Children

Tent Cities Mushroom

youtube-Logo-2gc2reddit-logoOff the keyboard of Michael Snyder

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Published on The Economic Collapse on September 11, 2016

Homeless

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Tent Cities Full Of Homeless People Are Booming In Cities All Over America As Poverty Spikes

Just like during the last economic crisis, homeless encampments are popping up all over the nation as poverty grows at a very alarming rate.  According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, more than half a million people are homeless in America right now, but that figure is increasing by the day.  And it isn’t just adults that we are talking about.  It has been reported that that the number of homeless children in this country has risen by 60 percent since the last recession, and Poverty USA says that a total of 1.6 million children slept either in a homeless shelter or in some other form of emergency housing at some point last year.  Yes, the stock market may have been experiencing a temporary boom for the last couple of years, but for those on the low end of the economic scale things have just continued to deteriorate.

Tonight, countless numbers of homeless people will try to make it through another chilly night in large tent cities that have been established in the heart of major cities such as Seattle, Washington, D.C. and St. Louis.  Homelessness has gotten so bad in California that the L.A. City Council has formally asked Governor Jerry Brown to officially declare a state of emergency.   And in Portland the city has extended their “homeless emergency” for yet another year, and city officials are really struggling with how to deal with the booming tent cities that have sprung up

There have always been homeless people in Portland, but last summer Michelle Cardinal noticed a change outside her office doors.

Almost overnight, it seemed, tents popped up in the park that runs like a green carpet past the offices of her national advertising business. She saw assaults, drug deals and prostitution. Every morning, she said, she cleaned human feces off the doorstep and picked up used needles.

“It started in June and by July it was full-blown. The park was mobbed,” she said. “We’ve got a problem here and the question is how we’re going to deal with it.”

But of course it isn’t just Portland that is experiencing this.  The following list of major tent cities that have become so well-known and established that they have been given names comes from Wikipedia

Most of the time, those that establish tent cities do not want to be discovered because local authorities have a nasty habit of shutting them down and forcing homeless people out of the area.  For example, check out what just happened in Elkhart, Indiana

A group of homeless people in Elkhart has been asked to leave the place they call home. For the last time, residents of ‘Tent City’ packed up camp.

City officials gave residents just over a month to vacate the wooded area; Wednesday being the last day to do so.

The property has been on Mayor Tim Neese’s radar since he took office in January, calling it both a safety and health hazard to its residents and nearby pedestrian traffic.

“This has been their home but you can’t live on public property,” said Mayor Tim Neese, Elkhart.

If they can’t live on “public property”, where are they supposed to go?

They certainly can’t live on somebody’s “private property”.

This is the problem – people don’t want to deal with the human feces, the needles, the crime and the other problems that homeless people often bring with them.  So the instinct is often to kick them out and send them away.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t fix the problem.  It just passes it on to someone else.

As this new economic downturn continues to accelerate, our homelessness boom is going to spiral out of control.  Pretty soon, there will be tent cities in virtually every community in America.

In fact, there are people that are living comfortable middle class lifestyles right at this moment that will end up in tents.  We saw this during the last economic crisis, and it will be even worse as this next one unfolds.

Just like last time around, the signs that the middle class is really struggling can be subtle at first, but when you learn to take note of them you will notice that they are all around you.  The following comes from an excellent article in the New York Post

Do you see grocery stores closing? Do you see other retailers, like clothing stores and department stores, going out of business?

Are there shuttered storefronts along your Main Street shopping district, where you bought a tool from the hardware store or dropped off your dry cleaning or bought fruits and vegetables?

Are you making as much money annually as you did 10 years ago?

Do you see homes in neighborhoods becoming run down as the residents either were foreclosed upon, or the owner lost his or her job so he or she can’t afford to cut the grass or paint the house?

Did that same house where the Joneses once lived now become a rental property, where new people come to live every few months?

Do you know one or two people who are looking for work? Maybe professionals, who you thought were safe in their jobs?

Don’t look down on those that are living in tents, because the truth is that many “middle class Americans” will ultimately end up joining them.

The correct response to those that are hurting is love and compassion.  We all need help at some point in our lives, and I know that I am certainly grateful to those that have given me a helping hand at various points along my journey.

Sadly, hearts are growing cold all over the nation, and the weather is only going to get colder over the months ahead.  Let us pray for health and safety for the hundreds of thousands of Americans that will be sleeping in tents and on the streets this winter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Homeless Children Population Explosion

Off the keyboard of Michael Snyder

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Published on Economic Collapse on December 9, 2013

Child-Crying-Photo-by-D-Sharon-Pruitt

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The Most Homeless Children In New York City Since The Great Depression

At a time when Wall Street is absolutely swimming in wealth, New York City is experiencing an epidemic of homelessness.  According to the New York Times, the last time there was this many homeless children in New York City was during the days of the Great Depression.  And the number of homeless children in the United States overall recently set a new all-time record.  As I mentioned yesterday, there are now 1.2 million public school kids in America that are homeless, and that number has gone up by about 72 percent since the start of the last recession.  As Americans, we like to think of ourselves as “the wealthiest nation on the planet”, and yet the number of young kids that don’t even have a roof over their heads at night just keeps skyrocketing.  There truly are “two Americas” today, and unfortunately most Americans that live in “good America” don’t seem to really care too much about the extreme suffering that is going on in “bad America”.  In the end, what kind of price will we all pay for neglecting the most vulnerable members of our society?

If you live in “good America”, I very much encourage you to read an excellent piece about homelessness in New York City that was just published in the New York Times.  What some young kids have to go through on a nightly basis should break all of our hearts…

She wakes to the sound of breathing. The smaller children lie tangled beside her, their chests rising and falling under winter coats and wool blankets. A few feet away, their mother and father sleep near the mop bucket they use as a toilet. Two other children share a mattress by the rotting wall where the mice live, opposite the baby, whose crib is warmed by a hair dryer perched on a milk crate.

Could you imagine having your own family live like that?  The name of the little girl in the story is Dasani, and every night her family sleeps in a city-run homeless shelter that sounds like it is straight out of a horror movie…

Her family lives in the Auburn Family Residence, a decrepit city-run shelter for the homeless. It is a place where mold creeps up walls and roaches swarm, where feces and vomit plug communal toilets, where sexual predators have roamed and small children stand guard for their single mothers outside filthy showers.

It is no place for children. Yet Dasani is among 280 children at the shelter. Beyond its walls, she belongs to a vast and invisible tribe of more than 22,000 homeless children in New York, the highest number since the Great Depression, in the most unequal metropolis in America.

You can read the rest of that excellent article right here.  Sadly, there are countless other children just like Dasani that live like this day after day, month after month, year after year.

Shouldn’t we be able to do better than this as a society?  After all, the stock market has been hovering near record highs lately, and Wall Street is absolutely drenched with wealth for the moment.

With so much wealth floating around, why are New York City subways being “overrun with homeless” right now?

Something has gone horribly wrong.

I think that a recent editorial by David Simon, the creator of the Wire, summarized things pretty well.  We are not “one America” anymore, and most of the people that live in “good America” don’t really care much about those living in “bad America”…

America is a country that is now utterly divided when it comes to its society, its economy, its politics. There are definitely two Americas. I live in one, on one block in Baltimore that is part of the viable America, the America that is connected to its own economy, where there is a plausible future for the people born into it. About 20 blocks away is another America entirely. It’s astonishing how little we have to do with each other, and yet we are living in such proximity.

There’s no barbed wire around West Baltimore or around East Baltimore, around Pimlico, the areas in my city that have been utterly divorced from the American experience that I know. But there might as well be.

Once upon a time, things were different in America.  Nobody resented businessmen for building strong businesses and making lots of money.  And successful businessmen such as Henry Ford hired large numbers of American workers and paid them very well.  He felt that his workers should make enough money to buy the cars that they were building.  In those days, businessmen were loyal to their workers and workers were loyal to those that employed them.

Unfortunately, those days are long gone.  Today, in business schools all over America students are taught that the sole purpose of a corporation is to make as much money as possible for the stockholders.  Not that there is anything wrong with making money.  But at this point we have elevated greed above all other economic goals.  Taking care of one another isn’t even a consideration anymore.

In the old days, big businesses actually needed our labor.  But that is now no longer the case.  Today, corporations are shipping millions of our jobs overseas and they are replacing as many of us with technology as they possibly can.  The value of the labor of the working man is declining with each passing day.

As a result, the fortunes of big business and American workers are increasingly diverging.  For example, the disconnect between employment levels and stock prices has never been greater in this country.  If you doubt this, just check out this chart.

And instead of fixing things, Barack Obama is negotiating a secret treaty which will result in millions more American jobs being shipped overseas.  The following is a brief excerpt about this secret treaty from an Australian news source

The government has refused the Senate access to the secret text of the trade deal it is negotiating in Singapore, saying it will only be made public after it has been signed.

As the final round of ministerial talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership resumed on Sunday, Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz wrote to each of the 12 participating nations warning that the deal and the secrecy surrounding it presented ”grave risks”.

So why aren’t we hearing much about this secret treaty from U.S. news sources?

If this is going to affect millions of American jobs, shouldn’t the mainstream media be making a big deal out of this?

And even if we weren’t losing millions of jobs to the other side of the planet, we would still be losing millions of jobs to advancements in technology.  In fact, a CNBC article that was posted earlier this week seems to look forward to the day when nobody will have to worry about the low pay that fast food workers get anymore because they will all be replaced by droids…

Maybe so, but as fast food workers protest low wages and the president of the United States equates hard work with the right to decent pay, the rise of technology once again proves to be no stunt, or laughing matter. McDonald’s, where food production is already about as mechanized as food science allows, stopped updating the famous number “served” figure at its restaurants back in 1994—just short of 100 billion—but how long will it be before trillions are served their burgers and fries by a drone, after being cooked by a droid? Those machines work for cheap, and the best thing is, they have no concept of hard work, or dignity, or the foresight to consider whether or not the “cool” things they can do ultimately contribute, or detract, from a strong, consumer-dependent economy.

So what is the solution to all of this?

Where will the millions of desperately needed jobs for “bad America” come from?

Well, it appears that good ideas are in short supply these days.  In fact, some of the ideas being promoted by our “leaders” are absolutely insane.  For example, one prominent entrepreneur recently suggested that the solution to our employment crisis is for Congress to pass an immigration bill which would bring in 30 million more low-skilled workers over the next ten years…

Middle class Americans face a tough future because robots and machinery are eliminating their jobs, according to Steve Case, an entrepreneur who earned roughly $1 billion by creating the first successful internet firm, America Online.

But Congress could help the situation by passing an immigration bill that would import some foreign entrepreneurs and almost 30 million low-skilled workers over the next decade, Case told an audience of D.C. lobbyists and lawyers gathered on Tuesday by the business-backed Bipartisan Policy Center.

Exactly how would this improve the employment situation in this country?

I still cannot figure that one out.

But there are people out there that actually believe this stuff.

Meanwhile, many parts of Europe are suffering through similar things.

The unemployment rate in the eurozone recently hit a new all-time high, and the number of people living in poverty in Europe just continues to grow

Over 124 million people in the European Union – or almost a quarter of its entire population – live under the threat of poverty or social exclusion, a report by EU’s statistical office has revealed.

Last year, 124.5 million people, or 24.8 percent of Europe’s population were at risk of poverty or social exclusion, compared to 24.3 percent in 2011 and 23.7 percent in 2008, the Eurostat said in a document published earlier in the week.

So what is going to fix this?

Where are the good jobs for workers in North America and Europe going to come from in the years ahead?

If you have a potential solution, please feel free to share it below…

YOPP!

Off the keyboard of Gypsy Mama

Published on The Butterchurn on June 13, 2013

horton2

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I once owned “Horton Hears a Who” as a child (VHS, baby!) It was a short at the beginning of the full length movie, “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.” As an adult, I can still remember most of the words and song lyrics.   I can also now deduct more meaning from the message of the film.  Hope you enjoy my interpretation as of late.  Amazing how everything around you can begin to change when you look at it through new eyes.

In this tale, the voice of ONE made a difference in minds of many.  A single uttering of “YOPP!” opened the minds of the outside culture.  A culture so thick in believing that the world they lived in did not need to change.  A culture who were blindly comfortable with the way things are.  They believed that this way was the ONLY way…that anyone who tried to change the status quo beliefs of their system should be shunned, deemed insane and be forced to abide and submit…or else face persecution and mental torture.  Sound familiar?

I am currently becoming fond of a group of individuals who see our society through the eyes of Horton.  Different.  Clearly. They see a problem with the structure of things.  They feel the need to share with those around them that there is more to see, if you can only open your eyes and ears.  If you can essentially “WAKE UP”…If you can “YOPP!” Some of the members of the forum I have joined are not nearly as reserved as Horton.  ;) Nevertheless, we are all commonly trying to find a way to exist among the Whos.  (I like to call the un-awakened whos, “sheeple”–I first heard this term used by my husband and found it appropriate for everyday use).

Horton and the Whos:  Doomers and the Sheeple

Essentially, I see myself and other like minded folks (including the group I mentioned) as the “Hortons.”  Gathered together as many different levels of Horton, we believe that our current way of life in America, our industrial civilization, cannot continue along its current path.  We abbreviate the way things are now as “BAU” (Business As Usual).  In America, our BAU consists of dependence on oil and petroleum products.  Oil and Petroleum are limited resources.  We have stupidly built our entire way of life around the NECESSITY of these products.  Driving our cars, running our air conditioning, running our programed mouths, outsourcing our food supply, unwrapping our plastic products from their plastic containers…I could go on and on. (Google “Peak Oil” and prepare to read the Whos’ disapproving comments) OR  watch THIS.  We are also so spoiled to the gift that the Industrial Revolution handed to us (easily accessible everything), that we have lost the knowledge that our forefathers used to survive off the land.  If you handed most US citizens a bag of dried rice they wouldn’t know how to cook it without a microwave.  Americans are spoiled, spoiled, SPOILED when it comes to food products.  They’re also oblivious to the harmful petropesticides that are coated in thick layers all over those food products.  Most of them don’t CARE to know.  BAU= will be short lived.

Horton, the main character of the movie has a large presence…but doesn’t impress this upon his fellow members of the jungle.  He doesn’t go around romping and stomping and shouting his beliefs.  He actually comes across as humble, polite and withdrawn.  Horton has just discovered that something exists he must accept.   In the movie, it’s a dust speck on a clover.  In our reality, it is the collapse of the industrial civilization as we know it.

Horton, upon learning the truth about this dust speck, puts himself into a situational dilemma.  He feels obligated to save the speck’s mostly clueless inhabitants (The Whos).  Often unseen and unheard, this speck of dust is, at the beginning of the movie, filled with inhabitants that believe that THEIR way of life is the only way.  That there can’t possibly be anything more than what they see.  That BAU is alllll good….so why change?  Why believe in crazy theories from a grey haired scientist (Doctor Whovee).  Doctor Whovee has built a scientific structure he calls his “Who Who Scope” in an attempt to prove his theory that there is more to their world, more they could pay attention to and accept, if they could only BELIEVE.  We’ll call Doctor Whovee the DOOMER of the story.

When the Whos are awakened by the CRASH of the black bottomed eagle dropping their speck of dust into a clover patch (when the sheeple WAKE UP to how the world has turned and where it is headed), they suddenly trust in the beliefs of the educated Doomer, Doctor Whovee.  This is the severity of what I believe will need to happen for the majority of Americans to be able to see the future of our world as I do (umm…FUCKED UP!).  What will it take to wake everyone up? …To make them see?  I think that the easiest way will be the depletion of gasoline.  No one will be able to drive their cars… Simple enough to cause mass chaos.  The trucks that deliver our food will park = no food in the grocery stores, producing PANIC. Perhaps we will lose power for a long period of time…NO AIR CONDITIONING?  STRESS.  It will truly take an Earth/Clover shattering SHAKE to get some of the sheeple I have encountered to see that we cannot have infinite growth on a finite planet.

And we’ll have to get past The Wickersham Brothers too:

We’re the Wickersham Brothers.
We’re vigilant spotters.
Hot shot spotters of rotters and plotters.
And we’re going to save our sons and our daughters from you.
You’re a dastardly, ghastardly, shnasterdly, schnook,
Trying to brainwash our brains,
With this gobbledy gook.
We know what you’re up to pal.
You’re trying to shatter our morale.
You’re trying to stir up discontent.
And seize the reigns of government.
You’re trying to throw sand in our eyes.
You’re trying to kill free enterprise.
And raise the cost of figs and dates,
And wreck our compound interest rates.
And shut our schools,
And steal our jewels,
And even change our football rules.
Take away our garden tools,
And lock us up in vestibules.

These darkened monkeys scared me a bit as a child.  I didn’t really understand the lyrics of their song, but I liked repeating the big words.  As an adult, I see this acrobatic trio as the voice of media, Corporations, big money, the strong arm of the law, The  MAN.  Essentially, you could compare them to any of the entities that tell us BAU is all good, and it would make sense to me.  I hear doublethink, fear, greed, and coverup in their song now.  They are fearful of the truth and are doing all they can to keep the jungle creatures COOL and focused on carrying on with their daily lives…lives covered in an invisible gossamer curtain of programming.

So how does one begin to see a Children’s movie in this light?  It is my process of acceptance.  Did Dr. Seuss intend these messages to be interpreted this way?  I suppose we all interpret things as we want to see them.

I have just stepped onto the clover, I suppose.  I’m only now becoming one of the many shouting “WE ARE HERE!”

Tunnel People

Off the keyboard of Michael Snyder

Published on Economic Collapse on April 9, 2013

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The Tunnel People That Live Under The Streets Of America

The Tunnel People That Live Under The Streets Of America - Photo by Claude Le BerreDid you know that there are thousands upon thousands of homeless people that are living underground beneath the streets of major U.S. cities?  It is happening in Las Vegas, it is happening in New York City and it is even happening in Kansas City.  As the economy crumbles, poverty in the United States is absolutely exploding and so is homelessness.  In addition to the thousands of “tunnel people” living under the streets of America, there are also thousands that are living in tent cities, there are tens of thousands that are living in their vehicles and there are more than a million public school children that do not have a home to go back to at night.  The federal government tells us that the recession “is over” and that “things are getting better”, and yet poverty and homelessness in this country continue to rise with no end in sight.  So what in the world are things going to look like when the next economic crisis hits?

When I heard that there were homeless people living in a network of underground tunnels beneath the streets of Kansas City, I was absolutely stunned.  I have relatives that live in that area.  I never thought of Kansas City as one of the more troubled cities in the United States.

But according to the Daily Mail, police recently discovered a network of tunnels under the city that people had been living in…

Below the streets of Kansas City, there are deep underground tunnels where a group of vagrant homeless people lived in camps.

These so-called homeless camps have now been uncovered by the Kansas City Police, who then evicted the residents because of the unsafe environment.

Authorities said these people were living in squalor, with piles of garbage and dirty diapers left around wooded areas.

The saddest part is the fact that authorities found dirty diapers in the areas near these tunnels.  That must mean that babies were being raised in that kind of an environment.

Unfortunately, this kind of thing is happening all over the nation.  In recent years, the tunnel people of Las Vegas have received quite a bit of publicity all over the world.  It has been estimated that more than 1,000 people live in the massive network of flood tunnels under the city…

Deep beneath Vegas’s glittering lights lies a sinister labyrinth inhabited by poisonous spiders and a man nicknamed The Troll who wields an iron bar.

But astonishingly, the 200 miles of flood tunnels are also home to 1,000 people who eke out a living in the strip’s dark underbelly.

Some, like Steven and his girlfriend Kathryn, have furnished their home with considerable care – their 400sq ft ‘bungalow’ boasts a double bed, a wardrobe and even a bookshelf.

Could you imagine living like that?  Sadly, for an increasing number of Americans a “normal lifestyle” is no longer an option.  Either they have to go to the homeless shelters or they have to try to eke out an existence on their own any way that they can.

In New York City, authorities are constantly trying to root out the people that live in the tunnels under the city and yet they never seem to be able to find them all.  The following is from a New York Post article about the “Mole People” that live underneath New York City…

The homeless people who live down here are called Mole People. They do not, as many believe, exist in a separate, organized underground society. It’s more of a solitary existence and loose-knit community of secretive, hard-luck individuals.

The New York Post followed one homeless man known as “John Travolta” on a tour through the underground world.  What they discovered was a world that is very much different from what most New Yorkers experience…

In the tunnels, their world is one of malt liquor, tight spaces, schizophrenic neighbors, hunger and spells of heat and cold. Travolta and the others eat fairly well, living on a regimented schedule of restaurant leftovers, dumped each night at different times around the neighborhood above his foreboding home.

Even as the Dow hits record high after record high, poverty in New York City continues to rise at a very frightening pace.  Incredibly, the number of homeless people sleeping in the homeless shelters of New York City has increased by a whopping 19 percent over the past year.

In many of our major cities, the homeless shelters are already at maximum capacity and are absolutely packed night after night.  Large numbers of homeless people are often left to fend for themselves.

That is one reason why we have seen the rise of so many tent cities.

Yes, the tent cities are still there, they just aren’t getting as much attention these days because they do not fit in with the “economic recovery” narrative that the mainstream media is currently pushing.

In fact, many of the tent cities are larger than ever.  For example, you can check out a Reuters video about a growing tent city in New Jersey that was posted on YouTube at the end of March right here.  A lot of these tent cities have now become permanent fixtures, and unfortunately they will probably become much larger when the next major economic crisis strikes.

But perhaps the saddest part of all of this is the massive number of children that are suffering night after night.

For the first time ever, more than a million public school children in the United States are homeless.  That number has risen by 57 percent since the 2006-2007 school year.

So if things are really “getting better”, then why in the world do we have more than a million public school children without homes?

These days a lot of families that have lost their homes have ended up living in their vehicles.  The following is an excerpt from a 60 Minutes interview with one family that is living in their truck…

This is the home of the Metzger family. Arielle,15. Her brother Austin, 13. Their mother died when they were very young. Their dad, Tom, is a carpenter. And, he’s been looking for work ever since Florida’s construction industry collapsed. When foreclosure took their house, he bought the truck on Craigslist with his last thousand dollars. Tom’s a little camera shy – thought we ought to talk to the kids – and it didn’t take long to see why.

Pelley: How long have you been living in this truck?

Arielle Metzger: About five months.

Pelley: What’s that like?

Arielle Metzger: It’s an adventure.

Austin Metzger: That’s how we see it.

Pelley: When kids at school ask you where you live, what do you tell ’em?

Austin Metzger: When they see the truck they ask me if I live in it, and when I hesitate they kinda realize. And they say they won’t tell anybody.

Arielle Metzger: Yeah it’s not really that much an embarrassment. I mean, it’s only life. You do what you need to do, right?

But after watching a news report or reading something on the Internet about these people we rapidly forget about them because they are not a part of “our world”.

Another place where a lot of poor people end up is in prison.  In a previous article, I detailed how the prison population in the United States has been booming in recent years.  If you can believe it, the United States now has approximately 25 percent of the entire global prison population even though it only has about 5 percent of the total global population.

And these days it is not just violent criminals that get thrown into prison.  If you lose your job and get behind on your bills, you could be thrown into prison as well.  The following is from a recent CBS News article

Roughly a third of U.S. states today jail people for not paying off their debts, from court-related fines and fees to credit card and car loans, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. Such practices contravene a 1983 United States Supreme Court ruling that they violate the Constitutions’s Equal Protection Clause.

Some states apply “poverty penalties,” such as late fees, payment plan fees and interest, when people are unable to pay all their debts at once. Alabama charges a 30 percent collection fee, for instance, while Florida allows private debt collectors to add a 40 percent surcharge on the original debt. Some Florida counties also use so-called collection courts, where debtors can be jailed but have no right to a public defender. In North Carolina, people are charged for using a public defender, so poor defendants who can’t afford such costs may be forced to forgo legal counsel.

The high rates of unemployment and government fiscal shortfalls that followed the housing crash have increased the use of debtors’ prisons, as states look for ways to replenish their coffers. Said Chettiar, “It’s like drawing blood from a stone. States are trying to increase their revenue on the backs of the poor.”

If you are poor, the United States can be an incredibly cold and cruel place.  Mercy and compassion are in very short supply.

The middle class continues to shrink and poverty continues to grow with each passing year.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately one out of every six Americans is now living in poverty.  And if you throw in those that are considered to be “near poverty”, that number becomes much larger.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 146 million Americans are either “poor” or “low income”.

For many more facts about the rapid increase of poverty in this country, please see my previous article entitled “21 Statistics About The Explosive Growth Of Poverty In America That Everyone Should Know“.

But even as poverty grows, it seems like the hearts of those that still do have money are getting colder.  Just check out what happened recently at a grocery store that was in the process of closing down in Augusta, Georgia

Residents filled the parking lot with bags and baskets hoping to get some of the baby food, canned goods, noodles and other non-perishables. But a local church never came to pick up the food, as the storeowner prior to the eviction said they had arranged. By the time the people showed up for the food, what was left inside the premises—as with any eviction—came into the ownership of the property holder, SunTrust Bank.

The bank ordered the food to be loaded into dumpsters and hauled to a landfill instead of distributed. The people that gathered had to be restrained by police as they saw perfectly good food destroyed. Local Sheriff Richard Roundtree told the news “a potential for a riot was extremely high.”

Can you imagine watching that happen?

But of course handouts and charity are only temporary solutions.  What the poor in this country really need are jobs, and unfortunately there has not been a jobs recovery in the United States since the recession ended.

In fact, the employment crisis looks like it is starting to take another turn for the worse.  The number of layoffs in the month of March was 30 percent higher than the same time a year ago.

Meanwhile, small businesses are indicating that hiring is about to slow down significantly.  According to a recent survey by the National Federation of Independent Businesses, small businesses in the United States are extremely pessimistic right now.  The following is what Goldman Sachs had to say about this survey…

Components of the survey were consistent with the decline in headline optimism, as the net percent of respondents planning to hire fell to 0% (from +4%), those expecting higher sales fell to -4% (from +1%), and those reporting that it is a good time to expand ticked down to +4% (from +5%). The net percent of respondents expecting the economy to improve was unchanged at -28%, a very depressed level. However, on the positive side, +25% of respondents plan increased capital spending [ZH: With Alcoa CapEx spending at a 2 year low]. Small business owners continue to place poor sales, taxes, and red tape at the top of their list of business problems, as they have for the past several years.

So why aren’t our politicians doing anything to fix this?

For example, why in the world don’t they stop millions of our jobs from being sent out of the country?

Well, the truth is that they don’t think we have a problem.  In fact, U.S. Senator Ron Johnson recently said that U.S. trade deficits “don’t matter”.

He apparently does not seem alarmed that more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities have been shut down in the United States since 2001.

And since the last election, the White House has seemed to have gone into permanent party mode.

On Tuesday, another extravagant party will be held at the White House.  It is being called “In Performance at the White House: Memphis Soul”, and it is going to include some of the biggest names in the music industry…

As the White House has previously announced, Justin Timberlake (who will be making his White House debut), Al Green, Ben Harper, Queen Latifah, Cyndi Lauper, Joshua Ledet, Sam Moore, Charlie Musselwhite, Mavis Staples, and others will be performing at the exclusive event.

Living Underground - Photo by Patrick Cashin

And so who will be paying for all of this?

You and I will be.  Even as the Obamas cry about all of the other “spending cuts” that are happening, they continue to blow millions of taxpayer dollars on wildly extravagant parties and vacations.

Overall, U.S. taxpayers will spend well over a billion dollars on the Obamas this year.

I wonder what the tunnel people that live under the streets of America think about that.

 

Conspiracy, Peak Oil and Fukitol

Off the keyboard of Lucid Dreams

Published on Epihany Now on December 20, 2012

Discuss this article at the Epicurean Delights Smorgasbord inside the Diner

Before the 9/11 truth movement existed I knew what we were being told was bull shit. I knew that because I was on the vessel that dropped the first bombs on Afghanistan as a result of 9/11. I knew in my bones that the American population, and the world, was being lied to, but I didn’t know the specifics. I wanted out of the navy before 9/11 happened. I had realized that enlisting in the military was a grave mistake for me because I valued self exploration, autonomy, and intellect; none of which the navy provided, gave a shit about, or allowed to occur. I choked down the contracts I had signed until 9/11happened. It was one thing to be slaving away as a nuclear automaton relatively benignly as far as the world was concerned, but it was quite another to be assisting in the killing of invisible innocents. I wanted to know the truth badly.

 
After about a year of alcohol and drug use, I started to actively pursue the truth (in those rare moments of temporary sobriety). This search led me to Alex Jones and his infowars. It didn’t take long before I became a card totin’ prisonplanet member. I listened to his broadcasts and watched all of his documentary films. For a couple of years I was an Alex Jones disciple. He verified my anger and my actions concerning the navy. I knew that I was right to do what I had done, but I didn’t have the proof until Alex Jones. When patrons came to my bar they got an ear full. I ran a lot of people off, but I opened a lot of eyes as well.
 
I was all about exposing the Illuminati for their NWO conspiracy to imprison the planet as an intellectual thing until I viewed “The Passion of the Christ.” Shortly after viewing that film I had a dream where I met evil incarnate in the form of an old female demon that looked a lot like Zelda from “Pet Cemetary” only scarier. It was a vivid dream that felt more like reality than my waking life. It scarred the shit out of me and caused me to run back to the eager arms of Christianity, the religion of my child hood. Yes, for about six months I could be seen sitting behind my bar during the slow times reading a pocket sized copy of the New Testament. Then I started reading the likes of Tex Marrs, whom if you don’t know, is a Christian evangelical conspiracy theory nut job. He takes the Illuminati seriously on a spiritual level and applies it all to Revelations and the end times. Now, I was a Christian conspiracy theorists, which is the original type of conspiracy theorists. In fact, the Illuminati really is a Christian conspiracy theory and doesn’t make much sense out of that context. This is Satan operating amongst man. I even got into reading the “Left Behind” series at this point in my life (I don’t mind if you laugh at my expense…I would). Then one day, and I don’t remember the day or the moment, because I don’t think there was one, I just stopped with the Christian nonsense. Basically the fear from meeting Zelda wore off and I came to my senses. All that meant was that I dropped the spiritual implications from what the Illuminati was. Now it was framed in a more secular content, but otherwise I was still ate up with it.
 
I met my wife in October of 2002, 10 months after flipping the penny that brought me back to the South. I was drunk, as usual, and I walked into one of the several bars I frequented looking for companionship. I was by myself this particular night. I noticed an ex-girlfriend of a friend of mine playing pool with a smokin’ hot vixen (pictured above). I always liked Summer (the ex of the friend), and knowing her gave me the courage to start talkin’ shit to that vixen. I was so broke at the time that Joey and I’s fifth apartment didn’t even have the power turned on yet (we had been living there for about two weeks). Our first date was financed on a roll of quarters belonging to Wendy. We went to a hole in the wall pool hall where they have .25 cent games and you can’t see cause all of the smoke and bad country music, and then we went to the Waffle House where we drank coffee and she ate hash browns. I told her that I had lost count at 23 women, had done just about every drug under the sun, and usually scared women away because I was too “deep.” I still have that paper coin roll in my wallet.
 
Six months later Wendy and I were living together. Three months after that Wendy was gone and I was left with a Goodwill couch, an entertainment stand with nothing on it, and a computer. She had vanished due to a torrid affair that I had gotten myself wrapped up in presumably for being too “deep”. I had fallen in love with a bar patron of mine who reciprocated those feelings. It is a long story, and one that I’ll spare you the details of. However, for whatever reason, Wendy did not want to give up on me, and so a few months into the new relationship I was cheating on her with Wendy. It was a mess. When it was all over, Wendy and I were back together, and she was living 70 miles away. I had a drivers license and a broke down car that didn’t work at this point. Wendy did a lot of driving on account of my sorry ass, and I still don’t know why.
 
When we were engaged was when I got hauled off to the slammer for being a stupid drunk. I continued going to my job managing a shit hole bar via my bike. Luckily for me, the cop who had pulled me over had resigned from Spartanburg PD and moved to Charleston. Case closed. I got back my license and didn’t get charged with a DUI (which would have sealed my fate as a loser cause I never would have worked in EMS otherwise). However I did lose 2500 dollars to a lawyer who required 5000 to represent me. He let me off the hook with just the 2500 dollar retainer on account of his punk ass didn’t have to do a damn thing for the money.
 
At this point, engaged, and not a damn thing going for me short of tending bars, I decided I better do something a little more in line with a domesticated lifestyle. This was when I finally decided to become an EMT. Just before we got married I got certified as an EMT-basic and began working for a local convalescent transport company making 11 dollars an hour. I worked for them “Granny Snatchin” for a little over a year before I got hired with Piedmont EMS in Rock Hill South Carolina. Getting the job was the fruition of my goal to be on a real meat wagon working EMS. Shortly after taking that job we bought our first house, which they wouldn’t allow us to buy with me on the mortgage. Wendy financed it herself with the income from her successful business as a wedding photographer. We got a really good deal. 3.65 acres surrounded by woods in the middle of the city of Rock Hill. The house was 1450 square feet with a detached 800 sqft garage. We paid 110,000 dollars with an APR of 7% fixed, which wasn’t that bad for the time. A year later the housing market collapsed.
 
2007 was also the year that I ran into JHK’s “The Long Emergency,” and got schooled on peak oil. Up to this point I had never heard of the idea and had never even thought about infinite growth on a finite planet. Up to that point I was unaware that our problems were much more ominous than the Illuminati’s NWO. Reading TLE was the first step on the stair case of reality and not conspiracy theory for me. I didn’t let go of the Illuminati easily at first, but Alex Jones and I had to break up. He’s a peak oil denier, and I couldn’t deny the truth of peak oil and therefore couldn’t reconcile why he would deny it. I moved on to Richard Heinberg, Michael Ruppert, Dimitri Orlov, and John Michael Greer.
 
Up to this point in my life I had never owned any land or seen the need to grow any food. I started gardening organically right out of the gates. Then I started prepping and dealing with the roller coaster ride that learning about peak oil becomes for anybody who doesn’t decide to bury their head in the sand. I debated for a long time about whether to procreate or not. Wendy pretty much just took my word for it on the PO front. She was too busy running her business to notice or really care about PO and mostly just placated my concerns about the future. She wanted a child, and so did I, it was just the future I was concerned about. How could I willingly bring a child into a world that was on Hubbert’s bumpy plateau? A couple of years of PO study and obsession goes by and we decide to have a child. In 2010 my son Ayden Zen was born.
 
My wife’s business began to tank due to negative returns on technology. Digital camera technology is so good now that any dumb ass soccer mom can take 5000 pictures at a wedding and then photoshop 500 or so of them into descent pictures. Talent is rapidly dissolving into technology in photography. Camera equipment is very expensive, and this is part of the reason why photography got so expensive. Now rich soccer moms get their 3000 dollar camera along with thousands of dollars in related equipment and editing soft ware and they’re in business. They can undercut the professionals because they are just playing for egoistic reasons and not concerned with paying bills cause their husbands handle all of that. In our case, my 28,000 dollar a year (gross income, I brought home 2000 a month) just paid for the vehicles and our house and I was out of money before I was even paid. Our son arrived and Wendy’s business was on the downward spiral.
 
I was extremely stressed out by all of these changes. Wendy felt guilty about her money going away which put her in a bad mood, which further strained our relationship. I was stressed out trying to live a 40,000 dollar lifestyle on 28,000 dollars with no feasible way to better my situation. My son added an entire new layer of stress to all of this. Healthcare was slowly changing from something I loved to something I hated due to all of the governmental changes. We went from patients to customers, and I began hating all of the new bureaucracies that became inherent in the new healthcare landscape. What I had was a house that was falling apart. A house that was a ticking time bomb fit to explode and leave us with a leaking roof, no heat, cockroaches, and thousands of other things that needed to be maintained with no money to maintain any of it. All my career working on the meat wagon was doing was keeping us from drowning, for the time being. I broke and ended up on fukitol for a short period of time. If you’ve been following Epiphany now for the last year, than you’ll likely know what’s transpired since then. It not, have a look around.
This post pretty much concludes my autobiographical stint, at least in any kind of chronological order. I’ll be wrapping it up with one more post along with Jason Heppenstall and WHD (who’s apparently going to begin and end his auto offering in one post soon). I’ll save you any suspense cause we’ve got enough of that waiting on Jason. I’m just going to be writing a conclusion blog. I won’t be concluding Epiphany Now, but I’ll more than likely be slowing down. January 9th I’m going to be taking 13 hours of college prerequisites for the RN program at our local community college, plus I’m gonna be going back to work granny snatchin’ part time. It’s come to that. I’ve got to pay the monkey. My wife is five months along into our second pregnancy. We have no income for 2013 unless I go back to work. We just found out yesterday that we’re having another boy and the ultrasound revealed no abnormalities. After all of this, I’m going to be plugging back into the Matrix. I’ll be talking about that and my plans for the future in my next post.

 

Hungry For The Holidays

Off the keyboard of Michael Snyder

Published on Economic Collapse on November 26, 2012

Discuss this article at the Epicurean Delights Smorgasbord inside the Diner

20 Facts About Hunger In America That Will Blow Your Mind

All over America there are millions of people that will be missing meals and going hungry this holiday season. Even as much of the country indulges in the yearly ritual of unbridled consumerism that we refer to as “the holiday season”, more families in the United States than ever before will be dealing with not having enough food to eat. Food stamp use is at an all-time high. Demand at food banks is at an all-time high. They keep telling us that we are in an “economic recovery” and yet the middle class continues to shrink and the number of Americans living in poverty just continues to grow. We are witnessing unprecedented hunger in America, and this especially seems tragic during the holidays. Much of the country is partying as if the good times will never stop, but families that are living from one meal to the next are facing a completely different reality. How do you tell your children that there isn’t going to be any food to eat for dinner? How do you explain to them that other families have plenty to eat but you don’t? Sadly, many food banks are overstretched at this point. All over the nation, food pantries have actually had to turn people away because of the overwhelming demand. And more Americans used food stamps to buy their Thanksgiving dinners this year than ever before. This is a problem that is not going away any time soon, and when the next major economic downturn strikes the problem of hunger in America is going to get even worse.

For many Americans, hunger has become a way of life. Families that don’t have enough money are often faced with some absolutely heartbreaking choices. Just check out what one Maine official that works with the Emergency Food Assistance Program recently had to say

“One in six people in Maine don’t know where their next meal is coming from, or skip a meal so their kids can eat, or have to choose between paying for prescriptions and food, or fuel for your car and food,” Hall said. “What’s amazing is that food is always the first thing to go from your budget. It’s staggering, the choices people have to make.”

Food banks all over the country try their best to do what they can, especially during the holidays, but it is often not enough. In fact, some food banks ran out of turkeys well in advance of Thanksgiving this year

Three days in advance of Thanksgiving, the Pear Street Cupboard and Café in Framingham, Massachusetts, is out of turkeys. According to organizers, “requests for help are up 400 percent over last year.”

But it isn’t just during the holidays that food banks are having problems keeping up with demand. The truth is that many food banks find themselves out of food and having to turn away hungry families all throughout the year. The following is from a recent Reuters article

Overall, food pantries and soup kitchens reported a 5 percent spike in demand in 2012, according to the survey. More than half of providers said they were forced to turn away clients, reduce portion sizes, or limit their hours.

In Staten Island, all of the agencies that respond to hunger reported not having enough food to meet demand, while in the Bronx that was true for 80 percent of agencies. In Queens and Brooklyn, more than 60 percent of agencies did not have enough food to meet the needs of the populations they serve.

If you are able, please support your local food bank. The needs are great and they are only going to get greater.

The following are 20 facts about hunger in America that will blow your mind…

#1 According to one calculation, the number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the combined populations of “Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.”

#2 In October 2008, 30.8 million Americans were on food stamps. By August 2012 that number had risen to 47.1 million Americans.

#3 Right now, one out of every seven Americans is on food stamps and one out of every four American children is on food stamps.

#4 It is projected that half of all American children will be on food stamps at least once before they turn 18 years of age.

#5 According to new numbers that were just released by the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of Americans living in poverty increased to a new all-time record high of 49.7 million last year.

#6 The number of Americans living in poverty has increased by about 6 million over the past four years.

#7 Today, about one out of every four workers in the United States brings home wages that are at or below the federal poverty level.

#8 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the poverty rate for children living in the United States is about 22 percent.

#9 Overall, approximately 57 percent of all children in the United States are living in homes that are either considered to be either “low income” or impoverished.

#10 In the United States today, close to 100 million Americans are considered to be either “poor” or “near poor”.

#11 One university study estimates that child poverty costs the U.S. economy 500 billion dollars each year.

#12 Households that are led by a single mother have a 31.6 percent poverty rate.

#13 In 2010, 42 percent of all single mothers in the United States were on food stamps.

#14 According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, 36.4 percent of all children in Philadelphia are living in poverty, 40.1 percent of all children in Atlanta are living in poverty, 52.6 percent of all children in Cleveland are living in poverty and 53.6 percent of all children in Detroit are living in poverty.

#15 Since 2007, the number of children living in poverty in the state of California has increased by 30 percent.

#16 Family homelessness in the Washington D.C. region (one of the wealthiest regions in the entire country) has risen 23 percent since the last recession began.

#17 There are 314 counties in the United States where at least 30 percent of the children are facing food insecurity.

#18 More than 20 million U.S. children rely on school meal programs to keep from going hungry.

#19 Right now, more than 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one welfare program run by the federal government. And that does not even count Social Security or Medicare.

#20 According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, approximately 40 percent of all food in America “is routinely thrown away by consumers at home, discarded or unserved at restaurants or left unharvested on farms.”

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