Today is a busy news day, even though it’s the Friday before Thanksgiving week.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., presides over House passage of President Joe Biden’s expansive social and environment bill, at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Nov. 19, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
The House of Representatives on Friday passed the largest expansion of the social safety net in decades, a $1.75 trillion bill that funds universal pre-K, Medicare expansion, renewable energy credits, affordable housing, a year of expanded Child Tax Credits and major Obamacare subsidies.
The final vote was 220-213, and only one Democrat, Jared Golden of Maine voted against the bill.
Now that it has cleared the House, President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Act goes to the Senate, where it is likely to be revised in the coming weeks. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he aims to have the chamber pass the bill before Christmas. The House will need to vote on it again if the bill is altered.
If the measure is signed into law, the bill will profoundly change how many Americans live, especially families with children, the elderly and low income Americans.
What’s in the current version of the bill:
Universal preschool for all 3- and 4-year olds. In addition to helping millions of children prepare better for school, the benefit would enable parents of young children to return to the work force earlier.
Capping childcare costs at 7% of income for parents earning up to 250% of a state’s median income.
4 weeks of federal paid parental, sick or caregiver leave.
Extended pandemic-era Affordable Care Act subsidies. So far this year, these subsidies have increased ACA enrollment by more than 2 million.
New hearing benefits for Medicare beneficiaries, including coverage for a new hearing aid every five years.
A $35 per-month limit on the cost of insulin under Medicare, and a cap on out-of-pocket prescription drug costs at $2,000 per year.
$500 billion to combat climate change, largely through clean energy tax credits. This represents the largest ever federal investment in clean energy.
Raising the State and Local Tax deduction limit from $10,000 to $80,000.
The bill represents a major victory for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who pulled together a divided caucus with conflicting interests and united it behind a sprawling, 2,000-plus-page bill, passing it with a thin majority.
What’s in Build Back Better for health care
– Capping insulin at $35/month – Capping seniors’ out-of-pocket drug spending at $2,000/yr – Medicare drug-price negotiations – Expanding Medicare to cover hearing benefits – Boosting ACA subsidies – Closing Medicaid gap in 12 states https://t.co/QpWyrZA2oi
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California early Friday concluded a marathon speech in opposition to the Democrats’ social policy bill, after talking for eight hours and 32 minutes, surpassing the length of one by Representative Nancy Pelosi in 2018 that held the record for the longest continuous House speech in modern history.
“Personally I didn’t think I could go this long,” Mr. McCarthy said toward the end of his monologue as some of the people behind him struggled to keep their eyes open. Finally, after 5 a.m., he finished. “With that, Madam Speaker, I yield back,” he said.
Mr. McCarthy, the top Republican in the House, railed against President Biden and his agenda in an effort to delay the passage of the Democrats’ $1.85 trillion social policy and climate change bill.
The debate over the bill had been scheduled to last 20 minutes before Mr. McCarthy took over after 8 p.m. to deliver an at times rambling speech stuffed with Republican talking points against the legislation and punctuated with riffs about history.
“I know some of you are mad at me, think I spoke too long,” he said at one point. “But I’ve had enough. America has had enough.”
Shortly after midnight Friday, when Mr. McCarthy showed no sign of yielding control of the House floor, Democratic leaders sent lawmakers home, with plans to return at 8 a.m. to finish debate and vote on the sprawling package.
The horror! The notion of the government helping regular Americans instead of enriching the already super-rich was just too much for McCarthy and the rest of the Trumpist goons.
Kevin McCarthy’s brilliant strategy of preventing House Dems from passing the Build Back Better bill late last night in the dark seems to have worked! They’ll pass it this morning so it will be the talk at water coolers & all over the news as people head into Thanksgiving week.
Curiously, McCarthy stopped talking shortly after surpassing the eight hour, seven minute record set by Nancy Pelosi in 2018—yielding after eight hours and 32 minutes.
Starting at 8:38 p.m., McCarthy took full advantage of the “Magic Minute”—in which leaders from both parties are allowed to speak for as long as they want with it only counting as one minute against the time allocated for debate—and delivered a stemwinder of half-truths, outright lies, aggrieved arguments, unrelated tangents, and recycled rhetoric….
As McCarthy began his lecture on the floor Thursday, the Democratic heckling started almost immediately. McCarthy told members he had “all night,” to which Democrats responded, “So do we!”
And both sides really did.
When McCarthy baselessly claimed the bill would cost $5 trillion, Democrats started yelling out increasingly large numbers. “$6 trillion!” one shouted, before another topped him with “$7 trillion!”—with more Democrats joining in with even more farcical projections.
When McCarthy said, “If I sound angry, I am,” Democrats chimed in with a prolonged “awww” sound, like they were watching a baby do something cute.
President Biden is expected to announce Friday that he will not renominate Ron Bloom, the chair the U.S. Postal Service board and a key ally of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, when his term expires next month, according to three people with knowledge of the situation.
The move casts doubt on DeJoy’s future at the agency, the people said, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.
The decision potentially gives liberals on the panel another crucial vote to oust the postmaster general, who can only be removed by the board of governors. The nine-member board currently comprises four Democrats, four Republicans and one independent, though Biden has only appointed three members.
Bloom, a Democrat, has backed DeJoy as the agency permanently slowed mail delivery standards and raised prices.
Biden’s decision reflects the White House’s continued antipathy toward DeJoy, who is widely viewed as a loyalist to former president Donald Trump.
Read the rest at the WaPo.
Yesterday, Dakinikat posted a video of Louisiana Senator John Kennedy going full Joseph McCarthy on a Biden appointee.
Imagine growing up in the Soviet Union, coming to America, making a good life and career for yourself, only to then be reminded, at the height of your success, of the very reasons you left the Soviet Union — and by a member of Congress, no less. https://t.co/qAy7ouR86C
Saule Omarova, 55, was nominated in September to be America’s next comptroller of the currency. If confirmed, she would be the first woman and person of colour in the role in its 158-year-history.
Omarova was born in Kazakhstan when it was part of the Soviet Union and moved to the US in 1991. For John Kennedy of Louisiana, a member of the Senate banking committee, this was like a red rag to a bull.
Questioning whether Omarova was still a member of communist youth organisations, Kennedy said: “I don’t mean any disrespect: I don’t know whether to call you professor or comrade.”
The remark prompted gasps in the hearing room on Capitol Hill.
Omarova replied, slowly and firmly: “Senator, I’m not a communist. I do not subscribe to that ideology. I could not choose where I was born.
“I do not remember joining any Facebook group that subscribes to that ideology. I would never knowingly join any such group. There is no record of me actually participating in any Marxist or communist discussions of any kind.”
Omarova then told how her family suffered under the communist regime.
“I grew up without knowing half of my family. My grandmother herself escaped death twice under the Stalin regime. This is what’s seared in my mind. That’s who I am. I remember that history. I came to this country. I’m proud to be an American and this is why I’m here today, Senator.”
Omarova has worked mainly as a lawyer and most recently as a law professor at Cornell University. She has testified often as an expert witness on financial regulation and even worked briefly in the administration of George W Bush.
Kennedy wasn’t the only one to attack Omarova.
…in a letter to Omarova after she was nominated, Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania requested a copy of a graduation paper she wrote about Karl Marx when she was an undergraduate at Moscow State University – “in the original Russian” .
At Thursday’s hearing, Toomey noted that Omarova has written several academic papers that propose sweeping changes to the banking system.
“Taken in totality, her ideas do amount to a socialist manifesto for American financial services,” he said.
are all the blue checks who defended James O'Keefe last week as a "journalist" now going to weigh on this extraordinary pro-O'Keefe court ruling which bans NYT from publishing future articles abt him? https://t.co/qoXhRONYXc
A New York trial court judge ordered The New York Times on Thursday to temporarily refrain from publishing or seeking out certain documents related to the conservative group Project Veritas, an unusual instance of a court blocking coverage by a major news organization.
The order raised immediate concerns among First Amendment advocates, who called it a violation of basic constitutional protections for journalists, a viewpoint echoed by The Times. Project Veritas issued a statement in support of the order, arguing that it did not amount to a significant imposition on the newspaper’s rights.
The judge’s order is part of a pending libel lawsuit filed by Project Veritas against The Times in 2020. That suit accuses the newspaper of defaming Project Veritas in its reporting on a video produced by the group that made unverified claims of voter fraud in Minnesota.
Led by the provocateur James O’Keefe, Project Veritas often conducts sting operations — including the use of fake identities and hidden cameras — aimed at embarrassing Democratic campaigns, labor organizations, news outlets and other entities. It is the subject of a Justice Department investigation into its possible involvement in the reported theft of a diary that apparently belonged to President Biden’s daughter, Ashley.
Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., a lawyer who represents media outlets including CNN, called the court’s order “ridiculous.”
“Even though it’s temporary, the Supreme Court has said even the most modest, minute-by-minute deprivations of these First Amendment rights cannot be tolerated,” Mr. Boutrous said. “To go further and suggest a limit on news gathering, I’ve never heard of such a thing.”
The information the IRS needs to send out the payments was finally delivered on Thursday morning after threatening letters sent to Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul and his Deputy David Black by leaders of the House Ways and Means and Oversight Committees. There is still no word on when the deposts/checks will go out. The latest estimate is that those of us in these categories will still have to wait at least 10 days to see the money.
Meanwhile, calls on Biden to fire Saul and Black are growing louder.
Weeks after the American Rescue Plan had been signed into law, while many Americans had already received payments, the Social Security Administration’s inaction was standing in the way of millions of beneficiaries receiving desperately needed cash aid. After escalating pressure on Saul to no avail, the letter gave him 24 hours to remedy the holdup. A few hours later, the SSA announced that they’d be sending the information the next day.
This delay is just the latest in an array of extremely troubling decisions under the leadership of the Social Security Administration’s commissioner Saul, and his deputy David Black….
Commissioner Saul and Deputy Commissioner Black were appointed by President Trump, alongside Deputy Commissioner for Retirement and Disability Policy Mark Warshawsky, to self-fulfill the Republican promise about the failure of government, and destroy the departments they were tasked with managing. Warshawsky, a veteran of the American Enterprise Institute, was pegged as an early candidate to be fired by the Biden administration for his work undercutting the program; he retired from the post in late January.
The Biden administration has set to work rolling back some of those Trump appointees’ designs on Social Security, including a proposed rule that would have subjected disability insurance recipients to even more frequent and stringent eligibility reviews, which would make an already challenging process even more difficult for people with disabilities to secure and maintain cash benefits. That move was widely celebrated among advocates. But President Biden has not heeded the call from those same advocates to fire Saul and Black, who have clear track records of working against the very department they’ve been tasked to head up, and against Democratic ambitions on Social Security.
Now, a growing number of congressional Democrats are joining the chorus calling for Saul and Black’s ousters. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) called for their resignation as his first act as chair of the Social Security and Pensions Subcommittee, and has since urged Biden to fire them. He’s joined House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman John Larson, Worker and Family Support Subcommittee Chairman Danny Davis, and Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Bill Pascrell Jr. in demanding Saul’s immediate removal. Both Saul and Black are serving terms that don’t expire until 2025….
On the campaign trail, Biden insisted (straining against historical fact) he had never and would never vouch for cuts to Social Security. He, and the Democratic Party broadly, have made protecting and expanding Social Security a main plank of the party’s policy platform going forward.
That ambition is irreconcilable with a leadership regime that has, as was reported by Yahoo News, put “illegitimate political pressure on Administrative Law Judges to reduce the rate of Social Security disability case approval,” as one such judge recently claimed. That alone should be scandal enough to imperil Saul and Black’s positions at the agency, and give the Biden administration the space to fire them for cause. But the Trump years have built up a tolerance for scandal, which means that the incident hasn’t even deterred them.
Meanwhile, Saul and Black have openly pursued a number of reforms aimed at aggressively curtailing benefits. Their attempted rule change, which the Biden administration rolled back, was a Reagan-era reform that would have led to tens of thousands of people losing benefits. When President Reagan enacted it, it led to a rash of suicides, and was deemed so cruel that it led to a unanimous Senate ruling to overturn it. Elsewhere, they’ve sought to deny benefits for older and severely disabled non–English speakers, resulting in an estimated 100,000 people being denied more than $5 billion in benefits.
See my Thursday post for more about Saul and Black’s efforts to destroy Social Security on Thursday.
Pressure is also building for Biden to get rid of Trump-appointed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.
A group of House Democrats on Friday introduced legislation to prohibit the Postal Service from lengthening mail-delivery windows and require it to adhere to present service expectations. They named the bill the Delivering Envelopes Judiciously On-time Year-round Act, or DEJOY Act.
Carl Larsson: Brita, Cat and Sandwich
One House aide involved in postal reform legislation introduced in February said some members of the caucus are leery of proceeding with efforts to address the Postal Service’s financial obligations given that DeJoy’s 10-year plan includes sharp reductions in service, including slower timetables for mail delivery and reduced post office hours.
Separately, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) threatened to take legal action to block the service cuts. His office said in a statement Friday that it was encouraged that DeJoy recognizes the legal obligations to secure limited regulatory approvals, but said it remained concerned about timely mail delivery….
DeJoy hopes to save the Postal Service $160 billion over the next decade through a combination of austerity measures, postage price increases and projected package volume growth. But the largest single piece of his plan is dependent on Congress repealing its pre-funding mandate for retiree health care costs, which runs about $5 billion a year. Instead, the agency wants to wind down those payments and enroll future retirees in Medicare, a proposal worth $44 billion.
A bill introduced by Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, chair of the powerful House Oversight and Reform Committee, includes both components.
But DeJoy’s designs to slow the mail — even as the Postal Service attempts to rebound from generationally poor service metrics in recent months — and perceived animus toward lawmakers in recent hearings have made those prospects more difficult.
Sometimes America’s legacy of white supremacy is hiding in plain sight, literally. When Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed a hastily passed voter suppression law that many are calling the new, new Jim Crow on Thursday night, surrounded by a half-dozen white men, he did so in front of a painting of a plantation where more than 100 Black people had been enslaved.
Lady reading with cat-Albert Roosenboom
The fitting symbolism is somehow both shocking and unsurprising. In using the antebellum image of the notorious Callaway Plantation — in a region where enslaved Black people seeking freedom were hunted with hounds — in Wilkes County, Ga., as the backdrop for signing a bill that would make it a crime to hand water to a thirsty voter waiting on Georgia’s sometimes hours-long voter lines, the GOP governor was sending a clear message about race and human rights in the American South.
The portrait of the plantation was the starkest reminder of Georgia’s history of white racism that spans slavery, Jim Crow segregation, the rebirth of the modern Ku Klux Klan, and today’s voter purges targeting Black and brown voters — but it wasn’t the only one. At the very moment that Kemp was signing the law with his all-white posse, a Black female Georgia lawmaker — Rep. Park Cannon — who’d knocked on the governor’s door in the hopes of watching the bill signing was instead dragged away and arrested by state troopers, in a scene that probably had the Deep South’s racist sheriffs of yesteryear like Bull Connor or Jim Clark smiling in whatever fiery hellhole they now inhabit.
Indeed, Twitter was on fire Thursday night with posters drawing the straight line from notorious past segregationists like George Wallace to the 2021 actions of Kemp and the GOP-led Georgia Legislature in passing — at great speed and with little debate — a lengthy bill that also limits easy-access drop boxes for ballots and places onerous voter-ID restrictions on voting by mail, and which the New York Times reports “will have an outsized effect on Black voters.”
On one level this new voter-suppression law — “voter integrity,” in the modern GOP’s Orwellian branding — is inspired by the current and possible future events of ex-President Donald Trump’s Big Lie about fraud in the 2020 election, the narrow upset wins in Georgia for President Biden and two new Democratic senators, and the threat that voting icon Stacey Abrams poses to Kemp in the 2022 election. But there’s also a powerful pull back to Georgia past. That link is made clear by the history hanging right behind Kemp on Thursday.
“Things have changed dramatically” in the South, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in 2013 when he authored the majority opinion gutting the Voting Rights Act, ruling that states with a long history of discrimination no longer needed to have changes to their voting procedures approved by the federal government.
Voter suppression in Georgia is Exhibit A for why he is wrong.
After Joe Biden carried the state in November and Black voters turned out in record numbers in the January runoffs to elect Democrat Raphael Warnock as the state’s first Black senator and Democrat Jon Ossoff as the state’s first Jewish senator, Georgia Republicans passed a sweeping rewrite of the state’s election laws on Thursday to make it harder for Democratic constituencies to vote and have their ballots counted.
Though some Georgia Republicans, most notably Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, defended the integrity of the 2020 election, the “Election Integrity Act of 2021” heavily restricts mail ballot drop boxes, adds new ID requirements for mail-in voting, throws out ballots cast in the wrong precincts, and makes it a crime to give voters food and water while they’re waiting in line.
In addition to making it harder to vote, the new law allows the GOP-controlled legislature to appoint a majority of members of the state election board and gives the board the power to take over county election boards, making it easier for Republicans to challenge election results, take over election administration in large Democratic counties, and even decline to certify the results if Democrats win close races—which Trump tried and failed to get the state to do in 2020.
One of the small, rueful truths that many Americans held in the back of their minds throughout the pandemic year was that, for all of its horrors, it had at least reduced, or even eliminated, the spectacle of the gun massacre. School closings had momentarily ended school shootings; curbside delivery had, it seemed, halted in-store assaults. It is true that gun fatalities were disturbingly trending upward in big cities, for reasons that are as yet as mysterious as those for the great decline that preceded them, and that, according to the Gun Violence Archive, last year saw the highest number of shooting deaths in decades. In fact, keyed, perhaps, by a general sense of panic marked by the pandemic and a bizarrely unsettled election year—with that strange American certainty that they’re coming for you—gun sales soared, even amid groups that are not normally associated with buying firearms in numbers.
The gun massacre, however—five or twenty or fifty people murdered at a time—had, briefly, vanished. Yet, alongside the knowledge that mass shootings had gone stood the knowledge that they would, inevitably, reëmerge. And here they are, right on schedule, as the country “opens up,” and with a vengeance: seven in the past seven days, with eight people killed in three shootings in Atlanta, and ten in a grocery store in Boulder. With those shootings come back all the usual, understandable, and all-too-human reactions—above all, our urge to give them some kind of meaning by making them an index of a larger issue. Violence this blankly nihilistic needs a point projected into it, to redeem it as a subject of discussion….
Countries that resemble ours in every way except for the availability of guns have much lower levels of gun violence and far fewer gun massacres. Yet these truths, demonstrated again and again, meet the same resistance, over and over. The Second Amendment guarantees private ownership of even military-style weapons. (It doesn’t, or rather, until very recently, not even conservative Justices imagined that it did.) Guns are essential for self-protection. (They aren’t.) The way to stop mass shootings is to arm more people, such as teachers. (A “colossally stupid idea,” according to the co-president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.)
All this, even as the sheer psychic damage done by the omnipresence of guns in America is self-evident (no healthy society should have to train its children in active-shooter drills), while the social damage extends far beyond the immediate casualties. A reason for the prevalence of police shootings in America is that the police go about armed, in levels unique to our society, in order to deal with the uniquely over-armed civilians they fear encountering, with the frequently fatal results, we know too well, for the unarmed and the innocent.
Sorry this isn’t a more cheerful post. I’ll probably be up for something more upbeat if I finally get that promised $1400. What’s on your mind today?
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I fell asleep before the key note speeches again last night for the DNC convention. The heat and just the overall level of chaos in the country is just exhausting me. I’ve really cut back on my TV consumption. Stuff still comes across the phone though. Every day, we get Corona Virus updates from the Governor and now we’re staring at two tropical storms heading towards the Gulf Coast. It doesn’t look we’ll get the eye but will be on the sloppy side of one of them. It’s been since 1959 there’s been two storms like this at once so it’s quite an oddity in terms of weather history.
Then, there’s the entire Post Office episode. I’m seeing days where I don’t get anything, which is unusual. This is especially true since I’m being bombarded with stuff about choosing a Medicare plan in the next few months. I remember one of my Dad’s friends was a letter carrier during WW2 during his stint in the army. He would tell us he was the most popular person in France because every one wanted their letters and packages from home. I remember when we would get mail and newspapers twice a day too. It sure is a different time but there’s always something of anticipation about the mail arriving even if you’re not a teenage me waiting to hear from her pen pal in France or get her latest issue of Teen Magazine. There’s always a bit of daily wonder in the mail.
The former vice chairman of the U.S. Postal Service board of governors and inspector general accused Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin of trying to politicize the independent agency during testimony before lawmakers on Thursday.
David Williams, a former Postal Service inspector general who resigned in April as the vice chairman of the agency’s board of governors, said that he stepped down from his role because he felt the Treasury Department was trying to make the traditionally apolitical agency a “political tool.”
“I resigned from the board of governors because I was convinced that its independent role had been marginalized and that representations regarding an independent Postal Service for the nation were no longer truthful,” Williams said during a forum hosted by the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
“By statute, the Treasury was made responsible for providing the Postal Service with a line of credit,” Williams said. “The Treasury was using that responsibility to make demands that I believed would turn the Postal Service into a political tool, ending its long history as an apolitical public infrastructure.”
Williams said that Mnuchin “insisted” that all GOP appointees to the Postal Service board of governors and the Postal Regulatory Commission “kiss the ring” before confirmation and kept close tabs on labor agreements, price increases and volume discounts given to customers like Amazon and UPS.
Williams, one of the board’s designated Democratic members, served on the board of governors for nearly two years until his resignation and before that was the agency’s inspector general for 13 years.
Williams said that an executive hiring firm was contracted to recommend a candidate for the position of postmaster general, but the GOP donor who ultimately got the job, Louis DeJoy, was instead introduced late in the process by John Barger, another member of the Postal Service’s board of governors who was appointed by President Trump.
Williams said that DeJoy “didn’t strike me as a serious candidate” and that Barger helped him finish a number of sentences during the interview process.
Because Mnuchin’s meetings were private one-on-one discussions, they were not subject to the Government in the Sunshine Act, which requires that federal agency meetings be disclosed to the public. Yet many on the board were aware of the get-togethers, one person said. Mnuchin was requesting briefings before a decision was made, which the person called “unusual.” There was also discussion with Mnuchin about the “need to move quickly” on a selection, the person said.
Any White House or Treasury involvement with the Postal Service would be a breach of its charter as an independent, nonpolitical public entity, said Tim Stretton, a policy analyst for the nonpartisan Project on Government Oversight. The Postal Service operates on its own revenues separate from any federal appropriations process.
Trump has railed against the Postal Service while openly nursing grievances against Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, whose giant online retail operation relies on the Postal Service for many of its deliveries.
Mnuchin’s undisclosed meetings with Postal Service board members add to a broader narrative about financial and political conflicts of interest by DeJoy and some newly appointed board members, as well as White House influence over the Postal Service.
Six weeks ago, U.S. Postal Service workers in the high desert town of Tehachapi, Calif., began to notice crates of mail sitting in the post office in the early morning that should have been shipped out for delivery the night before.
At a mail processing facility in Santa Clarita in July, workers discovered that their automated sorting machines had been disabled and padlocked.
And inside a massive mail-sorting facility in South Los Angeles, workers fell so far behind processing packages that by early August, gnats and rodents were swarming around containers of rotted fruit and meat, and baby chicks were dead inside their boxes.
Accounts of conditions from employees at California mail facilities provide a glimpse of what some say are the consequences of widespread cutbacks in staffing and equipment recently imposed by the postal service.
Memos are trickling down the United States Postal Service bureaucracy warning employees that they should not speak to the press and any customer asking lots of questions may be a journalist sneakily trying to get information out of them.
The memos outline what employees should do if contacted by the media, and are titled “Guidelines for Handling Local Media Inquiries.” Motherboard obtained two separate memos from postal employees in two districts. The memos are nearly identical, with different language only about who employees should contact if they receive a media inquiry. They were sent to employees in the last few days, following a spate of articles about the changes Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has made that have put the post office under major scrutiny.
“The Postal Service continuously strives to project a positive image, protect its brand, and present a unified message to the customers and communities it serves,” the memo begins. “It is imperative that one person speaks on behalf of the Postal Service to deliver an appropriate, accurate and consistent message to the media.”
“Avoid the temptation to ‘answer a few questions,'” the memo advises. “Keep in mind that, while most media representatives will identify themselves up front, sometimes they do not. If you are dealing with a customer, especially one who asks a series of questions, it is perfectly appropriate to ask, ‘Are you a member of the media?’ Asking this specific question will help ensure your interaction is not used as the basis for any kind of ‘official’ Postal Service statement or position.”
The memo misleadingly frames identifying oneself as a reporter when seeking information as a choice most reporters make but others don’t. It is broadly regarded across the journalism industry to be unethical to conceal one’s identity as a reporter when seeking information in a professional capacity except in extreme cases where it is otherwise not possible to gather information in the public interest, a condition which obviouslydoesn’tapplyto the USPS.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Friday that the agency will continue to prioritize ballots over other mail, as it has in past elections, expressing support for the practice of voting by mail.
It was the first time the embattled leader of the U.S. Postal Service has publicly answered lawmakers’ questions about mail slowdowns attributed to his cost-cutting policies that have spurred worries about the delivery of ballots for the November election.
>DeJoy, a former logistics executive and an ally of President Trump, announced he would suspend those policies — including cutting overtime and prohibiting extra mail-delivery trips — and would halt the removal of mail-sorting machines and public mailboxes before Nov. 3. But DeJoy is also considering a massive overhaul of the agency after the vote, The Washington Post reported Thursday, in which the Postal Service would implement geographic pricing, reduce mail-delivery standards and increase prices.
USPS already shut down 40% of the high-speed letter-sorting machines in the Seattle-Tacoma area, for example: https://t.co/SfxCqcmhg4
Reporting clearly shows that much of what Dejoy is saying is simply not true. The thing about this that is really confusing to me is that Republican’s tend to represent rural voters. These are the very people that would be hurt most by destruction of the USPS. My post office is about 6 blocks down the street. Rural voters sometimes are miles from theirs. The only thing I can think is that the people making these decisions see themselves making money from investments in FedEx and UPS.
The Postal Service is mandated to deliver to all of America, especially remote areas where private carriers won't go because it's not profitable.
That's why rural America — which was key to electing President Trump — is organizing to save USPS. https://t.co/FszjcxrDUF
Todd Troyer retired as an ironworker in Milwaukee and moved to rural Wisconsin 15 years ago. The Vietnam veteran has diabetes and heart conditions and gets his prescriptions and insulin through the mail.
When his supply runs low, Troyer, 69, phones in an order to the pharmacy at the nearest VA hospital, in Madison more than an hour’s drive away. He depends on the mail especially now during the pandemic, as cases in his region are continuing to rise.
“That’s the thing I’m worried about: Is it going to make it here or isn’t it? I don’t know,” Troyer says.
As if things weren’t already stressful enough, he says, now mail deliveries could be further delayed amid a standoff over the Postal Service’s future.
“What’s the deal with screwing over the mail?” Troyer says. “I mean, mail has been running since we had horse riders bringing it.”
In fact, you can trace the agency’s roots back some 245 years, when Benjamin Franklin became the country’s first postmaster general.
A Girl reading a Letter with an Old Man, c.1767 Joseph Wright of Derby
It’s still the same old economic rationale for public goods. You can’t provide universal delivery and turn profits.
Anyway, I keep writing on and on about the Post Office but it just seems some of the real great institutions of this country set up at its founding are just being trashed. I just really want some stability for awhile. Here’s another one of those crackpots. The Secretary of State is off on another anti-Iran rage. This is from Reuters: “U.S. will aim to block Russia, China from violating Iran sanctions: Pompeo”
The United States is prepared to block Russia and China from any attempts to violate sanctions on Iran, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday, one day after Washington moved to restore sanctions imposed on Tehran by the United Nations.
Pompeo, in an interview on Fox News, also said Washington was disappointed that its allies did not support the U.S. effort to push for a “snapback” of U.N. sanctions, including an arms embargo, after what the Trump administration said was Iran’s violation of its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.
Read this to see how crackers he really is.
Pompeo has seemingly bizarrely brainwashed himself that he is some sort of retired military general. falsely claimed fought in germany at a public hearing last month, demanded and got military housing. he was never in combat, left military before first gulf war. https://t.co/ypvXzuLhnn
The Sky Dancing banner headline uses a snippet from a work by artist Tashi Mannox called 'Rainbow Study'. The work is described as a" study of typical Tibetan rainbow clouds, that feature in Thanka painting, temple decoration and silk brocades". dakinikat was immediately drawn to the image when trying to find stylized Tibetan Clouds to represent Sky Dancing. It is probably because Tashi's practice is similar to her own. His updated take on the clouds that fill the collection of traditional thankas is quite special.
You can find his work at his website by clicking on his logo below. He is also a calligraphy artist that uses important vajrayana syllables. We encourage you to visit his on line studio.