Time of all of us to call BULLSHIT on Captain Max Hardberger

posted today at Workboat.com

[B]Greece, Puerto Rico and the Jones Act[/B]

Capt. Max Hardberger


If you have read my previous blogs on the Jones Act, you know that my opinion (not necessarily WorkBoat’s) is contrary to most of you in the workboat industry. I want the act repealed or modernized.

The nation didn’t pay much attention when Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., recently called for the repeal of the cabotage provisions of the Jones Act, and neither did his fellow senators.

They haven’t been listening for years as senators from Alaska and Hawaii have cried for relief from act’s prohibition on foreign-flagged, foreign-built, or foreign-crewed bottoms carrying cargo or passengers between U.S. ports, even those unconnected by land.

Arguments for and against the Jones Act’s cabotage provisions have been hashed and rehashed, ad nauseum, so the only worthwhile discussion now is political. Sen. McCain, being from a landlocked state and therefore having no dog in the hunt, spoke from a sense of fairness and reason, not from political motives. And he’s right: these provisions were enacted during the protectionist, trade-unionist 1920s and 1930s, when social engineering took precedence over rationality. It is serendipitous for the Jones Act’s survival that Congress, like the nation, has been drifting left.

So when the Hawaii Shippers Council urged Congress not to repeal the law, but instead make a nonsensical exception to it, no one listened. When others have tried the same approach, they’ve met the same result. But now Puerto Rico, going down for the last time in a sea of debt, is blaming the Jones Act for its misfortunes, and in a nice bit of irony, Democratic operatives have taken up its cause. (One of them, on MSNBC, referred to it as “the 1817 Jones Act.”)

The truth is that Puerto Rico, like Greece, has been battening off the labor of others for decades, and like the Greeks, Puerto Ricans don’t want to suffer the consequences. Having worked in several Puerto Rican ports over the years, it’s no surprise to me that the territory is in trouble. Puerto Rico is more like Venezuela than the U.S. Inefficiency, corruption, work stoppages, and disregard for the standards of international shipping are the norm in Puerto Rican ports, not the exception.

This isn’t to say that Puerto Rico isn’t being treated unfairly by the Jones Act, but no more so than, say, Houston or Seattle. Every U.S. port could benefit from its repeal, even if not to the same extent as Anchorage, Alaska, Honolulu or San Juan. Thus, pleas to carve out exceptions, lacking any reasonable basis, are counter-productive.

The only real answer is a coordinated, unified, and well-reasoned effort to persuade Congress to repeal or modernize this relic from a bygone century.

and this is the response I posted to Hardberger’s opinion


I am calling you out Capt. Hardberger. I want you to specify exactly how you believe the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 should be “modernized” by the Congress so that the vital US maritime industry remain protected? If you do not believe it needs to be protected in any way, shape or form, then state exactly why you feel that it is just another business that should be turned over to the forces of the free market and then state why you believe that no vital interests be harmed by doing so? If you believe that no protections for the US maritime industry are valid and supportable, then state why anything need be protected then? Should naval warships be bought from the lowest bidder in China? Should any weapon system be outsourced foreign? Should the US hire the lowest cost soldiers from other nations? All this is part of the discussion of the validity of the Jones Act, US shipbuilding and US citizen merchant mariners.

I expect answers to these questions or you will prove yourself to be nothing more than a blowhard making a rash and unsupportable position here.

please join me there in support of our industry which is critical to our nation’s economic health and its very defense!

This guy appears to be some wannabe Hollywierd know it all asshole.


[QUOTE=Fraqrat;166072]This guy appears to be some wannabe Hollywierd know it all asshole.[/QUOTE]

a supreme douchebag…EXTRAORDINARY even!


[Because Max is too modest to describe himself in glowing terms, this profile was penned by Michael Bono, Max’s business partner, long-time friend and former student]

“I’m sure there are those who would like to add me to a list of modern pirates of the Caribbean …” The Los Angeles Times, quoting Max Hardberger
“ … his life certainly reads like a Hollywood movie …” University of New Orleans Alumni Magazine

One could go a lifetime without meeting anyone else like Max Hardberger. His friend and best-selling author David Fisher put it this way.

“What makes Max such an unusual person that Hollywood is making a movie about his life? The answer is Max. He is a unique and delightful character, armed always with a broad smile and a soft twang that belies his competence in a crisis, his tenacity and toughness, his intelligence and his vast range of experience.”

These experiences are truly unique. At various times in his life, Max has worked as a ship captain, newspaper reporter, English and history teacher, crop duster, private investigator, maritime lawyer, flight instructor, ship surveyor, commercial aircraft pilot, sailing instructor, insurance adjuster, vessel repossession specialist, filmmaker, oilfield mud engineer, stuntman, ship breaker and even a drummer in a blues band. His adventures have taken him throughout the world—from lawless ports in the Caribbean and the war-torn jungles of Central America to the once-forbidden city of Vladivostok—where he crossed paths with a veritable rogue’s gallery of characters, including Haitian rebels, modern-day Caribbean pirates, and Russian mobsters. The world in which Max operates is a tough, gritty place, full of danger and opportunity. To borrow once more from David Fisher, "Max’s world” is:

“a world of fog shrouded ports and endless oceans, of crooks and con artists and cheats and voodoo doctors and prostitutes, a world of hard work and enduring friendships and very dangerous jobs, where too often the only rules are ones that are made up to save the moment. And in the middle of the mayhem is Max Hardberger. Smiling.”

Max the Scholar

Maybe because he dresses the part of the weary sea captain, it’s not immediately obvious that Max is a highly educated man. After he earned a B.A. degree in English from the University of New Orleans, Max attended what is widely regarded as the top post-graduate creative writing program in the United States, known informally as the “Writers’ Workshop”, at the University of Iowa. In 1972 he received a Master of Fine Arts in Fiction and Poetry. Before adventure pulled him in another direction, Max started his professional career with a short stint teaching high school English. Max briefly returned to the classroom in the mid-Eighties, when he taught English and world history at a parochial high school in Louisiana (where he taught the author of this profile, and his future business partner, Michael Bono). Once more, adventure beckoned and Max returned to the sea as the captain of freighters in the Caribbean. Max drew upon his maritime experiences when writing his first book, Deadweight: Owning the Ocean Freighter (1994), a textbook on ship ownership. He followed Deadweight with his first novel, Freighter Captain (1998), a semi-autobiographical account of his adventures as a ship captain in the Caribbean. Around the same time that these books were published, Max satisfied a long-held interest by studying law. In 1998, he obtained a Juris Doctor degree from Northwestern California Law School, became a member of the California bar, and began his maritime law practice.

In addition to his formal education, Max has been a lifelong student of history and literature. He’s an ardent admirer of literary giants like Shakespeare and James Joyce, and he’s a devotee of the hard-boiled school of fiction. As a student of military nonfiction, particularly of World War II, he was asked to write the introduction to the English-language edition of Vassili Zaitsev’s Notes of a Sniper (on which the movie Enemy at the Gates was based). In addition to his books, Max has written hundreds of articles for various maritime trade publications. His most recent work is SEIZED: A Sea Captain’s Adventures Battling Scoundrels and Pirates While Recovering Stolen Ships in the World’s Most Troubled Waters. The book was released by the Broadway Books imprint of Random House on April 6, 2010.

Max the Adventurer

A Los Angeles Times correspondent once wrote, “with his graying hair, walrus mustache and moderate build, Hardberger doesn’t fit the profile of a swashbuckler.” Nevertheless, Max has lived a life of adventure that has led him from steamy, lawless ports in the Caribbean to the ice-bound docks of Vladivostok, from the jungles of Central America to the sunny islands of the Mediterranean. And the characters that he’s encountered—the scoundrels and scalawags, victims and victors, frauds and fakes—are the people of his world, sometimes funny, sometimes obsessed, sometimes self-destructive, but always fascinating.

Max has been chased by Russian mobsters, thwarted pirate attacks, and avoided violent death too many times to count. Some of his greatest adventures took place in the lawless, hellhole ports of the world while repossessing cargo ships. Although these stories will be the subject of his upcoming book for Random House, here’s a taste of what to expect:

"The government sent a Navy vessel to chase us, but we were able to hide from radar in a heavy thunderstorm ..."
“I hired a prostitute to sit with the armed guard on deck and be nice to him until he drank a nightcap I’d prepared ...” 
"Once we were banned from docking anywhere, I knew we had to change the ship's identity ..."
“The crew screamed that we were sinking and helped the guards into the lifeboats ...” 
“So we hired the entire whorehouse and threw a party in the street ... the music covered the sound of the ship’s engines starting ...” 
“I made my deal with the voodoo doctor and he came aboard the ship, this time bringing the evil spirits with him. I’d never negotiated for evil spirits before so I had no idea ...”

His adventures aren’t limited to freighters. As a professional airplane pilot, he’s towed banners, taught flying, transported bodies, dusted crops and delivered planes to Central and South America. He was once contracted to arrange the “transportation” of 47 crop-dusting airplanes out of East Germany shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall. He and a band of young German pilots flew the planes under radar to the Baltic Sea port of Rostock, where they disassembled them and stuffed them into shipping containers for transport to Venezuela.

Max’s stories span the gamut of flying adventures, from the sheer terror of an engine fire at 10,000 feet over a Mexican jungle to the humor of trying to start an airline in Haiti.

And he’s not done yet. As one correspondent wrote, "wherever Hardberger goes and whatever he does next, it’s guaranteed to make a hell of a story.”

I LOATHE FUCKING MISERABLE SELF PROMOTERS LIKE THIS CLOWN! I wonder if he is going to answer my questions? So far nothing but it is early in the day.

Whether it knows it or not, Workboat is the magazine of the Jones Act marine industry. The “reform” , meaning elimination, of the Jones Act that Maz Hardberger advocates would not only wipe commercial American seafaring, it would wipe out virtually all commercial boatbuilding in the U.S. Repair work would also go to Mexico and other cheap labor, no environmental protection markets. What Harberger advocates would put most of Workboat’s advertisers out of business.

I call on Workboat to dump Hardberger and its editors responsible for allowing that article to go into print.

I call on Workboat’s advertisers to dump Workboat until it does eliminate Hardberger

Almost sounds like a clive cussler characters biography.
men want to be him, and women want to be with him.

[QUOTE=Ctony;166075]Almost sounds like a clive cussler characters biography.
men want to be him, and women want to be with him.[/QUOTE]

I personally want to give him a boot to the balls…

I agree and said something similar a few months ago, what a bunch of assclowns! They are unknowingly biting the hand that feeds.

Can’t believe the advertisers that fund their business allow that shit to get published.

Workboat online recently alluded to some master MARAD plan that was soon to be released for the first time in decades, anyone know anything about that?

Didn’t they love David Matsuda aka chucky cheese over there?

Looking at that time line, it appears that he earned his “Captain’s License” in the 70s in the offshore biz. . . one of those Oil and Mineral licenses? Doesn’t seem to have had the time to accumulate a lot of sea time with all of his other “adventures”. . . . Maybe he is pals with Paul Watson?

Sounds like the kind of asshole that’s been around the world once and seen everything twice.

[QUOTE=Fraqrat;166095]Sounds like the kind of asshole that’s been around the world once and seen everything twice.[/QUOTE]

24hours and no reply from a man who is a consummate windbag that cannot defend his positions and is too cowardly to even try. Simply PATHETIC!

Put your head in a bag…SIR!

While I agree that the Jones act needs revising, I don’t agree with his revisions. My problem is that we aren’t covered by workers comp because we are covered by the Jones act. Though I haven’t seen the numbers myself I’ve known a few people who got hurt who all complained that workers comp would be much better. Also, the “maintenance” part needs to be updated from the amount they set 100 years ago.

I always laugh when I read sob story articles about how the Jones act is hurting economies because they make it sound like the USA is the only place with “evil”, outdated, cabotage laws. Most developed countries and even many (or most?) 3rd world countries have their own cabotage laws in place.

Besides, they’d never consider allowing all semi trucks running around this country to be Greek owned, Mexican built, and driven by Philippinos yet somehow it is OK to do this with shipping to save a few pennies?

I love when they say the cost to us Americans is equal to a dollar or two a year per person. What may look like a big number isn’t when devised equally among the population.

I’m confused about the part where he became a “captain”. It doesn’t sound like he ever had time for the training, education, or seatime if he was busy finishing up a BA and becoming an English teacher.

Yes, a plastic one please!

[QUOTE=LI_Domer;166140]I’m confused about the part where he became a “captain”. It doesn’t sound like he ever had time for the training, education, or seatime if he was busy finishing up a BA and becoming an English teacher.[/QUOTE]

During the boom and building frenzy around '80, the CG issued “tear-sheet” licenses for a while.

[QUOTE=LI_Domer;166140]I’m confused about the part where he became a “captain”. It doesn’t sound like he ever had time for the training, education, or seatime if he was busy finishing up a BA and becoming an English teacher.[/QUOTE]

My guess is that Hardberger probably bought a foreign Master’s license. I’d like to hear exactly what license he has, and what his actual seagoing experience is.

It costs what these days to ship a container from Asia to the U.S.? Around $2000 to $3000? How much of that goes to pay Mariners? $10? How much to pay American longshoremen? $500? If anyone wants to save on marine transportation costs, the low hanging fruit is the longshoremen. Let’s replace them with Foreign labor first, and the we can talk about the Jones Act.

Have you noticed how many foreign journalists we have these days? It seems like a very significant percentage on national TV. Let’s liberalize the immigration laws to allow any journalist that can find a job to come to America. We need more smart journalists from India, like Farid Zakaria, commenting on the economic impact of the Jones Act, and fewer overpaid American talking heads that have no idea what they are talking about.

Of course Hardberger is no journalist. He appears to be just a self promoter talking threw his hat. Frankly, Workboat is a low quality magazine with a tiny circulation and none of the so called journalists there are competent to comment intelligently about the economic impact of the Jones Act.

The US cannot outsource every job to super cheap third world labor to supposedly save consumers a few pennies. How are the consumers without jobs going to buy anything?

[QUOTE=LI_Domer;166140]I’m confused about the part where he became a “captain”. It doesn’t sound like he ever had time for the training, education, or seatime if he was busy finishing up a BA and becoming an English teacher.[/QUOTE]

I read one of his books, at first it was ok, getting old towards the end. Seems like he changes the details of the same couple of stories. I’d put my money on bullshit artist.

[QUOTE=LI_Domer;166140]I’m confused about the part where he became a “captain”. It doesn’t sound like he ever had time for the training, education, or seatime if he was busy finishing up a BA and becoming an English teacher.[/QUOTE]

This is what I got from his biography “In 1972 he received a Master of Fine Arts in Fiction and Poetry”. The fiction part explains everything. I suspect he managed to get his Doctorate in Fiction also.

[QUOTE=LI_Domer;166140]I’m confused about the part where he became a “captain”. It doesn’t sound like he ever had time for the training, education, or seatime if he was busy finishing up a BA and becoming an English teacher.[/QUOTE]

It is very vague on the timeline but it seems like he might have had about 10 years, between the mid 70s and mid 80s. Not much time to hawsepipe to Master Unlimited, but he could have gotten a smaller license. The bio also doesn’t mention how big these so called “freighters” were he sailed on the Caribbean.