A Winter Journey: Traveling In Pandemic & Troubled Times.

It has been longer than usual since my last posting, mostly caused by the impacts of time-consuming travel and sightseeing I will review, below.

My journey ranged through Sweden from Stockholm on the Baltic up to Swedish Lapland then next to England, roving around the Northwest from Northern Wales, around the Manchester area and up to Cumbria in the Lake district before exiting the country through Heathrow in the South.

I was fortunate to visit and meet with many friends, new and old and reconnect with relatives, acquaintances alike.

There is much to report of interesting sights and unique experiences enjoyed in these travels. But before I begin this review let me again first reflect upon what the last several weeks the disease of Cancer has wrought upon just my own extended family.

These experiences with Cancer are not unique. For many readers they are familiar and even common.

In the last six weeks my own family witnessed the final loss off one battle with the disease, a few wars of others proceeding with difficulties and a just single soul receiving good news in having no further immediate findings of infection.

Such stories are not unusual or rare. Indeed, they are common experiences in our world.

Those lost are now at rest. The memories of their lives remain within us all.

And those remaining fight on. We can only hope they achieve the best outcomes possible, and their journeys bring them as much joy and peace as can be imagined.

Now let me break from these thoughts and move to happier and lighter ground.

My own recent travels were filled with novel experiences, fun and new adventures. They offer interest and excitement for young and old alike. So let me recount this Winter journey, here…

On December 23rd 2021, a pair of us set off to SFO clutching our negative Covid tests obtained a day earlier from San Jose airport testing facility, firmly in hand.

The Parking Facility I regularly use had unannounced switched to appointment-only for the Holiday Season and was fully booked upon my arrival. The surprise caused some urgent frantic searching for new and available sites that was eventually resolved by SFO’s own Long-Term location, just a Monorail ride distant from the International Departure Terminal.

The flight out was long, uneventful and we arrived later afternoon in Stockholm airport on December 24th after a short layover in Frankfurt. Eventually we came upon the shuttle pickup area for the Car Rental off-airport site, donned warmer clothing and boarded the bus to fetch our Avis SUV rental vehicle.

It seems that across the World it is tough to find workers during Covid times, and especially on this Christmas Eve. Nevertheless, after an hour working with Avis’s one-man show, we obtained a (NOT as requested) Spanish-built Hybrid SUV and after a life-threatening ice scaping session in sub-zero temps we got underway North to Hudiksvall, a few hours’ drive away.

The Hybrid (albeit new) SUV provided an adventure within itself. I will say no more than over the rental period we had issues with several things falling off, breaking, locking electrical connectors, irrationally failing displays with software bugs, issuing road-side alarms to Emergency Services and on and on. Even when we were joined in our travels by a Swedish native, we were constantly challenged to interpret the exclusively Swedish-language Handbook and resorted to solving problems via Google lookups. The vehicle is NOT suitable for being in a Rental Fleet. Enough said. ☹

We arrived Hudiksvall as planned, moved into our expansive Airbnb, hooked up with loved ones and on Christmas Day were treated to dinner, seated overlooking the lighted lower town and expansive frozen bay connected by a wide finger of water tied directly to the Gulf of Bothnia. A great beginning to the Swedish leg of our journey.  😊

The next day my son and I went Ice Fishing. There was little wind and the outing became productive when we teamed up with a knowledgeable local who guided us to catch our three-each limit of Grayling with a temporary loan of his electronic fish-finder.

There were just a couple of small groups of fishermen passing through on this local Lake. No tents or Ice Huts were employed, and we belatedly enjoyed the traditional wood fire set directly on the ice for a little warmth and light. As the sky darked by early afternoon (there are perhaps six hours of good Northern daylight this time of year) we packed-up and went home.

The next day we fulfilled a promise to host a traditional, ten-person US/UK Christmas Dinner for my son’s extended Swedish Family. The event followed a complex shopping trip by four of us to find appropriate, relevant and similar ingredients in defiance of the language challenges. Mission accomplished for both child and adult attendees.

The dinner followed traditional greetings and introductions, gift exchanges, shared cooking and preparations and final seating arrangements. Despite all the challenges presented by Vegetarian, Vegan and Tea-total participants the meal went off with amazingly familiar servings, tastes and flavors. 😉

A large turkey meal, wine, champagne, beer followed by a Trifle desert was sampled and enjoyed by all following the traditional popping of English Christmas Crackers. We made a fine sight donning the Crackers’ paper hats, sharing their jokes and party favor surprise gifts. A fine time and introduction were had by all.

The evening was followed by travel preparations and my visit to a local fishing shop. It always amazes me to see the variation of tackle and gear available to address the local opportunity, styles, climate and target species. Late that afternoon my son and I set off for nighttime Ice Fishing.

It is a little colder on the ice after dark. Perhaps still only 10-15F, not too bad. I was suspicious things may not go well when I realized we had brought no torches (except phones) and even starlight was scarce.

The ice was perhaps only 14” thick but we drilled our corner of this new Lake with fishing holes till it resembled Swiss Cheese.

Our traditional log fire on the Ice was picturesque, useful and so we kept on drilling with that manual auger. Eventually the clouds cleared to reveal bright, sparkling star-filled skies.

Suffice it to say it was a great experience, but not a single bite was had.  😊

I returned a rented Ice Auger to the store the next day. The owner confirmed that night fishing is VASTLY different and especially challenging. No kidding.  😉

The next day our group of four were to drive North to so-called Swedish Lapland.

We passed on the overnight train and flight travel options. Both these solutions meant ditching our (albeit just becoming very troublesome) SUV rental yet still needing to rent another vehicle upon arrival. So, we opted to drive halfway to Umea and then run to our destination (Lulea) the next morning while it remained light.

Driving on one and two-laned snow covered freeways in flurries of yet more snow is not for everyone. But two of us were experienced with this practice and we ultimately willingly switched-off the responsibilities for the entire Northward journey and then the return.

We set off late afternoon from Hudiksvall on December 30th and arrived later evening in Umea. The journey was dark and unremarkable. The most memorable part was locating the Hotel itself and getting to our rooms.

The hotel was fairly central in the town of Umea. We got to explore the city streets and squares more closely on our return leg.

Our hotel was part of a much larger 10-12 story building featuring businesses, shops, a couple of hotels and an expansive, open covered lobby. The hotel was the entire Third floor and required an automated check-in at central kiosks situated on the ground floor.otel was on the Third floor with an Hote

Three of our party circled the building in our SUV while I explored access to the Lobby and discovered the setup just described. Apparently, our loaded AWD SUV did not particularly like steep icy hills and backslid in my absence till reversed into a side street in preparation for a faster run-up to mount the climb. Pretty exciting experience, I am told. 😉

We were finally checked into a very modern, perhaps typically stylish Swedish hotel with an all-window 180-degree view across the low-rise town. We separated into couples, and each disappeared into the evening to find late-night food and drink as offered in picturesque, well-lighted Umea.

It is a very modern, well-furbished University town.

We found a traditional Irish Pub in an open square, ate and drank there then retired early to complete the morning journey North.

This next day was New Year’s Eve. We set off to Lulea in daylight and were able to view the countryside as we ventured further North, stopping every hour or two for coffee and the local experience of being in Sweden. We even slowed on the freeway to snap photos of a reindeer grazing on the frozen roadside.

We arrived around midday in Lulea which sits on a frozen half-mile-wide Bay (again) off the Gulf of Bothnia, East of Oulu in Finland which lies across some ~80miles of water, and quite close to the Finnish border, just a few tens of miles to the North.

The large, early 1900’s refurbished Hotel we had booked was situated mid-town. Our room faced an impressive open, lighted, deeply snow-covered square, sited on the main street through the town.

Unfortunately, we had arrived the day new Covid restrictions were to be implemented which threatened more closed and limited restaurant seating availability for the New Year celebrations that night. The show and fireworks promised in the Main Square opposite our Hotel had already been cancelled.

We need not have worried as eventually, we easily reserved seats to dine that evening at a pleasant close-by Sports Bar. After this we moved a block away to a Wine Bar overlooking the frozen Bay where we saw in the New Year while enjoying a brief but impressive firework display out upon the ice some hundred yards from our door.

Following a hearty and impressive breakfast (in a spectacular vaulted dining room) at our hotel we set out this New Year’s Day on a ten-minute drive to historic Gammelstad.

This was the ex-local regional Capital before Lulea was built-up. The town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which was originally constructed around a 15th Century church and provided worshipers essential housing when they visited during the freezing Winters.

There are over 500 buildings in mostly very well-preserved and maintained condition, many of which seem to date from the early 1800’s and are built with traditional local methods and stylings.

When access to Gammelstad (or, Old Town) by water became difficult it lost its status and fell into disuse as the local Capital. So nearby Lulea was grown and expanded leveraging its easy commercial access to the Gulf.

We spent a few hours wandering there, capturing unique and picturesque photos, enjoying the solitude and scarcity of tourists.  The 10F temperature kept us moving along until we sought out a coffee-shop before returning to Lulea.

Later that evening we went as a group of four out into the countryside for a Dog Sled trip. This was something VASTLY different. 😊

The temperatures had dropped to zero degrees Fahrenheit this night. A second group of mostly French-speakers joined us and so two sleds for 4-people were set up, each pulled by a dozen dogs.

We were provided one-piece coveralls that completely covered our (now, obviously) underprepared Winter clothing. With these were offered boots to those who were inadequately dressed there, too. Gloves were largely our own devices but were on-hand if needed or desired.

Unless you covered them with zipped-up coveralls or viable glasses, our faces were fully exposed at the eyes and forehead to some degree.

So, at around 7.30pm in the pitch dark we set off; a snowmobile, followed by one sled then the other in a tidy line, dogs yelping and sleighs bouncing their occupants who were stacked tightly front to back in their 12’ transports.

What fun. What an experience.

After 10 mins the sleds stopped and my son was seconded into driving our sleigh. A flashlamp to light the way for us and the dogs was strapped around his forehead, then the driver took off and jumped aboard the snowmobile stationed ahead.

The snowmobile took off on the Lake and the dogs charged after it.

And so, we zig-zagged around for ~20 minutes, crossing paths with the other sled, one following the other, the dogs always wanting to outrace the other team.

When we stopped next the dogs lasted only minutes before howling and nipping, wanting to run again. They just do not want to be still. They yapped their way through the photo-ops and then we were off again.

Eventually we left the flat open Lake and entered the fields and woods surrounding. The drivers were changed out and I took my place steering and driving the sled. A lamp was strapped around my head and we were off, weaving through undergrowth, between trees, rushes and bushes.

The vegetation moved in and we dashed through small gaps under branches, lurching side to side. Then my lamp went out.

The lamp was on a timer. It is tricky to reset through thick gloves while running over flats but impossible to attend when in pitch black, navigating through tunnels of vegetation, violent turns, bumps and beneath low-hanging branches.

I realized the dogs were doing all the steering and navigating up ahead anyway, so I waited till we emerged in starlight, then braked the sleigh on flatter terrain and reset the lamp. This was probably the best fun of the entire trip. I will be looking to repeat this experience, but perhaps with a more reliable lamp.  😉

Eventually we crossed a road, returned towards camp and ran the dogs back into their yard.

The trip was over. Next followed the passengers and drivers hugging the dogs, taking pictures then being escorted to a traditional tent for small hot drinks and biscuits around a log fire.

Suddenly one of the operators (oddly, a French girl from Brittany, with whom I spoke briefly) re-appeared and escorted us all from the tent and 300 yards back down the trail to the frozen Lakeside to view and photograph the Northern Lights which had made a surprise and belated appearance. The promise of the outing was complete.

Finally, we shed our heavy overalls, said our excited goodbyes and bundled ourselves back into the car for the brief ride back to our Hotel in Lulea. So ended that memorable experience.

The Next morning (of January 2nd) we set off back South in daylight for another overnight stay in Umea. The endless frozen landscapes and snow-laden trees provided picture-book scenes the entire way.

The four of us played “I-Spy” for hours on end while enjoying the views, garage-stops for hot drinks, and gas fill-ups during snow flurries in ever-chilled sub-zero temperatures.

We quickly reached Umea again, but this time already knew the Hotel building and address from our travel when we originally headed North just days earlier. We were booked in the SECOND of the two Hotels in that same multi-story building.

So, the four of us quickly Checked In and went to our two separate rooms. This Hotel area was dark and featured interesting décor with fanciful, dream-like colored 3-D images over every room door entry and massive chandeliers hanging in the giant open carpeted spiral staircases. The rooms themselves were different. I would call them GOTH by design; a quite different boutique styling.

It was still early afternoon, so we split up and explored the city. There were Malls, new buildings and stores everywhere. It is indeed a modern, well facilized University town.

The next morning, we ran back down to Hudiksvall. The journey was littered with “I Spy” games of deepening complexity and the witnessing of a traffic accident involving the SUV immediately in front of us.

It appears the snow-coverings caused the driver to mis-read the section of the road to being one-way, two lanes when it was single lane 2-way. We braked and watched as an on-coming vehicle rattled that SUV against the truck it was unwisely attempting to overtake. It seems the safety framework between the sets of wheels on the truck’s trailer prevented the SUV from getting underneath the container being hauled.

The SUV and oncoming car took considerable damage, but the drivers involved were as unharmed as the truck and did not appear to be in shock or dazed.

Continuing we arrived in Hudiksvall by midday, grabbed a quick lunch and said our goodbyes to our travel partners. We then sought out our swish yet practically deserted local Hotel on the Bay waterfront, checked-in and ran out for an Indian meal to celebrate our Anniversary before the restaurants closed. We finished the day with a champagne toast and retired for an early-morning start.

The next day we grabbed an early breakfast from yet another spectacular Hotel spread and headed the few hours down to Stockholm for our expensive ($250, each) 1-Hour PCR Covid test appointments at the airport. These were required for UK flights and entry.

Upon arrival I ditched the baggage at the airport and returned the woeful Avis Rental car with a quick explanation of its gross unsuitability for fleet use. They listened. But not much interest was shown at the still sparsely staffed facility.

Following this the Covid tests were an absolute joy ( ☹ ) and I am sure the nose swab was taken from inside the very back of my skull. Truly eyewatering. 😉

It looked like there were half-a-dozen Covid testing sites in the Airport. Travelers were scurrying about asking questions and directions, grabbing last minute (apparently surprise and unscheduled) tests for their upcoming flights.

With baggage checked we hit the Airline suite and grabbed a couple of drinks and snacks before heading to the Gate for our flight to Manchester, UK.

There were a couple of Mask-type (no cloth masks were allowed) and Mask Protocol issues at boarding which frustrated some belligerent passengers and alarmed others.  But eventually everyone was appropriately covered so we boarded and departed on-time.

We arrived in a wet Manchester late afternoon to find no customers for the Car Rental shuttle. Our booking with Hertz fell apart when we reached the facility: As pre-warned there were no representatives, but also no identifiers, directions, pointers or access to our Rental or any Hertz vehicle for that matter.

After over 45minutes wandering the darkened Hertz parking areas and Rental Facility, eventually with the equally mystified help of others, we finally accepted the inevitable and picked up an SUV from an extremely helpful Avis employee. This vehicle was suitable and operated as intended throughout our UK visit. 😊

I hope the Hertz folks at the Manchester Airport learn to stay a little later, leave viable instructions and access or at least provide a manned phone service.

We spent our time in the UK with gracious relatives as hosts and after our 2-day mandatory arrival quarantine were out and about after official Covid testing, but not before hearing that one of our recent Swedish travel buddies had then just tested positive for Covid. ☹

This temporarily delayed our initial travels to visit others and we added-in many extra Lateral Flow Covid 30-minute self-administered tests before meeting with anyone who might be vulnerable.

Once we were loose, we enjoyed several local neighborhood walks, then trips out to the Thomas Telford Canal Barge Aqueduct in North Wales, Llangollen, Nantwich, Chester, a local Falconry and a run up to Cumbria in the Lake District.

The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct was opened by Telford 1805 and used to transport (by barge) Welsh coal serving the Industrial Revolution. It is the longest such structure in GB and the highest Canal structure in the world. The Aqueduct still routinely carries barges on the Llangollen Canal, standing just 12’ wide, spanning some 350 yards and sitting 130’ above the River Dee. It also provides spectacular photo ops. 😊

After walking its length on the precipitous towpath, we ducked out of the rain for hot tea, biscuits and Welsh Rarebit in the nearby Café, a converted local Baptist church. There they offer a broad selection of cakes, baked goods and meals, yet still advertise and make available Baptisms, right below their site in the chilly waters of the River Dee.

Following this we drove the couple of country miles upstream to Llangollen, a truly picturesque Welsh town hosting the Dee beneath her massive ancient stone bridge (which was built in 1345 and modified in the 16th and 20th Centuries).

A stroll across the bridge and along the riverside walk allowed us to watch, photograph and even speak with the few excited kayakers that were thriving in the inflated rush of the surging river now enhanced by intermittent recent rains.

As light failed in the late afternoon, we sought out one of the several quaint pubs offering local beers with riverside views, then visited a local bakery to purchase recommended pasties and sausage rolls for the return journey to our Host. It was an impressive daytrip.

In the following days we ran out for coffee in the well-manicured town of Nantwich which hosts some fine, time-misshapen Tudor shop facades, restaurants and Hotel at its center, a quaint indoor market and church of real historical importance.

The origins of St. Mary’s Church began in 1130, but most enhancements occurred around 1340 with a 20-year delay in that building believed caused by an appearance of The Black Death.

Nantwich has great shopping facilities and numerous pedestrian areas. Its smart, well-cared-for appearance is ensured by enforced local ordinances and a caring community. It again proved well worth a visit; I have been there several times before.

Most places visited on this trip were quieter, with few people circulating in the Winter months when children are (often, usually) back in school.  Additionally, the Covid scares and flare-ups keep many indoors, hiding and separate… the Omicron variant ruled during this period. 😉

I prefer Winter travel. Often facilities remain readily available, there are no crowds, less crushes and services are generally provided unhurriedly with more consideration. And pricing is typically far less inflated.

This was all true in both Sweden and the UK.

We next made time for a traditional visit to the historical, Roman, walled City of Chester and followed a familiar format, ditching the SUV outside of town and riding the barely occupied Park-and-Ride shuttle to the town center.

After a little shopping, coffee and walks around the brightly lit Tudor-styled pedestrian areas we hiked down to and along the side of the swollen river outside the city walls to find some local Snugbury’s ice-cream, and then marched back uphill to the City Center.

We again toured the impressive Chester Cathedral, passing through its vaulted body, the protected enclosed corridors surrounding the open interior quadrangle, explored centuries-old side-rooms and the cavernous refectory. Again, there were few late-day visitors but us and those staff employed to show and operate the facilities.

The Cathedral’s construction dates between 1093 and the early 16th Century. Though it still has a large active worshipping community the recent pandemic years and closures have left it with a 500,000 GBP funding shortfall. Cutbacks are inevitable; they were forced to close the famed Falconry housed in their grounds.

As the light began to fail in the city the streets quickly quieted even more, so we shuttled back to our SUV and returned to our lodgings in Northwich for dinner.

During our following travels about the local area, we decided to explore the local Blakemere Village which had always been previously ignored. What a find. A few large Antique shops, extensive Interior Design facility, multiple Cafes, Restaurants, Segway trip provider, Gardening Center, Playgrounds, Falconry and more.

That day we dug out a few select gifts and ornaments from the Antique shops, visited a Café and booked a next-day Custom Show for three at the immaculate and well-stocked Falconry.

The following morning, we arrived early for our Falconry experience. What a show. We each flew a Barn Owl, Harris Hawk, giant Long-Eared Eurasian Owl and Turkey Vulture. Another memorable event.

Not only were we face-to-beak with these magnificent birds perched on our hands we were provided with a great learning experience and wonderful photo ops.

It seems owls hunt by distant sight and sound, operating with no sense of smell. They can hear prey beneath four feet of snow triangulating with their offset ears, but as their sight is motion sensitive, they see little that is up-close.

Turkey Vultures have no head feathers so they can efficiently bury their beaks deep inside carcasses. They are one of the few birds with nostrils; this enables their sense of smell to detect prey a mile away. Their legs too are devoid of feathers for the same reason as their heads and they urinate down them to remove waste that might otherwise attract bacteria.

The huge Eurasian Owl is not native to the UK. It was introduced, but then hunted out. To feed it drops from perches opportunistically onto foxes, small dogs and even sheep. This behavior, together with having feathers highly sought-after for clothing accoutrements will quickly get you hunted to extinction. 😉

The Harris Hawk is well-favored by Falconers as a starter-bird in the UK. Its impressive, large and skillful.

Surprisingly, our instructional and highly experienced Falconer for the day favored flying the Turkey Vulture above all others. And he routinely flies all manner of Hawks, Owls and Eagles; some twenty types of working birds, at least.  It appears the intelligence, grace, versatility, nimbleness and sheer (6’ wingspan) size of this vulture make it the most impressive option for him personally.

What a memorable day out with the photographs and videos remaining to recount the experience.

My wife was scheduled to return earlier to the US than myself. So, we researched and found the most convenient (only a simple Lateral Flow Test is required for US entry) certified rapid Covid testing could be done in Birmingham, on the journey South heading towards Heathrow.

However, before this we discovered that folks where we were headed back home (in the US) had recently contracted Covid, so a delay was in order to let the quarantine period play out.

A few days later we headed down to Birmingham. The COVID testing station was hidden in the back end of a massive yet muddied gravel Parking Lot out to one side of the Airport. Location found; the test was done. By the time we checked-in for an overnight at the local Hilton the negative result had arrived. Mission accomplished.

The stay at the Birmingham Hilton just outside the airport, was a doozy.  😊

Suffice it to say there were very few guests in the Hotel that was finishing a major refurbishment by using the massive pandemic business slow-down as an opportunity. Major decorations had been completed and wholesale electrical rewiring had occurred. It was obvious that no shake-down of the wiring work had occurred and we were guinea pigs.

The stay caused us to reluctantly change rooms. Oddly, were “upgraded” to a room which featured the very same facilities we had originally booked and paid. It just was not worth complaining about this detail as much worse troubles were afoot.

Our stay uncovered non-functional central heating, blown fuses, power overloads, inoperable space heaters, unwired outlets, a shorting outlet, unusable non-standard bed-side sockets, an hours-long major work-noise session and a hazardous, inconvenient extension cord make-shift solution which was belatedly installed for us to operate our own electronic devices. Aaaargh!

The staff were stellar and sympathetic, though they did fail to answer most phone calls from the room for help and guidance. They even ignored their EMERGENCY line when I called to check my suspicions and findings. Ouch. ☹

As an ex-engineer myself I detailed many of the problems to them, most of which they acknowledged with a “We know, “ response. Shades of Fawlty Towers, here.  😉

Later, gazing at the giant space heaters in the Lobby I explained that they had obvious issues with their Electrical Contractor and simply were not ready to be open. They agreed. Sigh. No consolation to myself and their very few guests.

In all honesty, when the hotel’s problems were circumvented and workarounds in-place this all made for a comical and memorable addition to the trip. 😊

That evening we headed out to some old stomping grounds from my youth. Many Top Pubs from back then are still top-ten venues around the Birmingham airport area, even today. Amazing, after all these years. Location is everything.

We dined at the Malt Shovel and were surprised that everyone was unmasked. Great food but typical of modern English Pubs. Over a decade ago successful pubs all switched to really being Restaurants with modernized, more sophisticated (and expensive) menu offerings that offered full bars. Traditional Pubs and Basic Pub Foods (Ploughman’s Lunches, Pasties, Pork Pies, Fish and Chips and little else) are a thing of the distant past.

Following this we ran out to the Cock Inn at Wishaw. The same formula was in place. A large, surprisingly crowded exclusive restaurant midweek, and just we two and another couple in a small, deserted bar, set to the back of the building.

The exteriors of these two Pub buildings were basically unchanged from decades earlier. They still presented their traditional outside Pub-like appearance and color-schemes, whereas the interiors were tarted-up to match modern color, decorative and furnishing expectations.

At the Cock Inn I mentioned to the barmaid I’d last been there some 40 years ago and recalled losing a pair of gloves. I asked if anyone handed them in at the bar?  Lots of laughs, but no luck with the gloves.😉

The next morning, we drove into the Airport where my wife boarded an Express, non-stop bus that took her directly to the required Departure Terminal at Heathrow for her trip back to the States. Very convenient. A smart solution.

As she boarded the Bus, she looked across at ANOTHER Hilton Hotel, inside the airport, and just 100 yards away. “We should have stayed in THAT Hilton. “  Good point. If only we had known. And life moved on.  😊

I returned across the street to the Parking Lot, got into the SUV, paid the 18.00 GBP (~$24.00 USD) for my 25-minute stay and drove the few hours back to Manchester.

Over the following week I enjoyed daily local walks, meetings with friends and made one last major foray up North to visit family in the Lake District. The trip was a quick overnight, leaving early one morning and returning later the next day.

As you approach the Lake District and Cumbria the dry-stone walling starts to appear in the fields. Once off the freeway the faster roads that carry endless Summer Tourists Westerly to the region make travel speedy and efficient in Wintertime.

I was headed to Broughton-In-Furness, to the deep Southwest of the Lake District. The night before I left the Omicron Covid surge was again featured on the News with the announcement that Barrow-In-Furness was currently THE most infected location in the UK. Well, it WAS  8 miles from my destination, so off I went. 😉

The last hour or so of the journey is truly spectacular. Dark green fields abound with dropped Winter foliage enabling huge vistas in every direction. Mountains, rolling hills, fields, wandering flocks of sheep and endless dry-stone walling. Quite a site. A memorable wonderland.

After running the latter miles on fast winding country roads with little clearance to stone walling and sparse but speedy passing traffic, I arrived at my destination. Broughton features perhaps just several dozen picturesque hillside cottages and houses at its heart. It is served in its center by a small grassy village square which is bordered with a store or two, post office and three nearby Pubs.

The afternoon was filled with family catchups and a country walk till the daylight began to fail. In the evening we tried a Pub in the square for dinner and arrived to find we were the only people sporting masks.

It seems the prevailing masking rule was simple across England: Shops and Stores REQUIRE Masks; more Optional gathering locations for people (i.e.  Restaurants, Pubs, Workout Places etc.) DO NOT. That explained why masks were few to none just days earlier at the Malt Shovel and Cock Inn near Birmingham.

The next day I headed back to Manchester for an overnight before packing and heading the following day for my rapid Covid Test certification in Birmingham Airport, then on to Heathrow.

I found my next Hilton Hotel in Terminal 2, buried deep inside Heathrow Airport. My negative Covid test was already in-hand, so I checked in and grabbed a free luggage cart from the airport. With this I unloaded my bags from the SUV and left the cart parked in my room to facilitate my rapid exit and flight check-in the following morning.

The Covid case at home quarantined-out so I flew homeward to the US as scheduled in great style and comfort, on a <20% occupied flight, reaching SFO on-time to be picked-up then driven the 75 miles to my home in Santa Cruz. I arrived back on January 18th. My journey was complete and only seven negative Covid tests employed.

Inevitably, the following days following my return were full of appointments, catch-up action items and maintenance tasks. When all was done and I remained proven Covid-free, I began to write this review.

Now, before I close this tale, I will as usual note the important News and Current Events I witnessed and followed during my travels. And this time these are…

Most notably, the heavy footsteps of impending War being heard around the world. We have three world leaders who are failing with their Policies, Economies and personal Images: Biden in the US, Putin in Russia and Xi in China.

Each needs a distraction. All are perceived poorly in their own lands.

Biden is quite universally viewed as not competent and weak across the World. If you think his US Polling is bad you should tap into international opinion.  He has already warned Americans to quit the Ukraine, sent troops in preparation to Europe, shipped $100’s of Millions in arms to Ukraine and seemingly invited “something of a Russian incursion” across the border.

Ukraine leadership believes Putin’s 100K troops at the border is insufficient for all-out attack and Russia is merely testing for weaknesses, while stirring up US Domestic unrest. We will see.

China will be motivated to take the Russian side in these events, even recently partnering for a joint Soviet/Chinese Moon Base in the next decade. US fumbling and failures are being carefully scrutinized.

China wants direct control of Taiwan. If you think the US has chip shortages (esp. for the Auto industry) now, wait till you see what happens if an invasion occurs.

Furthermore, it is hard to imagine that North Korea and Iran will not be equally opportunistic if the US stumbles.

And the retooling of the US military, its hierarchy and standards, already leaves us with a lowered state of readiness.

Each country mentioned above is currently restrained by peculiar personal considerations and needs. Let us hope these bonds hold fast and individuals are not further motivated or assisted to break loose.

As I wrote some months ago: Everyone is dressing for war and that is an unbelievably bad sign.

So much for World Peace.  :-/

On the Domestic front there remain many issues:

In December, illegal immigration crossings of the Southern US border crossed the 2 million mark. The associated Human Trafficking, Drug Importation, Drug Usage explosion and Crime escalation come together with that statistic.

As for Inflation, it is reportedly just over 6%. And that is using the faked-out “basket of goods” measurement technique copied by Bill Clinton from the UK back on his watch. This current approach makes no account of Gas and Housing costs. A more realistic method (as used in the 80’s) has real annual inflation currently running over 18%. Ouch.

Well, enough of the misery of current News. Let us reflect on the joys of travel and recent experiences. 😊

As always, I urge you to make the most of all opportunities, despite any current norms, restrictions and the general pandemic situation.

Travel is still possible, even if quite simple local excursions. So, follow reasonable Pandemic practices, Vaccinate if you choose and make the most of what is possible. Keep an element of joy in your life.

Lastly, should you have connections with current Cancer sufferers, please look for ways to ease that burden and lighten their load.

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

A Personal Account: Travels, Health Recovery and Political Outlook

The Holiday Season is upon us.

However, before I dive into the chronicle of my recent travels, I should briefly check back in on the important subject of my last BLOG, namely the discussion of Cancer.

Many of you will be familiar with the subject. If you are not, you will be eventually. Such is modern life and current medical progress.

For my part, as I write I am 11 weeks past a partial nephrectomy performed with robotic surgery at the Keck Institute of USC in LA. I have no Chemo planned and am simply on the watch for future new and reoccurring signs. My strength is largely returned and like most people the memory of events is fading.

For all practical purposes I have already moved on. Inevitably, tomorrow can be another story for us all.

What is NOT fading into the past is my awareness of the stress, anxiety and fears that illness from cancer brings to others. When people meet with me, I become quickly attuned to their seemingly universal underlying beliefs in the sinister nature of cancer. It is clear most suspect that eventually the next shoe will drop: another phase or bout with the disease is on the horizon. This is what so many transparently expect.

There is also the awareness of how traumatized are both friends and relatives by the occurrence of the disease in those they know. They obviously fear what they cannot see or control and dread what might lie ahead for these others and themselves.

It is difficult to watch the thinly disguised anguish these traumatized observers endure.

Inevitably, I too must watch ongoing difficult battles being fought against cancer by people I know. There are new combatants, some recently afflicted and others longstanding. With the awareness of their struggles comes the knowledge of the pain and distress of their loved ones and friends. The tentacles of cancer reach far and wide.

There are also many victims who willfully ignore obvious symptoms; some out of denial, others for fear of what they might discover. Delay invariably compounds problems.

So, if you are currently involved with a sufferer, I hope you can bring some solace to their door.

And if you witness symptomatic suffering being ignored, encourage victims to investigate and quickly.

As for this piece, let me now move off to lighter discussion ( 😉 ) regarding my most recent travels…

Given the backdrop of Covid-related inconveniences my latest month of travels have been restricted to the Domestic front:  first up to Redding (CA) for a regular Drift fishing trip Euro-nymphing for rainbow trout, regular weekends sailing on the quiet San Francisco Bay followed by an extended journey across the US Southwest.

The low, cold and turbid waters of the Lower Sacramento (CA) dam release yielded well for my Birthday fishing trip in mid-November. I rounded off my special day with a visit to a lively Sushi and Mongolian BBQ bar in Redding. A fine day out and splendid celebration.  😊

As for sailing on the Bay, it remains lonely. The diminished sail-boat traffic of the Covid era has not fully returned and we are now headed into the naturally quieter Winter Season.

Commercial traffic has improved a little: A few more ferries run these days though less Container Ships are queued up below the Bay Bridge waiting for their turn to move dockside and progress their cargoes slowly through the weakened Supply Chain. I suspect vessels now embark at later times to arrive for more predictable unloading opportunities, rather than sit off-shore anchored-up, just waiting.

Finally, when late November rolled around the time for an early Holiday Season Trip was upon us. So, we confirmed our plans, finalized the bookings, checked the weather, packed our bags and set out…

As a group of four we left before Thanksgiving to see the Canyons of the Southwest:  Grand, Antelope(s), Bryce and Zion. And I think I have found myself a personal (albeit qualified) winner in the contest for the most spectacular viewing.

The journey began with masked-up travel through SFO (airport), for a United flight into Las Vegas to pick up the rental car and overnight before moving onward.

The Bellagio Hotel (and Casino) in Vegas rekindled old memories and provided people-watching opportunities galore. Sitting just off the main lobby under the massive Chihuly-designed, vividly colored glass-flowered ceiling, it seemed like the entire world passed before my eyes.

An endless stream of Covid-masked vacationers ambled by the piano-bar, gazing at the massive Christmas tree, wandering about its surrounding displays. Children of all ages were in awe, stopping to pose and take photographs then paddling along their way, passing down wide overdecorated carpeted corridors to exits providing them access to other Hotels along the Strip.

The next day we rose early navigating the Bellagio check-out and car reclaim, then heading to the familiar Tusayan Village just outside the Grand Canyon National Park.

There followed trips and hikes around the sites and stops, on the opposite side of the Canyon from the already closed (for Winter and storm season) and higher Northern Rim. This was my third visit. I always arrive a little off-season when temperatures have already dropped. But this time there was no sprinkling of early Winter snow.

The Grand Canyon was formed by the mighty Colorado River cutting 5,000’ deep into a plateau over a period of some (est.) six million years. Exposed rocks at the bottom of the canyon are a billion years old.

This rim would be the lowest elevation we would visit on our journey.

We arrived where the usual spectacular views were laid out below, a mile deep and crisply clear on a chilly yet sunny day. Parking at the Visitor Center I visited Maher Point, Yavapai Point and Museum and walked down to the head of the Bright Angel Trail quietly slipping down into the Canyon from the side of the Art Gallery in the Village.

The trail quickly passes through a much-trafficked arch then can be seen winding back and forth in several hairpin bends to appear again a few thousand feet directly below where it snakes off across flats and through small, lightly wooded areas to vanish suddenly in the distance over the edge of a distant plateau, deep below.

Later that day we drove out, parked and hiked a mile to enjoy a sunset viewing of the massive Horseshoe Bend which once again lived up to its legendary reputation.

That evening we found a large rustic restaurant back in town to host us where we savored our traditional Thanksgiving meal alongside a giant 30’ x 40’ segmented screen which rolled spectacular videos and shots of year-round Grand Canyon images taken from aircraft and ground locations.

The next day we ran into a couple of resting moose, laying quietly beneath shade trees just off the walking trail. Another pair of giants later ambled slowly and deliberately just feet in front of our halted vehicle.

We wound up our Grand Canyon viewing and Photo Ops at Navajo Point, then latterly the Desert View Watchtower before driving off towards Page (AZ), passing and visiting numerous Navajo roadside stalls and markets along the way towards Antelope and Bryce Canyons.

Crowds had quickly thinned and numbers diminished everywhere we went as soon as Thanksgiving had passed. It is critical to view these marvels when seasonal heat is not oppressive, the Holidays are done, traffic is massively reduced and well before the bitter Winter cold sets in, yet most services and places remain open, sufficiently staffed.

Hot days, large crowds and traffic delays severely dimmish even these spectacular viewing experiences. Things can then be miserable. Our visit timing hit the sweet spot throughout the journey.  😊

Following our arrival in Page we enjoyed three major outings: two visits of Antelope Canyon(s) and a UTV trip into the local mountains.

First came the UTV trip. We ran in side-by-sides for 2hrs in a gradual climb to the locally named 6000’ high Hot Dog Point (HDP) overlooking the Paria River a few thousand feet below which runs down to the distant Lee’s ferry and joins the Colorado River. The precipitous views of the Echo and Vermillion cliffs was something to behold and photographed well.

The so-called Honeymoon Trail runs beside the Paria River away from the Ferry and upstream, far below where we were perched. It was named for the journey made by early settlers returning home with newly acquired brides.

The UTV ride back followed a much faster trail and we returned our rented off-roader just an hour after leaving HDP. We then spent 20 minutes trying to rid ourselves of the deep red trail dust that covered everything we wore, even including the insides of sunglasses and goggles. 😊

Next, we made trips to the Upper Upper Antelope and the Lower Antelope Canyons. The former visit gifted us a private Navajo guide (as required on these lands) who regaled us with tales of the Canyon’s ownership and interesting aspects the Navajo Culture.

He was himself half Apache, so in his words not true Navajo. There is no such name as Navajo in the Native language as the people call themselves Dee Nay (spelled here as pronounced to me) and name their reservation land similarly, too. The name Navajo was just a Western Import unwantedly bestowed upon the people by Spanish invaders.

As for the culture itself, it is entirely Matriarchal. It seems with all the (specifically) household say and management directed by women, men often find reasons to stay away, absent themselves frequently or simply leave. There are tribal Elders and a Counsel where men are normally featured and valued, but as for Chiefs, the Navajo have no such thing(s); claiming their stated existence is simply considered a lie.

I trust our guide was being fully accurate with the snippets of information (listed above) that he provided.  😉

He took us through the Upper Upper Canyon after we had climbed 100’ down ramshackle staircases. Antelope is formed by flashfloods carving ancient lake-bed sediment into smooth, deep sculptured channels in the red and buff-colored strata of soft rock. Distant rainfall run-off can suddenly roar in, pouring into the narrow channels and over steep canyon walls.

This Canyon was mostly >40’ deep with the high walls making it difficult to survive any flash-flood. Our guide told us of the time he was caught and extracted a Texas couple from such and event. They were extremely cold, shaken yet thoroughly inspired by the time the torrent subsided and they waded out though chilling waist-deep waters to clamber up a scalable cliff face.

The Antelope Canyon series were discovered less than 100 years ago by (the story goes) young girls locating sheep that had wandered down through crevasses which were found to burrow deeper the further they were explored. Native children first played in there and eventually they were turned into tourist attractions as early visitors explored, photographing and publishing the novel images of these mysterious water carvings and light effects in Nationally famous journals.

Next, we visited the much more famous Lower Antelope Canyon. There have been original pictures taken of illusional light effects and wall carvings sculpted from water-action within the bowels of this feature that have sold for as much as $6M and $4M, respectively. Even Microsoft has used images from within for Screensavers; visitors and people from across the world have adorned their homes with their own photography and professional works of this natural marvel.

You descend carefully supervised into this canyon, backwards down a brief sequence of robust steel ladder staircases that run to perhaps 100’ deep with a narrow opening spilling in light across the 100-200 yds or so of its length. At its very bottom, the walking width can vary from a usable foot wide to several yards, weaving and zigzagging to open areas with gradually increasing elevation changes.

There are surfaces, walls, colors and illusions of light and shape to photograph at every turn. Guides help create further illusions and point out shapes appearing as George Washington, The Ghost, Seahorse, Dancing Lady and dozens more impressive Photo Ops.

At its end, the canyon floor gradually and imperceptibly elevates as you crouch slightly, weaving upwards through channels, finally clambering up the last dozen steps to eventually stand and walk upright out of a crevasse in the rock. Quite an adventure and a spectacular way to emerge once again into full daylight.

When the flooding water courses through these canyons it can rage with currents reaching over 100 mph in the tightest spots to (still irresistible) just 10’s of mph in the widest and most tame runs. And the shapes that are carved and light effects that result must be seen to be believed.

So much for the unique experience of Antelope Canyon(s). A guide told me that when he helped place a Verizon tower atop a distant sheer 10,000’ high local Navajo Territory Mesa he could look down and see countless similar unexplored canyons carved below. There is still much to explore and discover in this region.

So next we moved on to the Town of Bryce, just 5 minutes outside of the drive-in National Park entry gates.

Bryce Canyon is again spectacular. I know some who say it is their favorite of all Natural wonders. Indeed, it is strange, unique and mightily impressive.  😊

The main viewing is from multiple expertly positioned sites around a grand Amphitheatre (about 2 miles across) of so-called Hoodoos. Bryce can be seen on the distant horizon from even further away than Page. It towers to almost 10,000’ and the lowest areas of the rim are around 5000’ with the base of the canyon at most a few thousand feet below.

The region was formed as an ancient ocean bed, covered and exposed some 6-7 times every 15 million years. There are massive sedimentary deposits from these incursions that have been eroded since the earth mantle last raised up and displaced the waters. Each day the altitude brings frigid air that freezes moisture in the rocks to be melted by the warm sun the following days; this has resulted in massive erosion which produced thousands of odd-shaped and often precariously balanced individual columns of rock (Hoodoos), vertically colored and stratified by the eons of varied sedimentary deposits made upon the ancient ocean bed.

A massive basin has formed at Bryce, filled with the world’s largest collection of these Hoodoos. And as you look further into the distance towards the horizon you can see the (6-7) layers of unique strata depositions made during the separate periods when an ocean was present.

Visitors come out all day to walk the rim and visit their own choice locations to view the Sunset and Sunrise. Photographs are best made in the middle day to avoid massive shadows from peaks entering the frame and detracting from the overall image. As usual with such grand landscapes it is often better to have SOME foreground reference (people, trees or things) that helps convey the massive scale of the views.

As for our party we viewed the sunrise at the (locally) recommended Bryce Point and followed up through the day with visits to other Points: Sunrise, Sunset and Inspiration. Walks and climbs at these altitudes get your attention when moving around the rim. We were again spoiled by the sparsity of visitors and welcome privacy following the Thanksgiving weekend.

Later in the Day we drove some eight more miles further out and climbed to almost 9,000’ to enjoy both Farview and the famous Natural Bridge. Again, magnificent and unique photo ops if you have the skills and equipment, though even an amateur’s efforts cannot fail to impress with such subject material.  😉

So much for Bryce Canyon National Park. Following this last outing we packed our bags and began the two-hour scenic route drive to Zion. There were mini, Bryce-like Hoodoos and occasional red-rock vermillion cliffs adorned by the midday sunshine all along the way.

Temperatures remained consistent throughout the entire trip: Mid 40’s early morning after sunup, warming to at best mid 60’s in the sunlight and out of the breeze. However, the higher altitudes of Bryce Point before a sunrise viewing did manage to slip temperatures down to the high 20’s while we were there.

Along the way to Zion were numerous exotic (Ostrich, Beef, Alligator, Bison, Wild Boar etc.) jerky-buying opportunities and a large, fenced-in sedentary Buffalo Herd for viewing and Photo Ops. As we drew close to the Park, a wildfire drove smoke 100’s of feet into the cloudless sky and the roadsides were littered with the rotting carcasses of several unfortunate mule deer, victimized in traffic incidents.

Finally, we approached the empty traffic lanes of the Entry Posts for Zion and entered the National Park itself. What a stunning find. The huge rolling rocks and colored mountains that rise both sides of the snaking pass are truly spectacular. I find Zion to be my first choice among all the Canyons viewed on this trip through the Southwest.

Bryce has the highest elevation of the canyons we visited. As for Zion, the walls of the canyon run up 1000’-1500’ above the floor with its highest peaks matching the lowest elevations in Bryce and its canyon floor matching the high rims around the Grand Canyon.

The Canyon walls of Zion run from pale beige through every shade that sediment can present to stunning deep clay-colored reds. What a spectacle.

We drove along the Canyon floor, then into long tunnels bored through the massive peaks and fell out the other side of the park immediately into the Town of Springdale and our waiting Hotel.

After checking in we found the local Visitor Center inside the Park a mile up the road offered plenty of souvenirs to shop. Rangers sat unmasked outside the buildings under tents, providing advice and suggestions to maximize your visit.

The seasonal Shuttles that ferry visitors throughout the park had stopped operating the day before as the post-Thanksgiving guest numbers had completely fallen off. Cars were now allowed inside the park for trips and viewing, not just to access the famous Lodge.

While there we rented eBikes two consecutive days and made the 20-mile roundtrip up the Scenic Route to the Temple turnabout and walked the short hike from there into the Narrows, which is so often subject to dangerous flash-flooding.

The whole region was once again the product of ancient water sedimentary deposits, but this time the massive rock structures and canyon bed was formed by the mighty Virgin River that over the last 15 million years has driven rainy season currents that put the mighty Colorado to shame.

We were once again spoiled by the fortunate time we had chosen to visit. We dodged the sweltering heat of Summer, avoided Seasonal Holiday crowds and were just ahead of the biting freeze of Winter. There were very few cars replacing the recently terminated shuttle service.

All our travels along the Zion Canyon bed were comfortable, cool and spectacularly scenic from dawn till dusk.

And the friendly Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, Bars and Services of the small town are all geared entirely to the support of the privileged Visitors to Zion.

On our final night in Zion, we drove out to a newly rated official Night Sky Viewing Spot to watch the stars with little-to-no night glow interference from the Town of Springdale or the very few local buildings inside the park. It was quite a show. A truly vast display of stars, planets, galaxies and constellations.

The next morning, we watched the sunrise tumble down the vermillion cliff-face behind our hotel room, grabbed the offered breakfast, packed and set off back to Vegas for our last night, once again scheduled in the Bellagio Resort.

After checking in there I wandered the Casino area for a short while and viewed the punters eagerly placing bets, anxiously awaiting the outcomes. Many seemed to lose, some won quietly but others reveled in their victories.

One Craps table exploded in congratulations and celebrations as the dice settled to cheers, handshakes, hugs and thankyous. “That is what we live for,” called out one gambler. A joyous event, yet a sad statement of the values and needs of they who imbibe.

After a little more wandering our group met with two more friends who were in town for a weekend outing. We all dined at Spago’s in the Bellagio and were treated throughout the evening on the heated outdoor balcony to the famous Water Fountain Shows, just yards away.

There was even a surprise visitor to our table. The Head Chef and Owner of Spago’s, Wolfgang Puck, joined our ranks and graciously stood in for a Photo Op. He is a great Host and wise Businessman who mingles well with very appreciative guests.

Gene Simmons and Wolfgang Puck Host Rocktoberfest Opening Night at L.A. Live in Los Angeles on October 15, 2012

The evening closed back at the piano bar in the Hotel Lobby, people-watching again, reminiscing and listening to a pianist who has entertained more than one US President. These were the closing throes of a memorable trip.

And eventually, we reluctantly retired.

After a few hours sleep we reclaimed the car, checked out and returned our vehicle to the Las Vegas Car Rental Center, grabbed a Starbucks and breakfast in the airport and clambered aboard the flight back to SFO. This was quickly followed by a short flight and long drive home to Santa Cruz in the Monterey Bay.

That trip was over. And now the planning for Christmas and New Year’s travel has begun.

So next, entirely changing subject there are the issues of Local (CA), National and Global political shenanigans and events to consider. Unfortunately, there are many troubling news items percolating as long-term problems…

First up is my Home State of California. For some reason we like to regularly declare water shortage emergencies, hereabouts. It turns out that there is less a Water Shortage Issue, than there is an issue with Water Collection.

California has made few improvements and no Additions in this area in the last 40 years. Yes, they have collected FUNDING to facilitate such work, but it appears that money went elsewhere. You have probably guessed that the population of the State has grown around 50% over this same period.

So, you might rightly ask, why would a naturally water-poor, dramatically growing State NOT take the necessary actions? There is more than just the Mismanagement of Water, in notorious California. ☹

On the National front we have a laundry list of crises:  Southern Border Illegal Immigration, Drug Smuggling and Exploding Drug Usage, Human Trafficking, Gas Prices, Record Inflation, The Afghan Withdrawal, Violent Crime Escalation, Promotion of Racism, Expanding Supply Chain Catastrophes, Massive National Debt Growth, COVID-19 Mismanagement etc. And always few to no answers.

Every Government Policy pursued begins fraught with foolishness, Executive Actions are lead-ins to inevitable failure, and Administration Positions are blatantly flawed even at their introduction.

The only question remaining is whether these calamities are Intentional, the result of Gross Incompetence or a mixture of BOTH

Whomever is charge simply cannot govern. ☹

And frighteningly, we now have >35 States reporting Voting Issues with the 2020 elections. So what reason is there to suppose that there is ANY chance future elections will be other than heavily compromised?

On the Global front, everyone that matters are dressing for war

China has large and growing inflation problems and a massive property bubble. When you additionally infect the planet (with Covid) so consequently diminish general product demand, your government cannot hide the issues forever, even when disconnected from World Markets that would otherwise readily illuminate your crisis.

Chinese territorial expansionism (in the South China Seas, Tibet, Hong Kong, Taiwan etc.) by passing Internal Laws, the making of Global edicts and taking actions, exacerbates problems the World cannot ignore indefinitely. Let us face fact, China’s leadership could really use the distraction of a War.

Russia has witnessed first-hand American frailty in leadership and has eyes on the balance of Ukraine. Putin also needs to distract from leadership credibility and economic issues at home. So, the Russians are lining up at their border.

The US-created power vacuum is now recognized and visible throughout the World. Both Russia AND China will want to push their luck to maximum advantage around the Globe.

And nobody needs a brand-new War to distract the Public from his failures more than the already sunken President Joe Biden.

Have you ever seen folks dress up for a party and then not attend? Possibly. But have you ever seen Leaders NEED a War and not get one underway?

For myself, this about completes the content of the Blog. Next time there will be tales of how my upcoming international travel fares in the teeth of a ramping Covid profile that always seems to thrive in colder weather.

Have you planned a break for yourself? It is likely the turmoil of this era is also weighing on your loved ones and friends.

Perhaps you should find ways to bring a little joy and comfort to the lives of others?

Everyone needs time to kick-back and regenerate. Find yourself an opportunity to relax and enjoy this Winter Season. And Happy Holidays!

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

Personal Health, Cancerous Intrusions and Continued Chaotic News Events

These are the strangest and most difficult of times. It is the era of massive disinformation.

So much is known, yet little appears profoundly understood or shared legitimately. We have created an inflated world of superficiality, obfuscation and deliberate misdirection.

Rather than simply inform and entertain us Local, National, Global News and Events are routinely positioned and defined to alienate, separating us into antagonistic, feuding factions.

With this backdrop, tell me you are Progressive and do not hate Conservatives and their views. Convince me you are politically biased to the Right and do not crave the downfall of the Left. It seems that many are being bullied away from often rational middle ground.

We satiate ourselves with the bile fed us by News Outlets, raise our heads and by our own inaction and tolerance, beg for more. Such are the Times.

As for myself, I have been preoccupied, off-line in an enforced recouperation from surgery for these last several weeks.

My journey has followed a well-trodden path of those who went before me and assuredly the countless more yet to come. It is a story that perhaps half of you reading this will experience personally. Certainly, you will increasingly witness similar events among friends, colleagues and relatives throughout your life.

It is commonly reported that fifty percent of the population will suffer from some form of Cancer in their lifetime. There are numerous forms that can materialize: Cancer of the Skin, Bowel, Prostate, Breast, Throat, Kidney, Liver, Lung, Gall Bladder, Bladder, Pancreas, Intestine, etc. Tumors can attach anywhere and treatments vary depending on their age, patients’ age and health, the cancer’s growth-rate, size, location and physical position.

Unsurprisingly, success / cure rates and recovery are also tied to these very same attributes

In my lifetime I have seen victims of every single cancer-type mentioned above and more; an incredibly sad commentary upon which to reflect.

My own situation followed a well-travelled action plan and recovery path after a fluke, but truly fortunate early detection.

Just a couple of weeks after confirmatory scans I underwent an advanced robotic surgery in LA, performed by an Internationally acclaimed surgeon at The Keck Institute of USC. After a (luckily, only) partial Nephrectomy on a still smallish, but challengingly placed low-growth tumor.

I was up and about walking within hours and gone from my Air-controlled, heavily Covid-proofed room within 24 hrs. of being installed there, Post OP.

Admittedly, my RHS midriff was colorfully and spectacularly bruised, surrounding five frugal surgical puncture wounds, but this was largely disappeared within a month. Having quickly dropped all use of narcotic painkillers I was even able to drive myself to a post OP review six days after surgery to profusely thank my surgeon, before being driven on an unrushed 2-day return journey along the spectacular CA Hwy1 Pacific coastal road.

The journey back North to my Northern California home in Santa Cruz featured a two-night stop in Pismo Beach with walks to view the Hotel’s Pelican Preserve and Private Beach. Then the final leg of the drive included a mile-long walk to and around an Elephant Seal colony on beaches just South of Big Sur.

So, not such a traumatic experience. With no Chemotherapy prescribed it is now time to wait and perform the ritual and predictable annual reviews that check for the cancer’s reoccurrence and/or new distribution in the coming years.

So far, so good…touch wood.

My case is relatively straightforward and apparently fortunate. Early detection is everything and LUCK played a significant part on that account, as is often the case in a world where screening is far from medically common or comprehensive.

Why even discuss these events? Well, this is my story. In some ways it will eventually probably be like your own, too. Mine is an easy and palatable tale; many comparable stories are not.

During my medical visits and stays I saw waiting rooms and facilities full of extremely sick people. Most were likely NOT beneficiaries of early detection. Many were extremely ill, grey-skinned, brimming with palpable fear. Their experiences and immersion in the unknown had left them appearing traumatized, often clinging to loved ones accompanying them that day. They sat silent or whispering amongst themselves in the sterile, church-like surrounds.

This is a glimpse of other paths through the maze.

As you read this, you are almost certainly recalling friends, colleagues and relatives who have vanished from your life with similar but ultimately less fortunate stories. Several sufferers do seem to survive their initial diagnosis only to be laid-low by one, two or even more subsequent cancerous attacks. And their journeys’ end is often times witnessed as ultimately both miserable and tragically managed.

Yet this is not a complete picture of how things might play out.

It also means there is even more reason we should celebrate the most minor medical reprieves that might occur along the way and certainly openly applaud all full recoveries. Mortality is the Human Curse across every society; something eventually takes us all. It is simply a matter of WHAT and WHEN.

So, if a medical disaster is NOT UPON YOU TODAY, then there is much cause for celebration and thanks. The NOW can offer infinite joy if you are able to recognize and choose it as a blessing.

As for myself, I will keep my head down, enjoy the Day, sometimes cross my fingers and occasionally touch wood. Why not! There are always SOME simple things I am able to do and still control. 😊

My immediate focus has now moved to getting back in shape and pursuing normal routines.

So much for the medical warnings and personal view.

The world has predictably proceeded along with no heed of my recent individual distractions and challenge. No surprise there.

And so, there is a laundry list of recent Events and News to consider, but this time NOT by me. For now, I will just offer you this perspective.

I hope your family, friends and colleagues are well. If not, I hope you can offer them something to ease their troubles.

Just consider what you might do and follow-up where appropriate with meaningful words, support and action.

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

Riding The Flow Of National Chaos into 4Q21

In my last BLOG I did pontificate that the social turmoil and chaos shows no sign of abating and would at least be ridden solidly by politicians into the 2022 mid-terms. Unfortunately, this is proving true and if anything, deeds and misdeeds are worsening.

So, I want to begin here with a (happy) review of my recent trip to Alaska. 😊

If you visit there, you’d better be outdoorsy as that’s mostly the menu with everything happening in spectacular natural surroundings.

I was previously last in Alaska during September 2020. It proved to be a great escape from the Covid-plagued behaviors and restrictions of my California home. At least it was once the airport Covid clearances in Anchorage were completed, permitting entry to the countryside and greater State.

This trip, restrictions and checks were gone. The Season was the largest (by visitors) for the last couple of years and the Sockeye (Reds) Salmon runs were prolific. So, the agenda was filled with much fishing and more sightseeing of the massive State. This year the locals had businesses to run and clients to enjoy.

The visit was in early August 2021; Alaska starts backing down for mid-September. By end of month (Sept.) those providing the holiday services and support are often leaving for their own vacations and warmer climes.

It’s the same again this year. Once schools are in some form of session, the vacation traffic drops and the evening air begins to cool; time for Holiday Season to be cleared-away, everything cleaned and then stored during Winter.

We stayed in a lodge near Kenai. It backed onto a small creek that fed the rolling Kenai River just 300 yards away. On a couple of evenings moose swam across the water 25 yards below us as we relaxed after dinner. They wandered up alongside the dining area and eventually disappeared slowly into the wooded undergrowth.

I fished for Sockeye and Silver Salmon while there. Both proved plentiful and fun to catch. Only one day did we (just) miss our limits of whatever we were fishing.

The first few days out were on the easily accessible Kenai and then later the Kasilof River where the haul-out of the boat is via a >100 yard long, pick-up-truck powered towline that drags the drift boat 30 yards through a groove in the thick slimy brown mud of the tidal riverbank and up onto a wooden ramp. Interesting and aged technology.

Other days featured floatplane rides out to the remote Kustutan River (+30 mins away) and Crescent Lake (about 45 mins flight). The latter trip was sprinkled with constant views of and access to Brown Bears. Got some great pics of Moms with cubs and video of one sow that routinely swims under water, snagging salmon carcasses and slow-moving fish for her pleading and playful off-spring. And the Trout and Salmon fishing there was prolific, too. 😉

Managed a (Fjord) Cruise out of Seward for the obligatory views of Whales, sedimentary Rock Pinnacles (a la China South Seas kind), Puffins, Whales, Otters and then of course the great Glacier.

That giant blue piece of ice is a mile wide and hundreds of feet high where the gorge opens into the bay. It runs 14 miles back and offers a chilled and breezy micro-climate at its foot that makes eager passengers huddle for quick phot-ops and look to a speedy return for inside viewing opportunities. A single other passenger vessel sauntered up to join our viewing at the glacier’s extended base where resting harbor seals lay around in droves.

The return journey was delayed as one of two engines lost power aboard the spotless, 6-month-old ship. But the extra half hour journey addition back to Seward on the 400 passenger vessel passed easily as we enjoyed glacier-ice margheritas and sunset views.

We made a couple of day runs out of Homer, departing it’s massive (20’-30’) tide swings and the great spit that runs out into the ocean while providing convenient harbor access to the Gulf. The fishing delivered large Halibut the first trip and an extended second day out grabbed us more of the same plus a great haul of cod from further out to sea.

The vessel in Homer was skippered by a woman in her early 20’s and crewed by her younger sister. They certainly knew their trade. The second trip must have brought in well over 600lb of fish for the six of us fishing. All those fish were fully filleted and bagged before we completed the 2-hour run back into Homer. Impressive.

We did manage to visit the Salty Dawg Bar on the Spit and pin our obligatory signed $1 bill to the ceiling, joining the 70,000 other predecessors. The Café right across the road offering Fish and Chips was well worth a visit, too. 😊

If you’re ever in Homer, see if you can find that autographed (Ian & Vivian, Santa Cruz) banknote. And good luck!

All good things must end, so we eventually made the long spectacular ride back to Anchorage, boarded our flight and acknowledging the season was approaching an end, flew back to San Francisco and drove home to Santa Cruz.

We are already booked for our 2022 return; this time we’ll bring along our little family group to renew our acquaintance with the many good new friends we made in Kenai and on our trips.

Since then, I have completed a few weekend sails on the San Francisco Bay. The official sailing season is done and the Delta variant and time of year seems to have taken a toll on sailboat traffic hereabouts despite the spectacularly warm and generally clement late-season weather.

Sailing vessels are few again and the backed-up container ships littering the lower Bay and filling the Oakland docks all this year have disappeared. There are still the usual (for 2021) ten or so empty tankers anchored up below the Bay bridge. But the Container Ships are few and none down the Alameda channel as I write. Most odd.

I’m currently stationed on a boat at a club in Alameda. Yesterday I wandered down the docks and noticed an old man one third the way up a sailboat mast (where there is nothing of interest to repair or check) and apparently stuck in a Bosun’s Chair on its way up. So, I enquired and not surprisingly a little help was required.

It seems the man operating the (tail-less) winch was having trouble both pulling on the halyard that ran to the Chair from the masthead and simultaneously winding the winch. He complained that his knee surgery was impeding him (it didn’t work right) and not his 93 years.

He also pointed out the young guy was the one in the Chair; he apparently is only 89 years old. So, I helped and we hauled the Chair up for work to occur just at the first spreader, halfway up the mast.

Turns out the youngster is someone with whom I dined a year ago and didn’t recognize from this unusual angle. He is also a 3-time winner of the Trans Pac Race, the annual sail-fest that runs from Long Beach environs to Honolulu, Hawaii. It’s a small world.

And now to the News and record of recent, prominent News events…

As I have mentioned before I try to grab information from all sides of the Political spectrum. Now we are mostly focused upon a new Administration domestically as that is where much action occurs.

While having lunch today I watched an hour of MSNBC that was running in the restaurant. Wow. A few 10’s of minutes here and there is one thing, but an hour, ouch. Now I understand why a judge dismissed a suit brought against Rachel Maddow in the last six months because (paraphrase) everyone knows what she says is not really News and what she reports is more reality TV than credible News.

And this observation caused a valid and provable suit for Slander to be DISMISSED? Something here is very wrong. Do Maddow’s (newest) viewers KNOW that this is what they are hearing? My guess is that many do not. What I heard in my extended Maddow-less exposure earlier today was of the same ilk. Ouch, again.

I wonder, does exposure to today’s News Channels have a detrimental effect on listeners? Whatever your political persuasion I’m inclined to believe if you’re buying what’s been sold there is real risk of you losing all perspective and drinking the proverbial Kool-Aid.

So, let’s try here to pick out some demonstrably FACTUAL (if not universally popular) NEWS…

And I’ll try and keep it to one-liners to speed things for the reader.

By early August as many as six Governors had been stripped of powers by their Legislatures for overreach during the pandemic. Their States include Michigan, New York (no surprise here), Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Ohio and Idaho.

The Afghanistan departure was a clueless unmitigated disaster. Biden still struggles to understand it’s his Execution not the Exit that is the issue. He left people behind and got others killed in a suicide bombing. His futile attempt at payback blew-up when even NYT admitted he’d killed a known Aid worker and his family in a clearly miscalculated over-the-horizon drone strike. MSM continues to ignore this, but it meets the bar as a war-crime and even ex-Obama officials are calling it out.

As for Austin (Secretary of Defense) and Milley (Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff) they are worthless co-conspirators in the Afghanistan debacle. They did nothing tangible to mitigate inevitable problems even when the disastrous so-called Exit Plan lay in front of them. Their previous service is of little consequence if they ignored what they must have known would occur. It is an issue of Duty, Responsibility and Personal Integrity.

A MAJOR related faux pas lies in Biden telling no allies of his withdrawal intentions. This is incomprehensible. The previously privately reported international belief in his incompetence and senility is now in plain sight and openly discussed across allied Nations. He has lost friends as those countries must now seek alignments and reliable alliances other than with his Administration and Military.

And Dept of Defense Secretary Austin now says he thinks Al Qaeda may re-emerge in Afghanistan. Really? What an amazing statement of the bleeding obvious. Clearly, he does not possess adequate deductive skills for his position. CIA insight says that ISIS and Al Qaeda may re-emerge withing 1-2 years. Sadly, I will be shocked if they’re not enacting some crime on US soil well before a year has passed.

After Obama created ISIS v.1.0 from his actions in Iraq, now Biden is going for Al Qaeda reborn and ISIS v.2.0 with his incompetence in Afghanistan.

As for the surprise collapse of the Afghani Government, even my own readings in the month or so before exit identified there was at most a couple of months before total chaos. The Taliban were simply everywhere on the Map of Afghanistan and the installed Afghan president was an off-the-charts corrupt and weak leader.

At the time of US withdrawal, the Pentagon announced the Taliban were 90 days from Kabul. It was 90 hours. This is the SAME Pentagon that announced, for no apparent reason, out of the blue in the first weeks of 2020 that the Coronavirus was not an engineered virus nor was it from other than natural sources. I want what they’re smokin’. WE need a new Pentagon. ADVICE to The Pentagon: Many people will recall unprompted and strange misdirection.

I dread to think what human rights abuses are already underway in Afghanistan. When you have no feet on the ground and ZERO motivation to acknowledge the consequences of your actions, I am guessing MSM will stay quiet on this subject until some Domestic (or more likely Foreign) sources cause an outcry that is (i.e., SHOULD be) impossible to ignore.

The plight of Afghan women and girls is profoundly troubling. Their abandonment is simply inexcusable. Many have been raised in an era and culture where the constraints they are already beginning to experience were NOT the norm though the last 20 years.

Sadly, the rumors that the State Dept. was trying to charge Americans (and others) fleeing Afghanistan $2k / head for transport out, are true. Afghani’s that helped the US were often being asked to pay more. There was even some US Government attempt to justify this action… sigh.

Fortunately, in the early days of the evacuation, Brits were rescuing their own ex-pats and Americans, too. But they were approached by the American Army holding the Airport and requested to knock it off as you’re making us look bad. There were also a number of NGO’s operating to get 100’s of people out in the latter stages. They reported being routinely held up and refused right to depart flights by the State Dept for unreported reasons.

And in the more mundane recall of Gavin Newsome, voting was concluded and the Recall failed. Hard to imagine there would be any change in deep Blue CA. Dems own the cities (LA, San Francisco and San Diego) and yet there’s no love anywhere else around the State for Gavin.

Newsome’s flaws and failures are so numerous: He’s moved from being a Coke-Head Mayor to a (well-known) drinking problem, while diddling a top Aid, using money raised for critical Firefighting for other purposes, ignoring his own Covid restrictions, illegally grabbing Covid funds for his personal business, lying about his accomplishments with the ~29 essential fire prevention tasks (he completed 25% of one item, blew-off the rest and claimed success) he’d defined for fund-raising, continued the 40-year total neglect of water collection systems in the State, freed >40k prison inmates to save them from Covid as crime grew, Homelessness exploded and filth proliferated within the Cities, and on and on and on. Who needs this guy?

Yet in came the damaged crew of his Auntie Nancy, Beleaguered Biden, Laughing Do-Nothing Kamala, Lying Pocahontas, Obama and Communist Bernie to espouse his great worth (well, to THEIR cause, really). Honestly, you travel around CA and outside of the Cities and Gavin is NOT liked at all.

But that is what mail-in ballots are for! Yes, the same system as the French officially outlawed in 1975 as it was so blatantly and easily corruptible. Yup, EVERYONE in CA got a mail-In ballot.

Better beware. Gavin will be back much later, too, untarnished and running for President before you know what hit you.

Changing the subject…

A Harvard Economist broke the bad news to CNN: Inflation has already voided Biden’s Covid Relief bills. In fact, the massive Kroger empire has advised that the back end of 2021 will see another 3-5% of what is likely escalating inflation (*).

So, Biden has self-inflicted crisis with the Southern Border, Gas Prices, Inflation, Afghanistan and Covid control. Am I forgetting something? I know the government is TAKING DOWN Trump fencing in Arizona which is to presumably facilitate Illegal Immigration and enhance the Human and Drug Trafficking industries. In Texas they’re BUILDING their own wall.

What could be the rationale for removing an existing wall? Walls are KNOWN and PROVEN highly effective in securing borders and limiting trafficking.

Looks like recent Mandates to enforce Vaccination in the workplace will keep the courts busy. This is simply NOT popular and NOT supported by Polling as I write. Clearly even many vaccinated people (like myself) would like to see more people vaccinated but DO NOT SUPPORT mandatory declarations for the workplace.

Many States are mandating vaccinations for workers. Fauci wants travelers without Vaxes to be grounded and the Army has just mandated vaccination for all. A couple of top FDA people recently resigned as they do not support boosters; the argument is that there is nowhere near the data available to mandate or even recommend that action at this point. Ahhh… yet another contradiction in medical advice.

The UK says it will not waste time on Vaccination Passports as it would be doing this for the sake of it and it has questionable real value. Tell that to folks in NYC and other places where it is already actively pushed.

And that tenacious little devil, Fauci is now being unambiguously exposed as a liar and a liar to Congress, to boot. Nothing will be done about this, but the truth is Fauci (under Obama permissions) funded a 3rd party Company which channeled funds to the under-prepared Wuhan Lab for research on Gainer (proteins were added to beef up the original virus) Bat Viruses.

At the time Fauci said the work was worth the risk of a pandemic. Hmmm. Hope he doesn’t run into a victim’s family in a dark alley.

Even Hillary’s emails had her trying to ensure we (the US) got all the details of the research that was funded and as for China, well, it’s a case of we HAVE the Bats. 😉

In mid-August Scotland announced it will allow 4-year-olds to change sex w/o parental consent. Nobody could make this stuff up.

At around that same time Polling showed that ~80% of voters blame Biden for what he insists is just an Inflation Spike… not as per Krogers’ Supermarkets (see above, (*)) warn, or other economists foretell.

And what is the deal with Kamala? Her toxic work environment and do-nothing, vanish-when-there’s-an-issue persona has got her mostly acknowledged across party lines as unfit and seriously underqualified for any office, especially the Presidency. It’s 50 years since a VP was so despised and thought to be this incompetent.

The FBI has announced that despite claims made no coordination is evident on Social Media Platforms that facilitated the Jan 6th incidents. I HAVE seen the video of Ashli Babbit’s shooting and cannot rationalize the action with the suggested risk to Capitol staff. If her family is able (as currently intended) to sue and a jury sees what I viewed they will have a field day. The claimed situation, shooting and timing all look very wrong and highly questionable.

Falling back to the Covid action… a LOT have people have died around the world and still no accountability is even remotely on the horizon. It is certain by their lockdown actions domestically and from satellite imaging around hospitals that China absolutely understood the infectiousness of the disease in 2019 and yet were pushing the rest of the World to stay open, travel and ignore what was going on there internally. I expect Cuomo’s’ lies and lack of accounting for 12,000 nursing Home deaths would have made him a popular visitor there, had he not otherwise been occupied with sexual harassment, assault and authoring his (now withdrawn) book.

Luv-Gov Cuomo resigned and stuck around the 2 weeks following to lock-in his $50,000 /year pension before avoiding the swinging door hitting him is the ass when he left. He still may yet face criminal charges for his female-assault work.

Antifa have established another Autonomous Zone in Portland and police decided to not attend the planned riot between them and right-wingers when it was scheduled in later August. The politicians favored this (lack-of) Action Plan. The residents? Not so much.

Biden’s Pandemic Plan execution features increased disease spread and more death. There were 2x more people in hospital beds Labor Day 2021 when there WAS a vaccine than in 2020 when there was NO vaccine. Not really what he’d promised in his campaign even after Trump left him the Vax. Ahh, those mutations just keep on giving.

As for the Biden Vaccine Mandate, it may be hitting more problems than just legal and social opposition. It appears the Dept responsible (Occupational Health and Safety Administration, or OSHA; part of the Dept of Labor) for the implementation and tracking of such a program is something of a ramshackle and traditional mess.

Apparently, even if $Billions were thrown at OSHA it may be years before it could effectively support the Mandate. Ah Ha, more Administration Planning at its finest, a la Afghanistan Execution. If the Government can’t operate and implement its dictates anyway, what’s the discussion about? What IS the threat?

And Government funding for Covid-related workplace absences goes on. There are >10 million US jobs looking for workers and the data shows that once people are getting at least 75% of what they would from working, they will NOT be looking for a job.

Where I live in CA there are open positions everywhere, especially in service industries. I hear some prospective workers demand employers pay compensation to relinquish Government hand-outs, PLUS an incentive on top. Even then folks jump ship quickly to other jobs that spring up after they have already started in their new positions.

Unsurprisingly, Locked-down Blue States with such payouts are bottom of the economic recovery charts, which are topped by opened-up, Red States.

In late August, hundreds were arrested in Australia as violent clashes with police occurred during protests about renewed Lockdown restrictions. Similar demonstrations have occurred around the World, notably in France, Italy and the UK. I’m pretty sure the MSM in all these places will play down the issue to avoid escalations. But globally, people are registering their frustrations with the local controls and mandates.

By mid-September violent protests in France against Vaccinations and Mask Mandates had already been running for eight consecutive weeks.

China has been pointing out to the likes of Taiwan and others that they can no longer rely on the US to protect them given the recent performance in exiting Afghanistan.

It seems that Obama is the gift that keeps on giving. His 60th birthday bash was said to be cut back to a few friends and family from the 700 guests originally planned, once public outrage grew. Well, the cutback was untrue; the guest count was reportedly higher than first proposed and the super spreader Covid-count from the event totaled some 74 guests. The normally very quiet local hospital had several extra beds occupied by associated local attendees, too. Unwanted and suppressed photos momentarily posted and escaping from the event showed a mask-less encounter for all.

And as for the FIVE Guantanamo prisoners Obama traded for the later-convicted American collaborator and deserter Bergdahl, well, they turned up again. Surprise! They did NOT vanish quietly into Qatar (or Bahrain, or some other such place) and disconnect from terrorism as we were promised. Rather, FOUR of them now feature very prominently in the current, new Taliban Government… such leadership, care and foresight.

Next, we have the on-going saga of the 2020 elections and voting. Things clearly went awry in Georgia and Arizona (large scale Ballot Harvesting), by any measure. But the legal firm Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) that is dedicated to Election Integrity has recorded that around 15 million mail-in ballots simply went astray in the US. It is unknown where they are, and they are wholly unaccounted.

We can see how the failed Mail-In Newsome recall panned out and now must wonder what will be the impact of such ballot anomalies on the 2022 mid-term elections? Sigh.

On the vaccination front, the FDA approved the Pfizer shot, paving the way for Vaccination Mandates, which arrived shortly thereafter despite repeated claims from Biden (often, since Dec 2020), Pelosi (April 2021), Psaki (multiple times) et al that they could not and would not happen.

And guess what? The Pfizer vaccine approved by the FDA is NOT for the same vaccine as the one administered to millions. It is somewhat different and there is really NO data on what this might mean for recipients and boosters.

Well, this is an interesting, lightly publicised twist. Its almost as bad as getting buyers remorse from using the now-recognized, far-less-effective-versus-mutations (and in general), 1-shot J&J vaccine and then wondering when a booster or even a somewhat proven cocktail mix might be available to fix the situation.

And the current unpopularity contest continues…

Kamala is attacking the Texas Heartbeat Law as an affront to women’s right to control their bodies and health concerns. Apparently, this logic does not apply to the Vaccination Mandate that’s now on the table for ~100 million Americans and which she is promoting vigorously.

Joe is in more trouble after the discovery by Genealogist Bannerman and Presidential Lineage expert Gary Roberts that he has a couple of slave-owning ancestors. As the woke mob wants George Washington cancelled for similar ownership it will interesting to see if this blemish is attacked. Let’s face it, Biden is no Washington. 😉

However, President Biden is already facing growingly antagonistic crowds. College Campus football games are commonly featuring F..k Biden chants and his September trip to CA in support of Newsome brought out disparaging banners for his motorcade. He was also roundly booed during this Long Beach College visit.

And the lying continues with Joe. Last month he claimed he had a job as a trucker and this month he claimed his first job offer was as a lumberjack with an Idaho Company. Surprise, there are no such records to support either of these claims. Its just more lies on a very LONG and diverse list; several other such claims were listed in my last Blog.

Son Hunter seems to have lost a third laptop which is reportedly now in the hands of Russians and likely has similar naked pictures of himself featured prominently.

As for Nancy P., her Agenda is polling so toxically she is perceived as hurting the Dem cause heading towards 2022 mid-term elections. She also heads the Most Hated Politicians List by a country mile.

Southern California closed all National Forests in their territory through Sept. 17th, citing wildfire concerns. This adds to the nine forests already closed in Northern CA and at time of writing there are almost 2 million acres that have already been burned in the State by wildfires, just this year.

Iran has been confirmed Nuclear by the UN. Details suggest sufficient weapons grade material can be produced to arm a warhead within two months. And their new President and other hardliners have declared no interest in sitting down to talk with the US. I doubt Israel can sit still for too long.

The very SAME data that has Europeans Mask-less in schools has Dems calling for masking everywhere in the US… especially in Red States where their control is mitigated. Such different scientific opinions… sigh. ☹

And back in San Francisco a new scheme is underway to minimize the doubling (to 119 total) of gun-related crime incidents that occurred in the first half of the year (2021 versus 2020). They have chosen to PAY gun-bearing criminals $300 / month to NOT shoot innocent people or one-another.

San Francisco has already begun their pilot program and NYC is underway with their equivalent $1,000.00 / month offering. I await the results with bated breath. 😊

Interestingly, the support for gun control is falling dramatically, especially in the important Young (18-29 years) and Minorities Demographics. Less than HALF of these groups are now supportive per a Mid-September Poll completed by ABC News/ Washington Post.

When this Poll was last completed in April 2018, 65% of these young Americans supported Gun Control Laws. That support has now fallen to 45% as reported by Newsweek. The degree to which people have turned against these Laws is dramatic. I’m guessing the riots, looting and protests throughout 2020 and broadly across the US has changed many minds?

Again, switching subjects…

It seems that Joe’s propensity for short workdays, weeks and extensive breaks continues running at full steam. Even when at work he short shifts his activities. Turns out in his first nine months of office he has never once attended the weekly telecon with State Governors. Hard to imagine that communication channel holds much value with him.

And Joe has a habit of going off-script with the result that WH communication feeds featuring him have been abruptly truncated several times in the last month. He’s being MUTED and folks in Congress are asking WHO has the authority to do this? A very good question.

As for myself, I now typically receive notice of 4-5 Nursing Job Openings and associated employment solicitations each day. I have no idea how or why this could have started and am without any formal medical training. It looks like somebody’s algorithms and/or personnel monitoring system has gone woefully astray. 😉

Well, that completes a record for many of the messy news items that flew around since my last Blog. Quite a troubling offering for anyone to digest. 😉

Hope this synopsis proves useful to you staying current with the torrent of events within which we live.

As for myself, I feel up-to-date and ready to move onwards into the onslaught. Do you?

Keep your face to the wind and embrace the storm we must all endure. And Good Luck!

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

Chaos Still Reigns: A Personal Worldview Approaching The End Of 3Q21.

Six months ago, I would have supposed the chaos in Local, National and Global news might eventually come to an end. In all honesty, even then it did seem that Covid events and Political motivations would keep the pump primed for some time, perhaps well into 2022? 

But who would have thought that by now we would be looking at seemingly endless turmoil?

Well, first to happier things. My recent travels caused me to return my sailboat North to Richmond for haul-out and (proactive) repairs. It is a two-hour run from deep within the Alameda channel, with me first passing Jack London Square to the East, then up alongside Treasure Island (T.I.), running under the new section of the Bay Bridge.

The run after T.I. continues in waters exposed to the so-called Slot of heavier San Francisco (SF) Bay winds passing Alcatraz Island after pushing in under the Golden Gate Bridge. Waters there are more exposed and seldom see much under 25 mph winds during early morning runs amid the often-blustery sailing season. 

Next to the East there are always a few early morning fishermen trying their hands in the shallowing waters, alongside high spots and obstructions; never yet have I noticed anyone reeling in a catch as I veered around them.

Here the Easterly depths can run too shallow for safe passage, so it is essential to head mostly North, avoiding submerged risks and mounds, following the friendlier depth contours on the chart plotter. 

The winds and waves abate a little once in the lee of Angel Island, even though its shores lay a few miles to Port. Passing further Northeast of the Island at the tail of Racoon Straits the winds stir up a little more until the easterly side of the Marin headlands running up to the San Quentin prison throws more protection across to the Richmond channel entrance.

The commercial channel itself is approached via a string of red marker buoys to starboard, originating where tankers enter, docking to the port of my route at the great bend where the Richmond coastline hooks suddenly North and then gently swings more Easterly.

With a draft of seven feet, I avoid entering the navigation lanes from its Westerly mouth; I cut in early between marker buoys, short of the spit and head due East along the main channel.

It is a long channel. To starboard lies that narrow, barren spit of land, partially augmented with innumerable rocks deposited to secure its lines from eroding tides. The boulders provide an impressive roost for thousands of pelicans than taint the channel air with their characteristic acrid stench. There are low points along the spit where the distant Bay Bridge peeks through from the horizon.

It was a peaceful run down the Navigation Lanes, riding on Autohelm and sipping hot tea from a flask, making small, occasional bearing changes as slight bends and gentle port turns appear along the way.

The sun came out and warmed as a large, empty twin-hulled ferry ambled past, center channel. She ran down another mile or two and made the sharp swing North at the wide Potrero Turn where tankers and cargo vessels throw out their sterns when making the same severe maneuver.

There was little traffic. What few larger vessels were around stood tethered immovably to the aging docks in this last Northly few miles of the slowly narrowing commercial channel. Everything was still and calm; little industry and movement is visible these days. The Marinas and Richmond Yacht club lay some miles behind me and there was no sporting-vessel traffic so deep into the port this day.

I travelled another mile or so up this Northerly heading to the Boatyard, watched the few crying gulls circle as I called ahead, approached and docked on-time for my appointment and haul-out. 

It remains an impressive sight to watch a 12.5 Ton boat strapped, cradled and hauled up some dozen feet from the water, driven around in a stilt-like frame sporting five-foot-high wheels at each corner, dangling in two large slings, to then be lowered onto her supported keel, propped and braced, standing now alone some two hundred yards from where she was hauled-out.

Work, phone calls and investigations went as planned and like all good owners I ponied up the repair costs some 10 days later, had the boat splashed back to water and returned the vessel to her now home-port of Alameda.

Ah, boat repairs. It is always an adventure.

Continuing this nautical theme…

These days the bottleneck Santa Cruz harbor entrance gets busier in the evenings. Sailboat numbers seem like pre-Covid times. Each night the boats dutifully line up and parade back into the harbor, seeking out their near and sometime more distant slips and tie-ups.

On Wednesdays, the Beer Can Races have resumed. From the cliff-head on 26th Avenue I can count 30-40 vessels of assorted sizes out for these events, clustered in competing groups as racing begins.

When racing is finished the sailboats dutifully run under ballooning, brightly colored and diverse spinnakers towards the harbor entrance; it is peaceful to greet them there, watching from the groaning docks sprawling out beneath The Crow’s Nest Restaurant and Cafe. 

Some vessels drop sail as they enter the harbor, others more adventurous run down passed the slipway to starboard to lose the wind well before reaching the harbor bridge at Johnny’s restaurant. And all this as the Summery winds become gentler, the sun dips and the air cools to greet the sunset.

A day or so later I board a flight to Alaska. Time to escape my Bay Area and Santa Cruz shackles, go fishing and return with enough fish to stock my newly acquired freezer for the coming months. More about this outing in my next Blog.

Now it is time to consider the everyday published events of the last four or five weeks.

As you read this you will already have your own experiences of News personally watched or read during this same period. Here I try to provide notes of repeatedly credible reports and explanations of what is sometimes unsaid or politically avoided by MSM.

So let me dig into many of these events that have occurred…

First to consider is an early July Rasmussen Poll that found 58% of respondents feel MSM cannot be trusted and is at least somewhat responsible for many of the woes we see today.

It is clear that the gild is off the lily for Kamala Harris’ future political prospects as her polling numbers have declined and continue to do so (quicker than Bidens) after inaction and on-going fails on her Boarder Assignment, her outing relative to historical unpopularity, recent toxic work environment accusations and invisible presence driving Administration Voting Rights objectives. 

Senior Dems are already pulling away from having Kamala participate in their campaigns and July polling by the Trafalgar Group show some 64% of American’s do not feel she is fit for the Presidential Office; this includes almost 45% of Dems polled.

She is not liked and never was. What will time bring for her future, with Biden gaffing his way daily into history and MSM unable to stifle the many circulating records of these embarrassments?

A group of mask-less Dems fled Texas to prevent a quorum for State voting on Voting Law Reformation. These fifty or so representatives then turned up (at least) reportedly six Covid-positive members who then infected people in DC who hosted and caucused with them. 

Some of these Reps seem likely to face legal issues for abandoning their paid public posts if and when they return to Texas.

Inflation has surged. I am certain you noticed the Gas prices and general price increases in Supermarkets and stores? Looks like we are being told this is temporary and the inflation highs will go away. Many experts advise this cannot be the case. I must say I hope the $5.50 /gallon I recently saw on REGULAR gas in the SF Bay Area will not become a norm; this is an era where $4.00 was considered a total disaster just months ago.

These difficulties come on top of the still growing Southern Border crisis (>200,000 temporarily detained in July and >35,000 known escaped) that includes the massive Fentanyl influx (July saw enough come in to kill every American five times over), and where local Governors (esp. Texas) are now taking troop action to catch and incarcerate illegal entrants. Border States have no faith in Federal Intentions; even Wisconsin Governor Evers (Dem.) is helping and sending troops. Looks like the scale of disaster has people concerned about keeping their jobs.

After crossing the international border between the United States and Mexico, and surrendering to a border patrol agent, migrants are brought to a processing center similar to one like this. Here they receive food and water as well as medical attention if needed. Photos by Mani Albrecht U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Public Affairs Visual Communications Division

There are riots in South Africa and Cuba where people are dying and disappearing. Folks are protesting their governments and conditions. The US seems confused about who they want to support in Cuba and Administration desires to normalize relations in support of the communist Government are NOT making many Cuban Americans or escapees from similar South American locales very happy.

The Keystone XL Pipeline developer is suing Biden and the US Government for $15B for breaking trade agreements and immediately cancelling the jobs of 11,000 American with some >1,000,000 more infrastructure jobs being lost in the immediately following years.

Crime is exploding everywhere in the US. Most large cities are Blue, in disarray with catastrophic and record crime increases following on the heels of Defund the Police movements having been pursued in many major locales. Practically every major city is in trouble and those trying to backtrack on their political actions are struggling to recover their now retired or resigned and disappeared officers.

Places in trouble include Chicago, Washington DC, Detroit, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, New York, Los Angeles, etc. etc. Chicago says its police force is outnumbered 10:1 by rampant gang members and they are hamstrung by new and ever-increasing restrictions on their actions.

In NYC July saw a man arrested 19-times in the prior 8 mos. for burglary charged with assaulting a 10-year-old girl in her bed. The Police said they can offer no logical explanation how this can have occurred. Sigh. ☹

Meanwhile, George Soros continues to Sponsor Defund and even ELIMINATE the police movements (in Minneapolis). And AOC believes that if we get rid of all prisons there will be no crime, “it’s as simple as that.” 

So, we have both malicious and foolish people with which to contend, though I believe the voting public that allowed the supportive Representatives into power are the real culprits. Perhaps they are simply reaping what they sowed?

And as for the Mask Mandates, well here we go again. They were recently mostly rescinded across the US but with the Delta Mutation prevalence they are being re-instated everywhere after a 2month respite. Vaccinated or not, masking is becoming a requirement, as is vaccination. In the CA Bay Area indoor masking became required again for everyone (vaccinated or not) in the surrounding five Counties and this, combined with S. Cal restrictions, means that most Californians must again be masked-up indoors.

Do not expect this to change soon. The Delta Variant is the preponderant strain across the US and is heavily hyped. With many Businesses, Government Bodies and Schools (Universities) demanding vaccinations for all attendees, and Rules emerging for the non-vaccinated to be excluded from (currently NY restaurants, bars, work-out locations etc.) normal activities, the outlook is bleak.

I expect it is a matter of time before Vaccination Passports are required and Vaccination is mandated. Today I read that Health Experts believe a Vaccination and Masking Mandate (for all) is both legal and necessary. With the survival rate of >>99% for those infected with the Delta Virus these actions are aggressive indeed.

There will be many people upset by such mandates as 71% polled in late July felt vaccination is a personal choice. In Australia they began using troops to enforce lockdown measures at the beginning of August. It makes me wonder how enforcement could or might proceed in the US and Europe?

At least those prone to farting in public will have renewed cover inherently provided by newly re-masked and oblivious victims in their general vicinity. 😉

Personally, I wish and need to travel, so I was vaccinated. However, I also read today that there is again heightened talk that the unvaccinated should not be allowed to travel.

With the US population vaccination coverage just (belatedly) reaching 70% all those who are AMMENABLE to being vaccinated have likely already received their required doses. Despite MY choices I believe those NOT wishing to be vaccinated should have their wishes and rights respected, whether or not I personally agree with their reasoning.

Interestingly, the French are rioting to defend this Personal Liberty.

Then there are the observably problem people among us who unashamedly continue to survive, in the face of decency, at least for now…

Gavin Newsom’s legal recall is now surprisingly looking quite serious for him. In deep Blue CA, his support is quickly declining as I write. It is the usual dynamic:  Big Cities are Blue (San Fran., LA and San Diego) and most all other territory is deep Red and folks there do not like the power-grabbing, rule-breaking, illegal personal-gain Covid Funding acquiring, visibly adulterous Gavin.

His recently disclosed blunders and willful mismanagement of fire-fighting funds are further tanking his credibility.

However, the election itself is planned with everyone receiving mail-in ballots. Hmm… the same approach as was legally outlawed in France mid 1970’s because of the obviously massive opportunity for fraud. Wow.

Sadly, I believe he might still escape removal and we will eventually see him running for President. 

Then there is our newly Artistic Hero, Hunter Biden. Neither cocaine, corruption, compromised business dealings, infidelities, an implicated father, fraud, immersion in prostitution and sales of access to the Big Guy can touch this mighty soul. His personal email and laptop have been found and verified, with his hard drive copied to all in sundry; this both proves his complicity and defines his guilt.

Yet I believe there will never be a charge made against him…  ☹

Next comes Gov Andrew Cuomo. The Report about him has been delivered (by the-herself- questionable, AG Letitia James) and State Authorities want to Impeach and remove him quickly. The basis for removal being the claims from about a dozen or so women made against him, surrounding his sexual harassment actions and behaviors which break both State and Federal Laws.

It seems most of the Dem community (Biden and on down) in DC, the US and NY have condemned him and want him to resign immediately. But some local Counties want to investigate, more.

Intriguingly, Biden let him off the hook with no DOJ investigation of Nursing Home deaths being planned. This lets Cuomo and at least four other Dem Governors (including the notorious, power-hungry and deceitful Whitmer of Michigan) unpunished for what were at best blatantly obvious acts of depraved indifference and cover-ups to follow… my comments being a POLITE version about what were certainly intentional, known-bad and deliberate actions.

I think Cuomo will be Indicted and yet still prove tough to remove from future office. ☹

What is puzzling to me is the circumstances surrounding the women who came forward to disclose his actions, all I would guess either have husbands, brothers, fathers or significant others. Similarly, those who lost friends and family in Nursing Homes have relatives and people close to them. Over his three terms and perverse actions in recent years, how is it that nobody has physically gone after the Luv Guv in the heat of the moment? Surely SOMEBODY was upset enough NOT to rely on the hope that justice would eventually reach him?

And as for little brother Chris Cuomo of CNN:  The James report also flagged him as an unauthorized recipient of privileged State Documents and he is well-known for his inappropriate helping hand in protecting his sibling in the media, participating in brother Andrew’s aides’ brainstorming telecons and Press Release draftings when they were fighting off harassment revelations.

Chris Cuomo says he has tested positive for the coronavirus, after being exposed to people who have subsequently tested positive.

At best little Chris was journalistically compromised and treading illegally with that document access. MSNBC and a few Leftist Rags have called for the firing of him on these grounds (mostly, I suspect, with their own competitive motivations 😉)

Personally, I was never a fan of his since he faked being responsibly quarantined in his basement during his COVID infection yet was caught threatening a 60-year-old cyclist who found him out-and-about, viewing his new country home while daily claiming to be still indoors. He then had the gall to televise his emergence from that basement many days after he had been outed! What a reporter. What nerve. 😊

Then there is President Biden himself…

Why does the MSM ignore his propensity for telling whoppers? Recently he told a trucking company gathering he drove a (18-wheeler) truck. Historically I recall him claiming University degrees and academic standards WAY beyond reality, saying he was arrested for trying to see Mandala in South Africa, falsely asserting he pushed Obama to attack Osama Bin Laden… the trail goes on and on.

All these tales and (the many) more are easily verifiable by anybody of any political persuasion as being complete falsehoods. Why would anyone make such claims? History has him now as a mentally declining, gaffe-riddled pathological liar who has been on the wrong side of every major policy decision for the last fifty years. And he is the preferred President? This is just sad.

Next up is the Administration’s desire to Censor American’s personal SMS text content

Their stated goal is to control MISINFORMATION… MISinformation can be factually correct, just not what the censors want. Who decides what is MISinformation, anyway?

All texts and digital Comms for US residents have been monitored since Obama times. So now we are moving to direct censorship, regarding Vaccines for COVID. 

If this happens it is inevitable all texts will be eventually monitored for any unwanted content AS IS DEFINED AND DICTATED BY THE DESIGNATED CENSORS. This is State control of PRIVATE speech.

Any censorship or modification is the action of an Authoritarian Government. It is dictatorial and more commonly aligned to Communist Government control as currently seen in Cuba and everyday life in China.

Moving right along…

I must wonder what really occurred with the January 6th Capitol Building incursion. Will we ever know?

GOP Reps have been actively prevented from seeing detainees who are reportedly being tortured and beaten, some illegally held 23hrs/day in solitary confinement, defying International Laws and Standards.

The single person shot at and killed on the day (Ashli Babbit, a retired female Vet) now appears to have relatives that can show she was unwarned before being shot by a 53-year-old black officer while she was clambering through a window. The videos are being held close, but they supposedly show a quite different version of events than reported in MSM. 

The whole affair and intrusion could have been avoided if the Speaker (Pelosi) had NOT actively chosen to refuse Policing coverage for the well-known, planned event on the sixth. And now the Police guards on that day are all to receive Gold Medals as voted by the Senate.

Polls from mid-July show that less than 50% of Americans are interested in the ongoing January 6th investigation whereas almost 70% want detailed reviews of the riots, protests and unrest that destroyed many US cities throughout 2020 and beyond.

Further afield in Afghanistan

The US has baled-out and the Taliban is immediately back in force in the Country with the Administration trying to get Afghani friends to the US before they are butchered in the streets. 

China is now getting involved there with tacit acceptance from the Administration. The CCP motives? An Enemy of my Enemy is my Friend, perhaps?

Back to the Immigration Onslaught

The Administration has been illegally using planes out of Laughlin AFB (Texas) to fly undocumented minors from the border to unknown locations in the US Interior. The people on base are not told where the flights are going, but I suppose with an imminent mandate for universal military vaccination now hanging over them, they have other things to worry about. 

NOTE: Biden previously mandated that all Federal Employees must be vaccinated or face a weekly testing regimen.

In July, the Left-leaning BBC reported migrant children being kept in heartbreaking conditions at the border and in August whistle-blowers reported they were told by Homeland Security to downplay the Covid outbreaks at the Border. 

It seems that Vaccination Passports may soon be required for formal foreign travelers to the US but those Covid-infected illegals crossing and released at the Southern Border are of little or no concern. Over 90% of illegals released into the US never show for the required legal appointments to review their admission status and illegal border crossings (now at >>200, 000 per month) are the definition of a Super-Spreader event.

Biden has re-instated the Obama-era practice of flying illegals from Central Africa directly to US homes. The practice was terminated by Trump and recently re-implemented. The reasoning for the practice and reset is currently unclear to me.

Back in China the flooding of the City of Zhengzhou disrupted all social, travel and business infrastructure late July and displaced over 1,200,000 people. Typical of the region and CCP only twenty-five deaths were reported.

Both China and India blew-off their 2015 Paris Agreement Pledges for Carbon Emission submissions, due to the UN at the end of July. China ranks first in emissions and India third, bookending the US as second. It seems the deadline has been moved to the end of 2021 to accommodate many such participant delinquencies credited to the Pandemic Era.

The Olympics seem to have brought some light and joy into many lives. The theme I continuously hear is how much people enjoyed seeing the numerous different countries winning medals.

The protests and personal demonstrations appear to have been largely NOT covered by media outlets or at least sparsely reported in the States where maintaining viewership is key. A few people told me they did not watch Olympic coverage and events so they could certainly avoid the irritation of chance protests and demonstrations.

It appears from the dismal ratings that many people woked-away from viewing the coverage.

The Mexican Government has grown tired of bloodshed in their communities and so a suit is being brought by them OUTSIDE of US Laws against a litany of (US) Gun Manufacturers; they may have standing to pull this off.

Similar previous City suits from within the US were not tenable as Congressional ruling provided the Gun Bloc with associated protections. But OUTSIDE of US rulings this might hold sway. Attacking gun manufacturers using this external approach would affect the same dire consequences upon their financial well-being. 

Oddly, the Mexican Government almost seems apologetic about their actions. Why? I wonder who really instigated and incentivized these actions? 😉

And in closing is the overdue, much-heralded BIPARTISAN $1T Infrastructure Bill. Will it, won’t it pass and be followed with a >$3.5 T follow-on PARTISAN Dem package? Who knows where all this might land? But as a concern…

It seems that page 508 of this 2,700-page ($1T) missive contains the right for the Government to install a Mileage Tax upon Citizens. This will involve tracking people. This will increase costs of all products, which are transported. I think I see the thin edge of several very large wedges approaching. ☹

That is really IT, from myself. Above you see the Good, Bad and very Ugly of the last month.

I am off on my travel and will report on my experiences, soon.

As I have asked before…

Are you, friends and loved ones getting the essential breaks and absences you need away from the avalanche of mostly unfortunate Daily News?

Let me challenge you to find a way to take a break. Buy some solitary and group time to lighten your personal load, making the absolute best of your own and others’ lives. 

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

Prominent Events: As the World Moves Thru’ 2H21.

The Summer season up in the San Francisco Bay has been its typical blustery and cool self. There are still few boats on the water and even the sunniest of days often bring the notorious blows, mostly in the 20-25 knot range, frequently gusting up to 30mph.

A couple of weeks ago I was again up North drift fishing on the Lower Sacramento River followed by another couple of days in Shasta, hiking back into the McCloud Canyons, fishing below the Dam outlet down to the now isolated and deserted Ash Camp.

Fishing was good. I was drift fishing using the locally uncommon, tight-line Euro-nymphing technique. This got me into a couple of dozen large (consistently approaching 20”) Rainbow trout hiding in deep holes and swirls.

The McCloud produced well too, surrendering slightly smaller yet brightly patterned mountain fish. The sunlit canyons were as spectacular as usual; almost nobody around where bramble-filled undergrowth is rapidly filling the less used passages along the banks.

Evenings in Shasta town were quiet and cooled down. Visitors have returned in modest numbers. Many of the restaurants are re-opened for mask-less dine-in service.

Following this I returned home to Santa Cruz for a week or so where the stores have quickly abandoned masked-entry rules. Weather where I live is temperate and offers mild (typ. 60-72 deg F) temperatures for a nightly bike ride over to Capitola Village then back along Portola Avenue to the Santa Cruz Harbor.

The quiet, mostly sunlit marina features mild temperatures and occasional late afternoon breezes. After riding around the upper reaches of the Harbor, passed the bridge and round towards the Lighthouse on the Northerly side, its relaxing to return and stop by the Crow’s Nest Café, grab a beer and watch the evening sailboats and canoe rowers return as the evening moves in and the sun falls away.

In the last ten days I have travelled to the UK and am there as I write. After an unusual 18-month break from international travel it was time to reconnect with old friends and brave the many Covid-related restrictions still in-place

I arrived riding a Boeing 787 which was less than one third full and sometimes careening at 670mph ground speeds with unusual and sometimes >120mph tailwinds.

Approaching Heathrow involved the typical descent into gloom and haze, fortunately with NO circling and holding patterns required, given the light air traffic. Comically, we were then trapped 20 mins just outside the Gate waiting for sparse ground crew to become available and guide us in.

After extended processing and review of the supplemental (Covid-related) documentation all travelers must carry I passed through deserted Customs halls, grabbed a Rental from Avis and headed North into mandatory Quarantine.

I am through my 5th Day “early release” from quarantine. The test results for this showed less than 24hrs later. 😊

My stay indoors was punctuated with daily calls from the  National Health Service (NHS) who monitor all quarantined arrivals via the extensive UK Locator Form I completed before departing SFO.

Since arriving here in quarantine, I am constantly entertained by the local wildlife right outside the window, frequently and generously fed by a gracious Host (my older sister) and some immediate neighbors.

Feeders, fat-balls, bird seed and meal worms are everywhere… attracting droves of combative Wood Pigeons, Sparrows, mischievous Squirrels, Starlings, Crows, Magpies, Jackdaws, Thrushes, occasional Coal Tits and a few local disruptive domestic cats with bad intentions. The daily show begins around 5.00 am and runs till rain falls heavily or the sun sets well after 8.00pm.

I should also mention that 5 MANDATORY Covid tests will be required for my two weeks stay: One to board the SFO plane to Heathrow, Day 2 and 8 checks during the NHS enforced and daily monitored isolated quarantine, a Day 5 rapid (iff available) result test for EARLY quarantine self-release and the 5th for me to board a flight back to SFO and home in CA.

Ouch. And all this while being inundated with local National news about the need for masking even for those (like myself) already fully vaccinated. OUCH, again.

Being in the UK involves:  serious mask wearing discipline, honoring one-way traffic flows marked on floors in most stores open for individual (only) in-person shopping, generally large outdoor groupings to watch the England soccer team progress through the Euro tournament, occasionally closed gas stations (waiting on deliveries), frequent hand sanitizing when entering and moving around buildings, leaving records of your name and phone number when inside cafes etc. and always, social distancing indoors and out.

If you are not Covid-paranoid when you fly in, you can easily become so. Hopefully, the changes in UK Covid restrictions promised for later July will mitigate some of these rules and obligations. Time will tell… very public promises have been made.  😉

Then of course there are the distinctive, heavily monitored UK traffic restrictions and CCTV setups. There are an infinite number of computer-controlled speed-checks and monitors, well, everywhere. Automatic License plate recognition has existed for Traffic Speed and Parking enforcement for many years.

All this is painlessly endured by locals, courtesy of inevitable Normalcy Bias.

However, this is still not NORMAL for me. And even as Covid restrictions lift, this WILL NOT GO AWAY…  sigh. But I AM still OK with driving on the left.  😊

For those of you in other countries: Brace yourself. These extensive traffic arrangements are eventually coming to roads near you… they are moneymakers as good as Taxation.

The England Soccer team competing in the European Nations Championship has stirred up a sense and notable signs of National pride, the like of which has not been seen since their 1966 World Cup victory. The event Final will be played before I board my flight to SFO. So, there will be fun, outdoor/ indoor viewings and great entertainment to be had… by me and all.  😊

Upon returning home, I will be immediately delivering my boat to Svendsen’s Bay Marine boatyard in the Northeastern San Francisco Bay for hauling out, the latest set of repairs and required maintenance. Not really something to enjoy, though ever interesting and always a learning experience.

Happily, following this I will head to Alaska. Great adventure and an opportunity to stock a new freezer with Halibut and Salmon for the better part of the next year.

Alaska offers a breath of fresh air and a welcome change. The stress of Covid restrictions were minor there a year ago, even during the height of the US pandemic.

Alaskans like their independence and outdoors. There will be (MUCH) fishing, biking, spectacular scenery, great food, fly-ins to remote areas, wildlife experiences, opportunities for both solitude and boisterous lodge gatherings. What’s not to like!

July 4th passed while I am here in the UK. The pictures and stories from back home indicated an overall continuation in celebrations. Folks were ready to get out, celebrate, rekindle relationships, relax and move on, even if firework restrictions were in play for either fire-hazard or Covid reasonings. 😉

Yet US National and International news is NOT all fun and games…

Domestically the Government often appears in shambles and disarray as calls for Biden cognitive testing escalate. Kamala Harris seems beset with intentional, oddly internal leaks clearly designed to sabotage and compound her existing problems with seemingly unending, broad-based, personal execution fails.

These attacks on Harris are strongly reminiscent of those internal (Administration) leaks promulgated upon Al Gore (the then VP) by Hillary while Bill was President. The goal then was to dimmish his claim as heir apparent to her own benefit. Hillary was not an appointed official at that time. An interesting analogy.

On a lighter note of irony…

Although personal distancing in the UK is pushed and well-practiced the masks and spacing are notably absent when you see pics and videos of English soccer supporters celebrating their team.

I suppose watching soccer in the UK is like participating in a riot/ demonstration in the US… Covid rules apply less and per the MSM spreading does not occur.  Well, not much. 😉

In a related turn of events from the US, Health Officials in LA are newly strongly (re)recommending indoor mask wearing for events, shopping, businesses etc. etc. All based on fear of the Delta Covid variation from India which was first detected by Brits and already present in over 70 Countries and every US State.

So, A NEW mask mandate… even if you ARE fully vaccinated. This will probably demotivate many remaining folks from getting shots as they will likely wonder and argue:   WHY BOTHER?

A new poll shows most San Francisco residents think it is time to increase police presence in areas affected by high rates of crime. The annual San Francisco Chamber of Commerce (SFCC) report found 76 percent of residents want more police in high-crime areas, and 80 percent believe crime has accelerated. Polling was done by EMC Research from May 25 to 31, and respondents affirmed this sentiment “across gender, age, ethnicity, party affiliation, and neighborhood, and homeownership status.”

Also, almost half (>40%) of SF residents said they plan to leave the city permanently in the next few years due to rising crime and a deteriorating quality of life.

Finally, almost 90% of those polled said the homelessness crisis has worsened. About 75% of residents said their quality of life has declined over the past year.

Moving closely along… California Democrats are literally changing the rules to help Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) fend off a recall effort, which was officially certified by State Officials as being required after organizers garnered 1.7 million signatures as the trigger.

California Democrats, who control the state legislature, passed a bill that would move up the recall date. The bill was then sent to Newsom’s desk, who instantly signed the bill into law.

The law amends existing recall rules to allow the election to happen at least 30 days earlier than under existing state law. By moving up the recall date, Newsom’s challengers will have less time to campaign against him, giving Newsom a clear upper hand — not that he needed one in Democrat-haven California.

Now moving along: Apparently, Chelsea Clinton owns a large stake in a health insurance company accused of fraud…

The company tied to the former First Daughter, Clover Health, has been charged by the Justice Department with giving kickbacks to doctors in exchange for referrals.

That is scandal one. Scandal two is that they did not bother to tell investors they were under federal investigation—which would scare off buyers and lower the stock value.

The insurance agency is also facing a huge class-action lawsuit for fraud. Intriguingly, Hillary had similarly terrible Insurance Industry fraud scandal problems… like mother, like… etc.

San Francisco is the first city in California (and in the country) to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for all 35,000 government city employees once it has received full approval from the FDA. While they previously required employees in high-risk settings to be vaccinated, the new policy will mandate vaccinations for police, firefighters, operators, clerks, and even City Hall custodians.

A mandate is already in place for those who work at hospitals, nursing homes etc.

Despite being touted as the most progressive city in the nation, San Francisco’s urban renewal policies in the 1990s in effect forced out the African American population.

San Francisco may have a well-earned reputation as the most progressive city in the nation but viewed through the lens of critical race theory (CRT), it is also one of the most racist cities in the country. Odd.

How can such a far-left ideology cast such an indictment of such a far-left city? The answer lies in critical race theorists’ own description of their movement.

Critical race theory is a radically different way of understanding our nation’s past and present. According to publications edited by Columbia Law School professor Kimberle Crenshaw (who first coined the terms “critical race theory” and “intersectionality”) critical race theory seeks to “understand how a regime of white supremacy and its subordination of people of color have been created and maintained in America.”

CRT explicitly rejects the ideal of colorblindness in society and the traditions of integration and assimilation. Instead, according to Crenshaw, critical race theory seeks to “recover and revitalize the radical tradition of race-consciousness among African Americans and other peoples of color.”

In other words, instead of uniting people with a common set of values, CRT encourages all Americans to think of themselves primarily in racial terms. Just as Marxism encourages Americans to think of themselves in terms of class, CRT encourages people to think of themselves in terms of race… hmm.

On the (US) National front, a major high ranking Chinese Official was rumored back in February to have defected to the US. This is now confirmed as Dong Jingwei.

It was said that Dong boarded a plane in Hong Kong with his daughter Dong Yang, flew over to the United States, and defected.

These rumors are true. The defecting Chinese official working with the DIA is, in fact, Dong Jingwei. Public records indicate that Dong had been promoted to the post of Vice Minister of the Chinese Ministry of State Security in April of 2018. He had a large role in the country’s spy-catching and counterintelligence efforts.

This now makes Dong the most high-profile defector in the entire history of China.

This is particularly interesting as Medical Officials from across the world are calling for a multinational hands-on Covid-origins investigation and the GOP Intelligence Committee is simultaneously seeking specific access to US held data as to the origins of the Pandemic from within China.

Despite the CCP holding out and even manipulating the erasure of related virus search information from with US Government records, it is looking increasingly difficult for China to politely hold off enquiries and intrusion. Too many have died. The US alone has lost more citizens to Covid (>600k deaths) than their total fatalities for WWI and WWII combined.

As a result of the total Pandemic-related deaths across the world China is recognizing that MANY Nations are lining up against them; hence the dramatic show and threatening rhetoric at their early July 100th Anniversary celebrations in Beijing for the founding of their single-party system in 1921 Shanghai. The World demands accountability and a reckoning, but will it be served?

Additionally, the GOP launched an investigation in late June into the (October) 2019 Wuhan World Games, where athletes were getting sick with COVID-like symptoms…  hmm.

Recent US satellite scans have detected the construction of over 100 new missile silos in China’s Western desert which brings the total of new builds to 145 and will complete an arsenal of >250 total weapons locations capable of delivering warheads over 9,300 miles. This complements the Chinese build-up of reactors which can produce high-end weapons grade nuclear material more rapidly.

Back on the Home front:  in late June I personally saw $4.68 / gallon pricing for Regular Gas in a Santa Cruz Chevron (usually pricey, thereabouts) Station while one of cheapest in town was at $3.89 / gallon, just across the street.

So, will Gas prices KEEP rising? I am not optimistic.

Worse still , in early July CA State then approved an additional TAX INCREASE on gasoline. It just keeps on coming… sigh. ☹

Iran has a new hard-liner president. Raisi’s appointment came about not from a free and fair election but from anointment by the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Raisi’s election is perhaps more than enough warning for world leaders to realize who they are doing business with when agreeing on deals with the country. And Iran still appears bent on obtaining nuclear weapons.

President Joe Biden is widely expected to capitulate to Iran’s demands for all economic sanctions to be dropped before the country returns to full compliance with the 2015 Nuclear Deal. Not that they were ever fully compliant…

The new Iranian leader, who will take over in August, was previously known for his role in the execution of five thousand young opponents of the Iranian regime. He sent thousands of Iranian dissidents to their deaths without due process in1988, according to Amnesty International.

He has also said that he will refuse to meet President Joe Biden in the future.

So, things look gloomy in the Middle East.

In a unanimous decision on Thursday, June 17, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to explore a proposal that would ban American companies from purchasing telecommunications equipment that poses national security risks.

The proposal also retroactively revokes any prior authorizations already in place for equipment from companies listed as a national security threat. Among those on the FCC’s “covered list” of national security threats are Chinese state-owned telecommunications giants Huawei and ZTE.

In 2020, the FCC adopted new rules requiring any companies who receive federal funding to “rip and replace” equipment from telecommunications companies on the FCC’s “covered list.” However, this new proposal would extend that rule to every US company regardless of whether it receives federal funding.

The move was welcome news to the bipartisan group of lawmakers who have introduced similar bills in both the House and Senate. Ah ha… rare collaboration across the aisle.  😊

Next, the tricky and largely discredited Dr. Fauci originally backed off continued funding of the Wuhan transfer study when he found out Trump had specifically wanted it defunded. At the time he was actively pushing the notion that Covid Virus origination in the Lab was quite unlikely.

There is growing Worldwide sentiment and belief that the Wuhan Lab is not at all an unlikely source even though no close examination and study has so far been possible.

Funding for the Lab started under Obama and is now reinstated under Biden/ Fauci.

Currently, emails are newly available (exposed early July 2021) highlighting historical Hillary Clinton involvement in these matters when she was seeking US access to Wuhan research results as funding began. It seems that the Wuhan work was well-known across the entire Obama Administration, in addition to originally being funded by them.

The State of Florida has made the most remarkable progress in getting every sector back open for business since the pandemic ended. But the one area of commerce that continues to struggle is the tourism industry. The CDC continues to keep cruise ships at the port because they believe the ships are dangerous to people and could potentially spread the virus. The authority that the CDC thinks they have is not as far reaching as they believe.

Florida took the liberal-controlled CDC to court, claiming the organization lacked the authority to keep the ships in port. The court found that the CDC has overstepped its authority again.

So, Judge Steven Merryday passed a ruling that stated the cruise ships could set sail again. The CDC has kept the ships locked-up tightly which has almost led to the bankruptcy of the multi-billion $ industry.

The Center for Disease Control had dictated rules that 95 percent of all passengers were to be vaccinated and 98 percent of the crew. And each ship was going to have to go through a 60-to-90-day preparation period and even test-sailing before taking to the seas again. The CDC behaved as if it is in control of launching new ships to sea.

I believe the (US) Supreme Court also confirmed the ruling (?) that the CDC never had ANY authority over the Cruise Industry to dictate such closure. Anyway, Florida is to work with the CDC for a solution that keeps everybody happy.

It looks like yet another State has had enough. Governor Greg Abbot started off the program for Texas to build its OWN wall, continuing the work halted by the Biden edict halting the Trump wall.

With about 200,000 Illegals (those counted) per month wandering across the Southern border, zero Federal help in sight and resulting Crime, Drugs, Cartels and Human Trafficking rampant, it appears Texans have had enough and are driving their own destiny. As proven records show walls are >>95% effective in stemming such tides (not sure how this is measured) this is probably a very sound call.

In another American first, local Border Agents and Federal ICE agents are teaming up to sue President Biden for his Border (In)Actions and Policies… whose chest is swelling with pride? Perhaps someone should notify the Administration that this collaboration is NOT a sign of the Unity and Unification that was promised by Joe and desired by the Nation? 

Sadly, embarrassingly, Biden is now being pursued by some Dems as well as GOP officials and Ex WH medical professionals to undergo Cognitive Testing to alleviate fears about his mental decline. The Gaffes and Lapses keep coming and the world press is commenting; it may not be long before even US MSM cannot completely ignore these events.

There is simply too much 2020 Election Audit news to cover…

There has always been election fraud in the US and it would be irrational to pretend none occurred in 2020. But it is currently impossible to know just how much and judge the significance.

Suffice it to say that major audit-type activities are underway in 11 US States. Public opinion is moving towards disbelief in the reported election results…

Two weeks after the November election, Rasmussen Reports found that 47% of American voters believed that cheating had impacted the outcome of the election. In early July that number is 51%. That includes 74% of Republican voters and 30% of Democrat voters.

Polling as showed that ~70% of (all) Voters believe that Voter ID is required for fair elections. MSM and left-leaning Politicians assert that this constitutes Voter Suppression. It is extremely hard to rationalize such disparate positions. The ugliness continues.

And as for Hunter Biden, he is now a VERY affluent artist, who for some reason is paid truly exorbitant prices for the works of art he produces. But the unfortunate news leaking from his discarded laptop continues… I do not think most dads would have paid off drug tabs and hookers for their sons even if they had Joe’s Fixer through which to work. Lucky for Hunter. He is still at large and well-connected into China. 😊

Well, that is a pretty comprehensive round-up of what has occurred since my last posting. Most of the main events are featured.

This Covid era warrants personal attempts to flee the scene. I regularly seek opportunities to get a mental and physical break from the associated drudgery and social/ medical / news burdens spewed upon us. For me, switching location always seems to help. 😉

Are you able to get away? Do you need to? Do your friends and family want the same for themselves?

The shortest break and diversion provides worthwhile health benefits. Even a few hours in a different environment offer a respite.

Think about it and see what you might do to secure a much-deserved break.

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

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


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.

The Strange Case Of 2021 Rollout & California COVID

Curiouser and curiouser becomes the landscape as we descend though February.

How does one remain neutral? Merely reporting facts looks like a condemnation of a position as so much troubling news floods in daily and seemingly all from one direction.

Many must be staggering around searching for a RESET button for 2021, with about as much chance of success as someone under 75 years identifying a COVID vaccination opportunity.

The hypocrisy and alarming news just keep on coming.

So, let me lighten the load with some heartening observations…

The Winter storms have begun in California; always an opportunity for experiencing the natural world.

Rolling wave crests have been licking the undersides of the Capitola wharf and beaches have dispersed into the Pacific, staining the shallower waters for a mile out.

Sandy berms built early by bulldozing County workers have now mostly washed away and bark-stripped trees and branches roll up to the local seawall in Capitola and pile on the beaches down towards Santa Cruz Harbor. The deeply recessed coastal bay down on 17th Avenue floods on each major daily tide.

Hummingbirds still dash between the feeders no matter how heavy the wind or rain.

A break in the storm left a rare and seemingly unharmed immature Sharp-Shinned Hawk dead in the garden without a mark upon his untroubled plumage. A sad find. An unusual event.

Local East Cliff Drive stood flooded to 1.5’ in the hollow down by Dog Beach some 400yds away. High seated pickup trucks ran through the water and declared the road open for themselves. The following night tides and winds carved low winding channels to the water table and the saltwater snaked back through the beach into the waves.

Driving rains upon the cliffs overlooking Pleasure Point emptied the road of walkers; nothing to see here anyway, as the large, unusable mixed-wave ocean had finally lost the interest of surfers. All that remained were a fleet of a few dozen pelicans almost frozen in position and formation, sitting on the powerful updraft pushing up the cliffs from the onshore wind.

In late January I caught a break in weather and drift-fished for trout in the Lower Sacramento River up North at Red Bluff. The day was productive and yielded a good catch of trout from 12-14’ deep holes.

Later I delivered a boat for repairs and maintenance in Richmond, far up the San Francisco Bay, passed the shallow waters behind and East of Angel island. The only vessel I saw was a 60’ Coast Guard Frigate sat up, waiting to escort a large dredging scow emerging from the East Treasure Island docks, just North of the Bay Bridge.

The 12mph winds with possible rain forecasted for the trip showed up as a 28mph blow with heavy showers. Such is the nature of the forecasts, hereabouts. I arrived in a glass-like calm after a 2 ½ hr. passage.

After these positive, distracting experiences let me now return to the realities of everyday news and events…

The spike in COVID-19 cases has largely continued throughout the Western world. The US long-since surpassed 400k deaths and the UK has announced their national lockdown will continue into March.

New strains of the Covid-19 virus have been found domestically and across the globe. An initial mutation discovered plaguing the Southeast of the UK is referred to being much more contagious, but unfortunately is now rated as perhaps 30% more deadly, too.

It is implied that the current array of vaccines should hold good against Coronavirus mutations.

The much-publicized invasion of the Capitol building in DC sparked endless accusations, threats and has centered National politics around retribution, retaliation and inflamed rhetoric.

WASHINGTON DC, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, UNITED STATES – 2021/01/06: Protesters seen all over Capitol building where pro-Trump supporters riot and breached the Capitol. Rioters broke windows and breached the Capitol building in an attempt to overthrow the results of the 2020 election. Police used batons and tear gas grenades to eventually disperse the crowd. Rioters used metal bars and tear gas as well against the police. (Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

We have a new President sworn in who pledged himself to Unity and Healing. His Inauguration was largely virtual and chaperoned with 25,000 National Guard troops and riot fencing circling the Capitol. There seemed very few attendees other than those somewhat delicately spaced and placed around the ceremonial platform. The viewership on major National broadcasting channels was high.

Weeks later these large numbers of troops remain in DC, largely billeted in cold parking garages with few and primitive amenities. They apparently declined to “set up machine gun nests” requested by politicians for the Inauguration, as really few physically showed up for the planned virtual event and “troops do not fire on citizens.”

Even now nobody speaks to why these troops are still in place, but they are directed to stay on and are a dramatic show of force remaining within Washington.

On the local front, a week after the Inauguration and as a sudden surprise, Governor Newsome of CA declared to his heavily shuttered State that “we beat it” and can open-up outdoor dining, again. This was a shocking turn of events when COVID infection numbers and deaths did not support the statement. LA County and surrounding Counties remained under a very dark, worsening cloud.

Most people however recognize that at the time of his action there were 1.2 Million signatures in place of the 1.5 million required for his Recall, with still 6 weeks left for collection. Being Governor of the State with the acclaimed most compromised vaccination program might also have entered his calculations (for personal survival).  He has raised the ire of the populace on both sides of the aisle.

Additionally, California recently announced it will be developing software to aid with on-line vaccine distribution and tracking. For a supposed high-tech enclave, this recent announcement is staggering. The vaccine roll-out visibility is many months old. And the need for infrastructure to support the complexities of transportation, distribution, storage and deployment have been obvious for over half a year. Why wouldn’t this development have been begun six months ago or even NINE months earlier? This shows truly staggering negligence and incompetence.

The financial deterioration of more densely populated, heavily locked-down suburban areas (such as in New York, Michigan and California, etc.) is profound. I assume that current and on-going plans for stimulus packages will now drive $billions into their coffers to heal both the ravages of COVID-related closures and decades of prior fiscal mismanagement, entirely at the expense of all US Taxpayers.

Interestingly, statistical data tells us that areas with punitive COVID lock-down requirements during this Winter period have fared similarly (and often worse) than those without such restrictions.

Correspondingly, more lightly populated North Dakota State was recently recognized as the TOP distributor of the vaccines they have available.

On the Political front, apparently the ONLY thing that the Left and Right largely agree upon is that Washington DC is a corrupt swamp. The problem is that we have the inmates running the asylum and why would these same persons WANT to facilitate change?

Most people I meet accept this congenital corruption as inevitable. Yet why would you tolerate self-serving actions and rampant hypocrisy? With the inmates in charge, what options ultimately remain to materially change this degenerate situation?

Still, nobody should feel they live within a storm of corruption and lies.

On the lighter side, we have a Superbowl bearing down upon us. This year there will be notable absences from several traditional major advertisers; folks such as Budweiser are paring down their participation.

Around the US there continue major riots in cities such as Portland, Seattle, Washington and Tacoma. These are self-identified as Antifa-organized and operated, but since they started on Inauguration night, they have basically fallen unreported by MSM. They are also self-proclaimed anti-Biden riots.

Biden himself famously reported Antifa as being an idea or concept rather than a real organization. This outfit is nonetheless placing personnel advertisements for paid jobs on Facebook. The first such (I read) is for a coordinator to drive school programs, promoting Antifa awareness and teachings; the job pays around $60k per annum.

As for BLM, they are up for a Nobel prize. It appears the year-long riots in most major cities across the entire Nation were good for business; certainly, it helped haul in an estimated $2Billion in elusively placed funds.

Crime on the other hand is running unchecked. Pick your city and see the results. LA has rolled out initial Police reforms and funding cutbacks to a backdrop of unchecked growth in major crime. It seems people will increasingly venture out during a COVID lock-down for MAJOR criminal action but them generally staying home a little more helps the incident rates on a few minor criminal activities.

Vaccination distribution outlook is grim. If you are not a Healthcare worker, Caregiver, in a Home, a prisoner or over 75 years old then you are a LONG way from being vaccinated; you CAN get on a list for WANTING to be notified when vaccines become available.

There remain a high percentage of people who do NOT want to be vaccinated; this was running as high as 40% of the Healthcare workers in the early weeks. Why is that, truly? ☹

I am now hearing that Dr. Fauci and the Administration are moving towards the use of DOUBLE masks. I know both Fauci and Kamala Harris have oft been seen sporting double setups. Since mandating masking on all Federal Property was a Day1 priority for the New Administration, perhaps they will move on the double-up situation, shortly?

The on-again, likely-to-fail impeachment of Trump lies ahead of us. This begs the question: perhaps trials of many past Presidents should be considered once one party holds a controlling interest? And as there seems to be no statute of limitations post Presidency, is Obama next on the table? Bush? Maybe SJW’s want the heads of the now sullied Lincoln and Washington?

During his Presidential campaign, Biden wisely made the point, “You can’t legislate by Executive Order (EO) unless you’re a dictator. We’re a Democracy. We need consensus.”  Commendable words.

Unfortunately, during his first week in Office Biden signed over forty (40) EO’s, breaking records.

The Day1 cancellation of the Keystone pipeline immediately cost 11,000 direct US jobs with another 60,000 that will fall out from support infrastructure. Added to that all drilling is banned on Federal land, which will cost >1,000,000 more jobs by 2022.

Strangely, the US Government owns a LOT of land. Through 5 agencies they look after and own some 30% of the entire 3.8Million square miles. This is NOT predominantly comprised of Military Bases, Government Buildings and National Parks, which are a minor part of the total.

Most US Government land acquisition occurred out West as the Nation grew.  Percentages owned include: 80% of Nevada, 63% Utah, 61% Alaska, 53% Oregon, 46% California, 36% Colorado, 29% Montana, 29% Washington and so on. Only the 20% owned of Hawaii is dominated by a National Park. There is at best poor government administration and funding of these vast lands; witness the fires and floods in badly managed areas.

Now, think water, mineral, resource and property rights. The Government owns much and this is controlled by very few of the populace; those very few with power, influence and some Government positions hold the reins. There is big money in Land Ownership. Forget the, “ …Government for the people, by the people…” anecdote; the Constitution holds little sway, here.

Returning to the issue of oil industry subjugation. This is reportedly targeted to suppress Global Warming. But the US absence from an industry only elevates others to take their place in world supply. 90% of the Carbon emissions occur outside of US territories.

Global warming has been with us (and well-measured) for MANY decades. International actions to address the problem are the most important, but they are centered more within the scope of China, highly industrialized areas and emerging Nations like India.

During the last 4 years the US EXCEEDED the emission reduction requirements of the abandoned 2015 Paris Agreement; they are the ONLY nation to do so. And I doubt ANY nation paid their obligations for failing to meet their goals within the Agreement.

Personally, I would be much more comfortable (read, impressed) if I could find a single climatologist that understood and addressed the issue of Precession, Earths (currently high) 23.5 deg axial tilt and Orbital Position in their pontifications, theoretical models and predictions of climate variation.

Changing subjects…

On the (2020) election front, only a lunatic would think there was no substantial voter fraud. There was nothing that would have prevented or changed this (traditional) historical US behavior and activity. The only question is:  How MUCH fraud was there? The answer will be long forthcoming.

I see it is now seemingly illegal and punishable to question the integrity of the last election. Very alarming.

Yet I wonder, what happened to those >1,000 Signed Affidavits alleging separate incidents of Voter Fraud? Claims made were of issues with 1,000’s to 100, 000’s of votes being involved. Surely the complainants should be punished for making libelous false claims, OR people would be tried for their alleged actions?

But there is nothing of note, no real activity either way. How can this be? This null event is the single outcome that cannot occur in a Nation of Laws.

Then there continues the issue of Integrity in Politics. We seem to wave away the compromised trading activities of Pelosi (yet again), this time with Tesla stock.  And the (returned, beloved by both Right and Left) new Secretary of the Treasury, Yellen is immediately raising eyebrows.  Janet has failed to recuse herself in the GameStop trading controversy despite receiving $810k from a major protagonist in the scandal. Sadly, these are hardly rare unaddressed occurrences.

Finally, the Emmy-winning bubble has inevitably burst, highlighting Cuomo’s Nursing Home and general mismanagement scandals. This has emerged almost nine months after his ill-fated actions drove the worst per Capita COVID-19 rates in the industrialized world, while nursing home deaths were being undercounted by over 50%. In all honestly who did not know what was being done and hidden in plain sight? Yet the intentional deceit went on well beyond all credibility.

Generally, the more egregious the sin, the less publicized by MSM, depending on the side being chosen. Recent polls tell us most people do not trust the media and blame them for much.

To quote Mark Twain,” Suppose you were a journalist and suppose you were a liar. But I repeat myself.”

Well, all these events, hypocrisies and anomalies have weighed on me much as I am sure they do on others. So, with little but mostly disheartening news I look for small pleasures and distractions elsewhere…

Just the other day I wandered into a Best Buy, because, well, “they are future.”  I found myself in the camcorder section and absent-mindedly watched a film featuring me on TV for 20 mins. until a large person in blue uniform asked me what I was doing and shooed me away.

Such is life.  😊

I see many others seeking their relief in on-line community newsletters, sharing platforms, exercise and outings. If ever there was a time for distraction.

Are you finding diversions from these Winter Storms? Do you feel the need? Is there anything in your life that eases the burden of National and Local News?

Make the time to find experiences that lighten up living for yourself, friends and family.

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