“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Monday, October 23, 2017

Catalonia Matters

How the Catalan crisis could send shockwaves across Europe

Carles Puigdemont
The Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, heads a 450,000-strong rally to protest against Madrid’s decision to suspend the region’s autonomy. Photograph: Quique Garcia/EPA

The battle for Catalonia just got personal. Until now the main protagonists, Carles Puigdemont, the Catalan president, and Mariano Rajoy, Spain’s prime minister, have avoided a head-on clash. All that changed at the weekend after the Madrid government decided to impose direct rule. Within minutes, insults were flying, with the opposing sides accusing each other of totalitarianism and rebellion.
Puigdemont had deliberately provoked the secession crisis, Rajoy claimed. The problem was, he lacked the stature to handle such a delicate situation. “This would probably never have happened if a different person with similar ideas had been in charge,” Rajoy said. In vowing to sack the Catalan leader, he noticeably declined to rule out charging him with sedition and locking him up. 

Puigdemont and his vociferous allies were not slow to the counterpunch. Rajoy’s actions represented “the worst attack against the institutions and the people of Catalonia since the dictatorship of Franco”, he declared. This comparison with the late fascist generalísimo was deeply offensive. Carme Forcadell, the speaker of the Catalan parliament, extended the historical allusion, describing the takeover as a coup.

After Saturday night’s passionate, pro-independence demonstration in Barcelona, battle lines are now being drawn and trenches figuratively dug. The senate, which is controlled by the government, is preparing to vote on Rajoy’s proposals, probably on Friday. They could be pre-empted if the Catalan assembly formally declares independence this week and calls new elections. In any event, a drawn-out war of attrition looms.

Both sides are seeking to delegitimise the other’s actions, claim the moral high ground and rally public support. For Rajoy, backed by the constitution, the courts, the monarchy and the main opposition parties, the argument boils down to a straightforward law and order message. “All the government is trying to do, and reluctantly, is to reinstate the legal order,” Spain’s foreign minister, Alfonso Dastis, said on Sunday.

Rajoy’s dry, Maybot-style approach does not set pulses racing, but it has the virtue of making him appear responsible, sensible and grown-up – in contrast to Barcelona’s supposed rabble-rousers. In this guise, Rajoy is France’s Louis XV with spectacles and a beard, gravely intoning: “Après moi, le déluge.

The younger, less experienced Puigdemont is an unlikely revolutionary. He knows most Spaniards have no sympathy for his cause. He cannot be certain of majority support even within Catalonia, but as a former journalist with any eye for a headline he knows how to grab attention with a good story.

Puigdemont’s evolving narrative portrays the crisis as a fight to uphold universal principles. In his speech on Saturday night rejecting Rajoy’s move, he purposefully pitched his remarks at a Europe-wide audience.

Speaking in English, Puigdemont went over the heads of EU governments, appealing directly to the “citizens of Europe”. The independence struggle was less a local rebellion and more an exemplary defence of shared democratic values, including self-determination, as embodied in the European charter of fundamental rights, he said.

This line of argument will cut no ice with Germany’s Angela Merkel, or the French leader, Emmanuel Macron, both of whom have publicly backed Rajoy. Likewise, the EU commission continues to hold its nose, maintaining the convenient fiction that it has no power to intervene – in contrast, critics say, to its serial meddling in Polish, Hungarian and British politics. 

Puigdemont’s appeal is likely to get a more positive reception in grassroots Europe, where the status quo dominance of the centralised nation state is under similar challenge to varying degrees. Such areas potentially include Spain’s Basque country, France’s Corsica, Italy’s Lombardy, Romania’s Transylvania and Belgium’s Flanders, where nationalist, regionalist and separatist forces are in play. There is strong sympathy for the Catalan cause in Scotland too.

The longer the Barcelona-Madrid struggle rages, and the more entrenched the opposing sides become, the greater the potential for its destabilising effects to send political and economic shockwaves across Europe – and stir up comparable, dormant or long-simmering independence or separatist sentiments.

Rajoy has mostly played a difficult hand with skill and patience so far, but his political capital in not inexhaustible and his minority government is vulnerable. Violence on the streets of Catalonia could change everything. The widely condemned police crackdown during this month’s disputed referendum served as a warning of how a hitherto peaceful standoff can quickly turn bad.

There is also an important ideological aspect to the battle for Catalonia. Puigdemont’s ruling coalition has a strong leftist bent, influenced by the hardline, anti-capitalist CUP party. If he can successfully portray the crisis as a fight against the repressive authoritarianism of an uncaring rightwing establishment elite – his view of Rajoy’s conservative People’s party – Puigdemont could yet emerge as a Corbyn-max standard bearer for radical European renewal.

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  1. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy left the nation breathless when he announced the steps he wants to use to crush the separatist movement in the prosperous Catalonia region.

    Rajoy called on Spain's Senate to trigger a previously untapped section of the Spain Constitution that allows the central government to temporarily intervene in the running of a region if its leaders have broken the law.


    There are some of the regional powers Rajoy is seeking by triggering Article 155:


    First and foremost, Rajoy wants to remove the members of Catalonia's pro-independence regional government. Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, vice president Oriol Junqueras, and the 12 regional ministers claim Catalonia is sovereign and not subject to Spanish law.


    Catalonia has secured the ability to govern itself in many areas since democracy returned to Spain following the death of dictator Gen. Francisco Franco in 1975. Education, health and policing are areas in which the region enjoys self-rule.



    A special commission of 27 senators will assess Rajoy's request on Tuesday. Regional president Puigdemont will have the chance to argue his case before the Senate on Thursday before it holds a vote expected Friday.

  2. The Catalans aren't true Spaniards. They've done away with the death of the bull in the bull ring. And they speak a different language.

    Let them go. Let them be free.

  3. The EU and UN recognized Kosovo's secession and set the precedent for Catalonia. How inconvenient.

  4. Remember the noble Albanians burning the Christian churches in ethnically cleansed Kosovo? How inconvenient.

  5. Poor Hillary almost got shot to death during that secession. The only thing that saved her was her agility in sprinting from her helicopter and not unlike Achilles, the son of Peleas, fleet-footed Hillary, as is her wont, valiantly survived the challenge.

    1. She carried Chelsea and Huma out of danger on her back, too.

    2. The charming and courageous Countess of Clinton, who in the end, always does the right thing, even if it is hard, inspiring all to live a life of decency, integrity, and kindness, regardless of how it happened, depending of course, on what the meaning of the word 'is' is.

  6. My god, you have to admire that woman.

  7. She was really robbed by the usurper, Little Fingers, Trump of Queens.

  8. October 23, 2017
    Is Uranium One the Final Nail in Israel's Coffin?
    By Pat Patterson

  9. Speaking of fingers, have we heard any more wisdom from finger-painting George, the Orator of Crawford, over the weekend?

  10. Yes we have.

    Former president George W. Bush, who launched the conflicts Trump has inherited. As the commander in chief, Bush oversaw the return of thousands of troops in flag-draped transfer cases. Many more came home forever changed, some missing limbs, others with their minds racked with post-traumatic stress and blast injuries.

    The president and those he sent into battle converged at Walter Reed, the military hospital where war wounded received care. For Bush, being commander in chief became central to his identity, as he noted during his 17th and final visit to the hospital before leaving office. It was “the thing I’ll miss the most,” he said in December 2008.

    “Coming here to Walter Reed,” Bush noted, “is a reminder of why I’ll miss it.”

    The costly wars Bush launched are unfinished, and early drafts of history have not been kind to his administration. The Iraq war began over faulty intelligence and created a security vacuum eventually filled by the Islamic State. The war in Afghanistan has entered its 16th year.

    Since leaving Washington, he has turned to advocacy for the wounded, hosting two annual events — a bike ride and a golf tournament — through the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas. “It makes him feel like he can continue his commitment,” said one former Bush administration official.

  11. China is instituting a 'citizen rating system'.

    But, brothers...we have a pure classless society.....surely this is a rumor spread by the running dog American imperialists.

    1. I'll take Idaho -

      Big Data Meets Big Brother As China Moves To Rate Its Citizens

      ....Imagine a world where many of your daily activities were constantly monitored and evaluated: what you buy at the shops and online; where you are at any given time; who your friends are and how you interact with them; how many hours you spend watching content or playing video games; and what bills and taxes you pay (or not). It’s not hard to picture, because most of that already happens, thanks to all those data-collecting behemoths like Google, Facebook and Instagram or health-tracking apps such as Fitbit. But now imagine a system where all these behaviours are rated as either positive or negative and distilled into a single number, according to rules set by the government. That would create your Citizen Score and it would tell everyone whether or not you were trustworthy. Plus, your rating would be publicly ranked against that of the entire population and used to determine your eligibility for a mortgage or a job, where your children can go to school – or even just your chances of getting a date.

      A futuristic vision of Big Brother out of control? No, it’s already getting underway in China, where the government is developing the Social Credit System (SCS) to rate the trustworthiness of its 1.3 billion citizens. The Chinese government is pitching the system as a desirable way to measure and enhance “trust” nationwide and to build a culture of “sincerity”. As the policy states, “It will forge a public opinion environment where keeping trust is glorious. It will strengthen sincerity in government affairs, commercial sincerity, social sincerity and the construction of judicial credibility.”....

  12. October 23, 2017
    Finally, the Missing Puzzle Piece
    By Eileen F. Toplansky

    It has always niggled me as to what the always arrogant 44th President of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama, actually meant when he was caught on an open microphone telling Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that he needed more "flexibility" from the Russians. They needed to give him "space" since "it was [his] last election" but "after '[his] election, [he] would have more flexibility."

    Medvedev's retort was "I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir."

    While Medvedev may have understood what Obama was saying, most Americans were left quite bewildered by this cryptic message.

    Until now.

    Enter the breathtaking information that the most intricate and shady backroom deals were happening both nationally and internationally while Congress and the American public were deliberately kept in the dark, not only by the Obama administration, but also by Obama's Department of Justice and the very same FBI officials who are now attempting to concoct a fictitious collusion story about Trump.

    John Solomon and Alison Spann have discovered that

    Before the Obama administration approved a controversial deal in 2010 giving Moscow control of a large swath of American uranium, the FBI had gathered substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business inside the United States.

    And even though it would have been an unbelievable law enforcement achievement "to have brought down a major Russian nuclear corruption scheme that compromised a sensitive uranium transportation asset inside the U.S. and facilitated international money laundering," nary anything substantial was done to expose this deep-seated corruption.

    For those who have, over the years, watched with horror and ire as Obama usurped power and ran the government like a dictator, the latest revelations are not especially surprising. For in our hearts we always believed that Obama was intent upon destroying this country in as many ways as he could. Now the facts have been established with incontrovertible evidence and they confirm what we always felt given Obama's unending anti-American stance. An extremely serious national security breach was permitted under his watch...........

  13. .

    The Hill on Hill

    The FBI watched then acted as Russian spy moved closer to Hillary

    This story by The Hill lays out in detail the issues surrounding the Clintons and Russian involvement in 2009/2010.

    As described in the article, some of the events and decisions were questionable and on the Russians part even illegal; however, IMO the FBI will likely need more proof than described in order to bring any criminal case against the Clintons.



  14. Yeppers, that Mr Trump has the skills.

    Iraq dismisses U.S. call for Iranian-backed militias to 'go home'

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.



  15. Niger — Gunmen on motorcycles and pickup trucks killed 13 soldiers and wounded five others in an attack on their base in western Niger, security authorities said on Saturday.

    The village is near the border with Mali, and a few dozen miles from where militants killed four American soldiers in an ambush on Oct. 4 that has thrown a spotlight on a United States counterterrorism mission in Niger, a country that straddles an expanse of the Sahara.

    Niger’s military officials confirmed the attack. The assailants had come across the border from Mali and drove about another 25 miles to the village of Ayorou before springing their attack, the security authorities said.

    "They were heavily armed,” said a security official on the scene. “They had rocket launchers and machine guns. They came in four vehicles each with about seven fighters.”


    1. Several Islamist groups and well-armed ethnic militia operate in the area along the Mali-Niger border. There have been at least 46 attacks there since early last year.

      However, officials suspect that many of the attacks, including the ambush this month on the joint United States-Niger patrol, are the work of the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, led by the Arabic-speaking North African militant Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi

  16. Maybe the Democrats will call for an end to Mueller's mucking around -

    Mueller Now Investigating Democratic Lobbyist Tony Podesta

    The probe of Podesta and his Democratic-leaning lobbying firm grew out of Mueller’s inquiry into the finances of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, according to the sources. As special counsel, Mueller has been tasked with investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

    Manafort had organized a public relations campaign for a non-profit called the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine (ECMU). Podesta’s company was one of many firms that worked on the campaign, which promoted Ukraine’s image in the West.....

  17. Byron York: Is tone of Trump-Russia probe changing?

    by Byron York | Oct 22, 2017, 9:39 PM

    Have you noticed? In recent public comments, the lawmakers investigating the Trump-Russia affair, along with some of the commentators who dissect its every development, seem to be focusing more on the facts of Russia's attempts to interfere with the 2016 election and less on allegations that Donald Trump or his associates colluded with those efforts.

    Some of that could be just an impression. But the fact is, the subjects that have dominated discussion of the Trump-Russia matter lately -- Facebook and other social media ads and the most recent update from Senate Intelligence Committee leaders Richard Burr and Mark Warner -- do not necessarily point toward collusion. Rather, more often than not, the latest talk points toward Russian "active measures," that is, the effort to disrupt the 2016 campaign.

    "Because that's where the evidence is going," one lawmaker who follows the matter closely told me in a text exchange. "I mean, things could always change, but that observation is just the reality of the situation right now, as I see it."

    "Because they've been spinning their wheels on something for which evidence has yet to emerge," said another lawmaker.

    "I think it's 1) the Mueller probe means that stuff [allegations of collusion] is sort of in his wheelhouse now," said yet another lawmaker, "and 2) I think there's recognition that Trump himself is unlikely to be implicated in this."

    In a recent speech to the San Mateo County, California Republican Party, House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes said that at this moment investigators have more evidence of Democrats colluding with Russians than of President Trump doing so........

    1. If Mueller, an honest man, mucks around enough maybe he will find that Mueller, a dishonest man, needs to be in prison himself.

  18. A'v been sayin' it for years -

    Ben Stein: "There's No Institutional Racism In America At All Anymore"

    Posted By Ian Schwartz
    On Date October 22, 2017

    Ben Stein delivers commentary on 'institutional racism' on FOX News.

    STEIN: These guys are a bunch of sulking big babies. They don’t know what they’re talking about. There’s no institutional racism in America at all anymore. If they want to do their free speech thing, God bless them. Let them do their free speech thing. But let's ignore them from then on. Let's just ignore them like they're bad babies and we don’t want to hear them crying off in the corner... Yes, there’s racism in every human being’s heart. There’s no institutional racism in America anymore. It’s gone.

  19. Some here have wanted to blame all the problem on the 'drug companies' -

    October 23, 2017
    The other open-borders issue: The opioid crisis
    By Monica Showalter

    President Trump is set to declare the opioid epidemic a national public health emergency this week, with a speech Thursday, bringing to the fore a long-simmering problem that is linked to poverty in run-down rust-belt cities and social decay in the absence of jobs.

    Axios writes:

    The opioid crisis has hit hard in Trump country — rural areas, and economically depressed white communities. For Washington, it's been out of sight, out of mind for too long — and a reminder of the blinders we have in the bubbles, which also delayed recognition of Trump's heartland strength.

    Axios notes that the opioid crisis has killed 50,000 Americans, five times the number who died during the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s.

    But focus as the press in general is going to do on social travails, Trump probably should be highlighting that the problem started getting bad right about when President Obama opened the borders to non-enforcement in 2009. Not only did the unaccompanied children rush in, so did the drug dealers. Their wares fueled the opioid epidemic, often rolling in from the Texas Gulf Coast, to the highway arteries leading north to Chicago (that place with the Juarez-style murder rates, what a coincidence), and then spread to the depressed Midwest surrrounding it.

    The website called's Drug Trafficking Across Borders page has quite a few reputable links showing how the opioid epidemic has a lot to do with the great available supply brought on by Obama's open borders policy.

    Data on drug seizures at the U.S. border indicate an alarming volume of trafficking taking place in recent years. Since 2009, heroin seizures at the southwestern border have almost tripled, while meth seizures quintupled through 2014.

    The page shows that most trafficking is land-based and the traffic over the northern border, from Canada, while not as bad as Mexican border trafficking, is not insignificant either. It notes that Arizona, which has a more aggressive seizure policy at its borders, has significantly fewer drug deaths compared to its neighbors. It also notes that as land routes shut down, drug traffickers turn to higher volume and higher risk sea and air routes. All the same, it concludes from its data that there is a significant foreign component to the opioid epidemic, one that comes explicitly from an absence of border enforcement. While Trump will probably focus on the problems of the buyers of these drugs and the need for curing them, there is also the problem of the open-border sellers.

    Increased drug trafficking in the U.S. has led to an epidemic level of overdoses, surpassing car accidents and firearms as the leading cause of injury and death among Americans. Drug abuse is ending too many lives, too soon.

    According to data from the DEA, the number of drug overdoses has climbed more than 50% in the last decade. Death and injury can be traced back to drug-related violence, overdoses from illicit drug use, accidental deaths as a result of drug abuse and injury or death related to smuggling.

    While the production of some drugs takes place within our borders, foreign drug trade into the U.S. is largely responsible for the number of dead or injured. Drug abuse has cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans, and the government allots billions of dollars each year to counter the growing epidemic.

    If that isn't an argument for building the wall, what is?

    1. Not "Draft Dodger", just those that constirure the opiod crisis, the National Emergency.

    2. .


      The drug companies have been pushing opioids into the system for decades. They bribe doctors to push them. Doctors provide weeks supply when all that is really needed for pain management is enough for a few days in many cases. In hearings, one lawmaker talked of an instance where 9 million doses of opioids were supplied to a community of less than a 1000. The drug companies have no incentive for keeping people from becoming addicts. In fact, addiction is good for their profits and for their business, at least, until the FDA is forced by public pressure to start cracking down on them..

      Prescription opioids have become a gateway drug. People without resources, kids, the poor, the unemployed look for a high wherever they can get it AND AS IMPORTANTLY wherever they can afford it. The rules of supply and demand say if there is a demand for cheap drugs, someone will supply it. A lot of it comes from outside the US simply because the cartels already have a system in place for pushing it. However, if there was no outside source people would produce it domestically. It's profitable, it's cheap; and it provides the addict with a powerful high, one that they can better afford, all selling points.

      The wall may help in slowing the flow of illegals to this country but it will do little to stop the drugs.

      These products are a high margin product that are the most profitable the cartels push. In the past, prior to the popularity of opioids, the cartel marketing plan was simply to push enough drugs through the system so that any losses wouldn't be noticed. If they lose 20% or more to the law's interdictions, it's simply a cost of doing business and is factored in to their business plan. The opioids are no different, and likely are even easier to smuggle in I would think.



    Putting soldiers in a war zone without a combat mission so they don’t offend Islamists.

    October 23, 2017 Daniel Greenfield

    1. Nope, Mr Trump is the Conmander in Chief, there is no shirking the responsibiliy thhat accompanies tbe aurhority

    2. But then again "Draft Dodger" Peterson shirking responsibilty is something you easily justify, for yourself and those you support

    3. .


      Trump's been in office now for 9 months.

      These missions have been going on continuously. If I recall correctly, there have been close to 30 of them their since to took over.

      If Trump didn't directly approve the mission, he allowed it.


    4. I see the Self Confessed War Criminal, Dead Beat Dad, Jew hater, and Liar along with the Trump hating Quirk are out in force this morning, overflowing with their usual trite banal blah blah.

      I think these two need jobs.

    5. Once again the Draft Dodger illustrates that he does not even comprehend the concept of responsibilty

  21. .

    Sign of the times...

    EPA head, Scott Pruitt, has s security detail 24/7.


    1. That is not at all surprising.

      If you were head of the EPA you'd want one too.

  22. Any opinions what a fair sentence for Bowe Bergdalh would be?

  23. Rosenstein's way to bury Uranium One before the election? - 10/23/17
    Did Rod Rosenstein concoct a scheme to let Uranium One's briber, Vadim Mirkerin, off the hook? Andrew McCarthy seems to think so. More

    Is there an honest person in Washington, D.C. ?

  24. Quirk Mon Oct 23, 03:24:00 AM EDT

    I didn't say football attendance wasn't down. I said it was nonsense to blame it on the national anthem protest as Drudge reported.


    Doug Mon Oct 23, 04:21:00 AM EDT

    What is to blame, Global Warming?

    1. ...that, plus sea level rise.

    2. Mark Geragos is representing Kaepernick, claiming collusion by the NFL for not hiring the bastard.

      Geragos has never met a guilty party he didn't want to see acquitted.

      Never mentions the fact that Kap turned down a multi-million dollar contract with the Forty Niners.

    3. Geragos oughtta represent the illegal son of a bitch that murdered Kate.

    4. because the game is slow moving with only a little action wedged in between penalty calls and, to top it off, they've put it on the tube too many days (Sun, Mon, Thursday and sometimes Saturday)...that, and nobody wants politics with mixed with their sports.

    5. that and the dawning realization that those big boys are furiously bashing heads and killing themselves in the process.

    6. and the ticket prices, how about those damn ticket prices? The TV numbers?? ever heard of 'over the top'?

    7. Yep, Kap and company have NOTHING to do with it.


    8. It can't be global warming or sea level rise because Wonder Worker O'bozo stopped both cold in their tracks, even lowering the sea level a little, just as he promised.

      Got to be something else.

    9. NFL TV audience numbers in 2017 getting worse | NFL | Sporting News

      - Heading into Week 7 of the NFL season, the league's TV problems are getting worse, not better. The average TV audience for NFL game ...

    10. What could it be ?

      Maybe the fans are pissed off about the National Anthem stuff.

      That's my best guess.

    11. Nah, our brain trust says not.


    12. that and the dawning realization that those big boys are furiously bashing heads and killing themselves in the process Ash

      That's true. I didn't realize how bad a problem that was...I thought it was restricted to boxing.

      I turned against boxing because of it, and am weakening fast on football.

    13. Like I said doug - nobody likes politics mixed with their sports. The players started it and Trump amplified it. You couple that with the defects in the game and the long term trends and it is no surprise the numbers are faltering.

    14. Yup, so Quirk was wrong again.

    15. There's also too many teams.

      I hadn't even heard of some of them.

  25. Curry played a round of golf with his father, Dell Curry, against Obama and NBA player Ray Allen, who is currently a free agent.
    Curry said that the President "made fun" of Allen.
    "(He) said that (Allen) had a posse, that he needed a bus for all the people he brought to the course to meet the President," Curry said.

    Curry said that he "couldn't relax at all" because there were "25 Secret Service agents on every hole."
    During his two-week Martha's Vineyard vacation, Obama also played golf at Farm Neck Golf Club in Oaks Bluff with retired NBA player Alonzo Mourning, former President Bill Clinton and others.

    Gregg Popovich: Donald Trump a 'Soulless Coward' for Comment on Fallen Soldiers

    1. One season and done for Dougo and the Warriors.

      ...and the National Bastards Association.

  26. Not causing no trouble.

    He sat quietly in a corner of the bar for hours. He was dead, police say

  27. Here's the best article on the drug trade that I've read in a long time - the fault, alas, seems to reside everywhere -


    The growing list of those feeding the opioid crisis.

    October 23, 2017 Michael Cutler

    There has been a long-standing debate as to whether or not marijuana is a “gateway drug” to hardcore drugs. However, there is no such debate about whether abused prescription opiates are gateway drugs to heroin and fentanyl -- they are.

    Today America finds itself suffering from the worst heroin epidemic in history.

    The unprecedented numbers of Americans who have become addicted to prescription opiates provide the drug cartels with more potential “customers” than ever before and, as I noted in an article awhile back, Obama's border failures have only made their business easier.

    There are other parties who bear blame for the creation of this crisis as well. On Sunday, October 15, 2017 the CBS News program, “60 Minutes” aired an infuriating report, “Ex-DEA agent: Opioid crisis fueled by drug industry and Congress.”

    That “ex-DEA agent” is Joe Rannazzisi who headed the DEA's Office of Diversion Control, the division that regulates and investigates the pharmaceutical industry. According to the 60 Minutes report, "Rannazzisi tells the inside story of how, he says, the opioid crisis was allowed to spread -- aided by Congress, lobbyists, and a drug distribution industry that shipped, almost unchecked, hundreds of millions of pills to rogue pharmacies and pain clinics providing the rocket fuel for a crisis that, over the last two decades, has claimed 200,000 lives."

    A subsequent Washington Post editorial detailed how the situation unfolded:

    A DEA effort was undertaken in the mid-2000s to target drug distribution companies that were shipping unusually large volumes of opioids. For example, one midsize distributor had shipped 20 million doses to pharmacies in West Virginia over five years; 11 million doses went to one county alone with a population of 25,000 people. Some pharmacies in Florida were nothing more than illicit drug dens, with streams of customers arriving in vans from Appalachia. “Back home, each 30-pill bottle of oxycodone was worth $900,” The Post reports. By going after the distributors, the DEA hoped to stanch this deadly trade. The DEA brought at least 17 enforcement cases against 13 drug distributors and one manufacturer under a hard-charging head of the Office of Diversion Control, Joseph T. Rannazzisi.

    Then the rules changed. The DEA originally could freeze drug shipments that posed an “imminent danger” to the community, giving the agency broad authority to act. In 2014, the industry launched an effort to slow enforcement by changing the standard. The legislation was sponsored by Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.) and aided by former DEA officials who went through the revolving door to help the drug companies.

    1. The 60 Minutes report and a parallel eye-opening investigative report published by the Washington Post sent shockwaves around the country and resulted in Pennsylvania Congressman Tom Marino issuing a statement requesting that President Trump withdraw his name from consideration to lead the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) as the so-called “Drug Czar.”

      Although I was an INS special agent, I had a front row seat to America’s purported “War on Drugs.” In 1988 I became the first INS special agent to be assigned to DEA’s Unified Intelligence Division (UID) in New York City. In 1991 I was promoted to the position of Senior Special Agent and assigned to the Organized Crime, Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) where I remained for the balance of my career, working with the DEA, FBI and other federal and local law enforcement agencies and the law enforcement agencies of other governments.

      I did not generally participate in DEA investigations into so-called “diversion” cases because those investigations rarely involved foreign nationals. However, what the excellent 60 Minutes report did not discuss was how, all too often, hapless patients who became hooked on prescription opiates were either unable to get more prescriptions for those drugs or were unable to continue to pay for those expensive drugs and, consequently, some of these desperate addicts have resorted to committing violent robberies at local pharmacies. Others resorted to cheaper street drugs such as heroin.

      Heroin is not produced in the United States. Every gram of heroin present in the United States provides unequivocal evidence of a failure of border security because every gram of heroin was smuggled into the United States. Indeed, this is precisely a point that Attorney General Jeff Sessions made during his appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on October 18, 2017 when he again raised the need to secure the U.S./Mexican border to protect American lives.

      Immigration laws provide important weapons that can and must be used against transnational gangs, drug trafficking organizations and international terrorists and their organizations. This was made abundantly clear to me during my assignments with UID and then OCDETF. Yet this commonsense fact is willfully discounted and denied by politicians from both political parties and at all levels of government.

      Smugglers are smugglers. Brutal human traffickers often engage in drug smuggling and, in fact, often force smuggled aliens to carry drugs on them, earning such aliens the nickname “mules.” They are literally used as beasts of burden. This is not only the case along the violent and porous U.S./Mexican border but at our nation’s international airports and seaports as well.

      Because the smugglers are engaged in moving contraband into the United States from foreign countries, most of the smugglers are aliens, as are those who hold the highest positions within the drug trafficking organizations. Immigration laws could be brought to bear with great success against these smugglers, yet the number of immigration law enforcement officers has always been very low, further hampering efforts to use immigration laws to maximum advantage.

      I began my career with the INS in 1971 as an Immigration Inspector at JFK Airport. Back then I became aware of individuals who attempted to smuggle narcotics into the United States by swallowing balloons and condoms which had been stuffed with narcotics. A ruptured balloon or condom would almost always cost the life of the person who had swallowed it.

    2. Drug money enriches the coffers of the banks and money remitters that transmit the proceeds of narcotics transactions. They are the “silent partners” in this hugely profitable criminal enterprise. Yet while banks often pay huge fines, few bankers are ever prosecuted.

      Furthermore, drug money washes through Wall Street, the real estate industry and permeates our economy.

      On September 10, 2012 the New York Times reported that HSBC was forced to pay $1.92 billion to settle charges of money laundering. No one could argue that they paid a huge fine, until you consider the final paragraphs in the report:

      Congressional hearings exposed weaknesses at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the national bank regulator. In 2010, the regulator found that HSBC had severe deficiencies in its anti-money laundering controls, including $60 trillion in transactions and 17,000 accounts flagged as potentially suspicious, activities that were not reviewed. Despite the findings, the regulator did not fine the bank.

      During the hearings this summer, lawmakers assailed the regulator. At one point, Senator Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma, called the comptroller “a lap dog, not a watchdog.”

      The July 11, 2016 report by the House Republican Staff of the Committee on Financial Services on the topic, “Too Big To Jail: Inside the Obama Justice Department’s Decision Not To Hold Wall Street Accountable” focused on failures of the Obama Justice Department to effectively deal with massive violations of laws pertaining to money laundering and other crimes that have national security implications.

      It is my contention that not unlike the way that DEA lost its authority to block the shipments of opiates when it is apparent that community safety is jeopardized, we have seen, for decades, parallel efforts to prevent the effective enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws and the securing of our nation’s borders in, what I have come to refer to as, Immigration Failure - By Design.

      “Sanctuary cities” and now “sanctuary states” have crippled efforts to use immigration laws to combat violent transnational gangs, drug trafficking and human smuggling and even undermining national security.

      On August 11, 2017 Fox News posted the incredible article, "Los Angeles Targets Contractors Who Might Work on Border Wall." The city of Los Angeles and the state of California have become sanctuaries and are now seeking to “blacklist” American companies that accept contracts from the federal government -- particularly when such companies have worked to help stem the flood of heroin and other dangerous drugs into the United States along with aliens engaged in criminal and/or terror-related activities.

      The drug trade and drug addiction are synonymous with death and violence. Drug money is “blood money” funding criminal and terrorist organizations. Our leaders must be made to accept that effective immigration law enforcement is a vital element of the “War on Drugs.”

  28. SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A murder trial started Monday for a Mexican man who set off a national immigration debate after he shot and killed a woman two years ago on a popular San Francisco pier.

    Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, 54, has acknowledged shooting Kate Steinle in the back while she was walking with her father on the downtown pier on July 1, 2015.

    But Garcia Zarate has said the shooting was accidental. He said he was handling a handgun he found wrapped in a T-shirt under a bench on the pier when it accidentally fired.

    His lawyer told reporters before the trial started that his client was unaware that he had picked up a gun and that it went off as he unwrapped the T-shirt.

    "He did not know the object in his hand was a gun," attorney Matt Gonzalez said before he headed into the courtroom. "He does not bear criminal responsibility."

    Prosecutors have said that Zarate recklessly pointed the gun at people on the pier.

    Garcia Zarate is charged with second-degree murder, which could result in a sentence of 15 years to life in prison. Assistant District Attorney Diana Garcia declined to comment on the case

    Garcia Zarate had been deported five times and was homeless in San Francisco when he shot Steinle. He had recently completed a prison sentence for illegal re-entry when he was transferred to the San Francisco County jail to face a 20-year-old marijuana charge.

  29. Andy McCarthy - Columnist for National Review and former Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney on US/Russian Uranium deal: 'it really is a studied effort by the mainstream media not to cover it'

  30. For Trump haters like Quirk -


    Never Trumpers’ myopia blinds them from seeing the greater danger that a Clinton presidency would have created.

    October 20, 2017 Bruce Thornton

    .....Finally, there is no calculus whereby our country would be better off with Hillary Clinton as president.

    Her long record of shady, self-serving money-grubbing from Whitewater to the scandal-ridden Clinton Foundation raises questions of ethics and character much more serious than Trump’s vulgarity.

    Her record in the Senate was inconsequential. Her conduct as secretary of state was a disaster: her despicable lying to the parents of the four Americans killed in the Benghazi attack, something far beyond Trump’s petty exaggerations; her private email server that endangered national security; her pay-to-play State Department; the botched Russian “reset”; the dangerous Iran deal; the overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi that turned Libya into a jihadist arms depot; the dithering over Syria; and the general retreat of American power. All of this happened on her watch.

    Finally, Clinton’s contempt for the ordinary Americans whom she said could be placed in a “basket of deplorables” and whom she labeled as “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic” bespeaks an elitist disdain for the millions of citizens who have been hurt by her party’s policies.

    A Clinton presidency would have meant a continuation of the radical progressive policies of Obama’s two terms. It is unlikely that the policies that have stymied economic growth –– particularly overregulation and punitive taxes –– would have been changed. The expansion of entitlement and welfare spending under Obama also would have continued.

    Despite the dreams of some Never Trump conservatives that she would be more hawkish than Obama, a President Clinton would not alienate her hard-core antiwar base, nor stop America’s disastrous retreat from global affairs that has emboldened our rivals and enemies. A divisive identity politics and political correctness would continue to weaken our national solidarity and to perpetuate the injustices that follow from privileging some identities over others.

    Unrestrained immigration, both legal and illegal, would have continued. The threat of Islamic jihad still would be downplayed and misunderstood, as porous immigration controls increased the probability of more terror attacks. Loretta Lynch would still likely be attorney general, the Department of Justice would still violate the rights of the states for partisan purposes, the Environmental Protection Agency would still be issuing outrageous regulations that weaken private property rights and hinder economic growth, and the Paris Climate Accord would damage our economy for the benefit of our economic rivals and the green-energy lobby.

    Most critically, Neil Gorsuch, a constitutional originalist, would not be sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court to slow the deconstruction of our constitutional order and to stop the overweening usurpation of congressional powers by the judicial branch.

    Only the blind cannot see that the election was indeed a stark binary choice: between a crass, vulgar businessman whose sins so far are all ones of style and decorum and a longtime entrenched pol whose sins of substance were committed while entrusted with offices that were supposed to serve the sovereign people and the Constitution to which she swore an oath......

  31. Watch George W. Bush make Obama laugh

    Scientists have yet to conclusively determine whether former President George W. Bush is a 71-year-old man or a 11-year-old boy.

    Alas, Dubya's pre-tween side was on full display Saturday night at a Hurricane relief fundraiser attended by all five of the former living presidents.

    Watch as Dubya whispers some kind of joke into President Obama's ear as President Clinton speaks. It's like middle school, except among grown adults trying to fundraise for a U.S. territory in ruins.

  32. .

    Yup, so Quirk was wrong again.

    I see Dumb and Dumber are at it again.

    Yesterday, Bob, puts up a Drudge headline that implied the reason for the drop in football attendance was the protests. I responded, "Nonsense."

    The twins objected. Bob went on to put up a number of posts to 'prove' his argument. The problem? None of them even mentioned the protests. He didn't even bother to go back and put up the actual article from Drudge.

    One article he put up described the empty stadiums around the league. It not only didn't mention the protests, it didn't suggest ANY reasons for the drop in attendance. The other, the one he called his 'Frosting on the cake',
    talked of only two possible reasons for the drop, internet streaming and the costs, now estimated at around $440 to attend a single game. The article also mentioned that the dropping attendance wasn't anything new. It's been dropping since 2011. Between 2011 and 2014, long before Kaepernick took a knee, attendance dropped by over 2 million, from 20.3 million in 2011 to 18.2 million. It continues to suffer.

    Above, Ash suggested a number of reasons besides protests that would account for the drop in NFL attendance. Hank did the same thing yesterday. The articles Bob put up listed a couple more. Attendance was dropping long before the protests and it has continued.

    To suggest that protest are responsible for it all is kind of cray cray.


    1. Very well articulated, Quirk, a very balanced bray bray.


    2. .

      Not a single NFL fan is offended.


    3. So smoothly brayed brayed by Sir Dumbest no one could possibly be offended.

      Not even Dumb and Dumber.

  33. Most Fentanyl is made in China.

    Source: CNN

  34. "Above, Ash suggested a number of reasons besides protests that would account for the drop in NFL attendance."

    1. "Like I said doug - nobody likes politics mixed with their sports."

    2. Quirk's selective reporting.


    3. I saw one game where everybody left because of lightning strikes.

      Had nothing to do with protests.

      I missed one university game because I had the wrong starting time.

      Some people have stopped going to NFL games because they are in jail.

    4. How could it be any other way?

      ...faithful follower of the MSM

    5. Wrong, but in an underhanded civilized way.

    6. I must admit I had not considered the hordes in jail unable to attend.

    7. Ash contends NOBODY likes politics mixed with their sports.

      That's quite a few.

      Even Quirk?

    8. I should confess to be wrong in that statement. It should be modified to read "Nobody likes politics mixed with their sports unless the politics espoused conforms to their ideology. Then it is RIGHTEOUS!

    9. .

      Ah, I return to see the Twins continue in their ignorance, in fact, continue to wallow in it.

      Sad. So sad.


  35. The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Monday shows that 41% of Likely U.S. Voters approve of President Trump’s job performance. Fifty-eight percent (58%) disapprove.

    The latest figures include 27% who Strongly Approve of the way Trump is performing and 50% who Strongly Disapprove. This gives him a Presidential Approval Index rating of -23.

  36. Jimmy Carter and HW Bush are 93

    Rosalynn Carter is 90.

    (1924 and 1927)

    1. Jimmy is in good shape for 93.

      He makes a great ex-President, one of the best we've had.

    2. Jimmy Carter: Media tougher on Trump than any other president in ...

      Jimmy Carter, the liberal 93-year-old former president, surprisingly sided with President Trump when he told The New York Times that the media have been too hostile on the current commander-in-chief.

  37. Comey's Lies:

  38. Former FBI Director James Comey revealed his secret Twitter account Monday with a tweeted picture from Iowa.

    "Goodbye Iowa. On the road home," Comey wrote in the post, which depicts him standing in the middle of a country road.


    Another tweet referenced Reinhold Niebuhr's Serenity Prayer, which famously asks God to grant serenity to the things someone cannot change.

  39. October 23, 2017
    The Three Bullets of Francesca Mann

    By Gary Gindler

    Francesca Mann met with absolute evil -- and she shot it.

    On October 23, 1943, the next train with the Jews – about 1,700 people -- arrived at the death camp (Konzentrationslager) Auschwitz II-Birkenau. Unlike all other trains arriving at Auschwitz, it was a real passenger train, not a cattle train. Also, none of their arriving Jews wore the yellow Star of David on their clothes.

    Arriving Jews were greeted warmly by the “representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Third Reich” Franz Hössler, who announced that this is their last stop before crossing the border with Switzerland, from where they would travel to different countries of South America. Just a few formalities remain -- disinfection, shower, and then -- long-awaited freedom. Few people guessed that they were in southern Poland, not in southern Germany, and that Hössler was actually an SS First Lieutenant (SS-Obersturmführer).

    All of them, representatives of the wealthiest Jewish families of occupied Poland, dreamed of freedom. A secret Nazi program for “obtaining visas to the countries of South America” was created specifically for them. The headquarters of this program was set up by the Gestapo in the Hotel Polski in Warsaw. The cost of a fake exit visa to Paraguay, Panama, Peru, Guatemala or Bolivia was about $1,500 per person (more than $20,000 at today's rate). The program was deliberately designed for the wealthy. The plan was devilishly tricky – a minimal number of Jews were in fact allowed to travel to neutral countries for the exchange of German prisoners of war, and this ensured a continuous inflow of Jewish money into the treasury of the Third Reich.

    The Hotel Polski was in the “Aryan zone” of Warsaw, outside the Warsaw Jewish ghetto. One of the couriers between the ghetto and the hotel was the 26-year-old Francesca Mann.

    Francesca Mann was her stage name. She was a Jewish ballerina and dancer, one of the most famous, talented, and beautiful women in Poland. Her maiden name was Manheimer, and her husband, Marek Rosenberg, was the son of a wealthy Warsaw jersey merchant.

    The privileged status of Francesca manifested itself in everything. Only she could flaunt fur coats inside a dirty ghetto. Only she was allowed to leave the ghetto for the “Aryan zone” anytime. Of course, the Gestapo kept her in the dark, so Francesca sincerely believed that she was helping wealthy Jews find freedom. She knew too much and perhaps suspected something, so the Gestapo ordered her on the very first train to South America with a layover in Auschwitz.

    What happened upon arrival in Auschwitz we only know from the words of the eyewitnesses who survived. Most of them were prisoners who were forced to work at the camp. Their testimonies differ in detail, but they agree on one thing – the beautiful woman from Warsaw went down in history as a hero.

    1. In the locker room in front of the gas chamber (camouflaged as the showers) Krema 2, the SS supervisors ordered all women to undress. Approximately half of the women followed the order, but the rest felt that something was wrong. The SS men began using gun stocks to drive the women into the gas chamber amid horrific screams and crying.

      The tense situation was defused by Francesca Mann. She escaped from the screaming crowd to a group of SS guards and, to the astonishment of the men, began to perform a striptease.

      This openly sexy dance by such a brilliant professional dancer had the SS guards hypnotized. Finally, Francesca undressed entirely remaining only in her high-heeled shoes. In the blink of an eye, she took off her shoes and smashed the face of a nearby Sergeant (SS-Oberscharführer) Quackernak with the sharp heelpiece.

      The shocked Quackernak dropped his weapon and covered his bloody face with both hands. Francesca used this moment to pick up his pistol and shoot Sergeant Josef Shillinger, one of the most odious sadists of Auschwitz, twice in the stomach. She then aimed at Quackernak but missed, the bullet instead hitting Master Sergeant (SS-Hauptscharführer) Emmerich. Her shots served as a signal, and several hundred furious and desperate women attacked a dozen SS men.

      Commandant of Auschwitz Lt. Colonel (SS-Obersturmbannführer) Rudolf Höss came running at the sound of the shots. He ordered the SS men to block all the exits from the building and shoot all the Jews who were in the locker room.

      Schillinger died the same day on his way to the hospital. Emmerich remained lame for life. Quackernak was sentenced by a military tribunal in 1946 to be hanged for his participation in mass executions of civilians and Soviet prisoners of war. Hössler was hanged in the same year.

      At the military tribunal after WWII, Höss was accused under his leadership, three and a half million Jews were killed. He filed a protest, because according to the statistics of the Third Reich during his command of the death camp of Auschwitz, not three and a half, but only two and a half million Jews were killed, and the rest allegedly died of various illnesses. Höss was executed by hanging in 1947 in the same death camp he had commanded – in Auschwitz.

  40. I call it The Angel QuirkQiurk Particle -

    'Angel particle’ which is both matter and anti-matter discovered in ‘landmark’ quantum physics breakthrough
    Scientists say they have found the first evidence that 'Majorana fermions' exist, 80 years after they were first suggested.

    Ian Johnston Science Correspondent @montaukian Thursday 20 July 2017

    Two angels painted in Byzantium between 395 and 1453AD Public domain image/St Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai

    Physicists believe they have discovered a particle that is both matter and anti-matter, an idea that was first theorised 80 years ago.

    When the Big Bang created the universe out of nothing, scientists believe the explosion created equal amounts of matter and anti-matter.

    And, if they were ever to meet, they would annihilate each other – returning to ‘nothing’ apart from a burst of energy.

    However, in 1937 an Italian theoretical physicist, Ettore Majorana, predicted the existence of a strange class of particles called fermions that were their own anti-particles.

    And now, in an article in the prestigious journal Science, researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, and Stanford University reported they had found the first evidence of just such an object, which they dubbed the “Angel Particle” after Dan Brown’s thriller Angels and Demons which involves a bomb made from a combination of matter and anti-matter.

    Professor Shoucheng Zhang, a Standford University physicist, said: “Our team predicted exactly where to find the Majorana fermion and what to look for as its ‘smoking gun’ experimental signature.

    “This discovery concludes one of the most intensive searches in fundamental physics, which spanned exactly 80 years.”.....

  41. Two of the eight prototypes have a see-through design.

    Environmentalists have warned that a solid wall would prevent wildlife, including a dwindling population of federally protected ocelots, from crossing.

    A concrete wall may also prove challenging to build without participation from some of the world’s largest concrete suppliers. Mexico’s Cemex and Switzerland’s LafargeHolcim told Reuters they were not participating in projects associated with the wall.

  42. .

    DougMon Oct 23, 07:58:00 PM EDT
    "Like I said doug - nobody likes politics mixed with their sports."

    DougMon Oct 23, 07:58:00 PM EDT
    Quirk's selective reporting.



    Illustrative of the faulty thought processes that permeate Twin-world.

    Doug takes Ash's statement that 'nobody likes politics mixed with their sports' literally; and then jumps to the conclusion Ash is confirming his opinion that this dislike of protests is the cause for declining attendance in the NFL.

    'Nobody' likes politics with their sports? I suspect Ash would admit a more accurate statement would have been 'Most people dislike politics with their sports', or 'Most normal people dislike politics with their sports'. I also suspect most normal people would take Ash's comment in the spirit in which it was meant.

    Of course, I don't recall our Doug ever being accused of being normal. The concept of context seems to be alien to him. He takes Ash's comment literally and as true (probably a first in EB history) this despite the fact that he also posted a link that talks about there being protesters on both sides of this issue which would indicate there are some people out there who aren't all that upset with the protests.

    Beyond that, Doug argues that the declining attendance in the NFL, a noticeable and continuing decline that started as early as 2011, was caused by protests starting in 2016 and expanded in 2017.

    What can you say? Doug is also the guy who whines that all Trump's problems are caused by the MSM (defined as any media outlet that criticizes anything Trump does or for that matter has the temerity to quote Trump's actual words).

    It would be nice to think of Doug as being one of a kind, some strange mutation, a specimen to be studied and observed, but unfortunately he appears to be your standard run-of-the-mill Trumpkin with all of their weird proclivities.

    No doubt, Doug will next be characterizing my questioning of Ash's word choice as 'inappropriate' a la Sarah Huckabee Sanders.


    1. There's this thing called TV

      Ratings have tanked in the LAST TWO YEARS.

      No wonder alarm bells are sounding in NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s office.

      The league's average TV audience through Week 5 of the 2017 season dropped seven percent vs. the same period of the 2016 season, according to Nielsen data obtained by Sporting News. Worse, the NFL average game audiences are down a whopping 18 percent compared to the first five weeks of the 2015 season.


      "To have now two consecutive years of declines in NFL ratings -- that is something that begs a lot of questions … and could have significant financial implications for the ratings."

    2. .

      Ratings have tanked in the LAST TWO YEARS.

      And your first thought is "Heck it's all got to be about Kaepernick."

      2015? Really? Even though Kaepernick didn't begin protesting until the following year? Even though with the exception of a player here or there, there was no general protest among the players until this year? Even though Kaepernick has been blackballed by the NFL for over a year?

      Even though as I pointed out above the downward trend has been noted since 2011 with a significant drop in attendance (2 million) between 2011 and 2014.

      I guess in Doug-world we can say (without giggling) there's no doubt fans back in 2011 anticipated that eventually some player was going use the national anthem to protest something so they preemptively stayed away from games.

      You note the decline in NFL ratings. In Doug-world, there's only one explanation, 'The Kaepernick Effect'.

      You ignore the poor play in the league, the inconsistent play of its main attraction the quarterbacks.

      The length of the games.

      The growth of the streaming video services that aren't reflected in TV ratings.

      Bob's 'frosting-on-the-cake' article noted the catch 22 problem the NFL created for itself by launching multimedia packages centered on their games. 90% of Millennials now use streaming services. And it's growing rapidly among other demographics. Just as people more and more determine there is no need for a phone land line, they are also asking the question of why they have to spend Sunday afternoon in front of the TV watching long, boring football games filled with commercials.

      Why be forced to watch football games on TV during times the networks choose when you can watch them anytime you want and screen out any unwanted content, when you can just watch the highlights from games across the country.
      Fantasy leagues are growing like Topsy and they love the services. It allows them to check on their players whenever they want.

      You brag you don't watch TV. I would think that you would know this and perhaps you would if you weren't following the Trump lead and fixating on Kaepernick and his bros.

      The protests may have some effect but its minor at best. That's not to say most people don't have an opinion on the protests positive or negative, even strong opinions, but I doubt very much that their opinion will make them change their mind about attending a game or watching it on TV.

      Sure there will be a few nutjobs on the right or the left who will burn their jerseys and stay home but they will hardly move the needle.