State Democratic "Leaders" Push For "National Scandal" to Come to Vermont
By William Boardman -- Reader Supported News
F-35 nuclear-capable stealth fighter by blogspot
Vermont city to consider protecting neighbors from Air Force F-35 attack
With Vermont's highest elected officials still deep in Defense Dept. denial over the disaster that is the Air Force's F-35 strike fighter, a local city council threatens to bring some military sanity to Vermont (but nowhere else) by exercising its landlord right to reject as a tenant a weapon of mass destruction that will wreak havoc on the local neighborhood.
This initiative comes from four members of Vermont's
Progressive Party on the Burlington City Council, who plan to introduce a
resolution on October 7 effectively barring the F-35 from being based in the
middle of Vermont's most populated area. In contrast, Vermont's official
"leadership," almost all Democrats, still thinks basing nuclear-capable
warplanes in a Vermont community is a dandy idea.
Whatever they say -- which is next to nothing -- Vermont's governor, two Senators, lone Congressmen, Burlington mayor, and most of the legislature remain effectively committed to a fool's errand on behalf of the military-industrial complex, one that will do nothing good for the vast majority of their constituents and will do real harm to many of them. These representatives consistently refuse to meet with their constituents for serious discussion of health, safety, cost, and other issues. This is what the breakdown of American representative democracy looks like up close.
John McCain calls F-35 fighter-bomber "worse than a disgrace"
In Washington, at a Senate Armed Services Committee meeting on September 19, Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona was telling Pentagon officials that continuing cost overruns have made the F-35 the first trillion-dollar weapons program and "have made it worse than a disgrace". it's still one of the great, national scandals that we have ever had, as far as the expenditure of taxpayers' dollars are concerned."
Not only is the F-35 roughly ten years behind schedule and 100% over budget, it's still years from being operational. At Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, where F-35's are being tested, its current safety limitations are severe: "the squadrons at Eglin are prohibited from flying at night, prohibited from flying at supersonic speed, prohibited from flying in bad weather (including within 25 miles of lightning), prohibited from dropping live ordnance, and prohibited from firing their guns," according to a September 16 article in Vanity Fair.
The story also notes that one of the chronic problems is F-35 software. The plane requires some 18.6 million lines of code to function at its operational specifications. Currently, according to the Pentagon's chief weapons tester, if the F-35 went into combat with its current software package, it would need protection in the air from the F-16s and other planes it is supposed to replace.
Vermont leaders lead by silent evasion of dangers to Vermonters
None of Vermont's elected leaders -- not Sen. Patrick Leahy or Rep. Peter Welch, not independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, not Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin or Democratic Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger -- none of them has anything serious to say about the F-35's multiple shortcomings. Nor do any Republicans. And they all have even less to say about the health, social, and environmental punishment the plane will deliver to thousands of mostly low income Vermonters.
But when people's elected representatives get captured by hostile interests, sometimes people react with something like direct democracy. And sometimes that democratic coalescing gathers enough momentum to make a difference at least for a moment. For example, broad national opposition to waging a one-sided war on Syria seems to have kept that from happening, at least for awhile.
Popular Vermont resistance to the F-35 basing has been building since the Air Force first announced its plans more than three years ago. The city councils in South Burlington and Winooski, the cities closest to the proposed base at the Burlington International Airport, have both voted to oppose the F-35 (although South Burlington later reversed its vote after a corrupt election).
Will Burlington take responsibility for damaging others?