Former Democrat Congressman from Tennessee Appears on Fox News with Portrait of Mao on Wall

A former Congressman from Tennessee set off an internet firestorm when he appeared on Fox News remotely Thursday, with a portrait of former Chairman of the People’s Republic of China and founder of the Chinese Communist Party Mao Zedong in the background. 

Harold Ford Jr., a Democrat, represented Tennessee’s Ninth Congressional District for a decade, from 1997 to 2007. Now, he provides commentary frequently on Fox News.

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Exclusive: Retired Senior FBI Agent Robyn Gritz: Shot That Killed Ashli Babbitt ‘Not Justified’

A retired FBI supervisory special agent told the Star News Network that the Capitol Hill police officer, who shot unarmed Ashli E. Babbitt at close range Jan. 6, was not justified to use deadly force.

“Yes, it was chaotic, but that is why you wear a badge,” said Robyn Gritz, who was part of the FBI team that responded to the April 15, 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. “That’s why you carry a gun – you’re supposed to know that you can handle a crisis.”

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Counter Terrorism Expert D. W. Wilber Outlines How China Has Become a Threat to America

Friday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed counter-terrorism expert D.W. Wilber to the newsmakers line to outline the threat of China and how they infiltrate American institutions.

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U.S. Deficit 60.7 Percent Higher Than This Time Last Year

The federal deficit in the first three months of the budget year is 60.7 percent higher than over the same time period as last year, a record-breaking $572.9 billion.

The deficit surged as a result of Congressional spending of $3.5 trillion in 2020 in response to the coronavirus, although critics note that spending on pork barrel programs that had nothing to do with the virus increased and also drove the deficit. At the same time, revenue declined because of ongoing state lockdowns.

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Biden Taps Former FDA Head to Oversee Federal Vaccination Effort

President-elect Joe Biden has tapped Dr. David Kessler, the former head of the Food and Drug Administration and a member of his coronavirus advisory board, to lead the nation’s vaccination effort, the transition team announced Friday.

Kessler, who will become the chief science officer of the COVID-19 response according to a press release from Biden’s transition website, led the FDA under Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton. He will be responsible for ensuring that Biden’s vaccination plan — which calls for 100 million vaccinations in 100 days — is successful.

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Tennessee Health Officials Warn of COVID-19 Vaccine Scams

The Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) warned individuals about scammers attempting to sell COVID-19 vaccines or spots on the vaccine wait list. The messaging was addressed to all Tennesseans, but heavily emphasized relaying the warning to the elderly.

TDH listed several common tactics they’d learned were being solicited by door-to-door scammers. These scams encouraged individuals to issue a payment in order to obtain the vaccine, placement on a vaccine priority list, and early access to the vaccine.

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Multiple Agencies Will Participate in Inauguration Security Including the FBI and CBP

Several agencies are participating in the U.S. Secret Service’s security protections around the inauguration in Washington, D.C., including the FBI and Customs and Border Protection.

The Metropolitan Police Department and the National Guard will join the FBI and Customs and Border Protection to participate in security efforts surrounding President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20. FBI officials are investigating a substantial number of “concerning” comments online about potential events on and leading up to inauguration day, FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a briefing on Thursday.

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Woman Charged with Operating Massive Ballot Harvesting Scheme in Texas

A Texas woman was arrested and charged for allegedly operating a massive ballot harvesting scheme after undercover video footage showed her committing election fraud.

Rachel Rodriguez was arrested and charged with election fraud, illegal voting, unlawfully assisting people voting by mail, and unlawfully possessing an official ballot, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced Wednesday. Each charge constitutes a felony under the Texas Election Code.

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Crom Carmichael Discusses the Phenomenon of Human Nature and the Repetition of History

Friday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed all-star panelist to the studio who discussed aspects of the Declaration of Independence and Common Sense in relation to human nature.

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Tennessee State Rep. Bud Hulsey Discusses His Goals for the Upcoming Legislation Session on COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates and Prison Reform

Friday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Representative Bud Hulsey to the newsmakers line to discuss his agenda for the upcoming legislative session.

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Steve Bannon Presents ‘War Room: Pandemic’

An all new LIVE STREAM of War Room: Pandemic starts at 9 a.m. Central Time on Saturday.

Former White House Chief Strategist Stephen K. Bannon began the daily War Room: Pandemic radio show and podcast on January 25, when news of the virus was just beginning to leak out of China around the Lunar New Year. Bannon and co-hosts bring listeners exclusive analysis and breaking updates from top medical, public health, economic, national security, supply chain and geopolitical experts weekdays from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon ET.

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Crom Carmichael Talks Section 230 and the Democratic Agenda Walking Through the Back Door of Big Tech Companies

Friday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed all-star panelist Crom Carmichael to the studio to discuss Section 230 and the one-party that is using a back door of Big Tech companies to thwart their agenda.

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Commentary: Big Tech’s Conservative Purge Changes the Free Speech Debate

Big Tech’s coordinated silencing of conservative voices, including President Trump’s, signals a crossing of the Rubicon in the debate over government involvement to protect free speech.

Even conservatives like me, who have long argued that small-business competition is the best way to moderate the tech oligarchs’ power, recognize that government may now have an interest in making some large companies, such as basic web-hosting platforms, utilities akin to AT&T.

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Minnesota Law School Students Aim to ‘Cancel’ Alumna Rep. Fischbach

Some students at the Mitchell Hamline School of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota, are asking the school’s administration to ban an alumna and newly elected congresswoman because of her stance on voter fraud and support for President Donald Trump. 

“Rep. Michelle Fischbach (MN-8), an alumna of one of Mitchell Hamline’s predecessor institutions, directly contributed to the fomentation that led to the siege of the Capitol. First and foremost, by claiming on Fox News, without evidence, that the Democratic Party manufactured votes,” reads the petition, addressed to the school’s president and dean, Anthony Niedwiecki.

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Republican Party of Virginia Reconsidering Choice of Nominating Convention: UPDATED

After a month of backlash to the vote to hold a nominating convention instead of a primary, the Republican Party of Virginia (RPV) State Central Committee (SCC) will revisit the decision on Saturday. If the convention is re-confirmed, the SCC will also vote on whether or not to hold an unassembled convention. An unassembled convention was promised during the vote for a convention, but formalizing the unassembled feature requires a separate vote.

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Ohio Congressman Anthony Gonzalez Discusses Why He Voted to Impeach President Trump

A Buckeye football legend known for “The Catch” against rival Michigan, dropped the ball according to Trump Republicans when he and nine other GOP representatives voted with 222 Democrats in the U.S. House to approve a second impeachment of President Donald J. Trump.

Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH-16) released a statement on Wednesday explaining his support of a Democrat initiated impeachment – a single article alleging incitement of insurrection.

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Famous Virginia High School Changing Name, George Floyd Among List of Contenders

A famous Virginia high school is changing its name, and among the list of contenders is a prominent figure of the Black Lives Matter movement. 

“Students at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Va., have submitted more than 50 options as the school seeks a new name, among them naming it after notable individuals such as Ruth Bader Ginsburg, George Floyd and even Brian Sicknick, the Capitol Police officer who died following last week’s riots in Washington,” according to The Hill.

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Former Michigan Gov. Snyder, Eight Others, Indicted in Flint Water Investigation

Nine members of the Rick Snyder administration, including the former Republican governor and a current Michigan Department of Health and Human Services manager, were indicted on 42 total counts for their respective roles in the Flint water crisis.

The indictments were announced Thursday morning by Michigan Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy, both appointed by Attorney General Dana Nessel. The charges came after a year-long investigation by lone grand juror Judge David Newblatt.

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New Bill in Georgia General Assembly Would Increase School Choice

Georgia State Rep. Wes Cantrell (R-Woodstock) has introduced a bill that, if enacted into law, would offer greater school choice for parents through Educational Scholarship Accounts. Parents could take these ESA’s and use them for private educational opportunities instead of public education funds.

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Georgia Democrat State Lawmaker Rejects Gov. Kemp’s Call for Unity

After Thursday’s annual State of the State speech by Gov. Brian Kemp (R), which heavily focused on unity and Georgia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Peach State’s top Democrat lawmaker rejected Kemp outrightly.

“Do I think the governor is going to be more conciliatory? No. No I do not,” state House Minority Leader James Beverly (D-GA-143) told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “His policies have shown who he is.”

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Henrico Public Schools Delays In-person Learning for All Grades Due to COVID-19 Numbers

Henrico County Public Schools (HCPS) on Tuesday announced that it is delaying in-person learning for all grade levels indefinitely because of local coronavirus numbers, just a week after pushing back the return to classrooms for elementary school students.

In an online message to families, Superintendent Amy Cashwell initially said the delay had to do with the school division’s nurses being pulled away from their regular duties to assist in administering vaccinations for teachers and other Virginians included within Phase 1b of the state’s plan.

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Virginia Governor Expands Eligibility for Phase 1b COVID-19 Vaccinations

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D) has expanded the eligibility for Phase 1b of the state’s vaccination effort to include people 65 and up as well as those between the ages of 16 to 64 who have high-risk medical conditions, he announced during a COVID-19 press briefing on Thursday. 

“This means about half of Virginia is now eligible to receive the vaccine,” the governor said. “That’s a major logistical effort and it is not going to happen overnight. Everyone will need to be patient; it’s going to happen as fast as it can be done.” 

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Court Hears Virginia Lawsuit by Christian Wedding Photographer

Attorneys representing Christian wedding photographer Bob Updegrove spoke before the Eastern District Court of Virginia on Friday, where they argued that the pro-LGBTQ Virginia Values Act threatened Updegrove’s freedom of religion.

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Tennessee Legislature Approves Modified Block Grant for State’s Medicaid Program

Tennessee’s General Assembly approved the Medicaid waiver, granting the state to apply federal healthcare funding to an aggregate gap model of spending. The legislature filed the bill when it first convened on Tuesday. Just three days after the bill’s introduction, legislators took their final votes on Thursday and Friday. The six subcommittees who reviewed the waiver all recommended its passage over the course of a few days.

The waiver allows the state to establish a self-imposed, fixed budget to last over a ten-year period, known as TennCareIII. It also allows the state to reserve a portion of the unused funds and apply them to other government programs, with potential for those savings to be matched with additional federal funds for healthcare programs.

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