“What I mean to say is that the best way to judge a culture is to see what kind of people are in the jails.”
--Philosopher John Dewey; image from
Behind the scenes at Propaganda Doughnuts: Check out Grand Rapids' newest doughnut shop - woodtv.com: "It's a food loved and consumed around the world: doughnuts! We found a new shop in
American Councils Seeks Scholarship Application Reviewers - pdaa.publicdiplomacy.org: "American Councils for International Education is in search of volunteers to evaluate scholarship applications of high school students from
Evaluation of applications will take place from November 2013 through March 2014. Only individuals living in the
U.S. ambassador in Moscow uses social media to bypass official line - Kathy Lally, Washington Post: "What’s a U.S. ambassador to do when he wants to get his message out in a country that enjoys making America look bad, has little patience for Western values and tightly controls the media? Call him @McFaul, the tweeting ambassador. For Ambassador Michael McFaul, the unfiltered communication offered by social media means he can tweet U.S. policy, blog it and post it on Facebook, an alternative to the mostly hostile traditional media here.
While Russian Internet use is widespread, the majority of people still get their news from television, so McFaul is unlikely to win the nation’s hearts and minds tweet by tweet. But his use of social media gets him buzz — and a direct line to a new audience. ... The December issue of State, the magazine published by the U.S. State Department, and the January-February issue of the Foreign Service Journal ran admiring this-is-how-you-do-it articles about his use of social media. ... McFaul, who reserves the daytime for face-to-face contacts, usually tweets late at night from his home office in Spaso House. He’s often alone
in the mansion, which has been the official residence
of the U.S. ambassador since diplomatic relations were established with the Soviet Union in 1933. His family returned to California in the fall because of his wife’s career and his two sons’ education. They return on holidays, but he has plenty of Twitter time. ... [comment by filatovev 1/12/2014 6:51 AM EST] I tried to ask Mr. McFaul some questions via Twitter, but he didn't respond! Well, I understand he's a busy man and cannot spend all his time chatting with Russians. However, former ambassador of Iran in Russia, Reza Sajjadi, used to reply to almost every my comment in his LJ blog, http://sajjadi.livejournal.com/ I do not mean to imply that the U.S. loses to Iran in their willingness to employ social media to engage in public diplomacy, but it would certainly help to get more U.S. embassy staff workers on line whenever Mr. McFaul is too busy to have a chat with Russians. :-)" Top Image from entry, middle image from; below image from . Via AC on Facebook
Japan tries to justify Abe's shrine visit - ecns.cn: "Japan has sent senior diplomats on far-flung missions worldwide to justify the troublemaking pilgrimage by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, which honors convicted war criminals.
Meanwhile, more than a dozen Chinese ambassadors around the globe published articles in leading newspapers recently to criticize the hypocrisy behind the hawkish Japanese leader's 'no war' pledges. ... Publishing articles in influential newspapers is an effective way to boost public diplomacy and deliver needed information to the people there, said Ruan Zongze, vice-president of the China Institute of International Studies. 'Those nations have unforgettable memories of World War II, and many of them were even the contracting parties of key postwar legal documents, such as the Declaration of Cairo,' Ruan said. Abe has ordered Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs to require embassies around the world to fight back and publicize his pledge of 'no war' during the pilgrimage, Japan's Jiji news agency confirmed on Friday. 'Abe is seeking another confrontation between Japan and China in the international arena of public diplomacy,' said Liu Jiangyong, deputy dean of the Institute of Modern International Relations at Tsinghua University." Image from entry
This is what an academic boycott looks like: Two new campaigns target conferences hosted by Israeli universities - mondoweiss.net: "Recent decisions by prestigious US academic organizations to support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement have sparked long neglected public discussion of the limits of academic freedom in the West, the deleterious effects of occupation on Palestinians, including university students and faculty, and Israel’s human rights abuses against Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line, not to mention African migrant workers, Jewish Arabs, political dissidents, and others. ... Israeli government and public relations officials confirm that the academic boycott has altered the global political conversation about Palestine. According to The Jerusalem Post, Israeli MK Ayelet Shaked recently referred to the academic and cultural boycott campaign as “the greatest threat faced by the country.” Israel’s attempt to forestall these developments are revealed by revelations that the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office has been funding 'covert units' that pay students to engage in public diplomacy and promote Israel’s 'pretty face' on social media, and by earlier reports that Israel advocacy groups have been targeting pro-Palestinian student groups in an effort to silence university-based criticism of Israeli policies  ... . Shaked is chairwoman of the Bayit Yehudi party. Also see Electronic Intifada’s coverage of this story at: http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/boycott-greatest-threat-facing-israel-leaders-say . http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/israels-pretty-face-how-national-union-israeli-students-does-governments;http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/.premium-1.541142;http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/letter-reveals-standwithus-bullying-socal-chinese-center-over-palestine"
Edirne to host event on Turkish-Armenian public diplomacy - news.az: "Edirne, Turkey, on 28-30 May will host an event titled 'Turkic Republics; Cultural Diplomacy and Tourism' | 'Turkic and Armenian Diasporas; Public Diplomacy: Opportunities and Risks'."
French Firm Acquires Famous DC Public Relations Company - inthecapital.streetwise.co: "The French are invading
Founded in 2000 by
Birthday Bashing Kim Jung Un - Michael Bassett, thepeacewager.org: "While in my graduate program I wrote about different strategies to engage
Rodman’s heart was certainly in the right place but his brain is plagued by too much partying to articulate himself in ways appropriate for the role he has assumed, but that doesn’t mean he should be discarded, especially due to his rant on CNN, which he was baited into, as an easy target, to undermine his own efforts. ...Mr. Bassett is currently studying Public Diplomacy and Constructivism as a graduate student at American University's School of International Service, in the Executive Master's in International Studies program, in Washington, D.C." Image from entry
Guest blog: Diplomats need to be able to talk to locals, not just leaders - "Elder statesman of British Diplomacy, Ivor Roberts, has spoken out about the need for diplomats to be able to speak the local language. Now president of
Winter Faculty Books: Japanese Optimism Studies: Check out new scholarship and fiction from Duke faculty and staff members - Stuart Wells, today.duke.edu: "Roselle, Laura, co-author: 'Strategic Narratives, Communication Power and the New World Order' (Routledge)[:]This book explores the advent, use and transformation of the strategic narrative within global politics. From the "war on terror" after the 9/11 attacks to the recent use of 'Obamacare,' politicians have realized the potential of narratives to sway beliefs. Laura Roselle is a visiting professor with the DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy. She and her co-authors also explore public diplomacy in terms of social media and the power of individual citizens to frame policies and actions. The book is part of a series edited by Ken Rogerson, a Duke lecturer in public policy."
Authoritarian regimes retool their media-control strategy - Robert Orttung and Christopher Walker, Washington Post: Authoritarian governments willfully deprive hundreds of millions of people of authentically plural and independent information and analysis. The intense attention devoted to the rise of new media in recent years has led many to underestimate television’s enduring and powerful role as an undemocratic force in authoritarian societies.
But through their dogged control of traditional media, and increasing ability to impede the political content of new media, authoritarian regimes are shaping an entirely different understanding of “breaking the news.” Via AK. Image from
Treading Water on Syria - Editorial, New York Times: One of the most alarming developments has been the extent to which better-equipped and better-trained Islamist and Qaeda-linked rebel groups have come to dominate the battlefield over more moderate, secular and Western-oriented opposition forces. Administration officials are now considering resuming the nonlethal assistance, which is run by the State Department, after some of the Islamists fought alongside the Free Syrian Army against
Time for a Big-League President: The antidote to global chaos is American leadership - Daniel Henninger, Wall Street Journal: The Obama edition of left-wing isolationism is about one thing: reprogramming money out of defense and global security back into domestic spending.
Apartheid in Israel? Hardly: Those who call for a boycott of Israeli universities should take this little quiz - Seth M. Siegel, Israel isn't a perfect country. Criticism of Israel is legitimate, and Israelis themselves do it every day.
But whatever Israel is, it isn't an apartheid state. Image from entry, with caption: Observant Jews gather at the Wailing Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem.
Israel’s propaganda targets Christians - Ray Hanania, saudigazette.com: "This week, the American Jewish Committee, one of Israel’s strongest advocates in the United States, issued a press release criticizing Muslims for the destruction of Al-Saeh, a Christian library in Tripoli, Lebanon. This raises an interesting issue that I have been harping on for years about the American Arab community. I mean, here is a pro-Israel activist group seemingly standing up to defend the rights of Christian Arabs in the Middle East. You almost think the AJC’s concern for Christian Arabs is genuine, until you realize that the AJC hasn’t spoken out, for example, against the more frequent attacks by Israeli settlers against Arabs in Palestine. Many of those attacked are Christian."
Marxist party of Sri Lanka changes election propaganda methods - colombopage.com: Sri Lanka Marxist party, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) has changed its traditional propaganda methods for the upcoming Western and Southern Provincial Council elections. JVP politburo member K.D. Lal Kantha said that the leaders of the districts and electorates are promoted at this election.
Earlier, the party did not promote individual candidates. Lal Kantha said that the party would request the polity to give priority to these candidates when electing representatives to the Provincial Councils. Image from entry
President's Home or Prison? - Ri Rivard, insidehighered.com: The new Alabama State University president’s contract comes with strings attached -- to her love life. Gwendolyn Boyd is coming back to her alma mater from Johns Hopkins University to shepherd Alabama State through a rough patch involving a damning audit aimed at the university. Boyd’s new contract is pretty standard -- $300,000 a year, a car and the presidential residence -- except she can’t have lovers staying overnight for an extended period of time. Boyd, who is single, said she didn’t have a lawyer when she signed the contract but has no problem with the language.
“I do live alone, so it was not problematic for me,” she said. But the phrasing may be illegal nonetheless, said Raymond Cotton, a Washington lawyer who has negotiated several hundred presidential contracts. Cotton, who represents boards and presidents alike, said he's never seen such language in any public or private college president’s contract. Image from
U.S. charitable giving jumped 13% in 2013 to a record, report says - Ronald D. White, latimes.com: Preliminary figures show that 2013 may have been the biggest year ever for charitable donations, according to a Dallas-based group that mines economic data to come up with its numbers. More Americans donated money for human needs and disaster relief services both here and abroad in 2013, making it the fastest growing category of generosity. The Atlas of Giving said that charitable donations from the U.S. reached $416.5 billion.
AND MORE AMERICANA
From: Radley Balko, "Photos of the day: Scenes from a militarized America," Washington Post; image from entry, with comment: "These were sent to me by criminal defense attorney Rick Horowitz (who is also a photographer). The police in the photos are guarding the Fresno County, California jail."
21ST CENTURY POETRY
“If there is a great power war in this century, it will not begin with the sound of explosions on the ground and in the sky, but rather with the bursting of kinetic energy and the flashing of laser light in the silence of outer space.”
--Ian Easton, in a report published by the Project 2049 Institute, saying China’s hypersonic weapons are part of what he called “the Great Game in space”; see also Pascal, “Le silence éternel de ces espaces infinis m'effraie."
--Via SD on Facebook