Wednesday, August 19, 2020

#SaveThePostOffice




HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: You know all the Reds are in constant communication, and the other day I just got so angry that I had to vent to the group. I’d kept thinking this: every year, at Christmas, families sent hundreds of Christmas cards. Hundreds per family. Not one card for each family member over 18, but hundreds per household.

And the post office manages to send every one of those millions and millions of Christmas cards, and holiday cards, and then more cards from people who forgot to send their Christmas cards.

SO I looked it up, listen to this. Turns out, every holiday season--I mean December, not counting Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day, but JUST December: Christmas/Chanukah/Kwanzaa-- people in the US send out what’s estimated to be two billion holiday cars.

TWO BILLION.

Now suddenly, they’re worried that if each person over 18 who is registered to vote sends ONE piece of mail, the system will be overwhelmed. What?

There are about 146 million registered voters in the US. THIRTEEN POINT SIX times MORE holiday cards are sent than that! And that’s if EVERYONE voted.

And it’s not like people are all going to send their ballots on the same day, right? You can send them when you get them.

This whole charade is the scariest thing I’ve ever heard. I am terrified at the brazen and cynical manipulation of the post office to cause voter suppression. And no one is even pretending that’s not happening!
  I revere the post office. I cannot live without the post office--I am not exaggerating, the job of a writer/author requires the post office. My post office pals know me, and care about me, and about every other person who they help.

But it’s not only about me and my little books, of course. This is--this is democracy being destroyed.

AND. The answer is not to say--oh, the election can’t work. A smart wise honorable honest good person would know the answer is to stop the selfish and megalomaniacal fear-mongering and to find a way to make it work.


Which ain't that tough, people. Pretend it’s the holiday season. Fund the post office. There’s a lot more than holiday greetings at stake.

RHYS BOWEN : I don’t know how any elected official can do nothing while a dictator seeks to rig an election. Where are their consciences? The current postmaster general is a major shareholder in other delivery services. None of these men ( and I say men because there are no women on the USPS board) care if a pensioner doesn’t get her social security check or vital medications. Or that people can’t vote. But you know what? This may just tip the scales in favor of justice and decency!

HALLIE EPHRON: I certainly hope so, Rhys - And Hank, I love your reminder of all those Christmas cards. Puts things in perspective.

Honestly when I first saw ‘postal slowdown’ reported, I tuned it out as just another sideshow. Then I saw that the Postal Service has been documented unbolting and hauling away mailboxes Oregon, Montana, Manhattan and Pennsylvania. Now it turns out they are yanking high-speed sorting machines from processing plants.

Surely, I thought, if all this were true, Congress would step up, because this has got to damage politicians on both sides of the political spectrum. Why doesn’t somebody DO SOMETHING? If there’s anything we’ve learned, it’s that it’s a whole lot easier to dismantle infrastructure than it is to fix it, or create one that works.
  
JENN McKINLAY: I love mail. LOVE it! It breaks up the monotony of my day, sitting at my computer, staring into the void trying to weave stories. I love my postal carrier, especially after he forgave the Hooligans for trying to take him out with water balloons (Ah!). I also love my local post office. I’ve chatted with these same folks every week for years. Affection aside, the mail brings my husband’s life saving meds and my paychecks. The thought of anyone willfully destroying something on which so many people rely makes me a bit crazed.

As for the voting component to this, AZ doesn’t do a lot right, but we’ve had mail in ballots for YEARS. 80% of AZ votes by mail and we’ve had no problems. Being a swing state, we’d know if we did. It’s a seamless process of requesting a ballot through the DMV. It comes early, you fill it out, no stamps needed, and mail it back. It’s under camera surveillance as soon as it lands at the recorder’s office. They check your signature on the envelope against the one on file at the DMV and if there’s a discrepancy, they call you to verbally confirm it’s your ballot. You check online to see that your ballot has arrived and been counted. It really can’t get any simpler or more secure.

LUCY BURDETTE: Agree with all that’s been said. In Florida we always receive mail-in ballots, which we can use or not, as we choose. Like Arizona, there are a lot of problems in our state, but mail-in ballots work. I just finished emailing my senators to ask them to step up on this, and I hope you’ll do the same. Here’s the website to find your senators:

https://www.senate.gov/

And here’s the one for the House:

https://www.house.gov/

DEBORAH CROMBIE: I am SO jealous of those of you who have no-excuse mail in voting. Texas does NOT. In 2016 I had to vote absentee because I was in London, and it was a huge pain. It was a very tight time limit and had to be postmarked outside the US. I had missed early voting by one day and had to mail my ballot the day I arrived in the UK. Who knows if it got counted? Texas does not track or notify you. Maybe my ONE vote would have made a difference! (Not in Texas, unfortunately…)

Now that I can vote by mail (over 65) I've requested a ballot, but I'm worried. What if it goes astray? I LOVE mail, I love our letter carrier, who delivers so efficiently and looks after everyone in the neighborhood. I hate thinking of Mark having his job made harder, his overtime cut. Sabotaging the post office is just...criminal.






JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Chiming in late, I can also do a news update - as many of you will have read, the new Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy, has pledged to "suspend changes" until after the election. Unfortunately, there's no information anywhere to indicate the changes already made - narrowing overtime qualifications and the removal of an unknown number of postal boxes and hundreds of mail sorting machines, some of which have already been destroyed.

In my household in rural Maine, where the USPS serves all our widely scattered communities, we're feeling the pinch. The Maine Millennial (who you may recall was RIFed about a month into the shutdown) runs an Ebay store which is providing half her monthly income. She's been hearing from her customers that shipments to them are being delayed, sometimes for a week or more. The USPS has long been the lifeline for small businesses and self-employed people - unlike FedEx and UPS, every tiny town has a Post Office, and the prices are often better than those at the private companies.

There are many reasons the Founding Fathers placed the Postal Service in the Constitution. Let's not screw up their vision for our country.

HANK: Perfectly put, as always, Debs. Reds and readers. what do you think?



143 comments:

  1. Although we usually go to the fire house to vote, we voted by mail for the primary election this year and it worked just fine. So the November elections should simply be more of the same . . . .

    We have a wonderful mail carrier and I’d be bereft if she didn’t show up every day. I’m firmly standing in support of the Post Office and all those hardworking folks who make sure mail gets delivered every day . . . .

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    1. Joan, I am so glad that you were able to vote by mail this year. And we love our mail carrier.

      Jenn, I agree.

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  2. This outrageous slowdown of mail must be stopped, but if you don’t think your mail in ballot will make it in time to be counted, in some states you can drop it off at your library or other authorized drop off place. This is an attempt to reduce the vote and discourage people from voting, so please vote early if you can. If I were in a battleground state I would risk Covid if I had no other choice.

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    1. We will certainly do what has to be done, but there's no way anyone should have to risk Covid! unacceptable!

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    2. AZ is a battleground, but we've had mail in for years. It's really remarkable. You can follow your ballot online all the way to be counted.

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    3. Teri, I agree that this outrageous slowdown of mail must be stopped. And I plan to vote as early as possible. If anyone is in a battleground state, please wear Mask, protective gloves, and maintain social distancing. Try to stay as safe as possible when voting. Please bring all of the required ID so that you are not turned away at the polls.

      Lucy, agreed.

      Jenn, that is great that you have had mail in for years and I hope it stays that way.

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    4. Dropping things off at the library or even the town hall might not always work though. I dropped off my census form at the town hall a while back and yesterday I came home from work to find a notice on my door (or beside it actually as the sticker fell off) saying that they'd yet to get my census response and should file online.

      By the way, part of the slowdown in mail has to do with Amazon. My UPS driver was telling me that Amazon is over shipping packages via both UPS and USPS to an amazing amount over their contractual allowances. I ordered something from eBay and it sat in the Springfield, MA Postal building for over a week before they finally sent it to me 90 minutes away.

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    5. California is all mail in for this general election. I have voted by mail for years

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    6. Jay: I filled out my census on line last winter. I getting noticed at my new home. I need to find a scrap of paper and leave them a note so they stay out of the smokey air here in California.

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  3. I have been so distressed over the sabotage of our postal service and mail-in voting. Like you, Hallie, I kept wondering why Congress, at least the Democrats, weren’t doing something, anything. But, I did believe it was happening, and it scared me more than anything has scared me in the current state of our country, too, Hank. Not that the pandemic hasn’t been scary, but, for me, I thought that maybe soon we would have someone different in charge of handling the pandemic and everything else. Then, this attack on the postal service, which is, of course, an attack on mail-in voting started, and I could imagine that dirty tricks would ruin any hope of things getting better. Mailboxes being uprooted. Sorting machines being dismantled. It was and is a nightmare with enormous consequences. In the past couple of days there has been a call from Democrats in the House to hold hearings on this matter. Also, the person who began this attack has announced a cease fire, if we can believe that. I am somewhat relieved that some action could be taken to prevent further damage and maybe restore some operations, but can that happen in time to make a difference or to restore voters’ confidence in mailing in their votes? I’m worried, and I really need someone in the know to tell me it’s going to be okay.

    Now, to address the funding problems the postal service is experiencing (because of withheld funding from the government), I read recently that buying stamps is one of the best ways we can help. So, I’m asking those of us here who are as concerned as I am to buy, online, stamps in larger quantities than you normally would. I’ve bought, and plan to buy more now, special issue stamps to collect. Today I’m going to see if I can’t spend $100 on stamps. I hope others will consider buying some, too.

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    1. That's a fabulous idea, Kathy. I need stamps anyway, so I'm off to order rolls of them. Thanks.

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    2. And to follow up, I just ordered $55 worth of stamps for personal use and another $55 worth for my business. Thanks again for the suggestion.

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    3. I do so many giveaways, using media mail to make it affordable - having the USPS fall apart would kill that. Gives me nightmares!

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    4. Yes truly, it's terrifying. Think of how everything would just slam to a halt.

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    5. Kathy Reel, we spent $157 on stamps this week. Even if the person responsible called a cease fire, I STILL do NOT trust him. He may be up to other tricks. These people are sneaky!

      Annette, I agree.

      Jenn, I actually had a nightmare the other night about that. I love receiving books in the mail.

      Hank, yes, truly, that's terrifying. We have to hold on to hope and fight for our right to use the Post Office, which is part of the Constitution.

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    6. I'm SO angry!

      Speaker Pelosi said she spoke to DeJoy: "The Postmaster General frankly admitted that he had no intention of replacing the sorting machines, blue mailboxes and other key mail infrastructure that have been removed and that plans for adequate overtime...are not in the works."

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    7. It is not going to be okay! Try to return you ballot via another method than the US post office. Return to a collection box or return to a vote in person polling location. If you are in a state where voting by mail isn't possible, vote in person wearing a mask.

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  4. I come from the state of the hanging chad. Yes, Florida. While we have had the ability to mail in ballots for the past 20 years, I don't feel certain that mail in ballots won't be deliberately delayed this year. It's horrendous what is occurring at the post office. The US Postal Service has an illustrious and storied history. It survived (so far) the hit of electronic mail. Will it survive political manipulation? That remains to be seen. Unfortunately, like so much else, it is out of the hands of the populace and in the hands of the politicians.

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    1. I contact my representatives at least once a week just to check in. They love hearing from me :) I highly encourage everyone to do the same!

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    2. Kait, I am so sorry about what happened in Florida. I was in Nashville working on the Gore for President campaign on Election Day and I remember we waited at night and we left after midnight not knowing the outcome of the election. When I flew home the next day, I took photos of the newspaper headlines at the airport.

      Jenn, that is a great idea to contact our representatives at least once a week.

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  5. Add me to the list of USPS fans. I did the mail-in voting for the first time this spring and loved the efficiency of it. My husband joined the mail-in voting ranks for the general election. I hope and pray our TRUE leaders (as opposed to the dictator in the White House) will stand up and stop the destruction of one of our most valuable assets.

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    1. Agreed. I'm always boggled that people compare the post office to a business, when it's clearly a service. Those that don't like the post office can go to a business such as FedEx or UPS.

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    2. Annette, I'm on the list of USPS fans too!

      Jenn, I agree that if someone does not like USPS, they can use FedEx or UPS. Having a CHOICE is important. This reminds me of a conversation I had with an English person while I was living in England. I was really impressed that they had the National Health Service. However, this English person said that her family uses Private Health Insurance and I reminded her that she has a CHOICE. She was flabbergasted / shocked when I told her a story about a pregnant lady who was denied care at a hospital in Los Angeles and died because she did not have health insurance or her health insurance said NO. I explained to her that many people did not have health insurance and if they did, they did not always get the care they needed. This was years Before Obama was elected and we got Affordable Health Care.

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  6. Completely agree with all of it. Especially during the pandemic, when I (still) don't want to go inside anywhere I don't absolutely have to, I set myself up to make USPS mailing labels at home. I pack up giveaway books and leave them out for the mail carrier (they're mostly small paperbacks, so I don't worry about breaking his shoulder, but he only has half a block to go to his truck from here anyway). He takes them away. We still have our mailboxes, but they've all been changed over to skinny slots so I would have had to go inside to mail my books. I thank him every time I see him.

    We got our primary mail-in ballots on Monday. Today I'm going to walk them down to the secure drop box outside Town Hall, because I can. Anyone trying to mess up the PO or the election doesn't deserve to be in public service. Period.

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    1. And the pivoting on the narrative makes me crazy. Don't install your guy who has a vested interest in destroying the post office, set him loose breaking it, and then yell "Save the USPS!" Good grief.

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    2. Edith, that is great about USPS mailing labels. Did you get the mail in ballot for the November election in MA already?

      Jenn, Agree!

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    3. Not yet for the general. Deposited the primary ballot outside Town Hall today!

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  7. Rhys asked about the location of the consciences of elected officials who should be standing up to what is going on with the manipulation of the Post Office. The flaw in that question is assuming any of the elected officials have one in the first place. They've proven, particularly over the last four years, that they are quite lacking in that area.

    That said, I love the post office. I frequent two of them in particular in my town and I send out bill payments through them all the time. I don't do online bill paying. I fill out a payment, put it in an envelope and slap a stamp on it. Then I drop it off at the post office and voila, I still have lights and heat!

    Since I sell on eBay, I also send out a few Priority Mail packages each month. I'd much rather use the PO since the cost to send the same package through UPS is pretty much double.

    Screwing with the post office's ability to deliver through rain or dark of night is yet another crime that should be added to the list of charges facing the Liar in Chief.

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    1. Glad to know I'm not the only person who pays (most of) the bills by mail, Jay! I can keep track of payments better when I'm filling out checks, and there is a definite satisfaction to putting them in the mail box, knowing, as you put it, I still have lights and heat.

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    2. Yes. I mail so many books and things - I would never be able to afford it if the USPS were privatized.

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    3. Julia, mailing the bills out does make it easier to keep track of payments. I drop my bills off at the post office itself for that added comfort of knowing it is in their building rather than potentially being stolen out of my mailbox by some ne'er do well.

      Jenn, yes I mail out of stuff as well. Sometimes to authors based in Arizona. LOL! Which would not be possible through UPS. And this is from someone who ships daily via UPS at my job and I could slip a package here and there into the mix no problem (my bosses would be fine with it) but not at the level I would need to do if there was no post office option.

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    4. Jay, how true! We mail our checks. We buy lots of stamps for Hamukah/ Christmas / Kwanaza cards. I think it would be a good idea to send them early. I order books online and receive them in the mail.

      Julia, thanks for the tip.

      Jenn, I receive books in the mail, including a book from you. I remember pre-ordering a book from Poisoned Pen and got the book in the mail.

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  8. Of course I totally agree with everything you all have said. I have been a mail fan since I was a little girl and rode with my Grampie on his mail route. There was just room to squeeze into his big old Chrysler loaded with mail. My grandmother even worked part-time at the PO, sorting mail.
    Has anyone signed up for Informed Delivery? That was a great service but I have noticed lately that it is less than reliable. I'm guessing that is one of the "improvements" the top guy made.
    I've used an absentee ballot for the past 8 years, ever since I broke my ankle. I love the convenience and the time to consider various choices - not people-I always know pretty much who I will be voting for. But as far as I know, here in NY there is no way to tell for sure if my ballot ever does make it to be counted. so this year I plan to hand deliver it. . . somewhere. Probably to my polling place, which isn't very far, but I really don't like having to do that.

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    1. In AZ, you can track your ballot and they let you know when it's been counted. I imagine other states will catch on because i really don't think people are going to go back once they enjoy the ease of mail in voting.

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    2. Judi, I loved receiving mail as a child and now as a grown up I get books in the mail.

      Jenn, thanks for the tip!

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  9. Even that little moment every day I’m going to the mailbox and seeing what’s there – – there’s always just the possibility that it’s something wonderful. Plus it’s pretty amazing that even works, you know? You put a little sticky picture on the corner of an envelope, and it will go anywhere for fifty cents!

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    1. Hank, I go to the mailbox every day and I love the possibility that it is something wonderful.

      Jenn, yes it is magic.

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  10. I still pay my bills by mail, though some of them are now arriving a day or two before they're due. We definitely have a postal slowdown in Cincinnati. We ordered our no-excuse mail-in ballots last week and will drop them at the board of elections as soon as they start accepting them.

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    1. Margaret, I had ordered The Last Mrs. Summers from The Poisoned Pen, so it did need to travel cross country, but it took 2 weeks to arrive here! We did not receive ANY mail one week between Friday and Tuesday. I was very impatient and sent my husband to the post office to see if he could get them to resume our delivery.

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    2. I think important/swing states are going to suffer the most. We're seeing it in AZ, too. Sort of like political ads. When I was in MA a few weeks ago - no ads meanwhile in AZ we'd been getting back to back ads for weeks. It's only getting worse and uglier.

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    3. Margaret, my family still pay their bills by mail. I am so sorry about the postal slowdown in Cincinnati.

      Judy, my order of THE LAST MRS. SUMMERS took a week to arrive and that was from a bookstore 5 miles from my house.

      Jenn, I feel sad that it is getting worse and uglier.

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  11. About 15 years ago, the USPS began downsizing, closing post offices and consolidating them. As someone who worked for a cultural resources firm, archaeology was my usual part of projects, but occasionally I'd be tasked with doing preliminary photography for the architectural side of the firm. I remember one such post office with a beautiful, historic mural. And the architectural details! I hated to see those beautiful buildings off-loaded. And the thought of the neighborhoods losing their local post office--heartbreaking. I've mentioned before that my grandmother was a postmistress, taking over for her father. Like the rest of you, I love getting mail, going to the post office. And yet, though tampering with the mail recently led a postal carrier to a 6-year term in a federal prison, Trump and his minions act flagrantly and suffer no consequences. It is frightening--I plan to request a mail-in ballot, but I'll be taking it directly to my county election board office to deposit.

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    1. I think dropping off the ballot is a smart move. We don't want to have them go a wandering.

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    2. Flora, we have a gorgeous post office in Berkeley that was built in the 1920s. And they have been trying to CLOSE that Post Office for years. We signed petitions to try to save that Post Office. Fingers crossed. When my boss at the law office asks me to buy stamps, I ALWAYS go to the Post Office to buy stamps because I want them to stay in business.

      Jenn, dropping off the ballot is a good idea.

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  12. I know all the workers at my local post office well - they're always giving me tips on how to save money on postage (I don't think they're supposed to do that). But I'm afraid buying $100 in stamps would be counter productive for me. As it is, a book of stamps lasts me at least a calendar quarter. If I bought $100 worth, I wouldn't go back for a year! I simply don't mail that much these days (blame online bill pay).

    I'd be more excited about checking my mail if I got things other than bills and junk mail - oh, and now political mailers. :(

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    1. Liz, I have the answer for you - USPS merch! They have art, of course, and cachets and calendars and toys and - my favorite - a postal worker costume for your dog! (Well, maybe not Koda, but somebody's dog.)

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    2. Whoops! I forgot to include the link: https://store.usps.com/store/results/gifts/_/N-nnxamr#content

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    3. LOL - I love it, Julia. We should all wear USPS merch.

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    4. I was just thinking I needed a new tote bag for Koda's junk - his is falling apart. Thanks!

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    5. Liz, you can use the stamps to send Christmas /Hanukkah / Kwanaza cards.

      Julia, thanks for the tip and the link.

      Jenn, we should wear USPS merchandise.

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  13. I hear you and I feel for you my friends.
    What's happening in the US concerns us on this side of the border.

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    1. Thank you. I miss compromise and civil discourse and decency but I am really beginning to understand the phrase "Common sense is not as common as you'd think."

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    2. Jenn: I believe the French call our common sense "le bon sense", the direct translation of which is "good sense". Seems more accurate to me!

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    3. Either common sense or good sense are sadly not always in use.

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    4. Danielle momo, thank you.

      Jenn, I miss compromise, civil discourse and decency too.

      Amanda, I love that French phrase. I remember basic French. I took two years of French lessons in school.

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  14. Hank, thanks so very much for taking this issue to the blog this morning. It is very different from some of our fun conversations about pandemic clean-ups and favorite authors. I, for one, not only agree with everything my fellow JRW lovers have said here, but I could add a rant of my own. I know that MY Senators and MY Congressman have been working very hard to counter the destruction being done to all of our federal systems (Social Security is next folks). Yes, buy stamps. But also, those of you with less assertive federal representation, must start calling them en masse to tell them you are a constituent and you will not be happy until they start to work towards fixing these party made problems. Make their phones ring!

    Connecticut had mail-in ballots only for certain very specific reasons and has adjusted that for the pandemic. We did mail in our absentee ballots for the primary, but we are going to vote in person in the election. There are ballot drop boxes at Town Hall and throughout the town at some libraries and other locations. But the up-coming election is too important, even though I live in a blue state.

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    1. Judy, I hear you! My Senator and US Rep are always working to deal with stuff like this, so I can call/write/email to support them--but they're already trying their best. Like you suggested, those whose senators/representatives aren't on board--those are the ones needing pressure from their constituents.

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    2. You have Chris Murphy - love that guy. As a former CT gal, it does my heart good to see an effort at checks and balances being made.

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    3. Yeah, I love Chris Murphy. Congressman John Larson is a great advocate for families. Dick Blumenthal the senior US Senator, was our AG previously. I got to work with him on all kinds of issues when I was the public affairs chair for National Council of Jewish Women in Connecticut. We tackled all kinds of things and, with him in our corner, we got some very strong protections for women's issues passed here.

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    4. Judy, so well said! Yes, my Congresswomen and Senators have been working very hard to save the Post Office. I have been buying stamps. I have signed so many petitions.

      Flora, I also email my Congresswomen and Senators to support them.

      Jenn, I love Chris Murphy. His videos are ALWAYS captioned. I have seen him in action and he is a good person.

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  15. The thing that should be stressed most is how the US Constitution is being subverted, and how the Republicans, who claim to revere that document, are actively allowing it to be trodden on.

    Postal services as a part of the government of the United States is mentioned in Article One of the Constitution. Not in an amendment, but as one of the most basic functions of our government. It is not meant to be a money-making enterprise, any more than the Navy, or the Air Force, or God forbid, the Space Force, are.

    In 2006, when Republicans in Congress rammed through a requirement that the US Postal Service prefund pension accounts, they forced a practice that no other company or institution is required to do. And it was meant specifically to effectively kill the agency. The requirement specifies 75 YEARS of funding on hand--meaning that some of the employees they are required to cover have not even been born yet. It's unconscionable, and should actually be unconstitutional.

    And yes, as Judy says, Social Security, along with Medicare, is their next target. We need to stop this nonsense in its tracks.

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    1. Also, in addition to millions of Americans, including my husband, receiving life-saving medications by mail, 300,000 veterans per day rely on the USPS for their VA benefit medications, as well. To those who say UPS and FedEx, or Amazon, could provide such a service, those companies are not required to deliver to every single address in the country, while the Post Office is.

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    2. Karen, speaking of FedEx and UPS, I think many people don't know one of the main reasons the Post Office is "losing money" is a congressional mandate to fully fund their pensions for 75 years into the future - a mandate no other government or private organization has.

      How did this business-busting piece of legislation get made? It was heavily lobbied by FedEx, UPS and other private carriers, and voted in by members who had received $$$ from those companies.

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    3. Julia and Karen, I wasn't aware of those pension requirements. I didn't know my level of disgust could drop even further. It makes me sick how the Constitution is being subverted.

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    4. It makes me crazy. Not to forget the USPS is one of the biggest employers of veterans. Why would anyone take that away? Grrrrr.

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    5. Karen in Ohio, I agree with everything you said. So eloquent! Thank you.

      Julia, thank you for the new information.

      Flora, my level of disgust dropped too.

      Jenn, yes, the USPS is one of the biggest employers of veterans. They also employ many Deaf people. There is a Deaf man who drives a USPS brown truck and delivers packages. At first they would not hire him then he sued and won! That was about 20 years ago.

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    6. One of the problems that most people don't realize is that postal workers can opt out of medicare. This actually raises the financial funding burden for post worker medical benefits. However, the pension funding is not different, it is the same for any company with a pension fund. Most companies have discontinued pensions because of the onerous funding requirements.

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  16. I am encouraged that the House has been called back into session to address this issue, and that DeJoy has at least paid lip service to stopping it until after the election. I'm also pleased that nearly half of the state attorneys general (Not Texas' of course because he's an ethically challenged pin-head) are discussing ways to bring suit against the USPS and DeJoy personally. I plan to mask up and vote early, but all the nation-wide attempts to restrict the vote, close polling locations, buy hackable voting systems, etc. just have to STOP.

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    1. Yes, that is a good sign! But I still am wary, aren’t you? The whole idea of a mindset that would allow someone to think this was a good idea in the first place is terrifying.

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    2. And the chaos and destruction that is constant. We jump from one mess to the next and can barely catch our breath. Today it's destroying the post office and tomorrow in opening the Arctic refuge for oil drilling. I. Am. Exhausted. And not a little pissed.

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    3. Gigi, I am also encouraged that Pelosi as Speaker of the House has called the House back into session to address this issue.

      Hank, I agree that it is a good sign and yes, I am wary. I think we STILL have to watch because they are sneaky.

      Jenn, I am exhausted too!

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    4. Speaker Pelosi said she spoke to DeJoy: "The Postmaster General frankly admitted that he had no intention of replacing the sorting machines, blue mailboxes and other key mail infrastructure that have been removed and that plans for adequate overtime...are not in the works."

      Delete
    5. I agree, Hank, that any politician who wakes up one morning and says, "How can I wreck the USPS?" is just terrifying. He is actively working to disrupt the orderly machinery of our democracy, and he'll admit in public. He has to go.

      Delete
  17. This Canadian heartily agrees with today's post and comments. Postal service is...well, a *service* for the people. And it's the role of government to serve the people. But not every politician understands that.

    Vote like your life depends on it, said Michelle Obama. Yes, indeed. It does.

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    1. 100% Also, I'm seriously considering moving to our summer house in Nova Scotia permanently - assuming Canada ever lets us back in and I don't blame you if you don't. (sigh)

      Delete
    2. Amanda, thank you. How lucky you are to live in Canada. My grandmother was born in Canada while her father was in Chicago trying to find a home and a job.

      Hank, agreed that it is true.

      Jenn, is the summer house in Nova Scotia a family home that has been passed from generation to generation? One of my favorite professors had a summer home in Nova Scotia that has been in his family since the American Revolution. His ancestor was a Loyalist who emigrated to Canada. Yes, my professor taught British and Canadian history.

      Delete
  18. I could not understand why Congress declared a recess during the debates on the Coronavirus Relief Bill. It felt like their 'vacation' was more important than my friends unemployment. Then the possibility of election disaster, and the House was recalled. Am I being cynical? I still feel like I am not being listened too. I still hold out hope for the future.. a little over 80 days to go.
    WA state has had mail in voting for years, it works. In Hillsborough County, mail in voting has been an option since the Obama administration. Thank heavens, that works too.

    I can see a future where we would be paying the Post Office for electronic communications. Fifty years from now how about holographic messages? Maybe future thinking is the answer.

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    1. Future thinking is the answer. Unfortunately, there's a lot of folks who are trying to drag us back into the dark ages. Not gonna happen.

      Delete
    2. Coralee, that was McCONnell who called the recess. However, Nancy Pelosi called back the House to vote NOW. We will see what happens.

      Jenn, how true that there are some people who are trying to drag us back to the dark ages. I agree that it is Not going to happen.

      Delete
  19. What, you don’t have ESP? I’ve heard that’s how some of our leaders get their brilliant ideas...

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  20. FiveThirtyEight has a great "how to vote" guide that tells you the registration deadlines and mail ballot rules for every state. (I will put the link in a reply to this comment, just in case that's not allowed so it can easily be zapped.) I'm a permanent absentee voter because somehow it seems like we're usually traveling on election day. Well, thanks to Covid, we will be home this year, so I've volunteered to be a poll worker and I'm looking forward to it. In my state you can drop off your mail ballot at any polling place, so I expect to be collecting those as well as helping to hand out regular ballots.

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    1. Here's the "how to vote" guide for every state: https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/how-to-vote-2020/

      Delete
    2. That's great info, Cathy, thank you.

      Delete
    3. Thanks, Cathy! Much appreciated.

      Delete
    4. Cathy, I have thought about volunteering to be a poll worker. I still do not know if my Cochlear Implant speech processors will be fixed by then or if there will be dangers like someone NOT wearing a mask. In my state, I can drop off my absentee ballot. I will vote as soon as I receive it in the mail. Last time I voted, I received the ballot very late in the mail. My mom got her ballot earlier than I did.

      Delete
  21. I had an idea. Maybe if everyone pays their utility bills late, claiming they didn’t arrive in time, we’d get big utility companies involved in complaints

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    1. Good idea! I mean think about it! Everybody sends their taxes by mail, or used to – – – those were not allowed to be late!

      Delete
    2. LOL! That gives new meaning to the old saw "the check is in the mail."

      Delete
    3. All kidding aside, I do feel that everyone should just stop paying their taxes. Full stop. Get them in the wallet.

      Delete
    4. Unfortunately, you get in big trouble for that!!

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    5. Rhys, that is something to think about. I suggest that we send the payments with a green card/ return receipt so we can find out WHEN the bills arrive!

      Delete
    6. Well, just send in the taxes with the check..but gosh, the mail doesn't work, so I guess they got lost...

      Delete
    7. Deborah, when I lived in Paris, we could vote at the embassy. Is that still possible? As for 2020...I'm going to get my mail-in ballot, fill it out, then drive to one of local Vote Centers and drop it into the secure ballot box. I have no faith that the poor beleaguered post offices will be able to handle whatever crap the sycophants in D.C. throw at them.

      Delete
  22. I'm going to keep this short and come back to read comments during lunch. ... I keep thinking about the article in our local paper, years ago, a postal delivery person noticed mail not being picked up in by a resident of the senior living complexes in our town. This was not an assisted living complex, independent living. After noticing the left mail on Tuesday, he found the manager and it was discovered that the resident had fallen. She was alive but down. Okay, off to work.

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    1. Your postal worker is your neighborhood watch person - so very true, Deana!

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    2. Our letter carrier is so great, as I said above. He has been on our route for years, knows everyone, and would notice if someone elderly didn't take in their mail.

      Delete
    3. Deana, that is a wonderful story. I am glad the resident was alive. Hope she got medical attention. And I agree with Jenn and Deb.

      Delete
  23. Hank - thanks for crunching the numbers on this. Two Billion. That is pretty incredible. What is bothering me most about all of this is that things that SHOULD NOT BE POLITICAL have become so and it is ridiculous. The USPS is a service not a business and it's one of the few universally awesome things about being an American that we have. I think we can all agree that getting a book in the mail makes the day a great day! I don't want to lose that or our national parks, public schools, and...okay, I'll stop :)

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    1. Jenn, I loved your story about the Hooligans. Thanks for the laugh. We need to laugh. YES, this SHOULD NOT BE POLITICAL. The Post Office is essential. I hope this will compel certain people who DO NOT vote to register to vote and actually vote this time. We can only hope.

      Delete
    2. It;s the POST OFFICE, for gosh sake. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. The idea that it's being weaponized and without even hiding it! AHH> Falling off my chair.

      Delete
  24. And there is nothing more fun than "fun" mail! We all get books in the mail--at least these days. But I have a thing for fountain pens and inks (thanks for that one, Gigi Norwood!!!) and I order from a couple of pen companies. When the little packages come, it's like Christmas. So carefully packed, with handwritten notes. One company always puts in a mini Tootsie Pop, the other one a couple of Jolly Ranchers:-)

    But, yes, the USPS is a service that's important to all Americans, not a for-profit corporation. Maybe the really rich don't get mail... And now I'm off to buy some stamps.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Deb - do share the names of your favourite pen companies. I mean, what's not to love about pens and ink...and candy coming in the mail!

      Delete
    2. Amanda, I regularly order from Pen Boutique and from Goulet Pens. They are both small independent companies and have terrific customer service. Gigi also liked Goldspot Pens, but I haven't tried anything from them yet. I LOVE getting pens and inks in the mail!

      Delete
    3. Deb - the Post Office is important. I finally received a book, which I won in a Jungle Reds giveaway in JUNE, this week! We can get anything from fountain pens to books in the mail. Many people are employed by the Post Office. What will happen to them?

      Delete
    4. Am I remorseful about getting Deb hooked on fountain pens and pretty inks? Not at all. I do like Goldspot Pens, and Pen Boutique. I haven't ordered from Goulet Pens, but their website looks awesome. I don't imagine you could err much by ordering from any of those three, and the pens are soooooo pretty.

      Delete
  25. Once something is gone, like high speed sorting machines, it will take a lot to get them back and operational. Especially if they are being destroyed!
    How have we come to this point?

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  26. Nothing new to add. I will continue to vote with the mail-in ballot. If it gets counted, good. If not, well, my vote doesn't seem to have made much of a difference in recent years. I have mixed feelings about the postal service. For the most part they try to do a good job. Our local mail delivery can be strange. We don't have just one carrier for our route. We have at least two. One is quite nice and conscientious, the other a bit iffy. The folks at our post office are always very helpful. Buildings keep getting eliminated and there are NO mailboxes in the neighborhoods anymore. Only in the post office parking lots. Oh well. I'm almost through my First Moon Landing stamps so will have to buy some new ones soon.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Pat, thank you for sharing your experiences. I had similar experiences. We have a wonderful lady postman who delivers mail. Once in a while I see a different postman. I am doing my best to save the Post Office by buying a lot of stamps.

      Delete
  27. So sorry I am late to the party, Jungle Reds!

    The Post Office is essential. It is ironic that the new postmaster has stock in other deliveries because they STILL depend on the Post Office. Duh!

    We love our postman who is actually a woman. She always says Hi whenever we see her. Sometimes she stops for a chat like on Halloween when she was trying to deliver a package that required a signature. She has been delivering for years. I am glad she is wearing a mask when she delivers.

    I have been buying lots and lots of postage stamps to help save the Post Office. I have signed so many petitions that the words are starting to swim in front of my eyes. We had to drive over to the pharmacy to ensure that I get my medications. I am still on the 10 day regimen of antibiotics.

    Jenn, thanks for the laugh about the Hooligans. We need a laugh.

    Speaking of delays, I finally received the book that I won in a Jungle Reds giveaway in June! And I have been ordering books online. The preordered copy of THE LAST MRS. SUMMERS arrived one week after launch day. That's pretty good these days. Sometimes I have to wait a month for a book to be delivered. My pre-orders of Cynthia Kuhn's new Lila MacLean book and Ellie Alexander's new Bakeshop book were delayed a few weeks to a month.

    People depend on the Post Office for medications, pensions, letters, online orders, and MAIL IN ABSENTEE BALLOTS.

    To answer Libby's question, I'm sorry to say the GOP created a monster let loose and it did NOY help that there was such a frenzy about hating Hillary. I still suspect the Russians were behind the "hate Hillary" campaign. It also did NOT help either that there are some people who are racist and did not like Barack and Michelle because of their skin color. It did NOT help that there was a "birther" campaign designed against them because of their skin color.

    Reminder to ALL: Please register to vote! And make sure that you bring your Driver's License or Photo ID so that you are allowed to vote at the polls.

    Diana

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    1. Diana, we have to show voter ID here, which is usually a Texas Drivers License. Sometimes I take my passport with me, too, just in case anybody wants to challenge any little bit of my eligibility.

      Delete
    2. I am a member an attorney group that will be watching in polling places to assure that local laws are followed. We will be accompanied by armed guards, It looks like I will be deployed to Texas, where apparently some of the worst violations of law take place. It will be an interesting experience, I hope they are wrong about the legal violations but I'm sure they are fairly accurate.

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    3. Oh, Susan, I hope you will write about that for us! xx And you rock.

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    4. Thanks! I hope it happens, but as you are well aware there are a lot of security issues regarding such an operation. I would be happy to write about it!

      Delete
    5. Susan, I really hope that your attorney group will send some people to Wisconsin. I learned from a friend that 300 thousand voters were turned away from the polls on Election Day in WISCONSIN!!! They were NOT allowed to vote. And I hope that they will send watchers to minority areas where there may be one polling place if any to make sure that people are allowed to vote.

      Unfortunately, many people thought people did not bother to vote. While that is true in some cases, they did NOT know about the voter suppression! And they were people who worked on getting out the vote in 2016.

      Thank you and your attorney group for your work.

      Diana

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  28. I have thoughts. Based on the comments I'm seeing here, they may not be popular, but I'm going to share them anyway.

    My niece's birthday was the end of July. Because my brother and his family were going to be on vacation for three weeks, I tried to order her birthday present early. UPS handed it off to the USPS on 7/15. That's the last anyone knows where it is. It never arrived, and it's been over a month. I tried creating an incident with the USPS on Thursday night. I haven't even heard anything on that.

    Meanwhile, years ago (and we are talking a couple of decades), we mailed out a bunch of invitations to a party to people all over the country. After three weeks, my uncle across town called to let us know they would be coming - they'd just gotten the invitation that day.

    So yes, there are legitimate reasons to worry about the post office's involvement in something so incredibly critical.

    You talked about all the holiday cards that are sent out. How many of those arrive late? How long to they take to arrive? If you get a holiday card on January 2nd, it's no big deal. But if your ballot arrives two weeks after the election, and a month after you sent it, that is a big deal. And this is not something that can be addressed in under three months.

    Furthermore, I am seeing panic posts on social media about mailboxes being locked or removed. Everyone is acting like this is under Trump's orders. But every single one I've seen, when you do a little digging, you find out that the mailboxes are locked to prevent theft at night and have been for a while. Or that the mailbox was slated to be removed/relocated for months. So there is fear mongering on both sides of this issue.

    I don't know what the solution is. But the panic that we are being fed on every single issue in our country right now isn't healthy. No one can express legitimate concerns without being ridiculed. Every side is also giving in to fear mongering. And every thing is political. Both sides are doing it, and it sickens me. I'm ready for adults to take over running this country, but I think that means removing 99% of the people we current have in government everywhere at every level. And I may be being too generous with that.

    And this doesn't even get into the difference between permanent absentee voting and just sending everyone a mail in ballot automatically. Personally, I've gotten two notices about the upcoming election being mail in only, and both were "If you aren't the adressee, let us know so we don't send you a ballot in error." Does that scare anyone else? What if I'm a dishonest person? How many ballots might I get that aren't really mine? Yes, it is illegal to vote more than once, but is anyone going to be able to check on that? (And yes, I fully realize the irony of me fear mongering now. Or is it a legitimate concern. Honestly, I don't even know any more.)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Mark, you made a good point about problems with the Post Office in the past. I digress that I have noticed that it is WORSE now, instead of better. Just my opinion based on what I have personally seen. I am hoping that it will get better in the future.

      Delete
    2. Mark, the US Postal Service has been hard hit by the pandemic. First off, as an essential business, every employee had to work. As of May 21, more than 17,000 employees were either sick with the virus, or had to be quarantined for some reason. Up to that point, 60 postal employees had died. I'm sure the numbers are much higher since the article I'll reference below was published.

      At the same time, the head of the USPS has stopped allowing all overtime. Every post office is short staffed, but no one is allowed to either work overtime or to hire seasonal workers to fill in. Also at the same time, sorting machines capable of sorting more than 5,000,000 packages a day have been dismantled and/or removed from Post Office distribution centers.

      THIS is why your mail is late. And that's on purpose, to make you as mad as you are right now. It's a wholly artificial situation, and does not need to happen.

      I had a mail order and publishing business for 20 years, exclusively using the USPS for orders. In all that time I had a single claim of an undelivered package. One, out of thousands.

      https://www.govexec.com/workforce/2020/05/these-federal-agencies-have-seen-most-covid-19-deaths/165578/

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  29. I love USPS. Especially getting book mail. I would have been lost without it during all this covid 19 craziness. I've asked a few people but haven't got an answer. Maybe you know, how can I help?

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Yes! You can call your senators and Congresspeople.

      for the Senate:

      https://www.senate.gov/

      And here’s the one for the House:

      https://www.house.gov/

      Delete
  30. And thank you for adding that, Julia. I will believe it when I see it. And it DOES NOT CHANGE what they TRIED to do. That is equally terrifying.

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    1. Speaker Pelosi said she spoke to DeJoy: "The Postmaster General frankly admitted that he had no intention of replacing the sorting machines, blue mailboxes and other key mail infrastructure that have been removed and that plans for adequate overtime...are not in the works."

      What do I think? I'm positively sure each of you knows exactly what I think and how I feel about this. I am SO proud of each of you for speaking out.

      Delete
    2. Oh, xxo. ANd it's not only the ugly reality of the actions, it's the FEAR mongering, and the destabilization.

      Delete
  31. Well said, Hank. It is outrageous that this is happening in our country. Kind of ironic that the rural people will be hurt disproportionately since that's where so many of the current administration's fans are. In the past our presidents have at least seemed to care about people in the country. This president and his peeps absolutely don't. It's unbelievable that they would so blithely impact medication deliveries across the nation. They are unscrupulous at a level never seen in my lifetime. Who knew that with so many bad apples in government it would be possible to move this country so quickly toward a dictatorship. It's obvious to me that something other than mailboxes and sorting machines need to be removed and decommissioned, and at least 45 of them.

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  32. By the way, I had ordered a 35th anniversary edition reissue of the band Chastain's 'For Those Who Dare' album. And it arrived today, when it was scheduled! I know if it had been shipped UPS, it wouldn't have been delivered on time given the delays they are dealing with.

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  33. I love the Post Office and check for my mail often. Already thought of buying stamps to help. Why does Trump think he will lose if people vote by mail? He has been voting by mail for years, and according to you, so have people in other states. I will gladly risk my health to vote in person so we can get rid of him! Stay safe and well.

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  34. I did some reserve and here is what I believe are the discernible facts.

    Buying stamps or other postal products won't make any difference. A first class stamp has a cost o $0.55. It costs the post office a lot more than that to provide the service. There will be an $8 to twenty billion shortfall in the Post Office budget this year. Some of it is caused by a medical benefits funding requirement passed in 2006 under George W. Bush.

    Our elected officials do care. The House of Representatives has passed several funding bills for the post office. The Senate, under Mitch McConnel, refuses to include it in a vote for any bill put forth by the Senate. The bottom line the Republican controlled Senate has stopped any new funding for the Post Office. Mitch McConnel is holding the Post Office hostage! He wants to assure the Republican dictatorship.

    This latests crisis is about Trump wanting to distract and spread panic, so we ignore all his other shortcomings but especially his handling of the pandemic. Nancy Pelosi called the House of Representatives back two weeks early to try and do something about the actions of the current Trump appointed postmaster. The postmaster two weeks ago fired 28 key managers in different regions of the US. There is no overtime, and quick sorting machines are being removed. Apparently, temporarily no further actions will be taken. However there are no plans to restore overtime, the sorting machines, nor give the experienced managers their jobs back! Contact your senators, house members have done everything they can under their purview.

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  35. Probably already been said, but Oregon is all mail-in, and works without a hitch.

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  36. BRILLIANT comparison re: Holiday cards. I hadn't thought of that. Love this post. THANK YOU!

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