We will spend hundreds of millions without hesitation to send weapons to Israel, military advisers to the Ukraine, non-lethal aid to the completely compromised Syrian resistance (a creature of the Saudis from day one). We will waste close to half a trillion dollars on the F-35 - a turkey that only seems to win in the cost-overrun and failure categories. We will hand out surplus military vehicles and communications intelligence equipment like party favors to our increasingly militarized internal security forces. We spy on everyone; vacuum up every phone call. Supposedly we do this in the name of "security", but it is really in the name of domination.
OTOH, we let Katrina drown; and we will let Detroit rot. We will let our infrastructure crumble. We will let veterans starve and beg for medical care. We will deny Obamacare to half the country out of pure spite. We will cut already threadbare SNAP programs. This civic neglect is malign. It is designed to induce compliance to the corporate agenda.
We have been immersed in an anti-democracy propaganda bubble for over a generation now. It's gotten to the point where people do not even understand that you cannot have a democracy when every interaction between citizen and increasingly-fused government/corporations is reduced to domination by the powerful and compliance by the powerless. You cannot have a democracy or honest diplomacy when no divergence from the "party line" is allowed, when those who diverge are verbally savaged as traitors, subversives, and perverts (or when those epithets are laughably counter-factual, as wimps, bleeding hearts, purists, sanctimonious people, hippies, socialists, etc.).
We have long since passed beyond the political territory remarked on by Matt Miller:
No fact is of any value except insofar as it is useful to someone's agenda.and by Daniel Moynihan:
You are entitled to your own set of opinions. You are not entitled to your own set of facts.These days, the corporatists/theocrats use facts as target practice. There is screaming denial of proven science, historical fact, legal precedent, cultural norm. Of course, even the fact that we no longer pay attention to the facts is denied.
Come below the orange cudgel for a rant about D.C.'s world of Domination and Compliance (D/C).
The path to hell can also be paved with bad intentions
After the Cold War ended, when everyone else hoped for a peaceful world and a "peace dividend", the US MIC came up with Full Spectrum Dominance as a way to preserve the bloated Cold War defense budget in the absence of credible enemies.
After 911, our internal security (i.e., police) forces started training policemen to demand "compliance", i.e., complete submission, even in the face of being beaten. This policy has been named comply or die by minority communities
After 2008, our politics has been paralyzed by the relentless demand for compliance to extremist GOP positions, extremist SCOTUS decisions, extremist religious demands, and extemist ammosexual demands. This extremism is well-funded by a literal handful of extermist billionaires, green-lighted by the execrable SCOTUS Citizens United decision. It is defended by the complete compliance to the corporate agenda by the corporate media (sort of a tautology, but still part of the picture).
VIOLENCE AND COERCION
Violence provoking "open carry" and "stand your ground" laws, franchised by ALEC, get a free pass from the corporatocracy because they extend the right to dominate to every two-bit nutbag with a gun and a chip on his shoulder. The inconvenient fact that murder rates go up in states with those laws is simply disappeared. OTOH, the full force of the internal security state was deployed to smash the peaceful, non-extremist, Occupy Movement. Occupy was faced with infiltration, surveillance, pre-emptive arrest, stalking, provocation, kettling, and outright assault. The gun-waving, sedition-spouting Tea Baggers were never touched. The message is clear. Comply with us, or else.
Recently, the whole dominance/compliance metaphor has gripped American diplomacy. We don't negotiate or communicate anymore; we demand compliance. We send the fleet to the South China Sea to "demonstrate" (i.e., saber-rattle) against the Chinese. We demand that the Russians comply with our version of events. We unilaterally issue disproportionate financial sanctions at the slightest perceived provocation - against Iran, against Russia, against Venezuela. Reasons? We don't need no steenkin' reasons. We demand first that Mubarak be overthrown, then we demand that his democratically-elected successor be overthrown. We instigate a coup against Chavez, and after his death, we restart the propaganda support for the oligarchic resistance to popular government - all the while pretending that the rioting/hoarding rich are the oppressed in Venezuela.
Just as Israeli security professionals were ready to teach America how to institute an intrusive internal security regime after 911, the Likud Party has spent decades modeling how to diplomatically dominate a designated victim while pretending to negotiate with them. We have learned our lessons well.
On the corporate side of the dominance problem, we have unending demands for austerity as the solution to the stagnant economy when corporations are sitting on $2 Trillion of cash. We continue to offshore jobs while the SCOTUS destroys unions one rotten, radical ruling at a time. Corporations are now brazenly doing "inversions" to avoid the miniscule percentage of taxes that they still pay. This is all to send the message to the 99% that corporations and billionaires are the dominators and ordinary working people must submit.
It used to be that, in our democracy, the people had some voice in government policy; and, through that voice, they were able to reign in the most egregious of corporate offenses. But, that is ancient history. Corporations (especially Wall St., energy companies, and the MIC) dictate government policy. Their lobbyists literally write the laws. Congress is a corrupt bunch of bagmen, who deserve their rating below used-car salesmen.
The key areas of the economy are completely monopolized. Telecommunications is unregulated and dominated by monopolists. Mega-mergers are fine. Soon, the FCC's foot-dragging on regulation will destroy Net Neutrality - the one place where some semblance of the voice of the 99% can still be heard. There shall be a two-tier internet, one tier for dominators, one for compliers.
Finance is run by the too-big-to-fail/jail bankster criminals who never have to pay for their crimes. Credit card rates have remained at loan-shark levels for thirty years, feeding a monster that devours the middle class. Meanwhile, payday loan shops are literal loan sharks "servicing" the poor.
Most people depend on credit, which makes denial of a credit card akin to excommunication during the Middle Ages - you are denied almost all services, an outcast in your own land. If you do have a credit card and a computer, your every mouse click and your every purchase is monitored, stored, collated, and used to manipulate you. In a country without regulation or progressive taxation, money is the most pervasive form of domination.
Lurking in the background of our financialized, Wall St. dominated economy is the secretive TPP - the corporate coup d'etat which places the right of corporations to do as they please beyond any nation's law. All they have to say is that "this law interferes with our potential to make even more money", and they can rape the environment, screw workers, and bankrupt nations. Of course this coup is being negotiated in secret and is expected to be rammed through Congress under a "fast track" rule allowing no debate, no discussion, just "yes" (comply) or "no" (no chance of that short of a general strike).
SABOTAGE, EXTORTION, AND MALIGN NEGLECT
Politically, the GOP refuse to do anything that doesn't comply with their government-wrecking agenda. They stall critical appointments just to spite Obama, refuse to fund ongoing government operations to extort concessions, spend their time (and our tax dollars) running ideological witch-hunts (Benghazi) and over fifty useless attempts to repeal Obamacare. If the corporate media had a shred of integrity, this blatant, one-sided pattern of obstruction and sabotage (not to say sedition) would be front page news. That it is not tells you where the media stands.
UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL DOMINATION
Real Christian religion has been hijacked by literal "Dominionists", who are as murder-minded as any Taliban or ISIS. And, it is the extremes of religion that are supported by the SCOTUS. So, religion, once a freedom to be cherished in America, has become another arena of domination. The first victims? Women, who are literally told to "submit". Fundamentalist religion has its claws deeply into the Air Force, and the government ignores it. Local sheriffs and judges are constantly pushing religion in the jails, but only their kind of religion. The creepy "Family" and the secretive Council For National Policy are major extremist kingmakers in the GOP.
As I wrote this, I was increasingly appalled by how many of our problems fall into the category of D/C. Comply or die. This is the voice of oligarchy and class warfare from above. It has nothing to do with democracy or diplomacy. American citizens are more dominated than ever. So dominated they barely register that Frank Zappa's prophecy coming true:
The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it's profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.I don't know what the answer to domination is, but we better find it soon. I do know that we have to completely discredit the narrative that the market is omniscient, omnipotent, and fair. It is that neoliberal Big Lie - that an unregulated market is an unalloyed good - which finances all the domination. Behind every excuse that "the market demands" stands a crook and/or a thug with his own greedy, sadistic agenda. When the TPP is rammed through, domination will have destroyed our democracy, once and for all.
In closing, let me recommend Is ‘shareholder value’ bad for business?, which blows gaping holes in the dominator propaganda that unregulated corporations have been a good thing.
If you stayed until the end, thank you.