Friday, November 30, 2012

November 30


"It is possible to imagine a distant future in which most other species of life are extinct but the ocean will consist overwhelmingly of immortal jellyfish, a great gelatin consciousness everlasting."

--Nathaniel Rich, "Can a Jellyfish Unlock the Secret of Immortality?" New York Times


The Paper Prince of Pakistan: Della Mae performing "Paper Prince" on Pakistan Radio. Via PR of America Voices


The Extraordinary Power of Ordinary People - Ambassador's Notes: Embassy Sarajevo: Views from U.S. Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Patrick S. Moon, and his Embassy team: "We welcomed the U.S. State Department’s top public diplomacy official – Under Secretary of State for Public Affairs and Public Diplomacy Tara Sonenshine – to Bosnia and Herzegovina this week to meet with students, NGO representatives, civic activists, government officials, the media, and our Public Diplomacy team at the Embassy. Under Secretary Sonenshine

is a passionate champion of U.S. programs around the world that foster mutual understanding and cooperation between the United States and other countries. I was pleased she chose to visit BiH because the US Embassy in BiH has some of the most successful and innovative public diplomacy programs in Europe, and I wanted to introduce her to our work and our local partners. Under Secretary Sonenshine met with two dozen high school students who recently returned from a month in the U.S. on the Youth Leadership Program. The students told her how the program in Seattle, Washington, and Washington, D.C., inspired them to be active participants in their communities back here in BiH. Under Secretary Sonenshine also met with LGBT activists and heard about their inspiring grassroots work promoting human rights and tolerance. She heard from women leaders about their challenges and achievements in promoting the role of women in society. They confirmed their intention to continue working for the economic and social progress that is possible when women are appropriately represented. And Under Secretary Sonenshine talked with a group of local web portal journalists about the State Department’s work to engage all audiences, but especially youth, with technology. While I spend much of my time in meetings with politicians and government leaders, meeting the ordinary citizens who work each day for a better BiH keeps me motivated and optimistic about BiH’s future. These 'ordinary' citizens are truly the extraordinary people who will help this country move forward. I was very pleased to introduce Under Secretary Sonenshine to some of the people who inspire me the most. We also took a few moments to honor two of our extraordinary American colleagues who lost their lives here in BiH during the siege of Sarajevo. Under Secretary Sonenshine presided over a ceremony at the Embassy where we dedicated our largest conference room and our Information Resource Center in honor of Doctor Joe Kruzel

and Colonel Nelson Drew, who, along with Ambassador Robert Frasure and French Corporal Stefan Raoult, died tragically on the Mount Igman road in 1995. They lost their lives for the cause of peace, stability, and prosperity in Bosnia and Herzegovina – goals the United States and our extraordinary local partners continue to work for today. Getting out to our embassies and seeing the work we are doing on the ground is vitally important for the leaders of the State Department. I thank Under Secretary Sonenshine for taking the time to hear a few of the stories of remarkable people who believe a better future is possible for all citizens. The US Embassy’s Public Diplomacy team will continue working to find new and exciting ways to reach out to those in Bosnia and Herzegovina who are committed to a sovereign, democratic and prosperous country anchored in the Euro-Atlantic community of nations."  Images from entry, with the captions, above (U/S Sonenshine and Ambassador Moon with recently returned Youth Leadership Program participants from Sarajevo and East Sarajevo) and below (U/S Sonenshine and Ambassador Moon at the dedication ceremony in honor of Doctor Kruzel and Colonel Drew.)

America’s dismal image in the Arab and Islamic worlds - Khalid Al-Seghayer, "In the past, people looked at the US as a beacon of hope, the motherland of freedom and a country that has numerous good values and cultural practices. People had high respect and admiration for the American people themselves, for being generous, kind, understanding, open-minded, and considerate. In contrast, today, both the American people and the country as a whole are viewed negatively by people the world over. ... They say that Americans are obsessed with money, live in a racially divided society, and are ignorant of the outside world. Moreover, American society is perceived to be uncultured, crime-ridden and uncaring. This is all the result of the unwise and thoughtless manner in which the US has conducted itself in the arena of world politics of late. ... After the invasion of Iraq, the US launched a vast public relations campaign in the hope of changing the negative attitude of the Arab and Muslim worlds toward it. Since the youth are the target in this well-funded campaign, the US issued in July 2003 a magazine called Hi.

Then, in 2004 the US launched a TV satellite channel called Al-Hurra. Additionally, the US replaced its Voice of America Radio broadcasts to the Arab world with Radio Sawa. These efforts occurred during the George W. Bush era and more endeavors were seen throughout the first term of Barack Obama’s presidency. In attempting to win the hearts and minds of Arab and Muslim youth, the US has also lately undertaken public and cultural diplomacies. Recently, the US seems to have eased its tight restriction on issuing visas and has opened its borders to visitors and tourists, welcoming again foreign students. The US also encourages its journalists, writers, and reporters to pay regular visits to the Arab and Muslim worlds and welcomes return visits. Such visits will offer an opportunity to develop a better understanding of both worlds. Further cultural or intellectual public diplomacy which is an essential component of diplomacy has already taken effect by starting new radio stations, launching more satellite channels, encouraging American TV channels to ease the restriction on allowing Arab satellite channels to rebroadcast prominent American talk shows and movies, and translating well-known American books into Arabic. And there will be more to come. In June 2009, President Obama delivered a historic speech at Cairo University entitled 'A New Beginning' hoping, as a central goal of his presidency, to change America’s dismal image in the Arab and Muslim worlds. But have these efforts led to the desired consequences? My view is that they have probably produced some positive effects in the short run, but not in the long run. Whatever the case, they do not completely change the increasingly dim view that youth in both the Arab and Muslim worlds have toward America. This is because the US generally tries to find quick and temporary solutions to problems, overlooking the long-lasting cure." Via KAE. Image from

StateDept ‏@StateDept: "Have a question for Under Secretary @TSonenshine’s Global #Twitter Q&A on December 5 at 10 AM ET? Submit it using #AskState.'

When you have basically nothing to do, get on a plane - John Brown, Notes and Essays: "[T]hey, the [US] Secretaries of State, shuttle from place to place -- much of it PR to show that they're 'doing something,' calling it (in some instances) 'public diplomacy.'

Such non-stop motion is meant to suggest solutions, but I'm not convinced that anything is actually getting done." Image from

Former RFE/RL Russian journalists launch Radio Liberty in Exile website - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting.

Image from entry

Ted Lipien shared Владимир Абарбанель's photo - Facebook - "Story of a handicapped Radio Liberty web editor Alexei Kuznetsov fired without any warning by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty executives - Facebook entry:

His father Anatoliy Kuznetsov, also a former Radio Liberty journalist, wrote 'Babi Yar,' a famous Soviet-era book about the Holocaust." Image from entry

BBG welcomes Syrian release of Alhurra cameraman Cüneyt Ünal, but reporter Bashar Fahmi still missing (updated) - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Cuban-based producer of TV Martí program remains in detention (updated: released) - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Sinai Today: Iron Dome diplomacy - Warren Goldstein, Jerusalem Post: "Israel has won the military battles, but lost on the battlefields of public diplomacy and world opinion, where it struggles to keep up with its enemies, who, over the decades, have managed to make their narrative of the conflict the dominant one in the world. ... What is the way forward? ... What is needed is a paradigm shift to 'Iron Dome diplomacy,' which requires a comprehensive and integrated strategy to persuade world opinion of the justice of the cause of the State of Israel. In broad strokes, it requires the Israeli government to, firstly, build a communications organization to rival the IDF in budget, human resources and strategic thinking. Teams of the best and the brightest must be assembled to create a worldwide dazzling and sustained communications campaigns in all print and electronic media, in a scientific manner testing messaging through polls and focus groups in key countries across the world.

'Iron Dome diplomacy,' secondly, requires developing a comprehensive and proactive plan to create and strengthen international alliances with leading people and organizations in all areas of society, such as government, business, religion, academia and media. This means Israel must develop an organization, on the same level of excellence as its security forces, which can proactively reach out to these groupings in important countries, and engage with them through meetings, seminars and trips to Israel. ... In Israel’s early years its leaders realized that a Jewish state in the Middle East would only survive if it had powerful military capabilities. Public relations and diplomacy, by contrast, were traditionally regarded as an afterthought at best, and un-Zionistic, at worst. For many of these leaders, leaving behind the exile to create a new kind of Jew and a free and independent country was expressed in the famous words of former prime minister David Ben-Gurion: 'It doesn’t matter what the gentiles think, but what the Jews do.' Israel now needs a new way, one which is rooted in our eternal Torah principles. The Sages of the Talmud instruct us to implement the moral and strategic imperative of 'darchei shalom' – good relations between the Jewish people and the nations of the world." Image from

Soft power: A British perspective - Paul Madden, "Monocle's annual survey has placed Britain at the top of its Soft Power league table this year. When I was running the FCO's Public Diplomacy department (2003-5) I would have been delighted. ... Of course, as Joseph Nye pointed out in 1990, soft power is not just about making people like you, it's about influencing behaviour to get particular outcomes. Some of the impacts of our long Olympic summer provided direct support to our international economic agenda. Our businesses have shown they can deliver, and millions more tourists will have decided to visit. But some of the underlying values which Britain projected, consciously or unconsciously, were also important in influencing the way people think about the UK's role in the world. ... Because the IOC, rather than the host nation, owns the Olympic brand, Britain developed

a separate GREAT campaign to capitalise on London's summer in the world's eye. The FCO ran 200 events in 60 countries.  ... One of the biggest cultural impacts Britain has around the world today is through its media. The BBC, the FT and The Economist have a significant impact on how people get their understanding of the world. But the government's role in that is essentially passive: we let them flourish. Even with the BBC, which receives public funding, we have no influence on its editorial lines. People in countries with media censorship suspect this independence can't be true, but in their hearts they know it is, and that's why they tune in. Open, transparent societies put much of the soft power in the hands of the people." Uncaptioned image from article

Getting to the Last Three Feet - evanmcarlson, The Diplomatist: "There is no question that bridging the last three feet is vital to successful public diplomacy, however, put bluntly, it’s no good going up to a person to have a conversation if, by the time you get to them, everything they’ve been told about you makes them want to hate you. The last three feet are vital, but no less so the first contact. The whole frame with which people will view you is based on a first impression, and while impressions can be changed over time, it is infinitely harder if you get off on the wrong foot. This is why robust new media and broadcast media strategies are so important.

They get information out fast, almost instantaneously in some cases, so they have the ability to set the frame of the debate. The last three feet provide the individuals with the self-efficacy to make the final decision for themselves. What is maddening to me is there is, at least implied, a belief that one negates or takes away from the other. There may be a genuine fear within the PD community that a focus on virtual communication will result in a loss of funding for much needed in-person programs, and so they minimize the importance of new media to protect these programs. This view is simply short-sighted. By diminishing one aspect of public diplomacy, the whole practice is diminished." Image from entry

Here's one for Cultural Diplomacy - Dominique Lopes, Applied Public Diplomacy Group 3 Blog: "The question was brought up in class of whether or not Cultural Diplomacy should be practiced. In light of the difficulty to measure and evaluate its outcomes and impacts and on the various ways to define 'culture', Cultural Diplomacy can be seen to be an irrelevant avenue for the policy persuasion attributed to public diplomacy practitioners. However, I believe that Cultural Diplomacy allows PD officers a unique outlet for interacting with foreign publics on a very basic level. Arts, food, and local folk lore are common to every nation and therefor present an informal gateway for persuasion."

The Necessity of Higher Education in Public Diplomacy - mflash16, Public Diplomats: "[W]ithout higher education, who could a PD Officer know what practitioners who went before them consider to be, 'necessary skills'? ... [T]he necessary skills for a PD officer are, '(1) a mastery of language and rhetoric, (2) an aptitude for narrative…, and (3) a heightened awareness of the elements that contribute to allegiance.'

While all of these things may appear to be common sense, parsing them out to precise skills and aptitudes requires not only the training to recognize what the included skills are, but also learning the actual skills." Image from


Rules for Targeted Killing - Editorial, New York Times: The White House reportedly is developing rules for when to kill terrorists around the world. The world may never see them, given the Obama administration’s inclination toward unnecessary secrecy regarding its national security policy.

But the effort itself is a first step toward acknowledging that when the government kills people away from the battlefield, it must stay within formal guidelines based on the rule of law — especially when the life of an American citizen is at stake. Image from

Keeping Egypt’s Republic - Roger Cohen, New York Times: President Mohamed Morsi's seizure through decree of near absolute power, placing him above judicial oversight, recalls the famous phrase of the French diplomat Talleyrand: “Worse than a crime, it was a mistake.” Morsi must correct his mistake and Obama should work hard behind the scenes to ensure that.

How U.S. can deepen ties in the Americas - Robert B. Zoellick, Washington Post: As the president looks west across the Pacific and is pulled to the Mideast, he also needs a fresh north-south vision. North America can become a new rising power. And the foundation of the future global system can be “Made in the Americas.”

Secretary of State or Minister of Propaganda: The Susan Rice Dilemma - Susan Rice's basic untrustworthiness disqualifies her from being appointed as Secretary of State.

NYT Reporter Falls for Hamas Ploy; NYT's David Carr thinks terrorists are journalists because they spray-painted 'TV' on their car - The New York Times has again attempted to negate the presence of terrorists in the Gaza Strip.

Reporter David Carr claims that two senior Hamas terrorists killed last week in precision Israeli airstrikes were in fact journalists. Image from article

Zionist propaganda trickery in the New York Times: the false symmetry trick - The Angry Arab News Seervice: Look at this sentence: "Israel bombed more than 1,000 targets in Gaza and the militants fired more than 1,500 rockets into Israel..." They counted the number of rockets that were fired on Israel but they did not count the number of bombs, rockets, missiles (from the air, land, and sea) that Israel dropped on Gaza. In fact, Israel often drops more than 10 or 20 bombs on the same target. So the sentence should have read: militants fired weak 1500 rockets on Israel, while Israel dropped more than 15000 (at the very least) bombs, missiles and rockets on Gaza. Who do you think that you are fooling with these numbers? Do you have a doubt that Israeli terrorist military released this count to the media to make it look as if Israel dropped less bombs and rockets than the other side?

In crisis, Israel keeps a shtick upper lip: The jokes were flying faster than the rockets during the latest conflict with Hamas - Mark Magnier, Los Angeles Times: Predictably, Hamas was a frequent target, particularly after it sent propaganda messages in Hebrew. "Next time you want to scare people, please use your spell-check," countered an Israeli video clip. When Israeli forces killed Hamas military leader Ahmed Jabari in an airstrike on his car, a satirical Times of Israel guest blog read, "Hamas chief's death reveals dangers of driving in Middle East.


Birth rate in U.S. plunges 8% to record low - Gretchen Livingston and D’Vera Cohn, Washington Times: The U.S. birth rate dipped in 2011 to the lowest ever recorded, led by a plunge in births to immigrant women since the onset of the Great Recession.

The overall U.S. birth rate, which is the annual number of births per 1,000 women in the prime childbearing ages of 15 to 44, declined 8% from 2007 to 2010. The birth rate for U.S.-born women decreased 6% during these years, but the birth rate for foreign-born women plunged 14%—more than it had declined over the entire 1990-2007 period. The birth rate for Mexican immigrant women fell even more, by 23%. Image from

California Marijuana Decriminalization Drops Youth Crime Rate To Record Low: Study - Huffington Post: Between 2010 and 2011, California experienced a drastic 20 percent decrease in juvenile crime--bringing the underage crime rate to the lowest level since the state started keeping records in 1954. According to a recently released study, much of that improvement can be credited to the decriminalization of marijuana.


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