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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

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  • Matt Taibbi: U.S. Student Loan Bubble Saddles a Generation With Debt and Threatens the Economy

    Studentloan

    On the heels of President Obama’s signing of a measure keeping federally subsidized student loans at a relatively low rate through 2015, Rolling Stone political reporter Matt Taibbi joins us to discuss how the high price of U.S. college tuition and the federal expansion of student debt to pay for it pose a major threat to the economy. In his new article, "Ripping Off Young America: The College-Loan Scandal," Taibbi writes: "The dirty secret of American higher education is that student-loan interest rates are almost irrelevant. It’s not the cost of the loan that’s the problem, it’s the principal — the appallingly high tuition costs that have been soaring at two to three times the rate of inflation, an irrational upward trajectory eerily reminiscent of skyrocketing housing prices in the years before 2008. ... Throw off the mystery and what you’ll uncover is a shameful and oppressive outrage that for years now has been systematically perpetrated against a generation of young adults." Taibbi says the federal government is poised to make $185 billion over the next 10 years on student loans, with no way out for the young borrowers: "Even gamblers can declare bankruptcy, but kids who enter into student loans will never, ever be able to get out of this debt."

  • UK Media Crackdown: Greenwald’s Partner Detained, Guardian Forced to Destroy Snowden Files

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    The Obama administration has acknowledged it had advance notice British officials were going to detain David Miranda, the partner of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, who has revealed the National Security Agency’s massive spy practices. Miranda was held Sunday at London’s Heathrow Airport under Section 7 of the British Terrorism Act for nine hours — the maximum time he could be detained without charge. Miranda has just announced legal action against the British Home Office for his detention. Meanwhile, The Guardian has revealed the British government threatened legal action against the newspaper unless it either destroyed Snowden’s classified documents or handed them to British authorities. "At its core, what is at stake is the ability for a human being to have dignity and for journalists to have integrity with their sources, [threatening] the whole concept of a free democracy," says computer security researcher Jacob Appelbaum, who has been detained and questioned numerous times at airports. "And I don’t mean that as hyperbole, but if everything is under surveillance, how is it that you can have a democracy? How is it that you can organize a political function, or have confidentiality with a constituent, or a source, or with a friend or a lover? That’s an erasure of fundamental things that we have had for quite some time." We’re also joined by longtime British attorney Gareth Peirce.

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