Author Archive | aaroncynic

Activists Descend On Chicago Hotel To Protest ALEC Conference

Photo by Aaron Cynic

Photo by Aaron Cynic

Aaron Cynic writes at Chicagoist:

Six demonstrators were arrested at the Hilton Palmer House hotel in the Loop for staging a sit-in Monday evening. Dozens of activists held a demonstration in the lobby to protest the upcoming American Legislative Exchange Council conference this week. Calling themselves the Chicago Moral Monday Coalition, demonstrators dropped several banners off the second floor balcony while Rev. Marilyn Pagan Banks, Senior Pastor of Namaste United Church of Christ, spoke:

“The American Legislative Exchange Council, known as ALEC, is one of the great nexi where money and politics meet in order to corrupt our democracy. ALEC brings together corporate lobbyists and state legislators in order to create legislation that promotes big business and the 1% while working to disenfranchise ordinary people.”

The Chicago Moral Monday coalition takes its name after the “Moral Monday” protests in North Carolina, a series of rallies that activists have held in the state for nearly three months to protest varying forms of legislation.… Read the rest

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What I Learned Walking The Picket Line

Picket line in front of Wendy's in the Chicago loop. Photo by Aaron Cynic

Picket line in front of Wendy’s in the Chicago loop. Photo by Aaron Cynic

Aaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:

Yesterday’s hardest moment came for me when I watched a worker cry. I had been on the streets for about 5 hours with striking workers from the Fight for 15 movement and their supporters, who held a series of actions for two days in conjunction with a national week of strikes and protests to raise the minimum wage. I met the first picket in front of a Subway in the Chicago loop during the morning rush hour where several workers walked off the job. Organizers planned more than twenty pickets spread throughout the financial heart of the city for the day. Hundreds of demonstrators snaked along the sidewalks, stopping in front of retail and fast food outlets to deliver their message – “We can’t survive on $8.25.”

Morning was slowly turning to afternoon and demonstrators lined the sidewalk in front of a Walgreen’s on State and Randolph, a location sandwiched between the Chicago Theater and a Macy’s outlet in the loop.… Read the rest

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Protestors Plan ‘Birthday’ for Corporate/Government Boundary Busting Organization ALEC

f8b87fea7b913aa669c0cfce825add78Aaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:

The American Legislative Exchange Council, an organization which pushes “model” legislation encouraging privatization in nearly every corner of American life under the guise of advancing “free market” principles, will hold their annual meeting in Chicago the second week of August. For 40 years, ALEC has worked to create deep connections between corporations and lawmakers while simultaneously limiting the rights of the American people to resist a corporate takeover of their democracy.

It’s fitting ALEC would host its annual conference in Chicago this year after Mayor Emanuel has spent his term pushing a model of government the organization has attempted to legislate for 40 years. Between the mayor’s push to privatize city services and attempts to dismantle the public school system along with the state of Illinois’ pandering to huge corporations via millions in tax breaks, Chicago provides a perfect backdrop. According to the Center for Media and Democracy, which publishes the website alecexposed.org, the “corporate bill mill” sponsored 117 pieces of legislation in 2013 alone which limit worker’s rights and keep wages down.

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‘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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