Friday, October 21, 2011

October 21

“The [US presidential] election is much more about Americans losing their jobs than about Gaddafi losing his head.”

--Glen Bolger,  a Republican pollster


Give peace a chance: Gilani tells Clinton - "[Paskistan PM Yousuf Raza] Gilani said both countries [USA and Pakistan] should complement each other in countering terrorism and their relationship should 'go beyond terrorism'.

The statement quoted Clinton as saying: 'I have ... much respect for Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and for the country.' ... 'Both sides stressed the importance of positive messaging in public diplomacy to promote an enabling environment between the two countries,' the statement added." Clinton image from

Next Arab Domino May Be Oil Darling Algeria - Reuel Marc Gerecht, Bloomberg: "With Qaddafi’s fall and next week’s elections in Tunisia, the odds are decent that the Great Arab Revolt will start to shake Algeria. ... One thing is certain, if revolt comes to Algeria, anger at the U.S. will probably swell. Twenty years ago, France was still the omnipresent devil. In the popular imagination today, Washington has replaced Paris as the backer of tyranny. In 2002, William Burns, an assistant secretary of state, remarked in Algiers that the U.S. 'has much to learn from Algeria on ways to fight terrorism.' This solicitation has continued under President Barack Obama. Last month, the State Department coordinator for counterterrorism, Daniel Benjamin, was in Algiers. At a counterterrorist conference hosted by the government, he saw an opportunity 'for our officials to learn from the experiences of other allied countries, in particular our North African partners. Our bilateral cooperation with the Algerian government in the battle against terrorism is now stronger than it has ever been,' he said, covering 'issues of public diplomacy, economics, and military aid.'"

Cheers, shrugs as locals react to Gadhafi's death - "Robert Gosende, visiting professor of public diplomacy at the University at Albany and a career diplomat who served in the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli from 1967 to 1969 ... [:] 'It's very good that Libya will now come to a different political order. The great question is what will that political order be,' Gosende

said. 'I think Libya has a good chance of putting itself back on its feet in a fairly short order,' he said. 'The transitional government seems to be coming to grips with how to run the country. I'm confident many Libyan exiles will return to help with the transition, the country has vast oil reserves and its tourism potential is strong. I'm optimistic.'" Gosende image from

Feds Bust Student Exchange Program: After complaints of labor abuses, Hillary Clinton concludes the State Department’s venerable exchange plan isn’t working. Lois Romano on how a well-intentioned program spun out of control
 - Lois Romano, Daily Beast: "The State Department’s summer cultural-exchange program is supposed to be a uniting exercise in public diplomacy, bringing 100,000 eager foreign students here to work in fun jobs, and use their earnings to travel to fun places. In theory, at least, they return home with gauzy thoughts and memories of the United States. It was quite embarrassing, therefore, when 200 students walked off their factory jobs at a Pennsylvania Hershey plant in August, protesting exploitative working conditions.

The protest, which U.S. labor unions were delighted to support, generated global media coverage about the struggling foreigners who paid upward of $4,000 for the privilege of packing and lifting heaving boxes of chocolate. The fiasco also caught the eye of congressional oversight committees. 'Obviously, we fell short of addressing some of the problems with the program,' says a senior State Department official, who asked not be named commenting on an ongoing investigation. 'However, the situation brought to light several issues we are looking at and implementing reforms around.' Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has, in fact, decided the 50-year program no longer works in its current form. She has ordered an intensive review of its practices, as well as an investigation of its approximately 50 sponsors. These are the outside organizations that must apply to participate and which facilitate travel, job placement and housing, among other things, for the students. Several sources said that they expect some sponsors to be terminated or sanctioned as a result." Image from article

How about this? Jones the doper now a diplomat for US ‎- Philip Hersh, Chicago Tribune: "[T]his news item from the Associated Press popped across the transom Thursday: 'Former U.S. track star Marion Jones is telling children in Croatia to think hard about making big decisions, saying she wished she had done so. Jones was in Croatia Thursday on behalf of the U.S. State Department, an international opportunity for her to continue rehabilitating her tarnished image after a career brought down by doping.' ... I called the State Department Thursday to ask about the decision to have Jones traveling through the former Yugoslavia (she was in Serbia earlier this week), giving basketball clinics and speeches under the aegis of the U.S. government. State Department spokesperson Nicole Thompson gave me a statement explaining that Jones' appearances were part of 'our embassies'

public diplomacy outreach to the Croatian and Serbian people. She was selected because our embassies believe her message about the importance of making good decisions will resonate in Croatia and Serbia,' the statement said. 'Her interactions with Serbian and Croatian youth in basketball clinics and public events has been very successful. Her discussion of lessons drawn from her own life gives credibility to her message.' ... According to the Daily News, a public affairs officer at the U.S. Embassy in Serbia, Ryan Rowlands, invited Jones to take part in the diplomacy outreach after learning of her 'Take a Break' program, in which the fundament is for anyone to step back and think when faced with a decision which could alter their life (such as doping or check fraud). The Daily News reported that Rowlands knew there would be concerns about Jones' history when he brought the idea of choosing her to the State Department. 'She acknowledged what she did was wrong,' Rowlands told the newspaper. 'She's chosen to move beyond that.' Sort of. ... I would find it rather unusual for the State Department to use Jones as an emissary. Is an ambassadorship next?" Jones image from article

Open Hands Initiative founder Jay Snyder addresses the GlobalPost/Open Hands Initiative 'Covering a Revolution' Fellowship: TRANSCRIPT: Snyder spoke to a group of journalists, academics, activists and government representatives about building person-to-person relationships - Snyder: "I’ve long believed that there is a role for the private sector to give back and help shape the public diplomacy of their own country. Like many around the world, I felt a new spirit of cooperation that President Barack Obama inspired when he pledged to extend an open hand of friendship and dialogue to all people of the world. In 2009, my wife Tracy and I founded the Open Hands Initiative. We are an independent, privately funded, non-profit organization. Our goal is to promote diplomacy between 'ordinary' citizens We are not an aid organization, nor an organization that aims to extol the virtues of U.S. values. The mission of the Open Hands Initiative is to listen... to understand... to engage…. and bring people together to work toward a greater goal. In all of our activities we seek to understand the communities in which we enter and help them understand us. ... We focus primarily on the Middle East — a crucial region of the world where we, the American people, have the much to learn. And we go where the relationships between countries are complicated."

Nordic Day in D.C. Schools - The Slow Cook: "Coinciding perfectly with my recent school food fact finding mission to Sweden, the D.C. Public Schools next week are holding a 'Nordic Day,' supported by several local embassies. As well as a menu of classic nordic foods

for all 45,000 DCPS students, the embassies will be providing musical entertainment and other activities at individual schools. The Embassies of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, together with the D.C. Public Schools’ Office of Food and Nutrition Services and the DC Embassy Adoption Program, will bring Nordic food to all 45,000 D.C. Public School students at 125 DC schools on Nordic Food Day, DCPS’ first ever celebration of international food and culture. ... [Among those participating with which embassy] Kenilworth Elementary School Embassy of Denmarks ... NE Lunch: tbd * Chef Trina Hahnemann will share Danish food and talk about eating healthy and sharing a meal at home with your family *Get your photo taken with a real live ‘Tivoli Guard’ *Piano music, face painting and lots of fun the happy Danish way! Media Contact: Pernille Florin Elbech Senior Advisor, Public Diplomacy and Press : O: 202.797.5362 C: 202.320.0098." Image from

“Spread the Love” | Featured: Uncornered Market
- "What is Uncornered Market? Uncornered Market is the award winning travel blog from Daniel Noll and Audrey Scott – two highly educated adventurers who left their secure jobs and comfortable lifestyle in Prague back in 2006, and have since been traveling the world, taking photographs and sharing stories about people from all walks of life.

Dan and Audrey share the following brief synopsis of the mission for their services on their website Dan and Audrey share the following brief synopsis of the mission for their services on their website: ... [T]hrough our personal interactions we seek to alter the view of America that people get from watching the news, taking in movies, or watching popular television shows. Call this our small contribution to public diplomacy and mutual understanding in today’s complicated world.” Image from article

From Foot Soldier to Finance Minister: Takahashi Korekiyo, Japan's Keynes (Harvard East Asian Monographs) Review - Auto Detailing Business: "For anybody interested in Japanese history from 1868 (the start of the Meiji era) till the 1930s, and especially the financial aspects thereof, this fascinating biography  is a must-read. [But] I was ... personally disappointed that there was only a brief mention of Kaneko Kentaro who travelled from Japan to the U.S. on the same boat as Takahashi in February-March 1904. (See Masayoshi Matsumura, Baron Kaneko and the Russo-Japanese War (1904-05): A Study in the Public Diplomacy of Japan which I translated into English." Image from article


President Obama points to value of ‘collective action’ in Libya - Scott Wilson and Karen DeYoung, Washington Post: How President Obama helped bring about the end of a long-standing American antagonist in Libya captures in microcosm the vast difference in the way he and his predecessor, George W. Bush, have employed diplomacy and military power against their declared enemies.

Both approaches resulted in the removal of longtime U.S. nemeses who had enjoyed a few years in Washington’s favor. But Bush’s invasion cost nearly $1 trillion and more than 4,400 American lives, while Obama’s more limited intervention highlighted a national security strategy that emphasizes global burden-sharing, and secretive tactics and technologies whose legality has been questioned. The NATO airstrikes on Gaddafi’s convoy Thursday included a missile launched from a U.S. drone aircraft. Obama’s technocratic approach to governing has served him far better in foreign policy, where facts, expert appraisal and intelligence often trump ideology, than it has in domestic politics. Image from

Obama chose the right course on Libya - David Ignatius, Washington Post: What was good about President Obama’s cautious, back-seat approach to Libya was that it denied Gaddafi the final, apocalyptic confrontation with the United States that he craved. Obama's vision of opposing Gaddafi through a broad, international coalition — in which other nations shared the burden, for a change — worked out pretty well.

Libya after Kadafi: The U.S. and its allies contributed to his downfall. Now they must aid in the country's recovery
- Editorial, The U.S. intervention in Libya isn't comparable to the commitments

in Iran and Afghanistan. But our involvement there nevertheless created an obligation that survives Moammar Kadafi. Image from

Gadhafi and the Swindle of Dictatorship: We needn't dispatch our forces to all lands of trouble, but our burden of celebrating liberty on foreign shores endures - Fouad Ajami, Wall Street Journal: This hadn't been a mission that President Obama, the steward of American power, had wanted, but the threat of massive slaughter, and the pressure from France and Britain, settled the matter. This was the luck of the Libyans. America was half-in and "led from behind," but the dictator's fate was sealed.

Colonel Qaddafi’s End - Editorial, New York Times: Earlier this week, on a visit to Tripoli, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the United States will provide $40 million

immediately to help Libya secure weapons. It is also offering to help, care for the war wounded and train civil society groups. Britain and France have also promised help. More than money — thanks to oil, Libya is wealthy — Libya will need sustained technical advice and full-time engagement. This was always the Libyan people’s fight. But the United States and Europe were also victims of Qaddafi’s terrorism and can feel relief and satisfaction in the supporting role they played in ending his horror. Now they have to help and goad Libyans into building a stable and peaceful democracy. Image from

Foreign aid shouldn’t be first thing on the chopping block - Matthew Wallin, Foreign assistance creates long lasting partnerships with countries and foreign publics—partnerships that benefit the national security of the United States. By helping to educate, empower, employ, and befriend people in other countries, we decrease instability that we have ended up spending trillions to combat. Via PR.

American Troops In Afghanistan Burn Bill O’Reilly’s Book - Stephen D. Foster Jr., Rather than read Bill O’Reilly’s book ‘Pinheads and Patriots,’ American soldiers at an outpost in Afghanistan burned them. According to a Tumblr maintained by a soldier serving in Afghanistan, “Some jerk sent us two boxes of this awful book (SPOILER ALERT: George Washington — Patriot; George Soros — Pinhead) instead of anything soldiers at a remote outpost in Afghanistan might need, like, say, food or soap.

Just burned the whole lot of them on my Commander’s orders.” Apparently Bill O’Reilly and many other conservatives would rather send propaganda to our troops than send things the troops actually need. Note to conservatives: If you’re going to send a care package to soldiers, leave out the conservative propaganda and send Hershey bars, thank you letters, clothing, soap, novels, and other needed items that keep the morale high. Our soldiers do not need, nor apparently do they want, political crap from a Fox News shill. Image from article

Bill would encourage foreigners to buy U.S. homes: The bipartisan Senate bill would allow foreigners who spend at least $500,000 on a residential property to obtain visas allowing them to live in the United States - Jim Puzzanghera and Lauren Beale, American consumers and the federal government haven't been able to bail out the sinking U.S. real estate market. Now wealthy Chinese, Canadians and other foreign buyers could get their chance. Two U.S. senators have introduced a bill that would allow foreigners who spend at least $500,000 on residential property to obtain visas allowing them to live in the United States."Many people want to come and live in the United States," said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who introduced the legislation Thursday along with Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah).

"They will be here spending money and paying taxes, and the most important thing is they'll sop up the extra supply of homes we have right now compared to demand, and that's what's dragging our economy down." The legislation would create a new homeowner visa that would be renewable every three years, but the proposal would not put them on a path to citizenship. To be eligible, a person would have to buy a primary residence of at least $250,000 and spend a total of $500,000 on residential real estate. The other properties could be rented. The program would come with several restrictions. Image from article, with caption: A house in San Marino, where median home prices have risen -- largely because of Asian home buyers and investors -- even as real estate values in the region have declined. Image from article

Supreme Leader: Iran is moving forward despite enemies' plots‎ - Islamic Republic News Agency: Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said here on Thursday Iran is moving forward despite the enemies’ conspiracies. “The political, economic and security and propaganda campaign of the world arrogance against Iran is a clear cut evidence of Iranians’ rapid movement toward their goals and causes,“ the Supreme Leader made the remarks in a meeting with executive directors in Kermanshah.

Anti-Israel Propaganda Creeps Into World of Grand Opera - Myron Kaplan, Recent manifestations of the global spread of anti-Israel propaganda in the world of grand opera include an unjustifiably sympathetic portrayal of Palestinian murderers (John Adams' recent opera, The Death of Klinghoffer); an opera (Hannah Conway‘s When I Am Old) inspired by the mythology of Rachel Corrie, a pro-Palestinian activist who lost her life in 2003 trying to block Israeli bulldozers clearing an area used

by terrorists and which depicts Israeli soldiers as violent, Nazi-like characters; a venerable classic's plot based on Bible passages re-worked to reverse the roles of the ancient Israelites and their antagonists as an allusion to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict (Camille Saint-Saen's 19th century masterpiece Samson and Dalila); and a politicized version of an opera based on a Bible theme in which the re-working inserts anti-Israel messages (Gioachino Rossini's 19th century Moses and Pharaoh). Image from article, with caption: Scene from The Death of Klinghoffer

Kim Crushed 70 Invaders! - Lee Seok Young, North Korea has used the fixed-line ‘3rd Broadcast’ system to issue propaganda describing last year’s shelling of Yeonpyeong Island as a great military victory for Kim Jong Eun in the face of direct U.S.-South Korean military threat. With characteristic bravado, the attack was today called “The greatest victory, as Comrade General Kim Jong Eun fought and defeated 70 American soldiers all alone.” Ordinarily, propaganda aimed at the North Korean people is delivered via Chosun Central Broadcast, the state radio broadcaster, and TV, but when the state prefers outside ears to hear less of what it is saying, 3rd Broadcast is employed.

Hype builds around North Korea’s look-alike hotel - The butt of countless jokes, the North Korean capital Pyongyang’s Ryukyong Hotel was the monolithic structure dominating the city’s skyline that seemed to be a veritable “white elephant.” Work started on the 105-story, pyramid-shaped building in 1987 with hopes of being opened just two years later. But four years on, and still very much a work in progress, construction ground to a halt under the pressure of a groaning economy at a time when North Korea was about to enter the worst ravages of the famine it faced during the 1990s. Now, with work restarted after a 15-year hiatus thanks to a $400 million investment by the Egyptian firm Orascom, London’s unfinished ― and perhaps almost equally incongruous ― building the Shard is drawing decidedly unfavorable comparisons to the Ryukyong.Both are slated to be “complete” next year ― the Shard in time for the 2012 London Olympics. With current North Korean leader Kim Jong-il jockeying to deliver on his promise that his country will be a “prosperous” nation in time for his father and “Eternal President” Kim Il-sung’s 100th birthday celebrations, some

observers say the Ryukyong, too, will be ready ― on the outside at least. For North Korea, though, the fact that the finished product, so to speak, apparently looks like applying only to the exterior is no laughing matter. The idea, expert North Korea watchers say, appears to be to give an impression of completion, a propaganda effort tied to the 2012 promise. On that basis, the Ryukyong would provide a gleaming frontage for its citizens and beyond by April 15 of next year. Image from article, with caption: The Ryukyong Hotel under construction in Pyongyang (left), due for completion next year, is often compared to the Shard in London for their striking similarities.

Indo-Afghan pact and realities - Eschmall Sardar, An article “Afghanistan-India Pact Defeats Pakistan Army” (Oct 13) highlights the rejoicing mood of India on signing the strategic partnership agreement, the first ever of its kind in the region. The Indo-Afghan strategic pact is being viewed as a double-pronged military alliance drawing simile with Allies-Russo nexus, painting scenarios of Normandy-landing. The present situation needs to be carefully monitored and the scathing propaganda be carefully and strongly responded before it is too late.

Vatican asks Hindus to fight anti-Christian propaganda - AFP, The Vatican on Thursday asked Hindus to fight "hateful propaganda" and allow Christians to practise their religion freely, in a message delivered to mark the upcoming festival of light, Diwali.  The message, signed by the head and deputy head of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious dialogue, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran and Pier Luigi Celata, comes as the number of Christians persecuted in certain regions of India rises. Image from

Hitler's war boast exposed as a myth‎: Unpublished letters disprove claim that he was blinded in action by a British mustard gas attack - Dalya Alberge, The Independent: A notorious propaganda story told by Adolf Hitler about himself can now be exposed as a lie. The Führer claimed that the First World War ended for him when he was blinded in a British mustard gas attack, but previously unpublished letters

reveal that his blindness was in fact caused by a mental illness – undermining the "war hero" image used to such political effect by the dictator. Letters written by two prominent American neurologists cast serious doubts on Hitler's mental state at the end of the First World War, confirming that he was treated for "hysterical amblyopia", a psychiatric disorder known as "hysterical blindness." Image: Private Adolf Hitler in the Bavarian Reserve Infantry in about 1915

Moscow Nightlife: Sunday to Saturday – Where to go - Two-Zero, Propaganda – Gay Night (if you feel like it). Naomi Campbell was seen at that party already (she’s currently with a Russian oligarch and in Moscow sometimes).

Once a month they have “Propaganda got Soul” with nice funky soulfoul house at Propaganda. Check the schedule. Its worth it. Nice people and nice tunes. Check Sanchez House night at Propaganda. One of the oldest parties in Moscow and still one of the best, despite the recent increase of foreigners. Image from article


CDC: Antidepressant use skyrockets 400% in past 20 years - Janice Lloyd, USA TODAY: Use of antidepressant drugs has soared nearly 400% since 1988, making the medication the most frequently used by people ages 18-44, a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows.

"These drugs can be very helpful for people who need them,'' says Elaine Ducharme, a psychologist and public educator in Connecticut for the American Psychological Association. "People should expect to be depressed after a layoff." Image from


"I had not realised what a horrid little fellow he was -- like some sort of maggot. He has thin nervous limp sort of hands. He looks like a drug-taker, or at least if there was something wrong to be ashamed of ... I happened to be next to him

also in the lavatory and I hated the way he washed. He seemed self-conscious even there and on edge -- indeed as if he were on fire within. Since I saw Lord Fisher I have not seen so little likeable man."

--Diarist A.C. Benton (August 1915); cited in The Times Literary Supplement (October 14, 2011), p. 10; Churchill as a young man image from


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