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Apocalypse Detroit

I’ve been meaning to write about Detroit for several months. For those of you who don’t know, my wife grew up there – one of several things contributing to her no-nonsense world view. In fact our family flew to Detroit a few years ago en route to a wedding in…

I’ve been meaning to write about Detroit for several months. For those of you who don’t know, my wife grew up there – one of several things contributing to her no-nonsense world view. In fact our family flew to Detroit a few years ago en route to a wedding in nearby Ida, Michigan.

I didn’t see much of the city on our trip (the downtown area didn’t seem particularly safe with our kids in tow), but what I did witness in and around the city center was dilapidation and decay on a scale I’d never seen before … well, with the exception of driving through Slidell, Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

There was also something in the air … something you could almost smell … defeat.

Oh, and of course debt – which the world learned all about as the leading edge of the liberal urban experiment filed for bankruptcy last year.

Anyway, as part of the second season of his Parts Unknown show on CNN, travel chef and left-leaning surlier-than-thou cynic Anthony Bourdain paid a visit to Detroit.

His take?

“The only place I’ve ever been that looks anything like Detroit does now is Chernobyl,” he said.

Wow …

I don’t particularly care for Bourdain’s politics – or his attitude – but his show on Detroit was one of the most compelling things I’ve ever seen on television. It was, quite simply, a jaw-dropping glimpse into the likely dystopian future of vast swaths of our country – which is well on its way to becoming the most spectacular flameout in the history of human civilization.

Think about it: Twenty-five years ago America had just won the Cold War and was the lone superpower on the planet. Up and down the income ladder our prosperity was unrivaled – and expanding. And yet somehow – inexplicably – our nation’s leaders managed to fuck it all up. Detroit may have filed for Chapter 9, but barring an almost total reversal of ideological orientation among this nation’s leaders what we are really witnessing is Chapter 1 in the yet-to-be-written history of America’s government-induced collapse.

Bourdain’s show briefly delved into the politics of Detroit’s collapse, but the local talent wasn’t especially illuminating on that front – and so the show largely avoided the subject in favor of what its host called “ruin porn.” And boy was the “porn” ever glorious, especially the tour of Detroit’s abandoned Packard Automotive plant – a massive brick and glass shell filled with random piles of rubber, rust and concrete.

You really have to watch Bourdain’s show to believe it, but the statistics accompanying Detroit’s collapse paint an almost equally disarming picture.

For starters there are the financials: According to The Economic Collapse Blog, at the time of its bankruptcy filing Detroit owed more than 100,000 creditors upwards of $20 billion – or more than $25,000 per resident (each of whom also holds more than $50,000 in federal debt, incidentally).

More than 78,000 homes in the city are abandoned – and an estimated thirty percent of the city’s 140 square miles is either vacant or falling apart. Forty-seven percent of the city’s residents are functionally illiterate. Sixty percent of its children are living in poverty. Half of the city’s street lights don’t work. Two-thirds of its parks have been shuttered. There are more than seventy “Superfund” hazardous waste sites within the city limits.

Once America’s fourth-largest city, Detroit is on the verge of slipping from the Top 20 as the city’s population has plunged by a whopping 63 percent over the last six decades.

The violent crime rate in Detroit is five times higher than the national average. The murder rate? It’s eleven times higher. But don’t get shot in Detroit because only one-third of the city’s ambulances are running (and many of those that are have more than 250,000 miles on them).

In other words urban Detroit is every bit as third world as rural South Carolina … it’s just black Democrats as opposed to white “Republicans” who condemned it.

Will 2014 be the year these “leaders” finally get it? Finally realize that corporate handouts, incentivized dependency, unchecked bureaucratic expansion, over-regulation, unionization, government-run education and other failed top-down experiments are just that – failed experiments?

Let’s hope so … because the end result of these policies is downright apocalyptic.

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40 comments

Carribean Dolphin January 6, 2014 at 1:08 am

Entire ghost cities constructed in China with its mountain of US dollars is pretty dramatic as well.

All the worlds governments flooding markets with additional currency created out of thin air is going to vastly change global economics at some point in time in the future, surely within the decade. Few will escape being touched by it in a bad way.

I hope everyone is prepared.

So long and thanks for all the fish.

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Smirks January 6, 2014 at 9:31 am

Sounds like this man has his towel ready.

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Cleveland Steamer January 6, 2014 at 2:54 am

Auburn Hills and all the other ring cities are doing well like many other doughnut cities. Look 10 miles above SC to see a thriving center city above the rock.Try buying a downtown condo there.

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Shitfor Brains January 6, 2014 at 4:53 am

This shit is gonna blow. Riots coming.

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venomachine January 6, 2014 at 9:35 am

Watch what happens to the pensions.

If the pensions are reduced or done away with altogether, expect to see a LOT of municipalities, counties, and states board the bankruptcy bus.

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Centrist View January 6, 2014 at 9:50 am Reply
Yay for bankruptcy! January 6, 2014 at 9:54 am

Bonds are a ticking time bomb. Municipal bankruptcies will simply set the wheels into motion faster. I can’t wait to see what the parasites will try to consume when there is nothing left…rats in a barrel hopefully…meaning they feed on each other.

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johnq January 6, 2014 at 11:16 am

You fucking idiot they aren’t going to “consume” themselves, they are going to consume YOU and other assholes like you who sit back and allow your fellow countrymen to be preyed on by criminals! Doesn’t do much good to try and take something from someone else that has nothing does it?

You really think people are going to sit back and let their families starve while assholes like you worship sit back snickering and loot their pensions and savings?

What shithole universe do you inhabit in which people that have worked their whole lives with the promise of a pension at the end of their agreed upon employment and expect to get it a parasite? Do you consider veterans parasites too?

You ain’t got enough bullets in the world to stop the firestorm that will result if the sacrifice of a large percentage of the population becomes policy.

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Yay for bankruptcy! January 6, 2014 at 11:33 am

“You ain’t got enough bullets in the world to stop the firestorm”

True dat. That’s why I’ll be long gone. Only dummies are sticking around for the nonsense to come after years of profligate spending. I’ll be watching the festivities on a flat screen in comfort in a country that had sensible policies.

By the way, it wasn’t me that let you or people like you be “preyed upon” by the criminals. You voted for and will get exactly what you deserve.

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johnq January 6, 2014 at 11:56 am

Not likely. If the USA goes down the rest of the worlds financial systems will collapse. You won’t be better off, the consequences will just be delayed as will any recovery.

Slimeballs like you who think you are being smart by betraying and abandoning your countrymen are sadly mistaken if you think your treachery will be forgiven.

Yay for bankruptcy! January 6, 2014 at 12:38 pm

Ha! You gonna reach out to a 3rd world hideaway to “eat the rich”? You can’t even afford bus fare to downtown, so I’m not worried.

I’ll be drinking from a coconut with a straw while you are running around screaming about how rich people screwed you; meantime the pols will be wondering how long it will be until you try to eat them too. At least by the time it gets to that point you’ll have at least focused on the right target, assuming you make it that far.

johnq January 6, 2014 at 11:56 am

Not likely. If the USA goes down the rest of the worlds financial systems will collapse. You won’t be better off, the consequences will just be delayed as will any recovery.

Slimeballs like you who think you are being smart by betraying and abandoning your countrymen are sadly mistaken if you think your treachery will be forgiven.

TontoBubbaGoldstein January 6, 2014 at 11:42 am

What shithole universe do you inhabit in which people that have worked their whole lives with the promise of a pension at the end of their agreed upon employment and expect to get it a parasite? Do you consider veterans parasites too?

You ain’t got enough bullets in the world to stop the firestorm that will result if the sacrifice of a large percentage of the population becomes policy.

TBG blames the policy makers. However some of the blame must be placed on voters who voted for said policymakers, who made promises that anyone with an IQ north of 65 could see were unsustainable.
And far as the necessary number of bullets etc….TBG will bet on the folks who saw this coming and prepared over those to whom it will come as a total shock.

Pro Tip:
Sometimes TBG is wrong. You will go broke fast betting on it, though.

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euwe max January 6, 2014 at 11:23 am

The only thing that could improve their safety, profit and community service record would be libertarianism.

Michigan would be a Paradise with a lilbertarian CEO.

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Kwame for President January 6, 2014 at 12:39 pm

Certainly doing the same thing over and over again for the last 40 years is helpful, I see no need to change anything.

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euwe max January 6, 2014 at 2:35 pm

Breathing, for instance?

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Kwame for President January 6, 2014 at 3:23 pm

Well, if the act of breathing hurt you, yes, you might want to do something different. Pass the LSD.

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euwe max January 6, 2014 at 7:26 pm

Well, if the act of breathing hurt you, yes, you might want to do something different. Pass the LSD.

————
Well… Ok… if you’re *sure* LSD hasn’t hurt you.

Kwame for President January 6, 2014 at 7:59 pm

*places square on tongue*

“though I suspect people with Emphysema pain might disagree with you”

Not necessarily…..

euwe max January 6, 2014 at 9:58 pm

*places square on tongue*

——–

I’m in a spatial condition, from inner space, myself… no shit. So that I don’t lose stuff, I like to record things from my computer.

Sometimes my computer sings… a singing recording machine, huh? I guess any recording machine sings sometimes. If they’re not adjusted right. Mm-hm.

I thought that was it. A lot of people talk, uh-that way, like crazy, but Believe it or Not by Ripley, take it or leave it-alone it’s in the Examiner, it’s in the comic section, Believe it or Not, Robert E. Ripley, Believe it or Not, but we don’t have to believe anything, unless I feel like it. Then we all have to believe it.

My towel, mm-hm. We’ll be going back to sea in about-eight or nine months though. Soon as we get our destroyed parts repaired. The ship parts, that is. We’re all ships, you know. The sea is a lonely place.

Apparently, this is a life-changing, existential look at society…but I haven’t gotten very far, since I can’t see, so my review will have to wait for that, mm-hm.

Libertarianism.. it works… mm-hm.

Kwame for President January 7, 2014 at 9:06 am

“how do you stop the libertarian machine?”

No system in unstoppable on a long enough time line. Not that I think that system is coming to a theatre near you anytime soon, but if it does, it deserves a chance in consideration of the repeatedly failed experiments up to this point. King George laughed when he heard there would be no king to replace him over here…and while it looks like another failed experiment there’s the matter of progression and what not.

In its most basic form, libertarianism is nothing more than freedom from coercion, notwithstanding the arguments and concerns about corporate power in such a state…which has yet to be witnessed. From that standpoint, it’s pretty hard to argue for control versus the lack of it-but I suppose some will do it out of concern that freedom will produce more evils than we have today.

euwe max January 7, 2014 at 2:13 pm

In its most basic form, libertarianism is nothing more than freedom from coercion, notwithstanding the arguments and concerns about corporate power in such a state

——-
ok.. well, you seem like an ok guy, so I hope you don’t take offense by this, but being in the reality-based community, I take these cheap shots every now and then, designed to totally scramble your brains and fuck up your rhythm… so here goes…

what 3 things would you do in your new libertarian universe that you can’t do now?

Kwame for President January 7, 2014 at 2:34 pm

1. Live without taxes(furthering my personal wealth and raising my standard of living, you may disagree, it’s a matter of perspective)

2. Live without the burden of obeying victimless crime laws(like seat belt laws for example-just this issue alone would make for way more than “3 things” due to the nature/number of such laws on the books, but I’ll continue on major points)

3. Live in a manner to freely move about without restriction(if the scale were global)-which may also fall under #2, but given #2’s nature, that is why it is so encompassing.

euwe max January 7, 2014 at 5:04 pm

1. How much more personal wealth and standard of living will you have?

2. seat belts sounds kind of petty. It may also cost you more to find an insurance company that will cover you.

3. You seem to have very petty goals in mind, other than the generic “taxes,” but that’s just me. I move freely about without restriction already. It’s over-rated.

Are you really that poor that no taxes will improve your life? Are you “one of the little people?” How about jails, roads, water, electricity, education, the internet, work place safety, air quality, hospitals, food safety, plague prevention, fire departments, allocation of cable, television, and radio frequencies, defense, drug safety, product safety, truth in advertising, lawyers, courts, intellectual property, police, and the people who see these things as prerequisites to “freedom?”

Kwame for President January 8, 2014 at 9:11 am

1. It adds at least 50% more to my bottom line. (and even if I allow for the need to pay tolls for roads and some form of protection, etc., I can assure you it doesn’t cover 50% of what is taken)

2. I only used seat belts as an example, pick from over 40,000 laws on the books, many, MANY of which are victimless “crimes”.

3. You may think my goals petty, but living more freely and with more than 50% more income is not petty in my book. As far as movement, try crossing the border sometime, which I do often, obviously you do not.

As for the rest, you assume the paradigm wouldn’t allow for the above, you’ve painted yourself into a box. You call the concept of self organization “magic” in regards to libertarian paths because you assume without gov’t that none of the above would happen. I’m simply challenging that view and in the context of the George the 3rd comment pointing out that before “Merica” the idea of having a kingless state was almost universally regarded as “ridiculous” and “laughable”. So if we assume mankind is on some journey with the goal of advancement being more than technological, at some point it would seem to be beneficial to try something else in terms of societal organization giving the stunning lack of long terms success(some might say 240 years is success, fair enough…but it doesn’t seem to be going so well currently).

euwe max January 8, 2014 at 9:44 am

1. It adds at least 50% more to my bottom line. (and even if I allow for the need to pay tolls for roads and some form of protection, etc., I can assure you it doesn’t cover 50% of what is taken)

——
How do you make a year? $5000? $50,000 $500,000 or $5 million? – choose the one that’s closest.

2. I wanted the HIGHEST on the list – if it’s seat belts, I hope you are saving every penny from your roofing job to actually purchase a car.

3. Of course I think your goals are petty. Just look at them! Oh.. wait, you wrote them out and posted them. nm. They *are* petty – for the energy that’s required to change the world so you don’t have to wear seat belts and don’t have to buy a passport? I don’t think you’d have the *energy* to meet the requirements in a world where you have to do every fucking thing by yourself.

There’s no way in hell that just eliminating taxes will *work*. It’s as obvious as the sun to the sighted in the daytime.

But… good luck on doubling your income by changing the world.

Kwame for President January 8, 2014 at 10:04 am

1. Is none of your business

2. The highest on the list? You miss my point. Seriously, how you build a house is regulated, the type of car you can buy because 90% of its components are regulated, how your shit flushes down the toilet is regulated, I could go on forever…gov’ regulation touches every fucking thing we do all fucking day.

“There’s no way in hell that just eliminating taxes will *work*. It’s as obvious as the sun to the sighted in the daytime.”

Welp, you have 150 years of the US surviving without income tax to contend with.

“good luck on doubling your income by changing the world.”

Well, I’m just livin the Obama dream, “Hope and change”. I’m sure I can’t do any worse than him and his followers.

Regardless, rest assured the current paradigm won’t last forever, especially at the rate the debt is piling up. So we all lobby for what’s next. If you feel good about lobbying for more central planning the next go round, so be it. We all make our choices.

euwe max January 8, 2014 at 1:41 pm

Like I said, no offense.. you seem nice enough to me.. but you’re an idiot.

Kwame for President January 8, 2014 at 3:00 pm

How could one not take offense to being called an idiot? I think that makes you an idiot, but hey, no offense.

euwe max January 8, 2014 at 3:21 pm

Well, I can certainly see your reasoning for thinking I’m an idiot, even if you can’t see mine.. and I’m not taking offense.

I’m sure if we were both stoned, I could explain how jails, roads, water, electricity, education, the internet, work place safety, air quality, hospitals, food safety, plague prevention, fire departments, allocation of cable, television, and radio frequencies, defense, drug safety, product safety, truth in advertising, lawyers, courts, intellectual property, police, and taxes are related… and how privatizing all of those things would have consequences not imagined in your philosophy.

But here, if I were to start – oh say – with Caesar.. and Rome, and go over every single requirement for a rudimentary society – develop the relationships and logic behind the development of modern civilization from those early roots… just so I could have a backdrop for the discussion of taxes, I think the good people at FITS would say “GET A ROOM!” – and be applauded for it.

Just eliminating taxes, as delighted as I was to see it was what you believed libertarianism is (for entertainment’s sake), would have such an obvious and devastating impact to the people of the United States, it’s ludicrous on its face.

I was expecting something more pedestrian like “do you really think your prescription drugs and meat are safer, being inspected by Barak Obama?”

But doubling your income.. wow! That was a shot! One thing I’ll say for you – you’ve got balls the size of church bells to trot that out!

Anyway – I meant no offense. I’m sure you’re a great guy, and you’re probably right about me being an idiot – I mean, how would I know? That whole Dunning Kruger effect thing has me waking up every day wondering if the whole world is crazy, or if it’s just me.

My wife thinks it’s just me.

Kwame for President January 8, 2014 at 3:32 pm

“Well, I can certainly see your reasoning for thinking I’m an idiot, even if you can’t see mine.. and I’m not taking offense.”

lol…fair enough. I can understand your point now with you having explained it, but let me say this, it is not your view of how the world should work that caused me to believe you are an idiot.

If we grant each other the allowance that our world view and belief in what allows for the best standard of living as whole for the world to move forward in is(or is not), then we should be at least able to tolerate each others beliefs.

It gets more difficult of course though if my belief or yours starts with taking something from someone(but in fairness to you, maybe you see it only from the side of giving things to others)…but I’ll try to remain focused on your believing that is what is best for people in general if you try to remain focused on the fact I believe what is best is allowing people to keep their money.

It’s too easy philosophically for me to suggest you endorse theft and for you call me selfish without taking into account a larger concern. Dunning Kruger indeed.

euwe max January 10, 2014 at 2:33 am

If it *were* possible to live in anarchy, without government, like benevolent savages – there would be no need for civilization.

But we can’t.

So we create a world to live in – to restrict the evil, to remove the sociopaths who would like nothing better than to collect all there is, and suck the life (freedom, joy, justice) out of the weak to do it.

We all suffer a little, so that the weak don’t suffer a lot.

I’d rather it was star trek, with everything behind the scenes, and no money ever changing hands.

But it can’t happen – not with the random genes of humanity in us all.

And we can’t just leap off into the darkness so that we don’t “endorse theft” and in so doing, give the sociopaths exactly what they want all wrapped up in a neat little package.

Instead, we stand and fight. We fight injustice, we fight greed, we fight for the weak – BECAUSE we are strong. And we defeat what we CAN defeat.

Never give up. Never give in.

For each other.

Kwame for President January 8, 2014 at 4:02 pm

“Just eliminating taxes, as delighted as I was to see it was what you believed libertarianism is (for entertainment’s sake)”

Btw, I never said that-you inferred it.

If you want the clearest, cleanest explaination of what “libertarianism” is(not capital “L), then look up something called “Voluntaryism”.

Distilled to its very essence, that is what libertarianism is.

Few are comfortable taking their libertarian leaning viewpoints that far(I am a radical), but logically that is the natural conclusion if you are consistent.

Kwame for President January 8, 2014 at 4:05 pm

“My wife thinks it’s just me.”

Sorry for the repeated responses, as that is just ‘lol’ funny.

I’m married too and understand fully.

Squishy123 January 6, 2014 at 12:37 pm

Just start with bulldozers on one edge of the city and have them drive until there’s nothing more to push over.

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Bulldozing for dollars January 6, 2014 at 12:42 pm

That costs money that Detroit doesn’t have. They can’t even afford to raze their dilapidated structures.

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CL January 6, 2014 at 12:46 pm

They’ve already done a lot of that. The core downtown area is surrounded by blocks and blocks of demolished fields that are reverting to nature.

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CL January 6, 2014 at 12:45 pm

I visited Detroit for the first time a few months ago and stayed right downtown. It is astonishing how empty the city feels. There are empty fields, where previously abandoned buildings were demolished, just outside the core of downtown looped by the freeway. Even what remains “viable” just seems so dingy, uninhabited and neglected. Even driving in from the airport was surreal. I got my rental after 5pm and headed towards the city. The outgoing highway was a parking lot, yet there was almost no one heading east with me. It felt kind of like this poster from the first season of Walking Dead (sans the horse and arsenal). http://cache.desktopnexus.com/thumbnails/480903-bigthumbnail.jpg

Seeing the decay and ruin was certainly sad, but the overriding emotion I felt was anger. I was angry about what left wing governance did to a great city that just 53 years ago was the richest city in America on a per capita basis.

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Dollars, dollars everywhere January 6, 2014 at 12:54 pm

Coming on a larger scale to a country near you….

My favorite recent dystopian flick was “Looper”, it showed China as fairly nice & modern while the US looked like a national Detroit. The most interesting aspect of that movie was hitmen being paid in gold & silver bars though.

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CNSYD January 6, 2014 at 1:16 pm

“government-run education” Now we have the answer to what happened to Detroit. Thanks Sic Willie. BTW Howie says your check is in the mail. Oops, another “government-run” operation.

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