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Big Brass Blog is a group blog founded in February of 2005 by Pam Spaulding of Pam's House Blend and Melissa McEwan of Shakesville (formerly Shakespeare's Sister). The mission of this collaborative effort is to stand as the premiere forum where strong, enduring voices of Progressivism provide what liberal politics has been missing: the unapologetic, unrelenting voice of liberalism in the darkness visited upon our world by Right-wing extremists, their ruinous policies, and their hypocritical beliefs.

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05 November 2008

The End Of An Error. Change Has Come.

by: Foiled Goil

Congratulations to President-elect Barack Obama
Vice President-elect Joseph Biden

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Barack Obama elected 44th president

MSNBC, last night:
“If there is anyone out there who doubts that America is a place where anything is possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer,” Obama declared.

“Young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled, Americans have sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of red states and blue states,” he said. “We have been and always will be the United States of America.

“It’s been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America,” he said to a long roar.

President Obama

The Guardian, Editorial:
They did it. They really did it. So often crudely caricatured by others, the American people yesterday stood in the eye of history and made an emphatic choice for change for themselves and the world. Though bombarded by a blizzard of last-minute negative advertising that should shame the Republican party, American voters held their nerve and elected Barack Obama as their new president to succeed George Bush. Elected him, what is more, by a clearer majority than one of those bitter narrow margins that marked the last two elections.
. . . . .

This marks the end of the conservative ascendancy of the past 30 years. Whether it now marks a new, sustained era of American liberalism of the sort which followed the election of 1932 must remain to be seen. What is not open to doubt is that Mr Obama's win is a milestone in America's racial and cultural evolution. It is 45 years since Martin Luther King, in the greatest of all late-20th century American speeches looked forward to the day when his children would not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character. Almost unbelievably, that dream has now become a reality in the shape of America's first African-American leader and its first black first family. It is a day many thought they would never see. It is hard to know whether to weep or shout for joy now that it has arrived - probably both - but it is a lesson to the world.

Mr Obama will take office in January amid massive unrealisable expectations and facing a daunting list of problems - the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the broken healthcare system, the spiralling federal budget and America's profligate energy regime all prominent among them. Eclipsing them all, as Mr Obama has made clear in recent days, is the challenge of rebuilding the economy and the banking system. These, though, are issues for another day. Today is for celebration, for happiness and for reflected human glory. Savour those words: President Barack Obama, America's hope and, in no small way, ours too.
Check out some headline photos from around the world.


Takin' My Country Back

by: Foiled Goil

Takin' My Country Back

Sung by Tony Stampley

[ 4:07 ]

Country music's got mamas and daddys
We got bar rooms and old heartbreak songs
But I'm here today to stand up and say
How I feel about my home sweet home
What's left, what's right and what's wrong

And I'm takin' my country back

Son, you ain't been doin' her right
Oh, I been watchin' you and I don't like
How you've been treatin' my Stars and Stripes
You took our jobs and sent 'em overseas
Now we owe billions to the Red Chinese
You blew the budget and you botched Iraq

So I'm takin' my country back

We had a bundle in the treasury drawer
More than there had ever been before
But everyday we're drownin' deeper in debt
Maybe four years should be all you get
Then you gave tax breaks to the millionaires
And you tried to make the workin' man pay
But you can't tax a man when his job's not there
Now look at where we are today

Hey, I'm takin' my country back

Son, you ain't been doin' her right
Oh, I been watchin' you and I don't like
How you've been treatin' my Stars and Stripes
You got too many fancy friends for me
The Saudis treat you like you're royalty
You blew the budget and you botched Iraq

Now I'm takin' my country back

Now I can understand why you were hot
'Cause bin Laden never did get caught
So you said we had Saddam to blame
Tried to tell us it was all the same
But now the years roll by and our kids keep dyin'
You don't even have a plan to bring 'em home
And those WMDs you promised on TV
Hey, admit it, you figured it wrong

So I'm takin' my country back

Now you don't know my name,
But you know who I am
I'm your everyday work hard, play hard
Raise kids and pray hard common man
And Lord knows I love this land

That's why I'm takin' my country back

Son, you ain't been doin' her right
Oh, I been watchin' you and I don't like
How you've been treatin' my Stars and Stripes
You say "unite" but you divide us more
Cussin' each other on the Senate floor
Ain't we supposed to be above all that?

Hey, I'm takin' my country back

I got my family and my church and flag
Now I'm takin' my country back

04 November 2008

Election 2008 Results

by: Dark Wraith

Update 11:35 p.m. EST 4 November 2008: Barack Obama has been elected the 44th President of the United States of America.

Congratulations, President-elect Obama

and good will to you, Senator McCain.

· · · · · ·

Extinction 2008

by: Dark Wraith

The End of the Republicans

Cross-posted from The Dark Wraith Forums

· · ·
03 November 2008

Palin Fails to Release Medical Records

by: Dark Wraith

UPDATE 1:24:00 a.m. EST 4 November, 2008: In lieu of any detailed medical report, Sarah Palin's campaign has now released a physician's letter dated November 3, 2008, stating that, "Governor Palin is in excellent health and has no known health problems that would interfere with her ability to carry out the duties and obligation of Vice President of the United States of America." In what might be considered circumspect language, the physician, Dr. Cathy Baldwin-Johnson, includes a paragraph of commentary about the GOP vice presidential candidate's last pregnancy, noting, "At the time of her most recent pregnancy, Governor Palin had no health risk factors other than her age"; the paragraph goes on—and out of its way—to address certain aspects of that 'last' pregnancy and health of the baby, which would seem to be entirely unrelated to the physical health of Ms. Palin. Why Palin waited this long to provide medical information about herself is a question still unanswered, as is the matter now of why a summary letter from a physician has been issued rather than a full and detailed report that would support the physician's claims and representations via scrutiny by independent sources.

◊         ◊         ◊

Sarah Palin and CaduceusAfter having promised to finally release her medical records last week, GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has still not released them and very likely will not before the election. McCain, Obama, and Biden have all released theirs.

Palin's decision to keep her medical records from public scrutiny is possibly a first in modern memory for a candidate for President or Vice President and is certain to raise serious questions about why someone who appears to be in excellent shape would not allow voters the opportunity to know about her health history. The secrecy is sure to rekindle rumors that had circulated regarding her most recent pregnancy that no one else knew about until her seventh month, at the same time her unmarried daughter was not attending high school because of what was claimed to be a virulent case of mononucleosis that lasted far longer than for most teens.

Should Gov. Palin choose to stay in the national spotlight, as she seems to have vowed, even if the Republican ticket is defeated in the general election, she might find it increasingly difficult to shield her medical records from public scrutiny, regardless of what is in those records that she considers too confidential—or perhaps too inconsistent with her claims—to reveal.

Cross-posted from The Dark Wraith Forums

· · · · ·

It's Up To You

by: Foiled Goil

"In the lack of judgment great harm arises,
but one vote cast can set right a house."

~ Aeschylus

Vote For Change

02 November 2008

The Unspeakable Endorses the Irredeemable for the Honor of the Unattainable

by: Dark Wraith

Vice President Richard "He of the Ninth Level" Cheney has endorsed John McCain for President. In his endorsement speech, Mr. Cheney also offered glowing praise of GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

For his part, Sen. McCain has shown uncharacteristic rudeness in not publicly thanking Vice President Cheney.

For her part, Gov. Palin has not revealed imminent plans to leave her husband, Todd, and elope with Mr. Cheney to Wyoming.

Cross-posted from The Dark Wraith Forums

· · · ·
30 October 2008

America, The Time For Change Has Come.

by: Foiled Goil

Thursday, October 30th, 2008:

Obama's Prepared Remarks for Sarasota, Florida Rally

In five days, you can turn the page on policies that have put the greed and irresponsibility of Wall Street before the hard work and sacrifice of folks on Main Street.

In five days, you can choose policies that invest in our middle-class, create new jobs, and grow this economy so that everyone has a chance to succeed; from the CEO to the secretary and the janitor; from the factory owner to the men and women who work on its floor.

In five days, you can put an end to the politics that would divide a nation just to win an election; that tries to pit region against region, city against town, Republican against Democrat; that asks us to fear at a time when we need hope.

In five days, at this defining moment in history, you can give this country the change we need.
. . . . .

We are in the middle of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. 760,000 workers have lost their jobs this year. Businesses and families can't get credit. Home values are falling. Pensions are disappearing. It's gotten harder and harder to make the mortgage, or fill up your gas tank, or even keep the electricity on at the end of the month.

And just today, we learned that the GDP, or Gross Domestic Product – a key indicator economists use to measure the health of our economy – has actually fallen for the first time this year. That means we're producing less and selling less – so our economy is actually shrinking. And we saw the largest decline in consumer spending in 28 years as wages failed to keep up with the rising cost of living, and folks have been watching every penny and tightening their belts.

Now, this didn't happen by accident. Our falling GDP is a direct result of eight years of the trickle down, Wall Street first/Main Street last policies that have driven our economy into a ditch.
. . . . .

And you've got to ask yourself, after nine straight months of job losses and the largest drop in home values on record, with wages lower than they've been in a decade, why would we keep on driving down this dead end street?

Folks who can't pay their medical bills, or send their kids to college, or save for retirement can't afford to take a back seat to CEOs and Wall Street banks for four more years.

At a moment like this, the last thing we can afford is four more years of the tired, old theory that says we should give more to billionaires and big corporations and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. The last thing we can afford is four more years where no one in Washington is watching anyone on Wall Street because politicians and lobbyists killed common-sense regulations. Those are the theories that got us into this mess. They haven't worked, and it's time for change."
. . . . .

What we have lost in these last eight years cannot be measured by lost wages or bigger trade deficits alone. What has also been lost is the idea that in this American story, each of us has a role to play. Each of us has a responsibility to work hard and look after ourselves and our families, and each of us has a responsibility to our fellow citizens. And that's what we need to restore right now – our sense of common purpose; of higher purpose.
. . . . .

That's what this election is about. That is the choice we face right now.

Don't believe for a second this election is over. Don't think for a minute that power concedes. We have to work like our future depends on it in this last week, because it does.

America, the time for change has come.

· ·

An Autumn Of Great Discontent

by: Foiled Goil

Autumn Bridge

Republicans summon ugly old ghosts

In a column at McClatchy, Joseph L. Galloway wrote:

This is an autumn of great discontent as not just the United States, but the entire world trembles on the brink of an economic recession that may bring the kind of pain that's known only to the oldest among us.

With days to go before Election Day, the nation watches as a presidential candidate and his political party unravel, frantically dragging every ugly ghost out of the closet in an attempt not only to fool everyone, but also to scare everyone.
. . . . .

They have presided for the last eight years over a stunning redistribution of wealth: They've turned Robin Hood upside down, taking from the poor and the middle class and giving to the very rich.

Yet they tar their opponent for daring to suggest that it's time to turn the tables and redirect some of that wealth to those who are jobless, homeless and hopeless, and to the millions of other hard-working Americans who are likely to join those growing ranks in the months and years to come.

They call him a socialist for embracing a principle that's rooted deeply in the teachings of the Christianity that they wear on their sleeves but cannot find room for in their hearts.

They promise to "correct the mistakes" of their own president, their own members of Congress, their own appointed overseers and regulators, if only we give them another chance.

They promise to punish the Wall Street tycoons and the big bankers who in their greed built this house of cards that's crashing down onto Main Street. Yes they will. Surely they will smite the robber barons who brushed a few crumbs from their groaning tables of riches into the laps of the very people who now vow to punish their benefactors of great wealth.

They say this even as the barons, fat with bonuses and commissions, pick over the carcass of a fallen economy, carving out another tasty morsel or two for themselves.

Is it any wonder that Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin and the Republican Party are sinking like the Titanic? Do they take us all for complete morons?
. . . . .

The financial collapse and the painful fallout that's stalking the nation won't be righted overnight, however. Putting Barack Obama in the White House and giving the Democrats a veto-proof majority in Congress won't mean that happy days are here again.

Hard work, sacrifice and suffering lie ahead. It could take a decade or more to repair all the damage that Bush, Dick Cheney and all their henchmen in prison, out of prison and on their way to prison have done to our economy, our military, our standing in the world, our Constitution and to civil discourse, common decency and competent governance.

In the meantime, we Americans would do well to try to remember all those things that our grandmothers told us about how to get by in hard times.
. . . . .

Someday we may be able to tell our grandchildren about the Election of '08 when we, the people, turned away from anger, hate and greed and once again embraced the better angels of our nature.

29 October 2008

You Don't Have To Step In It To Know What It Is

by: Foiled Goil

Some Voters Are Going to Have to Lose Their Homes Before They Connect the Dots

It's clear that some Americans are beyond persuasion. Thankfully, it seems that most of us are willing to recognize BS when we see it.

Garrison Keillor:
We are a stalwart and stouthearted people, and never more so than in hard times. People weep in the dark and arise in the morning and go to work. The waves crash on your nest egg and a chunk is swept away and you put your salami sandwich in the brown bag and get on the bus. [snip]

It was dishonest, cynical men who put forward a clueless young woman for national office, hoping to juice up the ticket, hoping she could skate through two months of chaperoned campaigning, but the truth emerges: The lady is talking freely about matters she has never thought about. The American people have an ear for B.S. They can tell when someone's mouth is moving and the clutch is not engaged. When she said, "One thing that Americans do at this time, also, though, is let's commit ourselves just every day, American people, Joe Six-Pack, hockey moms across the nation, I think we need to band together and say never again. Never will we be exploited and taken advantage of again by those who are managing our money and loaning us these dollars," people smelled gas.

Some Republicans adore her because they are pranksters at heart and love the consternation of grown-ups. The ne'er-do-well son of the old Republican family as president, the idea that you increase government revenue by cutting taxes, the idea that you cut social services and thereby drive the needy into the middle class, the idea that you overthrow a dictator with a show of force and achieve democracy at no cost to yourself -- one stink bomb after another, and now Governor Palin. [snip]

And the rest of us will have to pull ourselves out of the swamp of Republican economics. Your broker kept saying, "Stay with the portfolio, don't jump ship," and you felt a strong urge to dump the stocks and get into the money market where at least you're not going to lose your shirt, but you didn't do it and didn't do it, and now you're holding a big bag of brown bananas. Me, too. But at least I know enough not to believe desperate people who are talking trash.

Anybody who got whacked last week and still thinks McCain-Palin is going to lead us out of the swamp and not into a war with Iran is beyond persuasion in the English language. They'll need to lose their homes and be out on the street in a cold hard rain before they connect the dots.

· ·
15 October 2008

Stop The BS, John

by: Foiled Goil

Olbermann: McCain, suspend your campaign

Oct. 14: In a brief Special Comment, Keith Olbermann expresses his disapproval of the McCain/Palin campaign’s “lynch-mob mentality” and their refusal to discourage surrogates and supporters from threatening Barack Obama at GOP campaign rallies.

[ 3:16 ]


· · · ·

Letterman Still On McCain

by: Foiled Goil

David Letterman keeps up his barrage of John McCain quips

Don Frederick, LA Times (two hours ago):

Forget John McCain's face-to-face encounters with Barack Obama, which wrap up Wednesday with their third and final debate. Thursday evening is when we'll find out just how thick McCain's skin is.

That's when he settles into the That's when he settles into the guest chair next to the TV star who has become his new, unrelenting nemesis -- David Letterman. [snip]

Letterman, whose comedic persona long has included a crusty edge, embraced the role of spurned host after McCain canceled a scheduled "Late Show" appearance last month because of plans to hurry back to Washington -- but then remained in New York that night. Since then, Letterman monologues have been littered with barbs aimed at McCain.

And that continued to be the case tonight, despite the the Republican's effort to make amends and show up on the "Late Night" set Thursday. The Times' Matea Gold passes along, courtesy of CBS, some of Letterman's latest lines:
You heard what happened at a rally yesterday. Sarah Palin mistook some of her supporters for hecklers. And you know, confusion happens in all walks of life. For example, a few weeks ago, John McCain mistook her for a legitimate candidate. ...

And tomorrow night is the final presidential debate. John McCain and Barack Obama. And John McCain is going to take this opportunity to unveil his new campaign persona. His new campaign personality, to really energize the last couple of weeks of the campaign -- Fighting Underdog. Fighting Underdog. ... And if that doesn’t work, then he’s going to go to Corrupt Bordertown Sheriff. And if that doesn’t work, Seen-it-All Bartender. And then Priest Who Tries to Communicate with Martians. And then the Alcoholic Safecracker. And then the Maniacal Hunter Who’s After Human Prey. And then the Shifty Racetrack Vet. And then the Retired Jewel Thief. And then the Archaeologist Who Scoffs at the Mummy’s Curse. ...

· ·
10 October 2008

The Unconcerned

by: Foiled Goil

McCain and Bush: Unconcerned with the Needs of Ordinary Americans

McCain is not a perfect replica of George W. Bush. But neither man seems to have any sense of how we actually live or what we need from government.

By Robert Scheer, Truthdig:
I am not a conventionally religious man, or even a very superstitious one, but I do wish George Bush would stop asking God to bless America. Every time he does, we seem to be visited with another plague, suggesting divine wrath over our president's evil ways. How else to explain the persistent calamity that has marked this administration: a pointless but very costly war over nonexistent Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, the devastating New Orleans flood, the betrayal of the nation by the money-changers -- from Enron to Goldman Sachs -- that Bush welcomed into the temple of the White House?

What's next? Pestilence, frogs, locusts or incurable boils? Dare we risk four more years of catastrophic misrule by a "W" alter ego? For those indifferent to the serious implications of that question, I recommend Oliver Stone's new bio-flick, which brilliantly captures the "banality of evil" that has controlled our political life these past eight years. This phrase from Hannah Arendt's characterization of the mundane cruelty that so marked the daily experience of European fascism has a frightening applicability to the Republican leadership that has done so much damage to this nation's reputation for democratic integrity.

Cynicism rules even as ritualistic prayer breaks, as depicted in the film W, abound. The pretense of piety earns the president and his accomplices a get-out-of-jail-free card; at no point in the film do any in the top ranks of this administration -- captured so accurately and depressingly -- accept one iota of accountability for how much damage they have wrought. Unrepentant, the same Republican apparatchiks are employing the familiar Rovian tactic of divide and conquer in seeking to continue their hold on power. Once again, they seek to focus attention on hot-button social issues and patriotic litmus tests to draw attention from the fact that family values are being destroyed by the loss of job and home.

Perhaps John McCain is not a perfect replica of George W. Bush, but the parallels go beyond the senator's enthusiastic support for the toxic mix of Bush's imperial foreign policy and his arrogant indifference to the travails of our domestic existence. Neither man seems to have any sense of how we actually live or what we need from government. How else to explain their common antipathy to Social Security and Medicare, which, after public education, represent the nation's most successful programs? Can you imagine the panic today if McCain and Bush had succeeded in tying Social Security to investments in the stock market? They view government as nothing more than a proud sponsor of the military-industrial complex while ignoring the threat to homeland security from corporate pirates.

Don't say we weren't warned...

· · · ·

An Economy Voting Guide

by: Foiled Goil

Progressive Voter Guide to the Economy

From the housing crisis to the minimum wage, a look at where the candidates stand on nine important economic issues.

The Editors at AlterNet:

A Gallup poll released this week showed that a majority of Americans -- 53 percent -- are angry about the financial crisis. And 41 percent are afraid. The system, Americans believe, has failed them.

It only takes a glance at the morning news -- or a look at rising food and gas prices -- to see that these fears and frustrations are not without good reason. Every day, more and more people lose their homes and their health care and see their retirement funds erode. Or rather, they watch as these things get taken from them.

It's infuriating to watch and painful to experience, and it's understandable to be mad as hell. It's OK because when a large enough number of people get angry enough, that's when things start to change.

So, our question to you is, Are you mad enough yet? Because this crisis is about all of us. Are you sure your 401K is secure? Do you know how many of your tax dollars are being spent in Iraq -- a country that's sitting on an $80 billion surplus? Have you considered how you'll pay for your health care if Medicare goes broke?

The answers to these questions aren't pretty. Fortunately, Nov. 4 gives us a chance to change things.

But first we have to know where the candidates stand on the issues that matter the most, like the economy, the environment, health care, immigration and reproductive justice. It's no small task to get reliable information on anything, let alone politics, in an age of campaign attack ads, media bias and outright corruption. That's why AlterNet has put together some handy election guides to help you learn what you need to know about Barack Obama and John McCain before you make a trip to the ballot box. The guides aren't meant to be exhaustive, but they do cover a lot of ground. For the next two weeks, we'll be rolling out an election guide each day, starting today, with the economy.

Election Guide to the Economy
The country is in a unique moment in its economic history, facing a deep, structural energy crisis, stagnant wages for most, and spiraling costs for health care, education and food.

The housing market isn't expected to hit bottom until the middle of next year, and the fallout from the housing crash now threatens the global economy -- so much so that on Sept. 20, the Bush administration proposed an unprecedented bailout of many of the biggest players on Wall Street, which came on the heels of the government's multibillion-dollar rescues of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and AIG.

There's now a consensus among economists that we have entered a recession. It marks the first time in the post-war era that the country has entered into a downturn before median family incomes had fully recovered from the previous recession. Over the past business cycle, poverty increased by more than 10 percent, and the number of people with employer-based health care dropped by about 8 percent.

The past year has been especially painful for America's working majority. In August, companies' payrolls shrank for the eighth consecutive month, resulting in a five-year high in unemployment.

Whoever ends up occupying the White House in January 2009 will be faced with the epic task of restoring Americans' sense of economic security. What will the next president do about energy? About the mortgage meltdown? What kind of trade policies will he put into place?

Read below for the answers. We've compiled these brief issue overviews to help you make an informed choice in November.






6. EQUAL PAY ...




· ·
09 October 2008

Feisty Joe Biden: It's About You

by: Foiled Goil

NBC Biden: McCain campaign appealing to fear

A feisty Joe Biden tells a Florida rally that John McCain's campaign is appealing to fear with veiled questions and unbecoming attacks on Barack Obama's character.
October 08, 2008:

[ 6:03 ]

· · · ·


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