Wednesday, October 10, 2012

10/10/2012 Station Identification and Test Pattern


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.

We continue our case for the removal from office of Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) for his multiple attacks on the "Jones Act", a series of statutes that protect the waterborne trade between the states. As mentioned when we first published our objections to his latest attack on the Jones Act, we felt great pain at his exhibited ignorance in calling the contributions of the Jone's Act fleet "laughable". We absolutely hate to be forced to call for his removal from office as it is quite painful to us as Naval, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps Veterans and mostly card carrying Registered Republicans. We must do this because we are also Merchant Marine Officers and fully conversant with the  importance of the Jones Act to the prosperity and security of the United States. This man, who must have slept through the many explanations of sea power that he had to have received at the Naval Academy, has made one too many attacks on the the system of laws that reserves the waterborne trade between and among the States of the United States of America to American built, American owned, and American crewed vessels. At least 33 of America's fifty States and all of it's territories are served by the Jones Act Merchant Marine fleets of coast wise,  interior, and Great Lakes freighters, tankers, tow boats,tugs and barges, ferries, excursion and cruise vessels, and the offshore mineral industry service fleet. This man , a senator from one of the few states that is not directly served by waterborne navigation thinks the contribution of these fleets of vessels and 126,000 American seamen is "laughable". 

 Through his campaign for President and his seniority in the U.S. Senate this man from Arizona has achieved national prominence  He represents a state that gives him no constituency with serious maritime interests but has taken on himself the role of lead attack dog on an industry that directly employs 126,000 active crew members, and millions of Americans ashore involved in the building, repair, operation, cargo acquisition and movement to water side, of American grain, gasoline, heating oil, aviation fuels, lubricants, soybeans and countless other non speed sensitive bulk cargoes and over sized items. Senator McCain would entrust to international mariners and foreign built vessels the movements of these critical cargoes between and among the States.  Keep in mind this includes movements in difficult pilot waters such as the Mississippi/ Ohio rivers trades. Due to the towboat/ tug and barge industry's astute use of barges, much of the cargo capacity is carried in a vast barge fleet that doesn't generate its own constant crew need. The number of Americans engaged ashore in building, and maintaining  this fleet may equal or exceed the 126,000 mariners operating the propelling vessels pushing the commerce. 

 An attack on the "Jones Act" not only endangers American jobs but also American security. The Jones Act fleet is the central nucleus around which our Merchant Marine Fleet reorganizes in war time and national emergency when our armed forces are deployed over seas. By law the U.S. Merchant Marine is a "naval auxiliary" and has never refused to go in harm's way to provide logistic support to our Armed Forces deployed over seas. Unfortunately, rarely in our history as a nation has the American Merchant Marine been able to economically survive in peace time when it must compete commercially with fleets manned by seamen who will work for a rice bowl. At the end of World War two we had nearly 5,000 seagoing U.S.Merchant Marine ships plying the waters of the World. That fleet quickly shrank after the war to a fraction of its former self, then expanded almost over night to accommodate the massive sea lift to Vietnam, a place that Senator McCain is certainly familiar with. We are sure that the Senator honors his fallen comrades from the Navy and Marine Corps, but yet  more than 44 American Merchant Mariners who perished supplying American forces he finds "laughable". Many of the thousands of Merchant Mariners who provided the Vietnam sea lift and even inland services were initially trained in the Jones Act Fleets where they also found employment until called to military logistics service. Some were actually Jones Act tug boatmen shifted directly from harbor and inland waterway service in the U.S. to similar service on the inland waterways of Vietnam. Apparently they were invisible to Senator McCain from 10,000 feet. That might be understandable for a young fighter pilot but is inexcusable for U.S. Senator who, with no real mandate from his constituency, injects himself with no knowledge into the maritime commerce of 33 states he doesn't represent.  

Following this station ID are all of the blogs that we have done over recent days arranged in order that explain the Jones Act fleet, introduce  our readers to the people who man the fleet, tell the story of their herculean efforts in New Your Harbor during 9/11 and generally make the case that this industry and its people are far from "laughable'. Senator McCain is so uninformed on matters maritime that he would be laughable were it not so serious. Instead we have to call attention to the fact that despite his naval academy education he is INCOMPETENT in commercial maritime matters, and has no business being involved since he represents a state with no commercially navigable waters. Who in Arizona could possibly benefit by the ruin of America's domestic Merchant Marine fleet? How can he justify his time and effort on this matter to the people of Arizona? What is behind this? 

 We'll have to leave that question to an investigative journalists. All we can do is report that he attacks the Jones Act repeatedly and provide the truth that the Act and the resulting maritime industry are far from "laughable" and this man with his dismissive attitude towards something of such importance to America should be dismissed from office. We are in direct touch with the National Mariners Association which has written and tried to visit this man on a number of occasions going back years, never successfully. This Naval Academy graduate son of an admiral has never responded to correspondence from or consented to visit with the NMA , the representatives of the Masters, mates, pilots, engineers, tankermen, able and ordinary seamen who man the fleet he seeks to put out of business. People of Arizona we plead with you to recall this man who is endangering the nation in your name. John McCain its time to become citizen McCain. As a lawmaker can't you "first do no harm"? Who are you serving with these attacks?

The National Anthem is played today by Jake Shirabukko on the Ukulele (Awesome!)

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