Chicago Boyz

                 
 
 
What Are Chicago Boyz Readers Reading?
 

 
  •   Enter your email to be notified of new posts:
    Loading
  •   Problem? Question?
  •   Contact Authors:

  • CB Twitter Feed
  • Blog Posts (RSS 2.0)
  • Blog Posts (Atom 0.3)
  • Incoming Links
  • Recent Comments

    • Loading...
  • Authors

  • Notable Discussions

  • Recent Posts

  • Blogroll

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Who Cares?

    Posted by Shannon Love on August 20th, 2008 (All posts by )

    “I have seen two of my friends killed. I have scars from defending myself with my fists. I am good with my fists.”

    Guess you have to be when you’re Obama’s half-brother

    Meanwhile, Dick Cheney, Dark Lord of the Sith, gave 75% ($6,869,655US) of his 2006 income to charity

    This contrast has long existed in the Left/Right divide. Leftists have created a moral system for themselves in which compassion and caring begin and end with supporting certain political ideas. Otherwise, they can be as selfish as they wish. Leftists don’t actually have to personally sacrifice in the least in order to consider themselves good, caring people. Rightists on the other hand believe in personal sacrifice and individual action. (Research on giving patterns.) 

    In short, leftists pat themselves on the back for caring for an abstraction labeled “children”. Rightists pat themselves on the back for caring for Susan, Steve, Yoki and Abdul. 

    I find Obama’s treatment of his brother especially shocking. Imagine one day someone comes up to you and says, “Turns out when your father was in the Marine Corps he sowed a few wild oats and a couple of them sprouted. You have a bother/sister living in abject poverty on a dollar a day in the 3rd world!” Don’t you think it might bestir you to, I don’t know, send them a check for $50 every couple of years? Perhaps, if you were, I don’t know, a U.S. Senator, you might even look into working out a way for the guy to immigrate? 

    Wouldn’t you do something? How should we regard a millionaire and powerful politician who did nothing?

    I’m thinking we need a president who cares about a “person” as much as he cares for “people”. 

    [Update: I am really hopping this turns out to be a bogus story because otherwise I find it too disturbing for words. If someone hears more about this let me know.] 

     

    62 Responses to “Who Cares?”

    1. renminbi Says:

      Liberalism is all about feeling good about the generous thoughts that one has.

    2. fred lapides Says:

      What utter rot. Who did what for whom during the Depression, while the Right muttered about how the state needs to stay out of things?

      Where was the compassion of
      Bush during Katrina for jack and jim and jill?

      The Right is all compassion and good and the Left is all somehow bad and abstract etc–wow. Talk about facile categorization.

      Who brought about the G.I. Bill and who, recently, wanted to cut benefits etc for our vets?

      Now if you say the Right is for this and that individual then why do yhou make the same broad categories of types that you say the Lefty makes? You do what you accuse them of doing.

    3. Ginny Says:

      The sense that we owe something to our family acknowledges the powerful passions of the tribe, of blood. Obama appeals to those in an abstract way, but appears not to feel the real stirrings of that real passion. Sometimes we must painfully rise above this passion and acknowledge that another loyalty – one transcending our loyalty and love for our family member – requires our allegiance as well. The Unabomber’s brother is an example of this heart wrenching tension. But a man who doesn’t feel that pull – toward grandmother, toward brother – makes me wonder what else is missing from his core.

    4. Shannon Love Says:

      Fred Lapides,

      Thanks for proving my point. You think that advocating the correct political positions equates to actually taking care of people. You think an individual’s responsibilities end at the political.

      Leftist’s only care about people when they can gain more power by doing so. They select from all possible solutions only those that increase people’s dependency on them. If a policy proves harmful to the people they purport to help, they cling to it while people suffer rather than admit error.

      As individuals Leftist are more self-centered, more greedy, more materialistic and less concerned with the people in their lives overall. They outsource their concern to the state so that they won’t have to actually do anything personally.

      Wake up.

    5. Lexington Green Says:

      This blog is becoming The Lapides Group.

      It is like feeding rodents that got in through cracks in the wall.

      The Gods of Blogistan granted us the magic Delete Key for just such infestations.

    6. Dan from Madison Says:

      I agree with Lex wrt the sockpuppet Fred Lapides/Joseph Hill. Just delete his garbage like I do.

    7. Shannon Love Says:

      I kind of like Fred. Especially when he so elegantly proves my points for me which he often does.

      In any case my natural inclination is not to delete post unless they’re actively abusive or vere off topic. Fred’s been better about the latter since I slapped his wrist.

    8. Helen Says:

      Getting away from the enthralling subject of the troll/sock puppet, I can’t help wondering why the fuss about Obama’s half-brother. No-one can call me an Obama supporter (though as I am not American, that does not really matter) but exactly what call a member of a very extended family has on him? Did the two even know each other or of each other? I believe Obama supported his cousin in the Kenyan mess some months ago and that was very stupid as well as politically inastute but if the half-brother is really destitute (odd, given the family’s position) can he not appeal to the powerful cousin?

      That does not alter anything people might say about left v right on the subject of private charity but I do think we should be a little careful about this whole story.

    9. Jonathan Says:

      I agree that we should be cautious in interpreting this story. We don’t even know what the full story is.

    10. Shannon Love Says:

      Helen,

      No-one can call me an Obama supporter (though as I am not American, that does not really matter) but exactly what call a member of a very extended family has on him?

      I think it is less a matter of the claim the brother has on him but rather what Obama feels he owes his brother. Again, I cannot imagine a circumstance in which I would behave in the same way. Its bad enough looking out over the sea of world’s impoverished and feeling helpless to do anything but to be able to put a face and a relationship to such suffering would haunt me. I would have to do something about, especially if I had 4 million dollars laying around.

      Did the two even know each other or of each other?

      According to Obama, they’ve met twice.

      I believe Obama supported his cousin in the Kenyan mess some months ago…

      Which makes the brother’s plight all them more curious.

      …if the half-brother is really destitute (odd, given the family’s position) can he not appeal to the powerful cousin?

      Cousins are not brothers. Their maybe some family dynamic going on. In Kenya, as in most of the world’s cultures, family and political structure go hand-in-hand. The cousin may not feel able to help the brother without involving him in political situation. The cousin is a conservative muslim. If the brother is not a muslim or not sufficiently observant, the cousin may want nothing to do with him. The cousin may already support a large number of impoverished relatives (common in Africa) of closer degree and may not have the resources to take one more in.

      I do think we should be a little careful about this whole story.

      I do to, if only because I find it nearly impossible to believe. I imagine we will find out that the brother is an outcast for some reason e.g. crime,drugs etc or that he refused help out of pride. I come from a stiff neck family that would rather live in a cardboard box than take charity but even so, if I had even a distant relative in such straights I would find overt or covert means to help them.

      I really hope there is more to the story because I am unnerved at the lack of empathy it would take to walk away from such a situation.

    11. fred lapides Says:

      Is it unseemly to badmouth me simply becAuse I often do not agree with a position a majority at the site takes?

      If Obama has been less than “kind” to his half brother, can you tell me about the Bush boy that never gets mentioned ever?
      this one, for example:
      http://whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/911security.html?q=911security.html

    12. Methinks Says:

      Thanks for proving my point. You think that advocating the correct political positions equates to actually taking care of people. You think an individual’s responsibilities end at the political.

      Excellent point. My husband and I are both from third world countries (I consider Russia a third world country for anyone not in Putin’s inner circle) and we both provide financial support for extended family members we did not grow up with and with whom we share little blood. But, they’re family and we, like Obama, can afford it. The left always believes the responsibility lies with someone else. They believe their supposed humanitarian political rhetoric absolves them of personal responsibility.

    13. Boonton Says:

      Rightists pat themselves on the back for caring for Susan, Steve, Yoki and Abdul.

      So can McCain pat himself on the back for the way he treated his first wife? Can McCain’s wife pat herself on the back for the way she treats her half-sister, who written totally out of her father’s will has to also hear Cindy talk over and over again to the media about how she was an ‘only child’?

      The problem with you people is that you’re not really very conservative or even very respectful of the insights of libertarian economics. Perhaps the most important insight both have IMO is a recognitition of ignorance. The planned economy cannot work because the planner can never understand every he needs to no matter how smart he is, how dedicated or well intentioned.

      Yet you would pull out a crude sterotype and presume to see into not only families but people’s souls. Tell me, does Dick Cheney have no poor relativies? What business does he have sending millions to charity when there’s probably some nephew somewhere with some of his DNA who could use some help with college. Do you really want to play the game of asserting right wingers have better moral values? We could have a parade of the super family values centered right wing politicians who have dedicated themselves to supporting the families of divorce lawyers, brothel owners, and vice cops by keeping their breadwinners in business.

    14. Boonton Says:

      …we both provide financial support for extended family members we did not grow up with and with whom we share little blood. But, they’re family…

      The obligations of family extend to family. While I don’t know Methinks’s situation I suspect she knew the people she is providing support to as family even if they are not blood relatives and she didn’t grow up with them. Obama’s father left him as a child and years later after Obama finally tracked him down he discovered he was not much of a man:

      For all intents and purposes Obama grew up in an adoptive family and by all accounts he is intensly supportive of both his immediate family (wife and kids) as well as his extended actual family. His relationship with half-brothers from his absent father (and keep in mind, if his father was an abuser and drunk he very well might have created many half-siblings for Obama whom he will never even know) is distant.

      Now the article never says this half-brother asked Obama for help and was denied. It essentially says life in Kenya is tough and people are poor and this man meet Obama twice…once when he was five and once briefly in 2006 and had only short words with him. It would be nice if Obama had a close relationship with all his relatives but quite frankly that falls into the ‘none of my business’ zone and if you people had been raised properly you too would recognize that. For all you know Obama has given this guy lots of help but he wants more. Or perhaps he is a user who has been rejected by his Kenyan family for being a leach. Yes yes if some long lost half-brother showed up at my door I’d be delighted to meet him but I wouldn’t immediately whip out my check book.

      I’ll also add that the tone of this post is very disrespectful to adoptive families. Your mother is the woman who raised you. You father is the man who raised you. Should you find out that your DNA father was someone else, that does make that person special but that doesn’t alter the fact that the man who did actually raise you was your father. Yes perhaps you do have an obligation to help out your DNA-father if he is suffering but your obligation to him is NOT the obligation you have to your actual parents. Likewise your obligation to biological brothers/sisters is less than the obligation you have to actual brothers and sisters. I say this as someone whose wife is meeting her birth father for the first time later this evening but she nonetheless is very clear about what family is and isn’t.

    15. Shannon Love Says:

      Booton,

      So can McCain pat himself on the back for the way he treated his first wife?

      No, McCain says he handled it badly.

      Perhaps the most important insight both have IMO is a recognitition of ignorance.

      True, but I don’t see how that applies to the current circumstance. Obama knows his brother and met him twice according to his “Dreams of My Father”.

      Yet you would pull out a crude sterotype and presume to see into not only families but people’s souls.

      I was arguing based on sociology studies that measure the correlation between people’s political beliefs and their willingness to give time and money to others less fortunate. People who self-identify as conservatives give more than people who self-identify as leftist.

      Tell me, does Dick Cheney have no poor relatives?

      I can safely say he has no half-brothers living on a dollar a day in a slum in the 3rd world that he knows of.

      What business does he have sending millions to charity when there’s probably some nephew somewhere with some of his DNA who could use some help with college.

      I imagine that Cheney will tell him to work his way through. He’s old school Montana.

      Do you really want to play the game of asserting right wingers have better moral values?

      Depends on your values. Leftist certainly spend more time advocating taking money from Rightist and spending it to buy votes. Does that count? On the other hand, conservatives donate more time and money to charities, spend more time with their families, are less likely to abandon a crippled spouse, more likely to be foster parents, more likely to serve in the military, police, firefighting and EMS, more likely to serve on juries etc.

      Leftist have simply defined being good as having the correct political beliefs. They had defined good action as actively supporting the correct political beliefs. Otherwise, you can make as much money as you want, consume all you want and treat the people in your life like crap and still be considered a good person.

      Obama’s neglect of his brother (if it actually happened) to me would fit this pattern in a horrible way.

      Obama’s father left him as a child and years later after Obama finally tracked him down he discovered he was not much of a man

      And yet he title his autobiography about his father and spends most of the book talking about creating an identity based on his father and not his mother or grandparents.

      For all intents and purposes Obama grew up in an adoptive family…

      Obama grew up with his birth mother and his biological grandparents. He is no more adopted than I am by being raised by my grandparents.

      His relationship with half-brothers from his absent father (and keep in mind, if his father was an abuser and drunk he very well might have created many half-siblings for Obama whom he will never even know) is distant.

      No doubt, but again I ask the question: How would you have behaved in Obama’s shoes? If you were a millionaire and U.S. Senator would you have never sought your brother out or tried to help him? If it wasn’t Obama but just someone who’d made 4 million dollars cash in business, how would feel about that person if you found out he had so neglected his brother?

      I’ll also add that the tone of this post is very disrespectful to adoptive families.

      The trick of playing the victim is tiresome. Nothing in my post concerns adoptive families. I merely note the very real and scientifically proven assertion that people have intrinsic bonds to those they share genes with and will normally cooperate with them and assist them without inducement or reward. When people don’t do that we find it unsettling because only the most cold hearted can ignore the impulse of that genetic bond.

      Likewise your obligation to biological brothers/sisters is less than the obligation you have to actual brothers and sisters.

      Yes, if you are forced to prioritize people in some way. Obama is not. He could see to the basic needs of everyone in his extended family and still have enough to easily care for his brother. A $100 a year would have been a great boon to his brother and $1000 a year a fortune.

    16. Boonton Says:

      Recognition of ignorance:

      True, but I don’t see how that applies to the current circumstance. Obama knows his brother and met him twice according to his “Dreams of My Father”.

      It applies to YOU. You don’t know his brother or Obama. You have no business judging Obama in this area than you do judging anyone else. Do you go around to your neighbors telling them your opinion on their divorces, family fueds, which relatives they visit on the holidays, which they only call and those they don’t have contact with? If so you’re a jerk who should be a social outcast. If not you should apply your good sense in regular life to your political judgements.

      Depends on your values. Leftist certainly spend more time advocating taking money from Rightist and spending it to buy votes. Does that count?

      I notice you seem to be unable to see a distinction between a person’s ideology and a person’s morality. In other words, you seem to live in a world where the ‘personal is political’. This is rather ironic because this has often been something afflicts leftists.

      When the discussion is one’s morals towards one’s family the values are simply does one show other family members the respect and care that one should. That’s not a question of tax policies, gov’t welfare policies or even politics in general. I find it interesting that you seem to think having a libertarian political stance on, say, welfare or medicare taxes is somehow a substitute for…ohhhh….not hitting your wife with divorce papers when she is in the cancer ward…trying not to father children with other women….avoiding being arrested in airports soliciting sex etc.

      Leftist have simply defined being good as having the correct political beliefs. They had defined good action as actively supporting the correct political beliefs.

      The irony here is that it is blatently obvious that you suffer from the same problem. Look, it’s clear you don’t like obama’s politics. That’s fine but you seem to imagine that gives you superhuman power to judge the man’s soul based on the most flimsy of evidence. I, at least, can retain focus and say I don’t like Cheney’s politics but I have no idea whether treats his daughter properly or whether Reagan was a bastard towards his daughter or if she was a bitch towards her father. I can at least see that no human has a monopoly on truth and as a collary no one has a monopoly on error. A person can be great with family but have stupid politics or vice versa.

      I can also recognize how people who are good in one area can be bad in another. Einstein, from what I’ve read, was pretty emotionally cruel to his wife. I don’t need to make up spurious excuses for them. (I.e. McCain gets a pass because he says he “could have done things better”…sorry about that babe, I guess I could have done it better!)

      And yet he title his autobiography about his father and spends most of the book talking about creating an identity based on his father and not his mother or grandparents.

      And when he learns what his father was really like he recognizes how far from reality his identity was. Since you like to fancy yourself an armchair psychologist it shouldn’t be shocking to you to know that it is very common for children and young adults to identify with the parents that were not part of their upbringing. With adoptees it is imagining what their birth parents were like and with kids who had a parent who left when they were young it is often associating themselves with a fantasy version of that parent. Seeking out the parent and being either disappointed or at least underwhelmed at how reality is different from fantasy is a very common theme.

      Nevertheless, I fail to see how this morphs into support for charging Obama with neglecting his family.

      Obama grew up with his birth mother and his biological grandparents. He is no more adopted than I am by being raised by my grandparents.

      Which is why I said for all intents and purposes his family is the ones who raised him and that sometimes follows blood closeness and sometimes doesn’t. Technically the half-brother is closer blood than his grandmother but that was not the family that raised him. To put it another way, if his mother had a child with another man and that kid was raised as Obama’s brother then Obama would have a deeper obligation to him than he would to a half-brother he meet twice. Nonetheless, this all falls under the “none of your business” category for both of us. Family is private and you don’t judge family members unless you’re part of that family.

      The trick of playing the victim is tiresome. Nothing in my post concerns adoptive families. I merely note the very real and scientifically proven assertion that people have intrinsic bonds to those they share genes with and will normally cooperate with them and assist them without inducement or reward.

      I don’t dispute that people have intrinsic bonds with those they share genes. That, nonetheless, is why both adoptive and extended families (where the kids you’re taking care of have some but not all of your blood) are very important. They have to develop those bonds going against the headwind of biology. It is an insult to assert that blood should trump those bonds especially when those bonds have taken extra work to form. You asked what I would do in Obama’s shoes…..well I’d be more disturbed if Obama ditched the family that raised him to spend all his time and effort on the more distant family that didn’t raise him. There’s nothing wrong with seeking them out, learning what your background is and so on but blood doesn’t trump reality. Like many American’s Obama’s ties to his ‘old country’ are weak and his focus is properly on his family here.

      Do I think Obama should send this guy some money? Sure but if we are to judge Obama on only the facts in the article I see nothing wrong in his behavior. He meet this half-brother twice. The first time when he was five years old and seemed to have been doing fine. The second was a brief conversation when he was touring Africa in 2006. At no point is it indicated that the half-brother asked Obama for help and was rebuffed. There is nothing in evidence to indicate that despite blood closeness, these two have any family relationship.

      Does Obama have a moral duty to bring all his father’s relatives in Kenya up to Western standards of living whether or not they request it? I don’t think so. You forget why family aid works better than gov’t charity (or even private charity for that matter). Family members have relationships with each other. They can know, for example, when a young man needs some help getting his life together or if he is consuming money in some type of addiction and the best love is to cut him off. If you don’t have that relationship then the benefit isn’t there and no it doesn’t appear by just writing a check. Sorry, family does not work by tapping the bank whenever your DNA hits close to someone with money.

    17. Methinks Says:

      You don’t know his brother or Obama. You have no business judging Obama in this area than you do judging anyone else.

      By the same reasoning, Obama knows nothing about me and has no business judging whether I can afford to pay my current taxes – let along raising them. In fact, Obama’s it is absolutely fair to judge Obama’s character because Obama chose to run for office. If he didn’t want to be judged, he shouldn’t have run.

      I notice you seem to be unable to see a distinction between a person’s ideology and a person’s morality.

      Shannon is right. You leftists do prove her point for her every chance you get.

      Einstein, from what I’ve read, was pretty emotionally cruel to his wife.

      He isn’t running for office.

      And when he learns what his father was really like he recognizes how far from reality his identity was.

      How do you know? You said you never read his books.

      Nevertheless, I fail to see how this morphs into support for charging Obama with neglecting his family.

      It doesn’t. The fact that he lets his half brother live in abject poverty does.

      While I don’t know Methinks’s situation I suspect she knew the people she is providing support to as family even if they are not blood relatives and she didn’t grow up with them.

      I met them twice when I was already an adult after we were allowed to return to Russia. I did not know them in any other way before. The people I’m talking about were no better known to my husband and myself than Obama’s brother was to him. The thing about family living in third world countries rather than America is (as Shannono pointed out) that it takes pocket change to vastly improve their lives. Family living in America has access to much more opportunity and resources that family living in third world countries.

      It is an insult to assert that blood should trump those bonds especially when those bonds have taken extra work to form.

      Please point out where Shannon said blood should trump the bonds of an adopted family?

      At no point is it indicated that the half-brother asked Obama for help and was rebuffed.

      They will never ask for money. Feels too much like begging from the Lord of the Manor. You have to find a way to give it to them without hurting what’s left of their pride. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Obama never made any attempt to even find out how his brother is living. Helping his brother doesn’t give him any political leverage, so why bother?

      I don’t care how many convoluted excuses you come up with for Obamessiah. The fact remains that he knows he has siblings living in an impoverished country, AIDS ravished country and lack opportunity to improve their lot in life (which is typical in such countries). If he doesn’t take the tiny amount of effort required to help them, it makes his his crocodile tears about the struggles of the “poor” in this country even more repulsive.

    18. Boonton Says:

      Methinks
      By the same reasoning, Obama knows nothing about me and has no business judging whether I can afford to pay my current taxes –

      I’m unaware that Obama ever said he knows anything about you, your financial status, or whether you can or should pay more or less taxes.

      How do you know? You said you never read his books.

      True, I read excerpts and posted well them with ample sources last time we had this discussion. You never read them and posted fabricated quotes. I wouldn’t open this can of worms again if I were you.

      They will never ask for money. Feels too much like begging from the Lord of the Manor. You have to find a way to give it to them without hurting what’s left of their pride. ….

      Facts in evidence: One visit when the man was only five years old and appeared to be doing just fine. A brief visit in 2006 where they exchanged only a few words. A family relationship this is not. Does Obama have a duty to not only help relatives of his who he has a relationship with and come to him for aid or that he knows are in bad straits but also to seek out blood relatives, check up on their condition and act from there? That’s not so clear.

      More to the point, do you or Shannon or myself have the right to evaluate Obama’s family life with literally no information at all and the answer is no. The only reason Obama is subjected to this scrutiny is because you ideologically do not like him.

    19. Methinks Says:

      I’m unaware that Obama ever said he knows anything about you, your financial status, or whether you can or should pay more or less taxes.

      Why am I not surprised you missed the point?

      You never read them and posted fabricated quotes. I wouldn’t open this can of worms again if I were you.

      Believe what you want. I’ll open any can of worms I want without first asking for permission from a delusional little would-be tyrant such as yourself.

      Does Obama have a duty to not only help relatives of his who he has a relationship with and come to him for aid or that he knows are in bad straits but also to seek out blood relatives, check up on their condition and act from there? That’s not so clear.

      Nothing is ever clear to you, Boonton. So, this is no surprise. To me it is perfectly clear.

      More to the point, do you or Shannon or myself have the right to evaluate Obama’s family life with literally no information at all and the answer is no.

      Once again, the answer is “yes” because he’s running for office and the question of his character is very much an issue. I don’t know why you can’t understand that for some of us, character matters.

      The only reason Obama is subjected to this scrutiny is because you ideologically do not like him.

      I’ll thank you not to dictate to me why I do or don’t subject your messiah to scrutiny. Awfully pretentious of you to know what I’ve read and what I think, don’t you think? No. Of course you don’t.

      I suppose the Democrats had no right to scrutinize Jack Ryan’s life to clear the way for the Obamessiah in Illinois either then, right? Now, go ahead and give me some 10,000 word convoluted explanation why that was totally different.

    20. Shannon Love Says:

      Booton,

      You have no business judging Obama in this area than you do judging anyone else.

      I often judge people on matters of character, especially when I intend to hire them for positions for which good character leads to good decisions and vice versa. Obama is applying for a job in which character is almost everything. At some point as president Obama, will have to choose between what is good for Obama and what is good for the country. I want to know which he will choose..

      I think that people who care for the people in their immediate relationships will be more likely to make sacrifices for the greater good while holding political office than those who do not.

    21. The Two Says:

      Shannon contends conservatives have a superior worldview, because, unlike liberals, they do not consider their views as evidence of their superiority.

      Classic.

    22. The Two Says:

      And the “research” Shannon cites that purports to show conservatives give more than liberals. Sorry. Doesn’t pan out. The author, Arthur C. Brooks distorts the facts by focusing on “religious conservatives” and including the donations they make to their church as “charity.”

      The conservative media, of course, ate his book whole and licked the spoon, without actually reading it or giving it much scrutiny.

      Brooks himself admits that religiousity is the key: “When otherwise liberal people possess these traits, they give, too — the effect of religion is particularly striking. Religious liberals give nearly as much as religious conservatives do, and secular conservatives actually surpass secular liberals in stinginess.”

    23. Methinks Says:

      Two,

      First of all, giving the a church is charity and churches run a lot of charity programs.

      Second, assuming the story of the brother is true, nothing you said makes Obama look any better.

    24. Boonton Says:

      Why am I not surprised you missed the point?

      This is usually the point where my worse side wants to write something like “the point is you’re an idiot”….but let me try something a bit better.

      The point is you cannot tell the difference between the personal and the political. YOu seem unable to tell the difference between telling someone they are wrong about an issue of public policy (what tax rates should be) and telling them they are wrong in their private family life. You seem to think my telling you Obama’s relationship with a very distant relative is none of your business is just like me telling you that you can’t disagree with Obama’s tax policy. The fact that these two very different things seem fused together for you is very disturbing.

      Once again, the answer is “yes” because he’s running for office and the question of his character is very much an issue.

      Whenever people like you use the word character it really means everything but character. Again you have no real information about this relative or Obama’s relationship to him.

      I suppose the Democrats had no right to scrutinize Jack Ryan’s life to clear the way for the Obamessiah in Illinois either then, right?

      I have no idea who Jack Ryan is (aside from the Tom Clancy character) or what happened in Illinois politics. If you want to write up a post arguing that Jack was subjected to an injustice then go ahead and I promise I will either ignore it or do my best to judge it on its merits. I’m rather unimpressed that a Ms. Character here would in the same post essentially use the ‘two wrongs make a right’ argument. Very nice.

      Shannon
      I think that people who care for the people in their immediate relationships will be more likely to make sacrifices for the greater good while holding political office than those who do not.

      OK, fine. A perfectly fine hypothesis that we can test…only problem(s):

      1. This guy is not in an immediate relationship with Obama but a distant one. Unless you’re going to argue blood trumps all in which case adoptive families do have a real bone to pick with you.

      2. You’re using a single data point for comparision.

      3. You’re not even doing an apples to apples comparision. Making a huge donation to an impersonal charity when you’re very old & happen to fall into a huge amount of money can be cause by all sorts of motivations. An apples to apples comparision would be to ask how does Cheney treat his family compared to Obama. This, though, would require being able to know something about the intimate dynamics of his family life as opposed to the public face of his family. Since that too is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS you do not have access to the data required to build your case.

    25. Shannon Love Says:

      The Two,

      If you’ll note, I am careful to use the term Leftist, instead of liberal. There are many social conservatives who vote democrat e.g. Reagan democrats but they are not part of the urban pseudo-intellectual culture that infected the Democratic party in the 1960’s and which eventually spawned Obama.

      The research from multiple sources is clear: The closer a person cleaves to traditional morays the more likely they are to give their money and time to others.

    26. Shannon Love Says:

      Okay, that last sentence should have read :

      The closer a person cleaves to traditional morals the more likely they are to give their money and time to others.

      People who cling to traditional morays tend to get stabbed rather painfully. My internal spell checked does such strange things some times.

    27. Lexington Green Says:

      A traditional moray.

      (Sorry, Shannon, I could not help myself.)

    28. Boonton Says:

      Several odd points about the article:

      1. It says the kid “now hopes to try to sort his life out by starting a course at a local technical college”… This kind of implies he isn’t quite starving to death but has options. Yes no doubt living in Kenya is not as nice as living in the US but isn’t exactly in horrible straights.

      2. “Sort his life out” is ofen a phrase used when someone has problems or issues that are of their own making to some degree. Is it possible that he has problems that cannot simply be solved by tapping the rich relative for a few bucks? Is this the reason Obama’s other relatives have not brought this guys plight to his attention?

      3. As a follow up, it says he is “no longer in contact with his mother”. Why? More importantly if this kid is in trouble wouldn’t his biological mother who lives in Kenya be the first person running to him and putting out the call for aid?

      4. George is the youngest of Obama’s half-brothers. Like his mother, where are his older brothers and if the issue is just that he needs a few bucks why haven’t they reached out to the US on his behalf?

      5. George makes a point of telling no one he is related to Obama and claims he lives on a dollar a day. Did it occur to no one that it would be very foolish to do otherwise? Somehow I suspect Kenya is not the type of place where you want all your neighbors thinking you are rich or you have a rich, famous relative who could pay big bucks to help you out.

      This nicely illustrate the folly of trying to play family counselor from gossip. The people with the best chances of helping the man are the ones closest to him and those would be his Kenyan relatives. The rich but distant relative is too far removed from the situation to be helpful at this point. If the kid’s problem is that he is running with criminals, or drugs or some other vice (notice he brags about how good he is with his fists) a rich but removed relative wiring over $50 each month can easily make the problem worse. (and what kid with problems wouldn’t love to find a rich relative who would send a small fortune each month but remain too far away to check up on him). Even if this isn’t the case just sending money with no insight can still be destructive.

      The principle of subsidary would cleary say that the first line of aid for this person should be the actual relatives he is close too…namely the ones in Kenya. If they determine that the problem is simply money that they don’t have they can send out the alarm to the relatives in America. The point is Obama or any other distant relative will then be assured that the problem is real, that some money is the solution and that it isn’t just a scam or a ruse to feed some problem.

    29. Boonton Says:

      Reagan democrats but they are not part of the urban pseudo-intellectual culture that infected the Democratic party in the 1960’s and which eventually spawned Obama.

      Yawn, for some people whether they are on the left or right it will always be 1968 instead of 2008.

    30. Jonathan Says:

      A traditional moray.

      Bright green is traditional?

      At least it doesn’t have earrings.

    31. Shannon Love Says:

      Boonton,

      Yawn, for some people whether they are on the left or right it will always be 1968 instead of 2008.

      You need to study the history of ideas and how they evolve overtime.

      Beginning in the 1920’s, American radicals began to import socialist ideas from Europe. Up until that time, European political thought had little impact on American thought. These gained considerable force during the great depression. In the late 40’s, traditional democrats drove these radicals from the party and unions.

      Most of the radicals went into academia and devoted their energies into educating a new generation of radicals. This new generation came to the fore in 1968 and spilt the democratic party into two wings, the social conservative, patriotic and redistributive versus the anti-traditionalist, socialistic, elitist intellectuals. The latter rejected the American experience and instead looked to Europe as the archetype for political thought.

      People who try to defend the anti-traditionalist democrats by pointing out they belong to the same party as traditionalist such as Truman make a grievous error.

    32. Methinks Says:

      “the point is you’re an idiot”

      That’s a great way to describe yourself. Let me spell it out language you may (or may not) understand. Obama presumes to decide that people who are “rich” by his arbitrary definition owe a larger portion of the product of their labour to those with whom they have no connection at all. He presumes that it is government’s role to decide needs and ability and set the tax rates accordingly. From each according to his ability to each according to his need. His entire tax proposal is based on this. Yet, when it comes to his own life, assuming the story is true, he won’t lift a finger. Now, I’m not surprised that a true believer and blind devotee such as yourself sees no problem with this (hence “blind” devotee), but I do. As you are disturbed by logic, I am disturbed by your blindness.

      Whenever people like you use the word character it really means everything but character.

      OOOOh! “People like you”. Unworthy people like you, unlike worthy people like me. In your world you are worthy to judge others but those you deem unworthy are not allowed an opinion. Keep showing the true colours of the left, Boonton. It grows more interesting with each post.

      I have no idea who Jack Ryan is (aside from the Tom Clancy character) or what happened in Illinois politics.

      Wow. An Obama expert who is expert on the books he never read is suddenly completely ignorant of what happened in Obama’s short political career? Go look it up, true believer. Then, give me your 10,000 word essay on why it’s A-Okay to judge the character of Republicans on private family matters but it’s not okay to judge a Democrat’s character based on private family matters. Somehow, I don’t think you’ll come up with “two wrongs don’t make a right”. You’ll find “key” differences that would make it A-Okay to drag Ryan through the mud but Obama and “I did not have sex with that woman” Clinton are above reproach.

      Your blind devotion is hilarious.

    33. Boonton Says:

      In essence you’re saying new ideas stopped being generated around 1968. What a magical time that must have been where all your heros and villians were caste in stone.

      In reality ideas are dynamic. The Democrats of 2008 are not the Democrats of 1968 anymore than the Republicans of 68 are also the 08 ones. If a Truman era Democrat came to center stage you’d probably call him a socialist and with good reason (nationalize the steel mills anyone? Ever read what the New Deal did in its original form or tried to do?).

      I’m not saying history doesn’t matter. Of course 1968 shapes 2008 but don’t get caught up in thinking your youth (or imaginary youth) is the center of all history. People had brains working in 78, 88 and even 98 and those ideas bubble through intellectual and academic culture with no less energy than the blessed era of the hippies.

    34. Boonton Says:

      Methinks

      Obama presumes to decide that people who are “rich” by his arbitrary definition owe a larger portion of the product of their labour to those with whom they have no connection at all. He presumes that it is government’s role to decide needs and ability and set the tax rates accordingly.

      Translation: Obama has a position on what income tax rates should be.

      McCain likewise has a position. Now you can go the Ayn Rand/wacko libertarian route and cry all taxation is theft at the point of a gun and anyone running on anything other than total abolition of nearly all taxes should be raked over the coals, have all his privacy voided and be made to wear a hair shirt the rest of his days. You, though, do not seem to hold such a position otherwise you’d exhibit nearly equal disgust with McCain who supports more or less the exact same system as Obama except with some lower rates here and there.

      That aside, we currently have an income tax and since we are a democracy we vote on candidates who have positions on what the tax rates should be. Obama’s positions on that are more than fair game for scutiny, criticism and everything else. I fail to see how you go from there to your strange ability to peer into Obama’s family life by snippets of gossip from the news media.

      Unworthy people like you, unlike worthy people like me. In your world you are worthy to judge others but those you deem unworthy are not allowed an opinion.

      Actually you’re not an unworthy person and I don’t think I’m any more or less worthy than you. As I said I think we are all flawed and ignorant to some degree therefore no one holds a monopoly on either truth or error. Therefore I fully accept I’m probably wrong on a great many things, of course I don’t know which things I’m wrong on because if I did then I could change just those things and flaunt perfect knowledge to everyone.

      I think the key difference between us is simply truth. You don’t really care about it. This was demonstrated when you pushed fabricated quotes on the previous thread and in other areas like your insistence on reading into things people write that just aren’t there. (Such as your assertion I declared you ‘unworthy’ of having an opinion or your constant references to Obama as ‘my messiah’).

      An Obama expert who is expert on the books he never read is suddenly completely ignorant of what happened in Obama’s short political career?

      See here is an example. How do you know I haven’t read his books? Because I was straight up and honest about that. Did I say I was an Obama expert? No I never did. In fact on the previous thread I said I was disappointed because I thought critics of his character from Chicago would be presenting information I didn’t hear before.

      Did you read his books? Hard to say now because you don’t say. You imply you’ve read them because you keep bringing the point up as an attack on me, you assert that you know what he was saying in his books yet oddly when you cited quotes you presented them the exact same quotes that have been circulating in the Internet’s spam basement for months, in the exact same order and with the exact same mix of fabrications, alterations and accurate quotes. A pretty amazing thing to happen if someone was independently reading a book and decided to present a list of quotes to illustrate their argument.

      When I put forth quotes that seem to contradict your out-of-context interpretations your response isn’t “No now you’re reading it out of context…get the book you’ll see on the next page he says X which puts Y in a totally different light”. You’re response is instead to divert attention by harping on whether or not I read the book. Notice you still haven’t bothered to say if you’ve even read it! What’s that old laywers saying….when the facts are against you argue the law, when the law’s against you argue the facts and if both are agaisnt you attack the preson?

      Well what do you do? You say Obama should have said X. I cite a speech where he did say X. Your respond the transcript came from the Huffingtonpost and you don’t buy their lies. Note your shape shifting. You don’t claim the transcript was false. You don’t present a correct transcript from a better site proving X was not said. You attack the source because the facts turned against you.

      Then, give me your 10,000 word essay on why it’s A-Okay to judge the character of Republicans on private family matters but it’s not okay to judge a Democrat’s character based on private family matters.

      I would suggest the test is relatively simple. It’s ok to use a matter to judge character if the public facts are sufficient to make a judgement. There are very few justifications for some acts. Carrying on an extra-marital affair, beating your wife, fathering a kid out of wedlock, getting arrested for soliciting sex in an airport bathroom are all acts that are either public or bordering on public. Failure to call your mom on her birthday is pretty much private and it is unlikely you will have all the facts to make a judgement unless you’re so close to the situation that you’re actually a member of the family.

      This idea isn’t all that amazing or radical. You simply judge what you have sufficient facts to judge and decline to judge what you lack in sufficient facts. This would apply to public policy too….imagine some obscure issue like whaling rights in the north pacific…if neither Obama or McCain have any record of public statements or acts regarding that you can’t judge one to be right or wrong or better or worse.

      You’ll find “key” differences that would make it A-Okay to drag Ryan through the mud but Obama and “I did not have sex with that woman” Clinton are above reproach.

      Never said either was above reproach. Clinton was reproached probably more than any other politician for his extramarital affairs. Even if there’s enough facts public to make a judgement the judgement shouldn’t always be fatal to one’s career. As you seem to agree since McCain seems to have personal issues that are pretty much indefensible in his family life.

    35. Shannon Love Says:

      Boonton,

      In essence you’re saying new ideas stopped being generated around 1968.

      For the far left (defined as the 20% most left) that is pretty much true. They have not advocated an idea in the last 30+ years that wasn’t already on the table in 1975. Obama falls into this camp, especially on energy policy (windfall profits tax).

      The far Left pines for the days of mid-20 century when deeply hierarchal, elitist managed organization work well and were widely adopted. In those days, intellectuals like Obama held great power and sway. Today, the optimal organization is egalitarian, with little to nohierarchy and is managed by goal setting instead of directives. In modern organization, intellectuals (and elites of all kinds) have relatively little influence.

      Obama and his cohorts select solutions to problem based on the degree to which the solution puts them at the center of things. He’s as out of step with the modern world as a medieval aristocrat in a factory.

    36. Shannon Love Says:

      Boonton,

      I would point out that you’ve accussed us of making sweeping generalizations based on little evidence when all of us have taken pains to point out that we find the story very troubling if true.

    37. Shannon Love Says:

      Booton,

      Whenever people like you use the word character it really means everything but character.

      I find that comment interesting. Could you please expand on that idea some.

    38. Boonton Says:

      For the far left (defined as the 20% most left) that is pretty much true. They have not advocated an idea in the last 30+ years that wasn’t already on the table in 1975. Obama falls into this camp, especially on energy policy (windfall profits tax).

      You’re telling me the radical left of ’68 was about a windfall profits tax. Wow….a first rate analysis of late 20th Century intellectual history.

      I would point out that you’ve accussed us of making sweeping generalizations based on little evidence when all of us have taken pains to point out that we find the story very troubling if true.

      For the sake of the argument I’m assuming the article is perfectly accurate (keep in mind the article states George says he lives on $1 a day…it doesn’t say the reporter verified that but let’s even assume that is accurate). From that your argument still doesn’t work for the 3 reasons I cited at the end of post 25.

      I find that comment interesting. Could you please expand on that idea some.

      Look back to your statement in #20:

      I think that people who care for the people in their immediate relationships will be more likely to make sacrifices for the greater good while holding political office than those who do not.

      As far as I know, (and keep in mind I do not hold myself out to be an expert on Obama), his immediate relationship is his wife and kids. By all accounts that I’ve read he has an excellent relationship with both. No evidence that he has ever been anything other than a mature and responsible family man in that department. By all accounts McCain has not been so good in this department. Yes, yes, “I could have handled things better” does, I suppose, get some credit for an honest admission of humility but if this is how you’re going to make your test then the objective response is “yes you could have done better but you didn’t!”

      Assuming the accuracy of the article; Obama has the following duties….

      1. Upon learning his father left him in infancy & by last reports lived in a 3rd world country-has a moral duty to seek him out and track down all relatives within blood closeness of himself.

      2. Upon tracking down said relatives, must keep tabs on them and leap into action upon learning of any difficulty or problems they encounter in life.

      This is the only reading of your post that make any sense. Per the article, Obama had two points of contact with his half-brother. Once when he was just 5 and appeared to be doing great. Again two years ago where they exchanged few words (sounds like “hows things” “good, you?” “good too” etc.).

      Now all of us have relatives with whom we’ve had a similar level of contact. Perhaps these ‘low contact’ relatives are more distant, in terms of blood, than half-sibling but face facts…if these relatives fell upon hard times we probably wouldn’t hear about it for quite a while. Upon what do you base this obligation for Obama not only to aid his distant family as needed but also to seek them out and find out when, where and how aid is needed rather than allowing the extended family to come to him? The only ethic I see that squares this is “blood trumps all”….which as I said is good cause for adoptive families to take offense.

      If I were to imagine have an extended family in a 3rd world country I would be cautious about sending money…especially to members who I was not in touch with. There’s a host of good reasons for this that have nothing to do with selfishness or your sterotypical image of a leftist imagining, what? that foreign aid will make Kenya a utopia once Obama is elected?

      But I don’t really think you have any deeply felt principle here. I don’t think this is an honest effort by you to evaluate Obama as a family man or human…..I feel it’s more of a gotcha attempt. How many levels of distant relation must we go before we can find someone Obama failed to assist then we yell gotcha! I do appreciate, though, that our discussion seems to have a more honest back and forth than it does with methinks.

    39. Boonton Says:

      The far Left pines for the days of mid-20 century when deeply hierarchal, elitist managed organization work well and were widely adopted. In those days, intellectuals like Obama held great power and sway. Today, the optimal organization is egalitarian, with little to nohierarchy and is managed by goal setting instead of directives. In modern organization, intellectuals (and elites of all kinds) have relatively little influence.

      So let’s expand on this. The radical leftists of 69 were fans of deeply hierarchal, elitist managed organizations? All those followers of the Grateful Dead were pining for a return of “Big Blue” IBM, 30 years of climbing the corporate ladder with a nice watch and retirement party at the end of it? The man in the grey flannel suit was a role model? Well there it is.

      I think your economic analysis of the 50’s versus the 00’s is pretty good but your intellectual analysis remains stuck in the mud. Someone 25 yrs old in 68 is 65 today, ending his career unless he is in good health and has a job that is not especially demanding physically. Someone who wasn’t even born in 68 is now past middle aged. A whole generation devoted to a period that its members didn’t even experience?

      I don’t think so. You’ve been suckered by the hippies into thinking 68 was the center of the universe. I did too for a while. The Wonder Years was a pretty good show and it’s easy to get into that mindset but even that show took place more in the 70’s than 60’s!

    40. Shannon Love Says:

      Booton,

      If you I read you correctly, you believe that I am playing gotcha with Obama because you simply cannot imagine that anyone would actually feel emotional connected to and responsible for a half-brother with which they only had minor contact with? Since I do not actually believe that I or anyone else would behave any differently in the circumstance that therefore I must be lying when I say that I am unnerved by the circumstance?

    41. Shannon Love Says:

      Booton,

      The radical leftists of 69 were fans of deeply hierarchal, elitist managed organizations?

      Yes, all the public policies they advocated depended on just such organizations both in the public and private sphere. Read John Kenneth Galbraith. At that time such organization represented mainstream thought. Everybody from 1930-1970 believed in centralization. Changing conditions in business forced the Right to abandon such ideas in the 70’s and early 80’s but Leftist trapped by psuedo-intellectual theories felt no pressure to do so.

      This is a subject on which one could write a book but to grasp its essential ask yourself this: What policies advocated by Obama are were NOT on the table in the 1970’s. What new ides has the Left in general come up with in the past 30 years? (fight the urge to compare the left and right and first just look at the Left in isolation).

    42. Methinks Says:

      you’d exhibit nearly equal disgust with McCain

      I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but this thread is about Obama, not McCain. I have a problem with the income tax system, full stop. I favour a consumption tax – which is beyond the scope of this thread. I favour McCain over Obama because Obama’s “soak the rich” tax scheme has been tried before in Europe and the United States and is a proven disaster. Having “a position on taxes” is not Obama’s problem. The specific position is.

      I think the key difference between us is simply truth. You don’t really care about it. This was demonstrated when you pushed fabricated quotes on the previous thread and in other areas like your insistence on reading into things people write that just aren’t there.

      Hmmm…let’s take a look at this. In the first paragraph, you present pseudo-intellectual admission to imperfections. But, in this second paragraph we get to the meat of what you really mean. Y start by declaring that you know the truth and I don’t. You are truthful and I am not. You know my “sort” intimately and so you know what have or have not read read and I am lying. Providing the page numbers you demanded does not prove anything except that I am lying. But you know this because you are the knower of all truths. If you disagree with my interpretation of passages in a book which you haven’t read (and which I couldn’t have because you didn’t, after all) then I’m “reading into things”. You don’t like my characterization of your elitist attitude, so I’m “reading into” things. These are not my opinions based on my observations, these are lies. It is the truth because you say so and you are the keeper of the truth.

      Did you read his books? Hard to say now because you don’t say.

      This is the last time I’m going to address your obsession with Obama’s book and my quoting it. You’re boring me. Yes, I read it (although, I never got through Audacity because I’d had enough of his crap). At the time I knew Zilch about him and thought he was an interesting candidate because he was half African and that’s all I knew. I’m actually not that partisan and I don’t always vote along party lines. I’ve recently moved and the book is now packed up. Much of his book is quoted all over the internet – including the basement known as “Snopes” (I checked it out after you posted the link and where you can verify the quotes I gave you). You don’t like my assessment of Obama and it just eats you up. You can wind yourself up about this all you want. Nobody is going to use my opinions of Obama to make their choice. The only one so enraged by my assessment of Obama is you. Speaking of truth, your whole characterization of our exchange about the book is a lie you’re making up so that you can play the victim. Typical of your – how would you say it? – Sort.

      I would suggest the test is relatively simple. It’s ok to use a matter to judge character if the public facts are sufficient to make a judgement.

      I’ll be the judge of what’s sufficient for me to judge and what isn’t, not you.

    43. Methinks Says:

      If I were to imagine have an extended family in a 3rd world country I would be cautious about sending money…especially to members who I was not in touch with.

      Well, you can only imagine. I’m that situation and I can’t imagine not sending them money. If the story is true, not sending his own brother (NOT a distant relative whom he has never met) a few bucks to ease his hardship in a third world country is unacceptable to me.

      Of course, I’m completely dishonest and untrustworthy because Boonton, the knower of all truths and beyond reproach has said this is so. Thus, it must be true.

    44. Boonton Says:

      If you I read you correctly, you believe that I am playing gotcha with Obama because you simply cannot imagine that anyone would actually feel emotional connected to and responsible for a half-brother with which they only had minor contact with?

      You’re reading me incorrectly then. I think your attack on Obama is ‘gotcha politics’ because it is not based on any objective test but based on post hoc reasoning.

      Of course I can imagine a person feeling emotionally connected to a half brother. I can also imagine a person not feeling so connected. As I pointed out, we all have relatives with whom we have deep connections and others we have less. Sometimes this tracks blood closeness and sometimes it doesn’t.

      So what? For Obama to have ‘passed’ the test you set out not only must he feel connected to a distant half-brother but he must have made a point of going out of his way to keep tabs on him and his well beign and act to avert any problems. This is a pretty convoluted ethical stance that seems to have been created out of thin air simply to ‘get’ Obama. This is also a stance that is connected to essentially nothing unless you come from the ‘blood above all’ school of thought…which, as I said, is something adoptive families would have a beef with you about.

      The actual objective test you presented was one Obama passed and McCain failed. You’re free to say that policy differences are much more important. But you don’t say that. You create a strange escape hatch for McCain (ohhhh he said he could have done better! see everythings ok)

      I think your thoughts on the 60’s vs today are interesting but I’d like to take a day or two to think about them over the weekend before I respond more….

      methinks
      I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but this thread is about Obama, not McCain. I have a problem with the income tax system, full stop. I favour a consumption tax – which is beyond the scope of this thread.

      Ahhh so now who are you to tell me that I’m consuming too much? Who are you to tell me that I can afford to cut back on consumption to pay your consumption tax? Please submit now all the names and addresses of your extended family so I can conduct an intense investigation into whether you’ve treated them properly over the years….I’m entitled to nothing less than this ‘character check’ of someone who wants to dip her hand into may wallet!

      But, in this second paragraph we get to the meat of what you really mean. Y start by declaring that you know the truth and I don’t. You are truthful and I am not.

      On the contrary, I didn’t declare I know the truth. In fact, I declared I’m probably wrong about many things and I don’t even know which things they are! I said the difference between us is not that I have some special lock on the truth, it’s that you seem to be rather indifferent to it. You seem to think truth comes second to ideology. It is the other way around.

      It’s nice that you finally bothered to tell us what you did and didn’t read among his books. Too bad you wasted all that time reading when the extent of the ‘research’ you presented was just cut and paste jobs from Internet spam. You are, of course, free to disagree with my assertion that you totally botched the meaning of the few valid passages you quoted. It is kind of odd that the best you can do to support this disagreement is esssentially name calling (ohhh snopes is ‘basement’ stuff). If you read the book and I did not one would normally guess you should have a great home team advantage on me.

      I’ll be the judge of what’s sufficient for me to judge and what isn’t, not you.

      I fail to see why you seem to feel whenever I express an opinion I’m directing some type of tyrannical order to you. Yes yes, you will judge what’s sufficient for you. Trying to untangle your nonsense online is more than enough for me, believe me running your life is the last thing I need. Trust me, I have plenty of other things to occupy my time.

      Well, you can only imagine. I’m that situation and I can’t imagine not sending them money.

      REally? Good for you. I’ve written quite a bit in this thread about family & the dyanamics of this situation. If you want to engage it feel free. If you don’t, feel free as well. Not only do I have little need to judge your opinion, it has proven to be of little value to my life.

    45. Shannon Love Says:

      Booton,

      I think your attack on Obama is ‘gotcha politics’ because it is not based on any objective test but based on post hoc reasoning.

      I’m not sure what “objective test” you have in mind. I can only infer Obama’s, or any other humans, internal mental states from his actions.

      As I pointed out, we all have relatives with whom we have deep connections and others we have less. Sometimes this tracks blood closeness and sometimes it doesn’t.

      But it is overwhelmingly likely to follow blood. People have a natural, genetically hardwired affinity for their genetic kin. People who ignore this connection are more likely to be individuals with little or no empathy for others.

      This is also a stance that is connected to essentially nothing unless you come from the ‘blood above all’ school of thought…which, as I said, is something adoptive families would have a beef with you about.

      Actually, adoptive families are weaker than biological families. They are more likely to fall apart and adoptive children are more likely to suffer abuse at the hands of their adoptive parents than their biological ones. You can look over the entire range of human behavior from murder to loaning money and in every instance people are far more likely to favor their genetic kin over anyone else. You can’t escape Darwin just by wishing it so.

      The idea that ad hoc or adoptive families are every bit as strong and loving a biological ones is, unfortunately, from the statistical perspective, a polite fantasy we’ve invented to make people in those circumstances feel better.

      The actual objective test you presented was one Obama passed and McCain failed. You’re free to say that policy differences are much more important.

      Not sure I follow. Any sociopath can stand up on a stage and espouse a particular policy if doing so advances the interest of the sociopath. Policy tells us nothing about whether the individual will sacrifice for the greater good.

      You create a strange escape hatch for McCain (ohhhh he said he could have done better! see everythings ok)

      Obama’s and McCains behaviors are in no way linked. It is quite possible both of them are either saints or heartless bastards. McCain’s mistreatment of his first wife does make me think less of him but that has no logical relationship to my assessment of Obama.

      You don’t think that I am being honest. I must confess I don’t think you are either. Based on the history of type of people who support Obama, I find it difficult to believe that you would not find the lack of support for an impoverished brother by a Republican indicative of a cold and selfish nature.

    46. Boonton Says:

      I’m not sure what “objective test” you have in mind. I can only infer Obama’s, or any other humans, internal mental states from his actions.

      Let me ask you and all onlookers a question and please try to answer as honestly as possible. Imagine the bizzaaro universe where everything is opposite. In that universe, McCain is the Democrat and Obama is the Republican. Likewise their policies are likewise swapped from our own universe.

      In that universe did you write up a post bemoaning the fact that Obama has all the right policies but fails your character test? Did you consider McCain ideal for taking care of his family?

      Somehow I suspect in that alternate universe we are reading a post by you zeroing in on McCain’s crappy treatment of his first wife, his current wife’s crappy treatment of her sister. In that post you’re telling us how typical this is of leftists and you’re contrasting that with Obama’s loyality to his wife and children, his frugal spending habits and telling us how that confirms the findings of various studies of right wingers.

      See by un-objective I’m trying to say your test is post-hoc. You begin with your conclusion (leftists don’t do family well) and you seek out evidence to confirm it. It’s the most common bias we all have, confirmation bias.

      Please try to think about it as honestly as you can. If Obama was the Republican with all the right policies would you be here today writing what you wrote or would you be all over McCain? I’m not saying I’m immune to this bias but I think I shield myself from it as well as possible with my ‘none of my business policy’. I suspect McCain was probably a jerk to his first wife, his wife is a jerk to her sister but that’s between them and not me.

    47. Boonton Says:

      Actually, adoptive families are weaker than biological families.

      But it is overwhelmingly likely to follow blood. People have a natural, genetically hardwired affinity for their genetic kin. People who ignore this connection are more likely to be individuals with little or no empathy for others.

      And here I don’t disagree with you. Back in 16 I acknowledged adoptive families have to fight the headwind of biology while non-adoptive ones enjoy biology as a tailwind. However, at the end of the day a wind is all it is. Obama was not raised with his half-brothers. While they may be blood they are not his family in the way his wife and children are (not being an Obama expert, I don’t know what other family Obama has in the states left living from his mother’s side). Two brief encounters is not sufficient to trigger the ‘hardwired affinity’. Human behavior is not as simplistic as lower animals in this regard and that’s a very good thing. This is the test you should evaluate Obama and McCain on….assuming you think (which I don’t) that this is a good test for a candidate.

    48. Shannon Love Says:

      Booton,

      If Obama was the Republican with all the right policies would you be here today writing what you wrote or would you be all over McCain?

      That is untestable assertion. I can’t honestly how I would react but I admit I have a natural tendency circle the wagon around anyone running against a far leftist because I fear the consequences of their policies.

      I have a keen interest in people emotional equilibrium/ intelligence/discipline due to my studies of psychology, neurology and evolutionary psychology. I also grew up in a small town which lead me to the observation that patterns of behavior in one area of life extend to others. People who cheat on their wives, especially those who do so repeatedly, are more likely to cheat in business and the law. Research bears this view out. I have completely lost adherence to the modern polite fiction that “personal matters”. however arbitrarily defined, do not predict a persons public performance. Statistically, this is not true.

      In terms of objective evidence, I can only point to a study done a couple of years ago which tracked the results of scandals on political careers. The study showed that Republicans were (IIRC) five times as likely to lose office following a “personal” scandal than were Democrats. From that, I could offer that people who vote Republican (and who hold rightwing, usually socially conservative values) do reject otherwise acceptable candidates on character issues.

      However, at the end of the day a wind is all it is.

      I would say it is a canyon sized rut that people with normal amounts of empathy must consciously crawl out of. Getting people to follow abstract laws instead of caring for the immediate welfare of their families is the central problem in getting developing nations to work. It is only in the last half century that we in the West have separated family from economics, politics and military matters. Blood is a powerful draw and we should pay attention to those who ignore its call.

      The flip side to this which I don’t think you’ve thought about is the intense emotional impact that 3rd world poverty has on anyone from the develop world who encounters it. I’ve seen some in Mexico and I’ve spoken to everyone from Peace Corp members and anthropologist to hard bitten oil field roughnecks. In every case, watching people live in that poverty shakes people to the their core. The impulse to do something for those people, complete strangers all, is visceral.

      Now combine that powerful urge to help total strangers with an innate connection to a specific person or group. That means that not only did Obama look around at a bunch of people mired in the deepest poverty and shrug his shoulders and walk away, he also looked at people with a direct connection to him and then walked away.

      I hopeful that the brother will turn out to be the equivalent of an American street person, someone who alienated friends and families. However, stories about his general behavior towards the people in Kenya he has some relationship to do not set my mind at ease.

    49. Jonathan Says:

      Boonton,

      The tables are already turned. McCain is a pro-American, pro-defense statist Democrat in all but name and has numerous personal failings. He was my last choice for Republican nominee, and many normally Republican voters would probably vote for Hillary Clinton over him. I would not but I think that the widely acknowledged likelihood that many McCain voters would prefer her over him answers your hypothetical question.

      Obama is an exceptionally weak candidate for numerous reasons. Shannon is analyzing Obama’s relationship with his half-brother because Obama’s behavior and history raise more questions than they answer. I don’t think the same is true for McCain.

    50. Anonymous Says:

      boonton, you clearly can barely run to the toilet, let alone offer to run my life.

      I fail to see why you seem to feel whenever I express an opinion I’m directing some type of tyrannical order to you.

      That’s because you fail to see the difference between these two statements:

      More to the point, do you or Shannon or myself have the right to evaluate Obama’s family life with literally no information at all and the answer is no.

      and

      I don’t feel that I have the right to judge Obama…

    51. Methinks Says:

      accidentally posted as anonymous.

    52. Boonton Says:

      I would say it is a canyon sized rut that people with normal amounts of empathy must consciously crawl out of.

      This has been a curious weekend for biology vs nurture since my wife’s meeting with her birth father revealed she in fact has two half-brothers. The search for her birth mother continues as she remains oddly elusive (we suspect the father was reluctant to share many details about the mother since his wife was with him at the mtg & he had the impression she died as a baby so the whole thing is something of a shock for a family that appears to be very quiet…shrug, non-Italians for ya).

      Anyway, I think it is very clear that biology is only a headwind. While she is of course interested in meeting her brothers and imagines it will be great fun to be an ‘older sister’ there is no magical ‘blood trigger’ that causes birth relatives to suddenly displace the family she had for 35 years. I’m also not just relying on a sample of 1, other people I’ve spoken too have had similar experiences. There is a curiousity that drives people to track down birth families but usually once that is satisfied there’s usually a profound sense of anti-climax about the whole affair. While I don’t doubt she will keep in touch with these new contacts, I would be surprised if they ever approached the importance of her adoptive family….

      I appreciate that you’re honest about your biases. I’m kind of curious, since you feel cheating on one’s wife enhances the odds that one will cheat elsewhere do you feel a bit nervous about circling the wagons around McCain? Perhaps that’s not a fair question as we are in the middle of a campaign and people are syced up for that.

      Anyway, I think you’re reading of studies is biased. I suspect when you say they have shown people who don’t feel connection to blood relativies tend to lack empathy for others revolves around people who don’t feel connection to birth relatives they were raised with. Think about it, how empathatic could a person be who simply decides to ditch their adoptive family that raised them for over three decades upon a once time meeting with a birth relative?

      Anyway, I’ll agree Obama should have been moved by 3rd world poverty. I would be surprised if he didn’t provide some help to his relatives as he meet them in his travels. I see nothing, though, that would require him to not only help when he is made aware of a relative in distress but also to keep tabs on relatives with whom he has little relationship and leap in with aid upon hearing of problems. As the article itself indicated, this kid is deciding to go to a local college & seems to have no contact himself with much closer relatives in Kenya. This isn’t a case of him starving to death in a refugee camp, this appears to be a complicated situation & I find it a stretch to assert that Obama is morally at fault for failing to keep abreast of how his half-brother was doing. If you want some balance I’ll also say that I don’t think McCain is at any particular fault for failing to stop his wife from calling herself an only child despite the fact that her half-sister has asserted publically she feels slighted by it.

      Like it or not you presented an objective test:

      I think that people who care for the people in their immediate relationships will be more likely to make sacrifices for the greater good while holding political office than those who do not.

      Well the most immediate relationship is one’s wife and children. Relatives who you meet exactly twice in your lifetime are not immediate. By your test McCain fails and Obama wins. Now I’m not asking you to say because of that Obama should win your vote….but objectively he passes your test

    53. Boonton Says:

      Methinks,

      You don’t have a right to judge other people’s family life with no real information. I’m sorry you don’t like that. I guess you just didn’t have a proper upbringing but that has nothing to do with tyrannical dictates from me but simply the nature of civil society. There is no law against you being in the wrong on this matter (and no I don’t think there should be). Nonetheless, you are in the wrong and it is absurd to call me tyrannical for pointing that out. You are free to be as wrong as you want for as long as you want. You will live with the consquences of being the person you choose to be, not me.

    54. Shannon Love Says:

      Booton,

      I see nothing, though, that would require him to not only help when he is made aware of a relative in distress but also to keep tabs on relatives with whom he has little relationship and leap in with aid upon hearing of problems.

      It’s not a matter of requirement but rather one automatic compassion. I admit it is very much a matter of judgement. I cannot see myself behaving as Obama appears to have done. Neither can I image individuals whom I know and trust behaving in such a way. In your model of acceptable human behavior, Obama ignoring his 3rd world kin (if he did) is acceptable to you but I do not think it is acceptable in the judgement of most people.

      I’m kind of curious, since you feel cheating on one’s wife enhances the odds that one will cheat elsewhere do you feel a bit nervous about circling the wagons around McCain?

      Yes. I do trust people who never cheated and never divorced more than I trust those who did either (cheating >> divorce). `On the other hand, McCain has proven that he will put the good of others before his own good even at the cost of his own life. In this regard, McCain is tested while Obama remains a cypher.

      In any case, they could both be bastards. Just because McCain is jerk does not mean Obama is a saint and vice versa. We should examine each individuals behavior in isolation to make a judgement of that individual before we compare them one to the other.

      Anyway, I think you’re reading of studies is biased.

      No, these studies, such as the World Values Survey are widely regarded. There is a distinct correlation between one’s self-described political orientation and self-described closeness to ones relatives. Such closeness can be measured by objective standards such as how often individuals contact relatives.

      Think about it, how empathatic could a person be who simply decides to ditch their adoptive family that raised them for over three decades upon a once time meeting with a birth relative?

      Such person would be a monster but nothing in that scenario touches upon this discussion. We’re not talking about Obama having to choose or even prioritize between his American family and his Kenyan relatives. We’re talking about Obama using a small percentage of his personal fortune to make material life significantly better for individuals he has some relationship with.

      Relatives who you meet exactly twice in your lifetime are not immediate.

      They are measured against the rest of humanity. My point is that here were people in dire need whom Obama had a relationship with, however tenuous, and yet he seems to have not been moved to something for them. I believe that for myself and most people whom I know and trust, doing so would require an active force of will. I suspect that anyone who could do such thing lacks normal empathy.

      Relatives who you meet exactly twice in your lifetime are not immediate.

      That is an arbitrary definition. Again, it is a matter of judgement. You might feel no such connection but I would and I am far from unusual in this regard.

      By your test McCain fails and Obama wins.

      It’s your test with the boundaries you chose. By my standards, Obama’s realitves in Africa are in his immediate relationships because he knows them as individuals. I mean seriously, I would expect him to help out if in the same circumstances he bumped into some guy he vaguely remembered who lived in the same dorm when he was in college.

      I don’t find McCain’s and Obama’s failings to have inflicted anywhere near the same level of harm on those effected. McCain’s action inflicted emotional distress but apparently not to much because he remains on good terms with his ex-wife. Obama’s possible neglect caused physical pain and harm by denying the individuals effected basic necessities of life. McCain and his wife are equals. Obama the millionaire is an economic giant compared to relatives. Cheating on your spouse does not require the same cold heartedness as letting someone go hungry. Writing a check does require the same emotional strength as disciplining the heart.

      McCain faced a wrenching emotional choice with no good outcome. Obama just need to pay attention and pry open his wallet.

      You don’t have a right to judge other people’s family life with no real information.

      I do when I make a character hire. The character of a President is paramount. We are forced to make such decisions based incomplete information. It sucks but that is life.

      If elected, Obama will wield the power of life and death over the entirety of humanity. Judging whether he actually cares about anyone else is of the highest importance.

    55. Boonton Says:

      Shannon

      It’s not a matter of requirement but rather one automatic compassion. I admit it is very much a matter of judgement. I cannot see myself behaving as Obama appears to have done

      For the sake of the argument I said I was assuming the article was 100% true. The article didn’t say Obama showed the man no compassion. The article said a relative of his was having a hard time (for reasons unclear). The article said Obama’s contact with this relative was extremly limited. The only behavior Obama exhibited that can be really questioned is not keeping tabs on him so he was alerted to his distress before the media was. You can’t see yourself failing to keep tabs on a relative? Really?

      This is the issue I have with the studies you cited. Are they specifically looking at people’s relationships with blood relatives who they have no contact with until late adulthood? Essentially you’re talking about adoptees who find their birth families or cases like Obamas where one parent is absent since he was born.

      My point is that here were people in dire need whom Obama had a relationship with, however tenuous, and yet he seems to have not been moved to something for them.

      Well yea except, again taking the article to be accurate, Obama had/has no knowledge of this guy’s situation. This knock on Obama only makes sense if you invent an ethical duty to keep tabs on top of one to help in a reasonable way when you learn a family member is in trouble.

      That’s not an ethical duty & if you were going to apply this test objectively you’d have to know a lot about McCain’s family and his interaction with them as well.

    56. Shannon Love Says:

      Booton,

      It might help if you knew that this is not the only article detailing Obama’s relationship with his relatives in Kenya. Perhaps you should do some research and look at the entire pattern. It’s troubling.

      I just think your going to find it a hard sell that an American millionaire and powerful politician who preaches compassion and scorns his opponents as heartless nevertheless does not help a brother (and other more tenuous relations) in dire need. If someone in Kenya named a school after me I think I might be motivated to send them a check or two.

    57. Boonton Says:

      Shannon,

      Why do I feel those goal posts moving. After 50 posts of saying we don’t have enough information but let’s treat the very brief article you posted as 100% accurate for the sake of the argument you now tell us we do have enough information but it’s ‘out there somewhere’ and it’s my job to research it. As the person presenting this argument you are the one who should back it up. (Yes another tyrannical dictate from me! Arguments should be backed up by those making them!)

      I wonder how you would feel if Obama had never even attempted to locate his birth father & simply lived his American life until becoming famous would have caused the media to locate his Kenyan relatives for him.

      The crux of your ‘research’ argument continues to fall on failing to distinguish between those who freely ignore actual family members (which in most cases is blood members) versus those who fail to establish intense connection with family members that are found after long periods of time.

    58. Jonathan Says:

      You don’t have a right to judge other people’s family life with no real information.

      Boonton, why doesn’t the other commenter have a right to make such a judgment by any means she wants to use?

    59. Methinks Says:

      Boonton, why doesn’t the other commenter have a right to make such a judgment by any means she wants to use?

      Because comrade Boonton sets the rules for what people can think, feel, and the standards of civil society, and truth – all manner of formerly subjective bits and pieces of life. Little authoritarians like Boontons are a dime a dozen where I come from and where Obama would like to take this country.

    60. Boonton Says:

      Boonton, why doesn’t the other commenter have a right to make such a judgment by any means she wants to use?

      Jonathan,

      As I stated, there is an unlimited right to be wrong. There is no right, however, to be right when you’re being wrong. Go ahead and shout from the rooftops that 2+2=5, you’re just making a fool of yourself and if I happen to be nice enough to call you a fool for doing so I’m not setting any tyrannical dictates on you but just throwing reality in your face. You remain free to close your eyes if you wish.

    61. Jonathan Says:

      Boonton, the value of 2+2 is a fact and is therefore not subject to opinion. However, the implication for Obama’s character of his behavior toward his half-brother is an interpretation and is therefore entirely a matter of opinion. Your response fails because you beg the question — i.e., you assume the conclusion for which you argue.

    62. Shannon Love Says:

      Booton,

      Is it not a bit rational then to apply a type of discount to all cost benefit calculations of newer technologies? One that increases costs and lowers benefits estimates?

      Better actually. Large numbers of Americans have kin spread all over the world. They do not try to track them down. (Although many people help out old country such as happened after the fall of communism in easter europe) If Obama never knew he had a brother and cousins in Kenya then the failure to help them tells us nothing about his capacity for empathy.

      The fact that he did know his brother and others and yet did nothing, does suggest a lack of sympathy for their plight. As I have said repeatedly, 3rd world poverty is wrenching to observe when in afflicts perfect strangers. When it touches someone you know i.e. when you can “put a face to it” the impact is even worse.

      There are no objective standards for empathy. Your “objective” test relies on your personal, arbitrary definition that Obama owes nothing to his brother due to their circumstances. Your “objective” test relies on the arbitrary definition that hurting someone emotionally is the same a depriving them of material necessities.

      In your judgement, you think it acceptable for a person to ignore a brother in dire poverty (if that is what happened). Fine. The concepts of obligation and empathy differer from person to person and from culture to culture. I don’t believe however, that most Americans would find this unacceptable behavior, especially in one who founds his claim to office on his compassion for the less fortunate. People will not equate McCain’s emotional injury of his first wife to the physical neglect of Obama.

      People will not do so due to their intuitive understanding of how people relate to one another and what it usually means when one person ignores the plight of another in any particular circumstance. Most people have learned that those who are indifferent to the suffering of blood kin are even more indifferent to the suffering of strangers.

      Nothing you’ve said has convinced me that they are wrong to do so.