from our wars.  And we are no closer to bringing peace!

Senator Tammy Baldwin, along with so many other Democrats and Republicans, does not represent our desire to bring an end to the “forever wars”.  We have no party for peace.  We only have a War Party!  Sen. Baldwin actively worked to bring the F-35s to Madison, she does not provide strong support for policies to make the world green, she backs economic policies that support militarism, and she continues to vote for the obscene military budget.

 

We have had enough of these crimes and injustice.   Senator Baldwin needs to be a strong leader for the people.  She needs to stand up to the War Party!

There will be a nonviolent civil resistance action in front of Baldwin’s office.  If you are interested or want more information, contact joyfirst5@gmail.com

 

Sponsored by:  Wisconsin Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars

If you would like your group to co-sponsor, contact joyfirst5@gmail.com