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

HomelessJust 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.

This Is Only Just The Beginning

For a long time, there have been those that have warned that economic riots are coming to this nation.  Anger and frustration with the economy and with our financial system have grown to unprecedented levels, and this has fueled the rise of the various protest movements that we have seen over the last couple of years.  People are fed up and they want solutions.  Unfortunately, anger and frustration can express themselves in dangerous and unpredictable ways.  What we have seen in Oakland, in Seattle and in other major U.S. cities this week is only just the beginning of the massive economic riots that are coming to this country.  Yes, “anarchists” were responsible for quite a bit of the violence that we have seen this week, but they were not the only ones involved.  Some protesters were getting violent too, and there has also been quite a bit of police brutality.  Of course the vast majority of Occupy Wall Street protesters do not want anything to do with violence and they recognize that violence is not the answer.  But that is the thing with anger and frustration.  It is hard to contain them in neat, self-disciplined packages.  As the economy continues to get worse, the protests will grow and unfortunately so will the violence.  You can preach the benefits of non-violence all day long to some people but they just will not get it.  America has reached a turning point, and what we are seeing now is only just the beginning of the madness.  In the years ahead we are going to see rioting that is going to be absolutely unprecedented.

According to a recent Associated Press-GfK poll, 43 percent of all Americans believe that the economy is in “very poor” shape.  Millions of Americans have lost their jobs, millions of Americans have lost their homes and tens of millions of Americans have been sickened by what they have seen happen on Wall Street over the last four or five years.  It is easy to understand why people are frustrated and are marching in the streets.  As I wrote about yesterday, approximately one out of every seven Americans is on food stamps.  Poverty is rapidly spreading and large numbers of families have lost everything.  People want answers, and it is understandable why so many are joining these protest movements.

Over the last couple of years, people such as Gerald Celente and myself have been warning that economic riots are coming.  Those of us that have written about such things have been called “doom and gloomers” and “conspiracy theorists”.

But after the events of the last couple of months, almost everyone is starting to realize that something big is happening.

On Wednesday, huge crowds of protesters brought the city of Oakland, California to a standstill.  Some media organizations said that there were 5,000 protesters, but others claimed that there may have been up to 20,000 people marching at one point.

A group of approximately 3,000 protesters marched over and shut down the Port of Oakland, which is the fifth largest deepwater port in the United States.

In other areas of the city, windows were smashed, graffiti was sprayed on buildings and senseless acts of vandalism were committed.  There were also quite a few intense confrontations with police and dozens of protesters ended up getting arrested.

The following is how an article in USA Today described what went down….

Riot police arrested more than 80 protesters in the city’s downtown, where bands of demonstrators threw chunks of concrete and metal pipes as well as lit roman candles and firebombs, police said. Five protesters and several officers were injured.

You can see shocking pictures of some of the vandalism that was going on during these protests right here.

At one point, one group of protesters took over an empty building that had once been used to help the homeless.  The following is what an article in the Los Angeles Times says happened next….

Demonstrators managed to gain entry to an empty building that had housed the Traveler’s Aid Society, a nonprofit organization that assists the homeless but had suffered funding cuts. Leaflets indicated that protesters had targeted the building for “reuse.” They branded it a new “community center” in Twitter feeds. Video from a local ABC affiliate’s helicopter showed jubilant crowds flowing in and out of the building, where a banner marked “Occupy Everything” hung. Others built a barricade nearby, presumably to discourage police.

Shortly before midnight, local media reported that police officers from various agencies were suiting up in riot gear. Some demonstrators set the barricade aflame. Firefighters doused it. A police statement later said protesters had hurled rocks, explosives, bottles and flaming objects at officers.

Does any of this solve anything?

Of course not.

But when people are angry and frustrated it can be difficult to talk sense to them.

America has become a powder keg, and it is going to be very difficult for anyone to control what is going on.

However, it also must be noted that not all of the violence was initiated by Occupy Oakland protesters.  There were dozens of Black Bloc “anarchists” that were running around committing random acts of violence.  Some Occupy Oakland protesters were actually seen trying to prevent these “anarchists” from committing acts of violence.

In fact, it is certainly possible that someone may be using these Black Bloc “anarchists” to discredit the protests.  It has happened to other protest movements in the past.

In any event, it is very true that the “anarchists” were very much involved with much of the violence.  You can see some video of “anarchists” in action right here.

But Oakland was not the only city where protesters were becoming more aggressive.

In Seattle, protesters surrounded a Sheraton hotel where JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon was giving a speech. According to some media reports, some of the protesters were actually planning to make a “citizen’s arrest”.

Their plans were cancelled, however, when police dispersed them with a shower of pepper spray.

The funny thing is that Dimon was actually promoting some of the ideas of the Occupy Wall Street movement during his speech.

The following excerpt from his speech comes from the Seattle Times….

“America has become more inequitable in the last 10 or 20 years. That’s a fact,” he said. “I don’t personally think that’s a good thing. I’ve been a big supporter of progressive taxes.”

But that is the funny thing about economic riots.  Just because you agree with the crowd, that does not mean that the crowd is not going to turn on you anyway.

Earlier that same day in Seattle, there was quite a bit of violence as police confronted groups of protesters.  The following is how the Seattle Times described the action….

Earlier in the day, Seattle police arrested six people, five of whom had sprawled across the floor inside a Chase Bank on Capitol Hill.

Officers launched pepper spray, shoved protesters out of the way and yanked others from under a police van during a tense 30-minute confrontation. Police said at least 10 officers were physically assaulted during the arrests, and at least two of them had minor injuries.

In New York City, a different kind of confrontation took place.  Approximately  100 military vets showed up in uniform and marched over to the New York Stock Exchange.  Once they arrived, they stopped directly in front of the building which was protected by a line of heavily armed NYPD officers.  It was a tense moment, but fortunately there was no violence.

This kind of “stare down” cannot be a sign of good things.  What would have happened if even a single person had lost their cool?

While standing in formation in front of the New York Stock Exchange, the vets were heard chanting the following slogans….

“We are veterans! We are the 99 percent!”

“Corporate profits on the rise, soldiers have to bleed and die!”

Things are certainly getting very, very interesting.

The Occupy Wall Street protests started off very peacefully, but sadly there is no guarantee that the violence we are seeing now is not going to escalate even further.

One recent survey found that 31 percent of those involved with the Occupy Wall Street protests “would support violence to advance their agenda”.

That is a frightening statistic.

Hopefully everyone will calm down and the protesters will realize that they will get much farther ahead by non-violent means.

But once again, anger and frustration are difficult to predict or control.  The more angry and frustrated that the American people get, the more chaotic the streets of our cities are going to become.

Sadly, while the vast majority of Americans agree that we have major problems, there is tremendous disagreement about what the solutions are.  There are some good ideas floating around out there, but there are also some groups that are promoting some very, very bad ideas.

For example, there are some elements involved in the Occupy Wall Street protests that are actually promoting communism as the answer.

During the recent craziness in Oakland, some protesters actually hung a very large black banner downtown that said the following: “DEATH TO CAPITALISM“.

But is that really the answer?

Of course not.

Yes, our system is deeply, deeply corrupt and deeply, deeply broken.

Yes, it is understandable that people are very frustrated with it.

But communism is not the answer.

Look, when Republicans defend the abuses of the big banks and the big corporations they are wrong to do so.

When Democrats defend big government and advocate even more big government as the answer, they are also very wrong.

The truth is that neither side is right.

We need to dramatically reduce the size of government and we need to dramatically reduce the size and the power of the big corporations.  That would mean a lot more liberty and freedom for the rest of us, and it would empower individuals and small businesses.

But most people don’t understand this.  Most people think that they have to either take the side of the big corporations or the side of big government.

Sadly, the cold, hard truth is that most of the time big government and the big corporations are working together, and it is not for our benefit.

Most people feel a sense of powerlessness these days.  Most people feel like things never seem to change no matter who they vote for.

People want things to change, but they don’t feel as though they have a way of bringing that change about.

This is not just happening in the United States.  As the global economy has faltered, anger and frustration have been growing all over the planet.

In fact, the International Labor Organization is warning that civil unrest could erupt all over the globe if the current economic crisis gets even worse.

We are moving into unprecedented times.

Nobody is quite sure what is going to happen next.

But the warning signs are there.

Pressure just keeps building and building and building.

According to a recent Fox News poll, 76 percent of all Americans are “dissatisfied with how things are going in the country”.  At the beginning of this year, that number was only at 61 percent.

When people get desperate, they do desperate things.

We can certainly hope that things will settle down, at least for a little while, but at some point another major financial crisis is going to erupt and the economy is going to get even worse.

So what will this country look like when that happens?

This is not the America that your grandparents grew up in.

Prepare accordingly.

Finca Bayano

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