A view from a non-Yank

While CT and CO are recovering from their culinary delights of yesterday, I’m asking myself why right-leaning US folk have such a dislike of Obama.

To many folk on this side of the Pond, he has shown a humanity sadly lacking among Presidents. He has tried to introduce affordable healthcare for all; he has refused to be sucked into the pro-Israel nonsense peddled throughout the Big Money clan; and he  refuses to accept the pathetic excuses for fire-arm ownership.

But I suspect there is a simpler reason: he is black, a proud family man of significant if not stellar education and he is sincere. Qualities hated by the red-neck tendency.

He will now be blamed for everything Trump disapproves of. And the gullible meeja will be delighted to give Trump credit where it is not deserved.

I’m sure I’m in for heavy incoming fire before the end of Boxing Day. But hey! That’s what Xmas is for, innit?


Author: janus

I'm back......and front - in sunny Sussex-by-the-sea

40 thoughts on “A view from a non-Yank”

  1. Well I’m a non-Yank – and I don’t like Obama. And it isn’t because of his colour – I, for one, am tired of being called ‘racist’ (which is what you are saying) simply because I don’t like someone who just happens not to be the same colour as I am.

    And, by the way, your dismissal of people who dislike him as being ‘rednecks’ is just as bad as all those people who claim that everyone who voted for Brexit was ill-educated (if not downright stupid), didn’t know what they voted for, etc, etc…

    So why don’t I like him? First and foremost because he made it clear from day one that he didn’t like the British – and it’s very hard to get up much enthusiasm for some who makes it obvious that they don’t like you…

    Second, he promised to close Guantanamo down – still there.

    Third, as I understand it, his much exalted health-care program is not that wonderful – but I can be persuaded to change my opinion on that.

    OK – one point in his favour (which will lose me brownie-points with Christina!) – he has tried to do something about the ‘pathetic excuses for fire-arm ownership’. But I fear that is a lost battle.

    His support of Merkel’s so called humanitarian actions in letting over a million so-called refugees into Europe really finished me..

    P.S. I’ll take you up on your comment ‘pro-Israel nonsense ‘ elsewhere and later.

    Merry Christmas – it is indeed what Christmas is for!!

  2. Oh dear, Janus, how badly you’ve been deceived. In the US most media outlets range from Indy to Grauniad with little pretence, lately none, of objectivity. Most moderators in debates are Democrats, most news readers are Democrats. Hence, a narrative not unlike Brexit vis-a-vis Republicans. That is, they’re ghastly racists because they don’t support whatever cause-du-jour is currently all the rage among social justice warriors.

    Affordable healthcare? The US healthcare system has long been a veritable dog’s breakfast. Incompetent administration, contradictory regulation and restricted competition do not for a good set of policies make. Did Obama or Congress attempt to do anything about that? No, not at all. They simply made it obligatory with huge fees for those who couldn’t afford $400 a month for “insurance”. Of course, this “insurance” would permit only two yearly visits to a small list of doctors with a fee of $50 per visit and a fee of $20 per prescription. Oh, and the first $5000 of medical expenses would not be paid. The bill was over 2000 pages long and the former Speaker said “if you want to know what’s in it, you’ll have to pass it”. It was utterly squalid and was done with no support from the opposition. It was offered, but Obama couldn’t accept that an opposition party was actually interested in regaining power and refused to co-operate for personal reasons.

    Obama made it clear that his loyalties are with Muslims. He wrote as much in his autobiographies. Of course he wouldn’t be sympathetic to Israel — even though Israel is critical to the West’s security and Arabs are brilliant propagandists. The delegimisation of Israel is one of the USSR’s last great accomplishments. Using Soviet tactics, a flawed but essentially modern and liberal country is painted as evil. However flawed Israel is, it’s a beacon of light compared to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan and Iran. Its human rights record is absolutely stellar for the region — unless, of course, you think that Sudan or Libya have a lot to be proud of…

    Gun ownership is a constitutional right — and violent revolt against an oppressive regime is a constitutional obligation. I’ve never been particularly keen on guns but they’re not going to disappear. The US has long had a problem that Europe has only recently had to face — a porous border with the third world which has been exploited by drug and gun-trafficking syndicates. If you want a military-grade weapon in Europe you can find one, it’s illegal to own but since when have criminals cared about the law? No, only the law-abiding and honest would be penalised. Illegal guns from Latin America and the Philippines would still circulate no matter how strictly gun laws are enforced. The US has third world levels of crime.

    Trump is a product of the Obama years. Opposition to Obama’s social and economic policies were deemed “racist”. Never mind that both have been nightmarish. Asking if primary schools were really a good place to engage in social engineering was deemed bigotry, questioning the logic of of placing impossible burdens on small-to-medium businesses was deemed racism. It was as if the Islington Mafia were given absolute control at Westminster and any challenge was met with howls of rage and spleen. No worries about the media — they’ve done everything to smear Trump. He made a point of revelling in their odium much to the joy of Middle ‘Murca.

  3. I am not deceived, I assure you. You don’t have to be rednecked or racist to dislike Obama, I agree. Nor do you have accept a dodgy healthcare system or an out of control endemic fire-arms crisis. I prefer one honest, humane muslim to twenty hypocritical ‘baptists’. Obviously most Yanks prefer not to challenge the status quo. I’d be ashamed.

  4. Yes and no. You bring up “hypocritical Baptists” but miss the reality that conservative states are the ones with an affordable cost of living and economic dynamism. States like North Carolina, Texas and South Dakota have humaner regulatory climates than stagnant, declining states like New York, Massachusetts and California. Trump was supported because he challenged the status quo, Janus. Obama promised to being change but he has proven to be nothing more than a Bliar or Merkel. He protects the establishment and is bought and sold, lock, stock and barrel by the same vested interests.

    I don’t understand Americans fully, nor do I really like the American lifestyle. However, I appreciate that the US has a very different dynamic. We’re from settled societies, established cultures. For us having a socialised medical system, a state pension, etc. are not challenges to our personal liberties. We also accept that our personal interests and desires might need to be tempered for the common good. It’s not that we’re “oppressed”, it’s merely a part of living in a civilised society with all the delights and discontents that entails. Our mentality arose from trying to find solutions to squalor and hopelessness. Some 120 years ago if one was born in the slums of Stockholm, Berlin, London or Paris there was little chance of ever truly escaping the world. Nor was there much chance that people living in Telemark, Dalarna, rural Bavaria, the Highlands or Sicily could significantly improve their lot. Hence the violent socialism of the continent. In the US it was far easier to simply move — to set a claim on land elsewhere. People didn’t have to learn to cope or make do with what they had. The US lacks any real culture and society. It’s a beastly, every man for himself place in which any tempering of personal whims is seen as a fundamental challenge to personal freedom. Despite this, people are steeped in a hyper-nationalism that is at best cringe-inducing.

    As a result of these dynamics, whenever a social democrat with even a modicum of ideological ambition rises in the US s/he is seen as refreshingly sensible by most in Europe. Lazy news readers simply ape whatever the “third way”, soft-left US press write. In the same vein, Marine Le Pen and Nigel Farage are seen as refreshingly sensible by many in the US because their rhetoric is familiar — normal.

  5. The American healthcare system is a multi billion dollar insurance based enterprise and anybody with half a brain would know that changing it to something more equitable would involve a major cultural shift and take a very long time.
    But Obama blinded, as all lefties are by idealism, went steaming ahead with no thought of what to do if it all went wrong.
    It’ll be interesting to see what Trump and the Republicans make of it all.

  6. Jazz: Obama is an Alinskyite. His ambition was hardly blind. Rather, it was to make such a mess of the US healthcare system as to leave the federal government the only institution large enough to prevent its collapse — creating a single-payer system in the mid-term.

  7. Janus: What part of the status quo did Obama change? I’m only asking for one thing. Obama has only two real “achievements” — “Obamacare” and the Iran nuclear deal, both of which will be torn up in short order. I’m hesitant to bang on too much about US politics. I have no horse in that race, so to speak.

  8. Yes yes! But pre-Obama was hardly paradise. Under Obama we learned that nobody can change the serious failings of the country. Under Trump it will get worse: more ‘defence’, more global control, less compassion – despite his appeal to the ‘little man’.

  9. That, Janus, was precisely my point. No one can change the serious failings of a country. Obama didn’t even try, despite his appeal to the “little man”. Life grew more difficult and expensive. US foreign policy, never especially brilliant, vacillated between drift and half-baked interventionism. The US Armed Forces were turned into a post-modernist social experiment. More global control? Obama hardly ceased meddling. Whatever his failures, Bush followed through with his threats. Obama meddled, caused problems and then ran away. As a result, the Middle East has grown even more unstable, Russia does as it pleases because the US gave them every opportunity to advance their interests and China bollocks the US at every chance. All the while Obama gloats and preens and prattles on about how historic he is. Less compassion? The US has descended into social and racial chaos with Obama goading it along. Race relations have gone back 50 years.

  10. I have to agree with most of the above criticism above. The root cause being that Obama appears to be a bit of a chicken.

    When the going gets tough he backs off. Obamacare was supposed to have a govt scheme to keep the private companies cheap and competitive. A basic plank of the whole thing. When the insurance companies lobbied hard to complain, he backed off, killed the govt scheme, leaving them to charge what they liked!
    Re Guantanamo, when the civil courts would not let him bring prisoners on shore for trial, he backed off and Guantanamo remained open.
    He refused to do anything about Syria at the beginning, when intervention may well have stopped it dead. No balls for that though.

    The list is pretty long, dithering inactivity, too little too late, utter timidity pretty well everywhere. ‘Yes we can’ was more like “No we daren’t!’

    My greatest objection to him was the initial oleaginous smarming round the muslim states to meet with firm rebuff. It very obviously disconcerted him to a great degree. If I remember correctly he then instantly went and smarmed round the frogs! He made it very obvious what he thought of the UK only to have to backpedal at leisure. No doubt a product of his Kenyan father’s anti colonial stance, so I reckon that must make Obama a serious racist! He really doesn’t like the British does he?

  11. CO: He didn’t have enough support for a government-funded option. There were too many red-state Democrats afraid of losing their seats. In the end, it was a terrible combinations of half-measures and chaos.

  12. So you Yanks can see in the new year, gripping your health plans (if you can afford one), gun cocked, and try to guess what Trump will do for you.

  13. Christopher, I had barely heard of Alinsky; now having read up about him I’m sure you’re right. Hillary Clinton is a committed Alinskyite ( as is much of the Democratic Party ) so I suppose we should be grateful to Donald for scotching her chances.
    It’s quite funny really, they never saw Trump coming.

  14. LW: Beautiful comment.

    Christopher, ditto jazz’s comment. Also never heard of Alinsky – and also just researched him.

  15. Janus: Bloody hell, mate. “You” Yanks? That’s fighting talk. As for healthcare costs, before Obamacare a man in his mid-20s could expect to pay $90 a month for health insurance. After Obamacare, three to four times as much. You’ll find that Huns are buying any weapons the government allows for self-defence. Women, especially, are arming themselves because of Merkel’s blessed cock-up. Ditto for Sweden, Austria, France, etc. Get off your blood high horse. If I had any desire to be Yank I’d be incapable of spelling correctly and would live in Sub-Canadian North America. I do neither. That I’m more familiar with Yanks and their motivations than you doesn’t mean that I am a Yank any more than you are a Dane.

    Jazz and Boadicea: In the 1970s the Democrats started to pursue urban radicals and took a hard turn to the left. It was a profound change for a party that had formerly relied on the votes of the largely rural South and working-class Upper Midwest. Alinsky was highly influential at that time and many Democrats who were young in those heady days were steeped in his writings and tactics. Obama was chief among them, but Hillary swam in the same pond.Her tone is slightly more moderate only because she is somewhat older and wasn’t brought up on it as if it was mother’s milk.

  16. Some comments from spousal unit.

    Regarding firearms:

    It is truly written that guns don’t kill people, people kill people. Guns merely make things easier for the killers. When I was empaneled on a Grand Jury some years ago, I quickly learned that, when emotions get the better of common sense, people will use anything that is to hand. There was, for example, one case of a man who had been admitted to hospital with a carving fork embedded in his head, where it had been placed by a clearly overwrought female in the heat of an argument. I myself own two fully functional WW II vintage weapons, with modern ammunition for each, but am not the sort to ever use them on anything but inanimate targets or, at worst, the Truly Deserving (by which I mean home invader types), which would trouble me not at all. What does trouble me is that gun ownership has become so politicized. At each report of a shooting incident, the limp-wristed lefties quake in their boots and squeal, “gun control!” Their dully (extra “l” intentional) elected representatives, eager to curry voter favor (even without papadums), obligingly crank out more legislation – as though any amount of legislation can ever stop crimes from being committed.

    I for one am unwilling to see the USA go the way of the UK, where honest law-abiding citizens are forbidden to own any weapon more formidable than a plastic picnic spoon. If, however, a not quite so law-abiding British citizen has the right contacts and the right price, such a law becomes as meaningless as it is ridiculous. Things were well summed up by a bumper sticker I saw while living in Texas (a very pro-gun state): “If guns are made illegal, then only criminals will have guns.” Best, perhaps, to avoid rancor on both sides by citing another bumper sticker, one that appeared shortly after George H. W. Bush (Bush the Elder) became President: “Guns don’t kill people, BROCCOLI kills people!”

    Regarding Obama and other politicians:

    Does anyone actually expect any politician anywhere to live up to anything he says during a campaign? Once fully immersed in the politics of office and fully briefed on the reasons some things were set up a certain way in the first place, it quickly becomes apparent that many things are far more easily said than done. Close Guantamo? Sure, but… Create a Government health insurance company? Great idea, only… Build a wall between the USA and Mexico? OK, except that…

    As a ‘Murrican, I deeply regret Obama’s initial stance towards the UK. I find it easiest to assume that such was, as my wife suggests, the product of leftover anticolonialism on his father’s side of the family. He’s now backtracked on that a little, but not enough to suit me.

    It does not, however, do me much more good to find the British media sniping at Trump every chance they get. What business is it of theirs? We, not they, are the ones who’ll have to live with him for at least the next four years. As for the rest of the world, well, he’s the kind of person who’s likely to be rude to anyone, and so all concerned in international politics would do well to simply mind their own manners while waiting to see what happens. Of the lot of them, I expect that Trump and Putin will get on quite well. They’re both overly macho types who aren’t averse to the odd bit of saber-rattling, just to see who flinches first. I don’t see either of them, or any other current world leader, as wanting to actually push the Big Red Button. (One possible exception: who knows how far the “Dear Leader” may delude himself into going?)

  17. There is a noticeable difference between the two places. In the UK political parties publish a manifesto before an election and are expected to implement it. Whereas in the USA it is all blether and no one expects much if any to actually happen.

    J, I do not know quite what has got up your nostril so far about the US of A but there is no need to be quite so off.about it. I’m sure we could all be offensive about anywhere if we tried, but we resist the temptation!

  18. Aw shucks, sorry, guys. No offence ir offense meant. Some of my best friends are gun-totin’, god-fearin Murcans. 😱

    May I respectfully point out however that a few honest opinions in world politics don’t hurt. Obama’s distaste for Brits was heartfelt – and why not? I prefer that to Trump’s projected ‘friendship’ with Putin.

  19. And based on fiction. Obama claimed that his grandfather was tortured because he was a combatant in the Mau Mau Rebellion. In reality he was the village drunk who was relieved from his position with the colonial civil service for gross incompetence and habitual drunkenness. There’s nothing honest, sincere or genuine about Obama. As for Trump, it’s more a desire to fight a great, common enemy than worry about the EU’s expansionist derangement. There’s growing concern that if Russia is pushed to economic ruin the worst of all options would have been realised — a destabilised Russia with his thousands of nuclear weapons and no strong government to protect them. That’s a high price to pay for Juncker’s ambitions.

  20. I also think it’s a bit precious to maintain that a mere Brit has no business commenting on Murica! Do we all have to abandon any global view now?

  21. The 2nd Amendment A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

    I think there is some merit in this if the arms are properly licensed.
    What worries me is that in the UK (never mind Europe) there is a huge influx of people who have little sympathy for us or our culture, and that’s putting it mildly.
    You can bet that a significant number of these folk have access to weapons and eventually they will start using them. In such circumstanced the ‘Murcans’ might be able to defend themselves, we’d just be sitting ducks.

  22. I have very much enjoyed reading all the comments on this post, but I’m surprised that no one has mentioned Obama’s (and wife’s) hatred of their own country. This is what has been most obvious to me during his tenure. I think he is intellectually unable to cope with many of the problems facing the US and the world and his ignorance has been demonstrated on several occasions. I didn’t think highly of him from the word go and realised that he would be elected purely because of the colour of his skin. (“Look at us! We’ve elected a black man as POTUS! Aren’t we clever!) One wonders whether it was the idiot Nobel committee awarding him the prize two minutes after his inauguration that left him thinking that all he needed to do for eight years was work on his golf handicap.

  23. The 2nd Amndmnt has been debated ad nauseam because of the fact it is not clear. Anybody with half a brain (c Jazz) realises that arming Brits for fear of bad immigrants is clearly mad.

    Sheona, not sure Obama failed more than his predecessors.

  24. I’m quite sure plenty of British have already armed themselves. Most thing in the realms of self defence are easily smuggled into the UK. Certainly all the criminals seem to have guns, been rather a lot of corpses collected according to the Daily Mail just recently.

  25. janus “…Brits for fear of bad immigrants is clearly mad…”

    Not as mad as making yourself defenceless.
    Anyway with luck we’ll make our own arrangements as Christina suggests.

  26. Janus: No one said that you shouldn’t comment on US politics. If that was the case, only CO would have half a right to state opinions by virtue of actually having the misfortune of living in Sub-Canadian North America.
    Jazz made a point. On the continent people are arming themselves as much as possible for self-defence. Thanks to Merkel, people who felt perfectly at ease taking their dogs for an evening walk in urban parks or past empty resorts that became “refugee housing” are too afraid. Crimes on property and persons have increased dramatically. Some Chinese business travellers said that 3-4 years ago they felt perfectly safe in Germany. Now, they no longer feel safe. Making condescending comments about the capability of Britons to defend themselves in the light of instability that is well beyond the means of the plod to contain misses the point entirely.

  27. Hello Mr Spousal Unit! Perhaps you should join us!

    I have no problems with your comment that it’s not guns that kill people, etc. Nor with the fact that the “Good Guys” don’t have guns and the “Bad Guys” can always get them. My feeling, rightly or wrongly, is that the more people are licensed to carry firearms the greater is the possibility that those weapons will fall into the wrong hands.

    Your guns sound just a tad more lethal than a pitchfork! But one helluva lot less lethal than the sort of firearm that is legal for Joe Blogg (or his American equivalent!) to own. If the Ozzie police stop someone carrying a sub-machine gun, that person cannot claim it is his right to do so – whereas in the US they can. Perhaps it is time for the US to look at the sort of firearm that the ordinary citizen has the ‘right’ to carry?

    Why does the world believe it has the right to criticise your choice of President? That’s very simple to answer. Because America has taken upon itself to be the “Leader of the Free World”. Thus, the US’s choice of President affects the whole of the Western World.

    For what it’s worth, I think Trump is a breath of fresh air from the US political dynasties who, like the ‘elite’ all around the world seem to think that they, and only they, have the right to power and treat ‘democracy’ as a dirty word and the electorate as ignoramuses. Just how ‘fresh’ Trump’s air will be is, of course, another question. So far, I think he is doing just fine.

  28. More from spousal unit

    Greetings, salutations and thanks for your kind acknowledgement of my existence. I have in fact considered joining but fear that such an act might lead to my wifeperson actually being right for once when she accuses me of “spending all day at that (expletive deleted) machine.” Brevity has, you see, never been one of my strong points.

    Responding to your comments in reverse order, I favored Trump for precisely the reason that he’s not part of the “system.” Boasts were made of Hillary Clinton’s long experience in government but, to me, that sort of experience never appeared a Good Thing. It’s interesting to note that most of Trump’s Cabinet positions seem (I haven’t actually kept count) to have been filled with people having no direct political experience. I seriously doubt that they’ll manage to enrich themselves at public expense any more than professional politicians have done. Whether they do any good and “make America great again” remains to be seen. I’ll be watching – as will, no doubt, be the rest of the world.

    I cannot disagree with your view that America has invited criticism of its elected officials by seeing itself as “Leader of the Free World.” Despite the fact that public temperament here has long leaned in favor of isolationism, we do seem to relish that sobriquet. It’s a pity that our basking in the perceived glory of such apparent “leadership” sometimes leads not only to such criticism but also to our unwarranted and, unfortunately, all too often misguided, counterproductive and abortive intervention in the affairs of other nations.

    Carrying, or even owning, a fully automatic weapon in the USA is in fact prohibited by Federal law, although I understand (but have never felt the need to explore) that a very special (i.e., very difficult to obtain) license for such can be issued to certain “qualified” individuals. Semiautomatic weapons, those that chamber rounds automatically but require a separate pull of the trigger to let off each shot, are a different matter. Unfortunately, the limp-wristed fearmongering spinmeisters among us came up with the bright idea of calling such weapons, “assault rifles.” It certainly does not hurt the case they try to make for banning all such weapons that most of them these days are designed to *look* menacing, all black in modern shapes that don’t resemble “traditional” rifles much at all. My own semiautomatic rifle, a WW II Soviet design with a traditional wood stock, looks downright tame by comparison. What’s next, “assault javelins” painted in flat black? Those who cannot resist the allure of going through several thousand dollars worth of ammunition in a single day need not own submachine guns themselves but can book a session at one of the select gun clubs licensed to have even .50 caliber machine guns available for public use (on the premises only and carefully monitored, naturally).

    It is worth noting that owning and carrying a concealable firearm are two – make that three – different things. In the State where I live, any person of legal age except for certain convicted criminals may own a gun. For any such person to carry a gun in public “openly” (e.g., wearing a Wild West-type gunbelt on the outside of his clothing) is also legal. Anyone wishing to carry a *concealed* firearm, however, must obtain a license to do so.

    Promulgating fear seems a popular activity nowadays. The government sees it as a way to (a) hold sway over the populace by promising them “security” and (b) convince the public that they are getting something for their tax money. The media are all too happy to aid and abet in this, even dubbing the routine weather segments of newscasts things like “Stormtracker 7” and “Severe Weather Center,” because viewers who are made to feel at risk are more likely to stay tuned and thus boost the ratings.

    In one of the better lines I’ve heard, a columnist (sorry, I forget who) once referred to government “security” as, “eyewash for the masses.” Certainly requiring me, a dignified elderly gentleman of mostly Scandinavian ancestry, to remove my shoes at the airport ranks as an exercise in absurdity. The effectiveness of this and larger-scale measures such as blocking the roads into Times Square and putting 3,000 (number subject to verification) additional police (coming from where?) on the streets of London for New Years Eve is, especially given that “intelligence” has not identified a single credible terrorist threat, far from proven. By the way, have the German authorities conjured up a good explanation of how that Berlin winter market guy was able to escape the country without being detained for so much as violation of traffic rules? Frankly, I place more reliance upon providing my own security.

    I myself don’t see any direct correlation between legal and illegal possession of firearms, except to the extent that some relatively few otherwise-legal gun owners may be sloppy about observing the law’s requirement that guns be stored *securely* when not in use. Legal gun ownership may, on the other hand, be beneficial to society, as noted in several USA towns which actually required residents to own guns and reported decreases in the crime rate when such laws came into effect.

  29. Hmm… SU is the airline code for Aeroflot. Anyway… The Berlin Attacker’s escape was all very simple. One can go to any train station in Germany and purchase train tickets at machines with cash. Berlin to Munich, Munich to Vienna or Zurich and then on to Milan. It is done entirely anonymously and these routes are so frequently served that within the day, before anyone even knew who did what, he could well have managed to be back in Italy.

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