Yet another blog for spewing. This one may end up with a lot of religious and social content.


To The President

Dear President Obama,

First, congratulations. After the longest interview with the most grueling team of interviewers imaginable, you've finally started the job. A big event, lots of attention, all of that went with it. Lots of expectations are on you, and you have a nearly impossible job ahead.

After the social go-rounds, the photo ops, the interviews, the pomp and circumstance you will go back to the oval office to get down to work.

You will have several things working against you:
  1. Unreasonable expectations - people expect you to walk on water and fix the nation with a flourish of your pen. Impossible to meet them all.
  2. Congress - they all have their own agendas, their lobbyists who line their pockets, and their egos that need feeding. This is both parties - they all suckle at the corporate teat.
  3. The rest of the world - some people will never give up their hatreds and age-old vendettas. Some you won't be able to budge. Some you may have to shoot.
  4. Inertia - this, perhaps, is the most insidious of all. It's a fundamental fact of physics, and is also incorporated in human nature. People don't want to change, to do the hard things.
  5. Your own allies - I learned a long time ago that I could trust everyone implicitly... to do whatever they and their hindbrain believed was in their own best interests. Not what they say, but what they do. When you want them to do the difficult, they will balk.
You have a lot to try to fix. Here's my advice on how to do it:
  1. Economy - no bailouts for businesses, period. They gambled, they lost. Don't reward losers. Instead, bankroll new businesses that will pledge to spend their seed money in the US, and hire US citizens and green card holders. Build the new, don't prop up the old and failed.
  2. Technology - get rid of the H1(b) malarky. American citizens and green card holders are being laid off while companies are importing indentured labor at lower pay. Create incentives for companies to retrain existing staff on new technologies, rather than fire them and import slaves, er, foreign scabs, guest workers.
  3. Science - de-politicize science, and stuff a sock in the mouth of the people who object to science due to religion. That sock is a lack of funding, and regulatory disfavor. Then promote (fund) research and space exploration. Help get our eggs into more than one basket.
  4. Healthcare - get the damned insurance bloodsuckers out of it entirely. Either make all insurers have to be non-profit, or invest in single payer healthcare. Either way, take the profit (and greed) motive out of keeping people alive and heathy.
  5. Foreign policy - get our own house in order before we muck around with someone elses. If we have to take any action, make it a) well planned, b) goal oriented, and c) quick. No open ended wars.
  6. Domestic policy - end these stupid "wars" on (some) drugs, (blue collar) crime, (foreign only) terror and such. To call a thing a "war" on a concept is just stupid, and dooms it to failure. Also, dump the title "Czar" - it's just plain nasty, and sits poorly with the American ideal.
  7. Oil - Look really closely into oil company profits. Really close. Supply is increasing, but cost at the pump is going up too. Someone's pocketing the difference, and it isn't the little guys. Maybe prosecute profiteering and price fixing under RICO.
  8. Energy - A multimodal approach is best, here. While solar and wind are cool, and low impact, don't take nuclear power off the table. Dust off the old, supposedly debunked, machines, and take a second look. Most of them will still be bunk, but some may actually have been buried by pressure from oil interests.
  9. Education - Start with basics. Then, take a close look at the fallacy of "mainstreaming", and the disservice it does to kids at both ends of the bell curve. Teach high school students real life survival skills like cooking, laundry, budgeting, interviewing, balancing a checkbook, living with roomies, credit vs saving, etc.
  10. College - Fund and encourage more industry/college crossover instructors. One thing that pretty much ruined my college days was an ivory tower mentality that disdained the technicians who actually did the work, and made the goofy ideas that they dreamed up work. Encourage schools to use real-world books as texts, instead of the expensive "college books" that financially ruin kids for no practical gain.
  11. Religion - Don't cozy up with the religious right. Yes, they are "Christians", but not all of the country is like them, or even in the JCI (Judeo-Christian-Islamic) religious chain. They do not support the rule of law, but the rule of their nasty version of a God. They want a theocracy, governed by believers guided by pastors and scriptures, not a republic that protects the rights of all.
  12. Military - Less deployment, better equipment, more support at home when injured. Stop deploying Guard overseas, stop perma-posting regular units as "civil control" at home in violation of Posse Comitatus. Caesar should not cross the Rubicon.
  13. Military Chaplaincy/Religion- Clean up the mess. The theocrats are trying to take this over, making the Middle East mess into a crusade. A heavily "Christian Warrior" mentality in our military is bad for our republic - they would support a theocratic coup.
  14. Veterans - Miltary service should guarantee lifetime medical care. Military personnel often encounter dangers that are not fully understood until years later. Allowing only 2 years healthcare after separation from service is an insult to those who are willing to die for us.
  15. Ethics - WWJD? => What Would Jefferson Do? The new rules on revolving doors are a start.
  16. Rights - We all should have equal rights. Either work for full marriage rights for LGBT, or to remove "marriage" as a concept from US civil law. Either way works. Why should someone get more tax breaks because of their orientation giving them the right to marry?
So, there's a start. It'll keep you busy for the first year or so, in fact, considering that you have to work with a giant committee (lots of egos, no brain) like Congress.

Good luck, Mr. President. You've started off on the right foot, but the low hanging fruit is almost gone. Now the tough stuff starts.

-- Ravan Asteris


Happy New Year??

So, I did my predictions over on my LiveJournal and my InsaneJournal. I suppose I could have put them here and linked them, but I didn't think of that.

I am eagerly waiting for January 20th, because even with his Christianoid biases Obama should be miles better than Bush. At least he pays attention to more than just "The Great Commission", and instead looks to Matthew 25 (poverty, homelessness, healthcare). It beats the neocon "I've got mine, here's your Armageddon with a side of imperialism." all to hell.

Still, we could do better. When a Christian can openly run for president, and be considered a serious candidate then we will truly live up to the Constitutional "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust" (Article 6). The proper answer to the question of whether Obama was a Muslim or not was not "Oh, no, he's Christian!", it should have been "What does his religion matter?" and "Who cares? It's not a church position!".

Yes, it's a start that we actually have a Muslim congressman (Rep. Keith Ellison), but he's still part of the JCI religious group. This doesn't just apply to neo-pagans. Frankly, I haven't seen a credible atheist or agnostic candidate either. How about a Hindu, a Sikh, a Buddhist or Shinto, or a Native American practitioner? Seriously, there are a lot of other widely practiced religions that get very short shrift in this country.

So, in the next 4 years, we need to try to wean the US away from the Christian-centric focus of religious dialog. Instead of asking "Who Would Jesus Bomb?", we should ask "What is the Ethical Thing to Do?". Then we can talk about public conduct, right and wrong, fairness, equality, and helping people without dragging someone's holy book into the mix.