Crowdsourced Timeline: Torching the USPS [Work in Progress, UPDATE-2]

[NB: Check the byline, thanks. Updates appear at the bottom of this post. /~Rayne]

Well now. This has been a day to beat all days, hasn’t it?

Who would ever have guessed — during the middle of a scandal in which a Trump donor+appointee engaged in dismantling the U.S. Postal Service to obstruct a general election and a Census — that U.S. Postal Agents with U.S. Coast Guard assistance would arrest a Trump advisor on a boat with a Chinese dissident business person?

It’s mind boggling and delicious at the same time.

Also today: the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and Public Citizen filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Postal Service and current Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, arguing changes made to the USPS system violate federal law, disrupting mail delivery and may cause voter disenfranchisement this November.

I wrote that DeJoy’s “equipment reductions” and staffing changes may have violated 18 U.S. Code § 1701.Obstruction of mails generally, as well as 18 U.S. Code § 371 Conspiracy to Defraud the U.S., and possibly 18 U.S. Code § 1346 Honest Services Fraud.

NAACP and Public Citizen argue DeJoy’s changes violate 39 U.S. Code § 3661 – Postal services by failing to obtain public comment first before finalizing and implementing changes, as well as 39 U.S. Code § 101(e) – Postal policy by failing to “give the highest consideration to the requirement for the most expeditious collection, transportation, and delivery of important letter mail.”

There’s a tidbit in the complaint which I hope the court addresses when it addresses relief:

17. The PAEA in 2006 established the Postal Regulatory Commission as “an independent establishment of the executive branch.” Id. § 501. “The Postal Regulatory Commission is composed of 5 Commissioners, appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. The Commissioners shall be chosen solely on the basis of their technical qualifications, professional standing, and demonstrated expertise in economics, accounting, law, or public administration, and may be removed by the President only for cause. Each individual appointed to the Commission shall have the qualifications and expertise necessary to carry out the enhanced responsibilities accorded Commissioners under the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act.” Id. § 502(a). “No Commissioner shall be financially interested in any enterprise in the private sector of the economy engaged in the delivery of mail matter.” Id. § 502(b).

Emphasis mine. DeJoy isn’t qualified to be a commissioner and should be removed.

And more today: nonprofit organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) also filed a complaint with the Department of Justice against DeJoy today, asking for an investigation into DeJoy’s actions which will undermine voting by mail for Trump’s political benefit. CREW’s concerned that DeJoy did more than violate the Hatch Act:

Criminal law (18 U.S.C. § 610) [Hatch Act] prohibits anyone from commanding any employee of the federal government to engage in political activity. Another provision (18 U.S.C § 595) bars anyone “employed in any administrative position by the United States” from using, in connection with any federally-funded activity, their “official authority for the purpose of interfering with, or affecting, the nomination or the election of any candidate for the office of President.”

I’m waiting for an entity to sue the U.S. Postal Service and current Postmaster General Louis DeJoy for interfering with the delivery of Census forms which may yet be in circulation.

Senator Gary Peters has requested DeJoy appear before a Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee tomorrow. Let’s hope both ballots and Census forms come up in the hearing.

What might be helpful to both persons following the hearing tomorrow and the House Oversight Committee hearing on Monday, August 24, is a timeline of relevant events related to Louis DeJoy’s installment as U.S. Postmaster General, the appointments of the current USPS Board of Governors, and the changes DeJoy as ordered.

Here’s a partially constructed timeline. If there’s an event or item you believe is key, please share it in comments and I’ll insert it in chronological order.

~ ~ ~

October 16, 2016 — DeJoy donation: $25,000 to to American Crossroads, pro-Trump super PAC run by Robert Duncan, chair of USPS Board of Governors which appointed DeJoy. DeJoy was the Republican National Committee’s national deputy chairman and was North Carolina State Chair for Trump Victory during the 2016 campaign.

Early January 2017 — According to The Charlotte Observer, “DeJoy was one of Trump’s biggest N.C. donors and fundraisers. Records show he gave $111,000 to the Trump Victory Fund, a joint committee that split money between the campaign and party groups. He gave the Republican National Committee another $273,000 to help elect Trump.”

October 7, 2017 — DeJoy hosted a $25,000 minimum donation fundraising dinner for Trump at his home in Greensboro, NC.

October 2019 — Then-Postmaster General Marge Brennan announced her impending retirement.

December 10, 2019 — Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin met with David Abney, chairman and CEO of UPS, a competitor of USPS.

March 27, 2020 — Before COVID-19, a fundraising event was scheduled. The event hosted by DeJoy in Greenboro NC was intended to benefit Trump’s re-election campaign, the RNC and several state Republican parties, including North Carolina’s.

April 9, 2020 — Then-Postmaster General Brennan warned of a $13 billion revenue shortfall due “directly to COVID-19” and an additional $54.3 billion in losses over 10 years. USPS could “run out of cash this fiscal year” on September 30 if it did not receive federal funding.

May 23, 2020 — On or about this date, DeJoy was named national finance chairman for CLT Host 2020, the local organizing committee for the Republican National Convention. At the time the convention was scheduled to be held in Charlotte, NC.

January 15, 2020 — DeJoy donation: $150,000 to Trump’s campaign; $217,800 to the Republican National Committee.

January 16, 2020 — DeJoy donation: $10,000 to the North Carolina Republican Party.

February 7, 2020 — AG Bill Barr freezes campaign finance investigations.

February 12, 2020 — DeJoy donation: $35,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee.

February 19, 2020 — DeJoy donation: $210,600 to Trump’s campaign.

April 1, 2020 — USPS Board of Governors adopts new mission statement.

April 2020 (date TBD) — DeJoy’s and spouse Wos’ joint charity helped found the Burr Center at Wake Forest University

April 9, 2020 — DeJoy donations: $35,000 to help re-elect Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), in November; $27,200 to the National Republican Congressional Committee; $5,000 to the Majority Committee PAC, which says on Facebook its goal is “holding Nancy Pelosi accountable and helping Republicans take back the House of Representatives.”

May 6, 2020 — DeJoy sworn in as Postmaster General and CEO.

May 14, 2020 — NC Senator Burr steps down as SSCI chair due to FBI investigation of his trade.

May 15, 2020 — House passed the HEROES Act containing $25 billion in funding for the USPS.

May 15, 2020 — USPS presentation, “Equipment Reduction” proposed plan.

June 15, 2020 — First day on the job at USPS according to DeJoy.

June 15, 2020 — Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer sent a letter to the USPS Board of Governors asking them for their communication with the White House about DeJoy’s appointment.

June 17, 2020 — American Postal Workers Union was told of plans to remove 671 automated mail sorters — more than 10 percent of the total — from operation throughout the country.

July 10, 2020 — USPS circulated to employees a document entitled “PMGs expectations and plan” outlining changes DeJoy would order, including elimination of overtime, letter carriers would limit the time and scope of their delivery routes, and certain customer service windows would close during lunchtime. A document also circulated reviewing the changes, entitled, “Mandatory Stand-Up Talk: All Employees,” subtitled, “Pivoting For Our Future” (Pivot Instructions).

July 13, 2020 — DeJoy announced a prohibition to overtime and any other measures local postmasters use to alleviate shortages of staff hours.

Mid-July 2020 — USPS Board of Governors responded to Sen. Schumer’s request; Schumer said they told him “much of the information I requested was confidential.” The board had used an executive search firm which refused to waive a nondisclosure agreement.

July 27, 2020 — Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) introduced HEALS Act as counter to House bill HEROES Act; the senate bill contains no funding for the USPS.

July 29, 2020 — The Washington Post reported that in consideration for a $10 billion loan, DeJoy gave Mnuchin proprietary information about USPS’s private-sector contracts including Amazon, FedEx and UPS.

Late July, 2020 — Thomas J. Marshall, USPS’s general counsel and executive vice president, sent a letter to 46 states “warning that it cannot guarantee all ballots cast by mail for the November election will arrive in time to be counted,” according to a report by the Washington Post on August 14.

August 4, 2020 — U.S. mail delays contributed to ballots arriving too late to be completed or mailed back in
time to be counted Missouri’s August 4, 2020 primary election.

August 4, 2020 — Trump lied about speaking with DeJoy about the USPS.

August 5, 2020 — Sen. Schumer and Rep. Pelosi met DeJoy, along with Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to negotiate both funding and the Pivot changes implemented by DeJoy.

August 6, 2020 — Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) launched investigation into USPS delivery delays.

August 7, 2020 — First meeting of  USPS Board of Governors DeJoy attended; results of third quarter, ended June 30, released. DeJoy also announced he had reassigned or displaced 23 senior USPS officials.

August 9, 2020 — Trump lied again about speaking with DeJoy about the USPS.

August 10, 2020 — DeJoy acknowledged in a USPS-wide memo that the Pivot Instructions “impacted our overall service levels.”

August 12, 2020 — Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) introduced the Delivering for America Act.

August 13, 2020 — Photos of removed postal equipment appeared online.

August 13, 2020 — DeJoy sent a memo acknowledging recent changes have “unintended consequences that impacted our overall service levels.” No effort was made to halt or reverse the changes set in motion, however.

August 13, 2020 — Trump admitted in an interview that “he opposes a $25 billion emergency injection sought by the U.S. Postal Service, as well as a Democratic proposal to provide $3.6 billion in additional election funding to the states,” according to the Washington Post. “They need that money in order to make the post office work, so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,” said Trump.

August 16, 2020 — Speaker Pelosi called for an emergency session of House to address the USPS crisis.

August 16, 2020 — Senator Gary Peters, ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee, called for an emergency hearing.

~ ~ ~

One thing that bothers me which hasn’t gotten much attention is DeJoy’s continuing relationship with XPO Logistics. Yes, it’s a conflict of interest that he continues to own a chunk of XPO’s stock while he is Postmaster and CEO of USPS since XPO is a USPS contractor and a competitor since it also carries shipments for USPS competitors.

CREW’s complaint is in no small part focused on this conflict as well as DeJoy’s marital assets tied up in hundreds of thousands of dollars in UPS and J.B. Hunt trucking company in addition to the tens of millions in XPO Logistics from which DeJoy had not divested.

But logistics services, especially freight haulers, have long been prone to corruption.

Take for example an indictment last October:

According to court documents, Leonid Teyf, 57, was part of a scheme where several trucking companies paid more than $1 million in bribes to the Utah FedEx ground hub manager.

Teyf, you’ll recall, is a Russian national and a business crony of Yevgeny “Putin’s Chef” Prigozhin; he was arrested in late 2018 because of a murder-for-hire plot. He had two homes in the Raleigh, NC area which were raided by the feds.

At the time of Teyf’s original arrest there was no indication in local news reporting there was anything more to Teyf’s offenses besides the murder-for-hire accusation and immigration law violations.

How did Teyf end up involved in logistics in Utah, connected with USPS competitor FedEx?

DeJoy may have zero relationship with Teyf, but DeJoy had been the CEO of New Breed Logistics (NBL) for decades. NBL customers included USPS.

DeJoy’s company was acquired by XPO Logistics in 2014 for $600 million; DeJoy continued after the acquisition on NBL’s executive management and board of directors until May 2018. XPO Logistics’ competitors included DHL, FedEx, UPS, and J.B. Hunt Transport Services — and surely must have included USPS to some extent, considering the expedited package handling companies are USPS’s competitors.

Did DeJoy’s business ever cross with Teyf’s, considering they were both in logistics, were both living in North Carolina less than two hours apart (DeJoy in Greenboro and Teyf in Raleigh)?

Are there other possible corrupt entities which have their fingers in the mix with DeJoy’s wrecking crew management style? Can you think of ways in which corrupt entities could manipulate this situation for their benefit?

~ ~ ~

Let’s try to keep this thread focused on the USPS.

.
UPDATE-1 — 9:05 A.M. ET —

The Senate hearing was scheduled for 9:00 am but the start appears to be running late. You can watch the video conference at:

CSPAN https://www.c-span.org/video/?474940-1/senate-hearing-us-postal-service#

NPR (embedded video at this link, scroll down) https://www.npr.org/2020/08/21/904366258/postmaster-general-faces-senate-as-controversy-persists-over-usps-cuts

It’s also being carried on some broadcast and cable networks.

A couple new items related to NC’s Senator Richard Burr have been added to the timeline. Was his vote for approval persuaded by contributions or contributions-in-kind?

UPDATE-2 — 10:30 A.M. ET —

One of our community members, Vicks, shared a link to an article in Supply Chain News about XPO Logistics. As I noted in comments, this company in which DeJoy retains a substantive investment interest had suffered from a downturn in business in late 2018-early 2019. The loss of business volume was sizable enough to warrant evaluating restructuring of the firm into smaller entities for divestment.

This may suggest why Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is involved in the USPS scandal:

… XPO said it has hired high powered investment and legal firms to execute the processes. Those include Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase as financial advisers and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz as its legal adviser in the review process. …

Amazon’s own logistics company cut into XPO’s business at the same time Trump’s tariffs increased retail prices, reducing consumer demand. Rather than cutting costs and riding it out, or trying to find ways to spin off to Amazon, or trying to partner with Amazon’s competitors Target/Walmart/other, XPO looked at breaking up, thereby getting investment bankers involved.

Investment banks want to shake more cash out of XPO and its subs; they need to improve its prospects to do so. They want to find more business for XPO or its future spinoffs so they lean on Mnuchin to get dirt on competitor USPS which is a vendor to Amazon. UPS is involved because it wants to maintain its share of the market and it’s willing to help lean on USPS by providing its own take on expense allocation.

It’s corrupt as fuck. Mnuchin is favoring Wall Street investment banks and a Trump donor over a Constitutionally-mandated service. Fuck him.

Another question comes to mind about the drivers behind XPO’s fortunes: were companies which were adversely affected by the tariffs “picked off” by investment banks, possibly with Mnuchin’s help, to increase short selling opportunities and other forms of vulture capitalism?

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167 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3, testing…is this thing on?

    Hang on, folks. I have to figure out why the comments won’t open to the public. Thanks.

    EDIT-1: Whew. There was a button turned off. No idea how I did it but it’s back on.

    Leave me USPS goodies!

    EDIT-2: Is it just me or does it look like Mnuchin gave UPS and possibly other logistics companies proprietary information about USPS? Why is it Mnuchin and these private corporations expect USPS to compete with them on pricing when they have *stolen* USPS data and burdened it with crippling overhead through campaign donations to Republicans who ensure USPS remains in financial crisis?

    Why don’t we regulate all USPS competitors likewise fund 75-years of employees’ health care benefits AND take their operations data to share with USPS — just for starters — to make USPS competitive on an even playing field?

    Oh, and require USPS carriers to ensure privacy of all shipments as USPS does, and mandate they ship all products USPS does, like live chicks and insects for agriculture customers?

  2. vicks says:

    I got the bug about XPO Logistics as well.
    It looks like XPO Logistics lost a shit ton of what the it calls it’s “postal injection” business,
    http://www.scdigest.com/ontarget/20-01-27_xpo_changing_strategy
    “XPO did not identify the customer, but said it involved its “postal injection” business, under which XPO trucks pick up bulk shipments of parcels from fulfillment centers and take them to local US Postal Service center for final delivery. It is generally assumed that customer was Amazon.”
    “The last mile” is how the USPS describes the data and business contracts contained in the “proprietary data” Mnuchin successfully extorted from the USPS using the Treasury’s offer of a 10 million relief loan as leverage.

    Part 1. The red flags NYT’s May 7, 2020 (1 day after Lajoy’s appointment)
    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/07/us/politics/postmaster-general-louis-dejoy
    “Mr. Trump dispatched Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to oversee an overhaul at the Postal Service, and negotiations over its funding have emerged as a point of tension between Republicans and Democrats. In March, Mr. Mnuchin quashed a bipartisan attempt to send the agency emergency funds, insisting instead that his department be given new authority to lend up to $10 billion to the Postal Service on terms it helps set. Mr. Trump has said the service will receive no additional money until it meets his demands.”

    Part 2. Steve Mnuchin, secretary of the Treasury leverages Covid relief dollars for USPS “proprietary data”
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/07/29/postal-service-treasury-loan/
    “The Treasury Department agreed to loan the U.S. Postal Service $10 billion in emergency coronavirus relief funding Wednesday in exchange for the mail service’s most lucrative private-sector contracts.” “The debt-laden mail service will provide the agency proprietary information on its agreements with private-sector competitors”
    (These are reported to be the “last mile” contracts with shippers like Amazon.)

    Part 3. Mr DeJoy
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_DeJoy
    “DeJoy was CEO of High Point, North Carolina-based New Breed Logistics from 1983 to 2014, and retired after his company was acquired by Connecticut-based freight transporter, XPO Logistics, for a reported $615 million. Following that acquisition, he served as CEO of XPO’s supply chain business in North America until his retirement in 2015, and was appointed to a strategic role on XPO Logistics’ board of directors where he served until 2018.[7]”

    Part 4. Trump, Mnuchin, USPS, Mr Dejoy, extorted data, and the company that may connect them all: XPO Logistics.
    http://www.scdigest.com/ontarget/20-01-27_xpo_changing_strategy.php
    “The company, under CEO Brad Jacobs, ran into some headwinds the last 15 months or so. In February of 2019, XPO lowered its profit outlook for the year, citing a substantial loss of business from its largest customer.
    That made it the second time XPO had revised its earnings forecast down in the past three months.
    XPO did not identify the customer, but said it involved its “postal injection” business, under which XPO trucks pick up bulk shipments of parcels from fulfillment centers and take them to local US Postal Service center for final delivery. It is generally assumed that customer was Amazon.”

      • vicks says:

        Yes I posted it, saw this post, figured it was a better spot and it looked like there was still time to edit/ delete the original.
        The other consideration here is that if I am not mistaken, Dejoy has not divested himself of his XPO assets, in the article Jacobs also makes the comment “When we ran the numbers ourselves it became very, very clear that the best use of our capital would be to buy our stock ourselves” instead of pursuing more acquisitions.”
        The point being these contracts could also be gifted (grifted?) to this company which would run up the stock price, or to other Trump cronies and/or used to jam up Trump’s enemy at Amazon.

        *Looking at the stock price over the past 8 months with my limited skill set for this kind of stuff, the only thing interesting is what looks like big price drop on a huge volume of trades on 7/31.

    • Raven Eye says:

      One of the uses of “For Official Use Only” (FOUO) is to protect the proprietary information given to the federal government for procurement, contracting, bids, etc. It’s a reminder for federal employees to protect and not share that information, and that there are penalties for doing so.

      Apparently Mnuchin didn’t get the memo, or just doesn’t give a damn.

    • Molly Pitcher says:

      Listening to DeJoys accent on TV this morning, I heard New York vicinity, certainly not North Carolina, so I did a little research.

      https://www.elonnewsnetwork.com/article/2016/04/louis-dejoy-shares-his-success-story

      I found this article from Elon University where he addressed students 4/14/16. “Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and pursuing a career in accounting, DeJoy realized quickly that he wanted to do more than file others’ tax returns…At the moment of realization that he wanted a more fulfilling career, DeJoy decided to save his father’s small trucking company, which was on the verge of going out of business…Since its big break in 1992 with first major client the U.S. Postal Service, New Breed has served major names from Verizon, Logitech and Boeing to Disney, Comcast and PepsiCo… “If you have a Verizon cell phone, I shipped it to you,” DeJoy said.”

      Nice way to thank his first big break customer, USPS. And the trucking industry in Brooklyn is notoriously associated with guys who might know Tony Soprano. I wonder how old is the relationship to the Trump Family ?

  3. Eureka says:

    I think we’ve also got some sweet NC carrot, followed by some bitter DOJ stick on Burr [I have added to my entry further suggestive evidence from Vicks’ comment on the prior page]:

    ●May 14, 2020 NC Senator Burr steps down as SSCI chair due to FBI investigation of his trades, which came as he was attempting to push out the SSCI Russia Report (news links incl LAT should be in Marcy’s post):

    https://www.emptywheel.net/2020/05/14/as-richard-burr-rushes-to-release-volume-five-the-fbi-closes-in/

    AKA, Trump takes a big NC donor(s)/player(s) under his direct report while Burr is trying to get out the SSCI Russia Report (DeJoy later sworn in May 6th), while Burr’s phone+ is seized, we later learn, the night of Wednesday, May 13th, and he steps down from SSCI on the 14th. (Meanwhile, the Report finally comes this week).

    ●August 18, 2020 SSCI Volume 5/ Final Russia Report released (Tuesday of this week)

    ● ? April 2020 or prior / unknown dates: See Vicks’ comment: DeJoy’s & Wos’ joint charity helped found the Burr Center at Wake Forest University (<–name/place per search) (April date of Vicks' url is of interest in timing, would be better to have more dates re their involvement):

    https://www.emptywheel.net/2020/08/17/work-in-progress-saving-the-usps/#comment-854652

      • Eureka says:

        Hrm. Well just quickly I came up with some different dates and features of interest for that DeJoy/Wos Foundation/Burr Center thing:

        So I found an url where they (first, as far as I can tell) announce their support November 12, 2019 (snippet):

        The DEJOYWOS Family Foundation Sponsors Launch of The Burr Center
        louisdejoyandaldonawosfamilyfoundation. [link intentionally broken] com/2019/11/12/the-dejoywos-family-foundation-sponsors-launch-of-the-burr-center/
        The DEJOY\WOS Family Foundation is proud to announce its support as a founding sponsor of The Burr Center for Legislative Studies at Wake Forest University. In appreciation of U.S. Senator Richard Burr’s achievements, character and honorable representation of his district, state and alma mater, Wake Forest University has created an

        The day prior, November 11, 2019, was the first (and apparently only, to date) event “by” the Burr Center: Burr and Warner discussing their SSCI roles:

        Senators Burr and Warner to share the stage at Wake Forest | Wake Forest News
        https://news.wfu.edu/2019/11/04/senators-burr-and-warner-to-share-the-stage-at-wake-forest/

        This is the inaugural event presented by the Richard Burr Center for Legislative Studies.

        The “Home” page of the Burr Center is the below “events” url; this nearly year-old event is what is on there (**thwacking cobwebs** it is also listed as the only item under “Upcoming Events”):

        Home – Burr Center for Legislative Studies
        https://burrcenter.events.wfu.edu/


        TBD: universe of dates/amounts of support (by the individuals/ charity, to the candidate/causes).

    • Eureka says:

      Rayne **your wheelhouses converging** you’ll love this photo caption:

      From left, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Louis DeJoy relax during the Louis DeJoy & Aldona Z. Wos Family Foundation ProAm at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C., in August 2016.Scott Kinser / Cal Sport Media via AP file

      [Adding the word “golf” for searchability.]

      Via:

      Top Republican donor tapped to lead struggling U.S. Postal Service
      https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/trump-appoint-top-republican-donor-lead-struggling-u-s-postal-n1201666


      Summary of DeJoy personal donations to Burr while it’s handy:

      Richard M. Burr of North Carolina: $7,650 to the Richard Burr Committee since 2004.

      Via:

      Postal chief in Dems’ crosshairs has long record of Republican contributions – Roll Call
      https://www.rollcall.com/2020/08/20/postal-chief-in-democrats-crosshairs-has-long-record-of-republican-contributions/

      • Rayne says:

        LOL Eureka, you’re going to love this map. Do click the link in the middle for a larger map.

        What’s odd is the Sedgefield course is 10 miles/20 minutes away. I wonder why that location for the Pro-Am. Scheduling conflicts, perhaps?

        • Raven Eye says:

          Interesting to see (Google Street View, October 2014) the U.S. flag on one side of Dejoy’s Cleburne St. driveway gate and the Estonian flag on the other. No flags on the “Grand Entrance” around the corner The house is across the street from the Greensboro Country Club.

        • Eureka says:

          LOL I saved this for dessert and it did not disappoint. With some irony, mail showed up (yes, checks clock) *just* before the big reveal.

          Adding for others: I had better luck seeing the golf course by dragging/resizng the photo at main link and following Country Club Road.

      • Valerie Klyman-Clark says:

        Mother of God, y’all. That is AMAZING. I’m gonna need more yarn. The NC GOP tried to pass legislation here to make it illegal to heckle politicians or former politicians (McCrory!) in public because, y’know, Pat was getting heckled in public. Bwahahahahaha.

        Must make popcorn, then go collect Moe Davis signs for family and friends.

        • Eureka says:

          Go Moe! I admit I had no idea how bad you N. Carolinians (had/have) had it until reading some of the details of the McCrory and friends admin, uh, “admin-ing” GOP-style.

    • vicks says:

      There is no actual press release regarding “The DEJOY\WOS Family Foundation
      Sponsors Launch of The Burr Center” it’s just a page on the foundation’s website that is dated 11/12/2019.
      On 11/4/2019 The University promotes an event that is to take place on Nov 11, 2019 at Farrell Hall’s Broyhill Auditorium at 7 p.m.
      https://news.wfu.edu/2019/11/04/senators-burr-and-warner-to-share-the-stage-at-wake-forest/
      There is no date on the page but on the Burr Center for Legislative Studies webpage The Burr center takes half the credit for the same event.
      https://burrcenter.events.wfu.edu/
      “Wake Forest University and the Burr Center for Legislative Studies are pleased to announce a special program at 7 p.m. on Monday, November 11 2019 ….”
      This appears to be the one and only event the Burr foundation is on record for holding or “sponsoring” and while there is a lovely description of a program that The “Burr Center will take students through” there is nothing I can find that says it exists.
      While looking around for anything to make me think I am wrong I found another potential Burr mess
      https://winstonwatchman.com/corruption-burr-richard/
      These people are gross, and I am learning more and more every day why they have no choice but to stick together.
      Hopefully I’m wrong, I will dig around some more tomorrow,

      • Eureka says:

        Thanks, Vicks — looks like we found similar glancing under the hood, too bad there’s not more accessible info (found yet). Hopefully you’ll turn up some more good stuff tomorrow…

  4. x174 says:

    thanks for the preliminary timeline. the entry that stuck out the most
    July 27, 2020 — Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) introduced HEALS Act as counter to House bill HEROES Act; the senate bill contains no funding for the USPS.
    should be interesting to see how much support there is for the $25 billion Delivering bill in the senate.

  5. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Thanks also for covering the Senate’s lame questioning of Louis DeJoy. Sherrod Brown issued a letter that made better points than these Senators, and he’s not even on the committee.

    DeJoy is full of smarm and black humor. He is mimicking FedEx’s marketing, for example, when he repeats that he’s being a hard ass so that the USPS trucks “run on time.” What he doesn’t say is that he’s not delivering the mail on time. This is smoke and mirrors to hide another agenda. Even if you took him seriously, what he’s saying, in effect, is that he’s able to make the Swiss trains on time, but only because he leaves the passengers on the platforms.

    Like any organization that runs on so large a scale, the USPS has chronic problems. Its management’s job is to recognize and fix them in the ordinary course. The USPS is severely hampered in that because it’s been made into a neoliberal football that mostly Republicans keep kicking. DeJoy has intentionally caused the problems he’s being asked about. He’ll hide behind B school jargon like “creative destruction,” but really, he’s just destroying. By design. Louis DeJoy is harming people by the hundreds of thousands, soon it will be millions. He really does need to go Cheney himself.

    • P J Evans says:

      For me, USPS being on time means “six days a week”.
      I have zero sympathy for the people who spend all their time in offices (or on golf courses) and whine about the work *others* do.

    • Jenny says:

      Agree with “lame questioning” of DeJoy by Senate committee. The GOP were upbeat about him and his recent accomplishments. Johnson said he was sorry he (DeJoy) was “subjected” to this questioning.

      Johnson blamed the Democrats and said, “I have no doubt the Democrats are getting this up into something it is not, a false narrative designed to extract a political advantage. I’m just sorry that you are on the targeting end of this hit piece. I think it is tragic.” (C-span transcript today)

      “According to Democrats, the postmaster is trying to sabotage the postal system to disenfranchise voters in the upcoming election,” Johnson said.
      https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/513071-gop-chairman-accuses-dems-of-character-assassination-against-postmaster

      I so look forward to Rep. Katie Porter’s questioning of DeJoy on Monday.

  6. harpie says:

    Just Security has this Timeline:

    The Trump Administration and the U.S. Postal Service: A Timeline
    https://www.justsecurity.org/72132/the-trump-administration-and-the-u-s-postal-service-a-timeline/ 8/20/20

    …speaking of Mnuchin:

    Apr. 11, 2020: Reporting emerges that the Trump administration blocked USPS aid in the CARES Act, threatening a veto if any bailout was included in the bill.

    “You can have a loan or you can have nothing at all,” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin reportedly told lawmakers during negotiations. Before the administration weighed in, Congress had agreed to give USPS a $13 billion grant in the bill; the final version only gave the agency access to a line of credit.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Is it a “bailout” when Congress funds the CDC, the GAO, or the Library of Congress? No, it’s funding an important public service. It’s a bailout when Mnuchin gives loans convertible to grants to presidential crony companies and fellow Skull & Bones members – and when he gives confidential proprietary USPS information to its competitors.

  7. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I forget sometimes how much I dislike business school jargon. It’s Orwellian. Maybe that’s because I haven’t heard enough jokes about it. Like, juris-my-diction. Or, what’s ten lawyers buried up to their necks in sand? Not enough sand.

    The Supply Chain News article about XPO reminded me. XPO is in so much trouble, it’s putting most of its business units up for “Strategic Review.” In other words, management can no longer run the company. The only thing it can think of is to sell the company, or to break it up and sell the parts. If XPO ends up in bankruptcy, though, those same managers will argue that they are so indispensable to its future, they have to be hired, protected, and paid more to run it in bankruptcy than they were running it into bankruptcy. I suspect that’s what Louis DeJoy and the patrons who made him PMG want to do to the USPS.

    • P J Evans says:

      MBA training from the 70s and 80s, when so many were taught that MBAs were more valuable to businesses than actual knowledge of the business? F*ck that shit, it’s why we’re in this mess.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        There aren’t too many lawyers or doctors, we have too many doing the wrong things. I suspect the same is true of MBAs. During repeated recessions, it became the go-to degree. Its role has mutated into something destructive.

        Now every college president has a “chief of staff” and a plethora of vice presidents and deanlets, in place of the odd faculty member on secondment. Public libraries are being run as if they are a for-profit business, on the Borders Plan, ignoring its demise. Ditto for the USPS. No coincidence that it occurred during the neoliberal ascendancy.

        • MB says:

          The surplus of MBAs created in the 70s and 80s just served to bloat the bureaucracy of already-too-big companies with a large layer of middle management. I worked as an independent contractor (computer programmer) for Blue Cross in the late ’80s and my boss was an MBA’ed middle manager who oversaw the work I did plus that of several others.

          He was a nice guy, and I had no problems with him. But I couldn’t help but notice his general air of indifference regarding his job. He was there to occupy a desk, make a nice salary and act as a buffer between the various Vice-Presidents of This-and-That and the hoi polloi (i.e. contractors like me and full-time employees). The work got done, with him acting as middleman.

          Then a year later, I had a conversation with a co-worker from there, who informed me that this guy and several other middle managers had been fired. Which gave more grunt work to the VPs than they probably wanted, but still the work got done just fine without the well-paid MBAs performing their mid-mgr. roles…

        • P J Evans says:

          I was told that “public administration” students were taught (in the 70s if not the 80s) that public libraries were frills, because only students need them. One of those PA students was running the city with the biggest library in the county, which was heavily used, and he kept trying to defund it a little at a time.

    • Rayne says:

      I don’t buy that XPO was in distress. It’s the way it is because it went on a consolidation spree and bought up struggling trucking companies like Conway Express in order to control marketshare. What bit them in the ass was Trump’s tariffs, but the company was likely on its way already to restructure and spin off the least profitable parts after snagging all the data and the better assets.

      What we saw DeJoy do today was a performance. It’s the kind of crap you tell shareholders while working out deferred income strategies and increased executive compensation. DeJoy wasn’t hurting before he took this gig; he took it because he expected to do even better when he was done. The question is what exactly did he expect in the way of a cut?

      And what cut was Mnuchin expecting?

      • Raven Eye says:

        On the other hand demand for both original equipment and replacement commercial truck tires was reported to be very strong in 2018. Those are considered to be pretty good trailing indicators of the economy.

          • Molly Pitcher says:

            And Goodyear stock tanked yesterday after Trump called for a boycott of the company. Winning friends and influencing people in Ohio.

          • Raven Eye says:

            That article addresses uncertainties in the sourcing for tires — constant whipsawing of tariffs — but not the actual demand. It noted an up-tick in demand for local deliveries, which can only be fed by increased tonnage by long-distance and regional haulage. But if you search around the industry-based sites, the predictions regarding supply for OE and replacement tires are back and forth the past couple of years.

            The trailing indicator is quite basic; literally where the rubber meets the road — how many commercial tires (OE or replacement) are installed on truck and trailer wheels in a given period.

            I don’t believe we have yet heard of trucking slowdowns due to real-time actual lack of tires. There are a lot unfilled driver slots, but that’s a whole different issue.

      • AndTheSlithyToves says:

        And don’t forget Donnie’s cut! lolol On the map you linked above, Rayne, there was a little note about Trump attending a fundraiser at DeJoy’s home on October 17, 2020.

        • AndTheSlithyToves says:

          Oops, again!! (Too much crimin’ for me to keep up with!) From the map “President Trump attended a fundraiser at this home in Oct, 2017.”

  8. Raven Eye says:

    There is a ton of stuff we don’t know about Sorter-Gate.

    In theory (not making excuses here – trying to be open-minded) the total number of sorting machines on the USPS books *could* be reduced if newer machines were coming online that had greater throughput and/or were more reliable (less downtime). In that case DeJoy is completely bollixing the message – which is not out of the question wherever the needle lands on his Corrupt-to-Incompetent scale. (I’m not holding my breath regarding this being merely a messaging problem, but…)

    GAO has been looking at the Postal Service for a long time, and from a number different viewpoints. Try this link and then click on the “Key Reports” tab…
    https://www.gao.gov/key_issues/us_postal_service_financial_viability/issue_summary#t=0

    Older GAO…
    April 2004 — U.S. POSTAL SERVICE: The Service’s Strategy for Realigning Its Mail Processing Infrastructure Lacks Clarity, Criteria, and Accountability.
    https://www.gao.gov/new.items/d05261.pdf

    Though GAO has seemingly studied this to death, I don’t see much that starts with a strategic criticality assessment – something that attempts to establish “Why do we care?” and “What do we care about”. Maybe that’s more in the National Academies’ lane. Money could be slipped into an appropriations bill tasking the National Academies with undertaking a longer term study of postal priorities and operations. They have the ability to bring in both technical and social perspectives. That doesn’t solve the immediate crisis, and studies most often supply data and information, not packaged policy solutions.

    There is some mention of the mail in the following: The National Academies publication on Securing the Vote (2018)…
    https://www.nap.edu/catalog/25120/securing-the-vote-protecting-american-democracy

    This is one of those cases where the shareholders (that’s us) are not being offered enough transparency regarding whatever combination of hard data, political manipulation, corporate welfare, and garden variety grant and corruption that may be influencing the Board of Governors’ or the Postmaster General’s decisions.

    Yet another problem for the next administration.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I think that’s taking DeJoy out of context. He is not solving problems or balancing a budget. I agree with Rayne that’s he’s creating problems ultimately to profit by them, politically and financially. There’s the vote, of course, and that privatizing the USPS, reducing its competitiveness, keeping it out of small-customer retail banking would create an immense treasure chest for a lot of pirates.

      • Rayne says:

        You know what the treasure chest is? It’s that pot into which the USPS paid for 75-years of employees’ retirement health care benefits.

        The banks want to get their hands on that pot.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          That’s the biggie, by far, and the most liquid. The real estate’s good value. Databases are probably worth quite a bit. Eliminating a competitor would also be lucrative. Regular mail would disappear and prices would skyrocket. The ultimate way to profit and to atomize people into individual, isolated members of Homo economicus.

          • P J Evans says:

            They have a lot of really fine real estate on cities. (Look up the Berkeley (CA) Post Office.)

            The USPS closed several branches in downtown L.A. back around 2011, ticking off people who had no place else to drop mail or ship packages during the workday. One of them also handled passports and the like. These were in the area where most of the highrises are, so there were a lot of customers – I’d go into one of them, and there were always people in line.

      • Raven Eye says:

        I don’t think it is taking DeJoy out of context. When the conductor steps onto the rostrum and taps his stand with the baton, the process is almost over. The individual players got their sheet music some time ago, and everyone pretty much knows what’s going to happen. DeJoy has a lot to say about that performance, but the black dots are already on the paper.

        This might have gone smoother for the unseen hands if someone (apparently) less corrupt and more competent was conducting (or not someone who only got there because he donated over $1 million to Republican politicians since 2016, more than a 1/3 directly to Trump). If this conspiracy is as deep and as well-entrenched as it appears, maybe we’re sadly fortunate that it is DeJoy.

        I think that the larger context has some basis in unfortunate public apathy. The majority of Americans look at the Postal Service as a utility, not unlike the water. Turn the tap and potable water comes out. But if you’ve ever been an emergency manager in an Act of God Theme Park locale, you know how you sweat the water issue. Locals may have acquired manifolds to turn the milk trucks into community spigots, but places like schools and full service restaurants can’t safely make meals without a lot of hot water.

        We’re at a moment where we can re-prioritize the mission of USPS and point out the criticality of its services. When you look at those GAO products I linked to, they are all over the map, poking at pieces here and there. So when do we have the discussion of a unifying vision, and where will that discussion be?

        • FL Resister says:

          A list of basic rights and principles in the modern world, using contemporary language, is a good idea. Once we can agree, then electing public representatives to facilitate their passage into law would be next. Housing, health care, education are the basics and yes the postal service as part of the bureaucracy necessary to provide access to communication, suppliers, and banking.

          • P J Evans says:

            Post office is freedom of speech, at rock bottom. It legally can’t open letters and packages without warrants.

        • Rayne says:

          Oh ye gods, the water analogy — that’s the difference between Flint before and after the emergency manager flipped the switch from Detroit’s water supply to the Flint River.

          It’s not just water. And it’s not just postal trucks on time from Point A to Point B as DeJoy thinks.

          • P J Evans says:

            DeJoy thinks like a trucking-company manager with lots of trucks that are idle in slow times. That ain’t the USPS.

        • Raven Eye says:

          * And to clarify, the “emergency manager” I referred to is not the emergency manager that has “broad power to intervene in financially struggling municipalities and school districts.”

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I think the USPS is much more than a public utility, so the water and electricity analogies fail.

      I don’t think Trump, Mnuchin, or DeJoy has earned any good faith. Their conduct regarding the USPS is entirely partisan. DeJoy is not trying to operate the USPS efficiently, any more than Mnuchin or Trump were when Mnuchin pressured the board to hire him – over the recommendation of USPS insiders like Williams and the USPS’s executive search firm.

      • Raven Eye says:

        I certainly don’t think that USPS is like the water company. But I think a lot of people do. That’s the point. You drop your mail in the slot or box and off it goes. You open your mail box and there’s your incoming mail.

        Do you think that leveraging apathy might be part of the construct of this bit of dirty work? You get to rampage when people don’t give a damn, or when they kinda care, but not very much,

  9. d4v1d says:

    For the life of me I don’t know why anyone would put their ballot into the US postal system. And all its unsupervised employees. I live in a blue state and I’m generally a blue voter but do you think I’m gonna put my ballot in the mailbox pull up the flag and trust the MAGAt driving the Truck will make sure that my belt makes it to the post office? no. Go to a polling place and vote.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Your vision of who works for the USPS seems a little constipated. It employs 630,000 people. Most of the ones you’ll run into are your neighbors. I think there are three valid options to vote, but each depends on critical items being in place.

      1) The mail is fine, but only if you have more than two weeks before the election.

      2) If you’re eligible, use a mail-in ballot and drop it off at a collection box, if your state has them in sufficient quantity. (The Ohio SecState proposed having only one per county, which is voter suppression.) They are often outside local government offices and are uniformly monitored.

      3) If you’re healthy and able, go to the polls. Try to find the time, it could be a long wait. Bring something to keep you comfortable: water, tissue, book, phone. Have your phone with you or go with a friend who has one, to report problems. Bring your PPE. If you can, bring a little extra, another mask, gloves. Bring your ID and know your rights in case some idiot Gooper challenges you. Have election support numbers on your phone.

      • Raven Eye says:

        [Smiles] In this little city, a lot of folks give the letter carriers a wave whenever they see them around town. They are in a right-hand drive Jeep or Subaru (which Subaru stopped importing, sadly). One of the first people I chatted up when I moved here.

        • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

          It is my dream to eventually own and drive around in a postal truck without having to work at the post office

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        USPS anecdote. A birthday card sent to the UK arrived in five days. A birthday card sent five hundred miles domestically has not arrived after ten days. My guess is that Louis DeJoy’s destruction is carefully targeted for domestic political effect.

        • FL Resister says:

          My mother was upset when a week after her birthday on July 4th a card from my aunt had not arrived for the first time in decades. Usually we get them even before our birthday. Nothing was said and then finally made it from MS to FL two weeks after her birthday.

    • Raven Eye says:

      I don’t put any outgoing mail in my mailbox, unless it’s “Addressee Unknown”. That’s just good security (unless it is a locked collection box at a multi-box collection point) and certainly not because of the letter carrier. I don’t know the political party of my (contract) letter carrier, nor her mother, who is also a letter carrier — and I don’t care to.

      But in Oregon and the other 100% vote-by-mail states, you either mail it or hand carry it to a drop location.

    • P J Evans says:

      I took mine to the PO and dropped it in the slot – ballots won’t fit into the “outgoing” box at my apt.
      I trust the USPS workers fine – it’s the guys at the top who are corrupt as f*ck.

    • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

      Civil service/government jobs, especially the post office, have historically been better than their counterparts in private industry at not discriminating against POC *as much* when hiring. At least from maybe the 60’s and on.

      This meant postal jobs were a route to a good salary (relative), benefits, and a career path for many POC much earlier than large white-run private companies. The odds of a postal employee being a MAGA are probably less than the national average.

      This is another reason GOP wants to kill the post office – their long running historical racism.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Exactly. Permanent employment at the USPS was probably the premier path to the middle class for many women and POC in postwar America. The USPS is also heavily unionized. The USPS is made up of most of the “enemies” neoliberals love to hate and whose destruction they most love to profit from.

      • P J Evans says:

        In small towns all over the country, people got jobs at the post office. (My mother’s father started as a substitute carrier, when he was about 18, and worked for the PO for 47 years, retiring in 1957 as postmaster. He was gone for a while when his Guard regiment got called to the border (chasing Villa) and later, in WW1.)

    • Tracy Lynn says:

      Our letter carriers are the best! They work gawd-awful hours about 7 days a week. They are always polite given that even here in “liberal” California, they are often the target of abuse from red hat-wearing wannabe fascists. Having said that, I usually drive my mail-in ballots (and my 94-year-old father’s) to our registrar’s office and put them in the drop box. My reasoning is that, even in years when the Post Office wasn’t under the stress it is now, the mail gets heavy around Election Day and it’s easy enough for me to drive the ballots over to drop them off. I don’t want to be in line for hours to vote during a pandemic.

  10. OneMorePoint says:

    Watched hearing this AM. Seems that DeJoy’s orientation is that of running a trucking company aka “logistics”. He measures success as being whether trucks depart and arrive on time, without concern as to whether the trucks are full or empty or cargo left behind. For him, his job is to ship what the shippers put on the loading dock. If the shipper is late, so what. He forgets that he is now the shipper as well as the trucking company. Anyway, during the hearing just received my USPS Priority package shipped from Florida to NYC on August 1. 21 days. Scripted.

    • Rayne says:

      That’s it, exactly. The USPS is charged with individual pieces of mail and he’s worried about trucks.

      And that’s absolutely unacceptable — USPS priority mail is their Competitive Product, supposed to compete with FedEx and UPS, should be 2-3 days. What’s happened on his short watch is that the USPS has become even more noncompetitive.

    • harpie says:

      Here’s video of that:
      https://twitter.com/atrupar/status/1296818793566568456
      10:37 AM · Aug 21, 2020

      SEN. ROSEN: Did you analyze how changes to USPS service would impact seniors?
      DeJOY: *shakes head negatively*
      R: Did you do an analysis about how veterans would be impacted?DeJOY: The only change I made was that the trucks to leave on time [VIDEO]

      DeJoy: […] The only change that I made, Ma’am, was that the trucks leave on time. Theoretically, everyone should have gotten their mail faster. […]

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Delicious non sequitur from DeJoy, as if as CEO he were not responsible for the execution of every plan he adopts. He’s throwing shade. Besides, from DeJoy’s perspective, Rosen’s only a girl, so her questions don’t matter. Let’s see how that works with Katie Porter.

  11. earlofhuntingdon says:

    A brief mention of the California wild fires. There are hundreds, here are two: Big Basin Redwoods State Park, NE of Santa Cruz (SE of SFO), has been gutted. Fifteen hundred acres of Point Reyes National Seashore is on fire. North of SFO, about halfway to Bodega Bay, it’s a large, open triangular grassland peninsula leading to a protected seashore.

    https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/08/20/historic-buildings-destroyed-at-big-basin-redwoods-state-park/
    https://www.sfgate.com/california-wildfires/article/Wildfire-burns-in-Point-Reyes-National-Seashore-15494035.php

    • Tracy Lynn says:

      Big Basin is a gut-punch. It is so close to the South Bay, but so far from the Silicon Valley hurley-burley that it was a wonderful day trip, especially on weekdays. Generations of families grew up camping among its redwoods and hiking its trails. My heart is heavy.

      • Molly Pitcher says:

        The fire has burned to the sea on Hwy 1. UC Santa Cruz is under evacuation. This morning the local news showed farm workers picking crops in impenetrable smoke.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I used to spend a lot of time around Bolinas, Muir Woods, and Pt. Reyes. The fire damage in the whole Bay Area is heartbreaking, especially to the redwoods. More importantly, we’re talking about a massive impact to people and livelihoods. If only Californians would learn to rake their forests, none of this would happen. Now, drink this bleach and watch this drive.

  12. Molly Pitcher says:

    The only county of the nine surrounding the Bay which DOESN’T have major fires (plural) is San Francisco.

    • P J Evans says:

      It doesn’t have a lot of land that can burn – only the parks.

      I still remember the Marble Cone fire in 1977. It was one of the bigger ones – at the time. Not so much, compared to the ones now. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_California_wildfires
      I also remember Thanksgiving, 1980, when there were five fires going on from San Bernardino south; the big one that year was the Panorama fire, and it looked like something out of Dante.

  13. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Louis DeJoy allows all of New Hampshire one mail sorting machine. It broke down last week, which required hand sorting, delaying pretty much everything until it was repaired. (I wonder how many Wyoming has, or the Dakotas.) Dave Dayen has a nice summary of DeJoy’s testimony today.

    I disagree with him, though, insofar as his summary suggests DeJoy is following standard American cost-cutting and just-in-time delivery practices. Edward Deming, at least, knew what assumptions had to be true to make his ideas work. The only assumption that seems relevant to corporate America is the facile one that if it implements his ideas, savings will automatically follow.

    In my view, DeJoy is hiding his agenda behind his business models. For one thing, his actions are inconsistent with savings and efficiency. He is throwing out assets, people, and processes before having anything better with which to replace them. He’s just cutting back, using undisclosed assumptions and goals. But maps tell the story: the heaviest burdens fall on swing states and those that vote Democrat. What are the odds, I wonder.

    https://prospect.org/politics/senate-hearing-postal-service-louis-dejoy-postmaster-general/

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Interesting that DeJoy’s old firm, XPO, the failing one, specializes in job automation. That is, in substituting machines for people. Were Trump to win and DeJoy to stay, and having tossed out so much equipment and so many people, I presume that automation will be sold as the only viable way forward. Until some white knight appears to improve the USPS by privatizing it.

    • Molly Pitcher says:

      DeJoy is raping and pillaging the USPS to set it up for privatization after handing Trump the election. As far as “standard…just-in-time delivery practices” well, that has worked out pretty great for PPE, hasn’t it ?

      I would like to see a hearing where those questioning the witness had been adequately briefed by a staff that had done some research. It is like listening to Judy Woodward try to question someone from the Trump administration. They have only a cursory knowledge of the issues and no second or third question or desire to press for the actual answer to the original question.

      • P J Evans says:

        “standard…just-in-time delivery practices”
        They’ve worked out so well for farms, too: chicks and poults dying because delivery was delayed, and fruit rotting in packages.
        DeJoy perjured himself this morning, and the Rs on the committee were happy to help.

        • Rugger9 says:

          However, because RoJo was silly enough to go first, he ensured that DeJoy left a lot of strings out for Katie Porter, et al to pull hard on Monday. It will be interesting to see how the GOP caterwauls in the hearing, but all of those DeJoy markers were under oath and Porter, et al will have had the weekend to prepare.

      • Rugger9 says:

        Just-in-time and one piece flow as well as other Lean Manufacturing catchphrases spouted by MBA types all require a standardized process and evaluation to determine how to balance production before making changes, since bottlenecks await those who don’t do the prerequisite work. All improvement methods (Lean, Six Sigma, Theory of Constraints, Scrum, etc.) insist on the firm understanding of the activities involved across the whole process (SIPOC for wonks).
        The “why” is as important as the “what”. No one does anything without a reason so it is important to make sure any assumptions are tested for validity. DeJoy admitted he did not do that and it wasn’t even on his radar.

        Long ago, I had a boss who told me the following joke about a manager who came in on the first day and found two envelopes waiting from his predecessor. The top one said “Open me the first time you have a problem”, and when that event came to pass the manager opened the envelope which said “Blame it on me”. The other envelope said “Open me the second time you have a problem”, and when that came to pass the message was “Prepare two envelopes”.

        Time for two envelopes, Louis.

    • Raven Eye says:

      Didn’t Deming put a lot of emphasis on “Delighting” the customer? Mere satisfaction was ephemeral.

      One thing Deming wasn’t was a “time and motion man”. DeJoy spouts words that probably fools a lot of people, but if you are really into Logistics (big “L”) it’s a heck of a lot more complex than time and motion or trucks leaving the dock. “Logistics” is one of those self-important words that some trucking companies have latched onto, but DeJoy is clearly no logistician.

      • Rugger9 says:

        Deming did, because he understood no one would pay for crap forever. So, the Toyota system was geared toward maximizing performance (i.e. process capabilities) relative to the standards developed in collaboration with the customer. The idea is that while the system runs as expected, the manager only needs to look for the exceptions which is much easier to do than firefighting. The visual factory and Gemba (go and see) is how the manager should keep an eye on things.

        Taylor, on the other hand was about time and motion but even he understood the limits for fatigue affecting quality but Gilbreth understood it better than Taylor did. As an example for how fast 100% is, take a standard deck of cards, deal them out in 4 neat piles and it should take about 45-60 seconds IIRC. More modern methods such as MTM account for complexity (I like MOST) and the time measurement unit (tmu) is ~ 0.036 second, more or less.

        The trouble with MBA types like DeJoy is that satisfaction is not part of the value to them, it’s strictly production and how fast. They do not understand the true cost of poor quality since for them it’s a red-light warranty. However, in the modern world there is litigation (like Bayer settling for ~1.6 billion dollars over Essure) which can be expensive even if you prevail.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Lean manufacturing, etc., requires a robust supplier base, with adequate staffing and financial wherewithal to do and pay for the added work, continue to innovate, continue to find ways to cut costs every year, and bear the brunt of the downside of the business cycle.

        The process becomes increasingly attenuated with both geographic and firm outsourcing of even basic functions. Firms assume that outsourcing means they no longer have to coordinate things, thinking they’ve passed that obligation onto suppliers. The opposite is true, even as firms cut the staff with the know-how to do it. Stretch the string too far or add an unexpected load and it breaks.

        DeJoy understands that well enough that he is intentionally stretching and adding loads to the string precisely so that he breaks it.

        • Rugger9 says:

          With respect to outsourcing, an organization is still officially held responsible by ISO and regulators to ensure quality matches the in-house expectation, so this is a problem most in the quality management field understand.

          MBA types also don’t like to actually manage bad news, so they will not test or inspect to avoid having to deal with failing values that might slow down production. However, defects will cause problems and these chucklenuts don’t grasp that customers with torts will eventually sue.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          It replaces redundancy (which has a purpose, not just a cost) and resilience with brittleness and fragility in order to generate short-term profits. Neoliberals care only about the profits.

  14. errant aesthete says:

    Great effort Rayne. Thank you!

    #SaveThePostOfficefromTrump” is designating tomorrow, Saturday, August 22, as Action Day. It is being supported and organized by a number of organizations around the country. Impressive roster.

    https://www.savethepostoffice.net/event/save-the-post-office/search/

    I was on the phone this morning (“Save the Post Office”: Remote Options) making calls to representatives in Washington state and was encouraged that I couldn’t get through for quite some time since the lines were jammed.

    I, too, noted the “lame questioning” of DeJoy by the Senate Subcommittee and included that complaint in my message. Unfortunately, the Dem’s star interrogator, Kamala Harris was unavailable due to campaign appearances and submitted questions in writing.

  15. Molly Pitcher says:

    https://us.cnn.com/2020/08/20/politics/usps-reconnect-sorting-machines/index.html

    From CNN just now: “Postal workers have reportedly been told not to act on their own initiative to reconnect mail sorting machines that have already been disconnected, according to CNN. The warning was sent to postal managers in an email sent just hours after Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said he would suspend planned changes to the postal service…The email from Kevin Couch, a director of maintenance operations, read: “Please message out to your respective Maintenance Managers tonight. They are not to reconnect/reinstall machines that have been previously disconnected without approval from HQ Maintenance, no matter what direction they are getting from their plant manager.” “

  16. Jenny says:

    Shipped Chicks Dying In Delayed Mail, Horrifying Farmers
    https://www.huffpost.com/entry/dead-chicks-mail-service-dejoy-trump_n_5f3f22b4c5b6305f32557071

    Chellie Pingree on Twitter: 5:22 PM · Aug 20, 2020
    https://twitter.com/chelliepingree/status/1296558217133252609

    Since 1918, @USPS has handled chicks safely and humanely.
    Only after Postmaster DeJoy started slowing down mail delivery have small farmers suffered economic and emotional losses of their chicks.
    DeJoy needs to answer for this when he testifies before Congress tomorrow.

    I hope a representative brings this up on Monday at the hearing. Cruel and heartbreaking.

    • Jenny says:

      So cruel about the chicks. Upsetting.

      Being a firm believer experience is knowledge – put Dejoy in a box, ship him from a DC post office to CA and back.

      • P J Evans says:

        Using some of the routing they’ve been using on actual mail, where it can travel sometimes three or four thousand miles to get from one place to another that’s less than 50 miles away.

      • P J Evans says:

        I’ve seen that suggested, elseweb. They’re not kidding. That’s a lot of money that customer (or sellers!) are out. (It’s past bee season: they’re shipped by mail also. A three-pound package runs $150 to more than $200 – that’s enough for a working hive. A queen is $30 to 50, and comes with a few workers in a cage plugged with sugar candy, which is their food supply while in transit and for several days after.)

        • Rugger9 says:

          One hopes that when the lawsuits start that DeJoy is personally named. While there is some immunity for mere government incompetence, I suspect that DeJoy’s changes that bypassed long-established rule-making and notice procedures just might invalidate such protection but maybe our lawyers can give us the true scuttlebutt.

          Of course, the suit would be diverted to solely target the USPS, but it was DeJoy (and possibly the BoG and Mnuchin) that took these actions on his own at this time. Class action?

      • Jenny says:

        Thank you Rayne. Never thought about animal cruelty charges; however it does fit. I am still upset.

        I called Rep Katie Porter’s office this morning. Left a message about this situation. I realize it did not happen in CA; however perhaps she or another rep will bring this up to discuss directly with DeJoy. Certainly someone on the committee needs to.

  17. Eureka says:

    Here’s another thing about DeJoy that’s peevesome and points to his mindset on multiple fronts: the “branding” of himself and his activities through the associative (odd/mis-?) use of the trusted USPS logo. The “USPS” masks were bad enough — and how much did we pay to have those screen printed?

    Then today he shows up to testify with the Zoom-Room equivalent of a step-and-repeat. It’s all about that brand, baby — and perhaps basking in its reflected glory, going for some Sunshine Effect. All these guys love the logos and other imagery of their USG positions… but if it wasn’t about the “brand”, doesn’t he have some seal or something he could pose with?

    Also to Vicks and all about that family foundation — who uses a _backslash_ in a(n official) name like that? It’s unconventional.

    • Tom says:

      I’m not so sure that all the USPS trappings of office that DeJoy BeDecked himself with were all that effective in countering the impression that his appearance before Friday’s Senate hearing was basically an audition tape to join the Trump pantheon of convicted felons. Whatever goals and achievements DeJoy may have accomplished in his life and career, what will stick in the public’s mind–at least for now–is the image of the shifty-eyed, sinister Daddy Warbucks guy having to be admonished under questioning by Senator Jack Rosen: “Can you look me in the eye? … Can you look us in the eye? … I want you to look in the camera. There are millions of people watching.” Senator Rosen reminded me of the teaching nuns I knew as a kid who would scold you to “Tell the truth and shame the Devil!”

      I’m fascinated by people like Louis DeJoy, who are obviously of reasonable intelligence and yet fall into the trap of thinking that somehow they can become a player in the President’s chicanery and not get burned in the process, even after almost four years of the shambolic and chaotic Trump administration. How could DeJoy ever have thought a gig at the Post Office would work out okay for him?

  18. Huguette says:

    Thanks for this illuminating (and depressing) timeline.

    I hadn’t noticed this lovely nugget in news stories: “certain customer service windows would close during lunchtime.” In the best possible light, this could be seen as a realistic assessment that our schedules are all different now. Right??

    Nah, don’t think so. Another nice little wrench thrown particularly at people … who can only go during lunch breaks!!

    • Rayne says:

      That bit about closed windows at lunchtime is another indicator of deliberate malign intent. It’s not negligence but active suppression of service.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        When a lot of people still working in or outside the home want to make a quick trip the P.O. is the perfect time to tell customers to go away. I wonder how K Street would react if the bars stopped selling drinks between 6-8 pm because it was dinner time.

  19. Agu Tonpa says:

    In 2006 the Republicans passed the postal reform act which hobbled the post office’s hand enabled rivals like ups to make more profit to buy politicians.
    As said why aren’t the right wing forcing rivals like ups fedex to prefund 75 years of benefits?
    DeJoy said he made trucks run on time: he also changed truck schedules and cancelled truck runs—- why didn’t Senators mention this?
    USPS is subject to FOIA but Congress need to talk to postal workers who deal with sorting machines, truck schedules and the special agreements that violate postal regulations posted on federal registers that are then federal regulations.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Why not burden UPS and FedEx the same as USPS? Because they’re capitalists, not government stooges.

      You’ll have to ask the Senators why they didn’t object to DeJoy’s claim that he made the trucks run on time, at the unspoken cost of not delivering the mail on time. Airlines could run on time if it weren’t for passengers.

      Someone might also ask why, in a budget crunch, Congress still gives itself free postage. That it allocates tax funds to the USPS – or charges its members a fee – isn’t an adequate substitute. It really ought to carry its own water.

  20. Vicks says:

    To borrow a trick from the Trump “decoy/DeJoy” popped into my head when I was listening to DeJoy being questioned yesterday.
    I started going down the list of USPS board of governors to do quick checks starting with Mike Duncan
    https://about.usps.com/who/leadership/board-governors/
    Pure political swamp and a connection to the Tennessee Valley Authority which i think is curious. They publically pissed Trump off by refusing his plea to keep a coal plant open and have committed to going green.
    There may be more on him but I skipped to John M. Barger
    I’m often late to a party (usually cause I get distracted with this kind of shit) but I didn’t know that because of Republican blocked nominations this is the first time there has been a quorum since 2014, If it’s just me that missed it, I’m not sure why it’s not being given more weight when considering the escalation of bad behavior.
    https://outlooknewspapers.com/local-man-tabbed-to-usps-board/

    One more time.
    Trump may be taking advantage of having his people in place but This is NOT just about voter suppression!!!

    • P J Evans says:

      It wouldn’t be that many, because so much of the population is too young to vote and a lot aren’t registered. About 160 million would be the maximum, I think – so well within their capabilities before DeJoy.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        The assumption was “all Americans,” to drive home the point that ballot volume is not the problem. Virtually every postal worker knows DeJoy is lying. They want to know what the powers that be are gonna do about it.

    • Raven Eye says:

      Maybe he’s just getting ready for his dream of suspending Saturday delivery. When two days’ worth of mail piles up in the Processing and Distribution Centers over the weekend, they’ll need extra floor space to hold it (even now, centers don’t always have enough interior space to unload trucks, and it sits in the trailers until the sorting gets started again for Monday delivery).

      If that comes about, it will be extra special because it will take more sorting capacity to get the mail flow back to normal weekday levels. One more argument in favor or privatization.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Everyone in that room would have understood that DeJoy’s switch to “theoretically” was an admission that the program did not work out that way. Otherwise, he would have said how it worked out. Imagine how victorious every general and CEO the world has ever known would be if their plans worked out as they theoretically should have.

  21. BobCon says:

    The theoretically part also hints at the garbage manipulation of metrics bad MBAs do.

    This year every team has a higher ERA than the California Angels. They have fewer errors than other team, they have trailed in fewer games going into the 9th inning than any other team, and they have allowed fewer stolen bases than any other team. The California Angels also don’t exist anymore, since the team is now the LA Angels. Stop delivering mail, and all kinds of metrics will improve.

    That’s the game DeJoy is playing.

  22. harpie says:

    New documents from Maloney on Oversight committee:

    New Postal Service Documents Show Nationwide Delays Far Worse Than Postal Service Has Acknowledged
    https://oversight.house.gov/news/press-releases/new-postal-service-documents-show-nationwide-delays-far-worse-than-postal
    8/22/20

    Internal “PMG Briefing” Shows Alarming Delays Across the Board— First-Class, Marketing, Periodicals, and Priority Mail

    Washington, D.C. (Aug. 22, 2020)—Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, released new internal Postal Service documents warning Postmaster General Louis DeJoy about steep declines and increasing delays nationwide over the last two months as a result of his drastic operational and organizational changes.

    “After being confronted on Friday with first-hand reports of delays across the country, the Postmaster General finally acknowledged a ‘dip’ in service, but he has never publicly disclosed the full extent of the alarming nationwide delays caused by his actions and described in these new documents,” said Chairwoman Maloney. […]

  23. earlofhuntingdon says:

    “[S]teep declines and increasing delays nationwide over the last two months as a result of his drastic operational and organizational changes.”

    Louis DeJoy: Nothing to see here. Move along.

    • P J Evans says:

      Putting the lie to his claims of increasing efficiency. And to the claims of the GOP-T that there’s nothing to see, no problems, no need for funding…well, those machines will have to be *replaced*, and that’s going to cost. Somehow I don’t think the USPS governors and Dejoy (and his wife) want to do that funding themselves, though their actions argue that restitution should be required.

    • Rayne says:

      I swear I used exactly those words, blue urban areas. It’s obvious as hell when looking at the May 15 “Equipment Reduction” presentation with its proposed plan outlining how much equipment and where.

    • Raven Eye says:

      The Expedited to Street/Afternoon Sortation (ESAS) initiative, if fully implemented, is designed precisely so that my USPS parcels and first class mail get delivered one day later.

      I track my USPS packages. I know when they leave Eugene, OR, arriving at my area’s Mail Processing Center (MPC) late at night. Parcels usually leave that facility a little after 5:00 am enroute my city’s little post office about 15 miles away. I usually get delivery noonish to mid-afternoon. Under ESAS, that mail will sit inside the post office all day. I don’t know what the real intent of ESAS is, but at least collaterally, it’s a swipe at Bezos.*

      Right now this is just a test, and my city is not on the list of ZIP Codes, but two ZIP Codes, one where I have a UPS Store box, and one where I lived when I first arrived in the area are on the list for the test. (It should be noted that in this case, the two ZIP Codes are in a “red” part of Oregon.)

      This is just the kind of information that Sen. Rosen was trying to get out of DeJoy, or at least get a commitment for transparency.

      * When mail sits, it takes up space — in buildings or trailers. That’s one of the reasons that the proposed suspension of Saturday mail delivery was a non-starter. To implement ESAS the whole transportation and storage infrastructure will need to be changed. With any delivery service the item being transported wants to be in one of two states; (1) moving or (2) delivered. On the other hand, there may be fat contracts for secure short term storage of mail.

  24. Eureka says:

    Suit filed August 21, 2020 (Friday) in EDPA by PA AG Josh Shapiro:

    https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/7041755-Shapiro-USPS-lawsuit.html#document/p1

    PA CA DE DC ME MA NC vs DeJoy, Duncan, and USPS

    This action arises under the Postal Reorganization Act, 39 U.S.C. § 3661, and the United States Constitution.

    Coverage:

    Pennsylvania sues USPS over mail delays as Postmaster General Louis DeJoy blames coronavirus
    https://www.inquirer.com/news/pennsylvania/pennsylvania-usps-lawsuit-louis-dejoy-20200821.html

  25. Eureka says:

    Rally held for the Postal Service outside Philly’s historic post office
    https://www.inquirer.com/news/philadelphia/usps-mail-voting-delays-ballots-philly-rally-dejoy-trump-20200822.html

    Saturday’s rally point at 316 Market St. holds particular significance, [retired mail carrier, and one of four rally organizers, Joe Piette] said.

    “It’s the first post office ever, created by Ben Franklin, even before the writing of the Constitution,” Piette said. “It’s a museum, but it’s also a working post office. You can walk in, buy stamps, and mail a letter. As we were rallying, people were actually using the post office.”

    Photos in article show the crowd better; photos here with a dead-on/other shots of the front of the building:
    https://twitter.com/PhillyInquirer/status/1297204915333464065

  26. vicks says:

    Will the new Postmaster General be the last?
    https://www.dallasapwu.org/postmaster-general-dejoy.html

    A quick read that points to issues such as Dejoy’s anti-union and harassment issues within his previous family owned company that should have disqualified him from being appointed from managing any organization especially one that relies on a union to protect it’s people..

    https://www.inthepublicinterest.org/wp-content/uploads/ITPI_USPSPrivatization_July2020.pdf
    Explains how the privatization has been a long term and well funded strategy that is taking place right before our eyes.
    This information is everywhere and frankly I think that republicans have every right to be chuckling over dems decision to give cover to the long term strategy by not asking a single fucking question that goes beyond what will get thier own base riled up in the short term like veteran’s medication and voter suppression.
    While I am at it, I am also sick and disgusted that Pelosi continues to wave the “100 days since the heroes act was passed” and expects me to continue to blame republicans for the deaths that resulted because the act has not passed.

  27. d4v1d says:

    do NOT under any circumstances use a mail in ballot – you will be depending on thousands of unmonitored post office employees to collect and deliver your ballot. my unmasked letter carrier openly wears a magahat when off duty. do you think the ballots he collects will even get back to the post office? my town hall (and our secretary of state) says bring your ballot directly to town hall.

    A suit filed over mail in ballots will be a federal case, and the swing voter is John Roberts, who has already ok’d voter disenfranchisement several times. Do NOT let him cast your vote for all of us. Vote on election day, in person, at the precinct where you are legally registered.

    • P J Evans says:

      I trust the *employees* fine – it’s the *executives*, the guys at the very top, who I don’t trust.

    • P J Evans says:

      What your letter carrier does when off duty is not your business. As for the mask – they’re usually outside, where they’re *less* likely to spread / catch the virus. (They should wear one – but good luck with that. Most places seem to require them only indoors.)

  28. vicks says:

    This is NOT what this country needs right now, and if anyone bothered to look it’s a safe bet that “personal stories” that match d4v1d’s (word for word) are all over the internet.
    If your delivery guy/gal isn’t wearing a mask call and report them, better yet, ask them about it the next time you run into them wearing their MAGA hat off duty.
    There are numerous reasons to drop your ballot off directly rather that putting it in the mail, but fucking with an entire group of civil servants to make your point only makes one suspicious of what you are really trying to accomplish.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      “All over the internet” is like dust in the air. A lot of it you would not want to breathe in.

  29. Jenny says:

    Just spoke to my mail carrier. No machines removed; however she said the situation is a “mess.”

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