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Sanders Warns of Trump Effort to 'Destroy the Post Office to Sabotage This Election'

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/08/15/sanders-warns-trump-effort-destroy-post-office-sabotage-election

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“We will not let Trump destroy the Post Office to sabotage this election. This is a democracy, not a dictatorship.”

Wrong Bernie! Amerika in my view, has been a fascist, military, dictatorship for many years, an Empire worse than the Third Reich.

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Of course, it’s functionally a plutocracy.

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Trump is standing face to face with us. When you look down, he has his foot placed on top of yours. What are we going to do about it?

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It’ll be darn interesting to see whether the military is even going to be inclined to remove DT, let alone whether it will prevail against his armed supporters.

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The average American doesn’t seem to believe that DT is entirely disinterested in democracy.

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Indeed, but only at the National level and with growing inequality and privatization it is growing.

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The situation with the Postal Service needs to be understood in the context of a huge global deal to basically privatize everything and set all the workers in the world in direct competition with one another for the dwindling supply of jobs. Rich people argue this oversupply of workers means wages should be plummetiuing and they worry that the long expected windfall might be delayed or might not happen die to some wild shift in public opinion, so they literally set up a treaty that countries need to agree to to join the WTO, a global club that is supposed to protect nations in trade.

In particular, these countries all of which are run by oligarchies to one degree or another (but few are quite as extreme as the US, very few) The oligarchies have agreed to in certain areas, like things that involve money and economics, to set democracy aside, as long as they get to keep political everything, the corporations get everything involving money.

A particularly touchy issue is universal service guarantees. These are the portions of these services that serve the unprofitable areas, services or people. Big corporations want to cheppy pick the profitable ones and dump the unprofitable ones off on others, for example, poor countries firms which might offer lower prices.

The Postal Service is a private company but one that is subject to something called a universal service guarantee. Thisis important, another word people should remember is service of general public interest or service of general interest. These names are used in Euope and they are quite a bit more informative than the names used in the US. Particularly important is the scope of the privatizing agreement -

Marcus Krajewski, a german legal scholar has written about these issues quite a bit. he’s also helped in the effort to protect EU’s public servie against attack by the US in new trade agreements we are pushing, called “next Generation” agreements they atttempt to widen the scope to everything tthats not explicutly excluded… (this is called top down or negative listing, and its poison to democracy because it suppresses discussions. Politicians dont want to be on teh record as even knowing about these things they are that bad. )

Due to this agreement, and its progeny in the pipeline, which will almost certainly be revived in January, vast changes are being made, and their effect is privatizing more and more of what used to be called “public services”

European NGOS are covering this battle extensively, not so much at all in the US where there is a media blockade on all these changes.

the US is the country pushing for these changes the most, IMHO, but in some areas like water privatization, the EU is coming on strong.

The US is pushing very hard for priatizatio of financial services like banking and health insurance, and also healthcare in general, becuse it affects the prices and profits on drugs.

So dozens of diverse once public services and all of their jobs are under attack because of GATS.
part of the WTO Agreements which were brought into force by Bill Clintons signature on the URAA on December 8, 1994.

Another agreement, TRIPS regulates IP, most significantly drug prices. Jobs are a balancing factor, basically a way to sweeten deals. Jobs are ike poker chips in a vast international game now.

Public services are under extreme pressure.

Since then we have been supposed to gradually phase all non-conforming financial services out. We actually were the country most behind this provision ij the Understanding on Commitments in Fianncial Services. This prohibits postal banking, which could be an area where a postal service could make some much needed cash.
instead we’re required to let commercial FS providers including internet sites maximize their profits. We cant compete with their loans, and micropayments. This also enables a surveillace state thats much less accountable to the public. Companies can sell information to the highest bidder.

That includes many dear public services. We’re also not allowed to reate any new ones. Existing ones that conflict with their stated purpose cant be expanded, if we do we’ll be subject to punitive penalties.

For some reason, both parties are hiding this.

Most importantly, if we expand Medicare to encompass people who are not retired without withdrawing from GATS it will be privatized. Similar constraints apply to social security. Also all these services are supposed to be turned into for profit ones eventually. We’re pushing this change on the entire world just as jobs are vanishing in large numbers due to automation. We also committed to greatly expand trade in services. there there is a conflict between this goal the WTO has to vastly increase cross border trade in services and a 65,000 we use on work visas (we always grant a lot more lus renewals) India is challanging not just the quota fees (thats what the case’s title implies it is about) they also are challenging our use of quotas legality. there is a good chance we will lose. If that happens we could lose a lot of jobs very quickly. Meaning literally millions of jobs. Thereis a huge PR campaign being put on to make these changes look innocent and benign and not the total threat to the existence of a middle class that they seem to me and many other people to be.

The Postal Service by being privatized, took a step definitively down the road to being globally outsourced, as this is the first step, under GATS. By being partially subsidized, it places itself in the category of services that becomes subject to GATS “pro competitive” rules.
Foreign companies might do the same jobs postal workers do today but they could be prevented from forming unions by their employers.

In the past when government purchased services it was required topay prevailing wages. Under GATS the lowest bidding firm gets an entitlement to do the work. This would bid wages in all effected firlds lower and lower. Foreign countries argue against the applicability of US minimum wage laws to these contracts, claiming that low wages are foreign firms main competitive advantage and they are entitled to use it by the fact that its the repayment of an obligation, a debt, under a trade agreement. Similarly the argue that quotas limitingthe numbers of workers are totally illegal under WTO law as it prevents companies from wining the competition, when their services are obviously chepaer.

Whether a country has the right to sign a trade agreement and then have a quota that limits their non-immigrant (ie. intra-cororate travel for work) as well as their immigrant (permanent moves by individuals and families) is a completely different battle - one that Americans have been kept completely unaware of by dishonest politicians all working together to hide the truth, which shows how fake and pro corporate government has become. Here is what this system is setting up, a world without any real middle class.

An ILO publication gies into length about many of the issues involved.
~http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—dgreports/—inst/documents/publication/wcms_193612.pdf

Basically the very idea of decent work is under attack, globally, and the battle is being led by the US, and EU central governments!

Corporations want to lower labor costs everywhere. This is being done while their nations outward looking faces profess to want to improve wages. Whats going on, they cant both be true!?

Its complicated but basically at the core of it is something called the political trilemma of globalization.
Allegedly the increasing mobility f capital requires higher and higher yields, companies claim that if they cant shed their costs they will lose out to other cheaper providers.

Their businesses feel as if their profitability is under attack by wages that have not kept up with the rise of automation (which pushes wages downward) thats right, wages are supposed to be falling - neoliberal economics claims, and they are not falling fast enough.

This is why businesses increasingly do more and more investing overseas and depend on foreign labor.

They trade away jobs at home to get more leverage over countries they have built newer plants in.
Also in areas like patents. The US could not get the high prices we do for drugs if we were not willing to trade large numbers of domestic jobs away for the extra leverage.

Totally being ignored it seems are the interests of the actual people of countries like our own.

In order to get other countries to privatize their public services, we have to do the same ting. We cant treat our own people better than we treat demand other countries treat their own people. Even though its a nightmare for us. We cant admit we have a problem with this, instead we purport that our system is the only one possible in the future. GATS makes it impossible for countries to adopt other models like worker owned co ops. It literally bans countries manking any rules that help nonprofits or public services left over from before the WTO and makes countries policies subject to challenge in a inexpensive proceeding if they violate WTO rules. Ultimately a dispute in the WTO right now, a dispute that was filed in early 2016, could seriously impact US workers by making it much easier and legal for workers to be brought here to do jobs of every description, starting with the highest skilled jobs. If we require they pay a legal US wage, that makes it hard for us to complain, given that we also pay our workers, such as engineers, a legal wage. The I-Corp case is informative.

~https://www.morganlewis.com/pubs/uscis-appeals-panel-rules-on-l-1b-employment

Many multinational corporations have presence in many countries and there is as much as a 20:1 or more ration between the pay of different workers to do the exact same job, and its based on national laws and practices. that means an engineer might make 150,000 a year in Norway, or the US, and 4:000 a year in Africa or India. For the exact same work. Basically corporations want to be able to use their employees everywhere, paying for their housing and deducting the cost from their wages. If they pay US minimu wage and then deduct the cost of housing and transportation, their worker staiing in company housing in the US might still make more than they made at home. Doesnt it make more sense (they say, I dont agree with this) to let some countries provide most of the labor which they do more efficiently (cheaper) and let other countries do other kinds of higher skill work exclusively?

It desnt take much thinking to see that this would be a radical change - one where US corporations might make out literally like bandits by replacing their workforces but still billing or charging the same for their products or services. On the other hand, here in the US who would buy their products?

Bit for 35 years this process has been moving forward and already its transformed a great many countries into ones where large sections of their economies are done almost entirely by low paid foreign workers with a fairly high skill level. This system is the norm in many Asian countries and its even making large inroads in the US (mostly in the IT sector) and Australia.

Is this the future of work? Some would have it be. All our next president has to do is keep things the same and not challenge any future WTO decisions.

After training their replacements, US workers could take an unpaid vacation.

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I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible; Jew, Gentile, black man, white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness, not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone, and the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way. Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical; our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery, we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost. The airplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men; cries out for universal brotherhood; for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women, and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me, I say, do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish. Soldiers! Don’t give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you, enslave you; who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel! Who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men - machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines, you are not cattle, you are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate; the unloved and the unnatural. Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty! In the seventeenth chapter of St. Luke, it is written that the kingdom of God is within man, not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people, have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy, let us use that power. Let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfill that promise. They never will! Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people. Now let us fight to fulfill that promise. Let us fight to free the world! To do away with national barriers! To do away with greed, with hate and intolerance! Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness. Soldiers, in the name of democracy, let us all unite!

Charlie Chaplin

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Question: WHO is going to actually count those ballots?

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How Safe is Vote by Mail?

America’s Lawyer: Papantonio & Palast

The Postal Service nearly imploded with mail in ballots in 2016; with the Forever Trumper as Postmaster General, mailing your ballot in 2020 is playing Russian Roulette with your vote.

But since voting in-person on Election Day can kill you, to avoid the pitfalls of vote by mail, get your absentee ballot from your local county Board of Elections and return it there. Or, use drop boxes in states that have them. Otherwise, ask for your ballot at least 8 weeks before the election. In most states, you can take the mail-in ballot to an early polling station—and safely drop it off.
~https://www.gregpalast.com/how-safe-is-vote-by-mail/

Video and Transcript at link above

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Hi evoker:
Wow, Charlie ChapIin wrote that. I’m impressed .NO wonder the USA dissed him. TRUTH teIIing is a sin in so many governments.

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WHO is going to actually count those ballots?
Maybe the republican poll booth workers. That would be a hoot.

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The reason you’re reading this book is that I did a dangerous thing for a man in my position: I decided to tell the truth.

Edward Snowden, Permanent Record

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Charlie Chaplin was an amazing human being. He revolutionized film, before he introduced pathos and ethos there was only slapstick. In the 20th century he was the most recognizable person in the world, even in countries his films never played, iron curtain, Africa. He took great risks, he rose from the poorest of industrial England. Critics have credited him with some of the best drama committed to film. His bio should be required reading.

“A tramp, a gentleman, a poet, a dreamer, a lonely fellow, always hopeful of romance and adventure.”

  • Charlie Chaplin, explaining his character to a director
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BIG DEAL! We had pictures in 2016 of various bureau of elections precincts in Florida, where additional ballots were trucked in. We had pictures and everything.

CRICKETS.

So just stop. Just stop with this hysteria. Just stop it! “Mail in ballots” are NOT the same thing as “absentee ballots”, and this concept is being deliberately conflated to confuse in virtually all US media right now. These “new” mail in ballots are going to get tossed, you just wait and see. And boy are you all going to feel STUPID for getting sucked into this when there’s probably something else going on that we REALLY need to be paying attention to this weekend. Haven’t we learned yet?.

Hi evoIver:
I thought of CharIie Chapin from a picture of him ( with that wrench in his hand trying to control the machine -) --and that’s what I thought of when I read that wonderful essay by Mario Saivio about " putting your body on the machine," to stop it!
I Love those oId movies as CharIie ChapIin is such an expressive actor and the pIots are wonderful and so, America of course turned on him. I wiII have to do more reading on him, and so thank you again for bringing that Chapin speech here !

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What is Absentee Voting?

Absentee voting (aka “mail-in voting” and “by-mail voting”) is conducted by mail-in ballot before the day of Election Day.

~vote.org

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We’re watching Orangeman deliver the same smithereens treatment, enjoyed today in Beirut, to all aspects of living in USA – not just the Post Office. Vijay Prashad is moved by Lebanon’s disaster to translate the poem of a Brazilian bishop who worked for liberation. Events present a question for us: What are we going to do about it? Prashad offers this poem as a general answer:

Nuestra hora, “It is our time”

It is late
but it is all the time
that we have on hand
to make the future.

It is late
but it is us
this late hour

It is late
but it is early morning
if we insist a little.

– Dom Pedro Casaldáliga

~https://consortiumnews.com/2020/08/15/beirut-explosion-it-is-late-but-it-is-early-morning-if-we-insist/

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~https://youtu.be/J7GY1Xg6X20

Final scene from The Great Dictator