Hooray! Postal Service Won't Be Blowed Up Any More
[Updated with additional stuff to do, see end of article]
Donald Trump's handpicked postmaster general, big GOP donor Louis DeJoy, announced yesterday that he would hold off any further demolition of the US Postal Service until after the November election, are you people happy now? In a press statement, DeJoy made a solemn pinkie promise that the USPS would be able to handle the high volume of election mail expected to result from Americans voting by mail because of the coronavirus. He went on to say he would suspend a number of "reforms" he had instituted, even though they were only intended to make the agency more efficient, not to promote voting embuggerage. So now you babies can stop whining about your stupid "sanctity of the vote," okay? Jeez.
Postmaster Louis DeJoy: OK, We'll Wreck It More Later
It was all just a great big misunderstanding, DeJoy explained, especially since his efforts to slow down the mail got noticed, and resulted in 20 states announcing lawsuits against the USPS over the slowdowns and potential election fuckery.
Can't you just smell the ass-covering? m,
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.
And so, just so no one thinks there's any funny business going on, DeJoy said he wanted to "assure all Americans" that
• Retail hours at Post Offices will not change.
• Mail processing equipment and blue collection boxes will remain where they are.
• No mail processing facilities will be closed.
• And we reassert that overtime has, and will continue to be, approved as needed.
Mind you, those steps were merely intended to save money and increase the system's efficiency, and anyone who says otherwise is either itching for a fight or has been paying attention to Donald Trump's repeated statements about the evils of voting by mail, except in Florida, where it is good and smart. But everywhere else, it's very bad indeed!
DeJoy also pledged to expand USPS's "taskforce on election mail" to "ensure that election officials and voters are well informed and fully supported by the Postal Service." Like, we assume, telling 46 states the Postal Service can't possibly handle all the absentee ballots in time for them to be counted, as the Washington Postreported Friday.
Missing from DeJoy's statement was any mention of the current state of the 671 mail sorting machines that the Postal Service had slated for removal. The Washington Postnoted in that Friday story that the doomed machines are "scattered across the country but concentrated in high-population areas." The sorting machine removals first came to light last week when Kimberly Karol, the president of the Iowa Postal Workers Union, said several of the huge, expensive machines had been removed in her state, hindering workers' ability to process mail.
A subsequent report by Vice's Motherboard blog revealed that while the Postal Service claimed some machines were being moved to other post offices to meet mail volume needs, the reality was that USPS documents referred only to "equipment reduction," not reallocation. Further, the story said,
Multiple sources within the postal service told Motherboard they have personally witnessed the machines, which cost millions of dollars, being destroyed or thrown in the dumpster. USPS did not respond to a request for comment.
OK, but what if mail needs to be sorted in the dumpsters, huh? It's not at all clear how many of those 671 machines had actually been pulled out (and perhaps destroyed) by the time DeJoy said Tuesday he would put such activities on hold. You'll notice he didn't say a word about returning still-operable machines (if any) to service. Keep an eye on this, because we're sure more details on how many sorting machines were trashed will eventually come out. Maybe only a few! Maybe all but six, and they're all being used to sort Trump campaign flyers.
And fuck no, we don't take him at his word.
DeJoy will testify in both houses of Congress in the next week. Friday, he'll go before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Monday, he'll testify before the House Oversight and Reform Committee. We don't expect him to admit to a goddamn thing except loving America so much he had to rip up the Postal Service. Let Katie Porter give him hell anyway.
This is the congressional hearing equivalent of finding out Omar looking for you. https://t.co/LqlKgUH8i3— Travon Free (@Travon Free) 1597700798.0
Mark Meadows: Destroying Sorting Machines? In What Regard, Charlie?
Catch-22 fans will appreciate Vox's look at some very confusing statements about the USPS by White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who explained Sunday that the Postal Service isn't removing any sorting machines at all, but if it is, Obama did it. Or even Wonkette's look at them too, also, DOK!
Mark Meadows insists, despite numerous reports to the contrary, that no mail sorting machines have been taken offli… https://t.co/ypCowF1GgX— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar) 1597586778.0
Meadows got quite indignant at the very idea, which has been reported by a bunch of outlets, based on recent USPS documents and interviews with USPS workers who have seen the machines removed. Not so, he insisted! Democrats are simply trying to "stoke fear" with a "political narrative," which happens to fit perfectly with Donald Trump's own statement that he plans to starve the USPS of funds so people can't vote by mail and throw him out of office.
Sunday, we should point out, was a million years ago, so Meadows's insistence that no sorting machines are being removed is not in anyway undercut by DeJoy's announcement Tuesday that he would stop removing them, especially since it never happened anyway.
Say, did we mention that this week is the 75th anniversary of the publication of George Orwell's Animal Farm? Just a random detail that popped into our head for no particular reason.
Here's One Of Those Sorting Machines That's Not Being Junked
Also too, we got our first look at a dismantled and discarded sorting machine in these social media photos posted Saturday:
junked mail sorting machine behind the Main US Post Office, Cleveland OH https://t.co/JbInYelfUD— Jim Anderson (@Jim Anderson) 1597510764.0
Cleveland? Say, is Ohio supposed to be important in this election somehow?
A Postal Service spox told the Cleveland Scene the machine had been removed "months ago," and that it was only used to sort "flats," like magazines, which had seen declining volume, which is why the machine was removed. NOT SO, said a plucky union rep:
Daleo Freeman, the president of the Cleveland Chapter of the American Postal Workers Union, said he thinks the machine was decommissioned within the past couple of weeks, not "months ago."
"They tarped it, then they dismantled it and then they put it outside," he said. "I've never seen anything like it in 26 years."
Freeman said he believed the sorting machine included one flats sorter, as the spokesperson indicated, but also four Delivery Bar Code Sorter (DBCS) machines, which are used to sort postcards and letters.
Why yes, those are the sort of sorters that postal workers say would be needed to help manage mail-in ballots. Freeman also told the paper he'd never seen a big pricey machine like that just dumped outside a post office (probably because Mark Meadows is right and it isn't actually there!). "You won't even be able to use them again, because they're getting rained on. [...] Not anytime soon anyway. Maybe they'll scrap them for parts."
Kind of like democracy.
Update: Here is an online thing for you to listen to!
The League of Women Voters of the United States, the National Urban League, and Common Cause are among the groups that have filed a lawsuit against DeJoy and the USPS. Press release here!
The groups will be holding a tele-press conference call hosted by The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law TODAY (August 19) at 12:15 PM EDT to discuss the lawsuit. If you want to listen in, call (800) 862 9098 and use the verbal conference ID "USPS." Please do not rant or shout obscenities, but if you do, say you're from "The Daily Caller." (Do not do that, OK?)
[US Postal Service / WaPo / Politico / Vice / Vox / Cleveland Scene / Update: League of Women Voters / Image: Video screenshot, KABC-TV]
Yr Wonkette is entirely supported by reader donations. Please help us keep ourselves sorted by sending us some money if you can!
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.