Old Howard Union

57 – Governor Cuomo, State of the State

Tonight, Governor Cuomo issued is annual State of the State address and addressed many issues that New Yorkers are facing – some more pressing than others. He lauded his accomplishments and spoke of “practical progressivism”. Governor Cuomo is not a true progressive. A Democrat he may be, but a progressive in the same vein as Franklin Roosevelt he is not.

Old Howard Union

56 – Political Misinformation

Political misinformation – a new age of propaganda to sway, cajole and divide the American public.

All Articles Referenced

Americans Trust Local News. That Faith Is Being Exploited. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/31/upshot/fake-local-news.html

Should Facebook Fact-Check Political Speech? https://nyti.ms/2C0in19

Threat to US Elections in 2020 Is Not Limited to Russia https://nyti.ms/2PyrvSH

‘Everything You’re Seeing Is Deception’: How Right-Wing Media Talks About Impeachment https://nyti.ms/2lvlcms

Old Howard Union

55 – The Middle East Today

The Middle East Today – a massive quagmire of problem after problem and no real end in sight, why we are here and how we got there.

All Articles Referenced

Iran Adds Advanced Centrifuges, Further Weakening Nuclear Deal https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/04/world/middleeast/iran-nuclear-centrifuges-uranium.html

Russia Dominated Syria’s War. Now It’s Sending Mercenaries to Libya. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/05/world/middleeast/russia-libya-mercenaries.html

Iraqis Rise Against a Reviled Occupier: Iran https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/04/world/middleeast/iraq-protests-iran.html

With Israel in Limbo, Benny Gantz Vows to Seek a ‘Peace Within’ https://nyti.ms/2C7b4oD

In Another Bipartisan Rebuke of Trump, House Votes for Sanctions Against Turkey https://nyti.ms/32YDBIO

Turkey Wants Refugees to Move to a ‘Safe Zone.’ It’s a Tough Sell. https://nyti.ms/336xBxE

Writing

Piece 48 – The Immigration Conundrum By. Raimondo Graziano

The Immigration Conundrum

By. Raimondo Graziano

Immigration in the United States is an issue that divides. It divides not only the usual gaggle of reputable peoples, both Democrats and Republicans, but the divisions exist within the parties themselves. You have the hard liners, and those who take a more compassionate approach. You have those advocating for decriminalization of the illegal crossings from the Southern Border into the United States and those who
advocate for limits on legal immigration. The issue is divisive because it tugs at the very ideological leanings of the country and its very diverse populace, it pokes and prods at our identity as we continue to mature as a nation. It begs the question, who do we want to be as a people, as a country which claims to be the greatest in the world – a hefty, weighty title to live up to fully. A title we often have fallen back on in imprudence and in lethargy – simply a title we perhaps haven’t earned, rather than lean on it through great acts of compromise and statesmanship and those qualities which truly make up a great nation.

The questions surrounding how it is we effectively handle immigration in the country in a fair, equitable, and compassionate manner truly presents a moment for the nation to come together – our elected
representatives, and the citizens of the country – to come together to debate, compromise and bring forth a plan for reform. A model that can be used the world over, as the nations of the West reel from increased immigration, refugees, migrants and others seeking a better life the politicians are hamstrung. Unable
to do their jobs, due to the polarized and utterly politicized climate – hemorrhaging the ability for the governing bodies of the world to get anything done of any meaning. From the wars started in large part by us, the West, and to the growing threats posed by the Climate Crisis – immigration, refugees and migrants
will become more and more common place.

Already we can see that this is leading to increased nationalistic, nativist, and dangerous rhetoric and actors the world over. Yet we continue to barrel from one major crisis to the next, without giving much thought to what happens to the people. Surely, we cant let them suffer in their fates, from the wars we started, or from the world we industrialized and exploited. We need action. That being said, and with all due respect, is decriminalizing the border crossings the right answer? Politically, economically, or even
morally? Or guaranteeing healthcare for those who are undocumented? Surely, we needn’t act in extremes to combat these issues. I, more than anyone, understand the need for bold reforms now, though who said that bold, and progressive change, needs to be rash and ill thought out action? There is no doubt that we need to
take aggressive reform now, though we need to have a conversation about the truth, and an open and honest conversation at that.

Political correctness, and fear has swamped
the discussion. We can no loner discuss these important issues because we are afraid to offend someone, or to present unpopular opinions because they may harm an individual. We must have the ability, the right, to speak on these important, crucially important issues, openly and freely. When we can have a discussion, openly, without the war drums of the social media mobs pounding, then we can move forward as a people and not backward towards self-censure due to fear as if we lived in some authoritarian state. We are innovative and have faced issues boldly because we can speak truthfully on these issues, all of them, not in spite of it. The old trope that our diversity makes us stronger, is true,
now more than ever. But that also applies to diversity in thought. Now, more than ever.

Old Howard Union

41 – American Education

American education used to be the pinnacle of the world, however in the last few decades it has steadily declined while the average cost per student has risen dramatically. Obviously there exists fundamental problems at the very heart of American education, but can they be mended through bold reforms?

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Show Notes

Readings of interest –

  1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/adamandrzejewski/2019/04/10/seven-troubling-facts-on-american-higher-education-you-probably-dont-know/amp/
  2. https://www.brookings.edu/blog/brown-center-chalkboard/2019/01/15/equal-opportunity-in-american-education/amp/