Monday, February 07, 2011

In President Obama's Own Words, the U.S. Postal Service is Guilty of Human Rights Abuse


In President Obama's Own Words, the U.S. Postal Service is Guilty of Human Rights Abuse

President Obama is undoubtedly a very intelligent man, so I'm sure it wasn't lost on him why he found himself walking on eggshells when the Egyptian people rose up against the corruption and human rights abuses of President Hosni Mubarak. The incident demonstrates two points unequivocally. First, we need to stop trying to talk out of both sides of our mouths, because nobody is fooled by it; and secondly, while compromise is generally a very good thing, compromising with the Devil is not compromise at all. It's collusion, regardless to whether we're talking about dictators abroad, or corporatists here at home.

It was embarrassing having to watch the president struggle to find just the right tone for his response, especially after the way we're always foaming at the mouth about freedom, justice, and democracy. Because the fact is, truth has no tone. It's simply truth. So if the United States government is truly in support of justice and democracy as we claim to be, why couldn't the president just say so instead of tap dancing around the issue in order to give cover to a tyrant?  I know that sounds simplistic, but truth tends to cater to simplicity.

The reason for his tepid response is clear. While we love to pay lip service to freedom, justice, and democracy when the spotlight is upon us, we have a long history of playing footsie with people like President Mubarak, and many other dictators around the world, when the lights are out. We've been in collusion with dictators who subjugate their people throughout our history, and now we're in collusion with international corporations in the subjugation of our own people.

Clear evidence of that collusion can be found in the fact that in spite of record profits by major corporations in this country, unemployment remains high. The primary reason for the continuing high unemployment rate is that the corporations are purposely sending our jobs overseas and the banks are refusing to make loans to small businesses in order to get the American middle class accustomed to accepting a lower standard of living. The tactic is also used to restore the GOP to power, and thus, the status quo.

If the American people would simply take a moment to think instead allowing the corporate noise machine to think for them, they would recognize the fallacy in the GOP claim that pampering the top 2% of the population will create jobs and enhance the lives of the middle class. The GOP had thirty years to prove that theory, yet every Republican administration since, and including, Ronald Reagan's have been an abject failure in managing the economy. President Obama has created more jobs in his first two years than Bush did during his entire presidency.

That's why Obama's base is so frustrated. They're disgusted by his accommodationist attitude. While the GOP is aggressively destroying the country by chipping away at the middle class, sending our jobs overseas, passing ridiculous rulings like Citizens United, assaulting our educational system, polluting our environment, and taking over our media, he's talking about compromise. He doesn't seem to understand that some issues are worth fighting for - like the rule of law, for example.

The American people need to wake up, face reality, and stop being blinded by GOP public relations manuals. Here's one example of the gross hypocrisy that's serving to open my eyes. In a speech given in Cairo in June of 2009 President Obama said the following:

But I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn't steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose. These are not just American ideas; they are human rights. And that is why we will support them everywhere.

"Everywhere," Mr. President? Why don't we simply start right here in your very own United States Postal Service? Unless President Mubarak is physically torturing his citizens, he couldn't possibly be treating his people any worse than your agency is treating its employees. If what's currently going on in the postal service wasn't so tragic, your words would be absolutely laughable.

In your Cairo speech you said, all people yearn for confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice, yet you improperly intervened in the administration of justice by preventing your attorney general from holding Bush and Cheney accountable for their war crimes, rendering them a class above the law. And in your very own postal service, while you have craft employees being fired for accepting one coupon from a customer, you have executives falsifying governments documents to steal millions of dollars a day in wages from gainfully employed workers with complete impunity. In addition, the failed postmaster who reigned over the employee abuse walked away from a nearly bankrupted postal service as a multimillionaire. How does that differ from what President Mubarak is engaged in?

There are those who say you must not know what's going on. I find that hard to believe. I think the United States has simply embraced a new business model in order to accommodate corporate greed. That's why the poor and middle class are suffering while the top 10% are living higher on the hog than at any other time in our history - they no longer even feel obliged to help defend the nation. Dying for our country is a job for the "little people."

Listen to an objective view of what you're allowing to happen on your watch. In his book, Beyond Going, Postal Dr. Steve Musacco, a therapist and organizational psychologist with thirty years experience in the postal service, said the following:

"On the morning of June 2, 2009, a city letter carrier went to work and reportedly fatally shot himself in the head in the locker room at a postal facility in Gastonia, North Carolina . . . Prior to my retirement from the USPS, at a former district I worked for, there were three suicides within a two year period that I concluded were contributed to in significant part by how these employees were treated in the workplace. The third employee, a city letter carrier, fatally shot himself in a postal jeep and left a letter stating that he could no longer take the job. The night before he committed suicide he told his wife he did not know if he would be able to handle his job anymore. How do I know? His wife told me this one day after his suicide.

"In order for the U.S Postal Service to become a safe and healthy organization and thereby prevent future workplace tragedies, which have been at an epidemic level over the past three decades, there is an urgent need for congressional intervention and legislation to address its toxic postal culture. Dr. Gary Namie and his wife, Dr. Ruth Namie, along with their colleague Dr. David Yamada, have for years pushed for such legislation at the state and federal level. In order for national legislation for the prevention of workplace bullying to have the intended impact, it would require sanctions to employers or their representatives who are in violation of a new workplace statute that defines workplace bullying as a harmful and illegal activity."

In another case addressing the postal service's routine practice of falsifying documents to steal pay from its employees, Arbitrator Sherrie Rose Talmadge said in her December 2, 2009 decision 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.”

So, Mr. President, we need to start practicing the virtue of defending human rights here at home before we start lecturing others abroad, because the only thing that rivals the horror of what this United States Government agency is doing to its employees is what it's doing to your stature and credibility in the eyes of people who want very much to respect you.

I suggest that you get out in front of this issue before the GOP propaganda machine latches on to it, because it's an outrageous scandal with the potential to bring you down - and please remember, you heard it here first.

Eric L. Wattree
Citizens Against Reckless Middle-Class Abuse (CARMA)

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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