I just saw a job posting for a logistics management specialist in Natick for Army Tank-Automotive and Armament Command. It pays 76 to 99 thousand. I wonder if we have tanks in Natick Labs/Soldier System. And how does this relate to their work on soldier systems? Will we see tanks practicing on Rt. 27 or Speen St.? Are they surplus gifts from the Pentagon like the leftover humvees from Afghanistan and Iraq? Do we need them here in Natick? Are they researching better tanks, better weapons for the next war or is it for crowd control during civil unrest? I'd like to see $99,000 go to someone who could handle logistics for peace, negotiations, education, health care-someone trying to prevent the next war rather than how to fight it more lethally.
On Saturday April 4, 2015, Mark Nickerson and Kevin Lucey spoke about Mark's new book on Jeff Lucey's story.
As his therapist Mark knew well the background events leading to Jeff's suicide. How they tried and failed to save him from his PTSD and moral injury was the topic of the discussion. A gentleman in the audience told his story of his son who came back from war with many confirmed kills and anger and rage and how the VA doped him up and then took him off the heavy meds and how he is still living at the VA. He wants his only child to get his life back, but no one seems to know how to do that. Before we get in to another war I hope people stop and ask, are we prepared to take care of returning vets with injuries, mental and physical? Is it worth it to sacrifice their lives or their quality of life?
The Military Bond Bill initiated by the Patrick administration passed nearly unanimously in the MA State House and was signed into law previously. At the second statewide hearing which I attended last year they discussed the multiple ways of spending this money, officers of various military groups spoke to a crowd of mostly military and (Military Asset and Strategy Task Force) MASTF employees. Projects mentioned were the new runways at Barnes, the soldiers on the Cape keeping watch for incoming missiles, cyber security, unmmanned aerial vehicles and the joint program with the Adirondack drone test area. Two state Representatives were present, Mr. Hunt and Vierija, one Christine Pachecho from Markey's office and Shelley from Keating's. Admin and Finance, Mass Development. Carter Hunt, The meeting was held at 2 PM on a Monday afternoon and was posted on the MA gov website. There was talk of repaving Connery Way. One gentleman asked about a discrepancy in the power point slide and the spoken numbers for # of jobs preserved. It was acknowledged that there may have been an error. Rep. Hunt asked about other paving and who would pay for it. And then Freudberg asked if there were more questions. It was not clear to me that the speaker at the time was through and that this was now finally time for public comment. Quickly Adam adjourned the meeting and directed people to the cookies in the back of the room and an opportunity to ask questions privately to the participants. Two reporters were speaking to Carter Hunt. One was from Cape Cod ___Ryan Barber and took my name?
After the public comment, I asked about pollution: Would the military be adding to the pollution? Will they be exempt from EPA rules? What happened to the trash hauling idea? The tipping fee was raised so each town decided go to to landfills rather than shipping to a company by rail. Would this be a good place for solar farms?. Hunt as the former head of Devens said. I have four superfunds. I have four solar farms. "Does payload mean weapons?" "No it means satellite technology , There will be no weapons on these drones." Information gathered will be erased unless it relates to the working of drone itself. They need to determine if a vehicle is manned or unmanned so that ground control can tell. They will install a marker perhaps. For a public hearing there was little public presence or input. I wonder how many people knew about it and where it was advertised. Adam thanked several local contacts for helping to spread the word. So the process continues - lending $177 million dollars of your money to the military to preserve defense jobs.
Metrowest Peace Action received a request from a Wellesley High School teacher Bob Aili to speak at Seminar Day with a message to counter balance to the culture of militarization in the US. Brian Sparks, Iraq War vet from 2005 spoke about how and why he joined the military in high school and was called up in his second year of College and how after a few months he could see that the US mission was more than getting rid of a dictator. Sadly it meant killing and terrorizing innocent civilians. He spoke of his Oral History project about the village of Dora which he came to know well. The 5 students who attended one of the many seminar options asked questions: what did you learn about the culture of Iraq? Would drones have been a better alternative than boots on the ground, the artillery? Paul Shannon began his talk by passing out the Friends' ribbon which shows the amount of money in the discretionary budget that the US spends on the military. He also passed out a graph showing that we spend more than the next 20 countries combined. He talked about our war on native americans, philippinos, vietnam, ISis, our support for the mujahadeen, other horrible dictators like Pinochet, Mubutu, Somoza. The justifications given for war are usually not honest - it is usually for control of territory, resources, markets. He concluded by reading Gen. Smedley Butler's analysis of American interventions around the world. A thug for corporations.We provided literature about organizations, events and MWPA's next meeting on March 21, 2015. It would be nice to be invited by more high schools to talk about WHY WE FIGHT and what are the alternatives to war.
Phyllis Starkey, a former British member of parliament and staunch advocate for Palestinian rights explained the difference between Britain's attitude towards Palestine and the US. She spoke on Feb. 24th at Community Church of Boston. Through her work
The following are from my own notes - - mistakes are wholly mine.
Cole said that American foreign policy is basically dominance of the world to benefit the corporations.
After a brief segment, he asked for people's reactions.
Isabella asked about how you can get people energized when there is so much apathy, disconnect and so little unity on the many issues.
Don said we should include separation of church and state .
Don had 5 critiques:
1. We don't seem to have a policy. We react to events.
2. the State Department and Defense have a poor relationship
3. What do we do when all else fails and we have something like a violent ISIS breakout?
4. The Peace Corps was/is too small and if we had 100,000 people going overseas every year, as originally intended)
we would have a significant number of the population who actually understand countries.
5. There is a disconnect between Americans and other countries..we have no knowledge of other countries.
Nazda is not sure how much the CIA is responsible for, agrees state and religion should be separate, economic inequality is a problem and we need to encourage democracy at home.*
Dan - the notion that we must be in perpetual war
JBarr - what does sustainability mean - you haven't gotten specific.
Dhruba offered to start a White House petition - we would have to decide on what issue and craft a statement.
Susan said its important to keep on legislators and the work also seems overwhelming with little progress at times.
We can get on cable TV, local papers appreciative of article -will print letters
Does Evan Falchuk have a foreign policy...Is he engaged politically still,
We should work with people of color.
Faith said via Barney- It's nice that we talk amongst ourselves, but we need to reach out to others.
Tara - went to inauguration to see what Republicans are saying - we need to get out and talk to those not like us.
recommends we work with SEIU and Encuentro 5 and Vets for Peace Pat Scanlon.
* Don's critiques in his own words:
1. The word 'policy' implies that some group in Washington sat down and attempted to formulate a document that would guide whatever we do internationally. That has never happened - although I believe it should happen. In reality, the US does not really have a foreign policy. We react to foreign events. A Foreign Policy for All needs to be framed within this context.
2. Over the years, there have been a handful of relatively small countries that have played major roles in our foreign affairs. The process of decision-making concerning these countries was not helpful. The individuals who made our decisions did so on the basis of the Big Picture issue of the day rather than on a knowledge of the country and its culture. (See the enclosed; this was a chapter of a book I wrote about a decade ago, but never published.)
A Foreign Policy for All ought to address how we decide to do what we do internationally as well as what we do.
3. When President Kennedy established the Peace Corps, he envisioned that we would eventually have 100,000 PCVs serving every year. We reached about 15,000 - but then Nixon wanted to down-grade the Peace Corps' importance because of his personal animosity towards Kennedy. It has never recovered. There are about 8,000 PCVs now.
If there had been 100,000 people serving per year, we would have had a far larger proportion of the American population with deeper knowledge of other countries and cultures. This would have translated into more knowledgeable people in positions of influence at all levels, including a more intelligent foreign policy. If there had been 100,000 people serving per year, there would be no need to write A Foreign Policy for All.
4. This document completely ignores the main decisions that our country makes in foreign crises. What process should we follow and what kind of decisions should we make if, for example, Russia were to invade Latvia? if North Korea were to bomb South Korea? if Iran were to explode an atomic bomb? or 'if' an Islamist State were to be established in parts of Iraq and Syria?
It is insufficient to say that we should take actions to prevent such things from happening in the first place. They will happen.
5. You need to address the relationship between the State Department and the Defense Department. Regardless of how well each functions, and who influences each, State ought to be in overall control, with Defense following its orders. instead, wherever Defense is involved, it ignores State.
An example that you might not like: When Obama became President, I believe that our military ought to have remained in Afghanistan - but with a completely different mission. If State had been in control, the emphasis of US actions could have been on promoting development and improving governance. The military's primary role should have been to protect people who were doing this. The outcome would have been far better.
With Defense as the lead Department, the inevitable emphasis will always be on fighting rather than diplomacy or improving the country and our relations with it."
MetroWest Peace Action will meet Feb. 14th, 1:00, Common St. Church
Mass. Peace Action will have annual meeting on Feb. 7 where we will vote on FP4A
A Palestinian bus driver is found hanged in his bus and I don't see it reported in the Boston Globe or on the morning news. Another young Palestinian is shot by IDF. Israel calls it a suicide and Palestinians accuse settlers of murdering the driver. Israel says the young man was killed in crossfire, but a video shows a soldier seeming to aim at the young man.
Four Hassidics are are killed in a synagogue - Front page news, on all the morning shows. Granted there are differences. The Palestinian attackers are killed. Palestinians celebrate the news we are told. Israel attacks the homes
Sponsored by Occupy Natick this film shown at the Common St. Community Church last night offered viewers a new way to look at business. The film showed examples of companies and stores and businesses that were worker owned and worker run. From the industrial laundry company in Detroit, Evergreen, to Mondragon's in Spain to bakeries in California to Equal Exchange the testimonies of owner workers claimed that owning a piece of your job is a good way to go. Members make decisions, hear the debate on decisions, benefit when the company is doing well and accept reduced pay when the company does poorly. In most cases workers are not laid off. They may take a cut in pay or seek work at another cooperative somewhere, but the main focus of the worker cooperatives is to take care of its people.
Discussion after the film spoke of examples around the country and extended to talk of communal housing and government funded projects like TVA that had a socialist aspect. We touched on the difference between socialism and worker owned companies.
Delicious refreshments helped to take the chill out of the cool church. The next event by Occupy will be in November and will feature Rep. David Linsky and how 'sausage' or legislation is made.
This movie rates high on the scale of hard to watch...And it's not only that the United States dropped bombs and experimented on humans, it's the racism that stood out for me. Somewhere in the film the term "savage" is used in a US government film. These people in the Pacific Island did not have our fancy clothes and technology and war making machines...they were dark skinned...they didn't matter as much : they were 'savages'. The arrogance of the US is evident and unmistakable. Our pride in developing the bomb and ending a war and showing how powerful we were was apparent. And as WWII came to a close I imagine the mood of the people was quite different than it is now. One can debate whether or not the wind changed directions on the day of the Bravo test and whether or not the US planned to study those exposed to intentional radiation, but the harm done is not debatable and the debt we owe to these people is large. Whether or not the government can own up to its mistakes is yet to be seen. Until we do and until we pay some reparations, we are likely to continue committing such atrocities and denying them until the truth comes out in the distant future. I think it takes a wise and strong nation to admit a mistake. Are we up to the challenge?
My name is Carol Coakley, I am a member of MetroWest Peace Action and I live in Millis. I welcome your thoughts.