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Georgia Voters React to Herschel Walker Being Herschel Walker in New Warnock Ad

Georgia voters were dumbfounded by real things Republican candidate Herschel Walker said.

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It is just over a week before the Georgia runoff election between Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker. The fate of the Senate—whether it will remain a 50–50 Democratic majority by tie-break, or outright 51–49 Democratic advantage—is up in the air.

A typical candidate might rise to the occasion and maintain a strong, focused message. But not Walker, as the Warnock campaign’s latest ad notes. From his unintelligible rambling to his outright lying, Walker has left voters wondering: “Y’all serious about this, right?”

“Not only does it make no sense—I don’t even understand what he thinks he’s saying,” said one voter.

The ad, released Saturday, includes Walker rambling about how China gets all the “good air” while America has to clean up all the other air. “It’s all the same air,” another voter responds, exasperated. Each reaction more incredulous than the last.

Just as Warnock was able to contrast himself against a candidate rife with controversy and unlikability in Kelly Loeffler during his last Georgia Senate runoff, he is poised to do the same once more against Walker.

Walker is not only a serial liar, an alleged abuser, viciously transphobic, an ostensible puppet for the GOP, and a potential tax fraudster—he’s simply not a coherent person who can connect with voters in any meaningful sense beyond being a rubber stamp for Republicans and their unpopular policies.

Glenn Youngkin Blames Virginia Walmart Shooting on “Mental Health Crisis.” So What’s His Plan?

Virginia’s Republican governor talked about a mental health crisis, but avoided the words “shooting” and “gun.”

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Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin has already pivoted to blaming Tuesday night’s mass shooting on the U.S. “mental health crisis,” despite pushing policies that would actually have a detrimental effect on mental health care.

Six people were killed and another four wounded when a gunman opened fire at a Walmart in Chesapeake, Virginia, Tuesday night. The shooting comes just a few days after an attack on a queer club in Colorado Springs, and less than two weeks after a shooting at the University of Virginia that left three students dead.

Youngkin, who has said he thinks there should be no gun safety measures in his state, has avoided saying the words “shooting” or “gun” when discussing any of the three most recent tragedies.

He said Wednesday that all three are “a moment to reflect on the state of mind of America and Virginia and this mental health crisis that we know we’re in the middle of.”

Mental health is often highlighted when looking for reasons behind a mass shooting, particularly among Republicans. But health experts say that doing so simplifies the circumstances that lead to such attacks. Meanwhile, widespread access to firearms and stalled gun legislation reform—most often the result of Republican opposition—are also to blame for mass shootings.

And to make matters worse, Republicans don’t actually seem to have a plan to address the mental health issues they’re so quick to cite after mass shootings.

Virginia’s latest budget, which Youngkin signed into effect in July, does include increased funding for mental health care, including start-up funding for a crisis response center and a pay raise for state and state-sponsored mental health workers.

But Youngkin’s proposed policies to roll back the rights of transgender students could have a devastating effect on teenage mental health statewide, experts say. He has also vocally opposed the expansion of Medicaid, which many rely on for mental health purposes.

In June, President Joe Biden signed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act into law. The legislation, the first major gun reform bill in three decades, was also the biggest single expansion of mental health care in U.S. history since Obamacare and a huge expansion of Medicaid. Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow, the bill’s main architect, said that Republicans had initially wanted to address mental health separately from gun safety, despite constantly linking the two.

Republicans have also been working constantly to gut Medicaid, as well as the Affordable Care Act, which was the single biggest expansion of mental health care when it passed.

Where Does Herschel Walker Live? His Tax Records Say His Home Is in Texas.

A new report shows him receiving a tax break for his “principal residence” in Texas. Meanwhile, he’s running for Senate in Georgia.

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Herschel Walker has lied about paying for a girlfriend’s abortion, about graduating in the top 1 percent of his college class (or graduating at all), about being a police officer, and much, much more. And now it seems like he’s lying about where he even lives.

The Georgia Senate candidate is receiving a 2022 tax break meant for Texas residents, reports CNN, potentially violating Texas tax rules and Georgia residency rules regarding voting or running for office. The revelation comes as Walker faces off against Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock in a December runoff election.

The Republican is set to receive a Texas homestead tax exemption in 2022—which someone can only take on their “principal residence.” A county tax assessor office told CNN that Walker took the tax break in 2021 as well, both breaks coming after he launched his candidacy for Senate in Georgia.

Before moving to Georgia to run for office, Walker had lived in a gated community near Dallas for over a decade. Georgia has 15 rules considered for establishing residency and eligibility to run for office—including where one accepts a homestead tax exemption.

The technical legality of Walker’s Senate campaign is therefore ambiguous. Not all 15 Georgia rules have to be followed in order to establish residency. Meanwhile, the Constitution only requires a Senate candidate to be an “inhabitant” of the state they run in.

Just as Mehmet Oz was attacked for being a New Jersey outsider running in a Pennsylvania Senate race, Walker’s legitimacy as a candidate is up for debate. Even if Walker’s candidacy is up to legal snuff, the perception of him simply acting as a carpetbagging vestige of the Republican Party risks his bid.

And it won’t be easy for Walker to shake that perception. Republicans literally walk Walker around from appearance to appearance, proudly describing how the Black candidate apparently serves as a tool for the party’s political ambitions. It’s hard not to see Walker as a Republican transplant just being used by the party to try winning an election.

Tucker Carlson Guest Blames Trans People’s “Evil Agenda” for Colorado Springs Shooting

Carlson and his guest accused the LGBTQ community of bringing violence on itself, because of its support for gender-affirming care.

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Fox News host Tucker Carlson has taken his anti-LGBTQ rhetoric in the wake of the Colorado Springs shooting a step further, accusing the community of continuing to bring the violence on itself.

Carlson’s guest Tuesday night was Jaimee Mitchell, the founder of Gays Against Groomers. The anti-trans group launched in June ostensibly to protect children against sexual exploitation, but really pushes a conspiracy theory that higher powers are trying to force kids to transition.

Mitchell herself has shared racist and Nazi views, follows known white supremacists on social media, and encourages violent rhetoric—and Tuesday night was no exception.

“The tragedy that happened in Colorado Springs the other night, you know, it was expected and predictable,” she told Carlson. “I don’t think it’s going to stop until we end this evil agenda that is attacking children.”

During the show, Carlson also falsely claimed that gender-affirming care for trans children was the same as child abuse and that teaching kids about gender and sexuality is sexual exploitation.

People were quick to note the chilling nature of Carlson and Mitchell’s conversation.

Five people were killed and at least 25 wounded Saturday night, the eve of Transgender Day of Remembrance, when a gunman entered the queer Club Q in Colorado Springs and opened fire. Two of the victims were trans, as was one of the people credited with helping to stop the shooter.

Since the shooting, many on the far right have been quick to distance themselves from having helped engender the attack—or even, like Carlson, to blame the LGBTQ community for it.

Glenn Youngkin, Who Supports No Gun Control, Is Heartbroken Over Virginia Walmart Shooting

The Virginia governor has promised to roll back existing gun control laws in the state.

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Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, who promised to roll back gun control in the state of Virginia, now says he’s heartbroken after the latest shooting in his state.

On Tuesday night, a gunman shot and killed six people at a Walmart in Chesapeake, Virginia, leaving at least another four hospitalized as of Wednesday. The shooting comes just days after a mass shooting in Colorado Springs, Colorado at an LGBTQ club—and less than two weeks after another shooting at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville that left three students dead.

But in expressing his condolences on the string of tragedies, two of them in Virginia, Youngkin could not even muster the words “gun” or “shooting.”

Here’s the governor after last week’s shooting in Charlottesville:

And a few hours later:

And here he is, on the shooting in Chesapeake:

Virginia enacted some gun control measures in 2020, signed by Democratic Governor Ralph Northam after a gunman killed 12 people at a Virginia Beach municipal building a year earlier. This did not include a ban on assault weapons.

State Republicans have spent much of their time attempting to repeal these provisions—including laws that simply require concealed handgun permits and mandatory classes prior to obtaining those permits.

Youngkin has endorsed efforts to roll back these laws, and has also promised not to sign any other gun-control legislation while in office. Instead, he has suggested funding school resource officers or addressing the “mental health crisis.”

While mental health services surely need more resources in America, numerous studies have disproven the supposed link between mental illness and mass shootings. Moreover, addressing mental health doesn’t substitute the simple act of making it harder for potential shooters to get guns.

Youngkin has had much to say on stripping transgender schoolchildren’s rights, passing state abortion bans, and stopping schoolchildren from reading about racism, but has offered very little on what he would do to actually keep his residents safe.

At a forum last year, when Youngkin was asked what gun safety measures he would support if elected governor, he replied, “I think we need to be fully clear: none.”

Germany Players Cover Mouths and Wear Rainbows in World Cup Protest Against FIFA

“Denying us the armband is the same as denying us a voice,” the German team wrote on Twitter.

German team players cover their mouths with their hands
Alex Livesey - Danehouse/Getty Images

After FIFA forbade team captains from wearing the rainbow OneLove armband at the World Cup in Qatar, the German team has made their opinion on LGBTQ rights loud and clear.

Before their match against Japan on Wednesday, Germany covered their mouths while posing for a team photo.

They also wore rainbow stripes on their warm-up shirts and shoes. German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser wore the OneLove armband while sitting in the stands during the match.

Claudio Villa/Getty Images

We wanted to use our captain’s armband to take a stand for values that we hold in the Germany national team: diversity and mutual respect. Together with other nations, we wanted our voice to be heard,” the team explained on Twitter.

“It wasn’t about making a political statement—human rights are non-negotiable. That should be taken for granted, but it still isn’t the case. That’s why this message is so important to us.”

“Denying us the armband is the same as denying us a voice. We stand by our position.”

The German team also said Tuesday that it plans to take legal action against FIFA over the OneLove armband ban.

Biden Extends Pause on Student Loan Payments

The moratorium on student loan payments will be extended to June 30, 2023, as courts consider legal challenges to Biden’s debt relief plan.

Joe Biden speaks at a podium
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Joe Biden continues to lean in, and not out, of his ambition to support millions of borrowers nationwide. On Tuesday, President Biden announced an extension of the payment pause for federal student loans, while his debt cancellation plan confronts legal challenges in court.

The pause, originally set to end in January, will now extend to June 30 or until the legal challenges are resolved, whichever comes first. As of now, payments will resume 60 days after the pause’s conclusion.

“Republican special interests and elected officials sued to deny this relief, even for their own constituents,” Biden said in an announcement video on Twitter. “But I’m completely confident my plan is legal.”

The president argued that it wouldn’t be fair to ask millions of borrowers eligible for his relief plan to resume their payments while the court was still considering his plan. “I’m never going to apologize for helping working-class and middle-class families … and I’ll continue working to make government work to deliver for all Americans,” Biden said.

In August, Biden first announced the plan to cancel up to $20,000 in debt per eligible borrower. In late October, a federal appeals court stayed the implementation of the plan, days after the government had begun accepting applications from borrowers across the nation. Now the Supreme Court is tasked with the administration’s request to supersede the appeals court and reinstate the plan.

Biden believes the June 30 deadline for the student loan payment moratorium will give the Supreme Court enough time to issue a ruling.

More on the Legal Challenges to Biden's Student Debt Relief Plan

Transphobes Hijack “Boycott Tampax” Hashtag After Company’s Viral Tweet

A closer look at the trending hashtag shows TERFs attacking trans and non-binary people for purchasing tampons.

STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images

Calls to boycott tampon brand Tampax went viral Tuesday on Twitter, purportedly over a controversial tweet from the company.

But a closer look reveals a transphobic backstory to the trending hashtag.

Tampax posted a joke to its official Twitter Monday that drew mixed reactions. Some followers found it hilarious, while others said it was “misogynistic” and overly sexualized women.

Many of the people objecting to the tweet began calling to “#BoycottTampax,” which has popped up on Twitter before. But many Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists (TERFs), or cis women who are hyper-feminist except when it comes to fighting for trans women’s rights, also seemed to be using Tampax’s latest tweet as an excuse to revive attacks against two high-profile members of the LGBTQ community.

A tweet from June claimed that Tampax was sponsoring Dylan Mulvaney, a trans woman, and Jeffrey Marsh, who is non-binary. Many of the people who were upset by that news in June are now behind the calls to boycott Tampax.

The claim stems from a TikTok Mulvaney made in March about how she has started carrying tampons with her, even though she doesn’t need them, after another woman asked her for one in a public restroom and she had none. The tweet also highlighted an Instagram campaign Marsh did in November 2020 with period product company This is L. and gender-neutral clothing brand The Phluid Project, in which Marsh mentioned that people of all genders have periods.

Mulvaney’s video was not sponsored by any brand, and Tampax was not involved in Marsh’s campaign, although both it and This is L. are owned by Procter & Gamble. P&G did not respond to TNR’s question whether it sponsors either activist.

Still, TERFs found a way to get offended that people who need tampons were using them.

Adding more salt to the wound is the fact that the boycott calls come just two days after a gunman attacked a queer night club in Colorado Springs and killed five people, including two trans people, on the eve of Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Congress To Hold Ticketmaster Hearing After Taylor Swift Fans Experience Monopoly All Too Well

A Senate antitrust panel will hold a hearing on the lack of competition in the ticketing industry.

Tommaso Boddi/WireImage

Among the most influential voters in America today: the rich, the well-connected, and apparently now, Taylor Swift fans.

The Senate’s panel on competition policy, antitrust, and consumer rights will hold a hearing to examine the lack of competition in the ticketing industry, announced Senator Amy Klobuchar on Tuesday. The news comes after Swift fans across the globe met exorbitant prices and exclusive availability for tickets to the superstar’s first tour in years.

“The high fees, site disruptions and cancellations that customers experienced shows how Ticketmaster’s dominant market position means the company does not face any pressure to continually innovate and improve,” said Klobuchar, chair of the panel. “That’s why we will hold a hearing on how consolidation in the live entertainment and ticketing industry harms customers and artists alike.”

Further details including the hearing’s date and witnesses are to be announced at a later date.

The announcement comes after a series of statements from officials expressing interest in taking on the issue.

Last week, Klobuchar sent a letter to Michael Rapino, CEO of ticketing giant Live Nation, expressing concerns about the ticketing industry’s monopolistic behavior, and questioning Rapino on whether Live Nation’s practices were working to mitigate those monopolistic tendencies.

Senator Richard Blumenthal and Representatives Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, David Cicilline, and Bill Pascrell joined Klobuchar in expressing concerns into the ticketing industry.

Cicilline, alongside Pascrell and Representatives Frank Pallone and Jerry Nadler, called on the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission in April 2021 to investigate ticketing giant Live Nation and its potential monopolistic practices.

And then on Monday—a day before announcing the hearing herself—Klobuchar, alongside Senators Richard Blumenthal and Ed Markey, sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, urging the Justice Department to investigate and “consider unwinding the Ticketmaster-Live Nation merger and breaking up the company.”

The fight spans beyond just months or even years. Decades ago, members of Pearl Jam had been advocating for the breakup of Ticketmaster’s hold on consumers. “All the members of Pearl Jam remember what it’s like to be young and not have a lot of money,” said guitarist Stone Gossard. “We have made a conscious decision that we do not want to put the price of our concerts out of the reach of our fans.”

And the struggle continues. Klobuchar, and the case of Taylor Swift—who was preschool age when Pearl Jam testified on the same issue—could help finally end it.

Supreme Court Allows Congress to Finally See Donald Trump’s Tax Returns

The ruling ends a three-year legal battle over the former president’s tax returns.

ALON SKUY/AFP via Getty Images

Donald Trump nominated three justices to this Supreme Court, but that fortunately hasn’t stopped the court from ruling in favor of the basic idea that nobody, not even Trump, is immune from the law.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court denied former President Donald Trump’s request to withhold his tax returns from a House committee seeking them.

The court’s order, unsigned and including no dissents or additional reasoning, directs the Treasury Department to finally turn over Trump’s returns. The House Ways and Means Committee have sought after the returns since 2019, after Trump refused to release them as a candidate during the 2016 election as is precedent.

In late October, a federal appeals court ruled against Trump, declining to reconsider an August ruling from a three-judge panel that also OK’d the House’s request to obtain the tax returns.

Things aren’t looking great for Team Trump generally.

Also on Tuesday, Senator Lindsey Graham was forced to testify before a Georgia grand jury over efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Last month, the Supreme Court ruled against Trump last month as he asked the court to intervene in the legal struggle surrounding the FBI’s seizure of classified documents from Mar-a-Lago.

And in January, the court declined to stop the National Archives from turning over documents to the House committee investigating the January 6 Capitol riot.

With the Supreme Court’s decision, Trump has exhausted every possible rung on the judicial ladder to avoid releasing his tax returns—which may prompt one to wonder why someone would work so hard to avoid just releasing them!