The GOP War on the Postal Service – Scamming the Public Again

Donald Trump has been bashing, maligning, criticizing, and making blatantly false statements about the United States Postal Service for months now. He, however, might not be the first GOP member to attack the postal service in the never ending quest to make it a private enterprise (owned by a bunch of GOP members with some kind of inadequate and incompetent level of logistics experience). That honor goes to the GOP in general who came up with some very creative ways to make the USPS look bad. Aggresiously bad.

This is so odd considering the USPS enjoys a 91% approval rating with the American public. It delivers 47 – 49% of the WORLD’S mail to over 160 million locations in the United States alone. It has received $0, zero, zilch, nil, nothing – absolutely no government funding since 1982. It was, at one time, singularly, the one and only best employment place for blacks. As of April 1st, 2020, and supported by a TRUMP ADMINISTRATION AUDIT, when you remove the scam about to be discussed below, the USPS has been a profitable enterprise FOR DECADES.

So, let’s consider these few items: the United States military is a service. Correct? That is, tax payer money is used to fund their operations including benefits for their “employees”. We, the tax payers, really don’t actually see, smell, hear, touch nor taste the benefits of that particular service. But, we certainly do benefit by the protection it brings. It should be noted, there is really no, what so ever, revenue stream the United States military provides. The United States Postal Service is a service. Correct? That is, tax payer.. wait a minute – stop right there.

In 2006 a group of Senators and Congress folks, all who had logistic companies in their district and / or stock or other financial interests in United Parcel Service, FedEx, DHS, etc., came up with a scheme to make the USPS look horrendous and thus eliminate it. That scam was called the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006. In brief, it mandates the postal service PRE FUND it’s pension system. So, what does that mean? If your bank came to you and said, “Over the course of your life you will probably buy three cars and two houses. The average car is $40,000 and the average house is $400,000. Therefore, we are going to start charging you principal and interest on $920,000 now. Because, you’re going to do it in the future.” That’s exactly what this scam does. It projects pension benefits into the end of the century, an amount of roughly $335,000,000,000 (335 billion). That’s insane. That’s inappropriate considering no other branch of government has to fund itself. That’s a scam because on paper the USPS looks like a huge loser but take away this mandate and they flourish. That’s a crime because GOP members will benefit when they start up their own version of the USPS.

Then, to strangle the USPS even more, it is forced to put all of its funding into government bonds. You know, those extremely low yield, long term financial instruments.

So, to conclude, we now see the USPS is actually profiting, is actually an impressive revenue stream, and provides a great service that has been in existence SINCE BENJAMIN FRANKLIN in 1775 !!!!!!!! This continued attack, from a financial argument, against the USPS has no merit. For if you are to believe the GOP logic for privatization, then you need to privatize the military, the housing department, the energy department, the education department, the FBI, DEA, DHS, Justice Department, the Senate, Congress, etc etc. You know, all those agencies that DON’T have a revenue stream.

DeFunding The Police – Let’s Think About That

Have you ever watched a British police show?  Off topic for a minute, the writing is extraordinary.  They are fascinating to watch if only for the differences in the method of policing and investigating.  If they are investigating a crime and you catch their attention, they can get your phone records and your bank records from the get go.  Then, when you’re brought in, your lawyer has to, more or less, just sit there while you’re questioned.  And then you hear this phrase, “We need to keep our inquiries within budget….”  That’s right, each investigation has an actual budget.  And, if they hit the budget, that’s it, game over.

Now, back to the issue at hand.  Our police departments also have a budget.  And, let’s not kid anybody, police departments can be a revenue stream for a municipality.  Fees for alarm permits, job application finger print cards, accident reports, and the good ol’ here’s your ticket to the policeman’s ball.  Frankly, they’re already underfunded.  And, this is what happens when they’re underfunded and there are calls to cut even more funding:

  1. Inability to properly vet applicants.
    1. Cut backs in applicant investigation squads have detectives racing through the application process.  It is easy to see how bad eggs can slip through.
    2. Cut backs in the technology these investigators could have used in the form of databases makes it easier for a bad cop that got fired in South Carolina to show up in Montana and get another policing job.
  2. Inability to properly train officers.
    1. Officers coming from other jurisdictions are, most times, pushed through an accelerated academy so they can get them on the street quicker.  Again, the ability to catch bad eggs during the training process is decreased.
    2. Sensitivity training.
    3. Teaching self defense moves to limit suspect injury while enhancing handcuff abilities.  (Probably poorly worded but you get my drift.)
    4. Real, enhanced, civil rights training.
    5. Real, enhanced, criminal rights training.
    6. Real, enhanced, first responder training.
  3. Inability to equip officers.
    1. Body cams – enough said.  They all need them and not all jurisdictions can afford them.
    2. Self defense and offensive weapons.  Sorry folks, they need to be able to go on the offensive when necessary.  Think back to that bank robbery in LA when the bad guys had full body armor and the advanced weapons.  The cops had to go to gun stores and beg for loaners !!!!  Insane !!!!!
    3. Patrol vehicles.  These things run 24 hours a day.  The wear and tear budget alone is punishing.  Not to mention car accidents, vandalism, and theft.
  4. Slower response times.
    1. When you have to lay off officers there are cut backs in shift coverage.  That means less officers available to respond during certain time periods.  There is a police department on the east end of Long Island that has past experiences with one car, ONE CAR, covering the entire township during a midnight tour.  One car.  Where’s the back up?  What happens if two calls come in at the same time?  Funny story, one night the back up came from a Conservation Police Officer that just happened to be at a State Park close by and was monitoring the local police on his scanner.  CRAZY !!!!!  And, not so funny.
    2. Some jurisdictions have all volunteer ambulance and fire crews.  Long Island, NY, for example, has historically been all volunteer.  (Note: those volunteers are better equipped, better trained, and sometimes levels above their professional peers in quality of service).  But, they sleep at home.  So, when the car accident happens, the first responder is the cop, not the rescue crew.  What happens when, due to defunding, the closest car is 5 minutes away?
  5. Call / Job Priority.  With only five cars running when there should be eight, which call gets pushed to the bottom….. the bank robbery, the car accident, the dog locked in a car on a hot day, or “suspicious odor emitting from the residence of… (dead person)”?

You can be as political as you want.  You can be as anti-cop as you want.  But, at the end of the day, you’ll be the first one to dial 911 when someone is breaking into your house.

We don’t need defunding.  We need MORE funding.  And, for those of you who are still so anti-equip-the-police, perhaps the better thing to do is monitor where the money is being spent and hold police departments accountable to prove money was used to hire a sociologist to teach at the academy regarding the local population specifics; law experts to teach civil rights training; body cam purchases; etc.

The police are the figurative line between chaos and civility.  You can try to pretend otherwise all you want.  They need more funding.

Trump Administration Violates Geneva Convention

Uniform – “una” (one) / “forma” (form).  Clothing that is assigned to members of the same military unit to show or demonstrate that the people wearing the uniform belongs to the armed forces of a particular State (capital S, meaning country).

A military or police uniform is used to separate them from the rest of the civilian population.  During armed conflict they can lawfully take part in combative action.

Obviously, the lack of a uniform indicates a person is a civilian and therefore cannot be attacked.

The armed forces in the United States have very specific regulations regarding uniforms.  In fact, the regulations are hundreds of pages long (369 at last count).

Distinctive signs on the uniform, like rank, lanyards and arm patches can be removed in combat situations for covert operations. 

 Undercover work or espionage mostly take place without proper identifying clothing even though it may be unlawful under international law. 

International Humanitarian Law Article 44(7) mandate the wearing of identifiable uniforms during conflict.

Article 48 of the Geneva Convention states the military must wear distinguishable uniforms and “… must conduct their operations only against military objectives”.

The 1907 Hague Regulations Article 1(2) and Article 4(A)(2)(b) of the 3rd Geneva Convention of 1949 mandate the need for elements of affiliation (shoulder patches, badges, unit designators).

The failure of a military member to distinguish himself (by removing his patches and other identifying marks) is in breach of the law of war in violation of Article 37 (1)(c) and Article 23 (b) of the 1907 Hauge Regulations.

The military units that fired tear gas at the demonstrators in Washington DC remain, to this day, even in the age of aggressive investigative journalism and the internet, unidentified.

The Trump Administration is in violation of the Hague Regulations, the Geneva Convention, and International Humanitarian Laws of War.  This is not even to mention the violation of Posse Comitatus Act, 18 U.S.C. Section 1385 that states the military does not take place of civilian law enforcement.

Finally, were those “military personnel” really military?  Or, were they private contractors like Black Water?

Did the Trump Administration just declare war on the civilians of the United States?

Taking Kangaroo Court to a Whole New Level

Ok, so I’m not even going to try to hide my feelings on this. Everyone knows I absolutely despise this president and have now lost all respect for, not only the Republican Party but the Democrats as well. You will be shocked to learn I did NOT want Trump impeached. Well, I have to take that back, I wanted him impeached but I don’t want him kicked out of office for several reasons. 1. It gives all his supporters the fake argument that Congress moved against the will of the voting public to remove a dually elected president from office. 2. I want him to face the next election where he will learn how much the American public has been disgusted by his tenure in the office. Then again, I actually hope he DOES get re-elected. What???!!!!

Let’s start with our Democrat friends. So in a rush to get the impeachment they didn’t subpoena the White House staff because that would end up in additional lawsuits and would take too much time. Hmmm. Then they said failure to produce the witnesses was additional proof of the presidents obstruction of Congress. On it’s face, yes. In reality, no. Trump is like any other citizen enjoying the right to defend himself.

I imagine many Republican seats in the Senate and House will be a lot more subject to turn over because of this. Even moderate Republicans here in Arizona, one of most pro-Trump venues, wanted witnesses. Martha McSally might very well lose this Fall because of her vote.

I can’t believe not ONE, not one, Democrat voted No. It’s appalling that both sides, but for two Republicans who really didn’t care either way, voted along party lines. That’s not in the American Citizen’s best interest. That was in THEIR best interest.

Now, getting back to hoping Trump actually wins in November. Consider the Senate turning Democrat. The House remaining Democrat. Talk about a lame duck presidency. He’ll be lucky if he can get his White House food budget approved never mind anything of substance.

At the end of the day, the Senate made it clear they consider themselves subservient to the president. How wrong. At best, they are actually above the presidency. At worst, they are equal. What they did was make it clear one of branches of government is now simply irrelevant. That’s right, we can probably do away with the House and the Senate. They don’t do anything but enjoy all the benefits they deprive the American Citizen of, take extended recesses, and vote themselves raises. And, regardless of whether their Republicans or Democrats, if all they are going to do is vote the party line, they are wasting our tax dollars – again.

I will make a prediction that the final vote will not come before the Superbowl nor before the State of Union because the Senate will hope holding the final Impeachment decision up will reign Trump in from an endless self-praise speech next Tuesday.

The only thing the Senate can now do to save any little respect they have for themselves is to, at least, censor the president in some fashion. But, that’s never going to happen either.

And, don’t even get me started on the news media.

What is DMR Radio? Is it the new “HF”?

I’ve been a licensed amateur radio operator for some time now.  My original license was a Technician License granted under KC2MLT.  Around 2013 I updated to a General License with a vanity call, KD2KEV.

I usually “worked” the 2 meter band but discovered my handheld could “hit” many more repeaters on 70cm (440 band).  Recently, I was listening to two other stations going back and forth about “packet radio”, a concept I still haven’t gotten yet, and then one of the guys said, “I have to look into DMR”.

Now, that’s a phrase I’m familiar with because most of the law enforcement agencies in our country have switched over to digital trunking with Motorola products.  DMR is quite similar as it uses handheld radios that link to repeaters on a particular frequency.  Then, you monitor certain “talk groups” within that repeaters range.  The talk groups for first responders are usually assigned by venue (city) then department (police department, fire department, parks and recreation) and then precinct or firehouse, or park location, and then there can be specialist talk groups for car to car, detectives, fire Marshalls, park supervisors, etc.  DMR on the amateur side is similar in that talk groups can be assigned to particular Ham Clubs, cities, specialist groups (think Facebook Pages) like Phoenix Trail Riders or Thunderbird Radio Club.

Well, after an initial investment based on a warranty when one of my radios went kurplunk, I received an AnyTone 878 Bluetooth with GPS.  Various internet sources claim this radio is the bomb.  So far, I’ve gotten compliments on the purchase from many other stations.  HOWEVER, I hadn’t made one single digital contact.  It seems I could barely reach the local repeater on a place called White Tanks Mountain on the far west side of the Phoenix Valley (actually located in Waddell, Arizona and part of the Maricopa County Parks System).  Frustrated beyond believe, I hit the internet again and discovered my issue could easily be resolved with a Hot Spot.  A hot what?   A hot spot is a tiny piece of engineering miracle that allows you to connect to other Talk Groups via the internet but by using your radio.  So, think of your hot spot as a little router connected to your home’s router, connected to a modem, connected to the internet, connected to a particular DMR Master (I use Brandmeister) that houses connection ports FOR THE WORLD.

AND, get this, you can connect it / tether it to your cell phone and use it in the car or any other place that doesn’t have internet (but a cell tower needs to be in the area).

So, essentially, my little DMR handheld became an old fashioned HF radio that could circle the world without the need to wait for certain sun spots, propagation, time of the day, and antenna availability.

Did HF become a dying skill much like morse code?

REPUBLICANS SET THE STAGE FOR THE FUTURE IN AMERICAN POLITICS (Be Careful for What You Wish For)

Everyday, the GOP takes positions that are so detrimental to the future of how we are governed.  Let’s start off with the “be careful what you wish for” item.  Just a few weeks ago the GOP was screaming about the closed door testimony being secured regarding the Ukraingate.  Odd, considering they had their watchdogs in there and were reporting on it daily with their spin.  The main complaint was the hearings should be made public and the proceedings should be voted upon by Congress.

So, Congress sets the vote and all the Republicans vote against it.  No surprise there.  However, the hearings then went public.

What occurred after was a perfect example of the hypocrisy of the current GOP members.  Once the extremely damning testimony started getting out, in real time, live and right from the lips of the people testifying, the GOP went crazy and had the gall to say, “These hearings should not be in front of the public”.  Oh no, why not.  Is it that you don’t want the American public and the rest of world to see that this whole mess was the result of Trump, once again, trying to use the White House to further his own personal, business, and political interests?

Now, for the future.  Let’s consider some of the things a future Democratic administration can do – well, they can obstruct justice, they can ignore Congressional subpoenas, they can use the Justice Department as their own vendetta machine, they can lie, everyday, about their crooked leader and do so with a Nazi-like crazed devotion, they can attack members of the military, diplomatic services, and intelligence services.  They can cozy up to socialist ideals and policies.  They can try to have GOP rivals investigated, harassed, and slandered.

Certainly, the list is not complete.

The Republican Party – Giving New Meaning to Get Ready because What Goes Around, Comes Around.

So, How’s That Tax Break Working Out For You? #GOPTaxScam

Last year everyone was so flustered, excited, taken back, so in love with the 2017 Trump Tax Break for the “middle class”.  (Really????  3% is all it takes to get you excited?????). I quickly criticized it for what is blatantly was, a tax cut for the mega rich that was to be paid for by the middle class.  I further pointed out the great tax break you were getting would slowly disappear after 5 years.  Well, I’ll be the first to admit it when I’m wrong.  You see it won’t disappear after 5 years.  IT DISAPPEARED THIS YEAR.  Essentially, you were tricked by a scam artist whose only interest is in himself and his mega rich family and friends.  Already, millions are taking to social media blaming Trump and the GOP.  Most use the GOPTaxScam hash tag.  You got screwed in that you didn’t realize a tax cut has nothing to do with your tax liability on your return.  In fact, your LIABILITY WENT UP !!!

That’s right, already hundreds millions of middle class tax payers OWE MORE THIS YEAR (or, in some cases, are getting significantly less back). The IRS is reporting for 2019 the average tax refund check is down 8 percent ($170) this year versus last.  The number of people receiving a refund has dropped by 25%!!!!!  How can that be????  You were supposed to get a break in the taxes applied to your pay check and you were supposed to get a higher standard deduction on your actual tax return calculations.

The most significant changes to the U.S. tax code in decades created lower tax brackets and higher standard deductions.  However, it took away personal exemptions and limited the amount middle class taxpayers could deduct for real estate taxes and state and local taxes.  More or less a break even calculation.  Essentially, you got screwed.

Here are the 9 most popular deductions you can no longer take (that is, you got screwed).

  • Personal exemptions.
  • Home equity interest
  • Moving expenses
  • Job expenses
  • Tax preparation fees
  • IRA account fees – wow, if you ever got screwed, it’s on this one!!
  • Parking and transit reimbursements
  • Casualty and Theft losses
  • Certain college donations

So, let’s review.

  1. If your standard deduction went up, great.   But, if you then lost one of your write offs (this year you can no longer write off a home office if you work for someone else, and next year you can no longer write off medical expenses) then, you essentially got screwed.
  2. If your pay check was a little higher (the average is $24) because less taxes were taken out, then great.  However, the combination of larger paychecks and smaller deductions are leaving some middle class taxpayers that usually get a refund owing hundreds — even thousands — of dollars on April 15, 2019.  If you were then told “you forgot to file a new W4 and have additional amounts taken out”, then, you essentially got screwed.
  3. The Government Accounting Office is reporting 4.6 MILLION fewer people will receive a refund.  That means 4.6 million people GOT SCREWED.

A Blast From The Past

Picture a group of teenagers. Any where. At the mall, at the coffee store, at the movies….. they all have their heads buried in their phones. Texting, posting to Instagram, checking status on Twitter.

“1984”, a book by George Orwell, was written in 1949. NINETEEN FORTY NINE!! 1949!!!!!

And I quote, “The people will not revolt. They will not look up from their screens long enough to notice what’s happening”.