Monday, July 29, 2013

July 29

"news is the shock troops of propaganda"

--A fundamental axiom laid down by Sir John Reith (1889–1971), the former director general of the BBC, when he was appointed Britain's minister of information in 1940; Reith image from


Short Video Shows What It's Like To Work With State Propaganda Blaring Right Behind You - Michael Kelley, “An Instagram video posted by user dguttenfelder shows what it's like to work in North Korea while state propaganda blares in the background. The caption reads: ‘A North Korean woman adds up the restaurant lunch receipts while military videos play on the TV behind the counter.’”


Losing the information war: Domestic propaganda officials silence voices of liberty abroad - Ted Lipien, Washington Times: "I fear the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012 for somewhat different reasons than most bloggers angered by the removal of a previous legal ban on the U.S. government's domestic propaganda. I agree with those who insist that no government can be trusted as a domestic news provider. Giving officials extra powers without additional safeguards in the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012 was a huge mistake. What I fear much more, however, is the negative impact the current controversy has on the future of liberty voices abroad: Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, Radio and TV Marti, Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa. Excellent journalists who work there to provide uncensored news and opinions to nations without free media are being unfairly suspected of domestic propaganda because of actions of a few top officials who are also ruining America's media outreach abroad. ... There was no true compelling need for changing the law.

Arguments in favor of the change were largely misleading. Government bureaucrats wanted new powers for themselves, a new audience, and new opportunities for funding additional projects. ... In fact, the old Smith-Mundt Act did not make it illegal for Americans and American media to use and rebroadcast these programs domestically if they got them on their own, for example on the Internet, where they have been available to everyone for a long time. It merely prohibited government officials from actively marketing these programs domestically. A minor change in the law, such as making it clear that all this material is in the public domain — much of it already was, since it is paid for by American taxpayers — could have addressed most of the needs and concerns. But IBB [International Broadcasting Bureau] and State Department officials would not be satisfied with small modifications. They wanted to actively distribute programs to domestic U.S. media without any restrictions. I can't speak about the U.S. State Department with its public diplomacy agenda that in many cases requires active engagement with American citizens at home and abroad. But before they embarked on their domestic media outreach project, officials in charge of international broadcasting have already largely ruined what was once a powerful U.S. tool for strengthening media freedom abroad. ... Members of Congress are now working on reforming the whole structure of the Broadcasting Board of Governors. IBB bureaucrats would like nothing better than for the bipartisan oversight board to disappear. A major overhaul is needed, but a bipartisan oversight board must remain to ensure full accountability. Such a board can also prevent any future domestic propaganda. Congress must, however, quickly fix the board's legislative mandate so it can hire competent staff and gain control over the bureaucracy." Image from, with caption (partial): Record creator: U.S. Food Administration. Educational Division. Advertising Section. (01/15/1918 - 01/1919) Date : ca. 1917 - ca. 1919

Plucky Stars: Meet the hard-driving, all-female quintet that’s putting Boston back on the bluegrass map - Paul Robicheau, Improper Bostonians: "Della Mae looks like a marketer’s dream: a contemporary band composed of five women in their 20s. But the quintet forged its sound on Boston’s fertile string-band scene, putting a fresh twist on traditional bluegrass in an era when banjos and fiddles have even cracked the pop mainstream.

'We owe this band’s existence to the small-family nature of bluegrass itself,' singer/guitarist Celia Woodsmith says. ... Although Woodsmith doesn’t like to emphasize Della Mae’s character as a female band, it was hard to escape the fact when they toured last year as cultural ambassadors under the U.S. State Department’s American Music Abroad program to Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. 'They did pick us specifically to go into those areas because we were women,' Woodsmith says. 'I don’t like to promote the fact that we’re women. But in this case, when we went to Central Asia, I was extremely proud to be a band of women.' The tour included stops at orphanages." Via PR; image from, with caption: Celia Woodsmith with a new friend

Good cop, bad cop with China's generals - Andrew Chubb, Asia Times Online: "The most famous PLA 'hawk' is retired Major General Luo Yuan. His biography suggests he has operated, and continues to do so, in the areas of Taiwan affairs, intelligence and military propaganda. ... His current position is the Executive Vice President and Secretary General of the China Strategy Culture Promotion Association (CSCPA), a self-proclaimed non-governmental think tank formed in 2011 as a platform for friendly exchange of 'research on international issues, Taiwan issues and culture issues' according to the CSCPA website. ... [A] notable activity of the CSCPA, Luo's current institution, is the publication of annual assessments of US and Japanese military power.

The published reports carry the specification 'public version' (minjian ban), implying the existence of internal-circulation versions. With both internal and external dimensions, the CSCPA reports appear to straddle the intersection of military intelligence and public diplomacy aimed at both domestic and overseas audiences. This combination mirrors Luo Yuan's career more generally." Image from

Can Netanyahu go all the way in peace talks? And does it matter?Conventional wisdom says the gaps are too wide, but analysts believe the PM is ready for a demilitarized ‘Palestine,’ or an interim deal. And if all that fails, he’s hoping to prevail in the blame game - Raphael Ahren, "Yoaz Hendel, who headed the Public Diplomacy Directorate at the Prime Minister’s Office from 2011 until 2012, ... believes that Netanyahu is genuinely interested in preventing 'the creation of a binational state,' as the prime minister declared repeatedly in recent weeks."

ASEAN Welcomes Chinese Investment [Google translation] - "Dialogue meeting with Chinese businessmen entrepreneurs ASEAN countries was held in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Ethnic, southern China last Friday (26/7). The colloquium was sponsored by the China Association of Public Diplomacy. During the meeting, beberara diplomats from ASEAN countries explained the situation in each country and submit proposals to the Chinese investors who intend to invest in Southeast Asia."

My Summer Internship as an American Diplomat Abroad - Aimal Ahmadzai, "I arrived in Tajikistan on June 9th to start my 10-week internship with the US Embassy in Dushanbe. For those unfamiliar with Tajikistan, it’s a 'democratic,' former Soviet state in Central Asia with a president who’s been in power for over 20 years.

He recently blocked YouTube because he didn’t like a video someone posted of him singing (off-key) and dancing (off-beat) at his son’s wedding. Despite that, the people are friendly, hospitable, and incredibly curious to meet me and learn how a young man from neighboring Afghanistan (born and raised in Fairfax, Virginia) could represent the United States’ diplomatic mission in Tajikistan. ... I have had the opportunity to do work for the Political, Economic, Management, Public Diplomacy, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL), and USAID sections of the Embassy." Ahmadzai image from entry


Blinded by the war on terrorism: The U.S. government's focus on thwarting terrorists has not only eroded Americans' privacy, it's opened them to other dangers that have gotten short shrift - Sarah Chayes, No one denies that terrorism is a real and ongoing threat that must be addressed. No one denies the tragedy of lives that have been cut short or wrecked by terrorist attacks. But those tragedies are no more bitter than deaths due to other preventable threats. It is time for the United States, and its political leaders, to begin getting over it.

Those Egypt Military Propaganda Videos: The Look of Blowback? - After the latest large-scale killing of Islamist demonstrators in Cairo, it’s hard not to think that the military’s surveillance technology and the characteristic features of that video imagery, is minimizing its propaganda value, particularly with an international audience.

PM Erdoğan says Turkish police subject of constant 'dark propaganda' during Gezi protests - There has been constant "dark propaganda" on media outlets and social media networks about the Turkish police’s attitude during the ongoing Gezi Park protests, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğansaid, addressing members of security forces in Ankara July 24.

“We are frequently witnessing attempts at defaming our police in the media and social media through dark propaganda. [Turkish] people know very well their police, and we only care about what people say. It is not the headlines of some newspapers that we care about, but the headlines of our people,” he said, praising the security forces’ attitude during the demonstrations. Image from entry, with caption: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speaks during a fast-breaking dinner organized by the riot police sub-directorate in Ankara, July 24.

Backpack Bombers a Propaganda Tale - Lee Sang Yong, A unit of North Korean soldiers carrying what appeared to be representations of "nuclear backpacks" (a variation on the "briefcase bomb" concept) appeared during a military parade held on Saturday as part of North Korea’s commemoration of its “victory” in the Korean War. However, it is thought unlikely that North Korea has the technical capacity to produce such a high-tech nuclear device.

A spokesperson for the South Korean Ministry of National Defense, Kim Min Seok told a regular briefing on the morning of the 29th, “Nuclear backpacks are an extremely small type of nuclear weapon; you need very advanced skills in order to miniaturize like that," before noting, "Experts do not believe that North Korea has reached the ability to manufacture these backpacks.” Image from article, with caption: "Backpack bombers" made an appearance during the July 27th military parade.

Army blasts rebel 'propaganda' - The army says southern separatists are putting up cloth banners and spraying messages that attack the presence of soldiers and policemen to attract international attention and spread anti-Thai propaganda. Col Banpot Pulplean, the spokesman for the Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc), said the separatists were trying to send a message to the international community that the three predominantly-Muslim provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat are still plagued by violence instigated by the authorities.


"The Anglo-Saxon lavatory acquires its meaning only through its differential relation to French and German lavatories. We have such a multitude of lavatory types because there is a traumatic excess which each of them tries to accommodate."

--Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek, dubbed by The Chronicle of Higher Education "the Elvis of cultural theory"; images from, with captions from same:

Above is an Anglo Saxon toilet bowl most readers of this blog should be familiar with. It's very centred isn't it?

Next is the French loo with it's rearward mechanic situated most closely to the flush pipe.

And finally above is the German toilet design, with a completely opposite forward-emphasis arrangement in comparison to the French version


Russian Web Mocks Putin’s Fish Kiss

Sunday, July 28, 2013

July 28

"Released from his work in the soulless safety of the Ministry of Information, [author Graham] Greene used his night job as an air warden [during the London blitz] to prowl among the ruins or make love with his landlady’s feisty daughter, Dorothy Glover, on a rooftop lighted by the glare of burning buildings." image from

--Miranda Seymour, review of "Carrying On: Lara Feigel’s ‘Love-Charm of Bombs,’" New York Times; image from


How to Lose a War: A Primer - "We should engage in some counterintuitive thinking: for our next war, instead of trying to win, let’s try to openly seek defeat. At a minimum, we will be no worse off with that policy than we are now and if we happen to fail, we will actually be moving closer to victory. ... If you wish to lose a war, be hated but not feared. ... For example, have your own PA and diplomatic organs in speaking to the media, repeat enemy propaganda against your own soldiers and abuse the military justice system to prosecute soldiers for splitsecond combat decisions in order to appease these critics.

Loudly trumpet the 'culturally appropriate meals' to the guys you are going to waterboard and appoint enemy sympathizers as 'cultural advisers' and 'liaisons' to government security and law enforcement agencies. ...  Make sure that your intelligence and public diplomacy services are shorthanded on personnel fluent in the languages used by the enemy, whom you allow to practice perfidy without punishment." Image from entry

Letter to the Editor - John Karol, Orford, Valley News: "[H]ow many followers of mainstream media are aware of the provisions of Section 1021 of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, and Section 1078 of the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act — both signed into law by President Obama? Specifically: ∎ Section 1021 authorizes the U.S. military summarily to arrest, render and indefinitely detain without charge or trial anyone, including American citizens, merely suspected of aiding al-Qaida or any undefined 'associated force.' ∎ Section 1078 authorizes our government to prepare and disseminate propaganda (euphemistically called 'public diplomacy') not only abroad, as before, but now in the United States. Without knowledge of such matters, how can meaningful public discourse on them take place? We are inadequately informed by the mainstream media. Yet an informed electorate is all that stands between democracy and tyranny."

U.S. Spends $24 Million On ‘Propaganda Plane' Few Can See or Hear - John Hudson, Foreign Policy: "It's difficult to find a more wasteful government program. For the last six years, the U.S. government has spent more than $24 million to fly a plane around Cuba and beam American-sponsored TV programming to the island's inhabitants.

But every day the plane flies, the government in Havana jams its broadcast signal. Few, if any, Cubans can see what it broadcasts. The program is run by the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors, and for the last two years, it has asked Congress to scrap the program, citing its exorbitant expense and dubious cost-effectiveness. 'The signal is heavily jammed by the Cuban government, significantly limiting this platform's reach and impact on the island,' reads the administration's fiscal year 2014 budget request. But each year, hard-line anti-Castro members of Congress have rejected the recommendation and renewed funding for the program, called AeroMarti. Now, under the restrictions of government-wide belt-tightening, AeroMarti may finally die, but its fate has yet to be sealed." Image from article

BBG Is Adjusting to Modern Times: The federal government'sbroadcasting services are moving with the times  – Richard M. Lobo, Director, International Broadcasting Bureau, Washington - Letters, Wall Street Journal: My former colleague at the Broadcasting Board of Governors, S. Enders Wimbush, points to some of the challenges confronting the BBG (‘The Fading Voice of Liberty,’ July 19). These issues are deep-rooted and complex, but they are not impossible to solve. In fact, several were addressed in the strategic plan that the agency's governing board, including Mr. Wimbush, adopted in October 2011, and many are now underway. The board has been working closely with the operational leadership of the BBG and its broadcasters to reduce duplication in use of resources, increase efficiencies, and promote innovation. Impressive strides have been made in adapting our content to digital media so that our broadcasters' award-winning, unbiased news and information programs can be delivered on all the platforms that our audiences increasingly prefer, according to solid research. Of course, as Mr. Wimbush indicates, there are vexing problems that have built up over decades and that will be more difficult to resolve—overlap of language services where it is not needed in local markets, questions of control over taxpayer-funded grantees and other matters that have been documented elsewhere. Some of these matters can be resolved only through legislation, since Congress created the BBG's structure in stages over seven decades, using different sets of blueprints drawn by disparate hands. But to do away with the agency altogether is certainly not the way to get things done. Yes, the BBG needs to be brought up-to-date to keep up with a changing global media environment while working with comparatively tight funding. But we're well on our way.” Via RB on Facebook

The Corpse in the Senate Cloakroom - John O'Sullivan, "Ambassador Victor Ashe ... [is] former mayor of Knoxville, former U.S. Ambassador to Poland, and ... a Member of the Board of Broadcasting Governors, the body that oversees U.S. International Broadcasting—i.e., VOA, Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, etc., etc. —henceforth USIB. ... Mr. Ashe ... is dedicated, successful, popular, and bi-partisan. ...

The BBG is a bipartisan body composed of four Republicans and four Democrats, all chosen by their respective Senate leaderships (with a casting vote in the hands of the Secretary of State, currently John Kerry, who usually appoints his Asst. Secretary to cast it.) Currently, however, because of earlier resignations, there are only three regular BBG members—Ashe the Republican, and Democrats Meehan and McCue—plus Kerry. To fill three of the four vacancies the White House has sent down the nominations of one Democrat (Jeff Shell, to be BBG chairman) and two Republicans (Ryan Crocker and Matthew Armstrong.) All three are exemplary nominations and more or less unopposed. Other things being equal, the changes would restore balance to the Board—three Democrats and three Republicans with Kerry enjoying the casting vote—and would usually be rubber-stamped. That would reflect the tradition of both the BBG and USIB that partisan politics play no part in their debates and decisions. And this non-partisan tradition is both vital in itself and the reason why USIB gets strong support from both sides on Capitol Hill. But other things are curiously unequal. Somewhere along the line Crocker’s nomination got subtly changed. It is no longer being proposed to fill one of three (three!) Republican vacancies. It is now presented as a replacement for the retiring Ashe who—how can I put this politely?—hadn’t been planning on retiring. As a result, instead of a 3-3 balance on the Board, if the Senate okays the nominations tomorrow, there will be a 3-2 Democrat majority on the Board or a 4-2 Democrat majority when the Secretary of State’s representative votes." Via TL on Facebook; Ashe image from

A Tale of Two Syrians - Bolen88's Blog: Musical Adventures in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan -
"When I crossed the border into Syria in the summer of 2010, I had absolutely no idea what to expect.  Those that read my blog entry covering those colorful hours of travel may remember my apprehensiveness the evening that our American Voices faculty left Iraq and headed for Damascus. At our American Voices workshop at the Damascus Conservatory that summer, I was amazed at the plush facility (since bombed) and the many talented students I met there.  Little did I know, but two of the students would leave a particular impression on me."
Via PR

MEA to launch mobile app - "New Delhi ... The ministry of external affairs will launch a smartphone application Monday to inform users about its services and keep them updated on happenings on the diplomacy front. 'MEA to launch its mobile app: will be launched on July 29 (Monday).

The app is available for Android and iOS platforms,' public diplomacy division of the ministry tweeted Sunday. The MEA will be the first government department to have a mobile app for smartphone users. It will provide details of all citizen-centric services of the MEA like passport, visa for those travelling to India and Haj related details among others." Image from entry

Why cares Saudis news of Egypt?: The real revolution that came in the globalization and the information technology revolution is not only communication between peoples, but more than that; tremendous growth on the level of economic and trade relations in transit between countries [Google "translation":] - "masses on Earth are also affected by all this, and this is normal, networks of social turned to actors in any political event, so فاهتمام American public demonstrations Brazil after it was the U.S. does not know what is Brazil, and attention Arabs both small and large in regard Egyptian or Syrian or Tunisian has never before, is the result of this global networking condenser via the internet. therefore, became the States are also interested in particular its image of mind with other peoples, and make it - in the last three years only - budgets have been made ​​before, with an emphasis on the use of the Internet, particularly in this area, turning this into the Gaza named 'public diplomacy' Public Diplomacy, and there are beautiful book to the author of an American named George Overton on this aspect entitled 'International Politics in the age of communication" Foreign Policy in an interconnected World.'"

Traditional Diplomacy: Evolving But Not Forgotten - Sarah Blanchard, Exchange Journal: "Even though the scholarship is focused on social media and citizen-to-citizen engagement, traditional diplomacy cannot be completely forgotten, since many diplomats are the very opinion leaders that public diplomacy practitioners aim to influence. A strategic combination of all diplomatic tools needs to be part of the discussion."

The leap from corporate law to public service - Howard Liebman, Montreal Gazette: "On Sunday I turned 40 surrounded by my wife, children and family. It is a milestone that coincided with another important marker in my life — the eve of my 10th year of public service as chief of staff to Mount Royal MP Irwin Cotler. As I celebrate the two events, I find myself

reflecting on how rewarding and fulfilling public service is. ... Thanks to the work that Mr. Cotler does in the areas of justice and human rights, I have been engaged in public diplomacy both locally and in all four corners of the world." Liebman image from article


No relief for Syria: The absolute size of the humanitarian catastrophe there may not yet match the largest of recent times, but Syria is working hard to catch up - Timothy Garton Ash, Something must be done!" we cry. But what? Make the decisive, massive military intervention that alone would defeat Assad, and you face another Iraq. Don't intervene and accept another Bosnia. The record of Western military intervention in this region is disastrous.

Yet the notion that not intervening in any way is always the most moral option simply does not stand honest scrutiny. Image from article, with caption: Syrian refugees fill up their water jugs at the Zaatari refugee camp near the Syrian border in Mafraq, Jordan. Zaatari is home to about 120,000 Syrians.

Libya needs the U.S. for its transition to democracy - Charles Dunne, Stephen McInerney and Karim Mezran, Washington Post: The United States must build on the success of the 2011 NATO intervention and recognize the low cost and high reward of helping Libya evolve into a stable, prosperous and democratic ally in North Africa. A strong U.S. commitment to Libya is essential to the consolidation of its democratic transition, which would inspire confidence in a region struggling to overcome generations of authoritarianism.

North Korea Still Gets Propaganda Mileage Out Of U.S. Spy Ship - Scott Newman, North Korea's most famous museum exhibit, the captured American spy ship USS Pueblo, has been painted and polished for display as part of Saturday's "Victory Day" ceremonies marking the 60th anniversary of the armistice that ended hostilities in the Korean War.

The Pueblo, captured off the coast of North Korea in 1968, "is expected to be unveiled this week as the centerpiece of a renovated war museum," The Associated Press says. The lightly armed Pueblo was on a mission to listen in on North Korean communications when it was intercepted and commandeered in the Sea of Japan .North Korea held the entire crew — more than 80 Americans — for nearly a year before they were forced to sign confessions of espionage and released. Image from article, with caption: In a photo provided by the official Korean Central News Agency, North Koreans raise their fists in front of the USS Pueblo during a June rally in Pyongyang.


4 in 5 in U.S. face near-poverty, no work - Hope Yen, Associated Press, USA Today: Four out of 5 U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream.

Survey data exclusive to The Associated Press points to an increasingly globalized U.S. economy, the widening gap between rich and poor, and the loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs as reasons for the trend. Image from entry

100 Movie Quotes (American Film Institute Top 100 Movies); via JLB on Facebook

July 27

"At its core, propaganda refers to any technique or action that attempts to influence the emotions, attitudes, or behavior of a group, in order to benefit the sponsor."

--Scholar Kenneth A. Osgood; on Prof. Osgood, see (footnote 2); image from


Our One-Sided War on Terror - Stephen M. Walt, Foreign Policy: "After the 9/11 attacks, the United States quickly declared a ‘war on terror.’ In the conduct of that war, the United States invaded Afghanistan and then Iraq, imprisoned hundreds of captured "enemy combatants" without trial, tortured suspected terrorists, drastically ratcheted up homeland security, conducted drone strikes and/or targeted assassinations in several countries, and conducted a vast campaign of electronic surveillance at home and abroad. Virtually all these actions were designed to detect or eliminate actual terrorists or prevent them from carrying out deliberate attacks. In other words, whether offensive or defensive in nature, they were actions designed to win the war by thwarting or eliminating existing terrorist organizations.

But what about the parallel problem of terrorist recruitment? The other way to defeat terrorism is to make it harder for movements employing terrorist methods to recruit new followers, and to gradually marginalize the radicals within the societies in which they were trying to grow. There was a lot of talk about trying to do this immediately after 9/11: The State Department commissioned a task force report on public diplomacy toward the Arab/Islamic world, George W. Bush's administration hired a series of public diplomacy czarinas, and various experts offered advice on how the United States could undercut Osama bin Laden's message and rebuild the country's dubious image in that part of the world. This goal also underlay Barack Obama's initial outreach to the region and especially his infamous Cairo speech in June 2009. United States actually acted in ways that would reduce the jihadi appeal? In some cases (e.g., Jordan and Iraq), we were fortunate that terrorist groups acted in ways that reduced their appeal significantly. But has the United States also adjusted its policies to make it harder rather than easier for a jihadi leader to convince a potential recruit to join up? The answer is no." Uncaptioned image from article

New Report on Civilian Drone Casualties - Ben, Wanted Dead or Alive: A Journal of Strategic Manhunts and Counter-Terrorism: "Speaking of the New America Foundation, Peter Bergen and Jennifer Rowland report on a leaked internal Pakistani government document on civilian casualties from drone strikes which concludes they are much lower than has often been claimed in Pakistan (i.e. Interior Minister Rehman Malik's claim that 80% of people killed in drone strikes were civilians) but higher than the Obama administration has claimed (i.e. John Brennan's absurd claim in 2011 that "there hasn't been a single collateral death" from drone strikes). ... Drone strikes continue to have positive strategic utility (i.e. they kill more terrorists than they create) if signature strikes and 'double-tap' strikes are removed from the equation, and if the public diplomacy of drone strikes could be better managed (i.e. don't let Pakistani Islamists like Maulana Sami ul-Haq, leader of the Jamiat Ulama-i-Islam party, claim that drones kill "dozens of innocent people daily" without a response)."

Snowden Case Reveals Obama's Personal Arrogance - "The Obama administration is handling the Snowden case the most stupid way it could. Wasn't there once some bureau for public diplomacy and strategic communication in the State Department? The administration should have shut up as soon as Snowden went public. Instead it is creating a hero in the eyes of many U.S. people and in the eyes of everyone in the rest of the world. Trying to justify its spying on the whole world, threatening other states over Snowden's asylum and pushing 'allies' to bring down foreign presidential planes will endear the U.S. to no one. ... Ahh - the rule book is out of the window. Screw public diplomacy. Just don't care how the world sees the U.S.. It is all about Obama miffed that Putin is 'thumbing his nose' at him. Who is this President of the Russian Federation that dares to do so to King Obama of the United States?"

Empowered to Live Life to the Fullest - U.S. Department of State, "The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) stands as an advocate for the universal rights of all persons around the world. ECA’s EMPOWER Programs, a series of four separate two-way international exchanges, aim to put disability rights

at the heart of our nation’s public diplomacy efforts."  Image from article, with caption: Yasar Hayatkhan was one of 11 people from South and Central Asia selected to participate in one of the four EMPOWER Programs carried out by American Councils.

U.S. Consulate General, Chennai Training Program for Journalism Standards and Ethics - Estimated Total Program Funding: $100,000 Award Ceiling: $100,000 Award Floor: $50,000 CFDA Number(s): 19.040 -- Public Diplomacy Programs Description [:] The U.S. Consulate General, Chennai will host a year-long training program in South India that will focus on journalism ethics, standards, citizen journalism, and advocacy through reporting. The three-tiered program will bring U.S. experts to speak and work with editors, advertising managers, mid-career journalists, and journalism school curriculum developers. The awardee will work together with Indian journalism school sub-awardees in Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu. One significant purpose of this grant is to strengthen the connections between American and Indian journalism schools and journalists. At the end of the program, U.S. and Indian journalists and journalism professors will work together on a white paper of recommendations on how to improve India’s ranking on the World Press Freedom Index. ... Link to Additional Information [:] The Public Affairs Section (PAS) of the U.S. Consulate Chennai."

Op-Ed: Federal employees identify U.S. stations for government-paid news - Ted Lipien, Federal employees were told to identify U.S. stations but not to make offers of government-funded news to domestic media. With the controversy swirling over media reports that after a recent congressional modification in the 1948 Smith-Mundt Act, U.S. officials may try to target Americans with government propaganda, the federal agency in charge of news and information programs for foreign audiences told its employees that they can start identifying U.S. stations that may be interested in taking their programming but should not contact them specifically to market such programs. The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), which runs the Voice of America (VOA), Radio and TV Marti and several other news media outlets serving international audiences, advised its employees that after the inclusion of the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012 in the the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2013 (Public Law 112-239), they may collect information on U.S. stations as potential recipients of government-funded overseas news programs, but that they ‘should not be contacted solely to inform them of domestic programming.’ ‘If you have a meeting on other issues, you can mention that VOA/OCB (Office of Cuba Broadcasting in charge of Radio and TV Marti) can now respond to requests for programs in the U.S.,’ employees were told. ‘You can refer them to the Agency Domestic request regulations, VOA’s web pages or OCB’s web pages,’ internal instructions said. Section 1078 of the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2013 forbids use of taxpayers’ money by the Broadcasting Board of Governors and State Department employees to influence public opinion in the United States. The exact wording is: ‘No funds authorized to be appropriated to the Department of State or the Broadcasting Board of Governors shall be used to influence public opinion in the United States.’ Critics, such as the watchdog website BBG Watch, warn that government officials cannot be trusted not to target specific groups of Americans with news designed for foreign audiences. ... Supporters of U.S. international broadcasting fear that government officials might divert resources from serving audiences in countries without free media to expand into the U.S. market, where they would compete against domestic commercial media. It would be a waste of tax money that the U.S. Congress intended to use for foreign audiences, critics say.  ... According to critics, all U.S. government-funded news programs, including those produced by private 501(c)3 grantees--such as Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), Radio Free Asia (RFA), and Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa--should have been placed in the public domain and made available to anyone who wants them without government officials getting involved and being in charge of distribution and possible marketing and targeting of such programs. While the current law specifically prohibits diversion of programming focus and resources to domestic use, many Americans point out that those in charge of these programs cannot be trusted and must be closely watched. U.S. officials in the International Broadcasting Bureau insist that they have no intention of targeting Americans or producing programs for the domestic media market."

Czech Senator, former journalist, appeals to Secretary Kerry to ensure equal rights for all RFE/RL employees - BBGWatcher, "In an open letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, a member of the Czech Senate, Jaromír Štětina, a former journalist, appealed for ensuring equal rights for all Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) employees. RFE/RL has its headquarters in Prague.

As the U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry is an ex officio member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) which provides U.S. public funding for RFE/RL and has the ultimate responsibility for its programs and administrative policies. Senator Štětina points out in his letter to Secretary Kerry that unlike American and Czech employees, third country foreign employees of RFE/RL in the Czech Republic, the vast majority of whom are journalists, are denied by the American management equal rights to employment protections under the Czech labor law. ... Senator Štětina wrote to Secretary Kerry that neither RFE/RL nor BBG has ever responded to negative media coverage which refers to these personnel policies as 'betrayal of ideals', 'hypocrisy,' 'Guantanamo in Prague,' 'violation of human rights,' 'lawlessness,' 'double standards,' 'moral disaster,' 'fraud,' 'cynicism,' 'public idiocy instead of public diplomacy.' 'It is evident to me, a former journalist,' Senator Štětina wrote, 'that public diplomacy, which ignores public opinion, is both an expensive public disaster and worthless public hypocrisy.'" Image from entry, with caption: Czech Senator Jaromír Štětina is known for his human rights campaigns. This photo shows him meeting with Roma women in the Czech Republic to support their action against racial violence.

Are IBB officials trying to settle illegal RIF suit or will employee hardships continue? - BBGWatcher, "We are wondering whether International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) officials–IBB Director Richard Lobo, IBB Deputy Director Jeff Trimble Acting General Counsel Paul Kollmer-Dorsey and others–are in fact trying to solve the lawsuit against BBG and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB) over illegal OCB RIFs? The suit has gone on for over three years and has reached more than $3 million in compensation owed to RIFed employees."

CUSIB reposts S. Enders Wimbush’s response to our Letter to the Editor of WSJ - The Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB – has received a response from former Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) member S. Enders Wimbush to our Letter to the Editor of The Wall Street Journal in response to his article 'S. Enders Wimbush: The Fading Voice of Liberty,' WSJ, July 18, 2013. CUSIB is an organization of unpaid volunteers who support U.S. international broadcasting and an Advisory Board dedicated to promoting media freedom and other rights worldwide. We welcome Mr. Wimbush’s response as a further contribution to the debate on the future of U.S. international broadcasting in which we hold differing views and positions. Response from S. Enders Wimbush [:] Dear Ms. Noonan and Members of the Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting, Your 'response' to my WSJ op-ed is a poorly disguised effort to avoid debating the critical issues surrounding reform of U.S. international broadcasting by trying to discredit the messenger. It is full of innuendo and suggestion about me and my motives that cannot be supported by facts. ... CUSIB violently misrepresents my recommendations for fixing U.S. international broadcasting and the reasons for doing so, both crystal clear from my WSJ op-ed and my testimony to the HFAC.

Here they are again. I recommend creating a non-federal organization chartered by Congress for all of U.S. international broadcasting’s disparate parts. This would require de-federalizing VOA and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting. VOA’s journalists would no longer be civil servants, which would put to rest the old VOA lament that being a government journalist is an oxymoron. I also argued for grandfathering current VOA employees in their federal status, so that the transition out of the federal agency would be seamless. An advisory board of some kind would be likely. I recommend an impenetrable firewall against political interference from State or other agencies, as well as against advisory board members’ temptation to meddle in management. All activities, including essential support services, would be put under professional media management, like virtually all other international broadcasters. This would allow truly strategic investment where US interests are at stake, something that can not happen now because division of broadcast labor is largely cemented in place by the current funding priorities for five separate networks that rampantly duplicate services and seldom share resources. This would not disconnect U.S. international broadcasting from US national security but re-connect it. It is disconnected now. My unambiguous argument—that U.S. international broadcasting is strategically disoriented—forms the greater part of my WSJ piece. Yet somehow CUSIB has read it to mean exactly the opposite." Wimbush image from

Trans Regional Web Initiative Survives Congressional Assault - To Inform is to Influence: IO, SC, PD, what's in a name?: "I must voice my disgust for the use of ‘propaganda’ by Mr. Vanden Brook in his article [House fails to kill Pentagon's foreign websites]. The two of us recently sat down together and I explained the definition of propaganda (there is none, but it’s like porn, you know it when you see it). I actually started building a collection of propaganda for demonstration purposes. According to Dr. Steven Luckert of the US Memorial Holocaust Museum, propaganda is roughly based on facts or stereotypes which are distorted to support an extreme ideology (I’m grossly paraphrasing). These sites, however, post 'fair and objective' articles from legitimate news sources. ... My next points and they’re nit picky: 'that such websites have the potential to unintentionally skew U.S. policy positions or be out of step with U.S. government efforts in a particular country,' a quote by unnamed 'some State Department Public Diplomacy officials and senior embassy officials'. First of all, it shouldn’t be a quote if it’s a conglomeration of statements, especially by unnamed multiple sources. Second, the word 'potential' is used, the same as I have the potential to be a gigolo, a thief, or an assassin, but I am none of the above. The last thing about this sentence is that this is the point of central planning and decentralized execution – you must train, then trust but supervise and verify. When the US military began allowing hundreds and thousands of webpages to be built, those lessons were learned the hard way. State Department has the same solution, not everything is approved by the Secretary of State, the authority has to be delegated down the chain."

Al Jazeera America Promises To Stand Out In Cable News Market, But Concerns Loom - Michael Calderone, Huffington Post:  "Philip Seib, director of USC's Center on Public Diplomacy and author of 'The Al Jazeera Effect,' told HuffPost that the network’s Qatari backers are motivated by the realization that 'you’re not a real international player in the broadcast world until you’re in the U.S.'

Ambassador Kohona markets Sri Lanka's economic gains to the World - Daya Gamage, "Rarely these days those who are handling external affairs for Sri Lanka use public diplomacy and strategic communication devises to market its impressive record of achievement releasing thousands of former Tamil Tiger combatants after successful rehabilitation process . ... Significantly, the economic aspect of post-war building of Sri Lanka has not been cogently placed before international community as one strategy to combat the propaganda machinery of the separatist elements in the Tamil Diaspora. ... Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Dr. Palitha Kohona

very eloquently placed the economic aspect of the rebuilding of the nation, while under siege by the separatist Tamil Tigers and in the aftermath of the completion of the war since May 2009, at the UN-sponsored 'High-Level Forum on South-South Cooperation for Sustainable development -ICT, Innovation, Culture and Sustainable Urbanization'- in Hong Kong on July 18." Kohona image from article

S. Korea to conduct worldwide survey on national image - "South Korea plans to conduct a comprehensive survey on its image in 10 countries across the globe in an effort to effectively push for a public diplomacy drive, officials said Sunday. Seoul's Ministry of Foreign Affairs plans to carry out the national image survey in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Egypt, Germany, India, Poland, South Africa, Turkey and Vietnam. More than 1,000 citizens from each country will participate in the survey that will be taken for about two months starting next month, with the results to be available in October, according to the officials. 'The survey results will be used as basic data for the government's establishment of mid- to long-term policy measures fit for each nation to promote South Korea in the world,' a ministry official said. Four major countries with closer ties with Seoul -- the United States, China, Japan and Russia -- are not on the list as the government has relatively ample information and survey results, according to officials. The ministry has striven to strengthen its soft-power diplomacy after it secured a budget of 6.7 billion won (US$5.99 million) for the first time this year. The government plans to conduct two more rounds of such surveys in 2014 and 2015 involving 20 countries each year, its officials said. 'So far, those who have knowledge of or relations with us were involved in surveys on the national image, which would have led to more positive answers. But the envisioned comprehensive version is expected to help us learn the true nature about how people across the world feel about South Korea,' another ministry official said."

12th ‘Han-Language Bridge’ competition 第十二届”汉语桥” [China HunanTV] #RisingChina #CulturalCapital - "Chinese public diplomacy with edutainment at its sharpest, in a reminder to the world – we’re not a militant monolith! University students from 77 countries congregate to exchange narratives in modern and traditional Chineseness.

That their introductions took up more than 11 minutes out of the 79 minute runtime was pretty cool.. It is also noteworthy that Chinese state media channels are not exactly sitting idly as state instruments. Their creativity and platforms for expression are worth catching up on, if Mandarin isn’t a barrier. In any case, the production and narrative values are good enough it’s worth watching if you’re got an hour plus to spare. For more – 中国湖南卫视官方频道 China HuNanTV Official Channel to see a spread of their content." Image from

Cultural diplomacy all about blending cultures: ICCR DGV - "Dhrupad music incorporated into a choreographed Mohiniyattam work, a tandem of classical ballet, Kathak and Flamenco or even sharing of stage space by Qawali troupes from Pakistan, TurkeyBangladesh and Afghanistan.  Sounds unique?  Well, that's the new definition of 'cultural diplomacy' according to Suresh K Goel, Director General, Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).  'It is not mandatory that the audience in India will only enjoy classical art forms or the new generation will only enjoy contemporary forms, we need to experiment, exchange and then enjoy,' Goel told PTI in an interview. The ICCR, he says, is undertaking efforts to ensure that various art forms in India reach audiences worldwide while people within India get opportunities to witness and enjoy the different art forms across the world. ‘The latest programme we conducted was a unique musical arrangement with Los Angeles-based Grammy nominee Donna Summer who has also created music for Whitney Houston, says Goel. Another recent programme by the cultural body featured work by musician Mac Quayle who seamlessly brought together a unique blend of world music with Kerala rhythms, Dhrupad and Rabindra sangeet. 'This was perhaps for the first time Dhrupad has been incorporated into a Mohiniyattam choreographic work. So that's how we blend different art forms and hence different cultures,' Goel elaborates. ICCR does not just aim to facilitate or ensure Indian cultural penetration into other countries but also aims to create a dialogue and hence facilitate exchange of cultures."

Sports diplomacy in the Australian context: A case study of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade - "Sports diplomacy in the Australian context: A case study of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade [;] Stuart Murray, Bond University [;] Date of this Version 7-26-2013 [;] Document Type Journal Article [;] Abstract [:] For a county with a small population, a remote location and an awkward colonial past, Australia has a remarkable record of success in international sport, so much so that sport is often considered a ‘religion’ in the ‘Lucky Country’. If diplomacy is the business of representation, it would be expected that sport features prominently in Australia’s diplomacy. However, sport oddly languishes under the banner of Public Diplomacy (PD) and is overseen by an unloved, under-resourced and under-represented Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). To exploit the type of vertical, horizontal and plural channels and networks diplomacy can offer in the 21st century, DFAT must remove sport from under the PD banner. Sports diplomacy must be funded by DFAT appropriately and developed to truly represent the place of sport in Australia’s history, culture and society."

Zimbabwe: Diplomatic Hiccup Shows Delicacy of Harare, Pretoria Ties - "South Africa has generally had strong relations with Zimbabwe, but some say a last week's hiccup over criticism of election preparations reveals the diplomatic fine line the southern African nations walk.

Last week, Lindiwe Zulu, a top international advisor to South African President Jacob Zuma, voiced concern that Zimbabwe was not well-prepared for the July 31 election, saying Zuma had spoken to Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe by phone about the matter. President Mugabe responded quickly, calling Zulu a 'stupid and idiotic street woman' who should be restricted from speaking about the vote. Zuma's office then released a statement saying it regretted the unauthorized statements and denying there had been any such phone call in which Zuma criticized election preparations. Clayton Monyela, South Africa's head of public diplomacy, said only Zuma would speak on matters relating to his responsibilities as a facilitator bilateral mediation." Image from

Mr Prime Minister! - Haider Mehdi, "Let us not forget that the Pakistani masses are a frustrated lot. The 2008-2013 democracy delivered nothing of substance for the average Pakistani citizen. It simply added to their daily deprivations, economic difficulties, lack of health and education facilities and increased poverty. The people of Pakistan do not want a political system that can only diffuse their anger by rhetorical public diplomacy and repeated democratic slogans and elections, while leaving their demands largely unmet. They want a democracy that delivers, meets their demands, resolves political problems, and finds the ways and means to manage social and economic justice. To put it simply, a democratic dispensation that has “solutions” to public issues and the “solutionists” determined in their task of dispensing public welfare at all levels of society."

It’s not just about tweeting links | Part 2 - Ben Giddings, "[D]igital can add

value at every stage of a public diplomacy process." Giddings image from entry

At Clear Channel, Women's Health Is "Divisive," Rush Limbaugh Isn't - Hilary Tone, "Hilary Tone joined Media Matters in September 2012 as an Assistant Editor after spending three years doing communications for progressive non-profits.

She specializes in civil rights, LGBT issues, and immigration policy, and holds a Masters of Public Diplomacy from the University of Southern California." Tone image from entry


To My State Department Colleagues - Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well:  The White House and the State Department complained that the Russian government permitted NSA leader Edward Snowden to meet with human rights groups at the Moscow airport. “Providing a propaganda platform for Mr. Snowden runs counter to the Russian government’s previous declarations of neutrality,” Jay Carney said. Obama has pressured Russia privately, and publically seeks “clarity” about Snowden’s request for asylum. Ever seen that before? The U.S. criticized Snowden for speaking to internationally-respected groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. In fact, the Obama administration urged human rights groups not to help Snowden. In response, the Human Rights Watch General Counsel said Snowden “should be allowed at least to make that claim and have it heard.” Has that ever happened before in your careers? Lifetimes? Here’s a link to what some in the old USSR might have considered a propaganda platform, a speech by dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn after he was granted refuge in the United States. We facilitated the U.S. giving such “propaganda platforms” to prisoners and fugitives and enemies of (other) states such as Nelson Mandela and Aung Su Kyi.

The Sisi Propaganda - Ziad Akl, "So the day is done and as expected millions took to the streets in response to General Abdul Fatah Al-Sisi’s call to authorise the army to “fight terrorism.” Scenes from yesterday’s different marches and demonstrations show how confusing things were. It was indeed more of a pro-army and pro-Sisi mobilisation than an anti-terrorism event.

I understand that those who are pro-Sisi are also with his anticipated crackdown on terrorism (in whichever way the army chooses to define it), but that does not necessarily justify the unmistakable propaganda that occurred yesterday. I am not claiming that yesterday’s marches were nothing but propaganda, but I am pointing out how many of those who participated were under the influence of a collective infatuation that certainly found its supporting means and started to grow worrisomely." Akl image from entry

Christians in Iran jailed for 'propaganda' - Baptist Press: Eight Iranian Christians were charged with "action against the national security" and "propaganda against the system" recently after being arrested in a raid of an evening prayer service, evidence of ongoing persecution of Christians in Iran.

Sochi Olympians, Guests Exempt From 'Gay Propaganda Law,' IOC Says - RIA Novosti, The Moscow Times: The International Olympic Committee says it has received assurances from Russia's government that athletes and spectators at next year's Winter Olympics in Sochi will be exempt from a controversial law banning anything deemed to promote homosexuality. Since it was signed into law by President Vladimir Putin last month, the legislation targeting so-called homosexual propaganda has attracted calls from activists around the world to boycott Russia's first Winter Olympics.

How to Mock a Nazi: Two Russian Posters That Hit 'Em Where It Hurt - Rebecca Onion, These posters, which lampoon Nazi leaders whose physical attributes don’t match their exalted rhetoric about the “Aryan race,” were originally illustrated by the Russian artist Boris Efimov and distributed through the TASS News Agency’s poster studio. One shows the 5-foot-5 and cadaverous propaganda minister

Joseph Goebbels standing on a table to give a speech, while the other mocks Hitler’s deputy (and head of the Luftwaffe) Hermann Göring, who was anything but “streamlined.”

The nonprofit Russian War Relief, a group soliciting aid for the Russian home front, reproduced these posters in English in 1941 and distributed them in the U.S. By showcasing Russia’s steadfastness and sense of humor in combating the Nazi threat, the organization hoped to cement American support for its humanitarian efforts. In an August 1942 issue  of Life magazine, an admiring article on Russian war posters featured Efimov’s works, along with those of several other artists. Calling the posters “colorful and forceful,” Life’s editors approvingly described the quick turnaround in Russian poster production and the images’ ubiquity in Russian public life. “People memorize the jingles” on the posters, they wrote, “and Russian soldiers make sketches of new posters to bring back to men on the front.” Efimov, who was of Russian Jewish ethnicity and whose own brother was killed as an “enemy of the state” in 1940, had an uneasy relationship with the Russian regime. He was born in 1900, died in 2008, and worked as a political cartoonist for those in power for most of his life. In a 1998 interview with PBS, Efimov described the difficulties he faced after the war, when the targets of the propaganda he produced for the state shifted: “I was often impressed by Churchill, by his will, by his wonderful oratory talent, his jokes. I really liked him. And then it was announced that he was our enemy, and we had to draw cartoons about him, and when I drew him looking in the mirror and seeing a reflection of Hitler, that was, for me, not convincing and not pleasant.”

Maps As Propaganda - Andrew Sullivan Daily Dish: Image from entry of a Dutch map from 1915:



MORE AMERICANA (funemployment time; "funemployment" term learned from a good friend)

The 10 best states to be unemployed - Alexander E.M. Hess, Michael Sauter and Samuel Weigley, USA Today: These are the best states in which to be unemployed.

10. Kansas

Pct. unemployed getting benefits: 44% (23rd highest)
Pct. average weekly wage covered: 43.2% (4th highest)
Unemployment rate: 5.8% (14th lowest)
1-yr. job growth: 1.3% (tied for 24th highest)

Kansas residents received an average of nearly $334 a week in unemployment insurance in the 12 months ending with the first quarter of 2013. At 43.2% of the state's average weekly wage, this was more than all but three other states. Also impressive, the state had a June unemployment rate of just 5.8%, while the national rate was 7.6%. However, Kansas has lagged behind the rest of the country in job growth in the past six months, growing payrolls by just 1.3% versus 1.7% nationwide. One of the major drags on the state's economy has been Wichita's aircraft industry, which has not recovered the jobs it cut during the recession.

9. Utah

Pct. unemployed getting benefits: 31% (6th lowest)
Pct. average weekly wage covered: 43.3% (3rd highest)
Unemployment rate: 4.7% (8th lowest)
1-yr. job growth: 2.2% (6th highest)

Unemployed Utahns entitled to benefits received more than 43% of their average weekly wages, higher than all other states except for Hawaii and North Dakota. Those finding themselves unemployed may have an easier time jumping back into the workforce as well. The unemployment rate in Utah was just 4.7% in June, the eighth lowest of all states. Between June 2012 and June 2013, there were 2.2% more nonfarm workers, a bigger increase than all but five other states.

8. Washington

Pct. unemployed getting benefits: 45% (tied for 19th highest)
Pct. average weekly wage covered: 38.6% (15th highest)
Unemployment rate: 6.8% (20th lowest)
1-yr. job growth: 2.0% (tied for 7th highest)

Washington residents received fairly generous unemployment insurance benefits in the 12 months ending with the first quarter of 2013, averaging nearly $378 a week. This was equal to 38.6% of the state's average weekly wage of just under $980 -- among the highest in the nation -- and was better than the 33% workers received nationally in benefits on average. The unemployed in Washington also faced a fairly strong job market, with employment growing at 2% in the past 12 months through June. The Seattle area has recovered the majority of jobs it lost during the recession, although much of the job growth and availability was limited to high-skilled workers with backgrounds in engineering and technology.

7. Vermont

Pct. unemployed getting benefits: 48% (12th highest)
Pct. average weekly wage covered: 39.9% (10th highest)
Unemployment rate: 4.4% (4th lowest)
1-yr. job growth: 1.1% (19th lowest)

Vermont paid out a benefit of nearly $309 in the 12 months running through the first quarter of 2013. This comprised nearly 40% of average weekly wages, higher than the majority of states. The unemployment rate in Vermont as of June 2013 was just 4.4%, lower than all but three other states, although the number of nonfarm jobs rose only 1.1% between June 2012 and June 2013, lower than the 1.7% nationwide growth.

6. Idaho

Pct. unemployed getting benefits: 47% (tied for 14th highest)
Pct. average weekly wage covered: 37.5% (18th highest)
Unemployment rate: 6.4% (17th lowest)
1-yr. job growth: 3.0% (the highest)

Idaho had the nation's fastest nonfarm job growth of 3% between June 2012 and June 2013, which may help explain the state's relatively low unemployment rate of 6.4%. Among the unemployed, a relatively high percentage received benefits. However, the state average weekly wages of just $681 was one of the lowest in the nation, compared to $923 nationally. Idaho had the highest percentage of workers earning minimum wage in the country, and in an interview with Idaho's StateImpact, Mike Ferguson, the director of the Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy noted that there was an ongoing "race to the bottom and we're pretty darn close to winning."

5. Minnesota

Pct. unemployed getting benefits: 47% (tied for 14th highest)
Pct. average weekly wage covered: 39.3% (13th highest)
Unemployment rate: 5.2% (9th lowest)
1-yr. job growth: 1.7% (14th highest)

Job growth in Minnesota was in line with the rest of the nation. Similarly, the percentage of unemployed residents receiving unemployment benefits was only slightly above the national benchmarks. The state's low unemployment rate of 5.2% helped make Minnesota a top five state for unemployed workers seeking a job. Also, Minnesota's ability to support its unemployed residents is likely to be less affected by the sequester than other states. While the average national cut in unemployment benefits is expected to drop by $43 per person, it is only expected to drop by $37 a person in Minnesota.

4. Iowa

Pct. unemployed getting benefits: 45% (tied for 19th highest)
Pct. average weekly wage covered: 43.2% (4th highest)
Unemployment rate: 4.6% (5th lowest)
1-yr. job growth: 1.6% (21st highest)

Iowa had one of the nation's lowest unemployment rates — at just 4.6%, it is three percentage points lower than the national rate of 7.6%. The unemployment insurance benefit was equal to 43.2% of the average weekly wage — tied for fourth highest in the nation. But according to The Des Moines Register, job growth in Iowa is expected to fall short of goals set by Governor Terry Branstad, who aimed to add 200,000 jobs over five years ending in 2016.

3. North Dakota

Pct. unemployed getting benefits: 36% (14th lowest)
Pct. average weekly wage covered: 43.9% (2nd highest)
Unemployment rate: 3.1% (the lowest)
1-yr. job growth: 2.6% (4th highest)

The average weekly benefit for unemployed workers in North Dakota was more than $376 as of the first quarter of 2013, higher than all but five other states. However, just 800 people received unemployment insurance, the second fewest of all states. North Dakota and its residents are benefiting from an oil boom, which is bringing many jobs to the area. The number of nonfarm workers grew 2.6% between June 2012 and June 2013, higher than all but four other states. This comes on top of a 9.8% growth in the previous 12 months, which was by far the biggest growth of all states that year. The unemployment rate as of June 2013 was a mere 3.1%, lower than any other state.

2. Hawaii

Pct. unemployed getting benefits: 51% (10th highest)
Pct. average weekly wage covered: 53.0% (the highest)
Unemployment rate: 4.6% (5th lowest)
1-yr. job growth: 1.3% (tied for 24th highest)

The average benefit in Hawaii was more than $422 per week, comprising 53% of the average weekly wages — both the highest in the country. Of those who were unemployed, 51% received benefits, higher than all but nine other states. Hawaii had only a 4.6% unemployment rate as of June 2013, lower than all but four other states. There were 6.1% more tourists in the state in the first four months of 2013, compared to the same time in 2012, with a related increase of 6.3% in total spending during that time. According to the Hawaii Tourism Authority, this translated into 3,000 more local jobs.

1. Montana

Pct. unemployed getting benefits: 55% (8th highest)
Pct. average weekly wage covered: 40.3% (9th highest)
Unemployment rate: 5.4% (12th lowest)
1-yr. job growth: 2.0% (tied for 7th highest)

Being unemployed in Montana does not look the same as it does for most of the country. On average, unemployment benefits covered more than 40% of the state's average weekly wages in the 12 months ending with the first quarter of 2013, the ninth highest of all states. In addition to unemployment rate being among the lowest in the country, nonfarm employment grew by 2%, higher than all but a handful of states. Employment growth was most noticeable in the information field and in and professional and business services, where the number of jobs grew by 7.4% and 7.1%, respectively. Montana was also in the top 10 of all states in terms of employment growth in the previous 12 months.