One of the most frustrating things about discussions of the US judicial system is that they always seem to be about abortion. This is, of course, an incredibly important issue. But the courts oversee so much more than that one aspect of life in the United States. The intense feelings involved in that one issue serve to conceal the true significance of Trump’s judges.
Trump loves to trumpet his success in selecting Judges, but what’s often ignored is the way that the judges he is picking will constrain not just his agenda, but everybody else’s as well. For decades to come. In today’s video, we attempt to demystify the issue a bit, and delve in to one of the most successful lobbying groups of the 21st century, the Federalist Society.
I feel like I should do some more media criticism. In this video I sing the praises of “The Boys” a new Amazon streaming show that satirizes the Military Industrial Complex pretty heavily. It’s a good show, and I’m sure it will be disappointing when the 2nd season backs off on all the political content. But I’m not sure that this video does a good job laying out why I found the Boys so noteworthy.
In the video I point out that most of the rest of Amazon’s prestige products are implicitly or explicitly pro-war, and even pro war on terror, which is pretty insane in 2019. But I don’t underline the degree to which almost everything we watch, consume and walk through in the United States today carries some sort of pro-militarism bias. From the national anthem at sports games, to the absurdly one-sided reporting on foreign policy to everything in between, everything works to force us towards war. Maybe that’s why Amazon feels comfortable putting out one niche genre show that lightly satirizes the MIC. Amazon knows this show is just a drop in the bucket, that helps it seem a little more independent from the Pentagon it is currently trying to win a 10 billion dollar contract from.
So what’s more important, the short-term pain of vulnerable populations in New York City or the long-term health of the city? Actually it’s a trick question. It’s not an either/or sort of question. New York City’s vulnerable populations are just as reliant on the success of the city as the rich and famous are. More so actually. NYC has been the prime example of the “Blue Model of Government” for quite some time. Public Sector Unions own the city (and the state). The largest public housing blocks in the country are a dominant feature of the architectural landscape. There’s a lot of mismanagement and waste in the education and social services sectors, but there’s also a lot of impressive work being done, that couldn’t be done elsewhere. New York’s mix of wealth and poverty is unique.
All of this, the good and the bad, is reliant on New York retaining its position as the country’s dominant economic hub. If the golden goose flies south, the place will fall apart. Sure, the rent would get cheaper, but a lot of the social services would just evaporate. I wasn’t actually joking when I compared NYC to Detroit, the US city that has lost over half of its population over the past fifty years. For those who think the comparison is ridiculous, I suggest you take a walk through the Bronx, a part of New York City that still hasn’t recovered from New York’s last economic collapse. Today’s video may seem callous in privileging the interests of business over poor New Yorkers, but I don’t think that’s what I was doing at all. The interests are the same.
The Amazon HQ2 competition has gotten a lot of attention. People aren’t thinking this through. There is one location that is almost certain to get the new headquarters. Washington, DC is where the future of Amazon as a company will be decided, so that’s where Amazon needs to be. All this other stuff is window dressing, and information gathering for Amazon’s already formidable data machine.
I’ve decided to use this video to kick off another one of my periodic jeremiads about the growing centralization of power in the United States, and the fact that all that power is pouring towards Washington, DC, or at least will be. Back before Trump was elected I used French history to illustrate what happens when you do away with local sources of power. Also of interest is my discussion of the true network of power that runs the united states, and my long discussion of the military industrial complex.