Monday, October 6, 2008

October 6

“Eloquence, as distinct from rhetoric, has no aim: it is a play of words and other expressive means …. The main attribute of eloquence is gratuitousness …. Like beauty, it claims only the privilege of being a grace note in the culture that permits it.”

--Denis Donoghue, On Eloquence; cited in Times Literary Supplement, September 26, 2008, p. 30

“Give It 2 Me.”


Photo from New York Times


U.S. Embassy In London: Siege diplomacy - Globe and Mail, Canada: “The announcement last week that the United States will relocate its London embassy from Grosvenor Square, in the heart of the British capital, to an out-of-the-way spot south of the River Thames may be good news for property developers, but should concern almost everyone else. The London move is the latest and most dramatic example of a worrying trend toward vastly scaling down American public diplomacy abroad, abandoning embassies that were once beacons of American culture and openness in favour of walled suburban fortresses.”

Goodbye to Grosvenor Square
- Tariq Ali, Counterpunch: "The US embassy is withdrawing from its central London fortress. If only America would quit other parts of the world it occupies. Grosvenor Square is about to be liberated."

Readings for October 6, 2008 - Paul Boshears, Kudzu Kongzi: “Strategic Communication as Jazz Improv Combo: from MountainRunner. Here is discussed the fallacy of thinking about Strategic Communication (a synonym for Public Diplomacy) as orchestra. Matt Armstrong would have the group operating less as a symphony and more as an improv outfit, so that flat notes and lines astray of the theme are less noticeable. I like this way of thinking and I can't help but feel like I suggested operating in these terms (granted, I did not know that Public Diplomacy was a State Department entity) a few years back. The more I read Matt Armstrong's blog, the more I feel like there is a community with whom to work using these conceptions.”

100-Plus Former Ambassadors Endorse McCain - Ronald Kessle,, FL: More than 100 former American ambassadors are endorsing John McCain and Sarah Palin for president and vice president. Former Ambassador Gilbert A. Robinson spearheaded the formation of the group. Robinson was special adviser to Secretary of State George Shultz, director of the Office of Public Diplomacy, and deputy director of the U.S. Information Agency under President Reagan. PHOTO: Gilbert A. Robinson.

Imperial Media Manipulators: The Center for International Media Assistance - Michael Barker, Swans, CA: Formed in 2006, the Center for International Media Assistance is an "initiative of the National Endowment for Democracy, [which] aims to strengthen the support, raise the visibility, and improve the effectiveness of media assistance programs throughout the world." Among the seventeen individuals who presently serve on their advisory board is Adam Clayton Powell III, a director of the Public Diplomacy Council.

Always the bride's maid...
- Paul Rockower, Levantine: "Unfortunately, for the third week in a row, my Pub D project group lost. For the second consecutive week, we lost by a single vote. Our project this week was a simulation based on the idea that we were part of the UN's PD staff, and we were introducing the UN's new campaign in a press conference. … Otherwise, Thursday I had Prof. Gilboa's class and we went over Australian Public Diplomacy. The Aussies have something called the ‘CK Factor’, which means that they are associated with the ‘cuddly koala’ and that helps their pd image.”


The American Exception: Pop Culture Today Open Source with Christopher Lydon: The independent scholar Martha Bayles, “I think what we project now through a lot of our entertainment is freedom in the sense of libertanism, it’s freedom in the sense of ‘I can do whatever I want and screw you.’ I’ve had people overseas actually say to me that that’s what they think American freedom means."

Nobel Gas: The Swedes Have No Clue About American Literature - Adam Kirsch, Slate: The top authors of American literature -- Roth, Updike, Pynchon, DeLillo -- already know they're going to live without the Nobel Prize. Horace Engdahl, the academy's permanent secretary, made that clear this week when he told the Associated Press that American writers are simply not up to Nobel standards. "The U.S. is too isolated, too insular," Engdahl decreed. "They don't translate enough and don't really participate in the big dialogue of literature. That ignorance is restraining."

Alaskan Foreign Policy: Sarah Palin, like any Alaska governor, is certainly more cosmopolitan in world outlook than her insular colleagues in the lower 48 - James P. Lucier, Wall Street Journal: If you are curled up that close to the Russian bear, you want to be sure that he is sleeping quietly. You are very attentive if he moves to make sure that he is not going to roll over on you. You have a sixth sense about Russian fighters and bombers intruding into your territory, or daring to come as close as possible.

Pakistanis for McCain, Afghans for Obama – Melinda Brouwer, Foreign Policy Association: Public Diplomacy: and the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election: “[I]t’s amazing the variety of interpretations of Barack Obama’s religious affiliation. In some parts of the U.S. he is mischaracterized as a Muslim (he’s Christian), and apparently in Pakistan, he is not only not Muslim, but he is perceived to be against all Muslims.”

Obama's Damage - Abe Greenwald, Commentary: With his first entry in an otherwise blank foreign policy ledger, Barack Obama sabotaged America’s operational relationship with Pakistan.

Obama and McCain present sharp divide on Iraq goals – Michael Gordon, International Herald Tribune: At the heart of the dispute between the candidates is Barack Obama's timeline for withdrawing U.S. troops.

Iraqi stock exchange small but surging - Jim Michaels, USA TODAY

No, Iraq Wasn't a 'Distraction' : What if FDR had stuck to fighting the Japanese in the Pacific? - David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey, Wall Street Journal: The best way to create a strong negotiating position vis-à-vis Tehran, would be to alter the strategic environment in its backyard, such that the Iraqi government has stabilized that country and maintains strong military and intelligence ties with the United States, while dramatically curtailing Iranian influence. This, of course, is precisely what Mr. McCain's Iraq strategy is in the process of accomplishing, and what Mr. Obama's Iraq policy can never achieve.

How to smooth the transition in Iraq: The town of Mahmoudiya is ready for the next step: a Transition Task Force - John Nagl and Adam ScheR, Christian Science Monitor: Every sector of Iraq will require a slightly different solution based on the situation on the ground and the readiness of the local Iraqi forces.

Building Peace in Iraq: A Careful Reordering of our Priorities and Assumptions - David Smith Ferri, YES! Magazine/Common Dreams: “How do we evaluate our responsibility to Iraqis? I believe that we can't evaluate it fully or forcefully unless we position ourselves alongside Iraqis, unless we are somehow in relationship with Iraqis, aware of their experiences and the hopes and fears those experiences engender, attentive to what they say they want and need.”

Propaganda LeafletsStephen Parrish Blog, “I was digging through a box of old stuff when I happened upon some propaganda leaflets the U.S. dropped on Iraq during the buildup to the first Gulf War. I thought they might amuse you. ... Finally, my favorite [left]. Sergeant Abdul can either face the mighty fury of the Joint Forces (their flags all depicted on the reverse side of the leaflet) or violate his military oath and live to see his family again."

Can King David bring order to the mountains of Afghanistan? The troop surge in Iraq was a great success. But General David Petraeus will find pacifying the Taleban a tougher job still - Michael Evans, Times (London)

View from America: Ahmadinejad isn't too impressed - Jonathan Tobin, Jerusalem Post: Soon the question will no longer be whether to meet Ahmadinejad, with or without "preconditions," but whether the next president will have the courage to make good on his promise to prevent Iran from possessing nukes after diplomacy has predictably failed. Time is running out.

Trust Is 'A Two-Way Street' - Washington Post: Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki spoke with Newsweek-The Post's Lally Weymouth in New York last week about U.S.-Iranian relations. Excerpts.

Putin and the Polite Pundits - Arthur Herman, Commentary: Georgia in 2008 is not Czechoslovakia in 1938. Nor are we returning to the cold war. But the final lesson from the rule of Putin should be clear. When we back stability over democracy, we get neither. When we choose democracy over stability, we have an opportunity to build a foundation for both. Standing up to Putin, calling him by his proper name, would be a start.

Brezhnev Comes to Washington - Alexei Bayer,
Moscow Times: "I have repeatedly drawn parallels in this column between President George W. Bush's United States and the Soviet Union during the rule of Leonid Brezhnev. The similarities between the two regimes are uncanny, ranging from the messianic drive to spread ideology abroad -- at the point of a bayonet if need be -- to tight surveillance at home. Now comes the U.S. financial debacle to complete the list."

A Choice for Latin America: Should the United States continue to subsidize governments that treat it as an enemy? – Editorial, Washington Post: With U.S. attention fixed elsewhere, a significant part of Latin America continues to march away from the "Washington consensus" of democracy and free-market capitalism that has governed the region for a generation. The latest step came last week in Ecuador.

How Does Iraq Play Into the Economic Crisis? The focus is on our unstable credit markets -- but we shouldn't forget that Bush's foreign policy has exacted its own costs on our economy - Matthew Yglesias, American Prospect: While the United States remains an extremely wealthy society by global or historical standards, in recent years that vibrancy (for reasons that, of course, can hardly all be laid at the feet of a clever al-Qaeda plot) has started to fade.

Evidence of Decline – Alan Bock, The U.S. is bound to suffer as imperial decline proceeds, but all will probably not be lost. Rome, Vienna, London, and Paris are still great cities, and probably more culturally alive than when they were imperial capitals. Beyond empire might lie real promise.

Spying on the Future: The U.S. Intelligence Community as Seers Without Sizzle - Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch: Washington has been (and largely still remains) incapable of grasping about the nature of power -- and danger -- on this planet.

Anti-Pyongyang leaflets cause flap - Reuters: North Korea yesterday threatened to evict all South Korean staff from a joint industrial estate unless Seoul stopped civic groups spreading cross-border propaganda, the South's Defence Ministry said. The threat came amid military talks held after months of frosty relations between Seoul and Pyongyang.During the talks, the North's main demand was for Seoul to stop the spreading of propaganda leaflets that allegedly slander their leader Kim Jong Il, the South's Colonel Lee Sang Cheol told reporters.

Photo Essay: North Korean Propaganda Posters - Paul Comstock, California Literary Review

“Do not forget the US imperialist wolves!” From “North Korean Posters” by David Heather and Koen de Ceuster


"Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.

"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo."

--Karl Marx

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I’m sure Obama will fix all the problems perfectly. All progress is possible and positive if we just hope.

People should vote on the real issues and a candidate's true character and political leanings, not just a bunch of populist fluff.

People are hypnotized with Obamamania and his Obammunism. Good fodder for Obama posters here. Posters about him reflect this puppy dogs, doves and rainbows feeling. The Obama Utopia.

If Obamassiah doesn't get POTUS in 2008 and if he can stay pretty clean, do some good things as Senator, and then become Governor of IL, he could be unstoppable in 2012 or 2016. Scary stuff.

I would dearly love to see a Jewish, African-American woman as POTUS. It's not race or gender that makes it for me though. It's political beliefs that matter, and socialism is bad for everybody, (accept maybe those high in government or high-level academia) especially poor people, of all races. Obama is a dyed-in-the-wool Marxist, no thanks.

His 'Change', 'Hope' and 'Progress' mantras are actually somewhat self-mocking. Making your own Obama posters is totally addicting.
I laughed so hard I almost had a breakdown. LOL!

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
pretend to be moderate

move towards the center fast
enrage your Left wing early

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
befriend a bomber

pushing for change at all costs
sacrifices must be made

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
only feel and hope

please force people to change
change can only be good

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says

OR a minority
if they are Right of center

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
you must be a racist

if you vote for a white man
it can't be his politics

All real freedom starts with freedom of speech. Without freedom of speech there can be no real freedom.
Make Some Obama Posters NOW!
Che Makes Money for Capitalists
Help Halt Terrorism Now!