I was interested to read the new book review of the Shadow Elite, and how this plays out in our daily political body. Janine Wedel's Shadow Elite, a is a study that explains why it's been so hard to bring about any real change in America.
Basically, the premise is that we are being played by all sides, and once again reminds me of one of the best books written this century: Naomi Klein's...The Shock Doctrine.
What I find interesting in what Klein, Wedel and Tabbi have in common. They are all pointing to the exact same premises - more on my comparisons below the fold.....
According to Wedel, in her new book: Shadow Elite: How the World's New Power Brokers Undermine Democracy, Government, and the Free Market. the real problem is much deeper and more disturbing: a "transnational" class of elites
that has rigged the system so they can "institutionalize their subversion of it.
" A member of this shadow elite is Robert Rubin, on full display right now in Newsweek, penning an essay on "Getting the Economy Back on Track" while failing to explain or acknowledge -- let alone apologize for -- the key role he played in getting the economy off track in the first place. "Rubin's resume is the personification of the flex net in action, as he seamlessly moved between political positions (Director of the National Economic Council, Treasury Secretary), private positions (as a board member and senior counselor at Citigroup, he received over $126 million in cash and stock), advisory positions (including serving on the President's Advisory Committee for Trade Negotiations and the SEC's Market Oversight and Financial Services Advisory Committee), and stints on a World Bank task force on Growth and Development, work as an unofficial economic advisor to President Obama, and his current position as co-chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations.
As she writes in Shadow Elite, a new "transnational" class of elites has taken over our country: "The mover and shaker who serves at one and the same time as business consultant, think-tanker, TV pundit, and government adviser glides in and around the organizations that enlist his services. It is not just his time that is divided. His loyalties, too, are often flexible."
Wedel dubs this new class of influencers "flexians," and the closed system they've created for themselves the "flex net." She attributes their power, among other factors, to the "embrace of 'truthiness,' which allows people to play with how they present themselves to the world, regardless of fact or track record. "The new breed of players," writes Wedel, "who operate at the nexus of official and private power, cannot only co-opt public policy agendas, crafting policy with their own purposes in mind. They test the time-honored principles of both the canons of accountability of the modern state and the codes of competition of the free market. In so doing, they reorganize relations between bureaucracy and business to their advantage, and challenge the walls erected to separate them. As these walls erode, players are better able to use official power and resources without public oversight."
And the thesis of this diary goes straight to the point: We no longer have any if little 'public oversight' so that the 'flexians' can move between the public and private sector, without being questioned, and perhaps if we take a look at the fact that when you put this all together and really take a very clear and hard look at it: "Rubin's resume is the personification of the flex net in action, as he seamlessly moved between political positions (Director of the National Economic Council, Treasury Secretary), private positions (as a board member and senior counselor at Citigroup, he received over $126 million in cash and stock), advisory positions (including serving on the President's Advisory Committee for Trade Negotiations and the SEC's Market Oversight and Financial Services Advisory Committee), and stints on a World Bank task force on Growth and Development, work as an unofficial economic advisor to President Obama, and his current position as co-chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations. we can begin to see, very clearly that the very idea of any 'American public interests are being served what-so-ever is a delusion at best.
But the point is how do we stop these flexians? So how can we wrest control of our government from the Shadow Elite?
As Wedel says, the first step is to understand.... that merely exposing certain activities is not enough, (and lets face it..it is not working for us)...so the answer is to framing them is essential. We must find a way to reframe how we look at and think about and respond to what is being done in our name and with our resources.
How can we do this? Is it possible at all? What steps could we take to help us 'reframe' the flexians?
Naomi Klein is saying much the same:
Invest in "Disaster Capitalism." This new investment sector is the core of the emerging "new economy" that generates profits by feeding off other peoples' misery: Wars, terror attacks, natural catastrophes, poverty, trade sanctions, market crashes and all kinds of economic, financial and political disasters.
In this Orwellian future, everything must be seen with new eyes: "Disasters" are "IPOs," opportunities to buy into a new "company." Corporations like Lockheed-Martin are the real "emerging nations" of the world, not some dinky countries. They generate huge profits, grow earnings. And seen through the new rose-colored glasses of "Disaster Capitalism" they are hot investment opportunities.
To more fully grasp this new economy, you must read what may be the most important book on economics in why do so many nations have economic policies more laissezfaire and social programs less generous than their citizens prefer? In her explosive counter history of global capitalism, against the glib accounts offered by mainstream economists and celebrity journalists, Naomi Klein argues that the answer lies in a simple two-step strategy, honed over three decades by an international cabal of freemarket fundamentalists: First, exploit crises—whether due to economics, politics, or natural disasters––to advance an agenda that would never survive the democratic process during ordinary times. Next, create a "corporatocracy," in which multinationals and political leaders align to promote their interests at the public’s expense.
This is the exact same definition of what Wedel is saying about the 'flexians' that Klein points out: that they are creating a "corporatocracy," in which multinationals and political leaders align to promote their interests at the public’s expense.
That 'they' have no loyalty to our nation, and the people that trusted their leadership has become a vacant hollow ghost town that has been abandoned, yet we as Americans are still living in this ghost town actually believe that if we are still 'writing and calling our Congressmen' what we are still not understanding is that not only is the 'fix in' but that we are indeed being played from all sides, and still as Robert Rubin who ran off with $ 126 million in bonuses from CitiBank (with plenty of TARP funds) is till working as an unofficial economic adviser to President Obama, and still has his current position as co-chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations only proves the point that Wedel makes so wonderfully.
'Flexians' it is so 21st Century in it's description. They can be all things to all people, while absconding with millions of dollars, and still at the same time, pretending all the while that they give a flying fuck in a rolling donut about Americans that have suffered at the hands of the greatest financial heist and meltdown in the history of our nation. It is highly likely that our 'recovery' if there is one, will take at least the next 10 or more years, with no relief for those that have lost their homes, their jobs and untold amounts of 'equity' in their homes, their pensions/retirements and their hopes and dreams for simply wanting a life that would allow them to 'get by' and make ends meet. Many of us never expected to make these 'insane bonuses' that Wall Street is enjoying now, solely because we bailed them out, but what we did not expect was to be living in a 'Ghost Town' with the cold winds blowing through our hearts from the new 'flexians' that left us in the dust of their voracious cruelty towards the very nation and people that gave them the opportunity to be successful.
Finally Matt Tabbi in his own 'nitty gritty way' is saying the exact same point:
For what we’ve learned in the last few years as one scandal after another spilled onto the front pages is that the bubble economies of the last two decades were not merely monstrous Ponzi schemes that destroyed trillions in wealth while making a small handful of people rich. They were also a profound expression of the fundamentally criminal nature of our political system, in which state power/largess and the private pursuit of (mostly short-term) profit were brilliantly fused in a kind of ongoing theft scheme that sought to instant-cannibalize all the wealth America had stored up during its postwar glory, in the process keeping politicians in office and bankers in beach homes while continually moving the increasingly inevitable disaster to the future.
I mean, really — market observers were unaware of the number of subprime mortgages infecting the system? Are we to understand that nobody caught on when outstanding mortgage debt grew by $3.7 trillion between 2003 and 2005, nearly equaling the entire value of all American real estate in the year 1990? They didn’t notice when subprime mortgages went from 3% of all mortgage lending in 1997 to 20% of the market in 2003? They didn’t notice when the volume of Alt-A loans and home equity loans surged through the early part of last decade?
To me all of these people were equally guilty of making bad decisions to benefit themselves in the here and now at the expense of the whole in the future. When it comes to bubbles, It Takes a Village, and blaming the whole mess on the "socialist" aims of a pair of government agencies seems off base — particularly since the Randian protocapitalists running the banks benefited every bit as much from this socialism as actual homeowners, and perhaps even more, when one considers that homeowners get foreclosed upon, while bonuses are forever.
I remember with Teddy Kennedy, Robert and Jack, always used to say these words:
To whom much has been given, much is expected.
I wondered what happened to our nation, that forgot we were all under the same roof in this big country of ours....I wonder what happened to the 'responsibility' of our leaders and even our Companies that once employed millions of the Middle Class forgot that dictum. There once was a sense of pride and duty and responsibility on the part of our leaders and businesses to 'give back to the nation that gave them so much'....it was called 'patriotism'....
I wonder most if we will ever find out way back as a nation and as a people.
When did it become...'To whom much has been given, take more and more and more, until for your fellow citizens there is nothing left and above all, ignore the 'collateral damage of millions of Americans' who, as a result of the Wall Street/Banking Heist and meltdown are living in the streets with no homes, food or hope?'
If you think that these 'flexians' bloodsuckers are going to stop, think against, hence the new strategy to go after the current 401K retirements systems and their ultimate plan, to destroy Social Security and Medicare.
At present I cannot think of a better 'example of a more disgusting 'Flexian' than Treasurer Timothy Geithner. He is now become the officially 'Crowned Price' of the Shadow Elite' at its worst. This past week all the 'lies and cover-up' concerning the back room 'secret' sweet heart deals he made with AIG and Goldman Sachs that amount to nothing less than 'Security Fraud' begging for a RICO investigation by the most blatant coward in the Obama Administration, Attorney General Eric Holder has become a yet another example of Eric Holder 'looking the other way' and instead giving lip service on how proud he is that his office has made great strides while going after Bernie Madoff, meanwhile ignoring the corruption right under his own nose that took place at the New York Federal Reserve, and the White House.
I've written many diaries with the same basic them, that Frank Rich spoke of in his own piece. The quote that I want to note is this one:
Americans must be told the full story of how Wall Street gamed and inflated the housing bubble, made out like bandits, and then left millions of households in ruin. Without that reckoning, there will be no public clamor for serious reform of a financial system that was as cunningly breached as airline security at the Amsterdam airport. And without reform, another massive attack on our economic security is guaranteed. Now that it can count on government bailouts, Wall Street has more incentive than ever to pump up its risks — secure that it can keep the bonanzas while we get stuck with the losses.
I've stated over and over than until our nation receives an honest Independent Investigation of what happened and who is responsible for this financial meltdown that left millions of households in ruin, our nation will never be the same. And indeed, we will only become again' unwilling accomplices in the next 'set of lootings' that will, without a doubt take place.
The criminals and their cabal on Wall Street in Washington are much worse now because this time they have destroyed the core of USA, or whatever is left of it. Even more pathetic, the people of this country mostly still do not really understand what has happened to themselves, their families, and the nation, even those who do are too timid or even organized to fight meaningfully against such treasons.
It is not a left, right, or middle crisis, it is an American crisis.
The 'Shadow Elite' and 'Flexians' are those same Leaders at the top of our government, and our very Congress - that we are even 'still sending' them to money at places like Act Blue, and not demanding a Independent Investigation of the Financial Meltdown in return for our support... (including putting extreme pressure on the cowardly Attorney General Eric Holder,) just proves my point.
There is only one 'common denominator' that all of us as Americans have forgotten: That at this point in time, we as Americans should understand this:
It is 'the Shadow Elite' Versus The People of this Nation. It cannot be any simpler than this 'line in the sand' that has now become as clear as noses on our faces. The Shadow Elite has proven time and time again, that they hold absolutely no loyalty towards uplifting the Middle Class, helping out Main Street with the escalating rampart foreclosures, or helping to rebuild a national industrial/manufacturing base.
There is no longer any trust, credibility or accountability for this group of Oligarchy that is planning the next set of looting, and the very last thing that they care about, is what kind of pain, misery, death and destruction their uncontrolled voracious greed and criminal activities will affect their very own country.
As Rich has pointed out, and as I've tried to so many times on Kos: Until there is a day of reckoning as to 'how our nation's economy was completely destroyed' by a handful of thugs and Robber Barons, then we will remain 'nothing more than their prey' and they will destroy what is left of our country.
Bank on it.