Obama: State of The Union

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Hi folks, I apologize for the long hiatus (I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching and reading lately) but it’s surely an auspicious moment to be back blogging on American politics. President Obama’s State of The Union address was emphatic, emotional, and stern on where our nation needs to be headed – outlining the goals of 2014.

I’m tempted to do a thorough write-up, but I think the speech itself is golden.

“It’s the power of your vote and not the size of your bank account that moves our democracy forward.” – Barack Obama (not verbatim)

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New York Politicking – Anthony Weiner And Eliot Spitzer

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Ever since Anthony Weiner, a former Congressman who was caught tweeting his junk announced his candidacy for Mayor, and recently, Eliot Spitzer, former Attorney General who frequented prostitutes announced his candidacy for City Comptroller, the mainstream media can’t get enough tabloids out on the New York City duo. Recently, Anthony Weiner’s image problems exacerbated as the knowledge of his ‘sexting‘ with three additional women after his resignation surfaced in the media – bringing the tally to ten women. By the way, I’m sure the media is voraciously seeking to uncover any additional dirt on Spitzer as well, and we can surely count on the New York Post to deliver, given the ridiculous coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing and everything else this tabloid paper covers. Frankly, I don’t even know why I’m writing on this topic when I promised myself I wouldn’t. Well I guess I have an opinion after all. Continue reading

Obamanomics Champions The Working Class And The American Dream

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Ever since Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, Republicans in Congress have cynically skewed and continue to morph and usurp the national economic debate by fronting their position as sound economics, particularly by engaging in misinformation campaigns on the Affordable Care Act, the recent scandals or anything Obama champions, be it gun control via background checks, comprehensive immigration reform, education (doubling of student loan rates to 6. 8 percent) or even Climate Change, as the House of Representatives prepares to make drastic cuts to the programs Obama announced in June at Georgetown University to curb and lower carbon emissions in the United States. Continue reading

Obama Breaks Silence On Trayvon Martin

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Despite conventional political wisdom dictating the President to sit the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case out, Obama surprisingly addressed the White House Press briefing earlier today. And even though I’m torn everyday as I write on this case and struggle to discover a perfect moral compass, I can empathize with the man on a human level, free from the politics and partisanship of society and Capitol Hill. I believe Barack Obama was emotionally compelled to speak out as he did, while calling for “soul searching” and denouncing acts of violence as “dishonoring the memory of Trayvon Martin.” Continue reading

In The Post Of The Zimmerman Verdict, Eric Holder Steps Up To The Plate

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Before saying anything, what’s up with the pianist’s ‘call and response’ to Eric Holder’s definitive remarks? It was distracting and cheesy, and dangerously skirted in sounding like a church sermon (not that I have anything against Christianity, I just don’t believe religion belongs in the realm of politics). Well then, let’s get straight to it. Continue reading

Trayvon Martin Versus George Zimmerman: Racism In America?

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Three days ago, a six- woman Jury acquitted George Zimmerman of second-degree manslaughter of seventeen year old, Trayvon Martin; a high school student, shot and killed in the City of Sanford, Florida.  In culmination to last week’s verdict, the pent-up emotions of Black America, juxtaposed with a deluge of tropes encircling racial profiling, civil rights, gun control (although Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law was omitted from the case, but why is that so), and the blatant and ostensible theatrics inside the courtroom for three whole weeks – on how both the prosecution and defense were required to work around the “elephant in the room: RACE,” while the media scrutinized Rachel Jeantel, Trayvon’s friend, on her urban ghetto dialect and mannerisms, and viciously pandered to glamorizing this case to the point, where overwhelming public opinion and emotions were bound to distort a fair trial, for better or for worse, and it’s the reason, I’m still contemplating whether I should even write on this subject. Continue reading

The Politics On The Farm Bill Takes Centerstage In Washington

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The big news on Capitol Hill today was the passage of the Farm Bill with 216 votes (all Republican) in the House of Representatives, however, without the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or put simply, Food Stamps Provision, which dismisses 80 percent of the cost/ $743 billion; but in the process denies “45 percent of food stamp recipients who are children, and in 2010, the U.S.D.A. reported that as many as 41 percent are working poor.” (Mark Bittman for the New York Times). Continue reading

The Political Scene Exudes Of Cynicism, But The New Generation Lends Hope

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After watching Bill Moyers­­­­­­’ PBS Frontline piece: “Two American Families,” I have a compelling urge to write on the current political scene and why it perturbs me. In the post-recession period, where Barack Obama has been elected for a second run in the Oval office, the idealism in the country isn’t shot – it’s that lofty pragmatism, fueled with a general mistrust and apathy in government, has hijacked the spotlight; and furthermore, unyielding party politics renders the 113th Congress dysfunctional as Jonathan Weisman puts it aptly for The New York Times. Continue reading

The Backstory On Guantanamo

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During the holy month of Ramadan, despite conflicting reports in the media, Muslim detainees in Guantanamo will not be force-fed after dawn and before sunset. That’s the good news, but from 166 foreign prisoners in the detention facilities – mostly of Yemeni, Al-Qaeda and other related terrorist networks – 106 inmates have been on hunger strike since February, protesting their marooned situation; as Congress remains staunchly opposed to closing Guantanamo, transferring inmates to the United States mainland, or releasing fugitives back to their respective governments. Continue reading

A Holistic Approach To Tackling The Southern Border And Stemming Undocumented Immigrants

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A father and son peer through a fence at the view across the border into the United States from Tijuana, Mexico.

Two weeks ago, the United States Senate passed a highly politicized comprehensive immigration reform bill by 68 to 32, with 14 Republicans voting in favor – but not without tough negotiations in place. The Economist outlines this legislation,

“would increase the number of visas for skilled workers, grant visas for entrepreneurs and establish a guest-worker program for manual laborers. It would give the estimated 11m illegal immigrants in America a chance to come in from the shadows: after paying a fine and back taxes, working hard and staying out of trouble, they would eventually be eligible to apply for citizenship. And in a last-minute deal the bill added another $46 billion (up from $8 billion in the original version) to fortify the Mexican border, which is already bristling with fences, armed guards and drones, and to beef up systems for checking that firms do not hire illegal workers.”

Continue reading

Obama’s Partnership Intentions With Africa

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President Obama visited three countries in his recent Africa trip – Dakar in Senegal, West Africa, Pretoria, Johannesburg and Cape Town in South Africa, and Tanzania in East Africa. It being Obama’s second official trip to the African continent, besides a brief visit to Ghana during his first term, the African continent has long awaited the return of the President of the United States. And particularly amidst Africa’s growing economies, emerging democracies, the populous younger demographic, and crucial security challenges from South Sudan to Zimbabwe, Libya to the Congo, and the threat of terrorism creeping in from the Middle-East, there’s much potential for investment, entrepreneurship, and economic development, as there is genuine concern for atrocious human rights violations, extreme poverty, and lack of stable governments. Continue reading

The Developing Situation In Egypt: Democracy And U.S. Foreign Policy

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With time running out on the 48 hour ultimatum issued by Egypt’s Military Chief, Abdul Fatah Al- Sisi, on National Television, anti-Morsi supporters flock the streets of Cairo, interpreting the Army’s statement as possible intervention on their part to depose President Morsi – the first democratically elected President of Egypt.  Continue reading

The Best Course Of Action For Edward Snowden’s Extradition To The United States

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A flurry of controversy surrounds Edward J. Snowden’s extradition to the United States, and speculations suggest he might be holed up in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, due to his travel documents being revoked by Ecuador’s President, Rafael Correa; while some decline to extrapolate on the matter altogether. Regardless of media and government bias in favor or opposed to Edward Snowden, it’s imperative to understand his circumstance from opposing viewpoints, instead of viciously tagging him as a traitor, while he flees persecution – hopping from Hong Kong to Moscow, and possibly Ecuador, Venezuela, Cuba and other Latin American countries that are known to have sour relations with the United States. On the other hand, defending Edward’s Snowden’s actions unquestionably, (in light of the fact that he did break the law, by sharing U.S. intelligence with the Washington Post and Guardian newspapers), and regarding him as a national hero who doesn’t need to stand trial to a grand jury, is equally inconsistent. Let’s attempt to find a working solution instead. Continue reading

The Bittersweetness Of The Supreme Court And Why It Remains Conservative

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The Supreme Court issued opinions on four defining cases this week – affirmative action in higher education (Fisher v. University of Texas), the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (Shelby County v. Holder), and two on same-sex marriage (DOMA and Prop 8). And while the deciding factor in all these cases, has been Justice Anthony Kennedy’s eccentric swing vote, the Supreme Court remains conservative, despite the scintillating victory on gay marriage. Continue reading

On The Business Of Filibusters: Wendy Davis, Rand Paul, And The GOP

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Yesterday, Wendy Davis, a Texas State Senator made national headlines, as she proudly put up an 11 hour filibuster effort against the passage of SB#5: a bill which restricts abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, requires clinics to upgrade to ambulatory surgical centers, and mandates doctors at abortion clinics to obtain admitting rights at a hospital within 30 miles from the clinic. Many existing abortion clinics don’t have such amounts of “capital” to continue operating under these rigorous so-called ‘safety’ standards, which is roughly estimated to $2 million per clinic; and what about rural Texans, who don’t have an abortion clinic within 30 miles of a local hospital, let alone hospitals that are willing to provide admitting privileges in such cases. This bill is said to close all but five abortion clinics (precisely Austin, San Antonia, and Dallas) in the entire state of Texas. So, you see, this bill stinks, and Sen. Wendy Davis deserves the media spotlight and hearty congratulations on her effort, which has, in the mean time, stopped this legislation from going through. Continue reading

Obama On Climate Change: The Hopes And Dreams Of Posterity, That’s What Is At Stake

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Last week, at the historic Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, President Obama, addressed climate change as ‘the global threat of our time,‘ profusely declaring to act before it’s too late, while simultaneously encouraging Germany to keep up its efforts. Keeping true to his words and ideals, Obama earlier today, at  Georgetown University, unveiled his administration’s long intended plan to tackle climate-change in four crucial steps: Continue reading

The Senate Hustles With Comprehensive Immigration Reform

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By late evening, the Senate passed a fiercely debated immigration amendment by 67 to 27 votes, adding $3.2 billion in border surveillance – drones, infrared ground sensors, and long-range thermal imaging cameras – 20,000 additional border patrol agents to the existing 21,000 (almost double the size), while proposing the completion of 700 miles of fencing, along the Southern border. Additionally, this amendment referred to as the “border-surge,” and spearheaded by Republican Senators, Bob Corker of Tennessee, and John Hoeven of North Dakota, includes an electronic employment verification system and a visa entry/exit system at all air and sea ports. And, while this legislative measure has been widely criticized, especially given the $18 billion dollars, the Obama administration currently expends in securing the Southern Border with tangential success (lowest number of border crossings to date, however accompanied by record number of unscrupulous deportations); and yet the GOP, which already poses a foreseeable hand in blocking comprehensive Immigration reform in the House, came close to crushing this legislation in the Senate, were it not for the bipartisan ‘Gang of 8’s’ crucial recognition to secure the Southern border, for Senate Republicans to get on-board, while devising a robust temporary worker-plan to meet America’s labor needs, before granting 11 million undocumented immigrants a legal pathway to earned citizenship. Continue reading

The Diplomatic Relations With Iran Risk Military Intervention

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Iran dominates the global international affairs agenda as Cleric Hassan Rouhani was elected the new President, and is perceived as a moderate candidate in comparison to the hardline politics of his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The West, and in particular the United States, is hopeful for a fresh round of diplomatic talks, thereby, allowing the Iranian economy to shrug off the strict economic sanctions it has been slammed with, while at the same time, persuading Iran to abandon its intentions of acquiring a nuclear warhead. The way I see it, the tension that has amassed due to a stall in negotiations on Iran’s nuclear adventurism has potentially damaging outcomes for all parties involved. Continue reading

All Eyes On The Supreme Court – Affirmative Action, Voting Rights and Gay Marriage

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The Supreme Court of the United States is where the national spotlight descends, specifically pertaining to four defining and highly controversial cases in contemporary American society – affirmative action, voting rights, and gay marriage (2 cases DOMA and Prop 8). Continue reading

Obama Reiterates JFK’s Message Of ‘Peace With Justice’ In Berlin

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President Obama, in Wednesday’s diplomatic visit to Germany, addressed Berliners at the historic Brandenburg Gate (on the Eastern side however, to prove his political adeptness), where 50 years ago, John F. Kennedy famously made the case for universal freedom embodied in the spirit of “Ich bin ein Berliner,” delivering a message of “Peace with Justice” as his guiding theme. Continue reading

Analyzing Obama On Charlie Rose: Iran, Syria, China And The NSA

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crosePresident Obama sat down with Charlie Rose to discuss pressing issues like the recent Iranian elections, the deteriorating situation in Syria, the two-day summit hosting Chinese President, Xi Jinping, and the overwhelming national spotlight on the government surveillance society. Allow me to put this widely-spanning interview in perspective. Continue reading

Obama In Northern Ireland: On Trade And Investment Partnership With E.U. And The Syrian Case

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It was an eventful day for President Obama in Belfast, as he addressed the people of Northern Ireland,  particularly the younger generation – urging them to imagine and work to live beyond the constructs and conservativeness of the reigning generation – to secure peace and prosperity, both domestically and in the global front. And, despite the grinding deadlock in Congress, or the recent irks in his administration pertaining to the handling of leaks and the conflicting case of Edward Snowden, and his erratic foreign policy execution in Syria – as Obama may have been egged to intervene in Syria, but supplying low-grade weapons to the rebels isn’t going to stem the rising death toll of 93,000 Syrian lives, lest alone topple Assad’s regime, which remains well-financed and backed by Iran, Russia, and Hezbollah in Lebanon – I admire Obama’s personal vision for the future of my generation. Continue reading

The Iranian Elections Are A Mere Formality, But The Yearning For Change Isn’t

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By now, everyone surely understands that Iran’s Presidential elections are a mere formality, given the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali – Khamenei’s eight vetted candidates, out of which only two are moderate reformists: Hassan Rouhani and Muhammad Reza Aref (who withdrew his candidacy last week, so that the moderate vote could be consolidated, paving a chance for reform in Iran). The rest of the pack however are conservative, and can be assured to restrict Iran’s democratic progress, particularly in terms of societal freedoms and Iran’s deteriorating economic situation caused by the crippling sanctions laid by the United States and its allies in circumventing Iran’s nuclear adventurism. Continue reading

The Syrian Case Beginning To Generate Traction in Obama’s Foreign Policy

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Yesterday, former U.S. President Bill Clinton voiced his difference of opinion with President Obama (implying the administration’s risk of looking like a total-fool) by not intervening in Syria, basing his position on past experiences in Kosovo and Bosnia, while conveniently leaving out his administration’s blatant failure in preventing the Tutsi genocide in Rwanda (1994). And earlier today, UN reports stated Syria’s death toll approaching 93,000 (a conservative figure according to Ms. Navi Pillay, the UN high commissioner for human rights), and the U.S. intelligence along with its allies, officially confirmed the use of chemical weapons (Sarin Gas) on the Syrian rebels by the Assad regime.  Continue reading

The Real Test For Comprehensive Immigration Reform Lies In The House of Representatives

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Yesterday Barack Obama argued a fervent case for comprehensive immigration reform, and even the Senate voted 82-15, setting the stage for intense weeks of debate. With such large bi-partisan support for this bill, given it was manufactured by the Gang of 8 Senators, and the Republican Party’s desperation to win the Latino vote in the upcoming 2014 elections, it’s hard to imagine this bill not being signed into law. (But wait! There’s more). Continue reading

Libertarianism Should Be The Focus In The Edward Snowden Saga

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There’s obviously a bombardment of contesting ideologies – George Orwell or Franz Kafka, Big-Brother or chaos, and of course, our man of the hour, Edward Snowden (Whistle-blower/ Leaker/ Libertarian), who has for better or worse, fiercely ignited the debate on privacy versus security. Continue reading

Xi Jinping’s U.S. Visit Is A Mere Diplomatic Formality Unless Obama Ups The Ante

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The stakes are high for the United States as President Obama hosts China’s President, Xi Jinping, in Palm Springs, California, for two days. Even though it’s a tad premature to be writing on the present U.S. – China relations, especially on their first day of diplomatic talks, I don’t perceive a fundamental change in course from the Chinese administration, apart from minor tweaks here and there. Continue reading

On The N.S.A. – Weighing The Privacy Versus Security Dynamic, Before Jumping On The Media Bandwagon

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Right off the bat, I’m appalled like every American should be, on the degree of surveillance the N.S.A. has committed to in the particular case of Verizon. (Here’s a copy of the full court ruling).  In the State’s preliminary defense however, we must remember that they are faced with the impossible task of balancing our freedoms and privacy, while protecting our national security interests. Continue reading

Juxtaposing The Syrian Crisis, The Middle-East, Russia, And America’s Interests

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Last month, I argued why “America Must Intervene In Syria, Despite Lack of National Security Interest,” and although I continue to stand by my position,  I’m confronted with the wideness in scope the Syrian crisis commands. Continue reading

Despite Setbacks, Obamacare Is A Positive Step For The U.S. Economy And Society

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As the United States prepares for the ultimate showdown on “Obamacare” this October, amidst the Sequester cuts which are dramatically in effect, and given the national debate which remains largely convoluted and partisan on the issue, let me explain why Obamacare translates into sound economics and a better society. Continue reading

The GOP is Right To Stress Fiscal Discipline, But Not Through Student Loans

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Earlier today, President Obama reached out directly to students around the country rallying them once again like last year, to pressure their elected Congress officials to disallow the doubling of interest rates on student loans from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. Continue reading

The Dilemma Behind The Nuclear- Option In the Face of Incessant GOP Filibusters

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If you’re outraged with the grinding pace of the Senate’s proceedings in enacting popular legislation like background checks, owing to the incessant use of the filibuster by the GOP minority, then you’re not alone. The absurdity of Mitch McConnell’s caucus presently obstructing every nomination of President Obama – even the plausible ones like Gina McCarthy for the EPA and especially in regards to the DC Circuit’s Court of Appeals and its three longtime vacancies – certainly pushes you to consider the nuclear-option (a case when the Senate majority leader can end a filibuster/debate not by the regular process of “cloture” which requires a super-majority of 60 votes, but by a simple majority vote). Continue reading

Michelle Bachmann’s Announcement Indirectly Allows Tea-Party To Become The GOP Mainstream

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Michele Bachmann, the four-time Congresswoman from Minnesota’s Sixth District announced yesterday that she will not be running for re-election in 2014. She also predicted mainstream news outlets scrutinizing her remarks and intentions, and sure enough, the Washington Post, The Atlantic,  The Atlantic Wire and a varied assortment of outlets did just that and much more. (Even Twitter, the uncrowned king of social media when it comes to politics, graced her announcement with zest).  Continue reading

The GOP is Absuing The Filibuster And Obstructing Government Functioning

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By now, everyone’s surely talking about how the filibuster (a procedure requiring 60 votes to introduce a bill or nomination on the Senate floor for debate and voting) has become the GOP’s favorite play in shooting down crucial legislation’s like background checks on guns (supported by 90 percent of Americans) and Obama’s nomination of Cabinet members, judges, and even deputy treasury secretaries.  Continue reading

Obama’s Counterterrorism Strategy Isn’t Popular or Idealistic. It’s Realistic!

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Yesterday, at the National Defense University in Washington DC, President Obama spoke directly on his administration’s counter-terrorism policies – addressing the complexity of drone strikes, America’s perpetual war against terror, and a sore human-rights subject which is Guantanamo.  Continue reading

Benghazi, IRS and DOJ: The GOP Scam To Shame Obama And Win Political Points in 2014 House Mid-Elections

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Presently both the House of Representatives and the Senate command America’s attention for all the wrong reasons; and the cynicism of the GOP is astounding as they compare Obama to Nixon, the IRS and Benghazi scandals to Watergate, and are calling for the President’s impeachment. Continue reading

Aaron Swartz and Cody Wilson: Freedom Of Information Sharing vs Common Sense

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I recently learned about 3D printing and how a pioneer of this technology, Cody Wilson, a 25-year-old law student at the University of Texas used it to develop a fully functioning Plastic gun he symbolically calls the “Liberator.” But that isn’t the issue here; instead it’s Cody’s decision to share blueprints of the “Liberator” online – where more than 100,000 people have downloaded his schematics – triggering law enforcement agencies and the general society to question the freedom of information sharing in contrast to necessary governmental oversight. Continue reading

Why Religion Has No Place In American Politics?

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The United States has long been a safe haven for asylees and refugees fleeing religious and political persecution in their home countries; and, it is a primary reason, immigrants seek refuge in America. Apart from extremely conservative states in the South and in the Mid-West, America for the most part has progressed in a secular trajectory, and a fundamental ideological shift presently unfolds in our society, underlining the complexity of untying religion from politics. Continue reading

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