Barely a week after promising at least another $40 billion in subsidies to US weapons manufacturers for the war in Ukraine, and mere days after grotesquely demanding that surplus Covid aid money be used by cities to hire more armed cops, Joe Biden shuffled off to Buffalo to decry hate and violence in his boilerplate response to the latest domestic mass shooting.
The corporate media dutifully are not calling this out as rank hypocrisy, but instead are once again portraying the Commander in Chief as the Consoler in Chief. What they're really trying to accomplish in the coverage and narrative of the weekend's upstate New York grocery store massacre is that the strict line of demarcation between the acceptable, state-sanctioned violence waged only out of love, safety and democracy, and the unacceptable freelance variety perpetrated out of racism, hate and evil must be maintained at all costs. War, of course, is not deemed to be a hate crime. That its global victims are disproportionately black and brown is not deemed to be racist.
Joe Biden and the Democrats once again are mouthing their feeble, meaningless entreaties for "modest" and "common-sense" gun law reform. They ignore the obvious culprits: the gun manufacturers and arms dealers themselves, and especially the private equity firms and "holding companies" which own them and finance them and profit from both the state-sanctioned and freelance violence which they enable.
In his stale litany of platitudes, Biden certainly does not include the armed forces and the weapons industry as part of the white supremacist establishment which has ruled this nation since its inception. It's only when the movement goes rogue and freelance that the real supremacists with the real power get all upset, or at least pretend to.
He also won't pay much if any lip service to the enforced control and impoverishment of most US citizens by the American oligarchy and its enablers in the professional-managerial class comprising the top 10 percent of income earners. Not for nothing did impoverished Buffalo elect its first socialist mayor in a Democratic primary last year, only for her victory to then be thwarted by an influx of Republican money and a write-in campaign to fix the runoff for her centrist Democratic challenger.
Biden certainly will not call for a punitive tax on the obscene profits of the weapons manufacturers that are promoting and enabling both state-sanctioned violence and the renegade variety. To the contrary: under the fig leaf of "humanitarian aid" to places like Ukraine, the weapons industry is one of the biggest recipients of government welfare. Wall Street would have a hissy fit if war and local police states were taxable, as would the investors that finance and control both our establishment political parties.
Both the Buffalo shooter and the young man who committed the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre used Bushmaster AR-15 assault rifles. This past February, the Sandy Hook parents finally reached a $73 million settlement with Remington, which under the laws of corporate bankruptcy was a heavily insured holding company in the process of selling itself and changing its name, so that shadow owners and investors in assault weapons can continue raking in the profits and whitewashing their reputations under the musical chairs business model. This reality makes the Sandy Hook victory both pyrrhic and premature, despite what plaintiffs' lawyers crowed at the time. From CNN's report:
The families have also “obtained and can make public thousands of pages of internal company documents that prove Remington’s wrongdoing and carry important lessons for helping to prevent future mass shootings,” the plaintiffs’ attorneys said in a news release.
“We established what was clearly true … the immunity protecting the gun industry is not bulletproof,” plaintiffs’ attorney Josh Koskoff said in a news conference in Trumbull, Connecticut. “We hope they realize they have skin in the game, instead of blaming literally everybody else.”
The Buffalo gunman's manifesto, pointing to the racist "great replacement theory" as the impetus for his crime spree, rightly puts the onus on various elected GOP nut-jobs and Fox News for spreading the paranoid propaganda.
However, this concentration on white supremacist hate speech again lets Wall Street off the hook.
The very name of "Freedom Group" - under which the Bushmaster assault rifle and other models were owned and manufactured until the Sandy Hook atrocity - points to the essential right-wing extremism of its corporate owners and investors.
Freedom Group was simply the name of a subsidiary of the Cerberus Capital Management private equity group. Cerberus, you might remember, is the vicious three-headed dog of Greek mythology that guards the gates of hell. So you probably can at least give these corporate psychopaths a few extra points for being so self-aware.
As tbe New York Times reported in a 2011 investigative article, rumor among paranoid right-wing circles at the time had it that Democratic megadonor George Soros was buying up big, but financially struggling, assault rifle makers for the express purpose of putting them out of business permanently. No such luck:
If Democrats and pundits really wanted to put the onus on the Republican party side of the Duopoly for the rise in white supremacist gun violence, they might point out that former Vice President Dan Quayle sat on the board of Cerberus in Freedom Group era, and is still in charge of "global investments." The Board has also included a couple of retired generals, who during its ownership of Bushmaster facilitated the sale of assault rifles to the US military as well as to the burgeoning demographic including all the many varieties of disturbed or propagandized civilians of the United States.
Cerberus changed the name of Freedom Group to the more innocuous "Remington Outdoor Company" after a great public outcry, post- Sandy Hook shootings. Ironically, the father of the Cerberus CEO himself had lived in a gated community in Sandy Hook.
The younger Feinberg, with a net worth of $1.5 billion, was named by Donald Trump to chair the President's Intelligence Advisory Board. Cerberus then owned DynCorp, a major contractor with the American security state, which then got folded into another private security contractor, called Amentum. Under Trump Freiberg was tasked with "vetting" people employed by the CIA, despite having no "intelligence" experience himself.
Meanwhile, the latest listed owner of the Bushmaster assault rifle company is Crotalus Holdings in Sun City, Nevada, whose rather murky official trademark is "Proud To Stand With America's Finest."
It still has the same old friendly cartoon logo, an over-fanged blood-red snake with a gun.
From the company website:
And just in case, despite the outlandish trademarking of the word "Proven," you still thought that the Bushmaster and all its assorted ammo and gear are violent things being recklessly marketed to one and all, they are deadly serious about putting the missionary back in the Mission. The quote on the bottom of the web page selling assault rifles should prove™ it to everyone's satisfaction:
Bushmaster Firearms™Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.