A Drop of Water Explains Our $ Universe


Water: no other element is as necessary for sustaining life. And no other necessity so brings into focus the overreach of private corporate wealth, picking our nation’s public pockets. How so? Guess which city in Michigan, the Great Lakes state surrounded by fresh water, still has schools with dangerous levels of lead in its water, PLUS the highest water bills of any of 500 in the nation?

Flint. Yes, that Flint. $910 annually for all the lead you can drink. (Although when I was at Totem Books in Flint, people there said, no! That was on the low side!)

Now guess which state just handed over 576,,000 gallons of water per day to Nestle Corporation for free, so they could pump the state’s groundwater Great Lakes Basin for private profit, despite overwhelming input from citizens protesting the piracy— 80,945 against, to 76 in favor?  Michigan!  

Flint's Michigan water first got national attention in 2014, thanks to Mona Hannah-Attisha, a young pediatrician who noticed the dangerous levels of lead in children’s blood. She undertook blood test surveys on her own, when the Michigan government failed to respond, instead covering up their crimes. Gov. Rick Snyder had earlier indulged sweeping powers given him by the Michigan legislature, to override the city’s elected representatives by means of a fiscal manager. Synder's appointee made the change in water source, despite the city council’s protests, that not only poisoned kids, but ruined Flint’s plumbing systems. 

In other words, the state's regime declared that bucks will trump democracy. Eventually 15 people were criminally charged, including for negligent homicide, but not so, the Governor, who only oversaw the whole fiasco.

The city’s deficit has made for the latest cruel decision—namely shutting off water to those 1000 residents who cannot pay their water bills. Food and Water Watch is calling for water bill forgiveness and new state funds to repair the damage done to the city’s water system.

Now here’s some good news: Maryland is poised to declare that water is an “inalienable right” for its citizens through a Water Taxpayer Protection Act. The city of Baltimore has been fighting the takeover of its public water system by private corporations, having studied the results from cities that took that private route. In every case, the cost of water for citizens went up.

Profits skimmed from the top apparently leaves a scummy ring around your water bill. Essentials like water need to be kept public. 

—Rickey Gard Diamond

NOTE: That a drop of water could explain the universe was something Lucy Larcom wrote, recalling her girlhood at the earliest textile factories. Dr. Mona also writes about water in her memoir, What the Eyes Don’t See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance and Hope in an American City.

When in the Course of Human Events, It Becomes Necessary for a People...

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E Pluribus Unum

Home of the Brave and the Free

A Boston Herald photo of President Trump's turnaround on no-tolerance, a public show of powerful white men expounding on how great the country is doing. 

A Boston Herald photo of President Trump's turnaround on no-tolerance, a public show of powerful white men expounding on how great the country is doing. 

I admit, the young piping voice of that little girl in the borderlands of Texas asking for her aunt to come get her, while another desolate child cried for his Papi, broke my heart. I felt grateful when Rachel Maddow broke down while reading an Orwellian euphemism, a new alien phrase, “tender age shelters.” What was being done in our name, with our tax dollars, by our government?

Today my head feels clearer, my heart braver, because so many Americans felt the same, and said, no, this isn’t who we are. What great news of that practical couple, who proposed raising bail money on Facebook for parents, so separation wouldn’t happen. Hoping for $15,000, they now have $13 million in donations to help local agencies that will work to reunite families.

It’s money needed, since our federal government has no system in place to do so, and remains silent on the matter. There is much talk about long sought-after immigration reform in Congress, but no mention of public hearings or a full airing of problems legislators only call “complex,” but seldom take time to explain. Republicans control matters, but even they can’t agree, the real reason we’re stuck.

If like me you’re weary, and becoming aware of how little you understand about legalities that ensnare people who seek safety and a future for their children, there’s help. These books go to places our legislators refuse to brave, busy waging war. These books freely wage life. Check them out!

Sonia Nazario’s recently updated, Enrique’s Journey: The Tale of a Boy’s Dangerous Odyssey to Reunite with His Mother. It highlights the stakes, the personal risks, and also the people who help.

Shanti Hekaran’s novel, Lucky Boy, reveals an undocumented immigrant mother’s journey, her detention and separation from her child, Ignacio, and another more privileged immigrant couple trying to adopt him. Honest—with comedy relief.

C. Susan Nunn’s vibrant novel, Song of the Earth, is the passionate tale of a newcomer journalist’s changing take on Arizona’s borderlands, its flash floods, its illegal immigrants, drug-runners, “coyotes,” and an ATF agent. An educational page-turner.

—Rickey Gard Diamond

Marjorie Kelly's Body Makeover

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No, I’m not talking plastic surgery here, I’m talking about business leadership and its corpus. This Latin word literally means “body,” and Marjorie Kelly’s work has focused on that collective physique we have named “the corporation.” She first examined the history of laws that govern corporate norms in her book, The Divine Right of Capital. She uncovered corporate law’s deep roots in royalist thinking. One of my most admired journalists, William Greider, wrote the foreward.

She followed that up with what I am calling her body makeover. She calls for wider democratic ownership of business organizations in her book Owning Our Future. What she calls “generative” corporations would share work and production’s profits more cooperatively. She contrasts this new kind of endeavor with the old model of “extractive” corporations that exploit natural resources and cheap labor to produce maximum profit for its wealthy shareholders alone. 

Part of a “new economy” group called The Democracy Collaborative, Kelly and her latest goal is to inspire a movement of 50 million corporate worker-owners by 2050. A wonderful writer, her latest work can get wonky, so I’ll link you here to one of her earliest questions: Can Corporations Be Good? published in Yes! Magazine back in 2012.

Yes! Magazine is full of unscrewed news and positive vibes. Its publisher, Fran Korten, wrote about Kelly’s history and her latest goal for worker-ownership more recently in TruthOut. These two articles will introduce you to Kelly’s innovations, and also to two cutting-edge publications, if you don’t already know them. You can connect with her Fifty By Fifty Network at https://www.fiftybyfifty.org

Despite her use of the g-word, generative, which literally requires diverse chromosomal exchanges between two sexes, Kelly seems reluctant to mention gender in her work. I can’t say I blame her, as that generally doesn’t help you get ahead. But gender is an element I consider crucial to understanding the meaning of “female” in a still male-dominated world of business and money—and crucial for both men and women to understand if we’re to make lasting corpus/corporate changes.

—Rickey Gard Diamond

A Tax You Can Love


This New World, edited by Laura Paddison, is a new subset of HuffPo for those interested in sustainable business models. They say capitalism is broken. Can we fix it? 

Here's one idea Paddington recently wrote about that has gotten an airing in other capitalist countries:  Introduce a tax on robots that replace workers. Workers who earned wages were taxed on those wages. But now that income stream has dwindled, impoverishing workers and governments. Under the guise of "progress," corporations are given tax advantages for "modernizing," and ultimately robots underbid even the poorest-paid human.   

That's profitable for corporations. But is it profitable for human beings and civilization? No one has yet passed a tax on robots, but South Korea came the closest, ending its corporate tax subsidy for "modernizing." There's no doubt but that machines will continue to replace humans, but a tax would help slow the process down, giving us time to retrain and problem-solve—like advocating for the caring work that machines cannot do, and raising caring wages to compensate for those lost ones. 

Interested? Apparently Bill Gates likes the idea. Here's a link to Paddington's article:  https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/robot-tax-bill-gates_us_5b0f030ce4b0be10a4882b63

Don't Miss CommonBound, Even If You Must!

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Are you bummed you won't be able to attend The CommonBound Conference in St. Louis, Missouri, coming up quick, on June 22-24? Don't worry! They've got a solution!

The national CommonBound event they've titled "Owning Our Power" is sponsored by The New Economy Coalition, an alliance of over 200 forward-thinking organizations that are already making economic change. Please note this picture of panelists from last year. Lots of women are interested in economic change. Two sponsors  are among our most-admired groups: The Business Alliance for Local, Living Economies; and The Caring Campaign, sponsored by Riane Eisler's Center for Partnership Studies. See Links below! 

There's still time to register for the event. CommonBound 2018 has organized 50 different workshops, including these, which you can link to here:  Creating a Just Capital Fund for Your Community, and Scaling Employee Ownership. See their entire workshop schedule at this link: View Workshop Schedule.

But if you haven't the time or the money to do it this year, the good news is that two plenery sessions and five workshops will be live-streamed. You can register for live-streaming here, for a small donation, and they will send you a schedule of when you can tune in.  Register for the Livestream!  

Caring Economy Fast Facts Sheets

Caring Economy Campaign , Center for Partnership Studies