Author Archive | aaroncynic

‘If You Create The Democracy You Want To Have…’ – Interview With Jim Hightower

jimhightowerAaron Cynic writes at Chicagoist:

“Agitation is what America is all about. If it were not for agitators we’d be wearing white powdered wigs singing ‘God hail the Queen.’ Agitation built America,” said Jim Hightower to a packed hotel conference room on Sunday. The author, radio host, former elected official and “progressive populist” rabble-rouser was speaking at an event put on by a group called Common Cause, which was celebrating a recent victory in the movement for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. At the end of May, Illinois became the 14th state to adopt a resolution supporting the reversal of Citizens United V. FEC,, the Supreme Court decision which allowed even larger unfettered corporate spending in elections.

The push to amend the Constitution to reverse Citizens United is just one step in trying to get money out of politics, something Hightower, along with a growing number of Americans across party lines, have been fighting for.

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Massive Protests Planned Against Chicago Public School Closings

Pic: Shanna Riley (CC)

Pic: Shanna Riley (CC)

Aaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:

While Chicago’s Mayor and other administration officials seem to believe the closing of more than 54 public schools in Chicago is a done deal, resistance to the closures is about to peak just before the school board votes on the closures. This weekend, thousands plan to march to say no to the closures for three days beginning Saturday.

Resistance to the closures however, began months ago, with several protests and hundreds of hearings where parents, students, teachers and their supporters aired their grievances and demanded their schools stay open. Mayor Rahm Emanuel touts the closures will help close the $1 billion deficit. Officials within CPS said they could save as much as $560 million by shutting the doors to neighborhood schools, shuffling students to other supposedly better performing locations. However, WBEZ reported the calculation was off by $122 million. CPS admitted its mistake in arithmetic, calling it an “honest mistake.”

Mistakes in math however, are only the tip of the iceberg.… Read the rest

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Outrage Over IRS Targeting of Tea Party Shows Glaring Double Standard

Picture: "Tea Party Bumper Sticker" Matthew Reichbach (CC)

Picture: “Tea Party Bumper Sticker” Matthew Reichbach (CC)

Aaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:

This week, President Obama expressed “outrage” over the targeting of such groups from the IRS. “I’ve got no patience with it. I will not tolerate it. And we’ll make sure that we find out exactly what happened on this,” he told reporters at a press conference. The New York Daily News reports two Senate committees controlled by Democrats announced investigations on Monday and House Republicans said they would investigate as well. According to CNN, Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus said “We need to know who knew what, and exactly what mistakes were made.The American people have questions for the IRS and I intend to get answers.”

While it’s certainly troubling (and not surprising) the IRS would be investigating and scrutinizing certain groups with a political agenda more than others, the “outrage” from politicians of all political stripes is nearly laughable when placed in the larger context of law enforcement targeting other political and activist groups.… Read the rest

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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.

Read the full post at Diatribe Media.

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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.

Read the full post at Diatribe Media.

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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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