All posts tagged: Barack Obama

Lapiz: The Hero Is You

Lapiz: The Hero Is You

New Zealand’s Lapiz has been working on a new stencil in Germany to address who is a hero in the battle against surveillance and loss of privacy.

Lapiz. “The Hero Is You”. Hamburg, Germany. (photo © Lapiz)

In this private commission on a house in Hamburg, Lapiz pushes Edward Snowden front and center, under a quote from him saying, “The hero is you.” The NSA-whistle blower is flanked by Obama writing the word “terrori..” and Angela Merkel checking her phone.

Lapiz. “The Hero Is You”. Hamburg, Germany. (photo © Lapiz)

Lapiz tells us that Snowden “is highly regarded as he revealed to what extent we are spied upon, how our every move, email and action is recorded – even including foreign heads of state. However, in his own words, he is not a hero, instead he acted because of his moral beliefs and insists that everyone can be a “hero” and do the right thing. For the government, however, he is a traitor that should be jailed for life.”

Are you the hero? Who is? Do we need another?

Lapiz. “The Hero Is You”. Hamburg, Germany. (photo © Lapiz)

Lapiz. “The Hero Is You”. Hamburg, Germany. (photo © Lapiz)

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Street Art Barocks the Vote. It’s Your Turn Now.

Today in the US we are electing a President. Exercise your right to VOTE.  Otherwise we don’t want to hear one single complaint out of you, okay?

We endorse President Barack Obama for a second term. Here’s why:

In four years Obama has proved to have the character and integrity to lead us out of financial ruin and build some good things for our future. They drove the car into the ditch and drunkenly tossed Brother Barry the keys – what he inherited was a country on the verge of financial collapse with a growing bad reputation in the neighborhood. With steady hands and determination he managed, without much help from the Republicans in Congress, to slowly rebuild our nation and make it stronger. Sure he didn’t do everything he promised he would. But he accomplished a lot, despite unrelenting attacks on him every time he drew a breath.

Me (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Let’s call it like it is – racist hatred came out in full force over the last four years like sewage from an overflowing septic tank. We’re getting better at this racism thing, but we still suck at it. And Obama faced it with honor and grace. People reversed their own positions completely – just so they could fight him, box him out, sandbag him, or try to put him in his place. Some of these people would have mowed down their own grandma with an SUV if Obama was helping her across the street. Regardless of who captures this race for the next four years, Obama has made us proud with his style of steadily fighting for what he believed was good for the country – without trashing other people in the process. That’s a style of American we can support.

Billi Kid (photo © Jaime Rojo)

There are a lot of people who will be affected by your vote for Obama/Biden:

Artists: If you are an artist and care for the arts in this country or if you have an artist friend or relative, Obama is your man. Romney promises to gut the National Endowment for the Arts, National Public Radio, the Public Broadcasting System, and to put Big Bird on the Thanksgiving dinner table.

Teachers: If you are a teacher and care for our schools and our kids education or if you have a teacher friend or a relative, Obama’s got your back. He has also been on the side of most working people in general, and supports union people and families, fire fighters, car workers, the whole enchilada.

GLBT folks: Dude was a little slow at first, but eventually O and Biden have proven to be torch bearers in one of the most important civil rights issue of our time. If you are not gay but you have friends or relatives who are, voting for Obama will help make sure that LGBT aren’t stripped of their rights again. It’s rough to go back in the closet once you are out, and you really should have the same rights as everybody else.

BAST (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Social Service workers: Only Obama and the Democrats are committed to help funding our social safety net – This prevents people from falling into despair and poverty when they are old, sick, unemployed, hungry, disabled. It’s what we are supposed to do – take care of our people. Millions of families are poorer now than ever before and Money Bags Mitt and his friends will happily shred the safety net if they can make another buck. Social Services workers deal with individuals who have special needs and who need special care too – these are true heroes of our communities. If you have a family member or friend who is mentally ill or physically challenged, you know who are the people who work with them to treat them and care for them with dignity. Obama and Co. will work to make sure that they keep getting what they need to do God’s work, instead of figuring out ways to cut budgets for food, travel, medical treatment, rehabilitation.

Immigrants: If you know a friend or a relative who is a decent human being, a hard worker and a value to our society who cannot secure a safe position in the community due his or her legal status in this country you will help them to achieve their dreams by casting a vote for Obama. Scapegoating people who have consistently contributed great things to society is kind of sick. Keeping people afraid and economically insecure is so below us.

Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Women: Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was Obama’s first – giving women the right to sue after they realize they’ve been getting paid less than men. He also put two women on the Supreme Court by the way. Mitt and his buddies may have binders full of women but the ugly truth is they have been totally busy rolling back the clock on women’s rights to the 1950s, or 1850s.  If you are a woman or love one, support women’s right to live in the 2010s.

People who breathe air and drink water: Not that he’s been the best, and Obama’s still giving up too much to the oil / goal / gas lobbies – but Romney will just hand over everything, including public lands, and will decimate any pretense at protecting our land, water, and air.

People who get sick: About 30 million more people will be able to get healthcare now than 4 years ago. Obamacare isn’t going to be perfect because he gave into the insurance companies too much during negotiations, but it’s a Hell of a lot better now than four years ago – and we can build on this plan. Pre-existing medical condition? – You can’t get dropped like a hot potato anymore. You can also stay on your parents’ health insurance till your 25. That didn’t exist 4 years ago. Mitt wants to scrap the whole thing.

Rocksmith (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Old People and Future Old People: Just like the Bush-Cheney people before them, when it comes to Social Security and healthcare, Romney and Ryan want to slice and dice that shit, and play it on the horses. If we had let George put Social Security into investments in the stock market like he wanted to, your grandma would be starving right now. That would have crashed in ’09.  Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid – that’s yours baby. Social Security is the most successful program in human history that has helped prevent millions of old people from falling through the cracks . Don’t let them slice and dice it away. You are gonna need it later. No kidding.

The President and the First Lady have endured a lot since the day they moved into the White House and in a lot of ways they have made us proud and sometimes full of admiration. Keeping them there is an excellent way to tell the haters how bad their behavior has been – And that the first time we elected him wasn’t a fluke.

Okay we’ve said our piece. It’s not about Street Art, really, and we’re not strictly thought of as political analysts.  But you know, this blog is about you and people who follow this ongoing conversation that artists have on the street. Politics, sex, love, money, power, social issues; Somehow it’s all related. Most importantly you should probably just vote your conscience, and thanks for your time and support.

Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Vote Honky (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Spagnola (photo © Jaime Rojo)

HeadHoods (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Maya Hayuk did this new one just this week. Next day it was marred by what some might call an attempt at Voter Suppression. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Batbamacare, Bane Capitalist – Street Artist Election Parody on Web by General Howe

Holy Healthcare, Batbama!

Conceptual Street Artist General Howe will be sticking a pointy eared mask onto Obama’s photo after the presidential debate tonight – as he writes his next report for the Super Election News website.

A screengrab from the art parody blog by conceptual street artist General Howe called “Super Election News 2012”

One part HuffPost Politics, one part The Onion, and one part Halloween super hero role-playing – The site is the onscreen version of parodies General Howe started in his street work a few years ago. By subverting the election “news” that’s continually blared from the polycephalic cluster of political blogs and trustworthy news websites, Howe equates the candidates staged personas as spun by PR machines with the simplified good and evil story that is told in the Batman sagas.

Obama as Batman, Romney as Bane, Gingrich as Penguin, Sheldon Adelson as the Joker… “Presidential elections and summer blockbuster movies have become the same thing,” explains General Howe, “There is an epic battle of good vs. evil and the fate of the world is up for grabs.  If we pay a little extra for the larger soda, the experience will be that much better.”


General Howe. The Supers. Super Election News 2012 (photo © General Howe)

With regular postings on his online art/politics website, the General has been mulling over the implications of simplification of complex issues, the corrupting influence of blind money donations, the surreal spinning of real news, as well as parodying the more obvious manipulations he sees in his daily review of what has essentially has become a hyper-charged money-fueled media industry that commoditizes candidates for profit and ignores/deludes the citizenry.

What may frighten you more are the similarities between fact and fiction.

General Howe. The Supers. Super Election News 2012 (photo © General Howe)

General Howe’s new series of characters are called “The Supers” and he has made a print comic book for the 2012 election, as well as installed some parody election signage in the perfectly mowed autumn lawns of sterile suburbia, where the effect of seeing a pro-Bane or pro-Batman and Robin sign is startlingly normal appearing in all their patriotic colors and crisp graphics. Antecedents to this campaign can be found in General Howe’s reworking of actual advertising signage during the 2008 campaign where John McCain was 2Face, Hilary Clinton had the bloody clown lips of the Joker, and Obama was again depicted as Batman.

General Howe. An infographic that merges olde with new on The Super Election News 2012 (photo © General Howe)

While his art on the streets has always had a political element that is informed by American culture and history, General Howe has been having a blast with this new online art project, “This work has strong roots in street art but is completely digitally based.  I’ve been thinking a lot about making accessible work and communicating a message to the masses and as much as street art does that and I think there is unexplored territory in how much of peoples lives exist in the digital world.  It would be a great evolution to see digital content and websites subverted the same way our physical environment is being subverted by street art. I don’t have the skills or knowledge of a hacker so this is my attempt at transforming the digital experience.”

General Howe. The Supers. Super Election News 2012 (photo © General Howe)

General Howe. The Supers. Super Election News 2012 (photo © General Howe)

General Howe. The Supers. Super Election News 2012 (photo © General Howe)

General Howe. The Supers. Super Election News 2012 (photo © General Howe)

General Howe. The Supers. Super Election News 2012 (photo © General Howe)

General Howe. The Supers. Super Election News 2012 (photo © General Howe)

From 2008 by Street Artist General Howe, these advertising panel interventions featured Obama as Batman and John McCain as 2Face.  (photos © General Howe)

From the 2008 campaign by Street Artist General Howe, Hilary Clinton was merged with The Joker for this wheatpaste and this fine art panel displayed at the BSA “Street Crush” show.  (photos © General Howe and © Jaime Rojo)


Updated for 2012, these new pieces from “The Supers” were on display at the Crest Hardware Art Show this June by General Howe. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Updated for 2012, these new pieces from “The Supers” were on display at the Crest Hardware Art Show this June by General Howe. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For more day-to-day update on The Super Election News from General Howe go to:


Please note: All content including images and text are ©, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!



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Art In Odd Places: The Crest Hardware Art Show

Your local hardware store could also be the next “It” neighborhood gallery if they take Joe Franquinha’s lead.  

The second generation owner of Crest Hardware in Brooklyn’s north side has been launching an art show for the last few years in this former working class neighborhood that began swimming with artists a decade ago. While the hardware based theme is sometimes stretched beyond plausible connection and Joe’s curatorial method stretches to every artistic ability, the elitists who once mistakenly sniffed at the idea of an art show in a hardware store now find themselves needing to stop by if only out of curiosity, or a pack of light bulbs.

A sculpture by Matthew Warren made with PVC pipes hangs in the garden section. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

And what will they see? Among the mop handles and caulking guns they’ll find work that surprises, disarms, causes a chuckle, and sometimes even looks amazing. Regardless of your expectations, you will not be bored by this collection of about 300 pieces and you’ll find work by some pretty well-known names also. You might also meet Joe and Liza’s pig, a local celebrity named Franklin.

Here are some images from The Crest Hardware Art Show just opened this week.

Chris Stain’s stencil doesn’t stray far from the spray paint. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Max Zorn creates portraits made from packing tape, here displayed on a light box in the front window. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Max Zorn. Detail of the installation. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Street Artist Veng RWK (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A portrait of Henry Ford by Daek One. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Quel Beast turns Joe into a scarecrow. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Rachel Farmer (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Street Artist General Howe “Super PAC” characters; Obama as Batman, Mitt Romney as Bane.  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The “Super PAC” are characters of the 2012 presidential election portrayed as characters in the Batman mythology.  Obama as Batman, Romney as Bane, Gingrich as Penguin, etc… Presidential elections and summer blockbuster movies have become the same thing. There is an epic battle of good vs evil and the fate of the world is up for grabs,” says the artist.

General Howe depicts Michelle Obama as Cat Woman.  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Jeremy Fish created this portrait of the store celebrity, Franklin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Street Artists Sheryo and The Yok contribute a collaboration. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Street Artist Willow contributed a piece. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A sculptural beaver dam by Peter Pracillio (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Dan Funderburgh (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Lilia Trenkova creates this chess set made with bolts, nuts and color chips. (photo © Jaime Rojo)\

Astrodub (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Dave Tree spent some time writing on the toilet. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Bernard Klevickas created this sculpture from reclaimed parts of old bikes. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Please note: All content including images and text are ©, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!




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Hail to the Street : Presidents Day Street Art

Happy Presidents Day! In the US this is a holiday, officially to celebrate the birthdays of Washington and Lincoln, whose birthdays were commemorated separately until about a decade ago when they were merged.  A lot of New Yorkers think today about skiing, since it’s really the last 3 day weekend of the winter – and it’s snowing this morning so a lot of kids will be shoved outside by their parents to go play in it. Or they may take them to the Met , Guggenheim, or MOMA, which are all open today.

brooklyn-street-art-senator-jaime-rojo-02-11-3-webGeorge Washington by the Street Artist named Senator (photo © Jaime Rojo)

But back to the gallery of the street, which is always open, we can get a little history lesson too.  Everybody knows that Shepard Fairey nailed it with his Obama posters a couple of years ago, but did you realize that Street Artists have been putting up many presidential portraits over the last decade? One artist, Senator, sometimes confused people with wheat-pasted pieces in the late 2000s because his name signed to the image lead you to think it was about the subject, like the George Washington image above. His black and white coloring-book style depicted many presidents – Lincoln, Adams, Jefferson, Kennedy, Nixon, Reagan. As you can see below, Senator is not the only Street Artists to find US presidents a worthy topic.


Senator (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Abraham Lincoln by Visual Resistance (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Smoking Jack Kennedy by Dain (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Richard Nixon by Faile (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Senator (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Ronnie talk to Keith; The Gipper shaking the hand of a Photoshopped Keith Hernandez from a street art viral campaign a couple of years ago. Photo © Jaime Rojo


Sever focuses on the the Bush Cheney duo. Primary Flight Miami 2008 (photo © Jaime Rojo)


The simple placement of a dollar sign was all this Street Artist needed to complete their portrait of George W. Bush. Photo © Jaime Rojo


President Obama’s image next to Iraq war veteran Tammy Duckworth is appropriated by Street Artist General Howe (photo © Jaime Rojo)


One of the many Obama street art pieces from 2008, this one is similar to the ubiquitous Shepard Fairey images around at that time. © Jaime Rojo

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Ben Aine: Street Art and The White House

Ben Aine (Photo © PA)
Ben Aine  “Twenty First Century City” (Photo © PA)

Street Art continues to keep its vertiginous trip towards total recognition and full popularity among the masses. This trend was solidified with the recent news that upon this week’s visit to the White House, David Cameron, the newly minted British Prime Minister, presented The Obamas a painting by Ben Aine. Mr. Aine is one of the most visible street artists working today in England. The painter was chosen by Mr. Cameron’s wife, Samantha, to give to the Obamas. Mr. Aine is said to be one of Mrs. Cameron’s favorite artists.

To read more about this story go here:

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Using “HOPE” to Burnish a British Conservative

Adaptation You Can Believe In

It’s striking how the British Newspaper “The Sun” is presenting their endorsement for conservative candidate David Cameron. Turning a campaign visual theme from the 2008 US presidential candidacy of winner Barack Obama on it’s head, the design choice for tomorrow’s cover is a move variously cited as bold or bereft. We’re just wondering if Shep will smell a lawsuit in there somewhere.

The cover of tomorrow's Sun newspaper features a Fairey'd treatment of conservative Cameron.

The cover of tomorrow's Sun newspaper features a Fairey'd treatment of conservative Cameron.

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“Credit Crunch Monster” by Ronzo in London

As the scourge of financial immorality continues to sprint at top speed through the hallways of power the street artist commentaries are addressing the issue in a concrete fashion.

Here Street Artist Ronzo installs a “Credit Crunch Monster” in a film reminiscent made in the style of silent films during the Great Depression.


Saturday Night Live Brings Back Previous Presidents to Talk to Obama

“I’ve come back from the dead to tell Mr. Reach-Across-The-Aisle here to grow a pair,” Reagan says.

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Street Art Muse Barack Obama Given Nobel Peace Prize

Obama mural in Bushwick appeared days after his speech on race. Artist: Just One  (photo Jaime Rojo)
Obama mural in Bushwick, Brooklyn in 2008. Artist: Just One (photo Jaime Rojo)

The third sitting president of the U.S. to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, President Barack Obama follows in the footsteps of Theodore Roosevelt, who won the award in 1906 and Woodrow Wilson, who won in it in 1919.

Is it all black and white? (courtesy Billi Kid)
(courtesy Billi Kid)

Citing “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples”, the Nobel Committee said, “Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future”

Image by David Choe

Image by David Choe

In his 1895 will, Alfred Nobel stipulated that the peace prize should go “to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations and the abolition or reduction of standing armies and the formation and spreading of peace congresses.”


Photo by Dreamsjung

Creative Commons License photo credit: dreamsjung

“Let me be clear,” Obama said today in a speech at the White House, after the prize was announced, “I do not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments, but rather as an affirmation of American leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people of all nations.”

Grand Street in Brooklyn - This mural arrived in the spring, the first time we started to see Obama art on the streets in numbers.  Artist: Unknown   (photo Jaime Rojo)
Grand Street in Brooklyn – This mural arrived in the spring of 2008, the first time we started to see Obama art on the streets in numbers. Artist: Unknown (photo Jaime Rojo)

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Miss Bugs Mugs the Masters (and the Flickr-ites) for Fun

Street Artist Dives Shallowly for Inspiration

Nothing will stir up the ire of artists and their fans than another artist’s appropriation of style or technique. It’s considered “lame”.

And nothing will produce audible cries from artists, art historians, collectors, publishers, fans, and armchair lawyers about copyright infringement and utter lack of creativity than when wholesale appropriation is at hand.  Of course sometimes it doesn’t hurt your market value to roil them all at once. Miss Bugs has “the touch” right now.

You’ll remember the Joe Black and Miss Bugs show at Brooklynite this spring, where Ms. Bugs opened the eyes of many with wide swipes of fairly newly minted pop imagery into the poppy pieces.

Obama Fairey sliced across Kate's breast (Miss Bugs) (photo Steven P. Harrington)
Obama by Fairey sliced across Kate’s breast (Miss Bugs) (photo Steven P. Harrington)

In promoting the show the term “2 Many Artists” was bandied about as a reference to the snip and clip musical mashup/bootleg pioneers of 2 Many DJ’s, who would be analogous to another hairy white guy named GirlTalk today.

A Mondrianic grid of transparency (Miss Bugs) (photo Steven P. Harrington)
A Mondrianic grid of transparency (Miss Bugs) (photo Steven P. Harrington)

This month a very large street art piece in Brighton, England by Miss Bugs has enlivened the debate about any number of things, including copyright issues, right down to the amount of imagination of the artist may possess.

Miss Bugs in Brighton

What seems to have gotten street art fans in a froth is that Miss Bugs is not using old campy print advertisements or bits of classic paintings as reference; rather, it is that the work is using very recent and pretty well-known pieces of STREET ART in the STREET ART.

In fact, barring Mr. Brainwash (MBW), Miss Bugs may be the first to appropriate images so historically quickly, so frequently, and so enormously.

Miss Bugs in a big way.

But then, that’s exactly what entertains others, “to me Miss Bugs is not so much appropriating, but b**ching up modern art, Hirst, Daffy Duck, Fairey, King Kong, Munch, Koons, DFace, Banksy whatever – it’s graffitin’ graffiti, vandalising vandalism…,” says a poster on a well regarded online forum.

Hometown heros Faile may have lifted their
Brooklyn hometown heroes Faile may have lifted their images from lesser-known sources, and thus the images quickly became associated with them and “owned” by Faile in the minds of fans (photo Jaime Rojo)

Miss Bugs doesn’t so much adapt the original Faile image as adopt it wholesale.

This calls into question the creativity of the artist in the minds of some. In fact, you may hear cries of “Emperor’s New Clothes” more often than during an Orange Alert in the “War-On-Terror” Bush years.

A dab o’ O’ for your mural? (Miss Bugs)

And then there’s the Holy Grail of Modern Street Art Imagery.  Shep Fairey takes his hits, most of them because of his public stature, but chopping up an Obama “Hope” image and splaying it across the wall as a collaging effect makes the Fairey Faithful pale and weak from disbelief.

In the heart of Brooklyn street art (photo Jaime Rojo)

In the heart of Brooklyn street art circa 2008 (photo Jaime Rojo)

On this side of the pond we have some troubles this summer with what street parlance calls “Haterz” – those folks who are looking to shred the first year president at every turn, most likely because of our sad history of racism.  To the supporters of Obama, seeing this iconic street art image so quickly mutilated only adds to the sting of the horrible epithets that are hurled from the neanderthals.

Miss Bugs (photo Jaime Rojo)
Oh, let’s see. There’s Picasso, Warhol, and Haring and I haven’t left her chest.  What about the Munchy Mickey Mouse ears? Now those could get you in trouble. And the Rakkoon eyes? (Miss Bugs) (photo Jaime Rojo)

But let’s not all get our wheat-pastes in a wad.

Either you support free expression or you don’t, and frankly, this mixing of High with Low, Touchstones with The Banal, has been a fabulous feature of “the modern” now since Pop became Popular. Perhaps this willful free-association appropriation is simply a harbinger of what’s to come – or what is already happening elsewhere. Every piece of recorded history is now reduced to 1’s and 0’s and used as easily as paint from the tube.

Rae McGrath, owner of Brooklynite, speaking in reference to Miss Bug’s techniques, says, “I think they are remixing things to make them their own, but because the images they are using are current they get more scrutiny. (It’s an) Interesting debate that you can obvious take the side you feel strongly about.”

Miss Bugs continues to work.

Or maybe it’s not about the art at all.  As one collector remarked to another on a forum online recently, “People do get testy once the (Miss Bugs) prints are market price, don’t they, Bob?”

Take a look at the GirlTalk video below and tell us about all the cultural “Sacred Cows” you’re going to defend and preserve.

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