No, there is too much. Let me sum up

Most of the news is a lot of churned-up, picked-over repeats of previously run stories. But 130 people were killed in Burkina Faso by ISIS...that matters.

The news cycle is unremitting, but does it seem to you the same stories just keep churning over and over, like a syndicated sitcom in and endless cycle of reruns? It does to me.

Trying to write something coherent and useful out of this, I turn to Inigo Montoya, when the Man in Black (Westley) batters him with questions after waking from being “mostly dead all day.”

Sadly, the world isn’t engaged in comedy or a reality show, at least not outside the Zoom meetings, latte-sipping, laptop-hauling writers who work at major newspapers, or the people who run the website.

For instance, an ISIS branch in Niger crossed into Burkina Faso and murdered 130 people. I wouldn’t even know where the land-locked little nation of Burkina Faso is, nestled in West Africa, surrounded by six countries mostly absorbed in their own insurgencies, instabilities, and corruption, if it wasn’t for Compassion International. We took on support for a child in Burkina Faso about seven years ago through Compassion, and I can’t recommend that organization enough. It also helps us to explain world events to our kids from a non-American, but Christian, point of view.

The rest of the news is a lot of churned-up, picked-over repeats of previously run stories.


Postmaster redux

Democrats are trying to get Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to resign. DeJoy is being compared to Donald Trump, although the PMG is not a presidential appointment. The AP covered it like this: “‘Get used to me’: Postmaster evokes Trump style in Biden era.”

“I’m not a political appointee,” DeJoy told the House hearing. “I was selected by a bipartisan board of governors and I’d really appreciate if you’d get that straight.” When pressed on how long he’d remain in his post, DeJoy responded, “A long time. Get used to me.”

Here’s what DeJoy is dealing with. From a letter by the PMG on Day One in office:

We have a lot of momentum as an organization today-despite our financial challenges. We continue to take prudent steps to bring our costs and revenues into better alignment. However, the way we are structured today and the way we serve the public today will not be adequate to fully meet the demands of tomorrow's marketplace. To be successful in the future, we will continually reorient our business strategies to better connect with our customers and redefine the ways we serve the American public.

Only that letter was written by DeJoy’s predecessor, Megan Brennan. The problems and solutions DeJoy inherited, and is implementing, came from Brennan, who rose up through the USPS starting as a letter carrier. President Obama was the one who touted reforming the USPS, in 2015.

Just one day after the Postal Service swore in its new postmaster general -- Megan Brennan -- Obama called for sweeping changes to modernize the cash-strapped agency, which the White House said would save a total of $36 billion over 11 years. Obama’s recommendations borrowed from recent legislative proposals that have failed to make their way through Congress, pulling no punches on the most controversial elements of postal reform.

From today’s coverage, you’d think history started on January 20th, 2017. There’s no mention of Brennan (who was a popular PMG). The opposition to DeJoy seems to emanate from the fact he’s an outsider, not a Postal Service careerist, and he had the misfortune to be appointed under Trump, and worse, to have a Brooklyn accent he retained even after years of living in North Carolina.

In politics, it’s so much easier to attack the other guy’s guy, then to enact the solution you would have done with your own gal in the position to “save the day,” except the solution six years ago wouldn’t look as good. More from the AP:

Meantime, Congress may forge ahead with post office changes with DeJoy still in charge. A bipartisan plan to scrap requirements that the Postal Service pre-fund retiree health benefits, potentially saving the agency billions of dollars, is advancing. That’s surprising because lawmakers have fought over that issue for years. 

Republican supporters say the move would complement DeJoy’s 10-year plan rather than supplant it. A Democratic proposal that could defy the postmaster general’s overhaul remains stalled.

Remember, the “overhaul” came from Brennan. It’s just DeJoy’s job to implement it.

Facebook’s penalty box

Donald Trump doesn’t seem to be overly inconvenienced at being in the Facebook penalty box, or being permanently booted from Twitter. Facebook decided, after playing hot-potato with Trump’s suspension with its own specially appointed Oversight Board, to limit 45’s sentence to two years, “if conditions permit.”

At the end of this period, we will look to experts to assess whether the risk to public safety has receded. We will evaluate external factors, including instances of violence, restrictions on peaceful assembly and other markers of civil unrest. If we determine that there is still a serious risk to public safety, we will extend the restriction for a set period of time and continue to re-evaluate until that risk has receded.

When the suspension is eventually lifted, there will be a strict set of rapidly escalating sanctions that will be triggered if Mr. Trump commits further violations in future, up to and including permanent removal of his pages and accounts.

To which Trump responded: “Facebook’s ruling is an insult to the record-setting 75M people, plus many others, who voted for us in the 2020 Rigged Presidential Election. They shouldn’t be allowed to get away with this censoring and silencing, and ultimately, we will win. Our Country can’t take this abuse anymore!”

The former president is using his website as a Twitter substitute, issuing machine-gun style “statements” of one or two sentences. These are eventually reported by the media, or picked up by Trump-friendly outlets and fed to his supporters. Or they’re echoed in places like Parler (which I don’t use).

Mr. Trump’s cancellation is widely overstated, and obsessed over while in reality it doesn’t seem to matter very much. In a troll, Trump teased “Next time I’m in the White House there will be no more dinners, at his request, with Mark Zuckerberg and his wife. It will be all business!”

Watch folks like The Bulwark detonate craniums over this, proclaiming it dangerous invective, and prophesying another insurrection on our institutions of democracy.

We do need a January 6th commission, but let’s hold off until after 2022. Commissions do best when the evidence is cold. Their task is to make recommendations and explain events. Having one so close after a failed political impeachment (which the Senate should have convicted if they believed the evidence!) is nothing but political axe sharpening. But I’m cynical.

Thank God for Joe Manchin, President of the United States

Sen. Joe Manchin is POTUS, as Erick Erickson is fond of saying. With a Manchin-less minority in the Senate, the Democrats may do nothing without his leave. And Manchin sees right through H.R. 1, the Democrats’ wet dream of federalizing all elections. From the AP:

“I think it’s the wrong piece of legislation to bring our country together and unite our country and I’m not supporting that because I think it would divide us further,” Manchin said. He also said he believes Republicans will see the need for a bipartisan deal.

“And if they think they’re going to win by subverting and oppressing people from voting, they’re going to lose. I assure you they will lose,” he said.

What’s sad about this, is that in Georgia, Republicans realized that actual suppression will backfire, removed the most offensive elements from their election reform, proceeded with a commonsense version that recognized drop boxes (which had not been legally permitted before other than by judicial order) and standardized county voting house, and got pilloried for it.

Manchin is a Democrat, and he realizes that the messaging, regardless of what Republicans in GOP-controlled states do, is more important than the actual legislation. He also realizes that the Democrat plan could backfire if passed, because then Republicans would have their own messaging to compare.

In any case, I thank God for Manchin.

That’s all I have for Monday. God bless you all as the new work week starts.


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