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Tag: supply chain problems

GOP Politicians Complain About Supply Chain While Promoting Trucker Blockade

For months, congressional Republicans have been falsely blaming troubles with international supply chains on President Joe Biden and Democratic policies. Now, as Biden's administration works to address the challenges, many of the same Republicans are urging anti-vaccine protesters to take actions to make it worse.

A group of Canadian truckers calling themselves a "Freedom Convoy" has spent the past few weeks blocking highways and bridges in the capital city of Ottawa and other places, including the Ambassador Bridge border crossing between Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit, Michigan. Their actions, they say, are in protest against COVID-19 safety mandates, including a requirement that unvaccinated truckers quarantine after reentering the country following visits to the United States.

Members of the convoy caused a shutdown of local businesses, damaged government vehicles, attempted to force an Ottawa homeless shelter to give them food, waved swastika flags, desecrated Canada's National War Memorial, and impeded border crossings. Eventually, the government stepped in and has been dispersing the wildly unpopular blockades.

Though experts say these extremists in trucks already have done significant damage to the economy and supply chains, some Republicans are openly urging American anti-vaccine activists to do the same thing at home.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul told the right-wing website Daily Signal on Thursday, "It'd be great" if truckers shut down U.S. cities such as Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

“I hope the truckers do come to America, and I hope they clog up cities," he said. "I'm all for it."

In a November op-ed for the West Kentucky Star, Paul wrote, "Lately, you might have noticed an increase in prices at the gas pump, the grocery store, and pretty much everything else you can buy. The shelves at stores are empty, employers can't find workers to fill positions, and Americans everywhere are bracing for higher taxes.

"Welcome to Joe Biden's and the Democrats' socialist America. In their America, it's seemingly okay to spend trillions of dollars, rack up copious amounts of debt, and ignore a crisis at hand."

"The United States didn't have a supply chain crisis until Joe Biden became president," Rep. Lance Gooden of Texas tweeted in October.

But Saturday, Gooden told Fox News, "I would absolutely welcome a similar pronouncement of protest in our nation's capital by truckers and anyone who wants their freedoms back."

Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona said in December, "Our country is in the middle of a catastrophic supply chain crisis caused by Biden's incompetent administration."

On February 10 he suggested that Democratic officials easing safety mandates as the omicron waves subside might really be doing so because of what was happening in Canada.

"The Science hasn't changed, their poll numbers have. Oh and #freedomconvoy22 is making an impact. The last thing the [they] want is an American trucker convoy," he warned.

Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert cheered on a protest against vaccine mandates by city workers that took place on February 7 in New York City, encouraging protesters to shut down American bridges.

"Freedom is contagious and there's no vaccine that can shut it down. The Canadian Freedom Convoy has sparked a fire in the hearts of patriots," Boebert tweeted on February 9. "Now the Brooklyn Bridge has been shut down with protests. Let's take our nation back from medical tyranny!"

Back in November, she tweeted, "Black Friday was better without supply chain shortages."

While Republican politicians in the United States and their Fox News allies are abandoning the pretense of wanting "law and order" and cheering on the convoy, politicians in Canada, including Conservatives, have seen enough.

Doug Ford, the premier of Ontario and a member of its Progressive Conservative Party, scolded the truckers on February 11 and told them to leave. "Your right to make a political statement does not outweigh the right of thousands of workers to make a living," he warned.

And after initially backing the protesters, the House of Commons interim Conservative Party Leader Candice Bergen also urged them to end their blockades.

"I believe the time has come to take down the barricades, stop the disruptive action, and come together. The economy you want to see reopened is hurting," she said on February10. "I believe this is not what you want to do."

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Cotton Falsely Claims Nation Had No 'Supply Chain Or Labor Shortages' Under Trump

On Monday, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) claimed there were no supply chain or labor shortages in 2020 when former President Donald Trump was in office. But this is not true.

Cotton made his comments during an appearance on Fox News' Ingraham Angle hosted by Laura Ingraham.

"We've had this pandemic for two years, Laura, I don't remember inflation or supply chain shortages or labor shortages that we've seen this year in the first year of the pandemic," Cotton said. "What changed? Joe Biden and the Democrats took power in January."

But in a report his own office released in February, Cotton acknowledged supply chain problems that disrupted the distribution of personal protective equipment to doctors and hospitals.

Cotton's report, "Beat China: Targeted Decoupling and the Economic Long War," discusses actions taken by China to manufacture equipment for its virus response, which led to shortages elsewhere in the world.

"This move imperiled America's ability to procure personal protective equipment at the outset of the pandemic, likely costing American lives," the report said.


Supply chain problems became clear almost immediately after the pandemic began, forcing medical workers on the front lines of the response to reuse and ration equipment like N95 face masks. There were also more widespread supply-chain issues when Trump was in office, including shortages of groceries and consumer goods like toilet paper and diapers.

As the virus spread across the country, Trump refused to invoke the Defense Production Act to make more personal protective equipment for frontline medical workers.

"The federal government's not supposed to be out there buying vast amounts of items and then shipping," Trump told reporters in March 2020. "You know, we're not a shipping clerk."

On January 21, 2021, President Joe Biden signed an executive order invoking the Defense Production Act to get American manufacturers to produce more medical equipment.

Labor shortages also predate the Biden presidency. The percentage of workers participating in the economy fell as the pandemic began in 2020.

In a report on labor shortages, the Wall Street Journal noted in October that the percentage experienced its biggest drop since World War II "in the early months of the pandemic." Some economists have attributed the ongoing problem to lingering concerns about the virus as well as retirement schedules being accelerated.

The U.S. economy has improved since Biden took office. More than 5.5 million jobs have been added since January, and the unemployment rate has fallen from 6.3 percent to 4.6 percent.

Nevertheless, Republicans keep using Cotton's misleading line of argument. In a Fox News appearance earlier this month, former Trump senior counselor Kellyanne Conway falsely claimed that "there wasn't a supply chain crisis" when Trump was in office.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

'End Of' Story: Fox News And Other Right-Wing Outlets Fabricate Biden Gaffe

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

Right-wing media outlets have tried to manufacture a story falsely claiming that President Joe Biden misread a teleprompter — supposedly reciting an "end of quote" cue that was not meant to be read aloud. In reality, Biden was directly telling his listeners that he was ending a quote. And even after corrections have piled up, some are still trying to depict this moment as some kind of gaffe when it was nothing of the kind.

A quick Google search also shows that Biden has used the "quote … end of quote" construction before. Indeed, he had also used it just the day before, in his remarks on Monday when he nominated Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell for a second term.

During remarks Tuesday, Biden briefly quoted Walmart CEO Doug McMillon, who had extolled the cooperation between the government and private sector in resolving supply-chain interruptions.