Postcards from Ecotopia

old new lefty

old new lefty
alienation, discontent
September 16
Making trouble whenever possible
virgin novelist, middle school teacher for the morally handicapped, government bureaucrat, most famous unknown photographer in LA, PhD dropout, coat hanger sorter, presidential campaign worker, sewer worker, and retired guy -- but not in that order.


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NOVEMBER 5, 2012 2:15AM

Another Romney-ization (and what you can do about it)

Rate: 9 Flag






Decommissioned mail boxes due to cutbacks in service to the US Postal Service

The US Postal Service was created in 1775 and it is mentioned in the US Constitution as a vital service. In 2006, FedEx and the United Parcel Service lobbied Congress to cripple the postal service by requiring it to prepay pension and health care plans to postal service employees 75 years in advance.  The Bush administration pressed this measure through Congress in yet another example of crony capitalism, as it basically set up the private carriers to skim the revenue cream off of the top, leaving the unprofitable dregs to the government mail service.

Plans for the post office's privatization have been put forward by the Institute for Research on the Economics of Taxation, a right wing think tank funded by the usual suspects of the Scaife Foundation and the Charles Koch Foundation among others. With the pressure of Congressman Darrel Issa of California, Thomas Donohoe, the USPS administrator has gone with the flow and continued to cut back on postal services in every way, as well as putting numerous invaluable post office buildings up for sale.

Andrew Renach in an August Huffington Post article has said that an additional reason for this scheme is to provide an incredible $105 billion windfall to private real estate development interests. By law, the USPS is required to make payments of over $5 billion every year to fund its pension mandate despite the fact that the USPS now has the most richly funded pension accounts of any agency of the federal government.

The current administration has been forced to put up many post offices up for sale.  Many of these buildings are not only architectural gems, but more importantly they constitute the beating heart of many communities. Particularly in rural areas, post offices are the only government building in the area.  They represent the social center for rural populations, and it's anticipated that were these buildings to close they would effectively be the death warrant for numerous small towns all over America.

The only effective way to combat this defenestration is by political action. Concerted and creative demonstrations in San Francisco prevented three Bay Area post offices from being closed. A demonstration in Springfield, Oregon on November 3rd, was attended by 100 people with little organization and publicity, and yet it attracted the attention of three TV stations and multiple print media.

One of the things that I learned at the Springfield demonstration is that by unraveling one thread of public service, privatizers can create a dozen or more injuries to the body politic.  While I knew the importance of the Springfield postal facility to the local economy, I had no idea that the transferring of mail to a distant facility near Portland would interfere with the counting of ballots.  Nor  did I have any idea of the impact the delay in mail service  would have in distributing lab tests for hospitals and doctors. It goes without saying that if you are a small businessman who  depends on Ebay or Amazon, you will find that your costs of business and time delays will increase substantially affecting your bottom line.

The mayor of Springfield spoke at the rally, and I told her that she needed to contact her Chamber of Commerce to do outreach with the entire business community so that they could put pressure on their legislators. If more public pressure is applied on Congressional officials, the easier it will be to roll back this horrible privatization scheme.  And you can make a difference.

Rep. Peter De Fazio spoke at the rally, and he said that he had sponsored legislation on the post office that had more co-signers than any other on this issue, and yet Republican Darrel Issa, chair of the committee with oversight of the Postal Service, has consistently blocked this legislation.

The most powerful force for change will come from rural people in deep red states.  They, and local chambers of commerce are in the best position to stop this little destruction of American society.

Be warned that if this libertarian experiment succeeds, the next target will be the American educational establishment.

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This is a work in progress. I haven't downloaded photos and I still haven't told you how to fight this. Come on back to see how I've added to this.
You may count on it!
This is a timely post. I'll be back, but we just had meetings in our area. My town only had ~10 people show up, which is bad, and less than 10% of the surveys returned. But our P O revenues gave us more hours in our town of 2000. A neighboring town was cut to 4 hours per day based on their revenues, and they had a good turnout at their meeting. Use it or lose it is a good place to start, and if you use online services, that revenue is dispersed based on zip code, so it helps, too.

Oh, and the postmaster is responsible for repairs to the facilities. Our local postmistress didn't know that so we only had one working package box. Miscommunication.

That's all I got. I'm excited to see if I can do more.
The Postal Service and its employees have been methodically screwed by congress for well over two decades... because of texting, email and IM and the telecom revolution, snail mail will go the way of the buggy whip and UPS & FEDEX will rule the world. Alas so it goes.
We still get a lot of envelopes every day. Most of it's crap, but they come. Mail isn't dead yet.

Reagan made an example of the air traffic controllers primarily to fend off a postal strike. It's been downhill ever since.
Horrible. More ammunition against that "both parties are basically the same" argument.Thanks for posting this. Rated.
OS is still cranky today. It won't take pictures that I took of the rally.

De Fazio talked about how the USPS has been prevented by Congress from entering new businesses and revising old business models to be more profitable. He talked about how in Sweden, the post office there uses email to notify you of junk mail. There you have the option of either accepting particular pieces or of notifying them to recycle the junk mail you don't want, thus saving everyone's time and energy.

The fact remains that if we have a more responsive congress that is willing to give the USPS more freedom, and if the Obama administration can be more proactive in dealing with this mess, we may actually see some positive steps taken. I do not believe that being fatalistic about the USPS is productive.

Don't mourn. Organize.
As long as you're not a pregnant rape victim, disabled, trying to afford college, Hispanic, gay, middle class, female, in the military, rich, a banker, someone with a loan, poor without a driver's license and trying to vote, a homeowner, someone who mails letters, living with the consequences of global warming, or benefitting from federal disaster relief, the parties are pretty much identical.

That would have made a great One Sentence Sunday. Sorry I didn't think of it. I might post it later.
I think you have a misspelling in your post. You wrote "privatization" -- shouldn't that be "piratization"?
Unborn postal workers need pensions too. That's why I believe in right to life.
Thanks for posting this, though I'm not sure I agree with the title. If Obama had a little testicularity, he could have nipped this problem in the bud. Moreover our Presidents' aggressive school privatization efforts (with the help of Arne Duncan) are well-known - imagine REQUIRING states to create more charter schools to qualify for stimulus money. As far as I can see, the only difference I can see between Obama and Romney is that Obama is neoliberalism with a human face.
I wonder what Ayn had to say about mail service? Or, was it male service?
educational establishment is under the most severe attack already here, in WI ~
great insights again and always interesting lefty ~
Fatalism about this issue is the wrong approach.
I'm with you 100%.

Fed-Ex and UPS are not interested in the first mile nor the last mile. If they get their hands on this through the fiasco of the requirement for a 75 year pre-apy on health benefits then we're all going to be hurt.
...and to blaim it on President Obama is just plain out of touch. This happened on Bush's watch as you have correctly pointed out.
Rep. DeFazio from our state is always on the cutting edge. We're lucky to have him.