Thursday, December 27, 2012

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE YANKEE TRADERS?

UPDATED 7/6/2017 : Below, complete with the original editors note is an essay by the Great Catfish firat published in 2012, then repeated, and visited for years. It was written just about the time the American electorate was breaking up the Democratic congressional ,majorities in the hopes of slowing the Obama agenda. We think a careful examination of the catfish analysis of the time reveals that Donald Trump and a Republican congressional majority became the "solution" that the middle class was looking for. We think projecting the catfish insights forward, if Mr. Trump continues to deliver on his campaign promises he could draw possibly as much as 86% of the popular vote on a re-election bid.  But if the Republican party doesn't get squarely behind him the party won't do nearly as well in congressional elections. That doesn't mean a return of the Democrats in our view but the rise of an independent segment in both houses. As far as the people are concerned, political correctness is dead. 

NAMAZU REPEAT: 12/28/2012
Editors Note: This major essay by the Namazu was published almost two weeks ago. We had no intention of republishing it again this soon. But the computer seems to insist on running it again and right here despite our intentions to the contrary. After clicking on "ignore warning" and "close"for the better part of an hour we began to suspect possible cross linkage with the hydrophones. We tried calling Namazu but received no response. So we are just going to let the artificial intelligence do what it wants to do and click on "Publish". If you haven't read a major Namazu essay try this one, its an experience. If its presence where ever it ends up in the blog delays your scrolling to whatever you were interested in in the first place we apologize. We can't move on until we get this item off our "dashboard" . We greatly appreciate your patience.

Johnas Presbyter, editor 


                    AMERICAN ADMIRALTY BOOKS

                                     

Namazu the Earth Shaker Giant Japanese Catfish Demigod, Music Video Star, and Maritime Analyst



 

WHERE IS THE MERCHANT IN THE AMERICAN MERCHANT MARINE?


YANKEE TRADERS             Old Sailing Ships - 2

 I was there when Admiral Perry arrived. That gives me a unique perspective. Once upon a time the American Merchant Marine and the American Navy worked hand in glove. Good ole Yankee Traders were sometimes preceded, some times followed, and always protected by good ole American Blue Jackets. The U.S.Navy hauled U.S.Marines and the U.S.Merchant Marine hauled the beans and bullets to support the Marines.The Navy preceded the Merchant Marine in places like Japan where the Navy literally opened the trade, but the follow on by the Merchant Marine was swift and sure, trade goods started moving immediately and as trade patterns emerged and evolved, liner service was established. "Yankee Traders" helped open the world to global trade sometimes with charm offensives, and sometimes by kicking in doors, or in the case of Japan, which I well remember, just showing up on the door step and looking like a three hundred pound gorilla. 

 What's happened? Today there are barely 100 American Ships engaged in the real international freight trades. The United States has nearly twice that number of designated military transports manned by "CivMars" (Nav Speak for "Civilian Mariners", or "Merchant Seamen") these ships are part of organizations like the Military Sealift Command (MSC) and generally are actually the property of the U.S. Navy or are on long term charter to the U.S. Navy. Of 77 strategic materials that the U.S. has to have to sustain its' economy 66 must come to us by sea, but the United States no longer has the commercial capacity to carry but a tiny single digit percentage of her own economic needs. The American merchant marine outside of its' Jones Act protected interstate fleets has all but disappeared from the face of the earth. At the end of World War II over 5,000 merchant ships flew the American flag, today less than 100 are in true international commercial service. What happened?  

                                         
MILITARY SEA LIFT COMMAND TRANSPORTS

 Frankly how the American flag fleet shrunk has been analyzed to a "fair thee well". The American Admiralty Books "MERCHANT MARINE INTEREST" Section offers a number of titles detailing the decline in very specific detail. To over simplify, it simply boils down to once the shooting is over all sorts of people all around the world are perfectly willing to carry American cargoes for a price. If ships with U.S. bound cargoes are not being attacked on the high seas, and the insurance rates for carrying American stuff and coming and going from American shores are not too high; that price is always lower than what American ship owners operating with American crews can meet.  American seamen I have noticed, will not work for a rice bowl a day.

  America tried for a time to preserve a serious cargo capacity of its own through government subsidies. Of course while protecting American vital interests with a much needed Merchant Marine subsidy system, the U.S. was also lecturing the world on the evils of government subsidy. The  United States is the only country in the world that seems to have a foreign policy against even the appearance of hypocrisy. The true national interest has too often been sacrificed to this concept. There seems to be  virtually no insight into the true national interests on the part of the government of the United States. The United States at least nominally, in the interests of this concept and its preachment to others, stopped subsidizing its deep sea merchant fleet. The U.S. was pretty much alone in that. Almost  no one else did, or did not do it for very long ,and of course the U.S.Merchant Marine all but completely disappeared. Why do the American people stand for this? What has happened to the land that spawned the Yankee Trader?

   
               


AMERICANISM AND THE"ISMS" THAT REPLACED IT

 The simple answer is that "Americanism" the concepts that drove America from its founding until about 1965 was displaced by a host of other "isms"; liberalism, conservatism, libertarianism, socialism, and environmentalism. The old Americanism that drove the westward expansion, built a nation out of a wilderness, linked it with a transcontinental railroad , won two World Wars, and put men on the moon, contained some elements of these various "isms" but was primarily driven by a clear vision and only one real ism, pragmatism. That is not to say that the old Americanism or "American Way" was an amoral force, its' driving energy and entrepreneurial spirit were tempered by a Judeo-Christian ethic that was clear and well understood by the vast majority of the population. * Editor's update note: In retrospect Donald Trump a builder, and openly, if not devout, Christian appears to be the modern day embodiment of the "Yankee Trader" . His personal philosophy displayed on TV programs he hosted, and in books such as the ART OF THE DEAL  clearly indicate that he thinks pragmatically primarily guided by his "Win" principle which is short hand for the first questions he wants answered when considering a project, or now a law or regulation or appropriation.  Is it economically viable? Will it work? Can we do it on time and under budget? His other set of questions before arriving at a "go" decision, is simply the ethical/ moral issue. Is it legal? Is it morally and ethically acceptable in terms of the widely accepted Christian ethics and morals of the vast majority of the population'. Trump is in fact the embodiment of the pragmatists tempered by due regard for Christian ethics and morality. He is the first of his kind to appear on the national scene since Ronald Reagan, but he is less dogmatically conservative than Reagan.  This president faces the most hostile media and opposition party since the Civil war but appears to be destined to be a favorite of the vast majority of the American people (not counting illegal alien / voters).  
 

Some pundits and prognosticators in the mainstream media claim that roughly 48% of the American population seem to comprehend in some indistinct way that the dominance of these isms plus the alternating ascendancy of only two political parties, each captured in large measure by one of the "isms", is driving the American nation to the poor house.  According to these media mavens the other 51  percent of the population is either already in the poor house and dependent on the government, or fear the poor house and have drunk from the government cool aid and actually think one party or the other can save them if only that party could get complete control of the government. Clearly these recent media pronouncements are reflecting the recent presidential elections (Obama's 2nd and the later congressional blood letting of the democrats) . These media guys must think I don't get cable down here on the sea floor , or they have been drinking their own secular humanists cool aid.

Well if there is one thing that living three thousand years can do for you it is give you depth and clarity of perception. So I perceive the problem. What makes me unique among giant catfish is that I can also articulate the the issue. So since the over taxed and unappreciated 48% don't quite get it yet please allow me to clarify and articulate. (Editor's note 7/6/2017: We don't know if the Great Catfish helped but it now seems about 51% of the legal voters did get it in December of 2016) 

WHAT AMERICA REALLY VOTED FOR: (In 2012-2014)


 America has been voting for some time now (until the election of Donald trump and the Republican majority in both houses) for divided government out of a sense of self defense. The real majority
are not nearly as far left economically or socially as the present president (Obama) , or the limousine liberals in Congress from the Democratic party;  or anywhere near the far right of the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party.
In the general election many voters pulled the lever, some while holding their noses, for Obama and then crossed party lines to vote a Republican, again possibly while holding their noses,  into or back into Congress. The fact is the public fears to a greater or lesser extent depending on the individual, both the Democrats and the Republicans.  The parties appear to be controlled by political elites with agendas harmful to "the American Way" as it is vaguely understood by the general population. The population may not yet be able to fully articulate what that "American Way" or Americanism is; but to a surprising degree the non political elite have something of an identifiable consensus on many parts of it. Neither party is operating within these parameters. So neither party has the support across the board of the public. 


Waving Flag #3


 "AMERICANISM" IS A SUFFICIENT GUIDE INTO THE FUTURE, THE "ISMS" PRESENTLY DISPLACING AMERICANISM ("THE AMERICAN WAY") ARE BANKRUPT; BUT AT PRESENT THEY HAVE THE FLOOR.

 Politically correct "Secular Humanism" is not only an important part of liberalism, and socialism, it has crept into all of the other competing "isms" including Conservatism to some extent or other today. Secular Humanism is particularly adept at sloganeering. Perhaps their most successful mantra, bought in some measure or other by even conservatism is "The Wall of Separation Between Church and State." This is repeated often and with conviction constantly in the media and in the legislative  halls and courtrooms. Its one of those things that is repeated so often and in such a constitutional context that about 51 percent or more of the population now believes that those words are in the constitution. They are not. 

  The constitutional language merely articulates that the government shall make no law creating an official state religion. The "Wall of Separation " is found in only one place in one of the Federalist Papers. It was clearly not favored by the overwhelming majority of the Founding Fathers which is why only the weaker simple prohibition against founding a state religion made it into the Constitution as actually adopted. The founding fathers had problems with the state attempting to enforce religious orthodoxy. However they had no problem with the clergy having freedom of speech, like everyone else and bringing religiously inspired morals, ethics, and insights into the public arena. They also had no problem with state church cooperation in the realm of social issues close to what Christians call the "Corporal Works of Mercy" which are generally focused on the poor and the ill. 

 Today's media however being totally dedicated to Secular Humanism only refer to the Church-State relationship as being characterized by a "wall of separation"  which they imply means that there must be open hostility by the state directed at the church. Secular humanism is very dogmatic and seeks to be the official state "philosophy" since not being focused on any god except a rather rigid set of liberal beliefs it eschews the title of "religion", but the perpetrators of this philosophy are clearly attempting to assume the role once associated with state religions. The perpetrators want the specific beliefs of secular humanism to be the litmus test of constitutionality. 

 Because the secular humanist philosophy is basically atheistic or at least agnostic it presents a danger to America's most cherished "inalienable rights". The concept of the United States doesn't start its documented history with the constitution, but with the Declaration of Independence. There the Founding Fathers articulated the concept of "inalienable rights" and noted that these "inalienable rights" were inalienable because man "was endowed by his Creator" with them. What the state gives the state can take away. What God gives no man can take away. In the case of the enumerated inalienable rights in the Constitution their attribution to God for origin was the major argument for their defense by force of arms. So if the secular humanists actually cared about human rights as they claim, they would do what thousands of other American atheists, agnostics, and simply non religious American have done for centuries. They would acquiesce to the concept of God so religiously held by the majority of their fellow citizens as an important legal construct protecting their own rights. By ascribing certain rights as coming from God, even if he is left undefined except as power higher than the state or public opinion those rights including the cherished secular humanists freedom from religion are arguably so protected that if need be, protection by force of arms is justified. 
In short, if humans wanted to protect certain human rights from any and all usurpation by other men, if there were no God, you'd have to invent him. Make no mistake about it America, the attacks on "God" by the Secular Humanists are really attacks on the inalienability of your inalienable rights

 So can you trust the Tea Party wing of the Republican party with their religiosity clearly worn on their shirt sleeve? Absolutely not! Their beliefs are exactly the same as those of the nobility in the Middle Ages who supported "the Divine Rights of Kings".  They don't want to pay taxs , expect to be able to tap into the pockets of the middle class tax payers whenever their mismanagement of their giant enterprises endangers their extravagant life styles. These are simply the robber barons recycled. Their social positions on abortion and gay privilege may be more in keeping with the majority of Americans, their open referral to God may be more palatable to most Americans than the open attacks of the Democrats, but ultimately they are simply misusing God to justify a devil take the hindmost attitude toward economics that is mixed with a protected and privileged status for themselves. These folks are not the alternative to the bad place that the secular humanists and their democratic party want to take you. The tea party only wants to take you to a different location from which they intend to slaughter and eat you. 


 The truth is about 84 percent of America recognizes this to one extent or the other but most often only have a choice of the candidates put up by the two parties to choose from at the polls. There is no real 51/48 split in the American electorate. There is  84% of the electorate with such distrust of government that they are voting to split it in the forlorn hope that the two extremes will cancel each other out in terms of really reckless behavior. It isn't working. ( In December of 2016 enough voters recognized that Donald Trump didn't fit either mold. Four years from now we predict that many more of that 84% consensus for the American way will realize that they are best represented by Trump. But if the Republican party elite doesn't wake up and back the President, the Republican hold on Congress will slip, but not to the Democrats, to independents, Dixiecrats, and others.)

THE MAJORITY OF VOTERS NEED TO UNDERSTAND THE HEART OF THE CONFLICT. ITS NOT ABOUT THE SOCIAL ISSUES OR EVEN TAX POLICIES. IT'S ABOUT CERTAIN RIGHTS THAT OPERATE THE ENTIRE AMERICAN SOCIOECONOMIC SYSTEM BUT ARE NOT DESCRIBED IN THE CONSTITUTION.    

The rights of the people that the right and left are fighting so fiercely over right now are of an economic nature but under pin all of your other rights. They fall loosely under the concept of the inalienable right to the Pursuit of Happiness but were never specifically described by the Founding Fathers. These rights are the freedom to buy, try, sell and fail. (Literally the basis of the life of Trump) The extreme right and the extreme left have captured the apparatus of both parties. In a nut shell, in the American system everyone has the right to pursue happiness through contemplation of their navel, meditation, joining a religious order or cult, most anything that doesn't interfere with the safety or rights of others. Most pursue happiness through some combination of activities which feature a very large economic component. So we have the right to buy anything that is lawful, try any legal economic activity, sell any possession we may have, and most importantly we have the right to fail. The freedom to fail has been the bone of contention all along. 

 If anyone were to eliminate your freedom to fail they would have to eliminate every other freedom. To totally eliminate failure you can not make a mistake. So in all systems like communism which have tried to eliminate failure, the freedom to buy, try, and sell had to be curtailed in favor of a centrally planned economy. Every one had their assigned role so no one could make a mistake. Unfortunately an awful lot of people while not too fond of freedom to fail are none the less quite fond of their rights to try, buy, and sell. Taking these rights leads to protest, so shortly after asserting the elimination of the right to fail the leftist have to curtail freedom of  speech, press and assembly, and association. The last place where these freedoms are usually exercised in a system slipping into leftist fascism is usually the churches, and the last man left standing with a non government controlled audience is in the pulpit. 

 So religion becomes a target of suppression. The Secular Humanist are leading America right down the primrose path to eventual fascism and 86 per cent of America suspects it, or has figured it out. Their recent attacks on the Roman Catholic Church and Evangelicals demonstrate how far down that path the American nation has already trodden because things are usually pretty far along before they attack religion head on. The left has been marginalizing it for decades. The latest outright demands for compliance with things the Church deems immoral are new and represent a semi final escalation unless reversed. 

  So are the Republicans better? No. At best they are a useful counter weight to rapid progress of the Secular Humanists for the time being. They don't want to eliminate your right to fail, not at all, and they certainly don't want to cushion it any. They want to eliminate the right to fail for the political elite and the seriously rich by freedom of taxation for themselves, and the right to dip into the public tax purse when their life styles are threatened by their mismanagement of other people's money in the massive enterprises they control and manage. These people look at cooperative public/government programs that middle class tax payers pay into like Social Security, and Medicare to potentially cushion any economic failure at somewhere above starvation level as intrinsically evil, since they are expected to contribute and don't need the programs. The fact that there is no needs test to receive benefits doesn't impress them, they feel they can do better on their own. This is especially true if the rest of you would simply roll over and play dead on cue granting them the kind of access to your tax money that they have come to expect.

 The economic elite hate welfare and want it reformed, but please not the corporate welfare programs. They view your right to fail to be unlimited as to consequences, no cushioning, starve quietly and don't disturb the elite with your death throws. They view their own right to fail as limited to perhaps a fall from grace sufficient to have to give up the private jet for while until there is a Federal Corporate bailout. So for a couple of decades now the electorate has been trying out serial power change, and most recently divided government waiting for common sense to finally rule the day. For that to happen the general population has to try something different. More on that later. Lets apply these insights to the original subject of the essay the decline of the blue water American Merchant Marine.

WARRING ELITES CAN'T SEE THE PUBLIC INTEREST

 The Democrats have no problem with government subsidies for the poor. Subsidize the poor decently enough and you can round up a sizable percent of the population at convenient centrally located government housing and bus them to the polls where they will reliably pull the lever for the party delivering the subsidy. By contrast subsidies to American ship builders and ship operators smack of corporate welfare. However the work force for the ship operating and building industries is largely blue collar and union. Most vote democratic, but not uniformly, working people can be annoyingly socially conservative by the standards of the Democratic party. So subsidies for an American Merchant Marine so vital to our national security and helpful to our economy were only nominally supported. 

 The Republicans may have represented the Captains of Industry including the shipping company owners and the shipyard owners but the owners weren't nearly as interested in subsidies to maintain a minimally necessary Merchant Marine in the National interest. What the ship owners wanted was cheap labor and ship costs. Open registries, known by American seamen as "monkey flags" created the opportunity for American ship owners to decouple from American built ships and American labor. The shipyards were told they could prosper on Cold War driven Navy construction as the nation advanced towards a 600 ship Navy. The American merchant flag all but disappeared from the sea and today a 300 ship Navy is a ceiling not a floor. The deep draft ship yards are closing. 

 The American blue water merchant marine died in a perfect storm of neglect brought about by "ownership" of both political parties by wealthy elites. The ship owners were chasing cheap labor, had a public image of being anti subsidy to maintain, and Democrats while pro union, were anti corporate welfare and the subsidies went to companies not individual labor union members. Both sides seemed to agree that America needed its merchant marine, but nether side could ever come up with any thing like a national shipping company because their over lords simply had other interests that they wanted their respective political parties and office holders to attend to. 



 It is absolutely vital that the United States have enough of a traditional blue water merchant marine to augment the Navy in time of armed conflict and to carry a sizable portion of our commerce at those times when no one else will. Most sane and sensible higher wage countries also face the need for a viable blue water merchant marine and an inability to compete with third world labor forces. The usual solution is the formation of a national shipping company. 

 These are actual for profit corporations designated as the beneficiary of cargo preference laws which reserve certain cargoes to the national shipping company. These national shipping companies also receive certain tax payer funded subsidies often in exchange for incorporating certain features useful to national defense in their ship designs, and agreeing to make their ships immediately available to the national government. Relatively little tax money is actually spent on these national shipping lines, they are often self sufficient in operating expenses based on actual freight earned. Capital is raised by stock sales. Since the National shipping company by definition may call on the government for a bailout if it falls into extreme circumstances most investors find it a relatively safe investment. Cargo preference laws insure full freight earning holds. National shipping companies show elements of both the right (utility for national defense, conservative use of tax dollars, respect for profit) and left (government ownership, potential for subsidy). National shipping companies are pragmatic being neither wholly  "liberal" or "conservative" and history indicates that they work. Trump is the first President in over half a century who is even capable of understanding such a concept. Morally ethically tempered pragmatism is the only true Americanism. With a real Yankee Trader in the White House Americanism may finally again be in the ascendancy.
                                                                          
                                                                          

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