GOUSA…and a few friends…blocked a treaty on Killer Robots

Country officials and campaigners have expressed disappointment after United Nations talks on autonomous weapons systems – known as “killer robots” – stopped short of launching negotiations into an international treaty to govern their use following opposition from manufacturing states.

Unlike existing semi-autonomous weapons such as drones, fully-autonomous weapons have no human-operated “kill switch” and instead leave decisions over life and death to sensors, software and machine processes…

But on Friday, the Sixth Review Conference on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) failed to schedule further talks around the development and use of the Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems, or LAWS.

Countries already investing heavily in the development of LAWS attended the five-day meeting in Geneva, blocking a majority from agreeing on steps to establish legally-binding rules on machine-operated weapons.

Sources following the talks told Reuters news agency that Russia, India and the United States were among the countries that pushed back against a new LAWS treaty….

Uncle Sugar has been playing this dog-in-the-manger act over and over for decades. We did it with nuclear weapons and here we go, again. Other – equally untrustworthy – nations will match or surpass “our” killer robots with their own killer robots. Then, we sign off and say “OK” hoping at a minimum to keep some of the smaller power brokers from creating their own lot of murderous toys.

Party of NO blocks funds for small business loans

Senate Republicans blocked a $30-billion plan to help community banks boost lending to small businesses, dealing a blow to President Barack Obama’s election-year battle to reduce unemployment.

Tempers ran high as Democratic leaders failed to muster the 60 votes needed to advance the measure over a Republican filibuster…

Even if the Senate passes the small business lending bill next week, it will be too late to get it to Obama’s desk before mid-September. The House of Representatives, which passed its version of the bill in June, is set to begin a six-week break on Friday. The House will be unable to vote on the version passed by the Senate until then…

An earlier Democratic effort to pass a jobs package that included money for cash-strapped states and extended some expired individual and tax breaks was also blocked in the Senate by Republicans who argued that the extra spending should be covered by cuts elsewhere in the budget.

Senate Democrats are making another push to provide $10 billion in education funding to states and $16 billion to help with the Medicaid health program for the poor. Reid filed a separate bill on those measures and a procedural vote is set for Monday.

Surely, no one expects Republicans will support schoolchildren or the poor.

Obama has been pushing for passage of the lending measure arguing that getting more capital into the hands of independent community bankers would lead to more small business loans. It is supported by independent bankers and business groups.

The Republican Party is the best example of American dementia. People vote for Republicans because they say that supporting the rich and powerful will bring jobs and a healthy economy. No one remembers how we got to this recession.

Repeating the same stupidity and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity.

On a subjective note, riht now, there is no sector of regional banking here in the Southwest with more energy and activity than small business lending. Every penny made available to community banks would be going straight back out the door into economic stimulus – and to qualified borrowers at that.

The Republican Party could care less.