A Snapshot of the USA
cuito61 at onebox.com
Thu Sep 12 08:32:07 MDT 2002
(Research from _Dirty Truths_
City Light Books, 1996, by Michael Parenti)
"Conservatives are fond of telling us what a wonderful, happy, prosperous
nation this is. The only thing that matches their love of country is
the remarkable indifference they show toward the people who live in it.
To their ears the anguished cries of the dispossessed sound like the
peevish whines of malcontents. They denounce as `bleeding hearts' those
of us who criticize existing conditions, who show some concern for our
fellow citizens. But the dirty truth is that there exists a startling
amount of hardship, abuse, affliction, illness, violence, and pathology
in this country. The figures reveal a casualty list that runs into many
millions. Consider the following estimates. In any one year [I'll just
include some highlights here. You can see the whole list at: http://www.zmag.org/snapusa.htm]:
85,000 are wounded by firearms.
5,500,000 people are arrested for all offenses (not including traffic
473,000 die prematurely from tobacco-related illnesses; 53,000 of these
37,000,000, or one out of every six Americans, regularly use emotion
controlling medical drugs. The users are mostly women. The pushers are
doctors; the suppliers are pharmaceutical companies; the profits are
30,000 or more children are left permanently physically disabled from
abuse and neglect. Child abuse in the United States afflicts more children
each year than leukemia, automobile accidents, and infectious diseases
combined. With growing unemployment, incidents of abuse by jobless parents
is increasing dramatically.
1,000,000 children run away from home, mostly because of abusive treatment,
including sexual abuse, from parents and other adults. Of the many sexually
abused children among runaways, 83 percent come from white families.
5,000,000 workers are injured on the job; 150,000 of whom suffer permanent
work-related disabilities, including maiming, paralysis, impaired vision,
damaged hearing, and sterility.
100,000 become seriously ill from work-related diseases, including black
lung, brown lung, cancer, and tuberculosis.
5,100,000 are behind bars or on probation or parole [in 2002 this number
is around 6 million]; 2,700,000 of these are either locked up in county,
state or federal prisons or under legal supervision. Each week 1,600
more people go to jail than leave. The prison population has skyrocketed
over 200 percent since 1980. Over 40 percent of inmates are jailed on
nonviolent drug related crimes. African Americans constitute 13 percent
of drug users but 35 percent of drug arrests, 55 percent of drug convictions
and 74 percent of prison sentences. For nondrug offenses, African Americans
get prison terms that average about 10 percent longer than Caucasians
for similar crimes.
6,000,000 are in "contingent" jobs, or jobs structured to last only temporarily.
About 60 percent of these would prefer permanent employment.
15,000,000 or more are part-time or reduced-time "contract" workers who
need full-time jobs and who work without benefits.
3,000,000 additional workers are unemployed but uncounted because their
unemployment benefits have run out, or they never qualified for benefits,
or they have given up looking for work, or they joined the armed forces
because they were unable to find work.
80,000,000 live on incomes estimated by the U.S. Department of Labor
as below a "comfortable adequacy"; 35,000,000 of these live below the
12,000,000 of those at poverty's rock bottom suffer from chronic hunger
and malnutrition. The majority of the people living at or below the poverty
level experience hunger during some portion of the year.
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"[T]he attitude of the United States of America is a threat to world
peace." -Nelson Mandela
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