06 October 2006


Some good thoughts on the Citgo fuel program:

Where does that leave villages and Alaska households that choose to heat with Citgo's charity? Unpatriotic? No way. The Chavez test is a false one, chaff for talk radio.

Bush and Native Alaskans already have passed the real test of patriotism by dint of sweat and drill at Camp Shelby in Mississippi. That's where 600 troops of the 3rd Battalion, 297th Infantry of the Alaska Army National Guard have been training for a year's deployment to Iraq and Kuwait. Six hundred troops from about 80 Alaska communities -- Chevak, Kodiak, Bethel, Barrow, Togiak and Kongiganak, to name a few, along with Juneau, Anchorage and Fairbanks.

Hugo's oil? Alaskans can take it or leave it. Patriotism? Six hundred troops comprising a cross-section of Alaska's cultures and homes, urban and remote, Native and non-Native, have answered the call. End of debate.

Some less good thoughts:

Dear Editor,

Support Chavez—Support Terrorist

It's good to see some of our villages know what honor is by refusing the corrupt Argentina's Prez. bribery offer of oil for support. I'm glad to see someone stand for what's right, what we learned from our (Alaska's) past and what our elders teaches us about honor, not to leave out what makes the USA the greatest country in the world, bar none.

Semper FI
Russell Atwood
P.O. Box 85318
Fairbanks, AK 99708
Some in between comments:

It’s hard to watch villagers pay $7 a gallon for oil in a state that produces so much of the stuff and collects so much tax money from it, said Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska.

“The state is benefiting because of the high price, but there are many individually who don’t benefit,” she told Alaska reporters last week.

Sen. Murkowski said Chavez’s motivation is clearly not sympathy for the poor, since the discounted oil for the United States comes “at the expense of his own people.”

She said Chavez’s offer presents Alaskans with an odd situation.

“It hits me so wrong that, in a state like Alaska, where we are so blessed with our own natural resources … in a state where we have a $34 billion Permanent Fund, that our people in 151 villages would feel the need to take an offer from just an evil person,” she said. “I believe he is an evil person.”

Three additional notes.

First, Hugo Chavez is president of Venezuela. Nestor Kirchner is president of Argentina. But that's alright. All those South American countries are so hard to tell apart anyway and they're clearing all terrorist havens.

Second, the ADN says the Aleutian villages will be "shivering" this winter for rejecting the fuel. I don't think "shivering" does justice to rural Alaskan winters. Is it going too far to say that not enough heating fuel is literally a matter of life or death to folks living in the villages?

Third, I don't think anyone doubts Chavez's intentions here - personal aggrandizement and self-promotion. But I don't think he's an evil person. He's just a canny politician pursuing different ends than the good senator from Alaska would prefer.


hunky said...

Hey Jesse,

Off topic but from my comments a few days ago - I checked one reference for Chavez's record on free press, and his is pretty dismal. The US ranks in a tie for 22nd place for free press (which is up considerable from past years - less US reporters dying in Iraq?) and Venezuela is at 90.
From Reporters Without Borders
Violations of the privacy of sources, persistent problems in granting press visas and the arrest of several journalists during anti-Bush demonstrations kept the United States (22nd) away from the top of the list.

Bombings, physical attacks and threats to journalists and media hostile to President Hugo Chávez were fewer than last year in Venezuela but remained frequent and partly explain the country’s low place (90th) on the list. However tension has eased a little since Chávez won a 15 August referendum confirming him in office.

cheers, JD

hunky said...

Let me update my comment - we've now fallen to 53rd place for freedom of press.