Kamala Harris’ coming out party as the person chosen to be manufactured as a puppet for the rich and powerful going into 2020 became obvious last month with the publication of an article in The New York Post titled, Dems’ Rising Star Meets With Clinton Inner Circle in Hamptons. Here are a few excerpts:
The Democrats’ “Great Freshman Hope,” Sen. Kamala Harris, is heading to the Hamptons to meet with Hillary Clinton’s biggest backers.
The California senator is being fêted in Bridgehampton on Saturday at the home of MWWPR guru Michael Kempner, a staunch Clinton supporter who was one of her national-finance co-chairs and a led fund-raiser for her 2008 bid for the presidency. He was also listed as one of the top “bundlers” for Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, having raised $3 million.
Guests there to greet Harris are expected to include Margo Alexander, a member of Clinton’s inner circle; Dennis Mehiel, a Democratic donor who is the chairman of the Battery Park City Authority, even though he lives between a sprawling Westchester estate and an Upper East Side pad; designer Steven Gambrel and Democratic National Committee member Robert Zimmerman.
Washington lobbyist Liz Robbins is also hosting a separate Hamptons lunch for Harris.
Despite being less than seven months into her new job as senator, Harris is already said to be the Democrats’ top fund-raiser and is being talked about as a 2020 presidential hopeful.
Harris has denied having “national aspirations,” but this Hamptons trip proves it isn’t far from her mind.
A Democratic insider said, “Kamala is the big Democratic star right now, at a time when they badly need a star. She’s coming to the Hamptons to meet key people as she takes a national stage, and expands her influence and ambitions.”
If the “key people” to your campaign are Hamptons power players, you can rest assured that the candidate in question will be an advocate for donors and not the public. Of course, it’s not surprising that a “Democratic insider” would consider the Hamptons the center of the universe when it comes to people that matter.
The fact that the power players within the Democratic Party think this sort of thing is somehow still acceptable tells you all you need to know.
Indeed, as Ross Barken so perfectly put it in a recent Guardian op-ed:
Kamala Harris, the California senator and new darling of the left, did what all liberal darlings do when their stars begin to burn bright: she went east, way east, to the Hamptons.
In the old world, before a democratic socialist and a reality show nativist upended politics as we know it, the narrative would write itself. A little-known possible presidential candidate with a compelling backstory and a buzzy turn in the spotlight visits the millionaire and billionaire donors who decide who can run and who can’t.
The gatekeepers, cloistered in their estates, beckon the candidates, who promise – if they’re Democrats at least – to be the acceptable sort of progressives, those who hit all the right notes without rocking the boat too much.
Maybe Harris has what it takes and will surge ahead of the pack in a few years to win the right to dethrone Donald Trump. It’s too early to tell. But her Hamptons gallivant with Clinton plutocrats is a dispiriting reminder that the Democratic party thinks all can be as it once was, and the status quo isn’t worth being ruffled. Donors can still vet candidates and propel them forward in the press. Anyone beyond the upper crust isn’t a serious agenda setter.
What’s strange about living in the year 1 AT (After Trump) is how Democrats continue to disregard the phenomenon in their wake. If 2016 was Trump’s story, it was also the year of Bernie Sanders, one that taught us a candidate once considered a fringe player can raise tremendous amounts of money from small donors on a policy platform alone.
For political journalists and operatives inside the Beltway carapace, the siren call of centrism will always have appeal. It promises pain-free bipartisanship, a return to the way things used to be. It stands for little, so it can’t court too much controversy. For anyone who knows bad policy can mean the difference between life and death – the poorest and the invisible, the sufferers on the margins – it offers nothing. And it never will.
Despite the above, as well as Hillary’s embarrassing loss to Trump, Clinton dead-enders are out in full force trying to shame people into liking Harris. As former spokesman for Hillary Clinton, Brian Fallon tweeted:
Well if you put it that way, Brian.
Yes I know, the problem is us. Why can’t we simply accept Kamala as a divine heroine sent from the Golden State to save the planet from Trump as well as all those uppity progressive peasants. Call me crazy, but perhaps the problem might actually be…her.
Let’s take a look at a little bit of her history, and start with how she let Trump Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin off the hook following the financial crisis. As David Dayen wrote in his hugely important piece published last year.
Onewest Bank, which Donald Trump’s nominee for treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, ran from 2009 to 2015, repeatedly broke California’s foreclosure laws during that period, according to a previously undisclosed 2013 memo from top prosecutors in the state attorney general’s office.
The memo obtained by The Intercept alleges that OneWest rushed delinquent homeowners out of their homes by violating notice and waiting period statutes, illegally backdated key documents, and effectively gamed foreclosure auctions.
In the memo, the leaders of the state attorney general’s Consumer Law Section said they had “uncovered evidence suggestive of widespread misconduct” in a yearlong investigation. In a detailed 22-page request, they identified over a thousand legal violations in the small subsection of OneWest loans they were able to examine, and they recommended that Attorney General Kamala Harris file a civil enforcement action against the Pasadena-based bank. They even wrote up a sample legal complaint, seeking injunctive relief and millions of dollars in penalties.
But Harris’s office, without any explanation, declined to prosecute the case.
That’s not all. Harris was also coincidentally the only Democrat Steven Mnuchin donated to in 2016. As The Sacramento Bee reported:
Donald Trump, promising to drain the swamp, picked former Goldman Sachs executive and Hollywood financier Steven Mnuchin to be his Treasury secretary, fitting because Mnuchin helped fatten Trump’s campaign treasury as his campaign finance chairman. Mnuchin donated $592,600 to Republicans in 2016, including $430,000 to Trump, Federal Election Commission records show. A onetime Hillary Clinton donor, Mnuchin gave one donation this year to a Democrat, $2,000 to help elect Attorney General Kamala Harris to the U.S. Senate.
Thanks for keeping me out of prison Kamala!
– xoxo, Steven Mnuchin.
Yet this is just the start. The more layers we peel off the Kamala Harris onion, the more it begins to stink. The Observer mentioned several in a comprehensive post today, but let me highlight a few.
First, there’s civil asset forfeiture. The barbaric practice where cops are permitted to steal cash and other possessions from American citizens without them even being charged with a crime. Kamala Harris has been a staunch supporter of the inhumane practice.
As a report from DrugPolicy.org outlined:
Subsequently there have been efforts to limit the use of equitable sharing to circumvent California’s forfeiture law.
In 2000, the California Assembly and Senate approved such a bill (SB 1866). But in the face of widespread opposition from law enforcement organizations, Governor Gray Davis vetoed it. Eleven years later, Orange County Republican State Representative Chris Norby introduced a similar bill (AB 639). It overwhelmingly passed the Assembly, before running into the opposition of every statewide law enforcement organization as well as California Attorney General Kamala Harris. Law enforcement argued that it would discourage cooperation on drug enforcement between federal and state and local police. The bill failed to make it out of the Senate.
But there’s more. She sponsored an asset forfeiture bill as recently as 2015. The Monterey County Herald covered this fact in the article, Luis Alejo, Kamala Harris Back Asset Seizure Before Criminal Charges:
In an effort to fight criminal organizations, a newly proposed bill could give prosecutors the power to freeze illicit profits before filing criminal charges.
From drug-selling rings in Salinas’ Chinatown to corruption scandals with more than $10,000 at stake, the Assembly bill introduced Monday would allow prosecutors to seize assets before initiating criminal proceedings — a power only available at the federal-level — if there is a “substantial probability” they will file a criminal complaint.
The bill comes a month after U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder sharply limited a civil asset forfeiture program that had come under bipartisan scrutiny. A number of ideologically opposed groups, including American Civil Liberties Union, The Institute for Justice and Americans for Tax Reform, have all criticized forfeiture programs, particularly when no criminal charges are filed.
The bill is being sponsored by Attorney General Kamala Harris, who has focused on battling transnational criminal organizations. Harris said those groups have made California the biggest point of entry for methamphetamine trafficking into the United States, adding that this bill could equip local and state law enforcement with tools to “dismantle these dangerous organizations.”
“Transnational criminal organizations rely on a steady flow of billions of dollars in laundered money to support their operations,” Harris said in a statement. “The legislation I am sponsoring will equip local and state law enforcement with more tools to target their illicit profits and dismantle these dangerous organizations.”
But yes, Brian Fallon, the problem is us.
Then there’s this bit about how lawyers from her office felt about the release of nonviolent prisoners from California’s overcrowded jails back in 2014. As the LA Times reported:
Federal judges on Friday ordered California to launch a new parole program that could free more prisoners early, ruling the state had failed to fully implement an order last February intended to reduce unconstitutional crowding.
The judges, for a second time, ordered that all nonviolent second-strike offenders be eligible for parole after serving half their sentence. They told corrections officials to submit new plans for that parole process by Dec. 1, and to implement them beginning January.
But the federal judicial panel did not take action on other steps it had ordered California to take last February. Those include increasing the sentence reductions minimum-custody inmates can earn for good behavior and participation in rehabilitation and education programs.
Most of those prisoners now work as groundskeepers, janitors and in prison kitchens, with wages that range from 8 cents to 37 cents per hour. Lawyers for Attorney General Kamala Harris had argued in court that if forced to release these inmates early, prisons would lose an important labor pool.
To her credit, she came out afterwards and said she was against this idea of prison labor, but it’s troubling that lawyers from her office argued that way, particularly in light of her kid glove treatment of Mnuchin and support of asset forfeiture.
Finally, take a look at this takedown as Harris attempted to rebrand herself on Twitter.
Expect a lot more tweets like the one above from Kamala as her high paid consultants spring into action trying to create a product slick enough to attract the support of low information voters. My personal advice remains unchanged from what I wrote last week in the post, Politics of the Next 4 Years – Part 2 (Last Chance for the Democrats):
What are you supposed to do if you’re a left-leaning American who doesn’t want to be played for a fool for the thousandth time? I have some simple advice, and it consists of focusing on the donors. Any politician who claims to be for the people yet takes massive amounts of money from Wall Street, assorted billionaires and other special interests is entirely full of shit and should not receive a vote or any support whatsoever.
If Bernie Sanders can fund his campaign with small donations, others can do it too. There’s enough demand from the public for politicians to stick it to corrupt oligarchs, and if a politician isn’t funded by the people, he or she will not work for the people. It’s that simple.
Just take a look at how aggressively Hillary donors are rallying around Kamala Harris for 2020. This is no accident. They’re already mobilizing their media mouthpieces to propagandize this puppet all the way to winning the Democratic nomination. This merely proves the point I made earlier. Unless you deal with the donor problem, you will never, ever take control of this party.
Words mean nothing. Follow the money. A donor funded candidate will represent donors. I don’t know much, but I know that.