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Daily News Flash with Robert Jensen on Government Shutdown, NSA Mapping Social Networks, and Italy’s Political Chaos

Uprising’s guest expert Robert Jensen, professor of journalism at the University of Texas at Austin, analyzes today’s news headlines:

Eight hundred thousand federal workers could be sent home tomorrow if members of Congress can’t come to an agreement to fund the government. Tonight’s midnight deadline has done little to move House Republicans away from their determination to postpone the funding for Obamacare by a year. Polls show that a majority of the public is against defunding Obamacare at the cost of a government shutdown. A Senate vote this afternoon is set to reject the House bill. Click here for a Bloomberg.com article about the story.

Big news over the weekend on the latest shenanigans by the National Security Agency has revealed that not only are Americans’ online activities surveilled, but their social networks are literally being mapped. The New York Times disclosed yesterday that the NSA is mining social networking sites like Facebook to determine connections people have with their contacts overseas. The article, written by James Risen and Laura Poitras, quotes documents showing that the NSA gathers data like “bank codes, insurance information, Facebook profiles, passenger manifests, voter registration rolls and GPS location information, as well as property records and unspecified tax data.” Click here for the New York Times article by Risen and Poitras.

Five ministers from Italy’s center-right party resigned over the weekend, causing serious political uncertainty. The party, led by Silvio Berlusconi, is protesting Berlusconi’s conviction in a tax fraud case last month that could lead to his house arrest as well as a tax increase of 1 percentage point. The New York Times is saying “Italy’s troubles may threaten the current political and financial stability in Europe.” Click here for a New York Times article about the story.