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Friday, April 09, 2010

This man’s business ideas may have gone to the dogs… but look what he’s up to now See Magnifico! story on page 2

In this issue of the TNV Weekender: MAGNIFICO!

THINK TANK CENTER Report

Commentary about people setting higher standards

Research and analysis from influential think tanks

WAR ON TERROR Report

IN DEPTH Report

Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF)

Investigative and in depth reports on important topics

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Commentary about people setting higher standards Brought to you this week by

Your editors at TNV

Pet food billionaire has a few pet projects Clay Mathile made a name for himself by leading, building, buying, and then selling a premier pet food brand called Iams. According to Forbes magazine, Proctor & Gamble paid $2.3 billion for it. This would have prompted some to buy an island or Senate seat. Not so, Mr. Mathile and his wife, MaryAnn.

wrenching problems, and the universities aren't really set up to deal with that.” They just finished building the permanent campus for Aileron and one day he hopes to offer the program at the national level. An Ohio native, Clay was born into a hardworking family which may partly explain his compassion for other people. He views world hunger and malnutrition as challenges that require “innovative, effective, and sustainable solutions.” The Mathile Institute is working on those and currently has projects in Guatemala, Honduras, and India. The Mathiles are representative of successful American businesspeople who have not bought into the post-modern notion that once you make it big it’s time to live the good life, at the exclusion of helping your community with your time, talent, and treasure. And in their case, their roots also run deep. May our country always be blessed with the likes of the Mathiles.

Instead, the Mathiles formed a charitable foundation to benefit their community of Dayton, Ohio, founded a non-profit that trains and supports entrepreneurs far beyond a typical college program, and created the Mathile Institute for the Advancement of Human Nutrition. As Clay told Forbes, the non-profit helps entrepreneurs deal with “with day-to-day, gut-

Photos: iStockphoto, IAMS brand logo, Mathile Institute 2

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SPECIAL IN FOCUS – Discovery Space Shuttle NASA astronaut Stephanie Wilson, STS-131 mission specialist, attired in a training version of her shuttle launch and entry suit, participates in a water survival training session in the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL) near NASA's Johnson Space Center. (NASA)

This view of the underside of the crew cabin of the space shuttle Discovery was provided by an Expedition 23 crew member during a survey of the approaching STS-131 crew to the International Space Station. As part of the survey and part of every mission's activities, Discovery performed a back-flip for the rendezvous pitch maneuver. (NASA)

The station's robotic Canadarm2 grapples the Leonardo Multi-purpose Logistics Module (MPLM) from the payload bay of the docked space shuttle Discovery (STS-131) for relocation to a port on the Harmony node of the International Space Station. Earth's horizon and the blackness of space provide the backdrop for the scene. (NASA) 3 Copyright Š2010 Top News & Views (TNV) a div. of Four Pillars Media, Inc. All rights reserved

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Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF)

NATO leader urges new strategies CHICAGO, April 8 (UPI) -- NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Thursday the international military organization needs new strategies for the next decade. Toward that end, he said, there are five lessons to be learned from the dragged-out war in Afghanistan. "First, there is no military solution to conflicts solely," Rasmussen said during a speech at the University of Chicago. "We must strengthen the interaction between military security and civilian development -- a comprehensive approach. "Second, we must engage in dialogue and consultation with important actors and stakeholders by developing our global partnerships.

"Third, we must reform our militaries and build more deployable forces. "Fourth, we must develop a capacity to train and educate local security forces." The final lesson, Rasmussen said, is that despite its shortcomings, NATO has grown to include 45 nations that have shown remarkable solidarity through the years of tough slogging through Afghanistan. "To my mind, a fundamental lesson of Afghanistan is that NATO can take on the toughest operation in the world," he said, and "maintain its unity, and its cohesion, and its strength, over years, in the most challenging conditions."

Rasmussen, whose appearance came under the auspices of the university and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, noted that at the end of this year NATO members will agree to a new strategic concept document that will guide the organization for the next decade. "The days when the military could defeat the enemy, then hand the baton off to the civilians and go home, are past us," he said. "There are 16 major armed conflicts under way today. All of them are within, rather than between states. In many cases, it is the basic pillars of society that need to be rebuilt. This means that the military and civilians need to work much more closely than they have in the past. "That might seem obvious and easy to do. It isn't."

4

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Army Sgt. Joshua Harrison, Spc. Justin Harrison and Sgt. Jeremiah Harrison grin for a photo April 5, 2010, on Contingency Operating Station Falcon, Iraq, moments after reuniting for the first time since their deployment began. Army/Pvt. E.V. Knitter

U.S. President Barack Obama looks at an F-18 "Green" Hornet, which is being tested to run off biodiesel, after delivering remarks on energy security at Joint Base Andrews Naval Air Facility in Maryland on March 31, 2010. UPI/Kevin Dietsch

Marines from 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit are suspended from a CH-53 Super Stallion helicopter from Marine Medium Tilt Rotor Squadron 162 during an exercise in Djibouti on March 24, 2010. UPI/Alex C. Sauceda/U.S. Army

Above: New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees looks through the sights of an M249 Squad Automatic Weapon during a visit to Marines, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (24th MEU) March 29, 2010 in Djibouti during a USO tour. UPI/James Frank/U.S. Navy Right: Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Tyler Jones walks through hospital ship USNS Comfort's engine room in preparation for his enlisted surface warfare specialist oral board Oct. 12, 2007. Comfort completed a four-month humanitarian deployment to Latin America and the Caribbean providing medical treatment to patients in a dozen countries. Phto: Navy/U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Steven King 5 Copyright Š2010 Top News & Views (TNV) a div. of Four Pillars Media, Inc. All rights reserved

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Officials split on counter-terrorism views WASHINGTON, March 29 (UPI) -Lawyers in the Obama administration are divided over some of the counter-terrorism powers they inherited, The New York Times reported Monday. The rift is most notable between top attorneys at the departments of State and Defense, although a review of legal briefs and interviews indicate the conflict about the powers left by the George W. Bush administration also includes career Justice Department officials and political appointees in national security posts, the Times said.

Discussions center on how broadly defined are the types of terrorism suspects who may be detained without trials as wartime prisoners, the Times said.

Johnson argued in his secret memo for a more fluid interpretation of who could be detained under the laws of war and Koh did not.

The fissure is apparent when examining secret memos produced by Harold Koh, a former human-rights official and a leading critic of the Bush administration's detainee policies who became the State Department's top lawyer in late June, and the Pentagon's top lawyer Jeh C. Johnson, an adviser to Barack Obama during his presidential campaign, the Times said.

"Beyond the technical legal issues, this debate is about the fundamental question of whom we are at war with," said Noah Feldman, a Harvard University law professor specializing in war power issues. "The two problems most plaguing Obama in the war on terrorism are trials for terrorists and taking the fight beyond Afghanistan to places like Pakistan and Yemen. This issue of whom we are at war with defines both of them."

U.S. Military - Weekly Fatality Report (since beginning of operation) Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) Fatalities last week

4,392 2

Two weeks due to holiday

Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) & Worldwide: Fatalities last week

1,028 10

God bless those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. May they rest in peace. Statistical source: U.S. Department of Defense 6 Copyright Š2010 Top News & Views (TNV) a div. of Four Pillars Media, Inc. All rights reserved

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Quotables on the

War on Terror Left-leaning

How to use Afghan culture to devise a political strategy -- and exit David Ignatius, Washington Post Karzai has caused consternation among Americans recently because of his defiantly independent rhetoric and his invitation to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to visit Kabul. His tirade Thursday against meddling by the United States and its allies will deepen that concern. But it's not surprising that he's bristling against U.S. pressure to reform or dickering with his Iranian neighbor. Politics in this part of the world is a contact sport, and we shouldn't be afraid of Afghan expressions of sovereignty.

Centrist

Congress, be Semper Fi - Why the Navy Department needs a new name Chicago Tribune Updating the name (to the Department of Navy and Marine Corps) is all the legislation would accomplish. That's reason enough. As Jones says, "It is about showing the nation the true meaning of the department and recognizing the overall importance of the Marine Corps to our national security."

Right-leaning

The hostility follies Jonah Goldberg, Los Angeles Times Democrats are overreacting to overheated rhetoric and one blogging buffoon... I thought liberals rejected guilt by association as McCarthyism. Or are we to believe that every opponent of Obamacare is a racist?

NOTE: The comments above are from some of the most influential speakers and writers across the social and political ideological spectrum. We classify them based on perceived tendency to lean one way or the other, or not. Any comments or suggestions in this regard are welcome. Email: contact@topnewsandviews.com. 7 Copyright Š2010 Top News & Views (TNV) a div. of Four Pillars Media, Inc. All rights reserved

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Research and analysis from influential think tanks… across the ideological spectrum

How high can it go? Form 1040 gains pages and complexity – but few fans, and that’s before many see their total taxes due. Ahead of the April 15th tax deadline, this article is a departure from our usual Think Tank Center report. It provides edited excerpts from a report by a quasi-think tank that specializes in tax payer issues. In fact it calls itself a “union.” Founded in 1969, the National Taxpayer’s Union is an “independent, non-partisan advocate for overburdened taxpayers.” As their website explains (www.ntu.org) their work goes beyond research, analysis, and reporting on a variety of tax matters and includes lobbying for tax reform on behalf of taxpayers. They are perhaps best classified as

a special interest advocacy group, but then again, what’s in a name? Their policy paper, A Taxing Trend: The Rise in Complexity, Forms, and Paperwork Burdens, excerpted on the next page, is a comprehensive look at how the federal income tax program, since the ratification of the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1913, has grown increasingly complex and burdensome. It was originally just 4-pages long. Don’t believe that the 1040 form was ever just 4-pages long? Then ask the IRS. Or better yet, check out the copy they post online at: www.irs.gov/pub/irs-utl/1913.pdf.

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The “Tea Party” movement, for better or worse, is an example of just how dissatisfied many Americans are with the present situation. It’s estimated that 40% of the members of this growing movement are either Democrats or Independents, so it should not be considered partisan. As the NTU report, and the accompanying report by the Tax Foundation show, something will have to give, but meaningful and permanent tax reform is perhaps unlikely from today’s Congress. iStockphoto

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Growing Complexity of IRS Form 1040 Source: www.ntu.org

Pages including “Instructions,” Lines excluding Instructions Tax Year

# of pages

# of lines

1935 1985 2008

3 54 163

34 68 76

Average Estimated Time to Complete (Long Form) 1988 - Individual 17.1 2004 - Individual 32.5 2004 - Self-employed 32.7 2008 - Individual 55.8 2008 - Self-employed 57.1

Avg. $ Cost including fees n/a $242 $264 $408 $447

Note: The name of the Internal Revenue Service before the 1950s was the Internal Revenue Bureau.

As the NTU points out, “Paperwork burdens aren't the result of IRS bureaucrats mindlessly dreaming up new forms and regulations. Much of the new increase is due to a flood of new tax laws. These laws did cut tax bills for middleclass taxpayers, but significantly increased their paperwork. Recent legislation keeps adding to the complexity. For example, the IRS reported that `the Energy Policy Act (Public Law 109-58) required

over 600 changes to 107 tax products (tax forms, instructions, and publications) and [seven] new forms.’” The federal government is not clueless about U.S. Treasury report said in 2008: “As we have reported in previous years, it continues to be the case that the Department of the Treasury, in carrying out its responsibilities under the tax code,

constitutes the vast majority (79 percent) of the Federal government's paperwork burden.” Up until China recently overtook us, the U.S. had the top performing economy in the world. Just imagine how much better we could do if we were relieved of the fiscal and administrative anchor dragging behind us; the U.S. tax code.

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Is raising taxes the silver bullet the U.S. “needs” to balance the budget? Lately, there is much talk in DC about the “need” to raise taxes in order to reduce the budget deficit and lower our federal debt. Hasn’t that been the most popular tool of choice since the turn of the 20th Century? Where has it gotten us? On the other hand, relatively little work is underway to substantially cut federal expenses, just like households and businesses must do when times are tough. There is even talk of starting a Value Added Tax (VAT) without any discussion of it replacing the income tax, just riding on top of it.

What would Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and other fiscally prudent former presidents think? What are all the other options? Regardless, another special interest advocacy group, called the Tax Foundation, has said plenty about using an increase in income tax to get the feds out of hot water. Established in 1937, this non-partisan organization focuses on taxpayer education. Their report, Can Income Tax Hikes Close the Deficit, estimates the income tax rates would have to more than double to do this. And this assumes that the federal budget stops ballooning, and the cost of servicing federal debt does not escalate as it recently began. This was due in part to the huge amount of debt we have in relation to our Gross Domestic Product (GDP). 10

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In the dismal financial shape we’re in, the world is beginning to treat us like a “debtor nation.” This means that financing our debt will become more costly, and at times perhaps more difficult. National security concerns may arise since we owe huge sums to countries, such as China, who we need to get to the bargaining table to hammer out solutions to significant issues, such as relations with our allies and nuclear disarmament. Hopeful Americans can look forward to the coming mid-term elections to help us get back in better shape – and to help keep us that way. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke agreed in their assessments this week; we have little if any time to spare. iStockphoto Friday, April 09, 2010 www.topnewsandviews.com


Tax rates “needed” to erase federal budget deficit Couples filing jointly Source: www.taxfoundation.org and the IRS

Tax Bracket $0 to $16,750 $16,751 to $68,000 $68,001 to $137,300 $137,301 to $209,200 $209,201 to $373,600 $373,601 and over

Current Tax Rate 10% 15% 25% 28% 33% 35%

Rate “Needed” to Erase Budget Deficit 24.3% 36.4% 60.6% 67.9% 80.0% 84.9% iStockphoto

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Investigative and in depth reports on important topics

Inside the U.S. Treasury, did you know…? for domestic and international tax policy decisions.”

The U.S. Department of the Treasury, which, among other things, oversees the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), has two lesser known agencies called the Office of Tax Policy (OTP) and the Office of Tax Analysis (OTA). What is posted on their website may surprise you – and them. The site states, that the OTP “assists the Secretary (of the U.S. Treasury) in developing and implementing tax policies and programs… and provides economic and legal policy analysis

The OTA “advises and assists” the Assistant Secretary (for Tax Policy in the U.S. Treasury) … “in the development, analysis, and implementation of tax policies and programs. The Office provides economic and policy analyses leading to development of the Administration's tax proposals and also assesses major Congressional tax proposals.” The OTA also “develops and operates several major microsimulation models and maintains large statistical databases to analyze the economic, distributional, and revenue effects of alternative tax proposals and tax systems.” In addition to providing Congressional testimony when requested, the OTP is mandated by Congress to submit various 12

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reports. Interestingly, since at least 1989 it apparently has not been required to nor has it seen fit to report on the efficiency and effectiveness of current tax policy in relation to bona fide alternative proposals. This, despite some of its broad responsibilities summarized above. The OTP has posted various “Fact Sheets on Tax Policy” but apparently since 2005 the facts are not established or they are not deemed worthy of compiling and posting. A March 2, 2005 Fact Sheet is titled “How Have the President’s Tax Cuts Encouraged Investment?” The first paragraph states, “President Bush’s tax cuts have reduced the marginal effective tax rate (METR) (continued on next page) Friday, April 09, 2010 www.topnewsandviews.com


(cont.)

effective tax rate (METR) on new investment, which i measured as the share of an investment’s economic income needed to cover taxes over its lifetime. Lower METRs encourage additional investment, capital accumulation, and, in the long-term, higher living standards.” Later on it says, “taxing income from alternative investments at a more uniform METR – ‘leveling the playing field’– promotes efficient allocation of resources within the

economy by allowing market fundamentals, rather than taxes, to guide financing and investment decisions.” We’re not sure everyone in the current administration has read that one. Then there’s the March 2, 2005 Fact Sheet titled, “Who Pays the

Most Individual Income Taxes?” The document contains the following quote that may not come as a surprise to some. “Taxpayers who rank in the top 50 percent of taxpayers by income pay virtually all individual income taxes. In all years since 1990, taxpayers in this group have paid over 94 percent of all individual income taxes. In 2000, 2001, and 2002, this group paid over 96 percent of the total.”

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allegedly abusing a U.S. flag. Smunty Voje lead guitarist Marion Gooding III is using his U.S. District Court suit to accuse the state of Oklahoma and its codefendants of violations of free speech and expression for his July 2009 arrest by the Cherokee Nation Marshal Service, the Tulsa (Okla.) World said Sunday. While the guitarist was initially arrested, the Rogers County District Attorney's Office decided not to file any charges in the matter. As the result of a 1989 U.S. Supreme Court case, an individual's First Amendment rights cover destructive acts against the U.S. flag.

Musician suing over flag abuse incident TULSA, Okla., March 21 (UPI) -- A musician alleges in a lawsuit against the state of Oklahoma his free speech rights were violated when he was arrested for

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