Featuring Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi & pals ♥ Juan Guido, the self-declared ‘interim president of beleaguered Venezuela.
From Patrick Martin, 4 October 2019, wsws.org: ‘Trump announces plan to further privatize Medicare’
“President Trump flew to Orlando, Florida Thursday to promote an executive order to further privatize Medicare, the federal health program for the elderly.
At an event originally titled “Saving Medicare from Socialist Destruction,” Trump unleashed a rant against all those who call for even a limited expansion of Medicare as “socialist.” He sought to combine health care demagogy with anti-immigrant bigotry, warning: “Medicare is under threat like never before. I will never allow these politicians to steal your health care and give it away to illegal aliens.”
In reality, Trump has called for more than $800 billion in cuts in Medicare funding over a ten-year period as part of his efforts to finance massive increases in military spending and trillion-dollar tax cuts for big business and the wealthy.
After the Florida rally, Trump signed an executive order to promote the benefits of Medicare Advantage, under which private insurers are allowed to offer Medicare coverage and make a profit from it.
These plans have been encouraged under both Republican and Democratic administrations and generally target healthier and more affluent senior citizens, leaving those sicker and poorer to what is now called “original Medicare.”
“Today’s executive order is yet another giveaway to the corporations that run Medicare Advantage plans,” wrote Nancy Altman, president of Social Security Works. “Medicare Advantage is a hustle designed to allow for-profit corporations to suck up public dollars,” she said.” [snip]
Now the bolded part here I hadn’t considered, so good on Martin.
“About one-third of all Medicare recipients are now enrolled in Medicare Advantage, and a significant expansion would threaten to leave “original Medicare” patients as a stigmatized, “ghetto” population, with doctors refusing to see them in favor of the more lucrative Medicare Advantage enrollees.
The executive order gives private insurers more flexibility to offer supplemental benefits, loosens requirements for seniors to sign up for the Medicare Advantage plans, and allows insurers to pay cash rebates to boost enrollment. It also boosts tele-medicine, which involves potential advances in remote diagnostic (and even clinical) procedures. Under the profit-driven health care system, however, tele-medicine would inevitably be used to cut costs, reducing in-person care at the expense of patients’ health.
The main targets of Trump’s speech were former Vice President Joe Biden’s two leading rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, who have both campaigned for the establishment of a “Medicare for all” program under which the federal health care program would be made the universal insurer for all Americans, effectively ending private health insurance programs.
The WSWS has previously examined the demagogic and insincere character of the Democrats’ embrace of the slogan “Medicare for all.” Suffice it to say here that the slogan has nothing to do with “socialism,” except in the fevered demagogy of the ultra-right Republicans, who also denounced Medicare at its establishment in 1965 in the same terms.”
Let’s jump to Pelosi’s fascism in Florida:
“As Trump was making this announcement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi flew to Miami-Ft. Lauderdale. She met with Venezuelan exiles and the ambassador of the US-backed phony government of Juan Guaido, the Venezuelan legislator who had himself proclaimed president by the Trump administration but has failed in his efforts to engineer a military coup against the elected government of Nicolas Maduro.
The two events demonstrated the underlying unity of the corporate elite in the United States—despite the claims of unbridgeable differences between the two parties: The top Republican and top Democrat in Washington DC travelled to Florida Thursday to stage events advocating ultra-right policies.” [snip]
“While Trump was in Orlando, only a few hundred miles away in the Ft. Lauderdale suburb of Weston, House Speaker Pelosi was attending a forum along with four other Democratic representatives to discuss the crisis in Venezuela and the plight of Venezuelan refugees who have transformed Weston into a Venezuelan enclave similar to the Cuban-populated neighborhoods of Miami.
An estimated 190,000 Venezuelans live in south Florida, a small fraction of those who have fled the economic crisis triggered by a US blockade and the collapse of oil prices, as well as gross mismanagement by the Maduro government, which has nothing to do with socialism but uses the word to disguise its promotion of a capitalist layer linked to the military. The exile community in south Florida is dominated by ultra-right and wealthy elements who left the country, in many cases years ago, in opposition to Maduro’s predecessor Hugo Chavez.”
Yeah, the wsws journalists are sincerely hard on Maduro…
“This line-up was signaled by the presence of Carlos Vecchio, the US representative of the rump Guaido “government” which actually does not control a square inch of Venezuelan territory—except for the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington DC, which was seized by US police and then handed over to Guaido’s nominee.
Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the local congresswoman and host of the event, declared: “Speaker Pelosi led the House in passing tough measures to protect Venezuelans, here and at home. The speaker and my House colleagues are eager to strategize with Venezuelans in Florida on how to continue these efforts.” [snip]
“Representative Debbie Mucarsel-Powell of Miami, one of the 43 Democrats who captured a Republican-held seat in 2018, denounced the Venezuelan government, saying, “This is a regime that is killing its own people, starving its own people, taking away their very basic needs for survival.” She continued, “And it is extremely important to work together, in a unified manner, with our allies to put pressure on Russia, to put pressure on Cuba, so that we get Maduro out.”
This D Team dreckkk comes on the heels of TIAR having been invoked:
‘Venezuela: Dueling Delegations Sent to New York as TIAR Treaty Invoked’; Colombian President Ivan Duque raised tensions on the eve of the UN General Assembly when he compared Maduro to Slobodan Milosevic and Al Qaeda’, venezuelanalysis.com, Sept. 23, 2019
“For the government, Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza and Vice President Delcy Rodriguez have stated that they will be urging action against climate change and poverty in the week-long assembly, as well as stressing the need to build a “multipolar world” and strengthen peace in the region. They are also planning on delivering to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres 13.2 million signatures collected as part of the #NoMoreTrump campaign against US sanctions on Venezuela.
Guaido will be represented by his US envoy, Carlos Vecchio, “Foreign Relations Commissioner” Julio Borges, and “UN Commissioner” Miguel Pizarro, who was named by Guaido on Sunday. Pizarro, 31, is a First Justice deputy for Miranda State.
Vecchio has indicated that Guaido is “considering” attending the proceedings in person, despite Guterres ruling out a meeting with the opposition leader.
While Guaido’s representatives are not able to participate in the UN assembly, they are planning on contributing to a number of side activities, including meetings with countries that recognise Guaido as Venezuela’s legitimate president as well as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet. The opposition has vowed to “increase pressure” on the Maduro government, with Borges promising via Twitter to “continue requesting sanctions.”
Guaido’s team also participated in Monday’s meeting of foreign ministers for signatories of the Inter-American Reciprocal Assistance Treaty (TIAR) which voted to formally invoke the treaty. The meeting, which was chaired by Colombia, also agreed to try to “capture” and extradite top Maduro government officials as well as freeze their assets in signatory countries.
The Organization of American States activated the TIAR Treaty procedures earlier this month after twelve member-states approved a Colombian resolution classing Venezuela as a “clear threat to peace and security in the region.” The move stoked fears of foreign military intervention in the Caribbean country.”
From a separate mid-September VZ analysis essay:
OAS activates TIAR treaty mechanisms
“Guaido also highlighted the importance of the activation of the Inter-American Reciprocal Assistance Treaty (TIAR) by the Organisation of American States (OAS) on Wednesday as one of the elements used to “pressure” the Maduro government.
The convening of the consultations body of the TIAR treaty was approved by twelve OAS members after being proposed by Colombia. The resolution argues that Caracas poses “a clear threat to peace and security in the region.”
Also known as the Rio Pact, the 1947 treaty has been invoked several times in the past, including in support of the US naval blockade against Cuba during the 1962 Missile Crisis.
Venezuela withdrew from the treaty alongside regional allies in 2012. However, the opposition-controlled National Assembly approved the Caribbean country’s reincorporation in July this year, a decision which the Supreme Court quickly nullified.” [snip]
“The move was also rejected by sectors of the opposition, with former presidential candidate Henri Falcon calling it irresponsible, and by a number of social movements and regional governments, including Nicaragua, Cuba, Mexico and Uruguay.
In a written statement, Uruguay’s Foreign Minister claimed that the move “looks to legitimise an armed intervention [against Venezuela]” while Nicaragua’s president, Daniel Ortega, claimed that it “raises the axe of war” in the region.
The increased threat of military action against Venezuela comes as Caracas holds military exercises along the Colombian border this month, in which 150,000 soldiers will participate.”
Yep, according to the duopoly, Venezuela’s a candidate for R2P, as I’ve often opined, but there is now such a Hashtag.
And of course fascist Trump did meet with the VZ opposition at the UNGA
‘Thank you to @RepWilson for inviting me to join today’s roundtable in Miami to discuss the current unrest in Haiti with members of the south Florida Haitian community.’
Extra news and highlights from their most recent newsletter if you’re interested:
The Trump administration remains determined to make Guaido’s coup succeed, no matter the cost. In recent days, new funds were announced for the opposition leader, alongside more sanctions against the Venezuelan people and the activation of a US-led military pact.
For its part, the Maduro government set up a dialogue round-table with minority opposition sectors and denounced US actions at the United Nations General Assembly.
In our Analysis section, don’t miss our latest interview, featuring Kael Abello, on cultural production during the Bolivarian Revolution. VA’s Jessica Dos Santos also delivered a new column, singing the praises of the “unsung heroes” of present-day Venezuela.
Finally, VA writer and editor Ricardo Vaz was interviewed by The Real News on all the Venezuela latest, check out the video.
US officials and the Venezuelan opposition have also lobbied the EU to impose harsher sanctions against Caracas.
Washington Gives Guaido $52M in Funding, Slaps Venezuela with New Sanctions
The new aid package dovetailed with fresh sanctions targeting Venezuela-Cuba oil shipping.
Colombian President Ivan Duque raised tensions on the eve of the UN General Assembly when he compared Maduro to Slobodan Milosevic and Al Qaeda.
Venezuela: Gov’t Releases Opposition Leader, Guaido Ratified as Parliament Head
Edgar Zambrano was a high-profile participant in the opposition’s April 30 military putsch.
The Treasury Department has targeted people and companies involved in imports for Venezuela’s CLAP program.
Government Signs Agreement with Opposition Factions as Guaido Declares Dialogue Over
Guaido called for a “new stage of struggle” including the recent activation of the TIAR mutual defence treaty.
(cross-posted at caucus99percent.com)