This week, a woman shot and killed a homeless man in Cincinnati because he asked her for a quarter. This story was in our local, corporate-viewpoint monopoly newspaper this morning. "He asked her for a quarter," Police Chief Tom Streicher said. "That's apparently all there was to it."
One may, at first, shrug this story off by thinking Geraldine Beasley must be insane for murdering Donald Francis.
But, because of the massive bias by corporate media, homelessness and hunger are buried here in the Land of the Free, where most Americans are not aware that we have the most homeless and hungry among all major industrialized nations, by any measure. As a consequence of this, many citizens are angry at homeless people.
We have seen a great many articles in the mass media saying that these are lazy people who should go find jobs. What is never allowed is the facts on unemployment. Headlines everywhere echo the deceptive line that unemployment is low.
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But the untold truth is that unemployment is quite high.
Not counted in official statistics are those who have given up trying to find work because they've had so many doors slammed in their face, and we have no idea how many millions are in this category because there is no official data, apparently by design.
Not counted are the tens of millions working part time because they cannot find full-time jobs. The government counts those working as little as one hour per month as employed.
Not counted are those making minimum wage and unable to provide for basic needs. There have never been as many Americans making minimum wage as there are today. All are counted as employed in government statistics.
Not counted are the millions in our record-sized prison system, there largely because the US economy works as it does to provide profit for transnational investors at any cost to the rest of us.
As a consequence, the propaganda blasted in corporate media has convinced citizens that there is a great deal of work available for those who want it. And, of course, you can pick strawberries for $20 a day if you are a person with other resources for survival.
But even where there is work, employers don't want people who are mentally slow or on drugs/alcohol. There is little pity for those hopeless people who try to escape with cheap wine. They are not seen as human beings. Even the good Christians who run the country, led by George Bush, ignore their own Jesus' "What you do to the least of them, you do to me."
Because of the way in which Americans are indoctrinated in capitalist rhetoric to the point of becoming zombies, we do not find it strange that a man was murdered for asking for a quarter.
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In my locale, charity soup kitchens report a burning need. Demand is outstripping capacity as the needy form long lines around the kitchens and down the street. When food runs out and volunteers leave, lines are still there. Previously, clientele was mostly unemployed derelict single men arriving by foot. But now, there are more families and they are arriving by car indicating that hunger is spreading to the previously self-sufficient. Many are still working but are barely making enough to get by because of the high cost of living. Some come early to get something to eat before going to work. Every day, new people are calling and asking how to sign up for help.
Is this plight a harbinger of a coming recession? Bush insists that the economy is robust and the envy of the world. But, he persistently sees only what he wants to see and hell to pay for anyone telling him otherwise.
Dan Merica is a political cartoonist and opinion writer battling the right wing scourge now devastating our country. His work is posted on his website, www.cartoons-political.com