Impassioned Call for saving the Merchant Marine

Awesome branding - the AJAD initiative

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Alan would like that because it begins with an A.

This is well worth the listen.

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One mans philosopher

Philosopher Stefan Molyneux interviews a sea captain about the collapse of international shipping under COVID-19!

Is another mans

Stefan Basil Molyneux is a Canadian far-right, white nationalist, white supremacist, banned YouTuber and podcaster, who is best known for his promotion of conspiracy theories, scientific racism, eugenics, and racist views. [Wikipedia](


FYI Today I was invited to speak about these issues on one of the US Navy podcasts. Here’s the link:


Ok Guys, here’s the next video in this series:

ARTICLE LINK: Marine Finance And The Power Of Dumb Questions


Stefan Molyneux has nearly 5000 podcasts and has been in the public eye for at least a decade. He is not a white nationalist, eugenicist, or racist. He is an anarchist in its original sense, in that the best government is no government. I will defend him no further, he is surprisingly easy to get in touch with and his podcasts are easy to find.

Apparently the US Navy need MORE ships to keep up with the Chinese in number of ships on the water:—%20U.S.%20Defense%20Secretary%20Mark,that%20funding%20will%20come%20from.

I don’t know if “number of ships” are the best measurement of naval power, but maybe the Admirals think so (??)

The politicians that approve the funds to build them may think that China is like the Soviet Union (both Communists)?

If they think China will collapse under the might of the $$$, like the Soviet Union, they may have to think again.

No no, you got this backward. This article does not mention what the Admirals want, it is an article telling you what the U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper wants. The Admirals don’t answer to anyone but flag officers in the rest of the pentagon and the big defense contractors who hire them after they retire. Esper doesn’t answer to the defense contractors, he answers to the White House.

There is a major battle going on inside Washington right now and this battle is part of the reason I made this video.

The Admirals want fewer ships but they want these ships to be more expensive. What they really want to do is build more ships like the $8 billion USS Zumwalt and fewer inexpensive ships.

The chief proponent of shipbuilding inside the White House is Peter Navarro, who wrote a book that concludes that a war with China is inevitable and we need to prepare.

China realizes that the Pacific Ocean is enormous so it’s building hundreds of inexpensive destroyers and missile ships to cover the vast expanse of the western pacific and south china sea.

The Chinese navy talks about things like swarm tactics and decentralized operations. They are basically preparing to fight a guerilla war in the pacific.

The Navy doesn’t think like that. They think of the small highly concentrated battles between capital warships. More importantly, they think too much about post-retirement jobs as big $ defense industry consultants.

Defense contractors don’t like the white house plan. They aren’t set up for it. The white house plan requires more yards and more of an assembly line type production schedule to turn out more ships at a greatly reduced cost. That’s not how yards today operate. Yards today are like the modern artist who spends years handcrafting a mug that works the same as a wall-mart mug but looks a lot cooler and costs 100 times the price.

More yards mean more competition for existing yards. Further, the yards have no clue how to build ships faster and on tight production timelines so they would have to rethink everything and rebuild their operations from scrap… rebuilding anything from scratch comes with a lot of risk (also a lot of potential rewards but fear is a stronger emotion than greed).

I agree with the “number of ships” doesn’t mean much (e.g. we have 20 LCS’s and they are total pigs - and we also have one Zumwalt which is also a pig)… what matters is being agile and able to defend the country in an uncertain future.

For that, I don’t know if we need “over 350 ships,” but I do know we need to end the era of single ships costing $8B a pop, and get back to the fundamentals of seapower.


And have a great big target painted on it?

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World War One mentality with a 2020 financial chaser.

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[citation needed]

China doesn’t need destroyers to defend the SCS, they need them to project power into the Indian Ocean. They have plenty of land-based assets to attack shipping inside the nine-dash line. We would be pushing into the SCS, and when you’re on the offensive you muster all your forces together, you don’t attack piecemeal. This is convoys vs lone merchantmen - strength in numbers. We’re going to have a fleet composition mismatch because we have a mission mismatch.

I know you like to rail against the Zumwalts, and I won’t pretend they weren’t a tremendous waste of money, but that money has been spent (the last one is almost ready to be commissioned). The FFG-X program sets a lot right that once went wrong; they’ll be relatively cheap, relatively capable, and relatively numerous. Hopefully the T-AO-X program will as well. If we didn’t have to replace all the Ohios we might actually be able to gain some ground.


Dear Captain Konrad,

In response to gCaptain’s Impassioned Call For Change

The United States Merchant Marine has been in decline for decades.
In fact, this is the third time in history that America has allowed its Merchant Marine to deteriorate.

Many factors are at play. One of the major issues is: the Merchant Marine is invisible to the American People.
With virtually no “Public” support, it is difficult to gain any traction in Congress to fund any solution.
i.e. “The American Ship Building Act”.

Admiral Buzby, The American Maritime Partnership, A handful of people, including yourself, have been sounding the alarm for some time, employing the current strategy. May I suggest a change in strategy?

The Maritime Industry needs a rally point, where a historic understanding of the situation it provided,
In order to inspire the Maritime Industry, itself, while also reaching out to the Navy and the American people.

The Maritime Industry needs a major marketing effort…a “Merchant Marine poster child” to explain the industry’s relevance, today.

The challenge is to write the script and get it funded, post Covid, where there is no money. The Maritime Industry desperately needs such a film, now.

Fortunately, understanding this exact issue, in 1987, I produced the documentary film “The Last Liberty” to explain the importance of the Merchant Marine.

However, 30 years later, in 2019, I produced a sequel called “Lessons of the Last Liberty”, to provide an historical context for current events, to bring all Americans together. Without such an historic understanding of the situation, there is no way the American People will fund the rebuilding of the fleet.

However, with the understanding that this is not the first time with have allowed the Merchant Marine, a positive outcome is possible.

Please watch the film. We can then discuss how to bring this message to the American People……using every possible platform.

Robert Ferrand
Producer, Writer, Director

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Yes, Isn’t that exactly what I said when I wrote that you guys “don’t think like that. They think of the small highly concentrated battles between capital warships.”?

I don’t like to rail against the Zumwalts. I don’t like anything about the Zumwalts (except Elmo himself). I don’t like writing about them, I don’t like the look of them, I don’t like paying for them.

True, it’s getting better, that is if they can stay on budget and don’t make a ton of design changes after they start cutting steel. (which is a BIG if)

Here is the plan for a “future naval force” as seen by Mark Esber:,355%20manned%20and%20unmanned%20ships.

You framed it as a negative when taken in context, stating (without merit) that “the Admirals” want to build more $8B ships and fewer inexpensive ones, and that we’re just looking to land cushy defense contractor jobs.

Then stop! It sounds a lot like crying over spilled milk. The R&D and acquisition costs of the Zumwalts are (mostly) paid for. Was it a bad purchase? Yeah. But we can’t really return them either. We’re trying to make lemonade with our lemons.

I’m hopeful too, but fiddling with the design mid-construction is a naval tradition that dates back to at least the Civil War and the successors to Monitor. One of our better decisions was to use standardized designs during WWII that were good enough, but not chasing perfection. Of course FDR was a Navy man and overrode his admirals from time to time.

Stop picking lemons.


Oh yes and you wanted a source. My source is Chuck Spinney and Peirre Sprey, both leaders of the Military Reform Movement (alongside John Boyd) of the early eighties.

You can look up their videos and papers but here’s a start.

fast forward to 1:23 (he nails the Admirals at 1:24:15) on this video:

More from Spinney:


The flag officer corruption and need for “bigger, faster, higher” planes (and ships) is detailed in his biography: Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War

Ok I’ll stop if someone stands up and gives the public a heart felt apology after investigating the real reason for the crazy cost overruns and after canceling the F/A-XX Hornet replacement program which the pilots don’t want.

Also… no, it’s not “almost paid for”. It hasn’t been “paid for” at all. It was purchased with government bonds which we will be paying out interest on for years before they are due. And even if we had paid in cash, as Spinney points out in the second video the costs ramp up crazy at the end of then program so we need to drag that F’n last one out of shipyard now and sink the MF’r… not shug our shoulders, say it’s “better than nothing”, and wait for the final bill to arrive. But of course you don’t have any salvage tugs left so I don’t know how you would even be able to drag that thing out?

Since you don’t have a salvage tug and the MSC mariners you gave your old ones too are WAY more pissed at the navy right now than I ever have been… I’d also be up for burning all three at the dock but, of course, considering they cost 23B they probably are built with megabuxite or some other expensive shit that burns money... and then all your other big ships would burn too and we’d all be screwed because you do not have a single fireboat to extinguish the fire with.

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Was just thinking about Boyd as I was reading these comments. Sharp fellow and a great story.