Family Outings In Alaska, Two Weddings Redux & A Sad Goodbye

It has been a busy month or so since my last posting and much has occurred.

I recently returned from a three-couple outing in Alaska. This offered an Alaskan introduction to four travelers and a third consecutive annual vacation visit for me.

Alaska changed throughout these COVID years. It has become a recently more favored escape and experience for those seeking simpler ways and contact with a larger outdoors.

Alaska - Wikidata

Although I have travelled there for short visits in the past, my first significant holiday was in September of 2020, when the State was an early opener for vacation travel during the pandemic. And much has changed.

2020 saw small crowds and State entry burdened with new and imperfect (Covid-related) entry requirements. By 2021 the word was out, and crowds increased with residents needing to financially recover from pandemic-depleted recent times further compounded by lesser recent seasons of Salmon runs; it was busier and more expensive.

But this year (2022) the season ran with even greater attendance and enthusiastic tourism than the prior two years. The peak Summer season, running into September and quickly to Autumn was busier again. Indeed, my own bookings were necessarily made a full year earlier, immediately following my 2021 visit.

And it was well worthwhile. 😊

Alaska is about grand displays of nature, hikes, outdoor living, simpler more independent times, hunting and fishing.

So, let me describe our outings and experiences…

After separate flight arrivals in Anchorage, our three couples (two from NorCal and another from Sweden) picked up a pair of vehicles (SUV’s) and gathered at an overnight Airbnb on the local outskirts of the City.

We shopped for a few essentials that night before turning-in quite early. The next day we found a great local eatery before heading down to the Kenai peninsula.

The journey out to Fosters Alaska Cabins (outside of Soldotna and Kenai) provided great phot-ops for our new visitors during the 3-4 hr. drive-time South. Expansive views of gigantic, U-shaped canyons were all along the way, passing narrow-gauge railway, tributaries and glacial run-off rivers at almost every turn.

We stopped for an hour or so at a Wild-Life conservatory (AWCC) featuring Bears, Wolves, Musk Ox, Deer, Reindeer, Moose, Buffalo, Porcupines, Foxes and much more. The various herds generally contain a dozen or more animals; Elk were in rut with the males separated, again strutting about menacingly as I have witnessed in previous visits. (NOTE: The park is well outside of and South of Anchorage, passed Beluga Point).

After sampling drinks, reindeer hot-dogs and similar we got back on the road in our 2-vehicle convoy.

Following another communal stop for meal and souvenir viewing we ran the last hour down to Soldotna and proceeded to our destination camp.

Upon arrival we checked-in, unloaded luggage into a couple of cabins and then each had ourselves fitted with the waders and boots we would use for the duration of our stays.

Dinners in our camp are large, substantial smorgasbords where guests congregate to feed each night. Ladies first, sit where you please outdoors or upon under-marquis seating, with an eternally open bar. Our first night of this was a great introduction and orientation for our group.

Following or during the feed, details of the next day’s trips for each party were reviewed. The dinner and clarification of the pre-arranged upcoming outings is a nightly ritual.

Some evenings featured singing by local performers. Those remaining following dinner gather around or near the open propane firepit, sipping on drinks, often making song requests for an hour or two.

Chimenea Propane Fire Pit

After our arrival meal we headed back to our cabins for an earlyish night’s rest in preparation for our first outings.

And the first day did not disappoint.

As on most days we split into two groups. This day half of us (3 of our group) headed pre-dawn down to Homer Spit where we boarded a 40’ power boat for a day ocean fishing Halibut and Silver Salmon.

We pounded our way out for an hour or more on the Gulf of Alaska, ringed in the distance by five visible volcanos. There was a little rain, but four of the 6-person total passenger group sat inside, unconcerned about the risk of seasickness.

Most everyone aboard got their 2-fish Halibut limit (one OVER and one UNDER 32” in length) and their accompanying exhausting experience of the serious workout involved in hauling them up from the deep. Following this, we that cared fished for and caught a few Silvers for our 3-man group.

It was then time to forge our way back to Homer Harbor; the journey and fishing had left us all somewhat wet and definately chilled. The lady captain and male crew performed admirably, keeping everyone happy and having all the fish filleted by the time we tied up at dock.

The second part of our group had departed camp a few hours later (also to Homer) where they took the comfortable 49 North Boat Taxi to the State park for a subsequent hike. They had their fun and returned before the fishing group to the Homer Spit and made the traditional round of tourist trips to the famous Salty-Dawg Bar, wholesome restaurants and stores.

After stashing our catch in a cooler, we finally reconstituted our total group, then had a couple of drinks at the Dawg before heading back up the road to camp and the usual evening arrangements.

The next day, two of us set out early on a 50-minute float-plane fly-out to the Kustatan River for Silver Salmon fishing. It was a new adventure for my partner on the trip.

We checked-in, located our plane dockside, climbed aboard and flew out. It was great trip with fine photo-op views, always ensuring a fun adventure. There was just one problem: the landing area was heavily fogged-in.

Normally the plane drops its floats into a narrow river, with wingtips reaching out to the banks either side and swings its way along a short course to a preset stop consisting of manageable mud banks and a couple of wood duck-bords where passengers can clamber out. But not today.

The fog was heavy and persistent. It hung like a curtain some 400yards before the viable touchdown spot, flatly carpeting the entire region. Despite our making multiple passes to get in during 30 mins over the landing site, we were consistently met with an impenetrable wall that just would not move, so we were forced to repeatedly pull out of approaches.

Inevitably, after <2.0 hrs. we touched back down on the small lake from which we had departed earlier. Some 30mins later, subsequent flights verified that nothing would be getting into the Kustutan any time soon; thus, our fishing trip was cancelled.

So, we rushed the few miles back to camp to rejoin the rest of the group who had slept-in prior to leaving for a Sockeye Salmon introductory (“Flossing”) fishing trip. We reconfigured our arrangements so that the two younger couples went out together and my wife and I picked up a separate last-minute arrangement to go flossing later with a new local guide.

In summary, the team of four had a phenomenal time with the group limiting out their couple of dozen salmon. The two girls were novices and enjoyed major success; I do believe the more experienced men were even a little envious of their catches.  The guide was excellent, put them in the right spot at the best time and taught them well. 😉

As for my wife and self, things were not so great. We arrived later in the water and the best spots and time was gone. I got a few Sockeyes yet needed to work extraordinarily hard for that catch. But it was fun and always is.  😊

The highlight of dinner that night were the tales of fishing success and new positive experiences that were had by all. So ended the second day at Foster’s Camp.

The next day was a group trip (3 couples, the six of us) down to Seward for a ferry ride. The journey to and from the Port is spectacular and often forgotten as a treat within itself.

We checked-in on-time after our 2-SUV journey down. The giant, 1-year-old ferry we boarded sparkled in its pristine white and blue colors, all immaculately wiped and spotless throughout its decks, café, seating and glass-windowed viewing areas.

After slipping dock lines and sliding out of Seward we were gone about six hours. Along the way we saw several whales, many seals, puffins, innumerable sets of rafting otters and an endless coastline with massive U-shaped Valleys truncating at the water’s edge.

And the highlight of the trip was a 1/2hr stay, in-close beneath a 0.5mile wide glacier that terminates its 10+ mile length into a spur off the Bay of Alaska. It is one of seven such edifices that originate from a massive, plateaued ice field that enjoys its own climate at about 1000 feet or so higher.

It is a spectacular sight and was an important photo-op for all aboard. Despite the chilled air the passengers posed relentlessly (as we did ourselves) for group shots and videos as large chunks of glacier growled and occasionally broke off, generating small tidal waves that dispersed into the ice flow below.

As much was filmed and photographed of this glacier as there was of the surfaced whales we had cautiously shadowed earlier, capturing their antics for 30 mins or more.

It was an enjoyable day out and we all returned weary and relaxed as we reentered Seward, then disembarked for a pre-arranged Dinner booking at a large local restaurant.

When we arrived back at camp there was a familiar pair of local singers still there, entertaining a small group (of <10 guests) around the firepit beneath the marquis. I listened for a while, confirmed the next-day arrangements and then retired early for the upcoming morning’s adventures.

The following day, three of us (myself, younger son and his significant other; they both in from Sweden) headed out at dawn for a float-plane trip up to Crescent Lake, >1 hr. flight-time away.

I arranged for the lady to take the co-pilot chair as my son and I took our seats in the main cabin with the other 6 or 7 passengers aboard. The flight out garnered some of the better happy-face and mountain landscape pics I would capture on the entire trip. And we landed on the starkly emerald-colored, isolated lake just as planned, beaching up behind another flight that had arrived minutes earlier.

There are only 6 guides allowed to work this lake and 3 were on the beach after we landed. We quickly split into 6 or 7-person groups, boarded our flat-bottom, motorized boats stationed near the landing area and dispersed about the lake.

Our day featured (almost) “Snagging” for Silvers and Humpies down in a corner of the Lake, shortly before it gently spilled into a sluggish downhill river. The fishing was productive for all; I picked up the 7 or so bright red humpies I mostly cared about while others targeted and captured the 3-fish limit Silvers they wanted. Our group had a few Silvers we brought back, too.

Alaska Magazine | In Defense of the Lowly Pink Salmon

Most of the day fishing involved keeping tabs on a nearby group of 4 brown bears (an underwater swimming Mom and 3, 2-year-old Cubs) who constantly threatened to cross over towards us from 150 yards away. Fortunately, they harried the opposite bank of a dozen anglers and a couple of guides all the time and never became sufficiently interested in us. But again, they were so close we were easily able to watch, photograph and video all their mischief and antics.

Last year (2021) I had seen these same bears and as many as a dozen more. This trip there was just “Swimmer” and her 3 boisterous cubs.

After all the fish were had we took off by boat following these bears, taking pics and videos from close range but keeping safely behind them as they quickly progressed unimpeded by any fishing groups down the bank towards the plane landing area.

I managed to fish alone for Dolly Vardens (like Rainbow Trout) and picked up a dozen in the very place the bears were gamboling 3-4 mins before we beached. And this, as the guide filleted the fish, my son tried for more Silvers and the others in our small party looked on, drank and ate while watching for a surprise visit from bears. Finally, we piled back in the boat and moved on.

After a subsequent, quick (< 5minutes) stop required for me to pick up a 19” Lake trout (using newly harvested Salmon eggs) lingering beneath a floating filleting station, we rounded a couple of bends and beached again to await our incoming float-plane transport out.

There were soon perhaps 20 of us on the beach awaiting fly-outs. No bears arrived and a few of the anglers started fishing with snagging rigs while we waited. I must have seen ½ dozen more silvers caught and filleted during the 30 mins or so we stood about and chatted. 

A couple of planes arrived. We all quickly helped load gear, bagged fish fillets and snack coolers then scrambled along the plane’s shore-side float, clambered up the fixed boarding ladder, dove into the cabin and fell into our window seats.

Within the hour we had taxied, taken off, run low out through the blustery, tree-spotted Valley, then crossed the large expanse of water to the mainland, while passing over a few solitary oilrigs in the brown silty waters ~2000 feet below.

We banked sharply into the Lake landing site and within an hour we were back in our own cabins at camp.

The second group (3 persons) of our party rose later that day and had gone on a guided and guarded short hiking tour through bear territory to Russian River Falls. They did not get along too well with their guide that day and thus had not enjoyed the fun and adventure anticipated.

Much as they wanted to ditch the guide, they realized that the other hikers they saw that day were well-armed (lots of bears are around) and so them wandering carelessly unarmed and w/o even bear-spray was perhaps very ill-advised. They did not immediately enjoy the trip, sights and experience as was hoped. It happens. ☹

Dinner that evening was quite a contrast. My Swedish guest saw her flight, fishing, bear viewing and boating as “one of the best and most memorable days of my life.” Great to have such a unique, wonderful experience while capturing so many pics and videos for memories.

The Hiking group even seemed to reflect that there were perhaps some special memories to their day, too.

And so, another day in Alaska passed into history and personal memory.  😊

The following day the Swedish couple in our group began their trip home to work responsibilities.

My eldest son and I took a 2-seater, side-by-side ATV trip into the Hills around 1 hr. drive South of Soldonta, towards Homer. We passed through an old Russian Village with a small, highly ornate church at its center, before taking off on our remote, guided trek.

Alaskan Back Country Side by Side ATV Adventure with Meal 2022 - Denali  National Park

The hills were strewn with brilliantly purple Fire Weed and we ran by deserted trapping cabins and the few remote ruins, all the time travelling on regulated State land. If I recall correctly, for some reason the Government owns >40% of all Alaskan Land. Such massive ownership is typical of many Western US States.

After driving outbound some ~90 mins on moderately tricky trails we reached a halfway point and turned back. Our ATV’s front LHS tire was already running low air pressure when we had set out, and by the time we were 5 miles short of reaching our SUV and trailer, that tire broke its seal, and we ran off-trail.

As no tools of any form were brought along by the guide we staged the vehicle slightly off-trail and returned in the guides (fortunately) 4-seater ATV to our vehicles just outside the Russian Village.

We settled with the guide, and he told us he would return later with tools and a spare wheel to recover the vehicle. It appears that as the weather was starting to turn (colder, wetter; with the Fire Weed dwindling, changing bloom) and the region is so remote, it was unlikely anyone would need to pass the abandoned ATV in the immediate future, certainly not for a day or two.

So, off we went North, back to camp and dinner, with another fine tale to tell.  😉

The following day our NorCal couple (my recently married eldest son and bride) packed up their SUV and headed up to Anchorage and their flight out. My wife and I took a break, just doing laundry and lunching out before the routine evening camp dinner.

The next day I fished alone with a familiar guide. We had planned to fish the Kasilof River, but the Silver runs were not yet really happening there. In fact, other than on fly outs or in the Gulf, they were pretty sparse with the major runs still yet to come in after the Sockeye flow gave way.

So, we fished the tail-out of the lake by the Lower Kenai. It was painfully slow progress and as you can only run a single rod when alone, it is impossible to quickly check out optional lures when pulling plugs. Some of the other six boats we saw that morning also only caught an occasional Silver, despite each being able to run at least four rods.

Eventually we hauled out and headed back down the Kenai River and I picked up a few Sockeyes flossing to add to the single Silver caught at the Lake. So, it was somewhat productive, and provided additional meat to add to the freezer. But it was a good day, and I spent more time with a familiar guide and friend.

The following day was my last fishing on this trip with another guide known to me and hailing from Oregon. Ryan had moved up with his whole family this year for the Summer guiding season in Alaska.

This time I was targeting my favorite, Rainbow Trout. It is all catch and release, but great sport.

The fish were spread out in pockets and so are not easy to find until the Silver Salmon runs are in full flow.

But Ryan found the fish and I had a big day. I took a spectacular 25” Rainbow, a couple of 24 inchers with about 45 total brought to the boat, mostly in the 19-22” range. I lost a 28-29” monster who was a little too smart for my skills; he made my 25” fish look like a tiddler and me feel like a complete novice. 😉

The day demanded a lot of judgement and realignment to the quite different trout nymphing techniques used in Alaskan waters. It took a few hours before my skills really began to set back in with subtle back-handed casting and drift-mending adaptations. In the end I was even able to pick up some nice Rainbows in hard-to-manage, low expectation areas.  😊

And then the fishing was done, and nothing was left but satisfied bragging rights, organizing fish shipments and arranging travel home.

There was about 130 lb. of fish shipped back. Mostly Sockeye, but a smattering of Silver Salmon and some decent Halibut. The freezer is again adequately filled after being only recently emptied of the few last 10’s of pounds of fillets which were still in prime condition from the similar 2021 haul.

But we did not get out Scot-Free.

A few days before we left my wife contracted Covid and it was a full three days later before I finally tested positive. This played havoc with our return. Fortunately, my case was VERY mild; no temperature issues at all and I was testing negative again within 72 hrs. Lucky me!

We both hit the PAXLOVID 5-day course treatment along with a recommended battery of supplements and vitamins. As my own case was so surprisingly short-lived, we were both simultaneously ready for travel and returned home.

Noted lessons learned and worth noting, re: HAVING COVID…

If a standard Covid Lateral Flow Test (CLFT) shows a PALE (Positive) line that takes a while to appear, your case is likely less profound and symptoms less debilitating. The Viral Load you carry is LOWER and most likely you are less infectious, supposedly “only to perhaps pass it on to a Spouse.”

HOWEVER, if you have a DARK RED (Positive) line that appears within a few minutes, the opposite is basically true, and you might even be classed as a “Super Spreader.”

Medical professionals have elsewhere offered these pointers. Your guess is as good as mine as to their efficacy.  😉

Now changing subject…

Since my last posting there a have been a couple of (shall we say), Phase II wedding celebrations to attend. Let me explain…

Inevitably many people still got married during the Pandemic which caused attendance at events to be somewhat to severely limited as folks were either reticent to travel or Covid restrictions remained profound and ominous in the vicinity of the event.

So, some couples choose to have belated, secondary events in more convenient locations and at a (sometimes) much later time. Both thwarted guests and newly married couples often favor a celebration redux. Hence, I attended a pair of such events in recent weeks…

In the first case it was the reception redux locally for friends and neighbors who did not attend my eldest son’s wedding in Kauai, last May. There were a few speeches, great food and a fine turn-out.

The second reception was a celebration of a friend’s eldest son’s marriage which occurred quite quietly during the very early depth of Covid restrictions (mid-2020). This event was a full-blown wedding / vow redux, and the couple now even had their new baby in attendance.

In both cases it was great to see the joy and closure that both events brought to guests and couples alike. People always have fun on such occasions, but it was precious to witness the obvious happiness and satisfaction on the faces of all those privileged to attend.  😊

Perhaps such Phase II events in convenient secondary locations will become increasingly commonplace and traditional? Certainly, the Pandemic has already affected many other aspects of life.

Then next of course there is the Local, World and Domestic News that has flooded in since my last BLOG.

Only the most noteworthy is worth mentioning. So let me begin with firstly a couple of simple Local observations…

Not greatly mentioned is the fact that the entire San Francisco Bay turned a vivid reddish brown for over a month. The effect began in early August and was only diminished and constrained to mostly the Alameda estuary by mid-September. It was recommended the fish caught were not eaten.

An algae bloom not seen for almost 20 years has again returned. The effect was initially quite alarming since the muddy redness deepened as the days warmed and it spread so extensively throughout the entire Bay.

Many of the local Ducks (mostly Mallards and Canadas), Herons (mostly Night Herons, some Great Blues and Egrets) and Cormorants temporarily quit affected surrounding marinas and headed for cleaner fishing grounds, only slowly returning as waters became clearer.

In Monterey Bay, the great Blue Herons nesting in the +80’ high Eucalyptus above the bridge running through the Santa Cruz boat harbor have already produced a new generation for 2022. The birds and their young still frequent the nests and caw loudly to all who will listen.

On the World front…

Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom passed away, aged 96 years. The Country, Commonwealth and many around the World mourn as a new King dutifully awaits his Coronation. And the outpouring is staggering. Sadness of loss remains palpable, yet a new, continued and stable era is anticipated and quickly needed.

Reports from Ukrainian front-line soldiers suggest they lack basic weapons, ammunition, communications, transportation and manpower. As many $100B’s in weaponry and other forms have poured into the Country, one must wonder what is going on.

The day before Ukraine was invaded the President (Zelensky) was considered to the be the head of the most corrupt Government ever known. One day after the invasion he was being hailed as a modern-day Churchill.

The US is reportedly severely depleting their military reserves by channeling much advanced weaponry, ammunition and funds to the Ukraine. Similarly, many European Countries are contributing the same way. So, something smells bad, here. Things do not stack up.

On the COVID front there have been >10 Countries that I have personally seen officially reporting Government-recognized problematic findings from the impact of Vaccination. These include the likes of Germany, Denmark, Israel, the UK, Turkey, Japan and more.

Other than Media reports offering 11 dubious (non-Vax) explanations to now routine and numerous, so-called sudden adult deaths, there is no similar mention or reporting in the US at all and certainly nothing hinting at any problems whatsoever with vaccinations. No wonder there are conspiracy theorists running wild. 😉

The US Domestic front inevitably remains very bumpy…

FBI whistleblowers are coming out of the woodwork and uncovering the obvious current bias and politicization of the Bureau that we have already been increasingly witnessing for decades. They say heads will roll. Time will tell… sigh. ☹

The border crisis continues. In early September, the Administration acknowledged that around 2 million illegals had entered the country under Biden’s reign. Independent bodies are already on record stating that with known missed encounters and existing official recordings the number already greatly exceeds 5 million, with no end in sight. Someone cannot count.

Gas prices in California can now be found in the $5.50/ gal range. We are supposed to celebrate this progress down from >>$6.00 / gal. I recall quite recently when reaching $4.00 / gal was considered disastrous.

Most of the price reduction we are seeing is driven by a great fall in demand driving down pricing. Folks cannot afford gas prices and so are finding other ways to minimize their budget expenses by limiting personal consumption. Another inconvenient truth.

Why high gas prices are more about Wall Street than the White House

The situations we create and to which we are offered delusional or deliberately misleading insight are almost comical. So, let us not dwell on any more of such frustrating News and simply move on…

We are heading into Fall (Autumn) around the Northern hemisphere. The News channels and Media offer their own spins on the reality that they wish us to accept. And this remains our choice, at this point.

As you can see from above, I have personally experienced and fortunately enjoyed several happy, convenient diversions during the last six weeks. I recommend you similarly find a path for distractions.

And as for the News reported… keep questioning what is offered and try to look behind just some of the screens. 😊

Ian R. Mackintosh is the author of Empower Your Inner Manager Twitter@ianrmackintosh.

Finding Joy In Travel and Reviewing World Events

Well, it is 100 days into the Russian invasion of Ukraine and News outlets seem to be switching their attentions elsewhere. And I will follow suit and move to happier events to begin.

In the past five weeks I was fortunate to travel up to Northern California and then out to Hawaii.

The trip North took in Shasta City and trout fishing on the McCloud river below the dam, followed by a couple of days drifting the Lower Sacramento around Redding and Red Bluff. This was shortly thereafter followed by a visit to an old stomping ground of mine to Kauai, Hawaii; this latter journey being prompted by the spectacular destination wedding of my eldest son to our (now) new daughter.

Let me just concentrate here solely upon the locations themselves and primarily provide insights for travelers to local destinations and activities.

So first came the early May drive North to Shasta.

Middle McCloud Falls

The drive itself was warm enough but weather up there was still colder as my youngest son and I headed Northbound along the the I5 corridor, paying an arm-and-leg at fueling stops along the way.

Stopping for Fuel

Before reaching our destination, we passed Shasta Lake; it seemed even lower than during my prior visit late last year. At best guess the vivid orange banks were exposed >>50 feet below the vegetation line and several fingers of the basin were now completely emptied of all water.

The boat sheds had been moved with new ramps installed, enabling boaters to reach the shallow Lake, gain access or launch.

We continued North, then checked-into the Shasta Inn late afternoon as snow was beginning to fall. This was a troubling proposition given our fly-fishing plans for rainbow trout the following morning. ☹

We hit the Black Bear diner for comfort food and then retired to our cabin/ room, watching the picturesque snowfall through the window while laying on our beds enjoying fishing programs on the TV.

The next day was a pleasant surprise. Before we had left the snow had melted away around the SUV, so we dressed quickly and warmly for wading and headed up the higher elevation of the McCloud Dam to arrive before the sun could reach down to the river at the base of the gorge.

The water-level in the reservoir was at a low and barely reached the spillway gates. So, we each geared-up and went to our preferred and separate hunting grounds.

I hiked into the thundering dam outlet pool to then fish 100 yards further down, against the cliff-face beneath the spillways’ end. My son took off on higher ground along the blocked-off mile-long, rock-littered road toward Ash Camp to then clamber down towards the deep pools and swirling waters offered a mile downstream from where I was installed.

Oddly, the day was warm. I picked up a few strong, vividly patterned Rainbows and then climbed the rocks back onto the spillway itself and picked my way across its empty base. From there I descended back down and into the river, winding my way several hundred yards further to the sharp left bend below.

The day became warm. The sun shone, I shed much of my gear as I fished the bend, basking in the surprise warmth and sunlight while picking up three more fish.

We met up mid afternoon back at the SUV and then went our separate ways to finish the day. The deeper pools continued to be hard to exploit and my own attempts had yielded a little less than typical in the colder weather. But we were fishing and thoroughly enjoying our unexpectedly warm surrounds in the lush McCloud river gorge.

That evening we went in search of new places to eat and ended up back at the Black Bear. Like most places in CA, things close early and staff shortages abound following Covid closures and constraints. The diner attracted more than its share of locals and so we ate there again; good wholesome food and plenty of it.

Black Bear Diner Shasta California

There was no snow that evening when temperatures dropped. So, the following morning we donned our lessened gear for the warmer day and repeated the prior days action in largely the same places, fishing till early afternoon when we packed-up and wound our way down from the dam to the freeway which sped us within the hour to the much warmer climes of Redding.

The deep pools of the McCloud below the dam remain difficult to fish, a true enigma. The pockets are filled with trees and branches deposited over decades; tight-line nymph fishing is ideal, but the constant snags and associated reties make it a tedious (and expensive) proposition.

Nevertheless, by late afternoon we had checked-in at our Redding hotel and were off to my favorite eatery (Kahunas) for Mongolian BBQ and Sushi.

Kahunas, Redding Californina

The next two days we drift fished the Lower Sacramento with my favorite guide Jason from River Pursuit out of Red Bluff. The river is historically low with minimal water release, and we first worked nearer the Redding area. The second day we fished further South by Red Bluff in the Canyon.

The waters are loaded with Sucker fish in places, but we snagged very few of these and the pair of us combined probably hooked into over two hundred rainbows during the two days. A couple of carp joined the ranks but most of the many trout ran 15”-19” with the majority on the larger side.

Both days we beached the boat for a lunch of hot-dogs, soda and to afford Jason a break from rowing. The fishing was spectacular; mostly we were regular nymphing but also caught on dries and tight lines.

There were few other boats to be seen; the solitude, warm days and focus of the fishing were constantly refreshing. The views were green, lush and impressive, but our attention was constantly and heavily drawn to the waters and the bite.

This trip I realized more about the subtleties of fighting fish that jump (Trout, Salmon, Bass etc.) with barbless versus barbed or treble hooks whether using dry flies, nymphs or lures. There is always something to learn and such massive experiences quickly speed the process. 😊

Eventually this fishing outing was sadly complete. So, we quietly and reluctantly drove ourselves the five hours home to Santa Cruz, CA.

What a great outing.

The next few days were hectic as clothes, shoes and goods were picked up and packed for the wedding-centered trip to Kauai.

So, as a fun break to the preparations we first made a two-man trip down to Moss Landing and Phil’s Fish Market. What a great recent local find this has proven for our family. Excellent food, friendly, lively atmosphere and sensible prices in a now Covid-free setting. Hard to beat outstanding Cioppino, inexpensive quality wines and beer for an afternoon outing.

All this is secreted in a picturesque working harbor on the Monterey Bay and situated just 30 mins drive South of our house. 😊

And then on to Kauai. I was last on that particular Island some forty years ago. I recalled the exquisite quiet, deep red earth, rough roads and the golden bay sands laid out before the Kauai Surf Hotel.

Of course, all is now much changed. The Hotel has long-since fallen in two major hurricanes, the population has grown, and more tourists now visit. Everything moves on, as it must, but Kauai remains favorite over my (also ageing) recollections of other subsequent visits to Oahu, Hawaii and Maui.

The flight over was on-time and the approach built with excitement as passengers pressed to the windows for views of the Island as we descended towards its shores. There were smiles everywhere as new visitors marched from the plane through the airport while bathing in the welcoming warm air.

We bustled swiftly through the open-air Baggage Claim, fought for our rental cars at Dollar and headed quickly for late-night shopping essentials at Safeway on the way to our apartment.

And at Safeway, we met the chickens. And we met the cockerels. And everyone was enchanted as photos were had. 😊

Googling commenced as the shopping went on. Chickens are everywhere, especially on Kauai. The politicians in Honolulu have plans to sterilize and diminish the population, but to be honest, I like ‘em. They show up everywhere and seem charming to me, even when they opportunistically wander into open-sided restaurants in search of scraps. 😉

We had a ground-floor apartment to the North in Princeville overlooking the ocean, about 45mins up the East coast from the Lihue Airport. It stood 100 yards off a golf-course and 20 yards from a steep drop to a narrow bay. All of Princeville is apartments and houses centered around a lush golf course (Links) that partially sits upon cliff tops.

The lawns that run to the cliff edges were intermittently populated with the endangered indigenous Nene Geese and mostly-white, stork-like Cattle Egrets which were brought in during the 1950’s to control the insects around local herds.

We had a beautiful place to stay and many more to visit.

The local store was (Foodland) five minutes away in an extensive open-air Mall area, which supplied most our needs, including great Sushi, Pokes, Vegetables, Local Coffee and all that a Safeway has to offer, plus beach-related supplies and sundries.

Eating-in is convenient and there are many great options. This is helpful as often the restaurants can prove a little pricey and are limited (coming out of Covid) by opening hours, demand and staff shortages. And naturally, prices for most goods are generally above mainland offerings as one would expect on an island.

Goods are flown or container-shipped into the larger Island ports then often transported less expensively by barge to smaller Islands with shallow-draft harbors, like Lihue on Kauai.

Then there are the outings we tried…

First up was a fishing trip on a forty-foot powered catamaran out of the small boat commercial harbor just South of the Lihue Airport. Well, our party of two were out on the water Northeast of the airport by 0600 with a skipper at the wheel and a single crewman setting all the rigs.

A trip like this is not for the feint-of-stomach on such exposed waters. It was not particularly rough for early May but was a vigorous trip on the windward side of the Island. I sail, so no problem. It IS however a problem for most of those less familiar with ocean waves and swells, with or without some of the many sea-sickness aids available today.

As for the fishing… we had at least six lines out for the two of us. After about an hour we heard, “Fish on. It’s a Marlin. She’s takin’ a lot of line.” And before the rod could be handed to me in the fighting chair, “She’s off.”

We trolled around with half-a-dozen other vessels by a buoy set up about 90 mins out to attract fish, while following clues from Goony, Shearwater and occasional Albatross activity, before eventually heading further North another hour looking for bites. I got to eat my fill and drink a little beer, but that was IT for the fishing.

We were back in and tied up by 1.00pm and headed home to the apartment after a stop-off for a couple of beers in a Mexican restaurant where we were charmingly entertained by a few chickens wandering in and out, looking for scraps.

Next up we tried Bike Rentals out of Kapa ‘a, 30 mins South of Princeville. There is a paved, flattish, 10-mile ride out, all along the coast. Nice journey. We favor NON eBikes, so the outing is inexpensive and not too demanding. It is clear where the trail ends (it just does, with rocks barring the way) and there are plenty of outlook stops to rest or picknick. A recommended trip for all ages with a million photo-ops along the way. 😊

We even stopped off in Jimmy’s in Kapa ‘a, just off the Bike trail for a beer and Pina Colada before we returned the bikes. Friendly staff, hot food and welcoming atmosphere if you are inclined.

A couple in our group rented snorkels and fins in Hanalei for nominal fees (<$10.00 each per day) and had an exciting time viewing turtles at Anini Beach just a mile or so from our apartment. Quite private and great fun for all. The swimming is NOT demanding but weaker swimmers and children really should rent lifejackets and wear them. Remember: stay 10 feet away from the turtles and no touching these >2’ wide, ambling behemoths.

Needless to say, the water is clear, the skies brilliant blue with the air warm and enticing. What is not to like? What is better than a restful, post-swim lunch and nap upon a quiet beach?

And what would a trip to Hawaii be without the hikes? There are countless to choose from with trails running back into an interior of lush green tropical forests, canyons, towering volcanic peaks, streams, rivers and waterfalls. Truly a paradise to explore and enjoy.

Both locals, tourists and travelers will quickly suggest and offer their favorite spots to explore.

Then there was the dining out. There are sandwich, drinks, restaurants and food shacks scattered around all the populated areas. Inexpensive breakfasts and snacks can easily be found. There’s always visitors and friendly locals with whom to chat and share a tale. And on the Island the smaller shops, stores and shacks are commonly brightly colored and cared-for.

Everything runs on Island Time. Rushing to get things done is not a priority. A common sign hung on business doors is “Open till Closed.” And they mean it. If things are already booked-up, folks just close and leave. If staff is short (as it often is, following recent Covid re-openings) or unavailable, restaurants and shops close early or just do not open. By mid-May it was common to see restaurants stop serving by 8.30pm and empty by 9.30pm… even on Saturday and Sunday.

Kauai is now quite different from my long-ago visit in the early 1980’s. Back then there were many rough, red-dirt roads. The ONLY traffic light on the island was in a sugar-cane planation to manage trucking operations. You could only reach Hanalei by Gondola and the road out there was referred to as a donkey-track, by the locals.

The locals like to talk about those times. They enthusiastically recall them from their youth and wanted to hear my own stories from back then. I spoke with a few who truly lit up as they shared their own recollections and listened to what I could tell.

It is simply different now. The main road almost rings the Island, running from NNW, across the North shore, down the East coast, along the Southern Shore and up the West coast falling short at the rugged and impressive Northwestern Na Pali coastline.

The Island looks like a slightly squashed donut on a map… as the crow flies it is about 30 miles from the most Northerly to most Southern point and maybe 35 miles from East to West. The main road basically circles the outer edges of Kauai so the journey from the most Southern to Northern point is about 45 miles by vehicle.

There are commonly traffic lights, now. They even often have 15-minute traffic delays between Kapa ‘a and Lihue, which locals and GPS systems steer around using the few inland roads.

And with these changes comes opportunity and business. Tourists, visitors and an increased population. Yet when I spoke with locals, they often seemed sad at what was lost, more than enthusiastic about what was gained.

I have since heard that locals are now aggressively attacking local officials complaining of the high tourist activity and associated traffic access into quieter towns like Hanalei. Residents in many ways enjoyed the peace and seclusion that was afforded during two years of Covid-related quiet.

Then there is Hanalei itself, just 15 mins West of Princeville where we stayed. It is entered down a steep (recently repaired from a major collapse) road, passing over a one-way bridge that runs alongside a meandering river which rambles to the nearby coast.

I ate out in Hanalei several times. The main street sports a few hundred yards of restaurants, colorful, busy shops, a church or two and a public school that enchants the gaze of bustling tourists. Architecture is picturesque and almost colonial in appearance.

One evening we ate as a group of four at the Dolphin Restaurant, opposite the Postcard restaurant and nearby a large Kayak-renting center. What an interesting and lively place to eat. One of our party wanted to try Sushi, so we hit that adventure and accompanying wine offerings hard. What a great meal.

The place was pricey, hard to get into and the staff were effective, polite but overworked, understaffed and a little stressed. In all honesty their business was most likely relatively quiet a month earlier, but the post-Covid ramp-up hit them hard. They ARE one of the best places to eat yet they too stop serving by 9’ish each night. But it WAS a great night out and I can highly recommend the Dolphin. 😊

On another afternoon we (as a wedding party) rented a large beamy powered catamaran sailboat out of Port Allen to run in the lee of the Island for a four-hour trip up to the Na Pali Highlands, returning outside the harbor for sunset views and phot-ops.

After my previous offshore experiences that week I was suspicious of how well the forty or so folks on this boat would fare, even though we were protected from larger waves after rounding up the more heavily sheltered West Coast.

In all honesty most people fared well. Just maybe half dozen folks later commented on being a little queasy and only a couple suffered greatly. The crew managed their guests well, by metering drinks early-on and serving the excellent, on-board-prepared steak dinner late in the trip.

The Na Pali coastline is huge and precipitous with waterfall outlets etched into then light brown cliffs, a unique sight, well worth the journey. We encountered spinner dolphins along the way, viewed the forbidden Hawaiian Island to our West and ran at around 20 knots Northbound and the same again on the softer return journey with the kinder, rolling following sea.

And we were back for sunset, where the colors in the sky proved particularly spectacular as the spinner dolphins returned and put on a brief closing show to entertain us all.

A final outing was made by me with an old family relative; it was a geezer trip. We had searched all day, finding only sold-out and absent kayaking renter facilities, until we took a chance and ran back North to Hanalei, nearby the aforementioned Dolphin restaurant. Et Voila!

We booked a couple of single kayaks in intermittent rain, and I was soon thereafter off on my first ever Kayaking run, up-river. I clumsily zig-zagged my way between tropical riverbanks for an hour or so, enjoying the occasional downpours that conveniently cooled-off my overworked, unskilled efforts.

By the time we turned back downstream I would mostly steer in a straight line and used far less energy as a result. I could also competently pass other canoes without fear of my colliding with them. 😊

It was great fun and something I will likely repeat back here in the safety my local Santa Cruz harbor, for learning purposes. Although I thought my arms would explode because of my unskilled thrashing, they did not, and the next day did fortunately NOT bring any of the expected aches and pains, either. 😉

As I neither flipped the kayak nor crashed into the bank (or anyone else) I can safely recommend that anyone can try this. It is a fun, healthy activity for all the family. But everyone needs to wear a lifejacket when participating.

Our final day on Kauai featured a run up the famed Waimea Canyon ahead of a late-day flight out. This is a journey I have made before, but we struck out this time.

The Canyon provides massive wide views of the lush surrounding cliffs and a river nestled down deep in its gorge.

After lunch in the bustling bay-side Waimea town, we headed uphill and inland to enter the side of the canyon on the West. There are spectacular walks and serious hiking trails penetrating high into the Waimea Valley Park and Canyon on both sides.

As we entered, our first stop (at 1200’) displayed the yawning Canyon entrance to our right and the open flats running to the coast and open deep blue Pacific on our left. Quite a phot-op. Unfortunately, on this day we subsequently ran into mists above this height and saw little more but cloud all the way to the top.

The Waimea Canyon and Park are a must see for visitors to the Island; just be aware of the cloud-cover on your chosen day. 😉

Finally, after visiting friends in their local beach-side vacation rental in Poipu we dashed back to the nearby Lihue Airport, dropped off our Dollar SUV rental, rushed to check in for the flight and then just caught last drink orders (by 9.00pm).

The flight left on time and by 0600 the next day we were deposited as a somewhat saddened and disheveled group into the SFO terminal.

But it was a great trip. We will certainly visit Kauai again. 😊

I have generally and deliberately not mentioned the Wedding I was attending on Kauai and all the directly associated Ceremonies, Blessings, formalities, emotions, treats and special surprises that accompanied these very precious and memorable events. This would require a mighty book in and of itself. 😊

Suffice it to say that the Wedding and Reception were held privately in the Botanical Gardens which are a twenty-minute drive South of Princeville on the East Coast of Kauai. The location is prized for destination Wedding Events and provided an idyllic surround and setting for the beginning of my son and his new wife’s life together; they present as a very fine couple. 😊

The recent return to our Santa Cruz (CA) home has yielded a couple of pleasant surprises. Weather has been warm and welcoming with the Summer Holiday crowds still not yet arrived en masse.

There have been a few local visitors…

The occasional Humpback can be seen from the Northern shores of Monterey Bay, nestled beyond the kelp-line between Capitola Village and towards the crumbling Cement ship at Seacliff, just a little Southeast of where juvenile Great Whites typically congregate. The Whales’ presence is given away by occasional spouts and birds massing to grab spare fish thrown off from expansive feeding activities.

And as I write the Sooty Shearwaters have made a seasonal return in their hundreds of thousands. These birds dive tens of feet beneath the ocean swells, grabbing from the massive shoals of smaller fish. They travel the world from Australasia in a figure-eight pattern on the wing and ocean for 8-9 months a year, only coming ashore for three months or so to breed.

While here they run East-West along the Northern shore of the Monterey Bay. Their narrow flight path is just beyond the kelp, running from towards the tip of the Santa Cruz Pier, passing Pleasure Point and as far East as Capitola. They fly in a tight band some 50-100 yards wide, miles long, just a few tens of feet above the waves, constantly searching first East then returning West. And the cyclic procession is endless.

If you board a boat that sails through the flock, you are entertained and bombarded by excited, noisy chatter and seemingly frantic activity; Shearwaters are wholly unconcerned by vessels either drifting or charging through their flight path.

And as they busily proceed East and West with the sun beginning to set, constant evening flights of resident Pelicans pass Westerly overhead, lazily heading in drafting formations towards their favorite nightly roosts.

Strangely, locals strolling the beaches and cliffs often do not seem to even notice this mass of life surging out to sea just a few hundred yards offshore. The countless Pelicans and other seabirds overhead pass largely unseen, too. There is so much all about us that proceeds largely unaccounted.

And now I should fall to responsibly recording some of the more notable News Events occurring since my last BLOG. There is quite a list…

Iran has dismantled twenty-seven UN monitoring cameras ensuring there will be no tracking of their Uranium Enrichment activity nor even the current location of their centrifuges. They claim the UN has no right to monitor and scolded the US for their concern and comments. This should end Iran’s hope for a revitalized Nuclear deal with the (US and) World, but with blundering-Biden policies, who knows?

Adding salt to the wound North Korea (while managing a major domestic Covid outbreak) has announced it will be joining the China and Russian Block with Nuke testing.

China has now eased the massive personnel Covid lockdowns in Beijing and Shanghai and is finally experiencing some encouraging growth after previously disappointing results, which were further hampered by decreased World demand.

Most fiscal growth in China is stimulated by massive local Government funding fueled by regional Land-Sales (which provides >50% of all local Gov. revenues) and business-friendly policies. However, Land-Sales will ultimately prove finite and the central CCP has now seized the collection of all these land-revenues and is meting the monies back as it deems fit into the local regions. This chokehold is feared capable of subduing successes the previous approach had made to local economic recoveries.

The US has well-publicized and massive Inflation, Supply-Chain and other Fiscal problems now broadly accepted as being the result of bad Administration Policies. The bigger problem is that if the US has economic woes the rest of the World suffers similarly and sometimes even more-so, as a result.

Basically, the US recognized foolishness and disarray is victimizing more than US citizens. At this point the argument can be made that Domestic Biden insanities are bringing harm across the entire World.

Those dependent upon Market funds (401k’s, IRA’s, Investments and other financial Instruments etc.) to finance their lives are experiencing typically 25-30% losses in value over <18months of the new Presidency. Those without such investments are looking into the teeth of massive cost-of-living increases with even less protection. ☹

The US uses the “Basket of Goods” method of measuring inflation. This highly questionable scheme was adopted by Bill Clinton, copying the same method used by the British. It has enabled inflation to be regularly CLAIMED as ~3.5% for decades within the US.

The big issue is that this method ignores major economic factors such as cost of housing, gas etc. altogether, and is manipulated by removing from consideration any items that experience large price increases. Yup, the number is basically cooked. So, if this massaged and manipulated number has currently ramped-up to reportedly >8.5%, you can image what an honest view might look like. ☹

My own crude assessments suggest that real inflation is clearly running >20%, but probably <30%, for just the last year, alone. If you are not scared by this, you should be as there is nothing in the works to check this ramp-up of inflation, nor the confidence-stimulated free-fall underway in the Financial Markets.

Amazingly the Administration recently opined their concern that associated continued Low Polling might cause parallels being drawn between Biden and Carter. Honestly, with the articles, numerous Polls and (even) declining Democrat Leadership support it is staggering there is no realization that this particular horse has LONG-since left the barn. 😉

Then there is the tragedy of Gun Control shenanigans.

Without arguing one way or the other just let me offer that most guns and weapons have been made in largely the same way for around ONE HUNDRED YEARS. In the past guns had LESS not MORE controls on their access than now. Something changed and it was not the guns. Logically we would be wiser to understand and chase the root causes rather than just the guns themselves…

Around 60% of all gun-related deaths are historically suicides. If we are looking for a substantial impact upon gun-related deaths, we might want to at least CONSIDER Mental health issues; they are front and center in total death-count and in the specifics of most all Mass Killings.

Also, there is a great irony in that it is mostly Politicians and Parties that ultimately publicly debate, publicize and fight about Gun Control. Let me explain…

Citizens seek their Second Amendment rights to be upheld so they may Hunt, Defend Themselves, Family, their Property and so on. But almost every gun owner with whom I have ever spoken holds one thing in common, and that is their great distrust and lack of faith in Government. They often believe self-protection is required from their own Political Leaders who cannot ultimately be trusted.

Naturally in all discussions and debates on this subject, such leaders NEVER state this fundamental point. Why would they? And right there is both the sad irony, and an inevitability. 😉

The Southern Border Illegal Immigration crisis continues, but the DHS has a new shipping plan to disperse such immigrants. It is sarcastically called the Abbott Plan. Since border facilities are filled to overcapacity, the DHS has begun shipping excess people to cooperative LA from whence they are quickly released on their own dime to move on, untracked and certainly unlikely to show for further processing.

When LA overflows the intention is to then start using Albuquerque facilities, followed by Dallas then Houston and wherever else then becomes necessary.

The Head of DHS (Mayorkas) was just recently before Congress where he asserted on questioning that maybe as many as 1.6-1.7 million illegals have been processed through on Biden’s watch. During April alone ~235, 000 entered the US. Like many I have regularly seen these numbers, month after month. I would say a realistic number is >> 2,000,000 but less than 3,000,000 would be more accurate.

And these are the numbers of JUST the people found and processed. The real number with Open Border Polices could be staggering. The COST and social impacts that continue to be understood will be staggering.

Nancy Pelosi made nearly $100 million between 2008 and 2018. The average senator made around +$150k/ year during this period ($174k in 2021). Technically there is nothing to be seen here, since trading on Insider Information (the Speaker, bringing or NOT bringing issues to the floor of Congress) is not officially illegal. But trading on Political position (Hunter and Joe, take note) is just not kosher and needs investigation and updated Laws.

The Administration is being sued by a group of Medical Doctors for hiding and making unavailable known-good COVID cures and treatments. This is especially troubling as Government-driven Lockdowns during the pandemic are now proven to have caused many unnecessary deaths per a series of related articles and studies appearing around the World. These facts are IN.

The New Zealand Labor Government is officially now taxing Cow and Sheep farts in the name of Climate Change. This was DONE, despite NZ being 90th in carbon emissions and this consequently having zero Global impact. It does, however, punish and discourage their farmers and meat industry while driving up food prices (and Government revenues).

Early June Polling surprisingly shows that support for abortions is falling

The likely leftist SCOTUS leaker may have seriously misjudged the mood in the US. The potential overturn of Roe V. Wade only returns powers of decision to what is (per Ginsberg and many other legal authorities) a more correct legal basis, ie. to within individual States.

Although Polling is around 50-50 (a surprise in itself) for the overturn, the pro-abortion polling apparently craters after the first Trimester. Another surprise. It seems this leak may NOT provide the Voting support bonanza that Leftists had hoped.

Whistleblowers confirm that the FBI is purging Conservatives; hardly a surprise in the wake of left-biased actions taken in the last decade. This is not the bureau once loved and trusted. But was it EVER really trusted, given positions and actions taken even as far back as HOOVER?

The word is that there are now “thousands of FBI whistleblowers coming forward” denouncing the actions of senior officials they who they say have been acting alone. Time will tell. Post mid-term election results might well facilitate the threatened ground-up shake-out at the Agency (or, NOT?).

Early leaks of the CA Study due later this year regarding Reparations suggest this will indeed go forward. The on-going recent outflux of wealthy Californians will likely continue as many will resent being tapped for funding in a FREE State (no slavery ever there), where neither they nor their families ever owned slaves nor facilitated that industry.

California wants to lead the way on Reparations. I suspect it will go forward and anger the very many in their population who never even migrated to the State nor indeed the US until well-after Slavery was banned Nationally. But that is CA. 😉

And I must close with something about Joe Biden again being Number 1. It seems he is well on-track to most certainly easily beating the most embarrassing Presidential Record Ever: Let’s Go, Vacation Joe!

Well, those are some of the News snippets worth leaving on record.

As for myself I am glad for my recent vacations and breaks, but after keeping up on current events, am already waiting for more. 😉

Again, during these troubled times I recommend to you and yours that you prepare for and enjoy the upcoming Summer Holidays. It is just too wearing to stay abreast of the News without taking a break.

So, find ways to put the media onslaught behind you from time-to-time to enjoy the positive relationships and experiences that present themselves in your life.

Ian R. Mackintosh is the author of Empower Your Inner Manager Twitter@ianrmackintosh.

My Mid-Year 2021: Chaotic News Continues As Pandemic Wanes

It is shocking to view the on-going torrent of catastrophic and often self-inflicted, unfortunate events.

This chronicle continues a review of the latest 4-5 weeks of US News and the major incidents occurring around the World. 

Given the waves of troubling events, let me again begin with a happier view of good things happening in my personal world…

Every weekend I go sailing. The last month has seen a slight resurgence in the number of vessels active on the San Francisco Bay. There still are not the large numbers of sailboats as in (pre-Covid) prior years, but the sailing season (March to August winds) has brought out a few small-boat regatta’s that are occasionally dotted about the Bay on weekends. 

Often, we take friends aboard who seem to find great relief in the temporary diversion, enjoying the cooler breezes and occasional sunny days. Now when we re-enter the Alameda estuary there are (12’-16’ in length) boat races sometimes in play, vessels scurrying in front of the marinas, capturing thelight breezes, heralded by the boom of starting guns.

The SLOT, the area spreading from under the Golden Gate Bridge and down around Alcatraz, continues to present stronger winds. Few people cross in larger sailboats without reefing their sails heavily and heeling hard when running windward. The air is invariably quite chilled passing East of Alcatraz and up intothe Eastern lee of Angel Island.

A protected Ayala Bay (on Angel Island) lies just Southeast of Tiberon, one mile across the fiercely rushing Raccoon Straits. This Bay has begun to fill its re-opened State Park slips on weekends; first come, first served. Large draft vessels will find no usable dock if arriving after 9.00 am.

The lee of the Island is spectacular, even on windier days.  A few boats now again drop anchor there and enjoy protected sunny weather on warmer days.

Sailing has begun to come alive again. Gone are the recent days and even entire weekends when I would often find myself completely alone in the vast openness of the San Francisco Bay.

And this year large container ships are anchoring below the Bay Bridge. Often six or more swing slowly about on their giantanchors as the tides turn. Last year the population here was of entirely empty tankers waiting to head up to the Richmond refineries. Now these different, new behemoths patiently wait their turn for space on the Alameda loading docks where gigantic stork-like cranes pick carefully from their mountains of containers.

The fishing has been good, too. I have recently had a few moretrips drift fishing up on the Lower Sacramento River. Lately I have been using indicator-less, tight-line European nymphing techniques there in the deep swirling water holes formed miles below the Shasta Dam. This new experimental approach to catchlarger Rainbow Trout in these waters is proving extremely productive; likely to be soon adopted by many when word gets out. 

After these trips I usually run a further hour North and fish the McCloud River for a couple more days. It is a spectacular and solitary location. The deep canyons are bathed in sunlight with nothing but the sounds of rushing water and active songbirds. 

The river there offers challenging shores, wading and precarious rock-climbing experiences; well worth the trip once you figure how to get into the isolated and feisty Rainbow Trout population it harbors.

Just recently, I have had a couple of peculiar run-ins with birds.Let me elaborate:

While ashore in Alameda I watched a Mom-and-Pop Canadagoose pair waddle their line of five goslings across the street and down the open sidewalk, AWAY from the artificial ponds from where they had emerged. There was obviously no water in that direction, just traffic, neighborhood lawns and roadway. An odd choice, but now equally strange as a similar event near my home…

A few days later in the warm, late afternoon I came across a solitary female Mallard steering her clutch of four stumbling baby ducklings along the bumpy, grass-covered and lightly trafficked roadside at the end of my street. Again, they were headed AWAY from the ocean, some hundred feet behind. And again, obviously no water where they were headed. Why such odd choices? 

Tomorrow I will head up North to host a sailing outing for a few friends. This will be followed by another drift fishing trip up to Redding and a few more days in those canyons on the McCloud River. 

I am constantly being asked by folks about where they might escape the trials and tribulations seen around CA, the US and about the World. People I meet enquire this of me with little and often no solicitation because they do not like what they are seeing. They want to go somewhere, anywhere that offers a safer and preferable outlook; I have not yet identified this Shangri-La. But still I search.  

Perhaps those Canada Geese and Mallard Ducks are just searching for this new territory, too?   😉

These are truly turbulent times. For my own part I grab some simple therapeutic relief by writing this BLOG. It is one way to calm my own disbelief and staunch the concerns I have watching what sometimes seems like an impending train wreck. And so, my hand has not yet been forced for me to move home. 😊

So much for my diversionary leisure pursuits. Now back to the business of this Chronicle…

Well, we have passed the 100 days mark and are almost 4 months into the era of the New Biden Administration. So, let usget on and see what has been happening over the last 4-5 weeks…

Looks like leading Dems feel that the controversial Infrastructure Bill will not pass before the Sept 30th deadline and so are pushing content out and into the next Fiscal Budget cycle. This is a major setback for Administration goals. Latest idea is to wrap Infrastructure Ideals with Budget and force its passing through the Senate via Reconciliation that requires only a simple 50 vote majority. 

The AMOUNT sought for the bill had also been dropping in recent weeks. 

Only time will tell where and how the final versions of these plans will land.

The remaining National Guard troops (2,200) surrounding the Capitol Building following Jan 6th events should be mostly headed home by the end of May.

The original troops (26,000 total) were drawn from almost every State and DC. The often-poor conditions in which they were kept (cold, open-sided garages for sleeping with unappetizingfood provided) drew many questions but few apologies or correction.

It is expected that the unfortunate circumstances in which they served and why, will be mostly written up as at best asunnecessarily extended at a total cost of >$500 million.

The quickly erected encircling barriers remain in place on The Hill and the area will not immediately reopen because of issues regarding Capitol Police manpower shortages.

According to research done by Fortune Magazine, despite contribution promises of some combined $50 billion (during the George Floyd riots) being made by major Corporations to Racial Equity funds, only a few percent of these monies have materialized.

Many approaches and promises were made to BLM and other far left organizations to placate hostilities. So far Apple has paid a 1/4 of the $100 million they pledged and that is mostly it, as folks like Target, Facebook and a myriad of others have ponied up little or essentially nothing yet and no longer look like doing so.

If it has taken this long to offer up a fraction of what was promised it seems unlikely the balance will be quickly forthcoming.

TIPP Insights Poll late April revealed that 53% of Americans do not trust the surveyed traditional media outlets (Washington Post, NY Times, NPR etc.). 25% acknowledged having “no trust at all” with 28% citing “little trust.”

A senior CBS 60 Minutes reporter says that although Trump tore into their credibility “we had a problem starting LONG before (he came on the scene).”

Paul Sperry (author and NY Post author) cited a litany of historical cover ups and underreporting explaining the distrust, including the current unreported actual Black-on-Asian hate crimes being misrepresented as White-on-Asian, when Asians are in fact hiring (reportedly White Supremacist) Proud Boys for protection from such incidents.

It seems that Yellen and The US Treasury Dept is wanting to collaborate on a minimum 15% Global Corp tax rate with other G7 Nations. Although this group has no official proxy to pull this off, other (G7) members are ecstatic the US shows interest, even though it is below the 21% tax goals they originally sought.

The goal is to stop Corporations shopping for lowest bids and moving HQs to different countries for Tax/ Profit purposes.

This (Yellen) ambition is separate from the 28% the US wants to hang about the corporate neck which is tied to Infrastructure Expansion goals and Bills currently in Congress. It is unclear to me how support for a Global 15% Tax by the US Treasury will demotivate American Corporations running overseas away from Bidens proposed 28% Infrastructure Tax levels.

Also, the decades-old, repeatedly proven fact that as Biz Taxes go up, employment is affected downward seems not to be in play in this thinking, anywhere.  It is just how Corporate finances work.

These arrangements and goals are either intentionally stupid or maliciously conflicted… you tell me. ☹

The DHS has been into budget planning problems on-and-off for the last year; first failing (under the threat of 70% pending furloughs), then making budget goals and now with current struggles dictating they redefine their operations to satisfy current Administration desires. This Agency grants Citizenship, Green Cards, and Temporary Visas and wants to improve service with no plan to pay for changes.

The DHS sent its 14-page plan for enhancing procedures to the WH on April 21stHomeland Security says this can all be done without the approval of Congress where consensus on immigration has been historically elusive.

The USCIS plans to give potential US Citizens the benefit of the doubt if (say) they mistakenly register and vote in elections. Currently this action can lead to deportation or criminal charges, normally ending a person’s chance for Citizenship. 

This is quite a signal to send to the 20 million (or is it closer to 40 million?) Undocumented Citizens (previously known as Illegals) and their fraudulent voting potential. Given that Democrats are generally believed to have acted in bad faith during the 2020 election process, this will raise a lot of eyebrows.

After a claim of scheduling conflicts President Biden broke 20 years of tradition and will not make the Notre Dame Commencement speech. However, a petition did circulate on campus garnering 4,300 signatures that complained of his Administration’s anti-religious stances, support of unconventional marriages, abortion etc.

His non-appearance will also leave him w/o the honorary degree planned for presentation to him; given his known prior personal history of exaggerated, fraudulent claims of academic accomplishment and achievements it is unlikely he will miss adding a real one to his personal accounting.

At least the WH will avoid the clean-up from more gaffe-ridden, troubling exposure.

Mid-May polling by the Trafalgar Group shows confidence in Dr. Fauci has almost inevitably collapsed during his over-exposure through the Pandemic… more so among Conservatives, but across the board.

This no surprise with his repeated contradictions and his wearing (and recommendation, along with VP Harris) of Double-Masks in his own well-protected post-vaccination situation. 

He has long-since burned the initial goodwill he garnered in 2020.

As I previously warned the Water Rationing Notices have now arrived in Santa Cruz (CA) signaling the onset of the pending drought precipitated by the failed water-capture season. Notifications were here by Mid May. They tell you how much you are allocated and when. 

I see the people on the neighborhood bulletin-board are wondering if rationing will happen. Expect they will get their notices shortly, eventually followed by instructions to not wash that car, water this and so on.

It seems that Anti-White sentiment and Racial Education arebeing pushed everywhere.

Little league in Virginia is requiring coaches to undergo Critical Race Theory (CRT) training. There are woke politics even in children’s sports. Parents are upset about this anti-white prejudice…. surprise!

Tennessee has banned the teaching of CRT in schools, with Gov. Bill Lee citing “we need to make sure that our kids recognize this country is moving towards a more perfect union… how people can live together… and to not teach things that inherently divide or pit either Americans against Americans or people groups against people groups.”

Also, in late May the Texas Senate passed a bill ensuring thatTeachers are not required to teach Critical Race Theory (CRT) in their schools. Specifically, “…teachers may not be “compelled to discuss a particular current event or widely debated and currently controversial issue of public policy or social affairs.” 

There are certainly a LOT of parents around the Country who want to see some type of legislation in place to constrain the teaching of CRT. It has also been appearing, being taught and mandated around the US in Companies, Universities, the Military and numerous State / Federal Government Institutions.

Greg Abbott is getting tougher. After last year’s rioting, looting and implied-peaceful protests, the Texas Gov is stepping up domestic security in the Lone Star State. He is poised to sign a Bill making it a felony to obstruct responding emergency vehicles… it is sad this became necessary.

Arguments continue that some real investigation into the Wuhan lab as the Covid source needs to happen. US Government Intel Committee investigations find substantial circumstantial evidence exists that a Wuhan Lab leak is culprit. This includes concern over Obama-era and continued funding of that (previously reported) poorly run lab and its published work on gainer chimera on the same viruses, etc.

Similarly, there is apparently little circumstantial evidence for the PRC explanation that somehow this virus got loose from an unknown animal and jumped species to humans… at one time this reemerging idea was considered completely debunked.

It seems that as of late May the impish Dr. Fauci is in trouble for being caught lying to Sen Paul’s Intel Committee two months earlier, stating that US Government funding was NOT supplied to the Wuhan lab when indeed it was and still is.

Perhaps the tragic embarrassment and pain of almost 600,000 US deaths (and many millions more ongoing Worldwide) will NOT be buried along with the truth?

And let us hope that the recent MSM amnesia regarding the well-publicized information exhaustively previously reported about the nature of the Coronavirus outbreak by March 2020,comes to an end.

Shame on any Government that permits a travesty of ignorance to occur. Shame on MSM, too.

It is appearing that an Oregon-Like Secession might become a US trend in the 21st Century as five (5) Counties have again confirmed their November vote and desire to leave Oregon State and join a Greater Idaho State. Apparently, Rural Oregonians feel that Idaho better represents and can more optimally addresstheir goals and needs.

Like most Blue (Dem) States, policies and politics are dictated by big-city (here, Portland) desires. These five Counties prefer a future and outlook as Red (Rep) State Idahoans, especially following the year of (peaceful) protests, destruction and rioting that was essentially facilitated by political leaders in their Capitol.

The same feeling of disaffection is prevalent in most all rural Northern CA, too. I personally regularly visit, witness and discuss this blatant, spoken desire for dissociation.

I wonder if the Oregonian secession will succeed. There are seemingly many rural Blue Areas across the country that may want to follow suit and secede in some form… time will tell.

Then there is the issue of personal vaccinations. I took mine, 2 off; unavoidable for International travel.

But I am not talking about myself, rather people’s right to choose, regardless of if it is inconvenient to me, or what are their myriad reasons for not wanting to be vaccinated.

Food for thought…

50% OF CDC EMPLOYEES HAVE REFUSED TO TAKE THE COVID VACCINE… Wow, that is a HIGH percentage of people who are tied to medical doctrines. Why?

However, I DO I think Biden needs to stop threatening citizens and put his OWN house in order before telling the remaining >150 million US citizens they need to be vaccinated, or else.

Pfizer and Moderna et al are already whispering about roughly 9-month (to 12-month) vaccination boosts following a 2nd shot until Covid rates decline. Decline to what? Who knows?

Pharmaceuticals are big biz… for foreseeable future, too.

I suppose there must be more discussion regarding the persistent argument and predilection to on-going MASKING

By Mid-May, there were big CDC moves on freedoms for the FULLY vaccinated: 

No mask.

Can be in ANY Group Size

Indoor and Outdoor 

No Distancing required

No Activity-type restrictions

Constraints are to persist for distancing and masking for the Partially or UNvaccinated.

I only hope the currently restrictive regions are paying attention.  😊

However, it is now assumed Dr. Fauci pushed masks for the Vaccinated as show:

Days after the CDC modified their Edict, he admitted in a Televised interview that experts had known for many weeks that vaccinated people had no need for masking indoors (let alone outdoors).

SEN Rand Paul had heatedly (2 months earlier) accused Fauci of shear theater on this point when he had appeared masked before his Senatorial Intel Committee.

The accusation was leveled that this was done to allow the Biden Administration to keep focus on Covid and away from Jobs Report, The Southern border, Gas Prices, The Middle East Conflict and other unattended crises.

It is now apparent Paul’s much maligned accusation was well-informed… Sen Paul is himself a physician. 

As I write Pelosi still controversially enforces mask wearing in Congress.  Biden has (until very recently) worn a mask continuously, everywhere, including laughably on globally and domestically seen video broadcasts.

Members of Congress are LONG since vaccinated. Indeed, as mentioned earlier both Fauci and Kamala Harris were pushing DOUBLE masking well after they were vaccinated. Willful, known DeflectionControl and Redirection do appear to be the goals, here… Sad.

And with all this, Contrary to the new CDC guidance, effective May 18th Oregon requires anyone entering a business to wear a mask unless they have a Yet-To-Exist PASSPORT that proves they are vaccinated.

Until these exist Business Owners are required to prove / determine mask-less people are vaccinated… is there a penalty for failing to do so? Who knows? Given the likelihood of fraud and forgery (of vaccination credentials) it looks like Oregon is still masked-up Indoors until something emerges or changes to facilitate a different approach. 

During May at NY Mets and Yankees Baseball games vaccinated and UNvaccinated fans had to sit separately. Is this the beginning of separate rules for the UNvaccinated?

Along a similar theme…

Apparently, the major Teachers Unions were lobbying at the CDC to keep schools closed (citing lack of mitigation and risk) right up until the new CDC Guidelines voided the mask mandate, which allow the fully vaccinated to go anywhere for any reason in any size group and not require a mask indoors or out.

It seems the Union’s story and delay were not appreciated in Polling by folks wanting to return to work and have their children receive in-person teaching. 

The Teachers Unions’ additional argument that classroom interactions are not that essential anyway are likely to come back and haunt them too, given social, health and welfare findings that have exploded during the pandemic.

Big teachers Unions have acted unilaterally for their membership without consultation and voting by members. That itself makes them lobbyist-style political activist enterprises (NOT legal Unions, by definition) and every teacher I have heard from or about has long WANTED a return to the classroom.

The CDC has realistically sat on the knowledge that vaccination provides the freedoms noted above since the turn of the year, logically a little later into the vaccine trials yet still likely before full approvals finally showed up… looks like a major con-job persisted for at least >4 months by any reasonable accounting.

Down on the out-of-control Southern border Texas Gov Greg Abbott revealed that Fentanyl illegally pouring into the USthrough the Border is up 800% April 2021 over April 2020.Fentanyl killed over 37,000 Americans in 2019 and drug cartels are now running amok utilizing the open borders… sigh.

Virtually all Fentanyl manufactured in the world is made in China.

China is buying up land on the Southern Texas border… hmmm.

And then there is VP Kamala Harris:

She is Polling badly in the US with 41% finding her a Favorable Presidential Candidate and 48% Unfavorable… One in 5 Dems do not like herIndependents predominantly Dislike her and of course 84% of Republicans have an unfavorable view.

Her Staffers are oddly ALL new (months in service) and past workers say she is lazy, being only open and interested in issues and opportunities relating to Fashion and Decorating.

Her tie to a probable black eye working the Southern Border (now officially acknowledged as a) Crisis will not help her future. She has blatantly avoided all contact with the Physical Border and her overtures to known-corrupt and incorrigible South American Counties and their Presidents will almost inevitably end in nothingness. 

Her well-known (between the sheets) approach to her career will not fade away and yet still her PR handlers are mystified that she Polls poorly… go figure. :-/

It seems Kamala keeps a Blacklist of people who do not support her. The only reporters who do not make the list are ones who give glowing reports…. it is not enough to be neutral… they cannot use phrases or adjectives that portray anything other than strength and competence… tough if you are objectively reporting her accomplishments… a la border crisis, etc.

If your Name is in The Book, you do not “adequately relate to Kamala’s experiences and thinking.” Once on the list your questions are ignored and treated as trivial nuisance… aides and advisors shut you out

Difficult if you are a reporter.

This operates largely the same way as Hillary was found to be running her progenitor version in 2014.

Aging liberal Supreme court Justice Breyer is still refusing to retire and enable Biden to appoint a younger replacement to SCOTUS… thus avoiding a problem such as recently caused to the Liberal interest by deceased Justice Ginsberg.

He is however planning to release a book which had some interesting previews that quoted him saying Justices do in fact overwhelmingly follow non-political approaches in their rulings. However, the perception needs to be improved by exposing greater insight as right now people tend to only believe rulings to be non-political when they deem outcomes to be favorable (in their view).

He also hints that the threatened Dem Court Packing would only further damage Public Opinion regarding the objectivity of the Supreme Court.

An interesting perspective and insight from this Clinton-era appointee.

Space Force Commander was removed for decrying Marxism in the Military.

Ex-fighter pilot (Lt. Col Matthew Lohmeier) and Unit Commander of a group identifying ballistic missile launches was “fired.”

He had written a book damning the Marxism intent to undermine the US military and then participated in a podcast that discussed this, decried indoctrination through Critical Race Theory (CRT) woke philosophies and expressed anti-Marxist sentiments.

Seems he awoke the Woke Element of the military and was fired by mid-May.

Twenty (20) US Governors objected to having illegals from the Southern Boarder Crisis dumped on them without consultation or their permission, so they wrote to Biden saying his border plan and actions are bad and unsustainable. They should not have bothered. As witnessed…

Days later it was reported illegals were being flown overnight into Tennessee.

So, it is happening again.

During the Obama era many 10’s of thousands (124k if I recall correctly) underage illegals were distributed w/o possible traceability all about the US into homes and guardian families.

Multiple similar flights of underage illegals have been made after mid-May into Chattanooga, specifically without Tennessean’s awareness, notification, or permission.

The group of Governors had already petitioned the Administration to prevent this BEFORE the flights occurred.Someone is not listening and/or does not care.

States’ rights and desires are subordinated and / or being ignored altogether.

Back on the Pandemic front, Texas reported ZERO monthly deaths 2 months after Gov. Abbott fully opened the State while Biden had called the action NEANDERTHAL.

Despite the eventual May CDC call to drop the mask mandate some Dem states (HI, CA, OR and WA etc.) plan on keeping the mandate in place till June and perhaps beyond.

I can assure you that masks ON or OFF is in total chaos for both outside and inside activities thru’ May in CA. As a result, everyone is opting for their own solution to satisfy either their local politicians, owners, staff, or customers, accordingly.

There are videos circulating that record January 6th Capitol building events. These are posted and then typically quickly removed. You may have seen these or perhaps some photos of oddly dressed people seemingly being politely shown about the place by apparently obliging and unstressed guards.

The videos show an orderly entry and escort of protesters about the Capitol building. There were (documented records of) announcements (via bullhorns) that entrants would be meeting with Capitol Leaders to discuss the 2020 voting process.

It appears that upon entry the protesters were unaware they were doing anything wrong.

Sometime after this an enforcement team shows up and struggles break out.

What does seem certain from reports is that the staffing to manage the march and expected events was deliberately stood down AHEAD of the day and reinforcement was inexplicably delayed on the day. The MANY reports continue of detainees from the event being subject to excessive (23hrs per day) and outlawed solitary confinement and systematic beatings. There have been over 400 related arrests so far.

These are a few of the reports that can be reasonably verified. The real answer to what occurred remains heavily obscured and actively censored.

There are split intentions and desires for a Formal Inquiry, given the inevitable manipulative political process that will follow and the huge number of detailed investigations already well underway.

I suspect it will be 10’s of years before a true accounting of the events can be believed.

The Police have been getting seriously dissed over the last year. The trend continues. Some criticism is constructive and warranted, some not-so-much…

President Biden issued a last-minute reversal notice during the week in which (recently and all) fallen police officers are recognized: On May 15th Police Officers Memorial Day (POMD) flags across the Nation were NOT to be flown at half-mast. A serious slight.

In NY for the Gay Pride Parade police officers are not to be within one block of the activities UNLESS called for 911 alarms. Organizers planned alternative security arrangements.

The gloves may be coming off for Joe Biden’s image:

NYTimes of all people published a mid-May report that Biden is highly abusive around the workplace. Profane language and rude treatment are the norm for all. Employees are on eggshells and having to repeatedly explain and reexplain things upon which he seems to dwell and be unable to decide.

It may all be facets of advancing dementia, but it is clear even his friends are exposing his behavior on the heels of his inaugural promise of professional and courteous treatment or the risk of being summarily fired from his Administration.

Hypocrisy or Dementia? The coverup appears to be OFF on this affair. I wonder what is being set up.

To add to his woes 120 Retired Generals and Admirals questioned his Mental Health and IF he won the election at all. That is a LOT of Horsepower!

And this on the heels of the on-going news seeded by the confirmed discovery of Hunter Biden’s laptop which is providing proof and reports of…

His trip with Hunter to Beijing in 2013 where Hunter raked in millions.

Joe’s (strongly denied, but provenApril 6th2015, meeting @ Café Milano in Georgetown with connections from Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.

Then Hunters known and yet unaccounted and very irregular 23 trips out of Andrews AFB where Airforce Presidential and Vice-Presidential aircraft (AF1 & AF2) are housed.

How long will the MSM work the obfuscation of these details?

Which leads us to the curiosity of the unanswered 2020 Voting Fraud Affidavits and the questions that result…

Well, Arizona Maricopa County is in receipt of 75 lawyers, litigation and obstructionism to impede the progress of a forensic audit that was ordered and underway despite the patently illegal and willful destruction of records that has ensued.

And this, while Georgia is now allowing sealed ballots to be opened and reviewed.

Also, the well-known, reported and yet unexplained recording behavior of Dominican Voting Machines in New Hampshire is finally getting attention, too. The on-and-off Trump-hating Governor has recently authorized this overdue investigation.

Wisconsin Assembly speaker Alvin Goss is hiring a small team of ex-police investigators, not to determine how Biden narrowly won the State in 2020 but to determine how $6 million in private investor funds was used to help run the election.

Will the >1000 Affidavits chronicling Voting Violations be addressed? Immediately post-election these were ignored or declared to have no legal standing, one after another across theentire (US) Nation.

Maybe the (only, ever) NO VOTING VIOLATIONS Election will get some review… seems too little, too late. BUT there is the domino effect to consider that might be escalated further by the appearance of new voting laws. 

From ONE side the new laws want Government take-over ofElections and on the Other, Voter ID’s and banning of Mail-In ballots (as was done in France since 1975 because of thepropensity for easy fraud) is sought.

Given the Polling saying most voters BELIEVE much fraud occurred in 2020, why wouldn’t there be fair reform WANTED by both sides to secure and settle the matter?  😉

And Bill and Hillary’s Clinton Foundation is still dancing with the legal system.

The Judge ruled in the associated whistleblower case that Feds MUST DISCLOSE if the Foundation was officially investigated… a whistleblower revealed and identified pay-to-play and related fraudulent Foundation operations.

Bad news for Bill and Hillary.

Does ANYBODY believe that the operation WASN’T pay-to-play?

The whole thing was shut down just MONTHS after Hillary’s latest blown 2016 Presidential bid failed to bring the access for which the Foundation was proactively soliciting advancepayments. It seems MANY of those approached were waiting to see the election result BEFORE they ponied up the “fees”…. just in case. It appears they were wise to hold on to their shekels as there was ultimately nothing they could then buy for influence.

Apparently 95% of all Foundation funds taken went in staff /Clinton salaries… a truly spectacularly questionable disbursement of receipts. And then there was that Haitian group still wanting to know where the $4 billion Disaster Fund the Foundation was supposed to distribute into Haiti had gone… they were still demonstrating outside the Clinton HQ asking the SAME question until the very day the Operational HQ wasquickly shuttered up in Harlem.

Next there is Nancy Pelosi who is allegedly deceiving contributors to her campaign:

I wonder if Nancy will be prosecuted or penalized in some form for scamming donors? In Q1CY21 she pulled $4 million in campaign donations after sending out over 50 emails typically promising personal 5x matching on her part.

This means Nancy puts in $50 of personal money for every $10 donated. 

Having a personal net worth around $120 million (albeit much made over decades on the back of numerous questionable priorInsider Trading) this could be all above-board. But as her net contribution was confirmed (by her own team) as zilch, she is well into the area of campaign fraud given the litany of supporting email evidence.

And her last such solicitation went out just in the last week of May. 

Intriguingly Nancy was ratted out by the hard leftwing AXIOS group… ouch!

Will this this transgression go unpunished and unacknowledged, too?

Then along came Bill Gates, escapades, divorce and all.

Rumors and facts tied to the divorce:

Apparently, Melinda waited years to move forward… till their last child moved off to University.

Certainly, the divorce seems acrimonious with issues so far surrounding…

1.  Bill’s Long-term historic ties to Epstein… who was already known back then for what he was up to, apparently. And that contact largely began AFTER Epstein was under 2013 house-arrest; probably not done for financial advice? This looks like someone had dirt on somebody a la Bill Clinton association.

2.  A year 2000 affair with an engineering employee at Microsoft which seems to have driven Bill out to focus on his Foundation… the employee insisted on changes to her job status in a penned letter which Melinda was to READ, too.

The Employee received extensive legal support from Microsoft at the time. Interesting.

3.  There were multiple other tentative employee approaches to women from Bill both at Microsoft and the Gates Foundation. He is known as a nervous and tentative Lothario.

4. Melinda now appears to want the children to receive MOREthan the long-advertised $10 Million / child inheritance. Not such a shared agreement after all?

5.  Bill has long-since had a new girlfriend.

Melinda waited patiently for the opportunity to move on her multi-billion payout. Bill’s supposedly worth $130B (by some reports) as I write.

Years ago (when Bill had $80B) he (and wifey) announced they were giving away $40B thru’ the Foundation. And then eventually ALL the remaining money was to follow, with aninheritance of just $6M (currently now $10M) going to each child.  Literally a couple of years later he had $80B, again. That was odd… I wonder WHOSE money was given away, since it did not appear to come from his pocket. And now with $130B in-hand the squabbles and grabs come to the fore.

Plenty of hypocrisy, bad behavior and malice floating around with this pair of wannabe divorcees and World-influencing hard-left-leaners.

With the wealth of serious issues amassed within Biden’s first 100 days, the poor showing of Psaki as Press Secretary and Bidens continuous personal gaffes and physical stumblings, the OPTICS of this new era are not good.

Hard to know what is going on with Psaki… never seems prepared and often must duck questions by “circling back around” or ignoring the obvious specifics asked.

Seems she will have baled-out for personal (young family absences from her children) before 2022. This was announced just 2 months into the new Administration.

Press secretaries in the last few Administrations have been “on their game” and obviously clued into discussions… Psaki does NOT demonstrate adequate insight, inclusion and proactivity. She is either sub-standard by skill set, the design of others or her involvement is in disorder; it is hard to know for certain what are root causes.

As for the first +100 Days of the new Administration, much has been chaotic…

1.   Immigration crisis at Southern border

–  flagged and aggressively being addressed in Texas and other border States

–  172k (Illegals) inflowed in March and 178k in April with reportedly >>20k children in custody 

–  Numerous States are declining to take the Illegals.

2. Gas shortages in the Eastern US

–  >1,000 gas stations closed with no gas available to sell

–  following one pipeline ransom hack at least 3 other major pipelines are recorded as being attacked for closure by Government a la Keystone treatment.

–  US has lost “status as world’s largest net exporter.

3.  Gas prices exploded many weeks BEFORE pipeline hack and Californians locally see +$4.50 /gallon pricing with <$4.00 becoming uncommon.

4.  Inflation… always fudged to appear to be 3.5% is now reported using Clinton era (copied from UK) chicanery to be 4.25%. Probably an optimistic view of where things actually are and are headed.

5.  Jobs Report of 266k fell well short of the >1M monthly expectation for April. 

–  The markets did NOT like that short-fall, neither did investors who reacted predictably driving stocks downwards across the board; there is some recovery here as I write.

6.  Middle East has gone from new US agreements to flared warfare in Gaza.

–  what should be seen as anti-Semitic sentiment and attitudes are visible at all levels of US Government with personal attacks on Jews occurring in streets across the US (and elsewhere).

–  seems to be accepted that the funds the US already has and plans to ship into Iran are a fundamental part of the problem along with the acknowledged and accepted Iranian funding of Hammas (missile) attacks into Israel.

–  previously, Obama denied funding Iranian aid- only to be proven dishonest.

7.  Coronavirus recommendations vary wildly and daily.

–  from Biden Tweeting threats to the uninoculated one day to pandemic flares being declared the next. 

– The recent so-called “Neanderthal” Texas opening became a major victory, re: pandemic death-count.

Confusion abounds. 

8.  Saberrattling spreads Globally with NATO (inc. US) holding major War Games in Estonia next to Russia and Philippine / NATO naval patrol ramp-ups in South China seasdesigned to threaten China.

Even with convenient under-reporting of embarrassing realities the new Administration seems to be invisibly orchestrating a Horror Show. The Daily News is now to be feared. What can possibly go wrong, next?

Most disturbingly, with all the saber-rattling there is something to remember that has been demonstrated throughout history… People do not dress up to play and threaten war without things frequently deteriorating into actual warfare. Sadly, wars are good for business, too.

The Colonial Pipeline was attacked by Ransomware Group DARKSIDE…

They have since ceased operations after their servers and tools were reportedly “seized by a Government group.”

Apparently shocked that their routine actions of grabbing and encrypting critical data and information from target (victim) Companies and then ransoming them for monies which they then distribute to causes they select (including their own accounts) drew such attention, they announced mid-May that they would close their doors.

Not sure if they will be back. I am surprised that they were shocked at the reaction they got when Colonial was shut-down which in turn precipitated a huge number of Gas Stations to close on the East coast (thru’ resulting gas shortages). 

The Company also announced they have made available description tools and products to “set free” other companies they currently had under similar threat. Clearly someone scared the heck out of them.

Nevertheless, Colonial DID pay Darkside the $4.4 Million ransom.

This will NOT do much to help the cause of preventing such future attacks. Au contraire.

Looks like a great entrepreneurial business for hackers. 

Got caught and simply closed shop. BUT they kept the money and will likely set up again elsewhere with impunity and simply reengage their business model.

Honestly, their punishment does NOT seem enough. Perhaps they have now in turn been persuaded to “help the enforcers” to get themselves out of trouble? Who knows?

Continuing the Pipeline theme, the Administration is FACILITATING a Pipeline build-out favoring Putin and Germany

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline is being FACILITATED by the Biden Administration.

This line is run by a CEO who is a friend of Putin and it allows shipment of oil by Russia though Germany, skirting the Ukraine.

The blatant consequential control into Germany and Europe is clear, yet oddly the Germans (Merkel) and Germany WANTS the line for good old supposedly commercial reasons. This is really a very odd outcome, given the Biden stance with the US Keystone Pipeline cancelation and a supposed and apparent all-out war on oil (and purportedly, Putin). Surely the Administration must want to obstruct and cancel Nord Stream (?), but they have done the exact opposite.

So, what was the real agenda on Keystone that immediately lost 11,000 US jobs and many, many tens of thousands of infrastructural jobs more though 2022? Was it honestly a Global Warming Issue?

And what is the real agenda facilitating Putin’s increased control that extends within Germany and Europe, too?

If you just observe actions (not words) there are irreconcilable and conflicting actions in play here… this does not appear to be the work of honest men (and women).

I think it was Sen. Ted Cruz who Tweeted about events this way:

American Pipeline, bad

American Jobs, bad

Russian Pipeline, good

Russian Jobs, good

On the domestic JUDICIAL front, a disturbing fact has emerged…

One of the jurors from the Derek Chauvin trial (a Brandon Mitchell) concealed that he is a BLM Activist to give the impression he is impartial. He now encourages others to do the same to “spark some real change.”

Chauvin is a bad actor. But it is sad that Values and Integrityare violated this way. And then there are others who prematurely, ill-advisedly and /or publicly spoke out.  Such actions usually do not ultimately turn out well… there are consequencesswings of the pendulum and an Appeals Processto deal with, too.

Along with other Domestic Trauma we are now faced with the question as to whether something as basic as the US census has been rigged.

Early reporting of data to Congress in December 2020 showed bigger gains (regarding changes for representation) for Red States than Blue States. The report went to the current WH and the opposite becomes true.

Republican Lawmakers have called into question the Census results and officially asked if President Joe Biden’s WH rigged the count to steal seats from Republicans in Congress for the upcoming midterm election. Should Biden have done what over a dozen Republican Lawmakers are now investigating it would be the scandal of the Century. Conservative Lawmakers want to know what changed.

As Joe Stalin once said, “I don’t care who votes, I care who COUNTS the votes.”

The US Public already does not trust Voting Integrity and Polls show broad-based support wanting Voter ID controls. But now it seems there are similar issues extending even into the basic process of the Census… has EVERYTHING experiencing the Government touch become questionable? Sigh.

Continuing with a theme of Gross Mismanagement, there is the $31 Billion False Claims issue in California

Yes, $31 BILLION, not million. But in their defense, they (CA) DO have a large budget to work with. ☹

It seems this amount was lost over the last Fiscal year in false Welfare and Unemployment Claims. Everyone got in on the act, some even posting videos bragging of their exploits on YouTube.

Bad Claimants included:

Gang Members

Drug Dealers

Hackers

Illegal Immigrants (Undocumented Citizens)

Current Prison Inmates

State Employees, and

Non-Californian Residents

Nobody is being punished for this gross mismanagement of funds.

Indeed, the responsible, Stanford-educated Julie Su (CA Labor Secretary) was not fired and was nominated by Biden in February for the Cabinet Role of Deputy Secretary of Labor.

Congratulations, Julie!   😉

And the State-Level embarrassments and illegalities continue, but next in MICHIGAN

It seems Charlie Macduff’s (No BS Hour TV show) reporting has uncovered that Michigan’s Health Services reporting body has UNDERREPORTED nursing home deaths by as much as 100%.

The imperious Michigan Gov Whitmer has several times been caught (actively lying about) travelling and carousing while inflicting some of the most severe US lock-down restrictions on her citizens.

Apparently, the ACTUAL Nursing Home fatalities numbers did not fit her narrative of the Covid risk-levels being to younger people (and so warranting on-and-off lockdowns), so they were actively misrepresented. This is illegal.

Again, will this self-promotion hound be pursued on this matter? Those losing loved ones have a habit of resenting and pursuing recourse for such machinations, just as the beleaguered (but as-yet still unpenalized) Gov. Cuomo of NY will attest.

Speaking of Andrew Cuomo

He is still around despite 10 accusers coming forward and 2 of these so far warranting investigations by NY DA Letitia James, an apparently non-supportive, but hard left colleague of Cuomo’s.

His CNN-Host brother Chris has journalistically stepped WELL out of line strongly recommending to old Andy Staffer’s that he (Andrew) aggressively fight the sexual harassment allegations; all this while he (Chris) was inappropriately participating inbrainstorming conference calls.

One of the original accusers (Karen Hinton) penned an NY Daily News OP Ed describing Cuomo’s longstanding pattern of harassment, bullying, manipulation and abuse which she referred to as “Penis Politics” he practiced during his stint as Secretary of HUD when she served as his Press Secretary.

And of course, the Gov. has still not yet been held to account for his illegal and self-serving doctoring of Nursing Home Covid deaths in support of his political career and furtherance of his book deals.

The book deal about his Covid Response Mastery makes him $5 Million… it is tied to advances and subsequent contractual commitment, NOT the actual sales following the scandal (regarding Covid Nursing Home death rates information suppression) breaking.

Looks like the publishers did not know what they were getting into when they signed this one.

NY experienced the greatest number of deaths and death RATE in the US. Not something to be making money from, one would think and hope. ☹

To close this accounting, I should recognize that The OSCARSpopularity has continued to crater

After a 2020 record low of 23M viewers the April 2021 show dropped to 9.8 M!

They say there were lots of movies missing, but the backlash on activism and virtue signaling has been so profound from inside Hollywood, across multiple sports and socially, I would not rule that out as a major cause.

So, people were indoors, somewhat unoccupied and NOT watching the Oscars…. ouch.  

That is a wrap on my record of the last 4-5 weeks news. My therapy is complete.   😊

I hope that you are not struggling with these traumatic times of both Pandemic and Daily News.

Are you?

Do you have an outlet? Is there relief and a means of escape on-hand?

I hope so. If not, try and find your OWN way to decompress in these difficult times and stay healthy

Ian R. Mackintosh is the author of Empower Your Inner Manager Twitter@ianrmackintosh.

Moving Into My Second Year Of Pandemic Times

It is hard to believe such significant events keep rolling in. Not just the overwhelming COVID News but escalating, prominent social woes and political occurrences across the US and world.

Again, the following chronicle (Blog) only addresses issues occurring during the recent five weeks. Alarmingly, it by no means covers everything seen; not all major items make it to this posting which within itself is troubling.

The chaos of the Pandemic has fed Social Issues in a cyclic, chicken-and-egg fashion. Today we do not simply collectively seek to flatten COVID the curve, but rather are forced to witness the fanning of flames. Times are truly turbulent.

In my last Blog I opined that at least we had not started another war, yet developments across the world suggest we may be on such a path with beginnings of military ramp-ups and the rapidly increasing warning signs mentioned below.

So, let me again first begin with a few positives to lighten the load as we launch a review of and path into, 2QCY21…

I managed a few fly-fishing drift trips down the Lower Sacramento River before these higher reaches North of Redding (CA) were closed for larger rainbow trout to begin their spawning. The fish were big, strong and plentiful with spectacular bright reddish lateral stipes, dark backs and all caught on light (5wt.) tackle.  Catches typically required 5-20minute battles to get the fish to the boat, grab occasional photographs and release them back.

Over a dozen fish in a day leaves the forearm strained, bulging from the fight with facial muscles and cheeks tired from smiles and laughter.

Stops on the riverbank for rests from rowing and lunch led us to some river island shores strangely infested with new hatches of Brown Recluse Spiders, an unusual, dangerous and unexpected find.

Other banks took us to loosely guarded Canada Goose nests and their egg clutches. Upon our arrival the nesters waddled away, honking to mates, returning shortly when believing we would not intrude closely. One even moved ever closer, following crumbs I set down and eventually fed from my hand. They must have experienced few threats or encounters with other humans.

I also enjoyed a few days up in the mountains of Shasta County fly-fishing the lower McCloud, immediately below the dam outlet. The waters looked some 15’ low up in the reservoir, but the frigid water released at regulated levels below sustains the fishing. Fish were fewer than previous years but much larger. Perhaps this was in some way a function of the lack of fishing that occurred in 2020 because of Covid lockdowns and travel restrictions?

It seemed there were many physical barriers on trails, newly in place or enhanced that impeded or deliberately obscured access. Fishing is legal but the litany of changes implied it was unwanted. Times change, simple freedoms always grow fewer.

This particular trip featured more scrambling down banks and crossing of towering (+30-40’) shear rock faces than previously. The usual hot spots were less fishy, flows seemed to have changed enough to necessitate deeper canyon exploration and riskier clambering into deserted areas visited by very few.

It was fortunately all worthwhile. Enough Rainbows cooperated. I was once visited for ½ hour by an inquisitive river otter that entered my fishing spot, raised up in turbulent water for a full minute and stared at me from under what oddly seemed like large, furrowed eyebrows, wondering who I was and what I was doing in his private world. He slipped away into the deep pool and never reappeared.

Most weekends have been spent sailing on the San Francisco Bay with and without guests. Some trips are blessed with warm early Spring sunshine, but most these days are teased with low, chilled mists driving through the Golden Gate entry and flooding the broad (so-called) slot that runs East over Alcatraz Island. That cold air forces warm to rise, bringing bigger winds; then we see 20-25Knot (~23-28mph) blows causing the few Covid-era sailing vessels to reef sail, or heel >30 deg and sometimes much more.

These runs provide good outings; chilly, bracing and eventful until we return below the Bay Bridge into mostly lighter winds.  Sparse clouds and warming sunshine usually accompany us on the return as we drop sails moving through the shipping channel, leave Jack London Square to port on the Oakland side, then glide to our Alameda dock and home slip.

Other than daily bike rides in improving and mild Santa Cruz weather there are few more pleasantries of substance for me to report. And so, let us dive into many of the notable events strewn across the last 5 weeks…

To begin, a review of World Media outlets finds that most countries promote mixes of good and bad news reports in their output but uniquely the US MSM (Mainstream Media) promotes almost 90% Bad News. Ouch. I believe there IS good News, so why do I see so little, even when I go hunting?

I think I know why. Most folks who watch other than just CNN know that outlet is often prone to Fake News. They have been proven time and again to play with the truth and known facts.

Just recently yet another undercover sting by Project Veritas (PV, founded by James O’Keefe) caught CNN’s Director Charlie Chester on video in a recording bragging about the Company’s accomplishments in this area. You should Google and get your own report on what follows if you find this incredible. It is alarming stuff and yet in the irrefutable words of the CNN protagonist himself.

This sting laid bare that Chester went to CNN “to get Trump out… and we did that … I am 100% believe that would not have happened without CNN.” He spoke further of creating propaganda such as whipping up the narrative that Trump had neurological damage and was losing it, even bringing in dissociated experts to insert an element of reality. They also ran with the known bogus story as fact about Russia paying bounties for American military dead in Afghanistan.

Chester claimed that they wanted to push the story about attacks on Asians but complained that incidents were being inconveniently committed by black perpetrators, so they had to be ignored and overlooked. Similarly, they were able to and do push COVID Death Counts “as that really alarms people.” Correspondingly they actively suppress all negative news damaging to BLM.

Charlie also explained that when the work of driving the COVID Fears Opportunity wanes, they will next ramp up the Climate Change dialog.

Further, Chester bagged of manipulating information to get the desired result. He obviously sees this like Plato’s Noble Lie; anything goes to get the desired result. Apparently using Insinuation, Implication and Innuendo is fair game. The sting video (Chester in his own words) goes on and on. Check it out for yourself. And Charlie is supposedly a NEWSman?

More troublingly, PV Founder O’Keefe has been banned (with suspicious and dubious) claims from using Twitter to promote the sting video. It does appear that Twitter and CNN have colluded to get this avenue of exposure about the latter’s dubious practices shut off. Mr. O’Keefe has a large lawsuit underway in response to Twitter’s action.

It is hard not to believe in Fake News and difficult to deny a common agenda within major MSM outlets.

Next of course in the Southern Border Crisis. Even Biden has finally referred to it as such. The number of illegals CAUGHT totaled 171,000 in March alone and there are 19,000 unaccompanied children with COVID infection rates running over 10%. The Day1 Executive Order (EO) issued by Biden had an immediate and devastating impact.

Normally such devastation is visited by the President and senior leaders out of concern and respect. Nobody in this Administration wants to be caught in a picture anywhere near the scenes that have been photographed in the overextended border facilities… bad optics, don’t you know? It would be image and career suicide.

Biden appointed VP Harris weeks ago to manage the border crisis and she immediately went missing, even getting her picture as MIA on Milk Cartons. She has repeatedly and subsequently been positioning herself as the person who will work the big picture politics with Central American leaders, thus avoiding other than possible visits to border facilities. It appears from her single recent open video conference with NGO’s and Think Tanks she is due to visit Mexico, then Guatemala in coming week(s), COVID restrictions permitting.

Per WH sources there are NO political agreements or plans underway or under consideration (with Central American Countries), as I write. Such actions and agreements can often take years to bear fruit.

The President of Guatemala recently joined the President of Mexico on an MSNBC interview in blaming President Biden’s Day1 immigration acts for the Border crisis. The President of El Salvador (Mr. Nyib Bukele) is refusing to meet with Biden, Harris or their representatives. He says the Open Border Policy is disastrous for his people, with the best educated trying to leave for the US to send money home, while causing drug Cartels to expand into the void. He does not want to be an exporter of people and feels deliberate importation of people is bad for the US, too. Bukele is well-liked and respected for his efforts and results in his homeland.

Texas Governor Abbott is demanding action and review of rampant Sexual Assault allegations in overrun Biden immigration facilities following his (Abbotts) extensive previous deployment of resources to fight on-going immigration, human trafficking, crime and cartel expansion in the region because of this crisis. There are reports of girls as young as 11years arriving pregnant at the border and almost commonplace stories of rape involving unaccompanied females from all age groups.

Within the Administration itself there are reports of infighting to speed Housing to be made available for this completely unstemmed flow of people.

Sources claim that operating personnel at Border Facilities spend up to 40% of their time simply caring for families and minors.

DHS, NASA and other Federal Agency email Inboxes are reportedly flooded with Administration requests for volunteers to take 4 months paid leave absences to work at overrun Government Southern Border Facilities and care for Migrant children.

What can one say? Per the Obama Administration mantra, it was said never let a good crisis go to waste. Unfortunately, this one is self-inflicted and recent polling has this emergency disfavoring the Administration’s role, response and it is quickly becoming the Nation’s number one concern.

Now back to the more mundane, yet of greater direct impact on most citizens. The Day1 actions by EO that lost >10,000 pipeline jobs immediately in the US, and >>1M more for Americans in infrastructure by 2022 has quickly arrived at the gas pump. Oil is still being produced in the same quantities around the world but on the West Coast the price has spiraled so that $4.20/ US Gallon can routinely be found in Gas Stations. Ouch. Voters do not like these prices and self-inflicted wounds are usually unwise.

Do you know what Quantitative Easing (QE) means? Probably not, certainly you should. It is generally referred to in somewhat abstract terms and that is not helpful. So let us peel this onion…

QE (or, Easing) affects your Standard of Living, Prices you see in the stores, your Savings and Investments. Most simply it is a mechanism used by governments to buoy up struggling economies. Its is in-play NOW in the US. It matters. It matters a LOT.

QE is when a Central Bank (Like the Feds) buys financial instruments from Commercial Banks and Financial Institutions. They invest in these companies and bring them financial relief by buying their goods. Simple enough, this brings them monetary relief but causes their yields to be lowered even while injecting money into the financial chain.

Generally, this enables Stocks, Bonds, Funds etc. to flourish. The Markets looks great; this seems awfully familiar. If you have Investments and Retirement Funds things can look surprisingly good. The more you hold, the better things appear.

But under Easing, Staples (Corn, Wheat, Eggs etc.) are OFTEN seen to rise in price, often >10% in WEEKS, not Months or years. There are frequently rapid and significant price increases experienced on staples and consumer goods even when the QE is limited in magnitude.

Easing was originally seen as a Third World Financial Instrument until it was finally used to salvage the Japanese financial crisis in 2001. It was then employed in very carefully capped amounts in 2008 and again in 2010 in the US while Obama was President. LIMITS on the practice have now been scrapped and QE can proceed “as needed.”

Here is the problem. If you have noticed there seem to be price increases going on, you are probably not mistaken. Economists do NOT know, nor can they reliably predict the repercussions of Quantitative Easing.

Problems start when prices keep rising and people find essentials less and less affordable. The Government reports of Inflation (faked a la UK practices with a basket of chosen and changing grocery items) are not representative of what you buy. If you HAVE investments, you notice these increases less, perhaps hardly at all. If you have no such investments, you are at increasing risk.

Easing has the effect of widening the gap between HAVES and HAVE NOTS. Price increases drive away the Middle Class. The swelling of the Lower Income bracket fuels social unrest and conflict. Folks just cannot afford what they once could; expectations and opportunity are crushed. Here lies the liability of collapse.

If this mechanism has such an effect, it drives those most harmed towards Government dependency. They become vassals of Government. Hopefully, obedient wards or things can go seriously awry.

Keeping track of the affordability of your lifestyle is important. When you hear the term QE, it is worth listening to what is going on. It will affect you to a much greater or hopefully lesser extent.

And next comes the DOUGHT. Western States are preparing for historic lows in man-made capture and are already predicting water shortages. The reservoir water-levels I have seen recently in Shasta, near McCloud and more locally at Lexington (all in CA) are universally extremely low. There is reportedly just not enough snow falling in the West and so now here comes the drought with probable rationing rules, to boot… sigh.

MLB decided to move their All-Star Game and Draft activities out of Georgia to appease the Woke Squad objecting to newly enacted local voting Laws. MSM and several major politicians (including the President) falsely and aggressively misrepresented the new laws (particularly Voter ID and Voting Hours) to punish the State and demotivate others to follow their lead. The untruths were blatant and ultimately acknowledged as such by many in the media.

But there were consequences to the move. Georgia lost about $100Million from the pull-out in revenues for predominantly small, black-owned businesses. The MLB Favorability Ratings with (Republican) fans have immediately cratered from a 47 to 12 over a couple of weeks; this is much the experience of the highly politicized NBA which collapsed in its’ turn mirroring the fall of NFL viewership.

In reaction, half-a-dozen Senators (R) are now moving to strip the MLB of their anti-trust exclusion as a monopoly, which has buoyed them up in tough times and allowed stadiums to be built with tax exemption monies. In the past even Bernie Sanders supported this move, let us see what he does this time around.  😊

The penalty for supporting the Woke Mob can be high. MLB is now sitting in Colorado for their All-Star Game; ironically, also a place where voter ID is required. Comically, MLB themselves already requires photo ID to pick up tickets at their Will Call offices.

In a related situation an early April Poll among Black voters shows that 73% believe Voter ID is required to have fair elections. Makes it tough to keep selling Voter ID as a racist symbol from the Jim Crow era.

The latest new Infrastructure bill has been variously described as costing >$2Trillion to as much as $2.7Trillion, by some expert economists. A variation of just $0.5 Trillion has a cost difference of over $3,500 to the typical taxpayer. Ouch.

A new Harvard-Harris Poll shows 80% of Americans are concerned about wasteful spending in this Bill. Folks do not like that only ~5% of the “Infrastructure” Bill is targeted at traditional (roads and bridges) issues and they do not want to be paying increased prices because of the Bill.

Further, some 98% of CEO respondents to their own Poll say that the proposed Corporate Tax increases (to 28%, the largest in the World) needed to support the Bill “would have serious adverse effects on businesses.” No kidding. This cause-and-effect relationship has been well known for 50+ years, Globally. Why would anyone even propose such a plan?

After the first 87 days of the new Presidency a new Gallup Poll shows partisan division has reached an all-time high despite a declared desire and promise to UNIFY the Country. While 96% of Democrats see Biden as a good leader only 10% of Republicans agree. This 86% gap is the largest seen for all Presidents going back to Bush, over 20 years ago. The gaps are at historic highs for respondents by all categories of Education, Sex and Age.

Division rules the day in these times. I suspect this is often both intended and desired.

As I write there has been a halt put on the availability of the single-shot J&J (Johnson & Johnson) vaccines by the CDC and FDA and it will be into May before there can be enough data to proceed. This was caused by findings of rare and serious blood-clotting cases in six women.

The practical set-back is more serious than might be guessed (given broad availability of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines) as the single-shot solution speeds the process and was already scheduled for roll-out in many regions where temporary and pop-up locations are planned. The loss of planned capacity puts a crimp in plans, though general vaccination availability for those over sixteen years of age has still since been announced.

Following the Invasion of the Capitol building on January 6th several troubling issues have come to light. Firstly, ample warnings of upcoming the events were actively ignored. I doubt there will be accountability on this front.

Next is the issue of those held as a consequence of their actions. The appointed prosecutor is aggressively trying to wrap maximum sentences and charges (such as Sedition) around all those who entered the Capitol uninvited. It is evident from videos that some invaded with malice aforethought, but many more were likely naive intruders. As I write some 420 persons have been arrested so far.

Troublingly many stories are circulating about the treatment of some internees. Rumors of solitary confinements are reported where individuals are isolated 23 hrs. per day. This is an accepted and established human rights violation. And similarly, if the reported beatings are being administered to those confined, we have indeed crossed into very dark territory.

I have no fondness for those who have transgressed, but if any such frequently repeated stories are true, we are witnessing serious, Government-permitted rights violations. No wonder the recent Trade talks with China resulted in US negotiators being mocked for their own glass houses.

Finally, the autopsy of the Capitol Police Officer has been released and shows that he died of natural causes from multiple strokes many hours after the Capitol events. There were NO SIGNS of bodily trauma so prosecuting anyone for his killing will be difficult to impossible. All this is not what was aggressively promoted in the media.

The death of Mr. Sicknick is no less tragic and painful to his surviving family but apparently the only people who died and were killed at the ill-advised event were Trump supporters, many of whom remain imprisoned.

Turbulent times and events such as these remind me when Ronald Reagan warned, “freedom is never more than one generation from extinction.”

Reflecting towards the Pandemic… the CDC has announced that wiping down surfaces removes less than a 1-in-10,000 chance of Covid infection. Boy, has that science changed its tune.

And the latest report published in the US informs that the COVID mutation discovered in the UK is NOT more deadly (initially believed to be 30% more so) and sufferers have no worse symptoms than those experienced with the original viral form. It is, however, more contagious as reported.

Recent Polling found that fully one third of Republicans Polled believe that people with COVID, but NOT exhibiting symptoms, could not transmit the disease. Unbelievable.

Correspondingly, a recent Gallup Poll of Democrats asked what are the chances that someone with COVID will require hospitalization? The ACTUAL number runs 1-5%. But it seems 41% thought that likelihood would be over 50% and another 28% believed the risk to be 20-49%. So ~70% of these Democrats are wildly off in their understanding and they similarly also greatly exaggerated the COVID Mortality Rate among children. No wonder BLUE States and Cities are in Lockdown, often with Schools partly or fully closed.

It is said, “We are what we read.” But what are people reading, seeing and hearing that has them so out of whack with reality? Similarly, what swill are they being fed?

The latest Gun Control and Second Amendment attack is underway. Realistically it will be almost impossible to enforce. People hold dearly their right to defend themselves against oppressive Government.

Totalitarian regimes like to disarm those they intend, need and want to destroy. The Nazis did not disarm all Germans, mostly the Jews. Similarly, they leaned hard into the Austrians during their early takeover and annexation.

Laws tend to be enforced against those we need to dominate or harm and NOT enforced upon those we consider friendly to our cause. Hence the US has selective enforcement of many kinds laws that are officially on the books; most Nations are the same in this regard.

On the World sports front THE major move in Soccer (and the Global Sports Market) to form a European Super League was thwarted. FIFA threats to outlaw players from International Teams, Premiership and Champions Leagues’ interests, on-going viability of individual European Domestic leagues and oh yes, fan blow-back really left this as a non-starter.

Looks like the half dozen (Man City, Man United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham) tentative and failed Premiership defections are being placated with a tweak to the English Premiership configuration. Its all about money, control, leverage and fear of exclusion. Sorry, the fans are really NOT the issue, folks.

The results came in on the Derek Chauvin trial for the murder of George Floyd. Guilty on all (3) counts as expected after the year-long pressures and political influence (inc. a $27 Million settlement by the City with the family ahead of the trial). I did not follow events in detail, but the outcome seemed inevitable and appears appropriate.

Now what remains is sentencing (concurrent or consecutive jail time?) and the inevitable appeals that can leverage all implied and actual threats made to participants and those many ill-advised, prejudicial actions and foolish public statements made before a verdict was reached.

The immediate rioting and protests planned to follow an unfavorable (“innocent,” in this case) verdict was somewhat abated and sporting event cancellations (i.e., NBA games) did not happen.

FBI Director Christopher Wray recently declined to provide information to the House Intelligence Committee on how Antifa receives its funding. He confirmed Antifa is real, organized, has nodes across the US, trains in different ways but has no overarching structure. The FBI is still following how money moves from where and he declined to comment on it at this point.

This much breaks the idea that Antifa is a “Myth” and an “Idea” as promoted by himself (Wray) and Biden in 2020 during his Presidential campaign.

A YouGov Survey reported by Breibart News has Washington DC rated the worst place to live in the US. When you consider the Southern Border Human Trafficking, Drug Cartel activity and illegal immigration explosion, major rioting in many cities (like Portland, Minneapolis, Seattle) and explosion of crime in numerous other Cities (like Chicago, LA and many more), this is a truly serious damnation of DC.

And ironically, for purely political long-term voting advantage we want to make this same Washington DC a State? Congress is already drafting the paperwork. Let me count my tears.  ☹

Florida Gov. DeSantis will sign into Law H.B.1. which is an anti-rioter Bill that enhances sentences for criminals attacking Law Enforcement, Laying Siege to Public Property or Damaging Monuments. After a year of rioting and looting across the Nation the first States are only now beginning to fight back and protect Citizens and Property.

Further to this action, DeSantis is suing the CDC and Feds over the continuing cruise ship industry lockdown. With the industry closed and idle for a year, vaccines widely available and Florida itself OPEN and fairing the Pandemic especially well, he is suing with the claim that Florida’s rights are being trampled. Closure denies the State access to $Billions in business when there is no longer reason to do so.

It will be interesting to see how Florida’s case fares.

In France, the notable, top Economist Jacques Shapir has announced that Third World Immigration to the Country (and Europe in general) is NOT driving growth in Western Economies as promised. In fact, Chain Migration (one immigrant brings in more family members) is driving the French Economy more negative and further into the red… accurately accounted, costing on the order of 0.8% /year of the GDP.

This is a lesson to Western Europe and all those flooding their Countries with Third World Immigrants.

It seems the US has more money to spend than you might think. Monies are already being set aside by several (NY, CA etc.) States to pay illegal immigrants residing in the US during the COVID impact and now plans are evolving to pay people in Central American Countries to NOT come to the US.

Only in America… money for everyone is available? Really?

Plans have been announced to pay monthly stipends to poorer families in Marin (CA) and Oakland (CA) has similar funds available (a la Universal Basic Income). Sounds useful for those in need but there are stipulations… you must be minority, female and NOT white to apply.

Looks like anyone can get cancelled. Chicago is renaming Thomas Jefferson and Daniel Webster Middle Schools to help purge these slave-owners from local visibility. Moves were made to rename these after hometown Barack and wife Michelle, but this was voted down by the Latino community who will not allow the “Deporter In Chief” this honor.

Obama strangely deported more people than any president in history and those were predominantly Latino removals. This seems incongruous with his Globalist, Open Borders policies. Would anyone care to guess why he did this? There seem to be few logical explanations that are not very unflattering to him; I would be glad to hear the opinions of others on this subject.

Some 2020 election results are still receiving scrutiny in their own districts and States. The seemingly cowardly US Supreme Court will not hear any appeals and claims on this subject, but in Wisconsin half-a-dozen types of fraud are already identified… one County even having more people voting than eligible voters.

Green Bay residents are suing the State for allowing Dem operatives illegal internet access to the election counting process to purportedly commit massive Voter Fraud and an army of Hillary’s Lawyers (led by her lead fixer) headed to AZ to shut down the planned extensive detailed review of Maricopa County voting that is going ahead.

I wonder if results from any of these enquiries and actions (there are many more) will ever see the light of day? Little has so far, even though the election is long-passed and >1,000 affidavits registering Voter Fraud were filed at 2020 election time.

A recent Poll found that >70% of US Voters no longer trust voting integrity. Surprise!   😉

Womens sports have taken a major hit. The NCAA has doubled down on its insistence that biological males MUST be allowed to compete in Womens events. Already about 28 States have or will soon come out in favor of NOT allowing this competition.

However, the Olympic Committee has previously taken a stand (effective Rio, 2016) and insisted Transgenders can compete in Women’s Sports in their events, though no openly (transgender) individuals have yet done so.

Major records have and will continue to fall to biological males, much to the detriment of female participants. Similarly, Scholarships, Funding and Participation will continue to be affected.

In a related theme PC verbiage is moving on…

The term Sex Change eventually became Hate Speech, then Gender Reassignment went the same way. So now it is Gender Confirmation Surgery. Stay tuned.

Continuing along: The UK Government is instituting a hold on Gender Confirmation Surgery for individuals under the age of 19 years. It seems that earlier surgeries for those not feeling they belong in their biological bodies are often finding the SAME feelings persist with their post-surgery bodies and consequently too many are then requesting reversals.

What looked like an approximately 12’ high rainbow-colored reclining version of the US’ Liberty Statue found disfavor in Budapest, Hungary. It only lasted 24hrs before being pulled down. It was apparently not wanted, locally.

After Joe Biden publicly called Putin a killer the Russians immediately moved a further 28,000 soldiers to the Ukrainian border. This act smacks of Khrushchev decades ago pounding his shoe on the podium at the UN and shouting we will crush you.

The Administration tossed ten Russian diplomats, imposed sanctions, complained of the SolarWinds hack involvement in the US, 2020 election meddling and railed about protecting the health of Putin’s poisoned political rival now jailed in Russia. Biden added to this with an unusual EO declaring a National Emergency relative to Russian actions.

A pair of US long-range missile launchers were then run up near the Baltic Sea, launched a couple of trial rockets and shot back overnight to their base in Germany.

Russia responded in kind with similar (diplomatic) actions. Life moves on and hopefully nothing has been done which will cause the previous Russian take-back of the willing Crimea from the Ukraine to spiral further into additional confrontation. Sigh.

I now have this image in my mind of two feeble old men waving sticks and shouting at each other over a shared backyard fence in the hope of impressing, someone (?). This is just sad.

But, if you are compromised as The Big Guy in your dealings with China, you need to deflect elsewhere.

And further East, China has been routinely buzzing and harrying Taiwan. Little comment so far in defense of this US ally. This is scary stuff, especially following on the heels of the emphatic Chinese clampdowns in Hong Kong and the ongoing (CCP) expansion and intimidation across the South Seas.

Biden has committed a few more troops into Germany (500 so far) to placate the local politicians, imply on-going European support and provide revenues from stationed forces to local communities.

After pushing back the Afghanistan withdrawal to 9/11 (a troubling choice of date) it looks like the Administration might be having second thoughts about getting out. The current Afghani President is weak and his coalition seems unsustainable. So, what to do?

It appears as if Afghanistan has the potential to be SYRIA II with Russia, China, Iran and new terrorism organizations likely to jump into the void. After 20 years of US involvement, I am NOT optimistic about how this will play out, regardless of what comes next.

And then there is Iran.

Well, Obama’s plan did not work and Trumps sanctions, existing deal walkout and tightening of relations with the Saudis and Israel never got to play out; most of these elements were reversed almost on DAY1 on the new Administration.

The goal for any approach is that Iran tires of debilitating financial burdens and comes less aggressively to the table, relinquishing weapons class uranium enrichment and seeking to rejoin the WW price-surge in shipping oil. Initial US approaches have stimulated the exact opposite response, which is unlikely to become more pliant with the internal Iranian election approaching in 2022.

The most likely outcome… the US does new a deal that inevitably fuels wealth for Iran (and their funding of Global Terrorism) and works in the shadows to keep sabotaging the secretive Iranian enrichment efforts that will undoubtedly continue. Israel calls this mowing the lawn. Hopefully, this Administration’s fallouts with Israel will not prevent a quiet collaboration.

We are experiencing problems getting everyone signed up for vaccinations. Some folks just do not want them and they have numerous reasons. There will be more about this in coming weeks and months as the Government seeks to influence, coerce and even twist arms.

Somewhat comically MSNBC has its own take on this problem. When Blacks say NO to vaccination it is because science is rooted in white supremacy, but if Whites opt out it is a Public Health issue. Now either or both might hold some truth, depending on the individual perspective… but as a stated, universal position spoken out loud, can people HEAR what they are saying on MSM?

There was a time when people’s reputations meant something to them and they would carefully weigh and judge such statements as a reflection of their own credibility. Times change.  😉

And then there are the numbers. What follows here is not a Political Statement, but an observation…

292,000 US soldiers died in combat, WWII.

550,000 Americans died in ONE YEAR of COVID from a disputed source (now >570,000 and growing).

1,400,000 fetuses are aborted each year in the US.

It seems like there is plenty of room for a LOT of people to be terribly upset. And where is the accountability?

On a different front, there is a body of interest in creating Covid Passports. Many see this as beginnings of Government Intrusion into personal health that will prove to be a thin end of an increasing wedge of controls and restrictions. Certainly, Multiple States are BANNING such vehicles.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have come out against this idea citing that it is not necessary since many are vaccinated, COVID is becoming more like measles and there is no need for National databases and the like. Dr. Fauci ran open loop of his bosses and declared a Government Passport for COVID was not likely as it is something more properly pursued in the Public Sector.

Nevertheless, the idea keeps hanging on in Government circles; it does facilitate more Control.   😊

Tiger Woods wrecked a car and almost killed himself. Details of the accident were not to be released. However, he was driving downhill at an estimated 84-87mph on a winding road posted with a 45mph limit. There were no skid marks at the point he left the road and he had apparently not fallen asleep.

If Tiger offers you a ride, decline.

Pelosi just keeps on rocking with her Insider Trading. I have seen recorded more than a dozen trades on her behalf when she was first Speaker under Obama. Back then trades were itemized as worth some $200-300K each. This NOT illegal and gains are made by the Speaker by either BRINGING or NOT BRINGING issues to the floor for discussion and/or vote…  walks and smells like Insider Trading but said to be NOT ILLEGAL.

Her recent trades and purchases (in inherent legal collaboration with her husband) have been acquisitions preceding exceptionally large Government Contracts going to companies such as Tesla and then Microsoft. Why aren’t these trades all ILLEGAL?  They are all based on pure, privileged Insider Information. When Government representatives are benefiting in such ways can we REALLY be confident that their actions are always aligned with the best interests of Citizens? Is this believable?

And Bernie Madoff is no more. The great Ponzi Scheme magnate who burned 1000’s of investors over decades was given a 150-year sentence. He died in prison aged 82years.

Governor Cuomo (NY) is still around and refuses to resign despite willful accountability for and deliberate lying about many thousands of avoidable Nursing Home deaths, plus numerous (ten, now?) claims of predatory and inappropriate sexual behavior. Clearly, he feels he is entitled to a different standard of law and accountability.

Never trust a man who looks and behaves like the product of incest between the lead character in a Punch and Judy Sideshow and one of Tolkien’s Dwarfs.  😉

In contrast to the abandonment of Gov Cuomo by numerous local and top Dems, Gov Newsome (CA) looks like he will beat his recall petition and continue his long-term run towards the White House. Top Dems are now circling to protect him (Abrams, Sanders, Warren and Harris from the Left, as I write) even since the very recently public news of his on-going cheating with a top aide. When you are anointed and perceived as needed, you operate under different rules.

Newsome is seeking legal access to the identity and addresses of those who signed his recall petition (>2 million signatures were obtained, with 1.5 million being required) as he feels they were coerced and he wants to have them visited in person. Hmmm.

Black commentators are slamming the BLM cofounder who brought a $1,400,000 home in a mostly white neighborhood.  The self-professed trained Marxist Patrisse Khan-Cullors is getting roasted for this and supposedly other property purchases she has made. It is an expense few poor black people can indulge.

Candace Owen was asking “why doesn’t she want to live among black people, especially if she thinks whites are blacks’ oppressors?”

After reportedly >$2,000,000,000 went into the BLM cause with no accountability or traceability, many BLM groups around the country are asking where is all the money? Apparently, they are seeing none.

I am not a realtor, but I have seen the large SoCal house she purchased and it looks worth much more than $1.4M. This reminds me of when Bob Dylan was writing and singing about hard times and social injustice while living in a high-end Hollywood mansion.

Sadly, for Patrisse, senior political voices are now being raised to demand a legal accounting for where all the money has gone.

And the saga of Harvey Weinstein continues. He has been secretly indicted in CA so that legal proceedings can occur quickly without holdups once he is extradited. If convicted, his #MeToo laundry list of crimes can put him behind bars for 150 years.

He was a major fundraiser for Hillary Clinton (last campaign, $1,4000,000) and the Obamas. “How could we have known,” has been Hillary’s cry. Apparently, ALL of Hollywood knew if you asked. But if you have run cover for Bill’s antics for decades and are blind to the many Clinton-Epstein (Lolita Express) outings and episodes, I suppose your vision and judgement becomes irreparably damaged.

In seemingly credible breaking news, it was uncovered that the USPS (yes, the Postal Service) has people assigned to watch on-line Social Media accounts. Of interest are those who plan to attend protests and gatherings of some form. No more details or explanations available at this point. Will someone cue The Twilight Zone theme music? 

Finally, we have readied to begin packing SCOTUS. Legislation is written in both houses just a little ahead of the Study getting underway, to supposedly evaluate what or even if this is appropriate. I cannot tell if this is superb Government Proaction, Amazing Foresight or a simple shot at SCOTUS intimidation in case something just does not work out.  😊

And that is a wrap for what has jumped out as News, recently.

Perhaps you can see why I am personally always looking for travel and activity distractions. We all need breaks from this woeful inundation.

Do you manage to get away from the battering delivered by MSM, Social Media Sites and general News sources?

I have had many folks tell me they opt out and just cannot watch it anymore. That is a sad sign of the times. It is likely also an indication you are trying to avoid programming and ideas you just do not want or would not normally accept.

We are all powerfully and constantly manipulated in our modern environment, throughout the entire day.

Ever manage to get away and take a break? Have friends and family who need to close off for a while?

See if you and loved ones can get a complete break, or just find times in the day and week where you (and they) can tune out or be totally distracted. I am certain everyone will feel better for a break. Have yourself some Happy Isolation

Ian R. Mackintosh is the author of Empower Your Inner Manager Twitter@ianrmackintosh.

My COVID-19 Anniversary.

Not an event I would want to celebrate, but this entry completes a full year of BLOG records chronicling experiences during the declared Coronavirus Pandemic. Ouch.

Shockingly, the large accounting of many (not all) the events recorded below occurred or became visible within just the last 4-5 weeks. These are indeed Troubled Times.

And it all started with us needing “just fifteen days to flatten the curve.”

The year was busier than ever and filled with more social upheaval and woes than most I can recall. The only positive… we have not yet (from the US) started another war. Oddly, we recently ramped down a couple but now are perhaps becoming more tentative with this position.

So, lets consider a few positives before rolling out the record of troubles and events that have emerged in this last month.

I recently returned from a first-time Ice Fishing trip to the Northern Midwest. Enough catches to enjoy results and an opportunity to fish with friends and relatives in frozen, sparsely populated local farming landscapes, featuring occasional abandoned homesteads and spectacular clear-sky sunsets.

Ice was two feet thick and established a base for the truck to shield us from chilling (feels like, -6 F) winds and provide the transport for occasional Fishing Hut (Tent) assembly and propane heaters. The only human sounds were ice augers preparing fishing holes and very occasional vehicles driving onto the lake.

The ice itself booms and clicks all day long as it forms and reforms with changing light and winds.

Even occasional, cold dry-air nosebleeds did little to detract from the experience.

Recent San Francisco Bay sailing outings featured a few private sailboats and some occasional motorboat traffic, depending on the day. Weekends now increasingly attract sparse and distant vessel groupings and individual boats making occasional passing’s, while the weekdays remain largely deserted.

The Bay itself has become surprisingly busier with commercial traffic. Fewer tankers but now more container ships anchor South of the Bay Bridge for later passage up to Richmond or into Alameda and Oakland docks, respectively. The customary point-to-point ferries busily crossing the Bay are long-since gone; their rare sightings transport the very few early morning commuters or end-of-business-day workers returning from the City.

In the last several weeks I made a couple of post sunset night runs into the Bay and along the San Francisco waterfront. These proved both picturesque and haunting, brightly illuminated yet chilly moonlight trips much appreciated by occasional passengers that came along.

In my hometown Santa Cruz, the local surfers are now enjoying larger, more prolific Winter waves. Weekenders and visitors are fewer in the water and surfers move along cliff roads on customized, board-carrying bicycles with little annoyance from far less numerous parked cars.

Weekends feature occasional High School and other surfing tournaments at Pleasure Point where locals huddle about the cliffs surrounding organizers’ tents, watching skilled competitors scything through the waves.

And now to the meat of this record. The Hodge Podge of local, National and Global events

Firstly, Texas has been in the wars with freezing temperatures and power outages variously blamed upon excessive new solar and wind conversions, iced-up wind turbines, snow covered solar panels and various other frozen equipment. Opinions of the root problems continue to be offered.

What is certain is that residents I know reported local farm food, dairy and produce shortages which persisted for weeks and cannot fully recover for many months. Chickens froze, spoiled unpasteurized milk was poured away and harvests were entirely lost in a rare frozen wonderland.

A group of attorneys in Germany want to criminally prosecute “politicians and media people” for unnecessary inflammatory language and actions taken regarding the pandemic.

On a personal note, I returned from my Midwest travel expecting my scheduled 2nd Moderna vaccine shot to find supplies were unavailable to proceed at my (2 hr. drive away) local (Sutter Healthcare) provider in Modesto. Either the Sutter Systems blew up, CA States’ system failed, the Providers failed to input availabilities correctly, or Blue Shield’s oversight of the entire operation belatedly inserted by Gov. Newsome) caused a catastrophic reset or, all-of-the above. Who knows?

Lots of finger-pointing here. My arm awaits a 2nd shot, hopefully BEFORE the CDC (currently) recommended 42 days lapse between injections.

Mississippi, Texas and some other States are 100% re-opening, advising any concerned or at-risk citizens to use their learned mask and distancing protocols as and if they see fit to protect themselves and family. Even Vegas is looking to open their shows and facilities sooner than later.

There has been sad, high-level mudslinging between the President and relevant Governors in criticism of these moves towards economic recovery.

Some parts of the UNITED States are at a vastly different end of the spectrum in relaxing COVID Constraints. It is required to quarantine when you fly into NY, LA and SFO. San Francisco has no visible enforcement, but New York pursues arriving (even Domestic) passengers with check-in calls and multi-page forms for completion and submission. Not clear about LA, but I suspect inevitable local mismanagement might ease burdens for travelers despite the heavy COVID-19 prevalence in LA County and its immediate surrounds.

Alaska and Georgia never announced Statewide mask mandates. Many places like North Dakota waved enforcing such measures and some 11 other States never required mask wearing at any time.

New York is already planning passports for vaccinated people to visit large arenas and gatherings. The airline industry is screaming for uniform globalization of such a scheme.

It will be tough and restrictive for some time for those declining vaccination to travel around. Canada has long-since hinted at restrictions upon the unvaccinated and Australia insists no citizen will leave or enter the country without a vaccination; their entry quarantine procedure is very rigorous and managed, while inland there are no masks required, nor are there any real instances of COVID.

England (and much of the UK) is still in hard lock-down with “next month” and “Summer” hopes for people mixing outside of their Social Bubbles, Restaurants and Public Facilities re-opening and the carrot of Holidays to be had. Their draconian public constraints have resulted in ugly pandemic stats quite like those of (say) Sweden who enacted very few restrictions and sports quite similarly miserable results within their much smaller Country.

Most of the Globe (and US) has already or is currently emerging from a spike in infections and deaths.

It is difficult to miss the fact that heavily locked-down States often fare as badly or even worse than those that are much less restrictive. It is noticeable that densely populated regions (big cities, especially) do very poorly when people are forced indoors in proximity with others; this, a result of the close confinement itself, or just signaling an increased need for groups of people to be separated?

The French Delegation Chair is wanting to prosecute current Globalist President Macron for trying to “sneakily re-introduce last minute mail-in voting” when it was outlawed and made illegal there in 1975 for being commonly known as so blatantly open to voter fraud (“too easy to cheat”). Go figure.

Next, Cancel Culture is so rampant that even President Macron of France has very publicly condemned it, asserting the French do not need or want the virulent behavior prevalent in the US spilling into their Culture and Universities. And France already has a particularly colorful history of rebellion, demonstrations, social unrest and rioting.

You cannot make this up:  Harvard Business School recently cancelled a Speaker who was to talk on Cancel Culture, “because someone complained.”

Having recently seen the works of Shakespeare, Dr. Seuss and numerous books (i.e. “Of Mice and Men,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” and “Tom Sawyer” etc.) cancelled for various reasonings and by varied authority, I am at loss to comment further, but rather offer this YouTube video for your amusement and consideration

Policies of the new US Administration have resulted in a crisis of illegal immigration and activities at the Southern border. MSM is not reporting the calamity but reality is leaking out as numbers of illegal entries grow and openings of new confinement facilities continue.

The situation is claimed to be challenging but being handled.  In 2015 the Obama administration (Biden was part of the Commission) declared that >1k/day illegal Southern Border crossings are the Definition of a crisis. The CDC is already admitting 3-4k/day are routine and some sources report as many as 6k/day.

Media visits to the border have been prohibited by the Administration over concerns about COVID. Correspondingly, there are reports of hundreds of illegals being admitted and routinely released into the US who are known COVID positive.  

As part of this there is a visible explosion of unaccompanied minors at the border, driving the (re) opening of facilities (one with a reported capacity for 13k people) shuttered under the Trump administration. Illegal immigration exploded over 300% in the Rio Grande Valley <6 weeks after implementation of the new Administration’s policies.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has declared a State of Emergency and deployed National Guard, DPS, Marine, Ground and Air force assets to self-protect citizens from problems tied to illegal entry, human trafficking and various drug cartel activities growing in the Lone Star State.

And when will the COVID pandemic all be over? I have read credited expert opinions for the US projecting a return to normal ranging from early this Summer to perhaps a year from now. Some say never and others say the virus and annual boosters will be with us for years to come.

President Biden just suggested he hopes things will be approaching normal a year from now. Many politically Left-Leaners want to rock the pandemic into 2022 mid-term elections. It has often been stated that the COVID Pandemic was the best thing that ever happened for Biden’s career; a chilling thought.

The head of CNN is on-the-record announcing that the pandemic is very good for business as witnessed by the viewing numbers he enjoys.

As for the impish Dr. Fauci, he seems to have gradually worn out his welcome. This inevitably happens to all those who are over-exposed, anyway. But his recent statements that the virus is “not a big deal,” doesn’t inspire confidence in those infected (or deceased) and he is now routinely credited as being “often wrong” with his stated goals and projections for COVID.

The fact that the overly sensitive and seconded primary testing method to identify POSITIVE COVID cases worldwide is finally widely acknowledged as reporting 90% false positives is not helping public perception and confidence in reporting on and understanding of this Coronavirus.

Personally, I AM incredibly happy to hear the current belief that the chances of dying of COVID-19 after just ONE injection of any vaccine (Johnson & Johnson, Astra Zeneca, Pfizer or Moderna, so far) is essentially ZERO. Of course, this is from a medical community that sadly does not know for just how long an injection is effective, OR if annual boosters will certainly be required.   😉

Locally, the much-despised CA Gov. Newsome will probably be recalled as the desired 2 million signatures are currently secured with only 1.5 million required. Him being photographed dining indoors a couple of times and sending his children to private schools while CA education, dining and business is in general lockdown will not help him. A new (Hollywood) wife hell-bent on his Presidency, his cocaine habits of record and fraudulent personal grabs of COVID relief funds do not make him a point of light in the community. This, even without considering his troubling Spending practices and Policies.

I witnessed a young, voting age girl hesitate to sign for his recall without an explanation of if this was a Liberal or Conservative issue. It should be an issue of integrity and competence, but that ship has obviously sailed.

In reality, being recalled and facing a Special Election may still not be enough (in CA) to oust even this hypocritical, and incompetent blot on society. 

They say that gas prices jumped 63cents/gallon in the first 6 weeks of the new Administration. Shutting pipelines, thereby destroying accompanying infrastructure and prohibiting oil drilling will do that, along with loosing about 1.5 million US jobs though 2022. The good (?) world news is that those losses here will be gains for other countries in both jobs and revenues as that oil WILL be replaced (with environmentally dirtier practices) in other parts of the world. BTW- I just paid $3.96 for a Gallon of Regular in a (less expensive) 76 Gas Station in Silicon Valley, CA; reports suggest $4.00/gallon across the US by Summer.

It looks like NY Gov. Cuomo will be held to some level of account for knowingly driving COVID cases back into nursing homes. I personally recall that advisers and medical professionals were “pleading” with and screaming” at him NOT to do this BEFORE it was ever implemented. He apparently chose the medical lobbyists over these pleas despite well-known Nursing Home deficiencies in PPE, Training and Facilities issues having been visibly consequential across the world (in Italy and Spain) and even within the early US cases in Washington State.

The man was lavished with TV Awards and accolades when this was public knowledge and in plain sight. It was actively and deliberately ignored by the (MS) media as they created their darling.

This is the same man who cried wolf demanding 40k ventilators (he had previously chosen not to purchase) and multiple new hospitals. I recall about 7-8k ventilators ultimately being required while 5 purpose-built hospitals went wholly unused. But the cover-up on the deaths… firstly, to avoid Government scrutiny and then again to facilitate his now stalled book publication, is despicable.

With the seven (currently and counting) sexual harassment (and assault?) claims added on top he is failing to control the investigations even in this deep blue State. His career and methodology of intimidation and threats has been exposed. And yet as he inexplicably refuses to abdicate, I wonder how all this will pan out?

I must believe that NY residents who lost parents and loved ones, out-of-sight and alone in those doomed homes will want his head on a spike. I would, wouldn’t you?

It should be noted that four more Governors (3-D, 1-R) willfully pursued the same policy of returning confirmed COVID cases into Nursing homes. One of these (Gov. Whitmer, MI) is already aggressively preventing access to relevant records to aggrieved parties in her home State. This dam might eventually burst, too.

On a lighter note, the Privacy-Seeking (possibly, soon-to-be Exiled 😉), uber-privileged Sussex Royals of California interviewed with Oprah and a support group of 17 Million American viewers. Essentially, they called out the British monarchy as racist; not helpful if you head a Commonwealth community of >>I Billion people and live in the UK with a massively mixed population of racially diverse immigrants.

The Sussex’s are not popular there and have failed to advance their case for likeability. Markle herself (an ex-TV soap actress) has a long series of documented predatory behaviors, ambitions and reported histrionics she seeks and needs to nullify. Good luck with that when there are US reports of her advising PR staff their goal is to help her become the most influential person in the world.

There has been (more than) 1500 years of the English Monarchy. Armada’s have lined up offshore, overhead bombers have destroyed cities and British armies have campaigned across the Globe. I suspect this veiled grasp for more benefits and acknowledgement with zero personal effort will fade quite quickly into the past, but the fickle world of Cancel Culture and instant global opinion can be dangerous.

And troublingly, nobody would make such claims without a complete, planned and targeted strategy backed with a desire for real material harm and/or personal gain.

Still other personalities have come into focus…

Australians are mercilessly hammering Biden’s cognitive decline and have aggressively commented on his frail campaign performances deteriorating further since the Inauguration. They noted his (unelected and so wholly unempowered) wife stepping in to shield him during botched answers regarding an immigration crisis question and the reopening of a (Trump) facility on the US Southern Border. The Australian press is not under the control of the US MSM.

The Pope was in Iraq supporting persecuted Christians who are suffering in greater numbers now than in any other time in history. He opined that bloodshed and War are incompatible with Christian values.

And Law Enforcement has been under constant pressure from early 2020…

Minneapolis is willingly trying to fund new police recruits after their self-admitted failed defunding moves. Portland is seeing violence levels not witnessed in 25 years and Oakland are topping National murder charts along with Chicago and a string of others.

This is good point at which to think HAPPY THOUGHTS.  😊

Even the President of Germany (Angela Merkel) is calling for the restoration of Trumps Twitter accounts, citing that the suppression of Free Speech has become too profound and unlawful. A collaboration of US publishers has coalesced to prevent any-and-all publication of Conservative ideology, particularly from the previous Administration. Students of history will note historical similarities to events in the Third Reich preceding WWII.

Cancel Culture and the eradication of persons (such as Donald Trump) tends to have a backlash, often worse than if no action were taken. Pendulums swing back and the eradicators are often vilified to a greater degree than those they persecuted. Time will tell.

The NBA has chosen to side with China and NOT roil their largest Market. They are backing Chinas play to line their pockets.

The fact remains that China has subdued the rights of Hong Kong residents by establishing law that allows them to take anyone back into Mainland China that they determine is not compliant with their laws and philosophies. There were massive protests growing in Hong Kong throughout 2019. So, China moved in and subdued the populace. This was condemned all over the world and the US (and others) imposed sanctions on Hong Kong and China as a result.

NOTE: Hong Kong was returned to China by Britain (after their Treaty expired) almost 25 years ago as a Capitalist enclave and a Global Market Financial Center.

One NBA GM mentioned solidarity with Hong Kong’ers and the NBA ended up kissing Chinas rear-end so as to not have their broadcasting and merchandising rights pulled from the Mainland by the CCP.

In addition, China has three (3) million ethnic minority Uyghurs imprisoned. Although the one child Chinese Policy is officially gone, Beijing commonly has Uyghur women forcibly sterilized after two births. The CCP does not like or want this ethnic minority around. This policy is also denounced all over the world as the blatant Human Rights violation which it is.

These are not the only Chinese Rights violations and Imprisonments. It is THIS China the NBA defends and will not speak out about in any form.

The NBA has seen its domestic viewership collapse through 2020 because of activism. It’s convenient and privileged allegiances with China simply do not bear moral scrutiny.

Continuing with the theme of RIGHTS

For better or worse we recently celebrated International Womens Day with Biological Girls being newly forced to share Bathrooms, Sports and Teams with Boys. Some folks are placated, some happy, others are saddened and angered.

We are becoming a Nation that satisfies the needs of all. We operate to the LOWEST COMMON DENOMINATOR. After all, the more lowered are the expectations of a populace, the easier they are to control, direct and use.

To this end Boston has just eliminated Advanced Placement Classes. Apparently, they are too white and too Asian. The argument here would be: Do not raise things UP to joint advantage, rather bring everything DOWN to instant commonality.

Let me paraphrase in the modern vernacular how the somewhat now-cancelled Thomas Jefferson might perceive this current world of chaos…

Cities are Blue.

Rural is Red.

If Socialists rule

you’re better off dead.

It seems that the House has been barreling countless partisan bills to pile-up in the Senate with little hope of review or passage. The only practical reason to actively build the logjam and waste Congressional resources in such desperate times is if the endgame is the ultimate removal of the filibuster, regardless of current refusals to do so. Otherwise, what shocking Government waste.

The latest ($1.9 Trillion) Partisan COVID Relief bill passed through Congress. Less than 9% is earmarked for Relief and <1% is set aside for vaccinations. I heard braggadocio; self-congratulatory claims were made about the removal of a $100 Million pork earmark targeted for a San Francisco Subway. Let me explain math. Even such a massive sum is inconsequential with respect to the total burdensome tab.

Mental health issues in teenagers (particularly) have skyrocketed. Self-harm and overdoses increased 91-100% over the last year. Young people are proving “especially vulnerable to mental health issues related to the COVID-19 Pandemic.” There is NOTHING in the $1.9T COVID Relief Bill to address this issue.

There will be States preferentially baled-out with these funds from decades of mismanagement that precede the pandemic; money and pet programs for the boys with weighty and consequential debt for the people.  

Too many Handouts make Citizens convenient Wards of Government. And eventually, the checkbook must be balanced.

I am certain we all hope for many just and appropriate inclusions in the $1.9T bill that will address Infrastructure, Social Issues and make worthy Repairs. Fingers crossed. Have trust in Government.

However, the warnings that the US is headed for economic collapse have begun; they are more frequent and numerous than usual. Certainly, the new Administration has spooked investors and broad-based market fluctuations are now underway. My limited personal aspiration is simply that the current incumbents neither start a War nor Collapse the Markets. What desperate and little requirements to have of Government.

At least the Capitol building is now safe, enshrined behind encircling razor wire barriers, mysteriously and inexplicably still guarded by thousands of troops. Had known early warnings of expected unrest simply been heeded, this situation would never have occurred; incompetent security management abounds at all levels yet remains predictably and largely unacknowledged.

It is time to think MORE HAPPY THOUGHTS.  😊

Georgia is now acknowledging and pursuing some 35 affidavits filed regarding Voter Fraud in the last Presidential election. Many States are passing laws and reviewing their Voting practices. It seems that few will raise their voices high for fear of being cancelled.

There were >1,000 more Affidavits filed about the 2020 election. Little profound investigative legal action is visible on this front, though Congress is pushing radical partisan Voting Laws that (currently) cannot stand Senate scrutiny. Action seems late for what has passed and yet contrived for what is to come.

On a different note, I typically receive email notifications of 3-4 wholly inappropriate, but available professional nursing jobs each day. Google has hiccupped on my behalf. Certainly not the caliber of relevant snooping and personal targeting one has come to expect.   😉

The Daily News looms over the Pandemic, fraught with misery and misdirection. When everything feels mired with gloom, I restore my personal faith in the World by listening to Pavarotti singing Puccini’s Nessun Dorma. Try it on YouTube. It really does inspire.

How are you bearing up under the weight of Local, National and International News? Making any time to recharge your batteries? Are you helping friends and family navigate this stressful era?

It might be wise to set aside some personal time and make plans for mentally recharging. Give it a try.

Ian R. Mackintosh is the author of Empower Your Inner Manager Twitter@ianrmackintosh.