Shaming Trump.

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kinney talks about immigration at the White House (Screen cap).

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kinney talks about immigration at the White House (Screen cap).

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny used his time spent at the White House on St. Patrick’s Day to issue a subtle rebuke to President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.

Speaking at the White House with Trump standing right next to him, Kenny relayed the long history of Irish immigrants who came to America and thrived there, despite being resented and hated by many.

“It’s fitting that we gather here each year to celebrate St. Patrick and his legacy,” Kenny said. “He, too, was an immigrant. And even though he is, of course, the patron saint of Ireland, for many people around the globe, he is also the symbol of — indeed, the patron of — immigrants.”

Kenny went on to explain that in past centuries, the Irish were “the retched refuse on the teeming shore,” who nonetheless “believed in the shelter of America, in the compassion of America, in the opportunity of America.”

That is, no doubt, much too subtle for the Tiny Tyrant, but kudos to PM Kinney for having the courage to openly disdain the current regime’s xenophobia. It’s a welcome bit of truth and freshness in the in the stench laden clouds of bigotry hanging over uStates.

Full story and video here.

How Not To Advocate.

Dan Seum Jr. (Facebook).

Dan Seum Jr. (Facebook).

A medical marijuana advocate in Kentucky has been permanently banned from the third floor of the Capitol Annex. That strikes me as oddly specific, but what do I know? Anyroad, it seems that Seum Jr. was in the lobby of the Capitol Annex, talking to a group of people, when he quoted the former head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, then said he was ‘showing’ people this quote. Hmm, should be one or the other, right?

He said that while he was talking with others while in the lobby to visit representatives, he quoted “an appalling comment” made by the head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics in the 1930s to illustrate a history of discrimination and stereotyping against African Americans regarding enforcement of marijuana laws.

“I was showing them how appalling this quotation was and how I’m fighting the unfair marijuana arrests for the African-American community,” Seum said. He said he and Kentuckians for Medicinal Marijuana frequently cite the quotation, but that the offended legislative staffers must not have understood the context.

[…]

A letter sent to Seum recently by David Byerman, director of the Legislative Research Commission, said that while in the lobby, Seum “proceeded to engage in a racially-charged monologue.”

Byerman said in the letter, “Some of the offensive statements attributed to you include commenting that whites were afraid that ‘coloreds’ would have sex with white women, referring to African Americans and Latinos as ‘coloreds,’ and stating that white people were ‘scared of negroes.’ ”

An African-American employee of the legislature “within a few feet of you” was so offended that “she left her work station in distress,” Byerman wrote, and a second legislative staffer also reported being offended.

I’ll admit, I haven’t scoured the ‘net for every thing Harry Anslinger ever said, but there is a wiki page on him, which includes these two quotes:

In the 1930s Anslinger’s articles often contained racial themes in his anti-marijuana campaign:

Colored students at the Univ. of Minn. partying with (white) female students, smoking [marijuana] and getting their sympathy with stories of racial persecution. Result: pregnancy.

Two Negros took a girl fourteen years old and kept her for two days under the influence of hemp. Upon recovery she was found to be suffering from syphilis.

I can’t say that’s an unusual sentiment at all, and it’s very true that current and past drug laws have been used to provide fodder for the industrial-prison complex. I just wrote about that! That said, I find it odd that Seum would need to expound on this using the language of the past; it’s more than sufficient to discuss Anslinger with preferred, non-racist terms. Yes, people of colour have often been used to illustrate the evils of drug use, and in the context of deep racism, that still happens today. If anything, I’d say it actually happens more now than it did, given how much people have accepted the overwhelming amount of people of colour who are locked up every single day, buying into very old roots of racism, that “those” people are prone to such behaviour. It’s the same old othering, different terms.

When it comes to discussing the former FBoN, and Anslinger in particular, I would have gone a completely different direction, as far as discussion. In the early 1930s, Anslinger dismissed the use weed entirely, he said it never did anyone any harm whatsoever, and was not, in any way, connected to crime. At the time, Anslinger was rather devastated over the repeal of prohibition, and was rather intent on bringing about another prohibition. When that didn’t work, he finally turned his eyes to weed, and became a fervent anti-weed campaigner:

By the tons it is coming into this country — the deadly, dreadful poison that racks and tears not only the body, but the very heart and soul of every human being who once becomes a slave to it in any of its cruel and devastating forms…. Marihuana is a short cut to the insane asylum. Smoke marihuana cigarettes for a month and what was once your brain will be nothing but a storehouse of horrid specters. Hasheesh makes a murderer who kills for the love of killing out of the mildest mannered man who ever laughed at the idea that any habit could ever get him…

That’s quite the turnaround. Remarkable, really. It starkly highlights the utter hypocrisy of drug laws and drug ‘wars’ in this country. Okay, back to Seum Jr., who says the whole thing is a dreadful misunderstanding:

But Seum says the matter is a “terrible misunderstanding” that occurred when legislative staffers overheard him quoting a racist comment that he said he strongly disagrees with, but that he often cites to illustrate a history of discrimination against African Americans.

[…]

Seum said in a phone interview Wednesday, “I’m an advocate for the African American. I’ve been advocating because of the disparaging numbers of African-American arrests in marijuana.”

He said that while he was talking with others while in the lobby to visit representatives, he quoted “an appalling comment” made by the head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics in the 1930s to illustrate a history of discrimination and stereotyping against African Americans regarding enforcement of marijuana laws.

This is not how you advocate for people, Mr. Seum. “I’m an advocate for the African American” Oh my. Not even “I’m an advocate for African American People.” Black people are not monolith. I imagine there are some unexamined biases there, we all have them. It’s perfectly fine to use past history as an example, and as a way to explain things to people, but simply picking deeply racist quotations, and quoting them out loud, using highly offensive language is probably not the best way to do that. I don’t think a permanent ban was called for, but I expect that was a handy expedient for certain politicians.

Full story here.

1984 for 2017.

Joe Baker, Room 101.

Joe Baker, Room 101.

…Part of 1984‘s appeal is the language Orwell developed for identifying fascist control methods that are increasingly visible today. Power structures like the Ministries of Truth, Peace, Plenty, and Love—each of which represents the opposite of its title—are reflected in an Environmental Protection Agency led by a climate change denier, and an education department run by someone who prefers “charter” to public education. Conway’s “alternative facts” sound a lot like the book’s “Newspeak,” the simplification and rebranding of common language, and “Doublethink,” whereby the government controls historical records and the news, sounds an awful lot like Breitbart retellings of current events.

With 1984‘s popularity, the constant debate about whether our current world is more like Orwell’s dystopia or the one described in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World has resurfaced as well. Both books warn of the dangers their authors perceived was on the horizon, but the living legacy of 1984 is its mark on language, so Creators asked artists to illustrate the terms and concepts from the book that they see reflected in today’s society.

Alex Gamsu Jenkins, Two Minutes of Hate.

Alex Gamsu Jenkins, Two Minutes of Hate.

You can see the rest of the fabulous artwork, along with each artist’s statement at The Creators Project. Fantastic work!

The Fake News Pandemic of 1942.

Library of Congress.

Library of Congress.

Politico has an excellent article up about a previous fake news pandemic. It would be good if we could all learn a lesson from the past.

Seventy-five years ago, tens of thousands of white Southerners responded with agitated concern when they learned both by word of mouth and in some regional newspapers that First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was traveling widely throughout the former Confederate states, quietly organizing black women into secret “Eleanor Clubs.” The club motto, “A white woman in the kitchen by 1943,” portended a dangerous inversion of the region’s longstanding racial patterns.

It was already widely believed in the South that black men had been brazenly stockpiling ice picks, pistols, rifles and explosives in anticipation of a larger race riot. With millions of white men now serving in the armed forces and stationed away from their families, the story went, white communities were vulnerable to an impending assault. When that day came, black women—many of whom worked in domestic service—intended to force their white employers to cook and clean for them. “Eleanor Clubs are stirring up trouble that never should have arisen,” a white North Carolinian observed with worry. “Clubs are making the Negroes discontented, making them question their status.”

Of course, not a word of this was true. But that didn’t make these race rumors less vivid in the minds of many ordinary white Southerners.

[…]

The parallels between 1942 and today stand out. In both cases, a country undergoing profound demographic and economic change has proven hospitable to many of the same general types of rumors. In 1942, black men allegedly plotted a violent (and sexually violent) coup against white Americans. In more recent times, a Kenyan-born Muslim managed to capture the presidency, and encouraged violent Mexican criminals to vote illegally. Eleanor Roosevelt, a powerful first lady who did in fact champion black civil rights, was allegedly complicit in prompting a race war. Hillary Clinton, a powerful former first lady and would-be president, allegedly trafficked young girls through the basement of a Washington, D.C., pizzeria.

In both eras, for many white Americans—particularly many white men experiencing a decline in economic and political power—these rumors were and are a way to protest a world in which women and people of color demanded greater privilege.

Highly Recommended Reading. Good lessons for us all.

Indigenous Activism Roundup.

Protesters gather outside of the White House. CREDIT: Natasha Geiling.

Protesters gather outside of the White House. CREDIT: Natasha Geiling.

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Mni wiconi—”water is life”—appear to be empty words to the federal government, but they now constitute a battle cry for Native nations as they rise together in the U.S. capital today to voice their discontent with the Trump administration’s policies regarding indigenous rights and power.

[…]

Organizers also want the public to know that this gathering is not just about the Dakota Access Pipeline, even though it now serves as the symbol of all that’s wrong with the government-to-government relationship that tribes and the federal government are supposedly involved in. Tribes point to the Trump administration’s fast-track actions on the pipeline sans meaningful consultation and environmental review serving as the tipping point for Indian country by making a mockery of free, prior and informed consent—the right of every other sovereign nation in the world. They hope to make the point that the federal government, in going forward with the pipeline against the tribes’ wishes, abdicated its role as trustee to protect the tribes’ rights and resources, and violated their sovereignty and self-determination.

Full Story at ICMN. Think Progress also covers this story.

Tipis on the National Mall, near the White House, as water protectors gather for a march advocating for indigenous rights and a halt to environmental destruction. Kandi Mossett/Facebook.

Tipis on the National Mall, near the White House, as water protectors gather for a march advocating for indigenous rights and a halt to environmental destruction. Kandi Mossett/Facebook.

“The Standing Rock movement is bigger than one tribe,” the Standing Rock Sioux said. “It has evolved into a powerful global phenomenon highlighting the necessity to respect Indigenous Nations and their right to protect their homelands, environment and future generations. We are asking our Native relatives from across Turtle Island to rise with us.”

Full story at ICMN.

There is No O’odham Word for Wall.

TUCSON, ARIZONA—The Tohono O’odham Nation Executive Branch is firm on their stance against a border wall being built.

“[It’s] not going to happen,” said Tohono O’odham Nation Chairman Edward Manual. “It is not feasible to put a wall on the Tohono O’odham Nation…it is going to cost way too much money, way more than they are projecting.”

TON Chairman Manuel went on to say, “It is going to cut off our people, our members that come [from Mexico] and use our services. Not only that we have ceremonies in Mexico that many of our members attend. Members also make pilgrimages to Mexico and a border wall would cut that off as well.”

ICMN has the full story.

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.

MUTHAFUKKA PLEASE!!!

Housing a Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson speaks to HUD employees in Washington on Monday. CREDIT: AP Photo/Susan Walsh,

Housing a Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson speaks to HUD employees in Washington on Monday. CREDIT: AP Photo/Susan Walsh.

Ben Carson’s assertion that slaves were immigrants did not go unnoticed, by anyone.

“This is as offensive a remark as it gets,” said Steven Goldstein, executive director of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect.

The remarks sparked outrage on Twitter, including from the actor Samuel L. Jackson. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) also criticized Carson.

Samuel L. Jackson: OK!! Ben Carson…I can’t! Immigrants ? In the bottom of SLAVE SHIPS??!! MUTHAFUKKA PLEASE!!! #dickheadedtom.

A HUD spokesman later called the tempest “the most cynical interpretation of the secretary’s remarks to an army of welcoming HUD employees. No one honestly believes he equates voluntary immigration with involuntary servitude.”

“Involuntary servitude.” Even the mealy-mouthed spokesman can’t manage to say the word slavery. Carson probably thinks drapetomania is sound medical theory.

Carson was well received by the hundreds of HUD employees in the room and got a standing ovation at the close of his remarks.

And there are still people soundly denying the boot stomp of white nationalism. Unfortunately, this isn’t the only problem with Carson, who holds a number of seriously problematic views, especially when it comes to civil rights. Carson views a fair amount of rights to be “extras”, and he has no use for those at all, no. Primarily, this has to do with LGBT discrimination, and in his new position, it’s fair to surmise that bigotry will rule the day when it comes to fair housing.

It is common for conservatives to refer to “extras” as assistance for people in poverty, but Carson has used the word “extras” before when referring to LGBTQ protections.

“It’s one of the things that I don’t particularly like about the movement,” Carson said to Fusion’s Jorge Ramos in 2015. “I think everybody has equal rights, but I’m not sure that anybody should have extra rights — extra rights when it comes to redefining everything for everybody else and imposing your view on everybody else.”

Via Raw Story and Think Progress.

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.

The Walled Off Hotel.

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The Walled Off hotel may sound utilitarian, even bleak. Its owner says it has “the worst view of any hotel in the world”, while its 10 rooms get just 25 minutes of direct sunlight a day.

But, nestled against the controversial barrier wall separating Israel from the Palestinian territories, the West Bank’s answer to the Waldorf offers travellers something more elusive than any luxury destination.

The lodging in Bethlehem is a hotel, museum, protest and gallery all in one, packed with the artworks and angry brilliance of its owner, British street artist Banksy.

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From the disconcertingly lavish presidential suite where water splashes from a bullet-strafed watertank into the hot tub, to the bunk-beds in the budget room scavenged from an abandoned army barracks, the hotel is playful and strongly political.

All the rooms look out on to the concrete slabs of the wall and some have views over it to pill boxes and an Israeli settlement – illegal under international law – on the hillside beyond.

“Walls are hot right now, but I was into them long before [Donald] Trump made it cool,” said Banksy in a statement. The artist, who fiercely guards his anonymity, first came to Bethlehem more than a decade ago, leaving a series of paintings on the barrier that have become a tourist destination in their own right.

Since then, the town’s pilgrim and sightseeing-based economy has been ravaged by ever-tighter Israeli controls on travel between Israel and the Palestinian territories, so the new hotel is expected to provide a welcome boost in jobs and visitor numbers.

Banksy’s reputation is likely to keep all rooms fully booked, but he wants guests to leave with more than just a selfie. “(It’s) a three-storey cure for fanaticism, with limited car parking,” he added in the statement.

The hotel opens to guests on 20 March, with bookings via the website.

You can read much more here, and the photo gallery is here. I hope it’s a great success, in every sense.

White Minority Rule…

USA-black-and-white

A checklist of how maintaining white minority rule can be achieved.

Well, in case you haven’t figured it out yet, the Trump Administration and the GOP are engaging in a plan that Karl Rove and his billionaire patrons, as well as the GOP have had in the mill for a few decades. What is the plan?

TO CONTINUE WHITE PRIVILEGE AND THE WHITE SUPREMACY HOLD ON ALL BRANCHES OF FEDERAL AND STATE GOVERNMENT BECAUSE THEY ARE AFRAID OF LOSING POWER DUE TO THE ON-GOING SHIFT IN POPULATION TO MORE PEOPLE OF COLOR AND FOREIGN BORN THAN WHITES. THEY WANT TO ESTABLISH AND/OR MAINTAIN WHITE MINORITY RULE IN AMERICA UNDER THE GUISE OF NATIONALISM AND PATIOTISM.

How are they going to do it? As follows:

  • They will create and carry out a Civil War, if necessary, in order to achieve their aims.
  • They will engage in massive violations of the United States Constitution and Laws to achieve their goals.
  • They will scapegoat certain segments of the population, mainly people of color, immigrants and “liberals”, but also the middle class.
  • They will engage in passing discriminatory and unconstitutional legislation that the populace will accept as long as it is not aimed at their particular segment and when it is eventually aimed at them, they will be too fearful to do anything about it, and no one will be left to defend them.
  • They will engage in policy efforts, law enforcement efforts, military efforts and judicial efforts to reduce the influx on “non-white” immigrants and reduce the present population of non-whites, and this will include efforts to control the growth of non-white populations.
  • They will continue to “militarize” local, state and national law enforcement agencies and use them to protect corporate interests domestically and abroad and they will utilize the “domestic military” for these same purposes.
  • They will privatize public lands and interests in land, such as minerals and fuels, and continue to privatize (Corporate Control) the safe drinking water supply while allowing Corporate interests to pillage the “public trust” without regard to environmental impacts and the impacts to safe drinking water and agricultural water.
  • They will engage administrative policy enforcement through “Executive Orders” and other mechanisms, even if some are ultimately struck down by courts, and will utilize the same to divide the populace into warring segments.
  • They will engage or attack the Judiciary Branch in order to achieve their aims or eventually destroy it.
  • They will depend upon their followers, and those unaffected by initial discriminatory laws and policy, to eventually accept surrender of their Constitutional rights in order to establish white people as the “ruling class”.
  • They will use the catchwords of “nationalism and patriotism” as euphemisms or “code words” for “white rule” and “white supremacy” and will make it clear to poor and uneducated whites and eventually all of the white population, that their aim is to maintain white rule and white privilege, for the good of America.
  • They will attack the Free Press and attempt to silence any “Corporate Owned” media by convincing their followers, and others who eventually understand and accept their aims (either out of self-interest or fear), and will engage in Policy efforts and Congressional efforts to restrict the Free Press and Free Expression that is the lynchpin of the Constitutional Republic.
  • They will incrementally replace the Free Press with media sources that spew only manufactured “alternative” facts or function as the propaganda arm for the achievement of their aims.
  • They will create false facts which their followers will accept as Gospel in order to destroy the Free Press and attack and destroy the credibility of the Judicial and Congressional branches of government, which the GOP will go along with in order to achieve “one-party” domination.

That’s just part of Harold A. Monteau’s checklist and column. I highly recommend clicking over and reading the whole thing. Also recommended: West Wing World: The Amusement Park That Is the White House.

Not Enough American Exceptionalism & Free Market Glory!

Zinn2

Credit: Democracy Now.

Republican Arkansas state Sen. Kim Hendren introduced a bill to the state legislature that will ban the works of historian Howard Zinn from any schools that receive public funds.

The Arkansas Times reported Thursday that House Bill 1834 would ban all public schools and open enrollment charter schools from “including in its curriculum or course materials for a program of study books or any other material authored by or concerning Howard Zinn.”

Zinn is the author of “A People’s History of the United States,” the groundbreaking re-examination of U.S. history in terms of its effects on the poor, people of color and women.

What began as a fringe interpretation of history has gradually gained ground. In 2014 and 2015, Republicans across the country fought a pitched battle against the federal AP high school history program. Conservatives argue that the curriculum looks at U.S. history through the lenses of race and class, placing too much emphasis on slavery and Native American genocide and not enough on American exceptionalism and the glory of the free market economy.

Why you can’t go around teaching history that isn’t properly whitewashed, oh no. Lies are so much better. As usual, in that exceptional American way, the truth is the enemy. Full story here.

Adding to the load of exceptional American stupidity, is Ryan Zinke, the new Secretary of the Interior. What’s he done? Why, he’s lifted the ban on lead ammunition and fishing tackle. Because lead doesn’t cause any harm at all, right? Right.

Naturally, the NRA is elated over this idiotic move. As lead causes the unintended deaths of birds and fish, you’d think perhaps all those avid hunters and fishers would have a moment of head scratching, and figure out that lead would mean less animals available for them to slaughter. And of course, having lead scattered all over the place, leaching into the ground and water, eh, what’s the problem?

In the hypocritical stupidity exceptionalism category, we have one Mike Pence, and his little email problem:

Vice President Mike Pence routinely used a private email account to conduct public business as governor of Indiana, at times discussing sensitive matters and homeland security issues.

Emails released to IndyStar in response to a public records request show Pence communicated via his personal AOL account with top advisers on topics ranging from security gates at the governor’s residence to the state’s response to terror attacks across the globe. In one email, Pence’s top state homeland security adviser relayed an update from the FBI regarding the arrests of several men on federal terror-related charges.

Cyber-security experts say the emails raise concerns about whether such sensitive information was adequately protected from hackers, given that personal accounts like Pence’s are typically less secure than government email accounts. In fact, Pence’s personal account was hacked last summer.

Segregation Is A Great Choice!

President Donald Trump, right, meets with leaders of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) in the Oval Office of the White House on Monday. CREDIT: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais.

President Donald Trump, right, meets with leaders of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) in the Oval Office of the White House on Monday. CREDIT: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais.

Too much stupid. Too much open hate. Too much bigotry. Too Much. DeVos, the secretary of education…yeah, just go read. Oh, and what are people upset about? That Kelly Whatsherface had her feetsies on a white house couch! Oh Fuckin’ My. I could not possibly express my scorn for this country and the people in it.

Following President Trump’s meeting with leaders of Historically Black Colleges and Universities on Monday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos released a statement applauding the schools as “real pioneers when it comes to school choice.”

“They are living proof that when more options are provided to students, they are afforded greater access and greater quality,” she continued. “Their success has shown that more options help students flourish.”

[…]

One HBCU president who met with Trump and DeVos on Monday was frustrated with how things went.

In a blog post, Walter Kimbrough, president of Dillard University in New Orleans, wrote that plans for the day “blew up” after the HBCU leaders were taken to the Oval Office to meet with Trump.

The whole fucking mess is here.

Bring me one woman who has been left behind. Bring me one. There’s not one…

A one-month dosage of hormonal birth control pills is displayed Friday, Aug. 26, 2016, in Sacramento, Calif. CREDIT: AP /Rich Pedroncelli.

A one-month dosage of hormonal birth control pills is displayed Friday, Aug. 26, 2016, in Sacramento, Calif. CREDIT: AP /Rich Pedroncelli.

The Trump administration may weaken or eliminate the provision for full coverage of contraception in the Affordable Care Act, experts say, and it may not require any action from Republican allies in Congress.

The provision that allows women to receive full coverage for birth control — including insertion and removal of an IUD — could be eliminated or at least weakened through regulations, guidance, or law. Reproductive rights advocates are also waiting to see whether the Trump administration will continue to defend the mandate in the courts on Tuesday.

Newly minted Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price has a record of dismissing women’s need for full coverage of birth control. In an interview with Think Progress in 2012, Price said, “Bring me one woman who has been left behind. Bring me one. There’s not one … The fact of the matter is this is a trampling on religious freedom and religious liberty in this country.”

During his confirmation hearing, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) asked Price about his 2012 statement on birth control because her constituents say birth control without a co-pay is essential to their health care. Price refused to commit to full coverage of birth control.

“There are avenues in the heath care system that doctors and hospitals take to make sure people can get the health care they need,” Price answered.

Price seems to think contraception is like having a doctor fill up a bag with pharmaceutical samples of something or other, to help out patients who can’t afford prescriptions. That sort of thing is usually done for a one time treatment. Contraception doesn’t work like that. As a former physician, I’m sure Mr. Price is aware of that, but that’s not as important as preventing people from having healthcare, especially those awful women. The way Price and his fellow travelers feel about it, contraception is a lifestyle choice, not a health issue.

Planned Parenthood clinics told NPR that, since the election of President Donald Trump, they have received more calls than usual from women interested in booking appointments for IUDs. An IUD is one of the most effective methods of birth control, since it is more than 99 percent effective. Without coverage provided by the mandate, a woman who works full time at minimum wage may have to pay a month’s salary for the cost of getting an IUD, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

Women who use contraceptives consistently and correctly only account for 5 percent of all unintended pregnancies. But with financial barriers to access — especially access to effective but costly methods such as IUDs — women’s ability to prevent unintended pregnancies is significantly hampered.

41 years ago, I got an IUD through planned parenthood. At that time, I was a paid member, so it didn’t cost me a thing. I don’t remember the membership cost, but it was around 25 or 35 dollars. Way back then, people in general were favorable towards accessible, inexpensive birth control. There was still a very heavy stigma attached to single parenthood, and it was still considered to be shameful to be pregnant out of wedlock. The stigma was starting to fade in 1975, but it was still strong enough that the reasoning was contraception and pregnancy prevention was better than a bunch of single mothers. It was also easy  and hassle free to obtain an abortion back then. How things have changed.

In addition to what is happening in the courts, it is possible that an executive order could greatly expand exemptions for companies with religious or moral objections. A leaked draft of an executive order, first obtained by The Nation and Reveal earlier this month, would significantly weaken the contraception guarantee.

The order would appear to exempt any “closely held for-profit corporations” with moral or religious objections to meeting the requirements of the provision and lets them exclude coverage for contraception. Under the Obama administration’s religious accommodation, insurance companies have to provide separate coverage to women at no additional cost. Kinsey Hasstedt, senior policy manager for the Guttmacher Institute, said the draft is cause for concern, even though an official order has not been released.

“The leaked draft executive order would expand accommodations so it would be simpler for employers to reject some or all birth control options,” Hasstedt said. “It would be a dramatic expansion of exemptions.”

This draft uses broad terms to define religious freedom and requires the Department of Justice to defend “religious freedom.” It does specifically mention objections to abortion, contraception, and premarital sex, however.

The Religious Reich Republicans have been salivating for ages over the chance to kill off accessible, affordable contraception, and it looks like that chance has arrived. Think Progress has the in-depth coverage on this issue.