"When I was elected," Joe Biden schmoozed to the nation on Monday in an ass-covering attempt to be seen as addressing the variant of the Covid virus being dubbed Omicron, "I said I would always be honest with you. So today, I want to take a few moments to talk about the new Covid variant first identified last week in Southern Africa. It's called the Omnicron."
Since Omni is the Latin root word for all, and Cron is derived from Chron, or time, this wasn't just an ordinary Joe-gaffe. Biden was simply and honestly signaling that he would continue the grand old presidential tradition of All Bullshit, All the Time. And boy oh boy, did he ever sling it with abandon from behind his Christmas joy-festooned podium on Monday morning.
Let the merry manure-raking begin:
"It is –- and to their credit, the scientific community in South Africa quickly notified the world of the emergence of this new variant. This kind of transparency is to be encouraged and applauded because it increases our ability to respond quickly to any new threats. And that’s exactly what we did."
In the grand old tradition of punishing whistleblowers who embarrass the One Exceptional Nation, while at the same time feigning admiration for whistleblowers who go through proper channels, Biden quickly punished South Africa and adjacent nations on the continent by initiating a travel ban. Said travel ban being delayed by several days and not applying to American citizens vacationing or doing business in southern Africa, both the punitive factor and the bullshit factor are immediately apparent to everybody. But since the objective of the travel ban is pure political theatre - a face-saving gesture to appease the xenophobic right wing of the Duopoly - Biden is largely getting a pass on his stunt in the corporate media. He certainly did not see fit to mention that South Africa is ahead of the vaunted USA in studying the genomic sequencing of the Covid virus - despite the fact that its own population is not as vaccinated against the virus as it should be. This is largely because US-based pharmaceutical giants don't want to give up their patents and profits and distribute their product freely to the rest of the world.
And Biden also neglected to mention that the world's 20 richest countries have received 90 percent of the vaccines, and that six times more booster shots are being given every day in rich countries than first doses are being administered in poor countries. The World Health Organization has aptly called this blatant inequality a scandal, and its leader has called for a moratorium on boosters until the rest of the world has adeguate supplies of the vaccine.
As reported in The New Republic, the Covid-19 vaccines developed using at least $18 billion of public funds are expected to bring in $100 billion to private companies this year. "And the United States has been jealously guarding the doses it purchased to the point where 15 million vaccine doses were simply thrown out over the last six months."
Thus the necessity for Biden to openly and honestly wallow in his own omnicrap at Monday's presser:
"It (the feeble travel ban gesture) gives us time. It gives us time to take more (propagandistic) actions, to move quicker (to get our spokespeople on cable and calm the investor class and the Market), to make sure people understand (to gaslight and blame powerless people) you have to get your vaccine. You have to get the shot. You have to get the — get the booster if you’re -–
"And we’ll fight this variant with scientific and knowledgeable actions, and speed — not chaos and confusion. And we have more tools today to fight the variant than we’ve ever had before — from vaccines to boosters, to vaccines for children five years and older, and much more."
We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets and in the hills. But it will be a cold day in hell before we ever fight to get you the guaranteed single payer health care system you deserve as a basic human right. That is not a tool that the oligarchs who run the place would ever stock in their palatial workshops.
Biden made it abundantly clear on Monday that our neoliberal capitalistic form of government will continue to make the whole world safe from the threat of democracy:
"We do not yet believe that additional measures will be needed. But so that we are prepared if needed, my team is already working with officials at Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson to develop contingency plans for vaccines or boosters if needed.
We’re throwing everything we can at this virus, tracking it from every angle. And that’s what we have to keep doing. That’s how we reopened our country. That’s how we reopened our businesses. That’s how we reopened our schools. That’s how, even with a pandemic, we’ve generated a record job creation, a record economic growth in this country."
Translation: it will be up to the pharmaceutical billionaire oligarchs making their windfall profits to dictate policy in the interests of themselves and their stockholders. Our elected congress-critters, so cheaply bribed into inaction, are not in the loop. Chemical panaceas that may or may not work will substitute for even short-lived lockdowns, and school and business closings. People don't need more stimulus checks, eviction moratoriums, hospital beds and social services. The oligarchy needs them to keep working at all those newly created jobs and to contribute relentlessly to the record growth of capitalism and profits for the few. Omnicron does not translate into Omnicare.
And forget about the rest of the world. Biden is Trumpily America-First to his very core. He wears his invisible MAGA hat proudly on his pate.
It was no surprise that Biden received no pushback on his priorities from the assembled corporate press corps in the room. A typical question from one reporter:
"Mr. President, is this the new normal that Americans should expect: anticipating future potential variants? Should we expect intermittent travel restrictions and potential drops in the stock market going forward? Do you have any words of reassurance that this won’t become the new normal?"
In other words, the priorities are well-off people getting on airplanes and protecting their stock market investments - not whether ordinary people will needlessly die because they cannot afford to see a doctor when they get sick. Can Biden, for the millionth time, please reassure the nervous rich that nothing in their lives will fundamentally change just because of this pesky old virus? Why, of course he can!
THE PRESIDENT: Well, to answer your first question first, the answer is: I expect this not to be the new normal. I expect the new normal to be everyone ends up getting vaccinated and the booster shot so we reduce the number of people who aren’t protected to such a low degree that we’re not seeing the spread of these viruses.
The Same Old Abnormal will go on. The boosters themselves will be free, but universal health care will never be free, because we insist that everyday people should want nothing more than the freedom to shop and pay for whatever basic human right can be commodified for the enrichment of someone else.
There will be no more lockdowns, because if people who have been shut out of the health care marketplace for years because of lack of money would only get their shots and their boosters, our convoluted logic goes, then there wouldn't be a need for lockdowns and stimulus checks. They must be the entrepreneurs of their own lives. Pandemic or no pandemic, there is no way that neoliberal capitalism is ever again going to pay people to stay home for their own protection. The magic shot is a fair shot at a good shake. It gives your arm the strength to climb up all those Ladders of Opportunity we have so thoughtfully erected for you. And if you were really the responsible entrepreneur of your own life that you should be, you'd even get extra booster shots in both arms to show your economic patriotism!
"We believe the vaccines will continue to provide a degree of protection against severe disease," Biden soothed in the meantime.
Nobody in the press corps asked him if there is a cure for the severe disease known as capitalism. Maybe the refreshing, increasing number of labor strikes in this country and around the world will give the oligarchy the shot in its bloated flabby arm it so sorely needs in order to stop the spread of its gross disease by-products to the rest of us. We need a little Christmas immunity from them, right this very minute!