Wells Fargo has asked a court to block a shareholder lawsuit that seeks to punish the company for lying when it promised to promptly and completely disclose any new scandals; Wells Fargo claims that the promise was obvious "puffery," a legal concept the FTC has allowed to develop in which companies can be excused for making false claims if it should be obvious that they are lying (as when a company promises that they make "the best-tasting juice in America).
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The Office of the Special Counsel, a Federal ethics watchdog agency, has once again found Kellyanne Conway in violation of the Hatch Act.
In publicly supporting child molester Roy Moore from the White House lawn and using her government job title, in a harsh political attack on his opponent, Conway broke ethics rules over using a government office for political ends. Conway will of course claim she did not do any of these things by pointing out in fact that she did do all them several times.
The OSC has sent information surrounding her offense to the Trump Administration that will probably reprimand her with a large bonus and champagne lunch.
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"While the Hatch Act allows federal employees to express their views about candidates and political issues as private citizens, it restricts employees from using their official government positions for partisan political purposes, including by trying to influence partisan elections," the agency's report says. "Ms. Conway's statements during the Fox & Friends and New Day interviews impermissibly mixed official government business with political views about candidates in the Alabama special election for U.S. Senate."
The agency says Conway never responded to its inquiries and says that it has submitted its report to the president for "appropriate disciplinary action." Because Conway is a high-ranking presidential appointee, it's up to Trump to decide what action is appropriate.
The White House pushed back on the report and argued Conway did not advocate for or against a candidate in the Alabama race.
Lee Baca is a piece of work. The former LA County Sheriff -- tied with Arizona's Joe Arpaio for worse in the nation -- presided over a series of scandals, none so grotesque as the ring of corrupt deputies whose abuse and misconduct in the county jails were capped off by an attempt to intimidate an FBI agent who was investigating them, and a breathtaking act of criminality in which an FBI informant was moved to a new jail under a fake name, surrounded by a round-the-clock detail of 13 deputies who prevented him from speaking with the FBI. Read the rest
Former Icelandic interior minister Ogmundur Jonasson says he asked "8 or 9" FBI agents to leave the country when he found out that they'd lied about their visit; they claimed they'd come to help prevent "an imminent attack on Icelandic government databases," but it turns out they were just digging up dirt on Wikileaks. Read the rest
MPAA Chairman Chris Dodd is making the rounds in DC, trying to gin up support for the Stop Online Piracy Act, which establishes a national censorship regime in which whole websites can be blocked in the US if the MPAA objects to them. The former senator turned shill has run out of plausible arguments in favor of the bill, so he's resorted to really, really stupid lies.
Case in point: Dodd recently told the Center for American Progress that "The entire film industry of Spain, Egypt and Sweden are gone."
Of course, this is a flat-out, easily checked, ridiculous lie.
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Sweden actually produces a number of high quality films. Released in 2008, the vampire flim Let The Right One In received critical acclaim here in the U.S. Additionally, all three best-selling books of the Millennium Trilogy are Swedish films and 2009’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo was quite successful. The film made a modest $10 million in the U.S. and a respectable $104 million worldwide.
Considering the budget for the U.S. remake of the film is $100 million - as much as the original film has earned to date - perhaps Dodd meant that the film does not count until Hollywood gets a chance to remake it. Ironically, the U.S. remake of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was shot in Sweden.
Chris Dodd was correct to say that film is an international industry, but he was wrong to say that the Swedish film industry has disappeared and misleading to imply that all Hollywood jobs are American jobs.