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Obama Admin. Argues In Court That Individual Mandate Is A Tax – American Spectator

In order to protect the new national health care law from legal challenges, the Obama administration has been forced to argue that the individual mandate represents a tax – even though Obama himself argued the exact opposite while campaigning to pass the legislation.

Late last night, the Obama Department of Justice filed a motion to dismiss the Florida-based lawsuit against the health care law, arguing that the court lacks jurisdiction and that the State of Florida and fellow plaintiffs haven’t presented a claim for which the court can grant relief. To bolster its case, the DOJ cited the Anti-Injunction Act, which restricts courts from interfering with the government’s ability to collect taxes.

The Act, according to a DOJ memo supporting the motion to dismiss, says that “no suit for the purpose of restraining the assessment or collection of any tax shall be maintained in any court by any person, whether or not such person is the person against whom such tax was assessed.” The memo goes on to say that it makes no difference whether the disputed payment it is called a “tax” or “penalty,” because either way, it’s “assessed and collected in the same manner” by the Internal Revenue Service.

But this is a characterization that Democrats, and specifically Obama, angrily denounced during the health care debate. Most prominently, in an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Obama argued that the mandate was “absolutely not a tax increase,” and he dug into his view even after being confronted with a dictionary definition:

OBAMA: George, 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. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have gone to the dictionary to check on the definition. I mean what…

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, no, but…

OBAMA: …what you’re saying is…

STEPHANOPOULOS: I wanted to check for myself. But your critics say it is a tax increase.

OBAMA: My critics say everything is a tax increase. My critics say that I’m taking over every sector of the economy. You know that. Look, we can have a legitimate debate about whether or not we’re going to have an individual mandate or not, but…

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you reject that it’s a tax increase?

OBAMA: I absolutely reject that notion.

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Crude-Sucking Barges Ordered By Gov. Jindal Shut Down By Feds – First Things

Eight days ago, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal ordered barges to begin vacuuming crude oil out of his state’s oil-soaked waters. Today, against the governor’s wishes, those barges sat idle.

“It’s the most frustrating thing,” the Republican governor said today in Buras, La. “Literally, yesterday morning we found out that they were halting all of these barges.” Sixteen barges sat stationary today.

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Assad: War Likely After Flotilla Raid – Jerusalem Post

Syrian President Bashar Assad said Israel’s attack on the Gaza aid flotilla has increased the chances of war in the Middle East, in a BBC interview on Wednesday.

Assad said that Syria was working to prevent a regional war but he added that there was no chance of a peace deal with the current Israeli administration, which he called a “pyromaniac government”.

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Jobs Bill Blocked In Senate – Washington Post

The Senate effectively rejected a slimmed-down package of jobless benefits and state aid late Thursday, rebuffing President Obama’s call for urgent action to bolster the economic recovery.

Sens. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) voted with a united Republican caucus to block the approximately $120 billion package. The measure needed 60 votes to advance, but garnered only 56.

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Russian Police Seize Books Criticizing Putin – The Herald

Russian police have seized 100,000 copies of a book criticizing Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, the website of government opponent Garry Kasparov reported Wednesday.

The book, titled “Putin. Results. 10 years,” was being transported by truck when the vehicle was stopped by police on what kasparov.ru described as a flimsy pretext.

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Colombian Coal Mine Blast Kills 16, Traps Dozens – The Guardian

Relatives held a resigned vigil Thursday outside a coal mine in northwestern Colombia where dozens of miners were trapped and feared dead after an explosion that killed at least 16 workers.

The fiery blast at the San Fernando mine, believed caused by a methane gas buildup, tore through an access tunnel that is some 1.2 miles (about 2 kilometers) long and drops to a depth of 500 feet.

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Disgraced Fannie Mae CEO Holds Patent For Carbon Trading Plan – WorldNetDaily

Former Clinton and Obama budget adviser Franklin Raines owns a key carbon-emissions patent he developed as CEO of Fannie Mae, positioning him and his partners to make millions if it is used in any carbon-capping scheme implemented by the Obama administration.

Raines and his associates led Fannie Mae and Congress to believe Fannie Mae owned the patent, despite public records to the contrary.

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Feds Gave Arizona $1.25 Million To Build Squirrel Bridges – Michelle Malkin

Arizona is spending $1.25 million to build bridges for endangered squirrels over a mountain road so they don’t become roadkill and then monitor their health.

Arizona is spending $1.25 million to build bridges for 250 rare red squirrels so they won’t get hit by cars crossing the road. The money is being spent because cars kill about five of these squirrels each year.

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Student Attacks Hell’s Angels With Puppy, Escapes On Stolen Bulldozer – Carroll Standard

A German student created a major traffic jam in Bavaria after making a rude gesture at a group of Hell’s Angels, hurling a puppy at them and then escaping on a stolen bulldozer.

German police said on Monday that after making his getaway from the Hell’s Angels club, the 26-year-old dumped the bulldozer, causing a 3 miles traffic jam near the southern town of Allershausen.

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Two Mummified Bodies Found In Home Of 91-Year-Old Woman – Daily Review

State police announced Wednesday that they have served a search warrant at a private residence on Old Stagecoach Road in Wyalusing Township, where the mummified remains of two human beings were discovered.

The search warrant was executed on at 3 p.m. Tuesday. It allowed the state police to search the home of 91-year-old Jean Stevens of Wyalusing.

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Charity Waxing Stunt Nearly Removes Man’s Testicle – APP

A British man was left in agony after an intimate waxing stunt for charity almost cost him a testicle. Joe Cooper of Birstall agreed to allow bidders at The Trees pub to rip the hair off his groin in a charity drive for his local hospital’s children’s ward.

The waxing went wrong when one of Cooper’s heavy handed pals ripped off six of the seven layers of skin next to his scrotum.

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S. African Killed By Wife, Kids In TV Spat – First Coast News

Police say a South African man who wanted to watch a World Cup match instead of a religious program was beaten to death by his family in the northeastern part of the country.

David Makoeya, a 61-year-old man from the small village of Makweya, fought with his wife and two children for the remote control because he wanted to watch Germany play Australia in the World Cup.

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