18 Startling Quotes About The Incredible Destruction Caused By Hurricane Sandy

It is hard to put into words the absolute devastation that we are seeing along many areas of the east coast right now.  Boats have been washed ashore, homes have been razed, some coastal roads have been essentially destroyed, and large numbers of people are still trapped in their homes by flood waters.  It is being reported that more than 50 people are dead and more than 8 million people along the east coast have lost power.  Those without power might not get it back for a week or more.  In New York City, an all-time record storm surge of almost 14 feet caused incredible destruction.  It is going to take months for New York City to recover, and along the Jersey coast things are even worse.  Hurricane Sandy really did turn out to be “the worst case scenario” for much of the eastern seaboard.  At this point more than 15,000 flights have been cancelled, and nobody knows when subway service in New York City is going to be restored.  More than 4 million people a day use that subway system, and right now many of the most important tunnels are absolutely flooded with water. Sadly, this crisis is far from over.  The storm formerly known as Hurricane Sandy has moved inland over Pennsylvania where it continues to do a tremendous amount of damage.  The full extent of the destruction caused by this storm will probably not be known for weeks.

We have truly seen some unprecedented things during this storm.  For example, a 168 foot long tanker was driven ashore on Staten Island.  Right now the tanker is sitting on Front Street.

In the beachfront Queens neighborhood of Breezy Point, a massive fire broke out and burned just about everything that was not already flooded.  The blaze destroyed close to 100 homes, and by the end of the fire more than 190 firefighters were battling it.

Some areas in the West Virginia mountains have already had up to 3 feet of snow, and yet it just continues to fall.  When all of that snow starts to melt in a few days, tremendous flooding is anticipated.

The northeast has never seen a storm quite like this, and the ripple effects are going to be felt for years to come.

The following are 18 startling quotes about the incredible destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy…

#1 New Jersey Governor Chris Christie

“The devastation on the Jersey Shore is some of the worst we’ve ever seen. The cost of the storm is incalculable at this point.”

#2 MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota

“The New York City subway system is 108 years old, but it has never faced a disaster as devastating as what we experienced last night. Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on our entire transportation system, in every borough and county of the region. It has brought down trees, ripped out power and inundated tunnels, rail yards and bus depots. As of last night, seven subway tunnels under the East River flooded. Metro-North Railroad lost power from 59th Street to Croton-Harmon on the Hudson Line and to New Haven on the New Haven Line. The Long Island Rail Road evacuated its West Side Yards and suffered flooding in one East River tunnel. The Hugh L. Carey Tunnel is flooded from end to end and the Queens Midtown Tunnel also took on water and was closed. Six bus garages were disabled by high water. We are assessing the extent of the damage and beginning the process of recovery. Our employees have shown remarkable dedication over the past few days, and I thank them on behalf of every New Yorker. In 108 years, our employees have never faced a challenge like the one that confronts us now. All of us at the MTA are committed to restoring the system as quickly as we can to help bring New York back to normal.”

#3 Hoboken, New Jersey Mayor Dawn Zimmer

“The Hudson River came in and filled half of Hoboken like a bathtub”

#4 Little Ferry resident Leo Quigley

“I looked out and the next thing you know, the water just came up through the grates. It came up so quickly you couldn’t do anything about it. If you wanted to move your car to higher ground you didn’t have enough time”

#5 New Jersey resident Montgomery Dahm

“I mean, there’s cars that are just completely underwater in some of the places I would never believe that there would be water.”

#6 Mobile home park resident Juan Allen

“I watched a tree crush a guy’s house like a wet sponge.”

#7 Angela Valenta, mother of 9-year-old Angelo Valenta

“He kept saying, ‘Am I going to die?'”

#8 U.S. Representative Bob Turner

“I, along with many other Breezy Point residents, lost our homes last night and I am grateful that my family and I are safe after this destructive storm. I hope you will join me in lending a hand to those who were less fortunate and keep everyone impacted by this storm in your thoughts and prayers.”

#9 Long Branch, New Jersey resident David Arnold

“The ocean is in the road, there are trees down everywhere. I’ve never seen it this bad.”

#10 New York resident William Yaeck

“I am looking outside of my sixth-floor apartment, and I see that a new lake has formed in the parking lot adjacent (to) my building”

#11 Motel owner Peter Sandomeno

“There are boats in the street five blocks from the ocean”

#12 West Virginia meteorologist Reed Timmer

“It’s 3 feet of heavy snow. It’s like concrete”

#13 Maryland State Police dispatcher Bill Wiltson

“It’s like a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs up here”

#14 Con Edison spokeswoman Sara Banda

“This is the largest storm-related outage in history”

#15 John Miksad, senior vice president for electric operations at Con Edison

“This will be one for the record books”

#16 New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg

“Clearly the challenges our city faces in the coming days are enormous”

#17 New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

“You want to talk about a situation that gets old very quickly. You are sitting in a house with no power and you can’t open the refrigerator”

#18 National Weather Service meteorologist Joe Pollina

“It was an extremely devastating and destructive storm, hopefully one that people will only see once in their lifetime”

So what will this storm ultimately cost the U.S. economy?  Well, Fox News is reporting that the total cost could reach 45 billion dollars.  Others estimate that the economic toll may be even higher than that.

But one thing is for certain – at a time when layoffs are already surging, this is definitely not going to help.  The U.S. economy is showing lots of signs of slowing down again, and this storm may have just nudged us even farther in that direction.

Hopefully we will have some time to recover before the next major crisis strikes, but with the election coming up early next week that does not seem too likely.

These 12 Hellholes Are Examples Of What The Rest Of America Will Look Like Soon

Do you want to see where this country is headed?  If so, don’t focus on the few areas that are still very prosperous.  New York City has Wall Street, Washington D.C. has the federal government and Silicon Valley has Google and Facebook.  Those are the exceptions.  The reality is that most of the country has been experiencing a slow decline for a very long time and once thriving cities such as Gary, Indiana and Flint, Michigan have become absolute hellholes.  They are examples of what the rest of America will look like soon.  60 years ago, most Americans were decent, hard working people and there were always good jobs available for anyone that was willing to roll up his or her sleeves and put in an honest day of work.  But now all of that has changed.  Over the past decade, tens of thousands of manufacturing facilities have shut down and millions of jobs have left the country.  Cities such as Cleveland, Baltimore and Detroit were once shining examples of everything that was right about America, but now they stand out like festering sores.  The “blue collar cities” have been hit the hardest by the gutting of our economic infrastructure.  There are many communities in America today where it seems like all of the hope and all of the life have been sucked right out of them.  You can see it in the eyes of the people.  The good times are gone permanently and they know it.  Unfortunately, the remainder of the country will soon be experiencing the despair that those communities are feeling.

The following are 12 hellholes that are examples of what the rest of America will look like soon….

#1 Gary, Indiana

Gary, Indiana was once a great industrial city.

Today, it is one of the ten most dangerous cities in America, and the population has fallen by about 50 percent.

The following is from a recent Daily Mail article….

Frequently rated one of the ten most dangerous cities in the United States, Gary once boomed with jobs and opportunities but now faces the acute difficulties of America’s growing rust belt, with 22 percent of families in the once-great city now lying below the poverty line.

This modern American ghost town began life as home for workers at the United States Steel Corporation plant until economic competition from abroad forced a 90 percent job cut.

It is hard to describe what is happening to Gary without using the word “depressing”.  You can watch a great video that shows what Gary, Indiana looks like these days right here.

This is what happens when industry leaves and there are no jobs.  Gary has become a wasteland and there is essentially no hope for a turnaround.

The following is how James Kunstler described what he experienced when he traveled through Gary, Indiana recently….

Between the ghostly remnants of factories stood a score of small cities and neighborhoods where the immigrants settled five generations ago. A lot of it was foreclosed and shuttered. They were places of such stunning, relentless dreariness that you felt depressed just imagining how depressed the remaining denizens of these endless blocks of run-down shoebox houses must feel. Judging from the frequency of taquerias in the 1950s-vintage strip-malls, one inferred that the old Eastern European population had been lately supplanted by a new wave of Mexicans. They had inherited an infrastructure for daily life that was utterly devoid of conscious artistry when it was new, and now had the special patina of supernatural rot over it that only comes from materials not found in nature disintegrating in surprising and unexpected ways, sometimes even sublimely, like the sheen of an oil slick on water at a certain angle to the sun. There was a Chernobyl-like grandeur to it, as of the longed-for end of something enormous that hadn’t worked out well.

Sadly, Gary is far from alone.  There are a whole host of other formerly great U.S. cities that are degenerating into hellholes as well.

#2 Chicago, Illinois

There is something truly special about Chicago.  Most of America loved the Bears of the Walter Payton era, the Bulls of the Michael Jordan era and the Cubs of the Ernie Banks era.  Chicago is also known for great architecture and great pizza.

But these days “the windy city” is becoming known for other things.

The murder rate in Chicago is up 38 percent so far this year, and the recent spike in violence in the city has made national headlines.

As I noted the other day, there are only about 200 police officers in Chicago’s Gang Enforcement Unit to deal with an estimated 100,000 gang members.

That means that those officers are outnumbered 500 to 1, and more gang members pour into the city every single day.

The escalating violence in Chicago was detailed in a recent article in the Telegraph….

“This is a block-to-block war here, a different dynasty on every street,” said a dreadlocked young man heavily inked in gang tattoos who calls himself “Killer”.

“All the black brothers just want to get rich, but we got no jobs and no hope. We want the violence to stop but you ain’t safe if you ain’t got your pistol with you. Too many friends, too many men are being killed. We don’t even cry at funerals no -more. Nobody expects to live past 21 here.”

The victims and killers are mainly black males aged between 15 and 35, often with gang affiliations – but not exclusively. A seven-year-old girl, Heaven Sutton, was buried this month after being gunned down at her mother’s street sweet store. And last week, two girls aged 12 and 13 were shot and badly-wounded as they walked home from a newly-opened community centre.

If you are thinking of moving to Chicago, you might want to think again.

#3 Detroit, Michigan

I have written repeatedly about Detroit because it is a perfect example of what the rest of America is going to look like soon.

Once upon a time it was regarded as one of the top manufacturing cities the world had ever seen, but today it has become a total hellhole.

There are very few decent jobs available, poverty has exploded and crime is everywhere.

If you can believe it, 53.6% of all children in Detroit are living in poverty, and only 25 percent of all students in Detroit graduate from high school at this point.

And as I wrote about recently, justifiable homicide in Detroit increased by a whopping 79 percent during 2011, and the rate of self-defense killings in Detroit is now approximately 2200% above the national average.

Is it any wonder that you can still buy a house for $100 in some areas of Detroit?

The truth is that many areas of Detroit now resemble a post-apocalyptic wasteland.  Perhaps that is why one team of investors actually wants to turn some of the worst areas of Detroit into a zombie theme park….

Derelict areas of Detroit face being taken over by hordes of ‘flesh and brain-eating zombies’ if an ambitious business plan takes off.

Entrepreneur Mark Siwak wants to create live-action terror theme park ‘Z World’ on Motor City’s run-down and abandoned streets.

Customers would pay to be chased by professional actors and try to seek shelter in ghostly homes, factories and businesses.

You can see some great video of the “ruins of Detroit” right here.

#4 Stockton, California

Stockton is one of the ten most dangerous cities in America and it recently made national headlines when it declared bankruptcy.

Unfortunately, as spending on law enforcement has declined it has given the criminals a lot more room to operate in Stockton.  The following is from a recent Business Insider article….

The city has cut more than $90 million in spending over the past few years, specifically in its police department. The city has cut over one quarter of its police jobs, which has led to a “surge in murders,” and has created an “emboldened criminal element” in the city. According to police spokesman Joe Silva, the city has had 87 murders since the start of 2011, 29 of which have already occurred this year. In contrast, there were 35 murders in 2009 and 48 in 2010. With six months left in the year, there have already been more murders in the city since the start of 2011 than the two-year stretch of 2009-2010.

A while back in Stockton a billboard was put up with the following message: “Welcome to the 2nd most dangerous city in California. Stop laying off cops.”

#5 Flint, Michigan

Flint, Michigan is a city that Michael Moore has made famous.  Flint once supported hordes of middle class workers thanks to a thriving auto industry, but today it is a just a rotting shell.  It looks like a war went through it and nobody bothered to clean up the mess.

At this point, the murder rate in Flint, Michigan is worse than the murder rate in Baghdad.  That is how nightmarish things have become in Flint.

The following is from an article in the New York Times….

It’s not that the cops here are scared; it’s just that they’re outmanned, outgunned and flat broke.

Flint is the birthplace of General Motors and the home of the U.A.W.’s first big strike. In case you didn’t know this, the words “Vehicle City” are spelled out on the archway spanning the Flint River.

But the name is a lie. Flint isn’t Vehicle City anymore. The Buick City complex is gone. The spark-plug plant is gone. Fisher Body is gone.

What Flint is now is one of America’s murder capitals. Last year in Flint, population 102,000, there were 66 documented murders. The murder rate here is worse than those in Newark and St. Louis and New Orleans. It’s even worse than Baghdad’s.

Politicians love to go to Flint and make speeches, but things never get any better.  The following are comments that Joe Biden made about Flint, Michigan during a recent speech he gave to promote a jobs bill….

“In 2008, when Flint had 265 sworn officers on their police force, there were 35 murders and 91 rapes in this city. In 2010, when Flint had only 144 police officers, the murder rate climbed to 65 and rapes–just to pick two categories–climbed to 229. In 2011, you now only have 125 shields. God only knows what the numbers will be this year for Flint if we don’t rectify it.”

But don’t look down on Flint – these kinds of conditions are coming to where you live soon enough.

#6 West Philly

Did you know that 36.4% of all children that live in Philadelphia are living in poverty?

There are some sections of Philadelphia that are actually very nice, but there are others that look like society has forgotten about them for decades.

A recent article by Jim Quinn entitled “More Than 30 Blocks Of Grey And Decay” described the depressing conditions in West Philadelphia.  Quinn refers to his drive through this area as “the 30 Blocks of Squalor”….

The real unemployment rate exceeds 50%, murder is the number one industry, with drugs a close second.

But it was not always this way.  Once upon a time, West Philly was actually a thriving area and was full of middle class families.

So what happened?

That is a very good question.

According to Quinn, the physical decay in West Philly is matched by the social decay….

The once proud homes are in shambles. Bags of garbage dot the landscape. Most of the people who live here are parasites on society. Personal responsibility, work ethic, education and marriage are unknown concepts in this community. Even though more than 50% of the students in West Philly drop out of high school and the SAT scores of West Philly High students are lower than whale ****, the bankrupt school district spent $70 million to build a new high school/prison to babysit derelicts and future prison inmates. The windows do not have steel bars yet, as the architect was smart to put all windows at least eight feet above street level.

These days there is a lot of despair in “the city of brotherly love”.  It is so sad to see what is happening to what once was such a proud city.

#7 Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland has always had a love/hate relationship with itself.  Many who live there call it “the mistake by the lake”, but the truth is that it was once a truly great city.

Sadly, today it is symbol of what has gone wrong with America.

There has been a steady stream of businesses that have left Cleveland and today 52.6% of all children that live in Cleveland are living in poverty.

There are not enough good jobs in Cleveland anymore, and so there are not enough workers to buy the tens of thousands of homes that have been foreclosed or abandoned.

So what is being done with all of those empty homes?

Unfortunately, they are being torn down.

The following comes from a recent CBS News report by Scott Pelley….

Across America, recession-fueled foreclosures and plummeting home values have left countless properties abandoned and vulnerable to looting. As Scott Pelley reports, the problem has gotten so bad in Cleveland, Ohio, that county officials have demolished more than 1,000 homes this year – and plan to demolish 20,000 more – rather than let the blight spread and render nearby homes worthless.

Does that seem right to you?

Should Cleveland be destroying tens of thousands of homes that families could be using?

Something has gone very, very wrong in this country.

#8 Camden, New Jersey

If you want to see what a hellhole looks like just visit Camden, New Jersey.

Although you will probably want to take an armed escort with you.

As industry has abandoned Camden, the gangs have basically taken over.  The “growth industries” in Camden these days are drug dealing and prostitution.

In an article entitled “City of Ruins“, reporter Chris Hedges described what life is like in Camden at this point….

There are perhaps a hundred open-air drug markets, most run by gangs like the Bloods, the Latin Kings, Los Nietos and MS-13. Knots of young men in black leather jackets and baggy sweatshirts sell weed and crack to clients, many of whom drive in from the suburbs. The drug trade is one of the city’s few thriving businesses. A weapon, police say, is never more than a few feet away, usually stashed behind a trash can, in the grass or on a porch.

Not that other cities in New Jersey are shining examples for the rest of the world either.

For example, if you want to get really depressed just drive through the bad parts of Newark some time.

#9 St. Louis

According to U.S. News and World Report, the most dangerous city in the United States is St. Louis.

If you have a death wish, just wander around the streets of East St. Louis at night.

There is a decent chance that someone will shoot you.

Things were not always this way in St. Louis.  But today things have gotten so bad that you can find packs of wild dogs roaming the city digging through trash and threatening children.

The following is from a report by the local CBS affiliate in St. Louis….

…Lewis Reed is sounding the alarm. “I’ve witnessed packs of dogs, 10 and 15 dogs running together, and I’ve seen all these dogs I’m talking about they don’t have collars, they don’t have tags, these are truly wild dogs,” he said.

Reed says stray dogs are terrorizing the north side. “It’s obscene that parents have to walk their kids to school, in some parts of the city, with a golf club to fend off wild dogs.”

This kind of thing is actually happening in America?

#10 New Orleans, Louisiana

The problems that New Orleans has experienced have been well documented.

But unlike most of the cities listed above, at least New Orleans has an excuse.  New Orleans permanently lost 29% of its population after Hurricane Katrina, and large sections of the city were essentially destroyed by that storm.

Even today, there are still some areas of New Orleans that look as if they have just been bombed.

It has been estimated that about 20 percent of the homes in New Orleans are still standing vacant, and poverty is rampant.  New Orleans will probably never fully recover to the level it was at before Hurricane Katrina hit.

#11 Oakland, California

Oakland has always been in the shadow of San Francisco, and the contrast between the two cities continues to grow.

Oakland has always been considered one of the more dangerous cities in America, and this year crime rates in Oakland are rising rapidly.  The following is from a recent article in the New York Times….

At the beginning of April, murders in Oakland were up 26 percent over a year ago, rapes were up 41 percent, and robberies were up 35 percent.

When Chief Batts arrived as a “change agent” in 2009, the police department employed 837 officers. It now has 635. The department no longer responds to burglaries that are not still in progress, and frequently does not respond to other calls for help.

So if your house has been robbed and the burglars are gone what are you supposed to do?

Due to a crippling lack of resources, the previous police chief decided that his department would no longer be able to respond to all crimes.

The following is a partial list of the crimes that police in Oakland are no longer likely to respond to….

  • burglary
  • theft
  • embezzlement
  • grand theft
  • grand theft: dog
  • identity theft
  • false information to peace officer
  • required to register as sex or arson offender
  • dump waste or offensive matter
  • loud music
  • possess forged notes
  • pass fictitious check
  • obtain money by false voucher
  • fraudulent use of access cards
  • stolen license plate
  • embezzlement by an employee
  • extortion
  • attempted extortion
  • false personification of other
  • injure telephone/power line
  • interfere with power line
  • unauthorized cable tv connection
  • vandalism

So what do you do if you are a victim of one of those crimes in Oakland?

That is a very good question.

#12 Baltimore, Maryland

If you can believe it, Baltimore was actually once a great city.

But today it has become a crime-ridden, drug-infested hellhole.

I used to drive up to Baltimore all the time.  It truly is a “blue collar” city.  There are a lot of really hard working people there.

Unfortunately, there are not nearly enough jobs for everyone and a lot of people have turned to drugs and crime.

There are some areas of Baltimore that you really should never enter by yourself.  If you do go into them, you might not make it back out.

There was one incident in Baltimore earlier this year that was particularly disturbing.

One poor young man had gotten drunk and was apparently wandering around all by himself.  Some thugs approached him and they clearly sensed that he was vulnerable.  So they knocked him to the ground, stripped him of his car keys, his watch, his money, his cell phone and his clothes.

A crowd gathered around to watch, and instead of helping the man, several of them got out their cell phones and laughed hysterically while they recorded the incident with their cell phone cameras for YouTube.

What made all of this even sadder is that this happened right in front of a Baltimore courthouse.

What in the world has happened to this nation?

All of us that still love this country should be deeply saddened by everything above.

America is rotting from the inside out, and if we are ever going to find any solutions we need to start admitting how bad things have really become.

The truth is that our problems are not limited to one political party, one special interest group or to one region of the country.  The social decay that is plaguing America can literally be found everywhere.

For much more on this, please see the following four articles….

1) “25 Signs The Collapse Of America Is Speeding Up As Society Rots From The Inside Out

2) “70 Reasons To Mourn For America

3) “20 Signs That Society Is Breaking Down And That America Has Been Overrun By Psychos

4) “12 Factors That Are Turning The Streets Of America Into A Living Hell

So don’t laugh at Detroit or Cleveland or St. Louis.

The rest of the country is declining too.

If the city where you live is not a hellhole already, it will be soon enough.

Turn Out The Lights – The Largest U.S. Cities Are Becoming Cesspools Of Filth, Decay And Wretchedness

Once upon a time, the largest U.S. cities were the envy of the entire world.  Sadly, that is no longer the case.  Sure, there are areas of New York City, Boston, Washington and Los Angeles that are still absolutely beautiful but for the most part our major cities are rapidly rotting and decaying.  Cities such as Detroit, Cleveland, Baltimore, Memphis, New Orleans, St. Louis and Oakland were all once places where middle class American workers thrived and raised their families.  Today, all of those cities are rapidly being transformed into cesspools of filth, decay and wretchedness.  Millions of good jobs have left our major cities in recent decades and poverty has absolutely exploded.    Basically, you can turn out the lights because the party is over.  In fact, some major U.S. cities are literally turning out the lights.  In Detroit, about 40 percent of the streetlights are already broken and the city cannot afford to repair them.  So Mayor Bing has come up with a plan to cut the number of operating streetlights almost in half and leave vast sections of the city totally in the dark at night.  I wonder what that will do to the crime rate in the city.  But don’t look down on Detroit too much, because what is happening in Detroit will be happening where you live soon enough.

A recent Bloomberg article described Mayor Bing’s plan to eliminate nearly half of Detroit’s streetlights….

Detroit, whose 139 square miles contain 60 percent fewer residents than in 1950, will try to nudge them into a smaller living space by eliminating almost half its streetlights.

As it is, 40 percent of the 88,000 streetlights are broken and the city, whose finances are to be overseen by an appointed board, can’t afford to fix them. Mayor Dave Bing’s plan would create an authority to borrow $160 million to upgrade and reduce the number of streetlights to 46,000. Maintenance would be contracted out, saving the city $10 million a year.

What this means is that there are going to be a lot of neighborhoods that will have the lights turned off permanently.

So which neighborhoods will those be?

According to one top Detroit official, “distressed areas” are going to be on the low end of the totem pole….

“You have to identify those neighborhoods where you want to concentrate your population,” said Chris Brown, Detroit’s chief operating officer. “We’re not going to light distressed areas like we light other areas.”

City officials know that they cannot force people to move from “distressed areas”, so they are going to encourage them to leave by cutting off services.

But turning off the lights is not the only way that Detroit is trying to save money.

Recently, officials in Detroit announced that all police stations in the city will be closed to the public for 16 hours a day.

It is so sad to see what is happening to what was once such a great city.

Back in the old days, Detroit had a teeming middle class population.

Today, 53.6% of all children in the city of Detroit are living in poverty.

Back in the old days, Detroit was a shining example of what America was doing right.

Today, 47 percent of all people living in the city of Detroit are functionally illiterate.

Back in the old days, middle class neighborhoods sprouted like mushrooms all over Detroit.

Today, the median price of a home in Detroit is just $6000.

Needless to say, crime is exploding in Detroit and many families live in constant fear.

Many have taken justice into their own hands.  Justifiable homicide in Detroit rose by a staggering 79 percent during 2011.

But Detroit is only one example of a national trend.

For example, a recent article by Jim Quinn entitled “More Than 30 Blocks Of Grey And Decay” described the filth, decay and wretchedness in West Philadelphia.  Quinn refers to the drive through this area as “the 30 Blocks of Squalor”….

The real unemployment rate exceeds 50%, murder is the number one industry, with drugs a close second.

As you drive down the 30 Blocks of Squalor you meet the ghost of Squalor future for West Chester Pike. The population along this corridor is ignorant, dependent, and represents the dregs of our society.

But this area was once home to middle class families.  There were once many beautiful homes in West Philly, but most of them are now either gone or are crumbling badly.  According to Quinn, the physical decay is matched by the social decay….

The once proud homes are in shambles. Bags of garbage dot the landscape. Most of the people who live here are parasites on society. Personal responsibility, work ethic, education and marriage are unknown concepts in this community. Even though more than 50% of the students in West Philly drop out of high school and the SAT scores of West Philly High students are lower than whale ****, the bankrupt school district spent $70 million to build a new high school/prison to babysit derelicts and future prison inmates. The windows do not have steel bars yet, as the architect was smart to put all windows at least eight feet above street level.

One of the great things about the article is that Quinn pointed out how the retail stores in the area reflect the things that the population of the community truly values….

The Chestnut Plaza truly represents what is important to this community. This Squalor Center, as opposed to Power Center, includes a video porn store, cash checking/payday loan outlet, smoke shop, donut shop, Laundromat, and liquor store. No need for a wedding ring store or resume writing service.

Sadly, there are communities like this all over the country.  As I wrote about recently, the entire state of California is slowly being transformed into one gigantic cesspool.

Yes, there are still a few areas where the wealthy play that are absolutely beautiful.  If you stay in the wealthy enclaves you might never even know that the rest of the state is badly decaying.

There are really good reasons why millions of people are moving out of California.  For example, a reader named Peter left the following comment on one of my recent articles….

I am a native Californian ( Im 61) and have lived here all but two years of my life. I can tell you absolutely that this state is not what it was 30 years ago. Cities like San Francisco have gone from being world-class tourist attractions to national disgraces. Los Angeles is a third-world city. San Diego is bankrupt. Even Silicon Valley, despite the recent improvements, is no way what it was in the 90′s. The retail trade is all but dead in this state. Even high-end malls like Rodeo Drive and Ocean Ave in Carmel are full of vacancies.

Throughout the state, good businesses are shutting down and hard working families are selling their homes.  The void that is being created is being filled by crime and gangs.  The following is a comment that a reader named Roberta left on that same article….

Yep we lived in Oroville CA back in 2007 and it was just starting to get bad then. Montgomery Wards closed, then McMahan’s furniture closed and NOW McDonalds is closing this July along with a grand slam of well known businesses are all folding and pulling out of Oroville or folding lock-stock-n-barrell. It’s turning into a gang town with wide spread rampant drug use. I feel sorry for family and friends that are still their clinging onto the hope that thnigs “will” get better. But I don’t think so.

Perhaps things are still quite good where you live.

Perhaps you think that you will be immune from all this.

Sadly, the truth is that this is just the beginning.

The U.S. economy is actually performing much better than it should be thanks to the trillions of borrowed dollars that Barack Obama and the U.S. Congress have been spending into the economy.

When our debt-fueled prosperity ends, a lot more cities are going to end up looking just like Detroit.

America cannot prosper without middle class jobs, and those kinds of jobs are rapidly disappearing.

Just this week HP announced that it is going to lay off 27,000 workers.

We are losing middle class jobs at a time when we desperately need more of them.

Last year, 53 percent of all Americans with a bachelor’s degree under the age of 25 were either unemployed or underemployed.

Yet our politicians continue to pursue the same foolish policies over and over.

So things are going to continue to get worse and America is going to continue to descend into squalor.

You better get ready.

The New Reality For U.S. Cities: No Money For Street Lights, Roving Packs Of Wild Dogs And Open-Air Drug Markets

If you want to know what the early stages of an economic collapse look like, just walk around some of the downtown areas of our major cities.  Today, nearly all large U.S. cities are either flat broke or they are on the way to being flat broke.  Yes, New York City and Washington D.C. (and a few others) are still doing fairly well, but for most U.S. cities economic reality is catching up with them very quickly.  Right now, there are a number of major cities that are so broke that they cannot keep the street lights operating.  Down in St. Louis, parents in some areas are carrying golf clubs with them as they walk their kids to school in order to fend off roving packs of wild dogs.  In other major U.S. cities, open-air drug markets conduct business without fear.  All over the United States, cities that used to be clean and prosperous and full of hope are now being transformed into post-industrial wastelands.  We are certainly not in “Mad Max” territory yet, but it doesn’t take too much imagination to see where all of this is headed.

I have previously written about how Detroit is literally coming apart at the seams.  Well, now in many areas of the city they can’t even keep the street lights on anymore.  There simply is not enough money, and even if there was, thieves are stealing the copper wiring out of the street lights faster than the city can repair them.

At this point, there are some neighborhoods in Detroit where up to 50 percent of the street lights are not functioning.

The following is from a recent article in The Detroit News about this crisis….

The war to keep the lights on in Detroit is a serious one. Thieves, antiquated equipment and a lack of funding have made it impossible for city officials to catch up to the problem.

City officials estimate 15-20 percent of the 88,000 lights in the Motor City are not working, and they acknowledge that figure could be as high as 50 percent in some neighborhoods.

But it is not just Detroit that is having a major problem.  Over in Highland Park, Michigan the majority of the street lights have been repossessed because the city was not keeping up with the electricity bill.

So what are residents of Highland Park supposed to do?

Are they supposed to lock themselves in their own homes at night?

In Fresno, California the theft of copper wire from street lights has become a total nightmare.  At this point, the loss of copper wire and the cost of repairing the street lights is costing Fresno about $50,000 a month.  So far, approximately 2,500 street lights have been stripped of their wiring.

Down in St. Louis they are having a different problem.  In some of the worst areas of the city, roving packs of wild dogs are a serious threat to children that are walking to school.

A recent report by the local CBS affiliate in St. Louis described the situation this way….

…Lewis Reed is sounding the alarm. “I’ve witnessed packs of dogs, 10 and 15 dogs running together, and I’ve seen all these dogs I’m talking about they don’t have collars, they don’t have tags, these are truly wild dogs,” he said.

Reed says stray dogs are terrorizing the north side. “It’s obscene that parents have to walk their kids to school, in some parts of the city, with a golf club to fend off wild dogs.”

Can you imagine that?

They say that they are going to try to put more money into animal control efforts if they can find it.  But like most major U.S. cities, St. Louis is a financial basket case.

Moving west a bit, Las Vegas is a different kind of a problem.  It was once a mighty symbol of American luxury and decadence, but now it is a microcosm of everything that has gone wrong with our economy.

The following description of the decline of Las Vegas comes from a recent article in The Telegraph….

But Las Vegas’s days as a boom town are long gone. At 14 percent, unemployment is the highest in America (the national average is 9.1 per cent). House prices have fallen 58.1 per cent since their 2006 high – the biggest losses of anywhere in America, while according to the website RealtyTrac, which specialises in foreclosed properties, Las Vegas is the nation’s foreclosure capital. Some 70 per cent of homes in Las Vegas are thought to be ‘under water’, or in negative equity, meaning their value is worth less than the amount owed on the mortgage, while foreclosure notices have been served on one in 16 properties. A survey last year by the local Las Vegas Review-Journal and Channel 8 News Now found that 34 per cent of locals would leave Las Vegas if they could find a job elsewhere, or if they weren’t underwater on their home loan.

Last year, I wrote a piece entitled “The Death of Las Vegas“.  Since then, things have gotten even worse for the city in many ways.

Today, there are hundreds of people living in the tunnels underneath the streets of Las Vegas.  You can see CNN video of some of these people right here.

But at least the “tunnel people” have a “roof” over their heads.

Over in “Lost Angeles”, homelessness is absolutely exploding and there are thousands of people living in the streets.

The following is from a recent article by Nick Allen….

In Skid Row, a grimy pocket of downtown Los Angeles, the prostrate forms of homeless people lie strewn across the pavements.

The lucky ones have tents for shelter but others make do with a sliver of cardboard for a bed and a supermarket trolley to carry their rags.

At the last police count 1,662 people live on these streets, twice as many as a year ago.

And now amid the drug addicts and the drunks there are families who not so long ago had homes and ordinary suburban lives.

Wait, wasn’t the economy supposed to be getting better?

So why has the number of people living on Skid Row doubled over the past year?

Los Angeles, like much of California, is rapidly falling apart.  Decades of very foolish policies have turned the “California Dream” into the “California Nightmare“.

Unemployment is rampant, crime is seemingly everywhere and the gangs appear to be getting bolder by the day.  For example, 21 machine guns were recently stolen right out of an LAPD training facility.

But there are cities in California that are in even worse shape than Los Angeles is.  If you go east of Los Angeles about 100 miles, you will come to the city of San Bernardino.  34.6 percent of the residents of San Bernardino are currently living below the poverty line.  Among major U.S. cities, only Detroit has a worse poverty rate.

Heading back to the east coast, the city of Camden, New Jersey is representative of the post-industrial hellholes that you will find all over the mid-Atlantic region and up into New England.

In an extraordinary article entitled “City of Ruins“, Chris Hedges did an amazing job of documenting how bad things have gotten in Camden.  Today it is estimated that the actual rate of unemployment in Camden is somewhere around 30 or 40 percent.  For most young people in Camden, there are very few legitimate opportunities for a better life, so many of them have resorted to selling drugs or selling their bodies in a desperate attempt to survive.

The following is a brief excerpt from “City of Ruins”….

There are perhaps a hundred open-air drug markets, most run by gangs like the Bloods, the Latin Kings, Los Nietos and MS-13. Knots of young men in black leather jackets and baggy sweatshirts sell weed and crack to clients, many of whom drive in from the suburbs. The drug trade is one of the city’s few thriving businesses. A weapon, police say, is never more than a few feet away, usually stashed behind a trash can, in the grass or on a porch.

The era of “American exceptionalism” is over.  We have rejected the things that made us great.  We have forsaken the truth and now we are paying the price.

At this point, we are rapidly becoming a joke to the rest of the world.

You know that things are bad when headlines such as this start showing up in major international publications: “America Must Manage Its Decline“.

Is that what we are going to tell our kids and our grandkids?

Are we going to tell them that we must “manage” our decline?

Most Americans also realize that something is fundamentally wrong.  According to a recent Time Magazine poll, 81 percent of the American people believe that the country is on the wrong track.

So why don’t our cities just spend more money and fix all of these problems?

Well, it is because most of them are drowning in a sea of red ink.  Instead of spending more money, most of them are desperately searching for more places to cut.  If you can believe it, 72 percent of all U.S. cities are laying workers off this year.

The federal government has been pumping massive amounts of money into state and local governments in recent years, but that can’t last much longer.  As I wrote about yesterday, the federal government is in debt up to its eyeballs.  In fact, the national debt has become so large that it threatens to collapse our entire financial system.

Sadly, the cold, hard truth is that we are now going to pay the price for decades of financial foolishness.

We thought that it would be our children and our grandchildren that would pay the price for our financial recklessness, but the reality is that we are going to pay the price too.

America is in a serious state of decline and things are going to get a lot worse in the years to come.

Take advantage of the relative prosperity that we are enjoying now to prepare for the lean years which are ahead.

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