USA. According to COUNTRYAAH, United States has a population of 328.2 million (2019). Democrats lost their “super majority” in the Senate in January, when a Republican unexpectedly won the election after the deceased Ted Kennedy in Massachusetts. In doing so, Republicans increased their ability to stop bills, which seemed to jeopardize the bitterly disputed health care reform that both chambers of Congress adopted as their version of. President Barack Obama invested heavily in enforcing the law and finally adopted it in March. This was done by the House of Representatives approving the Senate version, without further adjustment.
Welfare reform was the most pervasive since the 1960s. It provided health insurance to approximately 32 million previously uninsured Americans and was estimated to reduce the declining health care costs over time. Some Democrats were dissatisfied with what was seen as a diluted proposal that lacked a state insurance option. Republicans voted manganese against the law, which they felt meant too much government involvement in the economy and people’s lives.
- Abbreviation Finder: Check to see how the two letter abbreviation of US stands for the country of United States in geography.
An oil platform exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in April, sinking to a depth of 1,500 meters. Eleven workers were killed and large amounts of oil began to sprout uncontrollably from the seabed.
Soon, the spill was called the worst environmental disaster in US history. Sensitive wetlands with rich bird and wildlife life along the south coast were affected, as was the fishing industry and tourism. The oil company BP was accused of lack of preparedness and lousy handling of the accident. The government was criticized for reacting slowly. President Obama gradually sharpened the tone for BP and decided to temporarily halt oil drilling at great depths. After several unsuccessful attempts, BP stopped the leak in July. Nearly five million barrels of oil had then leaked, the largest offshore discharge that has ever occurred anywhere in the world.
On May 1, a car full of explosives was discovered in Times Square, New York. Two days later, a Pakistani-American man was arrested for leaving the country with a passenger plane. The man, who said he was waging war on Islam, was sentenced in October to life in prison for terrorism and attempting to use weapons of mass destruction. A new reminder of the terror threat came the same month when explosives were found in two packages that were on the way with shipping plans to the United States.
A new financial regulation that was missing through the congress was completed in July. Obama called financial reform the toughest since the depression in the 1930s. The intention was to increase stability in the markets to prevent future taxpayers being forced to step in to save financial institutions from collapse.
Illegal immigration came into focus when Arizona adopted a strict immigration law. Critics called the law racist and boycott demands came from other states. The federal government turned to court, which ruled that the law violated the constitution as immigration is a federal task. But the decision was appealed. According to estimates, there are twelve million paperless immigrants in the United States.
The WikiLeaks website caused disruption in July by publishing tens of thousands of secretly stamped documents on US warfare in Afghanistan. The documents gave a picture of a failed war with few prospects of victory. Later, WikiLeaks released documents from Iraq. In November, it was time for countless diplomatic reports, with annoying comments about people and phenomena. Many in the United States raged over the publication, which was deemed to jeopardize US relations and freedom of movement in the world and threaten the safety of many individuals.
President Obama’s popularity figures have dropped sharply. One reason was continued concern over the economy. A cautious recovery had taken place after the deep dive that began in 2008, but unemployment remained at around 10 percent and many more were counted as underemployed.
More and more Americans were considered poor; every eighth resident received a federal grant to buy food. Unemployment hit particularly hard against male-dominated occupations. During the year, for the first time in US history, more women than men were included in the workforce.
From the right, Obama and government opponents organized themselves, among others, in the newly formed so-called Tea Party movement, a loose association of right-wing populists, nationalists and anti-federalists. Several Tea Party candidates won Republican primary elections this fall.
As expected, the November election turned out to be a stinging defeat for the Democrats. In the House of Representatives, where all 435 seats were at stake, the party lost over 60 seats and Republicans took control. In the Senate election, which covered a third of the seats, Democrats managed to retain their majority, even if it weakened. The Democrats also lost several important governor positions. Several leading Republicans vowed to invest everything in tearing up health care reform. The result meant further limited room for maneuver for Obama, who had already faced massive opposition from Republicans.
But towards the end of the year, Obama unexpectedly rowed ashore several important party-wide deals that disrupted the image of a crippled president. First, he got Congress to pass an important tax compromise: concessions to Republicans’ demands for extended tax relief for multi-millionaires, in exchange for extended unemployment benefits and other stimulus measures. Subsequently, a decision was made to allow openly gay men to serve in the military. A new START agreement that Obama struck with the Russian Federation on Reduced Nuclear Arsenal was ratified. Finally, free medical care was also approved for workers who received but after the rescue operation in connection with the terrorist attacks in 2001.
Occupy Wall Street – protests against the greed of financial capital
In protest of the greed of financial capital, in September 2011, protests began in New York. Under the slogan “Occupy Wall Street” (OWS), demonstrations began against the increasingly deep economic crisis and the increasingly skewed distribution of values in the United States. Authorities initially sought to clamp down on the protests by denying them the right to use speakerphones or megaphones. It led to the development of an Occupy tradition of repeating the speeches backwards so that everyone can hear the message. Occupythe movement quickly spread to the rest of the United States and gained effective support from the country’s trade union movement. From the United States, it spread to the rest of the world, positioning the 1% of the population in wealth to the 99% who pay with unemployment, pay cuts and forced auctions. In October, the movement held a global day of action that clarified the reach of democracy in the capitalist states. While protesters based in Tahrir Square in Cairo for weeks were allowed to demonstrate against the Mubarak dictatorship in Egypt, after three days of violence, police were removed from Copenhagen City Hall Square and authorities also violently attacked protesters in the United States. In Oakland, two war veterans participating in the demonstrations were shot and severely wounded by police, and in November, police forcibly cleared the protesters’ base in New York’s Zucotti Park. However, the protests continued into 2012.
In December 2012, the Civil Justice Fund Partnership was able to publish otherwise secretly stamped FBI papers documenting the police state’s crackdown on OWS. Although the FBI initially characterized OWS as a peaceful organization, it was treated as a terrorist threat. National and local collaboration had been initiated between the FBI, Homeland Security (DHS), local police, the New York Stock Exchange, banks and university authorities to identify participants, plan and coordinate the destruction of the movement – predominantly with violent ones. The FBI also worked on plans to allow OWS executives to be shot by snipers. University authorities provided names of OWS participants to the FBI. The banks provided footage from security cameras and sightings from their private security guards. The FBI and DHS used this information with local law enforcement to make plans for how the movement could be crushed by violence: violent arrests, tear gas, thugs, tear gas grenades fired directly at protesters’ heads, handcuffed protesters or hours striped, until they had surpassed or pissed themselves. And possibly killing of the leaders. The strategy succeeded. The police state had crushed the movement during 2012.
According to softwareleverage, Barack Obama signed Dec. 31, 2011 law HR 1540, also known as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which transformed the United States into a global-reach police state. The law provides the United States with a “legal basis” to arrest persons anywhere in the world, detain them indefinitely without trial, and deprive them of the right to habeas corpus – ie. that a third party or family cannot be informed that they are actually detained. These instruments can also be used by the state vis-à-vis its own US citizens. This part of the legislation triggered fierce criticism from civil rights organizations such as the ACLU, as the NDAA violates the United States Constitution’s liberties. The global arrest warrant, in turn, triggered fierce criticism from international human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Amnesty stated: «The NDAA will ‘normalize’ indefinite detention without trial and make Guantánamo a permanent part of American society. The NDAA means that the US intelligence service can arrest suspects all over the world – even far from the battlefield – and send them to military prison camps endlessly. ”
In April 2012, the LA Times published photos of superpower soldiers in Afghanistan posing with body parts of shattered Afghan suicide bombers. The body parts were handled as trophies and triggered strong criticism in Afghanistan. President Hamid Karzei condemned the soldiers’ holiday pictures as expressing a sick morale.
In November 2012, Obama succeeded in being re-elected for a second term with 51.1% of the vote. Away, however, was the enthusiastic popular backing that had carried the election campaign in 2008. The “yes we can” movement was gone because Obama had failed most of his election promises. The main reason for the presidential reelection was to be sought in the split of the Republican Party, which consists of a small but high-ranking minority of fundamentalist ultra-liberalists – the “Tea Party” movement – who wants to put the federal government in the mole bag, fundamentalist Christians and the traditional aggregation of millionaires and billionaires. There was no footfall among Republicans and therefore no backing for the party’s presidential candidate, Mitt Romney. In the House of Representatives election, Republicans rose slightly to 242 seats, while the Democrats had to settle for 193. There was nothing new about the US people electing a president with Congress against them, but Republicans in the newly elected Congress with the Tea Party at the forefront declared that they would not cooperate with the president but rather oppose all his initiatives. The political civil war can be seen as an indication that the superpower is in disintegration, has an increasingly marginal economic impact worldwide and despite the world’s strongest military power has trouble unfolding its hegemony. In that sense, it was symbolic when Foreign Minister John Kerry declared the Monroe Doctrine of Death in November 2013.
In March 2013, there were reports in the world press of a hunger strike among prisoners in the US concentration camp Guantanamo. There were prisoners who had been cleared for release as early as 2007 or 09, but Statdig was sitting in the camp. In October, British The Guardian and The Observer made this animation about the hunger strike: Guantánamo Bay: The Hunger Strikes – video animation.
In July 2013, a North American military court sentenced Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison for spying. Manning was known guilty of handing over hundreds of thousands of documents to WikiLeaks documenting the superpowers’ war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. It started with the unveiling of the movie Collateral Damage, which featured North American soldiers’ execution of 11 Iraqis, including 2 Reuters journalists. While Manning was convicted, no soldiers or officers are convicted of the war crimes WikiLeaks documents reveal. During the trial, Manning underwent a sex change and joined Chelsea.
In June 2013, North American NSA analyst Edward Snowden went underground after launching the unveiling of a giant NSA espionage program aimed at Internet communications in general and most of the world’s heads of state and organizations in general. The NSA disclosures are probably the most politically and economically damaging to the United States ever. They have worsened the relationship between the United States and many of its otherwise traditional allies or friends, and they have revealed that North American-produced IT equipment has built-in back doors, allowing the NSA to carry out espionage. This applies to Microsoft’s programs and operating systems, to computer “clouds” to operate systems, and to hardware manufacturers such as Cisco. In the first 6 months after Snowden’s disclosures, Cisco’s revenue fell by 25%.
In December 2013, the federal government dropped Detroit. Many other North American metropolises are on the brink of an economic collapse.