National Commentary

Deflate-Gate Paled By Deflation Threat

nfbenton-mugWith yet another American national Superbowl spectacle upon us, headlines dominating newspaper front pages, not only their sports pages, national TV and cable news and the glut of radio, online and other sports commentators are all focused on the latest distraction from things that matter going by the name of “deflate-gate.”

It’s based on unverified allegations that one of the teams in the big game, the New England Patriots, deliberately leaked air from its game balls when the best circumstantial evidence so far is that a ball boy apparently took a different kind of leak in a men’s room for 90 seconds while transporting a dozen balls from the equipment room to the field. The team’s quarterback is known to prefer slightly squishy balls and some too-deflated ones were discovered in a game two weekends ago.

But of course, if someone is looking for a real scandals associated with the sport, there are overwhelming indicators of serious painkiller abuse, players charged with murder, rape and thuggery, team owners with glaring social insensitivity, and fans driven to savage extremes such as those in Kansas City who cheered when the quarterback of their own team was carried off the field on a stretcher because of they felt he was under-performing.

Still, by orders of magnitude the worst of all, is the evidence of the permanent brain damage leading to dementia, and sometimes suicide, that routinely comes with 22 ever bigger and faster players crashing into each other on every play in every practice and every game, from Pee Wee football on up, and the National Football League’s extraordinary years-long efforts to cover it up.

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain condition brought on by repeated even low-intensity head traumas, goes undetected until death, even when there is no clear evidence that a concussion is involved. The diagnosis can’t be confirmed until a victim is deceased and a brain subjected to examination during an autopsy. As more players die, their autopsies are revealing a staggering exposure rate.

The recent $750 million NFL settlement with players was a joke, compared to the magnitude of the suffering, suicidal tendencies and early deaths experienced by players and the impacts of all that on their families and often their victims of mind-addled violence and abuse. Yet, by means of the settlement, the NFL was at least compelled to acknowledge the problem.

The Washington Post’s Tom Boswell delineated a comprehensive bill of particulars of the sport’s crimes and corruptions in a now-famous 2013 column.
Needless to say, all of this will be swept under the rug by all those choreographing the Superbowl this Sunday, undoubtedly including many of the readers of this piece who don’t want any rain on their Sunday fun.

This is exemplary of the unfortunate symbiotic relationship between big money’s exploitation of anybody and everybody and the simple delights that its many victims are provided as consolation.

For example, if there is any important news these days associated with the word, “deflate,” and there certainly is, it has to do with the potentially cataclysmic consequences of the world monetary system’s descent into an irreversible deflation, triggering conditions that will make the last Great Depression seem like a walk in the park. It will wipe out savings, pensions, jobs and access to basic goods.

This is happening, though you won’t hear about it on any popular news source. One has to read between the lines of even the scant coverage of financial markets and wider economy that does exist.

Occasionally someone invokes the dreaded word, deflation, as financial market trader Jeffrey Gundlach of Double Line Capital did while being interviewed from the confab in Florida. We’re in “an obvious deflationary situation,” he leaked (uh oh, more leaking!).

The comment came as the Dow nosedived over 350 points on Monday amid across-the-board poor earnings reports from major U.S. companies, lowered projections going forward and, worst of all, a huge dip in durable goods orders amid naggingly low oil prices, killing the profitability of U.S. shale oil production. In conjunction, as there are major economic downturns in China and elsewhere, the world careens toward a globally-destabilizing black swan event.