A woman of the people 48

Far from having any objection to luxury, we like it. (Though we maintain that it should be bought with one’s own money, not the tax-payer’s – as for instance Obama’s enormously expensive fund-raising jaunts are.) So when we question the purchase of luxury, it is not from any taste for puritan restraint. The only question with the subject in hand is whether what or whom is bought, is worth the price.

The article we quote from comes, unexpectedly, from the left-leaning Washington Post.

It reveals how a Leftist (ie. a person whose heart purportedly bleeds for the plight of the underdog, and who loudly objects to “the gap between the rich and the poor” ) demonstrates her solidarity with the less-well-off.

The particular hypocrite under the magnifying glass here is Hillary Clinton. The luxury she demands is charged to the incomprehensible people who want to hear her lecture. Her banal speeches, telling listeners nothing of any interest or originality, cost a staggering sum. And the demands being very detailed and pernickety, also take a lot of human energy.

When officials at the University of California at Los Angeles began negotiating a $300,000 speech appearance by Hillary Rodham Clinton, the school had one request: Could we get a reduced rate for public universities?

The answer from Clinton’s representatives: $300,000 is the “special university rate”.

That e-mail exchange and other internal communications, obtained this week by The Washington Post under a Freedom of Information Act request, provide a rare glimpse into the complex and meticulous backstage efforts to manage the likely 2016 presidential candidate’s lucrative speaking career.

At UCLA, efforts to book Clinton and then prepare for her visit were all-consuming, beginning almost immediately after she left her job as secretary of state on Feb. 1, 2013, until she delivered her Luskin Lecture for Thought Leadership speech on March 5, 2014.

The documents show that Clinton’s representatives at the Harry Walker Agency exerted considerable control over her appearance and managed even the smallest details — from requesting lemon wedges and water on stage to a computer, scanner, and a spread of hummus and crudité in the green room backstage.

Top university officials discussed at length the style and color of the executive armchairs Clinton and moderator Lynn Vavreck would sit in [them?] as they carried on a question-and-answer session, as well as the kind of pillows to be situated on each chair. Clinton’s representatives requested that the chairs be outfitted with two long, rectangular pillows — and that two cushions be kept backstage in case the chair was too deep and she needed additional back support.

After a lengthy call with a Clinton representative, UCLA administrator Patricia Lippert reported to campus colleagues, “She uses a lavalier [microphone] and will both speak from the audience and walk around stage, TED talk style. We need a teleprompter and 2-3 downstage scrolling monitors for her to read from.”

During a walk-through of Royce Hall five days before the lecture, the e-mails show, Clinton’s team rejected the podium planned for her use during her 20- to 30-minute speech, setting off a scramble on campus to find a suitable podium and rent a new university seal to match.

Critics have argued that the carefully staged events and high speaking fees could complicate Clinton’s ability to run a populist campaign built around the economic struggles of the middle class. …

[Her representatives] asked for a case of still water, room temperature, to be deposited stage right. They also asked that “a carafe of warm/hot water, coffee cup and saucer, pitcher of room temperature water, water glass, and lemon wed­ges” be situated both on a table on stage as well as in another room where Clinton would stand for photos with VIPs.

For the green room, Clinton’s representatives requested: “Coffee, tea, room temp sparkling and still water, diet ginger ale, crudité, hummus and sliced fruit.” They also asked for a computer, mouse and printer, as well as a scanner, which the university had to purchase for the occasion.

When university officials decided to award Clinton the UCLA Medal [!- ed], Clinton’s team asked that it be presented to her in a box rather than draped around her neck. That request was sent to the university’s chancellor, Gene Block.

“Chancellor Block has agreed to accommodate Hillary Clinton’s request to have the medal presented in a box,” Assistant Provost Margaret Leal-Sotelo wrote in one e-mail.

Lippert replied: “I can either have the jewelers box open or closed, in case the Chancellor doesn’t want to risk opening it.”

By contract, Clinton’s approval was needed for any promotional materials. Clinton gave permission for the university to record the event, but “for archival purposes only”. For public distribution, Clinton’s speaking agency approved only a two-minute highlight video to upload to YouTube. “Please make sure it is available only for one (1) year from the date of posting,” a Harry Walker Agency official added.

Clinton posed for individual photos with 100 VIPS, or 50 couples — “We get a total of 50 clicks,” one university official explained — as well as two group photos. Lippert wrote to colleagues that Clinton’s representatives wanted the group shots “prestaged,” with participants assembled and ready to take the photographs before Clinton arrived “so the secretary isn’t waiting for these folks to get their act together.” Reiterating the request, Lippert added, “She doesn’t like to stand around waiting for people.” …

Clinton’s [UCLA] appearance was privately funded as part of a lecture series endowed by Meyer Luskin, an investor and president of Scope Industries, a food waste recycling company.

In 2012, former president Bill Clinton delivered the inaugural Luskin lecture at UCLA for $250,000. Upon learning that Hillary Clinton’s fee would be $300,000, Guy Wheatley, a UCLA development official, wrote in an e-mail: “Wow! She get’s $50K more than hubby!”

Luskin told a university official to make sure the event raised at least $100,000. The university sold more tickets — which ranged in price from $250 for one seat to $2,000 for two seats, a photo with Clinton and access to a post-lecture reception with the college deans — and provided fewer free tickets to students. …

On campus, university planners fielded repeated requests for complimentary or reserved tickets — for scholarship students, for donors, for faculty and staff.

Organizers faced criticism that more students could not attend, particularly after an early morning event to allow students to enter a lottery for one of 413 free tickets turned into a shoving match. But students without tickets were able to watch a live stream of the event in an overflow location, Renaud said.

It is a relief to know that not all those who wanted to hear what she had to say were Hillary fans:

Other controversy surrounded Clinton’s visit. When an online survey asked the public what questions should be posed during a 40-minute question-and-answer session, university officials noted in e-mails that the majority of the suggestions were about the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya.

Our guess: Those questions were not put to her.

And here – to provide even more evidence of the lady’s moral tin-ear so to speak – is an extract from the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

Hillary Rodham Clinton likes to travel in style.

She insists on staying in the “presidential suite” of luxury hotels that she chooses anywhere in the world, including Las Vegas.

She usually requires those who pay her six-figure fees for speeches to also provide a private jet for transportation — only a $39 million, 16-passenger Gulfstream G450 or larger will do.

And she doesn’t travel alone, relying on an entourage of a couple of “travel aides,” and a couple of advance staffers who check out her speech site in the days leading up to her appearance, much like a White House trip

Her lifestyles of the rich and famous ways, and comments that she made about her wealth during a recent book tour, have fueled criticism that she’s out of touch with average Americans.

The Democratic contender said she pays taxes, unlike some people who are “truly well off”.  She also said she and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, were “dead broke” when they left the White House in 2001. In the past eight years alone, the couple has earned more than $100 million, much of it from speaking fees

And for her colossal fee, she expects much and gives little:

“It is agreed that Speaker will be the only person on the stage during her remarks,” according to the May 13 contract the Harry Walker Agency signed for [one of Clinton’s appearances].

According to her standard speaking contract, Clinton will remain at the event no longer than 90 minutes; will pose for no more than 50 photos with no more than 100 people; and won’t allow any press coverage or video- or audio-taping of her speech.

The only record allowed will be made by a stenographer whose transcription will be given only to Clinton. The stenographer’s $1,250 bill, however, will go to the [institution hiring her].

The [institution] … is prohibited from advertising the event on radio, TV or billboards. Mail and website ads are allowed, although Clinton staffers must approve in writing any promotional material. …

Clinton’s contract allows her to invite up to 20 guests [to a dinner accompanying the speaking engagement], including her staff, and have them sit together to be able to join the photo line.

None of the photos can be made public.

“The Sponsor is also required to communicate to the photo line attendees that the photo is for private, personal use only and that the photo cannot be used in any way to imply any kind of endorsement of an entity, individual, product or service,” the contract says.

“Any use of the photo that suggests or implies any such endorsement is forbidden.” …

Demands in the standard Clinton contract include (in addition to her own round-trip flights “on a chartered private jet e.g., a Gulfstream 450 or larger”), business class travel (a small concession here) for two advance staffers; hotel accommodation selected by Clinton’s staff (in addition to the “presidential suite” for herself), of “up to three adjoining or contiguous single rooms for her travel aides and up to two additional single rooms for the advance staff”; “a $500 travel stipend to cover out-of-pocket costs for Clinton’s lead travel aide”; and “meals and incidentals for Clinton, her travel aides and advance staff, as well as all phone charges”.

It amounts to a lot. Hillary Clinton is very expensive to hire.

But has she ever said anything worth paying a cent for? 

To Democrats that is probably an irrelevant question. Whatever Democratic Party pablum she regurgitates, or doesn’t, adds or subtracts not a jot to or from her value to those who want to hear her.

To quote her only famous – and infamous – line: “What difference does it make?”  

Posted under Progressivism, Socialism, United States by Jillian Becker on Saturday, November 29, 2014

Tagged with ,

This post has 48 comments.

Permalink