CHUCK MUTH'S NEWS & VIEWS

The good, the bad & the ugly. Liberal excesses. Conservative successes. Clowns to the Left. Jokers to the Right. Read all about 'em in Chuck's FREE hard-hitting, no B.S. newsletter of current events and political goings-on you won't find in the "mainstream press."

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Chuck Muth is President and CEO of Citizen Outreach and a professional political consultant. Mr. Muth is a professional campaign trainer, a newsletter publisher and talk-show host who regularly appears on political TV and radio programs.

Friday

News & Views, 11/31/04


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THE RIGHT AND THE RIGHT COME TOGETHER

With the dawn of a new year, the fight for limited government and individual freedom begins anew tomorrow. Not only will we do battle with the usual socialists in the Democrat party, but the “compassionate” big-government “conservatives” in the GOP, as well. Frankly, as my friend Lyn Nofziger pointed out in his blog a couple weeks back, it’s a battle we’ve been losing and continue to lose, as more and more Americans seem content to let government live their lives for them...all in the interest of safety and security, of course.

That being the case, it’s critical that limited government folks in the GOP find a way to work with limited government folks in the Libertarian Party. We all want pretty much the same thing, we just differ on the best way politically of getting it.

With that in mind, the Libertarian Party has asked me to speak at their convention in Los Angeles February 18-20...and I’ve accepted. If you’re in the neighborhood and are so disposed, I hope you’ll consider joining me at this important three-day conference. For additional details, please go to: http://www.LPC.Org

AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL

“When Muslims are dying and need our help, we give it, as when thousands of Muslims from Indonesia to Somalia suffered from the deadly Indian Ocean tsunami. The United States will send millions of dollars in aid, not just from our government but from ordinary Americans who want to help. We don't ask whether those suffering share our values or politics or religion, whether they like us or wish us ill. No doubt, among those families who will receive American help in some of these nations will be sympathizers of our enemies. We will help them not because we hope to change their minds but because it is right to do so. And that is the difference between those fighting for good and those fighting for evil.”

- Columnist Linda Chavez

ALWAYS TIME FOR SOME BUSH-WHACKING

“President Bush finally roused himself yesterday from his vacation in Crawford, Tex., to telephone his sympathy to the leaders of India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Indonesia, and to speak publicly about the devastation of Sunday's tsunamis in Asia.”

“We hope Secretary of State Colin Powell was privately embarrassed when, two days into a catastrophic disaster that hit 12 of the world's poorer countries and will cost billions of dollars to meliorate, he held a press conference to say that America, the world's richest nation, would contribute $15 million. That's less than half of what Republicans plan to spend on the Bush inaugural festivities."

- New York Times editorial on the initial disaster aid figure the U.S. announced for tsunami victims

BY WHAT RIGHT?

“The United States government...should not give any money to help the tsunami victims. Why? Because the money is not the government's to give.

“Every cent the government spends comes from taxation. Every dollar the government hands out as foreign aid has to be extorted from an American taxpayer first. Year after year, for decades, the government has forced American taxpayers to provide foreign aid to every type of natural or man-made disaster on the face of the earth: from the Marshall Plan to reconstruct a war-ravaged Europe to the $15 billion recently promised to fight AIDS in Africa to the countless amounts spent to help the victims of earthquakes, fires and floods--from South America to Asia. Even the enemies of the United States were given money extorted from American taxpayers: from the billions given away by Clinton to help the starving North Koreans to the billions given away by Bush to help the blood-thirsty Palestinians under Arafat's murderous regime.


“The question no one asks about our politicians' ‘generosity’ towards the world's needy is: By what right? By what right do they take our hard-earned money and give it away?”

- David Holcberg of the Ayn Rand Institute

SURVEY SAYS!

Should President Bush provide financial disaster aid to tsunami victims directly from the U.S. treasury...or make a public appeal for Americans to donate voluntarily to private relief efforts?

* Give the money from the government treasury
* Ask for voluntary, personal donations
* Huh?

Cast your vote by clicking the “Survey Says!” tab at www.citizenoutreach.com

IT WAS A VERY GOOD YEAR

“Democrats and the media have been reluctant to spotlight the breadth and depth of Republican strength in 2004. Strangely, so have Republicans. It's almost as if they don't believe their own good fortune. ‘We're no longer a 49% nation,’ says Ken Mehlman, Mr. Bush's campaign manager in 2004 and now the Republican national chairman, in a breathtaking understatement. And Mr. Mehlman warns that the Republican majority is ‘not overwhelming’ and won't produce ‘automatic victories.’

“True, but Republicans have the presidency, the most senators (55) since 1931, and are near their modern peak in the House (232). They have all but completed the sweeping political realignment they could only dream about a generation ago. In the dark days after the 1964 rout, those dreams seemed quixotic, farfetched, even crazed. Now, they've been realized.”

- Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard

TURN OUT THE LIGHTS, THE PARTY’S OVER

“After three vote tallies and nearly two months of waiting, Democrat Christine Gregoire was certified as Washington’s governor-elect yesterday…”

- Associated Press, 12/31/04

O.J. IN A MAIL TRUCK

“Yesterday, in Pembroke Pines and Cooper City, FL, several U.S. postal inspectors driving unmarked cars sped after a letter carrier fleeing arrest in a mail truck at about 10:15 a.m., according to Postal Inspector Del Alvarez. The letter carrier, who was not identified by postal officials, wove in and out of traffic for several miles in what was described as a medium-speed chase. Then the letter carrier headed home, turning into a parking lot. Stopping the truck, the carrier surrendered peacefully and was taken into custody. Alvarez declined to say why inspectors arrested the letter carrier. He said only that there had been an investigation, and several federal charges were pending.”

- Sun-Sentinel, 12/29/04

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Published by:
Chuck Muth
1315 Wilson Point Road
Middle River, MD 21220
E-mail: chuck@chuckmuth.com

Thursday

News & Views, 12/30/04


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REMEMBERING AN AMERICAN HERO

“American hero Pat Tillman won a Silver Star this year. But unlike Kerry, he did not write his own recommendation or live to throw his medals over the White House fence in an anti-war rally. Tillman was an American original: virtuous, pure and masculine like only an American male can be. The stunningly handsome athlete walked away from a three-year, $3.6 million NFL contract with the Arizona Cardinals to join the U.S. military and fight in Afghanistan, where he was killed in April.


“He wanted no publicity and granted no interviews about his decision to leave pro football in the prime of his career and join the Army Rangers. Tillman gave only an indirect explanation for his decision on the day after 9/11, when he said: ‘My great grandfather was at Pearl Harbor, and a lot of my family has gone and fought in wars, and I really haven't done a damn thing as far as laying myself on the line like that.’ He said he wanted to ‘pay something back’ to America.

“He died bringing freedom and democracy to 28 million Afghans -- pretty much confirming Michael Moore's view of America as an imperialist cowboy predator. There is not another country in the world -- certainly not in continental Europe -- that could have produced a Pat Tillman.”

- Columnist Ann Coulter

WHERE’S OSAMA?

“As I watched the news of the devastation that the tsunami wrought upon the nations ringing the Indian Ocean this weekend, and watched the death toll climb rapidly, two thoughts went through my mind. The first was that almost certainly the United States would bear much of the burden of relief efforts, as government agencies and private relief organizations began to call upon individual and corporate donors to help fund the massive recovery operation. The second thought was that the nations who were devastated were to a large extent Muslim nations, and that we can count on the Islamic nations to do nothing. Osama Bin Laden, where are you now?”

- Laura Mansfield of the Northeast Intelligence Network

IDIOTS SAY THE STUPIDEST THINGS

“Considering that American travelers are included in the 60,000+ casualties of the recent Asian tsunami, one would think that America's full support would go to afflicted countries. While protecting human life from natural disaster is not a significant political issue, preserving American vacationers seems like a platform that might find favor in the legislature.

“However, the American government is currently pledging a mere $35 million in support to the distressed region. This equates to less than $600 per lost soul and does nothing to protect against future disasters. Compare that to the $87 billion appropriation for war in Iraq and you'll begin to question whether our war on terror is truly a defensive measure. If you divide this year's war spending by the total casualties of 911 you'll find that our $25 million per life has not been well spent.”

- Kevin Hotaling, Desconu.com

SURVEY SAYS!

Should President Bush provide financial disaster aid to tsunami victims directly from the U.S. treasury...or make a public appeal for Americans to donate voluntarily to private relief efforts?

* Give the money from the government treasury
* Ask for voluntary, personal donations
* Huh?

Cast your vote by clicking the “Survey Says!” tab at www.citizenoutreach.com

AND DON’T LET THE DOOR HIT YA...

“The United States was deemed ‘stingy’ in its immediate promise of $15 million in aid to the post-tsunami relief effort in Southeast Asia by the United Nations Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief, Jan Egeland. I have two words for the U-G for HA & ER Egeland: Get Out. In fact, I have the same two words for the whole United Nations: Get Out.”

- Rich Galen’s “Mullings,” 12/29/04

TIME FOR REGIME CHANGE...AT THE UN

“To suppose that the United Nations will reform itself from within is to miss the eerie unreality of the place. It is not simply changes in some of the staffing that are needed, or U.N. commissioned reports recommending that the U.N. ‘reform’ by way of doing even more of whatever it does already. What's needed is something that among sovereign states we have come to call regime change--the basic alteration of a system that in its privileges, immunities and practices resembles rather too closely some of the dictatorships that still pack its ranks.”

- Claudia Rosett of the Hudson Institute, Wall Street Journal, 12/29/04

COULTERGEIST

“The single biggest event of 2004 was the Election Day exit poll, which...made John Kerry the president for a few moments. But in a move that stunned the experts, American voters chose ‘moral values’ over an America-bashing trophy husband and his blow-dried, ambulance-chasing sidekick.”

- Columnist Ann Coulter

OPEN YOUR EYES AND PRIVATIZE

“Two years after state officials took over the failing Philadelphia school system and made the move to contract out management of about one-sixth of its schools, test scores are up and class sizes are down. . . . Paul Vallas, chief executive of the school district, predicted that half of the city’s schools will be privately run within four years.”

- Reuters, 12/29/04

ANOTHER DEMOCRAT CRIME FAMILY?

“Ten days ago, FBI agents armed with search warrants reportedly raided the homes of California Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata (D) and Perata's son. According to the AP, ‘[FBI] agents sought tax records and copies of other documents related to Lily Hu, a...lobbyist who once worked for Perata.’ . . . The AP also wrote that the federal grand jury investigation is focused on ‘the business activities of some of [Perata's] family members and associates.’”

- Ron Gunzburger’s “Politics1”

HORN O’ PLENTY OF ABSTINENCE

“Abstinence-education supporters are cheering the recent move of the nation's two largest abstinence-grant programs to a new - and friendlier - agency within the Department of Health and Human Services. The Administration for Children and Families (ACF), which is led by child psychologist Wade Horn, recently received oversight of the $50 million Title V and $104 million community-based abstinence-education grant programs…

“Young people should be encouraged to make good decisions about sex, smoking, drinking, drugs, staying in school and using seat belts, said Mr. Horn, a child psychologist. Sexual abstinence, he added, ‘is the only 100 percent effective way’ for a teen to avoid becoming a parent or getting a sexually transmitted disease.”

- Washington Times, 12/30/04

JESUS VS. JESUS

“For many conservatives, Jesus is the great moralist. His campaign against sin inspires, among other things, the public display of the Ten Commandments and fuels opposition to gay marriage. ... Liberals believe in a more socially minded messiah. He wants more government spending on social-welfare programs and supports the minimum wage.”

- National Review Online columnist Joseph Loconte

FREEDOM & RELIGION

“I believe in one God, and no more; and I hope for happiness beyond this life. I believe in the equality of man; and I believe that religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavoring to make our fellow-creatures happy. But, lest it should be supposed that I believe in many other things in addition to these, I shall, in the progress of this work, declare the things I do not believe, and my reasons for not believing them.

“I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church. All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.

“I do not mean by this declaration to condemn those who believe otherwise; they have the same right to their belief as I have to mine.”

- Thomas Paine in “Age of Reason”

FAMOUS LAST WORDS

“Religion and government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.”

- James Madison

"I think it's very important for people who are serving (in public office) to make sure there's a separation of church and state."

- President George W. Bush, 6/15/04

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Published by:
Chuck Muth
1315 Wilson Point Road
Middle River, MD 21220
E-mail:
chuck@chuckmuth.com

Wednesday

News & Views, 12/29/04


HOW TO SUBSCRIBE

To have News & Views delivered directly to your email address FREE, just visit: http://www.chuckmuth.com/newsletter

WHO DIDN’T SEE THIS COMING?

“With the world's attention focused on the earthquake/tsunami that has claimed tens of thousands of lives in at least 10 countries that surround the Indian Ocean, media organizations like Reuters are pinning part of the blame for the catastrophe on ‘global warming.’”

- CNS News, 12/29/04

NOT BUSH’S TO GIVE

“The UN's Under-Secretary for Humanitarian Affairs has criticized the USA for only giving $15 million to the effort to help those effected by the quake and tsunami. I have to admit that when I heard on the radio yesterday that Colin Powell had announced that each of the affected countries would immediately receive $100,000, that it was the smallest amount of money I had ever heard mentioned in the same sentence with the words ‘United States.’ I mean that is less than a loaded Hummer. But then I remembered the old Davy Crockett story where-in Congressman Davy voted against giving aid to the victims of a Washington, DC fire because it wasn’t his to give.

“I think this would be a great time for Bush to announce that he could not give anything from the country, as the country itself has no legitimate authority to dispense monies for those kinds of purposes. I bet if he then asked the American people to do what they could, the folks in Sri Lanka and Sumatra would see the real spirit of American generosity.

“I guess I have finally become dependent on the government myself. When I imagine the horror experienced by those who survived the events I want to help. Then I hear my government is going to do it for me and I think ‘Great, I already gave....on April 15th.’ Then I realize all over again that when the government does it one is never sure it will be done right.”


- News & Views reader Dr. Michael E. Clifford of Las Vegas, NV (Editor’s Note: If you haven’t done so recently, go to www.citizenoutreach.com and click on the “Not Yours To Give” button to read the Davy Crockett story Dr. Clifford refers to above)

FOUNDING WISDOM

“Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government."

- James Madison

SURVEY SAYS!

Should President Bush provide financial disaster aid to tsunami victims directly from the U.S. treasury...or make a public appeal for Americans to donate voluntarily to private relief efforts?

* Give the money from the government treasury
* Ask for voluntary, personal donations
* Huh?

Cast your vote by clicking the “Survey Says!” tab at www.citizenoutreach.com

MOVE OVER BIG BROTHER, HERE COMES BIG MOTHER

“Lots of people today claim we are living in a Mommy State. We're children to be scolded, smacked, ordered around. Wear your seatbelt, lose weight, be nice to everyone. It's worse than annoying. It can drive you batty. It's like being in kindergarten all your life, or being forced to sit at the little kid's table during Thanksgiving when you're 35 years old…

"There's truth to the theory about Mommy. I don't think it goes far enough, though. Mommy is now insane. . . . Now, we've got kids expelled from school for bringing nail clippers or aspirin…

"Freedom to slavery to going bonkers. How did all of this creep up on us? I think lots of people wanted it, without the foggiest idea of where it invariably leads. They started wanting security, to be taken care of by the Mommy State, to be protected from life, to have the world made of Nerf. It's a delusion. They'll find that out, in the long run."

- Columnist Bob Wallace

IN DEFENSE OF THE DEFENSE SECRETARY

“(Donald) Rumsfeld is arguably the best defense secretary since the position was created in 1947. A brief review of Mr. Rumsfeld's record is in order to remind his critics why. He has rebuilt the U.S. military, which has freed 50 million people from tyranny, decimated al Qaeda, won two wars and is busily consolidating the second of those. None of his predecessors back to James V. Forrestal, appointed by President Truman, can claim anything approaching such a record.”

- Washington Times, 12/27/04

THIS CAN’T BE A GOOD THING

“Women are increasingly having fewer children and a growing proportion are choosing not to have any children at all. And those who have children are delegating their care to others."

- Columnist Neil Gilbert

SURPRISE: SELF-ESTEEM FAD A BUNCH OF CRAP

“[W]e have found little to indicate that indiscriminately promoting self-esteem in today's children or adults, just for being themselves, offers society any compensatory benefits beyond the seductive pleasure it brings to those engaged in the exercise."

- Roy F. Baumeister, Jennifer D. Campbell, Joachim I. Krueger and Kathleen D. Vohs in the January issue of Scientific American

CELEBRATING TWO AMERICAS

“As Americans, we must ask ourselves: Are we really so different? Must we stereotype those who disagree with us? Do we truly believe that all red-state residents are ignorant racist fascist knuckle-dragging NASCAR-obsessed cousin-marrying roadkill-eating tobacco-juice-dribbling gun-fondling religious fanatic rednecks; or that all blue-state residents are godless unpatriotic pierced-nose Volvo-driving France-loving left-wing communist latte-sucking tofu-chomping holistic-wacko neurotic vegan weenie perverts?

"Yes. This is called 'diversity,' and it is why we are such a great nation - a nation that has given the world both nuclear weapons and SpongeBob SquarePants."

- Columnist Dave Barry

CELEBRATING THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE

“Not surprisingly, calls to abolish the electoral college system are heard most loudly among left elites concentrated largely on the two coasts. Liberals favor a very strong centralized federal government, and have contempt for the concept of states' rights (a contempt now shared, unfortunately, by the Republican Party). They believe in federalizing virtually every area of law, leaving states powerless to challenge directives sent down from Washington. The electoral college system threatens liberals because it allows states to elect the president, and in many states the majority of voters still believe in limited government and the Constitution.”

- Rep. Ron Paul, Texas Straight Talk, 12/27/04 (You can read Rep. Paul full column on the Electoral College and liberal efforts to quash it on our “Issues & Answers” page at www.citizenoutreach.com)

THE REAL DANGER TO THE REPUBLIC

“Ask yourself, could any living politicians with unlimited time compose anything comparable to President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address or Second Inaugural? And as regards character, no politician for generations has come within light years of Washington or Lincoln.

“Children are taught complacency with mediocrity and jealousy of genius. Standards of achievement plunge to avoid psychological distress to the indolent. Moral distinctions among civilizations or religion are discouraged. To suggest the superiority of Beethoven over Britney Spears, or Rembrandt over Jackson Pollock is to invite an indictment for cultural snobbery.

“If the United States continues to disdain and abandon the ideals and customs of its birth, then its death, like the Roman Empire, is simply a matter of time.”

- Columnist Bruce Fein

NEW LOSES OLD CASE

“A federal judge in Washington has upheld the right of the American military to place its personnel under United Nations command and force those soldiers to wear insignia designed by the world body. The ruling from Judge Paul Friedman came in the case of a former Army specialist, Michael New, who resisted orders that he serve in a U.N. peacekeeping mission in Macedonia nearly a decade ago. He also refused, during unit muster in 1995, to wear the light blue U.N. cap and shoulder patch.

“Mr. New was court-martialed for failing to obey the order to don the cap and patch. He was convicted in 1996 and given a "bad conduct" discharge from the Army. Military appeals courts upheld the decision. In his 35-page decision filed Wednesday, Judge Friedman rejected all of the legal arguments put forth by Mr. New's attorneys. The judge said most of the ex-soldier's assertions involved thorny political disputes best left unresolved by the judiciary.”

- New York Times, 12/24/04

(Editor’s Note: Gee, if only Judge Friedman’s colleagues had applied the notion of keeping the judiciary out of “thorny political disputes” best left to the people and their legislative representatives when it came to, say, abortion and gay marriage. Friedman is as liberal as the day is long, as I outlined in yesterday’s DC Confidential, but on this particular point, wouldn’t it be nice if his fellow judicial activists actually took it to heart?)

GOVERNATOR STILL ON GOP RESERVATION

“Reporters thought that Arnold Schwarzenegger made news in the event-starved days before Christmas when he supposedly told a German newspaper he wanted Republicans to ‘move a little further left and place more weight on the center,’ as the Associated Press version of his interview had him saying…

“But he was misquoted by German reporter Marc Hujer. What he actually said was: ‘I think that right now the Republican Party is all the way from the right to the center. And the Democratic Party is all the way from the left to the center. And I like the Republican Party to cross that centerline. Keep it to the right where it is, but I mean cross over that centerline a little bit, because that would take immediately away 5% from the Democrats and be home free for good. That's the trick.’

“Mr. Hujer says the governor never recommended explicitly that Republicans should edge toward the left. ‘He did not use the word 'left,’ ' Mr. Hujer admitted.”

- John Fund, Political Diary, 12/27/04

CHEW ON THIS

“The European Union's highest court recently upheld the E.U.'s 12-year-old ban on oral snuff, saying it serves ‘the objective of health promotion.’ Since cigarettes, a far more hazardous form of tobacco, are still legally available in Europe, the E.U.'s policy is rather like banning bows and arrows as an intolerable threat to public safety while allowing a free trade in machine guns.”

- Columnist Jacob Sullum (Editor’s Note: Sullum’s column is relevant to similar insanity over cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products being put forth by our own FDA here in the good ol’ US of A. Catch his full column on our “Issues & Answers” page today at www.citizenoutreach.com)

LANCING NASCAR

“Although it is true that the USPS has ended their relationship with Lance Armstrong, they have created a new sponsorship of NASCAR! Their ridiculous desire for advertisement and sponsorship has not ended yet. If they are so concerned about keeping customers, why not put that money towards hiring competent employees, rather than advertise for a ‘business’ that has been around longer than any of us?”

- News & Views reader M.R. of Las Vegas, NV

MAJOR LEAGUE WASTE OF MONEY

“You left out of your recent ‘Goin' Postal’ issue that while the USPS finally dropped Lance Armstrong, they sponsored the Major League Baseball playoffs this year. I almost ran my car into the median the first time I heard on the radio ‘Tonight’s broadcast of the Major League Baseball division series is brought to you by the United States Postal Service.’ At least that’s something they brought to the right address and delivered on-time. It would be funny if it weren't true.”

- News & Views reader from Long Beach, CA

GOIN’ POSTAL

“Think about this one: A person sends a first class letter and pays the .37 cent stamp. The postal service will deliver it to your home for that .37 cents. This costs them for employees, autos, gas, oil, tires and whatever else the costs are of delivering that letter, right?

“Yet if you rent the smallest PO box from them in the same post office where the letter is sorted - and they don’t have all the extra costs they have with delivering the mail to your door - it will cost you a minimum of $60.00 dollars a year. They charge you more for them doing less. Make sense? Only with the Post Office.”

- News & Views reader Bob Lippincott of Grand Saline, Texas

PUSHIN’ THE ENVELOPE

“The letter from Lou Cook of Goldsboro, NC (regarding how the post office doesn’t pay to license and register its vehicles with the various states) prompted me to provide a few other items of interest. The USPS takes land in municipalities to build its facilities – usually prime commercial property. The property is promptly taken off the tax rolls as the USPS is not only exempt from vehicle taxes, but also real estate and utility taxes. The large Regional facilities, similar to the one in Carol Stream, utilize the services of our police and fire departments, they have hundreds of trucks travel our roads daily adding to the wear and tear, but never contribute a dime to the governmental bodies that incur this cost. The taxpayers of our municipality – commercial and residential – pay those tax dollars.”

- News & Views reader Pamela J. Fenner, Carol Stream Village Trustee, Carol Stream, IL

MORE THAN ONE WAY TO SKIN A CAT

“Many times the large USPS office here has a long line with 20+ people waiting and only one or two windows, out of eight open. I dug around and got the local phone number for that USPS Office and added it to my cell phone. The next time I went and found 25 people in line with only two windows open, I called the Post Office and asked for the Postmaster. When she came on the phone, I asked if she would personally come out and take a look at the long line and get more clerks to open the closed windows and not close even one until the line was eliminated.

“The other people in line, who could not avoid hearing my call cheered when I hung up. Chuck, it was like magic. Five obviously non-working clerks appeared from their playroom in less than one minute and began opening the windows. I've done this twice and made 25 new friends each time. The biggest obstacle to this solution is their resistance to giving out the direct phone numbers for an office. With a little work you can get it, though.”

- News & Views reader John Falk of Redding CA

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Published by:
Chuck Muth
1315 Wilson Point Road
Middle River, MD 21220
E-mail: chuck@chuckmuth.com

Monday

News & Views, 12/27/04


THE SANCTITY OF THE MAIL

“A postal worker was fired and could face charges after federal authorities, acting on a tip, found thousands of pieces of undelivered mail in the letter-carrier's home and garage. U.S. Postal Inspector Brett Brumbaugh said a citizen who discovered more than 500 pieces of undelivered mail contacted law enforcement officials Thursday. He would not elaborate on where the mail was found. The investigation led authorities to search a temporary postal worker's home Friday, Brumbaugh said. He said the mail found at the home included everything from credit card applications to packages to bills. Some of the mail had been opened, he said.”

- Associated Press, 12/22/04

MONEY ORDER THIEF

“A postal manager was charged with stealing $373,000 after allegedly telling clerks he needed blank money orders for official U.S. Postal Service business, according to a federal complaint unsealed Monday. Robert F. Lenz, 55, was charged with two counts each of theft of public money and money laundering. The complaint alleges that Lenz, while working as manager of internal controls for a USPS Processing and Distribution Center, stole postal money orders and engaged in financial transactions to conceal the source of his criminal proceeds.”

- SignOnSanDiego.com, 12/20/04

INQUIRING MINDS WANNA KNOW

Postal workers and officials are always quick to point out that the post office is no longer an actual government agency, but a private entity which just happens to enjoy a government-enforced monopoly. But if the USPS is truly a private, non-government business operation, then why - as reader Lou Cook of Goldboro, NC, points out - doesn’t the post office have to register its vehicles and pay for state license plates like you and I and every other “real” private business around the country?

The idea that the post office is a “private enterprise” is a crock.

POST OFFICE HELL

“I had to return a package so I went down to the Forest Hills, New York post office on Queens Blvd. I went early in the day - I was there just before 9 a.m. on December 8, 2004 - in the mistaken belief that maybe I could complete my simple transaction - sending a small box to Ohio - in a few minutes. I was wrong. When I came in the post office, there were exactly 32 people ahead of me in a line that never seemed to end. And it was early in the day, who knows how many people would be there by midday or at the peak hours?

“There are some seven windows in the office. Two were open. Several employees ambled around the back in the office. Apparently, they were not available to pitch in. Gee, I hope none of the patrons planned on getting to work soon. I hope no one was planning to go somewhere quick. All of us now had a new job - waiting in line at the post office and taking orders from surly civil servants...

“(Thirty minutes later) there were three windows open. Still, the line moved very slowly. Forest Hills residents, who have been sentenced to the cruel and unusual punishment of going to their post office - or any post office - are advised to bring beach chairs, a hot meal and a radio...

“If the government took over the bagel and fruit and vegetable stores many of us would die of hunger waiting to buy our food. Correction, the food would never get there in time. It would be stuck back in New Jersey with my check. Or maybe it would get here, but then they’d have to search for it at the post office. Lenin was right: the postal service pretty well sums up what happens to any institution managed by the state.”

- Columnist Gregory Bresiger

AUNT MINNIE MAIL NO MORE

“As the U.S. Postal Service struggles through the holiday season and its busiest time of the year, John Jose, like many mail carriers around the country, has noticed a difference in his deliveries.
December always meant heavy loads, but in the past few years, the burden has not necessarily been because of Christmas cards. It's all Victoria's Secret catalogs and Macy's and ShopRite advertisements these days,’ said Jose, who has been a carrier in Somerset for 11 years. ‘Personal letters and greeting cards get less every year.’

“The heavier loads may make life tougher for the carriers, but they don't necessarily mean more money for the Postal Service. Catalogs and similar forms of advertising generate much less revenue per delivery than personal mail. And on the flip side, more people are turning to e-mail for personal correspondence, depriving the Postal Service of its traditional main source of cash, first-class mail.”

- Contra Costa Times, 12/25/04

CYCLING TEAM FINDS NEW SPONSOR

Turns out that Lance Armstrong’s cycling team didn’t need to be sponsored by a government-protected, taxpayer-subsidized monopoly after all. In response to growing objections to the USPS spending a bundle on Team Armstrong, the post office announced earlier this year that it was ending its sponsorship.

Not to worry. Team Armstrong picked up a new sponsor for 2005: The Discovery Channel...an actual private enterprise.

CAGW ENDS CYCLE OF PORK

“The US pork barrel patrol Citizens Against Government Waste - a self-appointed guardian of what is and isn't a waste of taxpayer's money - is claiming victory. It and it alone forced the US Postal Service to cease sponsoring Lance Armstrong's pro road team.

“In an end of year report on the group's progress, the right-wing Citizens Against Government Waste claims its criticism ‘led to the United States Postal Service's (USPS) ending its multi-million dollar sponsorship of Lance Armstrong's Pro Cycling Team. At the time of the contract, the agency was losing money even while raising postage rates. USPS claimed the sponsorship generated $18 million; it was found to generate only a measly $684,000.’

“Pork. Best eaten with a pinch of salt.”

- BikeBiz.com, 12/23/04

HOPPING ON THE POSTAL REFORM BANDWAGON

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has committed his administration to privatizing his nation’s postal service and has been pushing strenuously to get it done. Apparently, he must be making some headway, because opponents in his own Liberal Democrat Party last week announced their own postal privatization alternative, saying they hadn’t made a final decision yet on whether or not to support Koizumi’s proposal.

The powers-that-be behind the postal monopoly must really be feeling some pressure...because they’re really starting to push back. The closer you get to the stove, the hotter it gets in the kitchen.

WHAT’S WRONG WITH POSTAL REFORM

“(The) House and Senate (postal reform) bills fall far short of the comprehensive reform that is needed and, in some ways, would make the current situation worse:

* The bills provide for billions of dollars in new subsidies for the Postal Service. The legislation relieves the Postal Service of its obligation to pay postal retirees some $27 billion over the next few decades in pension benefits for prior military service. Instead, the U.S. Treasury would assume this obligation. However, these obligations are Postal Service costs, triggered by retirees' postal employment, and part of the total compensation paid for postal work. Taxpayers should not be saddled with this burden.

* The bills keep in place--or even expand--political restrictions on the USPS's ability to cut costs. For instance, the Postal Service would continue to be banned from closing post offices because they run a deficit. Moreover, the bills ignore a proposal by the President's reform commission to streamline closures of other facilities through a process similar to that used to close unneeded military bases.

* Most of the special privileges enjoyed by the USPS would remain in place, including the most important one: the statutory monopoly that makes it illegal for anyone else to deliver letter mail. This monopoly should be repealed. Short of that, a number of important changes could be made. For example, the President's postal reform commission proposed giving the Postal Regulatory Commission the authority to determine the extent of the monopoly rather than letting the Postal Service define the limits of its own monopoly.

* In addition, the USPS enjoys a monopoly on the use of customers' mailboxes. This also should be repealed. Individual consumers--not the Postal Service--should decide which providers can use their own mailboxes.”

- James Gattuso of the Heritage Foundation

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GOIN’ POSTAL is published by:

Citizen Outreach
Chuck Muth
President/Editor
611 Pennsylvania Ave., SE, #439
Washington, DC 20003
(410) 391-7408

For more information on the issue of postal reform, visit www.postalreform.com