Category Archives: Banking & Lending Issues

‘Good First Step’ as DeVos Forced to Cancel $150M in Student Loan Debt for Thousands Scammed by For-Profit Schools


“It’s disappointing that it took a court order to get Secretary DeVos to begin providing debt relief to students left in the lurch by predatory for-profit colleges.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-14-2018

Photo: CNN screenshot

After a federal judge struck down billionaire Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ attempt to gut protections for students scammed by for-profit colleges, the Department of Education announced on Thursday that—because of the court mandate—it is canceling $150 million in student loan debt for around 15,000 defrauded borrowers.

“The Department of Education illegally delayed implementation of the 2016 borrower defense rule, but because our clients in Bauer v. DeVos were willing to fight back, 15,000 students are finally getting the relief they are owed,” said Toby Merrill, director of the Project on Predatory Student Lending, which represented the students leading the legal fight against DeVos. Continue reading

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Trump Reportedly Wants to Cut Off Federal Relief Funds to Puerto Rico Despite Post-Maria Devastation

The president claims, with no evidence, that local officials want to use recovery money to pay down the U.S. territory’s sizeable debt

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-12-2018

President Donald Trump reportedly wants to cut off federal relief funding to Puerto Rico even though much of the island is still devastated by Hurricane Maria, which hit the isalnd in September of 2017. (Chris Grogan/Air Force Magazine/Flickr)

Although it has been more than a year since Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico, in parts of the U.S. territory, “it’s like the hurricane hit yesterday“—yet President Donald Trump wants to cut off recovery money, according to Axios, “because he claims, without evidence, that the island’s government is using federal disaster relief money to pay off debt.”

The unfounded claims about federal funds being misappropriated come from Trump’s misreading of an October Wall Street Journal article, multiple unnamed sources told Axios‘ Jonathan Swan. Continue reading

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5 Stories Nobody Is Talking About as the Brett Kavanaugh Hearing Unfolds

By Carey Wedler. Published 9-27-2018 by The AntiMedia

Then-President George W. Bush looks on as Justice Anthony Kennedy swears in Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on June 1, 2006. (Photo: Eric Draper/White House)

 

The media, Congress, and the American people continue to fix to their attention on Brett Kavanaugh and today’s hearings regarding allegations of sexual assault and harassment against him. While these are serious issues and should not be taken lightly, there are numerous other developments that are falling by the wayside as the national conversation remains preoccupied with the Supreme Court nominee. Continue reading

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‘Crushing Defeat’ for DeVos as Federal Judge Rules She Illegally Delayed Relief for Students Defrauded by For-Profit Colleges

“This is a major victory for student borrowers and for anyone who cares about having a government that operates under the rule of law, instead of as a pawn of the for-profit college industry.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-13-2018

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos spoke at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr/cc)

A Washington, D.C. federal judge has delivered a “crushing defeat” of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, ruling that the Trump-appointee illegally delayed Obama-era regulations to provide loan relief to students defrauded by for-profit colleges.

U.S. District Court Judge Randolph Moss, in a 57-page ruling (pdf) issued Wednesday, sided with consumer advocates and a coalition of 19 Democratic states attorneys general, determining that DeVos’s actions to delay the borrower defense rule were “unlawful,” “procedurally invalid,” and “arbitrary and capricious.” Continue reading

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China Offers African Nations $60 Billion in Development with ‘No Strings Attached’

In response to accusations of encouraging “debt trap” diplomacy in Africa, Chinese President Xi Jinping said the announced aid package is not “a scheme to form an exclusive club or bloc against others. Rather it is about greater openness, sharing and mutual benefit.”

By Emma Fiala. Published 9-4-2018 by MintPress News

Chinese President, Xi Jinping addressing African Leaders during the 2015 China-Africa summit held in South Africa. Photo: ICiR

Chinese President Xi Jinping has offered a $60 billion aid package to African countries over the next three years, in response to the continent’s increasing debt distress — with no strings attached.

China’s investment plans include $5 billion in African exports, $10 billion for development, and $15 billion grants and interest-free loans. A $20 billion credit line will also be included, as well as emergency food aid, scholarships and vocational training, and increased agricultural development. Continue reading

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Legal Analysis Exposes Kavanaugh’s Long History of Siding With Corporate Power Over the Common Good

“The most eye-catching conclusion,” says the author, is the Trump nominee’s inconsistent reasoning coupled with an “overwhelming tendency to reach conclusions favorable to corporations.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-29-2018

Critics of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh protested at Foley Square in New York City on Aug. 26. (Photo: Ivan Pereira/Twitter)

Bolstering calls for the Senate to block President Donald Trump’s deeply unpopular U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, an analysis out Wednesday reveals that Kavanaugh has overwhelmingly sided with corporate power over public interest while serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit over the past 12 years.

The new report (pdf), authored by Public Citizen president Robert Weissman, found that Kavanaugh ruled against public interest 87 percent of the time for more than 100 split-decision cases involving consumer and regulatory issues and administrative law, environmental protection, worker rights, alleged police or human rights abuses, and antitrust enforcement. Continue reading

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Trump Administration Announces $200 Million Cut in Humanitarian Aid for Palestinians

“The U.S. administration is demonstrating the use of cheap blackmail as a political tool. There is no glory in constantly bullying and punishing a people under occupation.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-24-2018

The Trump administration announced Friday it would cut $200 million in Palestinian aid. (Photo: Begemot/Flickr/cc)

The Trump administration announced Friday that it would cut $200 million in Palestinian aid, redirecting the funds to what it called “high priority projects elsewhere.”

The decision comes three months after Trump administration officials including senior advisers Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump celebrated the relocation of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv—a move that provoked outrage among Palestinians as well as in the international community—while Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) shot and fired tear gas at protesters, killing more than 50 people including an eight-month-old baby.  Continue reading

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Turkey’s currency collapse shows just how vulnerable its economy is to a crisis

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Sometimes you have to look back to move forward. AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis

Can Erbil, Boston College and Umit Ozlale, Özyeğin University

If you happen to be a tourist in Turkey right now, consider yourself lucky. Otherwise, things look grim.

The Turkish lira has lost as much as a third of its value relative to the U.S. dollar in less than a month and recently hit a record low. As a result, all imported goods became more expensive practically overnight. And because Turkey is heavily dependent on foreign goods, most everything was affected, including gasoline, food, furniture and clothing. Turks are worried that more price hikes and possible shortages of imported medicine are on the way. Continue reading

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In Bid for ‘Dystopian’ Surveillance Power, Facebook Asking Big Banks for Customer Data

“How much more of your personal existence are you willing to give up to continue to be a sieve of your data for a multi-billion dollar corporation?”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-6-2018

Screenshot: CNN

Apparently not satisfied with access to its users’ call history, text messaging data, and online conversations, Facebook has reportedly asked major Wall Street firms like JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo to hand over their customers’ sensitive financial data as part of the social media giant’s ongoing attempt to become “a platform where people buy and sell goods and services.”

And according to the Wall Street Journal—which first reported on Facebook’s plans on Monday—the social media behemoth isn’t the only tech company that wants access to Americans’ financial data. Google and Amazon have also “asked banks to share data if they join with them, in order to provide basic banking services on applications such as Google Assistant and Alexa,” the Journal pointed out, citing anonymous sources familiar with the companies’ ambitions. Continue reading

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‘What Happens When You Put Someone in Charge of Agency They Think Shouldn’t Exist,’ Says Warren After Mulvaney Guts CFPB Panel

“Mulvaney is only interested in obtaining views from his inner circle, and has no interest in hearing the perspectives of those who work with struggling American families,” says the board’s ousted chair

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-6-2018

Mick Mulvaney press conference about President Donald Trump’s budget plan. Screenshot: YouTube

Mick Mulvaney, acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), disbanded the Consumer Advisory Board (CAB) on Wednesday in what critics are calling just his latest in a series of moves to “quietly sabotage” the agency.

“Everyone on the board has been fired,” said Judith Fox, a professor of consumer law at Notre Dame Law School and three-year member of CAB—a group of 25 economic and financal experts that the watchdog agency is legally required to meet with at least twice a year. Continue reading

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