USPS Sends a Message to Congress

Last Monday, the U.S. Postal Service filed its proposal to reduce service standards with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC). The USPS is seeking to cut costs by closing about half of its mail processing facilities, which would mean slower mail delivery. Given that the USPS is running on financial fumes and Congress is still trying to figure out how to kick the can down the road, management apparently decided that it had to act.

Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE), the chairman of the Senate subcommittee that oversees the USPS, acknowledges this in his statement on the proposal:

Although we’ve made some progress in moving postal reform bills forward in the House and Senate, we still have a lot of work that needs to be done in order to find a comprehensive solution to the Postal Service’s serious financial problems. In the absence of assistance from Congress and the Administration, the Postal Service has been forced to take matters into their own hands and try to modernize their business model with the limited tools and resources available to them. This situation is less than ideal. The few measures that the Postal Service can adopt on its own—such as closing distribution centers and slowing down first-class mail delivery times—to extend its survival and avoid insolvency will also potentially further erode its declining business.

Carper concluded his statement by making a pitch for bipartisan postal reform legislation that I recently panned.

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Parable of the Monkey Master…or just say “NO!” to Tyranny!

cross-posted from the Texas Tenth Amendment Center

I ran across the following fable in a book called From Dictatorship to Democracy (A Conceptual Framework for Liberation) by Gene Sharp (Fourth U.S. Edition (May 2010), The Albert Einstein Institution).

Mr. Sharp, Professor Emeritus of political science at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth and Nobel Peace Prize nominee, is known for his extensive writings on nonviolent struggle, which have influenced numerous anti-government resistance movements around the world. Known as the ”Clausewitz of nonviolent warfare,” Sharp has influenced resistance organizations around the world, most recently the protest movement that toppled President Mubarak of Egypt as well as the movements in Tunisia and Libya. This fable, a fourteenth century Chinese parable by Liu-Ji, offers insight into the nature of political power.

In the feudal state of Chu an old man survived by keeping monkeys in his service. The people of Chu called him “ju gong” (monkey master).

Each morning, the old man would assemble the monkeys in his courtyard, and order the eldest one to lead the others to the mountains to gather fruits from bushes and trees. It was the rule that each monkey had to give one-tenth of his collection to the old man. Those who failed to do so would be ruthlessly flogged. All the monkeys suffered bitterly, but dared not complain.

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Free New England. Free California. Martha Coakley to the rescue.

When I proposed up here at the buildup to the war on Iraq that if the United States no longer wanted to be part of the UN then New England should send its own represented, it brought a kindly note from John Kenneth Galbraith who thought it “ . . . wonderfully to the good.” America’s greatest ambassador since Franklin, George Kennan, like Galbraith, almost into his hundreds, proposed New England secession. “We are a monster country . . .” he wrote, and proposed decentralizing the U.S. into a dozen constituent republics. Harvard’s pastor, Rev. Peter Gomes, proposed a new Hartford Convention like the one during the War of 1812.

Possibly Emerson’s anthem and manifesto of New England self reliance is beginning to sink in. Martha Coakley, Massachusetts Attorney Generally, following Emerson’s order to “go alone,” takes initiative on her state’s behalf. From the Massachusetts Real Estate Law Blog: “Breaking away from the proposed 50 state attorney general settlement talks, Mass. Attorney General Martha Coakley has filed a monumental consumer protection lawsuit over wrongful foreclosures against the top 5 U.S. lenders, Bank of America Corp., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo & Co., Citigroup Inc. and Ally Financial.”

The Democrats hate Wall Street and the Republicans hate Washington, D.C. As George Will wrote this week, Texas Governor Rick Perry doesn’t like either very much. Which in my opinion makes him the man for our times. New England is a place. Texas is a place. Let them think for themselves. Take the training wheels off.

The timing of Coakley’s action seems a manifestation of Occupy; moving from the amorphous to the actual. That is, moving from rest to an awakening. I propose Coakley take it further and run for governor on this; Governor of New England.

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