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The Post Office, VP, and Fast Hands

These things are small beer and I wanted to comment before they went off the airwaves…

At the outset it looks like my Hillary prediction has zero chance to happen, her star flaming out into an ocean of contempt for her and her icky husband. We’ll see. The jury is still out on replacing Biden.

Now, to the topics: The postal service, the VP nomination, and fast hands…

The Post Office brouhaha was caused by Trump, the victim of his own ill-timed attempt to bringing accountability to a beleaguered labor intensive and shrinking institution.

Let’s agree that voting by mail is debatable. I’ve done it, I will do it again, and statistics vary but it is close to a quarter of all votes cast. Let’s also agree that getting it right is crucial, and debating this important element of the American franchise now, 75 days from a national election, is ridiculous, counter-productive, and all Trump’s doing. I will probably vote for him, early or by mail but, oh brother.

In royal executive fashion he cans one postmaster and appoints a competent crony to whip the Eagle into shape. A good move on November 4th, but not now. All the elements the new postmaster has encouraged are legitimate for an agency head, of the last great monopoly, to initiate. It is also tone-deaf, seemingly self-serving, a little paranoid, painfully ill-timed and will take many long months, if not years, to get right.

The USPS is a big boat and will not turn quickly.

Although the agency loses money, it could be in the black with many operational changes and two big monetary ones: The USPS uses a complicated formula to fund retiree benefits and I am way out of my depth here. According to Elizabeth Bauer, aka Jane the Actuary, in Forbes magazine, shifting USPS retirees to Medicare and a general reduction in healthcare benefits and costs would be extremely helpful. But Congress needs to act on it. Second, double or triple the cost of first-class postage, in line with the rest of the world. The sad irony is that volume is shrinking for hard mail and it might be hopeless. Again, it is for Congress to act.

Here’s my slant on actual voting by mail. We should consider outsourcing it, for instance, to American Express. Vote by mail, on-line, in person, whatever, but the crux of the problem is trust, not postage. Election counting and administration is a political patronage job or volunteer activity and competence takes a back seat to party loyalty. Good people, I know, and I know them, but give the most important egalitarian act of being a citizen of our republic to an entity that will hold itself to the highest level of integrity… for a profit. It’s the American way.

Bottom line, Trump wants a straw man to fire up his base, unnecessarily, and picked the wrong one. If he wants to whip the USPS into competitive shape he should wait ‘til next year. He is giving ammo to his enemies and they are most definitely his visceral enemies.

Next topic, some knucklehead started a social media brushfire with the ridiculous assertion that Kamala Harris is not eligible for the office she seeks. Bravo to that cretin, and I suspect it was not a Trump supporter but a savvy partisan democrat anti-Trumper who knows how to bait a hook. And Trump almost took it, too, live on TV, and even gave a nod to Qanon conspiracy nonsense. Another unforced error. Drop it, Donnie.

Last, Fats Hands. I have met two people in my life who are deaf. Both are competent and appear to be able to read lips but more critically they can likely operate a TV set-up to get closed captioning. So why bring this up? Because the sign language people, hard-working and supremely accurate, I’m sure, are so distracting in daily briefings all over the nation that I cannot hear a word of what the officials giving the updates are saying. It’s cartoonish and unnecessary.

Well, maybe that’s deliberate.

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