Saturday, February 6, 2010

February 6




"Blizzard pounds D.C. region"

--Washington Post Headline, February 6; image from article

“Advice is like snow; the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon, and the deeper it sinks into, the mind.”

--Samuel Taylor Coleridge

“Sex is like snow, you never know how many inches you're going to get or how long it will last.”

--Popular quotation

VIDEO

What Hitler Wants – Soviet Propaganda - War for Your Mind: This World War II-era Soviet Propaganda pieces shows the comrades what the fuhrer really wants to do to the Motherland.

PUBLIC DIPLOMACY

U.S. Girds for a Fight for Internet Freedom- Ken Stier, Time: "[Secretary of State] Clinton recently hosted a dinner where her senior staff met with CEOs of leading technology companies, as part of an effort to shake up her own organization. That means ditching its 20th century habits for a culture of innovation, explains Andrew Reseij, of the Personal Democracy Forum, a communications adviser to Clinton for more than a decade.

Internationally, the new emphasis on enabling the skirting of Internet censorship amounts to a shift from traditional public diplomacy to a kind of Internet democracy activism. Where the former relied on tools such as Voice of America radio broadcasts to all corners of the globe, the latter emphasizes the U.S. promoting indigenous voice in countries that curb free speech, says NYU telecommunications professor Clay Shirky, adding that enabling citizens to express themselves 'is way more threatening than Voice of America-style broadcasts, and autocratic governments will react to that.'"

US Sees No Change In Ahmadinejad's Nuclear Comments - Nam News Network: "The United States said late on Friday that it sees no change in Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s nuclear comments until Tehran deliver an official response to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). ‘All I can say is that to the extent that these comments would signal a change in perspective by Iran with respect to the Tehran research reactor deal, there has been no change in the position as stated by the Iranian representative at the IAEA’, said Assistant Secretary of State for public diplomacy [sic] P.J. Crowley in a press briefing." Crowley image from

Reform Party urges PAP to embrace need for political reform in Singapore - The Temasek Review: "In a press release posted on its website yesterday, the Reform Party urges the ruling party PAP 'not to be half-hearted or timid about embracing the need for reform in Singapore.' ... The incoming U.S. Ambassador to Singapore Mr Daniel Adelman told the U.S. Senate earlier this week that he is aware of the fact that Singapore is not a democracy and he will make use of 'public diplomacy to work towards greater press freedoms, greater freedom of assembly and ultimately, more political space for opposition parties in Singapore to strengthen Singapore into a multi-party democracy.'”

Member Showcase: Bernhard Drax - Edita Kaye Association of Virtual Worlds:

"Bernhard Drax writes music for TV, commercials and feature film. ... Sponsored by the US Department of State, Bernhard is ... finishing up a video series on future use of virtual worlds in public diplomacy." Drax image from

Video of the Week - American Education Abroad at WACDC - David Comp, International Higher Education Consulting Blog™: "For this video of the week I selected this April 1, 2008 panel discussion hosted by the World Affairs Council in Washington, D.C. I think it is a great discussion on international educational exchanges and public diplomacy and I recommend scheduling time to watch it. Please note that it runs one hour and twenty-five minutes so plan accordingly. I have copied and pasted the video description below: 'In the face of growing negative global opinion, international views of American education may hold a key in improving US diplomatic relationships by fostering better understanding between the US and peoples around the world. Join our panelists as they examine the role played by American education abroad and the long term impact of this highly regarded American export. Moderated by Dr. Mark G. Pomar: President of the International Research and Exchange Board. Panelists: The Honorable Julia Chang Bloch: President of the US-China Education Trust Dr. Allan Goodman: President and CEO of the Institute of International Education Dr. Joseph G. Jabbra: President of the Lebanese American University.'"

There she goes again - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting:

"'Internet outreach is the hottest new item in the U.S. government’s array of public diplomacy tools. While international broadcasting is in disarray, the focus has moved to Internet outreach through social networking and websites to promote America and its allies abroad. The Internet can be a great tool for the advancement of freedom and the empowerment of individuals. Yet it is not immune to the designs of state actors, nor does it exist in a policy vacuum.' Helle Dale, The Foundry blog, Heritage Foundation, 27 January 2010. [Elliott comment:] Disarray? The audience for US international broadcasting is 171 million weekly, its largest ever. She might be referring to the BBG, down to two active members, and anxiously awaiting confirmation of its new members. [']Appropriately, the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees U.S. international broadcasting, is also marked for an increase from $1.1 billion this year to $1.28 billion next year. (Whether that increase will persuade them to restore unfortunate cuts in crucial language services is something to be watched.)' Helle Dale, The Foundry blog, Heritage Foundation, 2 February 2010. [Elliott comment:] Where does the $1.28 billion come from? I see $768.8 million in the BBG FY 2011 budget request If Heritage really believes in 'limited government,' it should address the duplication discussed in the previous post." Image from

VOA funds will help Pakistan "recover the information space lost to India" on Kashmir, and other VOA in the news - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Radio's role in the recovery, and other Haiti media updates - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Gül calls on NATO to win hearts of Afghan people - Today's Zaman: "Reiterating Ankara's long-held position on Afghanistan, that using military means to bring stability to the war-torn country will not work unless these efforts are supported by strong civilian assistance to the country to enable it to stand on its own two feet, President Abdullah Gül said on Friday that terrorism in this country could be isolated only by winning the hearts of the Afghan people. ...

NATO’s İstanbul meeting will be remembered for its poor organization, which caused many difficulties for journalists trying to cover the event. Some journalists called it the worst example of organization they’d ever seen, referring to a number of things that went wrong ranging from power cuts to excessive security searches. It took journalists 90 minutes to enter the compound where the meeting took place because they were sent from one gate to another by security officials before eventually granted entry. The police blamed the military for numerous security searches of journalists, while the military officials said they had acted on the basis of orders given to them. At one point, no journalists were allowed to enter a room where Jean-Francois Bureau, NATO’s assistant secretary-general for public diplomacy, was holding a press conference." Image from article: NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen (front row, third from left), US Defense Secretary Robert Gates (front row, third from right), Turkish Defense Minister Vecdi Gönül (front row, second from left) and other defense ministers are seen during a group photo taken following an informal NATO defense ministers meeting in İstanbul on Friday.

Why does the British Council spend money on climate change propaganda? - Ed West - Telegraph.co.uk (blog): "[W]hat exactly is the point of the British Council? Is it to promote Britain and British culture abroad, or to advocate a particular political idea held by the ruling elite? From the people I’ve met who work in the Foreign Office, our embassies in the Third World already spend most of their time lecturing people about carbon emissions, the new white man’s burden. Now, one could argue that avoiding damaging the environment is in Britain’s strategic interests – and I’m no Delingpoleite on this issue – but it’s hard to see how a cultural body such as the British Council can justify joining in. "

FM: Europe tour gives good start to China's diplomacy in 2010 - Xiong Tong, Xinhua: "Munich, Germany ... . Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said Friday that his Europe tour marked a good start for China's diplomacy in 2010 by conducting a flurry of bilateral and multilateral talks. From Jan. 25, Yang attended conferences on Afghanistan in Istanbul and London and a global security policy meeting in Munich, and paid visits to Turkey, Cyprus and France. ...

The minister said an important part of his tour was to engage in public diplomacy. Along with its greater international influence in wider spheres, China has attracted greater attention worldwide. The country has all the more reason to do a better job in public diplomacy, he said. 'We need to help people from various social sectors in other countries to have a correct understanding of China and its development and foreign policies through our active efforts in various forms, such as giving press conferences and making speeches. These will help enhance trust, clear up misgivings and broaden consensus,' he said." Yang Jiechi image from

"Total Public Diplomacy"? - Lena, Total Chaos: "Thanks to the PD class I'm currently taking, I discovered Jacques Ellul and some of his striking ideas on propaganda: striking not in terms of novelty, as much as in terms of formulation and relevance for PD and all the talk that currently surrounds it. The battle for a clear differentiation between propaganda and public diplomacy seems to have been going on for quite a while now, and I am not trying to suggest that they should be equated (although, sometimes they look as they could). And yet, I think Ellul does a great job in exploring the meaning and implications of Total Propaganda: in terms of utilizing all available techniques and media for 'reaching and encircling all men and the whole man' through continuous, consistent, and inclusive information. ... The postmodern approach of 'multiple-truths' and of discussions based on an equal exchange of ideas and mutual respect would then be the best choice for public diplomacy. This is where Ellul's concept of 'totality' can come into play. Firstly, all media and techniques can be put into action to engage in a genuine two-way dialogue, involving not only the foreign public, but also the domestic one: many-to-many. Secondly, being continuous and spanning long periods of time, it can ensure an uninterrupted two-way communication, that will incorporate and reflect the changing circumstances and patterns within both ends. And lastly, since it 'reaches and encircles all men and the whole man,' it will be inclusive, engaging, and truly representative."

Miss Idaho 2004 Elizabeth Barchas - ahsan hussain, Fun And Fun Only:

"Elizabeth Barchas, Boise, Idaho

Age: 24

Education: Boise High School-graduate – ranked 1 in class of 511;Emory University – graduate – Bachelor of Arts, Russian Language & Culture/English; Boise State U. Harvard Law School–admitted student–Juris Doctorate expected in 2008; University of St. Andrews, Master’s in Creative Writing

Platform Issue: Promoting Understanding of Individuals with Disabilities


Scholastic Ambition: Obtain a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School

Talent: Classical Piano – “Prelude in C-Sharp Minor” by Sergei Rachmaninoff

Scholastic Honors: Fulbright Fellow; Rhodes Scholar National Finalist; National Coca-Cola Scholar

Career Ambition: Become a Foreign service officer in public diplomacy for the U.S. government ..." Image from article

RELATED ITEMS

Georgia's Arduous Attempt to Challenge Moscow's Broadcasting Monopoly - Vladimir Socor, Jamestown Foundation: On January 4, the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) inaugurated its first Russian language television channel: Pervyi Kavkazsky (First Caucasus) or 1-K. Television channels in the Russian Federation are almost exclusively owned or at least heavily controlled by the state and, furthermore, they enjoy a near-monopoly on broadcasting in the Russian language throughout the entire post-Soviet space and beyond. Thus, it is not only in the North Caucasus that the Kremlin feared the Georgian channel might challenge its informational monopoly, but among the entire Russian-speaking population across Eurasia.

Harn Museum of Art to Present Timely Exhibition "America at Work" - Art Daily: At a time when the nation is struggling to recover from an economic recession, the Harn Museum of Art presents a timely exhibition examining the American workforce from a previous generation.

Opening June 8, America at Work: Art and Propaganda in the Early-20th Century will feature approximately 50 graphic works related to labor issues and demographics, popular culture, immigration trends and national identity during the first half of the 20th century. The exhibition will feature iconic work incentive posters produced by Mather and Company, as well as WPA prints." Image from article: Mather & Company, "One Leak Can Sink a Ship, Stop the Leaks", 1924. Lithograph on paper. 44 X 36 inches. Lent by Ronald, Elizabeth and Lauren DiFilippo.

Music review: 'The Greatest Generation' by Pacific Symphony - Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times: Hard times can produce great art. So writes Joseph Horowitz, the artistic advisor for the Pacific Symphony's annual American Composers Festival, to introduce “The Greatest Generation,” this year’s theme. Hard times can, indeed, inspire greatness. But there are no guarantees. The centerpiece of this admirable festival, Thursday night in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, was the celebration of stalwart Americans who endured the Great Depression, embraced the New Deal and fought in World War II. Hard times can also fuel excessive populism and propaganda. A populace obviously needs encouragement. And during the Depression and Second World War, American artists had neither the resources nor the support to experiment. Music, in particular, was asked to forgo idealism and work to lift spirits and inspire effort.

Shanghai's Crackdown on... Pajamas – Boing Boing: As Beijing restricts online dissent and Urumqi clamps down on separatists, Shanghai is cracking down on... (wait for it)... pajama-wearing in public. The wearing of colorful, boldly-printed pajamas in public has been popular in the city for years, and well-documented on Flickr as well as National Geographic. But with the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai just three months away, city officials have launched a public etiquette clampdown targeting the unseemly practice. The South China Morning Post reports that the city's Qiba neigborhood "has mobilized neighborhood committee officials and volunteers since July to talk people out of the habit of wearing pajamas in public."

The article also consults Chinese sociologist Zhang Jiehai, who says pajama-wearing in public began "as a matter of practicality because people lived in cramped conditions with no clear line between public space and private place." Private pajama parties, anyone? Image from article

ONE MORE QUOTATION FOR THE DAY

"Time spent on Facebook soared to 27.6 billion minutes in December, up from 17.8 billion minutes in October ... Facebook is all about communication, whereas Yahoo aggregates content and Google focuses on search."

--Los Angeles Times reporter Jessica Guynn

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