OPINION — As U.S. senators representing Minnesota and South Dakota, we know how crucial it is for American businesses to be able to export throughout the country and across the globe. American farmers feed the world, and consumers and businesses look to them for in-demand agricultural goods like soybeans, corn, dairy, poultry, pork, and beef, just to name a few. And American manufacturers support so many of the essential parts and products that fill our homes, businesses, and store shelves.
We need to get our supply chain moving again. Americans don’t want to walk into the grocery store wondering if the items on their shopping list are on the shelf or stuck in transit — and they don’t want to pay inflated prices for the goods they need. U.S. businesses have to be able to get their goods out the door and into people’s homes.
Like many of you, we were alarmed by reports showing that foreign-owned ocean carriers are making it more difficult and more expensive to ship goods. We were also alarmed to see critical exports like grain being left at U.S. ports while these international ocean carriers return to Asia with empty containers.
We’ve heard from U.S. companies that have only been able to ship 60 percent of their orders because they can’t access shipping containers. We need to get exports to those who need them, but it’s plainly obvious that the ocean carriers are prioritizing non-American shipments at the expense of both American consumers and American exporters. That isn’t sustainable, and it isn’t acceptable.
Since the pandemic began, these companies have also quadrupled the cost of shipping containers, and many U.S. exporters have been slapped with unexpected and often illegitimate fees with no easy way to dispute the charges.
In the last two years, agricultural exporters lost at least 22% of foreign sales, yet carriers are posting record profits, bringing in two-or-three-times the revenue they predicted. It may be good for their international owners, but it’s bad for American producers.
It’s time to stop hoping the carriers decide to play fair.
That’s why we worked across the aisle to put forth a solution: the Ocean Shipping Reform Act. Our bill protects American manufacturers and farmers by making it harder for ocean carriers to refuse to ship ready-to-export goods waiting at our ports. It also builds on the success of past reform legislation to ensure the ocean shipping market remains free, fair, accessible, and competitive.
This bipartisan legislation would make a huge difference for our agricultural communities, manufacturers, and small businesses that have been impacted by these harmful practices. Our common-sense bill is supported by groups across the spectrum, including the American Association of Port Authorities, the Agriculture Transportation Coalition, and the National Retail Federation.
The bottom line is this: Minnesota and South Dakota exporters need to be able to get their goods to market in a timely manner for a fair price. We’re committed to getting it signed into law because whether you live in Sioux Falls, Saint Paul, or anywhere in the world, you should be able to buy American-made products.
To read all of today's stories, Click here or call 642-2761 to subscribe to our e-edition or home delivery.
New Jersey is enlisting public-school teachers and librarians to show children how to combat what it calls the grave threat of disinformation. “Our democracy remains under sustained attack through the proliferation of disinformation,” Gov. Phil Murphy said in signing the nation’s first law mandating “information literacy” instruction for all K-12 students. The law, which aims to provide students with the “critical thinking” skills necessary to differentiate between “facts, points of view, and opinions” will, Murphy proclaimed, ensure “that our kids … possess the skills needed to discern fact from fiction.” At a time when the nation’s political and thought leaders are wrestling over the meaning of facts and truth, and distinctions between disinformation, misinformation and plain old information, the New Jersey bill is part of a growing effort to have teachers tell students how to settle these questions. Since 2016, ten states controlled by Democratic legislators, and three run by Republicans, have passed “media literacy” laws. Demand for media literacy education has seemingly grown in the “fake news” age, buoying bills like New Jersey’s, which had languished for years, only to pass with overwhelming bipartisan support. Media literacy advocates such as Erin McNeill, President of Media Literacy Now, say the goal is to teach students “how to consume information, not what information to consume.” But other educational experts see information and media literacy as inherently political, or minimally ripe for politicization. The “guise of ‘media literacy,’” writes John Sailer, a senior fellow at the National Association of Scholars, “often functions as a trojan horse, casting certain political views” – conservative ones, say critics – “as prima facie wrong and biased.” The progressive politics of those backing information and media literacy bills in some states give skeptics further pause – concerns heightened by rhetoric like that of Gov. Murphy, who framed New Jersey’s bill as responsive to the “violent insurrection” of Jan. 6, 2021.Related: The Disinformation-Industrial Complex vs. Domestic Terror RCIJoshua Aikens, a Republican candidate for the New Jersey assembly and former chairman of AriseNJ, an advocacy group focused on electing school board members, told RCI he believes the bill will “be politically weaponized” to target “young impressionable minds.” Republicans in Delaware and Illinois largely opposed media literacy bills that passed in their states on similar grounds. Still others question the policy push on its merits. Robert Pondiscio, a former public-school teacher who is a senior fellow at the center-right American Enterprise Institute, sees media literacy as one of many “tips and tricks” educators tout that skirts a more fundamental issue: Children suffer from a “base-knowledge problem,” lacking command of rudimentary facts necessary to analyze content. One long-time New Jersey public-school teacher, who requested anonymity to speak freely, said of the state’s bill: “Media literacy? There is no reading literacy in 80 percent of urban schools.” Nevertheless, at least seven states Red and Blue are currently considering media literacy legislation aimed at children. Such efforts are occurring as Democratic Senators – sometimes joined by their Republican colleagues – work to include media literacy in proposed federal laws. The Biden administration has embedded media literacy not only in proposed education regulations, but codified it in national security policy, arguing that disinformation threatens the homeland. “If the U.S. military has recognized the importance of improving media literacy training,” McNeill, a veteran, told RCI, “it makes sense to ensure our children are developing these skills as well.”
Combating disinformation has been elevated to a national security imperative under the Biden administration, as codified in its first-of-its-kind National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism, published in June 2021.
By Paul Sperry, RealClearInvestigationsMarch 15, 2023At the same time that Department of Justice officials were using spying and corruption statutes to aggressively pursue Donald Trump’s allies based on what turned out to be rumor and innuendo, they declined to use those same laws to investigate evidence of wrongdoing involving Biden family members and one of their corrupt Chinese business partners, DOJ documents and federal court records reveal.
Welcome to the discussion.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.