Monthly Archives: March 2012

The Trayvon Effect

What a sad day February 26, 2012 would be in the shooting and death of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman. Now I am not here to prononce innocence or guilt on either of these two. That is the job of the law and it needs to be given an opportunity to work. There will be no posting of pictures of a young Trayvon beside a mugshot of Zimmerman here nor any YouTube posts that may depict a less innocent Trayvon. No discussion of Zimmerman and the potential employment desires or his past 911 calls. My friends, this is a messed up situation that is beginning to spiral out of control.  Police Chiefs are being threatened to be hunted down, US Congressmen donning Trayvon hoodies on Capital Hill, etc. What is happening currently is that this incident is growing in anger and has the potential to blow up into one great big pile of garbage. Some advice needs to be given and I am offering my opinion of the counsel/comments that I would offer if I had a few minutes with the ever-growing cast of members in the drama. No, it’s not sugar-coated.

To the parents of Trayvon Martin –
Your loss is awful and tragic. No parent should ever have to bury a child. Regardless of whether the child was a sinner or saint, he was your son and there is no salve outside of the word of God that will soothe the pain. Staying vigilant is needed to ensure the truth comes to light – whatever that may be. Be patient and give the law the chance to do their job and hold them accountable. However, just because Zimmerman is not in jail does not mean this is an anti-black conspiracy. Trying to paint every white or Hispanic as racist does not promote the cause nor does it honor the memory of your son.

To George Zimmerman –
Whether your story of self-defense is true or was a fabrication in your mind that you have become delusional over, only time will tell. Self-defense or not, you killed a man. Talk to God, George.

To the Sanford Police Department –
You people need to be placing your best foot forward on this. Two families and a nation are watching you.

To the New Black Panthers –
You are slime and the racial equivalent of the Ku Klux Klan. A bounty? Really? Go crawl back under the rock you slithered from.

To Spike Lee and Roseanne Barr –
What were you 2 geniuses thinking? Tweeting addresses? Does the term “aiding and abetting” mean anything to you? What degree of culpability would you have had if harm had befallen these people with the information you shared? Your both idiots.

To President Obama –
Once again, when opportunity came before you to show true leadership –  you laid an egg. Rather than come forth and calm the black community with words to trust our legal system because we are a nation of laws, you pop off about how if you had a son he would look like Trayvon. You essentially took a can of gasoline and poured it onto the emotional fire burning over this issue. You play the race card more than any President in the history of the nation and have not a care for the fallout you cause.

There is no silver lining here. Just sadness and a need for aid. My friends, please pray for the Martin and Zimmerman families; our legal system to provide truth & justice; for those who are making spectacles of themselves (this list is growing); for our leaders in Congress; and even for our President.

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Unsaintly Behavior in the No Fun League

Football is political. It has as many levels of play as any government. From pee wee to junior high and high school, through college to the pros – football represents the masses in a very unusual manner. It is the sport of the modern-day gladiator as witnessed by the rabid fans (I include myself here) that attend and support the system. We like to see these players defeat and beat one another in glorious fashion. We have tailgate parties, playoff parties, and victory parades in celebration of the eventual champion for various levels of the game. Each years collegiate National Champion and the NFL’s Super Bowl Champion get a call from the President. We have exported the game to Europe and started a movement there. Football is uniquely American. While baseball may be the national pastime, football is America’s Game.

So this past week when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell laid the lumber down on the New Orleans Saints for “bountygate”, the news circulated the globe in less than a day. Now, let me make a few points – Point 1. I do not support “bounties” in a pay for play manner is any fashion; Point 2. I support punishment for teams that use pay for play aimed at injuring players.  Point 3 – I do NOT support the punishment handed down by Goodell and will detail why in the blog.

Now we have to get into the “howevers” and throw some reality into this game and what has happened with the Saints.  Football is a violent game played by boys and men that like to get out and hit one another. The object of the game is to win – not tie or hug one another. In placing a game plan to defeat the other team, a team plans how to execute their plan over the other team. A big part of that plan is to neutralize the opponents strength. If the stopping opponents quarterback or running back is the key to victory – you neutralize them by beating the crud out of them during the game. Period. That is why defense put 9 men on the line of scrimmage for a star running back, 2 defensive backs are put on stud receivers, and why defenses blitz to sack the quarterback. Now – a fine line exists between legally beating the crud out of an opponent and “unnecessary roughness”. You don’t hit the head, below the knees, or in the back. Or after the play is over. So, in the front from chest to thighs is free game no matter how hard you can hit your opponent. If you cannot handles those rules – don’t play the game.

Since the news of this investigation broke on March 2, I have watched the NFL Network as much as I could. Yes, the Manning Sweepstakes had my attention as well. I have watched all the clips the network has played over and over and over on the Saints and all the hard hits the last 3 years.  In my opinion, 90% of the hits they have run the clips on were legal. Were they hard, vicious hits? Yes, but that is part of the game. The other 10% were plays that were obvious late hits or illegals to parts of the body defined already.

The Cup of Hypocrisy Runneth Over
Now, I have several issues with Goodell’s punishment. The first is a double standard. Go back to 2007 when the Green Bay Packers were paying bounties to keep opposing running backs under 100 yards per game. Or how about 2008 when several Baltimore Ravens players admitted to having bounties out for Hines Ward of the Pittsburgh Steelers? Goodell has been commish since 2006 and both of these teams got their hands slapped. These are just 2 examples that have high publicity aside from New Orleans. It would not take much to dig a little deeper and find more. Oh, go back and look at how the Patriots won Superbowl 36 over the Rams and started a dynasty: they beat the daylights out of the Rams receivers and backs. Vicious, hard-hitting, and borderline in many cases. Did the Pats have bounties in that game? Rumors floated for years about this and nary a word came from the NFL. Somewhere the Saints have tinkled in the Post Toasties of the NFL and made an enemy. Another issue I have with the punishment is the severity. Goodell most likely ended the career of Greg Williams and maybe Sean Payton, depending on how Payton’s replacement does during the upcoming season. Taking away draft picks? C’mon.  We have not heard what the players involved in the bounty program of the Saints will face, but if these actions are an indication, they will be severe. The biggest issue I have with Goodell’s punishments is the fact they overlook the NFL’s own culpability. Yes – I wrote it and I mean it. When Bobby McCray blind sided Kurt Warner in the 2009 playoffs, he ended Warner’s career. While Warner has insisted the hit was legal, many have felt it was illegal. I think it was illegal. He was going for Warner from the backside and would have plowed him in the back had Warner not turned into it. Where were the officials in the game, asleep? Where was the League review of the play from Goodell then? The NFL has the right to impose post game fines and penalties. Ask Steeler LB James Harrison about post game fines.  Not only did the NFL do nothing on the Warner hit, but other late hits on qb’s and other players that were obvious during games that the zebras on the field missed. I guarantee that if flags and fines had been handed down to the Saints in 2009 and on, the bounty issue would have been gone. By not taking action at the time of the violations, the NFL cannot escape the fact that they fostered the very environment that they are now providing severe punishment for. I’m not the only one thinking this and I can assure you that when the lawsuits start flying, and they will, this will be a rebuttal on the punishment.

Political Fallout
The ink was not even dry on the press release when Illinois Democrat Senator Dick Durbin announced he will have the Judiciary Committee hold hearings into the bounty issue to see if federal law was broken. Really Dick? With all of the troubles we have now, you need to focus on football? I am fairly sure the taxpayers don’t want the US government spending tax dollars on this issue. I’m fairly sure Goodell never thought of the ramifications outside of the NFL when he was deciding punishment. The NFLPA has already requested that player punishment be delayed so they can complete their own investigation before the NFL doles out punishment. Watch all the other unions around the nation circle the wagons here and you know Barry will weigh in before all of this is said and done. Obama is a Harvard lawyer and they like crud like this.

The End Game
Goodell is waving the “protecting the players” flag on this, using player safety as his reason for being so harsh. Is it that or does he have a different vision of the game? I have heard several sportswriters using the term of “…eliminating barbaric practices from the game…” and ushering in a new era of football.  Hockey took a similar stand a few years back to reduce violence in its game. The challenge they found was reduced attendance in the stands. Football is a violent game and people like the game because it is violent. If you cannot handle that fact, go watch soccer. If the goal is to line up the offense and just see if they can score in one play, it will get old without a defense knocking the snot out of players. The NFL is having unprecedented financial success right now, but if the fans think the game is headed towards glorified flag football…..

Guess we could always watch rugby.

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Being you brothers keeper

Genesis 4:9 addresses the conflict between Cain and Abel when God asked Cain where was his brother. As we all know, Cain slew Abel, but was not about to fess up and uttered the immortal words to God “Am I my brother’s keeper?” This was Cain’s feeble attempt to throw God off the trail of the murder by asking the question (in layman terms) “Am I supposed to be his guardian, responsible for all he does?” Ok, maybe that’s my interpretation, but you get the understanding.

So why drudge this Biblical reference on the first Tax Day of the season? Well, March 15th is when all corporate tax returns are due. This is the first shearing of the sheep before the other major shearing next month on April 15. This year the new reporting of 1099 rules that went into effect are causing quite a stir in the accounting world. If you are in business for yourself or operate a corporation, who you 1099 now has been expanded. If you want the long, drawn out version of what to do that will make your eyes bleed, go to http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i1099msc.pdf. If you would prefer the Cliff Notes version as defined by Fox Business News, here is what to watch for:

“Who the new rules effect

If you were completing 1099 forms before, you will have to adjust to the new reporting requirements. This recent tax regulation applies to all for-profit corporations, except for tax-exempt organizations. If you report inaccurate or incomplete information, you may face penalty fines.

What has changed

The biggest change is mostly the volume of paperwork. Previous rules only required businesses to submit 1099 forms for payments greater than $600, typically made to independent contractors. New regulations will require 1099 forms for payments to most, if not all, of a business’ suppliers. Payments made to any corporation for over $600 will now require a corresponding form. This includes items like commission, fees, interest and even payment for property, such as construction equipment. For most companies, reporting these suppliers will result in a more forms. A 1099 form usually requires tax identification numbers (TINs) from both the payers and payees, and the new rules require more businesses to report their TINs.

Penalties for non-compliance

This new legislation raises the maximum penalties for reporting errors. The fine for failing to report a supplier has doubled to $100 from $50. Additionally, the maximum fine per business jumped: The ceiling for 1099 fines was $250,000, but under the new rule, businesses can be fined up to $1.5 million, and that number is anticipated to increase. Learning the new rules and complying with them can save you from a world of trouble.

Read more: http://smallbusiness.foxbusiness.com/legal-hr/2011/12/01/understanding-new-10-rules/#ixzz1p7yL6Z7u

So, staying on topic, the IRS is now requiring you to be your brother’s keeper. From a business standpoint, at least. AC unit goes on the fritz and you spend a $1000 to repair it, you have to get them to sign a W9 so you can 1099 them at the end of the year.  What happens if they tell you to take a hike? Well, go back and re-read the report on penalties. The IRS is taking a full court press to make businesses that have real and legit expenses re-think whether or not they can now claim them. In what is already the worst economy since the Great Depression, Obama and his IRS thugs are shaking down American businesses one more time.

When a business files their return, they are accepting the responsibility for the opportunity America affords us. No where in the Constitution nor its Amendments does it mention that one business should be responsible for reporting the income of another. That is what this new rule is doing.

Oh – But there’s more!
If you operate a 501(c)3 and felt it was time to get the 501(c) 4 to upgrade your degree of activism, the IRS just decided to dig a bit deeper into your business.  In February of this year, Texas conservative organization Waco Tea Party received a letter from the IRS regarding their application for 501(c) 4 status. What was sent by the IRS can only be classified as snoop to destroy. Asking questions regarding donors, who the groups plan on supporting, along with a whole host of questions that the IRS has no business inquiring on. Well, the Waco Tea Party and other groups have not folded. They have instead retained representation from the ACLJ on the issue and the ACLJ is wasting no time in sending notice to the IRS and firing back. He is the excerpt from the ACLJ site on the issue:

“The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is demanding information from Tea Party groups nationwide – information that is clearly beyond the scope of legitimate inquiries – information that violates the First Amendment.

As we have already told you this week, we’ve been contacted by dozens of Tea Party groups that are facing what can only be described as an intimidation campaign – an IRS demand that the groups provide information about the internal workings of their organizations – questions that are simply out of bounds. Questions like: How do you choose your members? What’s their background? Who do they associate with? What do they discuss?

Take a look at some of these problematic questions for yourself. We’ve posted some of the most egregious questions taken directly from several of the IRS information demands. They are posted here. I want you to know we are moving forward aggressively. We now represent nearly 20 Tea Party groups nationwide and have put the IRS on notice concerning our representation.

And, in just two days, we’ve already seen more than 30,000 Americans sign on to our petition demanding that Congress conduct oversight hearings on this IRS action. We believe Congress needs to get to the bottom of what the IRS is doing. If you haven’t added your name yet, please do so here.

As I told the New York Times, this intimidation campaign is as onerous as what the IRS did to the NAACP in the 1950’s and is simply unacceptable.

Here are the facts. These organizations have followed the law and applied for tax exempt status for their activities as Americans have done for decades. The problem here is the IRS has gone beyond legitimate inquiries and is demanding that these organizations answer questions that actually violate their First Amendment rights of free speech and freedom of association.

The IRS information demands sent to the Tea Party groups are not in response to complaints of wrongdoing, but instead in response to applications by the organizations for 501(c)(4) tax exempt status. The IRS certainly has the authority to request certain information when processing applications for tax exempt status. But the truth here is this goes far beyond that legitimate purpose.

We are committed to defending our clients and are prepared to take the IRS to court if necessary. I will keep you posted.”

Read more on these issues at the ACLJ http://aclj.org/free-speech-2/defending-tea-party-from-irs-assault and at the Waco Tea Party website: https://www.wacoteaparty.org/Home_Page.html . They also have a link to their online petition to stop this garbage as well on the site. 

If you represent a conservative non-profit and  at are being harassed by the IRS, please contact the ACLJ immediately.

Also, send some bucks to the ACLJ.

Defending freedom of speech is never free.

Nor is being your brother’s keeper.

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