Being a native Texan, I’ve been checking in on my brother and friends who have been severely impacted by the terrible freezing cold catastrophe happening in the Lone Star state.
As I’m sure you’ve seen, there are rolling blackouts (or just plain ‘blackouts’) happening across the state. My brother, like many Texans, went without water for a few days. And now 7 million residents are being told to boil water before drinking it as water treatment plants haven’t gotten back up to speed.
First, Gov. Greg Abbott tried to blame the power outages on the Green New Deal which isn’t even effective legislation anywhere. Abbott pointed to wind towers freezing as a big part of the problem when wind only makes up about 7 percent of the state’s power.
The real problem has apparently been the fact that natural gas lines froze, plus Texas has refused to spend any money on its energy infrastructure in forever.
Warmer weather is thankfully on the horizon (my weather app says temps will get back up in the 40s on Saturday), but Twitter flipped out last night when it was discovered Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) boarded a plane for a family vacation to Mexico while his constituents are in the midst of a statewide emergency.
Sen. Ted Cruz flew to Cancun, Mexico, with his family this week as Texas dealt with a winter storm that left millions without power, Fox News has confirmed.
Photographs of Cruz, R-Texas, at an airport began circulating on social media late Wednesday, with people alleging that the senator had left the state for Cancun amid a major crisis. A Republican source told Fox News that the allegations Cruz was traveling to the Mexican city are true.
“The photos speak for themselves,” the source said. Cruz’s office did not respond to multiple requests for comment on Thursday morning.
Cruz put out a statement saying his family asked to go on a vacation so he accompanied them to Cancun but meant to return today. But there are reports his original return ticket was for Saturday.
Not a good look abandoning your state during an enormous natural disaster, Rafael.
Guess which US Senator from Texas flew to Cancun while the state was freezing to death and having to boil water? pic.twitter.com/fNY00EmMMR
Heidi Cruz is a managing director at Goldman Sachs and a Harvard graduate. I think she's entirely capable of navigating airports with her kids on her own. Ted Cruz is a liar, a fraud, and a human piece of garbage.
• Gay Star News: A transgender woman is suing the Georgia Department of Corrections for failing to protect her from sexual assault after being assaulted 14 times in prison.
• Vanity Fair: The outgoing first daughter appears to be in extremely frantic damage control mode, attempting to prove, via tweets, that the Trump administration isn’t the worst collection of people in modern presidential history.
• Out Music: MTV’s Real World alum Davis Mallory (above) and American Idol’s Madeline Finn score with their uplifting new single “Faith.”
As the bells are ringing, choirs of angels singing
It is the end of days – Baby don’t let it shake your faith
• Pink News: A court in Hungary has requested a constitutional review of a chilling law that ended legal gender recognition for trans people, effectively erasing trans, non-binary and intersex folk from existence.
• Reuters: Mexico’s president is still so afraid of Donald Trump he won’t congratulate President-elect Joe Biden on his win.
• Wyoming Tribune: Wyoming’s anti-mask Republican Gov. Mark Gordon has tested positive for the coronavirus.
BREAKING—Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon tests positive for #COVID19.
‘Totally-not-gay’ former Republican Congressman Aaron Schock was recently caught on video tipping a go-go dancer at Boy Bar, a gay club in Mexico City this past weekend.
The Daily Mail was first to share the video footage which quickly went viral.
“The last person I would expect to see in Boy Bar is a former Republican congressman,” said the individual who recorded 37-year-old Schock at the nightclub. “I was taking a video of the go-go dancer on stage and all of a sudden I saw him.
“He looked like he was enjoying himself,” added the source.
Over the past several months, Schock, who has never publicly come out, has been spotted frolicking with shirtless gay men in a number of locales including the Coachella festival and a West Hollywood hotel pool.
Long suspected of being gay, Schock angered the LGBTQ community by voting against LGBTQ rights and interests during his time in the House.
As a congressman representing Illinois, he voted against the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” against adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the federal hate crime laws, and for the Defense of Marriage Act, which would have defined marriage as only between a man and a woman.
To be clear, I’m never one to out a gay person UNLESS they used their position to harm the LGBTQ community while enjoying the privileges that we’ve fought for.
The Twitterverse has had a field day with the new-found video clip:
“Hey Cutie, I’m Aaron Schock. As a congressman I voted against marriage equality, the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and Equal Protections for LGBT folk. Now hold still while I shove this dollar down your shorts.” pic.twitter.com/YLGDXrW9Ei
There’s no shame in tipping male dancers. Lord knows I’ve done it a time or two. Then again, I’ve been out since I was 18, and have never been an anti-gay Republican congressman like @aaronschock. https://t.co/nQP5ZMBjHP
Late Friday evening, Donald Trump enthusiastically announced that his threat of a tariff war with Mexico had been avoided.
I am pleased to inform you that The United States of America has reached a signed agreement with Mexico. The Tariffs scheduled to be implemented by the U.S. on Monday, against Mexico, are hereby indefinitely suspended. Mexico, in turn, has agreed to take strong measures to….
….stem the tide of Migration through Mexico, and to our Southern Border. This is being done to greatly reduce, or eliminate, Illegal Immigration coming from Mexico and into the United States. Details of the agreement will be released shortly by the State Department. Thank you!
Trump faced intense pressure from both Democratic and Republican lawmakers to not implement the tariffs. So, you can imagine why he was so proud of the ‘last minute’ agreement.
But was it?
The New York Times is reporting that much of the new ‘deal’ was agreed upon months ago according to officials from both the U.S. and Mexico familiar with the progress of the deal.
It would appear that the Trumpster’s tweets were basically theater.
Friday’s joint declaration says Mexico agreed to the “deployment of its National Guard throughout Mexico, giving priority to its southern border.” But the Mexican government had already pledged to do that in March during secret talks in Miami between Kirstjen Nielsen, then the secretary of homeland security, and Olga Sanchez, the Mexican secretary of the interior, the officials said.
The centerpiece of Mr. Trump’s deal was an expansion of a program to allow asylum-seekers to remain in Mexico while their legal cases proceed. But that arrangement was first reached in December in a pair of painstakingly negotiated diplomatic notes that the two countries exchanged. Ms. Nielsen announced the Migrant Protection Protocols during a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee five days before Christmas.
And over the past week, negotiators failed to persuade Mexico to accept a “safe third country” treaty that would have given the United States the legal ability to reject asylum seekers if they had not sought refuge in Mexico first.
It was unclear whether Mr. Trump believed that the agreement truly represented new and broader concessions, or whether the president understood the limits of the deal but accepted it as a face-saving way to escape from the political and economic consequences of imposing tariffs on Mexico.
Having threatened Mexico with an escalating series of tariffs — starting at 5 percent and growing to 25 percent — the president faced enormous criticism from global leaders, business executives, Republican and Democratic lawmakers, and members of his own staff that he risked disrupting a critical marketplace.
After nine days of uncertainty, Mr. Trump backed down and accepted Mexico’s promises.
FACT: The joint US-Mexico declaration, which is less than 500 words long, requires Mexico to do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING it isn’t already doing.
It is not a “deal.”
It is a fig leaf to cover up Trump’s humiliating diplomatic defeat
“Analysts said the changes announced on immigration appeared to amount to little more than a continuation of steps the two countries had already agreed in December. …” IOW Trump backed down amid party complaints about pending economic/political doom. https://t.co/Hv3xtO6vtq
Republican senators sent the White House a sharp message on Tuesday, warning that they were almost uniformly opposed to President Trump’s plans to impose tariffs on Mexican imports, just hours after the president said lawmakers would be “foolish” to try to stop him.
“I want you to take a message back” to the White House, Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, told the lawyers, according to people familiar with the meeting. Mr. Cruz warned that “you didn’t hear a single yes” from the Republican conference. He called the proposed tariffs a $30 billion tax increase on Texans.
Texas would be hit the hardest by the proposed tariffs on Mexican products, followed by Michigan, California, Illinois and Ohio, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
A 25 percent tariff would threaten $26.75 billion of Texas imports. “We’re holding a gun to our own heads,” said Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi called the tariffs “a distraction:”
Pelosi on Trump’s proposed Mexico tariffs: “It’s wrong. I don’t even think it rises to the level of policy. I think it’s notion-mongering … it’s really, well, let’s face what it is: It’s a distraction from the Mueller report. And it’s served its purpose. Here we are.” Via ABC pic.twitter.com/jSsie1m0By
“Summing up the mood of the lunch, Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said, according to sources familiar with the matter: The administration ‘trying to use tariffs to solve every problem but HIV and climate change.’” @burgessev & @JamesArkin https://t.co/hBldHNFDNC
The New York Times has published a devastating depiction of the 5,600 US troops sent to the US/Mexican border.
Even though the migrant caravan isn’t expected to reach the border for weeks, and the Border Patrol & National Guard were more than equipped to handle the situation, the soldiers were deployed as part of Donald Trump’s explosive midterm election campaign promises.
But it turns out reality isn’t nearly as winning as a stump speech at a campaign rally.
There’s little electricity, no hot food, showers were only recently constructed, and most of the soldiers will miss not only Veterans Day with their families, but most probably Thanksgiving as well.
The military’s morale issue is almost as worrisome. The deployment orders last until Dec. 15, meaning the troops will be on the border over Thanksgiving. They will have little to do beyond providing logistical support, unless Mr. Trump declares martial law. The troops will not be enforcing United States immigration law — that would run afoul of the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, unless a special exception is made.
“When you give a soldier a real mission, you have less of a morale problem, even if it’s Christmas or Thanksgiving,” said Representative Anthony G. Brown, Democrat of Maryland and a former Army helicopter pilot who served in the Iraq war. “But when you send a soldier on a dubious mission, with no military value, over Thanksgiving, it doesn’t help morale at all.”
As it was at the bases in those early war zones, electricity at Base Camp Donna is scarce except to power lights and communications gear. In the last several days, the soldiers installed a small shower tent. Men and women have set hours for bathing. Permitted shower length: seven minutes.
There is no mess hall, just the brown, prepackaged M.R.E.’s. Military police officers patrol the perimeter at night, armed with handguns. The tents sleep 20 soldiers and have no electricity or air-conditioning. Phone charging is relegated to a few generators that power the spotlights around the living area.
Military experts estimate the deployment could cost as much as $200 million.
NYT reports that instead of watching football with their families this Veterans Day weekend, the troops sent by Trump to the border are webbing wire on the banks of the Rio Grande. Whattaburger runs are off limits, so they eat chicken & noodle rations. https://t.co/7mj8mJ4vyw
• Chippendales’ Okewa (above) celebrates his 30th trip around the sun today. I’d say ‘woof’ but we can settle for a ‘meow’ given the pic 🙂
• A 19-year-old man has been charged with a hate crime after he allegedly beat up and trapped a 50-year-old gay man in a basement apartment.
• The vice mayor of a small California town is facing recall after penning an op-ed sarcastically calling for a ‘Straight Pride’ month.
• In an interview with Andrew Denton on the Australian talk show Interview, actor Guy Pearce was asked his thoughts on working with Kevin Spacey. The actor replied: “Yeah … yeah. Tough one to talk about at the moment. Amazing actor; incredible actor. Mmm. Slightly difficult time with Kevin. He’s a handsy guy.”
• After appearing in the 2003 film School of Rock with Jack Black, then-child actor Brian Falduto was severely bullied for playing a character perceived to be gay.