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First they came for the Iranians (scottaaronson.com)
1000 points by aaronyy on Jan 26, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 429 comments

I am an Iranian CS student. I had a fully funded PhD admission at one of the US universities. I was admitted for the Fall 2016 semester.

I am currently in Iran due to my visa not being issued despite the 7 months I have waited for it. I was able to defer my admission to Spring 2017 semester, but then _this_ happened.

I am quite sure that I will never be able to attend this program. I had very high hopes for my future because of this admission.

I was very sad today after hearing this news. I have to come up with a new plan for my life, since it never occurred to me that I would not be able to attend.

Edit: Thanks for all the support from the HN community.

I can personally recommend the University of Waterloo, here in Canada. I did my Master's degree there in electrical engineering. The school has an excellent, and well recognized, CS program, and a significant percentage of both the graduate student body and the faculty (at least when I was there 8 years ago or so) were from Iran.

Waterloo itself isn't a particularly large city, but with two universities it has a significant student population, and it's not far from Toronto for anytime you're interested in more of a big city cultural experience.

Of course there are a number of excellent universities here in Canada; if Waterloo isn't to your liking, maybe check out UBC here on the west coast.

I really hope, as Scott suggests in the post, that a silver lining to this situation is that we have an opportunity to welcome more people like you into Canada.

Edit: I could even put you in touch with my old supervising professor (who's also from Iran) if you like; he's in the Engineering faculty as opposed to CS, but I'm sure he would know who to refer you to.

^ This!

Or if you are into AI, university of Montreal is also a hot bed right now with Mr Bengio.

Canadians will gladly take you, in fact I know an Iranian who just finished his math phd...

Courage! :)

And U of Toronto has one of the top Neural Networks groups anywhere. UBC is also a great university in a nice city.

yeah Waterloo has a great program. I've known a few Iranian students who were disappointed by University of Victoria and then went to Waterloo.

On behalf of my fellow Americans, please allow me to offer you our deepest apology. Please know that most of our country doesn't hate or fear you. We will continue to do everything we can to fight this policy and others like it.

I am a naturalized American citizen, born in Iran. Up to yesterday I was giving this administration the benefit of the doubt. But an administration that demands political vetting of scientific results tripped my wire.

Now I am not sure what to make of our President mentioning "citizen, good citizens" in his remarks to DHS. After all, "no one expects the spanish inquisition".

> We will continue to do everything we can to fight this policy and others like it.

You say that, but I'm afraid the implication might be "short of doing anything that matters". Where are the protests? Why aren't people in the streets? Don't make the same mistake Germans did under Hitler. The government relies on each step affecting few enough people that nobody will be bothered enough to march, and after a thousand little steps, you have a totalitarian government.

There were already many different large scale protests across the nation several days ago. Those took months to organize and set up. Logistics alone makes another immediate large scale protest unlikely. The exception is unless there is clear and demonstrable malfeasance like in the case of S. Korea's president.

If Trump's draft executive order had said something like "permanent ban of all Muslims" then I have no doubts people would start protesting immediately. Careful reading of the draft though shows the following:

1) It's limited to seven countries. Notably missing Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan.

2) The ban on entry from these countries is 30 days to "reduce investigative burdens".

3) After that point all countries on that list need to provide additional screening info in order for visas to be accepted.

4) If the countries do not agree to provide said info after 60 days from notification, all nationals from that country will not be allowed entry unless under certain circumstances. Compliance will reverse this.

5) More countries may be added to this list based on recommendation by SecState (Tillerson) and SecDef (Mattis).

6) On a case by case basis, visas may be granted to nationals from banned countries.

I wouldn't call any of the above great, but calling this the precursor to Kristallnacht is a reach. Instead of losing your mind over everything objectionable that Trump does, it might be best to conserve your strength. Remember that fatiguing the people you want to support you with a constant state of emergency is a real thing. Proportional responses are best.

> If Trump's draft executive order had said something like "permanent ban of all Muslims" then I have no doubts people would start protesting immediately.

That's why it doesn't say that. You start with seven countries, then add five more ("I didn't protest the first seven, why would I protest five?") then a few more, and pretty soon, you got all Muslim countries. It's barely been a week and it's already seven, I imagine the entire set of Muslim countries can't take more than a month or two.

> The ban on entry from these countries is 30 days to "reduce investigative burdens".

For now, yes. That gives the government a month to extend the duration, if they want to.

> After that point all countries on that list need to provide additional screening info in order for visas to be accepted.

It takes months to organize a protest, how long do you think it will take a country to institute "additional screening" for the single other special snowflake country that demands it? Meanwhile, none of those countries' residents can travel (or return) to the US.

> If the countries do not agree to provide said info after 60 days from notification, all nationals from that country will not be allowed entry unless under certain circumstances.

And that doesn't bother you?

> Instead of losing your mind over everything objectionable that Trump does, it might be best to conserve your strength

Conserve your strength for what? There won't be a single incident that's worse than this. Germany didn't go from Socialist utopia to Kristallnacht in a day.

If he adds more, then that's a different situation. Right now is all I know. I'm not going to assume the worst until Trump actually displays a pattern of behavior.

One of the things I noticed is you passed over the people who are responsible for implementing and reporting to the President on this: Tillerson and Mattis. Neither of these men is anything remotely close to a Nazi. Mattis has far too much integrity, Tillerson as well.



Mattis is unlikely to support a full ban on all Muslims as he is on record saying that we need our Middle Eastern allies. It's one of the reasons he's against the move of the US Embassy to Jerusalem. Tillerson strikes me as far too ethical a player to subscribe to the notion that we need such an approach. If he's that fair minded at Exxon Mobile, I doubt much will change when he's SecState. Remember he's backed by people like Condaleeza Rice, someone I hardly consider a Nazi.

If you're worried about Trump deciding to just add all the countries, I doubt he will. Trump is known for not being a deep policy wonk (unlike Obama and W) and mostly an instinctual leader. He can get away with this because he relies heavily on his subordinates for advice and gives them a large amount of leeway. This is not necessarily a bad leadership style and in this case, I think we're pretty safe considering the people who need to make these decisions.

Should Trump add every majority Muslim country in the world to the banned travel list, or it extends for a period of time that is significantly longer than he initially established, I think going nuts is probably warranted. That would be a single incident worse than this. There's four years of Trump, if you don't agree with him it might be best to not exhaust your people too early. Remember what Kasparov said:

"The point of modern propaganda isn't only to misinform or push an agenda. It is to exhaust your critical thinking, to annihilate truth."


Mostly that list reads as countries full of people that probably don't like us much and have reason to for better or for worse:

"What all seven countries also have in common is that the United States government has violently intervened in them. The U.S. is currently bombing — or has bombed in the recent past — six of them. The U.S. has not bombed Iran, but has a long history of intervention including a recent cyberattack."


> If you're worried about Trump deciding to just add all the countries, I doubt he will

I hope you're right.

> That would be a single incident worse than this.

You're assuming he wouldn't be adding them little by little, which would be many small incidents, each about as bad as this one.

> There's four years of Trump, if you don't agree with him it might be best to not exhaust your people too early.

Yes, but you also need to take care to not wait too long before you act. I'd err on the side of protesting on this one.

> Mostly that list reads as countries full of people that probably don't like us much

I'm not sure many countries in the world are crazy about the US right now. Unfortunately (or fortunately), we don't ban travel based on who likes whom. There haven't been any US terrorists who came from Iran, so what's Trump's intention with this move?

> What all seven countries also have in common is that the United States government has violently intervened in them. The U.S. is currently bombing — or has bombed in the recent past — six of them.

This move isn't going to mend any fences either.

What you're forgetting is that the cabinet serves at the pleasure of the President, they are not counter parties to him. They carry out direction from the President. They can be fired and replaced very quickly.

> It's barely been a week and it's already seven, I imagine the entire set of Muslim countries can't take more than a month or two.

Without further evidence that this is a stable pattern, you appear to be succumbing to this: https://www.xkcd.com/605/

Why should we not consider that he called for a "ban on Muslims entering the United States" for months prior to his election? This is what he ran on so of course we have reason to suspect this will be a pattern.

> If Trump's draft executive order had said something like "permanent ban of all Muslims" then I have no doubts people would start protesting immediately.

It's useful to look at what Hannah Arendt said about the Nazis.



Trump is saying what he needs to be true for him to start building his walls; deporting people; etc.

People have been screaming that the Republican party is the Nazi party since the days of Reagan. So far history has held this up to be absolutely not true. Forgive me if I'm a bit incredulous and give Trump the benefit of doubt until proven otherwise.

Here's another way to look at it:

"I know you've taken it in the teeth out there, but the first guy through the wall. It always gets bloody, always. It's the threat of not just the way of doing business, but in their minds it's threatening the game. But really what it's threatening is their livelihoods, it's threatening their jobs, it's threatening the way that they do things. And every time that happens, whether it's the government or a way of doing business or whatever it is, the people are holding the reins, have their hands on the switch. They go bat shit crazy."


I don't understand how people who can understand and believe in things like quantum and multiple realities think that the only outcomes our world are strictly binary: Nazism or Progressive Liberalism.

>I don't understand how people who can understand and believe in things like quantum and multiple realities think that the only outcomes our world are strictly binary: Nazism or Progressive Liberalism.

That's a bit of a strawman, I think; no-one I've heard of, who thinks Trump is a fascist, arrived at that conclusion by saying "well he's not a progressive liberal so all that's left is nazi". It's been more like (whether correct or not) "his policies and views are similar to the historical policies and views associated with fascism, so he could be a fascist."

That's fair, let me go into more detail.

I know a lot of people who fervently believe that Trump is the second coming of Hitler. If you dig around on Twitter it won't be long before you find this sentiment practically everywhere. It's not "could be a fascist" it is "actually is a fascist and we need to actively resist".

This is not unique to Donald Trump. W Bush is the most recent example where Bush=Hitler was practically a slogan for liberals. Again, people claimed the same thing. "Policies and views are similar therefore" and went straight for the extremes. They didn't go for the benefit of the doubt at all, despite there being a lot of evidence that Bush was in no way at all a Nazi. I think it's fair to argue that it's a tenant of faith for liberals that all conservatives hate gays, hate minorities, hate women, etc. That these people exist in the Republican party is impossible to deny. To tar and feather the entire Republican party as this way is how we get to this binary world view.

As far as Donald Trump is concerned, I think if you've really dug into Donald Trump and done your homework on him, I think that calling him a fascist is grossly unfair. Let's take this article from 2000:


"Do you think gay people should be allowed to serve in the military?"

"Yes, if a gay person can be a doctor or a lawyer or a teacher or take another position of responsibility, why can't they serve this country in the military? “Don’t ask, don’t tell” has clearly failed. Gay people serve effectively in the military in a number of European countries. There is no reason why they can’t serve in the United States. Frankly, the state of our military is a wreck. Military pay is a joke, military benefits are ridiculous, and we can’t attract the kind of quality people we need to have an effective fighting force. The Pentagon is wasting millions on weapons they don’t need instead of focusing on the military needs in the changing world situation. The truth is, our nation defense is in the weakest state since Pearl Harbor. I favor a total reorganization of all branches of our military, and I would address the gay question more forthrightly within that reorganization."

"Are you running just to beat Pat Buchanan?"

"I used to like Pat. I was on Crossfire with him. I thought he was a nice guy. Then I read the things he had written about Hitler, Jews, blacks, gays, and Mexicans. I mean, I think it’s disgusting. That speech he made at the ’92 Republican convention was a disaster. He wants to divide Americans. Clearly, he has a love affair with Adolf Hitler, and that’s sick. Buchanan actually said gay people had chosen “satan[ism] and suicide.” Now he says he welcomes gay people into his campaign. The guy is a hypocrite."

Note that these views are not in a vaccuum. If you go back and read his views before the 2016 election, you get the picture of a Donald Trump who reads like a liberal. Nothing like a fascist at all. And yet many people have practically jumped at characterizing Trump as the second coming of Nazi Germany. The reasons why are a much longer discussion. I'm not saying any of this disproves that he is a Nazi. I'm saying that this decreases the likelihood that it is true. This is why I say people are expressing a binary worldview. From what I can see, many are not expressing that there could be a third possibility. Or fourth. Or a myriad of options.

>I think it's fair to argue that it's a tenant of faith for liberals that all conservatives hate gays, hate minorities, hate women, etc.

Well, to paraphrase your next sentence: "that these people exist in the Democratic party is impossible to deny, to tar and feather the entire Democratic party as this way is how we get to the binary world view."

In particular, I am a liberal in a rural Pennsylvania county that voted 75% for Trump, and I know that my conservative neighbors do not hate gays, minorities, and women. (Most people I've talked to were responsive to his position on coal mining; I'm not sure what will happen in four years if those jobs don't come back.)

>This is why I say people are expressing a binary worldview. From what I can see, many are not expressing that there could be a third possibility. Or fourth. Or a myriad of options.

You mentioned Twitter; if Trump being a Nazi is one bad option, and there are x-1 other good options, I think it's only natural that the kind of people who like to tweet are going to tweet about what they think is the most dangerous one.

>Well, to paraphrase your next sentence: "that these people exist in the Democratic party is impossible to deny, to tar and feather the entire Democratic party as this way is how we get to the binary world view."

That's fair, I should have included that point as well.

>You mentioned Twitter; if Trump being a Nazi is one bad option, and there are x-1 other good options, I think it's only natural that the kind of people who like to tweet are going to tweet about what they think is the most dangerous one.

I mentioned twitter mainly because it's what comes to mind first. Here's a tumblr example:

"I have seen a lot of people talking about the issues that were removed from the White House website. What I have seen little discussion of (or any, tbh) is what’s gone up in their place. There are exactly six issues now listed:

America First Energy Plan

America First Foreign Policy

Bringing Back Jobs And Growth

Making Our Military Strong Again

Standing Up For Our Law Enforcement Community

Trade Deals Working For All Americans

Just those headings should be terrifying enough: between the focus on state violence and the coded “America First” white ultranationalism, this is an unabashedly, literally fascist platform."


I'm going to diverge from the topic, but do you really think those jobs will return given the cheapness now of solar and natural gas? The market without strings won't revive coal.

>do you really think those jobs will return given the cheapness now of solar and natural gas?

In the county and state where I live (Somerset County, PA) the majority of coal production is metallurgical, so we are more sensitive to the demand for steel than to the price of natural gas.

That demand is on an uptick, so there are 4 new mines planned for PA (2 in my county)[1]. But there was a similar spike in demand back in 2008, which didn't end up making much of an impact on employment. For example, PBS coals, whose headquarters I drive past every day, had ~600 employees in 2008 when they were bought by Severstal (a Russian steel company), who planned on adding ~150 more jobs.[2] In 2014 they were acquired by Corsa Coals (from Canada), who laid off about 130 miners in 2015.[3]

TLDR: no I don't think those jobs will return.

[1] http://www.coalage.com/news/latest/5510-4-new-met-mines-plan...

[2] http://www.redorbit.com/news/business/1531216/russian_steelm...

[3] http://triblive.com/business/headlines/7530395-74/mines-coal...

Trump was a master manipulator. He barely had a policy dirrction. Ironically it's conservatism that loses in the long run.

Be in no doubt that such missteps will form the hadokens by which conservatism's will be k.o ed by the libs.

Sure. All the KO's in the House[0] Senate[1] and gubernatorial[2] elections have them shaking in their boots.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_House_of_Represe...

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Senate_elections...

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_gubernatorial_el...

Have you seen the 2018 Senate elections map in particular?

> If Trump's draft executive order had said something like "permanent ban of all Muslims" then I have no doubts people would start protesting immediately.

1. It's not a draft, it's an issued order.

2. People did start protesting immediately.

> It's limited to seven countries.

Well, the initial 90-day ban in the order is. The order itself is much broader.

> The ban on entry from these countries is 30 days

90 days.

30 days is the timeline for the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security to decide on information that countries (not limited to those covered by the 90-day ban) must provide in the future in order for immigration to be allowed from their country.

> 3) After that point all countries on that list need to provide additional screening info in order for visas to be accepted.

No, all countries period must provide the additional information once it is determined what that information is, within 60 days of the rules being issued. A list of countries (again, not limited to those in the 90-day ban) will be maintained, and entry from those countries will be banned; the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security are to recommend countries based on non-compliance, but the order neither indicates that non-compliance will consistently result in inclusion on the banned list, or that the list will be restricted to non-compliant countries.

Let's see what happens in 30 days, then. My hopes are not high.

Also, if this really were just to reduce investigative burden, why not halt all refugees from all countries for 30 days?

> why not halt all refugees from all countries for 30 days?

Refugees from all countries have been halted for 120 days by the order. The refugee provisions are different than the general immigration ones.

It appears that they only want Muslims from countries that are either known state funders of terrorism or are being farmed for Cocaine.

There were protests last night in New York City: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/26/new-york-tru...

I'm afraid that even protests won't carry much weight against the tone-deaf bunch of corporate-funded cadre of bigoted politicians this electoral cycle has ushered into power on a narrow but fanatic power base. The first occasion for actually affecting matters will not arise before the next Congressional electoral cycle. The whole world is stuck with these people doing whatever meets their fancy for the next two years at least... and even then changing course will depend on the dejected silent majority somehow snapping out of their apathy and voting to say that enough is enough — that same silent majority whose apathy led to the fanatics getting their way a few months ago.

Needless to say, I'm not optimistic.

There are massive protests going on in Philadelphia right now, where President Trump and the entire Congress of Republicans are meeting to plan their strategy for the year.

It might be the largest street protest in Philadelphia's history.



There are fairly large and violent protests against Trump. His supporters are regularly attacked. This has been true ever since he was a serious candidate.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/riots-break-out-wash... http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/inauguration-2017/anti-trum... http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2016/08/hillary-supporters-c... https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/06/0...

In addition to violent (and some non-violent) protests, you also have direct action targeting his supporters. People who support Trump, or are mistakenly believed to support him, or just random passerby, are being assaulted (and in some cases, kidnapped or shot).

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/21/us/politics/richard-spenc... https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/04/facebook-liv... http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/crime/police-releas...

Do these things count as "anything that matters"?

I'm pretty sure Spencer got punched in the face because he's a Nazi.

As for the rest of it, it's a little hilarious to act like the non violent protests aren't the majority of activity. Just the Women's marches (which aren't just about Trump but are obviously responsive to his presidency) were more in number, both location wise and participation wise, than any violent actions that have happened. If you want to limit it to immigration protests, the non violent protests yesterday had higher participation than the totality of anti-Trump violence (http://dcist.com/2017/01/theres_a_rally_planned_at_white_hou... ).

Millions of people showed up to supposedly protest Trump, yet Hillary Clinton couldn't consistently rally even a thousand people without help from A-rank celebrities.

You can't just punch people in the face because they're Nazis. There's no way to do that that doesn't lead to an escalating violence cycle.

My comment is an analysis of the motivation for the punch not an analysis of punching as a tactic.

> You can't just punch people in the face because they're Nazis

Sure you can.

> Do these things count as "anything that matters"?

No. Those aren't protests, they're vigilantism.

of course you don't, political elite never represents common folks out there (that includes supposedly evil places like North Korea, Iran, Iraq etc.). americans are, by my personal experience great people.

america's loss, some other place gain (judging from OP description, he won't have big troubles getting someplace else).

to OP - don't worry, seeing where US us steadily going after 9/11, without any attempt to even slow down, there are much better places to live, if you value things like true freedom. as somebody coming from Iran, I would presume so...

I completely agree with you and expressed my best wishes and sympathy to OP - but I'd also like to take a moment to appreciate the irony of your username in this thread! :)

Try to come to Germany, lots of Iranian expats study and work here. There are a few very good CS programs aswell (TU Munich for example). Most Phd positions come with a salary of ~1700-3400€ a month and there are no significant tuition fees. You might need to do a two year master degree first though, those are usually not funded, but there are no tuition fees either. Courses on the Phd and Masters level are taught in English.

Here is a fully funded program: http://gradschool.cs.uni-saarland.de/

You get 800€ during your master and about twice that during your PhD. The institute is really good and there are two Max Planck Institutes (Informatics and Software Systems) right on campus. The program is entirely in English.

Google even has a location in Germany so if you were planning on getting a PHD in the US and then moving into working for Google most likely you could take the same kind of path in Germany but without the tremendous education debt.

Same in Switzerland. Check out ETHZ or EPFL.

A quick word of advice... I have seen firsthand people in similar logistical situations in the middle of the PhD (though not quite precipitated from such dire geopolitical circumstances). If your admission was based on a recommendation of a faculty at the same institute get in contact with them as they may have contacts in others countries looking for similar students. If they are senior faculty they may even have dual appointments at institutes outside of the US.

If there are no leads on those fronts, I suppose I can just wish you good luck. Germany and Canada come to mind. There is France too if you can speak French.

I know it wont' help, but as a US citizen, please accept my apologies for everything that you're going through due to these circumstances being set up by the new administration here. My wife is also an Iranian CS student and she's been here for the past few years. She's looking to go home to see her family for Nowruz, and we're not even sure if it's a good idea for her to do so, despite her being a greencard holder. I'm hoping for the best for her, for you, and for all of us.

I am deeply saddened to read this. I apologize, on behalf of the country.

Please know that the majority of people in the US do not support this policy. We want to see you reach your potential. We want to benefit from the talent you would bring.

Many of us will be working hard to fix this for the next several years.

I'm sorry I couldn't do more to prevent it from happening in the first place.

> Please know that the majority of people in the US do not support this policy.

This seems to be false:


In the poll, 54 percent of Americans, including about three-quarters of Republicans, about half of independents and over a third of Democrats, said the United States takes in too many immigrants from the Middle East.


Among all voters, 46% favor a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States, while 40% are opposed. Fourteen percent (14%) are undecided.

Why? Everyone should not get a visa. Country should have a right to decide whom they let in. I never heard anyone complaining when the rich got visa more easily than poor.

Countries should vet who they let in. They shouldn't blanket ban a country because of its leaders' policies, or else pretty soon US citizens won't be able to travel anywhere due to global disgust with Trump's bozocity.

I've heard lots of complaining about the ability of the rich to effectively buy visas.

As for why? Because this blanket ban is not useful, it violates the spirit of religious freedom, and it's going to cause a lot of real harm both to people who want to come here, and to our own country due to excluding people who will make us better.

As some have mentioned here, you have other options.

Iranian-Americans have been making serious, world-class [1][2][3][4], contribution to American society in a variety of fields. America's loss is some other nations' gain.

Just a small sample:

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ali_Javan

[2]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lotfi_A._Zadeh

[3]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nima_Arkani-Hamed

[4]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maryam_Mirzakhani

Meanwhile every single one of the 9/11 hijackers would be allowed by Trump to enter the USA.

Decent people in the world are simply more likely to boycott the US as a result of xenophobic "America First" actions like this[1]. As you said, it's the USA's loss; the world is a big place.

[1] On top of the already established bullshit, described in threads like this:


Thanks for those links. I never knew the person behind Fuzzy Sets, a topic highly relevant to the HN crowd. Lotfi Zadeh is one of the giants we stand on.

Foundations for the case you're trying to make are not very persuasive: 3 out of 4 people on this list seem to have moved during a much friendlier Shah's regime, before the 1979 revolution which turned Iran into a theocracy.

The character of the Iranian people is not based on politics du jour, or even religion for that matter. Our civilization has been around for a few thousands years and it speaks for itself.


Here are the words of one of our noted poets. He was a ("scary") Muslim, living in 13th century. This is what he had to say and this is our creed:

    Adam's sons are the members of the same body
    Their creation from the same clay
    Should one organ be troubled by pain
    Others would suffer severe strain
    You who are careless of people's suffering
    Deserve not the name, "human being"!
[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saadi_Shirazi

You wish to tell me that the character of people is not based on religion in a theocracy, where the ruler is literally called "Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution"?

Iran executes over 1000 people every year using very barbaric methods every year: https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2015/07/irans-stagger...

It does speak for itself that after thousands of years you ended up in one of the most backwards forms of government possible, though I'm not sure you realize the implications of what it speaks of.

There are various ways, my sweet little keyboard 'warrior' [1], to guage the character of a people.

You could visit the country and get a feel for the people. Or if are averse to it -- which in your valiant case can not possibly be due to a deficit of courage -- you can google for travelogues of people who have and see what they say. [2]

Or, you can take off your battle headdress and put on a scholarly cap, and reflect on whether cultural, intellectual, and spiritual values and artifacts passed faithfuly from one generation to another are in any way significant in determining the character of a people.

Or, you can pause a bit and wonder why the regime in Iran is called "authoritarian". If a regime reflects the true character of the governed, would it be called "authoritarian" or "representative"? As our president likes to remind the nation, "torture works". It sure does.

But I have to hand it to Iranians back in the old country, they haven't just rolled over and certainly don't need people like you to be prompted into protesting against the regime's outrages. But you know, Iran has its neanderthal subclasses just like we do here in good old USA.

(How do you like it, my little warrior, getting groped by TSA agents? You enjoy that? Do you feel filled with the spirit of "the free and the brave" when you censor yourself on social media so you won't get harrassed at the border? Yes?)

> It does speak for itself that after thousands of years you ended up in one of the most backwards forms of government possible, though I'm not sure you realize the implications of what it speaks of.

There is some truth to that! I was a kid myself then but people who should have known better made some critical and catastrophic errors in judgment back in '78. Propaganda works wonders.

But you know what my sweet little warrior, it also doesn't speak well of the nominal allies of the prior regime that worked hand-in-hand behind the scene with the elements that are now ruling over the Iranian people.

And there is this thing about civilizational ebb and flow but get back to me in a thousand years or so and we'll compare notes!

[1]: per your profile: "As battle approaches, decorum departs."

[2]: here, let me google it for you: https://encrypted.google.com/search?hl=en&q=visit%20to%20Ira...

> (How do you like it, my little warrior, getting groped by TSA agents? You enjoy that? Do you feel filled with the spirit of "the free and the brave" when you censor yourself on social media so you won't get harrassed at the border? Yes?)

Sorry to disappoint, I have never been groped by the TSA agents. Probably has something to do with the fact that I'm Russian and my travels to the US were strictly business, sponsored by a respected company.

That is also why I know a thing or two about authoritarianism and people that allow it, all the while suffering it's oppression.

> And there is this thing about civilizational ebb and flow but get back to me in a thousand years or so and we'll compare notes!

I'm back to you and we can start now since my country's been around for more than a thousand years. We both mainly export oil, we both live in countries under sanctions by the United States.

Mine is an authoritarian shithole, yours is even worse, and it shows right here - you resorting to ad hominems like "little keyboard warrior".

That about sums it up.

It hurts so much to read stories like this, where politics stands in the way of education, especially when the university already approved.

Have you thought about coming to Germany? Not the US, but not bad either..


I'm an immigrant too - I've been here 9 years, but now I'm getting out.

Canada, Australia and New Zealand are viable options for me, and I've already been invited by 2 of these countries.

Don't be disheartened. You're smart (you got a fully funded PhD), and the world is very big, with many opportunities. Good luck!

I want to second this. I also had a Ph.D. full fund in the USA but I went to Sweden, and why? Well in that time I had an opportunity to work and fund an start up and boy I am so lucky to find my supervisor in Sweden (over a simple phone call).

Compared to the USA, universities in Sweden, offer far more support to for patents and starting your startups. You essentially get all the support and university won't own your work.

You may think what happened to you is bad (and it is) but sometimes it turns to a new and better opportunity.

Come check Toronto. Very immigrant-rich city, very welcoming and very multicultural.

The winters sometimes suck, but I find that brings us all together because nobody likes -10C.

I can't say much more than I'm sorry.

Remember: Donald Trump does not represent the will of the American people. He won the electoral college, but around 2.8 million more people voted for Clinton than voted for him. He does not represent our values, our morals, or our view of where the country should be going. He represents those straight white males who don't want to adapt to the future, who don't want to give up their power, and who don't recognize that America can only be successful when we help the world be successful.

I'll be honest, I think Trump is going to cost universities, labs, and businesses a lot of very smart people. I hope we'll be able to recover from the damage he's going to do, but I honestly don't know just how bad it will get.

Trump very clearly represents the will of an immense number of people and may represent the will of the majority of Americans in fact. For both Clinton and Trump that representation is far beyond those that actually voted. Clinton's camp will be the first to tell you that supposedly a lot of her supporters didn't vote in the election.

You say Trump represents straight white males (you imply that's all he represents). Trump won the vote of 53% of white women.

Trump won the popular vote in 30 of the 50 states. The popular vote in just two states - NY & CA, neither of which Trump could have ever competed in - determined that popular vote gap.

The facts don't support your premise at all.

The only relevant fact here is that millions more people voted against Trump than for him. The top reason people voted for Trump wasn't to support him or his policies, it was that he wasn't Clinton (http://www.people-press.org/2016/09/21/in-their-own-words-wh...). His approval rating is below 50% (http://www.gallup.com/poll/201617/gallup-daily-trump-job-app...). Trump doesn't represent the majority in any sense of the word.

That's a good way to sweep data like this under the rug:

(Left percent is Clinton, Right percent is Trump)

White men 31% 63%

White women 43 53

White women college graduates 51 45

White women non-college graduates 34 62

White men college graduates 39 54

White men non-college graduates 23 72


Like it or not, the fact of the matter is that claiming that only white men supported Trump is incorrect. Going further and trying to dodge the point by claiming that only numbers matter is reductionist and doesn't address the kaleidoscopic issues that a diverse socio-economic-regional population has.

Do you know any interview or documentary of talking to samples of these populations? I wonder very much what they think. The interviews so far for me personally were showing that they are "morally deaf", but I am sure that this is not all the story (I probably living in my bubble).

I can't suggest an interview or documentary, but if you want to keep tabs on how conservatives/republicans/midwesterners etc. think, I highly recommend reading this blog:


Glenn Reynolds and his cadre of right leaning bloggers have a decent finger on the pulse of conservatives in general.

I try to read from as many opinions as possible from different sides. You'd be surprised how different the world is from another's eyes.

Pardon the generalization here, but I know a lot of "non-college people" who support things like Trump and Brexit and would like to offer up an interpretation as to what many of them are thinking. Bear in mind they skew a bit older as well so they've seen a lot change.

If you're a college educated person and/or a tech person and you live in a big coastal city the past few decades have probably been pretty great, these cities have boomed, there are all these new industries that have sprung up, they've produced great jobs, you are smart and you work hard, same as the people around you, and everyone has gotten more conscious about big picture issues like the environment, gender equality and multiculturalism.

If you are non college educated, you don't live in one of these booming cities (or you live in a shitty part of town), and you haven't gotten involved in the new economy the picture may be very different. A lot of people in this category have witnessed the decimation of the manufacturing base and the communities around it. They've watched meth sweep over the country and ruin lives. They've dealt firsthand with the ramifications of teen pregnancies, broken homes, perpetual joblessness. All problems which affect "non college" people much more than they affect those with college degrees and stable white collar jobs.

So a lot of these people have seen the world get worse, not better. Their focus is on stability in their personal lives and it's getting harder. When you take that as a given and you start talking about issues of morality and idealism they might even get offended - what makes you so great that you spend your time worrying about this stuff instead of the practical concerns of keeping your job, covering rent and food, and staying away from shit that'll ruin your life (booze, drugs, bad people, whatever)?

They have no idea what to do other than vote for someone who at least sounds like them and sounds like he wants to help. That definitely wasn't Hillary. It wasn't Obama or McCain or Romney either but when Trump came on the scene they perked up and they went to the polls. And in fairness if he ends up doing stuff like building oil pipelines and cutting funding to the EPA, then he's creating jobs they can do and giving the finger to the comfortable asshole academics who've never had to worry about these problems.

They are not morally deaf IMO. They just have more immediate problems to worry about in their lives (or perhaps did at some point and still maintain those attitudes).

The difficult but clear solution in my eyes is to help them get what they deserve as fellow citizens, and which "college people" have, which is jobs, safe neighborhoods, and stable lives.

According to you, the people outside these booming cities suffer from drug and alcohol addiction, failure to use birth control, failure to build healthy stable relationships and joblessness. (Strangely, the illegals Trump wants to deport don't seem to have trouble finding a job - weird how looking for a job and accepting one when found solves that problem.)

These people are morally deaf. They want to blame others their choice not to work, their choice to do drugs, their choice not to use a condom. Trump isn't proposing to fix the problem of people making bad choices. He's just telling these people that he's one of them and he blames others for their choices.

(Note: the same critique applies to many solid-blue subgroups, including groups who's inherent virtue is treated as a sacred cow within Blue America. I am explicitly NOT claiming Trump voters are somehow uniquely bad in this way.)

What do you think of the articles that have been posted to HN about how people make worse decisions when they're under financial stress?

I think it's true and can explain behavior that is both self-destructive and selfish. To solve the problem you have to figure out how someone like that can get themselves out of the vicious cycle. Even if they are morally deaf I don't think much gets accomplished by focusing on that point.

Add to this the fact that certain behavioral strategies may seem self-destructive from one perspective but necessary from another. Drug use for example has nasty consequences but is frequently a mechanism for coping with some other very nasty problem. And you have... well, I don't know what, but a complicated world.

I am not saying Trump supporters are all jobless drug addicts but I absolutely think lower education, lower income demographics swung toward him because they have more direct experience with the dark side of modernization and the political establishment was tone deaf to this.

(Also, of the factors I mentioned I think the lack of college degree is the one most heavily correlated to lower income, lower employment, higher addiction, higher unintended pregnancy etc. not which city they're in.)

What do you think of the articles that have been posted to HN about how people make worse decisions when they're under financial stress?

I think they fail to explain the majority of the behavioral differences. Specifically, they fail to explain:

1) why the children of upper class parents do not start behaving like poor people when they are broke (e.g. during college or grad school).

2) why Mexicans make good choices like sneaking into America, working hard, forming stable family units and saving money.

3) why Indians make the same good choices even when they don't have the option of sneaking into America.

4) why unskilled Chinese immigrants (or folks back home) make the same good choices.

The Indian and Chinese ones are easy to explain - you get the best of those countries. Those countries in turn have suffered from brain drain for the past several decades.

You seem to be suggesting humans have an intrinsic quality - some are the "best", others are the presumably the worst. This intrinsic quality is then what drives behavior.

Of course, if people internationally can be "the best", then perhaps domestically people can be "the best" (or not) as well. For example, perhaps bad inner cities and Trump-voting rust belt regions are full of people who are very much NOT the best.

I think you're agreeing with me.

Your conclusion does not logically follow. Sure, some people may not be "the best", but that does not mean that an entire group of people (your "bad inner cities and Trump-voting rust belt regions") can be grouped into best or not-best. There will be a ranking of people (based on any criteria) in any region.

A charitable interpretation of both my comment and the comment I'm replying to is that the groups we are describing have a higher/lower proportion of people who are "the best" and "the worst".

Well 1) is easy to explain: children of upper class parents get supported financially; they also have a social safety net, so if they are out of work, their social circle will help them get one.

I'd say this is deeply unfair to people living in communities decimated by meth just as I would say it's deeply unfair to people living in inner cities. This is not to say that drugs alone are the problem, but that there are a multitude of factors creating an ugly feedback system.

Words are difficult to convey this sort of thing so I'm going to do my best:

1) The primary source of jobs in the region leaves due to macro issues that have nothing to do with the population. Since people have bought homes, their capital is fixed and they can't move. (Societal networks exacerbate this) 2) and 3) make leaving even harder.

2) Loss of jobs and no other options lead to deeply depressing situation. People turn to drugs in order to escape the crushing hopelessness. This feedbacks into 1) by making investment unattractive (which then feedbacks into 2)).

3) War on Drugs means that families get broken up as people inevitably get arrested and sent away for ages. Crime rate goes up. Feeds into 1) and 2).

Note that is vastly simplified and that the problem can begin anywhere on this three point system. As such the culture of the area transforms to reflect this new reality. When you are born into this kind of system and this is all you know, the chance of escape diminishes rapidly. I remember reading "The Corner" and how black males growing up in Baltimore had accepted that they would be dead by 20 and that having a kid was the only way that they were likely to have any kind of legacy. I don't know if it's easy to appreciate how haunting that must be.

I mean to some extent you are right. We all should be moral superpeople and be able to withstand every test of character than comes our way. Frankly though we are not all built that way and that's just reality. People are going to falter and people are going to fall into a morass and not get back up. Whipping them with their failings is not going to get results from everyone. Everyone needs different things. And some people just can't overcome their circumstances.

It kind of reminds me of the Ouroboros: where one thing ends and the other thing begins is unclear and possibly impossible to discern.

Your reasoning fails at (1). The money spent purchasing a home is sunk cost. It's gone. It's never coming back.


Furthermore, I claim it does not require us to be "moral superpeople" to get past this situation. There are many populations with vastly worse problems than (1) who don't turn to drugs, unplanned pregnancy, abandoning their wives and refusing to work. For example, the population of rural Mexico.

In fact, it's this tendency for rural Mexicans to be "moral superpeople" that created one of Trump's key platforms. Mexicans are willing to move, abandon their societal networks, find a job and work it. Isn't this why Trump wants to build a wall?

You realize that the sunk cost fallacy proves what I'm trying to say? Most people really struggle with that sort of thing. It's one of the reasons why behavioral economics has taken off in recent history. People are not perfect actors.

Of course there are people with problems who don't turn to drugs that are also poor. The point I'm trying to make is that saying the best and only solution isn't necessarily to say that people are lazy and that they need to shape up. Or build a wall for that matter.

It's also worth noting that the reasons why Mexicans can move and abandon their societal networks is because of the strength of the dollar versus the peso, the cost of living they are willing to put up with, and the work they are willing to do. Where is an American going to go that gets a similar instant upgrade in purchasing power? What about the societal reality that people in America are not willing to do backbreaking labor like picking fruit?

And who says rural Mexicans have it any better?


...the cost of living they are willing to put up with, and the work they are willing to do...people in America are not willing to do backbreaking labor like picking fruit?

Yes, Mexicans are willing to do what it takes, while many Trump voters prefer to sit at home refusing to work and doing meth.

I was making the following core points: 1) the Trump voters apatters was defending suffer mainly from self-inflicted problems and b) Trump is exploiting their desire to blame others for their own bad choices in order to take power.

You haven't disagreed with me at all on this point. All you've said is that this behavior is somewhat predictable. I agree, it can be predicted. So what?

Some Mexicans are willing to do what it takes. Don't overgeneralize. It's not like the entire population of Mexico is in the US right now. Races and nationalities are not homogeneous.

Is there a segment of the population blaming others for their problems? Yes.

Are they totally wrong? No. They're not entirely right but they aren't entirely wrong.

Is it all self inflicted problems? Hell no. There is no way I would argue that. It is simply factually incorrect. People working in the auto factories with a high school education aren't responsible when the price of steel craters. Assuming that everyone has to go college is a tenant of faith that needs to change.

Characterizing a significant portion Trump voters as lazy meth heads is an incredible generalization. From a sheer numbers perspective I don't doubt it's sizable, but that would be in the sense that 100k is a large number. I think people want to work. I don't think people know where to look or what to do.

Is Trump exploiting these people to gain power?

As far as I can tell, in the usual way that politicians do things. Whether or not Trump can solve their problems is not something I feel I can predict. That's not to say I think Trump will be some kind of economic Jesus. I mainly feel that the future is incredibly difficult to predict and usually it's the result that no one expects that ends up being true.

To answer the last question (can he solve) the answer is probably no. Simply because he has no skills in negotiating Washington whatsoever. Its only been a few days but so far its all "sign anything put in front of him". Having no plan except to win the Presidency, and that's been accomplished, I think he's running on fumes.

If a former autoworker refuses to move to where the jobs are, and refuses to work in landscaping/elder care/other field that isn't dying, their plight is their fault.

It seems like the thrust of your comments in this thread is that some people are better than others. That is to say they are more moral, more intelligent, harder working, or whatever else.

Fair enough. What conclusion -- be it a policy decision, social structure, general attitude toward the world or whatever else -- does this line of thinking lead you to?

As it relates to this conversation, we should recognize that this invalidates the concerns you raised in this comment: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13490323

Specifically, those people are morally deaf, and we should recognize that their immediate problems are their own fault. The difficult but clear solution is for them to fix their own problems, and the rest of us should feel no particular obligation to take any action to help them (particularly if they are unwilling to help themselves).

> Yes, Mexicans are willing to do what it takes

Textbook case of: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Survivorship_bias

Lots of self centered emotionally driven actions and decisions most often leads to counter productive results though, so I don't know you can justify someone making things worse as not being his fault.

I also think you are speaking for other people with whom you seem to have no connection too. Maybe you think they're just voting for Trump, because they like his promess of bringing jobs back, or maybe, they're voting for him cause they want Iranians out of their country based on pure racism.

I have read that most Trump voters make around the median income and aren't poor.

And a lot of them voted for Obama twice and then trump.

This guy drove through the Southeast and talked to a bunch of Trump supporters: http://www.the-american-interest.com/2016/08/02/listening-to...

Thanks, now I want to replace my bubble with a bulletproof west.

While the other sibling comments showed the voting data, it need to be added that the top reason people voted for either candidate was that their candidate weren't the other candidate. Two of the three slogans of the Clinton campaign reflected this with "I'm With Her (and not with him)" and "Love Trumps Hate".

For approval ratings, the same goes. Both candidates had the worst approval rating of any candidate in US history. A rather clear message that neither of the two dominating political parties in the US represent the people.

>he only relevant fact here is that millions more people voted against Trump than for him.

No. We did not have a popular vote.

OP's premise was in part that only straight white males supported him. The fact is, the majority of white women supported him as well. So OP was wrong on a very, very big part of the premise being floated.

Trump's approval is 57%


The notion that it's useful to pretend Trump represents a tiny group of supporters, for personal emotional comfort over facts, isn't going to be useful in actually trying to counter bad policy. Step one is recognizing that Trump has a very large base that put him into the White House. That he only lost the popular vote by 2.8 million (2.x% of all votes) with California and New York included, is astounding and points to just how large his actual base is. Not to mention the fact that Hillary didn't manage to pull a majority of votes, versus eg Obama's 51.1% in 2012, Obama's 53% in 2008, and Bush's 50.7% in 2004.

Across multiple poll providers, his approval -7.2[1] (although this hasn't updated with the latest Rasmussen poll). Rasmussen is the only provider that has him in positive territory.

Interestingly, Fox gives him the second worst result (only ABC/WashPost gives him worse)

[1] http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/trump_favorabl...

First, there is no real way to measure "the will of the majority" except through votes cast and, to a lesser extent, through polls. The majority of votes were cast for Clinton, not Trump. That's a clear fact. The polls are also clear that Trump had lower approval ratings than past presidents, and his disapproval ratings were far higher than any other president when they came into office. This is also a fact.

We can, of course, argue with who Trump represents, because depending on who we are, his words and his actions are going to be interpreted differently. My interpretation is that he represents straight white men. More specifically, wealthy straight, white, men.

New York and California make up over 18% of the population. Those citizens are absolutely just as important as citizens of any other state when it comes to discussing the popular vote. While Trump might have won the popular vote in 30 states, that does nothing to diminish the fact that Clinton won the popular vote by close to 2.8 million votes.

While I'll admit that some of what I said can be considered opinion, the other parts of what I said are VERY clearly supported by fact.

The NY/CA popular vote gap argument makes no sense. If you ignore the votes of the 38 million people living in states which supported Trump the most, to balance the votes of the 38 million people living in California, you get the same result -- Trump loses the popular vote.

It's so ridiculous. Guess what, if you ignore 58.5 million people's worth of red states, then Clinton would have won the election!

It's not only ridiculous, it's rather offensive. It pretty directly implies that Californians and New Yorkers should somehow count less, and more indirectly implies that Democrats aren't worthy Americans the way that people in flyover country are.

Still, a thin majority is the most pathetic kind of mandate.

This counts for everybody by the way, I lean left but am not particularly enamored with the approach the Democratic Party takes to governance.

I agree with most of what you said, but I don't see why you had to bring sexuality and ethnic background into it. I myself don't fit into the group that you specified, but I can still see that it is a stupid classification. Our opinions and beliefs are not reliant on what group we are categorised into.

Edit: I'm not a trump supporter.

He didn't just say "straight, white males." He said "He represents those straight white males who don't want to adapt to the future, who don't want to give up their power, and who don't recognize that America can only be successful when we help the world be successful."

In short, read the entire statement, not just three words.

(Also very much not a Trump supporter)

I too think this language is a little divisive, even if it's mostly accurate. Plenty of straight white women voted for Trump too, and more than enough non-whites, sadly. Maybe a better way to phrase it would be:

"He represents those people who don't want straight white males to give up their power"

> I'll be honest, I think Trump is going to cost universities, labs, and businesses a lot of very smart people

This is absolutely terrible for the OP, but is there really a shortage of smart and skilled people? Given the low pay for many scientific positions and notoriously awful conditions for postgrads and the like working in labs, I have my doubts. Maybe the upside is that with the tap of smart people turned down a little, conditions will improve for the people who are left.

>is there really a shortage of smart and skilled people?

Hell yes, and there always will be, for the right values of "smart" and "skilled".

>Given the low pay for many scientific positions... etc

The sad fact is that the low pay you mention causes so many really smart people to turn away from science as a career.

>Maybe the upside is that with the tap of smart people turned down a little, conditions will improve for the people who are left.

If you turn down the tap for the smart people going into science and non-zero-sum businesses (like stock trading etc), I am certain the conditions "for people who are left" will become worse than they would have been. Absolutely certain.

If there is a shortage, then why aren't they paid more highly and treated better?

Because if you want to actually do science it doesn't really produce profit, it produces knowledge and results which someone else may use for profit decades or centuries later and the idea of "shortages" or "supply" or "demand" are all ideas that come from the market which is not relevant here.

There's high pay for brilliant scientists who want to work on weapons manufacturing or oil drilling or high frequency trading or building scalable advertising platforms but not for doing actual science.

Then it sounds like we should be fixing the funding issue, not importing cheap labor to work in bad conditions.

Nevertheless, BLS statistics tell a different story.


For most Ph.D.’s, the United States has a surplus of workers, especially in tenure-track positions in academia. The exceptions are certain fields within industry, such as petroleum engineering, process engineering, and computer engineering, and other fields in the government sector, such as nuclear engineering, materials science, and thermohydraulic engineering. Academia tends to absorb the Ph.D.’s who are unable to find positions in industry into postdoc positions. At the bachelor’s and master’s levels, there is consistent demand for employees in software development, as well as in high-growth areas such as mobile application development, data science, and petroleum engineering.

Generally speaking, there is a large surplus of science graduates, and many cannot find a job in their field and are looking to transition into other fields like software development.

You're just trolling this guy. Science knowledge is not transferable. I cannot make a rocket scientist do high energy particle physics research. If there is no demand for rocket scientist then his wage would be low.

How hard is that to understand?

Your post is racist, sexist, and factually wrong. Trump represents a repressed ideological view that has failed to be directly engaged, instead preferring othering and slander, as you demonstrated here.

The left-wing in the US is going to continue to lose elections as long as they prefer slander to understanding why people disagree with them and why their racist and sexist platform is falling out of favor.

I am for a lot of progressive policies, but the Democrats jumped the shark in to advocating bigotry, slander, and nonsense.

Recent example: 1 in 10 posters I saw at the women's march was outright sexist, yet 3 in 10 posters were bemoaning the "sexism" of other people for having similar numbers at their marches. Remove the plank from your own eye, etc etc.

Ed: I would genuinely enjoy someone explaining how dismissing the right-wing as sexist is any different than dismissing all of feminism as sexist because there exist sexist feminists.

"I would genuinely enjoy someone explaining how dismissing the right-wing as sexist is any different than dismissing all of feminism as sexist because there exist sexist feminists."

You just said OP is demonstrating othering and slander and then you expect intellectual honesty? And then you get ferociously downvoted? I think you're better off spending time with the following writer than expecting a serious response to your question.

"Conservatives have made incredible hay out of the perception that liberals sneer at people who don’t live in coastal enclaves. These arguments accept that frame even as they dispute its conclusions, which is not a good argumentative strategy. Additionally, many of these tweets have replies sneering at “rednecks.” Why are you doing that? What is the political value? Aren’t you trying to win elections precisely in the places where these statements would appear most insulting? This is the unfortunate reality: neither the Electoral College nor the Senate are going anywhere anytime soon. They are facts of life. You can refuse to do what’s necessary to win back power in a country structurally designed to make red states disproportionately powerful while Republicans set about implementing an agenda. Or you can develop a strategic political discourse that demonstrates a sensible attitude towards how you frame your appeals. I get it: these aren’t campaign slogans or TV ads for Democrats. But the communal rhetoric of an ideology matters. The day-to-day messaging of the members of a political party matters. What exactly is the political advantage that you think you’re getting from talking like this?"


"His point is pretty simple: as political segregation increases, with people from dramatically different political camps less and less likely to interact, the really bitter political arguments are intra-group, not inter-group. That is, the battles that are most personal and toxic stop being Democrat-Republican but left-liberal, alt-trad, insurgents-establishment.

Alexander names a few indicative examples. Online atheism is a really good one, with battles within atheists of different dispositions being far more frequent and ugly than those between atheists and believers, precisely because the latter groups interact so rarely. Primary season 2016 was the ur-example. The actual presidential campaign was ugly in many ways. But the Sanders vs. Clinton and alt-right vs. establishment GOP fights were more personal, more tiring, more toxic. The perpetual tendency of Clinton partisans to say that Sanders supporters are “just as bad” as the alt-right – a Nazi-influenced far right extremist group, mind you – exemplifies this tendency. Fargroups are further away politically than neargroups, but they don’t live in our shared social and professional spaces while neargroups do, and so they don’t inspire quite the same kind of personal animus."


Not particularly in favor of either side, but are you seriously implying that responding to a claim that you apparently think is obviously wrong would be harder than doing what you just did? That doesn't inspire much confidence.

Who said I thought he was obviously wrong? The point I was trying to make is that the likelihood of him getting the response that he was looking for from this audience is unlikely. Which is why I pointed him towards an audience/speaker that he might not know about that would be more in his line.

Fredrik deBoer is a liberal writer who is also deeply dissatisfied with the current status of liberal thought. I thought that the person above me would enjoy someone who holds similar beliefs but is unhappy with how those beliefs are being communicated with people in general.

For the record, I didn't expect a serious reply here. But I also refuse to shut up because my views are unpopular (in some crowds) or they'll take away my internet points. People live and die because of these topics -- they're serious.

That said, I appreciate the referral. I'm going to give some of his stuff a read.

The situation is deplorable. I would suggest applying to Canada (as others have suggested), Machine Learning seems to be quite strong there. Otherwise, many of the application processes are still open in many European universities (if I recall from my time applying to grad school, ETH deadline as well as other continental universities are due sometime during Spring).

Edit: typos

I am sympathetic to your plight. Why not do as the article suggests and apply to Australia or Canada for your studies? Not sure of the availability of funded PhD research programmes here (Australia), but it may yield quicker results at the moment.

Dublin Ireland (English speaking) has 2 top 200 universities. University College Dublin and Trinity College Dublin (also called University of Dublin). With a student visa you can work in a job 20 hrs a week, 40 hrs in the summer. Funding will be hard enough for PhD, a fair number of people do Masters. USA software companies employ many people in Dublin (for when you finish/get a full work visa). USA software companies are in Dublin for tax reasons. If you (about 5 years if you are lucky) later get Irish citizenship you can work anywhere in the EU (European Union). Dublin does not compete favourably with top US destinations, but competes favourably with USA destinations outside the top 5 softare cities (and other European cities) marginal top rate income tax taxation pretty high, accommodation cost high. Toleration of other nationalities pretty good except for a small 'immigrants stealing our jobs' minority, immigration pretty recent (due to economic boom 1998 to 2008), generally from new in 2004 EU states (Poland, Latvia, Lithuania as no visa now required) and from India for software engineers.

What is your take on Ireland's situation should the UK race you to the bottom on being a location that provides a tax advantage?

Try to create a group of people in a predicament like yours and start contacting Universities in Canada and talk to them about what can they do for you.

This might sound like a crazy idea, but why not try applying to a few Israeli universities: Tel Aviv University, Weizmann Institute, Hebrew University and Technion are considered to pretty top notch for Computer science and have a few Turing award winners. You'd be surprised that Israeli academics tend to be very welcoming of students from all over the world.

Israeli society, however, is increasingly less and less tolerant of non-Jews. For example: http://www.timesofisrael.com/chief-rabbi-non-jews-shouldnt-b...

But an even bigger problem is going to be the Iranian government, which is really not keen on Iranians consorting with the Zionist entity. Even if the OP by some miracle managed to pull this off, they would run a very real risk of ending up in prison as a suspected Israeli spy.

Haha wow. Have you ever even been to Israel? Some of the most welcoming and loving people I've ever met. Sure, I'm Jewish, but I've also seen many average Israelis talk about their love for all and desire for peace. There are extremists in every community.

My Mexican friend visited with my fiancé (who is Jewish) and was detained, and then subsequently released over 6 times in a two week period without any warning, being questioned "are you Palestinian? Are you Muslim? What are you doing here?"

I don't think the point is about the citizens themselves, it's about how they normalize this kind of behavior by their police / government.

Unfortunately that's what happens when your state is under constant threat. Yes, the IDF and Israeli security forces do use profiling and I'm not saying I'm a fan. But they are the best in the world. They're very good at extracting information.

I don't agree with that kind of behavior either frankly, but it's a wonder the country is as safe as it is under constant threat. It's kind of a no-win situation for them. If they don't do that and are overcautious, they get attacked more. If they do, they get attacked for doing it.

I'm sorry for what happened to your Mexican friend and I hope he receives better treatment in the future.

>They're very good at extracting information.

That's a very nasty way of trivializing the use torture. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.757404

Methods like that do in no way help with any of the two sides getting closer to each other, they only serve to radicalize both sides even more.

Sure, I agree with you.

That is not without danger, I believe. Having Israeli stamps in your Iranien passport...

Wrong. Israel will stamp a separate piece of paper to leave in your passport during your visit for exactly this reason.

Having records of a their Israeli degree all over the internet is probably a bigger problem for somebody intending to return to Iran at some point in the near future, even if only just to visit.

Iranian government has spies everywhere and keeps pretty comprehensive lists of citizens they don't like and will harass them and throw them in prison, or executive them, on a whim when they try to re-enter.

Please take a look at Australia (lots of Iranian PhDs going to unis in Melbourne; great CS programs in Sydney too), or Canada, where your skills will not only be appreciated but you will have a clear path to permanent residency based on your education and skills.

I'm Iranian, but born in the US, work in immigration and can connect you with excellent people (Iranian too) in Australia who can help you walk through all of this.

Even if you get into the US for your PhD program, you face a tangled web to actually achieve a green card, and that was before Trump.

Sallam throwaway jaan :)

Don't let this hold you back or defer your plans. As a former PhD student in the U.S, I can tell you that you have plenty of options in Canada and Europe. Some of my best professors studied in these areas.

Moafagh baash!

Universities ought to offer deferred admission to international admits from countries on the list.

We ought to demand it.

Deferred until when, exactly? A year? 4 years? 8?

It is unfair to expect the students to put their lives on hold indefinitely. I say they should pursue their education in places that welcome them like Canada or Germany.

A year would be a start

Europe still has some of the best universities and allowance programs :)

Well, Europe has Oxford and Cambridge and?

Continental Europe tends towards having many "good" institutions at the expense of not having the extreme stand-outs like Stanford, MIT, or Harvard. There are also departments within universities which are excellent and well-known in their fields without being as well-known by the general public, as well as research institutes separate from universities, like the Max-Planck societies or EMBL.

Overall, I'd say the model makes it harder for something like Google to be created in Europe, but it makes it easier to get an education that will get you a job at Google.

The UK alone also has places like Imperial College, UCL, Warwick and Manchester, with top-notch CS departments. In Scotland alone there's Glasgow (birthplace of the Glasgow Haskell Compiler) and Edinburgh (birthplace of Prolog).

As another commenter noted, mainland Europe tends to spread their academic resources rather than focusing on a few prestige sites like Oxford and Cambridge, but there are many fantastic CS departments. I don't know the current hot areas, but when I was a researcher in the early 2000s, there was lots of Haskell activity in Chalmers and TU Berlin.

Don't worry, Australia, Germany and France would love to help you out (and Canada as mentioned). My mother was admitted to a US university in the 1950s but decided to go to Australia instead. (Good for me since I was born!)

Also even if you got here, depending on where that uni is located, your problems would either be over or just getting worse. E.g. there are periodic waves of violence against foreign students (Japanese in the 80s/90s; Middle East and Sikhs (??) in 00s and 10s) in certain states.

Things do change. When we first came to the US we landed in D.C. and drove north to find a hotel. My parents would not have been allowed to stay in the same hotel in Virgina. But now I live in the States and don't worry about that. I worry about other things but do believe that things will change for the better. This reaction is the last gasp of the old people.

In Europe, there are many excellent universities and many countries with visas for phd students. Just come to Europe. Once your phd is bagged, the US will have another president, and you can go there (unless you like Europe too much by then).

I would bet you will still be able to attend soon. If you read the draft of the executive order you'd see that it is a temporary ban until they can start the improved vetting process. Your hopes should be way higher!

I'm sorry to hear about that, and as unfair as it is, if it's your dream, there are other options worth exploring. If you can get a PhD position at almost any EU university, it is always fully funded (and in fact paid). Many countries (the Netherlands as an example) have almost all CS PhD programs in English, so language wouldn't even be an issue - and there are plenty of Iranian students who are welcomed here.

Come to Australia, we need you!

Ironically I am in a similar situation too, I am last year bachelor student, I have found a professor and laboratory to work in one of the universities in the United States, and I was going to apply for Fall 2018. Now from what I can see I should forget about the US.

And my field was System Software (I am particularly in love with Operating System Security).

My deepest apologies to you for the mindless horror that has taken hold of this country. Best of luck, brother.

You have options, lots of it. Look to Canada and Holland. They have fine programs too.

As many others have said: come to Canada! We would love to welcome you here.

I encourage you to consider EPFL or ETH in Switzerland. Both are top-level universities in CS, where Iranians are welcome. The next deadline to apply to EPFL Phd school (EDIC) is in April. I wish you the best!

Seven months? What does this have to do with Trump?

I'm so sorry :(

Trump is ostensibly using the 9/11 play card to justify banning few muslim countries [0]. This is obviously a lie, since most of 911 hijackers were Saudis and his executive order is not banning the Saudis. I'm guessing on the strength of the Saudi lobby in DC [1] AND/OR Trump's potential business conflict in Saudi Arabia [2].

[0] https://www.scribd.com/document/337545704/Draft-Executive-Or...

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saudi_Arabia_lobby_in_the_Unit...

[2] http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/01/donald-t...

It's a bit more interesting wrt. most 9/11 hijackers being Saudis: I think it's pretty much confirmed at this point that it was a deliberate choice by al Qaida, attempting to deteriorate US-Saudi relations.

But as long as Saudis are omitted from this regulation, it's pretty ineffective. Then again, how much of "terrorism legislation" is actually preventing terrorism, as opposed to extending the powers of police and prosecution, or just being populist "I'm doing something"?

>It's a bit more interesting wrt. most 9/11 hijackers being Saudis: I think it's pretty much confirmed at this point that it was a deliberate choice by al Qaida, attempting to deteriorate US-Saudi relations.

Saudis have a looooong history of funding all kinds of terrorist groups across the whole muslim world.

Sure. They basically created and funded al Qaida in the 1980s to counter the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Then bin Laden came back to Saudi Arabia and offered to help against Saddam when he invaded Kuwait, and the Saudis told him to go away. After that they became more enemies than friends, but with the weird twist that the Saudi government wants to appear ideologically relatively aligned with al Qaida, such that al Qaida has little support for overthrowing the house of Saud.

It's not just Qaida though, they sponsor all kinds of Sunni extremists all over the globe.

Regardless of the hijackers motives, Saudi Arabia is by far the worst country when it comes to exporting and supporting terror. Iran is an island of sanity by comparison, and there are no Shia terrorist organizations nowadays (Hezbollah are not terrorists - they don't blow up random civilians).

I suppose Rafic Hariri isn't "random" as he was after all Lebanon's democratically elect Prime Minister when Hezbollah assassinated him, but how about the 21 people who also died in that bombing?

I personally know a man who lost his wife (mother of their 3 kids) when Hezbollah bombed the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires. 85 civilians were killed, but then again mostly Jewish so not exactly "random" either.

It always amazes me how many Western activists approach the world like a Hollywood movie. If Saudis are bad, and Trump is bad, then obviously their Shia rivals must be good!

That is true but 21 to thousands that just die in Yemen or by Isis is not even considerable. I think we should compare them and not going to say that one is not bad at all. They are both are fundamentally against human freedom and liberal ideas, but one is so far worst.

Although I think if only west could stop buying their oils then they both will suffocate. There is not a single country with rich oil in the Middle-east that uses the money from oil for their people. They all have first and second class citizens.

Saeed Malekpour is still in prison, that alone for me makes Iran a no-go country. http://thenextweb.com/me/2012/01/19/death-sentence-for-irani...

Iran is horrible. It's a nightmare to live but it's much much better than Saudi

As an Iranian, I have to say it's mostly boring. This article, originally written about Malaysia, hits close to home:


What you hear in the news about Iran is not its everyday life. Imagine if you lived in a country where the only news you saw in the media about the US was violence and police brutality and just all the bad stuff. How would you have imagined it would be like to do something mundane, for example go down the street to buy some milk? You would have imagined that you would get mugged for sure, maybe shot during mugging, then tased by the police that decided to arrest you when you called 911 for an ambulance, and handed a million dollar bill for the hospital stay, and then you have to spend the next 30 years in a for-profit prison as a slave getting constantly sexually assaulted.

The interesting thing is Iranian media portrays the US in the same caricaturistic ‎manner that the US media portrays Iran. My family were legitimately concerned about my safety when I announced my intention to go to Texas for a PhD. Probably as worried as you would be if you had to move to Iran.

(I ended up going to Canada instead, so it's all good.)

I completely understand your point. It is boring and OK for average citizens but when we talk about states like Iran and Saudi, the context is more about your rights if you speak up against the governments, are some kind of activist or are part of a religious/ethnic minority. Life for that subgroup of people is not exactly the same as for the majority in such states. North Korea is an extreme example of this and India/Pakistan are mild examples. Iran and Saudi are somewhere in between.

this is so true. simple fact in face of all those years of propaganda against iran.

by no means are they some altruistic peace lovers, but considering other countries in the region, US could get much more if they would be allies since technically there are no obstacles (apart from 1979 US embassy issue, but nobody got killed, all released eventually... worse things happen, ie Behgazi and nobody cares if it serves some agenda).

If you go there nowadays, all the signs are in 2 languages - Farsi and English. Everybody speaks at least a bit English. Compared to say France :)

>US could get much more if they would be allies since technically there are no obstacles

It's weird, it's almost like pioneering and supplying technology (VBIED's) to kill American troops, and founding terrorist organizations to kill American allies somehow sours the relationships between the two countries.

Sadr's death squads and Houthis.

If blowing up random civilians is the definition of terror then I'm sure the Syrian government would qualify.

"It's a bit more interesting wrt. most 9/11 hijackers being Saudis: I think it's pretty much confirmed at this point that it was a deliberate choice by al Qaida, attempting to deteriorate US-Saudi relations."

I think that Saudi Arabia is one of the biggest problem in the world. In fact, I wish Trump would have banned them too or even suggested a regime change:

1. http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/globalguerrillas/2015/02...

2. http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/globalguerrillas/2015/01...

For Iran I have high hopes. They started the fundamentalist bullshit and I have the impression they may be the first to get rid of it. In fact, there are first signs (German link, try google translate): https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=y&pr...

> For Iran I have high hopes. They started the fundamentalist bullshit

Please try to learn even the slightest thing about this subject before you make statements so confidently. Wahhabism started in Saudi Arabia in the early 20th century and spread due to Saudi oil money in the 30's and 40's. Meanwhile Iran was a pluralistic society right up until 1979.

Please try to learn even the slightest thing about this subject before you make statements so confidently.

While there is a tiny bit of truth in your statement, Saudi Arabia changed a lot in 1979 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Mosque_seizure

Saudi King Khaled however, did not react to the upheaval by cracking down on religious puritans in general, but by giving the ulama and religious conservatives more power over the next decade. He is thought to have believed that "the solution to the religious upheaval was simple -- more religion." First, photographs of women in newspapers were banned, then women on television. Cinemas and music shops were shut down. School curriculum was changed to provide many more hours of religious studies, eliminating classes on subjects like non-Islamic history. Gender segregation was extended "to the humblest coffee shop". The religious police became more assertive.[

So it is up to debate, if Wahhabism really predates Islam extremism so far or at all. But regarding for Saudi Arabia I have little to no hope at all.

Again, to use your wording, Please try to learn even the slightest thing about this subject before you make statements so confidently.

So America shouldn't support a progressive Saudi monarchy attempting to break the control of their religious bloc, but instead support an Iranian regime dedicated to export their religious revolution. Makes sense.

So he is banning, among others, Syrians and Somalians?

Need a passport? Just pick up a Somali passport on the street for a few bucks. They are not biometric: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3704127.stm

Syrian passports, real and fake, are for Sale in Syria. The ISIS has its hands on real documents in occupied countries.

Sounds like a very reasonable decision for me. Should have banned Saudi Arabia, the cradle of Wahabist terrorism. too.

Not everybody has to go nuts like Merkel and open the borders for millions of illegal (by law!) immigrants.

Merkel was acting on what she believed to be a moral imperative: that those fleeing danger have a right to asylum. All her decisions follow logically if you accept that premise. I. e. it would make no sense to make such a right dependent on the total number of refugees.

In the specific moment you're alluding to she made the decision to suspend the Dublin rules because they were clearly failing (i. e. refugees were clearly being mistreated by the Hungary regime, and the situation in Greece was deteriorating to the point where both the country and the refugees urgently needed relief). At that point, the basic right outlined above and the Dublin rules were in conflict, and human rights generally trump implementation specifics such as Dublin in these circumstances.

In any case, the Dublin convention governs the burden-sharing between nations and does not impact an individual's relation with these states, or their basic rights. That's comparable to, for example, medical care in an emergency: your insurance company may have all sorts of debt with the hospital, but the doctors are still required to treat your compound fracture.

"In the specific moment you're alluding to she made the decision to suspend the Dublin rules because they were clearly failing"

The problem with "making the decision" is that there is no executive order for the German chancellor, as apposed to the US president in the German constitution. Ruling by chancellor decree had fallen out of favor in Germany in the last 70 years. Ms. Merkel with her dubious past with East German state security ("IM Erika") does not need to be re-elected. She needs to stand in front of a judge!

I'll probably be unable to convince you with legal arguments, so maybe you should file a criminal complaint (which is easy and free) and let actual legal professionals make that determination.

And before you accuse the system of justice of just being part of some sort of conspiracy, I'll add that there are plenty of examples of courts disagreeing with the administrations. Most recent examples I can think of is the failed bid to ban the right-wing NPD, and their verdict regarding the ban of muslim headdresses.

No, actually you are right. You CANT convince me. Before I appreciate the legal opinion on some poster on ycombinator I prefer the opinion of a former German supreme court judge: https://www.welt.de/politik/deutschland/article150947586/Mer...

What exactly in the article are you referring to? He -- a former supreme court judge of one of the German states, not of Germany -- doesn't outright claim anything illegal was done.

He sort of, fairly timidly, questions it, with the flimsiest of legal analogies: the legislature has to agree to military missions, e.g. participation in UN missions, and thus (?!) something something Merkel. It's a complete non-sequitur.

That link is just a copy of this original article: http://info.kopp-verlag.de/hintergruende/deutschland/udo-ulf....

Now if you look into this Kopp Verlag, you will find that the Verfassungsschutz is keeping an eye on them because they might be spreading right-wing ideology which seeks to overthrow the constitutional structure of Germany.

Interesting source for claims of unconstitutional behavior by Merkel ^^.

Now I'm not saying that any of this necessarily makes what they say untrue, but I guess your choice of sources makes one thing clear: Nobody here will be able to convince you.

Well, you found an actual federal judge that wrote an actual paper, even if you linked to some third rate news source instead.

Here's the paper: http://bayern.de/Gutachten_Prof_Di_Fabio

Here's a rebuttal: http://verfassungsblog.de/dem-freistaat-zum-gefallen-ueber-u...

Neither of those passports makes you exempt from the visa requirement to travel to the US.

Can't mess with the Saudis. But we sure can ban the people they are bombing to hell, you know the Yemenis with British made bombs no less. And ban all the other people whose countries we helped destroy, you know just to add insult to injury. Really the best way to make people think we the vanguards of freedom. I am sure though Trump has some business dealing with the Saudis, I think there is a Trump hotel in Dubai.


Dubai is not in Saudi Arabia. It's in the UAE. However his family have expressed interest in building hotels in Saudi Arabia.

My guess though was the omission has more to do with energy price stability and/or arms exports.

Yeah, as this fiasco unfolds, the last thing we need is people lumping countries together while complaining about other people lumping countries together.

Dubai is a city in a different country. Same peninsula, but there's like seven countries dividing up that chunk of land.

The US gets only 8.1% of its oil from Saudi Arabia now, and that's dropping each year. The US is at last in a position to tell Saudi Arabia where to get off.

US and Britain sell the Saudis over 100 billion dollars in arms. You can't get Saudis off your back with just no longer needing their oil. They still got money. And the military industrial complex needs to eat.

Saudi is a big buyer of US weapons. Considering how hard Trump tries to please and borrow influence from military, I doubt he is going to do anything about it.

Race and religion matters, if you are not in the league, you better make sure you have power or money, or something to offer. At least to me, that is what Trump believes.

Why would the US military care about selling weapons? They are made by private companies.

The US military can sometimes get their weapons cheaper, if there are a lot of foreign buyers to share the cost in various ways.

If Lockheed is successful and able to fund itself well, fund new weapons programs, the military is happier for obvious reasons. Not to mention the crossover between the public and private spheres when it comes to careers.

There is also a follow on effect. If other countries have F-15s, the US needs to have something better. Today we are friends, but that could change (e.g. Iran and the F-14)

It's about jobs, jobs. Programs building weapons that other countries buy keep jobs. And the Saudi's buy a ton of weapons.

Race and religion are for the masses. It's a tool to divide and conquer them. The elite only speak the language of power and money. The Saudis make their people follow archaic Islamic laws with sexual repression while their princes are sexually abusing Americans in America and their royals have harems filled with Americans prostitutes. It's ridiculous.

Isn't it true, that the second US tells Saudi Arabia where they can stick their oil, they will become best friends with Russia? And isn't this the reason why US tries to keep good relations with them,despite the whole country being a cancer of humanity?

A whole country a cancer to humanity?

I suspect this sort of generalization is what caused the student visa problem in the first place.

It's a political thing. Oil is a fungible resource. Saudi Arabia helps control the market. US doesn't want to lose that power by pissing them off.

As oil goes, so goes the world.

US fracking pissed Saudi Arabia off big time. The gov't didn't seem to mind.

Holy shit:

> U.S. permanent residents (green card holders) who are outside of the United States may be barred from reentry.

That's huge. I don't mean to diminish the importance of banning new immigrants and visitors on a religious basis, that's bad too. But banning people who have already legally immigrated from re-entering the country is completely nuts. There are no doubt people who have lived in this country for decades who happen to be abroad at the moment and are now stuck away from their homes for an unknown period. There will be people who have lived in this country for decades who will be faced with an illness or death in the family and will have to make a choice between going to visit or retaining their ability to stay where they live.

I was confused as to where this quote was coming from at first, but figured it out: https://www.niacaction.org/what-does-trumps-ban-on-iranians-...

Right, sorry, it's linked from the article posted here.

I'm trying really hard not to be cynical, but...these measures aren't made with logic in mind. They are shiny objects thrown to the voter base which primarily lives segregated lives away from immigrants, H1Bs, or anyone else affected by this idiotic action. It is also likely that headline-grabbers like these are used as cover for more insidious schemes, and to quiet down constant claims of blatant corruption.

nothing about this last election is logical.

I'm not sure if NIAC's analysis of the executive order is correct regarding this matter.

I would also question if the President can ban legal permanent residences of the country from re-entering simply based on where they were borned.

I believe this would be the relevant bit:

"I hereby find that the immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens from countries designated pursuant to [law], would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and I hereby suspend entry into the United States, as immigrants and nonimmigrants, of such persons for 30 days from the date of this order."

I don't know just how entering with a green card qualifies, but "immigrant and nonimmigrant" would seem to cover everything.

As far as actually having the power to do so, everything I've read indicates that the President has extremely broad powers to determine which noncitizens are allowed enter the country.

I'm curious on what basis you doubt their claim. Because if the claim is true, there are many abroad who ought to board a plane home NOW.

But this is not new. If you leave the US for more than 6 months, you can potentially lose your green card at the discretion of CBP regardless of where you're from.

So it's "not new" that a green card holder who happens to be in Canada right now might be barred from reentering the country? It's "not new" that a green card holder whose mother falls ill in their home country will not be able to return home after visiting her for a week?

You're right that CBP can fuck you over at their discretion. But as long as you keep your nose clean, they don't. Having green card holders get suddenly screwed over like this just because of where they're from is new.

Wrong. That is not the issue here. In the draft which leaked, it clearly suspends immigrant and nonimmigrant entry to nationals of the listed countries. According to this, a US green card holder who is an Iranian citizen cannot travel back to the US after, say, vacationing in London.


In addition, due to the suspension of Visa Waiver Program to nationals of these countries last year, an Iranian-Australian, (or Iranian-German, etc.), living in and a citizen of Australia for 30+ years and hasn't even visited Iran in that period, cannot visit the US visa-free any longer. So that means they need a B-2 tourist visa. Problem is, this E.O. suspends issuance of nonimmigrant visas to these people, so they now no longer have a way to enter the US.

Will he actually sign this E.O.? Apparently it was supposed to be signed yesterday, but didn't happen. He is in Philly right now so I'm not sure if this one's going to happen or not.

OP is not talking about people away for 6 months. These are American residents who might be traveling for a week and suddenly find themselves homeless. If you think that can't happen to you, I have a bridge to sell you.

I went to sleep on election night and woke up homeless.

But to be barred re-entry for less than 6 months is new.

I abhor Trump, but something about this statement irks me:

> To the Trump regime, I make one request: if you ever decide that it’s the policy of the US government to deport my PhD students, then deport me first. I’m practically begging you: come to my house, arrest me, revoke my citizenship, and tear up the awards I’ve accepted at the White House and the State Department. I’d consider that to be the greatest honor of my career.

Given the pedestal that you (presumably, by the amount of points this has gotten) are on, there are more actionable ways to be useful, rather than be a martyr. No mention in the post on how to stop Trump. For example, telling your readers how they can take action to stop Trump. I'll share some of my own thoughts on how to do this. Feel free to respond to this if it's not exhaustive enough.

To follow my own advice, if anyone sees this:

1. Call

  - Local congresspeople (http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/)

  - Senators (https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/)

  - Local officials (https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials)
2. Participate

  - Get involved in local elections (this is a decent start - to become informed locally http://www.npr.org/stations/)

  - Protest

  - Attend town hall and city council meetings (see npr)
3. Share

  - Tell your friends 
4. Vote (https://www.usa.gov/register-to-vote)

5. Volunteer

6. Stop reading and start doing one of the other things.

Who knows? It may actually help. The news footage of a middle class white man being dragged away by jack booted thugs may elicit much more attention, sympathy and outrage than a "Middle Eastern looking" man undergoing the same, one would think?

And in this current world awash in pithy slogans, short attention spans and social media generated activism, it may actually be more effective.

This is the executive's power. There is literally nothing that can be done about it for the next 4 years besides try to change Trump's mind (or pray he does something impeachable).

>There is literally nothing that can be done about it for the next 4 years

Actually mass protests to the level of e.g. the French May of 68 might very well bring down a government.

But that is for a determined population.

I keep being surprised by the power that such protests actually have. You'll read all sorts of statements like "what should anybody care about a bunch of hippies on the streets etc.", and in the US there also seems to be an undercurrent of regarding all protests as illegal, or highlighting the smallest incidents that could possibly scare the "soccer mum" demographic.

But then there are frequent examples of protests accomplishing everything from regime change (arab spring) to less-obvious but still substantial changes (see for example the G7/G8 agendas from before and after the meetings started to be a focus for mass demonstrations). Even Occupy, which has probably been the subject of more derision than any other movement, has actually had a major impact: The 99%/1% has become one of the leading narratives of politics in the US and Europe.

Except in France, May 68, De Gaulle (conservatist) wasn't ousted, he even came back in favourable position after 3 days off the grid: He threatened to use the État d'Urgence against the strikers, dissolved the Assembly and the new election yielded 353 of 486 seats in his favour. People, at the end, voted for security.

In De Gaulle's case yes. But this has not been the case in every mass protest movement in all countries (plus, France voted, which is much larger than Paris, where the demonstrations were mostly held).

> the new election yielded 353 of 486 seats in his favor

That's probably why the protests didn't work. People in power are incredibly well informed and can predict those things reasonably well.

According to the Brookings Institution memo on the Emoluments Clause[1]:

> if Mr. Trump enters office in what would obviously constitute a knowing and indeed intentional violation of the Emoluments Clause and then declines to cure that violation during his tenure, Congress would be well within its rights to impeach him for engaging in “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

So, it is conceivable that he could be removed within the next four years if he loses the support of Congress.

[1] https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/gs_1216...

The discussion about whether this or that is kind of irrelevant. While the Constitution outlines the sort of offenses Congress may impeach for, it also provides no oversight. There's nobody who can prevent Congress from impeaching for an insufficient offense, nor is there anybody who can force Congress to impeach if they don't want to.

Ultimately, all that matters is whether Congress decides to do it. If they do, then it happens. If they don't, it doesn't. The specific offenses and wording of the Constitution will no doubt matter when it comes to how the individual members of Congress think about the issue, but no more than that. In particular, it doesn't really matter what the Constitution says or how a judge would interpret it, only how the various members of Congress understand it, or choose to interpret it.

I think it's fairly likely to happen, in any case. He and Congress don't see eye to eye on many things, and it may not take too long at all before he pisses them off sufficiently to have them get fed up with it. I imagine they'd rather be dealing with Pence anyway.

There was plenty of time to do something about it. We've been slouching into an imperial presidency for a long time. Democrats could have trimmed it back when they held Congress and the White House. Instead they cheered when Obama said "I have a phone and a pen."

They dismantled checks and balances for temporary tactical advantage because they thought their opponents were a "rump party, mainly confined to the South".

Well, he is a bit of a populist, so if you convince enough people, he'll probably go with the flow, on some things at least.

Technically congress or the supreme court can overturn executive orders, and this has happened in the past.

> pray he does something impeachable

I think it's more than that, it has to be impeachable AND Senate Republicans have to dislike it enough to upset their boss, right? Without Senate Republicans' support there can be no impeachment hearing can there?

What if he blatantly breaks the law? Is there anything the supreme court can do?

They have no ability to bring a criminal case against anyone without the cooperation of the executive branch, which Trump controls.

Citizens could file civil lawsuits against the federal government to get injunctions against him. But even then I believe the only repercussion for him not following those injunctions would be Congress impeaching him.

Basically, in order to get charged with a crime the executive branch has to do it. Since the president is the head executive, there has to be a special case for him/her: Congress can bring charges I.e. impeachment proceedings.

Re: #1, both of my senators' numbers terminate in a recording that asks me to leave a message with my contact information. I have a hard time believing anybody listens to these. Am I wrong?

More broadly, I talked to one person at the office of one my state's reps. I complained about this order and said I hoped the rep would voice his opposition, and the person said the rep would. But how much does that matter, especially since the rep is in a heavily Democrat district already? Is targeting swing Republicans a better idea?

Pressure. It may not not be as politically effective, but the weakling Dems need to be pushed in order to fight for us.

Even before Trump, the US had a system in which a Chinese or an Indian who gets a PhD from Scott's department (say) takes > 10 years to get a green card. Previous administrations have laid a solid foundation of shitty treatment of foreigners to which Trump is merely making minor additions.

It's unclear what Trump is trying to accomplish here. It seems stupid and I feel bad for the people whose lives it diverts or puts in hold. But the Nazi comparison either trivializes the Holocaust or unfairly hitlerizes Donald Trump for what may be a legitimate concern over technology transfer to a country that actively opposes US interests. There are plenty of countries that suspend student visas without going on to murder millions of people, and indeed we did exactly that under Jimmy Carter for much longer than thirty days. Standing up for students and education and science is an important duty for a professor, and I hope he'll continue with it, but this kind of hyperbole doesn't seem helpful.

> But the Nazi comparison either trivializes the Holocaust or unfairly hitlerizes Donald Trump for what may be a legitimate concern over technology transfer to a country that actively opposes US interests.

It does neither. Warning that "that's how Germany started" doesn't mean that banning visas is as severe as burning people, or saying that trump will burn people. It means that one should be careful because these are warning signs, and one should act cautiously and nip them in the bud.

You don't see doctors saying "you probably have a cold, but it might be pneumonia, but I won't prescribe strong medication because that will trivialize pneumonia or unfairly characterize your cold". Just be careful with what's going on, and protest all these changes that bode ill in addition to writing blog posts.

Meh. Hyperbole bothers me. But as long as you're using a healthcare analogy, allow me to suggest the possibility of negative side effects to the strong medicine. For example it is widely accepted that antibiotics are currently overprescribed, making them less of a strong and powerful weapon against disease over time.

To take the metaphor further, the really strong antibiotics have a chance to destroy the kidneys, making you a permanent dialysis case.

Which relates to the original point how? If you protest too much, your country will end up needing permanent aid from other countries in order to even stay together?

I feel that people shouldn't be extending an analogy without being clear on how it relates to the original point.

If you can only talk divisively and dismiss the concerns of people who don't agree with you, then you will continue to harm the unity of this country. Even if we don't agree with one another, we still should be able to live with one another peacefully. That is not to say stop protesting and engaging people. It means that people need to stop over generalizing and practice some empathy with others. It means not demonizing people who don't agree with you and sometimes it means just walking away instead of taking the swing.

I think of Mr. Rogers a lot these days and how he called everyone his neighbor. In a sense, we live in a world now where we actually all can be neighbors. And good neighbors don't treat each other like enemies.

If people truly believe that "Love Trumps Hate" and that's not just a slogan, people need to start acting that way.

What are the negative side effects to protesting policies like this?

The negative effect isn't of protesting policies like this. It is of doing so in a way that is not fair to Mr Trump, and which allows other people to dismiss your protest as the whining of a not particularly sophisticated child.

The language neither trivializes the Holocaust nor does it unfairly hitlerizes Trump. It describes what is going on in a way more of the general population can understand.

There have been many populist governments around the world over time. Hitler wasn't the first to do that sort of thing. Unfortunately, not everyone remembers all the names or knows the history - so comparing him to a lesser-known leader (which he might be more comparable too) just doesn't work. It is like reading a literary reference to a book you've never read - it is easy to miss the context, even after the reference is explained.

So we use Hitler because we understand the Holocaust (and the like) was far too horrible for words to describe and we'd like to avoid going near anything of that manner. We draw comparisons between the early Hitler days and now because we notice them. Coincidentally, it follows a general pattern of authoritarian and fascist leaders and it scares the heck out of us.

And you think, surely, that can't happen here. This is the United States, after all. And at the same time, Trump is up there talking about how we should be using torture and waterboarding more because he's convinced it works. And we aren't sitting here appalled because we've started to become immune to his rhetoric. He's been saying this sort of thing for months. What else are we going to be sensitized to?

Furthermore, what does it mean for me when I go to visit family back in the states? If I get a tan and look "middle eastern", will I get harassed? Are they going to bring up that a portion of my family is Syrian, even though my grandmother was born in the US to immigrant parents? What of my family that still lives there? I know this stuff isn't an issue right now, but I'm afraid of what happens if it escalates. It isn't like we can trust the things that is being said from the top at this point.

This "unhelpful" hyperbole is the only thing we really have to be able to express this stuff to others.

There's a german saying: "It did happen and therefore it can happen again". That could be extended to "It did happen, and therefore it could happen anywhere".

I'm also reminded of Hannah Arendt's theory of the "banality of evil". She basically warned against considering the Holocaust as the result of a singular set of circumstances, describing it instead as a process of many steps, by many (often unremarkable) people, with each step small enough not to trigger significant reactions.

The US is obviously still far, far away from death camps. But the changes in what is politically accepted are already gigantic if you step back. That's a process that has been going on since long before Trump, maybe since Nixon or at the very least GWB. And it includes not just the federal government but also, for example, recent developments in North Carolina.

As a somewhat tangential factoid, that may help to break the shell of the Nazi-cliche and give it back some meaning: I was recently at a festival in Poland and, in the midst of the usual atmosphere created by the beats of electronic music and the somewhat unusual diet that goes with it, I stumbled upon a plaque commemorating the place as the site of "a concentration camp for children aged 6 to 12". You really start to wonder: how much has to happen to a person until they get to the thought, "yeah, those 6 to 12 year olds, we really need to do something about them"?

There's certainly value in being mindful of the Holocaust, and of the great capacity for evil, even if banal, inside of us all, and to acknowledge and fight against it each day. But I remain unconvinced that calling those I disagree with over legitimate policy concerns Hitler is either a) fair or b) particularly useful.

Listen if Hitler is the only comparison you think people understand, and you think the only way to convince them that a thing is bad and should be avoided is because, like, Hitler, and because in some racism dream where you get darker than you are and a bunch of majority culture white rednecks confuses you for a terrorist instead of just a normal american of partially Syrian or Italian or Mexican or native American or Guatemalan extraction that's fine. Call trump Hitler all you want. You won't be the first, and apparently you have a fellow traveler as a professor at MIT. Just don't expect me to take you seriously. Not when you're comparing Trump to Hitler for putting a hold on visas of students from a country whose official policy calls for the destruction of Israel and which is actively hostile to the interests of the united states, and who might facilitate potentially dangerous technology transfers to same. Though for the sake of consistency, and to seem less partisan, you may wish to consider similarly comparing Jimmy Carter to Josef Dzugashvili because he put a much longer hold on Iranian student visas in the late 70's.

Your call.

"Today, we learned that Trump is suspending the issuance of US visas to people from seven majority-Islamic countries, including Iran (but strangely not Saudi Arabia, the cradle of Wahhabist terrorism)."

And yet, from the very source linked in the article--

"Details about the forthcoming executive orders are still unconfirmed. But here’s what we can say with high confidence."

If you trust AP, then sure, it's likely that it will happen. But it's still important to draw a distinction between "has done" or "is doing" and "is expected to do". Articles like this, posted before any official announcement, are merely adding to the Trump hysteria.

I'm not sure why AP is the subject of your scorn here. They're accurately reporting the document that was leaked, and it's in the publics' interest to learn about such actions as soon as possible. Such leaks are sometimes intended as trial balloons, for example, and the reporting may stop the worst from happening by allowing the public to react at a time where the administrations still has a face-saving way out. That may actually be what is happening with the similar leak of Trump's intended reinstatement of torture as official US policy.

The uncertainty expressed in the piece does not mean that the AP is unsure if the document is real. They usually get such material from sources they know, and have experience with. They are firstly hedging against the possibility of the administration changing its mind, and – specifically for the current flurry of executive actions – there is a lot of legal uncertainty because it isn't always clear how they are to be interpreted, if they fall within the executive branches' authority, and how they fit into existing laws.

The AP was not the subject of my scorn.

What's more worrisome is how fervently anti-science the new administration is. Academics may eventually be persecuted in the US across the board - as they are already at the EPA, USDA etc - and regardless of citizenship.

I firmly believe anyone with a brain should begin making contingency plans to regroup somewhere like Australia or Japan, outside of the reaches of far-right populism. An Erdogan-style academic purge may be on the agenda and sooner than we think

when it comes to Islam Japan goes well past "far right populism". It's not a coincidence there's less than 70k Muslims in Japan.

Well, you can't say that Japan is anti-intellectualism at least.

Genuine question, is there an anti-muslim immigration policy in japan or some other force at play?

Australia and Japan aren't fantastic examples. Canada works better.

I don't think we're far away enough

This couldn't be farther from the truth. People branding the current administration like this are destabilizing the country. The media in this country is on an ideological witch hunt, and you are proliferating it.

Friend, if witches are causing irreparable damage, shouldn't do everything we can to proliferate a hunt for them?


A "purge" isn't getting criticized for being completely wrong. That's how science works.



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