Oct 15 2013
Daily News Flash with Robert Jensen on Govt Shutdown, NSA Email List Collection, and Iran Nuclear Talks
Uprising’s guest expert Robert Jensen, an author and professor of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin, analyzes today’s news headlines:
Two weeks into a federal government shutdown, there may be a glimmer of hope for an end. The Senate is hashing out a bill this week that would fund the government but only until January 15th, and raise the debt ceiling but only until February 15th. It is not yet clear whether the GOP-dominated House will agree to the deal and pass it. During the last two weeks the fight over Obamacare and a government spending bill has become enmeshed in a battle to raise the debt ceiling by this week’s October 17th deadline after which the US risks defaulting on its loans. Meanwhile, millions of Americans are paying a stiff price as effect of the shutdown ripple through the economy. Click here for a CBS News article about the story.
The Washington Post over the weekend reported the latest in the extent of the government’s surveillance program, revealing that the NSA “is harvesting hundreds of millions of contact lists from personal e-mail and instant messaging accounts around the world, many of them belonging to Americans.” The documents, leaked by Edward Snowden include an NSA powerpoint presentation that showed in a typical year, the agency can collect about 250 million email address lists. A government spokesperson told the Washington Post that they are collecting this information strictly to monitor “terrorists, human traffickers and drug smugglers,” adding “We are not interested in personal information about ordinary Americans.” Click here for a Washington Post article on the story.
A few weeks after US-Iran relations thawed more than they ever have in decades, the so-called “P5+1” group of countries is meeting in Geneva, Switzerland this week to discuss Iran’s nuclear capabilities. The meeting is the first of its kind since Hassan Rouhani became President and is being approached with a “cautious optimism” in the words of an EU spokesperson. The P5+1 group, consisting of the US, Britain, China, France, and Russia plus Germany, could offer to lift sanctions in exchange for the strictest assurances that Iran will never be capable of producing a nuclear weapon. Click here for a BBC news report about the story.