thursday’s fascist flares from florida

Featuring Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi & pals ♥ Juan Guido, the self-declared ‘interim president of beleaguered Venezuela.


President Donald Trump signs an executive order about Medicare at the Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019

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.

......................................................................

Extra news and highlights from their most recent newsletter if you’re dying to read more (smile):

Dear readers,

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.

Venezuela: Trump Imposes Travel Ban, Putin Backs Dialogue

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.

US imposes New Sanctions Targeting Venezuela’s Food Program

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.

@SpeakerPelosi 15h15 hours ago
‘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.’

Unrest?!?

(cross-posted from Café Babylon)

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WaterLily's picture

With all of this.

What a shithole country we live in.

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wendy davis's picture

@WaterLily

i found myself aghast, agape, and agog at this duoplistic fukkery ths morning. obomba, of course, had first declared the maduro administration a 'direct threat to US national security' he laid sanctions on the nation. then came trumpian MAGA upping the ante even more w/ more privatization of medicare.

and look at the grinning idiots with Boss Tweet in the photo! he was indeed correct calling amerika 'a shithole nation', so he seems to make to want to make it even shittier. and peloisi and pals aren't the only D's to indict 'the regime; it's also 15 DSAs and 'progressives', then virtue signal that they're for 'a peaceful solution', no regime change. Phooey on them all!

guess nancy wasn't too occupied in her trump impeachment nothing-burger phone call to fly to florida to meet with laden a bit more love on the usurper juan guido, though. this stuff might even turn one a bit cynical about any differences between the two parties.

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WaterLily's picture

@wendy davis This -- along with the companion "duopolistic fukkery" -- is now going to be my go-to response to anything political moving forward, including IRL.

Brilliant.

On a sort-of related note: How does one pronounce "agape?" It's a word I know and love, but I'm only familiar with it on the page. I've never heard anyone actually say it ... until this:

I always thought it was "a-GAPE." But this suggests "A-ga-PE."

Anyway, beautiful song, as are many of Bear's Den's.

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wendy davis's picture

@WaterLily

ad bears den is new to me. i know agape from christian churches bringing live 'love' music into their services, and had heard it pronounced ah-GAH-pay. this seems to say the same as far as i can tell. (second definition and pronunciation, of course) ; )

thank you, eagles.

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travelerxxx's picture

... 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.

[My bold and italics above.]

Here is a tremendous example of what's wrong. Both D and R are extreme right wing. Democrats are worse, as they attempt to paint a picture of themselves sitting next to FDR. At least the Republicans don't lie about it (as much), but they are headed for total fascism – if they aren't mostly there already.

I tend to believe Americans would see through it, except that they are subject to the most powerful onslaught of highly refined, scientific propaganda the world has ever seen. I feel, however, that this is the oligarchy's weakest link and where we should concentrate our firepower. In this regard, I'm right with Caitlin Johnstone, who has covered this angle extensively. It's also why I'm here on C99. Seems to me that is why a lot of us are here.

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wendy davis's picture

@travelerxxx

day in the pretense of purity; Trump at least is the naked face of fascism, although, sure he lies some as well. arthur silber has long called it 'the power of narrative', unearthed the scams, pretenses, a truly astounding anarchist (in the best sense of the word) author. he's been sick for long time now, and may have crossed over in the past few months. a snippet froom his last post:

As I noted in the earlier article, after much additional reading and analysis, I concluded that the 80% figure is almost certainly too low; I now think the more accurate figure would be 90%, or even 95%.

For still more about the colossal fraud of "intelligence," I refer you to "Played for Fools Yet Again: About that Iran 'Intelligence' Report," which contains a lengthy excerpt from Chalmers Johnson about the decades-long failures of the intelligence agencies. You can also consult "'Secret Information': Giving Up Your Life for a Vicious Lie." The first half of this essay describes how the pattern of willingly and enthusiastically providing obedience to authority figures, in part because the young child believes the authority figures' claims that they have "secret information" denied to the child, is set in very early childhood, while the second half examines how the "intelligence" fraud cashes in on the severe damage inflicted on the child, now that she/he is an adult.

yes, we do what we can to fight the agitprop, but it's so universal that sadly, there's even some here now and again, imo, even if unwittingly. and now with the plethora of online #fake news ites like belling cat, newguard google, and other apps, etc., it's even harder to find news that close to the truth.

thanks, buster keaton.

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Centaurea's picture

but this is exactly what's happening now in SW WA State, where I live.

“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.

Right now, under federal law, healthcare providers are NOT required to accept Medicare as payment. They can refuse to treat Medicare patients.

They can also refuse to accept traditional Medicare while accepting Medicare Advantage.

Medicare Advantage = HMOs/PPOs, networks, pre-approval requirements, second-guessing doctors, getting between doctors and patients, the whole ball of wax we've been used to since the late 1970s.

Traditional "original" Medicare is none of those things.

The health insurance companies' MedAdvantage programs are subsidized monetarily by the federal government. There is Big $$$$ being made with MedAdvantage.

What's happening now in many places is that the health insurance industry is exerting pressure on the providers in their regular networks. They're getting the providers to refuse traditional Medicare and to only accept MedAdvantage.

My area, SW WA State, is one of those places. The situation is becoming exactly as described in the paragraph I quoted. While you are still able to sign up and pay for for original Medicare, you may not be able to use it if you need it.

And yes, the "aura" that they're creating, which I sense in my area, is that original Medicare patients are stigmatized. Original Medicare is looked down on. Big Insurance is using the power of social pressure - shaming - in an attempt to force people to buy Medicare Advantage.

The insurance companies are creating a de facto monopoly. I believe it is highly illegal, and Bernie Sanders has said as much.

I've mentioned this before here at C99, where many are of Medicare age. I've gotten a lot of boggled minds and puzzled, dismissive replies.

"Are you sure about that? How can that possibly be? Well, I'm not going to worry about it. It will never happen where I live."

You think it can't? You believe the health insurance industry will be happy they've captured SW WA and leave the rest of the country alone?

Places like the one I live in are like the canary in the coal mine. If Big Insurance isn't stopped, they will take it all.

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"Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep."
~Rumi

"If you want revolution, be it."
~Caitlin Johnstone

snoopydawg's picture

@Centaurea

How Trump can just issue an executive order that affects something that congress passed is just beyond me. If this stands then what's to stop a democratic president from declaring that single payer is now in effect? Besides the fact that no democrat would do that. I haven't heard if Pelosi, Shumer or any of the candidates speaking about this.

Bush got away with his executive orders and signing statements, but Obama rarely used his option of doing that. Sure would have been nice if he had line vetoed that $8 billion cut to food stamps and the other cuts he signed. I just read about democrats being pissed at the justice democrats for trying to primary Coons who has been voting for Trump's judges. They're more upset about the threat to him than the judges who are going to be gutting legislation passed years ago.

That MA is getting help from the government should be talked about more than it is. I wasn't aware of this and I'm betting most people aren't either. What's next? Trump signing an EO that privatizes social security? Why not? Think democrats would stop him if he did? They certainly haven't done jack shit about him deregulating the EPA..etc. yeah I'm pissed. This fascistic oligarchy is moving faster every damn day. Ralph Nader has a great article on how the 99% is letting the 1% screw them. But he ended it with a plug for Warbama!

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

wendy davis's picture

@snoopydawg

'...that MA is getting help from the government should be talked about more than it is. I wasn't aware of this and I'm betting most people aren't either.

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wendy davis's picture

@Centaurea

your personal experience in light of martin's quote, although we might call it 'medicare profit advantage, no?

while there are far too many of your pithy testimonials from SW Wa state to feature, martin was indeed right, given your extras (my bolds):

'Right now, under federal law, healthcare providers are NOT required to accept Medicare as payment. They can refuse to treat Medicare patients.

They can also refuse to accept traditional Medicare while accepting Medicare Advantage.

Medicare Advantage = HMOs/PPOs, networks, pre-approval requirements, second-guessing doctors, getting between doctors and patients, the whole ball of wax we've been used to since the late 1970s.

Traditional "original" Medicare is none of those things.

The health insurance companies' MedAdvantage programs are subsidized monetarily by the federal government. There is Big $$$$ being made with MedAdvantage.

my sole frame of reference (save for reading patrick martin's piece was t laugh to mr.wd: 'hey, we're the elderly; go figure'...

and that a decade ago i'd undertaken the mission in montezuma county, co. to poll/ask docs if they even accepted medicare at all, in order to ascertain if the guidelines to be a 'medically under-served area' were applicable to receive grants for such a clinic in our town.many thanks for illuminating us, centaurea.

me. i don't and will never again go to a hospital or a doc, but mr. wd will see the need to in the future....so there's that to consider for us w/ no 'Cadillac/BMW plan'.

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wendy davis's picture

i wish i could remember the assembled routing of leaders against maduro at the UN HRC in july, but i'd thought that one of the major charges was that maduro (not duque) was involved in narcotics sales and smuggling. ani zips this on the popular resistance newsletter this a.m.:

Colombia Admits To Deceiving U.N. With Fake Pictures To Accuse Venezuela Of Illegal Activities’, By Staff, Granma, translation Resumen Latinoamericano, October 4, 2019

i'd remembered an assemblage of world leaders calling bullshit on michelle bachelet's condemnation of maduro, and dug this one out, but i don't really have then time to scour either report right now. lottsa chores. Wink but you can be darned tootin' there were a hella lot of lies (as above) told about him at the UN>

July 15, 2019UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Bachelet’s Gift to the US: Justifying Regime Change in Venezuela’, by Roger Harris, counterpunch

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