Sabtu, 18 November 2023

Dissent Memo, Should Joe Biden Be Banned? Several Administrative Staff Accused of 'Spreading Misinformation'


USA, OMIKAMI-TV - Below is my column in The Messenger on the view of diplomats in the Biden Administration that the President is spreading “misinformation.” My interest in the story is less the merits than the allegation. The President is facing the same allegation of ignoring fact and spreading disinformation that has resulted in thousands being banned or blacklisted on social media. The Biden Administration has pushed for such censorship in areas where doctors and pundits held opposing views on subjects ranging from Covid-19 to climate control. The question is whether Joe Biden himself should be banned under the standards promulgated by his own Administration.

Here is the column:

An internal State Department dissent memo was leaked this past week, opposing the Biden administration’s position on the war between Israel and Hamas. What was most notable about the memo is that some administration staffers accused President Joe Biden of “spreading misinformation.”

It was a moment of crushing irony for some of us who have written and testified against the Biden administration’s censorship efforts. The question is whether, under the administration’s own standards, President Biden should now be banned or blacklisted to protect what his administration has called our “cognitive infrastructure.”

For years, the administration and many Democrats in Congress have resisted every effort to expose the sprawling government censorship program that one federal judge described as an “Orwellian ‘Ministry of Truth.'” As I have written previously, it included grants to academic and third-party organizations to create a global system of blacklists and to pressure advertisers to withdraw support from conservative sites.

Most recently, a House Judiciary Committee report revealed another layer of this system, described as a “switchboarding” role for the censorship system by channeling demands for removal or bans from state and local officials. This switchboarding process was confirmed by Brian Scully of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), during prior court testimony. CISA’s director, Jen Easterly, previously declared the administration’s intent to extend its role over maintaining critical infrastructure to include “our cognitive infrastructure” and combating not just mis- and disinformation but also “malinformation,” which CISA describes as “based on fact, but used out of context to mislead, harm, or manipulate.”

As a result, over the last four years, researchers, politicians, and even satirical sites have been banned or blacklisted for offering dissenting views of COVID measures, climate change, gender identity or social justice, according to the House Judiciary report. No level of censorship seemed to be sufficient for President Biden, who once claimed that social media companies were “killing people” by not silencing more dissenting voices.

Now, though, President Biden himself is accused — by some in his own administration — of spreading misinformation and supporting war criminals.

The five-page State Department memo was signed by 100 State and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) employees and was accompanied by a social media post by a junior foreign affairs staffer, accusing Biden of being “complicit in genocide” in Gaza. The memo accuses Biden of “spreading misinformation,” citing his Oct. 10 speech supporting Israel, and accuses Israel of committing “war crimes and/or crimes against humanity under international law.” It also accuses Biden of ignoring facts — a classic justification for past administration demands to censor figures — on the number of Palestinian casualties.

Democrats face a nightmare of allegations of disinformation on both sides of the war and other issues. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and numerous media outlets have been accused of spreading disinformation about Israel killing hundreds with an airstrike on a Gaza hospital. Former CIA director Leon Panetta, in an interview on Fox News, stood by disproven claims about Russia faking Hunter Biden’s laptop.

There is, of course, not even a whisper (let alone a loud demand) for censorship or suspension of any of these figures or outlets, because that is not how the administration’s policies over “misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation” — what it terms “MDM” — work. The administration at one point insisted that it would police this “MDM space” to target views on a sweeping range of subjects, including racial justice and the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan.

So what will the Biden MDM space-rangers do with President Biden?
The obvious answer is, “Nothing.”

The administration can note that the memo’s view of war crimes is a minority position and a matter of opinion — although that hasn’t stopped others from being censored, particularly scientists involved in the COVID controversies, according to the House Judiciary report.

Indeed, under its own standards, CISA and other agencies may be confused who to censor. It has created standards so ill-defined that it is surrounded by actionable disinformation. For example, if the administration does not believe Israel is committing war crimes, should it push to censor its own dissenting diplomats?

The censors in the administration and at social media companies have always adopted vague standards that allowed them to pick and choose who should be heard or silenced. Former Twitter executive Anika Collier Navaroli called it a “nuanced” approach in determining how much free speech to allow; former CEO Parag Agrawal said that the “focus [is] less on thinking about free speech” because it is not on who should speak but “who can be heard.”

That leaves any potential censorship based on the ridiculous standard which Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart advanced for pornography in the case of Jacobellis v. Ohio, 378 U.S. 184 (1964): “I shall not today attempt further to define [it] … But I know it when I see it.”

Thus, President Biden has no fear about his views being censored: His administration has always exhibited distinct myopia when it claims to know disinformation when it sees it.

(Jonathan Turley) OMIKAMI-TV 

An attorney, constitutional law scholar and legal analyst, is the Shapiro Chair for Public Interest Law at The George Washington University Law School.

Jumat, 17 November 2023

Michigan Court Rejects Effort to Disqualify Donald Trump


USA, OMIKAMI-TV - We have been discussing the nationwide effort to disqualify former President Donald Trump from ballots in key states under a novel theory using Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. Yesterday, a Michigan judge was the latest to dismiss the effort to prevent voters from being able to vote for Trump.

As many of you know, I have been a vocal critic of the theory as unfounded and dangerous. While figures like Harvard Professor Laurence Tribe have assured the public that Trump is clearly disqualified under the theory, it is based on unsustainable historical and legal interpretations in my view. For that reason, I have welcomed rulings to allow these claims to be reviewed on appeal. It has not fared well. While some have misrepresented past rulings, Tribe and others are still seeking a favorable judge.

State Judge James Robert Redford rejected the challenge and found that the courts lack the claimed authority under the theory. Judge Redford also rejected the effort of Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) under state law to remove candidates from the ballot based on that provision.

An appeal is now expected to proceed and the matter could well end up in front of the Supreme Court.

Last week, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled in a similar case that Trump could not be removed from the primary ballot in that state. Another ruling is expected soon out of Colorado.

I have previously addressed the constitutional basis for this claim. It is, in my view, wildly out of sync with the purpose of the amendment, which followed an actual rebellion, the Civil War.

As previously discussed, the 14th Amendment bars those who took the oath and then “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same.” It then adds that that disqualification can extend to those who have “given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.” According to these experts, Jan. 6 was an “insurrection” and Trump gave “aid and comfort” to those who engaged in it by spreading election fraud claims and not immediately denouncing the violence.

But even the view that it was an “insurrection” is by no means a consensus. Polls have shown that most of the public view Jan. 6 for what it was: a protest that became a riot. One year after the riot, CBS News mostly downplayed and ignored the result of its own poll showing that 76 percent viewed it for what it was, as a “protest gone too far.” The view that it was an actual “insurrection” was far less settled, with almost half rejecting the claim, a division breaking along partisan lines.

Advocates of this theory like Benson are arguing that they are protecting democracy by denying the ability of tens of millions of Americans to vote for their preferred candidate. Nothing says democracy like barring the choice of voters. It is a practice that is common in nations like Iran where the government scrubs the ballots of unacceptable candidates.
Hopefully, these courts will expedite these rulings to allow the matter to reach the Supreme Court for a final and definitive ruling. These challenges are spreading uncertainty on the choices that will be allowed for voters — a dangerous and dysfunctional effort.

USA,16 Nov 2023


An attorney, constitutional law scholar and legal analyst, is the Shapiro Chair for Public Interest Law at The George Washington University Law School.

Kamis, 16 November 2023

Gates Notes : This Scientist Uses Old Insects To Help Fight Malaria

GATES NOTES, OMIKAMI-TV - Of all the things I thought would help fight malaria, 100-year-old mosquitoes would not have been high on the list. Then I learned about the work of Dr. Mara Lawniczak.

An evolutionary geneticist at the Wellcome Sanger Institute in the United Kingdom, Mara has spent much of her career trying to understand how the genomes of various mosquito species have changed in response to humans’ attempts to kill them. When, where, and how fast has it happened? What does that say about how they might evolve in the future?
In recent years, genetics has become an increasingly important tool for fighting malaria.

Because mosquitoes breed so fast (a female can lay thousands of eggs in her lifespan of a couple of weeks), they evolve rapidly, at least compared to humans. By studying their genes, researchers are able to understand things like how they develop resistance to insecticides, crucial information that helps humans stay one step ahead.

After a few years of studying mosquitoes’ genomes, Mara had grown frustrated by the fact that the only insects available for study were ones that had been captured recently. Without DNA from their ancestors, there was no way to know how their genomes had responded to decades of human attacks. “We were often saying, ‘If only we could look into the past,’” Mara says. “And then it suddenly struck me: I'm sure there are historical collections of mosquitoes around.”

She was right. The Natural History Museum in London has a collection of 34 million insects from all over the world, carefully collected and preserved. Among the collection is a large sample of mosquitoes dating from 1936, when a British entomologist named H.S. Leeson spent a year in East Africa capturing and cataloguing the insects in the hope of learning more about malaria. Leeson didn’t know it at the time—DNA wouldn’t be discovered until the 1950s—but his collection of mosquitoes would become a vast source of genetic material that someone like Mara could study.

Mara reached out to the museum’s curators. They wanted to help, but there was a problem: Extracting DNA from the insects would require Mara to grind them up. Since the museum’s mission is to preserve its collection for future generations, they couldn’t let her do that.

So Mara and her colleagues invented a way around the problem. Working with the museum’s team, they developed a novel way to extract DNA from mosquitoes without damaging the specimen.
They affectionately call this work Project Neandersquito. It’s not because the mosquitoes date from the time of Neanderthals, some 40,000 years ago—this isn’t Jurassic Park, where they extract dinosaur DNA from a prehistoric mosquito trapped in amber. It’s because the mosquitoes they’re studying are 1,000 or 2,000 generations removed from modern ones, just as Neanderthals are more than 1,000 generations removed from modern humans.

Mara’s team has made some surprising finds. For example, because mosquitoes started developing resistance to the insecticide DDT in the 1950s, they expected to see genetic mutations for resistance appearing around the same time. But they didn’t. “We still don't see them even as late as the 1980s,” she says. “So the mosquitoes were somehow making themselves resistant to DDT in ways that we still don't really understand.”

They also hope to get insight into what's coming. “How fast can mosquitoes evolve? And as we throw new control initiatives at them, how quickly are they going to get around them?” Other labs are now using the process devised by the Lawniczak Group to do their own research.

Project Neandersquito is just one of the ways Mara and her team are using genomics to advance the fight against malaria. A different project, the Malaria Cell Atlas, is providing new genetic data that could inform the effort to make better malaria drugs and vaccines.

Another project is designed to make it easier and cheaper to identify a mosquito’s species using its DNA—it’s surprisingly hard to do just by looking—as well as whether it’s carrying the parasite that causes malaria, and even which species of the parasite it has. Ultimately, the project’s goal is to help governments get data that will help them get the most out of their anti-malaria efforts.

Mara would be the first to say that these are just a few examples of the tools the world needs to eradicate malaria. It’s going to take global cooperation from governments, the private sector, and academia. And now we can add natural history museums to the list.

(Bill Gates) OMIKAMI-TV 

Rabu, 15 November 2023

Gates Notes : The world's Newest Weapon Against Malaria? Mosquitoes

GATES NOTES, OMIKAMI-TV - About 10 years ago, the African country of Djibouti had nearly succeeded in wiping out malaria. The country’s leaders hoped that getting rid of the disease would help them attract new investment, development, and tourism.

Then suddenly the disease roared back. Cases surged from just 27 in 2012, to more than 73,000 in 2020—a huge number for this East African nation of just one million people. The cause?

A highly invasive mosquito that had migrated from South Asia and the Arabian Peninsula into Africa.

This pest—the Anopheles stephensi mosquito—has now emerged as one of the biggest threats to malaria elimination in sub-Saharan Africa. Since establishing a beachhead in Djibouti, An. stephensi mosquitoes have been detected in Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia, Kenya and as far away as Nigeria and Ghana, in West Africa. According to one study, if this mosquito is left unchecked an additional 126 million people on the continent will be at risk of malaria.    What makes An. stephensi particularly dangerous is where it has chosen to reside. Unlike other malaria-carrying mosquitoes in Africa that primarily breed in rural areas, An. stephensi thrives in urban environments. Cities are already home to 40 percent of the population in sub-Saharan Africa and continue to experience rapid growth, creating a fertile habitat for this mosquito. Making matters worse, An. stephensi has been found to be resistant to many of the insecticides used to control mosquito populations. And they bite in the evening before bedtime—not in the middle of the night like other mosquitoes—making bed nets less effective as protection.

But this story doesn’t end here.

In 2018, the government of Djibouti, in search for a new approach to combat these urban invaders, heard about a biotechnology company called Oxitec that has a potentially game-changing solution to mosquito control.

The fight against mosquitoes and the diseases they carry has always been a game of cat and mouse. Humans develop new interventions—like bed nets, insecticides, and treatments—to protect themselves from mosquitoes. Mosquitoes, meanwhile, have an incredible capacity to adapt, allowing them to eventually dodge or develop resistance to the latest control methods. Then humans respond with more innovations to outsmart the mosquitoes. And so on.

Oxitec, however, aims to change this game from cat versus mouse to mouse versus mouse. Or in this case, mosquito versus mosquito. Oxitec specializes in using mosquitoes to fight other mosquitoes. With its genetic technology, Oxitec has already developed mosquitoes to effectively combat the dengue fever–carrying mosquito, Aedes aegypti, in Brazil. Now Oxitec plans to use the same technology to help African governments control An. stephensi and reduce the spread of malaria.

Here’s how Oxitec’s technology would work against An. stephensi mosquitoes: Oxitec male mosquitoes carry a special gene to prevent their female offspring from surviving into adulthood. (Only female mosquitoes bite and spread malaria.)  Released into the wild, the male Oxitec mosquitoes mate with wild female mosquitoes. All the female offspring die. All the male progeny, which don’t bite, will survive and go on to mate with other wild females. With sustained releases of male Oxitec mosquitoes, more females die off, dramatically reducing the mosquito population and the spread of malaria. After the mosquito releases stop, however, because half of the gene’s carriers (the females) cannot survive, the gene steadily declines and disappears from the mosquito population within a few generations.
Genetic technology like Oxitec’s understandably raises many questions. Is it safe? What are the lasting environmental impacts? Here’s what’s important to know:

Because it’s passed through mating, the gene the Oxitec male mosquitoes carry only targets the An. stephensi mosquitoes. It doesn’t have any impact on other insects and cannot be established in the local ecosystem. After evaluating the potential risk of genetically modified mosquitoes, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2016 and the EPA in 2022 have confirmed that the Oxitec mosquitoes do not pose a threat to humans or the environment. More than one billion Oxitec mosquitoes have been released worldwide, with no negative impacts. In Brazil, the Oxitec Aedes aegypti mosquitoes have been so successful in reducing the spread of dengue fever that they are in demand by communities, governments, and businesses in Brazil. Homeowners can even buy a kit to raise the mosquitoes in their own backyards. (If you want to learn more about this technology, I encourage you to visit the Oxitec website and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)

Last year, the government of Djibouti formed a partnership with Oxitec, Association Mutualis (a non-profit public health organization in Djibouti), and the Djibouti National Malaria Control Programme to use this new technology to defeat An. stephensi.

No Oxitec mosquitoes have been released in Djibouti during the current pilot phase of the project. But the government of Djibouti expects to move forward with the first releases of Oxitec mosquitoes next year in Djibouti’s capital city, where 70 percent of the population live.

This solution is being pursued with the support of the people of Djibouti. The government of Djibouti, Oxitec, and its local partners have been working together to educate and engage the public about this technology, going door to door to listen to their concerns, and ensuring all the communities’ questions have been addressed before moving forward with the release of the mosquitoes. Local support has been outstanding to date.

To end malaria, we need many new tools and innovations to reduce the burden of this disease and move the world closer to eradication. I’m excited about the potential of Oxitec’s technology to help Djibouti and the rest of Africa achieve this goal.

(Bill Gates) OMIKAMI-TV 

Minggu, 24 September 2023

Martin Leads The Way On Raceday!, The Spaniard Topped Warm-up Ahead Of Bezzecchi And Quartararo

INDIAN OIL GRAND PRIX OF INDIA, OMIKAMI-TV - It's advantage Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) in India as he took the top spot in Sunday morning warm-up at the IndianOil Grand Prix of India with a 1:45.402. It was Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) who got closest to the Sprint Victor as he took 2nd spot +0.139s back from his title rival. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) also got a good start to his Sunday at the Buddh International Circuit as he put himself into P3.

Augusto Fernandez (GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3) bagged P4 ahead of Joan Mir (Repsol Honda Team) who rounded out the top 5, with Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) starting race day with a P6. Championship leader Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) finished the session down in P13. 

The MotoGP™ grid will be back on track in India, but this time with 25 points up for grabs. Make sure to tune in as the action commences at 15:30 local time (GMT +5:30).

Top 10

1 Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) 1:45.402
2 Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) +0.139
3 Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) +0.311
4 Augusto Fernandez (GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3) +0.398
5 Joan Mir (Repsol Honda Team) +0.428
6 Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing MotoGP™)  +0.462
7 Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)  +0.500
8 Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) +0.577
9 Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) +0.612
10 Raul Fernandez (CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team) +0.662.

Dissent Memo, Should Joe Biden Be Banned? Several Administrative Staff Accused of 'Spreading Misinformation'

OPINION : USA, OMIKAMI-TV - Below is my column in The Messenger on the view of diplomats in the Biden Administration that the President is s...