Michigan corruption

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!)

A Drop of Water Explains Our $ Universe

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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.