Archive for September, 2013

Open Letter to Jerry Brown: Release the Prisoners Held for Using Drugs and Realize Alcohol Is The Most Dangerous Drug of All

The prisons are crowded because people are incarcerated for victimless crimes. Using an illegal drug is not a reason to put a person in jail Nor is selling an illegal drug a reason to put a person in jail.

When a person uses alcohol and drives a car he endangers all of society. DUI’s are the most dangerous drug addicted people in our society. Yet, their criminal activities are treated as though they are normal mistakes like spilling milk. Witness the ludicrous Aldon Smith situation with San Francisco’s football team.

Governor Brown, it is time you reclaimed your liberal hat and put down the “law’ ‘n order” persona that might win elections but does nothing for the betterment of mankind. Think of the enormous amount of money that could be saved by treating drugs and drug use in a responsible way. Clearly people have been using recreational drugs for a long time and they are not going to stop no matter how many laws are passed nor how many users and dealers are locked away.

Pennsylvania sold alcohol in state stores when I was a kid. This is a fine idea for several reasons and, not just for alcohol, but for all drugs. First, if the retail profits accrued to the people of the state, the glorification of drugs by the media would rapidly diminish. One reason of many that the NFL gladly glossed over Smith’s DUI is because of the large amount of alcohol advertising that seems to follow spectator sports. If there were no advertisements for beer maybe the response to Smith would have been more mature. He would have been banned from the league, fined and sent to rehabilitation.

Further if drugs are sold in state stores, then the only way to get wine, beer or hard alcohol late at night would be by going into a bar and drinking there. In a bar the proprietor would be able to determine whether or not the customer had already drunk too much. The police in turn would know where to check for drunk drivers.

Tobacco, cannabis and other drugs like cocaine and heroin could also be sold in state stores. Less widely used drugs might offered in fewer stores. Those that are inherently dangerous could be coupled with counseling.

But ending the illusion that the so called hard drugs are dangerous and alcohol is not would be reason enough in and of itself to take alcohol off the shelves of supermarkets and put in a controlled store where it belongs.

Safe, clean and pure drugs that were available until 6PM would limit the binge using at parties where kids make beer runs at 1AM and then drive home. It would save lives and make money for the state. Rehab programs that were free would easily be paid for by small taxes on the drugs. Eventually most drug addicted people see the need to stop. Why not finance their wellness with the taxes on drugs and alcohol instead of using money for prisons?

Imagine a world where you had to be 21 to go into a state store to buy alcohol. This alone would cut down on teen age drinking. Programs for people who inject drugs would cut down on serious blood born diseases. The availability of safe drugs in a safe environment would reduce the stigma of drug use and allow otherwise healthy individuals a chance to see that their drug use is no different, no worse than people who use alcohol or tobacco. The immediate enhancement in the self-esteem of the drug users might help them to enter rehab that much sooner.

The fiction that marijuana is a dangerous drug has been a source of wealth for the alcohol industry for years. In fact drunk driving goes down in states where medical marijuana is legal because many people use alcohol as a substitute for marijuana. Clearly the big loser in the movement towards legalization of other recreational drugs is the alcohol industry. The police for years have spent endless hours arresting people for drugs, planting drugs on those they want to arrest and in general feeding a prison system that is out of control. The sentencing of lower class crack cocaine users to lengthly jail sentences while ignoring the users of more expensive powdered cocaine proves that at least part of the war on drugs is class warfare.

As a concerned resident of California I suggest you pardon the thousands in jail for marijuana related crimes and other drug users and sellers. In addition I suggest you use the model from Pennsylvania to distribute recreational drugs in state stores. This will be both profitable and by not glamorizing drug use result in a reduced use of drugs.

In addition I suggest the “three strikes law” be examined carefully. To me it clearly violates the constitution of the United States as it is both cruel and unusual to sentence a person to life in prison for crimes that merit far lessor sentences if any at all.

If you do these things the California prison population will be substantially reduced and the quality of life improved for all but the prison unions, corrupt police and private prison industry. And I may reluctantly add, the politicians who feast on donations by the same.

At one time alcohol was banned in the United States. It was banned because it is a dangerous drug. It was made legal again because there is a huge demand for recreational drugs. Commonly promoted is the idea that the Prohibition Era was a great failure. But health both social and individual improved during that time. There were less divorces, less illness related to alcohol and less suicides.

There is huge difference between making recreational drugs and illegal and treating them as though they are harmless. A moderate road is the best one. In a free society recreational drugs should be sold by the state and taxed so that needed rehab is free and paid for by those who use the drugs. The free market approach to selling drugs at the cheapest prices and then forcing all society to pay the costs for rehab, sickness and accidents is plain stupid and intellectually indefensible. There is a huge gulf between the libertarian view of free access to any drug at “market” cost and the view that all drug use is a crime. The state should carefully regulate, sell and insure the quality of various recreational drugs. Time to use both sense and common sense and declare the war on drugs over. And finally it is time to acknowledge that alcohol is the most dangerous of all recreational drugs. Just because it is legal it does not change facts. No other drug causes fatalities through suicide, homicide and car “accidents” as much as alcohol. This is a danger to society in addition to being a danger to the health of the user that is well known.

So Governor Brown please govern like a liberal. Release the people who are in jail for victimless crimes, save the tax payers millions and do the right thing for the citizens of your state. If you want to be the “law’ ‘n order” governor then pass a law that requires DUIs to wear bracelets like sexual criminals. This would enable police to track their movements, see their cars weaving out of control and get them off the roads before they kill more innocent people.

Update on Oracle 9/11/13

Quick Summary: Watch and Wait for a Better Price

Oracle is one of the premier companies of the new economy. Unless you are a tech expert that works with multinational or very large domestic companies, a government agency that has a need for their products or have a degree in computer sciences you probably like me don’t fully understand Oracle or their products. Databases, servers from Sun Microsystem and software for businesses sums up there enterprise.

Oracle makes lots of money and is competitive with only SAP and a few other companies. The never ending thirst for data by corporations and governments seems like it puts Oracle in a sweet spot of some kind.

Technically Oracle’s Point and Figure chart is on a sell signal. Oracle peaked at 36 near the beginning of the year and has sold off after forming a double top on the Renko chart early this year. (see below).

(click to enlarge)Oracle Point and Figure Daily

(click to enlarge)Oracle Renko Daily

The stock has recently changed to a buy signal on the daily Renko chart. The monthly and weekly P&F charts are still both on sell signals. Therefore entering here is not without risk. Ideally all the long term signals, Renko, Kagi, P&F, and Three Line Break charts should reverse to a buy on the daily, weekly and monthly charts to certify that the stock has resumed its uptrend and will take out its old high. Currently Oracle is giving mixed signals. Therefore caution is called for. The stock yields a meager 1.5 percent. That could mean the stock is ultimately going to be cut in half to yield 3 percent or that Wall Street insiders see more growth in the database and cloud related software Oracle sells and that Oracle will be growth stock evaluations for some time to come.

If it is cut to 15.50 the stock would yield 3 percent and you could sell covered calls to increase your yield. Not bad. But if your entry price is 36 you will have to live long and prosper to recover your money should growth stagnate or should Wall Street decide that Oracle does not have much growth left.

So for the time being Oracle should just be watched. It has multiple sell signals and the entire market may be headed for a correction. For years Oracle bounced between 22 (2007) and 14.x (2008-9). It then appeared to break out in 2011 and zoomed up to the mid thirties which has marked the top of the trading range for the period 2011-13.

If and when Oracle approaches 24 to 26 selling the 2015 or 16 puts at 22 to 26 levels would be a reasonable trade with a high probability of success. That appears to be the bottom of the new trading range. Market turmoil should drive Oracle down to the low twenties eventually. Of course if the pattern breaks down and Oracle tumbles to the teens then the trade is going to be one that results in a loss. If Oracle holds to the new bottom then with any good news it should recover and the trade will make a nice profit. Or it is possible that the current bull market pushes Oracle higher now in which case this trade won’t work.

A good options trade would be to sell the $20 2015 put for $4. Currently it is priced at less than $1. Therefore the stock would have to fall 12 points or so or there would need to be a flash crash to get that price. With the war drums sounding, don’t believe it can’t happen.

If you have a little money to invest in Oracle this strategy is very conservative and really the stock may never see $20 again but if it does your put position would give you the stock at 16 where it would be yielding 3 percent. Otherwise you would just keep the cash which is not a bad alternative.

Apple Breaking Bad Now Features the FBiPhone

Apple’s refusal to make a larger phone has reached the point of insanity and is almost quite funny if you are not an investor. The rumors were right and Apple intends to launch different colors of phones not different sizes? This is a sure sign that the upper management of Apple has to go and go quickly. The new iPhone 5c is cheaper than the “old” iPhone and is replacing the old iPhone which will no longer be made. So “c” for cheap? This is the company that produced some of the best ads ever? Instead a new iPhone 5s which is essentially the same as the iPhone 5 will also replace it. The iPhone 5, a despised product won’t be missed, and unlike its predecessors will not be reduced in price and kept for sale. The iPhone 5s has fingerprint technology in it. Really? This is what consumers have been demanding and anticipating? iMac like colors and J. Edgar Hoover in cell?

First everyone with large hands, anyone who is near sighted or has uncorrected astigmatism, or just likes a large phone, has been waiting for Apple to catch up to the S class phone and the Galaxy Note for three years now.

Second a full 75% of folks stick their phones in a case, that means they can buy a case any color they want. No need for a colored phone because you will never see the color of the actual phone. So WTF? Eye candy aimed at teenagers who can’t afford the phones anyway? And if the want Eye Candy on their phone, guess what? There is a company that makes cases called Eye Candy.

Third I have never heard a person say I really need a different color of phone but I know plenty of people who are sick of the small iPhone and want one that is S class device or Note class all in one in that size and configuration.

Fourth a large phone should be cheaper. In theory the cost of designing all that stuff to fit into a small space costs more than putting it into a big space.

So the reason Apple has not made a large phone? The rule of thumb. When Samsung launched the S class phones Apple was expected to follow shortly with a comparable product. This was a no brainer. The S class put Samsung on the map. It buried Blackberry, Windows, and Nokia. Apple responded by announcing the rule of thumb in an advertisement. The refusal to make a larger phone was based solely on the idea that the thumb must reach across the phone. Thus an advertisement which in years past had given reasons to buy a product now gave reasons why not to buy a competitors product. What is wrong with that picture? Because the phone had to be of a size so that a certain sized person could use it one handed (while driving with the other?) a larger phone was unusable and unwanted because this particular guy could not roam the entire screen with his thumb. Had to be the worst advertisement in Apple’s history. That was ridiculous enough but Tim Cook then doubled down on the rule of thumb in a conference call during an earnings report. He said Apple would not be making a larger phone to compete with not just the S class and by now nearly every other phone maker out there but Blackberry. There would be no product to compete with the Note either because of the rule of thumb! Hard to believe. Someone should have showed Tim Cook pictures of people’s hands. Believe it or not hands come in different sizes.

So now we can different color phones. This mimics the “Colors Everywhere” iMac that Jobs so successfully launched with the Rolling Stone song. But a colorful computer was distinct from the beige desert of bland boxes of Dell, Intel and Microsoft products that polluted the interiors of offices everywhere. Plus the color of the iMacs stood out anywhere and everywhere they were used. No one put a case on an iMac. And they were very large. Lots of purple, tangerine, and grape. For reasons stated above the color of the phone is inconsequential. There is a huge demand for a larger phone. The S class and Galaxy Note are taking sales away from Apple every quarter. Since Apple’s great visionary passed away EPS has now declined every quarter year over year. Had Apple simply made a larger phone that customers want, an all in one like the note which would also count towards iPhone sales, year over year EPS would have likely continued to increase. The only reason Apple is not making a larger phone is that Tim Cook is in charge of Apple. His decision to keep the iPhone at an odd size is his and his alone. At some point he will pay the price as Apple shareholders have now.

Why Hillary Clinton Lost the Democratic Nomination to Obama and Why She Will Lose Again to Elizabeth Warren

The Corporate Media anointed Hillary Clinton as the first female president long ago.  She was certain to be the nominee of the Democratic or should I say “Democrat” party in 2008.  All you had to do was read the New York Times or watch CNN and after a few weeks you knew her place in history was assured.  Corporate America and the multinational businesses that wield almost unchallenged influence or perhaps control over the political process of the USA were completely happy with her.  She was not a threat.   John Edwards was a threat.  He talked like RFK.  He mentioned words like equality and poverty.  Kucinich was also liberal and therefore he had to be crushed.  Both were.

 

Her own campaign saw her as invincible.  However, her campaign was a case of prevent defense gone wild.  For her to lose the lead that she had (38 percent at one time), it took extraordinary skill and cunning execution.  Only the brilliance of Mark Penn born January 15, 1954 could be counted on to ride Secretariat to certain defeat.  How could he do this?  How could he and she achieve the unachievable in 2008?  And why will Hillary Clinton likely be vulnerable again?   Maybe the date of Penn’s birth explains it all.  

Many a word has been wasted in ink and pixel in vain attempts to attribute her loss to whatever the author’s pet theme is or whatever corporate America needs to hear to make it feel reassured. 

Before taking my own guess, I would like to examine and debunk some other theories most of which are nonsense.  First there is the idea that Clinton did not lose the election but rather Obama won.  He simply had a greater appeal to Democrats than she did.  His organization was better.  And finally his style impressed voters.  And most weirdly he had an advantage because he was black.  However, that is not reality.  

 

His message of “change”, whatever that is, was for the general election.  Primary voters are focused on issues, so this simple mantra (while resonating with the ignorant masses and reassuring to Wall Street that there is no progressive movement which threatens their money and power) did not win him primaries in California and caucuses in other states where issues matter.  Change is advertising.  It is not a position on an issue or a meaningful statement.  It is just a sound bite and a simple advertisement repeated over and over.  The word “change” did not defeat Hillary Clinton.  That his organization was better is self-evident. His style though was of a form that would appeal to some but not all voters.  The fact is primary voters are focused on the issues and once the two true liberals were out of the running, the most educated and informed backers of Edwards and Kucinich had to make the choice between Obama and Clinton.  They chose Obama.  Why?  How did this right wing Democrat get the most liberal Democrats to pass over Hillary and vote for him?

 

Other theories blame the voters.  Claire McCaskill drew the odd conclusion that the liberal Democrats who voted for Obama and not Clinton were sexist.  If they had voted for Hillary undoubtedly they would have been racist.  Some claim that Obama got the black vote and this tilted the elections in his favor.  But actually Hillary did well in the elections and poorly in the caucuses.  So that theory seems a little off the wall.  And didn’t a few women support Hillary because she was a woman?  So that seems to be a remarkably illogical reason for her loss.  And as it turns out over 50 percent of the voters are woman and blacks in the party make up about 20 percent of the primary voters.  And in all probability more than half of the blacks are woman who may if voting based on gender or race have chosen a fellow female over a male of the same race.  At any rate that does not seem like it would have cost her the election.  The votes that cost her the election came from Edwards and Kucinich supporters.  Both men ran to the left of both Clinton and Obama so it is likely that their supporters were neither racist or sexist but rather progressive in their thinking.  

 

True her campaign did make a series of mistakes and was over-confident. But the key fact is that as the herd thinned supporters of the liberal candidates shifted not to Clinton but to Obama.  And this same phenomenon could repeat itself this next election.

 

If a progressive woman such as Elizabeth Warren runs for the Democratic Party’s nomination she would neutralize the obvious advantage Hillary has among her own sex.  

 

That is the danger her campaign will face again this cycle.  She lost to Obama because her campaign completely underestimated the extent to which the voters in her party despised the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.  Her position on the war never resonated with the liberals of the party.  She was in line with the Wall Street supporters of the war, the New York Times Democrats who supported the war and the New York City elites who being fervently pro Israel supported any and all attempts to destabilize and weaken Arab powers.  Basically she supported the war at worst, and at best, thought it was a tactical error or mistake.  Strangely she had no emotional connections with the anti-war movement who opposed trading blood for oil and serving the interests of the American empire.  She lived through the sixties and was clearly a left wing activist with notable achievements but somehow the anti-war fervor dried up as she became more powerful.  Now the sixties are a distant memory for her.  She has surrounded herself with corporate democrats who falsely believed that the Republicans were the party of oil and gas so the Democrats could become the party of Wall Street.  Wall Street has no loyalty to anyone.  If in the next election cycle she persists in again using Penn, Lieberman supporters like Lanny Davis and other right wingers like Howard Wolfson her campaign will again lose progressive voters.  

 

The media never covered the anti-war demonstrations.  Since the cancellation of the Fairness doctrine by Right Wing Zeus, Ronald Reagan, the media has gradually abandoned news altogether and offers only infotainment and pro-corporate stories.  What is good for International Corporate Super Powers is good for the Media.  The CEO of Exxon announced proudly that Exxon was its own entity beholden to no country with its own security forces and its own agenda.  Companies like Exxon advertise not to get business but to make sure stories that reflect negatively on them or interfere with their lust for money are not run on television.  Since war is amazingly profitable anti-war themes are rarely covered in today’s media.  And unfortunately insular people like Hilary Clinton don’t get a sense that there are millions of anti war votes out there.  And that these are passionate voters.

 

The coverage of the war in Viet Nam actually showed people a little bit of what war was really like.  The news was horrible to see.  Today most of the younger generation thinks that war and video games are about the same.  And this is just fine with the corporate media.  Stopping wars would lead to a discussion of issues like poverty and education.  Money from taxes would go to social programs for people not huge arms dealers, mercenaries, prisons and war manufacturers.  In the years leading up to and after the Gulf war anyone who said the wars were not justified was fired.  Phil Donahue (Donahue) was MSNBC’s most popular show.  The network fired him because he spoke out against the war.  Jesse the Brain or Body Ventura was hired by MSNBC.  The entertaining personality was given his own show.  He was paid a salary for a season but as soon as MSNBC found out the Navy Seal was against the Iraq war his show was cancelled and never even shown once.  Later Keith Olbermann would share their fate.  He had the most popular show on MSNBC but it was cancelled because his criticism of the wars was found to be at odds with the larger goals of corporate America.  

 

That is the environment that Hillary Clinton lives in.  There are no antiwar voices.  There are no people who are calling for an end to the American Empire.  There are no people calling for a new Glass-Steagall act.  She is surrounded by those heavily invested in the empire.  Wall Street loves any and all wars and hates all progressive programs.  When you sleep with dogs…

 

So from her perspective and the campaign run by Mark Penn the anti-war movement and the people focused on ending that war and all the others, and not starting any more, those people were inconsequential.  Most of them were supporting either Edwards or Kucinich.  When those two candidates became non-factors the majority of their supporters voted for Obama because he gave the appearance of being anti-war.  

 

After all Hillary’s New York supporters on Wall Street were more likely to be for the war than against it. Since the anti-war movement was invisible Hillary probably never even thought about it.  To this day she defends her vote for the Iraq war.  She never said the Iraq war was wrong, never said her vote was wrong and never said if she had to do it over she would have done everything she could to stop the invasion of Iraq.  

 

Mark Penn the architect of the plan to present Hilary as a seasoned Cold Warrior and Hawk was born in 1954.  He never had to make any life or death choices about Viet Nam.  He was not part of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party.  Thus as he saw Edwards and Kucinich drop out of the primary election, he made no move to try to win their supporters.  In fact he treated them with contempt.  

 

That is why Hilary Clinton lost the election to Barack Obama.  Obama smartly had made one speech opposing the war prior to its inception.  He did not have to vote on the war because he was not in the Senate then.  How do you think he would have voted?  Wisely he let people believe he was to the left of Clinton on war issues.  He gave the impression he would have opposed the vote for the Gulf War.  Edwards had the courage to admit he was wrong.  And said that he would now oppose the war.  Obama let people believe what they wanted to believe.  And liberals were convinced the country was ready for a second FDR.  And they were right.  Had Obama passed progressive programs when he was first elected and had a majority of significance in both houses we would be well on our way to a more prosperous middle class.  But like Clinton he was really a centrist uninterested in substantial change.  He was just smart enough to pretend otherwise for a little while.  

 

Neither Clinton nor her advisors wanted to win the votes of liberals.  They had a general election strategy from the outset and were running to the right to appeal to the media and the sliver of voters that could be delivered by CNN and MSNBC.  Lieberman a close Clinton ally completely abandoned the party.  Other Clinton operatives worked for Fox News.  Why she thought moving to the extreme right was a way to win a democratic primary will be forever a mystery.  Penn on the other hand never struggled to make sense of Viet Nam.  He was of Obama’s tweener generation more tuned in to the “Greed is Good” culture than the “Make Love Not War” ethic of the Baby Boomers.  Clinton grew up a child of privilege.  The war would never touch her, her opposition was intellectual not visceral.  Bill drew a high number in the lottery and seemed to put Viet Nam on the back burner for him.  Hillary was more interested in social causes in the sixties than stopping the war though she did take part in some anti-activities it was not the driving force for her.  

 

That is why she lost the 2008 primary to Obama and why she will be vulnerable again should she decide to run in 2012.  Running as a Cold war centrist hawk won’t win her Democratic primaries.  She is lucky that she withdrew as Secretary of State.  If she were talking like Kerry now, she would not have a prayer. 

Native Americans Deserve a Voice in Congress

The history of the United States VS its indigenous population is one that politicians like Obama would call unsettling.  Another more forceful reader of history might call that history unjust, and an idealist would call it genocide.

So hasn’t the time come to realize that the hundreds of tribes which are in fact Nation-States within the borders of the USA, and 5-6 million people and many more of mixed blood who can call themselves Native Americans, have a voice in governing the USA?  Should not seats in both houses be reserved for the Tribes (Tribe is analogous to Nation) that make up the remnants of the estimated 50 million people who were living in America at the time Columbus landed on an island in the Bahamas?  It is said that the USA Government has never kept one treaty with the Native Americans.  Yet treaties which are routinely scuttled by presidents who prefer a different policy, are according to the constitution, the highest law of the land.  That means a president that disregards a treaty should be impeached.  If there is a violation of the law that is to be determined after the impeachment.  Bush should have been impeached for violating the many treaties signed against torture.  Truman violated our agreements with the Soviet Union.  Neither were considered impeachable offenses by the Congress.  Needless to say no one was ever impeached for violating a treaty with the Indians.  With Native American representatives in Congress that might change.

The exact number of Native Americans living at the time of the Columbus land fall is a matter for historians to debate.  Slaughter, sickness, suicide and slavery more than decimated the population of Native Americans quickly.  Right wing historians who justify the slaughter like to say only 8 to 12 million Indians were alive at the time.  On the other hand liberal historians believe over 100 million tribesman were alive when the Europeans started to arrive in droves.  Native Americans watched that number quickly fall by 50%.  Small pox alone cut down the majority of the Native population in a matter of a few years.

Today the once great Tribes are proud trees growing in the desert that has become post WWII America.

Our country and our planet need to hear their wisdom.  We need to learn how to live in harmony with our land and ourselves.  These were the fundamental governing ideals of Native American peoples.  They were shocked over and over again by the callous disregard for all life, human, animal and plant by the Seekers of the Yellow Dust.

It would be great to see each state apportion 10 percent of its House vote to the Tribes of that state.  In the Senate a third senator from each state representing not the moneyed interests of corporate America but the trees, roots, animals and peoples of the States within a State could be elected by a people from the Tribes of each and every state.

This would insure that a different voice was heard on the life or death issues facing America and this planet today.  Who better to ask about environmental destruction than the people who lived in harmony with the land for untold millenniums?  While blacks have rebounded from slavery and now have stuck there foot in the door, Native Americans still live in miserable conditions, are hounded by drug abuse (alcohol) and denied both their tribal wisdom and a good white European education.

Since it is universally agreed the public schools are in marked decline why not use the Native American schools which can be funded and run by the US government on the land of Tribal Nations within our Nation to set an example for others to follow.  Let the American children learn their Native language, English and a third language.  Let them immerse themselves for half the year in their own history and culture and a half a year in a “normal” education.  In a few short years Native Americans would be the best educated people in the USA.

The environmental wisdom of the Indians may be the greatest gift we have for the world, lets nurture and explore the sacred teachings of the many Peoples of the Americas.  The time has come for another constitutional convention.  The Citizens United decision by the quasi fascists on the Supreme Court can only be undone by the Citizens of the USA through a constitutional amendment see:  https://movetoamend.org.  In conjunction with that further changing the constitution to give Native Americans a voice in their own government, updating the second amendment, clarifying what the free press means in the internet era, spelling out what a free public education is and guaranteeing its quality, rebooting the Post Office to offer email that is free from corporate spies and eliminating K street lobbyists from the evil and untoward influence on policies are items that a new constitutional convention could and should address.

What If Obama Were Half White Instead of Half Black?

All the mainstream corporate media and radical right-wing media unceasingly asserting that Obama is some kind of socialist does not change the facts.  Fox, CNN and the rest of the media can act like President Obama is the progressive crusader the left has been dreaming about since the 60’s ended, but anyone capable of reason knows that it is not the truth.  President Obama is a centrist Democrat and he is distinctly to the right of that center line.  In fact he is progressive or liberal on very few issues.

IKE was to the left of Obama on economic policies.  He actually believed in Keynesian economics and acted on those policies.  This led to growth and wealth redistribution.  Ike believed in Labor Unions.  He wanted a strong middle class.  But on foreign policy issues, Ike talked like he was anti-war, just like Obama, while he nurtured the seeds of the cold war planted by Truman, Forrestal and Byrnes.  IKE believed that the Military Congressional Industrial Complex was a threat to the freedom and security of the United States but he did everything in his power to make the stranglehold the war machine had on the people of the USA and the world permanent.  IKE was the ludicrous inspiration for Kubrick’s greatest film, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.  It was IKE who feared that the contact with his Generals would be lost if there was a nuclear war.  Therefore he gave the Generals the authority launch nuclear bombs.  The Generals feared they would be out of contact with their operation’s commanders so they gave them the authority to launch the bomb if they lost contact with the Generals…eventually that scenario plays out so that someone who is completely nuts, Major T.J. “King” Kong (played by Slim Pickens) has the authority to start nuclear annihilation.

Obama embraces the defense department, the imperial foreign policy and the newly born security terror infrastructure.  Ronald Reagan and the deluge of propaganda that has inundated the American public since the 80’s has moved both political parties so far to the right that the reality is IKE would be a Democrat now and Obama would have been a Republican in the 50’s and 60’s.  Even Nixon who established the EPA was to the left of Obama on many issues.

The only issues where Obama actively pursues an agenda that can be remotely called progressive are those which have involved civil rights.  He has moved the country slowly forward on issues like gay rights and women’s rights through the Fair Pay (the Lilly Ledbetter Act).  He has acted to reduce the draconian sentencing of drug users through the Fair Sentencing Act and recently by tepidly over hauling the grossly unjust and nonsensical mandatory minimum sentence policy that has been part of the so-called War On Drugs for a half century.  However, Obama did not pardon the thousands needlessly in jail.  He per usual took the least confrontational action he could and made a modest reform. He is also slowly exploring remedies for the massive voter suppression efforts of the Libertarian, Tea Bagger,  and Neo-Conservative wings of the Republican party.  However here his effort is again lukewarm at best.

On civil liberties on the other hand Obama has been a disaster for liberals and is in reality a consistent neo-conservative.  He in essence supports the Bush-Cheney view of America.  He has had the justice department actively prosecute Whistleblowers.  Whistleblowers are now playing the role that the free press was supposed to play under the constitution.  The press was supposed to honestly report the ugly, the bad and the very ugly of the United States Government and those influencing their decisions.  The press was given special protection in the constitution to do so.  Yet rather than embrace and celebrate the courageous acts of Whistleblowers, Obama ruthlessly prosecutes them.  The near melt down he has had over Edward Snowden is the case in point.  All the President had to say about Mr. Snowden was that he is this generation’s Danial Ellsberg and forget about him.  Instead he acts like Mr. Snowden is some kind of cold war super spy that has revealed some great secret to the “enemy”.  Who is the enemy by the way and what has the enemy gained by Snowden’s revelations?  No liberal president would ever prosecute Manning or Snowden because they have done a service to their country.  In addition the government spying was widely believed to be occurring.  Further why don’t people realize all the government is doing is tapping into information the multi-national corporations already have?  That fact alone makes the Snowden episode just a Trumanesque case of macho blustering over nothing which ultimately makes society a more dangerous and less inviting place to live.  Part Orwell and part Huxley, the information gatherers are the right hand of today’s totalitarian states.

The Don Siegelman case really shows Obama’s true colors.  Clearly a liberal president would have moved to completely pardon Siegelman as soon as he got into office.  Rove’s operatives stole the election in Alabama from Siegelman and then put him in jail because he talked.  The case is so outrageous that it is Stalinesque. His crime was to interfere in the gaming casino racket that Republican insiders were working on Native American tribes to make millions in campaign and lobbying payments.  Siegelman’s crime was that he supported a state lottery that would take money away from the casinos.

Obama has even bought into the neo-conservative new Cold War philosophy.  McCain in 2008 with help from Rove tried to push some old but still festering buttons with the war in Georgia.  Nothing makes the aging right-wing nut jobs more angry than being reminded of Viet Nam or Communism.  These are issues the younger generation is ignorant about, but those votes were going to Obama anyway.  Most of them could not tell you why there was a South Vietnam or who Ho was.  McCain tried to make the Cold War an issue during the campaign.  Rove instigated an attack against Russian interests in Georgia to kindle the flames.  As far as the right is concerned any war is a good war.  The infinite war on terrorism which is ongoing in every country in the world 24/7 makes a nice complement to a new Cold War which will divert resources to nuclear bombs, tanks, air craft carriers and weapons that are useless in the war on terror, but a huge source of corporate welfare and profits and campaign contributions for wealthy oligarchs and their congressional representatives.  The Cold War can generate billions in profits for the old guard while the Security State’s war on everything and its infinite thirst for information generates defense profits for the new technology companies.  Even Amazon is now a defense contractor. To keep two unending all-consuming wars going at the same time is the clear foreign policy goal of the neocons.  Many of the founding fathers were against having a standing army.  Now we see why.  The US military is the world’s biggest consumer of oil.  The Koch brothers and other members of the Military Industrial Congressional Complex readily embrace a new Cold War because it will continue to add billions a year to their accounts in Switzerland and other foreign hiding places.

Clearly Obama who was born in 1961 does not remember the Viet Nam war.  He was never eligible for the draft.  He never marched in the streets, he never participated in a sit in, he was never in the street throwing tear gas back at the cops.  His life was not directly effected by Viet Nam.  Like many of his generation, the pre Gen-X and post Baby Boomers, his only connection to the revolutionary spirit and the politics of the sixties was the freedom to enjoy drugs and pre-marital sex.  Obama was not radicalized by the Viet Nam war or its aftermath.  He did not understand who RFK and JFK were.  He did not understand or care why the assassinations of the Kennedy brothers changed American history.  But the assassinations of MLK and Malcolm X may have actually caused him to stop and think.  Being of mixed race he was directly effected by their deaths and their politics.  In fact the insane right-wing media claims that Obama is Malcolm X’s son.  Hard to believe but true.

Possibly this is why Obama can swing to the left on issues of civil rights but still clings to an essentially neo-conservative foreign policy.  Like many of the Tweener Generation he was not “into” politics.  He was not into creating an ideal society.  There is little that is idealistic about Obama.  He is more like Truman than FDR.  Many of his generation considered Hippies to be analogous to the Homeless.  They view them as a social problem not a social movement.  I know a plethora of his generation who view the word “Hippie” as an insult.  And quite humorlessly they would “insult” others by saying you look like a “Hippie”.   Long hair was viewed as ugly, and other fashions of the 60s were eclipsed by a new generation trying to say “We’re not them.” as opposed to anything meaningful.  Replacing bell bottom jeans with straight legged jeans is considered a revolutionary act by the standards of Obama’s Tweener Generation.  Absolute non-sense.  Of course there is a host of reasons for this.  The Baby Boomers had a significant impact on the world while those of Obama’s generation did not.  So they seek to demean and minimize the role of the counter-culture in the 60’s.

And since Obama was not radicalized by the war his ideas were shaped not by independent thought, meaningful discussions with close friends about significant issues or long tough, life or death, decisions about whether or not to go to Viet Nam or Canada but only by what he heard on TV.  Thus he idealized Ronald Reagan instead of RFK or FDR.  To Obama, Reagan’s only flaw was that he was a racist.  The fact that he was a war monger, saw the world in terms of black and white, never shades of gray, and believed in American Imperialism was just fine.  His supply side economics justified the ethos of greed and narcissism that formed the backbone of generation dedicated to itself and itself alone.

This begs the question if Obama had been named Wilson and was raised as a white Southerner of mixed race who would he be?

I think the weird almost Invasion of the Body Snatchers like transformation of John Kerry into war monger coupled with Obama’s thirst to start yet another war with an Arab nation shows his real political heart.  The half-white part of Obama is a neo-conservative who believes in supply side economics and world domination by the US military as a foreign policy.  Had he not been influenced by his experience of being mixed race in a racist nation he would be the leading intellectual force behind the tea baggers today.  He would be dining with the Koch brothers and be essentially a George Bush with a triple digit IQ.

Obama was forced to confront the reality of the United States’s dark side as black man.  He was never forced to look at the imperial foreign policy.  He was never threatened by the draft or subjected to extreme poverty.  His generation and their fascination with video games leads to a black and white view of life.  Winning at no cost to his side is fine.  The game goes on.  Thus his love affair with the drone wars and his intent to launch yet another war in the Middle East reflects the half-white side of his nature.  That side is essentially conservative.  He grew up with Ronald Reagan values and a simple us against them view of life.  If Obama had not been half-black he would certainly be a far right-wing conservative and support the Bush-Cheney world view, Reaganomics and be the Koch brother’s favorite politician.  Obama is not a liberal or a socialist.  He is a neo-con.

Oracle

Oracle-Investing With A Measure of Security

Quick Summary:  Watch and Wait for a better price!

Oracle is one of the premier companies of the new economy.  Unless you are a tech expert that works with multinational or very large domestic companies, a government agency that has a need for their products or have a degree in computer sciences you probably like me don’t fully understand Oracle or their products.  They seem to make lots of money and are competitive with only SAP and a few other companies.  The never ending thirst for data by corporations and governments seems like it puts Oracle in a sweet spot of some kind.  Technically Oracle’s Point and Figure chart is on a sell signal.  Oracle peaked at 36 near the beginning of the year and has sold off after forming a double top on the Renko chart early this year.  (see below).

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Oracle Renko - Version 3

Still the stock yields a meager 1.5 percent.  That could mean the stock is ultimately going to be cut in half to yield 3 percent or that Wall Street insiders see more growth in the database and cloud related software Oracle sells.  If it is cut to 15.50 the stock would yield 3 percent and you could sell covered calls to increase your yield.  Not bad.  But if your entry price is 36 you will have to live long and prosper to recover your money.So for the time being Oracle should just be watched.  It has multiple sell signals and the entire market may be headed for a correction.  For years Oracle bounced between 22 (2007) and 14.x (2008-9).  It then appeared to break out in 2011 and zoomed up to the mid thirties which has marked the top of the trading range for the period 2011-13.  If and when Oracle approaches 24 to 26 selling the 2015 or 16 puts at 22 to 26 would be a reasonable trade.  That appears to be the bottom of the new trading range.  Market turmoil should drive Oracle down to the low twenties.  Of course if the pattern breaks down and Oracle tumbles to the teens then the trade is going to be one that results in a loss.  If Oracle holds to the new bottom then with any good news it should recover and the trade will make a nice profit.  A speculative trade would be to sell the 20 2015 put for $4.  Currently it is priced at less than $1.  Therefore the stock would have to fall 12 points or so or there would need to be a flash crash to get that price.  With the war drums sounding, don’t believe it can’t happen.  If you have a little money to invest in Oracle this strategy is very conservative and really the stock may never see 20 again but if it does your put position would give you the stock at 16 where it would be yielding 3 percent.  Otherwise you would just keep the cash which is not a bad alternative.