RANGER AGAINST WAR: Detroitus, Part Deux <

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Detroitus, Part Deux

 --WPA poster fr. Chrysler Ad

I believe, umm, that certain people in life
are meant to fall by the wayside; to serve as warnings
to the rest of us; signs posts along the way 
--Igby Goes Down (2002)

These mills they built the tanks and bombs
That won this country's wars
We sent our sons to Korea and Vietnam
Now we're wondering what they were dyin' for 
--Youngstown, Bruce Springsteen

Well our fathers fought the Second World War
Spent their weekends on the Jersey Shore
Met our mothers at the USO
Asked them to dance, danced with them slow 
--Allentown, Billy Joel
_________________

More on Detroit:

Ranger had incursive thoughts the other night about Motown and the American way of life and war.

He recently re-read T. E. Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom in which Lawrence repeatedly praises the Ford vehicle in which he tooled around Arabia while fighting World War I. Detroit's efforts helped the Allies win World War II, also.

America boomed in an economy based around the automobile and its associated products. For the last several decades, this once-powerhouse had been rusting, and the great steel cities lie in tattered shambles, like a post-apocalyptic dinosaur graveyard, the defunct building's bones standing mute testimony to the glory of what once was.

Springsteen and the rappers have missed the bus by failing to produce anything on the predicament of their supposed fellows. Eminem's glitzy Chrysler Superbowl advert does not qualify, Diego Rivera's worker's murals notwithstanding. Ranger feels fairly certain that Beyonce et. al. won't be producing anything like "Tom Joad" anytime soon.

We shrug at Detroit's twilight and cast about for reasons explaining its downfall. Unions, white flight, drugs and crime ... whatever, Detroit has been destroyed just as surely as was any firebombed city, except this time we self-immolated. Funny that banks which create fantasy derivative schemes are too big too fail, while one of our once-largest cities -- a tangible good -- is not.

Nobody has an idea how to correct the situation, and moreover, how to prevent it from happening elsewhere. Like any successful military operation, the city needs resources and a plan which can reasonably be implemented. Like Leningrad in WW II, we either reinforce it or abandon it.

Why hasn't the city be declared a federal disaster zone? Nature is not the only thing that lays waste to the land. We shame-facedly say we are nation building abroad, yet we cannot reinforce an American city in need of reconstruction. Of course, what we do with unqualified success is making things go BOOM, as we did in Fallujah, et. al. Some of the soldiers involved with the boom-and-bust abroad must watch backwards as thier city goes down.

Breaking down is easier than building up.

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55 Comments:

Blogger Underground Carpenter said...

Hi Jim and Lisa,

Instead of wondering how to save a city, I'm wondering why its inhabitants stay there? If my car was out of gas, I'd just start walking.

Dave

Friday, September 20, 2013 at 7:32:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger BadTux said...

Yah, Underground. That's why Detroit has lost 2/3rds of its population over the past forty years. The people left behind are the people who have no place to walk *to* -- people so impoverished economically, skills-wise, and mentally that they lack the ability to go anywhere better than where they are.

There is also another issue: Family networks. Many of the remaining citizens of Detroit are part of intact family networks that act as a sort of social security network. If your cousin loses his job and needs a place to stay, you offer him your couch. If you lose your own job your Uncle Buck who is a City of Detroit retiree making a whole $24,000/year (the median retirement benefit for City of Detroit retirees until the bankruptcy court chops it down to below poverty level) might rent a room in your house to help you pay the property taxes and utility bills as well as some food. Moving elsewhere, unless your whole family network moves with you, means you're out there by yourself with no one to fall back on if hard times come your way. If you're not the brightest bulb in the chandelier to begin with, well.

So that's the two facets of the problem. You can't make the remaining residents of Detroit smarter, and replacing their family support networks with government support networks is a no-go in today's dog-eat-dog world. Now what? Do we starve them to death? Seems to be the latest craze, what with the House chopping virtually the entire food stamp program in their latest budget proposal... the morality of that, however, is pretty clear if you actually read the New Testament of the Bible.

-BT

Saturday, September 21, 2013 at 3:46:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Underground Carpenter said...

BT,

I agree with you. Those Darkies in Detroit are an inferior subspecies, not nearly as smart or capable as you and me.

Now, about pension funds, aren't they supposed to be fully funded to begin with, and returns on investments to insure future payments? The stock market is at an all-time high, so if a fund is in trouble, it has either been mismanaged or an embezzler should be wearing shackles right now.

Worry not. I have a plan to take care of the Detroit problem. Let's level the city. It'll give weapons manufacturers a shot in the arm (jobs!). It will cost less than socialistic solutions, so the taxpayers won't be robbed so hard. And it'll give our military some valuable practice. Hell, we can even bring over security forces from the other countries that we've been trying to train for decades and show them how to do it right.

Dave

Saturday, September 21, 2013 at 8:42:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

I'm appreciating the directness here.

As in the South following Reconstruction, who remains? And certainly, who got wrung out and totally exploited by the carpetbaggers and also the cotton growers no longer beholden to care for their human "possessions"?

The bottom line is the bottom line, and if you can't shape up or ship out, you'll probably do a D.I.P., and they'll thank you only for making it easier to clear the books of your sorry carcass. Pragmatic and expeditious, the call words for today.

All those pretty Orozco and Rivera WPA murals celebrating the brawny worker? Nice little make-work projects, but art and music is not longer necessary for the worker. Detroit can just sell those off in order to straggle on for a few more years.

Saturday, September 21, 2013 at 1:30:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger BadTux said...

Underground, I've lived and worked in a depressed area similar to Detroit so I could write a 200 page book on the subject of what keeps people there. Nevertheless this is a blog comment, not a 200 page book, so you get the thumbnail. The people left behind in Detroit aren't necessarily stupid, but by and large those who are not retirees lack the skills and education to go anywhere else better, thanks to decades of poor schooling. Or they have family connections keeping them there. Or they're retirees who can't afford to move anywhere else because their house is their savings and their house is worthless now. The reality is that the vast majority of people in Detroit who *can* go elsewhere, *did* go elsewhere. Leaving behind those who can't go, for various reasons.

Regarding pension funds, you appear to have a gross misunderstanding of how pensions (whether private or Social Security) have always worked. Pension funds have always relied on a combination of contributions from current employees and interest from saved contributions to fulfill their obligations. That is, "fully funded" in terms of a pension fund means they are able to fulfill their current obligations using current incoming income streams and will be able to do so in the future as long as their income streams remain steady, *not* that there is sufficient money saved up to pay all future benefits. That works fine as long as the number of current employees is growing at the same rate as the number of retirees. If not, then either additional funds will have to be found elsewhere, or pension benefits will have to be cut. The situation in Detroit is that the number of employees has dropped precipitously as has their wages (and thus pension contributions), thus part (a) of the equation, incoming money from current employees, has similarly dropped precipitously. What that means is that part (b), the interest on saved money, is no longer sufficient to pay all promised benefits. Which, as I also pointed out, aren't exactly extravagant -- the typical City of Detroit retiree gets around $24K/year in total pension benefits, and remember, the majority of these workers are *not* eligible for Social Security because they don't have sufficient Time In Service due to having spent 30-40 years working for the City of Detroit.

I don't think the City of Detroit in its current incarnation is viable. The only viable entity would be a combined city-county entity that combined all the counties and cities of the Detroit Metropolitan Area into a single entity. The metropolitan area as a whole still has pockets of affluence sufficient to fund a functioning government. The City of Detroit itself... not so.

Saturday, September 21, 2013 at 2:02:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger no one said...

"the majority of these workers are *not* eligible for Social Security because they don't have sufficient Time In Service due to having spent 30-40 years working for the City of Detroit."

BT. I don't understand this. They should be as eligible for SS as anyone else that has paid into it. Are you saying that city workers are exempt from paying into SS? I find that hard to believe. Maybe I'm missing something?

You're right, though, about the pensions being structured as pyramid schemes. A lot of workers in a lot of industry sectors find themselves left without a chair when the music stops for this reason.

Detroit became what it was b/c of its location on the Great Lakes chain. Ore coming from the North would arrive, via freighter, in Detroit to be refined and turned into things which could then be distributed to American points East, West and South or to foreign markets via the St Lawrence Seaway:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_freighter

Detroit was ideally geographically positioned for this purpose. To some extent foreign steel production dampened Detroit's importance. However, not 100%. For this reason, I think Detroit could make a come back, but it must get its house in order.

First, the "leadership" in Detroit are incompetent scoundrels. They need to go. Policies involving rampant liberal/socialist handouts need to stop. Excessive taxes in order to pay for the handouts must stop. Plow the place with its crumbling infrastructure to the ground. Employ the current handout recipients in this regard. Establish tax free for ten year industrial zones to bring business back. Allow the bankruptcy to go through. Preserve as much of what is remaining that is good about Detroit (e.g. the art institute, some of the historic neighborhoods with beautiful old mansions). Never allow the socialist minority groups to re-entrench themselves in political leadership. Have the DPD establish socio-economic profiling such that the large primitive criminal populace is confined to out-of-the -way neighborhoods and pose no threat to new desirable populations. Ensure that the isolated undesirables are reduced to minimum over the course of a generation by imprisonment, murder and natural attrition and by, hopefully, engendering a work ethic and opportunity to use it in the next generation.

Saturday, September 21, 2013 at 3:20:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger BadTux said...

No One, city workers (and state workers) do *not* pay into Social Security. They pay into their city or state pension fund. When you see people whining about city workers getting a pension, remember that -- they don't get Social Security, they get only their city or state pension.

Federal workers were the same way until Ronnie Raygun changed that in 1984. The goal is to tie the worker to the city or state so that he's not tempted to do something corrupt because then he'd get fired and lose his pension. I think it's not a coincidence that we've seen huge amounts of corruption at the Federal level since Raygun changed the system...

Saturday, September 21, 2013 at 3:47:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Underground Carpenter said...

BT,

"...lack the skills and education to go anywhere else better, thanks to decades of poor schooling."

So this was a perfect storm of bad teachers and worse students? Too bad you aren't in charge. I'll bet the trains would run on time.

"…gross misunderstanding of how pensions … have always worked."

My understanding of how a sound pension fund operates is perfectly adequate. There's a term for the sort of system that depends on a wave of new suckers to pay off the old "investors." I understand how that works too. If the only way to make said scheme "viable" is to fleece "pockets of affluence", then you are advocating robbery, and we must part ways.

Dave

Saturday, September 21, 2013 at 6:36:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger no one said...

Huh, I never knew that, BT. I have worked for the federal govt and for a county govt and paid into SS in both instances. I have never been a union member. None of my jobs had a union to join.

Well, this information changes the complexion of the D's bankruptcy a bit. I would think your guy, the all compassionate man of the people, BHO, should institute some kind of pension bailout for the city workers. I would approve of that, if the finances were not handles by the D's corrupt politicians but by some sort of NGO trust fund.

Something that gets overlooked in these discussions is how tight the D's pension funds were with the Mafia. The mob used these things like drive through instant loan windows. Ditto the union pension funds. In fact the unions in Detroit and the mob were pretty much one and the same organization. I wonder how much of a role that played in the problem.

Saturday, September 21, 2013 at 6:44:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger BadTux said...

Underground, you appear to have beliefs about pensions that have never applied to actual real-life pensions.

Regarding viability, I am talking about the ability to maintain proper fire and police protection and to keep roads, sewers, and the water supply in repair, as well as maintain a few "luxuries" like city libraries. I am not talking about "welfare" as you put it. You appear to believe that being able to call 911 and have someone answer is welfare? How bizarre! Furthermore, the suburbs around Detroit have no reason to exist if there is no City of Detroit. Why *shouldn't* they be enlisted in maintaining minimum viability of the city core that is the only reason they exist?

At present, the City of Detroit lacks the tax base to provide the most basic services -- police and fire services. It basically has ceased to exist as a viable entity. Taking away pensions from retirees is not going to fix that. Bankruptcy court is not going to fix that. The only thing that will fix it is to dissolve the City of Detroit entirely and turn over the former area of the City of Detroit to some other entity. There just isn't anything fixable left.

Saturday, September 21, 2013 at 6:46:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger no one said...

"...lack the skills and education to go anywhere else better, thanks to decades of poor schooling."


Dave, fyi....Detroit school system has some of the highest teacher salaries in the nation and has some of the highest spending per student in the country.

I am not so sure I agree with BT's depiction of how a pension fund works either. It is not my area of expertise, but my understanding of how a pension fund, one worked out by actuaries and competent financial managers, works is *not* along the lines of a pyramid scam. I won't argue the point b/c BT may be describing how Detroit's pension fund worked - not how a good one should work.

I think the remaining residents of the D - and indeed much of the D's problems - stem from a subculture that felt entitled to not integrate into the mainstream. When it wasn't working for them they doubled down and became more contrarian.

Doing things right would be too "white".

Saturday, September 21, 2013 at 6:53:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger BadTux said...

Noone, BHO is not "my guy". I don't know where you got that "fact" about me.

Federal government has been Social Security since 1984, as I pointed out. Employees hired before then did not pay into Social Security, they paid into the federal retirement pension fund.

States, counties, and cities have the option under the law that created Social Security of either having their employees continue paying into the city, state, or county pension plans that existed prior to the founding of Social Security, or pay into Social Security. Here in California every city, county, and state employee pays into pension plans managed by CALPERS, not into Social Security, and it is similar in Michigan. When I was an employee of Houston Independent School District I paid into the Texas school employee's pension plan. When I was an employee of school districts in Louisiana I paid into the Louisiana school employees' pension plan. In both cases all I got was my contributed money back when I moved on to other ventures -- none of that employment counts as "years in service" for Social Security benefits purposes. Which means I have to make sure to max out my Social Security earnings over the next fifteen years or my retirement is going to be miserable indeed, since the bankers have stolen everybody's retirement with these bogus "401k" things that they use as their personal toilet paper.

Saturday, September 21, 2013 at 6:56:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger no one said...

"Furthermore, the suburbs around Detroit have no reason to exist if there is no City of Detroit"

Not true, BT. Many of the suburbs are quite affluent and they don't live in Detroit or do business there b/c they don't want to deal with all of the problems they would encounter if they did. At one time what you say was true. After the 67 riots business moved out. The executives maintained their suburban homes, but ran businesses located elsewhere.

Saturday, September 21, 2013 at 6:58:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger no one said...

I just looked something up on D's debt structure. A lot of the pension problems arise from promised healthcare insurance benefits. That could be cut without harm b/c those pensioners could simply go on Medicare.

It seems that the pension structure problems were the result of unions squeezing the city. I continue to suspect the mob + political corruption.

Saturday, September 21, 2013 at 7:07:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Underground Carpenter said...

"…you appear to have beliefs about pensions that have never applied to actual real-life pensions."

Yes, and I also have beliefs about how a rational person thinks that have never applied to actual real-life persons.

"Regarding viability, I am talking about the ability to maintain proper fire and police protection and to keep roads, sewers, and the water supply in repair, as well as maintain a few "luxuries" like city libraries. I am not talking about "welfare" as you put it."

I didn't call it welfare. I called it robbery, and if that's what it takes to "provide services", then your services should damn well remain unprovided.

"…turn over the former area of the City of Detroit to some other entity."

Yes, I agree. That was my idea, to turn Detroit over to the U.S. Military for immediate bombardment.

Dave

Saturday, September 21, 2013 at 7:52:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger BadTux said...

So, Underground, your solution appears to be Hitler's final solution, except applied to Detroit's population rather than to Jews. Interesting. Needless to say, I believe that "final solutions" of that sort are a moral atrocity and cannot agree. Even if you believe that a certain population are untermenschen of no economic value, exterminating them like cockroaches cannot be morally countenanced.

Noone, the health care benefits certainly need to be dumped for Medicare-eligible retirees, and revisited for the non-Medicare-eligible due to Obamacare now being available. That said, even if you dump the health care benefits the long term prognosis for maintaining the pension fund short of turning it over to another entity are grim because there simply aren't enough taxpayers left in Detroit to fund all the retirees and future retirees who have been promised benefits.

But in the end we have a blunt prognosis here: The City of Detroit as currently constituted is dead. It lacks the tax base to provide the basic services that give a city government its reason for existing, i.e., water, sewer, streets, police, and fire. If it can't provide those, it has no purpose and needs to be dissolved. If it were a private business it would be forcibly disincorporated in Chapter 13 bankruptcy and its assets would be divided among the various creditors or successors. In the case of the City of Detroit disincorporating, jurisdiction over the geographical territory of the current city would fall to Wayne County, which is responsible for all unincorporated areas within Wayne County and which would then become responsible for providing those public safety services in the newly-unincorporated area that governments exist to provide. Even rural areas require government to provide basic services like roads. If a government can't do that, it has no reason to exist, and its area needs to be turned over to its encompassing government, much as has happened many times here in the West when towns declined to the point of not being able to provide public services, disincorporated, and their area became the responsibility of the surrounding county.

Saturday, September 21, 2013 at 9:09:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger no one said...

BT, there is still the problem of the quasi human residents of the city. WE have special forces officers - one Lt Col that I know of and several more that I have read about - that command US troops to commit My Lai type atrocities in Afghanistan. Why not just bring those guys back to the states and fund them to do the same here. Let loose with some JDAMs and shoot down the survivors. A 9mm bullet to the head for any that are still kicking. This is what special forces are these days and this is what we export in the name of America. So let's take a spoonful of our own medicine.

I am sick of sanctimonious do gooder bullshit and lofty idealism. It's hypocrisy. A do gooder is just someone who can sell an ideal by skipping over the unpleasant details like JDAMs meeting villages full of women and children and bullets meeting heads.

Bullets to the head are *the* reason govt's exist (taxing the workers being the second), all lofty ivory tower idealism aside. No? Why do governments have all of the biggest and best guns? Why do they use them so frequently and get away with it?

Saturday, September 21, 2013 at 10:31:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger no one said...

Forget I said that. I'm just a pissed off parent. More pissed off than ever now that I have learned what the problem is - it's cause. Jim you will understand the reference and I appreciate that you are not some milpub tin soldier wonk. I have heard the stories and seen the evidence now. Photos and other.

For everyone else, US special forces I'm sure live up to President Kennedy's highest ideals. They adhere to the Geneva Conventions and ROE at all times. They are only helping the Afghan people. They would never kill women and children. Anyone who says he participated in atrocities while under the command of US SF elements is probably confused by blast trauma/TBI or is just an outright liar.

So, so send in retired US SF guys and them apply Afghanistan techniques to Detroit any how. They can help the D's remaining residents just like they're helping the Afghans. They're govt and the govt is here to help, right?

That's all I was saying

Saturday, September 21, 2013 at 10:59:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Underground Carpenter said...

No One,

I like your thinking!

BadTux,

Until you're ready to start cracking heads and dropping bodies into mass graves, you don't really believe in Government. Are you one of those sonsabitch Republicans?

Dave

Sunday, September 22, 2013 at 5:15:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous jim at ranger said...

To all,
Every one ignores my previous comment on Windsor, Ont.
How can Detroit be so toasted and Windsor is thriving< especially when they are in mutually supporting distance?
Are they in different universes?
Are there not labor unions and retirement plans in Canada?
To me the cut is REAL UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE and not a phony insurance scam called Obamacare.
The govt health care makes the economy of Canada more competitive on the world market as the cost of care is not a union issue. The unions are not the problem, but rather a countries policies that can't or won't acknowledge this fact.
My previous posts suggest that we do nation building in Detroit and all US blighted cities.An alternative is to turn Detroit into a privatized, for profit prison with the current residents grandfathered in for life.

To No One,
I must agree about the SOF being corrupted by power and politics.
My question is as always-how are the lightening bolts on the SF patch any different than the bolts on the SS runes?
jim

Sunday, September 22, 2013 at 11:56:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger no one said...

Jim, I agree with your Windsor comment. Like I said upthread, there is a reason for Detroit to exist. I further agree that we should "nation build" in the D as opposed to BFE. It is a strategically located city. Even as one who works for a private for profit HC insurance company, I also agree that socialized healthcare is the way to go.

The problem at this point with the D is what to do with the now feral residents. Productive people are literally afraid to go into the city b/c of them. It is dangerous.

The problem with socialized medicine in this country is everyone wants everything in terms of services; even when the marginal benefits do not equal the costs And physicians and hospitals are big business. They are accustomed to big profits. American entitlement - those seeking services, physicians and payers - to be as greedy as possible is preventing the idea of socialized medicine from taking off here.

Sunday, September 22, 2013 at 1:24:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger BadTux said...

"No One", the reason Detroit is so dangerous is because the city can't afford a police department capable of restoring order because they lack a tax base to do so. As I noted, the city government has basically lost any reason to exist, since that's the most fundamental job of a city government -- to maintain public safety.

The population of Detroit is not 100% feral. There are a lot of retirees trapped there due to collapsed housing values, and a few stubborn souls who simply refuse to quit. There are also a lot of decent people who simply lack the education or skills to go anywhere else any better, but if we still hired Americans for menial jobs they would be perfectly capable of doing those. At most 10% of the population left in Detroit are gang bangers and criminals. Unfortunately that's all it takes to make a city uninhabitable in the absence of law enforcement.

As for the guy who states that the job of a government is to kill people, I'm baffled. I have lived in cities from sea to shining sea in the United States and have never lived in a city in the United States that has created mass graves of dead people. In all cities that I've lived in the job of the city government has been to provide street maintenance, police, fire, sewer, trash collection, and public libraries. If you live like a hermit in a cave and use burros as your transportation and use a hand-made bow and arrow as your weapon I guess you wouldn't need any of that, but note that even if you have a gun as self defense, that gun requires a large amount of industrial and commercial infrastructure for its creation, from the machine tools used to the steel used, all of which requires cities. And cities simply cannot exist as viable entities without the services that I note above. Without those services you get Mogadishu. Or Detroit.

Sunday, September 22, 2013 at 1:37:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger no one said...

BT, try not paying your taxes b/c you do not wish to fund an illegal, stupid, immoral war. Be public about it (a la Thoreau). Suddenly your friendly helpful govt will be neither. Be too loud about it and they will definitely put you in a hole. You, like so many, are seeing gov't as good and helpful b/c you are willing to be complicit in the evil it does. I don't blame you, but let's be honest. Heck, even some of the Wall st protesters got their heads cracked. For what? Speaking out. You go along to get along and all is fine. The purpose of govt is to keep us proles doing exactly that.

Sunday, September 22, 2013 at 3:51:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger no one said...

more...I think that governments always do evil in the name of keeping the people safe. Even Hitler was merely protecting Germany from internal and external threats. I would say that it is cowards that need govt the most.

As for society falling apart w/o govt, I doubt it. Maybe the modern unnatural megalopolis, like NYC, but certainly not most of the country. I am pretty sure that where I live life would go on quite as it is if all govt dissolved. We would not be killing and raping each other. We would pool money, talent and other resources to make repairs and keep things going. You are trying to make excuses for the feral residents of the D by suggesting that w/o govt that's how life would be. No. That's how a bunch of angry, over entitled, progeny of a piss poor culture turn out, govt or no govt. There was plenty of govt when they burned the city down in the 60s. These people are incorrigible.

Sunday, September 22, 2013 at 4:06:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger no one said...

one more, "city in the United States that has created mass graves of dead people."

That is b/c, like jobs, we also export violence. If you had been in VN, Iraq or Afghanistan, you'd have seen plenty of mass graves full of people that would not go along to get along with our govt.

Don't worry, it'll be coming to a city near you soon; I'd say 20 years tops.

Sunday, September 22, 2013 at 4:17:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger BadTux said...

NO, I am talking about city / county government here, not the Federal government. I am baffled as to how we got from the City of Detroit to My Lai.

Thinking about the difference between Windsor and Detroit, two things come to mind:

1) Race. During WW2 large numbers of Southern blacks migrated to Detroit to work in the war factories. That did not happen in Windsor for obvious reasons. The large number of Southern blacks was not a problem until school and housing desegregation laws in the 1960's and early to mid 1970's, which in turn caused white flight, which in turn caused the tax base to collapse, which in turn caused services to collapse and the city to become unsafe, which in turn caused even the black middle class to largely flee the city, which in turn caused the tax base to collapse even further, until the downward spiral could not be stopped because the city had ceased to be a viable entity. Windsor never experienced this cycle because Windsor never had a large black population. Windsor currently has around 8,000 black residents out of around 210,000 total residents.

2) A difference in attitudes regarding the responsibilities and duties of government. America is beholden to the cult of rugged individualism, which holds that each of us is a rugged individualist who doesn't need others and government is thus just an imposition and the sole thing government should strive for is low taxes. Canada has never possessed such a cult, in Canada government exists to provide services to the residents and while nobody likes taxes, Canadians are willing to tax themselves to provide the services that they desire. This has clear implications when talking about public safety and maintaining a safe city. If you are a member of the cult of rugged individualism, you will sneer at the notion that police forces exist to maintain public order and instead view them as occupying armies that are just an imposition, and you will be unwilling to pay taxes to support police forces. If you are a Canadian, you expect police forces to serve the general public and view them as necessary in order to maintain public order, and you will be willing to pay taxes to support police forces. If you look at per-capita sworn officers Detroit actually has more police officers per 1,000 population than Windsor, but they are patrolling a city that is ten times the size of Windsor and would require twice as many officers to have the same number of officers per square mile as Windsor.

3) Which brings up one last issue: Simple size. Windsor has suffered with the collapse of Detroit -- they've lost roughly 10,000 residents over the past ten years -- but Windsor was never particularly large to begin with. A city of 220,000 people is simply easier to govern than a city of 1.8 million people, which is what Detroit's population was in the 1950's.

If you want a more apt comparison, compare the fates of Detroit and Chicago. Detroit and Chicago both peaked in the 1950's. Both suffered severe population loss to the suburbs due to white flight after desegregation. Yet Chicago has stabilized at around 2.7 million (down from 3.6 million in the 50's) and in fact its population is now slowly inching upwards again. What was the big difference between the two? But that's a subject for a blog posting in and of itself...

Sunday, September 22, 2013 at 4:32:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger no one said...

RE your point 1. Not really about desegregation as you want it to be. You consistently overlook the impact on white perception as a result of the riots of 67/68. The city was burned. Blacks expressed a murderous hatred of whites and a general incendiary insanity. You cannot downplay the effect that had psychologically and physically (the burnt out buildings, ect). Whites, quite reasonably, did not want to invest or live among a bunch of savages that could go all ape shit all over again.

re your point 2. a)Canadians tend to tax themselves to better their own society. Americans tax themselves to engage in imperialism that benefits very few. Americans don't like taxes b/c taxes are used to further a gigantic military industrial complex. b) Canada is a more homogenous culture. To the extent that there minorities, the minorities are Asians who value education and work hard. The US has minorities, yes blacks, that do not value education and do have decent values generally and often lean toward the criminal and welfare as opposed to hard work. Again, it is not taxes per se that are at issue. It is what is done with taxes. I will reiterate that the D's school system is one of the best funded in the nation; yet it produces illiterates. No one wants to pay taxes to help "the other"; especially when the other is a disinterested fuck up criminal that hates you and demands more.

3)I think the difference between Chicago and Detroit would make for an interesting study. I am guessing the answer would ultimately get back to post riot psychology. Also, I think there is a difference complexion in the people sitting in governance of the two cities.



Sunday, September 22, 2013 at 5:04:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger no one said...

"NO, I am talking about city / county government here, not the Federal government. I am baffled as to how we got from the City of Detroit to My Lai. "

Beware.Increasingly, the federal govt exercises control over local govt. This is something lefties like the idea of, but it is very dangerous.

Sunday, September 22, 2013 at 5:06:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger no one said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decline_of_Detroit

I think it's a pretty good article

Sunday, September 22, 2013 at 5:27:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Underground Carpenter said...

No One, I'm enjoying your comments, immensely. Whiney-ass government-lovers like BT are what is wrong with this country. I wish he'd go live with his 47-percent homies. Yo!

Do State-Lovers ever gnaw their knuckles in the still watches of the night over why their idea of "Good" needs to be enforced with swat raids, militarized police, and constant war? And that all this "enforcement" requires even more robbery? "We" "willingly" tolerate taxes BT? You'll have to speak for yourself on that one.

I'm more and more appreciating Thomas Jefferson's love of the agrarian lifestyle. He warned that populations concentrated in cities would naturally lead to tyranny. See, BT, I've read a little history too. Horses don't need paved roads, and people willing to defend themselves have absolutely no need for police. As for the need for a national army, I'm hard-pressed to think of one successful invasion of a country. IED's, snipers, and ideas, eventually wear down even the most sophisticated military.

Dave

Sunday, September 22, 2013 at 8:01:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger BadTux said...

I find it entertaining that someone would espouse the notion that the agrarian life is the way to go via using a technological product that required millions of people in major metropolitan areas around the world to design and produce. It's so... what's that word?

Same deal with noting that a government losing its ability to maintain public safety due to declining tax base caused Detroit's decline, while at the same time claiming that government is not necessary in order to maintain public safety in a major metropolitan area. People capable of holding two contradictory ideas in their head are entertaining to point and laugh at, but I must admit impossible to have a discussion with.

BTW, if someone points out to me any city, anywhere on this planet, which manages to be as safe as say New York City without any government, I'll dismiss my silly notion that government is needed in order to maintain public safety in cities. Until then... well. What can I say. It's all speculation and hand-waving until then, and I'm a practical kinda guy. A practical kinda guy who has been a manufacturing engineer in the computer business and knows exactly how many cities were involved in making that computer that you're reading this with. And gosh darn, *all* of them have a metropolitan government maintaining public safety in them! What's the odds?!

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Sunday, September 22, 2013 at 9:23:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Underground Carpenter said...

BadTux,

I'm a construction worker, and not at all unaccustomed to rude people and the give-and-take of insults. But I grow weary.

You're a mean-spirited, ignorant, bigoted redneck with a fragile self-esteem and a shallow and pitiable understanding of the world around you. You should brood about your ignorance, not wallow in it.

I'll leave you to your pointing and laughing. I prefer quietly asking and answering in turn.

Dave

Monday, September 23, 2013 at 5:50:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous jim at ranger said...

Dave/UC.
You point out a dichotomy that has existed since day 1 in the USA.
It's the Jeffersonians vs the Hamiltonians AND IT'S STILL PLAYING OUT every day in our lives.
What's going on with the budget is a fine example. The NRA 2nd amendment argument hinges on this nexus.
We can't be both and there is little perception of middle ground.
BT,
If you read magazines which i do as cultural awareness there is a distinct back to farm and natural movement in the vaterland. Some folks even espouse regionalism and simpler life styles. IE pastoralism. Other mags are about big asses and shaking their booty. I choose the pastoralism as i live on 60 acres.

To all,
Let's put this to the bottom line.
We are all niggers and government will flush all of us as they did Detroit, if and when thay feel the need.
I don't know why but i always think of the movie-ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK
when i think of D. Omega man also fits the bill.
jim

Monday, September 23, 2013 at 7:37:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Underground Carpenter said...

Jim,

I'm a dreamer. Why can't we have it all? Horses and farms, computers and hi-def TeeVees, freedom and prosperity.

Why does it come down to a choice between Escape From New York and Little House on the Prairie?

Dave

Monday, September 23, 2013 at 9:06:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger BadTux said...

Why can't we have it all? Horses and farms, computers and hi-def TeeVees,

Because reality doesn't work that way. It took roughly 500,000,000 people and several gigawatts of energy to mine the steel, smelt the steel, drill for the natural gas, catalyze the natural gas into plastics, mine the silica, smelt the silica into silicon wafers, process the wafers, design circuit boards and circuits, etc. that went into your personal computer. This activity was taking place on three continents and probably fifteen nations in thousands of factories and refineries and R&D facilities each of which employed thousands of people. The complexity of building a personal computer is what caused the Soviet Union's creaky Communist system to entirely collapse, because it simply wasn't capable of handling such a complex task and thus was unable to compete in the Information Age. The same applies to a nation of horses and small farms. Dreaming is nice, but it has to be related to the actual reality we live in, not some imaginary reality of pink unicorns and cotton candy trees.

freedom and prosperity.

Other nations are managing it. Why isn't it happening in the United States? That is our assignment to find and fix. False dichotomies (see next) are not helpful to that.


Why does it come down to a choice between Escape From New York and Little House on the Prairie?


False dichotomy. Look up "New Urbanism". Where it has been tried, even here in the United States, it has worked. Unfortunately because it's one of them high-falutin' furriner idears and worse yet emphasizes walkable / livable cities rather than miles upon miles of sterile soulless suburbs (and Americans do worship their cars and hate to walk), it hasn't been tried in many places here in the United States other than in small and crippled versions or in legacy cities like New York City and San Francisco where geography pretty much enforced it. So it goes.

-BT

Monday, September 23, 2013 at 10:30:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Because reality doesn't work that way. It took roughly 500,000,000 people and several gigawatts of energy to mine the steel, smelt the steel, drill for the natural gas, catalyze the natural gas into plastics, mine the silica, smelt the silica into silicon wafers, process the wafers, design circuit boards and circuits, etc..."

So are you saying that it is just a feature of modern life that many of us are doomed to lives as mindless drones working away our lives in a grey and mechanical ways for low pay, like beasts of burden, b/c society is hungry for more fancy comfort enhancing gizmos? B/c society needs more, more, more and faster and cheaper please?

I think what you described is exactly THE PROBLEM. There is no way to pay all of these beasts of burden a reasonable wage or for them to live lives harmonious with nature and fellow man b/c if you did a laptop would cost $12,000or more and just about nobody could afford it. So we go searching about the globe for more cheaper beasts and we discard the old ones (e.g. Detroiters) like broke down race horses.

When I go to NYC I always find myself wondering exactly what all these people do. What value do they create? What do they produce that I need? Financial instruments? Feh. OR, mostly, service the creators of financial instruments and the beast masters? Feh again. And the beast masters fight each for a bigger share. That is their nature.

Jim's bottom line is right on target.

A few of us might find a way to opt out, mostly. That's the best we can do. Take care of ourselves and ours.

This is one reason I am so anti-govt. Govt is there to keep the gears of the machine running, the machine that lives on the flesh and souls of the people.

no one

Monday, September 23, 2013 at 11:49:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger BadTux said...

"mindless drones working away our lives in a grey and mechanical ways for low pay"

I dunno, I don't feel like I'm a mindless drone, my work is far from mechanical, and certainly am not receiving low pay. Uhm, yes, I design computer systems for a living.

The reality is that technology requires capitalism and cities because nothing else thus far has been able to marshal the resources to accomplish technology. Without technology you end up spending the majority of your life too cold or too hot while doing backbreaking mechanical chores required for cultivating crops and dying early of preventable diseases while living under conditions of filth and squalor that typified life before modern technology. The myth of the noble savage living in a pre-technology paradise is just that -- a myth. The reality was far less pleasant, as the rows of tiny graves in my family cemetery from the pre-20th century era attests. Running hot water alone IMHO justifies technological society -- when I get back from a couple of weeks in the outback living rough the first thing I do is spend a half hour luxuriating under the shower head. It takes doing without it for a couple of weeks to realize just how nice having running hot water (and indoor plumbing period) is. Squatting over a cathole in 20 degree weather to take a dump effin' sucks. Just sayin'.

You can't have one (technology) without the other (cities, factories, etc.). Reality just doesn't work that way. Reality simply *is*, in the end. The fundamental laws of physics, which require certain concentrations of energy to perform certain tasks, are not amenable to wishful thinking no matter how agrarian back to earth types feel about it. (And yes, I remember the *first* back-to-earth movement in the early 70's, that didn't exactly work out so well).

Monday, September 23, 2013 at 1:51:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BT, I'm not arguing with you, I'm just thinking out loud with you.

"The reality is that technology requires capitalism"

I'll go along with that. But then we have to also accept that capital has certain requirements too and the results of meeting those requirements can be quite ugly. In fact, they are what good liberals like yourself often get upset about.

I may be misremembering (it may have been a different liberal), but I think we got into it a while ago b/c I was saying that unions were asking for too much and thus helped kill US industry and you defended the unions, high wages, etc.

Well the law of capital is to seek the highest returns possible and if low wage workers can be found they will replace high wage ones. Your much lauded technology has made it possible to pursue cheap resources all over the globe.

That is just one of those realities that, as you say, we have to accept.

It seems to me that a lot of people are going to get screwed in a technology based society just as they would in an agrarian society. As Jim says, we are all n......, those of us commenting round these parts any how.

A rising tide is supposed to lift all boats, I know. The residents of the D or some West VA coal mining town would have a different outlook.

That's why a music form called the "Blues" was invented.

no one

Monday, September 23, 2013 at 3:18:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, I note an attitude that has irked me since the gulf war when a bunch of protesters were going around with "no war for oil" bumber stickers on their volvos.

You work in a energy burning nice climate controlled environment as a probably fairly well paid white collar guy. Good for you. But you seem to be ok knowing that there are other parts of the machine that must be fed by folks breaking their backs in the mines.

So what is this liberalism any how? I got my nice tasty latte and life is good b/c $0.25 of the purchase was donated to "help" some third world dead enders that grow the coffee beans?

I mean, that's cool if that's what it is. I'm just looking for a little honesty in all of these discussions.

no one

no one

Monday, September 23, 2013 at 3:29:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous mike said...

Jim -

You are right on about Windsor, Ontario. We should have adopted a government run real universal healthcare system like you mention Canada has. It is not just a union issue. It would make all of our corporations more competitive whether or not they are unionized. Now many of those corporations pay for their employees health insurance or heavily subsidize them. That is a huge expense that foreign corporations do not have and gives them a huge advantage. But you know the reasons why we did not.

I love having Medicare, but why should it only be available to seniors like me and the disabled. Shouldn't we be taking medical care of the workers among us? They are the important ones who need to be kept healthy. The carpenters and manufacturing engineers like U/C and B/T commenting here on your blog should get as good or better free medical care than me. The same goes for children and students. We need to keep them healthy to ensure our future. An old retired fart like me who may kick the bucket anytime soon anyway should be at the back of the line when it comes to health care.

I also think there are other competitive advantages that Windsor has over Detroit. Their Parliament in Ottawa is not in the business of giving Canadian corporations huge tax breaks if they move their businesses offshore like Washington does. And I have never heard of Canadian provincial governments trying to convince businesses to move to a different province. Our state governors seem to spend half their time stealing another states business or trying to convince businesses to not jump ship.

As for the SF/SS comparison, I think you are off the rails on that one. I never liked you green beret types when I was a dumb-ass Pfc. And I used to call you guys 'effing' snake-eaters and 'ckskng' primadonnas and many worse names than that. But never ever would I have compared you to Himmler and his Juden burners.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 9:09:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger no one said...

HI Mike, I brought up the SF thing b/c the stories coming out of Afghanistan are not good. Prince Harry himself has complained about personally witnessing US SF troops gunning down unarmed shepherds. The Afghanis have complained about US SF doing snatch and grabs with the end result being bodies later being dug up in mass graves just outside the SF wire. Finally, someone I care about and is suffering from PTSD has explained to me that under the command of a SF Lt Col. they JDAMmed a village and then shot down all of the civilians that came running out. Coup de grace of a 9mm bullet to the head for any still gurgling or thrashing by the Lt Col himself. These were men, women and children. This b/c the Lt Col was annoyed with cont. Taliban activity in that sector.

Could be some rogues and I am not making a sweeping statement re; SF, but I would say a pattern is beginning to emerge.

Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 12:35:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous jim at ranger said...

Mike,
You misunderstand.
I am not saying that we are like himmlers men.I'm saying that using the same heraldry is very confusing to my old sf brain.
Why are lightening bolts on my uniform different than theirs. Why does jsoc have an assasins knife on their patch?
Is this what we're about? Heraldry defines the basis of what the unit is all about.
I used to be proud of wearing the macvsog deaths head on my uniform, but now it doesn't strike me as sooooo cute. When was a heart or mind ever won by such bullshit?
jim

Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 6:23:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous mike said...

Jim -

You are right of course. But is it a sign of the times? I see kids - junior highschoolers - wearing Tshirts with death heads, young girls wearing vampire adorned tanktops. One youngster this morning had a girl's skull with long blonde ringlets... What does that signify to his mother or sisters? I would not be surprised if he ended up as another Ted Bundy. The shoulder patches in the military are all tame by comparison.

no one: War crimes by Americans are prosecuted. If you really care this supposed witness of a war crime then you should get him to turn in the perpetrator. And if his military chain of command ignores it or has already ignored it then he should keep trying. Report it by naming names to his Congressman, and to the press if that does not work. If he refuses then he is an accessory to the war crime and is just as guilty as the perp.

Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 10:33:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger no one said...

Mike,

Like Abu Graib? Maybe, but only after they can't keep a lid on it and there's public outrage.


You should enjoy your retirement and assume I am some bullshit artist on the internet.

Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 11:12:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous jim at ranger said...

Mike,
The difference in our examples are significant.
To hell with the kids as my taxes don't pay for their outlandish , inappropriate clothes. They are not sworn to uphold the Constitution and the laws of land warfare.
How can SF say with a straight face- we liberate from oppression when we rely of symbols of oppression?
If you go back to the early days of the Afgh incursion and look at the J W Lindh case there were a lot of photographic evidence of mass killings of Taliban by our paid war lord allies, and there were indications that SF/CIA shooters were involved. Nobody=NOBODY investigated that rat screw job.
Now having said that i'd think that with the profusion of mini digital cameras there'd be at least one photo evidence of a illegal shooting. This is no longer the old USMC where every platoon has a photographer. Now all soldiers are photogs.
Personally i see any real shooting as insignificant when one considers the magnitude and extent of the illegality of the entire PWOT.IMO all the combat and related deaths were criminal.
How did any Talib death make us any safer?
Well we're back at square 1.
Thanks for commenting as i always enjoy hearing from u.
jim

Friday, September 27, 2013 at 7:47:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous jim at ranger said...

No one,
There are a lot of times in the military when the choices are between bad and worse bad.
We all have those things chewing on our asses, and they NEVER leave us.
Whatever we do we lose.
What a great bit of consolation.!
jim

Friday, September 27, 2013 at 7:51:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger no one said...

"....we liberate from oppression when we rely of symbols of oppression?"

Right. And the tactics of oppression.

I have never had to make those choices, but I can even see myself going all heart of darkness under certain circumstances; maybe even the same circumstances facing the SF Lt col. Who knows until they're there?

But it gets back to the old adage from VN, destroying the village to save it. Torturing to gain intel b/c we need to stop terrorists.

JDAM a village and gun down the survivors or drones firing missiles into wedding parties. One is a war crime and the other is not?

I guess it takes an unusual faith to navigate through all of this and still perceive oneself as a liberator.





Friday, September 27, 2013 at 9:56:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Underground Carpenter said...

Jim and Lisa,

I think this is the best comment thread in the history of the Innertubes. Ya got everything from a whiny liberal to a bomb-throwing anarchist! Carry on. I'm hanging on every word.

Dave

Friday, September 27, 2013 at 10:33:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous mike said...

"How did any Talib death make us any safer?"

Don't ask me to try to justify it Jim. I am not for killing Talibs. The only thing that does is help their enemy Iran, and p*ss off their friends in Pakistan, and create more Talibs.

As far as the kids, maybe you are right. But some of those same kids have ended up in uniform.

Friday, September 27, 2013 at 7:54:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous mike said...

Abu Ghraib? America's shame!

The hero of Abu Ghraib was aa Army reservist Sgt by the name of Joe Darby. He brought the torture to the attention of Army CID. The investigation started before the press knew about it. The press was informed by the Army that an investigation was underway and then they jumped all over it pretending they were breaking a cover-up.

Joe Darby is a hero. Anyone who witnesses a crime whether in wartime or in peace should report it. PTSD or no.

Friday, September 27, 2013 at 9:17:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Brooklyn Red Leg said...

Ya got everything from a whiny liberal to a bomb-throwing anarchist!

No such animal as a bomb-throwing anarchist since the basis for Anarchism is generally recognized as The Non-Aggression Axiom. And anyway, there is at least some hope for Detroit in the form of genuine Free Market alternatives to the usual Statist drek:

http://youtu.be/HnPZ1yuoFIc

Friday, September 27, 2013 at 11:02:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Underground Carpenter said...

BRL,

Literally, you're right. Anarchy just means freedom.

Metaphorically, Anarchy is a bomb thrown at the idea that government is good and necessary.

Dave

Saturday, September 28, 2013 at 5:40:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous jim at ranger said...

no one.
Think Phoenix in RVN.
A CIA project to kill CIVILIAN targets based on VN intel carried out bu PRU's under command of SF personnel detailed for duty with the agency.
One of these men became my branch manager when i transitioned to series 18 and he is retired and revered in the community.
They were killing civilians.
When the OSS in ww2 killed civilians in France they used intel provided by the underground. And who was the underground??? Yep they were commies , so we insured that monarchist etc were removed from the equation.
Bottom line= we kill civilians when we fight our wars whether targeted or colaterally.
jim

Saturday, September 28, 2013 at 6:59:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Dear UC,

What a grand comment! You have deftly recognized RAW's Alpha and Omega ... a fine menagerie, no? :)

Saturday, September 28, 2013 at 7:22:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger no one said...

I hear you Jim. It doesn't seem to make it easier for some of those tasked with the killing, "well, that's how it always is". It's not what they talk about in ROTC in or the recruiting enticements.

In Afghanistan you've got local disputes being settled by one side naming the other as an insurgent/insurgent supporter. The accused is snatched in the middle of the night By US troops and Afghan commandos and gets beaten to death in an alleged effort to get him to talk. No intel is gained, but the ANA boss gets to keep the victim's pick up truck.

Taking a step back from the impact on troops that have to do this shit work. HOW IS THIS A WAY TO WIN A WAR OF HEARTS AND MINDS? I know I'm preaching to the quire so time to shut up already. It does irritate that some people think the US doesn't operate that way. Maybe if they understood there'd be more resistance to getting involved in the first place when the fight is not existential.



Saturday, September 28, 2013 at 1:53:00 PM GMT-5  

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