Rev. Valerie's Reveries

This blog contains personal reflections from Unitarian Universalist minister Valerie Mapstone Ackerman.

Friday, February 25, 2011

AynRandians are astonishing

While progressives nd other hopeful world citizens send pizzas to the protesters in Madison, WI, the apologists for the super-libertarians are explaining why organized labor must die. The first reason they cite: unionized workers, especially public employees are overpaid. Astonishing BS! To make this citation they must use incalculable calculations which leave out the entire upper-class cohort who don't actually earn salaries, but instead OWN the country.

Then, they assert that public employee pensions MUST be eliminated because, wait for it, pensions are unrealistically generous! They say that the workers should suffer through a 401K just like the non-unionized workers! The same people who claim that social security should be eliminated in favor of "privatizing" retirement investment because private investment is better, now claim that defined benefit pension plans are too good for middle class workers.

Gov. Walker of Wisconsin was duped into telling a prank caller posing as the ultra-rich David Koch that his plan to kill unions was unfolding as planned and spreading to other states ruled by Repugnacrat governors. He bragged about taking down unions as part of a scheme to make the rich richer. So refreshing to prove that we are not paranoid about the intention of these puppets--or their puppeteers.

The greed-is-good AynRandians must be feeling a tad pressed to justify their position. They have consistently argued that people should not band together in cooperative ventures, that people should instead only be judged as individuals and thus step on the neck of anyone they need to vanquish in order to gain market position.

As Rachel Maddow points out we are at war now--a culture war that is being run with military-precise planning. The generals are super-rich funders of astro-turf (fake grass-roots) organizations. Disaffected down-trodden forgotten people (the troops) get riled by the likes of Glen Beck about the loss of jobs, foreclosed homes, dried up pensions combined with abortion, gay sex and other unpleasantness. So now actual grassroots folks throw themselves in Tea Partying and other such self-hatred.

It is all so astonishing to me. But it shouldn't be. All it took was removing liberal educational goals about 25 years ago. No need for classes such as logic and humanities, no encouragement to read and reflect, think and analyze. Rote memorization is now favored over creative thinking and careful analysis. If you make sure a couple of generations are cultivated into good automatons with an appetite for televised drivel, there will be no need to use forceful means to control the masses.

There are people left with intact intellectual capacities, but they are seriously suspect as elite and out of touch. Astonishing I tell you, that the super-rich AynRandians have succeeded in flipping socialism on its head. Now the proles do the bidding of their oppressors and gladly.

Astonishing. Truly Astonishing. Drinking the Kool-aid a la Jonestown while believing they are actually going to end up in Nirvana/heaven/the promised land.

I hope they wake from their stupor soon enough to join a union to protect what little solidarity that could be left.

But today I am not optimistic. Hopeful is hard to find too.

Friday, February 18, 2011

If a movement does not get any press does that mean it isn’t moving? The Wisconsin labor uprising got no national press for the first two days—except from Rachel Maddow on MSNBC. Now the Green Bay Packers have joined the team to support public employee unions in Wisconsin! That’s smart politics for them since the NFL players are rising up against their owners to demand a bigger slice of the cheese. I hope they succeed but that isn’t a middle class fight, just more rich guys squabbling, but I always side against “the owners” of anything when they think they don't need to share their wealth.

Seeing actual public servants and teachers getting their knickers in a twist should give me hope that middle class people are finally realizing that their solidarity has been misplaced for too long. Instead of identifying UP the economic ladder and defending the right of corporations to enjoy the civic benefits equal to humans, we need to rise up and FIGHT THE POWER. (OK I just heard Chuck D talk last night so forgive my re-radicalization.) No time for dreaming of the day when we too could step over the down-and-out man sleeping on the grate. Soon enough if the Republicans and DINOs have their way, we will BE those down-and-out grate-sleepers. First the banks took homes, now they’re after our jobs…what else can we give to the oligarchy?

Now we know what else is wanted---our very freedom from oppressive intrusive laws--we can give them control of our wombs! Now the dignity of the American woman has been taken. Finally, though they have tried in vain for decades, the forced- pregnancy politicians have de-funded Planned Parenthood.

The President’s proposed budget takes money out of the heating assistance program: HEAP. What does he expect? For Hugo Chavez to send more money from Venezuela to keep impoverished Americans from freezing to death?

The Repugna-crats new budget eliminates WIC subsidies that boost the nutrition of poor children AND PREGNANT women, while it tears away at Social Security and Medicaid and every other “entitlement” program designed to keep the poorest Americans alive (but not well).

America as a great nation is over. That ship has sailed. We are now in full class-warfare. Perhaps if the middle class and those in poverty build solidarity we can salvage something of the dignity we once enjoyed. But if we do not stand together, we are toast.

Take away the annual $330 million from family planning support for Planned Parenthood when we are spending A BILLION DOLLARS EACH WEEK ON THE WAR IN AFGHANISTAN? How can any thinking person accept this? They can’t. Only thoughtless automatons and robotically equipped heartless bastards can.

In the past 25 years I have marched on Washington for reproductive rights several times and a couple of times for housing rights; more than ten times for peace and once for gay rights. I would go again in a heartbeat, but it gets harder and harder to believe that marches on DC help.

I’ll go back to Washington and protest when---
--the college students rise up against unconscionable tuition and lousy loan programs,
--and small farmers protest a lack of effective subsidies and policies that do not give agri-giants an unfair advantage
--and Wal-Mart workers unite to demand the right to unionize (and bring their brothers and sisters from Target along too)
--and nurse’s aides explain that wiping your grandma’s ass for a poverty wage is not sufficient job satisfaction
--and the 10 million discouraged workers who stopped hoping for a job and who have nothing better to do anyway
--and the officially unemployed take an interest in their own plight
--and women in the military are ready to fight back against universal rape
--and women of all ages and backgrounds throw off the shackles of mandatory pregnancy without mandatory child support

Maybe then we can ALL go together and TAKE BACK OUR COUNTRY.

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Upcoming preaching dates

Just wanted to let my readers know that I have two preaching gigs coming up...both on Sunday Feb. 13.
At 10:00 I will be a guest at All Souls UU Church in Brattleboro Vermont. (Thanks to Rev. Barbro Hansson, for the invite!)
At 4:30 I will be the guest preacher for an emerging congregation: Two Rivers UU Congregation in Clifton Park, NY (meeting at the YMCA)
Call me crazy, itinerant preaching in two locations three hours apart in February in the snow belt.
And maybe you can offer a prayer that conditions allow safe travel.