Diebold ‘Offices’ Turn Out to Mostly be Wal-Marts – To convince Utah decision-makers that Diebold (voting machine company) was a big company with a substantial presence, a company representative told the decision-makers in 2006 that Diebold “has about 20 offices in Utah.” However, when calls were made to all of these offices, only one picked up the phone. And when the addresses of offices listed under Diebold in the White Pages were visited, the addresses turned out to belong to either a Wal-Mart, a Sam’s Club, or no building at all. In the end, 16 of the 18 Diebold offices in Utah listed in the White Pages were false listings. A similar scam existed in New York, with another Diebold listing in Buffalo turning out to be a Wal-Mart. Out of 13 listings in Florida, 5 turned out to be Wal-Marts. Similar office listings have been uncovered in Alabama, Mississippi, and New Hampshire.
McDonalds Refuses Workers Comp for Employee Shot While Protecting Patron – Fast food giant McDonald’s has denied workers compensation benefits to a minimum wage employee who was shot when he ejected a customer who had been beating a woman inside the restaurant. Nigel Haskett, then aged 21, was working at a McDonald’s in Little Rock, Arkansas last summer when he saw a patron, later identified as Perry Kennon, smacking a woman in the face. A surveillance video of the incident, which had been posted to YouTube, was taken down after McDonald’s charged copyright infringement, but according to written descriptions of the video, Haskett tackled Kennon, threw him out, and then stood by the door to prevent him from reentering. Kennon, who has a long criminal record, was arrested a few days later and charged with first-degree battery. The judge at his arraignment praised Haskett as a hero.
Alabama Senator Still Pushing Rumor About Obama’s Citizenship – In a meeting with constituents, Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby stated, “Well his father was Kenyan and they said he was born in Hawaii, but I haven’t seen any birth certificate,” Shelby said. “You have to be born in America to be president.” State officials in Hawaii checked health department records during the campaign and determined there was no doubt Obama was born in Hawaii.
McConnell Peddles Old Republican Party Lie About Small Business Taxes – On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Sunday fired the first salvo against President Obama’s plan to end the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans who need it least. Claiming that “a vast majority of American small businesses pay taxes as individual taxpayers.” But, as CNN concluded in October, “fewer than 2% of small business owners would pay more under Obama’s plan.”
Army Charity Hoards Millions Rather Than Aiding Troops – As soldiers stream home from Iraq and Afghanistan, the biggest charity inside the U.S. military has been stockpiling tens of millions of dollars meant to help put returning fighters back on their feet, an Associated Press investigation shows. Between 2003 and 2007 — as many military families dealt with long war deployments and increased numbers of home foreclosures — Army Emergency Relief grew into a $345 million behemoth. During those years, the charity packed away $117 million into its own reserves while spending just $64 million on direct aid, according to an AP analysis of its tax records.
TV News Treated Stimulus Plan Like a Political Battle Rather Than an Economic Issue – There were plenty of familiar faces on-screen during TV coverage of President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus plan, people like James Carville, Laura Ingraham, Karl Rove, Sen. Lindsey Graham, Joe Trippi and Dick Morris. What it lacked, some critics suggest, were people with real expertise in what the $787 billion plan will mean for the economy and for communities and individuals. In short, it was treated like just another political battle. Of the 681 people who appeared as guests on a dozen cable news and four network Sunday morning talk shows in the three weeks that ended last Sunday, only 41, or 6 percent, were economists. the Center for Economic and Policy Research said the media had “badly failed” to inform the public about what the stimulus plan means. The group said news organizations also didn’t keep things in perspective, focusing on criticisms of the bill that were a very small part of the price tag.
New CBS News Executive Claimed That Democrats are Bad People – CBS News has named Jeff Ballabon, a New York Republican activist, to serve as the Senior Vice President of Communications. Ballabon claimed that, after his most recent job in Washington, he became convinced that Democrats are inherently bad people and Republicans are fundamentally good people. In fact, it is not atypical of Ballabon to use this kind of extreme partisan rhetoric. During the 2008 election, Ballabon said, “Obama is incredibly dangerous.”
Conservative Alan Keyes Calls President Obama a Radical Communist – Alan Keyes, in an interview with a reporter from KHAS-TV, filmed outside a fundraiser for the AAA Crisis Pregnancy Center in Hastings, Neb., said this:
Obama is a radical communist, and I think it is becoming clear. That is what I told people in Illinois and now everybody realizes it’s true,” said Keyes, who ran unsuccessfully against Obama for the state’s open Senate seat in 2004. “He is going to destroy this country, and we are either going to stop him or the United States of America is going to cease to exist.
Keyes also said that the military should think about not obeying their commander-in-chief because he is not rightly the president of the United States.
SEC Missed Numerous Red Flags Surrounding Stanford – Billionaire R. Allen Stanford managed to run his alleged scheme while the Securities and Exchange Commission and other regulators stood by, well after he arose on their radar screens. ample warning signs over the years suggested Stanford’s business wasn’t what it seemed. Among them:
- A finding by regulators in June 2007 that Stanford’s company lacked enough capital to function properly as a securities brokerage firm. The company paid $20,000 to settle charges by the National Association of Securities Dealers without admitting or denying them.
- Stanford’s businesses were inspected and investigated several times, starting in 2006 by the SEC and in 2004 by the NASD, the brokerage industry’s self-policing group, now called the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA. NASD’s scrutiny resulted in several disciplinary actions: the regulator fined his brokerage company four times, with penalties totaling $70,000, for violations that included misleading investors in sales materials about the risks of the CDs.
- A 2006 lawsuit by a former employee alleging that Stanford’s company ran a Ponzi scheme. Two other ex-employees asserted in a suit in January 2008 that Stanford’s Antigua bank, Stanford International Bank Ltd., sold CDs based on inflated returns and had destroyed documents.
- A board of directors that included Stanford’s father, his college roommate and a family friend who remained on the board years after suffering a debilitating stroke.
- The Antigua-based accounting firm that audited the offshore bank was tiny and little known.
- A 1999 Treasury Department advisory that warned U.S. banks to scrutinize transactions involving Antigua. It said a new regulator in Antigua was essentially a captive of offshore banks it was meant to supervise. (The advisory was lifted in 2001.)