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Extreme Moderation in the Spittoon: Kamala Harris for VP

The Vice Presidency has always gotten a degree of bad press in the US political system. Its ineffectuality is sometimes lost on the occupant, though not on John N. Garner, who considered it “not worth a bucket of warm spit.” (R. G. Tugwell in The Brains Trust suggests that the measure “quart” was used.) Two terms as President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s second fiddle was something he considered “the worst thing that ever happened to me,” occupying an office that was “a no man’s land somewhere between the legislative and executive branch.” He regretted giving up the heftier role as Speaker of the House.

Joe Biden, having himself occupied that spittoon of an office for eight years during the Obama administration, has now found the person he hopes will do the same for him. That candidate, Kamala Harris, had been an early Democratic contender for main billing, but the electoral law of entropy struck her down early. In March, when she announced her withdrawal from the race, she was careful to keep her hat in the ring of favour, endorsing Biden as the presumptive nominee with her own lacing of fiction. “There is no one better than Joe to steer our nation through these turbulent times, and restore truth, honour and decency to the Oval Office.”

The announcement propelled pundit land to chorus with bone weary predictions and assessments, some of which might prove, come November, to be merely astrological. The fortissimo score that is being played through is that of Harris’s moderation and safe bearing. The America of Donald Trump is dangerous and immoderate; Harris offers a tepid corrective, one that will see a Bourbon restoration rather than inspired reform. She “can appeal to voters in key swing states like Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania,” suggests Thomas Gift, director of the Centre on US Politics at UCL. She also measures up in the identity stakes, “the first African-American and Asian-American selected as VP candidate for a major party.”

The commentary on her selection is heavy with the centrist tag, one that seeks to push the stone throwing radicals out while supposedly embracing voters who steered to Trump in 2016. For the Los Angeles Times, Biden’s choice of Harris “set a marker for how he believes Democrats can win – both in this election and in the future – with a multiracial coalition that can excite voters, but a centre-left brand that steers clear of the most far-reaching progressive demands.”

Ed Kilgore, writing in New York magazine, noted these points in 2019. She is “disciplined”; she is the candidate of “moderation – or some would say, lack of courage.” Where she is seen as radical is through no doing of her own. As Elizabeth Weil put it, “Harris’s demographic identity has always been radical” while her record in office was marked by avoiding “saying or doing much that could be held against her.”

These are not exactly promising attributes in populist times. The Democrats risk doing, as Ted Rall warns, of making the same mistake they did with Hillary Clinton. Picking Harris is a suggestion to the left base of the Democratic Party to “drop dead.” Biden’s “centrist establishment handlers view Hillary Clinton’s defeat in 2016 as historically anomalous rather than evidence of a flawed strategy.” Identity politics becomes the substitute for policy.

This suggests that little in the way of change will be forthcoming on a Biden-Harris ticket. Harris is branded as an institutional figure (thirteen years in public office, spent as District Attorney in San Francisco and Attorney General of California), one who, according to family friend Lateefah Simon, chose to “work within some of the most systematically racist institutions in the country” while her sister, Maya, became the enterprising advocate.

The institutional moorings of the presumptive VP-nominee is seen as a strength, till you realise that Trump’s victory in 2016, and his appeal to the country’s marked rages, were of an anti-institutional flavour. What he has done during his tenure has been to trash them, to break the Republic, assisted by his opponents who have done little in the way of addressing the country’s ills. (Coronavirus has, and is doing, the rest.) A ticket with Harris on it is a promise to Make America the Same Again, a return to political recycling.

Establishment Democrats are certainly happy about “no risk” Harris. President Obama’s former national security adviser Susan Rice enthusiastically pointed out that any Republican attacks on Biden’s choice was always going to focus on whether they were “left and socialist. It’s not true. That is not who Kamala Harris is. And it’s not who Joe Biden is.”

Much analysis on the Harris pick soon turns into waffle and tripe. Former Republican staffer and communications boffin Drew Holden picks up on the “moderate and centrist” theme in the Democrat advertising strategy, but insists that she is “among the most liberal in Congress.” This conclusion is not reached through teasing out any substantive political philosophy. Holden is a strategist in political communication, and is happy to bore us with “Ideology-Leadership” charts featuring Harris (spot the “purple triangle”) as scoring as an extreme liberal on “our liberal-conservative ideology score.” More interesting is the view held by the editors of the conservative National Review that Harris “is a moderate autocrat”, a “moderate anti-Catholic bigot” and a “moderate monopolist on health care.” Moderation is the new extremism.

Stool water and slush continue to mark the issue about what constitutes wings of US politics. Barack Obama suggested in 2004 that there was no “liberal” or “conservative” America, merely the “United States of America.” Gore Vidal’s idea of two right wings holding the US political cosmos together remains the most pertinent. There are other iterations of the theme, which focus on the business element so crucial to the timbre of the election system. A business civilisation will only tolerate the parties of business. No divvying-up-the-wealth populist is ever going to be allowed to get by the banking mentality that governs the DNC-RNC duopoly. He can certainly, as Trump has tried to do, pretend to drain the fetid swamp, with the natural inclination to fill it with his own brand of crony. The rest is reality television chaos.

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56 comments

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  1. Phil Pryor

    Perhaps there are hardly any candidates for much in the whole USA, a land of declining shittiness and glossed ignorance. Harris will do well, surely, and with Biden’s age, mental state, health, etc, may be a president soon, eventually, later. A committee of GoreVidal types, Chomsky types, asking for inputs from the corporate plunderers, savages, huns, whores and whotheF—-s would possibly suit, but, as the nation has in office a bowelful of brown beastliness, a dark ignoramus cartoon figure, what do the boofheads want or need?

  2. Graham

    Anyone who has read historian Jill Lepore’s recent bestseller “These Truths: A History of the United States” will have no doubt that the entire political system of the USA, from its 1776 racist foundation onward, demonstrates it is a failed state.

    A simple example will suffice; in the late 19th century, proposals for that radical 1856 Australian initiative – secret ballots, on ballot forms printed and handed out by government election officials – were first rejected for near 30 years, and then used to disenfranchise the Black voters on literary test grounds.

  3. Karen Kyle

    Always surprised at Binoys propensity to know all about the evils of American Government. Harris has a first rate reputation as a fighter . As AT for California she organised and delivered a pushback which delivered billions in compensation the US homebuyers done over by the GFC and the likes of Freddie May and the American Banks. It was done in conjunction with Beau Biden who was a state Govenor at the time. One huge run on the board.

    As for the hard left, Chomsky and others….I would have thought the Jeremy Corbyn fiasco in the UK would sink home the fact that no-one believes or wants the skewed Marxist interpretation of events.
    Or the Post Modernist crap so beloved by Putin and Alexander Dugan either

    And now we have to contend with the dangerous shenanigans of the bloody Chinese Communist Party.

  4. Phil Pryor

    To K Kyle. if one uses one’s anus as a telescope on life, one gets a blocked and distorted view. You would not recognise the brilliance of a Chomsky, who would even dare to envisage methods to improve society, and giving such as you a better in opportunities and fairness. Touch yourself up with your own hard left, the digit of course, before the ignorant and greedy right try to privatise that. Marx was certainly not skewed, but stupid commenters often are.

  5. Karen Kyle

    Phil abuse and insult isn’t an argument mate.

  6. Phil Pryor

    “”hard left”.., “fiasco”.., “sink home”.., “skewed”.., “crap”.., “dangerous shenanigans”.., rubbish from a backward polyp. The filth, depravity, murder, theft, slavery, occupation, humiliations, backwardness, savagery, hunnish triumphalism, of the imperial nations and USA in particular, suggests depths of ignorance below the Marianas trench.

  7. Karen Kyle

    Are you saying the GE in the UK was not a fiasco?
    And apparently the reality has yet to “sink home’ in some quarters.

    And Post Modernism where there is no truth but plenty of possibilities including “alternative facts”

    A dishonest attempt to scew up the very nature of reality. Mad

  8. Michael Taylor

    Phil abuse and insult isn’t an argument mate.

    Karen, based on your history here I would suggest this is a perfect example of Pot, meet Kettle.

  9. A Commentator

    Hilary Clinton’s defeat in 2016 was primarily due to the well timed leaking of emails, so close to the election. Therefore without the option of a recovery strategy.

    The leaking in this manner was underhanded and duplicitous. It deliberately delivered the presidency to the most incompetent candidate in living memory.

    Well done by Wikileaks and the Wikileaks political candidates that enabled and supported the Trump success.

    And Kamala Harris is an outstanding politucal candidate. A stable single term from Biden will see her as the Democratic candidate in 4 years.

  10. Carina McNaughton

    Bernie Sanders should have been the democrat choice instead of Hiliary Clinton. Maybe then Trump wouldn’t be in power. But then no establishment would support this only the grass roots democrat voters did.

  11. Jack Cade

    Clinton’s loss in 2016 was due to a combination of things. First of all she was deeply unpopular generally; secondly she did not appeal to progressives; thirdly, as A Commentator has pointed out, the ‘emails’ didn’t help, fourthly the Electoral College overlooked the fact that she got close to 3 million more votes than Trump, and fifthly, the turnout was pretty low. This time around the fact that neither of the people on the Democrat ticket appeals to the progressives or the left MIGHT be offset by the absolutely rancid Republican ticket. But all Biden and Harris are offering is a return to the politics that made Clinton unpopular in the first place. Not an attractive proposition.

  12. Brozza

    Weeks ago the commentary was about which female African-umurikan biden would choose as his running mate.
    It was ALL about the perception of political correctness.
    And to the karen, you come across as a disciple of murdochery.

  13. RomeoCharlie29

    Karen please don’t bring up the UK election result as somehow a vote against Corbyn and then conflate it to a bogus anti-leftist trope for the US.. The independent US news site, ConsortiumNews has a long and comprehensive article which shows it was the (supposedly) leftist Guardian and the ( supposedly) impartial BBC piling on with the Murdoch rags to push such lies as Corbyn’s anti-semitism — promulgated by many within Labour frightened of Corbyn—- that ensured he lost ( by 3000 votes).

    Bernie Sanders, the best candidate not to have been selected, was undermined by the same conservative forces in the Democrats as those within UK Labour ( the Blairites) did for Corbyn, the best man not to have been elected Prime Minister.

    Biden and Harris are, as Jack Cade notes, more of the same old same old, given lustre only by the absolute disgrace that is the Trump/Pence team of whackos.

  14. Karen Kyle

    If you don’t think Corbyn is an antisemite you haven’t been paying attention. And of course Corbyn didn’t put a foot wrong did he? He didn’t do anything. It was the dastardly press that did for him. Despite the fact that the Labour Party knocked on millions of doors all over Britian and behind all those doors were people who said they would not vote for the Hamas Hezbollah kissy kissy Corbyn. And they would not tolerate an antisemitic PM.

    And the Democrats were watching very closely. They knew Bernie Sanders was a similar risk and they said so. Sanders never really had a chance.

    As for Kamalla Harris as a politically correct candidate…nonsence. Did you not see the race riots re George Floyd, one of many black Americans murdered by cops. Most Americans want it to stop and it won’t happen until there is a Democrat President and Senate. Dire necessity. Nothing to do with political correctness.

    As for Murdoch, the great media empire is losing money and Fox news is losing the support of Advertisers. Maybe they will go broke. And who told you Corbyn lost by three thousand votes? It was a landslide remember. The Labour Party was wiped out.

    It is a typical left trope to insist that things were done to them, helpless victims of an evil system. Xi Jingping believes the CIA were stirring up trouble in Hong Kong, with the Brits of course. And Putin believes the CIA stirred up all the colour revolutions. They don’t believe that grass roots spontaneous politics exists, they don’t believe that their neighbours know them of old and hate them, and when things don’t go their way they snivel and whine like little girls. They are infantile and dangerous. But they must have enemies otherwise their countries would wake up to them and get rid of them quick smart.+

  15. Karen Kyle

    And the leaked internal Labour Party report ignored by the Guardian and the BBC. Undermined from within.

    The Labour Party had already been undermined and hijacked by the flood of disperate left groups into the Labour Party when Corbyn was elected leader. The Party was taken over by the Corbyn supporters. It would have been more honest to form a political party of their own and taken a chane with the British electorate. But why should they do that when there was a well established political party with the resources and machinery all ready to go. Much easier.

    The British Labour Party is not the first party to be hijacked. The Australian Labor Party had a hell of a time in the fifties beating back rather too many Communists in the party. The Liberal Party has been purged of small l liberals in favour of the tin foil hat brigade. But none matches the Republican Party in the US. They flung the doors open wide and welcomed the Christian Fundamentalists and racists in. Lets hope it will be electorally disasterous.

    As for the Guardian and the BBC ignoring the “leaked report”, they did that because it is a non story. They did that to give the Labour Party the space and the privacy to work out it’s own destiny i.e by getting rid of Corbyn as leader and pushing his supporters to the fringes where they belong.

  16. Matters Not

    Karen Kyle. Always good to read a well articulated point of view. While rarely in agreement, it’s refreshing that points can still be made without constant (and boring) reference(s) to fundamental orifices, albeit in various iterations. (Not sure about ‘nonsence’ though.)

    Welcome back. As for ‘reality’ and its constructs … try Thomas ‘Theorem

  17. Michael Taylor

    Karen, I didn’t realise that this post was about the Labour Party.

  18. Karen Kyle

    Why….you think like minded political parties don’t communicate and watch each other’s elections with keen interest.

    When Hawke was elected PM Australia was inundated with members of the British Labour Party and the Democrats wanting to know how they did it

    Young members of the ALP go to Britian and the US all the time to work on their election campaigns. When Dukakis lost his bid for the American presidency the ALP was beside itself with anger and disapointment. The links are close. And they matter. The same holds true to a much lesser extent for the Trade Union movement. I can remember being visited by American and New Zealand Union officials warning us about what was happening in their countries and saying we could expect the same. They were right.

  19. Michael Taylor

    Karen, let’s just say that I’m well aware of your history of highjacking posts towards subjects of your choice.

  20. Karen Kyle

    And lets just say I am well aware of the left propensity to narrow an argument down to a one sentence one idea statement that conveniently ignores the broader more complex aspects.

    I have seen members of the CCP do it in public debate and once a member of the Socialist Alliance wanted to engage me in public debate providing I allowed him to tell me what arguments I could use and where to find them. It is called controlling the narrative and setting the parameters of the debate. Mostly it won’t work with those who are aware. Anyway it was someone else on the thread who bought up the British Labour Party.

  21. Michael Taylor

    I thought it was you when you introduced Corbyn into the discussion.

    Silly me. 🙄

  22. Karen Kyle

    Romeocharlie took the Corbyn stuff and ran with it. His view……the press undermined Corbyn and Sanders. Different countries. Same enemies.

  23. Keith

    To put the US Presidential election into an Australian context … a drover’s dog would be a better candidate than Trump. So far, through absolute poor management over 170,000 American’s have died due to the pandemic. How many people will suffer with serious medical conditions due to the pandemic in the future is unknown.Trump was suggesting the pandemic was a hoax in the first instance. I did not take Trump’s advice and swallow detergent to ward off the risk of coming down with the virus.

    De-regulating policies which protect the environment such as air and water quality will not go down well with many people in the US.
    He is talking about withholding financial resources from the Postal Service which may produce the threat of legal action, something he will probably need to back down from.

  24. Michael Taylor

    Keith, Obama summed it up perfectly. I don’t recall the exact wording of his tweet, but it was something like this:

    “President Trump is more determined to prevent people from voting than he is in preventing the spread of COVID-19.”

    BINGO!

  25. Kaye Lee

    LOL Michael, I know what you mean. Karen does make a well-presented argument which has a “here is one I prepared earlier” flavour.

    I have to say, I found Biden’s tweet condescending….

    “This morning, little girls woke up across this nation — especially Black and Brown girls who so often may feel overlooked and undervalued in our society — potentially seeing themselves in a new way: As the stuff of Presidents and Vice Presidents.”

    How to make someone feel like a token.

    It isn’t women who underestimate themselves!

  26. Michael Taylor

    Carol said the same thing, Kaye. It’s easy to say “Trump says worse stuff” but Joe should aim the bar a bit higher.

    Apart from that, I like him. Better still, I like his pick of running partner.

  27. Matters Not

    Biden’s reference to little girl probably (definitely?) relates to Harris’ self description as a ‘little girl’ when, during the nomination debates, she was criticising his (negative) role in the ‘bussing’ controversy which flowed from Brown V Board of Education (circa 1955) which attempted to desegregate schooling. She would know what he was referring to. And probably appreciated the pont he was making.

  28. Michael Taylor

    That, would you believe, MN, was Carol’s counter-point.

    One could easily assume that I don’t do any thinking. That I leave that all up to Carol. 😳

  29. Michael Taylor

    Though I did have a thought once … but I don’t know where I put it.

    That’s the trouble with taking mental notes: I can never remember where I left them.

  30. Matters Not

    The ‘bussing’ of school children from one school district to another in order to to balance the racial composition was very controversial. Brown V Board of Education was extremely important because it overturned the separate but equal doctrine established by Plessey v Ferguson (circa 1896).

    Harris was one of the little girls who benefited (her claim) from that policy, While it’s not likely to be resurrected, the fear probably will – possibly in the form of housing ‘desegregation’. Remember 50% of those who identify as ‘white’ are in the Trump camp. It’s one of the few demographics where Trump is competitive. He’s already started in that direction with the spurious ‘claim’ that Harris mightn’t be eligible to be Presidents or VP – given her parents’ status at the time of her birth.

  31. Michael Taylor

    MN, Trump is barking up the wrong tree again.

    A president must be born in the USA, but I don’t expect Trump to know what is and isn’t in the Constitution. But it won’t stop him from barking.

    Next he’ll be screaming “Lock her up!”

  32. Matters Not

    MT as I pointed out above, his (Trump’s) claims are spurious. Being born there is THE requirement to qualify and there is no dispute as to where she was born. But in this era of fake news, claims to the contrary sometimes count for …

    Being a Birther sometimes has political legs. Just ask Trump re Obama.

    Trump will go down in ‘history’ as the leader who ended the US Empire. Hello China.

  33. Jack Cade

    I don’t rate Biden much, compos mensis or no. But I took his ‘little girl’ comment to mean that when his chosen running mate was a little brown or black girl she could not comfortably get on a bus to go to a decent school, let alone a VP ticket. Nothing more than that. Possibly clumsy expression but not ‘racist’. Trump made it so. But you can see anything as sexist, or racist, insulting or demeaning if you try.
    It’s early days, but the next three months of US politics and general life will be distressing or hilarious, whichever way you see your glass – half full or half empty. If his former consigliere’s book hits the stands shortly we might even see Trump getting ‘heel spurs of the heart’ and getting a medical clearance to pull out of the race. He’s probably already mulling over trying to get the Democrats to offer him a pardon if he agrees to pull the plug. There is, after all, no honour in politics generally, and in US politics particularly. And if that happens, a female US president in the next year or so is just about guaranteed, because Biden’s mental faculties are worse now than Reagan’s were in his second term, and he – Reagan – is generally assumed to have lost the plot completely by then.

  34. Michael Taylor

    Jack, I’m not talking to you. My mood is foul. ☹️

  35. Matters Not

    Jack Cade – while Brown V Board of Education provided the basis for bussing (circa 1971) it was the findings of the Coleman Report of 1966 which became the motive force. Coleman’s Report found in part:

    physical facilities, formal curricula, and other measurable criteria, there was little difference between black and white schools.

    It was a surprising finding. And not only for Coleman who thought he was simply gathering evidence for what seemed like ‘common sense’. What his study did find was (again in part only)

    student background and socioeconomic status are more important in determining educational outcomes of a student

    So while ‘sociology’ (as a discipline) was important in overturning the separate but equal doctrine, it was also crucial in teasing out the forces in play re student academic achievement (albeit at a level of generality).

  36. Jack Cade

    Michael Taylor

    Let me guess… you turned off halfway through q4.
    I, on the other hand, grew up with Wizard and Hotspur comics, in which a soccer player with a broken leg could score 6 goals in 5 minutes, and thought the execrable Motlop just MIGHT pay his way for a change.
    So I’m not in a good mood either.

  37. Michael Taylor

    Jack, that’s about the time I remembered to clean the kitty litter tray. ☹️

  38. Jack Cade

    Michael
    The Power’s game did resemble a kitty litter tray…

  39. Kaye Lee

    I don’t think Biden MEANT to be racist or sexist. His comment just underlines the fact that we still live in a world where skin colour and gender are considered worth mentioning despite their complete irrelevance to the job.

  40. Matters Not

    KL – people have no ultimate control over the meaning(s) others will give to virtually anything. But Biden probably had a fairly good idea as to the meaning Harris (of This little girl fame) would give. Biden ‘won’ the nomination, fundamentally, because he is/was safe hands and was the most likely candidate to defeat Trump. He’s no intellectual giant or revolutionary figure. And he doesn’t try to be. His ‘strength’ is his blandness. Why he’s even a Catholic.

    Further, one might reasonably argue that Harris’ (relevant) job, at least in the short-term, is to garner the votes of ‘black’ and ‘brown’ voters (both getting them out to vote and then voting for Biden). What with approximately 13% of the electorate being ‘black’ and a white-bread leader, the ‘black* vote will be crucial to the success of the Democrats in the Congress (particularly the Senate) as well.

    While Pence is there to do what Trump abhors, one suspects that Harris will be much more pro-active in setting an agenda, If things turn out as expected, she will be the President-in-waiting.

    But Trump is not yet defeated. Hilary didn’t win. Neither did Shorten. Both lost – partially via over-confidence. And Trump can’t afford to lose. Here comes the kitchen sink.

  41. Kaye Lee

    I understand the politics of it MN. I am being idealistic when I wish for a world where we discuss people’s merits and ideas and capabilities rather than their appeal/look/pull factor.

    I wish for a world where we didn’t vote in tribes. Voting for someone because they are a certain skin colour is just as bad as not voting for them because they are a certain skin colour. If that’s what counts then we are in trouble.

  42. Jack Cade

    Kaye Lee

    Your point is well made. And the political
    uncertainty in the entire world, the naked, sycophantic and largely unthinking pandering to corporate power by parties of supposedly different ideals but in reality indistinguishable from one another, exposed by the virus in part, has made me, a lifelong Labor voter, yearn for a government of intelligence and integrity, for a government dependent on a group of genuine independents such as we had in the Gillard parliament. Neither of the major parties offers intelligence and integrity. The current coalition actually has neither.
    I am fully intent on casting my future votes – state and federal – for any Windsor-like candidate that is on the ticket.

  43. Phil Pryor

    It matters not to me that I or anyone uses terms like anus or excrement or hero or whatever. If one perceives an enemy, of the old fascist type especially, one should attack and secure an imaginary victory, for dead opponents, figuratively, are removed and the world might improve, literally. Keep up your very useful comments, as in the Brown vs Board of education line of analysis, as politely as you do, and keep encouraging idiots, the K K types, for all should continue here. copping the praise or blame. I wish us all well in expressing views and intend to describe human manifestations of anuses with accuracy, even the bowel load that is Trump. And, it should matter not to you that another nobody should stain these outings…much is wasted in time, energy, expression, factuality. Good luck…

  44. Kaye Lee

    Jack,

    Ted Mack is another man I admired. I have linked to his 2013 Henry Parkes Oration “The State of the Federation” many times. Well worth the read if you have not already done so.

    https://parkesfoundation.org.au/activities/orations/2013-ted-mack/

    Also of interest, largely because it shows how politicians can talk the talk, but when it comes to walking….not so much, is Malcolm Turnbull’s 2012 George Winterton Lecture on “Truth, leadership and responsibility”.

    https://www.malcolmturnbull.com.au/media/republican-virtues-truth-leadership-and-responsibility

  45. Michael Taylor

    MN, speaking of kitchen sinks, Trump’s latest ploy is to claim that the postal service has been losing billions for years, hence the cutting back of services.

    Putting up the price of postage stamps wasn’t an option, I guess.

  46. Michael Taylor

    Geez, Kaye, I worked in government for 20 years and I had to Google who Ted Mack was. I feel stupid. ☹️

  47. Jack Cade

    Kaye Lee

    Thanks for the link to Ted Mack. I’ve always admired him as the template for politicians, independent or not.
    Turnbull is a hollow man – a hologram. No substance at all. He stood for nothing except self-publicity and aggrandisement.

  48. Matters Not

    MT – Trump and Jeff Bezos – owner of Amazon, plus significant parts of the MSM and almost everything else that makes a huge profit including package delivery – dislike each other intently. But the relationship is complicated by a range of other considerations

    Amazon’s relationship with the US Postal Service has become political fodder in recent years as Trump has demanded USPS to up its rates on the megaretailer. … President Donald Trump is right about one thing: The US Postal Service is charging Amazon below-market rates. … Amazon is building delivery stations in only the densest ZIP codes in the US,

    Too many ins and outs to sensibly precis. Worth reading the whole article.

    https://www.businessinsider.com.au/amazon-usps-rural-packages-deliveries-2020-5?r=US&IR=T

  49. Matters Not

    KL – all for ideals (philosophic ‘oughts’) – they are a must! But I also like to see what is likely to impede same.

    Phil Pryor – Karen Kyle has been in and contributed to the labour movement (broadly defined) for ever and a day and then some. Her point of view is grounded in a reality and I want to know all about it – even if I don’t share the same construction. She is anything but an idiot!

  50. Michael Taylor

    MN, Trump despises Bezos for two reasons: Bezos owns the Washington Post and they publish “horrible, nasty fake news” stories about the boy president; and it must irk Trump that Bezos is an actual billionaire.

    As for KK, she rubbed me up the wrong way with vicious attacks on some of our writers. That’s one thing I don’t tolerate – personal attacks on the author.

  51. Jack Cade

    I have e been reading ‘Yes, Prime Minister’, the diaries of Jim Hacker. While they are fiction, of course, and beautifully done, the writers swear that they actually made none of it up, that the reality of government is beyond their imagination. All they did was amend the narrative slightly. Even the hilarious episode of the drinks tent (‘Prime Minister, there’s a delegation of Teachers waiting for you. ‘ ‘Thank you Bernard, I’d better go in before the Bell’s goes!’) is based an an actual event during the Wilson years.
    The point I want to make is that the jousting between Sir Humphrey and Jim Hacker could not happen today, in Australia or the USA. The public service in both countries has been castrated, department heads with experience and integrity removed, and replaced with lackeys and lickspittles, so government is based on bigotry and self-aggrandisement without the brakes applied by wise experienced heads. Such wholesale depredations will not be rectified by one term of respectable government, if ever such arises in either country.

  52. Phil Pryor

    Good on you Matters, for pointing out your views, and K K is surely not an idiot, for few of us are, but, her statements did not reflect any balance or indeed sense, many of them in a flow of peculiarity. I’ve also fought for social democracy, ALP, progressive policies, for fifty years or so. Perhaps I’m getting old, intemperate, coarse, rather frustrated. You point out the futility of petitions, and it is so true, if sent to scheming conservative a—-s. (stop that)

  53. Kaye Lee

    Jack,

    The niece of a friend of mine used to work for a government department. When she left, she got a job writing for Utopia. She said the scripts wrote themselves – presented as fiction but representations of what she actually witnessed. I could never again look at a pollie with a shovel without thinking about Utopia’s “Shovels ready” episode.

    “What’s been surprising to me is realising this is actually how politics and bureaucracy works,” says Kitty Flanagan who plays Rhonda, the public relations manager .

    “It makes me so sad because it doesn’t actually work. All the ministers want to do is appear in the photo shoot at the beginning with a shovel and they don’t care if anything gets made or not. They just want to announce things and that’s Rhonda’s whole job. Who cares if we ever build this road or have this tunnel or make this train?”

  54. Michael Taylor

    A chap called Don Winslow tweeted this earlier:

    Trump is going to declare victory on Nov. 3 or the following morning.

    And then he is going to contest all the mail in ballots as illegal.

    He will be backed up by Bill Barr and Senator McConnell.

    He WANTS you to vote by mail SO he can declare victory on election day or next day

    A dreadful thought. I wouldn’t put it past the Mango Mussolini.

  55. Michael Taylor

    The niece of a friend of mine used to work for a government department. When she left, she got a job writing for Utopia.

    I used to work for a government department. When I left, I got a job writing for The AIMN. 😉

  56. DrakeN

    Michael T, take notice: your failure to know about Ted Mack is not yours alone, it is a product of the narrow fields of vision within which most of us see our lives.
    Reading through this site as I regularly do, I am frequently reminded of this fundamental human attribute – that of being able to filter out anything which does not immediately seem to be important – and then to forget that it ever existed.

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