The Watering Hole: Hump Day: Wednesday, August 15, 2012: Breaking Gnus: Romney’s VP Choice

“Tweeter tweets.”

Once again, Tweeter, The Zoo’s premier investivative journalist, is first on the scene and first with the news of Presumptive Presidential Candidate of the Republican Party, Mitt “Corporations are People” Romney’s Vice Presidential Pick.

Sources closest to the candidate revealed Halliburton was going to get the nod. It was a tough call, as the choice of potential running mates eventually narrowed down to just three: Academi, formerly Xe, formerly Blackwater; Bain Capital; and Halliburton.

Academi, a favorite with the gun crowd and evangelical christians, was felt to be a little too militaristic. Romney’s fears they might pull of a coup finally scratched the paramilitary force. It was also thought that with its frequent name-changes, it has lost its once-famous brand recognition. “People know and love Blackwater. But the meme at least since the days of Reagan have been to distrust Academia.” one source commented. In the end, it was decided to keep Academi on the side, perhaps reserving a cabinet post for the Corporation.

Bain Capital was Romney’s favorite going into the selection process. But backgrond checks revealed Corporate plans to leverage a buyout of the Executive Branch. Negotiations ensued regarding Romney’s golden parachute from the buyout, and whether he could enjoy his term to completion, then retroactively give up the Presidency to Bain Capital. Negotiations broke down, however, when Romney insisted he be given Rhode Island as part of his severance.

That left Halliburton. It is well-connected, has loads of foreign policy experience, and has an added plus of the backing of former VP Dick Cheney. The fact that it is now headquartered on foreign soil didn’t seem to bother the Presumptive Presidential Pick. “Lot’s of Americans live overseas. I don’t see why we should treat Halliburton any different than any other red-blooded American Patriot.” Romney was reported to say.

Unfortunately, just minutes before Romney was to make his historic announcement, Halliburton called and declined. “I took a long, hard look at the balance sheet, and untimately concluded that it wouldn’t be profitable, on a cost-benefit analysis, to be tied up for 4-8 years as VP.” Halliburton reportedly told Romney in a call to his cell phone just before he stepped on the stage to announce his pick. “I’m hoping to be named Secretary of Commerce.” Halliburton told reporters later.

Shaken by this last-minute turn of events, Romney approached the podium where he promptly introduced Paul Ryan as the next President of the United States. And, with that slip of the tongue, Paul Ryan became Mitt Romney’s VP Pick.

THIS IS OUR OTOTD. (OPEN THREAD OF THE DAY)
ENJOY

After Sucking America Dry

Erik Prince, the CEO of the formerly named Blackwater (renamed Xe – pronounced “Z” – to help improve its image) has resigned.  CNN reports that no successor has been named.

Gary Jackson, Blackwater/Xe’s president,  is also retiring.

Of course they can resign.  The newly minted multi-millionaires got their money the old-fashioned way;  in no bid, overpriced contracts consisting of your and my tax dollars.

Prince did not elaborate on what he planned to do next, saying only that “I will be taking on new challenges that I have not yet had the chance to tackle.”

Swell, I can’t wait to see what he is planning next to screw up for this country further. In case you don’t remember:

That followed a refusal by the Iraqi government to renew the firm’s operating license because of a 2007 incident in which the Iraqi government says security guards — then employed by Blackwater — fired upon and killed 17 Iraqi civilians.

Officials said the State Department is talking with security firms DynCorp International and Triple Canopy, which share the Iraq contract with Blackwater, about picking up the duties handled by Blackwater.

Good lord, NO. Can’t these mercenaries just go away once and for all?

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Iraqi Government Finally Bans Blackwater

Common Dreams:

We’re seeing some long overdue justice for one of the Iraq war’s biggest profiteers.  Today, the AP reports that the Iraqi government is barring Blackwater from providing security for US diplomats because the mercenary firm used “excessive force” in the 2007 Nisoor Square shooting that killed 17 Iraqi civilians.  While neither the Iraqi government nor the US Embassy has given a date for Blackwater personnel to leave Iraq yet, what is of particular note here is that the Iraqi government now views these guards for what they really are: criminals.  Five of the Blackwater guards involved in the Nisoor Square shooting face manslaughter charges in our own country right now, while a sixth has already pleaded guilty.

More from Al Jazeera English.

There are plenty more private ‘security’ companies/corporations who have popped up since Blackwater hit the radar in Iraq… Very sophisticated and better equipped than our own military… I am sure these guys from Blackwater will just hop on board with some other ‘private army’ corporation over there now that Blackwater is being kicked out. Same problems, different names..

I have read numerous places (as well as in Naomi Klein’s fantastic book “Shock Doctrine”) that this private military stuff is the newest, hottest, fastest growing business on the planet. It is where the money is. That is one of the reasons this “war on terror” NEEDS to ABSOLUTELY MUST continue to be sold to the public. If there were no ‘war on terror’ (war without end), people wouldn’t need to be kept afraid, and the need for private armies would evaporate.

That just wouldn’t do…. Got to keep those profits going.

Avast Ye Privateers

Arrrgh!

When President George W. Bush wanted to get around the Constitution in order to raise and support his own private army to provide protection for Coalition Provisional Authority chief L. Paul Bremer, Blackwater was there. When the president also wanted his own private army to operate on American soil, one of many disastrous moves by his administration during Hurricane Katrina, Blackwater was there. When seventeen Iraqi civilians were gunned down by foreigners in Nisoor Square, Blackwater was there. And now that pirates are ramping up their operations off the coast of Somalia, it looks like Blackwater will be there, too.

According to Blackwater Worldwide CEO and Founder, Erik Prince,
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James Dobson’s Focus on the Family reportedly lays off 200

LA Times:

Tough times on the morality business front too, it seems.

Published reports in Colorado say that Focus on the Family, the conservative evangelical group founded and headed by Dr. James Dobson, is laying off about 200 of its employees.

It’s the second time in recent months the influential group that does so much mailing it has its own ZIP code has released workers from its mountainside headquarters in Colorado Springs. The latest cuts leave the national organization with about 950 employees from a onetime high of some 1,500.

The cutbacks come after Focus, formerly headquartered in California until 1991, spent a reported half-million dollars to successfully support Proposition 8 in the Golden State, overturning a state court decision to allow same-sex marriages…

More from Pensito Review (Jon Ponder):

Elsa Prince, Mother of Blackwater Founder, Was Fourth Largest Prop 8 Donor

Michigan billionaire Elsa Prince’s second greatest claim to fame is that she was a founder in 1977 of Focus of the Family, a nonprofit group that, despite its warm and fuzzy name, is in tenor and in practice an anti-gay hate group.

Prince’s top claim to fame, however, is that she is the mother of Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater Worldwide, the scandal-plagued BushCo mercenary group that, since 2004, has been paid at least $323 million on a $1 billion no-bid government contract. Blackwater is in the headlines now because six of its mercenaries may be facing charges for the massacre of 17 Iraqi civilians in September 2007. Earlier scandals have included the abrupt resignation of State Dept. Inspector Howard Krongard over Blackwater-related perjury charges, allegations that Blackwater employees were traitorously recruiting U.S. troops in the war zone and that and Blackwater security shot a dog belonging to the New York Times Baghdad bureau.

In August, Elsa Prince made two donations that totaled $450,000 to Proposition 8, the California initiative that narrowly passed on Nov. 4, and will amend the state constitution to revoke the right of gay people to marry, if it is not overturned by the California Supreme Court.

Around the same time, Focus on the Family reportedly donated over $439,000 to the anti-gay cause. In October, just months after Prince and Focus on the Family donated a combined $889,000 to the California hate initiative, Focus on the Family announced it would lay off or reassign 46 of 1,300 employees. Now it says there will be more layoffs due to restructuring of its distribution arm.

It’s a dead cinch the families of the dozens of employees who are about to be fired would have preferred that the nearly $900,000 donated to Prop 8 by Prince and their bosses had gone toward salaries.

Read the rest…

It’s all about priorities.. (/sarc)

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IRAQ: Fever Named After Blackwater

via: IPS

Iraqi doctors in al-Anbar province warn of a new disease they call “Blackwater” that threatens the lives of thousands. The disease is named after Blackwater Worldwide, the U.S. mercenary company operating in Iraq.

“This disease is a severe form of malarial infection caused by the parasite plasmodium falciparum, which is considered the worst type of malarial infection,” Dr. Ali Hakki from Fallujah told IPS. “It is one of the complications of that infection, and not the ordinary picture of the disease. Because of its frequent and severe complications, such as Blackwater fever, and its resistance to treatment, P. falciparum can cause death within 24 hours.”

What Iraqis now call Blackwater fever is really a well-known medical condition, and while it has nothing to do with Blackwater Worldwide, Iraqis in al-Anbar province have decided to make the connection between the disease and the lethal U.S.-based company which has been responsible for the death of countless Iraqis. The disease is most prevalent in Africa and Asia. The patient suffers severe intravascular haemolysis — the destruction of red blood cells leading to kidney and liver failure. It also leads to black or red urination, and hence perhaps the new name ‘Blackwater’.

The deadly disease, never before seen in Iraq on at least this scale, seems to be spreading across the country. And Iraq lacks medicines, hospitals, and doctors to lead a campaign to fight the disease.

Read the entire article…

Blackwater: paid for with our tax dollars… Gee.. I wonder why the Iraqis want us to leave..?

Obama’s Mercenary Position

by Jeremy Scahill
via: CommonDreams

A senior foreign policy adviser to leading Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has told The Nation that if elected Obama will not “rule out” using private security companies like Blackwater Worldwide in Iraq. The adviser also said that Obama does not plan to sign on to legislation that seeks to ban the use of these forces in US war zones by January 2009, when a new President will be sworn in. Obama’s campaign says that instead he will focus on bringing accountability to these forces while increasing funding for the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, the agency that employs Blackwater and other private security contractors. (Hillary Clinton’s staff did not respond to repeated requests for an interview or a statement on this issue.)

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