Kamala Harris, Opportunist to the Core: Launches Prez Bid on MLK Day, Since She Has to Remind People She’s Black After Criminalizing Truancy, Keeping CA Prison Rolls Up to Provide Cheap Labor; Sends Tone-Deaf, Narcissistic Campaign E-mail

Kamala Harris’ presidential campaign has barely made its official start, and she’s continuing to show her unfitness for the job. Martin Luther King would be rolling in his grave if he were to learn that a former big city and then state prosecutor, with no known history of protesting but an anti-minorities rap sheet that includes criminalizing truancy, enthusiastically prosecuting drug-related activity, and pushed to keep nonviolent “second-strike” convicts in prison to assure California a continued supply of cheap labor, was misusing his name to try to burnish her sorry record.

If you missed them, these reviews of Harris’ record as a prosecutor should disabuse you of the notion that she’s a friend of the downtrodden:

Kamala Harris Was Not a ‘Progressive Prosecutor’ Lara Bazelon, New York Times

A Problem for Kamala Harris: Can a Prosecutor Become President in the Age of Black Lives Matter? Intercept

Reckoning With The Neoliberal Record Of Kamala Harris ShadowProof

The Two Faces of Kamala Harris Jacobin

Readers may recall that last week, we addressed one Harris Big Lie about her record, that she was a big defender of abused homeowners by virtue of having gotten a less terrible deal than 48 other states in the 2012 National Mortgage Settlement, which we’ve regularly described as a “get out of liability almost free card” for the big mortgage servicers. Her lack of a commitment to homeowners, and her pliancy to big money interests, was confirmed by her failure to investigate One West Bank, ignoring a 2013 memo from attorneys in her office flagging the appearance of “widespread misconduct.” Her complacency was rewarded via One West’s former CEO, Steve Mnuchin, making Harris the recipient of his lone donation to a Democratic party Senate candidate.

Needless to say, if Harris had prosecuted Mnuchin, it’s hard to imagine he’d be Treasury Secretary now.

Harris’ book, The Truths We Hold, published earlier this month to help grease campaign skids, shows Harris applying lots of porcine maquillage to her record. It doesn’t work very well. As Teodrose Fikre writes in Black Agenda Report on one of the more measured reviews, by Hannah Giorgis in the Atlantic:

Kamala Harris’s memoir reads nothing like her actual record of locking up the poor and giving impunity to the rich…

Checking off identity boxes and getting jiggy with it is not enough, we must demand more from politicians than soundbites and feigned indignation. Instead of addressing income inequalities and systematic imbalances that are the sources of most social ills, Harris tries to hide behind anecdotes and outlier stories in an attempt to minimize the disproportionate impact her decisions had on the poor and working class. After making a name for herself by aggressively locking up Californians and enhancing the inmate supply for the prison-industrial complex, she is now attempting an image makeover by using social justice and diversity hustles as launching pads….

Harris’s take every prisoner temperament was nowhere to be found when the time came for her to take on robber barons. She famously chose to look the other way when she had the chance to prosecute Steve Mnuchin and make an example of unscrupulous bankers.Her “progressive prosecution” reserved progress for the rich and doled out draconian measures for the poor and marginalized. It is worth repeating, Harris’s administration effectively argued for slave labor in order to enrich penal plantations.

Kamala Harris is no activist, she is Hillary Clinton in a black face.This is precisely the reason why the corporate donor class are licking their chops and pushing Harris as a viable presidential candidate. She has proven her loyalty to Wall Street; when push comes to shove, CEOs know that they have an ally in Kamala. What Harris is banking on is an electorate that is so deranged by Trump’s puerility that we don’t inspect her positions and just accept her optics and rhetoric as a suitable alternative to the incumbent president.

The one bit of good news is that Harris’ campaign is so hopelessly tone deaf and narcissistic that Harris will do herself in as a serious contender in no time fast on current trajectories. A reader sent a copy of the “Day 1” fundraiser, which if done properly, should set the tone for the campaign.

What do we learn from this sorry missive? That Harris apparently regards herself as such an Oprah-level celebrity that her mere presence is enough to get citizens to want to vote for her. However, she can’t resist remind us of her top 10% bona fides, that she is able to find a “healthy snack” in Penn Station vending machines. God forbid we catch a Ruler of the Free World wannabe enjoying some potato chips. Might be mistaken for Trump!

Another revealing-in-not-a-good-way bit is the last photo, of Harris supposedly getting down to “hard work”. As you can see from the image, “hard work” is standing up while staff applauds. It’s bad enough to see this sort of thing at CalPERS; we need to keep that pathology from going national.

So Harris presents absolutely nothing in the way of policy stances. Apparently the reasons to want her as President is that she’s photogenic by the not-too-high standards of politics and she gets bonus points for not being a white man.

And this sorry e-mail really is representative of her campaign pitch. Her site is every bit as narcissistic as the fundraising appeal. It admittedly has a centrist dog-whistle in the form of a long-ish bio which is an attempt to position Harris on policy while punting on taking any positions. But otherwise, it’s long on pretty pix and thin on much else.

It’s stating the obvious that Harris is yet another variant on the Obama formula: take an attractive, well-educated, mixed-race centrist and encourage the press and public to project that their “minority” background means that they’ll be staunch defenders of the downtrodden.

But the public isn’t so easily fooled. 9 million foreclosures, many of which could have been prevented, bailouts for banksters, a two-tier recovery with smug elites preaching “Let them eat training” to people stuck outside big cities or too old to be employable, and sky-high Obamacare deductibles mean a lot of voters are not going to fall for idpol packaging as easily a second time. Plus Obama had so little in the way of a political track record that it was easy for him to be a shape-shifter; he made his stint as a community organizer go a long way. Even now, hardly anyone knows that Obama, along with his wife Michelle and Valerie Jarret, as described by Robert Fitch, built their early career success by lending an appearance of legitimacy to moving black South Chicago further south on behalf of local real estate and finance interests.

Further complicating the foolhardy effort to cast Harris in the Obama mold is that she’s got way too much political baggage to fool all that many people as to what she is really about.

So it’s telling that self-absorbed Harris campaign imagery clashes with her slogan, “For the people”. Even more so than for most politicians, Harris’ team has to stick with the surface because that’s all they have to sell.

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  1. The Rev Kev

    Saw this on the news earlier where she announced her Presidential candidacy on Martin Luther King Jr.’s day which I thought as a class act that. Hijacking a national celebration for her own political ambitions? Yeah, real good judgement that. With this being so, I am going to predict that Hillary Clinton will announce her candidacy for President on Friday, March 8th of this year. Why then? Because that is this year’s date for International Women’s Day that. It would be in keeping with the times. Personally I think that both of them should hold back their announcements to a better date. Say, February 30th?

  2. che

    Maybe it’s time to stop thinking about who would be a JC kind of candidate and start thinking who can win against Trump. In all honesty, she is not the worst entry from that point of view.

      1. Adam Eran

        AOC is too young to fit the constitutional ban on youth… You have to be this old to ride on this ride

      2. vidimi

        a recent poll i saw somewhere had the 7 leading democratic frontrunners polling better than trump. gabbard was not on that list.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      No, I’d never bet on her against Trump.

      First, her book and the MLK launch and her site say her political instincts are poor. She’s already projecting a sense of entitlement.

      Second, as a colleague stressed, young people will not vote for her. They know prosecutors are friends with cops, and that’s a huge negative.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner


        Harris had a small inner circle of political staffers that micromanaged everything the AG’s office did, and every decision was funneled up to her. This could leave even simple decisions unmade for weeks if Harris left town, as she frequently did on fundraising/political trips.

        This can be overlooked, but campaigns are grueling affairs. Any time a candidate spends on meetings is time they aren’t speaking to voters or resting up. If her instinct is to run things, this campaign could be memorable.

      2. Roquentin

        I agree 100%. Why would anyone bet on her easily beating Trump is beyond me. Out of the current slate of candidates, I think she’s one most likely to lead to a 2nd term for him. I think the Dems running her verges on suicidal.

        1. Pat

          I think she would have to arm wrestle Booker for that honor. But both should be knocked out early if the Democratic voters don’t get silenced.

          1. Carey

            “..if the Democratic voters don’t get silenced.”

            Elite Dem playbook 2020? They are *not* stupid.

          2. WheresOurTeddy

            Least electable:

            1) Harris 2) Booker 3) Warren 4) The interchangeable white moderates with no name recognition 5) Sanders

            Bernie or Bust. You didn’t believe us last time…

      3. L

        Equally importantly she was a prosecutor who was tough on people but laughably kind to banks. The fact that she sent people to jail for nonviolent crimes but let the fraudsters at One West and Wells Fargo steal homes will be a negative for everyone but the donor class. And the fact that she still cannot explain why One West was let go will dog her all the way.

        1. Massinissa

          According to people like Harris, banks are people too! People with far more rights and far, far more money.

      4. Hepativore

        There is also the fact that she was seen being vetted by the Clintons at the Hamptons, and I think this will come back to bite her in terms of Harris being portrayed as just another neoliberal in progressive clothing. In getting the Clinton stamp of a approval, she has sealed her fate as voters have long been fed up with the Clintons and their continued stranglehold on the Democratic Party leadership.

      5. jrs

        and she’s a black woman (or partly black at least) and that’s is likely to be a disadvantage. I don’t like it but I think it still factors in.

      6. NotReallyHere

        Brava, madam, for that excellent post.

        The possible good that could come from a Harris and Booker campaign would be to expose again the corruption at the heart of the Dems

    2. Steve H.

      > who can win against Trump.

      I’m reading Barabasi ‘The Formula’ currently, and he’s made his case that, while it’s easy to cull the plonks, who wins a contest of near-peers is as random as who gets to go first or last. Our last choice was between two New York billionaire grifters, and the majority of yacks thought Clintons would win. Lost the coin toss.

      Frank Rich spelled it out, before he lost his critical facilities. “[Regan] used to work for another longtime Giuliani pal, Roger Ailes, the media consultant for the first Giuliani campaign in 1989 and the impresario who created Fox News for Murdoch in 1996. A full-service mayor to his cronies, Giuliani lobbied hard to get the Fox News Channel on the city’s cable boxes and presided over Ailes’ wedding.” “we do know that as of the summer Giuliani had received more airtime from Fox News than any other GOP candidate…” And then Giuliani would advertise in other Murdoch organs, triangulating out of quid pro quo.

      That’s how the money-go-round works. imo, Harris is another grifter who’s figured how to win even if she loses. And, imo, the more she grifts from the donor class, the less effective they’ll be. How relevant has the PNAC cohort been since Cheney picked their pockets?

      John Robb: “Grand strategy, according to John Boyd (arguably America’s best military strategist), is a quest to isolate your enemy’s (a nation-state or a global terrorist network) thinking processes from connections to the external/reference environment. This process of isolation is essentially the imposition of insanity on a group. To wit: any organism that operates without reference to external stimuli (the real world), falls into a destructive cycle of false internal dialogues. These corrupt internal dialogues eventually cause dissolution and defeat.”

      For ‘dialogues’ substitute ‘narratives.’

    3. timotheus

      Yes! We need a safe, moderate, unthreatening candidate to assure victory! Long live presidents Dukakis, Kerry and Mondale!

    4. johnnygl

      ‘who can win against trump’ — trump’s greatest political talent has been to get his opponents to make complete idiots of themselves. Cruz, jebbie, rubio, HRC…

      If a candidate is going to try to coast on identity and symbolism while winking to the donors and doing big-ticket, closed door fundraisers…trump’s crew will have a field day.

      The beto bubble is already deflating rapidly…harris might be next.

    5. diptherio

      Apparently you are unfamiliar with the “Kamala Harris is a cop” meme. It’s widespread in activist circles, especially the younger ones, and is usually followed by “ACAB” (All Cops Are B@stards).

      If the dems want a repeat of 2016, they’ll make sure Kamala gets the nod. If they want to win…..but let’s be serious, they don’t actually want to win. Everybody knows that it easier to do fundraising after losing an election than after winning one.

      1. todde

        I had a court date to plead my case
        Judge didn’t like the look of my face
        They said we’re gonna put you away
        I said all i had to say
        I said

    6. Massinissa

      Whether she could beat Trump aside, honestly shes abhorrent enough to me that I honestly think I might prefer a second term of Trump.

    7. Carey

      “..win against Trump..” Why? Elect another pretty-faced shill for the rich, like Obama?
      I’ll pass on that.

      And “..not the worst entry..” is a not an adequate standard, at all. Try over at D Kos; you’ll
      fined many who’ll agree with you there.

      Kamala “we see you!” Harris 2020 yeah right

  3. freedomny

    She really is a clueless opportunist. Doesn’t even have any “policies” on her website – absolutely no platform. Just some Kamala merchandise to sell. Wouldn’t be surprised if she tries to co-opt some kind of variation of AOC’s “respect the hustle…”.

  4. voteforno6

    So, how do you really feel?

    That being said, I think that, in large part, her consideration as a serious contender has to do with her being from California. There’s a well of money and media she can draw from just based on that. In that regard, I wonder if she and Gillibrand will cancel each other out, as they have many of the same perceived advantages.

    I have a little bit of sympathy for Harris, as she probably thinks that she did everything by the “rules,” and does not yet realize that those went out the window in 2016. Voice on the left have more prominence now, and they don’t have nice things to say about her. Now that she’s in the race, I expect to see more critical reporting on her. I don’t think that her campaign will be able to bulldoze them the way that Clinton’s did a few years ago.

    As an aside, I think that what is one of the unexpected outcomes of the Sanders campaign is how it has led to increased prominence of those leftist voices. Imagine what would happen if he actually was elected President?

    1. Clive

      Harris reminds me a lot of Jebbie.

      Everything is skewed to an evaluation of “if I do this- or say that- or adopt x- or y- stance on issue z- then how will the voters perceive me?”.

      Which, as Jebbie proved, merely ends up with the voters perceiving you as someone whose only consideration is how they are perceived by the voters.

      1. hemeantwell

        She should have thought “since I actually did oppose early release on the grounds that it would deplete the prison labor pool, many voters will recognize my ruthless neoliberal instincts and so I better not run.”

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      I am told by a California elected official who worked with Willie Brown, Harris’ mentor, that he thinks her support in CA isn’t that strong: “She doesn’t have deep roots here”.

      1. voteforno6

        That’s interesting information. As I recall, California moved up its primary for next year. If she loses her home state, or wins by a small margin, that could be a very serious problem for her.

      2. jrs

        well I don’t think she has roots now. She ran for a Senators spot, spots that were occupied for DECADES by Boxer and Feinstein (I know but …). She replaced Boxer (Feinstein is still there) and instead of serving for decades (if reelected) she used it purely as a stepping stone to climb the ladder of ambition. Serving a state with an economy and population equal to most countries shouldn’t just be something to put on one’s resume to run for President. No loyalty to California at all. She shouldn’t be surprised if she doesn’t even get reelected as a Senator after her presidential bid fails.

        1. WheresOurTeddy

          +1 to jrs comment.

          The $1-a-day incarcerated firefighters who can’t then get jobs as firefighters after parole has pissed a lot of people off, especially in my part of CA which was on fire for 4 months last year.

          There will be no CA rout for Harris.

      3. Carey

        Even the highest-profile AG is an unknown, at least in CA. No one knows who she
        is, other than “stealth idPol Senator”. Newsom and Harris are birds of a feather,
        as blank as they come, doing their monied Masters’ bidding.

      4. Nax

        California is a horrendously expensive media market and it has a powerful Democratic machine. There’s a reason why Clinton beat Sanders here and why Harris won Boxer’s senate seat and it wasn’t their personalities or platforms.

        I would describe the local SF/Bay area news coverage of Kamela’s announcement as fawning.

        Among other things they talked about how her one day fund raising total beat Bernie’s from last time, and how so much of it was from small donors.

        Winning California in a twenty candidate field would need, what, maybe 25%-30% of the registered Democratic vote (plus whatever independents beat the Democrats anti-voter machine)? If the media and the Democratic machine remain behind her and she hasn’t imploded under the weight of her own bullshit by the time of the vote then I can see her getting it. 23 months is a long time in politics though, obviously.

    3. WheresOurTeddy

      CA (Independent who votes for the most socialist candidate on ballot) voter here. We don’t like Kamala. The donor class and LA and SF like Kamala. She’s Hillary Clinton with more melanin.

    4. David R Smith

      What “rules” are those? Do they include seducing the most powerful Democrat in the state, 30 years one’s senior, so one can be appointed to various state agency boards when only a couple of years out of law school?

  5. Ignacio

    It seems to me her run to presidency is finished before the start. The only good thing is that her campaign will burn some or much money from wealthy donors

    1. Steve H.

      Would you want to be the single impediment between HRC and the Oval?

      The latest Hersh article made me think about Dan Quayle. Some of the Iran-Contra drug smugglers met in his office. He was already a conspirator hub, and had information which needed to be suppressed. So his VP appointment kept him close, but he never showed venal political ambition ala HRC. No chance Bush Sr. was going to have an accident and elevate Quayle.

      “He currently serves as Chairman of Global Investments at Cerberus.”

    2. L

      Well but as your article makes clear Harris has really strong policy views that will poll very well:

      Harris’ recent response to Democrats in her home state of California sabotaging single-payer Medicare for all—despite holding a super majority in the state legislature and the governor’s mansion—speaks volumes about her. She refused to outright support the policy; instead she said she supports the “concept” of single-payer but believes fixing Obamacare is more realistic.

      Yes that whole “conceptual support” will really get people turning out, and that along with her support for banks over homeowners will play well among the formerly middle class. Now if we add Joe Biden with his progressive views on student debt and color contrast and we have an identity ticket that is solid gold in the catskills.

  6. JR

    NC has had a very impressive run analyzing the bona fides of the not-quite Vichy Democrat (as opposed to actual Vichy Democrat) presidential candidates (Warren, Harris, etc). Thank you for that. In addition to Bernie (definitely not a Vichy Democrat), I find myself thinking of Tulsi Gabbard (very good on getting out on foreign entanglements — though Ms. Gabbard’s affiliation with India PM Narendra Modi definitely appears fairly odd) and Richard Ojeda (fantastic on teacher strikes, right to choose, and righting income inequality …). As I think about volunteering this political cycle, I would love some analysis of Gabbard and Ojeda (he says :-) ). Thx!

    1. Grebo

      Re. Gabbard affiliation with Modi: Someone yesterday posted this expose from Hawai’i which seems to indicate (I’ve only read part 1 so far) that Tulsi was born and bred in a pseudo-Hindu criminal cult led by a virulently homophobic “guru”.

      1. Grebo

        Now I’ve read parts 2 and 3. Tulsi was born in American Samoa where her parents were involved with ISKCON. They moved to Hawai’i when she was 2 and transferred their allegiance to Butler’s Science of Identity Foundation.

        She has helped raise money for the BJP in the US and they have donated to her campaigns.

        Her husband and three of her aides are also Butler disciples. She doesn’t like to talk about it.

        1. Synoia

          ISKCON International Society for Krishna Consciousness

          Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda (also known as Chris Butler), is coming in one of the leading lines of yoga spiritual masters in the Vaishnava tradition known as the Brahma Madhva Gaudiya Sampradaya.

          I recall the Beatles doing something like that. However, they had youth, fame, and money, and the independence as pop stars to bring to their side.

        2. Carey

          Gabbard strikes me as less than sincere, but 1) she’s a politician and 2) I’m old and maybe unperceptive.

          Will be watching with interest.

        3. Christine

          That’s my series. Thanks for sharing and reading, Grebo. Synoia, the story of Butler and Science of Identity is not as simple as just being a part of ISKCON. Some of my sources who are still in ISKCON, now with other gurus, have said that Butler and was abusive and that his homophobia stood out even within the context of ISKCON. He actually declared himself a guru in his early 20s, before he ever got involved with ISKCON. Anyway, he’s been grooming politicians in Hawai’i since the 70s. Then there’s the money laundering …

  7. Roger Smith

    I received the same email last night and I have no idea how. Either the Sanders list was given away or Shareblue (whom Sanders used for donations) gave their data away. I sent a lovely reply about how I thought the message was sent in error, instead bound for one of Kamala’s OneWest friends. Time to call in the favors!

    1. jhallc

      I’m on Sanders list and contributed via ActBlue. I’m also on Warren’s e-mail list and get “Revolution” e-mails from Nina Turner. I did not get the missive from Harris. So don’t think Bernie’s list has been compromised.

        1. DonCoyote

          I’ve used ActBlue to donate to several candidates (including AOC) and did not receive the Harris e-mail.

          OTOH, I am on Tulsi’s list (by choice {donating to her}, I don’t think Sanders shared his list), even though she goes a little heavy on the fundraising ones–mostly the frequency thereof, not using scare tactics. Of course, since she’s not getting the big money donations so she needs some $$. In any case, her announcements form quite the contrast to Harris, and her (old) web page is fairly clear on the issues, although sadly it whiffs on single payer:

          All Americans should have access to affordable healthcare through Medicare or a public option. We must ensure universal healthcare and empower the government to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies to bring down the price of prescription drugs.

    2. Barbara

      I got the email which is presumably from Harris’ hubby. Oh, so touching.

      I looked at the bottom of the email to see how I got on her list. It claimed I was a subscriber to Senator Kamala Harris’ email list. What nerve!

      I unsubscribed and she had the further nerve to ask me to explain my unsubscription. I just put “I never subscribed.”

  8. Darius

    I got Joe Biden’s email trying to get in front of #MeToo. I’m disappointed I didn’t get Kamala’s delectable missive.

    1. Roger Smith

      Part of me hopes he runs just so all of the awkward photos of him touching and looking at women and children become more public. Biden comes off as very strange and in terms of competence, he’s always felt like an irrelevant side kick to me. Couple that with his weak, “take Trump behind the barn…” nonsense and you’ve got real creepy underachiever.

      1. polecat

        I wouldn’t call pushing legislation to forever keep the mopes in the shackles of student-loan penury an ‘underachiement’ ..

        1. Worldblee

          Yeah, that’s a “Delaware Proud” moment for him. Let’s vote for the guy from the state that all corporations register in, he must be a man of the people!

        2. WheresOurTeddy

          Admiral Hux served the First Order, even if he was incompetent. Biden has served his Sith Lord masters well.

      2. Cal2

        That can be forgiven as just bad taste and insensitivity to camera lenses.
        His shackling 45 million or so potential voters to a life of poverty through their student loans is a fatal flaw that would doom him.

  9. dbk

    Good summary of Harris’s background and record as AG in CA, in particular.

    From The Atlantic piece:
    “What Harris is banking on is an electorate that is so deranged by Trump’s puerility that we don’t inspect her positions and just accept her optics and rhetoric as a suitable alternative to the incumbent president.”

    I think there is a danger of this happening, frankly, among the neo-liberal factions, which include the DNC/DC establishment, the meritocratic classes, the chattering classes, one part of the donor class, the educated suburban women class, etc.

    Now is the time for progressives inclined to support someone with Bernie-type policies, including Bernie himself should he declare, to push back hard against a candidate like this one.

    My sense right now is that most of the declared or about-to-declare candidates resemble Harris/Hillary/Obama more than Bernie. And there is a real danger that if the Dems don’t figure out a way to support sb more progressive than the above, it’s gonna be 2016 all over again.

    The Dem establishment is sclerotic, yes, but progressives also have a responsibility to push back before it’s too late and the threat latent with Harris’s candidacy (“vote for me or you’ll get four more years of …”) gets tested in practice.

    1. Grant

      Part of the push back is Sanders not waiting tons longer. The longer he waits, the more the establishment media will be able to create certain narratives in his absence. He enters and sets the terms of the debate pretty much right away. The media will try but they are hated for good reason and are easy to push back on these days. I think that, if he runs, he probably wants to wait as long as he can, realizing that the second he does the knives come out. Difficult for anyone to deal with (for a second time), doubly for a man his age. But, if he is in, he has to be in soon. He is going to cause the establishment to lose their marbles, and them doing so will make him and the left stronger. Right now, they probably look at someone like Warren and are a little scared, but probably think they can work with her and influence her. They are right. They have no such confidence with Sanders. With Harris though, they have nothing to fear.

      1. aletheia33

        it occurred to me this morning that i’ve been assuming sanders will run. and that he might not. it would be very understandable if he decides not to. what will he do then? and what will we do then? i have not even considered these questions, though surely many NC readers have. any thoughts?

        1. Carey

          Maybe a better question, or not: how did we get come to a situation where
          the great majority of the citizenry are depending on one, very old Senator,
          to save us from a tiny group of *thugs* who run the country, to not just our, but the entire world’s, detriment (excepting that tiny group)?

          Class class class

        2. WheresOurTeddy

          one wonders, with the current political moment, and following 2016, how he could choose not to

          what better place than here, what better time than now, who better than us to make it happen

      2. Carey

        ..”Right now, they probably look at someone like Warren and are a little scared, but probably think they can work with her and influence her. They are right. They have no such confidence with Sanders. With Harris though, they have nothing to fear.”

        WRT Sanders, do you remember “..We’re taking it all the way to the Convention!..”
        (accompanied by a blizzard of fundraising emails, to which I gullibly responded)?
        I sure do. Days later he utterly capitulated.

        So much goes on that we don’t know about. (read that twice)

    1. Skip Intro

      I am shocked, shocked I tell you, that an identitarian smear should be applied to someone promoting progressive and anti-war policies.

      1. nycTerrierist

        how is that a smear if it is true?

        i am no fan of idpol, btw, and far more interested in economic justice
        and anti-war policies. But at that late date esp. (early 2000s),
        Gabbard’s active homophobic crusading doesn’t pass the smell test.

        1. cm


          Her past views and activism in opposition to LGBT rights in the late 90s and early 2000s, which put her out of step with most of the Democratic Party at the time,

          Ah yes, I remember the Clintons’ support of gay marriage in the late 90’s. I’d love to see some quotes from the Ds like Clinton & Biden supporting trans rights in the late 90’s…

        2. DonCoyote

          You do realize she has explicitly said she was wrong and apologized for this:

          Latest one on youtube.

          You don’t have to believe her apology. But again, notice the difference between her and Harris–Harris has not apologized but is trying to ignore/bury/whitewash her mistakes.

            1. ChrisPacific

              It was also part of her upbringing. I’ve said before here that I think the experience has made her suspicious of received wisdom and that (along with her personal experience in Iraq) has made her able to look past the neocon consensus and jingoism in DC, for example. I suspect it’s also why she meets with the likes of Assad and Trump – she doesn’t trust what she’s been told about them (i.e., that they are hideous sadistic demons who torture babies for fun) and wants to understand their perspective, whether or not she agrees with it.

    2. Gregorio

      I don’t remember CNN being similarly hard on Hillary, (who was much less apologetic) for her former insensitive views on LBGTQ issues. It’s telling that this is how CNN reacted to Gabbard entering the race, compared with their coverage of Harris, who they threw a town hall for. The corporate oligarchy certainly isn’t subtle with their biases.

    3. Massinissa

      Yes, because her consistently supporting LGBT legislation her entire career can be thrown out because she made a stupid comment FOURTEEN YEARS AGO when she was 23 and in college.

      1. nycTerrierist

        It was more than one comment.

        She was an activist, actively working against gay rights, while in office as a state representative
        (my bold):

        “Tulsi Gabbard herself is quoted in a 2000 press release from The Alliance for Traditional Marriage. In it, she attacks gay rights activists who were opposed to her mother Carol’s bid for the state’s board of education.
        “This war of deception and hatred against my mom is being waged by homosexual activists because they know, that if elected, she will not allow them to force their values down the throats of the children in our schools,” Gabbard is quoted as saying.
        Tulsi Gabbard’s anti-gay efforts continued after she became a state representative.
        Shortly after Gabbard announced her presidential ambitions Friday, her testimony at a hearing opposing a civil unions bill in 2004 resurfaced.
        “To try to act as if there is a difference between ‘civil unions’ and same-sex marriage is dishonest, cowardly and extremely disrespectful to the people of Hawaii,” Gabbard said at the time. “As Democrats we should be representing the views of the people, not a small number of homosexual extremists.”

        1. JR

          Thank you nycT for pointing that out. You raise a good point. The question here in part is belief in her answer and whether the earlier viewpoint acts as a permanent bar. In Gabbard’s case, I’m not sure that it should, but, as can be seen here, people of good intent can come to different views.

        2. Massinissa

          2000 was 18 years ago. 2004 was 14 years ago. Also in 2000 she was NINETEEN.

          Maybe I would care if you got some dirt that wasn’t over a decade old. Her voting record on LGBTQ issues has been good since then.

  10. Skip Intro

    Kamala Harris, Dirty Cop

    Letting Mnuchin and OneWest skate then accepting at least one campaign donation for the beneficiaries of her official misconduct sure looks like a cop on the take to me. I think the above monicker should become standard. Probably the only politician with the chutzpah to slam her for not prosecuting his pick for Treasury Secretary is, yes, you guessed it, DJT.

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      which is why she’s the least electable democrat running.

      Trump: “Corruption? Boy have I got a California story for you…”

    1. Summer

      I chuckled at the headline too, but understand its point. It’s to grab the attention of poeple that have only skimmed the headlines, listened to cheery soundbites, or seen some pics of Harris.

  11. bob

    “that she is able to find a “healthy snack” in Penn Station vending machines. God forbid we catch a Ruler of the Free World wannabe enjoying some potato chips. Might be mistaken for Trump!”

    In the same neighborhood-


    “I don’t listen to music when i work out, which I do every morning. I watch morning joe”

    She’s so groovy! And well informed.

    That video is painful to watch.

  12. Cat Burglar

    Opportunists are at least predictable. The only uncertainty is, how long will they stay bought?

    I use a transactional approach to dealing with them politically: How bad do you want it? What will you give me for it? When will you deliver? (“Hope” didn’t cut it for me in 2008.) If we keep bringing up specific demands she’ll have to deliver, we should be able to flush out the phony pretty quickly.

  13. Wukchumni

    I watched her attempting to prosecute Kavanaugh, and thought to myself, why is she asking the same stupid question that’s he’s not going to answer, over and over and over and over again?

      1. barefoot charley

        I assumed she was posing for her presidential ads, in 5-second soundbites without context she’ll look tough. Since MSM doesn’t do context, it may play. Spartacus too.

  14. NotTimothyGeithner

    Criminalizing truancy is so comically evil. This puts her into Joe Biden territory where I think one problem is Joe like Saint McCain is so outrageously evil its hard to believe they exist as this is what I would expect from the Legion of Doom.

    1. Unna

      There are ways of involving schools and social service agencies to deal with persistent truancy issues. I simply don’t understand the argument for criminalizing the parents for truancy. Except, of course, to take sensationalist and demagogic political positions in the media for political purposes.

    2. WheresOurTeddy

      what kind of society has a value system where if you get 25% of the test wrong, that’s a “C” which is acceptable; but if you’re late to class you are gratuitously punished?

      Why, it’s almost enough to make a fellow wonder if the entire point of the schools is to breed obedience as opposed to intelligence or something…

  15. jim Thomson

    Sometime during the early 2016 campaign it occurred to me that running for president seems to have become a job in and of itself. The repug field in particular was huge, 17 or so I think.
    Many of them could not be serious at all. I figured it was a method of self-promotion, to better sell whatever they were selling or grifting.
    It certainly is a fast way to national media exposure. Even making a fool of oneself did not seem to do any real damage. Rubio was raked over the coals by trump but now he is considered some sort of wise head, at least by some and is a national figure.
    i am certain, but do not know how, that there is also money to be made from the “campaign” itself, ie , it is a job that I suspect pays well, somehow.

  16. RUBIO

    How can you be African American as she states, when her mother is Indian & father is Jamaican??? I’m just asking.

    1. Cal2

      As Yves said, “Harris’ team has to stick with the surface because that’s all they have to sell.”

      In other words a political “Biofilm”


      1. JBird4049

        3/4 white means black in Jamaica? That’s reasonable compared to the American past as one drop rule was the standard to judge a person’s race especially in the South. Any Black ancestors meant you were legally black and subject to Jim Crow. You were either human or you were not.

        A lot of people passed as white. Some still do and in the past people were fearful terrified of being uncovered.

        Today, Kamala Harris looks black and is an American and therefore is as African American as someone whose ancestors were shipped over the Middle Passage centuries ago. That is all that matters. Optics.

        In the past having a black grand parent might bring ruin and now looking so is a possible political advantage.

        This country of ours is a f@@@ing twisted mess on race.

  17. JBird4049

    Thanks for putting some attention on Kamala Harris’ bait-and-switch politics. Like the Clintons and Obama she puts on a good facade to hide their aggressive grifting which needs exposure.

  18. James McFadden

    I think the below quote from “Carceral Capitalism” (author Jackie Wang, p268) captures the position of Harris.

    “noted long ago by W.E.B Du Bois, that the tenuous position of the black bourgeoisie in the socioracial hierarchy rests critically on its ability to distance itself from its unruly lower-class brethren: to offset the symbolic disability of blackness, middle-class African Americans must forcefully communicate to whites that they have ‘absolutely no sympathy and no known connections with any black man who has committed a crime.’ When the black leadership and middle-class blacks differentiate themselves from poorer blacks, they feed into a notion of black exceptionalism that is used to dismantle antiracist struggles. This class of exceptional blacks (Barack Obama, Condoleeza Rice, Colin Powell) supports the image of America as a post-racial society.”

    Personally I think she is running for Attorney General … should the Democrat win.

    1. JBird4049

      Great quote there and an excellent explanation of why the Black Misleadership Class exists. Become more than, be harder than the people in your “class” or against your opponent in a political race to prove your bona fides. I guess some don’t really mind being “successful” using the lives, bodies, and suffering of others.

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        here’s hoping “Black Misleadership Class” term finds traction this election cycle. Only good could come of that.

  19. Oso

    Yves Smith thank you for keeping it real, your honest portrayal of Harris matched street level skepticism here in Oakland yesterday as we made the yearly effort to recapture Dr King’s radical legacy. Appreciate you

  20. Summer

    Keep fighting the good fight.
    Hard heads out there:

    Salon today:
    Kamala Harris crowned instant Democratic frontrunner following 2020 announcement
    Commentators are responding to Kamala Harris as 2020 frontrunner

  21. Unna

    K. Harris as a prosecutor, according to the above articles, is a serial offender in using/allowing the use of false, fake, and withheld exculpatory evidence to obtain convictions. Then, she persists in defending these convictions even after the problems become apparent. Further, she is not above defending such convictions on small procedural technicalities against “pro se” defendants.

    Conclusion: K. Harris is a profoundly dishonest human being.

  22. Harry

    I was gonna recommend she seeks VV Putin’s endorsement, as we are told he is the Kingmaker in US politics. But Putin only seems to endorse progressives or left wing politicians in the West.


  23. notabanker

    Is there a bigger play going on here via the DNC? Are they vetting candidates to see which set is going to dilute the Sanders vote to ensure the super delegates once again control the nomination? Their primary objective has to be to eliminate Sanders, then battle Trump. AOC’s cannon shot has to have them worried about him.

    Harris, Warren, Beto….March out another identity candidate or two and have Uncle Joe Biden come in to clean up the mess?

    1. tegnost

      good observation, I’ve been tempted to call it the dems renting the clown car from the rnc but there seems to be a more insidious effort afoot re throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks

    2. Adam Eran

      I got an email from an (“environmentalist”) attorney asking whether an Inslee/Gillibrand ticket would be “too progressive to win.”

      After I picked my chin up off the floor, I wrote back that “too progressive” is a meme like the “too expensive” tag applied to Medicare for all. Medicare for all is cheaper…so “too progressive” that includes the likes of Gillibrand, as craven an opportunist as has ever graced the halls of congress…is the big lie.

      Anyway, it’s through the looking glass, and Harris is just more of the same *#%!

      I’d suggest Tommy Flanagan’s “Pathological Liars Anonymous” for these folks. Yeah! That’s the ticket!

  24. Bobby Gladd

    Interesting, all of it, including commentariat views. Kamala Harris is my Senator (I now live in Contra Costa County, since I retired in 2013). Lotta stuff above I didn’t know about her Sheet.

    Gonna be brutal primary. What crass epithet moniker will Trump affix to her? Jamaican/Indian “Pocahontas” insult equivalent.

  25. How is it legal

    Thank you.

    I’m Glad Kamala’s California Attorney General Office’s: what about the lost California revenues from the – in for years – non violent petty theft and petty drug (opioid prescriptions, weed, DUIs, et al) prisoners if we let them out, made it into your piece. Referenced on the ShadowProof link (only):

    In 2014, lawyers for Kamala Harris argued in court that if minimum-custody inmates were released early, the state of California would “lose an important labor pool.” These inmates included firefighters, who are paid $1 an hour to confront some of the deadliest blazes in California history. Harris later argued that she was unaware her own office argued in favor of keeping parolees in jail so they could serve as the state’s on-call cheap labor.

    So many recent Kamala Harris critiques leave it out, even though those ‘news’ sites are (or should be) aware of it. It was a very big deal at the time, since California had (still has) a huge over incarceration issue, which was even noted by the over incarcerating US Federal Government, which took Jerry Brown to task about his huge prison overload. Kamala blamed the revolting argument to maintain inhuman California prisoner revenues – versus releasing non violent prisoners who more than served their time – on her underlings. She claimed to be totally unaware of their actions. Who, in their right mind, believes that Kamala was utterly unaware of how her employees portrayed her objectives?

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      oh it gets even better – once those $1-a-day not-firefighters are paroled, most will not be eligible to work as firefighters in the future due to their records

      Never forget:


  26. Scoaliera

    Weirdly, she seems to be doubling down on the I’m A Cop thing.

    “For the People” is what every prosecutor tells the judge and jury when she introduces herself at the beginning of a case in court, and given the endless stream of tv shows about cops and prosecutors, a lot of voters in America will have seen a prosecutor (well, an actor playing a prosecutor) standing and saying, “Jane Doe for the People, your honor!” approximately one hundred thousand times. She’s never going to leave the issue of prosecutorial misconduct behind her; her slogan reminds people on every ad and every piece of campaign literature.

    I suppose her people may think Democratic voters like that sort of thing. If they’re right, we’re doomed, but I have some hope that maybe we’re not that far gone yet.

  27. Kokuanani

    I know everyone will be interested to learn that Mme. Harris will be on Rachel Maddow’s show tomorrow night. [Submitted without comment.] /snark

  28. ALM

    So what exactly are Kamala Harris’s political accomplishments?

    While serving as SF District Attorney, her office was disgraced by one of the worst corruption scandals in the history of that office when it concealed evidence of gross, crime lab misconduct by a long serving lab technician who pilfered and snorted her way from one end of the crime lab to the other as she fabricated and altered hundreds, if not thousands, of lab tests against accused drug offenders. (600 drug cases were dismissed.)

    And who can forget Harris’s tenure at the Office of the California Attorney General? Certainly not the prosecutors who served under her or, at least, not the prosecutor or prosecutors who leaked an internal memo to the press which implicitly savaged Harris for refusing to take action against OneWest Bank and its former CEO Steven Mnuchin based on that office’s documentation of over 1,000 mortgage foreclosure violations also known as bank fraud. That leak is both impressive and telling. California AG prosecutors (I was one for almost 20 years) do not leak internal memos to the press. Leaks are strictly forbidden and firing offenses. So clearly a prosecutor or prosecutors were furious at Harris for committing an inexcusable abuse of her office by refusing to take enforcement action Mnuchin and OneWest. At the very least, it’s clear that Harris cannot lead and when she does, she leads badly. What’s also clear is that she is a political opportunist whose eye is never on the ball because she has sacrificed her core principles (presuming that she ever had any) to advance her prime directive of self-advancement.

  29. cat sick

    Harris is just a horrible horrible candidate, Tulsi is the is the candidate that has all the neocons worried, just look at who they attack, lots of Tulsi smears in the media, she is the one candidate who is anti war and has the smarts and background to back it up, expect to see lots of smearing over lgtb issues but she will take them with humility and people will see she is a great potential leader …

  30. Kenneth Gerber

    I couldn’t wait to get in on this blog. I live in San Francisco, have been in the Bay Area since 1971, and the city proper since 1985. Why is that important? It’s important because I’ve kept my eye on the ball. When Willie Brown was “ elected “ mayor things started to happen at warp speed, bad things. Willie Brown (look up the word “corrupt“ ) was Kamala Harris love interest before he became mayor . Let’s see, he was born in March ,1934 , I believe that makes him eighty six (86) years old, how old is Kamala? She’s fifty four (54) presently. That’s THIRTY TWO YEARS (32) she was his junior …

    Read this, it was just posted today January 26, 2019. Brown talking to the press. “Sure I dated Kamala Harris. So what?“ Brown goes on to say he had an open extramarital relationship with her. That’s not enough though, he goes on to say “I may have influenced her career by appointing her to two state commissions when I was Assembly Speaker“ (He’s not done yet) “And certainly helped with her first race for District Attorney in San Francisco“. They parted ways when he became mayor of San Francisco. Just do a little homework on Harris and Brown, either together or singularly. It’s a Who’s Who of Pay to Play politics. Both are grifters, shills for the banks and developers. “Clinton in a black face,” just read that. Who ever wrote it nailed it.

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