Since 2002. Published Tuesdays and Fridays
Letters to the Editor with pictures
|[Screwworm] The Refuge has begun to train local residents to administer medicine to the deer that have been infected by New World screwworms. Refuge managers have trained 30 volunteers and armed them with kits to treat the deer with an oral anti-parasitic drug called Doramectin. They plan to train another 30 volunteers Saturday. The drug is administered via bread.
It is illegal to feed the deer, but the sheer number of deer infected with screwworms has U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials enlisting the public’s help. They want to give Doramectin to all deer, not just the infirm. More than 100 Key deer have been euthanized so far.
|[No On Solar Amendment 1] I just heard a recording of the ad agency promoting the “solar amendment” for the utility companies. He said he was using the pro-solar language that solar people love against them in making the public think the amendment supports solar.|
[“Painted Buntings”] I see them in my back yard. I keep half a dozen seed feeders with various types of birdseed, and a couple of hummingbird feeders once the migration sightings reach Miami. The Buntings like small seeds, Cardinals prefer sunflower seeds, and various other types of birds seem to prefer mixed seed. This is the fifth year the buntings have shown up. I never saw them here before. Feed them, they will come!
|[“Sacrifice a virgin to change the weather”] In the Keys? a virgin? where? Oh, not born yet, right?|
[NPR-Science Friday] Return of the Screwworm is bad news for endangered deer. Link
|Why does NOAA have a twin engine white bellied with blue top half plane flying grid patterns over the Lower Keys? It even has the NOAA logo on the tail. I first noticed it about 10 days ago and they were back today Monday the 24th.|
|[No On Solar Amendment 1] I would love to see some greedy gnoff from the power company tell me I have to pay him more money because his profit margin is going down since I installed solar panels. Times have to change from those who dictate policies that run and ruin our lives.|
[Vlad The Impaler] He would impale his victims for others to see so they would fear him. He would put bowls at the bottom of the stakes and dip his bread in the blood of his enemies. He was reportedly buried and days later his body vanished. Probably grave robbers but the peasants said he was reportedly walking around and seen. Basically he is where the myth of vampires originated.
|[Insurance] What’s with this National Specialty Insurance Company making us a deal we can’t refuse? Are they pushing out Citizens Insurance? The way the letter I received is written, it looks like I really have no choice. Anybody else get a letter? What comes to mind is the old 1929 B&W movie where the Molotov cocktail goes through the store window because the store owner won’t pay for insurance! Capisce?|
|My neighbor, Kama had her bike stolen from under her house. It is often her only means of transportation when her husband is at work and she is working at home on her doctorate. This occurred at 711 W. Indies Dr. on Ramrod Key sometime between Friday, Oct 21 and Sunday, Oct 23. I’ve lived here for almost 30 years and have always felt so safe — now, not so much with thieves in the neighborhood. Here is a picture of her bike.
This was her sad post on Facebook: “My joy and trust in the beauty of the world is being challenged. My bicycle was stolen from the house sometime between Friday and today. I feel so sad. I love riding my bike! And, it is my only transportation right now. (uggh)
If anyone sees it, please report it to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department. Thank you.”
|[Help the sick Key Deer] Thank you for your interest and passion to assist refuge staff regarding our efforts with screwworm infestation on Key deer. Kristie Killam, Refuge Ranger for National Key Deer Refuge, has scheduled another volunteer training opportunity Saturday, October 29nd from 10:30am to 12:00pm at the Refuge Visitor Center. Please join us and bring others who are interested in helping refuge staff. Let us know if you have any additional questions or concerns. firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Springer’s Bar & Grill This Week
Tuesday: Happy Hour fro 3 pm – 7 pm. Happy Hour Food Specials, freezing cold beer in 16 oz. drafts.
Wednesday: Meatloaf dinner with mashed potatoes and gravy, just like coming home to moms.
Thursday: Mexican Specials – Homemade Delicious, a little spice and lots of flavor.
Friday: It’s Fish n Chips day. Homemade beer batter, Mahi Mahi fried golden crisp. Have it with Malt Vinegar if you like.
Saturday: Happy Hour from 3 pm – 7 pm. We serve our drafts in 16 oz. chilled glasses. Great Home Cookin’
Sunday: Big Pine Key Zombie Bike Ride. Meet at the Moose at 3 pm for music, drinks and fun. The ride stops at Coconuts, Bistro 31 with the final stop and party at Springer’s Bar & Grill.
Sunday NFL Football – We have big screen TV’s and your game is on!
Monday: Gumbo Monday. Homemade Delicious. Y’all come down and see usCheck us out on www.springersbar.com Like us on Facebook
|[NY Places Heavy Fines On AirBnB Rentals] In typical fashion, Albany backroom dealing rewarded a special interest — the price-gouging hotel industry — and ignored the voices of tens of thousands of New Yorkers.|
|[FTR on State Attorney] One of the most important local races to be decided in the upcoming election is that of State Attorney. The State Attorney is responsible for protecting you, the public, by vigorously ferreting out and prosecuting crime and corruption where ever it may be found in our community. You must decide which of the candidates is the most competent. This safety and integrity of our community rides on your decision. Fortunately, in this race, we have the incumbents track record to examine.
The incumbent, Catherine Vogel, before moving to Monroe and becoming our elected State Attorney, was an assistant State Attorney in Miami-Dade. She had been assigned to be the lead prosecutor in the Griselda Blanco case. The case was of national importance. It involved a long list of particularly gruesome and violent drug related murders that Blanco had ordered. The case dated to the Cocaine Cowboys era and involved the leadership of one of the major cocaine cartels.
Ms. Vogel so terribly mismanaged her staff and that prosecution, that Governor Chiles ordered her and the Dade SAO removed from the case. The governor assigned the Orlando State Attorney to prosecute the case. The episode was a terrible embarrassment to her office and to her. An investigative panel was even seated to winnow out the facts. That panel recommended that Ms. Vogel be suspended. Vogel left the Miami-Dade SAO shortly thereafter. Then of course, there are a host of local cases and episodes during Vogel’s tenure that you should consider.
There is the embarrassing outcome of her investigation into the theft of thousands of dollars from the School Board. The SAO investigated, suspects were identified, but no one was charged.
We must also wonder why the State Attorney has not investigated the allegations concerning the Lower Keys Medical Center. Our local hospital has morphed into one of the lowest rated yet most expensive for profit hospitals in our nation. Rumors of corruption are rampant. Ms. Vogel has been roundly criticized for not investigating or even offering the issue to a Grand Jury, the conscience of the community.
We can’t forget that it was Ms. Vogel who appointed Dr. Beaver as interim Medical Examiner, and the subsequent embarrassment that has resulted from that appointment. Aside from using his personal pickup truck (that he purchased with your tax dollars) to transport dead persons, during his first year on the job, Dr. Beaver paid himself $180,000 in salary, and spent another $26,000 on his personal rental apartment.
One measure of a State’s Attorney Office is the ratio of cases filed to cases disposed. According to flcourts.org, when Vogel took first took office the ratio of felony cases filed to felony cases disposed, i.e. the trial court clearance rate, was 97%, that was above the state median.
Over the next few years, with Vogel at the helm, that ratio sharply declined. By FY ’14/’15 our circuit had the lowest felony clearance rate in the state. It wasn’t until the first 3 months of this election year that we finally inched by the state median rate.
Vogel’s County Court division is even worse. From January to March of this year, the clearance rate was an abysmal 20 points beneath the state median clearance rate.
While the issue of the death penalty is currently in limbo, there is no doubt but that it was in effect when the horrific Tavernier double homicide was committed. Many legal minds agree that there were sufficient aggravating circumstances to warrant, if not virtually require, Ms. Vogel to demand the death penalty. The rules require that the state notify the defense of that intent within a finite time after the arraignment. Ms. Vogel failed to follow that rule. As a result the state was foreclosed from pursuing the death penalty in this terrible case that had a major impact on our community. One can only imagine the pain that Ms. Vogel’s inaction caused the family of the victims.
Ms. Vogel, acting as State Attorney, used her staff to make a demand of our schools for the name, age, and address of every graduating senior. This, of course is an election year. She had never made such a demand in the past. Her actions caused great consternation in the School Board. It is to be noted that no such demand had been made in previous years. But, in this election year, Ms. Vogel saw fit to use the power of her office, and to expend many of your tax dollars in order to satisfy Ms. Vogel’s demand. She claimed that she only wished to send the grads congratulatory notes. To paraphrase my Uncle Vinny, “Yeah, sure!”
But what of her opponent, Dennis Ward? In 2011 (Ward was then State Attorney) the Key West Citizen wrote of Mr. Ward: ”It is a breath of fresh air to have our State Attorney, an elected official, aggressively pursue public corruption and being vigilant regarding the transparency in decision-making by elected officials and government administrators.”
The Free Press wrote: “Florida Keys Contractor Association board members were clearly thrilled with high-profile stings carried out by the State Attorney’s Office targeting illegal contractors.”
Bill Kelley, Executive Director, Florida Keys Commercial Fisherman’s Association said: “…Dennis Ward successfully prosecuted some of the highest profile cases in Monroe County and assembled one of the finest prosecutorial teams ever seen in Monroe County.”
Mr. Ward is a seasoned law enforcement professional who has dedicated much of his life in service to the public. As a police officer, he swore to “Protect and Serve”. He lived that oath as a police officer and as our State Attorney. He will continue to honor that oath as our next State Attorney. It’s in his DNA.
|[Stage Coach Stop] On each side of the entrance was a large room. The gateway opened into a passageway, which was roofed, and extended from one room to the other. In the rear of the rooms was the corral, the walls of which were six to eight feet high and two feet thick, also of sun dried brick. One room was used for cooking and eating and the other for sleeping quarters and storage. The stage company furnished the stage tender with sup- plies and he cooked for the passengers, when there were such, charging them fifty cents per meal, which he was allowed to retain for his compensation.|
|[The Master Race] Looking at humanity and the state of mental illness we have come to accept as gospel, like war, hunting, self-defense, crime, etc. it is amazing that we have lasted this long, especially with the N.W.O. Nuke age. Common sense suggests no one needs arms of any sort, guns, bombs, swords, spears, clubs, whatever, except a game warden, but he too, can just stay out of the wilderness. Because humans are just one DNA over the insect, we have to kill to eat. That is the main reason humans will never turn into a farming only veggie culture. It is too much work, too much waste of precious time from play, to boring! If the billions of farters start to over-populate the farming regions, then some thinker will find a way, acceptable to all, to cull the useless eaters, the inept, the malformed and the unwanted. Then we might make it. The old and weak will be the first to go, as will criminals, unless they break free and arm themselves, then the sick, the nuts, and the dreamers. If the real skilled workers and farmers are harmed, we will not make it. Sit back and think who you would eliminate if you had to. Thoughts come quickly.|
|[Restaurant Review] I hit the new crab place [The Wharf] at the foot of Niles Channel Bridge opening night with a lot of thirsty locals who are happy to have a nice clean renovated spot to go to. Some familiar faces in the staff and some new, along with some brought down from owner’s Hollywood restaurant. At one point the owner’s wife and son were working the floor with the waitstaff.
I saw some people eating the all-u-can-eat stone crab special and I saw a tray of claws brought out to each table to show what was available as top quality claws. Billy is the claw-tender! I imagine Billy to be like a bud-tender in one of the states where bud is legal. I kept hearing the world quality in the same sentence as the word food. The menu is pricey but no more than if you went to other good restaurants. Great options on the menu. Oysters from Apalachicola, gator, conch, fish prepared a bunch of different ways and, thankfully, fresh Florida Keys seafood! No tilapia, perch, pickled pike. No Maine lobster substituted in a sandwich.
New outdoor covered gliders provide comfortable seating. Dogs are still cool at the outside bar. I give him four paws up and once the new place jitters wear off; I know it has the chance to be a great addition above the mundane fried bar food we’ve become accustomed to down here.
I just moved to Big Pine Key and my neighbor told me the goopies I get in my eyes in the morning are really spider eggs. Is this true?
|[Injuns 1867] The Crows had never shed the blood of the white man during my stay in their camp, and I did not intend they ever should, if I could raise a voice to prevent it. They were constantly at war with tribes who coveted the scalps of the white man, but the Crows were uniformly faithful in their obligations to my race.|
|[Beating Death Forgotten] This an open letter to Dennis Ward. Dennis, if you have the good fortune to be elected States Attorney, would you look into the savage beating death of James Meek of Marathon by three Island cab drivers. It has been quite some time since this occurred and we are concerned that States Attorney Vogel is ignoring this.|
[No Motor Boats] Refuge managers will close off the beaches at Boca Grande, Woman Key and Marquesas Keys during the weekend of Nov. 12-13 when the annual powerboat races occur in Key West in order to keep them away from nature
|[Wind Insurance] Screwed by the government-insurance-banker partnership again. No doubt I am not alone in getting “an offer you can’t refuse” in the mail. One letter came from Citizens state-run wind insurance saying I would get an “invitation” to switch to a new, what I think is a, fly-by-night insurance company. The letter warned that if I opted to stay with Citizens and I had wind damage that they might not pay for it all if they felt like they couldn’t afford it. They also said the same applied to the new company, but they might pay a higher percentage of my loss, maybe. There’s no way to find out.
If I choose to opt-out of going with the new insurance company, then my policy will be reviewed and dropped if it is determined that some other insurance besides Citizens was available. Well, of course they know other insurance is available since they just sent a letter saying so. So, my choice is to go with the offered insurance or be dropped by Citizens.
My bank mortgage insists that I have wind insurance, even though that insurance already said it may not pay for the coverage that my premium is based on. My land alone is worth more than my remaining mortgage.
My wind insurance premium alone costs more per year than my mortgage interest. For this, I get (and got) nothing, unless wind damage for some reason exceeds my sky-high deductible, in which case I may get a partial payment of the difference. I have paid wind insurance with no claims for 14 years which totals to about 85% of the replacement value of the house–which would be a new house, not 27 years old! Insurance is a scam, forced by banks and supported by government. Call it what it is: just another fee taken from after-tax dollars.
Everyone’s horrified if they’ve seen a deer infected with Screwworm. It is horrifying (and heartbreaking).
|[Local Election] My impression of Ron Saunders is that he’s always been in bed with the Key West power families; and that hasn’t done us any good so far.|
|This crap of FKAA charging for sewer use when people are not even connected, and no pumping or treating expenses are incurred: This can probably be construed as a tax levied by a government agency under color of law. Furthermore, for those who were “assigned” grinder pumps but refused to have an easement extorted from them to extend the collection system onto their property, they are being charged for sewer use when there is not even sewer service legally available!
Since the threat of disconnection of water service has been made in writing for any unpaid portion of an FKAA bill, this now rises to the legal definition of extortion.
Remember when you lived in the United States, home of the free, protected by the Constitution? You don’t live there anymore. You live somewhere that has unelected autonomous government to which no statute or common law appears to apply. Prove me wrong.
What is the best way to deal with extortion when there is no law enforcement?
[Zombie Apocalypse] I tried working in my downstairs shop and was bothered by a Zika mosquito attack with air support from Screwworm flies. It was sort of like the battle of Midway, but with disease instead of bullets.
|A new short story by Stephen King, adapted for radio in three parts. Audio|
[Key Deer Leg Breakers] These were designed for cattle – not Key Deer. The Key Deer’s legs and hooves are much smaller and fit right through the holes. Another Refuge blunder.
|I heard there’s a woman on BPK that makes custom jewelry. Does anybody know who she is and where I can find her?|
|Wow! Thanks for using my photo of the dinghy and sailboat at the Koehn Ave ramp. I’m up here by New Smyrna Beach and already miss the Keys. I just can’t afford to live there anymore. See you later.|
[“Potty talk”] You’ve just discovered baby wipes? If I hadn’t started using them 30 years ago I’d be in an insane asylum today from the constant itch. I can never figure out why they’re not standard procedure for everyone, everywhere. If you’re worried about flushing, throw them in a Ziploc bag. And don’t forget to wash your hands or using hand sanitizer is even better.
|[Grinder Pumps] Several weeks ago a full page back cover ad in probably the only Florida wastewater trade journal, advised utilities that were “exceedingly frustrated” with the grinder pumps they were using to switch to Flygt pumps (the industry standard for decades). A scan of that ad was posted right here on the CT!
What shocked me was that the company posting that ad was Water Resource Technologies (WRT)- the distributor for the illegally sole-sourced pumps in FKAA’s grinder pump disaster — the Cudjoe Regional.
WRT sold only E/One pumps before, and claimed they were the very best, so I wondered if they lost the distributorship (or abandoned the sinking ship?. WRT had the sole distributorship for all of Florida before. A search for E/One authorized distributors/service centers revealed that WRT is now listed as serving only Monroe County. E/One has two others distributors (not WRT) serving the rest of Florida. One of the two is Nugent & Associates in Sanford. Coincidence?
Flygt only listed a company in Apopka as its Florida distributor, and it was not WRT.
WRT’s local grinder salesman reportedly retired to a nice horse farm with his commissions. FKAA’s top Engineering miscreant has built a mansion on the mainland (with his?) and can now move from his little homesteaded Osprey townhouse condo that he publicly lied about as having a grinder pump.
FKAA’s malfeasance at illegally sole-source specifying an oddball pump and designing a system that will only work with that oddball pump unless expensive re-pump modifications are made is going to cost us all. That can cost us either now from infrastructure tax funds for modifications, or later from rates. I vote for fixing it now with money intended for sewer infrastructure. And file criminal charges and terminate the FKAA management responsible for this colossal (and illegal) waste of taxpayer money. Part of the criminal sentence might be restitution of public costs?
I received this letter telling me there is a better alternative to Citizens Insurance, I think? You never know if you’re getting screwed until it’s too late.
|[History] Seantor Stephen Mallory killed 25 ducks, 21 at one shot with both barrels.|
|[“Messy lots”] Buy the trailer trash’s property and you can do whatever you want. Most likely it looked that way when your friends bought in, and now you want to change everything. This is a true Yankee mode of operation. If it really bothers you do like we did in the old days. Stop and ask if you can help them in any way to clean up their yards. They might be old or disabled. Or they might just like everything that way. That’s why they bought their “own” property.|
|[Sue Comcast] My brother-in-law is a corporate lawyer. So I said to Marvin, “Can I sue my cable company for inundating me with so many advertisements that is ruins my TV enjoyment that I am paying big dollars for?” After he stopped laughing, he said I could sue anyone for anything if I have the money and never go out of my house again. The he quoted this: He who rocks the boat gets thrown overboard|
|I’m going with “the Key Deer on Big Pine are from Virginia”. They don’t, at any level, look like the deer that actually swim to Little Palm Island. Those deer are half the size of Big Pine deer.|
Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. Thanks for the business & support year after year. ~Coconuts Bar & Package Store
|[Getting Sick] Columbia University’s Professor Tatonetti has completed research recently reported in the Chicago Tribune that show a 40% increase in the likelihood of a potentially deadly heart rhythm abnormality known as “QT prolongation” as the result of taking a common antibiotic with the stomach acid suppressor Prevacid. Prevacid is a “proton pump inhibitor” (PPI) that can be bought without prescription in drug stores and others. The interacting antibiotic ceftriaxone (brand name Rocephin), is used to treat many infections including urinary, skeletal, meningitis, pneumonia and even ear infections. Although FDA requires testing for QT prolongation during drug approvals, Tatonneti is apparently the first to discover that Prevacid and ceftriaxone combined can be deadly. QT interval prolongation of only milliseconds can result in sudden death that appears to have no explanation. Chances are good that further research will discover other PPIs interact harmfully with other drugs. Withdrawal symptoms are common with PPIs, (Doctors call Nexium “purple crack”, and Prilosec is just as hard to stop) but they are really bad news for many reasons, such as interfering with mineral absorption and making you vulnerable to assorted infections from flu to C. Diff. and the bug responsible for ulcers H.pylori (oddly enough, something that PPIs are prescribed for).|
|[Homeless] This morning in front of the Subway next to Tropic Cinema, I bumped into County Commissioner Danny Kohlage, and we greeted each other warmly. I asked if he knew if Southern Homeless Assistance League (SHAL) had ever asked Monroe County to pay for one-half the operating costs of the new KOTS, which SHAL had proposed to the Key West City Commission this past Tuesday night? Danny said he had heard about what went down at the commission meeting, but he knew nothing of SHAL proposing that to Monroe County, and for me to check with Roman Gastesi, the county administrator. So I pedaled my bicycle over to Roman’s office in the Gato Building on Simonton Street, to find he was out of town. But the two nice ladies, who I figured really were doing the heavy lifting in Roman’s office, said they knew nothing of SHAL asking Monroe County to pay one-half the operating costs of KOTS.|
[The Man Who Listens To Fish Sing] Professor Robert McCauley leads a team of scientists in Australia that has discovered how some types of fish sing underwater. The researchers from Curtin University in Perth have been recording fish sounds for thirty years. Most recently they’ve discovered that not only do fish sing, but they do it at very specific times of the day – at dawn and at dusk – a bit like birds with their dawn chorus. Professor Robert McCauley tells Matthew Bannister how he first became fascinated by fish sounds. Audio
|[Can’t Read] “Take your lobsta mac-n-cheese and fake tiki-loving-self back north.” Another feedback lecture from a marble minded redneck. Read the f**king post again then wipe you mouth. I’ll bet your pick-up needs a pine tree air fresher too.|
|The USDA is doing studies on eating insects because they are 99% nutritious and 1% bug shit! So, can I start a Palmetto Ranch on Cudjoe Key? I’ve already got off to a good start. did you know that the palmetto bug’s real name is the American Cockroach?|
|[Questions and Answers] New World Screwworm in Key Deer. Link|
|Oh, I see you have a Key West bumper sticker. So tell me what part of New Jersey are you from?|
|If you go to an optometrist, you see pictures of eyes on the wall. If you go to a dentist, you see pictures of teeth on the wall. So what kind of pictures do gynecologist have?|
|I’m so done with tackle shops down here. All are way over-priced. The 3 choices of chum are crap and you’re better off just getting the stuff Publix has and drill 3 1/4 inch holes through the block and loop a piece of cord through it. No bag needed. Remember City Fish’s chum way back? It was cheap and it worked! Tackle, I just get on line because I can’t even deal with these pirates that own tackle shops down here anymore. Thieves, all of them. Good luck.|
|I checked out Billy’s Stone Crab on Summerland (the old Wharf. They did a nice job cleaning up the place and it looks good. I just wonder how the locals will react to the dinner prices? I got fried shrimp, a baked potato and a glass of house wine and that was $40, with tip. I believe this is more expensive than a similar meal at the Square Grouper. Time will tell if a place works.|
|[Free Food] Southernmost Homeless Assistance League (SHAL) has begun serving an evening meal every day at the homeless Shelter, with food generously provided by St. Mary’s Soup Kitchen. SHAL needs a few more community volunteers to help with this process, especially in delivering the food to the Shelter. For further information, please contact John Miller, Executive Director. Link|
|[Email Precautions] It seems a good way to stop junk email is to set your email program (client) to allow people you email TO: /CC/BCC to be in your Address Book and any other email should be sent to the Junk Mail Folder, then set your incoming filter to automatically delete any email that is registered in your junk mail list! Never reply to any spam or junk email to have them remove you from their mailing list! That will only verify your email address is legit and they sell it to other abusers. Always delete any email address in any email you forward or copy to send out. Stay safe. Update your anti-virus software automatically.|
|[Calm Down] Hey everybody, calm the f**k down. We live in the tropics, we have mosquitos, too many people, and too many deer. Learn to adjust or go to where you came from if life is too tough for you here. Jesus, if FTR Guy can adjust from national politics to local politics there is hope.|
DEF: Sacrilegious n, Being in bed with a kinky Nun!
DEF: Blaspgemest n, A priest with gas!
DEF: Rosary n, A weird pile of people in a brothel
DEF: Crucifixion n, A SiFi tale 2000 years old!
DEF: Watergate n, A locked men’s room
DEF: Fantasy Fest n, A banished freedom that was cool
DEF: Faith n, Hoping to win the lottery by praying
DEF: Reality n, No know definition in civilization since 1492
[Eating Bugs] I found out that there is absolutely no difference between a big juicy grape and a big juicy palmetto bug if they came from the fridge!
|Trusting people has made me the loser I am today.|
|A 55-foot tall statue of a nude woman unveiled this week in the working-class community of San Leandro, California is stirring controversy and a lot of conversation from prudes and perverts who get stirred up by 55′ tall steel women.|
|Habitat for Humanity‘s ReStore in Big Pine Key, will be having a 25% off everything sale, Halloween October 31. Come in costume that day and receive an extra 5% off. The sale is all day Halloween on that Monday from 9am – 5pm|
|Submit anything but National Politics to email@example.com For National Politics go directly to that page, log in, and post your comment. NATIONAL POLITICS|