RANGER AGAINST WAR: Cleveland and the RNC, 2016 <

Friday, May 13, 2016

Cleveland and the RNC, 2016

The ocean is a desert with it's life underground
And a perfect disguise above
Under the cities lies a heart made of ground
But the humans will give no love 
--A Horse With No Name, 
  You take your world
and I'll take mine 
--On the Road

When they're beset and besieged
The folk not noblessly obliged
However do they manage to shed their weary lot?
Oh, what do simple folk do, that we do not? 
--What Do Simple Folk Do? 

Why is the Republican party holding its convention in Cleveland, a former staunchly working middle-class, pro-union city (when there were factories in which unions could operate)? Née "Best Location in the Nation", may she R.I.P.

Dare any delegates walk the inner cities to meet-and-greet the locals on their home turf, a dicey proposition by day, a free-fire zone at night? The Cleveland of Ranger's youth is gone (though walking many streets still required carrying a baseball bat even then, if one were smart about it.) But life has proceeded well beyond those halcyon days.

Ranger reckons the contingent won't venture beyond the Green Zone, i.e., a highly-secured convention center. Despite peeps of "gentrification" not everyone's feeling the craft food and beer boom outside of that cordon; not by a long chalk.

There's still no groceries or urban-sized chain stores downtown as there are in other gentrifying areas, the true signs of a living urban area. The cameras will show a few blocks of Tower City, and mostly before dark, and they'll call it all good.

However, if one Googles the search words "safe" + "Cleveland", one won't gain much heart. The best advice is to stay at The Renaissance, from which you can go to Tower City "and you don't even have to go outside." 

The winner for most optimistic online comment was, "Cleveland is much safer than Detroit". Well okay, then.

The water is poor, but surely the conventioneers will be drinking only bottled from their room bar. And on this account Ranger would add his own hopeful slogan, "Cleveland -- at least we're not Flint." So there's that.

Does either party have a plan to renovate and reinvigorate this once-proud, now decaying Rust Belt city? Will the indigenous be a protest presence? Probably not, knowing the history of trigger-happy police, and the enervated condition of too many in the blighted zones who begin drinking their morning Ripple out of bags on their sagging front porches before noon.

If Ranger were to operate as presumptive nominee Trump's George Stephanopoulis, he would suggest the following as must-do's, cameras in tow:
Secure some armored-up Humvees from party diehards and enter those off-limit zones, the neighborhoods of Ranger's young adulthood. Have Mr.Trump flanked by both locals with concealed-carry permits and a police escort, but have the latter be as inconspicuous as possible.
Mr. Trump should breach the forward operating bases (FOBs) of the city, the places where your talking heads will not. He should wear a Kevlar vest, not because he is a white Republican male, but simply because he is a human moving target.
For some down-home feel-good moments, the Trump party should stop at the Slovenian Home on 185th in honor of his wife's heritage.  Moreover, since he missed a lot on his recent trip to the Old Country, he should eat some cabbage rolls at the American-Croation Lodge on Lakeshore Blvd.

After a good meal, the cortege could re-enter The Zone (any zone) and disburse needful things like Pampers, bottled water and Apple Jack as a goodwill gesture. A sort of Clintonian, "I feel your pain" (a la monsieur, not madame.)
A la Reagan to Gorbachev, Ranger says, "Leave that Green Zone, Mr. Trump, and offer something real and constructive." Please highlight the results of 60 years of robust Civil Rights legislation. 

Anything will be a start.

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Blogger Ael said...

I agree. The people of Cleveland are Americans and deserve an equal place at the table.

However, their traditional place being the sucker at the poker game seems unlikely to change.

What changes do you think could be made to allow them to get a fair shake?

Is the Black Lives Matter movement a fruitful approach, or is there a better way for them to jostle their way to the middle of the bus?

Friday, May 13, 2016 at 10:46:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

this essay is not about black lives, but all the American lives in Cleveland.
actually i have no solutions, but i'd start with pulling out of foreign alliances, pull my military back to Conus,and disolve the security state.
no more nation building except at home.
Thats the beginning, but we're too far gone for reality to be addressed.

Friday, May 13, 2016 at 11:06:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Ael said...

Sorry, I was unclear. I didn't mean to suggest that you were only talking about black lives. I simply was asking about the "Black Lives Matter" approach to solving problems of inequity and if it was appropriate to generalize it to the larger problem faced by Cleveland.

I further agree that radially shrinking the so-called "defence" budget would be an excellent place to start.

Beyond that it might be useful to change the way schools are paid for. In my province we had a right wing politician who decided to take over school funding. He changed the law so that all school taxes went directly to the province. The province then paid school boards a set amount per student (plus extras if they were rural, or had special needs programs, etc). Upper middle class parents made it it political suicide to let the province reduce funding for their kids below a certain level and the lower class (and rural) kids got decent funding at their schools (even though they had neither the wealth or population density to properly fund their schools themselves).

This caused outrage, but an interesting thing happened. It greatly levelled the playing fields between towns. Instead of having certain districts where it was ok to send your kids and other districts where it was to be avoided at all costs, public schools all generally operated at the same level. This really helped equalize chances for kids who wanted to get into (and succeed at) post-secondary college or technical schools

Friday, May 13, 2016 at 11:58:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

what a bummer. i did a long reply to your question, and it disappeared.
i will do it again later as a post.
so sorry , and thanks for staying on board.
it helps me to organize my thoughts.
fwiw - i live in a white right wing town with a black left wing majority.
in the 2000 election we had a 12.5% failure rate at the national election due to the educational level. the folks just couldn't understand the ballot.WHY DO I MENTION THIS? because if they were better educated GWB would not have carried florida.
the rest of fl averaged 2.5% failure at the ballot.
so education is important.(per your cmts on right wingers)

Friday, May 13, 2016 at 12:26:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim. Great essay. Here in upstate NY the situation is the same. All along the I-90/Erie canal corridor, from Buffalo to Albany,nothing but decaying infrastructure and abandoned reminders of what was once a booming economy. Some of the towns, like Utica and Amsterdam, have become ghettos; dumping grounds for the hopelessly lost of NY City. The Big Apple ships them out to these ghettos because it's easier to provide section 8 housing there than in the city. Ghettos, crack, heroin, welfare and glaring abject hopelessness. All in the shadows of now silent and crumbling huge factories.

I have no idea how these people are saved. Education? Sure, by why would they bother to absorb it? What would they do with it post graduation? There are vicious circles at work. To support these people now, today, taxes have to be raised. Higher taxes means business leaves the state, which in turn means yet higher taxes for business that stays....and so on. NY can't keep business, let alone encourage new business. As the prospect of meaningful employment becomes more bleak, the desire to consume education further decreases. With the drugs and booze and criminal activity and resulting arrest records, the hope of gainful employment in the future diminishes to about zero.

So I'm with you. Stop spending federal $s outside the country and spend them here in correctly targeted ways - education being one. Bring industry back. I hope Trump is serious about these things.


Saturday, May 14, 2016 at 11:03:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Ael said...

Well, to be fair, businesses are motivated by making money rather that taxes per se. Thus, if there is profit to be made they will continue to operate in higher tax areas. Next, there is the idea that manufacturing jobs are "good" jobs. This is true, largely because they are union jobs (and therefore have to power to ensure that their members get a living wages.

Policy planners need to ensure that business will still make money while they pay their employees living wages. This will inevitably mean a redistribution of income away the very rich towards the rest of society. The logical tool to use is tax policy and if you look at most other rich countries, there are ways to accomplish this successfully.

Saturday, May 14, 2016 at 11:24:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous David Vogt said...

I won't dispute the suggestion that the U.S. is wasting money on foreign adventures while leaving a growing proportion of its own citizenry high and dry.

However, I think anyone who believes Donald Trump is even part of the answer to this is being farcically naive.

I'm not saying Hillary Clinton is necessarily a better choice, just that when one of your country's two choices for President is a reality show celebrity blowhard, speaking strictly as an outsider here, one begins to have grave doubts about the viability of America.

Saturday, May 14, 2016 at 11:49:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

David Vogt, You could well be correct about Trump; though I'd add that he is a successful business man too. However, we already know that Clinton will bring us more of what we have now. It started with her hubby and has continued unabated. And, really, other than being married to Bill, what is Hillary's experience? A screwed up tour as Sec State and a brief stint as a Senator. Her biggest qualification seems to be that she is a woman and the social justice revolution demands that, having had our first gay and black in the WH, we now need our first woman there too. I don't see her as being good for anything except more social taboo breaking and more ill conceived foreign adventurism.

Maybe we're just plain screwed and it's going to be civil war 2 in 2017


Saturday, May 14, 2016 at 4:01:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

my essay has nothing to do with Trump, except my comment on Slovenian food , which i love.
i do not think that any candidate to include Bernie is worth a bucket of warm spit.
elections didn't help RVN/IRQ or any other place lately.
why should we be so dumb as to think either candidate (Any candidate) will make a difference?.
the more i live the more i realize that our way of life is a ponzy scheme, and that we exist for the state and not the opposite.
to me i think that our government is the finest example of white collar crime that anyone could concieve.the mafia has more scruples.all our leaders screw the working man. i say again=ALL.
sorry that i wasn't clear in the essay.
i'll work on that.
i plan some more meanderings on the topic of cleveland.
jim hruska/a cleveland indian

Sunday, May 15, 2016 at 2:09:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous David Vogt said...

Jim - Thanks for clarifying and sorry for misunderstanding. I think you're dead on. There are only 24 hours in the day. If you plan to fill most of them with meaningless PR work, that doesn't leave much room for changing anything meaningful, even if you planned to, which most people who succeed in politics don't, because they succeed by being good at PR work and backroom negotiation, not by having bright ideas. In the past it seems as though some leaders were occasionally able to rise above this. I don't see that happening anytime soon.

Avedis - I sympathize with your skepticism of Clinton, but I think you're deluded if you think Trump is going to bring you change, either positive or meaningful. Voting for him in the faint hope that he might break the system is simply voting for anarchy. And if there's civil war in 2017, it will be the Trumpists who start it, aka, cause more anarchy. (If only because the limit of left-wing vision nowadays is waving placards and organizing chants.) Our political systems in the West are badly dysfunctional, but if you think that by throwing a wrench into them you can magically make something better emerge, you're more than welcome to check out all the petrie dish experiments we're running doing just that in the Muslim world.

Perhaps I'm just a grumpy pessimist but I fail to see an empty-headed reality show celebrity as a meaningful alternative to what you call "more of the same." It sounds like a recipe either for collapse or for even more of the same.

Monday, May 16, 2016 at 10:55:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Ael said...

You are correct. It is a ponzi scheme.

Alas, it is the nature of the system. Ever since the first sustenance farmers started growing wheat ten thousand years ago, there have been clever grifters who promise favor of the gods, cure of disease or protection from evil humans. All these promises come at the cost of a share of the annual harvest. As farmers became better, more harvest inevitably lead to greater numbers of grifters till today, less than 2% are farmers.

And yet, by this definition, Archimedes, Leonardo da Vince and even Jethro Tull were all grifters. Their contributions have let the working man lead longer and healthier lives.

I guess the problem is the hideous inefficiency. For every Nichola Tesla, you have millions of leeches like Mrs. Stuyvesant Fish, sucking away the collective energy of society.

Monday, May 16, 2016 at 9:13:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just to clarify, I am not a proponent of civil war or war generally as a solution to anything. Not everyone agrees with me, though, and inflamed passions do what they do. So I'm just wondering how it is avoided given the trend.

Not do I see Trump as a likely savior. I do know that the trend is toward collapse. Therefore more of the same = collapse and Clinton = more of the same.

It's a case of Freedom = nothing left to lose. So roll the dice with Trump, IMO.


Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 9:02:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous David Vogt said...

Anonymous - There are many times in history where people in relatively affluent and stable societies decide that things have got so bad it's time to "roll the dice" by picking a leader who promises to completely break their existing government because there's "nothing left to lose."

These decisions rarely end well.

1920s Italy and 1930s Germany come to mind.

I have a foul taste in my mouth when I write things that endorse Hillary Clinton, because so far as I can tell she is a dishonest person who kowtows to economic elites and is more interested in packaging herself to win an election than she is in bringing fresh ideas to some very serious problems (in short, she is a very conventional politician). However, I'm going to have a very hard time taking your country seriously if you decide to elect a bigoted clown who is a card-carrying, lifetime member of the self-serving elites that are driving your country to destruction.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016 at 11:22:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

David, What country are you from? Does it not enforce its borders? Does it not catch and deport illegal aliens? Other than that, I am challenged to see how Trump is a bigot (other than just because the lefty media keeps repeating that he is).

IMO comparisons to Hitler, et al are a short cut to thinking. No one is trying to place Trump on an all powerful throne and suspend the Constitution - though I add that Obama has most definitely tried to achieve both and Hillary would probably continue the trend.

Agree though that it is a bad situation. We have Sanders, a socialist nut job who honeymooned in the Soviet Union at a time when the USSR was a nuclear armed enemy. He was there when kids, like me, were performing exercises like hiding under a desk at school in preparation for a nuclear attack. Worse was its history of killing millions of its own citizens for political reasons. So we know that "The Bern" is ok with dictatorship. No thanks.

Clinton, a self serving chameleon with very hawkish concepts of foreign policy. Her husband responsible for a lot of the job loss in the US. Print more money and spend. No thanks.

Trump, another odd ball personality to be sure, but not a member of the policy elite. Has demonstrated some success in business. Is at least talking the right way re; foreign policy. Unlike Clinton, he doesn't want to continue the re-establishment of the cold war (see Ukraine, support of jihadists to overthrow the Syrian govt, etc, etc). He talks the right way about domestic economy. Hell, he is the only one that seems to recognize that citizens want desperately employment opportunity as opposed to handouts. What's not to like? Oh yeah, he talks like a regular Joe (God forbid!). He doesn't want to have US jobs and taxes (welfare) going to more and more immigrants, illegal or otherwise. He worries about terrorists infiltrating the ranks of immigrants (what a crazy idea?). So the social justice warrior club doesn't like him because he doesn't want to give the country away just so we can feel virtuous about ourselves. Who cares?


Thursday, May 19, 2016 at 10:10:00 AM GMT-5  

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