Posts tagged: constitution

Help! Congress Is stealing Cupid and Santa.



Digitize the Mail?


Ahh, the computer…text it, email it, or send one  of the cute little cards on the silver screen…without the little quote: “Because you cared enough to send the very best…” Course it is hard to press this digital card in your album, hold it, prop it up on the window sill, or on your desk, but what the heck, who needs the post office?

rose heart

Take the town of Valentine in Southwest Texas near the Mexican border, population 217, founded in 1882 by the Southern Pacific Railroad as a whistle stop and shipping point for area ranches. The railroad construction crew landed on the town site on no other than February 14 thus, as the story goes, these burly guys, being unsuspected romantics, named the town after the third-century saint, St. Valentine…or if you are more of a cynic, after a John Valentine, President of Wells Fargo and a major stockholder in Southern Pacific.

But “Cupid” is the choice story as history shows.  The Valentine Post Office opened in 1886 when the trains began to roll.  It is still there  today managed by Postmaster Leslie Williams who has been doing her jobValentineTexasPostOfficeJP01 for 22 years,  runs the one-room adobe PO.  Not only does she serve local residents, ranchers and businesses, but also the thousands of customers worldwide who mail batches of their valentines to her each year. Why?  People around the world send their pre-addressed stamped valentines to be re-mailed  bearing  Valentine’s special postmark.  Starting Feb 1st Ms Williams starts posting the sometimes up to 40,000 valentines to their special recipient.  All this on top of her normal workload sometimes with extra help or volunteers at no extra charge, just 49 cents.

Adobe Photoshop PDFIn 2011 when the USPS came to Valentine to announce the shuttering of their esteemed post office…a fiscal necessity to save $60,000 a year, the Valentinians came out in force.

“Where will we announce the new babies born?, or the lawn mowers for sale, or that Minny’s divorce is final?”  they wanted to know.

“Where will we buy stamps and money orders  and…”

“Well, Marfa is only 36 miles away,” the USPS fellow said

“And who will stamp the Valentines?”  He looked blank.  “The almost 40,000 valentines we get and post mark every year.”

“Oh, not a problem, we could do that at Midland..who’s to know the difference?”

“She will!” And they pointed to Ms. Williams.  What did he care that the post office was the physical and emotional force of gravity that pulled their community together.  Valentinians were not about to take the closing of their  post office sitting down so they joined a nationwide rebellion against the shutdowns, standing up and speaking out.  In 2012 USPS had to suspend its wholesale closure plan and the doors to the Love Station remains open today in its proper 79854 home (albeit with its hours reduced to six a day, an no Saturday openings.

Our own experience of what a post office means to a community is in Crested Butte, Colorado where my husband has taught skiing for years.  The post office is the hub of young drop outs, old, gray-bearded escapees, young women in snow boots, long skirts and ratty fur jackets carrying their babies on their hips as their mothers and grandmothers did.  The bulletin board advertises everything from ski equipment, baby sitting, free puppies, seances, back mountain skiing, snowmobiling…It is the core of the village.  How many of the over 31,000 post offices provide the same “Heart” of a community.  “Priceless” as the ad states.

The post office is not merely a thing, though it is composed of many things–buildings, touch-screen postage machines, delivery trucks, mail boxes, etc.  The post office is also an idea, an important concept and mechanism for making real our people’s Big ideal of a democratic, egalitarian, one-out-of-many society.  It is worth all of our efforts to keep it alive. Check out the democratic movement that needs and wants you:

(Author’s note:  information from “The Hightower Lowdown)

Pictures from the internet.


More Christmas cards than Valentines?

If the government and corporate lobbyists have their way,  your mailbox along with Santa and Cupid will disappear.

 What is happening to  “The Mail Must Get Through!”?


A_Colorful_Cartoon_Pony_Express_Rider_Royalty_Free_Clipart_Picture_100518-003891-087053       dog postman  postman with bag


The United States Postal Service (originally called the U.S. Post Office Department, when it was completely managed by the U.S. government before 1971) also known as the Post Office, U.S. Mail, or Postal Service, often abbreviated as USPS is an independent agency of the United States federal 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 employed 617,254 workers (as of February 2015) and operated 211,264 vehicles in 2014. The USPS is the operator of the largest civilian vehicle fleetpostal truck in the world.[2] The USPS is legally obligated to serve all Americans, regardless of geography, at uniform price and quality. The USPS has exclusive access to letter boxes marked “U.S. Mail” and personal letterboxes in the United States, but still competes against private package delivery services, such as UPS and has part use with FedEx Express.[3]

The USPS has not directly received taxpayer-dollars since the early 1980s with the exception of subsidies for costs associated with the disabled and overseas voters.[4] Since the 2006 all-time peak mail volume,[5] after which Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act,[6] (which mandated $5.5 billion per year to be paid into an account to fully prefund both employee retirement health and pension benefits, a requirement exceeding that of other government and private organizations [7]), revenue dropped sharply due to recession-influenced[8] declining mail volume,[9] prompting the postal service to look to other sources of revenue while cutting costs to reduce its budget deficit.[10] The USPS lost US$5.5 billion in fiscal 2014, (approximately the amount of its required prefunding mandate from the PAEA.) Its revenue was US$67.8 billion.

One stipulation of the PAEA has caused controversy. It stipulates that the USPS is to make payments of $5.4 – $5.8 billion into the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund, each year, from 2007 to 2016 in order to prefund 50 years of estimated costs (for employees not yet hired) This requirement also explicitly stated that the USPS was to stop using its savings to reduce postal debt, which was stipulated in Postal Civil Service Retirement System Funding Reform Act of 2003.[4] This is in addition to deductions from pay for federal contribution to social services.[5] This pre-funding method is unique to the USPS. In June 2011, the USPS had to suspend its weekly payment of 115 million into the fund because it had reached 8 billion dollars in debt and the retirement plan had a surplus of 6.9 billion dollars.[6] The Postal Service has not made any of the pre-funding payments since that time.[citation needed]

  (Information From Wikipedia)

(AUTHOR’S NOTE: In the fall of 2006 (Bush-Cheney) and lobbyists for postal corporatist pushed a lame-duck session of Congress to ram through the “Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act.   This outlandish requirement of artificial, government-manufactured debt of more than $5 billion a year to fund retirement for ‘future’ employees is effectively closing down the one non-discriminating service in our country.  The Post Office not only provides us with middle-class income jobs but it delivers to all:  to the old, the poor, the black, the white no matter where you live.  (I ask again, ” Who is behind this preposterous requirement?”) 


$$$$ ‘s.  The US Post office is Losing Money…Over $5 Billion a Year!

So some would have you  believe. The fathers that be  are closing down post offices and firing in order–so claims Congress (The same people who voted in the “Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act,” a possible Morris–guarding–the–tuna probability) and the postal service’s top bosses all claiming necessary steps to keep the Postal Service alive.  Far from being “broke” as the anti-government crowd ceaselessly claim,  the Postal Service’s annual revenue greatly exceeds its operating costs these days generating an impressive operating profit of $1.4 billion!  Yet from all appearances, the Post Office appears to be sinking in red ink Why? 

All of these cutback, job losses are done under the pretext of  the “keep–the–service–alive” hoax?”  The only thing that keeps the postal Service alive is its  SERVICES.  Kill off the community facilities and the dedicated workers who deliver and what’s left of the PO? Yet there are those who keep chanting the “shrink to survive” mantra?  How about the Orwellian title of “Retail Access Optimization Initiative” which the postal hierarchy is either contemplating or is already implementing with such “shrinkage” as:

SHUTTING DOWN ABOUT HALF of the 487 mail processing centers thus slowing delivery.

REDUCING HOURS  in more than half of America’s post offices

CUTTING 1/3 OF POSTAL JOBS (The largest reduction in the PO”s 223-year history…there goes more of our middle-class jobs)


The solution to the problem is not to “cut, chop, cancel, contract out…corporatize”  but to bank on it.  Millions of Americans in low-income neighborhoods and rural areas are victims of predatory lenders and check cashing chains that rip them off.  In a January report titled “Underbanked and Overcharged,” United for a Fair Economy (UFE) documented that  over 68 million adults–more than a fourth of US households are being ripped off to the tune of almost 10 percent of their income by rates charged by predatory financial stores.  Both the Inspector General and UFE pointed out the obvious solution:  Postal Banks.  Already the PO is in the “money” business with the sale of money orders.  The facilities (31,000 post offices) are already in existence throughout the entire country.  Some of these communities have no local banks.   Expanding into banking makes sense for USPS, in fact, until the banker lobby got Congress to kill the business in 1967, post offices had been offering saving deposit accounts for more than half a century.  Even today the Postal Service provides international money transfers, and sells more money orders than any other entity.  The Inspector General estimates that postal banking can bring nearly $9 billion a year in revenue for the USPS. (Oooops out come the banking lobbyists)

“Retail Access Optimization Initiative” is in essence CORPORATIZING THE MARKETING OF THE POSTAL SERVICE,  of the most popular and (most profitable) mail products by letting Staples and other such business run boutique PO kiosks in its big box stores, now even in our grocery stores… staffing them with their poorly paid, minimally trained, non-union workforce.

My personal experience with one of these ill– trained individuals:  I wanted to mail a newspaper clipping to my son–a 3×5 envelope, light weight.  Our nearby post office closed its official office and was  opened in the next-door, small beverage store run by hard working immigrants…long hours, convenient.   “How much for first class?” I asked this bright-eyed, young woman.  She places it on the scale, punches several buttons,


“How much for 4th class?”  I wasn’t in a rush to get the information to its destination.  Again the envelope went  onto  the scale followed by an amazing numbers of buttons being pushed.


Needless to say I knew there had been an error.   “Why does it cost so much more for fourth class?”

She didn’t even pause, “Because it takes six days and that costs more.”

Of course,  you know that your post man and people in the post office are civil servants who must pass a written exam to get their classification. Us oldsters all remember the old western movies with the horse riders fleeing from Indians waving tomahawks, defying incredible odds, with the cry, “The mail must go through.”pony-express-rider-historical-americana-painting-desert-scene-walt-curlee

Our post man is one of the few individuals in this day of digital invisibility who we know by first name, who walks up our steep driveway to deliver our packages rather than just hanging them on the mailbox.  Who makes sure no mail is delivered during our six-month snowbird migration, who collects canned goods for the local food pantry,   He/she is “community”.  And they perform miracles…

They are the ones who handled my sister’s Christmas letter…the one addressed to a home in Florida that we had sold fourteen years ago.

Scan 2

That letter arrived at our present residence with no forwarding address sticker, no extra postage.  There it was in our mailbox with its holiday greeting.   How it got there remains a mystery to me but DEDICATION  to the, “mail must get through” is alive and well.    The same old fashioned letter to santadedication that handles all the Christmas cards to Santa, who delivers the packages through USPS to your door, your mailbox.  These people are dedicated professionals who are losing their middle-class jobs because of greed and corruption by our wonderful political professionals who are bought and paid for by the lobbyists of our big corporations.

We need your help to relieve our Post Office of  the fictitious debt.





















LIFE: The above little ditty is one that we chanted as kids which made us giggle, little knowing the words described it all. With the passing years each of us experience the pathos, the joy, the pain, mental and physical.  If we are lucky, we enter the “Golden Years.”   Aging is a wonderful thing.  Think of the alternative.  So here I am in the final decade of my life (according to statistics) still asking the same questions that I started asking when I finally got old enough to realize that I was not the center of creation and some very unpleasant things were happening to me. I wanted to know WHY?    Why me?  Well, let me tell you, all through my life I’ve had this ugly turkey buzzard sitting on my shoulder that squawks at me things like,WHY NOT?”  Or if I start to criticize my friends or husband it pipes up with, AND YOU’RE SO PERFECT!”  No sympathy at all.  So my question has turned from, “Why me?” to “What’s the point?”  Life.


Cane killing able

Obviously God must have hiccuped, for somehow a “war gene” has slipped into that mud in creation...why else would Cain kill Able?  Why else Genghis Kahn?  Hitler?  And then in our wonderful country, The United States of America,  Democracy” was born and the “common man” rose to power.  Things were going to change–no more corruption, no more wars, no more–ooops. Every man was going to have an equal chance,  one man, one vote–that is if you were white.  The blacks complained.  Oh all right let’s let them vote Women?  Good grief, what do they know?  Recently I complained to my husband about how politics had gone to hell in a hand basket,  Washington was broken,  our wonderful elected officials were on the “dole” from lobbyists working for  big corporations sanctified by “Citizens United” and now we have the best government  money can buy.  Along came Obama and I was proud of us…the distance we have traveled from the Civil War, the Klu Klux Clan…Low and behold, a black man at the helm…but…oh dear.  The Republicans (of which I am a registered member) decided to show that “upstart!  To Hell with the country…they just decided to say “NO!  Blocked him at every turn…breaking the law does not bother them even refusing Obama  his  constitutional right of selecting a #Supreme Court judge for consideration.  And now we are faced with The Donald!   Donald Trump about to win the Republican nomination  to run for President of this great nation which was founded on religious freedom…Donald seems to disagree…Muslim?  Uh Uh…back to your own country.  Mexican?  Immigrant?  Sorry…not enough jobs for you.  Hillary for the Democrats?  “Not a Clinton, not a Bush!”  is my husband’s mantra.  Could a woman do worse?  Baggage…e mails, Benghazi,  but…mostly being female.  We are still waiting to have equal rights…never passed.       

Perhaps my cynicism  comes with age, or is it knowledge?  You know what they say:  “A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing.”  Well, I’m no Whiz Kid but after watching the movie, #The Conspiracy produced by Robert Redford.  I began to realize that our “Land of the Free Home of the Brave”  was not ever what I thought it was.    The ink wasn’t dry on that esteemed document (the Constitution) when #President Lincoln was assassinated.  President Johnson teamed up with Stanton, Secretary of War,  and #Mary Surratt was railroaded to become the first woman ever to be hanged by the U.S. Government.    According to Johnson,  “She feathered the nest that hatched the egg…”  Stanton?  He was convinced that Mary had to hang to “Save the Union.”  This was accomplished by  every conniving act that could be used to railroad Mary who owned the boarding house where John Booth and  her son with others plotted to avenge the South.  She was tried in a military court.  Illegal.  Her appointed lawyer, Aiken,  had no experience.  The last minute attempt to save Mary’s life by Aiken with a writ of #Habeascorpus obtained from Judge Wylie in the middle of the night and presented to President Johnson who overrode its authority and told the court to “proceed” with the execution.

My outrage left me sputtering.  “Ah, just a movie, don’t believe all you see,”  my husband scoffed.   Thus I started a bit of research.  Fact after fact from the movie proved true. The  critics of Conspiracy  found little to criticize regarding the facts presented in Redford’s movie, so  satisfied themselves by pointing to erroneous depiction of superficial details, of lighting, hair styles, beards, etc.

Mary Surratt’s son, the proven spy, was later acquitted (hung jury) when tried by a civilian court.   Today’s politics?  Business as usual which brings me back to my question, “What’s the point?”  Life.

gallows     See full details of Mary Surratt’s trial in the archives of this blog.

My solution?  Turn off the television, delete Twitter, Facebook, all the rest of the social media,  walk the beach and collect my shells.  Quitter?  If you say so, but I have only a few  years left according to the life-expectancy tables, and I would like to spend them with Baby Girl,  my adorable little Shih Tzu that we rescued from the local animal shelter,  and my “forgiving” husband of sixty years.  I’m putting the quest to “know” the unknowable to rest, and plan to stop giving advice to my two sons, their wives and my nine grandchildren!  They  should be so lucky.  I can see their eyes rolling in their heads as I type these words.



As things go my husband and I have been very healthy, but with age comes the creaking joints, insomnia, skin cancer, prostate problems (him, not me) and since Obama Care you begin to look into health care costs.  You take more vitamins, listen more closely to holistic gurus who tell you that doctors are killing you with all their drugs that come with a list of life-threatening side effects more lethal than the benefits you are seeking.  Their advice:  Send away for their pills, and…maybe,  #Meditate.    

Today even the professional medical people are beginning to agree that there is a connection between healing and meditating.  Of course Big Pharma says it’s all “balderdash”  that all we need to do to stay/get  well is to take a pill.  The surgeons swear by the scalpel,  the religious folk by #prayer.

I first tried meditation some forty years ago.  Paid my $75.  Memorized  my #MANTRA, came home, fixed up my “special place”  in the den near the fireplace, settled my tush into my over–sized pillow, closed my eyes, touched forefinger to thumb, breathed deeply, and began to chant.  I tried to ignore Fred’s (our white, undersized sheep dog) whining.  Continued my chanting.  The whining turned into a nose under my elbow pushing my arm upward.

“Enough, Fred!”  I escorted him from the den into the laundry room, slammed the door and went back to my cushion, resettled  myself and started over.  A few minutes passed before the barking and scratching began.  I tried to shut it out…chanted louder, the barking grew in intensity.  The knot in my gut hardly resembled the peace and tranquility meditation was supposed to create.  I let Fred out of he laundry room.   He came in and settled himself on the rug in front of the fire.

I picked up my cushion, went upstairs to me daughter’s bedroom, climbed up the ladder to the loft, settled in and began to chant, softly this time so not to disturb Fred.  I was really beginning to feel myself relax, going deeper and deeper and then the wine, and the scratching.  I ignored it.  Breathed deeper, chanted louder until I was almost shouting over the whining that had turned to barking.  I crawled over to the edge of the loft and looked down.  There was Fred almost two rungs up the ladder clinging with his front paws.

This is going to work.  I’m sitting in the car in the garage, the temperature outside is 20 degrees.  I’m dressed in my warmest ski jacket, woolen hat, ski gloves.  My breath makes little puffs settling on the windshield, fogging it.  I start my breathing, chanting.  My toes are numb, my nose is dripping and all I can see behind my closed lids is Fred lying on the rug in front of the fire.   My other attempts at meditating over the years  have proved as futile.

Fred "Got it"

Life’s question, “What’s the point?” still echoes.  I’ve taken to reading some of the many miracle cures boasted on the internet.  Self diagnosing.  You’d be surprised at the number of ailments I have discovered.  Like Madigan, our favorite women comedian who doesn’t worry about ghosts, Daracula, or the latest villain, she is horrified by the mole on her wrist that has changed color and increased in size.  Not that is frightening.   I read the various health newsletter with their claims guaranteeing to cure diabetes in two weeks, to end your tinnitus (ringing in the ear) with a simple…I’m really into it, I turn the page.  For $25.00  they will send you the full report.  ‘Miracle Cures ‘ one for every ailment.    My late father-in-law, a doctor,  once told me , “I have never cured anyone,”  I’ve held their hand until they cured themselves.”  Hmmm, I thought.  Could it actually be that simple?

Gary Zukav,  in his best-selling book, #THE SEAT OF THE SOUL, presents an interesting connection between the soul and the personality (ego?).  Refers to our  “Earth School,”  the purpose of our existence, the intangible connections between matter and energy, reincarnation, science and soul, cure and healing.   I, being very simple minded, recall the words to a tune: “..I  whistle a happy tune, and the happiness in that tune, convinces me that I’m not afraid.”    Does it?  

Mind over matter.  Of course, if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.  Sounds simple enough.  We scoff and go on with our daily trivia that makes up our lives getting  jealous, angry, laughing, crying.  And try as I may, I can’t help myself, the question I swore to give up lingers. “What’s the point?”

“Is this all there is?”  Peggy Lee sings a mournful tune.    The words echo.  Is it enough?  Does there need to be a purpose to life?

“May the Force be with you.”  George W. Lucas, Jr., Star Wars  (the following meditation is taken from the book,  LIFE MEDITATIONS,  by Edward J. Lavin, S.J.

THE SOUL HEALS   and science cures.  This new distinction between #healing and #curing is not so easy to understand, but it is easy enough to experience.  The intricate numbers and endless repetitions of science create giant scalpels and almost magical potions to destroy the dark diseases within us.  A friend of mine has one hundred and fifty stitches in his abdomen to remind him of the skill of the surgeon who removed the cancer there.  He receives a shot every month to prevent any recurrence.  Miraculous!  but there are other things that can only be healed by the warm, powerful energies of his soul. ” INTIMATION OF MORTALITY,”  examinations of life, powerful feelings of loss––all these were made well by the light generated in his soul.   But––and this is the new question––can the light and energy of the soul help in the cure, not just in the healing?  Many medical people think it can.  A loving hand and a balance of the soul can affect the cells of the body.  In many places meditation has become an acceptable and a recommended part of the cure.  


CURE: Verb.   To relieve person of the symptoms of a disease…to solve a problem.   Noun:  A solution to a problem,  a treatment that cures a disease.

HEAL: Verb.  to become sound or healthy again.  alleviate…time can heal the pain of grief.  Noun.  The process of making or becoming sound or                                   healthy again.     Such a subtle difference.


praying     When we were children, we prayed as children:  “Now I lay me down to sleep.  I pray the Lord my soul to keep.  If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.  They were words.  If we understood them as a child, we may have been so frightened about the chance of dieing in our sleep,  that we wouldn’t ever want to go to sleep.  As our favorite comedian explains about her parents.  “They’re always up.  No matter when, what time I call, one of them is up.  Having trouble sleeping, Mom?” I ask her, “Have you tried medication?”

“Well, now that’s the thing, Kathleen,  you always read of someone dying in their sleep, you never read that they died in their nap.  Your dad and I nap a lot. ”  They finally understood the words. Now, at the ripe old age of almost 80, I pray the same words as when I was a child, “If I should die before I wake…” with my fingers crossed hoping that maybe I’ll be so lucky.

Our family did not practice any one particular religion.  We raised our children simply:  DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO UNTO YOU.  It seems to me that pretty well covers it.  When our sons married, they each married into religious families; one a very fundamental believers in the Bible and its teachings, the other very devout Catholics.  Each son grew comfortable, even enthusiastic in the religions of their wives.  I smiled at my husband, “What a gift we gave them.”  He looked at me quizzically.  “Just think, no conflict.  They don’t have to ‘give up’ their beliefs.”  Each has learned to pray in the way of their adopted church.  How do we handle our diversity:  One Agnostic (me), one Realist, (Ron) the Catholic family and the Fundamentalist family. We  made a few changes.   When gathered for a meal, the Catholic family say their grace, and we all end with five “Amens” the last one most enthusiastic.  Why five?  For the five great religions.  This way we have all possibilities covered.

I do not make light of Prayer. Our sons, like many people swear by it.  When and how do they pray?  I’m sure I do not understand the intricacies of  the different religions.  I remember I used to envy my Catholic friends with their Rosary.  Seemed it was like a bank book…so many “Hail Mary’s” got you out of hell for lying, cheating, and…well we won’t go into that.  Do you have to belong to church to pray?  Are there certain words, rituals or can we all create our own simple words of thanksgiving, seek intervention, forgiveness, love?  Be Still and Know That I am God.   Are meditation and prayer the same?  An attitude of gratitude has been my mantra.  Is that prayer?  Another prayer familiar to most of us:  The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want…wait! Here we go again.   Does that mean I don’t want him to be my shepherd?  Or does that mean because he’s my shepherd I will not ever be without the things I want?  When you learn these words, they are meaningless.  When do we start listening to them?  Analyzing them, agreeing or disagreeing with them?  Belief seems to be the key ingredient.  If you believe strongly enough, so the saying goes, “All things are possible.”  I envy people with that overwhelming faith, a faith that never wavers.  It is not that they are problem free, but they have the courage to deal with adversity, accept what comes their way growing stronger with each challenge relying on the wisdom of the great provider.


There are days when I can’t find my card.










WordPress Themes

%d bloggers like this: