Hogan's Alley

Friday, November 24, 2006

Joe Kennedy Fronting For Hugo Chavez

Oil heat, being most prevalent in the Northeast, the TV commercial blocks of New England and the Mid-Atlantic are now loaded with a several commercials featuring former Congressman Joe Kennedy, son of Bobby Kennedy. Here is one example on YouTube.

The commercials all feature homeowners, often elderly, who have had trouble paying for enough oil to heat their homes. By calling "Joe-4-Oil", qualifying homeowners can receive a 40% reduction in the cost of oil, provided, as Joe says in each commercial, "by the good people of Venezuela and Citgo." This is no doubt the only time a positive expression about a large oil company has passed the lips of any of the current generation of Kennedys.

Presumably Kennedy has decided to ignore the insanities of Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's populist dictator wannabe, in order to provide some aid to some Americans in need. Of course, as he happily provides propaganda that will enable Chavez to further bash America, it seems to arguably be a pact with the devil (no pun related to Chavez' recent UN performance intended).

The facts, which may never reach the people of Venezuela, are that all the "poor" American so aided by their government's generosity own their own homes. It is customary in the Northeastern United States for property owners to purchase and provide for heating their buildings. Those who rent in this area do not buy oil, or any other heating fuel. Most of the houses in question have a sale value in excess of $100,000, some several multiples of that figure. Venezuelans should note that such net worth is hardly compares with the deep, nearly third world poverty of many in Venezuela.

In Nueva Taca, part of Caracas, 20 families are waiting for the National Housing Institution to pay compensation for their destroyed houses. They live in the most terrible conditions. “Here we only have tap water once every two weeks, at times I have to use rainwater to make a baby bottle of food for the little one” said Ericka Sanchez, who lives in the zone. The people in that zone wash their clothes in a nearby stream, a pool of stagnant, stinking water. The children and adults develop marks on their skins and scabies, a transmissible skin disease brought on by mites burying themselves into skin and reproducing. This can cause intense itching and can infect whole families.

It is also a fact that America already provides government assistance to those unable to afford heating fuel through the Home Energy Assistance Program funded by the Federal government and administered by the various state and local public welfare agencies. Qualifying people receive assistance for whichever fuel vendor they choose, not discount fuel provided by only one oil company, which may still be making a profit on this arrangement.