Report: The slow death of American society – Cities across the US move to criminalise homelessness


Denver, Colorado, is one of the latest American cities to join the so-called ‘Hall of Shame’ of metropolises actively seeking to turn homelessness into a crime.

Last Tuesday, Denver city officials and a large police contingent showed up to enforce a removal order for 150 people living on the city’s sidewalks.

Denver is the latest US city to enforce such orders. Hawaii, Texas and Washington state, were the pioneers in the morally indefensible stance of citizen ostracization. Many cities have already banned living inside vehicles, camping in public areas, and begging. These bylaws are particularly damaging, as they often lead to the impoundment of vehicles, which normally means that the person affected loses all their belongings.

Across more and more places in the US, anyone deemed to be an eyesore for the upper castes, a nuisance, or a drain on society, is being pushed down a long road to nowhere.

Last August, the mayor of Portland, Oregon, announced that a ‘safe sleep’ pilot initiative would be terminated. ‘Safe sleep’ allowed homeless people to sleep on the streets and be left alone by the authorities. However, the mayor ended the initiative as some believed it caused ‘confusion’ among certain people who took it to mean that public camping had become legal.

As they were moved on, people in Denver chanted “No handcuffs. Give us homes,” to no avail. Police officers have no time for compassion, it seems.

A lot of metropolitan enclaves across the United States have seen a dramatic spike in homelessness. Rising home prices mean that affordable housing is becoming increasingly unattainable for those on ‘regular’ incomes. A similar problem is occurring here in Ireland right now. The Government may be planning to build thousands of new homes, but since only a privileged sector of society will be able to afford them, they might as well be building none.

The act of criminalizing homelessness is nothing new, of course. Mankind has seen plenty of similarly wretched behaviour through history.

During the Peasant’s Revolt in England in the 1830s, for instance, laws were passed to enable constables to collar vagabonds. If they resisted, they’d be sent to jail and kept on stocks for three days and three nights. Later on, whipping was added to the punishment.

Throughout the mid 16th century, vagrants could be subjected to two years of servitude and being branded with a ‘V’ for their first offence. Death for their second. Humanity has not shown much pity, compassion, or understanding for homelessness.

The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty is an advocacy group organized to help people facing homelessness across the United States. The group has called for some of the recent laws passed to criminalize homelessness to be deemed unconstitutional.

According to the group, such laws further marginalize those affected, imposing even more barriers to accessing education, housing, or employment.

The presidential victory of Donald Trump, an elitist businessman to the core, is likely to compound the issue even further.

Criminalising homelessness is just a short step away to internment.

Stargazers rejoice: Spectacular supermoon will light up the night sky on Monday


The biggest and brightest supermoon in almost seven decades will soar across the night skies on Monday, November 14.

The Moon’s orbit follows an elliptical path around the Earth. When our satellite is full at the perigee of this orbit, it is known as Supermoon.

A lot of celestial bodies affect the eccentricity of the Moon’s orbit through gravity. The Sun, for sure, but also Jupiter, and many others. This eccentricity ‘extends’ the elliptical path and causes the Moon to pass closer to Earth.

And Earth’s heavenly partner will be at its closest to our planet since 1948. On Monday, the Moon will be just 221,524 miles away from us. Some NASA scientists have deemed it ‘extra-supermoon’, due to this unusual proximity. The Moon will not be that close to Earth until 2034.

At its perigee, the Moon will look 14pc larger than normal. And it will appear a whole lot brighter than normal, too, as Earth’s journey through space takes it near the Sun at this time of year, and the Moon’s radiance will shine about 30pc more luminosity on Earth’s surface.

So go and watch the skies, as this supermoon will be one not to miss!

Future defence capabilities of European continent in jeopardy after Trump win


NATO strategists are said to be drafting worst-case scenario plans, in case the President Elect makes good of his intentions of withdrawing large contingents of American troops from military bases around Europe.

Mr. Trump has previously said that he believes the United States should be ‘less involved’ in European defence missions, going as far as saying that the US Army may only step up to defend NATO-aligned and allied countries if they ‘pay their bills.’

Article 5 of the NATO charter hinges on the principle of ‘collective defence’, which means that an attack on a NATO ally is considered an attack on all allies. Now, the top echelon at NATO HQ wants to ensure that Mr. Trump will abide by such principle.

The 45th President of the United States, however, referred to the NATO alliance as ‘obsolete’, potentially throwing long-established defence plans into disarray.

If Mr. Trump does order the withdrawal of American soldiers from Europe, no country in the continent will be able to provide enough troops to replace them.

The impending uncertainty has prompted Germany, one of the largest military powers in the continent, to budget for the allocation of 130bn for military spending by the year 2030.

Still, the United States is continuing with the deployment of troops around Eastern European countries for the time being, to strengthen front-line battalions.

Two minutes to midnight: 300,000 NATO troops on high alert over escalating tensions with Russia


300,000 NATO troops have received readiness orders over growing fears of a military confrontation with Russia.

Around 15 divisions on front line states are now on a status of ‘high alert’ as tensions escalate between opposing sides.

NATO General Secretary, Jens Stoltenberg, has confirmed that the executive order hopes to achieve a faster reaction status should conflict break out.

The heightened state of alert is in direct response to Russia’s own display of military might in recent times, and particularly over its intervention in war-torn Syria.

Russia has provided a large amount of weaponry and specialized equipment to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has used it to quell rebel forces in Aleppo and elsewhere.

A large number of Russian citizens actually believe that their country’s intervention in Syria could easily lead to World War III.

The military buildup in the region has also arisen due to grave concerns among western strategists that the Russian military might may overrun NATO forces in the area in a matter of hours, should armed confrontation start.

NATO analysts also fear that Russia may attempt the annexation of Baltic states such as Lithuania or Latvia, just like it did in Crimea two years ago. Such move could have grave repercussions indeed for the geo-political stability in Europe.