Friday, November 11, 2011

November 10-11



“Conviction and persuasion are not called for in a dialogue. The word 'convince' means to win, and the word 'persuade' is similar. ... People sometimes try to persuade by sweet talk or to convince by strong talk. Both come to the same thing though, and neither of them is relevant.”

--David Bohm, On Dialogue (1996), p. 27. Cited by Georgetown University Ph.D. candidate and writer George Dwyer in his unpublished essay, "Public Journalism and Public Diplomacy"; Bohm image (and biography) at

VIDEOS


Watch The Videos The CIA Made To Tell Ronald Reagan About The Soviets, TPMMuckraker

CONFERENCE
US Public Diplomacy and Democratization
Monday, November 14, 2011
9:30-4:00
George Washington University
1957 E Street, NW, Room 602


To RSVP, please visit this linkimage from

PUBLIC DIPLOMACY

The Debate Over Iran - Mike Brownfield, The Moral Liberal: "Following the news of Iran’s plot against the Saudi ambassador, Heritage’s James Carafano wrote that the Obama Administration should take strong measures to respond to Iran’s actions, including conducting a proportional military response against suitable, feasible, and acceptable targets (similar to military operations conducted against al Qaeda in Pakistan). It should impose and enforce the strongest sanctions, target

public diplomacy to expose the regime’s human rights abuses, reduce Iran’s meddling in Iraq, and rescind and rewrite its counterterrorism strategy." Image from

Pakistan: Neither Friend Nor Foe… Yet
- Rob Asghar, CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "[T]he U.S. needs to go past an obsession with narrow strategic interests and seek to build a genuine relationship with the people of Pakistan. Those people are convinced—with good reason—that U.S. policy-makers see India as a valuable long-term strategic partner and Pakistan as a nuisance to be managed. In a shame-and-honor-based society such as Pakistan, that turns an America-envying country quickly into a jilted lover."

Principals Come Home More Experienced - John Matel, World-Wide-Matel: "The principal of the year program is unbelievably good from my public diplomacy point of view. It is a Brazilian program that originated in part from a voluntary visitor tour in 1997. The principal of the year award for each Brazilian state and for Brazil as a whole was initiated in 1999. The Embassy sponsored exchanges with the U.S. in 2000 and the first group traveled in that year.

It became a two-way exchange in 2004, when top American principals made return visits to Brazilian states. It is really a nation-to-nation (the American nation is greater than the American government) exchange. Principals from both sides see places that few ever visit. The truly great PD aspect is that I – the PAO at the U.S. Embassy – get to moderate the debriefing and speak prominently at the award ceremony. Image from article

Today’s Facebook chat on Fulbright Scholars features Antiguan - "Caribbean recipients of the prestigious US Fulbright Scholarships will share their experiences throughout November in Facebook chats hosted by the United States Embassy to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean. ... The final chat for the month will be on November 23 where an officer of the Embassy’s Public Diplomacy office, which administers

the scholarships, will participate and answer questions about available scholarships including those for mid-career professionals, educators and for local colleges to bring in US scholars and experts." Image from article, with caption: Antiguan Morvin Williams will share his Fulbright Scholarship experience in a Facebook chat today sponsored by the US Embassy.  See also.

USA Africa Dialogue Series - Re: Pyschology 101? Happiness in Context. Libya Liberators - dialogueseriesnew.blogspot.com: "Psychiatrists and other behavioral experts have researched and considered Western-oriented psychology to be faulty in certain areas of therapeutic response to non-Western clients. ... Let me recall a teachable moment:

Karen Hughes, President George Bush's Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs with the rank of ambassador went to Middle East and convened conferences to extol the virtue of democracy and women empowerment. She was more of an object of curiosity. In Saudi Arabia, she expressed the need for women to be able to drive and vote, etc. A mother and daughter, both physicians, asked her why they needed to drive when they have had drivers all their lives? Others asked her about drive-by shootings in America, inadequate soup kitchens, the insured and other pathologies." Hughes image from

More discussion of the Rohrabacher bill to require US/China parity in visas for "state-backed journalists" - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

US and China: How India must play its cards‎ - M K Bhadrakumar, Rediff:

"[B]luster is an integral part of the US public diplomacy." Image from

Azeri students visit NATO headquarters - "The delegation of the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy visited the NАТО headquarters in Brussels on November 6-7. The delegation included 14 students pursuing masters` program in international relations and diplomacy. The delegates participated in the briefing program organized by the NATO Public Diplomacy division."

China’s cyber moves hurting Beijing - Richard Fontaine, CNN World: "A new report by an arm of the U.S. Director of National Intelligence confirms what officials have privately lamented for several years: the United States is the target of a vast array of cyber attacks, many focused on stealing intellectual property, originating in China. ... Beijing has sought to recover from this string of mistakes and to highlight its considerable soft power.

At a time when the United States and Europe are in the economic doldrums, China motors along, and its officials note that the financial crisis started in the West, not the East. Beijing offers an attractive economic model to many developing countries, along with few-strings-attached aid and investment dollars. Its cyber offensive, though, has the potential to undermine much of this effort. As ever-greater numbers of companies, universities, government agencies, and individuals around the world are subject to Chinese hacking, the effect is to build an ever-larger constituency that is suspicious of Chinese power. Think of it as soft power in reverse – the power of repulsion rather than attraction – or perhaps simply as a titanic public diplomacy nightmare. Either way, by building a large and growing pool of individuals and organizations suspicious of Chinese power, Beijing may inadvertently prod its neighbors to accelerate their manifold hedging behaviors."  Image from

Sino-African Roundtable Talks Mull Closer Economic, Trade Cooperation - english.cri.cn: "The Second Roundtable Conference on Sino-African Cooperation was convened in the city of Wanning in south China's Hainan Province from Nov. 10 to 11. The roundtable talks, which focused on China's African foreign policy as directed through non-governmental channels, is a strong complement to the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), said Ji Peiding, former vice foreign minister and president of the Association of Former Diplomats of China. More than 400 former diplomats, politicians, researchers and entrepreneurs from China and nearly 40 African countries attended the conference. Sun Jiazheng, vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) inaugurated the opening ceremony of the conference. The meeting resulted in the creation of the Wanning Declaration, a document viewed as a milestone in public diplomacy between China and Africa. The declaration underscored the agreement made between China and African nations to enhance Sino-African cooperation, said Liu Guijin, former ambassador to Zimbabwe and South Africa."

The Role of Public Diplomacy in Peace Process - Teona Dalakishvili, Peace Builders Caucasus: "There are two types of peace process diplomacy: State’s diplomacy and public diplomacy. State’s Diplomacy depends on political decisions and interests while public diplomacy is based on more independent individual or organizational initiatives. Public diplomacy highlights the human factor and based on the liberal concept.

It is very important to emphasize the role of public diplomacy in the settlement of Nagono-Karabakh, Abkhazia and South Ossetia conflicts. Public diplomacy serves for continuation of peace-building process and minimizes the risk of war. The involvement of youth into this process, and their increasing role in peace building is very important for the parties. Proactivity of youth in peace-building process will give guarantee to the continuation of peace process and negotiations in the future. And this guarantee will play a preventive role from the risk of war." Image from

For and against an ABC-run Australia Network‎ - ABC Online: "On Monday night the Federal Government killed off the tender process for the Australia Network contract. But debate continues over who should host the service; should it be maintained by the public broadcaster, or should commercial media have the same opportunity? ... Tim Wilson, Director of the IP and Free Trade Unit and Climate Change Policy at the Institute of Public Affairs[:] ... The Australia Network contract is part of Australia's suite of soft power public diplomacy. The Howard government's 2007 foreign affairs and trade In the National Interest white paper described public diplomacy as a 'diplomacy which operates in that area of intersection between the soft realm of image and the hard edge of a country's economic and political interests'. The title of the white paper perfectly encapsulates the objective of the Australia Network - to promote our national interest."

S. Korea to send more water engineers to Libya this month - Yonhap News: "A second batch of South Korean water engineers will leave for Libya later this month to help the war-torn nation restore its water supply services, a Seoul official said Friday. ... 'The government will dispatch another team of water engineers to Libya by the end of this month as part of our humanitarian assistance,' the official said on the condition of anonymity.

With Gadhafi gone, the business appetite of foreign companies, including South Korean builders and trading firms, to develop the oil-rich nation is increasing. But the official warned the private firms against hastily seeking investment opportunities in Libya, where its new government is still struggling to establish its authority and maintain public order. 'Rather than focusing on post-war reconstruction projects, it is time for us to do 'public diplomacy' to win the hearts of Libyan people,' the official said." Image from, with caption: A South Korean college student stands under photos

The public outcry over the Roraima Governor’s presence on a PPP/C platform was uncalled for - Wesley Kirton, letter to the editor, stabroeknews.com: "The issuance of a statement by the Federal Government of Brazil through its diplomatic mission in Georgetown reiterating its respect for Guyana’s sovereignty and making its neutrality clear about the upcoming national elections is a welcome and masterful use of public diplomacy. But I am of the view that, in the first place, too much was made of this issue by the opposition parties. Was a public demonstration outside the Embassy of Brazil really necessary? Did the Governor’s presence really amount to Brazilian interference in the internal affairs of Guyana? As a matter of fact, the Governor, as reported in the press, never addressed the issue of the upcoming elections. He did not encourage people to vote let alone vote for any political party."

World Music as Cultural Diplomacy? - Colin Hicks, thevizir.com: "By the 21st century, rapid and globalised communications was making a PR headache out of too open a use hard power and propaganda, and the old diplomacy of influence became the new focus. ... The first variant was Public Diplomacy.

This actually emerged out of cultural diplomacy as far back as the sixties, but it was not heavily supported until a run of Western PR disasters in the Middle East. The objective of this new diplomatic effort sought to exploit the feel-good mutuality of cultural relations in order to change the behaviour of foreign governments by influencing the attitudes of their citizens. ... Modern cultural diplomacy ... is no more than a restricted form of cultural relation, one that can only occur under license from governments and their agents, for these remain focussed in the exchange of cultural ideas, goods or services on ‘mutual understanding’, which has as its direct or indirect objective the continuing pursuit of soft power. Cultural diplomacy therefore is your state’s way to control the instinctive and much more organic practice of your very own cultural relations." Image from

Personal Prestige and National Reputation: Louis XIV, Berlusconi and the Queen - Robin, Public Diplomacy, Networks and Influence: "The origins of contemporary public diplomacy lie in the at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries in the expansion of national governments and the rise of national sentiments. Yet the concern with reputation and prestige as elements of influence were permanent aspects of international politics, see for instance Machiavelli’s The Prince, Hans Morgenthau’s discussion of the ‘policy of prestige’ in Politics Among Nation[s] or Peter Burke’s The Fabrication of Louis XIV. Burke documents in meticulous detail Louis’s efforts use spectacle, public art, support for artists and intellectuals, architecture to construct his own image and secure his power domestically and project it internationally. He shows how the model of the court at Versailles was copied by other monarchs. While today shaping the image of national leaders is normally thought of as an aspect of domestic politics for some countries the image of the leader is an important part of their international reputation. The rise in international opinion of the United States with the election of Barack Obama and this morning’s news that Far Eastern financial markets are rising on the news that Silvio Berlusconi is going to resign as Italy’s prime minister. For many countries who leads them will have little significance while for others the reputation of the leader may significantly help or hinder the image of the nation. ... While the Royal Family is usually identified as an important component of how people outside the UK think about the country there are actually interesting questions to be asked around the role of the Royal Family and the Queen as a diplomatic resource. Asking the question marks a continuity in the role of leadership in building the image of the state."

Public Diplomacy Footnote: When People Really Listened (long, long ago) - John Brown, Notes and Essays: "'Listening' by the public-diplomacy practitioner is increasingly recommended as a sine qua non for effective PD. But it's not always a sure thing that anyone actually 'listens' to a public diplomat, even if he/she tries/pretends to be listening to others. As a footnote to such a situation, I offer this excerpt from The Times Literary Supplement (October 21, 2011, p. 29, review by Peter Marshall of Arnold Hunt,

The Art of Hearing: English preachers and their audiences, 1590-1640), which recalls a time and place long, long ago when certain audiences truly listened to the speaker addressing them: 'Hunt's book ... [is] a brilliant and original re-examination of the importance of preaching in later Reformation England. ... The most committed preachers were Puritans, and for the 'godly', the 'Word of God' was not the bare text of Scripture, but a 'latent force' to be activated in the hearts of believers by the living words of the preacher. In late sixteenth-century England, it was the deaf, not the illiterate, who had cause to worry about their prospects for salvation [JB emphasis]." Image from

Business Schools should focus more on communications - newsocialmediabrand.com: "In most universities, the communications department which trains students in Public Relations, Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs tend to be in a different department. Business schools have courses which never cover much on public relations or any form of public engagement. Often, the mindsets of the people in Arts and Social Science (Communications School for many universities) and Business School is very different. The students and much of the lecturers alike have very different ideas on businesses. Generally, an Arts graduate would focus on activism, ethics and some may even believe that big corporations are evil. On the other hand, a business student would believe that one would need to create a lot of networth to be influential and create change. They are not wrong, but most of the time, they will both benefit when they understand their different fields."

Global Symposium helps students integrate international experience with real-world problem-solving - Lindsey Cook, redandblack.com: "Student, faculty, government officials and business leaders will gather this Thursday to discuss changing the world through 'soft power' — not bombs and bullets.

The University [of Georgia] is hosting 'Global Engagement 2011: Public diplomacy, trade and economic development,' a conference aimed toward an international audience interested in public diplomacy featuring local, national and international experts on trade and development, said Kavita Pandit, the associate provost of the International Office of Education." Image from, with caption: The 2009 University of Georgia gymnastics team

State Department diplomats enrich AWC experience - Kelly Deichert, Maxwell Gunter Dispatch: "New perspectives enhanced the education of Air War College students as 15 State Department diplomats participated in seminars during the National Security Decision Making course last week. 'Having the State Department representatives join us in lecture and seminar discussion was beneficial to us all, and I believe that our guests would say the same thing,' said Col. David Lowthian, an international officer from Canada. 'Not only were we free to candidly discuss our roles and responsibilities, we were able to see ourselves through the civilian lens and better understand how we can interrelate in the future.'... Their visit was an opportunity for State Department diplomats and students to learn from each other about public diplomacy and global issues."

Help the International Girl Scout Leaders on November 11th - texomajetaa.org:

"Hey Houston JETAA members … JET Alum Paul Cummings works with a State Department public diplomacy program, and will welcome a big group of International Girl Scout Leaders to Houston at the end of the week." Image from

Brand Polokwane: Text in Context - Saul Kgomotso Molobi, Brand Index for Rural Development (BIRD: "First things first! Here’s this researcher’s declaration of interest. He has undertaken this excursion into researching the impact of the FIFA World Cup 2010 on the brand image of Polokwane – and beyond this, how this image compare with those of other towns/cities within Limpopo – after having being involved in the initial stages of preparations for Polokwane to become one of the nine host cities for the matches and also

helped in the conceptualisation of the city’s multi-disciplinary, multi-channel and multi-stakeholder branding campaign as a former Head of Provincial Communications in Limpopo’s Office of the Premier. ... [At] the national Department of International Relations and Cooperation ... he currently serves as a Chief Director for Public Diplomacy – a job that has also given him opportunities to travel around the world and observing and learning from other cities." Molobi image from article

RELATED ITEMS

The way to respond to China: The Pentagon should spare AirSea Battle from cuts. The military concept is America's best chance of ensuring peace and stability in the Western Pacific - Andrew F. Krepinevich, latimes.com: Allies and partners — Australia, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, in particular — will have to contribute substantially more than they have in the recent past to preserve regional security. If together they can demonstrate their determination to preserve stability in the Western Pacific by hedging against China's military buildup, the U.S. and its allies stand the best chance of convincing Beijing that the path toward achieving long-term security and prosperity lies in cooperating and collaborating with its neighbors.

Lies, Damned Lies, and the Public Relations Industry - Brian Scoles, earthisland.org: In age of Information Warfare, We Must All be Forensic Scientists and RhetoriciansTable 5.1 in


the U.S. Army Counterinsurgency Field Manual contains, among many, the following recommendations: “Learn the insurgents’ messages or narratives. Develop countermessages and counternarratives to attack the insurgents’ ideology.” “Respond quickly to insurgent propaganda. Delaying responses can let the insurgent story dominate several news cycles. That situation can lead to the insurgents’ version of events becoming widespread and accepted.” These are military strategies, intended for managing resistant populations in occupied countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan. But these very tactics may soon come home to roost. Last week in Houston, at an oil industry conference, an executive advised his audience to think of grassroots environmental groups opposing oil development as an “insurgency.” He then recommended downloading and studying a copy of the Army counterinsurgency manual. Image from

Kazakh jihadi leader seeks restoration of Islamic caliphate ‎- Bill Roggio, Long War Journal: The leader of a little-known terror group that operates in Afghanistan and Kazakhstan said his organization seeks to aid in the restoration of an Islamic caliphate. Rawil Kusaynuv, the emir of the Zahir Baibars Battalion, a primarily Kazakh jihadist group that fights in Afghanistan, granted an interview with Haydar al Khorasani from the Minbar Media Project, a jihadist propaganda outlet. The interview was recently posted on jihadist websites. Kusaynuv leads the Zahir Baibars Battalion, which he claims is one several units in the Jund al Khilafah, or Brigade of the Soldiers of the Caliphate. The group has recently emerged in jihadist propaganda, and has released two videos of attacks on US bases in Khost province, Afghanistan.

Countdown to London's War of Armageddon - Executive Intelligence Review: With the imminent release of a new report on Iran's nuclear program from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the propaganda for a preemptive attack on Iran escalated this week to unprecedented levels

of lies and provocation. This propaganda barrage is intended to bring the world to the brink of a world war, that will rapidly lead to the launching of thermonuclear weapons. Image from

Iran more powerful than any other time: IRIB Chief - irna.ir: Iran is more powerful than any other time in past, President of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), Seyyed Ezzatollah Zarghami said here Wednesday. Zarghami who is in New Delhi to attend 49th Asia-Pacific Broadcasting (ABU) Conference made the remarks in his meeting with the Iranian residents, here.

“All international powers have understood today the important role of Iran in the region and the world and are in need of Tehran’s support for resolving the international issues,” the official stated. “The western propaganda machine’s recent ploys against the Islamic Republic are worthless,” he said. Zarghami also noted that while some western officials have used the media to accuse Iran’s Quds Force of terrorist operations abroad, the western propaganda machine confessed later that the claims were nothing more than bad propaganda and worthless lies. Uncaptioned image from article

More War Propaganda Debunked - lewrockwell.com: The "former Soviet nuclear weapons specialist" who supposedly helped Iran acquire a detonation system that could be used for nuclear weapons turns out not to be a nuclear scientist at all, but instead spent his entire career producing nanodiamonds by explosives.

Israel's War Threats: Sheer Hollow Propaganda - Kourosh Ziabari, Salem-News.com: Israel has awkwardly and desperately renewed its outworn war threats against Iran in the recent weeks, indicating that it's getting prepared to launch a military strike on the Islamic Republic's nuclear facilities.

However, now even the most optimistic advocates of war with Iran within the fractured cabinet of Benjamin Netanyahu know that "empty vessels make the most noise" and that a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities will be practically the same as the evaporation of the Zionist entity. Image from

Young U.S. Jews aim 'occupy' movement at Birthright Israel: Members of youth section of Jewish Voice for Peace disrupt New York event sponsored by Birthright, say program 'free propaganda trips for predominantly middle and upper class American Jews' - Haaretz: As the various "occupy" movements spread across the United States, headed by the massive Occupy Wall Street events, a group of young Jewish Americans is taking the notion of the "99%" against the ruling "1%" to debunk what they see as the hypocritical U.S. Jewish leadership. In a mission statement titled "Occupy the Occupiers: A Jewish Call to Action," the Young, Jewish, and Proud (YJP), described as the youth wing of the left-leaning Jewish Voice for Peace movement, called out to young Jews to "stand up to the 1% in our own community, the powerful institutions that support Israel’s corporate-backed military control of the Palestinian people and act as the gatekeepers for our community."

Another Iranian journalist sentenced to prison‎ - Payvand: Iranian journalist Mehran Faraji received a confirmed prison sentence from the appellate court today.

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran reports that Faraji's six-month suspended sentence comes on top of a six-month jail term for "propaganda activities against the regime." He was sentenced to one year in prison in the preliminary court. Image from article

Xinhua Blog Shines Unflattering Light on Propaganda Agency - Hsin-Yi Lin and Gisela Sommer, Epoch Times: A Xinhua News Agency blog by an employee calling himself “just one of the Party’s dogs,” has gone viral in Chinese cyberspace. On the evening on Nov. 2, the entry column on Xinhua’s Renren.com blog was updated to: “It’s easy to lie once, yet it’s not easy to lie everyday, and what is more difficult

is to lie to the whole world every day. I did it. Don’t ask me who I am, I am just one of the Party’s dogs.” The frank admission has caused a storm in Chinese cyberspace. As soon as the blog appeared, it was copied and quoted widely, Sound of Hope (SOH) Radio reported. Image from article, with caption: Blogger comments on Xinhua’s post

Abkhazian experts are trying to comprehend what had happened - expertclub.ge: "They in Abkhazia continue to discuss the Georgian-Russian agreement on WTO. Despite assurances from Moscow that it is not going to 'surrender' the separatists, the separatists themselves believe otherwise. Abkhazian experts also express their concerns. Executive director of the centre for humanitarian programs Arda Inal-Ipa is wary of these arrangements and believes that things are not at all like the 'Georgian propaganda' wants to present. 'The Georgian propaganda is that Russia's agreement on the presence of the monitoring group on the Russian-Abkhazian border is recognition of sovereignty of Georgia here - says Arda Inal-Ipa. - I think it's absolutely not true. It is indeed the sign that the border on Psou River is a state border and no more'. In principle, this is what Georgia sought – to register the Georgian-Russian border on the Psou. And, apparently, it has achieved this. Therefore, it is not propaganda but a reality that Sukhumi [the capital of Abkhazia] will have to take into account."

Medvedev warns against nationalistic election propaganda - english.ruvr.ru: Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev has warned against nationalistic propaganda in the forthcoming election campaign. He stated this during a meeting with the regional media in Russia’s Far Eastern city of Khabarovsk.

Recently, some activists have been distributing leaflets urging people to vote for ethnic Russian candidates, while the Communist Party proposed to insert the nationality entry in the passports again and the Liberal Dems have posters saying “We’re for Russians." Image from article

No talks about crossings, Priština team chief says - b92.net: Priština team chief Edita Tahiri has said there is no possibility that the EU has been discussing the issue of northern Kosovo crossings with the Serbian side. Edita Tahiri

labeled as propaganda the claims of Serbian officials that Serbia was negotiating with Brussels so as to find a solution for the crossings, Priština-based Albanian language daily Express reported on Thursday. “Those are untruths of the Serbian propaganda. The EU, the U.S. and the Kosovo government are in daily contact and they are in accord that the question of border crossings is the question of Kosovo's sovereignty, and that it is for the Kosovo institutions and their international partners, KFOR and EULEX, to decide on that,” she stressed. Tahiri image from article

The Chávez Way - Francisco toro, New York Times: "MONTREAL — Going to the Venezuelan consulate here is not a comfortable experience for me. From the big poster of Hugo Chávez on the wall to the stacks of strident anti-imperialist pamphlets and propaganda newspapers in the waiting room, the message is loud and clear: if you’re not a dyed-in-the-wool Chavista, this is enemy territory. For the last 12 years I’ve been reporting on the escalating authoritarianism and casual disregard for basic civil liberties that have come to define my country’s experiment with 21st-century socialism.

At least that’s what I thought I’d been doing: echoing an endlessly repeated official propaganda line, one of the pamphlets on offer at the consulate calls the type of work I do 'media terrorism.' And that, it helpfully clarifies, is 'the first expression and necessary condition of military terrorism that the industrialized North employs in order to impose its imperial hegemony and neo-colonial dominion on humanity.'” Image from article, with caption: A mural of Hugo Chávez in Caracas, Venezuela

Captain America: The First Avenger - Derrick Bracey, Weekly Surge: The title alone screams cheesy. The propaganda machine of comic books gets made into a film. The final feature film leading into “The Avengers” movie coming next year with Iron Man, Hulk, Thor and a cast of Marvel Comic heroes.

Captain America is sure to make this whole thing schmaltzy, right? Wrong! Directed by Joe Johnston, who has helmed a list of period-piece movies where an underdog hero overcomes adversity but these films feel like results from his beginnings – Art Director on “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” The parallels are all there – the WWII backdrop, the underdog story, leaving behind bureaucratic authority and propaganda to get things done – this film is not afraid to make fun of its origins and makes a hero movie begrudgingly free of schmaltz. Image from

Royal Manuscripts: The Genius of Illumination, British Library - Judith Flanders, The Arts Desk: In 1757, what had previously been the royal collection of manuscripts was handed over to the nascent British Museum. Edward IV, who started the collection in the 15th century, had created a collection of books designed to display the greater glory of God and (by extension) his chosen sovereigns and country: the Yorkist leader in the Wars of the Roses used these books, and the images they contained, to create a propaganda machine to suggest that God was on his side.

Today the struggles of history are for the most part left to specialists, but the gorgeous propaganda machine is accessible to all in jewel-like images. Image from article, with caption: Alexander the Great fights dragons, detail from 'Le livre et la vraye hystoire du bon roy Alixandre' (c 1420-25)

Westfield Presents ‘Richard III’: Not your father’s Shakespeare - Bonnie Hobbs, connectionnewspapers.com: Since Westfield High’s presenting Shakespeare’s "Richard III," it seems fitting that guest-directing is Dan Crane, a professional actor and teaching artist with The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C. "It’s a really great opportunity," he said. "I was glad to be invited to do this. It’s a story of good triumphing over evil, but also a propaganda piece Shakespeare wrote for the Tudors. The character of Richard III is depicted as a spider — deformed, disgusting and rotten from within and without. But of course, it’s all a lie."

AMERICANA

In the early 1990s, most college students did not need to take out loans. But in 2009-10, 56% of full-time undergraduates at public colleges were borrowers. At private nonprofit schools, 65% had loans. For the first time in our history, student loan debt has exceeded credit card debt.

One reason is that over the last 25 years, tuition has risen four times faster than the Consumer Price Index. In California, public universities enacted the highest average tuition increase, 21%, of any state last year, according to the College Board. With states putting up less money to subsidize higher education, more of the cost burden has shifted to students. Image from

ONE MORE QUOTATION FOR THE DAY

"Gentlemen, we are out of money. We'll have to think."

--What Lord Rutherford famously observed when his laboratory faced bankruptcy; Rutherford image from

AND ONE MORE QUOTATION FOR THE DAY

State Department social media guru official Alec Ross on facebook:  "Today in the United States we celebrate Veteran's Day, a day of remembrance for our soldiers, which comes on the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I,

a conflict that saw more than 8 million soldiers die and who knows how many citizens. Thinking about Veteran's die

I think about a statement made by one of America's toughest generals, George Patton who said: "Moral courage is the most valuable and usually the most absent characteristic in men." Ross image from facebook; below image from

MORE AMERICANA

Elementary Grammar Exercises

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