Joe Btfspik is alive and unwell!

Ed Raymond

Will the dark wall cloud over Joe’s head ever move?

Older readers will remember a character called Joe Btfsplk in Al Capp’s satirical comic strip Li’l Abner. Joe was known for his bad luck, which was symbolized by a dark cloud hovering over him. Anyone who was close to Joe suffered because of his presence. Joe tries to capture the cloud in a bottle but he fails. He finally realizes he is what he is. I wonder if Joe Biden will ever realize he is what he is under his dark cloud. Yes, he was a senator and a vice-president of the United States – a big deal.

He has run for president four times and will probably get the nomination of the Democratic Party in 2020. Joe was picked by Barack Obama to be his vice-president because Joe had been in Washington a long time, had many friends and acquaintances, and could help him with congressional relationships.

Over the years Joe has revealed a flexible political spine. What does he stand for?
Well, in looking at his record and work habits, the only thing he has ever really stood for is getting re-elected. We have only four and one-half months to the election. He has been in his basement bunker for three months and seems to have come up with only one plank in his platform: “Nothing will fundamentally change!”

Joe, everything in the world has changed in the last three years for the bottom 90 Percent because of two epidemics: Donald Trump’s viruses and COVID-19.

Joe, what do you actually believe in?

In the last Democratic debate Joe was on the stage with nine other candidates. He was my last choice. He had the most political experience but the least imagination. He’s been running for president for 32 years. Among the 10 he was the worst communicator and among the best in embellishing a rather dismal record.

He lied more than his fellow Democrats but did not cover his prevarication as well as Donald The Lyin’ King, who can’t recognize truth or lie. You have to be a psychopath to lie 19,127 times from January 20, 2017 to May 29, 2020. Donald claims he only needs four hours of sleep a night, so during this time, he has averaged one lie for every waking hour.

Anyone want to bet the frequency of his lies will not increase in the months prior to the election? It’s funny the cherry trees are still there to blossom.

What is Joe’s view of the future? The One Percent has been siphoning off the wealth of the country since the Ronald Reagan tax cuts of the 1980s, while an increasing number of the 90 percent have been living paycheck to paycheck.
Now more than 40 million are not getting a pay check while our 700 bill-ionaires have “earned” $620 million each since March 15, 2020, during the time 115,000 workers have died from COVID-19.

Joe, we are in a period of our history where our society itself has to fundamentally change to avoid revolution. Examine the histories of all the empires where the One Percent once ruled: Greece, Rome, Persia, Mongolia, China, and Japan to name a few. One hundred billion humans have lived on Planet Earth. I wish it were possible to discover how many have died when empires have failed to be fair.

Joe, everything has to change!

In order to beat the psychopath and his 82 million Tweeter zombies you will have to earn the votes of millions of people under the age of 45. You have to convince them you are worth going to the polls. You can’t bank on the idea that The Donald is such a reprehensible character young people would vote for a chimp or a geranium to throw him out of office.

The only way to win in 2020 is by mobilizing new voters and recent non-voters. Half of the population doesn’t vote! You need every one of them.

Over the years you have been winning elections by playing the center and having a supple spine. That won’t work this year.

You have never had a set ideology except one that would get you re-elected. This year you can’t sit on the 50-yard line. Youth around the world are in revolt. You have to inspire them, not bore them to death.

You are not Bernie Sanders. You will have to take a stand on the liberal, pro-gressive issues as voiced by Senators Sanders and Warren to millions of young voters.
Forget the Wall Street platform of moderate Democrats on the Democratic National Committee. That’s a disaster. Where do you stand on the following issues?
Economic Inequality: The three richest Americans have more assets than the bottom 170 million. Since 1970 the bottom 50% has earned only $8,000, rising from $19,000 to an average of $27,000 today.

In contrast the Top One Percent in the same period rose from $300,000 to $1.1 million today. The top 0.1% went from more than $1 million to $5 million today. The 0.01% went from $3.5 million to more than $24 million today.

In 2018 the top 400 highest earners paid a tax rate lower than the working class. Are you in favor of increasing taxes on the rich, whether by a wealth tax or increasing the rate?

As a senator you helped turn Delaware into a U.S. tax haven for corporations. Will you support the elimination of tax havens around the world, including Delaware and South Dakota?

Health Care: We still have about 30 million Americans without health insurance and another 80 million with inadequate insurance, while spending more than $10,000 per capita per year, double what other countries pay for universal care.

An adequate family policy is now in the $25,000 a year range. You have said you would add a public option plan to Obamacare, but we all know that will not cut the profits made by hospitals, insurance companies and the voracious drug companies.
Where do you stand on Bernie’s Medicare for All?

Do you even favor universal care?

Do you believe every state should cover its poor by approving Medicaid?
Guess why four organizations opposing Medicare for All have formed Partnership for America’s Health Care Future, a lobbying group of the Federation of America’s Hospitals, Blue Cross, big drug PHARMA, and the doctors of the American Medical Association. They all want to make more profits off the sick and dying.

Student Debt: Actually many elderly are still paying student debt because 43 million Americans still owe $1.6 trillion. What would have happened if the Trump tax cut of $1.5 trillion had been used to pay the student debt instead of putting 85% of the cut in the huge pockets of the rich? Would students have bought stock with their paychecks instead of buying cars, homes, appliances, wedding licenses, baby clothes, and bigger pizzas—instead of living in their parents’ basement? After the Bush Recession cut funding to higher education, tuition increased 36% in the decade following.

With our current economy it’s estimated that 40% of the students who entered college in 2004 will default on payments by 2023. Research indicates that black borrowers after 12 years still owe as much as they borrowed while going to college. The only larger debt is mortgage debt. Almost $130 billion in student debt is in default right now. Joe, what do you want to do about this educational and economic disaster? Perhaps you should try to answer why Germany, France, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and a host of other countries have abolished tuition. Germany, by the way, accepts all students from the European Union for free. Another topic: why should the so-called richest country in the world have 1.5 million homeless children in school? We don’t even grow bananas.

Gun Control: By current estimates we have over 400 million firearms in homes, on the streets, in concealed pockets, and on the shoulders of protesters, militia members, hunters, and collectors. We have millions more in police and military armories waiting for crimes, insurrections, wars, and revolutions. Civilians can legally buy .50 caliber spotting rifles that can destroy an engine block at a mile, military-style assault rifles capable of firing 700 rounds a minute if you modify them with a few parts off the Internet, or AR-15s with 100-round drums, or handguns with 30-round magazines.

Joe, firearms are a public health crisis because they are another pandemic virus that is costing us hundreds of billions of dollars burying 40,000 and treating 100,000 Americans each year. Alexandria, Virginia, a suburb of D.C. we lived in when I was stationed at Quantico, is trying to ban firearms from parks and public buildings. The Virginia Citizens Defense League, wearing “Guns Save Lives” badges and T-shirts, is opposed to the change. Please send me your research on how guns save lives. What’s your plan, Joe? Remember, your opponent said he could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue and not lose any votes of his cult. For the first time in his life he may be nudging the truth.

There are other major issues on the 2020 table: climate change, immigration, criminal and police law reform, post office funding, child care, family leave, and foreign policy to name a few more. What’s your position, Joe? You only have four months.

Should the country be cremated, buried green, or consumed by vultures?

Last week I suggested that America should be given the last rites. This week, while 535 members of Congress played their fiddles while the empire burned, thousands of their constituents in 75 cities protested a white police knee on a Minneapolis black neck. The fires were lit, glass was shattered, and the looters ran. Then another black man was shot in the back by an Atlanta white cop who thought he had a hunting license. But that is only part of our demise. This week about 2,700 Americans will be killed or wounded by firearms, over 1,500 will die from prescription and illegal drugs, and millions of people will be getting puffed up medical bills—like the poor COVID-19 survivor who got a $1.1 million hospital bill covering his $10,000-a -day stay.

So we have a country on the canvas for a “nine” count and we have two septuagenarians running for president. Donald The Lyin’ King recently had to use two hands to raise a glass of water, had trouble walking down ten steps, and has been unable to learn how o use a teleprompter in five years. Martha Stout in the “The Sociopath next Door” labels Trump: “Imagine-if you can-not having a conscience, none at all, no feeling of guilt or remorse no matter what you do, no limiting sense of concern, for the well-being of strangers, friends, or even family members. Imagine no struggles with shame, not a single one in your whole life, no matter what kind of selfish, lazy, harmful, or immoral action you had taken.” He has been declared a malignant narcissist by expert observers; the oldest living toddler by others who have raised kids.

On the other hand, Joe has empathy but is incoherent and subject to gaffes beyond explanation. Black writer Phillip Agnew spent six months traveling the country talking to young people about Democratic candidates and issues. He writes:

“Knowing all this, it is admittedly hard for me to swallow that our people voted for Biden in such large numbers in the primaries. Joe Biden is utterly bereft of vision and out of step with the moment, the last of a dying breed in a dying party, a bastion of a bygone age who required every bit of party machinery to push a sputtering campaign across the finish line.”

  There’s real trouble in the river city on the Potomac ...