Writing

Piece 57 – Affordable Housing In New York By. Raimondo Graziano

Affordable Housing in New York
                                                       By. Raimondo Graziano

Affordable and New York City are four words you’d be surprised to find here in the state and city of New York. Over the last ten to twenty years this city specifically has become less and less affordable for the working-class families that struggle to make ends meet day to day. While the state has never seen such a great economic boom and infrastructure expansion, the benefits that ought to trickle down to the average New Yorker just haven’t been nearly close enough to what they should be. In a city and state of such wealth and promise this is an atrocious truth, one that our elected officials have been slow to rectify.

While daily expenses – bills, utilities, provisions, childcare and healthcare and the such are already expensive as ever, housing has become a luxury. The average rent for an apartment, and a small one at that, in New York has gone up to between $2500.00 to $3100.00. This is outrageous when the vast majority of New Yorkers don’t make nearly enough to be able to afford this on a month to month basis. On top of taxes, bridge tolls, and all other means of squeezing the working family – the situation of affordability, and security in ones ability to achieve a good life for themselves has reached crisis levels.

You would be remiss to mention the staggering fact that there are upwards of 60,000 people homeless in New York. More than at their height during the 1930’s. This is outrageous. On any given night in New York, near 4,000-5,000 people are homeless on the streets, and with the frigid winds of Winter lashing the state – this could be classified as a humanitarian disaster. For the wealthiest city and one of the wealthiest states in the union to be leading on this issue is a travesty of the highest order.

This just shouldn’t be. To house an individual in a shelter costs far more than it would if the government would simply guarantee housing to every single New Yorker. This is cost effective to the tax payer, its humane and it’s our obligation as defenders of the wellbeing of the people of this state to enact reforms now to fix this gross inequity. So while Mayor DeBlasio talks about ending street homelessness, he is doing no better than Mayor Giuliani – simply sweeping the issue under the rug so that the “good people” (i.e wealthy, tourists and those campaign contributors of his running the hotels acting as shelters) of New York dont have to worry about seeing the problems that exist as a foundational issue of this state and city. We need action now; otherwise what kind of a people are we who don’t provide for the most basic wellbeing of the people of the state and city of New York?

Writing

Piece 49 – Damn the Iran Deal, The West Should Not Give An Inch By. Raimondo Graziano

Damn the Iran Deal, The West Should Not Give An Inch

By. Raimondo Graziano

 

The United States has been known from time to time to wage wars based on the premise of regime change. That of toppling governments that do not align with the views of the United States based on the followings premises- antipathy toward democratic values that the West as a whole holds close to its heart, violent and virulent actions taken against the people of whatever nation it may be, and when the national security interests of the United States are jeopardized. In this The United States is acting on the right side of history, not only for it’s own sake but for the sake of the West as a global institution responsible for the longest sustained peace in history, democratization for the vast portions of the people of the world, and for the unleashing of sheer human potential.

As the first among equals, the United States holds the unique responsibility of ensuring peace across the world and the continued dominance of the West as the captain of the ship dubbed human history. With that stewardship comes harsh realities and sometimes even harsher choices. We have had leaders who would defer these responsibilities and we have had leaders who have stepped up. We have had leaders that have done both at the same time. In some cases their decisions have been for the better and others for the worse, far worse. Perhaps the harshest lesson we can learn from history is that appeasement in the face of a belligerent, anti-democratic actor can lead to utter catastrophe. I need only say Neville Chamberlain, our good friend from across the Atlantic, who spoke of “peace for our time” referring of course to the chancellor in Germany, Adolf Hitler. Appeasement is the way forward for those who haven’t the stomach for the necessary task of confronting aggression wherever it may be coming from.

Whether they are motivated by domestic politics, the specter of reelection, or simply fixated on legacy building. Who doesn’t like the still quiet of peace? It is something that everyone can readily get behind. However, peace at any cost is never the answer. Today we face a similar threat, though perhaps we wouldn’t like to admit it. Iran is a rogue actor in the Middle East and has funded numerous terrorist organizations throughout the region and around the world, they have leadership both within their armed forces and politically that speak enthusiastically about the demise of Israel and the West. They threaten and intimidate Europe with their medium and short range missiles, saying they can increase their ranges to put the whole of Europe at risk. They have been accused, with evidence of pursuing nuclear weapons and with their coziness to rogue organizations, this is recipe for calamity. It is probable that they have attacked oil refineries in the region, they have seized a British tanker and have refused to let it go, while the British have released their own, which was seized in the first place for violating sanctions rightfully slapped on them.

The JCPOA or the Iran Deal as it is referred to was a hardly fought diplomatic effort which in the end did not guarantee that the nation would not seek nuclear weapons, nor was their any provisions regaridng their human rights abuses or their funding of extremist groups – it simply put a cap for a number of years, and in return sanctions were lifted and their capital frozen from the sanctions, measuring in the hundred billion dollar range was released to them. Not to mention no addressing of the short range or medium range ballistic missiles. All in all it punted the issue down the road for some other administration to deal with while our esteemed politicans had praise heaped on them by the mainstream media for their efforts at securing peace. This was not peace, this was appeasement. Now the current administration has pulled out from the deal, rightfully. Iran has begun enrichment once more and has stepped up their dangerous and reckless behavior in the region once more using the Strait of Hormuz, where a large portion of the worlds oil supply moves through, hostage – using it as a bargaining chip or an overt threat more aptly put. They have effectively signaled their unwillingness to comply with the accord, and they stick to it in nothing but ink on paper. Lest they forget that the deal has other signatories, they care not for the deal or they would adhere to it regardless of the United States’ involvement.

The harshness of sanctions is the right path forward, a pressure campaign meant to cripple their capabilities to continue to sow discord throughout the world. Their behavior cannot go unchecked and it is the United States who has the heavy burden of leveling these actions, holding them accountable. This will give the United States no great honor or accolades from the international community nor support from our European allies who are poised to lose the most should Iran continue its belligerence. They would rather appease further and undermine the United States and its diplomatic efforts. Sanctions may be a harsh tool, but they are a diplomatic tool, a bludgeon, nonetheless. France today is offering an aid package to Iran to account for the lost revenue from oil Iran has suffered because of the sanctions. The aid package would effectively blunt the blows The United States needs to deliver to secure true and lasting peace. France, thinking itself the steward of the European Union, seeks to go the route of appeasement, just as Chamberlain, another steward of Europe, did nearly eighty one years ago. Less than one year later, the world was plunged in darkness. Damn the Iran Deal, let it whither and die the rightful death it deserves, the West should not give one single inch.

Old Howard Union

46 – In Support of Free, Fair, and Just Trade

Free trade holds the promise of bringing the nations of the world closer together in economic interdependence, and fosters peace among the peoples of the world. When we are one, the chance of conflict lessens – however free trade as it stands works to line the pockets of politicans, businesses and barons of industry rather than work for the workers. We need free trade to foster peace, fair trade to make the rights of workers uniform around the world, and just trade to uplift the peoples of the world from poverty.

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Show Notes

  1. https://www.mercatus.org/publication/benefits-free-trade-addressing-key-myths
  2. https://amp.economist.com/the-economist-explains/2018/03/14/why-is-free-trade-good
  3. https://www.intelligenteconomist.com/advantages-of-free-trade/
  4. https://www.fairtradefederation.org/fair-trade-free-trade/
  5. https://globein.com/blog/fair-trade-vs-free-trade/
Writing

45 – The Strategic Importance of Africa

Africa has for some time been a target of the nations of the West for exploration and has been used throughout much of its history by imperial powers. Colonialism left an immense strain and stain on the continent and when we relinquished our hold on these peoples, we did not leave the fundamental infrastructure and institutions neccessary for order. In the 21st century, the strategic importance of Africa cannot be understated. China, now the leader of the authoritarian nations of the world, is leading the charge on revitalizing the continent and the West ought to pay attention, with the aim of righting the wrongs of the past and working to create lasting partnerships rather than colonial holdings.

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Show Notes

Important readings pertinent to the topic at hand.

  1. https://china.usc.edu/china’s-strategic-partnership-africa-significance-challenges-and-implications-united-states
  2. Africa’s Strategic Importance
  3. https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/publications/reports/why-africa-matters-to-us-national-security
  4. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.csis.org/analysis/world-coming-sub-saharan-africa-where-united-states%3famp
  5. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.africanglobe.net/business/africa-important-strategic-continent-world/amp/
Old Howard Union

44 – In Support of A European Army

The European Union is perhaps the greatest project in peace on a continent in history – the nations of Europe are inextricably linked in their history and have been in conflict for near all of it – the union today has guaranteed peace for near seventy years. Today, that order is under threat from within and without. A unified European identity can only be maintained, and the international order can only be preserved and strengthened through a unified European Army.

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Important readings.

  1. https://www.iiss.org/blogs/analysis/2019/01/macron-european-army-reality
  2. https://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-army/2019/03/20/france-a-european-army-would-help-not-hurt-us-troops/
  3. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/20/world/europe/germany-defense-spending-european-army.html
  4. https://www.ecfr.eu/amp-article/commentary_the_european_army_a_tale_of_wilful_misunderstanding
  5. https://globalriskinsights.com/2018/11/european-army-european-military/amp/