There is a playbook with a collection of tools and strategies conservatives use to erode democracy and strip mine the treasures, assets and strengths of the USA. They are almost always masked as changes aimed at serving democracy, the constitution, rights or capitalism. They are not separate. They are not coincidental.
Naomi Klein described a systemic approach to strip mine nations and weaken freedoms in her profoundly important book, Shock Doctrine. This article continues, in that tradition, to list ways that the the Right is exploiting and despoiling America for corporations that are not at all loyal to the US and that do not care about the people of the nation.
When you see one of these approaches being employed or if you are victim to one of them, you should be aware that they come from the same play book.
De-regulate-- To increase profits or power, eliminate regulations that protect people, workers, the environment. Gramm-Leach-Bliley, which repealed the affiliation restrictions of Glass-Steagall, was a case of de-regulation that wreaked trillions of dollars of economic suffering on the middle class. Every day there are thousands of lobbyists aiming at deregulating ecological, economic, worker and many other protections.
Regulate-- To decrease liability, specify rules and definitions so they can be used to evade responsibility or avoid unwanted regulations or to make certain products or services more profitable. Drug laws serve liquor companies and privatized prisons. Safety laws relieve corporations of the risk of litigation.
Privatize-- public assets and resources-- minerals, parks, oil fields, electronic media frequencies and bandwidths, public utilities, lands, water-- they are all part of the commons. Shrink them and weaken the power and strength of the land of the people. Privatize them and put them in the hand of corporations and the corporations will share the power they develop through acquisition of public resources. Enron was a case of privatization of energy resources and creation. But more and more water is being privatized. It may start with privatization of the management of the water, even if it is publicly owned.
Centralize- Centralization consolidates top down control, simplifies domination and decreases the influence of local communities and powers. This applies particularly to media, food, energy, banking.
Consolidate Executive Power-- Democrat or Republican, recent presidents have grabbed more and more power away from a prostrate, willing congress, worsening the imbalance between the three branches of government. It doesn't matter much whether there's a Democrat or Republican in the White House. Either way they grab more power and then serve corporate masters, paying minor deference through small social issue steps of progress if Democrats, but over all, making life easier for the corporations that provide primary funding for their ascent to power.
Enable Media Consolidation and Centralization-- There are only a handful of mainstream TV networks. They are ALL owned by megacorporations that do not serve the middle class, do not serve the interests of the vast majority of Americans. They serve transnational corporations. The more centralized the media becomes the fewer people there are too keep it honest, to feed fresh information and truth into it, the easier it is to keep secrets, to obscure truths and to sell outright lies. Every month more newspapers and radio stations die or merge or are acquired by giants, like Clear Channel.
Corrupt the election process-- flood it with money-- from the wealthy, from corporations. It used to be a crime for corporations to spend a nickel on elections. Count the vote in ways that don't allow for reliable recounts-- electronically. Require voter IDs that disenfranchise minorities and the poor. Over and over again, we're seeing the wealthiest candidates buying their way into primaries and elections.
Give Corporations Human Rights when corporations are given the same rights as people this dilutes the value of humanity and gives immortal, fabulously wealthy corporations obscene advantages
Legislate Against Protest Pass laws that erode the rights to protest. They've started passing laws that make it illegal to even photograph factory farms, or to protest against ecological wrongs. Already eco-protesters are treated as terrorists and incarcerated in the worst maximum security prisons. Will Potter of Greenisthenewred.com has been documenting these encroachments on the tools of freedom and liberty. The NDAA is a new threat to protesters.
Use Financial Resources to Further Corporate Interests via the military intelligence complex. Between the military, the CIA, FBI, NSA and other related agencies and the vast minions of privatized militias, consultants, mercenaries, etc., the USA spends well over a trillion dollars a year, probably closer to two trillion. The money goes to the biggest military industrial corporations to pay for weapons, supplies, etc. Much of the work of the military and the intelligence agencies goes towards opening new markets or securing access to new resources-- oil in the ground, territory to lay pipelines, media markets to sell content" This is a trillion dollar a year business that the mainstream media help to cloak in the delusion of patriotism and heroism. Juice it up by lying about threats and feeding the media info about or actually perpetrating false flag operations.
Gerrymander and Globalize" districts, industries and communities. Gerrymandering and globalization have more in common than you might think. When you look at a district that's 100 mils long and two miles wide, you see a clear attack on community. When you see cheap products from halfway around the world undercutting items manufactured or grown in nearby fields or factories, then globalization is at work, wreaking destruction, not just on industries and jobs but also on the fabric of the community.
Consumerize; Turn people and neighborhoods into consumers. This practice started with the missionaries and fifteenth and sixteenth century explorers luring indigenous tribal people, living happily working two or three hours a day, to work in fields or mines so they could buy trinkets and alcohol. It hasn't changed. People in the suburbs give up community, give up life quality to spend long hours either making money to buy things or watching mindless television that makes them want more things or lulls them into a soporific lethargy.