Monday, November 26, 2012

November 25-26


 "There are fewer of them."

--University of Chicago Public Policy Professor Christopher Berry and Stanford doctoral candidate Sarah Anzia, explaining (according to Scripps Howard News Service reporter Ann McFeatters) why women are better politicians; image from


Public Schedule for November 26, 2012 - U.S Department of State: "UNDER SECRETARY FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS TARA SONENSHINE Under Secretary Sonenshine is on foreign travel to Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Ankara and Istanbul, Turkey."

Andrew W.K. and U.S. Department Of State: Entertainer Named Cultural Ambassador To The Middle East - Huffington Post: "In bizarre news of the day, the U.S. Department of State of has named Andrew W.K. the Cultural Ambassador to the Middle East. 'This is a tremendous invitation,' W.K. said in a statement on his website. 'I'm very thankful to the Department of State for giving me the opportunity to visit a place I've never been before.

And I feel very privileged and humbled by the chance to represent the United States of America and show the good people of Bahrain the power of positive partying. I can hardly wait for this adventure!' The performer's website reports that W.K. will visit the Middle East 'to promote partying and positive power.' The story also explains that 'Andrew will begin his journey the first week of December, 2012 and will visit elementary schools, the University of Bahrain, music venues, and more, all while promoting partying and world peace.' " Via YO on Facebook. W.K. image from entry. Twitter by Lena O ‏@LenaOsipova sounds like an @OnionNews piece. From W.K.'s website: "Logan • 2 days ago − If this ridiculousness is indeed true, then surely the only decent media partner for such an event would be Middle Eastern satirical newspaper, The Pan-Arabia Enquirer." Note: Your PDPBR compiler has found no official State Department announcement re the above; one more comment at.

China's global media companies and their reporters' softball questions - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: "Reporters sans frontières, 8 Nov 2012: ['] Aware of the foreign media’s steadily-growing influence, the authorities have reinforced the blocking of the Voice of America, BBC, Radio Free Asia and Deutsche Welle websites. A few weeks ago it was possible to circumvent the censorship by using proxies and VPNs, but some sources are reporting that such tools are now much less effective.[']"

Commentator: BBC World Service is not perfect, but "it was never as crass as Radio Moscow or the Voice of America" - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Михаил Соколов: «Менеджеры радио «Свобода» - взбесившиеся бюро­краты» ["Mikhail Sokolov: Radio Liberty Managers -- Maddening Bureaucrats']  - Valentina Zorina, Argumenty i Fakty

Image from

Куда пропало радио «Свобода»? [Loose translation: What's Happened to Radio "Liberty"?] - Via TL on Facebook

Jewish Federation Asks Residents To Stand With Israel - "The Jewish Federation of Rockland hosted Stand With Israel:  Blue and White Cyber Friday at the Rockland JCC to let the public know how they can help spread the word on what is going on currently in Israel.

Gil Lainer, consul for public diplomacy at the Consulate General of Israel in New York, spoke at the event, both about the situation in the Middle East and how people can help spread a positive message. He said first it’s important to understand the history of the situation in Israel. The way to do that, Lainer said, is through people." Image, presumably of Lainer, from article

Somewhere In New York: Only public relations can find me - "Israel and Public Diplomacy - In two months I will be studying in the beachside city of Tel Aviv. I have spent the past few weeks filling out my forms and finalizing my plans. Since I already have Israel on my brain, I feel as though Israel finds its way into all aspects of my life. When I first heard that Israeli Ido Ahadrodi would be a guest lecturer in my public relations focused Ethics of Advocacy, I was definitely excited but moderately confused. Beyond scratching my head on how my professor was able to convince a consulate to speak in my class, I could not how figure out how Consulate [sic] Ahadrodi would connect ethics, public relations and the country of Israel. Within the first few minutes of class Consulate Ahadrodi entered the room accompanied by his three bodyguards, who secured the door for the entirety of the presentation. The bodyguards, who cued me into how important Ahadrodi is, were a clue that my class was in for a stimulating lecture. Consulate Ido Ahadrodi, started his presentation by showing a short clip from the John Stewart show, which parodied the Israeli/Palestinian conflict that summed up to the fact that no matter where the Jews and Palestinians are in the world they would argue. He explained that part of his job was to shift the focus away from the conflict and towards Israeli’s [sic] many accomplishments. He said that Israel would not gain any support by only focusing on verbally attacking their enemy. This fragile and unique practice of branding a country is part of the upcoming field of public diplomacy. According to the Syracuse University Public Diplomacy program, public diplomacy is Public is a new field that has grown out of a need for professionals who can effectively communicate with diverse national and international audiences. Public diplomacy focuses on cross-cultural communication presents. In short, public diplomacy is the interaction of governments trying to positively portray their respective nations."

The blog is mightier than the sword - Amit Lewinthal, "During the heat of battle, Chinese bloggers and Hispanic journalists from the U.S. arrived in Israel • The bloggers, who have hundreds of millions of followers

can play pivotal roles in Israel's public diplomacy." Image from article, with caption: Bloggers from China with Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein (Likud) this week

Governments Engaged in Digital Diplomacy through Social Media - "Introduction [:] Digital diplomacy is the new buzz word that governments are following nowadays. Social media unites people globally for any common or serious problem. Their voices are the power and determined only by Likes and Shares provided by them. Let us see the importance of government getting engaged in digital diplomacy through social media. Public diplomacy [:] ... Ancient history indicates that many foreign governments ruled foreign lands. During those times, public Diplomacy was an essential part of Soft Power.

Modern public diplomacy is getting defined by leading America and others. Leaders aim is that the general public should be the citizens of the country and if any has foreign policies, then advertisements are published in foreign newspapers and makes the brilliant youths to study in their own countries and students from others to study there and exports cultural elements." Image from entry


How Hillary Clinton’s choices predict her future - Stephanie McCrummen, Washington Post: Clinton's controversial decision as Secretary of State may be her push for “expeditionary diplomacy,” the idea that diplomats should engage more with people beyond embassy walls, which Stevens, the ambassador to Libya, exemplified.

The rest are more obscure. While Clinton’s initiatives have not led to major foreign policy shifts, they have resulted in project after project. Image from article

Foggy Bottom Race: The Susan Rice Noise Gets Louder, Thanks to Senator McGrouchy - Domani Spero, DiploPundit: Ambassador Rice has been at the helm of USUN since 2009 and her performance as chief of mission there has not led us to believe that she is the right person who can inspire followers or provide the needed leadership to help the listing ship at State.

Election spurred a move to codify U.S. drone policy - Scott Shane, Facing the possibility that President Barack Obama might not win a second term, his administration accelerated work in the weeks before the election to develop explicit rules for the targeted killing of terrorists by unmanned drones, so that a new president would inherit clear standards and procedures, according to two administration officials. The matter may have lost some urgency after Nov. 6. But with more than 300 drone strikes and about 2,500 people killed by the CIA and the military since Obama first took office, the administration is still pushing to make the rules formal and resolve internal uncertainty and disagreement about exactly when lethal action is justified.

Close Guantánamo Prison - Editorial, New York Times: There are now 166 men held at Guantánamo, 76 fewer prisoners than when Mr. Obama took office. Only a handful of those remaining have been charged with any crime or legal violation.

About 86 of the inmates were identified more than two years ago for repatriation to their home countries or resettlement elsewhere by an Obama administration task force that reviewed each prisoner’s file. Thanks to outrageous limits Congress placed on the transfer of Guantánamo prisoners beginning in 2010, the prisoners are still being held, with no end to their incarceration in sight. Image from

Support Palestinian Statehood - Yossi Beilin, New York Times: If the world wants to express support for the Palestinian party that recognizes Israel, seeks to avoid violence, and genuinely wishes to reach a peace agreement in which a Palestinian state exists alongside — not instead of — Israel, it will have its chance later this week when Mr. Abbas makes his bid for recognition of Palestinian statehood before the United Nations. If American and Israeli opposition to a Palestinian bid continues, it could serve as a mortal blow to Mr. Abbas, and end up being a prize that enhances the power and legitimacy of Hamas.

What Bill Clinton can teach Obama about the Israelis - Natan B. Sachs, Washington Post: The next time U.S. leadership is required in the Middle East, the stakes may be higher than ever. In a year in which the crisis over Iran’s nuclear program may finally come to blows, it is essential that the president utilize all the tools at his disposal. And this includes the goodwill and trust of Netanyahu’s bosses: Israel’s citizenry.

Chinese flock to elite U.S. schools - Alexis Lai, CNN: In the last decade, mainland Chinese have reshaped the international student body at U.S. colleges and universities, notably at Ivy League institutions. In the 2009-2010 academic year, China surpassed traditional "study abroad" heavyweights like Canada, India and South Korea, to lead international enrollment across U.S. higher education, according to the Institute of International Education. The U.S.-based institute's most recent figures . reveal that mainland Chinese students increased 23% to more than 723,000 in the 2010-11 academic year. As U.S. campuses cannot fully support the demand from China, there is an opportunity in bringing international education to China, beginning at the secondary level. The trend can already be seen in U.S. universities establishing local degree-granting branches. Next September, New York University will welcome its first undergraduate cohort at its new Shanghai campus.

Using War as Cover to Target Journalists - David Carr, New York Times: The important principle at work is whether governments in the Middle East and elsewhere will succeed in shaping or silencing different points of view by training missiles and bullets on journalists. If they do, the battle for the truth will disappear into the fog of war.

The U.N.'s Internet Sneak Attack: Letting the Internet be rewired by bureaucrats would be like handing a Stradivarius to a gorilla - L. Gordon, Who runs the Internet? For now, the answer remains no one, or at least no government, which explains the Web's success as a new technology.

But as of next week, unless the U.S. gets serious, the answer could be the United Nations. Many of the U.N.'s 193 member states oppose the open, uncontrolled nature of the Internet. Its interconnected global networks ignore national boundaries, making it hard for governments to censor or tax. And so, to send the freewheeling digital world back to the state control of the analog era, China, Russia, Iran and Arab countries are trying to hijack a U.N. agency that has nothing to do with the Internet. Image from article

When Propaganda Masquarades [sic] as News - James F. Tracy, Global Research: The week-long Israeli onslaught against largely defenseless Palestinians in Gaza that began on November 14 provides a basis for assessing how Western corporate media whitewash the war crimes of America’s foremost ally in the Middle East. There are three often intertwined techniques consciously applied to such news coverage—historical context, sourcing, and objectification of the enemy to be targeted. Such practices can readily transform journalism into propaganda that acts to abet such crimes while at the same time allowing journalistic institutions to still claim the mantle of “objectivity.”

NBC Uses Dubious Propaganda Images from Gaza War - Brad Wilmouth, During the recent war in Gaza, NBC News used two images of which definitely one and possibly both qualify as deceptive propaganda against Israel's war effort. The first example is the infamous image of a child who was killed by shrapnel from a rocket fired out of Gaza by the terrorist group Hamas, but which some news outlets, including CNN, attributed to an Israeli airstrike early on. The Friday, November 16, NBC Nightly News, also used the image in a report by Richard Engel.

The NBC correspondent did not state which side had caused the child's death, as he merely informed viewers that the child had been "killed moments earlier," but he never followed up to clarify that it was a Hamas rocket, and not Israel airstrikes, that was responsible. And on Tuesday, November 20, Engel used an image of a teddy bear lying in a crater after an Israeli airstrike in reports on both the Today show and on the NBC Nightly News. Without noting that photographers in the region have a history of placing toys amid debris to produce more dramatic images, the NBC correspondent matter of factly asserted in the Today show report that "one of their teddy bears still lies in a crater" as he recounted that two children had supposdly been killed. Image from


"Every civilization must go."

--James Atlas, New York Times


"More people hit the stores this Thanksgiving weekend than they did last year, as big-box retailers opened their doors earlier than ever on Thursday. The average consumer spent $423 — roughly $25 more than they did last year — between Thursday and Sunday, while total spending increased nearly 13 percent to an estimated $59.1 billion."

--Abha Bhattarai, Washington Post


Via JG on Facebook

No comments: