And then I watched Anderson Cooper interview Miriam Bell, a postal worker who’s president of the American Postal Workers Union Charlotte Area Local, 375.
It was not reassuring.
After he played her a mashup of DeJoy promising senators that mailed ballots would be counted on time, she questioned the postmaster general’s assurances about letter sorting machines that have been removed from postal facilities dealing with fewer letters:
Cooper: Does what you heard from postmaster general square with what you have been seeing on the ground?
Bell: Absolutely not. Absolutely not.
Cooper: Explain that.
Bell: Here in Charlotte alone we have had seven mail processing machines removed. These are typically called delivery bar code sorters and we have had one flat sorter machine. These removals began around July 1 and they have continued even up until day before yesterday.
And the machines were on a scheduled timeline to continually remove them. We have had emails provided to us that substantiate these issues. These machines, the flat sorter machines process about 21,000 pieces of mail per hour. The delivery bar code sorter machines process up to 39,000 pieces of mail per hour.
Cooper: Let me ask you here, because the postmaster general was asked about these machines and I just want to play what he said.
Sen. Gary Peters: Will you be bringing back any mail sorting machines that have been removed since you have become postmaster general? Any of those come back?
DeJoy: No intention to do that. They’re not needed, sir.
Peters: You will not bring back any processors?
DeJoy: They’re not needed, sir.
Cooper: I assume removing them was the argument given is that it was obsolete, not necessary.
Bell: Oh no, absolutely not. These machines, if you consider just one of these delivery bar code sorter machines, it processes up to 39,000 pieces of mail per hour. If you average only a 16-hour processing day, and mind you, these plants run 24/7/365, but if you take those 39 pieces of mail per hour is 624,000 pieces of mail per day per machine. If you multiply that times seven days that is almost 4.5 million pieces of mail per week that cannot be processed. Per machine.
Cooper: So why — I mean, what was the reason for removing them?
Bell: We were not told. The union is supposed to be informed of things like removal of machines and jobs and et cetera. I have reached out to the local plant manager. I have received zero response. I have not gotten any type of notifications. We are looking at close to 50 jobs here.
About that ballot fraud allegation in New Jersey — You’re going to hear a lot more from Republicans, meanwhile, about this not-good development in New Jersey.
Four people, including the person who won the invalidated election, have been charged with trying to illegally collect absentee ballots, not to fake them, and to register people not qualified to vote. The men deny the charges. Every state has different rules about how mail-in ballots can be collected.
The vast majority of invalidated ballots had mismatched signatures or were improperly filled out. And charges were brought, which some point to as a sign of a secure system. Regardless, this is a horrible development and it’s going to complicate the mail-in ballot conversation.
Table Of Contents
QAnon in two short, strange, crazy paragraphs
CNN’s Marshall Cohen keeps track of these things and here’s how he describes QAnon in short:
Followers of QAnon believe there is a “deep state” within the US government that is controlled by a cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles. According to the conspiracy, the cabal is largely run by Democratic politicians and liberal celebrities — and Trump is trying to take them down.
The movement has a violent underpinning: Followers of QAnon say they are preparing “digital soldiers” for an apocalyptic reckoning, when thousands of “deep state” pedophiles will be arrested and prosecuted at military courts at Guantanamo Bay. These trials will be followed by executions, they say.
29 years after the Soviet coup attempt
A coup that failed. In 1991, a coup attempt by Soviet hardliners failed to dislodge Mikhail Gorbachev.
It was a last gasp of the old Soviet structure and led to the creation of the current Russia. Defeating the coup required protests in the streets and soon-to-be President Boris Yeltsin.
What came next. It’s worth considering today for two reasons. First, the use of the military in the streets to stop protests is something Trump has openly toyed with. It’s also worth considering the arc of Russia’s leadership since 1991. Trump likes to say he’ll stay in office past the two terms he’s allowed under the Constitution and it seems (doesn’t it?) like he’s only halfway joking. While the US has had five presidents since 1991, and could have a new one in January, Putin, who Trump admires and whose government continues to try to interfere in US elections, has been at or near the top of Russia’s government since 2000 and has now changed that country’s Constitution to be at the top for much longer.
It’s Trump’s clear admiration for leaders like Putin that has led Democrats — and Bernie Sanders — to warn that “authoritarianism has taken root” in the US, and for Barack Obama to issue the warning that Trump is willing to tear our democracy down to get reelected. America’s security is in a democracy where coup attempts seem unfathomable. And presidents come and go.