’Pony Express: Making Amerika Great Again!’
(20 Aug 2020)
Where is Superman when we need him?
‘It’s up to the people. They really need to get out and vote!’
– Superman (‘Adventures of Superman’ TV show, Season 3, Episode 3, ‘The Big Freeze’, 3 March 1956)
In this episode, Superman saves the day. He captures a crooked politician trying to steal an election. Timely, huh.
Yep. Superman – he stands for ‘Truth and Justice’.
No need to wait for October for Republi-cons to present this Election’s ‘October Surprise’.
It’s here in August.
Snail Mail – not getting any faster.
A social media Friend wrote about current United States Postal Service service.
He wrote that he mailed a Birthday Card to a loved one last year in July, the Postal Service delivered that card on the third day.
He wrote that he sent another Birthday Card for this year on the same day in July this year as July last year. Problem. This year’s delivery arrived 15 Aug 2020.
That’s the ‘service’ we get from the Postal Service now that DeJoy, a lackey of Crooked Drumpf, is the pizza slinger who runs that tub.
I went downtown to my state’s Capitol Mall complex on Monday. I wanted to go directly to the Office of the Secretary of State to verify that my voter registration is current and to be certain that I am on her list for my mail-in ballot. All should be well without needing to enquire because I have been on the ‘permanent’ absentee ballot list since it began, I have had no difficulty receiving my ballot papers for prior elections. But I can’t take anything allowed for chance.
I also wanted to be certain that I obtain this year’s Election book that lists all the legislature and citizen proposals on the ballot. I need to begin studying them, deciding which side gets my vote. I use the guide in that booklet that lists the people, politicians, and PAC money to steer me in the direction opposite from Corporate influences.
Obviously, I can not depend upon the Postal Service to do their job – to deliver my ballot, to deliver my Election booklet. Not now under the control of Crooked Drumpf.
I’m a registered Green, been a Green since 1982. I’m practical, not stoopid. I vote Green when that vote helps build the Party. Otherwise, I vote Democratic.
My voter registration is at a Blue location of a Red state. Thus, my Democratic vote keeps Left / Progressive candidates into play each Election.
I gladly voted for Clinton in 2016.
My vote goes to Biden this time. Sheesh! I never expected to vote for Biden for President way back in the 1980s during his first campaign. But here we are. There’s still not much that I like about him. No, don’t get the wrong idea, I can make a good shopping list why I shall vote for Biden.
For now, allow me to remind you of the Obama years. Obama supported Defence of Marriage Act. Obama supported the Mormon proposition that made Biblical ‘traditional’ marriage a California constitutional amendment. Obama refused to support Marriage Equality. Then, Biden brought Obama, kicking and screaming, into our fold. I don’t like everything about the Biden Democratic Party Platform, but I far prefer Democratic ideology versus Republi-con ideology. My first goal is the removal and annulment of Crooked Drumpf. I can squabble about the other details when we complete our priority.
Lastly, I have not been to the Capitol Mall in several months, certainly not since the Coronavirus lockdown began in February or March this year. I wanted to personally observe life at the Capitol Mall under Coronavirus lockdown. How did that go?
I experienced nearly a ghost town throughout the State’s Capitol Mall district.
I arrived at the bus stop across the street from Capitol Tower. That parking lot for Capitol Tower is the size of one city block. It was vacant of employee and visitor vehicles on Monday, the first sign of the absence of government service to the residents and businesses of this state. I could count on one hand the number of people I saw on my walk through the parking lot to Capitol Tower.
Capitol Tower is a 9-story structure where many state agencies locate their primary ‘home’ office.
During previous ‘normal’ times, that Capitol Tower entrance would be crowded with multiple lines of people waiting their turn to pass Security and proceed to their destination, the lobby would be bustling with people going to and coming from the bank of elevators leading to the State’s agencies on the upstairs floors. On Monday, I entered Capitol Tower and approached the Security check point; I was the only civilian waiting at Security, there were a few Security agents throughout the ground floor lobby and no one else there for business.
Two Security officers and I spoke for a few minutes. They told me that nearly no one works at the Tower, that State employees now work from home. They told me that the Secretary of State office is closed, no Secretary employee works there, no employees personally conduct State business there, no longer are there State employees who personally verify your voter registration status, there are no ballot pamphlets printed for public distribution. The security agents presented a flyer to me with instructions to go to the agency web-site for further information.
I departed and walked one city block to the Department of Economic Security complex. In prior times, pedestrians filled the Capitol Mall sidewalks going about their business with State agencies, the streets were filled bumper-to-bumper with cars. Monday, I saw no one else that entire time during my walk from Capitol Tower to the DES campus, few cars drove the street. As I approached, I saw that several external offices were closed – dark, shades drawn, doors locked. The DES cafeteria with its outside courtyard was closed.
I entered the DES ground floor lobby. I saw the water fountains – ah, water, relief from the 115F heat. Nope, they were turned off. I approached the Security desk for information from the two agents. Same as Capitol Tower – there no longer are any employees who work there, they work from home. The security agents offered printed flyers to me that described how to conduct State business through the DES web-site. I departed and walked to the bus stop – there was no one walking on any of the sidewalks, there were a few cars that drove past where I sat.
Thoughts came to me what this state’s Republi-con majority government chose to do two decades ago. Rather than restore corporate taxes to compensate for a ballooning budget deficit due to those prior corporate tax cuts, the collective wisdom of the state’s Republi-con majority legislature decided to sell state land and state buildings to private development, use that money to pay the debt, and lease back those former State facilities at exorbitant fees. Private corporations now own much of the State’s buildings and offices scattered throughout the State while the State owes monthly lease payments for the generous opportunity to conduct State functions.
You can read these Republi-con quotes:
– ‘People don’t like big business corporate tax cuts. Selling State buildings is a good deal for developers, it’s a gimmick that doesn’t benefit the State.’ Mike Sunnucks, R-‘Business Journal’ (KAET ‘Horizon’, 8 Jan 10)
– ‘Republicans have been hitting DES hard all year. Eliminating services from those who have no voice.’ Mary K. Reinhart, R-‘Arizona Guardian’ (KAET ‘Horizon’, 8 Jan 10)
– ‘Guh’mint is not about how many people we serve, but how few we serve.’ Arizona State Treasurer Dean Martin, R (Gubernatorial candidacy campaign statement, 13 Jan 10)
– ‘Why should Republicans take the blame? What we have now is the tyranny of the majority.’ Jeff Munger, R (KUAT TV ‘Arizona Illustrated’ candidate ‘debate’, 6 Jul 09)
– ‘We cut and cut and cut. We’ll cut more. We’ll cut to the bone. Bad things will take place. I wanna make this a permanent problem.’ Governor Janice K. Brewer, R-Ariz (KUAT ‘Arizona Illustrated’, 19 Oct 09)
– ‘Republicans want to cut more. Republicans have all the votes.’ Matt Benson, R-‘Arizona Republic’ (KAET ‘Horizon’, 20 Nov 09)
– ‘Governor Brewer offers no leadership. Republicans can’t govern; Republicans can’t get along with each other. They foster ideology extremism. Their cuts are destroying our future.’ Linda Valdez, R (Arizona Republic, 18 Dec 09)
I caught the bus to my next connection to my next destination.
Along the bus ride, I observed numerous tents along the street outside the Day Resource Center; that ‘tent city’ is new. Day is a non-profit campus for homeless people and destitute people. They can obtain three square meals each day, meet with physicians for health care (including vision and dental), seek counselling. There is a large media center where the clients can read the library books, use the computers, do job searches (well, not now during lockdown anyway). I myself spent time at Day during my crises a decade ago and as recently as early 2015. The food is quite delicious and nutritious. I obtained a few sessions of counselling. Fridays, several people with their musical instruments gathered at the band stage to play impromptu jam sessions to entertain the rest of us scattered on the campus lawn.
I spoke to a woman at a bus stop as I walked to my next destination. She was a volunteer distributing cold bottles of water to the city’s homeless people. We spoke for a few minutes. These are stressful, trying times for her clients. Day is working hard to help make life a little easier to the least of our fellow residents.
Next destination was the Social Security Administration complex – two large office buildings extending two city blocks. I wanted to see what that now is. In the past, the two parking lots were filled with customer vehicles, the inside lobby filled with customers waiting their turn to speak to a SSA representative. I wrote about my experiences here at a prior blog. As for Monday, everything was closed, dark, empty, devoid of employees and clients. Notices taped to the locked doors instructed people to go on-line for agency services; federal government employees no longer work there. Outside each of those two buildings were large billboards advertising that those two office buildings are available for lease to corporations seeking office space. Crooked Drumpf has been busy firing his rank-and-file federal government workforce.
Next stop was Central Station to catch the bus to the grocery store. Previously, Central Station was a crowded hub of people coming and going, exiting their bus, waiting for their bus, taking advantage of the public square to sit and socialise with friends and strangers. Monday, barely a handful of people were gathered waiting for their bus; only one other person boarded the bus that I rode.
For many years, for decades as long as I knew about Internet connected computers that were available in the 1980s, I have been promoting my idea.
Voting is a State duty according to the Constitution. Each state should make every government office throughout their state – at state, county, city level – a deputised voter registration office and a voting office.
Any resident of the state should be able to go to any government agency, register, and obtain a ballot for their jurisdiction and precinct.
That’s not complicated. Tell the agency officer your name and address, they will go to their database, they will download and print your ballot, they will present your ballot to you. You can complete your ballot someplace quiet at that office. You can take it home and deliver it at a later date.
It should not matter where you are. The state receiving agency ballot scanner should identify your precinct and tabulate your vote accordingly.
The receiving government agency will promptly collect and forward ballots to their target location in time to be verified and re-counted after the polls close.
Mail sorting equipment being “removed” from post offices, leaving mail to “pile up”: union leader
A union chief says the changes, which have been more drastic than people realize, are costing more money — not less
AUGUST 12, 2020 3:22PM (UTC)
Mail sorting equipment is being removed from U.S. Postal Service (USPS) offices amid a slew of operational changes implemented by new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, according to the head of the Iowa Postal Workers Union.
Numerous reports have detailed how changes made by DeJoy, a top donor to President Donald Trump and the Republican Party, have cut overtime and changed policies, which have slowed down mail delivery across the country. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said last week that DeJoy had “confirmed that contrary to prior denials and statements minimizing these changes, the Postal Service recently instituted operational changes” shortly after he assumed office.
“We believe these changes, made during the middle of a once-in-a-century pandemic, now threaten the timely delivery of mail — including medicines for seniors, paychecks for workers, and absentee ballots for voters — that is essential to millions of Americans,” they wrote in a letter to DeJoy, calling the cost-cutting measures “counterproductive and unacceptable.”
The USPS, which underwent a controversial staff shake-up after DeJoy took over, recently advanced a proposal that would nearly triple states’ postage costs for mail-in ballots and is also reportedly planning service cuts. But Kimberly Karol, the head of the Iowa Postal Workers Union, told NPR that there have been even more changes than previously reported.
“We are beginning to see those changes and how it is impacting the mail. Mail is beginning to pile up in our offices, and we’re seeing equipment being removed,” she said on Tuesday. “So we are beginning to see the impact of those changes.”
“Curious,” exclaimed host Noel King, “I hadn’t heard about this one. Equipment being removed. What equipment?”
“The sorting equipment that we use to process mail for delivery,” said Karol, who is also a postal clerk. “In Iowa, we are losing machines . . . so that also hinders our ability to process mail in the way that we had in the past.”
Karol said DeJoy’s changes have alarmed postal workers “all across the country.”
“His policies — although they’ve only been in place for a few weeks — are now affecting the way that we do business and not allowing us to deliver every piece every day as we’ve done in the past,” she said.
She also disputed that the changes were cost-cutting measures.
“I don’t see this as cost-saving measures. I see this to undermine the public confidence in the mail service,” she said. “It’s not saving us. We are spending more time trying to implement changes, and in our office, it’s costing more overtime.”
Democrats included $25 billion to help the USPS in their coronavirus relief proposal in May, but Trump and Senate Republicans have balked at providing additional funding. Democrats have accused Trump and DeJoy of trying to “sabotage” the mail service ahead of an expected surge in mail voting in November’s election, which the USPS has adamantly denied.
Democrats called on the USPS inspector general’s office to review changes made during DeJoy’s tenure, and Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., the top Democrat on the committee which oversees the agency, launched his own probe, too.
Despite her concerns about the mail slowdown, Karol expressed optimism that the USPS was prepared to handle the expected increase in mail-in ballots.
“The Postal Service has been in place for over 200 years. We have a history of being able to process mail, and we’ve been developing and perfecting our methods for all that time,” she told NPR. “So although the postmaster general is taking actions that are starting to impact that, by having that preparation in advance of this election, we still have the system that will do that.”
But she warned that the agency’s leaders were trying to “circumvent the rules that have been set in place to safeguard the public by making changes that don’t require public comment but have the same impact as closing offices and changing delivery standards.”
“So this is a way to avoid that kind of public comment. So we are trying to make sure that the public understands that they need to make comment,” she said. “We are trying to activate people all across the country and notify the public.”
Igor Derysh is a staff writer at Salon. His work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald and Baltimore Sun.
Tips/Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @IgorDerysh
Democrats set emergency hearing with top postal officials amid fear over delayed ballots
August 16, 2020, 10:49 AM PDT
Democratic leaders announced Sunday they are scheduling an emergency Aug. 24 hearing for top United States Postal Service officials to testify before Congress after the agency sounded the alarm about its ability to handle increased mail-in-voting.
“The president has explicitly stated his intention to manipulate the Postal Service to deny eligible voters access to the ballot in pursuit of his own re-election,” said the statement signed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., among others. “Alarmingly, the Postmaster General — a Trump mega-donor — has acted as an accomplice in the president’s campaign to cheat in the election, as he launches sweeping new operational changes that degrade delivery standards and delay the mail.”
“The Postal Service itself has warned that voters — even if they send in their ballots by state deadlines — may be disenfranchised in 46 states and in Washington, D.C., by continued delays,” the statement continued. “This constitutes a grave threat to the integrity of the election and to our very democracy.”
The Democrats requested that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a Republican fundraiser and top donor to President Donald Trump who took over the Postal Service in June, and Postal Service Board of Governors Chairman Michael Duncan, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, testify before the House Oversight Committee next Monday.
That hearing, Democrats said, “will examine the sweeping operational and organizational changes at the Postal Service that experts warn could degrade delivery standards, slow the mail and potentially impair the rights of eligible Americans to cast their votes through the mail in the upcoming November elections.”
The announcement comes as policy changes that DeJoy, a former logistics executive, recently implemented have slowed the service.
Internal documents reviewed by NBC News showed DeJoy is decommissioning 671 of its letter sorting machines, the absence of which will further contribute to a slowing of the mail, postal workers said. A USPS spokesman, David Partenheimer, told NBC News that the removal amounted to “Normal business adjustments!” and added the Postal Service often moves equipment because of fluctuating mail volume.
Meanwhile, numerous states received recent letters from the Postal Service warning that their vote-by-mail deadlines were too tight to ensure proper delivery. A number of states are expanding vote-by-mail because of the pandemic, seeking to prevent crowded polling places and possible spread of the virus.
Michael Mize, president of the Michigan Postal Workers Union who’s worked in the Postal Service for nearly 23 years, told NBC News that the current turmoil is “the strongest political attack on the Postal Service — my livelihood — that I’ve ever seen.”
“My opinion, the position that I’ve taken, is that the appointment that was made (of DeJoy) and the actions that have followed are a direct internal attack on what we do and it makes me sick and it makes me angry,” he said.
On vote-by-mail, the president said, “Absentee is good; mail-in, universal, is very, very bad.”
Despite the president’s and his supporters’ claims of massive fraud, there remains no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the U.S., per numerous investigations and studies.
Trump Declares USPS Can’t Handle Mail-In Voting Because He’s Blocking Funding
President Trump speaks during a briefing at the White House on August 12, 2020 in Washington, D.C.
Jake Johnson, Common Dreams
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President Donald Trump proclaimed Wednesday that the U.S. Postal Service doesn’t have the capacity to handle an unprecedented increase in mail-in ballots because it lacks funds that his administration is blocking, remarks that were immediately viewed as an open admission of election sabotage by a president who has previously called USPS “a joke.”
During his daily Covid-19 briefing Wednesday evening, Trump dismissed Democratic congressional leaders’ demands for $3.5 billion in election assistance for states and $25 billion for USPS as “ridiculous” and vowed to continue blocking the funds. While USPS leadership insists it has “ample capacity” to meet election needs, postal workers have warned that without emergency funding, the agency could struggle to deliver mail-in ballots on time in November.
“Therefore, they don’t have the money to do the universal mail-in voting. So therefore, they can’t do it,” said the president, who repeated his false claim that mail-in voting is highly susceptible to fraud. “How are they going to do it if they don’t have the money to do it?”
The president’s comments came shortly after an attempt to revive coronavirus relief talks quickly fell apart Wednesday due to disputes over the size of the legislative package and specific items, including emergency Postal Service funding.
In talks over the CARES Act in March, Trump threatened to veto the sweeping relief legislation if it included a $13 billion direct grant to USPS that lawmakers originally agreed to provide. The bill ultimately included a $10 billion loan — to which Trump’s Treasury Department attached conditions that critics warned will give the administration unprecedented access to USPS operations.
“Trump just comes out and says it: He is blocking money to keep the Postal Service afloat in an attempt to cast the election as fraudulent,” Washington Post reporter Jacob Bogage tweeted in response to the president’s briefing Wednesday.
Stephen Wolf of Daily Kos Elections said “Trump is stripping the U.S. Postal Service for parts both to thwart mail voting that threatens his re-election and so his cronies can profiteer off of it as the GOP has long wanted to.”
Watch Trump’s remarks:
“This is crazy by any standard,” tweeted Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists. “The president of the United States is actively trying to sabotage the election.”
Ahead of the president’s briefing, the entire Senate Democratic caucus sent a letter slamming Postmaster General Louis DeJoy — a major Republican donor to Trump — for “considering changes that would increase costs for states at a time when millions of Americans are relying on voting by mail to exercise their right to vote.”
“We have received reports that in the last several weeks, the Postal Service sent letters to state election officials that indicate that the Postal Service will not automatically treat all election mail as First Class,” the senators wrote. “If any changes are made to longstanding practices of moving election mail just months ahead of the 2020 general election, it will cause further delays to election mail that will disenfranchise voters and put significant financial pressure on election jurisdictions.”
Joining their Senate colleagues in raising alarm about DeJoy’s policy changes at USPS, more than 170 House Democrats sent a letter condemning the Postmaster General’s “reductions of overtime availability, restrictions on extra mail transportation trips, testing of new mail sorting and delivery policies at hundreds of Post Offices, and…reduction of the number and use of processing equipment at mail processing plants.”
“During the once-in-a-century health and economic crisis of COVID-19, the Postal Service’s smooth functioning is a matter of life-or-death, and is critical for protecting lives, livelihoods and the life of our American Democracy,” the lawmakers wrote. “The House is seriously concerned that you are implementing policies that accelerate the crisis at the Postal Service, including directing Post Offices to no longer treat all election mail as First Class.”
Jake Johnson is a staff writer for Common Dreams. Follow him on Twitter: @johnsonjakep.
CNN’s Jake Tapper busts Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows live on-air for lying about disabling USPS sorting machines
Written by Tom Boggioni / Raw Story August 16, 2020
Toward the end of a long and combative interview with Mark Meadows, CNN “State of the Union” host Jake Tapper called out Donald Trump’s White House chief of staff for lying to him earlier in the segment when he claimed no Post Office high-volume sorting machines were being hauled away to slow down mail delivery.
In the first few minutes of the CNN interview, when confronted with reports about the machinery being decommissioned, Meadows insisted it was lie and part of a narrative cooked up by Democrats. He then challenged Tapper’s producer to find out the facts and “whisper” them into the CNN host’s ear.
Approximately ten minutes later, they did just that.
“In terms of the fact check that you asked me to look into, one of my great producer did, it’s in terms of the machines,” Tapper began. “Chris Bentley, president of the National Postal Mail Handler’s Union Local 297, which covers Kansas and part of Missouri, two good Trump states, told CNN that postal management has already taken out four machines in Kansas City, two machines in Springfield, Missouri, and one machine in Wichita, Kansas. That is earlier this year under this new postmaster general.”
General Milley urged to remove Trump ‘by force’ if he refuses to leave office
Two retired army officers are urging General Mark Milley – the highest-ranking military officer in the US – to remove President Donald Trump from office if he refuses to leave when his term ends. In an open letter published in Defense One, John Nagl and Paul Yingling warned President Trump could trigger a “once-unthinkable scenario of authoritarian rule” and “America’s greatest Constitutional crisis since the Civil War”
“If Donald Trump refuses to leave office at the expiration of his constitutional term, the United States military must remove him by force, and you must give that order.”
“The president of the United States is actively subverting our electoral system, threatening to remain in office in defiance of our Constitution.
“In a few months’ time, you may have to choose between defying a lawless president or betraying your Constitutional oath.”
According to the DOD Reorganisation Act of 1986, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff “does not exercise military command over any combatant forces”. The pair claimed there was “little doubt that Mr Trump is facing electoral defeat”, citing a 91 per cent chance he will lose come November 3.
Crooked Drump does not deny that he is attempting to cripple the Post Office in order to stymie voting by mail. It is a fraud against Democracy.
CRIMEWatch: Local Reporter Reveals USPS Mail Sorting Machine ‘Graveyard’ – Dismantling Continues After DeJoy Said It Stopped
Published on August 19, 2020 at 01:36 PM ET
By David Badash
A local Michigan reporter posted video of what she is calling a high-volume mail-sorting machine “graveyard,” and says the dismantling of the multi-million dollar machines has continued as recently as today – despite Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s claim on Tuesday he had stopped the removal of the vital equipment.
WOOD-TV anchor and investigative reporter Heather Walker says at the Patterson Ave post office in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Walker says the mail-sorting machines “have been yanked out,” and the cords cut. She also showed a very large dumpster which she says has been filled and emptied three times with mail-sorting machines in just one week.
.@USPS GR Patterson location has pieces of the mail sorting machines out in the parking lot. @WOODTV pic.twitter.com/OuugjhTbfE
— Heather Walker (@_HeatherWalker) August 19, 2020
Walker says the order came directly from the Postmaster General:
Internal sources say mail sorting machines are being dismantled at downtown GR post office. Process started yesterday. Order came from Postmaster General DeJoy. @WOODTV pic.twitter.com/tNm9pXjcnU
— Heather Walker (@_HeatherWalker) August 19, 2020
“To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail,” DeJoy claimed 24 hours ago, “I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded.”
Michigan is a swing state.
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