Monday, November 27, 2006

Why Jane Harman Should Not Be Named Intel Chair

The question of who to name instead of her is not simple - Speaker-Elect Pelosi has different people she can tap as the new chair of the House Intelligence Committee. But it's pretty damn clear that she can't name Jane Harman. Courtesy of Justin Rood at TPM Muckraker, here's a compilation of Harman's own words which demonstrate her lack of fitness for the post:

On Colin Powell's U.N. speech: "I happen to know that our intelligence agencies made absolutely certain that it was totally accurate, and that anything put out there had been reviewed 100 times to make sure it was accurate." (Fox News, Big Story with John Gibson, 2/6/03)

On Saddam Hussein's WMDs: "There's a strong intelligence case that Iraq has not destroyed its weapons of mass destruction and is building the capability to use them." (Washington Post, 1/30/03)

On the Iraq-al Qaeda connection: "There's a growing al Qaeda presence in Iraq, and I think the case can be made that there is a growing affiliation [between the two.]" (Washington Post, 1/30/03)

On victory in Iraq: "[V]ictory will mean displaying for the world the evidence of weapons of mass destruction, and the horrors and torture of a generation of abuse by this dictator and then rebuilding the country with a multi-national coalition, and the emergence of an indigenous, transparent, moderate, democratic regime in Iraq run by the people of Iraq for them. I think that that will be a marvelous victory." (CNN, Larry King Live, 3/19/03)

On the NSA domestic surveillance program: "I believe the program is essential to US national security and that disclosure has damaged critical intelligence capabilities. . . . Due to its sensitive nature, I have been barred from discussing any aspect of this program. . . .[However] I am deeply concerned by reports that this program in fact goes far beyond the measures to target Al Qaeda[.]" (Harman press release, 12/21/05)

On the leak to the New York Times which revealed the program's questionable operations: "I deplore that leak. . . I think it is tragic that a lot of our capability is now across the pages of the newspapers." (NBC, Meet the Press, 2/12/06)

She was in a position to vet the bogus intelligence and call Bush on the unsupported Iraq assertions, and fight against the illegal wiretapping. Instead, she lent credence to the claims and provided cover for the law-breaking.

It wouldn't surprise me if Bush tries to push another unprovoked attack and I don't want Harman to be there as a cheerleader again when he does. One unnecessary war was quite enough, thank you very much.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Harman vs. Hastings for Intel -- How Bout None of Above?

This is amusing (Matt Yglesias via Kevin Drum):
HARMAN vs. HASTINGS....ROUND 2....Matt Yglesias has some further thoughts on the battle between Jane Harman and Alcee Hastings to chair the House Intelligence Committee. Main argument: The New Republic favors Harman, and your best bet on foreign policy matters is always to do the opposite of TNR. This is disturbingly persuasive. Primary conclusion: Don't appoint either one of them. Appoint the #3 Democrat Silvestre Reyes instead.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Mr. $90,000-Hidden-in-the-Freezer has Got to Go

We can replace a corrupt Dem in the House of Representatives ("Dollar Bill" Jefferson) with a clean Dem (Karen Carter) in the upcoming runoff election in Louisianna. Check out my fundraising page for Karen Carter for more info.

What a Great Day

I stayed up late to ensure Debra Bowen would be elected CA Sec of State, so I was really tired today. But it's a great feeling to know we'll control the agenda in both the House and Senate (until Lieberman caucuses with the Republicans).

The voting machine fraud in FL-13 is pretty alarming, though. That's one to follow.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Jane Harman - Info About Her Campaigning/Giving to Other Dem's

Man, I don't know what kind of paper the Daily Breeze would be without Nick Green. That guy's a real workhorse for them and is a good reporter.

His latest article covers Jane Harman and very helpfully fills in some blanks (for me, at least).

How much has ultra-safe Jane Harman done this cycle for other Democrats in competitive districts? From the article:
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee received at least $110,000 from Harman's campaign. And more than three dozen congressional candidates received tens of thousands of dollars in smaller contributions.
By the way, it appears that the latest $50K she contributed to either Dem's directly or the DCCC (it's unclear where this money went - still no announcement on her campaign website ) is not included in the amounts mentioned.

I won't get on Harman's case because I am very glad she did respond to the netroots push to get safe incumbent Dems like her to cough up some of their unneeded campaign cash. However, I will point out that every member in the Dem caucus has to pay dues to the DCCC as a matter of course, and it's higher if you're on a powerful committee. So some of the money that went to the DCCC she was simply required to give to stay a member in good standing.

Other items from that same article:

- She's funded her own campaigns with millions of her own money.

- Her Republican challenger had a grand total of $28 in cash on hand as of Sept 30.

- And some explanation why it's easy for her to rake in military industry cash:
It comes down to guaranteeing access to a lawmaker, said Michael Genovese, a political science professor at Westchester's Loyola Marymount University who is an expert on federal politics.

"Corporations favor incumbents," he said. "No defense contractor, for example, wants to get on the bad side of Jane Harman. It would be dysfunctional from a business standpoint. And believe me, legislators know who does and who doesn't contribute."

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Jane Harman - Her Pro-War, Pro-Arms Record

Wow, Jane Harman is loaded. After learning of this fact, I'm really puzzled about Harman's toadying up to military contractor interests: it's pretty clear she doesn't have to do it to get campaign funding, so why does she do it? Could be she figures why spend her own money if she can spend theirs instead, but she's worth upwards of $200 million, so a million or two to fend off a primary challenger is expendible chump-change for her.

So, she can afford to be independent and not do Lockheed Martin et al's bidding so often, but choses to do so anyway.

That would be distressing for any member of Congress to be tied in so closely to those who profit from war, but it's particularly worrisome because we're talking about the Democrat in line to become the next chair of the House Intelligence Committee, at least when you look strictly at rank. The rumor is, though, that Harman will be passed over as House Intelligence Committee Chair. The next in line is Alcee Hastings, who got impeached and convicted in the Senate for conspiring to extort a $150K bribe while a federal judge. I think he should be passed over as well, but we'll have to see what happens.

In any case, I think it would be a good idea for the Dem's to skip over Harman for head of the Intel Committee. Despite her sounding pretty reasonable of late, Jane Harman showed in the lead up to the war how blindly gung-ho she can be when it comes to going to war.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Props to Congresswoman Harman

Good behavior should be rewarded, and this Blue Dog did the right thing and donated $50,000 of her campaign warchest (over $300K as of 9/30) for Democratic challengers in the House.

It didn't quite reach the 30% amount that was requested as part of Matt Stoller's Use It or Lose It campaign, but it sure beats nothing. I was halfway through writing a message wondering if she was turning her back on Dem's because nobody was calling me back and there was nothing on her campaign website.

It would have been helpful for her to put out a statement (shouldn't you tell the world when you do something good like this?), as it would have helped encourage (shame) other ultra-safe Democratic incumbents to donate as well. It also would have saved them from fielding lots of calls and emails of frustration from not hearing back as to whether she was going to share some of her warchest.

On this day, she deserves lots of kudos for sticking up for the party and helping provide funds to the large number of Dem challengers who have good chance of winning