right wing wackos - postalnews blog

right wing wackos

USPS responds to wing-nut hysteria over ammo “hoarding”

Screenshot 2014-04-19 at 7.56.03 AMIn January the US Postal Service announced on the Federal Business Opportunities web site that it was planning to buy “assorted small arms ammunition”. People who know anything about the USPS wouldn’t have been particularly surprised about the announcement, given that the USPS has a sizable armed police force, the Postal Inspection Service. But right wing commentators quickly went, well, postal about the news: “USPS ANNOUNCES GIANT AMMO PURCHASE” crowed WND.com. The fact that no quantities were specified in the solicitation wasn’t mentioned.

The claims were so outlandish that even one anti-gun control site felt the need to debunk it. In February, gunssavelives.net carried a post pointing out that the USPS “contains within its organization the oldest federal law enforcement agency in the country – The United States Postal Inspection Service.” The post continues:

So the Postal Service has most likely been purchasing “assorted small arms ammunition” for over 200 years. The department has over 1,000 armed agents. Fourteen USPIS agents have been killed in the line of duty.

Move along, nothing to see here.

But conspiracy theories continued to make the rounds. This past week, Newsmax.com, the most popular right wing extremist news site carried the news. (Newsmax may be popular, but it’s apparently a bit slow on the uptake). While the story made passing reference to the Inspection Service, it also pushed a new theory- that the USPS was trying to drive up the price of ammunition.

Finally this week the USPS issued a statement denying the bizarre story:

U.S. Postal Service PR manager sets the record straight on 4-15-14 Newsmax.com article that USPS hoards ammunition.

The U.S. Postal Service is not hoarding ammunition. The Postal Service Inspection Service is a law enforcement agency and its Inspectors carry firearms. Periodically, the Inspection Service must purchase ammunition for activities like firearms training, required annual firing range qualifications and for duty. As the Postal Service’s primary law enforcement arm, the Inspection Service is a highly specialized, professional organization, which performs investigative and security functions essential to a stable and sound postal system and the security of the U.S. Mail. The Postal Inspection Service has a proud and successful record of fighting criminals who misuse postal services and products to defraud, endanger or otherwise threaten the American public.

Dave Partenheimer
Manager, Media Relations
U.S. Postal Service

The USPS statement probably won’t carry much weight with the committed gun nuts out there, but on the bright side, the conspiracy theory seems to be confined to the usual lunatic fringe outlets like Newsmax and Fox News.

If there is a conspiracy behind all the hysteria, the real culprit is probably the gun lobby itself. The big gun companies that underwrite the NRA and the rest of the so-called “second amendment advocate” groups are the only ones who would profit from all this. Like the fella said, “follow the money”! Smith and Wesson are no doubt laughing all the way to the bank!

House GOP Budget Would Cut Compensation for Postal Workers

From Government Executive:

Paul_Ryan_official_portrait

The House Republican budget considered in committee Wednesday would require U.S. Postal Service employees to pay more for health care, using that reform and others to save $19 billion over 10 years.

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., targeted USPS employees in his budget blueprint as part of a larger effort to find cuts through the federal workforce. Ryan’s plan would also impose pension contribution hikes on all federal employees and reduce the size of the workforce through attrition measures.

Read more: House GOP Budget Would Cut Compensation for Postal Workers – Pay & Benefits – GovExec.com.

Moms Demand Action Objects To Proposed Amendment To Remove Federal Ban On Guns in Post Offices

INDIANAPOLIS, Feb. 3, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ – Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America vehemently objects to any attempt to amend existing federal law and lift the ban on guns in post offices, as proposed by Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky. Sen. Paul’s amendment to the Senate postal reform bill would allow licensed gun owners to carry weapons inside post offices. Guns are currently banned in all American federal buildings, including post offices.

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Darrell Issa: Poster boy for our disgraceful Congress

A poll recently found that “Americans currently have a higher opinion of witches (46/32), jury duty (73/18) and hemorrhoids (53/31) than Congress.”

In today’s New York Times, Bloomberg’s Albert R. Hunt reminds us of some of the causes of our disgust with our legislators. Not surprisingly, most of the blame falls on the radical “tea party” wing of the Republican Party, which has been allowed to block legislation supported by majorities in both Houses of Congress. But Hunt’s poster child for our disgraceful Congress isn’t a tea party true believer- it’s the consummate opportunist (and self anointed postal service “watchdog”), Darrell Issa:

Darrell-Issa-007This session, Representative Darrell Issa, the California Republican who is chairman of the House Oversight Committee, has held hearings on the Internal Revenue Service, the deaths of Americans in Libya, the Affordable Care Act and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. The proceedings have been characterized by unsubstantiated charges, rogue behavior, misleading leaks and a refusal to consider anything that might prove contrary to the chairman’s objectives.

With a reckless disregard for facts, Mr. Issa habitually calls his targets liars. He has been an embarrassment to more than a few fellow Republicans.

I suppose postal workers can take some solace from the fact that Issa’s cynical obsession with turning the Benghazi tragedy into political hay left him less time for more of his “hearings” on the USPS. (Why do they call them “hearings” anyway? The guy who puts them on obviously doesn’t “listen”!)

Hunt’s solution to our national disgrace?

The only way this spiral ends is an election that either ratifies or repudiates the Republican right.

Let’s hope it’s the latter!

Read more: Lawmakers Pass Blame, but Not Bills – NYTimes.com.

Issa Applauds Canada Post for Ending Door to Door Delivery

darrell-issa-chairman

Press release from Darrell Issa:

WASHINGTON – House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., today applauded Canada Post, the Canadian postal service, for moving to phase out expensive to-the-door delivery for paper mail. Chairman Issa, chief sponsor of H.R. 2748, the Postal Reform Act of 2013, has advanced similar reforms.

“As technology advances, the Canadian people are changing the way they use paper mail. Canada Post has recognized this reality and responded to it. The Canadian government is supportive of its decision to modernize,” said Chairman Issa. “The American people have also changed the way they use paper mail and the cash-strapped United States Postal Service must respond accordingly. Likewise, Congress and the Administration need to grant USPS the flexibility to modernize its mail delivery and eliminate unnecessary costs.”

The vast majority of American homes do not receive expensive to-the-door delivery, but instead receive less expensive curbside or centralized delivery. The Postal Reform Act, which was approved by the Committee in July, would require USPS to transition 30 million delivery points over 10 years. This provision will save the financially distressed USPS at least $4 billion per year and is one of the largest opportunities for USPS savings.

Canada Post ended expensive Saturday delivery of paper mail for its customers in 1969. Issa’s legislation would also allow USPS to do the same, saving additional billions. A Senate companion bill also includes provisions to end the forced delivery of paper mail on Saturdays and delivery point modernization.

Video: Big Money Bullies- Bernie Sanders explains what the Republicans in Congress really want

The politician’s dirty little secret: Federal workers pay their taxes better than most Americans

It must be that time of year again- time to pander to the tea party by attacking federal workers for not paying their taxes. WTOP in Washington today carries the familiar story about the $3.5 billion feds owe the IRS in delinquent taxes, and the campaign by right wing politicians to fire the delinquents.

As we’ve suggested before, there’s more than a whiff of demagoguery here- the politicians are interested in collecting what’s owed under the law- but they only seem to care about one select group of deadbeats. Why?

Simple logic would suggest that if feds owe $3.5 billion, the rest of the country must owe a whole lot more- after all, the vast majority of Americans don’t work for the federal government. Are feds somehow different than everybody else when it comes to paying their fair share?

As it happens, they are- but not in the way you might think. Buried in the WTOP story is this tidbit:

The delinquency rate for the general public is 2.5 times higher than federal employees, according to the IRS. As of September 2011, the delinquency rate for active and retired federal employees and military personnel is 3.17 percent. The IRS estimates the delinquency rate for the general population is 8.2 percent.

In other words, postal workers and other federal employees are actually less likely to be tax deadbeats than the average American!

So why do GOP politicians insist on scapegoating federal workers? Probably because feds are one of the few groups they can still demonize without losing too many votes. Targeting women, blacks, hispanics, gays, etc., gets to be a problem when you realize that the majority of voters belong to at least one of those categories!

Federal employees owe $3.5 billion in unpaid taxes – WTOP.com.

Right wing blogger wants his government subsidized shipping rates back

A right wing blog called “American Thinker” has a rather bizarre take on the increase in USPS international postage rates. The blogger has some kind of business that involves shipping stuff overseas, and, like many similar operations, is being hit hard by the rate increase:

I have a small, no, make that tiny, business. It’s a sideline, mainly because it doesn’t earn enough to be anything else, but none the less I’d like to eventually have it be bigger. What I sell is not important, but the fact that fully a third of my sales are international is important. As of now, my international shipping rates have doubled, at the least.

OK- so far so good- it has to be tough for any business to see its shipping rates double- there was a story the other day about the impact on indie record labels that also do a lot of international shipping.

But here’s where the American “Thinker” loses me:

The assault on small business never seems to stop. This is simply one more nail in the coffin. And don’t tell me that the USPS isn’t technically a government agency. It’s a government supported monopoly that prices small business out of any other market by undercutting other shippers. No one will pay $50 to ship $20 worth of product, as you will expect to pay with shippers other than USPS.

Hunh???? He complains about the USPS “undercutting” other shippers, and then says he can’t afford to use “shippers other than the USPS”, i.e. private, free market outfits like UPS and FedEx??

Can someone explain that one to me? How can you complain about USPS prices being too high, while at the same time claiming that they use their alleged monopoly to “undercut” the competition?? Which is it?

More to the point- if USPS has a monopoly, how can there be a “competition” to undercut? Pssst… there is no monopoly in international shipping!

The “Thinker”‘s solution? The USPS needs to be “held to account”, whatever that means. Oh, and “the artificial supports that prop up the USPS need to be removed”. And somehow that will force the USPS to lower its rates…

Translation? Mr. Free Market Thinker would like to have his government subsidized below market shipping rates back. Apparently if you’re a right wing small business owner, “artificial supports” are OK if it’s your business they’re propping up!

Read more: Blog: USPS Sticker Shock.

GOP platform calls for privatizing USPS

The Republican Party’s proposed platform suggests that the US Postal Service is in need of “restructuring”. Not surprisingly, the restructuring involves privatization. The brief item starts with one of the most time-honored postal cliches: “mail delivery from the era of the Pony Express cannot long survive”. (I don’t know about you, but my mail is delivered from a mail truck. And the Pony Express didn’t “survive” the nineteenth century, never mind the twentieth!)

The plank concludes “In light of the Postal Service’s seriously underfunded pension system, Congress should explore a greater role for private enterprise in appropriate aspects of the mail-processing system.”

Most readers will know that the USPS pension system is actually better funded than most private pension systems, but then, you don’t read party platforms for reasoned analysis of the issues. When it comes to privatizing, which is a matter of faith for the GOP, any excuse will do.

Union responds to NH politician’s delayed mail accusation

The New Hampshire Labor News followed up on the claim of a right wing New Hampshire politician that his political mailings had been delayed by “unionized postal employees”. According to employees at the plant, the politician didn’t get his mail to the plant on time for processing. Read the rest of this entry »