Lock Your Doors And Prepare To Defend Your Family

Do you think that is an alarmist headline?  Well, I am not the one saying this.  Law enforcement authorities all over the country are telling citizens that they can no longer deal with all the crime and that people need to lock their doors and prepare to defend their families.  Just recently, the city attorney of San Bernardino, California told citizens to “lock their doors and load their guns” because there is not enough money to pay for adequate police protection any longer.  The murder rate in San Bernardino is up 50 percent this year, but the city is dealing with bankruptcy and has been forced to lay off 80 police officers.  But San Bernardino is not the only city dealing with this kind of a thing.  In Oakland, burglaries are up 43 percent so far this year, and to say that there is a “crime wave” going on in Oakland would be a massive understatement.  If you can believe it, in Oakland “more than 11,000 homes, cars or businesses have been broken into so far this year – translating to about 33 burglaries a day.”  Sadly, there simply are not enough police to keep up with it all.  Due to budget cuts, it is being projected that by February the size of the police force in Oakland will be about 25 percent smaller than it was back in 2008.  But what is happening in Detroit is perhaps even more frightening.  Today there are about 1,000 fewer police officers in Detroit than there was a decade ago.  But crime just continues to rise.  So now even the police are telling people to “enter Detroit at your own risk“.  With very little police protection, an increasing number of citizens are taking matters into their own hands.  As I noted in a previous article, justifiable homicide in the city of Detroit increased by 79 percent in 2011, and the rate of self-defense killings in Detroit is approximately 2200 percent above the national average.  But don’t laugh at what is happening in cities like San Bernardino, Oakland and Detroit.  What is happening in those cities will be coming to your community soon enough.

From coast to coast, criminals are becoming increasingly bold and increasingly desperate.  My sister lives near a large city in the middle part of the country, and a house across the street from the one her family just moved into was recently vandalized.  The criminals took all of the exposed copper pipe and copper wire that could be accessed easily.

Other criminals have become very focused on gold because it has soared in value and it is easy to resell.  For example, there have been more than 250 gold chain robberies in Stockton, California just since the month of April.  According to the CBS News affiliate in Sacramento, criminals are just ripping these chains right off of the necks of unsuspecting citizens, and many of the victims that have tried to resist have ended up getting hurt.  Normally the criminals sell off the jewelry within 24 hours, so solving these crimes is a real challenge…

Most victims of the robberies are female (65 percent), and 44 percent of victims are age 50 or older, the data showed. The most common time of day for the crimes were between 12 and 5 p.m., though this only accounts for about a third of the crime.

Parino said robbers took even police by surprise initially.

“When [criminals] do these crimes, they normally get rid of the items within 24 hours,” he said.

That’s why police are now checking up on secondhand stores and pawn shops on a weekly basis.

Many dismiss reports such as these as “anomalies”, but how many “anomalies” do we need before we finally admit that we have a widespread problem in our society?

Personally, there are many major U.S. cities that I would not want to be living right in the middle of right now.

Just take a look at Chicago.  It has become one of the deadliest major cities on the entire globe.  In recent years we have seen massive cuts to the police budget coupled with a dramatic increase in gang activity in Chicago.

The murder rate in Chicago is way up this year and the police force is massively outnumbered.

As I have written about previously, there are only about 200 police officers assigned to Chicago’s Gang Enforcement Unit.  It is their job to handle the estimated 100,000 gang members living in the city.

How would you like to be outnumbered 100,000 to 200?

When things really hit the fan, Chicago is going to be a complete and utter nightmare.

And sometimes we get a peek into how people will behave when things break down.  Just look at what happened during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

If you can believe it, some criminals actually took advantage of the Thanksgiving holiday to loot homes in the Breezy Point neighborhood of Queens.  That was the neighborhood where approximately 100 homes burned down.  The suffering of the residents of that neighborhood made headlines all over the nation.  But that has not stopped criminals from moving in and taking advantage of their vulnerability…

Cops told the victims burglaries are on the rise in Breezy Point.

There were 14 home break-ins from Nov. 12 to Nov. 18, compared with none a year before.

And in the 28 days before that, there were 48 burglaries. Only four break-ins were reported in that time period the year before.

In the days after Sandy, some of the hardest-hit areas were plagued with store looting, home burglaries, street muggings and other crimes.

There are some very sick people out there.  These days you simply do not know who you can trust.  The person you meet on the street may be perfectly fine or they may be a total sicko.  It is so hard to tell.  But without a doubt there are a lot of sickos out there.  Just check out what authorities in Pennsylvania found recently

Animal welfare workers say 11 puppies were found dead and skinned near an eastern Pennsylvania park.

Sadly, authorities in that area had come across another similar incident recently…

The discovery is second disturbing incident in the county in less than a week. About 20 miles away in Lynn Township police say a dog was discovered skinned and cooked.

Who would do such things?

What in the world is happening to this country?

Things are changing, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.  As conditions shift, we are all going to have to carefully evaluate what is necessary to protect our families.  Don’t ignore all of the warning signs.  Sticking our heads in the sand and pretending that everything is going to be okay is not going to help anything.

So what do all of you think about all of this?  Please feel free to post a comment with your opinion below…

Police: “Enter Detroit At Your Own Risk”

If you plan on visiting Detroit any time soon, the police have a message for you: “Enter Detroit at your own risk”.  That ominous message was actually emblazoned across the top of a flyer that the Detroit Police Officer Association was passing out prior to a rally on Saturday.  The flyer pointed out that Detroit is the most violent city in the nation and that more homicides are committed in Detroit than anywhere else.  Meanwhile, the number of police officers in Detroit has been steadily decreasing.  There are more murders in Detroit today than there were a decade ago, but the number of police officers in the city has decreased by about 1,000 over that time period.  The remaining police officers are overworked and incredibly frustrated.  But Detroit is far from alone.  All over the nation there are major cities that are reporting a spike in crime even as police budgets are being slashed.  Sadly, this is just the beginning.  As the economy gets even worse, budget cuts will become even more severe and crime will become an even bigger problem.

In many areas of the country, police have become little more than report takers.  If you report a crime that is not considered “high priority”, you will be lucky to get an officer to come out a few hours later to fill out a report.

In cities such as Detroit, criminals are becoming much bolder and are openly mocking the police.  For example, according to a recent WND article, one gang has literally taken over a convenience store in Detroit and the police literally seem powerless to do anything about it….

Even the old-timers in Detroit never have seen anything like this: A mob of 40 black people moved into a convenience store and will not leave.

They say they now own it. They eat. Smoke. Cuss. Threaten. Spit. Rob. Sell drugs. All on video.

Police, ministers, neighbors, the store owner and just about everyone else seems powerless to stop them.

“It’s a Bad Crew gas station,” said one of the mob to the local Fox affiliate. “If you don’t know what that is, I can’t even tell you.”

The owner calls police, but nothing happens. The police “come here and then they leave. Two minutes later they (the mob) are back.”

What in the world has happened to Detroit?

Once upon a time it was one of the greatest cities in the entire world.

Now it has become a war zone.

As I wrote about a while back, justifiable homicide in the city of Detroit rose by 79 percent in 2011, and the rate of self-defense killings in Detroit is now about 2200 percent above the national average.

But like I said, Detroit is far from alone.

In some ways, what is happening in Chicago is even more frightening.

Many areas of Chicago have essentially been completely taken over by the gangs.  Violent crime has dramatically increased in Chicago so far this year, and nobody seems to know what to do about it.

A USA Today article from last week entitled “Murders in Chicago: What can stop the bloodbath?” painted a very grim picture about what is going on in the city right now….

Driven by gangs, drugs and guns, the bloodshed in President Obama’s adopted hometown has resulted in a body count that exceeds the 312 murders this year in New York and 212 in Los Angeles, cities with populations dwarfing that of the Windy City. The toll here is up 25% from 2011: 391 through Sept. 23.

CBS News reporter Walter Jacobson recently sat down with some young gang members in Chicago and asked them some direct questions.  Many of the answers that he got to those questions were quite frightening….

“There’s no solution to the violence,” one gang member tells him. “Killing, killing is the solution.”

When Jacobson asked them how they survive, the following was one of the responses that he received….

“Rob, steal and kill. That’s the only way. We didn’t grow up in Beverly Hills. We don’t get it handed to us”

But what are the police supposed to do about it?

As I noted in another article, there are approximately 200 police officers assigned to Chicago’s Gang Enforcement Unit to deal with an estimated 100,000 gang members.

How would you like to be outnumbered 500 to 1?

And the number of gang members in Chicago grows with each passing day.

The violence in Chicago has gotten so bad that it is making headlines all over the globe.  For example, the following is a brief excerpt from an article about the violence in Chicago that appeared 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.”

When young people lose all hope for a better future they become very desperate.

And very desperate people are capable of just about anything.

Sadly, this is just the beginning.

The other day we learned that the number of Americans on food stamps has hit another brand new record high.

Nearly 47 million Americans are on food stamps at this point, and overall more than 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one welfare program run by the federal government.

But what happens someday if the federal government is forced to cut back significantly on those programs or if food prices increase so much that people can’t buy nearly enough food to eat with their food stamps?

When people get really hungry they will do some crazy things.

But the mayor of Costa Mesa, California says that he has an answer to this problem.  He has proposed reducing the homeless population of Costa Mesa by putting all soup kitchens in the city out of business….

The mayor of Costa Mesa proposed to get rid of soup kitchens to deal with the area’s homeless problem at a city council meeting on Tuesday.

“My belief is that if we manage to put the soup kitchen out of business that will go a long way to addressing the attractiveness in our city that’s creating a huge negative impact,” Eric Bever said.

Unfortunately, we are going to see a lot more of this kind of thing in the years ahead.  The number of people that are really hurting is going to continue to increase, and the efforts to remove them from “respectable” areas is going to become more forceful.

Already we have seen feeding the homeless being banned in major cities all over the country.

But no rules, regulations or laws are going to be able to prevent what is coming in the years ahead.  I believe that eventually we are going to see “flash mobs” of poor Americans storm into wealthy neighborhoods and take whatever they want.

Those doing the looting will justify it by saying that they are just taking from the rich and giving to the poor like “‘Robin Hood” did, but most other Americans will see it as more evidence that society is breaking down.

And without a doubt our society is starting to break down.  What we are seeing in Detroit and Chicago right now is just the tip of the iceberg.

Things are going to become much, much worse.

The Sobering Reality Of What Life Is Like In Reno, Nevada

What do you do when the city where you live is dying?  All over the United States formerly great cities are crumbling, but some are definitely in worse shape than others.  One reader recently wrote to me about what she sees happening all around her in Reno, Nevada.  The unemployment rate in Reno is now up to 11.7 percent, which is well above the national average of 8.3 percent.  But that doesn’t tell the whole story.  The recent recession hit Nevada particularly hard and people have been moving out of the state in waves.  In fact, the labor force in Nevada has shrunk by close to 20 percent over the past year as workers have moved elsewhere in search of work.  But even though the labor force is now nearly 20 percent smaller, the unemployment rate is still well above 11 percent.  There simply are not enough jobs in large Nevada cities such as Reno and Las Vegas.  Unfortunately for Reno, it does not have the same kind of big corporate money pouring into it that Las Vegas does.  The good news is that you can buy a house very, very cheaply in Reno because homes were foreclosed on in droves during the housing crash.  Even today, some housing developments that were put up near the end of the boom times look like virtual ghost towns.  The main industry in Reno is “entertainment”, but many of Reno’s strip clubs and gambling establishments have aged so badly at this point that they just look kind of depressing.  I guess that is kind of fitting, because Nevada has the fifth highest suicide rate in the nation, and Reno has been ranked as one of the top 10 depressed cities in the entire country.  As the city has declined, gangs have moved in and the drug trade is flourishing.  Reno has been called the meth capital of America, and crime is on the rise.  Despite being surrounded by tremendous natural beauty, Reno has become a very unpleasant place in which to live.  But what is happening in Reno is also happening in hundreds of other communities across the United States.  Our economy is collapsing and our cities are crumbling right in front of our eyes, and it is only going to get worse from here.

A reader of my site named Heather who has been unemployed since November of last year recently shared the following with me….

I am living in Reno/Sparks Nevada and I feel like it is ground zero for collapse. There are a lot of people who are in denial right now and cannot see the larger picture. I keep also saying we are the canary in the coal mine for the rest of the country.  It is quite depressing driving around seeing empty office buildings with vacancies and retail areas just empty. Went to the stores and retail seems pretty slow also. I am volunteering at ProNet locally and it helps unemployed people finds jobs and skills. It has been depressing there too with very little jobs out there for many people who need one.

She said that I should share what is happening in Reno with my readers.  She wanted people to know what those living in Reno are going through.

You might think that since Reno is so sunny, so warm and surrounded by such natural beauty that it would be one of the happiest places in America.

Unfortunately it turns out that the opposite is true.

Reno is actually a very sad place.

In fact, last year Men’s Health ranked Reno as the ninth saddest city in the United States.

In response to this ranking, one resident of Reno wrote the following….

In light of this disheartening list-making, it is, of course, important for Nevadans to look on the bright side. Rather than allowing these statistics to depress us further, we can consider them a series of challenges that make living in places like Reno and Las Vegas all the more impressive. You don’t just live in Reno. You survive Reno! To dwell in Reno, you must triumph over the odds that are stacked against you—one of the things we’re supposed to do best here.

If we can withstand all of the emotional curveballs thrown at us because we have selected such a turbulent location in which to reside, we can probably survive anything.

As a lifelong Renoite, I am inclined to respond to these lists with defiance. Yeah, things can look pretty grim sometimes when no one can find a job, and there seems to be no way out.

And that is how many Americans are feeling these days.  They are broke, unemployed, depressed and out of options.

How can you pick up and start a new life somewhere else when you have no job and no money?

Sadly, a lot of younger Americans are turning to drugs in an attempt to escape the pain of their daily lives.

One article that I found attempted to find humor in the raging meth epidemic that is happening in Reno….

Reno has been affectionately called the meth capital of the nation. Some foolishly think mass drug usage can ravage a city as swiftly as it can ruin a user’s clear complexion. In all reality, drug addiction is no more than an endearing quirk, certainly not a cause for concern. Babies and adolescents with addiction-addled parents should stop being coddled and learn how to take care of themselves. I’ve been doing my own laundry since I was six months old­ — I’m sure they can do the same. If there is anything disturbing about the meth problem in Reno, it’s that it shows the lack of variety in this town. Why don’t you try some uppers like MDMA? Your teeth will thank me.

Unfortunately, Reno is far from alone.  In the past I have written about how formerly great cities such as Detroit, Cleveland and Baltimore are completely falling apart as well.  This kind of thing is literally happening from coast to coast.

There is a very serious lack of decent jobs in America right now.  At this point only 24.6 percent of all jobs in the United States are good jobs.

This has made it increasingly difficult for Americans to be able to take care of themselves.

If you can believe it, more than 100 million Americans are on welfare at this point.

And that number does not even include the tens of millions of people that are on Social Security and Medicare.

What in the world has happened to us?

These days most Americans work really hard all of their lives but never end up reaching their dreams.

In fact, one recent study found that 46 percent of all Americans die with less than $10,000 worth of financial assets.

Talk about depressing.

But instead of having us focus on how bad the economic numbers are, the Federal Reserve wants to start measuring how “happy” everyone is.  The following is from a recent ABC News article….

Ben Bernanke wants to know if you are happy.

The Federal Reserve chairman said Monday that gauging happiness can be as important for measuring economic progress as determining whether inflation is low or unemployment high. Economics isn’t just about money and material benefits, Bernanke said. It is also about understanding and promoting “the enhancement of well-being.”

So what would you say if the Federal Reserve contacted you and asked if you are happy?

Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below….

10 Things That We Can Learn About Shortages And Preparation From The Economic Collapse In Greece

When the economy of a nation collapses, almost everything changes.  Unfortunately, most people have never been through anything like that, so it can be difficult to know how to prepare.  For those that are busy preparing for the coming global financial collapse, there is a lot to be learned from the economic depression that is happening right now in Greece.  Essentially, what Greece is experiencing is a low level economic collapse.  Unemployment is absolutely rampant and poverty is rapidly spreading, but the good news for Greece is that the global financial system is still operating somewhat normally and they are getting some financial assistance from the outside.  Things in Greece could be a whole lot worse, and they will probably get a whole lot worse before it is all said and done.  But already things have gotten bad enough in Greece that it gives us an idea of what a full-blown economic collapse in the 21st century may look like.  There are reports of food and medicine shortages in Greece, crime and suicides are on the rise and people have been rapidly pulling their money out of the banks.  Hopefully this article will give you some ideas that you can use as you prepare for the economic chaos that will soon be unfolding all over the globe.

The following are 10 things that we can learn about shortages and preparation from the economic collapse in Greece….

#1 Food Shortages Can Actually Happen

Most people assume that they will always be able to run out to their local supermarket or to Wal-Mart and get all of the supplies they need.

Unfortunately, that is a false assumption.  The truth is that our food distribution system is extremely vulnerable.

In Greece, many people are starting to totally run out of food.  Even some government institutions (such as prisons) are now reporting food shortages.  The following was originally from a Greek news source….

The financing for many prisons has decreased to a minimum for some months now, resulting in hundreds of detainees being malnourished and surviving on the charity of local communities.

The latest example is the prison in Corinth where after the supply stoppage from the nearby military camp, the prisoners are at the mercy of God because, as reported by prison staff, not even one grain of rice has been left in their warehouses. When a few days earlier the commander of the camp announced to the prison management the transportation stoppage, citing lack of food supplies even for the soldiers, he shut down the last source of supply for 84 prisoners. The response of some Corinth citizens was immediate as they took it upon themselves to support the prisoners, since all protests to the Justice ministry were fruitless.

#2 Medicine Is One Of The First Things That Becomes Scarce During An Economic Collapse

If you are dependent on medicine in order to survive, you might want to figure out how you are going to get by if your supply of medicine is totally cut off someday.

In Greece, medicine shortages have become a massive problem.  The following is from a recent Bloomberg article….

Mina Mavrou, who runs a pharmacy in a middle-class Athens suburb, spends hours each day pleading with drugmakers, wholesalers and colleagues to hunt down medicines for clients. Life-saving drugs such as Sanofi (SAN)’s blood-thinner Clexane and GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK)’s asthma inhaler Flixotide often appear as lines of crimson data on pharmacists’ computer screens, meaning the products aren’t in stock or that pharmacists can’t order as many units as they need.

“When we see red, we want to cry,” Mavrou said. “The situation is worsening day by day.”

The 12,000 pharmacies that dot almost every street corner in Greek cities are the damaged capillaries of a complex system for getting treatment to patients. The Panhellenic Association of Pharmacists reports shortages of almost half the country’s 500 most-used medicines. Even when drugs are available, pharmacists often must foot the bill up front, or patients simply do without.

#3 When An Economy Collapses, So Might The Power Grid

Try this some time – turn off all power to your home for 24 hours and try to live normally.

Sadly, most people simply do not understand just how dependent we are on the power grid.  Without power, all of our lives would change dramatically.

In Greece, authorities are warning of an impending “collapse” of the power grid.  If it goes down for an extended period of time in Greece, the consequences would be catastrophic….

Greece’s power regulator RAE told Reuters on Friday it was calling an emergency meeting next week to avert a collapse of the debt-stricken country’s electricity and natural gas system.

“RAE is taking crisis initiatives throughout next week to avert the collapse of the natural gas and electricity system,” the regulator’s chief Nikos Vasilakos told Reuters.

RAE took the decision after receiving a letter from Greece’s natural gas company DEPA, which threatened to cut supplies to electricity producers if they failed to settle their arrears with the company.

#4 During An Economic Collapse You Cannot Even Take Water For Granted

If the power grid goes down, you will soon no longer have clean water coming out of your faucets.  That is one of the reasons why it is absolutely imperative that the power grid stay operable in Greece.

Sadly, most people don’t understand just how vulnerable our water system is.  In a previous article, I quoted from a report that discussed how rapidly our water supply would be in jeopardy in the event of a major transportation disruption….

According to the American Water Works Association, Americans drink more than one billion glasses of tap water per day. For safety and security reasons, most water supply plants maintain a larger inventory of supplies than the typical business. However, the amount of chemical storage varies significantly and is site specific. According to the Chlorine Institute, most water treatment facilities receive chlorine in cylinders (150 pounds and one ton cylinders) that are delivered by motor carriers. On average, trucks deliver purification chemicals to water supply plants every seven to 14 days. Without these chemicals, water cannot be purified and made safe for drinking. Without truck deliveries of purification chemicals, water supply plants will run out of drinkable water in 14 to 28 days. Once the water supply is drained, water will be deemed safe for drinking only when boiled. Lack of clean drinking water will lead to increased gastrointestinal and other illnesses, further taxing an already weakened healthcare system.

What will you do when clean water stops coming out of your faucets?

You might want to start thinking about that.

#5 During An Economic Crisis Your Credit Cards And Debit Cards May Stop Working

Most people have become very accustomed to using either debit cards or credit cards for almost everything.

But what would happen if the financial system locked up for a period of time and you were not able to use them?

This is something that the citizens of Greece are potentially facing in the coming months, and this is something that all of us need to start thinking about.

#6 Crime, Rioting And Looting Become Commonplace During An Economic Collapse

Big corporations are already making extensive plans for how to protect their stores in the event that Greece switches from the euro to the drachma.

The following is from a recent Reuters article….

British electrical retailer Dixons has spent the last few weeks stockpiling security shutters to protect its nearly 100 stores across Greece in case of riot.

The planning, says Dixons chief Sebastian James, may look alarmist but it’s good to be prepared.

Company bosses around Europe agree. As the financial crisis in Greece worsens, companies are getting ready for everything from social unrest to a complete meltdown of the financial system.

#7 During A Financial Meltdown Many Average Citizens Will Start Bartering

During this economic depression, alternative currencies have already been popping up in Greece.

When things fall apart on a global scale, will you have things to barter for the things that you need?

#8 Suicides Spike During An Economic Collapse

When you think of the Great Depression of the 1930s, what do you think of?

Many people think of images of people jumping out of buildings.

Well, something similar has been happening in Greece.  Suicide statistics in Greece have been absolutely soaring during the last couple of years.

Once prosperity disappears, many people feel as though life is not worth living anymore.

#9 Your Currency May Rapidly Lose Value During An Economic Crisis

Just remember what happened in Germany during the Weimar Republic and what has happened recently in places like Zimbabwe.

The truth is that it can happen anywhere.

Right now, Greeks are pulling their money out of the banks because they are worried that their euros will be turned into drachmas which would rapidly lose value.

If I was living in Greece I would definitely be concerned about that.  The return of the drachma seems to get closer with each passing day.  Just check out these screenshots.

#10 When Things Hit The Fan The Government Will Not Save You

Has the government of Greece come to the rescue of all of those that are deeply suffering right now?

Of course not.  The truth is that the Greek government can barely take care of itself at the moment.

History has shown us that governments simply cannot be counted on when things hit the fan.

Just remember what happened during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

In the end, the only one that can be counted on to take care of you and your family is you.

So you better start preparing.

Unfortunately, as I wrote about the other day, time is rapidly running out for the global financial system.

Even some of the top economic officials in the world are warning that another major crisis could be on the way.

Just check out what World Bank President Robert Zoellick said the other day….

“Events in Greece could trigger financial fright in Spain, Italy and across the eurozone. The summer of 2012 offers an eerie echo of 2008.”

He also compared a potential exit of Greece from the eurozone to the collapse of Lehman Brothers back during the last financial crisis….

“If Greece leaves the eurozone, the contagion is impossible to predict, just as Lehman had unexpected consequences.”

So what are some things that the average person can do to get prepared?

Well, a recent article on SHTFplan.com entitled “The List: A to Z Survival for the Abysmal Times Ahead” contains hundreds of ideas for preparing for the chaotic economic environment that we are heading into.

Preparation is going to look different for every family.  No two situations are exactly the same.

But there are some practical steps that nearly all of us can take to better position ourselves for what is coming.  Now is the time to get educated and now is the time to take action.

Or you could be like all of those that laughed at Noah while he was building that big boat.

In the end, things did not work out too well for those folks.


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.

If You Live In California Things Just Got A Whole Lot Worse

Why does the state of California seem to be so incredibly hopeless?  These days California can’t seem to do anything right, and if you live in California things just got a whole lot worse.  Governor Brown has announced that the state budget deficit for this year is going to be much larger than projected, that more government services are going to be cut and that voters are going to vote on another round of tax increases in November.  Meanwhile, unemployment is sitting at 11 percent and extended federal unemployment benefits for workers in the state are ending.  Because California is one of the worst places in the nation to conduct business, there has been a steady flow of companies leaving the state.  Those companies have taken a whole lot of good jobs with them.  Due to the lack of jobs and a steady stream of impoverished immigrants coming in from Mexico and other countries, poverty in the state has exploded and crime is rapidly increasing.  California may be the land of “endless sunshine”, but for the California economy there are only dark clouds on the horizon.  The state is coming apart at the seams and there is not much hope that things are going to turn around any time soon.

These days, California is very similar to Greece in many ways.

Just like Greece, California has had round after round of “austerity” and yet still cannot seem to balance the budget.

Even after all of the cuts that have been implemented in recent years, the California budget deficit is still going to be far larger than originally projected this year.  The following is from the Los Angeles Times….

Gov. Jerry Brown announced on Saturday that the state’s deficit has ballooned to $16 billion, a huge increase over his $9.2-billion estimate in January.

The bigger deficit is a significant setback for California, which has struggled to turn the page on a devastating budget crisis. Brown, who announced the deficit on YouTube, is expected to outline his full budget proposal on Monday in Sacramento.

“This means we will have to go much further, and make cuts far greater, than I asked for at the beginning of the year,” Brown said in the video.

During his remarks on YouTube, Governor Brown stated that California is “still recovering from the worst recession since the 1930s” and he stressed that hard choices are ahead.

But the California state government has already cut back in so many places.  For example, back in the late 1970s the state of California was number one in per-pupil spending on education, but now California has fallen to 48th place.

Unfortunately, Governor Brown does not believe that budget cuts alone will solve the problem.

So you know what that means.

Tax increases!

The tax increases that California voters will be voting on in November were outlined in a recent Bloomberg article….

Brown this week submitted more than 1.5 million signatures to place the tax measure on the ballot. It would temporarily raise the state sales tax, already the highest in the U.S., to 7.5 percent from 7.25 percent. It would also boost rates on income starting at $250,000. The 10.3 percent levy on those making $1 million or more would rise to 13.3 percent, the most of any state.

Get ready to fire up the moving vans.

The rest of the California economy may be falling apart, but moving companies will continue to do very well.

As I have written about previously, California has already experienced a net loss of approximately four million residents to other states over the past 20 years.

If the top rate on those making a million dollars or more a year hits 13.3 percent you will see a lot more wealthy people leave.

And thousands of businesses have left California in recent years as well.  Sadly, one survey found that CEOs ranked California as the worst place in the United States to do business for seven years in a row.

You would think that the state legislature would get the message.

Unfortunately they have not.

California absolutely suffocates businesses with rules and regulations and it gets worse with each passing year.

So lots of good jobs continue to leave the state.

As mentioned earlier, the official rate of unemployment in California is sitting at 11 percent.  That is almost 3 points higher than for the nation as a whole.

Of course the “official” numbers greatly understate the true scope of the unemployment problem, but for more on that you can check out this article.

However you want to look at it, the reality is that California has a massive unemployment problem.

Sadly, a whole bunch of unemployed workers in California are about to lose their unemployment benefits.

On Saturday, more than 200,000 unemployed Americans were dumped off the unemployment rolls.  Close to half of them live in California.

Instead of 99 weeks, unemployed workers in California will now only be able to collect unemployment benefits for a maximum of 79 weeks.

It is estimated that a total of 93,000 people in California have suddenly lost their benefits as a result of this change.

Unfortunately, the truth is that the employment picture in California is not really getting any better.  It is still incredibly difficult to find a decent job.

Unless you are “connected”, it can be a horribly frustrating experience trying to find a new job in this economic environment.

But if you are truly desperate, there are some folks out there who are always hiring.

These days, “national security” is quite a growth industry.  For example, if you are currently unemployed you can always apply to work as an Internment/Resettlement Specialist for the national guard.

While the economy is going to pot, you can get paid to lock up other Americans that are protesting about the state of our country.

Doesn’t that sound fun?

But seriously, if you live in California right now you probably don’t need anyone else to tell you how bad things are.

You probably already know that the number of children living in poverty in the state of California has increased by 30 percent since 2007.

California is rapidly changing, and not for the better.

But it is not just the economy that is falling apart in California.  The truth is that there are a whole host of good reasons to move away from California.  The traffic is nightmarish, crime is on the rise, the gangs are bigger and more active than ever before, millions of illegal immigrants have poured into the state, and the control freak politicians become more insane with each passing year.

Plus there is the constant threat that your home will be destroyed by a mudslide, a wildfire or an earthquake.

One of these days the “big onewill hit California.

You do not want to be there when that happens.

But if you decide that you do want to move from California, what is the best state to move to?

That is a very good question.

The truth is that economic conditions are horrible in most of the country and are rapidly getting a whole lot worse.

According to one poll, 30 percent of all Americans described the condition of the economy as “good” back in February but only 20 percent do now.

When we enter the next major economic downturn, unemployment is going to go higher everywhere in the nation.

There will be small pockets where jobs are still plentiful (where the oil industry is strong for example) but almost everywhere else will be really hurting.

So what do all of you think?

For people looking to move away from California, where should they go?

Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below….

America 1950 vs. America 2012

Would you rather live in the America of 1950 or the America of 2012?  Has the United States changed for the better over the last 62 years?  Many fondly remember the 1950s and the 1960s as the “golden age” of America.  We emerged from World War II as the wealthiest and most powerful nation on the planet.  During that time period, just about anyone that wanted to get a job could find a job and the U.S. middle class expanded rapidly.  Back in 1950, America was still considered to be a “land of opportunity” and the economy was growing like crazy.  There was less crime, there was less divorce, the American people had much less debt and the world seemed a whole lot less crazy.  Most of the rest of the world deeply admired us and wanted to be more like us.  Of course there were a lot of things that were not great about America back in 1950, and there are many things that many of us dearly love that we would have to give up in order to go back and live during that time.  For example, there was no Internet back in 1950.  Instead of being able to go online and read the articles that you want to read, your news would have been almost entirely controlled by the big media companies of the day.  So there are definitely some advantages that we have today that they did not have back in 1950.  But not all of the changes have been for the better.  America is in a constant state of change, and many are deeply concerned about where all of these changes are taking us.

There has never been any society in the history of the world that has been perfect.  America was flawed in 1950 just as America is flawed today.

But that doesn’t mean that we should not reflect on how much things have changed over the past 62 years.

So which version of America would you rather live in?

America 1950 vs. America 2012 – you make the call….

In 1950, a gallon of gasoline cost about 27 cents.

In 2012, a gallon of gasoline costs $3.69.

In 1950, you could buy a first-class stamp for just 3 cents.

In 2012, a first-class stamp will cost you 45 cents.

In 1950, more than 80 percent of all men were employed.

In 2012, less than 65 percent of all men are employed.

In 1950, the average duration of unemployment was about 12 weeks.

In 2012, the average duration of unemployment is about 40 weeks.

In 1950, the average family spent about 22% of its income on housing.

In 2012, the average family spends about 43% of its income on housing.

In 1950, gum chewing and talking in class were some of the major disciplinary problems in our schools.

In 2012, many of our public schools have been equipped with metal detectors because violence has become so bad.

In 1950, mothers decided what their children would eat for lunch.

In 2012, lunches are inspected by government control freaks to make sure that they contain the “correct foods” in many areas of the country.  For example, one 4-year-old girl recently had her lunch confiscated by a “lunch monitor” because it did not meet USDA guidelines….

A preschooler at West Hoke Elementary School ate three chicken nuggets for lunch Jan. 30 because the school told her the lunch her mother packed was not nutritious.

The girl’s turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, potato chips, and apple juice did not meet U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines, according to the interpretation of the person who was inspecting all lunch boxes in the More at Four classroom that day.

The Division of Child Development and Early Education at the Department of Health and Human Services requires all lunches served in pre-kindergarten programs – including in-home day care centers – to meet USDA guidelines. That means lunches must consist of one serving of meat, one serving of milk, one serving of grain, and two servings of fruit or vegetables, even if the lunches are brought from home.

In 1950, the United States was #1 in GDP per capita.

In 2012, the United States is #13 in GDP per capita.

In 1950, redistribution of wealth was considered to be something that “the communists” did.

In 2012, the U.S. government redistributes more wealth than anyone else in the world.

In 1950, about 13 million Americans had manufacturing jobs.

In 2012, less than 12 million Americans have manufacturing jobs even though our population has more than doubled since 1950.

In 1950, the entire U.S. military was mobilized to protect the borders of South Korea.

In 2012, the U.S. borders with Mexico and Canada are wide open and now there are 1.4 million gang members living inside the United States.

In 1950, there were about 2 million people living in Detroit and it was one of the greatest cities on earth.

In 2012, there are about 700,000 people living in Detroit and it has become a symbol of what is wrong with the U.S. economy.

In 1950, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was slightly over the 200 mark.

In 2012, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is threatening to soar over the 13,000 mark.

In 1950, corporate taxes accounted for about 30 percent of all federal revenue.

In 2012, corporate taxes will account for less than 7 percent of all federal revenue.

In 1950, the median age at first marriage was about 22 for men and about 20 for women.

In 2012, the median age at first marriage is about 28 for men and about 26 for women.

In 1950, many Americans dressed up in suits and dresses before getting on an airplane.

In 2012, security goons look at the exposed forms of our women and our children before they are allowed to get on to an airplane.

In 1950, each retiree’s Social Security benefit was paid for by 16 workers.

In 2012, each retiree’s Social Security benefit is paid for by approximately 3.3 workers.

In 1950, many Americans regularly left their cars and the front doors of their homes unlocked.

In 2012, many Americans live with steel bars on their windows and gun sales are at record highs.

In 1950, the American people had a great love for the U.S. Constitution.

In 2012, if you are “reverent of individual liberty“, you may get labeled as a potential terrorist by the U.S. government.

In 1950, the United States loaned more money to the rest of the world than anybody else.

In 2012, the United States owes more money to the rest of the world than anybody else.

In 1950, the U.S. national debt was about 257 billion dollars.

In 2012, the U.S. national debt is 59 times larger.  It is currently sitting at a grand total of $15,435,694,556,033.29.  Surely our children and our grandchildren will thank us for that.

One of the only things that is constant in life is change.

Whether we like it or not, America is going to continue to change.

Back in the 1950s and 1960s, about 70 percent of all American adults were married.

Today, only about 50 percent of all American adults are married.

We are more independent, less religious, more addicted to entertainment and more doped up on prescription drugs than Americans used to be.

We have a higher standard of living than Americans in 1950 did, but we are also drowning in an ocean of debt unlike anything the world has ever seen.

For a lot more on how the U.S. economy is doing in 2012, just check out this list of interesting facts.

So is America 2012 a better version than America 1950 was?

Have we made progress since then or are we going backwards?

Please feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts below….