Fresh from his World War III-mongering junket to Asia, highlighted by his provocative vow to militarily defend Taiwan in the event of aggression by China, Joe Biden again wondered aloud why there is so damned much gun violence back in The Homeland.
He wondered anew why this violent nation of ours can't stand up to the "gun lobby -" as if it hasn't rewarded and enabled gun manufacturers and their Wall Street investors more and more with every passing year. He and other politicians in both our ruling class parties performed another round of quickly evaporating maudlin tears, this one for the Texas children killed in Tuesday's mass shooting. One of the two right wings continues to mindlessly champion the rights of the "responsible" gun owners, and the other one addresses the pathology of 331 million US citizens owning almost half a billion firearms among them as a malady needing only a few "common-sense" gauze pads to make the whole boo-boo disappear. As if properly registering one's weapon and proving one's mental health bona fides were themselves more than conscience-salving band-aids for the root cause of increasing shootings: unfettered predatory capitalistic rule by a relative handful of oligarchs, leading to depression, anxiety, poverty, no health care in a pandemic, and violent acting-out on a record scale.
Biden recently kvetched in an "off the record" interview with New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman that he despairs of ever "uniting" this country. His agenda has nothing to do with uniting Democrats with Republicans, not least because most voters in the US don't belong to either elite party. Rather he aims to unite Americans around common propaganda, for the ultimate benefit of the security state and its plutocratic profiteers.
The late Marxist thinker Antonio Gramsci observed during the rise of fascism, prior to World War II, that hegemons can only maintain power through the repression and oppression of their people while simultaneously orchestrating people's tacit consent to be repressed and oppressed - whether through government propaganda, news organs, or other influence campaigns. The fact that Biden's own ill-conceived "Disinformation Board" was so deservedly short-lived is not that right-wing factions waged a "disinformation campaign" against it. It was because too many people across the spectrum were wise to the fact that they were being played, as in the ongoing elite suppression of our unsanctioned speech.
Biden and his fellow elites are upset that their domestic propaganda, their bellicosity, and their ham-fisted attempts at censorship ("unifying the country") of non-elite views are such failures. They are grasping at all manner of "outside" enemies to try and divert our attention away from their own pathologies. And in that process, they are endangering all of us.
The USA may have the military might, but as far as any follow-up Marshall Plan to preserve and enhance its global hegemony is concerned, things have gotten very topsy-turvy indeed. Rather than a Berlin airlift, it is that same post-war Europe, which America has treated as its vassal state for nearly 80 years, which is now flying baby formula to our shores. Biden was so busy globe-trotting and selling the next world war that he apparently hadn't known there even was a shortage, and that American infants have been in danger of starving en masse for at least the past six months.
It's also the height of irony that Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg simultaneously defended and blamed the oligopolistic system responsible for the domestic baby formula shortage, even as our neoliberal government was finally forced to intervene and aid the same oligopoly which it has deemed to be the most virtuous and common-sense source of life for our babies. Even more supremely ironic, perhaps, is that Buttigieg's late father was one of the world's premier Gramsci scholars who translated his prison writings into English for the enlightenment of any American who cares to read them, and be inspired by them.
So when Biden and his fellow politicians claim to care so deeply about "our beautiful children," do not believe them for one instant. All they care about is getting re-elected. And even if they lose, they win.... through their corporate-funded think tanks, their closed-door fundraisers, their nepotistic corruption, their TV gigs, their forever-wars.
As John Mearsheimer lays out in "The Tragedy of Great Power Politics" hegemons can only achieve and maintain their superpower global hegemonic status if they are already regional hegemons. And the iron grip that the US has had on Central and South America and the Caribbean now appears to be finally loosening. Several of these nations are boycotting this year's Summit of the Americas, because current host Joe Biden is not inviting leftist countries Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba to participate.
ABC-Disney, one of the very few state- and corporate-sanctioned sources of information and manufactured consent still remaining, is very worried that a more unified and recalcitrant southern hemisphere might put a damper on the global hegemony and wars that it so handsomely profits from:
A hollow summit would undermine efforts by the U.S. to reassert its influence in Latin America when China is making inroads and concerns grow that democracy is backsliding in the region....
The uncertainty is a sign of chaotic planning for the summit, which is scheduled to take place in a little more than two weeks in Los Angeles. Normally, gatherings for heads of state are organized long in advance, with clear agendas and guest lists.
“There’s no excuse that they didn’t have enough time,” said Ryan Berg, a senior fellow in the Americas Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “This is our chance to set a regional agenda. It’s a great opportunity. And I’m afraid we’re not going to take it.”
And that is such a damned shame, just when Biden was thinking of easing the economic sanctions on starving Venezuelans and their babies by graciously allowing Chevron back into Venezuela to exploit its starving people and their babies. That is the same Chevron, remember, which bypassed the US judicial system and tried, convicted and imprisoned environmental lawyer Steven Donziger for the affront of having won a major pollution case against the oil giant when it committed fraud and pollution in Ecuador.
Biden and his bipartisan corporate cohort have brought a whole new meaning to Hannah Arendt's banality of evil. People the whole world over are noticing not only their systemic ingrained evil, but also their essential stupidity.
What with climate disasters, societal collapses and insane wars, that essential stupidity can be a cause for either optimism or pessimism. Either the stupidly powerful destroy themselves, or their stupidity is so powerful that it translates into longevity.
Unfortunately, when the powerfully stupid and the stupidly powerful talk about loving children, they're mainly talking abut their own offspring, and their offspring after them.