Shut The F*ck Up — And — WTF!

April 27, 2009

First — Shut the fuck up!
Karl Rove is not only a nasty-faced, political-turd-slinging asshole, but also a true indicator how this country has been crippled by GOP bullshit interference, which this time around could be costly and maybe fatal.
Via Raw Story:

Writing in a column in the Wall Street Journal in February, Rove attacked Democrats for what he dubbed as reckless spending — stimulus money being doled out to industries “that added jobs last year.”
Among them? Education and healthcare.
“There’s also $4 billion for health programs like obesity control and smoking cessation, $2 billion for the National Institutes of Health, $462 million for the Centers for Disease Control, and $900 million for pandemic flu preparations,” Rove wrote.

The $900 million Rove rebuked was killed when House and Senate negotiators met to iron out differences of the stimulus package between the two chambers. The Senate nixed the provision, while the House had voted for it

And what now, Uncle Karl, with a flu shitstorm hitting the globe?
As this medical emergency gains foothold, the US Health and Human Services is leaderless, the very government department in charge of such operations — why is this so?
GOP bullshit interference:

The Service Employees International Union has launched an online petition criticizing Republicans for delaying the confirmation of a Health and Human Services secretary in the face of a swine flu outbreak.
The union accuses Senate Republicans of delaying the confirmation of nominee Kathleen Sebelius to “curry favor with extremist outside groups” and depriving the department of leadership as the nation confronts a potential flu pandemic.
“This is simply unacceptable,” the union says on its website.
“This disease is spreading as we speak, but right now, a Bush-appointed accountant is running the department. We need an HHS secretary NOW. Sign the petition telling the Senate to vote immediately to confirm Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.
If we don’t act, the swine flu might just turn into another Hurricane Katrina.”

And some GOP peoples listened to Uncle Karl and cut, cut, cut.
From this morning’s Washington Post‘s political blog:

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee announced today it will hold a hearing this Wednesday on the federal government’s response to the swine flu outbreak, even as a controversy is brewing over the role a senior member of the panel played in blocking funds for just this kind of public health emergency.
The liberal blogosphere has been percolating this morning with criticism of Sen. Susan Collins (Maine), the top Republican on HSGAC, for having helped to strip close to $900 million for pandemic influenza preparedness from the economic stimulus package back in February.
That bill passed with the crucial support of Collins and just two other Republicans after a handful of controversial or arguably non-stimulative items were removed, including the pandemic funding.
“Everybody in the room is concerned about a pandemic flu,” Collins said at the time, referring to the stimulus negotiations. “But does it belong in this bill? Should we have $870 million in this bill? No, we should not.”
Now that the swine flu outbreak has precipitated an official public health emergency, critics are piling on. John Nichols writes in The Nation that Collins and her fellow flu funding opponents — including Karl Rove — “were just playing politics, in the exceptionally narrow and irresponsible manner that characterized the Republican response to the stimulus debate.”
Another blogger put it more simply: “Way to have foresight, Susan.”

So if the GOP could just frickin’ go away — Harken to the Ting Tings: “Shut Up And Let Me Go!

And now — onto WTF!

The rest of the nation may be getting back to basics, but on Wall Street, paychecks still come with a golden promise.
Workers at the largest financial institutions are on track to earn as much money this year as they did before the financial crisis began, because of the strong start of the year for bank profits.
Even as the industry’s compensation has been put in the spotlight for being so high at a time when many banks have received taxpayer help, six of the biggest banks set aside over $36 billion in the first quarter to pay their employees, according to a review of financial statements.

However, Paul Krugman sets it straight, fairly straight away in a blog post on the above story:

First, there’s no longer any reason to believe that the wizards of Wall Street actually contribute anything positive to society, let alone enough to justify those humongous paychecks.

So what’s going on here?
Why are paychecks heading for the stratosphere again?
Claims that firms have to pay these salaries to retain their best people aren’t plausible: with employment in the financial sector plunging, where are those people going to go?
No, the real reason financial firms are paying big again is simply because they can.
They’re making money again (although not as much as they claim), and why not?
After all, they can borrow cheaply, thanks to all those federal guarantees, and lend at much higher rates. So it’s eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you may be regulated.
Or maybe not.
There’s a palpable sense in the financial press that the storm has passed: stocks are up, the economy’s nose-dive may be leveling off, and the Obama administration will probably let the bankers off with nothing more than a few stern speeches.
Rightly or wrongly, the bankers seem to believe that a return to business as usual is just around the corner.

Krugman’s fairly cool most of the time.

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