Posts tagged ‘Greece’

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Shortwave Log, Northern Germany, August 2014: WRNO – “a Piece of the USA”

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1. WRNO Worldwide

WRNO Worldwide, New Orleans, was a North American shortwave radio station. It was on the air from 1982 to the early 1990s, with rock music and program slots by a number of organizations, such as Pete Bergeron‘s La Voix de la Louisiane program, featuring Cajun music, or Glenn Hauser‘s World of Radio. During the 1980s, with programs really worth listening to, WRNO might have become a heavy competitor to the Voice of America (VoA), if its signal reach had been greater.

QSL, veri-signed by Costello

QSL: the operators and their ham callsigns, 1987

The owner, Joseph Costello (Joe Costello III), born in or around 1941 in Algiers/New Orleans, Louisiana, became a millionaire in the media business, according to this  (source unverified) 1997 obituary in the Times Picayune. The history of the shortwave station doesn’t seem to suggest that WRNO ‘s shortwave station added greatly to his wealth, although according to this (unverified) account, it became profitable within months, . From the original rock format, the station went on to leasing airtime to religious and political broadcasters, and Costello’s heirs put the shortwave station up for sale, according to the October 1998 edition of NASB Newsletter. The sales notice also provides hints as to why WRNO would never reach an audience as sizable as VoA did – at least as of 1998, there was only one transmitter site, and a log periodic antenna oriented towards the eastern half of North America.

But Costello’s ambitions hadn’t been small. While he apparently acknowledged that the last thing they [i. e. listeners abroad] need is another station playing their local music, Costello was a fan of shortwave radio, according to this account by one of his former (unverified) employees, who also quotes him as saying that people outside America admire us and want to come here; I’m giving them a piece of the USA – a piece of the USA complementary to, rather than a competitor of, VoA, according to the same account.

WRNO is now a religious broadcaster. The DX Listening Digest of April 5, 2001 reported that

WRNO Worldwide shortwave is sold to a non-profit religious group, whose directors include a citizen of Zimbabwe and a citizen of Australia. The New Orleans operation was one of the very few attempts to create a viable commercial shortwave operation (doing CHR). It was an offshoot of WRNO-FM, and has recently been in the hands of executor and New Orleans communications attorney Ashton Hardy. Looks like the Ft. Worth-based Good News World Outreach will run WRNO Worldwide as a non-commercial proposition (Mstreet Daily Apr 5 via Lawrence rec.radio.shortwave via Lamb, Cumbre DX via DXLD)

(Most recently tuned to on July 20, 2014, 02:36 UTC, 7505 kHz.)

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2. Recent Logs, August 2014

International Telecommunication Union letter codes used in the table underneath:

AFS – South Africa; ARG – Argentina; AUT – Austria; B – Brazil; CHN – China; CLN – Sri Lanka; CUB - Cuba; D – Germany; E – Spain; F – France; GRC – Greece; INDHOL – the Netherlands; IND – India; J – Japan; KOR – South Korea; KRE – North Korea; LTU – Lithuania; NIG – Nigeria; ROU – Romania; RRW – Rwanda; S – Sweden; SVN – Slovenia; THA – Thailand; TJK – Tajikistan; UGA – Uganda; USA – USA.

Languages (“L.”):

Am – Amharic; C – Chinese; Ca – Cantonese; E – English; F – French; G – German; Gr – Greek; Hu – Hungarian; Pan – Panaji; Pe – Persian; Po – Portuguese; R – Russian; Sp – Spanish; Sw – Swedish; T – Thai.

Many logs this time, thanks to the summer vacation.

kHz

Station

Ctry

L.

Day

GMT

S I O
 11510 Radyoya Denge Kurdistane  F Ku

Aug

1

17:25 5 5 4
 11540 Radio Farda  CLN Pe

Aug

1

17:30 5 5 5
  6165 RHC Cuba  CUB  E

Aug

1

04:00 5 5 4
  3995 HCJB Weenermoor  D  G

Aug

2

04:30 5 5 4
 17860 Voice of Khmer M’Chas Srok  1)  

Aug

3

11:30 5 5 4
  7550 AIR Delhi (All India Radio)2)  IND  E

Aug

4

18:21 4 5 4
 12020 VoA Deewa Radio  CLN Pa

Aug

7

01:00 5 5 5
 15344 RAE Buenos Aires3)  ARG  F

Aug

7

20:00 3 4 3
 15344 RAE Buenos Aires  ARG  G

Aug

7

21:00 4 4 4
  3905 (Dutch pirate radio)  HOL  E

Aug

9

20:15 5 5 5
 13760 Voice of Korea  KRE  E

Aug

9

21:01 5 5 4
  9540 IRIB Tehran  IRN  J

Aug

9

21:34 2 4 2
  9570 Radio Exterior de Espana4)  E  S

Aug

9

22:00 4 3 3
  6000 RHC Cuba  CUB  E

Aug

11

03:59 3 4 3
  6165 RHC Cuba  CUB  E

Aug

11

04:00 4 5 4
  7550 AIR Delhi (All India Radio)  IND  E

Aug

11

18:20      
  9540 Radio Japan5)  J  C

Aug

12

15:30 2 2 2
 15235 Channel Africa  AFS E

Aug

12

17:00 5 5 4
  7550 AIR Delhi (All India Radio)  IND  E

Aug

12

17:45 5 5 4
 15650 Voice of Greece6)  GRC Gr

Aug

12

19:00 5 5 4
  6165 Radio Japan  LTU  R

Aug

13

04:30 5 4 4
 17770 Radio Thailand  THA  T

Aug

13

10:35 3 5 3
 15160 KBS Seoul  KOR Ko

Aug

14

09:00 4 4 4
 15160 KBS Seoul  KOR Ko

Aug

14

09:35 4 4 3
 15000 WWV (NIST), Colorado  USA  E

Aug

16

12:46 2 3 2
 15000 WWVH (NIST), Hawaii7)  USA  E

Aug

16

12:46 2 3 2
  3995 HCJB Weenermoor  D  G

Aug

16

18:00 4 4 3
 15220 China Radio International (CRI)  CHN Hu

Aug

17

10:03 3 5 4
 15440 China Radio International (CRI)  CHN Ca

Aug

17

10:07 2 4 2
  7550 AIR Delhi (All India Radio)  IND  E

Aug

17

17:40 5 5 5
  4765 Radio Progreso  CUB  S

Aug

18

02:17 4 4 3
  5015

Radio Miami International

(RMI) / RG Stair

 USA  E

Aug

18

02:22 4 4 4
  5980 Channel Africa  AFS  E

Aug

18

03:06 5 5 5
  5040 RHC Cuba  CUB  E

Aug

18

05:00 5 5 4
  7550 AIR Delhi (All India Radio)  IND  E

Aug

18

18:15 5 5 5
 11711 RAE Buenos Aires8)  ARG  E

Aug

19

02:00 4 4 4
  9540 Radio Japan5)  J  C

Aug

19

15:38 2 2 2
 11711 RAE Buenos Aires  ARG  E

Aug

21

02:00 5 5 4
  5025 Radio Rebelde  CUB  S

Aug

21

03:00 4 3 3
  4976 Radio Uganda  UGA  E

Aug

21

03:12 3 2 2
  5040 RHC Cuba  CUB  S

Aug

21

03:45 5 4 4
  9800 Deutsche Welle Kigali  RRW  E

Aug

21

04:30 5 4 3
 15160 KBS Seoul  KOR Ko

Aug

21

09:00 4 4 3
 3775.1 DARC / DLØDL Deutschlandrundspruch  D  G

Aug

21

17:30 3 4 4
 15120 Voice of Nigeria  NIG  E

Aug

22

08:03 3 4 3
 15120 Voice of Nigeria9)  NIG  E

Aug

22

15:20 3 4 2
 15175 AIR Delhi (All India Radio)  IND Pan

Aug

22

15:30 3 4 3
  4976 Radio Uganda  UGA  E

Aug

22

20:15 3 2 2
  3995 HCJB Weenermoor  D  G

Aug

23

04:30 5 5 4
  6065 Radio Nord Revival10)  S

E/

Sw

Aug

1

05:20      
   918 Radio Slovenia  SVN  E

Aug

26

20:30 3 3 2
 15345 RAE Buenos Aires3)  ARG  G

Aug

26

21:01 4 4 4
 11711 RAE Buenos Aires3)  ARG  E

Aug

28

02:00 5 5 5
 10000 Observatório Nacional  B Po

Aug

28

06:04 2 2 2
 15120 Voice of Nigeria  NIG  E

Aug

28

09:00 3 5 3
 15275 Deutsche Welle Kigali  RRW Am

Aug

28

16:40 5 4 4
 15275 Deutsche Welle Kigali  RRW  F

Aug

28

17:00 4 4 3
  3770 DARC / DLØDL Deutschlandrundspruch  D  G

Aug

28

17:30 5 5 5
 15435 RRI Bucharest  ROU  C

Aug

29

13:05 5 5 5
 15542 Voice of Tibet (Norway/Tajikistan)  TJK  C

Aug

29

13:15 4 3 3
  3995 HCJB Weenermoor  D  G

Aug

30

18:00 5 5 4
  9800 Deutsche Welle Kigali  D  E

Aug

31

04:00 5 5 4
  6155  Adventist World Radio (AWR)  AUT  F

Aug

31

04:50 5 4 4
 6155 Radio Austria International (German)  AUT  G

Aug

31

05:00 5 4 4

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Footnotes

1) The transmitter site is said to be Dushanbe-Yangiyul, Tajikistan, but that’s unconfirmed by the “clandestine” station itself. The organization behind it also runs a website which seems to suggest that they are don’t like Vietnamese Cambodians, or anything Vietnamese for that matter.

2) Receivers used were a Sony ICF2001D with a number of outdoor antennas, a Silver XF-900 with a built-in telescopic antenna or connected to outdoor antennas, and a Grundig Satellit 300 with a bit of wire instead of a long-gone telescopic antenna. Currently, AIR would usually come with S=5, unless your receiver is very  simple.

3) Radio Argentina al Exterior (RAE) has rarely kept exactly to its scheduled frequencies (11710 and 15345 kHz) recently; deviation seems to remain within +/- 1 kHz.

4) Radio Exterior de Espana has been a constant companion of many shortwave listeners for many decades – here in northern Germany, Spanish and English programs could be easily picked up at daytime and nighttime. For a while, they even ran a German service. New bosses (taking office on September 1) reportedly intends to scrap shortwave. REE English service hosts Alison Hughes and Justin Coe informed their listeners about a slew of rumors, from the 23rd minute of this recording. (Found via DX Aktuell.) There’s also information on changes at REE in Glenn Hauser’s World of Radio audio magazine 1733 of August 7, 2014, from the 26th minute – you can currently pick the 1733 edition from there.

5) Jammed by China People’s Broadcasting Station (CPBS, aka CNR), as described in this post.

6) The Voice of Greece may not be on air regularly.

7) This may look confusing, but the two transmitters, with the same frequency, coexist reasonably well.

8) See also FN 3)), for deviations from scheduled frequency. Not only the frequencies, but the choice of music, too, has shifted somewhat – from classical Tango to more modern songs, including some Argentine rock music. Worthwile listening, especially with reception conditions as good as currently.

9) Fair signal, but modulation issues, as frequently the case with Voice of Nigeria. However, the program is also easily audible at times, as in the morning (previous line).

10) Many things are not as dead as first reported, and this is true for Swedish shortwave broadcasting. Radio Sweden International (RSI) abandoned shortwave years ago, but once a year, Radio Nord Revival is on the air from several locations in Sweden. On August 23, there was a live broadcast, but before and after that, test broadcasts were made, on a number of frequencies as stated here. Radio Nord was an offshore commercial station in the Baltic Sea, in operation from 1961 to 1962, with an interesting (mostly American) background story. The Radio Nord Revival is apparently organized by old fans of the former offshore broadcaster.

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Related

» WRNO WW recording, E. Feaser/Youtube, of December 14 (UTC), 1983

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Related tag:

» shortwave radio

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Friday, June 28, 2013

Shortwave Log, Northern Germany, May / June 2013

When the Greek government suspended ERT broadcasts, the shortwave frequencies were an exception. The Voice of Greece kept broadcasting there. As I don’t understand Greek, I can’t tell if the programs were live, or from the archives, i. e. produced prior to closing ERT down.

"Music contest between Apollo and Marsyas", Voice of Greece QSL card, 1985.

“Music contest between Apollo and Marsyas”, Voice of Greece QSL card, 1985.

There may be different possible ways to explain why the shortwave broadcasts up – to me, the most likely one would be that shortwave frequencies are obtained in international negotiations in the framework of the International Telecommunications Union, and given that shortwave frequencies are considered a scarce resource (even though much less scarce today, probably, than during the Cold War), a country may need to use such frequencies with international reach in order to keep them, and not losing them to other interested countries. The same mechanism is at work within countries regulatory processes, as described with Kenya as a case in the news, in 2012.

My log list for May and June is short – it’s the outdoor season.

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Recent Logs

International Telecommunication Union letter codes used in the table underneath:
AUS – Australia; ARG – Argentina, CVA – Vatican;  CUB – Cuba; RRW – Rwanda.

Languages (“L.”):
C – Chinese; E – English; G – German; I – Italian.

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kHz

Station

Ctry

L.

Day

Time
GMT

S I O
12045 Deutsche
Welle Kigali
RRW E May 5 04:20 5 5 5
21640 IRIB Tehran IRN E May 5 10:27 5 4 4
 4835 ABC
Alice Springs
1)
AUS E June 3 19:51 4 3 3
17590 Vatican
Radio
 I I June 4 12:00 5 5 5
15345 RAE
Buenos Aires
ARG G June 10 21:00 4 5 4
11710 RAE
Buenos Aires
ARG C June 12 04:37 2 2 2
15345 RAE
Buenos Aires
2)
ARG C June 12 10:35 3 3 3
 6000 RHC Habana
Cuba
CUB E June 24 03:00 4 4 3

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Notes

1) Recording »here.
2) Recording »here. Details about Chinese service »here.

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Related

» Previous Log, April 2013, May 4, 2013

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

No Bread, but .Circuses: German Public Diplomacy towards Greece

German member of federal parliament Hans-Joachim Fuchtel will be in Greece from March 25 to 28, according to Fuchtel’s website. The speaker of Baden-Württemberg’s state parliament, Guido Wolf, and a number of other experts from various regions will also be part of the group tour.

Their motto: “Encouraging our Greek friends!”

Not entertaining enough: German chancellor Angela Merkel.

Not entertaining enough: German dowager empress chancellor Angela Merkel.

And no, Angela Merkel won’t travel along. I mean, seriously, that wouldn’t be encouraging. Instead, Fuchtel proudly presents Otto Rehhagel, once a successful coach for the Greek national soccer team.

Maybe there are some hidden champions among the experts, with one good economic and political ideas. As for Rehhagel’s mission, Inside Greece sees his assignment as the latest attempt at low-level micro-diplomacy between Germany and Greece:

To send a soccer coach into this environment hoping that he will make a difference is shoddy and shortsighted but absolutely in keeping with the way this crisis has been handled.

Then again, Rehhagel may be able to explain what went wrong, as he did on a press conference after losing against Sweden, in the Euro soccer championship of 2008 -

Q: We have seen that even Germany plays with much more offensive power than usual. Can we expect something of this kind from Greece, too?

A: Of course, we would like to score. But we are a team that scores rarely, as statistics show. We need to stand securely at the back so as to score once, maybe.

But his most recent rescue mission, in Berlin, went wrong. Hertha needs a bailout fund for the coming years, he said in 2012, pondering what would happen if the club, coached by him, would be relegated to the Second Bundesliga. That’s where the club is now.

Politics comes without a sense of history these days – with one exception. Frequently, when the talk is about “more Europe”, we are warned that the alternative of that would be “war”.

But German public diplomacy towards Greece is about bread and circuses. Minus the bread, that is. If public diplomacy is about adding insult to injury, this is certainly a great approach.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Deutsche Welle History, 1973: Owls to Athens

Der Spiegel, February 12, 1973, “Personal Data” column

Walter Steigner (60), “Deutsche Welle” director, didn’t let a fellow partisan have his say. In an interview with Deutsche Welle staffer Vassili Mavridis, SPD member of parliament Dieter Schinzel had argued against a trip by foreign minister [Walter Scheel] to Athens (“a visit would be seen as support for the junta”), and tendered his interviewer a tape with a 90-seconds commentary by oppositional former [Greek] minister Georgios Mavros (“A visit by the German foreign minister would be seen as a blow at the Greek democrats —“). The social democratic [Deutsche Welle] director however considered it “politically questionable when a member of parliament accepts a tape and expects us to broadcast it”, and therefore banned the broadcast – Schinzel’s scolding [in his actual interview with Mavridis], too. The parlamentarian believes that the Deutsche Welle Greek broadcasts’ “information content” is dwindling anyway, in favor of Greek folklore: “Folk music – that’s what they can listen to in Athen’s broadcasts just as well”.

"Music contest between Apollo and Marsyas", Voice of Greece QSL card, 1985.

“Music contest between Apollo and Marsyas”, Voice of Greece QSL card, 1985.

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Related

» Greek Military Junta 1967 – 1974, Wikipedia, acc. 20130111

» Related tag: Deutsche Welle
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Friday, December 14, 2012

The BoZhu Interviews: Germany’s and Japan’s post-war image -

Tai De about war crimes, popular narratives, foreignness, and soft power

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« Previous Interview: MKL, July 13, 2012

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The following is a spontaneous, unplanned BoZhu interview with Tai De, a civil servant from Verden. It’s actually the second interview with him, after a more general one about his blog, about a year ago.

Tai De studied history. His pattern of thought is that of a historian – but he wants me to write a word of warning in advance: he is no particular “expert” on Japan or on the Far East.

Our interview – originally rather a discussion – came up this afternoon after I listened to the memories of William Shawcross, son of the British chief prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials, on Radio Australia‘s shortwave service this afternoon.

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Q: When listening to Anglo-American media, I’m getting the impression that we (Germans) get away with a much more positive image despite the Nazi crimes and WW2, than them (the Japanese). What’s your impression?

A: Quite so.

Q: Do you have an explanation for that?

A: I don’t think there’s that one explanation which can say it all.

Q: To start with something: do the Americans or British see Germans as part of the family? Sort of distant relatives? Like: “Yes, they committed heinous crimes, but …”

A: The outset after the war was the same after VE day and VA day, in terms of geostrategic interest – America needed West Germany, and America needed Japan. Britain didn’t mind an anti-Soviet bulwark in central or Europe either. I can’t generalize Anglo-American perceptions of either Germans or Japanese people. But as far as my favourite trash history novelist is concerned, …

Q: … Alexander Kent, …

A: … you can sense his attitude towards the Japanese – I think I can, anyway. I may be wrong, of course.

Q: German gentleman criminals, Japanese low-class criminals?

A: Oh, he definitely doesn’t get trapped in that kind of concept. But there’s that Japanese foreignness. And there’s that incredible Japanese brutality against allied prisoners of war – and the brutality of their warfare.

Q: German crimes were no smaller, were they?

A: No, they weren’t smaller. The German war was a war of extermination.  The industrialized annihilation of millions of people. But when it comes to our international image, a lot of that brutal German energy was directed against Germans, not Americans or British people.  The annihilation of Jews in particular, but other minorities, too. And communists, social democrats, also very blanketly.  As far as Alexander Kent is concerned, you also see a clear division of roles, in Germany’s case. The basically good – and very brave – Wehrmacht or navy officer on the one hand, and the coward, brutal, lower-class Gestapo policeman or SS man on the other. You don’t have that difference when it comes to the depiction of Japan. There’s no “Samurai”, no gentleman warrior. And if there was a “Samurai” depiction, it would have to be the kind of perpetrator who’d behead American or British POW from the platform of a truck, just by holding his sword out while passing rows of POWs on their death march.
Mind you, that’s not necessarily an accurate depiction of a Japanese soldier – but it’s become a picture of symbolic power. There were British and American pilots murdered by Germans, too, but not that systematically. And not that – how can I put this? – the war in Europe didn’t become that personal. Not between unoccupied countries and Germans, anyway.

Q: Were Allied prisoners of war traumatized? Did they face more brutality than what they would have expected from the Japanese?

A: Maybe not before the first atrocities – against non-Asians, I should add – became known. But initially, yes. I can’t tell how familiar they were with the way the Japanese forces treated Asians – but they probably didn’t expect that their service people would be treated similarly – that civilians with their forces would be forced into prostitution, for example.

Q: Japanese brutality spelled foreignness?

A: That’s one side of it, I think. And the other is the decades after the war. I mentioned the Samurai. But there was no such positive Japanese symbol, at least not in the Western narrative. Very different from the way Germany was depicted. And that’s a matter of symbolic gestures. Maybe Japan did make gestures, but not of the kind America, Australia, or Britain would easily understand. Emperor Hirohito looks quite good in some of their narratives, as a man who assumes “responsibility” for Japan’s crimes. But that was immediately after the end of the hostilities. The Japanese were under huge objective pressure then. But later on, after the pressure had eased, they never managed to do something highly symbolic – not in a Western sense, anyway.

Q: Like Willy Brandt dropping to his knees before the Warsaw Ghetto Monument?

A: Exactly. I’m not saying that Willy Brandt changed everything – but he had a huge effect on our national image abroad. For one, he hadn’t been involved – he had actually been underground in Norway during the war. But he was a German. “A symbol for a different Germany”, as they say.
He didn’t do because of his personal record. I don’t know what exactly made him kneel – all I know is that he made an allusion later, when reacting to criticism from the BILD-Zeitung, stuff like “one must only kneel before God”. He only reacted in private, and one of his ministers recalled it in 1992, after Brandt’s death. Brandt said that those journalists had no idea before whom he had kneeled.
But when it comes to Japan…  if there was resistance among the Japanese during the war – and I suppose there was – we may never know about these people.

Talking about Willy Brandt – there was his Neue Ostpolitik, too, for the obvious reason that Germany was divided. The Ostpolitik was a symbol of hope – not only for Germans, by the way, but for all of Europe – and it was really powerful. With really honest intentions – and skills – the social democrats and the liberals in Germany made the best of it. They turned our calamities into moral strength. You write a lot about soft power, don’t you? That was soft power. Brandt was about soft power. Olof Palme, too, in his own way, from Sweden. German partition was a price Germany had to pay – that division of our country. Territorial losses, too. In Asia, it was – and still is – Korea who has to live with partition. Not Japan. That could matter, too.

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Related

» Nanking Massacre, Wikipedia, acc. Dec 14, 2012
» Lev Kopelev: No Easy Solution, April 11, 2009
» All BoZhu Interviews

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Monday, August 20, 2012

Smart Public, part 2: True Colors

Dissatisfaction drives change – that’s conventional wisdom. And it’s not necessarily true. Dissatisfaction may dominate partytalk, just as well, after a few beers, or whatever you drink. If there’s change also depends on how many people are dissatisfied, and on how acutely dissatisfied they are.  Public issues won’t necessarily create anger that wuld lead to change. Rescue programs for the bailout of  system-relevant banks with public money may anger many tax payers, but as long as government incurs further public debt than levying an extra tax for the very purpose on the public, people, especially “small” tax payers, may put up with it. And they will, more and more frequently, draw the conclusions that politics is

  • totally rotten business and
  • therefore not their business.

When I explained why I believe that Wikileaks can’t work, I put it this way:

There is no effective shortcut. Only individual judgment and the preparedness to organize to accurately defined ends can be effective – but they require patience. It takes education, year after year. It takes preparedness to learn – not just of one organization, but by countless individuals. And – and that’s something the existence of Wikileaks should help us to understand – it will take media and journalists who take their tasks seriously, and who decide responsibly and who account to their readers.

It will take media and journalists who help the public to perform.

I haven’t changed my views on Wikileaks, i. e. on a government’s rights to keep part of its information confidential. But my views on patience are changing. Four years after the global financial crisis, very little has been done in Germany when it comes to legislation that would make system-relevant banks, rather than public funds, responsible for their own rescue. But Greece is required to impose austerity on those of its citizens who are hit hardest by such measures. That’s wrong – and that needs to change.

The need for change is strongly felt, even if recommendations about the required measures to make change happen differs widely. James Fishkin, a U.S. academic, recommends deliberative democracy. That’s not necessarily a bad thing – but it can’t replace a freely-elected parliament. A freely-elected parliament, on the other hand, is usually susceptible to influences that are hardly “democratic” – business lobbies of all kinds, not least the financial industry. Deliberative democracy, especially when under the influence of lobbies which “provide relevant information”, is unlikely to change that.

During the 1990s, Johannes Heinrichs, a German philosopher, discussed ways to rebuild democracy. He advocated a four-fold parliament, whose branches would deal with the for fields of economics, politics, culture, and fundamental values. The latter branch would define the framework for the three other branches. Heinrichs apparently saw – or maybe still sees – his concept as a practical reaction to the ways economics have dominated parliamentary democracy, and to a global crisis of democracy.

The concept may look radical – but it hardly is. Ask any politician what should dominate political or individual decisions – economics or values. Two likely answers are “values”, or “both”. Values, that is, in theory. And “both” means nothing. That’s the good thing about practical, organizational recommendations. Only once you discuss which road map should be implemented, you’ll really need to show your colors.

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Related

» Smart Public, July 25, 2012

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Friday, August 17, 2012

That’s Communication!


In an interview with Greek television, former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder doesn’t spare either party in the sovereign debt crisis with criticism, but finds the right words for the Greek audience – and for the Germans who happen to hear them, too.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

“Smart Public”

The public is very smart if you give it a chance. If people think their voice actually matters, they’ll do the hard work, really study their briefing books, ask the experts smart questions and then make tough decisions. When they hear the experts disagreeing, they’re forced to think for themselves. About 70% change their minds in the process.

Thus spoke James Fishkin, a developer and researcher of  deliberative democracy (审议民主), a concept that has been practiced in countries as different as America, China, and Greece. And no, it didn’t get Greece into the current mess – it was only used on a local level there. Same in China (of course).

Everything can be hyped, and I’m sure that’s true when it comes to Fishkin’s concept, too. But the good thing about it is that it is almost two decades old.

The polls that result from deliberation can be used in two different ways. They may replace actual votes (i. e. replace the general public with a more informed public), or they may become a possibly weighty referential force in debates after the deliberative poll, and before the general public votes. Chinese politicians – as far as they like the concept at all – are probably more likely to prefer deliberative polls as replacements for real public votes. The main advantage would seem to be that the deliberators will take their task of making a decision even more seriously, if they have the last word on it. The problem: what’s a statistically representative sample of a community?

But either way, there’s probably no small chance that there’s more to it than there is to, umm …, say, Twitter.

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