THE MAGIC OF THINKING

October 11, 2013
By

Too big to fail America may not really be too big to fail after all. The political crisis over Obama Care and a potential default on U.S. debt highlights the both the magical thinking of many Americans who in their fear of becoming even more desperately poor have accepted Fox TV, The Koch brothers and their Tea Party as reality.

Ted Cruz helped get the current crisis off with over 20 hours of enlightened statements on the floor of the U.S. Senate.  Our texas Senator is a huge believer in magical thinking. Things like his “fact” that the earth is really on 8,000 years old.  Scientist Richard Dawkins made an interesting point on CBC Radio this week comparing the belief that the earth is 8,000 years old when science estimates it is  around 4.6 billion years old is the same thing as saying the continent of North America is eight yards long from the Atlantic to the Pacific. My grandfather met my father’s mother when he was teaching geology at Estes Park Colorado. Not long after he took a job as a Park Naturalist at the Grand Canyon helping create Yaki Point Look out to provide the public with the stunning example of our earth’s age.

‪Chris Hedges‬ noted that “U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz—whose father is Rafael Cruz, a rabid right-wing Christian preacher and the director of the Purifying Fire International ministry—and legions of the senator’s wealthy supporters, some of whom orchestrated the shutdown, are rooted in a radical Christian ideology known as Dominionism or Christian Reconstructionism.” The magical thinkers at the core of this shut down and debt crisis hope to bring an end to the Federal Government we have had and bring a Christian version  government similar to a Taliban type of Sharia Law.

The Democrats have their own version of magical thinking. The most dire at this point is equating Universal Access to Heath Insurance with Universal Access to healthcare making the entire stalemate in Washington DC all the more insane. Anyone who believes that capitalism is wonderful and that corporations are almost as sacred as Jesus should love any law that makes every American add to the profits of the medical industry. Public financing of corporate profits with the transfer of billions of dollars to America’s 1% should be the greatest gift to capitalism ever. That is after the largest gift of all, military spending, a gift that knows no boundaries where waste and fraud have no limits. Need more profits? Invade Iraq and fly in pallets of hundred dollar bills or better yet ask the poor to buy billions of dollars in gas to drive tanks, jets, and hummers all over the Middle East to “protect” our access to…yes more gas.

Fifty cents of every dollar we pay in income taxes is spent on the military. Sadly this is fact and not magical thinking. It is also estimated that half the oil used by Americas is used by the military to protect the interests of people like Charles and David Koch and their oil industry friends. Welfare or “entitlements” for America’s 1% in the guise of National Security  is magical thinking the Democrats and Republicans can agree on.

If we think America may no longer be “too big to fail” what about our Earth? Magical thinking is burning millions of tons of fossil fuels in the effort to “defend” our country’s access to fossil fuels while rushing to increase the climate crisis. But wait oil does not come from fossils and climate change is a liberal myth.

Martin Wolf’s article ” America flirts with self-destruction” starts with “Is the US a functioning democracy?” He goes on to say “Analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch argue that hitting the ceiling would require the US to balance its budget at once, cutting spending by about 20 per cent, or 4 per cent of GDP. That would push the US into another recession–even if there were no default. The consequences of an actual default, particularly one that lasted for some time, are beyond prediction….”

Yes Beyond prediction. Martin Wolf is the chief economics commentator at The Financial Times and spoke on the NPR program “On Point” with host Tom Ashbrook on October 10th with economists Alan Auerbach and Austan Goolsbee in a segment called “Digging Deep Into Federal Default Scenarios” The website promise that the program would be scary. “Barreling towards default. We’ll go deep on scenarios for the economy.  They’re scary—and the politics. Scary too” and they were right. As the conversation continued often with statements about those taking off the cliff as lunatics, insane and crazy words you don’t hear so often in economic discussions it became increasingly clear that I needed to buy as many hundred of dollars in dry goods like rice, beans, flour and oats as I can as fast as I can because millions of additional bellies are about to be empty for days at a time. Calls are already coming in to our Hunger Hotline with some reporting that they have not eaten in days. Some going with food for over a week.

This could be one reason that the authorities increased their efforts to shut down the sharing of food in public.  Last week advocates for the poor were told to stop sharing meals with the hungry in Sacramento and Santa Monica, California, Taos, New Mexico, and Olympia, Washington.

Groups were confronted and threatened with arrest in Boulder, Colorado; Raleigh, North Carolina, Portland, Oregon, Seattle, Washington and other cities across the United States this summer. In all over 50 cities in the United States have passed laws banning or limiting the sharing of meals with the hungry in the past two years with enforcement on the increase this fall.

On Sunday, October 6th Sacramento Food Not Bombs was kicked out of the Cesar Chavez Park by the Sacramento police. Volunteers were greeted by about 15 officers when they arrived at the park when they normally do in time to start sharing the meal they created by 1:30pm. They were told that our stuff would be confiscated and we would get a summons due to an ordinance that has yet to even be passed that would prevent any group from handing out free hot meal in the park.
Even though I was speaking at the Resolve to End Poverty Conference in Chapel Hill North Carolina New Mexico Environmental Health official James Jenison stopped by our meal in the TaosTaos Plaza to issue me a $500 citation for selling food without a permit. I called James on October 10th. He told me that he had been  called by Steve Zappe who was instructed by Robert Deblassie to tell  James that he needed to stop by our meal in Taos to issue me a citation. Our volunteer in Taos was handed the citation As James gave our volunteer he asked if I was still in Baltimore. When I spoke with James he really had no idea why he was told to issue me a citation. He said Steve was in charge of “food” and “a nice guy.” and gave me both  Robert  and Steve’s phone number. I called Steve and left a message. His message did indeed sound friendly.
I thought I should look into the origins of  my having been issued a citation for “selling food without a permit” and searched for Steve and Robert on the web. Sure enough Steve was the director of food safety for the State of New Mexico. It was not so easy to find out Robert’s position with the state government but there were many references to his employment with military contractors several sites saying “Worked in Defense & Space” with details that claimed he worked at Sandia National Laboratories up to August 2013. He also worked at Thomas & Betts and General Electric.

Past efforts to drive Food Not Bombs out of sight were originated from concerns that the public would see our volunteers providing vegan meals to large numbers of hungry people motivating the public to pressure the government to divert funding from the military to social programs, healthcare and education. U.S. State Department officials compared us to al-Quida in a lecture aired on C-Span in April 2009 concluding Food Not Bombs was more dangerous because we were friendly and were building momentum towards reducing military spending. Local officials worry that they too will be pressure to divert funding from projects desired by their campaign supporters in the business community to programs to help the poor.

Campaigns to hide hunger and poverty are nationally coordinated even though the public is given the impression that local officials and business leaders were inspired by local conditions to introduce laws against the sharing of food in public, restrictions on begging, sitting in commercial areas or sleeping outside.

I was approached by the president of the Kenmore Square Business Association in Boston and asked to take a photo of a local African American man to use in a poster I would design saying “Wanted out of Kenmore Square.” hey suggested I put a Red circle with a line through it over his picture. The idea came from meetings the association was having with the local Captan of the Boston Police Department who explained that the reason our retail shops were not doing as well as those on Newbury Street was the presence of homeless people.

This was my introduction into what I soon learned was a nationwide campaign promoted by the federal government. It became the Community Oriented Policing Services program and used the “Broken Window Study ” and scientific proof that local business needed to support “quality of life” campaigns. Justice Department officials funded and coordinated templates that included posters, quality of life laws, and anti-homeless architecture like benches difficult to sleep on and spikes for walls to keep people from sitting. Local police were encouraged to speak at  business association meetings to explain that crime by the homeless was on the increase and studies showed that your store would sell more but people wont make purchases if they see homeless people and may not even visit your neighborhood if they know they may see a homeless person.

In the early 1990′s the chief of the Missoula Montana Police Department told us that The International Chief of Police Association’s yearly conference started to have an annual workshop called “What to do if a Food Not Bombs group starts in your city.”  City attorney conferences also have discussions on the passing of laws to ban or limit the sharing of food in public, laws restricting pan handling, outside sleeping and other “quality of life crimes.”  If you travel across America you may notice the greenish poster “give a hand up not a hand out” poster in store windows. Your business association might have down load the template off the Justice Department C.O.P.S. website.

While we are rushing towards global economic failure American tax payers are not only paying for the largest military on earth, housing more of ourselves in prison than any other country we address the issue of poverty and hungry by funding a nationally coordinated campaign to criminalize the victims of corporate domination. If that isn’t already magical thinking going wild America’s “best” Christians are demanding the implementation of policies designed to cause more  suffering.

Just before the government shut down the U.S. Congress approved a three-year nutrition bill (H.R. 3102), with a partisan 217-210 vote, that aims to cut about $40 billion over 10 years for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and provide various reforms to the program. House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions, R-Texas, said the bill includes “reasonable changes” to address the “growing and growing and growing” amount of SNAP recipients. “There are still jobs available in America,” Sessions said. “They may not be ones you want to stay in your whole life.” Democratic congress people said that 4 million low-income people, including 170,000 veterans would be cut from the food stamp program because of the vote.

The government shut down will stop payments to over 9 million low-income women and children who qualify for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children also known as WIC. Feeding hungry children is not considered essential yet 350,000 furloughed civilian employees of the Pentagon returned to work on Monday.

Tennessee Congressman Stephen Fincher lobbied fellow Congress people to make huge cuts in the Food Stamp Program.  He started his work with the gospel when he was only nine years old joining the The Fincher Family singing ministry. Fincher, who owns a farm in western Tennessee has received over $3.5 million in agricultural subsidies from the federal government.

Another wealthy American Shaun McCutcheon uses magical thinking to claim  his “right to free speech’  has been deed because he can’t buy “enough” political power. He took his case to the Supreme Court. It could be very interesting to see where America goes once the Supreme Court rules that the 1% percent is protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to “hire’ any politician they wish to pass any law they need to provide access to as much money as they desire. We think the 1% is rich and powerful now. We haven’t seen anything yet.

While the courts have claimed that money is protected free speech they have also ruled that sharing free food and literature under the banner Food Not Bombs is not protected by the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution claiming that “time place and manor” restrictions apply. It might be legal to share food with the hungry in public and it might be legal to hold a banner and pass out flyers but “obviously” you can’t do both at the same time and location because that would be “too powerful of speech.”  This is the magical thinking born from meetings of city attorneys in California in the early 1990′s and shared with city officials all across the United States.

MSNBC aired this on the Rachel Maddow Show report  that in  September 2010, a few weeks before the midterm elections, Republican Congressman Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia spoke at the Faith and Freedom Conference telling the audience that the Republican Party was going to need their support when they move to shut down the government. They played tape of Westmoreland saying

“He can tell you what happened. the government shut down. [ applause ] the American people — that’s what I wanted to hear! I wanted to hear a good clap for that. because here’s what’s going to happen. If we hold the line , if we get those courageous men and women to be part of our majority , if we say, look, we’re in partnership with the American people , we’re listening to the American people , this is what we’re going to do. if the government shuts down, we want you with us. We want you with us. We’ve got to have you. We’ve got to have you there because later on, you all will call us and say, look, i didn’t get my  check. Daddy can’t go to the VA. you know, the National Parks are closed. We need to make sure that you’re going to be with us.”

Some kind of deal could be agreed to to save America and the world from fiscal cliff but for millions the crisis will continue  every day regardless. Magical thinking has brought us to a critical point. Green Party Presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein was interviewed about this partial government shutdown and debt crisis on RT and provided what will be considered the best outcome by the main stream media. Obama and the Republicans will advert the fall off the fiscal cliff raising the debt ceiling saving America and the world fro catastrophic collapse. In the process Republicans will “win” concessions like cuts in social security, medicare and other programs. Not one penny will be diverted from the Pentagon, Homeland Security or agencies like the NSA.

We may look back and have wished Obama made a “Grand Bargain and cut social security, medicare and made the Affordable Care Act even less affordable after we struggle to survive the economic chaos following a refusal to increase the debt.

At the same time Congress and the White House are in turmoil IMF chief economist Olivier Blanchard was across town speaking  at the annual meeting of the IMF and World Bank. “If Congress doesn’t increase the nation’s borrowing authority this month. It would probably lead to a lot of financial turmoil.”
Food Not Bombs groups may be in for more than arrests and beatings. Millions may be looking to us for food and guidance.

Please support Sacramento Food Not Bombs. We will be risking arrest on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at Cesar Chavez Park at 1:30 PM – For more details you can call Sacramento Food Not Bombs volunteer Davida at 916-451-6503
Keith McHenry
co-founder of the Food Not Bombs Movement
P.O. Box 424
Arroyo Seco, NM 87514 USA
575-770-3377

BLACK INK
The official site for Hofstra University’s Association of Black Journalists’ newsletter

http://habjblackink.com/2013/10/10/food-not-bombs-volunteers-face-arrest-on-sunday/

http://www.foodnotbombs.net/YOU_DONT_NEED_PERMISSION_TO_END_HUNGER.pdf

http://www.foodnotbombs.net/fnb_resists.html

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