MEET DR. VICTORIA WULSIN, A NATIONAL SECURITY DEMOCRAT WITH A UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE
by Howie Klein
|Dr. Vic Wulsin and Mean Jean|
Most Americans who have become aware of the existence of right wing bottom feeder Mean Jean Schmidt have recoiled in horror. The Representative from Ohio\’s 2nd congressional district east of Cincinnati really is the bottom of the barrel, booed off the floor of the House for disparaging the honor and patriotism of a universally respected and decorated marine in pursuit of her bizarre partisan agenda. She\’s been a constant embarrassment to her district and her state and to America and her idea of national security, over and above being a robotic rubber stamp for the Bush Regime, is probably to call on her dear friend Ann Coulter to cast an evil eye on whomever the enemies of their delusional minds are.
America is blessed to have a truly exceptional champion challenging Schmidt in November: Dr. Victoria Wulsin, an internationally-respected public health policy expert. I asked Dr. Wulsin about the threat of bioterrorism and how the Bush Regime has dealt with it and how it must be dealt with when a serious and pragmatic Congress replaces the pack of crooks and scoundrels we have now.
When it comes to protecting America from the threat of bioterrorism, Democrats will do a better job than the current Congress for a simple reason: We believe that strong, open, and clean government can play an important role in keeping Americans safe and healthy.
The threat of biological terrorism is real and the consequences of an attack could be devastating. The American government must take this issue seriously– it must make the prevention of bioterrorist attacks a priority.
But the current Congress treats national security as a playground for rewarding wealthy and powerful political cronies. This President and this Congress do not base their policy decisions on evidence– they disregard science in favor of ideology. And because they see government as an opportunity to reward political allies instead of as a vehicle for improving peoples’ lives, they’ve repeatedly replaced policy experts with campaign contributors.
As a result, our government is making ridiculous decisions about anti-terrorism funding. Instead of basing our decisions on real levels of threat, we’re basing them on political expediency– homeland security has just become another opportunity for pork. At the same time, because it\’s putting politics above people, the current Administration is using fear-mongering to manipulate Americans– and it is increasing our sense of isolation and destroying our sense of community.
Americans are in broad agreement that government should be limited and that the free market breeds the innovation that drives America\’s economic prosperity. But in an area like bioterror prevention, the only way to protect all Americans is with a robust and nationally-coordinated system of first responders, public health, health care, and scientific prowess.
After the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, the health care system was in total disarray. I worked to bring Hutu and Tutsi medical officials together to develop health care infrastructure that could deliver supplies, medicine, and personnel to regional and local health clinics. Although there is certainly tension between state and federal health and homeland security officials in the United States, it– thank God– doesn’t approach the animosity that I witnessed in Rwanda in 1995. Even there, the international community worked together to get results. Ethnic hostility was trumped because we were working for the common good, and we relied on the evidence from best practices, technical knowledge, relevant local experience and expertise. We should be doing the same in America.
In order to prevent and mitigate bioterror, we must:
1. Provide full support for the police, fire, medical personnel, and other public servants who serve as our first line of defense against bioterrorism. Our first responders are woefully under-supported. According to the International Association of Fire Fighters, only 13% of fire departments can handle a hazardous material and emergency medical services incident involving chemical and biological agents with their current staff. Too many fire departments still lack basic radio communications technology and too many police departments lack the protective gear they need to secure a site after a terrorist attack. This obviously needs to change– it’s absurd that we can\’t muster the political will to adequately support the men and women who sacrifice to keep our communities safe.
2. Ensure that all levels of our prevention network are properly coordinated. Just three months ago, on May 25, my opponent, Congresswoman Jean Schmidt, voted against funding for the Metropolitan Medical Response Team, the organization that coordinates local efforts to prepare and respond to a terrorist attack (HR 5441, Amendment 943). That same day, she voted against funding for the Emergency Management Performance Grant program, which provides for emergency planning, training of emergency personnel, exercising and testing emergency response plans, and enhancing communications and warning capabilities (HR 5441, Amendment 946).
Again, these votes are outrageous. Local and state officials need federal support– and when that support doesn’t exist, we get disasters like Katrina. Much of the devastation of Hurricane Katrina could have been prevented if FEMA had been run by professional emergency management experts instead of crony campaign contributors. 1,800 Americans lost their lives in that tragedy, too many of them because our President put politics before people.
One of the foremost challenges that we face in combating bioterrorism is coordination. There are numerous federal, state, and local government entities responsible for preventing bioterrorist attacks and responding if an attack does occur. Coordinating these bureaucracies is extremely challenging– and absolutely essential to our national security.
Furthermore, we need to take international coordination seriously. Alienating our allies makes America less safe. Our country is best protected when the international community respects us as a leader. Particularly when it comes to counter-terrorism, we need more cooperation and better coordination– and in this respect the current American government has been a resounding failure.
3. Invest in immunization, prevention, and scientific research so we can protect our nation in the years and decades ahead.
I’m an epidemiologist, and I’ve dedicated my career to preventing the outbreak of epidemics. I was the chief epidemiologist for Cincinnati between 1989 and 1995, and was responsible for coordinating all disease prevention– which meant bringing bureaucrats, doctors, nurses, teachers and parents to implement new immunization and education programs. Then, between 1995 and 1998, I was the East Africa regional advisor to USAID, stationed in Nairobi.
Prevention should be the guiding principle behind our homeland security policy. We need to improve our threat assessment capabilities and our screening at ports and at the border. Similarly, we need to improve our ability to immunize millions of Americans in case of a disease outbreak such as avian flu or small pox, and investing in the R&D that will allow for better immunization in the future. Our government isn’t doing enough of either right now.
Thoughtful and professional, Vic Wulsin is everything Mean Jean Schmidt is not and will never be. Schmidt is a pathetic, worthless hack and extremist ideologue. She, and others like her, are dangerous to America and to our society\’s very fabric. She has proven herself unfit for public trust. And a perfect antidote to Schmidt is available. Please take a look at this and then reach deep… for the country you love and help Vic Wulsin win a seat in Congress that will bring us closer to ending the outrages of this rubber stamp Congress and people like Bush, Cheney, Rove and Mean Jean Schmidt.