Why a Bumbling page? Because it is so apparent anymore that America has long-lost its way, that we are sinking in a morass of bad decisions and deception at all levels. These decisions are made not only by government, but collectively as a people and individually.
Gun control fiasco
Senate Democrats apparently had enough stone-walling from Republicans who continue to refuse to even tweak gun laws in this country after 49 people were killed and 53 others injured in a shooting on June 12, 2016, at an Orlando, FL, gay bar. The shooter Omar Mateen, 29, used an assault weapon and handgun and also died in a shootout with police. After four Senate bills were rejected by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and others in GOP leadership, Democrats did a sit-in on June 22, protesting. Recent polls show 92% of Americans want expanded background checks for gun buyers, 87% wants gun banned from use by felons and those with mental illness and 85% are for banning guns in the hands of people on the FBI Watch List. And yet Senate Republicans, who hold a majority of seats, continue to say no. Why? Most GOP senators have received huge amounts of campaign funds from the National Rifle Association. McConnell himself has taken $1.26 million in money from the NRA, but trails Arizona’s John McCain who has amassed $7.74 mil in the gun lobby’s contributions.
No autopsy for Scalia
As an avid viewer of Forensic Files, I know what’s possible when it comes to finding cause of death. But when Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died in West Texas on February 13, 2016, authorities did not even try. Scalia was embalmed quickly and his internal organs removed. A low-level judge in Texas determined Scalia died of natural causes — without seeing the body. The death left the Supreme Court with only eight justices, 4 conservatives, 4 liberals. The nomination of a ninth judge by President Obama has become a huge issue in November’s general election. You would think with so much at stake, a simple autopsy would have been all but mandatory in a country alread drive widely apart on the political front.
On October 3, 2015, U.S. Air Force planes bombed a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, killing 42 workers and patients. U.S. Gen. John E. Campbell said the tragedy was due to a “series of mistakes” in an attempt to combat gains by Taliban forces. Doctors Without Borders likened it to a war crime. In November, top U.S. military officials admitted mistakes followed on mistakes. In April 2016, a Pentagon report said 16 servicemen were disciplined over the incident but that no criminal charges were filed. The men “failed to comply with rules of engagement in the law of armed conflict.” The crew were described as confused about the target when they generated the attack on the hospital instead of the intended target nearby. Also they could not upload a database, receive or send vital emails or understand the “vague” reports coming from the ground. (NYT, April 17, 2016).
On June 28, 2015: For the third time in eight months, this mission failed to deliver supplies to the International Space Station when its Falcon 9 rocket disintegrated over the Atlantic. “We learn from each success and each setback,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. Really?
Grand Jury Woes
On Dec 4, 2014, a New York City grand jury refused to indict a policeman who had put a fatal head-lock on an unarmed black man named Eric Garner. This was obviously a case that deserved a jury trial. Millions saw the video of the incident. This came on the heels of another police killing in Ferguson, Missouri. There, Michael Brown was shot numerous times after being questioned by a police officer. Despite controversial aspects, a grand jury would not indict the officer. COMMENT: The prosecutors and police have a symbiotic relationship. No prosecutor should ever be allowed to run a grand jury when policemen are subjects at issue. This country needs special prosecutors in those cases to avoid all hint of conflict of interest.
Another School Shooting
On Oct 24, 2014, two students died and three were critically injured when a popular freshman, Jaylen Fryberg, opened fire in a class room at Marysville-Pilchuck HS in Marysville, WA, north of Seattle. (CNN, Oct 24, 2014). COMMENT: How can this happen over and over? A good place to start is a cowering Congress which is unable to enact any meaningful gun legislation due to a stranglehold placed on it by the National Rifle Association and a bloc of conservative American gunowners.
The Ebola Cruise
A Dallas female healthcare worker who had contact with U.S.’s first Ebola victim, Thomas Eric Duncan, boarded a Caribbean cruise ship. She should have been under quarantine in Dallas. Comment: Bad decision by Presbyterian hospital in Dallas and by the healthcare worker as well. Although later testing negative for the disease, much havoc and concern should have been avoided. (Newsweek, October 19, 2014). Texas state healthcare officials had the authority to impose a quarantine on travelers with contagious diseases, but did not use it. See also “Monitored Nurse Allowed to Fly,” below. (Huffington Post, Oct 22, 2014).
Monitored Nurse Allowed to Fly
Amber Vinson, who contracted Ebola on Oct 14, flew from Cleveland to Dallas-Fort Worth on Frontier Airlines the day before diagnosis. Officials say she showed none of the disease’s infectious symptoms before the flight and her last reported temperature was 99.5. The New York Times reported Vinson “was one of 76 health care workers at Presbyterian who were being monitored daily for symptoms of Ebola, including a self-administered temperature check. She was not in quarantine and was allowed to travel because she had exhibited no symptoms Ebola. She flew to Cleveland from Dallas on Friday.” The CDC said she should not have traveled on a commercial airline. COMMENT: So now the reported 150 passengers on the Frontier flight are now being monitored. What’s wrong with this picture? Did the CDC tell Vinson not to travel? If it did not, then the CDC is guilty of yet another bad decision. Also, when Vinson asked Texas officials for a private plane to fly her home from Cleveland, she was rejected. (Huffington Post, Oct 22, 2014).
Budget Cuts and Ebola Vaccine
Draconian budget cuts by the U.S. government likely prevented a vaccine for Ebola being ready for the current crisis, says Dr. Francis Collins, head of the National Institutes of Health. “We would have been a year or two ahead of where we are,” Collins said. (Huffington Post, Oct 10, 2014). Some economists like Paul Krugman believe the U.S. should be spending money rather than tightening the budget in order to bring the country out of its economic doldrums.
On Oct 10, 2014, it was announced a nurse who treated the first U.S. Ebola victim, Thomas Eric Duncan, came down with the disease, the first-known case of transmission in this country. It immediately set off a squabble between CDC and Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital over what protocol was violated and why. (New York Times, Oct 10, 2014). Someone needs to come up with an answer quickly or else very few healthcare workers will want to help fight Ebola, not to mention the disease will spread.
After four days, the apartment of the Dallas Ebola victim, Thomas Duncan, “had not been sanitized, with the sheets and towels that he had used while sick and vomiting still there.” (New York Times, Oct 4, 2014) A good way, possibly, for the disease to spread.
“I was in Liberia”
Thomas Eric Duncan, the first known victim of Ebola in the U.S., told an emergency-room nurse at Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas that he had been in Liberia, one of the West African countries devastated by the disease. Despite that, he incredulously was sent home and the critical information was apparently not relayed to supervisors. Two days later an even-sicker Duncan returned to the ER, at which time he was diagnosed with Ebola. There was no report of how many additional people he came into contact with during those infectious two days. (New York Times, October 1, 2014).
What did they expect?
While travelers leaving Liberia are screened for Ebola, what good does that do? Symptoms appear 8-10 days after infection. Someone may seem healthy today in Monrovia and sick tomorrow in Dallas. And that has happened. What about quarantines for those leaving the most affected West African countries? (AP, October 1, 2014).
Little success on the battlefields
Here we are again, on the verge of sending ground troops to fight a war in the Mideast, this time against ISIS. Didn’t we try that before and fail? Although George Bush II declared “Mission Accomplished” in Iraq, it really wasn’t. It’s still going on. True, before that, W’s father won a limited victory over Iraq, which his son felt he had to revisit in 2003. What is the last war our country truly won? World War II, 70 years ago. We reached only a truce in Korea, left Vietnam with no victory and a tremendous amount of casualties. Oh, yes, we won that little incursion in Grenada, way back when. Anyone 25 years of age has spent more than half his life in war mode. This is right out of Orwell’s “1984.” Perpetual war. Keep the public on edge and stuff tax dollars into the military manufacturing complex. (My observation, October 1, 2014).