Al Franken once famously said that he likes Ted Cruz more than most members of the Senate-- and that he hates Ted Cruz. Yesterday another member of Congress sent me this Jezebel article by Justice Namste and said that when he read it he thought, "what kind of person get texts from a Senator’s wife and a neighbor, and then forwards them to a national newspaper? Is there some kind of contest going on there, to see if anyone can be more creepy than Cruz himself?"
Namaste wrote that "In the ongoing saga of Senator Ted Cruz’s vacation to Mexico in the midst of an unprecedented snowstorm that has left millions in Texas without heat, water, or electricity for days, we’ve finally gotten to perhaps the most incriminating aspect-- texts from his wife’s group messages. After Senator Cruz released a statement on Thursday morning attempting to shift the responsibility for his decision to travel to Cancún to his daughters, the New York Times obtained text messages from Ms. Cruz planning the family’s Mexico trip. Now I’m far from perfect, but I hope I never do something so abjectly awful that my neighbors would snitch on me to a national newspaper for being such a selfish piece of shit. On Wednesday morning, Ms. Cruz reportedly texted her 'friends' and neighbors in Houston saying that their house was 'FREEZING' and that they were planning to get away for the next few days. Apparently, the Cruz family had been staying with friends to keep warm, but then had the exceedingly foolish idea to go on a tropical vacation in the midst of a catastrophic weather event occurring during a global health crisis."
“Anyone can or want to leave for the week?” she asked. “We may go to Cancún.” Ms. Cruz continued on to offer details about a “direct flight” on Wednesday afternoon, mentioning a stay at the Cancún Ritz Carlton ( “hotels w capacity. Seriously”), and a Sunday return—decidedly different than Cruz’s claim that he was just flying his daughters down to Cancún and then planning to return to Texas. She noted that the room price this week was $309 per night and that the hotel had “good security,” which is definitely not a racist dog whistle at all. Unsurprisingly, none of her neighbors appeared to respond to her texts. Perhaps they were too busy huddling together to stay warm because their house was also “FREEZING”! In her messages, Ms. Cruz did offer up a little bit of help, writing “we have gas stove, so at least we can heat water little that there is happy to help anyone we can too.”
In his statement on Thursday afternoon, Cruz mentioned that part of the reason for the impromptu trip was that his daughters’ Houston private school was closed this week. However, two parents at the school provided a copy of the school’s written policy about international travel during the pandemic, which specifies that students are not allowed to return to classrooms for at least a full week after traveling outside of the country, or after getting a negative result on a covid-19 test taken three to five days after returning to the U.S.-- all of which would prevent the Cruz children from returning to school next week. So not only has Cruz’s willful and deeply selfish incompetence angered a large number of his constituents, but he’s also pissed off both his neighbors and the other parents at his daughters’ school! ....Yeah, they might have to move.
As of Thursday evening, there are 34 deaths that have been attributed to the storm and subsequent breakdown in infrastructure in Texas and surrounding states, and nearly half of Texas residents don’t have access to clean running water. Despite his attempt to blame his cowardice on his 10 and 12-year-old daughters, Cruz’s decision to abandon his state and his constituents in the midst of such a devastating crisis can’t be blamed on anyone but himself.
If you listen very closely, you might just be able to hear Ted Cruz’s political career being flushed down the toilet-- and what a sweet sound it is.
As if to answer the congressman's original question-- about if there's some kind of contest going on to see if anyone can be more creepy than Cruz himself?-- another Jezebel article by Namste seemed to get to that one yesterday: Male Senators Shot Down a Virginia Bill That Would Have Banned Unsolicited Dick Pics. "Legislation proposed by Virginia Delegate Kelly Convirs-Fowler," she wrote, "would have banned 'cyber flashing'-- what she’s calling the phenomenon of people sending unsolicited nude photographs. The idea came to Convirs-Fowler after talking with fellow real estate agents, who regularly deal with this kind of digital harassment because their jobs often require having a publically available cell phone number."
The bill sailed through the House of Delegates but the state Senate committee marking it up voted it down 8-5. Big surprise: all 8 who voted to table it are men: Majority Leader Richard Saslaw (D), Minority Leader Tom Norment (R), Mark Obenshain (R), Ryan McDougle (R), Richard Stuart (R), Chap Petersen (D), Scott Surovell (D), and Joe Morissey (D). The Democrats said they were worried about art, like Michelangelo's David. One of the Dems who voted against it, Scott Surovell, from Fairfax said that "I could see a situation where boyfriends and girlfriends are trading pictures of themselves and the relationship goes bad. And then a week or two or three later somebody’s swearing out a warrant saying 'hey he keeps sending me this' or 'she keeps sending me that.' And now there’s misdemeanor charges and lawyers involved."
"Delegate Convirs-Fowler," wrote Namaste, "was clear that her bill would only deal with unsolicited photos, and only apply to 'obscene' material, which she believed would exclude artistic nudity. Despite an earlier draft specifying that the legislation would only apply to photos sent with 'the intent to coerce, harass or intimidate,' she eventually introduced a substitute version of the legislation that eliminated the aspects dealing with intent and limited the bill to images sent 'without consent of the recipient.'... 'I think that perhaps the senate doesn’t understand the issue, doesn’t understand it’s a widespread issue. I think it’s a denial of a problem that’s there,' Convirs-Fowler said. 'To have it be given a nine-minute hearing and all men decide, it was very upsetting.'"
A few days ago we introduced Karishma Mehta, an extraordinary candidate for a House of Delegates seat in the DC suburbs. This morning she told me that "This bill wasn’t just about unsolicited cyber-flashing. It attempted to tap into deep-rooted systemic issues of patriarchal control that subjects ALL people-- men, women, children, non-binary and trans communities-- to unwanted sexual harassment in the digital age. Of course a committee of mostly cis-gender heterosexual men would kill the bill; it’s in the survival interests of an oppressive system that protects them, above all else, from accountability and public scrutiny."
A 2017 YouGov survey found that 53% of millennial women had reported getting an unsolicited photo of a penis. In the same survey, about one in four millennial men reported sending one. One of the conservative Dems who voted against the bill, John Edwards, told Convirs-Fowler, "There’s always next year."
Ally Dalsimer, a progressive activist running for Congress in northern Virginia sees the rejection of this legislation as another symptom of trans-artisan conservative rule in Virginia. "This situation in the Virginia state legislature is sadly typical," she told me this morning, "and a subset of a broader problem that exists especially at higher levels of government. It's why we need change. For example, Gerry Connolly-- my opponent in Virginia's 11th Congressional District-- is a political clone of Mr. Saslaw and others who opposed not just this piece of legislation, but also the Paid Family Medical Leave Act, the 'Bumble Bee Bill' which would have protected pollinators from deadly neonictides, ending for-profit prisons, and so many other really good pieces of legislation that the Virginia House put forth. The lack of sincerity among many long-term representatives is exactly why The Squad in Congress has been struggling, and why we need to increase the numbers of progressives in office up and down ballots across the country. It's why I'm running. Because, unlike my opponent, I fully support the Paid Leave Act, Childcare for Working Families Act, COVID-19 Housing Assistance, Schedules That Work Act, etc. Connolly hasn't even signed on to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act-- that's completely outrageous for someone who is supposed to represent ALL of us. We have got to get these out-of-touch, long-term, corporate-funded politicians out of office. These folks say all the right things publicly but when it comes down to actually voting to help the people they are supposed to represent, the don't. This is at the root of why I joined the race, and why I'm taking on one of the most powerful members of Congress: because he does NOT vote the way he talks. And that has got to change."