Saturday, August 31, 2019

Ma Vector Roundup

I'm on the job hunt this fall, and "Ma Vector" is my official unofficial callsign (it's a long story).

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Iranian judoka Saeid Mollaei apparently flees to Germany from Japan in an asylum bid. He had been under intense pressure to throw matches in order to avoid facing an Israeli competitor, Sagi Muki, in international tournaments (Muki just became the first Israeli to win a world championship). Mollaei will apparently be eligible to compete in the 2020 Olympics on the "refugee" team.

New York Republicans remove antisemitic video; replace it with antisemitic text.

Contra The Young Turks, and with all due respect to John Delaney, the reason John Delaney "peaked at 2%" starts and ends with "who on earth is John Delaney?"

Several Chinese undergraduate students at Arizona State were denied entry to the United States and deported back to China. This follows on the heels of a Palestinian student at Harvard also being denied entry, reportedly due to political comments by some of his Facebook friends.

Antisemitic beliefs are taking hold in the Evangelical Christian community.

Trump's efforts to gain the support of Jewish voters don't seem to be working -- probably because he doesn't understand what motivates Jewish voters.

Boris Johnson's net approvals as PM are at -6%. Jeremy Corbyn's net approvals are -59%.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Trump Administration Targets US Troops in New Anti-Citizenship Rule

The Trump administration has issued new rules denying automatic citizenship to the children of U.S. servicemembers and government employees born while their parents are serving abroad. Until now, such persons were deemed to be "residing" in the U.S. and so therefore were automatically citizens at birth. Under the new rules, while the children remain entitled to citizenship, their parents will have to proactively apply on their behalf before they turn 18 -- new bureaucratic hoops that undoubtedly will cause some children to unwittingly never actually attain citizenship. The legal justification strikes me as quite thin -- under U.S. law, it already is the case that servicemembers and their spouses are legally deemed to be "residing" in the U.S. when deployed overseas, but the Trump administration says that the statute doesn't specifically say their children are so residing. I'd say that if you're born to someone deemed to be legally residing in the U.S., it'd be fair to infer to you were born residing in the U.S. as well. And until now, that was law.

There's no real point to this. It appears to be motivated by nothing more than the Trump administration's indiscriminate obsession with tightening immigration laws. Hell, here the primary victims are going to American citizen parents who are already sacrificing to represent their country. This is a gratuitous slap in the face to them. Who out there is thinking "it's just so unfair that the children of Americans serving their country abroad get citizenship automatically, just as they would if their parents were stationed stateside?" Who is the constituency that wants to target this population?

The only thing I can think of is that Stephen Miller and company are hoping that, in twenty-five years or so, they'll be able to snag a few more cases like this one: deporting people who grew up American, assumed they were American, lived as Americans, and yet will be banished from America if they at all run afoul of the criminal justice system. Most of us read that story and had our hearts wrenched. The Trump administration reads it and smells opportunity.

All of which is to say, and say again, the cruelty is the point.

Monday, August 26, 2019

The Winnowing Begins

The Democratic primary field is finally starting to winnow down a bit. Some candidates, like John Hickenlooper, Jay Inslee, and Seth Moulton, have formally dropped out. But the bigger crunch on more marginal candidates might be the failure to qualify for the next debate. Currently on the chopping block, due to low polling figures, donor numbers, or both, are:

  • Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
  • Marianne Williamson
  • Tom Steyer
  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand
  • Mayor Bill de Blasio
  • Gov. Steve Bullock
  • Ex-Rep. John Delaney
  • Rep. Tim Ryan
Will anyone miss any of these people once they're gone? I wouldn't have minded a little more Kirsten Gillibrand, but the fact is her campaign never really seemed to get off the ground and I've come to accept that. I might have said the same for Steve Bullock, except he falls in the "should be running for Senate" category. 

Beyond that, this is a list people who were always going to be also-rans (Ryan, Delaney, de Blasio) and people who were always going to be also-rans and also are deeply terrible (Gabbard, Williamson). Tom Steyer's decision to pump millions into a vanity campaign that had zero chance of winning instead of investing in things like voter access or state legislative races is also pretty hard to swallow.

Technically, these candidates still could soldier on, but one has to think the writing is on the wall. The remaining candidates who've qualified for the next debate are:
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders
  • Sen. Cory Booker
  • Mayor Pete Buttigieg
  • Former Housing Secretary Julián Castro
  • Sen. Kamala Harris
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar
  • Ex-Rep. Beto O'Rourke
  • Andrew Yang
That, to me, is a far more manageable field. Yang's the oddball, Buttigieg I think has already peaked, and I'm pretty well over O'Rourke at this point, but I think a field of this size offers some of the more middle players like Castro or Booker at least the potential space to grow -- and if they can't make a move now, that's a good sign that they never will.