Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for July 22nd, 2008

Is Blackwater Bailing Out?

Posted by MEC on July 22, 2008

The Guardian (via Truthout) reports that Blackwater, the notorious security firm founded by Bush crony and Dominionist Erik Prince, is getting out of the security biz.

Mr. Prince is blaming the media for repeating all those nasty rumors about Blackwater employees gunning down Iraqi civilians and generally being all reckless with human lives. It’s ruined Blackwater’s reputation and made leading a mercenary army just no fun anymore.

Mother Jones suspects that Mr. Prince is being just a wee bit disingenuous about his reason for “shifting focus”. It may have more to do with the increasing likelihood that the U.S. will finally be getting out of Iraq and taking its “contractors” with it.

Iraq will be better off without that collection of loose cannons running around the country.

But now we have to worry about what they’ll be doing instead to rake in the big bucks. Mother Jones warns us that Erick Prince

…has spent recent years diversifying his operations, branching out into manufacturing (of, among other things, armored vehicles), testing the waters in the humanitarian aid sector, and opening a private intelligence firm that caters to corporate clients.

Manufacturing? I get the impression that “quality control” is not Prince’s highest priority. Humanitarian aid? What would a theocratic imperialist’s priorities be in that sector? Private intelligence? What are the odds that the RNC is among his customers?

Whatever the likes of Erik Prince does is unlikely to be good news for our democracy.

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Posted in Blackwater, Uncategorized | 11 Comments »

Losing the race

Posted by Charles II on July 22, 2008

One of the perpetual sources of optimism about the American economy has been our technology. We consume foreign oil, we manufacture far less than we use, we even import food, but– so goes the myth– we lead the world in high technology.

Here are words that should make all of us tremble:

We report that “spending on new plants and equipment by 22 major U.S. chemical firms rose an admirable 10.6% in 2007 to 9.21 billion; still, this growth was less than half that seen in 2006, when capital spending soared 22.6%.”

While these numbers suggest healthy investment, U.S. spending is lower than in Europe and Japan. Nineteen European chemical companies C&EN tracks spent a combined $16.0 billion on capital, a 10.3% increase over 2006, and 12 Japanese firms spent $10.1 billion, a 7.7% increase.

A similar picture emerges for R&D spending. The 22 U.S. chemical companies spent a combined $5.38 billion on R&D in 2007, a 6.6% increase over 2006. Although a number of European firms saw declines in R&D spending, overall, the 19 companies followed by C&EN spent a combined $11.6 billion…total R&D spending–investment in the future–was more than double in Europe.

–“Facts & Figures,” R.M. Baum, Chemical and Engineering News, July 7, 2008

Bushco and their corporate acolytes may believe in the End of the World, but what they are doing is bringing an end to America. The rest of the world, assuming we don’t blow it up, will do just fine.

Posted in BushCo malfeasance, economy, You're On Your Own-ership Society | 6 Comments »

The Dam Bursts

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 22, 2008

Oooh, I’d totally missed this!

Even as the Bush/McCain crowd were trying to walk back Maliki’s endorsement of the Obama withdrawal timetable, their efforts were, um, undercut:

Iraq’s government spokesman is hopeful that U.S. combat forces could be out of the country by 2010.

Ali al-Dabbagh made the comments following a meeting in Baghdad on Monday between Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama, who arrived in Iraq earlier in the day.

The timeframe is similar to Obama’s proposal to pull back combat troops within 16 months. The Iraqi government has been trying to clarify its position on a possible troop withdrawal since al-Maliki was quoted in a German magazine last week saying he supported Obama’s timetable.

Oooopsie!

Posted in 2008, Barack Obama, BushCo malfeasance, Iraq war, John McCain | Comments Off on The Dam Bursts

Mistah Kurtz Gets A Mite Defensive

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 22, 2008

Check this out:

San Francisco: When you wrote up your flattering portrayal of McCain’s latest ad about Barack Obama, did you consider including the rebuttal statement by Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Joe Biden (D-Del.) that any Afghanistan discussions would be held by the full committee, not by the subcommittee that Sen. Obama chairs? That seems germane to the claim of “accuracy” you make about the ad.

Howard Kurtz: Yes, but you can only cram so many facts into the small space allotted for ad watches. Since I pointed out problems with the ad, as I often do with commercials by all candidates, I’m going to assume you read it as a “flattering” assessment because you’re an Obama fan.

Here’s my oh-so-flattering lead: “This McCain commercial tries to paint Obama as inexperienced and
anti-military, in part by taking a protest vote out of context. Obama has frequently voted to finance the war but was one of 14 Senate Democrats to oppose a war-funding bill last year — after Republicans removed troop withdrawal deadlines — saying he did not want to be “validating the same failed policy in Iraq.”

Of course, Mistah Kurtz would have more room for facts if he left out the bogosities.

Posted in 2008, Barack Obama, John McCain, media, Media machine, mediawhores | 1 Comment »

 
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