The US Postal Service: Bah, Humbug

Okay, admittedly this is a first world problem. With thousands of Americans dying every day because of our government’s failed response to the pandemic, I guess there are bigger fish to fry than worrying about Xmas gifts and cards going undelivered.

But here is a case where you do have to give Trump some credit. POTUS and his lackeys tried hard to slow down the mail service as a way to help him win reelection. That didn’t work. But one lingering effect has been to delay the shipments of packages and cards during the holiday season.

Folks, if grandma hasn’t received the fruitcake yet, well good luck.

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And just to show you that I don’t make all of this stuff up, here’s from an article in The Washington Post:

“Competing crises are slamming the U.S. Postal Service just days before Christmas, imperiling the delivery of millions of packages, as the agency contends with spiking coronavirus cases in its workforce, unprecedented volumes of e-commerce orders and the continuing fallout from a hobbled cost-cutting program launched by the postmaster general.

“Nearly 19,000 of the agency’s 644,000 workers have called in sick or are isolating because of the virus, according to the American Postal Workers Union.

“Meanwhile, packages have stacked up inside some postal facilities, leading employees to push them aside to create narrow walkways on shop floors.
Some processing plants are now refusing to accept new mail shipments. The backlogs are so pronounced that some managers have reached out to colleagues in hopes of diverting mail shipments to nearby facilities. But often, those places are full, too. Meanwhile, packages sit on trucks for days waiting for floor space to open so the loads can be sorted.”

Well, I’m sure these are difficult times for the U.S. Postal Service and for its employees. And I imagine that working at the Post Office isn’t always ideal under even the best of circumstances.

Here’s the perspective of Newman, from the classic TV show Steinfield:

Oh, well. Like I said, the inability of the Post Office to deliver mail during a pandemic is a first world problem. And I’m not going to let it ruin my Christmas.

But it’s disappointing that for the first time in decades a running calendar that I send to a friend in Florida each year isn’t likely to make it.

I mailed the package at the Woodland Park, Colorado, Post Office on December 7. Now on December 22, it has made its way all the way to Aurora, Colorado, about a two hour drive by car.

But since there isn’t anything I or anyone else can do about this, I might as well just sit back and enjoy the holiday season.

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So it goes.

Signs Of The Times

Okay. I’ll admit it. I’m more than a little concerned about our country these days. It appears that the USA is circling the toilet bowel, waiting for Trump or one of his lackeys to pull the handle.

Need evidence of this?

Well, Congress continues to dither over a financial relief package, despite the death and suffering that the virus has caused for millions of Americans.

The Russians apparently have the ability to wage a massive cyber attack on the USA, putting at risk everything from our electrical power grids to the nation’s nuclear codes. And the response of POTUS is to suggest that maybe it is China, not Russia, causing the threat. I’m beginning to believe that Putin is one of the few people in the world who will be sorry to see Trump leave office. Oh well.

And then there is the virus — and the administration’s pathetic and lackluster response.

Folks, we now have more than 300,000 dead in this country, with the number growing by the minute.

And I wonder where we would be today if Trump and company hadn’t lied to the American public about the severity of the pandemic — and if our so-called leaders didn’t promote the notion that it was patriotic to ignore the advice of the health experts to stay home, social distance and wear a damn mask.

I really have a hard time seeing how wearing a mask to protect yourself and others is somehow a threat to our personal and constitutional liberties. But what do I know?

Anyway, I see signs of this stupidity every week when I shop at the Safeway in my little mountain town.

Safeway, like most other grocery stores and retail outlets, has a large sign posted at the front entrance saying that masks are required. Yet inside on any given day you see plenty of shoppers proudly loading their carts with their faces as bare as the bottom of a newborn baby

And Safeway management took a stab at getting people to social distance by trying to get people to go in one direction in each of the aisles. This actually doesn’t seem like such a hard concept. Think driving on a one way street. People are smart enough to figure that out all the time.

And at Safeway, you even have visual cues to help the dim witted:

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I take that sign — plainly marked — to mean don’t go that fucking way.

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And I assume that when you see this one it means go straight ahead.

Pretty simple. Right?

Well, actually, no.

On any given day, if you could get a dollar for every person going in the wrong direction in these plainly marked aisles you would have enough to get your groceries for free.

I’m not sure if people ignore the directions because they are self-indulgent to a fault. Or if they are just plain stupid. I stood there Saturday and watched one asshole proudly go in the wrong direction in every aisle. Wonder who he voted for? I digress.

But I know two things:

One, people who won’t wear a mask or social distance aren’t patriots protecting civil rights. They are asshats who are more than willing to endanger the health of everyone they come into contact with.

And two, if as a society we are unwilling to follow simple rules for the benefit of everyone, then we only have ourselves to blame when somebody pulls that toilet handle.

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So it goes.

Light At The End Of The Tunnel

Gee, let’s see what has been going on in our little world since I last posted in this space.

Well, the virus, despite the rosy forecasts of the Trump administration, continues to get worse, not better. In the USA, we’ve topped 16 million cases and more than 300,000 deaths. And those numbers climb every day, in fact, every minute. Oh, boy.

Still, there are millions throughout the country who still believe this is a hoax, or an attempt by the government to take away our personal freedoms and constitutional rights. I suspect these are the same people who can’t (or won’t) follow the clearly marked directions in the aisles of my town’s local Safeway. Oh, well.

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Fortunately, there does appear to be some light at the end of the tunnel, as the first wave of a vaccine is starting to make its way across the country. Of course, only about half of the people who have been asked have said they will take the vaccine when available. Wonder if someone is working on a vaccine to cure stupidity? I digress.

And while the CDC has established protocols for how the vaccine should be distributed and administered (first up: health care workers, first responders, those in nursery homes and so on) there is some talk that members of the administration and those in Congress should be able to jump the queue and get a dose before us common folks.

Well, I don’t want anyone to get the virus. But from where I sit, White House staffers and their Congressional counterparts should be the last people in line. They at first downplayed the virus and later wouldn’t be caught dead wearing a mask. Folks, without putting too fine a point on this, those people are the ones who need to take responsibility for this deadly fiasco, not get rewarded because of their job status.

And then there is Congress itself. Since before the election, our elected leaders have been stewing over a plan to provide relief — money and essential supplies — to the millions who desperately need it. But as of this morning, they can’t reach a deal. I imagine that before the election, the Democrats didn’t want to pass anything because it might help Trump. And following the election, the Republicans have once again turned into deficit hawks and appear unwilling to fund anything other than an inflated defense budget.

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Yet there might be some light at the end of the tunnel here as well.

In a little over a month, President-elect Biden will take the oath of office, and Trump will be back in Florida point what he does best, puttering around the golf course.

Or will he.

Various news outlets, including the Daily Mail in the UK, are pointing to a CNN story that Trump is still considering not leaving the White House in January.

Trump is telling advisers he’ll REFUSE to leave the White House on January 20, is ‘throwing a tantrum’ and is plotting revenge on Republicans who turned on him, report claims
President Donald Trump has told advisers that he will refuse to leave the White House on Inauguration Day, a new CNN report claims
‘He’s throwing a f***ing temper tantrum. He’s going to leave. He’s just lashing out,’ one adviser said
Trump now reportedly spends his days mulling over the lost election, plotting ways to contest it, and devising revenge on Republicans who ‘turned on him’

Remember that this is based on a CNN report. 

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But I guess on January 20 we might get to watch the spectacle of Federal marshals dragging Trump’s sorry ass out of the Oval Office. 

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Or maybe we can find some other uses for the former POTUS if he wants to stay in Washington.

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Oh, well.

The coming weeks and months should be interesting.

And let’s just hope that the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t a freight train heading our way.

 

Calling All Suckers

The great American showman P. T. Barnum reportedly once said: “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

Gee, if Barnum was alive today, with that perspective he would surely be among the regular gasbags on MSNBC and other so-called cable news channels. I digress.

Anyway, I was thinking about this as I scrolled through my emails this morning. I gave a modest amount of money to Bernie Sanders during his 2016 and 2020 campaigns. As a result, I now receive emails regularly from the Democratic National Committee and from every Democratic candidate running for positions ranging from President of the USA to dog catcher in Pittsburgh. (Full disclosure: I made up that bit about the dog catcher in Pittsburgh.)

Fortunately, I never gave any money to Republicans or to Trump. Otherwise, I imagine I would be getting bombarded these days by emails asking me to contribute to the lame duck President’s flagging attempt to mount a legal challenge to overturn the election.

Here’s from Yahoo News:

Despite losing the general election, President Donald Trump’s campaign is seeking donations from voters.

The Make America Great Again Committee donation page says that 75% of every contribution is routed to Trump’s newly established leadership PAC, Save America.

These funds could be used to finance the president’s life after he leaves office or even go toward a 2024 presidential bid.

“This money could easily — and legally — end up in his own pocket in the coming years,” the vice president of policy and litigation at Common Cause told CNN.

Wow. So donors could be contributing to a fund that could be used to “finance the president’s life after he leaves office or even go toward a 2024 presidential bid.”

Well no thanks. 

If Trump is truly a billionaire (which is doubtful given all his other lies) then it seems reasonable to me that he should dip into his own pockets to pay for anything and everything he wants.

But, hey, I’m not a Trump supporter. So what do I know?

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Trump: You’re Fired

Well, I’ve been mute on these pages since the election in early November. And I don’t really have a good excuse other than the events we are watching play out in this country seem to be pulled more from the pages of a fiction novel than from reality.

Even though I won’t get universal agreement on this, it’s a safe bet to say that Joe Biden will be our next President, whether the current Doofus-in-Chief ever concedes or not.

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Trump and millions of his supporters continue to press the case that the election was rigged, with the current occupant of the White House getting the short end of the stick. Unfortunately for this gaggle of armchair legal and constitutional experts, Trump’s crack legal team has not produced any evidence that supports their claim of fraud.

And let’s be honest. Trump’s legal team is an embarrassment. Even Trump apparently agrees with this assessment. Here’s from a report via CNBC:

President Donald Trump is worried his campaign’s legal team, led by his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, is composed of “fools that are making him look bad,” NBC News reported.
Giuliani and other campaign lawyers have so far failed to invalidate votes and reverse an apparent victory for President-elect Joe Biden.
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Sunday called Trump’s legal team a “national embarrassment.

Admittedly, it’s not hard to make Trump look bad. But his legal gurus are doing everything they can to cement his legacy as the worst President in recent memory, if not in history.

Anyway, elections, as Obama told McCain as they battled over health care, have consequences. And the consequences of Trump’s refusal to concede and help the transition are very real. For instance: (1) the USA used to be viewed as the world’s greatest democracy; now our position in the world pecking order can’t be much above a Banana Republic; (2) the Biden and Harris team should be getting daily national security briefings; just because Trump apparently can’t read or understand them doesn’t mean that they aren’t important; and (3) there needs to be coordination between the two administrations that allows us to take immediate steps to get this pandemic under control.

Okay. I know that Trump and his Republican lackeys have poisoned the well of public opinion on this. Their supporters believe this pandemic is a hoax, despite more than a quarter million deaths and counting in the USA. And they have encouraged millions to view wearing a face covering and taking steps to social distance as being an attack on their personal liberties. 

 

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Like I said previously, this all reads like something from a bad fiction novel. And it’s hard to turn the page when crackpots like Rudy Giuliani continue to dominate the airwaves, spouting unfounded legal conspiracies and dripping with hair dye.

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It appears that Rudy would have been better off staying in the hotel room with Borat’s daughter. I digress.

In any event, it looks like we are starting to inch our way to some resolution of these national issues.

The General Services Administration is allowing the apparent winner of the election (that’s Joe Biden, in case you are still confused by all this) to get the resources he needs to begin the necessary transition.

And Rudy’s position in history has been pretty much assured.

In less than 20 years, he has gone from being America’s Mayor to being America’s Biggest Douchebag.

As Trump would say: Sad.

Trump Presidency Derailed

Well, the Trump Presidency jumped off the rails this morning with Biden gaining enough Electoral College votes to capture the White House. Good. This country clearly needs a competent President, not a reality TV personality.

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And I’ll admit that Joe Biden wasn’t my first choice among the gaggle of Democrats who sought the nomination. But Biden appears to be a decent person who will restore some honor to the most important position in the free world.

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Here’s an email I received from the President-elect this morning:

I am honored and humbled by the trust the American people have placed in me and in Vice President-elect Harris.
In the face of unprecedented obstacles, a record number of Americans voted. Proving once again, that democracy beats deep in the heart of America.
With the campaign over, it’s time to put the anger and the harsh rhetoric behind us and come together as a nation.
It’s time for America to unite. And to heal.
We are the United States of America. And there’s nothing we can’t do, if we do it together.

So now I guess we will sit back and ponder the flurry of legal challenges that Trump and his Republican enablers will most likely initiate. Of course, like Rudy Giuliani I’m no legal expert. But based on what I have heard and read, there doesn’t appear to be anything that is going to overturn the results of the election.

That means that come January the USA will have the opportunity to return to some degree of normalcy.

And Trump, well…

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Election Polls: Wrong Again

Well, it looks as though Biden is slowing inching toward winning the election. If all the ballots are allowed to be counted, Biden should capture the White House (lawsuits pending) with a razor thin margin via the Electoral College.

And that margin of victory should come as a shock to most pollsters and pundits who had the former VP way ahead nationally and in most of the so-called battleground states.

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I’m not sure why the pollsters get this so wrong in most elections time after time.

I guess you could believe in the conspiracy theories that are now flooding social media. For instance, do you really believe that pollsters for the Washington Post will create a methodology — and word questions — that doesn’t favor liberal Democrats? By the way, The Washington Post and The New York Times (among many other print and broadcast media) used to be real newspapers. Now they are just part of the media gaggle that basically just repeats talking points from the Democratic National Committee. I digress.

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The other problem, apparently, is that Trump supporters and conservatives in general are reticent to provide information to pollsters. So since the talking gasbags on MSNBC and elsewhere cover elections as though they are horse races, the so-called “shy” Trump supporters never get into the race until the very end.

Here’s from an article in The Atlantic: “The Polling Crisis Is a Catastrophe for American Democracy”:

Even with the results of the presidential contest still out, there’s a clear loser in this election: polling.

Surveys badly missed the results, predicting an easy win for former Vice President Joe Biden, a Democratic pickup in the Senate, and gains for the party in the House. Instead, the presidential election is still too close to call, Republicans seem poised to hold the Senate, and the Democratic edge in the House is likely to shrink.

This is a disaster for the polling industry and for media outlets and analysts that package and interpret the polls for public consumption, such as FiveThirtyEight, The New York Times’ Upshot, and The Economist’s election unit. They now face serious existential questions. But the greatest problem posed by the polling crisis is not in the presidential election, where the snapshots provided by polling are ultimately measured against an actual tally of votes: As the political cliché goes, the only poll that matters is on Election Day. The real catastrophe is that the failure of the polls leaves Americans with no reliable way to understand what we as a people think outside of elections—which in turn threatens our ability to make choices, or to cohere as a nation.

Oh well.

I guess we have learned at least two things so far about this election.

One:

 

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And two: There are some 70 million voters in this country who believe that Trump deserves to be reelected.

That’s the most depressing statistic of all.

The Soul Of America

Joe Biden said this election was about the soul of America. If that were true, then it appears this morning (November 4) that America is struggling to find its soul.

I’ll admit that I was pretty confident that Biden would win, perhaps in a landslide. After all, I can read the polls just like any of the talking heads on MSNBC and elsewhere.

So this morning, the best we can hope for is that Biden will score a razor thin victory IF all of the mail in votes are allowed to be counted in several of the so-called battleground states. And IF that happens, we can be thankful that millions of Americans took the advice to vote early and vote by mail.

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Still, if this was a referendum on Trump, then it will be hard for the Dems to claim any kind of substantial victory. The Senate, most likely, will remain in the hands of the Republicans, making Moscow Mitch once again one of the most dangerous men in the country.

And the GOP is clearly still in bed with Trump.

I don’t know. I just don’t get it.

But regardless of the final result of the election, I do know this:

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A Day To Save America

Okay. Maybe I’m overstating the importance of this election day. But I do agree with Joe Biden that this election is about the soul of America.

Trump shocked most people in 2016 when he pulled off the election upset. I don’t believe he expected to win. Did you?

Today, as those who have not already voted head to the polls, what does it say about this country if we willingly reelect the Doofus-in-Chief?

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If the polls are correct, Trump will only be a bad memory come the end of January. But if the polls are wrong, well…

Let me share a message I received a week or so ago from Bernie Sanders, who I believe would have beaten Trump like a piñata. I digress.

Anyway, here is from Bernie: “No More Business As Usual”:

Rob –

We find ourselves in a moment in history in which we face unprecedented crises:

We are facing the worst pandemic in 100 years which has already claimed the lives of more than 220,000 Americans.

We are in the middle of a severe economic downturn which has left millions unemployed, while we now experience more wealth and income inequality than at any time since the 1920s.

We are facing the existential reality of climate change which, as we speak, is burning up the West and threatening the entire planet.

We continue to experience systemic racism, a broken criminal justice system and widespread police brutality against minority communities.

We are dealing with a grossly immoral immigration system which has divided families and leaves millions of undocumented immigrants terrified about the future.

And, in the midst of all that and more, we have a president who does not believe in the rule of law and is more concerned about his own wealth and power than the needs of the American people.

So we have eight days to do everything we can to evict Donald Trump from the White House and to elect Joe Biden. What all of us do in these next eight days, in this very close election, will be remembered throughout history.

But I must tell you that defeating Trump is not the end of our work. It is only the first, and very important, step forward to transforming our country and creating a government and economy that works for all, not the few. In other words, by defeating Trump and electing a Democratic Senate, we can stop being on the defensive every day and start moving forward with an agenda that speaks to the needs of the working people of our country.

But one thing is very clear to me. Even with a Democratic president and a Democratic Congress, we will not successfully address the many crises that we face if we return to the same old, same old type of politics.

No More Business As Usual.

The day after Joe becomes president, we have got to begin mobilizing the American people around the Justice Agenda: economic justice, political justice, racial justice, social justice and environmental justice.

Now is not the time for thinking small. Now IS the time for millions of working families to come together, to revitalize American democracy, to end the collapse of the middle class, and to make certain our children and grandchildren are able to enjoy a quality of life that brings them health, prosperity, security, and joy — and that once again makes the United States the moral leader in the world.

No more corporate elites and lobbyists calling the tunes.

Now is the time for the working families of this country to be heard, and for their agenda to be implemented.

So we have a lot to do over these next eight days, sisters and brothers. But then our work begins again — the work of bringing our people together and enacting an agenda that works for all Americans and not just the wealthy few.

Let us go forward together.

In solidarity,

Bernie Sanders

I most likely won’t live long enough to see Bernie’s views be accepted as mainstream in this country. But someday they will be and this country will be better as a result.

In the meantime, today is the day when we have the opportunity to at least get the “train back on the tracks,” as narrated by Martin Sheen, the former president on the popular TV series The West Wing.

By the way, after the election I wonder what the Trump supporters will do with all the Nazi flags?

A Dark Winter Ahead

I have to give Joe Biden credit for the headline on the post: A Dark Winter Ahead. That’s what he said during last week’s Presidential debate, when he was throwing shade on Trump’s rosy (and wrong) evaluation that the USA was rounding the corner and the pandemic would soon be just a bad memory.

Unfortunately, facts tend to overshadow the predictions that we hear from Dofus-in-Chief and his merry band of compliant bootlickers.

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Oh, boy.

It appears that the USA is now in the midst of a second or third wave of the virus with no end in sight. More than eight million Americans have contracted the virus, and it has killed more than 230,000 (along with Trump’s presidency, most likely). And amazingly enough, we’re recording more than 80,000 new cases a day now as we are heading into the holidays. Good luck to Grandma as she tries to fix Thanksgiving dinner following a stay in the intensive care unit. I digress.

Anyway, I admit that I never thought I would still be writing about this national fiasco as we approach winter with snow on the ground here in Colorado.

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And part of the problem is that Trump has provided no leadership or responsible decision-making in response to this national crisis. In fact, he has done the opposite and taken measures that have further divided the country while going against the advice of health care professionals.

In Trump World, you are a patriot if you refuse to wear a face mask, even though health experts believe that this simple act might be more effective in defeating the virus than a vaccine.

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So it goes.

Since Trump’s response has been so anemic and pathetic, clearly someone has to take the blame. And guess what. That person now appears to be the good doctor Fauci.

Here’s what Trump said last week at a campaign rally (super spreader event?) in Arizona, according to the Chicago Tribune:

“People are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots,” Trump said of the government’s top infectious disease expert. “Every time he goes on television, there’s always a bomb. But there’s a bigger bomb if you fire him. But Fauci’s a disaster.”

Well, gee. What should we make of that critique from POTUS?

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It’s going to be a long, dark winter.