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Hi Ray Hi David,

Your hard work is paying off!!! Congrats!!

I have been out of Germany for about 8 weeks now (after twenty years) and am enjoying my life as an American without all the attacks on my country. I choose the word attack deliberately. A critical article bantering both sides of an issue about, explaining the differences between the systems is a rare animal in Germany. I am reminded of the Spiegel or was it the Stern Cowboy boot that ominously hovers over Opel waiting to crush it, or the IG Metal cover equating the US with Bloodsuckers. I am reminded of both Spiegel and Stern issues the week of the Presidential election. Both reported the only logical thing the Americans can do is elect Kerry.

The attacks as I perceive them started about 5 years ago. Before that I could go about my business without hearing that it isn't “me” they mean, it is the American Government. It always reminded me of the old bigot line, I am not prejudiced - a friend of mine is black, white, green, purple...

What I love about being home is the discussion that is going on here. You have so many sources of information and so many diverse opinions and they are all being aired. It may be that this defines unconditional support of W. Having all sides thrown at you all the time. As anyone watched CSPAN this week. Watch Teddy Kennedy melt down and then Rick Santorum (R)(spelling) make a Hitler comparison.

The MSM here in the states attempted to label Bloggers and those who participate in the discussion as right wing nuts. As individuals who could not get a “real job” in journalism. As people who do not have “access” to all the facts or "connections.“ Then came Dan Rather (60 minutes Wednesday was canceled this week) and other stories. Bloggers, their readers and participants, people who care and love their countries got together and said wait a minute - you "LAZY JOUNALISTS" are not doing your job. You are not checking your facts, worse yet you are checking your facts and going with a story whose facts do not support the story. In short, you are attempting to influence the outcome of political processes.

So, what do the Bloggers want, in essence it's an attempt to get to all the facts, to come to our own conclusion. The point is the people who live in democracies should vote based on having heard all sides of the story. In Germany with GEZ and no conservative outlets to speak of, getting all sides of the story is, in my opinion, almost impossible. That is where the blogs come in.

I have been watching and occasionally participating in the discussion in this blog. The significance of this blog and others like it, is that it is a forum where one can actually say what one thinks without repercussions. The thoughts here are not popular in MSM or on the German street.

I love being home, back in the states because no one is trying to muzzle me. It's wonderful to be able to express my opinions without personal attack. Believe you me not all agree with me. They do not attack me by saying you are nuts because you come from the wrong side of town or any other geographical location. What I get is a well thought out opinion. And best of all we can agree to disagree. We meet again as friends or acquaintances. We do not personally attack each other, or insult each other by claiming that one's opinions are the result of being brainwashed or adhering to someone else’s ideas unconditionally.

"The unconditional, uncritical support of the United States, George W. Bush or neoconservatism" is not what America is about. The assertion that those who support W or those who are neoconservatism are:
· not capable of critical thought,
· are beholden to the powers that be come hell or high water,
may make it easier to meet a journalistic deadline, but it certainly does not do the American or German reader justice. This always reminds me of "Das was nicht sein darf, kann nicht sein" “That which is not allowed to be, cannot be.” Instead of passing judgment in your "journalistic masterpieces" try reporting on the issues and letting your readers decide. Until the “LAZY JOURNALISTS” learn that is not their opinion that is of interest. Until they learn that the papers, television shows or magazines they write for are not their personal dairies. Until they learn that they have the very difficult job of being neutral and gathering all sides of the story, reporting all sides. Until they learn the measure of good journalism is something called integrity. The integrity to write a story where even if the Journalist may not personally agree with how their readers may or may not interpret the presented facts, he/she stands above it. Until then, the bloggers will be very busy.

How bout it GEZ ARD WDR? I know it is a lot to ask. You have jobs for life. You get pay raises regardless. All you have to do is raise the fees. It’s especially easy to be LAZY. Why not try showing both sides of the issue and writing and reporting as if your personal opinions do not exist. I am not going to hold my breath. One thing is for sure the blogs will change you. The blogs will become a huge part of your life. Blogers are citizen journalists who will hold you accountable. One thing is for sure no one else is holding you accountable.

This is gonna be FUN!!!

Not just a "parallel universe" but a "liberal [in the classical, free-market/libertarian sense of the word] parallel universe". Because the article was published in Die Welt, it's probably reasonable to assume that Stein didn't employ "liberal" as a pejorative.


Anyway, congrats guys! Stein's article may be one of those exceptions-that-prove-the-rule but at least it acknowledges the need for debate concerning the German political consensus.

"Sie halten Karl Popper in Ehren und haben Friedrich von Hayeks Klassiker "Der Weg zur Knechtschaft" verschlungen, in dem begründet wird, warum jede Variante des Sozialismus, und sei sie noch so gut gemeint, ins gesellschaftspolitische Desaster führen muß"... Here we go again, after the Leo Strauss Syndrome, the Hayek conspiracy...
NV

This seems to be a crack in the European "consensus or against us" attitude. Hope there is more.

To be noticed has to say something. It will be interesting if traffic increases as a results of this article.

What I think so many Germans and Americans forget is most of these discussions and comments do not have to be mutual exclusive. If one is pro American, it does not mean they are anti German. The same as being pro German does not mean being anti American. I feel in most cases these are in fact false choices.

What needs to be understood more is the realization that Americans and Germans are very different in almost all aspects. This is not to say one particular thing is good or one is bad. It just says they are different and are performing and are viewed differently.

An excellent example of this was Kia comments about taxpayer funded education. This works for Germany. It does not work in the US. What was not said and this too is true is that Germany cannot develop the funding system the US has for the payment of tuition or even the support of university education by private citizens. This system has ben build over years and years and is very much a part of American culture. It is not part of the German culture and would seem strange to them. Yet this is an example of the individual and the state and how they are viewed and what is expected of them. This just adds to how each of us view the roles of the individual and the government in our personal lives and in our respective nations.

What would be more enjoyable is an attempt to explain these differences and why they exist and why one nation thinks these are better for them. In other words some rationalization as to why one makes the comment they do.

We surely need less posters like "yahooo" who add nothing to this exchange of ideas and points of view. In fact, they tend to waste everyone's time as some people actually attempt to write a meaningful reply to their comments.


BTW given I was able to get several people to define for me what a German conservative was, I am hoping for a future opportunity to ask for more definitions.

David, congratulations on attracting enough attention to get, at least, a mention as a major Euro-blogger :D. Well done, and well deserved! Now if we can get the rest of the Euro-media to start paying attention...

And Trish, excellent response! Welcome home to the US :).

Hopefully, you will get more traffic and we can give some thoughtful Germans some views with backup they otherwise wouldn't get.

If they're interested, they'll look into it more.

David, how about translating and publishing some of the Die Zeit's reader reaction to the piece.

Make that Die Welt's reader reaction.

"What I think so many Germans and Americans forget is most of these discussions and comments do not have to be mutual exclusive. If one is pro American, it does not mean they are anti German. The same as being pro German does not mean being anti American. I feel in most cases these are in fact false choices."

Very true, Joe. The initial reason why I became pro-American was because I reasoned the American-German friendship is vital and in the very best interest for Germany other than say, the French-German, let alone Russian-German friendship. America was probably the best, most stable and honest friend Germany ever had.
I became *fiercly* pro-American

- when I listened to original speeches of US politicians on CNN and then read what German media outlets made out of them (basicly putting words in their mouth while omitting important points), which was simply intellectually dishonest and a lie

- when I noticed the Schröder government started running an Anti-American agenda, because of
a) an ill-suited and dangerous perception of the EU as a "counter-weight" (not just economically, but also ideologically)
b) a general socialist mindset

It's only that the SPD-Green coalition together with the media have meanwhile succeeded in putting the impression on people that you kind of must be Anti-German when you are Pro-American. But in fact you are only against this socialist and EU-Nationalist mindset, and in my book this is pro-Germany. Both socialism and nationalism we have already promoted in the past of this country, and it only led into misery. It started out the same way it does this time - and for the same reasons it broke Germany's neck then, it will do so again. It is dishonest, hostile and evil.
I do not see how this is in the interest of Germany.

A nice achievement indeed! I lived and worked in Germany for a couple of years - and learned to see both - the dark and the bright sides of one of Europe's most exceptional countries.

However, the developments of the recent years are somewhat worrying and it is nice to see that the mass media finally begins to question their ideology steered one way view on world politics.

Also the acknowledgment of the blogger community is a good sign - congratulations!!! It might surprise you but German blogs have achieved far more than our British web log scene - that apparently prefers to chat about Chelsea tractors, Spanish country retreats and boob jobs.

Well keep on going and a few more German based English language blogs wouldn't hurt... :-)

Mike

Actually, a few weeks ago, die Zeit also had a very self-critical article about Germany's foreign policy:
http://www.zeit.de/2005/20/aussenpolitik_englisch
And it is even written in English!

@Joe: "I have been out of Germany for about 8 weeks now (after twenty years) and am enjoying my life as an American without all the attacks on my country."

Welcome home! It's going to be a big culture shock. The MSM and the Lefties do attack America here. Eason Jordan, formerly of CNN and Linda Foley, President of the Newspaper Guild, flog the "US Military targets journalists" smear and Newsweek smeared America with it's FlushKoran story. The rest of the elite media circle the wagons and blame Bush for the damage to the US. The difference is that this is the opinion of a small minority, not the vast majority.


"What was not said and this too is true is that Germany cannot develop the funding system the US has for the payment of tuition or even the support of university education by private citizens. This system has ben build over years and years and is very much a part of American culture. It is not part of the German culture and would seem strange to them.

Just since the last fall, you can get German TV (ARD, ZDF, DW) and ProSiebenSat1Welt (with N24). I've really enjoyed it, especially the Krimis and Comedy shows. I was watching some soap opera (while doing other things, multi-tasking). A young woman befriended a 12 year old boy, who has a genetic disease. As part of the conversation, she said she was going to be going to school to become a jet pilot. It was going to cost $100,000, she was going to take out loans and work at a job, while studying. She was at a Kurort, so that she would be in good shape for school, since she couldn't afford to miss classes and waste time. This was pretty matter of fact. So, perhaps Germans are opening up to the idea of private support for education and paying for tuition.

Joe - good posting - let me respond to this one part though - you wrote

"What needs to be understood more is the realization that Americans and Germans are very different in almost all aspects. This is not to say one particular thing is good or one is bad. It just says they are different and are performing and are viewed differently."

I just have to say that Americans and Germans ( and French and Brits and Spaniards, etc ) are ALIKE in almost all aspects

There are differences of course - but we should all recognize, particularly during the Global War on Terror - that our similarities are many

Its simply inconceivable to me that the entire Western World - indeed the entire developed world - cannot concentrate on what ties us together

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