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

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August 08, 2018, 02:38:10 am suzytr says: Hello, any good churches in the Sacto, CA area, also looking in Reno NV, thanks in advance and God Bless you Smiley
January 29, 2018, 01:21:57 am Christian40 says: It will be interesting to see what happens this year Israel being 70 years as a modern nation may 14 2018
October 17, 2017, 01:25:20 am Christian40 says: It is good to type Mark is here again!  Smiley
October 16, 2017, 03:28:18 am Christian40 says: anyone else thinking that time is accelerating now? it seems im doing days in shorter time now is time being affected in some way?
September 24, 2017, 10:45:16 pm Psalm 51:17 says: The specific rule pertaining to the national anthem is found on pages A62-63 of the league rulebook. It states: “The National Anthem must be played prior to every NFL game, and all players must be on the sideline for the National Anthem. “During the National Anthem, players on the field and bench area should stand at attention, face the flag, hold helmets in their left hand, and refrain from talking. The home team should ensure that the American flag is in good condition. It should be pointed out to players and coaches that we continue to be judged by the public in this area of respect for the flag and our country. Failure to be on the field by the start of the National Anthem may result in discipline, such as fines, suspensions, and/or the forfeiture of draft choice(s) for violations of the above, including first offenses.”
September 20, 2017, 04:32:32 am Christian40 says: "The most popular Hepatitis B vaccine is nothing short of a witch’s brew including aluminum, formaldehyde, yeast, amino acids, and soy. Aluminum is a known neurotoxin that destroys cellular metabolism and function. Hundreds of studies link to the ravaging effects of aluminum. The other proteins and formaldehyde serve to activate the immune system and open up the blood-brain barrier. This is NOT a good thing."
http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-08-11-new-fda-approved-hepatitis-b-vaccine-found-to-increase-heart-attack-risk-by-700.html
September 19, 2017, 03:59:21 am Christian40 says: bbc international did a video about there street preaching they are good witnesses
September 14, 2017, 08:06:04 am Psalm 51:17 says: bro Mark Hunter on YT has some good, edifying stuff too.
September 14, 2017, 04:31:26 am Christian40 says: i have thought that i'm reaping from past sins then my life has been impacted in ways from having non believers in my ancestry.
September 11, 2017, 06:59:33 am Psalm 51:17 says: The law of reaping and sowing. It's amazing how God's mercy and longsuffering has hovered over America so long. (ie, the infrastructure is very bad here b/c for many years, they were grossly underspent on. 1st Tim 6:10, the god of materialism has its roots firmly in the West) And remember once upon a time ago when shacking up b/w straight couples drew shock awe?

Exodus 20:5  Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
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Author Topic: Turn Out The Lights U.S. Cities Are Becoming Cesspools Of Filth, Decay And Wret  (Read 7387 times)
Kilika
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« Reply #90 on: July 20, 2013, 05:22:34 am »

Quote
Aquilina said the Michigan Constitution prohibits actions that will lessen the pension benefits of public employees, including those in the City of Detroit.

How did they get such a law into their constitution? What about the pension benefits of private employees? Man the corruption of these government officials is mind-boggling. With government doing such things, it's no wonder cities are filing bankruptcy. Thieves and robbers, all of them!

Quote
She also ordered that a copy of her declaratory judgment be sent to President Barack Obama, saying he "bailed out Detroit" and may want to look into the pension issue.

Wow! She isn't even bothering to hide her bias! What the heck does the president have to do with a state filing bankruptcy? Nothing. What they are really interested in is taking care that the public is solidly on the public dole.
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« Reply #91 on: July 21, 2013, 05:42:15 am »

25 Facts About The Fall Of Detroit That Will Leave You Shaking Your Head

It is so sad to watch one of America's greatest cities die a horrible death.  Once upon a time, the city of Detroit was a teeming metropolis of 1.8 million people and it had the highest per capita income in the United States.  Now it is a rotting, decaying hellhole of about 700,000 people that the rest of the world makes jokes about.  On Thursday, we learned that the decision had been made for the city of Detroit to formally file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy.  It was going to be the largest municipal bankruptcy in the history of the United States by far, but on Friday it was stopped at least temporarily by an Ingham County judge.  She ruled that Detroit's bankruptcy filing violates the Michigan Constitution because it would result in reduced pension payments for retired workers.  She also stated that Detroit's bankruptcy filing was "also not honoring the (United States) president, who took (Detroit’s auto companies) out of bankruptcy", and she ordered that a copy of her judgment be sent to Barack Obama.  How "honoring the president" has anything to do with the bankruptcy of Detroit is a bit of a mystery, but what that judge has done is ensured that there will be months of legal wrangling ahead over Detroit's money woes.  It will be very interesting to see how all of this plays out.  But one thing is for sure - the city of Detroit is flat broke.  One of the greatest cities in the history of the world is just a shell of its former self.  The following are 25 facts about the fall of Detroit that will leave you shaking your head...
 
1) At this point, the city of Detroit owes money to more than 100,000 creditors.
 
2) Detroit is facing $20 billion in debt and unfunded liabilities.  That breaks down to more than $25,000 per resident.
 
3) Back in 1960, the city of Detroit actually had the highest per-capita income in the entire nation.
 
4) In 1950, there were about 296,000 manufacturing jobs in Detroit.  Today, there are less than 27,000.
 
5) Between December 2000 and December 2010, 48 percent of the manufacturing jobs in the state of Michigan were lost.
 
6) There are lots of houses available for sale in Detroit right now for $500 or less.
 
7) At this point, there are approximately 78,000 abandoned homes in the city.
 
8) About one-third of Detroit's 140 square miles is either vacant or derelict.
 
9) An astounding 47 percent of the residents of the city of Detroit are functionally illiterate.
 
10) Less than half of the residents of Detroit over the age of 16 are working at this point.
 
11) If you can believe it, 60 percent of all children in the city of Detroit are living in poverty.
 
12) Detroit was once the fourth-largest city in the United States, but over the past 60 years the population of Detroit has fallen by 63 percent.
 
13) The city of Detroit is now very heavily dependent on the tax revenue it pulls in from the ****s in the city.  Right now, Detroit is bringing in about 11 million dollars a month in tax revenue from the ****s.
 
14) There are 70 "Superfund" hazardous waste sites in Detroit.
 
15) 40 percent of the street lights do not work.
 
16) Only about a third of the ambulances are running.
 
17) Some ambulances in the city of Detroit have been used for so long that they have more than 250,000 miles on them.
 
18) Two-thirds of the parks in the city of Detroit have been permanently closed down since 2008.
 
19) The size of the police force in Detroit has been cut by about 40 percent over the past decade.
 
20) When you call the police in Detroit, it takes them an average of 58 minutes to respond.
 
21) Due to budget cutbacks, most police stations in Detroit are now closed to the public for 16 hours a day.
 
22) The violent crime rate in Detroit is five times higher than the national average.
 
23) The murder rate in Detroit is 11 times higher than it is in New York City.
 
24) Today, police solve less than 10 percent of the crimes that are committed in Detroit.
 
25) Crime has gotten so bad in Detroit that even the police are telling people to "enter Detroit at your own risk".
 
It is easy to point fingers and mock Detroit, but the truth is that the rest of America is going down the exact same path that Detroit has gone down.
 

Detroit just got there first.
 
All over this country, there are hundreds of state and local governments that are also on the verge of financial ruin...
 

"Everyone will say, 'Oh well, it's Detroit. I thought it was already in bankruptcy,' " said Michigan State University economist Eric Scorsone. "But Detroit is not unique. It's the same in Chicago and New York and San Diego and San Jose. It's a lot of major cities in this country. They may not be as extreme as Detroit, but a lot of them face the same problems."
 
A while back, Meredith Whitney was highly criticized for predicting that there would be a huge wave of municipal defaults in this country.  When it didn't happen, the critics let her have it mercilessly.
 
But Meredith Whitney was not wrong.
 
She was just early.
 
Detroit is only just the beginning.  When the next major financial crisis strikes, we are going to see a wave of municipal bankruptcies unlike anything we have ever seen before.
 
And of course the biggest debt problem of all in this country is the U.S. government.  We are going to pay a great price for piling up nearly 17 trillion dollars of debt and over 200 trillion dollars of unfunded liabilities.
 
All over the nation, our economic infrastructure is being gutted, debt levels are exploding and poverty is spreading.  We are consuming far more wealth than we are producing, and our share of global GDP has been declining dramatically.
 
We have been living way above our means for so long that we think it is "normal", but an extremely painful "adjustment" is coming and most Americans are not going to know how to handle it.
 
So don't laugh at Detroit.  The economic pain that Detroit is experiencing will be coming to your area of the country soon enough.

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/25-facts-about-the-fall-of-detroit-that-will-leave-you-shaking-your-head
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« Reply #92 on: July 23, 2013, 06:31:30 am »

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/07/22/19620244-shrinking-population-heavy-debt-make-turnaround-tough-for-detroit-schools?lite&ocid=msnhp&pos=1
7/22/13
Shrinking population, heavy debt make turnaround tough for Detroit schools

Michigan’s governor on July 15 appointed a seasoned financial guru to run Detroit’s ailing public school district, a move that many observers hailed as a saving grace for the city's classrooms in decline.

Three days later, Detroit filed for bankruptcy.

Jack Martin, who took office as emergency manager for Detroit Public Schools last Monday, is now tasked with overhauling Motown's rusting educational system during a period of economic calamity.

Roy Roberts, Martin’s predecessor and a former General Motors executive, had signaled earlier this year that he would leave his post.

And although Roberts made key strides — including dragging down the deficit by $251 million and ramping up graduation rates by five percent — the Detroit public schools system is nonetheless in rough shape, according to Professor Elizabeth Moje of the University of Michigan School of Education.

And that’s been the case for years.

“The district was in dire straits long before the bankruptcy,” Moje said.

One of the biggest problems facing the school system: Detroit’s dramatically shrinking population. The economic collapse has reduced the sprawling metropolis to a veritable ghost town.

The city’s population plunged by over a quarter of a million between 2000 and 2010, to just over 700,000 people, according to The Associated Press.

What does that mean for public schools? Population projections suggest that, by 2016, public school enrollment will slip to just 40,000 kids, according to the AP — a relatively meager number for a once-bustling American city.

“These schools are enormous,” said Moje. “But inside, there’s very few students.”

Martin said last Monday that boosting enrollment will be a top priority during his time overseeing public schools.

“I’ll first focus on starting school on time and without incident,” Martin said. “Enrollment is a major focus.”

What’s more, Detroit’s public schools are weighed down by mountains of debt, according to Moje. School administrators are sometimes forced to dip into the budget reserved for school resources to cover old debts, she added.

“Schools of today have less money to spend on their students because they’re paying off the debts of yesteryear,” she said.

That’s one of the reasons why state officials declared a financial state of emergency in public schools across Detroit in late 2008, five years before billions of dollars of debt forced the city to file Chapter 9, according to Terry Stanton, the communications director at the Michigan Department of Treasury.

Four other Michigan school districts have received the same grim prognosis — and all are now overseen by emergency financial managers, rather than traditional administrators, such as a superintendent, Stanton said.

Martin, 74, a certified public accountant, is the third emergency manager to preside over Detroit’s public schools since 2009. He has a lengthy resume at the intersection of finance and public policy — most notably, stints as the CFO of the U.S. Department of Education and CFO of the city of Detroit itself — which makes him a good fit for the numbers-crunching business of budget administration.

“The opportunity will allow me to continue offering leadership and making a positive impact in the Detroit community,” Martin said in a statement. “Fixing education in Detroit is foundational to addressing the myriad of other critical issues facing our community—locally and statewide.”

It remains to be seen if the confluence of Detroit’s bankruptcy and the city's public schools' woes will force officials to shutter more schools, as they did at a staggering rate during a budget-balancing wave in 2011, according to Moje.

Martin, widely seen as a financial wizard, may find a way around closing the doors to classrooms across the struggling city. And yet, ultimately, we shouldn't treat public education strictly as a "numbers game," Moje said.

"Everybody is worried about the numbers and the money, but the bottom line is that we also need to think about improving the quality of teaching and learning in these classrooms."
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« Reply #93 on: July 24, 2013, 12:31:18 pm »

Detroit council supports calls for federal investigation of possible civil rights charges against George Zimmerman

The Detroit City Council on Tuesday unanimously passed a resolution calling for a federal investigation to see whether civil rights charges are warranted against George Zimmerman, who was acquitted July 13 of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges in the killing of Florida teen Trayvon Martin.

The resolution, sponsored by Councilwoman JoAnn Watson, sparked a discussion over the need for city leaders and others to focus more on violence in Detroit.

“We need to have that same level of outrage with respect to the black-on-black crime that takes place in our community,” Councilman Kenneth Cockrel Jr. said. “How many people were shot — maybe even shot and killed this past weekend in the city — mostly likely by folks who look just like them?”

Watson said there are many events held regularly to address violence in Detroit. “Because the so-called major media does not cover all of the expressions does not mean it does not happen,” she said. “So that’s not correct.”

http://www.freep.com/article/20130723/NEWS01/307230095/

Really? Detroit has fallen apart, it is probably the most dangerous city in Amerika, bank rupt, police say enter at your own risk, and this is what these people do? You people in Detroit need to grab these felons and sting em up and put them in jail for LIFE. Your city is bankrupt and fallen, but here is you leaders pushing RACEISM instead.
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« Reply #94 on: July 24, 2013, 12:38:42 pm »

Detroit council supports calls for federal investigation of possible civil rights charges against George Zimmerman

Am I reading this right? Do I need my glasses to get adjusted? Huh
« Last Edit: July 24, 2013, 12:42:25 pm by BornAgain2 » Report Spam   Logged
Kilika
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« Reply #95 on: July 24, 2013, 04:51:35 pm »

No kidding! We just entered the twilight zone!

For those trying to keep up with this insanity, the question is, what say does the city of Detroit have in what goes on in a completely different state? It has zero say. None. The city's system of resolutions is not for promoting personal bias! And they wonder why Detroit is collapsing. Roll Eyes
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« Reply #96 on: July 25, 2013, 06:08:33 am »

Guardian Angels: Don’t Let Mag Mile Become “Muggers’ Mile”

A volunteer group of citizen crime fighters is calling the Magnificent Mile – a popular tourist destination in Chicago – the “Muggers’ Mile,” to spotlight robberies along Michigan Avenue.
 
CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports the Guardian Angels routinely patrol the Magnificent Mile, and the CTA Red Line subway that runs nearby.
 
They said criminals have been turning the popular stretch of Michigan Avenue into their own ATM, and attacks there have grown more violent. However, police said robberies in the area are down compared to last year.

Members of the Guardian Angels were at the corner of Michigan and Chicago avenues Tuesday morning, handing out flyers with safety tips to shoppers and tourists, while making their normal patrols.
 
The men in red berets said they came up with the Muggers’ Mile nickname, because they want to avoid the moniker from becoming reality.
 
They reminded passersby to put their cell phones away, install tracking software on their smart phones, and log off from their apps; whether it’s a banking account, or their email.
 
Over the weekend, police responded to a handful of muggings on Michigan Avenue, and not far away at 200 W. Illinois St.

rest: http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2013/07/23/guardian-angels-dont-let-mag-mile-become-muggers-mile/
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« Reply #97 on: July 25, 2013, 06:12:30 am »

land is becoming desolate...
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« Reply #98 on: July 25, 2013, 07:25:09 am »

DETROIT - COMING SOON TO A CITY NEAR YOU

By Frosty Wooldridge
June 19, 2013
NewsWithViews.com

For 15 years, from the mid 1970's to 1990, I worked in Detroit , Michigan . I watched it descend into the abyss of crime, debauchery, gunplay, drugs, school truancy, car-jacking, gangs and human depravity. I watched entire city blocks burned out. I watched graffiti explode on buildings, cars, trucks, buses and school yards. Trash everywhere!

Detroiters walked through it, tossed more into it, and ignored it. Tens of thousands, and then hundreds of thousands today exist on federal welfare, free housing, and food stamps!

With Aid to Dependent Children, minority women birthed eight to 10, and in one case, one woman birthed 24 children as reported by the Detroit Free Press, all on American taxpayer dollars.

A new child meant a new car payment, new TV, and whatever mom wanted. I saw Lyndon Baines Johnson's 'Great Society' flourish in Detroit . If you give money for doing nothing, you will get more hands out taking money for doing nothing.

Mayor Coleman Young, perhaps the most corrupt mayor in America , outside of Richard Daley in Chicago , rode Detroit down to its knees... He set the benchmark for cronyism, incompetence, and arrogance. As a black man, he said, "I am the MFIC." The IC meant "in charge." You can figure out the rest.

Detroit became a majority black city with 67 percent African-Americans.

As a United Van Lines truck driver for my summer job from teaching math and science, I loaded hundreds of American families into my van for a new life in another city or state.

Detroit plummeted from 1.8 million citizens to 912,000 today. At the same time, legal and illegal immigrants converged on the city for the free government handouts, so much so, that Muslims number over 300,000. Mexicans number 400,000 throughout Michigan, but most work in Detroit . As the whites moved out, the Muslims moved in.

As the crimes became more violent, the whites fled. Finally, unlawful Mexicans moved in at a torrid pace. Detroit suffers so much shoplifting that grocery stores no longer operate in many inner city locations. You could cut the racial tension in the air with a knife! Detroit may be one of our best examples of multiculturalism: pure dislike, and total separation from America.

Today, you hear Muslim calls to worship over the city like a new American Baghdad with hundreds of Islamic mosques in Michigan , paid for by Saudi Arabian oil money. High school flunk-out rates reached 76 percent last June, according to NBC's Brian Williams. Classrooms resemble more foreign countries than America .. English? Few speak it! The city features a 50 percent illiteracy rate and growing.

Unemployment hit 28.9 percent in 2009 as the auto industry vacated the city. In Time Magazine on October 4, 2009, "The Tragedy of Detroit : How a great city fell, and how it can rise again," I choked on the writer's description of what happened. "If Detroit had been ravaged by a hurricane, and submerged by a ravenous flood, we'd know a lot more about it," said Daniel Okrent. "If drought and carelessness had spread brush fires across the city, we'd see it on the evening news every night." Earthquake, tornadoes, you name it, if natural disaster had devastated the city that was once the living proof of American prosperity, the rest of the country might take notice.

But Detroit , once our fourth largest city, now 11th and slipping rapidly, has had no such luck. Its disaster has long been a slow unwinding that seemed to remove it from the rest of the country.

Even the death rattle that in the past year emanated from its signature industry brought more attention to the auto executives than to the people of the city, who had for so long been victimized by their dreadful decision making."

As Coleman Young's corruption brought the city to its knees, no amount of federal dollars could save the incredible payoffs, kickbacks and illegality permeating his administration. I witnessed the city's death from the seat of my 18-wheeler tractor trailer because I moved people out of every sector of decaying Detroit .

"By any quantifiable standard, the city is on life support. Detroit 's treasury is $300 million short of the funds needed to provide the barest municipal services," Okrent said. "The school system, which six years ago was compelled by the teachers' union to reject a philanthropist's offer of $200 million to build 15 small, independent charter high schools, is in receivership. The murder rate is soaring, and 7 out of 10 remain unsolved. Three years after Katrina devastated New Orleans , unemployment in that city hit a peak of 11%. In Detroit today, the unemployment rate is 28.9%. That's worth spelling out: twenty-eight point nine percent.

At the end of Okrent's report, and he will write a dozen more about Detroit, he said, "That's because the story of Detroit is not simply one of a great city's collapse, it's also about the erosion of the industries that helped build the country we know today. The ultimate fate of Detroit will reveal much about the character of America in the 21st century.

If what was once the most prosperous manufacturing city in the nation has been brought to its knees, what does that say about our recent past? And if it can't find a way to get up, what does that say about Americas fut ure?"

As you read in my book review of Chris Steiner's book,"$20 Per Gallon," the auto industry won't come back. Immigration will keep pouring more and more uneducated third world immigrants from the Middle East into Detroit , thus creating a beachhead for Islamic hegemony in America . If 50 percent illiteracy continues, we will see more home-grown terrorists spawned out of the Muslim ghettos of Detroit . Illiteracy plus Islam equals walking human bombs.

You have already seen it in Madrid, Spain, London, England, and Paris, France with train bombings, subway bombings and riots. As their numbers grow, so will their power to enact their barbaric Sharia Law that negates republican forms of government, first amendment rights, and subjugates women to the lowest rungs on the human ladder.

We will see more honor killings by upset husbands, fathers and brothers that demand subjugation by their daughters, sisters and wives. Muslims prefer beheadings of women to scare the hell out of any other members of their sect from straying. Multiculturalism: what a perfect method to kill our language, culture, country and way of life.

I pray everyone who reads this realizes that if we don't stand up and scream at washington, and, at our local city, county, and state leaders this is what awaits the rest of America. If you think Mexicans and Muslims and other foreigners will eventually fit right in then you are as big a part of the problem as they are.

If you think this is just a bunch of hooey and you feel NO duty to fight for this country, then I'm sorry, I don't know what it will take to motivate you to stand up and fight?

http://www.newswithviews.com/Wooldridge/frosty873.htm
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« Reply #99 on: July 25, 2013, 07:43:50 am »

Not that I endorse Michael Moore, but his films were warning about it as far back as 1989(and then did again at the tail end of his "Fahrenheit 9/11" in 2004).

No, I don't think he did this genuinely, but more as predictive programming.
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Kilika
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« Reply #100 on: July 25, 2013, 02:15:16 pm »

Like the rest of Hollywood, it isn't a warning so people can do something about it, it's a statement of what's to come like it or not. It's their way of dividing for future conquer. Get the public riled up and you start to see where people stand. That's valuable info for those who want to change the public's opinions.
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« Reply #101 on: July 26, 2013, 08:25:46 am »

http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/daily-ticker/detroit-bankruptcy-game-changing-event-meredith-whitney-says-121753612.html
Detroit Bankruptcy a “Game-Changing Event,” Meredith Whitney Says
7/26/13

It’s been just over a week since Detroit filed for the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history and, so far, there are more questions than answers about how this will all shake out. On Wednesday, a U.S. Bankruptcy judge ruled Detroit’s Chapter 9 filing can proceed but local unions, pension funds and other creditors will continue to try and stop the process.

Related: Detroit Will Get Worse Before It Gets Better

Regardless of how the legal proceedings unfold, Meredith Whitney thinks she knows what will happen as a result of Detroit’s bankruptcy filing: “staggering aftershocks” for the muni bond market and “important precedents” for other state and local governments.

“We know [Detroit’s bankruptcy] is a game-changing event for certain,” says Whitney, author of Fate of the States and founder of Meredith Whitney Advisory Group LLC. “It will galvanize other municipalities to either get their act together or follow Detroit’s lead.”

Asked what other municipalities might follow Detroit’s lead into bankruptcy, Whitney cited the five other Michigan cities currently under emergency management: Flint, Pontiac, Ecorse, Allen Park and Benton Harbor. She also reiterated her concerns about the states of New Jersey and Illinois.

Related: Bernanke Costs Illinois $130M: ‘Blue States’ in Peril, Meredith Whitney Says

The Wall Street Journal recently cited Oakland, Philadelphia and Chicago as other big cities with the potential to follow Detroit’s lead but Whitney declined to mention other cities.

“I’m not sure it’s constructive to name towns [and] sound the alarm,” she said. “But there are numerous others across the country. Detroit is hardly unique.”


Of course, Whitney gained increased attention – and considerable criticism – when she sounded the alarm on 60 Minutes in late 2010. At that time, she predicted “a spate of municipal bond defaults. You could see 50 sizeable defaults. Fifty to 100 sizeable defaults. More. This will amount to hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of defaults."

Nothing close to that level of muni bankruptcies has occurred, to date, but ask yourself: Was Whitney 'dead wrong' on 60 Minutes, as her critics continue to claim, or just early?

And check the accompanying video to hear specifics on why Whitney believes Detroit’s bankruptcy is such a “game changing event” and whether she believes the city of Detroit can be 'restructured' via bankruptcy as were automakers GM and Chrysler.
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« Reply #102 on: July 29, 2013, 06:36:32 am »

'It's degrading': Bankrupt New England mill town offers Detroit a bleak preview
7/29/13
http://inplainsight.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/07/29/19697878-its-degrading-bankrupt-new-england-mill-town-offers-detroit-a-bleak-preview?lite&ocid=msnhp&pos=1

In a small mill town in New England, dozens of retired policemen and firefighters are feeling the pain of what they see as a broken promise, offering a glimpse into what could happen to thousands of public workers in Detroit facing massive reductions in pension payouts after the city's declaration of bankruptcy.

Donald Cardin became a firefighter at age 20 in Central Falls, R.I., a town just north of Providence that filed for bankruptcy in 2011. He was making $60,000 a year as a fire chief before retiring at age 42 in 2007 to take care of his wife Lana, diagnosed with thymic carcinoma, a rare cancer with extremely low survival rates.

The couple relied on Cardin’s health insurance, which required no copay, to cover Lana’s $8,000-a-month treatment. Cardin worked a part-time contracting job to make up the difference between his $34,000-a-year pension and his former salary.

But that all changed in 2011 when Cardin, and his fellow firefighters and policemen, were called to a meeting at the local high school, where state-appointed receiver Robert Flanders warned them that the city would not have enough money to survive if pensions were not cut. Weeks later the city would file for bankruptcy.

“After a lifetime of service, with the stroke of a pen, Judge Flanders changes the rest of our lives and doesn’t care,” said Cardin.

Bruce Ogni, 53, president of the Central Falls Police Retirees Association, won't forget that day, either.

“All of a sudden they dropped this on us. There was no real negotiation. Flanders came in and said the city is in big trouble, we need half your pension and your medical,” he said.

'Like I've been robbed'
Beyond trouble covering medical bills and basic needs, former public servants say their golden years have been stolen from them. After a lifetime of working to save the lives of others, the ability to enjoy their own lives has vaporized.

Joseph Laurie, 62, who worked as a fireman for 35 years, said, “I feel like I’ve been robbed.”

“We do nothing anymore,” Laurie said. “We can’t afford to go out and eat, we can’t afford shopping, we have no hobbies, we can’t travel. We’re basically stuck in our house.”

Central Falls' 19,000 residents are tucked into barely more than one square mile. The little city has coped with high poverty and crime and in 2011 found itself with a structural budget deficit of $6 million, along with $80 million in unpaid pension and health insurance benefits owed to the city’s retired workers.

Cardin believes that the city owes him and his colleagues the money they deserve, and that the services provided by him and his men should not be taken for granted.

City officials tasked with rescuing the city from financial oblivion said they had no choice.

“The city was running out of cash to meet its obligations and was literally going to be defaulting on obligations to run the city and take care of the retirees it was trying to pay,” said Flanders, who is now a partner at the law firm Hinckley, Allen, & Snyder.

As a result, Flanders proposed cutting back on pension payments and health insurance for retired workers, asking former police and firemen to take a 55 percent cut to their annual pensions. During negotiations to avoid further litigation, the state agreed to allocate $2.6 million for pensions in Central Falls, allowing retired policemen and firefighters to keep 75 percent of their pensions for the first five years after the city filed for bankruptcy. In 2016, pensions will again be cut to 55 percent.

“You have to figure out what we absolutely need to run the city. We have to have firemen, we have to have police, but we don’t need open pools, and for those who are retired, we don’t necessarily need to make those payments,” Flanders said.

“It’s painful to do this, but when you have to make hard choices like that, the choice is always going to be in favor of current services opposed to past obligations.”

The cutbacks left retired police and firefighters feeling angry, betrayed, and scared for the future.

Beyond learning their pensions would not be paid in full, the retirees were no longer protected by the labor union. They would have to get together and hire their own attorney if they wanted to challenge the city — an additional cost they would have to pick up.

With a wife and twin boys to care for, Ogni lost $1,200 a month and had to pay additional fees incurred by his wife’s health insurance. Eight months ago, Ogni’s wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, adding more medical bills to the family’s worries.

“It’s degrading to me as a man. I’m supposed to be the father in this family. We were doing OK with my pension, but losing 12 hundred a month and now her health, that’s a lot,” he said.

“I would love to give my children more than what I had. It’s hard to sit here and tell my children if you do the right thing in life you’ll be all set. I did the right thing. I did what I loved.”

Ex-fireman Laurie and his wife, Kathleen, live off disability from social security (which he receives from previously working part-time jobs in addition to his service as a fireman) and a $19,000-a-year pension — down from $39,000 before the cuts.

The Lauries makes just enough money not to qualify for public assistance, but the $2,700 the family brings in each month barely covers their $2,300 in monthly bills.

“If anything comes up out of the ordinary, that’s money we have to take out of our savings,” said Laurie. He added that the family has already made a dent in their nest egg.

Another retiree, who for out of respect for his wife and children preferred not to be named, had to voluntarily surrender his home to the bank.

After putting four children through private school, and with one daughter still in college, they made the choice to give up their three-bedroom home of 25 years, after the pension cuts.

“We took the best way that would create the least personal damage for us,” the retiree said. “It was devastating.”

A 'haircut' rather than a 'beheading'
Flanders said he did what he had to do to save the city, and that it was impossible to sustain a culture where people work for a while, retire and get a nice pension and generous health benefits that cover everybody and their survivors for life.

“The city was running out of cash. Something was better than nothing and a haircut looked a lot better than a beheading,” Flanders said in regards to the city’s retirees.

“He gave us a scalping, he didn’t give us a haircut. There was no haircut. That’s his famous line,” the retiree who lost his home said, with a chuckle.

A little over a year after filing for Chapter 9, Central Falls emerged from bankruptcy.

“I think there’s a new spirit of optimism that has engaged the city and I think most people there would say as painful as bankruptcy was it's put us in a better place to move forward and have a brighter future,” Flanders said.

Despite the city getting back on its feet, retirees still wonder how they will survive with more cuts looming in 2016.

“In 2016, I’m done. I’m dead.”  Joe Laurie said. “I’ll be on the street.”
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« Reply #103 on: July 29, 2013, 03:37:37 pm »

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a fire chief before retiring at age 42 in 2007

So he gets $34,000 a year from the city for the rest of his life? The system can't sustain that. If people work 20 years, and then they draw a pension for the next 30-40 years, that math don't add up! At some point, the amount for pensions will surpass the salaries for current workers, which means less people are paying in than drawing on the system. That's a situation doomed for failure.

Companies cannot keep paying people what amounts to full time salaries when they don't work any more. A small portion to cover "life expenses" maybe, but  $34,000/year plus medical? No company can keep that up. Pensions are just another scam by unions used in "negotiating with management".
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« Reply #104 on: July 30, 2013, 05:39:02 am »

Police Officers Arrested After Robbing Citizens at Gunpoint

A photograph snapped by a citizen and distributed to the media led to the arrest of two police officers who allegedly robbed and assaulted two citizens last week, Detroit Police Chief  James Craig said Monday.
 
The two men — one a sergeant and 20-year veteran of the Detroit Police Department; the other holding the same rank in St. Clair Shores — allegedly wore  their badges around their necks and drew their department-issued pistols on July  21, when police say they robbed two men at an east-side gas station. One of the victims was assaulted, Craig said.

“It wasn’t until a photograph was sent to the media that someone  investigating the case recognized him as a Detroit Police employee,” Craig  said.

http://christiannews.net/2013/07/29/police-officers-arrested-after-robbing-citizens-at-gunpoint/
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« Reply #105 on: July 30, 2013, 06:57:19 am »

Police Officers Arrested After Robbing Citizens at Gunpoint

A photograph snapped by a citizen and distributed to the media led to the arrest of two police officers who allegedly robbed and assaulted two citizens last week, Detroit Police Chief  James Craig said Monday.
 
The two men — one a sergeant and 20-year veteran of the Detroit Police Department; the other holding the same rank in St. Clair Shores — allegedly wore  their badges around their necks and drew their department-issued pistols on July  21, when police say they robbed two men at an east-side gas station. One of the victims was assaulted, Craig said.

“It wasn’t until a photograph was sent to the media that someone  investigating the case recognized him as a Detroit Police employee,” Craig  said.

http://christiannews.net/2013/07/29/police-officers-arrested-after-robbing-citizens-at-gunpoint/

Didn't say how whoever took the photograph, but my guess is that they took it from their cell phones.

Either way, there's just no way you can get away with everything nowdays in this highly sophisticated digital age where people have all of the tools necessary to do pretty much anything they want.
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« Reply #106 on: July 30, 2013, 01:34:49 pm »

And this kind of thing is why police don't want the public to film police at work!
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« Reply #107 on: August 01, 2013, 10:29:59 am »

http://money.cnn.com/2013/07/26/news/economy/detroit-bankruptcy-arena/index.html
New $444 million hockey arena is still a go in Detroit
By Chris Isidore  @CNNMoney  July 26, 2013: 9:16 AM ET

Detroit's financial crisis hasn't derailed the city's plans to spend more than $400 million in Michigan taxpayer funds on a new hockey arena for the Red Wings.

Advocates of the arena say it's the kind of economic development needed to attract both people and private investment dollars into downtown Detroit. It's an argument that has convinced Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Kevyn Orr, the emergency manager he appointed to oversee the city's finances, to stick with the plan. Orr said Detroit's bankruptcy filing won't halt the arena plans.

"I know there's a lot of emotional concern about should we be spending the money," said Orr. "But frankly that's part of the economic development. We need jobs. If it is as productive as it's supposed to be, that's going to be a boon to the city."

But critics say the project won't have enough economic impact to justify the cost, and that it's the wrong spending priority for a city facing dire economic conditions.

Detroit city services are already stretched extremely thin. On average, police take about an hour to respond to calls for help, and 40% of street lights are shut off to save money.

"If you want people to live in the city, and not just visit to go to games, you have to invest in schools, in having the police to respond to calls," said Gretchen Whitmer, the Democratic leader in the state senate. "There are so many investments that should trump a sports stadium."

Additionally, Orr wants to make deep cuts to both the pensions and health care coverage promised to city employees and retirees.

The state legislature approved the taxpayer funding for the arena in December. The controversial vote split Detroit's own legislative delegation. Whitmer argues that the matter should be reconsidered given the city's worsening finances.

"If the vote was held today, since the bankruptcy, I wouldn't put my money on it passing," she said.

The arena will be paid for with a $450 million bond issue that will be repaid over the next 30 years. Taxpayers will be paying almost two-thirds of the cost of the arena -- $283 million -- and private developers will cover the rest. Including interest, it's projected that there will be a total of $444 million in taxpayer funds spent on the project. 

Additionally, the developer has committed to spending another $200 million to build retail, office, residential and hotel space as part of the project. The construction is expected to create about 8,000 construction jobs with work due to start next year.


Most of the tax money going into the project would otherwise be going into Detroit schools, which are also under state control due to their dire finances. But the lost money is slated to be made up for by the state government according to Michigan's school-funding formula.

"The schools won't lose a dollar," said Robert Rossbach, spokesman for the Detroit Economic Growth Corp., the non-profit agency overseeing the project. "It was designed to have minimal impact on city of Detroit operations."

Mark Rosentraub, a University of Michigan professor and an expert on the economic impact of sports teams, did a study for the arena developers, and estimates that it would create more than $1 billion of direct spending in Detroit during the next 30 years. He said many stadium and arena projects have minimal impact on local economies because they're already thriving or because of poor location.

But he argues that this one -- in a depressed city next to football and baseball stadiums -- will encourage a lot of private investment in restaurants, bars and other entertainment venues.

The Joe Louis Arena where the Red Wings now play is antiquated by modern arena standards, and is relatively isolated from the downtown area where the new arena is to be built.

"The problem behind the financial issues of Detroit has been a flight of capital to the suburban areas," he said. "We have to bring foot traffic and investment back to Detroit. This is exactly what it needs."

Typically, a team threatens to move out of a city in order to get government officials to agree to a publicly financed new home, but the Red Wings have not made that threat.

Andrew Zimbalist, a Smith College economics professor and a sports business expert, said the Red Wings are one of the few profitable teams in the National Hockey League, and there is no chance they would want to leave Detroit, even for the suburbs.
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« Reply #108 on: August 01, 2013, 02:21:18 pm »

Those city officials just don't get it! OR, they DO get it, and are intentionally using public funds to prop up big business taxpayers.

So what do they say about all those 8,000 construction jobs when the "project" is complete? Nothing. They don't care, because they will have gotten their stadium, and the private company gets their public funding, and those in society with the cash to waste on these sports events will get a new place to recreate, at the expense of the masses, who don't even like hockey, and never intend on going to a game!

I'd like to know what other industries that cities are using public funds to support and pay for expansions and renovations. Outside of tax breaks to draw a company, I'm not aware of any other industry outside of farming that gets public funds like this.

To me, this is just another case of the rich, with the help of politicians, stealing public money for their own personal gain.

I thought that was illegal, but apparently now days, it's just policy.
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« Reply #109 on: August 02, 2013, 01:51:54 pm »

Dems Favor Federal Bailout of Detroit, But Majority of Public Opposed

A new national poll from Quinnipiac University shows that a majority Democrats believe the federal government should bail out Detroit, but an even larger majority of Americans oppose such a move. Fifty-one percent of Democrats support Washington providing federal assistance to Detroit, which last month became the largest American city ever to seek bankruptcy protection.
 
Not surprisingly, there is a strong partisan divide on the question of a federal bailout for the Motor City. Seventy-three percent of Republicans oppose a bailout, while only 18 percent support the idea. Independents are nearly of the same mind as Republicans on the issue: 68 percent oppose federal assistance for Detroit and 28 percent support it.


Read more: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2013/08/02/dems_favor_federal_bailout_of_detroit_public_does_not_119482.html#ixzz2aq6EymQQ
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« Reply #110 on: August 07, 2013, 09:48:01 am »

11 Examples Of The Escalating Crime And Violence That Are Plaguing Communities Across America

Even though the United States has the highest incarceration rate and the largest total prison population in the world by a very wide margin, hundreds of communities all over America are being overwhelmed by crime and violence.  For many years, violent crime had actually decreased in the United States, but now the trend is going the other way.  Violent crime in the U.S. increased in both 2011 and 2012, and it is being projected that it will increase in 2013 as well.  The frightening thing is that crime statistics are going up even though police departments in some major cities have publicly announced that they will not even respond to certain crimes anymore.  This has the effect of making crime statistics look lower than they actually should be.  For example, in the city of Chicago police will no longer respond in person "to 911 calls reporting vehicle theft, garage burglary or simple assault".  So if someone steals your car or breaks into your garage, you can file a report over the phone if you want, but it probably won't do much good.
 
So what is causing the rise in crime and violence?  Well, we live at a time when economic opportunities for young people are extremely limited.  The younger you are, the more likely you are to be unemployed, and poverty in America has been steadily rising even in the midst of this so-called "economy recovery".
 
When people are poor and feel like they are out of options, they tend to get desperate.  And desperate people do desperate things.
 
Meanwhile, the condition of the family in America continues to deteriorate.  We have the highest divorce rate in the world and approximately one out of every three children in the United States lives in a home without a father.  Without stable families to depend on, our young people have become increasingly vulnerable to other influences.
 
One trend that is extremely alarming is the growth of gangs in the United States.  According to the FBI, there are now 1.4 million gang members living in America.  Unfortunately, the federal government appears very unconcerned about stopping illegal immigration even though it has been one of the primary factors fueling the astounding growth of criminal gangs in this country.
 
There is a lot of anger and frustration out on the streets of America right now, and the moral decay that has been eating away at the foundations of our country is really starting to manifest itself.  The following are 11 examples of the escalating crime and violence that are plaguing communities all across America right now...
 
#1 Flash mob crimes are becoming increasingly common in our major cities.  For example, in Washington D.C. a "flash mob" of 20 or 30 young people recently stormed a convenience store and took whatever they wanted...
 

"It was crazy. Beyond our control," says the manager of the King Convenience store in the 1500 block of U Street in Southeast D.C.
 
He says a flash mob of teens stole candy, soda and other items from his store Saturday night.
 
"Bunch of kids, more than 20 or 30, grabbed everything," he says, asking not to be identified. "They grabbed everything and then ran away from the store."
 
#2 In the Bronx, police seem to be powerless to do anything about the gangs that are ruthlessly terrorizing law-abiding families...
 

The gun-toting teen shot by police over the weekend grew up in a gang-infested neighborhood in the Morrisania section of the Bronx where law-abiding families live in constant fear. Even if young boys try to avoid trouble, it comes looking for them.
 
At first glance, everything looks calm and ordinary in this community. But under the surface, the threat for boys as young as 9 or 10 from gangs and criminal crews pressuring them to join is constant.
 
One boy, whose identity Fox 5 is protecting, said they have no choice but to join a gang. He said he tries to stay busy and off the streets at night when the gangs are out and hunting for new members. He said most boys don't choose to join a gang, but if they don't, they and their families suffer consequences. He said gangs have ransacked the apartments of reluctant recruits.
 
#3 In Baltimore, there have been several reports recently of vicious mobs assaulting innocent pedestrians...
 

A man was assaulted by a group of people early Sunday morning in Baltimore's Little Italy neighborhood and part of the attack was captured on camera.
 
The attack happened at around 12:45 a.m. at Bank and Exeter Streets. The victim, who works at a restaurant in the area, was walking down the street when a mob of people approached him and started beating him.
 
The video shows the victim trying to get away, but stumbles and the mob starts attacking him again. The victim was finally able to run into a nearby wine bar for help.
 
Coworkers of the victims say he is still in the hospital after having surgery on his jaw. They also say they are now taking extra steps to be safe. "A girl at my work got robbed right before that, we think, by the same people. So she's been staying at my house just because it's not safe for her to be by herself. But our managers are making sure that nobody's walking to the garage anymore. So they're driving us to our cars from now on," coworker Jackie Quattrochi said.
 
#4 Drug abuse is rising all over the country, and the results are often deeply tragic.  In Memphis, Tennessee one mother recently stabbed her two little boys to death because "voices told her to do it"...
 

A mother charged with fatally stabbing her two young sons told police she is schizophrenic and that voices told her to do it, court records show.
 
Jamina Briggs, 29, also told officers who arrived at her home on Wednesday night that she was sorry about the stabbings, according to an affidavit of complaint.
 
Officers arrested Briggs after they found the boys, 6-year-old Nicholas Briggs and 23-month-old Jeremiah Briggs, lying face down on a couch with multiple stab wounds. The boys died at a hospital.
 
#5 One man from Staten Island was recently charged with trying to sell his 2-month-old baby on Craigslist because he didn't want her anymore...
 

A Staten Island man is accused of trying to sell a 2-month-old baby on Craigslist.
 
Paul Marquez, 23, posted an ad on the website twice late last month, offering a baby for sale for $100, law enforcement sources said.
 
The ad read, “I have a 2-month-old baby, she loves to play and have her little fun, but there’s one problem, doctors say she has asthma and if she turns a certain way she can stop breathing. She’s really getting on my nerves and I don’t want her,” WCBS 880′s Irene Cornell reported.
 
#6 You wouldn't normally think of Fairfax, Virginia as a hotbed of violent crime, but a vicious mob attack was filmed there recently...
 

A wild assault in Fairfax, Virginia, was recently caught on video. The incident, dubbed by WJLA-TV as a “savage” and “mob-style attack,” included at least six individuals brutally punching and kicking one person (presumably a teenager or a young man).
 
The brawl was recorded by a local resident named Jack Webb. He had installed a security camera in an effort to nab the individuals who have been breaking into his work van, but, instead, he ended up capturing the incident — one that has residents and authorities, alike, deeply troubled.
 
The victim is seen in the video being stomped on and repeatedly beaten. The incident was so severe, Webb said, that it looked like the individual being attacked “wasn’t going to be getting up again.”
 
#7 Even young schoolchildren are going absolutely crazy these days.  Just check out what happened on one school bus in Pinellas County, Florida last month...
 

A cell-phone video captures the 13-year-old boy’s screams for help as he’s pummeled with fists and kicked by three bigger, older youths who “ganged up” on him as he was about to get off at his bus stop.
 
The black teens beat the white sixth-grader for roughly a minute before opening the emergency-exit door and fleeing the bus.
 
As the relentless assault unfolds, the bus driver John Moody yells at the teens to leave the boy alone. He also asks dispatchers to send help.
 
“You gotta get somebody here quick, quick, quick, quick,” he urged. “They’re about to beat this boy to death over here.”
 
#8 And of course this moral decay is not just limited to the cities.  What two men up in northern California did recently to one very young girl is absolutely horrifying...
 

Two Northern California men made brief appearances in federal court Wednesday in what began as another big pot-growing drug bust but what has become a horrifying story of one teenager's alleged torment, captivity and sexual abuse.
 
The criminal complaint against the two men -- Ryan Balletto, 30, and Patrick Pearmain, 24 -- outlines the allegations of a 15-year-old girl's ordeal of being held in a coffin-like box for hours on end at a marijuana-growing "farm" where she worked trimming plants.
 
#9 I have written extensively about the tremendous crime wave that we have seen up in Detroit in recent years, but even the police were shocked by one particular crime that took place recently...
 

Detroit police are wondering if they have a serial attacker on their hands after a third woman’s burned body was found on the west side.
 
Is a serial killer hunting women in Detroit?  At this point police are not sure what to think...
 

Police say it’s the third case in recent weeks where a woman has been set on fire and left for dead. However, investigators aren’t yet sure if the cases are connected. In late July, two women were found just miles apart in vacant fields – both severely beaten and without any clothing.
 
#10 If you are the victim of a crime in Detroit, it may not even be safe to call the police.  In some instances, they are actually the criminals...
 

A Good Samaritan snapped photos of what appeared to be two men impersonating police officers involved in a pistol-whipping and robbery outside a Citgo gas station on Detroit's east side on July 21.
 
Once Fox 2 aired those photos, an even more disturbing picture developed.
 
"Several unidentified police officers were working this particular robbery case, recognized one of the suspects in the photographs as being a member of the Detroit Police Department," Chief James Craig said Monday.
 
#11 In this day and age, the hearts of most people are growing cold.  In fact, many parents don't even seem to care for their own children anymore.  Just check out what recently happened in Live Oak, Texas...
 

Police said a young child found was in a garbage bin and his mother was arrested for child abandonment. Police also said the mother was high on synthetic marijuana.
 
It happened Tuesday night in the 200 block of Shin Oak in Live Oak.
 
Sgt. Anita Seamans said the woman,identified as 21-year-old Brittany Ciccotti, was arrested and charged with abandoning a child, a second degree felony.
 
"She has put him in a garbage can in the driveway of a home and by the grace of God, the child made enough noise in this can and somebody found him," said Sgt. Seamans.
 
All of these examples show that the thin veneer of civilization that we all take for granted is rapidly breaking down.
 
This is what happens when we throw morality out the window and we don't teach our kids right from wrong.
 
And all over the country police departments are finding themselves overwhelmed right now.  Due to budget cuts, many police forces are actually getting smaller at the same time that crime rates are surging.
 
So what can be done?
 
Well, in Boston they are actually setting up cardboard cutouts of police officers in an attempt to deter crime.
 
Does anyone believe that will actually help?
 
Even though communities all over America now feel under siege by the growing wave of crime and violence that we have been witnessing, the truth is that this is only just the beginning.  When the next major economic downturn strikes things are going to get much worse.
 
The seeds that we have been planting for decades are now springing to life, and America is about to reap a very bitter harvest.
 
I hope that you are getting prepared.

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/11-examples-of-the-escalating-crime-and-violence-that-are-plaguing-communities-across-america
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« Reply #111 on: August 07, 2013, 11:50:01 am »

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#3 In Baltimore, there have been several reports recently of vicious mobs assaulting innocent pedestrians...

When I was a regular viewer of NBC's Dateline in the 1990's, they had one episode over a person getting robbed and beat up on the side of the street, and MANY onlookers and passer-bys did NOTHING. Yeah, cell phones weren't exactly the norm then, but nonetheless the economy was GREAT then, and this country wasn't having these same economic problems like they do now.

Pt being that even these news shows like Dateline have served to be predictive programming as well, it seems.

Quote
#9 I have written extensively about the tremendous crime wave that we have seen up in Detroit in recent years, but even the police were shocked by one particular crime that took place recently...

Believe it or not, this was the norm among the New Orleans Police Department when I used to live there, and this was in the 1990's. Looks like what we saw with the NOPD then was a sign of things to come.
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« Reply #112 on: August 20, 2013, 05:31:09 pm »

http://www.nbcnews.com/business/how-broke-detroit-itll-come-down-number-crunching-6C10959170?ocid=msnhp&pos=1
8/20/13
How broke is Detroit? It'll come down to number-crunching

State and city officials trying to fix Detroit's financial mess claim that bankruptcy court is the only option left to reverse a decades-long downward spiral.

A witches brew of opponents to the nation's largest-ever bankruptcy filing — including city unions, pension fund managers, bondholders, bond insurers, vendors, and a long list of other creditors — say the city can be saved without such extreme measures.

A court will decide who is right based on a parade of expert witnesses who will present conflicting accounts of the city’s financial wreckage.

Nothing about this case is simple. With more than 100,000 creditors, multiple classes of bond holders and tens of thousands of current and future retirees owed billions in pension payments, the case is already shaping up as the most complex since Congress set up municipal bankruptcy rules more than 75 years ago.

One of the most contentious questions rests on the arcane art of actuarial analysis: the mix of math and forecasting assumptions used to determine how much the city needs to set aside today to meet its obligations to future retirees decades in the future. The city says the current collection of pension funds is some $3.5 billion short of the mark; city unions and other skeptics say the city has badly overstated what it needs to make good on promised retirement benefits.

Those estimates rely on a series of assumptions about how big those payments will be years in the future, along with the investment return of the money set aside to fund those payments. Tweaking those assumptions by a fraction of a percentage point today can change future projections by hundreds of billions of dollars.

That's why the legal case for Detroit's insolvency will likely rest on a series of expert witnesses both sides will call to crunch the numbers for the court – even if no one can establish with certainty whether the city's dire financial projections would come to pass without big debt write-downs.

"The city doesn't have to show that there aren't other arguments, just that its assumptions are reasonable," said Andrew Gottfried, a bankruptcy lawyer with Morgan Lewis.. "That's what judges do all the time in bankruptcy; they have to value future income. It's a common exercise."

There will be no shortage of arguments when Judge Steven Rhodes, who is hearing the case, gavels the opening of the trial on October 23. Those trying to block the city from moving forward had until midnight Monday to file their objections.

Detroit's unions were among them, arguing in several filings that the city has not proven it is insolvent and has not negotiated in good faith with its creditors. The unions also claim the filing violates the state constitution because the law protects retirement benefits for public workers and that it violates the U.S. Constitution by encroaching on states' rights.

Under the rules for a Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy, the city must first show that it tried to work out a repayment plan with creditors before going to court. To demonstrate that good faith effort, Detroit's emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, will likely point to weeks of talks with creditors earlier this year which yielded settlements with just a handful of bondholders.

Orr will also have to show whether the city can pay its bills, or whether it is so broke that it cannot do that if the court does not help to renegotiate the terms.

The burden of proof for Orr is large. Since 1954, there have been 62 filings for Chapter 9; about half of them have been thrown out of court or settled.

By one measure — the annual flow of cash in and out of city hall — the case for insolvency is pretty easy to make. Since 2004, the city has run deficits of between $155 million and $326 million (last year's gap) —borrowing each year to make up the shortfall, according to a review in February by the Michigan Treasurer's office.

The borrowing spree to cover those deficits added nearly $1 billion to the city's debt. It also cost the city its good credit rating, which made it progressively more expensive to keep borrowing, according to Katilyn Pulcher, a credit analyst with Standard & Poor's.

"Now they've gotten to the point where they can't even afford to borrow because the interest cost would be too high," she said.

Other Detroit watchers argue that the size of the city's debt burden isn't the only measure to watch. Richard Larkin, a credit analyst with investment advisor Herbert J. Sims, noted in a recent analysis that the city pays off its debt faster than many other cities, so if they stretched out the payments the debt service burden could be reduced

"Just like you refinance your mortgage, they could refinance it to stretch out the debt — that could save them $257 million over 10 years," he said.

Opponents of the bankruptcy filing also argue that Detroit isn't trying hard enough to collect the money it needs to pay its bills.

No one disputes that city tax revenues have been falling for years, down 30 percent in the last decade alone, largely because the population has been shrinking. Once the nation’s fifth-largest city, more than 60 percent of its residents have fled since the population peaked in 1950. In the past decade, that count shrank by a quarter.

But an analysis of city tax records in February by the Detroit News found that nearly half of the city's 305,000 property owners failed to pay taxes last year, leaving some $246 million uncollected.

Some of those properties were abandoned by mortgage lenders that foreclosed on houses and then walked away before taking ownership and before assuming responsibility for paying taxes. In 2010, the Government Accountability Office found that Detroit was among the cities hit hardest by the practice.

But homeowners owe much of the unpaid taxes which fund services they are no longer getting. In any case, the city's dismal track record in collecting revenues does little to bolster the argument against letting the city proceed with its Chapter 9 filing, according to Gottfried.

"To say they should have been more aggressive in collecting taxes doesn't eliminate the problem," he said. "Virtually every debtor who comes into bankruptcy court could have done things better in the past. That's why we're here."

Bankruptcy opponents also point to other sources of cash the city could raise to pay its bills.

Detroit's district court, for example, is owed some $280 million in unpaid fines and other payments on everything from parking tickets to drunk driving violations, according to the Treasurer's financial review. While the average collection rate for courts in nearby counties is 60 percent, Detroit is collecting just under 8 percent, the report found.

Then there are assets the city could sell, everything from Belle Isle, a 985-acre, city-owned island park to Detroit Institute of Art masterworks that include Van Gogh, Bruegel and Wyeth and the original Howdy Doody marionette said to be worth $1 million.

Skeptics of such sales argue that relying on one-time asset sales to satisfy an accumulated $18 billion debt is a little like trying to pay the rent with nickels found under the couch cushions.

"A lot of the assets that Detroit has to sell are not liquid assets," said Pulcher. "It's not cash sitting around in the bank."
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« Reply #113 on: August 26, 2013, 07:38:57 am »

Big Cat Has Detroit Area Residents On Alert

Stray dogs are a common sight in Detroit. What about a big cat?
 
According to reports, many residents on the city’s northeast side have seen what appears to be an exotic cat, perhaps as tall as four feet, roaming the streets.
 
Officials with the Michigan Humane Society said they have received several calls about the animal and workers are out in the city, trying to find the feline.
 
Antwaun Asberry, a 6-foot-5 Detroiter, told the Detroit Free Press the cat’s tail is longer than his arm.
 
“I was like, what the (expletive) … I don’t know what it is. I just want it gone,” Asberry said. ”He walked like he ain’t scared of nothing… This thing is out here, bro.”
 
Fourteen-year-old Paul Hatley said the cat, which apparently has large black spots and stripes, stared back at him when he saw it a few days ago.
 
“It wasn’t normal,” he said. “It didn’t run away like a normal cat. It just stared at you. It was scary.”

Just a few hours later a second big cat siting in the Warren area:
 
Cynthia Hogan lives near 13 Mile and Van Dyke she told WWJ that the cat she saw laying down in her neighbors back yard was a long as her 85 pound Doberman

“My dog was barking and I looked – I thought it was a small deer – it had the spots on it, but it’s head didn’t look right and it didn’t have the big ears,” she said. “It was a large cat, it didn’t look like a bobcat – I was able to see if it had the tuffs on its ears and it wasn’t big like a cougar – it wasn’t as meaty as a cougar … I have no idea what this was,” said Hogan.
 
Hogan said that when she and her dog got close to the cat it simply got up and walked toward the Run Run Drain.
 
Officials say they aren’t sure where the cat came from, or if its exotic or domesticated. The Humane Society said if the animal is found, catching and subduing it will be quite the task.
 
Neighborhood association leader Vondell Boyer said he and others are starting to wonder what will happen when the cat runs out of rabbits and other small animals to eat.

http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2013/08/24/big-cat-has-detroit-residents-on-alert/
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« Reply #114 on: August 26, 2013, 08:31:13 am »

My first thought is the African Serval, but the claim of a long tail doesn't fit. There's a couple others that might fit, but I'm not sure of their sizes. Most are much bigger than a house cat, but smaller than say a Cheetah.
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« Reply #115 on: August 26, 2013, 12:31:50 pm »

One time my neighbor was caring for a BIG cat - he was like 2-3 X's the size of a normal cat, but very gentle and domesticated(although not sure if it was this very type of cat that's roaming Detroit now).

Not just Detroit, but ANY city that becomes a desolation like this, even the smaller things will make people fear.
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« Reply #116 on: August 26, 2013, 01:11:40 pm »

probably a bobcat
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« Reply #117 on: August 26, 2013, 03:26:41 pm »

The one witness though said it had a real long tail, so no bobcat.

BA, your neighbor may have had a Maine Coon, one of the largest breed of domestic cat in the US. They get BIG!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maine_Coon
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« Reply #118 on: August 26, 2013, 03:32:34 pm »

The one witness though said it had a real long tail, so no bobcat.

BA, your neighbor may have had a Maine Coon, one of the largest breed of domestic cat in the US. They get BIG!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maine_Coon

this site says to have pics.
http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/08/25/gigantic-cat-prowls-a-detroit-neighborhood-and-has-residents-more-than-a-little-afraid/

tried posting them and everything got wonky

but the color especially the spots and stripes say bobcat. a thin one no doubt. even the face has that thin bobcat look. It could just have a longer than usual tail.

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« Reply #119 on: August 26, 2013, 03:37:05 pm »

AHHH, okay!!!

It's a Savannah! I just had forgotten that name, and could only remember the African Serval.
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