Saturday, June 30, 2012

Insurance Industry Issues Press Release Warning Obamacare Will Cause Unprecedented Rate Increases

President Obama says the health care law makes coverage more affordable, but the insurance industry reacted to the Supreme Court decision by saying that the ruling will actually end up raising rates even more than they have climbed since the law was enacted.
America’s Health Insurance Plans, the industry’s lobby group, issued a statement supporting expanding health care coverage to millions of Americans, but it said, “major provisions, such as the premium tax, will have unintended consequences of raising costs and disrupting coverage unless they are addressed.”
The group’s CEO, Karen Ignagni, told Fox News that because of the increased costs, “It’s time for people to roll up their sleeves and look very carefully at those provisions.”
The Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit research group, has said that the average family insurance premium in 2011 topped $15,000 — a 9 percent increase from the year before, while premiums had climbed just 3 percent a year before the law went into effect.
AETNA, the nation’s fourth largest insurer, says its polices increased from 1 to 2 percent.
“Three percent is a material increase,” said Ignagni, who cited the legislation’s premium tax. “That is one example of provision embedded in the legislation that will work in the wrong direction than consumer expectations.”
But others claimed the law eventually will lower insurance premiums because of the large pool of Americans who will be covered. The group FamilesUSA called the decision, “a clear, unambiguous and complete victory for long-overdue health care reform.”

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We lost on health care. But the Constitution won.

The legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act, which I advocated as a law professor before representing the National Federation of Independent Business as a lawyer, was about two huge things: saving the country from Obamacare and saving the Constitution for the country.
On Thursday, to my great disappointment, we lost the first point in the Supreme Court’s 5 to 4 ruling to uphold the health-care law. But to my enormous relief, we won the second. Before the decision, I figured it was all or nothing. But if I had been made to choose one over the other, I would have picked the Constitution.
In November, voters can still fight Obamacare. Yet no single election could have saved the Constitution from the court.
This battle for the Constitution was forced upon defenders of limited government by Congress in 2010, when it insisted in the health-care bill that it was constitutional to require all Americans to purchase insurance or pay a fine. Lawmakers argued that this mandate was justified by the Constitution’s commerce and “necessary and proper” clauses. Had we not contested this power grab, Congress’s regulatory powers would have been rendered limitless.
They are not. On that point, we prevailed completely. Indeed, the case has put us ahead of where we were before Obamacare. The Supreme Court has definitively ruled that the commerce, necessary and proper clause, and spending power have limits; that the mandate to purchase private health insurance, as well as the threat to withhold Medicaid funding unless states agree to expand their coverage, exceeded these limits; and the court will enforce these limits.

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I like this SCOTUS decision….John Boehner, Mitt Romney, Michell Bachmann pay attention

First, the decision is not what I expected. But the decision has been made. For most people, especially liberals they can at least expect a mild change in the conversation over the next forty years as Roe vs Wade takes a back seat to ObamaCare debacle as the topic that makes conservatives turn boorish.
No, I don’t like ObamaCare. I intend to vote in the fall to have the funding  cut off, even if that means shutting down the government. I thought I voted to cut off funding 2 years ago, even if it meant shutting down the government, but as Chief Justice Roberts observed the people we elect expect someone else to act like grown ups so they don’t have to. Well now our Representatives and Senators have no choice. Big daddy won’t bail them out of their mess anymore. Big Daddy won’t clean up after them anymore.
But that still isn’t why I like it. And if you are still with me there is a gem in that decision that could change the future of America for young people in the most positive way since Woodrow Wilson was elected. John Roberts observed that the Congress determined to tax people to pay for health care and Congress extended to the people the option to purchase private insurance in lieu of direct tax payment. He determined that in this case, in a narrowly defined situation that the government can require people to either purchase qualified insurance or pay the tax.
It is important to understand this. VERY IMPORTANT. The court has determined that if is constitutional to enact a tax, that can be satisfied by the purchase of private insurance in narrowly defined situations.  If you all would stop wringing your hands and whining about being betrayed and control your temper for a few minutes and let that sink in you might actually do something other than just piss people off between now and the election this fall.
It is constitutional to enact a tax, and allow citizens to purchase private insurance in lieu of paying the tax.

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Here are the Bombshell Transcripts: Secret Wiretap Applications Prove Eric Holder Lied to Congress

In the midst of a fiery floor debate over contempt proceedings for Attorney General Eric Holder, House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) quietly dropped a bombshell letter into the Congressional Record.

The May 24 letter to Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), ranking member on the panel, quotes from and describes in detail a secret wiretap application that has become a point of debate in the GOP’s “Fast and Furious” gun-walking probe.

The wiretap applications are under court seal, and releasing such information to the public would ordinarily be illegal. But Issa appears to be protected by the Speech or Debate Clause in the Constitution, which offers immunity for Congressional speech, especially on a chamber’s floor.

...the wiretap applications contained a startling amount of detail about the operation, which would have tipped off anyone who read them closely about what tactics were being used...

Holder and Cummings have both maintained that the wiretap applications did not contain such details and that the applications were reviewed narrowly for probable cause, not for whether any investigatory tactics contained followed Justice Department policy... The wiretap applications were signed by senior DOJ officials...

After some searching, I was able to locate the actual details in the Congressional Record, which appear on pages H4409 through H4411 of Thursday’s official register.

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Time For Regime Change In The USA

All in all, it’s time for all sensible people and all sensible countries (there’s quite a lot of them) to consciously question any assertion by the USA that this or that regime is at fault and needs to be overthrown. Instead all sensible people and countries should start to say that the world is fed up with war-mongering as well as angry at the Wall Street machinations which are destroying the world economy."

With breath-taking arrogance, the USA is opposing the presence of Iran at the discussions about Syria in Geneva.Turkey - now openly playing the sectarian card and deliberately causing a Phantom jet to fly in fast and low in order to provoke a reaction and so involve NATO - can be present. The USA - supplying arms to al-Qaeda; organizing Salafists, Wahhabists and death squads; broadcasting lying propaganda - can be present. Russia and China can be present. But not Iran.

Yet Iran has political, religious and cultural links with the Alawite (Shia sect) government of Syria. Iran is the one country - not the USA, not Russia, not China, not Turkey, Saudi Arabia or Qatar - which can have frank talks with Syria. Iran is the one country which Syria can trust as understanding its situation. And Iran is the only country which can give hope of avoiding a civil war bloodbath, at the very least, or a probable decade-long regional war.

But Iran is not to be at Geneva because the USA, riddled with bigotry and an example of Ancient Greek hubris if there ever was one, hates any country which wants to be independent. It particularly hates Iran. Indeed, so extreme is the hatred that anything (including war) can be done to achieve regime change in Tehran. It is therefore no surprise that, at all times, the USA quickly side-lines democracy and justice if there is any likelihood that Iran might be involved in the solution. And just to spell out the point, in Syria, the USA is co-operating with Saudi Arabia - a vicious, totalitarian tyranny supplying guns and money - and with Qatar - an anti-democratic country, supplying guns and money.

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The rule of law is now dead

Following the Obamacare decision, The Heartland Institute’s Maureen Martin, a Senior Fellow for Legal Affairs, said, “Today’s decision will go down in infamy. It marks the moment when we all lost our freedom because the Supreme Court drew a road map to guide those dedicated to imposing a totalitarian, statist government on the American people.”
A Heartland colleague, Peter Ferrara, a member of the bar of the Supreme Court and a Senior Fellow for Entitlement and Budget Policy, said “The Supreme Court of the United States just endorsed the most fundamental dishonesty of our politics today. The President intimidated Chief Justice John Roberts like Hugo Chavez intimidates the Venezuelan Supreme Court. The rule of law is now dead. The American people have only one more chance now to save their country.” Heartland is a non-profit, free market think tank.
A lot of Americans may begin to feel like the Jews who lived in Nazi Germany. On September 15, 1935, the Nazi government passed the Nuremberg laws. They were intended to make life in Germany so unpleasant that it would force them to emigrate. Those who could escaped what would later materialize as the Holocaust, the deliberate extermination of all the Jews of Europe. One of them was Albert Einstein who found sanctuary in the United States.
To give you a taste of what it was like, the Reichstag’s Nuremburg laws prohibited marriage between Jews and Aryan Germans. Intercourse between Jews and “subjects of German or kindred blood” was forbidden. Jews were forbidden to fly the Reich and national flag. It did not take long for Jewish teachers, lawyers, and physicians to be stripped of their right to work.
What does that have to do with Obamacare? Americans who could rely on the political system to moderate and even reduce taxation now know that the December 28, 2012 Supreme Court has ruled that Congress may tax anything, including behavior. Americans no longer are free to determine what they wish to purchase or not. Either they follow the dictate of the federal government or they will be fined.

Obamacare has now transformed the United States into a police state.

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Socialized Healthcare vs. The Laws of Economics

The government's initial step in attempting to create a government-run healthcare monopoly has been to propose a law that would eventually drive the private health insurance industry out of existence. Additional taxes and mandated costs are to be imposed on health insurance companies, while a government-run "health insurance" bureaucracy will be created, ostensibly to "compete" with the private companies. The hoped-for end result is one big government monopoly which, like all government monopolies, will operate with all the efficiency of the post office and all the charm and compassion of the IRS.

Of course, it would be difficult to compete with a rival who has all of his capital and operating costs paid out of tax dollars. Whenever government "competes" with the private sector, it makes sure that the competition is grossly unfair, piling costly regulation after regulation, and tax after tax on the private companies while exempting itself from all of them. This is why the "government-sponsored enterprises" Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were so profitable for so many years. It is also why so many abysmally performing "public" schools remain in existence for decades despite their utter failure at educating children.

America's Healthcare Future?

Some years ago, the Nobel-laureate economist Milton Friedman studied the history of healthcare supply in America. In a 1992 study published by the Hoover Institution, entitled "Input and Output in Health Care," Friedman noted that 56 percent of all hospitals in America were privately owned and for-profit in 1910. After 60 years of subsidies for government-run hospitals, the number had fallen to about 10 percent. It took decades, but by the early 1990s government had taken over almost the entire hospital industry. That small portion of the industry that remains for-profit is regulated in an extraordinarily heavy way by federal, state and local governments so that many (perhaps most) of the decisions made by hospital administrators have to do with regulatory compliance as opposed to patient/customer service in pursuit of profit. It is profit, of course, that is necessary for private-sector hospitals to have the wherewithal to pay for healthcare.

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The Value of American Citizenship

The Supreme Court's mostly adverse decision on Arizona's immigration law was stark in the latitude it granted to the federal government to neglect enforcement of immigration and naturalization law.  As the case yielded discretion to the executive branch to discern when it is desirable to deport "illegal" immigrants (if there are such persons any longer), we have become less a nation of laws and more a nation of men. 
Failing to defend the rights and interests of the citizenry is an inappropriate dereliction of duty on the part of our Supreme Court.  Expecting persons to obey the legal process of immigration is not a byproduct of a lack of "empathy," but a matter of respect for the laws, culture, traditions, and government of the nation. 
A century ago, millions of immigrants flocked all over the world to America, the beacon of liberty, through such ports of entry as Ellis Island and San Francisco.  The diverse backgrounds of the immigrants, which represented all the historically quarrelsome nations of Europe, as well as far-fledged corners of the world from Africa to Asia, blended into American society, learned the language without complaint, and got to work without expecting a government handout.
The result?  America became stronger because of the contribution of immigrants to the society, culture, and economy.  Now, the Democrat Party is trying to turn immigrants into yet another victim group, whose grievances are to be harnessed for yet more economic and political control. 

A Surgeon Cuts to the Heart of the ObamaCare Nightmare

The day the Supreme Court ruled in favor of ObamaCare, a friend called me.  He's an extremely dedicated, much-loved surgeon, and he was frustrated and livid in equal measure.
"I've actually had a lot of experience working in all different types of environments," he began.  "I've worked in a government-run socialized medical care system, and I saw the waste and inefficiency.
"The longer people worked in that system, the less work they wanted to do, because the more you wanted to do, the more they dumped on you.  So after a while you stop doing it, because they're not paying you to do more.  Why should you do a difficult case, a difficult surgery that will take you hours and hours to do?
"You might start out wanting to do it, but after a while, you just run out of energy, because there's no incentive.  You'd have to be a superhuman being to continue to work in that system and not be worn down by it.
"Because nobody wanted to work, it would take an hour to turn over the surgical room.  In my private practice now, it takes ten minutes.
"And I saw tremendous waste: closets of stuff that never got used.  Nobody cared.
"Capitalism has completely transformed my sub-specialty.  When I was in training, a common procedure that I do now took 40 minutes, and people needed a month of recovery.  Now it takes 10 minutes, and people can go back to work almost immediately.

The Future of Congressional War Powers

If he is elected president, Mitt Romney will take an oath to “preserve, protect and defend” the Constitution. Yet he has proudly declared that he doesn’t believe in the Constitution—at least in the clear and unambiguous language that the right to declare war belongs to Congress. 
The former Massachusetts governor already has embraced discredited neoconservative nostrums about foreign policy. There apparently is no war in which he does not want to intervene, including Syria. He is particularly enthusiastic about the possibility of bombing Iran. 
Now he says he will not be bound by the Constitution. On CBS’s Face the Nation he declared: “I don't believe at this stage, therefore, if I'm president that we need to have a war powers approval or special authorization for military force. The president has that capacity now.” At least candidate Romney took a position this year. Back in 2008, he said “You sit down with your attorneys and [they] tell you what you have to do.” So much for reading the Constitution. 
Presidents often have used the military without legislative authority, but most such actions have been limited and many had colorable congressional backing. Despite modern presidents who claim the unilateral authority to bomb and invade other nations, many of America’s strongest chief executives recognized Congress’s authority. 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Did Roberts Contradict Himself On The Tax Issue?

John Podhoretz argues in his column this morning that Chief Justice Roberts contradicted himself in his ruling that the PPACA’s individual mandate survives constitutional scrutiny because it can be construed as a tax:
Like many people who read yesterday’s decision, I will go to my grave unable to reconcile the plain fact that on page 15 Chief Justice John Roberts says the bill’s mandate to buy health insurance isn’t a tax — only to say on page 35 that it is a tax.
In a beautiful turn of phrase, the four dissenting justices said Roberts’ contortion on this matter “carries verbal wizardry too far, deep into the forbidden land of the sophists.”
Roberts’ grotesque offense against elementary logic is so bald-faced, I’m almost tempted to believe he left it there on purpose, either out of perversity or as a not-so-hidden message that he had ulterior motives for upholding the constitutionality of ObamaCare.
Is it really possible that the Chief Justice made such a base contradiction that all the world can see? Well, let’s see what Goldberg is talking about to figure out if that it’s true.
First, on beginning at the bottom of page 14 of his opinion, Roberts talks about the question of whether or not the mandate qualifies as a tax for the purposes of the Anti-Injunction Act, thus meaning that any lawsuit challenging it would lack standing until a tax is actually assessed:

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Yes, The GOP Can, And Likely Will, Repeal ObamaCare in 2013 If They Win In November

In contrast to the doubts that the GOP would able to repeal the Affordable Care Act as Mitt Romney promised again yesterday that I expressed in my post yesterday, and which Steven Taylor expands upon in his post today, Matthew Yglesias sends out a warning signal to his fellow liberals that the law is most assuredly in danger if the GOP wins in November:
[O]nce the basic framework of the law is in place, it’ll be all but impossible to kill. That’s probably why no country that’s instituted a universal health insurance program has ever rolled it back—even strong conservatives like Margaret Thatcher in the United Kingdom or the current right-wing government in Canada leave existing programs in place.
The problem for Democrats is that if Romney takes office in 2013, none of this stuff will have actually happened yet. Repealing the law in its abstract form is a bit politically risky for Republicans but not nearly as risky as it will become in the future. Already in 2011, House Republicans were thrilled to vote for a “Repeal the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act,” even though it was obvious that the president was never going to sign it. If in January 2013 Republicans control all three branches of government, there’s no reason to think they’ll grow more timid. In a statement immediately following the Supreme Court’s decision, Romney promised to “act to repeal Obamacare” on his “first day if elected president of the United States” and if Congress puts a bill to that effect on his desk, he’ll do it.
Still, though Republicans seem likely to win control of the Senate in any scenario where Romney becomes president, it’s exceedingly unlikely that they’d score the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster. Technically speaking, since repealing the bill would increase the budget deficit, it should be ineligible for the budget reconciliation process that Democrats used to pass the bill in the first place with only 59 votes. In reality, this is unlikely to make a difference to a determined GOP. Back in 2001 and 2003, Republicans were able to find gimmicks to pass giant tax cuts under reconciliation orders, and in this case conservatives sincerely believe that the CBO is mistaken and repeal would reduce the deficit.

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It's All Up to the Voters Now

Before anyone had time to even read Thursday's lengthy Supreme Court decision narrowly approving the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, the passions and furies of the losing side were unleashed.
One quick consensus, expressed by both liberals and conservatives, was that by upholding Obamacare’s controversial individual mandate on a 5-4 margin -- but only on the grounds that it fell under Congress’ power to tax -- Chief Justice John Roberts and the court’s four-member liberal bloc had handed Republicans a weapon they can use from now until November.
“So Obamacare,” Rush Limbaugh nudged his audience, “is nothing more than the largest tax increase in the history of the world.”
“John Roberts is an evil genius,” lamented liberal Cardozo Law School instructor Robert E. Malchman.
And in a hastily called press conference a few blocks from the Supreme Court building, the Republican Party’s presidential nominee broke it down to its campaign trail essence: “If we want to get rid of Obamacare,” Mitt Romney said, “we’re going to have to replace President Obama.”
Yet winning is almost always better than losing. And so it is with Thursday’s Supreme Court decision. This was a much-needed political victory for Obama. The high court not only saved his signature domestic policy achievement, but it snapped the string of bad news the president has experienced over the last few weeks.
In White House remarks shortly after the court’s ruling, a clearly pleased president declared the decision “a victory for people all over this country whose lives will be more secure because of this law and the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold it.”

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Five Reasons Why the Obamacare Decision Might Not Be As Bad As You Think

Ever since the shocking ruling by the Supreme Court today that labeled Obamacare’s highly controversial individual mandate a “tax” was handed down, conservatives have been reacting with a mixture of depression and cold fury, especially toward the man who made it possible, Chief Justice John Roberts. Branded a “coward” in some corners, and a traitor by many, Roberts has been relentlessly criticized for a decision which many see as eroding the last obstacle to an overpowered government, and which certainly has the potential to do just that if the political philosophy that has so dominated the current administration continues unabated.
However, sympathetic though we are to these admittedly weighty fears of increased state power, we think one fact may have been a bit obscured by this response – this is still a decision by John Roberts. And John Roberts is still a Bush appointee, with a judicial philosophy that makes hardcore judicial liberals cringe, albeit a little less now. As such, since the decision was released, a steady drumbeat of commentary has gone up from everyone from Reason Magazine to Charles Krauthammer to Erick Erickson to George Will to even Ken Cuccinelli, one of the people who lost in the case, claiming the decision might be a sleeper victory. With a list of people like that believing they’ve secretly won, we figure we owe it to them to at least try to sum up the case for the Obamacare case being a success. Here are the top five reasons we can see why the Obamacare case might come back to haunt the Left and make the Right cheer:

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Abound Solar to Suspend Operations, Will Seek Bankruptcy

Abound Solar Inc., a U.S. solar manufacturer that was awarded a $400 million U.S. loan guarantee, will suspend operations and file for bankruptcy because its panels were too expensive to compete.
Abound borrowed about $70 million against the guarantee, the Loveland, Colorado-based company said today in a statement. It plans to file for bankruptcy protection in Wilmington, Delaware, next week.
The failure will follow that of Solyndra LLC, which shut down in August after receiving a $535 million loan guarantee from the same U.S. Energy Department program. Abound stopped production in February to focus on reducing costs after a global oversupply and increasing competition from China drove down the price of solar panels by half last year.
“Aggressive pricing actions from Chinese solar-panel companies have made it very difficult for an early stage startup company like Abound to scale in current market conditions,” the company said in the statement.
U.S. taxpayers may lose $40 million to $60 million on the loan after Abound’s assets are sold and the bankruptcy proceeding closes, Damien LaVera, an Energy Department spokesman, said in a statement today.

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Full List of Obamacare Tax Hikes

Obamacare law contains 20 new or higher taxes on American families and small businesses
Taxpayers are reminded that the President’s healthcare law is one of the largest tax increases in American history.
Obamacare contains 20 new or higher taxes on American families and small businesses.
Arranged by their respective effective dates, below is the total list of all $500 billion-plus in tax hikes (over the next ten years) in Obamacare, where to find them in the bill, and how much your taxes are scheduled to go up as of today:
1. Excise Tax on Charitable Hospitals (Min$/immediate): $50,000 per hospital if they fail to meet new "community health assessment needs," "financial assistance," and "billing and collection" rules set by HHS. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,961-1,971
2. Codification of the “economic substance doctrine” (Tax hike of $4.5 billion).  This provision allows the IRS to disallow completely-legal tax deductions and other legal tax-minimizing plans just because the IRS deems that the action lacks “substance” and is merely intended to reduce taxes owed. Bill: Reconciliation Act; Page: 108-113
3. “Black liquor” tax hike (Tax hike of $23.6 billion).  This is a tax increase on a type of bio-fuel. Bill: Reconciliation Act; Page: 105

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Environmental Hypocrisy at Rio-20

For 20 years, the United Nations has warned that humanity will soon face doom if it fails to adopt “sustainable development” policies and protect the earth’s environment. However, U.N. officials seem to think the rules they seek to establish for everyone else are not applicable to them, as their behavior at environmental conferences shows.
A much-hyped 1992 environmental conference in Rio produced a plan called “Agenda 21” which detailed a strategy to promote sustainability. Like many other U.N. initiatives, Agenda 21 has proven to be all talk and no action.
In the past, the liberal media have misled the public by pretending these meetings are significant in effecting global policy. Former Vice President Al Gore led the hype propaganda around the Copenhagen summit of 2009. Commenting on President Obama’s decision to attend the Copenhagen summit, former Vice President Al Gore stated: “This action is another example of the significant change in policy on the climate crisis.” Yet Copenhagen, like virtually every other climate change meeting, produced no results, as the Business and Media Institute has pointed out.
This year, the much over-hyped United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, commonly referred to as Rio+20, has been no different. Even environmentalist groups have expressed their displeasure at the results of the conference. The World Wildlife Fund claimed the conference was “less than satisfactory from any point of view” and feared if nothing happened it “will have been a colossal waste of time.”

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Darrell Issa Puts Details of Secret Wiretap Applications in Congressional Record

In the midst of a fiery floor debate over contempt proceedings for Attorney General Eric Holder, House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) quietly dropped a bombshell letter into the Congressional Record.
The May 24 letter to Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), ranking member on the panel, quotes from and describes in detail a secret wiretap application that has become a point of debate in the GOP’s “Fast and Furious” gun-walking probe.
The wiretap applications are under court seal, and releasing such information to the public would ordinarily be illegal. But Issa appears to be protected by the Speech or Debate Clause in the Constitution, which offers immunity for Congressional speech, especially on a chamber’s floor.
According to the letter, the wiretap applications contained a startling amount of detail about the operation, which would have tipped off anyone who read them closely about what tactics were being used.
Holder and Cummings have both maintained that the wiretap applications did not contain such details and that the applications were reviewed narrowly for probable cause, not for whether any investigatory tactics contained followed Justice Department policy.
The wiretap applications were signed by senior DOJ officials in the department’s criminal division, including Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Blanco and another official who is now deceased.
In Fast and Furious, agents for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives allowed assault guns bought by “straw purchasers” to “walk,” which meant ending surveillance on weapons suspected to be en route to Mexican drug cartels.

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The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of key provisions in the Affordable Care Act, the health care law commonly known as Obamacare, on Thursday, but on Capitol Hill, Republicans are vowing to press on with plans to fully repeal the law.

Repealing the law won't happen before January 2013. It would be dependent on a triple Republican victory this November: Mitt Romney would need to defeat President Barack Obama, Republicans must hold their majority in the House, and they must also gain enough seats in the Senate so they have at least 50 of their own in the upper chamber.

What about the filibuster? Don't you need 60 votes to do anything in the Senate?
Not in this case. Because Chief Justice John Roberts' majority opinion ruled the individual mandate a "tax," a Republican-led Senate could repeal that provision--and others--using what is called "budget reconciliation," a procedural tactic that requires only a simple majority vote. The Republican vice president, in this hypothetical scenario, would break the tie. (Democrats used the same method in 2010 to pass the health care bill.)

Budget reconciliation is at least one option that Senate Republicans are considering.

"There are a lot of ways to protect the American people from this horrible law, and Republicans are looking at all of them," John Ashbrook, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, told Yahoo News when asked if the party's congressional leadership was open to repeal using that process.

In the meantime, House Republicans are scheduling their own vote to repeal the law on July 11, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor announced Thursday. The vote would be symbolic because it would never pass the Democrat-controlled Senate. Also, the same House already voted to repeal the law in January 2011, during the same Congress that is up for re-election in November.

Speaking outside the Senate floor Thursday, Senate Democratic leaders criticized Republicans for moving forward with another repeal vote after the Supreme Court ruled its key provisions constitutional.

"Now that all three branches of government have ratified the law, the time for quarreling is over," said New York Sen. Chuck Schumer. "The time for disputing its validity is over. Congress should now return to its full time focus: The issue of jobs and the economy in America."

"If you ask people what they want us to focus on," he added, "it's not rehashing health care."

White House claims ObamaCare fine a 'penalty,' despite court calling it a 'tax'

First it was a penalty. Then it was a tax. Now it's a penalty again.
The war of words over what to call the fine attached to the federal health care overhaul's most controversial provision continued Friday, as the White House took issue with the Supreme Court's argument -- even though that argument alone spared President Obama's law.
The five-justice majority argued that, while the fine imposed by the law for not buying health insurance would otherwise be unconstitutional, the fine is actually legal under Congress' authority to tax.
Ergo, the fine is officially a "tax" in the eyes of the court. The law stands.
But in a case of biting the hand that feeds, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Friday the fine is still just a "penalty."
Calling it a "tax" causes obvious political problems for the White House. Obama fought that label vigorously when selling the bill in 2009.
Carney went on to say Friday that the "penalty" will affect only about 1 percent of Americans, those who refuse to get health insurance. He said the penalty was modeled after the one put in place in Massachusetts when Mitt Romney was governor.
"It's a penalty, because you have a choice. You don't have a choice to pay your taxes, right?" Carney said.
Carney was initially reluctant to assign a label to the fine when pressed repeatedly by reporters Friday. "Call it what you want," he said.
But describing the fine as a "penalty" helps fight Republican claims that the court ruling confirms the Obama administration raised taxes with its health care law.

Justice Department shields Holder from prosecution after contempt vote

The Justice Department moved Friday to shield Attorney General Eric Holder from prosecution after the House voted to hold him in contempt of Congress.
The contempt vote technically opened the door for the House to call on the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia to bring the case before a grand jury. But because U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen works for Holder and because President Obama has already asserted executive privilege over the documents in question, some expected Holder's Justice Department to balk.
Deputy Attorney General James Cole confirmed in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner that the department in fact would not pursue prosecution. The attorney general's withholding of documents pertaining to Operation Fast and Furious, he wrote, "does not constitute a crime."
"Therefore the department will not bring the congressional contempt citation before a grand jury or take any other action to prosecute the attorney general," Cole wrote, in the letter obtained by Fox News.
A department official told Fox News the letter was "pro forma" -- or a formality -- considering that ex-Attorney General Michael Mukasey in 2008 also refused to refer two Bush White House aides to a grand jury after they were held in contempt.
Republicans nevertheless blasted the Justice Department for the move. Frederick Hill, spokesman for House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, said "it is regrettable that the political leadership of the Justice Department is trying to intervene in an effort to prevent the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia from making an independent decision about whether to prosecute this case."


In response to the recent U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on health care reform – and as the nation’s largest employee benefits-only agency – Digital’s President and CEO Adam Bruckman has released the following statement to the media. As a valued Digital client, we wanted to keep you informed and in the “loop.”


Issued by: Adam Bruckman, Digital’s President and CEO

While the Supreme Court’s decision about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act determined the outcome of one of the most significant judicial cases of the century, no one has yet addressed one of the most pressing issues facing our nation: the rising cost of health care. Our country still does not have measures in place to control a system that is on an unsustainable cost trajectory. If we are to effect meaningful change, we are obligated to devise methods to curb rising expenses.

The solution is a system that produces knowledgeable and engaged health care consumers. This can only be achieved through innovation -- not through mandates, regulation and government programs. Evolution must be led by the private sector and requires collaboration between benefits advisors, employers, insurance carriers, providers and consumers.

These stakeholders must develop education and advocacy initiatives to drive profound employer-employee involvement. Ultimately, the remedy will harness technology and build transparent processes. It will offer access to comparative information about quality, outcomes and price so individuals can become better health care consumers. And, it will create effective wellness programs that change behavior and inspire healthy lifestyles.

A successful transformation will take leadership and a commitment from companies willing to operate on the vanguard of this type of reform. Until we are dedicated to working at this level, regardless of what happens in the White House, at the Capitol or in the highest court of the land, not much is going to change.

Health Care Reform: 13 Tax Changes on the Way

Here are 13 changes in the massive overhaul that could impact your tax bill, for better or worse.

The new health care reform law is chock-full of new taxes and tax increases that will affect many individuals and businesses.

But it will be years before most of these hikes take a bite out of your -- or your company's -- wallet. The law also has tax breaks to help both individuals and small businesses pay for insurance.
1. A new 10% excise tax on indoor tanning services on services provided after June 30, 2010.

2. The new law gives small firms tax credits as incentives to provide coverage, starting this tax year. Employers with 10 or fewer workers and average annual wages of less than $25,000 can receive a credit of up to 35% of their health premium costs each year through 2013. The credit is phased out for firms larger than that and disappears completely if a company has more than 25 employees or average annual wages of $50,000 or more.
Beginning in 2014, the system changes. The law requires each state to establish a health insurance exchange -- a marketplace where individuals, the self-employed and small businesses can buy health insurance coverage. The government-regulated exchanges would offer insurance policies with different levels of coverage and price tags. Small firms that sign up with one of the health exchanges to be created can receive a credit of up to 50% of their costs -- with the same phaseouts for average income and size as the earlier program. The credit disappears after 2015.

Medicare surtax: Starting in 2013

The mandate goes into effect in 2014 and is just one of the provisions that will help pay for the Affordable Care Act. The law will subsidize coverage for low- and middle-income Americans and expand eligibility for Medicaid. The federal government is set to spend more than $1 trillion over the next decade to do so.
There are also a slew of spending cuts as well as other taxes and fees that will be paid by health sector companies and hospitals; employers and consumers.
Individuals who will help foot the tab -- directly or indirectly -- include very high-income households, those with very generous health benefits at work, those who opt to remain uninsured and those who love a good indoor tan.
Medicare surtax: Starting in 2013, many individuals making more than $200,000 a year ($250,000 if married) will start paying more into Medicare.
The health reform law changes the Medicare tax in two ways: It adds a surtax on wage income above a certain level, and it creates a new Medicare tax on investment income.
Some high-income households will only be subject to one of those changes, and some will be subject to both.
Starting next year, high-income individuals will pay another 0.9 percentage points on their earned income over $200,000 ($250,000 if married). That's on top of the 1.45% they currently pay on all of their wages.
For those with investment income, they also could be subject to a new 3.8% tax on at least a portion of their capital gains and dividends. (Here's a fuller explanation of how the Medicare tax increases will work.)

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IRS steps up scrutiny of tax-exempt political groups

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service is signaling that it will increase its scrutiny of tax-exempt political organizations, which are becoming a force in elections by raising tens of millions of dollars from undisclosed donors.
The IRS has been corresponding with such groups and is preparing questions to ask them as part of effort to determine whether their fundraising or advertising work runs afoul of tax law. IRS spokesman Terry Lemons said on Thursday the scrutiny will affect a range of tax-exempt groups.
The move comes as such tax-exempt groups - many of which have better-known sister organizations known as "Super PACs," or political action committees - are under criticism from Democrats and some Republicans for using money from anonymous sources to try to influence elections.
Like Super PACs, tax-exempt political groups can raise and spend unlimited funds - in contrast to political campaigns, which may receive only $2,500 per donor each election cycle.
Super PACs, which must disclose their donors, operate independently from campaigns but may release ads that boost or attack specific candidates.
Tax-exempt groups, meanwhile, can qualify under the U.S. tax code as social welfare groups, which allows them to keep their donors private as long as most of their money is spent on so-called "issue ads." Unlike regular political ads, such ads cannot use a candidate's name or likeness and are supposed to be used to educate the public on broad issues or positions.

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GOP wins contempt fight, but legal dispute looms

House Republicans have won a historic political fight to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, but the GOP likely is still a long way from obtaining documents it wants in an investigation of a bungled gun-tracking operation.
The road leading to a possible lawsuit by the House was filled with emotion Thursday. More than 100 Democrats walked up an aisle and out of the chamber to boycott the first of two contempt votes, saying Republicans were more interested in shameful election-year politics than documents.
Republicans demanded the documents for an ongoing investigation, but their arguments focused more on the need for closure for the family of slain Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. Two guns from the gun-tracking operation called Fast and Furious were found near his body after a shootout in Arizona.
Democrats promised closure as well, but said a less-partisan Republican investigation — not contempt resolutions — was the only way to get it.
Adding to the emotion of the day, the family of the slain agent issued a statement backing the Republicans.
"The Terry family takes no pleasure in the contempt vote against Attorney General Eric Holder. Such a vote should not have been necessary. The Justice Department should have released the documents related to Fast and Furious months ago," the statement said.
It all happened on the day that President Barack Obama's health care law survived in the Supreme Court, prompting some Democrats to speculate that the votes were scheduled to be overwhelmed by news stories about the ruling.

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Health Care Reform: News, Analysis and Opinion from POLITICO

Three More Governance Questions for the Fed

Over the last several weeks on this blog, I have expressed a broad set of concerns about governance arrangements at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. I have made the specific case for Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, to step down from the New York Fed’s board because of the large, unexpected losses in his bank’s London proprietary trading operation — and the fact that these activities and their disclosure are now under investigation by the Fed.
On Monday I met with senior staff members of the Federal Reserve System to deliver and discuss a petition I created, signed by 38,000 people, requesting that Mr. Dimon resign or be removed from the New York Fed board. The staff members were gracious in the time they afforded me.
In addition, as a result of recent interactions with former officials and others who know the Fed intimately, I have three substantive governance concerns for the New York Fed that merit further discussion. Let me pose them as straightforward questions that I hope the Fed, at the Board of Governors or New York Fed level, will answer publicly soon.
First and most important, why didn’t Mr. Dimon step down from the board of the New York Fed in March 2008, when JPMorgan Chase bought Bear Stearns with financial support provided, in part, by the Fed?
This transaction fundamentally transformed the relationship of Mr. Dimon and the New York Fed. It is awkward for any director to enter into a significant commercial transaction with an organization that he or she is charged with overseeing.
This was a significant transaction for Mr. Dimon, representing a big expansion of his business. It was also a significant transaction for the Federal Reserve, both as a measure to stabilize the economy and in terms of the specific provisions of the financing it provided.

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EU Leaders Ease Debt-Crisis Rules on Spain

Euro-area leaders agreed to relax conditions on emergency loans for Spanish banks and possible help for Italy as an outflanked German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave in on expanded steps to stem the debt crisis.
After 13 1/2 hours of talks ending at 4:30 a.m. in Brussels today, chiefs of the 17 euro countries dropped the requirement that taxpayers get preferred creditor status on aid to Spain’s blighted banks and opened the way to recapitalizing lenders directly with bailout funds once Europe sets up a single banking supervisor. Stocks and bonds in Spain and Italy rallied and the euro posted its biggest gain this year.
The politicians struggled for consensus on reducing market pressure, where surging borrowing costs in Spain and Italy stoked concern among investors and global policy makers that the currency union threatened to splinter and risk damaging the global economy. Euro governments can now gain access to rescue loans without relinquishing control of their economies.
“We agreed on short-term measures that should apply to Spain and Italy,” said Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, who heads the group of euro finance ministers. “We will keep all options open to do the interventions that need to be done to calm the situation. There is a whole array of possible interventions and measures.”

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U.S. exempts China, Singapore from Iran sanctions

The United States on Thursday exempted China and Singapore from sanctions over purchases of oil from Iran hours before a deadline, saying that major economies were united in pressuring Tehran.
The United States, however, did not grant exemptions to smaller-scale importers such as Pakistan and Afghanistan, meaning that banks from those countries could face punishment if they handle transactions for Iranian oil.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ruled that China and Singapore had “significantly reduced” their crude oil purchases from Iran, granting them exemptions on the final day before sanctions take effect.
Under a law aimed at pressing Iran over its nuclear program, the United States will bar financial institutions that buy oil from Iran, essentially forcing them to choose between Tehran and the world’s largest economy.
Clinton credited the threat of sanctions with severely cutting Iran’s crude oil exports and estimated that it cost the country some $8 billion in lost revenue each quarter.
The world’s “cumulative actions are a clear demonstration to Iran’s government that Iran’s continued violation of its international nuclear obligations carries an enormous economic cost,” she said in a statement.
Numerous countries initially voiced concern about the US law. China and India had been among the most outspoken, initially protesting that their energy-hungry economies should not be beholden to US domestic law.
But US officials boasted that countries with vastly different relationships with the United States — from close ally Japan to sometime competitor China — all decided in the end that it was best to cut imports from Iran.

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If farmers do not rein in the use of antibiotics for livestock, people will be severely affected.

The spread of dangerous bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics is fuelled by overuse of the drugs — and not just in people. Farmers around the world routinely feed antibiotics to their animals, not only to prevent and treat infections, but also to make their animals grow faster. This leads to drug-resistant bacteria in the animals, and this resistance can spread to the bacteria that infect us.
The overuse of antibiotics in farm animals is a global issue. Human propensity for trade and travel ensures that resistant bacteria spread easily around the world, so as long as any one country pumps its pigs and poultry full of the drugs, everyone is at risk.
In 1998, the Danish poultry industry took the unusual step of volunteering to stop using antibiotics for the promotion of animal growth. Two years later, the country's pork farmers did the same. Denmark might be a small country, but it is the world's largest exporter of pork. And it didn't stop there, writes Frank Aarestrup in a Comment piece on page 465, Denmark went on to reduce its overall use of antibiotics in livestock by 60%. It achieved this by creating a comprehensive surveillance system to monitor overuse, and limiting the amount of money that vets could make from selling the drugs to farmers.
Many feared that the changes would cripple Denmark's pork production. Instead, production rose by 50%. “Any country trying to limit the use of antibiotics in livestock can learn from what my colleagues and I did in Denmark, adjusting what worked to local needs,” Aarestrup writes. These are encouraging words, but it is unlikely to be that simple.
The biggest obstacle is likely to be generating the political resolve and public support needed to crack down on the lucrative trade in antibiotics. This was possible in Denmark because there, perhaps uniquely, warnings from the medical community were picked up by the media, creating widespread public awareness of the problems caused by the overuse of antibiotics. People in other countries may not be so engaged, particularly when faced with the inevitable lobbying of the agricultural and veterinary sectors, which make big profits from selling antibiotics.

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GM Soy Linked to Illnesses in Farm Pigs

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A Danish farmer has gained huge public recognition for publishing his simple method for ridding his pigs of illness- removing genetically modified (GM) ingredients from their diet.
Published in the farming magazine Effektivt Landbrug on 13 April 2012 [1], the farmer Ib Borup Perderson describes how his pigs suffered from symptoms including chronic diarrhoea, birth defects, reproductive problems, reduced appetite, bloating, stomach ulcers, weaker and smaller piglets, and reduced litter sizes. This was not just a problem for the animals themselves but also the profitability of the farm, with fewer healthy animals, mounting costs of medicines and added labour costs.
After researching the health hazards of GM foods and associated herbicides, Pederson decided to stop feeding his 450 sows with GM soybean, replacing them with fishmeal and non-GM soybean instead. He began to notice health benefits after two days of a GM-free diet. The farmer’s account has since been published in an English dossier compiled by scientist Brian John of GM-free Cymru (Wales), with collaboration from Pederson, published online by GM Watch [2].

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Recipe for disaster: creating a food supply to suit the appetite

It’s time to admit it – Australia is becoming an obese nation. This series looks at how this has happened and, more importantly, what we can do to stop the obesity epidemic.
Today we look at how we got here, with Russell Keast explaining how, by creating food to suit our appetite, we have found the recipe for nutritional disaster, while Garry Egger looks at economic growth and why we should use the economic slowdown to try to shrink our waistlines.

For all but the past 10,000 years, the hominin species (two-legged primates) on the human evolutionary tract have been hunter-gatherers. And over millions of years of natural selection, our senses developed and were refined to help us navigate the local environment.
Of critical importance to our survival was the ability to make correct food choices and our sense of taste informed the hunter-gatherer about the suitability of food for consumption.
When a potential food was placed in the mouth, the five-taste primaries informed the brain about essential nutrients and toxins:
  • sweet elicited by sugars reflecting carbohydrate,
  • umami elicited by glutamic and other amino acids reflecting protein content,
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Why genetically engineered food is dangerous: New report by genetic engineers

Aren’t critics of genetically engineered food anti-science? Isn’t the debate over GMOs (genetically modified organisms) a spat between emotional but ignorant activists on one hand and rational GM-supporting scientists on the other?
A new report released today, “GMO Myths and Truths”,[1] challenges these claims. The report presents a large body of peer-reviewed scientific and other authoritative evidence of the hazards to health and the environment posed by genetically engineered crops and organisms (GMOs).
Unusually, the initiative for the report came not from campaigners but from two genetic engineers who believe there are good scientific reasons to be wary of GM foods and crops.

One of the report’s authors, Dr Michael Antoniou of King’s College London School of Medicine in the UK, uses genetic engineering for medical applications but warns against its use in developing crops for human food and animal feed.
Dr Antoniou said: “GM crops are promoted on the basis of ambitious claims – that they are safe to eat, environmentally beneficial, increase yields, reduce reliance on pesticides, and can help solve world hunger.
“I felt what was needed was a collation of the evidence that addresses the technology from a scientific point of view.
“Research studies show that genetically modified crops have harmful effects on laboratory animals in feeding trials and on the environment during cultivation. They have increased the use of pesticides and have failed to increase yields. Our report concludes that there are safer and more effective alternatives to meeting the world’s food needs.”

Another author of the report, Dr John Fagan, is a former genetic engineer who in 1994 returned to the National Institutes of Health $614,000 in grant money due to concerns about the safety and ethics of the technology. He subsequently founded a GMO testing company.
Dr Fagan said: “Crop genetic engineering as practiced today is a crude, imprecise, and outmoded technology. It can create unexpected toxins or allergens in foods and affect their nutritional value. Recent advances point to better ways of using our knowledge of genomics to improve food crops, that do not involve GM.

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The Rise and Imminent Fall of Biodiesel

Right now, all across the US, producers of an alternative fuel called “biodiesel” are in a state of panic.
Over the next year, up to three-quarters of them may have to shut down, eliminating nearly a third of this infant green industry’s capacity and thousands of jobs.
These are precisely the kind of relatively high-paying jobs that the Obama administration has claimed that it wants to promote, especially given the slowdown in job growth nationwide.  Yet the fact is that this infant green industry, otherwise a success story for smart government policy, is being undone by sheer bureaucratic mismanagement.
On the surface, this crisis has all the makings of a classic Grimm Brothers fairy tale – libertarian style: relentless government regulation binding the wings of free market forces.  Undoubtedly, many in Congress will try to spin it this way, as both the House and the Senate carry out investigations in the next few months.
In fact, the real story is almost precisely the opposite.
In this case the problem has not been too much government regulation, but too little.
And the moral is one that libertarians chronically ignore.
Efficient markets, especially new ones, cannot simply be left to their own devices, or the “law of the jungle.”  Their survival actually presupposes effective regulation, effective investigators and courts, and the rule of law.

Only 43.7 Percent of Gulf 'Oil Spill' Was Actually Oil

Today, Friday June 29, is the day that Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI) researchers are required to provide "criminal" defendant Kurt Mix, a former BP completions engineer, with the flow rate data they wanted to hide behind a claim of academic privilege. The federal government has based its claims for per-barrel pollution fines against BP largely on the WHOI data. And one obstacle to the government collecting huge fines under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA) is any challenge to its estimates as to how much oil actually got into the Gulf of Mexico. As an engineer involved in the source containment effort, Mr. Mix's testimony could cause the court to doubt the government's estimates. Hence the absurd charges against Mr. Mix, whose only "crime" was the diligently work to "plug the damn hole," as President Obama so succinctly put it. Mr. Mix had absolutely nothing to do with the fatal accident that caused the flow of oil into the sea, he only took part in the "source control" efforts.
In yet another example of this administration's blame shifting strategy, it has sought to distract the public's attention from the fact that under the OPA, once it became evident that the Responsible Party" (RP), BP in this case, had demonstrated an inability to deal with the pollution it had caused, the President could declare it to be a Spill Of National Significance (SONS) and appoint a National Incident Commander (NIC) to take charge and deal with the problem. On May 1, 2010, President Obama made the declaration and appointed the then Commandant of the Coast Guard, Admiral Thad Allen, as National Incident Commander. As of that date, President Obama and Admiral Allen owned the source control efforts. This was entirely in line with pre-existing doctrine calling on the Coast Guard to be the lead government agency in dealing with pollution on navigable waters.
So let us turn to the FINAL ACTION MEMORANDUM - INCIDENT SPECIFIC PREPAREDNESS REVIEW (ISPR) DEEPWATER HORIZON OIL SPILL dated March 18, 2011 by Admiral Allen's successor as Commandant, Admiral R. J. Papp Jr. which is now available under the Freedom of Information Act here. On Page 34 of the report (pg. 43 of the pdf) we find this statement:
June 21: Following further testing, WHOI releases a best estimate of oil to gas ration (sic) into the Gulf of Mexico of 43.7 percent oil. Previous estimates were 29 percent.

Court rules that Obamacare constitutes massive tax increase despite Obama claims to contrary

Chief Justice John Roberts ruled Thursday that Barack Obama used “magic words” to characterize a multi-billion dollar tax increase on middle and low income earners as a “penalty.”
“‘Magic words or labels’ should not ‘disable an otherwise constitutional levy,’” he wrote, citing a 1992 sales tax case. “This process yields the essential feature of any tax: it produces at least some revenue for the Government … $4 billion per year by 2017.”
The 5-4 ruling upholding Obama’s chief legislative achievement undermines the president’s claim that he would never raise taxes on Americans making less than $250,000 per year.
Obama attempted to sell the unpopular law to the country on the grounds that the individual mandate represented a penalty rather than a tax, and accused his critics of twisting words.
“For us to say that you’ve got to take a responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase,” he told George Stephanopoulos of ABC news.
When the newsman and former Democratic official pressed Obama on the question and cited a dictionary definition of the term “tax,” the president interrupted him.
“No, but—but, George, you—you can’t just make up that language and decide that that’s called a tax increase,” he said, adding “the fact that you looked up Merriam’s Dictionary, the definition of tax increase, indicates to me that you’re stretching a little bit right now.”
Chief Justice John Roberts and the liberal bloc of the Supreme Court cited the Constitution, as well as the law’s empowerment of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), to conclude that Obama had passed one of the largest tax increases in history.

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Hey America! Are You Ready to Go Back to Work?

Read any recent analysis of the election in the mainstream media and it will tell you that the Presidential Election is going to be about: 1) race, 2) Hispanics, 3) the "war on women," 4) gay rights, …… etc. etc. etc.
As usual, they are wrong. These are side issues. They will invigorate small segments of the electorate, most of whom are going to vote for Obama anyway. They entirely lack perspective -- like the New York Times' front-page story this week telling us how Democratic campaign managers in Chicago see Gay Pride Parades around the country as a potential "Army for Obama." Good luck with that.
This election is going to be decided by jobs and the economy. And on this Republicans have an overwhelming advantage. They are the party of free enterprise and the private sector, where jobs are created, while the Democrats are the party of big government and bureaucracy, where jobs are created in Washington, D.C. but asphyxiated everywhere else. Outside of the Oval Office and Northern Virginia, plus the offices of the Service Employees International Union, everyone knows that the private sector is not doing fine. If reviving the economy and putting people back to work is the issue, Romney is the one to do it.
Here's a small example of why we're in the fix we're in now. Three years ago the Historical Society of San Juan County, the most thinly populated county in the state of Colorado, decided to cut the $600 monthly electric bills at its Mayflower Mill, a National Historical Landmark, by installing a hydroelectric turbine that would use water crossing the property to generate electricity. The Society raised $100,000, trucked a 300-squre-foot historical shed up from neighboring Eureka to house the turbine, and by last summer was ready to put the system to work. Then it ran into the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

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