July Thoughts on Iraq

If anybody needed any evidence of why Iraq needed to be sorted out in 2003 the last couple of weeks should have provided more than enough. The ISIS insurgency that’s rolled over the north of the country with such stunning speed isn’t anything new – it’s the result of sectarian tensions brewed up by the despotic regime of Saddam Hussein and left unresolved in the time since he was removed by Operation Iraqi Freedom eleven years ago.

Islam is dominated by the Sunni sect, but there are two countries where the smaller Shia strain is in the majority. The best known is Iran. The other is Iraq. Nearly two-thirds of Iraqis are Shia muslims, and most of the rest are Sunni (about three percent are other religions, mostly Christian). However from 1958 to 2003 the country was dominated by Sunni dictators, most infamously Saddam. The Shia were second class citizens and not surprisingly that caused huge resentment. The Sunni also suffered under Saddam’s regime though; the only people who benefited were his own al-Tikriti tribe. Sunni Iraqis had grievances of their own and ISIS is their latest way of venting them.

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Financial News (6-30-2014)

The global economy has been struggling to recover since the banking crisis exploded in late 2008 and the USA has had its share of problems. Although the recession officially ended five years ago the economy hasn’t returned to where it was before the credit collapse and growth has been disappointing. Many analysts have been predicting that the end of the rough stretch is finally in sight but recent indications are that this might not be the case quite yet.

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Why Conservatives Like Gold

gold-bars

With the celebration of its 100th birthday, the Federal Reserve has received a share of criticism from many quarters. In particular, the Conservative or Tea Party republicans are attacking the Fed for a unique reason; they believe it is time to bring back the old gold standard to help the economy thrive in hard money. The Tea Party wants to borrow a leaf from the 19th Century where; all power and wealth was reserved for the top corporate elites like the Wall Street financiers. The age of hard money was often referred to as the age of savage inequality.

Our interview with Richard Stelfox, the CEO of Golden Eagle Coins , a well known gold & silver dealer proved to be quite interesting. “A very high percentage of the customers I talk to on a daily basis claim to be conservative but after a few questions it seems many would lean toward being Libertarian”.  The online gold dealer also has a retail location in the Washington DC area where you can browse rare gold coins, buy silver bars & invest in silver bullion while getting an education on the bullion market from their staff.

(src: www.goldeneaglecoin.com)

The last bond with the precious metal was before 1913 when the Federal Reserve subsequently cut the cord. The last ties with gold were cut in the era of President Nixon in 1971. Despite flexible money being accepted across the board, the conservatives have remained firm in the conviction that gold is the sure way to run an economy. Many personalities have jumped into the bandwagon to advocate for the return of the gold standard. Among others; TV personality Glenn Beck, financial giant Steve Forbes and Tea Party pundit William Kristol have not been shy to air their love for gold publicly.

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The US Media in 2014

Media-HQ

The USA has one of the largest and most pervasive media industries in the world. It’s also extremely diverse, from local newspapers with a circulation of a few hundred to national news networks and internet aggregators. Americans have more choice of news outlets than the citizens of any other nation – but, at the same time, it’s often alleged that the news they are presented with is some of the most biased to be found in any advanced society.

Newspapers are the oldest media in the country; the first US newspapers were published in the 18th century. Unlike most other countries there are few national newspapers, with USA Today being the main exception. Instead papers are usually produced for a city or county although some, such as the New York Times, are available in most cities nationwide. Every large city has at least one paper; many have two or more. These are usually issued daily. Papers in smaller towns may be daily or weekly. There is also a wide range of free newspapers, supported by advertising, that appear weekly. New York’s Village Voice is one of the best known examples.

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Fox News Controversy

foxnews

Fox News Channel is one of the most widely available sources of news in the USA; more than 97 million American households can receive it and it’s been the number 1 rated cable news channel for more than twelve years. Of the ten most watched cable news shows, eight are produced by Fox. It’s among the most influential media outlets in the country. So what should we think about the fact it’s frequently accused of being biased?

Fox claims to report the news in an even-handed way, but then they wouldn’t be expected to say anything different. On the other hand there’s a widespread public perception that Fox has a right wing, conservative bias in the way it presents what’s happening. One 2009 poll by the Pew Research organization found that Fox is viewed as the most biased news channel, with 47 per cent of Americans believing it has a conservative slant. Among journalists that figure goes up to 69 per cent.

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Understanding US Healthcare in 2014

The much-awaited healthcare reform has finally arrived. Individuals and families have been preparing for some new laws availing affordable, quality healthcare insurance to everyone. The Affordable Care Act by the Obama administration was set to be a law in 2010. In January, 2014, it finally rolled out.

Relevant Resources 

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/exp/usat-obama-aca-20/index.html#uninsured

http://obamacarefacts.com/affordablecareact-summary.php

http://www.politico.com/obamacare-guide/

While the Affordable Care Act has been criticized because of some impediments and logistical challenges regarding mandates to business owners, you can not overlook the benefits of ACA health insurance. From January 2014, it will be easily available for families and individuals. The primary purpose of ACA health insurance is to address the problems related to large percentages of uninsured and underinsured Americans.

Key Benefits of ACA Healthcare Insurance Plans

ACA healthcare insurance offers numerous benefits. Some of the key benefits include, but may not be limited to :
 

Free Preventative Services – Free preventative services will include screenings to detect the disease early. Charging co-insurance, deductibles and co-pays will be illegal.

Guaranteed Insurance Irrespective of Any Pre-Existing Conditions – Healthcare insurance companies won’t be able to deny insurance for either children or adults with any pre-existing conditions.

Tax Credits for Small Businesses – Tax credits will be offered to small businesses which comply with the rules and regulations. This will mitigate various cost effects of the ACA healthcare insurance.

Senior Discounts – Retirees or seniors dependent upon medical care will receive discounts of up to 50% on some name-brand drugs.

Guaranteed Coverage for Student Dependents – Young adults can stay on their parents’ packages up to 26 years of age.

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