Robert Carlyle to play a British PM in new political drama

Trainspotting star Robert Carlyle has said his new drama series, in which he plays a British prime minister dealing with a national emergency, “feels almost too true to be fiction”.
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Critic’s Notebook: Trump, Political TV’s Protagonist, Now Has to Share the Spotlight

The State of the Union address suggested that America’s political drama was becoming an ensemble, not a one-man show anymore.
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Facebook, Twitter Turn to Right-Leaning Groups to Help Referee Political Speech

Advisers on touchy issues include Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council, Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform and, on the left, the Southern Poverty Law Center. Their involvement behind the scenes, designed to tamp down a furor over social media’s policing of content, has instead kicked up a new range of disputes.
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What to Watch: Royal, Political Influencers Spark Criticism, Affect Fashion With Photo-ops

Like them, love them or despise them, political and royal influencers churn up the Internet nearly instantaneously with every public outing.
Whether stepping out for a diplomatic gala dinner, a schoolyard visit with wide-eyed students or for a hardhat-worthy ribbon cutting ceremony, the powers-that-be dress accordingly, knowing their choices will send sales skyrocketing. Their personal fashion loyalties vary — Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel favors pantsuits, beleaguered British Prime Minister Theresa May prefers skirt suits, France’s First Lady Brigitte Macron is all about Louis Vuitton and U.S. First Lady Melania Trump is nonpartisan in terms of designers.
As a sign of their global reach, the newly minted Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, topped Google’s 10 most-searched people list last year. For her first official tour, with Prince Harry last fall, to Australia, the American-born royal packed plenty of options for the 16-day trip. Occasionally changing twice in one day, the former “Suits” actress wore an assortment of Australian labels, as well as Brandon Maxwell, Jason Wu, Roksanda Ilincic, Stuart Weitzman, Manolo Blahnik, Gucci and Birks.
Before last spring’s royal wedding, it was estimated that the net present value to brands that Markle wears was 150 million pounds, or $ 212.1 million, according to David Haigh,

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Essay: Political Poetry Is Hot Again. The Poet Laureate Explores Why, and How.

Tracy K. Smith, the United States poet laureate, looks at the ways poetry has dealt with the shifting political landscapes of the past two decades.
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Gary Lineker criticised for voicing political views

Jonathan Agnew advises Gary Lineker on Twitter to remain impartial.
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Facebook’s UK political ad rules kick in

Facebook starts to enforce its tighter political advertising rules in the UK following a delay.
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Political Reality: Buy Ads on Facebook or Risk Losing the Election

Sharp criticism of Facebook by members of Congress has become a mainstay of this election cycle—even as most of those same representatives spend campaign funds on the site to target voters.
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How to Get Political Ads Off Your Facebook Feed

With the midterm elections looming, you might not be wildly surprised your Facebook feed seems like it’s been taken over by political ads. Researchers say campaign-ad spending on the social network is up in these final weeks.
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For Aasif Mandvi, a 20-Year-Old Play Now Feels Like ‘Political Resistance’

“Sakina’s Restaurant,” which put him on the map, has new resonance, which is why he’s summoning the energy to play all its roles all over again.
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Swift breaks Whitney record – and gets political – at awards

Taylor Swift took another political stand at the American Music Awards, urging fans to vote in the upcoming midterm elections during her acceptance speech.
Entertainment News – Latest Celebrity & Showbiz News | Sky News

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Breaking Down Tracee Ellis Ross’ 10 American Music Award Looks: Sequins, Leopard Print and a Political Message

Tracee Ellis Ross, 2018 American Music Awards, OutiftsWhen it comes to hosting the 2018 American Music Awards, Tracee Ellis Ross goes all out in the style department.
With the help of pro stylist Karla Welch, the Black-ish star strutted…

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Swift breaks silence and reveals her political views

Breaking a long-standing refusal to discuss anything political, Taylor Swift has announced who she will be voting for in the midterm elections.
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Facebook stops sending staff to help political campaigns

The social network will no longer send employees to work at the offices of political campaigns.
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Coming Soon to Facebook: Lots of Extreme Political Ads

Campaign strategists are set to flood Facebook with polarizing ads heading into the midterms, saying its ad platform rewards extreme messaging more than other venues.
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Microsoft claims win over ‘Russian political hackers’

Cyber-attacks on US political groups are stopped after Microsoft grabs key net domains, the company says.
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How Late-Night Left Behind the Dancing Itos and Became a Political Battleground

Late Night Hosts, PoliticsIt didn’t used to be this way.
Once upon a time, you could turn on the TV while getting into bed after a long day and forget about the troubles of the world with some easy laughs…

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Facebook’s push to kill bad political ads is also hiding regular posts

Facebook’s push to kill bad political ads is also hiding regular postsFacebook's political ad monitoring system is already hurting regular ads and news posts.



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Books of The Times: Seeing the Art World Through Personal and Political Lenses

Nell Painter’s “Old in Art School” and Aruna D’Souza’s “Whitewalling” bring new energy and insight to questions that have long preoccupied the art world.
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Nul points: Eurovision’s history of political voting

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Facebook to vet and label political adverts

Political adverts on Facebook will have to be labelled as such and display who paid for them, a senior company official has said.
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The ‘Roseanne’ Revival Catches Up To Our Thorny Political Mood, For Better And Worse

What begins with an unrefined, heavy-handed tone eases into a show that again tackles American affairs with humor and candor.
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ABC Shelved ‘Black-ish’ Political Episode Over ‘Creative Differences’ (EXCLUSIVE)

ABC has indefinitely shelved a politically and socially themed episode of “Black-ish” as a result of creative differences with showrunner Kenya Barris. The network has no plan at this time to air the episode or make it available through other forms of distribution. Titled “Please, Baby, Please,” the episode was originally set to air Feb. […]

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Nonfiction: From ‘Fire and Fury’ to Political Firestorm

Michael Wolff has everyone talking about a possibly dysfunctional president.
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Political Analyst Joan Walsh Moves to CNN After Being Dropped by MSNBC

An uproar on social media helped political analyst Joan Walsh land at CNN just a day after she was dropped as a contributor by MSNBC. Walsh, national affairs correspondent for the Nation and a former editor in chief of Salon, had been a regular on MSNBC for 12 years, six of them under contract as […]

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Books of The Times: A Political Scandal’s Trauma, Seen From the Inside

Nicholas Montemarano’s new novel, “The Senator’s Children,” is about a family weathering the fallout of a scandal like the one that derailed the presidential aspirations of John Edwards.
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How the Pirelli calendar went from pin-up to political

The images in the publication, once famed for nudity, now celebrate diversity with an all-black cast.
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Let’s Talk About Hugh Hefner’s Political Legacy

Mr. Hefner was keen to promote himself as a progressive, but what did he really do for women? Our writers discuss.
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MTV VMAs: Kendrick Lamar dominates as awards show gets political

Kendrick Lamar was the big winner at the MTV Video Music Awards, on a night dominated by politics.
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Will & Grace First Look: Jack’s on Grindr and of Course There Are Political Jokes–It’s 2017 After All

Will & GraceYour first look at Will & Grace in 2017 is here. In the new promo above, which comes complete with clips from the original beloved eight-season run, get a sneak peek at Will (Eric McCormack),…

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Meet The ‘Nasty Stitches’ Making Embroidery And Knitting Political

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JK Rowling writes political tale, but not on paper

JK Rowling’s rumoured political fairy tale has been written and is currently hanging in the author’s closet.
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Justin Trudeau Is King Of The Political Sock Game No More

Ireland’s prime minister Leo Varadkar upstaged Trudeau in the sock stakes during their first official meeting.
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Has Political Photography Changed Under Trump?

Christopher Anderson’s images of the Women’s March are now on view in NYC.

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Jay-Z Releases His Personal and Political Album ‘4:44’ on Tidal

The rapper’s 13th studio album, “4:44,” addresses many of the same themes as “Lemonade,” by his wife, Beyoncé.
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Eminem sues NZ political party over ad music

Eminem is taking New Zealand’s ruling political party to court after claiming they used his music in a TV advert without permission.
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Stephen Colbert Mocks Donald Trump Jr.’s Political Ambitions

Stephen Colbert poked fun at the possibility of another Trump running for political office on Friday.

The “Late Show” host highlighted a Page Six report that President Donald Trump’s eldest child, Donald Trump Jr., was considering a run for governor of New York.

Colbert said that six months ago he’d have called the idea “absurd.” But Trump’s 2016 presidential election win had made him doubt his previous convictions. 

“Now? We are screwed,” he said.

Check out the full segment above.

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Talking Trumpism: A New Political Journal Enters the Fray

American Affairs, the brainchild of a 31-year-old who once worked in finance, seeks to tap the currents that helped deliver the presidency.
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Political protests to dominate the Oscars

The head of the Academy Awards has told Sky News she supports stars who make political statements from the Oscars stage.
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Jimmy Kimmel on Hosting the Oscars at a Political Moment

With recent awards speeches focusing on President Trump, he says the evening will be a balancing act that avoids too little topical content and too much.
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The 5 Most Political Moments From New York Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2017

New York Fashion Week wasn’t just about clothes this year ― it was also about the message. 

This February, designers finally began making some bold moves toward inclusivity and diversity. But other shows also became political acts of resistance, like when LSR sent models down the runway in clothes denouncing President Trump’s Muslim travel ban and proposed wall between Mexico and the U.S. Or when designers and models wore white bandanas to signal they were part of the opposition, and pink Planned Parenthood pins to show their support. 

No matter the action, however big or small, the fashion world made it clear it won’t tolerate the intolerance found in the current political climate. 

1. “F**k Your Wall” clothing. 

Mexican-born designer Raul Solis had a clear-cut message for Donald Trump in his LSR NYFW show. He printed “No Ban, No Wall” and “F**k Your Wall” on models’ underwear. Solis told Dazed Digital he opposed Trump’s wall because the designer’s family is “first generation Mexican and some had to migrate to the U.S., [so] this issue is something extremely personal to me.” 

2. Trolling Trump with his signature slogan.

Public School New York put a fun spin on Donald Trump’s campaign hat and made it their own. They put the slogan on a cropped sweatshirt and hats for the show.  

3. White bandanas for solidarity, unity and inclusiveness.

The news site Business of Fashion started the bandana movement to show solidarity during a time of turmoil. Designers like Tommy Hilfiger, Prabal Gurung, Tommy Hilfiger, Thakoon, Phillip Lim, and Diane von Furstenberg either incorporated the bandanas into their shows or simply wore them.  

4. “This Is Not America” music. 

Raf Simons’ Calvin Klein debut included a mix of David Bowie’s 1985 song, “This Is Not America.” Attendees were also given white bandanas to wear before the show started. 

5. Fashion’s Planned Parenthood stance. 

Thanks to a partnership between the CFDA and Planned Parenthood, over 40 designers joined forces to include PP pins at their shows. The pins were also given out to PR people, modeling agencies, influencers and press throughout NYFW, along with a pamphlet outlining all the services Planned Parenthood offers.

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‘Brown Girls’ Web Series Creator Says Joy Is A Powerful Political Weapon

The concept of political art may elicit thoughts of carefully designed protest signs, upside-down flags and other distorted emblems of patriotism. And rightly so: artists, now more than ever, are using their craft to comment on the state of the union and to encourage progress.

For Fatimah Asghar, poet and creator of a new web series called “Brown Girls,” political acts aren’t always so overt. Her show, which premieres this month on OpenTV, is a comedy about two friends, Leila and Patricia, navigating dating, sexuality, personal finances and other millennial woes. But the show, while personal, is also political, Asghar says.

“If this show, or other comedic projects, provide spaces of joy and resistance during a political upheaval, I think that is amazing,” she told The Huffington Post.

The project, which she calls a love letter to the myriad communities she belongs to, was borne of her friendship with her best friend, singer Jamila Woods. The two live in Chicago and provide one another with emotional and creative support.

The trailer for “Brown Girls” shows a similar connection between Leila and Patricia, as the women drink beers in bed, talk with their mothers about feminism, and vow their commitment to “single girls club forever.” A willingness to show life’s more private moments on screen has earned the show comparisons to “Insecure” and “Atlanta,” two series Asghar watched and loved after writing her own.

Below, Asghar talked with HuffPost about her new series:

When and why did you start writing “Brown Girls”?

I started writing “Brown Girls” in the fall of 2015. I started writing it because I love film and TV and have always thought of it as an intimidating form, but it was something that I always wanted to try. So I kind of just was like, fuck it ― I’m going to do this. And I wrote a story that was loosely based on the life of me and my best friend, because I don’t often see women of color from different racial backgrounds being friends in TV or film. When they are portrayed I feel like they are often in competition with each other, and I don’t like that. That’s not true to my life.

You’ve described the show in other interviews as personal, or as a love letter. How much of the show is drawn from your own life?

The two main characters, Leila and Patricia, hold the same identity traits as me and my best friend, Jamila Woods. However, they are by no means identical representations of us, nor are all the events autobiographical. What I wanted to make sure to capture was the texture of our friendship, that was my biggest priority. In some ways, I think both Leila and Patricia have personality elements from me and Jamila in them and are kind of alter-egos.

The series is a comedy. What do you think is the role of comedy when there’s so much serious political upheaval?

I believe that joy can be our greatest weapon during tough political times. When I protest, when I fight against things that I don’t believe in, it’s all out of love. It’s based on my love for the people who are affected by said issue or political turbulence. That’s what I hoped the show would be ― a love letter for the different communities of color that I am a part of, and a joyous celebration of friendship and identity. If this show, or other comedic projects, provide spaces of joy and resistance during a political upheaval, I think that is amazing.

In a statement you recently issued on your Facebook page, you noted that the majority of your crew are people of color, women or queer. Why was it important to you to be representative down to the people behind the camera?

I think that diversity in the crew is incredibly important. The crew controls the mechanics of how the show is shot and seen. And when I worked in theater, even if there was a racially diverse show onstage, that diversity was rarely represented by the crew. The excuse I heard over and over again was, “Oh we can’t find talented enough people from diverse backgrounds.” That’s just completely false. What we wanted to do was create an amazing crew, all masters in their own craft, on this show. We wanted to have a crew that reflected the diversity of the cast and story, as well as the people creating art from various communities in Chicago. And so we did. And I think it’s a real testament to how amazing the crew is that they were able to work on a limited budget to create such a high-end project.

What TV shows or web series are you loving right now?

I love “How to Get Away with Murder” and “Scandal.” I’ve been a big Shonda [Rhimes] fan for a long time. I also recently watched and loved “Atlanta” and “Insecure.” I love the friendships in “Atlanta,” the way that the show followed the relationships between these three men. I also think that show was doing such interesting things formally. Issa Rae has always been a huge inspiration, especially her journey from web series to network. I also love this web series called “Ladies Room,” which is hilarious.

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Grammys strike political chord after mild BAFTAs

Politically charged interventions at the Grammys struck a contrast with the surprisingly mild BAFTAs just hours before.
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Social media political ‘echo chamber’ warning

Research appears to confirm the existence of an “echo chamber” effect in UK politics, in which social media users are more likely to engage with people and media sources that share their political beliefs.
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Critic’s Notebook: Political Fashion Statements at the Men’s Wear Shows

At a Private Policy presentation models had “refugee” stenciled on their faces; Billy Reid revives the beats, Steve Aoki goes punk, and other designers comment on the recent executive order.
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Russell Wilson makes rare political comments (Yahoo Sports)

Russell Wilson

The Seahawks QB usually stays away from all things controversial, but he spoke publicly about Donald Trump’s first days as president.



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‘Homeland’ Season 6 Comes Home to Eye of Political Storm

In this stormy political season, leave it to “Homeland” to adroitly land in the eye of Hurricane Trump. Producers of the Showtime drama series, which returns on Sunday, chose New York as the setting for its sixth season more than a year ago. They’ve been working for months on a storyline examining the post-9/11 fallout… Read more »

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Auto Makers in Hot Seat as Political Pressure Rises

Fiat Chrysler’s move to invest $ 1 billion in U.S. plants comes as auto makers are facing heat from the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump to manufacture more vehicles in the U.S.
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Sleater-Kinney Just Made Bowie’s ‘Rebel Rebel’ The Political Anthem Of 2017

“Let’s kick some ass next year,” Sleater-Kinney drummer Janet Weiss shouted to a San Francisco crowd on New Year’s Eve. “We’ve got a lot of work to do!”

Weiss then joined bandmates Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein, breaking into a rowdy rendition of the late David Bowie’s “Rebel Rebel.” Suddenly, the 1974 hit seemed made for 2017, giving us the political anthem we needed for a new year.

Sleater-Kinney was joined by Spoon’s Britt Daniel and the Thermals’ Hutch Harris, who also sang lead vocals on the song. But Tucker truly stole the stage with her final verse. Beating her chest with her fist and pulling at her hair while belting Bowie’s iconic words, Tucker became a conduit for all the emotion buzzing around the end 2016.

Hot tramps, the new year is upon us. Let’s channel Bowie’s badness and Sleater-Kinney’s fierceness with all our might, and charge fists first into 2017. 

See the entire performance below: 

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The Women Who Met Hillary, and Spotted a Future Political Star

Who could train women to run for office? The inside story of Hillary Clinton and a Texan named Betsey Wright.
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The Year in Style 2016: The Year in Style: Fashion Became Political

“Political dress” used to mean the outfits of the political class. In 2016, it became a term donned by everyone, and damned by some.
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American Phoenix Rising: A Political Thriller

American Phoenix Rising: A Political Thriller


The New King and EmpireThe American Constitution with all of its Freedoms and Liberties which was established by our Founding Fathers has been replaced by a new World Empire and Sovereign President backed by his personal U.N. Army: the ‘Presidential Brigade Combat Team, 1st Elite Infantry’.The Old Constitution to be DestroyedThe First Amendment was revoked and deemed unconstitutional by the United Nations Supreme Court. Every home and person is monitored through their computer, television or by government surveillance cameras. The Second Amendment is in the process of being revoked by this newly formed Supreme Court. We are to Institute a New ConstitutionGeneral Tommy Jefferson sets out to do exactly what his namesake, Thomas Jefferson, had ordered what ‘We the People’ are to do; “to alter or abolish it (the corrupt Constitution) and institute a new government.” In following his Constitutional duty, General Tommy Jefferson and the Spartan Guard set out to accomplish this duty without waiting for the sign which they were to receive: the American Phoenix Rising from the ashes.

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Pussy Riot To Perform In ‘Political Happening’ At Art Basel Miami Beach

Art Basel Miami Beach festivities kick off this week, bringing plenty of art fairs, champagne toasts, socialites, B-list celebs and free caviar to the city’s glitzed-out, sandy shores. And also, more unconventionally, the Russian feminist punk band Pussy Riot. 

Kathy Grayson of New York gallery The Hole confirmed the Page Six rumor to artnet News, affirming that the group will participate in a rare “political happening” at some point during Art Basel that will consist of a performance and a talk. Like most of the week’s most sought-after events, it’s an exclusive one ― invitation-only, to be exact ― and capped at 500 people. 

For those who may feel a bit uncomfortable about participating in a week-long bacchanal of art world decadence so shortly after a devastating presidential election, Pussy Riot offers an opportunity for liberal political activism in a most unusual venue.

The band, most well-known for spending nearly two years in a Russian prison after criticizing President Vladimir Putin in 2012, recently released three songs criticizing Donald Trump before the election, including the incredibly catchy girl-power anthem “Straight Outta Vagina.” Following Trump’s election, Pussy Riot encouraged fans not to lose hope on Twitter.

Of course, there is something strikingly un-punk about performing at a wildly exorbitant art fair known for star-studded stunts ― for example, that time Usher charged his cell phone in a naked woman’s vagina. But we hope that, despite the exclusive nature of the happening, Pussy Riot can radically shake up the art world elite.

For the rest of us normies who will not be in attendance, we can always pray for an Inauguration Day surprise. 

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Zuckerberg Says Facebook Didn’t Harm Political Discourse

Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg fought back against accusations that the social network harmed political discourse this year by allowing fake news to flourish on the platform.
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Juan de Mariana and Early Modern Spanish Political Thought

Juan de Mariana and Early Modern Spanish Political Thought


The Jesuit Juan de Mariana (1535-1624) is one of the most misunderstood authors in the history of political thought. His treatise De rege et regis institutione libri tres (1599) is dedicated to Philip III of Spain. It was to present the principles of statecraft by which the young king was to abide. Yet soon after its publication, Catholic and Calvinist politiques in France started branding Mariana a regicide. De rege was said to empower the private individual to kill a legitimate king. Its ‘pernicious doctrines’ were blamed for the murder of Henry IV in 1610, and it was burned at the order of the parlement of Paris. Modern historians have tended to build on this interpretation and consider De rege a stepping stone towards modern pluralist and democratic thought. Nothing could be further from the truth. The notion of Mariana as an uncompromising theorist of resistance is in fact based on the distorted reading of a few select sentences from the first book of the treatise. This study offers a radical departure from the old view of Mariana as an early modern constitutionalist thinker and advocate of regicide. Thorough analysis of the text as a whole reveals him to be a shrewd and creative operator of political language as well as a champion of the church and bishops of Castile. The argument as a whole is informed by a Catholic-Augustinian view of human nature. Mariana’s bleak, at times downright cynical view of man imparts focus and coherence to a text that challenges well established terminological boundaries and political discourses. In the first instance, his deeply pessimistic appraisal of human virtue justifies his disregard of positive law. He is thus able to mould diverse elements extracted from Roman and canon law, scholastic theology and humanist literature into a deliberately equivocal discourse of reason of state. Finally, this secular interpretation of the world of politics is cleverly yoked to a thoroughly clerical agenda of reform. In fact, reason of state

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Alexis Bittar Gets Political for Store Windows

Alexis Bittar is getting into politics — sort of.
Today, the jewelry designer launched a new series of window displays in New York, Boston, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. Unlike his previous displays, which include, most recently, artwork done by Bradley Theodore, these are less jewelry, and more, well, Trump.
In what he’s proclaiming a “salute to absurdity,” Bittar and his visual team have created a series of larger-than-life papier-mâché models in the likeness of Donald Trump’s head — bouffant hair and all. “I’ve been increasingly disturbed by the popularity of Trump in our country and some of the more insane things he’s said,” Bittar said. “I decided to channel my energy and use our creative talent to have a comedic commentary on his vanity coupled with a dash of Halloween craziness.”
The displays feature the model head atop a mannequin dressed in a money-print suit, standing next to a full-length mirror — and decked out in Alexis Bittar jewelry, of course —  a mix of bangles, brooches and necklaces.
Stores getting the Trump treatment include SoHo, Columbus Avenue and Madison Avenue in New York; Newbury Street in Boston; City Center in Washington, D.C.; and West Hollywood, Calif.

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Salome: From Femme Fatale to Political Heroine

2015-10-19-1445284513-9190024-salome.jpg

In hindsight, there were actually some advantages in growing up in the Bible Belt.
One of them was Sunday School where I gained an appreciation of the Good Book’s most notorious women: Bathsheba, Jezebel, and perhaps the precursor of all femme fatales, Salome, or the nameless stepdaughter of a powerful ruler who gets John the Baptist’s head on a platter, after performing a strip tease for the lascivious Herod.
Her story has always perplexed me, thanks to the famous Strauss opera and the Oscar Wilde play on which it was based.
But her story was never really her story.
She has always been an invention of sorts, a myth created by men, perhaps more interested in her sexual allure and titillating dance than her humanity.
I had the pleasure of seeing a new take on “Salome” at the Shakespeare Theatre Company here in Washington, a fitting start to their Women’s Voices Theater Festival.
Director Yael Farber has adapted the Wilde play into a first person narrative, finally giving Salome her own voice.
“Wilde tells us it had to do with sex, that Salome desired to kiss John the Baptist’s mouth. The scriptures tell us it was vengeance, which her mother Herodias sought against Herod, ” Farber explains.
“Women are still playing the vengeful harpy, in Hollywood, in everyday life. I could not be less interested in telling that story.”
The first voice we hear is of an aging Salome looking back on that famous night, when John the Baptist died, setting off a political firestorm, as revolutionaries, as John was, were of more use to the establishment in prison.
Salome is taken prisoner and interrogated about her role in John’s death, but we see her resolute, brazen, even as her captors taunt and abuse her.
In flashbacks, Salome becomes fascinated with John, not so much as an object of desire, but as a fellow prisoner of Herod. One is left with the impression that the two identify with each other, both courageous, but falling weak under Herod’s oppression.
She resists her stepfather’s sexual overtures, rather than manipulate them, in contrast to previous interpretations.
“I want to create the possibility that this woman, living under an occupying regime, came to a deep understanding of her selfhood, one that allowed her to drive forward a political agenda.”
We do see Salome naked, in a sensual scene is which her body is washed and clothed in slow motion by handmaidens, but the story’s innate sensuality was never a problem for Farber.
“I don’t want to shy away from the great danger of the feminine, from the notion of powerful sensuality attendant in this story. Women are dangerous. That’s the beautiful thing about us.”

“Salome” runs through November 8.

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A Political Parable: The Little Bush That Could — The Roots to the White House and Beyond

Gather around, my children, for a tale that’s sure to warm the heart. Watch the lay of the land unfold as a not-so-exotic vegetation emerges from among us, coming from nowhere to a position of leadership. It’s sure to encourage us all to pursue our dreams and never give up hope.

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Once upon a time, there lived a nondescript bush. Lonely and unrecognized amidst the more colorful vegetation, he dreamed one day of becoming a bush in his own right. For too long he had stood in the shadow of bush the elder, a bush transformed in people’s eyes into a mighty elm. Each day, he looked up at that great tree, sobbing softly to himself: “I am somebody, yes, I am… Someday I too can attain that same greatness of stature.”

But a number of obstacles stood in his path. Though the bushes had all been raised in a hothouse, they all suffered from the illusion that they were actually part of the forest primeval. His younger sibling, the shrub, had always stressed his rural roots. After all, where does one find most bushes — certainly not in urbane, metropolitan areas.

In 1910, the major leagues of baseball, created and subsidized the minor leagues, generally locating them in small cities and towns. Thus were born the “bush leagues” and “bush towns,” along with an association with things “mediocre,” “second rate,” “amateur,” and “unsophisticated;” in short, the “inferior reaches.”

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Shrub had embraced this definition. But it was a real problem for our aspiring bush — how to kick that image.

Adding to his woes was that when folks got fatigued, exhausted, sapped, or pooped out, they said they were “bushed” — perhaps from the 19th century meaning, “lost in the woods.” So it was that the actions of his brother, shrub, had left folks “bushed out.”

Adding further to his woes was that our little bush, like others in the family, had a speaking style, described as “bushwa(h),” causing him to sound “nonsensical and pretentious,” “exaggerated,” and “deceitful;” i.e., “full of baloney.”

Coined in about 1900, “bushwa” derives from an old word, “bodwash,” meaning “bosh” or “trash.” It, in turn, derives from the old French bois de vache, “cow’s wood or “dried manure.” We don’t use “bushwa,” very much nowadays, preferring instead to call ’em the way we see’z ’em.

Poor little bush. He wanted so much to have everyone root for him, meaning they would be a regular supporter of his, to cheer him on. This “root,” incidentally, comes from the British dialect route, “to roar or bellow.”

Encouraged by his supporters and undeterred by the obstacles, he set off on his trek — bright-eyed and — what else but — bushy tailed — “eager and energetic,” “in fine fettle,” “wide awake,” and “prepared for any situation.”

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We’ve been bright-eyed and bushy tailed since the 1930s, alluding to the seemingly attentive behavior of squirrels, chipmunks and other animals, as displayed in their wide eyes, quick movement, and high degree of nervous energy,.

But a funny thing happened on the way to his goal. A bunch of rival vegetation lay in ambush for him from the old French embusche, from embuscher, literally meaning, “to hide in the bushes.” It was an insidious plot, the ultimate roots of which are in the Latin insidere, “to lie in wait.”

In plain English, they were hoping — you guessed it — to bushwhack him. Our very first bushwhackers, got their name by pulling their boats up parts of the Mississippi River by grasping at bushes along the bank. Today, bushwhacking is back in style; though the grasping of straws, rather than bushes, is more the norm.

There was lots of bushwhacking during the Civil War by the soldiers who hid in the bushes, wood, or thickets as part of their guerrilla tactics. Later, bushwhacking came to mean “making one’s way through unbroken forest,” by pushing bushes aside or breaking them.

Undaunted by such stalkers, and taking advantage of the greenery in which he hid and from which he received sustenance, the little bush moved on. Weed-whacking the competition, he made his way out of the woods to the big horticultural Show on a certain magic Tuesday in March. This would be his telling encounter. Everyone in the forest was following his progress. Some were fir him, others agin. All the firs were on pins and needles awaiting the result.

Could the little bush really do it? Would he go on from there to his final resting place? Would he finally make it to his ultimate destination… and at last sink his roots into the fabled rose garden?

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Stay Tuned

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Importance of Cultural Exchange with Russia during Political Frost

Even during the height of the Cold War with its threat of Nuclear Armageddon, the cultural exchange between the United States and the Soviet Union never ground to a halt. But in the last few years, because of the “boomerang effect of a rancorous legal battle between the Russian government and the Chassidic Jewish group, Chabad” (LA Times 1/17/13), Russia imposed a ban on all art loans to American museums. This legal case is based on Chabad’s decades-long effort to recover religious books and manuscripts that the Russians expropriated after the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917.

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Visiting some major museum exhibitions in Paris this past April, I thought about this unfortunate freeze on art exchange between America and Russia. The traveling exhibition, Keys to a passion, currently on display at Fondation Louis Vuitton, proudly displays one of the most famous paintings by Matisse, La Danse (1909-10), on loan from The Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. At the same time, the impressive retrospective of paintings by Pierre Bonnard at Musée d’Orsay displays with particular reverence the largest and most famous triptych by the artist, La Méditerranée (1911), which is also on loan from The Hermitage Museum. The Bonnard exhibition is scheduled to travel to San Francisco next February, but this famous triptych, in all probability, will not be allowed to be included on the American leg of this traveling exhibition.

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With all the above, I was glad to read in The New York Times that last week, Carnegie Hall was the site of a Russia Day concert by the renowned St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra. And this weekend, we in Los Angeles are welcoming the Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg, which is bringing to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion its performance of “Rodin.” Seeing a prior production of this company, one expects this upcoming production to be very theatrical and very emotional in its telling of the dramatic relationship between Rodin and his student and mistress, Camille Claudel.

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A few weeks ago, while reporting about my trip to France, I spoke about a surprise trove of photographs and sculptures by Camille Claudel that I came across at the St. Croix Museum in the city of Poitiers. There I was, in a far-away cozy corner of France, interacting with Camille and Rodin. Now, in Los Angeles, I am looking forward to reconnecting with them again through a Russian ballet company –a good example of how art and culture create welcome connections, in this case, between Russia, France, and America.

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In the last few days, prompted by the opening of the new Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow, The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal published in-depth articles about the state of Russia’s art world.

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Among special installations commissioned for the opening are works by famous Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama and German artist Katharina Grosse. Among the high-profile guests scheduled to appear are a team of curators from MOMA, Metropolitan Museum Director Thomas P. Campbell, LA collector and philanthropist Eli Broad, and movie producer Harvey Weinstein.

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One hopes that all this cultural exchange will bring a degree of understanding that might somewhat defrost the current winter of discontent between Russia and the U.S.

To learn about Edward’s Fine Art of Art Collecting Classes, please visit his website. You can also read The New York Times article about his classes here.

___________

Edward Goldman is an art critic and the host of Art Talk, a program on art and culture for NPR affiliate KCRW 89.9 FM. To listen to the complete show and hear Edward’s charming Russian accent, click here.

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The Upsides of a Political Body Double

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Photo: Toni Blay

Saddam Hussein did it. So did Andy Warhol. Joseph Stalin was a big fan of using a body double (killing tens of millions of people can create a few murderous enemies), too. When you’re famous and attacked by mobs, in the line of fire, or just want a little peace and quiet, a body double or stand-in might be a good idea. At least that’s what Mexican politician Renato Tronco Gómez believes.

Señor Gómez recently held a competition in the state of Veracruz to find a few passable body doubles. More than personal security concerns (he’s no Stalin), he thinks he needs the extra help because he’s a really busy guy. The newspaper El Pais had a chat with Gómez, and tried to figure out the politician’s reasons for the doppelgänger search. Basically, he wants to maintain his popularity for the next election by being in as many places as he (or his doubles) can possibly be — i.e. talking to constituents, delivering school furniture, going to parties, parades and cultural and civic events.

Since Gómez will train his stand-ins to act just like him, and he’ll let the people know they’re actually doubles, he sees no the harm in a little political theater. Considering how expensive and time-consuming American elections are, I think Gómez might have stumbled onto something here. We could make good use of doubles north of the border as well.

If American politicians employed body doubles on a regular basis, imagine all of the pain and suffering they could avoid, while still managing to stay in office. Hillary Clinton could send her doppelgänger out to less-than-friendly districts where Tea Party folks might throw eggs at her, as well as to debates chock full of uncomfortable, tricky-to-dodge questions. Bill Clinton and President Obama, once he’s finished his second term, could dispatch their body doubles to various charity events, while they hang out on the back nine sipping beer and enjoying the sunshine and fresh air.

Conservative candidates and office holders who like to claim, “I’m not a scientist” (while attacking the science of climate change), could easily send an actual scientist double to press conferences. The brainy replacement could then — at least in a pseudoscience kind of way — go on the offensive against, you know, actual scientists who insist on citing their boring studies and data accumulated from years of observation and hard work.

And when it comes to sexual shenanigans, having a stand-in would be a godsend. What if Anthony Weiner had actively and publicly used a stand-in to represent him at community and political events? When he was caught sending out pictures of his junk, he could have simply blamed it on his double.

Press: “So, Mr. Weiner, you’re saying those compromising texts and photos were not, in fact, written and taken by you?”

Anthony: “Of course not. They’re images of my stunt Weiner. He’s one horny dude. I’m not into sexting at all. I’m into good governance.”

A passable political body double equals a great political fall guy. And what politician wouldn’t like another person to blame when things go wrong? As a matter of fact, we should all get a body double, regardless of our profession, just in case we need to take our “mea culpa” and pin it one someone else.

Carl Pettit is a contributing journalist for The Blot Magazine.

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As Duggar Dad Ran On A Political Platform Saying Rape And Incest Merited Capital Punishment, He Was Covering Up His Son’s Actions

In 2002, Jim Bob Duggar argued that rape and incest merited the death penalty. But that same year, one of his own sons reportedly committed incest, and Duggar allegedly covered it up.

While running for U.S. Senate in Arkansas, the patriarch of the Duggar clan — the family that is the central focus of the TLC reality TV show “19 Kids And Counting” — said that rape and incest should be punishable by death. Yet during his run, he reportedly knew that one of his sons, Josh, had molested one of his daughters.

Gawker Media dug up a cached version of Duggar’s political platform from the 2002 Republican primaries.

When asked if he believed abortion should be legal if a woman had been raped, Duggar said, “If a woman is raped, the rapist should be executed instead of the innocent unborn baby. … Rape and incest represent heinous crimes and as such should be treated as capital crimes.”

Duggar lost the primary election in May 2002 to the incumbent, Sen. Tim Hutchinson.

While Duggar was running on a platform that included this position about rape, the first allegations that Josh had molested a child surfaced. According to In Touch Weekly, which broke the story, a female minor told Duggar in March 2002 that Josh, who was 14 at the time, had been sexually touching her as she slept. Josh admitted as much to his parents in July 2002.

A police report suggests that the first victim who came forward lived in the same home as Josh. In March 2003, more minors accused Josh of touching their breasts and genitals. The police report suggests that four of the five total victims were Josh’s sisters.

Duggar did not alert authorities. He reportedly did not punish his son at all, except to send him to live and work with a family friend for a while.

When Josh returned, his father allegedly took him to speak with Arkansas State Trooper Jim Hutchens, who gave the boy a “very stern talk.” According to In Touch, Hutchens is now serving 56 years in jail for child pornography.

The authorities first heard about the allegations in 2006, when an anonymous woman contacted “The Oprah Winfrey Show” with details of the accusations. The police launched an investigation, and In Touch reports five victims confirmed that Josh had touched their breasts and genitals.

Reportedly, the police did not press charges because the statute of limitations had expired.

The Duggar family could not be reached for comment. TLC did not respond to a request for comment.

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Work and Idleness: The Political Economy of Full Employment

Work and Idleness: The Political Economy of Full Employment


Work and Idleness develops the view that redistributing employment is a `feasible capitalist'' solution, not just to the unemployment which particular groups suffer, but also to the work that others have to contend with, including many women. Putting the redistribution of employment on the policy agenda opens up debate on how to ensure a more equitable and fulfilling relationship between the ways we gain our livelihoods and the lives we lead.
Growing insecurity in labour markets and changing patterns in the commodification of labour have led to a redistribution of paid and unpaid labour time as the structure of power relations, the gender order, discrimination, and state regulation have been modified. The first main trend affecting insecurity is mass unemployment and the growth of workless households. A second notable trend is a gender-based redistribution of hours worked. The third major trend is a shift from full-time waged work to full-time self-employment.
Part I of this book presents the main economic theories driving the continuing divide between the intensification of work and the extension of idleness. Part II documents the ways in which the shift to mass idleness in advanced industrial countries has hit some groups particularly hard: the youngest and oldest age groups and other groups, including disabled workers, have traditionally been subject to discrimination in the labor markets. Part III provides a set of policy prescriptions.
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A New “Political Imaginary”

Reestablishing diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States will be a positive event for Cuban families, for peaceful coexistence in a globalized world and, most of all, for the individual and collective freedom of each Cuban.

In the open letter I sent to President Obama, President Castro and Pope Francis on December 17, I congratulated them on this historic moment, which Cubans have spent half a century waiting for. Hate and embargos accomplish nothing; only through dialogue and acceptance of mutual differences can we all grow and thrive.

This letter also led to the creation of #YoTambienExijo (“I Also Demand”), a nonpartisan, volunteer public platform. Through the key phrase of this missive, “Yo Exijo” (“I Demand”), Cubans are asking for the fulfillment of their civil, political, economic and cultural rights. Why? Because it’s impossible to talk about the future of Cuba without taking Cubans’ rights and opinions into account. It’s not healthy for a society to think only of possible economic improvement. It’s not healthy for us to think that Cubans’ only future is to be consumers.

It is urgent that Cubans — not only the government but civil society — strengthens itself and discusses in diverse environments what concept of a country and future it wants for itself. It is urgent that each Cuban be able to speak for themselves outside of the official institutions established during more than half a century of Cold War. And it is urgent that this discussion brings forth new structures, institutions, laws and rights that guarantee Cubans happiness, quality of life, sovereignty and well-being in the coming years. It is important that Cubans be citizens.

As a Cuban, I demand we be informed of what the plans of the Cuban government are with our lives. I demand that, as part of this new step, a process of political transparency be established, in which we all have a place to participate and the right to a different opinion without being punished for it.

I proposed an artistic performance in the Plaza de la Revolución in Havana on December 30 as an example of political art. Political art is uncomfortable, legally uncomfortable, civically uncomfortable, emotionally uncomfortable. It affects us. Political art is the processing of uncomfortable knowledge.

I’ve heard many times in Cuba that this isn’t the right time to criticize, to use a metaphor or to create a piece of art. Often, I censored myself as an artist as a result of these words that magically place the blame on a doubt or opinion. Today, I know that the right time for an artist is ALWAYS, but most of all when ways of evaluating society and humanity are suspended. The “right time” can’t be a government directive, because the result would be propaganda, not art. The artist would be in the service of the government, not society.

I know that now is the right time for the discussion to leave presidential offices and to include all of society, as the most important political decisions on Cuban daily life under these new conditions have yet to be made.

Changes in Cuba cannot be real if the decision comes from above, is simply told to us, and we are obligated to accept it without questions. Changes in Cuba cannot be real if a different opinion is given only when the government allows it. Changes in Cuba cannot be real if Cubans are afraid of certain words, such as Human Rights. Changes in Cuba cannot be real if Cubans are afraid that having an opinion will cost them a job. Changes in Cuba cannot be real if the Cuban government is only interested in its citizens’ money, not their ideas.

The December 17 announcement has been very positive, because it created a new “political imaginary” (the theory espoused by Hannah Arendt and Cornelius Castoriadis). Now, we have to fight for this imaginary not to be limited by old behaviors and new censors — because Cuba cannot open itself up to the world without first opening itself up to Cubans.

This post is part of a Huffington Post blog series called “90 Miles: Rethinking the Future of U.S.-Cuba Relations.” The series puts the spotlight on the emerging relations between two long-standing Western Hemisphere foes and will feature pre-eminent thought leaders from the public and private sectors, academia, the NGO community, and prominent observers from both countries. Read all the other posts in the series here.

If you’d like to contribute your own blog on this topic, send a 500-850-word post to impactblogs@huffingtonpost.com (subject line: “90 Miles”).
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LeBron James Embraces His Political Platform — And That’s A Good Thing

LeBron James has begun to embrace his political platform, as he showed in Monday’s pregame warm-up.
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Calle 13 Honored By NYC As Band Demands Political Prisoner’s Release

NEW YORK — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-East Harlem) honored one of the most popular anti-imperialist bands in the U.S. on Friday as the group’s frontman donned a T-shirt demanding freedom for a jailed Puerto Rican nationalist viewed by many of the island’s residents as a political prisoner.

At Gracie Mansion ahead of Sunday’s Puerto Rican Day Parade, the elected officials bestowed René Pérez and Eduardo José Martínez of Latin hip-hop group Calle 13 with a proclamation praising the group for “igniting minds, imaginations, and conversations around the world.” It would have seemed an odd sight just a few months ago, during the city’s more conservative Bloomberg administration.

Pérez was crowned the king of this year’s Puerto Rican Day Parade, which chose the liberation of Oscar López Rivera as one of its main themes.

“They say that this is the country of freedom and human rights,” Pérez told The Huffington Post. “But if this were happening in another country, like Venezuela or China, people would say, ‘That’s a dictatorship.’”

Noting that President Barack Obama had visited the Robben Island jail cell where former South Africa President Nelson Mandela spent most of his 28-year confinement as a political prisoner, Pérez added: “You’ve got a political prisoner in your own country.”

López belonged to the Armed Forces of National Liberation, known by its Spanish initials as the FALN, which committed bombings, killings and kidnappings during the 1970s and 1980s in its efforts for Puerto Rican independence. He was convicted in 1980 of seditious conspiracy and sentenced to 55 years in prison, with 15 years added later after he was found guilty of attempting to escape. He has spent 12 of his 33 years in jail so far in solitary confinement, according to Puerto Rican news agency Primera Hora.

Those calling for his release say that at 71 years of age in an era in which the violent struggle for Puerto Rican independence has fizzled out, López no longer poses a threat. The Chicago-area bombings in which López was connected killed no one, and were intended to damage property rather than hurt people, according to Puerto Rican Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi, who represents the island as a non-voting member of the U.S. Congress.

The issue has widespread support on the island. Both Pierluisi and Gov. Alejandro García Padilla, who belong to opposing political parties, have called on the Obama administration to free López. U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), himself of Puerto Rican descent, has also pressed for López’s release.

Wildly popular throughout Latin America as well as among Hispanics in the United States, Calle 13 has become known for its revolutionary politics as much as its eclectic rhythms and risqué lyrics. The band rages against the U.S. killing of Puerto Rican nationalist Filiberto Ojeda Ríos in “Querido FBI,” extends its solidarity to immigrants in “Pa’l Norte,” and offers an anthem to Latin American unity in “Latinoamérica.” Calle 13’s most recent album, “Multiviral,” features a guest appearance by WikiLeaks founder and U.S. government nemesis Julian Assange.

Though de Blasio refrained from discussing Calle 13’s politics in his public remarks, the band’s anti-imperialist message likely strikes a personal chord with the mayor. As a young man, de Blasio supported the Central American solidarity movement, traveling to Nicaragua in 1988 during the left wing Sandinista government to distribute humanitarian aid.

De Blasio’s support of the Sandinistas ran counter to that of the U.S. government at the time, which funded a right wing rebel army in Nicaragua known as the Contras during the Ronald Reagan presidency. A 1989 Human Rights Watch report describes the Contras as “major and systematic violators of the most basic standards of the laws of armed conflict, including by launching indiscriminate attacks on civilians, selectively murdering non-combatants, and mistreating prisoners.”

A corruption scandal had threatened to cast a shadow on this year’s Puerto Rican Day Parade. An investigation by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman revealed in February that the nonprofit that organizes the annual event had mismanaged $ 1.4 in corporate donations, according to the New York Daily News.

But Councilwoman Mark-Viverito, the first Latina to serve as city council’s speaker, praised the reorganized board as she spoke to the crowd at Gracie Mansion on Friday.

“Their efforts and the efforts of a community that is demanding accountability are bringing this parade back to its roots,” Mark-Viverito said.

She applauded the parade’s new leadership for championing the cause of Oscar López, saying that previous parade organizers had “never wanted to highlight” demands for his release.

Mark-Viverito said she chose to honor Calle 13 this year to send a message that those in positions of influence should use their fame to press for social change.

“We have added responsibility to raise our voice,” Mark-Viverito said. “And that is what Calle 13 does.”

In addition to López, this year’s parade will pay tribute to the 100th anniversary of the birth of poet Julia de Burgos, as well as the 65th Infantry Regiment, known as the Borinqueneers. Taking its name from the indigenous name of the island, “Borinquen,” the segregated Puerto Rican 65th Infantry Regiment fought in World Wars I and II and the Korean War, before being disbanded in 1959.
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