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Americans seem a tad unhappy with the club of corrupt kleptocrats running their government these days; seems about as good a time as any for Congress to give the go ahead to the military and private corporations to fill our skies with stealth spy-death machines to help keep an eye on protesters traffic conditions, maybe? To be fair, it must be incredibly annoying for the Department of Homeland Security to have to sit there combing Twitter all day long trying to figure out who needs some reedumacating, in Gitmo. And anyway, why should the CIA be the only ones having all the surveillance drone FUN?


Plus, the military needs something to do with the $40 billion in unmanned drones it plans to buy over the next ten years!

From the AP:

The FAA is also required under the bill [passed by Congress] to provide military, commercial and privately-owned drones with expanded access to U.S. airspace currently reserved for manned aircraft by Sept. 30, 2015. That means permitting unmanned drones controlled by remote operators on the ground to fly in the same airspace as airliners, cargo planes, business jets and private aircraft.

Currently, the FAA restricts drone use primarily to segregated blocks of military airspace, border patrols and about 300 public agencies and their private partners. Those public agencies are mainly restricted to flying small unmanned aircraft at low altitudes away from airports and urban centers.

Within nine months of the bill's passage, the FAA is required to submit a plan on how to safely provide drones with expanded access.

Yes, perhaps "drone safety" would be a good idea. Field tests of U.S. drones are so far not proving very safe for Pakistani children, according to this recent report from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism:

Speaking publicly for the first time on the controversial CIA drone strikes, Obama claimed last week they are used strictly to target terrorists, rejecting what he called ‘this perception we’re just sending in a whole bunch of strikes willy-nilly’.

‘Drones have not caused a huge number of civilian casualties’, he told a questioner at an on-line forum. ‘This is a targeted, focused effort at people who are on a list of active terrorists trying to go in and harm Americans’.

But research by the Bureau has found that since Obama took office three years ago, between 282 and 535 civilians have been credibly reported as killed including more than 60 children. A three month investigation including eye witness reports has found evidence that at least 50 civilians were killed in follow-up strikes when they had gone to help victims. More than 20 civilians have also been attacked in deliberate strikes on funerals and mourners. The tactics have been condemned by leading legal experts.

Yes yes, but of course those are the "Pakistani child-killer" kind of drone, and the law passed by Congress only allows the surveillance kind of -- oh wait, no it doesn't. Oh well. HIDE, EVERYONE? [AP/Bureau of Investigative Journalism via Glenn Greenwald]

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Photo by Daniel Stockman, Creative Commons license 2.0

It's Sunday, and that means it's time for a break from the ongoing grind of awfulness out there. Let's dive into some cool, funny, thoughtful stuff to fortify ourselves before we get back to the daily madness, shall we?

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After watching President Arty McDeals twist in the wind for a month, IRL politician Mitch McConnell finally decided to throw the mook a lifeline. Despite constant screaming about women with duct tape over their mouths, Trump is getting blamed for the shutdown and even his own supporters are starting to turn on him. So Ol' Yertle summoned Mike Pence and Jared Kushner to his chambers for some #RealTalk.

"Tell Donald that he has to offer something so it looks like the Democrats are the ones who won't compromise." He said. (Probably.)

"That's great," squeaked young Jared (allegedly), "Democrats are desperate. We've got them right where we want them." McConnell blinked hard.

"No, Jared," he probably said. "They're not going to take the deal. We'd have more luck getting Mexico to pay for it. The point is to offer something silly so they turn us down, and then we try to convince the public that the shutdown is Democrats' fault."

"I don't get it," said Jared (allegedly), as Mother's boy Pence furrowed his brow and sighed through his nose. (Not allegedly, it's his signature move.)

"I know," Mitch might have said. "Believe me, I know."

Which is how President Teleprompter wound up giving a MAJOR ADDRESS yesterday offering to hold off on deporting some of the Dream Act kids for a hot second if Democrats will just give him $5.7 billion for WALL and let him expel future child arrivals without a hearing. Trump himself rescinded protections for up to a million immigrants brought here as kids as soon as he took office, but he'll let some of those hostages go if Democrats will just give him cash for that WALL that Mexico is "indirectly" paying for. Heck, he'll even let 300,000 people who fled war and natural disasters and put down roots here over decades to stay a little longer, if that's what it takes. He plans to deport them all in three years anyway, or else use them for another round of hostage negotiations. (If we re-elect That Orange Idiot, spit on the ground/sign of the horns/God forbid.)

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