In the first half, grassroots organizer Alan Collinge discussed the student loan crisis that has left many college graduates saddled with massive debt. He characterized student loans as a predatory "sneaky lending instrument" in which students don't fully realize what they're getting into. Back in the 70s, the lending industry successfully lobbied Congress to remove bankruptcy protection from the loans, and subsequently other consumer protections were dropped as well, such as statute of limitations, and truth-in-lending requirements, he detailed. Schools typically underestimate the default rate on the loans, which has now shot up to 30%, he added.
To fix the problem, Collinge would bring back bankruptcy protection for student loans, which would force the Education Dept. to decrease the default rate, and this in turn would help lower tuition costs, he explained. Right now, the only options for defaulted borrowers are expensive "loan rehabilitation" programs that end up adding even more to the total amount owed, he noted. One of the most disturbing facts, he continued, is that for every $1.00 the government puts out for the loans, they get back $1.22, creating an environment where it's profitable for them for the borrowers to fail.
In the latter half, Dr. Mary Neal, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who drowned while kayaking on a South American river, talked about her life altering near-death-experience (NDE). As her body was sucked out of the boat, her soul separated, and she was above the river "welcomed by a host of people she had known for an eternity." Yet, she could still see what was happening at the riverbank, and then realized she was dead. The experience was not like a dream or a chemical reaction of a dying brain; she was more aware of everything that was going on that she normally would be, and her recollection afterward of the event was crisp and vivid.
She was accompanied by joyful spirits, and though she loved her husband and children, the intensity of love and beauty on the Other Side, made her feel she was at her real home. Neal found herself on a pathway that led to a domed structure, that she conceived of as the entrance to Heaven, and "was clearly of God." She considers this realm to be another dimension that can't be adequately described in our vocabulary. Eventually, the spirits who had guided her, told her it wasn't her time and she needed to go back to her body. Though she protested, they outlined some of the work she still had to do, which included being there for her family when one of her sons would be killed, as well as sharing her spiritual story with the public. For more, view this related video.
News segment guests: Mish Shedlock, Christian Wilde