Tom Timberman has long studied the politics of the Middle East. He will attempt to explain how past US foreign policy failures have contributed to this mess, and what can be done to promote peace in this part of the world. Tom is a former American diplomat with expertise in national security and foreign policy.

We read that the US has “boots on the ground” in Iraq assisting the Shi’ite led Iraqi government in their war against the Sunni led Islamic State, and “boots on the ground” in Yemen assisting the Sunni led Yemeni government in their war against the Shi’ite led Houthi rebels. Saudi and allied warplanes (Sunni) recently struck Houthi rebels in Yemen, with Saudi Arabia threatening to send ground troops. Apparently, one of the issues the combatants tell us they are contesting the proper manner of holding one’s arms while praying.



Life Science Products

On March 20, 2015, in Chestertown, County Issues, Economics, by An American

Life Science Products, located in Chestertown, provides a wide variety of construction products and services for the biomedical, pharmaceutical and research industries. These include systems for ceilings, walls and floors, as well as coatings and finishes for these systems.



The Federal Budget for FY 2016

On March 6, 2015, in Debt, Economics, Politics, Taxes, by An American

The federal fiscal year begins on October 1 and ends on September 30. The lawful budget process calls for Presidential, House, and Senate budgets, with the latter two to be resolved in a budget conference to arrive at the discretionary topline level from which the 12 appropriations bills are written. This process failed again for FY 2015. As usual, one massive appropriation bill was crafted in secret meetings between the White House and the Congressional leadership to provide a framework for managing the Federal government. This massive appropriation bill was called a “continuing resolution”. There was no budget conference or conference report.

In some ways, this year is off to a better start than last. President Obama has at least issued his budget on the first Monday in February as required by law. Whether the House and Senate will meet their statutory obligations remains to be seen. Last year, the Republican House passed a budget resolution on April 11, only 10 days late. The Democratic Senate failed to pass any budget resolution. There was no budget conference. Since the Republicans lead both the House and the Senate this year, perhaps Congress may succeed in issuing a conference report, but it is unlikely that President Obama will sign any appropriation bills passed by such a Congress.

In other ways, President Obama’s budget suggest that this year’s budget process even more confrontational than before. He has proposed 23 tax increases to fund massive spending increases. Under the President’s proposal, taxes will increase by 11%, spending by 6% while the economy expands by only 5%. Why the President believes such a tax and spend policy will be desirable, let alone sustainable, has not been explained. It is bound to be controversial with the Congress.



Mobile Banking at The People’s Bank

On March 3, 2015, in Technology, by An American

Mobile phones have increasingly become tools that consumers use for banking, payments, budgeting, and shopping. According to the Federal Reserve Board, in 2013 33% of mobile phone owners had used mobile banking in the preceding 12 months, and the use of mobile phones has been increasing rapidly since then. The most common use of mobile banking is to check account balances or the status of recent transactions. Other common uses include transferring money between customers own accounts, depositing checks and paying bills. Interestingly, there is no clear correlation between mobile banking usage and other income or education level.


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