The Oligarchy Times: How the President could Really Change the World

The Oligarchy Times, Volume 2, Issue 2

In the past, I have made suggestions for the President that he was highly unlikely to act upon. I have a few very realistic actions that President Obama could take that will take care of several issues and truly change the world:

1) His dropping pole results
2) Fuel costs in the US
3) The loss of the US’s position as a true super power
4) Unemployment
5) Our impotent threats against Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine

If he would drive getting rid of ridiculous EPA prohibitions against fracking and northern drilling and push for the passing of the XL pipeline, we could take a large portion of that oil, sell it to European nations dependent on Russian oil at a rate far lower than Russia’s, and bankrupt the Russian economy by removing that income stream.  We could win that “war” without deploying a single soldier or firing a single bullet.  Fuel costs in the US would drop, we’d have a viable economic weapon to diplomiatically impact the world for good, tens of thousands of jobs would be created, and Russia would be forced to stop these invasions that are based on its stabilizing its major income stream.  It could happen.

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One reason why I am changing careers

I am changing careers.  After 25 years as a technologist, I am going into instruction and training.  I resigned my position as a business analyst in early August and stepped out in faith.  Originally, it was because my former employer could not place me in a business analyst position.  As I began to look for business analyst positions, I found that the fact I had been working in a different aspect of Information Technology for over one year severely impacted my ability to get a business or systems analyst position.  Instead of lamenting that, I have chosen to make a change.  Those who know me know that my passion is for education, particularly adult education.  I am devoting myself to changing to a career that involves instruction, training, and instructional design.

I have an application for a full time instructor position at a college that offers online instruction.  In a discussion with the recruiter for that position, I explained that one of my burdens for going into education is the plight of the combat veteran, who after leaving the service, finds that combat skills are not highly prized in the civilian workforce.  I wrote the following to her:

Sadly, the greatest danger to combat veterans these days is not the battlefield; it is coming home.  By Labor Day, more veterans will have killed themselves in 2013 than died in the entire Iraqi conflict.  When I was in seminary, I volunteered to serve in the first conflict as a chaplain.  The law does not allow seminarians to deploy overseas, but I was allowed to serve as a chaplain at Ft. Hood as part of the recovery effort in 1991.  I was on the ground for 18 hours when I was called to the Psychiatric ward of Darnell Army Medical Center.  One of our soldiers tried to kill himself by taking 400 Tylenol because he couldn’t cope with life after war.  One in four homeless people are veterans.  Remote education is a weapon to combat those problems.  Veterans can start to learn before they leave the service.  Veterans that have returned but are facing unemployment or underemployment can go to school after business hours.  Not having a meaningful job can lead to despondency.  Despondency is dispelled by hope.  Hope comes from a knowledge that something better is possible.  Career-focused education can provide hope.

There are three types of occupations: jobs, professions, and callings.  A job is something you take to put food on the table, regardless of what the duties are or if there is room for advancement.  You have obligations and are committed to meeting them.  Having a job is a fine and noble thing.  A profession is an occupation that your are committed to for the long haul.  You work extra hours, go to school for it, attend seminars and workshops to improve your skills, and take risks to demonstrate just how good you are.  Professions are also fine and noble.  A calling is a profession that is so all-encompassing that you cannot be satisfied with anything else.  A calling drives you to sacrifice.  A calling keeps you up at night and makes you excited for the next opportunity to operate within it.  My calling is in education.

I have made many applications and have some solid leads, but as with any career change, especially when you are older, finding positions is challenging.  If you know of an opportunity, please let me know or pass along my résumé (the link is below).

Andrew Knaster – Resume

Numbers don’t lie, politicians do

In this debate season we are hearing all sorts of numbers from politicans that tell us how wonderful they are and how evil their opponents are.  If you don’t care much for the truth, take the numbers at face value and stop reading at this point.

Since you care about the truth, let me tell you a story of numbers to show how accurate numbers can be used to deceive.  When I was a lieutenant in the Army in the 1980’s, I played goalkeeper for my post’s soccer team.  I was a very average goalkeeper.  Because Ft. Bliss was a NATO post, we got to play teams from other nations.  One game that we played was against the team from the United Arab Emirates.  If you were to ask me how our team did, I could have honestly answered by saying, “I stopped 50 shots on goal.”  That sounds impressive.  If you were to ask me a follow-up question like, “How many shots on goal did they take?,” to be honest I would have answered 63.  With one answer, I sounded ready for the U.S. World Cup team.  With the other answer, I sounded to be as porous as Spongebob Squarepants. One last question would give you some real meaningful information.  It is “How many goals did your team score?”  The answer is 1.  We lost 13 to 1.

Mr. Obama claims that during his administration 4.5 million new jobs were created.  That number is correct.  However, the combination of workers retiring at an older age and the addition of new workers to the job force mean that to break even, 90,000 new jobs must be created each month.  He has been president for 46 months.  46 times 90,000 equals 4.14 million.  4.5 minus 4.14 equals 360,000 net jobs added.  Claiming 4.5 million new jobs when people think that a net gain of 4.5 million jobs occurred is a lie.  When someone asks me how my team did in a soccer game, that person wants to if we won or lost.  If I tell that person that I stopped 50 shots on goal, I am lying to that person because I am making that person think we did well.

Here is one more numerically accurate lie.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported unemployment at 7.8% at the end of the summer, something Mr. Obama took credit for.  That number was somewhat accurate depending on how you define “employed.”  The lie is tied up in the fact that millions of college students who were employed full-time through the end of August left their jobs to return to school.  A reasonable person hearing the number 7.8% unemployment in mid-October thinks that is the current unemployment figure.  It isn’t and that’s why it is a lie.