The Biden Masquerade

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Joe Biden is currently the frontrunner in an ever growing Democratic presidential primary pack.

However, the time honored maxim of history repeating itself may apply when it comes to the former vice president’s third bid for the Oval Office.

Biden’s campaign speechwriters have been tasked with keeping his stump speeches as lofty and broad as possible. One of the clearest examples of this can be found in Biden’s frequently repeated campaign promise to “restore the soul of this country.”

In his rhetoric, he carefully avoids making mention of any specific policy position. Instead he mouths hack political phrases, conveying ideas regarding a supposed return to “unity” and “bipartisanship.” Lost in his words is any semblance of truth about the administration in which he played a major role, an administration that, among other things, left a legacy of having severely polarized the nation along race, class, and cultural lines.

Biden’s latest campaign has come up with a fictional crisis, one of a “soulless” nation that is in need of fixing. His campaign is doing everything it can to avoid the simple fact that the Biden candidacy carries with it an enormous amount of baggage. The former senator and vice president happens to be the embodiment of establishment politics. In addition, he is an apologist for a massive federal bureaucracy.

The third-time presidential hopeful has been in the political business for an astounding fifty years. He apparently believes that he is just the guy who will be able fix things, even things that over the last half century he helped to break in the first place.

Not only does Biden represent to the Democrat electorate the old ways of doing things, his age is a relevant issue. If he were to be elected, he would be kicking off his presidency at the seasoned age of 78. While there is a lot to be said for senior power, at some point a reality check becomes a prudent option.

The Democratic Party’s energy currently resides in its left wing, and many of its activist members are feeling tepid about Biden’s entry into the race, due to his long record as a politician. The titular leader of the Democrat left, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D – N.Y., has already dismissed the notion of a Biden nomination,

“This idea that we can go back to the good old days with Obama, with Obama’s vice president I think, you know, there is an emotional element to that. But I don’t want to go back. I want to go forward.”

Ocasio-Cortez and her likeminded allies do not like that Biden opposed busing to end segregated public schools, voted for the Iraq war, supported the job-killing trade agreements, supported a draconian crime bill, and displayed a prosecutorial attitude toward Anita Hill during the 1991 Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings.

Two important issues with which Biden must contend that continue to sow seeds of doubt in the minds of primary voters are as follows: 1) a pattern of inappropriate behavior toward women and girls, much of which has been captured on video recordings; 2) a penchant for making serious gaffes.

Biden has a history of failed presidential campaigns. His first one came to an end due to a plagiarism scandal. His second one ended as the result of his having finished in fifth place in the Iowa caucuses.

Still, the Dem frontrunner’s biggest problems may be the serious scandals that are swirling around him. These would typically be ignored by the mainstream media. However, because of the more than twenty Democratic opponents in the field, many of whom are well liked by the media, press coverage of the scandals is likely to ensue.

Two stories that have already been publicly exposed involve transactions with the Ukraine and China. The China scandal has received coverage in two mainstream media organizations that would not typically be revealing stories that might be harmful to a Democrat candidate.

The New York Times and Vanity Fair both reported on Biden, when he was vice president, as having conducted high-level diplomacy with Beijing days before a $1.5 billion deal was made with his son Hunter Biden’s private equity firm, secured from the state-owned Bank of China. This may explain why Biden recently brushed aside the idea that China poses a danger to the U.S.

“China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man…. They can’t even figure out how to deal with the fact that they have this great division between the China Sea and the mountains in the east, I mean in the west,” Biden said.

During his term as vice president, Biden’s son Hunter was being investigated in the Ukraine after landing a high-paying job at a major Ukrainian energy company. Biden reportedly used taxpayer money and the power of his office to have the lead prosecutor on the case fired.

Known for speaking before thinking, Biden boasted about the misuse of power.

“We’re not going to give you the billion dollars,” he said. “They said, ‘You have no authority. You’re not the president.’ I said, ‘Call him.’ I said, I’m telling you, you’re not getting a billion dollars.’ I said, ‘You are not getting a billion. I will be leaving here,’ and I think it was, what, six hours. I looked and I said, ‘Leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.’ Well, son of a b—h got fired.”

Democratic Presidential Candidates Compete for Hollywood Cash

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When it comes to campaign financing of Democrat presidential hopefuls, Hollywood’s ATM is open for business.

One after another, Dem candidates have been heading west to make their withdrawals. While there, they typically try to grab a bit of stardust wherever it can be found.

Former veep Joe Biden, mayor of South Bend, Indiana Pete Buttigieg, senator from California Kamala Harris, and senator from New Jersey Cory Booker have either already held Left Coast fundraisers or are in the process of scheduling them.

Harris has shaken the Tinseltown money tree a couple of times so far. She will be returning to the Golden State on May 19 for a campaign event in LA’s Hancock Park, hosted by Gotham Group’s Ellen Goldsmith-Vein.

In the first quarter of the year, Harris was able to garner a greater amount of cash from individuals and entities in the entertainment biz than her fellow contenders. But that was before Biden entered the race. She now plans to hold a number of events in late May, including one co-hosted by media investor and producer Peter Chernin.

Booker has plans for a two-day LA tour starting on May 29, complete with several events hosted by prominent entertainment industry figures.

Hollywood has always been a tried-and-true money source for Democrat Party politicians. The Party and its candidates are well aware that when then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton sought cash for her campaign during the previous election cycle, contributors such as Haim Saban, Steven Spielberg, and Jeffrey Katzenberg donated mega-bucks to Priorities USA Action, a pro-Clinton super-PAC that was allowed to collect unlimited contributions.

Entertainment sources contributed $22 million to Hillary, and to the super-PACs aligned with her, through mid-October 2016, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. By comparison, the same group of Hollywood donors gave less than $290,000 to then-candidate Donald Trump.

Biden and Buttigieg were the most recent candidates to seek financing from entertainment industry sources for their respective campaigns.

Back in 2007 Biden had a difficult time, though, competing with the then-presumed frontrunner Hillary and new face in town at the time Barack Obama. Currently, however, Biden’s chief advantage is the name recognition he has acquired, having been around in politics for the past fifty years.

As writer-director Adam McKay recently tweeted, “Free slogan for Joe Biden’s campaign: ‘You’ve heard my name before.’”

During his first Tinseltown trip of the 2020 campaign cycle, Biden’s notoriety paid off in a big way. Hollywood gave him a massive take in the form of a fundraiser at the home of ex-HBO executive and former ambassador to Spain James Costos along with his partner and ex-White House interior designer Michael Smith. The event brought in more than $700,000. The host committee included Katzenberg, Chernin, actor Rob Reiner, and CBS Films President Terry Press.

The former veep appears to be staying away from specific issues and is instead focusing on a liberal pie-in-the-sky cliché that he will somehow bring unity to the nation should he be elected.

“I promise you if we elect a Democrat this time — I predict to you whether it’s me or someone else, but I guarantee you if it’s me — what’s gonna happen is, we’re going to see this country come together like it hasn’t in a long time,” Biden said.

While on the Left Coast, he attended a lunchtime campaign meeting as well as a late afternoon public event with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Although Buttigieg is not as well known as Biden, Hollywood, the home of professional story tellers, is enamored with the saga of Mayor Pete’s unlikely contender status. Biden’s entourage may be concerned that Buttigieg could run the table like Obama did in 2007.

Even the most imaginative screenwriters have been intrigued with the idea of a military veteran who describes himself as a Christian, is openly gay, a Rhodes scholar, and mayor of a small city in Indiana, who has unexpectedly become a top-tier candidate, according to the polls in early primary states.

The Hollywood elites have already opened their establishments and homes to hold events to introduce Buttigieg to the entertainment community and to additionally raise campaign dollars. Buttigieg has notched television appearances on the shows of Ellen DeGeneres and Bill Maher.

At the same time Biden was in town, the South Bend mayor chalked up a slew of Hollywood events, including a breakfast organized by producer Jordan Horowitz, a public event with Garcetti at SEIU Local 99 to support a ballot measure to raise the parcel tax, a gathering with Gina Gershon, Christopher Guest, and Laurie David, a lunch in Brentwood, an event at The Abbey in West Hollywood, and a cash-seeking get-together at Gwyneth Paltrow’s home, where he answered questions from more than 100 attendees, including actors Bradley Whitford, Amy Landecker, and Martin Sheen, former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, director Rob Reiner, Costos, and Smith.

Buttigieg is planning a momentum-seeking return trip to the Left Coast in June to raise money and connect with Hollywood power players, including a fundraiser at the home of producer Ryan Murphy and husband David Miller.

Expect the mayor to leave with piles of cold campaign cash with a lot more to follow.

Democrats Launch Preemptive Strike on Barr

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The Democratic Party and its willing allies in the mainstream media have a new target in their political sights: Attorney General William Barr.

Attorney General Barr is the latest recipient of the poisonous politics in which Democrats of the extreme partisan kind are engaging. Interestingly, what appears to be lurking in the shadows of the political drama is a kind of raw fear on the part of Democrats.

A tactic from the military handbook, known as the “preemptive strike,” involves attacking one’s enemy before the enemy has had a chance to attack first. In this manner, the opposing side’s capabilities are inhibited or eliminated.

Democrats are going on the attack against Attorney General Barr with the goal of destroying the man’s reputation. They are doing so in order to interfere with the efforts of the Department of Justice (DOJ) in unearthing potentially damaging facts relating to the government’s investigation of President Trump.

Senate Democrats know, although some feign otherwise, that the attorney general is a fair-minded and competent legal professional.

The new head of the DOJ has plainly stated that with the Mueller investigation having been completed, he intends to delve into issues that may impact the image and reputation of various public officials, including some in the previous administration. This may prove to be potentially problematic, especially for Democrat candidates who are running in upcoming elections.

Attorney General Barr has let the Senate Judiciary Committee know that he is looking into the origins of the investigation into Trump and any possible criminal leaks to the media by FBI and/or DOJ officials. Additionally, the question of whether the Christopher Steele dossier was a form of Russian disinformation will be examined.

The Steele dossier was reportedly the basis for applications submitted in order to persuade the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court to issue warrants against a Trump associate, Carter Page.

Steele was hired to create the dossier by an entity called Fusion GPS, which is an opposition research firm that was paid in part by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, using the Perkins Coie law firm as a cutout.

The attorney general has already started probing the manner in which the counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign and administration was conducted. He has indicated a desire to determine the facts surrounding the alleged spying on Donald Trump before, during, and after the 2016 presidential election. He has also indicated that he will look into the numerous leaks to the press that occurred, and the origin of the Steele dossier and its use in the FISA courts.

Fear may have set into certain Democrat members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, when the attorney general informed them that he was working closely with Inspector General of the United States Department of Justice Michael Horowitz to investigate the investigators who initiated and conducted the investigation at the DOJ and FBI into so-called Trump-Russia collusion.

For more than a year Inspector General Horowitz has been looking into the process by which FISA court surveillance warrants were obtained to spy on Trump associate Carter Page. Horowitz commenced the FISA abuse probe after having received requests from then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions and members of Congress.

Attorney General Barr said, “I talked to Mike Horowitz a few weeks ago about it. It’s focused on the FISA, basis for the FISA and handling of the FISA applications. But by necessity, it looks back a little earlier than that. The people helping me with my review will be working very closely with Mr. Horowitz.”

According to Attorney General Barr, Horowitz’s report could be released at the end of June 2019, and any criminal referrals produced will be placed into the hands of the attorney general.

Democrats are no doubt aware that if the immense investigative and intelligence powers possessed by the federal government were used on American citizens without a proper predicate, the communication thereof to the public will significantly jeopardize their party’s ability to win elections and maintain power.

United States Attorney for the District of Utah John Huber has reportedly been tasked with looking into the way in which the FBI handled allegations of Hillary Clinton’s role in the sale of U.S. uranium rights to an entity known as Uranium One. He has also been charged with the responsibility of examining the way in which FISA warrants were obtained to surveil Carter Page. According to various media reports, Huber is close to submitting his findings.

Democrats realize that Huber will be reporting his findings to Attorney General Barr.

The attorney general may have caused certain Senate Democrats to experience further anxiety when he told them that more wrongdoing than previously reported may have taken place by those who were conducting a counterintelligence investigation of President Trump and other individuals connected with him.

“Many people seem to assume that the only intelligence collection that occurred was a single confidential informant and a FISA warrant. I would like to find out whether that is, in fact, true. It strikes me as a fairly anemic effort if that was the counterintelligence effort to stop the threat as it is being represented,” Attorney General Barr said.

The attorney general also indicated that he is working closely with the FBI to go where Democrats never thought he would.

With some of the spying details about to be revealed, the Democrat strategy is to preemptively undermine the credibility of the head of the DOJ, Attorney General Barr.

To this end, Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, was particularly outrageous in her rhetoric during Attorney General Barr’s testimony before Congress, saying, “Mr. Barr, now the American people know that you are no different from Rudy Giuliani or Kellyanne Conway or any of the other people who sacrificed their once decent reputation for the grifter and liar who sits in the Oval Office.”

Calls for the attorney general to resign came spewing out of the mouths of Democrat presidential hopefuls, including Senators Kamala Harris, D-Calif, Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Cory Booker, D-N.J.

Other Democrats issued demands for the attorney general’s resignation, disbarment, and/or impeachment.

When Attorney General Barr used the term “spying” in his public testimony, it sent Democrats and their mainstream media cronies into a tailspin. They subsequently showed their true colors, launching a barrage of attacks against him.

But despite their unsavory tactics, the attorney general is proving himself to be unflappable, both in his public testimony and beyond. It highly unlikely that he will be distracted by partisan politicians who in private are more than likely scared out of their wits.

Trump Weathers the Democrat Subpoena Storm

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President Donald Trump is experienced in the art of litigation.

As a successful real estate entrepreneur, he was able to acquire the skills necessary to maneuver the legal playing field in the rough and tumble Manhattan marketplace.

The president has now made a strategic decision to litigate rather than comply with the attempt by Democrats to use their oversight powers to keep a discredited narrative alive.

Recently, a significant change took place in the legal approach that the Trump White House adopted.

For the past two years President Trump’s administration fully cooperated with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. More than a million documents were produced, officials were allowed to freely testify, and executive privilege was not exercised.

However, following the release of the Mueller report, the administration has decided to take a different legal approach with respect to what appears to be an unnecessary use of congressional investigative powers.

The president has recently indicated his opposition to having White House personnel submit to the subpoenas peppering Pennsylvania Avenue from overzealous congressional Democrats.

By challenging the Democrats’ efforts to perpetually investigate rather than fulfilling their congressional duties, President Trump increases the likelihood of the Democratically controlled House to be perceived as a “do-nothing” chamber.

White House attorneys are objecting to Democrat subpoenas, which probably means that protracted legal battles will ensue.

The Trump Organization has filed a lawsuit against House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., seeking to block a subpoena for the president’s years-old financial records.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin allowed a deadline to pass, which was given by the Democrat House to turn over the president’s tax returns.

The White House instructed its former personnel security director Carl Kline not to testify before Congress about the process by which the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner obtained their security clearances. The House has since held Kline in contempt.

Personal counsel of the president Rudy Giuliani pointed out to Politico that the president’s position on the House subpoenas is justified, when considering the partisan political motives of congressional Democrats.

“I think it’s exactly the right legal strategy, Giuliani said. “I doubt there’s anybody in America that thinks this has some legitimate governmental purpose.”

“This is like a judge saying I’m going to hang you, but I’ll give you a trial first,” Giuliani added.

Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., fully supports the president’s policy of not complying with what Graham rightly referred to as “a complete partisan thing now.”

With the Muller investigation wrapped up, the Russia-collusion narrative debunked, and an obstruction of justice charge eliminated, Graham accurately compared Democrats to filmmaker Oliver Stone attempting to come up with a plot line for a film dealing the Kennedy assassination.

“I think Congress is going crazy here,” Graham told The Associated Press.

One of the things that has been driving many of the Democrats in Congress insane is the prospect of bringing in former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify. Because the Trump administration has indicated that it may use executive privilege to prevent Congress from subpoenaing McGahn, the media have been invoking the specter of former President Richard Nixon in an attempt to portray the invocation of the constitutional privilege as an illicit act.

The president is legally empowered to resist subpoenas originating from the legislative branch that are designed to obtain information or testimony relating to the executive function. The Supreme Court has viewed this presidential privilege as a part of the separation of powers doctrine, derived from the president’s ability to carry out the duties held by the commander in chief under the Constitution.

The privilege to prevent staffers from testifying and/or withhold documents arises because of the unique need to protect the confidentiality of the advice that assists presidential judgments.

Despite the stilted coverage of most of the media, prior presidents have engaged in similar battles. Former President George W. Bush clashed with Congress after his administration attempted to block testimony from top aides over the firing of several federal prosecutors.

Former President Barack Obama asserted executive privilege to withhold documents related to the gun-trafficking scandal known as Operation Fast and Furious, which resulted in the House holding then-Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt.

The Supreme Court in United States v. Nixon held that when executive privilege is at issue, “…coequal branches of the Government are set on a collision course.” The judicial branch is therefore forced to deal with “the difficult task of balancing the need for information in a judicial proceeding and the Executive’s Article II prerogatives.” Such a proceeding “pushes to the fore difficult questions of separation of powers and checks and balances.” The court concluded that “constitutional confrontation between the two branches are likely to be avoided whenever possible.”

Consequently, when dealing with confrontations between the executive and legislative branches, the courts have avoided direct intervention.

In such legal proceedings, the wheels of justice move even more slowly than usual and are likely to slog through the court system eventually making their way up to the High Court.

The bottom-line result will be that the president’s legal battles with Congress are likely to last beyond the 2020 presidential election, thus denying the investigation-obsessed Democrats both their narrative and their pound of flesh.

In the Aftermath of the Mueller Report, Democrats Are Deeply Divided

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Over the course of the past two years, President Donald Trump has stoically endured two congressional investigations, a counterintelligence probe, and a pervasively broad special counsel investigation, while the Mueller Report has essentially obliterated the Russia collusion narrative, which was repeatedly pitched to the public via partisan politicians and news outlets.

Much to the chagrin of the Democratic Party, the president projects an even greater strength than when the attempt to neutralize his agenda first began.

The former outsider is now an incumbent in the highest political office in the land, having acquired invaluable experience over the last two years as well as important knowledge. The president and the American people know so much more about the high-profile federal agencies and corruption on the part of some.

It turns out that the total deconstruction of the Trump/Russia narrative has actually harmed the Democrats, serving to deeply divide its members over the question of whether to pursue impeachment, which is a major priority for its activist left-wing base.

Political leaders in both parties are aware that if the House of Representatives were to hypothetically impeach the president, the Constitution requires a trial in the Senate, whereby a two-thirds majority would need to be secured in order to remove the president from office. Of course, this scenario is highly unlikely, since the GOP holds a 53-47 majority in that chamber.

Over this past weekend three Democrat committee chairmen refused to let go of the idea of moving forward towards an impeachment of the president. Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) made it a point to keep the impeachment door wide open.

Those who use reason as opposed to emotion to analyze the situation realize that continuing to participate in a small-minded and vengeance-based pursuit of the president is an ill-advised strategy. Leaders of the Democratic Party are no doubt aware that the House takeover during the mid-term elections was fueled in large part by Democrat candidates who were running in red or purple districts, and who assured voters that they were moderate or even conservative in their political ideology. These candidates oftentimes further asserted that they would not be pulled toward the radical side of the political spectrum.

It stands to reason that those who came into office touting middle-America bona fides are likely to be hurt by an attenuated and seemingly spiteful impeachment process against a president who has been cleared of the false collusion charges that were lodged against him. With this in mind, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer recently characterized an impeachment agenda as inadvisable, echoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) warning that impeachment would divide the country.

“Based on what we have seen to date, going forward on impeachment is not worthwhile at this point,” Hoyer told CNN. “Very frankly, there is an election in 18 months, and the American people will make a judgment.”

Why would the Democrat leadership speak publicly against the pursuit of an impeachment investigation? The answer emerges from the numbers with which Democrat politicians are mesmerized.

A meager 31 percent of rank and file Democrats who self-identify as liberal or moderate view impeachment as worth pursuing, according to a recent Business Insider poll. However, 50 percent of those who see themselves as “very liberal” would like to see Democrats in the House pursue impeachment.

The far-left base, which by all appearances is the center of energy and media attention in the current Democratic Party, embraces the radical rhetoric of the freshman trio of congressional representatives: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.).

Media figures aligned with the Democratic base have propagandized the subject of impeachment on television and radio shows as well as websites, using out of context language found in the gossipy second section of the Mueller Report. And so-called progressives use amplified social media posts to keep the impeachment option alive.

However, the enlightened know that party unity is a fragile commodity. It is also a mandatory one, if national elections are to be decisively won.

The Democratic Party currently finds itself in the precarious position of being deeply divided on whether to go after the president. The liberal wing, which typically dominates the presidential primaries, is pressuring Democrat presidential candidates to adopt a pro-impeachment position.

They do so at their own peril.

Hollywood Writers Go to War with Talent Agents

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Two Hollywood institutions, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Association of Talent Agents (ATA), are now in an all out battle with one another. Consequently, the way in which business is conducted in the entertainment world may never be the same.

A dispute between the two organizations arose over the 43 year-old Artists’ Managers Basic Agreement (AMBA), a pact between the WGA and the ATA, which regulates the terms of how agents represent writers.

The WGA by-laws stipulate that an agency must sign the AMBA in order to represent one of its members.

Questions about the AMBA arose after a survey of WGA members found that Hollywood writers felt as if the major agencies’ practice of “packaging” was a detriment to their careers.

Packaging refers to an activity in which agents engage whereby there is a combining together of creative clients to benefit film studios, producers, and television networks.

Talent agencies used to rely primarily on a 10 percent commission rate as a revenue source. However, the practice of packaging provided a means in which larger agencies would be able to earn substantial additional revenue.

So-called packaging fees are charged separately and comprise an additional revenue source that is over and above the 10 percent commission; this additional amount of income is earned in exchange for bringing to a particular entertainment project a group of artists, e.g., writers, directors, and actors.

Additionally, the three biggest agencies, William Morris Endeavor (WME), Creative Artists Agency (CAA), and United Talent Agency (UTA), have spawned affiliate companies that participate in the ownership of content.

Writers contend that agents who package and gain an ownership stake have a conflict of interest, and they further assert that this conflict has caused writers’ earnings to decline.

The pursuit of packaging revenue places agents in a position of seeking deals that produce lucrative packaging fees rather than pushing for their clients to receive greater compensation.

When an agency owns and/or produces content, it places the agent in the dubious position of being an employer who is supposed to be representing the interests of an employee. This is a textbook case of a conflict of interest.

The growth of revenue streams for large talent agencies has attracted private equity investors and has even spurred some of the larger agencies to reportedly pursue the idea of going public. This has added more pressure as well as additional incentive to continue packaging and content ownership.

The agents that engage in such practices have actually made things worse through a lack of transparency, which has bred mistrust with their clients. Creators often had no knowledge that the content they had created was being packaged, with their agency generating a substantial amount of additional revenue off of their work. The agencies have acknowledged this error and have indicated that in the future they will be transparent.

The problem is that the damage has been done. Because the WGA and the ATA have come to an impasse in their negotiations, a tough-minded new talent agent code of conduct has been implemented by the writers union to end packaging and content ownership by agencies. The new code disallows any agent who represents a WGA member from receiving packaging fees and/or from working with agency-affiliated production companies.

WGA members have been instructed to disassociate from agents who do not comply with the new code of conduct. To this end, the union has provided members a DocuSign link with which they can send formal termination letters to agents.

These letters are now being sent out. Krista Vernoff, the showrunner on ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” wrote an article for the Hollywood Reporter, which is titled “Why I Left My Agent, Despite the Sales Pitch.”

A sizable number of writers have taken to Twitter to announce their solidarity with the union by changing their profile pictures to icons that say “I Stand With the WGA.”

More than 800 writers have signed a statement of support and indicated that they “will only be represented as writers by agencies franchised by the Guild.” Most of the notable showrunners and TV creators that agencies desire to package have been visibly in support of the union.

The union has decided to play hardball with a new database for showrunners, where position openings are posted and writers may directly apply for work. It has put forth a plan for writers to be represented by managers and lawyers, as opposed to agents, although the ATA contends that the plan violates the law in California and New York.

Reportedly, the union has already drafted a lawsuit against the ATA and its member agencies, which would bring the battle to a courtroom on the East Coast or the West. The lawsuit will likely claim a breach of fiduciary duty by the agents who accepted fees from studios and allegedly failed to negotiate in good faith on behalf of their clients’ interests.

The outcome of this conflict will likely result in an entertainment industry realignment, whereby writers are represented by smaller agencies that agree to collect commissions, minus the packaging or content participation.

In a letter to members, the WGA described the significance of the big agencies firing in the following manner: “We know that, together, we are about to enter uncharted waters.”

Smollett Gets Hit with a Lawsuit as Chicago Seeks Justice

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Jussie Smollett may regret his failure to pay a bill sent to him courtesy of the City of Chicago.

After an extensive investigative process, a demand for payment was sent to the alleged hate crime hoaxer in an effort by the city to obtain reimbursement for costs incurred due to Smollett’s claims.

The letter gave the “Empire” actor seven days in which to pay an amount of approximately $130,000.

Smollett is refusing to pay the city anything, not a single solitary penny. He continues to publicly claim that he has been “truthful and consistent on every single level since day one,” despite the fact that one of his lawyers has already fundamentally altered the facts of his claims.

Smollett may be about to reap the whirlwind because of a civil lawsuit that the city of Chicago plans to file against him. Bill McCaffrey, a spokesperson for Chicago’s Department of Law, released a statement indicating that because Smollett “has refused to reimburse the City of Chicago for the cost of police overtime spent investigating his false report on January 29, 2019,” a civil complaint is in the process of being drafted.

McCaffrey commented that the lawsuit against Smollett will be filed “in the near future” and that the city will “pursue the full measure of damages allowed under the ordinance.”

A provision in the municipal code allows the city to file a civil action to collect the costs incurred when individuals make “false statements” to law enforcement and cause resources to be wasted.

The law also allows the city to go after the actor for “up to three times the amount of damages the city sustains” as a result of the violation. Consequently, if Smollett loses he faces a possible judgment of $390,000. In addition, the city can recover court costs and attorney’s fees, which could push the amount he could owe to over $500,000.

Smollett will soon realize that civil law differs greatly from criminal law, just as O.J. Simpson and Robert Blake discovered. Civil lawsuits pose grave problems even in cases in which criminal defendants are acquitted after a full trial.

In civil cases, the burden of proof is significantly less than that required of prosecutors in a criminal proceeding. The standard for the prosecution in a criminal matter requires evidence sufficient to prove the guilt of the defendant “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

In its civil lawsuit against Smollett, the City of Chicago is only required to produce a “preponderance of evidence” to prove that Smollett is liable for the amounts sought. This civil standard requires that the city prove Smollett is more likely than not to have arranged for the attack upon himself, for the court, in the form of a judge or a jury, to hold the actor liable.

The $130,000 may in hindsight look quite inexpensive to Smollett, especially after he sees the amount of legal costs for which he will be responsible in order to defend himself against the City of Chicago’s lawsuit.

The extensive civil litigation that the city’s lawsuit would create would open the actor up for a sworn deposition under oath with the penalty of perjury hanging in the balance.

Smollett and his attorneys continue to make public statements proclaiming Smollett’s innocence. However, Joseph Magats, a lead prosecutor in the case, recently said that he “does not believe” Smollett is innocent.

Perhaps the greatest risk for Smollett is that a court will come to a legal conclusion that it was he himself who staged the alleged attack upon his person, thereby cementing his place in history as a B-list hate crime stager.