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Earlier this week we dealt with the popular belief that because the US Constitution mentions post offices, it would take a constitutional amendment to eliminate or privatize the USPS. Today we have the flip side of that myth- the belief that the US Postal Service isn’t part of the federal government. You see this in news stories often- FedSmith ran a column just a week ago referring to the USPS as a “quasi-governmental entity”, that had been privatized in 1971! The Gallup Organization, which was responsible for the poll we reported earlier today naming the USPS the best-liked government service, referred to “the quasi-governmental U.S. Postal Service” in an earlier poll report. A recent story in the Atlantic claims that “Postal services were quasi-privatized in the US decades ago”. Just to make things interesting, the Washington Post’s Ed O’Keefe once referred to the USPS as “a quasi-federal outfit”– whatever that means!

Most of the quasi-confusion can be traced back to the 1971 Postal Reorganization Act, which eliminated the old Post Office Department, replacing it with the US Postal Service. The act was intended to make the USPS self-financing from its own revenues, and to make it an independent, non-political public service. Prior to the PRA, postmasters (including the postmaster general) were political appointees; rates were set by Congress, and the POD had to go through the appropriations process to get the money it needed to operate.

The PRA established a Board of Governors who were responsible for selecting the PMG and setting policies and budgets. It allowed the USPS to use its revenue to finance its operations without any appropriation process. It set up a separate commission to set postage rates.

What it didn’t do was privatize the postal service in any way, shape or form. Some in Congress, then as now, would have favored privatization. Consideration was also given to making the USPS a government owned corporation, like the TVA or Amtrak. But neither of those things happened. Here’s what the Act says:”The United States Postal Service shall be operated as a basic and fundamental service provided to the people by the Government of the United States”. It also defines the USPS as “an independent establishment of the executive branch of the Government of the United States”. Being “independent” doesn’t make the USPS a “quasi-” anything- it simply means it is not part of one of the cabinet departments. Other “independent” agencies include the CIA and NASA.

In a footnote to its most recent report on postal finances, the Congressional Research Service, part of the Library of Congress, had this to say:

The USPS often is mischaracterized as a quasi governmental or private entity. It is neither. The USPS is a government agency that was created by Congress to achieve various public purposes. Federal law defines what products and services the Postal Service may offer. Additionally, the USPS’s employees are federal employees who participate in the Civil Service Retirement System, the Federal Employees Retirement System, and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.

The Supreme Court has even weighed in on what being “independent” means for the USPS, in an opinion from 2004:

The PRA’s designation of the Postal Service as an “independent establishment of the executive branch of the Government of the United States,” 39 U. S. C. §201, is not consistent with the idea that the Postal Service is an entity existing outside the Government. Indeed, the designation indicates just the contrary. The PRA gives the Postal Service a high degree of independence from other Government offices, but it remains part of the Government.

That would seem to settle it, wouldn’t it?

Source: postalnews.com

Published in News

The American Philatelic Society is pleased to announce that the StampShow 2019 festivities in downtown Omaha, Nebraska, will kick off with a special dedication ceremony for the newest U.S. Postal Service Forever stamp issue: Military Working Dogs Forever.

On Thursday, August 1st, at 12 noon, join the U.S. Postal Service and the APS as we honor the nation's brave and loyal canines at the first day ceremony for the Military Working Dogs Forever stamps. The ceremony will feature remarks from Dave Keeton, a U.S. Army veteran, who was partnered in Vietnam for 18 months with King, a German shepherd. Keeton, who has written five books about King and other war dogs, has campaigned tirelessly since 2006 to honor the service of the working dogs of the military with a U.S. postage stamp.

The ceremony will also welcome military working dogs from Offutt Air Force Base.

The U.S. Postal Service encourages dedication ceremony attendees to RSVP at usps.com/militarydogs. The ceremony will be livestreamed on the USPS and APS Facebook pages from the show floor of StampShow at the CHI Health Center in downtown Omaha.

News of the stamps are being shared with the hashtag #MilitaryDogsStamps. The American Philatelic Society StampShow news and updates are being shared with the hashtag #StampShow2019.

About Military Working Dogs

Brave and loyal military working dogs are essential members of America’s armed forces. Courageous canines have aided U.S. soldiers in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Today, the 341st Training Squadron at Lackland Air Force Base just outside of San Antonio, TX, trains American military working dogs and their handlers.

Dozens of dog breeds have served in the U.S. armed forces, but over time the number has decreased significantly. Modern military working dogs are predominantly Belgian Malinois, German Shepherds and Dutch Shepherds. Labrador Retrievers are often trained as specialized search dogs.

About Military Working Dogs Forever

In this booklet of 20, each block of four stamps features one stamp of each of the following breeds—German Shepherd, Labrador Retriever, Dutch Shepherd and Belgian Malinois —that commonly serve in America’s armed forces. The background of each stamp features a detail of a white star. A star appears in the center of each block. The stylized digital illustrations are in red, white, blue and gold to represent the American flag and patriotism. The art was created by DKNG Studios. Art director Greg Breeding designed the stamps.

The Military Working Dogs stamps are being issued as Forever stamps and will always be equal in value to the current First-Class Mail 1-ounce price.

StampShow 2019 Comes to Downtown Omaha
APS StampShow/National Topical Stamp Show is the largest national event of 2019 for the stamp hobby. It will be held at the CHI Health Center in Omaha, Nebraska, from August 1-4. The Military Working Dogs first day ceremony is the first major event of the show, which is open and free for the public to enjoy. Attendees will be able to collect a unique first day of issue cachet and cover with the new Military Dogs stamps at the event. The USPS will also have a large retail presence at the show, offering a selection of current U.S. stamps, postal stationery, and philatelic items for sale.

Source: stamps.org

Published in News

The U.S. Postal Service will celebrate the career of artist Ellsworth Kelly with the issuance of 10 stamps celebrating his talent as a painter and sculptor. With these stamps, the Postal Service showcases examples of his wide-ranging body of work.
Ellsworth Kelly issues

On May 31, 2019, the U.S. Postal Service will hold a first day of issue ceremony for the Ellsworth Kelly Stamps at the Ellsworth Kelly Studio, in Spencertown, New York. The event is free and open to the public. Dedication ceremony attendees are encouraged to RSVP at usps.com/ellsworthkelly.

Speakers for the May 31 first day of issue ceremony will include U.S. Postal Service Vice President of Marketing, Steven W. Monteith, and Kelly's husband and director of the Ellsworth Kelly Foundation, photographer Jack Shear. News of the stamp is being shared with the hashtags #EllsworthKelly and #EllsworthKellyStamps.

The new issues, designed by Art Director Derry Noyes, feature ten of Kelly’s artworks, each represented twice on the twenty-stamp sheet: “Yellow White” (1961), "Colors for a Large Wall" (1951), “Blue Red Rocker” (1963), “Spectrum I” (1953), “South Ferry” (1956), “Blue Green” (1962), “Orange Red Relief” (for Delphine Seyrig) (1990), "Meschers" (1951), “Red Blue” (1964), and “Gaza” (1956). A detail from “Blue Yellow Red III” (1971) appears in the selvage.

The Ellsworth Kelly stamps are being issued as Forever stamps and will always be equal in value to the current First-Class Mail 1-ounce price.

Characterized by precise shapes rendered in bold, flat colors, Ellsworth Kelly’s art encompasses painting, sculpture and works on paper, drawing on careful observations of light and shadow, negative space and line and form. In painting shapes—like a tennis court, a smokestack on a tugboat, or the roof of a barn—as flat planes of color, Kelly removed their dimensionality and turned reality into abstraction. He was also one of the first artists to create shaped canvases and to integrate art with modern architecture, taking great care about the size of a painting, its boundaries, and its placement in relation to the walls and floor. To read more about Ellsworth Kelly and his work, check out his artist biography.

Customers may purchase stamps and other philatelic products through the Postal Store at usps.com/shop, by calling 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724), by mail through USA Philatelic or at Post Office locations nationwide.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

Source: stamps.org

Published in News

The preliminary design for the United States nondenominated (55¢) commemorative forever stamp honoring former President George H.W. Bush to be issued June 12.

The design of a United States nondenominated (55¢) commemorative forever stamp honoring former President George H.W. Bush was revealed Saturday, April 6.

It will be sold in panes of 20.

The first-day-of-issue ceremony for the new stamp will be held on the president’s birthday, June 12, at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, 1000 George Bush Drive West, College Station, Texas. The time of the ceremony was not announced.

U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors chairman Robert M. Duncan will serve as the dedicating official.

“The 41st president guided the United States through the end of the Cold War and drove the creation of a multinational coalition that successfully forced Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait in the Persian Gulf War,” the Postal Service stated in its press release. “An advocate for public service, Bush explained his vision of a nation of volunteers as ‘a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky.’ ”

The artwork on the stamp features a portrait painted by artist Michael. J. Deas. The art is based on a photograph taken in 1997 by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders. USPS art director Phil Jordan is the stamp designer.

Former President George H.W. Bush, died Nov. 30, 2018, at the age of 94.

Source: linns.com

Published in News

Celebrate the beauty and wonder of coral reefs with four new postcard stamps from the U.S. Postal Service. The Coral Reefs stamps will be available nationwide March 29 in Post Offices and online at the Postal Store.

Featuring highly stylized digital portraits, the stamp art depicts four types of stony corals with associated reef fish: elkhorn coral, shown with two French angelfish; brain coral, with a spotted moray eel; staghorn coral, with bluestriped grunts; and pillar coral, with a coney grouper and neon gobies.

Coral reefs are formed over thousands of years mainly by colonies of animals called polyps. Polyps make stony corals, the foundation for most coral reefs, by secreting protective skeletons of calcium carbonate or limestone. As these limestone skeletons accumulate over time — with new colonies of polyps growing on top of the skeletons of older ones — they build up the base of coral reefs.

Coral reefs are some of the world’s most marvelous ecosystems, sheltering and sustaining about a quarter of all ocean species. Anyone who has snorkeled in tropical environments has witnessed the sea come alive when approaching a coral reef. Suddenly an abundance of fish of all types and colors appear, along with a variety of other animals and plants, including sea urchins, seagrass, octopuses and lobsters.

Art director Ethel Kessler designed the stamps. Tyler Lang created the stamp art.

News of the stamps is being shared with the hashtag #CoralReefsStamps. The first-day ceremony is scheduled for 9:30 am on March 29 at the St. Louis Stamp Exposition.

The word “POSTCARD” on the stamps indicates their usage value. Like a Forever stamp, these stamps will always be valid for the rate printed on them.

Source: stamps.org

Published in News
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