Author Archive | aaroncynic

The Great Escape

Aaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:

Hello, escapism. My name is Aaron and I’m sure we’ve met.

At some point, you wake up one morning, wipe the blood still oozing from your nose and realize you’re bad at being an adult. Not because you had bad parents or a terrible childhood or have unsupportive friends. Not because you first tasted blood at the age of 7 when a kid nearly twice your age spin-kicked your face into the dirt, or because you spent most of the next decade getting your ass kicked on a regular basis. You’re not bad at being an adult because you weren’t afforded all sorts of opportunities – because you were. You went to college, you had jobs, friends, lovers, even traveled a little.

Nope, you’re bad at being an adult because you’re defective.

Rather, I’m defective. I once wrote:

“…there’s a hole inside all of us.

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More Than 80 Public Entities In U.S. Requested Drone Authorizations In 2012

Aaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:

As White House officials spent the week defending targeted assassinations via drone strikes, the FAA released a new drone authorization list which highlights law enforcement agencies and other entities nationwide who have applied to use drones in domestic airspace for surveillance. Thanks to a Freedom Of Information Act lawsuit from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the release shows several sherrif’s departments, The State Department and several community colleges requested drone authorizations in 2012. Coupled with the FAA’s original list, 81 entities through October of 2012 have requested drone authorization.

Together with the website MuckRack, the EFF is building a database of drones authorized to fly in domestic airspace. So far, MuckRack has filed 275 public records requests to federal, state, and local agencies nationwide.

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DARPA To Test Planes With Lasers by 2014

Aaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) plans to take warfare to the next level of science fiction by integrating lasers into planes within two years. Gizmodo reports last week the Defense Department’s research wing announced it would integrate the HELLADS (High Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System) system, a solid state laser system light enough to be installed in bombers and fighters which would act as a defense mechanism, before the year is out. HELLADS delivers a 150kW charge which would be able to take out incoming surface-to-air missiles and other anti-aircraft ordinance. According to Dvice, the lasers would be usable on the ground as well and in an air to ground attack role.

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Stitching Together Solidarity, Creating A Community

Aaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:

There’s an emptiness we can all feel that’s just out of reach. It’s something we can’t touch or taste, something that sits on the tips of our tongues and on the edge of our lips. Religious people might define it as a lack of spirituality or sickness of the soul. Folks who aren’t can find any number of disorders or emotional and mental states to try to explain it. But the truth is, it’s something a little more.

And we try to fill that hole, that emptiness, with things every day. Some people do it with money and material goods, some do it with booze or pills, others with work, or a quest for power and authority, and some shut down and spend their days in the dark watching hours of television. Whatever it is though, however we choose to try to fill that void it’s never enough.… Read the rest

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Newtown, CT, and America’s Serial Aversion to Substance

Picture: US DOD (PD)

Daniel Edward Massoglia writes at Diatribe Media:

“Now isn’t the time.”

Jesus Christ. “Now isn’t the time.” When is the time? What does that even mean? Why are you saying it?

It is a peculiar society in which the common response to one of the most horrific shootings in its history can be telling others not to talk about it, to not think about it, to not feel it. That can hold engaging in the scripted, often-disgusting exercise of gaudy, superficial grief the best of all options. The United States is the mass murder capital of the world. Please, sir: when is the time?

For people intent trying to make sense of the Newton, CT tragedy with the familiar grief process—a tear from the president, a solemn nod from the anchorwoman: there’s no way to make sense of a mass murder at an elementary school. There’s no way.

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A Mother’s Story: Her Child’s Health Threatened By Tax Breaks For The Greedy

Natalie Solidarity writes at Diatribe Media:

“If she doesn’t have her immunization, she can’t attend school,” my daughter’s school administrator explained.

I thanked her and hung up the phone. I touched my beautiful daughter’s hair as she looked up from her Junie B. Jones book and smiled at me. I wondered what I was going to do. I was looking for work, living on my savings from my former position as a university graduate teaching aide. When I graduated, my job was no longer available. My department was gasping for air because enrollment was suffering, students couldn’t afford to attend school, classes were shrinking and being condensed. Where once there were five courses offered at different times throughout the week, there was now two, and one of those classes was taught by tenured or tenure-track professors. My little girl, Ella and I existed by spending most of our money on food, playing in public spaces, and walking almost everywhere.

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End The NATO5 Witch Hunt

Natalie Solidarity writes at Diatribe Media:

Boots on the ground is one aspect of protest, arguably the most fun, most invigorating, and proffers the sentiment that our voices and bodies are transforming the system.

With our manic dancing to the song of our unified voices singing, “Ah! Anteee! Anteee-capeeetalista!” in the streets under the ruling class’s nose, how could the public remain unmoved? How can they not join in and support us, even for a moment?

With our energy, spirit, dedication, and words, we are altering reality.

We are unstoppable.

We are building a better world with every step forward towards the heart of downtown Chicago. When we stand in the streets, screaming for social change, educating and empowering our sisters, brothers and the masses, the power structures do their best to remove us. All those bastard cops step in and attempt to silence our voices by making arrests. When de-arresting fails and our family is ripped from us by the state’s savage hands and those boots on the ground are transformed into prison slippers on a cold cement floor, how does our movement stand?

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Slutty Feminist = Determining One’s Own Sexuality

Natalie Solidarity writes at Diatribe Media:

SlutWalk centers on empowerment of women to own their sexuality, to reconstruct or destroy traditional gender roles in which women who enjoy sex are criminalized as “sluts” and even worse, asking for rape.

“We are tired of being oppressed by slut-shaming; of being judged by our sexuality and feeling unsafe as a result. Being in charge of our sexual lives should not mean that we are opening ourselves to an expectation of violence, regardless if we participate in sex for pleasure or work. No one should equate enjoying sex with attracting sexual assault [as Toronto Police have in 2011],” (via SlutWalk Toronto)

SlutWalk stomps past raising awareness to cast off the shackles of accepted misogyny, normalized patriarchy and rape culture. Feminists (whose ranks include men, too!) are joining forces to deny their consent to this domination and seek to build a world without sexual double standards and victim blaming.

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What ‘Hair’ Can Teach Us About Current Social Justice Struggles

Agnieszka Karoluk writes at Diatribe Media:

I was about 11 or 12 years old and my father was so excited to finally let me watch his favorite movie, Hair (based off the 1968 Broadway musical of the same title). The opening scene shows a young man from farmland Oklahoma saying goodbye to his father as he gets on a bus to New York City. What follows is a psychedelic story of rebellion, love, loss, sex, drugs and every human emotion you can imagine all packed into a musical frenzy of hippies and yuppies, military men and hustlers.

For those of you who have never seen it, the young Oklahoman travels to New York City because he was chosen in the draft and needed to report to the U.S. Army base. On his first day in the city, he meets a group of hippies: Wolf, Hud, Janie and Berger. Along with these four, Claude Bukowski gets into all sorts of mischief and mishaps including a few drug-induced adventures and dreams, falling in love with a daughter of a high-society man and a few ethical dilemmas.

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Free Speech Scores A Hat Trick

Picture: NARA (PD)

Aaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:

Freedom of speech had a hat trick of victories last week, proving that despite the interest of law enforcement and other machinations of the state to put down protesters, ultimately, the law still sides with activists. On Wednesday, the University of California settled with 21 students who sued after campus police hosed them with pepper spray during a demonstration. Images from UC Davis became iconic, particularly the photo showing an officer casually spraying peacefully sitting demonstrators as if he were watering a lawn. Each student will receive $30,000 and a written apology from the chancellor, according to the agreement. Additionally, the San Francisco Chronicle reports the settlement calls for UC Davis officials to work with civil liberties advocates on police policies.

The incident had a chilling effect on some students, but galvanized others to holding police accountable for their actions. One sophomore told the Chronicle that he avoided demonstrations after the event, saying “they had silenced me.” Another student of the University who recently graduated said that she hoped the suit would keep police clad in riot gear away from demonstrations.

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