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One of the issues dearest to Paul Wellstone was the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP. LIHEAP provides relief to low-income families facing heating bills they can't afford. Studies show that roughly 20-25% of folks facing unaffordable heating bills will go without medicine to pay for them, while another 10-15% will go without food.

Of course, it costs a lot more to heat one's home under the best of circumstance on the frozen tundra of Northern Minnesota than most anywhere else in the contiguous United States, and it's not getting cheaper. Of course, this is lost on our "leaders" in Washington DC. But fortunately, not on Hugo Chavez.

The Chavez government's foreign aid initiative, aptly named " From the Venezuelan Heart to the U.S. Hearths " has come to the frozen tundra. Real heating assistance for some truly needy folks in the coldest part of the US is on the way. The Minneapolis http://www.startribune.com/... StarTribune] have the details:

When the Venezuelan-owned Citgo Petroleum Corp. approached the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe with a gift of about $1.7 million in heating assistance, members of the tribe's six bands raised a collective eyebrow.
"There are a lot of people who offer things to Indians," said Winona LaDuke, a member of the White Earth Band and director of the White Earth Land Recovery Project. "I see a lot of snake oil salesmen coming to Indian country."

LaDuke's name may sound familiar to Kossacks. Yes, she's that Winona LaDuke, Ralph Nader's running mate in 2000, who endorsed John Kerry (along with many other progressive Nader2000 backers) in 2004.

But the deal proved genuine: Texas-based Citgo dispensed millions of gallons of heating oil last year to roughly 181,000 American households in need in the Northeast and is expanding the program this winter, according to the company's website. LaDuke now is a facilitator for Citgo's program in Minnesota.

Still, there were the political connotations of accepting fuel from a firm owned by Venezuela's state oil company. The firm has a direct link to President Hugo Chavez, who famously called President Bush "the devil" in September during a speech at the United Nations.

But the only possible smell of sulphur coming from White Earth these days would be the good kind: from Venezuela heating oil being delivered to poor households in Minnesota's north.

Citgo's program, called "From the Venezuelan Heart to the U.S. Hearths," has been widely viewed as an effort by Chavez to embarrass the U.S. government.

And it effectively does just this. Not that they have to try hard.

Wayne Bohn, an attorney for the Leech Lake Band, said the politics of the deal were "hotly debated," but the tribe didn't see the point in rejecting the offer.

"To us, it would be a foolish move. We're not a wealthy tribe," Bohn said. "We could make a political statement, but making a political statement while your people freeze is not very wise."

Citgo will donate a lump sum to each of the six bands based on how many members are eligible for state heating assistance. Those band members will receive direct credits on their heating bills through Citgo's program, said Gary Frazer, the tribe's executive director.

Citgo has allotted 250 gallons of heating oil or the equivalent for each household. With Citgo figuring that each gallon is worth $2.25, the donation is $562.50 per household, about a 40 percent discount on most winter heating bills for homes on Chippewa reservations. The program runs from Nov. 15 until March 15.

Based on last year's state heating-assistance rolls, the tribe estimates that more than 2,700 households will be eligible for aid. Tribal day-care facilities for children and the elderly will also get a discount on heating fuel.

The Minnesota Chippewa Tribe -- an umbrella group that includes Bois Forte, Fond du Lac, Grand Portage, Leech Lake, Mille Lacs and White Earth bands -- plans to distribute money to the bands in the coming weeks.

You can't beat the goodwill that solidarity kicks off. Folks remember who's helped them in a time of need. Perhaps our newly minted House and Senate will take note.

LIHEAP, started in 1982 with an appropriations of about $1.8 bn, is still essentially funded at 1982 levels today. Virtually no increase for inflation, virtually no increase for the doubling of energy prices over the past few years. And as we all know, the energy to heat one's home costs a lot more today than it did in 1982. The time has come to restore LIHEAP to health by re-evaluating it's funding, something which will easily involve increasing its funding by a factor of 3. If we're serious about helping our poor so that Hugo Chavez doesn't have to, the time to start is now.    

Originally posted to redstar on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 05:30 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  This morning I woke up to the news that (19+ / 0-)

    NStar has shut off 5000 more customers ahead of next months deadline to do so. Nice huh? I wonder how many more people are going to be beholden to Bush's nemesis Chavez as our own companies continue to chose profits over people? I hate this mentallity!

    Repug credo: If you can't Dazzle them with Brilliance Baffle them with Bullshit! http://anaverageamericanpatriot.blogspot.com

    by jmsjoin on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 05:38:27 AM PST

    •  I hate to say this, but I think we need to (16+ / 0-)

      hold our Democratic leader's feet over the fire too.

      Clinton wasn't exactly a big supporter of the program, either, if memory serves. The GOP bill Wellstone and Mosely-Braun were holding up actually cut LIHEAP less than the Clinton administration had proposed...

      Freedom is merely privilege extended unless enjoyed by one and all -9.50, -5.74

      by redstar on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 05:46:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Bush had 6 yrs to get it right but... (7+ / 0-)

        ...If you want to follow his lead, [his first line of defense] and blame all of his failures from Osama bin Laden to North Korea on Clinton, then be my guest and fall into his trap. Have you ever heard this man say "The Buck Stops Here"? No! He blames everyone else but himself-as if he rules by some Divine Right of Kings, oblivious to accountability and deaf to the cries of the people.

        Change the course--change the Captain. Change the crew. But save the ship!

        by ImpeachKingBushII on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 06:07:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Blaming Clinton (10+ / 0-)

          ... for Bush's unique wrongness is, well, it's just wrong. To that degree I agree with you IKB. But we also need to realize that some of the failures of American policy are fully bi-partisan. We have to be honest about this.

          Within the context of bi-partisan wrongness, Dems tend to be less wrong than Rs, which is why I (and probably many others here) identify as a Dem.

          Examples of bi-partisan wrongness: 60 years of support for an imperial foreign policy, blank check support for ever larger military budgets, unthinking support for "free trade", failure to support a realistic energy policy or to grasp the seriousness of global warming. Plus there's more, too much for a brief comment.

          Individual Democratic leaders may have enlightened positions on one or more of these issues. But the party as a whole has been pretty much in the American mainstream, either not understanding what is going on, or not caring about it.

          •  That's the difference between rubber stamps, ... (0+ / 0-)

            ...boot lickers,warmongerers, goose-steppers, sheep headed to the slaughter,the "mute,the blind and the deaf",and...
            true leaders. statesmen, patriots who place the Constitution above us mere mortals, guardians of freedom, sentinels of liberty, being powerful without being mad with power, those with the foresight to recognize tyranny when they see it, and those with the guts to oppose it with their lifesblood.

            Change the course--change the Captain. Change the crew. But save the ship!

            by ImpeachKingBushII on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 02:53:38 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Wasn't my point at all. I was simply pointing out (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cory Bantic, ImpeachKingBushII

          that while we all think LIHEAP is an important program, it is certainly less clear that the leadership of our party agree with this, or at the very least, will not pay attention to it unless we turn up the heat.

          In this regard, Chavez serves a very useful purpose.

          Freedom is merely privilege extended unless enjoyed by one and all -9.50, -5.74

          by redstar on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 09:43:49 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I agree but with Bush playing his (9+ / 0-)

        anti Chavez games it won't do anything. The decider doesn't care about the  needy. He only cares about playing his game and getting his way so he can follow his plan.
        http://www.anaveragepatriot.com/...

        Repug credo: If you can't Dazzle them with Brilliance Baffle them with Bullshit! http://anaverageamericanpatriot.blogspot.com

        by jmsjoin on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 06:29:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  obviously, the Christian coalition doesn't care (6+ / 0-)

          either about poor persons.  Incoming President of the Christian Coalition For America resigned because he realized he would be unable to broaden the organization's agenda beyond opposing abortion and gay marriage.

          Poor people. The needy. That's not their base.

          Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity. Horace Mann (and btw, the bike in kayakbiker is a bicycle)

          by Kayakbiker on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 08:12:26 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  not the whole coalition, only the top. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sistersilverwolf

            It really sucks for Rev. Hunter, who may have really hoped, prayed and believed he could accomplish great things. People lured him into the faith-based economy and he took them at face value. Finally they had to flat out tell him those are not their issues, since as a Christian, he didn't seem to understand their agenda.

            He hoped to include issues such as easing poverty and saving the environment. "These are issues that Jesus would want us to care about," Hunter said.

            There are good people out there, stuck under that plexiglass ceiling while unscrupulous people use their good will as a stepping stone.

            all of us are pupils in the eyes of God

            by SassyFrass on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 10:38:10 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  It just stinks! It is a horrible situation for (0+ / 0-)

            the needy and it will quickly get worse. I did a post a little while ago about hospitals dumping the homeless on skidrow and have been seeing more of that happening on the news. Bush's great economy is not for them it is for his base, those that got the Chief idiot miselected!

            Repug credo: If you can't Dazzle them with Brilliance Baffle them with Bullshit! http://anaverageamericanpatriot.blogspot.com

            by jmsjoin on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 12:10:36 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  thanks (0+ / 0-)

              for adding to the discussion -- time passed for awarding "recommends" for you and SassyFrass

              Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity. Horace Mann (and btw, the bike in kayakbiker is a bicycle)

              by Kayakbiker on Mon Nov 27, 2006 at 06:20:00 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks, redstar. Heating assistance is critical (19+ / 0-)

    in the north. Without heat, people die. If Chavez is willing to step in and help, more power to him. The Rethugs who are in charge of this country are based in the south. Many do not appreciate the importance of heat for folks in the north. My mom grew up in Duluth, so I am well aware of MN winters.

  •  Chavez would get my vote! (20+ / 0-)

    If Bush wants to frame the situation, as he has, "you are with us or with the terrorists" then I will stand, as I did once before during Vietnam, in opposition to our government.  If they want to characterize that as treason, so be it.  

    I am a traitor to "Bushism."

    I do not believe in, nor practice the policies of Bush.  

    If this means saying nice things about the devil, in the person, allegedly, of Mr. Chavez, so be it.

    How embarrassing is it to have a foreign government giving aid to people in this country?

    Churchill's now famous reply put ideology in the perspective of crisis "If Hitler invaded Hell I would at least make a favourable reference to the Devil."

    I can still smell the sulphur.

    "We will now proceed to construct the socialist order."

    by 7November on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 05:47:47 AM PST

  •  Just look at Bush's response to Katrina... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mattes, Leila

    ...He doesn't need Hugo Cavez's help. Bush has shown by his utter incompetence that he is beyond the need for "help" in that department. Indeed, he has been the locust-wave of destruction on the world spreading death and misery, the virtual RED rider of the apocalypse, and the leper who has infected every good thing America ever stood for! No! He doesn't need Chavez's good deeds [as repulsive to Bush as they may seem to him]to expose the monster living in high towers within our own gates.

    Change the course--change the Captain. Change the crew. But save the ship!

    by ImpeachKingBushII on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 05:58:29 AM PST

  •  I'm perplexed with this statement (5+ / 0-)

    "To us, it would be a foolish move. We're not a wealthy tribe," Bohn said. "We could make a political statement, but making a political statement while your people freeze is not very wise."

    What exactly is the political statement they could have made?

    If CITGO withdraws their offer, would they be willing to make other political statements such as marching on Washington for example? Perhaps no. That would take guts and good sense but it's not as fancy as knee-jerk pseudo-patriotism.

    "As long as people believe in absurdities they will continue to commit atrocities." Voltaire

    by Euroliberal on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 06:02:35 AM PST

    •  Because "some people say" they should refuse... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Euroliberal, Jesterfox, redstar, keefer55

      Did you miss this?

      "Wayne Bohn, an attorney for the Leech Lake Band, said the politics of the deal were 'hotly debated,'..."

      Remember, we have a big chunk of the population who believes that patriotism means demanding other people make sacrifices for them and their political beliefs.

      They're often termed Yellow Elephants, but we actually have more yellow people than just those.

      America will never again be the land of the free... Until she again becomes the home of the brave.

      by Ducktape on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 07:20:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  In a country controlled by Bush, (9+ / 0-)

      making a statement for Chavez, by accepting his oil, might mean trouble with the BIA in some way, or some other government agency.

      I easily accept the fact that the Indians have risk.  In fact, in every interaction with the Federal government since there was a Federal government, Indians have borne a heck of a lot of risk, to put it mildly.

    •  You're definitely on to something (0+ / 0-)

      but remember, this is America, and the pressure to reject the deal is quite strong, given how Chavez is vilified here.

      I read that statement as recognizing that pressure.

      Freedom is merely privilege extended unless enjoyed by one and all -9.50, -5.74

      by redstar on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 09:50:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  In Florida (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    redstar, DBunn

    Citgo has a contract for the gas stations on the Florida Turnpike.

    Citgo dispute leads to turnpike posting signs about alternative fueling choices
    there is one of many stores on the issue.

    Have A Bloggy Day :)

    by eeff on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 06:03:15 AM PST

  •  Acceptance by these sovereign agents... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    redstar
    of Venezuelan petro-gifts will eventually be conflated with bolivarismo by the Bush crew.

    This is guaranteed...

    People in Eurasia on the brink of oppression: I hope it's gonna be alright... Pet Shop Boys: Introspective

    by rgilly on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 06:07:04 AM PST

  •  Chavez should not compare Bush to the devil (5+ / 0-)

    It makes the Devil feel inadequate.

    Newest GOP slogan: Keeping Voter Turnout Low So That the Corporate Criminal's Grandchildren Never Have to Work.

    by bobinson on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 07:02:58 AM PST

  •  Vive la revolućion! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mickT, redstar

    Another poke in the Smirking Moron's eye, gotta love it!

    Where's Rangel and Pelosi's indignation? Shouldn't they be defending Smirk's honour?

    Liberté, égalité, fraternité, ou la mort!

    by VoiceFromTheOuterWorld on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 07:16:26 AM PST

  •  Also beware (6+ / 0-)

    Assistance for low-income Americans is great. It is a goal of the Progressive movement, and an unblemished good thing.

    Even so, the enemy of your enemy is not necessarily your friend, and it is an established technique for dictators to shower gifts upon those they wish to control.

    I realize that Bush and the conservatives have made themselves enemies of many Americans in their shameless efforts to claim power. Bush has earned a special place in the roster of traitors of all time.  He has attempted to make himself "dictator" in this free land, and for that the Bush regime must face justice.

    But calling Bush the Devil does not make Chavez an Angel. Power corrupts. Do not set Chavez on a pedestal. That is the first step to creating a monster.

    It would be most prudent to thank Chavez for the generosity, and demand action from Congress to replace the generosity with home-grown efforts. Mindless cheering of foreign leaders has a very bad history.

    •  Charity begins at home (6+ / 0-)

      No doubt many impoverised Venezuelan families could greatly bnefit from Chavez's "donations" to some Americans.

      When the poverty level in VZ is below that of the US then and only then might be appropriate for Chavez to be so generous with his country's oil wealth.

      (-2.75,-4.77) America let Bush play with its Army and he broke it.

      by Sam I Am on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 07:30:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Maybe he's covering his ass (8+ / 0-)

        Chavez knows the power of the US and the CIA --- if he gets publicity about his good works in the US and in his own country, it lessens the chances that he will be defined by corporate media as the next "Saddam." It's an investment in the same way that the US plants good stories in the Iraqi press - except this one isn't fabricated.  

        Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity. Horace Mann (and btw, the bike in kayakbiker is a bicycle)

        by Kayakbiker on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 08:19:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Do we think (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        redstar, Leila, SassyFrass

        ... that winning the goodwill of Americans could eventually benefit ordinary people in Venezuela?

        •  Certainly, *if* Goodwill [A] (0+ / 0-)

          will help with Maintaining Power [B], power with which Venezuelans will then be helped [C].  A lot of comments don't seem to admit that there can be a chain of cause and effect, as opposed to a simple, "If [A] then [B]."

          Chavez', as with many leaders (those maintaining power or those flirting with dictatorship) probably believes wholeheartedly that he is doing good things for his people (and right now I'm not going to get into whether or not good is actually being done).  To be able to continue doing good things, he has to avoid getting killed or driven out by U.S. thugs.  

          To this end, he's strengthening ties with others in Latin America, as well as other Oil countries that can help him in having Bush&Co by the short hairs.  I'd honestly be interested in how much Chavez would be rubbing shoulders with Iran and others, if Bush and others would stop the constant sabre-rattling.  It's been pointed out that hard-liners (like Bush, the Pope, Kim Jung-il, Chavez etc.) tend to reinforce one another's power grabs.

          •  Power grabs (0+ / 0-)

            Seems like Chavez was elected with a pretty big margin. This despite broad opposition by the Venezuelan media, which are owned by traditional elites. So most people in Venezuela think he is doing "good things".

            I don't see how this constitutes a power grab.

    •  Absolutely. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Leila

      If nothing else, we should take a look at who Hugo Chavez chooses as company - Robert Mugabe, Mahmoud Ahmedinijad, etc. - before we praise him too loudly.  We should take a look at what he does in his own country, the ways in which he restricts democracy and civil rights in Venezuela, before we place an olive wreath on his head.  I think any sober account of his friends and his domestic policies should give us pause at the very least, and attract our scorn at the most.

      I'm no fan of Bush, and think he is guilty (to a lesser degree) of many of the wrongs Chavez has committed, but we've been here before.  The enemy of our enemy is not our friend; we should beware of dictators bearing gifts, and be equally if not more aware of the fact that the only reason Chavez is in a position to do this is because we, the American people, have failed to elect leaders who are willing to legislate and use the nation's treasures for the benefit of the whole people.

  •  we should be embarrassed (11+ / 0-)

    it's embarrassing to live in a nation that values excessive wealth for a few over basic needs for many...

    Save public education from corporatisation: Educator Roundtable

    by DeweyCounts on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 07:24:38 AM PST

  •  Small Confusion (0+ / 0-)

    Ah, the flip side of the global economy... you gotta hand it to Hugo Chavez and the folks at Citgo; imagine the internal memo someone (who?) used when proposing this idea. That's not my "small confusion."

    Citgo will donate a lump sum to each of the six bands based on how many members are eligible for state heating assistance. Those band members will receive direct credits on their heating bills through Citgo's program, said Gary Frazer, the tribe's executive director... The Minnesota Chippewa Tribe -- an umbrella group that includes Bois Forte, Fond du Lac, Grand Portage, Leech Lake, Mille Lacs and White Earth bands -- plans to distribute money to the bands in the coming weeks."

    Why would money be distributed if there are direct credits on heating bills?

  •  I trust Chavez's oil buddies more than Bush's (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    XOVER, TX Unmuzzled, redstar, SassyFrass

    They're both oil men, as far as I'm concerned.

    One is giving the stuff away, the other is giving tax breaks to the oil companies, letting them jack up the price (or jack them down in an election cycle) and going to war for more of the stuff.

    I'd pick Chavez over Bush any day.

  •  I still don't like Hugo Chavez (4+ / 0-)

    It's nice that he is helping the poor. But honestly I still don't think he is good for Venezuela. I still don't get the worship that he, Robert Mugaboe, and Fidel Castro receive on left-leaning blogs. I don't think Hugo Chavez is a leader to emuluate. Just because he doesn't support Bush or is critical of him doesn't mean that he should be admired either.

    http://www.keen.com/jiacinto For DC related travel advice, please visit that link.

    by jiacinto on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 07:52:18 AM PST

  •  Chavez for President '08! :-D (6+ / 0-)

    It's time we had a leader who has the best interest of the American people in his heart.

    Imagination is more important than knowledge - Einstein

    by One Pissed Off Liberal on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 08:10:47 AM PST

    •  So we can continue Bush's power grab? (0+ / 0-)

      From BBC News

      Thursday, 21 September, 2000, 10:03 GMT 11:03 UK
      Chavez seeks more powers

      The Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez, has said he will ask the National Assembly for special powers to legislate by decree in social and economic areas for one year.

      If the so-called Enabling Law is approved, Mr Chavez will have the right to legislate without parliamentary debate.

      Mr Chavez said the new legislation would include a new land law, as well as reforms in the oil, banking and transport sectors.

      He described these laws as vital and urgent.

      The Enabling Law requires the support of sixty percent of the Assembly's members. Despite his overwhelming popularity in Venezuela, critics have accused Mr Chavez of leading the country towards authoritarian rule.

      I might get flamed for saying this, but it's true. Your comment makes me sick.

      The glass is 2/3rds empty, and the last third is usually backwash.

      by iowabosox on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 10:04:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  article on Chavez today on Znet, scary... (6+ / 0-)

    Coup D'etat in Venezuela: Made in the USA: The U.S.-designed Plan to Overthrow Hugo Chavez in the Days Following the Electio

    In 1999, when the U.S.-led bombing campaign in Serbia didn't get rid of Slobodan Milosovic, Washington changed its strategy.  U.S. intelligence organized a $77 million effort to oust Milosovic through the ballot box.  They sent in CIA front organizations funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).  Instead of guns and bombs, these U.S. forces were armed with fax machines, computers, and perhaps most importantly, sophisticated surveys done by the Washington-based polling firm Penn, Schoen & Berland.(1)  Their mission: to take down Milosovic by strengthening opposition groups.
    ...
    The U.S. has already set up camp in Venezuela, and all the original cast members are here.  We've got NED, USAID, and yes, once again, Penn, Schoen & Berland.  Just like in Serbia, or Ukraine, the objective of the U.S. forces is to remove Chavez from power.  Therefore they have teamed up with major opposition groups to map out and implement their strategy.  The strategy in Venezuela takes from many of the important lessons that they first learned in Serbia, and have since been carried to many other nations.  The goal is to create a situation like in Ukraine in 2004: huge protests against the elections and against the government in order to cause chaos and instability.  Basically, it comes in three parts.
    ...

  •  I'm no fan of Chavez (0+ / 0-)

    Totalitarian tendencies are unacceptable in any leader, left or right.  

    The glass is 2/3rds empty, and the last third is usually backwash.

    by iowabosox on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 09:53:53 AM PST

  •  is this Kos or a freeper site? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Phoenix Woman, Grand Poobah, redstar

    When the name Chavez comes up, i can't tell.

    I haven't heard a word here backing up any accusations of "dictator" "bad for Venezuela" "tyrant" or any of the other nonsensical bone-headed reactionary garbage i've read.

    Reuters

    Venezuela, a key oil supplier to the United States, recorded its 12th consecutive quarter of economic growth as a result of increased investment, consumption and growing public spending, the bank said in a statement...

    The non-oil sector grew by 11.7 percent compared with the same period the year before.

    Private-sector economic activity grew by 12.3 percent, while the public sector grew by 2.7 percent.

    Economic Growth

    Venezuela's 2007 budget is 115.2 billion bolivares (53.5 bn dollars): 44.6 percent will be for social expenses that past governments just allocated 17 percent.

    Yep, looks like he's really fucking everything up.

    Liberté, égalité, fraternité, ou la mort!

    by VoiceFromTheOuterWorld on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 09:54:57 AM PST

    •  Like this? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rolet, Natalie

      From BBC News

      Saturday, 15 July, 2000, 02:28 GMT 03:28 UK
      Chavez military critic arrested

      A second military officer in Venezuela has been arrested after criticising the president, Hugo Chavez.

      The air force colonel, Silvino Bustillos, was detained shortly after accusing Mr Chavez of flouting a legal ban on the use of the national anthem and other symbols in his re-election campaign.

      Last week, another officer who spoke out against the president Luis Garcia was discharged from service.

      The glass is 2/3rds empty, and the last third is usually backwash.

      by iowabosox on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 10:01:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The one point they have is the Mugabe point. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Natalie

      This being said, it is rather hard to fathom why the vituperation on a putatively left site for one of the few vocal champions for the poor in the Western hemisphere.

      Freedom is merely privilege extended unless enjoyed by one and all -9.50, -5.74

      by redstar on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 10:06:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Because I believe in democracy. Period. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rolet, Natalie, TriMt7

        It doesn't matter who it is, Bush, Chavez, or whoever. When someone starts concentrating power and creating a cult of personality, I get worried.

        The glass is 2/3rds empty, and the last third is usually backwash.

        by iowabosox on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 10:14:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Tough standards. (2+ / 0-)

          You know, when a lefty talks like that hereabouts, I start seeing the phrase "purity troll" hurled about.

          Freedom is merely privilege extended unless enjoyed by one and all -9.50, -5.74

          by redstar on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 10:29:21 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  So does Chavez (3+ / 0-)

          Considering his Bush-aligned foes own all of the private media in the country and several key corporations, it's not as if Chavez' opponents are helpless little babies.  Far from it:  They almost overthrew him in a series of US-backed military coups a few years back, attempts that failed only when the coupmeisters started showing their decidedly non-democratic hands a wee bit too early (they'd lied in order to get the coup support they had).

          Oh, and the recall referendum his oligarchal opponents used to try to get him out of office?  He put that into the constitution, back when he was less personally popular than he is now.

          It's to the point now where Chavez' reforms -- reforms with results -- are so popular that his conservative oligarchic opponent has actually vowed to continue them -- an empty vow, considering the whole reason the oligarchs want Chavez gone is to stop these pesky social programs from cutting into their profits.

      •  It's not much of a point (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Phoenix Woman, redstar

        After all, every president in the last 30 years has been cozy with Saudi Arabia.  They're just as frikkin' nuts as Mugabi, though since they're in the Middle East we just don't care as much.

        -fred

      •  Chavez is not president of Zimbabwe (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Phoenix Woman, redstar

        Liberté, égalité, fraternité, ou la mort!

        by VoiceFromTheOuterWorld on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 10:23:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Chavez Emulates Lincoln (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KiaRioGrl79, redstar

      Land Reform

      In the history of land reform, the most accurate analogy to illustrate what is transpiring in Venezuela is not Zimbabwe or Cuba – Chavez officials have repeatedly emphasized that they are not emulating the Cuban model of land reform – but the U.S.’ own Homestead Act. Signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1862, the measure declared that any U.S. or intended citizen of at least 21 years of age could claim up to 160 acres of government land. Like Chavez’s Vuelta al Campo, there were many restrictions in the Act which benefited the recipients by ensuring that the new reform could not be manipulated by entrenched, moneyed interests. Under Lincoln’s legislation, the land could not be sold to speculators or used as debt collateral, and only after five years of “actual settlement and cultivation,” according to Section 2, could the homesteader submit an application for a land patent. Similarly, in Chavez’s plan, only after three years may the peasants obtain legal ownership of the land, and only then after they have rendered it productive. The Homestead Act was one of the most progressive and far-reaching government initiatives in U.S. history insofar as it helped to develop and secure an agrarian-based middle class, which had an epic impact on the future democratization of the nation. That Chavez is trying to emulate it in his own country, as part of his plan to extirpate Venezuela’s entrenched inequality, is an effort that all right-minded people should applaud.

      Liberté, égalité, fraternité, ou la mort!

      by VoiceFromTheOuterWorld on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 10:36:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  also, name another head of state (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KiaRioGrl79, redstar

      who spends SIX HOURS every Sunday explaining himself, his policies, and taking questions directly from the voters, on TV and radio?

      Can you imagine an American president doing this?

      Face it: Chavez represents the future. The future is socialist democracy, where social justice takes precedence, and government acts on behalf of the Many, where people come before profits.

      Unless I am mistaken, that is (or perhaps was?) what Liberals have been fighting for. How soon we forget that America itself was on the path to socialist democracy following the Great Depression - unfortunately interrupted by WWII - and it was that movement that led to civil rights legislation, voter rights, JFK, RFK, MLK, the end of Vietnam, the anti-pollution legislation of the '70's, and the anti-nuclear movement...and then came Ronnie Raygun to bring us back to Plutocracy that should have ended in 1929.

      The founding fathers were Liberals - if they were around today they would be applauding Chavez.

      Everything good that's ever happened in America was started by Liberals seeking social justice, everything bad that's happened can be laid at the feet of Plutocrats.

      Liberté, égalité, fraternité, ou la mort!

      by VoiceFromTheOuterWorld on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 11:21:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Treaties Still Unhonored by the Government (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    redstar

    Indian Sovereignty is violated by state governments which tribes are by law indepedent of; in exchange for the mega-billions in wealth that Indians have lost there is supposed to be compensation to ensure Indian peoples survive and thrive.

    Most reservations have a material quality of life as neglected and shameful as the third world.  And then people think that 'the casinos' are making some of  the last truly rural people in the country who happen to tribally connected a bunch of lazy Indians.

    Some things never changed.

    I'm not bitter; I merely want obstinate politicians to stop condemning thousands of people to early graves.

    by Nulwee on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 10:45:38 AM PST

  •  An fascinating read Redstar (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KiaRioGrl79, redstar

    It is just a coincidence but yesterday I got a very official looking envelope through my door.

    You know, one made of cheap brown recyclable paper of a certain size that spoke all over of being "Official". The sort that you open hurriedly thinking it to be a speeding fine or notification that Sally the Psycho Dog had done something improper in the Park.

    Phew!! It was just my single person's $380 Winter Fuel Allowance notification, simply saying that it was being paid into my bank in the next few days.

    We all get it here in the UK from age 60.

    It may seem a bit silly that a comfortably off middle class guy like me, whose income in retirement exceeds his personal needs gets this handout to help with my heating bills. The alternative, though is "means testing" - making those in need have to suffer the indignity of proving that they do not have sufficient income.

    So I accept it gratefully and it will go to some good cause where there is a need that our State has not identified or seen fit to fill or just finds it impossible (as there are always some) to legislate for in the way that increased winter fuel bills allow.

    Sure, I pay higher taxes - or certainly have done in the past - than you do in the States.  That's the problem with big government.

    But I like the irony that it gives me the freedom to re-direct some of the money, that I am now getting back from the government in the form of this fuel rebate and my extra pension in addition to my occupational pension, away from being used to help build the successor to the nuclear war head delivery system -  that Blair has stupidly just ordered - to a more useful social cause.

    Freedom comes in funny packages in the UK. Even in large square Government brown ones.

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