Saturday, November 17, 2012

November 17, 2012

Franklin Graham: "We Have Turned Our Backs on God"
by By Todd Beamon and Kathleen Walter
November 15, 2012

The Rev. Franklin Graham charged in an exclusive Newsmax TV interview that America is in a deep economic quagmire because “we have turned our backs on God.”

“The more we turn our backs on God, the bigger our problem becomes,” Graham, the son of world-renowned evangelist Billy Graham, tells Newsmax in a wide-ranging interview. “I didn’t hear any of the candidates say that we needed to call our nation to prayer. I didn’t hear any of the candidates say that we needed to ask God for help.

“We still think that we can work our way out of this problem – and I don’t think we can,” Graham added. “I don’t have confidence in the Republican Party right now, and I don’t have confidence in the Democratic Party.

“I don’t believe there is leadership in Washington that can solve this problem. We just deal with it as issues for the day, and it kicks the can further and further down the road. We need God’s help to solve this problem – we can’t go without God.”

Last week’s election results, which sent President Barack Obama back to the White House for another four years, put the nation further along a “path of destruction,” Graham said.

“There is no question that America has been a nation that has been blessed by almighty God. There is no other nation in the history of mankind that has done what his nation has done – and it’s because of God’s hand and his blessing.

“In the last four years, we have begun to turn our backs on God,” Graham reiterated. “We have taken God out of our education system. We have taken him out of government. You have lawyers that sue you every time you mention the name of Jesus Christ in any public forum.

“What has happened is we have allowed ourselves to take God out everything that we do – and I believe that God will judge our nation one day.”

And, “maybe God will have to bring our nation to our knees – to where that we just have a complete economic collapse” to do that, Graham said. “Maybe at that point, people will again call upon the name of almighty God.”

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Ohio Gov. John Kasich: Yeah, We Won’t be Setting up ObamaCare Exchanges Either
by Leah Barkoukis
November 16, 2012

Earlier today Katie reported that Gov. Rick Perry announced Texas will not be setting up its own health care exchange – the government-run ‘marketplace’ for getting health insurance or, as Rush Limbaugh explains it, a ‘health care DMV.’

Today, Ohio Gov. John Kasich followed suit:

Today Governor John Kasich told the federal government that Ohio would not run an Obamacare health insurance exchange but would leave that to them. Not only are an exchange’s start-up and operating costs very high, but once created, Ohio will have almost zero control over how it operates. This will make it impossible for the state to tailor an exchange to meet Ohioans' unique needs.

Gov. Kasich also informed the federal government that Ohioans will retain all regulatory authority for Ohio’s insurance industry, and that we will retain control of the process of determing who is eligible for Medicaid benefits. […]

Despite many of the tough challenges facing America right now—high debt, high deficits, the threat of higher taxes and the threat of more regulation—Ohio is on the path to recovery and we’re setting an example for other states and the nation to follow.

Though our hands have been tied on this issue because of a federal law, we will do all that we can to protect the values that have always made Ohio great.

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Operation Push Back
by Fred Barnes
November 17, 2012

In their obsession with stressing the economy and jobs in the 2012 campaign, Mitt Romney and Republicans ignored or downplayed an array of compelling issues. This was a foolish mistake. They failed to exploit unpopular policies of President Obama’s first term and left unanswered charges that proved harmful to Romney and other Republican candidates. Now they can make up for their blunder, partially anyway. They need an Operation Push Back.

The starting point is Obamacare. It turns out there weren’t only two bites to that apple: the Supreme Court and the chance for a Republican Senate and White House. Those potential threats to the health care law fizzled. But now there’s a possible third bite, or maybe a half-bite. It belongs to state governors, 30 of whom are Republicans.

Governors can’t repeal Obamacare. But they can confound the Obama administration’s plan for implementing it fully in 2014. If governors do so, they may force the president to negotiate on scaling back the program. That’s the best-case scenario. Short of that, they could make a powerful political point, capitalizing on the public’s abiding dislike of Obamacare. That might at least keep the issue alive—for future action.

For the moment, Obamacare is a cross the president continues to bear. Indeed, the election exit poll found that 49 percent of voters favor repealing all or some of it, while only 44 percent would expand it or keep it intact. Governors have unusual leverage here because the health care law incentivizes them to set up exchanges at which millions would purchase insurance. If governors balk, the federal government must create its own exchanges. But federal exchanges would be different. The law says subsidies for those who can’t afford health insurance are available only through state exchanges.

The IRS, no doubt following orders from administration higher-ups, has ruled the federal exchanges could also deliver subsidies. But this has been challenged in federal court, and the IRS stands a good chance of losing. After all, there was a clear reason to channel the subsidies via governors. It was to encourage states to establish exchanges.

Since many governors have delayed a decision, the administration has extended the deadline for compliance. Some, like Nikki Haley of South Carolina, have decided against setting up a state exchange. And Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin announced last week he won’t. “Operating a state exchange would not provide the flexibility to meet our state’s unique needs or to protect our state’s taxpayers,” he said in a letter to HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid also gives governors an opportunity to put pressure on the administration. They can refuse to accept funds to increase the Medicaid rolls. Conservative governors may “propose a deal of sorts with the Obama administration: an expansion of coverage … in exchange for vastly more flexibility … even up to a full block grant of the program,” wrote Ben Domenech of the Heartland Institute. That’s a long shot, but worth pursuing by bold governors.

Besides Obamacare, there are many other programs ripe for pushback. The explosion of food stamps is one. The 83 separate (and overlapping) federal welfare programs cry out for spending cuts. According to Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, they cost $1.03 trillion a year. 

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