Child Psychiatrist: Toll on Children’s Mental Health During Government Response to Pandemic Is ‘Utterly Devastating’

Though children are least likely to experience severe illness from COVID-19, the level of mental health distress many are exhibiting during the government’s response to the pandemic is “utterly devastating,” child psychiatrist Dr. Mark McDonald said in a recent interview.

The Los Angeles-based clinician expressed his concern during a late November podcast for the Unity Project, an organization working to end COVID-19 vaccine mandates for healthy children in grades K-12.

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Commentary: Keep on Truckin’

Very odd things are happening in Canada, not the least of which is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau fleeing the capital city for security reasons, or so officials say. Canadians are a notoriously compliant, unquestioning, deferential lot. But this hasn’t stopped thousands of them from gathering near the parliament buildings in Ottawa to effectively shut down the central part of the city.

The trigger for this unprecedented protest is a vaccine mandate for long-haul truckers, whose big rigs now line the streets, horns blaring between a variety of protest chants, some of which are more printable than others (“Truck Trudeau,” and variations thereof, has been a common refrain). Last week, as the convoys moved toward and converged on the capital from the east, west, and south—numbers are disputed, but it seems certain they formed the longest convoys in history—it became clear that the list of grievances had grown to include just about everything associated with some of the most enduring, draconian, and nonsensical COVID restrictions in the world.

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FBI Director Says China Is Bigger Threat to U.S. Than Any Other Nation

On Monday, FBI Director Christopher Wray declared that the greatest foreign threat to the United States is the country of China, adding that the nation’s recent escalation of tensions regarding the country of Taiwan are “more brazen” and “more damaging” than anything seen in recent history.

The New York Post reports that Wray made his remarks at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, California. Just days before the start of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, Wray said that China poses a threat “to our economic security and to our freedoms: Our freedom of speech, of conscience, our freedom to elect and be served by our representatives without foreign meddling, our freedom to prosper when we toil and invent.”

“I’ve spoken a lot about this threat since I became FBI director,” Wray continued. “But I want to focus on it here tonight because in many ways it’s reached a new level — more brazen, more damaging than ever before, and it’s vital, vital, that all of us focus on that threat together.”

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Attorney General Schmidt: Kansas Sees Large Spikes in Fentanyl Seizures, Drug Overdoses

Record amounts of fentanyl and other drugs are being seized in Kansas after they’ve made their way north from Mexico and the state’s attorney general, Derek Schmidt, said he is trying to stop it. He joined a coalition of other Republican attorneys general at the Texas-Mexico border to see first-hand how the Biden administration’s open border policies are contributing to crime in Kansas.

In one briefing with the Texas Department of Public Safety, the AGs learned that Texas state troopers alone had seized enough fentanyl last year to kill over 200 million people. They also arrested more than 10,000 illegal immigrants for committing state crimes, including for child trafficking and drug smuggling, seized over five tons of methamphetamine, and over $17 million in cash as part of Operation Lone Star, Texas’ border security initiative.

While it’s “good news that they’re seizing more, there’s no reason to think that there’s less of it eluding seizure at the border because the border’s wide open in large swaths,” Schmidt told The Center Square. “I don’t think it’s a good news number. I think it’s an indication of the increased volume coming across the border, not an indication of increased success in stopping it at the border.”

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U.S. Senate Candidate Blake Masters Outpaces Brnovich, Other Republicans in Fundraising from Supporters

U.S. Senate candidate Blake Masters raised more money directly from supporters than other Republican challengers in the final quarter of 2021, according to financial disclosures filed to the Federal Elections Commission (FEC).

Masters, who has not self-funded to the degree of other candidates, took in approximately $1.3 million from donors, the only GOP candidate to haul in at least $1 million from outside sources.

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Tom Cotton Freezes Confirmation of DOJ Nominees over Failure to Address Antifa Riots

At least eight of Joe Biden’s nominations for the Department of Justice have been placed on hold by Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), due to the Department’s failure to answer Cotton’s questions about its inaction over the Antifa and Black Lives Matter riots of 2020.

As reported by Fox News, Cotton’s criticisms have focused specifically on the DOJ’s failure to properly defend a federal courthouse in Portland, Oregon, which ended up under siege by far-left domestic terrorists on a daily basis throughout 2020 and even into 2021. Cotton has already sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland pointing out that, on top of letting the courthouse itself be attacked, the DOJ has not offered any legal assistance to several U.S. Marshals who have been sued for defending the courthouse against rioters.

“These courageous officers were attacked by left-wing street militants with weapons such as mortar fire, ball bearings, and blinding lasers,” Cotton’s letter reads in part. “A refusal to represent these Deputy Marshals would violate the Department’s long-standing practice — not to mention its moral duty — to defend law-enforcement officers when they’re sued for actions in the line of duty.”

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Russia Cuts Off Key Gas Pipeline to Europe Amid Rising Tensions

The flow of natural gas through a key Russian-controlled pipeline suddenly stopped Wednesday as tensions continue to increase between Russia and the West.

The Yamal-Europe pipeline’s liquified natural gas (LNG) flows, which are operated by Russian state-run firm Gazprom and have usually been pumped westward from Russia to Germany through Poland, were halted early Wednesday, European data showed, according to Reuters. The sudden stoppage reportedly represented a setback after leaders expected the pipeline to return to its normal flow pattern.

In December 2021, Gazprom slowed the pipeline’s gas flows, which represent 10% of the region’s supply, and the company reversed the flow direction from westward to eastward. The sudden reversal sent natural gas prices, which had already spiked amid a European energy crisis, even higher.

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U.S. to Send 3,000 Additional Troops to Europe Amid Tension at Ukraine Border

President Joe Biden plans to send another 3,000 troops to Europe amid continued tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

Biden is sending about 2,000 troops from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to Poland and Germany this week. The president is also moving about 1,000 soldiers based in Germany to Romania, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing administration officials.

“They are trained and equipped for a variety of missions during this period of elevated risk,” a senior defense official told the Wall Street Journal.

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Commentary: Feds Spent over $550 Million to Add Cost-of-Living Adjustments—Even When They Weren’t Necessary

The federal government, like many private companies that have offices in different locations, has provisions to adjust employees’ pay based on their location. It’s called locality pay.

For example, an employee in San Francisco, Calif. has a significantly higher cost of living than an employee in Casper, Wyo. San Francisco’s locality adjustment is an additional 41.44% of base pay.

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Postal Police Officers Association Chief: Government Defunded Postal Officers While Mail Crimes Soared

“The Postal Inspection Service data revealed that mail theft reports soared by 600% over three years, from about 25,000 in 2017 to roughly 177,000 through August of 2020,” Frank Albergo said. “But when asked to explain the apparent explosion in mail theft, the Inspection Service backtracked and said the figures might be inaccurate.”

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Music Spotlight: Teddi and Bobby Cyrus

NASHVILLE, Tennesee- Before you ask, yes, Bobby Cyrus is related to Billy Ray Cyrus. Bobby Cyrus is Billy Ray Cyrus’ younger cousin. They both hail from the same region around Louisa, Kentucky where bluegrass music was a prominent part of their heritage. Their grandfather was a Pentecostal preacher and church music was an integral part of their upbringing.

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New Iowa Bill Would Allow Parents to Watch Kids’ Classrooms

An Iowa representative introduced Tuesday a bill that would allow parents to watch live footage of their children in public school classrooms.

“I think we need to showcase the great work our teachers do,” Rep. Norlin Mommsen, R-DeWitt, a farmer, told The Center Square in a phone interview Tuesday.

He said that through the COVID-19 pandemic, parents learned they wanted to be more involved, and this is a mechanism of facilitating parental involvement.

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Connecticut Slow in Job Growth, Won’t Reach Pre-Pandemic Levels Until 2023

Although Connecticut will add 60,000 jobs this year, the state won’t be back to pre-pandemic levels of employment until 2023, industry groups say.

“The inability to grow jobs at the national average or even at the top of the Northeast means that Connecticut’s economy is going to continue to grow slower than the rest of the country and the Northeast,” Chris DiPentima, president and CEO of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, told The Center Square. “The slow job growth means that businesses are not meeting the customer demand that they have. Connecticut, in turn, is not realizing the state’s total economic growth potential. Most businesses are hopeful that the state will put some policies in place to fuel growth and the jobs added each month will increase. This will help recover the jobs that we’ve lost before the end of this year.”

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Commentary: Ilhan Omar Heads Down the Road to Islamofascism

I had a junior high social studies teacher who was fond of saying that if it reached its logical conclusion, liberalism would eventually become fascism. He was long dead before Ilhan Omar hit the scene, but he would be gratified to see his prediction in action.

Omar’s Combating International Islamophobia Act passed the House of Representatives on a narrow party line vote recently. If it becomes law, it will mandate a new State Department bureaucracy to report on anti-Islamic activity as a human rights violation. English is Omar’s second language, and the wording of the bill shows it. Its definition of Islamophobia is not precise. An example of the text includes “acts of physical violence against, or harassment of, Muslim people, and acts of violence against, or vandalism of, Muslim community institutions, including schools, mosques, and cemeteries, and instances of propaganda in government and nongovernment media that attempt to justify or promote racial hatred or incite acts of violence against Muslim people.”

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State Rep. Fillmore Introduces Sweeping Election Integrity Bill That Would Substantially Change How Elections Are Done in Arizona

Arizona legislators are busy dropping bills to address election fraud this session, due to concerns there was massive fraud in the 2020 presidential election. Rep. John Fillmore (R-Apache Junction) is sponsoring one of the most sweeping bills, HB 2596, which makes substantial changes to elections including giving the Arizona Legislature the final say on approving elections, eliminating most voting by mail, and requiring hand counting of ballots.

Fillmore explained the need for the significant reform during a committee hearing. “I don’t care what the press says,” he said. “I don’t trust ABC, CBS, NBC or Fox or anybody out there. Everybody’s lying to me and I feel like I have a couple hundred ex-wives hanging around me. This is not a President Biden thing. This is not a the other red-headed guy thing. We should have voting in my opinion in person, one day, on paper, with no electronic means and hand counting that day. We need to get back to 1958-style voting.”

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