Conservative And Veterans’ Organizations Vow To Keep ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ In Place

Conservative and veterans' organizations vow to keep 'don't ask, don't tell' in placeDefense Secretary Robert Gates gave his approval on the vote to overturn the "don’t ask, don’t tell policy" earlier this week. However, many media outlets stressed the apparent "lukewarm" nature of the endorsement, which may be unsurprising given the significant opposition to the measure, especially in conservative quarters.

The Family Research Council (FRC) has been at the forefront of trying to prevent the overhaul of the agreement that bans openly gay individuals from serving in the military. The organization’s lobbying arm called FRC Action recently launched an ad campaign accusing Democrats of attempting to use the military to "advance their radical social agenda."

"We call on Congress to protect the military, listen to our troops and the American people by rejecting this outrageous deal that politicizes the military at the expense of our national security," said FRC president Tony Perkins.

The FRC was seconded by the nation’s largest wartime veterans organization, The American Legion, which affirmed its opposition to repealing the law on the grounds that it served the military well for 17 years and that it would not be wise to make a major cultural change in the middle of two wars.

The legion’s National Commander Clarence E. Hill also pointed out that the Department of Defense has ordered a study on the policy, and the vote should not take place before the commission releases its findings.ADNFCR-1961-ID-19802022-ADNFCR

McCain To Vote Against Military Gay Ban Repeal

McCain to vote against military gay ban repealFaced with a growing challenge from a right-wing rival for the Arizona Republican nomination, Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) is taking an increasingly intransigent stance on the Democrats’ efforts to repeal the "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy.

McCain, who at one point declared himself ready to see the policy repealed, has now indicated he will vote against the measure.

The former presidential candidate, who is also the top Republican on the Senate Armed Forces Committee, told Arizona’s KBLU radio that the Democrats "[are] going to try to jam [the overhaul] through without even trying to figure out what the impact on battle effectiveness would be," quoted by TheHill.com.

McCain was also interviewed by Family Research Council (FRC) President Tony Perkins on Washington Watch Weekly, the organization’s syndicated half-hour radio show, where he said "that this issue has significant long-term implication for our ability to defend this nation."

He also said he was afraid that the repeal was a done deal "because of no other reason than President Obama’s campaign promise."

The Republican primary in Arizona is scheduled for Aug. 24, and McCain appears to be losing ground to a more conservative opponent. ADNFCR-1961-ID-19802084-ADNFCR

Reducing Soft Drink Consumption Can Help Lower Blood Pressure

Reducing soft drink consumption can help lower blood pressure Individuals who are looking to lower their blood pressure without taking medication may be able to do so by moderately reducing their intake of sugar-sweetened beverages, according to a new study.

For the 18-month study, a research team from the Louisiana State University Health Science Center recruited 810 adults with early stage hypertension who drank an average of 11 ounces of sugary beverages each day, well below the American average of 23 daily ounces.

At the end of the study, participants who reduced their soft drink intake by at least half lowered their systolic blood pressure by an average of 1.8 points and their diastolic blood pressure by 1.1 points.

"We found a direct dose-response relationship," said study leader Liwei Chen."Individually, it was not a big reduction. But population-wise, reducing total consumption could have a huge impact."

According to background information included in the report, a three-point reduction in blood pressure can lower heart disease mortality risk by as much as five percent.

The correlation between lower blood pressure and reduced soft drink intake remained after accounting for weight loss and other risk factors.
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Siding With Mexico Against Arizona

A disturbing spectacle was on display last week as Mexican President Felipe Calderon and President Barack Obama—standing almost hand-in-hand on the White House lawn—trashed the state of Arizona over its new immigration law. Calderon then took it a step further by going onto the floor of Congress and trashing Arizona and Arizonians some more.

During the White House meeting, Obama told Calderon, “In the 21st Century we are defined not by our borders, but by our bonds.” He also agreed with Calderon’s description that Arizona’s law is discriminatory.

We’ve come to expect such treachery from the White House, which prides itself in traveling around the world bowing and scraping and accusing the United States of a multitude of sins—both real and imagined—and apologizing for every national and foreign policy decision the country has ever made.

(See Deputy Secretary of State Michael Posner’s admission that during a recent trip to China he brought up the Arizona law “early and often” as an issue of “discrimination or potential discrimination.” Again, he did this in China, a country that runs over its citizens with tanks, throws them in prison for practicing “unapproved” Christianity, and forces families to abort children to enforce a one-child policy.)

But then Calderon went into the halls of Congress—as an invited guest—and trashed Arizona some more saying the bill “introduces a terrible idea that uses racial profiling as a basis for law enforcement.” And for that Democrats in Congress gave him a standing ovation.

Never mind that the law does no such thing. In fact, it forbids discrimination and follows Federal immigration laws almost to the letter.

The Democrat Party continues to find new lows to fall to in its treatment of Americans—ramming through healthcare legislation over the objections of the majority, siding with enemies of Democracy and joining with the president of a failed nation to vilify a state that was forced to enforce laws the Federal government refused to enforce.

George Washington once wrote:

“We are either a United people, or we are not. If the former, let us, in all matters of general concern act as a nation, which have national objects to promote, and a national character to support. If we are not, let us no longer act a farce by pretending to it.”

More and more it seems Obama and the Democrats have decided upon the latter. And more and more the spinelessness of Republicans is on display as they fail in their duty to forcefully call out Obama and the Democrats.

Obviously the elites of the two parties have become peas in the same pod and they have chosen a path in opposition to the very people they supposedly serve. That they would side with the Mexican president over the citizens of Arizona—and about 70 percent of Americans—is despicable.

Crime Statistics Debunk Gun Opponents’ Claims, CCRKBA Says

Crime statistics debunk gun opponents' claims, CCRKBA says Despite gun opponents’ warnings that easier access to guns leads to escalating violence, the most recent statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) suggest that crime in the United States dropped dramatically in 2009.

Preliminary data from the Uniform Crime Report shows that the violent crime rate went down 5.5 percent nationwide in 2009. This covers all four categories of violent crime: murder, robbery, aggravated assault and forcible rape. Violent crime went down 4 percent in metropolitan counties and 3 percent elsewhere, according to the FBI.

This has prompted gun rights organizations, such as the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA), to point out that these positive trends are taking place despite the evidence—also cited by the FBI—that gun and ammunition purchases are up.

"There are more guns in private hands than ever before, yet crime rates have declined…this means that gun prohibitionists have been consistently wrong," said CCRKBA chairman Alan Gottlieb.

He added that these data suggest that "America should turn its back on the gun prohibition lobby and their insidious policy of victim disarmament."

According to media reports, the decline has continued for the third straight year, and this year’s drops were steeper than those registered in 2007 and 2008, despite the recession.
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Republicans, ADE Criticize ‘Third Way’ Approach To Internet Regulations

Republicans, ADE criticize 'third way' approach to internet regulations The controversy surrounding the government’s attempts to impose internet regulations continues, with the Alliance for Digital Equality (ADE) announcing it will oppose the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) "third way" approach to network neutrality.

Earlier this year the United States District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the FCC had overstepped its jurisdiction when it tried to impose net neutrality rules on Comcast, which had blocked its subscribers from using the file-sharing website BitTorrent. This effectively closed a similar avenue for regulations, prompting FCC chairman Julius Genacowski to propose a "third way," which would reclassify broadband services under New Deal-era "common carrier" laws created for early landline telephone technology.

This has met with sharp criticism from the two Republican commissioners on the agency’s board, Robert McDowell and Meredith Baker, who said it would lead to regulatory chaos and stifle investment that is necessary to expanding broadband infrastructure and creating jobs.

The ADE has also expressed opposition and urged Congress to play a larger role in the network neutrality debate.

"This policy shift appears to be a risky experiment and will likely lead to higher broadband prices," said ADE chairman Julius H. Hollis.

"As the world of business, medicine and education shift towards a more digital-based economy, the proposal could worsen the problems of [ordinary] Americans, who are already stretched financially and have disproportionately borne the brunt of this recession," added Manuel A. Diaz, vice chairman of the ADE board of directors.ADNFCR-1961-ID-19799480-ADNFCR

Palin Blasts Obama Administration Over Response To Oil Spill

Palin blasts Obama administration over response to oil spillFormer Alaska Governor Sarah Palin heavily criticized the Obama administration May 23 for what she considers to be its insufficient efforts to help clean up the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

While speaking on Fox News Sunday, the former vice presidential candidate suggested that the White House’s lack of response to the incident may be due to the campaign contributions that Obama received from oil companies during his 2008 presidential race.

"I don’t know why the question isn’t asked… if there’s any connection there to President Obama taking so doggone long to get in there, to dive in there and grasp the complexity and the potential tragedy that we are seeing here in the Gulf of Mexico," she said.

Palin added that if former President George W. Bush was still in office, "the mainstream media would be all over his case."

The former governor noted later on her Twitter account that during the last 20 years the largest single donation by BP—the company responsible for the spill—was provided to Obama during his 2008 campaign.

In response to Palin’s comments, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told CBS’ Face the Nation that the White House is working around the clock to clean up the spill, and that most "oil companies don’t consider the Obama administration [to be] a huge ally."
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Use Of Diabetes Medication Linked To Vitamin B-12 Deficiency

Use of diabetes medication linked to vitamin B-12 deficiency Diabetic patients who are prescribed the drug metformin may be at an increased risk of developing a vitamin B-12 deficiency, according to a new European study.

Lead author Coen Stehouwer believes that individuals who take the medication should routinely monitor their vitamin B-12 levels and may want to consider taking nutrient supplements.

For the study, the research team recruited 390 patients with type-2 diabetes and assigned them to take either metformin or a placebo three times each day for four years.

At the point of follow-up, participants who were prescribed the diabetes medication experienced a 19 percent reduction in their vitamin B-12 levels. A total of 17 once-healthy participants developed a severe nutrient deficiency over the course of the research.

"Our study shows that it is reasonable to assume harm will eventually occur in some patients with metformin-induced low vitamin B-12 levels," said Stehouwer. "Our data provide a strong case for routine assessment of vitamin B-12 levels during long-term treatment with metformin."

Vitamin B-12 deficient patients often experience fatigue, anemia and significant mental changes.
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IRS Launches First Wave Of Small Business Attacks

(Initial Focus on Employment Tax Compliance)

When the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released its five-year strategic plan last year it promised a flurry of new attacks on the public in a variety of areas. Referred to by the IRS as “enforcement initiatives,” these attacks constitute the key areas the agency will target for increased audit attention in the years to come. What was a mere promise last fall of more audit activity is now a reality. The IRS just recently launched the first wave of audit attacks.

In reviewing the IRS’s strategic plan it came as no surprise to me that the lion’s share of this new audit attention would be focused on small businesses. What did surprise me is the level of aggressiveness with which the IRS intends to carry out the attack. The agency identified four specific areas that it will focus on. I reveal them here.

1. The misclassification of workers as independent contractors (ICs). Employment taxes represent a staggering cost to businesses, both in terms of money and time. For this reason, many businesses look for ways to trim costs by reducing employees. One strategy is to use independent contractors (ICs) rather than employees to perform services for the business. But there is a right way and a wrong way to use ICs. If you go about it the wrong way you open yourself up to substantial tax assessments with penalties and interest.

Because employment taxes are such an important revenue source, the IRS is determined to audit as many businesses as possible to ferret out those that use ICs. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently reported that in 2007, various audits by state revenue departments found that more than 150,000 workers were misclassified as ICs. This report prompted the IRS to undertake its own study. So beginning immediately, the IRS will launch at least 6,000 random audits of small businesses. The announcement came on April 22 and was issued by Robin Arnold, a senior IRS program manager and field specialist.

Of course, the random audits are just the beginning. Once the IRS has the audit program fully developed and refined it will let loose its agents upon businesses on a much wider scale. The agency is training 200 revenue agents right now to conduct these audits. Moreover, it’s in the process of hiring nearly 2,000 more agents this year to help carry the load. Even worse, the results of the audits will be shared with the states so they can get in line behind the IRS to pick the bones clean.

And while it’s certainly not illegal to use ICs, you must be sure the workers are legitimate ICs and not merely employees masquerading as ICs. This is just one reason my IRS Problem Solver Series is so important and valuable for small businesses. This issue is just one of the many I discuss in great detail in that package.

2. Employment tax return non-filers. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration recently called on the IRS to step up enforcement against businesses that don’t file employment tax returns or pay employment taxes on time. The IRS treats this issue very seriously since employment tax money is largely withheld from the paychecks of employees. The employer is then responsible to pay it to the IRS. When the employer fails to do that he is treated as violating a “trust” relationship and becomes personally liable for the unpaid withholding taxes.

The IRS is now expanding its audits to randomly probe businesses for employment tax compliance. And because these audits are entirely random, there’s really no way a business can avoid such an audit. The best you can do is to make sure your business is in compliance.

3. Payment of fringe benefits to employees. Unless specifically excluded by law, the payment of money, property or services of any kind as compensation for services is taxable income. If a person receives goods in exchange for services, those goods are taxed at their fair market value.

On the other hand, the tax code does exclude from taxation certain fringe benefits paid by companies to their employees. But the exclusions are limited and are expressly defined. To the extent that any benefits exceed those limits, they are taxable.

To illustrate how desperate for revenue the Federal government now is, the random audit program targeted at small businesses will also focus on the payment of fringe benefits to employees. Look for the IRS to work on taxing every possible benefit that’s paid to employees. And of course, it intends to squeeze that money out of your pocket.

4. Payment of compensation to corporate officers. One of the most common mistakes made by small corporations is the failure to pay corporate officers (usually the owners) a “reasonable salary.” The tax code provides that corporate officers who provide services to a corporation must be compensated by the corporation commensurate with the fair market value of those services.

But many corporate officers do not draw a salary. Rather, they take their entire compensation in the form of a “dividend.” The difference is that the dividend is generally not subject to social security tax while the salary is. This is an issue of growing concern, but most small business owners will not see it coming. Too many tax return preparation professionals just do not understand the nuances of determining reasonable compensation or even that the IRS will challenge the compensation package of a small business owner. I expect many business owners to be blindsided by this issue. It could cost you a fortune.

—Daniel J. Pilla