Wednesday, November 23, 2005

"Be Ye Filled and Warmed"

Houston-- Politics makes for strange bed fellows and business partners…Would you believe Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is shipping cheap heating oil to the Northeast to help less-fortunate Americans weather the winter chill this season?

The Chavez administration is not a big fan of the Bush administration, so Venezuela’s state-owned oil company is supplying oil at 40% below market price through it’s US subsidiary, Citgo Petroleum, to be distributed through a couple of non-profit groups, Citizens Energy Corp and the Massachusetts Energy Consumers Alliance.

Under an agreement brokered by Democrat Representative William Delahunt with the Chavez government, low-income Massachusetts residents could receive discounted home heating oil this winter. Remember the Chavez government is a political adversary of Mr. Bush. Remember, too, that most Northeastern congressmen have staunchly resisted development of petroleum reserves along the East Coast over the years. So, apparently, it's far less difficult to negotiate for cheap oil from one of America's "least-favored" foreign neighbors than it is to develop and provide energy domestically.

Is this a blatant grab for positive PR by the Chavez government, or a literal illustration of the political theory of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend?” It obviously is a pitch for headlines for the Democrat Representative of that fair state, apparently willing to go to any lengths to embarass George Bush. Makes you wonder…

It’s pretty embarrassing for Congress, however, which supported Venezuela’s previous, "new" government after a coup in 2002. That leadership was subsequently booted out of office--which was re-taken by Chavez, who is now addressing an issue that the US leadership has failed to adequately manage in this country.

Hugo Chavez’ style of governancet is two-fisted: one of velvet, the other of steel. He buys loyalty from his constituents by providing the necessities of life cheaply, while repressing any form of dissent. Chavez believes America’s poor are the result of rampant Capitalism.'s interesting to note the per capita GDP for Venezuela last year was about $5,800...while the US GDP was $40,100. You do the math. Where would you rather live?

Perhaps the perceived trend in this country towards a mentality of looking to the government for sustenance from the womb to the tomb is being exploited by Venezuela as an opportunity to embarrass President Bush and the Republican Leadership, while currying favor from poor (and relatively naive) Americans in the Northeast this winter.

And so the dilemma for Massachusetts’ poor shapes up to be a question of whether you have enough patriotism—and income—to stay warm this winter, or accept the charitable discount from a despotic country willing to turn up the heat on President Bush, at 40%-off. Representative Delahunt seems to have already made up his mind.

While the US government’s operating theory appears to be “be ye warmed and filled,” Hugo Chavez’ message is more like “be ye filled and warmed.”


Damian said...

Really like your show until you become an advocate for Bush and his policies. Your comment that the poor in the North East are naive for wanting to purchase cheaper oil and gas seems contrary to the principles of capitalism. Furthermore, making this an issue about patriotism is wrong and should not even enter this discussion. At least someone is working to make gas more affordable for the American people.

As for as I can tell, there is no patriotism when it comes to your pocket book. This is true whether you are an individual, multinational corporation or government. It is my understanding that up until the war with Iraq, a large portion of US oil was purchased from Iraq (our sworn enemy). We have known before 9/11 that Saudi Arabia funded the extremist in their country and their hatred of the United States. Yet, the US government considered and still considers Saudi Arabia an ally because of their large reserves of oil. Thus, regardless of Chaves' motives, people in the North East have a right to pay less for oil just like the major oil companies had a right to purchase oil from Iraq to supply the US market.

Again, I really look forward to listening to your show on my way to work in the mornings. I just ask that you please try to show some objectivity and not become a stool pigeon of the Bush administration and its policies.

Keep up the good work.

Brent Clanton said...


Thanks for the kind words about the show and for your support of The BizRadioNetwork. This piece was not intended to bash Mr. Bush, nor was is supposed to be apologetic.

The point is the irony in this scenario, and if there's a skunk, it's Delahunt and his ilk in Congress who would rather play politics than be statesmen.

And the rhetorical question IS how strong is our patriotism when our families are cold?