Old Howard Union

75 – A United States of Europe? A Potentially Strong Ally In The Making

I have said many times throughout the history of this podcast that our strongest and most important ally, are the nations of Europe. We share a collective history, and a shared interest in the flourishing of democracy and the liberalization of nations. This century has been marked by conflict and a shift back towards Great Power Politics. The Western institutions built after the 2nd World War are under attack. We can only preserve and reform the West & its institutions with the aid of a willing, strong and united Europe. They would not be a threat to us. They would be an indispensable ally.

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Show Notes

  1. A Step Towards A United States of Europe – https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2012/06/29/155973136/a-baby-step-toward-a-united-states-of-europe
  2. German Push for United States of Europe I – https://www.politico.eu/article/spds-martin-schulz-wants-united-states-of-europe-by-2025/
  3. German Push for United States of Europe II – https://www.ksl.com/article/46214841/german-fm-united-states-of-europe-wouldnt-negate-nations
  4. Europe Coming Together – https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/is-europe-finally-facing-its-debt/2020/07/26/08738a2e-cdc1-11ea-bc6a-6841b28d9093_story.html
  5. A European Army I – https://www.politico.eu/article/angela-merkel-emmanuel-macron-eu-army-to-complement-nato/
  6. A European Army II – https://www.politico.eu/article/trump-fights-macrons-european-army-over-words-not-weapons-nato/
 

 

Old Howard Union

74 – A Defense of Our Monuments, Excluding the Confederacy

Our nations monuments are under assault – both physical and figuratively. This speaks to a broader backlash towards our nation history, and some of the ills of our founding, that in many ways and to many people, has yet to be rectified. We cannot erase our history, nor can we tear it down and thrust it into the depths. We must wrestle and reconcile with its meaning. Jefferson, and Washington are one thing – though the monuments to the treasonous Confederacy are entirely different matter. Our history is complicated, but the ways in which many voices are arguing we should deal with it are even more so. 

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  1. No Show Notes Tonight.
 

 

Writing

Piece 65 – In Pursuit of a More Perfect Union, An Argument for Further Federal Involvement By. Raimondo Graziano

In Pursuit of a More Perfect Union,

                                       An Argument for Further Federal Involvement

By. Raimondo Graziano

The United States is run woefully ineffectively. This is clear to many policy makers from both sides of the political aisle. The current crisis we find ourselves in has only made this all the more clear. The national response has been an utter disaster, and we have left it up to the states, of which there are fifty different ones with differing sets of codes, laws, regulations and governing styles, to deal with a crisis that in reality called for a unified national response.

It is pitiful and frankly pathetic. From the mixed messaging of the federal government to denialism across swaths of the country from public officials. While the rest of the world seems to be getting a handle of things, we lead the world in pure ineffective governance. It seems like this crisis has worsened and hastened our wholly avoidable decline. While the American people suffer, Congress cannot even reasonably get their act together to pass meaningful stimulus and economic relief – as always leaving matters of grave importance to the very last minute.

One would think that this is an argument for less government involvement. Quite the contrary. We need an overwhelming display of federal oversight. This here is a great lesson for would be statesman of the years to come. If the United States is ever to step into it’s true potential we from time to time must engage the full force of government to tackle threats and circumstances that cannot be managed effectively by essentially fifty different governing bodies.

We have seen glimmers of an executive branch unhinged and exercising the immense powers afforded to it – whether through lack of congressional oversight or the very ceding of power from Congress to the Presidency. We have seen the extraordinary powers of our central bank to bring stability and direction to a faltering economy. We have seen shadows of power used only when the elites of the nation are in peril. We must use these strengths to carry out the will of the people. We must restore decency to Washington and push an agenda to uplift the people, and root out corruption and dereliction of duty wherever it hides. We cannot use the full force, the might of the federal government until we restore decency to Washington. If we are to remain a strong and united country, we must increase the reach of the federal government to answer the increasing frequency or crises.

Writing

Piece 66 – School Choice? An Answer to Our Failing Public Schools By. Raimondo Graziano

School Choice?

An Answer to Our Failing Public Schools

By. Raimondo Graziano

      Like many programs that are run by the government, schooling in this country is woefully a low priority for policy makers from the local to the federal government. Politicians are good at the talk of it all – supporting students, supporting teachers, etc. Though when it comes to enacting meaningful reforms, they fall far too short. It is obvious there is a serious problem with educating in the country – we lag far behind the Western world in educational standards, and our students meeting them. For many decades now the quality of American education has been declining steadily. Our students have been given a raw deal – something has got to give. It is obvious that there are systemic inequities in our nations schooling system; from the way funds are appropriated, to how we evaluate students, and to what is taught not from state to state but from district to district. It is going to take a great deal of political will to tackle the issues surrounding education; teacher pay, quality of education, and the great disparities in the direction of our higher educational institutions.

      But there is something we can do today. What’s spurred my thinking on this is the current debacle Congress has stumbled into in regards to relief bills aimed at direct assistance to millions of American families. Bear with me – I do have a point pertaining to education. They, in their usual fashion, waited to the very last minute to address the concerns facing millions of Americans. Now they have a handful of days to hammer out an agreement between two deeply entrenched political parties, who have wildly differing views on how aid ought to be dispensed. The Senate aims to cap a bill at $1,000,000,000,000. While the House’s starting position is $3,000,000,000,000. A cavern of differences exists. The problems the bills aim to address are far reaching and can effect many facets of American life. But there are portions that overlap – namely the need to extend unemployment benefits and provide direct stimulus payments. Disagreements may exist on amounts, but both sides recognize that action needs to be taken now on this issue. They should address that now. It is the same for education. We can sit and debate about issues we have deep, deep disagreements over but the bottom line is the American people need actionable results now. In that, and I say this as a moderate and a progressive, school choice may be our answer for our children across the country.

      In the interim while Congress works to tackle the greater issues at the heart of our education system, why can we not use the resources afforded to us to give greater power and agency to families across the country, and even here in New York City. Why is it that Democrats are so opposed to school choice? How is the freedom to choose ones school any different from the cities voucher program as it pertains to housing? We give people a voucher which covers the cost, or part of the cost for rent- that way folks can avoid the shelters. The shelters and public schools are run shoddily – why not give more choice to families. Education of our youth is the most important. Parents ought to be able to give their children the best – and whether that is a public school or a private school the state ought to facilitate the greatest most beneficial agreement and policies in the immediate for the sake of our children, while our politicians work out fixing the broader strokes. Action now, broad reforms later. People, and families need action now.

Old Howard Union

73 – An Analysis of The HEALS Act; Introduced by Senate Republicans

There is a war going on in Congress right now. Some may say too little, too late. The war is the push and pull between Senate Republicans & House Democrats on the issue of continued aid to the American people, and the states with the ongoing crisis that is COVID-19. The American public is reeling from the ramifications of the crisis and all that has come from it – mass unemployment, a grinding halt to economic productivity, and the revealing of structural issues that were here long before the crisis, which the crisis has only shone a light on. Today, we are going to discuss the HEALS Act, the Senate Republicans response to the growing need to answer the moment that is now. 

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  1. Summary of the HEALS  Act – https://www.forbes.com/sites/ryanderousseau/2020/07/27/republicans-release-stimulus-bill-proposal-titled-heals-act-1200-checks-cuts-to-unemployment-payments/#7ab7caa05fa4https://www.cnet.com/personal-finance/heals-act-senate-stimulus-bill-offers-1200-check-and-other-benefits-how-they-could-help-monday/
  2. Analysis of the HEALS Act –https://www.cnet.com/personal-finance/heals-act-senate-stimulus-bill-offers-1200-check-and-other-benefits-how-they-could-help-monday/
  3. Virus Stimulus: How the GOP and Democratic Plans Compare https://www.wsj.com/articles/coronavirus-relief-how-the-republican-and-democratic-plans-compare-11595934002
  4. Summary of provisions within the HEALS Act – https://www.acenet.edu/Documents/HEALS-Act-Short-Summary.pdf