Old Howard Union

68 – Protecting the American Worker & American Families

It is imperative during these times of economic tumult that both the American family and the American worker be protected and that their security be secured and guaranteed by the government. We must provide security and build up the foundation of the American worker and ensure the prosperity of the American family. This country cannot afford to forget the American family.

Show Notes

  1. Will Americans Get a Second Stimulus Check Due to Covid-19? https://www.wsj.com/articles/will-americans-get-a-second-stimulus-check-due-to-covid-19-11593785685
  2. Senate Republicans Prepare to Unveil Coronavirus Relief Package https://www.wsj.com/articles/senate-republicans-discuss-short-term-extension-of-jobless-aid-11595439589
  3. Republicans, Deeply Divided on Coronavirus Stimulus, Near Agreement on Opening Offer https://nyti.ms/32JB5Zt
  4. How to Save a Half-Open Economy https://nyti.ms/394HorM
  5. End of $600 Unemployment Bonus Could Push Millions Past the Brink https://nyti.ms/2WHLktD
  6. The Pandemic Isn’t Bringing Back Factory Jobs, at Least Not Yet https://nyti.ms/2CClSib
  7. Consumers Came Back in June, but for How Long? https://nyti.ms/2WrhLw2
Old Howard Union

67 – Federal Officers in Portland & Executive Action, What is the Truth?

This past weekend federal officers in unmarked vehicles bearing no identifying markers, besides “POLICE”, descended upon Portland, Oregon to quell mass unrest, and detain protestors. The only question is – what is the truth? A tacit reading of both The New York Times and The Wall St. Journal point to two very different interpretations of the ‘facts”. While the former purports a beginning of a secret police, detaining without warrant, the latter describes federal officers responding in tandem to violence, detaining protestors and reading their Miranda rights. So what is going on and what does it have to do with the Presidents recent executive orders?

Show Notes

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  1. Federal Agents Headed to Chicago, Elsewhere in Attempt to Reduce Violent Crime https://www.wsj.com/articles/federal-agents-headed-to-chicago-elsewhere-in-attempt-to-reduce-violent-crime-11595357926
  2. The Mess in Portland https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-mess-in-portland-11595286956
  3. Trump Moves to Exclude Unauthorized Immigrants From Counts for Congressional Seats https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-moves-to-bar-who-are-people-in-u-s-illegally-from-being-counted-in-congressional-apportionment-11595352083
  4. Trump’s Executive Order Calls for Limiting Federal Funds to States if They Can’t Protect Monuments https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-signs-executive-order-to-increase-penalties-for-damaging-monuments-11593211631
  5. Trump’s Occupation of American Cities Has Begun https://nyti.ms/3eHOymV
  6. Trump’s Legal Authority to Deploy Agents to U.S. Cities May Be Limited, Experts Say https://nyti.ms/32IKvES
  7. Trump Seeks to Stop Counting Unauthorized Immigrants in Drawing House Districts https://nyti.ms/3fO7BO1
  8. Were the Actions of Federal Agents in Portland Legal? https://nyti.ms/30lFbEp
Writing

Piece 61 – A Responsible, Progressive Agenda For The Here & Now By. Raimondo Graziano

A Responsible, Progressive Agenda For The Here & Now

By. Raimondo Graziano

         The American People are hurting. The current crisis aside, there are numerous challenges facing the people of this country from the costs of healthcare, to childcare and simply putting food on the table. The American People are in great need of a revival of their potential and of their capacity to both believe in themselves and act upon that belief. The vast majority of the people of this country are not seeking a fundamental revolution of our culture and ways and means of doing things. What they are concerned with is their potential, and their ability or lack thereof to provide a better future for their children. I am not saying that radical reforms are not needed, I am saying that how we get there will not be through ideological, political hardball. How we get there will be through pragmatism, through recognizing beliefs that differ from our own. By coming together to put aside differences and work for the needs of the American people. We in this country have allowed everything to become politicized; from governance, to the news, the media, and even the minute details of everyday life. People will always have their differences. Understanding and working with one another does not mean that, well, we must accept as well, ideas of hate and discrimination – No.

     Pragmatism does not mean capitulation. Compromise does not mean a surrendering of one’s ideals. It is the bedrock principle of a statesmen. One political party, whether it be Democrat or Republican, conservative or liberal, does not hold a monopoly on the truth or morality. However, we as a country must put an end to the idea that Progressivism is the sole property of the most liberal wing of the Democratic party. Lets look at that word, progressive. The definition is as follows; “happening or developing gradually or in stages; proceeding step by step.” What does it mean? Continuing, continuous, increasing, growing, developing, ongoing, intensifying, accelerating, escalating, gradual, step by step, cumulative. Such is the very course of history. The story of progress. We are all progressives, striving for a better and more prosperous tomorrow. Whether or not you are Democrat or Republican, conservative or liberal, we are all striving to progress our aims and agendas because we believe that our version of progress is the right and true path.

     Our problem is this – we often have a child’s mentality. No one has told the vast majority of adults in the proverbial room that not getting your way, is in fact, not the end of the world. Learning to live with loss is the characteristic of a rational adult. Stomping your foot on the ground and admonishing others because you feel that the world is not conforming to your own narrow worldview – whatever the idea – is a prime characteristic of a selfish child. Learning to bring together ideas and compromise on your proposals and thoughts for the greater good, not to satisfy yourself or the cries of those who share your beliefs alone, are the signs of a statesmen. The signs of a person who thinks not of their own people, but who thinks and acts for all. We can have a progressive agenda for the American people. One that cares for the American worker; from the East to the West Coast, from the Rust Belt to the South and from the warehouse worker to the postal worker. We can have an agenda which progresses the nation forward, boldly, into the 21st century, while bringing together any idea whose aim is to benefit the American people. If the policy is good for people, then it is good for the country. We need not accept this era of the supremacy of a singular idea that trumps all, we can resoundingly reject this politics of division and exclusion. We can bring about progress and allow the supremacy of this country’s’ ideals, and its people dictate the agenda – not the media and not political parties or the establishment. There is a way forward, a responsible embrace of progress for the people.

Writing

Piece 60 – A World Upside Down, Where is the Middle Way? By. Raimondo Graziano

A World Upside Down, Where is the Middle Way?

By. Raimondo Graziano

There is no doubt about it – the world is in utter and complete disarray. Everywhere one looks there is a lack of direction and cohesion. In nearly every nation in the world there is division and fear. Fear is indeed the word that most aptly describes this year thus far – though in truth, fear could describe the last few years of life here in this broken world. It has been building for some time, many pundits will argue over when in fact this climate of fear, hate and animosity become so far reaching and widespread. Some will say we have always lived with this lingering malaise; an affliction of civilization itself. Others portend that we are living in end of days. The truth like most things, whether we choose to accept it or not is somewhere in the middle. Not in the extremes, but in the center.

Indeed we live in harrowing times, but there is still the promise of the progress that tomorrow will inevitably bring, no matter how far we regress. History is cyclical, and we do make great strides, though we often fall prey to regression by our collective stubborn refusal to learn our history. Today, there are newer trends however that complicate things further. The technological advancements of the last three decades have brought the world closer together and farther apart. For the first time in history there is an absolute overabundance of information. So much so that we are finding it hard to discern what is true and what is not. This in and of itself has forced the multitudes to flee to the walls in fear of the unknown, in fear of that which is false, and in some cases fear of what exactly the truth is and what it means for themselves and their worlds at large. This fear of, in one hand, the inevitable, and in the other hand, the unknown has created a fundamental contradiction in the peoples of the world.

Their inner world is increasingly not aligned and often in conflict with the world around them. We have all retreated into our own secure frames of thinking on ideological extremes of both pillars of human thought. One side yearns for total liberation from the self and liberty and freedom at all costs – whether that be through complete and total liberation of the body and ideas that been the norm for centuries or through the erasure of history. The other side yearns for something similar, yet diametrically and fundamentally different. The other side yearns for order and tradition at whatever cost; whether that be through regression of the advances that women have made through control of their bodies, or through supremacy of the idea of the greatness of ones nation or of ones race. Both sides seek to satisfy the same ends – to shape and mold the world in their utterly illogical, unrealistic, and illiberal worldview. They are unwilling to face critiques of their values, and ideas and if chastised they attack and seek to silence dissent.

They have no room for debate and cooperation on tackling perhaps the gravest questions humanity has ever faced. They have framed their arguments in the language of dictatorial tyrants, their modus operandi is “us versus them”, to these ideologues the question of rectifying the present and reconciling with our past is a theatre of war, and the hearts and souls of the peoples of the world are the greatest battlefield. And victory? Why, like, any war of ideas, it is impossible to quantify when the very premise of the question they have poised presupposes that one idea and its adherents must perish for the other to reign supreme. Like the religious wars of the Crusades, this futile ideological war will only end in tumult, destruction, death, and the collapse of civilization itself. There is only one way. That long neglected pillar, holding the house of civilization upright and from caving in and collapsing on itself. The middle way. Through pragmatism, through integrity, through willpower and through a belief in the human ideal – not in the belief of one man, or one idea, but through the great coalescing of knowledge. Through the recognition of the inherent good slumbering within humanity, and through the adoption of ideas based on their merit and not their adherence to a strict code of conformity or expedience to a dogmatic political association. The world is in need of pragmatists and statesmen; men and women of character who are not afraid to compromise, but who will never give into aggression or into intimidation. Those who will stand on their values and principles, but whose ultimate pursuit is that of the greater good, progress and truth; and whose ultimate foe is deception, deceit and corruption.

Writing

Piece 62 – New York Strong: A Progressive Defense of Governor Cuomo By. Raimondo Graziano

New York Strong: A Progressive Defense of Governor Cuomo

By. Raimondo Graziano

    There has been a great deal of talk regarding the Governor of New York State’s response to the current crisis that has gripped the world, and has rocked this country – economically, and politically. However, New York State has come a long way in its response to the crisis. Much of the country has looked to New York State for leadership during this time. Though there have been struggles. While the rest of the country, or large portions, deal with great increases in cases, New York State has been steadily working at keeping cases down, increasing testing, and ensuring for the safety of essential workers as well as driving hospitalizations down. New York State has worked feverishly to be an example for the rest of the country. At the helm during this, providing direction, confidence, and calm – Governor Andrew Cuomo.

     However – there have been challenges. For one thing, the state’s response to the unprecedented unemployment of millions has been utterly flawed and has prohibited millions from collecting unemployment, though it has also exposed the great inefficiencies latent within our bureaucracy. But this in and of itself cannot be laid at the feet of the Governor. The Governor’s leadership during this time has been exemplary of decency and direction. This is a man who can reach across the aisle to pass legislation and push for reform – measured and with a pragmatic approach that is mostly all but lost in politics today.

     All over the country, there are loud calls for radical reforms, which in truth may not be as radical as we make them out to be. However, the pace at which we are attempting to transform society is rapid. In some cases our desire to reform that which has been wrong for so long is pushing us to make changes, the gravity of which, we may not fully comprehend. The way to reform is through pragmatism and compromise. We need not compromise our vision when we come together to debate and form consensus on issues of grave importance. We must exercise prudence and display the characteristics of statesmen when it comes to the affairs of state.

    The Governor of the State of New York has embodied these characteristics. He is indeed a progressive, he has progressed New York State forward. The Governor is perhaps one the most progressive Governors in the Union. Just because he has not pushed through more robust, and comprehensive reforms does not mean the title should be stripped of him. From bail reform and expanded workers protections, to lowering taxes for the middle class and for small businesses – the Governor has delivered. Is he the brash reformist and proponent of some of the most radical proposals on the left? No. But he has progressed New York State. That makes him a progressive in a realist’s eyes.