2/11/11, PART TWO
This is Maverick Media’s Rebel News Round Up,* broadcast live at approximately 11:30 a.m. Friday on WOMM (105.9-FM/LP – The Radiator) in Burlington.
In Part One: Endangered shellfish, death of a detainee, Tea Party developments, creationist nation, New Orleans demographics and Big Brother in Chicago, and an immigration video game.
Live Stream: http://www.theradiator.org/drupal/webcam.html
Last Monday night Burlington’s City Hall was packed, mainly with people upset about a proposed agreement between the city and military contractor Lockheed Martin. After more than an hour of brief, informed and sometimes moving public comments – all critical of the deal – the City Council took up a resolution by Progressive Emma Mulvaney-Stanak that said the project should be put on hold until more information is provided and a public hearing is held.
Sensing an opening to go after Mayor Bob Kiss, Ed Adrian proposed an amendment that would have killed the deal outright. But some on the Council didn’t want to completely close the door on Lockheed yet. Adrian’s amendment failed in a 7-7 tie. The original resolution, which does criticize the corporation but mainly focuses on climate change work, passed easily.
Seven Days reporter Ken Picard has published a cover story on the overriding issues. Some of the new information he uncovered includes:
*The agreement between Lockheed and the city is largely due to the work of Jennifer Green, who heads the mayor’s sustainability action team. She says the idea behind the Carbon War Room, which led to meetings between Lockheed and Mayor Kiss, is to bring together cities with visionary ideas for reducing their carbon footprint and major financiers who want to make some money while doing good.
* Mayor Kiss envisions working with Lockheed on a variety of issues related to energy efficiency, like increasing the fuel efficiency of city-owned vehicles and capturing and reusing steam from the McNeil Generating Station.
*One of the economic benefits for Vermont in the development of the F-35, a Lockheed plane that may be stationed at Burlington Airport, is that some of the engines could be built at the General Electric plant in Rutland.
* Sandia Labs, a Lockheed subsidiary, is already working with UVM and Vermont’s energy companies, including Green Mountain Power, on cybersecurity and smart-grid development. It’s part of a $69 million federal matching grant that Vermont received to modernize and secure its energy infrastructure. UVM envisions a long-term relationship.
* In April 2010, UVM’s board of trustees adopted a recommendation from the university’s socially responsible investing group to divest any holdings in companies involved in the manufacture or distribution of cluster bombs or munitions that contain depleted uranium. Lockheed Martin does both.
* Bernie Sanders, who was instrumental in attracting Sandia to Vermont, declined to be interviewed by Picard about Sandia, the F-35s or the Lockheed Martin deal with Burlington. However, he insists that none of the work Sandia does in Vermont will involve weapons research or development.
This issue is far from being settled. One attorney for the city noted at the Council meeting that since the mayor had the authority to make the deal as the city’s executive officer, he isn’t bound by any decision made by the legislative branch – even if it declares the letter of cooperation signed by Mayor Kiss and Lockheed null and void. Work between Sandia, the University of Vermont and Vermont entrepreneurs will also proceed, unless students apply sufficient pressure to stop it. And the future of the F-35s, as well as whether any will end up at Burlington International Airport, has more to do with the Pentagon budget and public opposition than any influence Lockheed may exert. Stay Tuned.
For Ken Picard’s story, go to Up in Arms.
PAYBACK FROM WAY BACK
Here’s a story from Vermont’s past – more than two centuries past. The year is 1798 and the new United States is preparing for war. French armies are marching across Italy and Austria under the command of Napoleon Bonaparte.
Meanwhile in Philadelphia, another kind of battle is underway in Congress Hall. Until now arguments in Congress have been limited to intense verbal exchanges. But when Roger Griswold, a Connecticut Federalist, attacks the war record of Matthew Lyon, a Vermont Republican, Lyon strides across the chamber and spits in his critic’s face. Griswold replies with his cane, and Lyon defends himself with fire tongs. They end up kicking each other viciously and rolling around on the floor until they’re separated.
It was the first physical fight in the national legislature, a sign of things to come. The Ethics Committee recommended censure, which also made Lyon the first Congressional Representative charged with such a violation. But House members rejected the proposal.
Jump to a year later. Rumors of war with France were spreading widely. Some said French troops were already moving on Florida and Louisiana. But rather than declare war, President Adams and Congress focused on enemies at home, passing the notorious Alien and Sedition Acts. The Alien Acts increased the period of residency required to qualify for citizenship and gave the President the power to deport any foreigner he considered dangerous. The Sedition Act made it a crime to stir people up or write anything criticizing the government, Congress, or the President.
The Acts violated free speech and were an obvious attempt to intimidate critics of US policy. And Matthew Lyon was high on Adams’ hit list. But what triggered the President into action was a letter to the editor in which Lyon not only said the US should stay out of war with France, but also that the Adams administration had forgotten the welfare of the people “in an unbounded thirst for ridiculous pomp, foolish adulation and selfish avarice.”
That was enough. Lyons was placed on trial in Vermont and convicted by a jury stacked with his political opponents. He was fined $1,000, sentenced to four months, and marched through the streets of Vergennes to jail. It was just a month before the next elections. But the Federalists had made a tactical error. They had targeted a popular figure. In apparent defiance, Vermont voters re-elected him in a landslide while he was still in jail.
The next year, 1800, was a president election year. In the race were Adams, Thomas Jefferson, New Yorker Aaron Burr and Charles Pinckney, a Federalist from South Carolina. It was close. Adams did well in New England, but lost in New York, the West and the South. Counting up the electoral votes from the country’s 16 states, Jefferson had 73 to 65 for Adams and 63 for Pinckney. But Burr also had 73 votes, which created a tie. Therefore, the outcome would be decided by the House of Representatives.
And who broke the tie? Matthew Lyon, the argumentative Vermonter, who had become known as “the spitting Lyon,” the man Adams had targeted a year before. Lyon decided that Jefferson rather than Burr, and certainly Adams, should be the next president.
Moral: Today’s so-called traitor may be tomorrow’s kingmaker. Also, don’t mess with Vermont.
Moral: Today’s so-called traitor may be tomorrow’s kingmaker. Also, don’t mess with Vermont.
RUMOR OF THE WEEK: Obama is taking over the Internet
FCC Commissioners voted last week to require TV and radio stations, cable systems and satellite TV providers to participate in a test that would have them receive and transmit a live code that includes an alert message by the president. As the latest version of the Nation’s Emergency Alert System becomes operational over the next few years, it complements other public alert and warning systems being developed, including FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System and a Commercial Mobile Alert System that will enable consumers to receive alerts through a variety of multi-media platforms on their smart-phones, blackberries and other mobile broadband devices.
As far as some people are concerned, this means that President Obama will be able to commandeer your smart phone any time he wants and for any reason the government deems necessary. If they want to scare us about another bomber – they’ve tried shoes and underwear, what’s next? – Obama will suddenly appear on your TV, no matter what you’re watching, or call your cell phone.
What’s the evidence? For one thing, communications company Alcatel-Lucent has announced that it is creating a Broadcast Message Center that will allow government agencies to send cell phone users information in the event of an emergency. Under the new Commercial Mobile Alert System, all phones could receive emergency alerts directly from the government.
According to the rumor, the government also wants to take control of Internet broadband. The evidence for this? Lisa Fowlkes, deputy chief of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau of the FCC, told Federal News Radio last Monday that the FCC is looking at how wireless broadband could enhance the Emergency Alert System. Does this mean the government will break into computers or wireless devices with alerts? We’ll see.
Homeland Security has unveiled a new, two-level terror alert system. It will provide alerts that are more specific to a threat and even recommend some actions. Certain alerts may be limited to a specific audience such as law enforcement.
But here’s the weirdest development. In December, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced the expansion of the Department’s “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign to hundreds of Walmart stores across the country. It’s a new public-private partnership between DHS and Walmart – helping people to play a more active role in informing on each other.
So, there it is – a big business-government takeover of cyberspace. An excellent rumor – with legs. But worst yet, the emergence of an enormous new threat – the Walmart-Intelligence Complex.
Until next time, if you see something.... say whatever you want. Say Walmart sucks. Or say we’re millions, not thousands of years old. Or America needs some R & R. Or Save the Shellfish! It’s week 528, 3696 days since the country was taken hostage in a court-ordered coup. This is Greg Guma with the Rebel News Round Up for February 11, 2011 on WOMM-LP. From Burlington in the People’s Republic of Vermont.
* This is an edited transcript and does not include extemporaneous comments and last minute changes or additions.