Friday, December 6, 2019

Eliminating Propaganda From Government Communication

"Are government Web sites providing factual non-biased information or pushing the Obama administration's propaganda?" - Ed O'Keefe in the Washington Post, 2010.… 
Covert propaganda isn't unique to D or R. But as Rep. Darrell Issa noted then:

“Using new technologies & the remnants of the most expensive presidential campaign in history, the Obama Administration’s use of taxpayer dollars to engage in covert propaganda is disconcerting." 
I got kicked off the Internet as soon as I tweeted that. Interestingly the VPN was still on, and I was still technically on the wifi. This happens *all* the time. Maybe it's my computer, but then my computer sure has interesting timing. 
As a civil servant I have volunteered with and also chaired the Federal Communicators Network. My columns posted in GovExec, GovLoop, Government in the Lab, etc. Co-wrote a paper on standardizing federal communication in 2016.… 
I also host a group on Facebook dedicated to government communication best practices. So I am very passionate about this subject. I do believe that enforcing nonpartisan standards is the best thing for everyone. 
Studied organizational development in addition to sociology.
I believe that corruption festers when people are allowed to create workarounds that flout the law. 
I also believe that civil servants, insofar as propaganda occurs, are mostly used as patsies for the actions of the truly bad actors...and maybe I am just young, but this thing of political appointees burrowing in to carry on Obama priorities is just astonishingly out of whack. 
In 2005, the Congressional Research Service - Library of Congress (Kevin Kosar) wrote an excellent white paper on federal agency propaganda. The main takeaway are that 1) both sides do it and 2) defining it can be difficult… 
Of course, if you would establish clear standards then it would be easier to define...why isn't that done...exactly. 
In 1887 President Woodrow Wilson wrote "The Study of Administration" about the fact that public service is a discipline all its own. He conceived of public opinion as the voice of the "authoritative critic" against the machine.

Knocked off the Internet again. 
President Wilson wasn't concerned in his essay with promoting one political ideology over another but rather which preserving the entire system. To continue his thoughts on public opinion:

"The problem is to make public opinion efficient without suffering it to be meddlesome" 
In other words, you don't want to run the country by poll. 
President Wilson also famously said: "A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men." /1 
President Wilson quote, continued: "We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated governments in the civilized world." /2 
President Wilson, to end the quote: "No longer a government by free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men." /3 
So a good president intentionally draws a hard line between information and partisan propaganda. A bad president blurs the line. 
Of course, it goes without saying, government communication is a national security issue for a lot of reasons.

It is an even bigger national security issue if a president is compromised. 
The House Oversight Report shows how Obama worked it...the machinations are really a disgrace.

This language is the key: "in my role at a federal agency, I am precluded from going too far." (p. 11)… 
"Misusing the resources of federal agencies"

"Multiplying traffic to websites containing propaganda"

(p. 8)…
To be evenhanded, I thought that the President's public repudiation of the Hatch Act -- by keeping Kellyanne Conway in office against the recommendation of the OSC -- was very ill-advised.

As things go forward and the coup is revealed for what it is, incontrovertibly, we are going to have to deal with the fallout from the abuse of the civil service over the decades.

In particular the communication function has been deeply degraded. 
The key question we will have to ask ourselves, in light of all the corruption that's gone on, is what communication work is "inherently governmental" and how do we protect that from exploitation by greedy contractors as well as national/state enemies. 
A 2017 GAO report highlighted federal agency outreach spending. I personally think, and I could be wrong here, that the private sector does marketing far better than the government.…
The Government Accountability Office in 2016 identified four basic comm areas that are consistent with the civil service:

"Public education and awareness
Customer service
General information and recruitment
Compliance with laws and policies"…
But as I said above, anything involving advertising/marketing can be done by the private sector **in my opinion** overseen by federal employees. 
Even communications that explain how to comply with the law can be done by private entities. Often it is very difficult to understand government language and/or it takes a long time for the government to change sufficiently to meet public demand. 
Reasonable people can sit down and hash this stuff out. The underlying requirement however is that there are no hidden agendas going on. This is why we have to work so hard to keep the mostly hidden hand of corruption out of the government.

It can creep in anywhere, invisibly. 
By Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal. All opinions are the author's own. Public domain.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Our Nation’s Leaders: Funny Or Pathetic? (12/5/2019 Thread)

It's been awhile since we did a midnight thread.
Okay, so it's only 11.
11:11, that is.
Close your eyes and imagine a fundamental transformation.
The fundamental transformation of our time is how low these formerly leading lights have fallen.

Like Nancy Pelosi losing her s**t, wagging her finger and cawing "don't mess with me."

That guy, challenging Biden like that on his own turf, making all the women sit up and whisper - he was @PGHowie2 and Laura Loomer, but even better.

They couldn't make an excuse to throw him out. 
I've been watching this video laughing...this is the funniest goddamn thing...

"“Good afternoon Wal Mart customers
If I may have your attention please.
Will Mr Clinton killed Epstein
please meet your party
at the grocery entrance?”

There is a quote somewhere, I think, about how the worst thing you can do to a public figure is to laugh at them.

Well, Adam Schiff and Nancy Pelosi and Bill Clinton and Hillary "not even tempted" are all looking very, very small. 

It has gotten to the point where the minute Schiff opens his mouth, you just want to puke. Can't even look at his face.

Harvard used to be the place of dreams.

And now, it says "Noah Feldman" (proponent of Sharia law.)…


People like this are the experts. It's horrible.
Hateful, spiteful, horrible, horrible, horrible.
Who goes after a President's child like these President-haters have done?

You know it's funny, I just had an image of the map of the United States, and Elizabeth Warren selling off pieces of the map, one state at a time.…
See how small the "wizard" is in the Wizard of Oz, he has to sit on a stool to have any height whatsoever.…
Ready, fire, meme :-)


By Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal. All opinions are the author's own. Public domain.