Tuesday, April 9, 2013



A NAMAZU CLASSIC REVISITED: Back in November right after "Super storm Sandy Namazu addressed Rush Limbaugh concerning his alleged lack of knowledge of the Jones Act. We repost it here for our new Namazu fans who have not had the opportunity to watch his evolution as an analyst and commentator.

11/3/2012 Namazu , Jack, and Rush Limbaugh

Rush, we gotta talk. I know you know a lot of history but you might not know me. That's me in a recent publicity photo from my visit with the guys at American Admiralty Books. Here is one of my earlier images from back in the days when I was a Japanese religious icon.


 Ok, I can understand if you still can't place me I'm not exactly an American institution. I'm Namazu the Earth Shaker. I'm a 3,000 year old giant catfish responsible for causing earth quakes and tsunamis in Japan. I have an American cousin who is only really known to a few elderly Cajun people in Louisiana. He does the same kind of work on the U.S. Gulf Coast and the South East Atlantic Coast of the United States, mostly he causes hurricanes and other Coastal storms. He has been doing that work since before the United States was a gleam in George Washington''s eye and even before Columbus visited the Bahamas after paying for a cruise to the orient. His name is Jack, you don't know Jack.

 Jack was recently outed in the pages of the American Admiralty Books blog for taking human form and walking Bourbon street down in New Orleans where a few of the really elderly Cajuns recognized him. He wanders the French Quarter listening to jazz and drinking a bit. Jack was behind the "Frankenstorm" and was just taking a break. For humans on the East Coast next week the bad news is that Jack is scheduled to do some mud wiggling off the Carolinas early in the week and by Thursday some parts of the Coast just starting to dig out will be hit by storm surges again. This is not Jack's angry reaction to being outed, like me he's 3,000 years old and mellow, its just that he is a giant catfish and he's gotta wiggle. It's in our nature. 

 We appreciate that you seem to share our skepticism about these coastal weather events as signs of climate change when we know its just us catfish wiggling , part of the wide range of weather that occurs over time in any climatic zone. We appreciate that you seem to understand the plea that I've made to the public to reconsider their coastal building codes, ignoring the federal models that have made each disaster more expensive and slower to recover from ,and revert to some of the native regional architecture that considered the climate as it actually is. We think you'd agree with our observation that independence from the utility grid is a desirable feature in human dwelling design since its the loss of the grid that takes the wreckage of a few low lying coastal towns and turns it into a 60 million person power outage, that attracts Federal attention to rush in and make every thing worse. Generally both Cousin Jack and I are conservative, like you might expect someone who has seen 3,000 years of history and weather unfold, would be. We in fact, like you, and we don't like Al Gore, who really doesn't know Jack , doesn't want to know Jack, and frankly Jack doesn't want to know him.

 But Rush, we are wise old giant catfish, not "DITTO HEADS". We know our subject , the seas and coastal zones and all who move and work in them. And you made some statements lately that clearly indicate that you "don't know Jack".  Fortunately for you, Jack catches your show when he takes human form and thinks that you are more often right than wrong so he is anxious that you should know Jack. But Jack has never granted an interview and avoids human contact even when roaming Bourbon Street in human form. But he has authorized me, now that I'm out and in print ,to address your error. So here goes.

 Recently you aired a story  in which you asserted that the Obama Administration's Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had granted "waivers" to the "Jones Act"so that tankers could bring gasoline from outside the United States  into the New York/New Jersey area for storm relief due to the "gasoline shortage", There should have been more fact checking. 

(1) First there is no "gas shortage", some stations have electricity and thus can pump gas, some don't have electricity and have gas they can't pump. So the stations with electricity have long lines.  Without electricity, the gas in the ground tanks of the stations that can't open can't be transferred to the open stations. So there is a need for some trucked in gas and some refineries aren't on line, so some already refined product had to be moved to the area in some considerable quantity. This fresh gas is keeping the stations with electricity open and pumping but does nothing to reduce lines. As electricity is returned to the stations without power, they already have gas, this should start providing relief on the gas lines. The exception to this would be stations that have water contaminated gasoline. They will need electricity, a clean out service, and fresh gas. 

(2) So where did the fresh gasoline come from? If it was of foreign origin as your report seemed to indicate the "Jones Act" doesn't apply, no waiver is required. Foreign registered vessels with or without union crews  are perfectly free to deliver cargo to the United States. The so called "Jones Act" is actually a collection of laws that deal with "cabotage", which is the law that regulates waterborne commerce between ports WITHIN A NATION. So if you move gasoline from a Baton Rouge refinery to Baltimore or New York by sea, that is a movement within the cabotage trade and subject to the Jones Act.  If you move export corn from St. Louis to New Orleans by barge that is a "cabotage movement"and regulated by the "Jones Act".  But a delivery of cargo to the United States from a foreign port of lading does not require any special permissions other than the usual security checks associated with the entry of any ship from sea.

(3) If in fact the fresh gasoline had actually been landed in the United States at a point where it wasn't needed as badly as it was needed in New York, and especially if a foreign flag ship was already dockside where the gasoline actually was, there would be a waiver needed to move it between U.S. ports in a foreign flag ship under the Jones Act, but the act contains no provision requiring union crews.  Indeed most such Jones Act movements are done by tug and tank barge and don't involve union crews. The truth is that the various Jones Act trades are the most under unionized of all of the American Merchant Marine trades. The National Mariners Association which is not a union believes that much of the Jones Act trades are crewed by mariners with licenses for vessels under 1,600 gross registered tons and the number of such mariners is estimated at 126,000 working Americans. These Americans haul the export grain from the Mid West to tidewater at New Orleans via the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, They Haul heating oil and gasoline around the nation by tug and tank barge. They have hauled whole Army armored divisions to embarkation at New Orleans from interior positions on occasion unclogging rails and highways.  They moved the rocket engines that  took us to the moon from interior assembly and testing points in Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana to the Cape for launch. No American ever had to sit behind one of those things at a rail crossing or underpass, Yet of those 126,000 working American "Jones Act seamen", no more than a few hundred are union members. Union membership is the exception rather than the rule in this maritime industry segment. 

(4) So what really happened? We don't know and obviously neither do you since the story as reported made no legal sense. If we had to speculate, we'd guess that some foreign operator saw an opportunity to make some quick cash on a "short sea" movement and applied for a waiver under the Jones Act claiming that no American flag ship was immediately available. Since there is an abundance of American flag tug and tank barge "unit tows" this claim was not true. The unions routinely contest exceptions or "waivers" to the Jones Act when they know they can prove the availability of American vessels and crews, so when the Obama  Administration threw border control, and that is what the Jones Act is all about , to the dogs, the unions protested as was their legal right and in fact they were quite right there is no shortage of American flag vessels and crews to move America's interior and coast wise commerce. Caught once again ignoring border control, the administration may have made press releases to the effect that they had to fight the unions on this but they got the politically advantageous, but hardly needed gasoline through. 

 Now Rush, you really are  a favorite of us old giant catfish but we fear you may be getting your Jones Act information from John McCain. Trust me, John doesn't know Jack. We like him, but recently the normally conservative boys at the American Admiralty Books store called for his retirement because of his anti Jones Act stands. As they pointed out, it is strange for a Senator from Arizona to have so much interest in a maritime issue. Of course if you are from Arizona you won't have any constituent group following your actions on maritime legislation. So if a big contributor from out of state or out of country with maritime interests wants our interior trade (and security) "loosened" a bit, an Arizona senator doesn't directly hurt any of his constituents by becoming the anti Jones Act champion. Now I'm not saying that is what has happened to John McCain but it is one possible explanation for his anti Jones Act positions.  Think a bit about what those Jones Act seamen transport and where they transport it. Do you really want Mexican or Arab "pilots" hauling our key economic and defense cargoes on the Mississippi, Ohio, Great Lakes, Puget Sound, Long Island Sound, and the Hudson, and on the Chesapeake?  Well John McCain seems perfectly OK with that idea. One could only believe in such a thing if they "don't know Jack".

 So in closing my friend, and I hope you do think of me as a friend, I would ask you to think of your responsibility to all those "Dittoheads" out there. These regular Americans have to make a living, they can't monitor the activities of all of the public officials and policy makers all of the time. You have that job, they click in and listen and patronize your advertisers so that you will continue to be paid to do that for them. They trust your judgement and analysis. You do them a disservice if you think, they think you are infallible. They trust you to discover, acknowledge, and correct your mistakes. So right now its time to take a good look at the water's edge. That's Jack's turf, and you don't know Jack, so tread carefully, check facts and sources, think twice before speaking once. Mariners are by nature conservative because the sea is unforgiving. Nobody has less time for the study of current affairs than America's mariners. They want and need to join the DITTOHEADS, but they have to trust you, and they do know Jack. So when you demonstrate that you don't know Jack they shy away from the Dittohead compact, that you will be their current affairs analysts and they will be your avid readers and listeners readily adopting and acting upon your analysis. Tread carefully when you don't know Jack.

Very Truly Yours ,
Namazu, the Earth Shaker.

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