Today I want to share Stephen Colbert’s monologue from March 23rd, the day after the mass shooting in a Boulder, Colorado grocery store that killed 10 people. Please take the 10 minutes to watch this … he is spot on and echoes my own opinions. Oh, and there’s a bit of humour thrown in here and there!
It was 161 years ago today that the first Pony Express riders set out to deliver the mail. From History.com …
On April 3, 1860, the first Pony Express mail, traveling by horse and rider relay teams, simultaneously leaves St. Joseph, Missouri, and Sacramento, California. Ten days later, on April 13, the westbound rider and mail packet completed the approximately 1,800-mile journey and arrived in Sacramento, beating the eastbound packet’s arrival in St. Joseph by two days and setting a new standard for speedy mail delivery. Although ultimately short-lived and unprofitable, the Pony Express captivated America’s imagination and helped win federal aid for a more economical overland postal system. It also contributed to the economy of the towns on its route and served the mail-service needs of the American West in the days before the telegraph or an efficient transcontinental railroad.
The Pony Express debuted at a time before radios and telephones, when California, which achieved statehood in 1850, was still largely cut off from the eastern part of the country. Letters sent from New York to the West Coast traveled by ship, which typically took at least a month, or by stagecoach on the recently established Butterfield Express overland route, which could take from three weeks to many months to arrive. Compared to the snail’s pace of the existing delivery methods, the Pony Express’ average delivery time of 10 days seemed like lightning speed.
The Pony Express Company, the brainchild of William H. Russell, William Bradford Waddell and Alexander Majors, owners of a freight business, was set up over 150 relay stations along a pioneer trail across the present-day states of Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Nevada and California. Riders, who were paid approximately $25 per week and carried loads estimated at up to 20 pounds of mail, were changed every 75 to 100 miles, with horses switched out every 10 to 15 miles. Among the riders was the legendary frontiersman and showman William “Buffalo Bill” Cody (1846-1917), who reportedly signed on with the Pony Express at age 14. The company’s riders set their fastest time with Lincoln’s inaugural address, which was delivered in just less than eight days.
The initial cost of Pony Express delivery was $5 for every half-ounce of mail. The company began as a private enterprise and its owners hoped to gain a profitable delivery contract from the U.S. government, but that never happened. With the advent of the first transcontinental telegraph line in October 1861, the Pony Express ceased operations. However, the legend of the lone Pony Express rider galloping across the Old West frontier to deliver the mail lives on today.
You might be wondering why I’m making a big deal over this, but bear with me.
The United States Postal Service (USPS) was actually already in existence when the Pony Express came onto the mail delivery scene, having been established in 1775 with Benjamin Franklin as its first Postmaster General. So, why the need for the Pony Express nearly a full century later? Because the USPS wasn’t doing such a great job, apparently.
Now, the reason I bring up the Pony Express is that once again, the USPS is doing a pretty lousy job under the leadership of the highly unqualified Louis DeJoy. DeJoy just announced a new “10-year plan,” which is one way to describe the largest rollback of consumer mail services in a generation. His plan includes longer first-class mail delivery times, reduced post office hours, and higher prices. It seems to me that his ’plan’ is already in action, as the last card I sent took 15 days to arrive at its destination.
Last year DeJoy crippled the Postal Service. He banned employee overtime, decommissioned mail-sorting machines, and removed drop boxes. He did this during a deadly pandemic that had millions of Americans relying on the mail for their medications, businesses, and safely voting by mail in November’s election.
Speaking of medications … my insulin sat in the Post Office from last Saturday until this past Wednesday … unrefrigerated and undelivered. Why? Good question, and one I fully intend to ask Mr. DeJoy! Although … he hasn’t answered either of my last two letters … perhaps the USPS hasn’t managed to deliver them yet? Funny that they sit on my insulin, but manage to deliver all the junk mail that goes straight into the trash bin.
President Biden has nominated three members to the USPS Board of Governors with the intention of removing Mr. DeJoy and hiring someone qualified to do the job without costing us an arm and a leg and ensuring that our mail is delivered in a timely fashion. But of course, the Senate must have much more important business to attend to, for they haven’t yet gotten ‘round to confirming these three.
So, I’m wondering if it might be a good idea to re-instate the Pony Express? We would, no doubt, get our mail quicker and for about the same price. Given the volume of mail in this country, there’s no doubt they could upgrade to faster horses and think how many jobs would be created! We could leave the USPS in place for the time being, a service for those who seem to like being ripped off by our own government.
Lots of little annoying things to stir my angst bouncing about on the radar tonight …
Taking credit where none is due …
It amazes me how somebody can take credit for what someone else has done, for what they themselves attempted to undo. But that’s exactly what at least one Republican senator, Roger Wicker from Mississippi has done. Not a single republican voted for the stimulus bill that, despite them, passed both chambers of Congress and was signed into law by President Biden yesterday. Mr. Wicker had the unmitigated gall to tweet …
“Independent restaurant operators have won $28.6 billion worth of targeted relief. This funding will ensure small businesses can survive the pandemic by helping to adapt their operations and keep their employees on the payroll.”
Fortunately, people aren’t as stupid as he thinks and he received thousands of negative responses, including my own (I’ll likely get another suspension from Twitter for this one!). Speaker Nancy Pelosi hit the nail on the head when she said …
“It’s typical that they vote no and take the dough.”
How in the Sam Hell?
Florida governor Ron DeSantis is a bloomin’ fool. The latest? Well, when he refused to put in place a statewide mask mandate last year, a number of counties and cities imposed local mask ordinances and fined businesses that failed to follow the law. Makes sense to me, especially given that Florida has the third highest number of total cases in the country.
Well, apparently some people complained, so yesterday Governor DeSantis signed an executive order forgiving any fines related to local government COVID-19 restrictions on people and business. The order states any fines imposed between March 1, 2020, and March 10, 2021, fines imposed by any political subdivision of Florida related to local government COVID-19 restrictions are canceled.
Heather Wooding, the owner of Country House Restaurant in Winter Garden, was fined in December after several warnings and several customer complaints that some employees were not wearing masks. Says she …
“I just didn’t feel it was right, so we were going to fight it.”
Wooding says she reqires no one to wear masks as she defies the county order and supports the governor’s new order eliminating fines.
“We have people coming here because we don’t wear masks. They want to be normal. And they are happy to come to a place that does not wear masks.”
Well, Bully! We all want to be ‘normal’, but first we have to be alive, fool!
Floridians sure do know how to pick ’em …
And another bloomin’ fool in Florida … do they breed them specially down there? Senator Rick Scott, who also did not vote for the stimulus bill, is beseeching states and cities across America to refuse federal aid and put politics over policy. In a letter sent to governors and mayors in Red states just after the bill was approved on Wednesday, Scott called the widely praised piece of legislation as “massive, wasteful and non-targeted.” He encouraged state and local leaders, by way of sending back the aid, to demand that Congress “quit recklessly spending other people’s money.”
WAIT just a darned minute here! He doesn’t seem to have a problem spending other people’s money on himself (salary, travel, meals, perks) does he? But he just doesn’t want people who actually need a boost to get one!
Oh, and by the way … it is reported that Scott is meeting this week with the former guy, if you needed further proof that he’s a fool. If Scott and DeSantis are the best that the GOP has to offer, then it’s no damn wonder they feel they have to take our right to vote away from us, for anybody with half a brain ain’t gonna vote for these two fools!
Meanwhile, back from Cancún
And another bloomin’ fool, though this one is from Texas … none other than the ignoble Senator Ted Cruz … you remember, the guy who took off for the warm beaches of Cancún last month while the people of his state were freezing to death? Well, after that little fiasco, I predicted that his political career would be over, but it seems he’s found a way to revive it … not a legal or moral way, but when has that ever mattered to Cruz?
His latest scheme to fundraise for his next campaign is to autograph Dr. Seuss books … for a donation of $60 per book! Who in their right mind would pay $60 for Ted Cruz scrawl on a book that he didn’t even write??? This strikes me as the worst form of plagiarism! In an email sent to prospective donors, Cruz says that he will personally autograph a copy of “Green Eggs and Ham” in exchange for a $60 campaign contribution.
“Look at this as your 2021 “cancel culture collectible from Team Cruz … it will be a great conversation piece.”
I suppose it’s not quite as bad as the former guy autographing bibles a few years ago. Seems there is no low to which these guys won’t stoop.
Give the man a big, fat “F”!
Louis DeJoy is still Postmaster General, though hopefully not for much longer else I’m going to go bash his head in myself. I’ve written enough times about this conniving man and his attempt to completely destroy the United States Postal Service, so I don’t need to remind you.
Yesterday, testifying before the House Appropriations subcommittee on financial service, DeJoy asked for additional funding … get a load of this … to slow the mail down even more than it already is! Oh, and he still plans to raise the price to mail a letter or a package. Hell, I could walk a card to the UK quicker than the USPS can get it there, and a hell of a lot cheaper!
But that’s not even the very worst of it. When asked by Representative Mark Pocan to assign himself a grade for his 10 months in office, DeJoy awarded himself an “A” for “bringing strategy and planning and effort.” Seriously??? My damn package took nearly two months to get from here to Wales even after I paid extra for expedited shipping, and he calls that ‘strategy’???
Pocan shot back that service declines, including historically poor on-time delivery rates during the holiday season, were hardly deserving of high marks. DeJoy must go, and I don’t really care at all how we get rid of him … as long as he goes and somebody competent and honest replaces him!
Just a short update before I delve into my main topic this morning …
In his testimony before Congress yesterday, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy arrogantly said that he plans to stay in his current position, despite opposition, “… for a long time. Get used to me.” Well, we’ll just see about that, because on the same day that he so cockily said that, President Biden nominated three people to the USPS Board of Governors. Those three – Ron Stroman, Anton Hajjar and Amber McReynolds – once confirmed by the Senate, would create a Democratic majority on the Board and DeJoy could easily be fired from his position. Fingers crossed on that one, for while I don’t like to see anyone fired, this arrogant man has all but destroyed the U.S. Postal Service and has unabashedly spoken of his intent to further slow the mail and raise prices. I shall dance on the day he is told to pack his bags!
The Equality Act has passed its first hurdle … it passed in the House yesterday with a vote of 224-206 and even three Republicans voted for it. What is the Equality Act? It is an amendment to the 1964 Civil Rights Act to provide protections for LGBTQ individuals. The bill would ban discrimination in various areas, including the workplace, housing and education, in addition to federally funded programs. The legislation also would expand the 1964 bill to cover public accommodations to include places like shopping malls, sports arenas, and even websites. Pretty simple, right? People should not be punished for being LGBT. Period. They are human beings just like me, just like you, and they deserve the same legal protections.
The Republicans in general, however, don’t quite see it that way. With the exception of the three who crossed the aisle to vote for the bill, they are dead set against it. Why? Truth is because they are bigots, homophobes who would disown their own child if he/she told them he/she was gay. They believe that the only people who deserve the best life has to offer are white, straight, Christian males. But they have a remarkable excuse for their homophobia … they claim it takes away people’s religious freedom. Yeah, really … go figure.
One portion of the Republican argument, as well as religious leaders’, is that the bill doesn’t limit “public accommodations” to exclude churches. Religious leaders want to be able to forbid LGBT people in their churches. Well, guess what, Mr. Bigot … I doubt any LGBT person would want to enter your “house of worship.” Keep it filled with racists and homophobes …
Another part of the argument against the bill claims that giving equal rights to the LGBT community would “alter the country’s social fabric by blurring gender lines in women’s sports and other cultural practices.” Bullshit! I’ve never heard such a crappy excuse in my life! Our society, our lives, and our culture are enhanced by the diversity, and any who cannot see that are culturally and socially blind.
The infamous Marjorie Taylor Greene crossed a line when she hung an anti-transgender sign outside her office, claiming “there are TWO genders: MALE & FEMALE”. Bad enough to say under any circumstances, but what made it even worse is that the office across the hall from hers is that of Representative Marie Newman, whose daughter is transgender. Ms. Greene, as I have said on multiple occasions, does NOT belong in Congress.
One comment I saw to this story stirred my ire …
“This pieces [sic] of legislation is just another way for “the establishment” to keep us divided as a nation. All people are created equal, I certainly don’t need the DC establishment to pass legislation for me to understand this Fact.”
Seriously, buddy? Don’t you think that if Blacks, Hispanics, Jews, Muslims, and LGBT were all treated equally, we wouldn’t even have needed the Civil Rights Act? Don’t you think that if everyone treated everyone equally, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation? What keeps us divided is not that the government is trying to protect people from discrimination, but rather that there are bigots out there who would lynch a Black man, who would kill a transgender person on sight. There are landlords who would refuse to rent housing to them, employers who would refuse them a job, and even businesses … oh, say like a bakery that specializes in wedding cakes … that would refuse them service! Sadly, the bigots have to be forced to do the right thing and treat people right! And they call themselves “Christians”. Ask me again why I consider religion the source of most of what’s wrong in the world!
Next stop for the Equality Act is the Senate. This same bill was passed by the House in 2019, but when it got to the Senate, Mitch McConnell refused to even bring it to the Senate floor, so there it died. I think it will be different this time, as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has promised that the legislation will get a floor vote “at exactly the right time.” But … it will need 10 Senate Republican votes in order to beat back a GOP filibuster. Are there 10 Republicans in the Senate with any form of a conscience? Apparently not, given the outcome of the impeachment trial. DAMN the filibuster! I have a brilliant idea … remember how many were calling to ‘defund the police’ last summer? Let’s start a movement to ‘defund republicans in Congress’ until they start acting like adults!
I will be composing a letter to the republican senator for my own state in the next day or two … not that it will matter or change his mind, but … I have to try.
I still haven’t run out of things to be snarky about and it isn’t looking like I will anytime soon! I am greatly relieved to have a real president, one whose tweets are few and are always positive, never whiny or ranty. I am happy to wake in the morning knowing that we haven’t likely started a war somewhere. And I’m pleased with Joe Biden’s performance as president these past 30+ days. However, the racists still exist and many of the loudest ones languish in Congress, so yes, I still have my snarky cap on!
The United States Postal Service (USPS) is in the news again this week as Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is testifying before Congress about the dire failures of the postal service to meet the nation’s needs. The mail … at least important mail … has been so slow that the Pony Express could have delivered it faster (funny how the junk mail and advertisements always get through, though), but then DeJoy was hired for one reason only: to slow the mail to a snail’s pace prior to last November’s election in order to interfere with our mail-in ballots arriving in a timely manner. He succeeded in slowing the mail, but we managed to get our ballots in on time despite his efforts to lose or delay them.
Democrats in Congress have called for his resignation, his ouster, and I fully agree. He did not come to the job with any relevant experience, and he did not come with the intention of helping us, only of harming us. But DeJoy says he has a plan that he will unveil soon, to restore the USPS. Details of his plan thus far are sketchy, but what we do know is that he plans to slow the mail (what, it isn’t already slow enough???), while charging us more (what, $80 to mail a bloomin’ package isn’t already too high???) to mail letters and packages. This, in and of itself, is unacceptable, but add to it the fact that with higher postal rates, the Consumer Price Index will leap skyward as companies are forced to pay more for the shipping of materials and finished products, and will naturally pass their increased cost on to We the Consumers.
It’s a lose/lose situation for We the People, and the only winner would be Mr. DeJoy himself who would get to keep his job … not that he needs it, with a net worth of $110 million. Unfortunately, as I have written before, President Biden does not have the ability to directly fire Mr. DeJoy, but he can fill the vacant seats on the Board of Governors that does have the ability to fire DeJoy. The USPS needs a strong leader who understands the workings of the organization and whose goal would be to restructure it for maximum efficiency while restoring customer service. DeJoy ain’t that person!
Stephen Miller rears his ugly head … again
I’m told that I shouldn’t consider republicans to be racists, but I go by the old adage if it walks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck. That said, I do know a few republicans who aren’t racist, so I stop short of saying “all”. I’ve long said that the biggest appeal of the former guy to republicans was the fact that he created in their minds a supreme danger of all immigrants and promised that ‘he alone’ could and would fix the problem. As a result, thousands of children were taken from their parents, put in cages, denied basic healthcare and hygiene, and often were abused in a variety of ways by those in charge of their welfare. As a result, those seeking asylum from life-threatening situations were denied entry into the country. As a result, billions of taxpayer dollars were wasted constructing a few miles of a hideous ‘wall’ at the southern border that would serve no purpose.
President Biden is attempting to repair the U.S. immigration policy, but the GOP is not onboard with his vision. Thus, they have hired America’s chief racist, Stephen Miller, along with two other supreme racists, Tom Homan and Mark Morgan, to advise the conservative House members as they organize their opposition to Biden’s planned changes as laid out in his recently unveiled blueprint for comprehensive immigration reform legislation. Miller, you may remember, was largely the architect for the hateful separation policy that brought so much grief to so many, especially children.
The meeting between Miller, Homan, Morgan, and House Republicans was organized by the 147-member Republican Study Committee, a group of traditionalist conservative lawmakers that also has met recently with other officials from the former administration, including former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Fox News host Tucker Carlson. WTF does Tucker Carlson have to do with any of this, other than he is a racist to the very core?
The recently unveiled Biden bill would provide a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants, and incorporates many provisions supported by Republicans in the past as well as by business groups today. The chief argument by republicans seems to be that it leaves out funding to complete the ridiculous ‘wall’ at the southern border … a wall which has been proven unworkable and uber-costly by numerous experts. The U.S. is currently in debt to the tune of some $27.9 trillion, and people around the nation are starving, are in danger of losing their homes, so we damn sure don’t need to spend billions of dollars on a white elephant that benefits nobody!
Republicans who would consult and listen to Stephen Miller cannot deny their racism, for Miller is the very definition of the term white supremacist. But, it seems they are determined to attempt to block anything and everything that President Biden tries to do, simply because … because he isn’t a republican. Not much other reason, when you peel away the layers of excuses.
Interestingly, Representative Liz Cheney, one of ten republicans in the House who voted to impeach the former guy and who has taken considerable flack from the Republican Party as a result, gave a speech yesterday at the Reagan Institute in Washington, where she said …
“It’s very important, especially for us as Republicans, to make clear that we aren’t the party of white supremacy. You certainly saw anti-Semitism, you saw the symbols of Holocaust denial, for example, at the Capitol that day. You saw a Confederate flag being carried through the Rotunda. And I think we as Republicans in particular have a duty and an obligation to stand against that, to stand against insurrection.”
I would hope that most people in the Republican Party would listen to Ms. Cheney rather than Mr. Miller and Tucker Carlson, but … sigh … I know the reality is not what I would wish. The GOP is greatly diminished, and it’s due to the racism and people like the former guy and Stephen Miller, among others.
On December 12th, my daughter mailed a package to my friend in the United Kingdom for me. The postal clerk informed her that it would not likely arrive before Christmas, but that if she were willing to pay an extra $30, she could get guaranteed delivery within 10 business days. That would have put the package arriving on or before December 24th, Christmas Eve. Perfect! Except, the package did not arrive until January 20th. Such is the state of affairs at the U.S. Postal Service today, under the management of one Louis DeJoy. Only 38% of non-local first-class mail arrived on time in late December, compared with 92% in the prior year.
Trump appointed DeJoy to the position of Postmaster General to head the USPS in June for one reason only – to attempt to slow or halt mail-in ballots for the November election. DeJoy immediately cut hours, forbade extra trips to deliver excess mail, removed & dismantled hundreds of mail sorting machines, and removed many collection boxes from the streets. Again, the only goal was to interfere with our votes, to keep our ballots from reaching their destination in time during the year of the pandemic when mail-in voting would be at an all-time high.
When President Joe Biden took his oath of office on January 20th, he almost immediately fired a number of high-level Trump appointees, with more certain to go in the coming weeks, but guess what? Biden cannot fire Louis DeJoy … only the Board of Governors can do that. Unfortunately, many of the members of the Board of Governors were appointed by … Donald Trump.
DeJoy was not qualified to take on the position of Postmaster General, his previous experience being the CEO of a for-profit logistics company, but qualifications never bothered Donald Trump overly much, since he himself had zero qualifications for his own job. DeJoy also had some conflicts of interest in that he did not fully divest himself of his interests in certain companies that are considered competitive with the USPS. DeJoy, by the way, has a net worth of $110 million.
But wait, it gets even worse. DeJoy is reportedly preparing to unveil plans for another round of service cuts and operational changes as soon as this week. The new plan will include more service cuts, higher and region-specific pricing, and lower delivery expectations. Postal workers are up in arms and want President Biden to do something. According to Mark Dimondstein of the American Postal Workers Union …
“We want a Board of Governors that understands fundamentally this is not called the United States Postal Business. It’s not a profit-making business. It’s here to serve the people.”
Here to serve the people. Such a simple concept, isn’t it? But over the last four years, ‘serving the people’ has become a thing of the past. Donald Trump’s government was here to serve only one person: Donald Trump. Joe Biden is working hard to turn that around, to ensure that government does serve the people – all the people. But, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and Biden’s efforts will no doubt be stymied by the ignorance of a certain party in Congress.
Yesterday, I received a phone call and an email from the Canadian pharmacy where I order my insulin. They informed me that I should order now, because deliveries to the United States are taking anywhere from 4-8 weeks! I used to order my insulin and have it within 5-7 business days, but now it could take up to two months! Bullshit!
Biden cannot fire DeJoy directly, but what he can do is fire the entire Board of Governors and replace them with men and women who care about doing the right thing, who have a conscience, who care about the people of this nation. Congressional democrats are urging President Biden to do just that …
“My solution starts at the top: firing the whole board who presided over Trump and DeJoy’s wrecking of USPS. Clean house.” – Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr. of New Jersey
The current Board of Governors consists of one democrat and four republicans. Isn’t it a damn shame that our ability to send & receive mail, our ability to receive life-sustaining medication is controlled by partisanship? Republicans are paid out of our tax dollars the same as democrats … so why are they not attuned to the needs of We the People? Donald Trump exacerbated this, but he did not create it … it’s been building for a long time. According to The Washington Post …
“DeJoy has told mail industry officials he intends to remain in office to roll out an agency reorganization… The plan, parts of which were outlined to a Senate panel in August, includes geographic pricing and longer delivery windows. He’s entertained leasing out Postal Service properties and offering non-mailing services, such as private financial services.”
‘Private financial services’??? WHY??? It is the Postal Service, not the Banking Service! So, does Biden fire the entire damn Board of Governors and send DeJoy packing? Seems a simple solution, but this may be a case where Occam’s Razor* does not apply. There would, no doubt, be a hue and cry from the congressional republicans if he took this path. However, there are three vacant seats on the Board, and if Biden appoints people of conscience to those seats, then it is likely the Board would be willing to give DeJoy the boot. In a statement issued by the White House yesterday …
“Only the Board of Governors of the US Postal Service has the power to replace the Postmaster General. The President can, however, nominate governors to fill vacancies on the board pending Senate confirmation. President Biden’s focus is on filling these vacancies, nominating officials who reflect his commitment to the workers of the US Postal Service — who can deliver on the post office’s vital universal service obligation.”
I hope, for all our sakes, that Biden moves swiftly on this for in some cases, our very lives depend on it. Meanwhile, I recommend that if you send holiday cards or packages via the USPS, you start your shopping immediately and have them in the mail at least three months before you want them to arrive!
*Occam’s Razor states that the simplest explanation/solution is usually the right one.
Tonight, our friend Jeff takes off the gloves, so to speak, and calls out the media on their milquetoast response to Donald Trump’s and Louis DeJoy’s destruction of our USPS, our last best hope for a fair and honest election! Listen to Jeff, please, call upon the free press to do their damn job instead of pussyfooting around! Our LIVES depend on it! Thank you, Jeff!
Article 1, Section 8, Clause 7: Congress shall have the power to establish Post Offices and Roads.
Feb 20, 1792: An Act to Establish the Post-Office and Post Roads within the United States.
The first entry resides in the United States Constitution. The second entry was signed into law by none other than the first president of the United States, George Washington.
The current president of the United States is taking a wrecking ball to this iconic institution, as we speak. For no other reason than to steal his way to victory in the 2020 election.
Yes, national media, he’s trying to steal the election. Please feel free to use this adjective in any future headline because it’s the truth. To describe it in any other way is a complete abdication of your duty to report the facts.
We’ve seen this before, of course. Our national outlets go out of…
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Okay, friends, I am having a case of snark overload tonight so hold on to your hats.
He can’t do that … except he did it anyway
“Our Constitution doesn’t authorize the president to act as king whenever Congress doesn’t legislate.” – U.S. Representative Justin Amash
When Congress was unable to resolve their trillion-dollar differences over a pandemic relief bill before the weekend break, Donald Trump decided to take matters into his own hands, bypass Congress, and dictate law via executive order and “presidential” memorandums. For the record, he does not have the constitutional right to do this. Period. And what he has done will no doubt be challenged in the courts first thing Monday morning. However, lest you think he was attempting to do something good for the people of this nation, think again. Let’s look at just one of the four elements of his dictums.
He would cut payroll taxes through the end of the year. And he proclaimed that if he is re-elected, he will make the payroll tax cut permanent. This move fails … fails miserably … to help any but the wealthy. Payroll taxes are paid by the employee and matched by the employer. HOW, then, does this help the unemployed??? Hint: it cannot and does not. Now, if you’re the average worker, this might actually save you $5-$6 per week, but it will save your employer hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of a year. But more importantly … understand what those payroll taxes fund … they fund Social Security and Medicare! So, you save a few bucks a week, and when you retire in a few years, perhaps you’ll get enough in Social Security to buy a loaf of bread and a bag of dried beans each month!
Trump has long wanted to cut Social Security and Medicare but was stymied in his efforts. So, he obviously sees the deadlock in Congress as his opening to do the dirty deed and make it appear that he is helping people in this time of crisis. For the record, when Trump demanded this payroll tax cut be included in the relief bill, both democrats and republicans rejected the notion. Finally, something both parties could agree on!
The real tragedy here is that so many have failed to educate themselves or to listen to the experts, to pay attention to the facts, that they are likely to fall hook, line, and sinker for Trump’s spin on this. Once again, his ‘policies’, if they can be called such, will hurt the average person, help only the wealthy, and yet his base will praise him for helping them.
None of the dictums he signed are likely to fly, however his base will give him kudos for trying, and his wealthy donors will cheer in hopes of seeing their own fortunes grow even more. That was all he really wanted anyway … something to bring his sagging poll numbers up. If he cared one whit about the people of this country, he would not have run for president in the first place.
Friday night massacre …
“America is in a dead sprint to authoritarianism. The man is pulling out all the stops to prevent the citizens of this country from holding a legitimate election in which he might face removal from office.” – Walter Shaub, former head of the Office of Government Ethics
I recently wrote about Louis DeJoy, Trump’s recent appointee to the position of Postmaster General, who has begun the destruction from within of the United States Postal Service. On Friday night, DeJoy took another step, firing or ‘reassigning’ some 23 postal executives and a number of other staffers within the USPS in what has been dubbed a ‘Friday night massacre’.
Earlier on Friday, more than 80 members of Congress sent a letter to DeJoy expressing “deep concerns” about operational changes he has made for mail carriers that have delayed deliveries and lowered standards. And now, he has effectively expelled the very people who had experience within the USPS, centralizing power around himself … a man with zero experience within the postal service and whose only qualification for the position was the major donations he has contributed to both Donald Trump and the GOP. The letter reads, in part …
“It is vital that the US Postal Service not reduce mail delivery times, which could harm rural communities, seniors, small businesses, and millions of Americans who rely on the mail for critical letters and packages. Eliminating overtime and directing postal workers to leave mail on the floor of postal facilities will erode confidence in the Postal Service and drive customers away, resulting in even worse financial conditions in the future.”
The United States postal service has never been more critical than it is today, for a number of reasons. In this time of a major pandemic where more than a thousand people are dying every single day, many of us rely on the USPS for timely delivery of life-saving medications. Twice in the past month I have experienced serious delays in receiving such medications. And of equal importance, due to the pandemic, a large portion of the people in this nation plan to rely on voting by mail in November’s election, which means we must be able to trust the USPS to do its job in an efficient and timely manner. The way things are right now, it wouldn’t surprise me if Mr. DeJoy announced on October 25th that the USPS would be taking a ten-day break, shutting down completely until after the election. “Not possible,” you say? Really? Think about that one for a bit … how many things were unthinkable 4 years ago that have since come to pass?
I have still more, but I will save it for this afternoon’s post. Until then …
Louis DeJoy is the new Postmaster General for the United States Postal Service. His qualification for the job? He bought the position by donating $360,000 to Donald Trump’s campaign fund, and another $70,000 to the Republican National Committee (RNC) just since January of this year. In total, since 2016, he has donated over $2.5 million to Donald Trump and the RNC. I have not been able to verify his net worth, but he lives in a $5.9 million mansion, if that tells you anything. He is not a man who really needs that tax refund check or social security check to be delivered in a timely manner.
Oh, and an aside … DeJoy’s wife, Aldona Wos, has also been given a cushy job in the administration as U.S. Ambassador to Canada, with an annual salary of somewhere between $125,000 and $187,000.
Donald Trump has made clear his intent to privatize the post office since his inauguration. In 2018, Trump issued an executive order to create a task force to investigate the operations of USPS because it “was on an unsustainable financial path and must be restructured to prevent a taxpayer-funded bailout.” This “restructuring” involved a variety of measures including multiple increases in postal rates and the slashing of labor costs.
DeJoy moved into his position as Postmaster General in June, and since then has quietly been making changes that de-emphasize getting the mail out on time. I have personally experienced several delays in receiving my mail, including one that caused me to be without crucial medication for a brief period. I can only imagine what others have gone through.
I’ve written before about some of the troubles the USPS has had, particularly since the coronavirus pandemic hit, causing a loss of revenue, mostly from first-class mail and advertising mail. While it’s nice to get less junk mail, I don’t like knowing what that means for the much-relied-upon postal service. Over two months ago, Congress approved a bi-partisan bill authorizing a $10 million loan to the USPS, but Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has refused to release the money!
Enter Louis DeJoy, who should be standing by the USPS motto, who should be fighting Mnuchin and Trump tooth and nail to get the much-needed funding released by the Treasury Department, but instead he has cut all overtime for postal workers, and has said that if delivering some mail will cause them to be delayed on their routes, they must leave it behind and deliver it another day!There are two major concerns here. First, that check or medication you were counting on to arrive today may not arrive until next week, leaving you in a lurch or worse. Of equal concern, though, is that with just over three months until what is arguably the most important election of our lifetime, and many states offering mail-in voting in this time of pandemic, will we receive our ballots on time, and will they be received at the polling stations on time? I have voted by mail for several years now, find it a great convenience, and have always had confidence that it was an efficient process. This year? I’m not so sure.My best guess is the issue of mail-in ballots is the main reason that Mnuchin, surely under Trump’s orders, is refusing to release the already-approved loan to the USPS. In so doing, he is putting lives at risk, and putting our right to vote at considerable risk. If the USPS has been ordered by its new Postmaster General to “leave mail lying on the floor” in some cases, then how can we possibly have confidence that our mail, our all-important votes, will be delivered?
Here’s one of the latest ads by The Lincoln Project, a group of republicans who have seen what Donald Trump is doing to this nation and are putting the good of nation ahead of party loyalty.
I don’t know about you, but my mail delivery has been horrid for the past month. My insulin arrived at the post office on a Thursday, I was told it would be delivered on Friday, but it wasn’t. Then I was told it would be delivered on Saturday. It wasn’t. Finally it was delivered on Tuesday, after sitting in the post office for five days, this despite the fact that the box was clearly marked …I almost never get mail on Wednesday anymore, and only about half the time on Thursday. No, this is not normal … prior to last month, I can only remember 2-3 days in the past 10 years that we didn’t receive mail. In addition, a friend sent me a package from the UK in early May that I still have yet to receive.
The United States Postal Service (USPS) is in deep trouble, my friends. While Donald Trump is directly responsible for part of the problem, and I’ll get to that in a minute, the USPS’ problems began long before Trump showed up with his wrecking ball.
In 2006, under the Bush administration, Congress passed the Postal Act of 2006 that required the USPS to prefund 75 years’ worth of retiree health benefits in the span of ten years—a cost of approximately $110 billion. Although the money is intended to be set aside for future Post Office retirees, the funds are instead being diverted to help pay down the national debt. This was the beginning of the USPS struggle to stay afloat.
And then in 2017, Donald Trump was inaugurated and things went downhill from there. It is a personal vendetta for Trump. Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, also owns The Washington Post. The Post has been, as have all legitimate media outlets, critical of much of Trump’s rhetoric and many of his actions since taking office. The criticism is well-deserved, and personally I think often understated. However, as we know, Trump cannot tolerate criticism even when it is earned, so he went on a personal vendetta against Bezos and is refusing to release a $10 million loan to the USPS that was approved by Congress this spring, unless the USPS ‘quadruples’ what they charge Amazon to deliver packages.
Now, bear in mind that if the USPS did raise the rates to Amazon, it isn’t Jeff Bezos or Amazon who would pay the price … it is you and me. Companies pass their costs to their customers … simple fact of life.
But there is another factor in play here. Many believed in 2006 that the bill passed by Congress was an attempt to force the USPS to privatize … transferring ownership from the U.S. government to a private company, and thereby opening it up to competition. Trump seems to be hellbent to sell off the USPS, and his current refusal to help keep it afloat seems to be an attempt to force that issue. His Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has also called for certain parts of USPS to be sold off.
Enter Trump’s new pick for Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy. DeJoy’s main qualification for the position is that he donated millions of dollars to the Republican Party and $1.2 million to Donald Trump’s “Victory fund”. Said Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, a long-time advocate of keeping the Postal Service public …
“When I heard that he had been appointed I quickly realized that the president is irrepressible in his move to destroy the USPS.”
Congressman Gerry Connolly, chairman of the House Government Operations subcommittee, also weighed in …
“President Trump rewards a partisan donor by installing him at the United States Postal Service. The Postal Service is in crisis and needs real leadership and someone with knowledge of the issues. This crony doesn’t cut it.”
No, it doesn’t cut it, but what’s new? Most every member of Trump’s cabinet is highly Unqualified for the position to which they were appointed, and they were appointed either in return for mega-donations (Betsy DeVos) or to destroy some portion of this nation (Andrew Wheeler). Apparently, DeJoy fits both of those categories. DeJoy has said postal reform will include identifying “new and creative ways” for USPS to fulfill its mission with a focus on efficiency. How ‘bout trying to deliver the damn mail on time???
In the past, I have argued against privatization of the Postal Service, for I felt that once profit became a motive, we would be the losers. However, at this point, I’m not sure a for-profit business could f**k it up any worse than the federal government with a madman determined to destroy everything in his path is doing.
The statute that created the Postal Service begins with the following sentence: “The United States Postal Service shall be operated as a basic and fundamental service provided to the people by the Government of the United States, authorized by the Constitution, created by an Act of Congress, and supported by the people.”
Once again, Donald Trump is shredding, stomping and burning the Constitution of the United States. November 3rd cannot come soon enough!