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Blackwater Worldwide, the mercenary firm now named Xe Services LLC, has been named one of the 15 most hated companies in America by 24/7 Wall Street, the online column on MarketWatch. Blackwater was unsuccessful in its bid to place a training facility near Potrero in far East County, as residents rose up in wrath. However, it was successful in placing a firing range in Otay Mesa. Blackwater rates as the 7th most hated firm. The company was implicated in an event in which 17 Iraqis were killed. An American court recently cleared the company, but the Iraqi government plans to sue.

The companies, rated from the most hated, are the big government-owned insurer, AIG; United Airlines; Level 3, the nation's largest broadband network; Hertz; Citigroup; K-Mart; Blackwater; Dell; Abercrombie & Fitch; Chrysler; Dish Network, the satellite TV company; Rite Aid, the drug chain; Gibson Guitar; Forever 21, clothing retailer, and Sprint.

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SurfPuppy619 Jan. 5, 2010 @ 9:01 a.m.

Blackwater has been managed so bad it is little wonder everyone hates them.

I think Tiger Woods graduated the Blackwater school of marketing too.


Visduh Jan. 5, 2010 @ 9:05 a.m.

This list is amazing. UAL, Hertz, Citigroup, Kmart, Dell, Abercrombie and Fitch, Chrysler, and Rite Aid, all have alternatives. They sell consumer goods and services, and it is a simple matter for consumers who dislike the way have been treated to go elsewhere. That is, instead of "hating" those corporations, why not just refuse to do business with them?

Personally, I dislike American Airlines more than I dislike United. (Neither is trying to deliver satisfaction today--they just move bodies and hope that they can survive. In that hope those airlines are doing the same as most of the US airlines.) But you sure don't have to buy computer hardware from Dell. Other manufacturers and sources are many and readily available. And so on.

I'd really like to know more of how the source actually generated the list of corporations. Was it done by some sort of survey? I'm skeptical.


a2zresource Jan. 5, 2010 @ 9:28 a.m.

On another comment I made last year, I said that I was highly suspicious of Blackwater by any name. Recent media revelations about that company's employees serving as paid CIA mercenaries in combat zones do not inspire confidence. Most likely, the entire gamut of their covert program involvement at taxpayer expense has yet to be revealed.

Right now, the entire firm is about as credible as Tiger's caddy admitting to no knowledge of anything involving young female fans...


Don Bauder Jan. 5, 2010 @ 12:32 p.m.

Response to post #1: Do you expect professional management -- particularly crisis management -- from a bunch of mercenaries? Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder Jan. 5, 2010 @ 12:38 p.m.

Response to post #2: The criteria were: 1. Employee impressions, as measured by Glassdoor and other services; 2. Total return to shareholder;. 3. Customer satisfaction from a number of sources such as University of Michigan, Consumer Reports, JD Power surveys, etc.; 4. Brand valuation changes based on data from Corebrands, Interbrand and Brand Z, and 5. The views of taxpayers, Congress, etc. I remember back in the 1960s when citizens would be asked what were the best managed companies. The airlines would come in first. Now they would come in last, or close to it. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder Jan. 5, 2010 @ 12:43 p.m.

Response to post #3: Back in early '07, I broke the story that Potrero citizens were fighting Blackwater's plans, and that the whole thing seemed rigged by county officials. Blackwater would not cooperate with me to any significant degree. I had trouble trusting the Potrero citiens who were doing Blackwater's bidding. The whole thing never smelled right. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder Jan. 5, 2010 @ 12:48 p.m.

Response to post #4: The author said that five years ago, Wal-Mart would have made the most hated list, but that since then it has made progress with the public, customers, and employees. The same was true of Microsoft. Goldman Sachs was left off the list because it has done well by its customers, stockholders, and employees who, of course, get paid outrageous sums and should be happy. Best, Don Bauder


ExDiegan Jan. 5, 2010 @ 1:57 p.m.

To #2: In fact, some of those companies are in serious trouble and may not make it to 2011.

Sometimes, though, customers have no choice. Dish Network, for example, largely caters to people who live outside the normal service areas of cable TV; many of their customers have no alternative for TV and broadband Internet.

United, too, serves a lot of smaller markets as the sole carrier, and residents of Chicago are largely dependent on it for some foreign destinations.

And sometimes its just more fun to hate a company than to give up its product. Fox News, for example.


SurfPuppy619 Jan. 5, 2010 @ 3 p.m.

Recent media revelations about that company's employees serving as paid CIA mercenaries in combat zones do not inspire confidence. Most likely, the entire gamut of their covert program involvement at taxpayer expense has yet to be revealed.

I don't know if it is still the case-but at one time Blackwater had MORE mercs in Afghanistan the US soldiers! That is amazing and boggles the mind.

I'm sure Dick Cheney got some major kickbacks for pulling those strings.


Don Bauder Jan. 5, 2010 @ 3:02 p.m.

Response to post #9: You are right: some of these companies have deep troubles. AIG would be in bankruptcy (Chapter 7) if the government had not rescued it (for no good reason). Hertz, Kmart, Citigroup, Chrysler, United, and Sprint are all in trouble. Best, Don Bauder


Visduh Jan. 5, 2010 @ 3:42 p.m.

Blackwater filled a need when it sent all those people to Iraq and to Afghanistan. In 2001, the world's sole remaining super power had a shrunken peacetime army of fewer than a half million active soldiers. That was despite the far-flung commitments in many areas of the world. Moreover, the then-current secretary of defense, Donald "Rummy" Rumsfeld, was convinced that the army was organized improperly for wars of the future. Actually, he thought it was too big, and needed further shrinking!

That all ended on 9/11/01, but Rummy didn't waver. Even as the US went to war in Afghanistan, he was trying to reform and reorganize the army, and repeatedly turned down offers to increase its size. Then came the invasion of Iraq, and although most of the time involved running an occupation, the army was unable to send enough troops there without tapping the reserve components. Rummy forgot that using the army for many things usually involves putting boots on the ground. The US has two sources of those boots, i.e. infantry, and the largest is the army. The other one is the Marine Corps. Both were tapped out covering the Iraq occupation and the Afghanistan pacification, even with use of the reserves. The US was chronically short of manpower, so it looked to non-traditional sources for bodies. That was where Blackwater came into play.

Had we maintained an adequate force level during the 90's, there would have been much less or no need for mercenaries such as those provided by Blackwater. Thank Rummy for Blackwater and its odious reputation.


Don Bauder Jan. 5, 2010 @ 9:07 p.m.

Response to post #12: Another factor is that the mercenaries, including Blackwater personnel, have been paid far more than our own troops. That doesn't help morale. Best, Don Bauder


SurfPuppy619 Jan. 5, 2010 @ 9:40 p.m.

Another factor is that the mercenaries, including Blackwater personnel, have been paid far more than our own troops. That doesn't help morale.

That is so absurd it defies logic, and is ethically and morally bankrupt to the troops- and the Americans supporting the troops.


Don Bauder Jan. 6, 2010 @ 7:34 a.m.

Response to post $14: The pay differential has caused problems among uniformed personnel. Best, Don Bauder


SurfPuppy619 Jan. 7, 2010 @ 12:45 p.m.

Breaking Blackwater news;

AP: 2 ex-Blackwater guards charged with murder

The Associated Press

January 7, 2010 | 11:50 a.m.

RALEIGH, N.C. - Two former Blackwater contractors were arrested today on murder charges in the shootings of two Afghans after a traffic accident last year, according to an indictment obtained by The Associated Press.

Several Blackwater contractors had been charged with 14 counts of manslaughter for their role in a 2007 shooting in Baghdad's Nisoor Square. But a judge dropped those charges last week.



SDaniels Jan. 7, 2010 @ 2:12 p.m.

Mr. Bauder, isn't this poll a little suspect? I mean, teen clothing retailers like Forever 21 or Abercrombie & Fitch (insanely popular with teens and preteens this season) are hated more than General Electric? C'mon...


Don Bauder Jan. 7, 2010 @ 9:41 p.m.

Response to post #16: Those mercenaries just can't stay out of trouble. But do you expect them to do so? Mercenaries will be mercenaries -- merciless. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder Jan. 7, 2010 @ 9:45 p.m.

Response to post #17: It wasn't a poll. It was a rating by a columnist, using the criteria that are in my post #6 above. You are correct that a lot of questions can be raised. Why isn't Goldman Sachs on the list? And as you say, GE -- certainly hated by its shareholders. Best, Don Bauder


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