Top Four Postal Villains not Named Darrell Issa
Ding Dong the Wicked Witch is Dead - Or is He?
Now that Darrell Issa has been termed out as Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee there is much dancing and singing in the streets in the streets of Postal Munchkinland. Postal Munchkins who used to have nightmares about waking up unemployed due the actions of this venomously anti-postal fiend would seem to be able to slumber more restfully now, apparently having dodged many bullets from a man who would privatize their jobs and hand them over to the minimum wage thralls of his corporate benefactors. But is the nightmare indeed over? Is six day delivery secure, will post office closures cease and will the outsourcing of postal jobs to corporations like Staples be halted? Or will the battle to destroy America's constitutionally guaranteed postal service simply be carried out by equally fiendish villains that answer to different names when they are whistled at by their corporate masters, but still promote the same insidious agenda to destroy American's most trusted government institution, along with the middle class that depends upon it.
As head of the House Oversight Committee Darrell Issa employed heavy handed, authoritarian tactics to silence the voices of those who opposed him on all issues, postal or otherwise. Although his successor, Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz, has vowed to take the committee away from the brutal inquisition that it became under Issa, from a postal perspective it remains to be seen whether or not the Oversight Committee and other governmental bodies will cease their ruthless assault on the postal service, an attack that is often carried out by wolves wearing sheep's clothing.
Below is a video demonstrating how the leader of the anti-postal wolves often conducted his business during his tenure as Chairman of the Oversight Committee:
Tender Moments from Darrell Issa's Reign as Ringmaster
More villains - Past, Present and Future
It is pretty clear from the above video that Darrell Issa has a frighteningly authoritarian approach to representative democracy. It is truly a blessing that he will no long head this committee that oversees postal policy, but he is not alone in his pursuit to dismantle America's Postal Service using heavy handed, strong-arm tactics. There are plenty of Postal Villains - past, present, and future, that have brought the institution to the brink of ruin; way too many to make a complete list. I have included what I think are the top four, and I warn you that some may be surprised or even offended by it.
Ron Johnson - Paper or Plastic?
When the 114th Congress convenes in January Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin is slated to take over as Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. In this capacity he will essentially be playing the same postal policing role that the boisterous and vindictive Darrell Issa did on the other side of the Capitol dome in the House of Representatives.
Johnson has stated that the Postal Service should go through a bankruptcy process that will result in it being reduced to one or several private corporations that will not be subject to federal oversight. In proposing this plan, Johnson claims to be protecting the taxpayers, for whom he claims to be a devout champion. Sorry, but If you are a taxpayer living out on the forgotten back roads of Rural, USA, Johnson's private companies may not find it profitable to deliver to your house, or if they do you will most certainly pay a premium for the service.
As is the case with most lying, scheming politicians; and in saying this I apologize for the redundancy caused by my adjectives meaning the exact same thing as the noun they are modifying, Ron Johnson's benevolent attitude toward the taxpayers is most certainly a smoke-screen distraction from a more insidious agenda.
Ron Johnson poses as a self made "entrepreneur," but in reality he married into the plastics industry; taking over a company that his father in law gave him as a wedding present. As such, he supports all things plastic and is a faithful supporter of the petroleum industry that supplies the basic raw material for plastic. He was a staunch defender of British Petroleum, the author of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that dumped 210 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, the same year that Johnson, probably just coincidentally, was elected to the Senate. It is difficult to count the cost of how much Johnson's beloved "taxpayers" were affected by that ecological disaster.
In 2010 Ron Johnson's campaign, heavily financed by the plastics industry, was centered around opposition to the TARP bailout. Curiously enough, Johnson accepted campaign money from the Financial Services Roundtable and American Banker's Association. These groups count many notable TARP beneficiaries, such as Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, and Bank of America among their members, all of whom were "rescued" by fleecing Johnson's darling "taxpayers".
Johnson proudly boasted that 9 million dollars of his own money went toward financing his campaign. Even so, his former company PACUR just happened to write him a check for 10 million in "deferred compensation," about that time, an act of generosity that did an end run around the campaign finance laws. Years earlier, during his own tenure as the head of PACUR, Johnson changed this corporation into an LLC and was able to reduce the company's state tax liability from 400 K annually to the 50-70K he and his wife paid on their personal tax returns. Once again this action demonstrated a strong resolve to defend taxpayers, meaning he and his wife.
So Ron Johnson is Plastic Man reborn, but one issue that has been slightly problematic for the senator is that he represents Wisconsin, one of the country's biggest paper producing states. 180,000 of the state's residents are employed by a paper industry that largely supports postal reform, not postal obliteration. It seems that Johnson is less about the taxpayers that elected him and more about supporting one group of taxpayers in particular, meaning himself and the wealthy bankers and plastic industry executives that got him into office.
George W. Bush - Dangling on the ALEC strings
The source of the United States Postal Service's current "financial crisis," in reality a primarily paper plight manufactured by the United States Congress, is the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA). A last minute add-on to this law requires the USPS to prefund employee retiree benefits for the next 75 years. While almost everyone agrees that prefunding retiree benefits is a wise and prudent thing to do, no other institution, public or private, has been subjected to the onerous and ridiculous requirement of paying for the retirements of our great grandchildren, to the tune of 5.8 billion per year. We can thank none other than Lonesome George up there for this damnable, damaging provision that has set the USPS into a financial tailspin even as its mail delivery operation continues to be profitable.
In 2006 there was a general non-Partisan consensus that the Postal Service needed more financial freedom to manage its own rates in order to keep pace with the demands of the market, and to this end the PAEA initially had nearly universal support from Democrats, Republicans, and postal unions alike.
But then the insidious, long-reaching fingers of The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) stepped in to alter what started out to be beneficial legislation. ALEC, in summation, is a corporate friendly "bill mill" that writes proposed laws that are brought before state and federal government legislatures for passage into law. Representative John McHugh who sponsored the PAEA was an ALEC member, and another very weird coincidence in a long string of coincidences noted here is that postal competitors FedEx and UPS both had representatives on the ALEC executive board.
Expressing concerns with its impact on the "taxpayer," that darling catch phrase of politicians everywhere that is used to justify all sorts of atrocities, President George W. Bush threatened to veto the PAEA bill unless it contained the prefunding language. The result of this provision is that even though the Postal Service has actually produced a 671 million operating profit since George W. Bush signed the PAEA into law, the paper losses from the prefunding requirement have provided a justification for would be postal raiders who would love to see the Postal Service dismembered and privatized for the benefit of the ALEC members slash postal competitors UPS and FedEx.
Tom Carper - Wolf in Sheep's Clothing
This article is a non partisan endeavor. It reaches across the aisle to expose villains wherever they are found, whether they wear elephants, donkeys, swastikas or even Che Guevara on their T-shirts.
It is not just the incoming Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental affairs committee that is problematic from a postal perspective, but the outgoing chairperson also. This would be Senator Tom Carper from Delaware, a politician who has been very vocal in his support for Postmaster General Pat Donahoe's systematic dismemberment of the United States Postal Service. Although Issa gets most of the bad press and Carper often gets a pass because he has a "D" attached to his jersey, these two members of the Congressional glee club sing the same song when it comes to postal policy.
In a November 23, 2014 article on the Save the Post Office website, Mark Jamison writes that Tom Carper "...has endorsed virtually every cut, every closure, every act of outsourcing that PMG Pat Donahoe has engaged in or ever imagined." This close alliance with Donahoe has resulted in the closure of 141 mail processing plants and thousands of post offices, causing significant mail delivery delays for millions of Americans.
Organizations that propose maintaining the current high service standards provided by the Postal Service have long seen through Carper's Act. In 2010 the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) denounced a Carper sponsored bill that would eliminate Saturday delivery, an action that in the NALC's opinion "...would particularly hurt small businesses and rural residents who depend more heavily on the mail for prescription drugs and other goods."
Harper has also been criticized for publishing misleading information on his website related to USPS losses, trying to embarrass lawmakers into "reforming" (meaning dismantling) the Postal Service by stating that the USPS is losing 25 million dollars a day. The Senator neglected to report that 96 percent of those losses can be accounted for by the PAEA prefunding.
Another Carper-sponsored 2014 bill includes the immediate end of door delivery for millions of American businesses, and promotes the end of door delivery for 35 million residences as well. Many of these are residential deliveries are in remote rural areas where the postal service is a lifeline.
As with other seedy politicians on this list, Carper pretends to be an advocate of the taxpayer, even though his top five campaign funding sources came from the insurance and banking industries, for whom his home state of Delaware is a haven. Both of these economic sectors were big time beneficiaries of the TARP bailouts that Carper voted for and have been extremely costly to the American taxpayer. Peculiarly enough, at the same Carper takes money from bailout-fueled bankers, he demonstrates an illogical propensity to somehow save the taxpaying public by pushing unwise reform efforts on the United States Postal Service, an organization that does not operate on taxpayer dollars at all.
Barack Obama - "Lame Duck" Dangers
This is where it gets sticky. I have quite a few Democrat Facebook chums that are likely to unfriend me after I write segment, but what has to be said has to be said. I do not believe in ideological purity or party-approved dogma and I try to retain my independent thinking in every subject I approach as a writer. This gets people mad at me sometimes and causes them to tune out. While that might have bothered me when I was 18, at this juncture in my life I am too old and cantankerous to care.
What needs to be said needs to be said. The most powerful anti-postal villain of them all currently resides in the White House.
My purpose here is not to promote any ridiculous Internet urban legends that President Barack Obama secretly promoted a Muslim cultural takeover of this country by ordering the issue of an EID, or Muslim Ramadan stamp. Those stamps have, in fact, been in existence since 2001, when good old hard partying George about halfway up the page there was President.
What really disturbs me is when outgoing broom-riding Postal Fiend Darrell Issa issues a statement that he "...embraces White House plan for Postal Reform." In his 2015 budget proposal, President Obama called for the end of Saturday mail delivery and a switch to curbside and centralized delivery, both of which pretty much mimic Darrell Issa's HR 2748 bill, which caused Issa to get as giddy as a schoolgirl on prom night.
In a statement about the disturbing conjunction of these unlikely bedfellows, NALC President Fredric Rolando attempted to soften the issue in order to protect the image of a President that the Union wholeheartedly endorsed in 2008 and 2012. He justified the President's proposals by implying that they were first laid out during 2011 budget talks, when the provisions involved made more economic sense.
My question for Obama and others is that, in light of the fact that the United States Postal Service is not operated out of the federal budget at all, then why is it included in budget talks in the first place? I sense an underhanded plot by avaricious postal pirates to loot and divert postal funds to highway repair projects and the like, such as was attempted in one plot earlier in 2014.
Since Republicans will seize control of both the House and the Senate in the upcoming 114th Congress, Obama has been labeled a "lame duck." Nevertheless he remains a pretty powerful duck with a loud quack and he can still sign bills proposed by postal-dismantling politicians. In light of his disturbing accord on postal issues with the likes of Darrell Issa, such a turn of events is not outside the realm of possibilities.
So does President Obama stand behind the views of the people who elected him into office, or does he make common cause with those who would strip down America's most trusted public institution and sell it for scrap?
Name your Poison
Which group is worse for the long term health and prosperity of America's Postal Service?
Permanent Bliss in Postal Oz?
Consumer Reports recently rated the Postal Service to be the best value in package delivery. The USPS is not only repeatedly ranked as the most trusted government institution, but is also the fourth most trusted company in the United States, period. Is it any wonder that ALEC affiliated UPS and FedEx, both of whom charge around $60 to ship a three pound package that the USPS delivers for $12, are doing their best to buy off politicians that can help them destroy this dangerous competitor?
So Issa may have melted in a cloud of noxious fumes and Dorothy's ruby clad feet may be dancing in the streets of Munchkinland for the time being, but all is not permanently bliss and happiness in Postal Oz just because one wicked witch is dead. As we have seen, there are equally fiendish postal villains forever lurking low behind the horizon, waiting to snatch up unwitting Munchkins by the thousands and perhaps destroy Postal Munchkinland forever.