Now that Texas has shown it’s disdain for women, I wanted to follow-up on a couple of things that really bothered me about the events of that evening.
1) Erick Erickson is a misogynist d-bag. Erickson, you might recall, got spanked on Fox news for his widely disseminated views that women in the workplace are what’s wrong with America. The night of the vote, he tweeted a link to a coat hanger wholesaler with instructions for liberals to bookmark the link. It was crude, insensitive and offensive. He deleted it and wrote an apology that was even more offensive. I won’t link to it because I’d rather bleed in a cup than increase his Google ranking.
2) The right-wing is lying about the protesters. On the day the Texas Legislature decided they knew better about women’s reproductive health than the state’s health care organizations, doctors and women themselves, there was a big internet outcry because the Department of Public Safety was searching everyone’s bags and confiscating tampons and pads.
Almost instantly Twitter erupted with sarcastic hashtags pointing to the spectacle of state senators being uneasy about women carrying tampons, but perfectly fine to let them bring firearms. It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad. After a thorough public shaming, the senate started allowing women to carry their tampons again. I guess they’re not so much of a threat after all.
Not long afterwards, rumors started to fly around that DPS had found people trying to bring in jars of urine and feces. DPS put out a press release saying that they had received information that individuals planned to use a variety of items or props to disrupt legislative proceedings at the Texas Capitol. This prompted inspections of the bags protesters brought into the Capitol. The press release further stated that DPS had confiscated one jar of suspected urine and 18 jars of suspected feces.
Three seconds later, pro-forced birthers on Twitter went ballistic. See? See!?! These “pro-aborts” are animals who throw their own poo at their political enemies!
Now here’s the thing: The story seems to be hogwash. There were thousands of people at the Capitol. I dare say most of them had phones with cameras. I saw lots of photos of confiscated tampons, but not one photo of a jar — no urine, no feces. So I started checking Twitter to see if anyone else had seen anything.
Every pro-forced birther on Twitter said it happened. Many claimed to have seen “widely tweeted plans” to throw tampons, urine and feces on the senators, but no one pointed to any of these tweets and I can’t seem to find them. Every new report about the jars quotes the same press release from DPS, but no one seems to have actually seen them.
I read an account of one pro-choice protester who described the inspection she went through before going inside the building. She said the trooper pulled everything out of her purse and shined a flashlight inside. This was before her bag was inspected a second time as she entered the gallery. While in line, she heard a pro-forced birther (wearing blue) in front of her during his backpack inspection tell the trooper that he’d heard the protesters were going to throw bloody tampons at the senators. Again, this all seems to be coming from the right, but no one has any proof.
DPS didn’t arrest anyone for trying to carry jars of urine or feces into the Capitol. Why? Surely that’s illegal, right?
The Texas Tribune sent reporters around to all the entrances and to talk to officers outside the building. According to their report, no officer reported that they’d seen any jars. No one said they’d heard anything about it on the radio either. When questioned, DPS said there would be no further clarification. When pressed, they changed the wording on the press release to say the jars weren’t confiscated, but protesters were given the option to dispose of them or not be allowed to enter the building.
I smell a rat.
I also remember what happened in Denver when the DNC was getting ready to host their convention there. The city council passed an ordinance making it illegal to carry human waste around with you. Once again, they had heard rumors that protesters were going to throw urine and feces to try to disrupt the event. But no one every actually saw any and no one could point to any publicly known plans.
The next day, the pro-forced birthers upped the ante, claiming the DPS confiscated bricks! Now, if someone was trying to smuggle a brick into the Capitol, surely that would be cause for arrest, right? Did troopers just find a brick in some woman’s purse and say “Tsk, tsk” before taking the brick and letting her in?
I’ve asked everyone I know to ask about this and no one can produce a shred of evidence that anyone either planned to bring or tried to bring any jars or bricks into the building.
Let’s take a step back and think about this for a minute.
The demonstrations in Texas were unlike anything they’d seen before. Several senators said so. No one was expecting the public to be in such an uproar over this, but it happened and it caught them off guard. People lined up to wait ten hours or more to get into the building to show how outraged they were over this. The press was watching. Hell, the entire country was watching. The polling showed that the new restrictions weren’t popular with a majority in the state. The experts said the new restrictions wouldn’t make abortion safer, just harder to get.
So if you’re a God-fearing senator trying to save the unborn babies in the face of a tidal wave of angry women and their supporters, what do you do to discredit them? One easy way would be to claim they were planning on becoming violent. Spread the rumor that they were planning to throw feces and urine and bricks and bloody tampons.
Just remember, it was DPS who changed their story, not the pro-choice protesters. That night, they claimed to have confiscated the jars. When asked about the jars, they said the jars weren’t confiscated, but were disposed of and the people allowed to walk on in. All the press reports the various conservative sites are pointing to depend on that one press release. Despite so many photos and videos of nearly every aspect of this session, I’ve yet to see one photo of a jar of poo or a brick. I’ve yet to see one first-hand account of seeing a jar of poo or a brick. You’d think, if they existed, photos of these jars would be all over the internet, just to show how awful these pro-choice women were.
And why jars? How did everyone know to use jars? Why not baggies? Tupperware? Those disposable containers that lunchmeat comes in? No. There are too many red flags. I don’t believe it happened.
3) Right wingers claimed the protesters were becoming violent. Meanwhile, you have people like Congressman Steve Stockman (R-natch) tweeting that Capitol Police are warning pro-forced birthers to leave the building for their own safety, that the building was on lockdown and that DPS was locking some pro-forced birthers in senate offices to keep them safe. Erick Erickson also jumped in claiming the same thing. It should be noted here that they weren’t there that night and not even DPS has made that claim.
While the building was supposedly on lockdown from the scary ole’ peaceful demonstrators, I was watching the live feed from the senate floor and everything seemed calm. I tweeted a few people I knew to be there on both sides of the debate and all the replies I received said it was loud, but not out of control.
In fact, there were no reports of violence breaking out at any point during the protests, but that didn’t stop the right-wing nut jobs from lying about it. And if they’ll lie about that, then they have no trouble lying about a jar of feces.