irs

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration testified at a congressional hearing on Thursday that it had found 33 thousand “missing” e-mails from former IRS official Lois Lerner’s accounts. According to testimony given last year by IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, Lois Lerner’s e-mails were unrecoverable from back-up tapes or other sources. The e-mails were found on back-up tapes. More details here.

Nina Shea reports of the attack on and abduction of more than 100 Christians in Syria by ISIS forces. This is the second attack this month targeting Christians. (21 Coptic Christians were beheaded in Egypt by ISIS.) Of course, last year thousands of religious minorities were driven out of Iraq by the Islamist terrorist organization. (Read more details of these attacks here.)

This should not be surprising, given ISIS’ stated goals of a “pure” caliphate. Despite President Obama’s assertions about ISIS not being a “legitimate” religious group, their aims are based on religious belief. More about this in last week’s Suggested Readings.

prezveto

In vetoing the bill by Congress approving the Keystone Pipeline project, President Obama claimed “… because this act of Congress conflicts with established executive branch procedures and cuts short thorough consideration of issues that could bear on our national interest — including our security, safety, and environment — it has earned my veto.”

The Keystone Pipeline project was proposed in 2008. Since then, it has gone through four extensive studies reviewed by the Department of State ; these found NO significant risk to the environment and minimal effect on greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, a recent study showed that pipelines are the safest way to transport oil and gas. Virtually no one denies the positive economic impact of the project for the US and Canadian economies.

After six years and multiple, extensive studies, I don’t think this act of Congress is cutting anything short. We know that the project is safe. We know it will create jobs. We know it decreases our reliance on foreign oil. We know it will strengthen our trade relationship with Canada. President Obama no doubt has his reasons for vetoing this bill, but it isn’t because of “our security, safety and environment.”

The Reader (Claude Monet)

The Reader (Claude Monet)

A new feature at poliwogg: Suggested Readings that are challenging but worth the effort. These can be books, essays or articles that the editors feel are well worth your time (although you may have missed them or avoided them earlier). The topics will be found above in the title.

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In the case of Texas v. the United States, U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen findings include this:

“What is perhaps most perplexing about the defendant’s claim that [deferred action] is merely ‘guidance’ is the president’s own labeling of the program,” said the judge. “In formally announcing [deferred action] to the nation for the first time, President Obama stated, ‘I just took an action to change the law.’ “

You can see this for yourself in the following video.

Not only does President Obama state that he has acted to change the law, he goes on to confirm that these changes are generally applied across all immigration law. Prosecutorial discretion focuses on a specific law and/or a specific case, not a wholesale change in how a body of laws are enforced. President Obama is attempting to make new law. This is not allowed under the Constitution.