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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Kamala Harris Hopes You'll Forget Her Record as a Drug Warrior & Draconian Prosecutor

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Hey it's Kamala Harris.

She's a rising star in the democratic party.

Almost an Obama-like hype around her.

Possibly the next President of the United States!

Last week Senator Kamala Harris finally made it official.

I am running for President of the United States.

The California Democrat is trying to position herself as a reformer

who works tirelessly to correct the abuses of the criminal justice system.

But the senator has one big problem: her long record as a law and order prosecutor.

Harris' new memoir, The Truths We Hold,

makes no mention of her past as an old school drug warrior,

a defender of dirty prosecutors and a political opportunist

who has made life more dangerous for sex workers.

Harris doesn't apologize for her previous stances, even those she now disavows.

Instead she's decided to try and convince voters she's always been a progressive prosecutor.

How do you reconcile your contradictory past with what you claim to support today?

I've been consistent my whole career.

Here are some of the stories the Senator is hoping you'll forget in the run up to 2020.

Harris' political rise has been propelled

by a years long, high profile campaign against alleged sex traffickers.

What she's actually done is throw women in jail for having consensual sex

while trampling on the rule of law to advance her own political ambitions.

Ignoring the pleas of sex workers and human rights advocates for over a decade,

she's fought against campaigns to decriminalize consensual adult prostitution in California.

As Attorney General she created a statewide program

to get truckers to report suspected sex workers to police.

These policies didn't stop traffickers, but they did land plenty of sex workers behind bars.

One of the greatest offenders is backpage.com.

Harris fought to destroy backpage.com,

a classified site that sex workers used to find and screen their clients.

Even though she publicly admitted that the sites founders, Michael Lacy and James Larkin,

were protected from prosecution under federal free speech laws.

But tonight, a groundbreaking arrest.

But a month before election day in her Senate race, Harris went ahead and had them arrested anyway,

parading them before the cameras on pimping charges

which were then promptly dismissed by a judge.

When Harris got to Congress she kept up her crusade,

becoming a big proponent of the 2018 law known as SESTA/FOSTA.

One cannot cowardly sit behind a computer committing their crime, quite the contrary.

The result was that many sex workers had no choice but to return to the streets

where soliciting clients is considerably more dangerous.

It's cause you don't know who's gonna pick you up.

Meanwhile Harris declined to intervene in a real underage sex trafficking scandal

that involved dozens of police and other local authorities in the bay area.

America has a deep and dark history

of people using the power of the prosecutor as an instrument of injustice.

I knew this history well, of innocent men framed,

of prosecutors hiding information that would exonerate defendants.

Yes and as California's top cop, Harris contributed to that history repeatedly.

By going to bat on behalf of dirty prosecutors.

Her office appealed the dismissal of a case

in which a prosecutor had fabricated a confession to secure a conviction.

And fought an appeal in a case where a prosecutor had lied to the jury during trial.

In 2015 Harris tried to stop the removal

of the Orange County District Attorney's Office from a murder trial

after it repeatedly failed to turn over evidence to the defense.

Her office even tried to keep a man in jail who had been wrongfully incarcerated for 13 years

after a judge ruled that he had proven himself innocent

just because the man hadn't delivered that proof quite fast enough.

And as San Francisco DA Harris hid known misconduct by a crime lab technician

who admitted to deliberately tainting evidence.

Prosecutors working under you know about the concerns about that lab,

which is what the judge alleged.

-in my office did not know about it, at least said they did not know about it.

The debacle has since led tot he dismissal of hundreds of criminal cases.

Something else it's passed time we've done is dismantle the failed war on drugs

starting with legalizing marijuana.

Your opponent Ron Gold has said that he is for the legalization of marijuana recreationally

your thoughts on that?

Uhm, I, that he's entitled to his opinion.

Harris is a former drug warrior who is now fashioning herself as pro legalization.

That's a positive shift, but not a reason to rewrite the past

or ignore the patterns it reveals in her judgement.

For years after the cultural tide had turned in favor of criminal justice reforms

Harris continued to support lock-em-up policies

that disproportionately hurt minorities.

As California Attorney General Harris opposed marijuana legalization as late as 2014,

promoted civil asset forfeiture without a conviction as a way to fight drug rings,

and sought to more aggressively police prescription drug use.

In her new book, Harris reveals that her drug warrior mentality hasn't changed

it's just that her emphasis has shifted.

We also need to reinstate the DA's authority

to go after the major pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors

and we need to invest resources and law enforcement efforts

to cut off the supply of fentanyl from China.

Let's believe in a more perfect union, without mass incarceration of African American men.

We put more people in prison than any country on earth for no good reason.

Yes we do, and once these people were in prison

Harris saw to it that they have a hell of a time getting out.

I absolutely feel that there should be severe and serious consequence for violent crime

which is why I prosecuted those cases and will always seek the highest sentence.

As a prosecutor in law enforcement I have a huge stick

so I decided I was going to start prosecuting parents for truancy.

Before her recent about-face,

Harris chose not to endorse proposed sentencing reforms on the California ballot in 2012 and 2014.

And she defended the constitutionality of cash bail until 2016.

Harris' office also fought an order to reduce California's prison population

after the Supreme Court determined that the conditions amounted to cruel and usual punishment.

Although she later claimed to be 'shocked' by what they had done,

Harris' attorneys argued that non violent offenders should stay behind bars

because the state needed the cheap labor they provide.

We are part of a longer story and we are responsible for how our chapter gets written.

As she blazes her path to the White House in 2020,

Kamala Harris is trying to rewrite her last chapter, but her record remains.

Our children and our grandchildren will ask at that inflection moment, where were you?

And what did you do in service of your family, your neighborhood,

your community and your country?

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