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Written by @ameliezilber // @twominutetimes
Political & International Update

And So the List Gets Longer

So Michael Bloomberg may be running for president after all…
Billionaire Bloomberg, former New York City Mayor, has dropped some very big hints he’ll join the 2020 presidential race to secure the Democratic nomination. 

Who is he?
Bloomberg is a 77-year-old philanthropist and media tycoon with some experience in government, having ran, and won, for NYC mayor three times (‘02, ‘05, ‘09). Bloomberg is also a very successful businessman who founded Bloomberg L.P., and is known for his Bloomberg Terminal, a computer software system providing financial data widely used in the global finance industry. 

Why is he running?
Well, last March, Bloomberg announced he would sit the 2020 race out, but with the success and rise in popularity of progressives like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, centrist Bloomberg may be heading straight toward Biden as a potential opponent by entering the race. 

How successful will he be?
At the moment, it’s unclear whether or not he’ll gain traction in key states necessary to swing the election, but polls and data, since his semi-announcement, have been incredibly low – the highest unfavorable rate in the field, actually. 

If Bloomberg speaks up, gets loud and expands his appeal to reach average, middle-income Americans, he could have a serious shot. But only time will tell with this one!

Another Brick in the Wall

The Trump admin. secretly launched a program along the Texas border slashing the time asylum-seekers are given to prepare their immigration cases – a move that would, effectively, make it much easier for the government to deport immigrants. The program, targeting Mexicans at the El Paso border, allows them 10 days to process their asylum screenings. Such a short time frame makes it much more difficult for them to consult with attorneys and prepare for interviews. 
Even more, Trump proposed a new rule, Friday, to increase citizenship fees for more than 60% of applications, as well as asylum seekers. 

Makes sense now. Just checked the fine print – it says payments, cash only, must be made to Rudy Giuliani. 

Pulling Back the Curtain

The US and China took a tentative half step, Thursday, toward an interim deal that would relieve trade barriers. The two nations agreed to begin drafting an initial agreement that would cut down some of the tariffs, but such an accord is far from a sure bet.

Well earlier this year, a proposed deal fell through, in part because of increasing tensions between the two nations, but also because sources inside the Trump Administration have cast doubts on Trump’s commitment to reducing tariffs. 

China’s former chief negotiator even said, “Trump is the best choice in an opponent for negotiations. We want Trump to be re-elected; we would be glad to see that happen.”
The best opponent is always the easiest to manipulate. I wonder why all of America’s adversaries are so keen on supporting his re-election…

A Bloodbath in the Near East

Iraq is still going through the motions as mass protests continue to escalate, with demonstrators pushing back against the political elite. 

Since October, Iraqis have been protesting the lack of job opportunities and high unemployment, and what they see as the government’s inability to deliver basic services, like electricity or repair badly damaged infrastructure.  

Since then, 
More than 320 people have been killed. These protests are the largest Iraq has seen since the ousting of Saddam Hussein in 2003. The demonstrators are demanding the removal of the country’s political elites, seen as corrupt and subservient to other powers, who came to power in the years following Hussein. 

Anything Stupid This Week?
There always is. Sigh. 
Every single Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to advance Steven Menashi’s nomination to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. 

Just some quick background info:
Menashi is an inexperienced White House legal aide who is said to have participated in the administration's Ukraine cover-up (great), and who's written some really, truly moving editorials opposing women’s rights and defending racist ideas (even better). He even got a "NOT QUALIFIED" rating by the American Bar Association. 

It makes perfect sense why we’d want him to have a lifetime appointment to the federal bench!
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