Rockaway Peninsula
Writing

Piece 67 – Invest In Our Communities Local Infrastructure in City Council District 32 Needs Repair By. Raimondo Graziano

Invest In Our Communities

Local Infrastructure in City Council District 32 Needs Repair

By. Raimondo Graziano

The residents of City Council District 32 remember well the events that occurred almost ten years ago in New York City. The hurricane that struck the peninsula and the outlying areas brought great devastation and economic hardship to the district. Many people lost their homes, their jobs, and a sense of security in the places that they called home. In the time since, much work has been done to fortify the district and to give residents a greater sense of security. Much of this work can be credited to both State Senator Joseph Addabbo and Assemblywomen Stacy Pheffer-Amatto. There is no doubt much of their work has been successful in strengthening and fortifying these at risk communities. That being said – more must be done; without a shadow of a doubt there is much more work that needs to be done to make our community more resilient to the ever growing threat of more disruptive and destructive storms.

We saw last week the effects that Isaias had on the tri-state area. Especially the profound effects it had on communities in Queens. Many thousands of people went without power, downed lines throughout the borough as well as trees, shrubbery and all manner of debris strewn about. Not to mention the tragic cases where some folks lost their lives. This storm was not a massive one, it was small compared to the larger ones that have passed through. Yet, we can see from the effects that it had our infrastructure is woefully underfunded and in need or urgent repairs, and going further, reconstruction. We know that it is only matter of time before a larger storm takes aim at the peninsula. We need to be proactive for the good of our community, not reactive – we have to work as hard as we can to preempt these events.

The burden falls on our elected officials to get the work done, to lobby for the needed funds to accomplish these ends. We need to start moving our lines underground, we need to start expanding resiliency efforts, and increasing response times to these issues as they arise. Going further we need layers of accountability to any sort of governmental program aimed at building back our infrastructure. We need to ensure that the oversight is ironclad, so that we can avoid the bureaucratic issues that arose in regards to the program – Build it Back. There is much work that needs to be done for the residents of City Council District 32. We need to get it done, the NOAA is projecting an ‘extremely active’ storm season – time waits for no one, and it is only a matter of time before we find ourselves in a crisis that could have been prevented by proactive measures, and a vision for the days ahead.

Old Howard Union

76 – Arms Control Aggrements Are Coming to An End

Much of the Cold War was built upon deterrence and proxy conflicts between the United States and its allies against those aligned with the Soviets. There were great periods of cooperation and terrible periods of conflict. The cornerstone of much of the cooperation was the litany of arms control agreements meant to limit the number of deployed strategic weapons and nuclear arms. Many of these agreements have been outright pulled out of or are near to expiring without a renewal. As the world moves closer to conflict between nations which have not seen great war and strife for nearly 75 years, many of the safeguards put in place in its aftermath are slowly eroding.

Show Notes

  1. A New Superpower Competition Between Beijing and Washington: China’s Nuclear Buildup https://nyti.ms/2NG5eQX
  2. China’s Arms Buildup Threatens the Nuclear Balance https://nyti.ms/3f6A4NH
  3. Trump to Withdraw U.S. From ‘Open Skies’ Treaty https://nyti.ms/3bQyePt
  4. Can 50 Years of Minimizing Nuclear Proliferation Continue? https://nyti.ms/2TFIGSU
  5. As the U.S. and China Wage a New Cold War, They Should Learn From the Last One https://www.wsj.com/articles/as-the-u-s-and-china-wage-a-new-cold-war-they-should-learn-from-the-last-one-11596223180
  6. Russia Tests an Anti-Satellite Weapon, U.S. Officials Say https://www.wsj.com/articles/russia-tests-an-anti-satellite-weapon-u-s-officials-say-11595545670
  7. U.S. Moving Military Assets Around Asia to Counter China, Esper Says https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-is-positioning-military-assets-around-asia-to-counter-china-esper-says-11595340363
  8. Trump Administration Weighs Extending New START Nuclear Treaty https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-administration-weighs-extending-new-start-nuclear-treaty-11592952274
  9. U.S. and Russia Hold Arms Talks, With China Absent https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-and-russia-hold-arms-talks-with-china-absent-11592863865
Writing

Piece 64 – A United States of Europe, The Natural Ally By. Raimondo Graziano

                                   A United States of Europe, The Natural Ally

                                                  By. Raimondo Graziano

     There has been a great deal of talk lately of The United States and its relationship with allies across the Atlantic, and how moving forward into the 21st century what that relationship will mean for international security, regional cooperation and a myriad of other interconnected issues. The West, including the United States and Europe have been at loggerheads for at least two decades, with brief interludes of true cooperation and appreciation. The last few years have shown some considerable strain on issues of security, trade, the military alliance underpinning our relationship and dealing with adversaries both near and far.

     We can see quite clearly that these last few years has brought immense strain as the intelligentsia of European strategic planners and party elites have more loudly and clearly began to call for greater interdependence among the nations of Europe. From greater military cooperation going as far as to call for a United European Army; others have called for A United States of Europe. The international crisis that has gripped the world for the entirety of this year has exacerbated the acceleration toward what seems to be the inevitable. Recently European leaders have come together to work on a slew of economic relief packages aimed at buoying the European economy. What some are calling the Hamiltonian moment for the continent, a national bank – a clear first step towards unification of the continent. A feat which has not been accomplished since the fall of the Roman Empire.

      Some may attack this move as an attempt by the dominant European powers of France and Germany to consolidate power and create a nation that could rival both the United States and China. In reality the people, nations and elites of the West ought to be rejoicing. This would signal perhaps the strongest sign yet that the West is understanding the moment that lies ahead in this century. The first action in decades, perhaps since the 2nd World War that clearly and unequivocally demonstrates the dormant resolve and power of the West. Facing its decline and a relinquishing of power across the world, the devastation of its institutions and the turn and slide toward autocracy and ill liberalism, the West seems poised to go boldly down the path of federal centralization to secure its future and solidify its supremacy.

     We must face a stark reality – the time when the United States of America reigned solely as the guardian of liberty and democracy is reaching a period of unprecedented pause. It is not over but we are retreating inwardly to reflect on ourselves and to tend to the homefront. The current occupant of the White House is not the sole reason for such but he brought to light corruption and inadequacy at every turn of American society. We are not up to the task, we at this time cannot be the standard bearer for liberty; we must rebuild and wait in the wings. In years to come if we can reverse our path to decline, ourselves allied with a strong and United Europe will forge a period of unparalleled liberty, freedom and democracy – a model of governance which can serve as the answer to the crises of illiberalism. A United Europe should not be feared by the United States, rather it would represent the most natural ally for this country for centuries to come.

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

70 – The Working Families Party; An Alternative to the Same-Old?

Today I wanted to take a little time to speak about an organization doing some important and impactful work across the country. The Working Families Party mission is as follows:

“The Working Families Party is a progressive grassroots political party building a multiracial movement of working people to transform America.”

For more information, please go to:

https://workingfamilies.org/about-us/

And also, if you could, please donate and support their work – they need the support of the public at large.

Invest in the Movement