Exclusive: Sigrid Gonzales the Biden Political Minder Blocking Cruz’s Camera

The Star News Network has identified the Biden administration official repeatedly blocking the camera shot of Sen. Ted Cruz (R.-Texas) as he filmed the migrant conditions at the U.S. Customs and Border detention facility in Donna, Texas as Sigrid Gonzales.

That Gonzales, is the woman in the video and a senior advisor to Troy Miller, the senior official performing the duties of the CBP Commissioner, was confirmed by a Capitol Hill source familiar with the Cruz delegation’s visit with the Donna facility.

“Please respect these people, the rules,” Gonzales said to Cruz. “This is not a zoo,” as she moved left and right with Cruz to interfere with him as he tried to capture video of the migrants piled into cramped pens.

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Knox County Commission Eliminates Powers of Its Health Board

The Knox County Commission finalized its vote to eliminate the Knox County Board of Health’s powers on Monday, effectively rendering it an advisory body. The final vote in favor of the measure, 8-3, wasn’t as close as the previous vote. The final vote was originally scheduled for the end of April, as The Tennessee Star reported in January, but the commission voted during last week’s meeting to vote on this measure during Monday’s meeting.

The Star inquired with Chairman Larsen Jay about the commission’s decision-making. Specifically, we inquired what caused the shift within the commission to be more supportive of the measure. Jay didn’t respond by press time. He voted “no” alongside Commissioners Dasha Lundy and Courtney Durrett. 

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Commentary: Joe ‘Sanctuary City’ Biden

Drop dead. That’s the Biden administration’s message to victims of criminal illegal immigrants in joint stipulations submitted to the Supreme Court this month. The stipulations dismiss petitions filed last year asking the court to review two sanctuary city cases.

More on those cases later. In the Democratic fairy tale, sanctuary policies signal to victims of crime who are in the country illegally that they can work with police without fear of deportation — improving public safety. Sanctuary cities, goes the story, are safe cities.

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861 Criminals, 92 Sex Offenders Encountered at Texas Border in Past Few Days, Agent Says

More than 850 criminals have been encountered at the U.S. border with Mexico this year, including 92 sex offenders and 63 gang members, a U.S. Border Patrol agent tweeted this weekend.

Included among “the copious amounts of groups being encountered” at the Rio Grande Valley, Hastings said, are “a Salvadoran man with a prior conviction for murder” along with 862 criminals, Chief Patrol Agent Brian Hastings tweeted.

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Like a ‘Drunk Tank’ — CBP Union Official Describes Migrant Detention Facility with Concrete Benches and Limited Resources

RIO GRANDE VALLEY — The overcrowded Customs and Border Protection facility holding migrants in Donna, Texas, was not designed for long-term detention, National Border Patrol Council spokesman Chris Cabrera told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is holding migrants in overcrowded cells constructed from clear plastic curtains that contain a toilet, a water fountain and concrete benches, Cabrera told the DCNF on an exclusive tour near the border. Migrants are being held for long periods of time in a facility that was intended for short-term detention, Cabrera added.

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In 2020, Democrats Used Filibuster 327 Times; Republican Used it Only Once

As the debate regarding the future of the Senate filibuster heats up, a recent report has confirmed that the Democrats, who are now advocating for its abolition, utilized the procedural stalling tactic exponentially more times than the Republicans did over the course of 2020, as reported by Breitbart.

With the Senate evenly-divided at 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans, most legislation will not be able to pass without at least 60 votes in favor due to the filibuster. As such, Democrats – who technically maintain control with Vice President Kamala Harris able to serve as the tie-breaking vote – have begun advocating for eliminating the filibuster in order to rush through some of the most radical items on their agenda without any Republican support.

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Conservatives Celebrate as Another University Waves Goodbye to Its Confucius Institute

Student Brandon Fontaine

Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island will close its Confucius Institute, according to an announcement by President Ross Gittell. 

“After 15 years of values language and cultural programs provided through the Confucius Institute at Bryant University, we have chosen not to apply for continued funding at the expiration of the Confucius Institute contract,” Gittell wrote on March 22, “The university will evaluate changes that are taking place in China regarding U.S.-China Relations before making any future commitment.”

Gittell maintained that developing students’ “global mindset is a cornerstone of Bryant’s mission,” noting that the university will still offer “high quality business education through our curriculum offerings in Zhuhai [China].”

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Senate Considering Constitutional Amendment to Formally Allow Faith Leaders Seat at Legislative Table

Voters will likely see on the ballot an amendment confirming that faith leaders and teachers can lawfully join the legislature. The Supreme Court (SCOTUS) ruled in McDaniel v. Paty, et al. in 1978 that this provision was unconstitutional. It is unclear why Tennessee never updated its constitution to strike that provision. It is also unclear what the legislature could do if voters were to turn down the amendment. 

The proposed resolution by State Senator Mark Pody (R-Lebanon) reaffirms SCOTUS rejection of excluding individuals from the legislative process based on their status as a recognized teacher or leader within the Christian faith. 

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Transportation Sec. Buttigieg Says Mileage Tax Won’t Be Part of Biden’s Infrastructure Bill

Highway Traffic

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Monday that a mileage tax won’t be included in President Joe Biden’s infrastructure proposal.

Buttigieg told CNN anchor Jake Tapper the tax is “not part of the conversation about this infrastructure bill,” despite floating the idea of taxing people based on how far they drive last week.

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2nd Vote Executive Director Amy Wilhite Reflects on CPAC and the App That Lets You Vote with Your Wallet

Amy Wilhite

Tuesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Executive Director of 2ndvote.com Amy Wilhite to the studio to discuss her website’s mission and how consumers can make an educated choice and vote a second time with their wallets.

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WHO Buries Dismissal of Lab Leak Theory in Last Pages of 123-Page Origins Report, Draft Copy Shows

The World Health Organization dedicated a little over one page to dismissing the lab leak theory at the very end of its 123-page COVID-19 origins report, according to a draft copy obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The draft report stated that the only way to increase scientific knowledge surrounding the theory that COVID-19 leaked from a lab in Wuhan, China, would be to conduct “[r]egular administrative and internal review of high-level biosafety laboratories worldwide.”

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Chinese Propaganda Group Has Spent Years Cozying up to Black Colleges

Howard University

A Hong Kong-based think tank suspected of working as a front group for the Chinese Communist Party has cultivated close ties to Historically Black Colleges and Universities and members of the Congressional Black Caucus since 2014.

The China-U.S. Exchange Foundation’s (CUSEF) outreach to the black community is part of a broad initiative to cozy up to prominent organizations in the U.S., including foreign policy think tanks and other elite universities.

CUSEF’s activities have drawn the attention of CIA Director William Burns, who testified at his Senate confirmation hearing last month that he cut ties with CUSEF when he was president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace out of concern over “Chinese influence operations.”

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Commentary: COVID Vaccination ‘Passport’ Called ‘End of Human Liberty in the West’

A far-reaching plan by the Biden administration, in conjunction with private companies, to create a so-called coronavirus passport is raising privacy and transparency concerns from people of all political stripes.  The plan could force Americans to get vaccinated in order to attend sporting events, vacation on a cruise ship, or fly commercially.

On the left, long-time feminist activist Naomi Wolf is sounding privacy alarms. She told Fox News, “I am not overstating this. I can’t say it forcefully enough. This is literally the end of human liberty in the West, if this plan unfolds as planned.”

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The Epoch Times Editor at Large Roger Simon on DeSantis, the New Federalism and Jokes at a Run on Metro City Council

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis

Tuesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed The Epoch Times Editor-At-Large Roger Simon to the studio who discussed his most recent article on Governor Ron DeSantis, the concept of new federalism, and poked fun at a run for Metro City Council.

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Hunter Biden Blockbuster: Memos Detail Quiet Effort to Assist Indicted Ukrainian Oligarch

Hunter Biden and his business partner engaged in an effort to assist a fugitive Ukrainian oligarch indicted by his father’s administration, an effort that briefly captured the FBI’s attention and led one of the lawyers in the case to express concern that using the then-vice president’s son might backfire, according to emails, text messages and interviews.

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Georgia Senate Passes Bill to Repeal Citizens Arrest Law

Georgia is on its way to repealing a centuries-old citizens arrest law that currently allows citizens of the Peach State to detain others if a crime is committed in their presence “or within their immediate knowledge.”

Monday, HB 479  passed the Georgia Senate with a 52-1 vote. It will head back to the House where a Senate amendment giving business owners the right to detain suspected thieves will be voted open. 

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Northam, Beyer and Buttigieg Announce $3.7 Billion Transforming Rail in Virginia Initiative

New U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Congressman Don Beyer (D-Virginia-08) joined Governor Ralph Northam at Alexandria’s Amtrak station Tuesday. Northam announced a partnership with Amtrak, CSX and the Virginia Rail Express (VRE).  The partnership includes a $3.7 billion investment into expanding infrastructure, funded by Amtrak, state, and regional partners.

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Akron Man Wants Fentanyl Declared a Weapon of Mass Destruction

An Akron man whose son died of an overdose in 2015 is on a crusade to take fentanyl, a ultra-lethal drug manufactured mostly in China and by Mexican cartels, off the streets for good.

Motivated by his son’s tragic death, James Rauh founded an organization called Families Against Fentanyl, which is taking a unique approach to fighting the manufacture and import of that drug. 

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Congressman Cline’s Bankruptcy Relief Extension Act Signed into Law

President Biden signed Congressman Ben Cline’s (R-Virginia-06) HR 1651, the COVID-19 Bankruptcy Relief Extension Act on Saturday, which extends a $7.5 million debt cap on bankruptcies taking advantage of a more cost-effective bankruptcy option provided by Cline’s 2019 Small Business Reorganization Act (SBRA).

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Owosso Barber Karl Manke Fined $9,000 for Defying Whitmer’s Michigan Lockdown Orders

Owosso barber Karl Manke was handed fines amounting to $9,000 after defying Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s lockdown orders in spring 2020.

Manke garnered national headlines when he refused to close his barbershop during a barrage of executive orders issued by the governor that forced the closing of businesses Whitmer deemed nonessential throughout the state. On May 18, 2020, two days prior to the Operation Haircut protests, Manke’s barber license was suspended by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.

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Georgia Democrat Responds to New Voter Integrity Law with Bill of Her Own

A Georgia state senator this week responded to the newly-passed Senate Bill 202 voter reform measure with a bill of her own. Georgia State Sen. Sally Harrell (D-Atlanta) this week filed a bill that she said would give county election supervisors and local elections boards the option to allow out-of-precinct voting on Election Day.

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Minnesota Audit Finds Impropriety, Violated Rules in Department of Human Services

The Office of The Legislative Auditor released an audit Monday finding the Minnesota Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Behavioral Health Division (BHD) had inadequate internal controls and violated safeguards to prevent fraud and abuse.

“Since the creation of the Behavioral Health Division in early 2018, DHS did not analyze the risks of fraud, waste, abuse, and noncompliance with legal requirements related to oversight of BHD grants,” auditors wrote.

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Commentary: Based on School COVID Testing, Ohio College Students Are at Low Risk

College students have had a new test to pass this school year; in fact it’s a test most have been required to pass more than once: the COVID-19 test. 

When school resumed in the Fall of 2020, every higher educational institution across the United States established their individual COVID protocol plans. The 3rd largest University in the nation, The Ohio State University, jumped right in with an aggressive testing model.

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Bill to Exempt Houses of Worship from Emergency Closures Delayed

Final voting on a bill addressing government control over worship services during public emergencies, already heavily altered, will be delayed by one week for further potential changes. The bill’s sponsor, State Representative Rusty Grills (R-Newbern), indicated Monday that he would review the bill further to consider the concerns of Democratic State Representatives London Lamar (D-Memphis) and Harold Love, Jr. (D-Nashville). Lamar and Love raised concerns that governments couldn’t do enough to curb church activity during pandemics under the bill; Lamar argued that religious institutions would be fine if they were ordered to meet virtually.

The adopted amendment has already altered the bill entirely. The original provisions prohibited closures and limitations of churches or religious organizations, including their religious services or activities. In the amended version, the bill would only prohibit state and local governments and agencies from closing churches or religious organizations. It wouldn’t protect houses of worship from any governmental restrictions or limitations.

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