Tag Archives: PCMS

Defense industry’s so-called gravy train

Senator Ken Salazar described Colorado Springs as a crown jewel in our nation’s defense arsenal. The Pikes Peak area is indeed a magnet for the weapons industry because of our military installations. We have Fort Carson (3rd Armored Cav), Peterson AFB (Missile Space Command), Schriever AFB, of course NORAD and the Air Force Academy.
Mysterious Navy Pier 13We even have a land-locked high-altitude facility for the Navy.

We’re often reminded that the military keeps Colorado Springs afloat. In fact the County Commissioners, City Council and the Chamber of Commerce, egged on by car dealers and land developers, seize at every chance to lure the Defense Department budget to this city. Currently they’re trying to expand the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site, against the unanimous desires of the Southeast area ranchers, the state legislature, even much of the city population.

Now, consider this incongruity: over the last several years, both El Paso County and the City of Colorado Springs have had to cut back their services to save money. At a time when the war business has been flush with income! County offices have reduced their hours. The city has abandoned many services altogether. Street medians are no longer maintained by city crews. Toilet facilities at city parks have simply been left locked. The only reason we’ve been able to grow the police force is by paying for them by issuing more citations. Let’s call that a nuisance tax.

The gravy train is a lie, isn’t it? We pay for the military presence in Colorado Springs with higher crime, predatory retailers, porn joints, all the low wage jobs required by businesses which cater to soldiers, and as a result, a disproportionate drain on our social services. What do we get in return? An impoverished infrastructure and the dubious privilege of schooling our kids with offspring very likely disadvantaged by troubled families and questionable role models.

Solitary confinement blocks for Ft Carson

See more precast prison cells headed for PCMS at csaction.orgMark Lewis has been sent photographs taken by an alert Southeast Coloradan, of trucks laden with strange cargo for the Ft Carson PCMS. Strapped to each truck bed are several self contained units, of what appear to be modular living quarters, if your idea of a studio apartment is a single room, five foot by ten. On one end of each there’s a window in the form of a single narrow slit and at the other end a door with a similar window and a small utility door. If you were to imagine a place to conceal the Man in the Iron Mask in 21st Century prefab construction material, this would be it. The modular design looks like they’re made to fit into a honeycomb, reached by way of metal grates.
Windows resembled these.
A recent executive order has cleared the way for military bases to house civilian detention facilities. I imagined barracks like the WWII internment camps. These accommodations look more suited to Guantanamo.

Ken Salazar lulls people to sleep on Pinon Canyon expansion

Senator Ken Salazar wants to look like he is leading an opposition to military plans to expand Fort Carson. Unfortunately, many are buying it, but his ‘opposition’ to base expansion is without any principles behind it and is totally superficial. Just what does ‘a one year delay’ really mean, anyway?

One thing it certainly is not, is it is not any real opposition to the constant American militarism at all. Unfortunately, most of the ranchers opposing the Pentagon buying up their land also support the constant war making of the US government. In fact, both Salazar and many of the ranchers themselves, support more military bases being built and more bases being enlarged. The ranchers just don’t want it done with land they own.

A ‘one year delay’ allows Ken Salazar to placate this constituency without having him do anything of substance. Later when plans move ahead once again (as if they there will even delay at all!) he can surrender after having pretended to lead the good fight.

‘Oh sorry, Guys. We just weren’t able to win.’

The ranchers are in dire peril. This ‘delay’ is meant to disarm them and it appears to be working. The momentum they have built up in building their opposition to Fort Carson expansion is now on dry ice. What appears to be a minor victory may well turn out to be just one more phase of their undoing.

As to the pro Peace community as a whole, this episode of their activism shows how weak is their lobbying legislative approach to everything. Instead of building a movement that demands CLOSING all these damn bases down, they have tired to needle and beg a completely pro-war legislator, Ken Salazar, to play their supposed Saviour in a truly docile style. This is a strategy guaranteed to produce constant disappointment, and constant continued war.

It is our job as activists for Peace to tell the truth and to try to create new structures that would aid our work to stop the Pentagon. Instead, many of us only seem to desire to be lulled to sleep by people like Democratic Party Senator Ken Salazar. Voting sheep asleep, it seems, is all some want to be.

Base Closure Now! That is really what the Justice and Peace Commission should be demanding. We have way too many of these monsters and they are destroying the entire base of the American economy. We are not just against expansion, we are for closure of these bases. And Kenneth Salazar is not going to come along and be our friend on these issues, and it is unseemly to always be begging him and pretending that he is our friend, when he most certainly is not, never will be, and doesn’t want to be.

Kenneth Salazar is a true American militarist politician, and is much so as those who voted against the ‘delay’ legislation that eked on by. We need to get rid of these bums, Kenneth Salazar included. We need to stop hugging our enemies and start speaking the truth. A pro Peace Movement that can’t tell its friends from its enemies is not worth much at all. The Iraqi people certainly know that and so should the people working in the Justice and Peace Commission. It is sad to see people celebrating a victory while on the road to yet another set back.

State senator John Morse the little shit

Opposition to PCMS expansion not allowed inside City Hall chamber
We stood outside City Hall today, holding our banners against the Pinon Canyon expansion. We watched the pro-military-business suits stream past us. Most were cordial, some pretended we were not there. A fully uniformed OIF soldier greeted us warmly, explaining that he’d been in Iraq twice and would go again in a heartbeat. He loved “killing the Iraqis and stacking them up like cord-wood. An enemy is an enemy” he said laughing as he ascended the steps.
 
But the worst was Colorado state senator John Morse, Democrat.

I’d seen John Morse a few months back, addressing a house full of his Democratic constituents, 90% of whom were very angry about the stand he’d expressed publicly in favor of the PCMS expansion. We were all incredulous to hear him say that he hadn’t received a single complaint in opposition until that evening. Really?! We all vowed to be more vocal in the future.

I greeted Morse as he approached City Hall, I asked him if he was going to represent the people he’d heard from that night. He looked at me blankly. I asked him if he’d heard since that night from more citizens vehemently against expansion of Fort Carson and the Maneuver Site? He smiled, shook his head, shrugged his shoulders and smiled again. To my face, just as he had the time before, the lying shit. You guys are a minority, he told me. Really? I wish the others had been here today to see him say it. We weren’t PCMS opponent activists that night by a long shot. We were just the Democrats who got Morse elected.

Between that meeting and this one, Morse would have to have kept his phone off the hook to ignore the public outcry against this military land grab. Sure enough in the city chambers meeting, he fawned all over the military and its stooges. As a Democrat, he’s a snake in sheep’s clothing. Morse thinks the military ought to be given the chance to go ahead with the feasibility studies. We say that’s letting the fox in the henhouse. He says give the fox the benefit of the doubt. He’s missing the point of the analogy, but the army hasn’t. With his help, the army land acquisition process will move along, more and more ranchers will be forced to sell, and the resistance will dwindle.
Ft Carson soldier
Fort Carson soldier attending the PCMS expansion session, who stacks the Iraqis up like cord-wood. What’s he going to do after he leaves the service? Forestry or law enforcement?

National Cemetery I-25 scenic viewpoint

Concrete waves of grey
Did you hear Senator Salazar say at this morning’s city council chambers meeting, that he’d like to see as part of the Fort Carson expansion, a local national military cemetery to rival the one at Arlington? Because as retired General Bentley Rayburn reported, there’s a growing need, “and Fort Logan’s filling up.” Always thinking about our boys, aren’t they?

Senator Salazar painted the picture for everyone, a cemetery visible from Interstate 25, to rival the size of the already famous national cemeteries. It will be seen by the millions who travel the Front Range corridor each day, military headstones stretching wide expanses, reaching into the foothills of the Rockies, into our purple mountains majesty I guess. Does Salazar want to seize by eminent domain the fruited plain for somber waves of gray?

It’s one thing to refashion America the Beautiful to honor the fallen, and God knows there’s nothing wrong with I-25 drivers being confronted with the human cost of our folly, but how cynical is it, to favor expansion of Fort Carson and the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site so that you can station more military personnel here and fill the cemetery that much faster?

There wasn’t time to read the questions recorded on the note cards Salazar’s people had collected to record the meeting’s only public input. How many graves do you envision Mr. Salazar, before Arlington Southwest, let’s call it, will make the impression you have in mind?

Sen. Salazar surveys the public opinion

Ken Salazar has called a meeting at the COS City Council chambers Wednesday Aug 29 to solicit the opinion of local area representatives about the proposed Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site expansion. The public is invited to attend (10am tomorrow) but the 15 representatives have already been selected. Invited to speak are:

Mayor Lionel Rivera (introductions).

County Commissioner Chair Dennis Hisey (of Fountain).

State Senator John Morse.

State Representative Bob Gardner.

Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments Chair Commissioner Wayne Williams (military and transportation issues).

Veteran’s Committee Chair Retired Gen. Bentley Rayburn (Vet cemetery and other Vet issues).

Chair of Chamber Military Affairs Council Retired General Wes Clark (defense contractor as President of SAIC near Peterson, will talk about history).

Chair of Chamber Military Affairs Council’s Pinon Canyon committee, Retired General Ed Anderson (former Ft. Carson Commander).

President of CS Chamber Military Affairs Division, Brian Binn (will talk about local economic drivers).

CEO of the Colorado Springs Economic Development Council, Mike Kazmierski (will talk about competition from other cities and BRAC).

Chair of Defense Mission Coalition Tony Koren

CEO of Pueblo Chamber, Rod Slyhoff.

Chair of the Pueblo Economic Council Marv Stein.

Assistant City Manager Greg Nyhoff (will talk about how City Development processes and the Airport relate to encroachment issues at bases).

County Development Director Carl Schuller to talk about processes and encroachment issues in the County.

Bucket brigade then tar and feather

Ranchers assembled to ask Senator Salazar to oppose PCMS expansion.
I’d like to ask you to look closely at the the photograph of ranchers assembled in Trinidad to reject the PCMS expansion and Senator Salazar’s support of the taking of their land.

(Salazar and the Army will only commit to say that no one’s land will be taken who doesn’t want to sell it. In the meantime, Army public relations can continue with their rumors that plenty are approaching them to sell, prompting the real ranchers to hedge their bets themselves, compounding the problem no one can get financing or investors because the big bets are on the Army getting the land in the end. So Salazar’s promise is empty and as devious as what actions will ensue. What, is he going to say he was just a good ol’ boy caught in the middle?)

I ask you, what do you see in the picture? Do you see farmers and ranchers and feed store workers getting together to fight a common cause? Do you see a social atmosphere where being a neighbor is redefined and strengthened? Sure. The first, or third, or tenth time. But how many times more must these people remobilize, taking time from their work, their livelihoods, most probably from the little leisure time they have? What’s going to come of the time and energy stolen from them?

When counties and regions face floods or hurricanes, the people come together, luckily for not too extended a duration. When it’s done, there’s disaster relief and efforts expended to see how to keep such calamity from visiting again. So what do you do about politicians, in this case in cahoots with the war business, from raining their greed upon the people? You weather it and then what? Can you dam it further upstream? Can you hire a better weather service to warn you when klepto-politicians are circling for another blow?

Each and every rancher in southeast Colorado has reason to despise Salazar. He’s robbing them of their lives. It’s time for the rest of us to be good neighbors and show our solidarity with them and oppose the traitorous senator ourselves. We don’t have to look far to find more reasons. It’s time to pile up the sandbags, hold fast to what’s dear to us and hang tight. When the onslaught subsides, let’s dam the door to Ken Salazar’s office and never let him back to our state. We’ll keep his homestead estate as partial recompense. Actually we have to charge Salazar and his cohorts with criminal mischief and sue him for the damage he’s done to the Southeast Colorado ranchers, for their lost wages, lost business, and sideswiped lives.

Actually, one can see from whence the tar and feather tradition comes. Right to the state line.

Senator Salazar and the Military Industrial Congressional Complex

Trinidad reception for Senator SalazarBill Sulzman attended Ken Salazar’s public meeting in Trinidad yesterday addressing the Piñon Canyon expansion. This from Bill:
 
Salazar came across as a bumbling idiot. The questions he keeps asking are merely rhetorical. He doesn’t want answers. He just continues to hide behind them. The “crown jewel” remarks which are referred to in the Chieftain story went on at some length and were downright scary. He is a proud, card carrying member of the military, industrial congressional complex.

From Salazar: “You have to know that I believe that we in Colorado are the crown jewel of national security.”

And: “There was some communication from the army that they would be willing to provide contracting work that would mean about 107 jobs.”

More articles in Rocky Mountain News, Gazette, Fox21

Who is losing Pinon Canyon

Banner at corner of Nevada and DaleI caught a quick glimpse of this picture just inside a recent Indy, the issue about Piñon Canyon expansion, and quickly closed the paper. The banners and rebar in front of Toons are falling to disrepair, so I cringed to see what attention they’d drawn.

It turns out we’re seen as “concrete support for the ranchers” against military expansion in the region. Great! But the article was sneakily double edged. It made the case that “Colorado Springs is losing the battle for Piñon Canyon.” Colorado Springs as in big business interests maybe, not Colorado Springs representing the people here. They don’t want military expansion. How can you lose a battle you aren’t trying to win?

Colorado Springs has always been run roughshod by the military and land developers, but leaving out that distinction, the article presumes to be speaking for all of us. And warning us that we are losing. Do I lose the Lotto every time I don’t play it? I do not.

What makes the suggestion more subversive is that the Army and Colorado Springs Inc are not losing. As subsequent news reports have shown, the Army juggernaut continues. The Colorado legislation vote to deny funding to land use studies is a setback, not a defeat. The Army faces its usual foes, a populace who persists against them. But the sides are unequally matched, like corporations versus individuals. People have finite resources, finite energies to mobilize in the effort. The Army knows this, their spokesman all but spells it out at town hall forums, clearly an eerie psych-ops move to demoralize the opposition. Y’all have lives to get back to. [Resistance is futile.]

The ranchers of southeast Colorado have risen to the alarm cry that the Army is about to crush their land with its tanks. Putting out the message that the Army is losing ground is an attempt to send the crowd home. It is military propaganda.

Desert Rock protests

Navajo protestI might have missed something in ‘The Gazette’, but I sincerely doubt it. The assholes that run that paper are keeping Colorado Springs uninformed of an environmental struggle going on right down the road from us. I am referring to the mainly Navajo protest against the construction of a new power plant in the Four Corners area. See these photos of the Desert Rock Vigil now taking place.

The Navaho don’t want mercury and other contaminants from coal burning to further environmentally degrade their people’s traditional lands. It has become a constant battle to keep the environment of this ancient Native American tribe from being totally destroyed by mining, forestry, and energy production companies.

The White ranchers who struggle to stop the expansion of Fort Carson into Pinon Canyon and the Navaho of Desert Rock, both need to get together and unite their now separate causes. Without unity in the fight to save the environment , Colorado and the Mountain West as a whole are going to become toxic zones in a generation or two. We need energy production, but we need a clean environment, too. Wouldn’t it be great if the many varied groups of citizens out here, would work together better to save these lands?
Navajo protest site

Fort Carson Strangelove

It could have been Doctor Strangelove. The photograph I wish I had taken was of the Tom Warren, the representative of Fort Carson, assigned to ride over the public outcry about the Army’s plans to annex more land, Pinon Canyon and beyond, for a training ground eventually to extend over the entire corner of Southeast Colorado.

I’m left to describe the picture I wish I’d taken of Mr. Warren. Unbelievable. I sat in the front row of the Mesa Ridge High School auditorium last night as he paced back and forth spewing bureaucratic mumbo for the assembled concerned residents. He walked with a limp, and when his microphone boomed with feedback, he joked about it coming from the metal [inside his leg, presumably].

He stood over six feet tall, long hair, grey and black, brushed straight to his shoulders, full bangs, a large half-trimed beard, and large thick-lensed aviator glasses. The effect was that you couldn’t make out any exposed face. Had he been with black-ops and now fears being recognized? Was he in the Federal Witness Protection Plan? Had he suffered horrendous scars? Mr. Warren loomed larger in a blue blazer with padded shoulders, and lurched about in blue blue-jeans over what must have been motorcycle boots. Cowboy boots with reinforced steel toes perhaps.

I wondered, as Fort Carson’s PR person, to whom was he supposed to appeal? To the ranchers in their wide brimmed hats? To the hippy peaceniks? Mr. Warren didn’t behave like a soldier. He was more like the guy whose eye you didn’t want to catch at the bar. Scarry dude.

His mission, at last night’s meeting, seemed to be to ward off any protest about the future expansion plans. The Army is seeking approval of an expanded training range at Fort Carson and Pinon Canyon, but documents have been leaked showing the Defense Department’s ultimate aim. Most of the public wanted to argue against expansion in light of where it is leading.

Mr. Warren was attempting to preempt that discussion by clarrifying that the leaked plans were only at preliminary stages of approval. He spewed bureaucratic jargon, laughed at himself for being a bureaucrat, but kept right on spewing. He pointed to a slide showing the approval process, and that the matter on the table tonight, the permitted subject tonight, was at step five of the eight step process.

What Mr. Warren failed to point out, as he referenced the approval process diagram, was a fact apparent to everyone else in the auditorium. The current Army plans had been able to get to step five without public scrutiny. Admonishing us to stay off the subject of plans in the earlier stages is precisely how bad deeds are moved along by bureaucrats.

The evolution debate ist tot

Giant footprints in limestoneWe’re going to see the dinosaur tracks in Pinon Canyon this weekend. We’ll hike along the Pergatoire River which runs through southeastern Colorado and retrace a quarter mile long trail left by a brontosaurus.
 
At issue for my companions is what to make of theologians who would like us to believe that the Earth is only as old as The Bible says, something like 6,000 years. I’d like to contemplate that idea from the perspective of standing in a footprint made 150 million years ago. Supposedly.
 
Is carbon-dating flawed? Are scientists misleading mankind? It only matters if you want to believe that the christian bible is literally true. If the bible represents truth in the context of man’s understanding of the natural world at the time, then our new scientific understandings are not really suspect at all.

This is why Nietzsche wrote after Darwin’s theory, that God is dead. Is a discredited bible the Word of God or Man?

Infallibility
So who’s doing the arguing? Is it the Word-of-God people who want to refuse any contradictory evidence, or the scientists who couldn’t care a wit if their findings confirm or do not confirm church dogma? Bible adherents have chosen to take their stand against “evolutionary theory.” Because it can’t stand. Because it would make God’s word wrong.

“Theory” the Biblists decry, is as unreliable as it sounds. The inherent uncertainty of the scientific term insinuates that theory is more like wobbly fact. In Biblist lingo, theory becomes diametrically opposed to, and is perhaps the diabolical opposite of, fact. Hence the “debate.” Notice no one is scheduling debates over the theory of gravity or Pythagoras.

Thus Creationist Biblists have been challenging all comers to debate evolution in the court of public comprehension. There have been of course, science popularizers who’ve undertaken to educate the Biblists, perhaps hoping to create some middle ground. Pop-scientists such as Stephen Jay Gould engaged church dogma adherents to expand their understanding of the natural world. Meanwhile, actual scientists are laboring away, at science, working from the concepts of evolution into the further reaches. If these scientists look up at all, at the awkward “debate” conducted in their name, they wonder who gave those guys name tags? Who appointed them as apologists for scientific discovery and imbued them with authority to arbitrate and integrate scientific findings with church lore?

A debate between real scientists and creationists would look like an argument between a pediatrician and a fashion designer about what color pee should come out of the baby. It’s arguing apples and orange bowls. A debate about evolution is really between philosophers and theologians, because scientists aren’t debating anything. And the Biblists are the schoolchildren arguing they don’t want to learn their lessons, in fact they want to rewrite their lessons, and they want to debate their right to do so with linguists.

In trying to pick their fight, Biblists like to accuse scientists of arrogance. This is a false portrait, and comes perhaps from scientists not wanting to debate their findings with non-scientists. Why should they? You don’t argue football with someone that doesn’t know football from basketball. A scientist’s task is not to argue. A scientist makes a building block and moves on to the next. Where would we be if scientists only ever argued the validity of the single block. Build, concede its limitations, and move on. How can we build a two story house if someone on the committee perserverates on the first story being too speculative? Build the second story, if the first turns out to be flawed, we’ll start anew. Mankind still does not fully understand electricity. That doesn’t mean we can’t make telephones and phonographs and semiconductors and go to the moon in the meantime.

You might consider an architect full of excessive hubris for building towers higher than you yourself would ascend comfortably. You don’t understand the engineering, so he can’t build the skyscraper?

Intelligent Design
The theory of intelligent design offers a related illustration. I don’t have any doubt that many scientists would like to see our understanding of nature explained by an intelligent design. The problem is that science is not yet there, in fact it’s been pointing elsewhere. For now, we have to say, man’s knowledge through science cannot explain an intelligent design. Religious nuts are there, but for unscientific reasons. Intelligent Design may be true, but you can’t build anything with it. Scientists may want to build a 200 story building, but they don’t have the necessary blocks. Intelligent Design believers may be already want to dwell there, but you can’t start at the 200th floor and build downward.

There are a number of signs that evolution in practice is not as it appears. The GAIA concept offers to my mind a likely clue that there is a larger design at work. The idea that the fabric of nature on our planet might be governed by a cohesive unity, directly challenges the theory of random mutation by individuals. Could such scientific building blocks as proving GAIA lead to validating the biblical notion of Intelligent Design? Maybe that’s a possibility. Could it lead us to understand that Adam of Eden fashioned Eve from his own rib? Well, if you like, maybe that too. Right now I’d have to tell you that Adam’s rib is not my area of expertise and I’m certainly not prepared to debate it.

Pinon Canyon land grab

150 million year old dinosaur tracksThe US Army at Fort Carson is trying to annex a million acres of Southeastern Colorado to test its new weapons. The area is called Pinon Canyon and contains the longest extant dinosaur tracks anywhere. The 150 million year-old Allosaur and Brontosaur tracks extend one quarter mile along the Purgatory River.

Come to the Colorado College meeting tonight, Tuesday September 19 at WES hall to learn how we can fight it.