Piece 48 – The Immigration Conundrum By. Raimondo Graziano

The Immigration Conundrum

By. Raimondo Graziano

Immigration in the United States is an issue that divides. It divides not only the usual gaggle of reputable peoples, both Democrats and Republicans, but the divisions exist within the parties themselves. You have the hard liners, and those who take a more compassionate approach. You have those advocating for decriminalization of the illegal crossings from the Southern Border into the United States and those who
advocate for limits on legal immigration. The issue is divisive because it tugs at the very ideological leanings of the country and its very diverse populace, it pokes and prods at our identity as we continue to mature as a nation. It begs the question, who do we want to be as a people, as a country which claims to be the greatest in the world – a hefty, weighty title to live up to fully. A title we often have fallen back on in imprudence and in lethargy – simply a title we perhaps haven’t earned, rather than lean on it through great acts of compromise and statesmanship and those qualities which truly make up a great nation.

The questions surrounding how it is we effectively handle immigration in the country in a fair, equitable, and compassionate manner truly presents a moment for the nation to come together – our elected
representatives, and the citizens of the country – to come together to debate, compromise and bring forth a plan for reform. A model that can be used the world over, as the nations of the West reel from increased immigration, refugees, migrants and others seeking a better life the politicians are hamstrung. Unable
to do their jobs, due to the polarized and utterly politicized climate – hemorrhaging the ability for the governing bodies of the world to get anything done of any meaning. From the wars started in large part by us, the West, and to the growing threats posed by the Climate Crisis – immigration, refugees and migrants
will become more and more common place.

Already we can see that this is leading to increased nationalistic, nativist, and dangerous rhetoric and actors the world over. Yet we continue to barrel from one major crisis to the next, without giving much thought to what happens to the people. Surely, we cant let them suffer in their fates, from the wars we started, or from the world we industrialized and exploited. We need action. That being said, and with all due respect, is decriminalizing the border crossings the right answer? Politically, economically, or even
morally? Or guaranteeing healthcare for those who are undocumented? Surely, we needn’t act in extremes to combat these issues. I, more than anyone, understand the need for bold reforms now, though who said that bold, and progressive change, needs to be rash and ill thought out action? There is no doubt that we need to
take aggressive reform now, though we need to have a conversation about the truth, and an open and honest conversation at that.

Political correctness, and fear has swamped
the discussion. We can no loner discuss these important issues because we are afraid to offend someone, or to present unpopular opinions because they may harm an individual. We must have the ability, the right, to speak on these important, crucially important issues, openly and freely. When we can have a discussion, openly, without the war drums of the social media mobs pounding, then we can move forward as a people and not backward towards self-censure due to fear as if we lived in some authoritarian state. We are innovative and have faced issues boldly because we can speak truthfully on these issues, all of them, not in spite of it. The old trope that our diversity makes us stronger, is true,
now more than ever. But that also applies to diversity in thought. Now, more than ever.

Old Howard Union

49 – Concentration Camps & Independence Day

On this fourth of July, our Independence Day, it is vitally important to reflect on the horrid conditions present at migrant detention camps along the southern border and around the country. While there is cause to rejoice at how far we have come as a nation, we must reflect and atone for the horrors that exist today. While we talk about our freedoms, what of the freedoms of those interned in defacto concentration camps?

Show Notes

  1. Squalid Conditions at Border Detention Centers, Government Report Finds https://nyti.ms/2KTrfMy
  2. Federal Judge Blocks Barr’s Attempt to Deny Asylum Seekers Bail https://nyti.ms/2Nt0sJ0
  3. Ocasio-Cortez Describes ‘Horrifying’ Conditions at Texas Migrant Facility https://nyti.ms/2NpN9ZR
  4. Asylum Officers’ Union Says Trump Migration Policy ‘Abandons’ American Tradition https://nyti.ms/2RGkVZphttps://nyti.ms/2RGkVZp
  5. House Passes Senate Border Bill in Striking Defeat for Pelosi https://nyti.ms/2Nit7AE

Piece 40 – The Underlying Hope of International Trade by. Raimondo Graziano

The Underlying Hope of International Trade

By. Raimondo Graziano

Throughout the history of economics and finances there have been times when the prospect of productive and fiscally sustainable tomorrow was assured. And at other points, that was far from the case.  Oftentimes circumstances out of our control tend to find their way into the fabric of each and every individual’s lives. It does not matter if it is a short walk from your home, or halfway around the continent – circumstances of a governmental, political, social and economic nature tend to affect the majority of people. People in these troubled times look to institutions, agencies and bureaucrats for clarity, and sometimes they are able to help alleviate these issues. Other times it is intervention from the private sector that can help spur up a dormant, or rusty and slowing economic engine. Because of the issues of the past, many Americans are contented and secure in their belief in the promise of tomorrow. Although we must remain optimistic, it is important to note that although history does not repeat, it has a funny way of rhyming so to speak, and we must therefore learn from the lessons of yesterday to ensure our continued economic growth. We as Americans, and in a broader sense the world place far too much importance on the trivial matters of the state, and our nation, and our people, and our interests when in reality the ideas of nationalism and nativism and all these concepts as one are wildly outdated – perhaps at one time in history, the destinies of peoples and nations were wrapped up solely in the sphere of the singular state – but not any longer. The destinies and the fate of the world, of all the peoples of the world are inextricably linked and bound up with one another. We today are a true international community. Yet, we seldom see it as such. A common thread in history has been that of trade. It links us to faraway lands and places and to different cultures and peoples. This in turn causes a diffusion among men – we slowly overtime are becoming one. Though divisions persist, it has been trading and the progress of human ingenuity in regards to that very concept which have pushed the world to heights unforeseen in days bygone. The thread that unities us all is economics, class, and trade. One need only look to the European Union to understand the promise of such. The European project was at once started as an economic bloc, of the free passage of trade and goods, and resources. It was purely begun to promote peace amongst nations on the premise of trade amongst these nations1. Today, it is the closest the world has ever seen to a super-national above the singular state – enforcing laws, and regulations, policy, trade and travel amongst a wide and suffering array of people, cultures, lands and nations. And to think that only prior to inception the entirety of Europe was thrust in the course over fifty years two cataclysmic wars – not to mention the continents storied history of conflict. International trade plays an instrumental role in the economics of nations, and in the well being of states and their peoples – and it plays a vital role in the establishment of a more peaceful and united world2.

Through further economic integration we can assure a more peaceful and prosperous world for all individuals. The more tied up our economic business, and trade is the less likely we are to war with one another – as a single conflict could throw the whole of the world into utter disarray. The underlying hope of international trade is the prospect of the natural progression from sovereign governments into a more stable international federation of nation states working together to advance a collective economic interest that is just, fair and equitable towards all.

In lieu of nation states, a global body where all citizens are apart of a common brotherhood of man, who share in all the rights afforded under the charter of the United Nations, and with the backing of binding law, enshrined in law. The need for a greater expanded United Nations and an international parliamentary congress has been heightened intensely in the face of the perils we face in the twenty first century, and most importantly, in the next. A federation of states, similar to that of these United States, however, on a grand international weaving of the states of the world into one united body has been the ambition of the World Federalist Movement3, the ideal of the League of Nations, and the inevitable, and justifiable end for the United Nations.

The majority of people all around the world seek to live their lives for their families, and for the hope of both growing their own wealth and leaving opportunities for their children that they themselves would not otherwise have. There is great disparity in the living standards for the Western Nations of the world, and the developing world – a great deal of wealth and opportunity is simply not afforded to many nations and peoples across the world. A union, a federation of states internationally under binding international law would crush barriers to trade, mobility and be a central step toward the dire need for world peace. Peace has always been in the favor of the peoples of the world, but now more so than ever, as the question of our existence in the next fifty, hundred and with the optimism of human resolve, the next thousand years. We face crises today that find their roots throughout all of our history, and quickly and thunderously many of these questions are coming to a head. In other words, we are at the cliffs edge for this human project of ours.

Economic cooperation between nations lessens the risk of war, cooperation on human rights, the eradication of poverty, and the overall improvement of the lives of all persons cooperatively between the governments of the world under a binding supranational authority will indeed lessen the risk of war. The integration of our security forces into a world defensive arm will ensure the laws that establish peace remain enforced. An International Union of Labor representative of all workers ensuring and internationally normalizing equal pay, fair wages, and societal necessities in our ever-changing world. All these things and more, the limits of this system are only confined by a surplus or lack thereof of human imagination, ingenuity and spirit; the greater expanse of all that this ideology encompass can be a part of the next wave of international federalism, only through the expansion of our only truly democratic international body, the United Nations, can peace and stability and a sustainable future be secured for all coming time for all people now and forever.






  1. Anonymous. (2019, January 24). The history of the European Union. Retrieved from https://europa.eu/european-union/about-eu/history_en
  2. Harvard Hegre, John R. Oneal, Bruce Russet (2010, November 25). Trade does promote peace: New simultaneous estimates of the reciprocal effects of trade and conflict. Retrieved from https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0022343310385995#
  3. Anonymous. (date created unknown). The World Federalist Movement. Retrieved from http://wfm-igp.org/about/overview



Piece 39 – Journalistic Integrity in the Modern Age By. Raimondo Graziano

Journalistic Integrity in the Modern Age

By. Raimondo Graziano

           Journalistic integrity and the freedom of the press are on the foremost pillars of our democracy – the means to critique, judge, and in some cases expose the policies, prejudices, and character of individuals in government or power, or agencies or foreign governments keeps these individuals accountable and held to a standard. A standard that the public looks to, and uses to make their beliefs and opinions solidified, backed with truth. In essence, the free press helps to bolster our democracy by keeping persons in power accountable and in check, and keeps the public informed whereas to galvanize support or erode trust. However, this only works when the press publishes unbiased truth – not opinions. It is up to the public to form their  opinions, and the duty of the press to present the facts. It is also the duty of the press to be prudent and exercise judgement in regards to what it is they choose to publish and push out to the public. Too often today, the press pushes forth a false narrative or chooses to compromise the national security of the nation. This is irresponsible and unprofessional. The case of this is no where clearer, or as near to clear, as in the case of Julian Assange.

          Assange has, and has always had a poltical agenda – self motivated and propelled by his own vision of the truth, and the facts. He, himself is a small piece of the entirety of the journalistic community in many regards – the pillars of a free press are paramount to a functioning democracy,  but when the press is motivated by profit, and by ideology the press is no longer free, yet – at the same time- as the people tout its greatness, and importance, they are too naive to see that the hands of power and control have shifted from nonpartisan purveyors of truth, to wealth driven capitalistic snakes – but the press as an institution remains untouchable to critique and criticism. Yet, a press no longer governed by truth, can still take aim at all manner of people, policies and the like.

           This itself distorts the public’s comprehension of what is true and what is not – eroding trust in all of our institutions! The press like Assange, may have started out in this country as something from a place of good intentions. But corruption has overrun his intentions, and infected the execution of the seeking of the truth; and the same can be said for the press – the press has become corrupted, and driven by ideology and it is ripping the fabric of our society apart. Dividing and conquering by keeping us separate from one another in perhaps the most trying century in history.  Assange and the press should be held to a higher standard. Those that divide, compromise our national security, and purposefully seek to polarize the public deserve to be firstly held to a specific, concrete standard and secondly if they cannot uphold such a simple request – they should be dealt with appropriately regarding those that seek to undermine unity in an already tenuous and fragile world.

Old Howard Union

Issue Brief, 7 – Mindfulness