I'm of the old and "vulnerable" cohort and have ventured outdoors only to go to the grocery store during the old folks hours. Living as a hermit is hard but with the election of my lifetime as a motivator I will persist. My sense is voting is not an option. I WILL vote by mail if possible, dropping my ballot off in a secure dropbox (optimal), but if necessary will stand in line for however long it takes even if the result is that voting in person kills me. At this juncture not voting will also kill me. It is now just a matter of choosing which is the greater risk. Sitting on my old butt is not the way I choose to go.

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Iowa derecho:

My heart goes out to the people of Iowa, for dealing with the immediate challenges of how loss of electric power affects getting food, shelter, gas, money, roads…and then the longer term challenges of the devastation to the crops, agricultural infrastructure, and therefore the local economy. Four people died.

I had to look up “derecho:” sustained straight-lined winds; some were over 100 miles per hour. This devastation happened this past Monday, August 10, when I, for one, was oblivious. Instead I was focused on response to trump’s golf club executive order/memorandums and Mount Rushmore. Then news of USPS getting gutted and Kamala Harris selected for the Biden ticket clouded needs of aid to these regions impacted by the derecho.

Not surprisingly, we have to keep both a micro and macro perspective. In addition to the needs of the people on the ground in the here and now, there is the climate:

“Corn plays a significant role in Iowa’s climate. By releasing water into the atmosphere in a process called evapotranspiration, it has been shown to increase the dew point and subsequently the humidity. That can lead to higher heat indexes during heat waves, and it can also contribute to severe thunderstorms.”


Echoes of the Dust Bowl? The U.S. government and Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal Act of 1830 forced Native Americans onto reservations in what are now the Plains states with Oklahoma at the center. Then the Dawes Act of 1887 subdivided the reservations into family-held allotments compacted onto about one third of the tribes’ previous land holdings and created “surplus” lands available for purchase by non-Natives. Subsequent exploitations opened more and more of the land for European-American settlers from the East and ex-slaves. Heather could detail this history very well. Fast forward to the fact that the settlers did not know what they were doing, and the land became over-grazed and over-cultivated, resulting in widespread erosion. Then came drought and waves of dust storms that caused crop failure, deaths of cattle and people, and loss of livelihood.

When Heather has “spare time,” maybe we can look forward to another set of lessons learned to be taken up by a caring federal government, which tragically at the moment is a contradiction in terms. A Biden administration, Congress, and We the People have so much work to do.

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First, as always: thank you, Heather. Incisive and comprehensive, and crucial writing is what we need, daily. I'm hooked.

Second, I live in Maryland and I'm a 74 year old election judge and county Democratic party communications head. Because Maryland is not in doubt, I have decided not to exercise my election judge functions and risk Covid, regretfully. OTOH, I am coordinating efforts to communicate with voters in swing states, by letter and postcards, through phone banking and text banking. We must assure a stunning turnout, similar to 2008, and a blue wave sufficient to sweep these corrupt, cheating incompetents out with an interesting margin.

Third, if all Heather's readers would dedicate one hour a week, or more, to actively pursue strategies to assure their own vote will be counted and others are encouraged to vote

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I recently started trying to use Twitter. Since I don't have a substantial following there yet, I rarely get any responses when I post. However, last night was different. I entered into a conversation with a few people about the USPS. I struck a few nerves and was even blocked by one. I was trying to make the point that the USPS does need to be restructured. Their funding model, as well as their business model are dated. They are not a "for profit" organization. They are required to operate on a budget that is equal to, or less than the revenue they generate. When they aren't generating enough revenue, they have traditionally raised postage prices to compensate or asked Congress for additional funding.

Once upon a time, when the price of a stamp was raised, it generated a lot of new revenue. But today, with less and less people using the USPS for letters, cards, and to conduct day-to-day personal business, the new revenue isn't as significant. In addition to USPS, agencies such as GSA, FPS, and USCIS all operate under similar models relying on generated revenue for operating cost. When generated revenue is insufficient, they have to ask Congress for additional funding and/or reinvent the way they operate. In the case of USCIS, on July 1st of this year over 13,000 employees were notified they were going to be furloughed on August 3rd due to insufficient funding to pay employee salaries. It would have shuttered the doors of the US immigration system. At the 11th hour, they figured out a way to stay solvent. The USPS is trying to find their way as well, albeit at a very bad time.

I've been thinking a lot about what I can do to help. I've thought about turning off paperless options on all my accounts which theoretically would generate some revenue for the USPS. I've thought of trying to write and mail one letter daily as well. But I wonder if more mail is the right thing now considering the election and the USPS's inability (or refusal) to deliver it's current mail volume in a timely manner. I am going to go buy stamps, which will put a little money in the system.

I had decided I was going to vote by mail here in Florida, but I'm rethinking that now. Not because I fear my ballot might not make it, but because I am able to go to the polls. If I do, that is one less ballot the USPS has to contend with. I am also thinking about volunteering to work at the polls this year since I recently retired and have time. There is concern that there may not be enough poll workers because of COVID due to the average age of poll workers. I'm 58 and worry about COVID myself, but maybe I can help ensure at least one polling place is prepared to handle voting volume in a timely manner which will minimize exposure to voters.

After my "altercation" on Twitter last night, I started thinking about the words of Thomas Jefferson that are inscribed on the southeast portico of the Jefferson Memorial. "I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as a civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors."

The USPS is in need of restructure. Having said that, we all know this IS NOT the time. We need the 116th Congress to step in, but I fear they will not. I feel helpless, but I'm trying to find a way to take action to help.

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I have yet to see in the press any acknowledgment that the power to establish post offices (and thus to fund them) resides in Congress, as specified by Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution of the United States. Isn’t Trump once again usurping Congress here? And where is the outrage over this as there always is to the Second Amendment?

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I, too, am guilty of writing paragraph upon paragraph of deathless prose in these comments. Who's to stop us from blathering? But here's the thing. Heather has graciously invited us to this comment site. She doesn't need a pissed-off, little old lady from MN to defend her, but people, if you mess with Heather, you mess with me. Don't tell her how to think, analyze, write, okay? We are not the boss of her, and that is beyond crass. Full stop.

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Although I received and sent in my application for a NYS ballot (by costly certified/return receipt requested mail) to track local USPS slowdown time, I am dropping off my ballot early to a local polling place. Bundle up and PPE and stand in line to hand off your piece of paper. Trump’s public assaults on voting and the USPS demand protest, but also effective countermeasures. It’s late in the game, and we need high voter turnout across the country. This year, it means braving the pandemic. Next, keep your eye on the core and evolving swing states-key to the first number we need to run up-that of the outdated electoral college. ❤️🤍💙

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Thank you, Heather, for outlining and highlighting what is happening to the USPS and DHS, so that we the people have the chance to act and protest to our representatives to take action. Becoming informed is the first step towards affecting change. Thank you. 💜👍

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Am I the first victim of a postal slow down? I ordered my insulin on time, but I see no notification that the medications I ordered have been sent let alone are en-route! With two days supply, it looks like I'll be scrambling to a local pharmacy and jumping through hoops to get my next shot! I'm afraid I won't be the last medicare recipient to suffer from Trump's shenanigans! I'm thinking we need to call AARP and start a protest!

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If I weren’t still staying inside and limiting my interactions due to COVID-19, I would protest outside our local post office...we each have them. Showing our anger in masse and then he can send his thug army to clear us away from his Federal Property.

I have called my Senators who happen to be Kelly Loeffler and Davis Perdue...I have a vision of their staff hitting delete on the voicemails with their feet propped up on a desk.

So Frustrated!

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I’m back to school and I was late a couple of times because I was reading your letters and comments, too. Oops. A “colleague” told me the day after the election I had to accept the vote, I should stop being upset just because I didn’t get my way, how bad could it get? I told her to never tell me that again! Fast forward, we no longer speak. But a mutual friend said the “colleague’s” father died as a result of getting Covid at her wedding! That’s how bad it can get! Constant state of overwhelming emergency and death of loved ones!

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I guess we know beyond a doubt whom Trump had in mind when thinking about shooting someone on Fifth Avenue--it was a postal worker.

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As a devoted and dependent follower of your great writing, I do have to say that I am missing of late your incisive judgment about the implications of what you are reporting. Indeed, it's a bit more "reportage" and less critical thinking than I've enjoyed before. Example: your historian's-eye noting that the sabotage of the USPS was presaged by delay-ahead material produced before DeJoy took office seems a certain indictment of premeditated intent. But I'd have hoped for some specific assessment of what might be done other than a bunch of state secretaries pleading for a meeting to explain to him critical delays/demolition what he not only fully understands but is dutifully executing. Where is the light, or the hammer?

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Last night, Maddow had Ezra Levin co-founder of Indivisible talk very eloquently about the USPS dilemma. He said we must all phone our Rep in the House and ask them to STOP deJoy's destruction. Every Day! Call . They will get the message.

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On the derecho wind storm, I'm rather surprised the media and climate change groups aren't raising red flags about the climate crisis. It gave me chills that this one storm flattened and destroyed billions of dollars of crops. A few more of these derechos and the bread basket of the world won't be feeding the world and we'll see food shortages for all of us. And, its happening now not years in the future!

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HCR is our motivator. Surely we can think up a few things We The People can do. Here are a few suggestions: CALL/COMPLAIN/ DAILY!!

•Senator Mitch McConnell

KY (on recess): 502-582-6304

WASH DC: 202-224-2541

•VP Mike Pence (Pres of Senate)

WASH DC: 202-224-2424

•Senator Chuck Grassley

WASH DC: 202-224-3744

• demand hearings now regarding the destruction of Federal property by Impostor Louis DeJoy; destroying sorting machines and removing blue mailboxes is sabotaging our right to fair elections.

• demand fired USPS leadership personnel be put back in their rightful positions.

• volunteer to be a poll worker

• volunteer to be a poll watcher

• hand carry your mail-in ballot to the poll and place in special provided “drop boxes”

Subversion incites. Subversion threatens our Democratic process. Patriots Get Going!!

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