RANGER AGAINST WAR: The Wasteland <

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Wasteland

A recent NYT piece on the Lumenhaus
encouraged us to ennoble this once lovely abode,

"Wrecked House"


Not a good advert for vinyl siding

Pigeon Home

"Madonna's House"

The Bottoms Up gentleman's club.
Note the Sonitrol of the 'hood: barred doors


We wonder if the Original Glorious Church in Christ
was the convention center He visited

And you thought fish fry's weren't halal?

"Tha Brothahood Barber Shop" --
in case Obama needed a little off the top


..A mile away, nice houses in a small
oasis. "Escape From New York", anyone?

Unreal City,
Under the brown fog of a winter dawn.
A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,
I had not thought death had undone so many.

--The Wasteland
, T.S. Eliot
__________________

Ranger and Obama recently shared a holiday treat since we both had the pleasure of visiting Cleveland, Ohio, Ranger's hometown. This former "Best Location in the Nation" is suffering like many other Rust Belt cities, and isn't the best for much, unless you're out to score some drugs or wish to be robbed.

Pleasure indeed! Browse our montage of Ranger's former hunting grounds, deep in the now-wilds of C-Town. None of these photos are exceptional and represent the shit-hole that is the reality of too many United States inner cities. They were all taken within blocks the two homes in which Ranger grew up.


Note the house with the pigeons rooting in the exposed eaves. People were seen drinking out of paper bags at noon on porches with plywood-covered windows. We doubt Mr. Obama's motorcade passed in front of those ghetto homes. Those people are passed by on the roadway of life.


Please realize that Pigeon House or Wrecked House are not anomalies; the detritus follows each street, for endless blocks of downtown. The outliers are the very occasional well-maintained homes, usually inhabited by some equally very old-timer.

One's attentiveness to home maintenance is not rewarded in these now-slums, however -- one house had a For Sale sign of $19,000, and it is highly unlikely they will get their price before the rats devour whatever's left of the wiring.

You read horrified about people in Iraq living with only intermittent electricity?
It is not unknown in your own country -- the U.S. -- for people to live without heat and cooling, and even water, either intermittently or as a lifestyle. We are not talking only squatters, nor are we talking the new Green-elite or the Amish, who engineer a livable existence sans many amenities (but not without water.) Note that most of these houses have satellite dishes and open windows, suggesting occupants. (For those who can afford something, one may be able to live with intermittent utilities, but mustn't go without satellite.)

Our politicians seem to wear blinders to a reality that is a stark as anything in Baghdad. They ignore the plight of a blighted America, functioning under the false belief that the U.S. has the wherewithal to continue its pretensions to world interventions and occupations.


Our leaders are living like it's still 1950, when the Best Location had almost a million citizens and was a thriving hub of manufacturing activity. Today's ghettoized Cleveland has lost almost all of its manufacturing and half of it's citizens.
The factories are razed or shuttered, moldering in decay where they stand in mute testimony to a once-great nation.

The citizens too occupy a 1932 economic time warp, sadly, even they forgoing their own better interests, reacting mainly to meaningless, hot-button drivel topics like who's going to hell for being gay or Muslim. (Our average citizens are probably not much different from average citizens everywhere, but it is leadership and infrastructure that makes the difference.)


We get what we deserve, save for the innocents, like children.

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10 Comments:

Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

To all,
The Brotha barber sop was the home of my childhood friends. They both served in the military and both are retired Cleveland police officers.They lived upstairs , and i lived 2 doors away.
These pics are exactly of my childhood, and they do not express the abject poverty of the area.
It's a shithole, and nobody in their right mind would travel those streets without a 9 in their lap.
jim
jim

Monday, September 13, 2010 at 10:24:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Juan Moment said...

Sorry to hear your old neighborhood starts to look like some run down place in Eastern Europe. Who would have thought that 20 years ago, its amazing as much as it is sad to see the transformation of a town or suburb in a relatively short span like that. Just as sad as seeing ones quiet and family friendly suburban childhood setting being "modernised" into an industrial strip or business center with shopping malls. The amusing part is that ironically they call this progress.

The needle stripes running our factories, graduated from university factories pumping out one generation of profit maximisers after another, are not trained to attach value to sentimental causes, such as sticking around in places for the sake of what once was. More money to be made elsewhere, and a plant location with all its workforce is history. The corporate world knows no allegiance to regions and employees, the moment it makes commercial sense to relocate spells the end for the workforce with their families. People are left to social security and mindless TV shows.

Globalisation, meaning free and uncontrolled flow of capital, is building cities as fast as it ruins others. Like a nomad it roams the planet in search for the cheapest human fodder. The decay of Cleveland is offset by a boom in Shanghai, Korea or Brazil, or wherever else people are prepared to work for less and under worse conditions. People collectively act like sheep and hence are treated that way. Human resources are a commodity, grown were needed, put through the meat grinder, and discarded the other end the moment there are lambs who could do the job faster or for less feed. The US, home of the free marketeers, reminds me of the story about the sorcerer’s apprentice who called on the big ghosts and then couldn’t handle them. Quite a task to get that globalization genie back into the bottle, especially since you’ll have to do this in a political system that has two heads but is the same dog.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 11:33:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Juan,

Excellent comment. You see how the tentacles of industry wend their way about the planet, leaving spent rubbish (human and material) in their wake.

There seems no capping the genie of corporate greed.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 11:56:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Juan,
This is about the Brotha barbershop which used to be a neighborhood bar and was where all the factory workers drank after shift change.
The Eaton Axle Division was right across the street, and i worked there as a college student.
Right down the street was a bowling alley that is now a church.
I guess they are bowling for god.
The African meat market was where i worked as a carry out boy while in my 10 to 14 th years. We were paid only in cash, and off the books.
ANY WAY I RAMBLE-Eaton axle is now gone, it's been demolished.
jim

Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 3:09:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Grant said...

Reason Magazine in conjunction with several prominent libertarians has a "Save Cleveland" project. It's pretty interesting and worth checking out.

Detroit and Cleveland are prime examples of what fifty years of government control and regulation will do to a city. I, personally, can't wait until Washington manages to do the same to the rest of the country.

"The needle stripes running our factories, graduated from university factories pumping out one generation of profit maximisers after another, are not trained to attach value to sentimental causes, such as sticking around in places for the sake of what once was"

First, how long and for what purpose should a business operate at a loss? More importantly, who should pay for that? That you would deem yourself able to attach "true" value to things like "sticking around" and not accept that others may have different values is pretty sketchy to me.

"Like a nomad it roams the planet in search for the cheapest human fodder."

That, sir, is intellectually dishonest. Globalism is not an "it", it doesn't roam the globe searching for anything, and frankly, here is the reality of the situation:

The Indian farmer who moves to the city to put together soccer balls for Nike faced a choice. If he didn't think that he would be better off at the factory, shitty as it may seem to you, he obviously thinks he is better off than working on a farm. Or else he wouldn't do it.

A really good book on human action is titled, strangely enough, Human Action, by Ludwig Von Mises. It's definitely worth a look.

Does anyone know why Cleveland and Detroit were there in the first place? Like, why didn't they build similar powerhouses of wealth generation in Alabama? Is this all just random?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010 at 7:27:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Grant,

I would be interested in your take on why Cleveland is in such dire straits, and why they cannot pull the nose of the plane up. Also, why does the Deep South (AL) remain so decrepit?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010 at 8:56:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Grant said...

Books could be written on the subject, and many have.

The answer is, fundamentally, the same as to this question:

Why, for almost all of human history, was world GDP essentially zero until about 1800, when it began growing exponentially? Like, what happened?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010 at 8:27:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Juan Moment said...

”First, how long and for what purpose should a business operate at a loss? More importantly, who should pay for that?”

Grant, believe it or not, but many factories are not closed coz they are running at a loss. No, handsome profits are still being made, but not as abundant a profit as a factory in say China could produce, where a worker gets paid a tenth of what an employee in the US would cost. The push to relocate productive assets is generally not driven by the need to bring losses to a halt but to make even more profit.

”That you would deem yourself able to attach "true" value to things like "sticking around" and not accept that others may have different values is pretty sketchy to me.”

Where do you get that “true” from? And what gives you the idea I wouldn’t accept other principles? I’ve merely stated a fact, not opined on its rights or wrongs.

Fact is that industrial operations are transferred into low wage countries without a great deal of anguish in boardrooms about the negative impact this will have on the communities left jobless.

"Like a nomad it roams the planet in search for the cheapest human fodder."

That, sir, is intellectually dishonest. Globalism is not an "it", it doesn't roam the globe searching for anything


Should you reread my original comment you might pick up on the detail that “it” was in reference to capital, globalisation merely the term used to give the phenomenon of international capital increasingly dictating the terms on this planet a name. Although it might come as a surprise to you but firms with plenty of it are constantly on the lookout for opportunities to maximise their return on investment, including travelling the world in search for cheaper places to produce their wares. To stay with your example, do you think Nike found the Indian location by accident, when one of its board members was there on holidays?

Thursday, September 16, 2010 at 7:36:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Grant,

Well, part of what happened was easier access to goods and food with the advent of industry.

Is your argument that the population explosion is contingent upon the rise of discretionary capital, better health care, or any other innovation arising from the industrial revolution?

Because the real population growth is among the more destitute members of the earth's population.

Thursday, September 16, 2010 at 12:40:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Brooklyn Red Leg said...

Ok,

let me say something (again) that needs to be said before this goes a certain way. The fact that Cleveland and Detroit (among other places) are shitholes is NOT because of Capitalism. Do not confuse Corporatism with Capitalism. We do not have free trade in this country (NAFTA is the polar opposite of an actual free trade agreement; 1500+ pages of regulations and governmental exceptions do not a free trade agreement make).

As for the sad state of Cleveland itself, I can only sympathize. I grew up outside of Tucker, GA and it was once upon a time a prosperous middle-class suburban Atlanta town. Now I wouldn't drive there at night without being armed.

Sadly, the overwhelming majority of our politicians (national, state, county and city) simply hold their hands out and ask for 'more' at the same time they run themselves (and us) into debt. We have reached the insanity of the Late Roman Empire where we have to use devalued currency while the government spends itself into oblivion while touting one failed military adventure after another. I have tried, repeatedly, to reach out to people on the political 'left' to find common ground only for them to stupidly and rather childishly accuse those like me of being corporate shills (even when I constantly make the case for abolishing Corporate Personhood). As a Libertarian I'm constantly assaulted from both ends for not being 'ideologically pure': ie - I'm not willing to abandon my principles and engage in cognitive dissonance for the sake of political expediency. As the say goes, moderation in defense of liberty is no virtue.

Friday, September 17, 2010 at 11:13:00 AM GMT-5  

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