The drone manufacturing industry, under the aegis of The Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, (AUVSI) the industry’s trade group in Washington, is pissed off and they aren't going to take it anymore! This is after facing growing hostiliity to drone implementation on both the left and the right. Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer, for example, called for a ban on drones in U.S. airspace. Then two conservo two other commentators endorsed the idea of shooting down unmanned aircraft flown by U.S. law enforcement agencies.
Meanwhile, many on the left, have correctly pointed out the inherent dangers posed by these flying robots in U.S. airspace, since he FAA, has not yet issued rules for unmanned aviation systems - especially maneuvering in proximity to large commercial airports such as Denver's (where a near collision occurred about 2 weeks ago. Moreover, air safety experts also have raised questions about the ability of sensors aboard unmanned aircraft to properly detect a nearby plane, and to assure immediate action to avoid a midair collision.
Michael Toscano, president of the AUVSI isn't bothered as he argued in a recent interview that:
"“Car crashes kill 35,000 people a year, but we don’t talk about banning cars. We need to be honest about the costs and the benefits.”
Oh just terrific! So, as long as the drone -aircraft collisions don't snuff out more than the number perishing in autmobile crashes, Toscano is just fine with them. And what exactly are the benefits? I dismissed these so-called benefits in my first blog about the issue:
Stated "benefits" cited including: environmental monitoring, fire protection, surveillance of suspected criminals....checking power lines and tracking equipment. But all of these can be done at much less expense and without requiring unmanned drones. For example, multiple street video cameras mounted all over can now track criminals anywhere. Moreover, the "fusion centers" provided under the Patriot Act make this as easy as companies tracking people using 'cookies' on the web. Nor do we need to risk commercial passenger safety by putting thousands of the blasted things in our skies for the specious reasons cited. In the end this is all bullshit, and the real purpose of this law is to provide an outlet for the defense industry drone manufacturers who will no longer have U.S. occupations within which to ply.
But Mike Toscano isn't taking it on the nose.asserting that the AUVSI would go on a PR offensive against critics. Toscano made the PR strategy sound like something straight out of Edwin Bernays reality-management textbook — or George Orwell's 'Newspeak' from 1984.. The AUVSI wants to bombard the American public with positive images and messages about drones in an effort to reverse the growing perception of the aircraft as a threat to privacy and safety. Didn't ya know that small drones made up like little flying Avengers can even babysit your kids? And they can generate serenades or nursery rhymes too!
According to Toscano:
"We’re going to do a much better job of educating people about unmanned aviation, the good and the bad,”
Right and we know where the emphasis will be. Already Toscano and his mates are preparing the main boilerplates for language change, for example seeking to replace the harsh word 'drone' (which conjurs up images of Afghani babies being incinerated by Hellfire missiles fired from predator drones) to 'remotely piloted vehicles”. Sorry, maestro! But if your vehicle has to be directed from afar it's not being "piloted"! It's a zombie, a drone!
Meanwhile, Medea Benjamin of 'Code Pink' has highlighted the same pernicious origin of this drone law that I noted in my 'Elements of the Corporatocracy': That is, as in the case of the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 -letting lobbyists actually write the legislation and the congress whores merely sign on. In the same way, according to Benjamin:
"They’ve been able to write the drone legislation and get their lackeys in Congress to push it through and get the president to sign it. But they are going to have to work harder and harder as we ramp up our efforts to educate the public.”
My bet is on the anti-drone side to educate more clearly and deliberately than the drone spin meisters can.
Meanwhile, Missy Cummings, a professor of aerospace engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, insists that the recent controversies about drones mark a new phase in public thinking.
“We’ve just reached a tipping point and now people are starting to think about and talk about these issues, That’s a good thing.”
What's not a good thing is how our slimey congress critters actually think they can slide this crap right past our noses and make it stick. They all ought to be ashamed of themselves, but when laws are dicatated by the corporate paymasters you know a once great Republic is already on its last legs. The very fact that the billions needed to produce these damned things could have been used instead to hire back 365,000 teachers nation wide.
The drone makers barely realize how shameful they are, and the fact they need to hire PR hacks to push their crap is further proof.