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I suggest here, that the Commerce Departmentshould be restored as an engine of productivity, modelled after Herbert Hoover’s Commerce re-organization, and featuring a restored Bureau of Mines understood as the very threshold of any real recovery of the U.S. industrial capacity, and directed at relieving the bottleneck at the very front of the cycle of production: that is, by actively promoting mineral exploration with an objective of actively advancing mining. The Bureau of Mines should be resuscitated and restored to a central position in Commerce, as stated. Under Hoover, an Englishman seeking to market English industrial output in the U.S. once said, “Our competitor is not so much American industry as it is the United Stated Department of Commerce.” But a century of progressive distortion to the very concept of Commerce, has now limited the meaning of the word, to simple trade or movement of goods generally imported, without any relationship to their native origin, or the level of science applied in finishing them for market. Recreating the BoM within Commerce may help to straighten out this badly skewed understanding, as well as recreating the sense of National mission-orientation which should cloak highly productive activity like mining

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  1. 1. THE U. S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE was created in 1903 under President Teddy Roosevelt, as the Department of Commerce & Labor. Commerce is charged under Act of Congress, “and by virtue of the desire of the federal government” to be generally helpful with the stimulation and distribution of commodities, and Congressional hearings of the time, show, Commerce was actually intended to have mostly just an educational function ! Labor was split off in 1913, leaving the Commerce proper, as now. But there’s much more to the story: pre-history aside, the Commerce Dept. came into its own following with Pres. Harding’s 1921 appointment of Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover, later President Hoover; and it is Herbert Hoover’s core, business-oriented, mission-reorganization of the Commerce Department that needs to be restored now ! But this means Commerce needs to be reorganized. As currently organized, the U.S. Dept of Commerce, now operating under President Trump’s Secretary Wilbur Ross, consists of twelve legacy bureaus or “desks” with oversight in areas with relevance to the promotion of U.S. Commerce. These are Bureau of Economic Analysis https://www.bea.gov/ The Bureau of Industry and Security https://www.bis.doc.gov/ U.S. Census Bureau https://www.census.gov/ Economic Development Administration https://www.eda.gov/ Economic and Statistics Administration http://www.esa.doc.gov/ International Trade Administration http://www.trade.gov/ Minority Business Development http://www.mbda.gov/ National Institutes of Standards and Technology https://www.nist.gov/mep National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration http://www.noaa.gov/ National Technical Information Service https://www.ntis.gov/ National Telecommunications and Information Administration https://www.ntia.doc.gov/home United States Patent and Trademark Office https://www.uspto.gov/ Indeed, a glance at the list of bureaus above, should confirm that despite its mandate, the Commerce Dept. now consists almost entirely of valuable information services, data-tracking, compilation and analytics like Census, NOAA, Patents, and numerous important information tech bureaus related to 20th & 21st C. communications technologies, but lacks a meaningful connection to actually promote core “hard” economic productivity per se – meaning it is now overextended in these monitoring and data-collection activities but cannot itself stimulate productivity itself having -- I assert -- lost its foundation in mines and metallurgy. RESTORE HERBERT HOOVER'S COMMERCE DEPARTMENT IT’S ALL IN THE MINES ! COMMERCE & RE-OPEN THE BUREAU OF MINES
  2. 2. THESIS: THE MINDSET of a MASTER What has been lost over the last half of the 20th C., especially, is Commerce’s core mission-orientation as conceived and systematically imparted to it, under Secretary Herbert Hoover alone, and maintained esp. under Presidents Hoover and FDR. Hoover’s engineering experience, his masterful management skills, vision and mission- orientation, moved him to remake Commerce so that it did not merely monitor the status quo of American commerce1 -- but instead aided businesses dynamically, with vanguard initiatives to standardize manufacturing processes and products, and also by streamlining and integrating Commerce desks representing core mining & manufacturing sectors, in order thereby to help create conditions which promoted an actually integrated, national “infrastructure” economics, in which businesses could advance to greater levels of productivity: "Productivity" that is, termed not just with reference to a merely greater volume of output, but rather in consideration of a continued, ever-increasing application of scientific principles toward the creation of an ongoing pattern of upward refinement of improvements, lead by higher precision measurements as to weights, measures, standards, purity, tolerances, etc.; as well as by innovative methods of production. And at the heart of it all was the Bureau of Mines. This all took work: but Herbert Hoover did not do this alone. Rather he was the manifestation of a cultural movement. Such a movement for the systemization of science for the benefit of industries nationwide, was both leading-edge in the early 20th C., and becoming widely accepted among American businesses, pioneered by the likes of Frederick Taylor and his “Efficiency Movement.”2 Frederick “Speedy” Taylor, a disciple of Franklin and Cotton Mather, was the America’s first scientific “management consultant. Taylor’s often drastic reforms met with resistance from organized labor. When his “Taylor System” of shop management was adopted and put in use in the U.S. War Department, in 1909, the disruption created forced hearings held in 1911 before the House Committee on Labor, lead by Samuel Gompers, founder of the American Federation of Labor. Congressional Hearings transcripts dating from 1911 on the use of the “Taylor Shop System” are here: https://archive.org/details/investigationta00gompgoog Hoover Knew Business … and the Taylor Principles The 1911 date of Taylor's testimony illustrates how principles of the “Efficiency Movement”- were well-known at this time. The businessmen’s population included at the time, young Herbert Hoover, who discourses at length on matters of operational and managerial efficiency in his 1909 book, Principles of Mining. https://archive.org/details/principlesofmini00hoovuoft Hoover himself was an established practitioner of the “Taylor Method" which he had used to realize his meteoric career as a mine manager. Hoover’s own opportunity to apply “efficiency principles” in government arrived in early June, 1918, when President Wilson appointed him to a task- force to determine what domestic industries might be re-prioritized vis-à-vis the war effort, and so should be “retired” or “adjusted”. Wilson appointed Hoover as the U.S. Food Administrator; Harry Garfield he appointed Fuel Administrator, and Bernard Baruch was chairman over all, of the War Industries Board, etc. Characteristically, these committee members then formed their own sub-committee to execute in-depth on Wilson’s mandate; however, when all the research was done, Herbert Hoover was elected de- facto chairman of the group, and nominated to write the official report to Wilson – which he did. 1 When first approved, Commerce was mocked for its oversighjt of the fisheries bureau, a sleepy steamboat inspection bureau, and the lighthouse department with fleet of floating "tenders" See, The Department of Commerce: Origins and Organization of the Department, (Dept. of Commerce, 1913). More on this below! 2 See, e.g., Frank Copley, Frederick W. Taylor, Father of Scientific Management, (1923). The author begins his biography of Taylor, comparing his attitudes vis-a-vis American industry, with those of Benjamin Franklin. Frederick Taylor
  3. 3. An Early Instance of Hoover's Own Efficiency The task force report was returned within about two weeks, under date of June 22, 1918. The report was signed by all, but this must not have got Wilson’s attention; so the committee issued another report two days later, on June 24, 1918. This too went un-noticed !! So the Committee solicited Hoover’s intervention, and Hoover wrote his own cover letter/report to Wilson dated July 3, 1918. These task-force reports, and Hoover’s July 3, 1918 cover- letter to Wilson, can be found in Appendix XIII of Barnard Baruch’s official report of the War Industries Board, American Industry in the War, p. 350, ff. (1921). https://archive.org/details/americanindustry00unit Characteristic of Hoover’s mindset, he recommended NO immediate curtailments, but with reservations toward breweries, and suggested instead a re-organization of his own board, and that it be re-prioritized to review each industry scientifically, and to monitor and report periodically. Nothing intelligent could be done a priori. To wit: In accordance with your instruction that we should prepare for you a recommendation in connection with the systematic curtailment of non-war Industries, we have asked a special committee, comprising Messrs. Clarence M. Woolley of the War Trade Board, Edward Chambers of the Railway Administration, Edward F. Gay of the Shipping Board, P. B. Noyes of the Fuel Administration, Theodore F. Whitmarsh of the Food Administration, Edwin B. Parker of the War Industries Board, to make a detailed study as to the general policy to be pursued in connection with such industries. The conclusions of this committee, to which we unanimously agree, except in those relating to the brewing industry, upon which subject we are seeking further information, pending possible action by Congress, are: "That the approach to curtailment of non-war industries should be made by way of systematic and scientific reduction in their activities rather than by total and initial annihilation. They do not find that there are any industries which should be instantly cut off, but there are many which should be reduced in activities at the earliest possible moment. These gentlemen are all members of the priorities board of the War Industries Board. This problem, in certain phases, lies outside the present conception of priorities in the use of material "As to further action in the matter, we recommend that the above committee be constituted a special committee of the priorities board to study each industry from the aspect of what can be curtailed and what is a desirable curtailment and to make such recommendations to the priorities board from time to time and that the priorities board should advise the various departments of the action of the board and the departments which will effectuate the conclusion of the board. “The committee has furnished us with a recommendation that the brewing industry should be curtailed to 50 per cent of the normal barrelage. A copy of this report we enclose herewith. We have asked the committee to further consider whether, In addition to the curtailment at once of 50 per cent, this industry should not be notified that no further foodstuffs are to be purchased and that, with the exhaustion of their present materials in process, they are to cease operation. "We are also asking the committee to make a further report, if possible, on the reduction that we recommend in connection with other non-war industries "Yours, faithfully, " Herbert Hoover. "O. K'd. W. W." Herbert Hoover commanded attention: more, personally, than the entire committee with which he sat. Baruch then notes, that this letter “was presented to the President by Messrs. Hoover, Garfield, Baruch and McCormick, and O.K.’d by the President, and forms the charter under which the Industrial Adjustments Committee is operating. So it was a habit of working in Taylor's proven “efficiency” methodology which Hoover brought to bear in his WIB work. His aptitudes & accomplishments were known -- and that translated to serious clout.
  4. 4. Hoover Takes the Efficiency Movement Mainstream With the war concluded, Pres. Wilson appointed Hoover to head the European Relief and Rehabilitation Administration: the U.S. relief effort which directed some 34 million tons of American food, clothing, and supplies to Europe, across twenty nations. Wilson then dispatched Hoover to be U.S. representative at the Versailles Peace Conference, and then Director of the President's Supreme Economic Council in 1918. If these duties were not enough, Hoover was also immediately tapped into the presidency of the two leading Engineering trade associations in the United States: President, that is, both of the American Institute of Mining & Metallurgical Engineers (1919- 1920) , and of the newly formed Federated American Engineering Societies: an organization now known as the IEEE. As president thereof, Hoover initiated a study in 1920 that estimated that American industry could reduce its production and distribution costs by 49% simply through improved standardization.3 With Hoover as president of the F.A.E.S. the Efficiency Movement had become a national professional standard, across disciplines. His influence was undeniable, his rise meteoric. Everything he touched he improved with system, rigor, and practicality; every business-person he inspired to improvements. Hoover ran for President in 1920, but lost. Yet his stature was undeniable: and it was no longer just Hoover, the industry leader, whom President Harding appointed to Commerce Secretary in 1921. Here, let me turn to an online source for a summary: Under Hoover's leadership, the Department of Commerce became as influential and important a government agency as the Departments of State and Treasury. Hoover encouraged research into measures designed to counteract harmful business cycles. He supported government regulation of new industries like aviation and radio. He brought together more than one hundred different industries and convinced them to adopt standardized tools, hardware, building materials, and automobile parts. Finally, he aggressively pursued international trade opportunities for American business. To win these reforms, Hoover strengthened existing agencies in the Commerce Department, like the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce, or simply established new ones, like the Bureau of Standards, for the standardization project. He also formed commissions that brought together government officials, experts, and leaders of the relevant economic sectors to work towards reform. The initiatives Hoover supported as commerce secretary—and the ways in which he pursued them—reveal his thinking about contemporary life in the United States and about the federal government's role in American society. Hoover hoped to create a more organized economy that would regularize the business cycle, eliminating damaging ebbs and flows and generating higher rates of economic growth. He believed that eradicating waste and improving efficiency would achieve some of these results— thus, his support for standardization and for statistical research into the workings of the economy. He also believed that the American economy would be healthier if business leaders worked together, and with government officials and experts from the social sciences, in a form of private-sector economic planning. University of Virginia, Miller Center https://millercenter.org/president/hoover/life-before-the-presidency Hoover, indeed, within the short space of 8 years, reformed Commerce from a handful of scattered educational “data desks" into the third largest department in the Executive branch; had helped to revolutionize the American industrial economy into it’s statute as an international powerhouse, in an era rightly remembered as "the Roaring '20's" – but which should be called Hoover’s roaring ’20’s.4 Not incidentally, Hoover also paved the way for his own successful run at the Presidency, in 1928. How did he do it all? Despite the range of Hoover’s reforms, I mean to concentrate on one often overlooked aspect only of Hoover’s re-organization and management of the Commerce Department; his long-term effort to bring the Bureau of Mines into Commerce from Interior. But first … ! 3 See, Andrew B. Sage, ed., Handbook of Systems Engineering and Management, p. 465, (2nd ed., 2009) 4 A very good treatment of Hoover’s transformation of the Department of Commerce along lines corresponding to the “Efficiency Movement,” is Ethel Treibel’s excellent Ph.D. Thesis from 1939, linked below. http://ecommons.luc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1406&context=luc_theses
  5. 5. The First “Industry Standards”: Machinery's Handbook HAND-IN-HAND WITH HOOVER as a manifestation of Taylor’s Efficiency Movement, rose the influence of the Machinery’s Handbook. I reference it here, because it is an expression of a common national can-do culture that was sweeping the United States, and which Hoover helped foster, and implant in government, through his work at Commerce. Machinery’s Handbook was and is, just that: not a book to read, but a manual of methods and standards of metallurgy, metalworking & manufacturing. It was not intended just for the shop owner, but for every floor machinist: it was (and is) the sine qua non of machinist competence, and virtually the sole guarantor for the manufacture of an accurate part. By the same token it was and is the essence of standardization, and the foundation of a national commerce in which parts made by a shop in Cheltenham, N.Y. can be safely ordered by a builder in Salem, Ore. For the non-machinist, probably the best substitute to a "hands-on" appreciation as an apprentice, lies in exposure to this or anther similar industrial technical reference manuals, that were (and are) compiled to be read, referenced and applied by shop floor machinists, mechanics, welders, metallurgists, and manufacturers. These are not text-books, but America's, and now the world's, “go-to" reference guides for the already- initiated, which, over the course of the 20th C., became the staple of successful manufacturing nationwide, systemizing, standardizing, and integrating manufacturing into an intelligible, reliable, functional and interchangeable body of real good-old fashioned irreducible practical American know-how, raised to a scientific level, and then raised again, and again. Immersion exposure to these handbooks is probably the quickest way to apprehend one's own "Cloud of Unknowing" with regard to manufacturing. I recommend opening one, and wrestling with the text -- which should appear meaningless. Consider for instance, the Machinery’s Handbook, a continuing edition which was begun in 19145 and was soon to become ubiquitous in American manufacturing shops. It’s America’s other bible. Have you read your bible lately? Take a look … MACHINERY’S HANDBOOK is still in print, as of the 30th ed. of 2016. The Machinery’ Handbook is a remarkable manifestation of this early 20th C “Efficiency Movement,” and rendered exacting specifications for virtually all types of metal turning and cutting processing easily accessible to any machinist anywhere in the United States. Perusing carefully the actual pages of Machinery’s Handbook, (see, fn 6) with its nearly endless tabular displays of technical specifications to be replicated, tolerances to be held, hardness to be achieved, tensile strength to be reached, etc., in the manufacture of every conceivable component used in manufacture or assembly or construction, can help to put one in the mind of the extraordinary number & wide range of scientific industrial standards which AT ONE TIME had to be marshalled into coordinated use, nationwide, in order for U.S. industry and economy to advance coherently, from coast to coast. Hoover made this happen … Indeed, the legacy industrial trades & manufacturing disciplines & processes represented in Machinery's Handbook, are, to a great degree, the same disciplines which Hoover was to more completely integrate and coordinate when he re-organized Commerce -- and, in that way, really got the industrial economy humming. This will be touched on below. 5 See, http://www.woodworkslibrary.com/repository/machinery_handbook_for_machine_shop_and_drafting_room_1914.pdf
  6. 6. Commerce Gets an “Efficiency” Overhaul AS NOTED, these machining & manufacturing standards referenced above, and the manufacturing industries they support ( which are so fundamental to real productivity ) are intrinsically hard materials industries, dependent on advanced materials science -- at the serviced of physical production. At base they are immediately derived from and are dependent on mining and metallurgical sciences, and associated processes of physical chemistry.6 These particular core industrial sciences, were also matters of Hoover’s personal expertise: for as observed, Hoover was already President before his appointment to Commerce: President: that is, both of the American Metallurgical and Mining Engineers (1919 ff), and of the newly formed Federated American Engineering Societies7 -- now the IEEE. So his native reflex for systematizing production was firmly set -- both in industry and in these prior trade association offices, with the goal of bettering human economic stability. He had proven them successful. Thus, when reading Hoover’s statement on his philosophy for re-organizing Commerce to better suit business, the impulse for all this reform is completely humanitarian: idealistic but down-to-earth: “What we all want from this economic system is greater economic stability, that men may be secure in their employment and their business; assured returns on savings with less haz8.rd and speculation; increasing the standard of living to all of our people, not only through increased stability of employment and business but through constant application of invention and steady elimination of industrial waste; an increasing diffusion of wealth; ••• a protection to the public from tyrannical action, monopolies and unfair prices by the [exercise of ] minimum of responsibility to public interest from those who direct individual organization and who lead labor..”8 Once installed at Commerce, Hoover brought this vision to reality, executing on the established Industry ethic of the Efficiency Movement. E.g., he directed the Bureau of Standards, which had been limited to meteorology, to establish standards for industrial output: both materials standards and finished product standards were proposed, as for automobile brakes and headlamps. To the Bureau Standards, Hoover also imparted a mission orientation, and new duties vis-à-vis industrial waste-- all of it inspired by Taylor and the Machinery’s Handbook standards: “Also, the Bureau is trying to find ways to simplify processes in manufacturing, and to standardize products. Two new divisions have been added to the Bureau. In one word, the Bureau and the building and engineering industries are cooperating in an organized effort to eliminate waste through a nationwide and scientific revision of building codes, to the end that strength, durability, and fire resistance of all structures may be increased and building costs diminished. The other is a division of industrial waste. With the cooperation of various industries this division is working on at least a hundred major problems. The solution of any one of these would, in saving made to the nation in the course of a year, more than pay for the $10,000,000 Bureau.”9 Industrial waste was also targeted. But, following the patterns of industry, having a standard also meant setting a measurement, and thus a measurement method, and thus determining tolerances, and even a standard for calibration of high-precision measuring instruments. Thus the reference to the multi-valent “industry standard” as also a legal standard, was born; and the mindset of laboring men, machinists, mechanics and business owners of the much of the 20th C., found its way into the Federal Government: informed by practices at the shop-floor level, and in the front-office, guided by “Speedy” Taylor’s efficiency movement & Machinery’s Handbook. Hoover literally was the 20th Century Taylor-made American Efficiency Movement, taken hold in Commerce. 6 See, Jason Ross et al., The Gifts of Prometheus, http://www.21stcenturysciencetech.com/Prometheus.html 7 Treibel, op cit., p. 6 8 Hoover, "Advance Toward Economic Ideals," The American Review of Reviews 73; 32, January, 1926. 9 In Wilhelm, “Mr. Hoover as Secretary of Commerce,” The World’s Work, vol. XLIII, pp. 402 ff (1922).
  7. 7. In this way, Hoover quite systemically turned Commerce into a U.S. powerhouse: pulling the United States out of the economic chaos and depression post World War I – something historians have overlooked -- and setting a standard for productivity that carried the U.S. through the Depression, and then successful through World War II. That was hardly an accidental or coincidental occurrence of unrelated effects. It was Hoover’s genius. So, the Commerce Department at the apex of its operation under Hoover and following him, FDR, and therefore as the driving engine of the U.S. “Arsenal of Democracy” during WW II, has to be seen as in part, not just a question of crisis financing, but primarily as the expression of Hoover’s unique, extraordinary professional business acumen & organizational expertise -- as historically situated in the high-productivity culture fostered by the Taylor Movement. And this needs to be re-stated now, in response to President Trump’s invitation for suggestions for the re-organization of Executive Office Secretariats, presently. In short, the author believes that this original, core “Hooverian” organization at Commerce, needs to be reconstructed again today – generally speaking, and with modifications for the 21st C. – in particular around a restored Bureau of Mines. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the Commerce Department that Hoover inherited, and perhaps thereby gain an appreciation for the global powerhouse that Hoover, in particular, made of American industry: A Quick Background of Commerce The Department of Commerce as a Cabinet-level office, is about 100 years old. It was created in 1903, following a proposal by McKinley’s then-Vice President, Theodore Roosevelt, who at the time, had called for the establishment of a “Cabinet officer, to be known as the Secretary of Commerce and Industries… it should be his province to deal with commerce in the broadest sense; including among many other things, whatever concerns labor and matters affecting the great business corporations”10 See, Jonathan Grossman, The Origins of the U.S. Labor Department http://www.dol.gov/dol/aboutdol/history/dolorigabridge.htm#* Meanwhile, skipping a few details, Commerce itself, “in the broadest sense” was not very dramatically conceived by Congress. Per Ethel Treibel, six “unrelated bureaus” comprised original Commerce: the Bureau of Foreign & Domestic Commerce; the Bureau of Fisheries; the Census Bureau; the Bureau of Standards; the Coast & Geodetic Survey; and the Bureau of Navigation,11 -- suggesting a19th C. economy, w/ powers to establish standards for lighthouse construction and operation, lighthouse tenders, steamships, fisheries. etc. And, to be frank, this assemblage reflected the predominantly coastal & maritime economics which characterized the U.S. in our first centuries: a largely “littoral” maritime-based commerce. 10 Theodore Roosevelt, "Message . . . to the Two Houses of Congress . . . First Session of the 57th Congress, January 1901," in Addresses and Presidential Messages of Theodore Roosevelt, 1902-1904 (New York, G.P. Putnam, 1904), p. 298. Cited in Grossman. 11 Treibel, The Department of Commerce under Hoover, op cit. p. 1.
  8. 8. The Commerce Department was thus considered the sleepiest of Federal Secretariats, whose role was going to be that of “putting the fish to bed at night and turning on the lights around the coast.” With these assigned functions Commerce remained a backwater of Executive initiative, otherwise dedicated to education and public information, e.g.: “As an educational department, [the Commerce Department’s] beneficial influence will advance the harmony of all our commercial, manufacturing, agricultural, sociological and political interests and raise the people, already advancing rapidly in education, to a just comprehension of the rights, and, with the rights, the responsibilities of all classes and of all sections of our common country.” 12 [Emphasis added.] Little did they know !! Hoover’s Re-Organization of Commerce ENTER HOOVER: Hoover had a list of objectives from Harding, but he started almost entirely from scratch an itemized a list of his own initiatives: first, what Hoover brought with him from prior government work was his establishment of the Simplification Program of the War Industries Board – which he immediately began applying to his Commerce, sub nom. the Department of Simplified Practice. When Herbert Hoover took over the duties of the Commerce, he proposed eleven major objectives as his program. As identified by Treibel, they were: 1) the elimination of waste in railway transportation by providing adequate facilities and better methods; 2) the improvement of our national inland water channels to provide cheaper transportation 3) the promotion of an electrification program to effect a saving in fuel and labor; 4) to reduce the periodic waves of unemployment in the boom and slump periods of the business cycle; 5) the establishment of an improved bureau of statistics within to aid in his program of eliminating waste; 6) the reduction of the unbalanced seasonal unemployment in both the construction and coal industries; 7) a simplification program for industry whereby grades, qualities, dimensions and a reduction of the numbers of varieties of commodities would be standardized; 8) the development of a research bureau capable of testing labor saving devices and better processes; 9) the reduction of waste in the distribution of agricultural products through cooperative marketing; 10) better [port] terminal facilities and more efficient methods of handling; 11) the provision of a means of commercial arbitration to overcome wastes due to litigations;13 Ethel Treibel does a superb job of detailing succinctly the manner in which Hoover achieved these objectives, and in particular the reforms which he brought to the functioning of each of the bureaus with Commerce. Q.v I’ve highlighted just two of these eleven objectives as ones that I consider to be key to a successfully functioning re- organized Commerce Department: ports namely, and deep-water ports, in particular, along with interior waterways. These functions, though not originally with Commerce, might be better realized under Commerce authority. And, in particular, I believe that the Port of Astoria needs to be greatly expanded and entirely modernized. This project to modernize the Port of Astoria should, furthermore, reconceive Astoria as the key U.S. international deep-water port on the Pacific. Please see my articles on this matter.14 This proposal, which might readily fall under the aegis of a revamped Commerce Dept., is touched on at the end of this report. But let’s get to the point: Hoover was, before all, a mine engineer, and rose to industrial success as a mine engineer. Indeed, he wrote the book on mining: https://archive.org/details/principlesofmini00hoovuoft In my opinion, the single most important change that Hoover made to Commerce was to bring in the Bureau of Mines. And it required some serious effort: 12 Official Proceedings of the 18th Trans-Mississippi Commercial Congress, Muskogee, Oklahnoma, p. 145 (1907) 13 Trteibel, op. cit., pp. 17-18. 14 Steinbach, Astoria Only, Part I https://www.slideshare.net/RochSteinbach/astoria-only-part-i-49135449 ; Steinbach, Astoria Only, Part II https://www.slideshare.net/RochSteinbach/astoria-only-part-ii-49135701 (2015)
  9. 9. 1925: Hoover Captures Bureau of Mines to Commerce The Bureau of Mines (BoM) was founded in 1910, as a desk in the Department of Interior, in response to mine collapse crises resulting from inadequacies in mine construction. By the Organic Act of 1910 Congress created the Bureau of Mines to provide some oversight authority, and establish mine safety inspections. Within a few years the Bureau of Mines had further solidified its competence in pure mineralogical research and applied geology, mineral processing (extraction, etc.) mining safety, and environmental contamination. Effective mining being a highly complex undertaking, the BoM developed a correspondingly wide range of expertises. But in 1921, when Herbert Hoover became Secretary of Commerce he immediately began the makeover cited, and meanwhile “cast a covetous eye on the Bureau of Mines,” as well as the USGS Division of Mineral Resources, for their combined potential to advance United States General Welfare through commercial growth, by the development of a scientific and modern mining industry.15 Hoover, a professional mining engineer, knew this necessity almost instinctively. He was relentless in pressing his case before Congress and the Executive, and was eventually successful so that, in 1925 the Bureau of Mines was transferred to the Dept. of Commerce by Executive Order as was the USGS Division of Mineral Resources. Mary C. Rabbit, in her brilliant history of the U.S. Geological Survey, provides the context of Hoover’s effort, which took him four years of struggling to accomplish: By the middle of the decade, the conservation of oil acquired renewed importance. In 1925, the Geological Survey was given a new responsibility for supervision of mineral-leasing activities on the public lands, and its Land Classification Branch was renamed the Conservation Branch. Supervision of mineral-leasing activities had been assigned to the Bureau of Mines after the Mineral Leasing Act became law in 1920. When Herbert Hoover became Secretary of Commerce in 1921, however, he took seriously the responsibility of his department, as expressed in its Organic Act, to help "foster, promote, and develop" commerce and industry and therefore [he] cast a covetous eye on the Bureau of Mines and the Survey's Division of Mineral Resources to help foster, promote, and develop the mining industry. In 1925, he succeeded in obtaining their transfer from Interior to Commerce. Because the public-lands activities had to remain in Interior, the Survey took on a new assignment. At the time of the transfer, there were new requirements in the supervision of leasing activities. In the wake of the Teapot Dome scandal, the Coolidge administration had adopted conservation measures, and Coolidge had established a Federal Oil Conservation Board, with George Otis Smith as chairman of its advisory committee, in December 1924.16 Ethel Treibel writes: “On June 4, 1925, President Coolidge by an executive order, transferred the Bureau of Mines from the Department of Interior to the Department of Commerce. Two of its offices, however, were to remain under the Department of Interior. These were the division in charge of national coal and oil reserves, and the division in charge of leasing mineral lands. Secretary Hubert Work of the Department of Interior explained that this transfer was one in the reorganization of government departments program of the President, and approved by the Joint Congressional Committee, whose primary object was the elimination of the numerous duplication of activities that existed.”17 15 Mary C. Rabbitt, Minerals, Lands, and Geology for the Common Defense and General Welfare, Vol. 3, 1904- 1939, p. 15 (1986). 16 Ibid. 17 Treibel, op. cit., p. 32. The same day, Chicago Tribune reported, “Mr. Hoover announced his intention to appoint an advisory committee representing mining engineers and operators to formulate a policy for the bureau. The American Institute of Mining Engineers, and the National Coal Association will be requested to suggest who shall comprise the committee. Secretary Hoover said he could not anticipate whether the recommendations of the committee would entail general reorganization of the bureau. *** Transfer of the mineral statistic section to the Department of Commerce will eliminate overlapping with the work of the census bureau….
  10. 10. Although Treibel analyzes Hoover’s other Bureaucratic re-organizations at length, she does not cover his subsequent efforts at Mines, or the USGS Division of Mineral Resources. It is my contention, however, that Hoover’s consolidation of these two agencies within Commerce represented the marshalling of the full spectrum of U.S. industrial capacity under a streamlined ‘simplification process’ directed at realizing “Speedy” Taylor’s Efficiency standards, within the government itself. Otherwise, why would Hoover have work for 4 years to achieve it? This transfer of the Bureau of Mines, above all else, was Sec. Hoover’s key to unlocking Commerce’s ultimate potential to aid the American General Welfare, through promotion of manufactures – beginning, that is, with the first and arguably most important step of that process: namely, the location and identification of the mineral deposits themselves, and the streamlining of permitting and leasing to private companies, of the rights to explore and extract. BoM & the USGS Division of Mineral Resources is all the Hoover moved into Commerce, and he did so, because the transfer of Mines to Commerce enabled him to see and improve the entirety of the manufacturing cycle from start to finish: thus to influence it for the better, accordingly – all without overlap or waste. By this form of re- organization, Hoover also manifested a unified intent for the Commerce Department, which imparted an intrinsic mission-orientation that it could not have otherwise achieved. With this major shift, Hoover could realize at Commerce, the very ideals of the Efficiency Movement that had already taken root as U.S. National Standards, as seen, e.g., in Machinery’s Handbook. In this way, Commerce would be able to keep abreast of manufactures, maybe encourage it, but certainly not become a drag. Once Hoover had the Bureau of mines within his grasp, he reformed it too, to reflect his experience, creating _- branches as follows; a Technological Branch, with divisions including petroleum products, mines, and a non-metals division; and Economic Branch including a coal division, a mineral resources and stats division and a foreign metals division, and common metals division. There was of course also a Health & Safety Branch, and so forth. The concern of this paper, however, is limited to the proposal that a restored Bureau of Mines, operating in the Department of Commerce, and tasked with the responsibility of restoring mining & metallurgy to their foundational role in the U.S. Economy, esp. through a streamlined and economical permitting process, would uncork a critical bottleneck in U.S. productivity. FDR Keeps Hoover’s Commerce Dept. … Except …. FDR never spoke of Hoover … that is, he never mentioned his name in any campaign speeches -- “There are a great many people who have never heard of him. Why should I advertise him?” Roosevelt is quoted as saying.18 After the election, and before taking office, FDR also sought to maintain daylight between himself and the Hoover Administration, in order to more effectively allow negative press & public opinion, to pin liability for the Depression, on Hoover himself. But if there was an advertising blackout of Hoover in the Roosevelt campaign, and a hands- off policy in place during the transition, there was a different kind of silence that overcame the Roosevelt Administration once FDR took office – and his was a silence more like awe: for when the Roosevelt “Brains Trust” attained the Oval Office they found to their astonishment, that Hoover had actually anticipated nearly all of the reforms that the vaunted “Brains Trust” of the Roosevelt team, was proposing to put into practice. That is -- & contrary to all prevailing academic opinion -- Hoover had almost all of the elements of Roosevelt’s New Deal recovery program already in place, when the Roosevelt team took office in March of 1932. No less a figure, than Columbia’s Prof. Rexford Tugwell, lead economist among Roosevelt’s “Brains Trust,” eventually drafted a lengthy scholarly article seeking to set the record straight on this score, and counteract the overwhelming negative public sentiment that had been concocted against Hoover – much of it with Democratic party help, and with no little encouragement from the White House itself. Prof. Tugwell’s in-depth essay, based upon his direct & daily engagement among Roosevelt’s advisers, is entitled “Hoover’s Contributions to the New Deal.” It has never been published – but is linked below. 19 18 Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, An Intimate History, p. 99 (1950). 19 Tugwell, Hoover’s Contributions to the New Deal https://www.slideshare.net/RochSteinbach1/tugwell-hoovers- contributions-to-the-new-deal-fdr-library-tugwell-box-77-folder-4
  11. 11. In this paper, Tugwell shows that the Democrat’s “New Deal” was really a bi-partisan work, with most programs originating under Hoover. So there was clearly a deep if mute undercurrent of respect in the FDR White House, for Hoover’s huge but underpublicized or maligned accomplishments. FDR also appreciated Hoover’s work in revolutionizing Commerce and the U.S. economy along with it. It certainly wasn’t by any accident or caprice, but as a tacit homage to Hoover, that Roosevelt appointed his “chosen one” Harry Hopkins to be Commerce Secretary. Hopkins had no experience in this area; the Department now ran itself. But the objective was to groom Hopkins to be Roosevelt’s own successor, in the Oval Office. Senator Davis of Pennsylvania recognized this when he observed, “I think that the President [Roosevelt] saw the Department of Commerce had been a pretty good route to the Presidency (i.e. for Herbert Hoover) and he was training Harry.” 20 FDR Returns BoM to Interior: Why? Under Roosevelt, most key Commerce bureaus and their associated “efficiency” functions remained as FDR had inherited them from Hoover: presumably applying the “if it ain’t broke’ analysis, and because of this high if silent regard among the Roosevelt Administration, for Hoover’s stellar accomplishments at Commerce. Nevertheless, while little else was done to adjust the composition of Commerce at this early stage, it appears that the Roosevelt Administration did pull the Bureau of Mines out of Commerce very quickly after assuming the Oval Office. It took about a year to accomplish -- which suggests a concerted Executive Office effort must have begun rather soon after FDR's inauguration. While full documentation has not been obtained, it appears from file summaries and finding aids prepared at NARA and posted online, that the Bureau of Mines was “returned to DOI effective April 24, 1934, by Administrative Order 159, BM, March 10, 1934, implementing EO 6611, February 22, 1934.”21 This is just a few days over a year after FDR’s March 4, 1933 inauguration. I haven’t yet been able to find the text of this E.O., much less Roosevelt inter-office memos – so it’s impossible to say why they made the switch. Clearly it initiated from within the Roosevelt Administration, likely by Roosevelt’s first Commerce Secretary, Daniel C. Roper. Meanwhile, while Mines was still under Secretary Roper., BoM remained on track completing extraordinary Hoover-inspired and directed research product with real potential for impacting the resource-availability of U.S. minerals ores.22 Assuming they knew it all, the Roosevelt Admin had burned its bridges with Hoover during the Transition, and there was no communication between camps. So, this decision entirely intramural to the incoming Administration: it may have been motivated by the miners’ strikes, and in particular coal miners’ strikes, occurring over the Transition period,23 but if so it’s n not clear how the move was relevant to addressing that problem. A more natural move might have been to Labor, as opposed to Interior. At any rate, the actual reason for the switch is opaque: who was it that moved so rapidly for this particular change, and why? Harry Hopkins -- incidentally -- was not involved in the transfer: Hopkins was not appointed to Commerce until 1939, and confirmed by the Senate in 1940. Over the span of his four elected terms, the Roosevelt Administration did adjust Hoover’s formula for success at Commerce, during the course of organizational overhauls, with moves such as a 1939 re-organization which moved some employment authority out of the Commerce Dept. and transferred the Bureau of Fisheries to Interior; plus the Weather Bureau was moved into Commerce in 1940, and so forth. But the very early move-out of Mines from Commerce was unique: it clearly shows targeted intent. It's a stand-alone. Why? Was the USGS Division of Mineral Resources also returned at the same time? I have been unable to establish this either way. 20 Isherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, ibid, p. 107 (1950). 21 See, https://www.archives.gov/research/guide-fed-records/groups/070.html -- see 70.2 General Records – history. 22 See, e.g., Kelley, Contributions to the Data of Theoretical Metallurgy, Bulletin No. 371, U.S.D. Commerce, Bureau of Mines, http://digicoll.manoa.hawaii.edu/techreports/PDF/USBM-371.pdf 23 See, e.g., Proceedings of Meeting No. 19 of the Special Industrial Recovery Board, p. 16 (October 16, 1933). https://www.dol.gov/dol/aboutdol/history/sirb-minutes/meeting-19.pdf
  12. 12. Amid Collapsing U.S. Productivity, Clinton Closes BoM So, in a nutshell, key functions critical to Hoover’s successful re-organization of Commerce, within a mission- orientation corresponding to Hoover’s very efficient, and businesslike Commerce Dept., were removed from Commerce and returned to the Dept. of Interior in 1934, shortly after Hoover left office. Over the decades since that time, the BoM at Interior has been reduced, underfunded, vitiated, strangled in red-tape, and indeed, ultimately extinguished. Finally, the Bureau of Mines within Interior was dissolved by President Bill Clinton in 1996 – and it may not come as a surprise, that we should later find Hillary Clinton allegedly involved in selling off irreplaceable, strategic U.S. uranium ore deposits to Russia, in exchange for donations to the Clinton Global Initiative.24 Such a sell-off of strategic minerals could hardly be achieved if the Bureau of Mines were still routinely tracking access to and exploitation of these strategic reserves. And of course, directly proportional to the Administrative disregard extended to the Bureau of Mines leading eventually to its extinguishment, is the corresponding collapse of U.S. productivity, post World War II. The Bureau of Mines no longer exists, and even its history appears to be redacted almost out of memory. See the miniscule Wikipedia entry for example.25 It’s no surprise, then, that any actual “State” support of the mining industry was reduced to an afterthought: until the Trump presidency, such support was limited to the excellent training provided by the Colorado [State-chartered] School of Mines -- but there is effectively nothing coordinated coming from the Federal level: there is no longer even a Bureau of Mines in the United States Geological Survey !! Hard- rock mining permit requests are received and handled at either one of two offices in the Interior Dept. -- namely, the Forest Service and the BLM, where minerals development is not even the Mission Statement, and minerals permitting can take us much as eleven (11) years !! The 21st Century Requires LaRouche-Hamilton Economics Hoover’s own stunning accomplishments as a businessman, his success in an open & competitive minerals marketplace, working head-to-head against other mine engineers nationwide and worldwide, surely helped convince him of the governing viability of Efficiency Methods of analysis in government: these methods worked equally well for Hoover as Commerce Secretary, when applied within Commerce, and directed at the streamlining of the national economy. Consensus is, however, that Hoover’s very strengths in this sort of time and motion ‘accountancy’ approach to creating "in-system" economic efficiencies, left Hoover virtually incapable of understanding how to deal with the national economic crisis of the Great Depression. It’s not entirely apparent to the author, why President Hoover should have suffered such a blind spot, bordering on total intellectual eclipse. The idea of national R&D program could certainly have crossed his mind: but, again it was against his principles. Hoover could not see the unique answer lay in American System Economics of Alexander Hamilton, characterized by heavy, long-term R&D investments into new levels of infrastructure that would advance the U.S. economy to a higher platform of economic production. Meanwhile, FDR had this heritage within his own family history and political dialogue, and understood that the Depression required the astute application of American System Economic principles.26 Astute and comprehensive that is, because FDR understood that the depths of the national economic crisis in 1933 demanded that American System reforms be applied across the board, as rapidly and thoroughly as politics permitted, in a sort of economic "shock front" approach to the crisis.27 24 “Cash Flowed to Clinton Foundation Amid Russian Uranium Deal,” N.Y. Times https://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/24/us/cash-flowed-to-clinton-foundation-as-russians-pressed-for-control-of- uranium-company.html?_r=0 25 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Bureau_of_Mines 26 See, e.g., Lonnie Wolfe, "How Roosevelt Asserted the Power of Government over Wall Street," EIR, October 31, 2008, pp. 70 ff. 27 Sky Shields, "Franklin Roosevelt's Economic Shock Front," in 21st C. Science & Technology: Science and the LaRouche Movement, pp. 10 ff. (Summer, 2005).
  13. 13. A similar "shock front" approach to the current economic crisis is required now. But how to generate such a shock front on the scale required by the sheer numbers in the U.S. population, or the depths of their economic deprivation? One approach would be for the United States under President Trump to officially join the Belt & Road Initiative -- with MAGLEV -- inaugurated in Beijing just a month ago, and to which the Administration wisely sent a delegation. Fission-powered NAWAPA XXI is another such program. An equally promising program, would be to inaugurate a fusion energy "science driver" program for the mining of lunar He-3 and its use in the development of fusion energy here in the U.S. Such a program has been advanced by some the nation’s most prestigious energy & space scientists, including Apollo 17 astronaut-geologist Harrison Schmitt, in his book Return to the Moon.28 The program is also aggressively advocated and exceptionally well laid out and amplified by the LaRouche organization, for instance here: https://larouchepac.com/fusion-economy Engagement in any of these program -- and preferably all of them -- would represent an investment conforming to the outlines for the development of the national economy, as described by President George Washington's Secretary of the Treasury, the genius Alexander Hamilton, and as refined and adumbrated by the living genius of Lyndon LaRoucbe and his associates. In other words, we require an investment that directs and priorities national energies towards the General Welfare of the people, through pushing the envelope of man's scientific and technological abilities, towards the accomplishment of new, unprecedented mastery of the physical universe, through the control of yet-unrealized scientific principles informing visible nature: i.e., as in by achieving fusion power. Such a breakthrough would be hailed worldwide for centuries. Basic Mining Must be Made to Flourish But any such an "economic shock front" effort must meanwhile follow all existing & mundane fundamental laws of mechanics and physics, until it is actually in a position to push through the "boundary layer" into a New Paradigm; and this means doing most things the familiar. It means, for instance, promoting familiar mining activity towards the extraction of those particular raw ores and non-metallic materials that are essential to the development of any such a Hamiltonian project, and it means their refinement, smelting, rolling, casting & forging. It means the more general and widespread re-acquisition of metallurgical skills in a greater number and percent of the workforce, and all in all it means a national focus on mining and metallurgy. And the obvious way to make all this START to happen is to have a Bureau of Mines that is not intended as an afterthought to Interior, Commerce, or any other Department, but which is rather understood as the threshold of a new paradigm functionality and directedness in all U.S. economic planning. Obviously such a BoM would be in Commerce. Indeed, while restoring the BoM to Commerce is a key to unlocking our economy, it is only through the Hamiltonian ordering of renewed, reinvigorated but still seemingly routine mining activity within such New Paradigm policy and program as these – e.g., one of taking mankind to the level of lunar mining for fusion energy materials – that the current economic and cultural crisis can be successfully addressed. A new Bureau of Mines is the toehold for all this. Current proposed legislation – introduced concurrent with President Trump’s inauguration -- is rightly intended to re-open federal mineral lands blocked from development by the Obama Administration, as well as to streamline permitting of minerals leasing.29 But I suggest that the entire Administration, Industry, the Markets, and the people as a body politic, need to be made to understand that an entirely fresh, hands-on, hardworking start is about to be made -- and a new BoM hearkening back to Hoover's undeniable mining expertise, would help generate this atmosphere. So, any re-organization of Commerce must be undertaken with his perspective -- or its a waste of time. In recreating the genius of Hoover’s Commerce Department with a restored Bureau of Mines, we cannot also recreate the mistakes of Hoover’s Executive Office, by overlooking American System Economics in the current crisis. Only a LaRouche-Hamiltonian approach can help us here. 28 https://www.amazon.com/Return-Moon-Exploration-Enterprise-Settlement/dp/0387242856 29 http://landman.ca/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/January-30-2017.pdf
  14. 14. A PROPOSED RE-ORGANIZED DEPARTMENT of COMMERCE: RESTORE THE BUREAU OF MINES TO THE HEART OF COMMERCE Commerce has been Divorced from Productivity Washington himself conceived the federal Union as a critical instrumentality to be laid at the service of interstate and international commerce: in fact we owe the existence and formation of our U.S. Constitution to a convention that descended upon Alexandria, Virginia, in 1783, and retired to General Washington's home at Mount Vernon, Virginia, along the Potomac River, to discuss strategies for eliminating commercial disruption between the States, generated by conflicts of laws – in particular, import duties, taxes and tolls. 1. The Bureau of Mines. As a matter of fact, Commerce, still today, is key to U.S. economic well-being; and, phrased in terms of that dynamic document, under the Constitution, this means that the Commerce Dept. should be treated as THE key to promoting the General Welfare. That said, I suggest therefore that the Commerce Department itself should be restored as an engine of productivity, modelled after Herbert Hoover’s Commerce re-organization, and featuring a restored Bureau of Mines understood as the very threshold of any real recovery of the U.S. industrial capacity, relieving the bottleneck at the very front of the cycle of production: that is, by actively promoting mineral exploration with an objective of actively advancing mining. The Bureau of Mines should be resuscitated and restored to a central position in Commerce, as stated. Under Hoover, an Englishman seeking to market English industrial output in the U.S. once said, “Our competitor is not so much American industry as it is the United Stated Department of Commerce.” But a century of progressive distortion to the very concept of Commerce, has now limited the meaning of the word, to simple trade or movement of goods generally imported, without any relationship to their native origin, or the level of science applied in finishing them for market. Recreating the BoM within Commerce may help to straighten out this badly skewed understanding, as well as recreating the sense of National mission-orientation which should cloak highly productive activity like mining. Subsume a re-organized Commerce Department in a National Science Driver Program 2. International Deepwater Ports & the Port of Astoria International Deepwater Ports might be returned to Commerce as well, and linked by a port-to port intercontinental high-speed MAGLEV system U.S. international ports and domestic railroads are placed under the jurisdiction of the Department of Transportation, but was transferred to Homeland Security following the 9-11 attacks – and here, the key role of U.S. ports vis-à-vis actually exporting our domestic production into our international commerce and supporting the old-fashioned balance between U.S. & foreign trade, is just lost. Thus, it’s no surprise to find that under the current, unmotivated paradigm there has developed an obvious concentration in our Ports, to focus only on imports: thus, a surfeit of imports (often as containerized cargo), of cheaply-made, finished, foreign goods clogs our port facilities as our international ports become one-way conduits. Meanwhile, the interests of U.S. domestic manufacturers and their right to representation by U.S. government, in promotion of their goods as exports, has been disregarded, and our industries disfavored. With that in mind, I suggest that parallel with a recovery of the idea of native production uncorked by a new Bureau of Mines, that key international deepwater ports -- or aspects thereof -- be placed in Commerce: for instance, Baltimore, New York, New Orleans, Long Beach, Oakland and ASTORIA. The Port of Astoria on the Columbia, in fact, must be re-opened, modernized and expanded as the Pacific Pearl of U.S. commercial ports. 30 30 See, Steinbach, Astoria Only, Part I, https://www.slideshare.net/RochSteinbach/astoria-only-part-i-49135449 , Steinbach, Astoria Only, Part II, https://www.slideshare.net/RochSteinbach/astoria-only-part-ii-49135701
  15. 15. 3. SPC & the Bureau of Standards: Re-Patriate Edwards Deming A final note: under Hoover, the Department of Commerce included its own “oversight” desk, known as the “Department of Simplified Practice,” which was, effectively, an invitation to re-think industrial and business practices systematically or scientifically to determine where wasteful processes were impeding efficient production and more profitable (less wasteful) operation. The National Institute of Standards was a dynamo of productivity. But the concept of “standards” is still directed at the finished product put into the marketplace, and not by the standards applied to the processes by which the product is achieved. Today, we should think of checking these processes for weaknesses that generate waste in time and materials, in real terms, as per Edwards Deming’s development of Statistical Process Control (SPC) … a scientific application of statistical analysis to production processes, intended to detect the cause of waste during the course of production, in order to remediate the processes rapidly and so set up habits and patterns of efficiency throughout a workplace. Deming developed SPC concepts while working in the Commerce Department’s Census Bureau under FDR, and use of some of his proposals was approved by Commerce Secretary Harry Hopkins, ca 1939. But Commerce has never embraced SPC; and Deming’s innovative insights and project for reforming industry was rejected by the U.S. automotive industry – tragically. Deming shopped his ideas elsewhere, with the result that the Japanese automobile manufacturer Toyota is now the world’s Number One carmaker — while the U.S. auto industry has obviously suffered dramatic declines in quality, volume, earnings and employment. Commerce should also investigate ways in which Deming’s SPC system might be made official U.S. commercial production policy. Dated June 12, 2017 Roch Steinbach, President SYM-Zonia, Inc An (inactive) Oregon Non-profit Public Benefit Scientific Research Corporation Banks, Oregon, 97106 rochsteinbach@stanfordalumni.org 503-502-0567