Taco Power!

Steven Georges/Orange County Register.

This is nice, I get to say Hey, that’s my hometown! Go Santa Ana! Any native SoCalian can tell you the wonder and pure mmmmmffff oh gods so good, can I have more of Mexican run food trucks. Some of the best food in the world, that. Back when I worked in Costa Mesa, the only time you took your life in your hands was the rush to the food trucks at lunch.

Good food has a way of bringing people together around a table. You could say food trucks do the same thing, but on the street and sidewalk.

That’s part of the idea behind an ongoing campaign in Southern California called Taco Trucks at Every Mosque, timed to the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. And it has caught on fast in the parking lot outside the Islamic Center of Santa Ana, California, which largely serves the area’s Indo-Chinese community (Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim populations).

“It was so exciting to see people that have that have fasted … break their fast — many of them for the first time in our lives  to tacos,” says community activist Rida Hamida. She co-organized the campaign with Ben Vazquez, a history teacher in Santa Ana, and Resilience Orange County, a community non-profit. The campaign launched on Twitter as #TacoTrucksAtEveryMosque.

With fasting during daylight hours being one of the demands of the celebration of Ramadan, they arranged for the community’s iftar meal to arrive in a brightly painted, green taco truck.

This is wonderful and warm story, full of wonderful and warm people. A lot of Americans might want to note that it’s those brown peoples who are making inroads at community, peace, acceptance, and togetherness. Lots of pasty types could take a lesson. Full story here.

The War On Autonomy.

CREDIT: AP Photo/Mary Altaffer.

It seems I never come to the end of people who weakly defend the Tiny Tyrant because Pence. “He would be worse!” I am very tired of hearing that. No, he would not be worse. We’ve had theocrats in office before, remember George faith-based initiatives and abstinence only Bush Jr.? He was a born-again christian theocrat. So yes, Pence would be a theocrat, and while Trump cannot be accurately described as such, he’s acting as  theocrat, so what fucking difference does that make? None. At least Pence would be less likely to let the nukes fly. Although, that said, Pence is up to his pasty neck in the Russia business, too.

Women have been repeatedly targeted in the Fuck You Care Plan, and Trump is happily enabling the ‘moral objection’ shit, along with making some very dangerous moves in regard to abortion. Trump also didn’t waste anytime in removing guidelines and protection for transgender people, including children, and wiped out many protections in place for all LGBT peoples. Trump is more than happy to give the Religious Reich whatever they want, and in return, they will do whatever they think is necessary to keep his abundant arse in power.

The Trump administration is poised to roll back access to birth control by severely weakening Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate —  and, at the same time, dangerously weakening the distinction between “religious” objections and “moral” objections to reproductive health care.

During the Obama years, the birth control wars largely focused on the tension between people seeking contraceptive coverage and religious employers who object to birth control in some form or another. Both Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and Zubik v. Burwell, the two contraception cases heard by the Supreme Court in the last several years, involved employers who objected to providing birth control coverage on religious grounds.

Yet a handful of hardliners — the March for Life, the Alliance Defending Freedom, Justice Samuel Alito — have tried to blur the line between religious objectors and moral objectors. While cases like Hobby Lobby and Zubik involved claims that people with religious objections to the law often have the right not to follow it, the hardliners would extend this right of defiance to people who raise moral objections not rooted in religious belief.

That’s a major shift that would seriously undermine the efficacy of the law as a whole. And, in a document leaked to Vox’s Dylan Scott and Sarah Kliff, the Trump administration appears to embrace this shift. Under the rule described in this document, employers who do not want to provide birth control coverage to their employees will be permitted to do so so long as they claim that doing so would violate their “moral convictions.”

Think Progress has the full, in-depth story.

On May 31, 2009, Scott Roeder killed Dr. George Tiller, a late-term abortion provider, in Wichita, Kansas. By all accounts, Roeder waited in the pews of Tiller’s church, and then following service, he walked into the church foyer and shot him directly in the forehead. Roeder, who was staunchly anti-abortion, committed murder because of Tiller’s national prominence as an abortion provider. Now, eight years later, the country is recreating and expanding the same environment of extremist views that allowed for Tiller’s murder.

Since Trump came into office, his administration and the Republican-majority Congress have been on a mission to impede the rights of people — especially women, girls, and their providers — from accessing constitutionally protected health care services. Earlier this month, the House passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA) of 2017 which Trump vehemently supported. The AHCA disproportionately targets women: domestic abuse, rape, pregnancy, C-section, and maternity care can all be considered preexisting conditions. Less than two weeks later, Trump expanded the Mexico City Policy, also known as the Global Gag Rule (GGR), a death wish for women around the world seeking abortion services. The GGR, newly named “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance,” says that foreign aid can go only to organizations abroad that “neither perform nor actively promote abortion as a method of family planning.” The rule could affect up to $9 billion in funding that is also used to combat health concerns like HIV/AIDS, Zika, and more.

Trump, an accused sexual assault perpetrator, has always promoted violence and hatred against women, including being able to access safe and legal abortions without criminal prosecution. During his candidacy, Trump said that women who seek abortions should be subject to “some form of punishment” if the procedure was banned in the United States. Trump eventually changed his mind (his fourth position on abortion in just three days) and claimed that only “the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman.” Nonetheless, this position still leaves abortion providers on the hook for performing a medical procedure that should be decided on by only a doctor and their patient. This kind of rhetoric would only embolden people like Roeder.

Allowing extreme policies against reproductive rights will increase the numbers of unintended pregnancies, which will increase the number of unsafe abortions. If pregnant peoples’ rights to immediate services are curtailed, this will undoubtedly cause a delay in options. As a delay continues, so does the potential for an unwanted pregnancy which could cause seeking a late-term abortion — the same abortions performed by the late Tiller. That, in turn, allows people — who are like Roeder — to effectuate their extremist views on those seeking healthcare services, including but not limited to abortion and family planning options.

Think Progress has the full, in-depth story.

Today marks the beginning of Pride Month. The Regime, however, is not celebrating. They aren’t even mentioning it, no. Instead, it’s all about:

Yep. You can read all about it here.

Kicking Kirchmeier.

Oceti Sakowin Camp. © C. Ford, all rights reserved.

There’s a petition, and yes, I know people get petition tired, but please click on over and sign this one, to remove the murder-minded and incompetent Kirchmeier from his position as Sheriff of Morton County. Kirchmeier took a brutal stance from the beginning, and as some of you will recall from the Standing Rock posts, he spread misinformation and outright lies from the beginning, and never stopped telling lies, either. He used all the climate justice warriors as an excuse to spend outrageous amounts of money on military equipment, so he could play a latter day Custer, obviously hoping for better results. In the end, his unholy alliance with the oil companies worked out just fine for him, giving him equipment to oppress and harm, all while lining his pockets. Please help out by adding your name to the petition.
 
Remove Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier, of the Morton County Sheriff’s Office.

Mum’s Day.

By Ronincmc – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, wikimedia.

So, Mother’s Day. Let’s start with a bit of uStates history in that regard:

The modern holiday of Mother’s Day was first celebrated in 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother at St Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia. St Andrew’s Methodist Church now holds the International Mother’s Day Shrine. Her campaign to make “Mother’s Day” a recognized holiday in the United States began in 1905, the year her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, died. Ann Jarvis had been a peace activist who cared for wounded soldiers on both sides of the American Civil War, and created Mother’s Day Work Clubs to address public health issues. Anna Jarvis wanted to honor her mother by continuing the work she started and to set aside a day to honor all mothers because she believed that they were “the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world”.

In 1908, the US Congress rejected a proposal to make Mother’s Day an official holiday, joking that they would also have to proclaim a “Mother-in-law’s Day”. However, owing to the efforts of Anna Jarvis, by 1911 all US states observed the holiday, with some of them officially recognizing Mother’s Day as a local holiday, the first being West Virginia, Jarvis’ home state, in 1910. In 1914, Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating Mother’s Day, held on the second Sunday in May, as a national holiday to honor mothers.

Although Jarvis was successful in founding Mother’s Day, she became resentful of the commercialization of the holiday. By the early 1920s, Hallmark Cards and other companies had started selling Mother’s Day cards. Jarvis believed that the companies had misinterpreted and exploited the idea of Mother’s Day, and that the emphasis of the holiday was on sentiment, not profit. As a result, she organized boycotts of Mother’s Day, and threatened to issue lawsuits against the companies involved. Jarvis argued that people should appreciate and honor their mothers through handwritten letters expressing their love and gratitude, instead of buying gifts and pre-made cards. Jarvis protested at a candy makers’ convention in Philadelphia in 1923, and at a meeting of American War Mothers in 1925. By this time, carnations had become associated with Mother’s Day, and the selling of carnations by the American War Mothers to raise money angered Jarvis, who was arrested for disturbing the peace. Source.

I don’t much like the idea of a mother’s day, or a father’s day. I certainly don’t like that they have become an obligation, which in many cases, takes the form of a minor gift surrounded by insincerity, marked by a lack of actual appreciation. I do think that if you’re fortunate enough to have good parents, immediate or extended, then yes, it’s a grand thing to have a special celebration, on top of a true appreciation of that parent or parents. Many of us walk this world without anyone to appreciate in that regard, and I think it’s grade A shite to try and guilt everyone into paying homage, whether they feel that or no. I greatly dislike the afterthoughtness of father’s day, and I dislike the distinct gendering of parenting.

Love, honour, and appreciation should not be an obligation. No one should be made to feel less than a worm because they didn’t show with the obligatory card, candy, flowers, tie, or whatever. Parenting is the biggest gamble a person can take in life. Sometimes it works out well, and sometimes it doesn’t, with immense grief all the way around. Parenting is difficult as all hells, you’re never without challenges, the rewards can be bliss, and the disappointments heart-rending.

If you have parents who love you, and work for you, every day, and you love them, then show them that, and not just once a year. The smallest things, little gestures, unexpected, can be some of the very best ways to show your care and appreciation. Long days ago, I used to stop at a florist, get a single flower, and show up unexpectedly to present that to an adult who was very special to me. That’s the sort of thing I mean. Every day mindfulness means more in the long run, than a holiday which tends to mandate more frazzled people than anything else. Sometimes, just offering to do the dishes (or the cooking, or …) is a great gift.

And sometimes, if you’re someone who doesn’t have a good parent[s], there’s one or more adult, somewhere in your life, who was at some point, a lifeline, with a word or kindness, or a gesture of care that kept you hanging on. Those people deserve to be appreciated too. Rather than focus just on mothers today, to all those parents who do their very best each day, doing that most difficult of jobs, you’re doing good work, and I thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for raising up future adults who will do right and good things in this world. And great thanks to all those adult children who now find themselves caring for parents, with all the love, patience, and care. A Happy, Loving Family Day to you all, no matter the shape your family may take.

Copwatch Premieres At Tribeca Film Festival.

Copwatch Documentary still.

Copwatch will be premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival, April 23rd to April 28th, if you can grab a ticket and watch!

Copwatch is the true story of We Copwatch, an organization whose mission is to film police activity as a non-violent form of protest and deterrent to police brutality. Around the country, a network of regular people take up cameras to bear witness to police actions and hold law enforcement to accountability. Director Camilla Hall profiles several We Copwatch members, including a young California dad who’s found direction in this activism, and Ramsey Orta, the man who filmed Eric Garner’s fatal Staten Island arrest in the devastating video that has galvanized protestors and activists nationwide. And yet Orta is the only person involved in these incidents who has seen the inside of a jail cell. In her powerful directorial debut, Hall crafts an intriguing and incredibly timely profile of citizen-journalist-activists who are seeking to disrupt the ever-present challenge of police violence.

—Opal Bennett

If you’re unaware of We Copwatch, please become aware, and if you haven’t supported We Copwatch, please consider doing so now. You can get a snazzy T-shirt or hoodie!

Flight Pattern.

A ballet about the plight of refugees, commissioned for the Royal Opera House, has been showered with five star reviews and described with words like potent and sombre. It’s the work of the Canadian Crystal Pite who has built a reputation as one of the most respected choreographers of her generation – and who is the first woman to have created a new work for the Royal Ballet in almost two decades. It’s titled ‘Flight Pattern’ and Kirsty Wark went to speak to her about using dance to engage in a difficult harrowing subject.

Beautiful and so very poignant. I wish I could see this in person.

The Response to Open White Supremacy.

Tucker Viemeister.

Tucker Viemeister.

Well, the response to Rep. Steve King’s open embrace of white supremacy has been, as Mrs. Slocombe would say, weak as water, weak as water!

In his Monday press briefing, Sean Spicer told a reporter who asked about Trump’s reaction to the tweet that he would have to check with the president to see what he thought. On Tuesday, Spicer clarified: “This is not a point of view he shares,” he said. That has been the White House’s only response.

Wow. There’s a bloodless response if there ever was one. Basically, a compleat non-response. The Tiny Tyrant doesn’t share that point of view, no, but all his actions speak to just how much he does share that view.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI), initially responded to King’s comments through a spokesperson, who said “the speaker clearly disagrees and believes America’s long history of inclusiveness is one of its greatest strengths.”

Over 24 hours after King’s words hit Twitter, Ryan directly responded in a Fox interview, saying that he disagreed with King but that “I would like to think — and I haven’t spoken to Steve about this — I would like to think he misspoke, and it wasn’t meant the way it sounds, and I hope he’s clarified that.”

Oh, King misspoke. Right. I think it’s pretty damn clear that King did no such thing. He has held these views for decades, and he now feels supported enough to come right out with them, and stand by them without the slightest hint of apology. The apologetics have already started, with Nazis everywhere trying to somehow soften King’s words, and that no, his views aren’t really that stark, just y’know, he’s concerned and stuff.

For fuck’s sake, this wide open, blatant Nazism. We’re standing in it, folks, and it’s rising higher as you read. If you’re one of those people keeping their head down, ignoring everything, you’re going to drown in it first. Get that head up, open your eyes, pay attention, and get involved in The Resistance. This is seriously, horribly bad.

Via Think Progress.

This Is My Body.

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This Is My Body. A figure stands in the middle of the image with arms outstretched. A red headband covers the forehead and long, loosely braided dark hair, parted in the middle. White streams down the face, and the eyes are red and swollen. The body has a bleeding wound on its side, a hole in each palm, and three rubber bullet wounds. Dark figures with riot gear border the figure to the right, while water from a vehicle cannon shoots down at the figure. (Art done by Joann Lee Kim).

Joann Lee Kim has a stunning body of work, do yourself a favour and wander over for a long look. I came across Ms. Kim’s work at The Establishment, specifically an article by Dae Shik Kim Hawkins Jr., about the days when 500 ministers descended on the NoDapl camp. I was there for that, and talked to several of the ministers. The ones I spoke with all seemed rather dazed and overcome by everything happening at the camps. The particular perspective of the article is an interesting one, and quite important, I think: Christianity Is Co-opting The Justice Movement. It’s an excellent article. Solidarity is more important than ever, as is making sure that solidarity is intersectional and inclusive. When it comes to christian involvement in major social justice fights, particularly indigenous ones, it is very important that attention is seriously paid to the colonial roots and colonial mindset which still rules most peoples’ thinking and actions, especially those of churches.

Have a read, highly recommended. And when you’re done, have a look around at the rest of The Establishment, a lot of good writing going on there.

It’s What People Do.

A large crowd marches through New York City in 1937 to demand workers’ rights. Photograph: Bettmann Archive.

A large crowd marches through New York City in 1937 to demand workers’ rights. Photograph: Bettmann Archive.

Given the ongoing effort to quash all public dissent, and prevent people from protesting, it’s a good reminder to take a glimpse into the past, to see what people do when governments are wrong and out of control. They protest.

The Jarrow marchers pass through the village of Lavendon, near Bedford, in October 1936. Two hundred men walked the 291 miles from Tyneside to London to deliver a petition for jobs to the government. Photograph: Getty Images.

The Jarrow marchers pass through the village of Lavendon, near Bedford, in October 1936. Two hundred men walked the 291 miles from Tyneside to London to deliver a petition for jobs to the government. Photograph: Getty Images.

Protesters march on the White House in 1933 to demand a fair trial for the ‘Scottsboro Boys’. This case – in which a group of black teenagers was convicted by an all-white jury of raping a white woman, then sentenced to death – is considered a grave miscarriage of justice Photograph: Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images.

Protesters march on the White House in 1933 to demand a fair trial for the ‘Scottsboro Boys’. This case – in which a group of black teenagers was convicted by an all-white jury of raping a white woman, then sentenced to death – is considered a grave miscarriage of justice. Photograph: Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images.

You can see more here.

Norway’s Storebrand Goes NoDAPL.

NorSR

© C. Ford. All rights reserved.

More and more efforts are directed at divestment, and Norway’s largest private investor has decided to go No DAPL.

The largest private investor in Norway has pulled out of three companies connected to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) because of the conflict at Standing Rock.

Storebrand, an Oslo-based financial-services company that specializes in sustainable, socially conscious investing, has sold off nearly $35 million worth of shares in Phillips 66, Marathon Petroleum Corporation, and Enbridge, the company announced on March 1.

“Storebrand has made the decision to withdraw all investments from the controversial Dakota Access pipeline, including positions in the North American companies Marathon Petroleum Corporation, Enbridge Inc. and Phillips 66,” said Storebrand in a statement on March 1.

“Our conclusion is that these are poor long-term investments, both for our pension customer and from a sustainability point of view,” the company said.

Storebrand had investments of $11.5 million in Philips 66, $7 million in Marathon Petroleum Corp. and $16.2 million in Enbridge Inc., for a total of $34.8 million, said the company. According to its website, it has been in operation since 1767 and was managing pension funds since 1917, pre-dating Norway’s social security system by 50 years.

“There is too much uncertainty, for us as an investor, as to whether there has been a good process that ensures the rights of all parties in the conflict,” said Matthew Smith, Head of Sustainable Investments. “There has been involvement by the United Nations, by President Obama, and President Trump. Caught in the middle are the people directly impacted by the pipeline.”

[…]

Storebrand tried numerous tactics to enact change, Smith said in the statement, but none of them worked.

“Generally, it is our belief that we can have a more positive effect on companies and situations by using our position as an owner to effect change. We have successfully done so on many occasions, but it doesn’t always work,” Smith said. “Storebrand has been in direct contact with the companies, and has worked with international groups of investors. Our most recent initiative is an investor letter, representing 137 investors with $653 billion assets under management, that encourages involved banks that have lent money to the project to use their position and influence to engender positive change and a reconsideration the routing of the pipeline.”

Storebrand was forced to conclude that “active ownership is not going to deliver a better outcome,” he said. “We do hope that this can give a final indication to the involved companies to reconsider the routing of the pipeline.”

The investor joins a growing number of companies and entities that have pulled funds from Wells Fargo and other banks that are financing DAPL, ranging from the City of Seattle to individual account holders. Others, such as New York City, have put DAPL banks on notice.

The decision was not easy, Smith told The Guardian.

“Divestment is a last resort,” he said. “When you divest from companies, you give up your possibility to influence companies to come to a better solution.”

Full story at ICMN.

This Is Our Land.

Water Protectors Leave Oceti Sakowin Reluctantly.

‘Absolutely False’: No Contact From Trump Administration, Archambault Says.

marty-two-bulls-cartoon-dapl-020717
NODAPL; The Last Stand © Marty Two Bulls.
 
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No DAPL; Beware the Early Thaw © Marty Two Bulls.