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As predicted, the Obama administration will delay its decision on whether to approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

During a briefing, the administration justified the delay by saying it is studying alternate routes for the proposed $7 billion, 1,700-mile pipeline. But the underlying motivation is no doubt to put off a decision until after the 2012 election has passed — thereby preventing a major electoral push-back from either the oil industry or frustrated environmentalists.

The delay, particularly under the guise of considering alternate routes that would avoid Nebraska’s Sand Hills region and the Ogallala aquifer, will also serve to temper the escalating pressure and criticisms surrounding the debate: The State Department’s reputation has already been damaged after disclosed emails revealed a pro-industry bias, and the department is currently being investigated to determine whether officials followed proper procedures in determining the project’s costs and benefits.

The announcement also minimizes the likelihood that Obama will ever have to make a conclusive decision on Keystone XL. The permit process has already dragged on for more than three years, and some close to the debate have indicated the possibility that the pipeline companies might scrap the plan altogether if they have to wait much longer. Additionally, several groups that have opposed the current pipeline proposal have said they would support a less environmentally detrimental route; so what appears to be avoiding the issue might actually be a way of solving it.

The administration’s move to delay a Keystone XL decision does not offer an immediate victory to either the industry or anti-pipeline activists, but it does mark a smart political move that will most likely yield positive results for Obama, if no one else.

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Marchers at January 22 anti-vaccination demonstration in Washington, D.C>

Back when it was first gaining traction in the 1990s, the anti-vaccination movement was largely considered a far-left thing, attracting believers ranging from barter-fair hippies to New Age gurus and their followers to “holistic medicine” practitioners. And it largely remained that way … until 2020 and the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As this Sunday’s “Defeat the Mandates” march in Washington, D.C., however, showed us, there’s no longer anything even remotely left-wing about the movement. Populated with Proud Boys and “Patriot” militiamen, QAnoners and other Alex Jones-style conspiracists who blithely indulge in Holocaust relativism and other barely disguised antisemitism, and ex-hippies who now spout right-wing propaganda—many of them, including speakers, encouraging and threatening violence—the crowd at the National Mall manifested the reality that “anti-vaxxers” now constitute a full-fledged far-right movement, and a potentially violent one at that.

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