Maritime Monday for June 12th 2017: Synalpheus pinkfloydi

Another interesting week of maritime matters courtesy of Monkey Fist and gCaptain. My favorites this week are the gorgeous photos of the whales, the octopus video and the story on the USS Liberty. I went to a presentation given by one of the last survivors of that attack a couple of months ago. A friend bought me the book but I haven’t had the chance to read it yet. I’m no fan of the NSA (to put it mildly), nor do I support our involvement in most wars we’ve inserted ourselves into, but it’s an amazing (and eye-opening) story…

Fifty Years Later, NSA Keeps Details of Israel’s USS Liberty Attack Secret On June 8, 1967, an Israeli torpedo tore through the side of the unarmed American naval vessel USS Liberty, approximately a dozen miles off the Sinai coast. The ship, whose crew was under command of the National Security Agency, was intercepting communications at […]

Source: Maritime Monday for June 12th, 2017: Synalpheus pinkfloydi – gCaptain

SNL Trump on Comey

Saturday Night Live is one of the very few shows I’ll turn on the TV to watch. It’s not as good as it was a couple of decades ago, but it’s still pretty good. Sometimes they’ll still crack me up laughing.

I’m not a big fan of Trump, but I liked Hillary and Bernie even less. I preferred Gary Johnson (the Libertarian Party candidate) and regardless of his brain fart re: Aleppo, I still think he would have been worlds better as President than any of the other candidates. Too bad he never had a chance to get into the debates to show the rest of the voters that they DID have a real choice.

In this skit President Donald Trump (Alec Baldwin) discusses firing FBI director James Comey in an interview with Lester Holt (Michael Che). I love how the SNL cast has been doing politics lately. Alec Baldwin really has Trump down pat.

I try not to take politics too seriously. In reality, it’s too just depressing to deal with. I really have to struggle to ignore it or by stress levels go through the roof.

R is for Re-Do- #AtoZChallenge

R” is for Re-Do. I don’t know how many of you all work at a job in which you’re constantly having to re-do everything you do.

In my profession, (merchant marine) it started fairly recently (1970’s). It started with only a bare minimum of requirements (RADAR and physical every 5 years).

I have heard that the medical profession requires some sort of recency requirements (tho I really have no idea what sorts of things doctors or nurses have to do to keep their licenses current)(any ideas)?

I’ve also heard the airline pilots have an even more stringent set of requirements they must satisfy to keep working.

But in the maritime profession, I am constantly amazed at how much they keep coming up with for us, how little of it is really useful or necessary, and how few people seem to have a problem with it.

Of course, all of those people who have an issue with it are people like me. People who actually have to DO the job. People who have been doing the job perfectly fine for decades WITHOUT any of the things that are required now. All of which are pretty much second nature after you’ve worked at sea for any amount of time. Our job is not exactly rocket science. 😉

For example, now we not only have to do (before we can start work) a few classes- about dozen for a mate working at sea), we have to re-do: RADAR/ARPA, physical yearly (if you have any one of dozens of common conditions), basic safety training, advanced fire fighting, CPR. Those are just the ones required by the US Coast Guard to keep your license.

AND, if you have not managed to work in one sector of the industry for the last 5 years, you will also have to re-do ‘training’ so that you can do that very same job again. For instance, if you have not worked on tankers in the last 5 years, you will have to re-do the class or find a ship so you can do a couple of transfers. Same goes for towing vessels. If you don’t have the sea time on them, you lose your ability to work on them until you re-do the ‘training’.

Same now goes for dynamic positioning (DP)! Either you manage to keep working through this horrible downturn, OR, you must somehow cough up $5000 grand so you can re-do that training!

You will ALSO need: HUET, safe-gulf, rig pass, SEMS, marine debris, blood born pathogens, and many other COMPANY required re-training every couple of years if you want to work in the Gulf of Mexico (or for any oil company).

It’s not like anything has changed really. I’ve been taking fire fighting since 1978. The ONLY thing new in that class is that they’re now calling a grease fire a ‘class k’ fire. It’s still the exact same fire, you fight it the exact same way. Everything is exactly the same except the name. Things don’t change much (or at all) in most of the classes we’re now forced to take.

Today, I’ve been waiting to get a chance to re-do my tankerman person-in-charge (PIC). I worked on tankers for almost 13 years. Since I have been doing other things for the last 5, I am required to re-do the training before I can get my license back (thank goodness I put it into continuity status or there would be many more hoops to jump through)!

I could either spend about $5000 to re-do the week long course, or get on board a vessel to do 2 transfers. So, tomorrow I am getting some help to do that. I will join a vessel in Houston to participate in the cargo operations. Catch up on anything new since I’ve last done this job. Hopefully I will get a letter for the Coast Guard that will allow me to get back my PIC so I can find some work! 🙂

I’m thankful that some people are willing to help, especially since I can’t afford to re-do the class!

Q is for Quiz- #AtoZChallenge

Q” is for Quiz. I was having a pretty hard time coming up with something to write about for the letter “Q”. It was either going to be QMEDQ4000, question, quagmire (Trump promised to drain the swamp, but it’s turning into an even worse quagmire), or quiz.

Quiz it is.

I love this little quiz. It’s the same one I keep as a sticky as the first post on my home page. It’s put out by the Advocates for Self Government as the “World’s Smallest Political Quiz”.

As you can tell from my tagline (she sails the seven seas in search of freedom) and my posts the last couple of days, I’m into politics. 😉

I tried to copy and paste it onto the page so you can take it right here. It didn’t quite work. Close enough if you want to try it tho. Just choose wether you agree, disagree, or you’re not sure on each question. The 1st button is always “agree, middle is “maybe” and last is “disagree”. When you finish you can click on ‘get your results’ and it will take you to the actual quiz where you can get your score.

(I score at the top as a Libertarian.)

I’m really curious as to how many are interested in this sort of stuff, and especially where people score. If you take the quiz, please comment and let me know your thoughts and if you want to share, let me know where you score on it. 🙂

Personal Issues
Agree
Maybe
Disagree
Government should not censor speech, press, media, or internet.
Military service should be voluntary. There should be no draft.
There should be no laws regarding sex for consenting adults.
Repeal laws prohibiting adult possession and use of drugs.
There should be no National ID card.
Economic Issues
Agree
Maybe
Disagree
End “corporate welfare.” No government handouts to business.
End government barriers to international free trade.
Let people control their own retirement; privatize Social Security.
Replace government welfare with private charity.
Cut taxes and government spending by 50% or more.
Score ButtonReset Button
“The Quiz has gained respect as a valid measure of a person’s political leanings.”
– The Washington Post“The World’s Smallest Political Quiz stands ready to help you determine your political identity. Quick and relatively painless.”
– USA Today
“The World’s Smallest Political Quiz is savvy and willing to tell you the truth.”
– YAHOO! Magazine“Give this quiz a try. It’s fun, and who knows, you may be surprised at what you find.”
– Politics on the Net by Bill Mann
 Contents copyrighted © The Advocates for Self-Government, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) educational organization.

P is for Paranoid- #AtoZChallenge

“P” is for ‘paranoid’.

adjective

1. of, characterized by, or resembling paranoia

2. (informalexhibiting undue suspicion, fear of persecution, etc

I’ve been called paranoid a couple of times in my life. I do have to admit, I’ve never been an optimist. I worry about all kinds of things (probably un-necessarily). I worry will I ever be able to find decent work ever again. I worry about how will I be able to pay the bills when my savings runs out. I worry about how we are losing our freedom here in the USA and will we ever wake up and start clawing it back from the power hungry bastards we elect that keep stealing it from us.

But is it really paranoid if they are out to get you?

I must have some sort of mental issue. I mean, I’m definitely not ‘normal’. ‘Normal’ people just ignore all the things that bother me so much. They would pass right by that mass of cameras and not even notice. And if they did happen to notice (like one fell on their head or something), they would only comment (while they bleed all over the place from the injuries it just gave them) ‘it’s all just for our own good’.

My stepmother used to tell me “don’t worry, the universe is in divine order”. I could see that for her, it sure seemed to be. She was very pretty, confident, talented, smart. She made a (very good) living as a topless bartender for decades. She had a beautiful house right on the beach paid for (by ex-husband) and really had nothing to worry about at all. She could (and did) live her life exactly as she pleased.

My best friend tells me all the time, “chill out, don’t worry so much”.  She is retired, with a decent pension, social security, a couple of other checks coming in every month, with a paid for house and although she  has some health issues, she really doesn’t have any concerns either.

For me, whenever I go out anywhere now, I see the red-light cameras everywhere and they drive me crazy! WHY does “our government” feel that they need to spy on us? What gives those people who actually do those jobs the idea that they have any sort of right to do it? I don’t even want to get into the fact that there are so many “laws” on the books that we are ALL guilty of breaking at least a couple every day (no matter how law abiding you may think you are)!

Try reading “Three Felonies a Day“. Take a quick look at the hundreds of thousands of “laws” on the books (last count 178, 277 pages at the end of 2015)! This for a supposedly “free country”. 🙁

I go absolutely crazy in the airports over the TSA BS. It’s all I can do to keep my mouth shut. I’m grumbling through the whole process, from the minute I see the line start. It completely ruins the trip for me. WHO in the hell has decided that we must give up our INALIENABLE RIGHTS in order to travel? WHY have so many people just simply accepted their ridiculous excuses that “it’s only for our own safety”?

I have decided I must be some kind of mutant. I mean, I’m in such a tiny minority that it sure seems that way. Am I paranoid? Yeah, I do feel like they’re watching me all the time. The fact is that they ARE. They ARE watching ALL of us all the time! Every single email, phone call, website you visit, everywhere you go, every dollar you spend. Even your own house, phone, TV and appliances ARE spying on you now!

Poor Ed Snowden. He tried to wake us up. I consider him a hero for what he tried to do for us all. He gave up a lot to get the information out there. To put a stop to “our government’s” serious abuse of power. To wake us up so that we could take back our freedoms before it was too late forever.

I already knew most of what he said. It was all dribbled out in the news over the decades. But nobody paid any attention. Everyone still ignores it all. It’s just business as usual. Most people just go right on ignoring all the continuous everyday violations and don’t seem to give a damn at all. When I bring it up, the only thing they have to say is: “but it’s all for our own good”. WOW.

What in the world is “good” about living like that? Like George Orwell’s 1984, but worse?

WHY? That is what I want to know. No, not why they’re doing it. I already know that. It’s because they’re all a bunch of power hungry, greedy bastards! What I want to know is WHY does the general public put up with it? WHY are so few people concerned about it? WHY do so few people understand the real threats to THEM that this represents?

Paranoid? Yeah, I guess I am. But that doesn’t mean they’re not out to ‘get’ me. Or you!

F is for Freedom- #AtoZChallenge

F” is for FREEDOM! A particular passion of mine. I could go on and on about it (like this), but no one ever wants to listen. Here, on my blog, I can express myself. I can try to make a point and then remove myself from the ‘conversation’.

Maybe then, others will take a minute or two to think about what I am trying to communicate? Instead of talking to each other in person. Where each person almost always has a rebuttal in mind before the first person even gets finished speaking?

Maybe by just putting some of these thoughts out there, into the ether, someone might think ‘hey, that actually makes sense’, or ‘wow, what a thought’, or ‘maybe those nut job libertarian freaks really do have some good points’, or best of all they might start to think for themselves about why we are NOT allowed to live our lives with all the freedoms we OUGHT to have!

Here are a few of my favorite quotes (taken from google)…

I truly believe that with all my heart. I only wish others felt the same. 

And again, you can’t value freedom for yourself without granting the same to others. 

Why do so many people value ‘fitting in’, falsifying their own true selves to be ‘accepted’ by others? Be yourself! I decided a long time ago, I will not let others opinions affect the things I choose to do with my life! If people don’t like me the way I am, then the hell with them! There are over 7 BILLION people in this world, I’m sure to find at least a few who accept me and value me just the way I am. Those are the only ones for me to care about.

Sad, but true. For some reason, we have an overabundance of greedy, power-hungry bastards that ALWAYS manage to steal the power away from the people. We, the people managed to wrestle it away for a short time here in the US, but they’ve come back with a vengeance and stolen away almost ALL of our liberty again! Unless and until the populace starts caring again and demands their freedom, and takes it back- we will just keep on losing more and more each year until we’re basically just a slave state (again) and only ‘our leaders’ are free.

Believe it or not, but we’re pretty damn close to that state right now, today (and no, it’s not just because Trump got elected). The “deep state”, the powers behind the powers have been working behind the scenes for decades and they are sooooo close, so close they can taste it! Total control is within their grasp. We’re so far past Orwell’s 1984, it’s not even funny.

While we all just keep on ignoring the whole thing, telling ourselves we still live in the ‘land of the free and the home of the brave’. Repeat it enough and we’ll make ourselves really believe it’s true. Nope, that place is long gone!

Snowden tried his best to wake us up, even his revelations did nothing to wake up the majority of the people. They just don’t seem to care. Have they all been brainwashed? 12 years of government indoctrination has done the job the public schools were created to do? Dumb us down and turn us all into ‘cogs in the great machine‘, just indistinguishable tools to create the wealth so that others can siphon off most of it before we ever even see it?

EXACTLY! What’s the big deal? Why do so many people freak out when the idea of real freedom is brought up? They’ll bring up every imaginable excuse (no matter how ridiculous) to argue against it. Regardless of the fact that the most free societies in the history of mankind have been the most prosperous and gave the best possible lives to the most possible (considering the reality of the times they lived in).

This idea perfectly expresses the reason why the founders rebelled against Great Britain and formed the United States of America. The Declaration of Independence says it all:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.-Preamble to the Declaration of Independence

That basic principle is the foundation of our country. ALL people should be free to live their lives in whatever way they choose (as long as they don’t hurt anyone else). (No matter how hypocritical they were back then re: blacks, women, native americans). Why don’t even Americans hold to these principles anymore?

We are still living now on the proceeds of the freedom we used to have. I wonder how much longer can we last before our creeping statism (fascism, totalitarianism, globalism, corporatism, crony capitalism, socialism, etc) destroys whats left?

I agree (tho a clipper ship under full sail I’d count as a close second)! Take a quick look at some beautiful ships…

See what I mean? 🙂

SOCS: Short

This post is for Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday. It’s Sunday as I write this, but the events I’m going to write about happened yesterday so I’m counting it. 😉 And I don’t think it’s going to be “short“, so consider it the opposite of short. 🙂

I went down to the beach  yesterday for the St Patricks Day parade. The weather was overcast with a light rain. I was late leaving home and thought I might get stuck in traffic, but because of the weather I made it in time for the judging without any trouble at all.

I got a few photos before it started raining hard and I had to run for cover. I headed to the Jetty Shack to dry off and watch the parade through the window.

I was sitting at the bar, enjoying a yummy Patty Melt (they make the best ones around) and listening to the surrounding conversations. I joined in (where maybe I shouldn’t have).

I can’t really remember how it started, but something to do with how young people don’t have any respect. It moved on to how society has encouraged people to do things that are illegal and cause harm.  Continue reading