Tag Archives: Barack Obama

Book review: The Battle for America 2008

The Battle for America 2008 By Dan Balz and Haynes Johnson

Reviewed by Steven R. Maher

“It’s a pretty fascinating slice of Americana” – Barack Obama on the 2008 election.

The 2008 Presidential election will fascinate historians for generations to come. And the aptly titled “The Battle for America 2008” by Dan Balz and Haynes Johnson will be great resource for historians writing about that drama. It is a great first draft of history.

Non-partisan

This book is unusually impartial. This is because the authors used the journalistic device of letting the primary actors – candidates Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John McCain and Sarah Pallin – speak for themselves. Throughout the book, at key historical moments, the major players are quoted in conversations with campaign aides, coming to a decision or explaining an event. Continue reading Book review: The Battle for America 2008

Cindy Chapman is gone: a victim of our failing health care system

(editor’s note: This op/ed piece can be found in the current issue of InCity Times. Usually, I wait a few weeks or even a month to post some of the content from InCity Times on our website. But because I have gotten some calls by people who were so moved by the story – and a special request by an ICT reader to post this story on our website ASAP so other folks can read it – I am breaking my rule. Here’s hoping even MORE people read this moving/tragic story and work (in Cindy’s name) for UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE. – R.T.)

By Chris Horton

Cindy Chapman died Sunday morning at Umass Memorial Hospital in Worcester, MA, of complications due to cancer. She came here two years ago from New York City to find a new place and start a new life and now she is gone, victim of a failing safety net and a failing health care system. Ironically one of the attractions for her locating here was the reputation of our health care system. We know so little about her, why she was here and where she was coming from, what she left behind and why – yet we know everything about her too, because we know what she did and what she stood for, and we had the chance to see what she was made of when she was staring death in the face and making her final choices.

Cindy settled into Bancroft Towers, across from City Hall, with her cat Ugay. To people who work or live downtown she must have been a familiar sight, a perky little woman in her trademark beret or headscarf, walking Ugay around the Common on a leash. Continue reading Cindy Chapman is gone: a victim of our failing health care system

Michael Moore’s ‘Sicko’ on T.V. Tonight!

Thursday, July 16

The Movie Channel, this evening, will be airing the Oscar-nominated documentary, “Sicko,” Michael Moore’s film about a villain known as the health insurance industry. With the debate raging in Washington, D.C. — Republicans trying to scuttle it, the President trying to hang on to his public option, and nearly a hundred members of Congress pushing for a single-payer system — showing “Sicko” tonight is very timely. Mike lays out all the facts and the arguments as to why the private insurance companies are never going to side with what’s best for the American people.

“Sicko” airs on The Movie Channel tonight at 8:00 PM. It’s also scheduled to air on The Movie Channel on July 27th at 4:05 PM and on TMC Xtra on August 2nd at 10:45 PM and August 5th at 2:15 AM and 7:30 AM.

We are in a critical time regarding which direction the health care debate is going to go. Make your voice heard. And be armed with the facts. Watch “Sicko” again!

Thanks.

Big biz?

By Richard Schmitt

The Boston Globe reports that big business has recently begun to cooperate with President Barack Obama and his team. The CEO of Dow Chemical praises the president’s efforts to control carbon emissions. The healthcare industry is joining Sen. Kennedy to write a healthcare reform bill. The financial services industry is cooperating with representative Barney Frank in regulating banks and other financial institutions.

What a change! In the early 1990s President Bill Clinton and First Lady, now Secretary of State Hillary Clinton developed a grand scheme to reform health care for all Americans. The goal was to make sure that everyone had health insurance and that the cost of healthcare would be under control. A coalition of physicians, hospitals, health insurance companies and drug companies mounted a major campaign and shot down that project. With evidence of global warming growing steadily, the government has been trying to regulate carbon emissions and has met with unbending opposition from chemical companies as well as car manufacturers. Banks, mortgage companies, hedge funds have used their access to the then Republican dominated Congress to loosen restraints on the industry. We now experience the effect of this deregulation in the current economic crisis. For a while they made money hand over fist. Now ordinary Americans have to pay the price. Continue reading Big biz?

The Corporation of America

By Jack Hoffman

When the Founding Fathers sat down to draw up how the new nation – America – would be governed, they settled on a form of government (a republic) that would be guided by a document that would protect all rights of its citizens. When the Constitution and Bill of Rights were finally signed, we became the Republic of the U.S.

Contrast the framer’s vision of a republic with that of a democracy. In a democracy, the majority rules, either directly or through its elected representatives, with no oversight. Thomas Jefferson feared that law written by the majority under a democracy in power would lack any regard for the basic rights of all citizens. That, in turn, could lead to what the framers feared most – a monarchy. Continue reading The Corporation of America

The US and Cuba

By Richard Schmitt

Recently President Barack Obama relaxed the previous restrictions on Cuban-Americans returning to their native land to visit their families. He also eased telephone communications between the two countries. Over the weekend, at the summit of the Organization of American States bringing together all the heads of governments in the hemisphere – except Cuba – President Obama reached out to President Chavez of Venezuela and signaled that he wanted to try for better communication with Cuba.

For more than 50 years, successive US government have been more or less hostile to Cuba. There have been some thaws before, but the embargo on Cuba has been in existence since the early 1960s. US companies have been forbidden to do business in Cuba and in periods of heightened anti-Cuban sentiment, the US also attempted to force European businesses to refrain from doing business in Cuba. Continue reading The US and Cuba

Things that money can’t buy

By Richard Schmitt

In his recent remarks about education President Barack Obama offered support for the idea of paying teachers more if their students had higher scores on standardized tests like the MCAS. Education reformers have recommended merit pay as a method for improving American education for a while now. It seems common-sensical. If you pay your cleaners minimum wage, they will do a minimal cleaning job. Pay them a bit more and they will have some incentive for working harder. Get a cheap yard clean up service and they may cut your grass but not trim the edges carefully. Pay a little more and you may find that your yard looks better.

So why would this idea not work with teachers? Because mowing lawns, cleaning offices or houses is not a job you do because you love mowing lawns or cleaning. You do it for the money. If that is what you do it for, you may well work harder to get more money. But we don’t do everything “for the money.” Other things matter. Few people get married for money; we don’t have kids for money. We don’t have friends for money, or knit or sew or cook good meals for family and friends for money. Some people are fortunate to have work that they love. Yes, they get paid and often would like to get paid more, but since they love their job, they do it as well as they can – even if they do not get paid as much money as they would like. Continue reading Things that money can’t buy

He was the pits!

By Rosalie Tirella

Last night the boyfriend and I watched Farenheit 9/11, the award-winning documentary by wild-guy film maker Michael Moore (Roger and Me, Sicko, Bowling for Columbine). I had seen the movie when it first came out – “Mario” did not. Some of my thoughts: it’s not as good as I thought it was. 1. That is, it’s not a well made film – despite winning awards at Cannes and other prestigious places. 2. But it is great because it was showing what nobody in TV land news (broadcast or cable) was showing: George W. Bush was/is a complete moron and war is hell.

You have to give Moore credit. He was saying what nobody dared say in 2003 or 2004 – especially the mainstream media (watch Katie Couric tell America that a division in the Army “rocks”!) – back in 2004 or 2005. Moore told us/showed us how chaotic and brutal the Iraq War (like any  war) is: dead children carried by relatives who are having nervous breakdowns as they race through their lunar landscape-looking city streets. Their kids wet their pants – they peed themselves as they died, no doubt. Babies with huge, red, blistery holes in their arms or  their faces half blown off. Our young soldiers without legs or hands – being so brave and stoic (because they are so young and naive) at Walter Reed Hospital talking about the hands that they still feel, even though they are now gone.  ABC, NBC, CNN and all the rest of the network and cable news shows refused to show any of this – reality – to Americans because 1. the US military wouldn’t let them get up close and personal and 2. they wanted to be “patriotic,” to buttress Bush and Cheney’s point of view/stave off the critics. How many American mothers and grandmothers would have sat by quietly and tolerated the Iraq War after seeing some of the news footage (probably used with permission from BBC and Arabic news station Al Jeerza) shown in Moore’s film? Not mine, that’s for sure.

George W. Bush (especially now that we can compare him to President Barack Obama) was the absolute worst president to have at this point in time. Partying with the US troops, arms around their shoulders for photos to be sent back home, Bush – the hypocritical assshole – cut veteran benefits, cut veteran health care, cut support for our veterans in ways both large and miniscule. In his own fucked-up/oblivious way, Bush waged his own economic war on the soldiers’ families back home.

And 9/11: How sad to watch the movie and see the President of the United States sit in a nursery school reading a little Golden Book about goats right AFTER being told that a jet plane had just flown into/blown up the World Trade Center tower. How pathetic that even after the second plane crashed into the second tower, Bush sat there until one of his people got him … . And then letting the Bin Laden family leave America on private jets after every other plane in America was grounded. That was obscenely stupid – even for Bush. I mean, any third-rate lawyer in Worcester would tell you there would have been nothing wrong with going to the Bin Ladens and … ASKING THEM QUESTIONS about their brother/uncle. But no! Instead, Bush and his cronies gave the Bin Laden clan a free pass, let them go. Then the Bushies set their sights on old guys in exercise  clubs or peaceniks in California – these people were arrested or “visited” by the FBI.

Barack Obama would have handled everything so differently. If only he had been “the decider” in 2001 and 2003 ….  

Thank God we have him now.

Can America be saved?

By Jack Hoffman

It seems everywhere you turn now a day – whether on the street or  on the radio or in the papers,  everyone seems to be asking the same question: When is this economic crisis going to end?

Hardly a newscast or headline doesn’t include some opinion of the same usual expert on the subject.  The bottom line is no one knows the answer.

Strange how sometimes some of these so-called experts are some of the same folks who have put us in this mess in the first place. And they are also the biggest critics of President Obama.  Take Allan Greenspan, who now admits that some of his decisions were wrong.  Allan, the horse just left the barn.  Today he has recanted some of his previous testimony, saying it wasn’t the Federal Reserve’s problem. Continue reading Can America be saved?