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How to finish off Iran without firing a single shot

By: funkygal Thursday November 10, 2011 3:45 am!/peterdaou/status/124854113296056320

Yep, send the real terrorists to finish off the bogus ones. Maybe to all countries on the US hit list – Syria for example.

In the same vein, during the healthcare debate of 2009, I read somewhere that if Osama Bin Laden wanted to finish off US easily , he should start a health insurance company.

Easy, “non-violent” way folks.

Update: for those who have issues accessing the tweet, here’s the text :

Ouch. MT @bmaz @MaxBlumenthal If Obama really wants to hurt Iran’s economy as revenge for bogus terror plot, send them Geithner and Summers


Cenk Uygur ruthlessly mocks Erin Burnett, schools her (Video)

By: funkygal Sunday October 9, 2011 2:35 am

Classy. Cenk really sticks it to the condescending, sneering, elitist mockupier Erin Burnett.

Hat tip : Susie Madrak

Warning : coffee spill alert

I don’t have a transcript . But a sample : “she went from protecting Wall Street on CNBC to protecting Wall Street on CNN. Wow, what a change”. Besides explaining some bailout facts for elitist Erin, he reads few lines from the Declaration of the Occupation of New York City

More take downs of elitist Erin, the soon-to-be-the wife-of (bailout recipient) Citigroup executive David Rubulotta :

Erin Burnett: Voice of the People by Glenzilla

Daily bail

Some comic relief in the aftermath of the terrorist attack

By: funkygal Thursday August 4, 2011 5:30 am

So yet again, the terrorists threatened to take the good faith and credit of Uncle Sam hostage. And they got their way. You remember that thing called the PATRIOT Act? Is there anyway we can charge the President and the Democrats for supporting domestic terrorists under that? Just a thought.

Now for some Democratic party jokes :

“Under the Republicans, man exploits man. With the Democrats, just the opposite is true.” – bumper sticker

“The real reason Democrats favor stem cell research ? It is their best shot at regenerating some backbone” – from a cartoon

1. There would still be a Soviet Union if they’d been smart enough to have two communist parties that agreed about everything except abortion.

2. Democrats : Republicans :: Getting stabbed : Getting shot. Why aren’t you enthusiastic about getting stabbed? WOULD YOU RATHER GET SHOT?

3. The Republican vision is that 20 white male billionaires will own everything and rule the world with an iron whip. The Democratic vision is completely different, in that not all the billionaires will be white men.

Now for some not so funny , just apt :
From a Facebook comment: “Obama has dragged the goalposts so far to the right that Richard Nixon isn’t even on the field any more”.
“There will come a day when Republicans look back fondly on Obama, as liberals might well now take someone as liberal as Nixon.”

Another good one on Obama’s obsession with bipartisanshit :

Something serious :
Congressman David Price (D-NC) on his “no” vote on the debt ceiling “deal” (

“Finally, I also vote no because I refuse to legitimize the demands of ideologues who have recklessly held the national economy hostage to their extreme agenda. Governance by brinksmanship is not worthy of being called governance. The American people deserve better than a House of Representatives that forces the entire country to lurch from one artificially created crisis to the next. We are the United States Congress, not the Tea Party’s Congress, and it’s time we started acting like it.”

Share your own funnies in the comment on the sorry state of our nation, politics and the Democrats.

Flashback: “Shock & Awe” – Deficit hysteria whipped up to attack Canadian welfare state in 1993

By: funkygal Tuesday July 19, 2011 11:30 pm

This from Naomi klein’s excellent book “Shock Doctrine: the rise of disaster capitalism”.

h/t to Dave Johnson at Campaign for America’s Future , for the text from Klein’s book (so I didn’t have to type :-))

(Note: Emphasis mine)

In February 1993, Canada was in the midst of financial catastrophe, or so one would have concluded by reading the newspapers and watching TV. “Debt Crisis Looms,” screamed a banner front-page headline in the national newspaper, the Globe and Mail. A major national television special reported that “economists are predicting that sometime in the next year, maybe two years, the deputy minister of finance is going to walk into cabinet and announce that Canada’s credit has run out…. Our lives will change dramatically.

The phrase “debt wall” suddenly entered the vocabulary. What it meant was that, although life seemed comfortable and peaceful now, Canada was spending so far beyond its means that, very soon, powerful Wall Street firms like Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s would downgrade our national credit rating from its perfect Triple A status to something much lower. When that happened, hypermobile investors, liberated by the new rules of globalisation and free trade, would simply pull their money from Canada and take it somewhere safer. The only solution, we were told, was to radically cut spending on such programs as unemployment insurance and health care. Sure enough, the governing Liberal Party did just that, despite having just been elected on a platform of job creation.

Two years after the deficit hysteria peaked, the investigative journalist Linda McQuaig definitively exposed that a sense of crisis had been carefully stoked and manipulated by a handful of think tanks funded by the largest banks and corporations in Canada, particularly the C. D. Howe Institute and the Fraser Institute (which Milton Friedman had always actively and strongly supported). Canada did have a deficit problem, but it wasn’t caused by spending on unemployment insurance and other social programs. According to Statistics Canada, it was caused by high interest rates, which exploded the worth of the debt much as the Volcker Shock had ballooned the developing world’s debt in the eighties. McQuaig went to Moody’s Wall Street head office and spoke with Vincent Truglia, the senior analyst in charge of issuing Canada’s credit rating. He told her something remarkable: that he had come under constant pressure from Canadian corporate executives and bankers to issue damning reports about the country’s finances, something he refused to do because he considered Canada an excellent, stable investment. “It’s the only country that I handle where, usually, nationals from that country want the country downgraded even more – on a regular basis. They think it’s rated too highly.” He said he was used to getting calls from country representatives telling him he had issued too low a rating. “But Canadians usually, if anything, disparage their country far more than foreigners do.”

That’s because, for the Canadian financial community, the “deficit crisis” was a critical weapon in a pitched political battle. At the time Truglia was getting those strange calls, a major campaign was afoot to push the government to lower taxes by cutting spending on social programs such as health and education. Since these programs are supported by an overwhelming majority of Canadians, the only way the cuts could be justified was if the alternative was national economic collapse – a full blown crisis. The fact that Moody’s kept giving Canada the highest possible bond rating – the equivalent of an A++ – was making it extremely difficult to maintain the apocalyptic mood.

Investors, meanwhile, were getting confused by the mixed messages. Moody’s was upbeat about Canada, but the Canadian press constantly presented the national finances as catastrophic. Truglia got so fed up with the politicised statistics coming out of Canada, which he felt were calling his own research into question, that he took the extraordinary step of issuing a “special commentary” clarifying that Canada’s spending was “not out of control,” and he even aimed some veiled shots at the dodgy math practiced by right-wing think tanks. “Several recently published reports have grossly exaggerated Canada’s fiscal debt position. Some of them have double counted numbers, while others have made inappropriate international comparisons… These inaccurate measurements may have played a role in exaggerated evaluations of the severity of Canada’s debt problems.” With Moody’s special report, word was out that there was no looming “debt wall” – and Canada’s business community was not pleased. Truglia says that when he put out the commentary, “one Canadian… from a very large financial institution in Canada called me up on the telephone screaming at me, literally screaming at me. That was unique.”

By the time Canadians learned that the “deficit crisis” had been grossly manipulated by the corporate-funded think tanks, it hardly mattered – the budget cuts had already been made and locked in. As a direct result, social programs for the country’s unemployed were radically eroded and have never recovered, despite many subsequent surplus budgets. The crisis strategy was used again and again in this period. In September 1995, a video was leaked to the Canadian press of John Snobelen, Ontario’s minister of education, telling a closed-door meeting of civil servants that before cuts to education and other unpopular reforms could be announced, a climate of panic needed to be created by leaking information that painted a more dire picture than he “would be inclined to talk about”. He called it “creating a useful crisis.”

Reverse Dejavu , ha? And so many parallels. The Democrats, elected mainly because of the economy, have fully signed onto the deficit hysteria whipped up by right wing think tanks and Republicans (who really don’t give a squat about deficits). The president has the temerity to say that though SS does not contribute to deficit, we need to do “big things” by taking a vote to cut benefits. Funny how he refused to do “big things” like prosecuting Wall Street, enacting public option at the least , if not single payer, or even consider a vote on the “People’s Budget”? And besides the apocalyptic rhetoric, we get sweeteners now – high-minded rhetorical crap like “shared sacrifice”. Yeah, we need to willingly suspend belief to forget that we the bottom 98% have sacrificed enough over the last 30 years
via reduction in real income, off-shoring of jobs, regressive taxation while the cost of basic necessities kept going up , while the rich kept getting richer.It was corporations in Canada then. It is Wall Street and billionaire hedge fundies like Peter Peterson now, salivating on cuts/privatization of SS/Medicare/Medicaid and other social programs, not to mention the potential armies of compliant serfs for other corporations.Then, as now, lies, damned lies and numbers were used by the powers that be to manipulate facts.

One main difference between then and now is the role of the rating agencies. While Moody’s refused to go along with the Canadian corporations and downgrade Canada’s debt, now they threaten to downgrade US govt debt. I wrote about the phony, dishonest Moody’s and S&P’s downgrade threats (of US government debt) here :

(This is besides the fact they contributed to the financial mass destruction of 2008 by giving investment grade ratings to financial instruments created based on subprime mortgages).

Like the Canadian example shows, once the cuts are locked, it will be very hard to roll them back. That is why need to fight to stop the attacks on Grandma, the poor and the sick. While it was Shock & Awe in Canada and the attack was very swift, here it has been in the making for years. It is up to us to fight back or give in easily. We need to keep pounding on Congress and the President to stay off SS, Medicare,Medicaid and other social programs. And demand that Wall street and the rich pay for the crisis they created. The battle is ours to win.

“Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.” — Thomas Paine

“First they came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for me and by that time no one was left to speak up.”

What an actual downgrading of US government debt means

By: funkygal Tuesday July 19, 2011 1:25 am

The rating agencies S&P and Moody’s have been threatening to downgrade US government bond ratings because of “runaway” debt , at least since 2010. And they issued threats again last week amid the ongoing debt ceiling drama.

Standard & Poor’s said late Thursday that it could downgrade the U.S. credit rating as soon as this month, and there is a 50 percent chance it will do so within three months, if Washington fails to come to an agreement over the nation’s debt.

Moody’s Investors Service said Wednesday it has put the U.S. government’s top-notch credit rating on review for a possible downgrade because of the risk that Washington will not raise the federal debt ceiling in time to avoid a default.

“Thanks but no thanks”. Teachers excoriate Arne Duncan at

By: funkygal Saturday June 4, 2011 7:24 pm

(cross-posted from Dailykos)

This in response to Duncan’s dishonest ,  concern-trolling (“Oh, I feel your pain”) trash of a letter he wrote during the National Teacher Depreciation Appreciation week.

h/t Diane Ravitch

In a rare instance in the last 2+ years, about 12 teachers including veteran teacher Anthony Cody got to talk with Duncan for a whopping 30 minutes ! Cody sums up their experience during the call thus :


The funny thing about the conversation was that the whole time, they seemed to think we had questions, and their job was to answer them. We had actually approached the conversation from a different place. We thought perhaps they might want to ask US questions, or hear our ideas about how to improve schools.

This typically reflects the attitude of the condescending, elitist & out-of-touch (CEO) Duncan towards teachers. Demeaning/degrading teachers ,while getting inputs from every Tom, Dick & Harry who is a non-educator about miseducation reform. So, not surprisingly , the furious teachers pounced on when they got a chance to comment at in response to Duncan’s letter . To quote Diane Ravitch, Duncan’s letter was “as if it were addressed to the turkey community on Thanksgiving Day.”

Sample comments :

Brian :

The education policies of this administration are the single reason why I will not vote to reelect Barack Obama in 2012. I believed in hope but it was hype. I believed in change but Race to the Top is even worse than NCLB. I’m a teacher and have been for fifteen years and for the first time I’m actively looking for work outside of teaching. I co-direct a National Writing Project site, a program that was defunded by this administration. My children attend city school, which has been abandoned by this administration.

The things you say here are, as Hamlet once said, “words, words, words,” but there is no substance behind them. Honoring teachers requires much more than saying that you honor them.

Your education policies are destroying good education in our country, hurting our poorest citizens, and amount to political point scoring at the expense of our children.

Jonathan :

Mr. Duncan,
You say teachers “deserve to be respected, valued, and supported.” I am a teacher and I do NOT feel respected, valued, or supported.
Your policies, and Mr Obama’s, or Bush’s prior, are transforming the education profession not into a dignified career of service, but into a revolving door. More and more, we are loosing great and veteran teaches, and more and more all we get is very young people who come into the teaching profession as a job where they stay no more than five years, until the day they find something better to do, or a ‘real’ career. You expect teachers to do sooooo much more, with sooo much less ($40,000 a year maximum, no pension, no tenure, no support). What other professionals (lawyers, doctors, etc. would work for $40,000 a year? Would YOU Mr Duncan?). This trend is leading us to the following scenario: upper middle class and wealthy children will have a great education in private institutions with the best teachers (those who get the respect, are valued, and get the support they need). Lower income families will take their children to public schools because they will not have a choice, and they will receive a very poor education (by teacher aficionados) that will condemn them to poverty for the rest of their lives. And America will continue falling behind compared to the rest of the world.
So yes, transformation, but for the worse. You are transforming teaching from a career to a job that barely anybody wants to do anymore. And you know why? Easy: we do not get respect, we are not valued, and we do not get the support we need.
Shame on you Mr Duncan.


Like many of my colleagues, I am deeply disappointed with Secretary Duncan’s policies, and am frankly offended that he thinks teachers are gullible enough not to see through his patronizing letter. It is all well and good that he “hears” us, the fact is he is categorically ignoring what we have to say. The Department of Education has made it abundantly clear that professional teachers are not valued in the least. Alternative credentialling, charter schools that do not require staff to have credentials, and the like, demonstrate that fact clearly enough. No Child Left Behind has destroyed arts, science and social studies instruction at the elementary level, and now threatens it at the middle school level, since the test scores are all administrators worry about. My principal announced in a staff meeting last year that science didn’t matter, so the message is very clear to us down in the trenches. The political games that are played with education in Washington, as well as in my state, sicken me, because we will not be able to get this generation of students back to fix the damage that has been done by the high-stakes test mentality. People: Children are not factory products. You cannot apply a business model to them. The only thing I can really think is that somewhere, someone very influential has decided that there is money to be made by privatizing education, so all the recent policies are directed at demoralizing professional teachers, gutting collective bargaining, and paving the way for corporate control of schools by large charters. Is that what our country really wants?

John :

Mr Duncan, your words are disingenuous at best. Your efforts, and the president’s, have done nothing but demoralize teachers and turn them into the enemy in the public eye. The truth of this is obvious across the country in Wisconsin, Idaho, Ohio, Indiana, etc. You have done more to damage public education then even the Bush administration did with NCLB. You and the president are pursuing a policy with a vision that is as wide as your eyes and as far as your nose because if you really cared about public education you would recognize that the problem goes hand in hand with a host of other issues in a child’s life, not the least of which is poverty.

You say you support public schools, but make them compete for desperately needed PUBLIC funding. To even have a chance at the money, teachers, districts, and states have to agree to the draconian reforms of a reform movement that has largely been debunked by research (Annenberg Foundation at Brown University last year as well as a study from the Brookings Institution, also from last year, to name a few.). Nothing about these studies and others or arguments by experts like Diane Ravitch to the contrary seem to affect your thinking because I believe your ultimate goal is not to improve public education, but to privatize it.

This is NOT an education reform movement. It is a privatization movement by people who stand to make a lot of money by “reforming” public schools.

As to your spokesman who said that what I’m saying is not what the majority of teachers think, I can only say that if the staff in my district is anything like teachers around the rest of the country, you are sadly mistaken.

Christine :

Thanks for nothing. Your words don’t match your actions.

Think about this:

When soldiers go into battle, who gets the blame if things go wrong? Do you ever hear on the news that the reason we’re still fighting in Afghanistan is because those soldiers just can’t do the job? You don’t. We all know that they are doing the best with what they have been given in a tough situation. If anyone were to be blamed, it would be the generals or those who decide to send soldiers to war. We all know those soldiers have a tough job in dangerous conditions and can only work with what they are given. Ultimately, their success or failure comes back to those who make policy and plans. If the raid in Abbottabad had gone wrong, it would have been the fault of the President who ordered the mission.

When teachers go into the classroom, who gets the blame if things go wrong? Do you ever hear on the news that the reason we have failing schools is because those teachers just can’t do the job? You do. We all “know” because we’ve all been in school that they are doing mediocre at best with what they have been given in a tough situation. If anyone were to be held blameless, it would be the legislators, school boards or administrators. We all know those teachers have a cushy job in low stress conditions and can only work with what they are given….what??? This doesn’t sound right?

Ultimately, the success or failure of our schools comes back to those who make policy and plans. If the raid in Abbottabad had gone wrong, it would have been the fault of the President who ordered the mission. The raid on American education has commenced. We blame you, we blame the president, and every citizen who has bought into the ridiculousness of rhetoric that has declared America’s teachers public enemy number one.

We are the soldiers on the front lines of education. We serve. We are professionals. We have pride in what we do.

These and much much more. Some of them are long enough to be a diary by themselves.

These days, it must be difficult to be the PR person for Dept of Ed . Because Justin Hamilton has the unenviable job of cleaning up after Arne Duncan – and go look for his lost bearings. And Duncan comes unhinged more often these days. It is so tough that Hamilton ends up loosing few of his own bearings responding to the teachers’ attacks. Diane Ravitch :

Duncan’s press secretary reacted to the outpouring of criticism by asserting that the negative response did not represent “how the broader teaching community feels about it.” That opened a new opportunity for bloggers to excoriate both Duncan and his staff. The appeal to the “silent majority,” wrote a social studies teacher, reminded him of Richard Nixon’s claim that a “silent majority” supported his policies in Vietnam.

Folks, this is what the revolt of the peasants looks like. It is for real. Amid all the attacks on teachers (and public sector employees) by Republicans in various states, teachers refuse to run crying “Daddy” (like a frightened child) to Obama and the Dems. They refuse to believe in the “lesser evil” crap any more and seeing the Obama/Duncan right-wing education deform horror show for what it is.
Ravitch again :

An urban teacher complained bitterly that Duncan had failed to stand up for teachers when their job security was under attack;
Many teachers hold Duncan’s policies accountable for the public disrespect now directed at teachers in the media. Consequently they can’t find it in their hearts to trust Arne Duncan when he thanks them for their service. They’ve learned to respond to what he does, not what he says.

(Note : Meanwhile the out-of-touch National Education Association leadership is ready to get into the abusive relationship again – that is an early endorsement of Obama. The union leadership apparently hopes to get a seat at the table without realizing that they are the Turkey on the plates of those at the table. I hope the fury of rank-and-file members will instill some sense into the leadership. )

The teachers are mad as hell and can’t/won’t take it anymore . Way to go teachers ! Time to hold the administration accountable.

Action : Please read and sign the petition from the grassroots group Parents Across America for real education reform.

A teacher’s royal smackdown of Arne Duncan.

By: funkygal Friday May 6, 2011 12:41 am

(Cross-posted from Dailykos)

This is priceless . Way to go, Teacher Sabrina.

It is National Teacher Appreciation Week.And Arne Duncan, the “education” secretary pens an open letter to the teachers , full of platitudes. Considering the wide gap between his rhetoric and actions (enough to drive a truck through), no surprise it came off as dishonest , to say the least. And Teacher Sabrina pens an open letter in reply.

The post is full of linky goodness. And is a one-stop shop for all things Duncan. It starts with a bang :

Actions speak louder than words. Though you often have nice words to say about teachers, what you do is more important, and your actions thus far do not indicate that you respect, value, or support teachers and our profession as much as you claim.

And then proceeds to list his atrocities one by one. And shreds his spouting of “quality”, “value”, “respect” blah blah blah….. ,calls out his deforms which does nothing but degrade, deskill and demean teaching/teachers.But here is the crown jewel :

More fundamentally, your very presence in the role of Education Secretary reflects a level of disrespect for our profession not found in others. Our Surgeon General is a career physician, who earned a full MD before going into family practice. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is a career naval officer, who studied at the Naval Academy before participating in combat operations aboard a destroyer. Yet despite “working in education” for a while, you never studied education, and you’ve never taught in a public school classroom. Working in non-profits, playing basketball, and being a political appointee are not substitutes for classroom experience.

Ouch ! That last statement should hurt Duncan if he is capable of feeling any shame. Playing basketball or tutoring kids informally in your mom’s school doesn’t count as teaching. If so, I will qualify for the ed secretary post – I have tutored my younger siblings, friends and cousins.

The vitriol directed at teachers today is very shameful. They are blamed for the tanking economy while a single Wall street goon who caused the financial mass destruction has yet to go to prison (Duncan’s blather : “We need to educate our way to a better economy”).  It is happening under the watch of a supposedly intelligent, well-educated president. A Democrat. While he winks and nods at all the attacks on teachers (Wisconsin anyone?), he doesn’t hesitate to insert himself into situations to show he is on the side of the corporate education deform – whether it is the cheering of mass firings of teachers in Central Falls, RI (gasp, in front of US Chamber of Commerce – that ultimate icon of “accountability”) or palling around with the rabid anti-teacher Jeb Bush.

It is time for the teachers to stand up to the bully. To use some of Democrats’ own words/phrases, it is time to end the “low expectations” and subject Dems to “No excuses” culture. Time to hold them “accountable” and end political “welfare as we know it” – no more “lesser of the 2 evils” nonsense. Time to  take a page out of the firefighters union and put Dems on notice – perform or else “You are fired”.   Go teachers !  Keep up the fight and we got your backs. If we don’t fight now against the attack on public education, soon we won’t have anything to fight for. We need to support only those candidates who are unapologetic  supporters of teachers unions and public education.

Thank you Teacher Sabrina for showing us the way.

P.S : More teachers are piling on. See here and    here. Way to go !