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Extreme poverty is now at record levels

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by Michael Snyder
from Economic Collapse 

Posted November 05, 2011

EXTREME POVERTY IS NOW AT RECORD LEVELS. Here are nineteen statistics about the poor that will absolutely astound you. The extreme the wealth disparity in the U.S. keeps on widening. We already know that people at the higher percentage levels are doing well, particularly at the highest, while the middle class is shrinking rapidly.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, a higher percentage of Americans is living in extreme poverty than they have ever measured before.  In 2010, we were told that the economy was recovering, but the truth is that the number of the “very poor” soared to heights never seen previously.  Back in 1993 and back in 2009, the rate of extreme poverty was just over 6 percent, and that represented the worst numbers on record.  But in 2010, the rate of extreme poverty hit a whopping 6.7 percent.  That means that one out of every 15 Americans is now considered to be “very poor”.

For many people, this is all very confusing because their guts are telling them that things are getting worse and yet the mainstream media keeps telling them that everything is just fine.  Hopefully this article will help people realize that the plight of the poorest of the poor continues to deteriorate all across the United States.  In addition, hopefully this article will inspire many of you to lend a hand to those that are truly in need.

Tonight, there are more than 20 million Americans that are living in extreme poverty.  This number increases a little bit more every single day.  The following statistics that were mentioned in an article in The Daily Mail should be very sobering for all of us…

About 20.5 million Americans, or 6.7 percent of the U.S. population, make up the poorest poor, defined as those at 50 per cent or less of the official poverty level. Those living in deep poverty represent nearly half of the 46.2 million people scraping by below the poverty line. In 2010, the poorest poor meant an income of $5,570 or less for an individual and $11,157 for a family of four.

That 6.7 percent share is the highest in the 35 years that the Census Bureau has maintained such records, surpassing previous highs in 2009 and 1993 of just over 6 percent.

Sadly, the wealthy and the poor are being increasingly segregated all over the nation. In some areas of the U.S. you would never even know that the economy was having trouble, and other areas resemble third world hellholes.  In most U.S. cities today, there are the “good neighborhoods” and there are the “bad neighborhoods”.

According to a recent Bloomberg article, the “very poor” are increasingly being pushed into these “bad neighborhoods”. At least 2.2 million more Americans, a 33 percent jump since 2000, live in neighborhoods where the poverty rate is 40 percent or higher, according to a study released today by the Washington-based Brookings Institution. Of course they don’t have much of a choice. They can’t afford to live where most of the rest of us do.

Today, there are many Americans that openly look down on the poor, but that should never be the case.  We should love the poor and want to see them lifted up to a better place. The truth is that with a few bad breaks any of us could end up in the ranks of the poor. Compassion is a virtue that all of us should seek to develop.

Not only that, but the less poor people and the less unemployed people we have, the better it is for our economy.  When as many people as possible in a nation are working and doing something economically productive, that maximizes the level of true wealth that a nation is creating.

But today we are losing out on a massive amount of wealth. We have tens of millions of people that are sitting at home on their couches. Instead of creating something of economic value, the rest of us have to support them financially. That is not what any of us should want. It is absolutely imperative that we get as many Americans back to work as possible. The more people that are doing something economically productive, the more wealth there will be for all of us.

That is why it is so alarming that the ranks of the “very poor” are increasing so dramatically. When the number of poor people goes up, the entire society suffers. So just how bad are things right now? The following are 19 statistics about the poor that will absolutely astound you….

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The strategic advantages of community building

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by Alt-Market
Posted on July 13, 2011

THE YEAR WAS 2002, AND WHILE THE MAJORITY OF AMERICANS WERE COMPLETELY OBSESSED WITH THE SO-CALLED “War On Terror” and other devices of distraction, something much more real and decidedly prophetic was going on in our southern hemisphere. Argentina was in the midst of total collapse, driven by banker fraud and extreme currency devaluation in tandem with government mismanagement and corruption. First, cities exploded with rioting and violence as Argentinian police and military attempted to crush all dissent. Soon after, displaced refugees from population centers along with roving bands of thieves flooded into the countryside, wiping out isolated farms, murdering families, and hunting down any small group of survivors weaker than themselves and flush with supplies. The authorities (and I use the term loosely) were too busy trying to suppress civil protests to bother protecting those who were caught unprepared.

This behavior is part and parcel of economic destabilization, regardless of the time or place in which it occurs. Only nine years ago, a very modern and technologically savvy nation of people, nearly cannibalized itself. Those who survived and thrived did so through family aid and substantial existing wealth, or, the tactical building of communities for the purpose of mutual defense and alternative trade. Farmers armed themselves and formed regional groups along with security measures. City dwellers formed neighborhood watches and barter networks when the mainstream economy disappeared. The bottom line; lone wolves and isolated country families were nothing more than tempting targets at the onset of the breakdown in Argentina.

I and most other Americans have never personally lived through such a collapse, though some would be preppers rather boldly claim to be experts on surviving these specific kinds of catastrophes. I am not an expert, and neither is anyone else who has not experienced a collapse first hand. However, we CAN learn from the experiences of experts; those people who lived through the Great Depression, the Argentina crisis, the implosion of Bosnia, the breakup of the Soviet Union, the ongoing breakdown in Greece, etc. We can analyze their successes, and their failures, and devise solutions based on that which actually WORKED, instead of the random theories of people who can only guess at what life is like in the thick of hell.

One solution that has consistently been adopted and applied by numerous societies across the globe in the face of a stratum of different calamities is the art of community building. This strategy has proven itself over and over again regardless of catastrophic conditions. It is not theory. It is not debatable. Community networking has been proven time and again as a means of subsisting safely during depression, hyperinflation, mass hysteria, despotism, martial law, and even widespread war. Unfortunately, it is a methodology that has gone mostly ignored by many Americans, even those who are well aware of impending economic danger.

Common Oppositions to Community Building

First, we must put to rest those misconceptions that hinder the development of meaningful defensive community before we are able to understand the nature of various organizational methods and their benefits. Let’s examine some often heard arguments against the formation of survival relationships, groups, and focused networks…

1) Other People Aren’t Reliable. I Can Survive Better On My Own…

I’ll be the first to admit that some people are unreliable if not downright pathetic. On top of this, many in our culture find it necessary to exaggerate their abilities or their resolve until they are faced with an actual crisis, and then they fold like a wet blade of grass. Counting on such men is a waste of time and energy, not to mention, dangerous. Certainly, every prepper should have the ability to make it on his own, at least for a short time, in a collapse environment, and anyone who does not have that option is in some serious trouble.

I write a lot about “dangerous assumptions”, almost to the point of feeling ill, because most if not all of America’s problems are either caused or exacerbated by them. We presume too much too often, and it always comes back to bite us. Presuming that one will never be forced into a situation where he might have to survive alone for a time is foolish. There is no guarantee that we will always have others to fall back on, or that we will never be driven from our homes. On the other hand, it is equally foolish to presume that you will not face even worse circumstances while you are on your own. Unless you have the ability to go for weeks without sleep, and to be alert to every conceivable detail at every conceivable moment, it is insane to CHOOSE lone wolf survival over community and mutual defense. Its good to have the ability to go solo, but if you want to actually make it through a collapse similar to that which occurred in Argentina or worse, eventually you will have to work with others. This is not my opinion, it is a fact made concrete by numerous economic disasters around the world.

2) Groups Draw Too Much Attention. It’s Better To Keep A “Low Profile”…

I’m not sure where this nonsensical theory came from, but it definitely didn’t get started by anyone who has actually lived through economic implosion. The root of this strange position is that organizing networks of people for trade and for defense makes you a visible “target” for a corrupt government. At least, that’s the argument. It may be true that more focused groups of liberty minded people are indeed placed on lists, and singled out for surveillance or media ridicule, however, we need to apply some logical thought here.

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The downfall of science and the rise of intellectual tyranny

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by Mike Adams
Editor of NaturalNews.com
Originally posted Friday, January 21, 2011

THE VERY REPUTATION OF SO-CALLED “science” has been irreparably damaged by the invocation of the term “science” by GMO lackeys, pesticide pushers, mercury advocates and fluoride poisoners who all claim to have science on their side. It seems that every toxin, contamination and chemical disaster that now infects our planet has been evangelized in the name of “science.”

Where “science” used to be highly regarded in the 1950’s, today the term is largely exploited by pharmaceutical companies, biotech giants and chemical companies to push their own for-profit agendas. Actual science has little to do with the schemes now being pushed under the veil of science.

To make matters even worse for the sciences, many so-called “science bloggers” have been revealed to have financial ties to the very same companies whose profits are shored up by their activities. (see Age of Autism)

Rather than defending any sort of scientific truth, science bloggers have become the internet whores of Big Pharma, Monsanto, pesticide manufacturers, chemical companies and toxic mercury factories. There’s hardly a dangerous chemical in widespread use today that the science bloggers haven’t venomously defended as safe and effective. Many are just blatantly paid off by corporate entities to run around the internet pushing GMOs, chemicals and vaccines.

This realization has caused the science bloggers to be widely ridiculed by intelligent people who see right through their thinly-veiled (but well-funded) disinformation campaigns. Where science bloggers once had credibility, they now are seen as intellectual prostitutes for dangerous corporate agendas that benefit powerful companies at the expense of environmental health and human health.

If they weren’t doing all this in the name of science, it wouldn’t be so bad, actually. If they called themselves “corporate whore bloggers” instead of “science bloggers,” their actions wouldn’t be so harmful to the reputation of science itself. But, to the great detriment of actual science, they insist on calling themselves “science bloggers.”

Now the reputation of “science” itself is suffering

Because the for-profit GMO sellouts, poison pushers, vaccine zealots and corporate front groups continue to conduct their activities under the false name of “science,” the term is losing its meaning. This should be cause for alarm among those who practice legitimate science. (Where are the astrobiologists when you need them?)

As we’ve seen all too frequently, “science” can be easily distorted or exploited to achieve a desired political or profiteering goal. But the ruse is rather apparent – the public is awakening to the science fraud and learning that the term “science” doesn’t really mean what it used to. It’s suffering a loss of reputation to such a degree that the term “science” no longer means a system whereby intellectually honest people search for the underlying truths of how nature operates. Today, “science” is used not to search for truth, but to distort the truth.

Replace “science” with “fraud” to understand the spin

Instead of seeking knowledge and understanding, for example, “science” is used as an intellectual bludgeon to halt rational skepticism and discussion on topics such as GMOs, vaccines, mercury fillings, fluoride in the water, the mysterious deaths of animals, the collapse of honeybee populations and so on. It’s a kind of intellectual tyranny that has been invoked against those who oppose any kind of corporate agenda that can be dressed up to look like actual science.

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Alert: Nuclear (and economic) meltdown in progress

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by Chris Martenson
Originally posted Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Important note:

It is with a heavy heart that I am now issuing the HIGHEST LEVEL alert to my readers than I have to date. The threshold for an alert is one or more world events that personally cause me to take action.

I’m making this alert publicly available less than 36 hours after releasing it to my enrolled subscribers given its importance and the speed at which events are accelerating.

The substance of this alert centers on the unknown aftershocks that may result from the world’s third largest economy, Japan, rapidly shifting from an exporter of funding to a consumer of it. In situations like these, we are by definition operating with incomplete and often confusing information, and events are developing more rapidly than they can be fully analyzed and internalized. We regret in advance any mistakes that we might make due to making calls and decisions in this highly fluid environment.

This alert warns you that major world-changing events are now underway and that your personal preparations for an uncertain future should either be completed or take on a new sense of urgency. On the basis of the information contained here and in the past two days of posts, I am personally ratcheting up my preparations, making purchases, and topping off what needs to be topped off.

Important caveat: At this point in time, I cannot fully support 100% of my concerns with hard data and evidence. Some of what has tipped me into this state of urgency is data, evidence, and stories that I can point to. Some is due to the absence of data or information, the remainder results from watching market gyrations and correlations shift into new patterns, which tell me something is afoot.

I have not been this concerned since October of 2008.

Some Background

Within hours of learning of the event at Reactor 1 in Japan, I had looked at the evidence available, drawn a few conclusions, and then checked to see what the experts were saying. Never quite sure of what sort of personal and/or professional limitations are in play, I rarely start with anyone’s assessment but my own. It’s part of trusting myself and it has worked remarkably well for me and my subscribers over the years.

Here’s what I wrote in the blog on the morning of Saturday, March 12, 2011 on Japan’s nuclear incident:

There have been reports from Japan’s nuclear agency that radioactive cesium and iodine were detected outside of the facility, which can only happen if the core has been exposed somehow. Perhaps that’s all under control now, but the evidence for very high temperatures, the explosion of the containment building, a 12-mile evacuation zone, and the presence of cesium and iodine all indicate that perhaps the complete situation is not being shared with the public.

If you live in Japan, you should be heading well upwind of this facility and have potassium iodide pills on hand. I would personally be reading the wind forecasts and assuring that I was upwind.

My expertise involves making sense of the world in relatively short order. It also helps me smell B.S. remarkably quickly, especially from official sources. The nuclear situation in Japan struck me from the outset as being rather more serious than described, and this has proven true. I take no pride in this particular ‘victory,’ and instead feel the burden of having to be the bearer of bad news.

The nature of this alert is to let you know that I consider the chance of a renewed round of economic and fiscal crises to result from the chaos that is currently engulfing Japan and the MENA region to be extremely high.

A Global Meltdown

For decades, the world has been running its own nuclear-style reaction, only in the currency and debt markets, where exponentially-accelerating piles of debt and money have spun about faster and faster in a gigantic, complex, coordinated reaction, the core of which is, and always has been, the United States.

At the very center of this ungainly money reactor is the main fuel pile itself, the US Treasury market. With any interruption to smooth flow of money through this pile, it will immediately become unstable.

The threat I see goes like this:

Stage 1: The world watches, riveted, as Japan suffers a tragic and horrible earthquake and tsunami, but as horrifying as these are, they are localized phenomenon affecting a relatively small percentage of the country. The real trouble lurks within damaged nuclear plants, which are now ruined and will never again produce electricity for Japan, creating instant shortages that will take years to remedy. Worse, a dangerous plume of radioactivity is carried south by winds. Tokyo partially empties and shuts down for all practical purposes.

Stage 2: The abrupt slow down of the world’s third largest economy alters the smooth flow of cash around the globe, and even causes reversals of some other long-standing flows. Chaotic eddies emerge in a decades-old pattern of ever-increasing flows of money into and out of the money centers, and various carry-trade and other interest-rate-sensitive strategies blow up. Manufacturing in Japan screeches to a halt, disrupting just-in-time manufacturing strategies both internally and across the globe.

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Become a teacher? 10 Examples that show why becoming a teacher is a dead end in this economy

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from The Economic Collapse
Originally posted February 25th, 2011

 

Today budget cutters are on the rampage from coast to coast and often one of their first targets is public school teachers. What we have witnessed recently in Wisconsin is just one example of this. The truth is that you do not want to become a teacher if you want to have financial security in America today.

TEACHER SALARIES ARE BEING SLASHED FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA. But to a certain extent the teachers that are having their wages cut are the fortunate ones. There are thousands upon thousands of teachers that have already been laid off, and there are tens of thousands more that are about to be laid off. It is absolutely brutal out there right now. So if you are thinking about becoming a teacher you might want to think twice. Not that there are a whole lot of other jobs that are more secure right now. The truth is that there is no such thing as a “safe job” in America today.

It is very unfortunate that what is going on right now is going to scare so many young people away from becoming a teacher because the next generation could definitely use some quality teachers.

But the truth is that it is getting really hard to honestly recommend that anyone become a teacher at this point. Just consider some of the following news stories that we have seen around the nation recently…

#1 In Providence, Rhode Island the school district plans to send out dismissal notices to every single one of its 1,926 teachers.

#2 Michigan has just approved a plan to shut down nearly half of the public schools in Detroit.  Under the plan, 70 schools will be closed and 72 will continue operating.

#3 In New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie has laid off thousands of teachers and he cut a billion dollars from the state education budget.

#4 Bills in Wisconsin, Ohio, Tennessee, Indiana and Idaho would either significantly alter or completely take away the collective bargaining rights of public school teachers.

#5 The eyes of the whole country are on Wisconsin right now. Teachers there are very alarmed about the $900 million in cuts to school funding over the next two years that are being proposed.

#6 Clay Robison, a spokesman for the Texas State Teachers Association, recently said that his organization is projecting that 100,000 school employees in the state of Texas could lose their jobs.

#7 The current plan is for more than 4,500 New York City school teachers to be laid off after this current school years ends. This will be the most significant teacher layoffs in New York since the 1970s.

#8 In Los Angeles, more than 5,000 teachers will be receiving preliminary layoff notices due to budget cuts.

#9 Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval is being deeply criticized for the teacher pay cuts that he is proposing.

#10 StudentsFirst.org is projecting that 161,000 teachers across the United States are in danger of losing their jobs this year alone.

So in light of the facts above, should we advise any of our young people to try to become a teacher?

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Everything is falling apart: America’s decaying infrastructure

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from The Economic Collapse
Originally posted January 2011

EVERYTHING IS FALLING APART: HERE ARE TWENTY FACTS THAT you will not want to read if you still want to feel good about America’s decaying infrastructure. If you haven’t noticed lately, America is literally falling apart all around us.  Decaying infrastructure is everywhere.  Our roads and bridges are crumbling and are full of holes.  Our rail system is ancient. Our airports and runways have definitely seen their better days. Aging sewer systems all over the country are leaking raw sewage all over the place.  The power grid is straining to keep up with the ever-increasing thirst of the American people for electricity.  Dams are failing at an unprecedented rate. Virtually all of our ports are handling far more traffic than they were ever intended to handle.

Meanwhile, our national spending on infrastructure is way down. Back during the 1950s and 1960s we were spending between 3 and 4 percent of our national GDP on infrastructure, but today we are spending less than 2.5 percent of our national GDP on it. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, we need to spend approximately $2.2 trillion on infrastructure repairs and upgrades just to bring our existing infrastructure up to “good condition”.

Does anyone have an extra $2.2 trillion to spare? If you get the feeling that America is decaying as you drive around this great country of ours, it is not just your imagination. It is literally happening.

You should not read the list of facts below if you want to keep feeling good about the condition of America’s infrastructure. There really is no way to sugar-coat what is happening. Previous generations handed us the greatest national infrastructure that anyone in the world has ever seen and we have neglected it and have allowed it to badly deteriorate.

This first set of facts about America’s decaying infrastructure was compiled from a fact sheet entitled “The Case For U.S. Infrastructure Investment” by an organization called Building America’s Future:

#1 One-third of America’s major roads are in poor or mediocre condition.

#2 Traffic on more than half the miles of interstate highway exceeds 70 percent of capacity, and nearly 25 percent of the miles are strained at more than 95 percent of capacity.

#3 Americans waste 4.2 billion hours and 2.8 billion gallons fuel a year sitting in traffic – equal to nearly one full work week and three weeks’ worth of gas for every traveler.

#4 Over the next 30 years, our nation is expected to grow by 100 million and highway traffic will double again. Even if highway capacity grows no faster than in the last 25 years, Americans can expect to spend 160 hours – 4 work weeks – each year in traffic by 2035.

#5 Nearly a third of all highway fatalities are due to substandard road conditions, obsolete road designs, or roadside hazards.

#6 Over 4,095 dams are “unsafe” and have deficiencies that leave them more susceptible to failure, especially during large flood events or earthquakes.

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America – The Grim Truth

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by Anonymous
Posted originally in cluborlov.blogspot.com on Nov 24, 2010

AMERICANS, I HAVE SOME BAD NEWS FOR YOU: You have the worst quality of life in the developed world—by a wide margin. If you had any idea of how people really lived in Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and many parts of Asia, you’d be rioting in the streets calling for a better life. In fact, the average Australian or Singaporean taxi driver has a much better standard of living than the typical American white-collar worker.

I know this because I am an American, and I escaped from the prison you call home.

I have lived all around the world, in wealthy countries and poor ones, and there is only one country I would never consider living in again: The United States of America. The mere thought of it fills me with dread.

Consider this: you are the only people in the developed world without a single-payer health system. Everyone in Western Europe, Japan, Canada, Australia, Singapore and New Zealand has a single-payer system. If they get sick, they can devote all their energies to getting well. If you get sick, you have to battle two things at once: your illness and the fear of financial ruin. Millions of Americans go bankrupt every year due to medical bills, and tens of thousands die each year because they have no insurance or insufficient insurance. And don’t believe for a second that rot about America having the world’s best medical care or the shortest waiting lists: I’ve been to hospitals in Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Singapore, and Thailand, and every one was better than the “good” hospital I used to go to back home. The waits were shorter, the facilities more comfortable, and the doctors just as good.

This is ironic, because you need a good health system more than anyone else in the world. Why? Because your lifestyle is almost designed to make you sick.

Let’s start with your diet: Much of the beef you eat has been exposed to fecal matter in processing. Your chicken is contaminated with salmonella. Your stock animals and poultry are pumped full of growth hormones and antibiotics. In most other countries, the government would act to protect consumers from this sort of thing; in the United States, the government is bought off by industry to prevent any effective regulations or inspections. In a few years, the majority of all the produce for sale in the United States will be from genetically modified crops, thanks to the cozy relationship between Monsanto Corporation and the United States government. Worse still, due to the vast quantities of high-fructose corn syrup Americans consume, fully one-third of children born in the United States today will be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes at some point in their lives.

Of course, it’s not just the food that’s killing you, it’s the drugs. If you show any sign of life when you’re young, they’ll put you on Ritalin. Then, when you get old enough to take a good look around, you’ll get depressed, so they’ll give you Prozac. If you’re a man, this will render you chemically impotent, so you’ll need Viagra to get it up. Meanwhile, your steady diet of trans-fat-laden food is guaranteed to give you high cholesterol, so you’ll get a prescription for Lipitor. Finally, at the end of the day, you’ll lay awake at night worrying about losing your health plan, so you’ll need Lunesta to go to sleep.

With a diet guaranteed to make you sick and a health system designed to make sure you stay that way, what you really need is a long vacation somewhere. Unfortunately, you probably can’t take one. I’ll let you in on little secret: if you go to the beaches of Thailand, the mountains of Nepal, or the coral reefs of Australia, you’ll probably be the only American in sight. And you’ll be surrounded crowds of happy Germans, French, Italians, Israelis, Scandinavians and wealthy Asians. Why? Because they’re paid well enough to afford to visit these places AND they can take vacations long enough to do so. Even if you could scrape together enough money to go to one of these incredible places, by the time you recovered from your jetlag, it would time to get on a plane and rush back to your job.

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