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D​emocratic Lawmakers Seek Probe Of Postmaster General Over 'Threat To Mail-In Ballots'


A group of House and Senate Democrats wrote a letter to the U.S. Postal Service inspector general on Friday asking for an investigation into the Trump administration's changes to the mail delivery agency that have "led to slower and less reliable delivery."

The letter, signed by nine congressional Democrats, states the changes to staffing and other policies within USPS "pose a potential threat to mail-in ballots and the 2020 general election."

"The Postal Service has served Americans since before the founding of the Republic, and any actions by President Trump or Postmaster General [Louis] DeJoy that damage the Postal Service's ability to quickly and reliably deliver the mail would represent a significant breach of their responsibilities," the lawmakers wrote in the letter. The call for an investigation follows DeJoy's announcement in July of USPS cutbacks, which are causing delays in mail delivery.

Unlike the past — when USPS delivery workers would make multiple trips and work overtime hours to ensure mail was delivered in a timely fashion — DeJoy announced that delivery workers should now leave mail in distribution centers if they cannot process it within certain hours of the day, the Washington Post reported.

Such delays could have an impact on the 2020 election, as the USPS could be overwhelmed by thousands of mail ballots that must be delivered by a certain time period in order to be counted.

The investigation demand also comes as Donald Trump has been attacking the practice of voting by mail — which many states are expanding in 2020 thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and fears of virus transmission at in-person polling sites.

Democrats on Thursday met with DeJoy — who was a major Trump donor before his appointment — to try to force him to repeal the changes.

"We pushed it. It's gotta be 100%, not 94%, not 97%," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told CNN on Thursday of Democrats' meeting with DeJoy. "We don't fully trust them — with everything Trump has said about the Post Office — and they're Trump appointees."

The members of Congress who wrote the letter include Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Gary Peters of Michigan, Tom Carper of Delaware, Ron Wyden of Oregon, and Tina Smith of Minnesota, as well as Reps. Carolyn Maloney of New York, Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts, Gerry Connolly of Virginia, and Brenda Lawrence of Michigan.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Did The Patriarchy Punish Elizabeth Warren — Or Did She Just Lose?

To hear some people tell it, a loss for Elizabeth Warren is a loss for womankind. Ever since the Massachusetts Senator withdrew her presidential candidacy after finishing third in her home state primary on Super Tuesday, many have described her demise as resulting from dislike and fear of strong women and a victory for the dread patriarchy.

Oddly, nobody says that about Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who'd withdrawn and endorsed Joe Biden only days before. Evidently, some women are more emblematic than others. But hold that thought.

"America Punished Elizabeth Warren for Her Competence," was the title of a fairly typical example by Megan Garber in The Atlantic. A lively stylist, Garber did a terrific job of analyzing what I thought were Warren's weaknesses as a candidate while entirely missing her own point. One Democratic woman she saw being interviewed on TV put it this way: "When I hear her talk, I want to slap her, even when I agree with her." She quotes others describing Warren as "sanctimonious," "condescending," and "a know-it-all."

Yet to Garber, it was Warren's refusal to hide her intellectual brilliance that did her in: "The country still doesn't know what to make of a woman—in politics, and beyond—who refuses to qualify her success." She quotes an Ivy League philosophy professor to the effect that "[m]isogyny is the law-enforcement branch of patriarchy."

Sigh. I see the word "patriarchy," I reach for my revolver. Particularly when it's brandished by somebody a lot higher on the social organization chart than anybody in the unrecorded history of my family.

OK, that's a joke. A famous Nazi said that about the word "culture." I am not a Nazi, and I don't keep a pistol close at hand.

But here's the deal: An American presidential election, for better and definitely for worse, is for most voters an extended TV series. And nobody much is keen to watch "The Liz Warren Show." MSNBC could give her Chris Matthews' old Hardball program, and the ratings would nosedive.

During Warren's epic demolition of a smug and bewildered Michael Bloomberg during the Feb. 12 Democratic debate on NBC, I remarked to my wife "My God, she's a jerk. She's destroying him. But she's hurting herself almost as much as she's hurting him."

I actually used an earthier epithet, which shall remain our little secret. A gender-neutral one, I hasten to add. Anyway, Bloomberg probably deserved it. He certainly stepped into the batter's box without a helmet. But Mother Jones blogger Kevin Drum noticed that Bloomberg crashed while Joe Biden soared in voter polls from that point forward. Warren steadily declined.

I've been instructed to leave Diane's own somewhat incorrect reaction to Senator Warren's demeanor out of this column. Her voice! Her antic arm-waving! Suffice it to say that while she and a couple of her girlfriends traveled to New Hampshire to stump for Hillary Clinton in 2016, with one signal exception they did not support Warren's candidacy.

Another friend, an Irish guy from Brooklyn, said she reminded him of the kind of nun who would whack your knuckles with a ruler. And Warren's not even Catholic, although she does appear to have purchased her campaign wardrobe from her local Nuns-R-Us outlet.

Catty and subjective enough for you? Good, because that's how people watch TV. It's an intensely subjective medium. Warren does very well in one-on-one interviews and town hall settings but falls flat on the big stage. Brilliant woman; failed the screen test.

On Super Tuesday, Warren collected 21 percent of the Massachusetts vote, compared to 34 percent for Joe Biden, and 27 percent for Bernie Sanders. She finished a poor third among Massachusetts women too. In the 2016 general election, by way of comparison, it was Hillary Clinton 60 percent, Donald Trump 33 percent.

So don't blame misogyny. Hillary's not exactly Miss Congeniality, yet Massachusetts voted for her. Anyway, Elizabeth Warren's not womankind, she's one woman who ran a fairly incoherent campaign: notably all over the place about her Medicare-for-all proposal and how to pay for it.

I suspect that Warren's being a Harvard professor also had something to do with her defeat. Of course, that could be my own anti-academic bias talking. But her professorial manner didn't help. During the same debate where she eviscerated Bloomberg, she dismissed Amy Klobuchar's health insurance proposal as a "Post-it note." The Minnesota senator bristled.

Even on campus, calling people stupid rarely elicits their admiration. Oh health care, Klobuchar's a pragmatist, favoring an Obamacare public option that's politically feasible, while Medicare-for-All is certainly not—as you'd think Warren's floundering on the issue might have taught her.

Or as Klobuchar herself put it, "You don't put your money on a number that's not even on the wheel."

Had she not withdrawn, I'd have supported Klobuchar, to me the most politically talented Democrat of either gender.

Saturday Night Live Spoofs Fox, Pays Tribute To Sen. Warren

Saturday Night Live opened with an all-cast satire of Fox News Channel and its bizarrely complacent coverage of the lethal coronavirus. With Kate McKinnon starring as Fox personality Laura Ingraham — plus cameos by Jeanine Pirro (Cecily Strong) the Trump brothers (Alex Moffat and Mikey Day), and Chris Matthews (Darrell Hammond) — the cold open mercilessly lampoons the way Fox is misleading its vulnerable audience.

"Americans are not at risk, especially not our viewers who skew elderly, are in bad health, live cloistered together in homes specifically for sick people and have smoked their entire lives," declares Pirro.

The segment concludes with a remarkable surprise appearance by the real Sen. Elizabeth Warren, as McKinnon dons her Warren costume. It's a touching tribute to the Massachusetts progressive and her presidential crusade.

Click and enjoy.

That Not-So-Super Tuesday

Last week, I sat on a stage in front of more than 200 women in Columbus, Ohio, and tried to answer a simple question.

I don't remember exactly how interviewer Angela Pace asked it, but I heard it this way: What do you want your granddaughters to remember about you?

To my embarrassment, my eyes teared up and my voice began to quiver.

It's been such a long three years.

We have seven grandchildren: four boys and three girls. I love them equally, as I made clear that day from the stage. But we were talking less than a week before Super Tuesday, when most political punditry had already congealed around two presumed front-runners, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.

Elizabeth Warren, the smart, talented, compassionate senator from Massachusetts, was already invisible, right before their eyes. Like millions of other women, I still see her and the hope she always brings with her. It's as bright and crystalline as hydrangeas in the dusk's light, glistening after a soft summer rain.

What do I want my granddaughters to remember about me?

My love for my grandchildren keeps my heart on the brink of combustion, but when I think of Jackie, Carolyn and Ela, ages five, four, and two, something else kicks in; I can't deny it. I'm old enough to know which dreams died but young enough to remember when I thought they defined who I — who we — would be.

I try never to lead with my injuries, but it's one thing to work hard to get over a disloyal love. A heart can heal, after all. It's something quite different when the betrayal never comes to an end.

Once again, it seems, we will have to wait at least another four years to see a woman sworn in as president of the United States.

"It's not because she's a woman," people tell me.

"It's because she's that woman," people tell me.

"It's because of Hillary's loss that it feels like a woman couldn't win," people tell me.

You can tell me and you can tell me and you can tell me — but let me tell you: There's not a lie I haven't heard about what a woman can and cannot do. At my age, every act of sexism and misogyny is an encore production.

Jessica Valenti, a brilliant feminist writer two decades younger than me, wrote this after Super Tuesday, for Medium:

"Even just supporting Warren has come with an unbearable amount of misogynist condescension. I'm tired of being told that I'm a single-issue voter because I care about a candidate's gender, even if it's not the only thing I care about. I'm over being made to feel as if representation for half the population isn't a necessary and radical political position. I don't appreciate being told that I'm either anti-revolution because I didn't support Bernie Sanders or unrealistic because I won't vote for Joe Biden. I especially resent the theory being bandied about that Warren somehow 'stole' votes from Sanders; it's nonsense."

If you had told me 20 years ago that we'd still be having this conversation about the limitations of women, the only thing I would have allowed you was a running start to get out of my way. Our daughters aren't much younger than Valenti, which might be why these words of hers took my breath away:

"Whoever the nominee is, their campaign is going to have to come to terms with the intense misogyny so many female voters have dealt with — and understand that it's an issue we care deeply about. And their supporters are going to have to let us be sad — depressed, even — that once again we're going to watch a race to leadership between old white men."

Will we vote for that nominee? Of course, we will, in droves. We love our country.

What do I want my granddaughters to remember about me?

All those little, big things. How much I loved them. How I kept a book of the smart and funny things they said. How I lined our walls with their photos, year after year.

Still, why did I cry?

Maybe it's because I don't take for granted that I will live long enough for them to have many memories of me.

Maybe it's because I hope that, in their toughest moments, long after I'm gone, my persistent opposition to this president's racism and misogyny will remind them that this is who we are, we women in this family.

Or maybe it's simpler than that. Maybe I cried because I, too, needed a moment to be sad, after all these years.

Connie Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and professional in residence at Kent State University's school of journalism. She is the author of two non-fiction books, including "…and His Lovely Wife," which chronicled the successful race of her husband, Sherrod Brown, for the U.S. Senate. Her novel, The Daughters of Erietown, will be published by Random House in Spring 2020. To find out more about Connie Schultz (schultz.connie@gmail.com) and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.