Sunday, October 31, 2010

THE GOP: A ONE HUNDRED YEAR RECORD OF SWINDLING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE

BENEATH THE SPIN • ERIC L. WATTREE

THE GOP: A ONE HUNDRED YEAR RECORD OF SWINDLING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE

In 1921 -- eight years before the great depression -- Republicans took over the helm of this nation for 12 years. During that time there were three Republican administrations, the first of which was the administration of Warren G. Harding. History remembers Harding's administration for one thing more than anything other -- scandal. It was during Harding's presidency that the Teapot Dome Scandal erupted. His administration was considered the most corrupt administration in the history of the United States -- until Nixon's, then Reagan's, and finally Bush's.
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Next, in 1923, came Calvin Coolidge, the president that Ronald Reagan is said to have most admired. Coolidge's policies of large tax cuts, allowing business a free-rein, and his encouragement of stock speculation contributed greatly to the impending stock market crash and the great depression that was to come.
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Then in 1929 Herbert Hoover came to power. During his administration the stock market crashed, starting the great depression. In spite of the fact that by 1933 the unemployment rate was at 33.3% with 16 million people out of work, the Republican, Hoover, just sat, thinking that the economy would eventually rejuvenate itself. During Hoover's administration 15,000 WWI veterans marched on Washington demanding that they be paid what they were owed by the government. Hoover responded by calling in federal troops to throw these ex-servicemen off government property.
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Finally in 1933 Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a liberal democrat, was elected overwhelmingly. He immediately surrounded himself with a group of the finest minds in the country, including Columbia professors Adolph A. Berle, Jr., Rexford G. Tugwell, and Raymond Moley, known at the time as the "Brain Trust." After assembling these men and others he went about the business of developing a" New Deal" for the working class people of this country.
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The New Deal had two components -- one to help the economy to recover from the effects of the great depression, and a second component to give relief to the American people and to insure that they were never be placed in a position of total destitution again. To help heal the economy Roosevelt created programs that regulated business, controlled inflation, and brought about price stabilization; to bring relief to the people he signed The National Labor Relations Act which guaranteed workers the right to collective bargaining, and he created the Social Security Administration to guarantee workers some sort of income once they became too old to work. He also signed the Fair Labor Standards Act which protected workers rights and set a minimum wage for workers.
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With his New Deal in place Franklin Delano Roosevelt, this "bleeding heart liberal", not only led this country out of the worst, Republican generated, crisis that this country has ever faced, but went on to lead the free world in victory over Hitler in WWII. He then ushered in the most sustained prosperity that the world has ever known.
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One would think that conservatives would have seen the light, but their passion to further enrich the wealthy at the expense of the middle and lower classes seems to supersede all logic. Therefore, from the moment that the New Deal went into place, conservatives have been determined to dismantle it. The closest they've come to succeeding started during the Reagan administration with Supply-Side Economics, or, "Reaganomics" -- and the battle is currently raging in Washington D.C. as we speak.
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Supply- Side Economics was a scheme hatch by U.S.C. economist Arthur Laffer and the Reagan crowd which was supposed to cut the deficit and balance the budget. The theory behind Reaganomics was ostensibly, if you cut taxes for business and people in the upper tax brackets, and then deregulated business of such nuisances as safety regulations and environmental safeguards, the beneficiaries would invest their savings into creating new jobs. In that way the money would eventually "trickle down" to the rest of us. The resulting broadened tax base would not only help to bring down the deficit, but also subsidize the tremendously high defense budget. When the plan was first floated, even George Bush, Reagan's vice president to be, called it "voodoo economics."
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Reaganomics, for the most part, sought to undo many of the safeguards put into place during the Roosevelt era and create a business environment similar to that which was in place during the Coolidge Administration. What actually took place, however, was even more like the Coolidge era than planed.
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Instead of taking the money and investing it into creating new jobs, the money was used in wild schemes and stock market speculation. One of these schemes, the leveraged buy out, involved buying up large companies with borrowed funds secured by the company's assets, then paying off the loan by selling off the assets of the purchased company. This practice cost the citizens of this country its industrial base. In addition, the bottom fell out of the stock market. On Monday, October 19, 1987 the Dow-Jones Average fell 508.32 points. It was the greatest one-day decline since 1914 - 15 years before the Great Depression.
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And what about Ronald Reagan's promise to balance the budget and lower the deficit? By the time he left office he was not only the most prolific spender of any president, but he also added more to the deficit than all of the other presidents from George Washington to his own administration combined. And what does the Republican Party propose to do about that? One of the Republican proposals was their "contract with America," a capitol gains tax cut -- for the rich.
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Due to the continued freewheeling fiscal policies of conservative Republicans, between 1986 and 1989, spanning the presidencies of Reagan and Bush Sr., the FSLIC had to pay off all the depositors of 296 institutions with assets of over $125 billion.
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Then in 1988 Silverado Savings and Loan collapsed, costing the taxpayers $1.3 billion. It was headed by Neil Bush, brother of George W. The investigation alleged that he was guilty of "breaches of his fiduciary duties involving multiple conflicts of interest." The issue was eventually settled out of court with Bush paying a mere $50,000 settlement.
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Then there was the Lincoln Savings and loan scandal in 1987, involving John McCain. The scandal was very similar to the one that is currently playing out on Wall Street. He was one of a group of senators dubbed "The Keating Five" involved in a scandal by the same name.
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In 1976 Charles Keating moved to Arizona to run the American Continental Corporation. In 1984, shortly after the Reagan era push to deregulate the savings and loan community, Keating bought Lincoln Savings and Loan and began to engage in highly risky investments with the depositors' savings. In 1989 the parent company, which Keating headed, went bankrupt, and it resulted in over 21,000 investors losing their life savings. Most of the investors were elderly, and the loss amounted to about 285 million dollars.
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After having received over a million dollars from Keating in illegal campaign contributions, gifts, free trips, and other gratuities, the Keating Five--Senators John Glenn, Don Riegle, Dennis DeConini, Alan Cranston, and Sen. John McCain--attempted to intervene in the investigation into Keating's activities by the regulators. Later, they were admonished to varying degrees by the senate for attempting to influence regulators on Keating's behalf. Charles Keating ended up being convicted for fraud, racketeering and conspiracy, for which he received 10 years by the state court, and a 12 year sentence in federal court. After spending four and a half years in prison, his convictions were overturned. But prior to being retried, he pled guilty to a number of felonies in return for a sentence of time served.
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Then came the George W. Bush administration that caused close to a million people to die uselessly in an illegal war in Iraq, robbed the American people blind, whose fumbling ignited the longest war in American history in Afghanistan, and whose greed came very close to sending the nation into yet another depression.
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Now, after all of their repeated efforts to deplete the national treasury, they're unanimously voting against every piece of legislation that the Democrats propose to repair the damage they created, and to bring relief to the American people. Then they have the audacity to claim that they're doing it because they're concerned about deficit spending.
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They're against affordable health care for American families; they're against any kind of spending to put Americans back to work, and they're against extending unemployment insurance to relieve the burden of America's unemployed. What's particularly telling, however, is they're also against any kind of strong legislation to prevent the financial community (them) from being able to rob the American people in the future.
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The fact is, what they really wanted was to maintain the status quo, and make damn sure that the American people remained miserable, hungry, and divided until 2012 elections so they'd have a better chance to regain power and raid the treasury again. Republican Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, was frustrated and reckless enough to say it out loud - "Our No. 1 priority is to make this president a one-term president" - not to save America, or to bring relief to the American people, but to make Barack Obama a one-term president. Flag pens in lapels and patriotic rhetoric notwithstanding, that says it all about the GOP's lack of concern for America, or the American people.
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Now that they've lost the election, their agenda has shifted to making sure that President Obama is not successful, because if he is, and you combine that with the rapidly changing demographic and Hillary Clinton's popularity, that could spell doom for the future of the GOP - and it should, because they're grossly out of touch with reality, and, America's best interest. They're out to create a corporate feudalist society. The government shutdown alone, clearly demonstrates that they have absolutely no respect for democracy.
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And this is not just political rhetoric. Here is the activity of the Republican congress who ran in the 2010 election on their claim that their number one priority was to bring economic relief, and create jobs for the American people:
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History is clear. The conservative Republicans don't mind spending money, they just don't want to spend it on those who need it - us. Remember, they're the party of Alexander Hamilton, one of this country's founding fathers who believed that only those who owned property should even be allowed to vote. He also said:
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"All communities divide themselves into the few and the many. The first are the rich and wellborn, the other the mass of the people.... The people are turbulent and changing; they seldom judge or determine right. Give therefore to the first class a distinct, permanent share in government. They will check the unsteadiness of the second, and as they cannot receive any advantage by a change, they therefore will ever maintain good government." Debates of the Federalist Convention (May 14-September 17, 1787).
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So, let's set the record straight. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, that "bleeding heart liberal", not only brought the nation back from the Great Depression and saved the world from Hitler during his life, but his "New Deal" for the American people gave us the greatest prosperity we've ever known, and allowed him to reach back from the grave to save the nation from Ronald Reagan 50 years after his death.
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That isn't to say that the liberal Democratic philosophy corners the market on what is in the best interest of the nation -- it is clear that both parties have had illustrious moments in the past -- but rather, this is one of those defining issues in American politics that determines whether this is to be a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, or a government where the citizens or nothing more than disposable resources for big business.
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In the past the Democratic Party has always been there to draw a line in the sand on this issue, but in recent history the liberal philosophy has been distorted to the point that even Democrats are distancing themselves from their own political philosophy.
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But what makes America great, are those dramatic moments in American politics when that one individual has the courage to put everything on the line to defend, protect, and save the American people from disaster. And the annals of modern American history will clearly show that during those moments, it was a "bleeding heart liberal" that stepped up to the plate. First FDR, then Bill Clinton, and now Barack Hussein Obama.
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Thus, future historians will record that there is nothing more honorable in American politics than a bleeding heart . . . because their hearts bleed for America.


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Eric L. Wattree
wattree.blogspot.com
Ewattree@Gmail.com
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Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Has the United States Postal Service Become a Criminal Enterprise?

BENEATH THE SPIN • ERIC L. WATTREE

The behavior of the United States Postal Service has become intolerable. The agency's gross abuse of its employees has come to rival that of a third world country. It's essential that we bring the following example of citizen abuse to an end in this country, because postal employees are just the beginning. If we simply sit around and quietly allow this kind of  corruption to go on, in time, the entire American middle class will be reduced to the status of field hands.

In the new global economy, businesses that were once American corporations are now multinational. They no longer depend on the American middle class to either buy or produce their goods. They can now send our jobs overseas and give them to foreign workers who earn less per week than many of us spend on lunch per day. So the American middle class standard of living has become a liability to the corporate bottom line. 

We used to be able to depend on our government to protect out interests, but what's currently going on in the postal service clearly demonstrates that's no longer the case. The behavior of the U.S. Postal Service clearly indicates that our government has begun to embrace the very same abusive business tactics as the private corporations that they're suppose to protect us against. Thus, it's time to use our political clout to push back.

The interest of the American poor and middle class will never be secure until we make the jobs of the political class insecure.

"A citizenry of sheep begets a government of wolves."
Edward R. Murrow

October 20, 2010

JoAnn Snow
City Carrier
Los Angeles District
Official Statement in Response to Notice of 14-Day Suspension

In accordance with Article 15 of the USPS/NALC National Agreement, I, JoAnn Snow, hereby file this official statement in response to the Notice of 14-Day Suspension issued to me on September 27, 2010 by the United States Postal Service. The document reads in part:

All Postal employees with time-keeping responsibilities are required to maintain time-keeping and pay records in strict compliance with postal regulations. When acting in a management position, employees with time-keeping access are aware that coworkers are to be compensated appropriately for work performed. Our regulations also require that clock rings accurately reflect the pay and work status of our employees. The postal Service has recently become aware that you have made time record entries for coworkers that were improper.

Postal Records reflect you entered numerous clock rings for craft employees Terria Clausell and Barbara Elzie that were improper and may have reflected the employees worked fewer hours than they actually worked. You made the entries for these employees which did not report directly to you.

I'm challenging the above action on the grounds that it is nonprogressive, punitive, untimely, and the facts as presented are ridiculously contrived. In addition, the charges brought against me are a blatant and unconscionable exercise in reprisal within the meaning of 5 USC 2302 (9) (a) of the federal code, which reads as follows:

Any employee who has authority to take, direct others to take, recommend, or approve any personnel action, shall not, with respect to such authority take or fail to take, or threaten to take or fail to take, any personnel action against an employee or applicant for employment for the exercise of any appeal, complaint, or grievance right granted by any law, rule, or regulation.

Falsifying Clock Rings

The charges indicate that I entered numerous clock rings for craft employees that didn't report directly to me. What they didn't say, however, was that it was the station's policy that 204Bs (acting supervisors) not hit the clock. In addition, 204Bs were also instructed not to enter their own time. Thus, the facts will show that the above notice of suspension has been issued to me for nothing more than the egregious offense of following instructions, and having the audacity to complain when my time was stolen. The matter that actually needs to be investigated, therefore, is why 204Bs are not allowed to hit the clock in the first place. Every 204B in the district clearly understands the reason why - because any time worked over 10 hours constitutes penalty overtime which requires the agency to pay the employee double time, and 204Bs routinely work between 12 and 16 hours a day, time that the district demands, but refuses to pay for.

In addition, the charges seem to indicate that when I entered a 204Bs time, it was my intent to deprive them of compensation that they were entitle to as a result of gainful employment. But the fact is, as the evening supervisor, I didn't get in until after 12 p.m., so I had no personal knowledge of how many hours the morning supervisors worked. I simply had to rely on the information that they provided me, so if they worked 14 hours and told me that they only worked 10, I entered 10 hours.

And further, the charges lodged against me lack both intent and motive. If the postal service's policies are indeed as laid out in the complaint, what motive would I have to deprive any employee of wages earned through gainful employment - it's not my money? Thus, if the employees were cheated out of hours, they cheated themselves as a result of the intimidation leveraged against them to adhere to the district's illegal policy of time fraud - and that is routinely the case.

Clear evidence of my contention is indicated in a memo sent out by Area Manager Joe Digiacomo to the supervisors in his area. It states the following:

Sent: Monday, February 01, 2010 11:28 AM
Effective Tuesday, Feb 2, 2010 all delivery supervisors will be required to stay until all their carriers are back. Unless specifically documented and requested, no extra time will be given without my personal approval. No exceptions!

Any questions, call me.
Thanks
Joe Digiacomo SOM-2

Delivery supervisors are generally in the office by 6 a.m., and carriers are often on the street until after 8 p.m. So the above memo is instructing delivery supervisors that they must work that overtime without pay. Therefore, the above memo is grossly inconsistent with management's contention that "When acting in a management position, employees with time-keeping access are aware that coworkers are to be compensated appropriately for work performed." This clearly shows that while the postal service is preaching integrity out of one side of its mouth, it's threatening its employees not to hit the clock out of the other. So after getting such a memo, if a 204B worked 16 hours, what are the chances that they're going to tell me that? Yet, after the gross intimidation of its employees not to report the time they actually worked, the postal service now want to hold me responsible for the employees under-reporting their time. Thus, the action taken against me represents the very height of hypocrisy.

The Postal Service's History of Time Fraud

The theft of employee time that's going on here in the Los Angeles district is far from an aberration. The postal service has clearly adopted time fraud as a national business strategy. One law suit against the postal service alleged that time fraud against its employees is so rampant and widespread that it constitutes a criminal enterprise. The attorney in the case actually tried to charge the postal service with violation of the RICO Act (The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act), the law passed by congress to go after the Mafia - and the postal service didn't deny the charge. Instead, it simply petitioned the court to throw out the allegation based on the fact that a government agency can't be charged with engaging in a criminal enterprise:

The USPS has petitioned the District Court to dismiss a lawsuit that accuses postal officials of intentionally deleting parts of employees' Time Records to Avoid Paying Overtime. The suit alleges USPS violated the RICO, Privacy and FLSA Acts. However, USPS argues, " The Postal Service is not Subject to RICO liability As Part of the Federal Government; and "Postal Service Officials Cannot Be Held Criminally liable for Acts Committed in Their Official Capacity." Donahue vs FBI (pdf) . The petition further states "the Supreme Court observed ( in USPS vs Flamingo Industries (pdf) ) that while the Postal Reorganization Act of 1971 may have waived the Postal Service's immunity from suit, it...did not strip it of its governmental status."

In New Hampshire, Congressman Paul Hodes (D-N.H.) called on the United States Postal Service to present a plan to fully reimburse postal workers for the wages they have lost as a result of managers manipulating their timecards." The congressman went on to say:

“It has been weeks and the hard-working employees at these post offices are still waiting for answers,” said Congressman Hodes. “The USPS should immediately present a plan to ensure that workers are immediately reimbursed for their lost wages, and that appropriate disciplinary action is taken. Those individuals responsible for cheating New Hampshire families out of hard earned wages must be held accountable . . . In May of this year, I wrote to USPS Inspector General David Williams requesting that his office investigate claims that the United States Postal Service had altered letter carriers’ timesheets on an electronic time system for the last six years. "

On December 2, 2009, Arbitrator Sherrie Rose Talmadge said in her decision against the postal service for time fraud that "Management’s violations were so egregious over a period of many years that punitive damages were awarded to deter the service from further clock ring violations.”

And finally, just this past week Barbara Stickler, president of Branch 1100 of the National Association of Letter Carriers, led her branch in picketing the Long Beach postmaster for harassment, intimidation, and time fraud, and another round of picking is scheduled for early November.  Ms. Stickler said the following:

While Management everywhere is pushing Letter Carriers to do their routes and part of another route in an impossible time frame, Long Beach management has taken it to new heights. Long Beach management is consistently violating the parties collective bargaining agreement with their abusive remarks and creative discipline. Management is on a rampage destroying its very own employees. Letter Carriers are brought into the office and threatened with discipline if they do not make the delivery times arbitrarily created based on projected times and inappropriate deductions, and have been disciplined for not making these illegitimate standards. Additionally, the union is investigating several cases of management falsifying clock rings for the entire office. 

Background on Previous Complaint and Reprisal

The current action is in reprisal for a complaint that I filed against the postal service after becoming the victim of  time fraud. This is an accurate portrayal of what took place thereafter, as related in an article that appeared in the Los Angeles Sentinel:

I recently found out that a friend of mine was the victim of repeated instances of forced labor and time fraud committed by her manager in the U.S. Postal Service. When I first became aware of it I was shocked, but not alarmed. I thought I could simply contact the OIG's office and have it, and the manager involved, taken care of. I was certain that the OIG would be anxious to investigate the matter and get the offending culprit out of their midst. But to my amazement it not only took two reports, but over a month before I was even contacted on the matter.

Then when I finally was contacted and explained to the OIG inspector, Special Agent Reid Robbins, that a postal manager, Marcie Luna, was forcing an employee to work between four and six hours a day without pay, and was committing fraud by falsifying a government document and changing the employee's official clock rings to reflect a three (3) hour lunch that the employee wasn't permitted to take, I was essentially met with a yawn: "And who are you? How do you know this employee?"

Then after we finally got past what felt like an interrogation to determine whether or not I had a right to NOT mind my own business, Agent Robbins went on to explain that the OIG's office generally doesn't investigate time issues - which was a blatant lie (they just don't investigate it when the government is doing the stealing).

Then after giving the matter further thought, I began to ask myself, "What kind of crime fighting organization doesn't fight crime?" It is my understanding that the Postal Inspection Service investigate external crimes against the postal service, and the Office of Inspector General investigate internal crimes within the postal service. So if the OIG doesn't investigate the intimidation and coercion necessary to force an employee to work six hours a day for free, or the falsification of documents necessary to steal an employee's wages, the OIG must not consider employee abuse a crime.

So I attempted to contact Agent Robbins at the number he provided, but he failed to return my calls, even after six attempts. So I decided to leave a message on his voice mail asking him the following questions: 1) Whose office would handle the matter if the situation was reversed, and the employee worked only eight hours and falsified her time to be paid for twelve? 2). Whose office would handle the falsification of government documents? And finally, is he going to investigate the matter, and will anyone be held accountable for the commission of this crime?

I have yet to receive a response.

But it doesn't stop there. The next day the employee involved called to advise me that Agent Robbins had contacted her. She went on to say that he seemed to be more interested in how she knew me than he was the crime that had been committed against her. She also said his tone was aggressive and intimidating, and he told her that when she accepted the job of acting supervisor, working overtime without pay came with the job - another blatant lie.

The National Association of Postal Supervisors advised me that a certified supervisor can be required to work a maximum of 30 minutes without pay (in emergencies), 204Bs (acting supervisors) who are covered under various craft employee contracts must be paid for every minute they work. We know this information to be accurate because if it wasn't, it wouldn't have been necessary for the manager to falsify government documents to achieve her objective, to rob the employee.

But even worse than giving the employee inaccurate information, and failing to investigate the complaint, Agent Robbins also revealed both the complaint, and the nature of the complaint to postal management, and that's supposed to be confidential information.

As a direct result, this highly productive employee who has held the same position for over twenty-one years - longer in the same position than any other supervisor, manager, or postmaster in the Los Angeles district - has been demoted by a manager who didn't even entered the postal service until six years after the employee was a productive supervisor. And even worse, while the manager, Ms. Marci Luna, who had recently been demoted from area manager herself, was informing the employee of her demotion, she allegedly commented to the employee, "I just want you to see how it feels when the postal service doesn't appreciate all that you've done for them."

What!!? Is this manager actually saying that she wants the employee to suffer because she feels that she's suffered an injustice? How was the employee responsible for the manager's demotion?

In the interest of full disclosure, I became personally (but objectively) involved in this matter because I know it to be particularly egregious based on my personal knowledge of the employee involved. It also speaks directly to an issue that I've been addressing in many columns and is of particular interest to me - the negative impact of America's new business model on the middle class. So while admittedly, I know the subject of this piece personally, the facts in this case alone clearly demonstrate the business community's full-throated assault on the America middle class.

The character of the manager and agencies mandated to protect the rights of the employee is clearly revealed through the facts in this case.

The federal law is clear. 18 U.S.C. § 1001 reads as follows:

"Except as otherwise provided in this section, whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully - (1) falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact; (2) makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or (3) makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry; shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years or, if the offense involves international or domestic terrorism (as defined in section 2331), imprisoned not more than 8 years, or both."

If that is indeed the law of the land, then why did the postal service and the Office of Inspector General allow Station Manager Marci Luna to falsify Ms. Joann Snow's clock rings and insert three hour lunch breaks that she didn't take? Then, when it was reported to the OIG, instead of the appropriate action being taken against Ms. Luna, Special Agent Reid Robbins of the OIG interrogated Ms. Snow. He treated her like SHE was the criminal for allowing it to be reported (Who is the guy who reported this? How do you know him? Didn't you know that working without pay goes with the job?).

They placed so much work on this employee that by the time she was finally ready to close the station, she didn't have to because the morning tour was showing up for work. And instead of going home, she checked into a motel across the street from the post office.

Then, while still at the motel, she received a conference call from Station Manager Marci Luna and Area Manager Tyrone Williams wanting to know why she hit the clock to be paid. When she told them that they had placed too many additional responsibilities on her, Area Manager Tyrone Williams is alleged to have told her that she sounds like a carrier and she simply wasn't using her time wisely - this, to an employee that's been doing the same job for twenty-one years with nothing but praise for her efforts.

The following is a letter from her former manager:

I was the Manager of Customer Service at Bicentennial Station in Los Angeles from 1997 until I retired in 2001. I was Ms Snow's manager during this time. Prior to coming to Bicentennial Station, the two previous managers, Lloyd Curtis and James Barnett had apprised me of Ms Snow's supervisory skills and total dedication to duty and company. Upon coming to the unit I was not disappointed and found all they had told me concerning Ms Snow was true.

Ms. Snow was one of my closing and weekend supervisors. She had an exceptional knowledge of the overall operation and excelled at running a difficult unit and she required little to no supervision. She could be counted on to work beyond what was normally considered an average work day without complaint. She always finished her assignments no matter how long her day was extended and this included weekends. She has excellent interpersonal skills which you need supervising the diverse workforce at Bicentennial Station. Ms Snow exceeded my expectations relative to handling my business customers and resolving complaints. In addition to all of this, Ms. Snow would routinely call the office on her scheduled off day to see how things were going and offer her assistance if needed.

Joann Snow proved to be an invaluable asset and even now in retirement, I often think of her and thank her when I talk to her for helping make my tour at Bicentennial successful.
Sincerely,
Eugene Jeffries


I was demoted immediately upon speaking to the Office of Inspector General regarding having my time stolen. Yet, Area Manager Tyrone Williams indicated in his statement that I filed a grievance because I was demoted, or in his words, "because she was informed that her higher level detail would be ended because the four supervisor vacancies were filled at this office."

His reason for my demotion might have rang true if it were not for the fact that Barbara Elzie, the other 204B in the station remained in place, and is still a 204B at this writing. In addition, while I was issued a Notice of 14 Suspension on September 27, 2010 for entering Ms. Elzie's time, at this writing, a month later, she hasn't been issued any corrective action for entering my time.

Punitive, Nonprogressive, and Untimely Action

About three months after I file my grievance for time fraud I was contacted by Labor Relations Manager Steve Marney. I assumed the investigative interview was to get clarification of my complaint, but it turned out that he wasn't investigating the time being stolen from me at all.  Instead, he accused me of doing the same thing to Barbara Elzie and Terria Clausell that I was complaining about, but I wasn't having that. I told him that I'd been a supervisor for 21 years, and in all of those years I had never stolen a penny from any employee. I also told him that if he could show where I had stolen from an employee, he wouldn't have to bring corrective action against me, I'd leave the postal service on my own accord.  So his attempt at intimidation didn't work.

Then he offered to pay me several thousand dollars in back pay because, he said, "It was the right thing to do." But there was a quid pro quo - I had to drop my demand that Manager Marci Luna and Area Manager Tyrone Williams be fired for conspiring to steal my time. But I refused to accept that remedy because this is not just about me. I represent thousands of postal workers across this country. While I'm not a crusader by nature, now that I've been placed in this position I'm not going to turn my back on that responsibility. Somebody has got to stand up and say enough is enough, so I guess I've been chosen by fate to be that person.

The resolution that Mr. Marney suggested is how the postal service has been getting away with this corruption for so long. Whenever any employee refuses to succumb to intimidation, they offer them money to sweep the matter under the rug. Giving me eight or nine thousand dollars wouldn't be anything but a business expense to the postal service, because the agency is stealing millions of dollars a day from its employees. So I made it clear that I wasn't going to go for that. The only way that we're going to stop managers and supervisors from stealing the hard earned wages of employees is to set a precedent that makes it clear to all management personnel that if they engage in time fraud and falsifying government documents they're going to lose their jobs, go to jail, or both, just as the law prescribes.

So that's why I've received this untimely and punitive action - it's yet another attempt at intimidation. I had my investigative interview on June 17th, yet I didn't get a notice of suspension until September 27th. That's untimely. In addition, I've never had any previous corrective action, so it's also nonprogressive. And finally, everything I've said in this statement clearly demonstrates that this action is punitive.

In closing, I'd like to predict in advance that the postal service is going to leave no stone unturned in their attempt to avoid providing me with the TACS documents that I requested in discovery, because they're under no illusion that those documents will prove beyond a doubt that they're robbing their employees blind.

JoAnn Snow
Regular Carrier
Los Angeles district
Date:


Eric L. Wattree
wattree.blogspot.com
Ewattree@Gmail.com
Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Do You Trust the Republicans to Show You Christian Charity?

BENEATH THE SPIN • ERIC L. WATTREE

Do You Trust the Republicans to Show You Christian Charity?

Let me ask you the above question again. Do You Trust the Republicans to show you Christian Charity? Many of you need to think about that, because when you hear those Teabaggers out there screaming that they want their country back, their corporate masters are depending on the fact that they've done enough damage to our educational system where many of you won't know what that really means. In fact, many of the Teabaggers don't know what it means.  If they did, they wouldn't be out there.

What many Teabaggers don't seem to realize is that corporate conservatives are using them like pawns to promote their own enslavement.  They're using the bigotry of many of the social conservatives to carry out an agenda that they've been embarked upon since the end of the Great Depression - to undo the New Deal, which brought about all of the safety nets that serve to protect the economic lives of the poor and middle class.

These corporate slave masters are intent upon the destruction of social security, medicare, The Fair Labor Standards Act, and every other program that was designed to protect the people's interest. Then, in their own words, they want to "make government small enough to drown in a bathtub" - or in plain language, too small to protect the interest of the American people.

Admittedly, their thirty-year program to take control over the lives of the American people has been ingenious. First, they destroyed the unions, then they destroyed the American educational system, and now we're left with an emerging political class that is easily control, because they're so dumb that even if they wanted to do the right thing, they're so undereducated that they know absolutely nothing about the principles that this nation was founded upon.

In a debate at Widener Law School, Christine O'Donnell, Tea Party candidate for the United States Senate from Delaware, gave the law students a big laugh when she denied, then asked her opponent where the separation of church and state could be found in the U.S. Constitution. Ms. O'Donnell has also made other remarks that have betrayed the astonishing breadth of her ignorance.  She claimed, for example, that scientists have cloned mice that have human brains.



The Tea Party is running people like O'Donnell all across the country, people who have made such ridiculous statements that they've had to literally run from the press to avoid having to explain themselves.  Are these the kind of people that we can trust to protect our interest against the corporate encroachment on our rights in the United States Senate? I don't think so.

So our corporate slave masters are already in the process of enslaving the Teabaggers right along with the rest of us by pouring millions of dollars into the campaigns of easily controlled politicians like Christine O'Donnell and others.  But many of the Teabaggers are either too dumb or too blinded by bigotry to understand that this time our enslavement is going to be by class rather than simply race, and by the time they realize what's going on, it's going to be too late.

But is it really possible that it could happen in America?  Wake up people - it already has:

“Come here fool and let me teach yo crazy, animal butt about the Lord. The first thing you got to learn is to Love thy Neighbor - especially me.”

“Yas sir, Massa.

“Shut up, fool. I’m talkin’."

We're just a tea bag away from that kind of "American exceptionalism."  Maybe not to that extent, but you can never be sure, because the atrocities  of the Bush administration makes it clear that these are people without limits.

That "shining light on the hill" that they're always bragging about was actually a plantation, and Black people could still be living under those conditions today if it were not for the many good people who decided that it was worth sacrificing their lives in the bloodiest war in this nation's history to stamp it out. But it's up to us to remain free, so what's so important in your life that you can't even sacrifice a few minutes to vote?

Do you get on your knees every month and pray that God stop the utility company from cutting off your lights? No you don't - you don't have to, because God answered your prayers in advance by blessing you with the common sense to go pay the light bill.

The same is true of your freedom. It's not going to do a bit of good to get on your knees and beg God to protect your civil rights if you don't vote. God helps those who help themselves. So if you don't use the common sense that he gave you and vote to protect your rights, the lights of this free society are going to be shut off just as surely as the lights in your home will be shut off if you don't pay the light bill.

Thus, all of our childrens' tomorrows may be directly dependent upon our gettin' up off our asses today.



Eric L. Wattree
wattree.blogspot.com

Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

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Tuesday, October 05, 2010

The American Propaganda Machine

BENEATH THE SPIN • ERIC L. WATTREE

The American Propaganda Machine

The American propaganda machine tells us that Muslims are a hostile people who hate American freedom. The most cursory examination of that claim reveals that the evidence the claim is based upon is highly flawed, yet the American people have been persuaded that it's true. That suggests that the American people have learned nothing from our experience with the Nazis, and it also suggests that the biggest threat to America is the propaganda machine itself.

The primary argument against the claim that Muslims are inherently hostile toward America is the fact that we had absolutely no problem with Muslims at all until we, Western "Christians" and "Jews," began our imperialistic excursion into the Middle East. Prior to that time Muslims were content to be left alone to practice their religion in their own lands.

So when we consider Muslim hostility towards America we must keep two things in mind. First, we need to consider all the hell we're raising over the loss of 3000 citizens during 9/11. If we've been impacted to our core over the loss of 3000 Americans, how do you think Muslims feel over the loss of hundreds of thousands of their people resulting from the unjust and illegal invasion of Iraq? And secondly, we must remember that while we're quick to call Muslims aggressors, we're invading their countries, they're not invading ours.

Atomic Bomb victimAmericans tend to believe that American lives are more valuable than the lives of other people. When Americans are killed we never stop talking about it. It, literally, goes down in the history books. But when we kill innocent women and children in other countries we simply say, "Oops, sorry 'bout that," then expect the people to forget about it.

Look at what Obama said about Bush and Cheney's war crimes - "We want to look forward, not back." What the hell is he talking about? Bush killed close to a million people for nothing more than corporate greed. How can we expect to dismiss the killing of a million men, women, and children by simply saying, let's let bygones be bygones? One can only wonder if Obama would have taken that position if his family had been among that million? Somehow, I doubt it.

It was that one remark that opened my eyes regarding our president. While I consider Obama the best that we've got, I also recognize that he's far from an angel.  The remark served to remind me that Obama is also the product of a propaganda machine - his own. So while I continue to support Obama (mainly, because there's no viable alternative), I never allow myself to forget that even though he's an impressive man, he's also a politician, not the Messiah.

Americans need to recognize that life is not a football game. It's not good enough to just pull for our side, regardless to whether we're talking about the nation, political parties, or individual politicians.  We should always pull for justice, period - regardless to whose political ox it gores.  Because if we continue to allow the various propaganda machines to cloud our minds to the truth, none of us will be safe. It's Muslims who are being demonized today, but tomorrow it may be Blacks, Hispanics, Jews, activists, the entire middle class, or whatever group is convenient to meet our rulers' needs. And yes, I said rulers, because those who control our minds, control our destiny.

The propaganda machine is an insidious device, because it tells us what we want to hear, and helps us hide what we don't want to see, so it has the seductive properties of a drug. Take the issue of terrorism for example. Terrorism is defined as the killing of innocent noncombatants for political gain. Keeping that definition in mind, we must not forget that we are the ONLY country on Earth who has ever dropped an atomic bomb on not one, but two cities, killing and maiming hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women, and children indiscriminately. As horrible as 9/11 was, the horror of that atrocity makes 9/11 look insignificant.

But accepting the fact that we committed such a horrible atrocity is inconsistent with the image that we so passionately embrace of "that shining light on the hill," so our propaganda machine swung into action.  It helped us to justify that action by convincing us that we only did it to save the lives of thousands of American troops. But there's a very serious flaw in that argument. By embracng that argument it affirms that we accept the fact that there are times when terrorism is justified. Thus, by our own definition the United States is, in fact, a terrorist state. So the fact is, the only difference between Muslim terrorists and American, or "Christian," terrorists is that we have a much more efficient delivery system.

Now, before someone gets upset and start shouting that I'm un-American, please remember that truth and justice is the American way - and what I've just told you is both true and just. What I've said here is not simply my opinion. Every word I've written is verifiable, and based on pure logic - and like mathematics, logic doesn't lie.


Eric L. Wattree
wattree.blogspot.com
Ewattree@Gmail.com

Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

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