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Hilbert Morales

This 2018 Midterm Election Year provides ordinary citizens an opportunity to express their support for those elected officials who are perceived not to have become beholden to special interests and their DARK MONEY. It does take doing some homework; being observant about intangible personal traits of temperament including honesty, integrity, morality, and what I call “GOOD SAMARITAN STEWARDSHIP”. It is possible to determine who looks out for others; who is not self-serving; who is willing to seek a foundation of facts, understanding in order to make evidence-based decisions. The creative organization of activities is necessary which not only inform, but also generate an interest in permitting a larger portion of all America’s communities to earn their ‘share the wealth’. More often than not, the resources used have received value added efforts.

For example, iron and aluminum exist naturally in abundant amounts throughout this earth. However it takes knowledgeable smelters to apply their acquired ‘know-how’ to convert iron ore, limestone, and coke (a derivative of coal) placed in a blast furnace into which air is blasted to enable the burning coke to generate heat exceeding 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit – creating the smelting environment which produces ‘pig iron’, slag, and exhaust gases (much of which is carbon dioxide).

Each heat yields molten pig iron which may be allowed to create different kinds of specialty steels. Structural steel I-beams have certain characteristics; surgical steel reflects its ‘performance traits; both as a result of being properly alloyed with copper, cadmium, chromium, and other trace minerals.

Metallurgical science has been acquired over the years of collected human experience which has been shared up to a point. Different groups of steel workers have proprietary smelting experience and know how to pass that knowledge and experience from one generation to the next.

Humanity has experienced the Bronze Age, the Iron Age, then the Industrial Age, which was the manufacturing of goods useful to many, from cooking utensils to vehicles.

Many in Silicon Valley’s Information Technology Age seem to lose sight of the reality that their achievements take advantage of the properties of electrons which travel through conductive metals at almost the speed of light… a speed so fast that it seems instantaneous (but is not).

My family (father, 5 brothers, and a sister) were steelworkers. Brother Mike was a bricklayer who was internationally known (had a high school diploma) because he had acquired a knowledge of ‘refractory materials’ (usually highly pure alumina) used to line the furnaces in which the necessary very high temperatures could be reached and sustained. Refractory bricks are used to line blast furnaces, open hearths, and many sophisticated heating assemblies used to extract iron and other metals from their naturally occurring ores.

It is this sort of ‘intangible proprietary knowledge’ which many American firms are required to share when their corporations attempt to enter a foreign market’s commerce. The current ‘import tariffs’ being proposed by the Trump Administration evoked a retaliatory response by Chinese leaders. Note that these ‘import/export tariffs’ involve iron and aluminum…the basic metals to which are attached the many sophisticated circuit boards, switching devices; and other hi-tech read-out assemblies. Another very important collection of specialty know-how deals with ‘insulating materials’ which ensure that electronic signals travel only correct circuit routes per design plans.

Now, in light of the above, understand that recent efforts of U.S. Congressman Rho Khanna (Democrat-CA District 17) invited groups of Silicon Valley notables to travel to America’s RUST BELT where many capable and flexible individuals reside and are UNDER-EMPLOYED BECAUSE OF AMERICAN TRADE POLICIES WHICH PERMITTED FOREIGN IRON PRODUCTS to enter the American market. Even Mr. Trump ‘saved money’ by using steel I-beams to build the supporting infrastructures of high rise buildings at a lower cost. Time will provide the service record purchased.

American steel which supports skyscrapers has performed its ‘support assignment’ for decades. Investors are needed as well as those who formulate public policy (especially U.S. Congress members), who need to understand that very high quality basic products are not produced in the corporate conference rooms nor by those who legislate.

By his actions, one may project that Congress member Rho Khanna, who was raised in the current Rust Belt, has operational insights which investors and legislators need to listen to and understand… if America is to do two things: A) establish conditions of commerce which enable American steelworker (and steel industry) to continue commercial operations; and B) Find alternative training resulting in employment for displaced steel workers resulting from automation, robotics, and cybernetics which enabled construction of high volume blast furnaces able to produce more pig iron using fewer steel workers.

Too many managers, investors (venture capital), and legislators view “LABOR” simply as ‘those grunts who do the work’. Many tasks contintue to exist because no ‘automation short cuts’ have yet been devised BY THOSE WHO DO THE WORK; WHO INVARIABLY OBSERVE AND GAIN INSIGHTS WHICH IMPROVES PRODUCT QUALITY AND PRODUCTIVITY. Again, this never happens in the legislative chambers of any nation nor at the conferences tables of those who govern, manage or invest. What happens there are schemes to maximize profits; minimize cost of production, distribution and sales.

Lack of pertinent information has consequences: The residents of Flint, Michigan were inadvertently injured to an unknown degree when a government official decided that drinking water bought from Detroit could be replaced at lower cost by water from a nearby river. The acidity (pH) of the river water was such that it eroded lead from piping installed by plumbers when molten lead was used to join ceramic, concrete and metal piping which conveyed the water from source to treatment facility to those who consumed it. Lead joints and piping released trace quantities when acidic pH levels existed.

Human physiology is not capable of ‘excreting lead ingested’ with the result that brain functions are damaged resulting in ‘lower cognition abilities’ for which the only cure is to stop using water tainted with lead. But the damage to human nervous potentials are irreversible especially when a child consumes lead tainted water during his/her developmental years (birth to teenage years). My hope is that academicians will soon compile all those incidents wherein decisions were made by executives who did not have sufficient pertinent knowledge, but who only used the bottom line profit-oriented approach without asking themselves ‘is there any opportunity for unintended collateral damage?’

Other examples come to mind: Here in Silicon Valley, a firm stored ‘chlorinated hydrocarbon fat solvents’ (used to remove all fats from certain electronic circuit boards). Corrosion leaks allowed these chemicals to taint local aquifers; that tainted water when drunk by pregnant women resulted in children with birth defects… and needless to say, that firm was declared bankrupt and is out of business.

Today local gas stations now are required to store gasoline in double walled underground tanks used and continuously monitored for similar public health concerns. Another item: Transformers have toxic para-chloro-hydrocarbons (PCB’s) which are very toxic, but which act as long-term heat removal insulating functions.

I highly recommend that EO’s readers, especially those living in U.S. Congressional District 17 read the article entitled “Bay Area Congressman Wants to Share The Wealth” (San Jose Mercury News, Sunday, 04.15.2018 (Business Section). Take that information into account when you decide who you want to return to Congress. Representative Rho Khanna merits a second two-year term (He replaced former Congressman Mike Honda) and has already displayed his ‘core values’. Would hope that more members of Congress do the same.