Category: Hillary Clinton
Brazile Fallout: Hillary Privatized the DNC with Help from a Washington Law Firm

Brazile Fallout: Hillary Privatized the DNC with Help from a Washington Law Firm

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: November 6, 2017

Hillary Clinton Tells Senator Bernie Sanders That There's No Evidence She Can Be Swayed by Wall Street Money During CNN Debate, April 14, 2016

Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders During CNN Debate, April 14, 2016

Secret side agreements are a common maneuver by corporate law firms. Here’s how they work. An agreement that is legal and passes the smell test is drafted and submitted to a court or a regulatory body for public consumption. Then, a separate, secret side agreement is written and signed by both sides and it contains all of the smelly, shady, ethically questionable hard details on how the original agreement will be carried out.

Donna Brazile, the former interim Chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) during the 2016 presidential campaign, has written a new book, “Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns that Put Donald Trump in the White House,” and has revealed the secret side agreement that the DNC had with Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

In 2015, Hillary Clinton’s campaign set up a joint fundraising committee called the Hillary Victory Fund (HVF) with the DNC and over 30 state democratic committees. The public portion of the agreement indicated that Hillary would raise funds for her own campaign while also allocating a portion to the DNC to help the overall Democratic Party as well as allocating funds to state democratic committees in order to support down-ballot candidates in their local elections. But the secret side agreement that effectively privatized the DNC, giving Hillary and her campaign lawyers control of the DNC and its money, had yet to see the light of day.

This is how Brazile describes the secret side agreement in her book:

“The agreement—signed by Amy Dacey, the former CEO of the DNC, and Robby Mook [Clinton’s campaign manager] with a copy to Marc Elias [lawyer at Perkins Coie]  — specified that in exchange for raising money and investing in the DNC, Hillary would control the party’s finances, strategy, and all the money raised. Her campaign had the right of refusal of who would be the party communications director, and it would make final decisions on all the other staff. The DNC also was required to consult with the campaign about all other staffing, budgeting, data, analytics, and mailings.”

The Clinton camp has now attempted to defend itself by saying these terms are standard because they were not going to kick in until the Democratic Party had chosen its official presidential nominee at its party convention in July 2016. But that’s not what the actual secret side agreement says. It indicates the following: “Beginning October 1, 2015,” the HVF would begin transferring $1.2 million to the DNC at the start of each month with that release “conditioned on” Hillary Clinton’s primary campaign personnel being consulted “and have joint authority over strategic decisions over the staffing, budget, expenditures, and general election related communications, data, technology, analytics, and research. The DNC will provide HFA advance opportunity to review on-line or mass email, communications that features a particular Democratic primary candidate.”

Additionally, the secret agreement states that “the DNC agrees that no later than September 11, 2015 it will hire one of two candidates previously identified as acceptable to HFA” (Hillary for America, the primary campaign fund for Clinton) as its Communications Director. All of this is occurring in the fall of 2015 with the official Democratic nominating convention not taking place until July 2016.

As Politico reported in May 2016, the Hillary Victory Fund was a sham in multiple other ways. First, Politico writes that less than 1 percent of the money raised stayed in the state’s coffers. The Treasurer of the Hillary Victory Fund actually had the power to move money in and out of state committee bank accounts. Politico reporters Ken Vogel and Isaac Arnsdorf cite the following example to show how things actually worked:

“…the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party received $43,500 from the victory fund on Nov. 2, only to transfer the same amount to the DNC that same day. The pattern repeated itself after the Minnesota party received transfers from the victory fund of $20,600 on Dec. 1 (the party sent the same amount to the DNC the next day) and $150,000 on Jan. 4 (it transferred the same amount to the DNC that day).

“That means that Minnesota’s net gain from its participation in the victory fund was precisely $0 through the end of March. Meanwhile, the DNC pocketed an extra $214,100 in cash routed through Minnesota — much of which the DNC wouldn’t have been able to accept directly, since it came from donors who had mostly had already maxed out to the national party committee.

“A similar pattern transpired with most of the participating state parties. As of March 31, only eight state parties (most of which were in battleground states such as Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire and Virginia) had received more from the victory fund than was transferred from their accounts to the DNC.”

Brazile backs up this account in her book, writing that “the states kept less than half of 1 percent of the $82 million they had amassed from the extravagant fund-raisers Hillary’s campaign was holding….”

Brazile notes in her book that the lawyer, Marc Elias, of the politically-connected law firm, Perkins Coie, was copied on the secret side agreement. Elias has repeatedly come under scrutiny for his multi-faceted roles in the 2015-2016 presidential campaign. Most recently, he was exposed as the guy behind the hiring of Fusion GPS which compiled the scandalous Russian dossier on Donald Trump, using both Hillary campaign funds and DNC funds. The Washington Post reported that Elias was allowed to spend these funds “without oversight by campaign officials, according to a spokesperson for his law firm.”

Elias served as the General Counsel to Hillary’s primary campaign committee, Hillary for America, as well as serving as one of a team of lawyers from Perkins Coie that provided legal advice to the DNC. (Elias also provided legal advice to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Democratic Governors Associations, according to the Perkins Coie web site last year.)

As a legal adviser to the DNC, Elias should have known that its charter mandated fairness and impartiality to all primary candidates. But when WikiLeaks released emails last year that had been hacked at the DNC, Marc Elias was caught giving advice on how to tar Senator Bernie Sanders after his campaign suggested that the Hillary Victory Fund was skirting Federal election law. The email from Elias read:

“My suggestion is that the DNC put out a statement saying that the accusations the Sanders campaign are not true. The fact that CNN notes that you aren’t getting between the two campaigns is the problem. Here, Sanders is attacking the DNC and its current practice, its past practice with the POTUS and with Sec Kerry. Just as the RNC pushes back directly on Trump over ‘rigged system’, the DNC should push back DIRECTLY at Sanders and say that what he is saying is false and harmful the [sic] the Democratic party.”

Writing for Politico in 2014, Ken Vogel detailed how Elias and Perkins Coie have not only been the legal go-to guys for the Democratic party over the years but how they have also tinkered with Federal election law to shift more power to the 1 percent. Vogel writes:

“Perkins Coie’s political law practice, anchored by Elias and former White House Counsel Bob Bauer, has something of a stranglehold on the Democratic Party’s election law business, representing not only the party committees themselves but everyone from [Harry] Reid (whose various committees have paid $317,000 in legal fees to Perkins Coie over the years) to Obama ($7.4 million) to the major Democratic super PACs ($19 million).”

The thrust of the article, however, is that Elias played a central role in further opening the spigots for legal revenues his firm might be expected to collect in the future by tinkering with Federal legislation at the eleventh hour. Vogel writes:

“A powerful Democratic lawyer helped craft a provision that was slipped into a year-end spending bill allowing political parties to raise huge new pools of cash — including some for legal fees that are likely going to be collected by his own firm…

“The change has the potential to halt or at least slow the erosion of power of the political parties, since it would increase the maximum amount of cash that rich donors may give to the national Democratic and Republican party committees each year from $97,400 to $777,600 or more.”

The question that no one seems to be asking is who are the main beneficiaries of Perkins Coie’s heavy influence at the top of the Democratic Party. Despite Obama’s re-election for a second term, the Democratic Party shed nearly 1,000 seats from coast to coast. The Republicans now control both houses of Congress and the Executive Branch. A man with the lowest approval rating in modern history now occupies the Oval Office.

The primary beneficiaries of this hubris have been the 1 percent – Wall Street and hedge fund titans – and giant multi-national corporations that dominate the client roster at Perkins Coie.

Those within the Clinton camp and DNC who are suggesting to the American people that there is nothing to see here, time to move along, are dead wrong. Just because the Republican presidential campaign may have been corrupted by outside forces doesn’t mean that the Democratic campaign wasn’t also corrupted by its own outside forces. It’s time to follow the obscene political money trail wherever it leads.

Outrage Targeting Brazile Shows ‘Serious Decline in the Democratic Party’

Democratic party chairperson Donna Brazile talks with audience members before the debate between Republican vice-presidential nominee Gov. Mike Pence and Democratic vice-presidential nominee Sen. Tim Kaine at Longwood University in Farmville, Va., Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016.

Outrage Targeting Brazile Shows ‘Serious Decline in the Democratic Party’

© AP Photo/ Joe Raedle


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In a post on Medium Saturday, nearly 100 campaign staffers signed an open letter firing back at Donna Brazile, former DNC chair, for her depiction of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in her book set to hit stores Tuesday.

“Donna came in to take over the DNC at a very difficult time,” the letter reads. “We were grateful to her for doing so. She is a longtime friend and colleague of many of us and has been an important leader in our party. But we do not recognize the campaign she portrays in the book.”

Despite (sort of) acknowledging the difficulties that the campaign faced, the signers also noted that it was “particularly troubling and puzzling that [Brazile] would seemingly buy into false Russian-fueled propaganda, spread by both the Russians and [Trump], about [Clinton’s] health.” This was a response to Brazile’s statement that she considered replacing Clinton as the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee with then-Vice President Joe Biden.

How could a political figure who’s been hailed as a “longtime Democratic insider” be tossed aside for not standing by the Clinton campaign?

For Anoa Changa, it’s just part of the mentality used to “undermine” anyone whose beliefs and statements don’t fall into lockstep with the whole of the group — in this case the Democratic Party.

​Speaking to Sputnik Radio’s Brian Becker and John Kiriakou on Loud & Clear, Changa, the host of “The Way With Anoa,” says that Brazile “never claimed she herself had the authority to circumvent the process and insert a new [Democratic] nominee.”

According to Changa, what Brazile did say was that while serving as interim DNC chair there was a “process in the bylaws that she would oversee, but that it was still a difficult process.”

“What she was talking about was just her experience in just those few months she served as chair, ahead of the election cycle,” Changa told Becker and Kiriakou. “And to see the mass panic and chaos is in some ways hysterical, considering a month and a half ago everyone was told to sit down and be quiet because Hillary, with the release of ‘What Happened,’ deserved to have the opportunity to tell her story on what happened [during the 2016 election].”

The pushback that Brazile is getting from the party reveals an even bigger issue, says Changa.

“What the Donna Brazile commentary has been is a greater indictment on the problems in current capitalism that has infected the Democratic Party for the last 25 years,” Changa, also the director of political advocacy for the Progressive Army, said. “It’s been 25 years since Bill Clinton was elected and we have seen a serious decline in the Democratic Party in the last 25 years and that’s what she speaking to.”

In excerpts of Brazile’s upcoming book published in Politico last week, she presents evidence that the DNC rigged the nomination so that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was put aside in favor of Clinton and that the Clinton campaign was in control of the committee via its purse strings throughout the entire campaign cycle.

Uranium Deal Turns Spotlight on Hillary Clinton But Not the Way She Wanted
| October 25, 2017 | 3:40 am | Analysis, Hillary Clinton | No comments

Uranium Deal Turns Spotlight on Hillary Clinton But Not the Way She Wanted

US Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton walks offstage at a campaign rally in Sanford, Florida, US November 1, 2016.

Uranium Deal Turns Spotlight on Hillary Clinton But Not the Way She Wanted

© REUTERS/ Brian Snyder

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Ekaterina Blinova

Hillary and Bill Clinton could have been involved in “pay-to-play” schemes, while transferring money through their charity in a non-transparent manner, Wall Street analyst and investigative journalist Charles Ortel told Sputnik. The uranium deal may become the trigger for an all-out inquiry into the Clinton Foundation, he believes.

The Clintons’ “modus operandi” is first, to lie under oath, and, second, to obstruct justice from within government and even from outside government, Wall Street analyst Charles Ortel told Sputnik, commenting on investigations launched by the Senate and the House of Representatives into the Obama-era uranium deal.

It was rumored that as secretary of state Hillary Clinton approved the agreement benefiting Russia in exchange for donations to the Clinton Foundation (CF) from Canadian mining industry leaders involved in the deal. Clinton refuted the claim that she helped support the donors’ interests.

Hillary’s Uranium Case: Why Now?

Answering the question why of all times Hillary Clinton’s uranium case has surfaced now, the analyst noted that it was Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley who kicked off the initiative following the release of reports by US journalists John Solomon and Sara Carter.

Ortel believes that Attorney General Jeff Sessions “has been dragging his feet on putting resources behind a full and complete investigation of the network of charities operated by and for the Clintons that seems to be engaged in the largest frauds perpetrated in modern history, when one considers all the tentacles.”

While speaking to Alabama voters in late September, Donald Trump responded to their chant “lock her [Clinton] up” by saying: “You’ve got to speak to Jeff Sessions about that.”

Then, during an October 18 congressional hearing, Attorney General Sessions dropped the hint that the Justice Department was looking into the alleged conflict of interest involving the former secretary of state.

Is the Clinton investigation launched by the US Congress, and, allegedly, Sessions, connected to the ongoing Trump-Russia probe?

The Wall Street analyst assumed that the narrative concerning Trump’s supposed collusion with the Russians during the 2016 presidential elections, promoted by “Team Obama” and “Team Clinton,” is nothing but an attempt to prevent the US president from disclosing “potential criminal activities involving government officials, donors and others [who] might get prosecuted once the Trump administration finds its feet.”

“When Trump shocked many by winning, Team Obama and Team Clinton must have realized that skeletons created and put in closets from January 20, 2009 onwards, might get exposed,” he explained.

“At first, it seems consideration was given to contesting the election result, and then to obstructing the inauguration. As these moves failed, the Trump-Russia collusion narrative ultimately triggered the appointment of [Special Counsel Robert] Mueller, and then of his team,” Ortel said.

The Clinton Foundation Brought Into the Spotlight, Again

The alleged conflict of interest has once again brought the Clinton charity’s murky financial activities into the spotlight. According to Ortel, who has been investigating the CF for the past few years, the Clintons have a long record of receiving grants, including from foreign nations, and not disclosing it in an appropriate manner.

“There are various laws that require a US charity to disclose its government grants, including those from foreign nations,” the investigative journalist explained. “When you look through the IRS tax forms from 1998 through 2007 for the Clinton Foundation, you will see that the line ‘government grants’ is not filled in for any of these 10 years.”

Ortel noted, “On December 18, 2008, the Clintons reluctantly provided a table that purported to show donor information concerning cumulative contributions, arrayed in a misleading fashion by category.””This list includes numerous ‘governments’ so the CF and its trustees knowingly omitted crucial information on tax forms submitted for 1998 through 2007,” the analyst highlighted.

However, Ortel emphasized that the list is “misleading” because “the largest category $25 million and up failed to highlight that UNITAID had donated hundreds of millions by December 18, 2008, and had even advanced monies for 2009 to the CF in 2008.”

UNITAID, an organization aimed at providing access to drugs and treatment for AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis patients worldwide, was founded with the assistance of former US President Bill Clinton and then French President Jacques Chirac in 2006. The entity was officially established by the governments of Brazil, Chile, France, Norway and the United Kingdom while the CF was named as one of its key partners.

“These donations had gone to the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative, Inc., an AR [Arkansas] legal entity whose authority to operate had been revoked on March 31, 2008, with effect from December 31, 2007. Moreover, the French government and possibly other donors had grown quite concerned about this illegal activity around then,” the analyst surmised.

In addition to federal filings on government grants, New York and California require detailed disclosures that still have not properly been made by the Clinton charity concerning government grants,  amount and intended purposes, the analyst explained.”So, one issue that is deeply troubling for the Clintons and for the regulators who still seem willing to give the Clintons, lawyers, accountants, a pass is what purposes did the donors intend the Clinton Foundation to carry out in each year from 1998 forward. And exactly when, if ever, was the CF authorized by the IRS [Internal Revenue Service] and the states to be more than a Little Rock Presidential Records Repository and Research Center,” the Wall Street analyst underscored.

Given the fact that lots of data are omitted in the CF balance sheets the question arises what actually happened to these various government and other donations, Ortel asked.

While Hillary Clinton was US Secretary of State, The Clinton Foundation received millions of dollars from foreign governments, and at least one contribution was in violation of a State Department ethics agreement, the Washington Post reports.
© AP Photo/ Marcio Jose Sanchez
While Hillary Clinton was US Secretary of State, The Clinton Foundation received millions of dollars from foreign governments, and at least one contribution was in violation of a State Department ethics agreement, the Washington Post reports.

How Clinton Charity Evolved Into Monstrous Non-Transparent Network

So, when did this trend start?

Citing Taylor Branch, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Bill Clinton’s secret diarist, the Wall Street analyst noted, “Bill Clinton was thinking about his library immediately after he won his first presidential election.” However, the charity intended to gather money for the William J. Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock has transformed into an enormous and non-transparent international network.

“Early on in Arkansas, [the Clintons] likely discovered that no one actually checks what really happens to sums spent by governments in the granular ways that forensic accountants and investigators can check, if they wish to,” Ortel remarked.

The investigative journalist elaborated that “with the ‘charities,’ operating without controls, the Clintons, their allies, and others can divert incoming funds to side accounts, and declare only a portion of the vast sums that actually are sent their way.”He highlighted that “with the balance of ‘revenues,’ they can claim expenses of any amount they wish, but ensure monies go to allies who can then kick back portions of sums actually sent.”

“Had the American public learned the truth starting in 2001, the Clinton Foundation long ago would have been shut down, and possibly trustees and Clinton family members, as well as executives would have been prosecuted, convicted, and incarcerated,” he told Sputnik.

According to the analyst, there were many other scandals “that plagued the Clintons, while and after Bill was a president.”

“During and after the 1996 election, allegations were made and subsequently investigated that the Clintons and Democrats tapped foreign money sources, including possibly the Chinese and there were endless hearings,” he said, referring to the 1996 US campaign finance controversy — an alleged effort by the People’s Republic of China to influence domestic American politics.

However, Ortel stressed that “these hearings never seemed to go to the heart of underlying issues, possibly because both politicians in both parties (illegally) may have been engaged in the same bad behavior.”

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

Clinton at Cheltenham: Why It’s Time to Throw the Book at ‘Literary Festivals’
| October 24, 2017 | 10:07 pm | Hillary Clinton | No comments

Clinton at Cheltenham: Why It’s Time to Throw the Book at ‘Literary Festivals’

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during a 'Meeting Discussion on Gun Violence Prevention' at Landmark Theater in Port Washington, New York on April 11, 2016.

Clinton at Cheltenham: Why It’s Time to Throw the Book at ‘Literary Festivals’


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Hillary Clinton’s recent appearance at the Times/HSBC/Waterstones-sponsored Cheltenham Literary Festival, where she urged the west to “get tough” on Putin, Russia and its media outlets, was proof once again that these UK “festivals” have little to do with promoting great writing, but quite a lot to do with promoting neocon geopolitical narratives.

The world of UK “literary festivals” is an incredibly cliquey one — open to a certain approved few — an upper ‘caste’ of well-connected “Inside the Tenters,” who can be sure to say the right things, whether its bashing Russia (de rigeur in 2017), or calling for “regime-change” in Syria.

Don’t Call Us, We Call You!

The trick, if you want to dine at the high table, is to be a politically correct, holier-than-thou virtue-signaling “liberal” on domestic issues and a pro-war “liberal interventionist” hawk on foreign policy. Then you’ll have the big literary agencies fighting over themselves to gain the rights to your latest “masterpiece,” and have a standing invitation to all the “best” book events.

If you think that sounds a bit too “Dave Spartish,” then consider this, dear reader.

The 2008 book The Mighty Wurlitzer by Hugh Wilford, details how the CIA in the old Cold War fought its propaganda campaign on all fronts — including in the fields of publishing and literature.

“The agency established the Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF) in 1950. The group sponsored an unprecedented number of literary prizes, art exhibits and music festivals,” writes Nancy Hanover, in her review of Wilford’s work for the World Socialist Website. Hanover also notes that the CIA “worked to make book contracts available for its ‘designated’ writers with one of the publishing houses in which the agency had an interest.”

The CCF also published more than “two dozen magazines,” including the British journal Encounter, co-edited by neoconservative guru Irving Kristol, which as Hanover points out, also received funding from MI6.

In an earlier book, Who Paid the Piper? Frances Stonor Saunders also detailed how the CIA extended its tentacles in to the world of publishing and the arts. Many members of the so-called “democratic left,” i.e. pro-NATO Atlanticists, were funded by the US Deep State and given top billing in CIA-backed media.

How many publications — today I wonder (whether magazines or books) receive backing — through various “fronts” from US/UK or allied intelligence agencies? It’s hard to imagine the practice has stopped; in The Mighty Wurlitzer, the author says that CIA front groups were still functioning.

An Elite Carve-Up

Gatekeepers in the big publishing houses — and in the top literary agencies certainly ensure that the “wrong” people, putting forward the “wrong” views, are kept out.

My wife Zsuzsanna, who grew up in communist Hungary in the 70s and 80s, has written a book on her generally very happy everyday experiences of living behind the so-called “Iron Curtain.” She had articles published in The Guardian, New Statesman and the Mail on Sunday, all of which got a terrific response from readers from around the world, but as yet has no publishing contract. If she had been a wealthy emigre/dissident and had written an entirely bleak account of life under “goulash communism,” I’m sure she’d have been speaking at Cheltenham alongside Hillary. But in 2017 — the year of the centenary of the Russian Revolution, and a new Establishment propaganda blitz against Russia — only the voices of hawkish Cold War warriors can be heard.

Voices like Anne Applebaum, the Washington Post columnist whose latest book Red Famine — which claims that Stalin deliberately starved the Ukraine — has received enormous publicity; with the book suiting the geopolitical interests of those who want to link Putin’s policies towards Ukraine to Uncle Joe’s.

Or Bill Browder whose book Red Notice seems to be prominently displayed in every large book shop in the country.

Then there’s Victor Sebestyen with his Lenin the Dictator. He’s Hungarian-born, but unlike my wife, he’s a “1956-er” and not the child of a working-class factory maintenance worker from Esztergom Kertvaros.

“He has been a speaker at universities, literary festivals and conferences throughout Europe and the United States” his website tells us. What a surprise!

The Neocon History Boys

Things are even worse now than in Cold War 1.0. A small group of well-connected historians — all pushing Establishment-friendly narratives, predominate. Dominic Sandbrook seems to have cornered the market in writing about post-war Britain, and has done very well, trashing the 1970s, the most genuinely egalitarian decade of the 20th century. In book form — newspaper serialization — and of course in a BBC series. The Iraq-war supporting duo Niall Ferguson, an adviser to John “Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran” McCain’s presidential campaign in 2008, and Andrew Roberts, who in 2013, fiercely berated MPs for voting against bombing the secular government in Syria that was fighting Daesh and al-Qaeda, are regulars on TV and at “literary festivals.”

In 2016, Roberts won a Bradley Prize, from a foundation which supports “a vigorous defense, at home and abroad, of American ideas and institutions.”

Simon Sebag Montefiore, a very well-connected scion of the famous family of bankers and diplomats, who in 2016 attacked Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters for having a world view “that is entirely different from that of virtually all Western governments” is another member of the “Establishment Historians Magic Circle.”

Toeing the Party Line

Top authors — whether they’re writing fantasies about Iraqi WMDs, Kremlin hacking plots or boy wizards — know on which side their bread is buttered. Harry Potter author JK Rowling did much to publicize the story of Bana Alabed, the little girl from a fiercely anti-Assad family who became designated “the face of Aleppo,” but she and her literary friends have shown less interest in tweeting about the plight of children in war-zones in Yemen, Gaza or Raqqa.

It won’t shock you to know that Bana has a book out — endorsed by Rowling on the cover — and published by the big corporate publishers Simon and Schuster, a subsidiary of CBS. Would a child from Yemen, Gaza or Raqqa landed such a deal? I very much doubt it.

‘Your Book Is Simply Wonderful, Daahling…’

Part of the way the “right” books are promoted is for fellow “Inside the Tenters” to give each other’s work glowing reviews. I won’t single out any particular individuals, but believe me the practice goes on all the time. It’s a real case of “pass the sick bucket” when you read these gushing reviews.

No one else from outside the “Magic Circle” gets a look in. For all the talk about the UK being a “meritocratic society,” the upper echelons of British publishing are more of a closed shop than they were a hundred years ago. Back in the 1920s it was possible for a man like Edgar Wallace, an illegitimate son of an impecunious traveling actress, who had left school at the age of 11, to become the country’s best selling-novelist. In my biography of Wallace, Stranger Than Fiction, I tell his incredible rags-to-riches story. The sad truth is that the phenomenon of Edgar Wallace, “The Man Who Made his Name,” simply wouldn’t happen today — as publishing is now far too cliquey. From my own experience, I know that the old British baronets who used to run publishing houses were far less elitist than today’s self-styled “democrats.”

The situation in the British “book world” is absolutely dire, but the good news is that a backlash against “literary festivals” and their exclusivity has begun.

In 2015, novelist Joanna Trollope claimed they valued “celebrity above writing,” and said she preferred going to more egalitarian events on the continents. She also criticized the trend for bringing in “stars” from America — is that just to get bums on seats or is it to keep the CIA happy? Who knows?

In 2016, writer Beulah Maud Devaney condemned the Hay Festival — the UK’s largest “literary festival” as “an unapologetic celebration of elitism.” To prove the point, among the politicians at Hay this year were the former Deputy PM and banker’s son Nick Clegg in conversation with neocon columnist Matthew D’Ancona, and Nick Clegg’s wife Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, talking to errr… Matthew D’Ancona. And in case that wasn’t enough Mr. D’Ancona for you, he was also there to talk about his new book Post-Truth: The New War on Truth and How to Fight Back.

I wonder if anyone asked him about those Iraqi WMDs — and where they got to? But if we call Hay “elitist” — then how on earth can we describe the Cheltenham Literary Festival?

Speakers/performers this year included the Establishment-friendly but woefully unfunny comedians Robert Webb and Al Murray; the ludicrously pretentious windbag Salman Rushdie — (has anyone, hand on heart, ever finished a book he has written?), and the former MI5 Director General Dame Stella Rimington.

The Cliveden Set, 2017

If that wasn’t bad enough, how about the latest “literary festival” at Cliveden, which was truly beyond parody. Described as “Britain’s poshest new festival” by the Daily Telegraph, the event — earlier in October — was the brainchild of billionairess Natalie Livingstone, the new “lady of the manor.” Those who paid a mere £170 (US$224) for a weekend ticket could attend a panel discussion on “Russia 1917-2017” with Simon Sebag Montefiore, Victor Sebestyen, Anne Applebaum — and Radek Sikorski, the hawkish former Foreign Minister of Poland, who is Applebaum’s husband.

What a cozy little get-together! There was also a book signing with the Festival’s president, Andrew Roberts (yes, him again!) and Anne Applebaum.

Others present at Cliveden included the Wall Street Journal columnist and former chair of The Man Booker Prize, Amanda Foreman, and the former Chancellor and Bullingdon Boy, George Osborne, the architect of austerity (that’s austerity for you and me dear reader and not for George and his chums). “Elitist”? Perish the thought, reader!

Just about the only person who was missing who you thought would be there to reinforce the message to the assembled #booklovers about the “Russian menace” was Hillary Clinton.

I heard she had a prior engagement.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

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Democrats Appoint Anti-Minimum-Wage Advocate to Finance Committee
| October 20, 2017 | 8:36 pm | Analysis, Hillary Clinton, political struggle | No comments

On delivering the absolute minimum

Various sources have reported that Tom Perez, the Chair of the Democratic National Committee, has appointed Atlanta native Dan Halpern to the finance committee of the party.

Specifically, he will be part of a squad of deputy national finance chairs. As the Atlanta Business Chronicle reports:

Halpern chaired Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s mayoral campaign in 2009 and served as a trustee for then-President-elect Barack Obama’s 2008 inaugural committee. Halpern also is immediate past chairman of the Atlanta Housing Authority Board of Directors and a past chairman of the Georgia Restaurant Association.

In a party that says it’s trying to be progressive, Halpern is a strange direction. As the head of Jackmont Hospitality and the GRA, Halpern has reliably opposed the minimum wage. His record thus far suggests a hostility towards the kind of worker-friendly policies that the Bernie-era Dems are supposedly pursuing. It suggests Perez, and Perez’s backers and friends, have not gotten the memo about economic justice.

In Halpern’s home state of Georgia, according to Politifact “Senate Bill 314 called for raising Georgia’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, but it didn’t get so much as a hearing.”

Why? Halpern’s people—the Georgia Restaurant Association—claimed that there would be a potential loss of 21,000 jobs, ignoring the increased possibility for consumer spending, for new jobs, for giving hungry people a hand up. Everything must benefit the boardroom, you see, or it’s not worth doing. As Politifact helpfully reminds us, “Georgia’s minimum wage is technically $5.15 an hour (Georgia Code 34-4-3) and has been since 2001. But the vast majority of Georgia employers (some say more than 99 percent) must comply with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, which means they have to pay their employees the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.” If given god-like sway over the business, Halpern and his GRA would probably prefer to keep this amount even lower.

Hardly surprising. When a guy is described by the Atlanta Journal Constitution as a “Georgia Democratic moneyman,” it’s safe bet he couldn’t give two hoots in hell for a single mother making minimum wage at McDonald’s.

If you’ve got a sec and a yearning for self-inflicted pain, browse over to Jackmont’s site. Take a gander at the page they keep up for Halpern. His bio is full of the weirdly specific praise beloved in the executive suite. Dan’s favorite food is Paella. And like me, his alias is “Coach Dad.” Well, that’s not my nickname, but Halpern apparently means it seriously. He drinks bourbon, small batch.

“He’s not just the guy who signs the checks and seals the deals. CEO and Co-founder Daniel Halpern is the head, hands, and heart behind Jackmont Hospitality.

Can you imagine what it must be like to sit next to this guy on a transatlantic flight, yammering about his incredible resume? I bet if the plane lost all engine power and the whole blessed lot of passengers went spiralling down to watery death, Halpern would keep delivering a monologue in the third person.

… Not surprisingly, Daniel isn’t new to foodservice management. Not to drop names, but before Jackmont Hospitality, he worked for Holiday Inn Worldwide. He also has a degree from the School of Hotel Administration from a little place called Cornell University.

“A little place.” Christ. Hey Dan, ever worked a busy lunch shift? I sure as hell have.

And apparently, Daniel’s reputation precedes him, which is why Johnson and Wales University bestowed upon him an honorary degree in Business Administration in Foodservice Management. Ever the over-achiever, Daniel also earned the Foodservice Management Professional (FMP) designation … Like most foodservice celebrities, Daniel has published widely and lectured around the world on industry-related topics. … Daniel, Renaissance man that he is, has advised many of the top political leaders of his time …

This is like reading the dating personals at the back of an Ivy League magazine. Renaissance man … over-achiever … reputation precedes him …. Best of all, foodservice celebrity. I can’t get over that. That’s how I plan to refer to myself in the future, whenever restaurants kick me out for demanding more of them spicy lobster rolls.

This is Perez’s idea of a swell guy to raise money for the new, Post-Hillary Democratic party. Coach Dad, who desperately needs your approval, and occasionally your money.

Tom. Dan. The Clinton era is over. The time when you could get away with playing both sides of the field is done. No more claiming to be for marginalized people, and then cheating them of a decent life. No more.

The Chronicle again:

“This team has a proven track record and decades of combined experience raising the resources to elect Democrats up and down the ballot,” DNC Chairman Tom Perez said. “They played a key role in sending President Obama to the Oval Office, and they’ll help ensure that we continue to elect Democrats in 2017, 2018 and beyond.”

The contested DNC leadership election was in February. The Bernie wing wanted the leadership position bad. The Corporate Dems kept saying that the Chair position didn’t matter. Why, the centrists asked, are you Berniecrats contesting it at all? It was a suspicious denial.

Especially since the Corporate Democrats ended up going after the chairmanship just as hard as the Bernie wing did. Now we see the results of such an election: the Halperns of the party are still free to play the field. Is this the future of the Democratic Party that Tom Perez had in mind? I’m honestly surprised Perez’s man doesn’t support a mandatory minimum—since that’s all Perez and his centrists are willing to give.

Clinton: ‘I am done with being a candidate’
| September 10, 2017 | 9:10 pm | Hillary Clinton | No comments

Clinton: ‘I am done with being a candidate’

September 10 at 11:00 AM  

(Patrick Semansky/AP)

Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton said Sunday that she will not pursue the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

“I am done with being a candidate,” Clinton said on CBS’s “Sunday Morning.”

Clinton — who on Tuesday will release “What Happened,” her memoir of the 2016 campaign — does plan to stay involved in national politics, just not as an “active politician” who may launch Hillary Clinton’s new book, ‘What Happened,’ comes out Sept. 12, but audio excerpts were made public on Aug. 23. Hillary Clinton’s new book, ‘What Happened,’ comes out Sept. 12, but audio excerpts were made public on Aug. 23. (Monica Akhtar/The Washington Post)

Hillary Clinton’s new book, ‘What Happened,’ comes out Sept. 12, but audio excerpts were made public on Aug. 23. (Monica Akhtar/The Washington Post)

“But I am not done with politics because I literally believe that our country’s future is at stake,” she said in an interview with Jane Pauley.

Clinton also was critical of President Trump’s preparedness for the White House.

“We have a reality show that leads to the election of a president. He ends up in the Oval Office. He says, ‘Boy, it’s so much harder than I thought it would be. This is really tough. I had no idea,’” Clinton said. “Well, yeah, because it’s not a show. It’s real. It’s reality, for sure.”

The former Democratic nominee said she has moved on from her 2016 election loss but acknowledged that the sting of defeat has not entirely faded away.

“I am good,” Clinton said. “But that doesn’t mean I am complacent or resolved about what happened. It still is very painful. It hurts a lot.”

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