Say It Aint So, Joe

Thursday, January 3rd, 2008

The D.C. Examiner waxes indignant at Joe Kennedy’s latest series of radio and TV commercials, in which he shills for a thug dictator offers heating assistance to America’s poor, courtesy of "our friends in Venezuela."

He never mentions Chavez, nor does he explain why Venezuela, with a 2007 per capita gross domestic product of just $6,900 (less than Croatia or Belarus) would send highly discounted oil to a country with a per capita GDP of $43,500.

This is the same Chavez who expropriated U.S.-owned oil firms, then gave sweetheart deals to Chinese and Russian energy companies. He has repealed basic freedoms of press and speech, and was just barely prevented recently from becoming president for life.

The Examiner editorial also ponders why the born-into-wealth Kennedy takes a $400,000 annual salary to head up a non-profit whose alleged purpose is to provide heating fuel to the poor and elderly. I’d guess that $400K would heat quite a few homes, wouldn’t it?



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4 Responses to “Say It Aint So, Joe”

  1. #1 |  ZappaCrappa | 

    Working for a “non-profit” sure can be profitable.

  2. #2 |  Anon | 


    I haven’t followed you on Chavez much, how big a deal is this? As the piece notes, Kennedy mentions Citgo and Venezuela, not Chavez directly, which makes this seem more like corporate publicity — which, sure, does benefit Chavez, but so what? I’d expect this from any energy company that gave away fuel.

    Chavez is a thug, but at this point an elected thug — “just barely prevented” from becoming president for life via a referendum, after all. Since Citizens Energy has been in existence for years (and probably dealing with Venezuela long before Chavez came to power) what criterion should they use for breaking off relations with a government? I recognize that some standard should be used, but is general gasbaggery on the part of the country’s elected leader sufficient?

    Besides, to use Ron Paul’s argument, would it really be better to allow Chavez to fill his own coffers with the money?

    But maybe I’m underestimating Chavez’ despicability.


  3. #3 |  JJH2 | 

    Chavez is certainly no libertarian, but if I were one of the majority of Venezuelans who were poor and dark skinned, I’d rather he be El Presidente for life than the reactionary plutocrats who came before him. As long as my choices are between left-wing economic populists and right-wing neoliberal authoritarians – I’ll choose the former, thanks.

    The only problem I see with the expropriation of US-owned oil companies, illegitimately bought as they were in sweetheart deals with previous Venezuelan autocrats — is that he then sold out his people to the Chinese and Russians. They should have been returned to the people who actually run them as a producer’s coop.

    The so-called violations of ‘free speech’ and media rights’ are more BS and hypocrisy by the American media than anything else. If an American media outlet were to help facilitate a coup against the US President, and that President were then returned to power, the reaction would be far more swift and punishing than the failure to renew a broadcast license – a procedure that predates Chavez, even if his predecessors used the process as nothing more than a political rubber stamp. I question the legitimacy of ‘ownership’ of Venezuelan airwaves by the private media monopolies in the first place: it’s not the result of free-market competition, but is rather “political capitalism” at its most vulgar.

    – John

  4. #4 |  wade | 

    do those folks in receipt of venezuelan oil have a per capita average income of $43,500? I’m guessing it plays well for Chavez across the whole of the poor of Latin America, for him to be able to say he’s helping the U.S. poor that the free market has abandoned, and it annoys the hell out of the free marketeers – part of his strategy of “twisting the tail on the donkey”. Chavez thinks he is a latter day Bolivar, breaking free from the yoke of the imperialists, and his enemies enemies are his friends. Latin America should be run for the benefit of Latin Americans, not the United Fruit Corporation or Exxon, and it’s decades of meddling that have brought us the likes of Castro and Chavez.