K vonKrenner
9 min readNov 25, 2021
Shipping Containers ©kvk2021

Cassandra Speaks

The Biden Administration managed to push a partial infrastructure bill through. Whoo-hoo? It is being lauded by supporters as if it were the platform of The American Great Resurrection. The second coming of America so to speak. A new climax of debt we can never pay except with blood and tears. Add the incoming taxes we will bear for this, to our own personal debts and expect a wave of bankruptcies by spring. Banks we bailed out in 2008, (Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs ) are happily profiting off general pandemic woes with high-interest rates and false fees. The 1% have left, ditching their passports at the exit sign. Vilify them as much as you like, but when the 1% money leaves the country, there is nothing left to float the economy. Our current economy is not in recovery. It is a bleeding and crucified body staked out on a cross of viral excuses. This winter will drive in the final poisoned nail for this massive political shift. Democracy has left the building.

For the moment, we are dazzled by holiday nostalgia. Christmas lights minus the turkey and “fix-ins”. Will there be a turkey to pardon this year? Faced with empty grocery shelves, the Administration might have to raid the Presidential Pardoned Turkey Sanctuary. Maybe Amazon will partner to deliver the carcasses in time for Christmas. Just add tinsel. Jeff Bezos holds the reins of real power. A global power with fingers in all the pies and politicians. Can and will he save Americas’ Hallmark Christmas? Or, will he go full corporate Grinch bungee jumping into space while hoarding all the toys in offshore ships? Inquiring minds want to know. We are equally curious and terrified at the end game.

Social media, parading as journalism, bleats regurgitated political rhetoric that has beaten us into mental and emotional exhaustion. Too tired to absorb the thinly veiled facts of our collapsing society. We retreat into cute kitten videos and pointless LinkedIn polls. Pretty soap bubbles floating over thorny hedges.

Shop shelves across America are emptier by the day even as food rots on ships floating just beyond our reach. Don’t blame the bad government. Instead, lambast the truckers, dock workers warehouse workers and, China. Always China. Even as 90% of Amazon products are produced there. Chinese “petit” is Not an American size petit. A cultural shopping issue. Gas prices surge, babies go without formula. Bit by bit, we are being corralled in. Frozen by false hope and fear. It feels vaguely reminiscent of early communist country experiences. We are just missing the shopper queues. They are coming.

The hard cash/ crypto black market economy lurks just around the corner, down a very dark alley. At least Swedish socialism created IKEA. Affordable, homogenized goods with a choice of pretty colours. (Instructions oddly, in Chinese) What will Americans get? Is this a countdown to an American experiment with communism? Red decked with blue.

The consumer madness of Black Friday limps in with crippled opportunities due theoretically, to supply chain snarls. Black Friday, ironically, the vicious beacon for Christmas shopping. The American economy lives by racking up that annual holiday credit card debt. What is the fate of Christmas without a traditional blood-letting over a big screen tv? Borrow some Antifa body armor this winter. Things are about to get ugly.

Over the past 6 months, a passive acceptance of “less” has crept into the American consumerist psyche. Jane and John are getting used to not just having less, but to less being available. An acceptance of poverty of choice. Enforced Un-gluttoning. Shadows of communism with shades of pajama fashion. Are all of these things simply side-effects of the pandemic or, an ushering in of that 80’s conspiracy; The New World Order?

Meantime, regardless of the verdict, the Rittenhouse trial ripples deeper divisions. That is the intent. Politics 101. Divide and conquer. This is not a trial. It’s a shot fired at legitimate, law-abiding gun owners by a prosecutor aiming an AR-15 at the courtroom. WTF? Regardless of right vs wrong, that alone should have been ground for a mistrial and, charges. The visual impact of waving/aiming an AR-15 not only emotionally affects a jury decision but could be viewed as an indirect threat to everyone in the courtroom. Pointing a “gun finger” at someone can be a felony charge. What has happened to the Law? Slander, libel and personal threats used to be crimes. Bye bye, baby. Law has left the building.

A variety of questions bubble up in the face of this peculiarly orchestrated pandemic chaos. First, is there really a “supply chain” issue or, simply someone making a shitload lot of money out of a managed crisis? We have the same ships, routes, truckers and port workers. It all worked pretty well before 2019. The pandemic can’t excuse everything. What is the missing piece of the puzzle? Because, really, none of this makes any logical sense. 1+1 does not =2, even with woke math. Thing just don’t add up.

Now, we have an avocado and mango shortage. One could and should, laugh. Except, there go the falling dominoes of Chipotle, Taco Bell and Qdoba fast food outlets. And jobs. And, and, and. Not to mention the Millennial avocado toast and brunch menu. (That Is a crisis). Along with staff shortages, due to the Great Resignation, frightening rumors of “fake guacamole” are already circulating. Anticipate more angst amongst avocado-deprived customers and discussions on the political correctness of being “guaked” while shopping.

The Avocado Wars are about to add to the insanity of this weird supply chain manipulation. Pity the ship crews having to live with the smell of all that rot, floating just a few miles offshore. I wonder if the Biden Administration will add a new grade caveat to Section 8e of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement to include a; “rotting agricultural products” quality level of acceptability. How rotten is rotten? Anybody else noticing how fast fruits and vegetables are going bad after purchase at the grocer these days? And, the prices just keep going up. Used to be the day-old bread and over-ripe fruits were in the half-price bins. Now they are premium priced by their mere presence. Not to worry, that mold might morph into an antibiotic. Perks, find them where you can.

Shipping delays are pushing up not only actual shipping costs, but also air cargo rates. Obviously, with the supply chain restricted, it’s higher costs across the board for everything from food to fashion. (Hence the pajamas) . The Freight Air Index (FAX) sees air rates reaching above $6.80/kg. That’s a whopping 22% higher than at the start of the year, with Asia-US West Coast rates coming in at $12.70/kg. A steady 40% climb since the end of August. Somebody is making a fortune on our misfortune. And, our missing avocadoes.

Reverting to our earlier question. Is there really a container shortage? Nope. Across the US they are piled up in truck yards, warehouses, and yes, at the ports. Interestingly, there has been a dramatic increase in “blank shipping” events since 2020. In a purported container shortage crisis. Go figure. Peculiar, until you follow the money. Analyst Sea Intelligence reported an increase of over 24% blank sailings by the three major shipping alliances. 435 blank sailings as early as mid-April . To make that extra buck (translate $ millions) some carriers are actually shipping over 75% of their containers -Empty. From the US, back to Asia. Follow the money. It is leaving the building.

So yes, there Are empty containers. Just not for American product export. Which begs the question, if nothing is getting exported, except empty containers, how does that help the American worker and our American Made products and economies? Build Back Better? I know, silly question. Add another one to it. Who is making the most out of importing goods From Asia/China to the US? In 2020,Walmart, Target, The Home Depot and Lowes ranked top of the list. Goods manufactured, dirt cheap, in Asia/China, imported into the US.

Partner that to minimum wages and a penchant for part-time hiring to avoid health care costs for American employees and you have some very sparkly corporate profit margins. Definitely happy holiday time for shareholders. Wall Street has no shortage of champagne to pop.

Freight rates and shipping costs continue to surge even as ships sail empty or, simply sit un-loaded. Because doing nothing makes even more money! Whoever thought of this is pure, evil genius. Previous 2019 standard port and storage rates no longer apply. New, daily rates are racking up even more millions via excess storage and port charges. Forget your “Act of God” insurance clause covering these unusual events. It no longer applies. If the pandemic is not an Act Of God, what is it? For the pharmaceutical and supply chain companies, it’s a financial gains Gift From God.

Let’s follow the money to the next question. Who is to blame for all this? We always need a scapegoat to lead to the pyre for a good sacrificial burning. Keeps the masses excited and distracted.

Bring in our goat. The recurring rant of this mess is to lay blame on the “Great Resignation”, or rather, what I call instead, “The Great Objection”. Americans did not suddenly become lazy wastrels refusing to work. Lazing around in their pajamas at home and feasting on their unemployment. Current statistics show that cutting the pandemic unemployment perks did not “force” workers back. And, despite hiring signs in windows, people are Not getting hired. Very weird. Annoying as current HR practices are, we can’t lay all the blame on their inefficient, cracked doormats. So, what is really going on?

Novel concept. Maybe, after a year of pandemic dying, (773k) people woke to the concept of, life is worth more than a daily dose of toxic work and malignant bosses. Crazy right? Maybe, minimum wages banked against real-life costs, are simply not enough to live on. Maybe, after years of abuse, 9–5 American workers want- not “more” but simply, financial equity? They want turkeys on their holiday tables.

Mass death brought with it unexpected, social and personal re-evaluation. Dying tends to focus awareness on life and time value. American basic wages have never been in balance with continually rising living costs. Now, with inflation, weighing in at 6.2% , it’s even worse. Not even $21.oo per hour will keep the wolves from howling at a hard-working America’s door.

This argument of lazy workers is a bit too simplistic and, divisive for me to swallow without choking. Americans are workaholics. They can’t help themselves. Offer them a 3 week holiday and they curl up under their desks sucking their thumbs in terror. They don’t know who they are without their jobs. Even millennials self-identify by job title. He/She/They; Director of Whatsit.

Let’s stop blaming workers. They built this country, with sweat, tears and paying excessive bank interest rates. Forget the Christmas turkey, basic foodstuffs are becoming unaffordable. Build Back America is built on a platform of internal American family destruction as banks gleefully wait, like vultures, for the wave of bankruptcies and repossessions. The same banks the lazy American workers bailed out after the 2008 economic collapse.

Since the pandemic, burgeoning new software programs like Time-Doctor, Toggl and Timely are designed to invisibly shackle “untrustworthy, lazy” workers to their computers and calculate toilet time. It’s a billion-dollar growing industry with Amazon blazing the trail of user acceptance. Americans are working harder now than they did before the pandemic or, at the Office. No more skiving off to the bathroom, coffee room or office walk-abouts. The new software counts each click of the corporate provided keyboard while team meetings record the personal minutia of employee home life. We are living in a science fiction reality.

Add all of this to unaffordable turkey dinners and politicians may have picked the wrong goat to sacrifice. “The Great Objection” ©is a platform Democrat and Republican workers actually agree on. As people struggle to pay basic bills, there is a growing resentment towards a government that can’t balance its own check book and vampire banks racking up billions in fees and interest.

Dear reader, ignore facts. Don’t exhaust yourself more by asking hard questions. Reality is uncomfortable and frustrating. Work hard, if you have a job, pay your bills, if you can, and keep rolling out those cutesy kitten videos.

But. Winter Is here. For all of us.

K vonKrenner

Karin, a writer, traveler & freelance journalist covers the human story around the world. She tends to be in the wrong place at the right time@ kvkrenner.com