Saturday, November 25, 2017
Credit to Zero Hedge
If the economy is doing just fine, then why is homelessness at levels not seen “since the Great Depression” in major cities all over the country? If the U.S. economy was actually in good shape, we would expect that the number of people that are homeless would be going down or at least stabilizing. Instead, we have a growing national crisis on our hands. In fact, within the past two years “at least 10 cities or municipal regions in California, Oregon and Washington” have declared a state of emergency because the number of homeless is growing so rapidly.
Things are particularly bad in southern California, and this year the Midnight Mission will literally be feeding a small army of people that have nowhere to sleep at night…
Thanksgiving meals will be served to thousands of homeless and near-homeless individuals today on Skid Row and in Pasadena and Canoga Park amid calls for donations and volunteers for the rest of the year.The Midnight Mission will serve Thanksgiving brunch to nearly 2,500 homeless and near-homeless men, women and children, according to Georgia Berkovich, its director of public affairs.
Overall, the Midnight Mission serves more than a million meals a year, and Berkovich says that homelessness hasn’t been this bad in southern California “since the Great Depression”…
Berkovich said the group has been serving nearly 1 million meals a year each year since 2013.“We haven’t seen numbers like this since the Great Depression,” she said.
And of course the official numbers confirm what Berkovich is claiming. According to an article published earlier this year, the number of homeless people living in Los Angeles County has never been higher…
The number of homeless people in Los Angeles has jumped to a new record, as city officials grapple with a humanitarian crisis of proportions remarkable for a modern American metropolis.Municipal leaders said that a recent count over several nights found 55,188 homeless people living in a survey region comprising most of Los Angeles County, up more than 25% from last year.
If the California economy is truly doing well, then why is this happening?
We see the same thing happening when we look at the east coast. Just check out these numbers from New York City…
In recent years the number of homeless people has grown. Whereas rents increased by 18% between 2005 and 2015, incomes rose by 5%. When Rudy Giuliani entered City Hall in 1994, 24,000 people lived in shelters. About 31,000 lived in them when Mike Bloomberg became mayor in 2002. When Bill de Blasio entered City Hall in 2014, 51,500 did. The number of homeless people now in shelters is around 63,000.
For New York, this is the highest that the homeless population has been since the Great Depression, and city leaders are trying to come up with a solution.
Meanwhile, things are so bad in Seattle that “400 unauthorized tent camps” have popped up…
Housing prices are soaring here thanks to the tech industry, but the boom comes with a consequence: A surge in homelessness marked by 400 unauthorized tent camps in parks, under bridges, on freeway medians and along busy sidewalks. The liberal city is trying to figure out what to do.
Are you noticing a theme?
Homelessness is at epidemic levels all over the U.S., and this crisis is getting worse with each passing day. Some communities are trying to care for their growing homeless populations, but others are simply trying to force them to go somewhere else. They are doing this by essentially making it illegal to be homeless. In some cities it is now a crime to engage in “public camping”, to “block a walkway” or to create any sort of “temporary structure for human habitation”. These laws specifically target the homeless, and they are very cruel.
Many of us tend to picture the homeless as mostly lazy older men that don’t want to work and that instead want to drink or do drugs all day.
But the truth is that women and children make up a significant percentage of the homeless. In fact, the number of homeless children in our country has increased by about 60 percent since the end of the last recession.
And there are thousands upon thousands of military veterans that are homeless. For example, a 34-year-old man named Johnny that served in the Marine Corps recently used his last 20 dollars to buy fuel for a woman that had run out of gas and was stranded along I-95 in Miami…
Pulled over on the side of I-95, McClure, 27, was approached by a homeless man named Johnny. She was apprehensive at first, but Johnny told her to get back into her car and to lock the doors while he walked to get her help. He went to a nearby gas station, used his last $20 fill a can and brought it back to fill up her car.Grateful, but without a dollar to repay him, McClure promised she would come back with something.In the weeks since, she’s returned to the spot along I-95 where Johnny stays with cash, snacks and Wawa gift cards. Each time she’s stopped by with her boyfriend, Mark D’Amico, they’ve learned a bit more about Johnny’s story, and become humbled by his gratitude.
Deciding that they wanted to do even more for Johnny, they started a GoFundMe page for him and have since raised approximately $250,000.
So it looks like there is going to be a happy ending to Johnny’s story, but the truth is that more people are falling into homelessness with each passing day.
If things are this bad now, how much worse will they become as the economy really starts slowing down? Already, we have shattered the all-time yearly record for retail store closings, and we still have more than a month to go. The following is from a CNN article entitled “Is This The Last Black Friday?”…
A record number of store closures — 6,735 — have already been announced this year. That’s more than triple the tally for 2016, according to Fung Global Retail and Technology, a retail think tank.And there have been 620 bankruptcies in the sector so far this year, according to BankruptcyData.com, up 31% from the same period last year. Prominent names such as Toys R Us, Gymboree, Payless Shoes and RadioShack have all filed this year, and Sears Holdings (SHLD), which owns both the iconic Sears and Kmart chains, has warned there is “substantial doubt” it can remain in business.
Sadly, analysts are projecting that the number of store closings could be as high as 9,000 next year.
Yes, there are some areas of the country that are doing well right now, but there are many others that are not.
Let us always remember to have compassion on those that are struggling, because someday we may be the ones that end up needing some help.
Credit to Economic Collapse
Choi Kwanghyuk was able to free himself from the clutches of a brutal dictatorship in his native North Korea. Like many others in the Hermit Kingdom, he was targeted and persecuted by the government for his Christian faith.
North Korean Choi Kwanghyuk is one of the lucky ones.
The 55-year-old managed to escape from the work camp where he was sent after being targeted and persecuted by the government for his Christian faith.
“We couldn’t raise our voice during a service, we couldn’t sing out loud during a worship … that was hard,” Choi told Fox News through a translator. “Also, we had to hide so that other people could not see us.”
Despite having to hide his faith in plain sight while living in North Hamgyong province, Choi was still compelled to bring religion to others when he started an underground church.
“There were about nine people,” he said. “I couldn’t do mission work because we had to keep it secret that we had a church.”
“If that information had leaked, we could have faced the death penalty.”
A North Korean prison policewoman stands guard behind fences at a jail on the banks of Yalu River near the Chongsong county of North Korea, opposite the Chinese border city of Dandong. Many Christians in North Korea are sent to prison camps where they are tortured for their faith. (REUTERS/Jacky Chen )
North Korea is officially an atheist state where – except for a “show church” in Pyongyang that tourists are shown -- public worship is forbidden. The country is ranked the most oppressive place for Christians in the world and has had that ignominious status for years, according to Open Doors USA.
“[Choi’s] statements describing oppression, as well as his report of imprisonment for owning a Bible or practicing faith, align with everything we know about North Korea,” Open Doors President David Curry told Fox News. “Rated the worst place for the persecution of Christians, North Korea treats Christians horrendously and registers them as 'enemies of the state' for their faith.”
The totalitarian state forces the estimated 300,000 Christians living there to hide their religious beliefs and fellowship among each other.
“In a nation where the ruling regime demands total control over the general public, anything that challenges the government’s power is seen as a threat, including religion,” Jeff King, president of International Christian Concern, told Fox News. “As a result, the North Korean government does everything in its power to squash the spread of Christianity."
This leads much of the religious population in North Korea to go underground with their worship, much like Choi and his church were forced to do.
“We had only one Bible,” he said. “North Hamgyong province is very cold. In the winter, we would dig a big hole and store kimchi there. We sometimes had services there. In the summer, we had services in the mountain or by the river.”
“The life in North Korea is hell. The life in America is heaven.” - Choi Kwanghyuk
“I never heard the term ‘underground church’ until I got here [to the U.S.].”
In 2008, North Korean authorities caught up to Choi and arrested him. He was held in prison by the state security department where he says he was interrogated about his faith.
“I was tortured there,” he said. “I kept denying it.”
He said that he was about to be sent to one of North Korea’s brutal labor camps when he was able to break free.
“I decided to escape because I thought that once they sent me to the other camp, they could eventually send me to the concentration camp or kill me,” Choi recalled. “I was traveling back and forth between China and North Korea, but they kept searching for me, and I knew it could put my friends in danger too, so I left.”
The North Korean gulag system is notorious for harsh conditions and brutal treatment of its prisoners.
Choi feared being sent to the most notorious camp within the system -- Camp 22.
Also known as Hoeryong concentration camp, and part of a large system of prison camps throughout the Communist dictatorship, Camp 22 is an 87-square-mile penal colony located in North Hamgyong province where most of the prisoners are people accused of criticizing the government.
Inmates, most of whom are serving life sentences, face harsh and often lethal conditions. According to the testimony of a former guard from Camp 22, prisoners live in bunkhouses with 100 people per room and some 30 percent show the markings of torture and beatings -- torn ears, gouged eyes and faces covered with scars.
“Unfortunately, it is inexplicably easy to wind up in one of these camps. While someone can be sent to one of these camps for openly evangelizing, someone can just as easily be sent there for simply being in contact with a religious person,” said King of the International Christian Concern.
Choi has settled in Los Angeles and spends his time in the city attempting to bring awareness to human rights violations that occur in his native country.
Prisoners are forced to stand on their toes in tanks filled with water up to their noses for 24 hours, stripped and hanged upside-down while being beaten or given the infamous "pigeon torture” -- where both hands are chained to a wall at a height of 2 feet, forcing them to crouch for hours at a time.
Tiny rations of watery corn porridge leave inmates on the brink of starvation, and many hunt rats, snakes and frogs for protein. Some even take the drastic measure of searching through animal dung for undigested seeds to eat. Beatings are handed out daily for offenses as simple as not bowing down in respect to the guards fast enough. Prisoners are used as practice targets during martial arts training. Guards routinely rape female inmates.
Choi said he finally escaped to neighboring China. While he was figuring out where to go next, he had heard how the general image of North Korean defectors was not positive among those in South Korea.
“So, I applied for asylum in the U.S.,” he told Fox News.
Choi, who was single when he lived in North Korea, was granted asylum in the U.S. in 2013. He first lived in Dallas before eventually moving to Los Angeles where he now lives.
Choi said that as a result of injuries he received while being tortured, he is unable to work but has committed himself to telling the world about the human rights abuses in his native land.
“First of all, every human must have the right to freedom,” he said. “There is no freedom in North Korea. By law, they have the freedom of religion and the freedom of the press, but the reality is very different.”
And despite the hardships he may face, Choi said that life in the U.S. is a vast improvement.
“There is an enormous difference between my life in North Korea and my life in the U.S,” he said.
“The life in North Korea is hell … life in America is heaven.”
Credit to FoxNews