Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Sponsor a USPS box

community ownership of the US post boxes
  (+3, -2)
(+3, -2)
  [vote for,

The Gump is so terrified of people voting him out on to his arse that he has engaged in a new tactic: voter suppression. This involves him ordering the tearing out of tens of thousands of post boxes to prevent potentially millions of the poorer, or less able in voting, in the belief that they would vote against him if they could.

Being a dictator, there's nothing that can be done to stop him from doing this, as he controls the police and the army, who must obey his every whim like droids, no matter how deranged he becomes.

If the ownership of these boxes was transferred to local citizens, then it would become an act of theft on the part of The Gump to remove them. This results in the idea of the sponsored post box, with each box listing the names of all those prepared to pay a dollar each to take up ownership of it. Shared ownership would massively complicate any future attempts of The Gump's voter suppression removals.

I doubt if each box is worth much more than few hundred dollars, so $500 a box should cover the total cost. Names would be listed on a web page, but also stamped unto each box in the form of tiny brass tags, along with the clear warning that interfering with the box in any way is now a serious offence.

Once The Gump is dragged, or hosed out of office and placed under lock and key, normality can begin to return. People can then decide if they want to retain the sponsorship of their post box as a symbol that democracy has prevailed over facism yet again.

xenzag, Aug 17 2020

Won’t Get Fooled Again https://genius.com/...fooled-again-lyrics
"Meet the new boss... Same as the old boss..." [8th of 7, Aug 18 2020]

Russian Potato Riots https://en.wikipedi...g/wiki/Potato_riots
Potatoes are Evil (allegedly) [8th of 7, Aug 20 2020]


       Great idea! Let's make the community-owned post boxes be "Florida 2000" post boxes which cross- reference ballots with voter registration records to ensure that votes for the wrong guy are corrected by a team of helpful community volunteers. While we're at it, let's agree that the 1st Amendment only applies to corporations worth more than $100 million, and any dissenting opinions written by anyone who's not a megacorporation are a "threat to our free press". I for one look forward the day when whoever owns Amazon and the Washington Post succeed in privatizing the USPS and can move on to defeating fascism by further expanding their monopoly.
sninctown, Aug 17 2020

       Is there anything (legally) to stop an entirely private postal company from delivering the mail (including ballot papers)?
(Here in New Zealand, there is the "proper" NZ Post, and also private company DX Mail.)
neutrinos_shadow, Aug 17 2020

       I'll fund one or two. Christmas time is a wonderful time to have a unit in your house so that you can open other people's Xmas cards cause you are a grump because Trump won 4 more years. HO HO NOT SO HO
blissmiss, Aug 17 2020

       I don't buy this is an actual problem. Christmas season is far and away much greater volume of mail and packages than mail-in ballots, and USPS handles that with relative ease.
tatterdemalion, Aug 17 2020

       // he canceled Christmas //   

       Yes, but everyone knows there ain't no Sanity Clause ...
8th of 7, Aug 18 2020

       //I don't buy this is an actual problem.// //election has a tighter time frame//   

       Volume isn't the issue, it is the timeframe. NY/SC and others all have election rules that would need a mail out & back quicker than the USPS 1st class service.   

       //postmaster general who has cut overtime and staffing, and a President who has said - on the record - that he’s against USPS funding increases to handle “vote by mail” volume.//   

       The The narrative being pushed is that funding is required to cope with the extra effort needed for increased mail-in voting load. That's not true, or at least totally true. The USPS has enough cash to keep going to the summer of 2021. But... at least for the last 13 years running, they have needed a bailout. This year will be worse as a huge amount of profitable mail volume has fallen off. They've had to spend extra cash on PPE/extra cleaning etc.   

       It's all a bit of a mess, the USPS loses money hand over fist, but it's constrained by a ton of rules governing how it spends/gets money. They lose money on every package over a certain size and apparently can't change that. It all reminds me of the British car industry in the 70s where they were so busy with union negotiations that they didn't notice they were selling the Mini at a loss.   

       The mail box narrative is also only partially true. Mail box numbers have been falling consistently, from 450,000+ in the 80's to 150,000 in 2011. Mail volume has been falling and they remove them if they aren't used. They aren't being used at higher rates than ever before, cost-cutting also fits with that. In general, I'm not in agreement as there's no clear mechanism to increase mail box numbers.   

       In general, I consider a postal service a component of civilization and should be at least backed by the government. However, it's somehow found itself in a situation where it can't make money despite little competition, I mean, just add 5c to a stamp, I'm not going to complain if the nearest FedEx alternative is 10x more. Why can't they at least break even on packages? Why must I buy a little sticker from a store to send something? Shirley I should just be able to sign up and just print my account #?
bs0u0155, Aug 18 2020

       Amazon just posted a record profit. Amazon uses the post office.   


       The problem is with the post office. The problem is with the whole notion of statutory obligations and price regulation. It is not unique to physical space and logistics either.   

       I recently observed an interaction with the NJ Unemployment Insurance System.   

       This system requires people to access it's website at different times of day and evening (no, not night) -- depending on ranges of their social security numbers.   

       In 2020.   

       Why would I give any state institution another penny when it is spent on building and maintaining systems like this.
theircompetitor, Aug 18 2020

       // Amazon just posted a record profit. Amazon uses the post office. DOES NOT COMPUTE. //   

       It does, the USPS has somehow got into a situation where it's losing money on packages, Amazon's profit makes a lot of sense considering they have subsidized delivery.   

       // I give any state institution another penny when//   

       I have a record of a remarkable interaction with the Pennsylvania dept. of transport. Essentially a 3 months of letters back and forth from local office to head office saying "he can have a license" "no, not doing it, he can't" "our rules say he can, give him one" "no, don't want to, and those rules came from the internet, so probably junk" "they're on our website!?!" "OK, fax them over" "I read them, still not doing it" "wait, the system says he got a license somehow? Did you do that?"
bs0u0155, Aug 18 2020

       why wouldn't the PO negotiate a better deal with them then?
theircompetitor, Aug 18 2020

       As an alternative to the entire postal vote system, couldn't localised flocks of special pigeons be deployed to deliver the ballots? As an added bonus they could make a detour and take a "Dump-on-the-Gump" for extra treats when confirmed by photographs of the results.
xenzag, Aug 18 2020

       // why wouldn't the PO negotiate a better deal with them then? //   

       Better to ask "Why can't the PO negotiate a better deal with them then?"   

       The answer is, as always, that the negotiators on the public service side are by definition civil servants, not business people. When trying to cut a deal with real business people, they invariably get screwed.   

       It's very simple. Those with business acumen are not attracted to the low-paid, bureaucratic, rule-bound world of public service. Those who are fear the risks and inherent insecurity of the business world. They are highly risk-averse and accept the lower rewards in return for a safe, relatively undemanding job.   

       So they always, always fail, because the business people can and will just walk away from a negotiation - a mindset the civil servants don't have and can't understand.   

       One approach is for the public service to recruit business people to do the negotiations. Then, they either get ripped off for fees by the people they hire, those they hire do a minimal lazy and inadequate job, or corruption sneaks in. Even if those conditions are met, the parent organisation can never resist the temptation to meddle, and those tendering for the contract still know that behind the front there is still a public service with very deep pockets and so will still just walk away if they can't get what they want. Public organisations are a real pain to deal with, so the commercial approach is always "Pay us a swingeing premium to do business with you, or find someone else. We don't want the hassle of dealing with your slow, stupid bureaucracy."   

       Since each group seeks to perpetuate their organisation by recruiting those with the same world view, simply dropping in a leader from business to a public organisation rarely achieves more than minimal, transient change.   

       Thus government always loses, badly.   

       For a shining example of how the different approaches yield radically different outcomes for the same given objective, read the story of the R100 and the R101. It's an almost perfect case study; sadly, resulting in a large number of entirely avoidable deaths.
8th of 7, Aug 18 2020

       [+] for the idea, [-] for the political rant
Voice, Aug 18 2020

       // Well Shute, you would bring that up. //   

       Haha. We saw what you did there.   

       <Decides to consider at some point the remote possibility that [kdf], despite the extensive evidence, might just about be not a totally witless numpty after all/>   

       // A fascinating tale, shirley, but not an apt comparison here. //   

       It shows in tragic detail what happens when a rigid, hierarchical, rule-based organisation is given an unquantified task demanding initiative, imagination, flexibility, and a willingness to take carefully considered risks.   

       There's a plethora of reasons why most successful technologcal development commissioned and funded by government is actually largely carried out by private enterprise.   

       There are notable exceptions, like NASA's launch vehicles and HMS Dreadnought, but even those weren't true vertical projects; there was massive sub-contracting to private industry for critical sub-assemblies.
8th of 7, Aug 18 2020

       It was the fear of The Gump that he would have to spend weeks learning how to open an umbrella to avoid the pigeons dumping on him that finally did it. Now he needs to put back the mail boxes he thieved. The pigeons will be watching.
xenzag, Aug 18 2020

       it is truly amazing to me how hard the left is working to excuse a potential loss in this election.   

       Like they're worried about people stealing post office boxes more than they're worried about people in suburbs around major cities freaking the fuck out that an incoming dem administration will force a real life changing (and not for the better) set of policies on them.
theircompetitor, Aug 18 2020

       And there's a new narrative every week. It's not even about policy anymore, it's about hatred of anybody who would dare to question any aspect of their absolute authority and unfettered rule. We're supposed to appreciate that they deign to let us choose our leaders occasionally unless somebody other than them gets voted in. Then oh boy, watch the hatred fly.   

       This is sociogenic mitosis. We're programmed to split up and go to war with each other every few years so I try not take too seriously because it's just something that's in our programming. In this case it's the people who want to rule vs the people who just want to be left alone, which has pretty much been the standard battle line throughout history.   

       By the way, aren't there plenty of websites where this political stuff can be discussed? As much as we all love hearing about Trump every single day, maybe we take a break for a minute, no?
doctorremulac3, Aug 18 2020

       <Brandishes sturdy burlap sack/>   

       If you will be so good as to hold this open while we stuff [xenzag] into it, yes. There are already several bricks in the bottom; all that then remains is to secure the opening with the stout cord provided, and pitch the whole assemblage over the bridge parapet into the canal.   

       // It's not even about policy anymore, it's about hatred of anybody who would dare to question any aspect of their absolute authority and unfettered rule. //   

       <Terry Jones>   

       "I thought we were an autonomous collective ?"   

       <Terry Jones/>   

       // In this case it's the people who want to rule vs the people who just want to be left alone, which has pretty much been the standard battle line throughout history. //   

       That sounds eerily familiar ... <link>   


       "Come and see the violence inherent in the system ! Help, help ! I'm being oppressed ! "   

8th of 7, Aug 18 2020

       Haha - are you still trying to find a use for all of those brown burlap sacks you spend your time sewing up? Just remember who had to smoke you back out recently when you were stumbling around like a lost troglodyte with its tail caught in a drawer.
xenzag, Aug 18 2020

       I can't tell you how happy I was to click that link and see something awesome like lyrics of a Who song rather that something un-awesome like... something that's not the lyrics of a Who song.   

       And how come you can read the lyrics "to" a song, "from" a song and "of" a song? Answer: don't care.   

       Re: Monty Python. Remember them making fun of strange ladies in a lake handing out swords as a method of choosing a form of government? Doesn't look so silly now does it?
doctorremulac3, Aug 18 2020

       It seems eminently rational compared with the current procedures.   

       Now, just hold the damned sack, will you ? [xenzag]'s miaowing is really irritating... thankfully, we know it will stop as soon as the bag submerges.   

       Chuck an extra brick in there to make it sink faster...
8th of 7, Aug 18 2020

       Well, if you made the sacks into trousers to wear to conceal the results of your evacuated bowels, you could venture to my home town, and feed the pigeons. Actually I meant to say: and become the pigeon's food! My cats would then make use of what's left as their litter tray contents.
xenzag, Aug 18 2020

       See? We don't have to talk politics all the time. It's nice to change the subject every once in a while.
doctorremulac3, Aug 18 2020

       Religion, anyone?
Voice, Aug 20 2020

       The religion of potato peeling.
xenzag, Aug 20 2020

       <Pythonesque mob of peasants>   

       "Potatoes ? WITCH ! WITCH !"   

       <Pythonesque mob of peasants/>   

       " ... eschatological rumours associating potato planting with the service to the Antichrist ...." <link>   

       By deduction:   

       1. [xen] is a self-confessed adherent of the Antichrist (potatoes, cats etc.)   

       2. [xen] hates President Trump.   

       Therefore President Trump is the opposite of the Antichrist and thus the Messiah.   

       Suddenly it all makes sense. All those who oppose him are clearly Satanists and must be cleansed by Fire and the Sword.
8th of 7, Aug 20 2020

       I was bummed when they cancelled that Messiah show on Netflix. Was interesting, had a good vibe to it
theircompetitor, Aug 20 2020

       <obligatory> He's not the messiah, he's a very naughty boy.
pocmloc, Aug 20 2020

       //must be cleansed by Fire and the Sword// Is that a version of Head and Shoulders, only in this case it would be Headless and Souless?
xenzag, Aug 20 2020

       Just Headless for you - you've already traded your Immortal Soul to Satan, by your own confession.
8th of 7, Aug 20 2020

       Was there something particularly offensive about my post that it was deleted?
RayfordSteele, Aug 20 2020

       As far as I know, as the poster of the idea, only I can delete an annotation on it, (unless The Soup Dragon emerges) and I definetly didn't do that. In fact I've never deleted anyone's annotation in my entire time at the halfbakery. Did you by accident delete it yourself? Just repost it.
xenzag, Aug 20 2020

       I did not to my knowledge.   

       What I had said was that removing the Post Office from being under the auspices and general bureaucracy of Congress makes a great deal of sense. Perhaps a semi- independent model, such as the power utilities model, would be a good starting point.
RayfordSteele, Aug 20 2020

       That's what's been implemented in the UK.   

       The jury is still out on the results ...
8th of 7, Aug 20 2020

       the crisis of the post office (budget, volumes dropping, unions etc) has to be separated from the manufactured political crisis. Odds of that are zero prior to the election itself.
theircompetitor, Aug 21 2020

       Yup. Proposed thoughtful solutions like Ray's (that I've been suggesting for a long time) will not even be considered to be looked into discussing for review to see if it might possibly be examined for evaluation for possible contemplation of the feasibility of implementation in this current political climate.
doctorremulac3, Aug 21 2020

       Hm! RayfordSteele, there are some recent comments from you about a privately funded USPS on the "Blatantly Idiotic Predictions for 2020" thread. Is there any way that you might have somehow switched windows and typed things into the wrong text box, or is the database having hallucinations? (And if it randomly shuffled the occasional annotation, would we really notice? ...)
jutta, Sep 03 2020

       We always notice anyone doing the Random Shuffle, especially when they're supposed to be doing the tango.
xenzag, Sep 03 2020


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