Rep. Rose Co-Sponsors Massie’s Bill to Ban Military Vaccine Mandates

As Tennessee’s unvaccinated National Guardsmen face an uncertain future after Thursday’s deadline to take the COVID-19 jab or be fired has come and gone, one member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Tennessee has taken action at the federal level. 

Rep. John Rose (R-TN-06) is cosponsoring a bill with Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY-04) that would prevent government mandated vaccinations for members of the U.S. Military. 

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100-Year-Old World War II Veteran Cries, ‘Our Country’s Going to Hell!’

U.S. Marine Carl Spurlin Dekel, who turned 100 years old on June 29, mourned the decline of America in a Fox 13 News interview, tearfully lamenting, “Our country’s going to hell!”

“People don’t realize what they have,” Dekel said. “They bitch about it. And, then, nowadays, I am so upset that the things we did, things we fought for, and the boys that died for it, it’s all going down the drain.”

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Marsha Blackburn Is Special Guest at July 29 ‘Get Out The Vote’ BBQ for Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs

Tennessee U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn is slated to appear as the special guest at a July 29 get out the vote BBQ for Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs’ reelection campaign.

The election for Knox County mayor coincides with federal and state primary elections and scheduled for August 4, less than a week later.

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TN-5 Candidate Kurt Winstead Promotes Endorsement by Woke Union

The campaign of former Brigadier General Kurt Winstead, a Republican candidate in the August 4 primary for Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District, announced an endorsement by a woke union, IAFF Local 4381 Columbia Firefighters Association on Tuesday.

IAFF Local 4381 Columbia Firefighters Association honored and celebrated “Pride Month” by changing their profile photo on social media to the now commonly recognized “LGBTQ Pride” rainbow colors on June 1.

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Commentary: An Independence Day Hat Tip to America’s Police Officers

As those of us who are not leftist ingrates celebrate Independence Day, it is important to remember and thank our men and women of the armed services for the sacrifices they make to keep us safe. Yet, it is well to remember and thank another crucial group of uniformed individuals. who also sacrifice to keep us safe—America’s police officers.

Recently, I had the chance to visit with members of one of my home state’s police organizations. It has been a rough couple of years for them. While the radical chic of attacking the police and demanding they be defunded has somewhat abated, my friends reminded me that dangers wrought by this injurious policy have only managed to dent, not end, its advocacy. 

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Commentary: The Great Battle of Gettysburg

Robert E. Lee’s smashing victory against Major General Joseph Hooker’s Army of the Potomac at Chancellorsville in May 1863 provided the Confederacy with three strategic options: shift resources from Virginia to Mississippi in order to revive Vicksburg, the Rebel redoubt on the Mississippi River; reinforce Braxton Bragg’s Army of Tennessee, enabling him to reprise his 1862 invasion of Kentucky and maneuver the Union Army of the Cumberland under William Rosecrans out of its position in central Tennessee; or invade Pennsylvania.

But after Chancellorsville, it was probably too late to affect the outcome at Vicksburg, because the siege was already under way. (Vicksburg would fall on the Fourth of July.) And it didn’t make sense to detach forces from the Confederacy’s only successful field army, the Army of Northern Virginia, under its only successful general, Lee, and send them to other generals whose competence was questionable. In the end, Lee effectively made the case to Confederate president Jefferson Davis that the best use of limited Confederate resources was to invade Pennsylvania. As he had done in the fall of 1862, Lee intended to effect a strategic turning movement, draw the Yankees out of Virginia, and annihilate a Federal army on Union soil, forcing Lincoln to sue for peace.

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In Connecticut, Higher Electricity Prices with Higher Temperatures

Connecticut residents will see an increase in their electricity bills beginning in July.

The Public Utility Regulatory Authority has approved a rare summer electricity rate increase for both residential and business customers, effective July 1 through Dec. 31.

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Ohio Governor Postpones Two Executions, Citing Problems with Pharmaceutical Suppliers

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) issued reprieves of execution on Friday to Antonio Sanchez Franklin and Stanley Fitzpatrick, citing “ongoing problems” with obtaining needed substances from pharmaceutical companies.

The now-43-year-old Franklin was scheduled to receive a lethal injection next January 12; his execution is now scheduled to take place next February 11. The convict murdered his grandparents, 71-year-old Ophelia and 76-year-old Ivory as well as his 38-year-old uncle Anthony in Dayton in 1997 and then set their house on fire when Antonio was 18.

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Midwest Cities Among 50 Hardest Hit by Increased Used Car Prices

Buying a used car in the Midwest got a little more affordable in May over the previous month.

The good news is that year-over-year price increases in used vehicles in May dropped seven percentage points from the year-over-year April price increases, from April’s 23.9% to May’s 16.9%. The bad news is a used car and truck in May 2022 still cost 16.9% more than a comparable used vehicle cost in May 2021.

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Pennsylvania Heads into New Fiscal Year Without a Budget

As July begins, Pennsylvania enters into Fiscal Year 2022-23 without an FY 22-23 budget.

Republicans who control the General Assembly and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf have yet to agree on all facets of the spending plan. Altogether, the governor has proposed allotting $43.7 billion in taxpayer money in the next budget cycle, a figure that Republicans have said is too high.

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Gov. Lee Calls Attempted Arson at Pro-Life Center ‘Terrorism’

After an attempted arson at a pro-life pregnancy center, Tennessee’s governor is speaking out. 

“This is terrorism and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Gov. Bill Lee (R) said Thursday in response to news that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) are investigating an arson at Hope Clinic for Women in Nashville.

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45th Annual Statesmen’s Dinner Set to Feature Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves

Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Scott Golden spoke with The Tennessee Star recently about the biggest event of the year: the 45th Annual Statesmen’s Dinner.

“This year is the 45th Annual Statesmen’s Dinner. It’s going to be taking place on July 30 at the Music City Center in downtown Nashville. The reception starts at 5 o’clock. Generally, it has one of the biggest crowds of any political dinner outside of Washington, D.C. in the country,” he said.

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Florida Rep. Anna Eskamani Endorses Divisive Independence Day Message

On Saturday, Florida House Rep. Anna Eskamani endorsed a divisive July 4th email message sent out by the City of Orlando. Eskamani’s approval of the message came after the City of Orlando apologized for the original message, which was critical of the United States.

The original email published on July 1 – which has since been deleted from Orlando’s official Twitter account – stated, “A lot of people probably do not want to celebrate our nation right now, and we can’t blame them. When there is so much division hate, and unrest, why on earth would you want to have a party celebrating any of it?”

Christina Pushaw, the spokesperson for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, replied to the message. Pushaw tweeted,  “Yikes. City of Orlando, is this your official position on our country and on 4th of July?”

In addition, a local police union responded to the message.

‘The members of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 25 are proud Americans who will continue to serve with Courage, Pride and Commitment to uphold their oath to defend our community and this country. We do not share the same views as the City of Orlando and find their comments inflammatory and in poor taste,’ the statement from the police union read.

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One Minnesota: Thousands Reported on Neighbors Using Tattle-Tale Hotline During Pandemic

A hotline set up by Gov. Tim Walz’s administration to monitor compliance with his 2020 stay-at-home order generated thousands of reports from Minnesotans who snitched on their neighbors for things like playing basketball in a park, walking their dogs, and throwing small parties.

The hotline was launched in March 2020 and law enforcement continued to monitor it until November, well after the stay-at-home order ended. In October 2020, it was used to alert authorities to a church service that didn’t fit with the governor’s “legal requirements.” This type of complaint was not uncommon.

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Pima County Democrats Blasted for Vulgar Independence Day Tweet

The Pima County Democratic Party found itself in hot water after it posted a vulgar message about Independence Day to its Twitter account. 

“F*ck the Fourth,” the now deleted tweet said, attaching a flyer for a pro-abortion event at Reid Park sponsored by the Tucson Women’s March. 

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Rep. Diana Harshbarger Introduces Legislation to Block Biden’s USDA from Stripping Funding from Certain Schools’ Lunch Programs

Representatives Diana Harshbarger (R-TN-01) and Glenn Grothman (R-WI-06) introduced legislation to block President Joe Biden’s Department of Agriculture (USDA) from threatening to strip funding from the National School Lunch Program.

According to the lawmakers, the Biden Administration is attempting to force school districts to allow students to use whichever bathroom or play various sports they prefer, not based on biological sex.

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Virginia Ranks 43rd in Index Evaluating State Campaign Finance and Transparency Laws

Virginia ranks 43 — in the bottom ten — in the 2022 State Campaign Finance Index, which ranks the 50 states plus Washington, D.C., based on state laws around campaign finance and funding transparency for state legislative and executive races.

“How these races are financed and how much transparency is required are key to curbing the influence of money in our political system and enhancing trust that politicians are not representing only wealthy special interests. A state’s score does not necessarily mean its politicians are more or less corrupt than another, but it does reflect the willingness of the state’s politicians to favor special interests and lessen the appearance that politicians are beholden to donors who write the biggest checks,” the Coalition for Integrity said in a June 21 press release announcing the results.

Virginia earned 55.48 percent out of a possible 100 percent; Washington took first place with 83.99 percent.

The index is based on 10 principles, including the presence of an independent agency with wide power to enforce campaign finance laws; meaningful sanctions if there are violations; contribution limits to campaigns and parties; bans on contributions from unions and corporations; comprehensive disclosure of independent expenditures; and easily accessible campaign finance data on a state agency website.

In Virginia, the Department of Elections oversees campaign finance law, but according to the index scoring chart, the agency doesn’t have power to conduct its own investigations, hold public hearings, issue subpoenas, issue sanctions, only partial ability to issue late filing fines, and no ability to issue other fines.

Virginia does properly protect its oversight officials from removal without cause.

The Commonwealth performed poorly on questions about campaign finance contribution limits — it’s one of only five states that have no contribution limits.

“As financing political campaigns remains the best way to buy influence in policy decisions, the amount spent dramatically increases from year to year. In the 2020 election cycle, contributions to gubernatorial and state legislative candidates set new records with contributions nearing $1.9 billion, up from nearly $1.6 billion in the 2016 race. The trend continued in 2021. In Virginia, which has no limits on campaign contributions, the candidates for Governor raised over $130 million – Terry McAuliffe (D) received just over $54.2 million in contributions, while Glen Youngkin (R) received roughly $65.7 million,” the report states.

On transparency, Virginia earns mediocre scores. Contributors to independent spenders must be reported, but not the owners or funders of LLCs or 501(c) nonprofits that contribute to independent spenders. Virginia earned full marks on disclosure of advertisers. Virginia does allow reports to be filed online with the Department of Elections, but they’re not easily available on the DOE website. Instead, Virginians rely on the nonprofit Virginia Public Access Project to provide that data.

Virginia has a poor reputation on campaign finance law.

Former Governor Bob McDonnell was convicted of corruption-related charges in 2014, although the U.S. Supreme Court overturned that in a 2016 decision.

“Is Virginia Americas Most Corrupt State?” conservative blog Bacon’s Rebellion asked in 2014.

In 2016, the AP reviewed Virginia campaign donations and expenditures and found that politicians are spending donated funds on fancy restaurants, hotels, and personal bills, with some appearing to use campaign finances as personal income.

“Virginia Is for Corruption,” The Cato Institute reported in 2019.

In 2021, the Democratic-controlled Senate blocked passage of a law to largely ban personal use of campaign funds. In 2022, a Republican-controlled House committee killed a similar bill, and the General Assembly instead opted to continue a campaign finance reform study committee begun in 2021.

Senator John Bell (D-Loudoun) sponsored the 2022 bill, based on the study committee’s work in 2021.

Bell told a House Privileges and Elections subcommittee in March, “Over the years, I know we’ve had many bills in this subject area, frankly, by members of both parties. This is a really tough area to go into, I want to just say to the committee as we get into it. And we took the bill that started off, we heard testimony, and we worked with stakeholders again and worked with members of both parties, and we dialed the bill back in a few areas.”

“This isn’t a perfect bill. It doesn’t hit every area of campaign finance. It’s a start. I think if we tried to do a perfect bill, we’re going to end up with more problems than we want,” he said.

Delegate Margaret Ransone (R-Westmoreland) told Bell, “I’ve heard you say a couple of times, this is a start, this is a beginning. I personally am uncomfortable putting something in code that’s a start.”

“Putting something in code that’s not perfect, that’s not just right, I feel like is wrong. We established a work group. My understanding is that the work group never came to a consensus together collectively on legislation and voted collectively as a majority,” she said.

– – –

Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].

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Tennessee State Library and Archives Offering Free Guided Tours Beginning July 9th

The Tennessee State Library & Archives announced that it is offering their popular guided ‘Second Saturday Tours’ of the new building again this year, beginning Saturday, July 9th.

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Sheriff Lamb and True the Vote Launch ‘ProtectAmerica.Vote’ for Sheriffs to Combat Election Fraud

Arizona’s Sheriff Mark Lamb of Pinal County has been outspoken about taking action on the local level when the Biden administration will not, recently starting Protect America Now (PAN) to bring sheriffs together with patriotic Americans on important issues like border security. This past month, he formed a coalition with the election integrity organization True the Vote to ensure secure elections, ProtectAmerica.Vote.

“Sheriffs’ primary duty is to protect the rights of their constituents, which includes their rights as voters,” he said on the website. “ProtectAmerica.vote aims to solve this problem and bridge the gap between voters and local law enforcement. Our work will ensure we have secure elections in this country.”

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$500 Million Heading to Ohio’s Appalachian Region

Ohioans in the state’s Appalachian region can expect a half billion-dollar investment after Gov. Mike DeWine signed a bill that dedicates federal funds to infrastructure, health care and work force development.

The $500 million, which is on top of more than $645 million sent to the region since 2019, is twice as much as this year’s entire Appalachian Regional Commission budget. The commission covers 13 states.

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Georgia Officially Launches ‘Gang Prosecution Unit’

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr on Friday officially launched the state’s ‘Gang Prosecution Unit’ to target criminals connected to gang networks throughout the state.

The new unit will work under the same devision as the Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit and the Public Integrity and White Collar Crime Unit.

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Commentary: States Can Help Conservatives Secure Even More Legal Victories

America is currently in the midst of a broader political realignment. The political Left, which once upon a time purported to stand for the forgotten “little guy” against the titans of Big Business, has in recent years decided that Big Business is actually an ally of convenience in its long Gramsci-an “march” through the institutions. Chris Rufo has perhaps demonstrated this trend better than anyone else.

And the political Right, whose once-instinctive neoliberal proclivities made it a convenient ally for Big Business, is currently rethinking its approach to political economy in general, as well as its specific relationship to culturally leftist multinational corporations. The most tangible recent expression of this rethinking has been Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ crippling punishment of The Walt Disney Company for its coming out on behalf of sexually grooming innocent children in the Sunshine State.

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Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association Launches Dashboard Showing Psychiatric Admissions

The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association has launched a new dashboard showing inpatient psychiatric admissions at both state-run and private hospitals in Virginia.

“As we work to strengthen and enhance the behavioral health care system, while also confronting workforce shortages and strong demand for psychiatric treatment services being experienced by public and private Virginia hospitals, having verified and reliable data is critical to the process of evaluating potential policy solutions and next steps,” VHHA CEO Sean Connaughton said in a press release.

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Price of Independence Day Cookout Substantially More Than Last Year

If you plan on holding a July 4 cookout this weekend, expect to pay a lot more than what you paid for last year’s meal.

According to the American Farm Bureau Federation marketbasket survey, the overall cost for the Independence Day cookout is up 17%, or about $10 from last year. Ongoing supply chain disruptions, inflation tied in part to increased government spending, and the war in Ukraine are being blamed for the price hikes.

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White House Adviser Claims High Gas Prices Necessary for ‘Future of the Liberal World Order’

White House economic adviser Brian Deese on Thursday told CNN that high gas prices were a necessary inconvenience to preserve the “future of the liberal world order,” amid the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The average price of gas exceeded $5 per gallon for the first time in U.S. history in early June.

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Rep. Gaetz Introduces Bill to Ban IRS from Acquiring Ammunition

Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz has introduced a bill to disarm the Internal Revenue Service.

Along with fellow Republican Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.), Jeff Duncan (S.C.), and Paul Gosar (Ariz.), Gaetz is pushing the “Disarm the IRS Act,” which would prohibit the IRS from acquiring (by purchase or otherwise) any ammunition.

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OPEC to Finally Boost Oil Production Ahead of Biden’s Saudi Arabia Trip

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its partners agreed to boost oil production on Thursday, backing a plan released earlier this month, ahead of President Joe Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia in mid-July.

In their fifth meeting since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, which sent oil prices skyrocketing to above $100 a barrel for the first time in eight years, OPEC and a group of Russian-led non-OPEC members agreed to raise their collective production by 648,000 barrels a day.

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Cornell University Removes Lincoln Bust and Gettysburg Address from Display After Student Complaint

Cornell University recently admitted to removing both a bust of President Abraham Lincoln and a plaque of the Gettysburg Address from its library after a student anonymously complained about the display, presumably due to so-called “racism.”

Fox News reports that biology professor Randy Wayne gave a very brief statement on the matter, simply saying “someone complained, and it was gone.” Wayne said that he first noticed the missing display several weeks earlier and asked the librarians what had happened, to which he was told that the school had received some kind of complaint; the librarians refused to provide any specific details on the nature of the complaint.

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Israel, Middle East Countries Crafting Deal to Build Regional Defense Network: Report

Israel is in consultations with Middle Eastern countries to install Israeli-made defense systems on their territory, Breaking Defense reported Wednesday.

Several countries, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, have reportedly negotiated with Israel to obtain a network of sensors that will combat the potential missile threat from Iran, according to Breaking Defense. A shared communications network would theoretically allow participating states to alert others when incoming missiles trigger the sensors, Breaking Defense reported, citing Israeli officials.

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Guatemalan President Says Biden‘s ‘Confusing’ Border Messaging Is Encouraging Smugglers to Exploit Children

The Biden administration’s messaging on immigration has created “confusion” that human smugglers and traffickers have exploited, Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei told the Daily Caller News Foundation in an interview.

Giammattei said smugglers know it’s easier to get people into the U.S. illegally under the Biden administration as a family, and that smugglers have used children, whether biological or not, in order to get their clients across the border. He mentioned the Biden administration’s effort to codify the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which prevents migrants brought to the U.S. as children from being immediately deported, as exacerbating the problem.

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Commentary: Keys to GOP’s Hispanic Outreach in Pennsylvania and Nationwide

After this month’s historic special election win in South Texas, Republican strategists nationwide are asking themselves: how can we replicate now-Congresswoman Mayra Flores’s success in flipping an 84% Hispanic district to the GOP? Meantime, Democrats are burying their heads in the South Texas sand as Hispanic voters flee their party.

It’s not rocket science to appeal to Hispanic voters and persuade them to vote Republican. My firm’s work with the Hispanic Republican Coalition of Pennsylvania shows how to do it.

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Green Activists Are Using Business, Bypassing Congress to End Fossil Fuels

Without sufficient support in Congress and state legislatures to pass sweeping green energy measures, environmentalists are now targeting the oil and gas industry through a financial movement that pressures companies to support liberal policies, according to critics.

“ESG promotes and implements policies through private businesses that could be adopted through a legislative process,” said Utah Treasurer Marlo Oaks. “The Green New Deal didn’t make it through Congress, so its proponents shifted the battlefield to the capital markets.”

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California ‘Equitable Math’ Program Postponed as New National Civics Curriculum Launched

Many California parents are celebrating wins this week after a controversial school district superintendent was fired for making comments about Asian students and the state’s proposed equitable math program has been postponed from being implemented.

At the same time, a new framework for civics was launched nationally. Advocates are praising the education reform initiatives that have already begun in Florida and Louisiana.

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Five City of Hendersonville Aldermen Halt Residents’ Vote on Term Limits for Aldermen and Mayor

The vote of five members of the City of Hendersonville Board of Mayor and Alderman (BOMA) halted a ballot initiative that would allow residents to vote on term limits for the city alderman and mayor.

The vote on Ordinance 2202-09 relative to term limits for members of the board of mayor and alderman, which was up for a second reading on Tuesday, June 28 and required a two-thirds majority to pass, failed for receiving just eight of the necessary nine positive votes.

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