The Summer season up in the San Francisco Bay has been its typical blustery and cool self. There are still few boats on the water and even the sunniest of days often bring the notorious blows, mostly in the 20-25 knot range, frequently gusting up to 30mph.
A couple of weeks ago I was again up North drift fishing on the Lower Sacramento River followed by another couple of days in Shasta, hiking back into the McCloud Canyons, fishing below the Dam outlet down to the now isolated and deserted Ash Camp.
Fishing was good. I was drift fishing using the locally uncommon, tight-line Euro-nymphing technique. This got me into a couple of dozen large (consistently approaching 20”) Rainbow trout hiding in deep holes and swirls.
The McCloud produced well too, surrendering slightly smaller yet brightly patterned mountain fish. The sunlit canyons were as spectacular as usual; almost nobody around where bramble-filled undergrowth is rapidly filling the less used passages along the banks.
Evenings in Shasta town were quiet and cooled down. Visitors have returned in modest numbers. Many of the restaurants are re-opened for mask-less dine-in service.
Following this I returned home to Santa Cruz for a week or so where the stores have quickly abandoned masked-entry rules. Weather where I live is temperate and offers mild (typ. 60-72 deg F) temperatures for a nightly bike ride over to Capitola Village then back along Portola Avenue to the Santa Cruz Harbor.
The quiet, mostly sunlit marina features mild temperatures and occasional late afternoon breezes. After riding around the upper reaches of the Harbor, passed the bridge and round towards the Lighthouse on the Northerly side, its relaxing to return and stop by the Crow’s Nest Café, grab a beer and watch the evening sailboats and canoe rowers return as the evening moves in and the sun falls away.
In the last ten days I have travelled to the UK and am there as I write. After an unusual 18-month break from international travel it was time to reconnect with old friends and brave the many Covid-related restrictions still in-place
I arrived riding a Boeing 787 which was less than one third full and sometimes careening at 670mph ground speeds with unusual and sometimes >120mph tailwinds.
Approaching Heathrow involved the typical descent into gloom and haze, fortunately with NO circling and holding patterns required, given the light air traffic. Comically, we were then trapped 20 mins just outside the Gate waiting for sparse ground crew to become available and guide us in.
After extended processing and review of the supplemental (Covid-related) documentation all travelers must carry I passed through deserted Customs halls, grabbed a Rental from Avis and headed North into mandatory Quarantine.
I am through my 5th Day “early release” from quarantine. The test results for this showed less than 24hrs later. 😊
My stay indoors was punctuated with daily calls from the National Health Service (NHS) who monitor all quarantined arrivals via the extensive UK Locator Form I completed before departing SFO.
Since arriving here in quarantine, I am constantly entertained by the local wildlife right outside the window, frequently and generously fed by a gracious Host (my older sister) and some immediate neighbors.
Feeders, fat-balls, bird seed and meal worms are everywhere… attracting droves of combative Wood Pigeons, Sparrows, mischievous Squirrels, Starlings, Crows, Magpies, Jackdaws, Thrushes, occasional Coal Tits and a few local disruptive domestic cats with bad intentions. The daily show begins around 5.00 am and runs till rain falls heavily or the sun sets well after 8.00pm.
I should also mention that 5 MANDATORY Covid tests will be required for my two weeks stay: One to board the SFO plane to Heathrow, Day 2 and 8 checks during the NHS enforced and daily monitored isolated quarantine, a Day 5 rapid (iff available) result test for EARLY quarantine self-release and the 5th for me to board a flight back to SFO and home in CA.
Ouch. And all this while being inundated with local National news about the need for masking even for those (like myself) already fully vaccinated. OUCH, again.
Being in the UK involves: serious mask wearing discipline, honoring one-way traffic flows marked on floors in most stores open for individual (only) in-person shopping, generally large outdoor groupings to watch the England soccer team progress through the Euro tournament, occasionally closed gas stations (waiting on deliveries), frequent hand sanitizing when entering and moving around buildings, leaving records of your name and phone number when inside cafes etc. and always, social distancing indoors and out.
If you are not Covid-paranoid when you fly in, you can easily become so. Hopefully, the changes in UK Covid restrictions promised for later July will mitigate some of these rules and obligations. Time will tell… very public promises have been made. 😉
Then of course there are the distinctive, heavily monitored UK traffic restrictions and CCTV setups. There are an infinite number of computer-controlled speed-checks and monitors, well, everywhere. Automatic License plate recognition has existed for Traffic Speed and Parking enforcement for many years.
All this is painlessly endured by locals, courtesy of inevitable Normalcy Bias.
However, this is still not NORMAL for me. And even as Covid restrictions lift, this WILL NOT GO AWAY… sigh. But I AM still OK with driving on the left. 😊
For those of you in other countries: Brace yourself. These extensive traffic arrangements are eventually coming to roads near you… they are moneymakers as good as Taxation.
The England Soccer team competing in the European Nations Championship has stirred up a sense and notable signs of National pride, the like of which has not been seen since their 1966 World Cup victory. The event Final will be played before I board my flight to SFO. So, there will be fun, outdoor/ indoor viewings and great entertainment to be had… by me and all. 😊
Upon returning home, I will be immediately delivering my boat to Svendsen’s Bay Marine boatyard in the Northeastern San Francisco Bay for hauling out, the latest set of repairs and required maintenance. Not really something to enjoy, though ever interesting and always a learning experience.
Happily, following this I will head to Alaska. Great adventure and an opportunity to stock a new freezer with Halibut and Salmon for the better part of the next year.
Alaska offers a breath of fresh air and a welcome change. The stress of Covid restrictions were minor there a year ago, even during the height of the US pandemic.
Alaskans like their independence and outdoors. There will be (MUCH) fishing, biking, spectacular scenery, great food, fly-ins to remote areas, wildlife experiences, opportunities for both solitude and boisterous lodge gatherings. What’s not to like!
July 4th passed while I am here in the UK. The pictures and stories from back home indicated an overall continuation in celebrations. Folks were ready to get out, celebrate, rekindle relationships, relax and move on, even if firework restrictions were in play for either fire-hazard or Covid reasonings. 😉
Yet US National and International news is NOT all fun and games…
Domestically the Government often appears in shambles and disarray as calls for Biden cognitive testing escalate. Kamala Harris seems beset with intentional, oddly internal leaks clearly designed to sabotage and compound her existing problems with seemingly unending, broad-based, personal execution fails.
These attacks on Harris are strongly reminiscent of those internal (Administration) leaks promulgated upon Al Gore (the then VP) by Hillary while Bill was President. The goal then was to dimmish his claim as heir apparent to her own benefit. Hillary was not an appointed official at that time. An interesting analogy.
On a lighter note of irony…
Although personal distancing in the UK is pushed and well-practiced the masks and spacing are notably absent when you see pics and videos of English soccer supporters celebrating their team.
I suppose watching soccer in the UK is like participating in a riot/ demonstration in the US… Covid rules apply less and per the MSM spreading does not occur. Well, not much. 😉
In a related turn of events from the US, Health Officials in LA are newly strongly (re)recommending indoor mask wearing for events, shopping, businesses etc. etc. All based on fear of the Delta Covid variation from India which was first detected by Brits and already present in over 70 Countries and every US State.
So, A NEW mask mandate… even if you ARE fully vaccinated. This will probably demotivate many remaining folks from getting shots as they will likely wonder and argue: WHY BOTHER?
A new poll shows most San Francisco residents think it is time to increase police presence in areas affected by high rates of crime. The annual San Francisco Chamber of Commerce (SFCC) report found 76 percent of residents want more police in high-crime areas, and 80 percent believe crime has accelerated. Polling was done by EMC Research from May 25 to 31, and respondents affirmed this sentiment “across gender, age, ethnicity, party affiliation, and neighborhood, and homeownership status.”
Also, almost half (>40%) of SF residents said they plan to leave the city permanently in the next few years due to rising crime and a deteriorating quality of life.
Finally, almost 90% of those polled said the homelessness crisis has worsened. About 75% of residents said their quality of life has declined over the past year.
Moving closely along… California Democrats are literally changing the rules to help Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) fend off a recall effort, which was officially certified by State Officials as being required after organizers garnered 1.7 million signatures as the trigger.
California Democrats, who control the state legislature, passed a bill that would move up the recall date. The bill was then sent to Newsom’s desk, who instantly signed the bill into law.
The law amends existing recall rules to allow the election to happen at least 30 days earlier than under existing state law. By moving up the recall date, Newsom’s challengers will have less time to campaign against him, giving Newsom a clear upper hand — not that he needed one in Democrat-haven California.
Now moving along: Apparently, Chelsea Clinton owns a large stake in a health insurance company accused of fraud…
The company tied to the former First Daughter, Clover Health, has been charged by the Justice Department with giving kickbacks to doctors in exchange for referrals.
That is scandal one. Scandal two is that they did not bother to tell investors they were under federal investigation—which would scare off buyers and lower the stock value.
The insurance agency is also facing a huge class-action lawsuit for fraud. Intriguingly, Hillary had similarly terrible Insurance Industry fraud scandal problems… like mother, like… etc.
San Francisco is the first city in California (and in the country) to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for all 35,000 government city employees once it has received full approval from the FDA. While they previously required employees in high-risk settings to be vaccinated, the new policy will mandate vaccinations for police, firefighters, operators, clerks, and even City Hall custodians.
A mandate is already in place for those who work at hospitals, nursing homes etc.
Despite being touted as the most progressive city in the nation, San Francisco’s urban renewal policies in the 1990s in effect forced out the African American population.
San Francisco may have a well-earned reputation as the most progressive city in the nation but viewed through the lens of critical race theory (CRT), it is also one of the most racist cities in the country. Odd.
How can such a far-left ideology cast such an indictment of such a far-left city? The answer lies in critical race theorists’ own description of their movement.
Critical race theory is a radically different way of understanding our nation’s past and present. According to publications edited by Columbia Law School professor Kimberle Crenshaw (who first coined the terms “critical race theory” and “intersectionality”) critical race theory seeks to “understand how a regime of white supremacy and its subordination of people of color have been created and maintained in America.”
CRT explicitly rejects the ideal of colorblindness in society and the traditions of integration and assimilation. Instead, according to Crenshaw, critical race theory seeks to “recover and revitalize the radical tradition of race-consciousness among African Americans and other peoples of color.”
In other words, instead of uniting people with a common set of values, CRT encourages all Americans to think of themselves primarily in racial terms. Just as Marxism encourages Americans to think of themselves in terms of class, CRT encourages people to think of themselves in terms of race… hmm.
On the (US) National front, a major high ranking Chinese Official was rumored back in February to have defected to the US. This is now confirmed as Dong Jingwei.
It was said that Dong boarded a plane in Hong Kong with his daughter Dong Yang, flew over to the United States, and defected.
These rumors are true. The defecting Chinese official working with the DIA is, in fact, Dong Jingwei. Public records indicate that Dong had been promoted to the post of Vice Minister of the Chinese Ministry of State Security in April of 2018. He had a large role in the country’s spy-catching and counterintelligence efforts.
This now makes Dong the most high-profile defector in the entire history of China.
This is particularly interesting as Medical Officials from across the world are calling for a multinational hands-on Covid-origins investigation and the GOP Intelligence Committee is simultaneously seeking specific access to US held data as to the origins of the Pandemic from within China.
Despite the CCP holding out and even manipulating the erasure of related virus search information from with US Government records, it is looking increasingly difficult for China to politely hold off enquiries and intrusion. Too many have died. The US alone has lost more citizens to Covid (>600k deaths) than their total fatalities for WWI and WWII combined.
As a result of the total Pandemic-related deaths across the world China is recognizing that MANY Nations are lining up against them; hence the dramatic show and threatening rhetoric at their early July 100th Anniversary celebrations in Beijing for the founding of their single-party system in 1921 Shanghai. The World demands accountability and a reckoning, but will it be served?
Additionally, the GOP launched an investigation in late June into the (October) 2019 Wuhan World Games, where athletes were getting sick with COVID-like symptoms… hmm.
Recent US satellite scans have detected the construction of over 100 new missile silos in China’s Western desert which brings the total of new builds to 145 and will complete an arsenal of >250 total weapons locations capable of delivering warheads over 9,300 miles. This complements the Chinese build-up of reactors which can produce high-end weapons grade nuclear material more rapidly.
Back on the Home front: in late June I personally saw $4.68 / gallon pricing for Regular Gas in a Santa Cruz Chevron (usually pricey, thereabouts) Station while one of cheapest in town was at $3.89 / gallon, just across the street.
So, will Gas prices KEEP rising? I am not optimistic.
Worse still , in early July CA State then approved an additional TAX INCREASE on gasoline. It just keeps on coming… sigh. ☹
Iran has a new hard-liner president. Raisi’s appointment came about not from a free and fair election but from anointment by the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Raisi’s election is perhaps more than enough warning for world leaders to realize who they are doing business with when agreeing on deals with the country. And Iran still appears bent on obtaining nuclear weapons.
President Joe Biden is widely expected to capitulate to Iran’s demands for all economic sanctions to be dropped before the country returns to full compliance with the 2015 Nuclear Deal. Not that they were ever fully compliant…
The new Iranian leader, who will take over in August, was previously known for his role in the execution of five thousand young opponents of the Iranian regime. He sent thousands of Iranian dissidents to their deaths without due process in1988, according to Amnesty International.
He has also said that he will refuse to meet President Joe Biden in the future.
So, things look gloomy in the Middle East.
In a unanimous decision on Thursday, June 17, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to explore a proposal that would ban American companies from purchasing telecommunications equipment that poses national security risks.
The proposal also retroactively revokes any prior authorizations already in place for equipment from companies listed as a national security threat. Among those on the FCC’s “covered list” of national security threats are Chinese state-owned telecommunications giants Huawei and ZTE.
In 2020, the FCC adopted new rules requiring any companies who receive federal funding to “rip and replace” equipment from telecommunications companies on the FCC’s “covered list.” However, this new proposal would extend that rule to every US company regardless of whether it receives federal funding.
The move was welcome news to the bipartisan group of lawmakers who have introduced similar bills in both the House and Senate. Ah ha… rare collaboration across the aisle. 😊
Next, the tricky and largely discredited Dr. Fauci originally backed off continued funding of the Wuhan transfer study when he found out Trump had specifically wanted it defunded. At the time he was actively pushing the notion that Covid Virus origination in the Lab was quite unlikely.
There is growing Worldwide sentiment and belief that the Wuhan Lab is not at all an unlikely source even though no close examination and study has so far been possible.
Funding for the Lab started under Obama and is now reinstated under Biden/ Fauci.
Currently, emails are newly available (exposed early July 2021) highlighting historical Hillary Clinton involvement in these matters when she was seeking US access to Wuhan research results as funding began. It seems that the Wuhan work was well-known across the entire Obama Administration, in addition to originally being funded by them.
The State of Florida has made the most remarkable progress in getting every sector back open for business since the pandemic ended. But the one area of commerce that continues to struggle is the tourism industry. The CDC continues to keep cruise ships at the port because they believe the ships are dangerous to people and could potentially spread the virus. The authority that the CDC thinks they have is not as far reaching as they believe.
Florida took the liberal-controlled CDC to court, claiming the organization lacked the authority to keep the ships in port. The court found that the CDC has overstepped its authority again.
So, Judge Steven Merryday passed a ruling that stated the cruise ships could set sail again. The CDC has kept the ships locked-up tightly which has almost led to the bankruptcy of the multi-billion $ industry.
The Center for Disease Control had dictated rules that 95 percent of all passengers were to be vaccinated and 98 percent of the crew. And each ship was going to have to go through a 60-to-90-day preparation period and even test-sailing before taking to the seas again. The CDC behaved as if it is in control of launching new ships to sea.
I believe the (US) Supreme Court also confirmed the ruling (?) that the CDC never had ANY authority over the Cruise Industry to dictate such closure. Anyway, Florida is to work with the CDC for a solution that keeps everybody happy.
It looks like yet another State has had enough. Governor Greg Abbot started off the program for Texas to build its OWN wall, continuing the work halted by the Biden edict halting the Trump wall.
With about 200,000 Illegals (those counted) per month wandering across the Southern border, zero Federal help in sight and resulting Crime, Drugs, Cartels and Human Trafficking rampant, it appears Texans have had enough and are driving their own destiny. As proven records show walls are >>95% effective in stemming such tides (not sure how this is measured) this is probably a very sound call.
In another American first, local Border Agents and Federal ICE agents are teaming up to sue President Biden for his Border (In)Actions and Policies… whose chest is swelling with pride? Perhaps someone should notify the Administration that this collaboration is NOT a sign of the Unity and Unification that was promised by Joe and desired by the Nation?
Sadly, embarrassingly, Biden is now being pursued by some Dems as well as GOP officials and Ex WH medical professionals to undergo Cognitive Testing to alleviate fears about his mental decline. The Gaffes and Lapses keep coming and the world press is commenting; it may not be long before even US MSM cannot completely ignore these events.
There is simply too much 2020 Election Audit news to cover…
There has always been election fraud in the US and it would be irrational to pretend none occurred in 2020. But it is currently impossible to know just how much and judge the significance.
Suffice it to say that major audit-type activities are underway in 11 US States. Public opinion is moving towards disbelief in the reported election results…
Two weeks after the November election, Rasmussen Reports found that 47% of American voters believed that cheating had impacted the outcome of the election. In early July that number is 51%. That includes 74% of Republican voters and 30% of Democrat voters.
Polling as showed that ~70% of (all) Voters believe that Voter ID is required for fair elections. MSM and left-leaning Politicians assert that this constitutes Voter Suppression. It is extremely hard to rationalize such disparate positions. The ugliness continues.
And as for Hunter Biden, he is now a VERY affluent artist, who for some reason is paid truly exorbitant prices for the works of art he produces. But the unfortunate news leaking from his discarded laptop continues… I do not think most dads would have paid off drug tabs and hookers for their sons even if they had Joe’s Fixer through which to work. Lucky for Hunter. He is still at large and well-connected into China. 😊
Well, that is a pretty comprehensive round-up of what has occurred since my last posting. Most of the main events are featured.
This Covid era warrants personal attempts to flee the scene. I regularly seek opportunities to get a mental and physical break from the associated drudgery and social/ medical / news burdens spewed upon us. For me, switching location always seems to help. 😉
Are you able to get away? Do you need to? Do your friends and family want the same for themselves?
The shortest break and diversion provides worthwhile health benefits. Even a few hours in a different environment offer a respite.
Think about it and see what you might do to secure a much-deserved break.
Ian R. Mackintosh is the author of Empower Your Inner Manager Twitter@ianrmackintosh.