56 of 71 people found the following review helpful
Herbert L Calhoun
- Published on Amazon.com
The author, a social anthropologist, has finally identified what ails our culture, and our democratic way of life. Through intense research (much of it performed in the Eastern bloc), she has revealed why our political system has ceased to work - at least for ordinary citizens anyway; why it has devolved into little more than a pre-arranged, staged, symbolic set of primitive and now also obligatory set of rituals: "dog fights" between two meaningless political parties, and us their surrogates.
She has identified why it is that we continue to go through the empty motions of voting, while everything meaningful goes on well above (or is it well below?) our heads; and why we are forced to listen to the same ethnically incestuous family of narrators beaming constantly across the spectrum of our media as if they were operating a neighborhood megaphone with a circular soundtrack to a bad movie. But as we conspiracy-minded thinkers always knew, it is due to an identifiable cabal -- my word, not the author's (who is almost Catholic in the restraint she shows in failing to call a spade-a-spade) of "Shadow Elite," a hydra-headed ethnically identifiable monster with the tentacles and all the aggressiveness of a metastasized malignant cancer.
This systemic parasite invades the body politic by worming its way into the upper echelon of the most intimate parts of our political and economic system, where its members become counselors to the presidents, high level consultants, media moguls, contractors, soldiers of fortunes, spies, Hollywood film producers, newscasters and expert news commentators, members of all the boards of the major corporations, heads of all the major NGOs, tenured university professors, members of all of the most influential political pacs, most of the GS-15s and above, on the top floors of any government office buildings; and most of all, the proverbial "movers and shakers" of the wall street money tree, where together they coalesce to form an incestuous network of interlocking interests, roping in the talented where needed from the major universities, who are completely unaware of the fact that they been recruited into a club of which they are the "outsiders" ("in" but not "of" the internal cliques) and who are mostly impervious to the larger interests they have been enlisted to serve.
Always operating in the gray zone, in the cracks between private and public interests, its ultimate goal is absolute power, apparently for the sake of power alone, to then be used to corrupt the arena in which power gets played out, and to do so, absolutely. Offering very little in the way of public good, and since evil is intrinsic to its very nature and purpose, this malignant organism has already caused, and promises to continue causing, a great deal more systemic harm to our political institutions and to our future than it has already. This creature has been sighted most prominently in an around the Washington D.C. environs, but may be seen hovering around the capitalist toughs of any modest industrialized national capitol. It is a fiendishly clever parasite that sucks the blood of its host countries without their citizens knowing what has happened to them only until it is far too late for them to take any remedial actions.
Its modus operandi is to short-circuit and confuse the control channels of our communication and information systems, and then to use the confusion it has created to collect and accrue a knowledge base that can be used to undermine and then take over the machinery of government, major financial institutions, and major corporations. Once it has evaded the state's increasingly weak immune system's defenses, this trans-national systemic actor goes systematically about the work of invading the vital organs of the state, where it then operates on both sides of the political divide, both above and below the surface; and both from outside of, and also from deep within the walls of its hosts. And although most of the time it appears to be operating out in the open, that image, as the author tells us here, is not to be trusted for it is a carefully stage-managed optical illusion designed mostly to mask and misdirect ones attention from the dirty work that is always going on behind the scenes and in the shadows.
This parasitic monster is deft, subtle of mind and agile on its feet: It is a chameleon like animal that can dance like a butterfly and sting like a bee. It is politically and ideologically promiscuous and will change the color of its jerseys (i.e., its political parties, and tribal identities and affiliations), its rules, its morality, its roles, and even its loyalties at will to suit only its own hidden agendas. It is allowed to continue operating well above (and often well below) the zone of accountability because "we the people" (and our paid-off and morally challenged elected representatives) are often convinced that those who make it up, are the "best and the brightest," the crème de la crème who will save us from ourselves and from the likes of GW Bush, Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin.
However, this feign is the organism's favorite strategem. Members of the cabal have discovered that Mao was wrong: it is also "limited attention span," and "mindless amusement," in addition to "religion" that is the "opiate of the masses." The cabal knows all too well that a "new managed and socially adjusted reality" for the masses is only a "sound bite," a "self-esteem building image" an "unnecessary war," the building of a few more jails, or a "Rapture prediction" away from societal contentment.
They know that American politics is about nothing if not about throwing a couple of pieces of raw meat into the political arena and then watching the "red and blue dogs" tear at each other's throats. If that is not enough to get a "Michael Vick" style dog fight started then there are always many other ways to divide and conquer: the endless social grid of binary forms of "foaming at the mouth hatred" on the American social scene is simply endless, mindless, unprecedented for any advanced culture and disgraceful. There are for instance: race, gender, sexuality, religion, abortion, evolution, guns, crime and class to name just the top seven. And for each of them there is a corresponding foaming at the mouth radio or TV talk show host who will use the 24-hour news cycle to cheer them on and inspire them to join the self-destructive national fray.
There are so many ways for the cabal to divide and conquer and amuse themselves with our mindless ignorance, as they quietly back their Mac trucks up to the back door of Fort Knox (as they did most recently in the carefully staged financial melt-down) that one wonders, whether or not their exquisite formula can be improved upon? The only justification for their own existence is that since "we the people" are stupid enough to allow them to get away with it, then they "the chosen" must be ordained and chosen by their own God (or even by ours) to allow it to happen. They follow the Bill Clinton mantra: "They do it because they can (get away with it, that is)"
According to this author, who is almost Catholic in avoiding making value judgments or giving negative characterizations of the machinations of this strange amoral beast, and although I did not find her word coinage clever or creative, and ached for her to put the whole piece into a larger theoretical frame, she still managed to describe the contours of the beast based on the traces that remain in the sand and in the wake of its destructive path, better than anyone else has so far. That along with her very careful research is surely worth five stars.