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Free Minds & Free Markets

Food Freedom and the First Amendment: Is Feeding the Homeless a Constitutional Right?

Hayne Palmour IV/TNS/NewscomHayne Palmour IV/TNS/NewscomLast week a federal appeals court ruled that a Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, ban on sharing food with the homeless is probably unconstitutional because it prohibits "expressive conduct protected by the First Amendment." The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals remanded the case to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida with orders for that court to reconsider its earlier ruling, which had upheld the city's ordinance.

The case stems from efforts by a local chapter of Food Not Bombs to share vegetarian and vegan food with the needy in a Ft. Lauderdale park. The city passed an ordinance in 2014 to crack down on this practice. The law limited hours of operation, established food safety requirements, and required those who want to share food to obtain a conditional use permit. The city arrested several Food Not Bombs members for violating the ordinance.

That spurred the Food Not Bombs chapter to sue, arguing, inter alia, that its outdoor food sharing is expressive conduct protected by the First Amendment. The District Court disagreed and, in 2016, granted the city's summary judgment request.

In his 2016 ruling, U.S. District Court Judge William Zloch wrote that the Ft. Lauderdale law imposed no First Amendment obstacles but "simply require[d Food Not Bombs] to obtain a permit and follow a detailed protocol."

Food Not Bombs says the opposite is true: It shares food not just to provide sustenance to those in need but "to communicate its message 'that...society can end hunger and poverty if we redirect our collective resources from the military and war and that food is a human right, not a privilege, which society has a responsibility to provide for all." The requirements imposed by the city erected impermissible barriers to the group's messaging activities.

In an interesting 20-page ruling that references an eclectic mix of sources and events—including Shakespeare, the first Thanksgiving, Cass Sunstein, the Bible, and the Boston Tea Party—the appeals court embraced the Food Not Bombs chapter's view.

What's next for the law? Hopefully nothing. Ft. Lauderdale's new mayor says he wants the city to repeal it, according to a South Florida ABC affiliate.

"I'm upset we spent all these resources and all this time trying to defeat the homeless," says Mayor Dean Trantalis, who took office earlier this year. "I think that the ordinance does not help the city or the homeless. I think we need to reverse the ordinance and we need to restructure our whole approach to working with this population."

Good for Trantalis. But will other cities see the light? Ft. Lauderdale's awful ban is hardly unique. Many cities around the country have (or recently had) similar bans in place, including Houston, Las Vegas, New York City, Philadelphia, Dallas, Birmingham, and San Antonio. In 2011, I wrote in support of the Orlando chapter of Food Not Bombs, who'd been arrested for sharing food with the homeless in violation of a city ordinance. I've devoted many columns to these crackdowns in the years since, and I spend several pages of my recent book, Biting the Hands that Feed Us, deriding these laws as the lowest form of regulation.

One person I quote in the book is Jay Hamburger, who's been sharing food with the needy in Houston for decades—and who's seen such activities targeted by the city's mayor, several members of the city council, and developers. "No government has a right to interfere with or intercede in my otherwise legal right to express myself through my generosity," he said.

It's great that courts are beginning to agree. But we're a long way from having these awful and unconstitutional laws disappear.

Photo Credit: Hayne Palmour IV/TNS/Newscom

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  • Brian||

    I heartily endorse this interpretation of 1A.

    It will never be allowed to fly, for obvious reasons.

  • perlchpr||

    I dunno if it's a "1A" issue in particular, but fuck people who object to others feeding the homeless.

    And like, quadruple bypass fuck any so called "Christian" who objects. You are failing at your self-imposed goal.

  • al-saulinsky||

    What the hell, no one even mentioned any sort of religious practice. Though never said, it's easily inferred that any ban on voluntary practices involves the State protecting a tax revenue stream.

    Perhaps you should pull your diaper up, your Christian bigotry is showing.

  • perlchpr||

    Um, how is it "Christian bigotry" to call out people who claim to adhere to a faith that explicitly calls for charity, when they forbid others from performing charity?

    To be clear, I am advocating for the Christian virtue of Charity, and denouncing those who claim to support those virtues in theory and abjure them in practice.

    If I can be accused of anything it's anti-'Christian' (explicitly in scare quotes, 'cause I'm mocking people who are the Jesus equivalents of RINOs here) bigotry.

  • Fancylad||

    I get what you're saying, you're talking about cultural American Christianism as opposed to doctrinal Christianity, but you weren't very clear in your first post.

  • Fancylad||

    Ideologues like Tony and Kirkland wouldn't understand that there's a marked difference, however.

  • perlchpr||

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_virtues

    I'm unaware of those virtues being somehow just an 'American' thing. Do you have more on that?

  • Fancylad||

    American Christianism doesn't have much to do with virtue. It's Christianity as an American cultural identity, not a set of beliefs.

  • perlchpr||

    Oh! You were saying it the other way around. I get it now. OK, I can agree with that.

  • SQRLSY One||

    A fix for these kinds of problems is fairly obvious:

    Take your food to the vicinity of the poor, wrapped cleanly in plastic or other containers. Explain to them that it's good, safe food, but, because you have more than you need, AND because Government Almighty has prohibited you from feeding it to them, you are going to throw it in the trash (here, follow me, homeless person). ... (And bring your own trash can if need be).

    "OK, there it is, in the trash, maybe if you want to play it safe, you might want to ask permission of Government Almighty before you go dumpster-diving, but I'll stand over here and kind block the view, it's all up to you, I am not trying to tell you what to do."

  • al-saulinsky||

    Why is it even a problem? If I want to take some grub to someone, whose business is it all? If my intentions are to kill the person then I face the consequences under the law. All the idiotic regulations "for our protection" are merely shackles to control you.

  • Rob Misek||

    The major gaping ideological hole in NAPsterism is the love hate relationship with government.

    Nobody is calling for private infrastructure which is only required for smoothly functioning social welfare including business.

    But start talking about socially responsible laws and regulations and every NAPster is suddenly an off the grid homesteader.

    Then the "explanations" begin. Like "this works in a society where nobody takes advantage of anyone" duh. Oh yeah, when they do "initiate" as is required in a capitalist environment of the almighty dollar, just "payout" and you're golden.

    Personally, I prefer my ideology to be air tight, logical and consistent.

  • 68W58||

    Personally, I prefer my ideology to be air tight, logical and consistent.

    What ideology is that then?

  • Rob Misek||

    Discerning, valuing and accepting truth, demonstrated by the evidence of logic and science to resolve all perceived conflicts.

    For any conflict, there is a single truthful resolution that applies to and should be accepted by all who value truth.

  • 68W58||

    For any conflict, there is a single truthful resolution that applies to and should be accepted by all who value truth.

    There really isn't. Different people will emphasize different facts and arrive at wildly different conclusions based on that. Conflict doesn't just exist because people are always arguing in bad faith.

  • Rob Misek||

    I'll prove it to you but whether you value the demonstrated truth is only dependent on your rationality.

    Define any conflict with a single unambiguous question and the truthful solution is immediately apparent.

    If you're confident I'm wrong, give it a shot.

  • 68W58||

    Why is it dependent on my rationality? Why are you confident that your own is perfect?

  • Rob Misek||

    It is the most basic premise of logic.

    Truth is defined as reality. He who rejects the truth is irrational.

  • 68W58||

    Perhaps, but one's perception of truth is filtered through one's perceptions and biases. If you believe that you are without any of those I would caution you about hubris.

  • Rob Misek||

    I know that through my own concentrated effort at honesty, intelligence, logic and science I can discern much truth and separate it from lies.

    This effort represents the best that I can be, and it's as air tight as we are humanly capable of being.

    Hubris is consciously rejecting reality, by not even trying to discern, value and share it.

  • 68W58||

    all of those things are what people of good faith will try to do. And yet I would say that people of good faith will disagree about many issues. There is so much more under heaven and earth than is dreamed of in anyone's philosophy.

  • Rob Misek||

    More than truth?

    What makes you believe that to be true?

  • Mark22||

    Are you 12 years old?

  • 68W58||

    And further, the world is filled with ambiguity. Why are you so confident that any question is reducible to a "single unambiguous question."

  • Rob Misek||

    The world is filled with shit too, but most of us are pretty successful at separating it from our food.

    Removing ambiguity is the basic premise of problem solving. KISS

    You may not be very good at either, but that is mediocrity, not ideology.

  • 68W58||

    Ah well, at the very least I am cognizant of my mediocrity. One is much less likely to go around causing problems for others that way.

  • Rob Misek||

    We rise to the level of our incompetence.

    For some it is a self fulfilling prophecy.

  • 68W58||

    I leave it to the fair reader to decide which of us has had the best of this.

  • Rob Misek||

    Me too.

  • Mark22||

    If you're confident I'm wrong, give it a shot.

    The only thing I'm confident of is that you are a progressive, tending towards fascism.

  • Rob Misek||

    That's it? Sucks to be you.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    I like 68W58, and would invite him to a barbecue.

    /agree

  • Jerryskids||

    My neighbor stole my lawnmower so I snuck over to his house and stole it back. I had to break a window in his shed to get it back and now he insists I owe him $125 for what it cost him to call out a glazier and get it fixed. I could have fixed the broken window myself for about $15 but I really don't think I owe him anything at all. How do we settle the issue?

  • perlchpr||

    How do we settle the issue?

    There is only one answer and it is obvious to any logical person because none of the facts are in dispute. I mean, duh.

  • Rob Misek||

    Are you both willing to accept the truth, reality demonstrated by honesty, logic and science in a rational way?

    You both broke the law and in the wrong and you're lucky you're still alive after breaking into each other's houses.

    The ambiguity you have is about what to do with two criminals.

    Logically, you both are convicted and sentenced for your respective crimes according to the law of the land.

    If you don't like the law of the land, change it, or leave.

    How could either of you rationally disagree with the truth of this logic?

  • DenverJ||

    Fun. Now do the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
    Even better, abortion.

  • Rob Misek||

    Israel stole Palestine with allied help.

    Abortion is murder.

  • Mcgoo95||

    Two people walk into a room. One says it's hot the other says it's cold. To each person they are making a true statement. How can you argue, in good faith, that truth is always absolute? The only true statement you can make is the room is x degrees, and I'm sure, that is the position you will take but I challenge you to disprove either person's statement.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    For every human problem, there is a solution that is simple, easy, and wrong.

  • Mcgoo95||

    "Anybody who says anything is simple, doesn't fully understand the problem."

  • Rob Misek||

    The ambiguity that you have failed to remove is represented by replacing the statement "it is" with "I feel".. that more accurately represents your only logical option.

    I feel cold. Yeah so what? I feel hot.

  • Mcgoo95||

    ...and yet that it is not what they said. I could easily use the same logic discredit your previous statement and rearrange it to "I feel abortion is murder." We are arguing about measuring instruments, which frequently, is on a individual level. Not everything can be reduced to scientific certainty and often scientific evidence doesn't give any useful answers in how to proceed anyway.

  • Mcgoo95||

    You also seem to be confounding facts with truth. They are not the same.

  • Rob Misek||

    Can you provide an example of truth that is not a fact or vice versa?

  • Rob Misek||

    Right, their statements were ambiguous which caused conflict. When the removed the ambiguity they shared the truth that they feel differently at the same temperature.

    Do you think murder is the killing of a defenceless innocent living human being. Is murder really a question of how you feel?

    Truth, reality is discerned, to the limit of all human potential, with logic and science. It's the best we can achieve and rationally has to be good enough.

  • Mcgoo95||

    "Right, their statements were ambiguous which caused conflict. When the removed the ambiguity they shared the truth that they feel differently at the same temperature."

    No. Their statements were not ambiguous. They simply did not have the same truths. They both made truthful statements that were opposed to each other.

    "Do you think murder is the killing of a defenceless innocent living human being. Is murder really a question of how you feel?"

    To argue from your position, the point in the gestation process that a smudge of cells becomes an "innocent living human being" is ambiguous. People have different truths for when this occurs guided by science and religion.

    "Truth, reality is discerned, to the limit of all human potential, with logic and science. It's the best we can achieve and rationally has to be good enough."

    Science only uncovers facts. Reality and truth are subjugated to individuals. Some truths are universal.....many are not.

  • Rob Misek||

    The science of a thermometer proved the truth that the room was one temperature.

    They were in conflict when they said the temperature was different.

    They shared the truth when they recognized they each felt differently.

    Science demonstrates that from conception the baby is a living unique human individual with the proof being unique DNA.

    Individuals can only uncover truth reality with logic and science. Do you really think you have control over reality? Prove it.

  • Mcgoo95||

    Since you are apparently too dense to listen to me,

    http://bfy.tw/JgiM

    Come back when you've grown a beard. I'm done.

  • Rob Misek||

    You were done the moment you rejected truth reality.

    Perhaps just too dense to realize it.

  • Fancylad||

    The second point is obvious to anyone who's ever looked at a sonogram.

  • Mcgoo95||

    "The second point is obvious to anyone who's ever looked at a sonogram."

    But at which point during gestation?

  • Rob Misek||

    Science and logic dictate conception.

  • Mcgoo95||

    "Science and logic dictate conception."

    You make the ambiguous assumption that life begins at conception. I believe it begins at consciousness. You also probably believe "every sperm is sacred." This argument has reached the point of stupid...

  • Rob Misek||

    I made a statement of truth reality proven by the best science we have.

    You reject it, and are irrational.

    But you rejected truth long ago, and have built a fortress of belief and opinion protecting you from it.

    Yours is a self fulfilling prophecy.

  • Agammamon||

    Yeah, they got all that. The conflict still remains - who is on the hook for the window repair. You haven't solved the *conflict*, you've just offered commentary on the events surrounding it.

  • Rob Misek||

    That depends on the law of the land to determine along with your sentencing for breaking into his house.

  • Mark22||

    Rob Misek: fuck off, slaver.

  • Rob Misek||

    How's the weather down there?

    Periods of piss and shit?

  • perlchpr||

    Periods of piss and shit?

    You do seem to be putting in periodic appearances.

  • Rob Misek||

    Yes, you can expect that in the gutter.

    For me, it's just relief.

  • Mark22||

    For any conflict, there is a single truthful resolution that applies to and should be accepted by all who value truth.

    And if only we make you dictator, you'll make the rest of us see the wisdom of your truthful resolutions at the point of a gun!

  • Rob Misek||

    If you can't recognize and accept reality, you are by definition irrational.

    At what point do irrational people need to be persuaded with violence?

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    The mask comes off: you define reality and truth.

    Fuck off, slaver.

  • Mark22||

    At what point do irrational people need to be persuaded with violence?

    At no point. My irrational beliefs are no more your business than your irrational beliefs are mine.

    If you can't recognize and accept reality, you are by definition irrational.

    If you think that humans make decisions rationally, you fail to recognize and accept reality.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    He does. He is the dictionary definition of reality. Look it up if you don't believe me; of course, you'll have to use his dictionary, as it is the only true real dictionary with true real definitions.

  • Rob Misek||

    Oh, I thought you were going to say "After someone initiates violence". Isn't that your mantra?

    Humans make good decisions rationally.

    You demonstrate the opposite. Yours is a self fulfilling prophecy.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    Humans make bad decisions rationally. We are a most rational species, from a certain perspective.

  • Rob Misek||

    Of course you can provide an example of a rational bad decision.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    Lol. Of course. With all these politicians prancing through the world, oh, yes, I can provide examples of humans rationally making bad choices.

    Whether you'll hear me is another question entirely. Rationally, humans have no incentive to accept facts that don't fit their worldview, and every short-term incentive to rationalize them away.

  • Rob Misek||

    Is that your self fulfilling prophecy?

    Cmon, provide an example of a rational bad decision.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    Fine.

    See: You.

    You're getting bad results, and doubling down. The reality is this will not end well, nor is it likely to further whatever ends you planned for, and yet here you are. Doing your thing. It makes sense to you, and the bad results are just things that had nothing to do with you. Change nothing, plow ahead, and the results will change if you just have faith in your methods.

    In your defense, this is an incredibly common - arguably universal - thought pattern. We do this a lot.

    Also, it is not a good idea to ask me questions if one does not really want an answer.

  • Rob Misek||

    What "bad results" am I getting?

    I recognize "you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink".

    My rationality has no relationship to your bad decision.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    *chuckle*

    Whether you'll hear me is another question entirely. Rationally, humans have no incentive to accept facts that don't fit their worldview, and every short-term incentive to rationalize them away.
  • Rob Misek||

    I don't know about you, but I'm pleased with the optics of our dialogue.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    You would be.

  • Agammamon||

    Humans make good decisions rationally.

    You demonstrate the opposite. Yours is a self fulfilling prophecy.

    But he's a human. So, by your own definition he's making good decisions rationally. Or are you going to tell us he's not really human - and will that justify your use of violence against him to get him to conform to the way you want him to behave?

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    He wants a rational bad decision. I suggest just about every war. Hitler had his reasons. He thought he was rational. Lots of people thought he was rational.

    Stalin too thought his pogroms, purges, collectivization, all his deals with Hitler -- he thought they were all rational. Enough other people thought he was rational that he was sustained in his decisions.

    But of course, those were not rational decisions in hindsight, and in Misek-sight.

  • Rob Misek||

    What good decisions did Hitler make irrationally?

    Or

    What bad decisions did he make rationally?

  • Rob Misek||

    I never said humans didn't make bad decisions irrationally because we can do that also.

  • Mark22||

    Humans make good decisions rationally.

    You're a few decades out of touch with science. There is overwhelming evidence that humans make good decisions intuitively and subconsciously, instead of using reason (=rationally).

  • Hamster of Doom||

    There's a fair bit of science to support the theory that the more successful and/or intelligent we are, the less evidence-supported our decisions are.

    Humans value rewards. We get more of what we reward. Incentives... lol. How do they work. Individuation appears to be particularly difficult for humans, requiring a combination of intellect and vulnerability to consequences.

    Dr. Sukhvinder Obhi out of Montreal has some very interesting work on this. Recommended, for those into that sort of thing.

  • Rob Misek||

    Prove it.

  • Rob Misek||

    Prove it.

  • Mcgoo95||

    "For any conflict, there is a single truthful resolution that applies to and should be accepted by all who value truth."

    Protagoras would find your suggestion ridiculous.

  • Rob Misek||

    Too bad he's not here to make a point.

    Apparently neither are you.

  • Mcgoo95||

    I responded above.

  • Agammamon||

    For any conflict, there is a single truthful resolution that applies to and should be accepted by all who value truth.

    Second failure.

    For there to be one 'single truthful resolution that applies to and should be accepted by all who value truth' assumes that all people have identical wants and needs - and have those identical wants and needs at the same time.

    That's not reality bub. And that's just another reason why trying to codify into legislation every human interaction is going to fail again and again.

  • Rob Misek||

    Do you think that what you want or need affects truth, reality.

    Reality is whatever you want it to be?

    Take that to the asylum.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    Yes, he must be crazy. I'm sure that's a rational assessment.

  • Agammamon||

    It certainly is part of reality. Which is why it needs to be taken into consideration when working towards the resolution of a conflict.

    A conflict could be 'I want that piece of cake and so do you'. It doesn't belong to either of us, the owner is willing to sell it to both of us, there is no other piece.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    That's not really a conflict yet. That's an auction. It becomes a conflict when one of them decides to use force.

  • Rob Misek||

    Yes that represents a conflict.

    Assuming you're too stupid to share the piece, or make some other trade to demonstrate your desire peacefully, you each want the whole piece.

    The ambiguity and conflict arises when you escalate from simply wanting it to making the conclusion that you deserve it or are willing to commit to violence to get it.

    Without truthful reasoning as evidence that supports the cake should belong to you, taking it would be denying truth, initiating conflict, and wrong.

    Without such

  • Rob Misek||

    Delete "without such"

  • Agammamon||

    Nevertheless - the conflict still exists. Both want the piece. How do you solve it rationally.

  • Rob Misek||

    Without evidence of truth proving the cake is yours, the conflict is resolved truthfully by sharing the cake, making another deal for it or just being kind to the other person and letting them have it.

    What kind of family raised you? Grow up.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Just when you thought it could not get nuttier than Hank, along comes this Rob Misek fellow.

  • Mark22||

    I can't make sense of your rambling, but...

    Nobody is calling for private infrastructure which is only required for smoothly functioning social welfare including business.

    Libertarians are generally calling for private infrastructure.

    Personally, I prefer my ideology to be air tight, logical and consistent.

    It doesn't look that way to me.

  • Rob Misek||

    How does private infrastructure work?

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Physics.

  • Mark22||

    Same way it has for the past few centuries.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Not quite. Government has fucked it up considerably, making it more inefficient.

  • Rob Misek||

    Never without government coordination and approval.

    Unless you can provide an example of course.

  • Mark22||

    Can you give examples of infrastructure that didn't start out as private enterprise? DIdn't think so.

  • Rob Misek||

    Now you're just desperate.

  • Agammamon||

    How does private infrastructure work?

    Kind of irrelevant isn't it? You stated that libertarians weren't calling for private infrastructure. But we have been. For someone who claims to hold truth and 'rationality' in such high regard, that would seem to indicate that you need to go back and re-align your priors.

    Instead all you've done here is try to distract people from your mistake.

  • Rob Misek||

    I may have made the mistake of assuming libertarians were rational.

    If you demand something that doesn't work, you aren't rational.

    Oh, what have I done?

  • Hamster of Doom||

    Failed to apply your standards to yourself? Just a guess.

  • Rob Misek||

    If I was perfect, you'd worship me on Sundays.

    At least I'm rational.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    Yes. You have rationally called commenters crazy and set yourself up as the arbiter of all reality.

    Humans have a talent for rationalizing. We can make apparently any absurdity seem sensible in our own heads.

  • Rob Misek||

    I have exposed irrational behaviour. You called it crazy.

    Regarding making absurdity sensible in your own head. That's all you and your self fulfilling prophecy.

    I value and utilize honesty intelligence logic and science to discern truth, reality and demonstrate rationality.

    That you have the hubris to deny it speaks volumes about you, not me.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    >>>You called it crazy.

    You told Agammamon to take it to the asylum.

    Now comes the part where your brain figures out why it was rational for you do to so, and yet I am doing a bad thing by doing the same.

  • Rob Misek||

    Now you're making my point.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    Okay.

  • Agammamon||

    I have exposed irrational behaviour.

    See, another mistaken assumption. You haven't exposed anything. This isn't new, this isn't hidden. We've been calling for private infrastructure for as long as there have been libertarians. You've *just discovered this now*.

    Yet you keep telling us *you're* the rational one.

  • Rob Misek||

    You said

    "For there to be one 'single truthful resolution that applies to and should be accepted by all who value truth' assumes that all people have identical wants and needs - and have those identical wants and needs at the same time."

    I exposed the irrationality of your comment when I informed you that wants and needs have no impact on truth or reality at all.

    Asylums are full of people who think their wants or needs have any impact on reality.

    Go ahead and prove it. Give any example of a want or need that affects reality.

  • Agammamon||

    So wants and needs aren't real then?

  • Rob Misek||

    I said they don't affect reality. Prove otherwise.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Hamsta brotha, Rob Misek is obviously not arguing in good faith. So I say he is fair game for ridicule.

  • Rob Misek||

    Do what you're good at.

    It certainly isn't sharing the truth of logic and science.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    >>Hamsta brotha, Rob Misek is obviously not arguing in good faith. So I say he is fair game for ridicule.

    Agreed. I'm just not at the point where I could see that serving a productive purpose.

    His spelling's good, though. We've had worse.

  • Agammamon||

    Oh, what have I done?

    Continue to deflect rather than deal with the core issue here - that your worldview is not in accordance with reality.

    The rationality of libertarians here is irrelevant.

    What is relevant is you 'thought we were rational', made an assumption based on that prior, are wrong in your assumption - now, you need to re-evaluate your worldview in light of this new information. That's the rational thing to do.
  • Rob Misek||

    Your rationality is only relevant if you want to be taken seriously.

    Which is it?

  • Agammamon||

    Nobody is calling for private infrastructure which is only required for smoothly functioning social welfare including business.

    See, there's where you fail. The very first sentence you wrote to support your thesis contains a mistake so major that it negates it.

    We *have* been calling for private infrastructure. For a long time now. And for the privatization of existing infrastructure.

    Also, the last half of that sentence - doesn't make any sense in light of the first half.

  • Rob Misek||

    I responded above.

  • Agammamon||

    But not to the point made.

  • Rob Misek||

    I said regarding private infrastructure to describe how that would work. Failing to do so would also demonstrate irrationality.

    "Never without government coordination and approval.

    Unless you can provide an example of course."

    So either you've failed,, are simply irrational or both.

  • Mark22||

    Food Freedom and the First Amendment: Is Feeding the Homeless a Constitutional Right?

    From a libertarian point of view, you can feed whoever you like on your private property as long as you comply with all the CC you have entered into as part of your property purchase. As part of connecting to the road, the road owner or HOA might impose restrictions on feeding the homeless on your property.

    Unfortunately, in the case of public roads, the CC are pretty arbitrary and determined by political majorities and activist judges.

  • Brian||

    I think, from the libertarian perspective, we're allowed to feed the homeless if we want to, while we set the public park on fire.

  • Mcgoo95||

    Begs the question, "who owns the park? " Most likely it cost money to build and maintain. If I helped build it with my money as a tax payer and you burn it down, I expect you to be held responsible for rebuilding it.

  • Brian||

    And in reality, I would be fined and imprisoned, and you would be responsible for rebuilding it.

  • Mcgoo95||

    Touche'

  • Agammamon||

    Frankly, since the money used to build it was extracted from me through coercion in the first place, if I burn it down I'ma gonna tell you to stick it.

  • Kivlor||

    I'm trying to understand the logic behind laws like these, but it escapes me. From where do you derive the authority to tell someone "you can't share or give food to another person"?

  • SQRLSY One||

    I'm not sympathetic to the arguments, but the argument is, you're free to feed them on your own property (as long as you don't charge them money, and then the theory is, all profit is evil, money is evil, except when Government Almighty moves it around using force, and so then, if you charge them a dollar, you need a 3-sink kitchen and 10 cubic yards of paperwork, yada-yada, in the name of public safety, but I digress).

    If you feed them FOR FREE on public property, enough to attract hordes of them, they become a nuisance to homes and businesses nearby. So "democracy" (the voters) speak, through their elected windbags, and try to cut down on this kind of thing.

    Unspoken caveat: If private people feed the poor, Government Almighty bureaucrats will have less excuses to tax us to "take care of the poor"!

  • JFree||

    If you feed them FOR FREE on public property, enough to attract hordes of them, they become a nuisance to homes and businesses nearby.

    This is where our laws re private-property-in-land have become quite absolutist. The Charter of the Forest (part of Magna Carta in 1217) acknowledged natural rights of people to collect fallen firewood or walk through forests with their pigs grazing on fallen acorns - even if the forests and big game were now 'owned' by the King. The natural right of others to sleep and to move on the Earth were not deemed to be infringed merely because some people now owned/enclosed that land (now called 'right to roam' or 'allemansrätten'). Up to the range wars in the late 19th century American West between 'free-range' v 'barbed wire' ranchers/farmers.

    Long-standing conflicts between rights of movement v rights of property. And in a modern cash economy - the natural right to withdraw from that market in order to find an alternative way to subsist.

    Other countries defined those property rights more narrowly (to not infringe on the natural rights of movement/withdrawal) - which meant property owners were incentivized to pay some level of taxes in order to reduce the number of people who would eg pitch a tent on some corner of their land for a night. We defined them very broadly/absolutely - which essentially forces those folks into cities (since rural lands are all now enclosed) - where it becomes someone else's problem and FYTW.

  • JFree||

    Long-standing conflicts between rights of movement v rights of property.

    Come to think of it, this is the oldest perpetual human conflict in history. Between barbarians and the 'civilized' - hunter/gatherers/nomads v farmers - Cain v Abel - Native American nomadic tribes v Europeans

    The homeless (in the US) - and subsistence farmers or squatters in the Third World - are merely the modern reminder that even if history is written by the winners it doesn't mean the conflict ever went away or was resolved.

  • Shirley Knott||

    Missing from these discussions is any consideration of libertarian social structure and the impacts thereof on homelessness.
    Homelessness in the US is largely a product of the welfare/warfare state, compounded by labor regulations on the one hand and de-institutionalization on the other.
    Asking for the 'libertarian response' to problems that exist because of non-libertarian social order is kind of pointless. A lose-lose game. "Okay, given a whole non-libertarian social structure, what's the libertarian solution to this one specific structural element?"
    Discussion of transition plans to reduce homelessness, and to broadly increase freedom, would seem more useful.

  • JFree||

    I'm not asking for a libertarian response to anything. I think modern 'libertarian' (as the word is used in the US) is an alien (and inferior) concept where 'classical liberal' and 'natural rights' still exist and define the conversation. It's 19th century anarchism - without the slightest recognition that LAND OWNERSHIP was the central issue of 19th century anarchism. Modern libertarianism is delusional.

    De-institutionalization and its predecessor were merely the misbegotten way we chose to deal with either the actually mentally ill - or people who just don't fit into 'norms'. If a libertarian can't deal with that issue - on its own terms - then the libertarian is useless and the ism is meaningless. I understand why DeRps can't deal with that but

    The notion that 'labor regulations' will fix a fucking thing is mindblowing. The capable 'working poor' are spending 25-60% of their income merely on housing (the highest in the world). Losing one paycheck, they are on the edge of homeless. Forcing them to compete in the cash-wage-market with the actual homeless is not going to do shit for either of them. It's the price of LAND - esp in cities. And the coercion INTO a cash-market system where subsistence (or 'homesteading') is no longer possible outside the cash economy. And the homeless are being driven INTO cities (the FYTW) by those who view property-in-land as absolute (shoot all trespassers - where trespass itself is deemed a privately-adjudicated capital crime).

  • Shirley Knott||

    I don't much disagree.
    "Labor regulations" are a source of the problem, not 'the' fix. Certainly they're a contributing factor. Kill the minimum wage, kill rent control, land-use permits, and property taxes, you've got the beginnings of a fix.
    Your points about land ownership point towards another huge contributing factor. Rent control, property taxes, land use regulations, permits of all sorts, all contribute.
    Largely, modern homelessness is a creation of the state.

  • Qsl||

    Eh, I'd at least start inquiring as to whether homelessness is increasing or not and identifying contributing factors (it may all be correlation, but you have to start somewhere). And you can't even get to rent control, property taxes, land use regulations, etc. without suspiciously eyeing how land ownership is defined. Not to mention there is only one libertarian approved method for dealing with homelessness: prisons. If the majority of land is to be privately owned and the majority can't afford the price of admission, you have a problem.

    And then you add in popular libertarian notions of business (right to deny service to anyone for any reason) with the idea of privatized infrastructure, and it gets even more curious.

    And then there is the whole NAP vs. wars of conquest, but I suppose if you are merely paying someone to agress on your behalf, that really isn't a violation,

    Geolibertarians have been the only ones brave enough to ask the questions (whether their solutions work is another matter entirely), but at some point all the absolutist (well, absolute when it is convenient) "rights" have to converge, and modern libertarianism has absolutely no answer.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    I liked that quite a lot, Shirley.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    Shit, threading. I was referring to your 11:05 comment.

  • gah87||

    In Florida, it's illegal to pick up an orange from the ground, even if it's on public property.

  • Eddy||

    Presumably they don't want to attract homeless people to the city or parts of the city.

    I don't like restricting private charity, though I'm interested in the idea that this law is a restriction on *expression.* I mean, that sounds weird, probably wrong.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    A really good argument for feeding the homeless is, "This person is a human, as am I, and I have lots of food and wish to share". And even better argument is, "Mind your own business."

    When we refuse to listen to good arguments, we mistakenly think the issue goes away. Really, it just incentivizes weird arguments. People don't stop wanting to be heard just because no one's listening.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Everyone supports feeding the homeless. Just not in front of their house.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I would throw the food down the street, so the bums move on. I am feeding them and voluntarily away from my house.

  • gah87||

    The deeper issue is that the state has declared certain rights to be basic -- medical care, housing, food, education -- then declared that only the state may fulfill those rights, or that we need the state's permission to fulfill them. Look no further than San Francisco's housing rules, or NYC's fight against charter schools and school choice in general.

  • Ken Shultz||

    When the homeless start congregating in mass in anticipation of the giveaway, sometimes days in advance, they can create all sorts of problems for local property owners and businesses--sanitation being one example, dozens of them congregating in front of businesses and hassling customers for change being another. There is a large proportion of people with schizophrenia in the homeless population, who may be screaming obscenities to no one, and that tends to scare people, and attracting the homeless tends to require a larger police presence since they're often the perpetrators of and victims of crime. They take over public parks and effectively make them unusable for anyone else.

    I understand not wanting to attract a larger homeless population from a municipal perspective.

    What I find especially irksome is that the communities that want to implement these restrictions on feeding the homeless are often in cities with some of the biggest rent control laws--San Francisco and Santa Monica being examples.

  • Mark22||

    From where do you derive the authority to tell someone "you can't share or give food to another person"?

    They are not restricting the right to "give food to another person", they are restricting the right to do so on streets, or possibly to use private property in a particular location to do so.

    There are plenty of such restrictions already, both imposed by cities and imposed by HOAs: you can't run a business from many properties, you can't bring in more than X number of people for a party on your property, you can't feed/keep/attract certain animals, etc.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "If you give out free food on the street with no other services to deal with the collateral damage, you get hundreds of people beginning to squat," said Alexander Polinsky, an actor who lives two blocks from the bread line. "They are living in my bushes and they are living in my next door neighbor's crawl spaces. We have a neighborhood which now seems like a mental ward."

    ----New York Times

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11.....tions.html

  • Ken Shultz||

    The interesting thing about progressives is that they have the same concerns as anyone else--spending, taxes, homeless people pissing all over their property--it's just that they're more sensitive to other concerns, like racism, homophobia, etc., especially in the abstract. Tip O'Neal famously said that "all politics is local", but that isn't the way it works in California, In California, they send Democrats to Sacramento because of something some idiot Republican elsewhere in the country says about "legitimate rape".

    In some ways, it's like SJW Derangement Syndrome. It's not that they don't care about reasonable things; it's that once they think racism, homophobia, sexism, etc. are in the picture, they can no longer see the issue anymore. TDS is the same thing. Democrat voters don't oppose Trump on most of the issues. It's just that once they think he's a sexist and that racists like him, they can't even see the issues anymore.

    Does an actor who lives in West Hollywood want homeless people pissing in his yard? Of course not!

    . . . not unless Trump says something about homeless people. If he does, suddenly he, and the the rest of the lefties in West Hollywood, think anybody who doesn't want the homeless pissing in their yard is a crotch grabbing, racist.

  • Mark22||

    Does an actor who lives in West Hollywood want homeless people pissing in his yard? Of course not!

    That's why he is paying food trucks to lure the homeless away and have them piss in someone else's yard.

  • Agammamon||

    think anybody who doesn't want the homeless pissing in their yard is a crotch grabbing, racist.

    They still don't want them in *their* yard - and they get a pass on the 'crotch-grabbing racist' because they're woke and the problem around *them* is 'so much worse than anyone else has to deal with' that they need, no, *deserve*, special accommodation.

  • Cyto||

    This is all true.... and yet the underlying problem is true as well.

    We have a beautiful new playground at our city's biggest park. It has a nice restroom as well. And it is an easy walk to a couple of homeless shelters and churches that feed the homeless.

    Sooooo.... all of the bushes have little stashes hidden in napsacks or bags. The huge banyan trees have backpacks hidden up in the branches. There are at least a half dozen homeless living in the park. Maybe more.

    Several of them hang out all day, others take off for the public library or other cool spaces while the sun is up.

    So the kids climb trees and find homeless people's belongings. And the chase a ball into a bush and find homeless people's things. And your 3 year old plays on a slide as a couple of homeless guys sleep in the shade a few feet away.

    All of which makes the nice, clean, new playground much less attractive to young families.

    Providing a bathroom and access to food is enough to build an encampment of the homeless. We have plenty of places for them to go for help - but there are a lot of them that don't want to take that path. And they end up camped out by your child's day-care center.

    This really is a tough nut to crack.

  • Cyto||

    We put together a project to help out the homeless a couple of years ago. We collected bicycles and backpacks - that was something they often wished for. We gave away a couple of hundred.

    And then.....

    I suddenly had shabby looking guys with backpacks riding bikes through my neighborhood at all hours of the day and night. And things started disappearing from my carport. (although I'm still gonna blame the 5 gas cans that were stolen on a lawn crew - no way some homeless dude rode off with 25 gallons of gas.)

    Like they say... no good deed goes unpunished.

  • Sevo||

    "Like they say... no good deed goes unpunished."

    Across the street from me is a restaurant, at the time owned by two women. One thanksgiving, they decided 'give back'; bought turkeys, potatoes, stuff, cooked it and handed it out, publicizing it in the local 'hood paper.
    First year, no problem. Next year, well, it got busier, with a crowd starting to show up as if for a tail-gate party before the game. And it wasn't a whole lot of years before one T-day when they ran out of food while a whole bunch of folks were still waiting.
    They had to call the cops.
    IFAIAC, there should be no way handing out food could be considered illegal. But, like saying stupid things, it can have consequences with which you're rather not deal. If that 'mob' had caused damage to my property, there would have been 'discussions' with the owners.

  • Sevo||

    "IFAIAC":
    AFAIAC

  • Agammamon||

    Well, that's true. And why you should keep that in mind next time someone wants to get together to 'help' a group of people who remain perpetually helpless.

    Not that it doesn't reflect well on you, your empathy, but in my experience the people who need help the most tend to always need help. They never stop needing help. They live off of other's empathy and its best to just walk on by. Sucks, but it does tend to not make things worse.

  • Sevo||

    "Not that it doesn't reflect well on you, your empathy, but in my experience the people who need help the most tend to always need help. They never stop needing help. They live off of other's empathy and its best to just walk on by. Sucks, but it does tend to not make things worse."

    We have an economic problem here:
    There are those who need help and should get it, just because, while we oppose coercion, we support help for those who truly need it.
    The problem results from a government bureaucracy's (incentive) to ignore such actual need as opposed to offering "aid" to all and sundry.
    Not government bureau has any incentive to limit the growth of its power.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    Valid point, Sevo.

    We incentivize the industry of "helping" rather than solutions.

    If the poors did not exist, at this point industry must need invent them.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    You see, it's because they lack the correct papers from the state. And as we all know, the correct papers makes all the difference between a morally correct and legitimate activity, and an immoral illegitimate activity.

  • Kivlor||

    Rather than respond individually, I'm just going to say that I think my comment was misunderstood. I wasn't asking why they want to do this because I do get that. I was asking from where do they derive the authority to do it.

    My hometown has been trying to run the homeless and our local shelter out of town since before I was born. I understand people not liking throngs of homeless congregating in the city.

    But, if they can do this, is it illegal for me to have a family reunion and feed my own family? Do they have the authority to tell me I can't? Even on my property? Even if I dont have deed / HOA restrictions against it?

  • Ken Shultz||

    "I was asking from where do they derive the authority to do it."

    If their thinking ever ran deep enough to account for that, it would be a much better world.

    Their thinking runs more along the lines of, "We don't care about no stinkin' badges!"

    They've kinda set up camp where the "common sense" conservatives used to be--They have long hair and oppose the war. If you need more justification than that to throw them in jail, then you're thinking too hard.

  • Kivlor||

    Yeah, that seems to be the case with most municipalities, blue and red populations, rich, poor.

    "But the poors will ruin the aesthetics of the town!"

    They're your citizens, you can't just be rid of them, and even if you could, they have to go somewhere.

    I really wonder where the line gets drawn here? Can they tell me I can't invite my neighbors over for a bbq? Can they tell my neighbors and I that we can't got to the park together and have a picnic? Can they tell me that I can't feed my own children?

    This just seems so strange to me. I can't help but think that such things are a result of the weakening of Christendom, for such a thing would not have been tolerated when she was healthy.

  • Cyto||

    His point about having a family reunion is a pretty good one. I'm not exactly sure how you can craft a law that says you can't feed homeless people in the park or in your yard while simultaneously allowing you to have a birthday party for your kids and serve lunch in those same locations.

    It seems that they'd be required to determine the difference between "feeding the homeless" and "feeding your friends." But then you can draw it out by positing a birthday party where you invite all the children from your kid's class. And two of them are homeless. So the two homeless families show up.

    Now you are literally feeding the homeless. But it is also a birthday party for your kids.

    If you expect your laws to be clear and unambiguous and for them to be applied equally to all, it seems like this parsing of homeless feeding vs just feeding is pretty much impossible.

    What if you have a bible study and offer free lunch to anyone who attends? This stuff makes no sense from a legal point of view.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "I'm trying to understand the logic behind laws like these, but it escapes me."

    Thou shalt not compete with Almighty Government in providing services it claims only it can provide.

  • Kivlor||

    I would be willing to entertain this as a possible reason if it weren't a local ordinance. If it was state/federal, that would be an explanation. Municipalities generally aren't in the "feed the homeless" business, so that doesn't follow.

    Ken is right that this is about not liking poor homeless people, and wanting them gone. But that doesn't explain where they derive the authority for such.

  • JFree||

    Seems odd to me that churches are not, at minimum, filing amicus briefs. I wonder if they have become a bit coopted by the city because of stuff they do re overnight shelters or food banks - or whether there's a bit of 'the homeless are the Judaean People's Front charity expression not the People's Front of Judaea - so piss off and go help the homeless somewhere else'.

  • Eddy||

    Conservative Media Move to Front Line of Battle to Undermine Pope Francis

    "The full extent of journalists' involvement in the statement...emerges from a series of Reuters interviews that reveal a union of conservative clergy and media aimed at what papal defenders say is a campaign to weaken the reformist Francis's pontificate....

    ""The conservatives have declared war and they are convinced they can reform the Church with a frontal attack," a senior Vatican prelate said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because "the line is silence" now....

    "Vatican sources say it still has not been decided if the Vatican will issue a detailed institutional response to Vigano's accusations....

    ""It's very reminiscent of what is going on in conservative politics in the United States. It's the same playbook," said David Gibson, director of the Center on Religion and Culture at Fordham University in New York. He was alluding to the close relationship between President Donald Trump's administration and conservative-leaning news outlets such as Fox News....

    ""Obviously Vigano is being used as a weapon by a whole coterie of people who can't stand Pope Francis and the changes he wants to make to the Church," said Alexander Stille, professor of international journalism at Columbia University in New York and author of several books on Italy."

  • perlchpr||

    "Obviously Vigano is being used as a weapon by a whole coterie of people who can't stand Pope Francis and the changes he wants to make to the Church," said Alexander Stille

    "Clearly, stupid rightwingers object to our vigorous youth outreach efforts because they're all racists."

  • Kivlor||

    It's amazing how they are able to turn reality on its head to defend the indefensible

  • Shirley Knott||

    It's the Catholic Church, they've got 2000 years of practice.
    If they can sell the trinity, transubstantiation, virgin birth, papal infallibility, indulgences, etc., they can sell pretty much anything.
    Infinite/eternal punishment for temporal and finite acts is morally outrageous. As is 'third party forgiveness.'

  • perlchpr||

    Infinite/eternal punishment for temporal and finite acts is morally outrageous.

    Y'know, normally I actually agree with this, but the actions of these priests makes me wonder.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    Yes. There was an article the other day that raised the claim that people were only talking about child abuse because they're mad the Pope is Latin American.

    Yeah. Yeah, sure, buddy. People aren't upset about child molestation and rape, they're just pissed he's from Argentina. Let's go with that.

  • Kivlor||

    It's not an issue of rape and abuse within the church, it's an evil plot by traditionalist Catholics to overthrow the current Progressive order in the Church and set back the movement by a century! How dare they! They should just go home and pray, and say no more!

    This really indicates to me that the Church truly has been infiltrated by people looking to destroy it.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    They probably see it as "molding it to a higher purpose", but yeah, destruction is the inevitable end.

    Golden goose, the folly of hubris, we can pretty much pick our cautionary tale here.

  • Eddy||

    "Food Not Bombs...shares food not just to provide sustenance to those in need but "to communicate its message 'that...society can end hunger and poverty if we redirect our collective resources from the military and war and that food is a human right, not a privilege, which society has a responsibility to provide for all.""

  • Eddy||

    "Food Not Bombs...shares food not just to provide sustenance to those in need but "to communicate its message 'that...society can end hunger and poverty if we redirect our collective resources from the military and war and that food is a human right, not a privilege, which society has a responsibility to provide for all.""

  • Eddy||

    That's a viewpoint, all right, but communicating that viewpoint by giving away food doesn't sound like speech or press, and thanks to the Supreme Court, it's not freedom of religion either.

  • Kivlor||

    Meh. If donating money = speech, there's no logical reason food wouldn't.

  • Fairbanks||

    I'm not sure what you're referring to, but if it's Citizens United, you've got it all wrong. That had nothing to do with donations - it was about spending one's own money in order to communicate (i.e. speech) about elections.

  • Sevo||

    "That had nothing to do with donations - it was about spending one's own money in order to communicate (i.e. speech) about elections."

    You prolly want to re-read that and offer an amendment.

  • Mcgoo95||

    I agree Food not Bombs should be allowed to give free food to the homeless, but they should also be held accountable for any vandalism or problems that arise as a result. But imho, food is the least of the problems the homeless in the US have. Most of them are overweight and definitely not wanting for food. A foreigner once told me "in the US, even the homeless people are fat." Solving the larger issues facing the homeless are much more difficult, but hey, "here's some soup"

  • perlchpr||

    I agree Food not Bombs should be allowed to give free food to the homeless, but they should also be held accountable for any vandalism or problems that arise as a result.

    The anti-gun left welcomes your precedent, and uses it to sue everyone who sells ammo to anyone who later uses it in a crime.

  • Mcgoo95||

    It's a good response and I had to think about it for a minute. However, in your analogy, it would be the makers of the canned beans that would be responsible, not the people giving them to homeless people. Does not follow.

  • perlchpr||

    It's possible I didn't come up with precisely the right scenario in the 15 seconds I spent coming up with my moderately flip reply. ;)

    That said, I'm not convinced that a lawyer for some antigun group, spending more than 15 seconds on it, couldn't come up with something that would fly in the 9th Circuit, for example.

    Still, maybe you're right. But it seems like a bad precedent to set, to me.

    Still, I guess the "Birthday Party" example from above serves here too. If you held a birthday party in the park, and it got trashed, you might bear some responsibility for that, as well as the specific guests who did the trashing.

  • Kivlor||

    I'm curious as to how the logic here works. Do you not think homeless are people, but forces of nature? How is a man who fed someone responsible for any vandalism or crimes committed later by the guy he fed?

  • Mcgoo95||

    "I'm curious as to how the logic here works. Do you not think homeless are people, but forces of nature? How is a man who fed someone responsible for any vandalism or crimes committed later by the guy he fed?"

    For sure, homeless people are both people and forces of nature. I also don't think it would be a problem to feed them on a regular basis. However, people, being forces of nature, are also inclined to behave badly in large groups, as has been demonstrated innumerable times. What I'm saying is IF the crowd becomes unmanageable and damage is done to public or private property, the entity organizing the bad behaving crowd bears some responsibility. In fairness, this is hopefully not a frequent problem, although the homeless problem is much, much bigger now than I've ever seen it in my nearly 50 years of life and some of them have severe mental problems that are going untreated....which is the real problem nobody wants to talk about.

  • Kivlor||

    some of them have severe mental problems that are going untreated....which is the real problem nobody wants to talk about.

    This seems to be a well-known fact that everyone just refuses to discuss. Probably because the only real solution would be to revive Asylums, and many people, right and left, can't allow that for ideological reasons.

  • Cyto||

    This will probably come back at some point.

    We ended that when I was a kid, with socially responsible TV and movies telling us all about the about the horrors of mental institutions and involuntary commitments.

    That education process ended sometime in the 80's as those themes disappeared from TV and movies. Soon all us old codgers will be out of the way, and the people in charge will have been born 20 years after that practice ended. They won't have an appreciation of the problems. And they'll try the old solution again.

    Maybe it will happen soon enough that people who were around for the first version are still alive and can help them steer clear of the mistakes of the past. But I doubt it.

  • Mcgoo95||

    I agree that there are few solutions to the problem and we are most likely doomed to try the failed attempts. Hopefully, modern medicine can prevent some of the horrific treatments of the past from being resurrected.

  • Sevo||

    "...some of them have severe mental problems that are going untreated....which is the real problem nobody wants to talk about..."

    Plenty of folks talk about it and suggest we start incarcerating those who are 'severely mentally ill'. And I'm sure those folks are more than willing to tell you who the"ill" folks are, and while they can't tell you what qualifies, they 'know them when the see them!'
    And then we have the small issue regarding proper care of these folks; no one has yet to show a independently-proven treatment to improve the "illness".
    Do we just warehouse the folks against their wills?

  • Mcgoo95||

    I agree. It is hard to diagnose a mentally ill person. Compound that with something I heard Jordan Peterson say on Joe Rogan that something like 10% of the population has an IQ less than 80 and even the army won't take people with an IQ less than 80 because there is basically nothing they can do, and the magnitude of the problem becomes more clear. What to do with that 10% of the population? I suppose in the olden days they became cannon fodder or labor slaves but in our modern society, where anybody can become anything, there is little hope for them.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    It is hard to diagnose a mentally ill person.

    It seems to be the only category of illness we define based on how the symptoms make other people feel.

  • JFree||

    In my dad's town (a rural county-seat size), they used to have a few group/SRO boarding houses. Large gardens where they grew veggies and tended smaller animals (chickens, pigs, duck, geese, rabbits, etc) and supplied the town with much of those. Repair shops where they could learn/do repair and metal/wood working and such. A couple of rooms which served as schoolrooms for those who wanted the remedial training to then take classes at the local college or vo-tech. It was also the part of town where older farmers and blue-collar workers retired to - so they could teach what they knew in exchange for personal assistance. In general, they were roughly self-supporting economically except for the initial capital investment (which came from churches, local biz, and the local big-shots) - but a slower pace place.

    What killed those places off was WW1 and WW2. Those soldiers mostly never went back home. Going to cities/burbs - which eliminated rural light industry because they lost an entire generation of their workforce - which then eliminated the ability to integrate that sort of place into the rest of the town.

    That sort of place can't exist in a city. Suburbs don't want anything to do with that sort of place. And there's so much of a gulf now between cities and rural small towns that they can't even figure out how to arrange a place-based economic relationship

  • JFree||

    As an aside - resurrecting some associations like the National League of Cities (composed of statewide associations of municipalities - eg CML) could probably go a long way toward restoring some of that.

    But the DeRps will not be able to do that (they already run all of them - and can't cooperate with the other). Private sector won't do that. State-level can do it - but only to the degree they can kill off the DeRps pressure to abdicate to national level resolution.

    Great opportunity for the L's - except for the fucking anarcho wing who would try to sabotage anything that smacks of 'fixing' anything via govt.

  • Mcgoo95||

    I agree with you that work projects like these would probably help the most people. They could work, learn a skill and perhaps retain some dignity. Our system of welfare is clearly broken and is perhaps the most easily corruptible institution in the US currently (except for all the others). Interestingly enough, I just spent three weeks in Turkey and didn't see a single homeless person (I wasn't in the big cities though). I don't know why. I'm not sure but I think turkish people use some kind of black magic that changes homeless people into dogs are cats. There are lots of those randomly roaming the streets.

  • Kivlor||

    And I'm sure those folks are more than willing to tell you who the"ill" folks are, and while they can't tell you what qualifies, they 'know them when the see them!'

    How is this a legitimate criticism of anything. Most people cant define most things, but can reliably identify them. If you cant provide the definition of an elephant, does that mean you wouldn't know one when you saw it?

  • Eddy||

    Can you fill in the blank in this headline?

    Pope Francis: Care for (blank) is urgent imperative

    The word is "water."

    "Noting the fundamental role of water in creation and human development, the Pontiff stresses that it is precisely for this reason that "care for water sources and water basins is an urgent imperative."...

    "Dwelling on water from a Christian perspective, Pope Francis says this fundamental resource "represents an essential element of purification and of life and comments that "Jesus, in the course of his mission, promised a water capable of quenching human thirst for ever"."

  • perlchpr||

    OK, look, Francis, I'll even agree with your premises. The environment and water and the like are all very important things.

    But as the leader of the Catholic Church, there are problems that you can have a direct impact on, and there are problems that you cannot have a direct impact on.

    "Global Climate Change" and clean water sources in Africa are on the latter list.

    Catholic priests, bishops, cardinals, etc, fucking little children is on the former.

    So, why don't you concentrate on the problems you have direct control over.

    You cannot sign your name on a piece of paper and end global warming. You can sign your name on a piece of paper and defrock anyone who is even vaguely associated with this monstrosity.

    Learn to prioritize.

  • Shirley Knott||

    "God forgives them, why can't you?"
    Or more like "God forgives them, who cares what you think?"

  • perlchpr||

    God's perfect. By definition, I'm not.

  • Agammamon||

    Obviously water is more important than, you know, 12 year olds.

    I don't want to hate on the Church, but Jesus - that guy needs to resign. He's just too embroiled in this multi-decade scandal and he's not going to be able to just ignore it, wait it out, and hope it blows over.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    That he's even going to make the attempt is a new low. The dude took office planning to do good in the world. Here's some good - do it. Ahh, but muh power, muh authority, I want to impose muh politics to do good in the world, not be a source of justice and comfort to the weak.

    Bah.

  • Kivlor||

    I don't want to hate on the Church, but Jesus - that guy needs to resign.

    As a Catholic, I don't think this is hating on the Church at all. It's what is necessary for the Church to begin the process of moving forward, and bringing an end to all of this.

    He's just too embroiled in this multi-decade scandal and he's not going to be able to just ignore it, wait it out, and hope it blows over.

    Oh, that is exactly what he intends to do, and the major media are rushing to defend him and help make sure he gets away with it.

  • jdgalt1||

    If this ruling stands, then we need to get started privatizing lots of parks and other public spaces right away so that the owners can keep bums out. Otherwise we might as well be living in Calcutta.

    Any system that forces people who aren't responsible for poverty to deal with it anyway is anti-liberty.

  • Duelles||

    Governments are full of assholes that have no clue as to what a right is much less a wrong. Where does,"food is a right," come from? Sheer freaking idiocy, that's where. Possibly we all can be be slightly more generous to causes we deem wonderful rather than relying on the state to steal our money for their special charities and then deny us our personal generosity or skinflintedness.

  • Shirley Knott||

    As I never fail to point out, the theft is compounded by the act of stealing not just what is given to the poor or hungry but also stealing the funds to fully staff and support the offices that perform the false charity.
    Even if it is moral to take $10 from someone "who can afford it" to give to someone "who desperately needs it," it cannot be moral to pay the thief, their colleagues and managers, their offices, paid vacations, etc., to perform such acts. Especially when the overhead tends to be orders of magnitude greater than the benisons delivered.

  • Agammamon||

    I've pointed out elsewhere that someone suffering an 'injustice' (if you consider basic reality unjust) is not justification for shifting that injustice onto some other innocent person. Doubly so since doing so *increases* the total amount of injustice in the world through the redistributor's need to take some of the resources for himself to support the effort of redistribution. And that applies even if the dude is only taking exactly the extra needed to pay for that work.

  • Cyto||

    Yeah, most people have a hard time figuring out the difference between "rights" and "necessities".

    The idea that you don't have a God-given right not to starve to death in the street is abhorrent to most people. Therefore they have to conclude that food, water, shelter, healthcare, cell phone service and basic cable are all rights.

    It doesn't help that the government has muddied the water by talking about government programs as "rights". I think this started with the notion of "knowing your rights under a contract" and was adapted to "knowing your rights to social programs". But it ends up conflating the word "rights" as used in discussions of natural rights with rights that are granted by contract or law. They have nothing in common, but we use the same word, allowing people to eventually conclude that you have a right to go through life without being offended and without having to pay for the basic necessities of life.

  • Kivlor||

    I think this notion goes much deeper than that. There has been a long-standing tradition in European countries--due to Catholicism--of the rights and duties of the lord and the serf. This is an extension of that concept.

    What is really strange is libertarians wanting to recreate feudalism, and demanding that the lords have no duties to their serfs.

  • Eddy||

    "The head of a council of Latin American bishops has spoken out against "attacks on the Pope as a person", following controversy surrounding Archbishop Carlos Maria Viganò's claims about the Pontiff.

    "The council, known as CELAM for its acronym in Spanish, was commemorating the 50th anniversary of a regional meeting of bishops that took place in Medellin, Columbia, in 1968, designed to work toward dismantling poverty and its ailments in the region.

    "Cardinal Ruben Salazar of Bogota, president of CELAM, said that just as the movement focused on the poor that sprang out of Medellin in the late 1960s had once been attacked, now the attacks are focused toward those who embraced it, such as Pope Francis....

    "The news agency said the comments were also later supported in a statement by the humanitarian agency Caritas Latin America, the Archdiocese of Medellin, and the Confederation of Religious in Latin America, known as CLAR. All four groups sponsored the congress marking 50 years since the Second General Assembly of the Bishops' Conferences of Latin America and the Caribbean in Medellin."

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    It would be a strange society indeed that permitted a citizen to use 'dark money" to buy a meal for an elected official (who could later advance the donor's interests) while forbidding that citizen to purchase a meal for a homeless person.

  • fdog50||

    I think that most of these ordinances were originally passed because of a worry about lawsuits. If someone gives out free food and a bunch of homeless people contract food poisoning, there are, no doubt, lawyers who will mount suits to get some money. And the city government will always be added as a defendant on the "deeper pockets" theory.

  • Cyto||

    I dunno. I think it was more of a "it attracts ants" objection.

    If you feed the homeless regularly at one location, they will start to camp out nearby.

    My church has a very big mission for the poor and homeless. We will feed anyone a bag lunch, just for the asking. And we also run a homeless kitchen for supper.

    There are quite a few homeless folks that camp out nearby. The mayor and several high-ranking police officials attend the church, so the cops try to keep them clear of the actual building and main property. But at least 2 dozen homeless have put down roots in the immediate area (meaning within a few blocks in either direction).

    If we stopped feeding them, they would move on.

    If we fed them at a public park, I'm sure that the park would very quickly become a homeless camp. This is what I think these ordinances are trying to fight. Cities would probably be happy if these same charities opened a homeless kitchen in a decaying warehouse district.

  • vek||

    That is one of the biggest problems with these things... I don't want anybody to starve to death obviously... But sometimes it can go too far. In Seattle, where I live, we have been soooooo nice to the homeless that we've attracted thousands of them from other parts of the country.

    My neighborhood, which was a blue collar neighborhood a mere decade ago, had a single bum that lived here then. He was a cool bum who sold a paper written by homeless people called Real Change. Not a problem.

    Now we probably have hundreds maybe living in this neighborhood. Literally. It's insane.

    I think the trick is to be kinda sorta nice-ish... But not too nice. Personally I think I'm for us rolling back the Reagan/Carter changes and just throwing all the proper crazies in institutions again. It might be expensive, but at least there'd be a real quality of life improvement for normal people AND the homeless crazies if we were more humane about it this go around.

  • jm15xy||

    Actions are not speech. Freedom of speech, not action.

  • Agammamon||

    Well, that's strippers out then. And flag burners.

    Oh, and what's the point of free speech if you can't act?

  • Eddy||

    Ask Tommy Wiseau.

  • buybuydandavis||

    ' Last week a federal appeals court ruled that a Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, ban on sharing food with the homeless is probably unconstitutional because it prohibits "expressive conduct protected by the First Amendment." '

    More judicial authoritarianism.

    Preventing people from sharing food is obviously pretty totalitarian.

    But expanding the first amendment to include every action is not better than expanding the interstate commerce clause to include every action. Put the two together, and everything is a constitutionally protected individual right by the feds, and everything can be regulated as commerce by the feds, rendering the constitution irrelevant as a guide or limit to federal action.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Well, one amendment gives the right for you to do stuff, the other one you mentioned gives the right for the government to do stuff to you.

  • Sevo||

    Beat me to it.
    "But expanding the first amendment to include every action is not better than expanding the interstate commerce clause to include every action."

    I don't care if the courts twisted interstate commerce to allow people to do whatever they want. I care a LOT if the courts twist A-1 into using government power to restrict personal actions.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "I like it when courts ignore the rule of law and I win."

  • Sevo||

    "I like it when courts ignore the rule of law and I win."

    A swing and a miss.
    Really that stupid, or hoping to fake it?

  • Eddy||

    From 1752: Rite of Degradation of a Bishop convicted of serious crimes

    (Imagine if this were still a thing today)

    If the degradandus be an archbishop, the degrading prelate removes his pallium, saying:

    We deprive thee of the rights and privileges of the episcopal dignity, symbolized in this pallium, since thou hast abused them.

    Then, even if the degradandus be a mere bishop, the degrading prelate removes his mitre, saying:

    We strip thy head of this miter, emblem of the episcopal dignity, since thou hast befouled it by thy ill government.

    Then one of the ministers brings the Book of the Gospel to the degradandus, which the degrading prelate takes from his hands, saying;

    Give us back the Gospel! Since thou hast spurned the grace of God and made thyself unworthy of the office of preaching, we rightly deprive you of this office.

    Then the degrading prelate removes the ring from the finger of the degradandus, saying:

    Rightly do we pull off thy ring, the sign of fidelity, since thou hast made bold to rape God's own bride, the Church.

  • Eddy||

    At this time one of the ministers brings the degradandus a crosier, which the degrading prelate takes from his hands, saying;

    Thy shepherd's staff we take from thee, that thou shalt be powerless henceforward to exercise that office of correction, which thou hast brought to disarray.

    Then the ministers take off the gloves of the degradandus, and the degrading prelate lightly scrapes thumbs and hands with a knife blade or a shard of glass, saying:

    We hereby deprive thee, to the extent of our powers, of the grace of spiritual blessing and of sacramental anointing, that thou shouldst forfeit the office of sanctifying and of blessing, and their effects.

    With the same knife blade or shard the degrading prelate lightly scrapes the head of the degradandus, saying:

    We utterly erase and eradicate the consecration, blessing and anointing bestowed upon thee, and we put thee out of the episcopal order, whence thou returnest unclothed.

    The ministers remove the shoes from the degradandus Thus ends the ceremony.

    h/t this link

  • Cyto||

    Which makes one question.... why exactly would you sit through that ceremony? If they are kicking you out anyway, why wouldn't you flip them off and walk out?

  • Eddy||

    In the old days you'd be in their physical custody and couldn't walk out.

  • SIV||

    I got a plate of food from Food Not Bombs about 35 or so years ago. IIRC, it was at a free Gang of Four show (I love me some commie R&R if it's good music). Damn, that food was terrible. They made it in giant woks and it was over brown rice. I fucking hate brown rice, it tastes like chewy oatmeal. There was not enough oil in the vegan/vegetarian shit and it definitely was not palm or coconut, or even olive or any other good vegetable oil. I tossed it in the trash. I'm in full support of voluntarily feeding anyone anywhere. As a young anarchist I used to entertain the idea of growing what then would've been illegal out-of-allotment tobacco, rolling it by machine, and distributing free untaxed cigarettes in the specific parts of town where they are really concerned about the homeless but would shit bricks if they actually had to interact with them. I believe the government has since closed the loopholes in my plan.

    Now this whole memory is weird because I know it was G4 with Sara Lee playing bass but wikipedia says that couldn't have been post-83 and I know it had to be around Summer or Fall of 1984. It was a good show. They played most of the "old stuff" and not just the kinda shitty new record. I was definitely dosing.

  • SIV||

    It's getting clearer. It was about the time I lost my scholarship and I was transitioning from banging this really hot chick from Greenwich , Ct (my roommates estranged GF) to this crazy super-stacked, smokin' hot rich bitch from Upper Arlington, Ohio who woulda had me strung out on the 'script junk if I wasn't totally immune. Good times, in retrospect. Really good times at the time.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    You should share more often.

    At least in Denver, there seemed to be a half-arsed effort to coordinate resources. On the one hand, they had all of this mostly-palatable produce. On the other, they needed people who knew how to turn random mostly-palatable produce into supper.

    Enter me.

    After a few incidences of someone showing up, hat in hand with a stack of boxes behind them, I stopped feeling bad for Chopped contestants. A hand of bananas, three lemons, fifteen pounds each of mushrooms and zucchini, a flat of tomatoes, and twenty pounds of assorted root vegetables.... GO!

    This is how I catered May Day in Civic Center park. True story.

  • SIV||

    Fuck the brown rice. Polished white rice tastes like freedom. No dog whistles intended or implied.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    Agreed. Fuck a bunch of brown rice. The vegans were delighted by my fare, except I'm not vegan and nothing I served was anything for me except stuff that would keep body and soul together until real food could be found.

    As I recall, I served vegan lasagna with a basalmic vinegar drizzle, root vegetable hash, and apple-berry compote. I only saved a serving of compote for myself.

    The experience probably got me one interview, though, so it wasn't completely pointless. Yay, work experience.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    Oh, dude, and if you have not yet heard of coconut rice... eat, and feel true joy. Only I use garlic instead of cilantro.

  • vek||

    Vegans are all a bunch of pussies. However, SOME vegan dishes can be okay. But they'd still probably mostly be better with butter/meat/stock/cheese or some other animal product thrown into the mix.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    Apropos of nothing. like this song.

    I played first trombone in school. This song gave us some stick, lemme tell you. It's the finale, see. There's this huge, crescendoing finale, highly emotional, highly fulfilling due to the ongoing set-up through the piece.

    But dude. Have you *seen* the trombonist finale part? Holy crap. Five (!!!) fortissimo, no breath notes.

    No. Breath. Notes.

    None.

    Tchaikovsky is a prick, and I won't hear a word to the contrary. THAT BASTARD.

    So I marshalled my line through as best I could. That finale killed us every time, though. We just couldn't do it. A simple F note - there was just no room to *breathe*, and it went on, for five fortissimo... and on, and on, and on, and on, and on and on AND OOONNNNN.

    So the concert finally arrived. Bless our fucking hearts, we persevered.

    Like football teams, our director recorded our concerts so we could go over them afterward for educational tips. This concert, my word, we were in top form. Much like Rubio sweating a presidential debate, my god, we wanted it and you could tell. The finale! Actual motherfucking cannons could not have improved it. The crescendo was amazing, we were in top form... And then cut!

    In the heartbeat of silence after the finale concluded, the only thing that could be heard was a sole trombonist collapsing with instrument to the floor.

    I held that motherfucking note, and as soon as the director cut - I passed out from lack of oxygen.

    Fuck you, Tchaikovsky. Jerk.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    Jesus. The link was there. 1812 Overture

  • John C. Randolph||

    Personally, I would advocate citizens nullifying this shitty ordinance by 1) duct-taping anyone attempting to enforce it to the nearest lamppost, 2) voting out the shitheads who who enacted it at their next opportunity, and 3) rendering a verdict of "fuck the pigs" if such a case still came to trial.

    -jcr

  • vek||

    Other than chucking crazies back in institutions I don't think there's a way to fix the homeless problem we have nowadays... But banning people who want to feed the poor bastards is a big fat bunch of bullshit. Living in Seattle we'd been overrun by homeless from all over the country moving here, because we're too nice to them. I myself will no longer feed the pigeons, except once in awhile I'll kick some of the cooler/less crazy ones a smoke or whatever.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    You bitch about vegans but carry tobacco?

    Your parents and schools failed you . . . or, more likely, vice versa.

  • Sevo||

    Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland|9.2.18 @ 10:59AM|#
    "Your parents and schools failed you . . . or, more likely, vice versa."

    Might be, but you'd have to be smart enough to know. And you aren't.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Let's hear your 'smart people use tobacco' argument, goober.

  • Sevo||

    Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland|9.2.18 @ 4:34PM|#
    "Let's hear your 'smart people use tobacco' argument, goober.

    Try learning to read, asshole.

  • vek||

    Well, actually I've quit smoking, but I didn't feel the need to spell out that I USED to kick down bums smokes when they were cool.

    As far as things go, smoking under half a pack a day is very minimally bad for you, as per the scientific studies that have been done. Barely detectable statistically speaking as a matter of fact. But the anti smoking Nazis only like to talk about your chances of death if you're a 1-2 pack a day plus smoker.

    Interestingly, even smoking a full pack a day increases your mortality chances less than being a couple dozen pounds overweight. So as a thin smoker, if I had kept up at it, I would be likely to live longer than all the chubby/fat bastards out there in the world. Obviously as a still thin non smoker I will likely live longer yet.

    But the whole anti smoking zealot thing is largely hype unless you're a heavy smoker, as per the very same studies they use to prove how dangerous it is. If comparing to drinking alcohol it would be like trying to equate somebody that has 2-3 drinks a week with somebody who drinks a 12 pack every day... Wildly different health results.

  • Mickey Rat||

    For the most part, these ordinances seem to revolve around the usage of public parks, not merely for sharing food. At least in part, the motivation can be attributed to the prevention of a type of Tragedy of the Commons.

  • chipper me timbers||

    "Is Feeding the Homeless a Constitutional Right?"

    Technically yes, since the 9th amendment covers EVERY OTHER DAMN THING NOT MENTIONED IN THE CONSTITUTION as rights reserved to the people.

    Practically every law on the books is unconstitutional.

  • Michael Cook||

    Hey, when I win the lottery I am going to give every bum in the park gift cards to Starbucks and every flagrantly left wing cause promoting restaurant chain. Only a crazy rich poet can understand or do justice.

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