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: EPA

What if the Energy Department is Right?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, May 2, 2017:

English: A picture of the National Petroleum R...

A picture of the National Petroleum Reserve–Alaska,

Tom Lombardo appears to be a self-effacing journalist, professor, and armchair philosopher with a certification as a Professional Energy Manager. He calls himself either “an idealistic pragmatist” or a “pragmatic idealist,” but with no discernible ties either to the energy industry or the green movement. That’s what makes his assessment of the Obama Energy Department’s study published last summer on renewable energy remarkable. If he’s correct, then Big Oil is shortly going to have a day of reckoning in Alaska.

Writing at Engineering.com, Lombardo reviewed a report emanating from the Energy Department in August last year titled, “Estimating Renewable Energy Economic Potential in the United States: Methodology and Initial Results.” After looking at various energy scenarios (the Energy Department did no forecasting in its report), Lombardo summed up the study:

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Schumer, Pelosi Celebrate Stop-gap Government Spending Bill

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, May 1, 2017: 

After debating hundreds of items in the stop-gap government spending bill to fund the government through September, congressional leaders birthed a beast that rejected nearly all of President Donald Trump’s campaign promises.

On Sunday night Democrat Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer gushed: “This is a good agreement for the American people, and takes the threat of a government shutdown off the table.” He made sure that everyone took note that most of Trump’s priorities were rejected: “The bill ensures taxpayer dollars aren’t used to fund an ineffective wall, excludes [160] poison pill riders [offered by Republicans], and increases investments in programs that [Republicans resisted but] that the middle-class relies on, like medical research, education and infrastructure.”

California Democrat Representative Nancy Pelosi was delighted to see a provision included that would require the U.S. taxpayer to bail out Puerto Rico to the tune of $295 million, calling it Medicare relief rather than a bailout:

From the beginning, Democrats have sought to avert another destructive Republican government shutdown, and we have made significant progress improving [this] omnibus bill.

Bloomberg, in its reporting, couldn’t restrain itself: “GOP leaders … bowed to Democratic demands to eliminate hundreds of policy restrictions aimed at curbing regulations, leaving the Trump administration with few victories.”

When two big-spending, Constitution-ignoring liberal Democrats get excited about a government spending bill, one knows something is dreadfully amiss.

The White House sought $30 billion for the Pentagon. It got just $15 billion, with $2.5 billion of it on a conditional basis. The White House wanted funding for the wall. It got $1.5 billion for “border security” but with the proviso that none of it be spent on the wall.

The White House has promised to cut funding for Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood got an increase. The White House wanted to cut funding to sanctuary cities. That was rejected. Those cities will get their federal funds. It wanted to cut funding for the National Institutes of Health. The NIH got a $2 billion boost. The White House has promised to cut the EPA’s budget. It got millions more in funding, along with a promise that there would be no staff cuts.

The White House has stated it wanted cuts to the Energy Department. Instead, the department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency — which funds experimental energy research and has been targeted for elimination by the White House — got millions more to spend instead.

The National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities? They got increases.

In addition, more than 70 items that Bloomberg called “anti-environment policy riders” were scrapped.

Most annoying to those thinking that the new president would actually be keeping his promises was his statement that he would sign the bill if it arrives at his desk “as we discussed.” That could happen as early as Wednesday.

Perhaps the president is making a deal? Give up a little now in order to press for more later? After all, the bill, once signed, would only fund the government through September. The 2018 budget is still a work in progress.

Or is he going along to get along, not wanting to have the Democrats hang the “shutdown the government again” albatross around the Republican Party neck?

Or is he betraying his promises to his constituents in order to get “something, anything” about which he can claim victory during the early days of his administration.

He is the president, after all, and still has plenty of political capital that he could invest in keeping his promises. Why wouldn’t he consider vetoing the bill rather than folding, especially when it contains odious pro-death funding for Planned Parenthood? Wouldn’t this be a good time for him to stand tall and reject the bill, unless and until it reflects his promises and policies? Wouldn’t this be the time, as Ron Paul just said, “to shut down most of the federal government, starting with bringing the troops home and drastically cutting the military-industrial complex’s budget?”

Or has the president been assimilated by The Borg — the powers-that-be in Washington — and just decided that “resistance is futile” and that he’ll be happy that the cuts to his projects and priorities weren’t even worse?

Trump’s Regulatory Executive Order: One In, Two Out

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, January 30, 2017:

Official Portrait of President Ronald Reagan

White House officials described President Donald Trump’s Executive Order for “Reducing Government Regulations and Controlling Regulatory Cost” as Trump’s “one in, two out” plan: For every regulation promulgated by a federal agency, that agency must “identify” two existing regulations to be targeted for extinction.

The order also sets a cap of $0 for the cost of new regulations, with the only exceptions being military and national security regulations. The president said when signing the order,

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Congress Plans to Repeal Obama Rules Through Congressional Review Act

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, January 26, 2017:

To facilitated mining of a coal seam in Gillet...

To facilitate mining of a coal seam in Gillette, Wyoming, blasting was used to loosen the coal after the overburden was removed. Approximately half a million tons of coal in a seam 80 feet thick was loosened by this single blast.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy explained in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday just how Congress is planning to roll back numerous egregious and harmful rules promulgated by the Obama administration: the Congressional Review Act (CRA). The CRA was included in the “Contract With America Advancement Act of 1996” and allows Congress to review, and to cancel by majority rule, new federal regulations issued by federal agencies. There’s a window of 60 “legislative” days to disapprove, which explains some of the Trump administration’s haste in pushing to repeal them. Once passed by both houses, repeals then become effective with President Donald Trump’s signature.

There are plenty of targets, but McCarthy focused on just three: the Interior Department’s Stream Protection Rule impacting the coal-mining industry, new methane gas regulations that would cost up to $1 billion and force many small energy developers out of business, and the Social Security Administration’s new rule that states that if a S.S. recipient needs a third party to manage his finances, he will be added to the gun background check list.

The CRA shouldn’t be necessary. If Congress hadn’t unconstitutionally allowed power it alone possesses under the Constitution to make laws to pass over to the executive branch’s various and sundry regulatory agencies, the problems with the Obama administration’s overreach wouldn’t exist in the first place. Those agencies have grown into Leviathan, issuing rules, regulations, and mandates far beyond those imagined by Congress. Now Congress is in the backward position of having to limit the regulations pouring out of that unconstitutional “fourth branch” of government. The child is now threatening its parent.

Parsing the language of the Interior Department’s rules on its expanded regulation of coal miners proves the point:

Under [the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977], the regulatory authority may not approve a permit application [from a coal mining company] unless the application demonstrates, and the regulatory authority finds, that the proposed operation would not result in material damage to the hydrologic balance [i.e., streams and rivers] outside the permit area.

How does a coal mining company, in its application, “prove” a negative? How does it satisfy a bureaucratic unelected unaccountable and invisible agency that it will cause no harm, or at least not enough harm to avoid trespassing on that agency’s environmental sensitivities? What assurance does a coal mining company have that said agency won’t change the rules arbitrarily and capriciously in the future? Would not such future uncertainty tend to dampen said coal company’s interest in developing its reserves?

Similar charges could be levied against the federal agency issuing its rules on methane emissions, but the best example of egregious overreach is the Social Security Administration’s new rule that allows it to “deem” who shall have his or her name entered into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) based on whether or not they receive third-party assistance in managing their finances. Here’s what the SSA says it will do:

We will identify, on a prospective [in the absence of evidence of any proclivity towards criminal activity] basis, individuals who receive Disability Insurance benefits … or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments … who meet certain criteria, including … a finding that the individual’s mental impairment meets or medically equals [various] requirements.

And just how, pray tell, would such “identification” take place? The SSA responds:

If we have information that the beneficiary has a mental or physical impairment that prevents him or her from managing or directing the management of benefits, we will develop the issue of capability.

And just how is that “issue of capability” to be determined? Again, the SSA provides the guidelines its bureaucrats should follow in making that determination:

Does the individual have difficulty answering questions, getting the evidence or information necessary to pursue the claim, or understanding explanations and reporting instructions?

 

If so, do you think this difficulty indicates [that] the beneficiary cannot manage or direct the management of [his or her] funds?

If the answer, by this nameless, faceless unaccountable bureaucrat, is yes, his or her name is entered into the NICS.

The agency then condescends to tell the soul who just had his Second and Fourth Amendment rights under the Constitution obliterated that they have just done so, and that if he cares to contest this arbitrary and capricious decision by said unnamed bureaucrat, he is free to hire an attorney and seek redress. Guilty until proven innocent.

Where is due process? Where is the beneficiary allowed to defend himself or explain himself or offer an explanation? What happens to the right to face his accuser in a court of law?

When Chris Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislation Action (NRAILA), learned of McCarthy’s plan of attack to repeal this particular rule, he was delighted:

Congress’ decision to review the Obama administration’s back-door gun grab is a significant step forward in restoring the fundamental Constitutional rights of many law-abiding gun owners.

 

The NRA has been fighting this unconstitutional government overreach since it was first discussed, and we look forward to swift congressional action to overturn it.

Those in the energy industry will likely be equally ebullient once Congress has righted the wrongs imposed by federal agencies on its businesses. Representative Greg Walden (R-Ore.), chair of the House Energy Committee, told Reuters that using the CRA will not only wipe out entire regulations but forbid them from writing new versions in their place.

In effect Congress’ use of the CRA will be equivalent to hacking off some of the branches of the Fourth Branch’s tree, but leaves the trunk and the root intact. It’s a start, but only a start.

Oil and Gas Prices Dropping in Anticipation of Trump Presidency

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, November 14, 2016:  

Even as prices for crude oil and natural gas were already declining thanks to continued overproduction by the OPEC cartel, the commitment of millions of dollars in new capital expenditures by major oil companies next year, and the stirring of recovery in the oil patch, last Tuesday’s election added additional impetus to the decline. The price for crude oil for December delivery has dropped more than $2 a barrel since the election, and Evan Kelly, writing at OilPrice.com, thinks it’s going to drop further, perhaps much further.

Reasons abound, mostly around Donald Trump’s promise to breathe new life into an industry hampered by overregulation driven by questionable concerns over global warming.  As Kelly wrote:

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Ethanol Mandates Mean Big Profits for Big Oil

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, October 28, 2016:  

When the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 was signed into law by then-President George W. Bush, it was well-intended: It would increase America’s oil independence and reduce dependence on foreign oil, it would produce cleaner air, and it would help farmers.

The Act required refiners to add ethanol to every gallon of gasoline they produced. If a refiner decided it couldn’t (too costly) or wouldn’t (internal decision) do so, it would be required to

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Trump’s Plan for “Winning the Global Competition”

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, August 9, 2016:  

During his hour-long speech on Monday at the Detroit Economic Club, Republican Party presidential nominee Donald Trump was serious and reasonable, avoiding histrionics and the temptation to push back against protesters who interrupted him several times. He followed his script and peppered the economic landscape with his wish list of actions he would take as president to “Make America Great Again.”

It was a very long list:

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Iowa Senator Joni Ernst on Trump’s VP Short List

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, July 5, 2016:  

English: Official portrait of Iowa State Senat...

Senator Joni Ernst from Iowa

Iowa Republican Senator Joni Ernst, one of just a very few being currently vetted for Donald Trump’s running mate for vice president, met with The Donald on Monday. Also in attendance were Paul Manafort, Trump’s chief campaign strategist, and Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC). Following the meeting, Ernst told reporters:

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Federal Judge: BLM Rules on Fracking Are Illegal

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, June 27, 2016:

English: Bureau of Land Management logo

An Obama-appointed federal judge ruled last Tuesday that the Interior Department and its agency the Bureau of Land Management overreached its authority in issuing rules on fracking. He declared: “Congress has not delegated to the Department of the Interior the authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing [fracking]. [Its] effort to do so through the Fracking Rule is in excess of its statutory authority and contrary to law.”

When the Fracking Rule was originally published by the BLM in March 2015, the Independent Petroleum Association of America immediately filed suit, which was joined by the states of Wyoming, Colorado, North Dakota, and Utah. Federal Judge Scott Skavdahl, the same judge who ruled on Tuesday, placed a temporary injunction on implementing that rule until he had time to review it in detail. That temporary injunction would have expired last Friday.

Skavdahl didn’t consider the Fracking Rule itself, which would have allowed government bureaucrats to swam all over some 100,000 oil and gas wells on federal lands while checking for water and chemical leaks; inspecting piping and tubing; and making sure all the new paperwork was in order, which includes listing publicly the various chemicals used in the fracking process. Instead he got to the core issue: Did the Interior Department and its BLM have authority to issue such regulations in the first place?

He said no:

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Federal Judge: BLM Tries to Pull an “End Run” Around Congressional Limitations

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, June 27, 2016:

English: Oil well An oil rig used for training.

Scott W. Skavdahl was nominated as judge of the United States District Court for the District of Wyoming by President Obama in February, 2011. The Senate voted 96-0 to confirm him in November. If Obama thought he had a friend he could rely on he was sadly mistaken. On Tuesday, June 21, Skavdahl came down hard on the BLM, accusing it of deliberately and intentionally ignoring Congressional intent when it prohibited the EPA from regulating fracking back in 2005:

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World’s Largest Coal Company Could Disappear

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, March 16, 2016:  

On Wednesday, Peabody Energy Company, the world’s largest private-sector coal company, announced that it was going to miss making $70 million in interest payments simply because it didn’t have the money. This was not just a temporary lack of cash flow, but indicative of existential problems:

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EPA: No “Widespread, Systemic” Fracking Impact on Drinking Water

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, June 5, 2015: 

Following the EPA’s release of the initial draft of its “Hydraulic Fracturing Drinking Water Assessment” on Thursday, expressions of joy exuded from fracking industry officials and pro-fracking politicians while anger erupted from environmentalists.

Responding to pressure from Congress to “study the relationship between hydraulic fracking and drinking water,” the EPA spent years and millions of taxpayer dollars to conclude, tentatively at least, that fracking doesn’t pollute or poison drinking water in areas close to fracking wells.

It was also tasked to uncover any “potential for hydraulic fracturing to change the quality or quantity of drinking water resources … [and to identify] factors affecting the frequency or severity of any potential changes.”

After exploring all possible mechanisms by which fracking might possibly negatively impact local drinking water supplies, the EPA reported:

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President Unveils Plan to Eviscerate Energy Boom With Methane Mandates

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, January 14 2015:

The EPA was directed to set standards for radi...

On Wednesday, President Obama announced plans to move ahead with mandating methane emission reductions primarily directed at the renaissance in the energy industry.

This unleashes his Environmental Protection Agency to create new rules to limit methane emissions from cows, landfills, coal mines and, most particularly, the oil and gas industry. Unless derailed or challenged successfully by Congress, the new rules would become effective in late 2016.

Dan Utech, special assistant to the president for climate change, promised that the EPA’s new rules, which will be intended to cut methane emissions nearly in half over the next decade, will

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More Proof that US Climate Temperature data is being Manipulated

Cover of "The Real Global Warming Disaste...

Writing in his Real Science blog, Steven Goddard explained how he found out that NASA had altered US temperature readings to show a warming trend where none existed: he compared graphs published on NASA’s website in 1999 to those available today. He even set up an animation of the two temperature graphs to show the extent of the fraud.

He went further by exhuming quotes from climate changers who also have changed their opinions, including the infamous James Hansen. In 2003 Hansen authored a paper for the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change entitled “Can We Defuse the Global Warming Time Bomb?” in which he concluded that “halting global warming requires urgent, unprecedented international cooperation…” with the clear implication that

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Latest Keystone Pipeline Study Greeted with Cheers and Jeers

In the release on Friday of the fifth environmental impact study of the Keystone XL pipeline, partisans on both sides of the issue were quick to point to the key paragraph in that study:

Approval or denial of any one crude oil transport project, including [the Keystone XL pipeline project], is unlikely to significantly impact the rate of extraction in the oil sands [in Alberta, Canada] or the continued demand for heavy crude oil at refineries in the United States…

Supporters saw this as supporting the country’s economy and lessening its dependence upon foreign, less friendly sources of oil. Senate Minority Leader Mitch Mitchell declared:

The Keystone XL Pipeline is the single largest shovel-ready project in America, ready to go, but for years President Obama and his hard-left allies have stalled these jobs in a maze of red tape.

If the president meant what he said this week about a “year of action,” he’ll act now on this important project that won’t cost taxpayers a dime to build but will bring thousands of private-sector jobs to Americans who need them.

Mitchell’s comments were echoed by Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.):

I have been incredibly frustrated for more than five years by the repeated and unnecessary delays in moving forward with the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. I am pleased the State Department has confirmed there is no evidence of any negative environmental impact from building this pipeline.

The president of TransCanada, Russ Girling, expressed relief that his company’s project, first begun in 2008 but delayed with repeated requests for more analysis:

The case for Keystone XL, in our view, pre- and post this report, are as strong as ever. No matter how much noise [environmentalists] make or how much misinformation they spread, the facts do support this project…

It will have minimal impact on the environment…

Those opposed saw little in the report to cheer about, seeing in it confirmation that the continued extraction of the heavy oil from the Athabasca Oil Sands will threaten the environment. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Ca.) saw the study as inaccurate:

I will not be satisfied with any analysis that does not accurately document what is really happening in the ground when it comes to the extraction, transport, refining and waste disposal of dirty, filthy tar sands oil.

My biggest concerns continue to be the serious health impact on communities and the dangerous carbon pollution that comes from tar sands oil.

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) wrote off the report’s conclusion as well:

The State Department is asking us to believe this pipeline is in the national interest. How can a pipeline that ships Canadian tar sands to the Gulf of Mexico for export, that does nothing to increase our energy independence, and that will deal irreparable damage both to our landscapes and our air quality possibly meet that definition.

Environmentalists like Susan Casey-Lefkowitz of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) even saw something in the report that wasn’t there:

Even though the State Department continues to downplay clear evidence that the Keystone XL pipeline would lead to tar sands expansion and significantly worsen carbon pollution, it has, for the first time, acknowledged that the proposed project could accelerate climate change.

President Obama now has all the information he needs to reject the pipeline.

What really puts the president on the hot seat, however, is the support for the pipeline from one of his staunchest allies: Richard Trumpka, president of the AFL-CIO:

We think that anything that’s going to create jobs, help the country and do it in an environmentally sound way ought to be done.

This pits Obama supporters against each other while putting pressure on Democrats supporting the project if the president rejects it. Both Senators Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Mark Begich (D-Alaska) are vulnerable in November and could suffer in their reelection campaigns if the president axes the project.

There will be no meeting in the middle on the issue, according to Professor Bernard Weinstein of the MacGuire Energy Institute. When I spoke with him following a presentation that he made in Colorado Springs last week, Weinstein said he was hopeful that the horrific derailment of 76 tank cars carrying Bakken oil in the town of Lac-Mégantic in Quebec last July which killed nearly 50 people and almost destroyed the town would persuade environmentalists that the Keystone pipeline would make more sense in that it was a much safer means to transport crude oil. Instead, he said, “The accident just proved to them that any transport of oil is dangerous and oil extraction of any kind should be ended altogether.”

Now that the report has been published, there is a 60-day period for public comment and input before any decision is made. Some environmentalist groups, including 350.org, have threatened to engage in non-violent protests at the White House similar to those that got 1,200 arrested in the summer of 2011 and another one a year ago where an estimated 50,000 protestors vented noisily their opposition to the project.

The State Department report, however, isn’t likely to speed up the decision-making process. President Obama has stalled before, putting off any final decision until after the 2012 election and he could well do so again. He is likely to let the problem descend onto the desk of Secretary of State John Kerry who, while still believing in the theory of climate change in spite of evidence to the contrary, has been invisible on Keystone. The report is an amazing seven volumes long which someone on his staff is going to have to read. And then he is likely to seek counsel from at least eight other government agencies before deciding what to recommend to the president: the Departments of Defense, Justice, Interior, Commerce, Transportation, Energy, Homeland Security, and the E.P.A. As Kerry’s assistant, Kerri-Ann Jones, noted, this report “is not a decision document … [it] is only one factor that will be coming into the review process for this permit.”

Instead of expecting a decision at the end of 90 days, some say it could take as long as a year, well past the November elections, neatly solving the president’s political problems. In the meantime, tar sands oil will continue to be harvested and shipped by rail if not by pipeline to meet worldwide demand.

 

 

The Press Release from the Treasury Department is Pure Propaganda

This article was first published at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, October 7, 2013:

The so-called “brinkmanship” press release by the Treasury Department reveals far more about the willingness of the media to report and repeat a canard that it does about the “crisis” facing the US if the government defaults.

Here are the title and just the opening paragraphs from the Treasury Department:

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US to Become the World’s Primary Energy Producer in Four Years

In its review of the latest report on world energy supplies from the international energy consulting firm IHS, Inc., writers at Yahoo.com were quick to point out several of the impacts likely to be felt as the United States becomes the number one producer of energy in the world by 2017. Fracking is the prime driver of the US’ resurgence and is bending, changing, questioning and even replacing many of the

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Jay Sekulow files lawsuit against the IRS, as promised

Sekulow heads up the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ). The initials reflect a deliberate alternative to the ACLU when it was set up by Pat Robertson back in 1990. Last week he announced his intention to sue the IRS on behalf of a number of Tea Party and Patriot groups singled out by the IRS for “special attention,” and yesterday he did.

He’s suing everyone within shouting distance:

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Cost Estimate of Government Regulations Doesn’t Measure the Real Cost

This article initially appeared at The New American on May 21st, 2013:

 

The federal government’s cost is measured not only in taxes paid by citizens, or in borrowing when tax revenues aren’t sufficient, but also must be measured in terms of regulations imposed by government agencies to accomplish what congress can’t or won’t. That’s the core of the argument presented by Clyde Wayne Crews of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) in his introduction of this year’s “Ten Thousand Commandments 2013.”

For the first time in the 20 years that the institute has been attempting to measure the cost of government agencies’ regulations that cost now exceeds

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Feulner’s farewell letter is a good reminder

Ed Feulner leaves The Heritage Foundation today as former Senator Jim DeMint takes over, and his farewell letter is a good reminder of how the freedom fight has been doing over the past 35 years.

First, his letter sounds

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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.