Comment Of The Day: “Sunday Ethics Insomnia, 11/29/2020: No Wonder I Can’t Sleep!” (Item #2)

Item #2 in this morning’s potpourri was…

2. “Hello, Newman…” According to the Postal Service’s own records, more than 150,000 mail-in ballots were not delivered in time for them to be counted on election day. This is, of course, as I and anyone else who was paying attention expected and predicted, because the USPS is undependable I am surprised that the number was that low.

The US Postal Service is a glaring mass of unethical bureaucracy—incompetent, archaic, irresponsible. Made mostly superfluous by email and private delivery services, it continues to waste taxpayer money while not even doing a good job at what’s left of its original function. The USPS, like lesser boondoggles like NPR and PBS, are kept alive by official laziness and cowardice, plus an unwillingness to solve a problem when that problem has vocal allies. Putting the integrity of a national election in the hands of such an organization was so illogical that it naturally created, and creates, the belief by many that it was a deliberate attempt to create chaos resulting in enough smoke and fog to cover up deliberate mischief.

There, I’m glad that’s off my chest.

Steve Witherspoon’s Comment of the Day begins with the quote above. Here it is, sparked by Item #2 of the post, Sunday Ethics Insomnia, 11/29/2020: No Wonder I Can’t Sleep!:

Continue reading

Reality: New Jersey Election Results Invalidated Because of Voter Fraud. Democrats, The New York Times And Your Facebook Friends: “Stop Trying To Confuse Us With Facts!”

We didn’t need the latest evidence to know that the push for mail-in balloting for the November election was a recipe for an existential national catastrophe—accusations, multiple disputed election results at all levels of government, endless lawsuits, a Constitutional crisis, riots, violence. The use of the pandemic to justify such an unacceptable risk has been one of the Democratic Party’s more audacious plots, and that’s saying something. So you run the polls like Trader Joe’s runs its grocery store: masks required, machines wiped down after every use, little footprints keeping everyone socially distanced,monitors enforcing them. Big honking deal.

The Post Office has been a waste of money and untrustworthy for at least a decade, creating a Catch 22. The amount of mail that has to be delivered the old-fashioned way is minuscule compared to the volume of former snail mail now going out over the internet. The U.S. could save money by phasing out the USPS and hiring FedEx and UPS to handle the essential mail remaining. Suddenly entrusting a national election to the rotting institution is, well, you know…

Even half-objective news reporting would make that obvious to all but the most addled citizens and children under the age of 14.  But we don’t have any half-objective news reporting  since the 2016 election made journalists permanent agents of the Left. Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “Open Forum On Zoom Day!” (Mail-In Voting Thread)

As veteran visitors know, there is little that thrills me more than when a commenter tackles a topic that I know I need to write about, saving me the trouble of researching and writing a post. Thus I am grateful to Chris Marschner (as well as others who discussed the issue on yesterday’s Open Forum) for this Comment of the Day on the annoying mail-in voting controversy, which, I venture, the Democrats are using to give them an automatic excuse to challenge the results of November’s elections, or, in the alternative, to be able to claim that the President is “refusing to accept the results of the election” should he lose in the midst of dubious handling of the mail.

The USPS has been in a state of progressive rot for decades, one the internet made it almost, but not quite, obsolete. The service bleeds money, is progressively more unreliable, and now is an extremely expensive operation that the nation can’t afford. Our local post office was closed years ago. I literally cannot remember the last time anyone in the house got a personal letter. (The closest was the various official correspondence from the pathetic Ethics Alarms commenter who sued me, demanding $100,000 for defamation.) Christmas cards, junk mails, government mail, and bills, along with the occasional check if it is  lucky enough to be delivered at all. To suddenly demand that the U.S. mail must be used to facilitate voting in a crucial, perhaps existential election like the upcoming one is so cynical or foolish—Hanlon’s Razor again—that it boggles the mind (if one has a mind) that anyone would fall for it. 

We are, unfortunately, in the era of Facts Don’t Matter.

For some time, the USPS has epitomized the slogan, “Can’t live with it, can’t live without it.” If the U.S. relies on the mail for this election, it will simply be “Can’t live with it.”

Here is Chris Marschner’s Comment of the Day on the post,  “Open Forum On Zoom Day!”:

Between 2011 and 2016 200,000 mailboxes were moved. Those getting the vapors over logistical decisions on mailbox placement are using a normal activity and concocting an unfounded conspiracy theory.

Lest we not forget,  states run elections. Why does the federal government have to pay for a choice pushed by the party that believes it can make political hay from demanding it? Nothing stops people from requesting an absentee ballot. I intend to vote in person as I did in the primary. Voting in person is no more dangerous than going to WalMart.

Back to the mail: All boxes are subject to be moved if they get an average of only 25 pieces each day. If poor people are sending lots of mail then they will get more boxes. If they don’t send mail then they can hand their mail to a postal employee. I am getting tired of the argument that poor people have no choices other than the one that makes them do something else. If a low income person works, take the ballot and put it in with the business mail or in the outgoing slot. If they don’t work, then wait for the carrier and give it directly to them. Failing this, if they are so concerned about being disenfranchised they can get off their ass and walk or take a bus to a post office. Continue reading

Closing The Book On An Ethics Villain

Lance Armstrong is the worst sports ethics villain of all time, I believe—cycling’s Barry Bonds, but in a sport far more vulnerable to betrayal than baseball. Like Bonds, he cheated, many times and over a long period, taking victories away from more deserving athletes while enriching himself. While Bonds never had his public “I did not have sex with that woman” moment of brazen denial, Armstrong had many, all the while insulting and condemning his accusers. Bonds also never was a revered hero of children—Barry appeared to care about no one but Barry—while Armstrong deliberately made them part of his scam. When Armstrong’s elaborate schemes, lies and cover-ups were revealed, he made lifetime cynics of hundreds of thousands of young fans, and maybe more.

Armstrong, like Bonds, left his sport in disgrace but took with him great wealth, and, like Bonds, has never shown a smidgen of sincere regret or contrition—sociopaths are like that. Yesterday it was announced that Armstrong will pay $5 million to the federal government in settlement of a fraud lawsuit. The U.S. said that he owed $100 million to taxpayers for accepting sponsorship funds for his cycling team from the U.S. Postal Service while he was doping. Armstrong also agreed to pay $1.65 million to cover the legal costs of Floyd Landis, a former Armstrong teammate and the whistleblower in the case.

Eh, whatever. Lance can afford it. Despite various fines and settlements, he managed to escape his exposure with most of his ill-gotten gains safely salted away, spent or invested. Continue reading

Quotation Ethics: Maya Angelou and the Stamp of Incompetence

Angelou stamp

Yesterday the Post Office unveiled its new Maya Angelou stamp. The earlier announcement of the stamp had me sighing; Angelou is proof that affirmative action can be applied to the arts, distorting artistic taste, standards and values in the process. I would rank her talent as a poet near that of the recently deceased Rod Mckuen, but he was not black, a civil rights advocate or female, so his work was judged more or less on its merits. Angelou, in contrast, is called “an icon.” The idea of a stamp honoring the much derided McKuen would have been reflexively mocked; ah, well, fame is fickle.

There is no excuse for the stamp itself, however. Fame may be fickle, but the Postal Service is obligated to be professional, diligent and competent like any other government agen—STOP LAUGHING!!!.

The poet’s “quote” on the Angelou stamp is “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”

Maya Angelou didn’t say it or write it, at least, not before another author did. The exact quote appears on Page 15 of “A Cup of Sun,” a book by Joan Walsh Anglund, copyright 1967. Continue reading

When The Incompetent Meet The Corrupt: The U.S. Postal Service vs Lance Armstrong

Left to right: Lance Armstrong's lawyers, the U.S. Postal Service, Lance.

Left to right: Lance Armstrong’s lawyers, the U.S. Postal Service, Lance.

The U.S. Postal Service, virtually insolvent and incapable of doing anything about it, wasted $31 million in 2000 on a four-year contract sponsoring Lance Armstrong and his cycling team. Why? Search me. Still, it was , the Service says, paying to endorse champions, not cheaters, which is what Armstrong and his team were. Now Postal Service is joining a false claims lawsuit, claiming that Armstrong and the team defrauded the government and violated their sponsorship contract by using performance-enhancing drugs. The Postal Service filed the suit shortly after Armstrong finally admitted that what had been alleged for over a decade, what he had denied and sued over and attacked and protested and postured indignantly in pained and defiant terms was, in fact true. He had used illegal and banned substances and methods on the way to his epic success, hero status and world fame.

Armstrong is also a crook, taking millions from the Post Office and other sponsors who believed he was a real champion rather than a phony one. It would be nice, inspiring even, if just one lying, cheating miscreant voluntarily returned the millions he acquired through dishonest means, rather than using those millions to hire super-lawyers to allow him to keep the ill-gotten gains. Lance, however, bottom of the ethics barrel-scum feeder that he is, would not be my most likely candidate for such a noble display. Indeed, he is living up to my low expectations. Continue reading

Comment of the Day: “Incompetent Elected Official of the Week: Sen. Claire McCaskill”

Karl Penny’s Comment of the Day is further reflection on the futile effort to turn back the tide of new technology, which Senator McCaskill apparently believes can be accomplished with a good marketing campaign, making her a candidate for institutionalization.  A prize for the first reader who identifies what a klepsydra was!

“Jack, sometimes I get a little nostalgic about older technologies, generally ones that figured so prominently in my youth, but have now gone the way of the klepsydra. I get nostalgic enough that, almost, for a moment, ideas like Sen. McCaskill’s seem to make sense, and a gleam comes to me eye, and I begin to think, “Yeah….” Then I remember that it’s daylight out, and however pleasant dreams can be, they’re just dreams.

“I also remember that there are reasons—good reasons—why I and millions of others adopted email, wrote documents on a computer, listened to music through an MP3, read my books on a Kindle, and played games on a computer. Truth to tell, most of us don’t really miss those older technologies, except in brief spurts. I have an old Olympia Portable typewriter in a closet. I must have typed a million documents on that thing, from my freshman year of high school through college. Letters, papers, notes, forms, checks (!) even. It was so indispensable, I took it with me most everywhere. Now, it just sits in that closet, and I hardly ever take it out even to look at. The last time it saw any use was last year, when a local high school was doing a play, and they needed an old manual typewriter as a prop. Now, it’s back in the closet.

“Sen, McCaskill may have successfully deluded herself, but I don’t think she’s going to delude much of anyone else, and thank heaven. But, if this is what passes for progressive thought among our elected leaders, then God help us all.”

Incompetent Elected Official of the Week: Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo)

This box of rocks also has an idea about how to save the Postal Service, and it's probably better than Sen. McCaskill's.

[ I know—I need some Republican IEOTWs. There have been a lot of Democrats lately. The problem is that the things presidential candidates say don’t qualify (Michele Bachmann’s claim that she could lwoer gas prices to $2 would have been a sure winner), and the Democrats have been unusually inept lately.]

From the New York Times, discussing the U.S. Post Office’s impending insolvency:

“An overarching trend that has fueled the Postal Service’s crisis — and reduced annual mail volume by 22 percent since 2006 — is that Americans are e-mailing, paying bills electronically and reading shopping catalogs and news online.

“Noting that some great books have been written based on letters sent by the Founding Fathers and by soldiers, Senator Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri, urged the postmaster general to run an advertising campaign urging Americans to send more letters to each other.

““There is something special about receiving a piece of first-class mail, knowing that it comes from someone you care about,” she said. “I really believe that if someone would begin to market the value of sending a written letter to someone you love, you might be surprised what it will do for your Christmas season.”

That’s brilliant, Claire: spend money the Post Office doesn’t have to urge more people to use an archaic method of communication they no longer use since it is slower, less reliable and more expensive than the alternative, because there’s “something special” about it! That’s going to turn everything around. Continue reading

Post Office Ethics: A Nightmare Come True

The Bad news: overworked Connecticut postal workers have been hiding mail

The Worse news: there’s no way of knowing whether this is just happening in Connecticut, or everywhere, but my guess is that it isn’t just Connecticut.

The Worst news: the story says that the head of the postal union got “the assurance it wouldn’t happen again.” This suggests that postal workers who have been hiding the mail still have their jobs.

If hiding the U.S. mail isn’t a firing offense for postal workers, what is? Could there be a greater breach of professional ethics?