Tim McMullen's Missives and Tomes

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween—"Through the Darkness"

Through the Darkness (Nosferatu)

Through the darkness eyes came shining
Like a torch to guide her way—
Like a fire through her soul—
And they seemed somehow to say,
“Through the darkness I will lead you—
Only trust and you will know
Just how much I really need you,
And why I can’t let go!”

Through the darkness of the shadows,
Something tapping at the pane;
Though her heart begged her to run,
She knew she would remain.
The hunger in her lover’s eyes:
Like a dream inside a dream—
Like a knife blade through the silence—
Like a scream inside a scream!

In the mirror in the moonlight,
She can see her trembling face.
In the mirror she’s alone in an empty room,
But she feels his warm embrace.
“Through the darkness I will lead you—
Only trust and you will know
Just how much I really need you,
And why I can’t let go!”

As he knelt there at her bedside,
She knew her will was gone,
And she felt just like a stranger looking on.
The hunger in her lover’s eyes:
Like a dream inside a dream—
Like a knife blade through the silence—
Like a scream inside a scream!

In the mirror in the moonlight,
The door is broken down,
But they can’t explain how the lady died...
Or the blood at the neck of her gown.

But through the darkness
Her eyes come shining
Like a torch to guide your way—
Like a fire through your soul—
And they seem  somehow to say,
“Through the darkness I will lead you—
Only trust and you will know
Just how much I really need you
And why I can’t let go—
How much I really need you...
I need.........”

© 1979  Tim McMullen ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Performance from the Steve Gillette Songwriter's Workshop, Saturday Evening Concert, March 25, 2012

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Don't Let the Cons Con You into Decimating Social Security

We need to stand strong and united. The assaults on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are real, and they come from both sides of the aisle. The excuse for attacking these essential, social safety net programs is the "dreadful deficit," which, of course, was created from a budget SURPLUS and was the direct result of many errant policies.

Though some Democratic Representatives have endorsed a few of these policies, most are the direct result of Republican ideology and policy: unjustified military actions and unnecessary military spending (often on programs and equipment that the military has explicitly said that it does not want or need); huge tax decreases for the wealthiest corporations and individuals; unnecessary and unwarranted subsidies for some of the wealthiest industries; egregiously unfair tax loopholes—available only to the wealthy—that allow many of the wealthiest corporations and individuals to avoid warranted taxes; totally misguided and faulty deregulation of the financial sector that lead to several drastic economic downturns, especially the most recent "great recession"; the "no-strings-attached" economic bailout of those most directly responsible for the economic collapse which has left the worst actors in better shape than before their fraud-induced collapse while leaving most of the country still devastated by economic loss; a completely unrealistic cap on Social Security contributions; six years of political sabotage and stalemate from the minority party outspokenly intent on destroying any chance of significant job recovery or health care reform merely to gain political advantage; and very significantly, a cynical media assault on Social Security, Medicare, and government in general, designed to mislead several generations into believing that there will be nothing for them in the future, that they should abandon all interest in wider society, that privatizing everything gives them a better chance, and that they should care about nothing but their own interests, and, of course, by example, that lying, cheating, and stealing are simply necessary methods for success and that the rules limiting these methods should be loosened or eliminated.

The chained CPI, a method of conscientiously miscalculating downward the needs of retirees so as to significantly reduce their benefits in the future, is actually a drastic, negative change. Before Social Security is touched, before Medicare and Medicaid and a hundred other programs that have already been diminished by political blackmail, extortion, brinkmanship, and disingenuous compromise, we need to rebuild the middle class and our social safety programs by reversing all of the failed policies mentioned above. Only after we have raised the income threshold on Social Security; only after we have reduced our outrageous and unnecessary military spending, including bringing the "Big Brother" surveillance regime under control; only after re-regulating and better regulating the financial sector; only after significantly reducing tax loopholes and subsidies for the wealthiest should we even begin to consider cuts to social programs.

Should we attempt to eliminate fraud in social programs and tax policies? Absolutely. That naturally requires more regulation and regulators, not less as the Republican congress and media echo chamber have advocated and accomplished for many years. Furthermore, we need to bring real criminal charges against those who actually committed or condoned fraud and worse, offering jail time, not just pittance penalties—people have been out of work for years now as a result of this malfeasance, and these criminal corporations are asked to pay only a few days income in fines? There is real injustice here, but many of those in Congress have fought tooth and claw to prevent their financial backers from being held accountable, choosing instead to wreak havoc on women, children, the elderly, workers, immigrants, and the poor. If we all demand that they make other more fair and equitable changes before tampering with the few programs actually designed to benefit the common man, maybe they will listen.

I encourage you to sign the petition from Bernie Sanders whether it comes from Sen. Bernie Sanders, Alliance for Retired Americans, Campaign for America's Future, Campaign for Community Change, DailyKos, Democracy For America, The Other 98%, Progressives United, Social Security Works, USAction or any other organization or politician endorsing the protection of Social Security and Medicare.

"The Greatest Threat to Democracy is Hypocrisy! Seek Truth! Speak Truth!"
Tim McMullen

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Nod to Walt Kelly & I Go Pogo—"We have met the enemy, and he is US!"

My last post on Facebook included a video about the media distortions and mob think to which we are so easily lead; when posted elsewhere, it got the response, "Well, I guess that's why the govt. sees us all as sheep."

My response— I think that you are right: many in the government do see the people as sheep. This story is the very opposite of government manipulation, but it may expose, as you suggest, why so many politicians and those who pull their strings think of us as such.

Although some jury awards have seemed overboard, and although frivolous or nuisance lawsuits can be used unfairly, the "Tort Reform" movement is cynically motivated by the same treacherous greed and perpetrated by the same corporate criminal interests that oppose all regulation of business. In a society ruled by true laissez faire (let business do whatever it wants with no government interference) and caveat emptor (let the buyer beware), the scoundrels and the sociopaths always have the upper hand.

Tort reform; deregulation; term limits; the "religious" right to refuse insurance protections to employees; union busting; the corporate right to intrude on employee's personal lives; gag orders in legal settlements; the absurd but shrewd idea that corporations are people and money is speech; the gutting of the Voting Rights Act; the unscrupulous purging of voter roles; the enactment of new registration and voting requirements that intentionally suppress voting; "No new taxes...ever!"; the cutting or eliminating programs for those in need while heaping incredible subsidies or bailouts on those who illegally foreclose on peoples' property or pollute and destroy the environment; unjustified and illegal wars pursued on false pretenses: All of these are part of the same movement, aided by the corporate controlled media, designed to decimate the middle class. A peasantry set at one another's throats for the few remaining crumbs really is a sensible goal for a ruthless, anti-social, plutocratic oligarchy.

The fact that so many of those elected to positions of power actually subscribe to a conflation of Ayn Rand's hypocritical social Darwinism and a misinterpretation of MIlton Friedman's "business has no moral responsibility except to make money" is due, for the most part, to the carefully cultivated cynicism, apathy, and cowardice of the American people who have come to care more about the new "American Idol," the latest "Survivor," or the latest irrelevant sexual scandal or lewd celebrity pictures on the net than they care about the running of our government or the welfare of our society and our world.

As a result of willful ignorance, intellectual ennui, and a nagging but indefinable sense of aggrievement, the populous is easily manipulated and roused to incomprehensible and often uncontrollable anger over calculated and intentionally distorted or spurious claims by demagogues (Ted Cruz being the latest puppet of the Right, though the left have theirs as well). After a few hours or occasionally even days of engagement, of course, the angry mob subsides to its disinterested apathy once again.

 WE ARE the GOVERNMENT, but in so many ways we have allowed our selfishness, cowardice, ignorance, and apathy to turn over our responsibilities and our interests to those who care little for the actual needs of the country but for whom ruthless self-interest and self-righteous hypocrisy are most useful tools.

"The Greatest Threat to Democracy is Hypocrisy! Seek Truth! Speak Truth!" Tim McMullen

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Making it Look EASY!

An early celebration of Jennifer McMullen's birthday with Carolyn Swanson and Mel, Kevin, and Tim McMullen at Scott's Seafood Restaurant in Costa Mesa last Thursday. 

As we were leaving the establishment, the young hostess who had initially been informed of Mom's birthday (hence, the free chocolate cake and candle) came running over to Carolyn and said, "Is that her? Look at how fast she moves. There's no way that she's 89!" 

Way to set the bar higher for all of us, Jennifer. 

Here's to a great 89th Birthday, Jennifer... Aunt Marie... Granma... Mom!