Our laws constrain the power of the President, even during wartime, and I have taken an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States,” President Obama said in a speech Thursday at the National Defense University. Obama’s role as defender of the Constitution has been subject to justified criticism recently, with the rise of the secretive drone war in Pakistan and elsewhere. Obama took belated steps to address those concerns. And he did more: He committed himself to a legal path to ending the current “war” with the Taliban, and vowed not to allow Congress to expand it.
There seem to be two Obamas: the public idealist who seeks to harness and fulfill American ideals, and the tight-lipped commander in chief who asks the nation to trust him. The two dueled uneasily in the speech, but the advantage goes to the idealist.
In his discussion of the “drone war,” the speech rates a B. Because the administration has stonewalled on the law and the policy behind the use of drones, the president found himself forced to make the following disavowal: “For the record, I do not believe it would be constitutional for the government to target and kill any U.S. citizen — with a drone, or a shotgun — without due process.”
If Obama really has committed himself to ending the war on the Taliban, he has taken a course few presidents can be expected to choose.
This issue was always a red herring. The NDU speech identified the real problem with drones: “The very precision of drones strikes, and the necessary secrecy involved in such actions, can end up shielding our government from the public scrutiny that a troop deployment invites,” he acknowledged. But there was no commitment that I can see to opening the drone war to public scrutiny. Instead, Obama offered the standard defense of the policy — it is effective, aimed against only those terrorist targets who cannot be captured, and conducted to minimize civilian casualties — in even more truncated form than that given months ago by figures like former State Department Legal Adviser Harold Koh and Attorney General Eric Holder.
First, the set-up:
The Mt. Shasta Mall in Redding was busier than usual Tuesday as shoppers were surrounded by hundreds of people armed with resumes for a job fair featuring some 40 employers.
The center court of the mall was packed with those seeking applications, introductions and more information on the various private and public-sector jobs at the fair.
And now the punch line: People need jobs you say? How about some in a burgeoning tech field?
Redding’s 2-2 deadlocked vote Tuesday night may have said no to entering the crowded bidding for commercial drone testing at the airport.
Mayor Rick Bosetti tried to allay a restless crowd’s concerns about the use of the technology. He told them six sites will be selected. There is a potential to bring jobs, and the region would have the chance on the front end to sit at the table and set regulations.
Vice Mayor Patrick Jones and Councilor Gary Cadd, backed by a tea party audience that turned out in numbers, said they still had questions about the pilotless aircraft market and opposed the move. Council member Missy McArthur was absent.
Cadd was adamant in his opposition, saying that he had considered the job boon the potentially lucrative industry would create, but their potential use in surveillance activities scared him.
“They are jobs, but where do you draw the line on the jobs that are liable to turn around and bite us,” he said.
Have fun staying an economic backwater.
Today we find the Weekly Standard, World Net Daily, and Emptywheel (representing the FDL camp of sorts) getting into high derp over newly sworn in CIA chief John Brennan. These memes are dedicated to them. The presidential memes are based on facts. Theodore Roosevelt was sworn in without a bible. He was a devout man. John Quincy Adams on the other hand was sworn in using a law book. WND would probably assume that John Quincy Adams was a Muslim as the right wing crackpots are saying on Twitter.
March 4, 1857 Eighteenth Inaugural Ceremonies James Buchanan Unknown
March 4, 1853 Seventeenth Inaugural Ceremonies Franklin Pierce Unknown
July 10, 1850 Swearing-In of Vice President Millard Fillmore after the death of President Zachary Taylor Millard Fillmore Unknown
March 5, 1849 Sixteenth Inaugural Ceremonies Zachary Taylor Unknown
March 4, 1845 Fifteenth Inaugural Ceremonies James K. Polk The origin of Polk’s Bible is unknown, although a letter in the front of the volume indicates that after the Inauguration, it was presented to Mrs. Polk by the Marshal of the District of Columbia. There is no indication that it was open during the oath-taking, and has no marked passages.
April 6, 1841 Swearing-In of Vice President John Tyler after the death of President William H. Harrison John Tyler Unknown
March 4, 1841 Fourteenth Inaugural Ceremonies William H. Harrison Unknown
March 4, 1837 Thirteenth Inaugural Ceremonies Martin Van Buren Unknown
March 4, 1833 Twelfth Inaugural Ceremonies Andrew Jackson Unknown
March 4, 1829 Eleventh Inaugural Ceremonies Andrew Jackson Unknown
March 4, 1825 Tenth Inaugural Ceremonies John Quincy Adams According to his own version of his Inauguration, Adams took the oath upon a volume of law.
March 4, 1821 Ninth Inaugural Ceremonies James Monroe Unknown
March 4, 1817 Eighth Inaugural Ceremonies James Monroe Unknown
March 4, 1813 Seventh Inaugural Ceremonies James Madison Unknown
March 4, 1809 Sixth Inaugural Ceremonies James Madison Unknown
March 4, 1805 Fifth Inaugural Ceremonies Thomas Jefferson Unknown
March 4, 1801 Fourth Inaugural Ceremonies Thomas Jefferson Unknown
March 4, 1797 Third Inaugural Ceremonies John Adams Unknown
March 4, 1793 Second Inaugural Ceremonies George Washington Unknown
April 30, 1789 First Inaugural Ceremonies George Washington The Holy Bible from St. John’s Masonic Lodge, No. 1, opened at random due to haste to Genisis 49:13
In summary, John Quincy Adams definitely didn’t use a bible nor the constitution but rather a law book. Some argue that Theodore Roosevelt was rushed in due to the assassination of President William McKinley in 1901. However, Godly people should have at least had a bible handy indicating that these heathens could quite possibly have been either Muslims or atheists.
Update: Reference for above presidential oaths.
It turns out Rand Paul’s filibuster was big scam. Sen. Paul has wasted little time implementing the second part of his planned filibuster. He is now trying to cash in with a fundraising letter.
The true story behind Rand Paul’s filibuster is starting to come out. According to the National Journal, Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans knew the filibuster was coming, “But the day wasn’t entirely unplanned. Paul, often accused of being a lone wolf on Capitol Hill, had laid some of the groundwork to win over the GOP establishment. McConnell and Co. knew the filibuster was coming, even if they did not know when precisely or what exactly it would look like.”
This fact contradicts the myth that Paul floated that he decided to come to the Senate floor and start speaking. Sen. Paul has been suggesting that everybody just showed up, “We probably had 15 congressmen come over to the Senate floor,” he said this morning in a radio interview with Glenn Beck. Paul pointed out that House members are allowed to come to the Senate floor but are barred from speaking or coming forward, so they were presumably there just to lend support with their presence. “I’ve never seen that happen before. And they came spontaneously. Nobody called them. They just showed up.”
Sen. Paul’s claims of spontaneity are dubious at best. Now we have come to learn that Paul is trying to cash in on his planned stunt.
Unmanned systems have become the legal and ethical problem child of the global defense industry and the governments they supply, rewriting the rules of military engagement in ways that many find disturbing. And this sense of unease about where we’re headed is hardly unfamiliar. Much like the emergence of drone technology, the rise of China and its reshaping of the geopolitical landscape has stirred up a sometimes understandable, sometimes irrational, fear of the unknown.
It’s safe to say, then, that Chinese drones conjure up a particularly intense sense of alarm that the media has begun to embrace as a license to panic. China is indeed developing a range of unmanned aerial vehicles/systems (UAVs/UASs) at a time when relations with Japan are tense, and when those with the U.S. are delicate. But that hardly justifies claims that “drones have taken center stage in an escalating arms race between China and Japan,” or that the “China drone threat highlights [a] new global arms race,” as some observers would have it. This hyperbole was perhaps fed by a 2012 U.S. Department of Defense report which described China’s development of UAVs as “alarming.”
That’s quite unreasonable. All of the world’s advanced militaries are adopting drones, not just the PLA. That isn’t an arms race, or a reason to fear China, it’s just the direction in which defense technology is naturally progressing. Secondly, while China may be demonstrating impressive advances, Israel and the U.S. retain a substantial lead in the UAV field, with China—alongside Europe, India and Russia— still in the second tier. And thirdly, China is modernizing in all areas of military technology - unmanned systems being no exception.
More: Here Come…China’s Drones
Journalism programs at the University of Nebraska and the University of Missouri are experimenting with UAVs for reporting and story research.
The ways we report and consume news have changed radically in recent years. Now not only are journalism schools adapting to answer the challenges of producing content on all shapes and sizes of screens and devices while maintaining integrity—with fewer resources than ever—two college journalism programs are also teaching students how to operate drone aircraft for story-gathering and reporting. Both classes are considered experimental. But they’re also easily replicated at any university. (Drones are getting pretty cheap, too.)RQCX-3 “Raven”
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Drone Journalism Lab and the Missouri Drone Journalism Program at the University of Missouri are the first two programs of their type in the nation. At both universities, journalism students are taught the basics of flying unmanned autonomous vehicles (UAVs), using still and video cameras to gather aerial information, the ethics of operating flying cameras, FAA regulations and safety, and how to interpret aerial footage. The goal is to turn information gathered from the air into workable stories.
Both programs are experimental, but operate in different ways. The Nebraska Lab is integrated into the university’s college of Journalism and Mass Communications, and serves as a stand-alone proof-of-concept learning lab. “In short, drones are an ideal platform for journalism,” according to the lab’s mission statement online.
In an ironic twist, a Republican Missouri state representative is “concerned” about using drones to collect news.
Lawmaker concerned about using drones to collect news
By Terry Ganey
The use of remotely controlled drones to gather news has stirred interest among a small group of journalism students at the University of Missouri.
At the same time, it has raised concerns among some members of the state Legislature, which is considering a bill to prohibit the use of unmanned aircraft to collect information in agricultural areas.
State Rep. Casey Guernsey, the bill’s sponsor, said Tuesday he has no problem with journalism students learning how to use drones. But the Republican from Bethany opposes the notion of news organizations using remotely controlled flying cameras to collect information.
The drone pictured here and at Fast Company is the Roswell Flight Test Crew RQCX-3 “Raven” hexcopter.
Americans know their government uses unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, on military and intelligence missions from surveillance to assassination. But drones are no longer the sole domain of the military, and just as with many new technologies, they can easily fall into the wrong hands.U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE / REUTERS A scale model of a U.S. Navy F-86 Sabre fighter plane, similar to a device constructed by Massachusetts resident Rezwan Ferdaus, 26, who was accused of plotting attacks on the U.S. Pentagon and Capitol by using a remote-controlled aircraft filled with plastic explosives. The pictured aircraft, from a photo released by the U.S. Justice Department, is not the device constructed by the defendant.
Robotic machines — including drones, which are basically robots that fly — are already policing international borders, exploring deep-sea shipwrecks, repairing undersea cables and vacuuming living rooms. Robots fly, roll, swim and walk. Some carry guns and bombs. Others have superhuman strength, endurance and sensory perception. A future in which they commit crimes may yet seem like the realm of science fiction, but it is closer than you think. Criminal organizations are early adopters of technology, and some have already used UAVs and other forms of robotics to violate the law while reducing their risk of arrest and apprehension.
In Latin America, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has been collaborating with narcocartels to create remote-controlled drug-smuggling submarines capable of transporting 1,800 kilos of cocaine more than 1,000 miles (1,600 km) without refueling. In 2011, an al-Qaeda affiliate named Rezwan Ferdaus planned to launch an attack on the Pentagon and Capitol buildings using a remote-controlled drone aircraft laden with explosives until the FBI intercepted the plot. And just last year, criminals piloted a $600 remote-controlled quadcopter over a Brazilian prison fence to deliver cell phones to the incarcerated, as was also done in a 2009 attempt involving a drone to deliver drugs to prisoners in the U.K. A 50-ft. (15 m) electric fence may keep criminals in, but won’t keep a UAV drone out.
There’s a lot of what-ifs and morality caterwauling going on over the drone memo, but by it’s very narrow scope most Americans are probably ok with it if they were to read the memo itself and not what some pundits are painting it as. (here)
The leak of a secret Justice Department memo on using drones to kill U.S. citizens threw kerosene onto a simmering legal debate — but with most lawmakers showing no appetite to confront President Barack Obama publicly over the strikes, the politics of the issue remain frozen.
Still, there’s little doubt the “white paper” made its way to NBC News in an effort to draw more attention to drone questions just as Obama counterterrorism adviser John Brennan heads to his CIA director confirmation hearing Thursday.
Despite outrage and professions of shock from some liberal commentators, there’s nothing really stunning in the memo. Most of the conclusions about the scope of the government’s power against alleged terrorists have been outlined by senior Obama Administration officials in speeches last year that began to roll back some of the secrecy surrounding U.S. drone operations abroad.