Thursday, July 10, 2014

July 10 Public Diplomacy Review

"The United States continues to operate ... because a ... Senate confirmation process has left us without permanent ambassadors in 40 countries."

--Secretary of State John Kerry; image from


Six Inducted into U.S.-China EcoPartnerships Program - Media Note, Office of the Spokesperson, Washington, DC, July 10, 2014, "On July 10, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Strategic and Economic Dialogue counterpart State Councilor Yang Jiechi welcomed six new U.S.-China partners into the flagship EcoPartnerships Program during a signing ceremony in Beijing, China. Counselor to the President John Podesta, Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Richard Stengel, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Danny Russel, Acting Assistant Secretary for Oceans, Environment, and Science Judith Garber, and U.S. Ambassador to China Max Baucus also participated. With the admission of this cohort, there are now 24 EcoPartnerships in the program. The EcoPartnerships Program promotes cooperation between U.S. and Chinese sub-national actors who work on clean energy, climate change, and environmental protection, to help address some of the biggest challenges facing our two countries. The six new EcoPartnerships admitted to the program today were chosen from among a record number of applications, and include private sector actors, academia, non-governmental organizations, and city governments. Their cooperation will focus on issues relating to biofuels, battery storage and other clean technologies, emissions trading, seaport air quality, high performance gas turbines, and low-carbon city tools. As Secretary Kerry noted in his remarks at the signing ceremony, the EcoPartnerships Program shows that 'tackling climate change and leading the way to a clean energy future can be a ‘win, win, win’ – a win for America, a win for China, and a win for the world [.]' "

US ready to start large-scale information war with Russia - Ekaterina Blinova [note: "In Russian you would basically use 'blin' instead of another very strong expletive], "The United States must launch a 'real war of ideas' with Russia according to Ilan Berman, the Vice President of the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington. The US international broadcasting capacity should be improved and a new public diplomacy strategy ought to be developed by the White House. ... The usually misspelled tweets in Russian by former US Ambassador Michael McFaul look weird ... : 'If you think I'm a fool, please, please, please #unfollowmcfaul! Only fools read fools.'"
    1. если вы считаете что я дурак, please, please, please, ! только дураки читают дураки!

      Tweet text
Image from entry

A Bogeyman In Russia, U.S. Envoy Appears Poised For Moscow Job - "John Tefft, the man ... tapped [as U.S. ambassador to Russia] to manage Washington’s tattered ties with Moscow ... is likely to differ from McFaul in at least one ...  respect ... , Kramer [David Kramer, a former State Department colleague of Tefft’s] said: 'I would expect that there would be a lot less tweeting.'"

The US and Russia cooperated during two world wars, why not now? - Pavel Koshkin, "At a conference in Moscow, Russian and American academics came together to discuss lessons from past periods of cooperation during times of war and geopolitical struggle. Russian, American and European experts gathered in Moscow for 'Russia and the United States in the World Wars: Cooperation Experience During a Time of Global Crisis,' an international academic conference held at the Russian State University for the Humanities (RSUH) this week. It was supported by the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, the Institute of World History (Russian Academy of Sciences), Cold War Studies Program of the Davis Center (Harvard University), Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Research on War Consequences (Austria), and the Austrian-Russian Commission of Historians. Participants discussed how historical lessons from past global conflicts might be applied to the current situation in Ukraine.  Remarkably, it is now 75 years since the outbreak of World War II, 70 years since the launch of the D-Day operation in Normandy, and 100 years since the start of World War I. Jeffrey Sexton, Minister-Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, underscored the historical context of the current Ukraine crisis, 'Earlier this month, the leaders of the nations that were part of the great alliance that defeated the Axis powers in World War II gathered in France to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Normandy invasion.' 'That was a time when we put aside our differences and fought together to achieve a noble goal,' he added. 'Today, we gather for an international conference dedicated to such times in history when the peoples of our nations faced grave threats, established constructive dialogue in an atmosphere of political tensions, and achieved productive collaborations in times of global crisis.' RSUH Vice-Rector Alexander Bezborodov agreed. He underscored the role of the U.S. during World War II as well as expressed his hopes that this shared history will bring Russia and the U.S. together at the negotiation table again. Attendees focused on the forms of military, political, socio-cultural and economic cooperation between the U.S. and Russia during times of crisis. They also discussed the factor of Austrian neutrality; the impact of public diplomacy on resolving the crises; and the mutual perceptions of both countries during these unique historical periods."

The Perils of American Muslim Politics "With a posture that the global context created after 9/11 determined, American Muslim leaders and institutions increasingly departed from taking critical stances on issues ranging from continued US support for Israel to the ever-expanding 'War on Terror.' Given the linkages between the domestic and the foreign that delineate the imperial project, an American religious community was forced to sync with a highly contested set of foreign policy positions while contending with the rise of a new national security culture at home. A significant and often overlooked point to note here is that this development also reflected an important turning point in the US political establishment’s view of the Muslim community generally and the ways in which the former dictated the terms of engagement. Leading government institutions and think tanks, such as the National Security Council, Department of Homeland Security, USAID, Department of Defense, the White House, State Department, Brookings Institution, Council on Foreign Relations, Center for Strategic and International Studies, RAND Corporation, and Freedom House, set up initiatives that sought to broadly address issues of Muslim engagement, sometimes framed as seemingly innocuous pluralistic, interfaith or public diplomacy efforts, and other times as counterterrorism. ... The past decade is replete with examples of institutionalized discrimination and targeting of American Muslims by the

government that include: ubiquitous surveillance, targeting of leaders, intimidation of community members, infiltration of community spaces, entrapment of youth, criminalization of speech and charitable contributions, political prosecutions, unlawful detentions, punitive prison conditions, and so on. Although most American Muslim institutions have at one point or another decried some aspects of these abuses, these issues are mostly being taken up by activists and institutions outside of the American Muslim community. Silence on these issues reinforces the narrative that the state has tried to promote: dissent is unacceptable and American Muslims should fear the repercussions. Interestingly, in attempting to be more palatable to their American audiences, when leading voices remain silent on these civil rights issues and yet vocal about others like normalization with Israel, they are participating in the silencing of dissenting views and creating a climate of fear and intimidation—they become an extension of empire itself." Image from entry, with caption: President Barack Obama delivers remarks during an Iftar dinner

Time to Find New Approaches to Defeating Terrorism in Iraq and the Middle East - Eric Davis, "This post is co-authored by Dr. T. Hamid al-Bayati, Iraq’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 2006 to 2013, and currently Adjunct Professor in the Graduate Program, Department of Political Science, Rutgers University. His most recent book is From Dictatorship to Democracy: An Insider’s Account of the Iraqi Opposition to Saddam. University of Pennsylvania Press. ... New and bold initiatives are needed to erase the scourge of terrorism working with Iraq and regional allies. [Inter alia:] ... A public diplomacy offensive How can moderate Islam, employment and education combat terrorism in Iraq . ...  The US could encourage the UN to establish an annual conference on Combating Religious Extremism and Terrorism that would develop curricula for school teachers and religious instruction in Iraq and other Muslim majority countries. The conference could promote social media platforms to reach large numbers of youth in the Muslim world and other countries where religious extremism has caught hold.

The Obama administration should request funds from Congress to expand its public diplomacy initiatives. It could publicize, for example, efforts by Shiite and Sunni clerics to make Shiism a fifth, Ja’fari school of al-Sharia that would in effect eliminate the difference between the two sects. As part of this public diplomacy effort, President Obama should invite moderate clerics to the White House to foreground their views. More Iraqi students should be offered positions at US universities, especially since the Iraqi government and the KRG have allocated over 10,000 scholarships for study abroad. ... Iraqis who have studied in the US invariably return to Iraq with a positive view of American society. The Iraqi government should be encouraged by the US to use its oil wealth to provide vocational training for poor youth and to improve the agrarian sector to reduce rural to urban migration. Providing employment opportunities for poor youth from all ethnic and confessional groups in Iraq would have a salutary impact on reducing the base of recruitment for terrorist organizations such as ISIS. Image from entry, with caption: So-called ISIS "Caliph Ibrahim" calling for modesty and wearing expensive Western watch

Eye of the Swarm: The Rise of ISIS and the Media Mujahedeen - "As ISIS make gains in Iraq and declare an Islamic caliphate, media activists embedded along the front lines and their global support networks, the media mujahedeen, valorize their achievements in HD video and Hollywood film style posters which are distributed via social media. Their approach is one of the clearest incarnations of Netwar since it was first envisaged.

The public diplomacy and cultural relations organisations mandated to counter violent extremism require strategies based on network concepts to counter it. ... Those responsible for conducting public diplomacy to counter Jihadist material need to factor into their strategy that the media mujahedeen, and ISIS supporters specifically, distribute content through a dispersed network of Twitter accounts as part of a fully integrated multiplatform social media zeitgeist, similar to that identified in an earlier study of ISIS’s rivals Jahbat al-Nusra. This gives ISIS a persistent online presence through a mobile technology enabled swarm that is able to rapidly reconfigure after any attempt to target a few key individuals. This article was co-written with Nico Prucha." Image from entry

@ISIS Is #Winning: Why is a barbaric medieval caliphate so much better at social media than Washington? - Kori Schake, The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham is running a brilliantly effective social media campaign.

With the group rebranded as the Islamic State (IS), its grisly messaging gets attention and discourages resistance to its military operations, both where it is fighting and among countries that might be inclined to intervene against it. ... By contrast, the U.S. government's efforts at hashtag diplomacy are pathetic. ... Offerings by State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki have been particularly cringe-inducing . ... The U.S. government will never be good at social media campaigns unless it thinks about messaging as an integral part of a larger strategy. ... Instead of trying to control the message, the government should stop struggling against who we are as a political culture and embrace it. The nature of soft power is that it is diffuse and difficult to direct. It will be hard to accept, but perhaps the best messenger for our message is not our government. Washington would be more successful in social media by removing itself from the center of it -- shifting the focus to the cacophony of voices from across America's vibrant civil society rather than trying to control the space itself. ... Our best bet is to rely less on government messaging and instead bombard our adversaries with the spectrum of American activism, letting organizations like Mercy Corps or Spirit of America that are forces for good in the world be the emissaries of our policies." Image from entry

Movie diplomacy: USC teams up with the State Department - Kitty Felde, "For the third year, the U.S. State Department is funding the University of Southern California's American Film Showcase, a $3.3 million program that sends American documentary filmmakers and their movies around the world to show them a side of America they may not know. The program takes 'some of the best documentaries made over the last couple years' to residents of other countries, said Alan Baker, an associate dean at the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts.

The goal: To to educate and, maybe, change minds. Baker said documentaries, in particular, have an enormous power. 'One woman said, 'Before I saw this film, I thought everything in America was perfect, and now I can see it isn't, and that makes me feel closer to the U.S., because I can see we have some of the same things in common,' ' Baker said. The program is a good fit for USC and its mission of globalization. (USC has more international students than any other American university.) Stacy White, head of the State Department's cultural programs division, said it's a good fit for them, too. She said it's a 'very important part of American diplomacy to both tell America's story and to provide opportunities for citizen to citizen engagement.' Image from entry, with caption: A screencap from the documentary "G-Dog," one of the films distributed under the American Film Showcase program of the University of Southern California, funded by the U.S. State Department.

As NYT "Discovers" That Voice of America Is Propaganda, Broadcasting Board of Governors' Censorship Role FOIA-ed - Matthew Russell Lee, "Voice of America as propaganda has belatedly been covered by the New York Times, but ignoring the role of VOA and its Broadcasting Board of Governors as censors, trying for example to get the investigative Press thrown out of the UN. ... We asked and ask again, why does the US government need a propaganda network, and why turn it loose inside the US? ... Apparently Voice of America's principles don't include the First Amendment."

Guy W. Farmer: Our dysfunctional international radio/TV stations - "BBG Watch occasionally publishes guest commentaries. This one is from Guy W. Farmer who supervised VOA’s Spanish-language broadcasting to Latin America in the late 1970s. Mr. Farmer is a retired USIA Foreign Service officer. Views expressed are those of the author. The op-ed first appeared in Nevada Appeal. We invite those with opposing views and others who want to comment on this or other issues followed by BBG Watch to submit their op-eds for consideration.

[Farmer: '[T]he Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), and it spends more than 700 million taxpayer dollars per year to operate the Voice of America (VOA) and several other international radio and TV stations. We’re not getting our money’s worth.']" Uncaptioned Farmer image from entry

BBC Pashto: From sound waves to TV channels - "Massoumeh Torfeh from London School of Economics and Political Science, in her article about the history of the BBC Pashto service said, after 9 years of military action in Afghanistan since 2001, 'the realization that purely military ‘hard power’ offensive would not win the struggle against the Taliban took on an urgent tone. Discussions about ‘soft power’, and the potential of cultural and public diplomacy to win ‘heart and minds’, come into focus [.]' The BBC played a key role in providing this platform through its ability to reach a widespread audience in Afghanistan. BBC Radio has 11 million listeners in Afghanistan, which is 30-40% of the country’s population. For example,when Najiba Kasraee, a Pashto service journalist, interviewed Tony Blair after 9/11, this interview was available to the millions of listeners through the Pashto service."

Armenia-NATO relations based on direct dialogue and cooperation -
Liana Yeghiazaryan, “Armenia’s cooperation with NATO has only been developing over the past twenty years. 'These relations are based on direct dialogue and cooperation,' Representative of NATO Public Diplomacy Division Despina Afentouli said at the presentation of the 'Armenia-NATO: Modern History' book at the NATO Information Center in Armenia. Armenia cooperates with NATO not only in the field of defense by sending peacekeeping forces to Afghanistan and other regions, but also on issues of regional security, protection of human rights, fighting terrorism and corruption, etc."

Expert forum addresses Korean reunification - "The forum included sessions on German-Korean relations, experience that led to German reunification in 1990, economic leadership and the creative economy, diplomacy after World War II, public diplomacy and media, and other bilateral issues.

The annual forum was first held in 2002, following German President Johannes Rau’s visit to Korea that year upon the invitation of President Kim Dae-jung." Image from entry, with caption: Participants, from bottom row left: Handok Inc. Chairman Kim Young-Jin; German Ambassador Rolf Mafael; First Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Cho Tae-yong; JTBC Chairman Hong Seok-hyun; Hartmut Koschyk, the German Bundestag’s German-Korean parliamentary friendship group chairman; Ewha Womans University President Kim Sun-uk; German Bundestag Representative Johannes Selle; Korea Foundation President Yu Hyun-Seok; Korean Ambassador to Germany Kim Jae-shin; and Kim Young-hie, the editor at large of the JoongAng Ilbo.

Lacking a Gaza exit strategy, Israel risks being dragged harshly in: During this round of fighting with Hamas, Israel finds itself with no reliable or relevant party to mediate a ceasefire - Barak Ravid, "When the decision was made to launch Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, the security cabinet did not set any diplomatic objectives for it. Beyond trying to stop the rocket fire by military means, it isn’t clear if the Netanyahu government

wants to simply restore the status quo and gain a few more months of quiet, or to fashion a new diplomatic reality regarding Gaza for the morning after. The only diplomacy Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Foreign Ministry are engaged in right now is public diplomacy. Netanyahu spoke on Wednesday by phone to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, asking them what they would do if missiles were being fired at Paris or Berlin, and also asking them to publicly condemn Hamas. There was barely any mention of nonmilitary ways to stop the rocket fire and prevent a further escalation, though Merkel hinted to Netanyahu that a diplomatic process might help extract Israel from its current situation. But during this round of fighting with Hamas, Israel finds itself with no reliable or relevant party to mediate between it and Hamas and help negotiate a cease-fire." Image from entry, with caption: Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting in his office in Jerusalem, Sunday, July 6, 2014.

Syrian Kurdish top politician Dr. Sherkoh Abbas on the Kurdish Engine of Middle Eastern Democracy - Dr. Sherkoh Abbas, President of the Kurdistan National assembly of Syria: "We have never had any hatred for the Israelis or the Jews - on the contrary. We have shared history and tragedies, and we believe this is an opportunity for them to help the Syrian people and the Kurds,

and have a stable Syrian neighbor rather than a border with Iran through Lebanon, Syria and the Gaza Strip. Israel could also engage elements within the Syrian opposition and make use of public diplomacy." Image from entry, with caption: Dr Sherkoh Abbas, a veteran Kurdish politician and the President of the Kurdistan National Assembly of Syria (KURDNAS).

Pacific Cinderella - "Pacific Cinderella is a cross-cultural collaboration between the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts and China's Hangzhou School for the Arts. It is written, directed, and conceived by Stephanie Vlahos in conjunction with the Confucius Institute. Pacific Cinderella explores the commonalities between the stories of Cinderella and the Chinese folk tale of Yeh Shen with the aim of celebrating the similarities between youth cultures in China and the United States."

#WCW – Jennine Exceeded Our Expectations! - "NAME: Jennine Punzalan SORORITY: Alpha Omicron Pi YEAR IN SORORITY: 4th ACADEMIC YEAR: Going into my 5th year (There is a joke among friends that I insist on not graduating, which is half-true.) FACULTY: Arts (International Relations and French Honours) AGE: 21 ... [Punzalan:] On the academic side of things (nerd alert!), I

am quite passionate about the intersection of communications technology and politics. The technological aspect of public diplomacy, the role of the Internet in fostering or deterring democracy, government communications strategies, etc. – I take the chance to study and write about topics like these as much as I can, and work in places where this intersection is very much present." Punzalan image from entry


As Rockets Fly, Administration Blasts Israel - Jonathan S. Tobin, Give the Obama administration credit. Its Middle East policies may be counterproductive, but the White House is consistent. Rather than let the fact that hundreds of terrorist rockets were launched at Israeli cities affect their public pronouncements, the administration went ahead and let a White House official blast the Jewish state and its government yesterday.

Bush Trifecta lands on Obama: Gaza, Iraq and Afghanistan Imploding - Juan Cole, The Bush administration’s activities in West Asia undermined stability there so badly, that the region has gone on haunting Obama and threatening to draw him into quagmires.

Restore trust to douse the fire in Gaza - Editorial, Washington Post: Obama administration officials argue that it was right to pursue a comprehensive Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement. In our view, the failed U.S. effort, with its tight timetable and disregard for the obvious unwillingness of leaders on both sides, merely raised expectations that could not be met, making a backlash inevitable.

What’s needed is not another diplomatic blitz but a more patient, incremental and sustainable effort to restore trust between Israelis and Palestinians, improve economic conditions in the West Bank and Gaza, and create the foundations for an eventual settlement. That is if the fire in Gaza can be put out. Image from

BBC in full pro-Israel propaganda gear - Britain’s state broadcaster, the BBC, is once again telling the world, blatantly and shamelessly, that Israeli lives are worth more than Palestinian lives.

Declaration of a caliphate is mere political propaganda that must end - The inception of the Islamic State (formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) in

Syria and its spread into Iraq has stained the region’s recent past. Image from

Twitter’s Offensive Against Jihadist Propaganda - Martin Forgues, Twitter has launched an offensive against Jihadist propaganda by closing down accounts belonging to Islamic extremist groups, mostly those affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), now rebranded as a self-proclaimed caliphate, or Islamic State. It took a while, but Twitter recently started suspending accounts related to ISIL as they kept marching on Iraq, notably one @Nnewsi which live-tweeted the advance on Mosul. In September 2013, they also took down an account related to Somalia’s al-Shabaab militants following the attack on Kenya’s Westgate Mall.

Russia Investigating Marvel Comic Books as 'Propaganda of Violence', The Moscow Times: A Russian state company that distributes printed publications has asked the federal media watchdog to investigate Marvel comic books for denigrating Soviet symbols and amounting to "propaganda of a cult of violence." The comics in particular, which show American superheroes The Avengers battling Soviet-symbol-laden self-described "servants of the Russian Federation," promote "violence and cruelty," distributor Rospechat says, the Izvestia newspaper reported Wednesday.

Although the story ends in peace, media watchdog Roskomnadzor has agreed to investigate the books and is considering giving the publisher an official warning, two of which within a year is grounds for revocation of its license, the Ekho Moskvy news outlet reported. The publisher Egmont, operating under an agreement with Marvel's parent company Walt Disney, still intends to release the comics next month, but most likely with the Soviet symbols removed, Izvestia reported. Image from entry

Russia’s top 60 lies about Ukraine - Julia Davis,  Russia’s aggressive information war, waged through its vast propagandamachine, continues to produce disinformation to justify its involvement in Ukraine. Deliberately false information and deceptive imagery is being disseminated in every available venue: from leading politicians and Russia’s infamous mainstream media, down to bloggers, useful idiots and hordes of paid trolls, who plague comment sections of articles about Ukraine, spreading vitriol, hatred and blatant lies. Among the images:

See also.

Children at the heart of Ukraine’s image propaganda war - Via the hash tag #savedonbaspeople, pro-Russian Internet users are manipulating photos to denounce Ukraine’s ongoing military operation against separatists in the east. Take for example this photo of the young Australia girl that a National Front supporter in France didn’t hesitate to retweet.

Russian Orthodox priest claims the World Cup is gay propaganda - Russian Orthodox priest Alexander Shumsky

has called the World Cup of football a ‘homosexual abomination,’ writing that players might as well be cross dressing because of their colorful shoes. Uncaptioned image from entry

Communist Propaganda Czar Wants China to Become a Movie Power - Clifford Coonan, Communist Party propaganda chief Liu Qibao hailed the rapid rise of the country’s film business, calling for China to become a major movie power that reflects the socialist ideal of the "Chinese Dream." "Film should take the people as its center and socialist core values as a guide, while adhering to social and economic efficiency, increased creativity and building China into a movie power,” Liu told a film forum in Beijing. LIST THR Reveals Hollywood's 100 Favorite Films Hollywood is having a spectacular year in China, prompting industry leaders to think of ways to improve Chinese movies and stop the world's second-largest market becoming dominated by U.S. movies.

The country operates a quota of 24 foreign movies on a revenue-share basis, but there are moves afoot to widen the quota. China has adapted many aspects of capitalism and the market economy, but it is still run by the Communist Party, and political leaders will often quote examples of Marxist-Leninist political thinking when making a point. “China's film development is on a fast track,” said Liu, who is a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party. Chinese box office rose to $21.6 billion in the first half of this year, up 22 percent, of which domestic movies accounted for 48 percent, while foreign movies accounted 52 percent. Hollywood's 100 Favorite Films Liu said films should contain more elements of the “Chinese Dream,” an inspirational propaganda slogan often used by Xi Jinping since he became president two years ago. Image from entry

Propaganda Department Deletes Two Cantonese Videos - In a secret order, Central Propaganda Department recently deleted two Cantonese Videos: "Eggs and Lamb" and "Who has yet voiced?" Both Youtube videos have won nearly a million hits. Hong Kong writer Zhang Chengjue: "Propaganda is to control civil opinion, any rhetoric or ideology not welcomed by the CCP is not allowed to affect people.

The Folly of the 0.7% Foreign-Aid Solution: A target that is supposedly the gold standard for wealthy countries has dubious roots and little practical use - Ian Birrell, Wall Street Journal: If Western politicians want to buy virtue by helping the developing world, they should tear down the walls of trade protection, tackle the tides of dirty money that undermine democracy, loosen immigration controls so people can go abroad to earn and send home remittances, and invest in fighting diseases that kill poor people. But please stop posing as saviors of the poor by promoting an absurd, outdated and destructive target of scattering 0.7% of a developed nation's wealth every year abroad and calling that a cure for the world's ills.

The French Do Buy Books. Real Books - Pamela Druckerman, New York Times: France has just unanimously passed a so-called anti-Amazon law, which says online sellers can’t offer free shipping on discounted books. (“It will be either cheese or dessert, not both at once,” a French commentator explained.) The new measure is part of France’s effort to promote “biblio-diversity” and help independent bookstores compete. Here, there’s no big bookseller with the power to suddenly turn off the spigot. People in the industry estimate that Amazon has a 10 or 12 percent share of new book sales in France. Amazon reportedly handles 70 percent of the country’s online book sales, but just 18 percent of books are sold online. The French secret is deeply un-American: fixed book prices.

Its 1981 “Lang law,” named after former Culture Minister Jack Lang, says that no seller can offer more than 5 percent off the cover price of new books. That means a book costs more or less the same wherever you buy it in France, even online. The Lang law was designed to make sure France continues to have lots of different books, publishers and booksellers. Fixing book prices may sound shocking to Americans, but it’s common around the world, for the same reason. In Germany, retailers aren’t allowed to discount most books at all. Six of the world’s 10 biggest book-selling countries — Germany, Japan, France, Italy, Spain and South Korea — have versions of fixed book prices. Image from

The Edge of Glory: "Edge of Tomorrow" as Propaganda - Kyle Turner - In Doug Liman’s Edge of Tomorrow, Tom Cruise goes to battle. And then does it again. And again. And again.

Trapped in a time loop worthy of your typical Marvel-esque exposition, Cruise’s Bill Cage and his counterpart Rita Vrataski (Emily Bunt) act as beacons of the “war cause.” In essence, Edge of Tomorrow is a propaganda film. Image from entry

The Purge: Anarchy - Pro Government Hollywood Propaganda [includes trailer] - The not so eagerly anticipated sequel to the sucky 2013 movie of the same name The Purge: Anarchy, is set for release later this month and if the trailer is anything to go by it will predictably centre around some familiar illuminati industry themes intended to subconsciously manipulate the minds of the viewing masses into supporting blind subservience to the system.

The movie, which this time around tells the story of five innocent law abiding citizens desperately fighting for their lives against gangs of crazed “anarchists” hell bent on destroying everything and everyone in their path in order to ‘purge’ themselves of a prior 364 days of state servitude, promotes mindless violence, death and destruction (all being perpetrated by anonymous inspired mask-wearing lunatics) in order to fearfully plant the subliminal seed of government reliance and necessity deep into the collective unconscious. The ‘magic’ of Hollywood yet again serves to completely invert the truth. Image from

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