Sunday, February 27, 2022


Paseo Neuvo.

It is Spanish for “New Ride.”

But here in downtown Santa Barbara it means the exact opposite: “Old stillness.”

And not in a cool yoga way.

There’s nothing happening here!

For a start, about half the retail units are just empty, empty, empty—one right after the other.

As for those that remain open?

There’s no one inside shopping. NO ONE.

You don’t know whether to cry or throw up.

How much did they spend redoing this architecturally delightful State Street hub that in better times anchored Macy’s and Nordstrom (both long gone and empty ever since)?

It wouldn’t matter. 

Because Santa Barbara’s burghers don’t seem to know their ketchup from their mustard, their pickles from their onions.

It no long matters how much public or corporate money is spent on such “beautification” because whatever they do is immediately soiled by a filthy element our public officials not only tolerate but seem to encourage. 

Local government might as well create a campaign called “Ugly it Up.”

Because that is all they have accomplished.

This is what folks say in Montecito (and elsewhere): “No one goes downtown anymore.”

Why would they? Masochistic tendencies? To cultivate depression?          

We ventured down to see what we might see. 

Take our word for it: This ain't a pretty sight.

In fact, it is downright ugly and rotten; a festering indictment of city and county officials (elected and appointed) and their bureaucratic minions. 

Make no mistake: These fools have destroyed our city; have transformed it into the ultimate hangout for those who contribute nothing but their own filth.

Our city managers do this under the banner of “compassion” and “social justice.” But this is just code for “We don’t know what to do.”

And they don’t.


Please pray for the fools in charge. Pray that they are suddenly, miraculously blessed by intelligence.

Because our “New Ride” is a very tragic example of how a civilized community, which has been badly mismanaged by Big Mac burghers, is NOT supposed to operate.

We asked the hostesses inside a restaurant called Eureka, which had exactly zero lunch customers at 12:33pm on a Wednesday, if Paseo Neuvo was always this quiet.

“Come back at the weekend,” they said.

We took their advice and did.

Saturday. Same time. 

Only six customers inside Eureka, a fairly large space with high occupant capacity.

On the bricked passages beyond?  Assorted strollers (not many)—and the shops are still mostly empty; one or two customers, max.

Mayor Randy Rowse and City Administrator Rebecca Bjork: Congratulations on your election and appointment, respectively. Now put the champagne goblets away, shift into high gear and DO something—anything—to both improve commerce and purge the squalor at Paseo Neuvo (and State Street in general). 

If the problem is greedy landlords, create an empty-space tax.

If the problem is homeless people (and it is), ban them from State Street. (Or rent a bus, offer free beer and drive them—greedy landlords too—to Bakersfield, one way.)

Or as one commercial property owner suggested to us last summer after we wrote about going on safari in the jungle State Street has become: Form a commission of landlords, business owners and law enforcement personnel. Give them teeth i.e. follow their recommendations.

Your reputations and legacy will depend on your ability to tackle this serious issue.

We will be watching. And reporting on your progress (or lack thereof).




The presumed exile in Montecito by Britain’s former royal couple, Harry and Meghan, has been underscored by the determination of the UK’s Home Office to refuse Royal Officer Protection to the Duke and his family when visiting Britain.

It is “irrelevant” that Harry has offered to pay the cost of such security himself, lawyers acting for the Home Office argued earlier this month in London’s High Court, on the basis that British police officers are not for hire.

Moreover, the Home Office now seeks to hold Harry liable for the expense of legal proceedings the rebel prince initiated against the UK government—a cost they estimate will exceed half a million dollars.

And only three days ago it was reported that Harry has initiated another potentially costly lawsuit, this time against the publishers of the (UK) Daily Mail for reporting that he had tried to keep secret his action against the UK Government demanding protection.

Question: Is it Harry’s ambition, now that he resides in Montecito, to compete with Ty Warner over how many lawsuits one can be party to? 

Harry’s own legal representative opined to the High Court that Britain “is and ways will be his home.”

It seems the British establishment begs to differ.

The couple is expected visit Britain at the end of March for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. That visit, however, may now be in doubt if Harry does not get his way on the bodyguard issue. 

Public opinion in the UK (according to a Daily Express poll, conducted by Redfield and Wilton Strategies) does not favor him; 70 percent of Brits polled believe the couple should remain in Montecito and not take part in the Queen’s celebrations.




In mid-January, we reported on the lawsuit Tarzan actor Ron Ely filed against Santa Barbara County and three Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Deputies in the October 2019 shooting death of Mr. Ely’s son, Cameron Ely, outside their house in Hope Ranch. 

A trial that had been scheduled to commence February 22nd in federal court in Los Angeles has been postponed due to the temporary suspension of jury trials in the Central District of California.

The Court has yet to schedule a new date but, according to Court filings, lawyers in the case are looking toward October 2022 for a new trial date.




Three weeks ago, COVID struck home. Despite being double vaccinated, The Investigator tested positive and remained isolated for one week. Symptoms were mild (a dry cough), requiring little more than ibuprofen.

We’ve always believed this “pandemic” has been over-hyped and overplayed due to power, ego and politics and our own experience with it up-front-and-personal only serves to confirm that contention. Although vaccinations may soften the impact of COVID it is the virus itself, most certainly, that has weakened—and was never (even two years ago) a serious threat to most of the population.

It now transpires that the bigger threat to healthy people may have been the vaccine itself.

To whom do you go for data on this point?

Not government health organizations, which avoid reporting detrimental side effects of the vaccine. 

You go to insurance companies!

Andreas Schofbeck, board member of large German health insurance company BKK, announced a few days ago: “According to our calculations, we consider 400,000 visits to the doctor by our policy-holders because of vaccination complications to be realistic. Measured against the whole population, this value would be three million. The numbers that resulted from our analysis are very far away from the publicly announced numbers. It would be unethical not to talk about it.”

Vaccinations should have been recommended (to those with serious health and immunity issues), not mandated (to all).

We were all forced to endure two years of stupidity because reason was not permitted to prevail, out-gunned by Fauci & Co’s arrogant pretense of a monopoly on a “science” subscribed to by mental midgets in government. 

Even now, while these folks continue to preach to us about their so-called “science,” the CDC continues to conceal a vast amount of scientific data stemming from their race to push an “experimental” vaccine—approved only for “emergency” use by the FDA without any manufacturer liability—onto everyone in the country.  

Ask yourself why this data is being withheld from the American public.


And instead of baa baa-ing like sheep, wake up and QUESTION AUTHORITY.


            NO SURRENDER!

Those who continue to mask themselves have the same mentality as the diehard, heavily-indoctrinated Japanese soldiers in World War II who hid out in the jungle for decades after their Emperor Hirohito surrendered. But this may be just as well because whatever malady they truly suffer we don’t want to catch.

As for the diehard, heavily-indoctrinated School Board members who insist that our children and grandchildren should continue to wear masks in class, they should resign their positions immediately and retire to the jungle where, masked forever, maybe they’ll get lucky and find a 90-something Japanese soldier to hang with. (And please—Karen and Ken—don’t come back. Ever.)

Schools are where people supposedly go to get smart. Yet it has become increasingly evident that this country’s education system—from masking to Critical Race Theory—is run by some of the dumbest people in our society.

I sort of suspected this when I was a kid going to school and chose to place my attention outside the window.

Now I know for sure. 

Sunday, February 20, 2022


As Russia’s Vladimir Putin continues his cat-and-mouse-and-ready-to-pounce tactics with the Ukraine and, by extension, the NATO alliance, he looks very much alone at the far end of a long conference table where he now chooses to perch himself whether dialoging with European leaders or his own ministers.

And perhaps he now understands, as his own foreign minister Sergei Lavrov begs for more time to negotiate with the West, how very isolated he has become and, more important, how a bloody invasion of Ukraine would quite likely seal his own death warrant.

Because invading Ukraine is a gamble that Mr. Putin, like Hitler before him, would ultimately lose, ending—happily, for the world—in his own demise. (His ploy for disenfranchising NATO has already backfired; instead of achieving the result he desired, it effectively reinvigorated the Alliance’s resolve to stand in unity.)

And when putrid Putin is gone, no one will weep. Not his ex-wife (who he used to beat) nor his daughters, who know better than anyone what a tyrant he is. And certainly not the Russian people, who have been financially and emotionally raped by Mr. Putin and the mafia he brought with him to Moscow from St. Petersburg just over 22 years ago.

Think Wizard of Oz near the end when the Wicked Witch of the West melts after Dorothy douses her with a bucket of water after she sets Scarecrow afire—and the witch’s henchmen, far from being angry, chant “Hail to Dorothy—the wicked witch is dead!” 

The witch’s disappearance had set them free.

Russian men and women in the street regard neighboring Ukrainians as their brothers and sisters; in their hearts, they share so similar a culture and soul that armed confrontation would feel to the people of this region like a civil war—except that Ukraine for the past 30 years has not been part of a dysfunctional “union” that, before then, constrained their policies from Moscow; nor do Ukrainians desire to be dominated by a ruthless dictator from Mother Russia.

As a sovereign country, Ukrainians delight in their own territorial integrity and national identity. And the average Russian in the street has no problem coexisting with a free and independent Ukraine. They will, however, have a major bone to pick with the imperialistic Mr. Putin when their children and grandchildren begin arriving home in body bags, by the droves—and for what, they will ask, so that Mr. Putin—who seems to suffer from an insecurity complex—can put on yet another show of macho, like the time he pulled off his shirt and pretended, for photographers, to be Tarzan?



As for the oligarchs—they love their lives!  Enslaving Ukraine and the Ukrainians will do nothing to improve their existence.  On the contrary, it will vastly complicate where they go and what they do. These are the greedy pigs who own townhouses on Belgrave Square in London and sprawling English estates and costume themselves like country squires in their quest to become more British than the Brits. They send their kids to expensive UK schools and vacation in pricey villas along the French Riviera near their super-yachts. In short, they enjoy a) their money and b) their freedom to travel (and in general).

But if Mr. Putin invades Ukraine, these oligarchs will watch in horror as their money and flexibility for travel begins to disappear. Their glamorous, extravagant lifestyles in London, Paris, Nice, St. Tropez, Rome, New York, etc. will end; the fruits they have so enjoyed for well over two decades will no longer be so easily picked and consumed.  They will no longer be welcome in Britain; not welcome anywhere in the West. And many will likely watch aghast as their grand properties are frozen or confiscated along with their bank accounts and other valuable assets as their dirty deals are finally investigated and exposed, leaving them open to prosecution and forfeiture of property. (In a just world, this would have happened long ago.)

They will lose the material things they love so much all because of putrid Putin’s personality.


Both the average downtrodden Russian and the pampered oligarch already know that this invasion of Ukraine is purely about Mr. Putin and his own selfish agenda and prejudices (in addition to centering global attention upon himself).  And it is they who will join forces put an end to this tyrant once the full magnitude of what he has subjected them to overrides the propaganda poppycock the Kremlin has put out for domestic consumption.  

From an idealistic standpoint, Mr. Putin has forever wanted to re-establish the old Soviet Union—from the time he was a lowly KGB officer posted in Dresden, then part of East Germany (definitely, in that posting, not part of the KGB’s A-Team—more likely, the D-Team) and found himself frantically burning documents in the Russian consulate as his beloved Iron Curtain was raised and the despicable wall he so adored deconstructed while Soviet-style Communism collapsed around him.

From a personal standpoint, Mr. Putin wants to survive and preserve the vast personal fortune he has squirrelled away for himself, from high-end wristwatches to villas and chateaus all over Europe to the super yacht he just moved from Germany to Kaliningrad to the palaces he built for himself around Russia to huge bank balances in ciphered accounts throughout the world’s offshore tax havens.

One thing we all learned post World War II is that we—the Allied countries—should have taken out Hitler early on—and saved the world from his horrors. 

Truth be known, NATO’s leaders and joint intelligence services should have long ago designed a plan to douse this bully with a bucket of water and melt him into the ground. Instead, innocent people (civilians, women, children) would die in an invasion (50,000 has been estimated); the horror of war would destroy so very many lives—and the world would (for only a short period of time, one hopes) continue to endure an evil despot who, unfortunately, is cleverer than Biden, Britain’s Boris and France’s Macron all rolled together.




Add this to the equation:  Russian intelligence services are among the best in the world. You can be certain they know everything there is to know—and there’s a lot to know—about Biden’s shady deals with certain Ukrainians to enrich his family, along with Biden family secret deals with China, again, to feather his own family nest, thus far protected from widespread exposure by a liberal mainstream media (because they could not see past their Trump Derangement Syndrome) and a highly politicized Department of Justice.

It is possible Mr. Putin will use this leverage if/when his invasion begins to backfire, when the Russian working man and Russian oligarch turn on their leader—as they will—and Kremlin leadership implodes. It will be most interesting to see how Biden and his son Hunter, as mid-term elections approach, try to squeak out of all the evidence that has mounted up against them—both at home and in the files of foreign intelligence services.

And it could be that Mr. Putin’s hoped for exile (if push comes to shove) in Monte Carlo, with his dimwitted comrade Prince Albert, may now be in doubt as he would likely be hunted as a war criminal. And that’s only IF the oligarchs and average Russians don’t get him first (think Libya’s Ghaddafi and Romania’s Ceausescu).

The Investigator wrote in these pages on 11 October 2008: “By early 2005, Western intelligence services knew that Vladimir Putin was scheming to remain in absolute control of Russia beyond his second four-year term as president. And thus, the New Russia has a New Stalin: a megalomaniac autocrat determined to hold onto power at any cost, to include the beating and shooting to death of journalists who dare criticize his dictatorial rule. Intelligence analysts told The Investigator: ‘Mr. Putin possesses a bullying nature. He has few friends and trusts no one; he respects only those who stand up to him.’”

Here is our point: The Western intelligence services—especially the CIA and the (UK) MI6—knew this about Mr. Putin 17 years ago!

And no one dared stand up to him!

Our column back then continued: “Mr. Putin strives to have something on everyone—and has directed his intelligence services to perform accordingly.”

Which perhaps may explain, at least in part, why he gets away with outrageously aggressive behavior.

And it is because our leaders possessed this intelligence so long ago that they are culpable for allowing Mr. Putin’s power to perpetuate; for not putting him in his place for murdering journalists, defectors, opponents, invading Georgia in 2008 and invading Crimea in 2014.  All they ever did was impose limited economic sanctions, about which, “Putin doesn’t give a s---” (according to Viktor Tatarintsev, his ambassador to Sweden).

Instead, our leaders permitted those buddies of his who have raped the energy and fertilizer industries of their own country (to the detriment of the average Russian) to prosper and make the West their playground.

They knew. Yet they continued to demonstrate weakness and appease Mr. Putin just as Neville Chamberlain before them appeased and emboldened Adolph Hitler’s expansionist misadventures by foolishly declaring “Peace in our time.”




Here is the biggest problem of all if Mr. Putin brings war and upon Ukraine and innocent men, women and children are slaughtered.  He ENJOYS this.

George W. Bush as U.S, president looked into Mr. Putin’s eyes and, later, famously declared, “He has no soul.”

But it’s worse than that. As we also wrote in 2008: “Mr. Putin’s most revealing characteristic is how he spends his time: watching military reprisals against Chechen nationalists. The more barbaric the imagery played out on his TV screen, including Chechen teenage boys being shot in the head, the greater is said to be Mr. Putin’s enjoyment.”

Our intelligence services knew this about him.

And our leaders knew this because they were briefed by our intelligence services.

How did I know this?  As director of the Monaco Intelligence Service, I was also briefed (along with Prince Albert) on Mr. Putin’s personality by Russia experts from both CIA and MI6.

Our intelligence services and leaders also knew, over 20 years ago, about Mr. Putin’s strong desire to reform the Soviet Union. This was partly why the (corrupt) deputy mayor of St. Petersburg was chosen by remnants of the KGB to replace Boris Yeltsin as president at the end of 1999.

This was known.

And our leaders did nothing.

How do I know this?

I was there, in Moscow, operating undercover for FBI Counterintelligence in January 1997.

At an intimate dinner hosted for me and CIA defector Edward Lee Howard by former KGB chairman Vladimir Kryuchkov at a restaurant called Fairy Tale. Mr. Kryuchkov’s right-hand man, Igor Prelin, set his hand on my wrist and asked, “What will Washington think when the Soviet Union reemerges?”

It was a chilling moment.

If Putin the Terrible takes Ukraine, the Soviet Union will have reemerged—and its evil axis with China will prove the gravest threat our country has ever seen.

And it is our so-called “leaders” who are to blame for never having anything more than a reactive stance to world events. Just as they were to blame for appeasing Hitler, the debacle that was the Vietnam War and invading Iraq over so-called “Weapons of Mass Destruction.”

CIA Deputy Director of Operations Clair George told me, after I’d arrived in Washington DC to work with him: “I’d take you downtown to a Starbucks and point out the folks who really run things, but it’ll only scare the bejeesus out of you.”

Lest anyone have any doubt, this is what the legendary spymaster meant: Small minds.   

Minds that are easily led astray by lobbyists and special interests and the military-industrial complex.

Minds that allow history to repeat itself.

Sunday, February 13, 2022


For Valentine’s Day (tomorrow) here is a heart-breaking story of unrequited love that also breaks the real Da Vinci Code.

Let’s begin this way: A new digital art show opening at The Louvre in Paris this spring is set to bring Mona Lisa alive in an immersive exhibition, that trendy new hi-tech art form erupting in museums everywhere that reanimates the subjects of famous old paintings and their creators into interactive experiences between them and museum-goers.

The world’s most famous painting, by Leonardo da Vinci, has for centuries beguiled those who gaze upon it, upon Mona, her mischievous smile—and whose true identity has never been known.

And now “La Joconde,” as this iconic portrait is known in France, will be the star of its own extravaganza.

But before we get carried away with what this spring has in store, let us reverse into the past; to five centuries ago and Niccolo Machiavelli, famously renowned as the father of political science.

When he was 25 years old in 1494, two years after Christopher Columbus arrived in America, Machiavelli—or “Machia,” as he was known to his friends—entered government service, as a clerk, in Florence, which was then a well fortified and bustling city-state whose autocratic Medici rulers had just been overthrown and expelled, allowing Florence to transform into a republic.

This suited Machia just fine since, at heart, he was a republican—and a non-religious humanist in conscience. But Niccolo came to believe, as he grew into his work, that only an autocratic royal ruler—a prince—could defend a city-state from hostile foreign powers and, as we know, later wrote about it in his classic work. 

One such hostile foreign power was the Pope and his papal army, along with neighboring city-states, such as Pisa.

But Machia kept his republican thoughts to himself as he rose to the position of Second Chancellor, undertaking diplomatic missions to other city-states. In addition, for 3 years he took charge of the Florentine militia, whose job it was to defend the city from its enemies.

But it all turned sour for Machia in August 1512 when the republic was scrapped and a new Pope helped the autocratic Medici family—specifically, Cardinal Giovanni Medici—restore their rule. 

The Medicis returned with a vengeance—and with vengeance in mind. 

On November 7th of that year Machia was fired from his job. And a couple months after that he was arrested and accused of conspiring to overthrow the new Medici regime.



Machiavelli was thrown into the clink, where his interrogators tortured him with the Strappado.

What, you may ask, is a Strappado?

This is when a prisoner under interrogation is hoisted by his hands (tied behind his back) to the ceiling—then dropped, stopping just short of hitting the floor.


They did this to Machia. Six times. (He admitted nothing, denied everything, maybe grew an inch or two…)

The Medici crowd eventually released him, but booted his butt back to the Machiavelli family estate in San Casciano, about 25 miles from Florence (now known for its chianti grape) and told him to never, ever return under any circumstances.

Politics was all that Machia truly cared about.  Thus, he tried to talk his way back into Florence, pledging support for the Medici rule, anything that would keep him engaged in the game of statecraft he so loved. 

To no avail.    

For a political junkie like Machia, exile was almost as bad as the Strappado.

To take his mind off the political intrigue he was missing in Florence, Machia toiled by day in the fields of his family estate, supervising the cutting of trees to be sold as firewood. Back then, firewood was everyone’s prime energy source. Kind of like oil is today.

After work, Machia played backgammon in the local tavern.    

But evenings he reserved for solitude. 

And madness.  

For this is what Machia wrote to his friend Francesco Vettori on December 10th, 1513:


“When evening comes, I return to my house and enter my study; and at the door I strip naked, taking off the day’s clothing, covered with mud and dust, and put on the regal robes of court and palace; and re-clothed appropriately, I enter the ancient courts of ancient men, where, received by them with affection, I feed on that food which is only mine and which I was born for, where I am not ashamed to speak with them and to ask them the reason for their actions; and they in their kindness answer me; and for four hours of time I do not feel boredom, I forget every trouble, I do not dread poverty, I am not frightened by death; entirely I give myself over to them and I pass indeed into their world.”



That’s right, Machiavelli believed he was interacting directly with Dante, the 13th century Roman poet. And also with ancient Greek philosophers Plutarch and Plato.  

This was Machia’s art, upon which he became totally focused and provided him therapeutic escape from his fears and depression and led, ultimately, to Machia penning The Prince–-a work produced by what today’s New Agers would call trance-channel, since he believed it was told to him by Dante, Plutarch and Plato. 

The Medici family and their interrogators had driven poor Machia to depression and madness, first with the Strappado, then by depriving him of statecraft.

Machia’s dialog with the great thinkers, which morphed into The Prince, was published posthumously 30 years after he wrote it.  

No doubt Machia suffered depression from his banishment.  But did torture push him over the edge of sanity, into the realm of hallucination?  

Talking to the dead qualifies as an idea of reference.

Hallucination is criterion for schizophrenic disorder.  

Machia’s words also imply fears of poverty and death-delusions, which are symptoms of psychosis. 

Machia tried to use his unpublished manuscript, The Prince, to tease the Medici family into bringing him back to Florence and help them govern their city-state. His manuscript was hand-delivered to Giovanni de Medici. But the Cardinal did not even bother to read it.

Truth was, the Medici family had Machiavelli pegged:  He was a mediocre statesman who took no risks for fear of compromising himself.  

Machia was good at two things:   One, playing all sides. Two, writing treatises, for which his name endures.  

When the Medicis crashed and burned in 1527, giving way to a new republican government, Machia rushed to Florence to lobby for high position.  But he got sick along the way. Not unlike Vincent van Gogh, 3 centuries later, Machia died believing himself a failure.  

A few centuries later, Merriam-Webster would define “Machiavellian” as cunning or devious

This would have surprised Machia. It would also have surprised him that his well-known smirk would captivate the world’s attention for centuries to come.  

How so?

This is where we circle back to Leonardo and crack the real Da Vinci code.  

Forget Dan Brown and his novel of that name. The real story is that Machia and Leonardo da Vinci knew one another in Florence during the first decade of the 1500s.  

Machia and Leonardo even worked together, from 1503 until 1506, on a bold and very secret engineering project to re-route the River Arno away from the city-state of Pisa.

Why did those charged with the defense of Florence want to re-route the River Arno away from Pisa? 

Because Florence and Pisa were constantly at war—and Florence desired, as a military tactic, to deprive the Pisans of a fresh water supply.

This bold engineering project failed.

In those days, if a project failed, those who committed the failure were usually rounded up and executed. Thus, fearing that arrest and execution might be imminent, Leonardo fled Florence and exiled himself to Milan.

Leonardo pulled an exit-stage-right not just because he feared reprisal, but also because of a broken heart.

Why did Leonardo have a broken heart?

Not from a failed engineering project, but from unrequited love.

Leonardo was gay.  And Leonardo was in love with Machiavelli, who was not.

So, Leonardo demonstrated his love by painting Machia as a woman.  

The Mona Lisa.

                        HERE ARE THE FACTS


·      Mona Lisa was painted between 1503 and 1506, the same years Machia and Leonardo worked together on their bold engineering project.

·      Mona’s “mysterious smile” is Machia’s enigmatic smirk. (Machia’s biographer described Machia’s enigmatic smirk as “neither a grin nor a sneer; a shield to protect against prying eyes.”) 

·       Mona’s lash-less, almond-shaped eyes and manly hands also match Machia’s almond-shaped eyes and manly hands.


But there is more.

The valley behind Mona Lisa is where the Arno River diversion was projected to take place.

Leonardo first sketched this valley as part of his engineering project with Machia—and he used those sketches as the background when he painted Mona Lisa.

Leonardo refused to sell Mona Lisa. Instead, he always kept “Mona” near him as a remembrance of Machia, the man who broke his heart.

But don’t take our word for it. Google images for Mona Lisa and a portrait of Machiavelli—and decide for yourself.

And if we’re wrong?

Well, at least you learned a little history.