Energy

Say It Aint So, Joe

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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 He has repealed basic freedoms of press and speech, and was just barely prevented recently from becoming president for life.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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  1. The Kennedys, hypocrites?
    Say it ain’t so, Balko!

  2. “Rich Kid Born With Silver Spoon Up His Ass Works For Benefit of Poor at $400K/year.”

    Never heard that one about a Kennedy before.

    /sarcasm

  3. takes a $400,000 annual salary to head up a non-profit

    No wonder reason guards their non-profit status so highly…

  4. born-into-wealth Kennedy takes a $400,000 annual salary to head up a non-profit

    I’ve always pointed out that non-profits are where the money is.

  5. The only mystery surrounding the Kennedys is why the Massholes keep electing these cretins. It’s truly amazing–they are constantly getting into trouble, killing women with cars or golf clubs, getting killed themselves, and topping it all off with breathtaking hypocrisy (no wind farm for Teddy, $400,000 for Joe). Yet they are immensely popular. I just can’t fathom it.

  6. the 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.

    This is par for the course for a lot of non profits. Its more about “messaging” and events that put your people in positive position to do deals with people than it is really achieving results.

    I remember some quote by a guy from the Ford Foundation, who after 20+ years of work and billions of dollars spent, basically wrote off the whole idea of ‘aid’ as useless, because the machinery of aid sucks up 90% of the resources.

    Greenpeace spends like 87% of their operating budget on marketing and fundraising AFAIK. I dont think they are abnormal for most groups – just more likely to disclose because they’re big.

    There was an interesting article in the times last week about former hedge fund guys who started a charity-analysis rank, allowing people to review how effective charitable orgs are at actually delivering results to the needy.

    Naturally, the existing charity/aid groups mostly criticised the idea as too capitalisty, lacking merit, unfair to some groups, marginalizing certain kinds of recipients etc.

    Ignore the man behind the curtain!

  7. What does the Executive Director of the Reason Institute earn? How about Cato?

    Shall we get into CEO salaries and stockholders?

    Dumb cheap shot.

  8. Is some third-world doofus wants to give away oil, what’s the problem?

  9. If you qualify for the low price heating oil, then sign up with Joe….and donate the savings to Ron Paul!

  10. That would be the “dictator” who runs for election and re-election in internationally-certified elections, maintains the democratic process after a coup is attempted against him, puts his proposal before the democratically-elected parliament and then the people in a public referendum, loses the elections, and then accepts the defeat and moves on, right?

    You know, one of THOSE dictators.

  11. Is some third-world doofus wants to give away oil, what’s the problem?

    Thats pretty much my thoughts on the subject. If Se?or Cabron wants to give away cheap heating oil to the yanquis, more power to him.

  12. I’d say caudillo describes him better than dictator.

    Yes, joe, hes more like Huey Long than Josef Stalin.

  13. What does the Executive Director of the Reason Institute earn? How about Cato?

    Shall we get into CEO salaries and stockholders?

    Dumb cheap shot.

    Yes and no.

    Unless the heads of Cato or Reason Institute are from families of fabulous wealth and power, I would say you are comparing apples to oranges, joe…

  14. joe, can you explain the appeal of the Kennedys, seeing as you are from their state?

  15. Anyway, heat for the poor is a good cause, whatever heartburn it may cause certain people. If you live in a cold climate, there’s probably a local nonprof helping fill poor people’s oil tanks, and they wouldn’t turn down a donation.

    Four degrees on my drive into work this morning. Ever hear the wind above the drop ceiling in a three-decker in January?

  16. Shall we get into CEO salaries and stockholders?

    The difference is that CEOs head organizations that are all about making money.

    That’s not supposed to be the case for nonprofits.

  17. Here comes joe with the moral equivalence argument, everyone get ready to dogpile the strawman!

  18. joe,

    I take it you wouldn’t have had any problem if, in 2002, Bush set up an election that would make him president for life.

  19. Episiarch,

    No new Kennedy has been elected in Massachusetts in two decades. Ted gets re-elected because he’s a long-incumbent senator. The last time one flirted with a run for public office was the gubenatorial race in 2002, and he got laughed off the stage.

    I sense people are getting sick of Ted. The Cape Wind project is wildely popular in Massachusetts, like 70-30 in favor, and people are not happy about Teddy’s NIMBYism. He’s had a good run, but it’s time to pass the to-ach to a new generation of leadahship.

  20. Ever hear the wind above the drop ceiling in a three-decker in January?

    Yep. Three years on Magnus Ave in beautiful Somerville.

  21. The difference is that CEOs head organizations that are all about making money.

    …for their stockholders.

  22. crimethink,

    I’d vote against it, of course. That’s a terrible idea.

    Even if, as actually happened, it was a proposal to allow him to run for office for more than two terms, and not “make him president for life.”

  23. Dumb cheap shot.

    Not really, joe. Private firms are all about making money. Reason’s message is, in part, that people should be able to get as wealthy as they can without government interference. Paying big salaries is 100% consistent with that.

    Kennedy, though, is diverting money from an organization to a use inconsistent with its avowed mission by cashing a big check that he shouldn’t need at all.

    Its kind of like how the President of Exxon driving a Hummer isn’t hypocrisy, but Al Gore’s big carbon footprint is.

  24. 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.

    Should he mention these things? How are they relevant to someone in this country who uses his oven for heat in the winter? People can’t afford their own heating oil, and our government won’t do more. I don’t care if it’s the Third Reich giving the oil; I say take it and thank you very much.

    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?

    Yeah, what the hell, Joe? That might take care of three or four Maine counties for the whole winter.

  25. The Cape Wind project is wildely popular in Massachusetts, like 70-30 in favor, and people are not happy about Teddy’s NIMBYism.

    I was amazed that it seemed he was getting away with that shit and the people of MA weren’t calling him on it. Good to hear that they might be.

  26. Speaking of moral equivalence arguments, does anyone want to change their mind on the Stormfront dude donating to RP now?

    He’s had a good run, but it’s time to pass the to-ach to a new generation of leadahship.

    I think Ted should pass the dutchie.

  27. Unless the heads of Cato or Reason Institute are from families of fabulous wealth and power, I would say you are comparing apples to oranges, joe.

    I don’t see why this matters. Comparing Joe Kennedy’s salary to that of the heads of other non-profits is an apples to apples comparison.

    Who cares what family they come from or what their personal wealth is or what their last name is? Unless the implication is that certain rich people shouldn’t get big salaries?

    And last I checked, most people around here believe that the high salaries are needed to attract the best talent, no? Why should non-profits not be allowed to compete for the best talent with salary?

    If you want to take the position that the heads of non-profits shouldn’t take such high salaries to the detriment of the non-profit that is fine, but when you are merely upset with certain heads of certain non-profits (with certain surnames) then you are exposing yourself as rather disingenuous.

    You may as well just be poisting “I HATE THE KENNEDYS AND ANYTHING THEY DO IS WRONG IN MY BOOK”

  28. …for their stockholders.

    So, a CEO’s salary is diverting money from stockholders, is that your argument?

    If the CEO is increasing shareholder value by more than his salary, then I would say there is still no contradiction. And, of course, the stockholders, via the board, can always get rid of the CEO or cut his pay.

    I really don’t think you can say the same about Joe Kennedy’s diversion of charitable funds.

  29. joe, I don’t see where it is a cheap shot. Cato and Reason Foundation don’t exist to serve the poor.

  30. I HATE THE KENNEDYS AND ANYTHING THEY DO IS WRONG IN MY BOOK

    I’d read that book.

  31. Cato and Reason Foundation don’t exist to serve the poor.

    A non-profit is a non-profit. They exist to use their donations to push an agenda/mindset/ideas. Diverting donations to the foundation to pay a large CEO’s salary would be just as wrong.

  32. The average salary of a CEO of a large charity is about $145 K. A good site to research where to send your money is Charity Navigator.

  33. I’d read that book.

    One of my favorites

  34. @ChicagoTom: a nonprofit is a nonprofit?

    * 501(c)(1) – Corporations organized under acts of Congress such as Federal Credit Unions
    * 501(c)(2) – Title holding corporations for exempt organizations
    * 501(c)(3) – Various charitable, non-profit, religious, and educational organizations (see below)
    * 501(c)(4) – Various political education organizations (see below)
    * 501(c)(5) – Labor Unions and Agriculture
    * 501(c)(6) – Business league and chamber of commerce organizations (see below)
    * 501(c)(7) – Recreational club organizations
    * 501(c)(8) – Fraternal beneficiary societies
    * 501(c)(9) – Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Associations
    * 501(c)(10) – Fraternal lodge societies
    * 501(c)(11) – Teachers’ retirement fund associations
    * 501(c)(12) – Local Benevolent Life Insurance Associations, Mutual Irrigation and Telephone Companies and like organizations
    * 501(c)(13) – Cemetery companies
    * 501(c)(14) – Credit Unions
    * 501(c)(15) – Mutual insurance companies
    * 501(c)(16) – Corporations organized to finance crop operations
    * 501(c)(17) – Employees’ associations
    * 501(c)(18) – Employee-funded pension trusts created before June 25, 1959
    * 501(c)(19) – Veterans’ organizations
    * 501(c)(20) – Group legal services plan organizations
    * 501(c)(21) – Black lung benefit trusts
    * 501(c)(22) – Withdrawal liability payment fund
    * 501(c)(23) – Veterans’ organizations created before 1880
    * 501(c)(25) – Title-holding corporations for qualified exempt organizations
    * 501(c)(26) – State-sponsored high-risk health coverage organizations
    * 501(c)(27) – State-sponsored workers’ compensation reinsurance organizations
    * 501(c)(28) – National railroad retirement investment trust

    the issue isn’t whether the organization is a nonprofit, the issue is the organization’s stated mission.

  35. Big Joe Kennedy was an early supporter of Hitler.

    Little Joe Kennedy is a shill for Chavez.

    I think I see a pattern here.

  36. It is not the fact that it is a non-profit that is the issue.

    The issue is that it is hypocritical to accept a large salary from an organization ostensibly devoted to the service of the poor. Kennedy is a Catholic, I believe. How would St. Francis view his salary?

  37. Kennedy is a Catholic, I believe. How would St. Francis view his salary?

    Well, first you’d have to look at the standard of living of Bishops and Popes. Not exactly impoverished.

    BTW, a lot of those medieval monastic orders were awash in valuable land and gold.

  38. I HATE THE KENNEDYS FEAR POWERFUL FAMILIES THAT TRY TO START MONARCHIES AND ANYTHINGS THEY DO LIKE TEAMING UP WITH NUTJOB DICTATORS IS WRONG IN MY BOOK

  39. So, why exactly is it a problem for poor Americans to take free oil from our ‘enemy,’ but it’s cool to pay for it?
    Politics has made you an asshole. Get to work demolishing the CITGO sign at Fenway.

  40. How would St. Francis view his salary?

    I think St. Francis has more important things to worry about these days. If you know what I mean.

  41. If St Francis is the judge, all of us who don’t live in caves and subsist on berries from the woods are screwed.

  42. I find the $400K salary hypocritical, however: The best measure of a nonprofit is what percentage of its budget actually goes to admistrative costs and salaries.
    IIRC, it’s usually less than 10 percent. Wonder if that’s the case here.
    There is no such concern from the public about for-profits. The only concern would be from the stockholders.
    And yes, I think the Kennedys are fat, laughable hyenas.

  43. BTW, a lot of those medieval monastic orders were awash in valuable land and gold.

    True, but Francis railed against many of them for not giving it to the poor. Not all medieval Catholics were the Borgias.

    Much as I like St Francis, I’m pretty sure there was something wrong in his head…

  44. According to here Reason’s CEO makes 233k.

  45. BTW, a lot of those medieval monastic orders were awash in valuable land and gold.

    A lot of medieval convents were basically whorehouses. There’s a non-profit a Kennedy can support. With VIGAH!

  46. I personally couldn’t give two shits about how much Kennedy is paid for his services. Like others have mentioned, you have to pay a lot for top talent (if that’s what he is). The real kicker here is that he is happily going along with this Venezuelan-screw-job because Chavez and him don’t like Bush. Plus, Chavez doesn’t care if his people starve so that he can make a political point. And joe, exactly what don’t you find appealing about Chavez?

  47. If JFK and RFK hadn’t been assassinated, the Kennedys wouldn’t be much above the Hiltons in the public view.

    How JFK deserves to be treated as one of our great presidents boggles my mind. He increased troop levels in Vietnam, watched the illegal Berlin Wall go up on his watch, and ordered one of the stupidest, most ill-conceived military actions in US history in the Bay of Pigs. But, because he had a pretty wife and got his brains blown out, I guess that makes up for it all.

  48. Baked Penguin,

    You’ve been reading too much Maria Monk, I think.

  49. Ever hear the wind above the drop ceiling in a three-decker in January?

  50. oops. to finish…

    Yep. Four years on Ames St. in beautiful Somerville.

  51. If St Francis is the judge, all of us who don’t live in caves and subsist on berries from the woods are screwed.

    Indeed. Let’s not forget the story of the pile of dung:

    “Saint Francis himself seems to have been almost pathologically disgusted by money, which he regarded as inextricably linked with avarice. Celano’s Vita Secunda offers several examples of this aversion. In one story, a layman coming to pray at the Franciscan church of the Porziuncola near Assisi (now the basilica of S. Maria degli Angeli) places a money offering at the foot of the cross. A brother touches the coin only in order to fling it onto the windowsill and then immediately repents. Nonetheless, he is scolded by Francis. As punishment, the friar is told to pick the coin up in his teeth and toss it into the dung heap beyond the convent fence. (69) The rule of 1221 prohibited the friars from handling or receiving money for any reason except for dealing with the needs of sick brothers. Any friar finding coins is instructed ‘to pay no more attention to them than to the dust we tread underfoot. …’ (70)”

    from here

  52. Oh yeah, and before someone brings up the Cuban Missile Crisis, JFK himself created the mess with his idiotic Bay of Pigs invasion, and his “great leadership during a time of crisis” or whatever consisted of a few days of inaction followed by his jumping to accept any offer from the Soviets that allowed him to save face (ie, agreeing to never invade Cuba and pull our missiles from Turkey). If he really had “stared down the Russians” as fawning historians claim, why didn’t he push for more concessions from them?

    ::shouts at half-dollar coin:: I HATE YOU! I HATE YOU!

  53. I work for a non-profit. The executive director here makes signifigantly less than 400k.

    Usually when a non-profit has a highly paid head guy like that, it is because that guy can attract a lot more money and support from donors. I don’t think there a lot of donors lining up to give money to joe-4-oil.

  54. Random House Webster’s College Dictionary, 1995

    dic*ta*tor N. 1. a ruler exercising absolute power without hereditary right or the free consent of the people

  55. Cesar,

    I’d say Huey Long “describes him better than Josef Stalin,” too.

    But not quite. It is unthinkable that Huey Long would allow himself to lose an election when he had enough power to cheat if he wanted to.

  56. Random House Webster’s College Dictionary, 1995

    dic*ta*tor N. 1. a ruler exercising absolute power without hereditary right or the free consent of the people

    Are you sure that dictionary isn’t from 1928?

  57. Hey now, little Joe never killed any women,…he only made one a paraplegic.

  58. R C Deana also doesn’t realize that corporate officers are supposed to make money for the corporation and the shareholders, not themselves. Aren’t you supposed to be a lawyer?

    In a nutshell, this failure to understand the differece between these two interests is why the “investor class” theory Repubicans used to advance has proven so worthless.

  59. Ah, fuck, I Godwined the thread.
    Sorry.

  60. (Joe Kennedy, that is, not our own beloved joe.)

  61. 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.

    Everyone who thinks that Citizens Energy provides heating oil to households earning $43,500 please raise your hand, ball it into a fist, and bring it down sharply on the top of your head.

    What’s with the collectivist group identity analysis of politics?

  62. Unless Joe K. is on record as stating that no one should make that much money or that CEO’s of non-profits shouldn’t, or unless he claims not to, I see no hypocrisy. But I think it’s contrary to libertarian principles to act like there’s something wrong with someone making that much money, for any purpose or cause. As long as the people paying him think they’re getting their money’s worth, and as they use contributed monies in a manner consistent with how they claim to, don’t chafe my cheeks. I suppose one could make the argument that Joe K. should tell Chavez to keep the money and use it for his own poor consituents, but as there’s no telling if he’d use that way if he didn’t give it to Joe, I don’t see how that’s much of an argument. Taking money from any government when they obviously got it without asking each taxpayer’s permission is questionable IMO, but that’s obviously not the issue here. Any taking of tainted money can be a sticky issue, true, but hardly one that falls clearly on either side of the argument. Just ask Ron Paul.

  63. No new Kennedy has been elected in Massachusetts in two decades.

    Why bother when they can keep electing the old ones?

  64. joe, I have to wonder if you’d be presenting the same argument if Rupert Murdoch was shilling for “Oil from our friends in [Pinochet’s] Chile” while receiving $400 grand from a non-profit.

  65. Yeah, well, the wind above the drop ceiling in a three-decker is even windier in Fitchburg than in Somerville. So there.

    Marcvs,

    I find a great deal unappealing about Chavez. His grab for executive power, for example, or his policy of staging photo opps with the Iranians, or his idiotic display at the U.N.

    When I criticize certain trigger-happy people for flailing away at Teh New Stalin, when said “dictator” is a democratic prolitician who just happens to be sitting on a big lake of oil, and has been the target of violent overthrow efforts by people with ties to our government (and those same trigger-happy people), and doesn’t play nice with our oil companies – believe me, it’s not warm feelings towards to the third-world politician that motivates me.

  66. fyodor,

    Taking money from any government when they obviously got it without asking each taxpayer’s permission is questionable IMO

    In this case, Citgo is donating some of its heating oil.

    If Exxon donated exactly the same amount of oil to poor families in the US to get some good press, would this be a blog post? Would it matter who owns Citgo? Would it matter where they drilled for the oil?

    I think the answer to all of those questions is “No.”

  67. I should know better than to get into these threads, but anyway…

    “Dictatordom” is not a binary variable, there are degrees. Chavez is pretty high on the scale, Putin (just to note an example) is higher, and the top would be Fidel or the North Korea guys or something. Where you rank on the scale depends, on large part, on what you can get away with, and Putin can get away with more stuff than Chavez, as we have seen.

  68. R C Deana also doesn’t realize that corporate officers are supposed to make money for the corporation and the shareholders, not themselves.

    Aren’t corporate officers awarded stock so as to motivate them to increase shareholder value?

  69. Well, if we’re going down that road, I technically own 1/27000000 of Citgo…

  70. You know, this gnashing of teeth over salaries, compared to other salaries, compared to ceo’s compared to non-profit ceo’s is a waste of time. No one’s talking about the substance of the post here.

    What we have is Kennedy (but really, as ChicagoTom says, who cares who he is) who earns $400,000 salary, one (1) salary for this entire organizaton who may have a budget in the millions, running a (presumably) expensive ad offering “low-cost” heating oil to qualifying Americans courtesy of “our friends” in Venezuela.

    Is it conceivable that said non-profit could merely redirect all of this money and offer the same heating oil to the same group of qualifying Americans and bypass the whole Venezuela deal altogether?

    Given Venezuela’s GDP, could Chavez not give the low-cost heating oil to Americans and instead offer the value of said heating oil as a direct check to qualifying poor Venezuelan’s?

    The point here is that this is a game of politics, not an act of altruism. Are we clear on that?

  71. If Exxon donated exactly the same amount of oil to poor families in the US to get some good press, would this be a blog post?

    Exxon has to answer to its stockholders, who are free to sell their shares.
    Citgo is a state-run organization, financed off the backs of Venezuela’s citizens.

  72. When people don’t recognize the difference between a democratic politician whose policies they don’t like, and a dictator filling mass graves, that’s a problem.

    When those same people have a history of writing passionately about how important it is that we use wars and other violent means against dictators, the problem becomes even bigger.

  73. NTM that poor Americans are solidly middle-class Venezuelans…

  74. When those same people have a history of writing passionately about how important it is that we use wars and other violent means against dictators

    Who, me? When did I ever make that argument?
    I’m just saying that the dictionary definition of “dictator” you posted doesn’t cover Herr Hitler, who was in fact elected. Freely. By retards.

  75. democratic politician whose policies they don’t like, and a dictator filling mass graves,

    Joe, I don’t think you have to fill mass graves to be a dictator.

    There are other qualifying factors.

  76. joe–Let me know when you get to the part about Chavez’s great commitment to democracy.

    As to those who say “who cares?”: lie down with dogs/get in bed with the devil. You pick.

    If you can’t see the dilemma about standing with a pseudo-dictatorial thug, then your moral posturings aren’t worth all that much.

  77. Jamie Kelly,

    Did you intend to suggest that Citgo costs the citizens of Venezuela money? Because it doesn’t. It brings in an enormous amount of money.

    As a matter of fact, a great deal more of that money is being spent on efforts* to benefit the poor in Venezuela than prior to Chavez’s election. In case you’re wondering, Reason Magazine ran exactly zero pieces criticizing anyone at Citgo for taking a salary and denying the money to Venezuelans.

    *whether they are effective is another question

  78. Some people just hate it when someone helps the poor. If you’re not going to do it, don’t bitch when someone else does.

    Crimethink, I don’t know why JFK was so loved, but a lot of people from that era sure loved him. He was before my time. But I guess it’s like the republicans loving Reagan. He greatly raised the debt, lost in Lebanon, and made deals with the Iranians. But they think he is the beacon of conservatism. I give Reagan a lot of credit for ending the cold war, but look how quick the republicans want to bring it back, albeit a different enemy.

  79. Jamie Kelly,

    Actually, I was thinking of Radley Balko and R C Dean when I wrote that.

  80. Did you intend to suggest that Citgo costs the citizens of Venezuela money? Because it doesn’t. It brings in an enormous amount of money.

    Joe, no I didn’t intend to. But the fact that Citgo makes money for “la gente” doesnt’ change the fact that it’s state-run, and probably at the expense of other industries.

  81. Everyone who thinks that Citizens Energy provides heating oil to households earning $43,500 please raise your hand, ball it into a fist, and bring it down sharply on the top of your head.

    Everyonewho thinks Citizen’s Energy only provides heating oil to people who keep the thermostat below 68 F raise their right hand. Anybody who thinks that many who get heating energy assistance have warmer house than you do in the winter, tell joe.

    I’ll start by using both hands to type. joe, from personal experience with poor people, (yes joe, I do encounter poor people in my personal life) many wear short sleeves at home in the winter, leave the front door open to talk to those on the porch, won’t insulate or even tape over the cracks in the window frames. Yes joe, MANY of the “poor” piss away money when it’s provided by somebody else and not fungible.

    Aside from all that energy irresponsibility, I encourage all qualified heating oil customers to take as much from the dirt poor Venezuelans as they can get. It makes Hugo look good and that’s what’s really important here, not the poverty stricken indigenous people in Venezuela.

  82. Joe, I can’t recall:
    Does Balko support the Iraq war or a possible war with Iran?
    Serious question.

  83. JW,

    Let me know when you get to the part where you’re ok with the people benefitting from the donation not having heat. While we’re going cheap shots.

    If Chavez was actually a dictatorial thug, somebody who was filling mass graves or cancelling/cheating on elections, I’d have a big problem with such an ad. If Joe Kennedy was thanking “our friends in Iraq” back during the Saddam/Rummy handshake days, for example.

    But, once again, internationally certified elections, saved his country’s democracy from a coup, indepdendent civil society, large and vocal opposition press, lost election. This is more like saying “from our friends in Mexico” or “from our friends in Nigeria,” during one of the periods when Nigeria was run by a democratic government.

  84. crimethink – Maria Monk? More like William Manchester.

  85. J sub D,

    I don’t hold poor people to higher standards because they are poor. You think no one with money is ever wasteful? I guess you can always find reasons to shit on the less fortunate if you really want to.

    I hear some of those poor Venezuelans are wasteful, too. Funny how strategic you are in your compassion.

  86. So, who here ever once voiced an opinion that Citgo wasn’t returning enough money to the poor in Venezuela back before Hugo Chavez vastly increased the amount of Citgo money going to poor in Venezuela?

    Cue Jeopardy theme.

    Jamie,

    IIRC, Radley was all about liberating the poor people of Iraq.

  87. I don’t hold poor people to higher standards because they are poor. You think no one with money is ever wasteful?

    Joe, I think the point of Jsub’s post was to point out that if money was so tight, some more time spent trying to save it would be paid.

    Wealthier people are surely wasteful, but it’s within their capacity to be so. Does it seem fair? Not really. I bought a DVD the other day for $19.95. Did I need the DVD? No. There are starving people who can’t afford a meal, but I still bought my DVD. Was that wasteful?

    In the end I don’t think, however, that this is really easy to quantify. I would agree that if you’re really poor, taping up a window probably isn’t going to make the difference between having heat and not having heat.

    I can tell you, though, that doing something like not buying cigarettes might actually make the difference between having and not having heat.

  88. If Chavez was actually a dictatorial thug, somebody who was filling mass graves or cancelling/cheating on elections, I’d have a big problem with such an ad.

    So, as long as he’s only confiscating and nationalizing private property, sicking his goons on protesters, shutting down TV stations that critcize him, locking up political activists, packing the high court with his cronies, etc., you’re OK with that?

    Don’t pull a muscle trying to set those high standards there, joe.

    Seriously. If you can’t see the moral dilemma, then climb down off the high horse already.

  89. Paul,

    Like any oil company advertising its good works, Citgo is doing this to get good press.

    And like any oil company CEO, Chavez has probably convinced himself that he’s an altruistic humanitarian acting from the very best motives.

  90. JW,

    Half of what you write is bullshit; half of it is overwrought language used to steal bases in an argument, half of it is one-sided, and half of it is legitimate.

    I am not OK with the fourth half, and only half ok with the second and third halfs.

    To answer what you would have asked if you were more honest and less prone to let your desire to be a heroic freedom fighter run away with your capacity for accuracy, I consider Chavez’s government to be far enough on this side of the dictator/democrat line to have no problem with the ad, even as I wish he was even further from the line.

  91. And like any oil company CEO, Chavez has probably convinced himself […]

    And, as an astute observer of corporate CEO’s, we can probably conclude that he’s full of shit.

  92. If you can’t see the moral dilemma, then climb down off the high horse already.

    I’m not the one condemning anyone here, Torquemanda.

    Remember? Repeat along with the others: “Bad Joe Kennedy. Bad! Bad Citgo. Bad! Bad Joe Kennedy. Tut tut tut.”

  93. So, as long as he’s only confiscating and nationalizing private property…

    Yep, he fucked with the oil companies but good.

    Let’s not pretend there’s any other reason any of us have heard of him.

  94. Half of what you write is bullshit; half of it is overwrought language used to steal bases in an argument, half of it is one-sided, and half of it is legitimate.

    My god. It’s like we think with the same mind. I’ll let you play with the right half tomorrow.

    Feel free to dispute anything that I wrote with actual facts joe. Go crazy.

    I consider Chavez’s government to be far enough on this side of the dictator/democrat line to have no problem with the ad, even as I wish he was even further from the line.

    You must be a blast at the ANSWER anti-war rallies. In all seriousness though, I don’t think moral relativism was engineered to go as far as you have pushed it today. Ease back on the stick, slick.

  95. I’m not the one condemning anyone here, Torquemanda.

    Nah, just sucking up to a thug and a lout who have “good intentions.” That’s sooooo much better.

    Hey, didn’t Little Joe try to have his 12-year marriage annulled? I wonder what his kids thought of that.

  96. R C Dean also doesn’t realize that corporate officers are supposed to make money for the corporation and the shareholders, not themselves. Aren’t you supposed to be a lawyer?

    joe doesn’t realize that corporate officers are allowed to make as much money as the shareholders, via the board, is willing to pay them.

    The shareholders and the board generally regard this expenditure of money as consistent with the corporation’s pursuit of profit, on the belief (correct or not) that (a) these guys are making us money and (b) if we don’t pay them this much, they will leave. In a dynamic economy, paying for talent is not a zero-sum game.

    In the charitable world, however, every dollar spent on a CEO is a dollar not spent on a freezing single mother, and it gets to be very hard to make the dynamic economic argument that paying big bucks to a Maximum Leader results in more money to pursue the corporate mission.

  97. As a matter of fact, a great deal more of that money is being spent on efforts* to benefit the poor in Venezuela than prior to Chavez’s election.

    That calls for a link.

  98. ANSWER rallies.

    Some people can’t ever get over their red/blue horseshit. Ho ho, another shot at a Kennedy!

    I’m not going to roll around in the mud trying to draw an accurate picture about your claims. When one side strives for fairness and the other for absolute victory regardless of the facts, it doesn’t come out well for the truth.

    Well, we’ve reached the silly-assed strawman stage. If you don’t believe every piece of propaganda about Teh New Stalin, that means you wuv him.

  99. So Joe is taking up for Chavez (sort of) because Rodney Balko was in favor of the Iraq war?

    Has Balko argued for our intervention (has anyone here?) in Venezuela, or that Chavez is a Bad Guy[tm] who we should shun, or is he just doing this because Chavez became such a darling of the Left its fun to tweak them about the thug? Support for one war doesn’t automatically lead to support for another.

    I mean, I supported the Iraq War (note tense) and certainly wouldn’t shed a tear if Chavez got it in the neck, but I don’t want the US to invade or engage in any dirty tricks to bring it about.

  100. joe doesn’t realize that corporate officers are allowed to make as much money as the shareholders, via the board, is willing to pay them.

    Sure I realize this. Just like the officers of Citizens Energy are allowed to make as much money as the board and donors are willing to pay them. I’d say that the party arguing that Joe Kennedy’s salary is fair game and CEOs of for-profit companies are not isn’t holding up his end very well.

    In the charitable world, however, every dollar spent on a CEO is a dollar not spent on a freezing single mother

    I’ve been on the board of a charity, RC. Unlike you, I’m sure. Celebrity brings in the money.

    Stop pretending you give a crap about poor people who need heat, RC. You’ve certainly never demonstrated the slightest concern before.

  101. Regarding Joe Kennedy’s $400K salary. I don’t know first if this is the case in this particular instance, but this is a common tax/estate dodge done by “monied” families. The way it works is as follows:

    Set up sibling in non-profit organization.

    Grandparents and parents make “donations” to above organization and receive a tax deduction based on their marginal tax rate.

    Son or daughter receives salary (suprise-about the same amount as the contribution of the parent/grandparent) and picks up income at his/her marginal tax rate (usually much lower).

    The added benefit is the transfer of wealth and avoidance of the estate tax (+55%).

    Ta-Da! ;~)

  102. Jammer,

    Bringing down Teh New Stalin is a big deal for a lot of people with their own selfish interests, and they made the observation that people who fantasize about being Vaclav Havel can be manipulated into supporting their PR efforts by pushing a few buttons. They were right, btw. Very easily manipulated people.

    Just like those who decided it would be a really great idea to invade Iraq set out to manipulate those same people with lots of talk about how much they care about the people of Iraq and democracy there.

    I’ve had it with shit. They spent years pounding away at how Venezuela was just about to become Pol Pot’s Cambodia, and made their point by backing a coup d’etat against an elected leader who, a couple years later, puts his political program to a popular vote in free elections, loses, and accepts the results!

    I’ve had it with this shit.

  103. I’m not going to roll around in the mud trying to draw an accurate picture about your claims. When one side strives for fairness and the other for absolute victory regardless of the facts, it doesn’t come out well for the truth.

    OK, you don’t have any actual or factual rebuttal, just silly rhetoric. You’re empty sheriff, I can see that now. Sundown’s a’ comin’.

    So, joe, let me get this straight….actual dictatorial intentions and attempted anti-democratic actions don’t matter. Beliefs and convictions don’t matter. Actual respect for human rights don’t matter. All that matters is results.

    Yeah, that sounds about right. That “useful” thing is sneaking up on you.

  104. joe…..

    Radley was all about liberating the poor people of Iraq.

    …really? I, Radley Balko, would say you’re rather full of shit.

    Google much?

  105. I’ve had it with this shit.

    Well, yes, I get that, but is anyone here making the intervene argument?

  106. JW, nothing you wrote reflects anything close to what I wrote.

    It is exactly this idiotic, purposeful disregard for the truth and complete lack of interest in conversing in an honest manner or acknowledging my points that convinces me of the worthlessness of debating you.

    Why would I try to make a point like, “The TV station he closed was airing anti-government propaganda in the midst of a violent military coup, which would get you thrown off the air here, too. There is still a large, noisy opposition press, including Fox News available throughout the country. So while I don’t approve of the decision, it’s understandable, and not very strong evidence of a dictatorial hand squashing dissent,” when your response is going to be “Blah blah joe loves Chavez and censorship, let me spill every bit of bile I feel about Teh Socialists?”

    You’re got your nice, simplistic, absolutist story, and you’re not remotely interested in fairness or facts. THAT’S why I’m not debating you, JW, not because you have the facts on your side.

  107. Jammer,

    1. It starts with the PR effort.

    2. It’s the same PR effort we saw before we backed that coup in 2002.

    I’m not interested in watching people keep that PR campaign going.

    Radley, no, I don’t google much. If I misremembered your stance on the Iraq War, my bad.

  108. Por que no te callas?

  109. joe —

    Have you ever actually met or talked with anyone from Venezuela?

    You should. Might make you a bit more reluctant with your defenses of that thug.

    No, I wouldn’t support an invasion of or war with Venezuela. But that doesn’t mean Chavez shouldn’t be exposed for the tyrant that he is.

    And Joe Kennedy is a giant douche for taking to the airwaves to help Chavez gloat over giving free heating oil to Americans while his own people starve. And yeah, many of them are in fact starving.

    I don’t have a problem with poor Americans taking Citgo’s charity. I do have a problem with a former U.S. congressman shilling for a despot who suppresses free speech, starves his own people, has no tolerance for a free press, and suppresses political dissent.

    And yes, there’s something unseemly about Kennedy taking a $400,000 salary while doing PR for an opporessive regime that rails against wealth and stresses egalitarianism and income equality (“equality” meaning “everyone is equally poor”).

  110. Radley,

    Yes, I’ve met and spoken with someone from Venezuela, but he was a crazy leftie with a Chavez poster.

    And I haven’t defended anything except Venezuelans’ right to pick their own leaders, and honest journalism.

    …while his own people starve. And yeah, many of them are in fact starving. More of Citgo’s profits are going to poor Venezuelans under Chavez than under any of his predecessors – you know, the period when you never wrote a word about how much money Citgo was spending on the poor? There cannot possibly be anything more fake than this outrage about the drop-in-the-bucket cost of this PR gesture from people who are passionately opposed to Citgo’s profits being used on social programs for Venezuela’s poor in the first place.

    You know, I expect this shit from the rabble, Radley, but to see you falling for this “with us or with the terrorists” horse shit is deeply disappointing. I guess the vision of yourself as the brave anti-communist dissident makes moderate, responsible, accurate analysis of the situation there seem a bit drab.

    As far as Kennedy, would you prefer he give the heating oil back? How many cold apartments are your feelings worth?

  111. (“equality” meaning “everyone is equally poor”).

    Uh huh. Just as long as this ginned up outrage isn’t all a stalking horse for your opposition to Chavez’s economic policies.

  112. When the usual suspects keep yammering about the New Stalin, and he’s holding (and losing) elections, there aren’t any bodies piling up, and oh yeah, he has a leftist economic program, sits on a big lake of oil, and doesn’t play nice with our government and oil companies, maybe a little more skepticism is in order.

  113. When the usual suspects keep yammering about the New Stalin, and he’s holding (and losing) elections, there aren’t any bodies piling up…

    No, not yet. I was surprised when he accepted his election loss.

    The real test will be when he comes up for re-election. (Does anyone know when that is?)

    If he holds an honest, free election, and accepts the results of a defeat, then I will be the first to say “Joe was right and our Chavez fears were overblown”.

  114. Thank you, Kurt.

    Some wrote the same thing about the referendum in December, either before or after the results were in – that a Chavez loss demonstrates that their fears were overblown.

    Others came up with some pretty creative conspiracy theories to show how the loss just demonstrates what a crafty, omnipotent bastard Chavez really is.

    It must tough when the guy you’ve been watching on the Two Minute Hate for three years ends up being just another politician after all. That’s why I don’t watch Two Minute Hates.

  115. I don’t believe he is crafty or omnipotent at all.

    In fact, the more I read his quotes, he seems kind of stupid.

    I believe the U.S. should just stand aside and let him crash and burn all by himself.

  116. Isn’t the real question why these poor people won’t just accept libertarian principles and freeze to death like they’re obviously meant to?

    Not for nothing, but I live in Mass, and have long considered Joe Kennedy and Citizens Oil to be an example of a privileged rich guy actually doing something for the greater good instead of hunkering down and just being a rich prick.

  117. joe
    “And I haven’t defended anything except the Venezuelans’ right to choose their own leaders.”
    No one has a “right” to choose an economic populist who seizes private property, uses said property to prop up his socialist welfare state, and befriends Castro. People have rights to their own life, liberty, and property. There is no right in any majority to violate these basic rights. I don’t doubt that the majority of Venezuelans like Chavez. However, they have NO RIGHT to use majority status to grind their axes with the capitalists of their country. Personally, if I were a Venezuelan doctor, engineer, or businessman, I would currently be taking the option used by Cubans in the early days of Castro’s regime. You know, before the island became a prison.

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