USA: New destructive health plan

Millions in U.S. are closely following the prospect of the new healthcare plan, passed by the House of Representatives days ago with a very tight 217- 213 margin.

Named American Health Care Act (AHCA, by its English acronym), it was conceived by Republicans to replace Obamacare.

On this matter, analysts say that many lawmakers, including members from that party, do not endorse clauses of the aforementioned bill.

Republicans, they add, with exceptions, wish to eliminate the Affordable Care Act (ACA, by its English acronym), better known as Obamacare.

However, when they passed the so-called American Health Care Act recently, they showed how far they are willing to go.  

El Nuevo Herald editorial published on Monday explained it when writing:

“They do not like that millions of people remain without health insurance”, as well as that conditions with long treatment be stopped.

But many House Republicans voted in favor of the bill for the sake of repealing Obamacare, remarked El Nuevo Herald.

In Washington they predict that the Senate could be less drastic, although its Republican members seek to protect their vote with excuses.

Here the leading figure is far-right Senator Marco Rubio, who adopts shifting stances very easily.

Then the editorial suggests him not to forget that in 2015 his state had larger number of Obamacare supporters than in the entire country.

Also that Florida voters, as it happens to more millions in the nation, are worried because the Capitol gave green light to Trumpcare.

It also advised Rubio to remind his colleagues that it is no longer about rejecting Obama’s previous healthcare plan.

Then it put the lawmaker on the ropes, telling him that it’s about opposing the current president, “as he promised during his re-election campaign to the Senate”.

To many’s surprise, only Ros-Lehtinen, due to yet nebulous reasons, ascertained the following:

“I won’t support a bill that can cause a serious harm to the health and lives of the people from South Florida”.

If approved, she warned, “the oldest and poorest”, will find it more difficult to obtain healthcare regarding any illness.

And we are sure, the editorial stated, that she would have done the same even if she was not retiring from her post within a few months.

Obamacare is not perfect, the newspaper added, but thanks to that law, millions have received a life-saving healthcare.

Along with that it said, “House lawmakers eliminated the protection for 24 million Americans” rather than improving their shortcomings.

Finally, the Editorial Board wrote that the new policy defunds insurance coverage for planned parenthood, people with cancer, heart disease, or HIV/AIDS.

Everything is even worse with the following possibilities:

It increases the cost of insurance bonuses, cuts back Medicaid expansion, and makes Americans with insurances provided by their employers feel uncertain.

Don’t be astonished at anything, that’s the wild and harsh nature of Capitalism.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi Translation Staff




‘Trump’s only ideology is ‘me’, deeply authoritarian & very dangerous’ – Noam Chomsky

World-famous linguist, philosopher and political thinker Noam Chomsky has described US President Donald Trump’s ideology simply as ‘me’, adding that while it’s not fascist, it’s still “deeply authoritarian and very dangerous.”

However, there is no other option in the eyes of the people, Chomsky added in his interview to BBC.

“What is the alternative to Trump? The democrats gave up on the working class 40 years ago. It’s not their constituency, no one in the political system is. The Republicans claim to be, but they are basically their class enemy. However they can appeal to people on the basis of claims ‘We're gonna help you economically, even when we kick you in the face’?”

 
Noam Chomsky © Majed Jaber

In his book, Chomsky branded the Republican Party as “the most dangerous organization on Earth,” and when asked to explain, he pointed out that it’s about something they refuse to admit exists.

“Trump will do damage to the world, and it's already happening. The most significant aspect of the Trump election is not just Trump, but the whole Republican Party as they are departing from the rest of the world on climate change, a crucial issue, an existential threat,” Chomsky said.

He called the denial “an astonishing spectacle,” in which “the US, alone in the world, not only refuses to participate in efforts to deal with climate change, but is dedicated to undermining them. And it’s not just Trump – every single Republican leader is the same and it goes down to local levels.”

And US popular opinion isn’t exactly of any help, according to Chomsky.

“Roughly 40 percent of the population think it can't be a problem, because Jesus is coming in a couple of decades.”

Isn’t Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) more of a threat? It would seem so, but Chomsky isn’t sure about that.

“Is ISIS dedicated to destroy the prospects for organized human existence? What does it mean to say is Not only we're not doing anything about climate change, but we're trying to accelerate the race to the precipice. Doesn't matter whether they genuinely believe it or not, if the consequence of that is, let's use more fossil fuel, let's refuse to subsidize developing countries, let's eliminate regulations that reduce greenhouse gas emissions — if that's the consequence, that's extremely dangerous."

 
Noam Chomsky. © PeoplePowerTelevision

“Trump's only ideology is ‘me’, it’s not Hitler or Mussolini, but deeply authoritarian and very dangerous,” the philosopher concluded.

The process happening in the US is universal, though, and is taking place worldwide, Chomsky told BBC, due to “a massive assault on the large part of the population, an assault on democracy” which led to “not just anger, but contempt for centrist institutions.”

“A large part of the population feels that they are just not responsive to them,” and Chomsky enumerates the results of this: Trump, Brexit, Le Pen.

Nevertheless, Emmanuel Macron’s victory in the French presidential election is “by no means the end to the populism in Europe,” he said. In fact, “Macron is an example of populism, because he came from the outside, because the institutions have collapsed. The vote for him was substantially the vote against Le Pen.”

Last, but not least, Chomsky spoke out on WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange, calling his persecution and threats against him to be “completely wrong.”

“What’s keeping him in prison – and in fact he is in prison [holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London] – is the threat that the United States will go after him. Same thing that’s keeping [security whistleblower Edward] Snowden in Russia. And he is right to worry about it and it is the threat that is wrong.”

  • Published in World

Donald Trump is not Superman

Life is stubbornly showing that a country like U.S. cannot be run in the style of a large capitalist enterprise.

Thus starts to understand it, by the force of blows, who thought the opposite, its current billionaire president, Donald Trump.

Over sixty days ago, he took office, and has already faced two serious political setbacks, so deep that they’re still floating in the international public opinion.

In the first case, he decided to close the doors of the United States to travelers from six Muslim-majority nations.

Balance? That a sort of wildfire spread across the world to challenge the move.

Even in his own national territory there were demonstrations rejecting it and some turned violent.

Last week, Trump and his men could not repeal the Obamacare health plan (also known as Affordable Care Act).

It was a failure because they bombed it without knowing how to replace it properly.

Since then, the current president had turned it into one of his main banners to gain supporters, especially from the far-right.

Now they believe the time had come to, using the scenario of the House of Representatives dominated by them, remove the aforementioned plan.  

But in the face of significant clashes even with their allies in the Capitol building, they withdrew the bill.

That is, an assertive political setback that deeply hit both, President Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Another concern joins this new exhausting fact: the expensive wall to be built in the US-Mexico border.

AP journalist Alicia A. Caldwell wrote last Saturday that such a huge work “has its own obstacles”.

And she details some:

For example, Trump does not know how he would pay for that huge 30-foot-high wall and with a wonderful view for those who watch it from the north.

Caldwell also writes that Washington will have to contend with an unfavourable geography and “many legal problems”.

Then she takes a look at those obstacles:

Trump vowed that Mexico would pay for the wall, demand that the Mexican government has repeatedly rejected.

The first cost estimate sent to Congress requested $2.6 billion for the wall.

Nevertheless, an internal report prepared by Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly concluded that a wall for the whole border would cost about $21 billion.

For his part, Trump assures the cost would be around $12 billion. Chaos within the bigger chaos?

AP notices that, at this point, it is not defined yet how much money the Congress would approve in that regard.

Nearly 50 percent of the 2000-mile (3200-km) the US-Mexico border is in Texas and marked by the Bravo River.

According to AP, Trump will be forced to deal with treaties maintained by the International Boundary and Water Commission, as well as several environmental regulations that limit certain type of construction areas.

Moreover, almost the whole land on the Texas border is privately held and most of it belongs to families settled in the area for several generations.

So, observers warn, based on historical experience, that buying their land won’t be easy.

Another unfavourable sign for the Trump collection was the following:

After gathering opinions on Trump’s debacle in Congress, two AP journalists, Michael Warren and Sudhin Thanawala, wrote on Saturday:

Americans benefited with Obamacare “breathed a sigh of relief” with the failure of the Republican attempt to repeal it.

Even more importantly, what happened with the bill corroborates, so to say, that Donald Trump is not superman.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi Translation Staff


'All hands on deck' for GOP, Trump as health care vote approaches

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump warned his fellow Republicans of big losses at the ballot box if they fail to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Wednesday and Thursday, we'll learn if House Republicans heed that message and back legislation that has already tested the President's political prowess and has Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan furiously counting every available vote.
 
"This is an all-hands-on deck situation," a senior House GOP aide said Tuesday.
 
According to CNN's ongoing whip count as of Wednesday morning, 21 House Republicans have flat-out said they will vote against the bill to repeal or replace Obamacare, while five more have indicated they are likely to oppose it.
 
Trump and Ryan must get 216 Republicans on board and can afford only 21 defections, if no Democrat joins them.
 
 
 
Trump has filled his schedule with back-to-back meetings with GOP lawmakers in recent days, and will continue the behind-the-scenes lobbying on Wednesday along with Vice President Mike Pence and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.
 
Meanwhile, Ryan's whip operation is in full blitz mode. The House speaker has been texting with Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, who has not budged. House Whip Steve Scalise and Deputy Whip Patrick McHenry have also been singling out individual Freedom Caucus members to try to peel them away from the group.
 
Various lawmakers who are planning to vote "no" have described to CNN having 30-45 minute phone calls with Trump officials in the past 36 hours.
 
Trump once again publicly pressed the importance of getting the health care bill through the House this week in a speech Tuesday night.
 
"The American people gave us clear instructions. It's time to get busy, get to work and get the job done," Trump said at a dinner hosted by the National Republican Congressional Committee. "That legislative effort begins with Thursday's crucial vote and it really is a crucial vote for the Republican Party and for the people of the country."
 
Wednesday morning will bring the last official procedural stepping stone before the bill heads to the House floor -- the Rules Committee, a panel traditionally full of leadership loyalists, which should clear the way to consider amendments to the measure and set up Thursday's dramatic vote.
 
That's an important step, but it's the arm-twisting that happens in closed-door meetings that will the difference.
 
 
Still stubbornly opposed to the health care proposal are members of the conservative Freedom Caucus, who insist they have more than 21 "no" votes to sink the bill.
 
According to a source, the caucus' members have been invited to visit the White House in small groups in recent days -- an effort by administration officials to start peeling off members. That visit is likely to continue Wednesday, the source said.
 
Reservations about the bill span the party's political spectrum.
 
Trump met with some members of the moderate Republican "Tuesday Group" on Tuesday, and for one of those members, face time with the president wasn't enough to sway him.
 
"I'm a no," GOP Rep. Leonard Lance told reporters after returning from a meeting with Vice President Mike Pence.
 
Lance, who Democrats view as vulnerable in 2018, said he was still hung up on the fear that his older constituents would have to shoulder higher coverage costs under the Republican bill. "I indicated to the President my concerns in several areas," Lance said, as he suggested that the chance to make further changes to the legislation was closed.
 

What's in the bill

The bill introduced earlier this month would roll back many of the Obamacare taxes and eradicate the individual mandate. Instead of the subsidies available in the Affordable Care Act, the GOP plan provides Americans with refundable tax credits to purchase health insurance.

The bill also significantly restructures Medicaid and allows states to require able bodied adults to work if they want to be eligible for the program. After 2020, states will no longer be able to expand Medicaid like they could under Obamacare and states that haven't expanded the program at all are bared from doing so.
 
The GOP bill, however, still includes some of the most popular pieces of Obamacare, including protections for people with pre-existing conditions (though insurers would be allowed to charge higher premiums to individuals whose coverage has lapsed) and letting children stay on their parents' insurance plans until the age of 26.
 
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office's analysis of the bill predicted that 24 million Americans may lose their insurance by 2026 if the bill is enacted.
  • Published in World

Here's what we do and do not know about President Trump's tax returns

WASHINGTON — President Trump paid $38 million in taxes in 2005 on an income of more than $150 million, a senior White House official confirmed Tuesday night.

That rare acknowledgement came in anticipation of a report by MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, who purported to have copies of Trump's tax returns from 11 years ago. The White House official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive financial matter.

Trump defied decades of tradition during the 2016 presidential campaign in refusing to voluntarily release his tax returns, which would shed light on the size and breadth of a sprawling real estate and entertainment empire he says is worth $10 billion.

Maddow said she had two pages of Trump's Form 1040 from 2005, which she obtained from financial journalist and Trump biographer David Cay Johnston. "I got them in the mail. They came in over the transom," he told Maddow. It is illegal for the Internal Revenue Service to disclose a taxpayer's returns, but the First Amendment protects journalists who disclose tax information they obtain from an outside source.

Trump's joint tax return with his third wife, Melania — their first after getting married in January 2005 — shows earned income of just $998,599. Most of the Trumps' income instead came from investments, including $67.8 million in rents and royalties, $42.4 million in business income, $32.2 million in capital gains and $9.4 million in interest.

But the return also claimed $103.2 million in unspecified business losses.

READ MORE:

The Trumps' itemized deductions were more than $17 million — but without a more detailed copy of the return, it's impossible to know how much of those deductions were from charitable contributions or state and local taxes. The Trumps did disclose $23,940 in taxes paid in foreign countries.

Those deductions would have allowed him to pay just $5.3 million in federal income taxes that year if not for a quirk of the tax code called the alternative minimum tax, which targets high earners with big exemptions.

With the AMT, the Trumps ended up owing more than he had withheld, meaning they had to pay nearly $2.3 million in additional taxes with their return. The return shows they paid more than $88,000 in penalties and $68,000 in interest for under-withholding.

His overall tax rate was about 25%.

Previously, the only Trump tax returns publicly known were state tax returns from 1995 showing he lost more than $913 million — a figure that would allow him to potentially take a deduction for losses for years. Those returns were obtained by The New York Times in October.

But the few pages of tax returns leaked so far shows the bottom lines of his financials for two years a decade apart — and without the schedules that would detail the sources of that income. And while a legally required financial disclosure statement discloses Trump's holdings in more than 500 different ventures, that document gives only a broad outline of his financial interests.

More than 1 million people have signed a petition on the White House website calling on Trump to release his tax returns. But Trump has been dismissive of the issue, saying in early January that "the only ones who care about tax returns are reporters."

The Democratic National Committee were quick to pounce on the report late Tuesday night, calling Trump's "audit excuse" a "sham."

“If they can release some of the information, they can release all of the information,” Zac Petkanas, a senior adviser to the Democratic National Committee, said in a released statement. “The only reason not to release his returns is to hide what’s in them, such as financial connections with Russian oligarchs and the Kremlin.”

  • Published in World

Republicans on defense after report shows millions would lose insurance

Republicans on Tuesday defended their plan to dismantle Obamacare after a bipartisan report showed 14 million Americans would lose medical insurance by next year under their proposal even as it reduces the budget deficit.

The U.S. Congressional Budget Office, a research agency, on Monday forecast that by 2026, the number of people without health insurance would increase by 24 million people if the House of Representatives' legislation to replace the 2010 Affordable Care Act is adopted.

The Trump administration defended the replacement plan, saying it will offer consumers more choices.

Hospital and insurer stocks fell Tuesday morning, with Community Health Systems Inc off 3.2 percent and Tenet Healthcare Corp off 5.4 percent.

Medicaid and Medicare specialists WellCare Health Plans Inc and Centene Corp were both off 1.9 percent.

CBO's report complicated the plan by congressional Republicans who have vowed for seven years to undo Obamacare. President Barack Obama's signature domestic policy expanded health insurance to about 20 million Americans.

The measure faces opposition from a range of Republicans - from conservatives who think it does not go far enough to moderates concerned about the impact on coverage and costs.

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney dismissed CBO's ability to analyze health care coverage and said the focus should not be on how many people are insured.

"Coverage is not the end. People don't get better with coverage, they get better with care," he told MSNBC.

Separately, a White House analysis showed 26 million people would lose coverage over the next 10 years, Politico reported, citing an Office of Management and Budget document.

Mulvaney told CNN he was unaware of that document.

President Donald Trump, who campaigned on a pledge to repeal and replace Obamacare and has vowed to provide insurance for everybody, has yet to comment on the report.

He was scheduled to speak on Tuesday with Joseph Swedish, the chief executive officer of health insurer Anthem Inc, and U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price as well as top House Republican leaders.

Price told NBC on Tuesday: "Every single American will have access and have the financial feasibility to purchase it."

Before the CBO issued its report, House Republicans had hoped to vote soon on the bill before sending it to the Senate, where its outlook is uncertain.

Overall, CBO projected that 52 million people would be uninsured by 2026 if the bill became law, compared with 28 million who would not have coverage that year if Obama's Affordable Care Act remained unchanged.

CBO also said federal deficits would fall by $337 billion between 2017 and 2026 under the Republican bill.

Democrats say the plan could hurt the elderly, poor and working families while giving tax cuts for the rich.

Doctors, hospitals and other medical providers as well as patient advocates have urged lawmakers to abandon it.

  • Published in World

Shaken, Republicans Move to Criminalize Peaceful Protests

Republicans have all but admitted their fear of social and civil unrest and are now cashing in on President Donald Trump's ascent to power.

Expecting full resistance ahead, Republican legislators across five U.S. states are desperately trying to push through legislation that would criminalize and discourage peaceful civil disobedience.

The bills, introduced in North Dakota, Minnesota, Washington, Michigan and Iowa, all focus on the blocking or obstruction of traffic and non-violent resistance to police intimidation.

RELATED: North Dakota Republicans Want to Protect Drivers Who Hit DAPL Protesters

Shaken by the successes of Black Lives Matter activists and water protectors at Standing Rock in recent highway shutdowns, authorities have vowed to crack down on dissidents by increasing fines and jail sentences.

In the worst of cases, this can be up to US$10,000 and at least a year in prison, as would be the case if Minnesota lawmakers are successful in passing a bill targeting peacefully “obstructing the legal process.”

According to a Minneapolis civil rights attorney speaking to The Intercept, this is one of the “most alarming” cases, with dramatic penalties for what amount to be “minor (acts of) resistance to police.”

“The statute is very heavily abused by police to charge people with crimes in response to minor resistance to police based on good faith disagreements with what they are doing,” Jordan S. Kushner wrote in an email. “It is frequently used in response to people who verbally challenge or try to observe/record police at protests."

Many of the other bills focus on highways closures.

https://media-telesur.openmultimedia.biz/clips/imagen-2017-01-22-180047292021-638314.png/thumb/1080x1080.jpg

In North Dakota, Republican bill co-sponsor Rep. Keith Kempenich wants to let drivers who kill protesters blocking highways go free as long as they do it accidentally or negligently. His proposal is in direct response to the Standing Rock protesters.

“If you stay off the roadway, this would never be an issue,” Kempenich told the Star Tribune.

Minnesota has also responded to the success of Black Lives Matter in closing highways in recent months by classifying those actions as “gross misdemeanor,” an offense carrying a year in jail and a US$3,000 fine.

In Washington, where Democrats control both houses of the legislature, it has been suggested that protesters be labeled as “economic terrorists.” Iowa has also focused on protesters blocking transit routes, The Intercept reported.

These desperate actions by Republicans, undoubtedly cashing in on President Donald Trump’s recent ascent to power, are nothing more than a troubling attempt at quashing protests, civil liberties advocates have said.

Lee Rowland, a senior staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union, agreed this apparently increasing trend is “deeply troubling.”

RELATED: Protesters Face Increasing Criminalization in Trump Era

“A law that would allow the state to charge a protester $10,000 for stepping in the wrong place, or encourage a driver to get away with manslaughter because the victim was protesting, is about one thing: Chilling protest,” Rowland noted.

Kushner, who’s represented Black Lives Matter activists in the past, agreed the bills are a politicized attempt to “cater to the general public hostility.”

“The goal is to criminalize protesting to a greater degree and thereby discourage public dissent,” he said.

Iowa, Minnesota, and North Dakota all have Republican-dominated legislatures, and therefore may face the most difficult challenges ahead.

https://media-telesur.openmultimedia.biz/clips/imagen-2017-01-16-102010482985-635884.png/thumb/1080x1080.jpg

  • Published in World

Trump Calls for Unity of Americans

Washington, Nov 9 (Prensa Latina) US President-elect Donald Trump called on Americans to join and promised that he would be the leader of all his compatriots.

In a conciliatory tone, the real estate tycoon pointed out that 'we must unify our great country', and look for a better future for millions of people, above the differences of races, genders and religion in order to renew what he called 'the American dream'.

Every American will have the opportunity to fulfill his aspirations, we will rebuild our infrastructures, schools, hospitals, we will put millions of people to work, we will take care of our veterans, he added.

He said he has a grand economic plan to strengthen the economy, and said he will tell the international community that the interests of the United States are first, 'we will seek common ground with other nations, without hostility to other countries.'

He thanked the support of his work team and his family throughout the campaign, in which he said, worked a considerable group of talented people, and in particular mentioned the role played by Rudolf Giuliani, ex-mayor of New York.

Trump won the November 8 election, winning 288 electoral votes against Clinton, who reached 215.

  • Published in World
Subscribe to this RSS feed

Havana