The Week That Was

A Few Less Obvious Reflections on the Past Week

Well, THAT was Quite a Week – We Were Deluged with News

We cannot say the past week was a boring one. A hastily schedule but powerfully executed January 6 Insurrection hearing. Important battlefield changes in Ukraine. A series of disastrous Supreme Court decisions. An historic NATO summit. And more, in every sector .

Today is the Fourth of July. We have much to think about, America. Somethings to celebrate, some things to regret. Let’s briefly observe some of the important side notes to some of these sagas.

Personalities Come to the Surface, as Does Character

The January 6 hearings continued a trend of a few individuals who found themselves in key moments they never anticipated who stepped up to do right. Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony by  was powerful, courageous, and detailed. Once again, someone who started out on Team Trump recognized the evil being perpetrated and acted appropriately.  There seems to be a pattern of quiet personalities and profound character in evidence from time to time. This is welcome.

Efforts to discredit her are weak and vindictive. Funny, none of those who challenged her  seem inclined to do so under oath themselves. This was almost a John Dean moment; it may mark the beginning of the end of the continuing Trump plots . If at least Meadows and Trump are not charged with crimes, we deserve the mess that will follow us the rest of our days.

 But This is a Complete Mystery to Me

And yet…. In the past few weeks, we saw equally compelling testimony from the Georgia Secretary of State and the Speaker of the Arizona House. They both recognized clearly that Trump was doing everything he could to stage a coup and destroy our democracy. Less credibly so in his case (too little, too late), former Attorney General Barr said the same.

Nevertheless,  all three said that if Trump were the nominee in 2024, they would vote for him. That is a complete mystery beyond my understanding. How can one have a life of public service, see first-hand a coup attempt, stand up to stop and call out that coup – and then say never mind, I would vote for him again. This undercuts the morality of their positions and worse yet, tells others it is still OK to support Trump. It is not, and they have to know better. Unacceptable.

The Secret Service

This is an important agency that has come adrift and been in trouble pretty regularly for the last decade. Some good people are surrounded by a corrupted structure. Its politicization under Trump is a first and is especially troublesome. I don’t know the fix, but this is broken. It may well be time to scrap the whole thing and start over. Certainly the agent who took a leave of absence to work in the Trump White House should be history, never to serve again.

 Court Marshall Flynn

 Flynn took the 5th amendment over and over in his testimony, including when asked if he supported a peaceful transfer of power. How could that even be possible as a fifth amendment response? He was asked his opinion, not what he had done.

I am rusty on military legal matters, but as a retired general officer, I believe he is subject to recall and could be court marshaled. He has said enough publicly to warrant court marshal on several counts. Why this has not happened already is yet another mystery; this serves our officer corps poorly. That he walks free today is an insult to the uniform I wore for 30 years.

50 Years Wasted and A Bad Personal Decision

Two thoughts occurred to me in the early hours of the Court gutting Roe vs Wade.

One, it was never going to be an easy fight and maybe even always unwinnable, but we always knew this outcome for abortion rights was a risk. We had fifty years to codify these rights in law and failed to do so. What else is on the chopping block of the most extreme Court in our history?

Two, given the continuing roulette wheel of a system we have for appointing Court justices, we are sadly reminded that even the great judges can err on personal matters, and we all end up paying the price. I loved Notorious RGB on the Court, but after her most recent health issues, the handwriting was on the wall. She should have stepped down earlier and given us a shot at a decent successor. Her decision put us on the path for the 6-3 majority we now face (the other 2 thanks to McConnell’s refusal to do the right thing – twice).

Plan B as Part of a New Plan A

As expected, extremists are hard at work trying to restrict – or eliminate – access to Plan B like medications that can replace surgical abortions. I expect they will mostly fail, and people will find access, legally or not. But what a sad commentary that this is where we are.  The Handmaidens Tale is upon us.

Write, Call Your TV Stations

 The January 6 hearings are clearly having an effect, but it is disappointing how many local TV and radio stations are not providing live coverage. These are historically important, tightly packaged into 2 hours each, and are mostly not in prime time. Please write your local stations and complain that they are failing their civic duty that use of the public airways carries with them. Whatever the political views of anyone, these are historic events that we should be better able see live.

July 12!

Let us end on some cheerful news. We are about to see the first full capability photos from the Webb Space Telescope. NASA is providing a public unveiling at 10:30 AM EST on July 12. You can see them on the NASA channel and on their YouTube and Facebook connections, and later posted on the NASA web site. Perhaps commercial stations will cover it, too.

WST will revolutionize our understanding of the Universe in ways we cannot even imagine. Some of the few scientists who have already seen the early pictures were moved to tears, so profound were the pictures. Can’t wait to see what is in store for us over the next 20 years. I have always loved Hubble. WST will be orders of magnitude even greater.

           Bill Clontz

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