Wed Oct 24, 2012 9:48 PM

My Alaska connection was ranting about the scmucks at EDF and I thought I’d share it with you. It is the second EDF related communication to my mailbox tonight. The other one was about a sell out saying, well, nothing like this, and I like this a Hell of a lot better. It’s all true. BH

Catch share proponents like EDF are not comfortable with just writing out the truth of what they want, or what they are willing to do to others’ rights in order to get what they want. They won’t simply write the US Congress or even the Washington Post or whatever major news venue, and use straight-forward facts about failures around the world of catch share systems, and reveal their true thoughts and intentions. To real fishermen, those thoughts apparently go something like this.

We are “the” Environmental Defense Fund, big powerful EDF, and we lay claim to knowing what is best for the entire environment, on nearly every issue you could imagine, especially concerning the ocean and its seafood resources. We do not believe that those resources belong to the world’s people. We do not believe that within our 200-mile limits that this nation has a non-property right to publicly hold ‘stewardship’ — the term that President Obama uses himself to describe Commerce’s and Congress’ role — over those resources.

We moved hundreds into Washington DC to spread the mythomania of catch share mentality. Our public relations style fabrications are proportional to the ends we envision, and just because it is all complicated and extensive doesn’t mean we are pathological liars. After all, we have a cogent plan and our lies present us fairly and support us and the others we share these values with in what we see as a zero-sum game. Somebody has to win so somebody can lose. We don’t want American fishermen to have any role in making the real decisions about the environment, and we love to spout the fairytale of the Tragedy of the Commons while we actually create one from the race for quota shares. Call it pseudologica fantastica if you want, but we prefer to call it our environmental cause. Just because we don’t include communities and thousands of fishermen doesn’t mean we have an antisocial personality disorder, we’re just experts at what’s best for everyone when it comes to the ocean environment.

We don’t want to deal with everyday fishermen, they are too hard to organize and handle, too independent. It is far easier to deal with greedy special interests in limited groups. We love it that the Alaska Crab Rationalization program has allowed ‘harvester’ quota share holders to take a half-billion dollars and 1,100 jobs away from those who go to sea and catch fish – the captains and crewmen who risk their lives to feed their customers, the consumers of the world. Lay Share laws are no concern of ours. That extortion by nondisclosable quota leases right off the top of ex-vessel landing revenues, combined with non-negotiable private contracts made ‘under duress’ has landed so many millions in the pockets of our friends, partners, and helped support causes that keep EDF itself going.

Don’t bother EDF with such examples that the proof is vessel inspections and related efforts have saved so many lives, not ‘crab rationalization’ quota-serving propaganda. We also don’t want to wait for best science. It has no place in policy making guided by selfish interests, and will only get in the way of what we want. The only thing we care about the facts about is how we can present a little peppering of them in our propaganda to fool Congress into thinking we are telling the real truth. Hey, after all, lies get us what we want from others we like. Fishermen don’t benefit us, but the investment crowd does. We relate more to kleptocrats than democrats; and catch shares are the reward system that benefits us.
We don’t question why Michael Milken’s group or any other hedge fund vulture capitalists got involved in this bastion of privatization of the most pure and natural protein on the —globe. EDF wants them as our partners because they serve our ends. We want to feel the power of fighting in a resource war, because we’re too darned afraid to pick up a real gun and fight for America’s freedoms.

To us, this is like a superior religious philosophy, and we have the gods of the ocean on our side. With backing from Sun Oil, and the support of people like Michael Milken’s investment group, and the praises of a select few who have the money to send to us their lobbyists to help, we don’t need poor fishermen and their families. We don’t care how much fishery-dependent communities have contributed in infrastructure and other support, or subsidies of major fish processors. Communities are right next to captains and crew on the list of those who can’t provide us with an investment portfolio or ‘ledgerdemain’ showing a record of direct financial investments of money they got from bankers or NOAA loan guarantee subsidies, or can otherwise quantify.

We believe that investment equals rights, and we don’t have to account for the depreciation allowances the People’s government has granted to corporations and licensed companies who “own” boats. We don’t want to recognize those gifts are a cost to this Nation. And EDF doesn’t want to hear a word about the labor sector, as if they invested a darned thing. Abraham Lincoln was, in our minds, wrong when he said “capital is only the fruit of labor, and could not have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is superior to capital, and deserves the much higher consideration.” That’s a bit too iffy for us, as no one can put a number on it. It would mean we have to do what’s right for so many people and communities that we’d lose the ability to gain control and power over everything.

EDF doesn’t want the government to collect the private information on public fisheries about what captains and crew make before and after catch share plans. We especially don’t want to know what the high rents or quota lease fees coming right off the top of delivery revenues are before crew trip settlements are calculated. If you upset the bankers and equity investors by showing how they stole from the crews to finance their rewards for interest rate incomes and equity fund growth, you’ll prevent Congress from letting us do more privatizations of catch share quotas. We don’t want to obey the law on fair and equitable allocations, we want to change the wording on our own to fair and equitable access to fisheries, because that goes right along with us making a privileged class, a select few winners, among those who held federal permits in a fishery – the limited license permit lords.

EDF can’t be satisfied with greater inclusiveness, precisely because it means sharing responsibility, and precludes us telling fishermen exactly what they can catch under rules we design. EDF wants control without responsibility. We see ourselves as the expert crisis managers in charge of oceans. We have to shout disaster and crisis, so we can demand catch shares, and then limit who can go to sea and fish. Gods forbid those who do fish would actually hold the rights we believe in, which is private ownership in perpetuity of fish. We don’t want quota rights to be restricted to those who must actively participate in the act of fishing. It’s a waste of time to have to deal with independent citizen taxpayers. It’s a lot easier to deal with other game players who hide behind corporate and investment company doors, and blacken the windows so that there’s little to no transparency or accountability.

EDF wants to support private leasing so that hedge and other private equity funds can own the rights. EDF wants to help choose the winners and losers, and we support catch share regimes whose designs promote a special few, not a general public. We are tickled when we see 75 percent leases on quotas, and the sealords doing the leasing don’t have to tell the public who is fishing their shares, as they sit on the golf course or in the kitchen clipping those giant catch share coupons, because it is good to know real fishermen can’t decide policy or get the full rewards from catching America’s fish.

We don’t care that the ill-named American Fisheries Act for Alaska pollock or the Crab Rationalization program had to be separately legislated in by a crooked former Senator, Ted Stevens. We don’t care about the Precautionary Approach and that many non-target species are so valuable, and that Stevens just renamed them as secondary species to pump up the profits of the large industrial sized catch vessels. We don’t care that took fish away from thousands of smaller family and community oriented boats and fishermen. We don’t want to live with the moral responsibilities of having to work hard to be good citizens, because we too are special, just for having declared ourselves heroes of the environmental world. We’re not lazy, we’re ‘efficient.’

At EDF, we believe that for all significant fisheries, of adequate size, that some group of private individuals should be identified, and only a few of those historically actively fishing for any one species be licensed or permitted as ‘harvesters’, and the nation’s fisheries should be treated as if owned and then privatized. We are driving “catch share” systems for special interests that will forever hold the quota rights to those fisheries, one by one, as they are privatized. At EDF, we do not believe in open competition, but rather we want to restrain trade and practice antitrust violations, and we want the US government – the People – to give up those rights for free, at no charge, with no annual harvest rents paid to the Treasury.

We want to have those special interests chosen from a few select years, not from the larger pool of fishermen who harvested those resources for decades. We do not want real fishermen, those who actually fish, the active participants known as captains and crewmen who invested lifetimes and that live in fishery dependent communities, to have any of the quota rights.
EDF supports processor quotas, or closed classes of buyers of harvested seafood, and want them to have the plenary level power to be able to take the majority of the profits. We do not care if they are foreign-owned and –controlled corporations hiding in America under Anglicized names as if they are really citizen persons of this country. We want those firms to be able to communicate with harvest quota holders and with each other, and to hell with antitrust, anti-competition principles and values. Of course, we do want to call it all “market-based solutions” so we can fool the ignorant congressmen who know little of fisheries.

You won’t find us at EDF ever looking into the extreme level of foreign-control and –ownership in America’s largest fishery zone of Alaska’s region. You will “never, ever, ever” hear us admit to the billions stolen nor talk about the practices of illicit accounting tricks these foreign controlled corporations (FCC) and transnational corporations (TNCs) use to cheat the USA out of billions in positive economic impacts, and billions in taxes due to our U.S. Treasury.

We don’t care that foreign interests extract all the seafood they can and exploit real fishermen, and then create the jobs overseas for the secondary processing and other economic intermediaries not in the USA. We don’t care that best science can set a total allowable catch, or allowable catch limit, and that it is the fish itself – coupled with the product forms demanded by customers – that determines the jobs, and creates the jobs in the seafood industry: not processors or quota sealords. We don’t care at all. We just want control, and to tell people what to do. We don’t care about best science.

At EDF, we don’t care about Alaska’s thousands of fishermen thrown out of work by catch shares. We don’t care if local low-wage plant workers and the influx of foreign workers who help keep wages low and take jobs away from Americans, all get paid near minimum wages and that value-added products are not done in the USA. Why build skills in America? Why should EDF care about economic philosophies that contradict its policy religion of catch shares? Besides, it is too darned inconvenient for us to have to understand all the little people who want to put fish in a box or can and stand on their feet all day long to do so. We want the processor companies to have quotas, and to limit overtime wages, because we don’t care how little of a final product’s dollars are actually for labor, no matter how fractional it really is, no matter how little a significant wage rate rise would benefit USA workers and not have to make any difference to consumers.

We don’t care that it is not a case of true ‘economic efficiency’, where consumers have a say in what they demand for product quality and are willing to pay a higher price to go with it. We don’t want an economist with real brains telling us that the supply curve for any species is a vertical line, set by the TAC or ACL – the amount best science says to annually take from the ocean – and that it matches up with multiple demand curves, one each for the various value-added products on a continuum from squished industrial mass fishery flesh pressed into analog protein mush, to fine troll caught top-quality flesh prepared by a professional chef for a five-star restaurant’s clientele. Don’t challenge us with what ‘economic efficiency’ really means, as we are just using the term to blindside some congressmen and policy-makers.

For the gods’ sake, don’t show us the British Columbia studies that show a TAC can be caught more ‘productive efficient’ by a group of smaller boats rather than a few large industrial ones. Don’t make us account for the government subsidies in the tens of billions of dollars, for the huge waste taken by the larger vessel fleet, for their high horsepower fuel inefficiencies or any other contradicting evidence to the story we must tell to support our chosen set of winners, the select few. Our winners are a lot more enticing to our hedge and private investor partners to own, as they get more collective bang for the buck and a lot more share of the fisheries to scalp off investment incomes from, because none of them are ever going to step on a deck and really participate.

The catch share proponent of EDF wholeheartedly supports having fewer, larger, more industrial operations in charge and pushing all the little boats out. You can count on us not telling you this in the newspapers or to Congress. We don’t want this game stopped. We at EDF are doing just fine, getting money from Sun Oil and others to drive this catch share privatization of the bountiful wealth of the USA zone fisheries into a few private hands, forming cooperatives with private agreements, secret meetings and no means of transparency and accountability. We want them to be able to lie to the regional federal fish councils. We want to do all this by creating mountains of regulations that we can later dismantle, once everything we need is tucked away behind private not public doors.

By having a few powerful financial interests in control, they can have the tax advisers and lawyers come up with all manner of tricks to organize subsidiaries to shift profits outside the USA. The certified public accomplices can ensure little to no USA taxes are paid as compared to patriot companies. President Obama has been good because he left the fisheries management in the hands of our friends, like Jane Lubchenco, and he doesn’t get informed about the use of abusive cross-border transfer prices among the subsidiaries of the multinational enterprises (MNE’s). The barely hidden secret is that our environmentalism actually takes a back seat to profits, and it looks like Romney would be an even better president for our cause, because he is a vulture capitalist who understands how to privatize public commonwealth to turn it into profits for a special few. He’d really go along with the cartel of MNEs, the private capital investors and hedge funders who know how to shave off a great share of the profits for themselves, and steal it all from the labor component of the economy.

Heck, under Romney, we might even go so far as to privatize oxygen itself, as long as we can control who makes the bucks from it, and not care if federal taxes are counted. We like global tax avoidance strategies, because it gives those MNEs more to donate for our cause. It is better when a few hundred of us have a job that doesn’t create any real wealth than for thousands of working fishermen to keep theirs.

We don’t care that the same thing is being done to other vast resources of timber and mining in places like Alaska, and we admire the state’s corrupt politicians drawing off the US Treasury as much as possible for earmarks and special needs, while contributing back a tiny fraction of what would be possible if only USA owned real world fishermen were able to secure the quota rights. We don’t care that this will bring about a deluge. As the French say, “Après moi le deluge” – after me the deluge will come, so we’ll get our share now!

We’re alive now, and so we chose to only care about the short term, just like the smart corporations and investors we support. But don’t accuse us of committing a public larceny or waging economic war, and don’t call us economic terrorists. We don’t care about the truth, and you can’t touch us. We feel the power we have, and that’s enough.
Because without it, we’d have to crawl back in the hole in the reef we came out of, and worry about ourselves. To criticize us is just being cynical, not appropriately skeptical or looking out for America’s best interests. Who backs us is nobody else’s business, and neither are our secret agendas. Leave us alone.

This way, we can create disasters and fear monger and demand the government fix it by giving away its public resource wealth. We feel just fine telling you it is capitalism and acting like you have no right to live with the uncertainties of real competition and fairer prices to fishermen instead of helping our friends in a closed-class of large processors and our investor associates, even if the source of all capital really derives from labor.

Just send in your $10 checks every chance you get, and support catch shares, and we at EDF will be alright. Don’t worry about labor. There are plenty of poor and unemployed bodies to indenture into service on the decks of the nation’s fishing fleets and in fish plants, so don’t worry about it, the fish will be caught. And you can always go to Japan or Korea if you want to eat it.