Professional and competent

Let me lead with some personal good news before I write what I actually wanted to post about: both my kids have tested negative for Covid 19. Yay! They can go back to school again this week and pick up their outdoor sports again next week. It is all socially distanced and careful but it is something to do other than stay at home and that is a great relief for them.

In other news: is it just me, or is the White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki just awesome? The way she rebutts and shuts down lies and conspiracy theories in such a clear, well informed and quick thinking way is just amazing to me.

Today I saw this…

I know nothing about this Major League Baseball thing but the way she rebuked the lie that Georgia voting law is the same as in Colorado is just awesome. She has been very clear about the new Georgia voting law before. That idiotic new law even made the news over here.

Even before all that I have been admiring the way she handles these kinds of conspiracy theories questions, like recently about some ‘secret report’…

I mean seriously, if there is valid criticism about the budget for certain policies, why do they need to be hidden in secret reports and can’t they be reported, questioned and discussed openly? I admire how she shut that one down.

Back in January during her first press briefing I already sighed a sigh of relief. The tone alone is such a change from the previous administration…

I like how she politely rejects Trump era policies and she comments on the new administration not really thinking about Trump that much. They are focussed on policy rather than personal attacks.

And if there is agreement with a former Trump policy, she will admit it…

These rebuttals even have their own hashtag on Twitter, they are called a #PsakiBomb.

Other than these snippets I see of her I don’t know anything about her and maybe I only see the good bits but those good bits really are very good. I like how she calmly listens to all questions and asks for clarifications of unclear questions even if they are wacko and you just know that they try her patience. She takes every question seriously, answers to the best of her ability and won’t give credence to wild theories and ‘secret reports’. It really feels like competency is back at the White House again. Yes, it is always necessary to remain critical and no one will ever be perfect but it still feels like with this new administration I can worry a little bit less.

Political scandal

We have our own political scandal here in The Netherlands now. This afternoon our Dutch government resigned over mismanagement of childcare subsidies. From the Reuters news agency:

THE HAGUE (Reuters) – Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced the resignation of his government on Friday, accepting responsibility for years of mismanagement of childcare subsidies, which wrongfully drove thousands of families to financial ruin.
Rutte said he had handed his resignation to King Willem-Alexander. The cabinet would remain in place in a caretaker capacity to manage the coronavirus crisis for now, with an election already due on March 17.
The resignation follows a parliamentary inquiry last month that found bureaucrats at the tax service had wrongly accused families of fraud. (Rest of the article here in case you’re interested or another one here).

The man in the middle is our king Willem-Alexander, the guy on the left next to him with the dark blue tie is our Prime Minister Mark Rutte

This whole scandal has been going on for a quite a while now and two months before our next planned elections this resignation of the cabinet has now happened. Mr Esther, due to his work, knows a lot about this issue and says it’s all indeed a mess of miscommunication between parliament, government, ministries and an administrative mess at the tax service. What irks him about this whole scandal is not that the government has resigned but the sensationalist tone the media takes that implies that everyone in government is corrupt and not to be trusted, as if people intended this to happen! No one intended this, and yes, it’s all been a mess but no one made this happen because of any personal gain. People in government are very well-intentioned, social, and all really care that this mess has happened and want to do everything to make things better. They are working on new strategies right now because no one wants something like this to happen again. But learning from mistakes and well-intentioned people trying to make things better are not news.

Now, with the elections coming, especially far right creepy politicans like Geert Wilders and Thierry Baudet will milk this as if government is not to be trusted and only wants bad things for people.

They won’t look at the grey areas and won’t help make things better, they’ll just bully and divide and come up with short-sighted slogans and ‘solutions’ and a lot of people will follow them for that. I hope the far right won’t gain too much over this scandal. Geert Wilders recently published a reprehensible racist anti-Islam agenda for the upcoming election and I don’t want him gaining any more supporters than he already has (his party is the second largest in parliament right now, but luckily he is reduced to being in the opposition and not in governement).

As for other politicians in the upcoming election: I wonder whether our prime minister will suffer losses over this. I’ve never been a huge fan of Mark Rutte and his VVD centre-right party but he’s been an OK prime minister and people (me too) have been generally approving of his handling of the Corona crisis, so that may help him. I’ll never vote for him (even before this crisis) but he will be far preferred to any of the two wankers here above. I like some of our central/left politicians alright but not enough to vote for them, so I’m eagerly awaiting who the new Labour Party candidate will be, maybe that will help. Of course, party policy strategies will weigh strongly in my decision but it helps if the party I like also has a good leader that I like. Elections on March 17th here will be another emotional rollercoaster for me, I just know it.

Second Wednesday in a row…

… that I’ve been stuck to the screen watching US politics unfold in their congress. Last week the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential election win in congress was interrupted by the awful riot by Trump supporters on the Capitol. Today Donald Trump was impeached for the second time during his presidency for inciting that riot. Just like with all those Brexit debates and votes in the British parliament in 2019, I was glued to the screen this evening with the impeachment debate and subsequent vote in the US House of Representatives. (Good thing about watching these UK and US debates is that I learn a lot about how democracy is conducted there).

The US House of Representatives vote was 232 for and 197 members against impeachment and I wonder why 4 Republicans didn’t vote on such a monumental resolution. I took a screenshot of the moment the 10th Republican voted for impeachment…

I have to say, the arguments Republicans brought about ‘needing to unite and bring the country together’ felt very hypocritical to me after they only deepened the huge divide through repeated lies and spreading hatred during at least the past four years. Also, they didn’t seem to be able to keep their arguments to the point, citing the current president’s accomplishments and referring to Black Lives Matter protests that were violent. Yes, that violence was terrible too but those arguments didn’t seem pertinent to me to the issue at hand, namely that lies told for months on end and Trump’s speech on January 6th only emboldened his base to do what they ended up doing in that riot. The Republicans speak of healing, but healing can only begin if politicians start telling the truth and especially Republicans need to state at the very least the truth that there was no widespread election fraud. You can disagree on policies, you can’t disagree on the truth. Apparently 197 representatives don’t see it that way and continue to support a lying president. Thank goodness he’ll be gone next week when I’ll be stuck to the screen again, watching the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

Images I have seen today of the National Guard having to rest in the Capitol to protect it from their own countrymen and women are extremely depressing, they don’t belong in a country which has always said it holds democratic values high.

A three week extension of our Covid lockdown here in The Netherlands until February 9th and the consideration of possibly even a curfew (as announced yesterday) is disheartening but almost feels like peanuts in comparison. US democracy is under siege and it’s heartbreaking to witness from the outside. I really hope the inauguration next week will remain peaceful!

Blogging memories January 8th

Herba is looking back at her posts on January 8th over the past years and that’s fun! So, I decided to join in as well with my own trip down memory lane on this blog, starting six years ago.

2015: On January 8th I briefly wrote about the terrorist attack on a satirical French newspaper called Charlie Hebdo in Paris and the feared retaliation on all Muslims after that.

2016: No post on January 8th, but I did post on the 7th, trying to convince Richard Armitage that cats aren’t so bad. The tweet he had tweeted then is gone and I don’t remember what it said anymore and the video I had shared then is apparently also gone. I still stand by the love for cats, though!

Three days after that post, David Bowie died just two days after his 69th birthday. I went into full on mourning and writing Bowie tributes on blog. Today, January 8th 2021, would have been David Bowie’s 74th birthday, so I’m adding a little tribute here now as well, as shared by Ricky Gervais today. Totally worth a watch for a great David Bowie laugh!

Happy Birthday, David!

2017: I didn’t post on January 8th but did post on the 7th and on the 9th. The post on January 7th was about winning something in Guylty’s Christmas raffle, receiving an Armitage puzzle, and speculation about a new Richard project.
The post on January 9th had me dreading the Donald Trump inauguration and mourning the loss of the Obamas. Sadly, all my fears and worse were confirmed by the Trump presidency of the past four years.

2018: No post on January 8th, but closest date I posted on was January 7th when I was very ill with the flu and my cat comforted me.

2019: Again, no post on January 8th, but I did do one on January 7th, writing about the trip we had taken over New Year’s to Hamburg.

2020: January 8th had me discussing Richard Armitage goodies, i.e. interviews because Uncle Vanya was premiering in the theatre and something on the small role he did in the South Korean film Space Sweepers (coming out soon now on February 5th 2021 on Netflix, by the way!)

Thanks for the inspiration to do this, Herba. It also makes me realize how quickly time is flying by. I pretty much remember writing all those posts and some don’t feel like that long ago…

There goes US democracy…

Not the ‘greatest country in the world’ after all.

This is the scariest US president ever. I so very much hope for my dear American friends that this doesn’t turn into another civil war just because of an ignorant, racist, ‘patriotic’, selfish, corrupt and greedy narcissist. Maybe I’m too late in hoping that, it somewhat feels like a civil war already… Can this still be stopped?