It will be done!
Sens. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) last week introduced the Postal Service Reform Act, which would roll back some of the agency’s financial commitments and aim to improve its service and accountability to the public.
The most significant aspects of the legislation would eliminate a prefunding requirement for retirees and require them to enroll in Medicare. Those two steps alone would save an estimated $46 billion over the next decade for an agency that employed 500,000 workers last year. The Postal Service is the only federal agency that has a prefunding requirement for retirees.
The legislation also requires letter carriers to continue delivering mail six days a week, allows customers to search by ZIP code to see how efficient the Postal Service is in their area and makes equipment changes to accommodate the increase in parcel deliveries.
Take back our Post Offices! Evict Von Trump from the Washington Post Office! Our Founding Fathers created a National Post Office so Revolutionaries could continue to send, and receive, sacred literature and newspapers so that they can continue to proclaim Liberty! Here is our Jerusalem where our words of Liberty and Freedom can be cherished – FOREVER and FOREVER!
On this day, I declare a National Jubilee that will give every American Voter a Thousand Dollar Voting Bonus!
Down with the Corporate Boss City-States! Donate the Bonus’s the Fraudsters gave you, and purchase this Beautiful Tower of the Bells – FOR WE THE PEOPLE!
Some of the highlights:
* Although the Founders generally favored free enterprise over state-owned business, they made an exception for postal services.
* As understood at the time, a postal system included not only letter and parcel delivery, but freight delivery, official dispatches, and transportation over a system of “post roads.”
* The power to “establish . . . post Roads” included authority to build the roads, not just designate existing roads (as some have thought). The power included authority to condemn private property for road construction and widening (eminent domain).
* The North American colonial postal service was a branch of the British imperial royal post. Ben Franklin, the first American postmaster general, had served in the imperial system for many years. When the United States became independent, Americans’ instinct was to copy British postal policies.
* A “post road” was not defined as any road over which the mail was carried, as many have believed. Rather, a post road was a highway punctuated with stations called “posts”—much like a modern Interstate highway. The posts were places for the exchange of letters, rental of horses and vehicles, production of newspapers, and rest and refreshment at inns and taverns. The term “post roads” does not come from the mail. Just the opposite: The term “post” for the mail comes from fact that the mail traveled over post roads.
* The postal system was not initially for the benefit the general public. It was a way to transmit government messages, accommodate government couriers, and for the government to spy on travelers and correspondence and otherwise collect information. In Britain, and initially some of the colonies, if you wanted to travel the post road you had to sign up with the government. Government officials opened private mail in both Britain and America. The postal system was said to benefit trade and commerce, but the government suppressed any efforts by merchants to erect competing systems.
* The history of the Postal Clause gives us a somewhat different glimpse of the Founders generally and of some (such as Benjamin Franklin) specifically—a glimpse that is not always in keeping with our admiration of them. It reminds us that they were human, and among their many virtues were some human flaws.
Legal challenges associated with Trump’s presidency
After Donald J. Trump was inaugurated as President of the United States, the Trump International Hotel became the focus of legal controversy. World leaders stated Trump was encouraging emissaries to stay at Trump hotels while visiting.
Emoluments Clause lawsuits
CREW v. Trump
Main article: CREW v. Trump
In January 2017, a lawsuit against Trump was brought by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and several prominent legal scholars—including Laurence Tribe of Harvard Law School, former White House Special Counsel for Ethics and Government Reform Norman L. Eisen, Erwin Chemerinsky of the UC Irvine, and Zephyr Teachout of Fordham University. The lawsuit argues that Trump is in violation of the Foreign Emoluments Clause of the United States because his hotels, as well as other businesses, are accepting payments from foreign guests. The suit is pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
District of Columbia and Maryland v. Trump
Main article: D.C. and Maryland v. Trump
On June 12, 2017, the Attorney General Karl Racine of the District of Columbia and Attorney General Brian Frosh of Maryland filed a joint lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland against President Trump alleging both foreign and domestic emoluments clause violations of the United States Constitution. Similar to CREW v. Trump, Attorney Generals Racine and Frosh cite The Trump Organization receipt of foreign money at Trump Hotels and other businesses as a violation of the constitution, and that this transaction negatively affects the economy of Washington, D.C. and Maryland, as well as the best interests of the American public.
Blumenthal et. al. v. Trump
Main article: Blumenthal v. Trump
On June 14, 2017, lead by Senator Richard Blumenthal and Representative John Conyers, Jr., more than a third of the voting members of Congress filed a lawsuit alleging violations of the Foreign Emoluments Clause seeking the right to be informed of and approve of gifts from foreign governments before they are received. The lawsuit makes specific allegations concerning attempts to solicit foreign governments at the Old Post Office building.
The Trump Organization’s lease contract with the U.S. General Services Administration, signed in 2013, provides that “no elected official of the government … shall be admitted to any share or part of this Lease, or to any benefit that may arise therefrom.” In a letter to the GSA, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington wrote: “Elected government officials are barred from receiving any benefit under the lease, and now that Mr. Trump has been sworn in today as President of the United States, Trump Old Post Office LLC, a company he largely owns, is in violation of the lease’s conflicts-of-interest provision.” Since Trump’s election as president, Democrats have taken the position he “must fully divest himself of all financial interests in the lease to be in compliance with the legal agreement.” In February 2017, Senators Tom Carper and Claire McCaskill (the Democratic ranking members of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and its Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, respectively) wrote a letter to the GSA inspector general, writing: “Since President Trump took the oath of office, the Trump Old Post Office, LLC appears to be in breach of the plain language of the lease agreement.” They requested an inspector general inquiry. In March 2017 the GSA announced that they considered the tenant of the property to be in full compliance with the terms of the lease, following a reorganization of the hotel’s organizational structure and the placing of the property in a revocable trust. On August 30, 2017, Bloomberg BNA reported that both the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the GSA Inspector General’s Office of Inspections had confirmed that they were evaluating GSA’s management and administration of the lease.
The President responded to the emolument clause allegations by outlining a plan where payments from foreign guests would be paid into the U.S. Treasury and to the GSA contract issues by placing his holdings into a trust directed by his children. This plan was criticized by Walter M. Shaub, the Director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, who stated that “the plan does not comport with the tradition of our Presidents over the past 40 years” and was at odds with past practice, since “…every President in modern times has taken the strong medicine of divestiture.”
Clock Tower and bells
One of the Bells of Congress hanging in the clock tower of the Old Post Office Building (2012)
The Old Post Office Building’s 315-foot (96 m) Clock Tower is the third-highest building in Washington, D.C., after the Washington Monument and the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The tower’s 270-foot-high (82 m) observation deck offers panoramic views of the city and its surroundings. The tower includes an exhibit depicting the building’s long struggle for survival and a view of the interior workings of the illuminated clock.
The Clock Tower houses the Bells of Congress (also known as the Ditchley Bells), which the Whitechapel Bell Foundry cast and are replicas of bells in Westminster Abbey. Sir David Wills, who had founded England‘s Ditchley Foundation, donated the bells to the United States in commemoration of the nation’s 1976 Bicentennial. However, the bells were not brought to the United States and installed in the Clock Tower until 1983.
The 10-bell peal consists of bells ranging from 300 to 3,000 pounds (140 to 1,360 kg) and from 2 to 4.5 feet (0.61 to 1.37 m) in diameter. Their composition is 78 percent copper and 22 percent tin. Each bell features the Great Seal of the United States, the Great Seal of the Realm, and an image of the flower London Pride in relief. Because the tower was not designed to hold bells, the architectural firm of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill and the structural engineering firm Cagley & Associates were hired to modify the tower so that it could accommodate the weight of the bells and the stress of their swings.
The Washington Ringing Society sounds the Bells of Congress every Thursday evening and on special occasions. The official bells of the United States Congress, they are one of the largest sets of change ringing bells in North America. Tower visitors can see the colored ropes that the bell-ringers pull to sound the bells but not the bells themselves, although plans are in the works to open a viewing area for the bells as well.
Prior to the 2014 renovation, National Park Service rangers provided tours of the Clock Tower. After stopping for three years during the tower’s renovation, the ranger tours resumed in February 2017.