Things are getting crazy out there

tamrawilson Uncategorized

It’s a crazy world we live in.

If you’ve followed the news, you know that our neighbors to the north have been in turmoil over a trucker protest. The Freedom Convoy was protesting federal COVID 19 vaccine mandates, were all about individual choice, they said.

Some 90 percent of the truckers are reportedly vaccinated. It’s the mandates that have them fuming.

Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked emergency powers, declaring a national crisis due to the truckers’ blockade of the capital and elsewhere. Truckers’ bank accounts were to be frozen. Those who aided the truckers were to be locked out of their accounts as well.

As of this writing, police had removed the protestors and their rigs out of downtown Ottawa in spite of outrage from some Canadian lawmakers.

Trudeau’s edict could be tad ill-timed, considering that some provincial governments have since repealed COVID mandates as infection rates drop, though that depends on who you talk to. Some experts insist that the pandemic is far from over. Be safe, they say. Keep those masks on.

Now if all this sounds confusing, it is.

Two years ago, truckers were regarded as national heroes, as they worked tirelessly to deliver necessary goods to grocery stores, pharmacies, health care facilities and so on. They were “essential workers” before COVID vaccines were available.

Now, those same truckers are persona non grata.

Meanwhile, health care and other public service workers have been fired over government vaccine mandates. They, too, were national heroes as recently as a year ago, putting in long, grueling hours as COVID raged. Now, these same employees must either prove they’re vaxxed or hit the door.

More than a few first responders and nurses quit rather than take he jab. And now–surprise!–here’s a shortage of people to take their place.

If you take the vaccine, you might still get COVID, but you won’t likely wind up in the hospital.

All the heartburn over vaccines comes a year after detractors scoffed at the same vaccines considered to be experimental and dangerous back in 2020. Politics stepped in. Now those former doubters insist that everyone take the jab. If you have natural immunity, it makes no difference.  If you have moral objections or health concerns, too bad. This is a world pandemic. It’s not about personal choice.

Are you pro-vaccine? Have you been vaccinated?

 

Such information is demanded by concert venues and other establishments. HIPAA does not apply because that law only applies to health care organizations and patients are self-disclosing the vaccine information. So, legally, vaccine passports stand. Business establishments have the right to refuse service to anyone who won’t or can’t present proof of their status.

As the COVID crisis took hold in 2020, the federal government began issuing stimulus checks by the trillions of dollars to help people and businesses stay afloat while locked down.

And now inflation rips through the economy at a 7.5 percent clip. That’s because of supply chain problems, says President Biden. Inflation should moderate soon–maybe drop by half.

Let’s hope so.

But yes, there are supply chain problems.  Anyone awaking from a two-year sleep would be shocked by the empty shelves in stores. Try to find cat food or cream cheese or chicken wings.

Remember all those ships anchored off the West Coast?

The latest word is there are maybe 75 or so vessels in the queue to enter the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. That’s down from 100 or so last month, but it’s Lunar New Year in Asia. Factories have been shut down for the first half of February. Still, container ships are waiting an average of 18 days to unload. Before the pandemic, it was unusual to wait at all.

Ah, but stores look well stocked, you say.

Look a bit closer. A lot of merchandise is “fronted”—one or two products deep so as to not alarm shoppers into seeing how thin he shelves really are.

Some insist I’m over-reacting. What’s my problem? I can afford to buy things at higher prices, so what’s the beef?

Actually, ground beef averages $5.17 a pound nationwide. Bacon hovers around $7.25 a pound. Milk is nudging $4 gallon.  Some Americans may have to decide whether to buy groceries or keep the lights on.

This doesn’t seem like the America we used to live in, because it isn’t.

Dare I talk about shipping? Skyrocketing rates figure into the price of food and other necessities. Last week I saw gasoline shoot up about 20 cents a gallon.  It’s about $3.39 now, but expect that to rise.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention that Russia is poised to invade the Ukraine. That could hike gas prices further.  I see that Russia supplies 40 percent of Europe’s natural gas, while three such pipelines cross the Ukraine. Affordable energy is the key to any economy. Russia has already distinguished itself for foisting cyberattacks on infrastructure…you know, things like defense systems. If we impose sanctions, Russia may shut down the pipelines to our allies.

Inflation and vax mandates could be the least of our worries.

PHOTO CREDIT: Patrice Raunet, Wikipedia