Learning Goal CRN BENCHMARK: 14.11.1 R- Identify, compare andcontrast the religious/moral outlook ofAmerican/Western societies and the Muslim world about―The War on Terror‖
Last Minute Clinton Legacies In his last several months aspresident, Clinton tried tosecure a non-Monica legacy. He named tracts of land aspreservations. He initiated a ―patients’ billof rights.‖ He hired more teachers andpolice officers. On the good side, Clinton proved to bea largely moderate Democrat. Theeconomy was strong, the budget wasbalanced, and he cautioned peoplefrom expected big-government frombeing the do-all and give-all toeveryone. On the bad side, the Monica Lewinskisituation created great cynicism inpolitics, he negotiated a deal with theLewinski prosecutor where he’d gaveimmunity in exchange for a fine and lawlicense suspension, and his last-minuteexecutive pardons gave the appearanceof rewarding political donors.
The Bush-Gore Presidential Battle The 2000 election began to shapeup as a colorful one. Democrats chose VicePresident Albert Gore. He had tobalance aligned with Clinton’sprosperity and against hisscandals. The Green Party (consisting mostlyof liberals and environmentalists)chose consumer advocate RalphNader. Republicans chose Texasgovernor George W. Bush (son ofGeorge H. W. Bush and knownsimply as ―W‖ or, in Texas, as―Dub-ya‖).
Platforms in 2000 A budget surplus beckonedthe question, ―What to dowith the extra money?‖ Bush said to make big cuttaxes for all. Gore said to make smallertax cuts to the middle classonly, then use the rest toshore up the debt, SocialSecurity, and Medicare. Nader, in reality, was littlemore than a side-show.
The Controversial Election of 2000 A close finish was expected, but not to the degree to which itactually happened. The confused finish was reminiscent of the Hayes-Tildenstandoff of 1876. Controversy surrounded Florida. Having the nation’s 4th most electoral votes, Florida was theswing-state. Florida effectively had a tie, with Bush ahead by the slightestof margins. State law required a recount.
Drama in 2000 The recount upheld Bush’s narrow win. Democrats charged there were irregularities in key counties (notablyPalm Beach county that had a large Jewish populace and thereforewould figure to be highly Democratic in support of Gore’s V.P.candidate Joseph Lieberman, the 1st Jewish candidate for presidentor V.P.). At heart of the matter was the infamous ―butterfly ballot‖ whichsupposedly confused the easily-confounded elderly of Palm Beachcounty—supposedly to Bush’s advantage. As the confusion wore on and America needed a president A.S.A.P.,Florida eventually validated the Bush vote. Additionally, George W.’s brother Jeb Bush was the Florida governor;and, the Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, who officiallyvalidated the Bush-vote, had been appointed by Jeb. For conspiracy theorists, it was like a field-day on Christmasmorning.
Bring in the Court Bush v. Gore, (2000)- the UnitedStates Supreme Court decisionthat effectively resolved thedispute surrounding the 2000presidential election in favor ofGeorge W. Bush. Holding: In the circumstances ofthis case, any manual recount ofvotes seeking to meet theDecember 12 ―safe harbor‖deadline would beunconstitutional under the EqualProtection Clause of theFourteenth Amendment. FloridaSupreme Court reversed andremanded.
President W Bush took office talking up hisTexas upbringing (true) andtalking down his family’s Back-East privilege (also true). Beginning in the fall of 1973,Bush attended the HarvardBusiness School, where heearned a Master of BusinessAdministration. He is the only U.S. President tohave earned an M.B.A. Former Texas Air National Guardwhose flight status was revoked Former Gov. of Texas
Bush Begins Bush took on hot topics and fired up bothsides of the political spectrum. He withdrew U.S. support frominternational programs that okayedabortion. He advocated faith-based social welfareprograms. He opposed stem-cell research, which hadgreat medical possibilities, on the groundsthat the embryo in reality was a smallperson and doing tests on it was nothingother than abortion. He angered environmentalists with hispolicies, challenging groundwatercontamination and global warning He even worried conservatives by cuttingtaxes $1.3 trillion. The budget surpluses ofthe 90s turned into a $400 billion deficit by2004.
Bush andConservatism Bush repudiated the KyotoTreaty- limiting greenhouse gasemissions (negotiated by theClinton administration but neverratified by the Senate) Advocated new oil explorationin the Artic National WildlifeRefuge on Alaska’s ecologicallyfragile north coast Allowed VP Dick Cheney tohammer out his administration’senergy policy in behind-closed-doors meetings with reps ofseveral giant oil companies
Terrorism Comes to America On September 11, 2001, America’scenturies-old enjoyment of beingon ―our side of the pond‖ endedwhen militant Muslim radicalsattacked America. The radicalshijacked passenger planes and usedthe planes, and hostages, as guidedmissiles. Two planes slammed into the WorldTrade Center towers in New YorkCity. The towers caught afire, thencame down. A third plane slammed into thePentagon. A fourth plane was aiming for theWhite House, but heroic passengerstook back the plane before itcrashed in a Pennsylvania field.
The Toll of Terror. Griefovercame this exhaustedfirefighter during the searchfor survivors in the wreckageof New York City’s WorldTrade Center.
The Attacks Seen Around the World. The attacks of September 11,2001, became events of international, not just American, significance,as revealed in the newspapers on display in Sofia, Bulgaria.
The War on Terror America was stunned, to say theleast. President Bush’s leadership afterthe attacks was solemn andmany began to forget thedisputed election of 2000. He identified the culprits as AlQaeda, a religious militantterrorist group, led by OsamaBin Laden. Bin Laden’s hatred towardAmerica revolved around resentof America’s economic, military,and cultural power.
bin Laden’s Hatred for America Bin Laden harbored hatredfor the U.S. mainlybecause: • The U.S.had an economic embargoagainst Saddam Hussein inIraq • The U.S. had amilitary presence in theArabian peninsula •The U.S. supported Israel
Economic Woes and AnthraxScare Texas-style, Bush called for BinLaden’s head in an unofficialstart to the "War on Terror."Afghanistan refused to hand himover so Bush ordered themilitary to go on the offensiveand hunt him down. The hunt proved to be difficultand Bin Laden proved elusive. At the same time, the Americaneconomy turned for the worse,and a few Americans died afterreceiving anthrax-laden letters.Coupled with fear of anotherattack, anxiety loomed.
Patriot Act & Homeland Security Terrorism launched a ―new kind of war‖or a ―war on terror‖ that required tacticsbeyond the conventional battlefield.Congress responded in turn. The Patriot Act gave the governmentextended surveillance rights. Permitted extensive telephone and e-mail surveillance and authorized thedetention and deportation of immigrantssuspected of terrorism Critics charged this was a Big Brother-likeinfringement of rights—a reversal of thefreedoms that Americans were fightingfor. The Department of Homeland Securitywas established as the newest cabinetdepartment. It’s goal was to secureAmerica.
Liberty or Death Critics of theUSA Patriot Act feared theextinction of cherished civilliberties, including the right toprotest against thegovernment’s polices.
Guantánamo Bay Bush administration furthercalled for trying suspectedterrorists before militarytribunals, where the usual rulesof evidence and procedure didnot apply Hundreds of Taliban fighterscaptured in Afghanistanlanguished in legal limbo anddemoralizing isolation in theGuantánamo Detention Camp,public opinions sharply dividedon whether the terrorist threatfully warranted such drasticencroachments on America’svenerable tradition of protectingcivil liberties.
Bush Takes the Offensive Against Iraq Saddam Hussein had been a longtime menace to many people. WithBush, his time had run out. Bushstated he’d not tolerate Hussein’sdefiance of the U.N.’s weaponsinspectors. At heart of problems: intelligence atthe time suggested that Hussein hadand was actively making weapons ofmass destruction (―WMDs‖). Hussein continually thumbed hisnose at the weapon’s inspectors whotried to validate or disprove thethreat. Hussein continued to defythe weapons inspections mandatedafter the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Bush decided it was time for action.
Iraq War Bush sought the U.N.’s approval for taking military action, butsome nations, notably France with its Security Council veto, hadcold feet. So, Bush decided to go it alone. Heavy majorities of Congress inOctober of 2002 approved armed force against Iraq. The U.N. tried one last time to inspect, Hussein blocked theinspectors again. The U.N. and inspectors asked for more timestill. For Bush, time was up. He launched an attack and Baghdad fellwithin a month. Saddam went on the run, then was found ninemonths later hiding in a hole in the ground. Taking Iraq, though not easy, was swift and successful; securingand rebuilding Iraq would prove tougher.
On the Fiery Ground in Basra, Iraq, 2004. These British soldiers are running from agasoline bomb detonated during a protest by Iraqi job seekers who claimed that theyhad been promised employment in the security services. The British, who had invadedIraq alongside the U.S., oversaw the southern Iraq city of Basra, a role that proved sounpopular with British voters that Prime Minister Tony Blair was eventually forced toresign.
Execution of Saddam Hussein The execution of SaddamHussein took place onSaturday 30 December 2006. Hussein was sentenced todeath by hanging, afterbeing found guilty andconvicted of crimes againsthumanity by the Iraqi SpecialTribunal for the murder of148 Iraqi Shiite in the townof Dujail in 1982, inretaliation for anassassination attemptagainst him
NO WMDs WASHINGTON — In his finalword, the CIA’s topweapons inspector in Iraqsaid that the hunt forweapons of massdestruction has ―gone asfar as feasible‖ and hasfound nothing, closing aninvestigation into thepurported programs ofSaddam Hussein that wereused to justify the 2003invasion.
Owning Iraq Most Iraqi people welcomedthe Americans, butcertainly not all. Factions broke out. Iraqiinsurgents attackedAmerican G.I.’s andcasualties mounted tonearly 1,200 by 2004. Americans soon began towonder, ―How long will webe there?‖
Abu Ghraib Prison Hatred for Americans onlyworsened with revelations inApril 2004 that Iraqi prisoners inBaghdad’s Abu Ghraib prisonhad been tortured andhumiliated by their Americancaptors Jihadist terrorists from aroundthe region flooded into Iraq,often fueling the intra-Iraqiconflicts to further their ownradical Islamist vision Although Al Qaeda had no linkto Iraq under Saddam, as Bushhad falsely alleged, theorganization certainly moved inafterwards
Torture at Abu Ghraib Prison, Baghdad, 2003. Revelations that Americansoldiers had brutally tortured Iraqi prisoners contributed to condemnationof the nation’s disregard for human rights and growing disquiet aboutAmerica’s unilateral policing of the world.
Divisive Issue The new goals were to (1) establish securityin Iraq, hopefully by Iraqi troops, and (2)create and turn over control to a newdemocratically elected Iraqi government. Training Iraqi troops proved pitifully slow. A new government was created and limitedpower handed over on June 28, 2004. Iraq became a divisive issue in America. Conservatives generally supported the warand post-war efforts. Liberals charged that Bush was on some ego-tripping battle charge to hunt down phantomweapons of mass destruction.
A Country in Conflict Other issues divided America: Democrats continually grumbled about the ―stolen‖ 2000 election. Civil libertarians fumed over the Patriot Act. Pacifists said the WMD reasoning was made up from the get-go to start awar. Big business (like Enron and WorldCom that monkeyed with their books)supposedly fattened the rich and gleaned the poor. Social warfare continued over abortion and homosexuality. Affirmative action still boiled, and the Supreme Court came up withmathematical formulae for minority admittance to undergrads. TheCourt also stated that in 25 years racial preferences would likely beunnecessary.
No Child Left Behind Bush claimed his tax cutshad spurred economicgrowth and targeting whathe called ―the soft bigotryof low expectations‖, hechampioned the No ChildLeft Behind Act of 2002. An education bill createdand signed by the W. Bushadministration, designed toincrease accountability andstandards for primary andsecondary schools. The law authorized severalfederal programs tomonitor those standardsand increased choices forparents in selecting schoolsfor their children The program was highlycontroversial, in large partbecause it linked results onstandardized tests tofederal funding for schoolsand school districts
Reelecting George W. Bush Republicans put Bush up for reelection in 2004. Democrats selected Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts. Despite the usual litany of issues (education, health care,etc.) the key issue of the 2004 election was national security. At the heart of the security issue, was the question of the warin Iraq. Bush said to ―stay the course‖; Kerry took an anti-warposition. However, Kerry’s position and image was somewhatconfounding: Kerry was a Vietnam war hero, but then a Vietnam war protestor. Kerry voted for military action in Iraq, but then voted againsta bill for military spending for the war.
Election of 2004 Kerry gained much support bycriticizing Bush’s management(or mismanagement) of the Iraqsituation. Kerry charged thatBush had no plan for Iraq afterthe initial take-over. However, Kerry focused only onBush’s failure and failed toeffectively present voters withhis own alternative course ofaction. In the election, and despite pollsto the contrary, Bush won with asurprisingly strong showing (apopular vote of 60,639,281 toKerry’s 57,355,978) of 286electoral votes to Kerry’s 252.
2 New Conservatives to the Bench George W. Bush believedreelection gave him―political capital‖, whichhe intended to spend on anaggressive domestic agenda Appointed 2 newconservative SupremeCourt Justices [John G.Roberts and Samuel A. AlitoJr.] upon the retirement ofSandra Day O’Conner andthe death of Chief JusticeWilliam Rehnquist.
Bush Attacks Social Security Bush soon overplayed his hand Attacking the core of New Dealliberalism, he proposed aradical program to privatizemuch of Social Security A massive outcry led by theAmerican Association ofRetired Persons [AARP] andother liberal groups remindedAmericans how much theyloved Social Security Bush’s proposal faded awaywithin 6 months of hisreelection
Attacking Gays and Immigrants Bush also proposed a constitutionalamendment to ban same-sexmarriage, which had been a major―values‖ issue in the 2004 election,but lost this as well He took (faulty) aim at immigrationreform Parting ways with the conservativewing of his party, many of whomwanted to deport nearly 12 millionundocumented people in the U.S. His compromise established a guest-workers program and ―a path tocitizenship‖ but it was rejected byCongress in the summer of 2007
Political Scandal Fall of 2005- VP Dick Cheney’schief of staff was convicted ofperjury in an investigation intothe source of a leak that hadexposed the identity of anundercover CIA Agent [ValeriePlame] as political retaliationagainst her antiwar husband. Than in December ofconducting illegal wiretappingsurveillance on Americancitizens inside the UnitedStates in violation of Federallaw
Hurricane Katrina Bush’s tragic missteps in thebotched response to HurricaneKatrina, which devastated NewOrleans and much of the GulfCoast in 2005 led to the floodingof 80% of the historic city,causing 1,300 deaths and $150billion in damages The Federal EmergencyManagement Agency [FEMA]proved pathetically inept to dealwith New Orleans, and Bushreceived criticism for hisimpetuous, unreflective, andfrequently feckless leadershipstyle.
After the Levees Broke in New Orleans, August 2005. When ferocious HurricaneKatrina hammered the Gulf Coast, it overtaxed a deficient levee system andunleashed floodwaters into New Orleans, submerging 80% of the city and destroyingmore than a quarter-million of its homes. Many families unable to flee the city soughtrefuge in the Superdome, where water, food, and other supplies were soon in veryshort supply. Experts predicted that it would be years before the city fully recovered,
Midterm Elections of2006 As charges of dictatorial power-grabbing, cronyism, andincompetence mounted duringBush’s second term, Republicansfell victim in the midtermelections of 2006 to the sameanti-incumbency sentiment theyhad ridden to power 12 yearsearlier Democrats narrowly regainedcontrol of both houses for thefirst time they lost them to theGingrich revolution in 1994 California Democrat, NancyPelosi, became the first womanto serve as Speaker of the House.Sec. of DefenseDonald Rumsfeldresigned over thebadlymismanaged warin Irawq
Gearing to 2008… Bush’s approval rating sankbelow 30% when heasserted greater controland a ―surge‖ of 20,000additional troops to Iraq. In the election of2008, Candidate BarackObama’s promise toconclude the war in atimely fashion gave him apowerful lift in theupcoming election
Summarizer How do you think history will portray George W. Bush’slegacy? Consider his: Foreign policies War of Iraq Domestic policiesEuropean Disapproval of the Iraq War, 2007.
Learning Goal CRN BENCHMARK: 14.11.3S- Identify the details andevaluate the proposed resolutions in the contemporarydebate over the critical social issues of today: Gay rights Government ―Safety Net‖ Programs – health care,welfare Urban renewal Immigration
The Presidential Primary of 2008 46 yr. old, first-term Illinoissenator Barack Obama vs formerFirst Lady and sitting NY senatorHillary Rodham Clinton for theDemocratic primary Son of a black Kenyan father anda white Kansan mother, andraised in Hawaii and Indonesia,Obama had a cosmopolitanbackground well suited for theage of globalization He promised ―postpartisan‖politics that would end thedivisive battle of the Bush yearsand picked foreign-policy-savvyDelaware senator Joseph Biden ashis running mate
Republican Primary Long-time Arizona senator John McCain, 72, a self-styled―maverick‖ and a Vietnam War hero who had endured yearsof torture as a prisoner of war Supported bipartisan legislation on normalizing relations withNorth Vietnam, campaign finance and immigration reform Picked Sarah Palin as his running mate, former beauty queen,small-town mayor, self-proclaimed ―Hockey Mom‖, Gov. ofAlaska [for 21 months] and staunch abortion rights opponent Palin galvanized the conservative Republican base, but wheninterview gaffes exposed her weak grasp on the issues, shebecame fodder for late-night television comedians and aliability for the Republican ticket
Yes We Can!... Uh oh Armed with an unprecedentedwar chest of nearly $700million, mostly raised fromsmall donors via the Internet,Obama seized the advantage inboth the ―air war‖ [television‖and the ―ground war‖ [door-to-door campaigning by his legionsof volunteers] Slogan: ―Yes we can‖ Then just six weeks before theelection day, a sudden economicmaelstrom gave his campaign aboost The American housing pricebubble, fed by years of the Fed.’seasy-money policies and theprivate banking system’s laxlending practices burst. Long era of cheap and abundantcredit, when bankers had stuffedtheir balance sheets withcomplex and risky loans abruptlyhalted
The Economy Implodes By 2008 the collapse in real estate values led to a tsunami ofmortgage defaults Bankers and other lenders watched in horror as countlesshomeowners defaulted and the worth of mortgage-backedsecurities sank precipitously Aggressive deleveraging [businesses increase their financialpower by borrowing money (debt) in addition to their ownassets (equity)] set in worldwide, as Tokyo, NY, and Londonscrambled to reduce their debt loads by selling assets Credit markets froze everywhere and following the collapseof Lehman Brothers in Sept. 2008, stocks fell into a deepswoon
Bush and Allocative Efficiency The federal government nationalized the country’s 2 biggestmortgage companies, Fannie Maw and Freddie Max, and tookover the world’s biggest insurance company, AIG. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson persuaded Congress tocreate the Trouble Assets Relief Program [TARP], authorizing awhopping $700 billion go buy ―toxic‖ assets and inject cashdirectly into the nation’s biggest banks and corporations (despite public outrage over TARP’s initial cost, estimates arethat after loans are repaid it will have cost taxpayers about$30 billion, arguably a bargain price to pay for rescuing thenation’s financial and business system)
Election of 2008 Obama seized the politicalopportunity presenting theelection of McCain as a―third Bush term‖ Obama called for revivingthe faltering economy withbold public investments inalternative energy andinfrastructure repair McCain derided such ideasas ―socialism‖ Obama won 53% of thepopular vote, prevailing insuch traditional Republicanstrongholds as VA, Nevadaand Colorado, and won theElectoral College 265 to173
The New First Family. President-elect BarackObama, with wife Michelle, and daughters Sachaand Malia, on election night 2008 in Chicago’sGrant Park.
Hell to Overcome The 1st African Americanpresident had a countryembroiled in 2 wars, andthe worst economic abysssince the 1930s. ―Black Man Given Nation’sWorst Job‖ jibed thesatirical magazine theOnion
Obama as President On inauguration day, Obamastruck a cord by calling onAmericans to ―put away childishthings‖ and embrace ―a new eraof responsibility‖ The economy was shedding asickening 700,000 jobs a month Unemployment rose to 10%, thehighest since the early 1980s Obama counterpunched against thedeepening crisis, in his first 100days, he pushed through a series ofmajor initiatives that included anew round of help for troubledbanks, tax and mortgage relief,and a huge ―stimulus‖ bill- TheAmerican Relief and Recovery Act Contained nearly a trillion dollarsof tax cuts, as well as newspending for jobs, infrastructureprojects, and relief to state andlocal governments Also shored up bankruptautomakers GM and Chrysler aswell as threatened banks andinsurance companies
Summer of 2009 The worst of the panic wasover and the economybegan to expand once more Hopes for rapid recoveryproved false, and the firststeps toward growth werefeeble and faltering Unemployment rate stayedstuck above 9% Millions of Americans lostjobs, and homes leading toanxiety Psychology and economicsintersected as newlyanxious consumers cut backon spending promoting a asluggish recovery
Patient Protection andAffordable Health Care Act Obama sought to achieve the long-sought liberal goal of health-carereform When attempts to enlist Republican support bogged down incongressional haggling, he had to rely on Democrats alone to pass thePatient Protection and Affordable Care Act (2010) aka ―Obamacare‖,the Act extended health care insurance to some 30 million Americans,marking a major step toward achieving the century-old goal ofuniversal health care coverage for all citizens. Individuals and small-businesses could purchase health-care insuranceat competitive rates, prohibited insurers from denying coverage toanyone with preexisting health conditions and allowed children up tothe age of 26 to stay covered by their parent’s health plan Price of the bill was est. at $940 billion over ten years, but expertspredicted that the bill’s cost-cutting measures would reduce thefederal deficit by more than $1 trillion over 20 years.
2010 Wall Street Reform andConsumer Protection Act Pointed the way to a majoroverhaul of the nation’sfinancial regulatory system Act aimed to curb the risky,high-flying practices thathad contributed to thedebacle of 2008 with newcontrols on banks,investment houses, andstock markets, and withnew truth-in-lending rulesto protect consumers.
A Sea of Troubles Because his measures merely halted, but did not reverse, theeconomy’s decline, critics on the left condemned him ofbeing to timid Because federal budget deficits ballooned dramatically on hiswatch (thanks to not only his initiatives but also to the Bush-era tax cuts combined with declining tax revenues in themidst of the downturn) critics on the rights excoriated him asa big government spendthrift Starting with vehement attacks on the health-care bill, angryprotesters accused Obama’s administration of promoting―socialism‖ and ―unconstitutional‖ controls over individuallives
The Tea Party After the AmericanRevolutionary Patriots,these citizens combined aknack for street-theaterdemonstrations withnonstop Internet and mediafulminations against thepresident and his policies Republican in congressdetermined to fight theadministration, repudiatedObama’s promise of post-partisan politics
Supreme Changes Obama appointed 2 newJustices, Sonia Sotomayor[the Court’s 1st Latina] in2009, and Elena Kagan in2010, leaving 3 women onthe court Midterm elections in 2010led to Republicans gainingseats in the Senate  anda whopping 63 seats in theHouse, giving themmajority control and a newSpeaker- John Boehner.
More Change Obama used the lame duckCongress to write several majoraccomplishments: $858 billionpackage that extendedunemployment benefits as well asthe Bush-era tax cuts Repealed ―Don’t Ask Don’t Tell‖(2011) Renewed nuclear arms reductionstreaties with New START withRussia Fell short on passing the DREAMAct [Development Relief andEducation for Alien Minor Act]which would have created a pathto citizenship for undocumentedyouths who either graduated fromcollege or served in the U.S.forces
Iraq and Afghanistan Obama also inherited the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan Obama announced American combat operations in Iraq wouldend in Summer 2010, all American troops would be withdrawnby 2011 Despite continuing violence and the agonizingly slow birth ofa viable Iraqi government, the deadline was met, still 50,000troops remained to protect U.S. bases and support Iraqisecurity efforts Afghanistan proved harder to grasp Obama declared the Afghan war necessary to defeat Al Qaedaand prevent future terrorism
Afghanistan Dec 2009- declaredAmerican troops wouldbegin withdrawing by 2011,but that in order to achievethat goal, additional 30,000U.S. soldiers were sent in Appointed a new U.S.commander- Gen. DavidPetraeus Causalities increased,frustration grew
Oil Spill April 20th, 2010, the BPplatform in the Gulf of Mexicoexploded killing 17 workersand spewing oil from its deepwell, nearly 2 miles below theocean floor Over the next 4 months,American public watched asnearly 5 billion gallons of oilpoured into the Gulf of Mexico,fouling beaches and killingwildlife from LA to FL It was finally capped in Aug.2010 and had become theworst oil disaster in U.S.history
Operation: Neptune Spear American forcesdramatically concluded a10-year manhunt and killedOsama bin Laden in May,2011. President’s poll rating got abrief upward bump
The End of Osama bin Laden. President Obama and his national security team huddle in theWhite House Situation Room to watch live updates on the mission to kill Osama bin Laden,May 2, 2011. Nearly 10 years after the murderous attacks of September 11, 2001, roughjustice was meted out to the terrorist mastermind. Much commentary on this photograph hasfocused on the presence of women in the room and on the President’s lack of macho swagger,even as American forces closed in on the nation’s most hated foe.
Presently April 2010- Arizona enacted a harsh statue requiring state and localpolice to help enforce federal immigration laws A federal judge put the statue on hold, Arizona’s action was applaudedin many other places, especially those with a substantial amount ofLatinos Latinos replaced African Americans as the country’s largest minority The battle for Gay Marriage rights continues As of May 2013, twelve states— Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine,Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, RhodeIsland, Vermont as well as the District of Columbia have legalizedsame-sex marriage Obama won the reelection of 2012 due to a large voter turnout ofwomen, young Americans, Latinos and African Americans showing ashifting change in the political dialogue.
2012 Benghazi Attack An American diplomatic mission atBenghazi, in Libya, was attacked onSeptember 11, 2012 by a heavily armedgroup. The attack began during the night at acompound that is meant to protect themain diplomatic building. A 2nd assault in the early morning thenext day targeted a nearby CIA annex ina different compound. 4 people werekilled, including U.S. Ambassador J.Christopher Stevens. 10 others were injured. The attack was strongly condemned bythe governments of Libya, the UnitedStates, and many other countriesthroughout the world.
Controversy Initially, there was speculationthat the attacks were aspontaneous response to avideo, Innocence of Muslims,but a U.S. State Departmentinvestigation found that it wasa premeditated attack byIslamist militants. The Obama administration wasaccused of over-emphasizingthe role of the video, and tookissue with the investigation andthe response of Secretary ofState Hillary Clinton.
PRISM (surveillance program) PRISM is a clandestine national security electronicsurveillance program operated by the United States NationalSecurity Agency (NSA) since 2007. PRISM is a government codename for a data collectioneffort. The program is operated under the supervision of the UnitedStates Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court pursuant tothe Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Its existence was leaked by NSA contractor EdwardSnowden, who claimed the extent of mass data collectionwas far greater than the public knew, and included"dangerous" and "criminal" activities in law. The disclosures were published by The Guardian and TheWashington Post on June 6, 2013.
Snowden Following the initial disclosures, the USsought Snowdens arrest and extraditionfrom Hong Kong on charges related to theftof government property and violation ofsecrecy and communications laws relatedto NSA activities. Snowden left Hong Kong prior to any formalaction by local authorities, and reportedlyflew to Moscow, however Russia deniedthat he had entered the country. He was reported to be assisted by acolleague of whistleblower and Wikileaksfounder Julian Assange, and in hiding; it iswidely speculated that he will seekdiplomatic asylum in a neutral country.
Shelby County v. Holder 6/25/2013 The Court struck down Section4(b) [VRA 65] in its June 25,2013, ruling by a 5-to-4 vote. The majority opinion wasdelivered by Chief Justice JohnG. Roberts; he was joined by theother four conservative judges,with African American JusticeClarence Thomas writing aconcurring opinion saying hewould invalidate Section 5 as wellas 4(b). Roberts conveyed that thecurrent coverage system is"...based on 40 year-old factshaving no logical relationship tothe present day." Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote adissent, which was joined by theother three liberal judges. Quotes from her rebuttal include"Throwing out preclearance when ithas worked and is continuing towork to stop discriminatory changesis like throwing away your umbrellain a rainstorm because you are notgetting wet.", "Congress approached the 2006reauthorization of the VRA withgreat care and seriousness. Thesame cannot be said of the Courtsopinion today." and ―..., the courterrs egregiously by overridingCongresss decision.‖
United States v. Windsor 6/26/2013 United States v. Windsor,2013), is a landmark UnitedStates Supreme Court casein which the Court heldthat Section 3 of theDefense of Marriage Act(DOMA) is unconstitutional. The Court ruled in amajority of 5-4 Majority: Kennedy, joinedby Ginsburg, Breyer,Sotomayor, Kagan Kennedy: "By seeking todisplace this protection andtreating those persons asliving in marriages lessrespected than others, thefederal statute is inviolation of the FifthAmendment. This opinionand its holding are confinedto those lawful marriages."
MAJORITYDISSENTSupporters of DOMA seemed towant ―two types of marriage,‖likening same-sex unions to the―skim milk‖ version of marriage.-Ruth Bader GinsburgThe Constitution ―neither requires norforbids our society to approve of same-sex marriage, much as it neither requiresnor forbids us to approve of no-faultdivorce, polygamy, or the consumption ofalcohol.‖-Antonin Scalia