Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: Education

“He Who Lives in a Glass House, Shouldn’t”

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, May 13, 2015:

English: U.S. Congressman

George Nethercutt

 

According to his own Wikipedia page, George Nethercutt touts himself as a “conservative.” After all, in the 1994 Republican landslide that gave the Republican Party control of the House for the first time in 40 years, Nethercutt replaced Speaker of the House Tom Foley. It was close: just 4,000 votes out of more than 215,000 cast. But that was enough.

In truth that meant that Nethercutt won by 2,000 votes, as that was the number of votes to be changed to allow Foley to keep his seat. Nethercutt’s promise that he would leave after three terms likely made the difference. After all, Foley had been representing Washington for 30 years as a hard left liberal Democrat, and voters had finally had a bellyful of him.

Unfortunately Nethercutt was in Washington, DC, long enough to drink the Kool-Aid of excessive hubris and self-importance, and when it came time for him to honor his promise,

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Int’l Tests Show U.S. Students Poor in Math, Civics, Literacy

The recent flurry of test results on how American students are faring in school has resulted in much commentary decrying their dismal performance compared to their international peers.

The PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) study recently released by the National Center for Education Statistics compared the performance of 15-year-old students among 65 countries, including all 34 member countries of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and confirmed what was already widely known: U.S. students are nowhere near the top in math, science, or literacy. Twenty-nine educational systems turn out better students than does the United States in mathematics, while students in 22 systems were more capable in science than were U.S. students. In reading literacy 19 educational systems turned out more skilled students than the U.S. public school system.

Eighth-graders participating in the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) test given under the auspices of the Department of Education showed no significant improvement over their dismal performance recorded four years ago. Just 18 percent of them scored at or above the Proficient level in U.S. history, while 27 percent scored Proficient in geography, and 23 percent reached or exceeded that level in civics.

The latest from Pew Research — “What the Public Knows” — showed that

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Tax-credit Private-school Scholarship Funding Explodes in Oklahoma

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, March 24, 2015:

Many Oklahoma taxpayers are paying less in state income taxes, thanks to contributions made to scholarship granting organizations (SGOs) last year.

It’s a new wrinkle, and many of those opening envelopes from the Oklahoma Tax Commission are in for a pleasant surprise. A single taxpayer contributing $2,000 to an SGO last year will save $1,000 in state income taxes. A couple contributing $4,000 will save $2,000. These are credits, not deductions, based on one-half the contribution. Translation: Every dollar of credit saves one dollar in state taxes.

For those able to give more — think successful small business owners, lawyers, accountants, physicians, software engineers, farmers, ranchers, and other business owners operating as regular C corporations — that letter in the mail this month could generate even greater excitement.

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A Billion Dollars to Elect Good Conservatives?

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Thursday, January 29, 2015:

The assumption behind raising and spending a billion dollars, as the Koch brothers Charles and David seem to support, is that with enough money, enough grassroots action, and sufficiently elegant voter software, election successes like that of last November can be repeated in 2016. This past weekend, Freedom Partners, the Koch’s equivalent to a chamber of commerce for wealthy conservatives (each of its 200 members pays a minimum of $100,000 in annual dues), announced at its Palm Springs winter meeting that it was going to raise $900 million to pour into the upcoming presidential election.

Part of the money would go into advertising,

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Koch Brothers’ Network to Spend $900 Million on 2016 Elections

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, January 27, 2015: 

Spokesmen for Freedom Partners, the Koch Brothers-funded “chamber of commerce” and sponsor of their annual winter meeting in Palm Springs, announced last weekend that its network of over 200 wealthy conservatives is planning on raising nearly $900 million to invest in the 2016 elections. This is more than double what the network raised and spent during the 2012 presidential campaign, and exceeds what both political parties spent that year put together. 

Freedom Partners is building on the momentum from the November elections that gave Republicans control of the Senate and expanded their majority in the House of Representatives. As Freedom Partners President Marc Short remarked, “2014 was nice but there’s a long way to go.” He noted that his group’s ultimate goal is to make the ideals of a free market “central” in American society, adding, “Politics is a necessary means to that end.” Freedom Partners invested more than $400 million in those midterm elections. 

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Internet Freedom Shrinking, Says the Freedom House

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, January 5, 2015:

Mark Twain

Mark Twain

Excitement over the positive impact the Gutenberg Press had on freedom led Mark Twain to exclaim:

What the world is today, good and bad, it owes to Gutenberg. Everything can be traced to this source, but we are bound to bring him homage … for the bad that this colossal invention has brought about is overshadowed a thousand times by the good with which mankind has been favored.

More than two hundred years later, Andrew Wile, blogging at The Daily Bell, was equally ebullient, this time about the Internet – Gutenberg 2.0 – saying:

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Putin Demands All Data About His Citizens Be Stored Inside Russia

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, January 5, 2015:

 

On December 31, 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the latest version of his country’s “personal data law” that, starting September 1, 2015, will require all companies to store data about Russian users only on computer servers inside the country. That way, according to the New York Times, “it will be easier for the government to get access to it.”

Whether those companies — Facebook, Twitter, and Google, among others — will comply is an open question. When Putin’s Internet “regulator” Roskomnadzor demanded that Facebook take down a page promoting a rally in support of political activist Alexei Navalny (whom the Wall Street Journal called “the man Vladimir Putin fears most”), Facebook complied. But within hours dozens of copycat pages popped up elsewhere, creating even more publicity for the January 15 event. 

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Latest Survey: Farmers Disagree With Manmade Climate Changers

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, November 28, 2014:

 

Scientific studies on climate helped establish...

Scientific studies on climate helped establish a consensus. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Given the national media’s foregone conclusion that the climate change debate is over, there is little likelihood that Linda Prokopy’s latest survey challenging the climate change consensus will receive any air time, regardless of her credentials.

Prokopy is an associate professor of Natural Resource Social Science at the establishment Purdue University, and she has all the credentials, educational background, and publishing credits that one would need to get national attention and respect. But only, it appears, if her conclusion lends support to the establishment meme that man is causing climate change and something must be done now!

She had the audacity to

 

survey farmers and scientists directly involved in the agricultural sector and to ask them what they thought about that meme. Of the 173 scientists and climatologists she included in her survey, a very predictable 90 percent of them believed that climate change was happening, with half of them blaming it on human activities, like farming.

However, of the 4,778 corn producers she and her fellow researchers surveyed, only 66 percent said they thought the climate was changing, and just eight percent blamed humans. A quarter of them said they believed climate change resulted from natural causes, with another third holding that there wasn’t enough evidence to prove the point either way.

She summarized the survey, saying:

Results reveal that agricultural and climate scientists are more likely to believe that climate change is mostly due to human activities than farmers and advisers….

 

This discrepancy in beliefs creates challenges in communicating climate science to [the farmers and their advisers].

When the Media Research Center (MRC) got hold of her survey, they put it in terms of the debate they have weighed in on for decades. Founded in 1987 by conservative author and activist Brent Bozell III, MRC’s stated mission from the first was to “prove — through sound scientific research — that liberal bias in the media does exist and undermines traditional American values.” Writing for MRC, Susan Long expressed surprise at its findings:

While 90 percent of scientists and climatologists surveyed thought the climate was changing, only about 50.4 percent contended that humans were the primary cause….

 

This evidence is inconvenient to the many media outlets that have endlessly repeated that 97 percent of scientists endorse the global warming hypothesis. Prominent outlets like NBC and the New York Times, as well as countless others, have effectively shut down debate by asserting [that] there is no scientific debate.

With no effective debate, of course, the media becomes a mouthpiece for what supports their agenda: Government must fix this or we will all die! Left alone, of course, is any serious discussion of exactly what “climate change” now means, having morphed from the inconveniently limiting phrase “global cooling” and from there to “global warming.”

The phrase: “If you would converse with me, define your terms” has been attributed to John Locke, but what Locke actually wrote in 1689 is revealing and pertinent:

The names of simple ideas are not capable of any definition; the names of all complex ideas are. It has not, that I know, been yet observed by anybody what words are, and what are not, capable of being defined; the want whereof is (as I am apt to think) not seldom the occasion of great wrangling and obscurity in men’s discourses….

Without definitions of complex ideas, then, readers are left with conclusions often based upon error: finely crafted, persuasively presented, and logically apparently unassailable, especially if they are repeated endlessly.

H. L. Mencken, author of Prejudices in 1920, put the matter more succinctly: “Explanations exist: they have existed for all time; there is always a well-known solution to every human problem — neat, plausible, and wrong.”

For some, such as Michael Mann, a climate-changer who says he has studied the world’s temperature record for the past 1,000 years (!) and who then published his findings using his famous “hockey stick” graph, there is no dissent. If dissent rears its ugly head, Mann is there to lop it off. Last January, Mann wrote in the New York Times:

The overwhelming consensus among climate scientists is that human-caused climate change is happening. Yet a fringe minority of our populace clings to an irrational rejection of well-established science.

 

This virulent strain of anti-science infects the halls of Congress, the pages of leading newspapers and what we see on TV, leading to the appearance of a debate where none should exist.

Notice his choice of words which serve to define the character of those questioning the meme: “fringe,” “clings,” “irrational,” virulent strain,” and “infects,” each of which is clearly defined and serves as his response to surveys such as Prokopy’s of Purdue University. This is his alternative approach to responding to adverse opinions with sound reasoning and respectful dignity. It is, with apologies to Samuel Adams, “the last refuge of a scoundrel,” or what is used when the defender of false beliefs runs out of answers.

Consider efforts by Marc Morano, who served as communications director for the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. In 2007 he published a minority report titled “Over 400 Prominent Scientists Disputed Man-Made Global Warming Claims,” which he updated later to “over 700 scientists” and then to “more than 1,000 scientists.” Instead of responding to the doubters by examining their data and conclusions, Morano’s enemies launched ad hominem attacks against him. He was called a “hired assassin” who “spreads lies about scientists.” He was labeled the “Climate Change Misinformer of the Year” in 2012 by Media Matters, and his career was portrayed as “a lesson in the art of lying” by the German magazine Zeit.

Merely by surveying farmers and their advisers about what they think of the “climate change” meme, Professor Linda Prokopy may unwittingly have put her career in serious jeopardy, if the media bothers with it at all. After all, farmers are far too close to the subject to have any opinion on the matter of man-made climate change.

Obama’s Poll Numbers Continue to Drop

This article was first published at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, September 17, 2014:

English: In January 2009, President of the Uni...

In January 2009, President of the United States of America, George W. Bush invited then President-Elect Barack Obama and former Presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter for a Meeting and Lunch at The White House.

With the midterm elections less than seven weeks away, pollsters are coming out of the woodwork expressing their opinions on the outcome on November 4. The latest CBS News/New York Times poll, focusing on President Obama’s handling of the ISIS crisis and terrorism and foreign policy in general, shows him not only setting new personal lows, but lows never before recorded by the survey:

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Truancy Laws Snag 13-year-old Piano Prodigy

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, September 10, 2014:

It took just one day for the chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) to respond to Petula Dvorak’s column in the Washington Post on Monday. Chancellor Kaya Henderson issued a public statement condemning Dvorak’s column for inaccuracies and claiming instead that she was working with Avery Gagliano’s parents to avoid charging the 13-year-old piano prodigy with truancy.

Gagliano was one of just 12 musicians selected from around the world to

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Common Core Gooses Homeschooling

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, September 10, 2014:

 

A mother and her homeschooled daughter, studyi...

A mother and her homeschooled daughter, studying in the kitchen about household chemicals and the hazard warning labels(flammability, reactivity, etc )http://www.flickr.com/photos/vr/1253261487. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This time the headline underreported the news. From the Charlotte NewsObserver came this: “Homeschooling rate Accelerates in North Carolina.” A better headline would have read: “Homeschooling goes Exponential in North Carolina.” In 1985, the year that homeschooling was legalized in the state, there were about 2,300 home-schooled students. Two years ago there were 77,300 home-schooled students, which jumped to 85,900 last year. This year the number is closing in on 100,000, a gain of 27% in just two years. At that rate there will be more than 200,000 homeschooled students in North Carolina in less than five years. That’s exponential, with a vengeance.

It’s not surprising, given the federal pressure to adopt Common Core standards and curricula across the land. The greater the pressure, the greater the desire to opt out. Said Beth Herbert, founder of Lighthouse Christian Homeschool Association, “Common Core is a big factor that I hear people talk about. They’re not happy with the work their kids are coming home with. They decided to take their children home.”

Kelly Swinney, a retired homeschool mom, was much more direct: “Common Core is bad, plain and simple. It’s a one-size-fits-all program and kids just aren’t that way.” The pressure to opt out of Common Core has reached North Carolina’s General Assembly which just voted in July to create a commission to figure out how to do it.

Similar numbers are coming in from Freedom Project Education (FPE), backed by the John Birch Society. In three years the number of students in its K-12 program, based on the Constitution and free market economics, has grown from 22 to more than 700. Alan Scholl, director of FPE, told this writer that he had to turn back 130 additional students who asked to be enrolled after the August deadline had passed. He estimates that his school will have 1,000 students next fall, a gain of 4,500% in three years.

When asked how much of that was due to people trying to escape the clutches of Common Core, Scholl said: “At least half!”

Even before Common Core entered the classroom, parents were increasingly disenchanted with what was going on in their children’s schoolrooms. They didn’t like their school’s environment, the quality of the academic teaching, the curriculum that was increasingly dumbing the kids down while leaving out critical parts of American history, the bullying, the inevitable peer pressure to conform, and the lack of moral or religious instruction. They were tired of hearing how homeschooled students were outperforming their kids in every discipline. According to the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), the average homeschooled student outperformed his public school peer by between 30 and 38 percent across all subjects. This was confirmed by Education News, which noted that “Homeschooling statistics show that those who are independently educated typically score between the 65th and 89th percentile on the [standardized assessment] exams, while those attending traditional [public] schools average at the 50th percentile.”

And when they hit college, they outperform their peers there as well. As Dr. Michael Cogan of the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota noted in 2010, homeschooled students going to college achieve a higher first-year GPA than their peers, and that advantage is retained all the way through their college experience. In addition they have a higher graduation rate when they complete their studies.

And when they graduate from college, homeschoolers are much more active and involved in their communities, such as coaching a sports team, volunteering at a school, or working with a church or neighborhood association. In addition they are much more likely to be involved in political and civic affairs and vote at a much higher percentage than their peers. According to the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI): “76% of those surveyed between the ages of 18 and 24 voted within the last five years, compared with only 29% of the corresponding US populace. The numbers are even greater in older age groups, with voting levels not falling below 95%, compared to the high of 53% for the corresponding US populace.”

But it’s the pressure to conform to Common Core standards that have turbocharged the homeschool movement. The Common Core standards came about when Bill and Melinda Gates first began funding their vision for national education standards with their grant to the James B. Hunt Institute. So far the Gates have given more than $27 million as seed money, which led to the development of the Common Core Standards State Initiative and the Council of Chief State School Officers, two Washington, DC-based trade organizations. As noted at the FPE website:

In brief, each of the 50 states has been bribed by the federal government to accept the copyrighted and thus unalterable Common Core standards – even though most Americans have no idea what they entail – by offering those states millions….

To date, 46 states have accepted Common Core money, ceding curricula control to the federal government and taking it away from parents, teachers, and local school boards. Beyond the educational mediocrity the Common Core standards will further enshrine in public schools, there are elaborate plans to use the required national assessments within the Common Core standards as a tool to institute massive data collection about American schoolchildren that has nothing to do with education, and everything to do about government intrusion and control.

Emile Zola put it very well:

If you shut up the truth and bury it under the ground, it will but grow and gather to itself such explosive power that the day it burst through it will blow up everything in its way.

So it is with Common Core and the exponential response from parents who are increasingly aware of the danger and who want to see that their kids get a good education. Coupled with online schooling through the Internet, these concerned parents are increasingly opting out by doing it themselves and teaching their kids at home.

—————————

Sources:

Charlotte NewsObserver: Home schooling rate accelerates in North Carolina

Daily Signal: In One State, More Children Homeschool Than Attend Private Schools. Why That Shouldn’t Shock You.

Home Schooling

Home Schooling in the US

Education News: Number of Homeschoolers Growing Nationwide

The New American: Homeschooling Continues to Grow in Popularity Nationwide

FPE: What is Common Core?

National Home Education Research Institute (NEHRI)

 

Homeschoolers Outnumber Private-school Students in North Carolina

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, September 9, 2014:

Homeschooled children in the kitchen

Homeschooled children in the kitchen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

News from North Carolina marks another milestone toward developing an informed, politically active citizenry familiar with the basic fundamentals of the American Republic.

Homeschooled students now outnumber private-school students in North Carolina. This represents an increase of more than 14 percent from the year before, and a 27 percent increase from just two years ago. The state estimates that there are nearly 100,000 homeschoolers in North Carolina, while private school enrollments have been dropping ever since the beginning of the Great Recession. According to the Charlotte News Observer, this extraordinary growth is due to parental concerns about school violence, the lack of a religious focus in public schools, and the large classroom size.

But it also has to do with the accelerating pushback against the Common Core nationalized curriculum.

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Article in CFR Magazine: Give Away Money to Stimulate Economy

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, August 28, 2014:

 

Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Bell 206 ...

Mark Blythe, a professor at Brown University, and Eric Lonergan, a hedge fund manager living in London, have conjured the ultimate solution to a stagnant economy: Central banks should give away free money.

These two authors of a lengthy and allegedly erudite article in the September/October 2014 issue of Foreign Affairs, published by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), appear to be living in an alternate universe, as their suggestion, if it were fully implemented, would push the world’s economy back to the Dark Ages.

The article, entitled “Print Less but Transfer More: Why Central Banks Should Give Money Directly to the People,” rests on the false assumption that

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Why Are Liberals Jumping on the Teacher Tenure Reform Bandwagon?

This article was first published at the McAlvany Intelligence Advisors on Friday, June 27, 2014:

English: A bandwagon in the 2009 Great Circus ...

A bandwagon in the 2009 Great Circus Parade, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

It didn’t take long for the decision in California that threw out union rules protecting teachers to galvanize similar efforts in New York. The Partnership for Educational Justice announced its plans to file a similar lawsuit against the same kind of rules extant in New York that so outraged Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu earlier this month when he ruled them unconstitutional.

The Partnership will sue next month to get rid of the same three rules that upset Treu:

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Lawsuit to be Filed Against Teacher Tenure rules in New York

This article was first published at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, June 26, 2014: 

 

Classroom in the Afternoon

Classroom in the Afternoon

Following the widely hailed victory over California’s egregious teacher tenure rules in court earlier this month, another group is bringing suit in New York to challenge similar rules. Called the Partnership for Educational Justice, it has enlisted pro bono efforts from Jay Lefkowitz, a skilled and capable litigator with previous victories against teacher unions under his belt.

The lawsuit will challenge laws that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu ruled to be unconstitutional in California, namely,

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The President’s Latest Plan to Flood Colleges with New Students

 

College Students Spending Time Outside

College Students Spending Time Outside (Photo credit: York College of PA)

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, June 18, 2014: 

Mr. Obama has never been very good at math or in getting his facts straight. His misunderstanding of basic laws of economics, however, is breathtaking. Last week, on Tumblr, he announced his latest plans to make it easier for high school graduates to borrow their way into college. First he’ll cap their debt repayments at 10 percent of disposable income. Second, if they default after 20 years, their debts will be forgiven.

Often in error but never in doubt, the president said:

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President Announces plans to make College more Affordable

cardboard sign ... College Graduates. Lots of ...

cardboard sign … College Graduates. Lots of them and lots of debt. (FEBRUARY 16, 2012) …item 2.. Searching for jobs in Tallahassee is a burden (Jan. 23, 2013) … (Photo credit: marsmet531)

On Monday, June 9, President Obama announced new executive orders to make borrowing for college easier and less costly as part of his “year of action.” Speaking to students via Tumblr, the president said:

A higher education is the single best investment that you can make in yourselves and your future, and we’ve got to make sure that investment pays off…

In America, higher education opens the doors of opportunity for all…

He dusted off the old shibboleths that a college degree will improve chances to get hired and will result in higher earnings as well:

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The Beginning of the end of Tenure for Teachers

This article was first published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, June 13, 2014:

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make ...

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference (Photo credit: jgarber)

A subtitle might be “Olives, Dominoes, Tipping Points, and Judge Treu.” It’s common knowledge that the first olive out of the bottle is always the hardest, that after that the rest come out a little more easily. It’s common knowledge that once the first domino falls, the others topple immediately afterwards. As Malcolm Gladwell, the author of The Tipping Point, put it:

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Teacher Tenure laws Struck down in California

Photo of the facade of the California Teachers...

Photo of the facade of the California Teachers Association’s main office in Sacramento, CA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The one thing the California teachers’ unions wanted to avoid was a full-on public trial which would expose the dark underbelly of the system that for years has protected incompetent teachers with tenure. The ruling on Tuesday in Vergara v. State of California by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu is their worst nightmare come true: all of the egregious laws protecting incompetents were thrown out.

As the evidence in the four-week trial began to mount up, so did the judge’s indignation. At issue were

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Zero School Tolerance Ends a Promising Career in Law Enforcement

English: this is a very good result

Jordan Wiser, an 18-year-old student at Ashtabula County Technical and Career Campus (A-Tech) in Jefferson, Ohio, about 60 miles northeast of Cleveland, has been snared in the zero-tolerance web. His plans to become a police officer are probably ended. He’ll be lucky to find work anywhere if

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.