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CURRENT EVENTS FBI FISA FISC Intelwars NSA Section 702 spying Surveillance usps

More Government Spying and Lying

Twice last week, the federal government’s unconstitutional spying on ordinary Americans was exposed. One of these revelations was made by a federal judge in Washington, D.C., who wrote that the FBI is still using warrantless spying in criminal cases, notwithstanding the Constitution and federal laws. The other revelation was a surprise even to those of us who monitor these things — the United States Postal Service acknowledged that it has been spying on Americans.

Here is the backstory.

The modern American security state — the parts of the federal government that spy on Americans and do not change on account of elections — received an enormous shot in the arm in 1978 when Congress enacted the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. That naively misguided and profoundly unconstitutional law was sold to Congress as a way to control the security state’s spying in the aftermath of Watergate. Watergate had revealed that President Richard M. Nixon used the FBI and the CIA to spy on real and imagined domestic political adversaries.

FISA set up a secret court that authorized domestic spying by issuing warrants not based on probable cause of crime, as the Constitution requires, but on probable cause of communicating with foreign agents. Never mind that communications about noncriminal matters are protected speech; the FISA court issued tens of thousands of these warrants.

As the security state’s appetite for spying grew more voracious, its agents and lawyers persuaded the FISA court to lower the bar for issuing a surveillance warrant from communicating with a foreign agent to communicating with a foreign person, and to expand the scope of those warrants to include Americans who have communicated with other Americans who have communicated with foreign people. Under this procedure, if I call my cousins in Florence and then you call me, all of your calls could be surveilled.

Jealous of the ease with which America’s spies can obtain warrants from the FISA court, the FBI persuaded its friends on Capitol Hill to enact legislation that gives the FBI a peek at data the security state gathers — if it meets certain standards — to see if any of it pertains to criminal matters. Each one of these FBI peeks at raw intelligence data is known as a “share.”

All of this was done in utter disregard of the Fourth Amendment requirements that no search warrants shall be issued without showing under oath probable cause of crime and that all warrants shall specifically describe the place to be searched and the person or thing to be seized.

If an FBI agent sees evidence of a nonnational security crime on one of the shares, the agent will try to use it in a criminal prosecution, even though he acquired it in violation of the Fourth Amendment. If federal prosecutors want to introduce evidence from the share at trial, they need to find another source for it, as no judge will admit raw intelligence data obtained without a warrant in a criminal case.

After 9/11, President George W. Bush ordered the National Security Agency — the 60,000-person strong branch of the military that quarterbacks domestic spying — to capture every keystroke on every computer and the contents of every phone call in America. All presidents since Bush — even President Donald Trump, who was personally victimized by this spying — have continued the practice of universal, suspicionless, warrantless spying.

The NSA sharing data with the FBI is deeply troubling because it violates both the Fourth Amendment and federal law. The intentional use of FISA to obtain data about an American for nonnational security-related criminal activity is itself a criminal act as it constitutes a planned and direct violation of the Fourth Amendment by electronic means — otherwise known as hacking.

Last week, the chief judge of the FISA court revealed that for 2019 the FBI reported just one instance of sharing, even though Department of Justice auditors found 91 instances. And that number is far lower than the true number of shares since — inexplicably — the DOJ counts all shares performed by one agent as one share, even though the agent may have accessed the data of more than one American.

In August 2019, one FBI agent accessed the raw intelligence data of 16,000 Americans in order to find criminal evidence about seven of them. The FBI reported that as one share.

Also last week, the USPS revealed that its postal inspectors have been monitoring social media at random, looking for troublemakers. Since social media is publicly posted, you and I can read it at will. But the Fourth Amendment requires that the government have “articulable suspicion” about the person whose social media is being surveilled before it begins its surveillance — even surveillance of publicly available materials. This is to prevent fishing expeditions.

What articulable suspicions did the Postal Service have before its police began their surveillance? What conceivable threat to the postal mails is manifested in texts and emails (other than that the latter are infinitely faster and profoundly more efficient)? None and none.

All this shows just how corrupted America’s security state has become under presidents of both parties. From counting 16,000 as if it were one, to hacking the texts and emails of people without articulable suspicion or probable cause, to orchestrating end runs around the Fourth Amendment, to lying to federal judges about all this — we see the tactics of the East German Stasi and Soviet KGB have been reborn on this side of the Atlantic.

Of what value is the constitutional guarantee of privacy if those we have hired to protect it are themselves undermining it?

The post More Government Spying and Lying first appeared on Tenth Amendment Center.

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US Postal Service is secretly keeping tabs on Americans’ social media posts as part of ‘covert operations program’

The United States Postal Service has been secretly collecting data on Americans’ social media posts, Yahoo News revealed Wednesday.

According to a March 16 government bulletin obtained by the outlet, the USPS’ law enforcement arm is tracking citizens’ social media activity to gather data on a host of topics, including “inflammatory” postings and planned protests, that it shares across multiple federal agencies as part of an effort called the Internet Covert Operations Program, or iCOP.

Yahoo News said the document, which was marked “law enforcement sensitive,” specifically mentioned an examination of alleged planned activity for March 20 and was distributed through Homeland Security’s fusion centers.

“Analysts with the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) Internet Covert Operations Program (iCOP) monitored significant activity regarding planned protests occurring internationally and domestically on March 20, 2021,” the bulletin said. “Locations and times have been identified for these protests, which are being distributed online across multiple social media platforms, to include right-wing leaning Parler and Telegram accounts.”

The report said iCOP’s intelligence admitted that nothing pointed to the alleged threats as actually being legitimate:

A number of groups were expected to gather in cities around the globe on March 20 as part of a World Wide Rally for Freedom and Democracy, to protest everything from lockdown measures to 5G. “Parler users have commented about their intent to use the rallies to engage in violence. Image 3 on the right is a screenshot from Parler indicating two users discussing the event as an opportunity to engage in a ‘fight’ and to ‘do serious damage,'” says the bulletin.

“No intelligence is available to suggest the legitimacy of these threats,” it adds.

The bulletin includes screenshots of posts about the protests from Facebook, Parler, Telegram and other social media sites. Individuals mentioned by name include one alleged Proud Boy and several others whose identifying details were included but whose posts did not appear to contain anything threatening.

“iCOP analysts are currently monitoring these social media channels for any potential threats stemming from the scheduled protests and will disseminate intelligence updates as needed,” the bulletin says.

Constitutional concerns

Civil liberties experts told Yahoo News they were concerned about both the surveillance and why the USPS would be tasked with such an undertaking.

“It’s a mystery,” said University of Chicago law professor Geoffrey Stone, who, Yahoo noted, reviewed the NSA’s bulk data collection during the Obama years following the Edward Snowden leaks. “I don’t understand why the government would go to the Postal Service for examining the internet for security issues.

“I just don’t think the Postal Service has the degree of sophistication that you would want if you were dealing with national security issues of this sort,” he continued.

“That part is puzzling,” Stone said. “There are so many other federal agencies that could do this, I don’t understand why the post office would be doing it. There is no need for the post office to do it — you’ve got FBI, Homeland Security and so on, so I don’t know why the post office is doing this.”

Rachel Levinson-Waldman, who serves as deputy director of the Brennan Center for Justice’s liberty and national security program, told Yahoo that the program “seems a little bizarre.”

“Based on the very minimal information that’s available online, it appears that [iCOP] is meant to root out misuse of the postal system by online actors, which doesn’t seem to encompass what’s going on here,” she added. “It’s not at all clear why their mandate would include monitoring of social media that’s unrelated to use of the postal system.”

She also pointed to the constitutionally dubious nature of the program.

“If the individuals they’re monitoring are carrying out or planning criminal activity, that should be the purview of the FBI,” Levinson-Waldman said. “If they’re simply engaging in lawfully protected speech, even if it’s odious or objectionable, then monitoring them on that basis raises serious constitutional concerns.”

Yahoo News said the U.S. Postal Inspection Service did not respond to specific questions about iCOP.

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allegations chaos confusion distrust election election fraud election outcome electorate Headline News Intelwars Joe Biden LIES Mail-in ballots Mainstream media news Pennsylvania postal worker propaganda public perception recant Richard Hopkins STORY United States usps

Election Fraud USPS Whistleblower Stands Against MSM Saying He “Recanted”

In a video posted Tuesday evening, Richard Hopkins, a United States Postal Service worker in Pennsylvania who said voter fraud was rampant denied taking back his statements when speaking to authorities. “I’m here to say I did not recant my statements. That did not happen,” said Richard Hopkins, standing against the mainstream media’s allegations.

The plan to say Hopkins recanted is backfiring, but it was probably one last-ditch effort by Democrats to maintain control of public perception about the outcome of the election, which should not have been called according to Real Clear Politics.

According to The New York Post, congressional Democrats and a major US newspaper claimed had recanted his allegations of mail-in-ballot tampering is denying that he walked back his words.

Hopkins is standing against the lying and propagating mainstream media.

Hopkins’ allegations — first reported by conservative activist group Project Veritas — were included in a federal lawsuit filed Monday by Trump’s campaign.

The suit alleges that Keystone State officials created “an illegal ‘two-tiered’ voting system” that unfairly favors mail-in ballots and “encourages ballot fraud or tampering.”

“It has been reported by Project Veritas, in a release on November 5, 2020, that carriers were told to collect, separate and deliver all mail-in ballots directly to the supervisor,” the suit says. –The New York Post

This situation seems strange.

“It has been reported by Project Veritas, in a release on November 5, 2020, that carriers were told to collect, separate and deliver all mail-in ballots directly to the supervisor,” the suit says.

After news of Hopkins recanting was initially reported, Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh weighed in as well, arguing that Hopkins “filed a very detailed affidavit. He named names. He described explicitly what it is that he experienced.”

Murtaugh also suggested that Hopkins’ recantation may not have been entirely voluntary.

“Earlier today, we saw our own attorney, in some cases, doxxed on Twitter and public invitations to harass attorneys who have been involved in pursuing the president’s lawful avenues through the courts and also connected to what we will eventually pursue in recounts,” he said. -NY Post

Real Clear Politics: “The Media Should NOT Have Called This Election!”

The post Election Fraud USPS Whistleblower Stands Against MSM Saying He “Recanted” first appeared on SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don't Say We Didn't Warn You.

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allegations chaos confusion distrust election election fraud election outcome electorate Headline News Intelwars Joe Biden LIES Mail-in ballots Mainstream media news Pennsylvania postal worker propaganda public perception recant Richard Hopkins STORY United States usps

Election Fraud USPS Whistleblower Stands Against MSM Saying He “Recanted”

In a video posted Tuesday evening, Richard Hopkins, a United States Postal Service worker in Pennsylvania who said voter fraud was rampant denied taking back his statements when speaking to authorities. “I’m here to say I did not recant my statements. That did not happen,” said Richard Hopkins, standing against the mainstream media’s allegations.

The plan to say Hopkins recanted is backfiring, but it was probably one last-ditch effort by Democrats to maintain control of public perception about the outcome of the election, which should not have been called according to Real Clear Politics.

According to The New York Post, congressional Democrats and a major US newspaper claimed had recanted his allegations of mail-in-ballot tampering is denying that he walked back his words.

Hopkins is standing against the lying and propagating mainstream media.

Hopkins’ allegations — first reported by conservative activist group Project Veritas — were included in a federal lawsuit filed Monday by Trump’s campaign.

The suit alleges that Keystone State officials created “an illegal ‘two-tiered’ voting system” that unfairly favors mail-in ballots and “encourages ballot fraud or tampering.”

“It has been reported by Project Veritas, in a release on November 5, 2020, that carriers were told to collect, separate and deliver all mail-in ballots directly to the supervisor,” the suit says. –The New York Post

This situation seems strange.

“It has been reported by Project Veritas, in a release on November 5, 2020, that carriers were told to collect, separate and deliver all mail-in ballots directly to the supervisor,” the suit says.

After news of Hopkins recanting was initially reported, Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh weighed in as well, arguing that Hopkins “filed a very detailed affidavit. He named names. He described explicitly what it is that he experienced.”

Murtaugh also suggested that Hopkins’ recantation may not have been entirely voluntary.

“Earlier today, we saw our own attorney, in some cases, doxxed on Twitter and public invitations to harass attorneys who have been involved in pursuing the president’s lawful avenues through the courts and also connected to what we will eventually pursue in recounts,” he said. -NY Post

Real Clear Politics: “The Media Should NOT Have Called This Election!”

The post Election Fraud USPS Whistleblower Stands Against MSM Saying He “Recanted” first appeared on SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don't Say We Didn't Warn You.

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2020 Election 2020 presidential election Intelwars Pennsylvania Pennsylvania ballots usps

Chaos erupts after Dems claim that USPS whistleblower recanted his testimony, whistleblower denies recanting

The bizarre case of the Erie, Pennsylvania, U.S. Postal Service whistleblower who claims that he overheard his supervisors discussing backdating the postmarks on absentee ballots took another twist Tuesday when Democrats on the House Oversight Committee claimed that the whistleblower recanted, only to have the whistleblower release a video denying that he recanted.

The whistleblower, who has been identified as Richard Hopkins, claimed in an affidavit that he overheard his supervisor telling another postal employee that he had backdated a group of mail-in ballots that were collected on Nov. 4 to make it appear that they had in fact been mailed on Nov. 3. Under a ruling from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, ballots that were mailed by Nov. 3 will still be counted (pending a legal challenge to this ruling) even if they were received after Election Day.

It is important to note that, even if the whistleblower’s allegations are true, none of the ballots received after Nov. 3 have yet been counted or added to either candidate’s total. Thus, the whistleblower’s allegations do not directly pertain to Biden’s current lead in the state. The state has revealed that about 10,000 votes total were received in the mail between Nov. 3 and Friday, but those ballots have remained sequestered and uncounted pending the Trump campaign’s legal challenge to their inclusion. Presumably, if the Trump campaign’s challenge fails, those ballots will only serve to increase Biden’s current lead in the Keystone State.

Nevertheless, the whistleblower’s affidavit has become a flash point of controversy as it represents one of the few concrete allegations of voter fraud that have been brought forth by the campaign. The affidavit appears to have been the reason for remarks by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) over the weekend promising a Senate Judiciary Committee investigation into voting irregularities.

The controversy intensified Tuesday afternoon when Democrats on the House Oversight Committee released a statement claiming that the whistleblower had “recanted” his testimony, a claim that was magnified by many in the media.

Project Veritas, which publicized Hopkins’ story, did not waste time refuting this characterization, releasing a video of Hopkins saying that he did not recant his testimony.

In a subsequent tweet, O’Keefe claims that federal investigators “intimidated” Hopkins and complains that he was interviewed for four hours without legal counsel. He further promised a full release of the transcript of that interview.

Although Hopkins has denied “recanting,” it is not yet clear what he did say to federal agents during their interview or whether he may have revised some details that he claimed in his affidavit.

Hopkins was also praised by President Donald Trump on Twitter, who stated, “A brave patriot. More & more people are stepping forward to expose this Rigged Election!”

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California man finds dozens of mail-in ballots discarded in alley trash cans

A California man is sounding the alarm bell after he found dozens of mail-in ballots mysteriously stuffed inside two Santa Monica trash cans.

The shocking discovery comes as the 2020 presidential election is well under way in terms of absentee and mail-in ballots. Voting by mail took newfound prominence in the national dialogue over the summer as leaders looked for safe methods of conducting a national election amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many Americans, therefore, have chosen to cast their vote via mail-in ballot, which Republican critics say increases the possibility of voter fraud.

What are the details?

Osvaldo Jimenez told KABC-TV that he made the alarming discovery last Thursday. Stuffed inside a Santa Monica trash can, Jimenez discovered dozens of official ballots, along with other personal mail items, such as bank statements.

“I opened the trash can, and I see a lot of envelopes and ballots, especially ballot envelopes in the trash can, and I knew right away that was not normal,” Jimenez said. “I thought it was somebody playing a prank. Nobody’s going to throw ballot envelopes in the trash can.”

Jimenez’s wife posted pictures of the trashed ballots on social media, KCBS-TV reported.

According to KABC, Jimenez recovered the ballots and phoned police.

“If it was my ballot in there, I would want somebody to, you know, recover it,” Jimenez told KABC. “Every vote counts, whichever party it is.”

Shockingly, Jimenez later discovered even more mail-in ballots in a separate trash can, KABC reported.

How the ballots ended up in the trash cans is not clear. Law enforcement is investigating the incidents, as is the United States Postal Service.

Anything else?

As mail-in ballots play a greater role in the election than they ever have before, there have numerous stories of suspicious activities happening with mail.

For example, the U.S. Postal Service is investigating an incident that happened in Glendale, California, last month in which massive bags of mail were mysteriously dumped in a parking lot.

Then, just last week, a New Jersey mail carrier was arrested after police say he dumped thousands of mail pieces he was supposed to deliver. Among the pieces of discarded mail were 99 ballots.

Meanwhile, an investigation was launched in Virginia last week after six USPS collection boxes were broken into, sparking new fears that mail-in ballots could be compromised or stolen.

Election officials nationwide, however, say that despite mail-in ballots playing a significant role in this year’s election, the integrity of the election will not be compromised.

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New Jersey mailman arrested for allegedly dumping mail, including 99 election ballots

A United States Postal Service letter carrier from New Jersey was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly tossing more than 1,800 pieces of mail into dumpsters, including 99 election ballots.

What are the details?

Nicholas Beauchene, 26, of Kearny, stands accused by federal authorities of throwing away mail he was assigned to deliver on his route in recent days.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey:

Approximately 1,875 pieces of mail – including 627 pieces of first class, 873 pieces of standard class, two pieces of certified mail, 99 general election ballots destined for residents in West Orange, and 276 campaign flyers from local candidates for West Orange Town Council and Board of Education – were recovered from dumpsters in North Arlington and West Orange on Oct. 2, 2020, and Oct. 5, 2020. The mail had been scheduled to be delivered on Sept. 28, Oct. 1, and Oct. 2, 2020, to addresses on certain postal routes in Orange and West Orange. On the delivery dates for which mail was recovered, Beauchene was the only mail carrier assigned to deliver mail to the addresses on the recovered mail.

The USPS told WCBS-TV that the discarded mail has since been delivered.

Beauchene was charged with one count of delay, secretion, or detention of mail and one count of obstruction of mail. The first offense could land him in prison for up to 5 years with a $250,000 fine, and the second is punishable by up to 6 months in the slammer and $5,000 in fines.

The Daily Mail reported that Orange and West Orange are both in Essex County, New Jersey, which voted “overwhelmingly” for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in the 2016 general election. The outlet noted that Clinton garnered more than 240,000 votes in the county compared to then-candidate Donald Trump’s 630,000-or-so votes.

Anything else?

According to the New York Post, the New Jersey incident comes “amid fears over mail-in voting dysfunction in the 2020 presidential race.” The Post pointed to the chaos in New York City after as many as 140,000 residents were mailed absentee ballots with either wrong name and address — or another person’s ballot altogether.

An investigation was also launched in Virginia this week, where election officials warned that six USPS collection boxes were broken into in multiple counties, sparking fears that mail-in ballots could have been stolen.

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Chicago gun violence Chicago murders Chicago shootings Chicago shootings 2020 Intelwars usps Usps shooting

After USPS carrier shot, Chicago postal workers threaten to stop delivering mail because it’s too dangerous

Chicago postal workers have hinted that they could stop delivering mail because some neighborhoods are just too dangerous. The threat comes shortly after a USPS mail carrier was shot in Chicago while on the job.

On Friday, Chicago postal workers attended a rally with community organizers to demand that something be done about the violent crime that is plaguing the city. The night before, postal workers attended a prayer vigil near the crime scene in the Burnside neighborhood where a USPS mail carrier was recently shot.

Mack Julion, the president of the Chicago chapter of the National Association of Letter Carriers, instructed postal workers to stop delivering mail if they don’t feel safe.

“Any letter carrier who does not feel safe in any one of these communities then they are not to deliver mail and customers have to pick up their mail,” Julion said. “We are not going to have another situation where the letter carrier is shot down.”

At around 11:35 a.m. on Sept. 10, a 24-year-old USPS mail carrier was shot four times during a drive-by shooting while on the job. Authorities don’t believe that the mail carrier was the intended target of the shooting.

According to WLS-TV, Chicago Fire Department officials said the woman was critically injured. She remains hospitalized because of the injuries suffered during the shooting.

The Chicago Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service is offering $50,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect who carried out the shooting.

A day after the postal worker was shot, a USPS employee was shot with a paintball gun in Chicago’s South Side.

“That’s a traumatic experience, especially when you had a coworker shot the day before,” Julion said. “It’s not funny, these are federal employees…our members are at work trying to do their job trying to support their families, trying to serve the community.”

In March, a 47-year-old USPS employee was shot while delivering mail in Brighton Park. The man, who was one of two people shot during the attack, was struck in the head. The man told WLS that he feels fortunate that he wasn’t more seriously injured.

Isis Edmond, a Chicago postal worker for seven years, said she has personally experienced shootings while delivering mail.

“You pray. Pray that god protects you,” Edmond told WLS. “But you try to be aware of your surroundings, just look out, but sometimes, in her case, you can’t see everything.”

Shootings are so common in Chicago that Edmond has a process.

“I’ve been delivering mail and gunshots rung out. I’ve had to run to my truck and stay in my truck until everything deescalated,” Edmond said. “Contact 911 of course. Contact my supervisor to tell them what’s going on. Then leave the area. That’s the process.”

At the time of publication, 30 people were shot in Chicago this weekend, two of them fatal.

Homicides in Chicago have spiked over 50%; murders have already surpassed 2019’s total. Chicago gun violence is on pace to reach alarming numbers not seen since the 1990s.

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California Intelwars Investigation usps

Massive bags of mail mysteriously dumped in Southern California — and one dump was caught on camera

An investigation was launched last week after massive bags of unopened United States Postal Service mail and packages were discovered at two separate locations in Southern California.

What happened?

In the first incident last Thursday morning, police received a phone call alerting them that “possible stolen mail or whatever was dumped in an alleyway,” Glendale Police Sgt. Christian Hauptmann told the Los Angeles Times. Several hours later, police received a second phone call about more dumped mail.

Fortunately, the second incident was captured on surveillance cameras.

The footage, shared with KTLA-TV, shows a rental truck backing into the parking lot of a medical salon. A man then exits the truck and tosses large bags of mail and packages from inside the truck onto the ground.

“It happened early in the morning, 5:40, and it was a Budget rental — big truck — that backed up to the parking lot. And they’re like, slowly, one by one, they’re dropping the packages,” Lilia Serobian, one of the medical salon’s owners, told KTLA.

She said the truck left a “huge pile” of mail and that the truck was not connected to the USPS.

According to the Times, the second mail drop happened less than one mile from the first.

What did the USPS say?

USPS spokesperson Evelina Ramirez told the Times:

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is the law enforcement, crime prevention and security arm of the Postal Service. In order to preserve the integrity of their investigations and to prevent fundamental unfairness to the subjects of those investigations, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service does not comment on any ongoing investigations.

What’s the background?

The mysterious mail drops come as the USPS has taken center stage in the national dialogue ahead of the November election.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Democrats have pushed for widespread mail-in voting. They have in turn made shoring up the security of the postal service a top priority, even going so far as to spread a conspiracy theory that President Donald Trump was actively dismantling the postal service to manipulate the election.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra actually joined a lawsuit last week to stop routine operational changes at the USPS, furthering the conspiracy.

“The U.S. Postal Service is an American institution. For many, it’s a lifeline — their Social Security or paychecks, their medicine, their connection to loved ones. And for a vast, growing number, it’s their franchise to democracy,” Becerra said in a statement. “President Trump’s sabotage of the USPS is un-American. It’s an attack on free and fair elections and our right to vote. No matter who you support, your right to vote is sacred.”

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CURRENT EVENTS History Intelwars lysander spooner Post Office Postal Clause usps

Sell the Postal Service!

The United States Postal Service – formerly the Post Office — is an American institution rooted in the Constitution. To the framers, the idea that the federal government would be in the thankless business of carrying mail from city to city defied their Madisonian ideas of limited government. But they feared that rival states would take over delivery of the mails. So, they reluctantly made it a federal apparatus.

In an era with slow communication, and before the invention of the telegraph or telephone, the use of the mails was the only effective way to pay a bill without cash, transmit a document or send a letter.

In the 1840s, a gifted philosopher-businessman, Lysander Spooner, founded the American Letter Mail Company. It delivered mail between Washington, D.C., and Boston for significantly less than what the Post Office charged. When the federal government challenged its right to compete with the Post Office, the courts held that even though the Constitution established the Post Office, there was no prohibition in the law on competing with it.

These decisions were based on sound economic policy and obvious constitutional jurisprudence, but they were too much for the federal government to bear. The reluctant Madisonians were gone, and a bureaucracy had replaced them — a bureaucracy which, then as now, hated competition.

When more folks began using Spooner’s mail service than the U.S. mail — his stamps cost less and his guaranteed on-time deliveries were reliable — the Post Office sought refuge in legislation. So, Congress enacted laws prohibiting competition in first-class mail by charging less than the Post Office. This monopolistic legislation put Spooner out of business and returned the Post Office to its lethargic ways.

The legislation was also a guarantee of inefficiency — with ensured customers and no competition. Today, we have UPS and FedEx, but they can charge 20 times as much as the Postal Service to deliver the same document. On the other hand, the Postal Service goes where UPS and FedEx don’t. And its best customer — Amazon — offers nearly any product to anyone, no matter the destination.

The new postmaster general came into office two months ago at the cusp of a hotly contested presidential election. He has made cost-cutting changes resulting in slower mail delivery. Some of his new rules are absurd. They require mail trucks and carriers to leave postal service facilities each day on schedule, even if the mail they are to deliver is not yet on the trucks or in the carry bags. Which is better, mail an hour late or a day late? The answer is obvious to all but Postal Service management.

In two months, we will have a presidential election in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. President Donald Trump — who has voted by mail since changing his lawful residence from New York City to Palm Beach, Florida, last year — has been arguing persistently that voting by mail is inherently corrupt and untrustworthy.

Yet, in the 2016 presidential election in which Hillary Clinton received 3 million more popular votes than Trump, and he was elected by the Electoral College, more than 40 million Americans voted by mail and there was little if any complaining by either major political party of corruption.

This November, 80 million Americans will have the choice of voting by mail or in person. The right to vote is essentially guaranteed by the Constitution. The Constitution also mandates a uniform day for voting for president. As we all know, constitutional guarantees are only as reliable as is the fidelity to the Constitution of those in whose hands we repose it for safekeeping. In the case of voters electing a president, the Constitution reposes the power to make election rules in state legislatures.

So, when New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, for example, ordered the printing and mailing of 4 million ballots — one to every registered voter in the state — so as to enable individuals to choose to vote in person or by mail, he usurped the power of the legislature. Only a few New Jersey Republicans complained, but the Democratic-controlled legislature did nothing. Perhaps it has grown accustomed to Murphy’s governing by decree.

The legal challenge to Murphy’s latest authoritarianism will no doubt fail. That’s because the Supreme Court has consistently ruled this year that the mechanisms for voting are left to the states and any grievances about them are political. Stated differently, the court is telling us if we don’t like Murphy’s rules — or the rules of any state legislature or governor — we can vote them out of office.

Now, back to the Postal Service. It is a grossly inefficient entity which could never survive were it not a monopoly. How inefficient is it? In 2019, it lost $8.8 billion. Who makes up for the losses? The taxpayers.

No monopoly can exist without government violating the basic laws of economics. We have lived with this inefficiency for too long. It should change radically — after this November.

The postal couriers and their managers may be able resist snow and rain and heat and gloom of night, but to take on competition — to allow the economic laws of supply and demand to reduce prices and enhance services — will be too much for them to bear.

In 2021, the federal government should sell the Postal Service to the highest bidder.

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Lawmaker exposes what House Democrats are ‘suddenly’ stuffing in emergency USPS bill

The Democrat-controlled House will vote Saturday on new legislation related to the U.S. Postal Service amid controversy over operational changes.

But according to Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R) — the New Jersey congressman who famously left the Democratic Party last year — his former colleagues are stuffing something in the legislation that could change how the public interacts with the USPS.

What is the background?

According to CNN, the House is scheduled to vote on a bill that allocates an additional $25 billion of taxpayer money to the USPS. The legislation also temporary bans further operational changes.

From CNN:

Democratic leaders introduced the measure, based on a bill sponsored by House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat from New York, after the Trump administration made policy changes at the USPS. Those moves included cutting overtime for employees, limiting post office hours, and removing some high-volume mail sorting machines from USPS facilities. Democrats argue the policies were intended to impede mail-in voting ahead of the November election. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, an ally and donor of President Donald Trump, has denied the claims, saying the changes were intended to increase efficiency and save money.

What did Van Drew say?

Speaking on Fox News, the New Jersey Republican explained that Democrats have stuffed a provision in their legislation that would allow the public to sue the USPS.

According to Van Drew, if the provision became law, it would further burden taxpayers.

“They suddenly put in there that now you can sue the post office,” he said. “We’re going to have a lot more liability issues, a lot more costs, certainly more money for, I guess, attorneys, but a whole lot less money for the taxpayers.”

“Who told them to do that? Who wants that? Why are we doing that?” Van Drew continued. “I don’t understand what we’re actually doing sometimes rather than getting good work … accomplished for the people of the United States of America. It’s just folks arguing with each other, and Democrats not wanting to cooperate, ever.”

Saturday’s vote is expected to fall down party lines, meaning it will be passed in the House. However, the bill is dead once it reaches the Republican-controlled Senate. The White House has also said that President Donald Trump would veto the bill.

Perhaps most shocking about the Democrat-sponsored legislation is that, according to Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is forcing a floor vote despite the bill not yet having gone through the full committee process.

Anything else?

Despite conspiratorial claims, the USPS said Friday that, if every American voted by mail, the volume of ballots would still be just a fraction of the mail they handle every single day.

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Postmaster General promises timely delivery of election mail, says USPS doesn’t need bailout money

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy denied accusations that the United States Postal Service wouldn’t be able to handle increased volumes of election mail in November, and told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Friday that the USPS was “fully capable” of getting the job done, CBS News reported.

DeJoy has been a target of Democrats who believe the Trump donor and logistics expert is handicapping the Postal Service at the president’s urging in order to discourage or limit mail-in voting.

“As we head into the election season, I want to assure this committee, and the American public, that the Postal Service is fully capable of delivering the nation’s election mail securely and on time,” DeJoy testified.

DeJoy said even mail-in ballots sent one week before Election Day would be counted, because USPS workers will “scour every plant each night leading up to Election Day” to make sure no ballot is left behind.

Rather than being opposed to mail-in voting, as President Donald Trump is, DeJoy told the committee “I think the American public should be able to vote by mail, and the Postal Service will support it.”

DeJoy clarified that the potential issue with mail-in ballots is related to state deadlines that are too close to Election Day, which is why 46 states were notified of that issue in a letter late last month. DeJoy said Americans should vote early, if they can.

The U.S. Postal Service plans to “send a letter to every American” explaining “what our process is” for mail-in voting, DeJoy said Friday.

DeJoy, who has been in his role since June, said he has never spoken to Trump or White House advisers about making changes to service.

The USPS has long been in bad financial shape, and DeJoy was hired as a logistics expert from the private sector to address issues of cost and efficiency. Some of the changes that have reportedly been made, such as the limiting of overtime and the removal of some mail sorting machines and collection boxes, have led to some delays in mail delivery in some areas. Those operational changes were suspended by DeJoy this week to avoid the appearance of tampering with the Nov. 3 election.

Some recent primary elections were disrupted by issues with mail-in ballots. A New York congressional election was delayed by six weeks due to a dispute over some ballots that were not postmarked or that were received after the deadline. Tens of thousands of votes that were mailed in weren’t counted for various reasons.

Democrats are pushing for billions of dollars in additional funding for the USPS, partially to help with the election. On Friday, DeJoy told Congress the USPS did not need a federal bailout, but did advocate for reimbursement for service provided during the pandemic even while revenues were down.

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Thousands of chicks shipped through USPS arrive dead to Maine farms

Farmers and politicians in Maine are sounding the alarm after discovering thousands of baby chickens have arrived dead to poultry farms following transport through the United States Postal Service in recent weeks.

What are the details?

The Press Herald first reported on the issue, telling the story of poultry farmer Pauline Henderson, who received a shipment of 800 chicks last week—and every one of them was dead. “We’ve never had a problem like this before,” she told the local newspaper. “Usually they arrive every three weeks like clockwork, and out of 100 birds you may have one or two that die in shipping.”

Henderson is left with few alternatives, because it is cost-prohibitive to pay employees to pick the chicks up from hatcheries out of state, and the New York Post reported that the USPS “is the only mail service that ships live chicks.”

But Henderson, who owns and operates Pine Tree Poultry in New Sharon, is not the only grower who has this problem.

Maine Rep. Chellie Pingree (D) says her office has received dozens of complaints about large shipments of chicks arriving dead via USPS, and by her count, farmers reported at least 4,800 birds killed during transport over the past few weeks.

Pingree blames recent changes introduced to the USPS by the Trump administration, as the agency struggles with low mail volume due to the COVID-19 crisis. “It’s one more of the consequences of this disorganization, this sort of chaos they’ve created at the post office and nobody thought through when they were thinking of slowing down the mail.”

She added, “This is a system that’s always worked well before and it’s worked very well until these changes started being made.”

New Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has come under fire from Democrats over the reforms.

Politico reported:

DeJoy, a Republican donor who’s the first postmaster general who did not come from the ranks of the Postal Service, took control of the agency in June and has since swiftly engineered cuts and operational changes that are disrupting mail delivery operations. In Maine, two mail-sorting machines were dismantled at the state’s postal distribution hub.

Last week, DeJoy issued a statement saying that while he believes “significant reforms” are needed at the USPS, he will put them on hold for now. “To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail,” he wrote, “I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded.”

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Oregon Dem lawmaker ‘chains’ himself to a mailbox in order to ‘defend’ it from Trump administration

A Democratic U.S. congressman from Oregon has posted a video online of himself “chained” to a mailbox in an apparent display of defiance against the Trump administration’s proposed changes to the United States Postal Service.

What are the details?

Rep. Peter DeFazio has been on a social media tirade in recent days, claiming that President Donald Trump “is intentionally trying to destroy the United States Postal Service (USPS) to steal the election,” and insisting to his followers that “we can’t let it stand!”

On Tuesday, the Oregon Democrat posted a video to his Twitter feed showing a sparkling-new chain loosely draped over his shoulder and wrapped around a public mail box, while he declares, “They’re not gettin’ this one!”

The message accompanying the post read, “They’re trying to tear apart our Postal Service piece by piece. But Peter DeFazio is defending our right to vote (and every mailbox in America).”

The fact that DeFazio is clearly not chained to the mailbox indicates his video is part of a political stunt, but it also serves as evidence of the hysteria going on by some Democrats about proposed changes to the postal service.

The USPS has acknowledged it is experiencing a “staggering loss of mail volume” since COVID-19 hit. In the meantime, President Trump has condemned the widespread utilization of mail-in voting for the November general election, while his administration has proposed cost-saving measures for the postal service.

Anything else?

Some prominent Democrats have painted the changes as an attempt by the president to suppress voting, with former Democratic Vice President Al Gore even saying that “by tampering with the postal service, [Trump] is in effect putting his knee on the neck of American democracy and trying to make it impossible for people to vote by mail.”

The comment was interpreted by many to be a reference to the death of George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck in late May.

Before Gore’s remarks, Hollywood actress Jamie Lee Curtis suggested there was a “conspiracy” to steal the election when she saw a mail truck on the bed of a red tow truck and the driver purportedly had on “a red cap with white letters.”

But Trump-appointed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy attempted to put minds at ease hours before Rep. DeFazio’s display was posted on Tuesday, announcing in a statement that the planned operational changes will be put on hold:

I came to the Postal Service to make changes to secure the success of this organization and its long-term sustainability. I believe significant reforms are essential to that objective, and work toward those reforms will commence after the election. In the meantime, there are some longstanding operational initiatives — efforts that predate my arrival at the Postal Service — that have been raised as areas of concern as the nation prepares to hold an election in the midst of a devastating pandemic. To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail, I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded.

DeJoy is scheduled to testify before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Friday and the Democrat-led House Oversight Committee on Monday.

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USPS pauses operational changes until after election to avoid appearance of tampering

The United States Postal Service will pause operational changes that have drawn public scrutiny in recent weeks in order to avoid the appearance that they’re attempting to influence the election, CNBC reported.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy announced the pause in a statement Tuesday, in which he emphasized that many of the changes that have caused alarm have been planned even before he took over.

“I came to the Postal Service to make changes to secure the success of this organization and its long-term sustainability,” DeJoy said in the statement. “I believe significant reforms are essential to that objective, and work toward those reforms will commence after the election. In the meantime, there are some longstanding operational initiatives — efforts that predate my arrival at the Postal Service — that have been raised as areas of concern as the nation prepares to hold an election in the midst of a devastating pandemic. To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail, I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded.”

DeJoy went on to ensure that post office hours would stay the same, processing equipment and mailboxes would not be moved or removed, and overtime for employees would continue to be paid to help ensure timely delivery.

DeJoy will testify before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Friday and the Democrat-led House Oversight Committee on Monday. But Democrats are still suspicious of DeJoy, who is a Trump donor, despite his statement.

“This is a start. But we still need to reverse all the damage, fully fund @USPS, & investigate DeJoy’s conflicts,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) wrote on Twitter. “And we need to keep our eyes on DeJoy so he keeps his promise & doesn’t find new ways to dismantle the USPS. I’ll be watching DeJoy’s actions — not just his words.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Sunday she would call the House back in session from recess early to block USPS changes by DeJoy.

Democrats are seeing tens of billions of dollars in a proposed COVID-19 relief bill for the USPS to bail out the struggling organization and to help with an anticipated increase in mail-in voting this November. President Donald Trump opposes the funding, and has specifically cited his opposition to mail-in voting as a reason.

In July, the USPS warned states that it could not guarantee on-time delivery of mailed ballots based on current deadlines, but those letters were reportedly planned before DeJoy became postmaster general.

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Al Gore: Trump ‘putting his knee on the neck of American democracy’ by ‘tampering with’ postal service

Former Vice President Al Gore (D) said Monday that President Donald Trump is “putting his knee on the neck of American democracy” by “tampering with” the United States Postal Service ahead of the November general election, as Democrats and Republicans spar over nationwide mail-in voting amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

What are the details?

Speaking with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Gore said of Trump, “On the postal service, this is an act of desperation, and Americans understand, Anderson, that during a pandemic there are lots of older voters and voters of all ages with a pre-existing condition who worry that they can’t breathe safely standing in line to vote.

“So in effect,” he continued, “by tampering with the postal service, [Trump] is in effect putting his knee on the neck of American democracy and trying to make it impossible for people to vote by mail.”

Gore’s analogy sparked outrage on social media, with several Twitter users condemning the former vice president for attempting to exploit the death of George Floyd to make a political point. Floyd died while in custody of Minneapolis police in late May, after an officer was caught on camera kneeling on his neck for several minutes. Floyd’s death sparked riots nationwide.

In reaction to Gore’s comments, Fox Business Network’s Charles Payne replied, “Apologize right now. This is such an asinine, insensitive stretch of the imagination and unnecessary attempt to be provocative. Its wrong on so many levels.”

Last week, the postal service warned nearly every state in the U.S. that the agency could not guarantee mail-in ballots can be delivered in time to be counted for the Nov. 3 election. The USPS also endorsed presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, while accusing the Trump administration of taking “steps” to “undermine” it.

According to The Hill:

President Trump at first said he would shoot down any funding to the postal service intended to increase mail-in voting. But he later shifted, saying he would consider signing such a bill if Democrats made other sacrifices in the coronavirus relief package.

Reuters reported the President Trump on Monday denied trying to undermine the USPS’ ability to handle ballots, telling reporters, “We want it to run efficiently, run good. We want to make it run for less money, much better, always taking care of our postal workers.”

The president tweeted, “The U.S. Post Office (System) has been failing for many decades. We simply want to MAKE THE POST OFFICE GREAT AGAIN, while at the same time saving billions of dollars a year for American Taxpayers. Dems don’t have a clue! @USPostOffice911”

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Claire McCaskill gets caught pushing USPS conspiracy theory in DC with photo of locked mailbox in Seattle

Former Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill sounded the alarm Monday morning about alleged sabotage of the United States Postal Service in Washington, D.C. The problem was, she was using a picture of a locked mailbox in Seattle that she pulled from someone else’s social media account.

McCaskill, who is now an analyst for NBC News and MSNBC, shared the photo with a caption pushing a popular, but unproven theory Democrats have been repeating in recent weeks about President Donald Trump attempting to rig the 2020 election by handicapping the USPS.

“So now they are not hauling them off, just locking them up,” McCaskill wrote. “This one is in D.C.”

Other Twitter users quickly pointed out that the same photo had been posted a day earlier by a user who said it was a mailbox in Seattle.

McCaskill later apologized for the misinformation, but said the overall point she was making about the USPS still stood.

What’s going on here? Because of the conflict over the use of mail-in ballots for the upcoming election, a lot of people who never paid attention to mailboxes are now paying very close attention to mailboxes. Some of those people are noticing mailboxes being removed or locked, causing them to uncritically assume that the only explanation is Trump sabotaging the USPS so Democrats can’t vote by mail.

The USPS didn’t just begin locking or moving mailboxes in the lead-up to the election, however. Mailboxes are commonly locked for security purposes, and commonly moved from areas where they may not be getting used enough to justify their presence.

Residents of Burbank, California, recently raised concerns about locked mailboxes outside a local post office. Twitter posts about the situation caused “Burbank” to become a trending topic on Twitter, as photos of a row of locked mailboxes were widely shared.

KABC-TV looked into the situation, and found it was not as nefarious as some residents feared:

Eyewitness News reached out to the USPS for an explanation, and an employee said it’s common practice for mailboxes outside post offices to be locked on days they are closed in an effort to prevent vandalism.

We noticed the mailboxes can still be accessed from the other side.

The issue of the moment: The USPS issue will likely be around for a while, as states widen access to mail-in voting due to COVID-19, President Donald Trump continues to insist that universal mail-in voting will result in widespread fraud, and House Democrats prepare for congressional hearings about recent cost-cutting changes at USPS.

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People who think it’s dangerous to gather in crowds to vote gather in large crowds to protest outside postmaster general’s homes

The head of the federal government’s coronavirus task force, Dr. Anthony Fauci, says that it’s safe for in-person voting to occur this November. Many of the same people who have droned on extensively about the need to trust experts apparently disagree and have been pushing for mass mail-in voting this fall.

Fueled by this belief and some conspiracy theorizing by elected Democrats, a number of apparently angry Americans took to the streets in protest this weekend — specifically, the streets outside of properties owned by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. According to the conspiracy theory being floated by Nancy Pelosi, you see, DeJoy is acting at the behest of President Donald Trump to “sabotage” the postal system so that it cannot be counted on to allow the entire country to participate in mail-in voting, which seems to be their goal.

The irony of their cause seemed entirely lost on the protesters. They showed no shame at the prospect of gathering in large crowds in order to … protest that it was not safe for people to gather in what would doubtlessly be much smaller (and more easily managed) crowds in order to vote. In fact, videos and pictures of the event showed thousands of people pressed together with little or no regard for social distancing. Even mask-wearing — which is NOT an acceptable substitute for social distancing — was inconsistent.

As has been noted here at TheBlaze and elsewhere, Louis DeJoy is not doing anything to sabotage the USPS. The post office is and will remain fully funded through the end of 2021, long after the presidential election. The “missing” mail collection boxes, photos of which have spread all over social media, are part of an ongoing effort to reduce the number of collection boxes that began decades ago.

But more to the point, if it’s dangerous to go out and vote in public — where polling volunteers can set up measures to ensure social distancing rules are followed — why isn’t it dangerous for these conspiracy-theory-believing yahoos to gather in a huge clump for their ill-informed protest?

This is yet another example of the belief — apparently prevalent in liberal circles — that viruses will not spread at a protest if the protest is for a liberal cause. This contention, from people who like to publicly state that Republicans do not believe in science, is a bit rich. After all, science has yet to identify a virus that has a social conscience.

Of course, the truth is that voting in person during a pandemic is safe, and we don’t have to guess or even take the word of Dr. Fauci for it. Recall that in April, at the height of COVID panic, Wisconsin held an in-person election, to the consternation of Democrats who confidently stated that Republicans were trying to kill people by making them vote in person. However, the end result was absolutely no spike in coronavirus cases from Wisconsin’s election, to the surprise of many “experts.”

However, even if someone was inclined to dismiss the Wisconsin experience as an aberration, it should be patently obvious that these protesters were exposing themselves to just as much (if not more) coronavirus risk with their protest than they would have by simply showing up to vote.

Which leads to only one possible conclusion: Their concern is probably not about the coronavirus at all. Which leads to one inexorable question: Why DO they want to make mail-in voting so widespread?

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Pelosi says the House has to return to vote on USPS funding in order to protect Social Security checks. There’s just one small problem.​

As part of her push to get House members on board with her plan to force members to return from recess to vote on a funding package for the United States Postal Service, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) sent a letter on Sunday to her colleagues in the House explaining the reason they are being recalled. In that letter, Pelosi argued that it is vital for Congress to immediately pass her funding request because Americans rely on the Postal Service to deliver, among other things, “Social Security benefits” and “tax returns.”

There’s just one problem: the government hasn’t been sending those items via mail for over a decade. In fact, the government announced in June 2010 that all Social Security “checks” would be sent via direct deposit and that people who were scheduled to receive these checks but did not have a bank account would be issued a Treasury Department Direct Express Debit MasterCard, onto which funds would be loaded electronically.

The issue of funding for the USPS has unexpectedly become a hot-button political issue after Democrats accused Republicans of sabotaging the USPS in order to prevent increased voting by mail. Democrats have even accused current Postmaster General Louis DeJoy of sabotaging the mail system, claiming without proof that DeJoy ordered the removal of numerous mail collection boxes in order to prevent people from sending out mail-in ballots.

In response, a USPS spokesperson pointed out that collection boxes have been dwindling for years per a long-standing policy that calls for their removal when usage falls below a certain level. In fact, the Washington Post noted in 2009 that approximately half of all collection boxes in the United States had been removed in the preceding 20 years, a natural consequence of the shift away from paper mail and toward electronic mail, as well as increased competition from private carriers.

Additionally, it has been noted that the Postal Service is fully funded through the end of 2021, which means that, if Postal Service failures play a role in the upcoming election, it will not be due to any reduction in funding.

Still, Democrats — who have been unable to come to an agreement on an overall stimulus package to combat the coronavirus-induced recession — have made a USPS funding package such a priority that they have ostentatiously recalled all House members across the country to vote on one.

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Pelosi calls House back to address USPS conspiracy theory — but not coronavirus relief for Americans

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has summoned House members to return to Washington this week to address what Democratic leadership is calling “postal service sabotage,” a conspiracy theory that President Donald Trump is interfering with normal operations at the U.S. Postal Service to hinder the agency’s ability to handle mail-in voting.

What did Pelosi say?

In a letter to House Democrats, Pelosi wrote:

Alarmingly, across the nation, we see the devastating effects of the President’s campaign to sabotage the election by manipulating the Postal Service to disenfranchise voters. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, one of the top Trump mega-donors, has proven a complicit crony as he continues to push forward sweeping new operational changes that degrade postal service, delay the mail, and — according to the Postal Service itself — threaten to deny the ability of eligible Americans to cast their votes through the mail in the upcoming elections in a timely fashion.

The call to cut short the House’s recess came after Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) released a statement demanding that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and Chairman of the USPS Board of Governors Robert Duncan testify before Congress about “postal service sabotage.”

Why is this significant?

Pelosi and Democratic leadership have spent weeks blaming Republicans for Congress’ failure to pass a second coronavirus-related economic package.

In fact, when the Senate went on recess Thursday — scheduled to return after the Labor Day holiday — Pelosi lashed out at Republicans.

“We are miles apart in our values. Perhaps you mistook them for somebody who gave a damn. That isn’t the case. This is very far apart,” Pelosi said, the Hill reported.

It should, therefore, be noted that Pelosi is not summoning the House back to work on passing additional coronavirus relief. Instead, she is calling for the House to address what is little more than a widely circulated conspiracy theory.

As TheBlaze reported, Democrats are now laser-focused on pushing the baseless theory that Trump is undermining USPS operations to “sabotage” the election.

One such example of alleged sabotage is the removal of USPS mailboxes, which generated significant attention last week. Trump’s opponents claimed he did this to potentially hinder mail-in ballots. However, the truth is that the USPS regularly removes the big blue mailboxes in low-traffic areas.

USPS spokesperson Kimberly Frum explained, the Washington Post reported:

Historically, mailboxes have been removed for lack of use and installed in growth areas. When a collection box consistently receives very small amounts of mail for months on end, it costs the Postal Service money in fuel and work hours for letter carriers to drive to the mailbox and collect the mail. Removing the box is simply good business sense in that respect. It is important to note that anyone with a residential or business mailbox can use it as a vehicle to send outgoing mail.

In fact, the USPS has removed hundreds of thousands of the mailboxes over the past several decades.

Another example is the removal of hundreds of mail sorting machines. But even CNN reported that mail sorting machines decommissioned in recent months had already been scheduled to be taken out of service. Decommissioning old and worn machines is routine practice for any business.

Nor is the president taking funds from the USPS.

In fact, the USPS is fully funded through fiscal year 2021 and even received a $10 billion loan from the Treasury Department last month. This means the postal service will be fully operational through the end of next year.

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FLASHBACK: Thousands of USPS mailboxes removed during Obama-Biden administration

Former President Barack Obama accused President Donald Trump of purposely attempting to sabotage the U.S. Postal Service in an effort to alter the results of the 2020 presidential election.

“What we’ve seen in a way that is unique to modern political history is a president who is explicit in trying to discourage people from voting,” Obama said during an appearance on his former campaign adviser David Plouffe’s podcast on Friday. “What we’ve never seen before is a president say, ‘I’m going to try to actively kneecap the postal service to encourage voting and I will be explicit about the reason I’m doing it.'”

He added, “That’s sort of unheard of.”

The unfounded accusation was immediately amplified by the media, and the conspiracy theory took hold on social media. Even pop music singer Taylor Swift parroted the unsubstantiated allegation.

A photo from Portland of a truck with several USPS mailboxes in the bed went viral last week.

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden embraced the conspiracy theory that mailboxes were being collected in Portland as a form of voter suppression for the election in November.

“They’re going around literally with tractor trailers picking up mailboxes,” Biden said at a virtual fundraiser. “You oughta go online and check out what they’re doing in Oregon. I mean, it’s bizarre!”

USPS spokeswoman Kimberly Frum told The Hill that the removal of mailboxes is common.

“Historically, mailboxes have been removed for lack of use and installed in growth areas,” Frum said. “Relocating low-use boxes to high traffic areas such as shopping centers, business parks, grocery stores, etc. for increased customer convenience.”

“When a collection box consistently receives very small amounts of mail for months on end, it costs the Postal Service money in fuel and workhours for letter carriers to drive to the mailbox and collect the mail,” she continued. “Removing the box is simply good business sense in that respect. It is important to note that anyone with a residential or business mailbox can use it as a vehicle to send outgoing mail.”

USPS spokesman Steve Doherty told Boston.com that many mailboxes are being repaired or replaced with newer ones. “These trucks are on the street daily,” Doherty said. “They’re part of our field maintenance fleet.”

“This is why you may see one box on a corner that previously may have had two or three side by side,” Doherty continued. “With declining letter volumes, we try to keep the system efficient.”

“In short – this is all routine maintenance,” Doherty concluded. “There’s no effort underway to reduce collection boxes.”

In fact, between 2011 and 2016, there were roughly 14,000 USPS mailboxes removed, which was during the Obama-Biden administration.

A 2009 Washington Post article stated, “In the past 20 years, 200,000 mailboxes have vanished from city streets, rural routes and suburban neighborhoods – more than the 175,000 that remain.”

“The U.S. Postal Service says it removes ‘underperforming’ mailboxes – those that collect fewer than 25 pieces of mail a day – after a week-long ‘density test,'” the report read, echoing what Frum said last week.

Because of the hysteria over the relocated mailboxes, the USPS said they would not remove any boxes until after the election.

“We are not going to be removing any boxes,” USPS spokesman Rod Spurgeon told NBC News. “After the election, we’re going to take a look at operations and see what we need and don’t need.”

However, it wasn’t only mailboxes that were on the chopping block during the Obama-Biden administration, 3,653 post offices were targeted to be shut down, according to a 2011 Washington Post article. The United States Postal Service ultimately decided against closing the nearly 3,700 post offices, and cut costs by reducing operating hours.

The USPS was looking to cut costs because it was hemorrhaging money, as the mail delivery service has been doing for decades.

The General Accounting Office, a government agency that provides auditing and analysis for Congress, said, “USPS financial viability continues to be high risk because USPS cannot fund its current level of services and financial obligations from its revenues.”

Between fiscal years 2007 and 2019, the USPS netted losses of roughly $78 billion, despite receiving approximately $18 billion each year from American taxpayers.

“USPS’s overall financial condition is deteriorating and unsustainable,” the GAO’s 2019 High-Risk update read. “USPS’s total unfunded liabilities and debt have grown to double its annual revenue.”

Even Obama knew that the United States Postal Service was a money pit.

In 2016, then-President Obama proposed that the USPS slash 12,000 jobs.

In 2009, Obama compared the USPS with private mail carriers, and pointed out that they were thriving while the USPS consistently struggled.

“I mean, if you think about it, UPS and FedEx are doing just fine, right? No, they are,” Obama said at a town hall meeting in New Hampshire. “It’s the post office that’s always having problems.”

The National Association of Postal Supervisors President Ted Keating was irked by Obama’s USPS insult and fired off a letter to the president.

Keating reportedly said there was “collective disappointment that you chose the Postal Service as a scapegoat and an example of inefficiency.”

“Your negative references to the Postal Service without knowledge of the facts was a disservice not only to the members of our organization, but to all postal employees,” Keating wrote.

It appears that Obama also tried to kneecap the postal service in some ways.


OBAMA gaffe: ‘UPS and FedEx are doing just fine. It’s the Post Office having problems”

youtu.be

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Taylor Swift pushes conspiracy theory about President Trump, accuses him trying to ‘cheat’ the election

Pop star Taylor Swift repeated a conspiracy theory about President Donald Trump on Saturday, accusing him of wanting to “blatantly cheat” the election by “dismantling” the U.S. Postal Service.

“Trump’s calculated dismantling of USPS proves one thing clearly: He is WELL AWARE that we do not want him as our president. He’s chosen to blatantly cheat and put millions of Americans’ lives at risk in an effort to hold on to power,” Swift said.

She added, “Donald Trump’s ineffective leadership gravely worsened the crisis that we are in and he is now taking advantage of it to subvert and destroy our right to vote and vote safely. Request a ballot early. Vote early.”

Despite Swift’s claims, there is no evidence suggesting Trump is “dismantling” the U.S. Postal Service.

In fact, the USPS is fully funded through fiscal year 2021, and was even loaned an additional $10 billion last month by the Treasury Department over COVID-related financial woes. This means the USPS will continue normal operations through the election.

The truth is that the USPS has faced financial peril for years. Republicans generally support reforming the agency, while Democrats generally advocate bailing out the USPS.

But now that Democrats are pushing universal mail-in voting for the 2020 election, the USPS’s woes are taking center stage in the national spotlight. Even normal USPS operations are being used by conspiracy theorists to support claims that Trump is hindering the agency to rig the election.

One such example is the removal of the blue mailboxes, which have been removed recently from areas in New York, Pennsylvania, Oregon and Montana. Trump’s opponents said this was done to potentially hinder mail-in ballots, but the truth is that the USPS routinely removes the mailboxes in low-traffic areas due to costs associated with their upkeep.

USPS spokesperson Kimberly Frum said:

Historically, mailboxes have been removed for lack of use and installed in growth areas. When a collection box consistently receives very small amounts of mail for months on end, it costs the Postal Service money in fuel and work hours for letter carriers to drive to the mailbox and collect the mail. Removing the box is simply good business sense in that respect. It is important to note that anyone with a residential or business mailbox can use it as a vehicle to send outgoing mail.

The practice has been routine of the USPS for decades.

Because of the outrage, the USPS agreed last week to temporary suspend the removal of sparsely used mailboxes, the Washington Post reported.

Still, that has not stopped Democrats from feigning concern.

In fact, Democratic leadership announced Sunday they have scheduled an emergency hearing with top USPS brass on August 24 to address the agency’s operational abilities ahead of the election.

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Democratic Rep. Ayanna Pressley calls for ‘unrest in the streets,’ targets Trump’s allies

Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) called for “unrest in the streets” on Saturday during an appearance on MSNBC’s “AM Joy.”

“I’m looking to the public. You know, this is as much about public outcry, and organizing, and mobilizing, and applying pressure so that this GOP-led Senate and these governors that continue to carry water for this administration, putting the American people in harm’s way, turning a deaf ear to the needs of our families and our communities, hold them accountable. Make the phone calls, send the emails, show up,” Pressley said of President Donald Trump’s allies.

“There needs to be unrest in the streets for as long as there’s unrest in our lives and unfortunately there’s plenty to go around.” Pressley told “AM Joy” guest host Tiffany Cross.

Cross replied, “I have, I have no retort to that, congresswoman. That’s, that’s certainly accurate.”

This isn’t the first time that Pressley has called for “unrest in the streets.”

“There will be unrest in the streets for as long as the is unrest in the lives of Black Americans,” Pressley told Jim Braude on WGBH News’ “Greater Boston” in June.

Pressley also said U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is “corrupt” and demanded that he “must resign.”

“He has to be held accountable,” Pressley stated. “So in my letter, we call for his resignation, but at a bare minimum, he must be subpoenaed to come before the Oversight Committee and to be taken to account for the way in which he has contributed to attempts to undermine our democracy by dismantling the United States Postal Service.”

In the Aug. 8 letter to DeJoy from over 80 House members, including four Republicans, they “express deep concerns” about recent changes at the USPS.

“We are writing to express deep concerns about operational changes at the U.S. Postal Service that could have negative impacts on service standards and cause significant delays in mail delivery,” the letter read. “It is vital that the U.S. Postal Service does not reduce mail delivery hours, which could harm rural communities, seniors, small businesses, and millions of Americans who rely on the mail for critical letters and packages.”

A demonstration was held outside of DeJoy’s Northwest D.C. home on Saturday by hundreds of protesters.

However, the USPS was on rocky ground before DeJoy was appointed as U.S. Postmaster General on June 15, 2020.

In April, then-Postmaster General Megan Brennan, DeJoy’s predecessor who was appointed in 2015 when Barack Obama was president, said, “The COVID-19 pandemic will increase the Postal Service’s net operating loss by more than $22 billion dollars over the next 18 months and by over $54 billion dollars over the longer term, threatening our ability to operate.”

On June 1, there was a Wall Street Journal report that said the USPS is “bogged down,” and staffing issues stemming from the coronavirus pandemic “delayed some packages for days and even weeks.”

“Coronavirus has also taken a toll on postal workers,” the WSJ report said. “About 2,830 of the Postal Service’s 630,000 employees have tested positive for Covid-19, a spokeswoman said, ‘with some deaths.’ Unions representing postal workers said this week that more than 60 workers have died.”

The General Accounting Office, a government agency that provides auditing and analysis for Congress, said in 2019, “USPS financial viability continues to be high risk because USPS cannot fund its current level of services and financial obligations from its revenues.”

“USPS’s overall financial condition is deteriorating and unsustainable,” the GAO’s 2019 High-Risk update read. “USPS has lost $69 billion over the past 11 fiscal years—including $3.9 billion in fiscal year 2018. USPS’s total unfunded liabilities and debt ($143 billion at the end of fiscal year 2018) have grown to double its annual revenue.”

Cross ended the interview with Pressley by saying, “I’m looking forward to hearing from you all week as we kick off the Democratic national convention.”

However, Pressley was not invited to speak at the 2020 DNC. Other “squad” members, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), also did not get tapped to speak at the convention. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) is scheduled to speak on Tuesday.

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Ayanna pressley Ayanna pressley quote Intelwars United States Postal Service usps Usps losses

Democratic Rep. Ayanna Pressley calls for ‘unrest in the streets,’ targets Trump’s allies

Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) called for “unrest in the streets” on Saturday during an appearance on MSNBC’s “AM Joy.”

“I’m looking to the public. You know, this is as much about public outcry, and organizing, and mobilizing, and applying pressure so that this GOP-led Senate and these governors that continue to carry water for this administration, putting the American people in harm’s way, turning a deaf ear to the needs of our families and our communities, hold them accountable. Make the phone calls, send the emails, show up,” Pressley said of President Donald Trump’s allies.

“There needs to be unrest in the streets for as long as there’s unrest in our lives and unfortunately there’s plenty to go around.” Pressley told “AM Joy” guest host Tiffany Cross.

Cross replied, “I have, I have no retort to that, congresswoman. That’s, that’s certainly accurate.”

This isn’t the first time that Pressley has called for “unrest in the streets.”

“There will be unrest in the streets for as long as the is unrest in the lives of Black Americans,” Pressley told Jim Braude on WGBH News’ “Greater Boston” in June.

Pressley also said U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is “corrupt” and demanded that he “must resign.”

“He has to be held accountable,” Pressley stated. “So in my letter, we call for his resignation, but at a bare minimum, he must be subpoenaed to come before the Oversight Committee and to be taken to account for the way in which he has contributed to attempts to undermine our democracy by dismantling the United States Postal Service.”

In the Aug. 8 letter to DeJoy from over 80 House members, including four Republicans, they “express deep concerns” about recent changes at the USPS.

“We are writing to express deep concerns about operational changes at the U.S. Postal Service that could have negative impacts on service standards and cause significant delays in mail delivery,” the letter read. “It is vital that the U.S. Postal Service does not reduce mail delivery hours, which could harm rural communities, seniors, small businesses, and millions of Americans who rely on the mail for critical letters and packages.”

A demonstration was held outside of DeJoy’s Northwest D.C. home on Saturday by hundreds of protesters.

However, the USPS was on rocky ground before DeJoy was appointed as U.S. Postmaster General on June 15, 2020.

In April, then-Postmaster General Megan Brennan, DeJoy’s predecessor who was appointed in 2015 when Barack Obama was president, said, “The COVID-19 pandemic will increase the Postal Service’s net operating loss by more than $22 billion dollars over the next 18 months and by over $54 billion dollars over the longer term, threatening our ability to operate.”

On June 1, there was a Wall Street Journal report that said the USPS is “bogged down,” and staffing issues stemming from the coronavirus pandemic “delayed some packages for days and even weeks.”

“Coronavirus has also taken a toll on postal workers,” the WSJ report said. “About 2,830 of the Postal Service’s 630,000 employees have tested positive for Covid-19, a spokeswoman said, ‘with some deaths.’ Unions representing postal workers said this week that more than 60 workers have died.”

The General Accounting Office, a government agency that provides auditing and analysis for Congress, said in 2019, “USPS financial viability continues to be high risk because USPS cannot fund its current level of services and financial obligations from its revenues.”

“USPS’s overall financial condition is deteriorating and unsustainable,” the GAO’s 2019 High-Risk update read. “USPS has lost $69 billion over the past 11 fiscal years—including $3.9 billion in fiscal year 2018. USPS’s total unfunded liabilities and debt ($143 billion at the end of fiscal year 2018) have grown to double its annual revenue.”

Cross ended the interview with Pressley by saying, “I’m looking forward to hearing from you all week as we kick off the Democratic national convention.”

However, Pressley was not invited to speak at the 2020 DNC. Other “squad” members, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), also did not get tapped to speak at the convention. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) is scheduled to speak on Tuesday.

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