While official Washington (and the talking heads attached thereto) are wearing out their worry beads over what to do about Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez' ridiculous rant at the United Nations, most regular Americans are perfectly at ease: Make public the transactions between any US company and Venezuela and let the American consumer decide how to punish that kind of activity.
No treaty violations. No official sanctions. Just let us know and we'll take care of it.
For those who missed class this week, ole Hugo went to the United Nations and treated his speech like a Passion Play in Caracas during Carnaval.
According to Maggie Farley writing in the LA Times:
"Standing at the lectern where Bush had delivered his speech the day before, Chavez said, 'Yesterday, the devil came here. Right here.' He crossed himself. 'Right here. And it smells of sulfur still today.'"
Venezuela, in 2005 shipped about $34 Billion worth of goods to the US of which about $30 Billion was oil and petroleum derivatives.
Cut them off. Stop importing Venezuelan crude oil, fuel oil or "other petroleum products."
Here's the rule: If an American can't take it into the cabin of a commercial airplane, we don't want it shipped in. Simple enough?
I would be perfectly happy to have gasoline prices go right back to where they were last month if it meant letting Hugo have to bathe in unsold crude.
Ok. The last line of the paragraph from Farley's piece read - and pay attention because this is the important part: "Many diplomats in the vaulted chamber laughed and clapped."
Oh. Really? Thought it was funny? On the theory that many of the "many diplomats in the vaulted hall" are from what we used to call Third World countries (and now, for political correctness reasons call them "Developing" countries) let's get a video tape and carefully note which clapping and laughing diplomats represent which of those countries and immediately cut of any foreign aid. None. Zero. Bupkus.
To quote Professor Emilio Lizardo from Buckaroo Bonzai, "Laugh-a while you can, Mo…" Oh. I don't think I can say that.
The good news in all this is the effect on other opponents of President Bush.
One can only imagine how the ACLU is writhing in discomfort because of its glee over an anti-Bush tirade from the podium of the UN while remaining unalterably opposed to the use of religion in a public setting which, if the is a God, will lead to the entire organization collapsing in on itself like a stellar idea disintegrating into an intellectual black hole.
The other nutcase who must be having a problem with this is Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who is busy trying to figure out how to foment a full-blown Islamic attack on the Vatican to punish Pope Benedict for having quoted a conversation which took place SEVEN HUNDRED YEARS AGO.
How does Ahmadinejad applaud Chavez using enough Catholic symbology to be included in the next Dan Brown novel as a way to attack his other enemy, President Bush? I guess there are good Crusaders and bad Crusaders.
As for the United Nations in general, my advice has not changed: Move it to Darfur. See how much laughter and clapping that generates.
On the Secret Decoder Ring today: Links to the Census Bureau's table of Venezuelan imports, a link to the LA Times piece, a link to the Buckaroo Bonzai reference; a Mullfoto showing why life in Your Nation's Capital is so complicated, and another "Clinton Thought Balloon Contest" Catchy Caption of the Day.