Accountability (Again)

It’s now Saturday June 11th, 2022. Kia ora!

Yesterday we went to our Art group. It meets monthly, but we haven’t been for ages, sometimes because we couldn’t make it, then came lockdown; one time we tried to go (late), but couldn’t find a carpark and went shopping instead. This time the presenter was bringing paper and pens for sketching, thus eliminating my need to prepare things to bring.  We did sketches of the Queen’s afternoon tea with Paddington Bear. It was great fun. Afterwards, we had coffee and a late lunch. It was another of those days when it was wild overnight, but then fine and sunny in the afternoon; I was scared I may have overdressed for the occasion.

Last night I watched and re-watched coverage of the January 6 (2021) Committee presentation.  It was very effective – I’m still digesting it. Amazingly, I learnt new facts, that I did not know before:  the stunning evidence of police officer Edwards (an attractive blond)?; the fact that Trump was advised by several people  that he had lost the election; Trump’s endorsing of the calls to Hang Mike Pence; his frustration when Pence took control and tried to get the attack called off;  and his refusal to do anything to manage the situation despite requests from Don Jr, his daughter Ivanka, Fox News hosts, and many Republican politicians. Oh, and we also learnt about pardons being flung around, from a flippant remark by Jared Kushner, and Trump’s offering a pardon to Kelly-Anne Conway. The animal channel refused to screen this footage, which was ably presented by Liz Cheney, after a moving introduction from January 6 Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson.

Wow! It’s been quite a week. I wept over the Uvalde shootings, and enjoyed footage of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Celebrations; then UK Prime Minister Johnson “won” his confidence vote (but this victory may be a Pyrrhic one); there are multiple reactions to the UK Royal Family’s treatment of the Harkles (they dished the RF first, by the way).  There is some reaction to the cost of the Jubilee celebrations, but the Tory government has given huge contracts to their mates for various services that haven’t exactly delivered (such as PPE supply and the Test and Trace ap). Now it’s reported that Palantir has the contract for IT with the NHS. Palantir is the spooky software supplied by the creepy Peter Thiel. There are fears of its use already to spy on people and invade their privacy without their being aware of it.

Today’s Covid 19 report is as follows: there are 5202 new Covid community cases reported today with eight people with Covid dying and 332 people in hospital. Four of those in hospital are in intensive care, says the Ministry of Health.

Today’s deaths take the total number of publicly reported deaths with Covid in New Zealand to 1311. The seven-day rolling average of reported deaths is 13.

Of those who died, two were from Bay of Plenty, one was from the MidCentral district health board region, one was from the Wellington region, two were from Canterbury, one was from South Canterbury; and one was from the Southern region. One person was aged in their 60s, four were in their 70s, one was in their 80s, and two were aged over 90. Three were women and five were men. The average age of those in hospital in the Northern Region is 62.

The new community cases were located in Northland (132), Auckland (1430), Waikato (351), Bay of Plenty (207), Lakes (70), Hawke’s Bay (153), MidCentral (250), Whanganui (64), Taranaki (164), Tairāwhiti (19), Wairarapa (45), Capital and Coast (506), Hutt Valley (237), Nelson Marlborough (184), Canterbury (766), South Canterbury (84), Southern (410) and West Coast (56). The location of a further two cases is yet to be determined. There were also 72 imported cases reported.

Saturday was a quiet day for us, but there has been really wild weather for the last few days – heavy rain storms, wind, and some thunderstorms, interspersed by fine, calm, sunny spells, when you think that the stormy weather’s gone away. Not so.

It’s now Sunday June 12th.

There was to be a funeral celebration of friends’ of a friends special needs son in the afternoon, but we didn’t know the parents well, and I was reluctant to go. I went to church physically, instead, and there was a forum afterwards about the future of the church, and some quotes for earthquake strengthening.  I must say I found this discussion pretty frustrating.

Then, finding I had just missed one bus, I went to a nearby café for coffee and a scone. After that, I did some shopping, and went to wait for the next bus. The weather chose that few minutes for a heavy shower: I could not put my bags down, or sit in the bus shelter – it was awash, shelter, seat and all. My shoes were wet. Fortunately the bus wasn’t cancelled, and came on time. JD met me in Johnsonville. There were a few sad souls at the shopping centre, it wasn’t busy.

It’s now Monday June 13th.

This morning I went to the dentist, for my annual check up. Fortunately, there is nothing wrong – I said that I hope my teeth outlast me!  Afterwards, we shared lunch at an almost empty café on The Terrace.

Yesterday we caught up with one of our sons who is overseas. He, his wife, and their two children have all had Covid 19 (not too badly, thankfully), although his daughter still looks a little peaky (as we would have said in the old days).  This morning I rang a manager at Hōhepa; they’re all right, but hit quite heavily not by Covid 19 now but by the flu. Black Caps captain Kane Williamson has Covid 19, as does Princess Charlene of Monaco. Today there are 4,413 new community cases, and there’ve been 5 deaths. There are 352 people in hospital, and 9 in Intensive Care.

The cases in hospital are in: Northland 10, Waitematā 37, Counties Manukau 34, Auckland 57, Waikato 33, Bay of Plenty 13, Lakes 1, Tairāwhiti 2, Hawke’s Bay 11, Taranaki 9, Whanganui 1, MidCentral 20, Wairarapa 3, Hutt Valley 24, Capital and Coast 21, Nelson Marlborough 8, Canterbury 43, South Canterbury 4, West Coast 0, Southern 21. That’s still quite a lot in Wellington and the Hutt Valley.

The Ministry of Health reported a further five virus-related deaths. Of today’s deaths two were from the Auckland region, one from Waikato, one from Bay of Plenty and one from Canterbury. One person was aged in their 60s; two were in their 70s; one was in their 80s; and one was aged over 90. Of these people, two were women and three were men. 1325 people have now died with the virus.

Today’s 4413 community cases are in: Northland (101), Auckland (1312), Waikato (313), Bay of Plenty (158), Lakes (68), Hawke’s Bay (135), MidCentral (183), Whanganui (68), Taranaki (117), Tairāwhiti (17), Wairarapa (39), Capital and Coast (396), Hutt Valley (189), Nelson Marlborough (180), Canterbury (678), South Canterbury (49), Southern (353), West Coast (54), unknown (3).

It’s now Tuesday June 14th.

This morning I met one of my sons and his daughter for an outing – some shopping, a cup of coffee, and a walk. Today it isn’t nearly as stormy, although it’s pretty windy and drizzling with rain.

Last night I slept quite well.  Interesting podcasts include The Rest is History on Cleopatra (there are to be 4 sessions, I think); Tim Miller on the Bulwark podcast talking to the author of Gay Washington; and a Skullduggery podcast talking about CIA involvement in Watergate.  Today the Youtube videos are almost all about the January 6 Committee hearings: day two. These contain  even more revelations about the January 6 insurrection, and about the preceding days. The comedians are having great fun with this footage. Apparently the animal channel is going to screen the second instalment after all. These hearings are must-see viewing, compared favorably to the Watergate hearings, which had such an impact on America.  Evidently about 20 million people viewed the first lot of hearings -a significant number.

Things I’ve been watching on television include a very good film on Eden (formerly Choice) called The Public; a film on Māori Television called Submarine, another episode of The First Lady, and the final of The Staircase on Neon. I found this series, although mesmerizing, deeply disturbing, somehow;  nobody comes out well from this. In The First Lady, we saw the Pearl Harbour attack, Betty Ford going to Rehab (how come it wasn’t nicer, by the way?), and the outcome of the 2016 presidential election in America: firstly the Hollywood Access tape (surely this would sink Trump, many thought); and then election night itself. This was a truly depressing sight – one I didn’t wish to be reminded of.

I am still reading my Troy book, by Stephen Fry; I am almost half-way through it. It took what seemed like ages to get up to the protagonists, the Achaean fleet sailing for Troy, and the war itself: then there’s stalemate for almost ten years – in a few pages. Now there’s a few duels going on; we haven’t yet got up to the entry of the Trojan Horse and (one of) the destruction(s) of Troy.  It makes me want to read Homer’s Iliad again (but I probably won’t, I have masses of books to read).  Fry too depicts Helen as being given no say in being seized by the Trojan Paris, although he does represent her as despising him while the battle rages outside Troy. He presents the range of deities as having huge influence over the various outcomes.  And, of course, by some strange miracle they all spoke the same Greek dialect (or could understand each other, whether gods, Greeks or Trojans).  Go figure.

Today’s Covid 19 report shows totals dropping slowly, although someone from my Thursday singing group has diagnosed positive for Covid 19. That is a concern. I had a conversation with her the Thursday before last (presumably she wasn’t infectious at that stage); I didn’t speak to her last Thursday, although she too is a soprano. Last Friday afternoon I was talking to a friend who said her children had had it, both supremely fit and healthy, and had been very sick with it.  I spoke to a manager at Hōhepa yesterday, who said that although we will be in Napier for my daughter’s IDP, they would still prefer us to zoom into this meeting rather than attending it on person (as we would like to do), and they want us both to have RAT tests before spending time with our daughter. That’s understandable, really, and I’m grateful that precautions are still being taken.  I desperately don’t want to get Covid 19:  apart from not knowing how sick I’d be, you can get it again! It’s not as though having it makes you immune.

Today it’s reported that there are 6,133 new community cases, and there’ve been 23 deaths.

Only about two-thirds of the country’s infections were likely being identified, Bloomfield told reporters today in his first media appearance since his own “mild” case of Covid while in Geneva.

They include one person from Northland, five from the Auckland region, three from Waikato, one from the Lakes DHB region, four from Taranaki, two from MidCentral, one from Hawke’s Bay; two from the Wellington region; one from South Canterbury and three from Southern. One person was aged in their 50s; three were in their 70s; 11 were in their 80s; and eight were aged over 90. Of these people, 15 were women and eight were men. Today’s reported deaths take the total number of publicly reported deaths with Covid-19 to 1348.

There are 377 people in hospital and 7 in Intensive Care.

Today’s community cases are in Northland (191), Auckland (1,800), Waikato (406), Bay of Plenty (240), Lakes (90), Hawke’s Bay (186), MidCentral (233), Whanganui (72), Taranaki (179), Tairāwhiti (42), Wairarapa (77), Capital and Coast (510), Hutt Valley (261), Nelson Marlborough (243), Canterbury (904), South Canterbury (92), Southern (541 551), West Coast (54), unknown (2). That’s encouraging: that numbers are down in Hawkes Bay (although they’re struggling with flu); they’re also creeping down in Wellington.

The rollout of a fourth Covid vaccine for those most at risk would begin shortly, Dr Bloomfield said. We’re all very interested to learn who is defined as “most at risk”; I’m hoping my daughter will be; I should like to be on that list too.

In Ukraine, the war grinds on, with more Russian brutality, and more bravery on the part of Ukrainian troops. They’ve provided a shopping list of weapons they need: is the West still interested in supplying their needs? The fiercest fighting is going on in the East of Ukraine; I can’t really tell mush of what’s happening. Russian forces seem to be having some success, while there are still videos telling of Ukrainian victories on a much smaller scale. The fighting is concentrated in Russian speaking areas, so you don’t really know who’s on which side. The stories of Russian “filtration” camps, and Russian treatment of Ukrainians they’ve abducted, is terrifying – and just what can anyone do  about it?  The Chinese are still buying Russian oil, it seems.  There seems to be s stalemate, no doubt not helped by Boris Johnson’s political troubles at home in the UK, and American absorption with their January 6 Committee hearings.  Spoiler alert: the evidence is not exculpatory for “the former guy”. It now seems one of the main reasons he wanted to stay in power as president was based on the legal (Office of Legal Counsel) advice that a sitting president can’t be indicted.

That’s it for today.  Slava Ukraini! Ngā mihi.

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