While most of the supply chain issues for food that arose at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis have been resolved, food costs for consumers are still higher than they were back in January, in some places significantly so. High food costs and high unemployment means that from April through June, one in three families with children reported food insecurity, not enough food for every family member to have adequate nutrition every day.
Back in May, Feeding America reported “record levels” of food insecurity, projecting 54 million Americans, including 1 in 4 children, would not have enough to eat throughout the duration of the crisis. That was May, but it’s going to get worse because the Trump administration is ending the flexibility states were given back in March to provide Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or food stamps to more people. The Department of Agriculture is now telling states they have to return to “normal operations,” and put limits on food assistance. Normal. Operations. In a still-raging pandemic. In which tens of millions of people just lost the lifeline of extra unemployment benefits.
The Families First Act, passed back on March 18, gave states the flexibility to change SNAP eligibility and procedures to maximize assistance. And SNAP responded, adding more than 6 million people, about a 17% increase nationally, by May. The March law did two things. It allowed states to waive the requirement that currently participating households continue to prove their eligibility or risk losing the assistance. Almost every state did waive the requirements or extended the deadline, to give people—and states—more time to provide information and process cases. It also allowed states to simplify the application process to make sure that all the newly unemployed could get help right away.
Now the USDA is telling states they have to return to “normal” by next month. That’s despite the fact that the SNAP caseloads have mushroomed since March and returning to “normal” means much more work. The demand that states start rigorously proving that people getting the benefits are eligible means that states could be cutting needy households just because the overloaded states can’t fulfill the paperwork and interview requirements in the mandated timeline. The need is only going to increase now, with the end of the $600/week unemployment insurance bump. Many receiving the enhanced UI weren’t eligible for food stamps, but with the loss of that income will be, just in time to have their access to assistance shut down.
Some states haven’t even been able to get virtual application and eligibility processing established by now. Requiring new applicants to apply in-person for assistance is a burden on both staff and the applicants, one that could be dangerous in a COVID-19 hotspot. It’s a burden that will stretch states. It’s an arbitrary decision that will make more people go hungry.Read More
Stores nationwide have implemented safety precautions, including mandatory masks, to protect workers and shoppers from the novel coronavirus. Those opposed to these regulations, despite research proving the effectiveness of face coverings, continue to refuse wearing masks often making scenes in stores that are caught and shared on social media. Frontline workers are risking their lives each day with the possibility of contracting COVID-19, only to be met by these ignorant shoppers.
But the harassment doesn’t end there. Anti-maskers are taking their resistance to another level—falsely impersonating government agencies to legally threaten essential workers. In a viral TikTok video, two women, without masks, can be seen claiming to represent the “Freedom to Breathe Agency” while telling a grocery store supervisor in Orange County, California, that she could face legal action for requiring people to wear masks. Identified as Lenka Koloma, one of the maskless women and founder of the organization, said that they were “making sure that people’s constitutional rights, civil, and federal laws are not broken.”
The incident took place on Thursday after Liz Chavez, the supermarket’s supervisor, was informed by her colleagues that two women were in the store without masks. Chavez told BuzzFeed News that she deals with individuals who refuse to wear a mask amid the pandemic on a daily basis. She noted that despite clear signs in the store and a state mandate requiring masks to be worn in public, customers frequently argue against wearing masks. “They just give us all sorts of excuses for why they shouldn’t wear one,” she said. “It happens all the time, I don’t know why it’s such a big deal. We have to wear them for our entire shift, they only have to wear them for the 10, 20 minutes they’re in the store.”
These people are attempting to intimidate essential workers by pretending to work for a bogus federal agency. pic.twitter.com/fah5T2YGi6— Kalhan (@KalhanR) August 7, 2020
But while she has experienced dealing with a number of customers who refuse to wear masks, the women she spoke to were different, Chavez said. “I went up to them like, ‘Hey, in order to be inside the store you’re required to wear a mask,'” Chavez said. “They told me, ‘No, we’re not required to wear a mask.'” The two maskless women wore badges that said “FTBA” and claimed they were from a government agency.
After Chavez told them that they must wear a mask in the store, they handed her a piece of paper that claimed she could face legal action for requesting people to wear masks. Chavez’s colleague recorded the exchange in which Koloma can be heard saying: “You personally need to take this to your manager because you personally can be sued for this, okay? You are putting yourself into major legal liability—you personally.”
According to BuzzFeed News, the paper said that Chavez could go to prison for up to three to five days in addition to facing a fine of $10,000 should she tell them to wear a mask without being a doctor. “They weren’t there to shop,” Chavez said. “They honestly were probably just waiting for somebody to come up to them and ask them to wear a mask so they could do this.”
The “Freedom to Breathe Agency” or “FTBA” is a fake agency that has previously garnered attention amid the pandemic. In June, the group was given a warning by the Department of Justice after it distributed “face mask exempt” cards. The cards claimed that wearing a mask not only put people at risk of mental and physical impairment but also violated rights granted to them by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). “Wearing a face mask posses a mental and/or physical risk to me. Under the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), I am not required to disclose my condition to you,” the cards read, according to The New York Times.
The Department of Justice confirmed that the cards and organization were both not endorsed by or affiliated with the Department. “Do not be fooled by the chicanery and misappropriation of the DOJ eagle,” U.S. Attorney Matthew Martin said in a statement. “These cards do not carry the force of law. The ‘Freedom to Breathe Agency,’ or ‘FTBA,’ is not a government agency.” With no website or location, the “agency” allegedly operates through a private Facebook group page.
While she declined to disclose what the medications were, Koloma told BuzzFeed News that she and the woman she was with “both have medical, health conditions and also religious beliefs that do not allow us to wear a mask.” In support of her argument that Chavez could face a lawsuit for telling someone to wear a mask, Koloma compared an essential worker telling someone to wear a mask to someone impersonating a medical doctor.
When asked if she was impersonating a state or federal agency, Koloma denied the allegations and argued for the agency’s legitimacy. “That’s absolutely false because we are a legitimate organization, we introduced ourselves as FTBA, the Freedom to Breathe Agency. There’s nothing illegal or fraudulent,” she said.
While California law requires customers and employees to wear masks in public, many states still lack this health order. This puts essential and retail workers nationwide at a double risk, one of contracting COVID-19 and the other risking harm from individuals who retaliate against safety regulations employees are asked to enforce. “I just want to say people really need to be nice to these grocery workers, we work our butts off during this pandemic,” Chavez told BuzzFeed News. “Just give us a little break, it’s just our store policies, we’re following the rules. We don’t need to be attacked every day.”Read More
Former Vice President Joe Biden’s viral bike ride exchange with a Fox News reporter this weekend not only destroyed a Donald Trump talking point, it destroyed it specifically on Trump’s favorite network.
Trump, who feebly inched his way down a ramp following a speech in June, has been trying to cast his Democratic rival as a “sleepy” old guy in physical and mental decline. But on Saturday, Fox News treated its viewers to video of Biden having a jovial exchange with a Fox reporter about his vice presidential pick as he swept past the cameras on his mountain bike.
“Mr. Vice President, have you picked a running mate yet?” Fox’s Peter Doocy shouted at Biden, who was riding through the streets of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.
“Yeah, I have,” said a mask-clad Biden, to which Doocy quickly responded: “You have? Who is it?”
“You!” Biden answered, joking with Doocy.
The Fox video was an instant hit among journalists and political pundits on Twitter, who marveled at Biden’s athletic cameo on Fox’s airwaves.
“The real news in this video is that @JoeBiden is riding a bicycle. Can you picture @realDonaldTrump riding a bicycle?” quipped filmmaker Andy Ostroy.
No, we can’t. And clearly no one else could either.
“Biden can ride a bike and make a joke, all while wearing a mask,” noted Matthew Hall, editorial and opinion director at the San Diego Union-Tribune.
There were plenty more where that came from—a legit viral moment courtesy of Fox News, where primetime hosts have been laboring for months to paint a picture of Biden as a demented recluse locked away in his basement.
But while everyone was remarking on Biden’s athleticism and jocularity, let’s remember the simple things too: He was actually able to speak. That alone sets him apart from the current occupant of the Oval Office, who just this past week gave a shout to “Yo-Semite” national park and renamed the country popularly known as Thailand, “Thighland.”
Imagine having a president who can speak the English language.
To be clear, the guy on the left is campaigning on the guy on the right allegedly being in decline pic.twitter.com/MWduos00nX— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 9, 2020Read More
An Oregon emergency doctor showed just how powerful an effect racism can have on Black families when one of her patient’s relatives felt like they had to prove their loved one’s worth to get quality care. Esther Choo recounted her disheartening experience in a Twitter thread Friday.
“I was taking care of a patient the other day who was very seriously injured,” she said. “And I stepped out to talk to his family briefly and give them an update. For context, he was Black. I told them what was going on quickly and asked if they had any questions. And this is what they said.”
Choo described the family’s attempt to detail the well-known company the patient works for and the quality of his character. He is “a good brother and son” and was “well dressed before the blood soaked his clothes,” the relatives said. Their plea for life-saving medical care also was a plea for someone to consider his humanity.
Nothing in recent memory has broken my heart as much as gradually realizing that a family of a shattered man whose chief concerns should have been – when can i see him, when does he get out of surgery, do you know his meds and allergies, his mama gets to go in first…— Esther Choo, MD MPH (@choo_ek) August 7, 2020
The doctor continued: “Nothing in recent memory has broken my heart as much as gradually realizing that a family of a shattered man whose chief concerns should have been – when can i see him, when does he get out of surgery, do you know his meds and allergies, his mama gets to go in first … had to worry that the racism inherent in the system and in people everywhere meant they had to spend their few moments with me putting him in a favorable light, shifting any possible implicit negative frame I had (e.g., ‘hoodlum’ or ‘criminal’) to get him the care he deserved.”
I had one minute to the next trauma. I babbled stuff incoherently and am pretty sure I got it wrong. The words of one random disheveled Asian doctor don’t change much against a lifetime of experience to the contrary. But I will carry this with me. We have so much work to do.— Esther Choo, MD MPH (@choo_ek) August 7, 2020
Choo, who made an anti-racist pledge over the summer, said the goal is for families to walk in with “full confidence” that their loved ones will be “valued and cherished” with “no questions asked.”
“I had one minute to the next trauma,” the doctor said. “I babbled stuff incoherently and am pretty sure I got it wrong. The words of one random disheveled Asian doctor don’t change much against a lifetime of experience to the contrary. But I will carry this with me. We have so much work to do.”
Jelani Cobb, a writer for The New Yorker, tweeted in response to Choo’s thread: “There’s a reason why I mention that I have a PhD in history and write for the New Yorker any time I’m seeing a new doctor and it’s not because I’m in love with my résumé.”Read More
Last week, two high schoolers said they were suspended over viral photos of their high school’s packed hallways that were posted to social media. One high schooler remains unidentified, but Hannah Watters, a sophomore at North Paulding High School, gave an interview to CNN on Sunday night in which she shared she’s received threatening messages since her photos went viral. First, she explained her original motive in sharing the photos and video to Twitter, where they immediately got national attention.
“They kind of sent us to school and used us as guinea pigs to see what would happen later on,” she told CNN, explaining that she shared the photos because she believed it was the right thing to do, and that she thinks many teachers have her back because they “know how dangerous it is going to school.”
Hannah was right to be concerned. Why? As of now, six students and three staff members at the school have tested positive for the virus, as reported by The Washington Post. In fact, the school has closed for in-person classes, as well as extracurricular activities, for Monday and Tuesday in order to clean and disinfect the school and determine if there any possible close contact cases based on confirmed positives. Parents will find out on Tuesday evening if the school will reopen on Wednesday. Until then, students will have virtual learning.
But still, Hannah says that not everyone is pleased with her photos getting media attention; in fact, she told CNN she’s started receiving threatening messages.
According to Hannah, she (along with her friends and family) have received screenshots of group chats that include threats, like: “We’re going to jump every girl named Hannah in the tenth grade” and that she’s going to have a “rough day at school on Monday.”
According to Hannah’s mom, Lynne Watters, her daughter’s suspension has been reversed, and will not appear on her record. The suspension was lifted as of Friday, and in her interview, Hannah says she did not receive a reason as to why it was lifted, but that the school apologized.
In a text message to the Post, Watters said the school principal “just said that they were very sorry for any negative attention that this has brought upon her and that in the future they would like for her to come to the administration with any safety concerns she has.”
While Paulding County is supplying masks for teachers, students are not required to actually wear a face mask or a face shield in school. Mind you, as Daily Kos covered, 97,000 children tested positive for the virus in the last two weeks of July alone.
Angie Franks told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that her two nephews attended North Paulding High on the first day of school and have since tested positive for the virus, telling the outlet: “They sat in class all day long with no masks and not social distancing.” She said her nephews’ father notified the school after they got the positive results and kept them home to quarantine.
As CBS News reports, one student from the high school told the outlet that students were not only not required to wear masks, but also were not sitting at socially distant desks while in the classroom.
On Thursday, Hannah told CNN she didn’t regret sharing the images to Twitter, saying her “biggest concern” isn’t about her own safety, but about everyone around her. “It’s about everyone being safe because behind every teacher, student and staff member there is a family, there are friends, and I would just want to keep everyone safe,” she told the outlet.
You can check out her interview below.
YouTube VideoRead More
As Donald Trump works to destroy the U.S. Postal Service, leading to delivery delays, one of his former top officials took to Twitter to complain about delivery delays. Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley used her 663,000-follower Twitter platform to assail Popcorn Factory for “two messed up birthday orders missed delivery dates with no explanation.”
These people truly have no shame. For the record, Popcorn Factory ships with FedEx as well as the Postal Service, so we can’t know which shipping service—or Popcorn Factory itself—was responsible for Haley’s #DisappointedNephew. But it sure is suspicious that she’s complaining about missed deliveries at the exact same time people around the country are complaining about the same thing—but many of those people are correctly attributing it to the mail-slowing policies of Louis DeJoy, Trump’s new postmaster general.
This random personal attack on a company definitely dealing with a pandemic for shipments that may well have been delayed by policies her former boss put in place to slow the mail, sabotage the entire Postal Service, and undermine November’s elections was how Haley kicked off her Twitter day, before turning to party-line commentary on TikTok and “Joe Biden’s spending agenda.”
Just another day in the life of a prominent Republican, but Twitter had thoughts.
You know what my daughter had to wait 3 WEEKS for? Her COVID test results. You know what got lost? Her COVID test results. Maybe destroying the post office isn’t such a great idea after all.#DisappointedMom doesn’t care about popcorn.— D Villella ❄️ (@dvillella) August 10, 2020
Local woman stumps for man who destroys the postal service, then gets angry when her popcorn shipped via postal service doesn’t arrive on time.https://t.co/lpQFfQua9p— Bryan 🇺🇸 #PoliceThePolice (@swimmerbr78) August 10, 2020
Nikki Haley, tougher on Popcorn Factory than she was on North Korea or Russia pic.twitter.com/kezKibEtX7— Adam Blickstein (@AdamBlickstein) August 10, 2020
Also, really? Haley’s nephew was super disappointed not to get flavored popcorn as a birthday present? I dunno, maybe he’s a huge popcorn person—does he favor tangerine vanilla? Cheezy jalapeño? Chicken and waffles (yes, that’s popcorn)?—but that would not be the gift I was bragging all over Twitter about having tried to send someone in my immediate family.Read More
As Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin uses his committee to burrow into a hole of Russian disinformation to the political benefit of Donald Trump, he’s simultaneously accusing Democrats of doing the Kremlin’s dirty work.
Johnson has now subpoenaed the FBI in a probe of Joe Biden’s diplomacy in the Ukraine as vice president that just happens to match exactly the investigation Trump tried to force Ukraine into doing until a whistleblower uncovered his scheme. The subpoena relates to the origins of the FBI’s Russia probe (which has been reviewed ad nauseam), asking for “all documents related to the Crossfire Hurricane investigation,” according to Politico.
The subpoena is a clear sign that Johnson and his colleague Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa have decided to ignore a warning by the director of national intelligence Friday that Russia is specifically working to “denigrate” Biden to “boost” Trump’s reelection bid. The statement also noted the Kremlin’s efforts to use pro-Russian Ukrainians to spread “claims about corruption” in order to undermine Biden’s candidacy and named Ukrainian lawmaker Andrii Derkach as a part of that effort. Derkach, the son of a former KGB officer who was educated at the Higher School of the KGB in Moscow, told the Washington Post he has shared information with Johnson’s investigators on the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
Democrats have similarly been sounding the alarm bells that Johnson’s probe is merely an effort to launder Russian disinformation about Biden under the auspices of a U.S. Senate investigation.
It’s against that backdrop that Johnson pressed forward with a subpoena to the FBI and issued a lengthy defense of his probe Monday that accused Democrats of initiating a “coordinated disinformation campaign and effort to personally attack” both him and Sen. Grassley.
Johnson’s frothy 11-page defense of his probe begins with an effort to legitimize his effort by—you can’t make this stuff up—citing his committee’s scrutinization of Hillary Clinton’s emails! But Johnson was perhaps most chaffed by a Friday op-ed penned by Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut noting that the CIA is so suspicious of Johnson’s probe that the agency has declined to brief him.
“Think of it,” Blumenthal wrote, “Congress may become a forum for debunked conspiracy theories peddled by Kremlin proxies.”
Johnson has denied receiving any materials from Andrii Derkach and, in his letter, countered, “Instead, it is Democrats and the media that have been doing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s work for him.”
Just to be clear, it’s not the Democrats who are reviving a Trump-initiated investigation so bogus that Ukrainian officials themselves declined to launch it at the risk of losing $400 million in U.S. aid. It’s not the Democrats who the CIA has refused to brief. It’s Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson who holds that distinction.
And if Trump and Sens. Johnson and Grassley have nothing to hide, then they should declassify the information relating to Russia’s ongoing efforts to attack the 2020 elections. That’s what Democrats are asking for, since, at Johnson’s request, Trump has recently declassified documents related to the FBI’s investigation of links between Russia and the Trump campaign in 2016. But Johnson and Grassley clearly aren’t interested in revealing Russia’s efforts to attack the upcoming elections—they’re too busy chasing Trump’s dream probe of Biden that Ukraine refused to do.Read More
National security risk Rudolph Giuliani is out in the wild these days, leaking information incongruous with his own retelling of reality and incriminating to both himself and the Trump administration. He does this because, like Trump, he’s been corrupt for so long and rewarded for that corruption for so long that he both doesn’t care and doesn’t even possibly understand what a walking embarrassment he is.
At this point, the literal and figurative villains from New York City’s late 20th century have come through unharmed. People like Giuliani and Trump and others, architects and actors of big business corruptions and scandals, public safety negligences and the overseers of human tragedies, walk around free of the literal handcuffs they should be confined to. But people know. People all over the world know what an utter degradation of the human race people like Giuliani represent, and one New Yorker was able to tell Giuliani to his face what every single one of us would love to be able to say.
An unidentified hero, possibly one of the activists that Giuliani likes equating with hate crimes, posted a selfie video she did with Rudy somewhere outside in mid-town Manhattan. In it, with Giuliani smiling into the camera, she tells him: “I’d like you to know that I think you are a disgrace to all Americans and New Yorkers.”
It’s a small victory for sure. But here’s to hoping that it rings in his ears for the rest of time.
Oh SNAP ❣️❣️❣️❣️ 🤣🤣🤣🤣 YES SHE DID pic.twitter.com/CejmuKfFXB— Trump’sPissingMeOff 🌊😘👠🦸♀️.❣️TriggeringMagats (@RetiredMaybe) August 9, 2020Read More
Impeached Oval Office squatter Donald Trump apparently had his chief of staff Mark Meadows, formerly the leader of the maniacs in the Freedom Caucus, blow up the negotiations with Democratic leaders to save the nation from coronavirus so Trump could sweep in with “executive orders” to save the day. Except that three out of four of the orders are actually memorandums, and none of them are actually constitutionally within his power to do. So, yeah, illegal. And not at all helpful for people whose lives have been upended by the crisis. There’s no eviction moratorium, he would cut unemployment benefits by $800 in a month and it steals from FEMA (at the start of an active hurricane season), and would top if off by starving Social Security.
This hasn’t been received well by anybody but the millionaires he announced it to at his luxury golf club last Friday. The New York Times reports it “resulted in confusion and uncertainty on Sunday for tens of millions of unemployed Americans and countless businesses seeking aid after critical benefits lapsed.” The Washington Post concurred, reporting that it “sparked confusion and frustration on Sunday among businesses, Democrats and state officials, some of whom lamented the moves would not deliver the necessary relief to cash-strapped Americans.” The bad press could be why Trump insisted Sunday that “The Democrats have called. They’d like to get together.” They haven’t called. He tweeted it again on Monday, “So now Schumer and Pelosi want to meet to make a deal. Amazing how it all works, isn’t it.” But it’s still not true.
The move Trump made on unemployment is perhaps the biggest slap in the face to American workers out of jobs. The lowest paid workers will get nothing because the pretend program from Trump limits the supplemental money to people receiving more than $100/week in regular state unemployment. The self-employed, people relying on tips, and gig workers wouldn’t see any of the benefit. It’s also unworkable for states, which are supposed to come up with 25% of the reduced $400/week payments, and can’t afford it. If states can’t come up with money, Mnuchin said on Fox News Sunday, the administration might waive that requirement. Which means that people formerly getting the $600/week would get even less, just $300. There’s $44 billion for that that Trump proposes stealing from FEMA’s disaster relief reserves. It would cover less than five weeks of unemployment insurance payments to the 30-plus million out of work Americans. Five weeks. That is if states could even get it up and running. Some states didn’t get the last enhanced UI program, from the CARES Act in March, fully implemented until as late as July.
Likewise, Trump’s big obsession—ending payroll taxes and cutting off the Social Security and Medicare funding stream—wouldn’t really help people, and certainly not the millions who aren’t on any payroll right now. What Trump would do (but legally can’t since he’s not the one who writes tax law) is defer payroll taxes from September 1 until the end of the year, with a promise that he would “terminate” payroll taxes (and presumably Social Security) if he was reelected. But that leaves businesses in limbo.
As it stands, they’d have to claw back that money to employees at the beginning of next year. “I think what most employers are going to do is not pass this on to their employees,” Josh Bivens, the director of research at the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute, told the Post. “They’re not going to give money to the worker because the government is at some point going to come back for it.” All that Trump achieved with that part of the orders was declaring that he intends to destroy Social Security, which Democratic presumptive nominee Joe Biden was quick to point out on Sunday, saying Trump is trying to “undermine the entire financial footing of Social Security,” and to put Americans’ benefits “in doubt.”
He didn’t even do the only thing that was in his actual power—extend the moratorium on evictions in federally mortgaged housing units. It expired last month and would have been simple to reimpose. Instead, Trump calls on the Department of Health and Human Services along with the Centers for Disease Control to “consider” temporarily halting evictions and to determine whether there’s federal money available for providing rental assistance. That’s not enough to keep people in their homes.
Pelosi and Schumer haven’t been desperately trying to get Trump on the phone, but they haven’t been silent. “These policy announcements provide little real help to families,” they wrote in a joint statement Saturday. “For instance, not only does the President’s announcement not actually extend the eviction moratorium, it provides no assistance to help pay the rent, which will only leave desperate families to watch their debt pile higher. Instead of passing a bill, now President Trump is cutting families’ unemployment benefits and pushing states further into budget crises, forcing them to make devastating cuts to life-or-death services.
Trump’s memos “do nothing to increase testing, nothing to reopen schools, nothing to put food on the table for hungry families, nothing to prevent heroes being laid off across state and local government, nothing to protect the Postal Service or the integrity of our elections, nothing on many critical needs of the American people,” they wrote.Read More
Donald Trump has had a vendetta against the U.S. Postal Service throughout his time in office, but it only took center stage after he realized that the Postal Service would be an essential part of the elections because voting by mail is more important during the coronavirus pandemic. But while Trump’s efforts to destroy the Postal Service have only ramped up in the past couple months, destroying things is one of his areas of greatest competence, so there’s very real worry about voting by mail in November, and, as a result, about the elections as a whole.
“It seems like they’re just trying to turn customers away from the post office,” the president of the Cincinnati American Postal Workers Union local told The New York Times. A West Virginia American Postal Workers Union (APWU) local president had a related view, saying: “It’s like they’re setting us up for failure.”
Trump installed Louis DeJoy, a major Republican donor with no postal experience, as postmaster general, to do the damage, and DeJoy has moved quickly. Friday night, news broke that DeJoy had ”overhauled” top Postal Service leadership and consolidated power around himself. That followed DeJoy cutting overtime and changing policies to make it more likely that mail would be delivered late. Some routes have missed delivery altogether under DeJoy’s program of sabotage.
These changes have already affected one election, with Michigan’s primary seeing some voters not get their absentee ballots in time, even when they’d requested the ballots far in advance. Congressional Democrats have pushed back on the changes, including concerns about the Postal Service in their negotiations over the next coronavirus stimulus—but with Trump committed to sabotage, that has been one of the major sticking points in those negotiations. House Democrats have called DeJoy to testify, but that won’t happen until September, if he shows up at all.
Even some Republicans are concerned. Four Republicans were among the 84 House members who signed a letter saying it’s “vital that the Postal Service does not reduce mail delivery hours, which could harm rural communities, seniors, small businesses and millions of Americans who rely on the mail for critical letters and packages.”
DeJoy claims that the changes he’s making at the Postal Service—changes that have already had such negative effects on mail delivery—won’t harm its ability to deliver ballots. But he’s already laying the groundwork to shift the blame, saying that “we cannot correct the errors of the Election Boards if they fail to deploy processes that take our normal processing and delivery standards into account.” But this comes as he’s slowing down “normal processing and delivery standards.”
There’s a race on now: Does the time between now and November give DeJoy more time to do ever more damage to the Postal Service and undermine the elections? Or does it give the public and congressional Democrats time to push back and make Trump and DeJoy rethink the wisdom of destroying the most popular part of the federal government just before an election?Read More