Monday, March 9, 2020


Opioid-related deaths in Columbus, Ohio area up 45 percent from last year

Franklin County, Ohio coroner, Dr. Anahi Ortiz, revealed in a press conference at the end of February that the state’s capitol Columbus and its immediate suburbs had seen the overdose death rate increase by 45 percent from last year.
Comparing the time period of January 1 to February 21, Franklin County saw an increase from 73 overdose deaths in 2019 to 109 overdose deaths in 2020. Dr. Ortiz also described an increase in suicide and homicide deaths, each manner of death increasing by 40 percent from 2019 in the same time period.
On Facebook, Dr. Ortiz also posted a statement describing last month’s rise in deaths: “This has been a very sad week for Franklin County: we have had 23 overdose deaths from 1/31 to this past Friday. Then yesterday, February 8 we had five overdose deaths. Most of these folks most likely died from fentanyl.”
Fentanyl patch packages from several german generic drug manufacturers (from left to right: 1A Pharma, Winthrop, TAD Pharma, ratiopharm, Hexal).
According to statistics from the Franklin County Coroner’s Office website, overdose deaths have increased steadily since 2016. In 2016, 866 of the 1,708 total deaths were qualified as accidental deaths, a category that include falls, drug overdoses, motor vehicle accidents, and fires. Out of those accidental deaths, 40 percent were related to drug overdoses with a total of 353 deaths. In 2017, the percentage of overdose deaths rose to 50 percent of accidental deaths with a total of 526 deaths. In 2018, 51 percent of accidental deaths were from overdoses for a total of 560 deaths. Full, completed statistics for 2019 have not yet been released.
Nationally, Ohio has the second highest rate of opioid-involved overdose deaths at 39.2 deaths per 100,000 persons or 4,293 deaths in 2018. The state with the highest opioid deaths is the neighboring state of West Virginia with 49.6 deaths per 100,000 persons. Both states have death rates far above the national average of 14.6 deaths per 100,000 persons.
Overdoses can be a result of a multitude or combination of drugs including but not limited to opioids, stimulants such as cocaine and methamphetamines, and depressants such as benzodiazepines. However, as Dr. Ortiz made clear in her press conference, fentanyl has been a main contributor to the overdose increases in Franklin County as well as on a national scale.
Data from the Ohio Department of Heath shows that 73 percent of the 3,764 unintentional drug overdoses in the state of Ohio in 2017 were attributed to fentanyl, frequently in combination with other drugs such as heroin. Thirty-eight percent of overdoses were attributable to fentanyl in 2015, and 53 percent in 2016.
Since 2012, Ohio deaths from synthetic opioids have increased 25-fold, jumping from 139 deaths in 2012 to 3,523 deaths in 2017. Compared to the 2017 national synthetic opioid death rate of 28,869, the state of Ohio accounts for 10 percent of the national whole while its population represents only 4 percent.
Fentanyl’s cost and strength contribute to both its deadliness and ubiquity. A synthetic opioid, fentanyl is produced in a lab and does not require any amount of the poppy plant to manufacture, making it relatively cheap and easy to produce in illegally. Fentanyl is far stronger—fifty times stronger than heroin—and cheaper per unit than naturally derived opioids such as morphine, codeine, oxycodone and heroin.
There are also fentanyl analogs such as acetylfentanyl, furanylfentanyl, and carfentanil, which are more potent. Carfentanil is the strongest and is one hundred times more potent than fentanyl. Other synthetic opioids include methadone and tramadol, but they are not responsible for as many deaths since they are less potent and more difficult to abuse.
Roughly one million fentanyl doses could fit inside a shoebox-sized space, making it easy to hide and transport. Fentanyl is unique in that most users do not seek it out. It is instead mixed without the knowledge of the user into cocaine, heroin along with other cutting agents simultaneously increasing the euphoric affect and the chances of a fast descent into respiratory depression and death.
Using professional pill presses, illegal labs can even produce pills containing fentanyl that are indistinguishable from prescription versions of Roxicodone or Xanax, eliciting a false sense of security from buyers who think they are purchasing “safe”, i.e. unlaced, diverted prescriptions.
After first production, fentanyl is often in a pure form, but drug cartels begin to cut the drug in different agents such as Benadryl, caffeine, heroin, cocaine. And as the drug continues down the distributing chain, from regional distributor to local drug dealer, it is cut more. By the time it gets to the end consumer, no one knows how strong the product is.
Different batches can also vary significantly in strength. Even within the same batch, one dose could kill a user while another does not. Due to its potency, fentanyl is difficult to mix evenly into cutting agents. Two milligrams, about the size of two grains of rice, is enough to cause an overdose. It is almost impossible to properly distribute such a small amount of product evenly throughout a batch of heroin.
Fentanyl overdoses can be temporarily reversed using Narcan (Naloxone), an opiate antidote that blocks opiate receptors. However, fentanyl’s potency can increase the speed of an overdose as well as require several doses of Narcan for reversal. Even family members or friends who catch an overdose early and know to administer Narcan nasal spray could find the one dose spray insufficient; the user could remain unconscious or slip quickly back into an irregular and dangerously slow breathing pattern resulting in eventual death.
While addiction is a disease that afflicts all classes, the working class and poor have been its leading victims. This current opioid crisis began in part because pharmaceutical companies targeted some of the poorest regions in the country including Appalachia—a region which includes parts of southern Ohio—saturating working class communities with opioid pain killers and lying about their addictive qualities in order to turn a profit.
Many addiction stories begin with prescription from a physician. When the prescription runs out, when physicians refuse to provide refills, or when health care is lost, users turn to street versions of opioids to avoid withdrawal.
Higher rates of addiction are found in economically devastated regions of the county. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in January found a direct link between auto assembly plant closure and the growing opioid epidemic, with data showing an 85 percent increase in opioid deaths above expected levels within five years in counties which experienced a plant closure.
Neither the parasitic nature of the 
pharmaceutical companies nor the economic 
devastation of former industrial centers is an 
accident. Both are a product of deliberate 
attacks on the working class, resulting in the 
erosion of life expectancy and the rising rate 
of deaths of despair among the American 
working class.

JOE "BRIBES" BIDEN - The life of a career bribes sucking politician

On Criminal Justice, Biden Has No Moral Standing Over Trump

Joe Biden was a key Democratic proponent of 'tough on crime' policies in the 1990s.
Joe Biden was a key Democratic proponent of “tough on crime” policies in the 1990s. Photo: John Duricka/AP/Shutterstock
By most accounts, Donald Trump has been licking his chops at the prospect of running against Bernie Sanders. His GOP allies in particular feel that the Vermont senator’s nomination would spell doom for down-ballot Democrats. Even as national polls show Sanders leading in most head-to-head matchups against the president, his leftist platform and self-description as a socialist provide what some see as a messaging gift: a candidate too radical for the moderate suburbanites whose votes for Democratic House candidates in 2018 were understood as a backlash against Trumpian extremity. The thinking goes that Democrats would harm their “return to normalcy” pitch if they nominated their own zealot — and fatally damage their hopes of retaining their House majority, let alone winning the Senate.
This may be moot in the wake of Super Tuesday. Trump’s less preferred outcome now seems to be the more likely one: a November showdown with Joe Biden. The former vice-president is more conservative than Sanders, hampering the prospects of a down-ballot GOP edge on that front. And like Sanders, he’s led Trump in most head-to-head polls, often by wider margins. Concerns early on within the administration that Trump would face Obama’s VP have led to costly missteps. The president hoped to turn Biden’s family ties to a Ukrainian energy company into an election-year scandal. He ended up offering Ukraine’s head of state aid in exchange for investigating Biden and his son Hunter, triggering a House investigation and a Senate impeachment trial. (Trump was acquitted in a mostly party-line vote.) But while a cascade of Hunter-focused Senate hearings isn’t out of the question as a Republican countermeasure, Trump has other avenues for an offensive in mind.
A preview has come in the form of his recent appeals to black voters — a demographic that’s been instrumental to Joe Biden’s success in the primary. Trump is going to try dampening black voter enthusiasm for Biden by contrasting the two men’s criminal justice records. The framing will be simple: Trump signed a bipartisan criminal-legal reform bill, the First Step Act, and has been generous with his pardon powers toward unjustly imprisoned black people, like Alice Marie Johnson. This was the essence of his Super Bowl reelection ad and much of his State of the Union address. His son-in-law-turned-adviser Jared Kushner maintains that such appeals will resonate with black voters, especially in upper midwestern swing states where the slightest chip in Democrat armor could cost them the region.
Indeed, conventional wisdom holds that because the system harms black Americans disproportionately, they are uniquely susceptible to reformist appeals from politicians. If this is true, it hasn’t been determinative in the 2020 primary: Kamala Harris was a punitive prosecutor in California and enjoyed higher rates of black support than nearly all of her former competitors who’ve since dropped out. Michael Bloomberg, the longtime “stop and frisk” proponent, briefly polled higher among black voters than Sanders. And Biden has been the consensus candidate of most black Democrats ever since he entered the race. But Trump’s is not a meritless strategy. It has the benefit of a soft target. The president’s use of pardons on people like Johnson may indeed be an opportunistic means of laundering his own efforts to get his friends out of prison. The First Step Act may have fallen into his lap because Mitch McConnell thwarted President Obama’s chance to sign a similar bill in 2016; his rhetoric on criminal justice may waffle between applauding second chances and touting the merits of executing people for selling drugs. But while Trump’s status as a self-styled reformer is laughable, Biden’s record is grotesque.
Most of its lowlights occurred in the “tough on crime” 1980s and 1990s, when he was a senator. (His presidential campaign platform calls for reversals of many policies he once championed — including disparities in crack and powder cocaine sentencing, ending cash bail and the death penalty, and providing more alternatives to imprisonment.) But back then, he viciously characterized people who commit crimes as sociopathic “predators” who are beyond rehabilitation. He cast then-President Bush’s escalation of the War on Drugs as lacking “enough police officers to catch the violent thugs, enough prosecutors to convict them, enough judges to sentence them, or enough prison cells to put them away for a long time.” He authored the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act — known colloquially as the 1994 Clinton crime bill, but which Biden liked to call the “1994 Biden crime bill” as recently as 2015. Its main legacy is cruelty: It expanded the death penalty, eliminated education funding for imprisoned students, created harsher sentencing guidelines for a wide range of crimes, and increased funding for local police departments and corrections departments.
All of this harmed black communities disproportionately even as black officials — many of whom supported the 1994 bill anyway — were calling for robust investments in social services to supplement their requests for more responsive law enforcement. Biden’s bombast led a national crusade to ignore them. Perhaps more than any other official of the era, he embodied the Democratic impulse to outflank Republicans from the right by locking more people in jails and prisons. He helped catalyze the most dramatic expansion of the carceral state in the history of the country with the highest incarceration rate in the world. He said he was “not at all” ashamed of his involvement as recently as 2016. His more recent apologies for the fallout are no less opportunistic than Bloomberg’s campaign-launch mea culpa for stop and frisk.
Luckily for Biden, this legacy has cost him little. His status as the primary’s front-runner was challenged by Sanders only briefly, and black voters across the South provided the foundation for his Super Tuesday rout. There’s widespread agreement among many Democrats that whatever Biden’s flaws, at least he’s a known quantity. “I know Joe. We know Joe. But most importantly, Joe knows us,” Representative James Clyburn told MSNBC of Biden’s relationship to South Carolina’s majority-black Democratic electorate. Whether this pattern replicates in Michigan and Wisconsin is yet to be seen. In the meantime, Trump is champing at the bit to test Kushner’s hypothesis and position himself as rectifier of Biden’s legislative wrongs. A president whose defining legacies will include resuming federal executions and locking migrant children in cages to punish their parents has no moral standing when it comes to criminal justice, to be sure. But in his wildest dreams he couldn’t have conjured an opponent with less than Joe Biden.

The Democratic Party rallies behind Biden
9 March 2020
The campaign of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is making a last-ditch stand in the Michigan primary Tuesday, amid mounting indications that the Democratic Party as a whole has moved decisively into the camp of his main rival, former Vice President Joe Biden. Sanders cancelled rallies in Mississippi, Missouri and Illinois—all states where he trails Biden in the polls—in order to concentrate all his efforts in Michigan, where he won an upset victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016.
On Sunday, Senator Kamala Harris endorsed Biden, the latest of nine former presidential contenders to announce their support for their one-time rival, joining Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Michael Bloomberg, Beto O’Rourke, John Delaney, Seth Moulton, Tim Ryan, and Deval Patrick. Harris is to join Biden for a campaign rally in Detroit Monday.
The consolidation of the Democratic Party behind Biden is a damning exposure, not merely of the politically reactionary character of this organization, but of the contemptible falsification on which the Sanders campaign has been based: that it is possible to transform the Democratic Party, the oldest American capitalist party, into the spearhead of a “political revolution” that will bring about fundamental social change.
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden gestures to Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., at a primary night election rally in Columbia, S.C., Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020 after winning the South Carolina primary. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Former Vice President Biden is the personification of the decrepit and right-wing character of the Democratic Party. In the past 10 days alone, Biden has declared himself a candidate for the US Senate, rather than president, confused his wife and his sister as they stood on either side of him, called himself an “Obiden Bama Democrat,” and declared that 150 million Americans died in gun violence over the past decade. This is not just a matter of Biden’s declining mental state: it is the Democratic Party, not just its presidential frontrunner, that is verging on political senility.
It is evident that the Democratic Party leadership in Congress, as well as the Biden campaign and the Democratic National Committee, aims to run the 2020 campaign on the exact model of Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016: portraying Trump as personally unqualified to be president and as a Russian stooge, while opposing any significant social reform and delivering constant reassurances to the ruling financial aristocracy that a restored Democratic administration will follow in the footsteps of Obama, showering trillions on Wall Street and doing the bidding of the military-intelligence apparatus.
One could ask of the nine ex-candidates who have now endorsed Biden, why they were candidates in the first place? Why did they bother to run against the former vice president, clearly the preferred candidate of the party establishment? None of them voices any significant political differences with Biden. All of them hail the right-wing political record of the Obama-Biden administration, even though that administration produced the social and economic devastation that made possible the election of Donald Trump.
Even more revolting, if that is possible, is the embrace of Biden by the black Democratic politicians. The former senator from Delaware is identified with some of the most repugnant episodes in the history of race relations in America: the abusive treatment of Anita Hill, when she testified against the nomination of Clarence Thomas, before Biden’s Judiciary Committee; an alliance with segregationist James Eastland on school integration in the early 1970s, highlighted at a debate by Kamala Harris, eight months before she endorsed Biden; and the passage of a series of “law-and-order” bills that disproportionately jailed hundreds of thousands of African Americans, all of them pushed through the Senate by Biden.
How did a politician who boasted of his close relationships with Eastland and Strom Thurmond become the beneficiary of a virtual racial bloc vote by African Americans in the Southern states? Because African American Democratic Party leaders, including Representative James Clyburn in South Carolina and hundreds of others, represent one of the most right-wing and politically corrupt sections of the party.
The thinking of this layer was summed up in a column Saturday in the Washington Post by Colbert King, a former State Department official and local banker, a prominent member of the African American elite in the nation’s capital, who wrote in outrage, “America’s black billionaires have no place in a Bernie Sanders world.”
King denounced the suggestion that black CEOs and billionaires are “greedy, corrupt threats to America’s working families or the cause of economic disparities and human misery.” Voicing the fears of his class, he continued, “I know there are those out there who buy the notion that America consists of a small class of privileged, rapacious super-rich lording over throngs of oppressed, capitalist-exploited workers. You can see it in poll numbers showing the share of Americans who prefer socialism to capitalism inching upward.”
What the Washington Post columnist reveals is what Bernie Sanders has done his best to cover up: the Democratic Party is a party of the capitalist class. It can no more be converted to socialism than the CIA can become an instrument of the struggle against American imperialism.
True, Sanders can dredge up Jesse Jackson for a last-minute endorsement, proof that demagogues engaged in diverting mass left-wing sentiment into the graveyard of the Democratic Party recognize and embrace each other across the decades. But with that exception, the entire black Democratic Party establishment has lined up behind Biden—including, most recently, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Senator Kamala Harris.
Harris’s statement is worth quoting. “I have decided that I am with great enthusiasm going to endorse Joe Biden for president of the United States,” she said. “I believe in Joe. I really believe in him, and I have known him for a long time.” The senator was no doubt responding to the incentives dangled in front of her by Biden after she left the race last December, when he gushed, “She is solid. She can be president someday herself. She can be the vice president. She can go on to be a Supreme Court justice. She can be an attorney general.”
Sanders seeks to counter this all-out Democratic Party campaign for Biden by seeking to woo sections of the trade union bureaucracy with appeals to economic nationalism. New Sanders television ads in Michigan feature a United Auto Workers member declaring that his state “has been decimated by trade deals,” while Sanders declares that Biden backed NAFTA, drawing the conclusion, “With a record like that, we can’t trust him to protect American jobs or defeat Donald Trump.” The Vermont senator will find that very few auto workers follow the political lead of the corrupt gangsters who head the UAW.
More than 13 million people, mainly workers and youth, voted for Sanders in 2016 in the Democratic primaries and caucuses. Millions more continue to support him this year, with the same result. Sanders will wrap up his campaign by embracing the right-wing nominee of the Democratic Party and telling his supporters that this is the only alternative to the election, and now re-election of Trump. Indeed, in appearances on several Sunday television interview programs, Sanders went out of his way to repeat, as he said on Fox News, “Joe Biden is a friend of mine. Joe Biden is a decent guy. What Joe has said is if I win the nomination, he’ll be there for me, and I have said if he wins the nomination, I’ll be there for him …”
Working people and young people must draw the lessons of this protracted political experience. The struggle for socialism in America and internationally requires a political break by the working class from the Democratic Party and the entire structure of capitalist two-party politics. It means uniting the working class across all lines of race, gender, national origin and sexual orientation against the capitalist class.

The establishment begins the task of building up Joe Biden

With doddering, bad-touch Joe Biden as the establishment’s designated “man who can take down Donald Trump,” the rush is on to reconfigure him as a principled man with a sharp mind. In service to this mythologizing, Matthew Dallek, a professor at George Washington’s Graduate School of Political Management, has written an article explaining that, when it comes to Joe Biden, his political longevity can be summed up in a single word: “decency.” He makes this case in a New York Daily News opinion appropriately entitled, “It’s the decency, stupid: The secret of Joe Biden’s resiliency.”
What’s Dallek’s case for claiming that Joe Biden is decent?
First, his wife and daughter died in a car accident in 1972, and then his son died from cancer 43 years later:
It is hard to think of another major political figure who lost both his first wife Neilia and two children 43 years apart: Neilia and baby daughter Naomi to a traffic accident in 1972, his adult son Beau to glioblastoma, a brain cancer, in 2015. His pain has enabled him to connect with people at a gut level, giving him the type of empathy that political leaders rarely manage to tap with so much poignancy.
While these are extraordinarily tragic occurrences, they do not convert the survivor into a decent man. That’s especially true considering that Joe Biden has spent decades slandering as a drunkard the man involved in that 1972 car accident when, as Biden well knows, his wife caused the accident.
Second . . . . Wait, there is no second. The entire article is about the fact that Biden is a decent man because he lost family members. These losses make him empathetic. “[I]n an era of nearly relentless nastiness, Biden exudes decency.” For that reason, Dallek insists, “There’s . . . an archetypal quality about Biden’s appeal,” because despite his decades of political power, nothing “safeguarded his family from the cruelest of life’s vicissitudes.”
That’s not much of an argument, but that’s all Dallek has got.
Let’s talk for a moment now about Biden’s indecent moments. This discussion does not address his political miscalculations. It examines only those times in which Biden behaved in ways that most people would say were the antithesis of decency.
1. He was one of the people behind the character assassination of Judge Robert Bork, one of America’s top legal minds:
Biden played a large role in the character assassination.
Stage management was a key part of this made-for-tv political drama, and one of the central cast members was the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, Delaware Senator Joe Biden. His former staffers later admitted that chairman Biden hatched a plan to work with outside advocacy groups to heighten the visibility of the Bork hearings. Biden thought a Supreme Court fight could be a key lever to boosting his name recognition in advance of the 1988 Democratic primary.
Following Bork's defeat, the Oxford English Dictionary added the verb "to Bork," defined as "to defame or vilify a person systematically."
In October 2019, Biden was still boasting that “When I defeated Robert Bork, I made sure we guaranteed a woman’s right to choose for the better part of a generation.”
2. By #MeToo movement, Biden behaved badly to Anita Hill. Dallek sums it up by saying, “[a]s chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, he failed to give Anita Hill a fair and respectful hearing during the 1991 Clarence Thomas nomination hearings.” Of course, the reality was that Biden knew she was lying and wanted to limit her testimony because he was afraid that it would undermine his efforts to block Thomas’s nomination.
3. He lied about his law school record. Here is Biden boasting about his brilliance at law school:
Here’s Joe Biden explaining that he lied:
In his statement today, Mr. Biden, who attended the Syracuse College of Law and graduated 76th in a class of 85, acknowledged: “I did not graduate in the top half of my class at law school and my recollection of this was inaccurate.”
As for receiving three degrees, Mr. Biden said: “I graduated from the University of Delaware with a double major in history and political science. My reference to degrees at the Claremont event was intended to refer to these majors – I said ‘three’ and should have said ‘two.'” Mr. Biden received a single B.A. in history and political science.
”With regard to my being the outstanding student in the political science department,” the statement went on. “My name was put up for that award by David Ingersoll, who is still at the University of Delaware.”
In the Sunday interview, Mr. Biden said of his claim that he went to school on full academic scholarship: ”My recollection is – and I’d have to confirm this – but I don’t recall paying any money to go to law school.” Newsweek said Mr. Biden had gone to Syracuse ”on half scholarship based on financial need.”
In his statement today, Mr. Biden did not directly dispute this, but said he received a scholarship from the Syracuse University College of Law “based in part on academics” as well as a grant from the Higher Education Scholarship Fund of the state of Delaware. He said the law school “arranged for my first year’s room and board by placing me as an assistant resident adviser in the undergraduate school.”
As for the moot court competition, Mr. Biden said he had won such a competition, with a partner, in Kingston, Ontario, on Dec. 12, 1967.
4. Biden was twice guilty of plagiarism, once while in law school and again while running for president in 1988.
5. Throughout his career, Biden has used his position and connections to funnel opportunities worth millions of dollars to his family, with Hunter Biden’s China and Ukraine escapades being only the latest chapter in that story.
6. As noted above, he’s spent decades slandering the man into whose truck Biden’s wife crashed.
7. He engages in inappropriate and creepy behavior with little girls, behavior he carries on in public as if daring people to call him out for his grabbing and sniffing:
Indeed, he’s creepy with women too:
Joe Biden is a man who has experienced true tragedies in his life, but being on the receiving end of life's hard knocks does not automatically mean that you are a decent person. Biden's record shows him to be a vicious, dishonest, corrupt, and sleazy man.

“He’s a totally corrupt swamp thing, and here’s the worst part of his manifest corruption – he doesn’t seem to realize that he’s corrupt, if not personally than in terms of allowing his bum kid to leverage his position. He thinks it’s A-OK for his boy Hoover to cash in all over the globe. After all, that’s what you do, right? That’s part of the benefits package for being in the liberal elite. And all these people fussing and fighting about the paternity test-failing dirtbag getting rich are totally out of line. How dare they? HOW DARE THEY!”

He wants to raise taxes, open the borders, let you pay for illegal aliens’ sex changes, and spark a civil war by taking guns from the people who don’t commit crimes.

Joe Biden? Seriously?

The establishment narrative on Joe Biden is, to put it mildly, malarkey. Gropey J actually is everything the liberals accuse Donald Trump of being – bizarre, vulgar, dumb, corrupt, incompetent, and utterly unfit to be president. But yet the Creepy Veepy is so much more. In the last month, this totally not-senile, not-at-all-weird guy has assembled a track record of freaky behavior that would put mid-eighties Crispin Glover to shame. 
Let’s review…
Corn Pop is old news. Biden’s latest rambling onion-on-the-belt monologue was something about little kids at a pool rubbing his leg hair or something – it’s so random I’m not even linking to it. There’s no best-case scenario here – he’s just creepy.
Then, for no other reason than I guess he felt like a snack, he started gnawing on his wife’s fingers in public and on camera. You know, like people do. You wonder what the thought process there was…
Hey, sure are lots of cameras…gosh, I’m kind of hungry…oh look, an index finger. Yum.
I’m a little surprised he didn’t pull out a packet of ketchup.
But the best part was when some guy pointed out that, you know, Biden’s loser son Lil’ Crackpipe is the poster child for corruption and Sane Joe started spazzing out and calling him “fat” and challenging him to a push-up contest for some reason.
This is just odd. And this is the candidate who, amazingly, is still in the lead for the Democrat nomination.
And then there’s the groping females thing. He still does it occasionally, though the media does its best to curtail coverage of his lecherous creeping. Do you believe there’s any chance at all that he is not going to, at some point, have some horrifying incident with some female at the White House, you know, like grabbing the Queen for a hug n’ rub, or walking absent-mindedly into the press room in a flapping robe with Little Joe and the gang in effect? 
And let’s be charitable. No one has ever called Joe Biden “smart.” Well, maybe as a joke. The fact is that he’s a 40-watt guy in a 100-watt world. Haters say Trump is dumb, but he is demonstrably not dumb. The thing about Trump is that because our garbage elite hates him it tends to ascribe all possible negative characteristics to him regardless of whether they apply. Trump is cunning, crafty and has a keen sense of strategy. You may dislike him, but that does not change the fact that alone, against the full force of the elite and its media serfs, he prevailed and continues to prevail. If Trump, who managed to figure out that it would be a good idea to campaign in Wisconsin, is dumb, what does that make Felonia Milhous von Pantsuit and the sobbing losers who supported her?
No one can seriously argue that Joe Biden is smart, and no one does. They’ll either call you “racist” or start complaining about Trump. But you won’t get anyone comparing the former veep to Stephen Hawking. They just sort of elide past his staggering stupidity, perhaps hoping that whoever he picks for his veep will give him a rubber ball to play with and lock him in an Oval Office closet when it's time to do some presidenting.
He’s a totally corrupt swamp thing, and here’s the worst part of his manifest corruption – he doesn’t seem to realize that he’s corrupt, if not personally than in terms of allowing his bum kid to leverage his position. He thinks it’s A-OK for his boy Hoover to cash in all over the globe. After all, that’s what you do, right? That’s part of the benefits package for being in the liberal elite. And all these people fussing and fighting about the paternity test-failing dirtbag getting rich are totally out of line. How dare they? HOW DARE THEY!
Understand that Biden sees nothing wrong with this. Nothing. And that means there will be exponentially more of it. Hell, the useless DoJ under Trump won’t prosecute obvious graft. Do you think a DoJ that’s thrilled to have a fellow traveler back in the White House is going to root out Biden's business badness? You do? Well, then meet my unicorn Chet.
And SloJoe is utterly incompetent. This is the guy who thought they should let bin Laden skate. As Robert Gates, no Trumpie, said, "I think he has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.
This is the guy who wants to take your doctor, again, and impose another brilliant healthcare reform idea, again – all designed to unscrew the last big healthcare reform the Democrats passed, which he praised as “a big [vulgarity] deal.
He wants to obey that tiresome Swedish teenager’s commands to sacrifice at the altar of the weird weather cult. He wants to appoint all Hawaiian and Scat Franciscan judges. 
He wants to raise taxes, open the borders, let you pay for illegal aliens’ sex changes, and spark a civil war by taking guns from the people who don’t commit crimes.
When you think of a calm, steady, wise presence guiding the nation, you do not think of Joe Biden, though that’s what is allegedly needed to end the nightmare of the Trump presidency – you know, the record job numbers and the lack of stupid new wars. You think of Obama and Stumbles McMyturn, only dumber and touchier.
Just recently, Biden’s campaign ran an ad alleging that foreigners were “laughing” at Donald Trump. Is there any Democrat anywhere who takes America’s side in a dispute with malicious aliens? In any case, those tin pot euroweenies had plenty to cry about – Donald Trump has forced them to pay up for NATO. Of course, that will end too if Joe takes office. We’ll return to business as usual – the business as usual of being shafted for the benefit of the global bigshots.
Basically, we’ll get rid of all the peace and prosperity that Trump has brought and get back to normal – that is, people like us being plundered by the garbage elite.
Trump has a track record of success, and Democrats hate him. Joe has a track record of failure, corruption, and creepiness. Well, I guess we know why the Democrats seem to love him.
It’s out now, my new novel Collapse, the action-packed yet hilarious sequel to People's RepublicIndian Country and Wildfire. Friendless loser Never Trumpers hate it, so you’ll love it.
***One last thing.  On Wednesdays, there's BONUS KURT if you're a Townhall VIP member.  Sign up today.  Three Kurts is better than two.
And here's the biggest laugh of all: the 

Democrat party's only hope is a confused old 

man whose corruption is oozing into the 

open only because the Democrats wagered 

everything on impeaching President Trump.

The Democratic Party Is Wounded and Dangerous

Beware the wounded animal.  In pain and desperation, it will do violent things.  It seems to me no coincidence that Joe Biden's big win on Super Tuesday was followed by Democratic senator Chuck Schumer threatening conservative members of the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
Joe Biden is hardly Lancelot to President Trump's dragon.  The Democrats and the Deep State needed a first-class warrior; instead, their best option is a walking advertisement for Alzheimer's awareness.  In his best days, Joe Biden was the political equivalent of Jack McCall, shooting his adversaries in the back.  When he wasn't using his position of power for financial gain or stealing other people's words, he was helping his family line their own pockets.  Today, he's a disoriented and stumbling shell of an unimportant political hack who looks on in confusion while his wife does his fighting for him.  If you've ever wondered what happens to the shriveled soul of a lifetime liar and Democratic swindler, just cast your eyes upon Old Joe.  He's a walking, talking effigy of Democratic corruption and amorality.  He's what the Democratic Party usually keeps far off the main stage for the back-alley entertainment; now he's the main event, but no amount of stick-prodding by Donna Brazile or Tom Perez is going to turn Joe Biden into Fred Astaire.  He's a freak-show carnival attraction at best, amazing onlookers by his ability to occasionally jumble audible words together into a sentence.  The Democrats needed a man who could command a movement; all they got was a man who can barely control his own.
I'm not saying President Trump's re-election is in the bag.  Far from it.  We've never seen such an array of villains acting in concert to take down an American president.  The Democratic Party has most of the permanent bureaucratic Deep State (as well as stealthy anti-Trump Republicans), Wall Street, Russia, Iran, China, Venezuela, cosmopolitan Europe, global warming doomsayers, the Middle East's worst terrorists, and domestic Antifa terrorists here at home all actively working to dislodge President Trump from the White House.  In the past, the chiefs of our intelligence agencies and clandestine services retired into relative obscurity, cognizant that duty commanded their silent withdrawal into the pages of history.  After orchestrating a coup against the American president, however, it is not unusual to see the former heads of Obama's CIA, FBI, and NSC all tirelessly justifying their criminal acts on cable news each night.  The corporate news media and institutional government have spent years trying to gin up enough hysteria in the nation that mock beheadings of the president and ritual re-enactments of his assassination during summer theater might lead the American people to clamor for the real thing.
So, no, the 2020 election will not be over until all the votes have been counted on November 3, and it becomes clear that we have successfully preserved Western civilization for at least a little while longer from this most recent manifestation of Vienna's bloody 1683 siege.  All I am saying is that Joe Biden was never meant to be the establishment's champion for resurrecting their oligarchic power.  They wanted a formidable presidential nominee, someone who could check all the right identity politics boxes while stringing words together that were substantively meaningless while singularly inspiring.  Instead, they're settling for a politician past his expiration date who sounds less crème de la crème and more soused in crème de menthe.  The Democratic Party may depend on dead voters to win elections, but running dead candidates is another thing altogether.
So just because the cable news anchors and Carville clones are all high-fiving each other and cheering for managing to narrowly prevent a communist disciple of Stalin and Castro from sewing up the Democratic nomination for president by the beginning of March, don't forget how disappointed they are at heart.  If Biden goes on to clinch the nomination, the Democratic Party will have managed to take all the aloof, plain, manila-folder blandness of John Kerry and combine it with the alertness and energy of a nursing home after pill rounds.  This is the one whom the commentariat is celebrating right now, the guy Obama and the gang blocked from running in 2016 because they felt him not quite up for the challenge when he was four years younger.  The vice president during the slowest economic recovery since the Great Depression, the wordsmith who marveled at Obama for being strangely "articulate" for a black guy, and the obtrusive shoulder-rubber whose chief political instinct was to sniff the hair of the wives and daughters of White House officials and visiting dignitaries.  Imagine being in such dire straits because the previous Democratic president so hollowed out the party's future by losing over a thousand elected officials across the country during his time in office that the last, great hope to beat President Trump this year is just hoping to make it to bed each afternoon before saying something so inappropriate or illogical or ridiculous that Red Bernie becomes the Democrat's Dear Leader by default.  For every minute of his few wakeful hours, his handlers have to be on constant guard against the possibility that a voice in Biden's head will scream, "Oh, look, a young child with wonderful-smelling hair."  "Comeback Joe"?  More like "Come back, Joe!"
The Democrats and the Deep State have spent the last four years constructing the greatest wag-the-dog spectacle America's ever seen in an attempt to cover up the malfeasance and criminality of the last administration, while preventing the current one from achieving too many victories.  Considering that Brennan and Comey are still free and Obama and Hillary are still smiling, they've been remarkably successful.  But the Mueller obfuscation and Schiff circus are behind us, the dance music of delay is dying down, and the Democrats' and Deep State's ability to keep pushing back their day of reckoning is coming to an end.  If they don't win in 2020, they cannot keep justice at bay, regardless of how stacked in their favor it has always been in the past.  And standing in the gap as their last-ditch prospect to save them from President Trump's re-election and spare them from long delayed judgment is none other than Corn Pop's archenemy.  The one "reasonable" Democrat in the race who has already burnished his "moderate" credentials by fully embracing Bernie's Green New Deal, Warren's Medicare for All, and Beto's door-to-door gun confiscation.  Nothing says "electable centrist Democrat" like "D'oh!" Biden's full tilt toward Marxist socialism.  No wonder Chuck Schumer sounds like some injured animal in the forest, lashing out at tree branches all around him.  That's what small, weak, dying creatures do when they know the end is near.
Image: Lorie Shaull via Flickr.


Is There Any End in Sight to Coronavirus’s Economic Carnage?
I’m your host, Benjamin Hart, and today I’m chatting with business columnist Josh Barro about pandemic panic on Wall Street and beyond.
Ben: As you wrote this morning, pretty much all economic indicators are flashing red, as coronavirus anxiety hits every corner of society. The stock market plummeted so much this morning that trading had to be halted; a coronavirus-related oil-price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia has sent oil prices plummeting; the yield on a ten-year U.S. treasury bond went below 0.4 percent for the first time in history. Do you see any scenario where the financial situation calms in the near future? Or is recession — at the least, a small one — the inevitable outcome here?
Josh: A severe economic disruption is inevitable. As for a recession — that’s defined as two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth. As recently as Saturday, I was talking with Tim Duy, a macroeconomist at the University of Oregon, and he was saying we might still avoid recession. Disasters like this hit the economy hard but often the recovery out of them is fast — people just start doing what they had stopped doing and the economy goes back to normal quite quickly. My gut feeling is this crisis is going to be too widespread and prolonged for that “natural disaster” model to apply — an earthquake or hurricane does not hit the entire world for months — but I’ve been surprised that some smart people have not been telling me “100 percent odds of recession.”
I think, as always, people focus a little too much on the “recession/not recession” question. The difference between 0.1 percent growth and -0.1 percent growth can determine whether we call it a recession, but those are quite similar economic situations. And what’s happening here is definitely slowing down economic growth significantly, especially with the impacts on the travel, transportation, and energy sectors.
Ben: But as you said, the underlying (American) economy was doing pretty well before this exogenous event, which separates it from something like the 2008 financial crisis and previous downturns. Does that also mean that the traditional economic measures we use to fight this kind of thing are unlikely to work in the same way they did then?
Josh: I’ve been saying the best thing the government can do to protect the economy is to effectively fight the spread of the virus. The markets are falling because of a very real problem in the real world. Mitigate the problem and stocks will go back up. I do think this situation is not very amenable to the traditional macroeconomic tools you use to boost the economy. Cutting interest rates won’t reopen supply chains, and it won’t do much to encourage consumers to go to concerts or take cruises. The same goes for fiscal stimulus measures, like rebate checks. I do think there is a case that fiscal and monetary stimulus will play a useful role in helping the economy recover once the epidemic abates, especially if it has gone on for a long time. If people have missed work, or if they have incurred expenses related to the virus, they may come out of the crisis in a weak cash position. Fiscal stimulus (like rebate checks or a payroll tax cut) or monetary stimulus (low interest rates) may encourage consumers to spend more and businesses to invest more after this is over. And I don’t think it’s important to get the timing right — send out the checks now and people will be in a better cash position after this is over and more inclined to spend. But we shouldn’t expect the effects to show up until later, and it’s secondary to measures to limit the number of people who get sick, ensure people who need care have access to get it, keep hospitals from getting overwhelmed, etc.
One more note on the response: I see a lot of people talking about the importance of targeting a fiscal stimulus — noting that gig workers are especially hurt, specific industries, etc. And I think it is possible to get too clever here. Those broad inferences make sense, but it is really hard to figure out in advance where to target your fiscal stimulus. And if you focus too much on targeting, you’re likely to end up with something that’s too small. Better to send checks to too many people than too few. I’d go for big, simple measures over fine-tuning.
Ben: The Trump administration response has been about as incompetent and baffling as you might expect. Though it’s hard to say how much the president and his anti-science policies hampered the CDC’s testing rollout, there’s no question that Trump himself has been the opposite of helpful, with his denial about the severity of the outbreak, as well as his usual conspiracy-mongering and lying. It’s hard to imagine even a well-oiled-machine type of administration getting things exactly right, but how much do you think the simple fact of him being in office during a crisis he’s clearly unequipped to handle is playing into the economic fears around this thing?
Josh: I don’t know. Equity markets are falling similarly sharply all over the world. That doesn’t mean it’s not Trump’s fault — if Trump screws up, that can hurt German and Japanese stocks, and in an ideal situation, positive American leadership would be helping calm the whole world. But some of the key screwups — like the CDC sending out test kits that didn’t work — strike me as matters that didn’t likely have anything to do with Trump. I tend to agree with our colleague Max Read, who tweeted this morning that our tendency to ascribe government errors to Trump personally may be causing us to miss ways our government was broadly unprepared for an epidemic of this nature.
I tend to assume the epidemiological outlook that this crisis would be at least somewhat better with a more normal president, and therefore stocks wouldn’t have fallen as sharply and the economic outlook wouldn’t have been hurt as much. But I’m very unsure how large the effect is.
Ben: If international markets continue to tank in tandem as they have the last week, is there any hope of some kind of worldwide economic coordination to stem panic? Or are we more likely to see the opposite scenario play out as things become more tense, as we are with today’s oil-price war?
Josh: So first of all, I think people are overrating the importance of the oil-price war. Obviously it’s bad for oil companies. The effect on the broad U.S. economy should be close to a wash, since we produce about as much oil as we consume. Consumers and firms that use petroleum products will benefit from falling prices. And the price war is itself a symptom of the coronavirus crisis. Russia and Saudi Arabia have their reasons for not being able to cooperate here, but I don’t think it tells us much about the ability of the U.S. to cooperate with China or with European governments, etc.
Worldwide, it would be ideal to see cooperation on fiscal and monetary stimulus measures. Europe is likely to be recalcitrant here — it’s an extension of fiscal and monetary policies that have been dysfunctional in Europe since before the financial crisis. But again, this is not my key focus. I’m mostly concerned that governments around the world do well with containing the outbreak itself.
Ben: And presumably, what you’ve seen thus far does not inspire confidence that things will be back to normal anytime soon.
Josh: No. Personally I’m concerned with how little consensus I’m seeing about the likely death rate from COVID-19, and about the outlook for mitigation. I don’t think people have a clear idea how bad this is going to be. And I think that uncertainty is part of what’s weighing on financial markets — people have good reason to think this is going to be very bad, but there are wide error bars around “very bad” in both directions.

We Are Watching the Probable Demise of Trump’s Reelection in Real Time

Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images
President Trump’s political career has consisted of a series of self-generated crises that he has improbably survived, from insinuating that John McCain was a coward for having been captured during the war that Trump himself dodged to the three-year-long high-crime (and misdemeanor) spree. Throughout these disasters, Trump has maintained a floor of support that is apparently immutable and just high enough to give him a plausible chance of reelection. Yet the pair of crises now enveloping the administration appear to be of a completely different political magnitude than anything that has faced Trump to date. It may now really, finally, truly be over for him.
The obvious factor distinguishing the coronavirus and the probable recession from the Access Hollywood tape, firing James Comey, and all the rest is that they have a tangible impact on the lives of Americans. (Or, to put it more precisely, Americans who have voting representation, unlike Puerto Ricans.) Trump’s continuous din of scandals and gaffes is unintelligible to many Americans who either do not follow the news closely, or follow Trump-controlled news organs, and who have instead judged his presidency by the direct experience of peace and prosperity. Trump has done one very big thing very well: He rebranded the economic expansion he inherited as his own creation, like the licensing deals he makes to splash the Trump name over hotels and resorts other people built. Trump’s handling of the coronavirus turns his greatest strength into perhaps his greatest liability.
A somewhat less obvious factor is that Trump’s own mismanagement has demonstrably contributed to these disasters. The entire crisis has grown out of Trump’s constitutional aversion to long-term planning. In his autobiography, Trump boasted that he does not even plan his days, but simply reacts to events as they happen. That process is now dominated by cable news, and especially the stock market, which is Trump’s narrow and highly distorted prism for understanding the entire economy. He dissolved the skilled team of pandemic experts he inherited from Obama on the overt calculation that it wasn’t a priority. “Who would have thought … we’d be having this subject?” he mused.
At some point Trump may retreat to the defense that the coronavirus is an external disaster for which he can’t be blamed. But a series of leaks have documented his direct responsibility.
In January, the Washington Post reports, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar “was having trouble focusing Trump’s full attention on his coronavirus briefing … Why did you push me to insert myself into a controversial political issue? Trump demanded.” Another Post story notes that, while health officials warned not to say the virus had been “contained,” people like Lawrence Kudlow insisted on saying this anyway.
Politico’s reporting implicates Trump’s aides, who apparently shared the broad right-wing belief that the virus was overblown, in trying to keep the issue off the president’s agenda. “It always ladders to the top,” a person involved in the administration’s response says, “Trump’s created an atmosphere where the judgment of his staff is that he shouldn’t need to know these things.”
“Trump is simply not on the same wavelength as the rest of his team, but they said there isn’t much they can do to change his public tone,” reports NBC. “Trump has been advised by some close to him to let public health officials, rather than the politicians, take a more forward-facing role, according to a person familiar with the conversation. But a person close to the White House said Trump thinks it helps him politically to keep doing what he has been doing.”
White House health experts wanted to advise old and vulnerable people to avoid commercial flights, but were overruled by Trump, who feared the impact on the economy. Trump even resisted the mild and extremely obvious advice that old people should avoid booking cruises, for fear of the impact to the cruise industry, before eventually relenting. Even sycophantic sources like the Federalist are begging Trump to keep his mouth shut.
But Trump is incapable of such patience. He keeps repeating that the coronavirus will blow over without much hassle. He believes the conspiracy theories that it’s a hoax designed to bring him down, and he also believes any messaging problem he has can be solved by more messaging from Trump.
Trump seemed totally oblivious to the danger of hardening his public image as the national-level equivalent of the mayor in Jaws, blithely ignoring reports of a gigantic shark because he didn’t want to hurt the tourism season.
Enough of the debacle has played out in public to supply Democrats with a campaign’s worth of damning video clips. Trump appeared in public insisting that the virus was “contained,” and that the number of cases “within a couple of days, is going to be down to close to zero.” Trump and his surrogates kept advising people to buy stocks after every dip. The strategy made no sense except as a desperation gambit to prop up the stock market on an hour-to-hour basis with dumb money from Trump’s marks.
For all the apparent durability of Trump’s personality cult, it is worth recalling that George W. Bush was once a figure of nearly equal stature on the right. He was the swaggering, flight-suit-wearing alpha male who had conquered Afghanistan and Iraq. The conservative media slathered over him in almost erotic terms. When things went south for Bush, after his failed attempt to privatize Social Security was followed by Hurricane Katrina and the unraveling of the Iraq occupation, they went south very fast.
It is possible that the public-health and economic catastrophes that loom so large at the moment will be gone by autumn. It is even possible that they will remain and Trump will somehow survive anyway. (After all, the mayor in Jaws had somehow retained his position in Jaws 2. And he was still minimizing shark risks!)
But it seems more likely that Trump has finally made his unfitness for office so blatant that even his own supporters will notice. The American economy, its health infrastructure, and perhaps more are plunging into foreseeable crisis. And every step Trump has taken along the way seems almost calculated to expose him to maximal blame. Trump is now quite likely to lose his reelection, and we will look back at the last few weeks as the time when he sealed his own fate.

Coronavirus Is Imploding Global Financial Markets

Stocks plunged worldwide on Monday. Photo: Arne Dedert/picture alliance via Getty Images
Less than two weeks ago, the 10-year U.S. Treasury bond yield hit a record low of 1.31 percent. I wrote Sunday about why I was alarmed that the yield had fallen well below that, dropping below 0.7 percent and portending significant and protracted weakness in the U.S. economy. Well, it’s gotten worse: In trading early Monday morning, the 10-year yield fell below 0.4 percent.
Bond yields aren’t alone: All sorts of financial-market indicators are moving swiftly and soundly in a bad direction. Asia-Pacific markets fell sharply on Monday — the Japanese Nikkei exchange fell more than 5 percent, and Australian stocks were down more than 7 percent — and the Dow Jones Industrial Average opened down more than 1,800 points once Monday morning reached New York. Europe is a mess, too, with most major indexes around 6 percent, and more in Italy, which is hit hardest by the outbreak. The story across all these markets is the same: The novel coronavirus is a big deal, and it’s going to be very bad for the global economy.
A new wrinkle on Sunday was a stunning 26 percent drop in oil prices. Oil had already been under pressure as the coronavirus crisis suppressed demand, but this particular price drop was driven by a Saudi announcement that the country will slash the price of the oil it sells and ramp up production. Last week, the “OPEC+” group of oil-producing countries, which includes traditional OPEC members, like Saudi Arabia and Iran, plus Russia, had tried and failed to reach an agreement on a plan to cut oil production in response to the oil-demand slump. Russia resisted the production cut, and now the Saudis — who can produce oil more cheaply than any other country in the world — are trying to squeeze the Russians into agreeing to production cuts by driving down the price. Whether this will ultimately work to prop up oil prices is unclear, and in the meantime the result has been oil prices falling below $30 a barrel.
Several news organizations have been running a quote from Vital Knowledge founder Adam Crisafulli, who said Sunday that the oil-price crash “has become a bigger problem for markets than the coronavirus,” but this claim does not make a lot of sense to me. First of all, the oil-price crash is the coronavirus: It is a knock-on effect from the sharp drop in consumer demand for oil due to virus-related disruptions. Second, from a U.S. perspective, the effect of cratering oil prices is decidedly mixed: It’s bad for firms in the oil industry and for regions where oil extraction is a major industry (Exxon was down 14 percent just after the open Monday), but it’s good for businesses and consumers that rely on petroleum products, which will get cheaper.
“Oil-price declines have mixed effects, and more or less wash out in aggregate,” said Ernie Tedeschi, a macroeconomist at the investment-research firm Evercore ISI, in reference to the U.S. economy. “The oil-price volatility may be a net negative for financial markets right now as it’s feeding into risk-off/uncertainty. But even there, it’s catalyzing the virus effect that’s already present.”
Investors are pricing in more reaction from the Federal Reserve: Bond futures indicate that investors expect the central bank will cut short-term interest rates by at least 0.75 percentage points at a regularly scheduled meeting later this month, after the Fed already did an unscheduled cut of 0.5 percent last week. But, as I have written, interest rates can only do so much to foster economic activity in a crisis where disease risk is suppressing both supply and demand. The Fed’s last cut did not impress the stock market that much. The primary driver of coronavirus-related economic concerns remains the trajectory of the epidemic itself, and measures to mitigate the spread of the virus remain policy-makers’ best hope to contain the economic damage.