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Obama’s ‘enemy,’ &c.

Tiger Woods plays Bay Hill, March 25, 2012.

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There is a Barack Obama remark that deserves to be more famous. I think I read it years ago, but had forgotten about it. I encountered it the other day.

After graduating from Columbia, Obama worked briefly in the “corporate world.” Lame phrase, I know — too broad to mean anything. In Dreams from My Father, he writes that he was “like a spy behind enemy lines.”

Business as the enemy? That would confirm the Right’s darkest suspicions about Obama. But surely this fellow has matured since his twenties, right? Surely he has outgrown his undergraduate leftism, right?

Some days, you wonder. Or at least I do.

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If corporations are Obama’s enemy, they are a very nice enemy to have. They have forked over zillions to him. I mean, voluntarily, in campaign donations.

The people I denounce? They never give money to me. Kind of weird.

A few days ago, a headline read, “Oil Output Soars as Iraq Retools, Easing Shaky Markets.” The article began, “Despite sectarian bombings and political gridlock, Iraq’s crude oil production is soaring, providing a singular bright spot for the nation’s future and relief for global oil markets as the West tightens sanctions on Iranian exports.”

For many years, I was told that the U.S. and its allies had invaded Iraq in order to steal that country’s oil. There was a bumper sticker: “How many lives per gallon?” I saw it on the car of a woman who used to work in the State Department. “No blood for oil!” Do you remember that cry? Our country rang with it for years.

Oddly, we left Iraq’s oil to the Iraqis. And the Left seeks to block us at every turn from pumping oil in our own country.

What a screwy situation.

Here is another headline for you: “China tells US to stop reporting Beijing’s bad air.” The article begins, “A senior Chinese environmental official told foreign embassies on Tuesday to stop publishing their own reports on air quality in China, a clear reference to a popular U.S. Embassy Twitter feed that tracks pollution in smoggy Beijing.”

It’s hard for me to imagine the U.S., or anyone else, refusing a CCP request — that is, a request, or demand, from the Chinese government. Wonder what’ll happen here.

The main problem with China, of course, is not air pollution: It’s the fact that they have a one-party dictatorship with a gulag. Big problem.

Speaking of one-party dictatorships with a gulag: The New York Public Library invited Mariela Castro, a Cuban official, and child of Raúl, to speak. She did. Apparently, the room was stocked with friends of the regime, with anyone who might ask an uncomfortable question kept out. To read about this depressing affair, go here.

I have dealt with the New York Public Library and the Cuban regime before. Years ago, the library had an item in its gift shop: a watch with Che Guevara’s face on it, and the word “REVOLUTION.” An ad for the piece went, “Revolution is a permanent state with this clever watch.” Oh, so, so clever. A Beria watch might be even cleverer! And then one could go for Himmler?

Anyway, this “revolutionary” watch sparked a piece in National Review: “Che Chic: It’s très disgusting.” Go here.

For weeks now, I have not known quite what to think about Eduardo Saverin, the Facebook co-founder who decamped to Singapore, apparently to avoid a whopping tax bill down the road. Was he an ingrate and virtual traitor? Or was he a man acting with perfect reason, even honor?

The question has now been settled for me — by Jeff Jacoby, who wrote an informed and wise column on it. Here. Saverin’s behavior is subject to differing interpretations, but mainly it is honorable. And the man’s worst critics, such as Senator Charles Schumer — nasty and stupid, in this matter.

While I’m recommending articles: Try Damian Thompson on alcoholism, here. A bracing column. Alcoholics Anonymous “probably saved my life,” he says, “by helping me give up drinking.” But “the ‘disease model’ it endorses is based on dodgy science.” What Thompson is suggesting, he says, is that “alcoholism and other compulsive problems are fundamentally self-destructive behaviour, not an incurable illness.”

Worth reading, whatever our ultimate conclusions.



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