Monday, October 06, 2008

Brown Shirts and Beer Halls



This is the most disturbing thing that has happened in the 2008 campaign so far. Watch this video carefully. At the 13 second mark, in reference to Obama and prompted by the goading of McCain, an audience member yells out in a guttural voice, "Kill him!" This is what happens when a campaign loses its purpose and becomes nothing more than an attempt to grab power. It brings to mind images of Brown Shirts and beerhalls and scapegoats. McCain is dangerous because he knows he is losing, this sort of desperation is communicated as anger that masks a win at all costs mentality. McCain has been running a losing campaign for the last few weeks but he lost the election at the 13 second mark in this clip.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Four Year Anniversary


Gregg Chadwick
Buddha in Suburbia
72"x36" oil on linen 2002

Speed of Life is four years old today. Thank you to all my readers for your interest, encouragement , thoughts, and comments. My life, art, and spirit wouldn't be the same without you.

Ghosts of DC: McCain and the Absence of Memory


Execution Day: July 7, 1865
The four condemned Lincoln assassination conspirators (Mrs. Surratt, Payne, Herold, Atzerodt) with officers and others on the scaffold at Fort McNair. July 7, 1865


The Republican candidate for President, John McCain, and his Vice Presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, have run a campaign of bluster, neglect, and obfuscation. In a sense, the two are taking a political party forged in the conflicts of a civil war and in their actions are conspiring to erase its memory as a party of liberty and justice. It is fitting that Rolling Stone magazine has just published an article, Make-Believe Maverick, that finds a post-Vietnam McCain attempting to find his way at Fort McNair in Washington DC. For it was here that condemned Lincoln assassination conspirators were hung on the scaffold on July 7, 1865.

Make-Believe Maverick
A closer look at the life and career of John McCain reveals a disturbing record of recklessness and dishonesty
By Tim Dickinson
From Rolling Stone:

At Fort McNair, an army base located along the Potomac River in the nation's capital, a chance reunion takes place one day between two former POWs. It's the spring of 1974, and Navy commander John Sidney McCain III has returned home from the experience in Hanoi that, according to legend, transformed him from a callow and reckless youth into a serious man of patriotism and purpose. Walking along the grounds at Fort McNair, McCain runs into John Dramesi, an Air Force lieutenant colonel who was also imprisoned and tortured in Vietnam.

McCain is studying at the National War College, a prestigious graduate program he had to pull strings with the Secretary of the Navy to get into. Dramesi is enrolled, on his own merit, at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in the building next door.

There's a distance between the two men that belies their shared experience in North Vietnam — call it an honor gap. Like many American POWs, McCain broke down under torture and offered a "confession" to his North Vietnamese captors. Dramesi, in contrast, attempted two daring escapes. For the second he was brutalized for a month with daily torture sessions that nearly killed him. His partner in the escape, Lt. Col. Ed Atterberry, didn't survive the mistreatment. But Dramesi never said a disloyal word, and for his heroism was awarded two Air Force Crosses, one of the service's highest distinctions. McCain would later hail him as "one of the toughest guys I've ever met."

On the grounds between the two brick colleges, the chitchat between the scion of four-star admirals and the son of a prizefighter turns to their academic travels; both colleges sponsor a trip abroad for young officers to network with military and political leaders in a distant corner of the globe.

"I'm going to the Middle East," Dramesi says. "Turkey, Kuwait, Lebanon, Iran."

"Why are you going to the Middle East?" McCain asks, dismissively.

"It's a place we're probably going to have some problems," Dramesi says.

"Why? Where are you going to, John?"

"Oh, I'm going to Rio."

"What the hell are you going to Rio for?"

McCain, a married father of three, shrugs.

"I got a better chance of getting laid."

Dramesi, who went on to serve as chief war planner for U.S. Air Forces in Europe and commander of a wing of the Strategic Air Command, was not surprised. "McCain says his life changed while he was in Vietnam, and he is now a different man," Dramesi says today. "But he's still the undisciplined, spoiled brat that he was when he went in."


Full article continues at: Make-Believe Maverick

"We want Our America Back": Springsteen's Impassioned Speech for Change


Full text below of Bruce Springsteen's impassioned speech in support of Obama:


"Hello Philly,

"I am glad to be here today for this voter registration drive and for Barack Obama, the next President of the United States.

"I've spent 35 years writing about America, its people, and the meaning of the American Promise. The Promise that was handed down to us, right here in this city from our founding fathers, with one instruction: Do your best to make these things real. Opportunity, equality, social and economic justice, a fair shake for all of our citizens, the American idea, as a positive influence, around the world for a more just and peaceful existence. These are the things that give our lives hope, shape, and meaning. They are the ties that bind us together and give us faith in our contract with one another.

"I've spent most of my creative life measuring the distance between that American promise and American reality. For many Americans, who are today losing their jobs, their homes, seeing their retirement funds disappear, who have no healthcare, or who have been abandoned in our inner cities. The distance between that promise and that reality has never been greater or more painful.

"I believe Senator Obama has taken the measure of that distance in his own life and in his work. I believe he understands, in his heart, the cost of that distance, in blood and suffering, in the lives of everyday Americans. I believe as president, he would work to restore that promise to so many of our fellow citizens who have justifiably lost faith in its meaning. After the disastrous administration of the past 8 years, we need someone to lead us in an American reclamation project. In my job, I travel the world, and occasionally play big stadiums, just like Senator Obama. I've continued to find, wherever I go, America remains a repository of people's hopes, possibilities, and desires, and that despite the terrible erosion to our standing around the world, accomplished by our recent administration, we remain, for many, a house of dreams. One thousand George Bushes and one thousand Dick Cheneys will never be able to tear that house down.

"They will, however, be leaving office, dropping the national tragedies of Katrina, Iraq, and our financial crisis in our laps. Our sacred house of dreams has been abused, looted, and left in a terrible state of disrepair. It needs care; it needs saving, it needs defending against those who would sell it down the river for power or a quick buck. It needs strong arms, hearts, and minds. It needs someone with Senator Obama's understanding, temperateness, deliberativeness, maturity, compassion, toughness, and faith, to help us rebuild our house once again. But most importantly, it needs us. You and me. To build that house with the generosity that is at the heart of the American spirit. A house that is truer and big enough to contain the hopes and dreams of all of our fellow citizens. That is where our future lies. We will rise or fall as a people by our ability to accomplish this task. Now I don't know about you, but I want that dream back, I want my America back, I want my country back.

"So now is the time to stand with Barack Obama and Joe Biden, roll up our sleeves, and come on up for the rising."

-Bruce Springsteen, October 4, 2008, Vote for Change Rally, Philadelphia
(official transcript from brucespringsteen.net)

The VP Debate from Saturday Night Live



"I believe marriage is meant to be a sacred institution between two unwilling teenagers."
-Sarah Palin (as played by Tina Fey)

Saturday, October 04, 2008

"These are the times that bind us together." Springsteen for Obama in Philly



Friday, October 03, 2008

Palin Does Not Care About Rape Victims


Palin is anti-choice for victims of rape and incest.
What if this was your daughter, granddaughter or sister?

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The New Yorker Endorses Obama



In 4,214 words the editors at The New Yorker have endorsed Obama for President. The endorsement itself is not surprising but I am heartened by the ferociousness with which they go after Bush ("the Presidency of George W. Bush is the worst since Reconstruction"), McCain ("John McCain, played the part of a vaudeville illusionist, asking to be regarded as an apostle of change after years of embracing the essentials of the Bush agenda with ever-increasing ardor"), and Palin ("Palin has no business being the backup to a President of any age, much less to one who is seventy-two and in imperfect health. In choosing her, McCain committed an act of breathtaking heedlessness and irresponsibility").

In a piece entitled The Choice the editors begin,
"Never in living memory has an election been more critical than the one fast approaching—that’s the quadrennial cliché, as expected as the balloons and the bombast. And yet when has it ever felt so urgently true? When have so many Americans had so clear a sense that a Presidency has—at the levels of competence, vision, and integrity—undermined the country and its ideals?"


The editorial continues with a list of Bush and the Republican's failed economic policies:
"The Republican disaster begins at home. Even before taking into account whatever fantastically expensive plan eventually emerges to help rescue the financial system from Wall Street’s long-running pyramid schemes, the economic and fiscal picture is bleak. During the Bush Administration, the national debt, now approaching ten trillion dollars, has nearly doubled. Next year’s federal budget is projected to run a half-trillion-dollar deficit, a precipitous fall from the seven-hundred-billion-dollar surplus that was projected when Bill Clinton left office. Private-sector job creation has been a sixth of what it was under President Clinton. Five million people have fallen into poverty. The number of Americans without health insurance has grown by seven million, while average premiums have nearly doubled. Meanwhile, the principal domestic achievement of the Bush Administration has been to shift the relative burden of taxation from the rich to the rest. For the top one per cent of us, the Bush tax cuts are worth, on average, about a thousand dollars a week; for the bottom fifth, about a dollar and a half. The unfairness will only increase if the painful, yet necessary, effort to rescue the credit markets ends up preventing the rescue of our health-care system, our environment, and our physical, educational, and industrial infrastructure."


And of course there is the debacle of the pointless war in Iraq:
"there is no longer the slightest doubt that the Bush Administration manipulated, bullied, and lied the American public into this war and then mismanaged its prosecution in nearly every aspect. The direct costs, besides an expenditure of more than six hundred billion dollars, have included the loss of more than four thousand Americans, the wounding of thirty thousand, the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqis, and the displacement of four and a half million men, women, and children. Only now, after American forces have been fighting for a year longer than they did in the Second World War, is there a glimmer of hope that the conflict in Iraq has entered a stage of fragile stability."


The editors continue:
"The torture of prisoners, authorized at the highest level, has been an ethical and a public-diplomacy catastrophe."


The editors are severely disappointed in McCain:
"Since the 2004 election, however, McCain has moved remorselessly rightward in his quest for the Republican nomination. He paid obeisance to Jerry Falwell and preachers of his ilk. He abandoned immigration reform, eventually coming out against his own bill. Most shocking, McCain, who had repeatedly denounced torture under all circumstances, voted in February against a ban on the very techniques of “enhanced interrogation” that he himself once endured in Vietnam—as long as the torturers were civilians employed by the C.I.A." "McCain, who has never evinced much interest in, or knowledge of, economic questions, has had little of substance to say about the crisis. His most notable gesture of concern—a melodramatic call last month to suspend his campaign and postpone the first Presidential debate until the government bailout plan was ready—soon revealed itself as an empty diversionary tactic."


The editors find much to approve of in Obama's intelligence, gravitas, ideas and leadership:
"By contrast, Obama has made a serious study of the mechanics and the history of this economic disaster and of the possibilities of stimulating a recovery. Last March, in New York, in a speech notable for its depth, balance, and foresight, he said, 'A complete disdain for pay-as-you-go budgeting, coupled with a generally scornful attitude towards oversight and enforcement, allowed far too many to put short-term gain ahead of long-term consequences.' Obama is committed to reforms that value not only the restoration of stability but also the protection of the vast majority of the population, which did not partake of the fruits of the binge years. He has called for greater and more programmatic regulation of the financial system; the creation of a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank, which would help reverse the decay of our roads, bridges, and mass-transit systems, and create millions of jobs; and a major investment in the green-energy sector."

Obama's "proposals represent the most coherent and far-sighted strategy ever offered by a Presidential candidate for reducing the nation’s reliance on fossil fuels.There was once reason to hope that McCain and Obama would have a sensible debate about energy and climate policy. McCain was one of the first Republicans in the Senate to support federal limits on carbon dioxide, and he has touted his own support for a less ambitious cap-and-trade program as evidence of his independence from the White House. But, as polls showed Americans growing jittery about gasoline prices, McCain apparently found it expedient in this area, too, to shift course. He took a dubious idea—lifting the federal moratorium on offshore oil drilling—and placed it at the very center of his campaign. Opening up America’s coastal waters to drilling would have no impact on gasoline prices in the short term, and, even over the long term, the effect, according to a recent analysis by the Department of Energy, would be “insignificant.” Such inconvenient facts, however, are waved away by a campaign that finally found its voice with the slogan “Drill, baby, drill!”


And the New Yorker provides a dire analysis of the Supreme Court's future if McCain were to win:
"The contrast between the candidates is even sharper with respect to the third branch of government. A tense equipoise currently prevails among the Justices of the Supreme Court, where four hard-core conservatives face off against four moderate liberals. Anthony M. Kennedy is the swing vote, determining the outcome of case after case.
McCain cites Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, two reliable conservatives, as models for his own prospective appointments. If McCain means what he says, and if he replaces even one moderate on the current Supreme Court, then Roe v. Wade will be reversed, and states will again be allowed to impose absolute bans on abortion. McCain’s views have hardened on this issue. In 1999, he said he opposed overturning Roe; by 2006, he was saying that its demise “wouldn’t bother me any”; by 2008, he no longer supported adding rape and incest as exceptions to his party’s platform opposing abortion."


The warning grows fiercer:
" Given the ideological agenda that the existing conservative bloc has pursued, it’s safe to predict that affirmative action of all kinds would likely be outlawed by a McCain Court. Efforts to expand executive power, which, in recent years, certain Justices have nobly tried to resist, would likely increase. Barriers between church and state would fall; executions would soar; legal checks on corporate power would wither."

"Obama, who taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago, voted against confirming not only Roberts and Alito but also several unqualified lower-court nominees. As an Illinois state senator, he won the support of prosecutors and police organizations for new protections against convicting the innocent in capital cases. While McCain voted to continue to deny habeas-corpus rights to detainees, perpetuating the Bush Administration’s regime of state-sponsored extra-legal detention, Obama took the opposite side, pushing to restore the right of all U.S.-held prisoners to a hearing. The judicial future would be safe in his care."


What of the future?:
"The years ahead will demand not only determination but also diplomacy, flexibility, patience, judiciousness, and intellectual engagement. These are no more McCain’s strong suit than the current President’s. Obama, for his part, seems to know that more will be required than willpower and force to extract some advantage from the wreckage of the Bush years."


And McCain's character?:
"Echoing Obama, McCain has made “change” one of his campaign mantras. But the change he has actually provided has been in himself, and it is not just a matter of altering his positions. A willingness to pander and even lie has come to define his Presidential campaign and its televised advertisements. A contemptuous duplicity, a meanness, has entered his talk on the stump McCain "is impulsive, impatient, self-dramatizing, erratic, and a compulsive risk-taker. These qualities may have contributed to his usefulness as a “maverick” senator. But in a President they would be a menace."


Obama's character:
"By contrast, Obama’s transformative message is accompanied by a sense of pragmatic calm ... Yet it is Obama’s temperament—and not McCain’s—that seems appropriate for the office both men seek and for the volatile and dangerous era in which we live. Those who dismiss his centeredness as self-centeredness or his composure as indifference are as wrong as those who mistook Eisenhower’s stolidity for denseness or Lincoln’s humor for lack of seriousness."


Obama's literary merit:
"Almost every politician who thinks about running for President arranges to become an author. Obama’s books are different: he wrote them. “The Audacity of Hope” (2006) is a set of policy disquisitions loosely structured around an account of his freshman year in the United States Senate. Though a campaign manifesto of sorts, it is superior to that genre’s usual blowsy pastiche of ghostwritten speeches. But it is Obama’s first book, “Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance” (1995), that offers an unprecedented glimpse into the mind and heart of a potential President. Obama began writing it in his early thirties, before he was a candidate for anything. Not since Theodore Roosevelt has an American politician this close to the pinnacle of power produced such a sustained, highly personal work of literary merit before being definitively swept up by the tides of political ambition."

"A Presidential election is not the awarding of a Pulitzer Prize: we elect a politician and, we hope, a statesman, not an author. But Obama’s first book is valuable in the way that it reveals his fundamental attitudes of mind and spirit. “Dreams from My Father” is an illuminating memoir not only in the substance of Obama’s own peculiarly American story but also in the qualities he brings to the telling: a formidable intelligence, emotional empathy, self-reflection, balance, and a remarkable ability to see life and the world through the eyes of people very different from himself. In common with nearly all other senators and governors of his generation, Obama does not count military service as part of his biography. But his life has been full of tests—personal, spiritual, racial, political—that bear on his preparation for great responsibility."


Obama's eloquence:
" Although his opponents have tried to attack him as a man of “mere” words, Obama has returned eloquence to its essential place in American politics. The choice between experience and eloquence is a false one––something that Lincoln, out of office after a single term in Congress, proved in his own campaign of political and national renewal. Obama’s “mere” speeches on everything from the economy and foreign affairs to race have been at the center of his campaign and its success; if he wins, his eloquence will be central to his ability to govern."


A President for the 21st Century:
"The election of Obama—a man of mixed ethnicity, at once comfortable in the world and utterly representative of twenty-first-century America—would, at a stroke, reverse our country’s image abroad and refresh its spirit at home. His ascendance to the Presidency would be a symbolic culmination of the civil- and voting-rights acts of the nineteen-sixties and the century-long struggles for equality that preceded them. It could not help but say something encouraging, even exhilarating, about the country, about its dedication to tolerance and inclusiveness, about its fidelity, after all, to the values it proclaims in its textbooks. At a moment of economic calamity, international perplexity, political failure, and battered morale, America needs both uplift and realism, both change and steadiness. It needs a leader temperamentally, intellectually, and emotionally attuned to the complexities of our troubled globe. That leader’s name is Barack Obama."


Complete editorial at: The New Yorker Chooses Obama

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

You Are Invited

American Rain Invite

At the Santa Monica Art Studios
Studio #15
3026 Airport Avenue
Santa Monica, California 90405

As well as the new work there will also be a selection of out takes, rarities, B-sides and covers for purchase.

Gregg Chadwick's Homepage
cell 415 533 1165
greggchadwick@earthlink.net

Gregg Chadwick
American Rain (Thunderhead) 48”x36” oil on linen 2008

October 4th in Philly ~ October 5th in Ohio ~ October 6th in Michigan: Springsteen Live for Obama



“Obama speaks to the America I’ve envisioned in my music…a country that’s interested in its collective destiny and in the potential of its gathered spirit.”
- Bruce Springsteen

CHANGE ROCKS
A Very Special Acoustic Appearance By
BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN

Saturday October 4th, 2008
Benjamin Franklin Parkway between 20th and 22nd Streets
Philadelphia, PA

Gates open: 2:00 p.m.
Program starts: 3:30 p.m.

CHANGE ROCKS

Also: Bruce is scheduled to play for free in Ohio on Sunday, October 5th.
Springsteen will appear in the Main Oval at Ohio State University. Tickets for the 4:30 p.m. performance are free and can be picked up starting tomorrow at Obama campaign offices in central Ohio. The list of those offices will be available later today on the campaign's Ohio website:
Ohio for Obama

And More:
Springsteen will play a free acoustic set at Oestrike Stadium at Eastern Michigan University on Monday, October 6th.
Gates are expected to open at 3 p.m. and the program is expected to begin at 4:30 p.m.
On the final day to register to vote in Michigan, Bruce Springsteen will hold a rally in Ypsilanti in support of Barack Obama. Springsteen will perform an acoustic set and urge those in attendance to get involved in this historic election.

“Senator Obama is a huge fan of Bruce Springsteen and is honored to have his support. This will be a great opportunity to gather thousands of our supporters together in one place as we cap off our voter registration drive and bring new voters and volunteers into this campaign for change,” said Brent Colburn, Michigan spokesman for the Obama-Biden campaign.

Gates open at 3:00 pm and the program will begin at 4:30 pm.
Check back for details at:
Michigan for Obama
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