With “DARPA for Health” President Biden Has Earned My Support 

With our allies it's time for a Manhattan Project for genetics and health care to counter China

Congratulations to President Biden on a masterly address before Congress last night.

I didn’t vote in 2020 (or 2016 for that matter) but I was an enthusiastic supporter of Donald Trump in ‘16 and a reluctant one in ‘20. Today I’ve become a Biden supporter.

How did he win my support? With inspired ideas like this one.

In recent months I find myself increasingly convinced that I was on the wrong side of the 2020 election. For that, I am sorry. I do occasionally get it way wrong.

How wrong? Well, pardoning foreign spies, refusing to bar Chinese flights lest it affect the business interests of administration officials, or countenancing crowdfunded mob attacks on our system of government aren’t America First; they are straight up treasonous. I am not, nor have I ever been, here for that.

You may well read the craziest of things about me — most, but not all of them are fake — but you should know that I have never flown my freak flag higher than Old Glory. And while I continue to believe that there were strange irregularities with the 2020 results – I favor mandatory voter ID, signature checks and facial recognition – I have to say that I’ve come around on President Biden’s elder statesmanship. 

To be sure President Biden is no progressive but a centrist, pragmatic president who is willing to buck his own party. His choice of a CIA director — Bill Burns — was inspired, as have a number of his defense and intelligence related picks. And he’s racking up the right enemies. 

Throughout his career Biden has been willing to be bipartisan even with the so-called racists. The attacks against Biden for locking up violent criminals were some of the weakest yet. Trump forgot the forgotten man who brought him to the election victory and so they forgot him on Election Day 2020.

The last five years have convinced me that things are not as they appear in American politics. We are in an intelligence war and there are real mobsters and monsters out there subverting our politicians and our tech companies. I know what I’ve seen. I know what I’ve heard. Only a fool discounts the evidence of his senses.

No, there are many more monsters than Jeffrey Epstein running around. Their capacity for harm is limited only by whatever weapons their state seeks fit to fashion them with. And they’ll fashion some really weird ones.

Sometimes they’ll even make you believe in aliens.

I am not convinced we will win — indeed, I am very sure we may well lose — but I am convinced that it’s going to take all Americans pulling together. If we are in a war then it follows that we must win it. Indeed it’s incumbent on all American patriots to do what they can to see that President Biden is successful in his objectives, especially when it comes to the creation of a DARPA for health.

DARPA is what helped win the Cold War and it isn’t a coincidence that the world’s richest man — Jeff Bezos — is the grandson of DARPA’s no. 4 employee. Health DARPA can help us win the coming genetics wars.

President Trump gave us Space Force but our bodies, our cells, really our genetics is the battlefield of our time. It’s only taken twenty years and a global pandemic induced by a foreign power negligently or to force us to think seriously about our genome and our health. Better late than never, I support.

In biometrics the Chinese, with their billion plus population, have a large training dataset from which to draw. We won the space race because we took Sputnik seriously and birthed DARPA. We need to purge foreign money from our elections and from our cap tables, starting with China and Russia.

Clearview thankfully closed the gap with SenseTime on facial recognition. We need American companies to close the gap with China on genetics or we could well end up in a world where we are all Uighurs. Or worse.

The FBI recently warned about BGI trying to sequence the population under the guise of covid testing. Who knows if all the covid tests we all took were the real deal. In fact there’s a lot of evidence of a lot of fraud in the testing space.

The DOD has barred its service members from using personal genomics sites like 23andme.com out of this concern. But they haven’t replaced it with anything.

Lest we forget that among the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG)’s largest sponsors was state-sponsored Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI). There’s the British biobank, sure, but we need an American Genomics Institute and an American biobank.

Alas American companies haven’t been America First ones. 23andMe.com is all too willing to cut deals with the Chinese. So is Blackstone, which purchased a large stake in Ancestry, before anointing Deborah Liu, CEO. These firms won’t help law enforcement. 23andMe is only too willing to do deals with British firms like GlaxoSmithKline or Richard Branson. These are allies so it could be worse.

Still there are 500,000 of us who are dead and yet we aren’t allowed to discuss the genetics underpinnings of the virus. The answer cannot be vaccine passports and one size fits all policies which do not work. We must recognize our human biodiversity — the only diversity that matters.

American corporations too can lean into their very real diversity but not so much that they fall over. Recognizing the reality of human biodiversity does not mean that we must necessarily want to extinguish others. We must cherish it.

Alas I fear that that diversity, like that of the rest of the biosphere, is rapidly diminishing. The Han Chinese state slowly but surely removes all diversity in its path. It treats the environment as it treats its people: not well.

But to confront China we won’t be alone in this necessary fight. It’s going to take all of us working together.

Our allies are turning to the genetics frontier, especially Britain. We should follow them into the genomic age as they once followed us into the nuclear one.

Among their more innovative ideas is Wellcome LEAP, which is, coincidentally, headed by an ex-DARPA chief, Regina Dugan. The $300M organization is a good start and it’s accepting applications.

Jay Flatley, who recently left Illumina’s board and who was once considered for Trump’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (before wisely reconsidering), is the chairman of LEAP. He’d be a great guy to head up the public-private partnership.

For my own part, and in the spirit of Biden’s “DARPA for health” I propose that sequence all willing Americans and give them cheaper health care. Asymmetries of information always wind up hurting consumers and that’s every bit as true with health care information. Produce so much genetic information, in other words, that the Chinese will struggle to steal it.

General Atomics’s Linden Blue once told me that my generation was the first to live with infinite information at our disposal but that “[my] kid’s generation will live in a world of infinite energy.” He was referring to nuclear power, of course. The commanding heights of the 20th was oil and space; those of the 21st century are the atom and the cell.

This is a Sputnik moment. This is a FDR moment. This is a Biden moment.

Who knew that our oldest president could be so with it?