Tuesday, June 10, 2014

  • As Right-Wing Shooting Rampages Grow, U.S. Revives Domestic Terror Unit Shelved After 9/11

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    Less than a week after Attorney General Eric Holder revived a task force to look at domestic terrorists, a married couple aligned with the anti-government Patriot movement shot dead two Las Vegas police officers, killed a civilian bystander, and then turned their guns on themselves. Jerad and Amanda Miller had recently spent time at the ranch of Cliven Bundy during his standoff with the federal government. Police say they proclaimed "the beginning of the revolution" and laid an American Revolutionary flag and a swastika symbol on the dead officers’ bodies. The Las Vegas shooting came just two days after a man tied to the "sovereign citizen" movement attacked a Georgia courthouse, throwing smoke bombs and shooting a sheriff’s deputy, who returned fire and killed him. Authorities say the shooter, Dennis Marx, had homemade explosives, and food and water, suggesting he planned to take hostages. Holder’s decision to revive the domestic terror unit comes five years after Republican outrage led the Obama administration to withdraw a key report on the resurgence of the radical right wing. We are joined by Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors U.S. hate groups and extremists. "The [right-wing militia] movement is on fire at the moment, and it may get worse before it gets better," Potok says.

  • As Taliban Attacks Karachi Airport Again, Could Pakistan Fall into Civil War with Militants?

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    For the second time in 48 hours, Taliban militants have attacked Karachi’s international airport, the largest in Pakistan. Earlier today a group of gunmen on motorbikes opened fire on an academy run by the Airport Security Force. An assault by Taliban militants on Sunday left at least 38 people dead including the attackers. The Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for both attacks, saying it was avenging military operations in North Waziristan and a U.S. drone strike that killed its leader, Hakimullah Mehsud, late last year. The Pakistani government moved toward peace talks with the Taliban earlier this year, but the process has faltered with a split inside the Taliban over whether to take part. We speak to Ayesha Siddiqa, a Pakistani political and defense analyst. Siddiqa is the author of "Military Inc.: Inside Pakistan’s Military Economy."

  • As Obama Moves to Cap Student Debt Payments, Activists Push for Broader Write-Off of Crushing Loans

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    President Obama has unveiled new executive actions to address what some have called the nation’s next financial crisis: the over $1.2 trillion in student loans. Obama’s order will expand the "Pay As You Earn" program capping loan payments at 10 percent of monthly income. The program also forgives any outstanding debt after 20 years of payments. The massive cost of U.S. college tuition has saddled millions with crushing debt and priced many others out of the classroom. Student loans now exceed all other forms of consumer debt except for home mortgages. This year’s graduate class is the most indebted in U.S. history, with borrowers owing an average $33,000. More than 70 percent of this year’s class has taken on a student loan, up from less than half of graduates 20 years ago. We are joined by two guests: Pamela Brown, a Ph.D. student in sociology at the New School and leading activist on the issue of student debt, and Andrew Rossi, director and producer of a new documentary on U.S. higher education, "Ivory Tower."

  • Is College Worth It? New Doc "Ivory Tower" Tackles Higher Ed’s Unsustainable Spending, Student Debt

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    The cost of a college degree has grown by over 1,120 percent in the past three decades, far surpassing price hikes for food, medical care, housing, gasoline and other basics. Coupled with $1.2 trillion in student debt, the U.S. is facing a crisis that threatens not just the economy but the nation’s education system itself. The issue is explored in the riveting new documentary "Ivory Tower," which argues the model for higher education in the U.S. has become unsustainable. The film contrasts the struggle for quality, affordable education with a growing corporate atmosphere on college campuses, where hundreds of millions of dollars go to football stadiums, lavish salaries and high-end perks. We are joined by "Ivory Tower" director and producer Andrew Rossi. The film opens this Friday in New York City and Los Angeles.

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