With triple-digit heat, bright sun, and enough HFO on board to fuel the two tankers we've got scheduled for today, it's going to be a rough one. This will be one of those days where I'm going to be tempted to hide inside with the AC a little too much.
With the prospects of suffering some serious diaper rash today what with the heat and all, my thoughts fall again to the recent political stuntwork of Sen. John McCain.
Sen McCain is a war hero and a survivor. Having lived through the Hanoi Hilton, I hate being smarmy, but I can't resist. A man who survived such an ordeal shouldn't be so willing to grease himself up to be a human hand puppet with the Agriculture lobby buried elbow deep and manipulating him so skillfully.
So, if I could sit down with Sen McCain, I'd say this: War hero or not, I hope your prostate falls out for having been so eager to take food out of my family's mouth, all in the name of working a scant few more years before being laid to rest yourself.
I'm suffering today. It's 8am, and I'm earning every penny I am paid, because I am miserable and being professional, even in the face of being pushed to compromise safety in the name of expediency. The difference between myself and the screaming, belligerent and hung over Russian engineer I dealt with today, is that I get paid well enough to protect my job in the face of enormous pressure, and I protect my job by being safe.
I'm not raising eyebrows by stating the obvious here: you get what you pay for. Pay a little, get a little. Maybe a little magic pipe in your engine room. Maybe a broken Oily Water Separator. Maybe a valve lashed open. Maybe a fire supression system with more holes in it than a sprinkler.
I'm aware that the Jones Act is a subsidy, and subsidies are bad, economically speaking. While the incredible arrogance of Sen. McCain's actions (criticizing the Jones Act while being the buttboy of the agriculture industry, the US's most heavily-subsidized industry) are scandalous, comparing two economic wrongs doesn't make for an easily-derived equation vis-a-vis the merits of the lesser of two evils; rather, the benefits of both can be compared and contrasted by comparing the effects of removing each subsidy.
if we're going to tilt at windmills here, if we were to simply stop our chokehold on Africa's farming industry by stopping grain subsidies, Africa could become self-sufficient. The consolidation of farming infrastructure would slow or reverse (economic superpowers don't like shrinking profit margins, and ag subsidies principally go to the majority stakeholders, the ag conglomerates).
If the Jones Act were repealed, local jobs would be offshored- consolidation of maritime interests would increase (the US is still a major player in terms of global tonnage owned- we just don't flag, or build, or crew our ships in-house). Naval shipbuilding would continue to be dismal and trending downward, as one of the two top-tier military shipbuilders also builds merchant ships, so procurement costs would increase, while shipbuilding infrastructure would require additional subsidization to remain viable for military construction. I would assume that the already shamefully-bloated shipbuilding budgeting process would increase. I would guess it would go beyond hyperbolic.
There's no way that even in the US Gulf of Mexico that an American could work for international wages, when it comes to unlicensed positions aboard. The foreign First Assistant engineers that I interact with in the course of bunkering all go google-eyed when I tell them that a shithole apartment in a crime-ridden neighborhood where I come from rents for $1,200 a month with no utilities included.
So, when it comes to Sen. McCain's hubris, I give him a big thumbs down, in the Roman sense. I say, politically, salt him and let the lions out. The mob needs entertainment.
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