A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from June 11, 2010
Flexian

"Flexian’ (sometimes misspelled “flexion") was coined by Janine R. Wedel in her book, Shadow Elite: how the world’s new power brokers undermine democracy, government, and the free market (2009). Wedel wrote: “I call the new breed of influencers ‘flexians.’ When such operators work together in longstanding groups, thus multiplying their influence, they are flex nets. Flexians and flex nets operate at one extreme of a continuum in crafting their coincidences of interests.”

“Flexians” are movers and shakers who are transnational (holding allegiance to no particular government) and who are employed in government, think tanks, and corporations. “Flexians” are “flexible” people who seek power (or influence it). “Flexian” has had limited usage outside of Wedel’s work.


OCLC WorldCat record
Shadow elite : how the world’s new power brokers undermine democracy, government, and the free market
Author: Janine R Wedel
Publisher: New York : Basic Books, ©2009.
Edition/Format: Book : English
Summary: An award-winning public policy expert and author of Collision and Collusion explains how an elite group of power-wielding agenda promoters are erasing the boundaries between government, private and non-profit organizations for their own benefit and have been behind headline-making scandals.
Amazon.com - Look inside!
Pg. 5:
Naming the Animal
I call the new breed of influencers “flexians.” When such operators work together in longstanding groups, thus multiplying their influence, they are flex nets. Flexians and flex nets operate at one extreme of a continuum in crafting their coincidences of interests.

The Huffington Post
Arianna Huffington
Posted: January 6, 2010 10:30 AM
The First HuffPost Book Club Pick of 2010: Shadow Elite by Janine Wedel
My first HuffPost Book Club selection of 2010 is Janine Wedel’s Shadow Elite: How the World’s New Power Brokers Undermine Democracy, Government, and the Free Market. It’s a gripping, disquieting book that exposes and explains why it’s been so hard to bring about any real change in our country—why Washington no longer seems capable of addressing the problems our nation faces. Fingers have been pointed at everything from gerrymandering to partisan polarization to the misuse of the filibuster. But, according to Wedel, the real problem is much deeper—and more disturbing—than any of these.

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.”

Dr. Todd Landman
Are we all becoming ‘flexians’?
March 8, 2010
In her new book, The Shadow Elite: How the World’s New Power Brokers Undermine Democracy, Government, and the Free Market, Janine Wedel develops this concept of the ‘flexian’, which is posited to be a highly mobile person with multiple identities who inhabits many different organisations and netrowks, and who has powerful knowledge and skill sets that influence global political developments. Flexians are the new evolved beings that used to inhabit the ‘revolving door’ of yesterday’s analysis. They are more mobile and work for a wider range of organisations, while remaining loyal only to themselves.

For Wedel, the flexians are a highly pernicious breed of people, such as the ‘neocon core’ that moved from universities, to think tanks, to government, to corporations, and back again in ways that trascended political adminstrations and that act in collusion with other like-minded flexians that seek to pursue ‘their’ agenda regardless of the rules, norms, and insitutions of accountability.

Her examples are good ones and not surprising, as she uses her experience of research in the former Soviet Union and the transitional countries of Eastern Europe and finds poeple who used their connections to build personal fortunes, influence political decision making, and undermine democracy. She then turns her attention to American democracy, the federal government, and the ways in which particualr flexians have moved in and out of Washington throughout the post World War II era.

The Huffington Post
Janine R. Wedel
Posted: March 18, 2010 06:14 AM
Shadow Elite: March to War – Is Ahmed Chalabi Under Iran’s Thumb?
(...)
Indeed, Chalabi is far more than a jet-setting Energizer bunny. He is a prime example of what I call a “flexian”, the movers and shakers of the shadow elite who glide across borders, and structure overlapping (and not fully revealed) roles in government, business, media, and think tanks to serve their own agendas. When players perform interdependent roles to serve their agendas, and when fundamental questions lack straight answers, we have likely encountered a flexian. Who is he? Who funds him? For whom does he work? Where, ultimately, does his allegiance lie? We never really knew, and still don’t know, who Chalabi is.

Flexians thrive in the murky, ambiguous spots where state and private power meet. They bypass or undermine official rules, government, and bureaucracy; organizational loyalty; traditional authority; and professional expertise. And they brand their own version of the truth to suit their interests and those of their associates and fellow-believers.

The Huffington Post
Linda Keenan and Janine R. Wedel
Posted: April 22, 2010 08:14 AM
Shadow Elite: Goldman Sachs - Fraud Is Not the Scandal
(...)
Robert Rubin is at the red-hot center of this shadow scandal. Players like Rubin represent a new breed of nimble power-broker Janine calls in her book Shadow Elite “flexians.” Flexians move seamlessly back and forth among venues of influence when a new opportunity arises, furthering their own (not-fully-revealed) agendas and those of their associates.
(...)
Flexians also test both the rules of accountability of government and the codes of competition of business. Rubin, for instance, raised eyebrows when, at Citigroup in 2001, he contacted an acquaintance at the Treasury Department to asked if the department could convince bond-rating agencies not to downgrade the corporate debt of Enron, a debtor of Citigroup.

Washington’s Blog
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Chairman of Goldman Sachs International Was - Until Last Year - Also Chairman of BP
Janine Wedel has written extensively on how the “shadow elite” rule the world and about the “flexians” - the movers and shakers of the shadow elite who glide across borders, and structure overlapping (and not fully revealed) roles in government, business, media, and think tanks to serve their own agendas.

Wedel says that flexians wear many hats both within and outside of government, and use their networks of contacts to influence policy - are warping our democracy and the rule of law.

Peter Sutherland is the quintessential flexian.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Friday, June 11, 2010 • Permalink