Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Barry Loves Him Some Privatization

Inquiring minds want to know how President Obama feels about the ongoing assault on postal union employees by House Republicans who want to "improve" the USPS  by privatizing it. The Postal Service is on the verge of going broke, as explained in the previous post, because Congress has required it to fund medical pension benefits pretty much into perpetuity, making it appear bankrupt when it isn't.  It's in the best tradition of the "Shock Doctrine" school of crisis creation.  Make something up and then cash in on it.
Reader Pat Reynolds (a postal employee) has discovered a video shot in 2009, at the height of the health care reform debates, in which Obama talks about the wonders of privatization, and how a public option in health care would not necessarily hurt the for-profit insurance industry.  To prove his point, he compared the post office unfavorably with FedEx and UPS.  "I mean, if you think about it," he says, "UPS and FedEx are doin' just fine.  It's the post office that's always havin' problems."  (Yeah, he was at one of those folksy, g-droppin' town halls).

Bear in mind that during this August 2009 appearance, Obama had already taken the public option off the table even as he continued to pretend it was still viable, and that he was actually for it.  Of course, in retrospect, his praise of those fine folks at WellPoint and Aetna and UnitedHealth was painfully prescient.  Thanks to what Jon Stewart recently called a "2,000-page clusterf**k", the insurance companies are still "doin' just fine" (especially with no Public Option to compete and make them behave). They are raking in record profits after sometimes doubling the premiums of policy holders.  The net effect is that people are so broke after paying the bills they have nothing left over to see an actual doctor or dentist.  The insurance companies are in a win-win situation.  They collect the money, impoverish the patients, and don't have to pay out nearly as much to the health care providers.  It gives a whole new meaning to hoarding.  It makes normal every-day capitalistic greed look beneficent.

So this is what we can expect if the post office is privatized.  FedEx (which treats its employees abysmally and has been known to fire drivers when they have accidents in their crappy trucks so they won't have to pay medical costs) will raise the price of a 44-cent stamp to four or five bucks, fire the union postal employees who haven't already been laid off, hire a bunch of people out of the millions who are desperate for a job, pay them maybe $10 a hour, put them in poorly maintained vehicles and pay no benefits as they sleepily careen down the interstates in 12-hour marathons, and probably lose a large portion of the letters and packages entrusted to their care.  It's the new normal.  To use Obama's two favorite words when he talks about jobs, it's "innovative" and "competitive."

"FedEx is Doin' Just Fine" -- Barack Obama

Oh, and speaking of that Jobs Bill -- you know, the one where Barry whips the crowds into a frenzy with his jeremiad-like  "PASS THIS BILL! PASS THIS BILL!" PASS THIS BILL RIGHT NOW!!!" harangue -- well, not so fast.  Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is in no hurry to take it up, because a sudden new urgency has developed about punishing China for its currency manipulation.  That, according to Reid, is more important than JOBS RIGHT NOW.

The Washington Post quoted Reid as saying:  “We understand that there’s conversations going on about the president’s jobs bill — which I support, I’m in agreement with. We’ll get to that. But let’s get some of these things done that we have to get done first.”

You can't even make this stuff up.  No wonder Barry finally chose to go to Hollywood to spin his fantastical yarns.

P.S.: For a cogent analysis of the craven machinations of those who want to destroy the post office, read this New York Daily News editorial by Juan Gonzalez.


Anne Lavoie said...

Thanks to Karen and Pat for the proof that our President is, without a shadow of a doubt, the Privatizer-in-Chief. I hope every Postal Employee has seen that video and shares it with everyone they know. I wonder how Obama voted in 2006 on that outrageous bill making USPS sock away 75 years of funds for future health care all in 10 years. Did he abstain/vote present?

Re: Obama's Jobs Bill. There are no co-sponsors!

Re: UPS/Fed Ex. I heard somewhere several years ago that UPS or FedEx actually consider their drivers subcontractors or franchises, or something along that line, where drivers have to rent their trucks and cover their own expenses. Anyone know if this is true?

Re: Obamacare. If Obamacare is ruled constitutional by the Supremes, I believe that will be the final straw, the tipping point. Even Tea Partiers will be on the street by then.

Finally, I wish to offer my since and heartfelt apology to everyone in America for voting for, and contributing money to, the biggest Con Man this country has ever elected. I grieve over that vote and have mourned for our country more in the past 3 years than I even did from 2000-2008, all due to Obama's serial betrayals.

I think we should hold massive mock funerals for our country and carry coffins reading Post Office, Medicare, Social Security, Public Schools, etc. and gravestones for laws, rights, and people they've already killed and buried, including representations for all the troops and civilians killed by wars. We need some visuals. Halloween would be the perfect time.

Will (formerly William and still Radical Leftist) said...

Add the slow-motion destruction of the USPS (It was nice knowing you, our very own "public option") to the ever-growing list of cold-hearted assaults by the ruling class against the rest of us. Just remember to be good little peons and don't make too much of a fuss about it; you might get in some serious trouble, you know. Here's Glenn Greenwald's latest column about the "vast and growing apparatus of intimidation designed to deter and control citizen protests."

VLT said...

Great! Obama has the bully pulpit – and won’t use it to name the people who are in collusion with the corporations trying to wreck our country - but he is willing to use it to spread misinformation. The Post Office and the union need to make it perfectly clear to the public - as Pat says - that Fed Ex and UPS are doing "fine" because they dump all the unprofitable mail service back on to the post office.

VLT said...

It amazes me that Obama hangs the Post Office employees out to dry, insuls the Congressional Black Caucus (and black voters) insults his base (the sanctimonious purist – pink dogs) and still expects to get elected! His arrogance (and the arrogance of his advisors) knows no bounds! What? Doesn't he think we vote?
@Will – thanks for the great link
@Ross – read @Will’s link. It addresses all your issues with the New York protest.

Kat said...

Greenwald always manages to say what we're thinking-- doesn't he?
@VLT-- well he still has his cheerleaders like Melissa Harris-Perry who defends him in her fact free post attributing abandonment of Obama to racism. Shorter MHP-- "I'm doing fine so quit yr bitchin'!".

Anne Lavoie said...


It is amazing he acts and talks that way. If this is how he is when he needs our vote, can you imagine how he is going to be after (possible) re-election when he really doesn't need us at all?

I thought it was telling when he told the Black Caucus members to join HIM in marching, not vice versa. Blacks were marching before he was born, but it never crosses his mind that they have been asking and expecting him to join THEM. He won't even use the word 'poverty'.

More telling of his attitude was the part about the bedroom slippers! Can you imagine the reaction if a white person said "Take off your bedroom slippers and put on your marching shoes", as if they were lazy slouches, sitting around in slippers and pajamas.

He can't find his own walking shoes to go to Wisconsin, but has no embarrassment or shame about making, and breaking, that promise.

***Maybe he actually doesn't need any of us!***

If his corporate buddies who own and run the country get him the same favorable media treatment they delivered last time and deliver results on their Diebold voting machines, he needn't worry. His part now may be to just go through the motions in our sham democracy.

If a Republican can steal a Presidency, it is surely possible for an even more savvy, sophisticated, well-funded Chicago-trained politician and corporate-connected 'Democrat' to do so. Especially when he's strongly motivated by his oversized ego to win.

Can you imagine the irony of a Democrat putting the hard sell on millions of poor to donate to him, even selling tickets for a raffle to dine with him, in order to build a fund big enough to pay the rich to buy him an election? I can!

But I'm just imagining. Maybe he doesn't even need to pay them. He's already delivered - promises made, promises kept. Privatization is the gift that keeps on giving.

Neil said...

This is just another outrage by Obama. And I’m shocked, shocked, that Republicans would oppose one of the few government agencies explicitly authorized by the United States Constitution. (hello Ron Paul, where are you?). Some basic facts about the post office:
The United States Postal Service (USPS) is an independent agency of the United States government responsible for providing postal service in the United States. It is one of the few government agencies explicitly authorized by the United States Constitution.
The USPS traces its roots to 1775 during the Second Continental Congress, where Benjamin Franklin was appointed the first postmaster general. The cabinet-level Post Office Department was created in 1792 from Franklin's operation and transformed into its current form in 1971 under the Postal Reorganization Act.
The USPS employs over 574,000 workers and operates over 218,000 vehicles. It is the second-largest employer in the United States after Wal-Mart, and the operator of the largest vehicle fleet in the world. The USPS is legally obligated to serve all Americans, regardless of geography, at uniform price and quality.
Source: Wikipedia
Neil Gillespie w-american-revolution/://

Pat Reynolds said...

For anyone interested, I'm posting a link that has a compilation of photos and videos from the rallies held across the nation on Tuesday.
I didn't see any highlights from the Bend, Oregon rally, but I read that the tea baggers came out to protest the employees and others that were there to show support. This is a rhetorical question, but WTF is wrong with these people?

James F Traynor said...

What a thoroughly disgusting person he's turned out to be.

Jay - Ottawa said...

There's another issue: security. Imagine the fun when private eyes can do what they will with the mail passing through their hands. With that in mind, business people themselves should be marching against the idea of privatizing the mail service. Of course, there will be advertising. To lower costs. Instead of Harry Truman on a stamp you'll have a portrait of the All New Tide.

VLT said...

Our friend, DreamsAmelia, has written a wonderful comment in the NY Times about the Occupy WallStreet protesters. Make sure you don't miss it! It is number 4.

By the way, I read that Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly have only received a dozen or so complaints about Officer Bologna's macing of the protesters. (I find this hard to believe.) Here are the links provided for us courtesy of Common Dreams and @Fred Drumlevitch in case you want to add your complaint.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg: NYPD Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly: NYC Civilian Complaint Review Board:

Anne Lavoie said...

I/ can't find the article now, but yesterday the NYT had a piece about how, buried deep in Obama's 'Jobs Bill', was the authorization to sell off federal lands and building, etc. "Deeply buried" they said. Glad they read through it. I wonder why he's not touting that part. Is it because it has NOTHING to do with JOBS? Obama must think it is pretty important to privatize public property for him to insert it in this 'Jobs Bill'.

The estimate was in the low billions for the amount they would make by permanently selling off public assets, I'm sure at fire sale prices. That would be the equivalent of about 10 MINUTES of our defense/security budget for just one year. I can imagine who will get first dibs snapping up that property.

Jay - Ottawa said...

There are still X-number of protesters in the financial district of NYC -- "the best among us" -- irritating the masters of the universe. Chris Hedges was on the scene yesterday giving an impromptu commentary available on YouTube. Today he hammered this broadside to the wall at Truthdig:

Marie Burns said...

As to why Reid seems so lackadaisical about the jobs bill, I'd say his whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) has the explanation: they don't have the votes in the Senate.

Anonymous said...


Good point, but they lack the Senate votes because they never put in the advocacy.

You don't get votes by going to 36K-plate fundraisers.

As my friend Brad says, "I keep getting emails from Obama to call my Congressman. No, you c$&*%#cker, YOU call my congressman, that's why we elected you."

Camp Homeless Obama

"Cat" will do said...

Karen, darlin'

check this out. if it don't cheer you up, nothin will. It gave me chills. I thought my heart would go blooey.

with love, from me.

Kat said...

Great comment on Brooks today.
I posted this elsewhere on another Brooks column, but it works with this one too. No wonder when I came across this remarkable passage in my current reading (Babbit) I immediately thought of Brooks (and his penchant for citing some damn study that proves his beliefs are the best of all possible beliefs):
"But Littlefield's great value was as a spiritual example. Despite his strange learnings he was as strict a Presbyterian and as firm a Republican as George F. Babbit. He confirmed the business men in their faith. Where they knew only by passionate instinct that their system of industry and manners was perfect, Dr. Howard Littlefield proved it to them, out of history, economics, and the confessions of reformed radicals."

@Jay or William: This thanks is belated. So belated in fact that I am not quite sure who actually posted the link to the Jeremiah Wright interview, but I thoroughly enjoyed it! Either way, you both have written something I should thank you for.

Anonymous said...

Now you've got me headed to read Karen's comment to Brooks. I thought her comment in response to Krugman was great. I'm curious about the differences in "recommends" for the same commenters to different columnists. And post-paywall.

I always thought the point of Babbitt was that he turned out not to be so undyingly conventional? But I'm no doubt projecting, having seen many of my more conservative friends turn leftish since 2006.

Camp Obama, H.E.

Kat said...

@Abonymous-- I haven't finished the book. I'll tell you what I think when I do!