I have neglected TOC of late. Spring chores have kept me busy, and I’m slower at them than I used to be.

Anyway, here’s a look at some Prog mythology to keep you amused while I plant my tomatoes. (A two day project.)

From Marginal Revolution:
There is No Pink Tax

The so-called pink tax is an alleged tendency for products consumed by women to be more expensive than similar products consumed by men…

[E]conomists Sarah Moshary, Anna Tuchman and Natasha Bhatia have done a much more complete and careful study and they find that once you control for ingredients and compare like-to-like there is no pink tax. Indeed, sometimes men pay a bit more. Overall, there are no big savings from cross-buying. Women and men could save money by buying products primarily marketed to the opposite gender–like 2-in-1 shampoo+conditioner–but only by buying products that they prefer less than the products they choose to buy.

This is right up there with the great Super Bowl hoax, and the “wage gap.” All related to boomer feminism’s big fails.

From Reason:
After 53 Earth Days, Society Still Hasn’t Collapsed

Cassandra in Greek mythology was the Trojan priestess who was cursed to utter true prophecies but never to be believed. Ideological environmentalism features a cohort of reverse Cassandras: They make false prophecies that are widely believed. Stanford biologist Paul Ehrlich in his 1968 classic, The Population Bomb, prophesied, “The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now.”

See also Ardnassac.

From Quillette:
Domestic Violence Is Not the Result of Patriarchy

Research consistently finds that women in heterosexual relationships tend to perpetrate violence against intimate partners at least as often as men.

Thank you, Amber Heard.

From Cafe Hayek:
More from Bernard Bailyn on the American Revolutionaries and Slavery

It’s impossible to believe that the same British government that 1619 Project apologists insist was intent on ending slavery in North America would have obstructed efforts by American colonists to end or restrict the slave trade. This fact alone – the fact that officials of the British government obstructed efforts by some of the American colonists to end or diminish the slave trade – is alone practically sufficient to destroy the main thesis of the 1619 Project.

From Cureus, an open access medical journal:
Correlation Between Mask Compliance and COVID-19 Outcomes in Europe

While no cause-effect conclusions could be inferred from this observational analysis, the lack of negative correlations between mask usage and COVID-19 cases and deaths suggest that the widespread use of masks at a time when an effective intervention was most needed, i.e., during the strong 2020-2021 autumn-winter peak, was not able to reduce COVID-19 transmission. Moreover, the moderate positive correlation between mask usage and deaths in Western Europe also suggests that the universal use of masks may have had harmful unintended consequences.

From Glenn Greenwald:
Homeland Security’s “Disinformation Board” is Even More Pernicious Than it Seems

Typically, any attempt to apply George Orwell’s warning novel 1984 to U.S. politics is reflexively dismissed as hyperbolic: a free and democratic country like the United States could not possibly fall prey to the dystopian repression Orwell depicts. Yet it is quite difficult to distinguish this “Disinformation Board” from Ingsoc’s Ministry of Truth. The protagonist of Orwell’s novel, Winston Smith, worked in the Ministry of Truth and described at length how its primary function was to create official versions of truth and falsity, which always adhered to the government’s needs of the moment and were subject to radical change as those interests evolved.

That the Board will be run by such a preposterous and laughable figure as Nina Jankowicz — a liberal cartoon, a caricature of a #Resistance Twitter fanatic who spent 2016 posting adolescent partisan tripe such as: “Maybe @HillaryClinton’s most important point so far: ‘A @realDonaldTrump presidency would embolden ISIS.’ #ImWithHer” — has, in some sense, made this board seem more benign and harmless. After all, how nefarious and dangerous can a board be when it is governed by a person as frivolous and banal as this, calling herself “the Mary Poppins of disinformation”?…

Far worse than Jankowicz’s fixation on censoring those with whom she disagrees — now a staple of liberal politics — is the fact that this new Disinformation Czar has herself ratified and helped spread virtually every disinformation campaign concocted by the union of the Democratic Party and corporate media over the last five years. Indeed, the only valid basis for calling her a “disinformation expert” is that she has spread disinformation with such gusto. The most notorious of those was the pre-election lie that the authentic Hunter Biden laptop was “disinformation.” She also decreed falsely that the origins of COVID were definitively proven to be zoonotic and could not have come from a lab leak, was a frequent and vocal advocate of the fraudulent Steele Dossier, and repeatedly pronounced as true all sorts of Trump/Russia collusion conspiracy theories which Robert Mueller, after conducting an intense 18-month investigation, rejected as lacking evidence to establish their truth.

Greenwald wrote this before Jankowicz floated the idea she should be empowered to edit other people’s Tweets.

Her mindlessnes is not the core issue, though. The very idea of idea of a Homeland Security Disinformation Board is a litmus test. Any person who defends the idea is a slaver.

Dezinformatsiya is in the eye of the beholden

Surgeon general Dr. Vivek Murthy has instructed major tech platforms, already squirming under Congress’ thumb, to submit information about CCP virus COVID ‘misinformation’ on social media, search engines, instant messaging systems, etc., etc.. Big Tech is to determine how much misinformation has flowed/is flowing through their sites.

He doesn’t mention email, but – in the name of ‘Public Health’ – I see no barrier to him asking NSA for a dump of all email with the phrases “Fauci lies,” “Joe Rogan,” “Wuhan flu,” or “Great Barrington Declaration,” and/or the words “ivermectin,” “hydrochloroquine,” “zinc,” and “Z-pack” in any combination.

As explained in the Federal Register, Dr. Murthy wants to know

“exactly how many users saw or may have been exposed to instances of Covid-19 misinformation,” [as well as] “Any aggregate data and analysis on how many users were exposed, were potentially exposed, or otherwise engaged with COVID-19 misinformation…

“The definition of health misinformation for the purposes of this RFI is health information that is false, inaccurate, or misleading according to the best available evidence at the time…

Starting with, but not limited to, these common examples of COVID-19 vaccine misinformation documented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), any aggregate data and analysis on the prevalence of COVID-19 misinformation on individual platforms including exactly how many users saw or may have been exposed to instances of COVID-19 misinformation.”

So is the flip-flop advice from CDC about whether N-95 masks work serial misinformation? How about whether cloth masks work? Is it about the possibility the CCP virus leaked from a Chinese lab? Careers were stunted for asking that question. Scientists were heartily vilified.

Is it misinformation that natural immunity doesn’t count? How about counting death with COVID as death from COVID?

Is this misinformation from the CDC?

MYTH: COVID-19 vaccines can alter my DNA.
FACT: COVID-19 vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA in any way.

Both messenger RNA (mRNA) and viral vector COVID-19 vaccines work by delivering instructions (genetic material) to our cells to start building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19.

After the body produces an immune response, it discards all the vaccine ingredients just as it would discard any information that cells no longer need. This process is a part of normal body functioning.

The genetic material delivered by mRNA vaccines never enters the nucleus of your cells, which is where your DNA is kept. Viral vector COVID-19 vaccines deliver genetic material to the cell nucleus to allow our cells to build protection against COVID-19. However, the vector virus does not have the machinery needed to integrate its genetic material into our DNA, so it cannot alter our DNA.”

That myth/fact distinction seems to be not so settled science. BNT162b2 is the Pfizer vaccine. You can skip to the sentence I bolded:
Intracellular Reverse Transcription of Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine BNT162b2 In Vitro in Human Liver Cell Line

“Preclinical studies of COVID-19 mRNA vaccine BNT162b2, developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, showed reversible hepatic effects in animals that received the BNT162b2 injection. Furthermore, a recent study showed that SARS-CoV-2 RNA can be reverse-transcribed and integrated into the genome of human cells. In this study, we investigated the effect of BNT162b2 on the human liver cell line Huh7 in vitro. Huh7 cells were exposed to BNT162b2, and quantitative PCR was performed on RNA extracted from the cells. We detected high levels of BNT162b2 in Huh7 cells and changes in gene expression of long interspersed nuclear element-1 (LINE-1), which is an endogenous reverse transcriptase. Immunohistochemistry using antibody binding to LINE-1 open reading frame-1 RNA-binding protein (ORFp1) on Huh7 cells treated with BNT162b2 indicated increased nucleus distribution of LINE-1. PCR on genomic DNA of Huh7 cells exposed to BNT162b2 amplified the DNA sequence unique to BNT162b2. Our results indicate a fast up-take of BNT162b2 into human liver cell line Huh7, leading to changes in LINE-1 expression and distribution. We also show that BNT162b2 mRNA is reverse transcribed intracellularly into DNA in as fast as 6 h upon BNT162b2 exposure.”

The misinformation definition does include “best available information at the time.” Which would seem sensible but for the examples of such information flipping back and forth on masking, for example, and D. Fauci’s admission that he lied about it. As he also admittedly lied about the threshold for herd immunity.

So, who determines the best available information? The government bureaucrats? Whom we know lie for political and CYA purposes?

When is mis actually dis? Maybe when spreading information you know to be false? Like Dr. Fauci’s mask/herd immunity lies, or his semantic games around gain-of-function, or his surreptitious interference with the Great Barrington Declaration?

And when does “at the time” expire? Is “vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA in any way,” now misinformation? Half-misinformation? It’s only been shown in vitro, after all. The ‘Public Health’ narrative is that we don’t tell the public until there have been a couple of gold-standard RTCs in vivo. The public won’t mis this information. If they had it they might choose not to follow our advice about an experimental vaccine.

What Dr. Murthy’s definition means is ‘whatever we tell you at the time.’ And with the threat of Congressional regulation, he’s looking to enforce that under the “Public Health” version of the 1st Amendment. So, it’s far from over when Murthy gets the social media data.

Why wouldn’t he also have to know about the disproportionate effects of the CDC’s unconstitutional seizure of the rental housing market?


Urban Dictionary has a definition of “Ghouling”

The act of an individual, mostly persons involved in the media, who exploit a tragedy to further their own gain. In the case of the media, persons often indulge in inappropriate acts to ‘flesh out’ a story.

…which sufficed before Michael Hiltzik at the LA Times said, “Hold my beer!”

Post Hiltzik, we need a new definition. Perhaps: “An exclusively hateful form of trolling exemplified by the publicly expressed desire for, or celebration of, the death of others on a political basis. Thought to originate in the many images and fantasies celebrating the slow, humiliating, and painful demise of Donald Trump. (See Kathy Griffin)

Or we find a new word. The contest is open in the comments section.

(The following link deliberately broken. Can be easily fixed, if you must.)
Given the headline: Mocking anti-vaxxers’ COVID deaths is ghoulish, yes — but may be necessary

It may be not a little ghoulish to celebrate or exult in the deaths of vaccine opponents. And it may be proper to express sympathy and solicitude to those they leave behind.

But mockery is not necessarily the wrong reaction to those who publicly mocked anti-COVID measures and encouraged others to follow suit, before they perished of the disease the dangers of which they belittled.

Nor is it wrong to deny them our sympathy and solicitude, or to make sure it’s known when their deaths are marked that they had stood fast against measures that might have protected themselves and others from the fate they succumbed to.

One wonders why a healthy 46 year old female should be posthumously mocked because she conducted a rational risk analysis. Do you think saying “I told you so,” after that makes her feel stupid? No. Spitting on her grave is click bait posing as Hiltzik’s edgy righteousness.

Another wonder is the LA Times headline writer’s evident islamaophobia and cultural appropriation.

The earliest stories of the ghouls emerge from Arabic legend. The myth of the ghoul predates Islam, but because the ghoul is mentioned in the Koran the creature is still a source of terror in Arabic culture today.

The headline person had better click bait in the original title. The URL originally pointed to something titled “why-shouldnt-we-dance-on-the-graves-of-anti-vaxxers.” This is almost certainly the author’s working title, which tends to belie his weaseling double negatives and “may be propers”. Whatever, it’s a clumsy attempted cover up of somebody’s macabre delight in the death of people who contract a disease they had little reason to fear.

(Next link is broken deliberately, also.)
In other words, The unvaccinated cherish their freedom to harm others. How can we ever forgive them?
Heather Mallick, Toronto Star

Will we ever forgive the deliberately unvaccinated for having helped spread a disease that killed and disabled so many, devastating the economy, leaving many of us jobless and wretched?

Will we ever look on them gently when their casual choices left us unable to hold a loved one as she died? When a young woman with stage 4 colon cancer had her surgery postponed for the third time because hospitals are packed with unvaccinated COVID-19 patients at death’s door? Death has an open-door policy, never more so than now.

And will your children forgive you?…

Can a little girl tell people that her unvaccinated dad died of COVID-19?

For each unvaccinated American death, Kuper says, about nine people lose a grandparent, parent, sibling, spouse or child. But a child’s suffering is greatest. Children come first with all of us. Don’t they?

I’m sure you can think of several objections to Ms. Mallick’s treacly whining. I’ll give you some.

1- Economic devastation can be laid primarily on the ongoing authoritarian incompetence of politicians and bureaucrats.

2- That little girl can simply say, “My Dad died from the CCP virus.” And, if asked whether her Dad was vaccinated she should be diligently coached to respond, “None of your f*cking business, ghoul!”

3- For each American death from any cause (including vaccination) about nine people lose a grandparent, parent, sibling, spouse or child. (I’m taking her word for the number.)

4- Where’s the question about forgiving the people who kicked off vaccination hesitancy, and are presently holding up momo-clonal antibody distribution – Joe and Kamala? Or about those who stuffed elder care facilities full of active cases – Mario and Gretchen?


They might have gotten away with it if their Lancet published letter hadn’t insisted on a “willing suspension of disbelief”.*

The now-infamous letter, signed by 27 leading public health experts, said they stood together to ‘strongly condemn’ the theories which they said ‘do nothing but create fear, rumours, and prejudice’.

‘Prejudice’ here is just a stand-in for ‘racism.’ The word reinforced the “Trump is a racist” meme because he accurately called SARS-CoV-2 the Spanish flu German measles Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever Wuhan flu.

A letter from 27 elite public health officials? In the Lancet?! They cite “prejudice”!!?

That moves the burden of supplying any actual evidence to the footnotes, which the MSM fact checkers never check, giving headline writers a free hand. Too good to check. Probably too complex to understand. And, as it turns out, not at all settled science (oxymoron alert) – despite the credentials and insistence of the signatories.

The letter in question was written by Peter Daszak, whose blatant conflict of interest goes unmentioned;

[H]e told his fellow signatories in an email that the letter would not be sent under the EcoHealth logo ‘and will not be identifiable as coming from any one organisation of person’.

The emails show he even considered not signing the letter himself, although in the end he did.

The idea, Daszak said, was for it to be coming from ‘a community supporting our colleagues’.

It condemned as conspiracy any thought that the CCP virus did not naturally emerge from wild animals. Of course, he stands by it.

The letter would have been more plausible if the Chinese Communist Party had actually been “rapid, open, and transparent” in “sharing of data” at the beginning of the outbreak, rather than the opposite. It would have been more believable if the Chinese hadn’t restricted travel internally, while leaving international flights out of Wuhan undisturbed. It would have been more credible if the Chinese hadn’t stonewalled the WHO investigation of which one Peter Daszak was a part. It would have been less suspicious if the US Department of Health and Human Services hadn’t redacted parts (which, absent the other prevarication, would have appeared unremarkable) of an email from Daszak to Anthony Fauci, who had used Daszak as a cutout to fund bat coronavirus research in Wuhan. Research which had all the qualities of gain-of-function despite Fauci’s ever less plausible denials.

Peter Daszak enlisted 26 scientists and the Lancet to spike scientific inquiry of a totalitarian regime’s response to a pandemic, which unequivocally began in their country (though they mounted laughable attempts to shift the blame to the US Army, and imports of frozen food)… in favor of self-interest tempered by political expediency. What he was really concerned about was his own reputation, funding, and relationship with the totalitarians in China… and in our own NIAID.

The scientific credibility of the ‘Public Health’ elite Daszak brought on board has been damaged. Worse, much worse, the credibility of public health science and science in general has suffered.

The Lancet consensus science (oxymoron alert) article rejected as “conspiracy” the possibility that the CCP virus could have originated in a lab. It claimed the CCP “worked diligently and effectively to rapidly identify the pathogen behind this outbreak” We knew the Chinese Politburo had by then already deleted a major bat coronavirus genome database, and had restricted the WHO team’s physical access to the wet market and to the labs.

Now the Lancet U-turns over Covid lab leak theory and publishes an ‘alternative view’ calling for a ‘transparent debate’ on the origins of the virus

After eighteen months the science is no longer settled.

We’d have far less vaccine resistance if we could place any trust in these ‘experts’ who think their most precious resource is credentials; when, actually, it’s trust. Credentialism corrupts absolutely. Trust is only protected by truth.

*H/T: Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Scientific Mess-od

“If you thought that science was certain – well, that is just an error on your part.”

“I would rather have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned.”

-Richard Feynman

One thing we learned from the CCP virus is that we have unelected, credentialist politicians passing themselves off as scientists: Sinecurists for whom the scientific method is something “more honoured in the breach than in the observance.”

The consequences are predictable:
Misplaced trust: When trust in science fosters belief in pseudoscience and the benefits of critical evaluation

“We identify two critical determinants of vulnerability to pseudoscience. First, participants who trust science are more likely to believe and disseminate false claims that contain scientific references than false claims that do not. Second, reminding participants of the value of critical evaluation reduces belief in false claims, whereas reminders of the value of trusting science do not.”

You might think that means it is easier to persuade those with more education to apply critical thinking than to convince less credentialed people to do so. The rubes in flyover country are therefore more likely to qualify as domestic terrorists, by DHS definition, than the anointed.

Apparently it doesn’t work quite that way:
Americans with PhDs are the most reluctant to get vaccinated against COVID, study finds

Maybe that Carnegie Mellon University/University of Pittsburg study is bogus. Maybe the 10,000 PhDs in that study have their degrees in Education or ________ Studies, and see CCP virus vaccination as a plot against oppressed minorities.

Our President agrees with the plot theory. He sees the Tuskegee Experiment (not to be confused with the Tuskegee Airmen, Mr. President) as a reason blacks are vaccination hesitant.

Really? Joe, you’re this ‘ ‘ close to forcing every American to be vaccinated. Somehow resistance to that is comparable to an immoral government experiment on a handful of black men? 70 years ago? Under a Democrat President? … Actually, you would absolutely correct about the immorality in both cases. Too bad that you can’t understand the point. Because, if you did, you would have told the DHS that people who object to forced vaccination are not to be called terrorists.

All you accomplished was to remind blacks of something deserving an abject apology. Which has already been made, but it couldn’t have hurt to do it again instead of re-politicizing it.

You promoted racial discord for current political gain. You discouraged blacks from getting the protection you advertised. I know that is straight out of the Democrat Playbook… but SHAME! While it does reprise the theory that AIDS was developed by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to kill off African Americans and gays, it is unworthy of Hunter’s legacy.

OK. To atone for the Tuskegee Experiment atrocity, what could we do to encourage CCP virus vaccination? Make White people go first! Been there. Done that.

Back to the thinking of those of PhDs. Maybe they did apply critical thinking – noted the government positions change frequently by 180 degrees, have been worse than ineffective, and claim ‘science’ is being attacked when any diktat is questioned.

Is it possible those PhDs consider basing conclusions on pictures in the New York Times to be unscientific?:
CDC Took Mistaken Data on Delta Variant Transmissibility From a New York Times Infographic

The CDC makes national economic policy based on incorrect data in NYT pictures, and bases its disease prevention advice on CNN chyrons:
The Gay Festival Behind the CDC’s New Mask Guidelines
…instead of the Random Controlled Trials, which they insist on when evaluating everything else.

The word “method” is no longer to be inferred when the apparatchiks tell us to ‘follow the science.’

Peter “Jussie” Hotez

Dr. Peter Hotez was mentioned yesterday for his suggestion that hate crime laws be extended to the speech of anyone criticizing scientists bureaucrats he likes. Pointing out that Anthony Fauci lies about ‘the science’, for example, should be punished with jail time. Despite the fact that Fauci has admitted he lied.

Dr. Hotez naturally asked himself, “Who could take a new hate crime category seriously without new fake hate crimes?” Having anticipated the question, Dr. Hotez manufactured a Jussie Smollett caper implicating Sharyl Attkisson. Oops.

Hat tip to commenter Barry Meislin at The New Neo in Scientists must not be questioned or challenged by those on the right

Channeling Trofim Lysenko

Richard Feynman is likely to appear on every list of all time top 10 physicists.

He spoke extensively about the scientific method. For example, his 1974 commencement address at CalTech is a classic: Cargo Cult Science.

Shorter versions:

“No government has the right to decide on the truth of scientific principles, nor to prescribe in any way the character of the questions investigated. Neither may a government determine the aesthetic value of artistic creations, nor limit the forms of literacy or artistic expression. Nor should it pronounce on the validity of economic, historic, religious, or philosophical doctrines. Instead it has a duty to its citizens to maintain the freedom, to let those citizens contribute to the further adventure and the development of the human race.”

“Science is the organized skepticism in the reliability of expert opinion.”

-Richard P. Feynman

This would be news to Dr. Peter Hotez, whose television celebrity appears to have convinced him of his privilege: Professor suggests it should be a federal hate crime to criticize Fauci and other government-funded scientists

First, why don’t they all just identify as black and trans, and put themselves on the hate crime list? Isn’t critical race theory science? Isn’t biological sex just a patriarchal scientific myth?

Since Dr. Hotez’ suggestion requires federal guns, and more police, isn’t his speech an incitement to violence over someone else’s speech?

And if we’re going to do hate speech law by profession, how can politicians (including the ones with extensive private security who want police defunded, AND who threaten private citizens on Twitter) possibly be excluded? They’d certainly come before bureaucrats with a PhD following their name.

Dr. Hotez had this to say this to say on MSNBC:

“[Yo]u saw it play out at the CPAC Conference where they said this is nothing more than an effort for power and control and they’re going to use — first, they’re going to force vaccines on us and they’re going to take away our Bibles and our guns.”

Dr. Hotez would have a stronger case if the White House hadn’t already mandated vaccines for the military, and said, “A national vaccine requirement is not under consideration at this time.

The very fact that they say they aren’t considering a mandate “at this time” means they ARE indeed considering it, whether they ever do it or not. Otherwise, they could have said, “No.”

It would also have been better for his contentions had the IRS not removed tax exemptions from Christian 501(c)3 groups becauseThe bible teachings are typically affiliated with Republican party and its candidates.”

His case would further have improved if there were not dozens of elected officials constantly telling us they want to cancel the Second Amendment.

These are not lies, I’m sure he believes what he said. What he said is elitist ignorance, however.

Dr. Hotez also could have built a more consistent, if not more convincing case, had he included a plea for hate crime law protection of scientists like Charles Murray, Brett Weinstein, and Judith Curry; journalists like Andy Ngo, Tucker Carlson, and Bari Weiss; and authors like Abigail Schier, Lionel Shriver, and J.K. Rowling.

The real attack on science and scientists is when “scientists” lie deliberately. Dr. Fauci has admitted to having done so about masks and herd immunity.

I close with another quote from Dr. Feynman:

“The only way to have real success in science, the field I’m familiar with, is to describe the evidence very carefully without regard to the way you feel it should be. If you have a theory , you must try to explain what’s good and what’s bad about it equally. In science, you learn a kind of standard integrity and honesty.”

Lysenko? If you were looking for Dr. Feynman’s polar opposite, you could do worse than picking Trofim Lysenko. Dr. Peter Hotez would be a candidate for “not as extreme as Lysenko.” Hotez is not a complete fool in the scientific sense, and his ‘scientific’ authoritarianism is a milder form. But his arrogance is much the same, as is his lack of appreciation of the scientific method.