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tv   Inside Story  Al Jazeera  December 31, 2013 11:30am-12:01pm EST

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you for watching al jazeera america. check us out 24 hours a day by going to off. civil war deepens in syria. the 113th congress was sworn in and then didn't get that much done. 2013 is about to enter the history books the first draft looking back at the year that was is the inside story. >> hello, i'm ray suarez. we didn't look ahead to 2013 on this program a year ago. because this network wasn't on the air and i was working somewhere else.
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if we had, we never would have predicted the year that followed. barack obama after a convincing win the previous november took the oath of office for a second time and then proceeded to have a tough year as president. the affordable care act has dragged the president to the lowest approval levels of his presidency . pope benedict xvi did what popes never did, he resigned before dieing in office moving the way for new pope francis. the first latin american leader of the church . the market plunged and then soared at the end of the year when the the fed announced a taper. many made headlines in 2013. could you have predicted any of
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it? let's take a quick look back at a year about to end. >> obama: you and i as citizens have the power to set this country's course. you and i as citizens have the obligation to shape the debates of our time. [ cheering ] >> the taliban shot me on the left side of my forehead. they thought the bullet would sal lensilence us, but they fai.
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. [ explosion ] >> the tornado will find the path of least resistence. there is the low ground. there is the water treatment plant on the southeast side. still headed west. let me zoom in here. >> obama: the same progress that gives us the technology to strike a half world away also demands the discipline to constrain that power or risk abusing it. we have worked vigorously that establishes our force against terrorism. clear guidelines, oversight and accountability that is now c codified that i signed yesterday. >> the message is very clear. nsa, you've gone too far. >> over time that awareness of wrongdoing builds up and you feel compelled to talk about it.
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the more you talk about it, the more you're ignored until you realize these things need to be determined by the public. not someone hired by the government. >> today i finally get to look at the man that i love. and finally say will you please marry me. [♪ music ] >> we the jury find george zimmerman not guilty. [♪ music ] >> obama: the international
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community must enforce the ban on memor chemical weapons. [♪ music ] >> we americans are not inherently more violent people than folks in other countries. what's different in america is that it's easy to get your hands on a gun. [♪ music ] >> don't the republican majority
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will vote to shut the government down. >> we're giving a stark choice to the president of the united states and senate. >> this is too expensive. >> is reform dead? absolutely not. [♪ music ] >> a joint plan of action to reaching a long- term, comprehensive solution . >> our beloved nelson mandela , founding president of a democratic nation has departed.
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[♪ music ] >> joining us now to discuss the striking year that was, gerald sy, of the wall street journal. and from los angeles author of "killing the american dream." former secretary of health and human services, autho , and from atlanta, jason johnson professor at hyrum college. i think by common agreement it has been an unbelievable year. looking back why don't we start by hearing from all of you about
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which story you think is your top story or the one we'll be talking about for years to come that will become the more consequencal. >> i think i pick the civil war in syria because it has the potential to remake not just the region but america's role in the region in a way that we have not seen. >> i think it's the george zimmerman trial. we still talk about how it dominated the news, we'll still be talking about that years from now. >> the biggest story most consequential is the disaster roll out of the affordable care act. it will lead to a major repeal or revision, and i think that's going to be a big deal. >> just because you used the word "if," you're coming back and saying that it may. >> well, just because i am from
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venezuela i'm going to say the death of hugo chavez was the biggest story of the year, and i think it will be of consequence in all of latin america. >> we'll take a short break and we'll talk about how all the things happened. can you believe it all happened in 2013? this is inside story. stay with us.
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>> this is "inside story"
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wit with 2013 review. i'm ray suarez. everybody was talking about how now the groundwork was laid for immigration reform, big, big changes. both parties had got religion on this issue. now here some immigration reform. now that we're in the waning hours of 2013 what happened? >> i think the tide turned, but it didn't turn as radically as we thought it would. the result of the elections, the rejection of the republican self-deportation immigration policies made quite obvious this was not the way to go for the g.o.p. but the problem is the congress and the way the election is happening, all these districts that are conservative and regional that dominate. we have an election year coming up. we have a congress that is paralyzed.
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so even though we saw major advancement, the approval of the senate bill, and we saw different changes in the states, driver's license and changes with a pro-immigrant attitude, many districts made it impossible. just the matter of the republican congress, the house of representatives, they don't want to move forward on anything that could help. >> did it ever look like such a slam dunk as it looked in the editorial boards around the country? >> what we failed to recognize was the imperative that the national republican party felt was to get on and be behind immigration reform, and in districts that are red and this idea is not popular, and the districts that are blue and it
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is popular. i think it could still happen. those republicans that weren't converts, they may decide this is a good idea after all. >> profession johnson, much like immigration coming out of the 2012 elections one issue that was hot was reforming and taking a look at the nation's gun lots in the weeks just after the new town killings in connecticut. and again little to nothing happened there, why is that? >> it's a mixture of barack obama and his inability to wrestle together any kind of coalition in congress and it's the recalcitrant congress who refuse to pass anything that this president talks about. not to go back, since we're looking forward, but this goes back to 2010. those districts that got rewritten after our last census
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have completely changed how congress had to work with this president. whether it's sandy hook, the colorado shooting, the shooting of a young man, it didn't matter. even though the vast majority of the country wanted something to happen, it was one of his first failures of the year. >> your top story of the year. there were many tastes to dismantl times they triedto dismantle tht happened. >> i didn't think they wouldn't be able to get a basic website together. there are still major questions, and i think the process protects are dubious. one, will cost go down? i don't think they will.
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will costs go up to a sufficient number? 30 million uncovered in 2020. and the third question, if you like your healthcare can you keep it? we know people in the individual market, that's a problem. what you about in the employer-based market. >> pilar, does this look different from your part of the country? you're writing from california, a place of a lot of uninsured people, and i don't think people realize the tremendous challenge of uninsurance and unde underinsurance, how does it look from california? >> california has its own market, it's own website, which has been working a lot better than the federal website, so we haven't had the problems here that you had in the rest of the country where they didn't have their own website. but of course for the latino community, which is the majority in los angeles and in california now,
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and large number of uninsured in that community there has always been a lot of support for this law. i think people in the latino community are rooting for it to work because they have a lot of i a lot atstake in it. >> how come there wasn't more of a public feeling that something had to be done about this. there was so much concentration on the law. we didn't discuss the millions without healthcare. >> i think there was some confusion. what was the point, was it to cover the uninsured or make health insurance smoother for people in the middle class who already had insurance. i think the impetus was to get the uninsured insurance. that made it sound like you're taking things from the middle
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class and giving it to people without insurance. i think the purpose of the law got shifted halfway midstream, and the hope now from the white house point of view is that it will make health insurance cheaper by bringing the cost curve down. it wasn't in the end in passage to cover the uninsured. >> when we return we'll talk more about the international scene. this was an important year all over the world. stay with us. you're watching inside story. >> al jazeera america is the only news channel that brings you live news at the top of every hour. >> here are the headlines at this hour.
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>> only on al jazeera america.
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>> al jazeera america is a straight-forward
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>> welcome back to "inside story." i'm ray suarez. we're looking back on the big stories of 2013. again our guests are gerald, pilar,
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tevy , and jason. professor johnson, two of the big overseas stories had tremendous repercussions here at home. one of nsa spying on foreign leaders and heavy surveillance operations going on in foreign countries. and also the step back at the last minute from going ahead with some sort of strike in syria to move against the stock piles of chemical weapons held by bashar al-assad. what do you make of those, and how did americans looking at that was there a certain weariness with the rest of the world that made americans want to pull back? >> it's completely two different situations.
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edward snowden, the significant of him was to those active american citizen who is were already fearing the encroachment of the state. this has been going on since the passage of the patriot act and there was another group of people who said this has been going on for years. edward snowden just put a white middle class face on it. it's going going on for years. it brought up the debate of what our government is doing and do we trust the transparency promoted by the obama administration. but syria is different. using the beligerance. he god assa got assad to agree p chemical weapons to u.n. inspectors without firing a shot.
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many around the world felt that america was capable of everything. it was reflection of using the past and future to use policy today. >> tevy troy, showing strength by not showing how strong you are? >> i think they would appreciate the compliment. but i think something else was going on. president obama gave the speech as a nationally televised addressed. he was going on late night talk shows and appearing on deejay shows in the midwest and south, and he shows up and tries to talk about syria in a serious way, and it seems that the american people weren't interested and moved on. and without the american people, it was hard to pursue other options. >> i think that's true. if the congressional vote had gone ahead that might not have succeed: that tells you there wasn't a sense of let's pull back a little bit. when the president said what his
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predecessors said, let's take action in the middle east, he looked over his shoulder and found not everyone was with him. that's the times we're in. >> and stopped over in europe because they thought edward snowden might be on board. and angela merkel thought she had been spied upon by the united states. and then in south american , they often complain they don't get enough attention from the united states, but now here they were getting a lot. >> maybe it was a good thing in some ways. the fact that
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hugo chavez died this year, in a way with his death the disappearance of a leader that would actually be able to bring together different countries in latin america to an united front in regards to the united states also just makes it less important for the united states to pay attention to what's going on south of the border. >> we also had the first hope from the global south and pope francis has been a phenomena , a pope with 90% approval rating? >> i cited syria's top story, the pope is close behind. his appointment, his election has the potential to have long-term consequences and impact. in the u.s. it has brought people back to the catholic church. people who had fallen away because they're unhappy with the
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tenor of the church, but to redirect the international church and focus more on poverty and social issues and it effects every country in the world. >> if you're interested in public affairs, but you're not catholic and you're an observant jew, is this someone that you're watching? >> absolutely. the one thing that i found interesting about the pope issue is thais that he seems to unitee together. i'm interested to see this one. >> i think pope francis read the republican autopsy and learned from it. i think anyone who understand the judeo bible knows that the focus on poverty and people suffering has always been more of jesus' message than whether or not you're sleeping with this person or paying taxes. him
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taking a conservative way of reorient ing the catholic church, it stays away from those hot-button issues that have been a problem for the church. >> one of the big fake questions is this guy really a latin american? his parents immigrated from italy to argentina, i don't think that has lived all the way to 2013, but is he putting a latin american stamp on the papacy? >> well, he might be, and it is ironic because he comes from a country that had a military dictatorship at the time that he was going going up in the ranks of the church. he was requested in argentina for the things that he did and didn't do at the time of the military dictatorship. but now that we see him in roam acting the way he is, we realize this is a different guy than we thought he was.
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>> you know, 2013 was so big of a year it was impossible to stuff it all in this short conversation. just from my cheat sheet, the supreme court decisions on gay marriage, affirmative action and voting rights act. the government shutdown. we didn't even touch the government shutdown. we have to have you all back. 2013 is too big. happy new year to you all. that brings thi the end of this edition of inside story. we want to hear what you think about this issue, send us your thoughts on twitter. our handle is aj inside story am or reach me directly @ray suarez news. in washington, i'm ray suarez.
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welcome to al jazeera america. i'm del walters. these are the stories we are following for you. ringing in the new year-round the world, this celebration was taking place in new zealand. russian president vladimir putin vowing to annihilate terrorism. a fiery train crash in north dakota. how the weather could be a major factor in the cleanup. ♪


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