Le Rouge et Le Brown

Castro’s pal influenced Harris, Pelosi and Feinstein.

Recent articles such as “Poontronage” and “The Harris Poll” highlighted the way California Democrat shot-caller Willie Brown set up girlfriend Kamala Harris in sinecures. With Harris in the running for president, reporters have been calling Brown, who finally responded.

“Yes, we dated. It was more than 20 years ago,” wrote Brown, now 84 years old. “Yes, I may have influenced her career by appointing her to two state commissions when I was Assembly speaker.” Harris is 30 years younger than Brown, who was married at the time. Nobody asked Brown if Harris had asked him to leave his hat on during those dates, but it is possible to guess.

Brown told reporters he also helped the careers of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein. The one Brown left out raises questions about his influence on the others, particularly Harris.

As Daniel Flynn shows in Cult City: Jim Jones, Harvey Milk, and 10 Days that Shook San Francisco, Willie Brown was a supporter of Jim Jones, whom he compared to Einstein and Martin Luther King. The African American Brown was also pals with white Cuban Communist dictator Fidel Castro and wrote a letter urging Castro to extend an official state visit to Jones, a “close personal friend and highly trusted brother in the struggle for liberation.”

Castro duly brought Jones to Cuba, a sign of Brown’s incredible clout with Communists. Brown was also known as a ladies man but any “dates” with Nancy Pelosi did not get media attention. For her part, Pelosi hailed some rather strange heroes.

“Harry Bridges was arguably the most significant labor leader of the twentieth century,” Pelosi wrote in the Congressional Record in 2001, on the 100th anniversary of Bridges’ birth. Bridges was “beloved by the workers of this nation, and recognized as one of the most important labor leaders in the world” and his International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen's Union was “the most progressive union of the time.”

At the time Pelosi’s tribute drew little if any news coverage, but in 2007, when she was calling for unconditional withdrawal from Iraq, it came to the attention of Joshua Muravchik, former chairman of the Young People’s Socialist League. Muravchik wrote a Weekly Standard piece headlined “Pelosi’s Favorite Stalinist,” highlighting Bridges’ career as a Communist thug and Soviet agent.

Loyal to the Party even during the Stalin-Hitler Pact, Bridges was a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party USA. As Soviet archives confirmed, the Kremlin directly approved Bridges for the post. Bridges also provided the muscle for the Communist-backed Conference of Studio Unions in the post-war Hollywood conflicts. The CPUSA was hoping to co-opt the industry but union leaders Ronald Reagan and Roy Brewer, both anti-Communist Democrats, ran them out of town.

All this was well known by 2001, when Pelosi celebrated Bridges in the Congressional Record. As Muravchik wrote, Pelosi was “far to the left” and a poor judge of good guys and bad guys. The praise for her favorite Stalinist could reflect the influence of Castro pal Willie Brown but there could be more to it.

Harry Bridges also worked with Soviet agent Frank Marshall Davis in Hawaii, where Bridges was plotting to tie up the ports in the event of war with the USSR. Davis is the beloved “Frank” of the 1995 Dreams from My Father, so Pelosi may have been signaling solidarity with the author, who became a senator and then president.

Pelosi is also close friends with Barbara Lee, one of Fidel Castro’s most fervent apologists in Congress. Pelosi also praised Communist-front candidate Vincent Hallinan and his wife Vivian, who “opposed U.S. policy in Central America” under President Reagan, “befriended Daniel Ortega,” and met with Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. “She was a role model for many of us,” Pelosi wrote.

Nancy Pelosi is now 78 and often incoherent, but she remains the shot-caller in a Democrat party badly in need of new leadership and a more centrist stance. Her Communist connections could be the key to that power, as they were for Jim Jones, appointed by Democrats to the San Francisco Housing Authority, and the former Barry Soetoro in Frank’s Chicago network.

Meanwhile, Castro pal Willie Brown claims he also influenced the career of Sen. Dianne Feinstein. She harbored a Chinese Communist spy on her staff for 20 years, but there was more to the relationship.

As Ben Weingarten noted last year in The Federalist, “for the last 40 years, no politician in America has arguably maintained a deeper, more longstanding and friendlier relationship with China, at the highest levels of its ruling Communist Party, than Feinstein.” She promoted most favored nation status for China, downplayed the Tienanmen Square repressions, and even objected to arms sales to Taiwan by the Obama administration.

Brown might have tilted the senator in that direction, but any romantic liaisons with Feinstein have not come to light. She is more in Brown’s age bracket than Kamala Harris, who wants to be president. As Willie said when his “dates” with Harris came to light, “that’s politics for ya.”

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Photo by Nancy Wong

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