Governments and administrations come and go, but not so a new breed of power brokers, who always seem to pop up just where the action is. Wearing different hats, they press their agendas in venue after venue. According to award-winning public policy scholar and anthropologist Janine Wedel, these are the "shadow elite," the prime movers in a vexing new system of power and influence.
Wedel charts how these players make public decisions without public input--in realms from domestic to foreign and financial policy. Maneuvering through their many spheres of influence, they challenge both governments' rules of accountability and businesses' codes of competition, ultimately answering only to each other. From the Harvard economists who helped privatize post-Soviet Russia, and the neoconservatives who helped privatize American foreign policy for thirty years (culminating with the debacle that is Iraq), to many lesser-known global operators, these players ignore once-sacrosanct boundaries between state and private, bureaucracy and market. This new breed, unseen by most, is steadily gaining power.
We need to recognize these players and understand the new system--which we ignore at our peril.
One pointer to the new system is provided by a challenge to it that came in the form of a recent ruling by a federal court in California. The ruling was that the warrantless wiretapping from the post 9-11 era is illegal. This was not just a stinging rebuke to the Bush administration. It also slammed Obama and the current administration. http://pwtenny.newsvine.com/_news/2010/03/31/4097266-obama-administration-loses-bush-era-nsa-warrantless-wiretapping-lawsuit-it-was-illegal-federal-court-rules
The judge harshly
criticized the Obama Justice Department for invoking the so-called
state-secrets privilege, saying it would allow "unfettered executive-branch
discretion," with "obvious potential for governmental abuse and overreaching."
The Obama defense strategy came to light last year, and for many, it was a disturbing deja vu of the brass knuckles tactics of the Bush years. The Huffington Post's Dan Froomkin quoted this from Louis Fisher, a constitutional law specialist at the Library of Congress.
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