PuffHo stupidity of the week: this year’s Nobel prizes in science prove that Trump is wrong on immigration

PuffHo will stop at nothing to dump on Trump, even though the guy has already lost the election. I suppose their philosophy is that if they can find any way to impugn him, they will. But this way is just plain weird. If you click on the screenshot below, you’ll see an article by one Ryan Grenoble, a “reporter” for PuffHo, which means that he makes almost no money and is probably given the dirty job of writing stuff like this:


See the “Trump, take note” subtitle! And here’s Grenoble’s argument:

Donald Trump has spent an inordinate amount of time this election claiming the only people that immigrate to the United States are the ones “that have lots of problems.”

If only he were talking about brilliant scientists, toiling away at some of the world’s most intractable issues, he might actually have a point. This year, every American who won a Nobel prize in a scientific field was an immigrant.

The 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to F. Duncan M. Haldane, J. Michael Kosterlitz and David J. Thouless for “theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter.” All three were born in the U.K. and went on to work at universities in the U.S. (Dr. Thouless retired in 2003.)

Only one American made the list for the 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry (along with two Europeans): Sir J. Fraser Stoddart, also originally from the U.K, “for the design and synthesis of molecular machines.”

And in the field of economic sciences, once again immigrants reign. Oliver Hart and Bengt Holmström, originally from the U.K and Finland, respectively, both won the Nobel Prize “for their contributions to contract theory.” Holmström holds a position at MIT; Hart is a professor at Harvard.

Okay. But why is Trump supposed to take note? After all, Trump’s stand on immigration has been against the immigration of Muslims, of Mexicans, and of allowing illegal immigrants a path to legality. I don’t agree at all with his bigoted views on restricted immigration, which has a horrible history in America, but showing that Nobel Prizes are won by white European immigrants who came here legally doesn’t constitute a counterargument to Trump.

At some post the author has to deal with this, of course, since many PuffHo readers do have a few neurons, and so he says this:

. . .  Trump’s invective typically has targeted Mexicans and Muslims, but his words have had an impact on immigrant populations from all nations, including children. During Sunday’s presidential debate, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton told the story of an Ethiopian-born child who asked his adoptive U.S. parents whether Trump would send him back to Ethiopia if elected.

Not a counterargument in any sense. We’re talking about Brits and Finns here, who clearly are not impacted by Trump’s words.

There is plenty of dirt on Trump—enough, as polls now show, and as I predicted they would (yay, me!), to doom him to loss. To simply make up bogus arguments like this discredits PuffHo. But of course it’s already discredited anyway. It is the Breitbart of the Regressive Left, or should I say the Daily Mail?

Immigrants are the lifeblood of America. They make us unique as a nation, and restricting one group or another is ridiculous. But an argument is an argument, and the poorly-paid Grenoble can’t make one.


  1. Posted October 11, 2016 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    JAC- I know that you and many others are convinced that Trump has no chance of winning, and am truly hopeful that you are right and will collect on your bets. However, unless Trump is arrested for killing someone, or something else more outlandish than what he has already done, I am not yet convinced that Clinton’s election is a done deal. Trump’s base will never change their minds, and thus it might boil down to how big the anti-Hillary vote is.

    • Posted October 11, 2016 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      Would you like to make a bet? I’ll bet you $100, and even give you 2-1 odds.

      • Posted October 11, 2016 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

        Betting is against my religion! 🙂 However, I would take 10-1 odds for $100/$10.

        • tomh
          Posted October 11, 2016 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

          10-1? Mighty generous of you, when you can bet Clinton at about 3.5-1 in Vegas.

          • Posted October 11, 2016 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

            Looked just a bit ago and Clinton was 1 to 5 and Trump was 4 to 1.

      • Posted October 11, 2016 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

        Also, the wagering market is putting the money on Hillary: http://electoralmap.net/2016/pivit.php

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted October 11, 2016 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

        I would never be so cynical as to suggest that PCC could take the bet at 2-1 and then lay off (is that the correct terminology?) at 4-1 with his bookie.


    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted October 11, 2016 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      However, unless Trump is arrested for killing someone,

      If he did that, it might well increase his support.
      As long as the “somebody” was more brown than pink. On the outside.

      • Posted October 11, 2016 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        Had the same thought; those that tout ‘locker room talk’ would just say the victim likely deserved what they got.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted October 11, 2016 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

          How did the repulsive Jim Davidson put it? “He was arrested for being in possession of wide lips and a flat nose.” Or was that the “Not …” crew?

          • HaggisForBrains
            Posted October 12, 2016 at 11:52 am | Permalink

            You’re probably thinking of Constable Savage

            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted October 13, 2016 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

              Oh yes, that one. Griff & Rowan. I was getting confused with the similar vintage of Vivian’s rat, “SPG”. But definitely not Manuel’s “hampster”.

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted October 13, 2016 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

                Not the Nine O’clock News, if I remember rightly?


              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted October 15, 2016 at 10:18 am | Permalink

                Bubble bubble.

    • Mike Cracraft
      Posted October 11, 2016 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      I think Trump knows he’s finished. That’s why he’s already proclaiming that the election is
      “rigged” if he doesn’t win. I’d bet some of his followers are going to go postal on November 8.

    • Christopher
      Posted October 11, 2016 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

      updated today on BBC, Trump is openly fighting with Paul Ryan other republicans over tw*tter in a most spectacular way.


      This is the flame-up I’ve been expecting since the Cruz convention snub. Meanwhile, Chris Christie, who can’t see the writing on the wall, is hammering the final nail into the coffin of his political career by standing by Trump even though he doesn’t agree with the recent video tape comments.

      • Christopher
        Posted October 11, 2016 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

        Forgot to mention that Cruz, bizarrely, is still saying he will vote for Trump!
        Reality Tv all the way!

  2. Joseph Stans
    Posted October 11, 2016 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    It might also mean that good students go on to become leaders in their field rather than second rate hacks churning out bilge for muck raking internet journals.

  3. Posted October 11, 2016 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    There’s a point there, but Grenoble fails to make it. 40% of the US Nobel Laureates (31/78) since 2000 are immigrants. Not all of them were white. Besides, Trump has dissed Japan, Germany, and China, in addition to Muslims and Mexicans. Across the board immigration system is a disaster. As a non-Muslim non-Mexican academic, I’m experiencing this first hand. If Trump fulfills his promises, significant bureaucratic resources will have to be diverted to his pet projects, away from skilled immigration. Already USCIS is over-burdened with long wait times for even trivial requests like changing one’s employer. Things will get much worse under a Trump administration. Even without Trump, there’s the anti-immigrant sentiment that drives decisions in Congress and elsewhere. WSJ has a good take:


    • Craw
      Posted October 11, 2016 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

      They are not “low skill” immigrants. That is what the debate is about. You are doing just what Coyne complains of: conflating very different things, illogically, in order to try to score points.

  4. John Conoboy
    Posted October 11, 2016 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    I, too, doubt that European immigrants will be deterred by Trumpian rhetoric. If they want to try to make this case, they should look at folks like Dr. Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa, who came here illegally and is now a brain surgeon at Johns Hopkins. César Felipe Millán Favela now just Cesar Millan the Dog Wisperer also came here illegally. But we don’t expect Puff Ho to be all that sophisticated, do we?

  5. Gareth
    Posted October 11, 2016 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Trumps marriage proves he’s wrong about immigration.
    Do I get a Nobel prize for that?

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted October 11, 2016 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      Trump’s marriage proves about as much as Nigel Farage’s marriage. i.e. that both of them are capable of breath-taking hypocrisy, and for some reason, their wives let them get away with it.
      (For those who don’t have to dirty their minds with Farage, he’s the UK’s anti-foreigner-in-chief, intermittent head of the Kippers (UKIP). And successive husband of an Irish nurse and a German of indeterminate profession.)

      • Gareth
        Posted October 11, 2016 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

        And, if the rumours are to believed, a prospective German citizen, which will allow him to retain EU citizenship, and jump the passport queue when he heads off to his holiday home in France.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted October 11, 2016 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

          Oh, I hadn’t heard that rumour.
          Quick check – cushions on the floor around the sofa? Check!
          Annnd …
          Strangely, I do not find myself falling off the sofa in astonishment at the implied hypocrisy. Odd that. It’s almost like – he’s living down to expectations.
          Has he played the “keep in contact with the wife’s family” card? Yet?

  6. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted October 11, 2016 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Incidentally, is anyone else seeing a change in the formatting of the “new post” emails? I’m getting long strings of what looks like multi-byte characters in the “Subject:” line, though the mail body decodes OK.
    Example :
    From: =?UTF-8?B?V2h5IEV2b2x1dGlvbiBJcyBUcnVl?=
    Subject: =?UTF-8?B?W05ldyBwb3N0XSBQdWZmSG8gc3R1cGlkaXR5IG9mIHRoZSB3ZWVrOiB0aGlzIHllYXLigJlzIE5vYmVsIHByaXplcyBpbiBzY2llbmNlIHByb3ZlIHRoYXQgVHJ1bXAgaXMgd3Jvbmcgb24gaW1taWdyYXRpb24=?=
    Reply-to: =?UTF-8?B?V2h5IEV2b2x1dGlvbiBJcyBUcnVl?=

    • Posted October 11, 2016 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      I’ve noticed that problem as well. I get the new post e-mails sent to my Yahoo mail account. is your account also through Yahoo?

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted October 12, 2016 at 3:51 am | Permalink

        That one is a Yahoo account, yes.

  7. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted October 11, 2016 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    It seems to be an American tendency, once you decide you dislike an opponent, to throw as many charges as you can at them and hope a few stick, rather than to try to aim with precision.

    Republicans have been doing it for decades to Hillary, and now HuffPo is doing it to Trump.

  8. Flemur
    Posted October 11, 2016 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    David J. Thouless is a UK citizen, not an immigrant.

    Fraser Stoddart is probably is a UK citizen, not an immigrant.

    Bengt R. Holmström is probably Finnish citizen, not an immigrant.

    I say “probably” because I have both a public and a private position on the issue. Well, actually because the above Wiki links provide a “nationality” and don’t mention citizenship, which they do for Duncan Haldane, who IS a US citizen.

    • Gareth
      Posted October 11, 2016 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

      Wikipedia often defaults to the US usage of nationality as a placeholder for ethnicity.
      Plus dual nationality/citizenship is a thing.
      So fairly wide open for speculation.

    • jeremy pereira
      Posted October 12, 2016 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      Don’t know about the other two, but David Thouless returned to England when he retired. So if he was an immigrant to the USA, he is now an emigrant.

  9. Scientifik
    Posted October 11, 2016 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Agreed. Nobody should conflate the deliberate draining of talent from other countries (known as brain drain) with mass migration.

  10. Posted October 11, 2016 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    i agree wholly in regard to the quality, or lack thereof, of reportage coming from PuffHo and the “Trump Take Note” bit of the headline is comically over-wrought, but I do think that highlighting the success of immigrants in fields other than the arts or athletics is a point worth making given the stubborn xenophobia of the American right-wing.

  11. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted October 11, 2016 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

    ” Trump’s invective typically has targeted Mexicans and Muslims, but his words have had an impact on immigrant populations from all nations, including children.”

    “Not a counterargument in any sense. We’re talking about Brits and Finns here, who clearly are not impacted by Trump’s words.”

    You think not? I can easily imagine a scenario where the rightist Trumpites discriminate against Mexicans etc, then the left-wing sues under equal-rights legislation so the restrictions are extended to all immigrants.

    Just like the TSA groping grandmothers to avoid being accused of (racial) profiling.


    • Posted October 12, 2016 at 12:35 am | Permalink

      The follies of the left-wing are hardly Trump’s fault.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted October 12, 2016 at 4:10 am | Permalink

        I never said they were. But that doesn’t invalidate my scenario.

        Trump’s a loose cannon. Nobody’s safe around it, the only safe place is out of range.


  12. Craw
    Posted October 11, 2016 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for this. I am currently getting grief from friends because while I say Trump is a bad candidate with bad ideas who’d make a bad president that isn’t enough for them. I must it seems abjure him and all his works, and agree that if he says it’s Tuesday, he’s lying because somewhere on the globe it isn’t, and anyway saying it’s Tuesday is racist.

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