Tag Archives | Military

The Good, The Bad and The Robot: Experts Are Trying to Make Machines Be “Moral”

I, Robot coverCoby McDonald Via California Magazine:

Good vs. bad. Right vs. wrong. Human beings begin to learn the difference before we learn to speak—and thankfully so. We owe much of our success as a species to our capacity for moral reasoning. It’s the glue that holds human social groups together, the key to our fraught but effective ability to cooperate. We are (most believe) the lone moral agents on planet Earth—but this may not last. The day may come soon when we are forced to share this status with a new kind of being, one whose intelligence is of our own design.

Robots are coming, that much is sure. They are coming to our streets as self-driving cars, to our military as automated drones, to our homes as elder-care robots—and that’s just to name a few on the horizon (Ten million households already enjoy cleaner floors thanks to a relatively dumb little robot called the Roomba).

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Report Reveals $8.5 Trillion Missing From Pentagon Budget

David B. Gleason (CC BY-SA 2.0)

David B. Gleason (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Via Crooks and Liars:

Yahoo Money’ The Daily Ticker  is reporting that is has discovered a Reuters investigation that reveals$8.5 trillion – that’s trillion with a “T” – in taxpayer money doled out by Congress to the Pentagon since 1996 that has never been accounted for.

You read that right. While Republican politicians rush to slash food stamps for the 47 million Americans living in poverty – the highest amount in nearly two decades –  Republican U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has the audacity to complain that $20 billion dollars in automatic sequester cuts to the massive and secretive $565.8 billion Defense Department budget are ” too steep, too deep, and too abrupt,” all while the Pentagon and the Defense Department are overseeing massive fraud, waste, and abuse.

For anyone wondering, Reuters reports that the D.O.D.’s 2012 budget totaled $565.8 billion, more than the annual defense budgets of the 10 next largest military spenders combined, including Russia and China.

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NYMZA Aeros – Charles Dellschau and The Secret Airships of the 1850s


Charles A.A. Dellschau (1830 – 1923), untitled watercolor on paper c. 1898 – 1900 approx. 8 x 10 inches.


NYMZA Aeros – Charles Dellschau and The Secret Airships of the 1850’s

by Jimmy Ward & Pete Navarro
Posted on 15 May 2015 by Olav Phillips

Have you heard of Schultz’ Hydrowhir Auto, also known as the “Cripel Wagon”? If not, perhaps you have heard or read somewhere about Peter Mennis’ “Aero Goosey”? How about Schoetler’s “Aero Dora”, which was built in 1858 and was destroyed in a fire which consumed the town of Columbia, California that same year? Chances are you never heard or read about any of the above or the many other “Aeros’, or aircraft that were designed and actually built and flown
by members of the Sonora Aero Club around the middle of the last century in California.

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America’s Mutant Military

The United States of America is in a state of perpetual war without end, says retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel William Astore at TomDispatch:

…Think of it this way: a quarter-century after the end of the Cold War, the U.S. military is completely uncontained.  Washington’s foreign policies are strikingly military-first ones, and nothing seems to be out of bounds.  Its two major parts, the Cold War-era “big” military, still very much alive and kicking, and the new-era military of special ops, contractors, and paramilitaries seek to dominate everything.   Nuclear, conventional, unconventional, land, sea, air, space, cyber, you name it: all realms must be mastered.

Defense.gov photo essay 100501-F-3745E-025.jpg

Except it can’t master the one realm that matters most: itself.  And it can’t find the one thing that such an uncontained military was supposed to guarantee: victory (not in a single place anywhere on Earth).

Loaded with loot and praised to the rafters, America’s uncontained military has no discipline and no direction. 

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NSA’s Big Defenders Cash Big NSA Checks

Kevin Dooley (CC BY 2.0)

Kevin Dooley (CC BY 2.0)

via Lee Fang at The Intercept:

The debate over the NSA’s bulk collection of phone records has reached a critical point after a federal appeals court last week ruled the practice illegal, dramatically raising the stakes for pending Congressional legislation that would fully or partially reinstate the program. An army of pundits promptly took to television screens, with many of them brushing off concerns about the surveillance.

The talking heads have been backstopping the NSA’s mass surveillance more or less continuously since it was revealed. They spoke out to support the agency when NSA contractor Edward Snowden released details of its programs in 2013, and they’ve kept up their advocacy ever since — on television news shows, newspaper op-ed pages, online and at Congressional hearings. But it’s often unclear just how financially cozy these pundits are with the surveillance state they defend, since they’re typically identified with titles that give no clues about their conflicts of interest.

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Ann Lewis GILF activist artist’s SHATTERING catharsis


Ann Lewis (gilf) “They don’t realize we are seeds”, Mixed Media

Joseph Gross Gallery is pleased to present SHATTERING, a solo exhibition of new work by Ann Lewis, also known as gilf!,

Opening Reception:
Thursday, May 7th | 6-9 PM
in Chelsea at 548 W 28th Street, suite 232.

Exhibition Dates: May 7-May 30, 2015 April 16, 2015 (New York, NY)

Based in Brooklyn, Ann Lewis (gilf!) is one of NYC’s most recognized and provocative female street and activist artists. She creates bold public work and gallery work that inspire thoughtfulness, while simultaneously motivating progressive change within communities. Earlier this year, the artist garnered national media attention when she installed a colossal banner resembling police caution tape that read ‘GENTRIFICATION IN PROGRESS’  at the former graffiti mecca 5 Pointz in Queens, New York. Since receiving her bachelor’s degree in Fine Art from the University of Wisconsin Madison, her work has been reviewed in Blouin Art Info, New York Magazine, New York Daily News, Brooklyn Street Art, Gothamist, and Wooster Collective.

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Assassination as Policy in Washington and How It Failed, 1990-2015

Lauri Heikkinen (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Lauri Heikkinen (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Andrew Cockburn writes at TomDispatch:

As the war on terror nears its 14th anniversary — a war we seem to be losing, given jihadist advances in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen — the U.S. sticks stolidly to its strategy of “high-value targeting,” our preferred euphemism for assassination.  Secretary of State John Kerry has proudly cited the elimination of “fifty percent” of the Islamic State’s “top commanders” as a recent indication of progress. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi himself, “Caliph” of the Islamic State, was reportedly seriously wounded in a March airstrike and thereby removed from day-to-day control of the organization. In January, as the White House belatedly admitted, a strike targeting al-Qaeda leadership in Pakistan also managed to kill an American, Warren Weinstein, and his fellow hostage, Giovanni Lo Porto.

More recently in Yemen, even as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula took control of a key airport, an American drone strike killed Ibrahim Suleiman al-Rubaish, allegedly an important figure in the group’s hierarchy. 

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We Stand to Lose Everything

Aaron Dames writes for Divided Core.


We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever.
— Carl Sagan

As the 100th anniversary of World War I rolls around, dignitaries and diplomats are commemorating the costly victories and tragic losses of that brutal and gaseous four-year melee which resulted in the deaths of somewhere between ten to sixteen million people. World War I set the stage for its horrific sequel, World War II, which showcased another four years of agonizing mayhem, replicated genocides, and the creation of a Hell on Earth. Millions of people died on battlefields, in death camps, and of disease, starvation, and lack of sanitation in galactic pits of unfathomable misery and suffering. World War II then set the stage for the Cold War, in which the United States, the Soviet Union, and eventually other jingoistic nuclear powers, held humanity hostage through aggressive threats of apocalyptic war.… Read the rest

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The past is not sacred: the ‘history wars’ over Anzac


Marilyn Lake and Henry Reynolds’ What’s Wrong With Anzac? NewSouth

Peter Cochrane, University of Sydney

The Gallipoli centenary provides a unique opportunity to reflect on the many wartime legacies – human, political, economic, military – that forged independent nations from former colonies and dominions. The Conversation, in partnership with Griffith Review, has published a series of essays exploring the enduring legacies of 20th-century wars.

The term “history wars” is best known in Australia for summing up the fierce debate over the nature and extent of frontier conflict, with profound implications for the legitimacy of the British settlement and thus for national legitimacy today.

That debate, though hardly resolved, is now taking something of a back seat to a public controversy focused on Australia’s wars of the 20th century and particularly on the war of 1914–18, called the Great War until the Second World War redefined it as the First.… Read the rest

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