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Congress opens U.S. airspace to drone flights — plus how to buy a congressman

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I'll give this story to, which has certainly earned credit for this kind of coverage (h/t @MettaFilms and @OccupyChicago via Twitter; my emphasis and reparagraphing):

Earlier this week the US Congress passed a bill that would send aviation in America to the next generation. Therefore making unmanned drone sightings more prevalent in the US.

The bill expedites the transition from radar technology to GPS technology and requires the Federal Aviation Administration to open the US skies to drone flights by September 20 of 2015.

The bill which has struggled to get passed for the last five years grants military, commercial and private unmanned aerial vehicles amplified access to US airspace. ... The FAA will be required to propose a plan on how to securely provide drones with extended access.
Catch the list?

        ▪ Military
        ▪ Commercial
        ▪ Private

So the National Spook State (sorry, our National Security minders; I mean, protectors) gets access. Corps get access (imagine the advertising opportunities, not to mention unmanned airborne "bigrigs" carrying cargo). And anyone rich enough to own a private drone gets access.

Will the private drones get air clearance? Of course, silly — anyone rich enough to own a couple of drones is rich enough to own a couple of congressmen. Instant clearance.

And here's a thought — how quickly will Blackwater and Wackenhut be buying them, just in case the next "guard the rich from Katrina" moment requires some overflight? (The over-under on that "how quickly" question is measured in weeks after the bill was passed, not years. Just sayin'.)

As the article notes, the ACLU has some "privacy concerns." No kidding.

And in related news (it's a theme park here at Maison chez nous; h/t Matt Stoller, my emphasis and paragraphing):
Rep. McKeon Praises Drone Manufacturers At Conference After They Lavish His Wife With Donations

Last week, Republic Report’s Lee Fang revealed that leading defense contractors, including the manufacturers of military drones, were lavishing Rep. Buck McKeon’s (R-CA) wife Patricia — who is running for a state legislature seat in California — with campaign donations. McKeon is Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and received $339,000 from the defense industry himself in 2010, so it’s reasonable to suspect that arms manufacturers and others are donating to his wife’s state race in order to please him.

Now, it appears that these donations are paying off. This morning at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C., Rep. McKeon delivered a “Special Address” for the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), a drone industry lobbying organization.

Republic Report gained access to the event — which hosted hundreds of attendees from unmanned systems industry, including military drone manufacturers like Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman.
Just in time for the Spring drone buying season (see first story). Speaking of bought Congress, welcome to the Church of How It's Done.

Did you catch the transaction? I finance your wife's campaign for state legislature (click through; $20,000 is a ton for a race like that); "donate" a third of a million to your own House race (not Senate, House; a third of a million buys a lot of House race). And hey, I too own a congressman (two if we swing the wife to Washington in a cycle or two). Chump change for Grumman.

I hope all this makes Mr. Drone Warrior a very happy man. Color me ... airsick.


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