Kamala Harris: A study of contradictions or of a difficult balancing act?

I’ve been trying to figure out what to say about her record as a prosecutor, but German Lopez at Vox has managed to capture it so well I don’t have to. An excerpt:

A close examination of Harris’s record shows it’s filled with contradictions. She pushed for programs that helped people find jobs instead of putting them in prison, but also fought to keep people in prison even after they were proved innocent. She refused to pursue the death penalty against a man who killed a police officer, but also defended California’s death penalty system in court. She implemented training programs to address police officers’ racial biases, but also resisted calls to get her office to investigate certain police shootings.

But what seem like contradictions may reflect a balancing act. Harris’s parents worked on civil rights causes, and she came from a background well aware of the excesses of the criminal justice system — but in office, she had to play the role of a prosecutor and California’s lawyer. She started in an era when “tough on crime” politics were popular across party lines — but she rose to national prominence as criminal justice reform started to take off nationally. She had an eye on higher political office as support for criminal justice reform became de rigueur for Democrats — but she still had to work as California’s top law enforcement official.

Her race and gender likely made this balancing act even tougher. In the US, studies have found that more than 90 percent of elected prosecutors are white and more than 80 percent are male. As a black woman, Harris stood out — inviting scrutiny and skepticism, especially by people who may hold racist stereotypes about how black people view law enforcement or sexist views about whether women are “tough” enough for the job.

Still, the result is the same: As she became more nationally visible, Harris was less known as a progressive prosecutor, as she’d been earlier in her career, and more a reform-lite or even anti-reform attorney general.

Source: Kamala Harris’s controversial criminal justice record, explained – Vox

If your searching for perfection, then get out of politics, because you’ll never find it there or in any other endeavor similarly populated with humans. You just won’t. She’s got problems. I’ve got problems. You’ve got problems. We’ve all got problems. That’s interesting, but it’s not helpful in figuring out who to support and who to oppose. So don’t focus on that.

Instead, focus on what she has to say now about which past decisions she thinks are mistakes and what she has learned from those mistakes. That more than anything else will tell you something interesting about her potential as a leader. Unlike a lot of people who choose to run, she seems genuinely interested in having that discussion, so it will be worth paying attention to what she says.

“Fairness is too thin a standard…” because “some classes of people consistently get more fairness than others.”

This this this 1000x THIS:

At a basic level that’s not fair – something that quickly catches fire not only with white parents with pre-existing feelings of racial grievance but others just freaked out by the randomness of the blow up. I spoke to one Covington parent this week who is a diehard anti-Trump, Democrat who is nonetheless upset that his son is getting tarred for the actions of Sandmann and the kids surrounding him that afternoon. But fairness is too thin a standard. One of the essentials of social and racial inequality is that some classes of people consistently get more fairness than others. If we’re so concerned about fairness for Nick Sandmann, who now has high priced media advisors coaching him for sympathetic interviews on national news, what about Tamir Rice who did nothing wrong at all and ended up dead in a playground in Cleveland? Everybody deserves second chances. Some people get third and fourth chances and some get none. But this kind of either/or thinking doesn’t make sense. Taken too far this quickly degenerates into a sort of intersectional whataboutism.

The issue is less that it’s unfair as that it makes no sense, something that quickly becomes clear when you dig into the particulars. Sandmann is too random, callow and specific to possibly hold up for long as the focus for the issues he now represents. You dig in and there’s just not remotely enough there.

So we have the recurrent pattern of flash food social media blow ups in which the specifics of the people involved can’t bear the weight of the social realities and injustices they come to symbolize. In a sensible world Sandmann gets school level discipline for acting like a jerk and some consequence and education about racism, history and empathy. But since we’re in a world of social media he quickly ricochets between national bogeyman and white grievance hero until a few days go by and we forget about it. The story of privilege and inequality he is part of is quickly recapitulated in the production of media handlers, praise from the President and the fact that many in the majority culture can empathize with the firestorm he’s caught up in even as many recognize he acted terribly in the incident itself. We all empathize most with people who seem like us. The nature of empathy is second chances and seeing the full person rather than their worst moment. Like so much in our society it is unevenly distributed.

We shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that for all their jaggedness and insubstantiality these incidents do have some public educative effect.

Source: Nick Sandmann and the Poverty of Social Media Storms – Talking Points Memo

Mood isn’t personality. Anecdotes aren’t data. Weather isn’t climate. And this isn’t hard.

The world’s average temperature can be clearly and dangerously increasing, and it can still snow sometimes in the northeastern United States. Climate emerges from averages, and the averages are unambiguous. Snowpack and ice cover are decreasing, especially in the Mountain West. The Great Lakes’ winter-ice cover has declined by 71 percent over the past 40 years. The average time between the last frost of spring and the first frost of fall has increased in every region of the country since the early-20th century.
— Read on www.theatlantic.com/amp/article/580885/

“The Trump Tower Moscow discussions were ‘going on from the day I announced to the day I won,’Giuliani quoted Trump as saying”

Here’s how the NYT wraps it up–what must the truth be that they are now admitting this to the public?!?

WASHINGTON — President Trump was involved in discussions to build a skyscraper in Moscow throughout the entire 2016 presidential campaign, his personal lawyer said on Sunday, a longer and more significant role for Mr. Trump than he had previously acknowledged.

The comments by his lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani indicated that Mr. Trump’s efforts to complete a business deal in Russia waned only after Americans cast ballots in the presidential election.

The new timetable means that Mr. Trump was seeking a deal at the time he was calling for an end to economic sanctions against Russia imposed by the Obama administration. He was seeking a deal when he gave interviews questioning the legitimacy of NATO, a favorite talking point of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. And he was seeking a deal when, in July 2016, he called on Russia to release hacked Democratic emails that Mr. Putin’s government was rumored at the time to have stolen.

SOURCE: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/20/us/politics/trump-tower-moscow-cohen-giuliani.html

The central issue is now clear: “the post-2014 sanctions against Russia had to be lifted before the (Trump Tower Moscow) deal could be finalized.”

Josh Marshall gets it:

“…throughout 2016 Trump was trying to finalize a deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow from which he believed he’d reap hundreds of millions in profits over the coming years.

Again, whether and how he lied about it is legally interesting. But that’s the cover-up rather than the thing itself. That deal was with sanctioned individuals and sanctioned banks. Whether it was even legal to be entering into the negotiations is not clear to me. But certainly the post-2014 sanctions against Russia had to be lifted before the deal could be finalized. That is the central issue. It’s not simply that Trump had “business” with Russia and deceived the public about it during the campaign and after. It’s more specific and direct. Why was Trump so solicitous of Russia and Vladimir Putin during the campaign? Well, a lot of possible reasons. But a major and likely the major reason was because Putin was dangling a multi-hundreds of millions of dollars payday in front of him. That’s a big incentive, especially for Donald Trump.

To get that money, Trump had to court Putin and he’d eventually need to lift sanctions against him.”

SOURCE: https://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/the-hotel-deal-is-really-all-that-matters

And this all makes perfect sense if you assume that they believed they would lose the election. In fact, Trump has explicitly told us as much. His words, from back on November 29, 2018:

we were very open with it. We were thinking about building a building. I guess we had — in a form, it was an option. I don’t know what you’d call it. We decided — I decided ultimately not to do it. There would have been nothing wrong if I did do it. If I did do it, there would have been nothing wrong. That was my business.


I was running my business while I was campaigning. There was a good chance that I wouldn’t have won, in which case I would have gotten back into the business. And why should I lose lots of opportunities?

He was just keeping his options open, after all. Who among us hasn’t negotiated with sanctioned individuals to conduct a real estate deal in a country also sanctioned for, among other things, seeking to undermine our electoral opponents during that very same election in which we were running. It’s all so commonplace and within the bounds of normal political behavior. You see it every day, am I right?!?

I get it. The ins and outs of this scandal are incredibly complicated, so much so that most people just have no way to keep up without make sense of it all. But if you do, it’s all there ain’t as day:

Trump was happy to have Putin muck about in our election, so long as in the end he got his real estate deal. He never thought he would win. It was never about that. And then he did, and he was screwed. He almost had no choice by to try to cover it up. But then it turned out he wasn’t the only grifter at the top of the food chain; Gen. Flynn, among others, went and screwed the whole thing up. And so here we are.

It’s like 2006 all over again. If you’re paying attention, the war has already been lost. Most people aren’t. Most people are only just about to figure it out. And when they do, they’ll try to pretend like they never supported the damn thing in the first place.

Don’t. Let. Them. Get. Away. With. It. This. Time.

Just don’t.

Giuliani now admits Trump Tower Moscow negotiations continued thru the election.

Mueller already knows this, of course, which among a variety of things means he has Don Jr dead to rights on perjury. Oops.

In an interview Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press, Rudy Giuliani said conversations extended as far as October or November of 2016 — precisely around the time Donald Trump was elected president. If accurate, Giuliani’s comments dramatically extend the timeline of the business dealings behind the now-defunct plans to build Trump Tower Moscow, plans which have drawn questions about possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.

Until recently, talks led by former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen were believed to have ended in June 2016. Now it appears they actually took several more months to “peter out.” 

Asked by NBC News host Chuck Todd clarify the timeline of negotiations, Giuliani said he didn’t have exact dates, but thought it was around the time of the election.

So while Putin was trying to help Trump get elected, Trump was trying to negotiate a deal with Putin’s people that would bet him and his family millions of dollars, all while lying to the American people about it. I see.

He’s a former CIA Agent and current Member of Congress from Texas. His district has 820+ miles of border. And he thinks the border crisis is “a myth.”

Hurd’s district includes 820 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border, more than any other member of the House of Representatives. But if you’re expecting Hurd, who was narrowly re-elected to a third term last year, to support President Trump’s “big, beautiful wall” and stand with the decision to partially shut down the federal government over the fight, you’ve got it all wrong. Trump’s border crisis is a “myth,” Hurd tells Rolling Stone, and a wall made of cement or steel slats is a “third-century solution to a 21st-century problem.”

“What I always say is building a wall from sea to shining sea is the most expensive and least effective way to do border security,” Hurd says.


As you read this, recall that Barr said that suborning perjuryis an impeachable offense

BuzzFeed go BOOM

President Donald Trump directed his longtime attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, according to two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of the matter.

Trump also supported a plan, set up by Cohen, to visit Russia during the presidential campaign, in order to personally meet President Vladimir Putin and jump-start the tower negotiations. “Make it happen,” the sources said Trump told Cohen.

And even as Trump told the public he had no business deals with Russia, the sources said Trump and his children, Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr., received regular, detailed updates about the real estate development from Cohen, whom they put in charge of the project.

Cohen pleaded guilty in November to lying about the deal in testimony and in a two-page statement to the Senate and House intelligence committees. Special counsel Robert Mueller noted that Cohen’s false claim that the project ended in January 2016 was an attempt to “minimize links between the Moscow Project and Individual 1” — widely understood to be Trump — “in hopes of limiting the ongoing Russia investigations.”

Now the two sources have told BuzzFeed News that Cohen also told the special counsel that after the election, the president personally instructed him to lie — by claiming that negotiations ended months earlier than they actually did — in order to obscure Trump’s involvement.

The special counsel’s office learned about Trump’s directive for Cohen to lie to Congress through interviews with multiple witnesses from the Trump Organization and internal company emails, text messages, and a cache of other documents. Cohen then acknowledged those instructions during his interviews with that office.

SOURCE: https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/jasonleopold/trump-russia-cohen-moscow-tower-mueller-investigation

Rudy Giuliani Is Now Essentially Admitting That Collusion Happened During the Campaign

He’s now essentially saying “sure, it happened during the election, but Trump wasn’t involved, and anyway, that Manafort guy was only the campaign manager for five months, so who cares?”

I wonder what’s coming later this week? Must be something for him to suddenly reappear and backpeddle like this.
— Read on www.buzzfeednews.com/amphtml/claudiakoerner/rudy-giuliani-trump-campaign-collusion-russia