Before I begin, here is a really good overview by Jacobin. This article covers much of what this piece does, but I only had it listed in my 50-odd research tabs about halfway through.
Name Kamala Harris.
Age-Birth Date-Birthplace 50; Oct. 20, 1964; Oakland, California.
1990 – 2002: Deputy district attorney in Alameda and San Francisco counties.
2003 – 2010: San Francisco district attorney (re-elected in 2007).
2011 – 2017: 32nd Attorney General of California.
2017 – Current: United States Senator for California, she serves on: Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, the Select Committee on Intelligence, the Committee on the Judiciary, and the Committee on the Budget.
Education Bachelor’s degree from Howard University, 1986; law degree from University of California, Hastings College of the law, 1989.
Harris On: Civil Issues, Justice, Liberty
Kamala Harris has been an opponent of civil liberties1, is pro-cop, anti-body cameras for police, and a firm proponent of civil asset forfeiture.2 She is a major opponent of criminal justice reform.3 In regards to how we should prosecute police who kill POC Harris said: “Where there are abuses, we have designed the system to address them.”4 So she has no understanding, nor desire to influence the failures of our systems or institutions, she may as well wear an “All Lives Matter” button with the associated flag. Her non-record of prosecuting police who kill POC, nor of attempting to address systemic racism, and police immunity shows her contempt for other POC, their lives, and safety.5 She believes that communities that complain of police brutality, over searching, surveillance, etc have an “ulterior motive.”6 So not only do their lives not matter, apparently she thinks their opinions don’t either.
For those who survive their encounter(s) with police, her lawyers fought to prevent early release programs for prisoners, on the stance that it reduced the potential pool of slave labor available.7 She doubled down on her support of prison labor use by voting for the “First Step Act,” which mandates that anything purchased by federal agencies that can be made by prison labor, without interfering with “job opportunities” for other US workers, should be the first step in their procurement chain. Harris has fought to keep marijuana on the list of controlled substances, could this be to prop-up the prison labor pool, or perhaps to protect her prosecutorial record?8
In 2004 Harris was pretty strong in opposition to the death penalty, even taking flak from police, and political opportunists.9 During this time she was even threatened with “abuse” of prosecutorial discretion.10 Aside from her stance on the death penalty, when it comes to prosecuting versus helping, she is all about incarceration.11 Including completely bowing in every other way to police pressure, and vowing to “work with the police.”12 Just like those police, Harris would rather lock-up protesters, than fix the reasons people need to protest.13
Confusingly, she voted for the “Pretrial Integrity and Safety Act of 2017”14 which recommends getting rid of cash bail and is based on data that any amount of time being held in prison increases the likelihood of recidivism, even for ‘low-risk’ defendants. However, the bill, rather than doing away with cash bail, gives only 6 states and tribes grant money, to use in lieu of a defendant’s own money, to use essentially at their discretion, and since it is more common than ever for such systems to use biased software, it is unlikely that this will actually do away with cash bail. Instead, this bill reinforces using the cash bail system and gives the same biased system more ability to produce unjust outcomes based on income, race, ethnicity, and religion. Just like when the federal government started giving more grants and loans for education, I predict that this will be correlated with a rise in cash bail amounts across the board, as states seek ever more ways to extract wealth from the poor.
Harris on: Wealth, Power, Elites
She has a history of benefiting from nepotism, specifically from Brown. “Aside from handing her an expensive BMW, Brown appointed her to two patronage positions in state government that paid handsomely — more than $400,000 over five years. Brown then appointed her to the California Medical Assistance Commission, where she served until 1998, attending two meetings a month for a $99,000 annual salary.”15
When it comes to where she gets her campaign money, all that glitters is gold to her. During her run in San Francisco, CA her money in her earlier campaigns came primarily from wealthy elites, establishment figures, and the connected or well-to-do.16 Additionally she sees no ethical concerns with being closely associated with, funded by, and what would have been called in the 90’s “being in bed with” powerful companies that dictate the quality of lives their employees have, by not paying living wages, ignoring workplace protections, and inappropriately calling employees “independent contractors.” Companies like Airbnb, when she gave a speech to Silicon Valley millionaires and billionaires who helped finance her reelection campaign. This included: “Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky and Airbnb investor Ron Conway. Venture capitalist John Doerr, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, Uber investor Shervin Pishevar, power-shamer Marc Benioff and the suddenly politicized Sean Parker were all co-hosts, as well as Allen & Company managing director Shelby Bonnie, who will underwrite more billions for Airbnb and Uber soon enough.”17
Larry Wallace Sexual Harassment and Retaliation
The short version is that someone who worked with Harris for 14 years was repeatedly sexually harassing an intern. The problem with Harris isn’t that a man who worked for her was sexually harassing someone, but the inaction she chose to display, and claim later that “she didn’t” know. Obviously we shouldn’t punish someone just because they hired someone who is a creep, but claiming she had no idea, that she didn’t purge him as soon as the issue was apparent (read before it became a story in the news), and then to suggest she had no idea, it shows what she thinks of sexual harassment.18 Wallace had already been working alongside Harris for half a decade by this point, it’s unlikely given the retaliation she experienced, that Harris was unaware of the treatment or allegations earlier. It is called the EMPOWER Act,19 and I find this particularly ironic given that when Harris’ own intern filed a similar suit against Wallace, Harris’ underling for 14 years, that she had to sign the exact same kind of nondisclosure agreement. So Harris seems very comfortable with the government being completely opaque, especially where it concerns those associated with her, but holds this up as some kind of token for transparency.
Harris also supported a bill deregulating the internet, saying the FCC can’t support net neutrality.20 So against Net Neutrality, pro-corporate control of information, and since the issue is so large, I think it is fair to say that this shows a stance against regulations.
I can say that Harris is in favor of protecting human rights when it is a push-shove between religious discrimination against LGBTQ+ community, though she only “supports” bill hr2282, which grants protected class status to LGBT Americans,21 protecting them from discrimination from the use of ‘religion’ as a legal reason to discriminate. So, one good thing, but she wasn’t a sponsor or co-sponsor, merely a “supporter,” though at least it is something.
Voted “Yea” on a bill, which prohibits group health plans or health insurers from telling people how much their prescriptions would have cost without the plan or insurance, but allows pharmacies the choice.22 This bill seems designed to protect pharmacies from price-shopping rather than informing patients.
I wasn’t sure if this should go in the first section on justice or not, but it is good and shouldn’t be excluded. Harris was a sponsor of the S. 2162 (115th): ENOUGH Act, which makes it illegal to distribute someone nude or involved in sexual acts without their full knowledge and consent. I think everyone, who isn’t a scumbag at least, would be in favor of punishing such obviously unacceptable choices.
Voted “Yea” on the “HR 2 – Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018” which includes: “prohibiting local governments from restricting pesticide use on private property within their jurisdictions (Sec. 9111).”23 So much for banning glyphosate at the local level…
In the end, Kamala Harris’ record reads like a soft republican’s, punishment of any crime is more important than addressing why it occurs, screw the public domain, elites/wealthy/corporations are the best ever and shouldn’t be hampered with legislation or petty things like being held accountable for their choices, and nepotism is cool. I was never going to vote for her in the first place, but after the media blasting her praises for weeks on end, I felt that an accounting of the ills she has done, the terrible positions she has taken, and a more thorough history of her actual record, rather than cherry-picking the good bits, was necessary.
There can be no hand-wringing when it comes to someone’s policy preferences. She is staunchly pro-police, anti-civil rights, pro-corporation, and really could care less about the people beaten, killed, and framed by police, especially if they are POC from neighborhoods with systemic racist action by police. If they survive, she wants to keep them in prison to profit from their free labor. As a final nail in this political coffin, let’s add the fact that she supported a bill to prevent NDA’s from being used in corporate sexual harassment cases, but when someone she hired does it, oh then an NDA is fine. She is fine with opaque decisions in government, and no accountability for corporations, I don’t see how anyone ever believed the “progressive” line in her campaigns, myself included.24
As is the case with most of the candidates in the Democratic Presidential candidate field at the moment, the ghosts in the closet aren’t the huge fiascos that are apparent, it is a long history of holding dangerous narratives and themes as truth, acting on them in ways that benefit and protect the wealthy at the cost of the rest of us. In the end, her record is one of a pure corporate democrat, that no amount of cherry-picking or palliative aphorisms can save. She should have a little dignity and drop out of the running, but she won’t, which is why I wrote this.
Anyone who had read my other work on this site will notice that it is different from my other pieces. Yes, I put in a lot of research on this, but I am crazy busy right now, so I had to work with concision, rather than elaboration. I originally wrote this with the intent of it being a bit more balanced, including the rare occasions where her record was positive, but with such a wealth of puff pieces, I quickly grew irritated with trying to explain “evenly” such a bad record. It can’t be done, because she doesn’t have a positive record, but a horrid one, with a few bright specks.
1“Harris was also a big booster of familial DNA searches, a controversial technique whereby investigators compare a DNA sample to other samples in a DNA database to find possible relatives, then use additional genetic testing and analysis to confirm the match, all in order to solve crimes.” AND “California was the first state to adopt the technique in 2009 under Jerry Brown, but Harris eagerly kept it going. In 2011, she announced new funding to double the amount of familial searches, telling the LA Times “California is on the cutting edge of this in many ways,” and that “I think we are going to be a model for the country. I really do.”” https://www.jacobinmag.com/2017/08/kamala-harris-trump-obama-california-attorney-general
20Passed Senate without amendment (05/16/2018) This joint resolution nullifies the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission entitled “Restoring Internet Freedom.” The rule published on February 22, 2018: (1) restores the classification of broadband Internet access service as a lightly-regulated “information service”; (2) reinstates private mobile service classification of mobile broadband Internet access service; (3) requires Internet service providers to disclose information about their network management practices, performance characteristics, and commercial terms of service; and (4) eliminates the Internet Conduct Standard and the bright-line rules. https://www.congress.gov/member/kamala-harris/H001075?q=%7B%22senate-committee%22%3A%22Small+Business+and+Entrepreneurship%22%7D