Must Read: The Corporate State of America – Widespread Crime, Corruption and Fraud

 Good news first:

First Ever Fine for Fake News (PRWatch)

It’s a start; thanks Center for Media and Democracy!

EXCERPT: “The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced on September 21 that it was fining Comcast Corp. $4,000 for its cable channel CN8‘s broadcast of fake TV news, a video news release (VNR) without disclosure.

The Comcast fine is the first-ever sanction for airing a VNR, a sponsored PR video that mimics the structure and style of television news reports. The fine is a direct result of Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) investigations, and of a joint complaint filed with the FCC by CMD and Free Press.  The FCC’s action against Comcast is precedent setting. It firmly rejects the public relations industry‘s argument that no disclosure is needed if television stations are not paid to air VNRs. Hopefully, the FCC will soon address the nearly 140 other undisclosed VNR broadcasts that were documented in CMD’s two reports, “Fake TV News” and “Still Not the News.”

US Attorney General orders Monsanto to reveals secrets (Mathaba)

Includes list of recent actions against Monsanto


Corporations’ cross-country extortion racket (ZMag)           

EXCERPT: “Corporations have grown expert at forcing race-to-the-bottom competitions between states, reducing tax revenues by billions of dollars. States are all too willing to play along, spending millions of dollars of their own competing for new business, or trying to swipe existing businesses from one another, under the guise of “economic development.  It’s a phenomenon that’s hit home here too: Among other instances, in the late 1990s, the New England Patriots – emblem of regional unity – played Connecticut against Massachusetts, threatening to move from Foxboro to Hartford. Connecticut offered the Pats a $500 million stadium financing package, but the team ended up right back where it started – with the Massachusetts footing the bill for $70 million in “public” infrastructure improvements. 

While in individual instances one state wins and another loses, in the aggregate we’re all worse off, as net public good decreases with each such maneuver, and cash-strapped governments devote limited time and resources to stealing – not creating – jobs.

As states sprint to the bottom, the perpetrating corporations aren’t disdained, aren’t vilified by the jurisdictions giving up millions or billions of dollars to nab them: They’re greeted as heroes at celebratory press conferences and ground-breakings, in editorials and campaign literature.  It’s time for the states catch on – to work to change the logic of the dynamic, and stop celebrating these robber-barons.”

The end of the Wal-Mart era (Wall St Journal via MSN)

Who is profiting from the Iraq War? (MSN)

The Corporations’ Court (Alternet)

News from the “war racket”:

Bribery charges for Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) (MotherJones)

“Buried at the bottom of page A-6 in today’s [7/21/07] Times is news that Halliburton spin-off KBR and its subcontractor Eagle Global Logistics built bribery charges into the cost of delivering basic supplies to U.S. troops in Baghdad. An Eagle executive pleaded guilty yesterday to bribing KBR employees to continue to hand Eagle the lucrative subcontract. Eagle then took 50 cents in overcharges per pound of food, fuel, and other necessities it delivered to troops. KBR is officially claiming ignorance, but it takes two to commit bribery, and five KBR employees are included in the indictment.

Question is, how is this not also treason? After all, the well-placed companies refused to deliver basic necessities to American troops on the ground in Baghdad without first lining their pockets with taxpayer money, even as the taxpayers and their congressional representatives searched for a way to end the war without stranding the troops in dangerous territory.”

The People vs. The Profiteers (Vanity Fair)

EXCERPT: “Americans working in Iraq for Halliburton spin-off KBR have been outraged by the massive fraud they saw there. Dozens are suing the giant military contractor, on the taxpayers’ behalf. Whose side is the Justice Department on?”

Royal Dutch Shell and the Struggle for Iraqi Oil (World Socialist)

British Petroleum (BP) drilling for oil in Tibet (SaveTibet)

Boeing developing truck-mounted laser cannons for U.S. Army (The Register)

Lawsuit alleges price fixing by Shell, Chevron, and Saudi Refining (Int’l Herald Tribune)

Murphy Oil seeking Nearly 700% Wisconsin Refinery Expansion (Treehugger)

Boeing delays delivery of first 787’s (NYTimes)

I noticed there’s no mention in this story of the massive safety issues made public by a whistleblower last month.  The fuselage of the 787 is entirely unsafe!

Lawsuits in the financial sector:

Sentinel charges with “long term, massive fraud” by SEC (Chicago Tribune)

J.P. Morgan sued over role in Dow Chemical talks (NYTimes)

Morgan Stanley, the second-largest securities firm, will pay $12.5 million to settle regulatory claims it wrongly withheld e-mails in arbitration cases by saying they were lost in the Sept. 11 attacks, the company’s third sanction since 2002 for mishandling the records.  (Bloomberg)

EXCERPT: “The firm’s Morgan Stanley DW subsidiary failed on “numerous occasions” to produce e-mails for plaintiffs and regulators, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority said in a statement today. The accord is the first of its kind, providing $9.5 million to claimants affected by the lapses, said Finra, the Washington-based brokerage regulator.”

Mortgage finance company Freddie Mac will pay $50 million to settle federal charges that it fraudulently misstated earnings over a four-year period. (CNN)

EXCERPT: “The Securities and Exchange Commission announced the settlement Thursday. Freddie Mac neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing in the accord but did agree to refrain from future violations of the securities laws. Four former Freddie Mac executives settled the SEC’s negligent conduct charges by agreeing to pay a total of $515,000 in civil fines and to make restitution totaling $275,548.”

Freddie doesn’t ‘confirm or deny’, but doesn’t making restitution imply that you took something to begin with?

Banks have already hauled in over $19 Billion in overdraft fees this year (Consumerist)

Up 85% from 2004

Citi, the nation’s largest bank, is issuing 3.5 million credit cards to department store customers who didn’t request them – a step that consumer groups say raises privacy concerns and could expose consumers to identity theft. (USA Today)

Beazer Homes faces up to $15 Million fine for loan violations (USA Today)

Sallie Mae chairman says student loan company has been approached by would-be buyers if $25B buyout craters; posts $344 million loss. (CNN)

Countrywide CEO may face probe into sales of stock (CNN)

EXCERPT: “According to the times, Mozilo has had gains of $132 million since starting the October 2006 plan and expects to sell his remaining shares by the end of the week. Each day this week, he has exercised roughly 140,000 options with a strike price of $9.94 and sold the stock at prevailing market prices. With the stock trading around $19, that means Mozilo has generated gains of roughly $4 million in the last three days”

Connecticut’s attorney general is suing the world’s second-largest reinsurance broker, claiming the company violated Connecticut’s antitrust and unfair trade practices acts and raised rates for consumers.” (USA Today)

Crimes in the pharmaceutical sector:

FDA orders Eli Lilly to halt Cymbalta campaign (CNN)

EXCERPT: “The letter said a mailer for the fast-selling drug overstates effectiveness and “omits some of the most serious and important risk information associated with its use.” The letter was posted on the federal regulator’s Web site.”

The Curse of Cymbalta (Counterpunch)

Also includes discussion of Eli Lilly’s #1 drug Zyprexa’s ongoing scandals

New FDA research facility will be paid for by Big Pharma (MSNBC)

Bristol-Myers Squibb to pay $515 Million settlement (Boston Globe)

An incredible list of violations of FDA regulations, patient safety and just plain ethics.  Worthwhile reading.

Pfizer faces $8.5 Billion lawsuit over Nigeria drug trial (Bloomberg)

EXCERPT: “Nigeria alleges Pfizer was responsible for the deaths of 11 children and permanent health problems for many others. It says it failed to obtain all the required approvals for the test and did not get proper consent from the patients… Trovan had already been tested on 5,000 people before it was used in Nigeria, Edozien said.  It was licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use on adults a few months after the Kano trial, and briefly became one of Pfizer’s top-selling drugs. However, the authorities imposed severe restrictions on its use three years later when it was found to cause serious liver injuries in some patients.”

Taxol doesn’t treat common breast cancer (AP/Yahoo)

Scandals in chemical industry:

DuPont said Monday that it has learned it will not be facing criminal charges arising from allegations that the company hid information about a toxic chemical used to make the non-stick coating Teflon.” (USA Today)

Indiana is moving to scrap, relax or omit limits on toxic chemicals and heavy metals dumped into a Lake Michigan tributary by the sprawling U.S. Steel Corp. mill in Gary (Chicago Tribune)

Scandals in telecom:

Verizon admits it turned over data without court orders (Washington Post)

Did AT&T, Verizon, sway Bush’s net neutrality ruling? (FreePress)

Verizon sues to limit open airwaves (Reuters)

Cisco’s Brazil scandal (GogaOm)

40 arrested on tax evasion charges, including current Cisco Brazil president

Consumables / retail:

Video of Wal-Mart spreading across the U.S. like a germ culture (BoingBoing)

Wal-Mart owes millions in back state taxes (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

EXCERPT: “Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has avoided millions of dollars in state taxes by paying rent on 87 Wisconsin properties in a way that the state Department of Revenue calls an “abuse and distortion of income.  As a result, state tax auditors say, Wal-Mart owes more than $17.7 million in back corporate income taxes, interest and penalties for 1998, 1999 and 2000. More could be due for later years.”

Wal-Mart to sell only concentrated laundry detergent by May 2008 (Treehugger)

Wal-Mart aims for RFID in every North American store (EnGadget)

Protestors tell Wal-Mart to quit India (Business Week)

Wal-Mart short changes public schools (Alternet)

Wal-Mart CEO defends low-cost imports (CNN)

“”Lest anybody forget, 20 percent of Wal-Mart’s customers don’t have a checking account and they do not have the economic luxury of making a broader social statement”

Chiquita’s U.S. court settlement over paying terrorists sparks outrage in Columbia (Int’l Herald Tribune)

Chiquita Banana: Tales of the Octopus (Virginia Quarterly Review via Mother Jones)

The Return of the Banana Wars: Corporations and ParaMilitaries in Latin America (Mother Jones)

Starbucks open first Russian store (Agence France Presse via RawStory)

Starbucks to begin sourcing coffee from China (Reuters)

Starbucks recalls 250,000 Chinese made children’s cups over safety concerns (RawStory)

Coca-Cola’s Raid on a Sacred Mountain: Huitepec, Mayan Hill of Water (Counterpunch)

EXCERPT: “The neo-liberal icon that sucks up Huitepec’s bountiful water, the Coca Cola Corporation of Atlanta Georgia, is a powerful political player in Mexico – former president Vicente Fox was president of Coca-Mexico before he became president of Mexico. Mexicans drink more Coke per capita than any other nation on earth and Chiapas and its Indians are an important market. One reason for heavy sales in Los Altos: Coca Cola is often the only option to scarce or undrinkable local water.”

AOL to layoff 20% of global workforce (Reuters/Yahoo)

D.R. Horton orders plunge 39% in feeble housing market (USA Today)

Third death in a year at Indian factory for Gap and others (Guardian, UK)

DaimlerChrysler is getting divorced (German Press Agency via RawStory)

3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I thought you’d be interested in this post re: attacks on corn-based ethanol:


Comment by Jeff Rutherford

Thanks for the link!

The biofuels industry is a prime example of how ‘green consumerism’ has gotten out of control. The ‘commercialistas’ spin their PR magic to make their product seem ‘safe’ for the environment, when buying it just plays into the same destructive consumer paradigm they’re selling.

Corn-based biodiesel and ethanol, if they continue to grow in production at the rate they are now, will be a driver of 21st century genocide. To top it off, when you factor in growth, production and distribution, the energy used to make the product far surpasses the environmental benefit of using biodiesel vs. petroleum diesel.

This is an issue that I get heated up about, and I love hearing more attention brought to the downside of the more short-sighted biofuels.

Thanks again,

Comment by hope2012

[…] 10/18/07: Corporate State of America – Widespread Crime, Corruption and Fraud […]

Pingback by Corporate Lawsuits, Settlements, and Corruption Update « Hope2012

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: