Government is Something That Happens to You

You’d think that the Congress-induced collapse of the Postal Service, which is causing the loss of Saturday mail, which disproportionately impacts Republican rural and elderly constituencies, would cause them to rise up in a frenzy against their tea leaders, but I doubt it will happen. When they’re waiting an extra days for their mail order prescriptions* from the VA, Medicare-financed diabetes test strips, letters from other oldsters, checks from their kids in the cities, and the latest Franklin Graham newsletter, the last entity that they’ll be railing against is Congress. The Post Office itself and “Government” in general will get a thrashing in their minds, but there will be no action. Years of anti-government rhetoric has turned it into an abstract, evil entity that just needs to be starved. The idea that a few relatively minor legislative changes could keep Saturday deliveries coming won’t make it into Fox News, so it will be far from their consciousness.

Fox Nation is a nation of helpless victims of government. When they vote, they vote for representatives who promise less of everything except Social Security and Medicare, because that was earned, unlike welfare and Food Stamps. If all you think you can get from government is a screw job, why would you think your vote could change anything?

Update: * A prescription could be a package, so that might get delivered on Saturday.






70 replies
  1. 1
    redshirt says:

    It’s sad watching a once great nation crumble in real time before our eyes even though we know what should and could be done to not only stop it, but reverse it.

    Held hostage as we are by a small but fanatical minority.

  2. 2
    Scott S. says:

    Why would they appropriately blame Congress when there’s a Black Guy in the White House?!

  3. 3
    peach flavored shampoo says:

    What they need is a charasmatic, celebrity Postmaster General to raise awareness and rally Joe Stampbook and his ilk. Someone like Cher or Joe Rogan or Subway Jared.

  4. 4
    redshirt says:

    Am I wrong to feel this way? On the one hand, consider the second picture in this post.

    Crazy, right? That’s what the Republican Party used to believe in, and not even a Democrat could say it today.

    That said, in 1956, Jim Crow laws kept blacks segregated, homosexuals were routinely killed for their behaviors, all sorts of vile sexism was propagated in every aspect of American life.

    So are things better today than back then?

    Easy answer: If you’re white, probably not. For everyone else, today is much better.

    And perhaps it is this split which powers the Tea Party spit feckled rage.

  5. 5
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    In before T&H to mock him by saying: Where is our strong Democratic party to write a bill that will pass both Houses of Congress that will repeal this?

  6. 6
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @redshirt:

    Followed your link. Great post!

  7. 7
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    T&H only talk about pie in my corner of the multiverse. That’s something that I wouldn’t have done to MIQ2XU or any of the other great trolls of yesteryear.

  8. 8
  9. 9
    rda909 says:

    There are only two governmental departments listed by name in the US Constitution – The Department of Defence, and the Post Office. By definition, efforts to eliminate the Post Office are unconstitutional.

  10. 10
    Cervantes says:

    Actually they are going to continue to deliver prescriptions on Saturday. It’s important to be accurate.

  11. 11
    Eric the Fruit Baat says:

    erm, I thought it was just First Class Mail getting the blade for Saturday delivery and that packages will still be delivered on Saturday…

  12. 12
    Sterling says:

    The conservative, elderly white rural voters know that the postal service can’t deliver their mail because lazy postal workers cost too much money. They all know a guy in the post office who tells stories about how minority workers Manuel and Taniqua sit around on the job, take lots of sick days, and toss around packages from grandparents to their grandchildren.

  13. 13
    PeakVT says:

    @rda909: Um, no.

    The Congress shall have Power … To establish Post Offices and post Roads;

    Also, no mention of “The Department of Defense.”

  14. 14
    Schlemizel says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    careful! If you actually say Douche & Bags name 3 times they will come back and flood you with vinegar & water.

    Also I have some trolls of yesterday on the line & they are highly displeased with your use of the word “great” in conjunction with anything D&B does.

  15. 15
    redshirt says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: Thanks. I’m getting more fired up each and every year, and it’s all thanks to the Republicans!

    I used to not give a shit about politics, at all, until the Clinton witch hunts began. And with each passing year, and the Republicans get crazier, I get more politicized. I’m near Marxist by this point.

    It’s time for collective action, comrades.

  16. 16
    ericblair says:

    @Sterling:

    The conservative, elderly white rural voters know that the postal service can’t deliver their mail because lazy postal workers cost too much money.

    It’s the goal of the conservative media to get people to shit where they eat, and then convince them they’re stockpiling valuable fertilizer for the End Of The World As We Know It.

  17. 17
    Punchy says:

    @Cervantes: Accuracy….how does that work?

  18. 18
    Schlemizel says:

    @redshirt:

    That explains the red shirt!

    I used to think I was a liberal but given the things that are labeled ‘so_cial-ist’ these days I guess I am a full blooded commie pinko marxist.

  19. 19
    Cassidy says:

    @Schlemizel: I’ve been called a fascist but only by other liberals.

  20. 20
    WereBear says:

    I just ran across this, checking on Winter Storm Nemo:

    10 Most Depressing States in the U.S.

    Which ones are they? Hahahahahahahaha!

    Guess.

  21. 21
    Cervantes says:

    @Punchy: You get your facts straight before you post, or correct them after someone brings your errors to your attention. I assume Mr. M will do so in due course, but if he doesn’t, he hurts the credibility of the site.

  22. 22
    redshirt says:

    @Schlemizel: Heh. That’s the thing – they keep saying I’m a Commie Socialist so often I’ve started to think, “hey, collective action on behalf of workers and redistribution of wealth sounds like a great idea!”

  23. 23
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    the last entity that they’ll be railing against is Congress.

    Or if they do blame “Congress”, it won’t be the Republicans. McConnell understands this

  24. 24
    DecidedFenceSitter says:

    @redshirt: Two things have happened since then that changed the game:
    1) Communism failed as a significant threat to capitalism, so there was no competing economic plan, and in a monopoly of ideas, capitalism as abused its power.
    2) Vietnam split the unions and dirty hippies (ala Hard Hat Riot) thus dividing power/focus at a critical moment.

    With those two items, there was no longer any need to support the common worker, because what was he going to turn to? There was no competing economic interest; nor was there a monolith in his corner supporting his rights.

  25. 25
    Citizen_X says:

    @PeakVT: Thanks. They don’t have to organize or fund a Post Office. They don’t have to issue letters of Marque and Reprisal, either. (We have drones today for that!)

    That said, the Post Office’s Constitutional mention is defense against the cries of “un-American creeping soshulizms!”

  26. 26
    Original Lee says:

    @redshirt: I originally thought that you were using redshirt in an ironic, John Scalzi kind of way. Guess I was wrong.

  27. 27
    ottercliff says:

    They won’t blame the gummit, they will be programmed by the Fox gasbags to think that Obama is doing this to them because he hates America and Jesus.

  28. 28
    Gin & Tonic says:

    I honestly think I’m seeing a sea change with the R brand. During the Reagan years, even as late as the Gingrich “revolution” you could observe a pretty substantial cohort of young Republicans, even in places like college campuses or in big cities. There was at least a kind of coolness, or retro-coolness, or something, where a sentient person could disagree but at least see how there was some appeal to them, and see good numbers of them. Now you just don’t see that anywhere outside, perhaps, the South. I have three kids in their 20’s, admittedly all city dwellers north of the Mason-Dixon line, but to them, Republicanism is completely alien. I honestly don’t think they could name anyone from their (large) circle of friends who’d ever admit to voting R.

  29. 29
    Schlemizel says:

    @Cassidy:

    Hell, I got called that here just a couple of days ago because I dared to say that a Catholic prelate probably had a sexual problem when he was found in S&M gear when he claimed it was just for stress relief.

    Thats another word that has lost all meaning

  30. 30
    Chris says:

    @redshirt:

    Agree. That’s the infuriating thing; it’s not like we don’t know what to do. We just can’t be allowed to do it. Because, you know, American exceptionalism or God knows what.

  31. 31
    Chris says:

    @DecidedFenceSitter:

    Communism failed as a significant threat to capitalism, so there was no competing economic plan, and in a monopoly of ideas, capitalism as abused its power.

    I’d expand on this and say that in general there’s no big “protest ideology” to work as a critique of the current system, at least not one with democratic, humanistic aspirations. In the late eighteenth and most of the nineteenth century, you had liberalism for that. In the late nineteenth and most of the twentieth century, you had socialism for that. What’s the equivalent today? There isn’t one that I can see.

  32. 32
    ericblair says:

    @redshirt:

    Heh. That’s the thing – they keep saying I’m a Commie Socialist so often I’ve started to think, “hey, collective action on behalf of workers and redistribution of wealth sounds like a great idea!”

    I’m wondering if this could be the most beautiful irony of the modern conservative movement. You’ve got a bunch of google-eyed spit-flecked nutballs telling everyone that having health insurance no matter who you are is SOSHULISM! Preventing people from being gunned down in a public place is SOSHULISM! Having control of your own body is SOSHULISM! Being respected even if you’re not a white male Christian is SOSHULISM!

    If you get enough people to think that, well, if that’s SOSHULISM we could use a lot more of it, the teabaggers could be dragging the S word back out of the swamp and into polite conversations all by themselves.

  33. 33
    El Caganer says:

    If the Postmaster General would just use the bully pulpit…

  34. 34
    mistermix says:

    @Cervantes: It depends on whether the prescription is a “package”. If it’s a small bottle sent in a padded mailer as first class mail, I believe the PO considers it “mail”.

  35. 35
    General Stuck says:

    Have to go on a snipe hunt to find new threads and to comment on them.

    I don’t know. The country runs on a 5 day work week. Dropping Saturday delivery will be a pain at first, but the world won’t end, I don’t think. But overall, agree that congress needs to take the postal service more seriously to keep it funded, though with an ever expanding internet nation, it won’t be as dire as before internet.

  36. 36
    JPL says:

    Who broke the thread?

  37. 37
    Augie says:

    There are a lot of changes to the USPS model that would disproportionately affect rural, red-state voters, but ending Saturday deliveries is just not one of them.

  38. 38
    The Red Pen says:

    In related news, Free Republic has turned into Firedoglake.

    The Freepers are outraged — OUTRAGED, I SAY! — that the president would designate RED BLOODED AMERICANS as “enemy combatants” and strip them of their CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS just because they just happen to be supporting Al Qaeda.

    If we don’t follow the Constitution, the terrorists win — at least until Obama is out of office.

  39. 39
    raven says:

    This dude in LA seems to be angry with the government”

    “I will bring unconventional and asymmetrical warfare to those in LAPD uniform whether on or off duty,” Dorner allegedly wrote in a lengthy letter promising retribution against the department, where he worked from 2005 until 2008.”

  40. 40
    cathyx says:

    I could be wrong, but I think that the packages that will continue to get delivered on Saturday will be the ones that don’t fit in the mailbox. Most prescriptions will fit in a mailbox.

  41. 41
    General Stuck says:

    @The Red Pen:

    LOL, yes, I’ve noticed a shift of what amounts to the enemy of my enemy is my friend attitude from the wingnuts. The lizard brain senses opportunity and new avenues of attack. And some fake common cause with the emoprogs could go a long way in usurping the Kenyan Usurper. Nothing else has worked for that purpose.

  42. 42
    bemused says:

    @General Stuck:

    First they came for Saturday mail delivery…..

  43. 43
    g says:

    I was listening to NPR last night, Marketplace, and they had a story about the Postal Service. The chirpy reporter asked the rhetorical question about why the Postal Service’s budget was so lopsided, and never ONCE mentioned the insanity that Congress imposed on it to fund its retirement system decades into the future.

  44. 44
    J R in W Va says:

    To me, in a republic or a democracy, the government is the people, who elect the managers of the government.

    And so people who are against the government are against either themselves and or their neighbors. The government is us, after all.

    So people who a virulently anti-government are almost bound to be people who have serious psychological problems involving self-hatred and a lack of trust of their neighbors. Not to say sometimes not trusting you neighbors isn’t warranted, if you are a minority in a place where minorities are likely to become subject to pogroms, like black activist who want to vote down south.

    Perhaps the psych diagnostic manual should contain a major entry for tea-party Faux News addicts, so that they would have to surrender their weapons due to their paranoid fantasies?

    I tent by my nature to try to stay out of peoples faces, but when they attack me, or my government, I’m inclined to ask about driving on paved roads, or using electricity, which was run to most of the country after WW II by the Rural Electrification government program, paid for by the federal government. Or what kind of health care and pension their parents have, like Medicare and Social Security.

    “Do your parents live with you or your sibling, then?” is a question to ask middle-class government-haters that frequently sets them off. Not to mention any of the other huge government programs that people benefit from, especially lower- and middle-class folks, who have typically used unemployment insurance benefits, or worker’s comp, both government mandated insurance programs.

  45. 45
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @The Red Pen: Just remember, Americans who support al Qaeda are true Americans, while those Americans who support government are entirely un-American. Or something.

  46. 46
    PeakVT says:

    Something that should be noted is that ending Saturday delivery is just a plan. The USPS has been barred from doing it before by Congress, so how this will work out is anyone’s guess.

  47. 47
    El Tiburon says:

    Now, I’m just a city-slicker, but is Saturday mail delivery really all that important? I was just reading something that mail used to be delivered twice a day?

    I understand the elderly, poor and rural folks depend more on the actual delivery of paper to their homes for very vital items. And I do understand this issue is more than just the ending of Saturday-deliveries, but, even if the USPO was going gang-busters, would it still not be time to consider this move?

  48. 48
    AliceBlue says:

    @ericblair:
    I think I’m going to embroider that on a pillow.

  49. 49
    Redshirt says:

    @Original Lee: I’m still ironic! Yet fully committed to a glorious Socialist state!

    Totally agree that the Republican’s overuse of “Socialist” as a negative has turned the word highly positive for me.

  50. 50
    cervantes says:

    @mistermix: You specifically said VA prescriptions will not be delivered on Saturday. That is incorrect. It is not in your own best interest to refuse to fix your error.

  51. 51
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @g: I caught the Freakonomics guy citing a study that used a picture of George W Bush laughing and mugging with Country Music Star X (on the day Katrina hit) and a picture of Obama smiling and shaking hands with Achmadinajad (sp?) to prove that Both Sides Are Equally Partisan and Irrational. Because Country Music Star X (caption, on the day Katrina hit) is just as provocative as Achmadinajad. Oh, those silly partisans.

    It was actually a day after Katrina hit, IIRC, that Bush was mugging and vamping with a guitar.

  52. 52
    J R in W Va says:

    @WereBear:

    When did they start naming winter storms? Does this mean that now there will be named storms all year around?

    Who’s decision was this, to have dangerous storms all year around?

    Is this some government program to provide full-employment to FEMA?

    Should we suspect Obanana of causing this situation?

    /snark

  53. 53
    GregB says:

    @raven:

    Proof that both sides do it.

  54. 54
    scav says:

    In many rural areas, aren’t they using PO boxes and not rural delivery? I know they’ve been closing more and more post offices, do these areas switch to delivery or do people just have to drive further? Are PO’s hours being cut as a different cost-cutting measure? Are the POs generally open on Saturdays currently? Impacts may be a lot less cut and dried and a lot more spatially complicated then they are being reported.

  55. 55
    cervantes says:

    @scav: Answer: I live in a rural area and have a PO Box. They are going to cut back on weekday hours but stay open on Saturday morning.

    However, some rural POs will be closed. Some of them will become kiosks in grocery stores or other businesses. It’s definitely going to be a problem for some people.

  56. 56
    Origuy says:

    @cervantes: Do you have a link that says specifically that prescriptions will be delivered? The USPS press release just says “packages”. A padded envelope is not a package.

  57. 57
    bemused says:

    No surprise reading this at Reuters:

    David Walker says the USPS has dug itself a very deep hole like the federal government but he has advice on how to save it. He is chairman of a special panel on the PO and reviewing a proposal that would limit USPS activities to delivery of mail from a post office or other facility to the final location. All other sources would be outsourced. His other tip to post office users is to buy a lot of those forever stamps.

  58. 58
    Sly says:

    Up until the 1960s, only an insanely rich few protested against unions, the progressive income tax, infrastructure development, and poverty-reduction programs. Not only were they deemed good macroeconomic policy, they were morally righteous and fed into American nationalism.

    This changed when those who benefited from unions, the progressive income tax, infrastructure development, and poverty-reduction programs stopped being exclusively white. Unions became unambiguously corrupt, the progressive income tax became theft, poverty-reduction programs became welfare for the undeserving, and infrastructure development became categorical pork-barrel spending.

    White folks who were still benefiting from these things became white trash, a pejorative once used by Southern planters for poor whites they deemed no better than the slaves in their fields. The conservative response to the decline in the white middle class has not been to reexamine the importance of social spending, but, in the minds of people like David Brooks and Charles Murray, to castigate working-class whites as simply not white enough to deserve economic security in the first place.

    And if, in America as it has been elsewhere, poverty is a punishment for some imagined crime, being insufficiently white is a capital offense.

  59. 59
    Steeplejack says:

    @J R in W Va:

    When did they start naming winter storms?

    I was curious about that myself. It appears to be Weather Channel marketing bullshit.

  60. 60
    Cliff Clavin says:

    Think about the many, many instances when there is a holiday on a Monday (with no mail delivery). That means there was no mail on the day before (Sunday). So, that means there was no mail until the third day after the previous Saturday. The world does not grind to a halt over that. Poor and rural people don’t die because mail wasn’t delivered for nearly 3 days. The USPS is a horribly bloated, inefficient and costly department. Its pensions and salaries are outrageously high. The skills required to deliver mail are not too demanding. In spite of what looks like a very easy job (find address, leave mail) the letter carriers in my neighborhood constantly mis-deliver mail. I get about the same amount of my neighbors’ mail as I do my own. Why do you think there are TV characters like Cliff Clavin (Cheers) and Newman (Seinfeld). It’s because the USPS has distinguished itself as a bumbling, surly, over-paid group of whiners twiddling thumbs until the lavish pension kicks in. Sorry, USPS, but we can do without mail on Saturdays. In fact, we should lobby for mail to be delivered only on M-W-F. It would save billions of dollars and the US would not collapse.

  61. 61
    KXB says:

    Saturday delivery may not be a big deal for recipients of mail, but it is very important for businesses sending the mail. Supermarkets, drugstores, and other stores depend on having deliveries made at certain times to let shoppers know weekly deals.

    Now, many stores can have you sign up to e-mail lists or receive texts about deals. I’ve signed up for some myself, and I never use them. Why? Because when I am at the office, going through my email, I am not thinking about the grocery list.

    OTOH, if I have a party coming up where there will be a lot of kids, I would need the sales circulars to quickly tell me who is having a deal on ice cream or cake.

    Also, all emails look the same in a subject line. But, a well-designed coupon mailer can grab your attention. It may just be a few seconds more, but I’ve found those few seconds matter.

    For local businesses that do not have money to advertise on radio or TV, mail is the best bet. As a small business, we’ve had issues where the “Weekly Deal” emails we send out were either being caught in an email filter, or ignored because they were so frequent. While our business does not use the postal service for marketing, we do depend on it for delivery of goods.

  62. 62
    FormerSwingVoter says:

    Guys, we’re talking about the end of Saturday delivery, not the end of Mail Delivery As We Know It.

    Deep breathes, guys.

  63. 63
    merrinc says:

    @g:

    Same on last night’s evening news from our local (right leaning) NBC affiliate. In fact, the reporter went to a retirement community and interviewed a bunch of oldsters who shared their sage advice of “things change, just get used to it.” They even showed a graphic of an old record player to make the point because really, what could be more relevant? Reason #192,843 to loathe the media.

  64. 64
    Corbin Ramos says:

    I’m posting this comment from another commentor because it so perfectly states my position on the USPS:

    “Think about the many, many instances when there is a holiday on a Monday (with no mail delivery). That means there was no mail on the day before (Sunday). So, that means there was no mail until the third day after the previous Saturday. The world does not grind to a halt over that. Poor and rural people don’t die because mail wasn’t delivered for nearly 3 days. The USPS is a horribly bloated, inefficient and costly department. Its pensions and salaries are outrageously high. The skills required to deliver mail are not too demanding. In spite of what looks like a very easy job (find address, leave mail) the letter carriers in my neighborhood constantly mis-deliver mail. I get about the same amount of my neighbors’ mail as I do my own. Why do you think there are TV characters like Cliff Clavin (Cheers) and Newman (Seinfeld). It’s because the USPS has distinguished itself as a bumbling, surly, over-paid group of whiners twiddling thumbs until the lavish pension kicks in. Sorry, USPS, but we can do without mail on Saturdays. In fact, we should lobby for mail to be delivered only on M-W-F. It would save billions of dollars and the US would not collapse.”

  65. 65
    Redshirt says:

    @Sly: Well said. I think this is precisely it – such that our current woes (watching our nation crumble) is little more than a racist reaction to the idea of letting blacks, Hispanics, Asians, everyone, join in and share in the progress (and profits!) of us all.

    Can’t have that, said the South. So they switched from Dems to Repubs, and we’ve been at war ever since.

    Hard to tell who’s winning/losing at this point. Gains on each side.

  66. 66
    Mel Knight says:

    Let’s see if we can reduce mail delivery to M-W-F. It’ll save billions of dollars and our mail will be no less timely. The USPS owes the taxpayer better service and lower cost to deliver mail. Trash is only picked up one day per week at my house. Let’s have trash (mail) DELIVERED only 3!

  67. 67
    imonlylurking says:

    Oh, it’s far more involved than the no Saturday delivery. I went to a seminar on this a few months ago, to see how the average business might be affected.

    #1) The ‘zones’ for delivery are changing. Right now an area around a post office is zoned for 1 day, 2 day, and 3+ day delivery based on miles away from the PO. They are changing the 3+ day zone to 2+ and greatly shrinking the day 1 zone.

    #2) They will no longer be shifting mail or packages over the weekend (except for the Saturday package delivery.) Right now if you drop something in a mailbox Friday afternoon, it gets picked up, sorted, and possibly trucked/flown to a post office closer to the delivery address. With these changes that letter will sit over the weekend and will not be touched until the following business day.

    The post office is actually trying to do more for lockboxes (business check delivery)-it’s the only form of mail that has increased other than Christmas pakcage delivery. The seminar I went to suggested an increase anywhere from 2 to 5 days for mail delivery if all of the proposed changes are implemented.

  68. 68
    Urinated State of America says:

    What the difference between a teahadi and a jihadi?

    One turns their religiously based distaste for the modern world, and its features like increasing autonomy of women and erosion of traditional taboos, and science’s replacement of religion as a source of truth, into a virulent hatred of the U.S. government and urban culture, and will not be satisfied until it create its desired theocratic state.

    The others have beards and live in countries like Pakistan

  69. 69
    Sgaile-beairt says:

    ….what if they give the post officials all guns??

  70. 70
    slippy says:

    What happens when Grandma has to drive 80 miles to get her Social Security check, which is where this is inevitably going?

    What happens if we finish ending the PO, and Grandma has to eat $7.50 to get the check?

    Will the public finally wake up to the fact that guaranteed postal delivery is a good thing?

    @Corbin Ramos:

    If you’re going to get someone to do a thankless job for life (dragging around several pounds of crap on their back for years on end) you do need to give them an incentive.

    I suppose you could always contract that work out to UPS and FedEx, and watch as every second package that arrives at your door is drop-kicked, but I myself think the USPS does a great job and since they are entirely self-funded by the (super cheap) stamps, I don’t really have a problem with how they’re paid. What I do have a problem with is Congress turning them into a political football for the sole purpose of replacing them with an unaccountable private concern who will selectively drop their more vulnerable customers and destroy the “infra” aspect of “infrastructure.”

Comments are closed.