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Usually things can be easily grasped if you avoid the details and look at a broader picture…  Of course, I’m not saying never look at details… That would be silly…  But I’m saying that if you approach all situations from the bottom up, you really don’t have a clue unless you luckily enough to reach the summit and look down…  It is like climbing a mountain… If you just walk uphill… you may get there… or you may hit a wall that cannot be climbed… But looking at a satellite photo of the mountain first, you can easily track a general path, then deal with the details discovered on the ground when you get there….

What politics all comes back to, is what I first heard while making the rounds with my dad. That old man on the porch who said between cigar puffs…. “Kid… politics is about who gets the money and who controls it…”

That held for my county then, for our counties now, for our state, and federal too… Understanding  that politics is all about money, makes one understand ahead of time what will pass legislature in any given session, and what will not…

There are many ways to divide the pie…  one can base it on color of skin which has been tried in our history.  One can base it on gender, which has been tried in our history… One can base it on land ownership which as been tried in our history…  But over the course of time, each of those distinctions have fallen.  And good riddance.

Now, thanks to mass media, there is a new distinction… Between those who can buy ads to threaten lawmakers, and those who can’t…  (For simplicity more than accuracy, we will from henceforth, call them the 1% versus the 99%…..)

If one looks at the 1%’s slice of pie, prevailing wage bites into it… They have to pay a higher wage than what they could find in cheaper labor…  I mean who could not be against prevailing wage if it meant you had to pay more money which you could, if the trend were gone, keep to yourself?    So these guys do have motive, one that is dear to each and all of our hearts. Keeping their money.

But even rich people know that an argument saying:  make these people suffer more so I can become EVEN richer does not hold water in any forum.  In fact that argument is the kiss of death… So instead they find a third party to portray as victim… which is the government…  Their argument:  our government is paying more than it has to which is a waste catches more flies especially during hard times….

There are some mis-truths here that need pointing out…

One is that doing away with prevailing wage does not cut cost for government…  It does nothing like that at all in our system of bids …. Our government asks for bids, and it chooses one…. Most often there is only one bid.  That bidder gets what they ask… And with prevailing-wage-principles now gone, the owners pocket that extra incremental which was previously blamed on Prevailing Wage…

So whereas on paper one can anticipate all the labor being used on government contracts and take several dollars off every total and call that a potential savings…. it does not show how other mysterious costs will bite into and suck out those alleged savings, funneling the money over to the 1%’s bank accounts.

In other words, there will be no savings because the 1% will steal them… WE THE PEOPLE will still pay $65 million for a construction job, but instead of 53% going to wages which get spent in our state, now only 43% goes to that place… Losing prevailing wage takes money like a giant vacuum cleaner right out of Delaware’s economy… Instead of funding projects to benefit people working, we are funding the same projects to benefit those who take the money immediately right out of the state’s economy which quickly gets locked up and we will never see it again…..

Bottom line of losing prevailing wage?… A.) No money is ever saved by our government.  B.) Our Delaware local economy suffers net loss. C.) The top 1% grows 10% richer with every project the state funds….

In very surprising language from a very Conservative Pope, (Pope Francis’s predecessor)  Pope Benedict lays it out very clearly…

Today, budgetary policies, with cuts in social spending often made under pressure from international financial institutions, can leave citizens powerless in the face of old and new risks; such powerlessness is increased by the lack of effective protection on the part of workers’ associations. Through the combination of social and economic change, trade union organizations experience greater difficulty in carrying out their task of representing the interests of workers, partly because Governments, for reasons of economic utility, often limit the freedom or the negotiating capacity of labour unions. Hence traditional networks of solidarity have more and more obstacles to overcome. The repeated calls issued within the Church’s social doctrine, beginning with Rerum Novarum[60], for the promotion of workers’ associations that can defend their rights must therefore be honoured today even more than in the past…

Hence, by degrees it has come to pass that working men have been surrendered, isolated and helpless, to the hardheartedness of employers and the greed of unchecked competition. The mischief has been increased by rapacious usury, which, although more than once condemned by the Church, is nevertheless, under a different guise, but with like injustice, still practiced by covetous and grasping men. To this must be added that the hiring of labor and the conduct of trade are concentrated in the hands of comparatively few; so that a small number of very rich men have been able to lay upon the teeming masses of the laboring poor a yoke little better than that of slavery itself. 

So, if you read the above you can plainly see  we have a head of the largest Christian denomination the Roman Catholic Church, calling for the continuance of policies like Prevailing Wage, and endorsing it…. “What God has brought together; let no man cut asunder.”

What just happened June 30th, was that the total economic pie of Delaware, the one that gets divided up between the haves and have-nots, just got a little smidgen taken from the Have-Nots and  added to the side of the Haves which already own over 50% of the pie .

  • A.) No money gets saved by the Government.
  • B.) Less money now filters through our grocery stores, our restaurants, our small businesses, our handyman our landscapers, our repair shops, or our mechanics….
  • C.) The noose for 99% of us becomes tighter by another notch, which with a one way slit knot, can never be undone except by cutting away the noose altogether..

The good news is that some form of prevailing wage still stands for larger contracts.   The bad news is that we have less pie than we did a week ago, to feed all 1 million of us living today in what once were the three former counties of Pennsylvania….

But the effects of reducing prevailing wage can be countered by a government and local economy…. If we would just create an excessive tax on the top one percent while giving them the option to write off everything they spent on capital investment that year…. they themselves would have the incentive to pay more and government would not have to step in and support wages with a minimum floor… Pictorially, If the top 1% had to continuously give back the slices of pie they continuously stole from us, they would stop stealing, is basically the point of taxing excessively those only in the top tier.

Or, if we could again legally protect every American worker from being fired if they stopped workage as long as their work stoppage was linked to getting higher wages, then those wages would increase through bargaining under that threat, and laws supporting prevailing wages would no longer be necessary…

But since 1980 we have cut back on those two forms of balance so until they are restored, today’s current political climate which is controlled by the owners of excessive money , demands the necessity of continuing prevailing wage just to keep all wages higher, both private and public, since all wages have to compete for labor against the highest one on the market…

But it is ultimately our failure as a state to jump-start massive local investment by levying huge taxes on all monies the top one percent won’t spend on local capital improvements here within our state’s boundaries,  that causes us to have to defend the concept of prevailing wage.. We NEED prevailing wage just for the simple reason that all of its well-spent money comes straight to us… to all of us in the local economy when those receiving it in their paychecks, spend it!… Without prevailing wage,  it’s the Caymen Island bank accounts which swell with yours and my money…………  instead of our local economy.

Prevailing Wage like every thing in politics… is only about who gets to get their hands on the money….. Why shouldn’t it be you?  There is no reason.  Just that you didn’t ask for it; You didn’t defend your rights to it; you elected people paid for by the other side… Your lack of having enough money today comes down to your own damn fault….

Isn’t it time you did something about it?

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Although support for the TDC power plant may look like a chance to support jobs, the reality it that it is an environmental disaster.

When you support a disaster, you eventually lose….

Labor Unions will lose public support if this TDC center goes through….   Withholding the environmental dangers from the public may work short term and get approval, …

But once built, and when ash particles the size of golf-balls begin to fall on Newark, Stanton, Elsmere, Wilmington and Claymont, the public will ask,,, how on earth could this have been approved?

The truth will come out at that point, that bad people sneaked it through using bad ways…..

You will eventually lose prevailing wage if this TDC goes through…. The public will turn on you.  I almost turned on you before I calmed down. Economics are a strong suit. But one’s life trumps economics.  The environmental consequences of this TDC are gigantic.  Everyone who gets cancer will blame you…  Anything they can do to hurt you will become their dying wish, if you know what I mean….

What to do….

  • Support a data center without a power plant.
  • Support building a data center in a rural area close by so we get the same jobs… 20 miles into Cecil County or east of Middletown would do the trick.
  • Support something else being built on the same location…. One that has no environmental impact.

Putting your loyalty and support behind the Data Center, is like putting your loyalty and support behind a candidate who unknown to you committed child abuse 25 years ago…  At some future point, you lose all your investment…… and are left to fight a defensive war to keep more from being taken away by business groups…..

You did not know this would turn on you.  But it has, and will get worse….   Now is the time to sneak out of the back of the crowd while no one is really looking or counting…..

Signed:  Your most ardent supporter.

K

 

…. said Rick Jensen as Liz Allen finished and hung up the phone before Rick could answer….

I usually drive in silence but I laughed out loud when I heard that. Seriously glad I was not drinking coffee that very second…

To set the background, Rick was trying to pin the blame on unions like would a normal corporate shill and Liz called in and was objecting…

Basically her argument was that there were a lot of things wrong with this Kinder Morgan Deal.  Most of you know, I’ve outlined many.  Al Mascitti has outlined some. Nancy Willing outlined some. Norinda outlined some.  Bobby Marshall has outlined some.  John Kowalko has outlined some. The News Journal writers  and editorialists  have outlined some.  Even Alan Levin truthfully  outlined some…. And of course, Liz Allen was Delaware’s voice.  She outlined many…. And don’t even  mention that the entire House of the General Assembly, both Democrats and Republicans unanimously voted for General Assembly oversight on this strange thing happening, despite the Governor and Alan Lavin saying…”shouldn’t do that!!!”

THE  ENTIRE  HOUSE  OF  THE  GENERAL  ASSEMBLY  VOTED  FOR  SENATE  BILL  3  YET  KINDER  MORGAN  IS  SINGLING  OUT  A  LABOR LEADER,  JULIUS  CEPHAS? ? ?

All of these people are more to blame for swaying public opinion than Julius Cephas.  However, truth be told, without Julius, none of these people would be swaying public opinion….  He didn’t harangue, he didn’t bash, he’d didn’t twist arms…

All Julius did to persuade this wave against Kinder Morgan, was speak the “truth”.  The letter paints Julius as a feisty uncooperative fiery personality…  Anyone who’s sat on a panel with Julius finds that hard to believe.  That is not how Julius handles adversity.  He digs down and works.

Of course as we all age we come to realize that anything is possible.  But if we are going to allow ourselves to consider even the most outrageous items,  what I find far more possible, and far more probable, was that Kinder Morgan was seriously planning on cutting jobs.  Furthermore, it probably had it’s eye on the DRBA portion of the state pension fund… Speaking strictly as a vulture capitalist here… who wouldn’t?

Apparently Julius Cephas was in the way…  We all owe him a thank you.

I know Texas gas firms.  This deal is not off.  What we have here is a lighter being held up  to Delaware’s foot.  To scare us a little, try to get us to move things up, to get us to concede… They sharply deduced that to have a successful operation here, they need to do away with the union.  Hence, instead of excoriating Bob Marshall’s leadership, which they would have done if they truly were to pick up and go, …knowing they might need him later instead they chose to focus on Julius Cephas…

Can they turn the state into an out-roar against Julius and the Longshoreman’s union, so much so that we offer them a counter-offer with “the union”  completely eclipsed out of it?

In their minds they think they can.   They’re Texans…  Look at Governor Perry.  (Hope you weren’t drinking hot coffee right there… )

What they don’t realize is that to convince Delaware to come aboard, they have to accomplish all these four things…

A.  Convince us first  on the concept of privatization; Trust us, our state is completely against it.

B.  Give us $5 billion for 50 years.

C.  Promise us the Longshoreman’s Union will be around forever .

D.  Expand business so the outside businesses will grow….. 

I think this is more money than they want to bear right now….  But if they are willing to agree to these propositions,   send us an offer….

Us Delawareans are a little stronger negotiators, with a little more backbone,  than is Alan Levin….  I’m sorry from a honesty point of view, if his actions sort of misled you.

There are two ways to do business.  One is do what is best for the business by being selfish..  The second is to do what is best for the customer and community, which in our view, turns out to be what is best for the business.

Delawareans (minus Rich Heffron)  subscribe to the latter…..

 

Although the year is barely out, we do have our first nomination for the spot to be announced in December 2013.  With the Kinder Morgan Deal now on hold semi-permanently, even they are pointing to our hero of the year as the man most responsible for allowing the port to remain state owned….

I can say it was Julius Cephas who was behind almost every move to combat the loss of good jobs at our port.  He is being pointed out as the villain by the capitalists at Kinder Morgan.  In Delaware’s eyes, that elevates his hero’s stature even more…

In truth, he is no villain and knowing him, he will probably shun the acclimations being made by us common folk as being our hero.  In his eyes, he was just doing what needed to be done because no one else was there at that very moment to do it, and as that task swelled, it took a lot out of him….

Capitalists always need a villian.  But it was the “truth” which actually is what killed this deal.  Kinder Morgan WAS going to cut back on jobs, and their change of heart and blaming Julius instead of others, points exactly to the core of their problem with our port… …

People in Texas, do not understand unions.  They simply can’t fathom or understand how there can be an actual law that lets people strike and shut you down, whenever you try to pay them less..  In their eyes, you work for what they want to give you and if it is too little, ..humph.  go elsewhere….

The second culprit (after the “truth”),  was our office of economic development.  We gave Kinder Morgan too many “eager” signals that set us up as being seen as an easy pick.  They truly thought they could waltz in, pick up a top notch East Coast Port for a song, and we would eagerly give it up…  Again, that was because everything was done in secret.  Had a meeting been forthcoming in the very beginning,  Kinder Morgan might have moved on earlier when it became readily apparent, that southern Texas practices do not bode well in the Northeast…

Of course, being a corporation, they will blame the whistle blower.  (Ironic since the whistle blower of Enron works for them)..   Of course.  It is not like they find anything immoral in taking a state asset for a song, in firing those skilled dock workers, and replace them with some Spanish speaking Texans who never even heard of a union….

And Julius did blow that whistle. .  Like Rose on the Titanic, he took the whistle off of Jack (pun intended), and blew softly at first, then harder, and harder.   Gradually the sound registered on others ears….

Without Julius, Bob Marshall would not have pushed through Senate Bill 3.  Without Julius, most of the links showing up in everyone’s blog, would have not been found.  Without Julius, the case for protecting workers would not have even made the rounds of the Norman Oliver show….

There were many helpers. Bob Marshall, Nancy Willing, Norman Oliver, Norinda, Helene Keeley, Al Mascitti, Liz Allen, John Kowalko, and (an other blogger too shy to be mentioned here). When one looks back through all of them one sees from everywhere, there in the center of the universe,  stands a normal human being just like us, known to most … as Julius.

There will come a time when a better deal will arrive.  Could even be this year. There will come a time when a suitor who does care about Delaware, who does care about unions, about human beings, about those businesses on the outside, and who will want to upgrade the port for everyone’s interest, not just their own… And that suitor in this day and age, could even come from abroad.  Germany is very committed to union labor, to the environment, to being a good neighbor…. There are a great many possibilities out there that are immeasurable…. We definitely dodged a Texas bullet with this one….

When that suitor arrives… Julius’s stature will be set in cement….  For he did nothing really Herculean, except argue the truth…  He didn’t lie.  He didn’t connive,  He didn’t threaten….

That was done by our office of economic development.  Instead and unlike them, Julius told the truth.  He told the truth to anyone who would listen.  He told the truth enough, so many “did” listen….

And that is why, he  deserves this nomination as Delaware’s Man of the Year.  I know it is early into 2013, but great things just do not wait!!….

You will hear smears that Julius tubed the deal… I saw the letter and it is already out on WDEL and the Delawareonline’s News Journal… But as an impartial blogger, I can tell you exactly what killed this deal.

It was “the truth”.  The truth of what this deal would cost us Delawareans….. is what turned the tide and caused the outcry that rose up against it….

If Kinder Morgan really wanted this deal, they could have easily said… “we are expanding and putting 5 new berths out into the river.  We are buying the port for the bargain price of $5 billion.   We need those businesses outside the fence because the jobs we get, will soon be too big, we can’t do it ourselves.  We will keep the union just as it is;  Wilmington needs good jobs and we are going to do our part….  We are also going to contribute into an emergency fund to be used for any spill or environmental accident that takes place under our tenure….

Kinder Morgan could have done any of those things, … and didn’t…. The blame doesn’t lie with Julius after all…. Especially when you consider the following…

This Economic Council erred on Fisker Automotive.  Then it erred on Bloom Energy.  Then it tried to Kinder Morgan us out of our port…..   Someone rushed in  with a save to make sure that last one didn’t happen.

That person is now hereby nominated for Delaware’s Person of the Year…….