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The US Postal Service and the privatizers

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The U.S. Postal Service is one of America's most beloved institutions. It handles 47% of the world’s mail, employs half a million people, generates $1.4 trillion in annual sales, delivers more mail every 16 days than UPS and FedEx combined do all year and connects even the most remote corners of the United States.1

So of course, Donald Trump wants to destroy it.

Trump has already proposed privatizing the Postal Service and turning it over to unethical, greedy for-profit operators. Now, the USPS board of governors is poised to appoint a new postmaster general – who might help Trump push privatization.2 We need to speak out to make sure the new leader is a fierce advocate for public ownership of USPS.

The Trump administration has proposed selling off the USPS to the highest bidder. Privatizing government services simply hands public trusts over to mercenary corporate entities who care only about their bottom line.3,4 Trump's proposal would lead to post office closures in rural areas and layoffs for already-marginalized communities. Stamp and shipping costs would grow and the scale of the network would shrink.

Republicans would like us to believe the post office is in trouble, but in fact, there's nothing wrong with the post office that Congress can't fix. A 2006 law requires USPS, alone among private or public agencies, to prefund its retiree health benefits for the next 75 years. That ridiculous law makes the USPS appear to be in financial trouble and gives politicians an excuse to push for privatization. If Congress repealed the law – and allowed post offices to offer new services like postal banking and notarization – the USPS would thrive.5

The push to privatize the USPS is because of its success, not because it is struggling. First-class mail is declining, but shipping is on the rise. The USPS would rank around 40th on the Fortune 500 if it were a private company and presents a major money-making opportunity.

Thanks to Mitch McConnell's obstruction, the USPS board of governors lacked sufficient members for a quorum for years. Now, McConnell has helped Trump pack the board of governors with his own appointees – appointees who will pick the next postmaster general after current chief Megan Brennan retires early next year.6,7 There is a very real risk that the board of governors will install an advocate for privatization as the new head of the USPS – and we cannot let that happen.

Tell the USPS Board of Governors: No privatizer as postmaster general.

https://act.credoaction.com/sign/postmaster-general-privatization

References:

  1. Bill Pascrell, Jr., "Congress Is Sabotaging Your Post Office," The Washington Monthly, April/May/June 2019.
  2. Louis C. LeBrecque, "Postal Unions Uneasy as USPS Chief Prepares to Step Down," BloombergLaw, Oct. 21, 2019.
  3. Katrina vanden Heuvel, "Trump’s privatization plan would destroy the Postal Service," The Washington Post, Aug. 7, 2018.
  4. Aaron Greg, "Lawmakers press Pentagon on oversight of ‘slumlord’ housing contractors," The Washington Post, Dec. 3, 2019.
  5. Pascrell, Jr., "Congress Is Sabotaging Your Post Office."
  6. Eric Gatz, "USPS Regains a Functioning Governing Board for the First Time in Five Years," Gov Exec, Aug. 2, 2019.
  7. LeBrecque, "Postal Unions Uneasy as USPS Chief Prepares to Step Down."

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grieker

Oh my GOD!

That's horrible.  That would be like hiring state road services out to private companies - oh wait...  That would be as bad as military installations hiring private security - oh wait... Geesh O Pete

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lanzate

It is interesting the world we live in and how it is changing.   The postal service is starting to seem like the pony express.    I tracked what I get in the mail worth having and realize only my township bills still come through the mail.   If that went digital which it will sometime what would stop me from removing my box at the end of the drive?   It is like landlines.  It starts with the young that move away.   I see this with people all the time now dropping an address or just staying with a parents address for years after they move out.   Why pay to rent a box somewhere when to check it is a chore and just gets filled with junk anyway.   The world is changing.   A lot of new apartments and housing developments don’t have home delivery anymore.   

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GeezUS
29 minutes ago, lanzate said:

 It starts with the young that move away.

The young LOVE receiving mail almost ...if not more... than old people. They trust print ads way more than online ads.

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Pastor of Muppets
57 minutes ago, GeezUS said:

The young LOVE receiving mail almost ...if not more... than old people. They trust print ads way more than online ads.

Not to mention, they buy almost everything online. That stuff needs delivered.

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lanzate

Ask a postal delivery person what it’s like to deliver mail to a collection of boxes where it’s mostly millennials that live there.    They often don’t check their mail.    The box gets so full they have to hold deliveries.   I’m sure if you are in the junk mail business you can produce all kinds of stats to support that millennials like paper junk mail but I have my doubts that is true.    
As for package deliveries it is stacked against them cause amazon only uses the us mail service when it’s at the hard to deliver places so it’s more cost effective to do that.   With AI now making that choice for them about which delivery method is best at that moment the USPS is just one of many options.   

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GeezUS
19 minutes ago, lanzate said:

I’m sure if you are in the junk mail business you can produce all kinds of stats to support that millennials like paper junk mail but I have my doubts that is true.    

Many industry studies/stats to back what I said up. I lean toward stats more than what my "gut" tell me.

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lanzate

Ok.  Not even sure what we are arguing about at this point.   Carry on with your junk mail.    
Just saying the industry is changing and it’s on its way out.    Post offices are consolidating and closing every year especially in rural areas.    Post office boxes or collection boxes per neighborhood are becoming the norm.   And people don’t check there mail every day like they used to.   Ask a college student if they paid money for a university mailbox.   The writing is on the wall.   

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GeezUS
12 minutes ago, lanzate said:

Just saying the industry is changing and it’s on its way out.

Yep... heard that back in 1999 and yet USPS is still around. USPS will be around as long as they cater to advertising mail. There is nothing better for a local business who wants  to get their message out to those in their "backyard" than direct mail. If you want 5 to 10k homes in your business' backyard to see your offer nothing works better than direct mail.

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GeezUS
18 minutes ago, lanzate said:

And people don’t check there mail every day like they used to.

Depends on the demographic. I see your "gut" is talking and not facts. Young people and old people love getting mail.

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GeezUS
20 minutes ago, lanzate said:

Post office boxes or collection boxes per neighborhood are becoming the norm.

Neighborhood mail boxes have been the norm in new developments since the late 90s... at least in CA where I'm from. Obviously places like Lancaster are late to that party.

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GeezUS
32 minutes ago, lanzate said:

The writing is on the wall.   

Direct mail response rates...meaning SALES... have been up as of late...

16551111611575834463.jpg

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grieker
3 hours ago, GeezUS said:

Neighborhood mail boxes have been the norm in new developments since the late 90s... at least in CA where I'm from. Obviously places like Lancaster are late to that party.

Lol, California is a great place...

 

To be FROM.

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prettylight

 

"It is disgusting that Trump would exploit this pandemic to bust postal unions and privatize the most popular government agency in America. If we can bail out large corporations, we can damn well save the Postal Service and protect these essential jobs."
—Sen. Bernie Sanders

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prettylight

 

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grieker
On 4/24/2020 at 6:57 PM, prettylight said:

 

"It is disgusting that Trump would exploit this pandemic to bust postal unions and privatize the most popular government agency in America. If we can bail out large corporations, we can damn well save the Postal Service and protect these essential jobs."
—Sen. Bernie Sanders

Bernie, you old fucking white guy...  The United States Postal Service is trying privatize itself, you indignant hypocrite.  Endorsing the demented babbling Joey after saying he is never to be trusted... 

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Pastor of Muppets
1 hour ago, grieker said:

Bernie, you old fucking white guy...  The United States Postal Service is trying privatize itself, you indignant hypocrite.  Endorsing the demented babbling Joey after saying he is never to be trusted... 

Link to that erroneous assertion?

USPS does not want to privatize. Not now not never.

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grieker
49 minutes ago, Pastor of Muppets said:

Link to that erroneous assertion?

USPS does not want to privatize. Not now not never.

Delivering for Amazon, etal is clearly a doorway opening up to privatization and they've been loosing billions each and every year.

 

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prettylight

Readers will recall the neoliberal playbook: “[1] Defund [or sabotage], [2] claim crisis, [3] call for privatization… [4] profit!” (rinse, repeat as necessary. We can see this happen with the VA here, and with the NHS in the UK. Fortunately for those who believe that the mail is a public good, we in the United States, even in the current crisis, seem hung up between stage [3], “call for privatization,” and [4], “profit!” (And by invoking Betteridge’s Law with the headline, perhaps I have done my own little bit to keep things hung up.)

more at

https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2020/04/will-the-united-states-post-office-become-a-victim-of-covid19.html

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prettylight

 

"We cannot allow Donald Trump to use this horrific pandemic as an opportunity to bankrupt and privatize the Postal Service," Sanders tweeted earlier this month. "Now, more than ever, we need a strong and vibrant postal system to deliver mail 6-days a week. Congress must act now to save it."

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grieker
9 hours ago, prettylight said:

 

"We cannot allow Donald Trump to use this horrific pandemic as an opportunity to bankrupt and privatize the Postal Service," Sanders tweeted earlier this month. "Now, more than ever, we need a strong and vibrant postal system to deliver mail 6-days a week. Congress must act now to save it."

Pandemic.  Break it down - it's "dem" surrounded by panic.

I know progressives are all about that socialism thing and subsidization of government and private industries like the USPS, Apple, AMTRAK and so on, so the beating of the drums on this all this years surprises no one.

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prettylight

How would this help the American people?

It wouldn't.

 

Calling US Postal Service 'A Joke,' Trump Demands Four-Fold Price Hike for Customers Amid Covid-19 Pandemic

Such a move, say critics, "would be a disaster for millions of Americans who rely on USPS."

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/04/24/calling-us-postal-service-joke-trump-demands-four-fold-price-hike-customers-amid

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prettylight
Posted (edited)

The postal service is essential to national security

By Christopher W. Shaw and Osamah F. Khalil, opinion contributors — 05/06/20 04:00 PM EDT

 

The postal service is essential to national security

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the fragility of medical and food supply chains as well as the importance of often overlooked and underpaid service workers. Another group of essential employees who have demonstrated their resilience are postal workers.

While the rest of the country is in various stages of lockdown, the U.S. Postal Service continues operations. Yet today the Postal Service is faced with the threat of drastic cuts or elimination by the Trump administration. 

Just as COVID-19 revealed the misaligned priorities of the past several decades, including the failure to identify health and health care as integral to national security, it has also demonstrated the importance of a vibrant and well-funded Postal Service. Privatizing or eliminating the Postal Service will weaken, not strengthen, America’s national security posture when it is needed most.

The Postal Service plays a vital role as the nation's sole, universally accessible means of communication. With more than 30,000 post offices, hundreds of sorting facilities and a fleet of over 100,000 trucks, the postal system is also an essential infrastructure possessing the unique ability to make contact with every household and business in the nation daily. 

The indispensable physical connection the Postal Service maintains between the American people and the federal government means the institution's future is a matter of national security. COVID-19 also makes clear that the Postal Service has a necessary role to play in health security, as a mechanism for delivering health-related materials and communications.

Precautionary measures against future biological, chemical or radiological emergencies received new attention following the September 11 terrorist attacks and subsequent anthrax scare. The need for federal action to cope with a forthcoming public health crisis was reinforced by the 2003 Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and 2009 swine flu outbreaks, as well as the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). 

Indeed, federal health and security officials have recognized the Postal Service's crucial, if understated, role. To prepare for potential terrorist attacks and pandemics, volunteer letter carriers completed successful dry runs of medicine distribution in Boston, Philadelphia and Seattle. In 2008, then-Secretary of Health and Human Services Mike Leavitt stated, “We have found letter carriers to be the federal government's quickest and surest way of getting pills to whole communities.”

Building on this precedent, President Barack Obama issued an executive order to create plans for postal workers to distribute medicine door-to-door during public health emergencies. Using a small congressional appropriation, the Postal Service then partnered with the Department of Health and Human Services, state and local health departments, and law enforcement agencies to conduct pilot programs that gave letter carriers the requisite training to conduct this vital assignment.

Sadly, the alarming possibility of such a national emergency has become real. With over 70,000 dead Americans and counting and 30 million unemployed, COVID-19’s impact is undeniable. Yet the White House is threatening to withhold necessary funding to keep the Postal Service operational as mail revenues fall sharply due to the current economic contraction. 

More than ever, millions of Americans need a functional public postal system for the delivery of pharmaceuticals, government communications and important items that are not readily available. If testing kits for coronavirus are to be distributed widely, the safest and most reliable method will be through the Postal Service.

While critics have argued that the Postal Service is inefficient, they ignore that its financial problems prior to this current crisis followed from a burdensome requirement to pre-fund retiree health benefits. No other federal agency operates under such a budgetary constraint. Similarly, the Postal Service’s projected controllable loss of $4 billion for fiscal year 2020 is a fraction of the Pentagon’s budget. Yet there is no expectation that the Departments of Defense or Homeland Security are profitable endeavors, nor could they be due to their national security mandates. 

Moreover, advocates of privatization for the illusory promise of efficiencies and improved management deliberately ignore the repeated government bailouts of airlines, banks and other corporations over the past two decades. Meanwhile, the Postal Service has continued to operate through it all.

The failure to respond early and effectively to COVID-19 has demonstrated the implications of an underfunded public health system. These failures will be exacerbated by the elimination or privatization of the Postal Service. If the United States hopes to improve how it handles a second wave of COVID-19 or a new pandemic, now is the time to strengthen the Postal Service not eliminate it or embrace the false promise of privatization.

more at

https://thehill.com/opinion/national-security/496349-the-postal-service-is-essential-to-national-security

Edited by prettylight

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prettylight

The Republican crusade to kill the U.S. Postal Service went into overdrive this week, when Donald Trump installed a top Republican donor as the new postmaster general.1

The Postal Service is in crisis, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and draconian Republican mandates. It will run out of money between July and September, at which point its "operations will cease," if Congress doesn't act.2

Congress quickly bailed out the airline industry to the tune of $50 billion. That bailout included $4 billion for FedEx and UPS.3 But Trump and Republicans in Congress continue to stonewall emergency funding for the 245-year-old Postal Service. Why? It's all part of their quest to privatize it.

And now, at this most critical moment in its fight for survival, the Postal Service will be led by a Trump crony. Trump has gone so far as to call the Postal Service "a joke."4

....There's reason for optimism: The Postal Service is by far the most popular government agency, with a 90% approval rating.5 It's one of the largest employers in the U.S., with a workforce of 630,000 people, 40% of whom are people of color.6 And in an election year, Republicans can't be seen killing the Postal Service, a lifeline for so many Americans, especially in the middle of the current pandemic.

....

 

The Postal Service serves every American in every community, no matter how remote their location, six or even seven days a week, and all for the same price. That includes delivering lifesaving medications—more than 1 billion prescriptions last year—groceries, mail, census forms, vote-by-mail ballots, and so much more.7

And since we don't expect a vaccine for the coronavirus to be widely available in time for this November's elections, the Postal Service will be essential to enabling millions of Americans to vote by mail. In the last two federal elections, about one in four voters cast their ballot by mail.8 This November, the vast majority of voters will need to vote by mail.

But despite the Postal Service's centuries-long service to the American people, for the last 40 years, Republicans have sought to "starve, strangle, and sabotage" it.9 And now, the coronavirus pandemic is giving a frightening boost to their efforts.

Most Americans don't know it, but the Postal Service doesn't receive a single taxpayer dollar.10 It is entirely funded by revenue from the sales of stamps and postage.

But Congress sets the rules for the Postal Service, and in 2006, Republicans in a lame-duck session of Congress passed a law forcing the Postal Service to pre-fund its employee pension and retirement costs, including health care, for the next 75 years.11 That means it must fund retirement accounts for employees who haven't yet been hired—or even born.

The year that mandate passed, the Postal Service made $900 million in profits; it has not had a single profitable year since.12

....

 

Sources:

1. "Top Republican fundraiser and Trump ally named postmaster general, giving president new influence over Postal Service," The Washington Post, May 6, 2020
https://act.moveon.org/go/123386?t=6&akid=263620%2E6765820%2E3l2FO0

2. "The Head of the Postal Workers Union Says the Postal Service Could Be Dead in Three Months," In These Times, April 16, 2020
https://act.moveon.org/go/119675?t=8&akid=263620%2E6765820%2E3l2FO0

3. "Here's a breakdown of the $2T coronavirus bailout," New York Post, March 27, 2020
https://act.moveon.org/go/123387?t=10&akid=263620%2E6765820%2E3l2FO0

4. "Top Republican fundraiser and Trump ally named postmaster general, giving president new influence over Postal Service," The Washington Post, May 6, 2020
https://act.moveon.org/go/123386?t=12&akid=263620%2E6765820%2E3l2FO0

5. "We Can't Afford to Lose the Postal Service," The New Yorker, May 2, 2020
https://act.moveon.org/go/123388?t=14&akid=263620%2E6765820%2E3l2FO0

6. "U.S. Postal Service warns it could run out of money by October," CBS News, April 10, 2020
https://act.moveon.org/go/119624?t=16&akid=263620%2E6765820%2E3l2FO0

7. Ibid.

8. "The False Narrative of Vote-by-Mail Fraud," Brennan Center for Justice, April 10, 2020
https://act.moveon.org/go/123389?t=18&akid=263620%2E6765820%2E3l2FO0

9. "We Can't Afford to Lose the Postal Service," The New Yorker, May 2, 2020
https://act.moveon.org/go/123388?t=20&akid=263620%2E6765820%2E3l2FO0

10. Ibid.

11. Ibid.

12. Ibid.

mail?url=https%3A%2F%2Fact.moveon.org%2F

--

from a MoveOn email just now

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prettylight

From last night. LANGUAGE WARNING--not safe for work.

--

Interesting comments below the video, on YouTube, like,

When I was in postal training, I found out that every year countless Americans recover from having collapsed in their homes solely because of a mail carrier who happened to notice they hadn't checked their mail. USPS is a vital component of society-- and yes, there is still such a thing as society. We still care about each other, including the rural poor. #StampOutTyranny .

 

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prettylight

more of the many interesting comments, at the link:

 

When I was a kid we'd ordered a bunch of chickens through the mail. We got a call at 11pm one night from the post office saying, "Can you please come get your birds? They're very loud."

--

Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait...so let me get this straight, the USPS is broke, which is a federal service, but the government would much rather bail out airlines and banks, rather than bail out an actual essential business that provides services to literally everyone...huh?

--

You can even make saving USPS into a patriotic thing: they deliver mail to military and diplomatic families around the world for the price of domestic shipping. Even if you're in a small country in North Africa (edit: if you’re part of a diplomatic mission), you'll get whatever peanut butter your heart desires in less than two weeks with no extra cost!

--

Funny how UPS and FEDEX have both used local postal services as one of their cost saving measures. UPS has the USPS to deliver smaller packages to save on delivery Drivers and FEDEX uses the RMS in the UK to deliver smaller packages! Kill the local service and watch those prices sky rocket further

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prettylight
 

Neither rain, nor snow, nor gloom of night may prevent Postal Service employees from visiting the box near you, but across the country there’s evidence that political pressure really can “stay these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” In New Jersey, residents say they’re going days without mail. In Chicago, citizens complain that their deliveries are running weeks behind. And California residents are fretting over mortgages and rents put in jeopardy by a mail service that seems frozen

There’s no doubt that some of the chatter about a sluggish mail service is of the watched-pot variety; with millions of Americans stuck at home, the visit from the mail person has become much more of a daily highlight than it has been since the days when the Sears catalog was still a thing. But boredom and hyperawareness can’t account for all the claims that have been spreading, particularly ones that suggest specific forms of mail are being privileged while others are left to gather dust. And with Donald Trump complaining about voting by mail, installing a new postmaster general, and constantly threatening the Postal Service’s entire existence, it’s all too easy to believe that service doesn’t have problems; it has sabotage at the highest levels.

 

More than ever, the COVID-19 crisis is forcing people to not just be aware of the mail, but to be dependent on it. More and more of the day-to-day things that people need are being delivered as packages, which makes stories about undelivered packages and post offices with lines around the block doubly frustrating. Not only are people having to waste time trying to locate items that should have been delivered, their time waiting for service at the post office can expose them to the same health threats that caused them to order a delivery in the first place. That problem can be compounded even further if what’s in the missing box is necessary medicine.

Other customers are finding that bills are late to arrive. That can mean running up additional costs on medical bills, or causing someone to lose a credit card at a time when that card could be a vital lifeline. Many, though far from all, evictions may have been put on hold during the pandemic, but there’s a growing backlog of Americans who could be on the street as soon as protections are lifted; and some of them could be there because they missed critical paperwork in the mail. Many Americans, especially those working at “essential” but somehow still low wage positions, still receive their paychecks through the mail. When that check is late, it has a cascade effect on everything.

So what’s going on?

The critical factor seems to be changes introduced by new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. DeJoy was a predominate Republican Party  fundraiser who Trump rewarded with the postmaster job in June, after months of complaints and threats by Trump.

As The Washington Post reported two weeks ago, DeJoy immediately implemented a major change in the way the Postal Service operates. The intention seems to have been to reduce overtime and cut back on the number of daily deliveries. The effect is that mail that would have normally been moved along in one day is stuck in place for several days as workers face overwhelming demand and intentionally limited resources. In a memo to workers, DeJoy continually cited his intention to run the Postal Service more “like a business,” and pointed at U.S. companies that had failed in the past. DeJoy did not mention that those companies died from a lack of demand and being outcompeted by lower-price providers, factors that are the opposite of the issues plaguing the Postal Service.

Postmaster generals generally have post office experience and generally stay in place for an extended period, but DeJoy slipped into office with almost no attention from Congress or the press. He’s the first person in half a century to lead the office without having started as a letter carrier.

But if DeJoy doesn’t know how to carry letters, he certainly knows how to carry water for Trump. DeJoy seems to recognize that his entire role at the Postal Service is to breed contempt with the public. Months of late bills, missing checks, and lost packages are exactly what Trump wants to see, both to bolster his argument against vote-by-mail and to make him “right” about the need to privatize mail delivery. 

There’s also the little matter that DeJoy himself has between “$30.1 million and $75.3 million in assets in USPS competitors or contractors.” It’s such a major conflict of interest that DeJoy should never have been accepted into the role. Except that an ideological crony with every incentive to wreck the department he’d been handed was exactly what Trump was looking for.

Chuck Schumer sent a letter to the postal board of governors and representatives from the Trump White House in June, demanding to see the information on how DeJoy was selected for the position. However … it appears his letter got lost. You can bet it will stay lost, right up until Election Day.

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