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June 14, 2011

Defense Contractors Land in South Burlington For VT Chamber's Open House

25657.jpg Funny how the name Lockheed Martin seems to be popping up in Vermont with ever-increasing frequency these days: The Kiss administration's ongoing courtship of Lockheed Martin in its "Carbon War Room" initiative. The Lockheed-run Sandia National Laboratories' involvement in Vermont's ongoing smart-grid deployment. The U.S. Air Force's choice of South Burlington as one of its two preferred locations for "bedding" its next-generation strike fighters, the F-35, which are designed and built by Lockheed Martin. It's starting to feel as though the Green Mountain State itself is a wholly-run subsidiary of the world's largest defense contractor.

In town this week from Forth Worth,Texas is Tom Matney, Lockheed's senior manager for F-35 "major contracts" — Is there any other kind? — who's coming to South Burlington for the Vermont Chamber's Aerospace and Aviation Association's quarterly open house. The event, scheduled for Wednesday, June 15, from 3 to 5:30 PM, at Heritage Aviation in South Burlington, is meant to bring together Vermont's aerospace, aviation and other defense-related businesses. And yes, it's free and open to the public.

But Lockheed won't be the only belle at the ball. In addition to local honored guests such as Vermont Deputy Secretary of Commerce Patricia Moulton Powden, former Lite Guv and current VIAA Chair Brian Dubie, and Ted Brady of U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy's staff — Leahy is the honorary chair of VIAA — other scheduled speakers include corporate execs from QinetiQ North America, Raytheon Company and Rockwell Collins. All are major defense contractors in the aerospace industry.

Says Chris Carrigan, the Vermont Chamber's VP for business development, Wednesday's open house is all about "jobs, jobs jobs.

"We’re looking at over 1000 military and civilian jobs with the Vermont Air National Guard representing over a $54 million payroll," Carrigan says, "which generates and drives economic activity, not only around Chittenden County but all over Vermont."

This week's theme, according to Carrigan: sensors, electronics, robotics and sourcing and supply-chain opportunities for Vermont companies. However, the public shouldn't expect to see any robotic waiters serving martinis or demonstrations of predator drones taking out local peaceniks. This event will be more about pressing flesh than pushing G's.

Why We Fight indeed.

"In addition to local honored guests such as Vermont Deputy Secretary of Commerce Patricia Moulton Powden, former Lite Guv and current VIAA Chair Brian Dubie, and Ted Brady of U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy's staff — Leahy is the honorary chair of VIAA — other scheduled speakers include corporate execs from QinetiQ North America, Raytheon Company and Rockwell Collins."

No wonder this is happening at the airport. It will take a hangar to accomodate all of those gigantic egos.

It's really concerning how this supposedly progressive state is abandoning democracy to partner with a company as notorious as Lockheed. Inside a controversy filled meeting last Tuesday, Larry Kupferman, director of Burlington's Community Economic Development Office (CEDO) informed the City Council's Community Development and Neighborhood Review committee that CEDO, at Mayor Kiss' direction, has been using staff time to move forward with plans for a project with Lockheed Martin. The plan involves a conference to be held in conjunction with Lockheed Martin, University of Vermont and University of Maryland, to be hosted in August at UVM. In describing the conference, Kupferman referred to a "partnership" with Lockheed, but when questioned, declined to define the amount of time or details of the CEDO involvement. Despite a City Council resolution which was passed in February, 2011, Burlington Mayor Kiss is using staff time to move forward with a Lockheed Martin "Partnership" without notifying the public. The last clause of Councilor Mulvaney-Stanank's February 7th resolution states, "Let it be further resolved, that CEDO shall seek public input through at least one public meeting at City Hall before the City agrees to proceed with a proposal involving Lockheed Martin."
Full video here: http://vimeo.com/24872353

Smart Grid. The meters will be made by a subsidiary of Lockheed, as they slowly creep into Burlington. Smart Grids are suspicious at many levels, but the fact that Burlington Electric Deptartment will be in BED with Lockheed on two fronts - Sandia/Lockheed and Itron/Lockheed is really creepy.

So far BED and the Grid supporters have managed to convince much of the pubic that the smart grid is good. And that Burlington taxpayers will have to pay no matter what. Therefore a bond is a good idea so taxpayers are not burdened with the entire bill. But what if the Smart Grid is just a stupid idea, and we should say no to it altogether?

And now we are negotiating/courting Lockheed for military contracts to "bring jobs?" A short- sighted, amoral, and counter productive solution to Global Warming and economic distress. Lockheed wants Vermont for reasons that are not obvious to the voters. I cry for Vermont.

Here's one of my Vote No on The Smart Grid posters. Feel free to share if you are inclined.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/5833471127/in/photostream

What's short sighted in all this slander over a company due to what they manufacture is the fact that nearly everything we used today was in some part designed and came to fruition because of companies like LockHeed.

If you want to go back to milling your own wood by hand and eating by candle light by all means, but that computer your typing on...... well computers weren't invented by Bill Gates or Steve Jobs.

Jamie, I'm not sure to what you're referring when you use the word "slander," but that term has a very clear legal definition. If you're accusing me of slandering Lockheed Martin and attacking my professional credibility, then you need to back up that assertion.

As for your claim that "nearly everything we used today was in some part designed and came to fruition because of companies like LockHeed," (sic) the company is the world's largest defense contractor. They didn't build the computer I'm working on nor the lights I'm writing by.

The Project on Government Oversight, an independent, nonprofit watchdog group, maintains an ongoing database of federal contractor misconduct. Lockheed, which gets 84 percent of its revenue from the U.S. government, ranks number one on POGO’s list of corporate offenders. In all, it has racked up at least 54 instances of fraud as well as environmental, ethics and labor violations valued at more than $577 million. Though I cannot speak for either Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, neither of their companies have anywhere near the record of corporate malfeasance as Lockheed.

Lockheed is, as above, the worst of the military contractors but all of them are about profiting from war and now they are part and parcel of the lobby for endless war being waged by Washington. They manufacture weapons to kill and technology for spying, None of that has improved my life or made me more secure. In fact the blow back from our wars is making us ever less secure. And the military is a great source of carbon emissions and other forms of pollution. So they are one of the main causes of climate change. This business of inviting in the worst of our culture in the name of jobs (which are seldom delivered, more often outsourced) is definitely losing site of the forest for the trees. In fact it will consume the trees, the forests and has already eaten up most of our democracy. Why are some Americans so willing to enslave themselves to militarism?

Ken,

I'm not accusing you of slander. I'm saying most people when they discuss LockHeed, for example, engage in disparaging remarks solely because of what they manufacture without considering many of the positives that have come out of research done, contracted by, and manufactured for the military. The computer is one. Not the one you particularly are using, but the first computer was built for the military and as a result of the military. The microwave was based on technology developed during WWII. I just think people need to understand several things. 1) Defense contractors do a job they are hired to do BY CONGRESS, and 2.) there are many benefits to the R&D they perform in our daily lives.

The hatred that stems purely over what they make is short-sighted at best. Now, does LH conduct the business they are in a shoddy manner? Maybe I don't know. But I do know it's prejudiced to hate them because they building jets that can kill people.

In the future Ken, if I am talking about something you wrote I will quote it, or directly address you. That way there won't be any confusion.

Peter Parker: Spider-Man wasn't trying to attack the city, he was trying to save it. That's slander.

J. Jonah Jameson: It is not. I resent that. Slander is spoken. In print, it's libel.

http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0001364/quotes

Protest Lockheed and Raytheon's Meeting with Vermont Chamber of Commerce, Brian Dubie, Leahy's Staff

Vermonters of all backgrounds are coming together today at Burlington International Airport at 2:30pm today to protest this meeting between Vermont's political and economic elite and the world's largest war profiteers. This attempt to militarize Vermont's economy could have far reaching impact on Vermont's culture, image and political make-up for years to come. Vermonters need to stand up and protect the special place Vermont is. Our political and economic leaders trading away Vermont's future to war profiteers like Lockheed and Raytheon is unacceptable. Please join your neighbors in taking a stand for Vermont.

2:30-5:30 at Burlington International Airport

As Ken Picard says "It's starting to feel as though the Green Mountain State itself is a wholly-run subsidiary of the world's largest defense contractor."

Take a stand for Vermont!

Invite your friends to the protest on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=116886535066814

"This attempt to militarize Vermont's economy could have far reaching impact on Vermont's culture, image and political make-up for years to come."


We can only hope, we can only hope....

"And yes, it's free and open to the public."

Unless Jonathan ruins everything. (sarc).

"Protest Lockheed and Raytheon's Meeting with Vermont Chamber of Commerce"

Attendance mandatory for anyone seeking plentiful examples of slander wrt Lockheed. Probably.

"the company is the world's largest defense contractor. They didn't build the computer I'm working on nor the lights I'm writing by."

"Companies like Lockheed" <> "Lockheed." Slow down, son.

". . . losing site of the forest for the trees."

Um, did you mean "sight"?

Losing sight, indeed.

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