Starting in the US with the race for the Democratic Party's nomination. In an already crowded field, you might think the move would be to winnow down. Instead, people keep jumping in. Yesterday, another person declared they were seeking the nomination.
No, not Hillary Clinton. She continues to tease that she might run and she's noted the voices in her head are asking her to run but she's not declared yet.
No, it's Deval Patrick.
He was supposed to become what Barack Obama became. Before Barack emerged, the press would float Deval and Harold Ford Jr. as the centrist Democrat who would transform the nation when they, one day, took the White House.
Harold Ford Jr. is largely forgotten today -- despite his explosive temper ("Say it to Murtha's, face!" being only the best known example) -- and Deval wants to make sure he's not forgotten.
While floundering Joe Biden continues to insist that he's asked Barack not to endorse him, the reality is that Barack urged Deval to seek the 2020 nomination. Poor Joe. Since being governor of Massachusetts, Deval's been all about big business which, no doubt, relieves the non-objective press who have been freaking out over candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
Deval's had his dirty hands in everything -- including the Ameriquest scandal. As governor, he fired the chair of the Sex Offender Registry Board (Saundra Edwards). Why? Deval's brother-in-law was convicted of raping Deval's sister. As such he was a sex offender. Edwards attempted to follow the law and see to it that the brother-in-law was registered as such. Deval hit the roof and fired her.
Deval's not really about women's rights or, for that matter, about punishing rapists.
But, hey, he's not going to push for Medicare For All so the press will just kiss ass over and over.
It’s official. Deval Patrick is running for President. He openly admits today that he doesn’t really have any strong policy positions, but that he just wants to nebulously bring America together for healing. He misunderstands the moment.
In his first term as governor, Deval could still pass for dashing. The years have ground all the pretty away.
For every journalist covering @DevalPatrick, here's your Google list for today: "Bain Capital" "Ameriquest" "Massachusetts Health Connector" "Chardonnay" and DEFINITELY.. "Justina Pelletier"
Though the usual toadies (Jonathan Alter, ect) are giddy, not everyone sees this as a moment to celebrate.
In Iraq, protests continue.
ALJAZEERA notes this morning:
On Thursday, security forces used live rounds, rubber bullets and fired tear gas canisters in a bid to disperse hundreds of protesters gathered near Baghdad's Tahrir Square, the Reuters news agency reported.
One protester died immediately after a tear gas canister hit his head and another lost his life in hospital from wounds from a stun bomb fired by security forces, reports said on Thursday, adding that at least 50 people were wounded in the latest clashes in the capital.
Al Jazeera's Mohammed Jamjoom, reporting from Baghdad, said the protesters were killed between 7 and 8 am local time (04:00-05:00GMT).
Natasha Turek (CNBC) offers:
Iraq is descending into its most violent days since the battle against ISIS concluded in late 2017 — and the world is completely underestimating its significance, regional experts told CNBC at the Middle East’s premier oil and gas conference this week.
The second-largest OPEC producer has seen protests every summer for the last several years over economic grievances, met time and time again with empty government promises of reform that go unfulfilled. But this year’s demonstrations are different, spilling over into demands for a full-on political overhaul and attracting elements like Iranian-backed forces and other extremists that threaten to hijack the protest movement and potentially bring the U.S. into deeper involvement.
“Because the forces that are outside, the external forces that have decades of interest (in Iraq) are not going to go away quietly. They will affect the economics of the region potentially, and they can affect the security beyond the region of Europe and eventually the United States.”
Samya Kulab (AP) asks the question everyone should be asking: Where's the money? Iraq's an oil rich nation that raises enough in oil each year to turn every Iraqi citizen into a billionaire. So why do the people suffer? Kulab notes:
Oil accounts for roughly 85-90% of state revenue. This year’s federal budget anticipated $79 billion in oil money based on projected exports of 3.88 million barrels per day at a price of $56 a barrel. Iraq’s economy improved in 2019 due to an increase in oil production, and GDP growth is expected to grow by 4.6% by the end of the year, according to the World Bank.
The fruits of these riches are rarely seen by the average Iraqi because of financial mismanagement, bureaucratic inefficiency and corruption, experts and officials told The Associated Press. Overall unemployment is around 11% while 22% of the population lives in poverty, according to World Bank estimates. A striking one-third of Iraqi youth are without jobs.
Corruption is one of the things the protesters are calling for an end to. A large number of Iraqis who fled Iraq decades ago have returned following the 2003 US-led invasion and the US turned them into politicians. They ended up rich far more than anyone could imagine. How so? Corruption. Nouri al-Maliki's son is seen as the poster child of corruption, in fact.
Changing topics. Two weekends ago, Sabah al Mahdawi disappeared. The activist and journalist was providing medical assistance to the protesters in Baghdad.
Iraq's Sabah Al Mahdawi, who highlight the role of shadowy forces in the government’s brutal crackdown on demonstrators, has now returned home. But the fate of those that had gone missing since #IraqProtests began last month remains unknown.
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