Memorial Day 2022

This day of recognition and sacrifice cannot be confined to the those that have served and died while serving in the military. There are many more that did not die but suffered the disabilities effecting mental health and lifelong physical pain.

We are surrounded by people who serve with bravery, and commitment. The obvious examples are police and fire fighters, but in truth there are many others whose memories we may want to honor for their valor. Included in the pantheon of other heroes are teachers, especially those teachers who have suffered and survived the tragedies we have seen lately.

There is an ever growing list of journalists that have serve in dangerous places, and sadly many have perished while in their passionate pursuit of the truth. And then there are the doctors that serve by helping victims of natural disasters and in war zones.

These above-mentioned people are among those that we should also honor today. Without our everyday heroes we would be poorer indeed. We salute them all.

This is a serious holiday, but it is also a time that we celebrate with our families. Enjoy your Memorial Day!

Essay on Energy

The prospect of having to deal with the most obnoxious regimes in the world is repugnant to all of us. On the other hand, we still need fossil fuels. The dilemma is where do we get them while we still need them. Bear in mind that this would be a moot point if we followed the roadmap set out by Jimmy Carter more than 40 years ago. We go through these “feast or famine” episodes with fossil fuels from time to time and that has to stop.

When Pearl Harbor was bombed this country transformed itself into a war machine that the world had never before seen. Japanese Admiral, Yamamoto was right when he said, “We have awakened the sleeping giant.”

Today we need to be awakened again. There are two enemies we need to fight. The first enemy is Climate Change, the other is being held hostage by some of the most hostile regimes on the planet.

We need an unmitigated effort to remove the strangle hold that bad actors have on America. Countries like the murderous Saudi Arabia, Iran, Russia, and Venezuela need to be made irrelevant. If we continue to put our fate in the hands of these countries, we will continue to be in a vulnerable position.

What is need is a massive effort that is equivalent to the “Manhattan Project.” This program will delve into every idea that has ever been considered. A program of this sort could help us refine existing technologies like solar and wind and implement them on a national scale to make them more efficient and more affordable. And, it could research and develop theoretical technologies including:

  • Small, modern nuclear power
  • Hot Rock Geothermal that mines and creates super-heated steam generation from the earth’s crust.
  • Ocean wave generation (This method is presently in use in Nova Scotia)
  • Liquid Hydrogen proposed by using surplus wind generation
  • River current generators
  • Space mounted solar panels that beam power back to earth by low power microwave and deliver power constantly day and night through rain and clouds. (See StarTram)

Deep commitment to research and development will get us to a place when fossil fuels are less, if not unneeded. (Think of whale oil) At the beginning of space exploration, we could probably name a handful of possible developments that could come out of space technology. As we progressed through the years, we developed hundreds of innovations that serve us every day. The need to develop more sophisticated computers, weather satellites, navigation satellites, communications systems that could only have been imagined, to name a few came out of the space program. The future is rich with possibilities.

With a very ambitious energy program we defeat the twin nemesis of global climate change and neutralizing hoodlum regimes that sell the world oil.

Award-Winning Broadcast Journalist Waldo Cabrera Discusses “Black History from an Afro-Caribbean Standpoint” at LIMBA

On February 25, Waldo Cabrera, an award-winning broadcast journalist, spoke at LIMBA’s (Long Island Metro Business Action) virtual meeting on the topic “Black History from an Afro-Caribbean Standpoint.”

During his presentation, Mr. Cabrera explained that the first documented slave revolt in the “New World” happened on December 26, 1521 in Hispaniola (now broken into two countries: Dominican Republic and Haiti). A group of African slaves who worked in the sugar plantations owned by Diego Columbus, son of the explorer Christopher Columbus, revolted. They tried to prove “they would not be submissive” and used violence and force during the uprising, Mr. Cabrera said. However, “it was not a good end for them,” he said, when Columbus ordered the military to end the revolt.

Last year, Mr. Cabrera worked with a group of students at City College of New York to bring the story to life. For the film, titled Visualizing Resistance, he spent six months with the students documenting the project, from planning to the final presentation. They also reviewed original documents from the Dominican Studies Institute to learn more about what really happened during the 1521 revolt.

By mid-December, the students completed their project. On the 500th anniversary of the revolt on December 26, 2021, the college issued a press release announcing the film’s completion. During his presentation, Mr. Cabrera showed the film to the LIMBA members.

“The students were more proud to be part of [the project], because they didn’t look at it as a race-centered project,” Mr. Cabrera said. “They were given a task to create a living document. … They knew they had to deliver on it.”

Mr. Cabrera also discussed a second slave revolt, this one having a more positive result. In 1791, African slaves in Haiti revolted against their masters, and “Haiti paid a dear price for that,” Mr. Cabrera said. This included the burning of the crops and battling French soldiers. In 1825, France recognized Haitian independence, but asked Haiti for 100 million Francs in reparations (equivalent to $21 billion today). According to Mr. Cabrera, it was largest slave revolt since Spartacus’ unsuccessful efforts against the Roman republic in 1900 B.C.

When asked what Black History Month meant to him, Mr. Cabrera replied, “Society tells you what color you are. To me, it’s a matter of reflection. It’s a matter of educating yourself on who you are and where you’re from. I like to focus on the positive aspects of where you come from. Others may understand Black History Month from an American standpoint; I understand it from an Afro-Caribbean standpoint. I seek voices from different angles.”

Mr. Cabrera is the Executive Producer of The National Video Journalists Network (NVJN). He has won an Emmy® award and numerous Long Island Folio and Press Club of Long Island Awards.

Martin Luther King Day, 2022

MLK Jr. Has always intrigued me as a leader. In his day he may have been viewed as a radical, but in fact he was just asking America to live up to the words that were so eloquently written by our founders. Our founding fathers were equally interesting. These individuals were as flawed a group of people as we are today, but they knew what was inspiring. They also knew that when inspirational goals are articulated you can move others to action.

MLK Jr. never asked anything of America that we didn’t already set down in print. Think about that for a moment and ask yourself, what could be smarter? He was saying to America “these are your words, not mine, now just live up to them”.

We have been building a “more perfect union” since our inception. We have succeeded in making life in America better over time. Sometimes it is two steps forward and one step back. That’s frustrating but it represents progress.

What is also interesting is that he did not try to change the world in one fell swoop, he challenged us on simple inequities. The freedom to use public facilities as easily as any other franchised American citizens. Riding on a bus and sitting on any vacant seat available would seem to be a simple matter, but it wasn’t. A sanitation worker being able to petition his employer for a living wage in Memphis should have been no more controversial that any other labor dispute, but it wasn’t.

What was also so interesting about this influential preacher was his dedication to non-violence. That course of action was part of his religion, but it was also in concert with actions and behavior of some influential leaders that preceded him. Among those examples were Gandhi, Mandela, and Jesus. His belief in non-violence was deep and sincere. He insisted that this course of action be imbued in those that he asked to follow him. That commitment to non-violence almost cost John Lewis his life. The cost to his followers was great but that course of action probably won over the most unlikely of allies.

President Lyndon Baynes Johnson was a product of the culture of the south. But he taught brown children when he was a young man and he had a place in his heart for the less privileged, white or black, but like so many he went along to get along.

When John F. Kennedy died and he now had the power, he vowed that he would use it. Martin Luther King Jr. forged a working relationship with LBJ and Johnson’s speeches were the road map of where this was all going. This relationship between these two men was deep, real, and sincere. Out of that leadership was born the Civil Rights Act that President Johnson was so proud of.

Essay note:  Steve DePass was the cultural ambassador under JFK and was hired by Johnson several times to create entertainment programs at the ranch after LBJ became president. Steve helped me write the last two paragraphs. I am in constant contact with this wonderful human being.

Ernie Fazio

Labor Day Observations 2021

The labor movement has been a boon to the craftsmen and craftswomen in the western world. Let’s remind ourselves of the reasons why.

The standing of labor had its fits and starts and multiple setbacks, but the sense of what fairness is has a way of persevering.

The labor practices of the bad old days are quite stark. Child labor, particularly in coal mines were a scandal of epoch proportions. The coal mine companies liked using children in mines because they were small and could crawl into the narrow veins of coal, they were also fearless of the dangers, and they were utterly powerless. We otherwise think of the labor movement as a struggle to get fair wages and benefits and of course it is that. Of equal importance, it is the establishment of deserved respect for the working people of the country.

The only wealth that is ever created is with the brains in our heads and the skill of our hands. Other than that, there is no wealth. Wall street executives, corporate leaders, lawyers, and accountants are all able to demand good compensation and they all may very well be needed in our society, but they create no wealth.

On the other hand, that crew of workers that are finishing the work on your new house created a substantial amount of wealth. Are they fairly compensated? Perhaps, but what they get is what they are able to negotiate from the general contractor or by rules of the local union.

It is interesting that those people who spoke on the behalf of labor have for the most part have been laboring people themselves. But here is an intellectual sense of equitable treatment of our fellow citizens, and that is the motivation of people such as the Roosevelts. TR Roosevelt saw the trend to monopoly as a detriment of the common citizen. His efforts to curtail monopolies created competition which had the effect of making products less expensive and more available.

Franklin Roosevelt was the champion of the working class more directly. Were these men doing these things for their own political gain? Perhaps, but those are examples of political drives that are good for the country. I am more of the mind that personal values were the larger motivating factors for them.

FDR sought dignity for working people by having them create durable infrastructure such as the two draw bridges that were built in my childhood neighborhood on Jamaica Bay. They built very durable post office buildings as well as a number of other federal building projects. That is not all. Writers were employed to write plays and artists were asked to paint pictures depicting moments in American history in federally owned post offices. Young men were sent into the countryside to plant trees.

The point of these efforts was the recognition that there is dignity in work. We sometimes hear people speak about work as something to be avoided, it is not, it is something to be embraced, with the understanding that work should be properly compensated.

The closing point is there is dignity in work-all work. Enjoy your Labor Day.