The January 6 Select Committee in the US

It’s now Wednesday June 15th, 2022. Kia ora!

This morning I didn’t have hymn singing. I was supposed to meet a friend for coffee, but we decided to cancel. I spent what seemed like a lot of last night being concerned about my Thursday singing group, where someone has diagnosed positive for Covid 19. This morning, reading the Dompost, I learn that Joe Bennett has it too.

This afternoon, thrusting caution to the wind, I went to a French Film Festival movie:  Adieu, Monsieur Haffmann.  It was a very good, if very sad, film. It starred Daniel Auteuil as a Jewish jeweler, in Paris in the 1940’s.  It was quite intense, but had a kind of happy ending (which I won’t give away here). Suffice to say that I wondered during the film just how it would end.

Although there were quite a few people there, I felt quite safe, sitting by myself with no one uncomfortably close to me.  Coming home on the bus was a different story. I caught a double-decker bus to Johnsonville, and while I got a seat, the bus filled up with many standing until we got to Johnsonville Library. That wasn’t a very comfortable trip for me.

Yesterday a new edition of LRB came in the mail. I think it’s the last one I’m entitled to. It has lots of reading, but I started by reading a review of Tina Brown’s new book, The Palace Papers. Suffice to say this review was not kind to the Royal Family.  Still and all, many of us enjoyed the Queen’s recent Platinum Jubilee.  The British do these ceremonial things rather well.  What would you have instead?  Italy has beautiful art, France has wonderful food (if you can get it), Spain has wonderful buildings: and they’re all different, and well worth seeing. I haven’t mentioned other European countries such as Germany, Switzerland and Austria. I would so love to travel to Europe again. Each country (and area within  each country)  is so different: Scotland, Catalonia, Basque country….

Today’s Covid 19 report isn’t too bad. There are 5,554 new community cases, and there’ve been 11 deaths. There are 368 people in hospital, and 7 of them are in Intensive Care.

Today’s community cases are in Northland (138), Auckland (1659), Waikato (372), Bay of Plenty (194), Lakes (76), Hawke’s Bay (179), MidCentral (223), Whanganui (54), Taranaki (188), Tairāwhiti (46), Wairarapa (71), Capital and Coast (506), Hutt Valley (219), Nelson Marlborough (227), Canterbury (839), South Canterbury (76), Southern (442), West Coast (40), Unknown (5). There are also 70 new imported border cases.

It’s now Friday June 17th.

Yesterday I had singing (my other singing), and although one member had notified us all that she had Covid 19, there were 18 people there.  It seems that the lovely lady that diagnosed positive was probably not infectious when she came to choir last Thursday. It seems that no one has caught Covid 19 from her. Nevertheless, there was some concern – largely on my part, and two non-singing participants who had texted me about the situation. Afterwards some of us had lunch at the café across the road. Then I had a haircut in Mana at 3 pm.  There was hardly anyone there, but as I waited for JD to pick me up afterwards, some people sat uncomfortably close to me in the waiting area.

Afterwards, I went shopping but, annoyingly, forgot to buy bananas.

Last night I did not sleep well. I listened to lots of podcasts, but I can’t remember how they ended, so I’ll probably have to listen to them again. I felt quite unwell and wondered, again, if I have Covid 19.  I put it down to fatigue; I can still smell and taste. Someone from Access came to do some housework. I changed the towels and the bedlinen and folded JD’s washing and hung up the clothes he’s left in the living room.  We had hard-boiled egg (and avocado) sandwiches for lunch. They were yummy.

Some thoughts:  there is lots of reaction in the media about Prince Louis’ behaviour on the balcony of Buckingham Palace for the parade and the fly-past, and then at the concert where he played up. Actually, he’s four, not three, but surely it would have been unkind to deprive him of any of this ceremony? I think his parents were very wise in choosing which activities their children should attend.  I think he’d be furious when he grows up to find that he’d been deprived of attending the one-off platinum jubilee celebrations: after all, there’s unlikely to be another platinum jubilee celebration within his lifetime, or before he’s an old man. I still remember not being allowed to attend my grandfather’s funeral, even though he was a strong Christian, died in his 80’s, and was buried after a Christian funeral. It was thought at the time that children shouldn’t attend funerals.

I am enjoying reading the Troy book by Stephen Fry, although enjoying is not quite the right word. After a stalemate of ten years in the Trojan War, there’s been some duels, and how Hector (Trojan) has killed Patroclus (Greek), great mate of Achilles.  This is the middle of the book, and Achilles, with new armour created by Hephaestus, is having his aristeia. While this is a beautiful word, Achilles’ fighting is extremely brutal. Spoiler alert: it does not end well. It’s nice now to know something about this story, having studied Homer’s Iliad and some of the wonderful art and literature it inspired. It’s hard to believe that such beautifully depicted people were capable of such brutality.

There have been more shocking revelations from the January 6 Committee about the events of January 6, and the events leading up to the insurrection on that day.  Representative Loudermilk has given tours, although previously asserting that he did not; Mike Pence’s bravery in defying Donald Trump in spite of the death threats against him, and the phone call from Trump calling him a wimp, a is looking ever more heroic, although he chose not to testify to the January 6 Committee.  He spoke about Daniel 6 (this is where Daniel and his friends are thrown into the lions’ den, and emerge unharmed);  but nobody cared about Mike Pence except journalists: although his support for Trump was despicable, in my view, other Republicans should surely care about his welfare. It seems to me the Republican Party, far from being conservative, are way out there in their radical and extreme views.

It’s interesting that while Barr and other conservatives are prepared to say they knew the election was soundly run, and that Trump had lost, and claimed they’d told him so, the so-called “big lie” that Trump had really won has been perpetuated, and is now firmly believed by many republicans, some of whom have been elected to public office.  That’s a huge problem for everyone in the US.  It’s fascinating too, that the 2016 election, widely thought to have ben influenced by Russia, is now (and was then) regarded by republicans as sound.

It’s now Saturday June 18th.

Last night I slept much better than the previous night, although I had trouble getting to sleep. We watched an amazing film about Ray Charles on Bravo, where Charles was played by Jamie Foxx. The music was superb, but it was hard to watch the film at times.  I went to sleep while listening to a The Rest is History podcast episode about Cleopatra and Antony. It began with Tom Holland quoting the marvellous speech from Shakespeare’s play: The barge she sat in, like a burnished throne…” Soon after this I must have gone to sleep. 

When I woke up this morning, it was after 7 am.  I listened to a replay of The Rest is History (two episodes) about Watergate. I had heard them before, but it was good to listen to them again. I well remember the Watergate political crisis and the long time it took to resolve. Many people were disappointed when Nixon was pardoned by his Vice President turned President, Gerald Ford. What a time of upheaval it was: huge protests against the Vietnam War; civil rights and abortion were, as ever, present issues; assassinations were huge; former Vice President Agnew had resigned in disgrace; no wonder no one trusts US politics or US government. Then there was the oil crisis of the 1970’s, and the Yom Kippur War, and lots of terrorist acts. After this came President Jimmy Carter, the Iran hostages, then President Reagan and the Iran-Contra scandal. Barr (then Attorney General) pardoned Oliver North and anyone else that had been convicted; unlike the Nixonian crisis. What? 

I am reminded that JD and I took our first trip overseas at this very unsettled time. We had, of course, a wonderful trip, although we were both unwell for part of it. But we survived, and it was memorable. I remember our first major overseas stop in Hong Kong, and on the television we saw Kissinger looking anxious. As the broadcast was in Chinese, we had no idea what he was saying. At breakfast the next day, six anxious-looking Asian people seemed to be in attendance on us – terrifying!

Yesterday there were 4,869 new community cases, 370 hospitalisations, and 16 deaths (although two of the deaths were much earlier). I spoke to a friend on the phone. She had been to a family gathering last weekend, and several people now have Covid 19. Others are close contacts, and are isolating. Covid 19 is very much still with us in Wellington. Shall I go to church tomorrow, or zoom in instead? I’m planning to go to Hawkes Bay next week, so I want to keep well for that.

Today there are 4,404 new cases and there have been 11 deaths. There are 356 people in hospital and only three in Intensive Care. The 11 deaths occurred in the last 3 days.

One person was in their 40s, one was in their 50s, five were in their 70s, one was in their 80s and three were aged over 90. Of these people, four were women and seven were men. Three came from Auckland and two each came from Wellington and Canterbury regions. There was also one person each from Tairāwhiti, Lakes, West Coast and Southern district health board areas.

Today’s new cases of the virus were detected in Northland (126), Auckland (1318), Waikato (287), Bay of Plenty (177), Lakes (72), Hawke’s Bay (101), MidCentral (155), Whanganui (42), Taranaki (123), Tairāwhiti (46), Wairarapa (42), Capital and Coast (396), Hutt Valley (172), Nelson Marlborough (191), Canterbury (654), South Canterbury (60), Southern (411) and West Coast (30). The origin of one person newly infected with the virus is not known. Fifty new cases of the virus were also discovered at the border. The numbers are coming down, slowly; there’s still a lot of Covid 19 around, alas.

It’s now Sunday June 19th.

It was predicted to be very cold today, but in fact it’s not too bad. I went to church wearing a thick jersey and a woollen jacket over it, but I was quite warm in the church and didn’t put on my raincoat until I got outside, when it rained again. Afterwards I made my way home (two buses via the library, where I picked up a book I had on reserve), and set about turning the heaters on at home before I had a cup of coffee.

I finished reading the Troy book this afternoon. Picking up on my previous comments, Achilles kills the great Hector, in revenge for the death of Patroclus, and drags his dead body around the walls of Troy with his chariot. King Priam of Troy goes to Achilles to beg the body of his son, so that he can give it proper burial, and the two men end up weeping together. Homer ends his Iliad here. Fry goes on and tells about the legend of the Trojan Horse, and the Greek defeat of Troy. One of the escapees, Aeneas, goes on to found Rome. Vergil’s great epic poem The Aeneid tells his story.

What a tour de force Fry’s Troy is! After JD has read it I should like to send it to my eldest granddaughter. Note: Fry does use some sources, but not in an academic paper type way.  He does have lots of footnotes, but you don’t have to read them for the story to make sense. He tells a rollicking good story – I don’t disagree with anything he says. Once again, I’m so glad I did a wide-ranging university paper on this.

In the US, Dr Anthony Fauci has Covid 19. In Ukraine, the increasingly bloody war drags on. 

The film Adieu, Monsieur Haffmann, and the shocking revelations of the January 6 Select Committee both demonstrate the dangers of collaboration – between the Germans occupying Paris during the Second World War, and all the people in Trump’s circle who went along with his “big lie”, yet now claim to have told him the truth, that he had lost the election, and that Biden had won fairly.  The dreadful lawyer, John Eastman, said he should probably be on the pardon list. And nobody but journalists (and Mike Pence’s lawyer) care about his physical welfare. I did find it disturbing that he told his lawyer he looked forward to meeting the Founding Fathers in Heaven; and then that he compared himself with Daniel in the lions’ den.  No modesty (or much insight) here, then! Some hero.

That’s it for now. No Covid 19 report today. Slava Ukraini! Ngā mihi.

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