The current issue of the Madison weekly Isthmus has an article about a ploy Hugo Chavez is playing with America. Chavez is offering to supply governmental officials deeply discounted oil.
Fueling Controversy Madison officials are now awaiting an offer from the Venezuelan government for low-cost diesel fuel that might reduce the financial burden on cash-strapped Madison Metro. … Ald. Austin King believes the city ought to seize the opportunity: "Rejecting Citgo's offer on a purely political basis isn't just short-sighted, it's downright cruel."I suppose a 40% below market discount to elected officials in technically neither bribery nor a kickback. If it was, then New York and Massachusetts would be totally corrupt. Alderman King with his usual emotionally derived logic suggests it would be cruel not to embrace a gift from a hostile foreign government, to save the bus system. More reasoned workers, however, are pointing out this good will offering from socialists may cause other problems for struggling local mass transit.
New York and Massachusetts have accepted more than 20 million gallons of heating oil at 40% discount. But opponents say U.S. cities shouldn't accept help from a Latin American leader who's denounced President Bush and U.S.-style capitalism.
Madison Metro Memo We have a contract with Harkney Oil Company for Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) fuel that expires June 30, 2006. There is a clause in the contract that allows us to cancel with 30-day notice. … If the CITGO offer were accepted in lieu of competitive bidding, Metro would be in non-compliance with federal, state, and local regulations. Non-compliance carries serious consequences. Metro relies on substantial federal and state funding (50%) for its operations and capital purchases (80%).Austin King must believe that the grant and gift economy is equally as viable a basis for government operations as legal contracts within a market system. If Austin was true to his beliefs he would remember the pledge he made last year.
Oil Addict "My name is Austin King and I'm an oil addict,” declared Madison, Wisconsin Alderman Austin King. “Having recognized that we all have a problem here, we must work vigilantly to kick the habit.So kick the habit Austin. Just say no to dictators bearing gifts abroad while building armies at home.