Ted Cruz Australia
via Gage Skidmore/Flickr and Terry Morgan/Flickr

Senator Ted Cruz and a kangaroo.

Conservative media in the United States has painted Australia as a state on the brink of authoritarianism due to strict COVID-19 protections in some parts of the country. These news outlets appear to be using the country as an example of what can happen in America if liberal politicians go unchecked.

Fox News' Tucker Carlson ran a story on Australia earlier this month claiming the country "looks a lot like China did at the beginning of the pandemic." He ended it by saying that "what's happening in Australia might be instructive to us in the United States" and that things can "change very quickly" and become "dystopian and autocratic."

Carlson provides zero reasons why Americans should be fearful of becoming an autocratic country due to COVID-19, beyond the idea that "things can change very quickly" so his appeals sound a lot more like fear-mongering than genuine concern.


Florida governor Ron De Santis–whose state's COVID-19 death rate is some 50 times Australia's–suggested that the U.S. should reconsider its diplomatic relations with Australia, asking whether it was freer than China.

While conservative media in the U.S. bemoans the state of Australia, people living Down Under don't care much for their concerns. Polls show that the vast majority of Australians support vaccine mandates, presumably because they don't want their fellow countrymen to die.

Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz got in on the Australia bashing last week when he posted a tweet featuring a video of Australia's Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner announcing the country's latest vaccine mandates.

Gunner had announced that anyone who serves the public in hospitality, gyms, retail or any other customer-facing industries must get their first coronavirus vaccine within a month or face a $3,750 (5000 Australian dollars) fine.

"I love the Aussies. Their history of rugged independence is legendary; I've always said Australia is the Texas of the Pacific," Cruz wrote before adding, "The Covid tyranny of their current government is disgraceful and sad. Individual liberty matters. I stand with the people of Australia."

Gunner responded to Cruz on Twitter, educating him on the effectiveness of vaccines and how compared to Australia, Texas is a complete disaster when it comes to protecting people from the virus.

"Hey Ted Cruz, g'day from the Northern Territory in Australia. Here are some facts. Nearly 70,000 Texans have tragically died from COVID. There have been zero deaths in the Territory. Did you know that?" he wrote before adding, "Vaccination is so important here because we have vulnerable communities and the oldest continuous living culture on the planet to protect. Did you know that?"

He then added, "We don't need your lectures, thanks mate. You know nothing about us. And if you stand against a life-saving vaccine, then you sure as hell don't stand with Australia. I love Texas (go Longhorns), but when it comes to COVID, I'm glad we are nothing like you."

The difference between Texas and Australia is staggering when it comes to the number of people who've died due to COVID-19. Australia has a population of 25.7 million and has had 147,275 total cases and 1,558 total deaths due to COVID-19.

Texas, on the other hand, has a similar population of 29 million but has 3,474,092 cases and 68,043 fatalities. That's more than 45 times the death rate.

Cruz can bash Australia all he wants, but if he actually loved the people of Texas, he'd care a bit more about their health. Few people have much use for liberty when they're dead or stuck on a ventilator.

Joy

Meet Eva, the hero dog who risked her life saving her owner from a mountain lion

Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva when a mountain lion suddenly appeared.

Photo by Didssph on Unsplash

A sweet face and fierce loyalty: Belgian Malinois defends owner.

The Belgian Malinois is a special breed of dog. It's highly intelligent, extremely athletic and needs a ton of interaction. While these attributes make the Belgian Malinois the perfect dog for police and military work, they can be a bit of a handful as a typical pet.

As Belgian Malinois owner Erin Wilson jokingly told NPR, they’re basically "a German shepherd on steroids or crack or cocaine.”

It was her Malinois Eva’s natural drive, however, that ended up saving Wilson’s life.

According to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva slightly ahead of her when a mountain lion suddenly appeared and swiped Wilson across the left shoulder. She quickly yelled Eva’s name and the dog’s instincts kicked in immediately. Eva rushed in to defend her owner.

It wasn’t long, though, before the mountain lion won the upper hand, much to Wilson’s horror.

She told TODAY, “They fought for a couple seconds, and then I heard her start crying. That’s when the cat latched on to her skull.”

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Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy asked his Senate colleagues the questions millions of Americans have after a mass shooting.

Another school shooting. Another mass murder of innocent children. They were elementary school kids this time. There were 18 children killed—so far—this time.

The fact that I can say "this time" is enraging, but that's the routine nature of mass shootings in the U.S. It happened in Texas this time. At least three adults were killed this time. The shooter was a teenager this time.

The details this time may be different than the last time and the time before that, and the time before that, and the time before that. But there's one thing all mass shootings have in common. No, it's not mental illness. It's not racism or misogyny or religious extremism. It's not bad parenting or violent video games or lack of religion.

Some of those things have been factors in some shootings, but the single common denominator in every mass shooting is guns. That's not a secret. It's not controversial. It's fact. The only thing all mass shootings have in common is guns.

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Joy

Man uses TikTok to offer 'dinner with dad' to any kid that needs one, even adult ones

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud.

Come for the food, stay for the wholesomeness.

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud. His TikTok channel is dedicated to giving people intimate conversations they might long to have with their own father, but can’t. The most popular is his “Dinner With Dad” segment.

The concept is simple: Clayton, aka Dad, always sets down two plates of food. He always tells you what’s for dinner. He always blesses the food. He always checks in with how you’re doing.

I stress the stability here, because as someone who grew up with a less-than-stable relationship with their parents, it stood out immediately. I found myself breathing a sigh of relief at Clayton’s consistency. I also noticed the immediate emotional connection created just by being asked, “How was your day?” According to relationship coach and couples counselor Don Olund, these two elements—stability and connection—are fundamental cravings that children have of their parents. Perhaps we never really stop needing it from them.


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