August 20, 2008

CORRECTING OBAMA ON THE TOPIC OF AMERICAN SELFISHNESS: “Whatever the case is with his own selfishness, the evidence of an internationally superior American generosity is impressive, beginning with the numbers on our charitable giving. We give twice as much as the British per capita, and according to The American magazine, seven times as much as the Germans and 14 times as much as the Italians. Even in inflation-adjusted dollars, the amount given each year just keeps getting larger, and meanwhile, we do far more volunteer work than in other industrialized countries.”

Obama’s comments seem to echo the claims of U.N. official Jan Egeland that the U.S. response to the Indian Ocean tsunami was “stingy.” That charge was bogus — there was over a billion dollars in private tsunami relief from Americans — and it turned out that the U.N. wasted a lot of its own relief money on overhead. But that’s how it is with nanny-state approaches: They dampen private impulses toward unselfishness, even as officials line their pockets. Is this what Obama wants?

UPDATE: Speaking of selfishness, perhaps the millionaire Obama could do something for his long lost brother living in poverty in Kenya: “Mr Obama, 26, the youngest of the presidential candidate’s half-brothers, spoke for the first time about his life, which could not be more different than that of the Democratic contender. ‘No-one knows who I am,’ he told the magazine, before claiming: ‘I live here on less than a dollar a month.’ . . . He has only met his famous older brother twice – once when he was just five and the last time in 2006 when Senator Obama was on a tour of East Africa and visited Nairobi. . . . Of their second meeting, George Obama said: ‘It was very brief, we spoke for just a few minutes. It was like meeting a complete stranger.'”

ANOTHER UPDATE: More Obama/Kenya background. “Obama to School Named After Him – Drop Dead.”

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