"I come from a culture that understands storytelling. The president's advisers do not understand that a convincing tale can have only one plot."
--A fictional interior monologue, as plausible as any, recorded by Bob Woodward, the author of "Obama's Wars," of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reflecting on Mr. Obama's administration; image from
Daily Digest Tuesday, September 28, 2010 - patriotnews1.com: "Senate Chamber Action Routine Proceedings, pages S7565-S7669 Measures Introduced: Eighteen bills and eleven resolutions were introduced, as follows: S. 11, 3848-3864, and S. Res. 652-662. Pages S7668-69 Public Diplomacy Program: Senate agreed to S. Res. 660, expressing support for a public diplomacy program promoting advancements in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics made by or in partnership with the people of the United States."
Senator Kaufman Gives Farewell Speech on Senate Floor - coastalsussex.com: "Senator Kaufman full remarks: ... Along with Senator Brownback, I co-founded the Senate Caucus on Global Internet Freedom to promote greater access to freedom of expression and freedom of the press online.
I also highlighted the importance of U.S. public diplomacy efforts, especially international broadcasting. I have sought to raise awareness of limitations on press freedom in countries such as China and Iran through the passage of resolutions, and have co-authored legislation funding the development of Internet censorship circumvention technology in Iran." Image from article
Judith McHale to Deliver the 2010 Frances McNulty Logan Lewis Lecture - Rockbridge Weekly: "Judith McHale, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, will deliver the 2010 Frances McNulty Logan Lewis Lecture for the George C. Marshall Foundation on Thursday, October 7 at 7:30 pm in Lee Chapel in Lexington. Under Secretary McHale will talk about 'Enduring Leadership: Marshall’s Legacy for American Public Diplomacy in the 21st Century.' The public is invited."
Meles In A Jam Again With VOA - Alex Belida, VOA News Blog: "[Ethiopian Prime Minister] Meles Zenawi believes it is permissible for Ethiopia to jam VOA broadcasts into his country because the U.S. legally bars the dissemination of VOA programming within the United States itself. (See this on Smith-Mundt Act.)
There’s just one problem with that attempted justification. As VOA Director Danforth Austin tells the NewsBlog: 'The U.S. government doesn't jam foreign broadcasts heard and seen by U.S. citizens. The Ethiopian government does jam foreign broadcasts heard and seen by Ethiopian citizens. I think the question has to be: What is it about these international broadcasters that Meles Zenawi and his government fear?'" Melawi image from
What's really mind-blowing is how much conservatives want to increase government spending on international broadcasting - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: Heritage Foundation, The Foundry blog, 24 Sept 2010, Helle Dale. "'It is ... amazing and disturbing to find that China has now, in certain areas of international broadcasting, overtaken the United States. While strategic decisions have been made here in Washington to reduce the amount of global short-wave broadcasting produced by the U.S. government in favor of TV and Internet, China has been moving full speed ahead. According to the World Radio TV Handbook, China Radio International now broadcasts on short-wave in 45 languages, compared to Voice of America’s 32, and does so on 284 frequencies, compared to Voice of America’s 200 frequencies. And most mind-blowing of all is the fact that China Radio International carries more English language broadcast hours than Voice of America.' [Elliott Comment:] It's not so mind-blowing from a market-based analysis. (Heritage is more into central planning.) This is international broadcasting, as in broadcasting to other countries, as to countries where they speak other languages. China Radio International includes as target countries the United States, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland. VOA targets none of these countries, especially not the United States, not even Americans abroad. So, outside of Africa, CRI has much more reason to broadcast in English than does VOA. And if CRI wants to invest in shortwave when it is obviously declining in popularity, it's their money. Note that China was manufacturing steam railroad locomotives until 1999."
Columnist says Radio Free Asia Korean "is facing an immediate budget cut" - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: "This is the first I have heard of any budget cut for RFA Korean. Given the present importance of North Korea to US foreign policy, I would be surprised if such a plan exists.
RFA and VOA (unmentioned) each broadcast in Korean five hours a day, not concurrently, for a total of ten hours USIB output per day. Any expansion would get into sleeping or working hours in North Korea. Is Free North Korea Radio funded by the State Department, or by the National Endowment for Democracy?" Image from
Artist Lisa Vershbow Discusses Her Artistic Overseas Experience at Morrison House - theartleaguegallery.blogspot.com: "Morrison House Lecture Series Presents: Art and Diplomacy: A Torpedo Factory Metalsmith Makes Cultural Diplomacy with her Craft. Accompanying her husband, Alexander Vershbow abroad for eleven years with three back-to-back Ambassadorships to NATO (Belgium), Russia and Korea, Lisa set up a studio and worked at each posting, made connections with local artists, participated in exhibitions, and taught. She was active with the State Department's Art in Embassies Program and also organized two exhibitions including fellow Torpedo Factory colleagues.
In Art and Diplomacy, Lisa will share images of some of the places that inspired her own work, projects in Moscow and Seoul with Torpedo Factory colleagues and a few glimpses into life in an Embassy. Lisa Vershbow, a Torpedo Factory artist and Art League instructor, spent over 30 years as a Foreign Service spouse. She has participated in numerous group and solo exhibitions both at home and abroad. Her most recent solo exhibition was in June, 2010 in Seoul and her work is currently in the Madeleine Albright exhibition of brooches in the Smithsonian Castle. In 2005, the American Foreign Service Association awarded her the Avis Bohlen Award for public diplomacy in the arts while in Russia." Image from article
Israel Sincerity on Peace Weakened by Minister's Remarks, Palestinian Says - Gwen Ackerman, Bloomberg: "Palestinian negotiator Nabil Shaath said Israel’s credibility in peace talks was undermined by its foreign minister’s UN speech, as the U.S. accelerated efforts to resolve an impasse over Israeli construction in the West Bank. 'He provided a very, very clear reason for all our skepticism,' Shaath said today in a phone interview, referring to Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s comments yesterday at the United Nations. Lieberman, who heads the second-largest party in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition, called for an 'intermediate' accord with the Palestinians because it will take 'a few decades' to establish the trust needed for a so- called final-status agreement. ... Netanyahu isn’t likely to push Lieberman out, said Jonathan Spyer, a political scientist at Israel’s Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya. 'While Lieberman’s remarks are harmful to Netanyahu from a public diplomacy point of view, the prime minister is not desperately keen to broaden his coalition at the moment,' Spyer said. 'This incident shows the strange and unusual nature of Israeli coalition politics, where a foreign minister thinks he can express a different foreign policy than the government’s without resigning.'”
Strenger than Fiction / Political learnings for make benefit of understanding glorious nation of Israel - Carlo Strenger, Ha'aretz: "Israel after years of dedicated experimentation has developed the Glorious New Method of Government by Chaos. It is my pleasure to introduce readers to the basics of this method, in the hope other countries will benefit from it as well. ... This is a truly wonderful system, in which most groups genuinely feel that they are running the country. I suggest that Israel’s Ministry of Public Diplomacy, which is showing enormous creativity lately in explaining Israel, should offer courses for aspiring politicians from around the world on Israel’s glorious new method of governing. Unfortunately there is a dwindling minority in Israel that has so far not made the transition to government by chaos, and continues to adhere to outmoded notions like the rule of law, equal rights for all citizens, the separation of state and religion and even wants government to follow coherent policies."
Israeli invention for electric hair removal device contributes to female happiness worldwide - Belén Fernández, Palestine Think Tank:
"Viewers interested in multilingual pictorial change are invited to visit a website established by the Israeli Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs, which refers to visitors as 'Novice Ambassadors' . ... For those of us convinced that Israel’s presentation to the world has nothing to do with what its Air Force does while hypothetical foreigners in vests are busy propagating stereotypes about ... , the website provides an arsenal of rotating factoids on the right side of the screen for use in countering barbs of criticism against Israel. I have listed a few below: An Israeli invention for an electric hair removal device makes women happy all over the world.
85% of the garbage in Israel undergoes treatment to make it friendly to the environment. Each month Israelis consume close to 15 million bags of [the snack food] Bamba; every fourth snack sold in Israel is Bamba, and 1,000 bags of Bamba are manufactured every month. Muslim terror takes place throughout the world with no connection to the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Palestinian issue, Israel-US relations or the existence of Israel and its policies." Images: (1) (2) Zog / Hair-removal Laser device by RADIANCY, from Isreali Design Center
University of Leicester focuses on the Olympics - press release, 24dash: "On Monday, 8 November, Professor Gary D. Rawnsley will deliver the lecture on Media and Communications at Beijing. The Beijing Olympics of 2008 are considered as China's 'coming-out' party, representing the country's 'peaceful rise', astounding economic development and growing stature in the global community. On the other hand, it is clear that hosting the Olympics was a huge risk: with thousands of foreign journalists descending on Beijing, all of whom were promised unprecedented freedom of movement, China was in the world's spotlight like never before. This lecture provides an overview of Chinese public diplomacy and soft power - China's attraction via national values and cultural appeal - and tries to understand how the Olympics and their media coverage helped the projection of modern, dynamic and peaceful China."
Public diplomacy can help resolve Karabakh conflict - News.Az: Irina Ghaplanyan News.Az interviews Irina Ghaplanyan, a graduate student of politics and international studies at the University of Cambridge. ... What role can public diplomacy and cultural dialogue play when the positions of the two sides on Karabakh are completely different? Public diplomacy builds bridges that are used to conduct cultural dialogue, which in turn increases awareness about the two nations that are socially and culturally rather similar, but have been forcefully isolated from each other for almost 20 years.
An increased awareness about commonalities in the cultural and socio-economic lives of the two nations will gradually increase the social as well as political will to find a mutually beneficial resolution of the conflict. The root problems of the conflict stalemate today are, first of all, a lack of political will and, secondly, an absolute lack of trust. I believe that through public diplomacy and cultural dialogue both problems could be addressed and the way paved to a resolution." Image from
Akhmadov followers caught - Stan Rogers and Rukhshona, Central Asia Online: "[T]he Tajik opposition Social Democratic Party suggested making the Rasht Valley a public diplomacy zone, Ferghana.ru reported September 28."
Russia: “Web of Justice” - Yelena Osipova, Global Chaos: Last week, Russia's foreign broadcaster - Russia Today TV (RT) - ran a report about Russian bloggers and how they, heroically, expose crimes and corruption in the system. ... [I]t seems such stories would serve Russia's public diplomacy well, especially given President Medvedev's attempts
to demonstrate to the world that Russia can be en par with the West in terms of technological progress, as well as the social and economic transformations that accompany it. ... [T]hey might as well be examples of what the Tangled Web referred to as 'an old strand of thought in Russia, where the tsar was fundamentally decent and it was the corrupt mid-level officials who were to blame for everything.' It should be mentioned, however, that democracy - real or virtual - proves itself, time and again, as being very relative. When even some of the more prominent Western democracies have major issues with Internet access and surveillance, perhaps Russia should not be judged as strictly?" Image from
Cyber Probing: The Politicisation of Virtual Attack - Matt Armstrong, MountainRunner.us: "Despite its pervasiveness in our daily lives, from social media to electrical networks to banking, the critical nature of the online remains ill-understood or appreciated. 'Cyberspace,' a recent report asserts, 'remains inadequately defended, policed and indeed comprehended.' This is the conclusion of Alex Michael, a researcher for the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom. In Cyber Probing: The Politicisation of Virtual Attack, Alex dispels the comfortable belief – expressed in practice and conceptualization of online and new media – that the cyber world is somehow separate from the 'real' world. ... This unclassified report will be required reading for the graduate course on public diplomacy that I teach at USC. 'Cyber Probing' demonstrates that distinguishing between 'old media' and 'new media' is naive and dangerous in the environment of blended offline and online activities we live and operate in. My term 'now media', focused more on information activities, addresses this reality. Alex’s paper shows the 'convergence' is greater, deeper, and more pervasive than many appreciate."
Missionaries, Carpetbaggers, Highjackers, and Honkies: Dharma in the West - tibetanaltar.blogspot.com: "If you want to engage in quick and dirty, tactical persuasion of a target population, do an opinion poll, call a press conference, and massage the results. It is done all the time, for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes we call it public diplomacy, and other times we call it plain, old-fashioned spin doctoring. When we do it to sell toothpaste, we say that nine out of ten dentists agree, and call it truth in advertising.
Truth be known, it is all bullshit." Image from
"Tuesday Came and Went One, One September ... " - Emily, Life, Hope, Truth, Trust, Faith, Pride, Love, Lust: "And since I’m considering ... these serious commitments (an FSO is like a military officer who is stationed in places for a certain amount of time), I am looking into what area I’d join in. Especially since you have to tell them as soon as you let them know you want to be recruited. So if I do the foreign service officer route for the Department of State, I’m considering being either a consular officer or a public diplomacy officer. As a consular officer, I’d 'make judgments about foreign nationals who want to travel to the US. [I’d] also facilitate adoptions, help evacuate Americans and combat fraud to protect our borders and fight human trafficking.' I think public diplomacy is pretty obvious. But since I’m not exactly a diplomatic person in all conditions (aka when I get angry), then maybe consular would be best for me."
Can Twitter Lead People to the Streets? - New York Times: In The New Yorker this week, Malcolm Gladwell offers a bracing critique of the notion that social media like Twitter and Facebook are reinventing activism -- claims that were broadly made after Twitter became identified with protests in Moldova and Iran last year. "Social networks are effective at increasing participation — by lessening the level of motivation that participation requires," he writes. And the "weak ties" created by these platforms, he adds, cannot promote the discipline and strategy that true political activism requires. Can social media tools like Twitter nurture political action? What are their limitations and how might that change as social media mature? Contributors: Power of the Personal Message Timothy B. Lee, computer scientist; Virtual vs. Real Protests Evgeny Morozov, author; In China, Even Weak Ties Are Crucial Michael Anti, blogger; Digital and Traditional Tools William Powers, author, "Hamlet's BlackBerry"; Following and Leading Online, Howard Rheingold, author, "Smart Mobs."
Most Tweets Produce Zero Replies or Retweets - Jennifer Van Grove, mashable.com: Sysomos, maker of social media analysis tools, looked at 1.2 billion tweets over a two-month period to analyze what happens after we publish our tweets to Twitter. Its research shows that 71% of all tweets produce no reaction — in the form of replies or retweets — which suggests that an overwhelming majority of our tweets fall on deaf ears. Above image from article
Shadow Elite: Pat Tillman & Why Soldier Hero Worship Serves The Powerful ... Not the Soldiers - Andrew Bickford, Huffington Post: To understand how soldiers are imagined, we need to go back to the word "aesthetics" in its original Greek meaning- to experience the world through bodily feeling and emotion. This is also the basis of the word "anesthetics," to block out pain, feeling, and emotion. Our conceptions of soldiers as heroes comes from this interplay. By imagining our soldiers - all of our soldiers - as heroes, we create not only a class of heroes, but also a class of superheroes - men and women who can do no wrong, whom we think of as invincible, and perhaps more troubling, as indestructible. As a propaganda term, a term that shapes the political playing field, "Hero" does not simply mean someone who has done a single heroic act: it implies someone who will always perform heroically, again and again and again.
Video Hints at Executions by Pakistanis - Jane Perlez, New York Times: "An Internet video showing men in Pakistani military uniforms executing six young men in civilian clothes has heightened concerns about unlawful killings by Pakistani soldiers supported by the United States, American officials said. The authenticity of the five-and-a-half-minute video, which shows the killing of the six men — some of whom appear to be teenagers, blindfolded, with their hands bound behind their backs — has not been formally verified by the American government. The Pakistani military said it was faked by militants. But American officials, who did not want to be identified because of the explosive nature of the video, said it appeared to be credible, as did retired American military officers and intelligence analysts who have viewed it. After viewing the graphic video on Wednesday, an administration official said: “There are things you can fake, and things you can’t fake. You can’t fake this.”
Beyond The Rhetoric: The Human Impact Of Settlements - Cynthia Schneider, Sam Schneider - Newswire – CPD Blog & Blogroll, US Center on Public Diplomacy: President Obama faces his own catch-22: to tolerate the renewal of settlement activity to keep the talks going, and possibly force Abbas to walk; or to pressure Israel to cease building at the risk of turning Netanyahu away from the talks. We hope that the President can keep the talks going and keep his word in the Cairo speech of a “complete settlement freeze”. Mr. President: show that America is not a “land of hypocrisy”.
Young Kim's debut isn't exactly picture-perfect: The son rumored to succeed his father as North Korea's leader finally shows his face, and it's more "Where's Waldo?" than "Look at me!" - John M. Glionna and Ethan Kim, Los Angeles Times:
For an official photographic introduction to the world, the picture of North Korean strongman-in-waiting Kim Jong Eun released by the reclusive regime Thursday had anything but a marquee wow-factor. This is no larger-than-life propaganda billboard heralding a dazzling visage of Kim Jong Il's mysterious youngest son — rumored to soon succeed his ailing 68-year-old father. Rather, it's a grainy postage-stamp-small image of the jug-eared Jong Eun, perched awkwardly amid a group of grim-looking politicos at this week's national convention of the ruling Workers' Party. Image from article
Not Much Hope for Change as Kim Jong-il Prepares to Ascend His Double Rainbow Back to Baekdu Mountain - Paul Sogge, technorati.com: He was portrayed as a cockroach in the movie Team America. "He was portrayed as a drunken lecher by his former sushi chef. And much less convincingly, Kim Jong-il has been portrayed as a brilliant and benevolent leader whose travels are often accompanied by miracles in the natural world. This week, as expected, his son Kim Jong-un was awarded various official titles by the Workers' Party of Korea and seems destined to become third and final dictator of the world's last remaining Stalinist regime.
Will we miss the Kims? It is difficult to imagine the world without its parallel universe--a version of reality that has fascinated me ever since I heard my first North Korean propaganda while living in China in the early 1990s." Image from article
North Korea's US 'trophy' ship is tourist site - Ian Timberlake, AFP: North Korea denies involvement in a deadly attack on a South Korean warship this year, but proudly shows off the "trophy" it captured from the United States in another maritime incident 42 years ago. The USS Pueblo -- still listed as a commissioned US Navy vessel -- sits docked and open to visitors at a riverside berth in the capital Pyongyang. A steady flow of tourists, including some Americans, boarded the vessel for a guided tour one day recently. The price of admission: Watching a lengthy propaganda video that mentions terms like "US imperialist aggressors" and "brazen-faced US imperialists" repeatedly as it recounts what happened on January 23, 1968 and over the next 11 months before the captured crew were released. 1A8A North Korean army guide aboard the captured USS Pueblo - a vessel still listed as a commissioned US Navy boat.
TOP TEN WAYS
"David Letterman: Top Ten Ways Barack Obama Can Boost His Popularity With Younger Voters:
10. Refer to himself as the Chillaxer-in-Chief.
9. Limit speeches to 140 characters or less.
8. Broadcast all Oval Office addresses in 3D.
7. Replace Rahm Emanuel with a hunky, brooding vampire.
6. Trade in Air Force One for rocket-powered Obama-cycle.
5. Answer tough questions with 'Whatevs.'
4. Change name to Bajustin Obieber.
3. Refer to his abdominal muscles as 'The Administration.'
2. Check into rehab, go to prison, check back into rehab, go back to prison; check back into rehab.
1. Join Team Coco."
--From Bulletin News, LLC.
WHY DON'T YOU TWEET/LOVE ME?
"Here are 7 possible reasons that no one responds to, or retweets your tweets:
1. What are we supposed to say when you tweet that you 'love Mom’s cooking.' Are we REALLY supposed to care?
2. You tweet all sorts of cheesy inspirational quotes. This is more likely to elicit a punch in the nose than a retweet.
3. Twitpics of your latest pair of socks are of no interest to us.
4. We cannot figure out how to respond when you tell us, via Foursquare, that you’re 'at the Fuckandshuck Oyster Bar and use the hashtag #foodporn'
5. You are not a member of a Tea Party Republican chapter (don’t laugh, those nutjobs are a tight-knit bunch of freaks)
6. You follow no one and are not @KanyeWest, or @britishmonarchy – time to get over that ego
7. You run the official Twitter account for BP
Have a great day!"
--Jackson Wightman, Proper Propaganda
from Boing Boing