grim post office news & a PSA

‘US Postal Service takes major step toward privatization’, Shuvu Batta, 22 July 2020, wsws.org

“Management at the United States Postal Service (USPS) has taken a big step toward privatization with the July 10 release of an internal memo stating that mail deliveries would be delayed due to cost cutting and a subsequent directive prohibiting overtime and promising “more to come.”

The first memo, titled “Pivoting to the Future,” declared, “Right now, we are at a critical juncture in our organization and must make immediate, lasting, and impactful changes in our operations and in our culture. This operational pivot is long overdue and today, we are talking about the first step in a journey we must take together, for the health and stability of the Postal Service.

“The initial step in our pivot is targeted on transportation and the soaring costs we incur, due to late trips and extra trips, which costs the organization somewhere around $200 million in added expenses.

“One aspect of these changes that may be difficult for employees is that—temporarily—we may see mail left behind or mail on the workroom floor or docks (in P&DCs), which is not typical.”

COVID-19 and the economic devastation it sparked has further accelerated the crisis of USPS, with former CEO Megan J. Brennan telling Congress in late May that without support it would run out of cash to pay its over 600,000 employees by September. Brennan requested $75 billion in financial assistance from Congress. No assistance was given, however, and the USPS is surviving off of its remaining cash reserves and a $3 billion loan from the US Treasury, placing it further in debt.

While the Postal Service decays, it is also under increased pressure from its competitors, namely Amazon and United Parcel Service (UPS), which have recorded record revenue and are under the process of expanding their logistics networks after increases in shipments have left them with surplus revenue.” […]

The move to cut workers’ overtime is part of the US capitalist class’s decades-long drive to dismantle USPS, a public entity that occupies a valuable portion of the logistics industry.

According to its website, the USPS handles 48 percent of the world’s mail volume, generated $71.1 billion in revenue in 2019 and—if it was fully privatized—would be number 44 in the Fortune 500 list of the world’s largest companies. This is a massive source of profit that the financial oligarchy is attempting to take over completely. This was outlined clearly by President Donald Trump’s 2018 plan calling for the privatization of USPS either through the launch of an Initial Public Offering on the stock market, or sale to an existing company.”

[the 2018 link: ‘Trump proposes to privatize the US Postal Service’, Hector Cordon, 26 June 2018.]

“The drive to fully privatize the USPS started in 1970. President Nixon transformed the postal service from a department of the executive branch into a public corporation in a move that provoked a powerful national strike by postal workers. In the 1980s, the postal service was cut off from federal funding, and in 2006 it was obligated to fully fund retirement obligations and benefits up front, beginning its budget crisis. This year, major Trump donor and former Wall Street executive, Louis De Joy was installed as the new Postmaster General, and has continued this decades-long sabotage by announcing the end of overtime and delays in shipping.

“Privatization of the USPS would effectively end its universal service obligation to deliver mail to all residents and businesses in the US.” […]

“According to USPS, its peak number of full-time postal workers was 797,795 in 1999. By 2019, it was 496,934, a reduction of over 300,000 full-time employees. While USPS’ total number of employees today is about 650,000, about 20 percent work part-time and are essentially low-paid and disposable.”

Buttah blames the 4 postal unions for having sold out, but a few commenters object, saying that when there are disagreements, issues go into binding arbitration.

Will Vote by Mail become Vote by Fedex?  Or Vote by Amazon Drone?

Noteworthy History:

July 27, 2011: ‘US Postal Service plans to close 3,653 post offices. Here’s a list.’

September 25, 2013, ‘Sen. Diane Feinstein’s Husband Selling Post Offices to Cronies on the Cheap’, Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism:

EastBayExpress, via publishing a section from a new e-book by Peter Byrne called Going Postal (um, sadly the same as used by Mark Ames for his important book on workplace shootings), tells us how the husband of powerful Sen. Diane Feinstein, Richard Blum, is feeding at the Postal Service privatization trough. Blum is the chairman of C.B. Richard Ellis (CBRE) which has the exclusive contract to handle sales for the Post Office’s $85 billion of property. Bryne summarizes the finding of his investigation:” […]

“There’s more damning detail in the book extract. I strongly urge you to read it in full. This case shows how open our ruling classes have become in stealing from the public at large. And the worst is that even if this story were to get traction, it’s highly unlikely anyone has the guts to cut a super powerful couple like Blum and Feinstein down to size.”

See also: savethepostoffice.com and standbyyourmail.org

Save the Post Office has long had suggestions as to how to save it, including the creation of Post Office Banking, as some nations have.

…………………………………………………………………………………………..

The Public Service Announcement

Now I can’t say whether or not this has anything to do with Trump’s Crony New Postmaster General Luis de Joy’s memo above, but we’d recently sent two large boxes of first edition hardcover books to a friend in Florida.  They were packaged and sealed well, addressed both on outside labels and inside the cartons, each weighed about 17 lbs.  I’ve never had to make  claim on a package, but reckoning they were each worth upwards of $500, we insured them for $250 each…just in case.  PO media rates (which includes books) are low, and the PO labels ID’d them as such.

The first box arrived ahead of schedule, but it was empty.  My friend sent me photos of the top and bottom, with the bottom carton flaps folded inside, the tape cut, then ripped off, and a sticker on the top noting it had arrived empty.  So I began looking into the long process of making an online insurance claim at usps.com, and the short story turned out to be:

The insured amount required proof by original receipt or online purchase price, collectibles priced by dealer verification, and so on.

On the other hand, I’d bingled externally and with no date named, had found:

Standard Shipping Insurance

You can purchase insurance coverage for your mailpieces for up to $5,000 in indemnity to protect against loss or damage. Insurance fees are based on the item’s declared value. There are limitations for insuring some products and certain items.

The second box of books was mailed on the very same day and time, 22 days ago…and still hasn’t arrived.  I’ve checked its tracking history, and after its last stop in Denver, it was sent to the Dead Mail Recovery Center.

Yesterday I’d finally ‘bitten the bullet’, and opened an account  at the Recovery Center, tried to fill out every field so that the Recovery Center might have been able to…recover it, perhaps even send it along.

The 'contents' fields to be filled said nothing about media nor books as to contents; the closet thing to paper was: documents.

Last night I got two emails notifying that my claim would be reviewed and decided today; the results would be emailed to me.  WTF?  Of course they won’t pay anything, but I’d far rather have had the scrumptious and more valuable box of books sent to her.  Okay, I did cheat a bit, and had used a large paper book on Navajo weaving and a large David Seals in wraps to fill the box.  Oh, and two small shiny spike deer antlers wrapped in an East Indian silk shawl packed into a plastic bag.  Not exactly ‘media’, but there it is.

You’ll decide, but if I send anything again I’ll use UPS, even though now the closest one to us is 18 mi. away, not open on the weekend.

(cross-posted from Café Babylon)

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ggersh's picture

for they're only going to lose everything(pensions) eventually so go for it now, I'm sure the people will support them. Also when the effect of the strike hits home, i.e. neither one nor all of AMZN,UPS,FEDEX, DHL will be able to come close to providing the services that the USPS provides.

One more thing once they privatize the USPS the country will fall further into the shithole
of shithole countries

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Buy a Bible don't read it and you'll be a Catholic
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wendy davis's picture

@ggersh

strike would be. postal workers are not only worried about voting by mail, but medications by mail, and so on.

i haven't seen any mention of a general strike, but there was an 8-day one in 1970 that started in NYC and spread to 'other cities'.

This strike against the federal government, regarded as illegal, was the largest wildcat strike in U.S. history.[1]

President Richard Nixon called out the United States armed forces and the National Guard in an attempt to distribute the mail and break the strike. and resulted in the
"Postal Reorganization Act of 1970, which dissolved the United States Post Office Department, replaced it with the more corporate United States Postal Service, and guaranteed collective bargaining rights for postal workers (though not the right to strike)."

...from the wiki

but sure they have plenty to lose, even now, and so do we. our wee town's PO has exactly one employee at the counter. the postmaster retired some time ago, and hasn't been replaces. a second woman had a heart attack recently, no temp help to fill her job, though i don't know all the rules involved.

save the PO has this page and petition: Tell Congress: During This Pandemic, Support Our Public Postal Service (guess they had to say 'during this pandemic) with the message and $request for now.

330,000 signatures so far.

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The Liberal Moonbat's picture

Do they still employ large numbers of deranged combat veterans...?

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In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is declared insane when he speaks of colors.

wendy davis's picture

@The Liberal Moonbat

do you have evidence that they have in the past? some sort of combat veteran preferential hiring as with most big city PDs?

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The Liberal Moonbat's picture

@wendy davis You obviously didn't get my insinuation - isn't that where a certain slang term started cropping up after Vietnam?

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In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is declared insane when he speaks of colors.

Pluto's Republic's picture

@wendy davis

do you have evidence that they have ... some sort of combat veteran preferential hiring as with most big city PDs?

... for a jobs program for the formerly deployed and discharged — left untreated for PTSD..

There was even a Bill passed to enshrine this rotten idea. There are strong recruitment efforts for those leaving the military. The Defense Contractors get the cream of the crop by dangling six-figure salaries to formerly-deployed-soldiers for signing on to secretly deployed US Mercenary Forces. (Actually the government covers those salaries with taxpayer money). Local police forces recruit from the rest, including the shell-shocked leftovers. The Pentagon pays a substantial bonus to local police forces who provide jobs to their potentially brain-damaged discharged. Plus, they get free military equipment and weapons, which was how the military-weapons horror show got started in Home Town America.

It wasn't long before national police demographics started looking crazy. The most damning data were not items routinely measured in studies involving municipal police forces, so it went unnoticed for awhile. This included spousal murder-suicides, pre-suicide family annihilation murder sprees, and spiking rates of police suicides with service-weapons. A closer look pointed to police who had been deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan that were pushing the trend. There was never an expose', although I wrote about it — in many places as well as here.

It was clear by the end of the Bush years that the American people were frequently seen as 'enemy combatants' in the eyes of their local police forces. There was some buzz about a connection between the increasing number of police killing citizens with lucrative Pentagon-based incentives for Local Police forces hiring newly-discharged soldiers. When Obama arrived he pulled this program behind the curtain — just as he did with US bio-weapons development — but all these Pentagon programs are still going strong. These programs are good examples of bad programs that enrich the war profiteers while robbing and harming and killing American citizens, who pay for them. The intention and reality of these programs are beneath contempt in a healthy society.

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I do not know if the people of the United States would vote for Enlightened Men — if they ran for public office — but there can be no doubt that such men do not run.
— Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America
wendy davis's picture

@Pluto's Republic

i'd asked 'as with big city PDs', though. yes any number of us have written about it, as well as the 1033 program (Balko's the Rise of the Warrior Cop), and obomba reviewing the program, allegedly taking back 'tanks on tracks', keeping tanks on wheels, etc.

but the PDs DO have preferential hiring for combat vets, as they know how to operate the weapons of war. moonbat was speaking of 'deranged combat vets' as post office employees', as far as i could make out.

and one of my concerns about say, minneapolis, ending police, is that the mercenary forces like Xi/acadamei will be hired instead, and policing will be even more barbaric, as vets are trained to see 'the other' as 'the enemy'.

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Dawn's Meta's picture

In France the postal service provides many things: expected mail delivery; package delivery with competition from various package companies, but all competitive; a bank for loans and savings; 4 euro monthly simple mobile phone - basic, but good; checking on grandma, or homebound people for peace of mind for the rest of the family. They are looking into trained technicians to do blood draws then send them toute suite to the labs. They are always looking for services they would be logically placed to provide.

God help us if Macron succeeds in his corporatist drives. His corporate loving subsidies to fossil fuel industries while increasing the cost of car and truck fuel would have hurt independent truckers, agriculture and the rest of us moyens (middle class). Ergo the Jillets Jaunes movement. His disdain is palpable. But they are wearing him down, and he at least is making noises. We will see. On vera.

The last three presidents, Macron, Hollande and Sarkozy (now up on corruption charges) have come in under the cloak of socialism but international corporatists all. The French are watching. And we have the same ham fisted treatment of protesters, which is being fought in courts. The not so subtle attempts to separate police, which have strong unions and often march with protesters, from the civilians, is aimed at an us and them dynamic. Not good.

France is behind, but tracking along the path the US has travelled. We can only hope the French will see it is important not to wait to be upset and to make the rejections of the future seen by corporations and leaders like these unlikely.

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A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. Allegedly Greek, but more possibly fairly modern quote.

Consider helping by donating using the button in the upper left hand corner. Thank you.

@Dawn's Meta about when Macron will be up for reelection, and knowing he can't do all those highly unpopular policies by himself I'm curious about the chances of successfully ousting key Macron supporters, if not the majority, in the Senate and the National assembly.

Also, what percentage of those in Parliament are the 'opposition' to Macron's policies,and is it possible in the next election that they could form a majority?

An often mentioned quote says... 'in France the Govt. fears the people, in the US the people fear the govt.'. With France's history of social movements,and in the present with the Yellow Vests, to their credit I believe that about the French people.

That's why I have more faith in a positive change in France, not so in the US where the people's fear of the govt. is well founded so I'm not that optimistic but I do have a glimmer of hope right now with all the protests across the US.

However,unfortunately all the protests in the US have a very good chance of being smothered under 'identity politics', and symbolic gestures like focusing on tearing down statues, or renaming sports teams, and products, but doing nothing to change the system responsible for it in the first place.

Thanks for any and all information on the scene in France.

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Dawn's Meta's picture

@aliasalias Each president gets a five year term and can have a second. This is the last year of Macron's reign. And yes the president is close to a king for the term of office. Lives in Elysée Palace. Has sweeping power by decree.

He just got rid of Edouard who was in the polls more popular than Macron. How it works is the opposition gets the PM role, and that person chooses the cabinet ministers of this and that. The president has to deal with a clear opposition or a coalition. This is what the French call the gouvernement.

What one president applies the next one can completely revise. Certain sectors over the years have been privatized or brought back under government control. Right now the trajectory is toward more and more privatization.

France is in an odd position: both a good friend with Merkle/Germany and somewhat regarded by the 'Northern' countries as something like Greece,Italy, Spain - southern countries who go into debt and need austerity to pay back the banks first. The EU is a financial institution which has no government structure but seems to exist to keep banking whole.

Your last questions about the National Assembly, I will need to do some research. It's not like the US where at least theoretically the Congress should balance power with the executive and the judicial.

Hope this begins to answer some of your questions. I am now curious about the balance of power with the NA. I'll probably look to Wiki first.

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A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. Allegedly Greek, but more possibly fairly modern quote.

Consider helping by donating using the button in the upper left hand corner. Thank you.

Dawn's Meta's picture

@aliasalias French government works.

How the French government works.

More extensively, Wiki does not disappoint.
Wiki French government

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A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. Allegedly Greek, but more possibly fairly modern quote.

Consider helping by donating using the button in the upper left hand corner. Thank you.

wendy davis's picture

@Dawn's Meta

but mr. had returned with groceries from 18 mi to the west of us, and we had many tasks to complete.

yes: macron: Trump's poodle.

and it's tragic, really, given all you say that french POs can do, and are looking do. my e-friend in (then) switzerland said much the same: a natural fit for so many helpful functions.

guess i've been following save the post office since about 2011 when obomba had closed what was it, 3700 POs and sold them off? and so many of them that Mr. DiFi sold had the breathtaking (and often political WPA murals) crimes against humanity, i'd call their selling.

indeed, just because a Party has socialism in its name, it signifies nothing but... bullshit virtue-signaling.

OT, but mr. wd's report from shopping in what edward abbey had called 'the shithead capital of dipstick county, colorado' included a small (but valiant) BLM walk, s well as a huge stream of honking pickups flying amerikan flags, and a few unknown to either of us: black and white stripes, white stars in a field of black, and a central blue stripe. i'm sure its meaning is charming, given this is Redneck County, Co: no candidates ther than Red need apply.

sorry, gotta go rest; be back in a bit, and thank you, Dawn's Meta.

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Dawn's Meta's picture

@wendy davis The distancing began when Europe wanted to charge the Google/Amazon/Big Banks some of the taxes they haven't been paying.

Trump said that (multinational they may be) the corporations headquartered in the US had a right to not be taxed. Macron as well as others said we really need that income, we are pushing ahead. So Trump hit where it hurts: wine and cheese tariffs. Many more mundane, but this strikes at the French heart.

Macron in a funny way is highly partisan, and gets all teary eyed on 14 juillet when the jets fly over with the red, white and blue smoke. He also loved the music.

I don't like him. But he is a lot more transparent than what we are used to. He published his entire agenda (set of planks) before the last election. I read the whole thing. He is doing what he said he would. Which I find refreshing but scary in that the French went ahead with him any way. They were afraid of Le Pen. Interestingly she insists she wouldn't touch any of the social safety net in place. It is sacred. However, there is that whole nationalistic, anti immigration and poc thing. Too close to the German experience, so people are more afraid of that than selling out to corporations.

Airports and some of the train services have been sold off. Service is declining. Really too bad.

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A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. Allegedly Greek, but more possibly fairly modern quote.

Consider helping by donating using the button in the upper left hand corner. Thank you.

@Dawn's Meta

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@wendy davis I have a cousin who is a cop and he has one in his yard. The blue stripe represents the police, so its a blue lives matter support the police thing. Btw the fire depts. have them as well with a red stripe instead of blue.

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wendy davis's picture

@pro left

and i thank you. also might be: 'the thin blue line' said to be the po-po standing between law-abiding citizens and anarchy!' (a UK rowan atkinson cop comedy show was called that, iirc.)

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The capital assets of the USSR, acquired by the hard work of the people, were sold off, actually given away, to a handful of oligarchs when the Soviet Union collapsed, as advised by their American advisers. The oligarchs walked away with billions of dollars of capital assets, many of them left Russia and went to the UK, an enormous beneficiary, still to this day. The US Postal Service will be eviscerated and a handful of US oligarchs will make a fortune. Workers will be fired and replacement jobs will be at much lower wages. We will be left with a dysfunctional very expensive mail system. I don't know how many times we need to relearn the lesson that utilities should be controlled in all or in large part by the government.

Which reminds me that one of the reason that the Soviet Union collapsed is that they appointed a string of leaders who were ancient and in early onset dementia. Actually, by the numbers, the Soviet Union's economic performance in the mid 1970s was very good. By the time Gorbachev became leader it was too late. He was also naïve in that he expected the West to cooperate in the liberalization of the USSR. Quite to the contrary, the US did everything it could to effect collapse. In addition he had to deal with a deranged megalomaniac, Boris Yeltsin, a Trump like character. We have all of these characteristics today. The Pandemic is providing the economic collapse and the collapse of the status as the world's one exceptional nation. Instead of the US working for collapse now we have China, Russia and more than half the world rooting for a US collapse. Why? That should be obvious, the US is the most dangerous country on the planet, we're #1.

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Capitalism has always been the rule of the people by the oligarchs. You only have two choices, eliminate them or restrict their power.

The Liberal Moonbat's picture

@The Wizard ...What then?

It's not like everything between Canada and Mexico suddenly crashes into the sea, or the magic of the Ghost Dance suddenly kicks in, or even that foreign powers suddenly charge in like so many mustache-twirling Mongols. Russia had centuries of, well, being Russia to revert to. We may struggle and gnash our teach over what "America" is supposed to be, and "United" may be a joke, but if the USA fell...nobody would know what to do.

The Postwar consensus worked like a dream, and it's what most of us want, whether we know it or not, and the only thing we all have in common; nothing else would work.

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In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is declared insane when he speaks of colors.

@The Liberal Moonbat
China ascends to the status that it had in 1800, richest most powerful country. The EU will not only go along but will partner itself as China has all the capital, technology, infrastructure and trade routes. The US dollar will severely devalue, along with China supporting US consumerism. The world will be very careful about entering into agreements and trading arrangements with the US. The US military will become unwelcome all over the world, and besides we will not have the GDP to support our obscene war habit. The real US GDP will slip from about $12T to about $5T in the Second great depression, worse than the first. People will survive, although it will be difficult for the average family. My mom grew up in the Great Depression and talked about it a lot. In some ways it was a better time as people helped each other. The rich will get richer in terms of dollars, but it won't mean much in the international scene. I don't know of anything that the US supplies to the world that is critical anymore. We don't have an advantage in tech, we don't graduate nearly as many engineers and scientists as the rest of the world, and we don't export that much food anymore. Russia exports twice the grains that the US does in a given year, and Russia has a very large upside to this. I just can't find anything that the US is critical in as a supplier, it's not steel, metals, energy, computers, telecom, what??? Basically its strength today is in the vast size of its economy and the strength of the dollar. Take those away and the US fades to a size commensurate with its population and economic output, around $5T GDP roughly even with Japan, Russia and Germany. And life would go on, and we can stop pretending to be the greatest country in human history.

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13 users have voted.

Capitalism has always been the rule of the people by the oligarchs. You only have two choices, eliminate them or restrict their power.

wendy davis's picture

@The Wizard

that angle on the fall of the soviet union; fascinating. and i totally agree: all utilities should be socialized. but this rape and total destruction may indeed come to pass, but of course if it's totally privatized workers will be paid even less, get few if any benefits, dangerous trucks will be rampant, and of course: unions will be outlawed.

the coming forecast US and global depression will have been made even worse by the virus, but was written in the stars before its arrival, esp.. in the US, imo.

i'd forgotten to mention to Miz Meta earlier that shuvuu batta had also written:

Postal workers throughout the world are facing the same struggle. Privatization of the postal service has been achieved in Germany, the UK and Japan with disastrous results for the workers and a shower of profits for the capitalist class.

wonder if lot lizard, mimi, and blue republic would agree?

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@wendy davis
Thirty year old trucks driven daily for eight hours. No A/C. Carriers dropping and dying from heat stroke.

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7 users have voted.

We are so screwed.

wendy davis's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness

included this but also from batta:

Injuries are commonplace and often rewarded with layoffs, as a lawsuit earlier this year revealed, with 44,000 workers fired after getting injured on the job. Postal workers work with faulty and outdated equipment; according to documents obtained by Motherboard, USPS delivery trucks burst into flames at a rate of one truck every five days. In addition to horrific work conditions, the USPS has deliberately hidden COVID-19 cases from the workforce.

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@wendy davis
there are over a hundred cases at my old plant. Four have died. One name I knew but only as an acquaintance, an African-American union steward. When I left five years ago, there were over 800 employees but there have been deaths (non Covid, I've been to three funerals), retirements and no hires. There has been a hiring freeze for as long as I can remember. Good old Management By Objectives. Give a plant manager an objective to keep employment down and get what you deserve, routine six day weeks and daily overtime. The cost is hiring than actually hiring new employees and working 40 hour weeks. I also asked why we didn't recruit mechanics and technicians from the community college graduates and get workers who will work a complete career with USPS, but that made too much sense. We did hire (when we were hiring) a lot of military and naval veterans.

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5 users have voted.

We are so screwed.

wendy davis's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness

likely needless deaths? how tragic, amigo. actually, what you're describing is all horrific. early on, mr.wd and i both decided to be self-employed, for which one is punished financially, of course.

but i hadn't known you'd worked for the postal service.

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@wendy davis
plus 13 as a Navy civilian before everything was farmed out. In between as an engineer and computer programmer for various companies that went defunct because of top management greed and incompetence. But I guess you can say that the US government also died because of top management greed and incompetence.

So that's the short of it. Born blue collar, worked my way through college, became white collar, would up blue collar again in my old age. Could have been worse. Quite a few of my class never came back from 'Nam.
Some got rich but married three times, mostly those from white collar families, but not all. Most successful man I grew up with was a child immigrant from Sicily and High School dropout. After the war, he became a plumber, would up rich with his own plumbing business. Not glamorous but a lot of money in plumbing. Made Corporal twice, left the Army as Private. One of those guys you don't want in your barracks, but they kept giving his stripes back because when he led a patrol, the patrol came back alive. Most of them.

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6 users have voted.

We are so screwed.

OzoneTom's picture

Since I do all of my political contributions by mail and not online, I sometimes receive "questionnaires" and other fund-raising mailings from campaigns and organizations other than those I have been supporting. I am sure most are from much older campaign cycles though.

For any that I have no intention of supporting, e.g. DNC, DSCC, DCCC -- I return their envelope empty. This increases the utilization of my local post office and forces whatever Democratic committee to pay some small amount of postage. This seems the single sure way to make Democrats support the USPS at all.

Thanks for the great write-up Wendy. Many forget or do not realize Nixon's part in the scheme long before the PAEA was a gleam in the Bush/GOP's eye.

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travelerxxx's picture

@OzoneTom

For any that I have no intention of supporting, e.g. DNC, DSCC, DCCC -- I return their envelope empty.

Some might suggest to glue that postage-paid return envelope to a brick. Just something I heard about, of course...

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wendy davis's picture

@OzoneTom

it took me three reads to grasp that you must mean you write: 'return to sender' and they have to pay the postage. i love it! one suggestion that save the post office had made was to buy many sheets of stamps and gift them, which makes sense now that they sell the 'Any Time' ones, always good even when the price of a stamp goes up.

it was shavu batta who knew about Nixon, but it was the 1970 wildcat strike in NYC happened under his rule as well. thinking our loud here, but under Trump rule, i wonder what a postal general strike might look like. and yes, i'm thinking of the PATCO strike under ronald reagan.

Reagans hard line anti-union animus decision was to fire all the strikers; blacklist and ban them from their profession for life. In addition, he ordered hundreds of strikers and union leaders to be arrested, fined, convicted and jailed for withholding their services. Reagan thought the controllers would cave to his 48 hour ultimatum and go running back to FAA; but he was wrong, because the strikers stood together in solidarity all across the USA, and never returned.

dunno when it was written but their pride shines thru:

Union Busting was the Reagan goal......

The air traffic control system today is still recovering from the rippling effects of the strike, but changes would take place in spite of the Administration and FAA's stupidty. The FAA was forced to change their autocratic style of management and address the grievances and workplace conditions that caused the strike. None of this would have ever happened had it not been for the actions and sacrifices of the PATCO strikers who walked the picket line fighting for their profession. In a nutshell, the gains, achievments and improvements within the FAA today are the direct results of the PATCO Union strike on August 3, 1981.

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OzoneTom's picture

@wendy davis
They already paid some minimal postage for the original mailing and I don't think that they have to pay again when it is returned undeliverable. Returning the reply envelope should incur a second charge though. At least that's my theory...

I also buy extra sheets of the "forever" stamps to help out. Also sheets of special commemorative issues for gifts to youngsters in the family when they are a subject of their interest. They are often "forever" stamps as well.

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4 users have voted.
wendy davis's picture

@OzoneTom

both for gifting 'forever stamps' and returning pleas for $$$. we don't get those as we hadn't er...been contributors.

dunno if you or anyone had read my PSA, but i sure won't send packages in the mail any more. #WhatABurn. and may i say, politely of course: Fuck PMG Luis de JOY, et.al.?

oh, my; a family of bullocks orioles just flew in to nosh on our chokecherries. males are bright orange and black, females rather golden. looks to be four fledglings.

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1 user has voted.
Creosote.'s picture

@wendy davis
if the envelope was sent by first-class mail. For people like Schumer and Bye-Done
I send info on unrelated subjects or appeal letters from other senders.
This fake survey business, now a major ploy, got popular a couple of years ago as a way of guilt-tripping recipients to contribute, as if the survey answers went anywhere at all.

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1 user has voted.

@OzoneTom

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7 users have voted.

@OzoneTom
it may cost YOU 55 cents, but it costs your slug Congressperson only a few pennies to bulk mail you with physical spam. It's considered "public service". If they paid 55 cents do you think you would have a mailbox full of spam day after day.

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5 users have voted.

We are so screwed.

@The Voice In the Wilderness I put as much junk as I can fit into the envelope.

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4 users have voted.
OzoneTom's picture

@aliasalias
Even the brick idea might cost the USPS more to get delivered than any extra postage -- if that even works. The empty envelope should cost the least for the Postal Service get back to Washington.

Again, just my thought process.

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4 users have voted.

@OzoneTom

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3 users have voted.

@OzoneTom if I remember correctly it has something to do with the bulk and processing. That's why for the last few years I not only cut up what they sent me but also cut up cardboard to stuff the envelope as much as possible as long as I can seal it.

I'm not adverse to writing on the back of the envelopes accusing them of war mongering and corruption, among other things.

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3 users have voted.

@OzoneTom
I really don't know if the pre-paid postage is a flat fee or what. Discovered the political mailing costs by accident when I was a postal employee. I wasn't a clerk so I don't know those nuances. I was a machine mechanic and an electronics technician so I do know how the mail flows and details of the machines that process it. I discovered the reduced price for political mailings while on a trouble call.
The Wednesday after Election day some political mail was being processed. Yes, it was futile but mail must be processed. The top half of the mailing, containing the candidate's name was being sheared off of every piece. Now the clerk knew what was wrong. It was obvious. I suspect he told his supervisor and was told to shut up and do what he was told, so the clerk figured "OK, I'll play stupid, shut up, and do what I'm told." Of course he called maintenance when the mail was being damaged because that's a standing order.
Not to keep yopu in suspense, the problem was that the mail was being run on the wrong machine. The incoming window was low for that mail which should have been run on a flat machine not a letter machine. The supervisor was probably trying to generate some numbers to look good. I asked why we were running a political mailing the day after the election. Answer was it came in too late for the Tuesday mailing which lead to a discussion of political mail in which I was shown the price schedule. Thitd clss bulk political campaign mail. Two and a half cents per piece.

I must confess that neither the clerk, a black man, nor I were concerned. I mention his color only because I greatly doubt whether a black union member government employee was a Republican. Surprisingly, change the color and many are Republicans although most are Democrats.

We were rather amused that the candidate a right wing Republican Congressional candidate couldn't even get his own campaign mail out on time, nor had the sense to use standard postal sizes. it was extra height. He probably thought that would attract attention.

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5 users have voted.

We are so screwed.

travelerxxx's picture

@OzoneTom

I have to admit that the old brick thing is a really old idea. I was thinking I first heard of it in Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me, but now that I've thought about it for a while, I think that might have been where I learned the prank of collecting all parking tickets and stuffing them in a mailbox. Or maybe it was from The Dharma Bums. One of those anyway. Been a long time...

Probably the bastards have figured a way to get out of paying the postage by now. I surely don't want that prank to cost the USPS anything, so it wouldn't surprise me if they haven't found a way to do that.

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2 users have voted.

people, especially in areas with no broadband, depend on the USPS for a variety of their needs. Meds are one thing. Letters from friends and family, for another. Notices and checks from IRS and other official sources, etc. What will happen to the unconnected?

The Progressive direction would be to enlarge the services available at Post Offices. As Bernie has discussed.

So, sadly, we are heading in the opposite direction. I'm hoping for a reversal, rescue, but that is a faint hope.

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9 users have voted.

NYCVG

wendy davis's picture

@NYCVG

we don't bank online, don't file our tax returns online (although the IRS no longer send tax prep booklets and forms out, damn them), and our utility and other bills all come in the mail, as do xeroxes of our canceled checks, although i liked the actual checks for tax purposes. birthday cards, any holiday cards, and for a number of years i sold my photo greeting cards around the county.

in the past stim package, who voted for and against a bit of money to tide the PO over? i can't remember, but i do remember the Trumpeter smirking (?) that if the PO would charge more for amazon's packages, he'd consider it.

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8 users have voted.
Dawn's Meta's picture

Roger Cohen comments on undesignated federal militia being deployed. The NYT article which Cohen writes states that in 'wartime' it is against the Geneva Conventions. This technically isn't a war unless it's undeclared civil war. FFS the mayor of Portland got teargassed yesterday. He allowed the local police to use the same tactics and has been greatly criticized for it. Now he has literally had a taste of his own medicine. And maybe in more solidarity with his citizens.

Here is a quote from the NYT article 'American Catastrophe Through German Eyes'

As Tom Ridge, a Republican who was the first head of the Department of Homeland Security, noted in an interview with the Sirius XM host Michael Smerconish, the department was “not established to be the president’s personal militia.”

In wartime, the Third Geneva Convention, to which the United States is a party, requires even irregular forces to wear “a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance.” This is critical not only to protecting civilians but also to ensuring accountability for misconduct.

When paramilitary-style units have no identifying insignia, there is no transparency, no accountability — and that means impunity. Democracy dies. Think of all this as setting the scene for Trump’s own “state of emergency” if he does not like the November election result. Social media is combustible enough for a physical fire to be unnecessary.

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8 users have voted.

A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. Allegedly Greek, but more possibly fairly modern quote.

Consider helping by donating using the button in the upper left hand corner. Thank you.

@Dawn's Meta the unmarked storm troopers swooping in, scary as hell, I'm not minimizing that, at all. But a test to see just how far "Trump" can go, although we really must remember Trump alone isn't the one in control. He is perfect in persona, as Cass said in his diary, playing a part. If this is martial law come to pass and the election really is "disputed" I think that will be our owners making that call, certainly not Trump alone. Trump will play that part though, he'll go all out and stoke the fires of that civil war. I have a couple friends who are more worried, still, about who is wearing a mask or not than what's happening in Portland. They too think "Trump" will probably contest the election, if "he" doesn't suspend it altogether. The very idea that he is alone in doing it is ludicrous, it is perfect American theater to distract and divide. Sadly, while the theater plays out I feel this is getting the populace ready for what will come later. Between the virus and economic collapse, the stage is set and our owners are ready.

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8 users have voted.

Only a fool lets someone else tell him who his enemy is. Assata Shakur

wendy davis's picture

@Dawn's Meta

but i'm not sure what the NYT cohen was quite aboout, although i wouldn't be able to read it in any event.

but recently some of us had a bit o' fun at aoc's expense concerning a version of this:

AOC Responds to Portland Protests With Legislation Requiring Federal Agents to Wear ID Badges, msn.com, 5 days ago.

In response to unidentifiable federal agents arresting protesters in Portland, Democrats in the House of Representatives are introducing a bill that would require all federal law enforcement officers to wear markings clearly identifying themselves, The Nation reported on Monday.

The bill, which will be introduced this week by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Eleanor Holmes Norton, a non-voting House delegate representing the District of Columbia, will mandate that any on-duty federal agents display a tag containing the agent’s name, agency, and individual identification number.

because: there would be no mis-identification badges among the many paramilitary organizations, and traveller XXX had written an hilarious one/half act play about it.

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9 users have voted.
wendy davis's picture

then go arrange the many garden flowers mr.wd's bringing in; glad i had a wsws tab open:

“People will not know what they lost until it is gone”;
Workers voice opposition to privatization of US Postal Service, Kayla Costa and Shuvu Batta, 25 July 2020

We encourage all workers who wish to join in the defense of the US Postal Service through the formation of rank-and-file committees to contact the World Socialist Web Site at contact@wsws.org.

Postal workers and broad sections of the American population have responded with outrage to the leaked memos from United States Postal Service (USPS) management which reveal plans for the accelerated privatization of the Postal Service and their impact on working conditions.
.......................................
These strict rules outline the restructuring of the federal agency, increasing the workloads of mail carriers and sorters to complete high volumes within a shorter amount of time. The changes would increase penalties for workers who make mistakes while loading trucks or completing their delivery route, and would impose a regime of tight oversight and harassment by management.
............................................
The effects of this change are already being felt by workers around the country. Mail carriers in Maine recently reported that Portland Postmaster James Thornton ordered workers to prioritize Amazon packages first before USPS parcels.

Opposition is growing among postal workers and wider sections of the working class to these attacks on the postal service. The World Socialist Web Site’s previous report this week on the threats to privatize USPS was widely read and circulated on social media.

Brandon, a stower, wrote in to tell the WSWS: “From what I have heard, if the Postal Service is privatized it will affect the rural areas and inner city, as they may only get mail three days a week. It will cost a lot more as a private company will charge more for the last mile, and the sanctity of the mail will not be as secure. People will not know what they lost until it is gone.”

that's enuff for now.

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9 users have voted.

@wendy davis @wendy davis [Big yellow Taxi](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94bdMSCdw20)

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6 users have voted.

NYCVG

wendy davis's picture

@NYCVG

JtC's wonderful commenting software:

if you want to insert/embed a video, place your cursor where you want it, click the royal blue circle with screen inside, then add the youtube url: (hovering your mouse over each style tag shows what it means)

each time you edit your comment, it adds an @+number. if you delete all but the first one, the others disappear. sometimes you need to hit Enter to avoid further crowding.

insert an image is a bit more complicated if it needs to be resized. but yes to big yellow taxi; joni got so much right, didn't she?

sadly, i'm not quite soothed by your friend's having made so light of privatization, but at least she's not flipping out, so there's that.

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11 users have voted.

@wendy davis @wendy davis royal blue circle??? I'm lost.

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1 user has voted.

NYCVG

travelerxxx's picture

@NYCVG

Yeah, inserting a picture I can do, but when I attempt to add a video – other than simply giving a text link – it takes me so long to figure it out that I generally give up ...with a lot of failure before I finally do give up. For my money, I'd like to see a re-written and up-to-date help section describing the process.

There are other mysteries ...for instance, inserting a textual smiley. I can't seem to figure that out either. Not once have I been able to do it.

Seems that some of this info used to be on the "housekeeping" page, but that page turns up a "page not found" warning for me now. In fact, there ought to be a link to "help" under the sidebar "Site Menu" area, but I don't find one.

[Sorry to divert from your subject matter, WD...]

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1 user has voted.
magiamma's picture

@travelerxxx
Type exactly as below keeping the

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1 user has voted.

Stop Climate Change Silence - Start the Conversation

Hot Air Website, Twitter, Facebook

travelerxxx's picture

@magiamma

(I know your reply didn't post the way you intended, but considering the tribulations I have with posting videos and the little smiley thingys, it's kind of appropriate.)

I'll PM you rather than continuing this subject here in wendy's important thread.

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1 user has voted.
wendy davis's picture

@travelerxxx

more sense. ; ) i don't care for emojis either, so i use a semi-colon, space, then closed-parentheses.

for @NYCVG as well: there are 18 style tag squares (i think they're called) above the comment open field rectangle. the first on the far left is for images, if you hove your mouse cursor over it, you'll Insert Image. if you place your cursor where you want the image and click that box, a thingie will pop up for an image url (web address) and sizes , as in 150 x 250. now some images don't let you know their sizes, unless when you right click on them the do hve a 'Properites; notification. then it shows not only the URL, but the size, and you can downsize it.

right-clicking on any random image usually has a Copy Location you can choose, stick that url into the box, and it should show up when you send your comment. but often they are gigantic. so you'll decide whether to use it, or just hyperlink to it.

now the second box from the left (mouse hovering brings Inset Video)is a royal blue circle that seems to have the outline of a tv in in (crap eyes here), so again: decide where in your comment you want your video. you've already copied its youtube address (url),
so you click the Insert Video box, add the URl, and bobs your uncle!

here's the videeo url:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hGSqqhhokE&list=RD3hGSqqhhokE&start_rad...

i'll place my cursor below, click on the insert video box:

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1 user has voted.

@wendy davis Thanks for the tip.

I will be working on getting my posts and replies up to standard.

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1 user has voted.

NYCVG

@wendy davis @lizzyh7 @wendy davis @wendy davis but I went to the PO a few days ago to mail something and I chatted with the postal worker who told me that her father was a postal worker and her daughter is also.

She said, and i quote, "We have been hearing this stuff for 40 years and I'm not worried."

I hope she's right but I fear she is not. Cutting overtime will certainly be a blow.

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9 users have voted.

NYCVG

Unabashed Liberal's picture

@NYCVG

realize how much the Postal unions have colluded with the PtB--including the Obama Administration, where this move began in earnest under the Postmaster he appointed in 2010--Patrick R. Donahoe.

He's the jerk that proposed cutting Saturday deliveries, except for Express Mail. (later, the elimination of Sat Deliveries was overruled) But, 'O' supported its elimination. As well as slashing pensions and healthcare benefits (of course, he would use the words "reform").

What Dems and Repubs are going after is retirements like mine--the 'original' platinum defined benefit pension called CSRS.

(it was replaced by FERS in mid-80's--which pays less than half of what CSRS pays)

'O' even proposed slashing billions from federal portion of budget (going to PS), but, John Boehner backed out of the Grand Bargain negotiations, so those cuts were never realized.

(I was going to post the Bai piece, but, it is now paywalled at the NYT. I've already posted excerpts several times, if anyone wants to see it--it's 'somewhere' in my comments. Smile I believe that I posted it once within the past year. Too pushed right now, to look for it.)

Believe me, I hope like heck I'm wrong. But, if it continues to look like DT is a Lame Duck Prez, Repubs and corporatist Dems will go for it.

And, why shouldn't they? DT probably won't be around to take the heat after Jan 21, and, by my count, approximately 35 lawmakers are retiring at the end of this year--mostly Republicans.

Oh, same goes for the Romney proposal to slash Social Security, SSDI, and Medicare, that Joe posted about last evening.

When has there been a more convenient time, with so many lawmakers retiring, and a Prez likely/possibly already doomed to be a one-termer? Sounds like a plan to me.

IOW, voting to slash entitlements ought to be an easy vote for those lawmakers. Not to mention, the entire Dem Party Blue Dog Coalition has endorsed Romney's "Trust Act" Bill.

(not that it's any of my business, but) If I hadn't filed for SS by now, I'd make a beeline to do it.

Even the Sanders-Biden so-called "Unity Proposals" are a sham. There are '3' proposals included in those proposals, which were taken from the Dems so-called "Grand Bargain"--IOW, the Bowles-Simpson Catfood Commission Proposal.

Great negotiators, those Dems! Bad

/snarked intended

Mollie

"The leaders of this new movement are replacing traditional liberal beliefs about tolerance, free inquiry, and even racial harmony with ideas so toxic and unattractive that they eschew debate, moving straight to shaming, threats, and intimidation."
~~Matt Taibbi, The American Press Is Destroying Itself, June 12, 2020

"I know, I know. All passion; no street smarts."
~~Captain West, 1992 Rob Reiner/Aaron Sorkin Movie, A Few Good Men

“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die, I want to go where they went.”
~~Will Rogers, Actor & Social Commentator (1856-1950)

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11 users have voted.

Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.

wendy davis's picture

@Unabashed Liberal

friend had gotten Trump's new postmaster general's memo in the OP above.

i admit i'd thought i'd asked Snoopy Dawg about this earlier, but she'd used a different term than yours:

Even the Sanders-Biden so-called "Unity Proposals" are a sham.

i'd meant to PM you to ask if you'd found some large flake nutritional yeast, but i do keep forgetting to ask mr. wd to dig out the pail of Bob's Red Mill down-cellar, so...i hadn't. we're trying to think of shelf-stable items to stash for barter, gifts, for the coming...depression.

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7 users have voted.

@Unabashed Liberal
I'm CSRS too. Our only hope is that would cause literally millions of lawsuits based on broken promises of a specific pension. Every time over the last century (or maybe more) that government pensions were cut, existing members and annuitants have been grandfathered in. You don't get to promise something for thirty years then take it away.

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8 users have voted.

We are so screwed.

@Unabashed Liberal I'm more inclined to believe your take.

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2 users have voted.

NYCVG

wendy davis's picture

this seems just right for tonight's closing song; tell it Buffy!

good night all; thanks so much for the conversation.

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6 users have voted.