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I'll bite, but only if it's understood that this is a personal opinion, one I've held since the beginning of ET (when I was not a Bad Lieutenant).

No, the purpose of this blog per se is not to influence mainstream opinion. It is what we can build here that I hope may do that, and what we can draw on from this community to get out into the MSM and through whatever other channels we may be able to use. As such I find battles with -- in particular -- US libertarians, as a waste of energy. There is imo enough sharpness here to help us hone our arguments.

Please don't think I'm complaining because Terry came here. C'est la vie :)

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jan 1st, 2008 at 02:51:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ok - I'll stop advertising blogs here on Timesonline.

PS who said you - or any other front pager - was a bad lieutenant?

What I am trying to elucidate here is whether ANY political position on the spectrum is an ESSENTIAL part of the ET value system, or whether the way we go about our business is what BEST defines us - e.g. independence, critical analysis, respect for opposing points of view, collaborative learning, widespread participation etc. etc.

I sense an impatience with the fact that I am even asking the question.  Fair enough, lets move on.  But I wouldn't be here if I felt you couldn't challenge the conventional wisdom of whatever ilk if you felt it was wrong in a particular instance.

Migeru below gives me a hard time for even considering the possibility that Jacob Freeze might have had a point in one of his (more minor) complaints.  Just because Jacob was wrong on some fairly major points of etiquette doesn't mean he is wrong on all points.  Just because Jacob might have had a small point doesn't mean that I am calling you or Migeru a "Bad Lieutenants".

If it is so tiresome to raise the issue, then perhaps rdf is right and perhaps I am in the wrong place.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jan 1st, 2008 at 03:31:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
to advertise ET, it's great that you do that!

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jan 1st, 2008 at 03:35:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
PS who said you - or any other front pager - was a bad lieutenant?

Afew was referring to a comment in another thread.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jan 1st, 2008 at 03:36:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
<sigh>

It was a simple member's comment. It's my view that it's not our job to debate wingers and neolibs. It's not a view that everyone shares. Just my two cents.

In no way did I mean to be aggressive towards you or to show impatience with your question.

Bad Lieutenant was a joke because front-pagers are getting some bad press elsewhere at the moment. To the extent that it is hard to post a simple member's opinion when one is also a front-pager.

So I'm going to shut up for tonight.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jan 1st, 2008 at 03:54:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know who the front pagers are and as far as I'm concerned they are as entitled to their views as anyone else.  I think its great there is some sort of editorial board and can't see how the site could function without it.  I am amazed at the dedication and time so many people seem to spend on admin chores and they have my full support.  The impatience I sensed was in a number of other comments  one of which - by rdf - I referenced.  I was genuinely puzzled by whether Terry's arrival here via my link on Timesonline would be welcomed.  If what you say afew:
No, the purpose of this blog per se is not to influence mainstream opinion
represents the mainstream view, then I think the answer is no.  

That has an impact on the question posed by this blog: What Values does ET Represent?  It is saying we are more a think tank for "progressive thinkers" rather than a direct attempt to engage with (US) Mainstream opinion.  Fair enough - I only wanted to know what the implicit (or explicit) strategy behind ET is.

Feel free to comment, even if you are a hated frontpager!!!

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jan 1st, 2008 at 04:24:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The US mainstream is very definitely not our target: we're generally more Europe focused.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jan 1st, 2008 at 04:27:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was genuinely puzzled by whether Terry's arrival here via my link on Timesonline would be welcomed

It's not unwelcome either. Just one of those things. I'd rather have new people coming in and some of them being annoying rather than not have new people coming in.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jan 1st, 2008 at 04:28:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd like to very much support Colman's statement here.

I'd like to address (in some way, it's not easy) a "European/International mainstream." I'm much less interested in ET as a venue to address a "US mainstream" as I feel there are many other venues for that.

That doesn't mean I don't want to discuss with people from the US and about US policy, both are important elements of international politics.

But, as a site, what ET can be special as is a place for a European discourse with an international slant.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Jan 1st, 2008 at 04:33:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is saying we are more a think tank for "progressive thinkers" rather than a direct attempt to engage with (US) Mainstream opinion.

That is a good sumamry of my personal view. Is it the majority opinion? I truly don't know. Probably.

As to who is welcome, I hope you felt that you were. Terry... He's free to comment. Not quite the same...

The front-pagers are listed on the (duh) front page, below right, under the Blogroll. Sorry if this one is a bit touchy tonight, it's this knife I can't get out of me back... (not to be taken too seriously).

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jan 1st, 2008 at 04:36:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I let everyone off the hook by inserting that (US) in there.  Your original comment said afew:
No, the purpose of this blog per se is not to influence mainstream opinion
but the emerging consensus seems to be that we ARE interested in engaging with European/international mainstream opinion.  I wonder how our American members feel about that!

I'm very good at taking knives out of peoples backs, and I can be a rottweiler when I want to be.  Who was it, let me at him!!!!

Colman, colman stop holding me back.....

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jan 1st, 2008 at 04:55:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This blog isn't directly the tool to do it with though. I would see other initiatives coming from here engaging with the mainstream.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jan 1st, 2008 at 04:57:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Still, if sites like ET started pulling significant audiences away from MSM (which they are beginning to) doesn't that create a pressure on MSM to respond?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jan 1st, 2008 at 05:10:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The mass media (MSM) is stuck in a trap.

If they move to address the fragmentation of the Information Channels they lose the adjective "mass" and their economic basis.

If they refrain from addressing Information Channel fragmentation they lose their influence.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Tue Jan 1st, 2008 at 05:22:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well lets make it even harder for them!!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jan 1st, 2008 at 05:30:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Their only strategy in that case, would be to adopt the new messages. They would still lose direct political influence for a while, but they would still have access.

But it is a moot point imo. I can't see newspapers lasting too many years in their present formats. The Finnish paper industry is already closing mills at speed, both at home and abroad, in ackowledgement of those newspapers' forthcoming demise. No panic here yet in the fibre industry since 85% of Finnish fibre goes into packaging, not print papers. But there will be some expensive paper machines sitting idle for a while before they get sold off to other markets.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Jan 1st, 2008 at 05:31:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What is "their present formats"?

With the multiplication of free newspapers it seems newspapers will not disappear.

If you look at the content of the free newspapers, mostly full of sensationalism or celebrity gossip and of the advertising that makes them viable, and compare it to, say, weekly glossies (where the audience pays to see the ads and the gossip and pseudo-wisdom), maybe what has its days numbered is the "broadsheet" newspaper as a mass product.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jan 1st, 2008 at 05:38:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Their present format is to deliver a loyal target audience to advertisers.

Free newspapers do not differ in this.

The market for LWC and super-calendared paper is still holding up (glossies, ad mailings, brochures, catalogues etc.) But even a couple of those have been closed by Finnish companies recently.

Basically many newspapers in the US and Europe are losing a few % sales each year and it is beginning to add up. Add to that the loss of classified ads. Circulation loss is unimportant as far as income, but loss of readers is hugely important in retaining a share of the total ad spend. A formerly wide-circulation Finnish newspaper 'Talous Sanomat' recently abandoned print altogether to focus entirely online - where they had built up a similar audience, or should I say 'community'

And interestingly even the ad spend is shifting (in Finland) with a move away from msm toward seminars, training, sponsorship and trade fairs.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Jan 1st, 2008 at 05:56:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and of the advertising that makes them viable,

Are they?

In France they are mostly losing money. It seems their real utility is providing influence to their owner ; the adds cover a part of the losses, but certainly not all of them.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Tue Jan 1st, 2008 at 05:59:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I find the whole thing throughly enjoyable.

The pluts have been pissing away their money buying newspapers at the exact moment, as you say, they are losing their major influence, importance.

Double butter on my popcorn, please.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Tue Jan 1st, 2008 at 05:40:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Exactly. I just can't imagine why there are people buying stagnant print media at p/e 20 when they can get deep sea oil drillers with immense growth rates at p/e 10.

Buying influence is the only explanation.

Oh, and incompetence. Never underestimate incompetence.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Jan 2nd, 2008 at 01:17:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
p/e ratios are not comparable across industry sectors.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 2nd, 2008 at 01:29:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That was kind of the argument...

By the way, when you look at the PEG it becomes utterly preposterous.

And one more thing, buying companies not to maximize profits, is that not the thing we are supposed to stop those sovereign wealth funds from doing?

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Jan 2nd, 2008 at 01:58:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The (US) is non-essential on this point, for me. I don't see ET (as at present constituted) as a forum for directly influencing mainstream opinion, full-stop. The operative word being directly.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 2nd, 2008 at 02:50:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I also am not interested in it, simply because enough of my time is already take up more locally - though I am interested in non-mainstream US opinion. That does not preclude careful observation of what goes on in the US, because it can affect us all.

I've always found a mainstream American very difficult to discuss with, and thus any attempt to influence those opinions is beyond my talents.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Jan 1st, 2008 at 05:11:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The US and UK have huge cultural differences glossed-over by the fact we speak dialects of the same Mother Tongue.

Me duck.

(Whatever that means.)

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Tue Jan 1st, 2008 at 05:25:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well if we have to explain me duck...

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Jan 1st, 2008 at 05:38:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is simply an anatidaen greeting of a tolerant type applicable to all, regardless of age, gender, race or relationship. It originates from the East Midlands of England, where divers and dabblers abound.

I advise against it's use except when in the locale or speaking to inhabitants or former inhabitants. It can also cause problems in France where it can be confused with Medoc.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Jan 1st, 2008 at 05:42:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't confuse it with Médoc, believe me, me duck.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 2nd, 2008 at 02:58:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
East Midlands English - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Though spoken less commonly today, the dialect of the East Midlands has been investigated in notable texts such as the affectionately titled Ey Up Mi Duck[3] series of books (and an LP) by Richard Scollins and John Titford. These books were originally intended as a study of Derbyshire Dialect, particuarly the distinctive speech of Ilkeston and the Erewash valley, but later editions acknowledge similarities in vocabulary and grammar which unite the East Midlands dialects and broadened their appeal to the region as a whole.

"Ey Up" is a greeting of uncertain origin used widely throughout the North Midlands and South Yorkshire, and "Mi Duck" is thought to be derived from a respectful Anglo Saxon form of address, "Duka" (Literally "Duke"), and is unrelated to waterfowl. [4] Non-natives of the East Midlands are often surprised to hear men greet each other as 'Mi Duck.' [5]



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Jan 1st, 2008 at 05:44:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No no that's all wrong ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Jan 1st, 2008 at 05:58:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
you en gunna get mi wi thattun.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Jan 1st, 2008 at 06:01:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Anyroad, I'm off to bed.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Jan 1st, 2008 at 06:06:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Written out that way, it sounds strikingly similar to a strong Southern US drawl.  Odd.
by Zwackus on Wed Jan 2nd, 2008 at 12:10:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What I am trying to elucidate here is whether ANY political position on the spectrum is an ESSENTIAL part of the ET value system, or whether the way we go about our business is what BEST defines us - e.g. independence, critical analysis, respect for opposing points of view, collaborative learning, widespread participation etc. etc.

As Steve Colbert says "Facts have a liberal bias". So really all you're asking is a variant on the chicken-egg question. Are we liberal because we are committed to reality-based policy or are we committed to evidence based policy cos we're liberals ?

It's the same thing you hear right-wingers moaning about the liberal bias at the BBC. Can a conservative really stay true to their beliefs without ignoring the eividence. I have my doubts.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jan 1st, 2008 at 04:02:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I beg to differ! (;-)) I am not a liberal.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jan 1st, 2008 at 04:13:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Helen:
Facts have a liberal bias

If what you say is true, then there is no need to mention the words liberal, left-wing, or progressive anywhere on the site.  We are simply an evidenced based, independent think tank and any views we express are simply a logical consequence of that.  That should open the site up to people who may be coming from a conservative background, but who are open to evidence based, factual, independent thinking and who may be changed by the experience.  Or is this stretching our comfort zone too much?  Do we need the warm woolly blanket of the progressive label to keep out those cold conservatives - open to new ideas or not?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jan 1st, 2008 at 04:32:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are a fair few of us who find those labels a bad fit anyway. "Progressive" is just a way of avoiding the bad press attached to 'the left' in the US, liberal is too confusing to use any more and 'left-wing' apparently includes New Labour and Bertie.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jan 1st, 2008 at 04:34:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In Spain progresista is not a very good thing either. It has been abused a lot. It is used by the PSOE to avoid calling themselves left. The lefties from the 1960's and 70's acquired the deprecatory label progre and the right wing bloggers call the PSOE or anyone calling themselves progresista a progretarra after etarra (basque for ETA member).

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jan 1st, 2008 at 04:38:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think this is where I am coming from.  All my life people have been trying to label me and I have made it into a bit of an art form trying to avoid those labels.  I know they are only meant to be a short-hand descriptor of roughly where you sit in a spectrum, but they can also be an easy way out for others to dismiss you.  Our arguments have to stand on their own merits and simply saying they are progressive cuts no ice with me whatsoever.  A bad "progressive" argument is worse than a "good" conservative argument because it undermines the "progressive cause".  It can also be a lazy way to gain acceptance when you haven't really made your case at all.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jan 1st, 2008 at 05:06:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good question

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Jan 1st, 2008 at 05:12:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank Schnittger:
We are simply an evidenced based, independent think tank and any views we express are simply a logical consequence of that.
Yes, I like that.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jan 1st, 2008 at 05:23:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As a purely personal view, I'd ask you to compare ET's values in some ways to a "big tent" "centre-left" "political party" (and yes, all those scare quotes are necessary.)

The point being that I think we can deduce a centre of gravity for the community, but at the same time, just like a big party, it's actually a number of people who form differing disagreeing groups depending on the issue.

The zeitgeist is not easy to sum up, one can list issues where there is large amounts of agreement (e.g. government shouldn't be drowned in the bathtub, the Washington/neo-liberal consensus on economics is flawed, war is a very dangerous means of foreign policy, peak oil looks like a real incoming problem, the EU is basically a good thing, and many more.)
But, I don't know if that's what you're after, when you say "what values does ET represent?"

One is wary of saying "ET represents" much as one is wary of saying "dailyKos represents" because of the multiplicity of voices and the generic disagreements. Certainly I feel not at all confident to say to an interviewing journalist "this is what ET is about as a political movement."

Which perhaps brings me to some philosophical thoughts:

1) In a lot of ways ET is so far mostly just a community, rather than a movement. It doesn't represent very formally, rather it tends to just exist.

[Note: I don't say that to frustrate you or duck the issue, more to recognise the difficulties I outline above and the fact that ET has not developed a representational project very much so far.]

2) What is the essence of the community? Internationalism is some major part of it. And that's why there is often a sense of a great deal of exaggerated ritual around evidence and civility in discussions. We come here to be in touch with things beyond our backyards. Many of us have lived in a number of different places. Many of us are even interested in much further zones that just "Europe" but I think there is a strong sense that the "European ideal" of nations coming closer together, that people should have more freedoms to travel and interact with those abroad, etc. is all an important thing.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Jan 1st, 2008 at 04:24:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, I've been taking a beating lately and my patience is wearing thin...

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jan 1st, 2008 at 05:14:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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