Bureaucrat Beat: No Ouija Board, Rosey Glasses, and Postal Perspective

The headlines serve to deeply disturb readers these days. Wait a minute, not the headlines but the real life behind them. The Bureaucrat Beat newsroom staff sat down around our card table, heads in hands, to contemplate the state of affairs this week. They are not pretty, and we know why. How have we discovered this arcane and highly sought after information? Not by Ouija Board nor crystal ball. Not by a subscription to a secret Washington, D.C. newsletter.

We talked for hours about politics, money, the world economy, the society of Inyo and Mono counties. We banged on our manual typewriters for inspiration, and the answer came as clearly as a cold snowfall in October. The weak side of human nature has nearly done us in. Materialism and greed have their gnarly hands on the steering wheel. Now that’s a headline we’d like to see, along with a stinging analysis of corporate life. The only thing that will undo the trouble is a sharp turn in another and opposite direction. Say… intelligent analysis and focus on the general well-being. You know, care and concern for your neighbor.

In the case of the nation, this means new rules, as Bill Maher would put it, to curb the obsessively greedy and other new rules to pay for things citizens need. It’s not really complicated. Someone just has to do it. Oh, wait a minute, we forgot. Those gaga with greed run the country, the financial institutions, the corporations. They’ll probably have to fall hard on their back sides – you know, learn the hard way.

Some will only rip off the rose-colored glasses when they’re on their knees and desperate. Take the AIG executives who spent nearly a half million dollars on a party after their company survived with a bail-out. They don’t get it. Worse than that. We talked it over for about half an hour – all these people know how to do is indulge themselves. They’re so used to it that when they got the reprieve, they did what they’ve always done – run to a cushy resort and spend their way into mental oblivion. One might think they would get down on their knees and thank, if not the Divine, then at least the National Treasury.

Okay. The Ouija Board’s back in the box. Closer to home, we called the postal service the other day to get some direct answers about why Ginger Barnes did not get re-hired to deliver mail to Crowley and surrounding areas. Some of her customers were so miffed that they circulated a petition. They felt the postal higher-ups had failed to look at Ginger’s 7 year record of service and familiarity with the route. It appeared the USPS merely gave the contract to the lowest bidder.

Rich Maher of the postal service claimed that the post office does look at qualifications other than least amount of money. Oh, yeah, like what?!? He said they scrutinize whether the contract bidder is “capable and available to perform the job, can supply equipment, passes a security screening, has a clear driving record, plus past performance in previous positions.” How about 7 years of what has been described as stellar performance in this very job!? Mammoth Postmaster Gary Fultz said of Ginger Barnes, “In my 30 plus years with the post office, I have never had a carrier so conscientious and caring as Ginger.”

We in the Bureaucrat Beat newsroom remain unconvinced that the postal service didn’t just picked the low dollar guy. That’s what other sources say they did. Okay. We understand the need to save money. Hey, we only buy two boxes of wheat thins every month now instead of four. We still buy just as much coffee.

Finally, Mr. Maher did say that just because someone does a good job doesn’t mean they can get any price they want. You know, we would let the postal service off the hook on the basis of “well, it’s their business to run”, but the way customer service hangs off a cliff and holds on by its tiny finger nails, we don’t feel like letting them off the hook. Darn it. The one thing we hear most often – “the big companies just don’t care about customers. They just want our money.” There’s also the personal factor that has died for most corporations. Barnes had said that her postal delivery work was never “just a job”. She loved her customers and the service she provided.

Hey, big guys out there – people just want you to provide some service and listen to what they want. That really isn’t asking too much. In fact, it may not be asking enough. End of postal rant.

thomas_jefferson.jpgIn our mental adventures this week, we came across a provocative piece of history. Seems Thomas Jefferson said, “I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.” He went on to say that “already they have raised up a moneyed aristocracy that has set the government at defiance. The issuing power should be taken from the banks,” said Jefferson, “and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.” Wow. Maybe that’s what is going on now. The government is taking back the power of the banks. Although, if the government insists on non-voting shares of all these institutions, it’s not clear what changes they can really make.

We checked our emails repeatedly this week and found some good stuff. One email included an article written by Charlie Reese, a former columnist for the Orlando Sentinel Newspaper. He states that “545 human beings out of the 300 million in the country are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.” The 545 means members of Congress.

Reese asks, “Have you ever wondered why, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, we have deficits?” He points out that they all have ironclad retirement plans, Cadillac health insurance and the power to make things right for the rest of us but don’t.

He suggests that we might use the power of our vote. Out of 300 million citizens, around 292 million can register to vote. 169 million do register to vote, and at times only half of those actually vote. After what we have witnessed in the last month, we firmly recommend that you vote your conscience – not your love of a good looking babe or your fears of people who aren’t exactly like you. Look for the intelligent, courageous, honest person. Look hard.

With that, this is Benett Kessler, signing off for Bureaucrat Beat where we await your word on our lives in the Eastern Sierra and beyond.

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