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Monday, Aug 03rd

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Our Coming Theocratic Hell: The Right’s “Religious Freedom” Push Is Just the Beginning

politics and religionBy now, it’s clear that Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act was crafted to empower piously bigoted entrepreneurs and companies desirous of freelancing with their own “Jim Crow for gays” restrictions, and to let them cite as legal justification for doing so their precious religious sensibilities.

The RFRA, said the original text, sought to give judicial succor to those who found that their “exercise of religion . . . has been substantially burdened,” or was just “likely to be substantially burdened” by performing services for people their faith’s sacred credos enjoin them to abhor (gays, in this case). The ensuing uproar in the media and business circles compelled Indiana’s state Senate to amend the legislation to prevent its deployment against the LBGT community, but state Democrats are still calling for its repeal.

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Hillary Clinton officially announces bid for the presidency

Hillary launchesWith much anticipation but little drama, Hillary Clinton officially announced Sunday she is running for president, a launch that will begin with a message on social media and continue over the next week with campaign visits to Iowa and New Hampshire.

The announcement marks an end to the first, awkward phase of Clinton’s roll-out — a non-campaign that has frustrated Democrats who were anxious for her to turn the ignition switch on a campaign that the party is deeply invested in.

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The First Woman to Run for US President: Victoria Woodhull

Victoria WoodhullFew know, though, the name of the woman who put the first crack in that highest, hardest glass ceiling. That honor belongs to a beautiful, colorful and convention-defying woman named Victoria Woodhull, who ran for the office in 1872, 136 years before Clinton made her first run in 2008.

Woodhull, who died nearly twenty years before Clinton was even born, hazarded a path on which no woman before her had ever dared to tread. Even more amazing is that she did it almost 50 years before the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920 gave women the right to vote. On Election Day, November 5, 1872, Victoria Woodhull couldn’t even vote for herself.

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Rand Paul walks out on live interview in third testy media exchange this week

Rand PaulRepublican senator Rand Paul walked out of a live interview with the Guardian on Friday, in the third testy exchange he has had with a journalist since launching his campaign for president three days ago.

Paul, who said during his campaign launch on Tuesday he would like to see “any law that disproportionately incarcerates people of color is repealed”, responded awkwardly when asked which specific piece of legislation he would repeal.

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Ted Cruz is Going on Obamacare as Wife Takes Goldman Sachs Leave

Ted CruzThe Goldman Sachs health insurance plan has lost a high profile customer. Texas Senator Ted Cruz is going on Obamacare. With his wife Heidi taking leave to help her husband campaign for president, the Cruzes are leaving the $20,000 per year coverage she enjoyed at Goldman.

"We will presumably go on the exchange and sign up for health care and we're in the process of transitioning over to do that," Cruz told the Des Moines Register's Jennifer Jacobs. "It is written in the law that members will be on the exchanges without subsidies just like millions of Americans... I think the same rules should apply to all of us."

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Barack Obama’s top aide says Israeli ‘occupation’ must end

Denis McDonoughWhite House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough made clear in a speech to a left-leaning Israel advocacy group that President Barack Obama isn’t letting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu off the hook for his dismissal of a two-state solution.

That stance, as well as Netanyahu’s suggestion also made in the closing days before last week’s Israeli elections that he’d approved settlements in contested territory in Jerusalem for the strategic purpose of changing the borders are “so very troubling,” McDonough told J Street’s annual conference in Washington. He called the pro-Israel group, which opposes some of Netanyahu’s policies, “our partner.”

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PM Netanyahu's Takeover Bid

Netnyahu speechThe speech that Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel, will deliver to Congress on March 3rd aims to scuttle an agreement on nuclear inspections and technology between Iran and the United States.

Netanyahu would like to sow a suspicion between these countries so fraught and durable that it will also prevent any possible future agreement. For that purpose he will restate his drastic and persistent belief on the subject. To permit Iran to go beyond the most primitive use of its nuclear facilities would pose an "existential threat" to Israel.

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