Jonny Dymond

Jonny Dymond Washington correspondent

These are my reflections from the road on how Americans are meeting the country’s economic challenges

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Edward Snowden leaks: NSA 'debates' amnesty

16 December 2013

An amnesty for Edward Snowden is an intriguing prospect. But don't hold your breath. Richard Ledgett's boss, General Keith Alexander, the head of the NSA, poured very cold water on the idea when he spoke to CBS News.

And much of Congress, which gave every indication of wanting to see Mr Snowden torn limb from limb when the leaks started, would be apoplectic; it would be an unimaginably hard-sell politically.

But the talk of an amnesty is an indication of the NSA's deepest fears: that Mr Snowden really has got what Rick Ledgett called "the keys to the kingdom", and is prepared to make it public.

Authoritative reports suggest that the agency is finding it very difficult to work out what Mr Snowden did and didn't take. Talk of an amnesty from the agency suggests it is deeply concerned about what comes next from Edward Snowden.

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China 'monitored' US bombers in new air zone

27 November 2013

No-one should be surprised that the US has acted as it has. Washington's first reaction to China's unilateral extension of its airspace was robust.

The idea that Washington was going to start filing flight plans with China before flying over the East China Sea was a non-starter.

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US B-52 bombers challenge disputed China air zone

26 November 2013

No-one should be surprised that the US has acted as it has. Washington's first reaction to China's unilateral extension of its airspace was robust.

The idea that Washington was going to start filing flight plans with China before flying over the East China Sea was a non-starter.

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FAA expands portable electronic device use on US planes

31 October 2013

For America's frequent flyers, it is one of the great frustrations of modern life - being ordered to turn off their e-readers, tablets and electronic games lest they interfere with communication equipment on take-off or landing.

But for those who fear reading a book, old-fashioned newspaper or even the in-flight magazine, relief is at hand.

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With an eye on the White House, Cruz takes on Iowa

28 October 2013

To the political left, the centre, and a fair chunk of his own Republican party, Ted Cruz is at best a political huckster - at worst something akin to the devil in human form.

But up close - or at least as close as you get in a large, featureless hall in Des Moines with 600 guests packed around 60 or so tables - the junior senator from Texas is different.

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Syria crisis: US Senate committee backs use of force

5 September 2013

In small towns strung across western Michigan, the questions came fast to Representative Justin Amash, a Republican. You could cut the scepticism and hostility towards military intervention with a knife.

What would happen to Israel? How can we afford it? What's the aim of military action? Won't it help al-Qaeda? What's the threat to national security? Why are we the world's policeman? Where's the evidence that it was the Syrian government?

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Will the real Detroit city please get up off its knees?

Graffiti on a house near central Detroit
People left Detroit gradually, but those who are left behind vow that it will rise again

Motor City seems to be whatever admirers and detractors, doomsayers and revival gurus, business saviours and late night comedians want it to be.

Long, long ago it was the archetypal American city, a place of astonishing industry and wealth, of energy and diversity, the birthplace of mass manufacturing, a northern refuge for southern blacks to come and join America's prosperous middle class.

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Detroit to rebound 'stronger' after bankruptcy filing

How do you spin Detroit? How do you spin bankruptcy? Governor Snyder and emergency manager Kevyn Orr did their best, and they didn't do a bad job. The brutal truth is that bankruptcy or no, the city's creditors - the banks, the pensioners, those with promises of healthcare provision - were at some point going to take a hit.

By enlisting the help of the courts Gov Snyder and Mr Orr say, the focus will be on the welfare of the city's (remaining) residents. Without bankruptcy, the governor said, the agony of $18bn of debt would go on without any lookout for the interests and services of the 700,000 who still live here. Enough is enough, said the governor. Both he and Mr Orr are hoping that a line has been drawn under Detroit's seemingly endless decline.

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Detroit becomes largest US city to file for bankruptcy

Detroit's fall is complete. It is a depressing, if inevitable, end to a grotesque saga of decline, corruption and mismanagement. The irony is that the bankruptcy comes just as the private sector is picking up in Motor City. There is a buzz downtown, with commercial and residential occupancy at record levels.

But public services are in a state of near collapse. Around 70,000 properties lie abandoned. Great swathes of the city need to be written off. For some, the announcement will come as some kind of relief. When I was last there business leaders told me that some kind of decision had to be taken about the city's future - that agonising limbo was unsustainable.

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US Senate passes far-reaching immigration reform bill

Today's triumph may yet be the high tidemark of the immigration reform effort. Some think reform is already dead in the water, but there is a more nuanced view.

A Democratic congressman recently told me that John Boehner, the Republican speaker of House, wants this to happen. It has significant support from the business community, and evangelical Christian churches have vigorously backed it. And most Republicans know that immigration reform is a necessary if not sufficient condition of Hispanic support in the future. But amongst some Republican activists there is disquiet about backing a bill that "rewards" lawbreaking with (eventual) citizenship.

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About Jonny

Jonny has been a foreign correspondent for 12 years, working in North America, Europe and the Middle East.

After following Mitt Romney in the final days of his 2012 presidential campaign, Jonny will continue to report from every corner of the United States, exploring how the country deals with relative economic decline and the challenge of social immobility.

Jonny is constantly surprised and delighted by the US and the astonishing variety to be found within.

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