Old Howard Union

61 – The Democrats Need To Focus & An Update

It has been quite some time! I give a few brief updates on my personal life as of late and speak on the need for the Democratic Party to change its messaging to appeal to a broader mass of Americans, and more importantly to refine their message from that of muddled and confused to clear, concise and direct.

No Show Notes

 

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 58 – The Importance of Our Allies Across the Atlantic By. Raimondo Graziano

The Importance of Our Allies Across the Atlantic
By. Raimondo Graziano

The importance of the United States on the global stage cannot be understated; we are looked to for leadership, guidance and approval for a great many undertakings of the nations of the world. The order we established after the end of the second world war remains, though imperiled it may be. In recent years our respect and integrity on the world stage has been degraded by both foreign and domestic threats to not only the constitution but to the very ideal that is the United States.

What is perhaps even more important than the unilateral approach and power of this country is the pertinence of our allies across the Atlantic in maintaining, committing and doubling down on the established order of the prevailing of the liberal democratic idea. Our allies in Europe are indispensable, the maintenance of the West, and any hopes for dramatic reforms of our world order rely heavily on The United States and more crucially on our allies who span across an entire continent, more directly connected to the vastness that is the international community.

The world we live in today is riddled with crisis after crisis, and the many governing bodies of the world seem engaged in a state of governance by crisis. From domestic threats of rising authoritarianism and populism, to protracted wars abroad, and economic downturns and entire continents lit ablaze – the world we live in today is fraught with instability. The West is under threat of consuming itself in its own decadence, moral negligence and excessive income inequality. We must rise to the occasion. Here in the States, we must reject that which is easy and fleeting for that which is difficult and worthy of struggle. We must reject isolationism and the idea that it is America first, and America Alone.

We must reach out across the sea, the arms of liberty cleansed anew and stretched out to our European brothers and sisters to engage hand in hand in amending the ills that we collectively have helped to ferment. We must right the wrongs of our past and of the present by boldly leading forward, now. United.

Old Howard Union

60 – A Quick Word on Congress & the Power of the Purse

For much of the history of the United States Congress has had sole responsibility and authority over what is called “the power of the purse”, or the power to appropriate and reappropiate funds in the governments coffers. No more. Now, through executive action the current President can reappropiate funds for a major project. The precedent set is astounding.

Writing

Piece 54 – The Presidency Unhinged By. Raimondo Graziano

                                                         The Presidency Unhinged

                                                           By. Raimondo Graziano

            The American Presidency occupies but only a small portion of the Constitution, the strong yet oft tested guardrails of our republican democracy. The executive has over many decades and nearing three centuries now gradually expanded its powers, authority, reach, and influence. Many presidents have used the executive branch to propel their agenda forward, cement their legacy and undermine the other branches of government meant to be coequal in their distribution of power and authority.

            From Andrew Jackson to Franklin Roosevelt and to Donald J. Trump, those at the helm of American democracy have steadily expanded the ‘imperial authority of the Presidency.’ As we venture further into the next century and as partisan divisions grow ever entrenched, the dangers that are posed by a Presidency unhinged, unrestricted in the exercise of its perceived and unspoken powers, grows ever stronger. With each passing day of apathy from the American public and dereliction of duty by the Congress and the threats of partisanship within our courts, we teeter closer toward elected dictatorship.

            The influence of the two parties within the country have helped to elevate their standard bearers, their leaders of the party, to a powerful evocative symbol – a dangerous symbol. A unflinching loyalty to not a man, but to an idea. The man as an idea. But the inherent danger is to, in our blind pursuit of personal and ideological agendas, elevate dangerous demagogic figures with their own personal agendas to the heights of power, because we believe they represent more than simply the man. We are allowing the festering of an unhinged Presidency disseminate amongst us.

            In short – we forgive the once unforgivable, we accept the once unacceptable, we endorse the once impeachable. In short, we have given the Presidency, and the man who occupies its office, an endorsement to pursue an agenda at any cost. Today it is the Republicans, tomorrow perhaps the Democrats. Though the day after? Perhaps Julius Caesar himself, seizing the authority of Rome and ceding its powers to one man veiled with the veneer of a populist fury, promising to liberate the people. In our continued longing for a savior, we will bring about the degradation of our liberties and the utter dismantling and destruction of our democracy.