Banking on the Post Office

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has been on the job since July, two months. He is eminently qualified for the position, having been a major donor—more than $2 million—to the current occupant of the White House and the Republican Party. He has no post office experience but does hold investments in companies who compete with the Postal Service.

At a public meeting of the U.S. Postal Service’s Board of Governors DeJoy spoke to the coming election and the likely surge of mail-in ballots. One would expect that a person new on the job would see this as an opportunity to exercise leadership and meet the challenge of delivering citizens’ votes. One would expect him to be urging lawmakers to provide support for this urgent undertaking.

Instead, Mr. DeJoy is so far best known for banning overtime at the expense of prompt delivery of mail. He said that U.S.P.S. has its operational standards and it is up to election officials in the various states to adapt their procedures to U.S.P.S. capabilities.

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Monuments to the President

Portland has been the recipient of invective from the right-wing noise machine and has suffered physical abuse from Department of Homeland Security border/immigration secret police. But the City of Roses does not harbor grudges. This week it hosted an art installation honoring the current occupant of the White House.

Living statues, covered in gold (of course!) appeared on the downtown waterfront one morning.

The Portland display was the work of the Trump Statue Initiative, their second. Their first presentation appeared mid-July in Washington D.C.

Titled Ode to Putin, the exhibition of three living statues was gone by afternoon.

Elk Lives Matter

These are hard times for monuments. Confederate statues have been coming down. Renaming places and institutions identified with racists and traitors has become a blazing controversy. The current occupant of the White House is, as one would expect, opposed to relabeling military installations that bear names of persons who took up arms against the United States.

Oregon Pioneer

Christopher Columbus has been a target for years. Revisionist history depicts him not as an heroic discoverer of America but as a brutal imperialist who initiated the near extinction of indigenous populations.

Pioneer Mother

The current-day attacks on monuments to imperialists and racists include the Pioneer statues at the University of Oregon. The Pioneer was pulled off its pedestal and dragged to the entrance of the U of O administration building. The companion Pioneer Mother statue, seated in repose at a serene corner of the campus, was also pulled down.

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Remembering the Inaugural

Perhaps this is a good time to think back to January 20, 2017 when the current occupant of the White House gave his first address to the nation as a first-time office holder.

Here are a few excerpts—offered without comment—as we reminisce about the past three-and-a-half years.

Today’s ceremony, however, has very special meaning. Because today we are not merely transferring power from one Administration to another, or from one party to another – but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the American People.

For too long, a small group in our nation’s Capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. That all changes – starting right here, and right now, because this moment is your moment: it belongs to you.

What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people. January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.

This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.

We will build new roads, and highways, and bridges, and airports, and tunnels, and railways all across our wonderful nation. We will get our people off of welfare and back to work – rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor.

The Bible tells us, “how good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.” We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity.

We stand at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space, to free the Earth from the miseries of disease, and to harness the energies, industries and technologies of tomorrow.

A new national pride will stir our souls, lift our sights, and heal our divisions. Together, We Will Make America Strong Again. We Will Make America Wealthy Again. We Will Make America Proud Again. We Will Make America Safe Again.

Click here to read the whole thing.

Science Marches Onward

COVID-19, protests in the streets, deployment of secret federal paramilitary personnel into our streets and the general idiocy of the current occupant of the White House and his GOP toadies… well, really important news can be overlooked.

After much study, researchers have finally determined how many hot dogs a human person can possibly eat in ten minutes. Years of gathering data from Nathan’s Famous’s famous annual fourth-of-July hot-dog-eating contest, have produced the definitive answer: eighty-three.

This is good news. We now know that it’s possible the current record can be broken. Thirteen-time champion Joey Chestnut bested his own world record this year by consuming seventy-five hot dogs—with buns—in the allotted time. Miki Sudo set the women’s record, forty-eight and-a-half hot dogs, for her seventh consecutive win.

To provide some perspective, scientists calculated other animals’ capacity, with adjustment for body mass. Grizzly bears can eat eight hot dogs per minute, but only are able to last six minutes, so can’t match Mr. Chestnut’s record. A gray wolf, however, is capable of consuming eleven per minute. Researchers did not reveal how they were able to measure bears’ and wolves’ hot dog eating talents.

The key facility for speed-eating success is the stomach’s ability to stretch. Winners have stomachs that are able to stretch and increase volume to take in more food. Also-ran competitors, on the other hand, have stomachs that don’t stretch. When capacity is reached, the stomach must pass contents into the intestines before it can take in more. The intestines, well, you know… Joey Chestnut apparently has been able to increase his stomach’s stretchiness and thus surpass his previously-set records. Maybe someday he will confound science and eat eighty-four hot dogs in ten minutes.

Being Like Venezuela

Conservative pundits and G.O.P. politicians are quick to point to Venezuela and its erstwhile President Hugo Chavez as the definitive example of the failure of socialism. The country has suffered years of rampant inflation and social unrest.

Under Chavez’s embattled successor, Nicolás Maduro, crime, inflation and poverty have increased. Maduro’s 2018 reelection is considered to be fraudulent. Several countries, including the United States, have refused to recognize his presidency. Russia and China support the Maduro government.
In 2017 Maduro set up the Fuerza de Acción Especial de la Policía Nacional Bolivariana (Special Actions Force), FAES. The federal paramilitary police force’s ostensible purpose was to “combat crime and terrorism,” and wrest control of poor neighborhoods from gang infestation.

Caracas, Venezuela

The names of top commanders of Mr. Maduro’s special police force, and who exactly has been invited into its ranks are unknown. FAES units patrol Venezuela neighborhoods dressed in black, with balaclavas covering their faces, concealing identities. The forces are accused of breaking into homes without warrants, taking people into custody without charges and allegedly have killed dozens of people.

Here in Portland, street demonstrations, initially to protest police brutality of Black persons, have occurred every night for two months. Some opportunists, predominately young white males, have used the protests as background for looting, property damage and graffiti.

The current occupant of the White House grasping at anything to gain support for a failed presidency in the upcoming election, is following Maduro’s strategy. Federal “police” dressed in camouflage, with no identifiers other than “POLICE” have detained people and taken them away in unmarked vehicles, fired tear gas and shot peaceful demonstrators with “less-than-lethal” weaponry. Their purported purpose is to protect the federal buildings in downtown Portland. The secret police, untrained in crowd control, come from the Department of Homeland Security border patrol.

Portland, Oregon (Doug Brown via AP)

The COWH is doubling down on deploying secret police. “We’re going to have more federal law enforcement, that I can tell you,” he said. “In Portland, they’ve done a fantastic job.” And there will be more to come. “We’re not going to let New York, and Chicago, and Philadelphia and Detroit and Baltimore — and Oakland is a mess. We’re not going to let this happen in our country. All run by liberal Democrats.”