We are better than this, aren’t we?



Nutty gun violence before elections feels un-American to me, but then sometimes I wonder. Am I just old-fashioned?? I’m stunned and disgusted by the overall tone of Presidential responses to old-white-guy fans with pipe bombs and AR-15s, but I can’t say I’m happy with our media’s obsession with his tweets either.

Yes, the press is NOT the enemy of the people, and some of “the people” is all journalists are, as easily murdered as politicians or you and me. Still I have noticed that CNN’s voice for their ads on upcoming coverage of mid-term elections does sound like the same scary guy who dared us to watch Hulk Hogan wrestle, or Evil Knievel jump trucks in Las Vegas. Really?

About now I’d like to hear more from the Sisters of Mercy, the Universalist Church choir, and from sensible lesbians and mothers and witches tired to death of all this schmuckery. They’re pro-active; they’d say: Finish your dinner. Take a nap. Play some ball with the kids. Grow up. It’s your turn to take out the trash.

Be a mensch, in other words, which only means: try to be a good human being. Help your brother. Help your sister. Love your neighbor. Yeah, the same one that irritates you. The one who votes the wrong way, and watches the wrong media. The one who mocks snowflakes. Suck helium, and then tell me, tough guy—and joke all you want. Laughter keeps you breathing.

 But if he endangers you, if he’s talking smack and threatening anyone, then that’s time to call in the cops. If they don’t believe you, or endanger you instead, which clearly does happen, then call on your neighbors, the ones you have loved. The ones who love you. They’re out there, the only ones who can possibly make a difference. I hope you have helped them all get registered to vote! 

—Rickey Gard Diamond, 10.29.18

What a Week!

What a Week!

The Senate Judiciary Committee members forget about their female “assistant” and also common decency.

Women Collaborate While Power Colludes

“For as long as I can remember I’ve felt compelled to be of service to my community. It is a lifetime commitment rooted in a family tradition of public service. As I’ve watched the problems caused by a lack of effective, honest government grow,  I’ve decided to be part of the solution and I am now running for the Michigan State Senate.” (www.rosemarybayer.com)

“For as long as I can remember I’ve felt compelled to be of service to my community. It is a lifetime commitment rooted in a family tradition of public service. As I’ve watched the problems caused by a lack of effective, honest government grow, I’ve decided to be part of the solution and I am now running for the Michigan State Senate.” (www.rosemarybayer.com)

Mid-week THIS week, I could use some good news, couldn’t you? Assume the worst for those Republican Senators on the US Judiciary Committee, who refuse the usual protocol when an allegation against any judicial nomination raises its ugly head.  Let them pretend to be fair, in an even worse way than Senators pretended to be fair about Anita Hill 27 years ago. That time, they at least investigated.

American women (and the men who love us) will see the testimony, and hear the questions set against the background of the Georgetown Prep School yearbook, and they will vote in November, and increasingly they will run for office and win elections.

How do I know that? Michigan, the home state I write about in Screwnomics, played a pivotal role in 2016. But now a record number of women from diverse racial and cultural backgrounds have won primaries in state and national elections there—and promise to be community-minded problem-solvers.

Rashida Tlaib speaks to staff, supporters and the press after the Associated Press called Tlaib's race in her favor at one of Tlaib's field offices in Northwest Detroit on Aug. 7, 2018.   (Photo: Cameron Pollack, Detroit Free Press)

Rashida Tlaib speaks to staff, supporters and the press after the Associated Press called Tlaib's race in her favor at one of Tlaib's field offices in Northwest Detroit on Aug. 7, 2018. (Photo: Cameron Pollack, Detroit Free Press)

Kathleen Gray at The Detroit Free Press writes a long article about the phenomenon, because only a long article would cover it all. Shannon Garrett of Holland, who co-founded VoteRunLead, is training women to run for office—172 of them from Michigan.  She says: “The reason we’re at this point in politics is because we’ve had the same people serving in political seats since the dawn of democracy, and that’s mostly white men. And the politics has become less about policy and more about power.”

Candidates from diverse genders, race, and income level promise better problem-solving, Garrett says, “Because if you have the same group of people looking at the problem, they’re going to come up with the same ways of solving these problems.”

Ms. Garrett is much nicer than I am, so I am going to point out that “the same group of people,” is not just mostly white males, but also mostly rich white males. Forty-percent of Congressional members are millionaires. Those who aren’t, depend on funds from “the donor class,” who are their billionaire friends, operating a profitable elections industry.

Maybe it’s a co-incidence, but I’ve noticed Congressional health insurance and retirement benefits are outrageously better than yours and mine. Michigan state Rep. Christine Greig (D-Farmington Hills), who could be in line to become Michigan’s first female Speaker of the House, told The Detroit Free Press: “When we have more balance in gender, we have better and more ways to communicate. And in general, you hear about women being really strong at collaboration….”

We surely could use some productive collaboration to counter the fakery of collusion, pretending fairness to protect an unchecked power.

—Rickey Gard Diamond

FYI:  (Rosemary Bayer, whom I’ve never met, is the cousin of my son-in-law, who sent me news of her surprise Senate race. He’s very proud of her!)

Wake Up, Corporate Bodies!

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The glass ceiling was a phrase first coined in an article in The Wall Street Journal, to describe what professional women confront—an invisible, unspoken rule that says, you can only go so far.  Men continue to dominate corporate management and corporate boards that direct a company’s mission, goals and bottom line, as well as its spirit and character.

Now a California state senator, Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) is the author of a bill intended “to blow up the glass ceiling,” she says, adding that company boards need “a woman’s perspective.” Ken Martin at FOXBusiness reports that a majority in the California Senate agrees with her. They just passed this game-changer, sending it halfway to the finish line. The bill would require at least one woman on company boards by the end of 2019, with a schedule for increasing numbers. By 2021, a six-member board would seat three women members.

OMG. Equal numbers? Opposed by many business groups, of course, amendments are expected. Some San Francisco corporations already have met the standard, according to this source, noting Airbnb just expanded its board to include one added woman, and the female Pixar CFO, Ann Mather, now serves on two boards. Wowee.

Is that progress? Only if you believe ambitious women will be Angels. Right now the selling point made by Catalyst, a women’s organization examining women’s status in business, is that boards with more women do better financially. That’s not a bad thing, but in itself would not necessarily make for change down where the majority of women still work. Kim Elsesser at Forbes cites a study that actually claims boards with women paid their CEOs 15 percent more—hardly the group most in need of pay raises.

Work policies need to change to include greater diversity and pay equity, more flexible work schedules, and ample family leave time for everyone. For that we’ll need reshaping of corporate structure and cultures from the bottom, as well as from the top, aMarjorie Kelly argues in Owning Our Future.  An economy now waged as competitive war, measured solely by dollars, can be changed into one that wages life. But a living economy needn’t “blow up” a thing—nor are richer CEOs and profits for a few its best yardstick.

Nevertheless, Jackson is shaking norms that need to be woke! You go, girl!

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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