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2313 – 08.07.16

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Lois Lerner, Director of the Exempt Organizations Division of the IRS, joined the McCuistion Program in 2009 for two episodes– on Not For Profits Under IRS and Legal Scrutiny, and other non profit challenges, (http:/// www.frtv.org, episodes 1707 and 1708).

On the program, Lerner offered an assurance that the IRS does what they can to ensure that each community nonprofit organization has easy access to the tools and resources they need to access government help and to ensure they are operating above board.

Fast forward to recent events- and we learn a different story from the position she took on our program. Ms. Lerner, who is at the center of the recent controversy to target conservative organizations for gratuitous scrutiny, invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination today, May 22, at a congressional hearing examining the scandal. Yet the tax exempt division, which Lerner ran, had created a “be on the lookout” list for tax exempt applications that used “patriot”, or “tea party” in their paperwork and seemed to be primarily involved in electoral politics. Lerner had supposedly tried to temper efforts to target conservative groups and then went onto to make the issue public.

When it became her turn to speak, Lerner read a brief statement into the record, declaring her innocence. “I have not done anything wrong,” she said. “I have not broken any laws, I have not violated any IRS rules or regulations, and I have not provided false information to this or any other congressional committee.”

Because I’m asserting my right not to testify, I know that some people will assume that I’ve done something wrong. I have not,” she reiterated. “One of the basic functions of the Fifth Amendment is to protect innocent individuals, and that is the protection I’m invoking today.”

There have been many inconsistencies and misstatements in Lerner’s story. IRS officials and an inspector general have said that while there is no evidence of criminal wrongdoing, at least at this point, lawmakers have called for Lerner to step down.  The Department of Justice has opened a criminal investigation into the issues. Her testimony is critical, as the IRS officials who have testified so far, say they don’t know who was responsible for the targeting.

The frustration over her silence was shared on both sides of the aisle. “If this committee is prevented, by obstruction or by refusal to answer, the questions that we need to get to the bottom of this, you will leave us no alternative but to ask for the appointment of a special prosecutor or appointment to special counsel to get to the bottom of this,” Lynch, D-Mass., said. “I hope that’s not the approach of the IRS going forward because there will be hell to pay if that’s the route that we chose to go down.”

Surveys recently showed that 61% of those surveyed believe the government is out of control and threatening our civil liberties. This scandal has many concerned. Chairman   Issa has criticized the IRS for failing to meet its objective as an independent agency.

“We knew then that something seemed to be wrong. We knew then that there was smoke. We knew then that, in fact, something just didn’t seem to be right,” he said. “Many people believe that the IRS is an independent agency. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

Thanks for joining us as we continue with conversations that matter….

Niki McCuistion

Executive Producer/ Producer McCuistion

Speaker, Strategist

www.nikimccuistion.com

nikin@nikimccuistion.com

214-750-5157

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Tribute to the Late Margaret Thatcher

Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher became Britain’s first female prime minister in 1979 and served her nation very successfully in this role until her resignation in 1990. Known for her forceful convictions and strength of character, she became known as the Iron Lady. In July of 2011, John Blundell,  Institute of Economic Affairs Fellow, author of Margaret Thatcher: Portrait of An Iron Lady,  joined us on a McCuistion TV program, talking about her successful career and her many contributions to British society and the political system.

(His colorful recollections, respectfully told, are worth watching: http://www.frtv.org/2012/05/13/the-legacy-of-margaret-thatcher/ on the McCuistion Program).

Ms. Thatcher earned a degree in chemistry from Somerville College, Oxford, as well as a Master of Arts degree from the University of Oxford. She worked as a chemist and then  as a barrister, specializing in tax law, before being elected  to the House of Commons in 1953, where she held several ministerial appointments. She was elected leader of the Conservative Party and thus became leader of the Opposition in 1975.

Never one to back down from what she felt to be right, she was known for her strong commitment to free market economics, limited government and rule of law. The former P.M. was a strong proponent of privatization, (see the NCPA study, Privatization Around the Globe” by Peter Young.) and (Dismantling the State by Madsen Pirie, which became a privatization handbook in the United States and throughout the world during the ‘80’s).

In 1988, she “predicted the “creeping Euro- federalism”, and took steps to prevent the British pound from being pegged to then European currencies.  Prime Minister Thatcher fought against the tyranny of British unions, the lofty 83% taxes on the wealthy and IRA terrorism, among many other tough issues…

Intuitive and pragmatic, after meeting Mikhail Gorbachev, months before his ascendency to leadership, she told him, “We can do business together.” On learning of her death, Gorbachev said, “In the end we were able to achieve mutual understanding and this contributed to a change in attitude between our country and the west and to the end of the Cold War.” The remark was pure “Iron Lady.”

In 1992, she was elevated to the House of Lords to become Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven. An icon, respected stateswoman, and renowned change agent the Iron Lady will be missed.

Niki Nicastro McCuistion

nikin@nikimccuistion.com

www.nikimccuistion.com

www.mccuistiontv.com

We are looking at solving some issues with streaming content by experimenting with this new player.

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A Presentation to Dallas Social Venture Partners
by Dennis McCuistion

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Florida pastor unclear about Quran burning

Gainesville, Florida (CNN) — The pastor at a Florida church that planned to burn copies of the Quran added to confusion Friday over whether he intends to go ahead with the controversial event.

The Rev. Terry Jones told CBS’ “The Early Show” that “we have called the event off.” Soon afterward, however, he told reporters in Florida the burning is still being contemplated.

Obama to name Goolsbee to head economic council

President Obama will name Austan Goolsbee, an economics professor at the University of Chicago, to succeed Christina Romer as the head of the Council of Economic Advisers, according to senior administration officials.

U.S. adults don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables – CDC report

A diet high in fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk for many leading causes of death (1–3) and can play an important role in weight management (4). Healthy People 2010 objectives for fruits and vegetables include targets of increasing to 75% the proportion of persons aged ≥2 years who consume two or more servings of fruit daily and to 50% those who consume three or more servings of vegetables daily.* To assess states’ progress over the past decade in meeting these targets among adults …

BP gears up for two-phase effort to plug Gulf oil well

One of two efforts to seal the ruptured BP oil well in the Gulf once and for all could begin as early as Monday night, officials said.

The “static kill” involves pouring mud and cement into the well from above — a process that had been delayed while debris from a tropical storm was cleared out.

“I do have a lot of confidence we’ll be successful,” Doug Suttles, the oil giant’s chief operating officer, said Sunday.

China’s Geely Completes Volvo Buy

BEIJING/HONG KONG (Reuters) – China’s Geely on Monday completed its purchase of Ford Motor Co’s Volvo unit, marking China’s biggest acquisition of a foreign car maker and reflecting the nation’s rapid rise in the auto world.

Zhejiang Geely, parent of Hong Kong-listed Geely Automobile <0175.HK> said on Monday it paid $1.3 billion in cash and issued a $200 million loan note to Ford. That represents $300 million less than the earlier headline of $1.8 billion, but Ford said it would get a further “true-up” payment later in the year.

With the deal now done, the real challenge for Geely will lie ahead as it aims to restore Volvo to long-term profits. Volvo Cars posted revenue of $12.4 billion in 2009 by selling 334,000 cars, but it recorded a pretax loss of $653 million.

Obamacare Only Looks Worse Upon Further Review: Kevin Hassett

One of the more illuminating remarks during the health-care debate in Congress came when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told an audience that Democrats would “pass the bill so you can find out what’s in it, away from the fog of controversy.”

That remark captured the truth that, while many Americans have a vague sense that something bad is happening to their health care, few if any understand exactly what the law does.

To fill this vacuum, Representative Kevin Brady of Texas, the top House Republican on the Joint Economic Committee, asked his staff to prepare a study of the law, including a flow chart that illustrates how the major provisions will work.

Health Care Bill Gets Plug from Andy Griffith

Here are two indisputable facts: on July 30, 1965, the Andy Griffith Show was one of the most popular television shows being broadcast at the time. And, on that same date President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Social Security Act of 1965, which introduced the nation to a new program called Medicare. The first two social security card recipients were Harry and Bess Truman.

So, it seems fitting that Andy Griffith, now most certainly the age of many Medicare recipients, is a spokesperson for Medicare’s $700,000 ad campaign, preceding the open enrollment period by several months.

Today’s news update covers the economy, world events and childhood obesity.

ECONOMY

U.S. retail sales rise for seventh month in a row

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — U.S. retail sales rose a seasonally adjusted 0.4% to $366.4 billion in April, the seventh straight increase and the 12th gain in the past 13 months, led by strong sales at hardware stores and garden centers, the Commerce Department estimated Friday.

Excluding a 0.5% increase in auto sales, sales rose 0.4% to $303.5 billion.

April’s figures came in stronger than expected, as economists surveyed by MarketWatch had been looking for a 0.2% decline in overall sales and a 0.2% gain excluding autos. See our complete economic calendar and consensus forecast.

In New York Trip, Obama Is Optimistic on Economy

BUFFALO — President Obama delivered an upbeat economic forecast and a defense of his economic policies on Thursday, telling a crowd at a manufacturing plant here that job growth would continue and that “next year is going to be better than this year.”

WORLD EVENTS

Bangkok battle: Troops fire on rioting protesters

BANGKOK — Thai troops fired bullets at anti-government protesters and explosions thundered in the heart of Bangkok on Friday as an army push to clear the streets and end a two-month political standoff sparked clashes that have killed two and wounded 45.

As night fell, booming explosions and the sound of gunfire rattled around major intersection in the central business district. Local TV reported that several grenades hit a nearby shopping center and elevated-rail station. Plumes of black smoke hung over the neighborhood as tires burned in eerily empty streets while onlookers ducked for cover.

HEALTH

First lady releases child obesity recommendations

WASHINGTON (AP) — Women could help reduce childhood obesity by maintaining a healthy weight when they become pregnant and by breast-feeding their babies, a U.S. government panel has found.
The suggestions were among 70 recommendations in the panel’s report. First Lady Michelle Obama released the findings Tuesday as part of her campaign against childhood obesity.

One in 3 American children is overweight or obese, putting them at higher risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other illnesses. Obesity is even more prevalent among black and Hispanic children. Some public health experts say today’s children are on track to live shorter lives than their parents.