Changing Stance, Administration Now Defends Insurance Mandate as a Tax

I guess Queen Pelosi was right, we had to pass it to see what was in it. And to see what it actually is, a new tax. When are people going to wake up and realize that all the Hope and Change is based on lies?

I hope that the states fighting this monstrosity continue to fight it, even if they win on calling it a “tax” now that it is law.

From The New York Times:

When Congress required most Americans to obtain health insurance or pay a penalty, Democrats denied that they were creating a new tax. But in court, the Obama administration and its allies now defend the requirement as an exercise of the government’s “power to lay and collect taxes.”

And that power, they say, is even more sweeping than the federal power to regulate interstate commerce.

Administration officials say the tax argument is a linchpin of their legal case in defense of the health care overhaul and its individual mandate, now being challenged in court by more than 20 states and several private organizations.

Under the legislation signed by President Obama in March, most Americans will have to maintain “minimum essential coverage” starting in 2014. Many people will be eligible for federal subsidies to help them pay premiums.

In a brief defending the law, the Justice Department says the requirement for people to carry insurance or pay the penalty is “a valid exercise” of Congress’s power to impose taxes.

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‘The Plan Is to Let Us Die,’ Coastal Parish President Says

Near the end of the article, it states that BP will spend $500 million over the next 10 years to determine the impact of the spill on the environment, along with the environmental impact of the toxic oil dispersant they are using. It sounds like they’re using Louisiana as a lab to do experiments on.

From CourthouseNews.com:

Almost 70 miles of Louisiana coast are soaked with oil. That’s more land than the seashores of Maryland and Delaware combined, Gov. Bobby Jindal said Monday after Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano were flown over the devastated coast. Napolitano said the federal government would “disperse it, boom it, burn it,” to keep more oil from coming ashore. But St. Bernard Parish President Craig Taffaro had a different idea. “I would be betting the plan is to let us die,” Taffaro said.

Federal officials delivered messages similar to Napolitano’s, but none wanted to address an incident that occurred last weekend, when BP and the Coast Guard abandoned 44 boats loaded with booms on Louisiana’s shores as thick black oil flooded into the marshlands.

BP was nowhere in sight as the oil inundated the fragile marshes. And the oil company has provided little explanation about what made it jump ship rather fight the oil as it hit land.

BP has continued to spray two chemical dispersants into the Gulf despite an order by the Environmental Protection Agency to end the spraying on Sunday night. The chemical dispersants, made by Corexit, are banned in BP’s homeland, the United Kingdom, because of their toxicity.

Ever since the April 20 explosion of the BP oil rig the Deepwater Horizon, oil has spewed unchecked from a broken well at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. At least 6 million gallons of crude have already gushed into the Gulf, though the estimates vary widely. Some experts have said that every week the spill has dumped more than the 11 million gallons the Exxon Valdez released off the Alaskan coast in 1989, in what was formerly the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

Far below Louisiana’s fragile wetlands are reserves of crude oil and other valuable minerals. Local residents speculated on Monday that BP is after the mineral rights, which it cannot touch while the wetlands are alive.

It’s a grim prospect, perhaps far-fetched, but not for those who live along the 70 miles of oil-saturated coast, who wonder what the heck happened this weekend when BP refused to fight the incoming oil.

“We can actually see birds that are covered in oil,” Gov. Jindal said Monday at the news conference in Galliano.

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Dennis Hopper’s death follows battle with cancer

From CNN:

Actor Dennis Hopper died at his home in Venice, California, Saturday morning, his wife said. He was 74.

Hopper, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in October 2009, was surrounded by his children when he died, Victoria Hopper told CNN.

While funeral arrangements have not been decided, Hopper’s wish was to be buried in Taos, New Mexico, his wife said. She said Taos was “his heart home.”

Hopper and his wife were involved in a highly public and bitter divorce fight in the last months of his life.

The actor made his last public appearance on March 26, when his star was dedicated on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.

“I just want to thank you,” Hopper said, as he smiled broadly.”That’s all I can do.”

With his 6-year-old daughter, Galen, by his side, Hopper waved and bowed to hundreds of fans lining a barricade along Hollywood Boulevard.

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‘Death panels’ were an overblown claim – until now

From DailyCaller.com:

During the debate over ObamaCare, the bill’s opponents were excoriated for talk of rationing and “death panels.” And in fairness, with a few minor exceptions governing Medicare reimbursements, the law does not directly ration care or allow the government to dictate how doctors practice medicine.

But if President Obama wanted to keep a lid on that particular controversy, he just selected about the worst possible nominee for director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the office that oversees government health care programs. Obama’s pick, Dr. Donald Berwick, is an outspoken admirer of the British National Health Service and its rationing arm, the National Institute for Clinical Effectiveness (NICE).

“I am romantic about the National Health Service. I love it,” Berwick said during a 2008 speech to British physicians, going on to call it “generous, hopeful, confident, joyous, and just.” He compared the wonders of British health care to a U.S. system that he described as trapped in “the darkness of private enterprise.”

Berwick was referring to a British health care system where 750,000 patients are awaiting admission to NHS hospitals. The government’s official target for diagnostic testing was a wait of no more than 18 weeks by 2008. The reality doesn’t come close. The latest estimates suggest that for most specialties, only 30 to 50 percent of patients are treated within 18 weeks. For trauma and orthopedics patients, the figure is only 20 percent.

Overall, more than half of British patients wait more than 18 weeks for care. Every year, 50,000 surgeries are canceled because patients become too sick on the waiting list to proceed.

The one thing the NHS is good at is saving money. After all, it is far cheaper to let the sick die than to provide care.

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When Passengers Spit, Bus Drivers Take Months Off

They do it because they can.

From The New York Times:

It could be the cutbacks to the city’s transportation system, or a general decline in urban civility. Perhaps people are just in a collective bad mood.

What else could explain why New Yorkers — notoriously hardened to the slings and arrows of everyday life here — are spitting on bus drivers?

Of all the assaults that prompted a bus operator to take paid leave in 2009, a third of them, 51 in total, “involved a spat upon,” according to statistics the Metropolitan Transportation Authority released on Monday.

No weapon was involved in these episodes. “Strictly spitting,” said Charles Seaton, a New York City Transit spokesman.

And the encounters, while distressing, appeared to take a surprisingly severe toll: the 51 drivers who went on paid leave after a spitting incident took, on average, 64 days off work — the equivalent of three months with pay. One driver, who was not identified by the authority, spent 191 days on paid leave.

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Two more Census workers blow the whistle

So this is how they’re going to fix the job situation? Fire and rehire the same person over and over, and call each rehiring a newly created job? Typical government “logic,” and hopefully the American people are too busy (or stupid) to notice, or care.

From The New York Post:

You know the old saying: “Everyone loves a charade.” Well, it seems that the Census Bureau may be playing games.

Last week, one of the millions of workers hired by Census 2010 to parade around the country counting Americans blew the whistle on some statistical tricks.

The worker, Naomi Cohn, told The Post that she was hired and fired a number of times by Census. Each time she was hired back, it seems, Census was able to report the creation of a new job to the Labor Department.

Below, I have a couple more readers who worked for Census 2010 and have tales to tell.

But first, this much we know.

Each month Census gives Labor a figure on the number of workers it has hired. That figure goes into the closely followed monthly employment report Labor provides. For the past two months the hiring by Census has made up a good portion of the new jobs.

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Activists blast Mexico’s immigration law

The Mexican president has been here in the US criticizing the Arizona immigration law (which basically does what the unenforced federal law is supposed to do), yet finally someone is pointing out that Mexican immigration law is pretty similar to the Arizona law, and is abused in many ways. Maybe President Calderon should rethink Mexico’s laws first, before telling us what to do here.

From USAToday:

TULTITLN, Mexico — Arizona’s new law forcing local police to take a greater role in enforcing immigration law has caused a lot of criticism from Mexico, the largest single source of illegal immigrants in the United States.But in Mexico, illegal immigrants receive terrible treatment from corrupt Mexican authorities, say people involved in the system.

 And Mexico has a law that is no different from Arizona’s that empowers local police to check the immigration documents of people suspected of not being in the country legally.

 “There (in the United States), they’ll deport you,” Hector Vázquez, an illegal immigrant from Honduras, said as he rested in a makeshift camp with other migrants under a highway bridge in Tultitlán. “In Mexico they’ll probably let you go, but they’ll beat you up and steal everything you’ve got first.”

 Mexican authorities have harshly criticized Arizona’s SB1070, a law that requires local police to check the status of persons suspected of being illegal immigrants. The law provides that a check be done in connection with another law enforcement event, such as a traffic stop, and also permits Arizona citizens to file lawsuits against local authorities for not fully enforcing immigration laws.

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