February 2009–
Republican senators, led by a Susan Collins (R-ME) stripped Obamas stimulous package for funding to the CDC and pandemic flu preparedness:

“Everybody in the room is concerned about a pandemic flu, but does it belong in this bill? Should we have 870 million dollars in this bill? No, we should not.”

Stimulus bill headed for passage minus pandemic funds

The sums removed included $420 million for pandemic flu and $430 million for biomedical advanced research and development, he reported.

March 2009–
Swine flu is born in La Gloria, Mexico. It quickly travels to the US, with entire schools being shut down by late April to limit spread of the disease.

November 2009–
Senator Collins bitches that Obama isnt doing enough about Swine flu:

“It is disappointing that the Administration continues to recite the same promises and the same pledges, in spite of overwhelming evidence across the country that many Americans, including some of our most vulnerable children, do not have access to the H1N1 vaccine,” said Senator Collins. “Today, worried parents are left wondering when the vaccine will arrive. The Administration has no answers. It is not hyperbole to say that lives are at stake.”

“The Administration needs a new plan for working with state and local public health officials that sets attainable goals to ensure that the vaccine is distributed to the most vulnerable groups,” Senator Collins continued. “The Administration needs to convey realistic, achievable information on when vaccine quantities will be sufficient to immunize all high-risk individuals who wish to be vaccinated.”

Either Ms. Collins is a complete idiot who thinks that scientists poof vaccines into existance, on demand, and do not require money for R&D/manufacturing/etc (see Feb 2009 above), or she is a terrible person/Senator trying to blame her own bad decisions and politicking that risked the lives of vulnerable Americans on Obama.

Fall 2011-current–
The nontroversy over the artificially evolved Bird flu is over. The research was previously withheld due to scientific misunderstanding (nonunderstanding?) and mindless motives of some US anti-terrorism after-school club (who the fuck are these people? Ive never heard of them. Get a real job, hippies). There was no genuine scientific controversy on this issue. The research will be published.

But dont let this stop the Senates anti-expert on influenza, Susan Collins, from bitching

“When the American people pay for scientific research intended for the common good, they have a right to expect that their money will not be used to facilitate terrorism. These are not hypothetical threats,” Collins added.

Yes, they are. Not only are they hypothetical, they are fantastically stupid threats, on numerous levels.

“Before he was killed, Anwar al-Awlaki reportedly sought poisons to attack the United States. Adding to these concerns, the new leader of al Qaeda has a medical background. Therefore, he may have an even greater interest in pursuing chemical and biological terrorism,” she said.

Susan, you are an idiot. There is no experimental data to suggest that Bird flu is more deadly than seasonal flu. The in vivo data we have is on people infected with Bird flu in China, in extreme poverty. There is no reason to believe the virus would have the same effect on US citizens, and almost certainly wouldnt, according to the data she does not want published (though considering the way the economy is going, and that we dont all have access to quality health care, maybe our anti-expert Senator friend is on to something).

I said it before, I said it again– If there is one lesson HIV has taught us, is that evolution is smarter than us. If there is one thing that ‘Jurassic Park’ has taught us, is that ‘Nature will find a way.’

Nature almost certainly will find a way to transmit Bird Flu human-to-human. The faster the human population grows, the sooner this will happen. And it will happen long before any terrorist, however stupid they might be, thinks spending years creating a virus they themselves will be susceptible to is a better than a box cutter or bomb. If our anti-expert friend gave a rats ass about saving lives and being prepared for an emergency, she would want every flu scientist on the planet to know about human-to-human transmittable Bird flu, so we could study it, its transmission, and formulate a vaccine.

But she already demonstrated in 2009 she does not genuinely give a rats ass about pandemic preparedness.

So why the hell was she present at the ‘secret briefing‘ that ultimately said this research could be published?

The hearing was generally mild in tone, and was attended by just two senators-Lieberman and Susan Collins (R-ME); Collins left early to attend to other business.

Yeah, she *really* cares about this issue.

If we can try to pass resolutions banning Richard Dawkins from Oklahoma, can we try to pass some resolution forbidding Susan Collins from playing political games with pandemic influenza and US citizens lives?

Comments

  1. #1 Amenhotepstein
    April 30, 2012

    Either Ms. Collins is a complete idiot who thinks that scientists poof vaccines into existance, on demand, and do not require money for R&D/manufacturing/etc (see Feb 2009 above), or she is a terrible person/Senator trying to blame her own bad decisions and politicking that risked the lives of vulnerable Americans on Obama.

    She is neither, at least not fundamentally. She is a Republican politician under a Democratic administration. She will do or say anything to discredit the President, even if it is the most base hypocrisy, simply because – in the Republican playbook – there is no such thing as history.

  2. #2 Scott Hatfield, OM
    April 30, 2012

    Sadly, as Republicans go, she’s one of the few high-ranking members of that party who could be described as a ‘moderate’….though on this issue she shows a very liberal understanding of ‘history’….

  3. #3 TylerD
    May 1, 2012

    “Sadly, as Republicans go, she’s one of the few high-ranking members of that party who could be described as a ‘moderate’”

    Not really, even she’s been ratcheting up her rhetoric to avoid a primary challenge from a tea partier.

    Both Snowe and Collins have long been faux moderates; the only place where they depart from the Republican caucus is on a few environmental issues and, on rare occasion, women’s issues. On all other issues they might as well be conservative hard liners.

    Sadly, both the national media and local media here in Maine aid Collins in her portrayal, so she gets to keep her seat even though the Maine electorate is far to her left.

  4. #4 Mark
    May 1, 2012

    I’m a resident of the fair state of Maine, and IMO it’s unfortunate that Collins and Snowe are so often painted with the same broad brush. Snowe always struck me as far more thoughtful and principled, Collins as politically opportunistic and not that bright. I hadn’t been fully aware of her history with pandemic flu that’s documented so well here, but this is what I expect of Collins and not Snowe. Plus Collins has an amazingly condescending way of speaking, like she’s talking to a first-grader. I saw her for the first time at a research lab and wondered if she thought we were all idiots. Then I learned she speaks to everyone like that.

  5. #5 Liz
    May 1, 2012

    While some pandemic flu money might go for flu-specific things like vaccines, a lot of preparedness spending increases capacity to deal with any kind of hazard. Investing in planning exercises, improved communications between various responders and providers, surge capacity at healthcare facilities, etc. will pay off the next time disaster strikes — whether it’s an ice storm, mass-casualty highway crash, or disease epidemic. And investing in vaccine production capacity is just an overall good idea for public health, because we’ve seen how production of annual flu vaccines can plummet when a single facility has something go wrong.

    I’d like to know what Maine’s emergency preparedness folks think about Collins’s attitude.

  6. #6 Kevin
    May 7, 2012

    The in vivo data we have is on people infected with Bird flu in China, in extreme poverty. There is no reason to believe the virus would have the same effect on US citizens, and almost certainly wouldnt

    Also, did you see that paper where they serotyped a bunch of people in southeast Asia and found that some large % were positive for H5 antibodies? This suggests that a lot of people over there are getting asymptomatic (or low-symptomatic) infections and the insanely high death rate (I’ve seen as high as 60%) is restricted to people that are sick enough to go to the hospital and in reality is probably far lower even for those people living in extreme poverty.

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