Monday, December 19, 2005

Something new

Well, it's been a while, but I've been busy.
So there.
So what am I going to talk about?
Will it be 2008? Will it be Michael Moove-on? Will it be cindy?
Will it be something funny?
maybe - you decide.

I'm going to post an e-mail that was part of our general digest (an e-mail list-serve at my college where any student can post their opinions) a few days ago. It bothers me quite a bit, so I'm going to reproduce it here. I'm not sure about the legal stuff, but since I don't have any real readers yet, that won't matter.

"In case you may not have heard, the Venezuelan government will be distributing 12 million gallons of oil at 40 percent below market cost to low income communities in and around Boston. New York State recently brokered a similar deal with the help of Rep. Jose Serrano, D-South Bronx who is connecting nonprofit organizations and 45,000 low-income families in his district with 8 million gallons of discounted heating oil."

I have heard, thank you. I'm confused where they thought they had the responsibility/right to do something like this, but I've heard about it...and there isn't anything I can do to stop it. It sounds like a good idea, but we'll get to what's wrong with the program in a minute. (Hint: it has something to do with the fact that Hugo Chavez is a dictator!)

"What does this have to do with you?"

I'm glad you asked...since I live in Maine, (where it's colder than in those places, by the way) and I don't really like the dems who set this up - not a whole lot.

"You can support the humanitarian (and yes, political) efforts of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez by filling up your tank at the local CITGO right next to the Irving on KMD. CITGO is the Houston, Texas-based subsidiary of Venezuela's state-owned oil company."

Wait a second - you want me to use capitalism to support a communist dictator? I thought capitalism was always evil, compared to communism? Or am I wrong here? Isn't it capitalism that put the people in the place where they need to take handouts from a dictator in another country? Well, maybe we could look at where they live - New York, and Massachusetts, two of the most highly taxed states in the country. And, mostly run by so called socially conscious I would expect them to be doing a better job than most in providing for their poorer percentages of the population. Evidently they aren't. So, capitalism to the rescue!
One more nit-picky type thing - Hugo Chavez isn't president of Venezuela - he is correctly termed the dictator. And he is anti-free trade, something that has hurt his country a lot. Also, he is anti-America, so why does he want help from America?

"The recent oil crisis profited billions to oil companies and unlike our current administration, Chavez and CITGO have taken socially responsible efforts to make sure everyone can be warm during the coming winter."

Well, profits are what companies try to make...but I don't think it was so much the recent oil crisis that gave them ostensibly obscene profits, but the tons and tons of government subsidies they receive. Subsidies are bad, because they allow a company to get complacent, and then they don't have to innovate and find ways to push down costs, which, by the way, cuts down pollution almost by definition. What is pollution other than waste? And what is waste other than money pouring down the drain? It makes good business sense to try and cut as much waste as possible out of any business practice.
"While the Bush Administration {My words: It's Always Bush's Fault. Especially when it comes to the economy.} continues to try to cut LIHEAP funding (a program that supports people with their home energy needs), states have begun to look elsewhere make sure all families can live through the winter months. buy gas at CITGO and support socially conscious corporations--tell your friends and family."

Well, I don't like the program from Hugo Chavez. I think we're participating in propping up his repressive regime every time we buy gas at citgo, so I don't think I'll be doing that anytime soon. I also don't like the fact that these U.S. Representatives went outside the normal channels to make this deal. They went behind the back of the administration, in a particularly sticky manner, and at a particularly sticky moment. One of America's greatest strengths in international politics has been the one face we officially show the world. In other words, our government deals with other governments through our state department, and we don't usually go outside of channels to make deals that benefits individual senators. This was much worst than normal, however, because the free trade conference of the Americas was around the time that this deal was made, and we had enough trouble with Hugo before there were two American voices about the debate.
I think the position taken by my fellow student was extremely short sighted, even by the low standards I hold for the arguments made by my fellow students.

Update: For your continued enlightenment: Here is something from the Wall Street Journal, but you can't read the whole thing without paying for it... but I happen to be special, and cheap. (try

Mr. Chávez's party or parties sympathetic to his Bolivarian revolution won all 167 seats in the country's unicameral congress. Every single seat. But that Saddam-like sweep was only possible because most Venezuelans decided not to participate. Even the government admits to an abstention rate of greater than 75%. While it's true the opposition boycotted, it did so knowing how the government had cheated to win the August 2004 recall referendum.

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