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Yesterday I received an email from my Congressman's office, seeking input on his support for the Balanced Budget Amendment and also his support for a "limited Constitutional Convention" called by the states with the presumably limited purpose to draft a Balanced Budget Amendment.

I consider these inquiries bogus because in my view, dissenting responses are tossed and a canned "thank you for your response" message is returned with some meaningless drivel about just why the congressperson thinks what he wants to do is really the way to go, and bye, bye, I really didn't want to hear opposition.

So I typed the following response, but didn't send it because I know that only three sets of eyes, the staffer who reads his email, the person who the letter opener says, hey, take a look at this, and maybe, just maybe, the congressman himself.

So I decided to let some other eyes see it, and if you like it, or dislike it, please comment below.


Should your elected representatives:

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I will begin this diary with a short discussion I started in a thread that was part of a much larger discussion, which I will add a link to.  I will also include a link to the initial diary that these discussions came out of.  First, the diary was titled Elizabeth Warren: Let Post Offices Replace Payday Lenders.

My suggestion to a much longer comment thread on the topic of having the USPS offer ISP (internet service provider) service to Americans, was to have the USPS offer a secure email service that had the force of the American postal laws behind it regarding secrecy, mail fraud, and all of the other protections that the mail service has that other message delivery services do not have.  A few people agreed with me that there was some merit to the idea, and I decided to see if we can get a Daily Kos discussion to brainstorm the question.

The thread is below:

Post a Comment | 287 comments | Permalink

 I've felt for a long time that the USPS should run (17+ / 0-)

its own secure email service that offers the same level of protection to privacy and against mail fraud as a service that people pay for.  If a spammer wants to put 10 million commercial messages, maybe they have to pay a penny a mail box for the privilege.  That would put $100k in the postal bank account, and, with various classes of email, say 2 cents for First Class Email, 1.5 cents for Second Class, and 1 cent for bulk, the American public would strongly support a system with these features.  Every American would have the ability to have their own, portable forever, USPS Email Address that can be used anywhere, with the full support of the USPS and its attendant legal protections.

That would make the telecoms squawk, but so what?  The Postal Service is the only message delivery service mentioned in the US Constitution, and it should adapt to the technologies of the day, whatever day that happens to be.

Republicans are like alligators. All mouth and no ears.

by Ohiodem1 on Tue Feb 04, 2014 at 01:14:56 PM EST

[ Parent | Reply to This ]

       I'd jump at the chance - (5+ / 0-)

      middle finger extended to the NSA!

       by Nannyberry on Tue Feb 04, 2014 at 02:11:09 PM EST

       [ Parent | Reply to This ]

              Yeah! (8+ / 0-)

             Oh, man, do I LOVE the idea of making junk e-mailers pay to have
              their garbage delivered to me!  If nothing else, let's make THAT happen!

            OF COURSE the New Right is wrong - but that doesn't make WRONG the new

              by mstaggerlee on Tue Feb 04, 2014 at 02:18:58 PM EST

               [ Parent | Reply to This ]

                How about a Do Not Spam List with mail fraud (0+ / 0-)

                 penalties applied?  I like that.

                  Republicans are like alligators. All mouth and no ears.

                  by Ohiodem1 on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 09:51:51 AM EST

                 [ Parent | Reply to This ]

                              And the library of Congress (9+ / 0-)

                                    should run a not-for-profit search engine that operates on the
                                    principle of intellectual freedom.

                                    After all, the internet only has content because users put there
                                    in the first place.  Its our information, not google's.

                                    "YOPP!" --Horton Hears a Who

                                    by Reepicheep on Tue Feb 04, 2014 at 03:46:32 PM EST

                                    [ Parent | Reply to This ]

                                    Severe Laws Regarding Mail Fraud (9+ / 0-)

                                   Holy crap, mail fraud has been a law you don't want to be
                                   charged with for many years.  Why that doesn't extend to email
                                  is a mystery to me, but if the USPS were to operate an email
                                   service, wow, massive teeth in mail fraud.

                                   A perpetual personal email address?  Anyone else thinking it
                                   might become a pretty nice electronic voting tool?  With a
                                   massive double penalty of both voter fraud and mail fraud
                                   sitting on top of it?

                                   Tampering with the mail?  Another charge I wouldn't want to
                                    have to defend myself from.

                                   The establishment of post offices is part of the constitution so I
                                   don't know where these ass-hat absolutists come off thinking
                                    they can privatize it.

                                    by JohnnySacks on Tue Feb 04, 2014 at 07:35:44 PM EST

                                    [ Parent | Reply to This ]

                                        Email scams coming through a USPS email system (4+ / 0-)

                                         could get the full federal law mail fraud statutes coming
                                          down on the scammers.  What's not to like about that?

                                          We should get someone in Congress to propose this
                                          system.  How about Senators Warren, Sherrod Brown, and
                                          Nancy Pelosi on the House side?

                                                Republicans are like alligators. All mouth and no ears.

                                             by Ohiodem1 on Tue Feb 04, 2014 at 09:19:38 PM EST

                                           [ Parent | Reply to This ]

                                                   And viruses. Send a virus, go to federal prison.
                                                   (0+ / 0-)

                                                   There's a lot to like in such a system.

                                                   Republicans are like alligators. All mouth and no

                                               by Ohiodem1 on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 05:32:26 PM EST

Note:  Redacted redundant elements like signature lines and DK formatting for brevity.  the indented formatting did not come over at all when I copied it, and I did the best I could to see the thread.  The actual thread is here, and the much longer parent thread is here.

Below the separator I will share why  I think a United States Postal Service email system would be a good idea, and I invite others who visit to put their two cents in  as well.


Should we have a safe, secure, with privacy protections USPS email program?

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This diary started out as a letter to some of my fellow anti-ALEC activists.  I took another look at it, and decided that there was something there worth getting out in the open, and to help shine a light on an aspect of the radical right War on public education.

I have felt for a long time that it has become more and more difficult in America to obtain a decent public education because there are political forces at work in America to destroy public education, not by neglect or poor implementation of educational improvements, but BY POLICY.

Please take a look follow some of the links, listen to a few minutes of videos, and decide for yourself if you think that we have powerful political forces at work to break teacher unions, create a public school funding death spiral, brought about by the diversion of public educational funding to charter schools, online charter schools, publically funded parochial schools and a host of other financial and administrative actions.

Below the separator, I will first reproduce, with minor editing, my letter to my colleagues.

Update:  H/T to ManfromMiddletown for this little gem, the Indiana school "reform" package from ALEC.  From this you can see it is a very well planned and executed strategy, which also includes reducing teacher qualification standards, which is intended to weaken teacher's unions.

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This won't be much of a diary but I have had a bunch of thoughts bouncing around in my head since I visited our nation's Capital a few weeks ago.  But none of these thoughts are organized in any coherent or rational fashion, kind of a thought salad, not unlike Ms. Sarah Palin's word salad, or at least I hope it's not THAT disorganized or bad.

I took the train in from my suburban hotel, and got off at Smithsonian Station, and you emerge from the escalator right in the center of the Mall near the Smithsonian Castle.  Very convenient.

My first impression, like the first impression of many people, I suppose, is that this is the capital of a great nation, a nation with visionary thinkers, founders the laid the foundation that could support a great nation, with inventors, a 200 year commitment to public education of the mass of people.  A nation big enough to allow people of differing opinions to live together, to be free enough to express those differing opinions, and not to be enemies because they don't agree.  A nation big enough to face any challenge when confronted by big problems.

A nation with a political system that has sufficient flexibility and diversity to allow solutions to common problems without going to war over those differences.  This system failed only once, and after a war that shapes our thinking to this day, our nation was re-united and made stronger.

We live in a nation that will pull together when faced with an existential threat, like in World Wars I and II, and one that can unleash the full power and creativity of our millions of people when called upon to do so.  We joined together to win those wars.  When we came home, we banded together to establish the GI Bill, and create the most powerful middle class the world has ever seen.  We took it upon ourselves to right many of the wrongs that were created by slavery and the Jim Crow laws in the South.  We built the largest public works project in the history of mankind, the Interstate highway system.  Our nation invested in itself, and became stronger and a better place to live.

More below the separator.


Should the Tea Party rank and file ask questions of?

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Our anti-ALEC network passed this article along to me:

A social event will be held next week in Bismarck for lawmakers to meet and raise money for a legislative organization that pushes for free-market legislation.

MDU Resources will be hosting a beer and wine tasting for lawmakers Wednesday at its corporate campus in Bismarck. The event is to promote and raise money for the American Legislative Exchange Council.

North Dakota lawmakers will pay $250 each to attend.  I wonder how much corporate lobbyists and executives will pay to influence the members of the North Dakota Legislature to enact laws that favor those corporate interests over those of the people who elected them to office.
MDU Resources Director of Government Affairs Geoff Simon said the event is intended to raise money for future ALEC events and build support for the organization. Simon is one of ALEC’s private sector co-chairmen for North Dakota.

The group’s public sector co-chairmen for North Dakota are Republican Reps. Al Carlson and Bette Grande of Fargo.

If there are any North Dakota Kossacks in the Bismark area next week, this would be a nice event to demonstrate to let your fellow citizens know that ALEC runs your legislature, and that the legislature, which YOU pay and elect, does the bidding of ALEC at your expense.

It's time to find out who your ALEC Representatives and Senators are and run them out of office at the next election.  They do not represent you.  They represent MDU Resources and other corporate interests.

You have 5 days to get organized.  ALEC has a 40 year, less 5 day head start on you.  You can win by shining the light on their nefarious activities.

You can look up some of their members here:

Here is a better list, h/t to MNDem999.


Do you think ALEC should run your state?

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Today I present a very short diary about voter suppression in Ohio, and some new Republican methodology.

First, we have the Licking County BOE cutting the number of polling places in the county of about 500 square miles from 47 to 25.

While cutting the county’s polling locations in September from 47 to 25 saved about $15,000 in poll-worker pay, some people will have to travel a little farther to cast their vote on Nov. 5.

Further down the article, "a little further" is defined as:

Among the most upset are residents of Buckeye Lake, whose lone village polling place moved from Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church to the Union Township complex in Hebron, 7 miles away.

Buckeye Lake Fire Capt. Dave Ruton told the village council that “moving the polling place out of the village is the most-idiotic thing I’ve heard in my life.”

More below the fold.
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Wed Sep 25, 2013 at 08:47 PM PDT

Republican Framing Fail (with poll)

by Ohiodem1

Republicans are famed for their ability to create 2 or 3 word slogans that provide a frame for a public policy debate around a carefully crafted and focus-grouped terms.  Some famous examples are "Nest egg" which was widely used in the Bush War on Social Security.  "Weapons of Mass Destruction" in the run-up to the Iraq War.  "Clean Skies Initiative" when attacking the EPA.  "Government takeover" when fighting the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Mr. Frank Luntz has been the leading proponent of this framing war with Democrats everywhere, and he is undoubtedly a master of the trade, without peer on the right or left side of the political continuum.

The Republicans are about to experience a failure of framing of epic proportions, and it is likely to last for 75 years or more.  The term in question is Obamacare.


Do you think . . .

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It is time to tell the conservatives in Congress and elsewhere that their backward reaching political program is no longer, if it ever was, relevant to the vast majority of Americans.  We've moved on, and there is no returning to the failed policies that the conservatives espouse.

The lame duck congressional session is ending, and of course, the "Fiscal Cliff" is at the top of the agenda.  As I write in the morning of December 31, 2012, nothing has yet been accomplished on this, and our congress seems as disfunctinal as it ever has in my 63 years on this Earth.   Approximately one dozen of the most radical Republicans in Congress lost their seats, but the Republicans and Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, still hold a diminishedHouse  majority in the new congress.  But, the last gasp of the defeated radicals may be to once again, hold America hostage to their "Pledge" to Americans for Tax Reform's president, Mr. Grover Norquist.  To those radicals, I say, We've moved on.

Below the fold, I will offer my observations and opinions on just how yesterday the Republicans are, and how I, and America have Moved On.

NOTE:  I started writing this diary prior to the Newtown, Connecticut massacre of children and teachers, and partway down the page, rather than abandon my work, I simply added a new section concerning gun control and violence in our nation.  I put a dozen proposals, none of them original to me out for discussion.  Please excuse the somehwat disjointed organization of this piece.

To Mr. Wayne LaPierre, and his call to arm peaceful teachers of children, and to put armed vigilantes in our schools, this represents an unfunded mandate on our overstretched public school systems for additional security costs, which would inevitably come at the expense of our children in the form of less rich academic programs, and a sense of fear in the one place where they should feel most safe, I say to Mr. LaPierre, we've moved on, neither your proposal nor the status quo will stand.  America has said, we've moved on.

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I have been on vacation recently and returned this week.  I live in a Columbus suburb, as some who read Daily Kos know.  As my handle indicates, I am a Democrat who is a member of the Democratic Party.

In my one week absence, the Columbus Dispatch endorsed Mitt Romney.  This is no surprise, I am not aware of the Republican Dispatch ever endorsing a Democratic candidate for president in my 60 plus years.

However, this morning the Dispatch did something completely unexpected.  I will describe below the fold.


What is the most effective point of emphasis for Obama in Central Ohio?

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I wanted to do a positive diary on just how easy it is to vote early in Ohio.  My experience voting yesterday is below the fold.


Will you . . .

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This diary will be short.  I will, below the fold simply point to articles that provide a glimpse into how Republican voter suppression, confusion, and manipulation is done in Ohio.

I will lead with an article that shows that Secretary of State sent six million absentee ballot applications out to every Ohio voter, and that each of these applications contains an error regarding when in-person voting ends.

Jon Husted mails six million mistakes.

More Ohio voter suppression news below the fold.

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The Ohio Ballot Board went into session yesterday to rework the Issue 2 ballot language after being ordered to by the Ohio Supreme Court (see this diary for background) to rewrite the "fatally flawed" language that they had approved earlier this month.  The court stated that the way it was worded was intended to cause voters to reject the measure which is intended to change the way Ohio redistricts its General Assembly and congressional districts.  It is a Constitutional Amendment proposal to end Gerrymandering as we know it in Ohio.

The effect, if the amendment is passed is to allow voters to select its legislators, not to have its legislators select its voters, and to end the abuses we currently have in Ohio.

From the Columbus Dispatch:


Trading one party-line vote for another, the Ohio Ballot Board approved new summary language for Issue 2 yesterday, one day after the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the board’s prior summary was inaccurate to the point of being “fatal to the validity of the ballot.”

Democrats and Voters First Ohio, the coalition pushing the redistricting issue, say the new ballot language isn’t much better than what was replaced.

More below the fold.

How much do you think the Republicans will spend to defeat Issue 2?

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