Sunday, November 27, 2016

Trump's "backdowns"

Trump was so vague and contradictory during his campaigns -- first for the GOP nomination and then for Prez -- that one can argue that his recent "backdowns" are just his general vagueness and nothing new.  His decision not to prosecute Hillary, however, is clearly a change. So why?

He has actually told us why.  He wants to bring the nation together and for that reason he has been extremely conciliatory.  He has been as nice as he can to everybody.  And given the big guns in the media, the bureaucracy and the legal system he might see it as simply safer to lay off Hillary. Push the Donks to the wall and you never know what they will come up with.  Bribes and threats to members of the electoral college?  A cinch.  And that is just the start.

And there are two general reasons for him to go easy:

1).  He is a most experienced businessman and if you want the best result in business you have to do all that you reasonably can to keep people sweet.  To be corny, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

2). Nobody seems to be mentioning this  but Trump is himself one of the establishment.  He may not previously have stood for elective office but he knows most of the main players of old and has donated to some of their electoral campaigns. He is one of the best known people in America.  He has long been a celebrity. His marriages and divorces have for decades been front-page news.  There is a reason why he is known as "The Donald".

And that is gold.  People WANT to know and be seen with a celebrity and Trump is a celebrity.  He can hobnob with anybody he wants.  He just has to buy them a flash dinner at one of his establishments and the flashbulbs will flash.  And lots of people crave those flashes.  And guess what?  His beloved and devoted daughter Ivanka is close friends with whom?  Chelsea Clinton.  Would you want to put the mother of your beloved daughter's close friend in jail?

So I think it is clear why Hillary is off the hook. She was always going to be off the hook.

But what of his other backdowns?  Obamacare and the Paris climate agreement?  Again, as a good businessman he knows the value of compromise and he wants to be seen as fair.  "winner takes all" just generates resentment.  The way Obama and his minions pushed Obamacare through with out ANY GOP support is an example of where that approach leads.  All the effort they put in to get it though now looks like being a complete waste -- a cancelled legacy.  So Trump is looking for at least the appearance of compromise.

So what about Obamacare?  He has a clear mandate to abolish it and a majority in both houses who are mad keen to do so.  Any compromise he offers will therefore be greeted with relief.  He can look like the generous man in the middle who reconciles two deeply opposed parties -- And he has already said that he likes some provisions of Obamacare.

So my prediction is that he will negotiate with both sides of Congress to gut Obamacare but leave enough remnants for both sides to feel that they have been heard and been given something.  That should achieve what Obamacare could not:  A health insurance system that has at least a degree of bipartisan support -- making it resistant to much in the way of future changes. Something as hard-fought as health insurance reform is going to leave people with little appetite for further battles over it.  The new system is likely to win general acceptance as the best that can be done.  Australia has arrived at that point after similar long battles.

So what could he do with the Paris agreement?  There are two things

1). He could present it to the Senate for ratification, which is the legally correct thing to do.  The U.S. Congress as a whole has the great distinction of being the only legislature in the world to have skeptics in the majority and the Senate would certainly not endorse the Paris agreement.  It would thus lapse and Trump would not be to blame.  That blame would fall on the shoulders of the Senate, and they have broad shoulders.

2). He could do nothing.  He could accept the Paris agreement but just fail to enforce it.  Any time some action is demanded of him he could just say things like: "America comes first in my administration and I am not going to hit the coal miners of West Virginia again.  They have already suffered enough".  He could, in other words, always find some higher priority than to worry about global warming.  I think it is highly likely that he will do one of those two things, most likely the former.

So Trump's "backdowns" actually show his wisdom and experience.  People took him for an aggressive and ignorant fool but behind his facade was a cool thinker.  They made the same mistake with Ronald Reagan.


Some recent tweets:

From John Schindler:  "America lost its mind, electing a fraud and conman without any actual skills. All he had was media cover.  8 years later, we elected Trump'

Jason C. on the death of Castro: Many of the same Lefties that hyperventilate about Trump as a 'fascist' will tonight romanticize a dictator that used to send gays to camps.


People are hardwired to fall in love with partners who have a similar level of educational aptitude

The effect sizes noted in the journal abstract below are very small but that may reflect our still rudimentary ability to isolate the genes responsible for IQ.  The very weak tendency so far is for the evolution of a genetic elite

A study co-led by the University of East Anglia (UEA) has found that people with genes for high educational achievement tend to marry, and have children with, people with similar DNA.

Humans generally do not choose their partners randomly, but rather mate 'assortatively', choosing people with similar traits. Among the highest ranking qualities people look for in a potential partner are intelligence and educational attainment.

While it is well known that humans mate assortatively in relation to education - people with similar education levels marry each other - this is one of the first studies to show that this has significance at a DNA level.

The researchers argue that this could increase genetic and social inequality in future generations, since children of couples who mate assortatively are more unequal genetically than those of people who mate more randomly.

The study, published in the journal Intelligence, was co-led by Dr David Hugh-Jones, from UEA's School of Economics, and Dr Abdel Abdellaoui, of the Department of Biological Psychology at VU University in The Netherlands.

They examined whether assortative mating for educational achievement could be detected in the DNA of approximately 1600 married or cohabiting couples in the UK. The sample was drawn from the UK Household Longitudinal Study, a survey that aims to be representative of the population.

Dr Hugh-Jones, a senior lecturer in economics, said: "Our findings show strong evidence for the presence of genetic assortative mating for education in the UK. The consequences of assortative mating on education and cognitive abilities are relevant for society, and for the genetic make-up and therefore the evolutionary development of subsequent generations.

"Assortative mating on inheritable traits that are indicative of socio-economic status, such as educational achievement, increases the genetic variance of characteristics in the population. This may increase social inequality, for example with respect to education or income.

"When growing social inequality is, partly, driven by a growing biological inequality, inequalities in society may be harder to overcome and the effects of assortative mating may accumulate with each generation."

The researchers used polygenic scores that predict educational attainment to see whether they predicted the partner's own educational attainment and polygenic score. They found that the scores correlated between partners and significantly predicted partners' educational outcome, for both sexes, in that individuals with a stronger genetic predisposition for higher educational achievement have partners who are more educated.

The researchers also tested whether their data could be explained by other factors, for example by people simply meeting their partners because they lived in the same county. They re-matched individuals with random partners within the same educational levels and geographical locations. However, they found that the scores of the original couples showed greater similarities than the randomly generated pairs, indicating significant genetic assortative mating for educational attainment regardless of educational level and geographic location.


Assortative mating on educational attainment leads to genetic spousal resemblance for polygenic scores

David Hugh-Jones et al.


We examined whether assortative mating for educational attainment (“like marries like”) can be detected in the genomes of ~ 1600 UK spouse pairs of European descent. Assortative mating on heritable traits like educational attainment increases the genetic variance and heritability of the trait in the population, which may increase social inequalities. We test for genetic assortative mating in the UK on educational attainment, a phenotype that is indicative of socio-economic status and has shown substantial levels of assortative mating. We use genome-wide allelic effect sizes from a large genome-wide association study on educational attainment (N ~ 300 k) to create polygenic scores that are predictive of educational attainment in our independent sample (r = 0.23, p < 2 × 10− 16). The polygenic scores significantly predict partners' educational outcome (r = 0.14, p = 4 × 10− 8 and r = 0.19, p = 2 × 10− 14, for prediction from males to females and vice versa, respectively), and are themselves significantly correlated between spouses (r = 0.11, p = 7 × 10− 6). Our findings provide molecular genetic evidence for genetic assortative mating on education in the UK.

Intelligence, Volume 59, November–December 2016.


Stop vote-shaming Trump’s female supporters

The fact that 53% of white women voted for Trump really grinds feminists' mental gears

Since Donald Trump’s election last Tuesday, many have taken to the streets, not just in protest, but in mourning. The great and good were so convinced that Hillary Clinton was going to win that, even after the fact, they simply couldn’t believe the result. Then the exit polls came, and with them the news that 53 per cent of white women had voted for Trump.

Clinton supporters on both sides of the pond lost their minds. ‘Most white women don’t want to be part of an intersectional feminist sisterhood. Most white women just want to be one of the guys. And we will all suffer for it’, wrote one American journalist, the morning after the vote. ‘Dear fellow white women: you had the personification of safe white liberal feminism to vote for. You STILL picked racist patriarchy’, tweeted one upset British columnist as the news rolled in. White women chose a misogynist, wrote an Irish Times columnist, ‘like slaves fluffing the pillows of their master’s rocking chair on his porch as he shouts abuse at them’.

White women are filled with self-hatred, an activist wrote: ‘White women understand hate. We have been hating ourselves for so long that self-hatred feels normal. We may well hate people of different skin colours or religious beliefs as well, but we hate ourselves more.’ Another American observer argued that it’s now clear that ‘far too many white women still see white men as their saviours’.

I could go on – there have been endless articles, tweets and public outpourings about how shameful it is that many female voters chose Trump over Clinton. Every woman quoted above claims to be a feminist, and yet they’ve denounced female Trump voters as selfish, traitors, blind idiots, slaves, self-haters. Supposedly progressive feminists argue that women have ‘internalised misogyny’ – that hatred towards women is so ingrained in their daily experience that they can’t help being brainwashed by it and then expressing it in the ballot box. Apparently Clinton voters were able to rise above this subconscious force.

Yes, Trump has said he wants to roll back women’s access to abortion; he’s been a pig in many of his comments about women; and he’s probably not the best candidate to argue for better childcare resources or maternity leave. But the idea that he will send every woman howling back to the dark ages is absurd; that smacks more of fearmongering than a serious feminism designed to criticise and challenge the new president.

White women didn’t vote for Trump because they hate themselves. The fact is, not every woman in the US is a card-carrying feminist. Not all college-educated women go to Harvard and scream at their professors for using the wrong pronoun. In fact, as Elizabeth Nolan Brown points out in Reason, Trump’s female fanbase was made up of mostly older white women, without a college degree, living in rural areas, ‘unlikely candidates to be reading progressive, feminist-focused, millennial publications. Who, exactly, are these impassioned public screeds aimed at white “female misogynists” supposed to sway?’

This election proved that asking women to vote on the basis of their gender, rather than their political ideas, doesn’t work. Clinton’s campaign was a vacuous insult to free-thinking women. Trump is certainly no champion of women’s liberation, but the rejection of Clinton’s vagina-voting sisterhood, which encouraged women to fall in line rather than think for themselves, nonetheless felt pretty good.

Forget the ‘betrayal’ by female Trump voters; the way middle-class media feminists like Caroline Criado-Perez, Polly Toynbee and Jessica Valenti have insulted ordinary women for their political beliefs is far more shameful. By claiming that female Trump voters are merely adhering to ‘the patriarchy’, or have internalised self-hatred, or are mentally enslaved by their men, these feminists strip women of agency. Rather than deal with the fact that some women don’t agree with them, and argue for what they believe in, they smear opposing views as stupid and blind. And rather than accept that politics doesn’t go your way unless you make a good case, they bury their heads in the sand and weep. As one celebrity feminist wrote: ‘Wednesday was a day of mourning. Thursday, too. Hell, I’m giving us till Sunday.’

The more feminism presents itself as a superior girls’ club, a ‘sisterhood’ which only welcomes women who toe the line, the faster it will descend into the dustbin of history. Maybe it’s about time.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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