Category: Ron’s Commentaries

Can the U.S. Forge Diplomatic Ties with Iran and Israel?

January 30, 2015—Hello everybody and thank you for tuning in. I want to comment a little bit about what’s going on with the invitation by Boehner to Netanyahu to come and address the joint session of congress. It’s interesting because this is unusual. I don’t even know if it’s ever happened before. Most people say it probably never did because they never told the president.

This has a little bit to do with diplomacy with another country and a leader of another country coming here. It’s interesting in that regard. It’s politics as usual because I think Boehner, what he wants to do, is get somebody on his side to say, “We don’t like our president for the way he’s operating foreign policy.” It has a lot to do with Iran.

Obama wants to continue to talk to the Iranians and maybe come up with an agreement and avoid a war with Iran. I tend to be very sympathetic to what the president says he’s doing. As long as that’s what he’s doing, I’m very sympathetic to that. All of a sudden now, we have this invitation but what it has done is it’s divided a group of people that are never divided.

They’re arguing about it in Israel. There’s a couple of newspapers saying this is … They are blaming Netanyahu for going. He shouldn’t go. It’s risky. The president is still a president. He can’t retaliate. It’s not good for the relationship between our two countries.

It’s really fascinating that this is going on. Even in this country, some of the very pro-Zionist groups that are very, very supportive of Israel, they’re split on this too. One of the most interesting remarks was made by Chris Matthews. He really was upset with this and said, “You know, this actually could lead to war.” While he was referring to this, it would interrupt the negotiations with Obama and the Iranians and lead to a bigger problem if that breaks down. He’s assuming it could be much worse.

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Government Won’t Admit to Killing Civilians in War Against ISIS

January 29, 2015—There is still lots of trouble over in Iraq and Syria. There’s a war going on against ISIS and the support against ISIS is pretty strong worldwide. But sorting out the truth of this situation is sometimes a tough job. Sometimes what you hear in the evening news is not exactly what’s happening. Propaganda is a powerful tool to motivate people to support war.

Here’s an article that says, “U.S. Won’t Admit to Killing a Single Civilian in the ISIS war”. That is some stretch, not one person. They’ve had 1,800 strikes, there’s estimates that 6,000 individuals have been killed, but best they can tell, not one single civilian.

How do you tell a civilian against somebody who thinks they’re really fighting an intrusion from people outside and protecting their homeland? I think it’s pretty hard to distinguish between the two, and distinguishing between those individuals who may be resenting this invasion and bombing and our participation because they’ve lost family members. It’s a lot a more complicated than the United States putting out a release and saying that not a single individual was killed by these bombs that was considered a civilian.

The day that Charlie Hebdo event occurred, 17 were killed in the magazine building. On the same day, there were 50 individuals killed from our bombing in Syria…

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Giving States More Control Won’t Solve Common Core Problems

January 20, 2015—Hello, everybody. Thank you for tuning in. A headline caught my attention. I was hoping it would be good news for us. It says, “A new bill could mark the beginning of the end of Common Core.” Sounds pretty good.

Most of the states have signed up for Common Core, so they haven’t been willing to fight it. But I think they were frightened that they might lose some federal funding if they didn’t go along.

Anyway, there’s a lot of resentment. The Republicans have run against it and they want to change it. But the introduction here for this change and on Common Core comes from Lamar Alexander. He’s a moderate Republican.

It really doesn’t do a whole lot. What it does is it tries to give more management by the states. But it doesn’t attack the principle of why we have nationalized educational system with testing. I don’t think they’re going to change this universal testing, which is an utter menace that everybody despises and yet they do go along with it.

One thing interesting about this is the support for Common Core comes from a lot of business establishment, business lobbyists. You think they’d be indifferent to it or against it. But I guess they’re convinced if we have better educated kids coming out of the public school systems, they have better workers and whatnot.

There are a lot of problems in education. Most think that it needs better management, central control, and more money. I don’t agree with any of that. I think you need less centralization. You don’t need more money. As a matter of fact, less money such as in home schooling. They get a better education.

But the problem that we face in our country with the deterioration of the schools has been not only the nationalization and the control from Washington and bureaucracy in some of the discipline problems that they’re involved with where a kid in grade school points his finger at somebody and they call the policeman and haul him off in hand cuffs. That kind of stuff is not quite like what school should be all about.

There are problems in the family, especially in the poorer neighborhoods and that’s a contributing factor. Parents, at least one parent sometimes, put the kids out on the street. No legislation is going to correct that. Also, the issue of poverty still exists and that contributes to it. And our drug laws contribute to it because with the poverty and the lack of parental control and these kids get involved. If they do get into school, they can be troublemakers.

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IRS Budget Slashed; Expect Fewer Audits in 2015

January 20, 2015—Hello, everybody, and thank you for tuning in. I want to visit with you today about one of my least favorite organizations ever created, and that is the IRS.

Of course, I’ve taken a very strong position on this for a long, long time. I made it very clear in the presidential campaigns that we didn’t need an income tax and we didn’t need an IRS and it caused nothing but economic troubles and it leads to trouble with our civil liberties because of the loss of privacy in our financial records.

There are always gimmicks to get the maximum amount of revenues for the government. Of course, that stems from the fact that the government is too big. They’re involved in welfare redistribution, they’re involved in war overseas, so they need a lot of money to run this big government. But nobody is seriously considering that, so the IRS is going to be around for a while longer.

In the news now, Congress recently cut the IRS budget by 17 percent, and this is great. John Koskinen, the head of the IRS, is complaining. He says they’re going to lose revenues because they won’t be able to do as many audits and they’re very worried about it. Quite frankly, I don’t think all of a sudden they’re going to have a lot less revenue. They’ll figure out something. But it is good news. The funding was cut. There are less audits going to happen, but not tremendously.

There were 1.4 million audits in 2013, and this year there are going to be 1 million, so the threat is still out there. They’ll probably have high-profile punishment of certain individuals because that’s what they do to intimidate the rest of the people. Oh, if they’re going to punish so-and-so and put him in prison, we’d better just be very, very frightened.

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Gold Prices Rally While Bitcoin Bombs

January 19, 2015—Hello, everybody and thank you for tuning in. I want to give an update on Bitcoin.

Bitcoin is in the news right now because the price is very low. At one time it was over $1,000. Now it’s hanging around $200 and sometimes a little bit below $200. A recent article in the Washington Post brought the subject up and they claim that it’s a Ponzi scheme for redistributing wealth from one libertarian to another. I don’t endorse that. I don’t think it’s a true Ponzi scheme. It was a cryptocurrency that was brought about.

I didn’t understand it. Quite frankly if I can’t understand it or feel it and hold it in my hand, I don’t think it’s real money. That’s why I keep thinking gold is real money and reserve notes are not real money. Nevertheless, it’s been used and my position has always been as long as there’s no fraud people ought to have the choice of using it. Even though I want to legalize competing currencies and someday they’ll be much more relevant, it’s very hard to think in terms of a new currency. Those individuals who are using Bitcoin are using them now. They still think in dollar terms.

If something costs $100 and they calculate it in Bitcoins, hey transfer the funds in Bitcoins. So it’s a transfer mechanism rather than it being use as a true currency. As a matter of fact, that is actually true with gold. Gold is real money and traditionally for thousands of years it’s been used. If you wanted to institute a truly parallel currency with gold it would be difficult to get people’s mindset off dollars. You might say, “Well, a gold ounce is worth $1,500. Okay. I’ll give you one ounce of gold for this $1,500.”

People still think in terms of dollars. It doesn’t mean it isn’t necessary to think about parallel competing currencies. There will be times when it will be much more hectic and they will need to have an alternative. It emphasizes that this paper currency doesn’t work.

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Who Is Really Winning the War Against ISIS?

January 17, 2015—Hello everybody and thank you for tuning in. A recent headline caught my attention. It says, “Iran eclipses US as Iraq’s ally in fight against militants.” Now this is rather ironic because we have not been friends with the Iranians. We have been antagonizing them for a long time. All of a sudden, we find out that the fight, the war that we have been fighting in Iraq, which has essentially going on since 2003, has not been won by us. It’s not been won by the Iraqis. It looks like the Iranians won the whole thing.

This was well known early on because the government that was put in place were Shia, and the Shia identify with the Shia of Iran. We overthrew a Sunni government under a pretense that they had weapons of mass destruction, which was not true. Now the Iranians have come in and they’re helping out and we’re sort of being quiet. We don’t say we coordinate anything but, in a way, the United States is sort of welcoming because the Iranians are moving into Iraq to go after ISIS.

Since we have done such a poor job, we’ve more or less precipitated the growth of ISIS. ISIS is in Iraq and that means al Qaeda is in Iraq. Our failure there says that, “Boy, if the Iranians can come and help us out of this, the big deal, this would be helpful.”

It’s just like ISIS being our enemy, they also wanted to get rid of Assad. The Iranians want to preserve Assad and yet, we like them and they’re to get rid of ISIS, so it becomes rather complex.

The Iranians are doing quite well for themselves. We have sanctions on them. They’re supposed to not be able to trade. They’re probably being hurt by lower oil prices. They just sent $10 billion worth of weapons into Iraq and got paid for it, because Iraq has similar oil. It looks like they’re doing pretty well on trade. Of course the Iranians identify with trading with Russia and China as well. It’s rather amazing that they’re doing this well.

The American people, though, don’t quite understand how this comes all about. And because it’s complex, they sort of want to just forget about it. We have been there and we’re unsuccessful and now the Iranians are there. The big question that comes up: what’s going to happen to Syria? What if the Iranians are very successful in Iraq and push the ISIS out of there? Then maybe instead of supporting our position against ISIS, then they go and they become much more vocal, and with the use of their forces, too, defend Assad?

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Saudi Blogger Badawi Gets 1,000 Lashes for Criticizing Government

January 14, 2015—Thank you everybody for turning in today. There was a recent story, stuck away in some of the newspapers. I’m not sure too many Americans saw it, but I considered it rather significant, especially in light of what was going on in Paris with 17 individuals being killed by radical Islamists.

The issue of freedom of speech came up and the violence involved. This involves what the Saudi government is doing to one of their citizen and that citizen is Raif Badawi, and he had the audacity to open up a website that was critical of the government and they frowned upon that.

To start off with, his attorney, who has been defending him over the years because this is not the first incident, he’s serving in prison for 15 years. Right now the penalty for blogging and talking critically of the government, the punishment is going to be 1,000 lashes. Now, they can’t do 1,000 lashes on one day; a person would die immediately. What they’re going to do, though, is to string this out, this punishment. It’s going to be 20 lashes a day for 50 weeks, and he’s going to be fined $266,000 and on top of this, he’ll be in prison for 10 years.

There is a growing public outcry about this trying to put pressure on the government. Quite frankly, though, the Saudi government is pretty independent. There was a lot of concern about the ruthlessness of ISIS and they are ruthless. But during this time that the ISIS were beheading several people, the Saudi government beheaded 59. Fifty-nine beheadings last year. They’re strict adherers to Sharia law but we don’t say too much about this. In the old days, it used to be said it was because of the oil and who knows what. But it’s just strange how tolerate we are of what the Saudis and give them protection.

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