Saturday, October 7, 2017


by Anthony J Codispoti

Here is what I have learned about President Trump. He knows the news media despises him. More than 90% of mainstream media news stories about the President and and his administration are negative. How could that possibly be considered fair coverage?

Of course, it isn't fair and there are no indications anywhere that it's about to change. One might get the sense that if President Trump walked on water and talked to Jesus, the headlines in the Washington Post and the NY Times would read, "Trump Conspires with Risen Christ; Women and Minorities Most Affected."

The question the media and all Americans should ask is this: does this president deserve 90% or more negative coverage from the news media? Personally, I always knew that the news media, which didn't have an adversarial bone in its body for eight years under Obama, would suddenly rediscover those bones under ANY Republican President. The fact that the Republican President is Donald Trump offends their elitist sensibilities very deeply indeed.

He knows he isn't going to get fair coverage and it's pointless to hope for it. But he cannot allow the media bias to discredit him or undermine his authority as President. This media today is more than adversarial. They are attempting a subversion of Presidential authority which will have repercussions for future Presidents if permitted. In reaction, President Trump is duty bound to act to protect the institution of the Presidency.

So, what can he do? Well, one thing he could do is discredit the mainstream news media. He does this in speeches all the time, but that's not nearly enough. Labeling them "fake news" plays only to his base of supporters, but it doesn't prove his point to anyone else.

He needs the media to discredit itself as well, preferably, by its own hand, because that will lend credibility to his argument outside of his base of support. It is here that the mainstream news media is actually building Trump's case against themselves. He is providing the rope and they are hanging themselves while Americans are watching.

Here is just one way the President is accomplishing this:

Trump knows the media expects all Presidents to behave a certain way. He knows behaving differently, which he finds easy to do, can cause the media to focus on idiosyncratic aspects of his personality to such distraction, they will appear petty and totally obsessed in the process.

It has gotten so bad, they will create firestorms in 2-3 day news cycles obsessing over Melania's choice of footwear, or the way Trump tosses paper towels to Puerto Rican hurricane victims, and even throw away lines intended to turn media attention down another blind alley, with two words "you'll see."

The Northeastern media elites complain that Trump has no appreciation for the necessary decorum expected from Presidents, but then are continually confounded when he behaves with that decorum as he did recently in Las Vegas.

The elites are outsmarting themselves because President Trump has a deep appreciation for the decorum required of the Presidency. And that's exactly why he breaks from that decorum often because he needs to keep an almost uniformly hostile media off balance and focused on trivia.

The fact of the matter is, President Trump owns the media and they know it and they know there is nothing they can do about it. They hate him for it.

They will never give him a fair shake. And he will never stop discrediting them and making them discredit themselves as long as they don't give him that fair shake.

There has never been a President like Trump. And we hear this from news media almost daily. But there also was never a President like Obama, either. Obama also broke with a great many Presidential traditions and limitations, but we never heard the wailing and gnashing of teeth with Obama's unprecedented behavior in office. It is necessary to point out here because it illustrates the bias in the news media. They were ideologically sympathetic with Obama. Any moves in service to that ideological agenda, even outside the Constitutional guardrails set for the Presidency were given few, if any critical words.

But President Trump's agenda is not ideological. It's populist. Populists bend to the popular will. The media is chock full of progressive ideologues wishing to impose their vision for America over the popular will. They are fundamentally undemocratic. They will seek as they have already sought to bring down this President. So far, it's hurt them more than it's hurt Trump.

The media behavior here is reminiscent of President Nixon's words as he left the White House upon resigning from office:

"Others may hate you, but those who hate you don't win, unless you hate them. And then, you destroy yourself." The media needs to review that one, I think.

First Liberty Institute Praises New Exemptions to Contraceptive Mandate, DOJ Guidance on Religious Liberty

Source: First Liberty Institute

Plano, TX - October 7, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- The Trump administration announced two significant policy positions that will protect the religious liberty of all Americans—critical protections that will immediately benefit First Liberty Institute’s clients and aid many others.

Thanks to a new interim final rule announced by the Trump administration, clients of First Liberty are now exempt from the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate, which forced businesses, ministries, and other non-profit organizations to reject their religious beliefs and moral convictions or violate the law.

Jeremy Dys, Deputy General Counsel for First Liberty, issued the following statement regarding the HHS interim final rule:

“The new rule is a huge win for business and ministry leaders who, since 2013, have been fighting the government’s disregard for their religious beliefs and moral convictions. Now, they can lead their organizations in good conscience without choosing between their convictions and obeying law.”

In July, First Liberty attorneys held an in-person, on-the-record meeting with officials from the Office of Management and Budget, Department of Labor, and Health and Human Services—agencies tasked with reviewing the rules related to the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate. (Read First Liberty’s letter on behalf of its clients to Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney by clicking here.)

The Department of Justice also announced new religious liberty guidelines that build upon critical protections for religious liberty set down in the Clinton administration. The following statement may be attributed to Hiram Sasser, General Counsel for First Liberty:

“Our country has a long history of protecting religious liberty. This guidance is part of a tradition of administrations helping to educate the public and officials regarding the laws that protect religious liberty, such as President Clinton’s pioneering guidance protecting religious liberty in public schools. Further, our nation has a longstanding bi-partisan commitment to religious liberty as evidenced by Senator Ted Kennedy’s passionate advocacy for the passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). We welcome President Trump’s commitment to continue this legacy of protecting religious liberty.”

FRC Applauds DOJ Guidance Protecting Religious Freedom, Exempting from Oppressive HHS Mandate

Source: Family Research Council

Washington, D.C. - October 7, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- Family Research Council applauded two major actions by the Trump administration that safeguard religious freedom. The Department of Justice (DOJ) is directing federal agencies to respect religious freedom while the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is exempting religious entities from the oppressive Obama contraceptive mandate.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins released the following statement:

“After eight years of the federal government’s relentless assault on the First Amendment, the Trump administration has taken concrete steps today that will once again erect a bulwark of protection around American’s First Freedom – religious freedom.

“President Trump is demonstrating his commitment to undoing the anti-faith policies of the previous administration and restoring true religious freedom. Last May, the president ordered the federal government to vigorously promote and protect religious liberty –and now the DOJ and HHS are moving to make that order a reality.

“Under the Obama administration, agencies lost the understanding that religious freedoms extend to the public square, not just one’s place of worship. As a result, our own government began threatening hardworking, patriotic Americans with crushing fines for simply seeking to live their lives according to their faith.

“President Trump and the Department of Justice are putting federal government agencies on notice: you will not only respect the freedom of every American to believe but live according to those beliefs. This is a freedom that has been a fundamental part of our society since the beginning of our nation.

“To aid the Trump administration’s efforts in vigorously promoting and protecting religious liberty, Family Research Council today is launching a web hotline for those who believe that they have suffered discrimination at the hands of federal agencies based on their religious beliefs or practices. The ‘Free to Believe’ hotline will help ensure that no federal employee, contractor or citizen will be forced to choose between their faith and equal treatment by the federal government.

"As President Trump continues to follow through on his promises on these core issues, he will continue to have the support of social conservatives on his policy initiatives,” concluded Perkins.

U.S. Chamber Statement on House Passage of the 2018 Budget Resolution

Source: U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Washington, D.C. - October 7, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- U.S. Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley issued the following statement today after passage of the 2018 budget resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives:

“Passage of the 2018 budget resolution in the House today is an important and consequential first step toward achieving the pro-growth tax reform promised to American business owners, workers, and families. But the work is just beginning. We need the Senate to act quickly and to come together with their colleagues to deliver legislation that unlocks the potential for an overhaul of the tax code that will grow the economy, create jobs, and raise wages.

“As we’ve said before, failure is not an option, and the Chamber will be holding lawmakers accountable to make sure tax reform gets done for the American people.”

ERLC’s Russell Moore calls HHS religious liberty exemption ‘crucial achievement’

Source: Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission

Washington, D.C. - October 7, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, commented today on the decision by the Trump administration to provide a robust religious liberty exemption to Health and Human Services’ contraceptive mandate, which provides employers with religious or moral objections an exemption to the requirement that they must pay for contraception, including contraceptives with abortifacient properties.

Moore commented:

“This religious exemption is a crucial achievement in the preservation of religious liberty. The government has no business whatsoever forcing citizens to subsidize the destruction of human life and the exploitation of families and communities. More still, the contraceptive mandate revealed the audacity of a state that believed it could annex the human conscience, which is why I have long opposed it as an unlawful overreach asking citizens to choose between obedience to God and compliance with the regulatory state. A government that can pave over the consciences of some can steamroll over dissent everywhere. I am thankful for this move, which recognizes that freedom of conscience is a natural and inalienable right, not an allowance handed out by Uncle Sam.”

Seeking the overturning of the HHS contraceptive mandate has been a signature issue for the ERLC, beginning in 2014 after Guidestone Financial Resources and many other Baptist institutions filed suit against the United States Department of Health and Human Services, citing religiously held convictions that would prevent them from including such coverages in their health plans.


Source: Edison Electric Institute

Washington, D.C. - October 7, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- Edison Electric Institute (EEI) Executive Director of Security and Preparedness Scott Aaronson released the following statement on EEI’s efforts to coordinate with the federal government and industry partners to support power restoration and recovery efforts in Puerto Rico.

“The primary focus in Puerto Rico has been on the distribution of commodities such as food, water, and fuel for temporary power at critical facilities, as well as improving security, removing debris, and clearing roads. As these operations bring stability to Puerto Rico, efforts are shifting to long-term recovery and restoration of critical infrastructure, including the energy grid.

“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been tasked with leading power restoration efforts on the island and will be working directly with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority on this mission.

“Along with our colleagues at the American Public Power Association and the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council, EEI will continue to monitor the progress of this restoration mission and will work closely with all industry mutual assistance networks to ensure that any additional worker and resource needs are addressed quickly. EEI member companies and the entire electric power industry stand ready to support the long-term recovery efforts in Puerto Rico.

“EEI also is tracking a new storm in the southern Gulf of Mexico that could threaten the Gulf Coast this weekend. The electric power sector remains in close coordination during this already historic hurricane season, and CEOs from electric companies in the new storm’s path already have convened to prepare the industry and our customers for the possibility of another significant weather event.”

Consumer advocates launch ad opposing air traffic control privatization

Source: Consumer Action

Washington, D.C. - October 7, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- Leading airline passenger, consumer and rural organizations, including National Consumers League,, Consumer Action, the Alliance for Aviation Across America and In the Public Interest, launched an ad to set the record straight on the airlines' push to privatize the air traffic control system. The ad specifically aims to correct a number of misleading claims put forth by the airlines and their paid front groups that privatization would somehow benefit passengers or communities.

Under the airlines' privatization plan, oversight of air traffic control would be transferred from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to a corporate board essentially controlled by industry with zero seats for consumer or passenger rights organizations. This unaccountable body would have unlimited power to raise fees and taxes on passengers, cut critical access to community airports and make decisions based on their own business priorities instead of in the interest of safety and the public.

"From major computer meltdowns and lost luggage and children to dragging their passengers through the aisles of aircraft, the airlines have repeatedly demonstrated an inability to manage their own operations, let alone oversee the world’s busiest air traffic control system. They point the finger at air traffic control, but the Department of Transportation's (DOT) own data confirm that the airlines themselves are responsible for the vast majority of delays,” said Paul Hudson, president of

Notwithstanding the efforts by airline-backed lobbying and PR groups to mislead the public, a wide range of consumer, business and labor stakeholders as well as notable experts strongly oppose privatization.

“Our air traffic control system is a public good that should not be gifted over to the same big airlines that assault and drag paying customers off flights, shrink seats to medically unsafe proportions and invent increasingly outrageous new fees,” said Linda Sherry, director of national priorities at Consumer Action.

John Breyault, vice president of public policy at National Consumers League, stated: “In just the past few weeks, we’ve witnessed big airlines engaging in troubling hurricane-related price gouging to go along with the ongoing passenger abuses and unsavory marketing and pricing practices that harm consumers. This industry continues to put profits before passengers; based on their track record, they would likely do the same if handed control of our air traffic system.”

“Privatizing the air traffic control system would allow the airlines to run it for their own benefit and further direct investment and infrastructure away from thousands of smaller communities around the country, including many towns that have already lost commercial air service,” said Selena Shilad, executive director of the Alliance for Aviation Across America.

“Why would we take a critical piece of our national, public infrastructure and turn it over to one, self-interested private interest in the system, without any oversight from Congress? The airlines continue to be the only ones pushing for this risky idea, because they are the only ones that would benefit. Our national airspace system should be operated in the public’s best interest, not any one customer’s private interest,” stated Donald Cohen, executive director of In the Public Interest.

New Mexico: Comments on Anti-Free Speech Measures Ignored

Source: Concerned Veterans for America

Albuquerque, NM - October 7, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) released a digital ad focusing on New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver’s refusal to acknowledge and consider the individual comments of hundreds of New Mexicans opposing her anti-free speech measure.

After several public hearings, the Secretary’s office received over 750 comments from citizens opposed to her rule, which will force citizens to publicly list personal information in order to support a cause in the state. However, Secretary Oliver refused to count these comments individually because they were submitted using CVA’s digital tool, which allowed New Mexicans to submit official comments to her office opposing the measure. This was not a distinction the Secretary chose to draw after the first round of public comments, when several citizens submitted comments from a form letter that favored her measure.

“Government officials abusing their power to shut out the voices who disagree. This is exactly why we need to protect freedom of speech,” the ad states. The group urges New Mexicans to take action and oppose the measure by contacting the Secretary’s office.

Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) Policy Director Dan Caldwell issued the following statement:

“Secretary Oliver has shown she is willing to do whatever it takes to limit free speech in New Mexico – even silencing the citizens she was elected to protect. It is startling to see her ignore hundreds of New Mexicans who have every reason to oppose this deeply flawed measure. We share the concerns of citizens who believe the Secretary is overstepping her authority by ignoring New Mexico’s legislative process in an attempt to force this rule into law.”

CVA released a coalition letter of 29 individuals representing 14 different organizations, including former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, to abandon her measure.

Governor Martinez vetoed S.B. 96, a similar anti-free speech measure that passed the legislature in April. CVA led a coalition of eleven different organizations and sent a letter to Governor Martinez asking her to reject the measure.

Earlier last year, CVA started “Defend the First,” a project dedicated to beating back threats against free speech at the state and federal level.

CEI’s Myron Ebell Hopes EPA Court Filing Will End Clean Power Plan “In Its Entirety”

Source: Competitive Enterprise Institute

Washington, D.C. - October 7, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- In anticipation of the Environmental Protection Agency’s upcoming filing in the litigation concerning the so-called Clean Power Plan, the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Myron Ebell said:

“If it had gone into effect, the ‘Clean Power’ Plan rule to limit greenhouse gas emissions from coal and natural gas power plants would have been one of the most expensive regulations ever imposed, causing electric rates for consumers to go up and threatening the reliability of the electric grid.

“We hope that in its court filing the EPA will propose to rescind the so-called Clean Power Plan in its entirety. Whether it should be replaced by a more modest regulation is something that can be discussed, and it is our understanding that this is what the EPA plans to do with an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

“The Supreme Court blocked implementation of the rule in February 2016. There is little doubt that the court would have eventually decided that the rule is illegal. Thus the EPA under Administrator Scott Pruitt is not only doing the right thing for the economy, but is also simply following the laws that govern regulatory activity.

“Scrapping the ‘Clean Power’ Plan is a key part of President Trump’s de-regulatory agenda, which is designed to get the economy moving again. This rule and other greenhouse gas emissions rules are depressing investment and job growth in resource and manufacturing industries.”

See more from CEI on the Clean Power Plan here.

CCAGW Supports “Death Panel” Repeal

Source: Council for Citizens Against Government Waste

Washington, D.C. - October 7, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) President Tom Schatz released the following statement regarding the respective mark-ups tomorrow of H.R. 849, the Protecting Senior’s Access to Medicare Act of 2017, by the House Energy and Commerce Committee and House Ways and Means Committee:

“I am pleased to see the House is moving to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), often referred to as the ‘Death Panel.’ IPAB is an outrageous and dangerous provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare. The board, composed of 15 unelected bureaucrats appointed by the President, would have unprecedented power to cut payments to Medicare providers and would be beholden to no one, including Congress.”

“IPAB is tasked with reducing the per capita rate of growth in Medicare spending, but is prevented from raising premiums, increasing cost sharing, or restricting benefits for beneficiaries. What it can do is cut payments to doctors, hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and other providers. Reduced payment rates will encourage providers to treat fewer Medicare beneficiaries. Even though the ACA specifically states the board cannot ration care, that is a distinction without a difference; if a physician must reduce the number of Medicare patients he or she treats because of reduced rates, seniors by default will have their care rationed. IPAB also has the power to consider the private sector’s effects on healthcare costs and the authority to write regulations that modify both government and private healthcare. Its decisions are not subject to judicial review and legislative oversight.”

“Repealing IPAB is one of the few healthcare-related matters that has bipartisan support. H.R. 849 has 221 Republican and 43 Democratic co-sponsors. Members of both parties understand the alarming power IPAB was given under ACA and must be eliminated for good.”

The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste is the lobbying arm of Citizens Against Government Waste, the nation’s largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government.

Christian Medical Association and Freedom2Care Applaud Administration's Actions to Protect Conscience in Healthcare

Source: Christian Medical and Dental Association

The nation's largest association of Christian health professionals, the 18,000-member Christian Medical Association applauded the administration's actions to restore conscience freedoms in healthcare. The administration took action concerning the Obamacare contraceptives mandate, insurance premiums used to pay for abortions, and regarding government respect for religious freedom.

"We are thankful to see these vital conscience freedoms restored in healthcare," noted CMA Senior Vice President Gene Rudd, MD, and Ob-Gyn physician. "For millennia, medical ethics have provided for conscientious opposition to abortion by physicians who took up the practice of medicine as a healing art never to be used for the destruction of human life. And until recently, our government reinforced those ethical principles with conscience protections. We are heartened to see our government heading back in the direction of these vital freedoms that protect patients, medicine and freedom in our country."

Jonathan Imbody, director of Freedom2Care, which is affiliated with CMA said, "As Americans who have inherited a nation founded upon freedom of faith, conscience and speech, we can agree that the government must never force individuals to violate their deepest held beliefs on vital and extremely controversial issues such as abortion. When our leaders forget these principles, and take to forcing nuns to participate in matters they consider wholly immoral, the American people realize that our fundamental freedoms are in jeopardy. If the government can take away the rights of one group, then no one is safe from government coercion.

"These actions today by the administration are an important step back in the direction of freedom and respect for one another, and we look forward to more actions in the future, including restoration of the conscience rule for health professionals that President Obama gutted."

Sputnik: 60 Years Later, CIA Releases Declassified Documents

Source: Central Intelligence Agency

Washington, D.C. - October 7, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- On 4 October 1957, the Soviet Union successfully launched the Sputnik-1 earth satellite into space—an achievement that stunned the American public and press, but not the U.S. policy and intelligence communities. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reported the advancements that led to this landmark launch to President Eisenhower, providing him with the strategic advantage to guide the U.S. response.

Today, on the 60th anniversary of Sputnik’s first launch, the CIA released a collection of previously classified documents on the Sputnik program. The collection includes CIA’s intelligence and analysis of Sputniks-1, -2, and -3 and the Soviet ballistic missile program from 1955 to the early 1960s. Encompassing 59 documents and 440 pages, the release provides new information to the public, to include memoranda and reports the CIA provided to President Eisenhower, on the Soviet Union’s early space and missile programs.

The entire collection is available here
and joins previous CIA releases that address the arms race during the Cold War, which are available here and here. In addition, to commemorate CIA’s strategic warning contributions about Sputnik, Studies in Intelligence, part of the Center for the Study of Intelligence, published an article, Sputnik and U.S. Intelligence: The Warning Record, available here.

In his public remarks at the fourth annual National Security Conference co-hosted by CIA and George Washington University, CIA Director Mike Pompeo summarized it all by highlighting the release of the Sputnik collection and the fitting theme of the conference, “Achieving Strategic Advantage,” stating, “The timing couldn’t be more fitting, as exactly 60 years ago today, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik-1 into space, stunning the public, but not America’s leaders.”

Implications of new HHS Rule on Little Sisters of the Poor lawsuit

Source: Becket Fund for Religious Liberty

Washington, D.C. - October 7, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- A new HHS mandate announced moments ago now provides an exemption for religious groups, including the Little Sisters of the Poor and other religious charities, while maintaining the existing federal contraceptive mandate for most employers. The interim rule aligns with the Supreme Court’s ruling last year in Zubik v. Burwell that the government cannot fine the religious groups for following their faith.

There will be a press call at noon EST today to discuss the new rule and what it means for the Little Sisters’ ongoing lawsuit.

The following statement may be attributed to Mark Rienzi, senior counsel at Becket and lead attorney for the Little Sisters of the Poor: “HHS has issued a balanced rule that respects all sides– it keeps the contraceptive mandate in place for most employers and now provides a religious exemption. The Little Sisters still need to get final relief in court, which should be easy now that the government admits it broke the law.”

Americans United for Life Asks MD U.S. Attorney to Charge Pregnant Teacher’s Murderer for Homicide of Unborn Baby

Source: Americans United for Life

Baltimore, MD - October 7, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- Following the September murder of Maryland teacher Laura Wallen, Americans United for Life sent a letter to Maryland’s U.S. Attorney asking that he consider following the precedent set by the infamous Laci Peterson case and charge Tyler Tessier, Wallen’s assailant, with the murder of the baby she was 4 months pregnant with under the Unborn Victims of Violence Act.

“The horrible murder of Laura Wallen and her unborn baby have shocked the conscience of Washington area residents, and reminded us of the similar circumstances surrounding the murders of Laci Petersen and her unborn child, Conner, fifteen years ago. While we hope that Maryland will be able to grant justice to Laura’ family for her murder, it appears the state is unable to offer justice for the murder of her baby. AUL’s letter calls upon the United States Attorney’s office in Maryland to consider bringing charges for that murder under ‘Laci and Conner’s Law,’ the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which allows federal officials to prosecute a defendant for the murder of an unborn victim, regardless of his or her age in the womb,” said Catherine Glenn Foster, President and CEO of Americans United for Life.

Time to enforce antidumping rules against trade violators LG and Samsung

Source: Americans for Limited Government

Fairfax, VA - October 7, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement praising the International Trade Commission for finding LG and Samsung in violation of the U.S. antidumping rules:

“Every free trade agreement is dependent on enforcement, otherwise there is no reciprocity. Yesterday, the ITC unanimously found that Whirlpool was damaged by dumping by LG and Samsung in violation of U.S. law and South Korean Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) rules. These agreements must be enforced by the U.S. Department of Commerce in a meaningful way. If trade agreements are going to have any value and be sustainable, all parties must comply with their terms. In order to preserve the legitimacy of the overall KORUS trade deal, LG and Samsung’s repeated failure to follow the trade rules must be subjected to swift and significant sanctions.”

Joint Statement: CFPB Payday Lending Rule Will Disrupt Abusive Lending, Protect Families

Source: Americans for Financial Reform

Washington, D.C. - October 7, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- Consumer and civil rights advocates from around the country representing the Stop the Debt Trap campaign welcomed the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) new rule to limit short-term payday and car-title lenders’ ability to trap borrowers in an endless cycle of debt.

The payday lending rule will result in fewer families falling into financial ruin. At the heart of the rule is the common sense principle that lenders check a borrower’s ability to repay before lending money. While praising the CFPB for pushing to stop the debt trap, the coalition calls on the Bureau to build on this progress by quickly working to develop regulations to protect consumers from abusive long-term, high-cost loans. Also, strong state laws, such as rate caps, must continue to be defended and enacted. [Additional background at bottom of release]

Representatives from the Stop the Debt Trap campaign released the following statements:

“This new rule is a step toward stopping payday lenders from harming families who are struggling to make ends meet. It will disrupt the abusive predatory payday lending business model, which thrives on trapping financially distressed customers in a cycle of unaffordable loans,” said Mike Calhoun, President, Center for Responsible Lending. “Today’s rule release was years in the making, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the tireless effort of community and faith leaders, consumer and civil rights advocates, and countless people across the country who organized and worked hard to make their voices heard. We will continue to fight for safeguards that protect families from abusive long-term predatory loans and for state interest rate caps for all loans at reasonable levels of no more than 36 percent.”

“Payday and car title lenders profit from repeatedly dragging hard-pressed people deeper and deeper into debt, and taking advantage of families when they are financially vulnerable. Curbing the ability to push loans that borrowers clearly cannot repay is a key protection, and enshrining and enforcing this rule as federal policy should let Americans keep billions of hard-earned dollars. But more needs to be done to end lending abuses, and we will keep working alongside community leaders and advocates from around the country to fight for interest rate caps, and reforms for predatory longer-term loans,” said Lisa Donner, Executive Director, Americans for Financial Reform.

“Clearly more needs to be done to rein in these uniquely unscrupulous lenders, for example, states can push for interest rate caps to complement the CFPB’s rule and play an even greater role in ensuring consumers do not fall into debt traps. But today’s rule is a step in the right direction, but more can certainly be done to close loopholes and provide more robust oversight, given that a vast majority of Americans support oversight and rules that help protect consumers,” said Janet Murguia, President and CEO, UnidosUS.

“Payday lending is bad for many consumers, but like many predatory scams, it invariably ends up as a weapon against the disadvantaged communities that are least able to bear its terrible burden. It uses the lure of quick cash to trap struggling families in a cycle of debt and slowly drain them of what little money they have. President Trump and Congress should get on the side of civil rights advocates, the religious community, consumer organizations, and the public at large by supporting and strengthening the CFPB’s new rules on payday lending,” said Vanita Gupta, president and CEO, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

“For millions of Americans living paycheck to paycheck, seeking out a loan in a time of need shouldn’t end in financial disaster. The rule is an important step that starts the process of ending the nightmare of spiraling debt for so many consumers,” said Michael Best, Director of Advocacy Outreach at Consumer Federation of America. “But more steps need to be taken by the CFPB and states to protect consumers from the debt trap and stamp out abusive lending practices. We urge states to act quickly to build on this rule with interest rate caps.”

“The consumer watchdog’s payday loan rule takes an important first step by inhibiting lenders from pushing loans that people cannot afford to repay. But state interest rate caps remain critically important as the most effective way to prevent predatory lending,” said Lauren Saunders, Associate Director at National Consumer Law Center.

“People need financial services that build wealth. Payday and car title lenders do the opposite, they bleed dry families and communities that have little to begin with,” said George Goehl, executive director of People’s Action. “At its best the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is the people’s agency, created to protect everyday people from consumer financial abuse and fraud. We fought to create the CFPB and we are encouraged that they are taking a first step to rein in the worst abuses of this industry. Our members are going to continue fighting for strong consumer protections nationwide”

“With little accountability for their actions, payday lenders have long preyed upon communities of color and drained them of their hard-earned savings. This CFPB rule establishes a much-needed set of transparent responsibilities for lenders and basic rights and protections for borrowers. We will work to defend and strengthen this rule, so Americans face fewer burdens in establishing financial security,” said Hilary O. Shelton, NAACP Washington Bureau Director and Senior Vice President for Policy and Advocacy.

“Payday and auto-title lenders may claim that they are providing a “safety net” to struggling families, but their business models often rely on keeping people in debt, not helping them build assets. For too long, these lenders have profited from predatory business practices that endanger consumers’ economic security. The Bureau’s rule is a commonsense step to help ensure that when a lender makes a short-term loan, the consumer has a reasonable chance of paying it off instead of falling behind,” said Suzanne Martindale, Senior Attorney, Consumers Union.

“This rule is a no-brainer. It simply requires lenders to determine whether a consumer has the ability to repay a loan without hardship or re-borrowing – a requirement that will help stop the debt trap and reduce defaults. The payday lending industry preys on the most vulnerable among us. Now, with this new rule, millions will be spared years of agony perpetrated by payday lenders looking to make a quick buck. Payday lenders have spent millions of dollars currying favor with powerful Washington politicians and they will do whatever it takes to kill this rule and keep this extremely lucrative predatory racket humming. We owe it to every American to remain vigilant and fight any effort in Congress to repeal this rule. We simply cannot allow the debt trap to continue,” said Karl Frisch, Executive Director of Allied Progress.

“The CFPB’s new protections are a good start at helping consumers avoid the long-term pain of payday loan debt traps,” said Linda Sherry, Consumer Action’s director of national priorities. “Finally those who peddle payday, car title & installment loans will be held accountable for their predatory actions masquerading as debt relief.”

“After nearly four years of research, stakeholder and community engagement, including the consideration of more than a million public comments, today’s announcement by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau moves us one step closer towards ending to debt trap perpetuated by payday and auto-title lenders,” said Andrea Levere, President of Prosperity Now. “We applaud the CFPB for crafting and releasing rules that provide consumers everywhere with much-needed federal protections against a predatory industry that is known for charging high fees and triple-digit interest rates. As the rule now moves towards implementation, we call on Congress to persevere and protect the historic measures the CFPB has put forward today.”

“By issuing this rule, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has made it more difficult for payday predators to trap people in financial quicksand. Unfortunately, the payday lending industry is notorious for finding creative ways to get around rules and separate hard-working people from their money. We look forward to continuing to work with the CFPB, Congress, and with state governments to ensure enforcement of this rule and protections against other permeations of abusive loans,” said Seema Agnani, Executive Director, National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (National CAPACD)

  • At the heart of the CFPB rule is the common sense principle that lenders check a borrower’s ability to repay before lending money. In a recent poll of likely voters, more than 70% of Republicans, Independents, and Democrats support this idea. This requirement ensures that loans are affordable, meaning a borrower can repay without reborrowing and without defaulting on other expenses.
  • Currently, the debt trap is the cornerstone of the payday lending business model – three quarters of all payday loan fees are from borrowers with more than ten loans in the course of a year. The ability-to-pay requirement is a straightforward way to prevent this vicious cycle of debt and support lenders with legitimate business models.
  • Payday lenders have anticipated possible crackdowns on their abusive practices and begun morphing their business plans toward other schemes in order to evade the law, such as offering predatory long-term loans. Despite important progress with today’s announcement, the struggle for financial fairness will continue.
  • Psychiatric Association's Goldwater Rule Remains a Guiding Principle for Physician Members

    Source: American Psychiatric Association

    Arlington, VA - October 7, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- The American Psychiatric Association (APA) today released the following statement regarding The Goldwater Rule:

    “In the past year and a half, there have been numerous news articles and commentaries on The Goldwater Rule. The Goldwater Rule is an ethics principle that guides our physician members not to provide professional opinions in the media about the mental health of someone they have not personally examined and without patient consent or other legal authority. A personal examination includes ruling out physical causes of or other reasons for a behavior. Nothing about the Goldwater Rule discourages psychiatrists from providing education to the public about mental illnesses; in fact, APA encourages psychiatrists to educate the public about the causes, symptoms, and treatment of mental illnesses and substance use disorders.

    The APA would also like to dispel a common misconception about the so-called “Duty to Warn.” The duty to warn is a legal concept which varies from state to state, but which generally requires psychiatrists to breach the confidentiality of the therapeutic session when a risk of danger to others becomes known during treatment of the patient. It does not apply if there is no physician-patient relationship.”

    The American Psychiatric Association, founded in 1844, is the oldest medical association in the country. The APA is also the largest psychiatric association in the world with more than 37,000 physician members specializing in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and research of mental illnesses. APA’s vision is to ensure access to quality psychiatric diagnosis and treatment.

    ALL President Judie Brown Applauds Contraceptive Mandate Rollback

    Source: American Life League

    American Life League president Judie Brown applauded the Trump administration’s rollback of the Obamacare contraceptive mandate while noting the failed logic of Planned Parenthood’s response to the announcement.

    “Birth control is not healthcare, as Cecile Richards likes to pretend, but rather it is a chemical compound which we call nothing more than a recreational drug. If women desire true health of mind and body, they will be chaste before marriage and faithful after marriage,” Brown stated. “We applaud President Trump for his logical thinking and rolling back the mandate.”

    The American Legion blasts NFL for disrespect

    Source: The American Legion

    Washington, D.C. - October 7, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- The leader of the nation’s largest veterans organization characterized professional athletes and other Americans who fail to show respect for the national anthem as “misguided and ungrateful.”

    American Legion National Commander Denise H. Rohan lamented the politicization of what used to be a display of unity at NFL games and other sporting events throughout the country.

    “The American Legion is one of the original architects of the U.S. Flag Code,” said Rohan, a U.S Army veteran. “That code was produced by 69 patriotic, fraternal civic and military organizations in 1923. It included members of all political parties, big labor, industry, and minorities. The code calls on all present to stand at attention while the anthem is played. It wasn’t political when it was written and it shouldn’t be political today. Having a right to do something, does not make it the right thing to do. We salute Army Ranger Alejandro Villanueva, who stood alone respecting the flag as his teammates stayed in their locker room. NASCAR also deserves credit for their support of our anthem. There are many ways to protest, but the national anthem should be our moment to stand together as one UNITED States of America.”

    With a current membership of two million wartime veterans, The American Legion,, was founded in 1919 on the four pillars of a strong national security, veterans affairs, Americanism, and youth programs. Legionnaires work for the betterment of their communities through nearly 13,000 posts across the nation.

    Treasury Recommendations Would Strengthen Banks’ Role in Financial Marketplace

    Source: American Bankers Association

    “The recommendations in today’s Treasury report are practical, reasonable and achievable. Building on the Treasury’s pro-growth report in June, these recommendations would promote economic growth by enhancing banks’ ability to serve their customers and reinforcing our industry’s role in supporting well-functioning financial markets.

    “Treasury acknowledges the economic benefits gained by better focusing regulatory provisions to make them more workable. Key recommendations include broadening liquidity measures, better aligning capital requirements with securitization risks, facilitating banks’ ability to use swaps to manage their customers’ risks, and bringing more public transparency to global financial standard setting to ensure standards match the realities of U.S. markets.

    “Many of the recommendations in the report would make it easier to raise capital, meet the needs of bank customers operating domestically and abroad, and focus regulatory processes on effective supervision without harming the economy. We encourage policymakers to take up these recommendations quickly, and look forward to working with them to ensure banks can continue to help our customers and the economy grow.”

    Related News:

    Read the Treasury Press Release about the report HERE

    ICBA Backs Bill Alleviating Harm from Preemption Ruling

    Source: Independent Community Bankers Association (ICBA)

    Washington, D.C. - October 6, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- ICBA and other organizations expressed support for legislation to codify the longstanding legal principle that if a loan is valid when it is made with respect to its interest rate, then it does not become invalid or unenforceable when assigned to another party.

    The “valid-when-made” doctrine was undermined by the Madden v. Midland Funding case, in which the Second Circuit decided that state usury laws apply to debt purchased from a national bank.

    The Protecting Consumers’ Access to Credit Act of 2017 (S. 1642 and H.R. 3299) would alleviate the uncertainty that ruling injected into the secondary markets for consumer and commercial credit, which has resulted in increased costs and decreased competition.

    The bill was introduced by Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Reps. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) and Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.).

    ICBA has long supported the bill and disagrees with the Second Circuit ruling, arguing in a 2015 amicus brief that the decision conflicts with established precedent that preemption rights are not extinguished when banks sell or assign loans to another party.