Sunday, November 13, 2011

November 13

"Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do."

--Apple founder Steve Jobs; Jobs image from


Stand by Me. Via TH


November 12 South Carolina GOP Debate Recap: Waterboarding Edition - The Tree of Mamre - Politics, religion, and life: Unapologetically conservative, Christian, and iconoclastic. "First a complaint: Today there was yet another GOP debate, this one hosted by CBS News and the National Journal in South Carolina, focusing on national security issues. The moderators, Scott Pelley and Major Garrett, were simply terrible, and the whole way this debate was run by CBS was a joke.

The set looked cheap. Though this has been the only debate so far focusing on national security issues, they only played an hour on TV and broadcast the rest on the Internet, where most people could not see it because of networking problems. The news division of CBS must have really slipped over the years. Now, to the issues: ... On China, Perry believes that the Chinese communist government cannot survive unless it adopts virtue (newsflash to Perry: If it had virtue, it would no longer be communist or in charge). Romney would use trade as a leverage against China to make them play by the rules. Incredibly, Huntsman believes that we cannot take China to the WTO on currency related issues. Since the GATT talks in particular discussed currency related issues regarding China (they made the decision to punt), this is certainly something that can and should be handled by the WTO. One would think that a former ambassador would know this.

His idea of solving problems in US-China relations by engaging the youth of China through the Internet and public diplomacy was hopelessly naive. ... Jon Huntsman was an embarrassment. One of his worst answers of the night was on China–and he is a former ambassador to that country." Above image from; Huntsman image from

Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Re: Paneta Warns Against Military Strike Against Iran - Dialogues: "From: [] On Behalf Of Cornelius Hamelberg [] In the final analysis 'prevention is better than cure' and when the Shia doctrines of Taqiyya and Kitman enter the political arena of public diplomacy there's no telling exactly where the Iranian regime is heading. It's extra dangerous because we cannot foresee that the regime is destined to be stable."

Management pressures VOA China Branch to drop two hours of radio to pay for more television - BBGWatcher, BBG Watch: "[T]he newly-formed Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB) has sent emails to BBG Chairman Walter Isaacson, other BBG members, the VOA Director and the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) Director Richard Lobo informing them that proposals to cut vital VOA radio and TV programs have always represented

the only response of the constantly growing ranks BBG and VOA managers to any kind of new programming initiative or to any budget reduction. According to our sources, the CUSIB email pointed out that this kind of automatic bureaucratic response is extremely harmful to media freedom abroad and to U.S. public diplomacy and national security interests. CUSIB told BBG members that VOA radio broadcasts to China are vital for human rights activists and the most oppressed and disadvantaged groups who are unable or afraid to use the Internet and cannot be expected to use censorship circumvention tools needed to access VOA websites." Uncaptioned image from article

Every year, around Halloween, the VOA Persian detractors emerge (updated) - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: "The purpose of VOA Persian might be encapsulated in the new BBG Mission: 'To inform, engage and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy.' The wording could make members of Congress conclude that the mission of US international broadcasting is along the lines of what Michale [sic] Rubin is advocating [see article in Commentary] . To add diplomatic, military, and economic components to what really should be a newsroom would create chaos, indeed. And it would chase away an audience seeking news that is more credible than the news they receive from the regime-controlled domestic media. At least there would still be BBC Persian."

Hasbara: Why does the world fail to understand us? - Noam Sheizaf, "Hasbara is a form of propaganda aimed at an international audience, primarily, but not exclusively, in western countries. ... The use of the Hebrew term Hasbara in a critical context, rather than 'propaganda' or 'public diplomacy' (the title of the Wikipedia entry on the issue), is necessary, because Hasbara efforts are wider and their goals much more ambitious than any similar activities taken by all democracies and most non-democracies.

Hasbara targets political elites, opinion makers and the public simultaneously; it includes traditional advocacy efforts as well as more general appeals made through mass media, and it is carried out by government agencies, non-governmental organizations, lobbying groups, private citizens, students, journalists and bloggers. ... There is an interesting tension in Israel between the tremendous efforts put into Hasbara – Israeli advocacy is probably the most widespread and ambitious state-run propaganda effort in the world today – and a sense of 'Hasbara failure' in the Israeli public. Rants about the fact that Israel is misunderstood and complaints about the incompetence of those dealing with Hasbara are often heard in the popular media. In my opinion, 'the failure of Hasbara' is actually a failure of policy – especially, but not limited to, that relating to the occupation and the control over the Palestinians." Image from article

A tentful of hasbara - Bruce Levy, Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (J-BIG), London BDS: Londoners for a Free Palestine: "A constant theme of the Zionist hasbara (propaganda) machine is that the BDS movement is built on a foundation of lies and hate, doomed to fail and is no threat to Israel. Which leads one to ask if the Zios are so confident that BDS will be consigned to the rubbish heap of history, why then do they devote so much time, effort and resources to try to counter it? In May, BICOM (the Britain Israel Communication and Research Centre) staged the We Believe in Israel conference in London that brought together

the usual group of factually challenged oddballs and misfits together with some Israel embassy puppets and several political whores from Westminster seeking to feather their nests. And in July, a highly controversial law was passed by the Israeli Knesset that made it an offence for any individual or organisation to call for a boycott against the State of Israel. I’m certain I wasn’t the only one who noticed an event called The Big Tent for Israel scheduled to take place in Manchester on November 27th which is yet another Zionist propaganda exercise promising to deliver a strategy against the successful delegitimisation campaign against the racist, apartheid state." Image from article, with caption: Even Zionist propaganda acknowledges London as the "Hub of Hubs" in the international campaign to delegitimise Israel.

Arab League, Keeping up with Online Public Diplomacy - RS Zaharna, "Today the Arab League made news. After its meeting on what to do about the ongoing bloodshed in Syria, the League’s members voted to . . . If you wanted to get the news in English, you would have to go to news media sources rather than the source itself. The Arab League may have missed the

public diplomacy boat by not having an official English language version of its actions on its website. ... Being prepared or cognizant that the media and other parties may turn to one’s website during a news event is part of the public diplomacy digital strategy. Whenever there is a major story to tell, the organization should be there to tell its story. In diplomacy, subtle differences matter. Translations can be tricky. Public diplomacy usually involves politics. And politics, by nature, are contentious. If there is going to be different versions of a story, better to have one’s version up prominently. Or, at least as an option. ... Today, updating ones websites should matter as much as holding a press conferences to announce the news." Image from article

European music festival returns to Vietnam‎ - Thanh Nien Daily: "The annual European Music Festival will return to Vietnam next week with first-time participants from Slovakia. This year’s event will feature pop, jazz, rock, classic and world music performances, plus highlights from many Vietnamese artists. This year, the annual music festival will continue to celebrate the richness of European culture as well as culture exchanges between Europe and Vietnam. The event 'is in itself an excellent example of important public diplomacy exchanges in the EU-Vietnam relation,' said Mr. Franz Jessen, ambassador – head of the Delegation of the European Union in Vietnam."

Public Diplomacy: Words and Realities - J. N. Nielsen, "Every nation-state indulges in duplicitous and disingenuous public diplomacy in which it attempts to get results through words alone. And, of course, sometimes these efforts are effective. Words can have consequences. ... Diplomacy has been called the

'art of the possible,' and much of the possibility that diplomacy attempts to limn and to probe rests upon both what is subtly said and what is with equal subtlety left unsaid. And so it is that even a disconnect between words and deeds can be exploited to diplomatic effect. Diplomacy often openly exploits the cognitive dissonance of a presumed rival or enemy, by making strong statements of public diplomacy that differ from equally strong statements of private diplomacy. (As when a representative proclaims, 'We condemn the actions of x in the strongest terms,' even while other diplomats are privately approaching the same party and saying, 'We’re with you all the way on this, we just have to say these things for public consumption.') Or, alternatively, in contrast to the organized smear campaign, an organized campaign of disinformation is undertaken when strongly worded but contradictory statements are issued from widely diverse sources, thus keeping the target of the disinformation campaign a little off-balance and not knowing what to expect next. Such performative diplomacy, if you will allow me to call it such, will always be subject to comparison to reality, but in a sufficiently chaotic context (say, war, or simply the chaos of 24/7 news coverage in which a premium is placed on breaking new stories rather than following up on old stories) this comparison may come too late to be effective, and it will only be in soul-searching months or years later when it is recognized that events spun out of control, or were directed by canny diplomacy and propaganda in this way with an intention that they spin out of control. Such matters can be instigated, but one cannot count on their success." Image from


Afghanistan success is in eye of beholder: As NATO insists that violence is declining while many Afghans say daily life has grown more perilous, tension has grown over so-called metrics that can be used to chart progress or deterioration - Laura King, As the U.S.-led war against the Taliban grinds into its second decade, the life-and-death struggle taking place daily across Afghanistan has gotten entangled in increasingly divergent narratives of the Western war effort.

In this high-stakes phase of a waning conflict, perceptions of success have become crucial, perhaps more so than reality. Image from article, with caption: Polish and U.S. members of the NATO International Security Assistance Force patrol in the Zana Khan district of Ghazni, Afghanistan.

Taliban Propaganda Watch – 121445UTC Nov 11 -

Here Is How Modern Propaganda Is Disseminated - We are being foisted into yet another war with propaganda that is as sorry as propaganda comes.

If we go to war with Iran your lifestyle as you have come to know it will surely end. Image from

Obama, Erdogan find shared interests - Soner Cagaptay, Washington Post: Only last year, U.S.-Turkish relations were in tumult, with disagreements on a number of issues — such as Turkey’s relations with Israel and how to deal with Iran’s nuclearization — undermining Washington’s historical bond with Ankara. Today, however, the United States and Turkey are on a honeymoon, with President Obama and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan having formed what is probably the best relationship between a U.S. president and a Turkish prime minister in decades.

Book review: Condoleezza Rice is thorough in 'No Higher Honor': In 'No Higher Honor,' Condoleezza Rice details clashes with Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, but she also addresses Hurricane Katrina and several hot-button topics - Scott Martelle, In several occasions Rice blames the media for not understanding the nuances of issues and policies, leaving the White House on the defensive. She doesn't seem to have contemplated the possibility that communication problems in the White House may have led to so many misunderstood messages.

Ultimately, the book is a sharp reminder that some of the most vexing diplomatic problems of the world have a tendency to outlast the players. In fact, the three biggest policy headaches the Bush administration inherited — the Middle East, nuclear proliferation and terrorism — seem no closer to resolution now than when Rice first sat down with the future president to advise him on how to engage with the world. Rice image from article.  See also John Brown, "10 Percent Intellectual": The Mind of Condoleezza Rice," PR Watch (2008)

No One Is Stealing Palestinian Land‎
- Jerrold L. Sobel, American Thinker: There is a common theme amongst two sets of people supporting the Palestinian cause: those with unmistakable animus toward Israel and Jews and others just misinformed by consistent, unremitting propaganda.

Guardian anti-Israel propaganda photo of the day (Palestinian children edition) - Adam Levick, When it comes to reports about Israel at the Guardian, their inventory of misleading anti-Israel images are clearly quite abundant. Indeed, the Guardian received an Honest Reporting ”2010 Dishonest Reporting Award“ due to this memorable photo, and accompanying headline: Eyewitness: "Palestinian youth run down."

In addition to the curious fact that the cameramen (among others) just happened to be “in the right place at the right time," the fact that an innocent Israeli motorist was trying desperately to avoid harm, from a pre-planned ambush by seven rock throwing Palestinians, evidently wasn’t a compelling enough narrative. Image from article

Macedonia : FYROM’s Propaganda and Human Rights - These series of articles will expose to public eyes how FYROM’s Propaganda machine works. Especially the massive internet campaign used by Slavic propagandists from FYROM

with sole aim to deceive the readers while misrepresenting and manipulating well-evidenced historical events to fit their petty nationalistic agenda.

It is sometimes hard for the unsuspected reader who is frequently confronted by deceitful attempts to believe false claims disguised to sound truthful. These series of articles aim to familiarise you with techniques of Misinformation being spread from this former Yugoslav Republic so that you become able to assess the strength of any argument you may encounter and thus determine of its validity. Above image from; below image from article

Broadcasting to the Balkans: Al Jazeera’s latest venture - In the centre of Sarajevo, Bosnia’s capital, a gleaming piece of Arabic script adorns the top of a new building. This is the logo of Al Jazeera, the Qatari network that has changed the face of television news since it was founded 15 years ago. Inside the building, carpenters and technicians are putting the finishing touches to the offices. But this is not just another foreign bureau. Al Jazeera’s Balkan service goes live on November 11th. This will be the second foreign-language station the network has opened, after Al Jazeera English in 2006. But what language is it? Journalists will be broadcasting in “their” language, say station bosses. This tongue used to be called Serbo-Croatian; now it goes by a number of names: Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian or Montenegrin. (Think New Zealand, Scottish and American versions of English.) The target audience for the channel will be the former Serbo-Croatian speaking regions of the ex-Yugoslavia. But plenty of Macedonians and Slovenes understand the language, as do older Kosovo Albanians. Tarik Djodjic, the managing director, says that €15m ($20.5m) has been invested in Al Jazeera Balkans.

The channel’s editor, Goran Milic, is linked in the (older) public mind with Yutel, a state-run news station that sought, between 1990 and 1992, to keep Yugoslavia from falling apart. Also based in Sarajevo, the channel died in the shelling. Via JRJ. Milic image from article, with caption: Milic is coming to a screen near you.

Russia: Valdai’s valid concerns
- Neil Buckley, Financial Times: The Valdai Discussion Club, the annual conference of academics and journalists specialising in Russia, has sometimes been dismissed by critics as a Kremlin-sponsored propaganda-fest. Not this year. Debates at the event, held this week in provincial Kaluga, 200km from Moscow, and in the capital itself, have reflected deep unease among both Russian and international observers about the country’s political and economic outlook. Timothy Colton, a Harvard professor specialising in Russia, sums up the concerns: “The paradox that we now have is that Russia once again is in a position where it has quite a dynamic society and economy, but a stagnating if not stagnant political system.”

Furious Greeks revive ghosts of Nazi past - Roger Boyes, The angry anti-austerity movement in Greece has embarked on a propaganda war against Germany, evoking the symbols and images of the

Nazi occupation. Image from

The Good Fight: Battle of Britain Wartime Propaganda and The Few - The Good Fight: Battle of Britain Wartime Propaganda and The Few 368 pages | Sep 22 2008 |ISBN: 1403989982 | PDF | 2.5 Mb  The Battle of Britain lasted for sixteen weeks during later 1940, yet this struggle for air supremacy was vital in thwarting Hitler’s invasion threat. The Good Fight discusses wartime propaganda where “The Few,” the RAF’s fighter and bomber pilots, captivated the world through their combat prowess and valor.

Projected through press, film, radio broadcasts and publications, this book assesses the constituencies, organisations, censorship and approaches deployed in exploiting this fortuitous opportunity, and the impact upon British morale. Charting its roots in the run up to war, it discusses the evolving propaganda coverage throughout the war years, and the post-war historiography. Image from article

Execution of British nurse riveted world attention in October 1915 - On Oct. 23, 1915, The Evening Telegram: Seldom have we read anything more inspiring than the story of Miss Edith Cavell. She appears to have been the head of a nurses’ training school at Brussels and, although she knew she was spied upon by the Germans and under suspicion of aiding British soldiers who escaped from the Germans, she was resolutely determined to remain at her post as long as there were British soldiers to relieve in the cots under her care. In pursuance of the policy of frightfulness by which they imagine they can cow their foes, she was charged (by the Germans) with succouring escaped British soldiers, taken before a military tribunal, condemned to death and sentenced to be shot.

Invited to sign a petition to the Kaiser to reprieve her of the death sentence, she shrugged her shoulders and walked out with the dignity of a pure English lady, too proud to supplicate a Herod and too peerless in spirit to succumb to the deeds of an Atilla. Face to face with the muskets of the Huns, she refused to allow them to bandage her eyes, but fearlessly looked them in the face and proudly pinned a Union Jack of her breast; in life, defying German frightfulness and in death, testifying to the spirit that Britons prefer death to degradation. Image from article, with caption: This illustration of the execution of Edith Cavell is from a French postcard, designed to spread the wartime propaganda of Germany as a brutal nation that cared nothing for anybody or anything that got in its way.

Book review: ‘The Prague Cemetery’ takes you on a madman’s tour - A detestable narrator spins a disquieting tale that meshes history with intrigue - Kevin Canfield, Kansas City Star: Simone Simonini, the appalling figure at the heart of Umberto Eco’s historical novel about propaganda, fear and ignorance, can’t stand what he sees on the horizon of his adopted home city.

Eventually, Simonini falls in with a series of wealthy sponsors who want proof that a group of powerful Jews has hatched a plan to rule the world. And so he invents a scenario that has Jewish holy men meeting in a Prague cemetery, where they draw up a plot to take over banks, governments, the media and just about every other bit of contemporary life. He dubs the text the Prague Protocols, but it will soon become better known as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the infamous phony text that would later dupe Adolf Hitler, among others. Image from article

American Propaganda: See Something, Say Something - "Earlier this evening I was watching Saturday Night Live, a widely popular comedy program on television. Some of the skits were rather funny so I continued watching. The show cut to commercial break, and the normal deluge of commercials were on, car commercials, dryer commercials etc. None of these were of particular interest to me, except one. This commercial wasn’t so much of a advertisement, as opposed to a public awareness message. The commercial consisted of a woman in a pleasant voice talking about the See Something, Say Something campaign in New York City, which essentially plays the role of reporting your neighbor for suspicious activity. This sounds like something you’d find in the Soviet Union, or something you’d fine in the movie 1984 (book by George Orwell), as opposed to a supposedly Democratic and free society. The main tenet of this campaign is to keep New York safe. My question is keeping New York safe from what? "


"Ted McIlvenna, Ph.D., [is] president of The Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in San Francisco and curator of the Erotic Heritage Museum in Las Vegas.

McIlvenna may quite possibly possess the largest collection of erotic memorabilia in the world. The 80-year old former theological professor [JB emphasis] claims to have over 3 million items, filling 34 warehouses." McIlvenna image from

--Chris Morris, "Porn memorabilia becoming a legitimate collectible," USA TODAY

"A study recently released by the American Association of University Women shows that nearly half of students in grades 7 through 12 have experienced sexual harassment."

--Katie Roiphe, "In Favor of Dirty Jokes and Risqué Remarks," New York Times


--US college grads's salaries in steep decline, from Boing Boing


Carlsberg stunts with bikers in cinema

No comments: