Monday, December 31, 2012

01/01/2013 Station Identification and Notice Board



Barque:  ALEXANDER VON HUMBOLT II, Named for the Oceanographer
Photo by Hans Georg Schroder


If you want more detail after the video click on the INTRODUCTION page in the right hand margin.


Click on the link below the flag to get your day off to the right start!



 In the Strait of Hormuz Iran continues to threaten to disrupt this vital passage between the seas so important to the oil supplies of the west. In the South China Sea and the East China Sea the dragon becomes more aggressive by the day. The American media and the American government seem to be almost unaware of the fact that an important military ally, important trade partner, and a nation we are bound to by defense treaty Japan has its Coast Guard squared off with the government ships of our largest creditor, China.  Below we link you to news stories that indicate that China is starting to militarize their Coast Guard functions and center them in a service that is increasingly military, a service now about to receive two destroyers. The situation is hot and getting hotter. On any given morning we could awake to find that Japan and China are exchanging shots between war ships in disputed seas. Our own nation then, and our navy face a Hobson's choice. While all this is going on the donkey and the elephant continue to struggle with the dreaded "Fiscal Cliff". Defense budgets continue to decline and the various politically correct forces of "jointness" assure that the Navy gets as much in the way of cuts as all of the other armed forces though what we most need at the moment is a larger navy.


Chinese warship harassed Phl boats off Kalayaan’
By Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) | January 1, 2013
MANILA, Philippines - A Chinese amphibious warship twice harassed a four-boat convoy of Kalayaan town while delivering food and other household supplies to the inhabitants of Pag-Asa Island last Oct. 27, according to the mayor of the island town.

Mayor Eugenio Bito-onon, who recently returned to mainland Palawan from the island town, said a silver gray warship with bow No. 995 directly sailed towards and crossed the path of M/T Queen Seagull, a 200-ton vessel owned and operated by the local government of Kalayaan island town in the Spratlys.

The vessel, a cargo and supply ship, is being used to haul supplies from mainland Palawan to the civilian residents in Pag-Asa island, the seat of the Kalayaan island municipality that comprises the country’s seven regime of islands and two reefs in the hotly-contested region.

Iran claims to test-fire missiles near crucial Strait of Hormuz
December 31, 2012
Associated Press
TEHRAN, Iran –  Iran's navy said Monday it test-fired a range of weapons during ongoing maneuvers near the Strait of Hormuz, the passageway for one-fifth of the world's oil supply.

IRNA quoted Adm. Amir Rastgari, spokesman for the exercise, as saying the Iranian-made air defense system Raad, or Thunder, was among the weapons tested, along with various torpedoes and underwater and surface-to-surface rockets as well as anti-ship missiles. The Islamic Republic said it also deployed domestically-made hovercraft during the operation.


China adds destroyers for surveillance
(AFP) / 31 December 2012
China has transferred two destroyers and nine other ex-navy vessels to its maritime surveillance fleet, reports said Monday.
This move is to beef up its position in bitter territorial rows with Japan and other neighbours.

Beijing renovated the ships and transferred them to surveillance operations to “alleviate the insufficiency of vessels used to protect maritime interests”, said a report on Tencent, one of China’s major news portals.

China is embroiled in a maritime dispute with Japan that has seen tensions between the two Asian giants, the world’s second- and third-largest economies, at times reach fever pitch.

It is also engaged in a simmering row with its southern neighbours over its claim to vast swathes of the South China Sea.

Editor's Note: Over the weekend we carried a story of a Chinese general officer making public pronouncements suggesting that China needs a military Coast Guard. One day later the news of the transfer of destroyers to the Ocean Surveillance Service reaches us. An armed "Coast Guard" frankly in our opinion has been part of the Chinese "naval establishment" for some time now.


Editor's note: Welcome to the new year. It looks like the lawlessness at sea will continue for 2013.



Russia Sends Landing Ships to Syria: 

Report By AFP

Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Russian warship carrying a marine unit has left its Black Sea port for Syria amid preparations for a possible evacuation of nationals living and working in the strife-torn country, news reports said on Sunday.



 You may notice that the posts for January 2012 are no longer available on the right hand column of blogs or posts by date. They are still here if you are looking for something specific from January 2012. We have already moved them to the temporary archive located in the Index Section which you may click on at the bottom of the special interest pages or sections listed on the right. Once in the Index and Location Aids section simply scroll down until you find the January 2012 posts. The 2012 posts will be moving to the archive about one month at a time. We are able to keep only 12 months of material available for instant retrieval filed by month on the home page.


A Major Change Coming:

Your Advertising Blocker Programs make some non advertising parts of our blog invisible to you. We designed our blog around minimal advertising and we are working to make the site easier to use if you forget to turn off your advertising blocker programs. But that is going to take a while.

 We have learned that typical advertisement blocking applications in common use perceive our book cover icons as advertisements and block them. If you are viewing us through such software you may read a book review in any of our sections and perceive indications that a point of retail purchase or more information on a title is only a click away but then there is nothing to click on. For the time being our site is best viewed with advertising software turned off. 

 We don't carry banners or pop ups. The only straight forward advertisements are between postings and these are few and far between. But this is a site that sell books as well as reviewing them, and we do offer retail on line shopping in the Fishing, Surfing, and Diving sections. Unfortunately typical advertising blocking soft ware simply makes these features, that many visitors enter here for, invisible. Much of this site is visible on most any internet access device regardless of the various filters involved. We are working on improving reception all the time. But reception will probably always be best by viewing us in Google Chrome with advertising blocker programming turned off. We do not carry pop ups, streaming ads, or banners across any part of the text you are trying to read.



More Naval Humor





We have temporarily removed the weekend station Identification and Notice board so that if you missed the weekend posts you need only scroll down.

A Little More Naval Humor




NAMAZU, Giant Japanese Catfish Former Demigod and Now Coastal environmental Analyst

As the New Year opens we face ever worsening challenges in the South China and East China Seas, and in the Strait of Hormuz as China tries to appropriate the commons and even the territory of its neighbors. Off of Somalia and in the Strait of Malacca piracy runs rampant. In Louisiana another ancient political scam has been revealed where elected officials, and now their heirs, have ripped off the revenues that should have flowed to the public treasury from the State's offshore "commons" .  Are we at war over the ocean commons? Just what is the Ocean Commons anyway. Hang in there America. Later this week Namazu will explain all.



File:CPO collar.png


One day, a Master Chief went to the Officer's Club with his Captain to eat lunch. When they entered the main dining room, they found the place was crowded. They did notice three Lieutenants sitting at a table with two empty chairs, so the Captain asked them if they could join them. They promptly invited them to join them. They ordered lunch and joined them in conversation as they ate. At one point, the Master Chief mentioned he had observed characteristics about many officers from which he could determine the sources of their commissioning. The Lieutenants were eager to hear about this and asked if he could tell how each of them had been commissioned.

The Master Chief turned to the Lieutenant on his left and said he went through ROTC. The Lieutenant confirmed that was correct and asked how he had noted this. The Master Chief replied that the Lieutenant, through his conversation, seemed to have a strong academic background but limited military experience.

The Master Chief then told the Lt on his right that he had gone through OCS with previous enlisted service. The Lieutenant confirmed this was correct and also asked how he had determined this. The Master Chief said, again through his conversation, that the Lieutenant seemed to have a firm military background and a lot of common sense.

The Lieutenant across the table from the Master Chief asked if he had determined his source of commission. The Master Chief replied that the Lieutenant had graduated from the United States Naval Academy . The Lieutenant stated that was correct and asked if he had noticed his high level of intelligence, precise military bearing, or other superior qualities acquired at the United States Naval Academy . The Master Chief replied that it was none of these that led to his determination. He had simply observed the Lieutenant's class ring while he was picking his nose. 


12/31/2012 Reptiles on Ice
Revised 1/24/2015  Thank you Chris Avena for permission 2/16/2014

Reptiles on Ice? For The Past Several Summers China ("The Dragon")Went Where Reptiles Fear to Tread.

 The summer navigation season is over in the High Arctic and all of the ice breakers are back in home ports. In 2013 for the first time a nation with no Arctic Coast fielded ice breakers to the region and conducted oceanographic research. That nation was our old nemesis, the swimming dragon, China. The Dragon has signed vessel support agreements in the region, returned and declared its intentions and asserted specific rights in the region. Oddly the Dragon takes a diametrically opposite view of the Arctic Ocean than it does of the China Seas. Despite the fact that the China Seas are surrounded by many different nations China has declared themselves as sole owner of the China Seas and their intention to control all oil and gas leasing and even rights of transits. Yet in the even more enclosed Arctic Ocean China appears to be the champion of Freedom of the Seas, declaring their right to use the Arctic Ocean for transit and oceanographic research. The U.S. of course doesn't deny the Dragon those rights, but Russia claims virtually the entire ocean short of the 12 mile territorial seas of the states with Arctic coast lines. 

 Last summer the Chinese were active in the High Arctic again. Now, their data gathered, the Dragons ice swimming pups have returned to their more temperate home ports. Their raw data is now being utilized in research and analysis for purposes unknown but highly likely not in the interests of the United States. One possible use for Arctic data by China is to support claims by Russia to almost the entire floor of the Arctic Ocean. The United States is running out of time to establish a persistent Coast Guard and NOAA corps presence in the High Arctic. We carried the story below back in the summer of 2012 when the Dragon entered our northern most icy waters. We thought it time to  review and update the events. Make no mistake the Chinese position on the High Arctic which so resembles the U.S., Philippine, Japanese, Vietnam positions on the China Seas is not evidence of any legal epiphany on the part of the Dragon, it is simply a manifestation of the Dragon's status as a "thug state". The Dragon sees no need for consistency in its application or violation of international law. What counts is what does the Dragon want. That must be obtained by any means possible..

China which has no Arctic or Antarctic coast line is investing in icebreakers for the High Arctic where the United States has over a thousand miles of coastline to protect. Indeed on July 19, 2012 the Chinese Ice Breaker XUELONG (meaning "Snow Dragon") arrived in the Arctic Ocean where it will be working until September.  The U.S. Coast Guard with over a thousand miles of High Arctic coast line and outer continental shelf to protect had only one working Ice breaker at that moment the Coast Guard Cutter Healy commissioned in 2000. The service has since refurbished one of its two older inactive Ice Breakers , but in fact, had been take parts from one to restore the other while the Chinese have just signed a contract to build another Snow Dragon.

 Russia , Canada, and all other nations with Arctic coast lines have at least three to five ice breakers.
China, with no Arctic coast line, has one roaming the area every navigation season, one under contract for construction, and at least one more planned. As WORKBOAT (the magazine) recently put it: "Washington has forfeited its ability to assert sovereignty in the Arctic by allowing its icebreaker fleet to atrophy"
We agree. How far will the Dragon swim? What's to stop it from swimming into Nome? 

 As the summer navigation season came to a close the United States left unanswered the challenge of the Snow Dragon. Year after year as the Federal fiscal year draws to a close the moribund Congress is focused on the fiscal cliff and the nation's need to protect its Arctic Coast , Territorial Sea, and Exclusive Economic Zone remain un-addressed. Expect the Snow Dragon back again next summer. Don't expect any expanded U.S. Coast Guard presence to meet it.


12/31/2012 China's need for a Coast Guard
Editor's note 1//24/2015: This article takes us back to the very start of the now militarily organized, armed, and aggressive Chinese coast guard, now the world's largest coast guard fleet. The Dragon's coast guard is unique in the world as it is designed to intimidate neighbors into surrendering soverignity over their watery territories they are entitled to under the International Law of the Sea Convention (UNCLOS). The Chinese coast guard is a gloved mailed fist in comparison to other coast guards which are basically maritime law enforcement agencies and search and rescue organizations. Its amazing to think that on the last day of of 2012, the Chinese Coast Guard was only an idea being written about by a Chinese General. Today it is a marauding reality in the South and East China Seas.

Chinese Ocean Surveillance Service "Cutter"image from Google Images

 At present China has several agencies that perform Coast Guard like functions. Some work for the central government, others for the various provincial governments. There is a national fisheries enforcement service , and provincial fishing regulators as well. The closest thing to a recognizable Coast Guard is the new "Ocean Surveillance Service."  Separate agencies also deal with maritime safety, search and rescue, and aids to navigation. 

 The United States Coast Guard arose out of a similar collection of loosely related agencies including the Revenue Marine, Light House Service, Life Saving Service, and Bureau of Navigation. Of these the U.S.Revenue Marine was actually considered military since its founding in 1790 and was required by statute to go into service with the Navy in times of War or when ordered by the President. In 1917 the various services were integrated into the "U.S. Coast Guard" under the commissioned leadership of the old Revenue Marine. The combined service was declared a duly constituted "armed force" outside of the Defense Department (then the Department of War) and continued the obligation to serve as a distinct service within the Navy in war time and national emergency. Cutters were armed with not only weapons useful in law enforcement but some serious naval anti ship weapons as well. The service had to remain outside of the Defense Department in order to carry out criminal law enforcement duties but was a distinctly armed service of considerable military or naval utility.

 Chinese general officers are starting to speculate in public now over China's apparent "need" for a military Coast Guard. The decision to unify maritime security and law enforcement efforts under a single military service would not be difficult for China. Their existing Ocean Surveillance Service could easily fulfill the role of the U.S. Revenue marine at the moment of the institutional conception of the U.S. Coast Guard.

Prior to the formation of China's present collection of maritime agencies China pursued its claims to the "First Island Chain" via its Navy. Our initial introduction to the continuing series "How Far Will The Dragon Swim" began with a video tape of Chinese Navy vessels machine gunning to death Vietnamese unarmed sailors standing knee deep in water attempting to plant their flag on a reef that was much closer to their mainland than China's. 

 China still uses thug tactics in its maritime pressure upon its neighbors to surrender islands , reefs, and coastal waters. But since switching to lightly armed or unarmed fisheries enforcement vessels and the Coast Guard like Ocean Surveillance Service the harassment hasn't included mass murder. It is not illogical but it is disturbing that China now wants to militarize her Coast Guard forces.

For the story from the Chinese view click on the link below:

Sunday, December 30, 2012

12/30/2012 A Little More Naval Humor


File:CPO collar.png

An old Chief and an old Gunny were sitting at the VFW arguing about who'd had the tougher career. "I did 30 years in the Corps," the Gunny declared proudly, "and fought in three of my country's wars. Fresh out of boot camp I hit the beach at Okinawa , clawed my way up the blood soaked sand, and eventually took out an entire enemy machine gun nest with a single grenade. "As a sergeant, I fought in Korea alongside General Mac Arthur. We pushed back the enemy inch by bloody inch all the way up to the Chinese border, always under a barrage of artillery and small arms fire. "Finally, as a gunny sergeant, I did three consecutive combat tours in Vietnam . We humped through the mud and razor grass for 14 hours a day, plagued by rain and mosquitoes, ducking under sniper fire all day and mortar fire all night. In a fire fight, we'd fire until our arms ached and our guns were empty, then we'd charge the enemy with bayonets!" 

"Ah," said the Chief with a dismissive wave of his hand, "all shore duty, huh?"

Saturday, December 29, 2012


12/29/2012 How Far Will the Dragon Swim?
Updated 1/24/2015 Links checked 8/25/2016

HOW FAR WILL THE DRAGON SWIM Really Far for Sushi, This Reptile Loves Fish 

Image Still from You Tube: .

China's growing global seafood catch is bringing the dragon into conflict and contact with the Coast Guards of nations as far away as Argentina. In waters closer to home, Chinese fishing boats and their frequent government escorts have become a proxy for the Dragon's growing and covetous reach for the territorial and exclusive economic zone waters of other sovereigns. Fisheries statistics indicate that China is the world's largest seafood consumer. China will likely produce over 60 million tons of seafood by 2015 an increase from 53.7 million tons  from 2010.

The Dragon has big plans for fishing. The government is taking measures to increase its long range fishing fleet by 16%  by 2016. This would bring the fleet total to about 2,300 ships compared to the American long range fleet of 200 vessels. Where the dragon's fishing fleet goes, its body guard vessels from China's multiple fisheries enforcement and Coast Guard like agencies go also, often to the alarm of neighbors whose fishing grounds China covets.

The dragon's appetite is not sustainable. China's aggressive fishing activity comes at a time when roughly 87% of global fisheries are at either full exploitation , over exploited, or depleted. The dragon's appetite for fish is leading to more conflict on the high seas and the waters of its neighbors. The Wall Street journal recently published an article on this and posted a video to their website. Below is a link to the Wall street Journal Video.

 1.8m-3.3m Spinning Rod and Reel Combos Carbon Telescopic Fishing Rod with Reel Combo for Saltwater Freshwater Fishing (3.3m/10.83ft+YB5000)
12/29/2012 Fishing disputes Namazu Comment


Namazu, ,  giant Japanese catfish, former demigod, rock album cover model, recently turned American Admiralty Books coastal environmental analyst and social commentator on maritime matters.

And Namazu said:

                                             "EAT MORE CHICKEN"

Editor's note: He then said quite a bit more but we'll hold that for a future essay he is preparing on these sorts of problems at sea and elsewhere. The next Namazu blockbuster has a working title at the moment of "On The Commons" and will touch on among other things the offshore search for oil, the various on going fisheries disputes, the evolution of the present international regime regarding territorial seas and exclusive economic zones and much more. Look for it perhaps as early as late next week.

 1.8m-3.3m Spinning Rod and Reel Combos Carbon Telescopic Fishing Rod with Reel Combo for Saltwater Freshwater Fishing (3.3m/10.83ft+YB5000)
12/29/2012 Update 2/29/2016 Japanese still taking and eating whale.


Green Peace Doesn't Know How to Deliver It.

File:Humpback Whale underwater shot.jpg

 Japanese whaling ships departed Japan for Antarctic waters December 28, 2012. They were tailed out of Japan by the militant ocean environmental group GREEN PEACE. The fleet intends to take approximately 1,000 whales claiming that the slaughter is vital to scientific research. This allows the activity through a loop hole in the present world wide ban on whaling. It seems the other nations of the world can manage to study these marine mammals without killing them in large numbers. Japan cheerfully admits that nearly all of the whales end up on diner's plates.

Japanese Coast Guard officers are aboard the whale ships to deal with potential harassment tactics from Green Piece. The whaling vessels departed weeks later than the optimal time; yesterday was really the last day they could make the season. A U.S. court has ordered the U.S. based Green Peace to stay a minimum of 500 yards from the whaling fleet's vessels. Green Peace is not known for its adherence to the International Rules to Avoid Collision.

Opinion: We are big fans of the very competent and professional Japanese Navy and Coast Guard but we feel for Japanese Coast Guard professionals compelled to participate in this blatant effort to circumvent international law, that  they are sworn to uphold, as well as their own national law. This is a clear example of Japanese politics beholden to Japanese corporate interest. Those corporate interests are profiting by supplying a small and uncaring and / or misinformed market segment. As active duty U.S. Coast Guard members we have had experience with Green Peace. They can be as big a danger to the environment with their reckless near collision tactics as the vessels they seek to annoy. For the cost of the voyage they could have easily launched a PR campaign in Japan against the consumption of whale meat. Attacking the market will do more damage to the industry that pursues the whales than even sinking one of their boats, which is not a Green Peace goal but could easily be a result of the activity. For all of their dangerous and potentially destructive efforts off shore, Green Peace might, if they are lucky, actually save less than a half dozen of the targeted whales. The Japanese are quite capable of shame. The real cure to the whale eating habits of the minority of Japanese fueling the hunt is a major media campaign illustrating the shame of such consumption. 

 1.8m-3.3m Spinning Rod and Reel Combos Carbon Telescopic Fishing Rod with Reel Combo for Saltwater Freshwater Fishing (3.3m/10.83ft+YB5000)        FISHING EQUIPMENT SHOP  

12/29/2012 Naval Interest, Naval Humor


File:CPO collar.png


A group of Chiefs and a group of Naval Officers take a train to a conference. Each Naval Officer holds a ticket. But the entire group of Chiefs has bought only one ticket for a single passenger. The Naval Officers are just shaking their heads and are secretly pleased that the arrogant Chiefs will finally get what they deserve. Suddenly one of the Chiefs calls out: "The conductor is coming!". At once, all the Chiefs jump up and squeeze into one of the toilets. The conductor checks the tickets of the Naval Officers. When he notices that the toilet is occupied he knocks on the door and says: "Ticket, please!" One of the Chiefs slides the single ticket under the doors and the conductor continues merrily on his round. For the return trip the Naval Officers decide to use the same trick. They buy only one ticket for the entire group but they are baffled as they realize that the Chiefs didn't buy any tickets at all. After a while one of the Chiefs announces again: "The conductor is coming!" Immediately all the Naval Officers race to a toilet and lock themselves in. All the Chiefs leisurely walk to the other toilet. Before the last Chief enters the toilet, he knocks on the toilet occupied by the Naval Officers and says: "Ticket, please!"

Moral of the story? -- Officers like to use the methods of the Chiefs, but they don't really understand them. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

12/28/2012 Station Identification and Notice Board (2)


Barque:  ALEXANDER VON HUMBOLT II, Named for the Oceanographer
Photo by Hans Georg Schroder


If you want more detail after the video click on the INTRODUCTION page in the right hand margin.


Click on the link below the flag to get your day off to the right start!



Namazu, Giant Japanese Catfish former Demigod, Rock Album Cover Model, Subject of 3,000 Years Worth of Graphic Art , Legend, Coastal Environmental and Social Commentator, Star of Stage, Screen, and Outer Space.

  We to have an auto post in the blog space today. Namazu's recent essay on the fate of the American Merchant Marine and "Americanism" seemed to post itself again. It was not in the editorial plan for the day. But it couldn't seem to be removed without losing other features. We find that sometimes when dealing with a former demigod in cyber space that occasionally it's best not to ask and to just go along with the flow. So just in case you didn't catch this l;atest wisdom from Namazu its posted today. After we quit fighting its self posting tendencies it seems the dashboard program began behaving much better.



In The Blog Space Tomorrow: Saturday is sometimes a slow news day and the blog space is often "lite"on Saturday. But today is shaping up with a fair amount of developing  news related to commercial fishing and whaling and the tensions at sea that China and Japan are generating with certain activities. Be sure to tune in tomorrow for postings on rapidly evolving developments involving the "marauding dragon, and some whale eating Japanese.  

 Also tomorrow, a bit of naval humor.

USS John Stennis enters Persian Gulf

It's 11:PM do you know where your aircraft carrier is? The Russians do.

USS John C. Stennis сша вмс сша авианосец Джон Стеннис
© Photo: David Bohrer,

The American aircraft carrier USS John Stennis has passed the Strait of Hormuz and entered the Persian Gulf after patrolling the Arabian Sea together with a guided missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay, the US Navy reports. The warship is currently docked in Saudi Arabia’s port of Jebel Ali.

Picture and full story from the VOICE OF RUSSIA:
12/28/2012 Re-post CG Cooks & Trigger fingers

A Revenue Cutter Service Ensign


Coast Guard Cadets practice infantry drill during World War I

 I was returning a computer at the Navy Exchange today when the young clerk behind the counter mentioned that he had been turned down by the Coast Guard for an enlistment. He was a clean cut bright kid who looked physically fit and I knew he had an Associates degree in culinary arts from the local community college. He wanted to become a Coast Guard "cook" which we call a "Subsistence Specialists". He passed all of the background checks and general educational development exams but had a problem with the physical. After the problem was discovered he applied for a waiver. The waiver was refused. What was his disqualifying physical issue? His left index finger (or "trigger finger") had been broken when he was a small child and had not been set properly. It just couldn't curl in a normal fashion, highly desirable for operating firearm triggers. He is right handed and had hardly noticed or been inconvenienced by the affliction before. But the Coast Guard wouldn't budge, every Coast Guard member today must have two functional trigger fingers for an initial enlistment.

 To the average non Coast Guard veteran American there are two things wrong with this picture.First why would a young person with a degree in Culinary arts want to be a Coast Guard cook? I have a simple answer for that; Coast Guard Petty Officers are trained in various crafts, technician positions, and artisan skill sets in what the service calls "A Schools". These "A schools" recently exposed in the Kevin Costner film The Guardian are, as the name implies, crackerjack examples of vocational technical education. Each Coast Guard Petty Officer must be a highly skilled specialists who provides a skilled service to a ship. But each is also a non commissioned officer of this special armed service. On the small ships of the Coast Guard any petty officer must be able to fulfill the duties of the rank of Petty Officer (3ird, 2nd, 1st class, Chief, Senior Chief, Master Chief) as well as be able to execute the skills of his "rating" (Boatswain's mate, Gunner;s mate, Subsistence Specialists, Yeoman, etc.). The skill set of a Subsistence Specialists are basically those of a cook through charge chef. The duties of any petty officer rank can and do involve serving on crew served larger weapons and carrying small arms.

 On the 82 foot patrol boats that the Coast Guard fielded in Vietnam the Third Class "Cook" typically prepared a breakfast "breakout" so the crew could self serve for breakfast , did a second "breakout and prepared one full meal a day. He had to keep his food preparation duties in line to allow for his petty officer duties which included serving as in port officer of the day, acting as ship's medic, and ship's gunner since no gunners mates were carried on these small ships.Any Coast Guard petty officer may serve in or lead a boarding party, that means carrying firearms and knowing how to use them including using alternate hands. People are so used to thinking of the Coast Guard as a search and rescue organization that they loose sight of it as a seagoing criminal law enforcement organization and important naval augmentation force. When the Coast Guard enters a war zone with the Navy they usually draw assignments that play to their particular strength and that very often involves board and search. The Coast Guard experience of combat over the last 200 and twelve years has rarely included sending guided missiles over the horizon to an unseen enemy. Of the various Coast Guardsmen who have died in combat between Vietnam and Second Iraq some looked into the eyes of the enemy who finally took their life.

 So despite the present difficulties in enlisting quality young people for the service, history still teaches us that every Coast Guard member needs two trigger fingers in proper working condition. The young man I spoke to was so pained by the lost opportunity and I was so impressed by his character that I would gladly  have re-broken his finger and reset it properly then and there, if I actually knew how to reset it. But being a retired Master Chief Boatswain's mate I am very skilled at breaking a finger or other body part when necessary but limited to simple sprints when it comes to repairing damages. It was probably a too simple splint that denied us the services of this excellent young recruit. If a Coast Guard Health Sciences Technician (Corpsman) had set that finger in the first place I assure you it could still curl a trigger properly.


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



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?  


 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?



 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) 


 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


 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 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.


 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.