Puerto Rico: Helping part of the USA, and part of Connecticut’s family

Connecticut is home to the largest proportion of Puerto Ricans in the continental United States, so it is expected that we will see one of the largest influxes of U.S. citizens coming from Puerto Rico to the mainland. Although it’s difficult to estimate the exact number of new arrivals, the state has received over 700 calls from people displaced from the Island and who need help.

It’s time to remember the forgotten war, too

“Happy Veterans’ Day, Thank you for your service, God Bless America, God Bless You, Sir or Ma’am” are greetings offered to veterans each year around November 11, originally called Armistice Day, celebrating the end of World War I, “the war to end all wars” that has become a legal holiday officially called Veterans Day. Over the coming weekend, throughout the country and here at home in Connecticut, cities and towns will honor and celebrate the contributions and sacrifices of generations of Americans who volunteered or who were drafted into military service during times of war and peace.

Divisiveness: A weapon of mass destruction

Divisiveness is a weapon of mass destruction. It destroys families, communities, and countries. It’s a plague. It sickens, weakens, and often kills its infected hosts who refuse to realize, until its too late, that their ignorant assumptions of someone or something not of their tribe — the other, the stranger, the religion, or the ideology — can lead to mass social destruction if we put fear and hatred reflexively ahead of listening and understanding.

Antifascism is more than you might think

Four years ago, when I was writing a book on the history of antifascism in the United States, I told a colleague at the University of Connecticut what I was working on.  “Antifascism?” he said.  “Not many people on the other side of that!”

How quaint that comment now seems.  At the time, it reflected an unfamiliarity with the term “antifascism” in the United States.  To me, the comment was also a healthy affirmation of antifascism’s commonsense ring.  But that was before the election of an openly white nationalist President who has gone out of his way to demonize what he calls “ant-e-fuh.”  Now, thanks to the Trumpian turn, there are plenty of people on the other side of that.

‘My people are in the dark, thirsty, hungry and alone’

I am in Hartford, where I live, but now my mind is somewhere else. I believe that I share the same feelings held by people from Louisiana, Texas and Florida when they were flooded and beaten by a string of powerful and mean hurricanes. It is a feeling of abandonment and sorrow. My people are in the dark, thirsty, hungry and alone.

Government always matters

Our natural rush to respond to disasters brings out the collective best in us to help each other survive and recover. It unifies us. Let’s capitalize on this unifying spirit to mitigate the occurrence of self-inflicted disasters. Disasters caused by how we may choose to negotiate international diplomacy; to send our military into harms way; to address economic growth and security; to understand science; and to enforce the rights and fair treatment of the abused and vulnerable. Being passive observers won’t do. We must rush to help our government focus on creating a common good that is meant for all of us. To avoid self-inflicted disasters our leaders must choose wisely, and choose our leaders wisely we must.

The Constitution is 230 years old

As countries go, the United States is one of the relative youngsters, nevertheless, our constitution is the longest lasting constitution in human history. So, Happy Birthday to the most important document in the life of every American citizen, a document which represents and embodies the freedoms that we have been enjoying for the last 230 years.

The Blue Water Navy vets need your help

There are an estimated 1,800 Vietnam Blue Water Navy Veterans in Connecticut. They are not entitled to VA Benefits due to exposure to herbicides, aka Agent Orange. The Agent Orange Act of 1991 was implemented to provide much-needed care to veterans who were exposed to the harmful chemical cocktail Agent Orange. In 2002, the VA amended its initial plan and excluded thousands of “Blue Water” Navy vets — vets who served right off the coast — from receiving their rightful benefits.

Senator, military action will not solve the North Korean problem

Sen. Richard Blumenthal’s comments (reported Aug. 10 in the article entitled “Blumenthal: North Korea strike near Guam would put military action on the table”) place too much emphasis on escalating threats. The idea that an exchange of threats or actual violence will resolve any differences with North Korea is at best ill-informed, and at worst, war mongering that only perpetuates our ongoing path of endless wars.

A military response may be our only option with North Korea

The American president has one job: to prevent the detonation of nuclear weapons. Everything else – the economy, the Supreme Court, the environment, Obamacare, the Russian scandal du jour etc. – is irrelevant. Thus, President Trump has three issues he must address:  the first is North Korea, the second is North Korea and the third is North Korea.