Friday, February 02, 2007

Don Feder: Joe Kennedy Pimps for Hugo Chavez
February 2, 2007

Hugo Chavez is moving Venezuela at breakneck speed toward a Marxist dictatorship (“Fidel – The Sequel”). He’s allied himself with the most odious creatures on the planet. He supports terrorism and has an all-consuming hatred for America.

He’s the most dangerous man in the hemisphere – and a good friend of Joe Kennedy. The ex-Congressman and head of the Citizens Energy Corporation has become chief U.S. cheerleader for the hideous little tyrant.

Joe Kennedy of the Citizens energy Corporation speaks to Chavez and heating oil program beneficiaries in April 2006

Here’s the scam: Kennedy gets heating oil from Citgo, wholly owned by Venezuela, which is wholly owned by Chavez. Little Joe (who loves playing Lord Bountiful to the needy, in preparation for his next bid for public office) offers the product to low-income families, while boosting “our friends in Venezuela” in TV spots.

A series of public service announcements seem to be running non-stop on Massachusetts stations. They go something like this:

(Anxious-looking mother and daughter, shivering in a frigid apartment, the thermostat set at 60) “Mommy I’m cold.”

Elderly man with a foreign accent, “I can’t afford to pay for heat.”

(Joe, in a windbreaker, pops up on the screen – classic toothy Kennedy grin): “I’m Joe Kennedy and help is on the way – heating oil at 40 percent off from Citgo and our friends in Venezuela. Dial-1-877-Joe-4-Oil.”

I wish they’d stop running these during the dinner hour. It’s hard to hold food down after Kennedy’s smarmy performance.

Some have had the audacity to criticize this clumsy attempt to buy good will for the Venezuelan regime. (Imagine the nerve, criticizing a Kennedy!)

Joe will hear none of it. “Those who have no problem staying warm at night should not condemn others for accepting Venezuela’s oil. Rhetoric means little to an elderly woman who has to drag an old cot from her basement to sleep by the warmth of her kitchen stove or give up food or medicine to pay her heating bills,” Kennedy self-righteously thundered in a December 24th op-ed piece in The Boston Globe.

I’m only surprised he didn’t make the elderly woman crippled, trailing several sickly and malnourished grandchildren after her, as she dragged her old cot to the warmth of the kitchen stove.

One person who doesn’t have to worry about staying warm in New England winters is Joseph P. Kennedy II, who (besides his family’s wealth) draws an annual salary of $400,000 from the Citizens Energy Corporation – more than twice his pay as a Congressman.

Joe-4-Oil started the Citizens Energy Corporation, then passed it over to his brother Michael, when he went to Congress (1987-1999). When Michael died in a skiing accident, and Joe discovered what his brother was pulling down from the foundation, the great humanitarian decided that he couldn’t afford to stay in Congress ($160,000 vs.$400,000). Kennedys believe charity begins at home.

In his Globe commentary, 1-877-Joe-4-Oil planted a big, wet one on Senor Chavez. Kennedy: “Meanwhile, in Venezuela, the president is socializing his nation’s oil profits. (Kennedys like socializing profit, as long as its not their own.) Poverty has dropped by 25 percent. State-sponsored provision of basic needs like food and health care has expanded.” He has seen the future and it works – especially for rich-boy gringos drawing hefty salaries to help frosty grandmothers.

Kennedy: “So, sure, we’ll distribute Hugo’s oil. Doing so is called compassionate capitalism (courtesy of a communist). Right now, our country’s vulnerable families fend for themselves, while the well-to-do can afford to throw snowballs at our program from the security of their warm homes and offices.”

There you have it: If you dare question Joe Kennedy’s partnership with the man who’s turning Venezuela into a police state, you are a heartless plutocrat who doesn’t give a damn for the shivering masses. How the scion of one of America's wealthiest families can get away with this shameless class-baiting is a mystery.

Besides resorting to class warfare at the first hint of criticism, Kennedys are great at shilling for tyrants.

Joe-4-Oil’s alliance with Chavez is reminiscent of his grandfather’s pre-World War II infatuation with another socialist tyrant – National Socialist Adolf Hitler.

As Ambassador to the Court of St James’s (1938-1940), Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. was a huge fan of Der Fuhrer. When told of the persecution of Jews in the early days of the Third Reich, the patriarch of the Kennedy clan reportedly snapped, “Well, they brought it on themselves.”

In June, 1938, the German ambassador to Britain reported to Berlin that Kennedy “fully understood our Jewish policy.” As Herbert von Dirksen explained to his superiors, Old Joe was only concerned that Kristallnacht and related anti-Semitic incidents were generating bad PR for the Nazis.

It’s a pity Ambassador Kennedy and Herr Hitler didn’t hit on the idea of providing Volkswagens and Wiener schnitzel at 40 percent off to Depression-era Americans.

Speaking of classic anti-Semites, earlier this month, Iran’s nutcase President Ahmadinejad was in Caracas for talks with his principal Latin American ally.

Chavez greeted the man who doesn’t let a day go by without threatening Israel with nuclear annihilation as a “ fighter for just causes,” while variously referring to the host of a recent Holocaust-denial conference as a “revolutionary” and a “brother.” (Hey Joe, think you can get discount oil from the Islamacists in Tehran? The mullahs could use a prominent American collaborator.)

In a ceremony at Tehran University last July, Ahmadinejad awarded Chavez Iran’s highest honor, the Islamic Republic medal, for supporting the nation’s drive for nuclear weapons. In a stirring example of revolutionary rhetoric, Chavez told Ahmadinejad: “Let’s save the human race; let’s finish off the U.S. empire,” while simultaneously attacking Israel for “terrorism,” “fascist attitudes” and “genocide” in defending itself from Hezbollah.

Chavez is quite the orator. At various times, he’s referred to the president of the United States as an “aspiring world dictator,” “a terrorist,” “an assassin” and – in an address before the U.N. General Assembly last fall – “the Devil.” America is “the greatest threat looming over our planet” and a nation whose “hegemonic pretensions…are placing at risk the very survival of the human species,” Joe-4-Oil’s pal opines.

In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, Chavez declared, “The United States brought the attacks upon itself, for their arrogant and imperialistic policy.” How does the oily philanthropist feel about that little gem? Dial-1-877-Joe-4-Treason.

Major Juan Diaz Castillo, a Venezuelan defector, claims that prior to the World Trade Center attack, Chavez transferred $1 million to Osama bin Laden.

A lawsuit by the Washington-based group Judicial Watch alleges that Chavez not only provided financial support to bin Laden, but that Al Qaeda is currently operating a training camp on the Venezuelan island of Margarita. Others have charged Chavez is providing false identity documents to individuals from the Middle East, to facilitate their entry into the United States. He also supports Colombia’s FARC terrorists.

Let us pause to reflect on the glories Kennedy’s favorite Marxist is inflicting on his nation:

* In a move decried as censorship by everyone from the Organization of American States to Human Rights Watch, on January 18, Chavez announced that he would close Radio Caracas Television. The 54-year-old station is his main media critic.

* Under the Chavez-sponsored Law on Social Responsibility of Radio and Television, reporters face up to 20 months in prison for “disrespect” of the maximum leader.

* Freedom House ranks Venezuela under Chavez 34th out of 35 countries in the Western Hemisphere in press freedom, ahead of only Cuba. But Castro has been in the business of throttling dissent for almost 50 years. Just give Hugo a little time.

* On the day that he moved against Radio Caracas Television, Chavez’s rubber-stamp National Assembly gave 1-877-Dial-Hugo-4-Marxism the power to rule by decree for 18 months in 11 key areas.

* Chavez has announced his intension to nationalize Venezuela’s energy, oil and telecommunications industries. He’s looted the country’s National Bank of billions.

* Those who signed a 2004 petition to recall Chavez (more than a million marched through the streets of Caracas at the time) have found themselves frozen out of state jobs and contracts, denied public assistance, and have even had applications for passports rejected.

* Chavez has announced his intention to rule Venezuela until 2031 – making him a president-for-life in all but name.

* Chavez is reported to have closed deals for the purchase of $3 billion of Russian arms, including fighter jets, military helicopters and 100,000 Kalashnikov rifles. Since no army is poised on its borders to invade Venezuela, it’s reasonable to assume that, when the time is right, all of this will be turned on opponents of the regime.

* Chavez is trading Venezuelan oil for Cuban police-state expertise. Since 2005, he’s imported tens of thousands of Cubans to staff key positions in the nation’s military and intelligence services.

The noose is tightening on the people of Venezuela. The above are all inexorable steps toward achieving Chavez’s grand vision of “Fatherland, socialism or death.” Hugo, Hugo uber alles….

I’ve been to Cuba and witnessed the suffering of its people first-hand. If Chavez stays in power, it’s only a matter of time before Venezuela becomes a Cuba-clone – with grinding poverty (notwithstanding the nation’s oil wealth), shortages of everything, the very air Venezuelans breathe socialized and a populace reduced to slavery.

“Sure we’ll distribute Hugo’s oil” and spread his propaganda, 1-877-Dial-Joe-4-Oil proclaims.

The man in the lime-green leisure-suit with a silver-spoon dangling from his neck sidles up to you. He points toward a swarthy man dressed in a mini skirt and tank-top, swinging a purse.

“Psst, hey, fella, wanna buy some heating oil at a 40 percent discount?” Or am I throwing snowballs at shivering old women from the security of my warm home again?

- Don Feder is a former Boston Herald writer who is now a political/communications consultant. He also maintains his own website,

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