VOICE 2014


It has been a year filled with big news stories that shaped the conversation on race, politics, and a lot more. It has been a year of ups and downs. Here is our year in review. Here are some of those major events.

Formally known as the Affordable Care Act, now called Obamacare is President Barack Obama’s plan to reform health care has been plagued by technical glitches and consumer confusion. Kathleen Sebelius, who led the rollout of the new law as health and human services secretary, stepped down in April. But now, a second act has begun. Open enrollment is under way until mid-February, but stay tuned for a looming Supreme Court case that could dismantle the entire program.

It was a brutal year in Iraq and Syria, as the terrorist group calling itself the Islamic State, or ISIS gained momentum and captured territory throughout the region, killing thousands along the way. The group posted online barbaric videos of beheadings. Two American journalists were among those executed. The United States continues to fight back through airstrikes on the group in Iraq and Syria.

The Bundy ranch situation was an example of what happens when the American people unite. On March 27, 2014, 145,604 acres of federal land in Clark County were temporarily closed for the “capture, impound, and removal of trespass cattle”. BLM officials and law enforcement rangers began a roundup of such livestock on April 5, and an arrest was made the next day. On April 12, a group of protesters, some of them armed, advanced on what the BLM described as a “cattle gather.” Sheriff Doug Gillespie negotiated with Bundy and newly confirmed BLM director Neil Kornze, who elected to release the cattle and de-escalate the situation.

In September the Ebola outbreak started with just a few cases in Guinea. It became the deadliest outbreak on record. It spread throughout west Africa killing more than 5,000. Also in September the first case in America was diagnosed at Texas Presbyterian Hospital. Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian citizen, had recently arrived in the United States died of complications from Ebola. The two nurses who treated him also contracted the virus but recovered.

The November midterm elections was epic. He wasn’t on any ballots but the elections turned into a referendum on Obama’s performance in office. Voters gave republicans a decisive victory as they took control of the Senate and padded their lead in the house.

Our beloved Robin Williams passed away. His legions of fans were shocked and saddened when it was revealed that the comic genius and Oscar-winning actor had taken his life. Williams, 63, had battled depression and substance abuse throughout his life. It was discovered after his death that he was also in the early stages of Parkinson’s Disease.

Racial tensions erupted in Ferguson after Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager, was shot and killed by Officer Darren Wilson. Protesters clashed with police for weeks after the shooting. The violence escalated again after the grand jury voted not to indict him. He has since resigned citing safety concerns for his family and fellow officers.

One of the biggest mysteries was Malaysia flight 370. The flight was carrying 239 passengers and crew. It vanished through a routine flight. A month’s long air and sea search has so far failed to turn up any sign of the missing aircraft. In July, another Malaysian airline, Flight 17, carrying 298 people was shot down over Ukraine killing all on-board.

Let’s not forget Bergdahl. He was released May 31, 2014. Bergdahl, a Sergeant in the United States Army, was released by his captors and recovered by Delta Force, a Special Mission Unit component of the Joint Special Operations Command in eastern Afghanistan. The release was brokered by the American, Qatar, and Afghanistan governments with the Taliban, in exchange for five Guantanamo Bay detainees transferred to Qatari custody for at least one year. On 10:30 a.m. (EDT) May 31, 2014, Bergdahl was handed over by 18 Taliban members to a special operations team in eastern Afghanistan, near Khost on the Pakistani border, in what was described as a “peaceful handover”. A video of the handover was later released by the Taliban. The Taliban detainees known as the “Taliban Five”, who were transferred from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to custody in Doha, Qatar, are Mohammad Fazl, Khairullah Khairkhwa, Abdul Haq Wasiq, Norullah Noori, and Mohammad Nabi Omari. They were the Taliban army chief of staff, a Taliban deputy minister of intelligence, a former Taliban interior minister, and two other senior Taliban figures. Some U.S. lawmakers have said that the prisoner swap that led to Bergdahl’s release may have been illegal. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 mandates that all prisoner transfers from Guantanamo Bay require 30 days’ notice to Congress, which was not done in this case. Though U.S. federal law states that the president must inform Congress at least 30 days in advance of any transfers at Guantanamo Bay, no notice was given.

On July 17, 2014, Eric Garner, an unarmed black man, dies after a white police officer, Daniel Pantaleo, puts him in a chokehold. Garner’s death is later ruled a homicide by the New York medical examiner. It started the #Icantbreathe campaign on Twitter and Facebook.

On December 17, President Barack Obama announces plans to normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba and ease economic restrictions on the nation, a policy shift he called the end of an “outdated approach” to U.S.-Cuban relations that, “for decades, has failed to advance our interests.” Obama said the U.S. will move towards re-opening its embassy in the communist nation and allow some travel and trade that had been banned under a decades-long embargo instated during the Kennedy administration.

After five years of review, the Senate Intelligence Committee releases, on December 9th, a report on the CIA’s use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” in the post-9/11 era. It reveals that “CIA detainees were tortured.”

The invasion of illegals has been a major factor this year. August 1, 2014, the House of Representatives approved H.R. 5272 introduced by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) that would defund future executive amnesties issued by Pres. Obama and from granting work permits to illegal aliens. A large majority of House Republicans and a few Democrats voted to secure our border and end the executive amnesty known as DACA. In September, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) motioned to bring the Blackburn bill to the Senate floor for a vote, but the motion was defeated 50-to-50. Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia sided with all 45 GOP Senators in supporting the Sessions motion. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid allowed 4 other Democratic Senators who face tough re-election bids to also vote in favor of the motion. Pres. Obama has announced that he will expand his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to an estimated 5-6 million illegal aliens after the mid-term elections. The DACA program granted amnesty and work permits to approximately 500,000 illegal aliens.

March, 31 Sgt Andrew Tahmooressi, a US Marine, was held in a Mexican jail for several months after mistakenly entering the country with guns. He was later released.
After the year we’ve had, I wonder what will be in store for 2015…
We could keep going but my computer is burning up lol! HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL OF YOU WONDERFUL PATRIOTS!







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