Tag Archives: Megan Brennan

Game of Federal Government Drones

2019 is scheduled to deliver more rough times for the uninvited purveyor of your junk mail. USPS‘ first quarter report reveals a $2.08 billion loss, which is even worse than fourth quarter 2018, which noted a net loss of “$1.5 billion, an increase […] of nearly $1.0 billion compared to the same quarter last year.”

In February’s report for October through December 2018, Megan Brennan, Postmaster General Extraordinaire (below), helms an already sinking ship whose Marketing Mail (which comprises the following tree-destroying garbage “non-first class” items: printed matter, flyers, circulars, advertising, newsletters, bulletins, catalogs and small parcels) explosion of $553 million to the bank was more than negated by “increases in compensation and benefits of $657 million”…

CFO Joseph Corbett, oblivious to basic math, bemoaned the “increases in transportation costs due to these higher volumes.” Fortunately (?), quarter one of 2019 saw marketing mail revenue fall by 3.9%.

Trump’s “Task Force on the United States Postal System,” chaired by entitled Treasury thug Steven Mnuchin, reported last year that “ USPS has been losing money for more than a decade and is on an unsustainable financial path.” The recommendations knocked Brennan for her apparent micromanagement deficiency, noting “USPS suffers from a lack of institutional governance. […] Between December 2016 and August 2018, the USPS Board of Governors (the Board) had no Governors [;] […] the Postmaster General managed the USPS’s financial and operational challenges without strategic direction and guidance, exacerbating management’s limited power to effect needed organizational change[.]”

Interestingly, according to CBS News, the report, which we did not read in its entirety, suggests a “new pricing model that [TRIGGER WARNING: CAPITALIST IDEAS AHEAD] would remove current price caps and charge market-based prices for mail and packages that were not deemed to be ‘essential postal services[,]’ [which] could raise costs for Amazon […]”

The evil e-commerce empire itself, incidentally, contributed to the report.

For the Bernie Sanders enthusiasts, the report also warned against any misguided foray into banking by the ailing office: “[G]iven the USPS’s narrow expertise and capital limitations, USPS should not pursue expanding into new sectors, such as postal banking, where the USPS does not have a demonstrated competency or comparative advantage [.]” [our emphasis]

The USPS website fancies the organization as “at the core of the $1.4 trillion U.S. mailing industry that employs more than 7.5 million people.” Their self-reported $70.6 billion in revenue (which, again, fails to cover USPS’ expenses) comes out to about 5% of that $1.4 trillion.

Citizens Against Government Waste reports USPS has lost $70 billion in since 2007.

In January, the price of a “forever” stamp for first class mail was hiked by 10%, to $0.55.

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A pulmonary function lab at Duke University admitted to violating the False Claims Act by defrauding the federal government and is paying heavily. After canning a lab technician, Erin Potts-Kant, for embezzlement from Duke (that they’ll be sure to notice; gotta maintain the bottom line. for the children), the institution “discovered possible research misconduct in 2013[.]” The “misconduct” consisted of Potts-Kant’s lab bagging millions in NIH and EPA grants based on falsified data.

Erin Potts-Kant was supposed to certify the validity of the unit’s work and ensure that it fulfilled government requirements. But instead, the suit state[s], “Potts-Kant engaged in systematic and near-universal research fraud,” including, in some cases, making up data outright “in lieu of actually performing experiments.”

NPR reported in March that 17 scientific papers building on the bogus findings were forced to be retracted. The ruse also helped Potts-Kant co-author and publish 38 articles in scholarly journals with her fellow Duke researchers — which were, in turn, cited in 417 other articles when the suit was filed in 2013.

The university must pay the federal government
$112.5 million to settle the suit, but apparently not on the Feds’ initiative. They declined to tangle with the $8.5 billion endowed non-profit, a grateful participant in the federally subsidized higher education empire.

Former Duke lab analyst Joseph Thomas (above), who first reported the fraud in 2013, took it upon himself to sue the university where the government wouldn’t; he will pocket an additional $33.75 million under False Claim Act whistleblower stipulations–a cool 30%.

Thomas’ attorneys say he stuck with the case after the government opted not to mount its own investigation after he reported his allegations and filed suit.

Duke released a statement reassuring everyone that Potts-Kant
eventually pled [sic] guilty to two counts of forgery and paid restitution to Duke .

The ordeal has allowed Duke to give Geeta Swamy the new role of
“vice dean and associate vice provost for scientific integrity.” And hers is not the only new role!

Duke’s new Advisory Panel on Research Integrity and Excellence, to be chaired by pediatric microbiologist and former research dean of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, Ann Arvin, will examine ways of “improving the structure and function of research administration, with a focus on promoting research integrity[.]” 

Job creation!

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To give San Francisco credit where due, the city’s 11-member Board of Supervisors voted 8-1 with two absences to usurp the police state’s facial recognition capabilities. It is the first American city to respect this invasion of privacy.

The board’s rules committee unanimously advanced the law last week, noting it would also require city departments to get approval from the Board of Supervisors before purchasing other surveillance technology ― including license plate readers, body cameras and biometrics technology, among other items.

None of the 53 city departments may use the technology beginning next month. According to CNN, the police department dabbled with the faulty, Orwellian techniques between 2013 and 2017. It’s anyone’s guess how many stills they have stockpiled.

Related:

The airport and seaport are exempted, however, so check your makeup before getting groped by their TSA.

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Vanessa and Keana Rodel, Filipino refugees lost in the legal limbo of Hong Kong and threatened with deportation for temporarily housing Edward Snowden, achieved Canadian asylum at the end of March.

But five others remain stateless in Hong Kong after that government rejected their asylum claims in 2017. You can donate to support them here:

fortherefugees.com, the legal charity that is navigating asylum options for Snowden’s 2013 protectors

Related:


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The already flimsy legal proceedings into Robert Kraft‘s alleged postseason porking (see our previous post) continue to crumble. NFL.com reports Florida Judge Leonard Hanser has blocked prosecutors from screening hidden camera footage of Kraft honing his craft in the courtroom.

When taping the New England Patriots owner’s January jaunts at
Orchids of Asia Day Spa, the authorities“did not do enough to minimize the invasion of privacy of customers who did not commit crimes.”

Thanks to our sources:

https://about.usps.com/newsroom/national-releases/2019/0208-usps-reports-first-quarter-fiscal-2019-results.htm

https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/USPS_A_Sustainable_Path_Forward_report_12-04-2018.pdf

https://www.cagw.org/thewastewatcher/usps-losses-deepening-bold-postal-reform-wallows

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2019/01/09/forever-stamp-price-increase-among-us-postal-service-2019-changes/2510932002/

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/trump-task-force-proposes-major-postal-service-overhaul/

https://www.npr.org/2019/03/25/706604033/duke-whistleblower-gets-more-than-33-million-in-research-fraud-settlement

https://www.dukechronicle.com/article/2018/11/in-wake-of-prior-misconduct-allegations-duke-creates-new-research-integrity-position

https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/910922

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/03/duke-university-settles-research-misconduct-lawsuit-1125-million

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/san-francisco-ban-facial-recognition_n_5cd1d01ce4b0e4d757395587?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAGWc9Rug7mgmzTrivqESDIDht56BzY9AdzzdYmiilhNfeF_wUuqJc5wtBqJJPsgXMYPs0AiHYnqHWIfpfgiAz3xh3UiBzubrX0p75KdX2rbHrYsVqYHY10AZw4toYYcRbE31FzH6Ql3DS-uZwoAp_1W8PuDtsSDcaUZktjD_pRdd

https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/14/tech/san-francisco-facial-recognition-ban/index.html

https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/25/asia/edward-snowden-refugees-canada-intl/index.html

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000001030680/article/judge-prosecutors-cannot-use-video-in-robert-kraft-case