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. ūüėČ And I don’t think it’s going to be “short“, so consider it the opposite of short. ūüôā

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

My Wish

Sharing wishes with strangers makes a powerful emotional statement.

I agree. So for my contribution to the¬†Daily Post’s¬†photo challenge and discussion of the week, here is my photo and wish…

So many people argue that freedom is unworkable, impossible- but I think it’s really the thing that works best. It has been proven to be the best system for increasing the quality of life for the most people in every society that has tried it- (USA before we gave it away, Hong Kong, Singapore are just a couple of recent examples).

Like John Lennon sang, Imagine!

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace, you
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need…
PS- I took that gorgeous photo on a recent trip to Zanzibar, the scuba diving was fantastic!

Who Is…

…keeping up with politics? Anyone subject themselves to the carnival on TV today? Trumps inauguration?

I do my best to avoid all that. I hardly saw any of the circus leading up to the election. I don’t like or trust any politicians and my greatest wish is for all of them to just leave us all alone!

In accordance with that, I did not vote for Trump. I voted for Gary Johnson and the rest of the Libertarians. They at least say they want to do that- leave us all alone.

Almost everyone I talked to did not like either Trump or Hillary. Most of them liked the Libertarians, but refused to ‘waste their vote’. I’ll never understand how it’s a waste to vote for someone you believe in.¬† Continue reading

I Only Thought I Was Too Tired

I¬†really¬†feel like spewing out a huge rant right now. I’m so tired I don’t know if it’ll go anywhere, but we’ll see. Fair warning!

I only fell asleep last night about 0130. Had the alarm set for 0330 so I could get up and be sure to have enough time to find my way to safety ‘training’ this morning. They said to be there by 0645, locked out if not there by 0700. I didn’t want to drive all the way up there, just to be locked out. So I made sure I’d get there plenty early.

Anyway. I spent the entire day from 0700-1600 with only a couple of 10 min breaks and a half hour for lunch going over some really basic safety stuff. Things I’ve been in control of for decades. I’ve been the one writing the JSAs, controlling the permits, writing the work procedures, testing the tanks, running the drills, writing the safety manuals, giving the safety training. Things I’ve been in charge of teaching others for decades.

WTF is all that experience completely worthless? I’ve got training certificates out the ring-yang, but not a one of them acceptable. Grrrrr…

These companies take no interest in the fact that their students know more about the subject than their teachers, if you don’t have the specific piece of paper for the specific company, it just doesn’t matter. You’re going to waste more time in ‘training’! (how do you make an ANGRY smiley face?)

Why the hell can’t they standardize their certificates so that you don’t need to get 2 dozen different ones to do the same damn thing! It’s the same offshore. No benefit to anybody except the training centers making a mint off these scams.

It pisses me off to no end to have to repeat this stuff over and over and over and over and over and over and over and especially when I’m not getting paid for it! Even more when I have to waste my money as well as my time. At least they didn’t charge me for it¬†today.¬†

Or maybe it would’ve been better if they had. I would have immediately refused instead of spending all day today up there and tomorrow too. I wouldn’t be furiously steaming all afternoon about their company policies.

This all ties right in with my post from yesterday. The absolutely insane ideas people in the US have come to believe in the last couple of decades. The huge loss of freedom, individual liberty and human rights. The absolute and complete disrespect for us as individual human beings and our innate dignity.

They did spend about a half hour telling us about their company and allowing us to ask questions. That was useful. I learned a few things. Continue reading

Just Jot It Jan: 10 Danger

First thing I thought of when I saw todays prompt (danger) for Linda’s¬†Just Jot It January challenge¬†was the robot on the old TV series “Lost In Space“. I used to watch that show after school in the afternoons and always got a kick when the old robot would freak out. It kept repeating “Danger! Danger Will Robinson!” while madly waving it’s ‘arms’ around and spinning it’s little ‘head’. ūüôā

But I really wanted to make a few comments on the¬†perception¬†of ‘danger’, of what’s dangerous, and how much it’s changed since I was a kid watching that show.

For example: just being kids. We used to stay out all day long. No cell phones. Nobody thought twice about not being able to contact us every minute of the day. We rode our bikes or skateboards everywhere (without helmets). No one thought that was OMG sooooooo dangerous! We were allowed to run around¬†by ourselves, without an adult, even¬†outside¬†of our own yards and nobody ever considered calling the cops. We were ALL ‘free range kids’ back then and nobody had a problem with it.

We drank plain old tap water, sometimes even out of the hose in the backyard. Nobody worried about ‘germs’. Cooties, maybe (but you didn’t get those from the water). Nobody died from the lack of expensive bottled water.

I’m only going to list these few examples. I could go on for hours! I just don’t understand WHY the¬†perception¬†of ‘danger’ has changed to the HUGE amount that it has. I think the attitude of so many people today is just absolutely ridiculous! The risks today are NOT that different! None of us was really harmed by ANY of that stuff we did as kids. All of which could get parents hauled off to jail today (or at least dragged into court).¬†It’s happened!

WTF is wrong with people these days? Why does everyone consider all those things suddenly so dangerous? We all survived our childhoods just fine. What exactly is the problem?

Why are we, here in America (especially), changing from a country where people once came and put up with real hardships, real dangers (wolves, bears, indian attacks, blizzards, tornados, etc), into a country where we insist that we must be 100% perfectly safe at all times, in all circumstances? And if we find the slightest little risk, we must strive to eliminate it from all possibilities of it ever happening?

And if, by some ‘miracle’ after all we’ve done to prevent it, something actually does happen, then we have to sue the shit out of everyone remotely involved?

What does this kind of atmosphere do to people? How, exactly is it helping us? By turning us all into whiny little babies, screaming for big brother to come and take care of us- to protect us from all conceivable harm?

How is that helping us live our lives as responsible human beings?

Why in the world would anyone choose to live that way? Personally, I don’t consider that kind of existence to be ‘living’. What a drab, dull, desolate and dreary existence. ūüė¶

As a libertarian, I have to say, let people who want to waste their lives trying to avoid all ‘danger’ do what they think they can with their own lives. But, I wish to hell they would stop trying to force the rest of us into their narrow little mindsets!

Ben Franklin said it best…

More Questions From the Alien

I know most people find it absolutely inconceivable that we can exist without a government to run things. Personally, I just can’t understand that mind frame. I just don’t get it.

Why do so many people think they can’t figure out how to run their own lives without some far off ‘leader’ making all the important decisions for them? I mean it’s ridiculous right?

Here in the USA, ‘the most free country in the world’, our government saddles us with hundreds of thousands of ‘laws’. The Code of Federal Regulations had over¬†34,000 pages¬†(and weighed 340 lbs) in 2011!!!

Our leaders force us to follow their directions in everything from deciding what we can do with our own bodies (can’t decide what to eat, drink, smoke, etc), to what we can do with ‘our’ property, to what we can do for a living (and how). Their interference is never-ending!

We have laws to: fine or imprison us for drinking raw milk, force us to drink fluoridated water, regulate the amount of water you can use to flush your toilet, force you to tie yourself up every time you get in your car (seatbelt), force you to use expensive and shorter lasting lightbulbs, fine or imprison you for collecting the rain water that falls on your property, throw you in prison for using a harmless plant (marijuana), force you to pay them (government) in order to start a business (extortion), force you to pay them in order to get a job (extortion), force you to support a corrupt and exceedingly expensive medical system (obamacare), allow ‘our leaders’ to get away with NOT following the ‘laws’ they FORCE the rest of us to follow!

And there are hundreds of thousands of others. ūüė¶

Yet, some people¬†still¬†believe that all this is somehow necessary. I will continue to ask WHY? Since it really is NOT necessary, no not at all! People existed in peaceful societies long before there was any such thing as ‘government’.

No, we do NOT need the government to ‘build roads’, ‘educate the children’, ‘catch the thieves/bad guys’, etc. People were perfectly capable of doing all those things (and everything else they needed to do) without any government.

I’ve been a libertarian ever since I understood what the word meant (nonaggression principle), and really since I was born. I never understood the need for ‘authority’ and have fought it all my life.

I KNOW I can run my life better than anyone else can. Yes, even tho I’ve made mistakes and will surely make more. I STILL know that no one else could’ve done better. Period! I understand that works the same for everybody on this planet (and everywhere else!).

It is simply impossible for anyone else to have all the knowledge that I do about my life (same for everybody else). Without perfect knowledge, there can be no perfect decisions. Since I have the MOST perfect knowledge, then my decision is the BEST one possible. Period.

Until there is some all knowing, all powerful, perfect being (some say there is- God- but that’s another issue I don’t want to get into now), then there is NO justification for letting ANYONE else control YOUR decisions about YOUR life. PERIOD!

The US Constitution tried to create a ‘proper’ government. One where the PEOPLE were sovereign, as they should be. The principles behind the Declaration of Independence and written in the Bill of Rights were a great start for a great country.

The first ever formed specifically and only to guarantee and protect the rights of the individual. Our founding fathers understood that those rights were inherent to every human being and did NOT come from any government.

Too bad we’ve decided to disregard all that stuff. We’ve decided to throw our heritage of freedom and individual liberty in the garbage and become like every other socialist country in the world (most of them failures in many ways). It’s just a matter of degree.

We¬†used to¬†understand the difference between individualism and statism. Not any more. We’re all statists now, everywhere around the world. We’re lucky we’re still living on what we were able to create when we were still¬†fairly¬†free and¬†able¬†to be creative. Those days are fading fast.

I liked how the little alien from¬†my post the other day¬†asked such great questions. Here it is again with some more to make you think…

Government Explained

I was at our weekly Tuesday Meetup of the¬†Campaign for Liberty. Last week was one of the better ones we’ve had in a while. We watched a couple of pretty good videos. Here’s one…

We all got a good laugh out of it. I would love to see this thing played in every school in the country. We really need to do something to get people to think about this kind of stuff!

Personally, I’ve never understood why so many people think they need someone else to tell them how to live their lives. Or why so many people think that someone else actually has some sort of¬†right¬†to do it.

As a¬†libertarian, I believe¬†every¬†person has the absolute right to live their own lives in the best way they can. The way¬†they¬†choose. They have the right to do anything they want, as long as they don’t hurt anybody else.

So far, no one has ever been able to give me a good¬†reason¬†for not having things that way. A lot of excuses, a lot of fears, a lot of “what-ifs”, but no reasons.

I’d really like to see someplace, even just one place in the world, try to form a society where people could live that way. The US tried. They came very close when they came up with the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. But they never truly followed it. If they had actually treated ALL people the way they said they should, we might actually have a free country today. Too bad they weren’t ready to go that far. ūüė¶

I do see a few people around the world trying. The¬†Seasteaders, the¬†Libertarian Party, the¬†guy over in Europe¬†who’s trying hard to create a really free country, even the¬†Freedom Ship¬†was originally intended to be a place where people could have real freedom (tho it seems to have mutated).

I’d love to be able to find somewhere like that to move to, so far they are all out of my reach financially at least. In the meantime, I keep on trying to find ways to make things better here, but it sure does get frustrating.

Videos like that help cheer me up, for a little while. ūüėČ

USCG

I’ll be busy today. I’m heading up to Houston this morning to renew my RADAR certification, then to turn in my application at the US Coast Guard (USCG). I heard about a job lead from a friend yesterday, so I plan to stop by their office and try again (I’ve already sent them an email about the job).

I’m getting more than a little frustrated about the work situation. Having to deal with the USCG so often is getting extremely aggravating. I do not believe that anyone should be forced to beg permission from their government in order to earn a living. No, no one, ever, for ANY job, for ANY reason. Period!

Especially in America which is supposed to be a free country. Which was specifically formed in order to limit the government. Which was not supposed to have any power to do anything like that!

It was never so insane as it has become lately. The USCG has bowed down to the ‘international community’ and has forced US mariners to submit to the regulations of the¬†STCW¬†(standards of training, certification and watch keeping) put out by the¬†IMO¬†(international maritime organization).

Most of the STCW regulations are just plain stupid (IMHO). They are there for absolutely no purpose but to make the regulators feel like they have done something useful, and of course to make money for the ‘training’ operations at the expense of the mariners who basically have no opportunity to say anything about it.

They sell this all by insisting it has something to do with ‘safety’. I don’t believe it does, but even if it did, it certainly does not make up for all the extra BS they put us through for it. SO much time, money and aggravation to¬†each and every¬†mariner!

How can anyone look at our licensing scheme in the past and what we have to deal with now and say it makes any sense? It does not. In any way.

When I started going to sea (seriously) in 1978, I got a mariners document that was good for life. Yes, the officers had to renew every 5 years, but they only had to apply and renew RADAR. That’s it!

Now, all documents must be renewed every 5 years and there is an absolutely ridiculous amount of ‘training’ that needs to be renewed every 5 years as well. That all needs to be done at USCG approved ‘training’ centers. That is all very time consuming and¬†expensive.

Are we any better sailors for it? I can guarantee you the answer to that is NO! Try to compare an AB from 100 years ago, the ones on the windjammers, to an AB today. There is just no comparison. The same goes for the officers.

Those guys had NO formal training and NO licensing either (until they, themselves insisted on it- as usual, in order to keep out the competition).

The improvements in safety since then had to do with improvements in the technology, NOT in the training or licensing of the crew. Any loss of safety has more to do with economics than anything else. Meaning companies cutting down on crew size, maintenance and tight scheduling.

Of course, as usual, the companies will blame anything and everything on the crew. It is always ‘human error’ that is at fault. Never their fault for pushing the ships and crews beyond what would be prudent (or safe).

They¬†talk¬†safety til it’s coming out your ears, but when it starts costing them a few bucks, that all goes right out the window! I’ve seen¬†very¬†few companies (in over 40 years at sea) that actually follow through. I can’t count the times I’ve been told “if you won’t do it we’ll just find someone who will”. It’s certainly not just happening to me!

How many mariners are able to walk off the job when that situation comes up? Not many.

Until¬†that¬†changes, all the ‘training’ in the world is not going to help anything much.

Just put more and more of us out of work, unable to pay for the ‘training’ we need in order to even¬†try¬†to find a job.

More and more companies are insisting on more and more ‘training’, more certificates- before they’ll even consider talking to you. For instance, I’ve been trying to work worldwide. The European companies want you to have something called¬†BOSIET, which is exactly the same thing as what employers here insist on called¬†BST¬†+¬†HUET.

The¬†only¬†difference is about an hours worth of ‘training’ on something called a ‘re-breather’. There is no ‘gap-closing’ course. So, I can not apply for any of those jobs unless I waste another entire week and spend a few thousand dollars to take the BOSIET course!

I’ve been out of work since last September. I can’t afford to take any more classes. Luckily, I’ve already taken the latest newly required classes (Leadership and Management and¬†ECDIS). I only have to renew my RADAR certification, which I plan to do today.

Why¬†do we have to renew this stuff (or even take a course ashore in the first place)? There really is no reason other than to ensure a fine flow of mariners to the training centers. These classes are all about things we either do every day (RADAR, BST), or won’t make any difference to anything anyway (leadership).

No one ever seems to take into account the mariners. The people who are the actual experts on the subject at hand. The people who’ve actually been forced into complying with these new requirements. It’s all done in our name, but¬†we’re¬†never asked our opinions,¬†we¬†never have anything to say about any of it!

We have all taken these jobs for certain reasons. One of the biggest reasons is for the time off. We spend weeks, months, more (some spend years), at sea. Working 24/7 without a break. We hardly even get shore leave any more. We are supposed to be able to come home and take a well deserved break!

Not any more. That time off has been whittled away, more and more, by so called ‘training’. Training that is supposed to be so all-fired important that it’s worth taking up weeks or months of our well earned and deserved time off (without any compensation for the loss). But that training is the exact same thing we do onboard!

If it’s so damned important, why can’t the companies spend the money to ensure their people are trained? Especially when so many of them absolutely refuse to accept anyone else’s ‘training’ even when it’s exactly the same (except for the name)! Most of it is stuff anyone who’s spent even a week working offshore will know by heart!

I keep wondering what’s going to happen when shipping picks up again? There are so many of us out of work. Hundred of thousands around the world, and that’s just for the oilfield, not even counting deep sea shipping! How many can afford to take the necessary training to be ABLE to go back to work when the jobs start opening up again?

We need to have 150 days on a vessel in the last 5 years. We ALSO now need to re-take quite a few courses in a certain time frame before our papers need to be renewed (mostly a year). How many jobs ashore will give you the time off or pay you enough so that you can renew those classes? I can tell you right now the answer to that question- NONE!

IMHO, the STCW is about nothing more than helping the shipowners replace “expensive” American/European/Australian mariners with cheaper sailors from places like the Philippines. They’re now able to say, “they all have the¬†exact same training” (according to the STCW), so why not hire an entire crew of Philippinos for the price of 1 American? That is exactly what they have been doing since the STCW came into force. ūüė¶

I hate to think I’m going to be forced to retire. I still love working at sea. But I can see the¬†end coming¬†and it’s not pretty for American mariners. ūüė¶

Townhall Tonight

Someone had posted on the Brazoria County Libertarian Facebook page that they were having a Townhall watching party tonight in Cypress (a LONG drive from here). I figured why not have one locally- actually in Brazoria County. So I put up a post to have one at my house.

Last minute posting yesterday, so didn’t have many people reply, but a couple of people did show up and we had a nice time listening to the candidates answer the questions from the audience- and talking about how they might have done better.

We just got done watching¬†tonights TownHall¬†on CNN. I was really surprised to see they were having Gary Johnson and Bill Weld from the Libertarian Party on there. It’s¬†extremely¬†rare for any 3rd party to have any television coverage for any reason (except to diss them). To see them on CNN was a¬†huge¬†improvement over past elections and gives me hope that maybe more people will be able to learn that we DO actually have choices in November.

They did have the Libertarians debate on the Stossel show a couple of weeks ago (Fox Business News channel). I was shocked to see that. It was well worth watching and really great to see political debates where they stuck to the issues instead of just trying to tear down their opponents. I was happy to see them on TV, even if it was on a station not many people watch.

I¬†hope¬†this is a sign of things to come. I really can’t stand either Trump or Hillary. I think a lot of people feel the same way. I know a lot of people just don’t ever get to find out about their other choices until it’s too late. I’m hoping this will change this time and people will get to hear ALL the alternatives.

Personally, I think the Republicans and Democrats have had over 100 years to fix things and all they’ve ever done is make them worse. Far as I’m concerned we NEED a change! A REAL change! I’ve already decided who I’ll be voting for and it’s¬†Gary Johnson. ūüôā

I think the reason Trump is doing so well is simply because SO many people are just sick to death of politics and all the usual BS that goes along with it. All the political correctness, all the mean spiritness, all the lies, and the fact that all the candidates are DC insiders. Trump is doing so well because he’s NOT an insider. Well, neither is Gary and he makes a lot more sense than Trump does on a lot of issues.

I think a lot of Americans are actually Libertarians, they just don’t know it. Try taking the¬†Worlds Smallest Political Quiz¬†and see where you wind up. I’d be interested to hear your results.

Did you already know about the alternative candidates? Where did you hear about them? What do you think? Are you happy with the 2 main parties or think we need some new blood? Did you know about the LP debates on Stossel or the Townhall tonight? Did you watch either of them? If so, what did you think? What do you think about libertarian principles in general?

Here’s a¬†previous post¬†about what I think. And another look at one of my favorite videos explaining the basics. ūüėČ

Let me know what you think about all this. Yeah, really. I’m not afraid of a little politics on here. ūüėČ

Looking Forward to Monday Morning!

Who’s looking forward to Monday morning?

I am!

Thank god I’m going to work tomorrow morning! I’m scheduled for a grand total of 3 days of work this month and hope to hell I get all 3!

I’m not eligible for any unemployment assistance, even tho I’ve paid into it for over 40 years. Now, when I really need it, I can’t get it, simply because my last job was with a foreign company (for a year and a half). A job I took mostly in order to get ‘insurance’ which is now mandatory according to ‘Obamacare’.

So, now that I’m laid off, I can’t qualify for any of the programs I’ve been supporting for over 40 years. And people wonder why so many Americans are pissed off?!

So, I’m very thankful I can get ANY work at this point. It’s not much, but it’ll pay the gas to get to and fro, it might even take care of the electric bill (tho it’s summertime now and I seriously doubt that- AC running 24/7!).

I know most people are happy to see the gas prices so low (not nearly as low as they should be), but since my job is tied to the price of oil, I’ve been wishing it higher for months now. It’s been creeping up slowly, and I’ve heard that some land rigs have been starting up again.

Offshore drilling needs a stable price and it needs to be higher than where it is now. I’d guess around $80/bbl would start work up again. I’ve been working in the offshore oilfields for the last few years. Simply because that’s where all the work was.

I’ve been trying to find work on ANY kind of vessel since I’ve been laid off, but all the available openings have already been taken by people laid off before I was. It doesn’t help at all that the US Coast Guard keeps restricting our licenses so that we can only work on very specific types of vessels.

Basically, the rules we have to work by now state that if you don’t have so much time on 1 type within the last 5 years, you can’t work on that type of vessel any more, ever. At least not until you go through a time consuming, expensive, ‘training’ rigamarole. They treat you like you’ve never been on a boat a day in your life before! It doesn’t matter at all if you’ve previously spent 20+ years on one type of boat, say a towboat, and then you went fishing for 5 years. Doesn’t matter, you start from scratch to go back on a towboat!

Companies just refuse to hire you if you don’t have the exact, specific, ‘training’ and certificates they insist on. Even tho it would take less than a week of time onboard to re-qualify. Nope, they won’t let you on til you have it already. Catch-22 in action.

My original license said “Freight & Towing”. Since I haven’t worked on a towboat in the last 5 years, my license now says “Steam & Motor” and I’m not qualified to work on a towboat. Not until I get a¬†TOAR. That takes a minimum of 30 days onboard a towing vessel. There is VERY little in that assessment that a licensed mariner isn’t already completely proficient in. The only items are those specific to a tug and tow (about 10 things on the list).

All the towing companies I’ve talked to since I’ve been laid off want me to spend at least 2-3 YEARS on deck before even considering upgrading me to tankerman (I job which I previously worked for over 13 yrs). I need 2 transfers to get back that license (tankerman PIC), but without it, I can’t get onboard a vessel to get those 2 transfers. See what I mean?

Smaller and smaller boxes we’re shoved into. Is it any wonder they’re having a hard time finding qualified mariners? (They¬†say¬†this, yet hundreds of thousands of us looking for work around the world).

What a paradox!

All I know at this point is that I’m very happy to be going to work in the morning for a change.

Anybody else been out of work for a long time? How did you survive it?

Off to the TBEX

I’m heading to Minneapolis this morning to the travel blog exchange (TBEX). My flight leaves at 10:30, so I plan to leave the house by 6. That should get me there by 8 (hoping not too much traffic in Houston).

I’ve been reading all week about how slow the lines are with the TSA. I want to be there early so I don’t miss the flight.

What a WASTE! They used to tell people to be at the airport at least 3 hours early for international flights. Can’t you think of all the things you could be doing with those 2.5 extra hours, rather than hanging around the airport being gouged for everything you do ($3++ water for example).

I saw somewhere that just one airline claims it’s already caused over 70,000 passengers to miss their flights. That’s just ONE airline! It’s still not even halfway through the year and that was reported a few days ago (at least).

Extrapolate that to all the other airlines domestically and we’re talking about at LEAST a half million people seriously screwed on their travel plans. We still haven’t even started the ‘travel season’ yet!

And don’t even start about how it’s all for safety. It’s NOT. It’s not about anything but CONTROL. Power and CONTROL. It’s about forcing the people to SUBMIT. To bow down and accept without question any idiotic, stupid ‘rule’ someone in a uniform choses to spout for the day. It’s about getting the people to unquestionably follow the orders of anyone in a position of ‘authority’.

Yeah, I say the HELL with all that! Wake up and stand up for yourself as a human being. We ALL have the right to travel freely. That means not being harassed for our papers or forced to strip for the government. No matter WHAT excuse they come up with!

Americans are MUCH more likely to die at the hands of the police than through terrorism. And let’s face it, if a terrorist wanted to do some damage, they wouldn’t waste their time bothering with a plane! There are thousands of much easier targets.

Let the airlines handle security. It’s their responsibility to take care of their passengers.

Personally, I would MUCH rather fly on any airline that treated me with the plain good manners and respect of even 20 years ago. Hell, I would even pay extra!

Ben Franklin said it over 200 years ago and it’s just as true today…

‚ÄúThose who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.‚ÄĚ

‚Äē¬†Benjamin Franklin

Paints and Politics

Tuesdays are usually busy days for me. I get up early so I have time to check email, take out the garbage, eat breakfast and get out of the house by 9:00.

I’ve been going to take painting classes at the Art & Science¬†Center¬†every Tuesday morning (if I’m not able to go to work in Houston). I’ve missed quite a few classes, but I can still see some improvement.

I have only completed 2 paintings so far. I’ve started a few others, but not close to finishing them yet. I don’t really like any of them very much so far. One friend of mine told me she really liked one abstract (mess) I was working on. I thought about it for a while and then turned it into an alien jungle scene. Kind of reminded me of something¬†Rousseau¬†might have done. Here’s the before…

I had it framed and gave it to my friend. I wasn’t all that surprised, but she liked it better before I added to it. She thought I ‘ruined it’. Here’s the after…

Which one do you like best?

The other one I’ve finished was the 1st one I started in this class. I’ve really been trying to learn how to paint water. I found a picture in one of the art books in the classroom and tried to get the technique down. It didn’t turn out much like my reference, but I think it wasn’t too bad for my first try.

Today, I was trying to finish up a couple of others I’ve been working on for a while. This will be my last class since I’ll be at the¬†TBEX¬†next Tuesday. I still have a long way to go on both of them, but I think they’re shaping up nicely.

I especially like this one (below), the photo doesn’t really do it justice. ūüôā

I really get the feeling like I’m out there on the water. I wish I really was. ūüôā

So, that’s what I do Tuesday mornings.

Tuesday evenings I go meetup with my friends from the local¬†Campaign for Liberty¬†group (ex- Ron Paul meetup group). We like to talk politics over dinner at a local restaurant. Lately we’ve been meeting at the¬†Bella Roma¬†on highway 332, next to the old skating rink. They serve large portions of pretty decent Italian favorites (pizza, pasta, etc). I usually get either ravioli with Alfredo sauce or the Philly cheesesteak sandwich. The Italian Cream Cake and Cheesecake for dessert is good too.

Lately we’ve been talking a lot about how we’ve managed to come so far from our beginnings as a free country. Last week we were watching a slide show, but as we kept stopping to discuss various points, we didn’t finish the whole program before they started closing down the place- it didn’t help that we had one¬†extremely¬†socialist guest. ūüėČ

I do like to argue, but this guy put me to shame! I think the only thing we all agreed on was that the ‘banksters’ were screwing us and the entire world.

The more I learn about what’s really going on, the more frustrated and depressed I get. At this point, I think the only way possible to really¬†live¬†as we’re meant to- is to get completely out of the ‘system’. I don’t know how to do that, or if it’s even possible any more. All I know is that I’ll never accept the way things are now (even tho I feel like I’m beating my head against the wall most days).

So, I go to the meetings on Tuesday nights, just for a change- to talk to a few people who mostly do ‘get it’. Yeah, we still argue about things, we still struggle to understand- but we try mostly to inform people. We’ll never fix what’s wrong with this country or the world as long as the vast majority prefers the status quo.

Yeah, OK- call me a ‘conspiracy theorist’. But what if it’s¬†true?

How Much Roundup Are You Eating?

Too much! The US really ought to ban this stuff, it’s terrible! Read more from ‘The Awakening’ blog below…

Worker spraying strawberry fields with pesticide PHOTOGRAPH BY PAUL GREBLIUNAS/GETTY By Leah Zerbe June 19, 2015 Pesky weeds popping up in your yard? Here‚Äôs what to not reach for‚ÄĒRoundup. While the active ingredient in the popular weed killer, glyphosate, has been marketed as safe and even ‚Äúbiodegradable,‚ÄĚ the science is pouring in, and the results¬†[‚Ķ]

via How Much Roundup Are You Eating? And six more disgusting facts about this popular weed¬†killer. ‚ÄĒ 2012 The Awakening

Closing In On $45

Emails today showed me oil was at $44.66! It’s getting closer to $50, which may be the magic number. The price at which the oil companies will stop laying off people. The price at which they might start thinking about how they’ll manage to continue working without ¬†having the people to do the job.

I’m sure most people are happy to see the price of oil so low. It certainly helps at the gas station (tho prices are no where near as low as they should be if just depending on the price of oil)! I’m happy to pay less at the pump too, but for all the people like me who’ve been laid off over the last year, it hurts. It hurts bad.

I’ve read that somewhere around a half million people have been laid off since the price of oil started dropping. That’s a lot of people forced to cut back, sell assets, into bankruptcy. That’s a lot of people shut out of good paying jobs and into minimum wages (if any).

I keep wondering when things will stop hurting and start getting better? I don’t think anyone really knows. Some pundits say oil will go to $14, others think it will go back to $100+.

I don’t want it to go to either of those extremes. I’d be happy with $70-80. That should be enough to put everyone back to work and keep it affordable at the pumps too. ūüôā

A to Z: X

 

 

After having such a hard time coming up with something to¬†post¬†about for the¬†A to Z Challenge¬†for the letter X, now I’ve come up with another one!

I can’t believe I didn’t come up with this first. The¬†X-Files¬†was one of my all time favorite TV shows.

I don’t watch much TV. I never really did, but I would make sure to schedule time to watch when the X-Files was on.

I loved all their strange adventures and mysterious aliens. I loved how Mulder and Scully worked together. I thought Mulder was kind of cute too. ūüėČ

Is this show what turned me into a¬†conspiracy theorist? I’m sure I thought that way already, a¬†long¬†time before that show ever came out. ūüėČ

That’s me in the last picture above (lol). Maybe I am one, all I know is that we are being¬†lied to¬†and manipulated. By who? For what? Why? Where? How? Does it really matter? It IS being done.

I’ve always loved science fiction, horror, and humor and the X-Files has all that stuff and more.

What do you think? Are you into conspiracy theories? Did you ever watch the X-Files? What did you think about it? Did you like it? Why or why not? Did you have a favorite episode?

*none of these images today are mine, I got them all off google

 

 

 

 

Highway Robbery

The Institute for Justice wins another important case! Do you know who commits the worst crimes in America today? The government!

Yes, that is the truth. The government steals more each year now than ALL the criminals put together. No, I’m not making that up. It’s a fact.

In just this one case, they flat out STOLE over $53,000! Money that was destined for charity. Money they broke the ‘law’ to take (not that following their own rules has ever been a priority).

Read the story below. I hope it pisses you off as much as it does me (I doubt it will, this sort of thing REALLY pisses me off!).

Muskogee, Okla.‚ÄĒThis afternoon, Muskogee, Oklahoma, District Attorney Orvil Loge indicated that his office was officially dropping all charges against Eh Wah, a Burmese refugee he had charged with possession of drug proceeds. He also indicated that he would drop the civil forfeiture and immediately return the money Muskogee law enforcement officials took from a group‚Ķ

Source: Victory: Muskogee DA Drops Forfeiture Case Against Christian Orphanage, Church, and Band – Institute for Justice

A to Z: Voluntarism

Video

 

Today’s post for the¬†A to Z challenge¬†is:¬†voluntarism.

vol·un·ta·rism
ňąv√§l…ôn(t)…ôňĆriz…ôm/
noun
 
  1. 1. 
    the principle of relying on voluntary action (used especially with reference to the involvement of voluntary organizations in social welfare).
     
  2. 2. 
    PHILOSOPHY
    the doctrine that the will is a fundamental or dominant factor in the individual or the universe.

I’ve always been extremely passionate about the ideas of freedom and individual liberty. Since the A to Z challenge is almost over, I’ll take this opportunity to post about it again. ūüėČ

I consider myself to be a libertarian. I usually vote for the Libertarian Party (even tho I mostly think voting is useless since the system is so totally corrupt).

I believe in the¬†non-aggression principle¬†(NAP). I believe each person owns their¬†own¬†life. Think about it for a minute, if they/you don’t, then just exactly who does?

I believe each person has the absolute right to decide how they want to live their life. That each individual can do anything they choose as long as they don’t hurt anyone else (and they are responsible for their choices).

Since I believe all of that, I am also a proponent of voluntarism. I do not think it’s a good idea to force people into doing things they don’t want to do. I believe if you can’t make a good enough argument, if you can’t convince someone to do something with the use of reason, then whatever it is you’re trying to do probably is not a good idea in the first place.

You¬†ought¬†to be able to convince people to follow your suggestions voluntarily- through their own free choice. Otherwise, just exactly why should they do what¬†you¬†want? Simply because “might makes right”? Is that really the way things¬†ought¬†to be?

I say no! Hell no! That is not how things should be and I don’t like it that it mostly still is that way. I think it’s sad that in this day and age we’re still acting like brute force is the best ‘idea’ we can come up with as a way to manage human interactions.

People always come up with all kinds of arguments and excuses as to why these ideas won’t work. The exceptions to the rules. I answer, don’t we have exceptions to the rules we follow now? Don’t people break the ‘laws’ we have now?

I think we would all be much better off with more freedom and less force, with more liberty and less ‘law’. People need freedom to grow and to truly flourish. It’s a human right and a human need.

Look around the world and see where are the people most prosperous and well off (physically, emotionally, spiritually)? Places with the most freedom: Hong Kong, Singapore, parts of Western Europe, the USA (tho we are still benefitting from the freedoms we used to have here, most of which are being stripped away daily).

 

A to Z: USCG

Today’s post for the¬†A to Z challenge¬†is: USCG (United States Coast Guard).

As an American merchant mariner, I have to say I have a love-hate relationship with the USCG. They are the government agency I have to deal with the most in my life at sea.

They do a lot of good things. They protect our waterways, conduct vessel inspections, enforce the safety regulations. They license the people who work on the water. Their search and rescue operations are absolutely¬†heroic.¬†I am relieved to know they’re out there and ready to help if I ever need them.

I do have a lot of issues with them in some other areas, mostly to do with¬†licensing of mariners. I know they’re ‘only doing their job’ and following the rules. But those rules are pretty damned complicated and a lot of them are up for differing interpretations.

As a mariner, I can not work without getting some sort of license from the USCG. In other words, beg permission from the federal government in order to earn a living. Yes, I really do have problems with that.

Besides the philosophical objections, I don’t really think it’s at all necessary to make it as difficult and complicated as it is. Not just that earning the license is difficult (it is), but that the rule making process is so long, drawn out and what comes out at the end is something that almost always makes life more difficult (and expensive) for the mariner just trying to earn a living. We have no clout in Washington DC where the rules are made. ūüė¶

That’s not all due to the Coast Guard, in fact most of it is simply due to how the political system works (or not) in the US today. Rules are proposed, dozens of different stakeholders make changes and what comes out is a twisted mess of spaghetti that almost never helps the mariners who are the ones who have to deal with it. ūüė¶

Remember the Deepwater Horizon

Today is the anniversary (April 20, 2010) of the blowout on the Deepwater Horizon and the loss of 11 crew members.

offshore helix mc 252 and intrepid 096

The Gulf of Mexico and its offshore drilling industry is still being affected by what happened that day. I’m sure it will be for a long time to come.

I’ve seen a few¬†posts lately about the new rules enacted since then being finalized and put into effect. Some think they will put a complete stop to offshore drilling (greatly cheering the environmentalists). Others think business will go on as usual and there’s nothing really new coming, that it’s all just standard industry policy already. I don’t know who to believe or what to expect.

I just want to go back to work, like all the other hundreds of thousands of people laid off since the price of oil hit the skids.

We were talking about it at work this morning. They have a new movie about it coming out in September. Some of the people in class were involved in the aftermath at Macondo, so was I.

offshore helix mc 252 and intrepid 147

I was a SDPO on the Helix Producer 1 (HP-1), a floating production unit (FPU). They brought her in to connect to the ‘capping stack’ and transfer the oil flowing out of the seafloor to tankships. Those ships would then bring the oil to facilities ashore.

I’ll never forget that operation. Flying out to join the ship, it looked like we were approaching a city at¬†sea. There were so many boats around, it looked quite chaotic. Once I got settled in and started my hitch on the desk, I learned the procedures for conducting smooth operations with so many other vessels so close together.

offshore helix mc 252 and intrepid 174

SIMOPS coordinated everything. That helped.

We were actually attached directly to the capping stack and so collecting at least some of the oil flowing from the well. We took it aboard, ran it through our production facilities to separate the oil and gas from the water. Then we would flare off the gas and transfer the oil to a waiting tanker.

flare

Since the tanker was a DP-1 vessel, they would choose the best heading for the operation. We would position ourself (along with all the other vessels to either side) to ease position keeping for the tanker. A small tug would bring the transfer hose to us and once everything was connected, we would start the transfer. Once completed, they would deliver it to shore for processing, etc.

offshore helix mc 252 and intrepid 172

We would load a tanker every couple of days. The same operation was proceeding with other vessels on the other side of the Discoverer Enterprise which was positioned directly above the well.

This all went on for months. It was a major operation. Pretty much the entire Gulf of Mexico was roped in to help and everything else was shut down. The president declared a ‘moratorium’. No new drilling would even be considered for ¬†months afterwards. Thousands of rigs, ships, people were thrown out of work. It also affected the fishermen badly and the states surrounding the Gulf were up in arms about the damages to their coastlines and their tourist industries. The marine environment was very seriously damaged in some areas and is still recovering.

I hope nothing like this ever happens again. Many people have been working to ensure it never does. Below is a summary of those ongoing efforts.

Marking the fifth anniversary of the Macondo incident in the Gulf of Mexico, a summary of inquiries into the tragedy flags up key ways to prevent a repeat

Source: Oil and gas takes lessons from Macondo – DNV GL

offshore helix mc 252 and intrepid 154

I always wondered how that guy could walk the helideck every evening with that flare going off so close. Whew, hot baby

*If anyone is interested, these are all my own photos. I have a lot more.

A to Z: Quiz (Worlds Smallest Political)

Today’s letter for the¬†A to Z Challenge¬†is: Q. I was having a pretty hard time coming up with something to write about today. It was either going to be¬†QMED,¬†Q4000, question, 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. ūüėČ

I tried to copy and paste it onto the page so you can take it right here. It didn’t quite work. It came out a little wonky. It didn’t come out where you can take it here, but click on ‘get your results’ (big green button) and it will take you to the actual quiz where you can get your score.

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. ūüôā

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
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