July 30, 2009

Ghost Malls, Ghost Towns in America

Amid Distressed Homes, Communities Struggle to Keep Up

Washington Independent
March 16, 2009

In Atlanta, a neighborhood revitalized in the 1990s as part of the city’s Olympic bid has been scarred again by vacant and abandoned homes, undoing years of progress. In Washington D.C.’s struggling Anacostia community, decades of work to rebuild and reinvest are being lost to blight brought on by foreclosures. In Detroit, speculators inspired by late night infomercials and eBay auctions buy foreclosed properties in bulk over the Internet, creating a class of absentee landlords with little interest in rebuilding neighborhoods.

Abandoned and vacant foreclosed homes rapidly piling up in neighborhoods like these around the country are serving as symbols of the secondary damage caused by the foreclosure crisis — a catastrophe felt on the ground but still unseen by Washington. While Treasury Department officials and lawmakers look the other way, communities with shrinking resources are mostly on their own to deal with the blight and drag on property values caused by staggeringly high numbers of empty homes left behind.

States and cities are racing to try everything they can, including creating land banks to take over the properties and fix them up or tear them down. But in a discouraging sign of things to come, some are so overwhelmed as they struggle to cope with record numbers of distressed homes that they can’t even pursue longer term solutions.

There’s still a huge mismatch between the capacity in devastated communities and the waves of foreclosures ahead: Alt-A loans resetting to higher rates in once-hot markets in California, Nevada, and Florida; empty big-box stores left behind by bankrupt retailers; new foreclosures tied to job losses and disappearing industries; and growing volumes of bank-owned foreclosed houses left in disrepair.
“This is a problem that’s only going to get worse unless it’s addressed,” said Frank Alexander, an Emory University School of Law professor in Atlanta who specializes in housing and community development. “Vacant and abandoned properties can be a terrible drain on a neighborhood, for as long as they exist. And some neighborhoods are never going to rebound from this.”
That job is made even harder by the fact that, during the last eight years, the Department of Housing and Urban Development did little or nothing to promote innovative community development ideas, said Dan Kildee, chairman of the the Genesee County Land Bank in Flint, Mich., and the county’s treasurer. That void means communities are starting from scratch in searching for ways to fix the crisis, he said.

While they struggle, properties are left to decline, or to fall prey to speculators ranging from curious Internet surfers to get-rich-quick companies. Speculators make things worse by playing games with foreclosed properties, “treating them like baseball cards” and then walking away, Kildee said.

In Cleveland, Detroit, and elsewhere, speculators from out of state and even overseas buy bank-owned foreclosed homes on Websites like Craigslist or eBay for pennies on the dollar, then try to quickly flip them for a profit, or to rent them out before abandoning them. Speculators also are starting to scoop up vacant and foreclosed homes in stronger housing markets in places like Florida, where some properties aren’t selling because potential homebuyers are still waiting for prices to fall further or they can’t get loans.

One speculator who bought a handful of Detroit properties at fire-sale prices recently described his interest this way:
“I thought it would be quite good fun to have a look,” Darren Veness, who lives near Brighton, England, told the Associated Press.
Alan Mallach, a housing and community development expert who spent time in Detroit last fall researching its housing crisis, has a different take.
A house that might sell in Detroit for as little as $10,000 still would command rent of $700 a month or more, because the rental market hasn’t collapsed yet, Mallach said. Speculators can collect that rent, while spending very little on minimal repairs, and within three years they’ll get their money back with a nice profit. Then, having taken all they can out of the property, they walk away. The house is “exhausted,” in further decline, and left to sell again for even less or to sit empty.

Speculation has gotten so out of hand that there are some neighborhoods in Detroit where every single house is owned by a speculator, Mallach said.
The problem goes even deeper. In some cities, speculators and vacancies essentially have turned the clock back on previous development successes, noted Harold Simon, executive director of the National Housing Institute. Legitimate investors who took a chance on urban areas to open businesses or to buy properties in neighborhoods like Anacostia suffer from the death spiral of property values. Blocks once enticing to new buyers go downhill as they become pockmarked with foreclosed homes.

In Chicago, once-hot neighborhoods on the city’s North Side have become “condo ghost towns” because of foreclosures — and children are afraid to go out after dark because the empty properties have been taken over by drug dealers and criminals, The Chicago Tribune found. That reversal of past gains is among the most troubling aspect of the foreclosure fallout, Simon said.
“It’s undermined everything that’s been done before,” he said.
That pattern holds true in Atlanta as well, where “we’ve got some neighborhoods here as bad as anything in Cleveland or Detroit,” said Alexander, the Emory University law professor.
In the early 1990s, Atlanta officials worked hard to rehab an ailing southwest city neighborhood, as part of its Olympics quest. Initially, the effort was a success, drawing new homebuyers to a previously neglected community. Now, however, thanks to mortgage fraud and rampant speculation, “it is undoubtedly as depressed there as it was in 1992 or 1993,” Alexander said. “The number of vacancies, abandoned homes, and squatters has basically wiped out all the progress made between 1995 and 2000.”
Things aren’t likely to get better soon. As TWI reported recently, inventories of bank-owned foreclosed properties, known as REOs, are on the rise. Properties become REOs after they are taken back by banks when they fail to sell at sheriff’s sales or foreclosed auctions. Usually, banks try to quickly resell these properties, but the foreclosure crisis has changed all that, leaving bank REO inventories bloated and at record levels. RealtyTrac, an online foreclosure database, predicts some 3 million foreclosures ahead this year, with volume of bank REOs reaching an unprecedented high of 1.5 million.

Beyond that, banks are holding on to some 700,000 properties they still haven’t listed for sale, RealtyTrac reported last week, meaning many more foreclosed houses are in limbo, and have yet to hit the market. Some banks hire property managers to take care of the homes, but others fail to protect them from being vandalized and falling into decline.

Despite those looming threats, the biggest financial help for cities and states dealing with foreclosed properties to date has been nearly $4 billion included in the mortgage rescue bill passed by Congress last summer, and some $2 billion added in the recent stimulus package. To many, it’s not enough to even begin addressing the scope of the problem.
“It’s like putting out a million acre forest fire with a pick and shovel,” said Mallach, a fellow at the Brookings Institution and the National Housing Institute. “I realize the Obama administration has got a lot on its plate, and Treasury is understaffed. But the administration doesn’t seem to be grappling with this issue at all. A lot more people are going to be losing a lot more houses. We’re going to be seeing millions more vacant properties.”

Ghost Malls: Coming to Your Town

Minyanville Media, Inc.
Originally Published on January 20, 2009

During the Gold Rush of the mid 1800s, towns sprung up in the middle of nowhere to support those looking to strike it rich. Similarly, in suburban America, thousands of malls sprung up over the last 20 years to support those delusional shoppers who thought they could spend their way to prosperity.

When the gold rush ended as abruptly as it began, the towns were abandoned. These ghost towns sat vacant for decades, slowly rotting away under the western sun. As you drive around today, you see more and more “For Lease” signs on retailers and strip malls that fell under the initial onslaught of consumer deleveraging.

As the pace of retailers' collapse accelerates in 2009, larger malls will begin to go dark. Once bustling centers of conspicuous consumption and material decadence, built upon a foundation of consumer debt, they will become ghost malls.

For the last 20 years, the American consumer has carried the burden of the world on its broad shoulders. A heavy yoke, to be sure, but one that steroids made lighter the steroid of choice for American consumers was debt: home equity loans, cash-out refinancing, credit-card debt, and auto loans. It’s been a wild ride, but it's over. The pseudo-wealth created over the last 20 years has begun to unwind and will increase in speed in 2009.

A permanent psychological change has since occurred. American consumers have lost $30 trillion in value from their homes and investments in the last few years. No amount of fiscal stimulation will reverse this trauma, and the consumer’s subsequent retrenching will be felt from Des Moines to Shanghai. Consumer spending has accounted for 72% of GDP; it will revert to at least the long-term mean of 65%.

David Rosenberg, the brilliant Merrill Lynch economist, describes it thus:
"This is an epic event the end of a 20-year secular credit expansion that went absolutely parabolic from 2001-2007. Before the US economy can truly begin to expand again, the savings rate must rise to pre-bubble levels of 8%, the US housing stocks must fall to below 8 months' supply, and the household interest coverage ratio must fall from 14% to 10.5%. It's important to note what sort of surgery it is going to require.

"We will probably have to eliminate $2 trillion of household debt to get there; this will happen either through debt being written off, as major financial institutions continue to do, or for consumers themselves to shrink their own balance sheets."
There are at least 1.1 million retail stores in the US, according to the Census Bureau. There are approximately 1,100 malls, not counting thousands of strip centers. These numbers will be considerably lower by 2011.

According to the ICSC, about 150,000 stores will shut down in 2009, in addition to the 150,000 that closed in 2008 and the 135,000 in 2007. Normally, 110,000 to 125,000 new stores open per year. At least 700,000 retail jobs will be lost. Some major retailers have closed or will close include: Circuit City (728 stores); Linens N Things (500 stores); Bombay Company (384 stores); Sharper Image (184 stores); Foot Locker (140 stores); Pacific Sunwear (153). Other large retailers are closing underperforming stores and scaling back expansions plans.

By 2011, at least 15% of the existing retail base will have gone to retail heaven. With the amount of vacant stores likely to reach in excess of 200,000 and vacancy rates for new malls already at 28%, there will be no need for new construction for many years.

Most of the retailers that are closing lease their locations from mall developers like General Growth Properties (GGP), Simon Property Group (SPG), Pennsylvania REIT (PEI) and Vornado Realty Trust (VNO). These developers will be hit by a quadruple whammy in 2009. General Growth Properties added $4 billion of debt in the last 3 years, and is now teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. Simon Properties, which owns or operates 320 malls, added $3 billion of debt in the same period. Many smaller developers will be in even direr straits.

Many developers borrowed heavily to finance massive mall expansion. The term of these loans were generally five to seven years. According to real-estate expert Andy Miller, the commercial collapse will be more rapid than the residential collapse:
“[You] may have 10 properties in a commercial pool that ultimately works its way into CDOs. Those loans are huge. You may have a shopping center loan in there for $25 million and an office building loan for $30 million dollars. As a result, if you have a default on just one of those loans, you can effectually wipe out all of the subordinate tranches.

"And that is why, when you see the problems begin to appear on the commercial front, it's going to be a much quicker sort of devolution than we saw on the residential side. In the commercial world, most of the financing that happened outside of the apartment business was done by conduits and there are no more conduits left and conduits were doing the stupidest loans you could find.

"They were doing an advertised 80% loan-to-value, which was usually more closely aligned to a 100% loan-to-value. They were dealing with no coverage. They were all non-recourse loans. Many of them were interest-only loans. Those loans are now gone. You can't refinance them, and if you could, the terms would be onerous."
Vacancy rates have reached 9.4% for shopping centers, according to CoStar Group. With virtually no demand, rental income is plunging. With cap rates eroding and operating expenses going up, a perfect storm will hit mall developers in 2009. The negative feedback loop will accelerate as the year progresses and will spiral out of control by late 2009 and early 2010; ghost malls, particularly in the outer suburbs, will be the result.

Billions of dollars in debt will need to be refinanced in the next two years and there’s no one willing to make those loans. The major mall developers are terrified and have launched full-court press to get their fair share of TARP. Commercial developer CB Richard Ellis (CBG) certainly didn’t sound too optimistic in a recent filing:
“We are highly leveraged and have significant debt service obligations. Although our management believes that the incurrence of long-term indebtedness has been important in the development of our business... the cash flow necessary to service this debt is not available for other general corporate purposes, which may limit our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in our business and in the commercial real estate services industry... Our level of indebtedness and the operating and financial restrictions in our debt agreements both place constraints on the operation of our business.”
As Americans realize that they don’t need a $5 Starbucks latte, Jimmy Choo shoes, Rolex watches, granite countertops, and stainless-steel appliances, our mall-centric world will end. Anchor retailers like Macy’s, JC Penney and Sears are in for a heap of trouble over the next few years.

With shrinking cash flow, looming debt refinancing, and dim prospects for conspicuous consumption, mall developers are destined for a bleak future. Picture a spaghetti-Western-era Clint Eastwood riding a horse through the middle of your local mall with maybe a few tumbleweeds blowing past that vacant Sharper Image.

James Quinn is a senior director of strategic planning for a major university. James has held high-level financial positions with a retailer, homebuilder and a university in his 22-year career.

Recession Turns Malls into Ghost Towns

Wall Street Journal
May 22, 2009

Malls, those ubiquitous shopping meccas that sprang up in the 1950s, are dwindling in number, with many struggling properties reduced to largely vacant shells.

On the low-income east side of Charlotte, N.C., the 1.1-million-square-foot Eastland Mall recently lost a slew of key tenants, including a Dillard's and, next month, a Sears. Sales per square foot at the venue fell to $210 in 2008 from $288 in 2001.

As the recession alters American spending habits, traditional shopping malls like Eastland Mall are deteriorating at an accelerating pace.

The Metcalf South Shopping Center in Overland Park, Kansas, is languishing after plans to redevelop it into an open-air shopping district fizzled. The stretch of shops that connects the two largest tenants a Sears and a Macy's stands mostly vacant, patrolled by security guards.

With their maze of walkways and fast-food courts, malls have long been an iconic, if sometimes unsightly, presence in the American retail landscape. A few were made famous by their sheer size, others for the range of shopping and social diversions they provided.

But the long recession is helping to empty out the promenades. Some analysts estimate that the number of so-called "dead malls" centers debilitated by anemic sales and high vacancy rates will swell to more than 100 by the end of this year.

In the 12 months ended March 31, U.S. malls collectively posted a 6.5% decline in tenants' same-store sales, according to Green Street Advisors Inc., a real-estate research firm. The recent slump was led by an average 7.3% sales drop at Simon Property Group Inc., the operator with the largest number of mall locations.

The industry's woes are worsening. Thinning customer traffic, and subsequent hits to tenants' sales and profits, prompted Standard & Poor's Corp. last month to lower the credit ratings of the department-store sector. That knocked Macy's Inc. and J.C. Penney Co. into junk territory and pushed others deeper into junk. Sears Holdings Corp., a cornerstone tenant at many malls, is expected to close 23 stores this month and next.

General Growth Properties, which owns more than 200 U.S. malls, filed for bankruptcy protection April 16, due mainly to its failure to refinance billions of dollars of debt coming due. While the real-estate investment trust has said the filing will have no impact on its mall business, analysts say a prolonged bankruptcy proceeding could make retailers nervous about sticking around once their leases expire.

The severity of the recession is turning some malls that were once viewed as viable into potential casualties.
"Any mall that's sitting on life support is probably going to get its plug pulled" as the economy stalls, says Michael Glimcher, chairman and CEO of Glimcher Realty Trust, which owns 23 U.S. properties, including Eastland Mall in Charlotte.
One industry rule of thumb holds that any large, enclosed mall generating sales per square foot of $250 or less the U.S. average is $381 is in danger of failure. By that measure, Eastland is one of 84 dead malls in a 1,032-mall database compiled by Green Street. (The database focuses heavily on malls owned by publicly traded landlords and doesn't account for several dozen failing malls in private hands.) If retail sales continue to decline at current rates, the dead-mall roster could exceed 100 properties by the end of this year, according to Green Street. That's up from an estimated 40 failing malls in 2006, before the recession began.
"This time around, because of the dramatic changes in consumer spending practices, we're very likely to see more malls in the death spiral than we've ever seen before," says Green Street analyst Jim Sullivan.
Failing malls didn't get into trouble overnight, and most began their descent long before the tough climate. Typically, a mall begins to suffer due to job losses and other pressures in the surrounding neighborhood or because a newer mall opens nearby. The loss of key tenants such as the wave of department-store closures over the past three years hastens the demise. Also sapping malls' vibrancy: the increased preference among consumers for big-box stores, such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target Corp., which rarely operate in malls.

Developers, in fact, have been moving away from the enclosed-mall format in favor of big-box centers anchored by free-standing giants such as Wal-Mart or open-air shopping centers with tiny parks and outdoor cafes sprinkled among fashion stores. Only one enclosed mall has opened in the U.S. since 2006: The Mall at Turtle Creek in Jonesboro, Ark.

These pressures, coupled with landlords' difficulties refinancing debts in the bone-dry capital markets, signal tough years ahead for retail-property owners even after consumer spending begins to rebound.
"The shopping-center bankruptcies and the REIT bankruptcies are the ticking time bomb that people aren't talking about," says Burt P. Flickinger III, managing director of Strategic Resource Group, a research firm...
For towns and cities that are home to dying malls, the fallout can be devastating. Malls hire hundreds of workers and are significant contributors to the local tax base. In suburbs and small towns, malls often are the only major public spaces and the safest venues for teenagers to shop, hang out and seek part-time work.
Commonly, "the mall will be a meeting place, or, in some cases, like a city center," says Carl Steidtmann, chief economist at Deloitte LLP. The deterioration of a mall can spawn broader problems, he notes. "It can become a crime magnet."
During past economic cycles, dead malls were frequently redeveloped into mixed-use space that includes apartments, offices or parks. Repurposing mall space today will be more difficult. Lenders and investors are moving away from commercial real estate as property values decline and delinquencies rise on debt used to acquire or develop properties. Retail real estate has been hit especially hard, as declining retail sales and store closures hammer mall landlords.

In Charlotte, Eastland's deterioration into a dead mall matches the fate of many others across the U.S...

Modern Day Ghost Towns of Abandoned Real Estate
In Depth: Where Housing Vacancies Are Rising
America's Abandoned Cities
America's Disappearing Millionaires
Phoenix among modern day ghost towns of abandoned real estate
State Wants Input on What to do With Foreclosed, Abandoned Homes
The Columbus Dispatch: Empty housing costing millions
Report: Abandoned Homes Cost Ohio $64 Million
Foreclosure Problem: Fire and Robbery on Empty Houses
Vacant homes spread blight in suburb and city alike - csmonitor.com
Abandoned homes plague Portsmouth, Norfolk communities
Safeguard Properties - Abandoned Property Maintenance
Foreclosures spur neighborhood ghost towns
A neighborhood abandoned - Newsday.com
Where cities and towns can buy a house for $1 - MSN Money
Communities Seek Help for Declining Neighborhoods due to Foreclosures
Fostering Sustainable Reuse of Abandoned Properties
Cities Seek Help with Foreclosed Homes: NPR
Homes Left Vacant in Slump Mar Neighborhoods: NPR
What is Urban Blight?
Empty homes rust towns
Former Classy Neighborhood Stands Abandoned in Durham
Foreclosures create challenges for communities
Fire moves into houses abandoned by foreclosures
25,000 Vacant & Abandoned Properties in 8 Ohio Cities Cost Taypayers $60 Million Per Year
Real Estate Appraiser's Forum - Communities suffer as foreclosure rate rises
Foreclosures spur neighborhood ghost towns - Chicago Tribune
America's Most Foreclosure-Ridden Towns - Forbes.com
Targeting Federal aid to neighborhoods distressed by the subprime mortgage crisis
California's Ghost Towns
Bill Moyers Journal - Mortgage Meltdown - PBS
City Mayors: US subprime mortgage crisis
Arizona Law Holds Foreclosed Speculators Responsible for Debt
Clean Water Restoration Act Presents Serious Threat to Property Owners

July 25, 2009

Life, or Something Like It, in the New World Order

Sustainable Development - The concept of Sustainable Development basically says that there are too many people on planet Earth and that the population of the world must be reduced in order to have enough resources for future generations. [Under the New World Order plan,] the UN should be the global custodian of the Earth and all of its resources. This means that we will be measured by how much we produce and how much we consume as found in the "family dependency ratio." Every person will be valued according to their usefulness. In addition, the UN will control the Earth's resources — energy, water, food and so on. The concept of sustainable development can be found in the Communisto Manifesto and the 1977 USSR Constitution. - Joan M. Veon, The Women's International Media Group, Inc.

Agenda 21 - This global contract binds governments around the world to the UN plan for changing the ways we live, eat, learn and communicate — all under the noble banner of saving the Earth. Its regulations would severely limit water, electricity and transportation — even deny human access to our most treasured wilderness areas. If implemented, it would manage and monitor all lands and people. No one would be free from the watchful eye of the new global tracking and information system. - Berit Kjos, "Local Agenda 21 - The U.N. Plan for Your Community"

Our Destiny: Digital Nomads in a Virtual Void

November 12, 2010

Britain is a surreal place to be living right now. The infamous Ministry of Defense trend report for 2007-35 projects the British middle classes 'becoming revolutionary, taking on the role of Marx's proletariat.'

I should be seeing the start of the ferment.

Our living standards are being attacked: people are losing their jobs, there is fast inflation, taxes are increasing, and every year hordes of young people leave university to few job opportunities.

And yet there is virtually no anger at all. The conversation between people is as trivial and inane as ever.

Most social life in my town of 25,000 people is found in cafes and pubs. Primarily young mothers and housewives inhabit the cafes, while the pubs, charging £3 a pint, are now too expensive for most people to visit regularly.

Everyone else is locked indoors. The streets are surprisingly subdued. I often take long walks lasting many hours and encounter few other souls. It is eerily quiet. Even on a Friday night in Coventry, a city of 300,000 people nearby, the high street is surprisingly lifeless. The young are not out mixing and causing trouble as they should be.

When experiencing this shocking lack of activity and desire for life, you may wonder: Where is everyone?

Floating in cyber space.

They are at home gorging on limitless free TV shows, movies, songs and social networking. Their leisure time is spent engrossed in a fantastical ‘second life’.

Television is a tremendous tool of distraction. Internet is even more dangerous. It is a black hole of amusement that swallows people’s lives and destroys whole cultures.

It is why few will panic as Rome burns.


Distraction aside, the ‘second life’ experienced online is designed for a more sinister purpose: to lure us into an electronic control grid. The elite plan a borderless world where a homogeneous slave populace serve their interests.

Jacques Attali, an Illuminati banker go-fer, wrote a book called ‘Millennium: Winners and Losers in the Coming World Order’ in 1990. He said amusement machines are used to re-program us:

‘These objects—whose embryonic forms, like the Sony Walkman or the laptop computer, are ubiquitous today—will help create a different human being.’

The new human will have no family or cultural ties. He will be nomadic, tracked and controlled by a ‘memory card’ (i.e. ID card):

‘The memory card will become the principal artificial limb of a person, at once an identity card, a checkbook, a telephone, and a fax machine—in sum, nomadic man’s passport. It will be a kind of artificial self. 
To use it will only require plugging it into the global electronic networks of information and commerce, the oases of the new nomads.’

As nomadic worker bees, we will scramble to live in the super-cities of the future:

‘Middle-level nomads will stay in places that are impersonal, like the hotels that today ring airports throughout the world. Only the most fortunate rich nomads will have the means to become property owners in the large cities, which will be the magnetic poles for their brethren from all areas and regions of the globe.’

We will co-exist in two realities: in the real world as serfs and in our cyber-fantasy:

‘Cities will be fortified, dangerous places, the tangled heart of electronic networks, a cabled field of dreams.’

The internet is designed to lure us into totalitarianism. The acceptance of a ‘second life’ online is a rejection of reality, making us clay in the hands of our rulers. Those hooked on the internet, most especially the young need to start rejecting it and fill our parks, homes, pubs with real social activity.

We must start shaking off our ‘second life’. If we don’t, we may become the ‘losers’ Attali describes inhabiting the NWO:

‘In the coming world order, there will be winners and there will be losers. The losers will outnumber the winners by an unimaginable factor. They will yearn for the chance to live decently, and they are likely to be denied that chance. They will encounter rampant prejudice and fear. They will find themselves penned in, asphyxiated by pollution, neglected through indifference. The horrors of the twentieth century will fade by comparison.’

The UN World Summit on Sustainable Development (Steven Yates)

The world as the globalists envision it:
  • An expanding encirclement of controls on individuals reflecting what is "sustainable," not what is Constitutional. Animals and even plants will have more legally recognized rights than human beings.

  • Large tracts of land will be set aside as "wilderness reserves" (non-human use zones), and people will not be permitted to live there. People in such places will be relocated — forcibly, if necessary.

  • Communities will be highly ordered habitats where the majority of the population lives in apartments and high rises (their service-sector jobs will not pay enough to afford houses). These will be more like beehives than neighborhoods and towns as we know them today.

  • People will use mass transit or bicycles instead of automobiles to get to their jobs — automobiles pollute the air, after all.

  • People almost certainly will not be allowed to own guns or other weapons.

  • There probably will be plenty of entertainment — sports, nightclubs, and reality shows on TV. Such things function as distractions that encourage mental passivity.

  • People in certain occupations might be encouraged to spy on their neighbors and report any "unsustainable" activities (spying on U.S. citizens already is being encouraged by the Bush Regime in the name of the "war on terrorism," thus establishing the precedent).

  • Dissidents will be ostracized, finding it increasingly difficult to earn a living, and might even find themselves harassed on their own property or in fear for their physical safety.
It is very probable that if Agenda 21 were to be fully implemented:
  • Citizens of the projected "sustainable communities" of the future will be told how many children they can have so that population size can be controlled and maintained (anyone who doubts that such ideas have been kicked around the smoke-free rooms of the globalist elites is invited to consult the work of sustainability economists Herman Daly and John B. Cobb Jr.).

  • Abortion will not be a problem: abortions will be available, inexpensive and safe, just as ordered by Planned Parenthood and NOW.

  • Those children allowed to be born will be "educated" about their duties to the public good (always as defined by officially-designated authorities) and the evils of our nation’s past, about celebrating diversity, and using latex condoms when they have sex. It may no longer be necessary to divide them from their parents if their parents are also obedient socialists.

  • As youths they will learn "job skills" in group settings, and as adults they will work in teams in cubicles, having chosen an occupation from a list of government-provided options. They will return home at night to slightly larger cubicles, possibly shared with other families.

  • They will believe that truth (if they think about the matter at all) is just consensus. In general, they will have "learned" to be intellectually dependent on authority in the name of "interdependence," having grown up to be compliant "global citizens."

  • With enough Ritalin, Prozac and "anger management" seminars and workshops, but with plenty of entertainment and no need to do any real independent thinking, they might even, in their own strange and passive way, come to enjoy living under the New World Order.

Dangers of the Agenda for the 21st Century (Freedom Advocates)

Uneasiness is rising in mainstream America. People know that something is wrong — and it is getting worse. What do we do? The first step is to understand the scheme behind Agenda 21 and the reordering of America. The initial step in understanding this scheme is to recognize the goals of globalist philosophy's attacks on unalienable rights. They are:
  1. Abolish private property,

  2. Base world government on public decree, not individual rights, and

  3. Reduce human population.
The Sustainable Developers' Smart Growth policy objective is to control water supply so that rural residents must relocate to cities to get water. Smart Growth living is being established for these purposes:
  1. Control the water,

  2. Abolish private property, and

  3. Then control the people.
The objective is to control the people by relocating them from suburbs and rural areas to cities ('human settlements').

Marxism and American Society

"[Communism] is, in fact, man's second oldest faith. Its promise was whispered in the first days of the Creation under the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil: 'Ye shall be as gods.' It is the great alternative faith of mankind. Like all great faiths, its force derives from a simple vision. Other ages have had great visions. They have always been different versions of the same vision: the vision of God and man's relationship to God. The Communists vision is the vision of man without God. It is the vision of man's mind displacing God as the creative intelligence of the world." [Whittaker Chambers, "Witness," p.9.]

"The Communist Manifesto" (Karl Marx, page 25):

"Nevertheless, in the most advanced countries the following will be pretty generally applicable:
  1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes;
  2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax;
  3. Abolition of all right of inheritance;
  4. Confiscation of the property of emigrants and rebels;
  5. Centralization of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly;
  6. Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State;
  7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State, the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan;
  8. Equal liability of all to labor; establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture;
  9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of population over the country and;
  10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children's factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production..."

The 'Beasts' of the Book of Revelation (Reverend Herman Hoeksema)

God created a world that should glorify Him and be consecrated to Him, but that world tore itself loose from Him and refused to glorify Him. Although man has fallen away from Him, God nevertheless allows man to exercise dominion over the earthly creation and to bring to light all the hidden powers and talents of creation to their fullest degree.

Man has developed the kingdom of the world without God, and God allows this kingdom of the world to develop to its full extent. This kingdom is the climax of the development of the man of sin: it is the kingdom of man, of the creature, without God, without the seven. And therefore his number is 666, the number of man indeed.

In the final manifestation of the anti-Christian kingdom to come, we have the 'beasts' described in the book of Revelation, which represent the highest development of the sovereignty of man apart from God, and under the devil they shall develop all the powers of creation without God.

Ziggy Eichhorst of Newswatch Magazine Presents Don't Fight the New World Order:

It is not our calling to resist the coming kingdom of antichrist, for that is impossible. We cannot prevent its coming; however, we must watch and be prepared. Here is the patience of the saints; here is wisdom. We must know how it will come so that we may recognize its coming and be faithful even unto the end.

God grant that we may be found watching in that day so that we may not be allured by all the beauty and fascination and by the Christian appearance, strength and stability of this world kingdom to come. Let us not be allured by the signs and wonders of the false prophet, but let us remain faithful even unto the very end.

The people of God may be comforted by the fact that all things are under His control; that, even at the time of the end, during the period of great tribulation, the days shall be shortened for the elects' sake; and that Christ shall be with them always, even unto the end of the world.

Daniel Describes the Fourth Beast Kingdom Which is Yet to Come

By Richard H. Perry

Mystery of the Beast Which has the 7 Heads and 10 Horns

In this important Last Days prophecy, God explains the mystery of this beast which has the seven heads and ten horns. He also says that those whose names have not been written in the book of life will be astonished when they see the beast. Therefore, those whose names are written in the book of life will not be astonished. They will not be astonished because they will know the identity of this beast and be prepared. Let’s read the passage, so we understand.

Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a desert. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns … I will explain to you the mystery of the woman and of the beast she rides, which has the seven heads and ten horns. The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and will come up out of the Abyss and go to his destruction. The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because he once was, now is not, and yet will come. This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits. They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for a little while. The beast who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction. The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but who for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast. They have one purpose and will give their power and authority to the beast …The beast and the ten horns you saw will hate the prostitute. They will bring her to ruin and leave her naked; they will eat her flesh and burn her with fire. (Revelation 17:3-16).
Wisdom Comes from the Word of God

God says that wisdom is required to understand this mystery. When wisdom is required, the answer can be found in the Word of God, because wisdom comes from God.
For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding (Proverbs 2:6).

Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or swerve from them (Proverbs 4:5).
Since wisdom comes from the Word of God, we must search Scripture to understand the mystery.

Daniel Writes about Four Beast Kingdoms

Let’s start with what we know. Daniel’s prophecies tell of four beast kingdoms that will rise on earth, three have risen and the fourth is yet to come. When the fourth beast kingdom comes, it will continue until the Kingdom of God comes on earth. Let’s read how this is written.
You, O king [Babylon], are the king of kings. The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory; in your hands he has placed mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds of the air. Wherever they live, he has made you ruler over them all. You are that head of gold. After you, another kingdom will rise, inferior to yours. Next, a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth. Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron--for iron breaks and smashes everything--and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others … In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed. (Daniel 2:37-44)

'The four great beasts are four kingdoms that will rise from the earth. But the saints of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever--yes, for ever and ever.' (Daniel 7:17-18)
Daniel Describes the Fourth Beast Kingdom Which is Yet to Come

From the time of Daniel’s prophecies three beast kingdoms rose to power: they were Babylon, Media-Persia and Greece. When the fourth and final beast kingdom comes it will usher in the rise of the Antichrist. The Antichrist will be destroyed by the Second Coming of Christ. Let’s read how it is written:
I am going to tell you what will happen later in the time of wrath, because the vision concerns the appointed time of the end. The two-horned ram that you saw represents the kings of Media and Persia. The shaggy goat is the king of Greece, and the large horn between his eyes is the first king. The four horns that replaced the one that was broken off represent four kingdoms that will emerge from his nation but will not have the same power. In the latter part of their reign, when rebels have become completely wicked, a stern-faced king, a master of intrigue, will arise. He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does. He will destroy the mighty men and the holy people. He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power. (Daniel 8:19-25).
The Rise of the Antichrist from the Fourth Beast Kingdom

When the final beast kingdom arises it will begin with ten kings. Then another king will come up among the ten and subdue three kings. This king is the Antichrist. When the Antichrist has subdued the three kings, the Fourth Beast Kingdom will then have “seven heads and ten horns.” Let’s read how it is written:
The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it. The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time. But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever. Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him. (Daniel 7:23-27)
So, Daniel reveals that when the final beast kingdom has seven heads and ten horns, the Antichrist will be its leader and one of the seven heads.

Revelation Reveals More About this Final Beast

Let’s return to the mystery of the “beast which has the seven heads and ten horns:”
Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a desert. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns … I will explain to you the mystery of the woman and of the beast she rides, which has the seven heads and ten horns. The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and will come up out of the Abyss and go to his destruction. (Revelation 17:3-8)
In addition to the “seven heads and ten horns,” we are also given several other pieces of information to help us understand this mystery. The beast comes up out of the Abyss and is destined for destruction.

Two Beast Kings are Destined for Destruction at Christ’s Return

One is the Antichrist, whose destruction is prophesied in Daniel 8:25: “he will be destroyed, but not by human power.”

The other is the False Prophet, who is destroyed with the Antichrist as prophesied in Revelation 19:20: “But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur.”

Let’s read more about these two beasts:
And I saw a beast [Antichrist] coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. … He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven … Then I saw another beast [False Prophet], coming out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon. He exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. And he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men. Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth. He ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. He was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. (Revelation 13:1-15)

But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. (Revelation 19:20)

The False Prophet comes out of the earth (Abyss) with power to deceive the inhabitants of the earth and performs miraculous signs on behalf of the Antichrist to deceive unbelievers.

Paul Also Tells Us About This

Paul also wrote of the coming Antichrist and the influence of the False Prophet when he says that God sends unbelievers a powerful delusion:
The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness. (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12)
Revelation Reveals More About the King from the Abyss

In Revelation we are told the name of the king of the Abyss. The Abyss is located either on or in the earth because the abyss will be opened when the star is on the earth.
I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth … When he opened the Abyss, … out of the smoke locusts came down upon the earth and were given power like that of scorpions … They had tails and stings like scorpions, and in their tails they had power to torment people for five months. They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon. (Revelation 9:1-3, 10-11)
The Hebrew name “Abaddon” means a destroying angel, and the Greek name “Apollon” also means destroyer. In telling us these two names, God is confirming the identity of the angel king. The destroyer is described extensively in the Old Testament. To understand more about the destroyer read The Destroyer.

The destroyer is the king who will come up out of the Abyss -- he is also the False Prophet. He “once was, now is not, and will come up out of the Abyss and go to his destruction.” (Revelation 17:8)

The False Prophet and the Destroyer are one and the same.

The Seven Kingdoms of Revelation 17

Let’s return to the mystery of “the beast which has the seven heads and ten horns.”

What can we learn about the seven heads?
The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits (Revelation 17:9).
Prophecy frequently describes kingdoms as mountains. Below are examples:
Listen, a noise on the mountains, like that of a great multitude! Listen, an uproar among the kingdoms, like nations massing together! The LORD Almighty is mustering an army for war (Isaiah 13:4).

Deliverers will go up on Mount Zion to govern the mountains of Esau. And the kingdom will be the Lord's (Obadiah 1:21).

"Before your eyes I will repay Babylon and all who live in Babylonia for all the wrong they have done in Zion," declares the LORD. "I am against you, O destroying mountain, you who destroy the whole earth," declares the LORD. "I will stretch out my hand against you, roll you off the cliffs, and make you a burned-out mountain." (Jeremiah 51:24-25)

Listen to what the LORD says: "Stand up, plead your case before the mountains; let the hills hear what you have to say. Hear, O mountains, the Lord's accusation; listen, you everlasting foundations of the earth. For the LORD has a case against his people; he is lodging a charge against Israel." (Micah 6:1-2)
Who are the Seven Kingdoms?
The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits. They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come (Revelation 17:9-10).
At the time John was given the revelation, Rome was the kingdom in power; therefore, Rome is the one who “is.”
1. Fallen = ?

2. Fallen = ?

3. Fallen = ?

4. Fallen = ?

5. Fallen = ?

6. One is = Rome

7. Yet to come = ?
What does Scripture say about the five that have fallen? In Jeremiah chapter 50 we find the following prophecy regarding kingdoms and kings that have scattered Israel:
Israel is a scattered flock that lions have chased away. The first to devour him was the king of Assyria; the last to crush his bones was Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon (Jeremiah 50:17).
The king of Assyria is the first to have fallen.
1. Fallen = Assyria

2. Fallen = ?

3. Fallen = ?

4. Fallen = ?

5. Fallen = ?

6. One is = Rome

7. Yet to come = ?
In Daniel we find the remaining four fallen kingdoms.
You [Babylon], O king, are the king of kings (Daniel 2:37).

The two-horned ram that you saw represents the kings of Media and Persia. The shaggy goat is the king of Greece, and the large horn between his eyes is the first king. (Daniel 8:20)
Therefore, the five kingdoms that have fallen are Assyria, Babylon, Media, Persia and Greece.
1. Fallen = Assyria

2. Fallen = Babylon

3. Fallen = Media

4. Fallen = Persia

5. Fallen = Greece

6. One is = Rome

7. Yet to come = ?
The One “Yet to Come” Kingdom is the Future Fourth Beast Kingdom
The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it. The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. (Daniel 7:23-24)
The fourth beast kingdom of Daniel’s prophecy has ten kings, and then the Antichrist arises among them and subdues three. Then the Fourth Beast Kingdom with “seven heads and ten horns” is lead by the Antichrist.
1. Fallen = Assyria

2. Fallen = Babylon

3. Fallen = Media

4. Fallen = Persia

5. Fallen = Greece

6. One is = Rome

7. Yet to come = Fourth Beast Kingdom with 7 heads and 10 horns
Therefore, the Fourth Beast Kingdom is the seventh kingdom of Revelation 17 which “has not yet come.” The Antichrist will be the seventh king since he will lead the seventh kingdom.

Let’s read how the seven kingdoms are also seven kings:
This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits. They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come. (Revelation 17:9-10)
The Eighth King Becomes the Beast with “7 Heads and 10 Horns”

Returning again to the explanation of the mystery of the beast which has the “seven heads and ten horns,” we find there is even more information:
The beast who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction (Revelation 17:11).

Remember, the False Prophet, “once was, now is not, and will come up out of the Abyss and go to his destruction” (Revelation 17:8).
So, how is the False Prophet an eighth king who also belongs to the seven?
Then I saw another beast, coming out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon. He exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. And he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men. (Revelation 13:11-13)
The False Prophet “exercised all the authority of the first beast.” The first beast is the Antichrist and the seventh king. Therefore, when the False Prophet assumes all the authority of the Antichrist, he will become “an eighth king” since he follows the seventh. Also, “[he] belongs to the seven” because he will be one of the seven.

The False Prophet is this "beast which has the seven heads and ten horns.”

I will tell thee the mystery of the woman,
And of the beast that carrieth her
Which hath the seven heads and ten horns.

The beast that thou sawest was, and is not;
And shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition:
And they that dwell on the earth shall wonder,
Whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world,
When they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

And here is the mind which hath wisdom.
The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.
And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come;
And when he cometh, he must continue a short space.
And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth,
And is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.

And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings,
Which have received no kingdom as yet;
But receive power as kings one hour with the beast.
These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.

These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them:
For He is Lord of lords, and King of kings:
And they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful.

And he saith unto me,
The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth,
Are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.
And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore,
And shall make her desolate and naked,
And shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.

For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil His will,
And to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast,
Until the words of God shall be fulfilled.

And the woman which thou sawest is that great city,
Which reigneth over the kings of the earth.

Revelation 17:7-18

Order of Events Until the End of This World
What Shall Be the Signs of Christ's Return?
Outline of the Book of Revelation
Satan's Final Deception Before Christ Returns
On the Last Day, Jesus Will Return in the Clouds of Heaven

July 24, 2009

Detroit: The Post-Apocalyptic Future of American Cities?

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, gun play, 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 reaching 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 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. In Detroit today, the unemployment rate is 28.9%. Detroit, once our fourth largest city, is now 11th and slipping rapidly. - Frosty Wooldridge, What has happened to Detroit?‏, February 17, 2010

The Mayor of Detroit’s Radical Plan to Bulldoze One Quarter of the City

The Economic Collapse
March 9, 2010

How do you save a city that is dramatically declining like Detroit? Well, for the mayor of Detroit the answer is simple - you bulldoze one-fourth of the city. Faced with a 300 million dollar budget deficit and a rapidly dwindling tax base, Detroit finds itself having to make some really hard choices.

During the glory days of the 1950s, Detroit was a booming metropolis of approximately 2 million people, but now young people have left in droves and the current population is less than a million. The true unemployment rate for those still living in Detroit is estimated to be somewhere around 45 to 50 percent, and poverty and desperation have become entrenched everywhere. In many areas of the city, only one or two houses remain occupied an an entire city block.

In fact, some areas of Detroit have so many vacant, burned-out homes that they literally look like war zones. And yes, it is true that there are actually some houses in Detroit that you can actually buy for just one dollar. According to one recent estimate, Detroit has 33,500 empty houses and 91,000 vacant residential lots. So what can be done when an entire city experiences economic collapse?

Well, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing believes that the answer is to downsize on a massive scale. Bing believes that Detroit simply cannot continue to pay for police patrols, fire protection and other essential services for areas that resemble ghost towns.

So his plan is to bulldoze approximately 10,000 houses and empty buildings over the next 3 years and direct new investment into stronger neighborhoods. In the areas that the city plans to bulldoze, the residents would be offered the opportunity to relocate to a better area. For buildings that have already been abandoned, the city could simply use tax foreclosure proceedings to reclaim them. Of course if there were some residents that did not want to move, eminent domain could be used to force them out.

So which areas would be bulldozed and which areas would be left standing?

Nobody knows yet, and those decisions could make a lot of people angry.

Also, the city of Detroit simply does not have the money to purchase land and relocate residents without federal assistance.

So there are problems.

But other smaller cities are already doing this kind of thing on a smaller scale.

The city of Youngstown, Ohio has been bulldozing a few hundred houses a year since 2005.

Flint, Michigan has already torn down approximately 1,100 houses mostly in outlying areas. The program in Flint was actually the brainchild of Dan Kildee, treasurer of Genesee County, which includes the city of Flint.

In Flint, no residents are forced out of their homes unwillingly. Instead, the city has been buying up houses in more affluent areas of Flint to offer to those in areas that the city wishes to bulldoze.

The program in Flint has been so successful that Mr. Kildee has been asked to help implement it in other cities that are in decline.

And there are a whole lot of U.S. cities that are in a serious state of decline - mostly in what is known as "the Rust Belt" of America. Because of reckless U.S. trade policies, the once great U.S. manufacturing base centered in the Rust Belt has been dismantled and those jobs simply are never going to come back.

So now cities like Detroit and Flint are faced with either dealing with the economics of decline or going bankrupt for good.

But the truth is that Detroit and Flint are just on the cutting edge of what is happening to America as a whole.

The U.S. is experiencing a very painful economic decline, and what is happening in Detroit and Flint could happen in your city very soon.

Are you ready?

What Do You Do With Detroit? Bulldoze It

By Cindy Perman, CNBC.com
March 9, 2010

Have you ever wondered what will become of Detroit?

Will the auto industry bounce back in enough time to save the real-estate market? Will artists flock to the cheap real estate and colonize the city? Or, will it go the way of that luxury condo building in downtown Orlando that's overwhelmed by vultures?

Well, Detroit’s mayor has an idea: Bulldoze it.

Mayor Dave Bing is apparently working on a radical plan that would bulldoze a quarter of the city — some of the most desolate areas — and return it to farmland, the way it was before the automobile. Any residents still there would be relocated to stronger neighborhoods.

This isn't a new idea — Detroit has been kicking it around since the 1990s, and some people suggest dozens of U.S. cities hard-hit by the recession may have to be bulldozed.

One of those people is Dan Kildee, treasurer of Genesee County, which includes Flint, Michigan.

Kildee told London's Telegraph that we need to get over the American mindset that "big is good."

“The obsession with growth is sadly a very American thing. Across the US, there’s an assumption that all development is good, that if communities are growing they are successful. If they’re shrinking, they’re failing,” he said.

When this talk of bulldozing cities resurfaced last summer, some people said there was no evidence that the government had such plans in the works.

But with Detroit taking the idea seriously, one professor says it may be time that we dared to dream — in a way we've never dared before.

“Things that were unthinkable are now becoming thinkable,” James W. Hughes, dean of the School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, told the AP. “There is now a realization that past glories are never going to be recaptured. Some people probably don’t accept that but that is the reality,” he said.

Welcome to the future. Why does it look so much like 1910 instead of 2010?

Detroit: The Post-Apocalyptic Future of American Cities?

By Al Martin, Raw
July 6, 2009

Here’s a glimpse of a Turn Key Approach to Urban Wasteland Management ™.

Last week I had a chance to talk to a friend who just got back from Detroit, and boy did he get an eyeful of America’s Future. After listening to him describe Detroit, it’s obvious that it has all fallen apart.

First of all, there’s very little civil authority or regular civil government remaining and in operation. Almost everything has been turned over to these so-called Private Management Companies.

And this is how it’s being done:
They block out areas in which 80% or more of the houses have been foreclosed on, which happens to be almost the entire city and county. They have selectively begun to bulldoze the properties which have been foreclosed on; the rest have been boarded up.

Then they have turned over management of these 100-block areas to private companies, which have become defacto governments. They have the literal authority of “governments;” and they’re paid a flat fee from the city, county or state to “manage,” as they say, a square block of this urban wasteland.
These Private Management Companies sell themselves as residual property management firms. Most of these companies, as it turns out, are in fact off-shore subsidiaries of Private Military Contractors (PMCs). They provide a catch-all service. In other words, they regulate how much electrical power and natural gas flows through these areas. They also act as police force, and they act as management for local civil government. However, this Urban Wasteland Management has been pretty efficient, and they want to protect what remaining wealthy areas that still exist, like Bloomfield Hills.

These companies come in and effectively build large barbed wire fences around these mostly abandoned square block areas. Some people are still living in the houses, by the way, even though most of them are boarded up because they’re no longer bothering to serve process through the entire foreclosure procedure.

Oftentimes once the house has been taken back and is ultimately owned by the city or county or some government, they let the people stay there until it’s abandoned and then taken over by squatters. Then they’re given a 72-hour notice to leave by this private management company – before they come in and bulldoze the house. If you’re not out, that’s it. The bulldozers run. They can bulldoze the place with you in it – with legal impunity.

So here’s the scene:
Imagine a 100-square blocks in a city on a hot summer night. Only one out of every 20 streetlamps is working, and even that is low-wattage. These lamps are broken and swinging back and forth in the wind. There are rusted out steel drums lying here and there and pyres of burning scrapwood. In the background there are shadowy figures darting in and out of buildings, trying to salvage anything or strip the remaining buildings of anything that’s worth anything.

Since no electricity is being provided to these residents anymore, what this private management security company does is bring in old water trucks. Then these water trucks are placed at certain locations during certain times. The people then totter down with their old plastic buckets and bottles to get their water.

My friend said that what Detroit looks like now, particularly at night, is like a scene that you would see five or ten years after a Third World War. Everything is bulldozed, but it’s not all collected because there’s not much left after everyone has picked it apart. They just bulldoze it, chop it up, and leave it in little piles.

So imagine these little smoldering piles of rubble with these broken low-wattage street lamps swinging back and forth. And don’t forget the rusted out water trucks bringing in water for the “survivors” (what else can you call them?). They also bring in food from various charitable organizations and distribute free food like Spam and week old bread, etc.

The residents (survivors), in order to get anything, have to register with the private security company and get a card, which must be presented to the authorities if they want to get any water, etc.

They also provide very rudimentary medical care, which is part of their contract service – to provide Band-Aids if the need arises.

It’s all very quiet and all you hear is the howling of feral dogs in this urban wasteland scene.
Is Detroit a precursor of times to come in other American cities?

The economy isn’t improving (despite what the Obama Regime and the Financial Media say), at least not in the respect that foreclosures are still rising. Residential foreclosure rates won’t even peak for another year. And the foreclosure debacle that is coming in commercial and industrial properties hasn’t even really begun. Last week Fannie Mae announced that they expect the coming debacle in commercial and industrial properties is going to increase the foreclosure rate forty-fold in the next 12-18 months.

In spite of that, the Wall Street Journal is promoting REITs, writing about how the REIT market is “hot” once again. This is what I might call Triple-Reconstituted REITS. In other words, they got busted out, raised money, then bought the same property back for 50 cents on the dollar. Then they got busted out again, raised more money, and diluted shareholder equity even further. Later they bought back the same property for 25 cents on the dollar. Then they’re busted out a third time.

Then it becomes a question of how many pennies on the dollar is it ultimately worth – residential areas that are on the periphery of industrial areas which are also all foreclosed, shut down or burned out?

A lot of the train tracks that run through these areas have already been ripped up and sold for scrap metal. They must have security guards in hand cars driving up and down with searchlights looking for train track scavengers.

These private management companies have been given more power than the underlying governments ever had. They have become, for lack of a better word, a defacto privatized post-apocalyptic government.

This could be the template for the future of America’s cities.

As the state and county governments continue to get squeezed and revenue continues to fall, they have to cut back the amount of money they’re paying these private companies. So what they’re doing instead is allowing these private companies to set up what are defacto private enterprise zones with complete governmental power. All of the aluminum and copper and other scarp metal that’s being stolen by the survivors is being bought by these outfits, which are just beyond the fence and are actually owned by the privatized security/government companies. They also act as pawn shops for anything that’s left. This is one way to subsidize what is a declining government co-payment.

As legitimate government funding for this diminishes, these outfits take on more and more power of government until they become virtual mini-dictatorships.

My friend told me that you go down the street and you see this barbed wire fence and right across the street is the border of a very wealthy area. You see all of the private security that the wealthy people have hired and the searchlights that are monitoring activity in the neighborhood. It’s similar to South America where you see the barrio or favela come right up next to a wealthy neighborhood.

As foreclosures mount and government resources diminish, these Urban Wasteland Zones (UWZs) are expanding. Now these companies also hire themselves out to provide security for the remaining wealthy areas, so they have their own security patrols going up and down the street. In some cases, it’s only one street that separates where the barbed wire fence stands and what they call “no man’s land” near the wealthy area.

This is evidently going on in cities all across the United States, just on a smaller and less organized scale. Now as foreclosures mount, this will become more prevalent in other cities.

Detroit then is a template of what America’s future cities will look like.

Federal government has virtually given up doing anything because they don’t have the money. The states are right because all the money, which was hundreds of billons that was promised them under the Bush Regime through Homeland Security grants etc., never came through; and all they ever got was maybe 14 cents on the dollar. Under the Obama Regime, federal transfer payments have actually diminished because the regime doesn’t have any money.

You can point to these examples all over. Last week the State of California began paying tax refunds in promissory notes or I.O.U.s. Many states and counties are now trying to settle obligations in promissory notes.

Looking at the bigger picture, we have entered this W-shaped economy and we are going to go into a second dip. When we are at the trough of that second dip, then it’s push-comes-to-shove time, which means that we’ll see about the Federal government’s ability to hold it all together.

Why? Because state governments are in a defacto state of collapse and there’s not much that the federal government can do about it, other than to provide these financial guarantees, which allow the states to sell more bonds and municipal securities, the interest of which they don’t have the ability to service. They come with a federal guarantee, however, so if they go into default, the federal government has to assume the responsibility.

What buyers of these notes don’t, by and large, understand about these federal guarantees is that these guarantees are only guaranteeing the principal of the bond and not the interest. In many cases, as Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s have pointed out, all these guarantees that the Obama Regime are making are part of what is a reconstituted Resolution Trust situation. Many of them are only partial guarantees, maybe 60 cents on the dollar. Now many of the people who are buying these securities don’t understand that.

So what has been government’s response to declining tax revenue at state levels? To continuously increase cigarette tax to a dollar a package every six months. As prices increase, sales go down faster than the additional tax revenue is collected. All states have sold tax anticipation revenue bonds, even though none of them have sufficient revenue from increased tobacco tax to service the bonds. Republicans are now solidly behind a smoke-free America, which will impinge on the American people’s right to partake of tobacco. That is the new mindset. They won’t make it illegal, but eventually it will make tobacco a privilege of the wealthy.

What will happen to the $150 billion of tobacco tax anticipation bonds states have already sold? How will that debt be serviced? None of the states have the necessary cash flow to service these tobacco and alcohol tax revenue bonds (anticipation revenue notes) because most of the states, between federal and state tax hikes, are increasing the price of liquor $1 per every proof gallon every six months.

Tobacco and liquor will become the province of the wealthy. The hoi polloi sitting on top of those piles of smoldering rubble in Detroit, trying to scrounge aluminum gutters – no more tobacco for you. You’ll be getting the corn husks from your local paramilitary government association.

When cash goes to promissory notes – what’s the next step from there? Government-issued chits. Maybe they’ll look like the German money/chits from the 1920s. They were half the size of today’s currency issued in One Bullion Mark and Ten Bullion Mark denominations.

But these will be corporate-issued chits. You’ll get a chit for so many gallons of water or a chit for so many hours of electricity. You can get a bag of corn-husk “tobacco” or coffee, which will be 10% coffee and 90% chickory, just like the “old days.”

So maybe we should all go and scrap lumber. Imagine the amount of scrap wood necessary to print all these promissory notes, chits and coupons… Just kidding.

"Shutting Detroit Down:" John Rich sings about the crisis, but also spreads confusion
Housing crisis accelerates blight in Detroit neighborhoods
Thousands march in Detroit
Detroit residents protest cuts in bus service
Death of Detroit firefighter: victim of a city’s social decay
The deindustrialization of Detroit
Detroit residents speak on utility bills, social crisis
Panic in Detroit: Unemployment Stands at 50%
The Ruins of Detroit (Slide Show)
Photos of Detroit by Griffioen
Detroit Mayor Bing emphasizes need to shrink city
Mayor Dave Bing said Wednesday he "absolutely" intends to relocate residents from desolate neighborhoods and is bracing for inevitable legal challenges when he unveils his downsizing plan.
Hard work ahead for resized Detroit
Logic, efficiency and the city’s battered budget scream out for the right-sizing of Detroit — moving isolated residents and businesses out of blighted neighborhoods and clearing vast land tracts.
Detroit family homes sell for just $10
Family homes in Detroit are selling for as little as $10 (£6) in the wake of America’s financial meltdown.
Thousands in Detroit face utility shut-offs with end of "winter protection plan"
Detroit Plans to Bulldoze 10,000 Abandoned Structures

Updated 5/15/10 (Newest Additions at End of List)

Off-the-Cuff Suggestion Prompts Discussion on What to Do with Abandoned Neighborhoods in Flint, Michigan

By Kristin Longley, The Flint Journal
March 17, 2009

Look in any direction from Bianca Bates' north Flint home, and you'll see graffiti-covered siding, boarded-up windows and overgrown lots. About half of the homes on her block are burned out or vacant magnets for drug dealers and squatters. It isn't where she thought she'd end up, but it's all she can afford to rent.
"It's a dangerous place to live," said Bates, 21, who lives on East Russell Avenue. "Everywhere you look, these houses are empty around here."
Property abandonment is getting so bad in Flint that some in government are talking about an extreme measure that was once unthinkable - shutting down portions of the city, officially abandoning them, and cutting off police and fire service.

Temporary Mayor Michael Brown made the off-the-cuff suggestion Friday in response to a question at a Rotary Club of Flint luncheon about the thousands of empty houses in Flint. Brown said that as more people abandon homes, eating away at the city's tax base and creating more blight, the city might need to examine "shutting down quadrants of the city where we (wouldn't) provide services."

He did not define what that could mean – bulldozing abandoned areas, simply leaving the vacant homes to rot or some other idea entirely.

On Monday, a city spokesman downplayed Brown's comments. Bob Campbell, Brown's spokesman, said the acting mayor was speaking hypothetically about a worst-case scenario, "not something that would be laid out in the next six months" while he's in office. But City Council President Jim Ananich said the idea has been on his radar for years. The city is getting smaller and should downsize its services accordingly by asking people to leave sparsely populated areas, he said.
"It's going to happen whether we like it or not," he said. "We'd have to be creative about it, but it's something worth looking into. We're not there yet, but it could definitely happen."
Flint resident Derrick Young, 39, doesn't think people in his West Austin Avenue neighborhood would bow too easily to such a request.
"We (are) all family over here," he said. "We all stick together."
Even in neighborhoods where more homes are vacant than occupied, Young, who rents, said the city shouldn't interfere.
"They shouldn't be so hard on people, just because they live in a bad area," he said. "They should find more ways to fix it up and rent it out."
The concept of "shrinking cities" isn't new to urban areas similar to Flint. Last year, the city of Youngstown, Ohio, proposed incentives to encourage people to move out of nearly empty blocks and relocate to more populated areas closer to the heart of the city. Some people were offered upward of $50,000, according to news reports.
The idea was to shut down entire streets and bulldoze abandoned properties so the city could discontinue services such as police patrols and street lighting, according to a CNN report.

The problem came, understandably so, when officials asked residents to move.
Abandoned and foreclosed homes are on top of the list of major challenges facing Michigan cities, said Arnold Weinfeld, director of public policy and federal affairs with the Michigan Municipal League. The organization surveyed several cities that cited declining property taxes as the No. 1 problem, he said.
In the past three years or so, cities in Michigan have lost a combined $147 million in property taxes, he said. "That's bound to have an impact on local services," he said. "There's no question it's an issue. Each community is going to address it differently."
Brown took over last month after former Mayor Don Williamson resigned facing a recall election. His replacement will be elected Aug. 4. Brown is focused on economic development as a key to revitalizing Flint, Campbell said. The city also has the advantage of having the Genesee County Land Bank, he said.
"Cities such as Flint might be forced to make difficult choices at some point," Campbell said. "However, what he's all about is having an economic development plan in place so we don't have to seriously consider that as an option."
Bates said the idea might make some people happier, but she doesn't see how it would help the city. But her roommate, Gabrielle Daniels, said it sounds like a good idea.
"Let's get these kids out of these bad areas," she said. "Get them out of drug houses and into safer neighborhoods."
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