Thursday, June 20, 2019

So what happens after? After what? After you miss...

This is a political post.

The hot new trend in liberal circles is that Nancy Pelosi is a punk because she won't start immediately start impeachment proceedings, like yesterday. Or that the white Democratic establishment has turned it's back on it's non-white voters because they a) don't have the heart to go get it b) aren't affected as much by the current state of affairs as the rest of us c) may all secretly be Republicans d) may secretly be lizard people or d) all of the above. The twitter pundits and other self determined experts rail against Cheato's every golf outing, tariff proposal, unprofessional interjection into events and twitter rants, swearing and praying that the start of the process for impeachment will be the beginning of the end for this failed exercise in government.


First, just so we're clear, I'm all for exercising the appropriate tools for the removal of this political con-artist and a return to government of the people, by the people and for the people, to a much better state. There is the concept of attempted in modern law, such as attempted murder or attempted robbery. It carries a penalty too, maybe not as if you'd actually successful, but you don't get to walk away screaming "no harm, no foul." In my opinion even taking the meeting in to see if they had dirt on their opponent should have amounted to attempted conspiracy. But apparently I'm not in charge of anything. Honestly, I wake up and check my Twitter feed daily hoping for news that he's finally embarrassed himself falling down or maybe filling his diaper and he's just said "I quit" and scurried back to NY. I really cannot wait to get to the next chapter in America. We dun goofed.

But I digress.

Impeachment, much to Cheato's misunderstanding, is a political process, not a judicial one. And because it is political technically the Republican congress could have impeached Obama for that tan suit. Yes, it can be that petty. I don't know how it would have qualified as a high crime or misdemeanor, but I'm sure Fox News would have told us. Putting aside that reality, that impeachment can be for anything you want it to be, according to the actual members of the House and not the Democrats of House Pelosi don't actually have enough votes to pull off an impeachment. This whole thing isn't as cut and dried as we want it to be. There are plenty of purple districts out there. I know that evidence can be found and presented, investigations to fully expose and properly detail the infractions can be undertaken and that opinions will change. Slowly. I think when the hearings started on Nixon that less than 40% thought impeachment was the right process. By the end, well, old Tricky Dick didn't wait that long. So that part, the impeachment process can be done.

It's the Removal part that's the issue.

While the House votes on Impeachment, the Senate votes on Removal, and old Turtle McConnell ain't about to let the Senate find Cheato guilty of anything. Turtle didn't give the last president his proper Supreme Court appointment under the law with leeway he invented. So do you think in this process with actual real leeway McConnell is going to actually remove the head of own party? Not even a long-shot likely. Think of this like those cases where you have video and a clear understanding of the law and everyone can see what happened and the prosecutor goes well, I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt. Think of that outrage. That will be this. But this time on a national and international scale. We can forget to old Louisiana "dead woman or live boy" logic, the Senate as it sits now WILL NOT REMOVE HIM.

My question to all those "Impeach Now" zealots, when it the removal fails...and it will fail...what then?

Unfortunately this isn't like a failed vote to repeal Obamacare. You generally don't get to have three impeachments votes a week. We're breaking precedent left and right here, but this is a one-shot deal. So excuse my french but are you seriously like fuck Pelosi because she's decided she ain't gonna miss?

No, while those common internet and twitter pundits just want Cheato out of office, Nancy Pelosi wants his soul.

There are more ways to fight than one. And although the dramatic is satisfying, it's not always successful. Here the idea of impeachment, of actually throwing the want to be dictator out of office is enticing. Hell, I love it. But we need to admit right now it's just not viable. The end of this administration will have to be a slow, deliberate, brick by brick destruction. It has to be well conceived and properly executed or we all lose. And none of these pundits have any contingency plan. What happens if you can't remove him? And he claims exoneration. And that's pumped up by his own personal news/cheering section?

I'm all for impeachment, don't get me wrong. A long drawn out eight or ten month putting people in jail for not cooperating with the investigation style impeachment. That kicks off right around January or Feburary of next year. Right around when people get to running for President good. You know. When people are good and focused on politics. 

There is an old saying about two bulls on a hill overlooking a pasture of cows. Nancy is suggesting we walk.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Five minutes watching...Chernobyl

I don't watch a lot of movies because I didn't have a lot of time. A lot of movies and television of late have become more niche oriented and horrible, and Cartoon Network isn't always on point. So, I watch a movie or two, or five, when I'm not writing, or reading, or playing video games, or sleep. You know, I guess I really don't watch a lot of movies or television. Go figure.

I'm not a big fan of horror, and the HBO mini-series Chernobyl is quite frankly watching a horror movie that happens in slow motion. And by that I mean that being aware that large parts of the story really happened to see just how close it all came to falling apart is a different kind of disheartening. There are scenes that I had to watch three or four times. There are scenes that on a second viewing I just avoided. There were times I yelled at the TV and others where all I could do was shake my head. There is an existential dread from watching the final episode and realizing that the professional managerial attitude of "just get it done" truly is universal, crossing language and cultures to hold sway even in the control room of a nuclear control plant.

The five episodes are artfully shot, showing a green verdant Ukraine in the mid-80s as the backdrop of this Soviet setting. It's odd that only now do I realize that I would have thought that an explosion of a nuclear reactor  - which fired debris a mile straight up  - would have been more destructive. True fact: After reactor 4 exploded, the other three reactors were kept up and running. For years. Next to an open still burning nuclear accident the other reactors kept running. The region needed the power provided and honestly couldn't afford to shut them down. After that terrible moment of explosion, shot from a distance almost offhandedly, the horror begins creeping in. Inside the facility is confusion and denial. Then comes the mis-information from an noble but uneducated viewpoint. And then from a deliberate standpoint shirking responsibility. Desperation and realization seep in. And then in what appears to be absolute madness - the crass believe what I am telling you not what you have actually seen standpoint.
Chernobyl - HBO
The story moreover feels rooted in a sad kind of reality. The characters aren't bold and noble heroes, just people who are frequently hesitant and terrified to do what they know needs to be done, then doing it anyway. The small touches: the researchers in Kiev having to figure out there even is an issue, the reactions in meetings to the news getting out, the acknowledgement of what their own exposure will do to them as they press on, the Liquidators. Watching how these small pieces reacted was fascinating. Further, we see the system they had to work in was equally, quietly, just as terrifying. As one character put it "Our power comes from the perception of our power," and making it clear that revealing the full extent of the nuclear accident greatly dims that perception. And the focus on the immense value given that perception, both internal and external, to the detriment of the correction of the issue on such a grand scale makes it a compelling tale.  

I'm aware certain parts were altered for to make the episodic story tool work. The accompanying podcast has the writer talk about what parts of the narrative are true and what parts they had to take dramatic license with is equally as fascinating. More, they discuss they parts they left out, the myths and why they made the decisions they made. True fact: Two of the three guys who went under the reactor to open the sluice gates are still alive.  But the skill in the storytelling - in that I now mostly understand why the reactor exploded is amazing. I am not a nuclear physicist, but the scene where the character Legasov breaks down what occurred is just good writing.

When I got to the end, it was the realization of what had happened and how it's a situation that is all too mundane that made it all work. Chernobyl happened in essence because people "had to hit their numbers." That's it. A combination of things that happen in offices all over the world, in garages, in hot dog stands. That it happened in Soviet Russia, at a nuclear plant is just so ordinary. The plant managers falsified the safety check information when the plant was built to get their numbers and their bonus. The plant couldn't run the test during the day shift because the local economy had to hit their monthly numbers and couldn't afford a slowdown.

Those reasons sound all too familiar. And that's the really scary part.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

I am my own worst enemy

Ramblings Post #370
I don't do as many personal posts anymore. I don't do a lot of things I used to do. My legend reads that my intent was to approach middle age with "a shotgun and bad intentions," but I now I think that me and middle age can sit down and talk about it, preferably over a drink or two. I have purposely made this blog rather banal; television & movie reviews and other inane rantings. There was a time when this was like therapy. Back before people asked for your website information on your job application. Hey, what I do on my time is my business. Mostly.

I am my own overthinking.

One of my terrible habits in my personal life is the way that I overthink an issue, teasing out possibility after possibility until the only course that makes sense is to figure out how to build a time machine because the moment has passed. Now, in a business setting I can assess what is front me and execute with confidence, ready to make changes, adjustments and refinements as need be as the results of my decision unfolds. This willingness to commit has value, it could actually be considered a skill, and it was one of the reasons I did well at a particular "ranch" for quite a long time. The difference between personal and professional is stark and actually quite weird, at least from the inside.

Which brings me to my current dilemma caused by overthinking: I'm thinking maybe I'd go visit someone. Or rather, I'm trying to figure out what would be a good time to visit someone. No, what I'm really trying to do is ask to see if my visiting someone would be cool with them. Well, I'm kind of wondering if that's a good idea...

..... four hours later.... the bottom of all this I want to find out if something that was there, is still there. And if it's mutual. To see what's what and who is whom. See my good-ass English, eh?No, the truth of the matter is I know the old proverb: The journey of thousand miles starts with a single step. But then I'm also smart enough to realize even a walk to the mailbox starts with a single step. Or the kitchen. You can't tell with that first step. And there-in lies the rub. How many steps do get? A marathon or a far enough to get a bag of chips from the cupboard?

In my personal pursuits, I'm classic overthinker. Anyone of the many novels I'm trying to work through has a slew of notes chock full of information about back stories and side pursuits that don't even go into the story. Some that only serve to mentally flesh out tertiary characters who might only pop up for one scene. And those side stories also need to make sense. Otherwise none of it does. But then that's a situation where there is no real clock, no looming deadline. Tinkering is a thing. But with the clocking ticking I execute. Hmmmm...

So, what's this all about? I would like to go and see Sporty. Yes, that Sporty. From the before time, the long, long ago. I would like to have a nice dinner or something, face to face, or really any where we can sit and talk. Or maybe go to a play or catch some live jazz then sit and talk over a few drinks. Yes, that is exactly what it sounds like: A date. That's it, that's all. And yes, I would travel just for a date if she said she was with it. You ever encounter someone with whom everything feels comfortable, natural, magical? For me, that's her. Or at least it used to be.

Am I hanging onto a memory? Yes, very much so, one that I would prefer not to spoil if possible. And I'm probably only remembering the good parts too, but it's a great set of memories. And it would be nice to do that again. But one of the grand issues of overthinking..and personal empathy... is looking at the situation from the other person's point of view.  In reality, it's been a long time since she and I shared the same air, and although we text each other regularly, digital versus live is a real gulf. Who am I to her? I'm certain that she's charted her own path and is doing her own thing. So who would I be? I'm not even sure what I'm hoping for on the other side of this. Sigh.

If this were a work situation, I'd make a decision based upon the available information and then go from there. So why can't I do that in personal life?

(Part of me remembers when she used to read this and I would have posted this hoping to avoid the question, a clear passive-aggressive act on my part that I should be past at my age. Now I'm fairly certain nobody reads this anymore as I'm too infrequent.)

My only choice is to ask the question. The one I've been rolling over in my head - make funny? Imply something? Be vague? Be direct? etc., - for the past two weeks. Yes, I still put a lot of thought into her. And I need to do have this conversation soon, because as I said...she charts her own path.

It's who I am. An overthinker.

Barkeep. Why are there five beers on the...Thinker, I said THINKER. Well, leave'em. They're already out.