Labor Day 2022

There is no wealth in the world that did not emanate from working hands of the craftsman and/or the intellect of a worker.

The portent of that observation should be obvious.

As a young man I had the opportunity to be an elected official in a union. In the course of that work I made it my business to learn about the history of labor, not only here in America, but also the world.

It has been a rocky road to reaching equity and that journey toward fairness is not yet complete. On the other hand, the labor movement has much to be proud. However, the movement has been fraught with fits and starts. Setbacks were sometimes the outcomes of politics, and at other times politics favored the working class.

The labor movement is complex. We sometimes think it is about wages and benefits and that certainly is true. But it is so much more than that. It is about the dignity of the worker. It is about raising the horizon of what is possible for the children of the worker to imagine themselves in positions of science, teaching, medicine or any number of pursuits. Some will choose to remain in the crafts of their parents.

When I refer to workers, I am not limiting my remarks to what we refer to as “blue collar”. We need to respect all workers. There have been people in professional positions that never knew that they might need the strength provided by organized labor. They are learning that they are wrong.

 Labor organizations are needed. They are not the adversaries of the owner class: they are the partners of the captains of industry. In Germany where that concept is recognized, it is not unusual to have a labor representative sitting on the board of directors.

My hope is that we create the kind of respect for one another that furthers the goals of this great country that is America: goals that celebrate individuals and the country as a whole.

Have a happy and fun Labor Day

Ernie Fazio

A message on this July Fourth

The Journey to a More Perfect Union

A few years ago, my wife and I were hosting a dinner party at our home in Centerport. We were talking about the Fourth of July holiday. There were ten people around the table of various backgrounds. Two of the guests were black men of considerable accomplishments, Waldo and Steve.

I posed this question to the group. In the year 1776 not all of the colonists were for revolution. Some of us would probably be loyalists, so who among us think they would be revolutionaries, and who among us think that they would be loyalists? With no hesitation Waldo shot back, “Steve and I would be serving tea.”

While that quick witted remark got a big laugh, it reminded me of where we were and what we have become. It also reminded me of how far we must still travel. The road to making “a more perfect union” is a long and winding one. We are still on that magnificent journey, and as we have made progress, at no time should we waste any energy on patting ourselves on the back.

As I contemplate the meaning of our nation and view the flag on the fourth of July, or any day for that matter, I realize that beautiful symbol of freedom and democracy has flown over this country when women could not vote, when our black brothers and sisters were enslaved, and when we deprived the native peoples of this continent of their land. We can look back at our history and be sorry for the wrongs, but at the same time be proud of our forward march. A forward march to a more just society made possible by the written documents that support the principles we fight for every day.

Our founding fathers had an intellect that was superior to the norms of their times. I believe they were under no illusions that they had delivered a true democracy, but what they gave us was a roadmap that works toward that goal. We’re not perfect. We still have work to do. I invite all my fellow Americans to put their shoulders to the wheel that moves us forward.

Many years ago Irving Berlin wrote “God Bless America” In that song was the phrase “stand beside her and guide her through the night with the light from above……..” Asking for blessings now is appropriate. I say Amen!

At the same time, let’s enjoy the celebration. Happy Fourth!

Ernie Fazio

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