© RIA Novosti
Right now America is in the midst of a durable goods shortage and the term ‘supply chain crisis’ saturates the news. After a long lag due to the Wuhan Virus, demand is up once more. But America lacks the dock facilities to unload and store imports. As a result, more than a hundred merchant container ships lay at anchor awaiting their turn to offload their cargos at Los Angeles and Long Beach, the largest ports on the West Coast.
Compounding the crisis is a nationwide shortage of truckers brought about by onerous Covid regulations and high unemployment payments discouraging work. This observer can personally attest to the shortages. Here in northern New Jersey, there is an acute shortage of new cars and the wait for new furniture extends into 2022.
As the crisis worsens, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is absent. Buttigieg has been on maternity leave with his husband and their adopted newborn twins. The Department of Transportation made no announcement of Buttigieg’s absence, nor did he appoint someone to stand in his place. Last week a department spokesperson said Buttigieg had been ‘mostly offline’ for the last two months. For weeks nobody noticed he was gone. That is, Buttigieg has barely checked into the office during the supply chain crisis, and has been a non-combatant in the ongoing infrastructure and reconciliation bill fights.
To recap, at issue in congress are the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill for roads, ports bridges and the like. This bill as passed by the Senate and awaits a vote in the house. Also pending is the $3.5 trillion Reconciliation bill filled with leftwing projects like universal daycare, free mental health and dental insurance, Green New Deal and a host of other items. The reconciliation bill (so named because Democrats can only pass it via a special budget process that needs the senate’s 50 Democrats plus Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie breaking vote. Senator Krysten Sinema (D-Arizona) and Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) both oppose the reconciliation bill at its current price tag. Sinema and Manchin have not budged off their topline number and neither have House and Senate progressives.
As noted previously in this space, progressive activists followed Sinema into the bathroom and yelled at her. Last week they stalked the senator as she ran the Boston Marathon. Activists promise to stalk Sinema further. At the same time progressives are attacking Manchin in West Virginia. Last week Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont), chair of the Senate Budget Committee and author of the Reconciliation Bill, penned an op-ed in West Virginia’s Charleston Gazette Mail. In the piece, Sanders slammed Manchin’s opposition to the Reconciliation Bill. Sanders touted the bill’s benefits, but also attacked the fossil fuel industry, writing, ‘this legislation begins the process of cutting carbon emissions and transforming our energy systems away from fossil fuel and into energy efficiency and sustainable energy.’
For foreign readers, West Virginia is a small state of 1.7 million people, nestled in the Appalachian Mountains. Not quite Southern, not quite Midwestern, the state motto is ‘Mountaineers are always free’. West Virginia is also a major fossil fuel producer. The state is the nation’s largest miner of bituminous coal and has the fourth largest natural gas deposits of any state in the nation. To put it another way, West Virginia is coal country. In 2020, Donald Trump won 68% of the vote in West Virginia.
Neighboring Virginia will hold a gubernatorial election on 2 November. West Virginia was part of Virginia till breaking off from the Confederate State during the Civil War (1861-1865). Virginia is West Virginia’s mirror, a formerly red state that went blue. In 2020 Joe Biden won Virginia by 10 points. Virginia is also one of two states that hold gubernatorial elections this year (the other is New Jersey, where Phil Murphy is expected to win decently if not overwhelmingly). In theory the Democrat nominee, Terry McAuliffe, should be in the same situation. Virginia is solidly blue and McAuliffe is a former governor with 100% name recognition. But most recent polls show McAuliffe in a dead heat with Republican challenger Glenn Youngkin. Joe Biden is dragging McAuliffe down. A poll taken last week by Grimmell/Selzer yielded a 37% approval rating for Biden. A Quinnipiac poll scored Biden’s approval at 38%. McAuliffe has also been a lackluster candidate with well warn talking points substituting for ideas.
Schools are also an issue in Virginia and Loudoun County, near Washington DC, is ground zero. Parents are furious about an alleged bathroom rape covered up by the Loudoun County School Board. Loudoun County is also the center of the fight over Critical Race Theory touted by the school board but opposed by many parents. In neighboring Fairfax County, parents pulled pornographic books off a high school library shelf and read explicit excerpts to the school board. Said McAuliffe during a gubernatorial debate, ‘I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.’