Friday, October 16, 2009

Don't Let the Door Hit You in The Ass

General Dynamics to Leave Burlington

Updated at 4:45 p.m. with quote from city officials in Burlington

General Dynamics, which employs 450 people in Burlington, is moving its Technology Center from Lakeside Avenue to buildings formerly owned by IBM in Williston.

The move is expected to be complete by the end of 2010, company officials said in a release.

“Our business is changing, and we need to take steps to ensure we are as efficient and effective as we can be,” said Bill Gural, vice president and general manager of the Burlington operation, in a statement. “By moving, we’ll be adopting a new environment for our employees that will improve their ability to collaborate, make them more efficient and help them remain focused on accomplishing our customers’ missions.”

The new facility, owned and managed by IBM, covers 112,000 square feet of office space. Employees will remain at the existing Lakeside Avenue site until the new facility is built-out to General Dynamics’ specifications.

No plans have yet been presented to Williston officials, said Williston Town Planner Ken Belliveau.

Burlington officials have yet to respond to a request for comment. Stay tuned...

As noted in this week's "Fair Game", General Dynamics is one of the many contractors who would be potentially affected by an amendment authored by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) — also a former mayor of Burlington — aimed at curbing fraud and abuse amongst defense contractors.


Community and Economic Development Office Director Larry Kupferman said he was disappointed to hear the news about General Dynamics leaving Burlington, but is glad to hear they are remaining in Vermont.

"We wish any business well in Vermont and I'm glad they are staying in Vermont. General Dynamics provides a beneficial function for the country," said Kupferman.

Rumors about General Dynamics leaving the Queen City have been percolating for some time, he noted, but the decision to leave was not something that city officials had any sway to change.

"That said, there is a lot of interest in 'Class A' office space and I have every confidence that it will be filled," said Kupferman. "There have been a lot of energy efficiency improvements and other updates in recent years, and there are acres of parking."

Kupferman said the city has about a 1 percent vacancy rate for prime office space akin to what General Dynamics is vacating. He added that General Dynamics will retain some space in Burlington beyond 2010.

As of Friday afternoon, the city had not heard directly from General Dynamics about their move.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Federal Government to General Dynamics: Give Us Our Money Back!

The fact that the federal government is almost two decades later trying to get it's money back from GD over this fiasco highlights many of our arguments about national and state priorities regarding the power of the military industrial complex and the powerlessness of communities, taxpayers, etc..

Court upholds Navy cancellation of A-12 aircraft


WASHINGTON (AP) — Boeing Co. and General Dynamics Corp. must pay the government $2.8 billion to settle a nearly two-decade dispute over the cancellation of a Navy contract for a stealth aircraft, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled Tuesday.

The Navy was justified in 1991 when it opted to terminate the $4 billion contract with McDonnell Douglas and General Dynamics to build a stealth aircraft, the court said.

Chicago-based Boeing, which acquired McDonnell Douglas in 1997, said it will appeal the ruling.

The aircraft project was ended for being substantially over budget and behind schedule, according to the Justice Department. Both contractors were under a fixed-price contract to develop the A-12, a carrier-based attack aircraft.

But because of serious technical difficulties, the Pentagon refused to approve additional funding, leading the Navy to cancel the program.

In a 29-page opinion, the court explained the contractor's performance history showed that "the government was justifiably insecure about the contract's timely completion."

Both contractors are now required to repay the government more than $1.35 billion, plus interest of $1.45 billion.

Boeing had questioned whether the government owed money to both companies for work in progress when the contract was terminated.

In a statement, Boeing called for an immediate appeal of the court's ruling. Falls Church, Va.-based General Dynamics issued a statement saying it disagrees with the ruling and continues to believe that the government's default termination was not justified. The company intends to seek a re-hearing in the Federal Circuit.

Monday, January 26, 2009

What's a better use of Vermont Tax Breaks than blowing up innocent kids all over the world?

Given the choice between tax breaks intended for small sustainable businesses Governor Douglas gives $3.6 million a year in to $27 Billion a year war profiteer General Dynamics instead of small start ups with dramatic upside growth like Earth Turbines. Maybe it's time you did something about it.

Earth Turbines continues to rise and shine

By Joel Banner Baird, Free Press Staff Writer • January 26, 2009

WILLISTON —The high ceilings contribute to an aircraft-hangar ambiance. So does the silk-screened hang glider suspended in the lobby of Earth Turbines’ Williston headquarters.

What appears to be a 1940s-era fighter engine sits idle on a forklift in the 10,000-square-foot shop space.

David Blittersdorf, 52, the company’s founder and CEO, says the market for small-scale wind generation is ready for takeoff.

He should know. Blittersdorf, a Charlotte resident, founded wind-power testing company NRG Systems 28 years ago. With his wife and business partner, Jan Blittersdorf, he weathered industry downdrafts — and eventually propelled Hinesburg-based NRG into profitable, global markets.

For now, Earth Turbines will remain closer to home. Local demand and increasingly predictable government rebates for green energy have afforded the company a steady updraft in the Green Mountain State.

Two years ago, Blittersdorf had a single employee. Now 16 people (most of them engineers) work full time at the Harvest Lane building. By the end of the year, Blittersdorf said, their number will likely double.

Requests for domestic, grid-wired wind power, meanwhile, have increased exponentially, he added.

“We’ve been getting calls from all over,” he continued. “We’ve had to be patient. It’d be a big mistake to try to sell a turbine to someone in Texas or North Dakota.

“We don’t have a dealer network,” he said. “It’d be like buying a car but having to send it back to Detroit for servicing. The strategy all along has been to develop our testing in Vermont before we go nationwide.”


What’s the attraction? Blittersdorf said more and more people consider turbines a sound, long-term investment: In areas with moderate wind (most of the Champlain Valley), a single turbine will crank out 2.5 killowatts, or the equivalent of one-third to one-half of typical residential use.

Blittersdorf’s turbines aren’t built for off-the-grid living, however. To the contrary: they’re designed to feed (and sell) surplus electricity back to the regional utility in a transaction known as net-metering.

The cost of a single turbine, installed, hovers around $30,000. Federal and state rebates can knock that price down by at least $10,000, Blittersorf said — and will likely become more generous in coming years.

Earth Turbines has 12 prototype units up and running in Vermont. Another 14 units are due up by spring.

Until recently, the rollout has been low profile. The tilt-up, monopole towers go up quickly, and by industrial standards, are easy on the landscape: they rise 100 feet from the ground, versus four times that height for “wind-farm” towers.

Within a month, Earth Turbines will likely cease to be a stealth operation.

Rise and shine

This week, Blittersdorf is finalizing contract details with the Vermont Telecommunications Authority that will place up to 200 towers in remote, broadband-challenged corners of the state. Most of them will perform the dual service of generating electricity for landowners and handling cell and wireless broadband service.

The match, Blittersdorf said, makes good use of his company’s joint expertise in micro-electronics.

“For years we’ve been building remote testing equipment that wakes up once a day and phones home with data,” he said.

Earth Turbines’ proprietary tower designs, he continued, is “game-changing technology” for cell carriers, which routinely pay at least twice as much to get the same altitude. Earth Turbines proposes to erect power-and-cell equipped towers, preconnected to the electrical grid, for about $60,000 apiece.

Under the VTA plan, landowners will get the power supplement free.

Last month, VTA Director Bill Shuttleworth gave the green light for a pilot project in Grafton that will link up power and cell companies beneath a wind turbine.

If it performs well, Shuttleworth said, the template could slash costs of land acquisition, building access roads and running new power lines — obstacles that have historically kept cell carriers out of rural Vermont.

Lean machine

Blittersdorf said his product’s competitive advantages extend beyond what he calls the “instant gratification” of plug-and-play installation.

A patent is pending on the company’s direct-drive rotor — an innovation that eliminates the need for an inverter (a device that converts direct current to alternating current, and which adds to a turbine’s bulk and cost).

Trim, upgradable electronics are a part of Earth Turbines’ inheritance from NRG, as is the smaller company’s adherence to low-inventory, “lean” manufacturing.

“We’ve learned to be patient. What we build is based on customer demand, not on forecasts about what they might want,” Blittersdorf said.

He shops out specialty manufacturing, yet encourages cross-training and versatility among its in-house employees.

That includes training them to fail now and then.

“I tell people the faster you fail, the better,” he said. “You don’t want to get into a position where everybody’s just protecting their butts. As long as you learn something and don’t repeat the mistakes, you’re further ahead.”

The lofty low-down

In conversation, Blittersdorf often refers to his work as “play” — a necessary ingredient, he said, to his entrepreneurial regimen.

He’s not disturbed that the business probably won’t break even for another year. Nor does he consider selling to a multi-national corporation once Earth Turbines turn a profit.

Yet he’s serious about the company’s mission.

“I want to build a business that has lasting power; I don’t want to retire anytime soon — maybe when I’m 70 or 80,” he said.

“My values include doing something for the world,” he continued. “We’re at a critical turning point. I’m excited because I’m a part of it.”

He looked up from his desk to the hang glider. It’s a recent hobby.

“I took it up to overcome a fear of heights,” he said. “It turns out I had a fear of falling — not a fear of heights.”

Contact Joel Banner Baird at 660-1843 or To get Free Press headlines delivered free to your e-mail, sign up at

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

General Dynamics Profits Everytime the Mideast Burns

How can the city of Burlington Vermont be home a factory of General Dynamics which profits from these Israeli war crimes in direct contravention of the US Arms Export Control Act?

Israel's "Red eye" surface to air missiles, M-60 Battle tanks are all General Dynamics products. Israel's F-16's and Stinger missiles are former GD products farmed out to other arms makers. This arming of another country for purposes of aggression is illegal under US law, specifically the Arms Export Control Act, which says that U.S.-origin weapons are only to be used for self-defense and for internal security inside a countries borders. Clearly blowing up schools the UN has designated as refugee camps is neither of these.

Look at this report featured on Democracy Now for further details
U.S. Military Assistance and Arms Transfers to Israel: U.S. Aid, Companies Fuel Israeli Military by Frida Berrigan and William D. Hartung, July 20, 2006

Sunday, November 2, 2008

If the Peace Economy Works for the Rust Belt, Why Not Vermont?

November 2, 2008
A Splash of Green for the Rust Belt
The New York Times


LIKE his uncle, his grandfather and many of their neighbors, Arie Versendaal spent decades working at the Maytag factory here, turning coils of steel into washing machines.

When the plant closed last year, taking 1,800 jobs out of this town of 16,000 people, it seemed a familiar story of American industrial decline: another company town brought to its knees by the vagaries of global trade.

Except that Mr. Versendaal has a new factory job, at a plant here that makes blades for turbines that turn wind into electricity. Across the road, in the old Maytag factory, another company is building concrete towers to support the massive turbines. Together, the two plants are expected to employ nearly 700 people by early next year.

“Life’s not over,” Mr. Versendaal says. “For 35 years, I pounded my body to the ground. Now, I feel like I’m doing something beneficial for mankind and the United States. We’ve got to get used to depending on ourselves instead of something else, and wind is free. The wind is blowing out there for anybody to use.”

From the faded steel enclaves of Pennsylvania to the reeling auto towns of Michigan and Ohio, state and local governments are aggressively courting manufacturing companies that supply wind energy farms, solar electricity plants and factories that turn crops into diesel fuel.

This courtship has less to do with the loftiest aims of renewable energy proponents — curbing greenhouse gas emissions and lessening American dependence on foreign oil — and more to do with paychecks. In the face of rising unemployment, renewable energy has become a crucial source of good jobs, particularly for laid-off Rust Belt workers.

Amid a presidential election campaign now dominated by economic concerns, wind turbines and solar panels seem as ubiquitous in campaign advertisements as the American flag.

No one believes that renewable energy can fully replace what has been lost on the American factory floor, where people with no college education have traditionally been able to finance middle-class lives. Many at Maytag earned $20 an hour in addition to health benefits. Mr. Versendaal now earns about $13 an hour.

Still, it’s a beginning in a sector of the economy that has been marked by wrenching endings, potentially a second chance for factory workers accustomed to layoffs and diminished aspirations.

In West Branch, Iowa, a town of 2,000 people east of Iowa City, workers now assemble wind turbines in a former pump factory. In northwestern Ohio, glass factories suffering because of the downturn in the auto industry are retooling to make solar energy panels.

“The green we’re interested in is cash,” says Norman W. Johnston, who started a solar cell factory called Solar Fields in Toledo in 2003.

The market is potentially enormous. In a report last year, the Energy Department concluded that the United States could make wind energy the source of one-fifth of its electricity by 2030, up from about 2 percent today. That would require nearly $500 billion in new construction and add more than three million jobs, the report said. Much of the growth would be around the Great Lakes, the hardest-hit region in a country that has lost four million manufacturing jobs over the last decade.

Throw in solar energy along with generating power from crops, and the continued embrace of renewable energy would create as many as five million jobs by 2030, asserts Daniel M. Kammen, director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley, and an adviser to the presidential campaign of Senator Barack Obama.

The unfolding financial crisis seems likely to slow the pace of development, making investment harder to secure. But renewable energy has already gathered what analysts say is unstoppable momentum. In Texas, the oil baron T. Boone Pickens is developing what would be the largest wind farm in the world. Most states now require that a significant percentage of electricity be generated from wind, solar and biofuels, effectively giving the market a government mandate.

And many analysts expect the United States to eventually embrace some form of new regulatory system aimed at curbing global warming that would force coal-fired electricity plants to pay for the pollution they emit. That could make wind, solar and other alternative fuels competitive in terms of the cost of producing electricity.

Both presidential candidates have made expanding renewable energy a policy priority. Senator Obama, the Democratic nominee, has outlined plans to spend $150 billion over the next decade to spur private companies to invest. Senator John McCain, the Republican nominee, has spoken more generally of the need for investment.

In June, more than 12,000 people and 770 exhibitors jammed a convention center in Houston for the annual American Wind Energy Association trade show. “Five years ago, we were all walking around in Birkenstocks,” says John M. Brown, managing director of a turbine manufacturer, Entegrity Wind Systems of Boulder, Colo., which had a booth on the show floor. “Now it’s all suits. You go to a seminar, and it’s getting taught by lawyers and bankers.”

So it goes in Iowa. Perched on the edge of the Great Plains — the so-called Saudi Arabia of wind — the state has rapidly become a leading manufacturing center for wind power equipment.

“We are blessed with certainly some of the best wind in the world,” says Chet Culver, Iowa’s governor.

MAYTAG was born in Newton more than a century ago. Even after the company swelled into a global enterprise, its headquarters remained here, in the center of the state, 35 miles east of Des Moines.

“Newton was an island,” says Ted Johnson, the president of local chapter of the United Automobile Workers, which represented the Maytaggers. “We saw autos go through hard times, other industries. But we still had meat on our barbecues.”

The end began in the summer of 2005. Whirlpool, the appliance conglomerate, swallowed up Maytag. As the word spread that local jobs were doomed — Whirlpool was consolidating three factories’ production into two — workers unloaded their memorabilia at Pappy’s Antique Mall downtown: coffee mugs, buttons, award plaques.

“If it said Maytag on it, we bought it,” says Susie Jones, the store manager. “At first, I thought the stuff had value. Then, it was out of the kindness of my heart. And now I don’t have any heart left. It don’t sell. People are mad at them. They ripped out our soul.”

When the town needed a library, a park or a community college, Maytag lent a hand. The company was Newton’s largest employer, its wages paying for tidy houses, new cars, weddings, retirement parties and funerals.

As Whirlpool made plans to shutter the factory, state and county economic development officials scrambled to attract new employers. In June 2007, the local government dispatched a team to the American Wind Energy Association show in Los Angeles. Weeks later, a company called TPI Composites arrived in Newton to have a look.

Based in Arizona, TPI makes wind turbine blades by layering strips of fiberglass into large molds, requiring a long work space. The Maytag plant was too short. So local officials showed TPI an undeveloped piece of land encircled by cornfields on the edge of town where a new plant could be built.

Although TPI was considering a site in Mexico with low labor costs, Newton had a better location. Rail lines and Interstate 80 connect it to the Great Plains, where the turbines are needed. Former Maytag employees were eager for work, and the community college was ready to teach them blade-making.

Newton won. In exchange for $6 million in tax sweeteners, TPI promised to hire 500 people by 2010. It has already hired about 225 and is on track to have a work force of 290 by mid-November.

“Getting 500 jobs in one swoop is like winning the lottery,” says Newton’s mayor, Chaz Allen. “We don’t have to just roll over and die.”

On a recent afternoon, workers inside the cavernous TPI plant gaze excitedly at a crane lifting a blade from its mold and carrying it toward a cleared area. Curved and smooth, the blade stretches as long as a wing of the largest jets. One worker hums the theme from “Jaws” as the blade slips past.

Larry Crady, a worker, takes particular pleasure in seeing the finished product overhead, a broad grin forming across his goateed face. He used to run a team that made coin-operated laundry machines at Maytag. Now he supervises a team that lays down fiberglass strips between turbine moldings. He runs his hand across the surface of the next blade for signs of unevenness.

“I like this job more than I did Maytag,” Mr. Crady says. “I feel I’m doing something to improve our country, rather than just building a washing machine.”

Ask him how long he spent at Maytag and Mr. Crady responds precisely: “23.6 years.” Which is to say, 6.4 years short of drawing a pension whose famously generous terms compelled so many to work at the Maytag plant. “That’s what everyone in Newton was waiting on,” he says. “You could get that 30 and out.”

But he is now optimistic about the decades ahead. “I feel solid,” he says. “This is going to be the future. This company is going to grow huge.”

The human resources office at TPI is overseen by Terri Rock, who used to have the same position at Maytag’s corporate headquarters, where she worked for two decades. In her last years there, her job was mostly spent ending other people’s jobs.

“There was a lot of heartache,” she says. “This is a small town, and you’d have to let people go and then see them at the grocery store with their families. It was a real tough job at the end.”

Now, Ms. Rock starts fresh careers, hiring as many as 20 people a week. She enjoys the creative spirit of a start-up. “We’re not stuck with the mentality of ‘this is how we’ve done it for the last 35 years,’ ” she says.

Maytag is gone in large part because of the calculus driving globalization: household appliances and so many other goods are now produced mostly where physical labor is cheaper, in countries like China and Mexico. But wind turbines and blades are huge and heavy. The TPI plant is in Iowa largely because of the costs of shipping such huge items from far away.

“These are American jobs that are hard to export,” says Crugar Tuttle, general manager of the TPI plant.

And these jobs are part of a build-out that is gathering force. More than $5 billion in venture capital poured into so-called clean energy technology industries last year in North America and Europe, according to Cleantech, a trade group. In North America, that represented nearly a fifth of all venture capital, up from less than 2 percent in 2000.

“Everybody involved in the wind industry is in a massive hurry to build out capacity,” Mr. Tuttle says. “It will feed into a whole local industry of people making stuff, driving trucks. Manufacturing has been in decline for decades. This is our greatest chance to turn it around. It’s the biggest ray of hope that we’ve got.”

Those rays aren’t touching everyone, though. Hundreds of former Maytag workers remain without jobs, or stuck in positions paying less than half their previous wages. Outside an old union hall, some former Maytaggers share cigarettes and commiserate about the strains of starting over.

Mr. Johnson, the former local president, is jobless. At 45, he has slipped back into a world of financial hardship that he thought he had escaped. His father was a self-employed welder. His mother worked at an overalls factory.

“I grew up in southern Iowa with nothing,” he says. “If somebody got a new car, everybody heard about it.”

When Maytag shut down, his $1,100-a-week paycheck became a $360 unemployment check. He and his wife divorced, turning what once was a two-income household into a no-income household. He sold off his truck, his dining room furniture, his Maytag refrigerator — all in an effort to pay his mortgage. Last winter, he surrendered his house to foreclosure.

Mr. Johnson has applied for more than 220 jobs, he says, from sales positions at Lowe’s to TPI. He has yet to secure an interview. His unemployment benefits ran out in May. He no longer has health insurance. He recently broke a tooth where a filling had been, but he can’t afford to have it fixed.

When his teenage daughter, who lives with him, complained of headaches, he paid $1,500 out of pocket for an M.R.I. The doctor found a cyst on her brain. And how is she doing now? Mr. Johnson freezes at the question. He is a grown man with silver hair, a black Harley-Davidson T-shirt across a barrel chest, and calloused hands that could once bring a comfortable living. He tries to compose himself, but tears burst. “I’m sorry,” he says.

He signed up for a state insurance program for low-income families so his daughter could go to a neurologist.

ALTHOUGH the United States is well behind Europe in manufacturing wind-power gear and solar panels, other American communities are joining Newton’s push, laying the groundwork for large-scale production.

“You have to reinvest in industrial capacity,” says Randy Udall, an energy consultant in Carbondale, Colo. “You use wind to revitalize the Rust Belt. You make steel again. You bring it home. We ought to be planting wind turbines as if they were trees.”

In West Branch, Acciona, a Spanish company, has converted the empty hydraulic pump factory into a plant that makes wind turbines. When the previous plant closed, it wiped out 130 jobs; Acciona has hired 120 people, many of them workers from the old factory.

Steve Jennings, 50, once made $14 an hour at the hydraulic pump factory. When he heard that a wind turbine plant was coming in a mere five miles from his house, he was among the first to apply for a job. Now he’s a team leader, earning nearly $20 an hour — more than he’s ever made. Ordinary line workers make $16 an hour and up.

“It seemed like manufacturing was going away,” he says. “But I think this is here to stay.”

Acciona built its first turbine in Iowa last December and is on track to make 200 this year. Next year, it plans to double production.

For now, Acciona is importing most of its metal parts from Europe. But the company is seeking American suppliers, which could help catalyze increased metalwork in the United States.

“Michigan, Ohio — that’s the Rust Belt,” says Adrian LaTrace, the plant’s general manager. “We could be purchasing these components from those states. We’ve got the attention of the folks in the auto industry. This thing has critical mass.”

IN Toledo, the declining auto industry has prompted a retooling. For more than a century, the city has been dominated by glass-making, but the problems of Detroit automakers have softened demand for car windows from its plants. Toledo has lost nearly a third of its manufacturing jobs since 2000.

Now, Toledo is harnessing its glass-making skills to carve out a niche in solar power. At the center of the trend is a huge glass maker, Pilkington, which bought a Toledo company that was born in the 19th century.

Half of Pilkington’s business is in the automotive industry. In the last two years, that business is down 30 percent in North America. But the solar division, started two years ago, is growing at a 40 percent clip annually.

Nearby, the University of Toledo aims to play the same enabling role in solar power that Stanford played at the dawn of the Internet. It has 15 faculty members researching solar power. By licensing the technologies spawned in its labs, the university encourages its academics to start businesses.

One company started by a professor, Xunlight, is developing thin and flexible solar cells. It has 65 employees and expects to have as many as 150 by the middle of next year.

“It’s a second opportunity,” says an assembly supervisor, Matt McGilvery, one of Xunlight’s early hires. Mr. McGilvery, 50, spent a decade making steel coils for $23 an hour before he was laid off. Xunlight hired him this year. His paycheck has shrunk, he says, declining to get into particulars, but his old-fashioned skills drawing plans by hand are again in demand as Xunlight designs its manufacturing equipment from scratch, and the future seems promising.

“The hope is that two years from now everything is smoking and that envelope will slide across the table,” he says. “The money that people are dumping into this tells me it’s a huge market.”

In Newton, the tidy downtown clustered around a domed courthouse is already showing signs of new life, after the pain of Maytag’s demise.

The owner of Courtyard Floral, Diane Farver, says she saw a steep drop in sales after Maytag left, particularly around holidays like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, when she used to run several vanloads a week to the washing machine plant. Times have changed since that decline. When TPI recently dispatched workers to a factory in China for training, the company ordered bouquets for the spouses left at home.

Across the street at NetWork Realty, the broker Dennis Combs says the housing market is starting to stabilize as Maytag jobs are replaced.

“We’ve gone from Maytag, which wasn’t upgrading their antiquated plant, to something that’s cutting-edge technology, something that every politician is screaming this country has to have,” he says.

At Uncle Nancy’s Coffee House, talk of unemployment checks and foreclosures now mixes with job leads and looming investment.

“We’re seeing hope,” says Mr. Allen, the mayor.

The town is hardly done. Kimberly M. Didier, head of the Newton Development Corporation, which helped recruit TPI, is trying to attract turbine manufacturers and providers of raw materials and parts for the wind industry.

“This is in its infancy,” she says. “Automobiles, washer-dryers and other appliances have become commodities in their retirement phase. We’re in the beginning of this. How our economy functions is changing. We built this whole thing around oil, and now we’ve got to replace that.”

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

Peace Economy Protest Media Coverage - Pt. 2

Anti-war protesters call for peace economy

By Lisa Rathke, The Associated Press • November 1, 2008

MONTPELIER — Three days before the presidential election, anti-war activists rallied in front of the Statehouse on Saturday calling for an end to the war and a continued fight for change after Nov. 4.

Both Barack Obama and John McCain support increased military spending at a time when there's an incredible economic crisis, said Eugene Jarecki of Waitsfield.

"There's a moment of real crossroads here," he said. "But it's a crossroad for all of us not to be happy and go to bed but for all of us to be absolutely unrelenting and dissatisfied until real change happens."

About 50 demonstrators marched down State Street to the Statehouse led by a single drummer. They carried signs saying "Vermonters Say No to War," "Share the Wealth! Cut the Military Budget!" and "How Much Longer."

Organizers urged the state to pursue what they called a peace economy, and not give tax breaks to military weapons manufacturer General Dynamics of Burlington, which they said received $3 million in tax breaks last year.

"We don't want Vermont's taxpayer dollars going to war. We want it spent here to help with health care. There's over 60,000 Vermonters who don't have health care. That's where we need to be spending our money," said S'ra DeSantis of Burlington.

The event was attended by several Iraq war veterans, political candidates and University of Vermont Students Against War, who are working on a campaign for the school to divest from companies that build weapons systems for the U.S. military, including General Dynamics.

The demonstration was organized by the Vermont Peace Economy Coalition, whose mission is to work to promote a Vermont economy that advances social and economic justice, enriches the natural environment, enhances the ability of future generations to flourish and opposes business practices related to weapons and legislative policies that support the military industrial complex, representatives said.

"In the eve of the election we're asking all candidates to support a peace economy and not a war economy," said DeSantis.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Peace Economy Protest Media Coverage - Pt. 1

Associated Press - November 1, 2008 4:25 PM ET
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - Three days before the presidential election, anti-war activists rallied in front of the Statehouse on Saturday calling for an end to the war and a continued fight for change after Nov. 4.

Demonstrators urged Vermont to pursue what they called a peace economy, and not give tax breaks to military weapons manufacturer General Dynamics of Burlington.

Eugene Jarecki of Waitsfield said Tuesday's election is a moment of real crossroads.

He said both Barack Obama and John McCain support increased military spending at a time when there's an incredible economic crisis.

He says the crossroads is for those against the war to be unrelenting and dissatisfied until real change happens.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.