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The reputation of the US in Europe risks sinking back to Bush-era levels

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Mitt Romney: only one in 20 of those surveyed in Britain, France and Germany held a positive view of him.

The reputation of the US in Europe risks sinking back to Bush-era levels of unpopularity if Mitt Romney becomes president, according to new international polling published on Tuesday.

Only around one in 20 of those surveyed in Britain, France and Germany by YouGov held a positive view of the Republican presidential nominee.

The poll of more than 12,000 people across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan and China was prepared for the YouGov-Cambridge forum this week at which the Guardian is a media partner.

The results are a sign that affection for Barack Obama has diminished little since his 2008 speech in Berlin in which he promised to restore America's reputation on the world stage, even though, four years on, Guantánamo remains open and the US is still engaged in military action in Afghanistan.

But while Europeans had a strongly negative reaction to Romney, the prospect of him winning the White House was greeted with less dismay in Pakistan, where about 13% of respondents said it would make them more favourable to the US, compared to just 9% who said it would make them less favourable.

This is possibly a reflection of the anger towards the Obama administration over drone attacks which have led to civilian deaths and are viewed as an infringement of Pakistani sovereignty.

There was less antipathy, too, in the Middle East and north Africa, where only 8% said they felt a Romney presidency would make them feel less favourable towards the US.

Again, the reason for this may be more to do with negative feelings about the current administration, in particular its failure to mount a serious attempt to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, than warmth for Romney.

But the most striking finding was the level of antipathy towards the Republican in Europe. Although he is still largely an unknown quantity outside the US, he alienated many during an ill-fated overseas trip in the summer, particularly in Britain, where he appeared to publicly criticise Olympic planning and the level of enthusiasm for the London games.

Forty-seven percent of UK respondents said a Romney victory would make them feel less favourable towards the US, and only 3% would make them feel more favourable.

That sentiment was mirrored in Germany and France, where only 4% and 5% respectively said that he would make them feel more favourable towards the US. In Germany, 48% said it would make them feel less favourable and in France 38%.

It was not just in Britain that Romney's overseas trip went down badly.

French daily Le Figaro, normally staunch conservative, ran a blog with the headline: 'Is Mitt Romney a loser?' In Poland, he was criticised by the Solidarity movement for being anti-unions.

A negative poll among Europeans can easily be brushed aside by the Romney campaign, as their views are unlikely to have any impact on the election. Indeed, he might even regard the results as helpful since many Americans, at least in public, claim to be disdainful about European views.

One of George Bush's successes in the 2004 campaign was to portray his opponent, John Kerry, as being too French in his tastes and manners. There was also a backlash against France over its opposition towards the Iraq war.

But the findings play into a larger question over Romney's foreign policy credentials. Little is known about his position on these issues, mainly because he has had little to say, espousing only three positions: support for Israel in the event of it bombing Iran; a threat to launch a trade war against China over alleged currency manipulation; and identifying Russia as America's main threat.

Romney's 30-strong team of advisers includes a large number of neo-conservatives from the Bush era, such as former UN ambassador John Bolton, one of the most public advocates of bombing Iran.

The Obama campaign team is seeking to exploit Romney's vulnerability in this area. One of the strongest sections of Obama's otherwise subdued speech to the Democratic convention last week was an attack on his opponent's lack of foreign policy experience.

On Monday, the Obama campaign fielded the former Nato supreme allied commander in Europe, General Wesley Clark, to criticise Romney for failing to include any mention of Afghanistan in his speech at the Republican convention in Tampa, Florida, a fortnight ago.

The Romney campaign has judged that foreign affairs is not important in a campaign dominated by the country's sluggish economy. But it will come up in at least one of the three presidential debates scheduled for next month.

Between 10-25 August 2012, YouGov questioned 12,693 adults across the US, Britain, Europe, the Middle East & north Africa (Mena), Pakistan and China. Data was weighted to be nationally representative of adult populations in Britain, US, France, Germany and the US. Data in Mena, Pakistan and China is representative of the online population.

Remarks from a friend...don't know if they are his remarks or quoted...nevertheless they're true...

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ALPHASENIOR 9/15/2012 11:35AM

    Still drinking your Kool-Aid.

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RUSSELL_40 9/13/2012 11:36PM

    Regardless if some Iranians thrived under the shah, we have meddled in that country's politics, cost thousands their lives... from the 50's to 1979. It is true that many of the last generation have a favorable view, but the older people have a less than friendly disposition towards America. If the roles were reversed, we would hate Iran just as much. Only through years of fair interaction between our two countries can we return to peace. Threatening to bomb them is not gonna make it happen.

America loves to make history, but we hate to study it. It's why our government can lie to us, and paint any enemy as a terrorist, or crazy religious nut, who hates us for no reason. Stop and ask yourselves if Iranians are different than us. No? so what do they want out of life? A good education, job, and peace for their family, as all humans do.

The hate there is the same as you here from certain Americans here. Talking about them as evil, till you dehumanize them, and make it seem ok to kill them. Unfortunately, as we are doing that here, what is the opposition doing? You got it! Exactly the same.

Difference is, we send out the army, and keep our rednecks at home, and in the Middle East, they have smaller armies, made for defense, so they keep them at home, and the" rednecks "run loose. Lets not judge 69 M Iranians by the few people who act out their rage, and understand those who protest, because we gave them good reason. Also remember that when they protest America, it isn't a bad thing. We allow protests here, even our own govt, and people burn American flags. For a country that we have wronged for decades, they have been very restrained.

Maybe because our politicians remember what they did, they advocate a strong military, just in case anyone tries anything. I think it is time to advocate strong diplomacy, and that is Obama's path too. Europe agrees with this, and that is why they are unfavorable when Romney is trying to live out the Bush legacy. Ending our two wars is a great start. We used to be loved in the world. We vaccinated India in 6 days, from smallpox.. 600,000 ppl. Can you imagine how much they loved America at that point? Much cheaper than bombs, and when you can afford to cut the military in half, since everybody doesn't hate you, you can even invest those Billions of dollars back into our infastructure, and education, so we can get back to one generation handing a better America to the next.

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PATRICIAANN46 9/13/2012 11:49AM

  emoticon Our country needs to wake up..........especially the Baby Boomers who have so much to lose if they don't.

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DIET_FRIEND 9/13/2012 11:36AM

    I don't know all the details Woubbie, I have heard that Iranians like Americans as a rule. I think a lot of this is propaganda. I think there were quite a few Iranians that thrived under the Shah. I just wish that Isreal could figure out a way to exist in that region without always being on the brink of a terrible war.

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ERIN1957 9/13/2012 6:36AM

    I support everyone and the right to express personal opinons on any subject! Whether I agree or disagree. This is your space and your place to do this such thing.

I believe these freedoms are for EVERYONE!

Bravo for you and your rights!

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COACHPENNY 9/13/2012 5:26AM

    BTW.........from Sparkpeople "Using your Blog at Blogging Basics for SparkPeople Members"

-- By Jen Mueller, SparkPeople Community Leader

"According to Merriam-Webster, a blog is "a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer."

"A blog is your own personal outlet, where you can voice your opinion, share your ideas, and reflect on the changes you're making."

"Your SparkPeople blog doesn't just have to be about your weight loss or health goals either. You can write or talk about a wide variety of topics that interest you."

AND..........from Community Guidelines....."The SparkPeople Community has millions of members. This means there are many different people with many different opinions about many different issues. If you see something posted that you do not personally agree with, please avoid the post as your first response instead of making a negative comment or reporting it – unless of course, it clearly a violates the Community Guidelines."

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COACHPENNY 9/13/2012 5:07AM

    We are on a social network, commenting on Sunshine's personal blog. This blog is not subject to censorship by those that disagree with it's content.

It's one thing to post comments disagreeing with a blog. It's certainly not appropriate to attempt to bully and harass someone into not blogging about personal views.

I think you should report them Sunshine.

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ROSALIEESTHER 9/13/2012 4:49AM

    This blog is the perfect place for Sunshine to post her thoughts and concerns.

There is no way to refute what she has written here because she speaks the truth. The objective truth. These polls are not fiction - you want fiction? Go to Team Pinocchio, aka the Republicans and Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in particular.

Even the Republicans know that Bush/Cheney ruined U.S. relationships all over the world. Heck, they aren't even poplar with Republicans - note their glaring absence from the Republican convention?

I think that the election of our President is the most important thing for any of us right now. But by all means, if that's not what you want to think about, please, on your blog, write about your most recent recipe.

Go Sunshine! Go Democrats! Go Obama/Biden.

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SUNSHINE65 9/13/2012 3:31AM

    We have already gone a long way to earn the trust of the world. Luckily the world (except the Arab right now) thinks of Obama much more positively than Romney!

The kingmakers were Rove and Cheney and the Supreme Court unfortunately went with the Repubs! Totally wrong!

This is my blog and I can talk about anything that is dear to my heart! Getting the vote out for Obama is my mission! Join me if you are a woman or you want healthcare for women, old people, the mentally retarded. I don't think of this as political....I think of it as a moral issue! Romney and Ryan are not moral....they lie and lie and lie! They hate the middle class and the poor.

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GRAMMAP1 9/12/2012 11:49PM

    Why don't you put these on a political thread? They could easily be refuted, but that is not what we are on here to do! I prefer your Sunshine "funnies". emoticon

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WOUBBIE 9/12/2012 10:33PM

    The best way to avoid terrorism is to stop doing things that make us hated in the first place.

I can guarantee that 99% of Americans don't know, for instance, that the initial cause of the Iranians hating us so passionately was because we orchestrated a coup that eliminated their democratically elected president and put a KING back on the throne. I think I'd be a little pissed too.

We have a long way to go to regain the trust and faith of the world.

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Some late night funnies

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Late Night Funny

The conventions were so different. The Democrats finally look like a real political party; the Republicans look like a seminar for how to flip real estate for Jesus. The Democratic convention looked like the America I see when I walk down the street. The Republican convention looked like 'Antiques Roadshow.

Bill Maher

Late Night Funny

There was a big shakeup on 'American Idol.' There is still a vacant judge's seat. The producers are in a great hurry to fill the empty seat before Clint Eastwood shows up and starts yelling at it.

Craig Ferguson

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

COACHPENNY 9/13/2012 5:10AM


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WOUBBIE 9/12/2012 10:24PM

    So true! I actually feel sorry for the poor schmoes who don't love all that diversity! Diversity and change are what drive this country, not stagnation and sameness.

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CARRAND 9/12/2012 8:40PM

    My daughter and I both commented on the diversity we saw in the background at the Democrats convention.

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TORTISE110 9/12/2012 7:33PM

    Not usually political here, but wahooo, do I agree.

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I want this performance to be as realistic as possible

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A man went into the pet shop, "I am playing Long John Silver in the local amateur dramatic societies version of Treasure Island and need a parrot to sit on my shoulder," he said.

"I don't have any parrots at the moment, but you wouldn't want a real parrot for that. It would squawk in all the wrong places, poop on your shoulder and generally be a nuisance. What you need is a stuffed parrot. Just as realistic and easily controlled."

"I'm not sure a stuffed parrot would be okay," said the customer. "I do want this performance to be as realistic as possible."

"I am sure a stuffed parrot would be fine," said the pet shop owner. "I have one at home. I'll bring it in and if you come back on Thursday you can have it."

"Sorry," said the customer, "I can't make it on Thursday. That's the day I'm having my leg cut off."

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ALICERIEGER 9/14/2012 10:46AM

    That,s a little too realistic

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GRAMMAP1 9/12/2012 11:58PM

    Peg leg Pete, eh?

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ALEXSGIRL1 9/12/2012 7:26PM

    omg good joke

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The Myths of the Education Crisis

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NAYPOOIE 9/13/2012 2:13PM

    Well, having read the article, can't really support most of his points. I agree it isn't the teacher's fault (mostly), kids can certainly get a good education out of public schools if they work at it. My daughter graduated from a small town public high school and went on to graduate from Harvard. No tutors, special classes, the only thing outside the school itself was a SAT study guide.

But saying that graduation rates are up doesn't mean anything if the kids come out of high school unable to write a coherent paper or not knowing the science and history and whatnot they should. I've seen way to many functionally illiterate "high school graduates" to say that higher graduation rates mean anything. You ever watch JayWalk on the Tonight Show? Yeah, you forget a lot of this stuff after you get out of school, but way too many people never learn it in the first place.

As for test scores being up, what does that mean when our students compare so badly to the rest of the world? Teaching to the test is not teaching, nor are they getting an education from it.

As for poverty, I'm not really clear what his point was. Yes it's a problem, not just that they live in poverty and lack social services, but the schools are poorly supplied, and I know from experience that the best teachers and administrators will get skimmed off and sent to more prosperous schools. And it is most certainly an educational crisis, not a myth.

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RAWHIDE64 9/12/2012 7:22PM

    The title of the article is misleading. The facts that he provides, while correct, are inadequate to represent the state of education in our great nation. 30. 40. and 50 years ago we provided the best educations of any nation in the world. Now, we rank 17th in several subjects. That's not improvement no matter how confidently the author says it. He's wrong on that.

This is a report published by the current administration.

To blame the situation on the teachers is ludicrous. The author is correct in that. The great majority of public school teachers do a great job and teachers don't set policy nor establish standards.

The situation is a lot more complex than the author represented and as long a politicians keep messing with it the situation will only get worse.

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MYREALANA 9/12/2012 3:59PM

    I don't know the details of the teacher's union struggles in Chicago.

I do know that, in general, teachers are paid less than comparably educated and experienced professionals. My dad has two masters degrees, and spent over 30 years teaching public school. I make more now than he ever did in his life - even adjusted for inflation from the time he retired from teaching in 2005.

And these are the people we depend on to shape the future of our country. These are the people preparing our future workforce. Our country doesn't grow if we don't value education and educators.

Comment edited on: 9/12/2012 4:00:27 PM

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NAYPOOIE 9/12/2012 3:02PM

    Couldn't open the article for some reason. I have to agree it's too easy for a lot of students. A young friend of my sister's was showing her a paper she got an A on (high school). Full of misspellings and unclear sentences, definitely not outstanding stuff. There was a lot of room for the teacher to coach the kid in how to make it better, but the only comment was 'Great!'.

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RUSSELL_40 9/12/2012 11:53AM

    I think this is the base of most problems in America. Education. Both of my parents dropped out of school to work on farms, and returned to get GED's. They were born in 42, and 43. My Dad got 8 patents, and was making $100 an hour as a consultant when he had his stroke. Back then, you could go from High School to make a wage to support your family. Now, without an education, you struggle to avoid poverty.

My Dad talked my brother and I into not " wasting out time " with education. We worked at factories 84 hours a week, for $8 an hour, and felt rich. Then all the factories closed, I started working at a pizzeria, and then got sick. My brother just went back to college at 42. He makes so little, working part time, that he got a Pell grant to pay for his tuition.. Thanks for doubling that Obama! What will that do for him? Well, the average pay for a person with a Bachelor's degree is over 5X what he is making, and much easier to do, physically. He got a 35 on his ACT, and should have gone to college back then. His life would have been different. We were educated at a wonderful public school, which is now almost bankrupt. The teachers are being maligned, even though they make just 45K average.

Many teachers have a Masters Degree. Other jobs requiring this would pay 80-120 K a year, but we complain if they want 60K. Teachers are underpaid, not overpaid. We need to invest in education, and continue to improve America, one person at a time. For just over $5000 a year, my brother can add 50K a year to his salary. Even at 10% taxes, he would pay the tuition back in 4 years. Education is a revenue enhancer. Having a bunch of minimum wage earners is not good for America. We should fund schools fully, appreciate teachers, and not think of education as a chore that we finish at 18. If so, the world will continue to pass us by.We should provide free college for 4 years at any community college.

Sadly, here in MI, we now will not provide health care benefits for new teachers, and just a 401K, no retirement.It was called the " Teacher Bill ". If you were thinking of being a teacher here, you are thinking one of two things now. Switch career goals, or get a teaching degree, and leave MI. I always find it amazing that we send our children to school, entrusting their education to a teacher, but think that teacher is worthless. If so, why did you send your kid there?

Tutor a child for a year, and tell me that teachers are overpaid. Not easy. I do agree that there are some bad teachers, but by %, a lot less bad teachers, than bad politicians. We don't cut the pay of politicians, or try to abolish Congress though.

Comment edited on: 9/12/2012 11:56:15 AM

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DIET_FRIEND 9/12/2012 11:09AM

    I agree with you that not all teachers are terrific, Naolee. I agree that teachers teach to the test too. I think they do that because there is so much riding on that test, like the teacher's job. I have downloaded the article and will be interested to read it.

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WOUBBIE 9/12/2012 8:15AM

    Excellent article. I'm sick of all the teacher bashing that goes on. You couldn't PAY me enough to do that job. And we can't pay THEM enough half the time either.

@NAOLEEE: "I think" and "I feel" expresses your subjective experiences, and that's perfectly fine, but the article speaks to the actual facts of the situation, not how we all perceive them. It did point out that there is still a substantial lag in Latino school perfomance, and you might be on the front lines of that issue. As it mentioned, there ARE schools that are failing, but there are many more that are improving year by year.

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GLASSART43 9/12/2012 7:59AM

    Thanks for sharing this!

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NAOLEE 9/12/2012 2:36AM

    Well I can't agree. My primary language is spanish. I see a lot of teachers writing wrong the words. Today the teacher give all the test to study at home. A lot of things I think is really bad now than when I was studying. When I was studying if I wrote a word wrong was 5 points out of the test for each wrong word . We had to study everything because we didn't know was coming in the test. (I never studied). If a student didn't do the homework; didn't have brake to play outside. (I had almost all the year in 4th grade inside the classroom w/out going outside to play because I never did a homework). I think today everything is too easy for the student and a lot of teachers don't know how to write and the student learn what the teacher write. This not only in Spanish. I see that in English, too. Too easy for the students and the students don't take serious the classes. I didn't studied; but I had A's and I learned all the grammatical we use in Spanish and I still using what I learned; but I see a lot of teachers that doesn't know to write and that go to the students because they do what the teacher is teaching. As I said; I see that in Spanish and English, too.

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RESTORED_ME 9/12/2012 2:20AM

    THANK YOU!!! I am a Chicago Public School teacher and this message is being choked & smothered out of the media... PLEASE continue to spread the word.

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Tickle Me Elmo

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

  There is a factory in Northern Minnesota which makes the Tickle Me Elmo toys. The toy laughs when you tickle it under the arms.

Well, Lena is hired at The Tickle Me Elmo factory and she reports for her first day promptly at 8:00 am.

The next day at 8:45 am there is a knock at the Personnel Manager's door. The Foreman throws open the door and begins to rant about the new Employee. He complains that she is incredibly slow and the whole line is backing up, putting the entire production line behind schedule. The Personnel Manager decides he should see this for himself, so the 2 men march down to the factory floor. When they get there the line is so backed up that there are Tickle Me Elmo's all over the factory floor and they're really beginning to pile up. At the end of the line stands Lena surrounded by mountains of
Tickle Me Elmo's. She has a roll of plush Red fabric and a huge
bag of small marbles. The 2 men watch in amazement as she cuts a little piece of fabric, wraps it around two marbles and begins to carefully sew the little package between Elmo's legs.

The Personnel Manager bursts into laughter. After several minutes of hysterics he pulls himself together and approaches Lena. 'I'm sorry,' he says to her, barely able to keep a straight face, 'but I
think you misunderstood the instructions I gave you yesterday...'

'Your job is to give Elmo two test tickles.'

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MISSDAISY23 9/12/2012 3:34PM


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COACHPENNY 9/12/2012 2:20PM

    Tickle you FUNNY!

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ALICERIEGER 9/12/2012 8:17AM

    Aaw--The art of conversation!!

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123ELAINE456 9/11/2012 11:56PM


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HEALTHYAGER 9/11/2012 8:46PM

    HA! Brightened my day reading that!

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NAYPOOIE 9/11/2012 7:23PM


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ELLFIN3 9/11/2012 4:50PM

    emoticon Love it!! Thanks for the giggles!! ((HUGS))

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JATHUENER 9/11/2012 4:37PM

    LOL that is funny

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