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Mass Distraction???

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Balladeer
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0 posted 10-21-2009 03:16 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer


Report: White House neglecting bioterrorism

    *

By Mimi Hall, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON The Obama administration is working hard to curb nuclear threats but failing to address the more urgent and immediate threat of biological terrorism, a bipartisan commission created by Congress is reporting today.

The report obtained by USA TODAY cites failures on biosecurity policy by the White House, which the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction says has left the country vulnerable. The commission, created last year to address concerns raised by post-9/11 investigations, warns that anthrax spores released by a crop-duster could "kill more Americans than died in World War II" and the economic impact could exceed $1.8 trillion in cleanup and other costs.

The government's efforts "have not kept pace with the increasing capabilities and agility of those who would do harm to the United States," the report says. "The consequences of ignoring these warnings could be dire." Says commission Chairman Bob Graham, a Democratic former senator from Florida: "The clock is ticking."

White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said protecting the nation from deadly weapons is among President Obama's "top national security priorities."

Among the commission's criticisms:

President Obama's National Security Council has no senior political appointees with a biodefense background. "That was not the case in the Clinton and Bush administrations," the report says.

Programs created after the 9/11 attacks to develop and buy vaccines and drugs to prevent and respond to a biological attack are not being funded adequately. Although the report is critical of the White House on this topic, Congress has the power of the purse. The report cites a funding shortage for a program to ensure there are enough drugs to respond to a bioterrorist attack.

The Obama administration asked for $305 million in its fiscal 2010 budget request. "Insufficient by a factor of 10," the report says.

Disease surveillance programs fall short.

The government needs to invest in rapid diagnostic tests to "improve the nation's ability to treat people by providing a more timely and accurate diagnosis" something that can be critical to treating the victim of a biological attack.

Shapiro says the government is spending $3.5 billion to protect the public from the H1N1 flu and is "carefully evaluating" broader "all-hazards" spending.

Commission Vice Chairman Jim Talent, a Republican former senator from Missouri, says: "The fact is, it is only getting easier and cheaper to develop and use biological weapons. ... It is essential that the U.S. government move more aggressively."
Denise
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1 posted 10-21-2009 03:27 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

"Insufficient by a factor of 10"

Does that factor out the under 5 and over 49 age groups?
Grinch
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since 12-31-2005
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Whoville


2 posted 10-21-2009 07:07 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


I think the report contained some good points; the call for a separation of nuclear and biological threats into two separate threat categories being dealt with by separate groups makes complete sense. The nature of each threat is different and so each, obviously, requires different tactics.

I was glad to see that Commission commended the work done so far by the administration along with the criticism regarding areas in need of improvement. From the selected points in your original post Mike I got the impression it was all going to be doom and gloom.

The full report due in January will probably be very similar - good but could do better.

http://www.preventwmd.gov/static/docs/report/WMDRpt10-20Final.pdf

.
Balladeer
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3 posted 10-21-2009 07:18 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

There were no "selected points". grinch. That was the entire article.
http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2009-10-21-WMD-threat_N.htm?csp=34
Grinch
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Whoville


4 posted 10-22-2009 03:15 AM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch

Sorry Mike,

I wasn't trying to suggest or infer that you had highlighted selected points - rather that the author of the article had.

.
Bob K
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5 posted 10-22-2009 04:21 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     Anthrax is nasty.  There are other pathogens that are far worse and I believe the article to be essentially correct.  The problem with a lot of these things is weaponization of the pathogens,  Even so, that's merely the name of a bottleneck, and not a suggestion that the danger isn't and hasn't been real.  The article didn't mention chemical weapons, which I believe to be a major threat as well.  Thanks for bringing these subjects up, Mike.  I think they're important ones as well.

     What do you think would be the best course of action to take in dealing with threats of this degree of seriousness?  What do you think we've done so far? And where do you think we should put our efforts and money in the future?  And where do you think we should get the money to deal with such threats?
Balladeer
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6 posted 10-22-2009 06:30 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

I have no idea, Bob, and can't even pretend to offer advice or suggest action. There is one point brought up however.. President Obama's National Security Council has no senior political appointees with a biodefense background.

I would definitely have qualified people working on it. To not have is not only silly, it's derelict.

Where would the money come from? Who knows....maybe sneak a billion or two out of the pork projects in the stimulus bill. That would be a start.
threadbear
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since 07-10-2008
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Indy


7 posted 10-23-2009 08:44 AM       View Profile for threadbear   Email threadbear   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for threadbear

Mike, one thing that has always bothered me:

Whatever happened to the prosecution or outcome of the Anthrax terrorist?
How could such a big story just be allowed to die on the vine?  White House coverup or censorship?  I get the feeling that they asked news groups not to get in the way of the investigation.

When people say 'Bush kept us safe for 7 years', the Anthrax attack is always left out of that equation.  I don't repeat that mantra simply for that reason.  Is is NOT considered a 'terrorist' attack?

Any thoughts on these?
Local Rebel
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Southern Abstentia


8 posted 10-23-2009 09:47 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Um... TB?  Really?

He (ahem) committed suicide (allegedly).

[or is that ciaicide?]
 
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