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Hurricane Harvey Aftermath: 100,000 Homes Destroyed, A Million Vehicles Ruined And Bottled Water Being Sold For $99 A Case

It is now being estimated that the total amount of economic damage caused by Hurricane Harvey will be somewhere in the neighborhood of 190 billion dollars.  It is a disaster unlike anything that we have ever seen before in all of U.S. history, and federal officials are already admitting that they are literally going to be dealing with the aftermath of this storm for “years”.  At this point, more than 100,000 homes have been destroyed, “up to one million vehicles” have been ruined, and many retailers have already been caught engaging in extreme price gouging.  But this could be just the beginning, because this storm has already rendered many areas along the Gulf coast “uninhabitable” for an extended period of time, and as you will see at the end of this article another hurricane may be arriving early next month.

What we just witnessed in Houston is being called “a 1,000-year-flood”, and many basic necessities are now in extremely short supply.  So of course it was inevitable that this would lead to price gouging, and this is reportedly even happening at some of the largest retail chains.  For example, at one Best Buy store cases of bottled water were being sold for 42 dollars

On Friday, a Twitter user shared a picture of cases of bottled water being sold at a Best Buy in Houston. One of the cases was being sold for $42 when it normally retailed for about $15.

A Best Buy spokesman later apologized, saying it was a ‘big mistake’.

But that water was quite cheap compared to prices in other parts of the city.  According to CNN, one convenience store in Houston was actually charging 20 dollars for a single gallon of gasoline and 99 dollars for a case of bottled water…

Texas officials say they’ve gotten hundreds of complaints about price gouging and scams in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

One convenience store in Houston reportedly charged $20 for a gallon of gas, $8.50 for a bottle of water and $99 for a case of water, according to the Texas Attorney General’s office.

The state has received 684 complaints in all, according to Kayleigh Lovvorn, a spokeswoman for the office.

It is inexcusable to take advantage of people during a crisis in this way.  So many are running low on food, water and other basic supplies, and to try to make a quick profit by engaging in price gouging just isn’t right.

In the end, many people are going to have to leave Houston and never look back.  To this day some parts of New Orleans still have not recovered from the devastation that Hurricane Katrina caused, and we are facing a similar scenario now with Houston.  According to AccuWeather president Joel Myers, it will be “weeks and possibly months” before people can even get back into certain parts of Houston…

Hurricane Harvey could be the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history with a potential price tag of $190 billion, according to a preliminary estimate from private weather firm AccuWeather.

This is equal to the combined cost of Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, and represents a 1% economic hit to the gross national product, AccuWeather said.

“Parts of Houston, the United States’ fourth largest city, will be uninhabitable for weeks and possibly months due to water damage, mold, disease-ridden water and all that will follow this 1,000-year flood,” said AccuWeather president Joel Myers.

I don’t think that the U.S. population as a whole really grasps what has just taken place.

Large stretches of the 4th-largest city in the United States have been destroyed.  Millions that were living comfortable middle class lives have now lost everything that they worked for.  Large numbers of people did not have flood insurance, and so they will be leaning on the federal government for assistance.  Many did have flood insurance, and a significant number of insurance companies may end up going bankrupt because of all the claims that will be suddenly pouring in.  Houston was one of the most important hubs for economic activity in our entire nation, and the economic damage from this crisis will literally stretch on for years.

But despite everything that has happened, many are being very bitter and very cruel on social media and on the comments sections of major news websites.  Apparently many on the left do not believe that compassion is appropriate because this storm hit a conservative state like Texas.  Not everything has to be politicized, and it has greatly disturbed me to see just how cold many hearts in this nation have become.

And what is truly frightening is that another hurricane is potentially heading toward the Gulf of Mexico.  It is still way too early to project exactly if it will make landfall or where, but it is being reported that Hurricane Irma has already become a category 3 storm

Hurricane Irma continued its rapid power grab Thursday, with wind speeds increasing by more than 55 mph since Wednesday to become a major Cat 3 storm.

In their 5 p.m. advisory, National Hurricane Center forecasters said sustained winds had climbed to 115 mph as the storm headed to the west, northwest at 12 mph. Irma remains in the far east Atlantic, just over 1,700 miles east of the Leeward Islands. Up and down changes in intensity are possible over the next few days, forecasters said, but the storm is expected to remain a major hurricane that could become a Cat 4 storm in four days.

I am proud of how the Trump administration is handling this crisis, and when I win my race for Congress I look forward to working with Trump to make sure that our nation is always prepared to handle this sort of event.

And please keep praying for Houston, because if another major hurricane were to hit that area it would be a nightmare beyond anything that any of us would ever want to imagine.

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

It Is Becoming Illegal To Be Homeless In America As Houston, Dallas And Dozens Of Other Cities Pass Draconian Laws

Should we make homelessness against the law and simply throw all homeless people into prison so that we don’t have to deal with them?  Incredibly, this is actually starting to happen in dozens of major cities all across the United States.  It may be difficult to believe, but in many large urban areas today, if you are found guilty of “public camping” you can be taken directly to jail.  In some cities, activities such as “blocking a walkway” or creating any sort of “temporary structure for human habitation” are also considered to be serious crimes.  And there are some communities that have even made it illegal to feed the homeless without an official permit.  Unfortunately, as the U.S. economy continues to slow down the number of homeless people will continue to grow, and so this is a crisis that is only going to grow in size and scope.

Of course the goal of many of these laws is to get the homeless to go somewhere else.  But as these laws start to multiply all across the nation, pretty soon there won’t be too many places left where it is actually legal to be homeless.

One city that is being highly criticized for passing extremely draconian laws is Houston.  In that city it is actually illegal for the homeless to use any sort of material to shield themselves from the wind, the rain and the cold

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner is taking a similar approach—his anti-encampment ordinance makes it illegal to use “fabric, metal, cardboard, or other materials as a tent or temporary structure for human habitation.” This ensures that the Houstonian homeless are vulnerable not just to the elements, but also to the constant threat of the police. Officials cite one of the most common justifications for crackdowns on the homeless: neighborhood safety (a more socially acceptable way of talking about the not-in-my-backyard mentality).

With all of the other problems that we are facing as a nation, it stuns me that there are politicians that would spend their time dreaming up such sick and twisted laws.

According to one news report, the homeless in Houston are now officially banned from doing all of the following things…

1. They can’t block a sidewalk, stand in a roadway median or block a building doorway. (AKA they can’t panhandle).

2. They also can’t do any of these things — blocking walkways — under state law that already existed.

3. They can’t sleep in tents, boxes or any other makeshift shelter on public property.

4. They also can’t have heating devices.

5. They can’t carry around belongings that take up space more than three feet long, three feet wide, three feet tall.

6. People can’t spontaneously feed more than five homeless people without a permit.

If I was a homeless person in Houston, I would definitely be looking to get out of there.

But where are they going to go?

Things are almost as bad in Dallas.  In fact, it is being reported that the police in Dallas “issued over 11,000 citations for sleeping in public from January 2012 to November 2015.”

When you break that number down, it comes to 323 citations per month.

Of course some people have tried to challenge these types of laws in court, but most of the challenges have been unsuccessful.  For example, just check out what recently happened in Denver

Three people who were contesting Denver’s urban-camping ban were found guilty on Wednesday, April 5, at the Lindsey-Flanigan courthouse. The defendants — Jerry Burton, Randy Russell and Terese Howard — were determined to have unlawfully camped on November 28, 2016, and to have interfered with police operations at one location. All three were sentenced with court-ordered probation for one year and between twenty and forty hours of community service.

The case challenged Denver’s unauthorized-camping ordinance, which has been divisive ever since Denver City Council approved it in 2012.

Since the courts are generally upholding these laws, this has just emboldened more communities to adopt anti-homelessness ordinances.  According to one report, dozens of major cities have now passed such laws…

City-wide bans on public camping (PDF) have increased by 69 percent throughout the United States. What used to be seen as an annoyance is now prohibited, forcing fines or jail time on those who certainly can’t afford it. The only nationwide nonprofit devoted to studying this, the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, has been tracking these changes since 2006. Their findings? There are a scary number of laws passed that ironically make it costly to be homeless.

For example, in 33 of the 100 U.S. cities they studied, it’s illegal to publicly camp. In 18, it’s illegal to sleep in public. Panhandling is illegal in 27 cities.

In 39 cities, it’s illegal to live in vehicles.

As I have warned repeatedly, we are seeing hearts grow cold all around us.  Instead of doing everything that they can to try to help those in need, communities are trying to make them go some place else, and those that try to feed and help the homeless are being harshly penalized.

Sadly, all of this comes at a time when homelessness is on the rise all over America.  In a previous article I pointed out that in New York City the number of homeless people recently hit a brand new all-time high, and things have gotten so bad in Los Angeles that the L.A. City Council has formally requested that Governor Jerry Brown declare a state of emergency.

We tend to think of the homeless as bearded old men with drinking problems, but the truth is that many of the homeless are children.

In fact, the number of homeless children in the United States has risen by about 60 percent since the end of the last recession.

If this is how we are going to treat some of the most vulnerable members of our society while things are still relatively stable, how are we going to be treating one another when the economy completely collapses?

Finca Bayano

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