Tuesday, May 20, 2014

May 20

"Seriously, What's So Bad About Adverbs?"

Headline, io9.com, Jan. 5, 2010; cited at; image from


The FY 2015 Budget Request for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs - Testimony, Daniel R. Russel, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Statement Before the House Foreign Affairs Committee Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific Washington, DC, May 20, 2014 [includes video] - state.gov: "At the outset of the President’s first term, the State Department, in conjunction with our partners at USAID, looked at how U.S. Government resources were distributed and realized that the distribution of resources did not match the growing importance of the region and our goals there. The distribution was out of balance. Over the last five-plus years, in close coordination with Congress, we have worked to rebalance this distribution of resources. These resources fund critical efforts that directly advance U.S. economic and security interests in the region. Within public diplomacy, for example, our programs with an English focus are paying great dividends across the region.

There are 100 Fulbright English Teaching Assistants (ETA) placed throughout Malaysia. A recent survey revealed that these ETAs have directly engaged over 88,000 Malaysian youth, teachers, and community members. ... In addition to foreign assistance, the FY 2015 request also provides essential funds for additional personnel, operations, and public diplomacy to meet growing demands driven by our intensified focus on the Asia-Pacific region. Our nation benefits from additional resources to strengthen people-to-people ties with the region through expanded outreach and education and cultural exchanges, particularly with ASEAN countries. Our FY 2015 Diplomatic Engagement request provides additional program and support costs for EAP, including funding to add three new positions to our existing 1,014 positions in order to fill critical needs at our embassies. These positions will support the Public Diplomacy operations and will be assigned to Jakarta, Indonesia; Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia; and Guangzhou, China. This increase comes on top of the 24 new positions requested in FY 2014 for the Asia rebalance. These resources must be accompanied by an increase in Educational and Cultural Exchanges funding for cultural and educational programs to reach a greater number of people throughout the region." Image from

China Cyber Charges: Take Beijing to the WTO Instead - James P. Farwell, Darby Arakelian, nationalinterest.org: "The criminal indictment of five People Liberation Army officers for hacking into the computers of six U.S. companies for economic espionage to steal trade secrets and sensitive information sends a message but the bite has no teeth. The better way to hold China accountable is to take them to a World Trade Organization panel, which could issue a ruling that deals Chinese cyber piracy a telling blow. The TRIPS Agreement (Trade Related-Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) provides specific protection against theft of intellectual property. It would enable the U.S. to accomplish confluent goals more effectively than a criminal prosecution that the U.S. will never be able to enforce. First, WTO panels are comprised of distinguished international jurists. That elevates any ruling beyond the confines of what China will brand as unfair, xenophobia. Second, it would be enforceable, enabling the U.S. to apply economic sanctions that cost China real dollars. Third, while WTO proceedings do not permit class actions, the U.S. does not stand alone in its complaint against Chinese cyber piracy. Statecraft, including public diplomacy, could motivate other aggrieved nations to bring their own proceedings. The impact would be cumulative.

Fourth, China greatly values its self-image as morally righteous. An adverse finding would knock it off that perch. Finally the burden of proof in a WTO proceeding is far easier to sustain than a criminal indictment in U.S. District Courts. ... Bringing indictments against Chinese individuals may finesse the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, which except in narrow circumstances obstructs an effort to hold a foreign nation accountable in our courts. The U.S. should certainly proceed with those cases. One hopes they produce convictions. That would send one strong message to the international community that Chinese cyber piracy is unacceptable and violates international norms. But combining that with a WTO proceeding, and a strong campaign that uses public diplomacy and strategic communication to shine a light on Chinese guilt, seems likely to achieve greater impact." Image from entry

China bashing doesn’t help - Mark Valencia, japantimes.co.jp: "China is getting bashed by a perfect storm of its own counterproductive public relations, its actions and reactions, and what China perceives as the harmonized public diplomacy strategy of its detractors. Both the situation and the 'blame' for it are more complex and nuanced than journalists and 'experts' would have it. Nevertheless, this bashing will likely end badly, with a smarting, angry and relatively politically isolated China. That will not be good for peace and stability in the South China Sea or the region as a whole. The latest imbroglio involves China’s placement of a petroleum drilling rig within Vietnam’s claimed 200-nautical- mile Exclusive Economic Zone and on its claimed continental shelf. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry allegedly called this move 'provocative.'”

US losing 'information war' to Russia, China? - Julian Hattem, thehill.com: “When it comes to getting political messages out, the head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee thinks the United States is falling behind other countries. According to Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.), outlets like the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe ‘are competing against Russia, China, Iran and others with a hand tied behind their back.’  ‘That's because the bureaucratic structure over top of these radios, the Broadcasting Board of Governors, is badly broken,” he wrote in an op-ed in the Orange County Register. The latest battle in the ‘information war’ is happening in Ukraine, he wrote, where the U.S. is unable to match the ‘propaganda machine,’ run by Russian President Vladimir Putin. That effort is going into ‘overdrive,’ Royce said. ‘Putin, the former KGB colonel, is playing for keeps.’ Meanwhile, the nine-member board overseeing the U.S. broadcasters meets just once a month, has long suffered from vacancies and is often paralyzed by the lack of a quorum, critics say. In response, Royce and other lawmakers on the Foreign Affairs Committee recently passed a bill to shake up the broadcasters and streamline some of the operations. The organizational rearrangement has been widely praised, but a separate measure to clarify the focus of the Voice of America has led to fears that the flagship broadcaster could be turned into a propaganda machine no more accurate than those run by regimes in Russia and China.  The bill would require that the broadcaster’s reporting ‘is consistent with and promotes the broad foreign policies of the United States.’ Supporters on the committee say that measure is public diplomacy, not propaganda. ‘If done right though, U.S. international broadcasting can decisively undercut the censors and propagandists abroad, helping freedom seekers and strengthening our national security,’ Royce wrote."

Undersecretary Stengel Visits RFE/RL Kyiv Bureau — Importance of U.S.-funded Surrogate Media Acknowledged - BBGWatcher, BBG Watch: "It is good to see

a high level U.S. State Department official, Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Richard Stengel, acknowledge the importance of the Broadcasting Board of Governors’ (BBG) surrogate broadcasters, specifically Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL). Not too long ago, their future as surrogate media outlets was being questioned and their independence threatened by the Washington bureaucracy centered within the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB). Washington bureaucrats wanted to put surrogate broadcasters under their central control, having already undermined much of their independence. Their idea, reflecting a longstanding belief in the end of history despite continuous new evidence to the contrary, was to create a ‘Global News Network.’ In their view, surrogate media was the thing of the past, a relic of the Cold War. BBG board has recently made personnel changes at IBB and put in a new three-person interim management team. As former IBB executives stood idly by, RFE/RL’s role as a surrogate broadcaster was nearly destroyed in 2012. But thanks to BBG Watch investigative reporting and intervention of some BBG members, as well as behind the scenes efforts by Ms. Tara Sonenshine, Mr. Richard Stengel’s predecessor as Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, RFE/RL’s management was replaced and the media outlet’s effectiveness and reputation were restored. RFE/RL Ukrainian Service posted online a multimedia news story, Зараз немає важливішої політики, ніж та, яка стосується України – заступник держсекретаря США, RFE/RL Ukrainian Service, May 13, 2014, with video and quotes.” Stengel image from entry

The U.S. Department of state: If Russia would intervene in the course of elections in Ukraine, the new sanctions will not keep you waiting - jumifra.com: "The United States may apply more stringent sanctions against Russia if Moscow will interfere with the presidential elections in Ukraine. This was stated by the Deputy state Secretary of the USA on public diplomacy for Stengel."

Department of State Public Schedule May 20, 2014 - rockycoastnews.blogspot.com: "UNDER SECRETARY FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS RICHARD STENGEL 11:00 a.m. Under Secretary Stengel meets with the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the U.S. Ahn Ho-young, at the Department of State."

Secret Cuba Work and the other Alan Gross - Tracey Eaton, havanatimes.org: "Cuban authorities arrested American development worker Alan Gross in 2009 after his fifth trip to the island to set up a network of Internet hotspots. But Gross evidently wasn’t the only older Jewish man spotted in Cuba carrying out a mission for the U.S. government. Jeffrey Robert Kline, founder of the Self Reliance Foundation, went to the island to test cell phones and other wireless devices for a contractor that was working for the State Department, according to a knowledgeable source who asked not to be identified. … Kline, 64, could not be reached for comment. In February, I wrote about a Cuba project he is doing for the Broadcasting Board of Governors. (See “The incredible disappearing $450,000 contract”).  … The State Department did not consider the mission a success. The testing of the wireless equipment taken to Cuba was not as detailed or as sophisticated as U.S. officials had wanted. Still, everyone got home safely. The source’s version of events could not be confirmed. Emily Goulding, a former Self Reliance Foundation employee, worked for Kline for three years, said ‘He’s an interesting man. Very creative.’ However, she declined to talk about

Kline’s work in Cuba, calling it ‘classified.’ She would not answer questions about experiences in Cuba, either, and suggested that the State Department might have more information. Goulding’s resume says she was a development special for the Self Reliance Foundation from 2007 to 2009. Her accomplishments are listed as: … - Designed and secured funding for multiple international public diplomacy projects such as a hip hop organizing projects, such as Mi Pais Inventado/My Invented Country street theater project in Cuba, and a youth-run Venezuelan Web magazine through the Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.” Kline image from entry

Embassy Moscow, 1987-1991: Watching an Empire Self-Destruct - Jack F. Matlock, Jr., jackmatlock.com: "With the opening of the Soviet media, embassy public affairs took on a new dimension: television appearances of Russian-speaking embassy officers and visiting Americans became almost a daily occurrence. By 1990, Spaso House, the ambassador’s residence, was the locus of some 12 to 16 official functions a week. Some days included as many as four functions: working breakfasts, lunches, a press conference or briefing, then an evening reception or seated dinner.

In 1989 we initiated a series of 'Spaso Seminars' involving American specialists discussing Soviet domestic issues ranging from demographic problems to the operation of the black market, to unanswered questions about Josef Stalin. Russian academic specialists and legislators were invited to the lectures, followed by dinner and discussion. Dr. Condoleezza Rice, then a staffer at the National Security Council, gave a well-attended lecture in Russian on the Soviet military. When the Soviet legislature was considering a law on press freedoms, we had an American lawyer specializing in first amendment rights lecture a group that included the members of the relevant Supreme Soviet committee. Subsequently, they used the arguments they had heard at Spaso House (without attribution, of course) to strengthen press freedoms in the Soviet law under consideration." Via JFM, Jr. on Facebook. Image from

Happy Yerevan: Second video already available (video) - en.a1plus.am: "A second video entitled 'Happy Yerevan' filmed by Lumen Cinematography is already available in social networking websites. The first 'Happy Yerevan' video was made by the U.S. Embassy in Armenia earlier this year as part of its digital public diplomacy effort. Listen to good music, dance, love Yerevan and be happy. It is never too late to be happy."

The Global Implications of US Internet Regulation - Maximilian Curtis, futureforeignpolicy.com: "In an age where public diplomacy and social media have played a major role in fostering international cooperation and even nuclear deals, net neutrality

ensures that data from other countries is treated equally with domestically-produced data." Image from entry, with caption: Symbolizing net neutrality

Operation American Spring – The MindWar Rolls On - scottcreighton, firedoglake.com (May 15) [includes video] : "Operation American Spring is upon us, being led by a war-mongering 'Gathering of Eagles' organizer (Colonel Harry G. Riley, U.S. Army (Ret.)) and a pure fascist ultra-Zionist (Maj. Gen. Paul E. Vallely) who recently visited the terrorists in Syria to lend them his support. It is their stated objective to force a regime change in Washington. Tomorrow, a fascist former NSA Division Chief (’88-’92) Colonel Harry G. Riley, U.S. Army (Ret.),  will be leading the Neoliberal March on Washington to replace Obama and a few others with their own hand-picked gaggle of neoliberal Libertarians and far-right conservatives because… Obama is such a socialist and he’s not implementing the IMF’s austerity measures fast enough for his tastes. … If you think Vallely is opposed to tyranny and unconstitutional oppression of the people of this country, think again. Here’s a review of his Global War of Terror supporting book (introduction by Ollie North) called Endgame: The Blueprint for Victory in the War on Terror [‘] Dismissing critics of the Bush Administration’s approach to the war on terror, this hawkish manifesto calls for more of the same. The authors, both retired generals and Fox News pundits, allow that terrorism involves a worldwide network of Muslim radicals aiming at a global Islamic empire and possibly plotting nuclear attacks on American cities. But they insist that the spread of terrorism will not be stanched through 'the law-enforcement paradigm of counterterrorism' or the settlement of Middle East political crises, but by going after the state sponsors (including Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and North Korea) that the authors identify as being part of the ‘Web of Terror.’ The authors nod to soft measures—encouraging democratization and public diplomacy initiatives—to foster moderation in the Muslim world, but the heart of their agenda is regime change. [']"

Young people hold online Middle East talks: Group’s Israeli founder says its size and scope — almost 500,000 participants — shows that youth in the region want peace - Ian Deitch, timesofisrael.com: "With the collapse of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, hundreds of thousands of young people across the Middle East are talking reconciliation online, a former Israeli peace negotiator and founder of the movement said Monday.

Uri Savir, himself an ex-peace negotiator between Israel and the Palestinians and founder of 'Yala Young Leaders,' said the size and scope of his group shows that young people in the Middle East want peace. 'The peace process continues online,' he said. ... 'Young people in the Middle East want peace talks to succeed,' Savir added. He said his site is a 'very innovative public diplomacy tool that will in time influence governments.'Image from entry, with caption: US Secretary of State John Kerry, left, meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the Palestinian Ambassador’s Residence in Amman, Jordan, on March 26, 2014. See also (1) 2).

Enjoying Aid But In No Rush to Provide Benefits - Ariel Dloomy, ejewishphilanthropy.com: "The government of Israel benefits from the activities of Israeli aid organizations operating throughout the world, reaping dividends in the realms of economics and public relations . ... While these organizations are a boon and a salve to Israel’s negative global image, they also share a common challenge: the government refuses to recognize them as nonprofit organizations in accordance with the 46A status of the Income Tax Ordinance – meaning they cannot receive tax-deductible donations. By denying them 46A status, which the government justifies by citing their work outside of Israel, these nonprofits are placed in a perilous situation bureaucratically, preventing them from receiving even the most basic governmental benefits due to a nonprofit organization from

the municipal to national level. The situation is particularly absurd considering that these very organizations often collaborate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Office of Public Diplomacy, the arms of the government that promote Israel’s public image. The government has been thrilled to leverage their work in showing the world a face of Israel different than the one embroiled in conflict, all while denying them the key philanthropic support that would augment the very efforts they so laud." Image from entry, with caption: IsraAID volunteers raising flags at the Home Depot in Longmont, CO

Ucraina, vi spiego tutti gli errori della Russia e dell’Europa - Carlo Jean, formiche.net: "E’... probabile che Putin usi molta cautela nello 'spingere' troppo sull’Ucraina. Una conferma di ciò si trova nella strategia proposta lo scorso marzo da Vladislav Surkov, uno dei più stretti collaboratori del presidente russo.

Denominata 'strategia della guerra non-lineare' è per molti versi simile a quella della 'guerra senza limiti', teorizzata da due colonnelli cinesi una decina di anni fa. E’ una strategia che si fonda sull’impiego coordinato di molti mezzi: dal nazionalismo etnico e linguistico, alla religione, alle rivolte popolari secessionistiche, all’uso di mercenari e di criminali, al ricatto energetico, agli attacchi cibernetici, alla disinformazione e a una public diplomacy volutamente contraddittoria, volta a disorientare e dividere il fronte avversario." Uncaptioned image from entry

i’m sure it’s worth reading this carefully, but akhmetov’s steelworkers could hardly ‘rout the separatists’ when the latter are armed, except by agreement - niqnaq.wordpress.com: "Workers Seize City in Eastern Ukraine From Separatists Andrew Kramer, NYT, May 15 2014 [Comment on article by] Mike Maloney [:] This one smacks of 'public diplomacy.' The entire second half of the article is built out of quotes from Metinvest and Ilyich Steel Works CEOs. It is as if Kramer got a call on Wednesday saying, 'We’d like you to come by the mill for a chat tomorrow with chief executive Zinchenko. Something important is going to happen.' And lo and behold! The proletariat has risen."

10 Indian teams win INDIAFRICA Business Venture Competition - smetimes.in: "Ten teams from India are among the top 20 winners at the 3rd INDIAFRICA Business Venture Competition and will receive a cash prize of Rs.50,000 each, it was announced in New Delhi Monday. Amit Shahi, chief executive officer, theIdeaWorks and programme director, INDIAFRICA: A Shared Future, said

here Monday that five teams from Nigeria and one each from Egypt, Zambia, Senegal, Rwanda and Uganda are also among the winners. Open to students and young entrepreneurs from Africa and India, this year the annual competition received over 1,800 registrations from 40 African countries and India. It is organised by theIdeaWorks under the aegis of the INDIAFRICA: A Shared Future programme. INDIAFRICA: A Shared Future has been conceptualized by IdeaWorks Design and Strategy Pvt Ltd with support from the public diplomacy division of the India's external affairs ministry." Uncaptioned image from entry

Operation Tomodachi and Afterwards: A U.S. Marine Corps Perspective - rafu.com: "The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles will present 'Operation Tomodachi and Afterwards: A U.S. Marine Corps Perspective'

on Thursday, May 15, at 7 p.m. at 5700 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 100, Los Angeles. operation tomodachi logoThe lecture will be given by Dr. Robert D. Eldridge, deputy assistant chief of staff for G-7, political affairs and public diplomacy officer, Marine Corps Installations Pacific (Okinawa)." Image from entry

Making Access Visible: Representations of the Internet - cgcsblog.asc.upenn.edu:
"Willow Williamson is an International Relations PhD student at American University in the School of International Service, where she received a MA in International Media. Her research is focused on public diplomacy, intercultural communication, gender, and technology." 


Indicting China's Hackers: Criminal charges against five PLA members won't stop cyber-spying - Review and Outlook, Wall Street Journal: The proper way to respond to cyber war is to use the tools of statecraft to make China pay a political and economic price. The U.S. should respond with its own cyber battle plan that attacks Chinese targets

and forces China to play defense rather than devote all of its resources to hacking U.S. targets. Image from

The Big Debate - David Brooks, New York Times: The events of the past several years have exposed democracy’s structural flaws. Democracies tend to have a tough time with long-range planning. Voters tend to want more government services than they are willing to pay for. The system of checks and balances can slide into paralysis, as more interest groups acquire veto power over legislation. As John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge write in their

book, “The Fourth Revolution,” “so far, the 21st century has been a rotten one for the Western model.” A new charismatic rival is gaining strength: the Guardian State. In their book, Micklethwait and Wooldridge do an outstanding job of describing Asia’s modernizing autocracies. In some ways, these governments look more progressive than the Western model; in some ways, more conservative. Democracy’s great advantage over autocratic states is that information and change flow more freely from the bottom up. Those with local knowledge have more responsibility. If the Guardian State’s big advantage is speed at the top, democracy’s is speed at the bottom. So, obviously, elite commissions should push proposals that magnify that advantage. Image from

Sanctions on Venezuela would be counterproductive - David Smilde, Washington Post: Sanctions often fail. It is clear that more than 50 years of various U.S. sanctions have done little to change the Cuban government. Indeed the evidence suggests that sanctions have contributed significantly to the Castros’ permanence in power. The same would happen in Venezuela. Like Cuba, the Venezuelan government is based on a Marxist ideology that portrays the United States as an imperialist power conspiring to undermine its revolutionary government. In this view, the United States wants to undermine Venezuela not only to control its oil, but also because it feels threatened by the success of its socialist alternative.  It is clear that more than 50 years of various U.S. sanctions have done little to change the Cuban government. Indeed the evidence suggests that sanctions have contributed significantly to the Castros’ permanence in power. The same would happen in Venezuela. Like Cuba, the Venezuelan government is based on a Marxist ideology that portrays the United States as an imperialist power conspiring to undermine its revolutionary government. In this view, the United States wants to undermine Venezuela not only to control its oil, but also because it feels threatened by the success of its socialist alternative. Any kind of sanctions would effectively be used to turn what should be a conflict between the Venezuelan government and its opposition into a conflict between the Venezuelan government and the United States.

Ukraine's far-right: Popular or propaganda? Despite successful public relations campaigns, archconservative groups do not fare well in political polls - Katherine Jacobsen, aljazeera.com: The Right Sector was founded in December, when the organisation was founded as a conglomeration of Ukraine's ultra-nationalist fringe elements. These groups had relatively low visibility until the Maidan protests began in November. The Right Sector's website and social media pages feature pictures of heavily armed, masked men.

Such images have provided the Russian media with fodder for newscasts about extremism in Ukraine. Furthermore, the new Ukrainian government's inability to successfully clear out ultra-right groups from the Maidan contributes to an overall impression that the new government is unable to control protesters who helped bring down the last government. Image from entry, with caption: Right Sector and Svboda, two right-wing organisations, have gathered support in western Ukraine.

Pyongyang building collapse: a new era for North Korean propaganda: State media has made the rare move of reporting a "serious accident". Breaking with tradition, the regime is attempting to portray itself as accountable, writes Choson Exchange - Andray Abrahamian, theguardian.com: People are missing out on broad shifts in North Korean propaganda over the last three years. The propaganda narrative captures fairly dramatic shifts in the context of state-grassroots relations in the country. Accidents and mistakes do happen in North Korea, as in any other country, but have traditionally been glossed over in domestic media. In the past, problems highlighted in public media were attributed to foreign causes (usually saboteurs, spies and sanctions) or natural disasters. This shift started in 2012, when North Korea publicly admitted that its attempted rocket launch in April did not succeed. North Korea mentioned at that time that its scientists were assessing what caused the failure. Kim Jong-un followed up on this narrative when he castigated officials for failing to properly maintain Mangyongdae funfair in May that year, pointing to the funfair’s dilapidated state, even pulling weeds from the ground himself. Last month, during a military exercise, Kim Jong-un “severely criticised the [artillery] sub-unit for failing to make good combat preparations.” It is the public nature of such criticism and the blame attributed to government officials that should draw our attention.

Reshuffles at propaganda organs underscore their importance to party: From Mao's time to the present day, People's Daily and Qiushi, and their executives, have wielded great influence - Cary Huang, scmp.com: Mao Zedong said political power comes from the barrel of a gun. The late leader also said that control of information and media is as important as control of the gun, as they are the two pillars of Communist Party power. Despite dramatic economic and social changes since the late 1970s, all of China's leaders, Mao's successors, have embraced his credo.

That is why party ideologues and propagandists and the media outlets they control continue to enjoy a status parallel to or even greater than other powerful branches of government, such as the military and security services. In the past few weeks, the official Xinhua news agency has reported on a series of personnel changes at People's Daily and Qiushi, or "Seeking Truth", the country's two most influential party propaganda organs. The reshuffles involved the replacement of senior executives and editors, as well as their deputies, at both publications. Image from entry, with caption: Reshuffles at propaganda organs underscore their importance to party.

Absurd propaganda quiz is another costly EU flop: Brussels' desperate propaganda campaign intended to boost support for the European Union has plumbed new depths - express.co.uk: To celebrate the EU the European Commission launched what it thought was an exciting quiz with a tantalising £8,000 prize fund. The EU has a population of 503 million people but the quiz was answered by an extremely underwhelming 69 of them. There are 11 times more members of the European Parliament than there were entrants. The whole thing would be funny were it not for the fact that the cost of the ridiculous exercise comes out of our pockets.

How to Get a B.A. in International Relations in 5 Minutes: Skip the seminars and the student debt: Here's everything you'd actually remember after four years - Stephen M. Walt, Foreign Policy: Five basic concepts

that teach you all you really need to know about the fascinating world of international affairs: No. 1: Anarchy No. 2: The Balance of Power No. 3: Comparative Advantage No. 4: Misperception and Miscalculation No. 5: Social Construction. Image from

Rice and free speech - John Brown, Notes and Essays: "I have defended America's belief in free speech and the exchange of ideas." So says "Dr." Condoleezza Rice. But in fact The Princess of Torture doesn't quite believe in free speech (just ask a Guantanamo detainee) or, for that matter, in speech that communicates truth. What she most believes in is being paid to speak. This is why, I would say, she initially accepted to give an address at the Rutgers University commencement ceremonies. She "was scheduled to receive an honorary Rutgers doctorate and $35,000, paid by privately-raised funds to the Rutgers Foundation, in exchange for her speech."

When Rutgers students and faculty protested that a war criminal should speak at their school, Rice decided that "As a Professor for thirty years at Stanford University and as (its) former Provost and Chief academic officer, I understand and embrace the purpose of the commencement ceremony and I am simply unwilling to detract from it in any way." So she disinvited herself.  Kondi won't get her 35K. Not the financial end of the world for her. At the University of Minnesota, after all, she raked in $150,000 for opening her mouth at its graduation ceremony this year. Maybe the Rutgers Foundation can use the money intended for Condo to provide scholarships for needy students. Or to pay adjuncts decent salaries. This would be far better than having wasted it on someone who, according to a review of one of her early academic works, did "not sift facts from propaganda and valid information from disinformation or misinformation." No wonder the good doctor Rice's "phenomenal skill at spinning," as one of her biographers put it, equipped her so well to "catapult the propaganda" for the Bush II reign of error. See also.

A surprising map of where men outnumber women online — and where they don’t - Caitlin Dewey, washingtonpost.com: In at least half a dozen of the world’s biggest economies, men still outnumber women online, sometimes by a considerable margin.

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