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The Trump administration is dismantling financial protections for the military The federal government’s top consumer watchdog has decided it no longer needs to proactively supervise banks, credit card companies, and other lenders who deal with members of the military and their families to make sure they’re not committing fraud or abuse. Critics, baffled by the decision from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, say it will put service members in the claws of predatory lenders and put their careers and livelihoods — and potentially US national security — at risk. The bureau’s supervisory staff offices have typically conducted

proactive checks that make sure lenders aren’t charging military members exorbitant interest rates, pushing them into forced arbitration, or otherwise not following guidelines outlined in the Military Lending Act, a 2006 law that protects active duty military members and their families from financial fraud, predatory loans, and credit gouging. Now the agency, under interim director Mick Mulvaney, is planning to end its use of these supervisory examinations of lenders, according to recent reports

from the New York Times and NPR. Instead, the bureau will only be able to take action against lenders if it receives a complaint. The agency says the rule change is simply an effort to roll back the agency’s overly aggressive practices under its first director, Richard Cordray, and isn’t technically part o the law, anyway. Consumer protection advocates and other critics say it’s an unnecessary move that will ultimately harm members of the United States military who are often disproportionately

targeted by payday lenders and other lenders that charge exorbitant interest rates and fees. “This is akin to removing your sentries from guard posts on military compounds. If you do that, you’ll have the expectation that the bad guys will try to penetrate your compound and will probably be successful,” retired Army Col. Paul Kantwill, who recently left a position at the consumer protection agency, told me. “That’s exactly what this type of action would result in.” ..Read More

McCain’s death marks decline of Trump’s GOP Senate critics Senate Republicans willing to counter President Trump on defense and national security are becoming a rarity on Capitol Hill. The death of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) marks the start of the waning of an already small group of GOP senators willing to act as a counterweight to Trump as the president breaks with decades-long Republican policies.

McCain, despite being diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer in July 2017, remained a vocal critic of U.S. foreign policy and national security under the Trump administration with his outspoken opposition to Gina Haspel to leading the CIA and his support of tougher sanctions

against Russia. The former senator didn't mention Trump in his farewell statement released Monday, but he appeared to take a parting shot at the ideological differences that have decided the two men for years. "We weaken our greatness when we confuse our patriotism

with tribal rivalries that have sown resentment and hatred and violence in all the corners of the globe," McCain said in a statement released by his Senate office. "We weaken it when we hide behind walls, rather than tear them down, when we doubt the power of our ideals, rather than trust them to the great force for change they have always been."

Postal workers rally to fight privatization A day after U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders pledged to help them “defeat Trump’s disastrous plan,” more than 2,000 postal workers and union supporters rallied Tuesday in Downtown Pittsburgh against the potential privatization of the Postal Service. “The Post Office belongs to the people,” said Mark Dimondstein, president of the American Postal Workers Union, among speakers at the afternoon rally held outside the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. The APWU, which is affiliated with the AFL-CIO, represents about 200,000 postal employees.

“We feel this is a public good. The Post Office has been a real equalizer and a democratic right of the people in this country,” Dimondstein said, “and we intend to join together with the people to defend them.” On Monday, Sanders made a brief appearance at the APWU’s annual convention, during which he announced plans to author a bill intended to block the Trump administration from advancing a proposal to sell off the Postal Service to private entities. “I will soon be introducing legislation, which I think has a

strong chance of passing, that will put the Senate on record in opposition to Trump’s plan to privatize the Postal Service,” Sanders, I-Vermont, told attendees, according to video of his remarks. “We cannot allow Donald Trump to privatize the Postal Service … We will stand up, fight back and defeat Trump’s disastrous plan,” Sanders said. In June, the Trump administration’s Office of Budget and Management released a list of recommendations pitched as

government efficiencies that included making reforms to the Postal Service before selling it off to private bidders. The call for privatization, buried in the list of suggested government reforms, came amid ongoing work by a task force created by Trump in April to examine ways to improve the Postal Service’s financial position. The task force presented its final report to President Trump earlier this month, but it remains unclear when its findings will be made public. The report was due Aug. 10….Read More

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RI ARA September 2, 2018 E-Newsletter  

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