Writing

Piece 47 – Compromise & Good Governance By. Raimondo Graziano

Compromise & Good Governance
By. Raimondo Graziano
   Something that is sorely lacking within governance today is really quite simple. It is goodness. Good governance is practically non existent in the Halls of Congress. Taken further we can say the same for local governance as well. There is a hemorrhaging of decency within government. The work of the people, passing legislation on a bipartisan basis is a reach and no longer within our grasp. The force of the two major parties in the country, and their funders and bureaucratic underlings has helped to push the nation into an ideological divide in an attempt by both parties to further polarize the country. The media is at fault here as well – there is no truth, or objectivity, or fairness in media any longer. And if there is, we can seldom distinguish between pieces which have the public good at heart and those which only seek to push an ideologically motivated agenda.

Ideology is not something that needs to fundamentally cripple the working capacity of a country, it can be a force for tremendous good. So long as that ideology does not inherently pit one portion of the nation against another, or one class or race against the other. Our fundamentally American ideals and ideological leanings are what can guide us together in the promise of greater unity. Our ability to work across racial and class lines to come together in pursuit of common ground, our tenacity and our spirit of revolution is what can bring us together in forging a stronger more coherent national identity and foster the demand for good governance.

Governing based on truth, and the needs of our most depressed communities and a unity in the common hope of the American dream revitalized for a new generation of Americans. We cannot allow political parties, corporations, or ideologically motivated politicians or foreign governments to chip away at our common identity as Americans. We can demand better, and work to elect officials that will both aspire to the greatest of ambitions and work for effective change that we can truly see and feel. Compromise is not a sign of weakness or moral ambiguity – it is a telltale sign of a true statesmen. One who does not bend to demands, but works to achieve equitable reforms and stands firm in their virtues and beliefs and above all – embodies the ideas and ideology of the American Ideal.

Film

Film – Edwin’s Gambit

The small film can be found here

Edwin Hubble greatly expanded our view of the cosmos, bringing into the forefront the idea that our universe extended far beyond our own galaxy. In that instance our world got ever so smaller. His gambit, though perhaps not known to him, was the hope that by making our world smaller we as a collective of people, humans, would grow more unified – united together in our humanity. Have we humbled ourselves in our understanding of our place in the cosmos? Or have we simply continued along on the same course, destined for ruin?


Score
Arvo Part – Tabula Rasa, I
Philip Glass Dance III, & VIII

Old Howard Union

51 – Prescription Drug Prices & Healthcare

It’s an understatement to say that prescription drugs are far too costly in the United States compared to other nations. The Pharmaceutical industries hold over our government extends far beyond lawmakers… What about those who interpret the law? A Federal judge recently ruled against a rule change put into effect by the President that would require pharmaceutical manufacturers to disclose prices on televised advertisements. The judge ruled that the rule violates “1st amendment rights”. Sounds like a broad, garbage interpretation to me. What about the patient? What about the consumer? Prescription drugs are just the first dish in a platter of disaster in our American healthcare system.

Show Notes

  1. Judge Blocks Trump Rule Requiring Drug Companies to List Prices in TV Ads
Writing

Piece 44 – An Open Letter to the President

 

            An Open Letter to the President

                    By. Raimondo Graziano

Mr. President, I have a few concerns regarding your actions and conduct during your tenure thus far as President of the United States. Your actions and conduct are oftentimes unbecoming of the seat in which you reside, from your consistent attacks on your political rivals bordering on accusations of treason against members of the opposing party to failing to honor and respect our cherished allies abroad. Then there are the attacks on the press for their, alleged unfair coverage of yourself.

Your berating of immigrants and rhetoric concerning migrants coming over the Southern border and dog whistling to a particular class of individuals who feel that the source of their economic anxieties comes from the stealing of jobs by immigrants – which the facts and the evidence say are false. You have politicized numerous institutions in our country and continue to do so through your actions, and through your rhetoric. You tell lies and half-truths near daily and work to undermine faith and confidence in government and openly defy the orders leveled by the co-equal branch of government – the Congress. The way in which you treat the power and stature of the executive branch is breathtakingly out of step with tradition, and you indeed push the norms of the Presidency to new heights often and readily without respect for tradition, the rule of law and the unspoken customs of our system of governance.

Myself and many Americans are indeed fed up with Washington, the inconsistency of Congress, and the sheer corruption that runs rampant in that degenerate city built upon the backs of the working class and home to the nation’s wealthiest elites – while surrounded by a city of poverty. Indeed, the United States and its citizens are tired of the establishment and the practices that it employs. You have a unique opportunity, or perhaps you had a unique opportunity to bring together the people of the country in their hatred of a system built to tear them down. You had the opportunity to expose the corruption inherent within our government and perhaps you have, though not how you intended. You have shown us corruption with your numerous cabinet appointments who bend the law and through your nepotism in regards to your family and your continued hold on your personal business.

What is perhaps most saddening though is the false hope that you have given to so many. Your populist message resounded with those who feel that they have been left behind. You are indeed a transformative figure in American history, and the effects your tenure in office will have on our people, the nation, politics and the world is still too young to be fully grasped – but you have changed things. You did break the back of the establishment; but only to enrich the wealthy and yourself, and the people that you perhaps, that you maybe care for will be the ones that will feel the effects of your misguided policies and actions. Your presidency is still young, and although there is much against you, and much that is valid against you, I cannot help but feel as though you, like those who you victimize and dehumanize, have been subject to the same treatment.

Perhaps in your own way you do care for the country, I only hope that in your remaining time in office you can better articulate these sentiments and work to bring this country together against those who would do us harm. Your actions that are good and that are in line with protecting American supremacy are overshadowed often by your disregard for the norms of office, and by your categorically antithetical to American ideals actions and statements. Maybe you can find the unique opportunity presented to you – that you could use your position of prestige and privilege to unite the country against those who would see us destroyed and those who would seek to enrich themselves. Perhaps such a change of pace is wholly impossible, or perhaps, you may change. Only time will tell. Mr. President not only is your own legacy on the line, but the lives of millions.

You can bridge these divides and it will be a difficult stairway to climb, but as you’ve said, nothing in this country, in America, is impossible to achieve because at the end of the day – all of us here, all of us, are Americans and we are imbued by our creator with a revolutionary spirit. There is no doubt you are a man with gall, a man who could give a damn about what anyone thinks of him, because why else would you behave like you do? That in and of itself is admirable, and something I’ve wanted in a President for some time. And although your critics would disagree, you too sir, are an American with this same capacity for revolutionary change and firebrand spirit. It is never to late to make amends and heal our divides, especially from your unique position as the President, and in no small part to the historic nature of both your candidacy and presidency.

Writing

Piece 43 – Tensions with Iran, A Turning Point By. Raimondo Graziano

 

Tensions with Iran, A Turning Point

By. Raimondo Graziano

In recent weeks tensions between the United States and Iran have reached a fever pitch. The relations between our nation and their own have always been strained, and we are, as is often the case, partly responsible for the situation that currently exists today. After all it is our deposition of their democratically elected leader, decades ago, that spurred on the revolution in the late 70’s. And it is the withdrawal of the United States from the JCPOA, negotiated under the former President and withdrawn from by the current, that has created both an air of uncertainty and a potential international crisis, regardless of the merits of the deal that was struck.

Now, nations have come to trade blows with one another in the past while limiting the severity of escalations, in many cases it is a ruse to bring one and the other to the negotiating table to hammer out differences. What is different now is the degree at which escalations are increasing, and tone with which this war of words is being wage has taken a sharper lean. One expects belligerence and bellicose rhetoric from the President of the United States, after all it is his way. Though for an internationally recognized moderate like Hassan Rouhani, it is an alarming escalation.

The door for diplomacy is closed in his words due to the ratcheting up of sanctions by the Americans, meant to cripple the Iranian economy. If the door to diplomacy is closed, what then? In recent weeks there have been attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf and in oil fields in Iraq, a downing of an American surveillance craft, an execution of an American prisoner and numerous other acts of aggression by the Iranians. We are perhaps stumbling into a war, whose reach and scope would be catastrophic. It is true Iran is the world’s largest purveyor of state sponsored terrorism. Our allies in the region are itching for a conflict to settle their own personal scores with the nation. Saudi Arabia and Iran are locked into a proxy war in Yemen over their numerous differences. Israel has threatened aggression before for their fear of annihilation of the state – a threat propagated by the Iranians themselves. It is obvious that conflict is in the air.

What’s troubling is not only the potential for miscalculation and careless loss of life, but the strangle it will have on global oil markets as the strait of Hormuz is a critical point in the infrastructure of global oil shipping. With more troops being sent to the Middle East to counter the threats posed by Iran, a regional power in its own right, the threat of war looms. It will not be like Iraq, nor Afghanistan nor is the conflicts context similar to that of the war of words between the President and Chairmen Kim. The nuances ate stark and the implications grave. Of course, we must push for diplomacy and engage our allies in this effort, but above all we cannot become hostage to Iranian demands and increasing belligerence on their part. From the threat of raising the threshold of production of material that could be used in the production of nuclear weapons, to the threats leveled at Europe to further test their ballistic missiles if they are not granted waivers from sanctions for trade.

The West cannot be held hostage and capitulate to the demands of a regime which seeks the downfall of Western institutions and the propping up of its own allies – the likes of Russia, China and other authoritarian regimes. Let alone the human rights abuses perpetuated by them. If we capitulate, then what is the West then but a vestige of a forgotten cause? With this in mind, we too have to keep a check on Saudi Arabia, our hopelessly convenient ally in the region on their own abuses and misgivings. The West must take a stand on all fronts. Diplomacy always, but prepared for any eventuality. We must move forward with caution and resolve.