America’s Hinge Moment

The numbers are staggering… the US was 80% white in 1980.. in 25 years it will be less then 50%.. a majority-minority nation..
And the country will be something different than it has ever been…

The country is going through the most significant period of change since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.
Across the United States, we are seeing a convergence of economic, technological and demographic forces that is transforming every aspect of our lives. These changes are all reinforcing each other, adding to the pace and the scale of the disruption.

Despite the upheaval Americans are experiencing, voting patterns in presidential elections have remained virtually unchanged for the past 25 years—with the majority of states voting the same way in the last six elections. That’s not unexpected, even at a time of great change, because elections, in fact, historically have served as lagging indicators—not leading ones—of the direction of the country. Rather than forecasting the future, election results help us make better sense of the past.


Jordan Says 7,000 ISIS Fighters Killed In 3 Days Of Airstrikes; U.A.E. Rejoins Bombings

3 short days.. after one Jordanian pilot was killed… and presumably 7.000 are killed in 56 air strikes, and ISIS degraded by 20%…

Jordan has sworn to eradicate the so-called Islamic State while announcing the killing of 7,000 ISIS fighters after three days of airstrikes.

In another major development, the United Arab Emirates has announced that it is set to join the airstrikes on the jihadist group based in Syria and Iraq.

Jordan’s Interior Minister Hussein al-Majali said on Saturday his country will go after ISIS "wherever they are" and will "wipe them out completely."

On Sunday, Jordan’s air force chief said his country’s jet fighters had conducted 56 bombing raids in three days against the jihadists in northeast Syria, killing least 7,000 of them following attacks on key ISIS bases and arms depots.

Jordan stepped up its bombing of the jihadist group on Thursday in response to the brutal killing by the ISIS of captured Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasasbeh. No new strikes were announced for Sunday.

"We achieved what we aimed for. We destroyed logistics centers, arms depots and targeted hideouts of their fighters,"
Gen. Mansour al-Jbour, head of the Jordanian airforce, told a news conference.

Jordan has carried out nearly a fifth of the sorties of the U.S.-led coalition against the jihadist group in Syria to date, Jbour said. U.S. aircraft joined the mission to provide intelligence, surveillance, a U.S. official told Reuters earlier on Sunday.

The raids had "degraded" nearly 20 percent of ISIS’ capabilities, he said.

Six powers clinch breakthrough deal curbing Iran’s nuclear activity | Reuters

This looks promising.. good work by Kerry…
But sad to see Bibi… and how the right wing in Israel is constantly overplaying their hand..

(Reuters) – Iran and six world powers clinched a deal on Sunday curbing the Iranian nuclear programme in exchange for initial sanctions relief, signalling the start of a game-changing rapprochement that would reduce the risk of a wider Middle East war.

Aimed at easing a long festering standoff, the interim pact between Iran and the United States, France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia won the critical endorsement of Iranian clerical Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

(..) But Israel, Iran’s arch-enemy a U.S. ally, denounced the agreement as an "historic mistake". Critics in the U.S. Congress were quick to voice concern, with some raising the spectre of failure to rein in North Korea on its nuclear programmes, but they signalled that Congress would likely give the deal a chance to work.

E.J. Dionne Jr.: America shifts left – The Washington Post

Good news!

The center of gravity in American politics moved left in Tuesday’s off-year elections.

Republicans took a big step back from the tea party. An ebullient progressive was elected mayor of New York City. And a Democrat was elected governor of Virginia after campaigning unapologetically as a supporter of gun control and a liberal on social issues.

The one bright spot for Republicans, Chris Christie’s landslide reelection in New Jersey, was won precisely because Christie ran briskly away from the party’s right wing and developed a civil relationship with President Obama. His victory speech spoke of the need for politicians to go to places where they might be “uncomfortable” — exactly where the tea party does not want to go.

Senate Leaders Push Debt Deal With House Still in Doubt –

Who knows how this will end.. but it seems likely that the line of default will be crossed Thursday, if nothing else to hurt Obama.. also in part because it’s not a fixed deadline and one could argue about the "technicalities" of a default or not… but either way it’s a very sad development of US politics… that some donors dictates something that starts having the features of a "coup" of the US Government by private forces….

WASHINGTON — While Republican senators prepared to meet on Tuesday morning to hear from their leadership about a potential deal with Democrats that could reopen the government and lift the threat of an American default by raising the debt ceiling, House Republicans tempered their demands to scale back President Obama’s health care law, announcing that they would soon vote on a proposal meant to counteract a less conservative plan coming from the Senate.

Syria accepts Russian chemical weapons plan – Middle East – Al Jazeera English

Let’s see how this plays out.. and let’s see to what degree the chemical weapons and all of them will eventually be released from Assad..

But the optics here… you have some horrible chemical attacks on the suburbs in Syria.. Obama wants to bomb and kill and punish… while Russia proposes to remove the chemical weapons.. and the capability for more chemical attacks…. guess who looks better here….

Not very well played by Kerry, Rice and Obama…. even if the "russian plan" might have been on the table for a long time already….

The Syrian government has accepted a Russian proposal to put its chemical weapons under international control to avoid a possible US military strike, Reuters reported, citing Russia’s Interfax news agency.

"We held a very fruitful round of talks with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov yesterday, and he proposed an initiative relating to chemical weapons. And in the evening we agreed to the Russian initiative," Interfax quoted Foreign minister Walid al-Muallem as telling the speaker of Russia’s lower house parliament house in Moscow on Tuesday.

He said Syria had agreed because this would "remove the grounds for American aggression," the report said.

Sense of Events: Will Obama bring the Middle East into Russian orbit, including Israel?

As expected for a long time; a smaller US footprint in the Mideast could quickly lead to bigger problems and more pressure on Israel.. and if Egypt moves politically closer to Russia this fear will increase further.. and Putins dreams of an Euraisan Union and influence beyond might be fed by these developments..

Washington is torn between the support for the Muslim Brotherhood (as supported by Qatar) and for the Egyptian military (read Saudi Arabia). Since this thread runs through Syria as well the Russians are trying to pull on it. If they pull hard enough the whole fabric may unravel. Foreign Policy’s Zachary Keck writes:

On Thursday afternoon President Barack Obama announced that the U.S. would be cancelling a joint military exercise with the Egyptian Army over its violent crackdown on supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Shortly afterwards, Egypt Independent reported that Putin had called an extraordinary session in the Kremlin to put “all Russian military facilities ‘at the Egyptian military’s disposal.’” The report, which cited several sources without providing any further details about them, also said that “Putin will discuss Russian arrangements for joint-military exercises with the Egyptian army.”

U.S. Senate narrowly passes first budget in four years

Wow, seems like America is starting to get going again!!

U.S. Senate narrowly passes first budget in four years

Reuters by David Lawder on March 23, 2013

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Senate on Saturday narrowly passed its first federal budget in four years, a move that will usher in a relative lull in Washington’s fiscal wars until an anticipated summer showdown over raising the debt ceiling.

The budget plan passed 50-49 at about 5 a.m. after a marathon voting session in the Democratic-controlled chamber. Four Democratic senators facing tough re-election campaigns in 2014 joined all the Senate Republicans in opposing the measure, which seeks to raise nearly $1 trillion in new tax revenues by closing some tax breaks for the wealthy.