What is the collective noun…

… for Progressives.

You know, as in a “Murder of Crows”, a “Confusion of Weasels”, a “Cackle of Hyenas”, an “Infestation of Mosquitos”, a “Plague of Rats.”

I know a “Collective of Progressives” is self nominating, but I reject it because it is a tautology. “Hive-mind” would do better, but if Progs liked it (and why would they not?), it would just generate a bunch of new Hymenoptera based pronouns.

Let me suggest a “Diversity of Progressives.” Progressives already embrace it. And it encapsulates the natural hypocrisy of a group that worships D I V E R S I T Y so long as diversity does not involve any divergent thought.

I feel more like I do now than when I first got here.

Tonight’s State of The Union address is an appropriate time to examine how POTUS and VPOTUS developed their elocutionary skills.

It’s fairly certain you’ve never wondered what it would be like listening to the legendary Roman orator Cicero after he’d had a hit of the brown acid. A) He died before the brown acid was circulating, and B) he spoke Latin.

But that does not mean the experience can’t be simulated. For most people Cicero’s imaginary acid laced oratory wouldn’t differ much in intelligible content from the off-teleprompter efforts of our President and Vice President.

They story of how they honed their natural abilities with diligent study is not well known. Their role models were not who you might think.

They had tried studying legendary orators and logicians, but this ceased when the President’s handler’s realized that he misunderstood the apocryphal example of Demosthenes learning to speak with marbles in his mouth; and when the Vice President’s staff realized she thought “Syllogism” was the name of Aristotle Onassis’s yacht.

Instead, Biden and Harris spent months studying the skills of two men whose Presidential campaigns are the stuff of legend: Irwin “The World’s Foremost Authority” Corey, and Pat “We Can Be Decisive… Probably” Paulsen.

Corey campaigned for President in 1960 on Hugh Hefner’s Playboy ticket. His campaign slogans included, “Vote for Irwin and get on the dole” and, “Corey will run for any party, with a bottle in his hand.” Notable quote: “I don’t believe Spiro Agnew is a crook. If he was a crook, he’d still be in office.”

Corey was a talented comedian and actor for over 50 years. He lived to be 102, which attracted the President’s attention.

In the persona of a dowdy, wild-haired professor, his schtick was non-stop streams of nonsense peppered with physical comedy. His routines sound like today’s soft “sciences” academic papers.

Corey was a nearly perfect model for Biden. Nearly, because while Corey was a master of sesquipedalian nonsense, he didn’t make up polysyllabic nonsense words. For example, he would have considered that last sentence insufficiently confusing. This deficiency will bring us to Paulsen in a moment.

Corey’s appeal to Harris was a little different. It is exemplified by this post’s title, “I feel more like I do now than when I first got here.” (the title of an LP he recorded). This convinced Kamala Harris he was a man to emulate, as demonstrated when she saidIt is time for us to do what we have been doing. And that time is every day.

Here is Corey when he was 79, Joe Biden’s age, talking about his album. For Corey, it’s an act.

But, something was missing for Biden. He needed a larger degree of freedom, outside the bounds of the English language, to exploit his propensity to create incomprehensible neologisms. Enter Pat Paulsen.

Paulsen’s Presidential campaigns spanned 40 years, starting in the 60s. Shut Up And Get Off Your Butt! was the theme of his 1988 campaign. He was famous for incisive analysis of our immigration problems early in his career: “All the problems we face in the United States today can be traced to an unenlightened immigration policy on the part of the American Indian.”

Paulsen was also a talented comedian. His stage presence combined studied affectlessness, mistimed gesturing, deliberate mispronunciation, and brief excursions into garbled strings of vaguely English sounding phonemes.

Harris and Biden both found these skills compelling, though they emphasize different aspects of Paulsen’s persona in their own rhetorical flourishes.

Here, Paulsen anticipates the message we may well hear tonight,

I predict that based on Biden’s recent assertion that Americans’ dissatisfaction with his regime can all be laid at the feet of the CCP virus:

“As Vivek Murthy, the Surgeon General, points out, I think one of the significant things we are going to find ten years from now is a phenomenal negative psychological impact that CoViD has had on the public psyche.

And so you have an awful lot of people who are, notwithstanding the fact that things have gotten so much better for them economically, that they are thinking, but how do you get up in the morning feeling happy – happy that everything is alright?

Even though your job is better, even though you have more income.”

Joe Biden has not forgotten Demonsthenes’ marbles, but he has managed to learn to channel Paulsen with a touch of Corey. His intuitive grasp of Paulsen’s syllababble is a natural fit, and his attention span mimics Corey’s.

For example, Biden’s “trunalimunumaprzure” (sometimes rendered “true ninternuvidu presher”, or “true inder nah ma preh zer”) is pure Paulsen.

Corey’s primary contribution to the President’s affect was a standard bit where Corey appears to forget where he is.

Corey’s influence on Kamala Harris is made obvious at the Munich Security Conference, where she had been dispatched to deter Vlad Putin with sanctions…

“[W]e strongly believe – and remember also that the sanctions are a product not only of our perspective as the United States, but a shared perspective among our allies, and the allied relationship is such that we have agreed that the deterrence effect of these sanctions is still a meaningful one, especially because remember also, we still sincerely hope that there is a diplomatic path out of this moment. And within the context, then, of the fact that that window is still opening – open, although it is absolutely narrowing, but within the context of a diplomatic path still being open, the deterrence effect we believe has merit.”

Harris doesn’t have Professor Corey’s vocabulary, but she absolutely nails his concept.

It’s worth noting that we could do worse than electing a comedian as President. Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, has been criticized because he was a successful comedian. He seems to have turned out alright.

Sadly, neither Biden nor Harris are funny. Well ‘funny peculiar’, perhaps, but not “funny Ha, Ha.”

Bonus clips:
Pat Paulsen Freedom to Censor

Presidential Announcement March 3, 1968

Corey on … Who knows?

Rabbit holes & curiosity

Loosely organized things that struck me.

Below is a simple comparison of English speaking volunteers who were asked if a particular string of letters was an English word they recognized. Knowing a definition was not required. Made up ‘words’ were included, and marking one of those as a real word was penalized.

These words showed the largest gap between male and female recognition.
Table 2 Words known better by males than by females (left), and vice versa (right)I sent that table to a friend and he replied: “A rebuttal to arguments that there are no differences between men and women.” Indeed.

You will quickly see an overall pattern. The blank slate crowd will argue that this pattern is entirely a symptom of social conditioning. This is a key tenet of identity politics. Any disparity between groups is solely a result of pernicious thinking which can be corrected by the State.

Totalitarian utopias (a redundancy) depend on the idea that human minds can be conditioned to think only State approved thoughts. Those who think human minds have no inherent structure, and can be inscribed at will by society, could benefit from a little research into the science. Two short suggestions. One. Two.

Anyway, I was curious about the chart and the study that produced it. The test is so simple that the only bias would be based on individual vocabulary. Which is what the test is measuring.

I’ve been looking at the M/F table a bit, rating my own knowledge and wondering about patterns and oddities. I could define all the male-side words and half the female-side ones. I knew 9 of those were fabrics, but I couldn’t have told you the difference. This proves females have been conditioned by the patriarchy to be more concerned about style than STEM.

There were 4 words I didn’t know were words: I’m not sure I’ve ever seen whipstitch, peplum, or boucle. I also didn’t know espadrille, but had to look twice to see it wasn’t escadrille, which is how I initially read it. On reflection, it seemed unlikely that women would be more knowledgable about French air force squadrons than men. Espadrille (is that also the plural?) are shoes. My mistake proves I am a programmed dupe of the patriarchy.

Of course, I then had to download the full spreadsheet to see if escadrille was in the 62,000 words. It was.

I found out that about 400 people of the 220,000 participants were exposed to each of the 62,000 words.

Gives you an idea about the magnitude of the research.

I noticed the highest recognition percentage for both sexes in the male column is for one word – “shemale.” “Taffeta” is that word on the female side, at very nearly the same ratio. It’s a curiosity that there’s one word on each list that has the highest recognition factor for both sexes. You see below that I would have expected that word to be jacquard on the female side.

Shemale (trans women with male genitalia) is associated with pornography. Is there some association between shemale and taffeta? I don’t know if it’s significant, but Duck Duck Go returns a lot of hits for ‘+taffeta porn’ and ‘shemale +taffeta’.

Turns out to be true for damask and jacquard, too. ;)

If they run this study again, they should ask about sexual orientation. We need a column of words known by men who think they are women.

Words with multiple definitions… or, at least, pathways to recognition. Jacquard, for example, could be recognized as a digital loom, or as the fabric it produces. That’s partly a STEM vs. fashion distinction. The male side of the table is mostly STEM, while the female side is preponderantly related to appearance (fashion/makeup). You might expect more men to recognize jacquard than chambray, taffeta, or damask, but they don’t.

I already mentioned confusing espadrille and escadrille. There’s also pessary and peccary.

If you are curious about the methods used in this experiment, it’s worth reading the short abstract here: Word prevalence norms for 62,000 English lemmas
A lemma is the word that appears as an entry in a dictionary, it stands for all forms of the word. “Build” is the lemma for “builds”, “building”, “built”, etc..
Here’s the intro:

We present word prevalence data for 61,858 English words. Word prevalence refers to the number of people who know the word. The measure was obtained on the basis of an online crowdsourcing study involving over 220,000 people. Word prevalence data are useful for gauging the difficulty of words and, as such, for matching stimulus materials in experimental conditions or selecting stimulus materials for vocabulary tests.

Other rabbit holes:
Discussion at ycombinator
Reddit thread
The 24 Words That Are Most Known To Only Men Or Women – 2014 results of the same study


…Is an existing word I’m taking as a portmanteau of code and vendetta, for reasons which will become evident.

Codetta: A short version of a coda indicating the end of a section of a musical composition, not the end of the composition.
Coda: The closing section of a musical composition.
Also: In seismography, the gradual return to baseline after an earthquake. Its duration helps estimate the magnitude of the quake. The seismograph curve may reveal details of subsurface structures.

This ties into yesterday’s post about the ‘code’ Democrats see in “Let’s go Brandon!”

The Virginia elections are a codetta. The political and cultural story plays on, and the magnitude of the quake is TBD. We need a long series of aftershocks, but it seems there’s a good chance we’ll get them. The Dems reaction to Virginia so far is to triple down on characterizing dissent from Progtopian lies as terrorism, racism, and transphobia.

One result is a new political personality. Winsome Sears to be Virginia’s first woman of color to serve as Lt Gov

The ‘code’ vendetta continues, though.

Former President Bill Clinton’s press secretary and current CNN analyst, Joe Lockhart, was slammed Monday when he made a tweet comparing the “Let’s Go Brandon” chant to coded language used by the KKK.

“You know who also had coded statements like Brandon? ISIS, the Klan, Nazi’s… beginning to get the point?” Lockhart said on Twitter.

There’s also a vendetta by exclusion.
USA Today snubs Winsome Sears, Jason Miyares from report on ‘candidates of color’ who won historic elections

They ignored her. What is the USA Today ‘code’ for disappearing this woman?
She’s not really black?” “She only won because of a white male?

Learn to code

The Virginia election results are ‘code’ for “Good thing for you lying scumbags there’s a tar and feathers supply chain disruption.

Virginia’s outcome will only heighten the angst of Progs already clutching at their pearls while falling onto fainting couches – over a euphemism. The euphemism in question invokes a vulgar chant shouted by tens of thousands of spectators on television at dozens of events over several weeks. It’s not a dog whistle (hard to hear), should you wish to distinguish ‘dog whistle’ from ‘code.’

Progs are upset that the euphemism has been appropriated by people who… well, people who shouted, or just agree with, the unbowdlerized version. On the off chance you are unaware, that was “F**k Joe Biden!”

Fair enough. Like me, the Woke probably don’t watch NASCAR (where a quick thinking reporter invented “Let’s go! Brandon!” as cover for the network).

Unlike me, they probably do watch TV: Where the talking heads have been wringing hands over the euphemism for awhile now. The TV reporter should be getting royalties.

Matt Taibbi notes Progressives’ panic: The “Let’s Go, Brandon!” Freakout Goes Next-Level. Worth a read.

For some history, see also Mark Steyn: Racist dog whistles and the men who hear them.

Soon, we’ll have the DOJ issuing memoranda urging FBI surveillance of any gathering involving two or more people named Brandon. Unless one-and-a-half of them used to be known as Brandy.

The pearl clutchers insist that “Let’s Go, Brandon!” is GOP ‘code’ for “F**k Joe Biden!”. No. It isn’t. It’s open and honest. Everybody Knows.

‘Code’ is Prog shorthand for a nefarious potential mind-worm. Possibly, GASP, a viral internet meme on Facebook Meta. Worse than mere vulgarity, or even mean Tweets.

‘Code’ is Prog-speak for a vile whispering campaign to secretly undermine motherhood and apple pie their suzerainty. As noted, FJB is regularly shouted by tens of thousands at televised sporting events. Lots of people are happy to shout the original, so it’s hard to see where LGB ups the destruction-of-the-Republic ante. There’s the fact that it mocks Progs, but is objecting to authoritarian overreach passé in the country that twice invented the tea party?

If you use this well understood euphemism, however, it’s a Republicans pounce level threat (ProgCon 5) to “Our Democracy.”

“Our Democracy” is Democrat code for “Anyone who disagrees with us is a white supremacist, transphobic, climate-denier.” Charles Krauthammer’s favorite verbal punching bag, Juan Williams, demonstrates: “‘Parents’ rights’ is code for white race politics“. Well, sure, isn’t everything?

‘Code’ is a slightly less conspiratorial subset of ‘dog whistle,’ but still not obvious enough for the average NYT reader to be exempt from editorial Progsplaining.

During Obama’s Presidential tenure “Chicago” and “golf” were racist ‘codes.’

For the record, the Prog code for “F**k Trump!” is “F**k Trump!” Vulgarity in defense of collectivism is no vice.

Robert De Niro, for example, uttered it twice while introducing Bruce Springsteen at some Hollywood awards ceremony. He got a standing ovation.

Kathy Griffin reinforced the point when she held up a bloody replica of Trump’s severed head. This passes for humor among people who are trying to cancel Dave Chappelle for making actual jokes involving transgender people.

Stephen Colbert’s assertion on national TV that Trump’s mouth was “Putin’s cock-holster” was code only to the exceptionally naive. Progs thought THAT was funny. Maybe Colbert was just playing one-up on Anderson Cooper’s joke, “It’s hard to talk when you’re teabagging.” THAT was code for “testicle suckers.” The funny part, presumably unintentional, is that it’s likely Cooper knows whereof he spoke.

To decipher LGB, however, you need neither a secret decoder ring nor an eruption of whiny, civility bullshit Progsplaining angst. A lot of people are upset over mask and vaccine mandates, an ignominious withdrawal from Afghanistan, proposals to spend $5 trillion for dubious wealth-redistribution programs, energy shortages, Federal obstruction of the energy extraction industry, high inflation, a non-existent southern border, intimidation of parents by the DOJ at the behest of powerful left-wing agents of the K-12 education conglomerate, state sanctioned racism, cities on fire in “protest” when City officials tell the police to stand down, skyrocketing crime, supply chain chaos, half a million dollar individual “reparations” for illegal immigrants, forced denial of fundamental biology… and minimization or suppression of all those stories by defenders of a President whose approval ratings are in the tank.

There is, shall we say, unprecedented dissatisfaction (63% say the country is going in the ‘wrong direction‘, and just 42% think the President is compos mentis) with the performance of an octogenarian whose gaffe permit ran out when he became President. Who recently used the phrase “make the trains run on time,” in a speech in Italy.

“Let’s go, Brandon!,” is a polite criticism of abysmal job performance by the puppeteers. Perhaps the chant can be criticized as elder abuse. For that, though, the chanters are way down the responsibility list from his party and his wife.

But it’s not like it’s a criticism of the Office. Joe Biden doesn’t occupy that office.

Mendastasizing mistrust in science

It started out with “noble” lies:
The CCP virus is not much threat to Americans
(the Chinese say no evidence it’s airborne, and they’re still sending flights out of Wuhan);
masks are unnecessary for the public
(well, that’s wrong, but the public can’t be trusted with the real reason);
the virus was not engineered
(at a lab leading the world leader recombinant coronavirus, to which Americans transferred the technology, and which partnered with the People’s Liberation Army… who strategized about weaponizing it);
the idea the virus escaped from that lab is not remotely credible
(even though it wouldn’t have been the first time, and the Chinese are obviously hiding data);
herd immunity is an ever growing percentage of the population
(gotta keep the plebes motivated).

Dr. Fauci has admitted many of these statements were intended to manipulate Americans. It gradually became plain none of it was based on science. These were political acts. In some cases he said things he knew to be false, in others he assured us of things he knew to be uncertain.

If you criticize him for this, he calls it an attack on science. Au contraire. Public policy making by deceit is not the action of a scientist.

This mendacity has caused outcomes opposite of his central plan. At the low consequence end it surely contributes, for example, to vaccine hesitancy. Not that he didn’t have help on that from the President and Vice President calling it the “Trump vaccine,” and hypocritical Governors ignoring their own mandates on masks*, lockdowns, and travel.

*And, uh… others:

July 2020

At the high impact end, he’s damaged the idea that our scientific institutions actually practice scientific methods. He’s mendastasized disrespect for science. See also, Michael Mann.

Now, defending himself with word games, Fauci expects to be believed in asserting his agency ever provided any funding for gain of function research in Wuhan. His personal stake in this matter does not make him more believable.

In fact, these dots can all be connected by assuming he was covering up the funding from the first. He approved waivers for it. His actions all are consistent with a desire never to be associated with it. He can’t be blamed for wishing the pandemic wasn’t real, but that is not what we pay him for. We pay him for applying the scientific method.

For all the ill effects of his haphazard, self-aggrandizing interference in public policy, the long term damage he has done to science is worse. THAT is the attack on science. Worse, he is not alone in this playing of politics by those who call themselves scientists.

Here comes Richard Feynman on “What is Science?” (1966). Read it. It’s funny, profound, humble, a defense of free thinking. It explains that words matter, but that a definition is just a label. It demonstrates that science is grounded on the idea of falsifiability. Which necessitates humility.

It is a paean to his father. An education in 10 minutes. I want you to read the whole thing, but I will provide one snippet:

[T]he importance of freedom of thought; the positive results that come from doubting that the lessons are all true. You must here distinguish–especially in teaching–the science from the forms or procedures that are sometimes used in developing science. It is easy to say, “We write, experiment, and observe, and do this or that.” You can copy that form exactly. But great religions are dissipated by following form without remembering the direct content of the teaching of the great leaders. In the same way, it is possible to follow form and call it science, but that is pseudo-science. In this way, we all suffer from the kind of tyranny we have today in the many institutions that have come under the influence of pseudoscientific advisers.

We have many studies in teaching, for example, in which people make observations, make lists, do statistics, and so on, but these do not thereby become established science, established knowledge. They are merely an imitative form of science analogous to the South Sea Islanders’ airfields–radio towers, etc., made out of wood. The islanders expect a great airplane to arrive. They even build wooden airplanes of the same shape as they see in the foreigners’ airfields around them, but strangely enough, their wood planes do not fly. The result of this pseudoscientific imitation is to produce experts, which many of you are. [But] you teachers, who are really teaching children at the bottom of the heap, can maybe doubt the experts. As a matter of fact, I can also define science another way: Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.

When someone says, “Science teaches such and such,” he is using the word incorrectly. Science doesn’t teach anything; experience teaches it. If they say to you, “Science has shown such and such,” you might ask, “How does science show it? How did the scientists find out? How? What? Where?”

It should not be “science has shown” but “this experiment, this effect, has shown.” And you have as much right as anyone else, upon hearing about the experiments–but be patient and listen to all the evidence–to judge whether a sensible conclusion has been arrived at.

In a field which is so complicated [as education] that true science is not yet able to get anywhere, we have to rely on a kind of old-fashioned wisdom, a kind of definite straightforwardness. I am trying to inspire the teacher at the bottom to have some hope and some self-confidence in common sense and natural intelligence. The experts who are leading you may be wrong.

I have probably ruined the system, and the students that are coming into Caltech no longer will be any good. I think we live in an unscientific age in which almost all the buffeting of communications and television–words, books, and so on–are unscientific. As a result, there is a considerable amount of intellectual tyranny in the name of science.

Finally, with regard to this time-binding, a man cannot live beyond the grave. Each generation that discovers something from its experience must pass that on, but it must pass that on with a delicate balance of respect and disrespect, so that the [human] race–now that it is aware of the disease to which it is liable–does not inflict its errors too rigidly on its youth, but it does pass on the accumulated wisdom, plus the wisdom that it may not be wisdom.

It is necessary to teach both to accept and to reject the past with a kind of balance that takes considerable skill. Science alone of all the subjects contains within itself the lesson of the danger of belief in the infallibility of the greatest teachers of the preceding generation.

Feynman is probably spinning in his grave because of the adulation we give to people who pretend they are scientists. Spinning in his grave would come as quite a surprise to him.

I miss his brilliant humility.

For me, I haven’t yet got a grave to spin in. So I just weep.


I do not watch television news, but I suspect the story of Senator Rand Paul’s questioning of Dr. Anthony Fauci, if covered at all, is generally of the form “Ignorant Senator smears Hero Doctor.” An alternative headline would be “Practicing MD challenges career bureaucrat.”

The exchange itself was rancorous and somewhat confusing. Dr. Fauci ended up replying (less charitably, you could say he seized the deflection opportunity) to an implication that NIH funding was directly related to the CCP virus pandemic. This would also require that some form of the lab leak hypothesis is true; or worse, it was deliberate. Three weeks ago we weren’t allowed to speak of a lab leak, but even the Biden Administration is changing its mind.

A lab leak is possible, and unproven. Paul did walk it back. But, by that time, Dr. Fauci was off on the tangent.

Senator Paul should have been more circumspect, his main point is beyond rational contention. To wit: Fauci’s repeated and absolute denial the NIH ever funded gain of function research at the Wuhan lab depends on semantigans worthy of Bill Clinton’s question about what the word “is” means.

In challenging Fauci, Paul referred to a 2017 Wuhan lab research paper linked next. It credits NIH with funding recombinant experimental work on coronavirus and infectivity testing against the human ACE2 target. One author, Shi Zhengli, is known as the “Bat Woman” at the Wuhan lab.
Discovery of a rich gene pool of bat SARS-related coronaviruses provides new insights into the origin of SARS coronavirusPLOS (Public Library of Science) Pathogens

This work was jointly funded by National Natural Science Foundation of China (81290341, 31621061) to ZLS, [etc. etc.]… the National Institutes of Health (NIAID R01AI110964)…

Using the reverse genetics technique we previously developed for WIV1 [23], we constructed a group of infectious bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) clones with the backbone of WIV1 and variants of S genes from 8 different bat SARSr-CoVs…

The HeLa cell line was kindly provided by Australian Animal Health Laboratory, CSIRO (Geelong, Australia). HeLa cells expressing human ACE2 were constructed as described previously [17]. HeLa cells expressing human ACE2 and Vero E6 cells were cultured on coverslips in 24-well plates (Corning) incubated with the newly isolated or recombinant bat SARSr-CoVs at a multiplicity of infection (MOI) = 1.0 for 1h…

HeLa cells expressing human ACE2 were inoculated with WIV1, Rs4874, WIV1-Rs4231S, and WIV1-Rs7327S at an MOI of 1.0, and were incubated for 1h at 37°C…

There is no question NIH funded research in Wuhan. There is no question at least one so funded research project involved modification of bat coronavirus. There is no question those modified viruses were tested on human ACE2 receptors.

Dr. Paul is not alone in his opinion that this is GoF research:

Dr. Roger Ebright, a professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Rutgers University and biosafety expert… claims that the work being conducted at the WIV, using NIH funds originally granted to Peter Daszak of EcoHealth Alliance, “epitomizes” gain-of-function research under the definition HHS provided in its guidance, and is the exact kind of research that led the Obama administration to conclude that gain-of-function was too dangerous to continue domestically.

The only remaining questions, then, are the definition of the phrase “gain of function,” and the meaning of the word “we.” Dr. Fauci insisted “that paper” Rand used as his proof had been carefully examined “up and down the line” and it was not gain of function research. According to the NIH.

Dr. Fauci also added that it was biologically impossible for those particular viruses to be implicated in the pandemic. That last, of course, is irrelevant.

Under the Obama Administration gain of function research was paused using this definition:

U.S. Government Gain-of-Function Deliberative Process and Research Funding Pause onSelected Gain-of-Function Research Involving Influenza, MERS, and SARS Viruses

Gain-of-function studies, or research that improves the ability of a pathogen to cause disease,
help define the fundamental nature of human-pathogen interactions…

New USG funding will not be released for gain-of-function research projects that may be reasonably anticipated to confer attributes to influenza, MERS, or SARS viruses such that the virus would have enhanced pathogenicity and/or transmissibility in mammals via the respiratory route. The research funding pause would not apply to characterization or testing of naturally occurring influenza, MERS, and SARS viruses, unless the tests are reasonably anticipated to increase transmissibility and/or pathogenicity.

See also: The origin of COVID: Did people or nature open Pandora’s box at Wuhan?Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. This is interesting for what is described in the title, but it also speaks directly to the funding question.

The media’s big mistake on the covid-19 ‘lab leak’ theoryWashington Post Even the WaPo is willing to consider what they once dismissed as a crazy conspiracy theory.

Fauci’s only other possible defense is that “we” (the NIH) were not doing the funding. As we’ve seen, Fauci’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, awarded a at coronavirus study grant to the EcoHealth Alliance, which subcontracted the research to the Wuhan lab. Fauci insists that the money did not support gain of function research. But as Nicholas Wade points out, that is exactly what the Wuhan institute was doing. The grant proposals from Shi Zhengli — (aka “Bat Woman”) are a matter of public record. She said she planned to use the money for gain-of-function research.

Dr. Fauci claims that NIH “categorically did not fund” GoF research in Wuhan. But, he cannot know that. His boss is Dr. Francis Collins:

NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins told Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) that researchers at the Wuhan lab “were not approved by NIH for doing “gain of function research” before adding “we are, of course, not aware of other sources of funds or other activities they might have undertaken outside of what our approved grant allowed.”

So “we” never approved it. And “we” didn’t monitor it. And “we’ve” never heard the word “fungible.”

And, it’s not as if Fauci never funded such research on other viruses. Here is a statement from NIH on gain of function signed by Dr. Fauci in early 2013. Emphasis mine:

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has worked in a transparent and collaborative fashion to develop a framework for reviewing funding decisions regarding research that might increase mammalian transmission of HPAI H5N1 viruses by respiratory droplets.

Does Dr. Fauci have a different definition for each virus?

Here is further discussion from NIH on gain of function
Gain-of-Function Research Involving Potential Pandemic Pathogens

A definition used by the Obama Administration and another used by NIH seem to contradict whatever definition Fauci is using. One is left with the idea that the NIH created such a definition, after the fact, which has not been shared, to avoid their own oversight mechanism during the pause in funding. If Dr. Fauci wants us to believe him, he should point out exactly when and why an apparently much more complicated definition was created, and what precisely excludes the older definition from his own agency from applying. I believe he would be embarrassed by it, and that’s why we have not seen it.