Thursday, February 13, 2014

February 13

I’ve been dying to eat at the White House ever since I begged George Bush to invite me to one of his hot dog lunches. Folks, last night’s four-course dinner was – I can’t believe I’m saying this – better than a hot dog.

--Satirist Stephen Colbert, referring to the White House State Dinner in honor of visiting French President Hollande; cited in Bulletin Intelligence, LLC

"Much to the horror of FDR's mother Sara Roosevelt, the King and Queen of England were served hot dogs on the front porch of the cottage."

--Food served to the British Royal couple by President Franklin Roosevelt at his new hilltop retreat, Top Cottage, during the King and Queen's visit there during their stay in the U.S. in June,1939. Image from


Africa: Executive Summary of Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking - "Following is the executive summary of the National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking. The full text of the strategy (PDF, 500KB) is available on the White House website. National Strategy for

Combating Wildlife Trafficking ... 2. Reduce Demand for Illegally Traded Wildlife -- We will raise public awareness of the harms done by wildlife trafficking through outreach in the United States and public diplomacy abroad to dissuade consumers from purchasing illegally traded wildlife. Criminals will continue to kill wildlife and traffic in contraband as long as the potential profits remain so high. We must enlist individual consumers in our country and other nations in this fight by educating them about the impacts of wildlife trafficking, on people as well as wildlife, and encouraging them to examine their purchasing patterns." Image from

Thursday Numbers - Jackie M. (Mike) Brown, "Montana’s new Senator, John Walsh, cast his first official vote around 5:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) February 11.The vote was on the nomination of Richard Stengel, of New York, to be Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy. Walsh voted “Yea.” The nomination passed 90-8. ((Source)." See also"

Gastronomic Diplomacy - elizabeth0306, Public Diplomacy and Global Communication 2013 (b) A group blog by students at London Metropolitan University: "Gastrodiplomacy has become a popular tool of public diplomacy. It ties knives, forks

and flags and uses restaurants to promote culture and food and shares the uniqueness of each country’s cuisine. (Rockower, ‘Edible Nation Branding for the Netherlands’, 2013). Former United States Secretary of State Hilary [sic] Clinton called the use of food as the oldest diplomatic tool (U.S. Department of State, ‘Video Remarks for the Diplomatic Culinary Partnership Initiative Launch’, 2012)." Uncaptioned image from entry

Saying something worth hearing - Home is where the HHE is: I am a Foreign Service Officer working for the Department of State. My Anglo-American Wife (Lovely English Lass in my posts) puts up with me, for which I appreciate her even more. My daughter (Lovely Little Girl) is on the Autism Spectrum and is taller than your average child. My son (Crazy Little Man) has some developmental delays and is, as his name suggests, crazy. My posts are not a reflection of, nor should be construed, as official positions of the US Department of State - "Friday February 7th and Tuesday February 11th will be days I remember for the rest of my life. This is because I got to go out on a Public Diplomacy mission to speak to two high schools about things I'm passionate about. Since February is Black History Month, the Embassy was looking for speakers to go out and talk about either famous events in Black History, or about how African-American culture has influenced American Culture. Last year one of the people spoke about the African-American roots of Rock music. Of course, since I like to hear myself talk and appear to be pretty good at Public Speaking, I volunteered. I gave them two topics that I am pretty familiar with: The Integration of Little Rock's Central High School, and the Origins of Hip-Hop and its influence on American Culture. ... My first presentation was at a High School in Thembisa, located between Johannesburg and Pretoria. ... My second presentation was about the Little Rock 9. I went to a school in Soweto that had recently begun to receive attention for how well it was run, and the kids were graduating at a higher rate than the other schools in the area. ... I've always wondered what I could have done as a PD officer. I like my job, don't get me wrong, but seeing all those people listening to me, and maybe taking what I said to heart, really made me happy. I'll keep doing this when I get a chance, but I'll always remember those two days."

Photography Workshop by Bret Webster -- Day 1 - Kuweight 64: Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself - George Bernard Shaw: "Bret Webster is an American photographer based in Utah and his work is amazing. Yesterday was the first day of the workshop at the Amricani Cultural Centre. It was a lecture introducing the participants to technicalities, secrets, tips, how to take that great shot and the pure joy of photography.

Participants were free to ask questions. ... The workshop is organized by the U.S. Embassy, Dar Al Attar Al Islamiyyah and National Council for Culture Arts and Letters." Via LMH on Facebok; Uncaptioned image from entry

Encountering Peace: A sober assessment - Gershon Baskin, Jerusalem Post: "We are less than 11 weeks away from the target date that US Secretary of State John Kerry allocated for this round of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. ... Israel will be blamed for the failure of negotiations, regardless. Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz can spend his NIS 100 million on preparing Israel’s public diplomacy case around the world, but even with double or triple that budget, he will not be able to explain to the world why

Israel is demanding that the Palestinians recognize it as the state of the Jewish people when over 20% of its citizens are Palestinian Arabs. ... All of the Israeli government committees and meetings, and hundreds of millions of shekels spent on public diplomacy will not change the reality that will unfold if Israel is blamed for the failure of the negotiations – which it will be. There is only one way that Israel can avoid this scenario and that is to find the way to make the compromises with the Palestinians that will bring us to an acceptable agreement." Image from entry, with caption: US Secretary of State John Kerry and chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat speaking to reporters in Ramallah, January 4, 2013

Israeli University opens scholarships for professionals - "Haifa University in Israel has initiated a new scholarship programme for exceptional professionals interested in pursuing post graduate education in Child Development. The scholarship will cover tuition and living expenses, a statement issued by Ms Mina Okuru, Public Diplomacy Co-ordinator, said on Wednesday."

David should win, not lose, PR battle with Goliath - Yen Makabenta, "As things stand, the issue is less a PR war, and more of a battle of public diplomacy. Both countries [China and the Philippines] have to employ public diplomacy to effectively communicate with publics around the globe in order to get their policies or positions understood and supported by the international community. ... In this battle, China’s resources and reach are sweeping. Strictly speaking, the Philippines engages in little public diplomacy today. Much of our effort appears directed to US media and publics, owing to the public relations services provided by hired US PR firms and the assistance of the US government. ... It is absurd to assume that we will win this PR battle just because we are David. We may be overmatched more than we realize. PR experts opine that the Philippines should not lose this battle – as long as we do not overplay our small hand. The expression is from poker, where players are warned of disastrous consequences that can ensue from foolishly overplaying or bluffing with a weak hand. ... [T]he Philippines is mistrusted by its neighbors to the degree that we trust too much to America’s protection and hew too closely to America’s line. Indeed, in America’s current pivot to Asia, many fear that we are America’s Trojan horse in the Asia-Pacific.

This implies a conundrum in our applying the David-Goliath analogy to our situation, because our David will be a proxy for another Goliath – which may be an even bigger Goliath. This tells us how much public diplomacy and study we still have to undertake before we can fully fashion a coherent position and strategy in the South China Sea dispute. This calls for serious statecraft and serious historical research." Image from

Geoana, appointed high representative to promote strategic economic projects and public diplomacy programmes - "Under a recent decision of Prime Minister Victor Ponta, Social Democratic Senator Mircea Geoana was appointed high representative of the Prime Minister to promote strategic economic projects and public diplomacy programmes. According to the decision on Wednesday published in the Official Journal, the office to be held by Geoana, which will be honorary and pro bono, will be attached to the Prime Minister's Chancellery. The document mentions that the high representative of the Prime Minister to promote strategic economic projects and public diplomacy programmes will have the following objectives to meet: promoting certain regional economic objectives, considering the interests of the local business environment in accessing new markets, including from the perspective of the initiative to create an economic corridor that is dubbed 'The New Silk Road'; organising in Romania annual

conferences in the economic field, so as to attract international political personalities and important business people; participating in projects developed by the Government for promoting Romania abroad in order to attract foreign investments; cooperating with organisations that operate in the civil, economic and academic fields to promote Romania's relation with other emerging markets; promoting business opportunities in Romania at such economic events or in relation with the international organisations. ... Moreover, the participation of the high representative of the Prime Minister to promote strategic economic projects and public diplomacy programmes in international meetings, as well as the activity or attendance reports will be submitted to the Prime Minister for approval, while also requiring the approval of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE) and other ministries, as the case may be." Uncaptioned image from entry

Latin America forum comes to Guangzhou - Xinhua, - "The 'Going to Latin America' forum will be held on Feb. 25 and 26 in Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong Province. The forum promotes cooperation between China and Latin America, Song Ronghua,the Secretary-General of the China Public Diplomacy Association(CPDA) said on Wednesday. The forum will cover topics such as 'The Macro-economic situation in Latin America' 'Opportunities and challenges for Chinese enterprises in Latin America' and case studies, Song said."

Mexican artists honor black political leaders with painting - Christina Bartson, the berkeley beacon: "On the 10th floor of the Walker Building [JB - presumably at Emerson College], there’s a three-by-four foot acrylic painting of Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Jr., and President Barack Obama. Streaks of bright green, yellow, and blue paint define the facial features of these notable black leaders. Filling the canvas against a red background, Mandela’s face smiles in the center, with King on the left and Obama on the right. The multi-colored artwork is a collaborative work between Mexican artists David Silvah, Nuria Bac, and Antonio Proa, who visited Emerson from Dec. 5 to 7 for Baja to Boston, an initiative that is part of an ongoing six-year public diplomacy campaign called Rediscover Rosarito led by Gregory Payne, an associate professor in the communications department. Payne said he and a handful of his students started Rediscover Rosarito in 2008 to work on reinstating a positive perception of Rosarito, Mexico.

Rosarito is a beach town whose image and economy have been bruised due to what Payne described as media-inflated impressions of crime. The project includes the Annual Rosarito Film Festival, held in Mexico, and Baja to Boston, based at Emerson, said Payne. ... The painting was a spontaneous collaboration, said Payne. Since 2009, Baja to Boston has included an exhibition of the visiting Mexican artists’ work at the SOWA Artist’s Studio in the South End, a fundraising dinner at Fajitas and ‘Ritas for The Boys and Girls Club of Boston, and an annual collaborative painting. This year, said Payne, things went a little differently because the group teamed up with Emerson’s Bird Street Civic Engagement project. The Bird Street project was started in 2013 by Payne and Spencer Kimball, a professor in the communications department. It is a partnership between the college and the Bird Street Community Center of Dorchester that teaches middle and high school students to resolve conflict through communication, said Payne. 'We had a convergence between these public diplomacy projects,' said Payne, 'one global and one local.'" Image from entry, with caption: The 10th floor of Walker is home to the painting

Baptist groups cooperate for greater Baptist presence at United Nations - Greg Garrison, "The Baptist World Alliance and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship have formed a partnership to identify and respond to the needs of people and congregations worldwide through

joint participation in work with the United Nations. The collaborative effort seeks to increase the Baptist presence at the United Nations, using the BWA's UN credentials to increase and strengthen relationships and partnerships in and around the United Nations, said a statement released by the groups. They plan to promote spokespersons in an official capacity, such as activists, pastors and scholars that can speak for the groups' concerns. The parties will also create publications focusing on both the theological and public policy concerns that surround issues important to both organizations. Raimundo Barreto, the director of the Baptist World Alliance Division of Freedom and Justice, said the face of international relations has dramatically changed in recent decades, and public diplomacy now includes not only governments, but the economic agents and so-called global civil society along with multinational corporations, the press, non-governmental organizations and religious groups." Image from entry, with caption: Baptist World Alliance General Secretary Neville Callam

Events for the Week of February 10-14, 2014 -Leadership Project, "Thursday, February 13th, 2014[:] Soft Power in Countering Extremism from the Horn of Africa to the Western Sahel [.] Hosted by: The Elliott School of International Affairs [.] Location: 1957 E St NW, Room 602, Washington, DC 20052 [.] Time: 9:00am – 11:00am [.] Summary: Crises related to religious extremism including jihadism and the application of Sharia law have spread rapidly from Somalia to Kenya and across the Sahel to Nigeria, Mali and Algeria with evidence of propagating and radicalizing even diaspora populations living in the West.

The panelists, all experts in the role of communications and soft power in countering radicalization, will discuss and debate the strategic influence of western powers, in particular the US and the UK, in changing the narrative toward stability, tolerance, and democratization. Speakers include: Sir Robert Fry, Chairman, Albany Associates; former Deputy Commanding General of coalition forces in Iraq [,]Simon Haselock, Chief Operating Officer, Albany Associates[,]Ambassador Alberto Fernandez, Coordinator of the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications, U.S. Department of State; former ambassador to Equatorial Guinea [,]Todd Haskell, Director for Press and Public Diplomacy in the Bureau for African Affairs [.] For more information or to RSVP please visit:" Image from


Some of Obama's ambassador picks are no Shirley Temples - Editorial, Rewarding political backers with ambassadorial seats is hardly new, but Obama has been noteworthy in two key ways: He has made such appointments at a higher rate than the last few administrations, and he has done so after saying, shortly before assuming office, that his "general inclination is to have civil service, wherever possible, serve in these posts." See also.

Burn Bag: Yo! A Shout-out From the Starr Man? - Domani Spero, DiploPundit: Below image from article, with caption: As his wife looks on, Gregory B. Starr (left) is congratulated by U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry (right) immediately after Mr. Kerry swore him in as Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security during a ceremony at State Department headquarters in Washington D.C., January 8, 2014. Mr. Starr is the first Diplomatic Security special agent to hold the position of Assistant Secretary. (U.S. Department of State photo)

A new tone on Syria: Will Obama take a new approach? [subscription] - Editorial, Washington Post

Renewed Syria strategy: The U.S. needs a vision the Sunni-Shiite divide - David Ignatius, Washington Post: A truly stable future will be possible only with a security balance that can accommodate Shiite Iran and the Sunni Gulf states. Here’s a group snapshot of a more stable future: The United States, Russia, Iran and Saudi Arabia sitting around a table to draft a deal that can stop the Syrian nightmare. The Syrians can’t resolve this tragedy without a strong push from above.

An Ally Offended - Roger Cohen, New York Times: This is as bad a moment as there has been in German-American relations in the postwar years. The poison of the United States surveillance scandal, absent an apology from Washington, continues to seep through a society where the right to personal privacy is a paramount value shaped by history. It is unquestionably in America’s interest to work closely with Germany as a needed adjustment unfolds. One Obama interview with German TV did not cut it. The wound has been underestimated. A bon mot in Germany has it that Americans no longer listen, they merely listen in.

Decade After "Freedom Fries," U.S. Opinion of France Strong: Sentiment near record high as French president makes state visit - Art Swift, As French President Francois Hollande visits the U.S. this week, including being honored at the first state dinner of President Barack Obama's second term, 78% of Americans view France favorably. This represents a full restoration of France's U.S. image more than 10 years after it tumbled to 34% favorable in 2003, when France refused to back the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. Via PR

Russia unfavorability among Americans highest in 20 years - Jacqueline Klimas, Washington Times: Americans have more negative views of Russia now than anytime in the past two decades, a Gallup poll released Thursday found. Only 34 percent of poll respondents have a favorable view of the Olympics host country, while 60 percent have an unfavorable view. Only 44 percent had an unfavorable view in 2012, suggesting recent events like security  concerns at the Olympics, offering asylum to Edward Snowden, getting involved in the Syrian conflict and the restrictive gay and lesbian civil rights in the country have affected public opinion in the U.S. Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, is also unpopular among Americans. Americans with an unfavorable opinion of him have steadily increased since 2002 from 18 percent to 63 percent in 2014.

Distorting Russia: How the American media misrepresent Putin, Sochi and Ukraine - Stephen F. Cohen, Should not Obama himself have gone to Sochi—either out of gratitude to Putin, or to stand with Russia’s leader against international terrorists who have struck both of our countries? Did he not go

because he was ensnared by his unwise Russia policies, or because the US media misrepresented the varying reasons cited: the granting of asylum to Edward Snowden, differences on the Middle East, infringements on gay rights in Russia, and now Ukraine? Whatever the explanation, as Russian intellectuals say when faced with two bad alternatives, “Both are worst.” Uncaptioned image from entry; see also.

EU parliament president accused of spreading anti-Israeli propaganda - Visiting European parliament president Martin Schulz has found himself at the centre of a political storm in Israel. It concerns certain remarks he made during his address to the Israeli Knesset. During his speech Schulz was heckled by members of a far-right party called Jewish Homeland. Speaking in his native language things progressed well enough when the German politician expressed his support for a two state solution. But later when he cited what he described as unverified data alleging Israel was denying Palestinians a fair share of water in the occupied West Bank, members of the pro-settler party walked out.

Photoshop turns Olympic sisters into propaganda [note: link no longer accessible] - Torstar News Service: The magic of Olympic success has given rise to the magic of Photoshop, transforming a popular photo of Canadian moguls medallists Justine Dufour-Lapointe and her sister, Chloe Dufour-Lapointe into sovereigntist social media propaganda. The origin of the shot isn’t clear, but it shows the two of the three Dufour-Lapointe sisters who dominated the event for first and second spot on Feb. 8 posing with their red woollen Canada gloves, a product of The Bay’s popular Olympic Team collection.

It didn’t take long before a computer-savvy sovereigntist went to work, cleverly turning the red and white maple leaf on the palm of the glove into a blue and white Fleur-de-lis. The “CAN” on the back side of the mitten became “QUE.” Image from entry, with caption: Canada’s red and white colours were turned to blue and white in a photo of Sochi medal winners Justine and Chloe Dufour-Lapointe.

TV Propaganda and the Mind Control Culture - BATR, The Establishment has perfected its machination of propaganda, creating the realities it wants into society, forming whatever truth that will be of the greatest benefit, not to society, but to itself. Whatever reality it wants to create and disseminate is quickly absorbed by a population eager to feed off the mammary glands of television. The Establishment, the corporate world and government have for years told us how and what to think, how to act, who to obey and where to follow, condemning our minds to obedience, our lives to conformism and silent acquiescence." Is it not time to make a clean break from this self-induced imprisonment of images and sounds that spills out of the television machine?


A Day in the Life of a Public Diplomacy Officer - Shawn, [Sept. 19]: Public diplomacy is a role that all Foreign Service Officers must undertake to a certain extent. At the same time, it is a separate career track of its own and the officers in that track play a crucial role in shaping international perceptions of the United States of America. Every post around the world is different, but here is an example of what a typical day may look like. I haven’t personally had the chance to do a tour as a Public Diplomacy (PD) officer yet so this hypothetical day is based primarily on my impressions of what my PD colleagues do. If there are any veteran PD officers reading want to call me out or add to the conversation in the comments, I’m very open to that. Typically in a larger in a larger embassy, PD officers will be divided between working on the press side of things or dealing with cultural affairs. In our example, we will play the role of a first tour officer in a medium-sized embassy in Europe where we are doing a little bit of everything. As with all of the Day in the Life posts, this is just a basic example of what your day may look like. Your experience may vary.

8:00am – You arrive at your desk and log on to the computer. As it boots up, you start looking over both the local and American newspapers to see what concern relations between the U.S. and your host country. You know that one of the senior locally engaged staff will also provide a round-up of the day’s news, but you like to check for yourself. Your grasp of the foreign language certainly isn’t as strong as a locals, but you did spend about 8 months studying it before starting so you might as well put it to good use.

9:00am – You have a meeting with your boss, the Public Affairs Officer (PAO). The PAO is senior PD officer at post and overseas both the press and cultural affairs sections. You work closely with her and have the great opportunity to learn a bit about both sides of the shop. You are also learning about grant management, another important part of PD. At today’s meeting, you are discussing the Ambassador’s upcoming holiday party. There will be a private party for embassy staff and family, but the Ambassador is also hosting an official event with local government officials, VIPs, and press in attendance. You are in charge of managing the press portion and also writing a draft speech for the Ambassador. You show your boss what you have so far and she suggests a few changes.

10:00am – You return to your desk to work some more on the Ambassador’s speech. You do a bit of research to compare American holiday traditions along with the host country. The Ambassador’s speech will be translated by one of the embassy interpreters so you meet with him to be certain everything seems clear. The event isn’t for another week, but you know the Ambassador often likes to add his own style to a speech so you want to get to him early.

11:00am – The embassy has a rather active Facebook and Twitter community. You monitor both to look for questions and references and answer them or direct the community to a more appropriate resource. Many of the questions are consular related and you direct them to the embassy website for more information on the visa process.

12:30pm – You join the other first and second tour officers for lunch with the DCM. As entry level FSOs, you’re all still learning the ropes and it is the role of the DCM to help guide your career.

2:00pm – The PD section manages a significant amount of money in the form of grants. Although you do not have a grants warrant, you are eager to learn more about this complicated process. You are helping out the embassy grants officer with some monitoring and agree to make a few calls to local universities to see how they have been using the grant money the embassy gave them. All of this is carefully recorded in their file.

4:00pm – It is crunch time for the people handling the Fulbright program at post. The embassy receives an enormous amount of applications for the program and often needs all the help it can get in reading them all and determining who should move forward in the process. You spent and hour going over the applications and making the tough call about who will get their dream trip to the U.S.

5:00pm – You leave work at an early hour today because you have a work event later in the evening.

6:30pm – You meet the Ambassador and the PAO at a local television station. The Ambassador is doing a live interview on a local news program. You are there primarily to assist as needed, and to watch and learn.

8:00pm – The interview was a success and the Ambassador is happy. You head home and get to bed early so you can go in early tomorrow. You want to see the news first thing to see if there is any reaction to the Ambassador’s television appearance. - See more at: Image from


Top 50 Cities for Singles Looking for Love: Facebook ranked 50 major cities with the best odds for turning a "Single" status to "In a relationship" - Reed Albergotti, Wall Street Journal. Image from entry


--Via SD on Facebook


Evolutionists say human face came from 415 million-year-old fish - Cheryl K. Chumley, -Washington Times: n the latest of evolution theories, Swedish and French researchers say they’ve tracked the formation of the human face to the development and progression of a certain type of fish that swam the earth’s seas about 415 million years ago.

Their report, made public in the journal Nature, relies on the idea that the first creatures were formed hundreds of millions of years ago, and that they did not have a backbone. Researchers recently unearthed fossils for a small fish called the Romundina that they say swam the oceans 415 million years ago, and that this species is key to revealing the formation of the development of the face. Image from entry, with caption: This Tuesday, Aug 31, 2010, photo shows fish on display for sale at Eataly's grand opening in New York

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