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Worldwide Response

By

You don't hear us making generalizations about Australians - Crocodile Dundee!

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Gold $426 ... zzzzz Silver $7.10 .... 30st March, 6pm Sydney time.



Gold has done nothing, silver under $6.90 proved cheap, again, and Jacqui's 1st grade "Pirate Day" was nice, although my nearly 3 hrs sleep in preparation was nowhere near enough for me and am heading to zzzz very shortly. I have duelling accountants at 20 paces tomorrow (with the tax office down here)!

I thought I would try and kill this "American Perception" thread before it destroys my computer and my sanity. This was obviously a touchy subject, both ways, judging by responses!

Let's just recap the first line of yesterday's blurb - "I don't want to get into political / social arguments with people in the U.S. about what other people think of the state of "their" nation. The truth, no matter what people's perception is, can send normally reserved people on the very defensive and aggressive, no matter how irrefutable or compelling the facts are. I don't want to pi$$ anyone off". Well, it seems I shoulda kept my cake hole shut. There certainly is a great divide on this topic and it is great to see such divergence in opinion. That's what's so great about where we both live - you can have an opinion, no matter how far "out there" it is and you are free to express it. For now.

Anyways I thought best share some remarks from fellow Minyans to illustrate just how diverse the perception of America is (from inside the U.S.). I won't quote people's names, just their state or city (as it may be useful info for someone) and I thank them for their thoughtful and respectful opinions.

Opinion's ....Everyone's got one. Here's a good sample.

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Hi Laurie,
There are MANY U.S. citizens who are concerned with the direction of the U.S., but only about 49% as of the last election.

N.Y.

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Laurie,

Not to in any way suggest that we should get a big political slug-fest going here, since that's not the purpose of the 'Ville. But I thought you, and perhaps the other Minyans, might be interested to hear to other side of things vis-a-vis the issues raised by those surveys in your neck of the woods. I found this commentary today on one of my favorite Aussie websites and felt compelled to toss it out for consideration and perhaps a little balance.

My very best regards, and thanks for all your terrific commentary. Your insights and anecdotes are among my very favorite features of the 'Ville.

Baltimore


I know statistics can make anything look like anything.

I just commented from personal experience, discussion with a variety of people from different backgrounds, circumstances and personalities as well as my Lisa's experiences down here and what she has seen and observed. I move in a very eclectic circle of people and I get a good cross section of views and opinions on all manner of issues.

I listen to everyone's opinion, whether I agree or not. That's the nice thing about where we both live... we can, at present, have an opinion that may differ drastically but we are still allowed an opinion. Once opinions and free-thinking ceases to exist then we're all in a stack of trouble.

Laurie
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Laurie,

I'm sure your post will elicit many vociferous replies. I hear this perspective constantly among my European and liberal friends and I don't dismiss it outright. Everyone is subject to propaganda. We tend to disregard that which doesn't confirm our beliefs, and accept as truthful that which does. Perceptions have a way of taking on a life of their own and they become self-reinforcing.

Unknown origin of sender



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Hi Laurie!

I read with interest your exchange with Brian regarding Australian sentiment survey. I couldn't agree more with how the Australian people feel and Brian's repsonse to your answer. I'm embarassed to be an American (that's why they're from Canada). I'm embarassed that we didn't throw out the bum and his sycophants this last time around. I'm disappointed that my fellow Americans couldn't see through the incredibly selfish and destructive behaviour promoted by our Commander in Chief in terms of the environment, civil liberties, our democratic process, being a member of the international community (we're not anymore), healthcare for the elderly etc.. I thought that the imperialistic Vietnam era ended long ago... yet we're doing the same thing now. Spreading democracy? That's not our mandate. What a load of crap.

Our government IS the people as we're (were) the most democratic nation on the planet. But now our ruling body has hijacked the 'peoples will' through deception and secrecy. We're getting strong-armed bigtime with a run-away democracy that is morphing into a fascist state! Everything around here is smoke and mirrors with more and more stuff being shoved down our throats without proper vetting or any semblance of a democratic process. This kind of governance has moved people like me from being politically middle of the road to far out on the left.

No one likes a bully. It kills me that we've thumbed our nose at the international community. I've never been so disappointed. Instead of sharing our great wealth, knowledge and resources with the world, we club them with it. Bush talks of being a 'compasionate conservative'. Ok, where in the hell is the compasionate part?? Cause if you're not a religious fundamentalist, or part of a faith-based org., or an American, you're outta luck.

Enjoy your missives.

California

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Laurie,

First of all your initial instinct was correct: better not to get involved in politics on this site. We're here for other reasons. How foolish would it be for me, if I were writing for an predominately Australian, financially-centric audience to harp about the idiocy of Australian anything--life, wine, food, government, etc. I'm sure I'd offend a large percentage of the readership, whether my opinions were accurate or not. It just doesn't fly. It's like when your best friend complains to you about his wife, just listen and nod and all is well, but if you complain about his wife on his behalf, you're in trouble.

The trampling of the constitution:

A bit of hyperbole I would say. Come live here for a while, then tell me if you really believe that what you're reading / hearing is true. Oh sure, I know that the Patriot Act has some definite problems that need to be corrected and will be, in my opinion, but life here is as wonderful and exciting as it's always been. Frankly these ex-pats that you speak of sound truly laughable. This is where perception and reality part. Most U.S. citizens are well aware of the opinions of the rest of the world, and I think it's unfortunate. However, the perception expressed in your post regarding ex-pats is really just very wrong. So my advice would be to avoid commenting on something that you obviously know little about. I have some friends that have moved to Europe for business purposes and I'm amazed at that e-mails I get from them saying how concerned they are about what's going on here.

Bottom line: there really is a misperception among Europeans and others about what's going on here. I'm not talking about information garnered from the media, I'm talking about real life. And frankly I don't have a great deal of trust in the media in general both conservative and liberal. Everyone has an ax to grind and most columnists / reporters leave a lot to be desired when it comes to research and separating fact from opinion.

Many Americans say they're from Canada.

Well many of us may just want to avoid being hassled or harassed and some may be ashamed of U.S. policy, that's their prerogative. What does it prove? There are a variety of opinions on a variety of issues. I visited Europe several times in my youth with my family. One of the memories that stands out about the experience is how offended my parents were by the treatment of some Europeans. There was an anti-Americanism even back then, although I'm sure that GW has exasperated that sentiment. The funny thing was my parents are European, but when they said they were American citizens the treatment changed. This wasn't last year I assure you.

The perception of the U.S. from elsewhere is very different to what you here from your media. My impression, from the media, is that the world perception of the U.S. is not good. Are you offering new information here? I also get the impression that you think we're a bunch of buffoons totally oblivious to the opinions of the rest of the world. This is the part I find most offensive. You may not intend to say this but this is what's coming through...you poor stupid Americans, you really don't know how foolish you look to the rest of the world, your media feeds you pabulum and you accept it, you are so ignorant.

Laurie this is the message that many readers will get from your post. I try to explain this to my European friends when they get thrown out of bars after expressing similar sentiment. The ugly American is becoming the ugly European for many in this country.

Cheers again,

Unknown origin

I just call it as I see it, sorry. This whole thing was a shot at the lack of media scrutiny and questioning of Government, but it appears I've hit a nerve. My sincere apologies if anyone mistakenly presumed I was attacking the citizens of America. In no way do I infer or contend that everyone is a "buffoon" or make any such generalization, in fact I was at pains to impress that it is all about the leadership and the media.. I don't suggest that you all look foolish to the rest of the world, I suggest you don't get the same information to base your judgements on that "outsiders" do. The media / spin doctors have many looking through rose coloured glasses on many issues. I contend that your Leadership is being severely questioned in other parts of the world and many don't like the answers.

For your info, on my second to last visit to the USA, I was strip searched (fully) at JFK. You don't even want to know what else went on or what justification it was done for (of course a 38 year old, 5'9", 170lb, white, anglo-saxon, heterosexual, able-bodied Australian male, dressed in a suit, would certainly be on someone's "watch list"). I don't talk about this stuff lightly. The Patriot Act, as I understand it, is a shameful piece of legislation and those Homeland Security powers should be studied in detail before people assert that there is no "trampling of the constitution" or "loss of individual freedom/rights" and I didn't even mention the thumbing of the nose at International Law and Conventions such as the Geneva Convention or Kyoto (which our lapdog mob followed).

I must talk to a whole different bunch of ex-pats than those you refer to. I have a pretty good sounding board down here. My Lisa, is a University graduate who spent the past 20 years surrounded in academia (I can't reveal in what discipline due to other circumstances at present), who left the U.S. in January 2004 after living in 4 major U.S. cities. She, as she called it, "didn't live under a rock", and was astounded by the news of the world that she got here compared to whatever she was used to. Within a week of watching and reading some of the global mainstream press, then progressing to viewing / reading some web based news services, she was aghast at the lack of serious media scrutiny in the U.S. about just about anything apart from sports.

I live and work and, most importantly, drink at the many pubs in what would be described as a "tourist" part of Sydney. I meet people from all over the world. Every day. I'll stick with my opinion because I know what I see and hear, although sometimes the conversations are a little "foggy"(that just because I was tired and nothing to do with the 15 VB's we sucked down).

I guess I'd better hold off heading to the USA anytime soon, if I can so misrepresent what I was trying to convey. I guess there'd be a lynch-mob waiting for me at JFK.

Sorry, Just my opinion.
Laurie

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The last word from someone I greatly respect and admire who lives down here as well -:

position in gold, silver

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