Today is Thursday October 13th, 2022. Kia ora!
This morning I met one of my sons and his two children. It was so good to see them again. We had coffee, and then I went to my Te Reo class at the Khandallah Town Hall. It was lovely, of course, but I found it very tiring. Everyone is tired at present, it seems. Learning a new language is quite hard work! It’s frustrating to get so tired!
Afterwards I rang JD and asked him to come and get me. It is raining, after all although not as cold as had been predicted; for some reason, I’m not feeling the cold. It’s been quite a mild winter, although we recently had a cold snap. I do find it annoying when the temperature keeps changing! I would like some consistency – I don’t mind if it’s cold, but just stay the same for a few days!
It’s now Friday October 14th.
Today we have our art group, and I’ve cancelled the cleaner. I just hope that I won’t be too tired; yesterday afternoon wasn’t great, but today is another day.
We tried to watch the new series of Derry Girls, but found it really annoying. It used to be fun, but there’s a new Sister Michael (the former one was a star of the show), and there’s a lot of shouting and swearing. I found the “girls’ dialogue” hard to hear. On the other hand, I listened to the Telegraph podcast about Ukraine. It was nice to hear the journalists doing their best to express themselves without swearing. I found it really commendable. They were saying things like “Putin really lost his rag”, but I’m sure most other podcasters/reporters would have resorted to more colourful language. The message communicating their frustration came through loud and clear, though.
I listened to the latest episode of The Rest is History podcast about French cinema. One of the French film reviewer’s top ten films was one I’d actually seen: Les Enfants du Paradis. They also talked about Jena-Luc Godard, and I’ve seen his Breathless, although they discussed another film directed by him. Still, it was diverting. They discussed another famous film, J’accuse, based on a book that I’d read about the Dreyfus affair.
In the US, election fever continues to build up. It looks to be very close; but how reliable are the polls? Who knows. Time will tell. Herschel Walker’s abortion drama seems to have not harmed him politically, although it has transpired that his girlfriend who had an abortion, at his insistence, had to hassle him to get around to paying for it. His crazy speech about cows seems not to have harmed him, either. I guess I’ve almost given up on the US political system, seeing that so many really strange characters are standing for election, and being supported by the Republican Party.
On the other hand, I’ve been listening to a series of podcasts about Lenin, on the Real Dictators podcast series. It was so hit-and-miss that Lenin actually got back to Russia from Switzerland, and became the person in charge – by lying, of course. The Russian revolution, which did so much to change the course of history, almost didn’t happen.
In the UK, politics under Truss and Kwarteng continue to be dogmatic, and ghastly. How long will Truss last as PM? There’s enormous opposition to her, according to The Rest is Politics podcast. On the other hand, Rory Stewart is critical of Nicola Sturgeon for saying she detests the Tories. Well, it was probably an unfortunate thing to say, but I can see why she said it.
It seems the date for King Charles III coronation is set for May 2023, and this happens to be his grandson Archie’s birthday. It’s reported that Harry and Meghan see this as a slur; personally, I would regard it as a huge honour, that the King, my Grandpa, was crowned King on my birthday!
In the US, the January 6 committee is reporting today; apparently the Supreme Court won’t intervene in the case of the documents held at Mar-a-Lago. This is seen as a snub for Trump. E. Jean Carroll is suing him for rape, and he will now have to answer this case.
I was shocked to read in the Guardian that John Key claims he would have voted for Trump and Bolsonaro, had he been entitled to do so. Well, I thought he was better than that. They’re both despicable characters, in my view.
It’s now Saturday October 15th.
Yesterday afternoon we went to our art group, which meets monthly. We had a wonderful demonstration of water-colour painting, just experimenting, really, and seeing how the different colours worked. I felt it brought out my inner child! I’m not a painter, but I certainly had fun. There were a dedicated few of us – perhaps 10, not too many. Afterwards we had coffee and something to eat at the café across the road, which was almost deserted. It was a lovely way to spend the early afternoon. I have coffee and crackers with cheese before these midday meetings: it’s too early to have lunch, but It’s good to have a snack first. I didn’t cough, either!
Last night wer watched Bridget Jones’ Baby on Bravo. It was a surprisingly good movie, with Emma Thompson stealing the very good show as Bridget’s obstetrician. Renée Zellweger has done something to her face, and Mr Darcy (Colin Firth, this time) looked too old for her, but it was quite a good film, if stretching credulity at times!
A lot of things happened overnight, and yesterday too – we had another January 6 Committee hearing.
I guess the most shocking, although not surprising thing for me was the resignation of Kwasi Kwarteng as British Chancellor of the Exchequer. That wasn’t unexpected, of course; I just hated seeing his smirk – colonial revenge perhaps for tanking the British economy? He’s been replaced by Jeremy Hunt. He had to fly back from the US – and now, this. Liz Truss held a press conference at 10 Downing Street, where she was “savaged” by supposedly sympathetic reporters. What a sad occasion it was. Truss wore a black dress, perhaps dressing almost appropriately for once – her black dress had quite a low neckline. She was asked if she were resigning too, or if she would apologise to the British people. Like hell she would!
Kamikwasi Kwarteng ticked all the boxes for being a senior Tory MP: he was born in London to immigrants from Ghana; he went to Eton, and Trinity College, Cambridge; he was a columnist and financial commentator for the Telegraph (otherwise known by some wit as the Tory-Graph).
John Crace has written about this in the Guardian:
Marina Hyde has a go, too:
And serious journalist Jonathan Freedland has a go too:
He invokes the Suez crisis, as being the first major crisis when the rot set in; I remember this, and the Profumo scandal, too; the latter scandal was memorialised in the British Scandal podcast series, with I think six episodes. The Brexit referendum, and consequent determination to leave the EU, he argues, was another key bad decision for Britain politically, economically, and in every way. I have to say that I agree with him. Some wits are saying that Truss makes Boris look better, and even Priti Patel more humane than her successor. Where do these women get the idea (like Margaret Thatcher) that it’s good to be politically successful by being beastly and hurting people?
There is talk of Penny Mordaunt and Rishi Sunak replacing Liz Truss, with perhaps Mordaunt as Prime Minister and Sunak back in his old role as Chancellor, again. There was a charming photo of Liz Truss curtseying to the new King Charles, as he is heard saying “Back again? Dear, oh dear”.
We await more developments.
The other big news is that of Robbie Coltrane’s death at the age of 72. I remember him from the television series Cracker, which dates back to years ago. I admit I rather liked him, although he was “too much”! Fun to watch, though, in a detached way. He came from Glasgow.
In China there are protests as President Xi seeks a third term; people have detested the covid zero policy, with compulsory testing and lock downs. I must admit, it is better to be able to do stuff, while we would still prefer to have fewer Covid 19 cases. At least the hospitalisations and deaths are way down from what they were. Some expert has warned of another wave sweeping New Zealand, concentrated in Wellington and the Hutt Valley; is he an alarmist? Let’s hope so.
In the US, the January 6 Committee reported yesterday, and I am still digesting the new evidence. Each time it’s as if we already know so many terrible things, only to learn more darkness, more evil, more danger that occurred on that terrible day.
My main impressions are as follows: Nancy Pelosi’s extraordinary conversations as she took charge of the situation, trying to get help, and insisting to Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell and then Vice-President Pence that she wished to carry on the duties expected of her, and indeed, of the government. Nancy Pelosi was “really badass”, as a Lawfare podcast put it. Her daughter Alexandra Pelosi provided more dramatic footage of the scrum. There were links between the Oath Keepers, a right-wing militia group and the Secret Service – this all looks extremely murky; the Secret Service are supposed to be politically neutral, but this quality is not always demonstrated. Their destruction of text messages sent on January 6 is most unfortunate. There were warnings of violence to the FBI, which were evidently not passed on, or not acted on; there was Steve Bannon, warning well before the presidential election that Trump would just declare victory whether he won or lost; there was acknowledgment that he did in fact lose the election; there were Ginni Thomas’ texts, and the complicity of many republican politicians in an insurrection in which many people broke the law, many police sustained injuries, and some died. What a dreadful thing to happen. And now a bunch of election-denying republican candidates are standing for election, with republican backing. The Democrats’ lead is not looking great now, but who knows? We’re hoping that the Democrats can retain control of the House of Representatives and the Senate, and continue to support Ukraine, as well as prosecuting Trump and others for their part in the January 6 insurrection. There’s lots to pray about!
Amendment Sunday October 16: furthermore, the January 6 Committee, having a business meeting, resolved unanimously to subpoena Donald Trump. Everyone is very sceptical as to whether he will come and testify under oath, but it’s a gesture anyway. Also, Trump wanted to issue withdrawals of US troops from Afghanistan and other places. He talked about going to war with China, and Iran, this in the so-called “lame duck” period after Biden’s election. It also seems that the Secret Service was even more complicit than I had feared earlier. They actually expected the Trump would go to the Capitol.
That’s it for now. Slava Ukraini! Ngā mihi nui.