My rant earlier today fueled my snarky side and I’ve been in a foul mood all day, even smacking myself upside the head a few times, and cursing at the washing machine. It seems, if you read the news even just for a few minutes, that sanity is a thing of the past in this nation.
Helping the poor?
When you think of ‘helping the poor’, what are some of the first things that come to mind? Volunteering at a homeless shelter or food kitchen, donating to worthy charities, giving clothes you no longer wear to organizations that distribute them to the poor, etc., right? Well, here’s one to add to your list – upgrading sports arenas! That’s right, folks. According to Bloomberg …
For decades, the U.S. has required banks to steer a portion of their money to people in poor neighborhoods. Now, under proposed rule changes, banks may finance upgrades to sports stadiums, call it helping the poor — and potentially even get a generous tax break.
That scenario might seem oddly specific, but it’s what two regulators appointed by President Donald Trump said last week they may allow as they undertake the most significant rewrite of the Community Reinvestment Act in a quarter-century. The agencies drafted a long list hypothetical ways banks could seek to meet their obligations, including this sentence on page 100 of their proposal:
“Investment in a qualified opportunity fund, established to finance improvements to an athletic stadium in an opportunity zone that is also an LMI census tract.” (LMI refers to low- or moderate-income.)
So, if the owners of MetLife Stadium in New York want to renovate the stadium … say, add new AstroTurf, and build a few new luxury boxes for the ultra-wealthy to enjoy … it would qualify as helping the poor, and would make the money they spent to renovate tax-free. And the poor people struggling to survive in the Bronx would benefit … how? Yet another example of how far removed Trump and his cronies are from the realities of everyday life in this country.
Remember I told you last week about Representative Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, who was the sole democrat at that time to say he planned to vote against Trump’s impeachment? Well, the next day, Mr. Van Drew announced that he plans to change parties, from democrat to republican, as early as this week. I imagine that this will doom his chances at re-election next year, given that a weekend poll showed his support in his district had dropped to around 28%. The republicans are unlikely to give him widespread support, for he has voted against Trump some 93% of the time in his single year in office.
Most of his staff handed Mr. Van Drew their resignations on Sunday, via a letter saying that they can “no longer in good conscience continue our service in the Congressman’s employ.” Hmmm … seems perhaps the staff have more of a conscience than Mr. Van Drew! Note, especially, the second paragraph.There are some 30 other democrats in the House who, like Van Drew, represent districts that are largely pro-Trump. Given the fallout from Van Drew’s decision, I’m guessing they will not follow his example!
A tough sentence …
Rick Gates, who was once Trump’s deputy campaign chairman, has been sentenced for his role in lying to the FBI and conspiring to conceal tens of millions of dollars earned from lucrative lobbying work he and Paul Manafort had done for Ukraine. For his crimes, he could potentially been sentenced to 5-6 years in prison. The judge, however, was somewhat kinder: 45 days in jail that he can serve at his leisure on weekends. Oh, and three years’ probation. About what you or I would get for failing to pay a speeding ticket on time!
In fairness, though, he was given leniency because of his cooperation with the Mueller investigation. As Judge Amy Berman said …
“Gates’s information alone warranted, even demanded further investigation from the standpoint of national security, the integrity of our elections, and enforcing criminal laws.”
Only thing is, of course, that the “further investigation”, while yielding much fruit, has not been acted upon and won’t be, as long as we have a crook in the White House and another as senate majority leader.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch …
Impeachment is a stain on the impeached president. It is not an honour to be capitalized on. Or at least, it shouldn’t be, but today we live in the Era of Trump and the rules seem to have all changed. I read this morning that the Trump 2020 re-election campaign is using the impeachment to increase Trump’s support. To date, they have spent more than $11 million on impeachment-related campaign ads! According to Politico …
Republican operatives and Trump aides say impeachment has electrified the president’s base heading into an election year. They compare the current moment to last year’s scorched-earth fight to appoint Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Not since sexual assault accusations against the former White House lawyer resulted in the most contentious Senate confirmation process in years have the president’s core supporters been more energized. In their view, Trump — like Kavanaugh — is merely the victim of a smear campaign: guilty of nothing and targeted only because of ideology and politics.
I think this speaks volumes about the values of some portion of this nation. Think about that one for a bit.
Okay, folks, I’ve about snarked out for the moment and I have house chores, laundry, and a trip to the grocery to do yet. Have a great evening.