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Do you speak English? Have you lived in America? New LOVE/HATE list.........


FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,884
2 Feb 2010 #1
This post is a new spin on the many Poland vs. America threads, such as what you love/hate and general opinions about what you think about these countries. BUT, in order to post on this thread, you must meet certain criteria. Among those, you must:

-have lived and worked in America for an extended period of time
-speak English at an FCE level or better
-have lived and worked in Poland for an extended period of time

If you spent 4 weeks at a summer camp in some rinky dink town in the woods somewhere, that doesn't count. Neither does an 8 day vacation to Chicago to visit your Uncle Pawel.

I would greatly appreciate posters to follow my request. If you don't meet those criteria, find another thread to post on (there are several Poland/America threads) for if you can't claim to satisfy my 3 criteria, your opinion is worthless. This is a thread for people who can speak from experience and hold opinions worth listening to.

So, without further ado: What do you like/dislike about America and Poland?

This thread is open to people from any country, as long as you meet the aforementioned criteria.
convex 20 | 3,978
2 Feb 2010 #2
I dislike that people in the US feel a sense of entitlement due to their country of birth

I dislike that 95% of people are split into two ideological camps

I dislike that most people confuse credit with wealth

I dislike people taking credit for actions of their forefathers

I dislike that anti-intellectualism is celebrated

I dislike the rampant corporate and social welfare that has been doled out for the last 30 years and has utterly destroyed America

I dislike how America is anti-small business by passing burdensome regulation in the name
of consumer protection which only benefits large companies

I dislike(d) the influence of religious fundamentalism on the government and everyday life

I dislike the curbing of freedoms for security

I dislike the constant presence of police

I dislike all the laws against victimless crimes

I dislike the bars, the horrible horrible bars

I like the openness of the people, and not having a million different "levels" of friendship like here

I like the convenience and availability of good cheap food (a whole foods would be nice here) and consumer goods

I like the constitution, greatest document ever written

I love the local restaurants

I love the availability of great microbrewery beer...all over the place*

Did I mention cheap stuff?

(*unless you live in a crazy religious city/county/state which DOESN'T ALLOW YOU TO BUY ALCOHOL)

Poland list will come eventually...
Exiled 2 | 425
2 Feb 2010 #3
USA has a great deal of amateurship.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,730
2 Feb 2010 #4
I like the constitution, greatest document ever written

I still can't make my mind up about it. I've studied it, I've studied it in context, I've looked at it ten million ways and I still can't decide if it's wonderful or too vague to be of use. In some respects, you can clearly see that it was a compromise - but the beauty of it is in its own simplicity and that anyone can make sense of it.
Ziemowit 12 | 3,582
2 Feb 2010 #5
I was only once in America. It was a luxurious Mariott hotel in Florida. Everything was splendid: airport at Orlando, motorways, hotel, swimming-pool, Cap Canaveral museum (but the Disneyland was a little boring and too many people there had hamburgers and coca-cola at a time), even the small tornado at a distance was fine. Since then I am of an opinion that everything in America is fantastic, even tornados (seen from a distance) are fantastic!
OP FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,884
2 Feb 2010 #6
Delphianedomine wrote:

I still can't make my mind up about it. I've studied it, I've studied it in context, I've looked at it ten million ways and I still can't decide if it's wonderful or too vague to be of use. In some respects, you can clearly see that it was a compromise - but the beauty of it is in its own simplicity and that anyone can make sense of it.

like i said Delphianedomine, if you can't meet the 3 criteria I listed in my OP, don't post here.

And no Ziemowit, you don't get a free pass just because you think that "everything in America is fantastic."

I don't want to have to play police here, but I made a very simple request with this thread. Please abide by it.

convex....great post.

I dislike how America is anti-small business by passing burdensome regulation in the name of consumer protection which only benefits large companies

i'm hoping this is heading for change. Obama is working on changing tax brackets right now, giving anyone earning $250,000 or less a tax break. It's attempting to tax the rich more, but it's yet to be seen if it will generate more small private business owners.

the whole source of financial problems in america lately, as far as I can see, is the lop-sided salaries within companies. there's nowhere in the world that has a bigger gap between Joe Blow the employee and the CEO of the company. The money is there, it's just going into the wrong hands. If the top 1% in America would take even a 10% cut in pay, unemployment would virtually disappear.
convex 20 | 3,978
2 Feb 2010 #7
i'm hoping this is heading for change. Obama is working on changing tax brackets right now, giving anyone earning $250,000 or less a tax break. It's attempting to tax the rich more, but it's yet to be seen if it will generate more small private business owners.

It's regulation that is killing small business in America. Take lead testing for toys for instance. It's expensive to test for lead, you have to buy a certified machine and pay fairly hefty upkeep costs, there is training, and auditing... A small producer of toys can't afford it. They're now out of business. It doesn't just cover toys, but any childrens products...clothes, strollers, playpens. You can't even legally sell it secondhand, which is why goodwill and the salvation army don't accept childrens items anymore. The large manufacturers can now blanket certify their products under a special program. This is legislation that was brought forward by Mattel, Graco (Rubbermaid), Hasbro...

It's even worse in farming and food production. The barrier for entry for someone that wants to produce something in America is huge.

the whole source of financial problems in america lately, as far as I can see, is the lop-sided salaries within companies. there's nowhere in the world that has a bigger gap between Joe Blow the employee and the CEO of the company. The money is there, it's just going into the wrong hands. If the top 1% in America would take even a 10% cut in pay, unemployment would virtually disappear.

That's simply not true. Take a look at Gini indexes for just about everywhere else on the planet. The US is actually pretty mild in comparison. The problem in America today is that we're broke. Americans can't consume so much crap that they can't afford. Americans need to start actually making stuff again.

It's really easy. If you borrow $100 from the Chinese to stimulate your economy, and you do that by buying $100 worth of Chinese goods, you now have no money and a debt of $100 plus interest. That's essentially what America has been doing for about 30 years now. There needs to be a big big healthy crash. Capitalism works, Corporatism doesn't.
OP FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,884
2 Feb 2010 #8
That's simply not true. Take a look at Gini indexes for just about everywhere else on the planet. The US is actually pretty mild in comparison.

THAT is simply not true.

Like you said, take a look at the numbers, but look at them how they should be looked at. Of course you will find countries higher than America....but should we even be considering countries in say Africa, where the entire country lives in mud huts with a small group of people holding all the money and living in a palace? South/Central America isn't much different. Most of the people in those countries work in a factory taking home $3 a day, with a few uber-rich guys at the top basically controlling the country and trafficking drugs through Mexico. Is it any mystery as to why say Bolivia is sitting at 59.2?

The real numbers you need to pay attention to are the industrialized countries.

according to wikipedia, The United States of America ranks third only to the PR of China and Hong Kong in Gini coefficients if you eliminate South/Central America and Africa, and we all know what life is like for hundreds of millions of Chinese.

Speaking of displacement/wastes of money, let us not forget how many BILLIONS of dollars are burned every year due to illegal immigration costs. In California alone, they estimate a YEARLY cost of 10 billion:

usgovinfo.about.com/od/immigrationnaturalizatio/a/caillegals.htm

i recently read an article putting America's yearly illegal immigration costs at 68 billion. that's more than Bill Gate's entire net worth.

Americans can't consume so much crap that they can't afford. Americans need to start actually making stuff again.

can't argue with that. spending habits and general way of life has to change but it doesn't change the fact that rich people earn way too much money and a lot of less fortunate people suffer from it in America.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,730
2 Feb 2010 #9
It's regulation that is killing small business in America.

Likewise in Europe in general. Look at how the UK is now drowning in endless regulations - I don't know anyone who would willingly invest in the UK these days, given the high cost of compliance.

How is the "health and safety" culture in America?
Ziemowit 12 | 3,582
2 Feb 2010 #10
And no Ziemowit, you don't get a free pass just because you think that "everything in America is fantastic."

OK, I'm not going to interfere with the thread any more, but please notice that although I think everything is great in America, I neither count hamburgers nor coca-cola among the best things Uncle Sam may offer.
OP FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,884
2 Feb 2010 #11
Delphiandomine wrote:

Likewise in Europe in general. Look at how the UK is now drowning in endless regulations - I don't know anyone who would willingly invest in the UK these days, given the high cost of compliance.

Please see post #6.

How is the "health and safety" culture in America?

surely better than your eyesight/reading comprehension.
convex 20 | 3,978
2 Feb 2010 #12
America ranks third only to the PR of China and Hong Kong in Gini coefficients if you eliminate South/Central America and Africa

Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia... all pretty decent places to live.

The Gini coefficient for the US hasn't really changed all that much recently:

* 1929: 45.0 (estimated)
* 1947: 37.6 (estimated)
* 1967: 39.7 (first year reported)
* 1968: 38.6 (lowest index reported)
* 1970: 39.4
* 1980: 40.3
* 1990: 42.8
* 2000: 46.2 [8]
* 2005: 46.9
* 2006: 47.0 (highest index reported)
* 2007: 46.3
* 2008: 46.6

Why should we punish people making more money? There are a number of people enriching themselves because of the government, but that's an issue that those in charge need to deal with. You can't just take from some and give it to others, redistribution of wealth just ends up causing inflation which screws people in the end. The biggest problem facing the working class is inflation. Current US fiscal policy is encouraging inflation, wasteful consumption, and discouraging investment.

Look at how the UK is now drowning in endless regulations

Right, and it's ok for large companies with huge turnovers, only a small percentage of turnover has to go to compliance. The large company will be getting handouts as well. For a medium enterprise, it's a show stopper.

Health and Safety is selectively applied in the US just like in the UK through OSHA. Even scarier than OSHA is the fear that an employer has of lawyers and being sued should something go wrong.
time means 5 | 1,310
2 Feb 2010 #13
I like the constitution, greatest document ever written

Given the easy access to firearms and the resulting high number of deaths from firearms incidents, do you really think the right to bear arms is a good idea and worthy of place on the "greatest document ever written"?
TheOther 5 | 3,831
2 Feb 2010 #14
have lived and worked in Poland for an extended period of time

Why do I need to have lived in Poland to be "eligible" to have an opinion on the USA? That doesn't make sense.
convex 20 | 3,978
2 Feb 2010 #15
Given the easy access to firearms and the resulting high number of deaths from firearms incidents, do you really think the right to bear arms is a good idea and worthy of place on the "greatest document ever written"?

Absolutely. Seeing what happened in Nazi Germany, after the Bolshevik revolution in the Russia, and the current increase in violent crime all over the world, I think that it may be one of the most important parts of the constitution.
time means 5 | 1,310
2 Feb 2010 #16
and the current increase in violent crime all over the world

Wouldn't you say that the rise has a lot to do with the easy access to firearms?
convex 20 | 3,978
2 Feb 2010 #17
Not in the UK, nor in Germany, Jamaica, Russia.......

In the Czech Republic however, violent crime has been dropping...

Edit:maybe the guns aren't the problem....
time means 5 | 1,310
2 Feb 2010 #18
Not in the UK

Murder and manslaughter rates in the UK 08/09 are at their lowest rate for 20 years, gun crime for the same period was down by 17% and violent crime down by 6%.

With regard to your edit that may be true but also the gun was invented as a tool to kill.
convex 20 | 3,978
2 Feb 2010 #19
Murder and manslaughter rates in the UK 08/09 are at their lowest rate for 20 years, gun crime for the same period was down by 17% and violent crime down by 6%.

The homeoffice doesn't seem to agree.

The murder rate in the Czech Republic is lower than in the UK as well.

With regard to your edit that may be true but also the gun was invented as a tool to kill.

So was the knife, the club..the stun bolt.
Tymoteusz 2 | 353
3 Feb 2010 #20
Wouldn't you say that the rise has a lot to do with the easy access to firearms?

No. Lack of civility and/or respect for others is the problem. IMO.

Starting a new thread in off topic to respect OP
scrappleton - | 831
3 Feb 2010 #21
do you really think the right to bear arms is a good idea and worthy of place on the "greatest document ever written"?

Yes.. and gun violence no matter how much your BBC would like to convince you otherwise is not that widespread in the US. There's a lot of things said about the US designed to make the average European feel snug in his bed at night. "At least I'm not in the US where all the bad guys live". Lol, Let me tell you I have never witnessed a robbery .. let alone an actual shooting. I've been to Detroit , Chicago (extensively), Miami, DC, LA.. and of course, New York. Still have never witnessed gun violence first hand. It's more or less relegated to the ghettos, drug dealers killing each other, the mafia turf wars , .. and of course Hollywood movie lots.

Would I like to see guns a little less easy to obtain, yes I would. Maybe a mandatory course on safety.. background checks to see if somebody has a mental illness.. sure I would. But the fact that you can defend your house, family or person against an attack is a simple basic right everyone should have. Many a shivering soon to be cadaver in the Soviet gulags probably wished he and his neighbors had a few pistols and rifles around at some juncture.
Torq 26 | 2,371
3 Feb 2010 #22
Do you speak English?

You have to speak English at a B2 level or higher to criticize USA?

What a brilliant idea, Fuzzywickets! Pure genius!

I propose to apply the same criteria to all the threads about Poland. If you haven't
lived in Poland for an extended period of time AND you don't speak POLISH at a B2
level (or higher) then we kindly ask you to refrain from making any comments about
our country :-) That should be a universal rule on this board and would put an end
to 99.9% of Poland-bashing here.

I congratulate you again on your excellent idea, FW.
OP FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,884
3 Feb 2010 #23
What I like about the USA:

convenience.

great road systems.

ethnic food.

cheap food.

the almost limitless choices of food.

the ocean.

opportunity in general and the accessibility of goods in general.

NYC.

amazing sport fishing.

MLB, NFL, NHL. there's always something to watch on TV.

all the other TV programs on at night, every night, that have you laughing the whole time. I love American comedy.

Pizza. Pizza deserves it's own line.

Coke/Pepsi products that actually taste like Coke/Pepsi products.

parking.

customer service.

someone else mentioned micro-brews.....I second that.

What I like about Poland:

life is slower, more deliberate and one could argue that it's more simplistic because of it's slow pace.

safety. by 10:00 o'clock, the city shuts down completely excluding the rynek and you can walk around your neighborhood feeling safe.

pork products. the pork in Poland is superior to the pork in America.

chicken standing alone i'd say is better in Poland as well, but I prefer American recipes.

families are close.

ok.....gotta say it.....polish women. sure, plenty of them are neurotic, but my fiance is amazing.

Why do I need to have lived in Poland to be "eligible" to have an opinion on the USA? That doesn't make sense.

Because if you don't meet the criteria in my OP, what I just wrote above would have been impossible. This is "PolishForums"......I'm not going to start a thread discussing just America. Go back and read my OP. The thread was inspired by previous threads about similar things, only my thread weeds out people passing judgment that have never lived/worked in country. You know....opinions worth listening to. Sorry pappy.

I propose to apply the same criteria to all the threads about Poland. If you haven't
lived in Poland for an extended period of time AND you don't speak POLISH at a B2
level (or higher) then we kindly ask you to refrain from making any comments about
our country :-) That should be a universal rule on this board and would put an end
to 99.9% of Poland-bashing here.

hell, i'm all for it. I meet all those criteria (to keep things honest, I'd say I'm an intermediate speaker but entirely communicative, my grammar far exceeds what I consider to be my small vocabulary, but I study non-stop....it's getting better and better every day) and because of this, I see Poland/America with different eyes than most.

hence, why I started this thread. real opinions from experienced people, not from some internet jockey.

feel free to make your own thread like you mentioned, just don't post here.
Torq 26 | 2,371
3 Feb 2010 #24
I'd say I'm an intermediate speaker but entirely communicative, my grammar far exceeds what I consider to be my small vocabulary, but I study non-stop....it's getting better and better every day

Fair play to you - not many foreigners living in Poland can say the same thing about themselves!

just don't post here

*sorry - that's my last post in this thread*
bbq beef
3 Feb 2010 #25
ive lived in both america and poland and i speak english above fce level.

according to the op, that makes my opinion both valuable and valid

both countries have higher perceptions of themselves than the rest of the world has for them

both countries find it hard to accept criticism

both countries have an over inflated sense of national pride

both countries tend to look at violence as a way of solving problems

both countries are equally good at winning wars, or not, as the case may be

american beer is largely not worth drinking

polish beer is worth drinking

american tv is at times entertaining

polish tv isnt

neither country can understand why there is so much negativity directed towards them and prefer to blame others rather than taking a better look at their faults
Ziemowit 12 | 3,582
3 Feb 2010 #26
bbq beef

According to what you've said on similarities between America and us, Poland should be soon applying to join as a 51st state of the union.

Considering the other side, however, you should admit that Polish people would certainly not be consuming such a plenty of coca-cola and hamburgers on a visit to a Disneyland. That is one of the major differences, I think.
OP FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,884
3 Feb 2010 #27
american beer is largely not worth drinking

the domestic stuff is generally crap, but the micro-brews.....ahhhh, the microbrews, and they're available in basically any liquor store for the same price as an import. the best beer I've ever had is from America. Fat Tire from Colorado, Anchor Steam from San Francisco, Brooklyn Brewery....the list goes on.

polish beer is worth drinking

not really. Lech, Zywiec, Tyskie, Warka, Zubr, Okocim, Piast....all sub-par beers, and all basically the same in character/taste. In Poland, I drink imports. I would like to try more of the hard-to-find Polish beers, maybe they're good, but as a whole, no, Polish beer isn't good and doesn't hold a candle next to the other "beer countries." Czech Rep., Slovakia, Belgium, Ireland, England, Netherlands, arguably Germany as well, all have better mass produced beer on the shelves.
frd 7 | 1,399
3 Feb 2010 #28
Lech, Zywiec, Tyskie, Warka

same taste? I'm not a huge beer fan myself but come on, you are either too young or haven't developed your taste yet. Come on, it's like comparaing table water with coca cola. You don't have to like them ( I don't like them personally, and prefer most Chech beers and Grolsch) but there's no way they are of the same character/taste..
delphiandomine 83 | 17,730
3 Feb 2010 #29
not really. Lech, Zywiec, Tyskie, Warka, Zubr, Okocim, Piast....all sub-par beers, and all basically the same in character/taste.

I'm guessing you can't tell the difference, because there is no way that they're similar in taste. None of them are particularly exceptional (though Lech Pils is a decent beer) - but none of them are truly awful either apart from Piast.

In Poland, I drink imports.

Ah, one of those types who pays twice the price for something is very similar in taste and character to a national brand. Carlsberg is suspiciously similar to a particular Polish brand...funny, that.

Polish beer isn't good and doesn't hold a candle next to the other "beer countries." Czech Rep., Slovakia, Belgium, Ireland, England, Netherlands, arguably Germany as well, all have better mass produced beer on the shelves.

Czech Republic - better
Slovakia - better
Belgium - Depnds
Ireland/England - you must be joking. If weak, tasteless water is your thing, then sure - but otherwise, Polish beer is vastly superior. There's a good reason why you see Brits drink Polish beer!

Netherlands - not a chance. Heineken is positioned as a premium product in Poland, when it's in reality an absolutely garbage product.
Germany - better.

It's no surprise that the countries known for their beer has superior beers, but Polish products are no worse than elsewhere. As for American beers? Laughable.

Incidentally, you really can't compare mass market products to microbrews, it's just not possible. If you compare the major brands of each country, then Polish beer is inferior to other countries known for strong beer, but beats the "coloured water" nations like the UK. Compare and contrast Tennents/McEwans to Lech/Tyskie for instance..
freebird 3 | 532
3 Feb 2010 #30
Well, I went through your posts in this thread guys and to be honest, most of it you could pin on almost any country around the world, especially majority of the (West) European countries. Basically "same all same all" bs.


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