Sunday, March 18, 2012

Detroit: Behemoth 'Motor City' Whale Fights for Its Life as Snyder's EM & Scavengers Circle

As the sea of concern and support is siphoned away by Grover Norquist & the Michissippian TeaPublican  militant minions (Michigan Tea Party Republican) made up of many of Michigan's ideological scavengers, the large and once awesome form of the 'whale' metaphorically called the "Motor City Behemoth" becomes clearly visible: gasping for air, suffering in its darkest hour, it's thick hide filled with scars, spears, broken harpoons with long and tangled lines, and wounds to defy description.

Detroit Public Assets: Stripping and Scavenging anything and everything of Value
(16th Cent. Woodcut Royal Maritime Museum)

The Behemoth ‘Motor City’ Whale Fights for Its Life in Grover Norquist’s Drained & Drying ‘No Tax’ Clawfoot Tub

Deprived of the ocean of support it needed to prosper and survive, the 'whale' has been purposefully, more and more cut-off from normal human concern. Dry-docked by years of political neglect and blame-speaking by Too Far Right Republicans from out-state and confined by the noose of competing suburban elites, the gigantic 'whale' is now being carved up. Its great hulk is crushed by predators and scavengers, desecrated and purposefully neglected by a strong and very angry, repriseful,  TeaPartisan led lock-stepped Michigan's state government--all four branches of which have chosen to let it die, as it were.

The growing stench is unbearable and Oh! the inhumanity of it all.

Republican Leadership Sees Advantage in Detroit City's Economic Implosion & Seeks to Lay the Blame on the role of Government and Democrats

Here's how Saul Anuzis seeks to dole out blame for the downfall of Detroit City. Unwilling to make his own personal statement of fact, Anuzis did so by forwarding to Republicans statewide this generic piece from a third source titled “Detroit Nears Bankruptcy.“:
"It's hard to think of many social experiments that have more disastrously failed. Now many of these once flourishing cities are hollowed out shells, while around them suburbs and increasingly exurbs flourish away from the deadening influence of urbanist politics. None of this affects the hold of progressive and urbanist ideology on true believers; if anything, they believe even more passionately in the cause."

“Obviously the problem is that we haven't spent enough on enough tenured teachers, haven't written enough new regulations and established enough new bureaus to enforce them, haven't published enough white papers by enough credentialed planners, haven't extracted enough taxes and provided enough services. If we could just tax the suburbs and exurbs more heavily and spend more of the money in the cities, all would be well." 

Source: "Detroit Nears Bankruptcy" in The American Interest, March 11, 2012.

So the downfall of the city falls on its current residents, both in Anuzis' ideological mindset and in terms of affected Detroiters, with an  inability to buck the system and rise above the withdrawal of elite support or to obtain  further financial commitment. Thus the crisis will be framed by harsh critics in terms of today's challenges. All relevant references to the lead-up, decades of systemic abandonment and Jim Crow shortcomings, will be dismissed as 'old history' or irrelevant. But such is NOT THE CASE.

The failure seen today is long-term failure, deliberate neglect, which has inhabited wrongful decisions made time and again by the powerful, not by the state’s  poor or the victims of cruel conservatism.  A working faction of opinion leaders and corporatists have for years opposed and undermined an effective collaboration and bi-partisan responsibility for such root causes of the great Detroit failures of industry, banking, real estate, religion, or state partisan politics.  As they allowed the core city Detroit to be undermined and eroded of its viability, things escalated to this danger point, made much worse by the G.W. Bush Great Recession. Yes, we may include the majority minority citizens, those who now dwell in the shell-shocked remnants of a once great and thriving city of commerce, the arts, and industry.  They do have a more minor role, but out of the negativity, unemployment, years of assistance and Jim Crow they were and are divided and confined to powerlessness. They have no status to pull the levers of intervention and lack the ability to tap the resources of investment and renewal other than their vote and personal efforts in community or houses of worship--wherever support can be gathered.

Just How Did Detroit's Supporting Tide Recede? It took years and in involved the deliberate abandonment of Detroit by key elements:

  • The need for manual labor, as during the auto boom years and the great wars, receded. Automation and foreign competition for superior product and the ravishes of overseas outsourcing have taken down the tide that floats us all in Michigan's world of automaking. One important and outstanding impact of the loss of auto related jobs is the loss of these well-paid jobs to men and women of color!
  • Businesses have fled the core city. Hudson's fled downtown in a final shoppers' collapse. GM retreated from its historic former headquarters to the more moated and in-crenelated waterfront - the former the Renaissance Center complex.
  • Urban grocery stores are now limited-service, often over-priced. Fresh fruits and vegetables are in limited, or non-existent supply.
  • Black and minority children are relegated to neglect and abandonment by a complex list of social and spiritual maladies.
  • The lack of adequate transportation for people confined to an urban area without personal transportation is daunting and a virtual impediment to jobs and getting to and from jobs on time.
  • The core of remaining corporations and heavy-hitter investors has marched retreat. Business Leaders for Michigan has gathered the shards of the former Detroit Renaissance into a very aggressive posture:  “We want the power and we are prepared to use state government to get that power and financial, physical control. There are assets we will take or remove from urban Detroit via our support and full participation in PA #4, the Emergency Manager scheme.” Two leading and important A list corporations illustrate the BLM's own internal instability: the exit of both Comerica and American Axle from Detroit.  And the B list is long.
  • Religious and sectarian forces  focused for decades around Dick & Betsy DeVos and the American Federation for Children have moved against the Public Schools of Detroit. Dozens of neighborhood schools are closed and gone. A wildfire crop of for-our-own-profit private charters paid with public tax dollars has been franchised by the TeaPublican 2011 super majority and the take down of 'government' schools is moving ahead unabated. Hundreds of career minority teachers are gone.
  • The Roman Catholic Diocese of Detroit has over the last decades slammed shut dozens of parish/neighborhood churches. Some of the many thousands of abandoned dwellings and structures which house crack dens and child rapists are properties the Church owns or controls.
  • Republicans and Corportists' ham-fisted desire to achieve homogeneity over unions, especially public service unions, has led to a litany of anti-union legislative grab-backs, health care limitations, retirement reductions, tax on public sector pensioners, and all manner of other devices such as dues control, and other on-going legislative intimidation.
  • Suburban/Urban political and governmental infighting rages on.
  • The withdrawal of Michigan State Police from the urban freeways will become retrogressive and threatening.
  • The Black Middle Class flight from Detroit is a strong tell-tell of the growing disillusionment of successful minorities in regard to a productive and sustainable quality of life in urban Detroit.
  • The level of social and familial problems in the core city, while it actually mirrors the kinds of problems or concerns of the nation's entire population (e.g. unwed mothers, many juveniles themselves) would appear to undercut future enculturation and success for those locked in this urban ghetto.
  • Drug use is rampant. The failure to stem the highly successful pipeline of drugs from origin to destination on Detroit's city streets, while alarming and sinister, with its many criminal off-shoots, does not take from the drug culture the fact that even larger numbers of white Americans are customers than are Blacks for these illegal substances.
  • The number of felons arising out of Detroit's morass (unemployment, early drop-outs, drugs, and vagrancy)  bode horribly for its future. With unemployment in or near the mid-twenty percent range for these many youths, what can be the possibilities for them? Even if they serve their time, when released they're felons and are negatively 'marked for life,' frozen out of good pay jobs.
  • The cut-off of revenue sharing from Lansing [around $4 BILLION cut from Detroit and other municipalities by Michigan’s legislature 2001-2010], while at the same time billions of taxpayer dollars are currently being poured into commercial coffers is part of a deliberate business 'bailout' system.
  • Plus the clever political chicanery designed to present an appearance that Michissippian TeaPublicans are not Wisconsin Walkerites, while forcing governmental units to face EM management and throw out contracts,  belies TeaPublicans are disassembling Collective Bargaining by a insidious, forced mechanism.

The Truth is out. 

Central planners in the pro-business cabal of Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Michigan Insurance Lobbyists, The Business Leaders for Michigan, the National Heritage Foundation’s  spin-off-The Mackinac Center for Public Policy (Between 2002 and 2009, the Mackinac Center's donors included the Charles G. Koch Foundation with $69,151), and rogue elements best identified as anti-public schools/anti-unions Amway Corporation and Americans for Prosperity/Koch Bros.  whose out-state contributions funneled through the 2010 Snyder Campaign $900K] have chosen to make the historic downturn under the G.W.B. Great Recession  their moment to utilize economic emergency turning it into prized 'opportunity' for achieving long-sought goals via Disaster Capitalism.

The advent of the Emergency Manager-style fascism is especially onerous. Such subterfuge and dictatorial power, in the hands of a Corporatocracy and band of highly-skilled and ruthless corporate law and accounting firms,  means drastic, undemocratic cancer will ravish our state's governmental units--all in a blatant and ideological attempt to achieve a long lasting homogeneity over liberalism and Democrats and groups, such as unions, with political abilities and powers.

    And then there is this: a haunting and threatening history of extreme racism related to the history of Detroit. Former Appeals Court Judge, the late Glenn Allen put it on point.  To Wall Street the shadow of Detroit is  a metropolis with a strong history, of a "low threshold" for Jim Crow, racial unrest, and violence. That fact is never 'out of mind' with investors.

    “Judge Allen "was a paragon of public service and personal integrity," said Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Maura D. Corrigan upon hearing of his passing. Glenn Allen had served, among many other things, as Special Counsel for Legal, Fiscal and Legislative Affairs under Bill Milliken from 1971-74.

    FINAL OBSERVATION:  Responding to crisis with "The Ghost Mayor,"  March 17, 2012,  Charlie LeDuff, Pulitzer Prize Winner, has sounded a clear alarm: Given the possibility that the validation of the anti-PA 4 Petition Drive suspends the EM operations until November's election, Gov. Rick Snyder's options are narrowed. "The governor might then use the only stick left in his bag. Let the city drown. According to LeDuff:
    "Already vendors and contractors are not getting paid and the city will run out of cash in a month. That means cops,  paramedics and tax collectors won't get paid. Ambulances won't get fixed. Parks won't open.

    Under that scenario, you can expect a long, hot, bloody summer." 
    (emphasis added)

    LISTEN UP ALL PARTIES: Financially taking down Detroit City is not ultimately about political winners and losers; it's about a city with hundreds of thousands of men, women, boys and girls and what is to become of their welfare.

    What is done, the spirit with which it is done, and the potential of suspending and abandoning the provisions of the Civil Rights Act and the Voter Rights Act if Detroit is not financially made solvent for its necessary operations beyond April, will have far greater and more crippling, far-reaching negative impacts than this state and its present governmental mindset can bear or handle.

    What then?  Game over?

    Related Slate: "Michigan GOP's Power Grab Thievery: Patterson's 30 Year Jim Crow / EM Plot to Steal Detroit's Royal Jewels & Liquid Assets"

    More on Detroit and Emergency Management on the Gazette.


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